I would like to apologize in advance for any vagaries that may occur during this post. Some things are left intentionally vague for self-preservation purposes.
I am not religious.
During the course of my life it goes like this:
Wasn’t. Was. REALLY WAS. Wasn’t. REALLY Wasn’t. And back to the standard NOT that I am currently in.
That having been said, I am a spiritual man and I always have been. No, I’m not going to wax all philosophic about Jesus and all that…
What I am going to go on about, is that I believe that people are put into our lives for specific purposes. For example, half of the title of this post came from a cousin’s facebook status update. A cousin I didn’t know existed until a couple of months ago. A cousin that I clicked with almost instantly. We’ve got similar senses of humor and are both on the smart-ass side of the fence. She makes a valid point.
Drink Life As It Comes…Straight..No Chaser
That’s not a mantra about giving up. (Another post coming on this topic soon.) No. This is a mantra of accepting life as it comes, and meeting it head-on. Not changing it to suit you, but taking it and dealing with it. No chaser. No…you don’t want ANYTHING sweetening it. Relish your victory….whether it tastes bad or not. I think of this as a pragmatists battle cry. Boiled down, it’s awesome in its sheer simplicity.
Why Can’t It Be That Easy?
If I were a younger man. A single man. A man with NO outside responsibilities, this might just be as easy as it sounds. You’ve seen “The Big Lebowski”?
We’d all be “The Dude” and rambling through life drinking White Russians and just consuming life as it happens with no regard for the future, the past, and maybe even the present. And yet, when your actions are wide-sweeping and affect more than just yourself, you have to sometimes put the brakes on things.
So, as much as you’d like to tell that one smug a-hole at the office to shove it where the sun don’t shine…you don’t. Because it would negatively impact your surroundings. And while getting said stress off of your chest would feel great, you’d just be diverting that stress onto the ones you love the most. (Yes, the assholes win again. Or do they?) SO…I’ve taken a very roundabout path to finally get to my point. Sorry, it had to be done.
Blind-Sided (And no, this is NOT a movie reference.)
Last night, I had drank about as much life as I could handle. It wasn’t straight, there was no chaser. It was on the rocks and shaken badly. I have had a history of anxiety attacks off and on most of my life. You learn to deal with them when you notice the signs. This was not one of them. This was something altogether different, and way more scary.
I was at a particularly sullen point when I tweeted, “Tried to write a blogpost this evening and all that would come out was angry rantings about stuff that has little to do with being a dad.” It was a minor vent, and what I can now look at as a very quiet call for help. I’m an emotional guy, but I’m still a guy and there are just some things that are hard to do. Calling out for help is one of them.
Regardless, someone was listening. I didn’t see the tidal wave that was coming. I was about to shut down the computer and crawl into bed, my mind in shambles. Then I got a response. I answered that I was just miserable with some stuff and couldn’t really write a good and proper post about it. Then I got a DM that had this inside: “For whatever reason you’ve been on my mind all day to day.”
The Hammer Dropped
I had just lived through one of the crappiest days in recent memory, and someone I hardly know told me that I had been on his mind all day… Why is that? I believe that he was put there for a very specific reason: I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown, the likes of which, I have not experienced in almost ten years and I never saw it coming. It was as if he was more aware of what was coming than I was. And I’m glad he was there. Just the offer of a phone conversation, a friendly ear…set the anchor in the emotional squall that hit.
I’m better now, mostly. I teared up recalling all of the messages that came through. But each one just let me know that as a man, as a dad, as a husband, I didn’t have to burden my family with my fears, insecurities, and anger. I had a friend that was available. I have never met this gentleman. And I pray someday I get the honor of thanking him in person for being there for me as I quietly fell to pieces a thousand miles away. Every thing that had happened to me came crashing down. I had gone from an emotional high to feeling like a worthless piece of shit to feeling completely helpless to change my situation all within the course of a few hours. It was too much to bear. Just knowing someone was there allowed me to do what I needed to do. I needed to purge all of those emotions…and purge I did.
If anyone is a fan of Star Trek :TNG when Sarek was going mad and Picard mind-melded with him…I felt like Picard in that scene. (If you haven’t seen it…it really is an amazing characterization of someone going balls-out mad. Watch it!)
The waves subsided, the waters calmed. I gathered up all of my little pieces and began putting me back together again. My wife asked me about my partial conversation that wasn’t DM’s and I told her the story. She asked me why I didn’t go and wake her up. Why? So she could sit wondering why her husband just suddenly went all blubbery? Asking what was wrong, and me not being able to answer, because I’m still not sure what happened? No. She didn’t need that burden right then. She needed her sleep. SO! Now we come to the ending…and I have something for you to do.
Here’s your homework:
Reach out to someone who’s having a rough go of it. You don’t have to try to solve their problems. In fact, don’t even try to. Just be the ear or the shoulder that you would want if your world was crumbling down around you. And when you’ve done that, get them to do the same.
That having been said…I’m here. Sure, I’m an emotional wreck. But dammit, if anyone out there is breaking apart at the seams, shoot me an email or hit me up on Twitter or Facebook. If nothing else, I’ll send you stupid youtube videos of people having worse days than we are!
Like I said before, I’m not religious, but I am spiritual. I don’t say things like this much, but:
God Is Good
Update: I finally met the fine gentleman who helped me out on Twitter that night so long ago. We walked around downtown Seattle. We talked. We broke bread. We laughed. We shared our struggles. Anyone who says online friends aren’t really friends…just isn’t making awesome enough friends.