Here is a totally unedited spilling of thoughts, more likely than not at my goal family oak dining room table, a belly full of expensive bourbon and Dan Fogelburg playing in the background. (can you hear Leader Of The Band playing in the slurry of a good hard whiskey drunk??)
Ask me if it would be so much better written with even the least bit of editing in the sobriety of the day light and I would agree beyond words, but at times these words are at their very best in the most raw and in the most honest of expression.
Some days, a hearts honesty is valued beyond easily mastered grammatical perfection.
Catharsis …… seriously a bullshit word.
This word in any language, whether translated or transliterated … is a word we use to find some semblance of reason in the things that destroy souls, so I am not sure where that word fits in with a life of anguish, guilt and memories that are …. well, best left to fire pits, drained whiskey bottles melting in the glowing coals and the echo of honest words between close friends still echoing as you sit alone ….. realizing you are done, done with it all and that sleep is clearly required.
Of course that all involves getting inside the house, standing with a VERY false sense of self control, taking however long it may take that night to visually and mentally plan a safe path from where you stand currently to the backdoor, at least where falling is minimized … a rarely well executed plan, regardless of how fucking SURE you were at the outset … but one that must be made.
We see catharsis as some moment or period in life where we work thru the pains and can wash them away ….. set them aside …. move forward …. to totally stop carrying the pain during the slow steps to the end of this go round in life.
How the masses define catharsis is easy, find it in any dictionary … “the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.”. Yup its really that simple, pretty clearly defined and hard to argue with black words on white paper. Sadly life and words on paper are not the same thing, we can define a hollow word like catharsis and use it as as often as we need to in order justify adding pain to life while never accepting what that word truly is …. catharsis is not real, its a lie …. nothing more or less, a profound and simple lie.
Live through a tragic experience and not one that brings simple offense, but honest tragedy …… regardless of the cause of it, no matter at all. Be a victim, be a bystander, be the person who holds the hand of a loved one from diagnosis until that last tear they shed as the death rasps cease, be a person who lives daily with the taking of a life …. justified, or not … and relive every night these events you have forged through and you learn much more than any words will ever convey.
Some things in this life that you would think we would be conditioned to face after a millennia of generations doing it once and then all over again, nonstop circle …. perhaps, as I believe, we are all personally returning to this cycle ….. but yet somehow it does not become a burden easier to accept through learned behavior and this ‘thing’ we carry with us that never lets loose its bite while tearing away at that part of our soul allowing for happiness and joy ….. yet in the midst of all of this, we still strive for joy, happiness, fulfillment and peace …. not much sense found in us as a species would be my best guess.
Perhaps we have the strength to find those things, to not spiral simply into walking the next steps to our own final tear …. some do so out of sheer determination, others have no mechanism to avoid spiraling into the abyss of accepting futility, and then others find that they are reliving it all once again from a lifetime before. While people come back thru your path, and at some unconscious level you realize its not futile …. you know those moments when you just click with a stranger in laughter and the moments when the memory is just beyond grasp, but the emotions are not …incredible waves rolling over you with no explanation.
All so confusing to us all, but in those odd moments you start to think that joy is perhaps available even if only in the universe’s selfish little rations ….. and on occasion that old soul you cross paths with or that place you have never been to before, brings incredible comfort perhaps is a muse.
Not simply recognized in some quirky way, but known to the depths of ourselves. An almost magical presence that pulls us from the abyss for those fleeting moments of our current life, to see the joy available and perhaps at least ‘feel’ joys of previous lives …. the memories purposefully left void but the intangible peace and joy remaining …. which may, after all is said and done, not be such small ration when laid out over those lifetimes.
All that said, I am yet to my total denial of the word catharsis, in fact that is yet a bit away ….. but trust me, catharsis is nothing more than an excuse people use to bury the pain rather than to walk in peace with the pain …….. death is followed by burial, pain is walked alongside in peace. Catharsis ….. it whispers its lies into your mind that just one more tear, one more hour of staring into the flames, one more word .. sharing a pain only you can fully know and you will be able let it go … this liar egging you on “get wet in this, drink it in, roll around in it, dream of it, talk about it, cry over it, let it all out, regardless of the toll and it will all just go away”
What ever happened to honor, strength, and endurance no matter the cost? None of that pain will EVER leave you, none of what is whispered by it will ever ‘fix’ you ….. Accept the pain, live with the pain, own it and especially own all that you did or did not do to have it poured upon you …. walk with honor in peace with it.
As if forever bound to an enemy that you know who is as willing, capable, and in need of killing you, as you are of them …… but to survive you must walk in peace alongside them. Engaging in catharsis is nothing more than engaging that enemy, and you either die in the fight or drag a corpse along with you for all your days.
Now, I could have fun and make this easy by pulling out totally fictional examples …… or I could bring this all out and use my life as the example, which is what this will be …. it will bring out much that I simply do not want to discuss, remember, or worse yet, for me personally …. bring forth guilt, shame, heartache and despair I have spent so very long burying ….. letting death into life rather than finding ways to walk in peace with what, who, and how I am. For all those that I alienate along the way here, I do so apologize ahead of time …. well for the greater portion of you all.
Do not let yourself start thinking that I view myself as some awful person who’s life has been rift with mistakes and with a wake of heartache following me. In all actuality, I do see myself and do so with some personal proof in my life that I am a good man, honorable, and decent ….. I do view myself as that (and a bit more too, being easily definable is no fun at all!) …. fallible, human, and while at 50 I am pretty sure I can take most men in a bar fight, I am starting to face that perhaps I should think twice before letting loose with the random “You know what?? .. Go fuck yourself!” ……. though not shocking for myself to admit, that realization always comes clear after the words are spoken.
Then again, I often carry that look in my eyes that says, that I really don’t care care and I will win because I have had to truly fight for reasons that mean a fuck of a lot more than some annoying asshat in a bar. Since I am taking the time think thru my interpersonal actions some words here also concerning people that I care for, let me admit that I have always known that to loose control means that my words, my ice cold persona, my unmoving stance as the words tear out, are knowingly cutting to the very core of those I care for, when this control fails. It happens rarely, but I do know the effect and I do know what I am doing in the moment …… that does not mean however that it is not met with my own hurt after the fact.
Leaving me with this horrific feeling of relief after having held it in for so long and now I can breath again and not boil internally ….. and then the eyes, the look, heartache of those that never saw this coming hits me with a force that shocks me every time, I know it is my fault that I hold it all in, but to me it is an honorable act to be quiet and not over react to simple moments ……. but then THAT moment occurs when words spill in merciless accuracy, my eyes unwavering, my stance held in place, and there is no question as to my intent …. never, ever an act of physical threats is needed when you can say such words and do so with such void of caring. Now some fool out there will tell me this is catharsis and honest communicating, fucking kiss and make up, once you talk it all through …. and that is bullshit, it is simply more act that needs to be buried or walked with in peace.
May I also add that I hold back for very good reason, I am not a physically violent man by nature but I have faced violent situations and walked away from them in one piece, easily I could pretend that I was at my best, it was honor, or courage but the truth is that I was lucky … wasn’t my time … wasn’t my place, but I assure you that nothing I can look back upon will cause me to claim pride from actually doing or enduring what had to happen.
But you know what? In all of us, there is part that has experienced pain, made choices where no decent results are options, or were forced into those choices we can never take back ….. and those are simply the ones we live with. If you can claim this as well, then you know the moments we own that wake us at 3 AM to walk the floors (as if you are sweeping the house for threats), occasionally reliving the nitemares, and sometimes just wiping away those random tears you have in your eyes still, with absolutely no recollection of what sleep just brought forth. For most of that we all learn to adjust and to make it part of routine, and celebrate when you dream in the comfort of the void
That all changes a man.
Not for the better …. it leaves nothing but memories and experience that hold no value only that the choice ..… buried in death or walked with in peace must be made.
And to be honest, peace ….. is just a word, its a fun idea, its another fucking unicorn …. to me, peace is a word with no more value than catharsis …… its a word we all find to rationalize what we can never attain.
Kinda wish I could feel bad for you starting to read what seems to be a real downer, but I really don’t … some words are meant to be read, as some lives are meant to be lived as they are.
Yeah it is starting as a downer, thats life and if you paid some attention to what I have been writing, guess what there is some joy in this life …. not often, not really able to plan for ….. it falls in your lap and then all that I have spoken of falls out the window and …. you are lost in the moment of joy.
For me they are all fairly simple, the last one was just this weekend …. I live in a neighborhood where the houses go from nice family homes to mansions by simply crossing a street (it happens) ….. and trust me it is quite white bread, not that all the families are white but they are all middle class mostly cool people … hard working … pride in their homes … none of them rich but in general happy … even down to the guy we have that has cut all his shrubbery over the years into comical animal shapes … and no, the shrubs were not my joy that day. Its certainly interesting but it doesn’t affect me in any other manner than ‘How the fuck does he that much time on his hands!’ Not unlike my response to physical art, pretty sure I am missing the gene that lets you look at some classical painting and see all that was intended and what most other people see …. my honest response is often “There’s a tree and there is a lot of blue there”. No intentions to diminish the art, its just me ….. I can’t taste avocados either, so there you go!
Joy for me was at a stop light waiting to cross from the mansion area to my neighborhood and there standing looking was this guy not much younger than myself with a baby in his arms trying to walk and quiet the vocal little guy …. who was having none of it at all!
I stopped and as he stood there, let loose a good laugh and then that look that all men with children give each other (when the moms aren’t around … yes, there are such unspoken rules) …. you know the smiling head nod and followed with the “better you, than me buddy!” face …. he smiled and said in a clearly african yet steeped in british accent “You know he is always such a good baby, until mama goes out …. I am a Dr. and work a lot of hours so I try to take over and get her out for an afternoon as I can …. and she always is shocked when I tell her I walked all afternoon quieting my boy ….” and in that exact moment, I was totally overcome with joy for a man and a screaming baby walking on the first nice spring day …. blew me away in its simplicity. Perhaps that comes from the complexity I have with my grown children, or you know …. maybe its just a joyful moment!
Just know that as I waved and wished him all the best on that perfect day, I KNEW his wife was thin and fit. A baby crying like that and needing to be walked constantly in order to be calm wasn’t doing that for just his dad! This kid had a set of lungs on him that can only come from practice ….. so as I drove down the road, I knew she fibbed to hubby, hubby knew she fibbed, and that baby will be crying for the next 5 hours till he finally falls asleep. Then when momma gets home, she will be refreshed and happy for her break, dad will be proud for having to given his wife time to enjoy life untethered ….. and that baby, he will be crying once again soon …. and thats a pretty goddamn good life to have …. so yeah I was joyful and that had nothing to do with my life.
So don’t assume this is anything other that what it is …. it life, its on paper, and for me its reality.