Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta oneself. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta oneself. Mostrar todas las entradas

lunes, 6 de abril de 2015

Own poison

   I’m empty.  Have you ever felt, at least for a moment, that there’s no more gasoline inside of you? What I mean is, sometimes we just run out. We stop and there’s nothing to keep us going, at least for that very moment. And it feels eternal, like years and years could be put inside a small grain of sand and relived in a single breath. Everything seems still and it’s maddening because the human body, the human soul is not built for such hardship. We are made to be and to move and if we stop we just go insane.

 I did go insane for a little while. I felt the world crumbling around me, cracks opening on the floor and darkness in front of me. In that moment, there’s only you and no one else. Your friends, your family, they do not matter because you fall hard and deep into oblivion where no one could ever find you. And then that darkness penetrates your heart and makes you scream in terror without even opening your mouth. It is the feeling of real pain, of universal rendition to the darkest feelings and situations that the human heart can go through. In that moment, we are lost.

 But it always ends. Or at least for me, it has always ended. The light comes back and the back seems the same although I feel particularly changed inside. The feeling might be compared to the one you feel when riding a rollercoaster but blind and even deaf. That’s what it feels to fall into you and to get lost for the fraction of a second. When you come back, nothing really has happened outside your mind but you know it did happen inside. And then, like a poison, madness settles in. It slowly contaminates the brain, working for years, slowly. This poison has no real antidote but it can be stopped, maybe not forever but at least for enough time to build a stronger armor to defend your mind.

 Isn’t it amazing? We wage wars against each other, killing so many of our fellow men ad women and in the end of it all, our own brains can be our most vicious enemies, tearing us apart from the inside out. What good does it make to live your life dodging bullets and dangers, when maybe the thing that will take your life away from you is just growing freely inside, deep in your brain. We take everything, even the fact that we are just flesh and bone, for granted. We do not realize that there’s nothing that makes us really strong in front of the many dangers we might be forced to encounter in our lives.

 And it the world today, the younger brains, the ones least trained in the arts of fighting oneself, are those who are more likely to succumb to the evilness inside our brains. We all have it inside, there’s no one who doesn’t rot like that. The difference is that some people have received that click, that activation code that makes us realize the threat inside. And it passes so many times when we are young, when we are supposed to be living so many things and learning and enjoying life. That is because we are absorbing so much that we cannot control what enters our brain. And then, the poison begins contaminating the mind and in some youngsters, it happens so fast, with so much fierceness, that when others notice it it’s simply too late.

 Many people talk nowadays about the terrible cancer that extinguishes people in a heartbeat. AIDS does the same, consuming people fast. But there’s not that same awareness or interest in the mental issues of the human body. Our most appreciated tool, our brain, is also weak. No matter how hard the skull or how trained the mind is, the brain can also be affected and we are one of the biggest threats to it.

 The world today is the reason. We have to be so many things at the same time and do some others to be and be to be accepted because that is supposed to give all the peace we need. But that is a lie because we are never really accepted except by some individuals. Isn’t it strange that people what acceptance by everyone and they decide to ignore the fact that they will only know a small portion of the humans inhabiting this world in their lifetime? And even if they could meet everyone in the world, those others humans also do and think and are in order to be someone in this tiny grain of rock in space.

 We do not realize that we are competing, and hard, for the exact same prize, which happens to be non-existent. Because no one is never accepted, no even by all the people they know. And we all do that; we all do and say things to benefit ourselves, to keep moving, to be noticed and appreciated. Even if our main goal seems to be another, we are always looking for acceptance. Many have love as a goal and what is love but the acceptance, by someone else, of you as their chosen romantic interest? And if your goal is to have a job, you have to woo certain people to get it, by working hard or through any other means.

 It all comes down to people liking you, of that sick obsession with everyone needing and wanting you to be there by their side. And obsession that has its root in the past, when our species felt it needed to unite or it would face extinction. We are now many millions and still we think we need to be all on top of each other. That’s why countries always meddle in the problems of other countries: not only they need to show their power but also because they are desperate for allies and friends and companions. As if we weren’t already just by being born in this world. We do not need acceptance but a simple reality check to tell us how exactly alike we all are. No one better, no one worse. No one nothing. We are all the same thing which is, by the end of the day, not that much.

 When I feel empty, I feel like I cannot breath, as if the world was all around me, pressing me from every corner trying to make me explode. Once, the poison reached a point in my brain where I collapsed and was in the mercy of my most basic instincts. I attempted to destroy myself and felt liberated when I felt I had succeeded. There’s no feeling in the world like blood running down your forehead. You know why? Because you feel alive. Isn’t that sick?

 It is. If the only way to feel, to be able to communicate is to smash your head against a wall, something has to be very wrong. “Talk to your family”. That’s the advice I followed and it helped. Not because they said something really useful but because I realized I couldn’t go forward with the plans that the poison had for me. I just couldn’t sacrifice what I am and put them on the way. I stopped and held back from ending it all. And I didn’t do it for me. I understood things have more consequences than we realize. Sometimes we are so driven by what’s inside us, that we just don’t see what is happening around us. But I did.

 People would love me to say that I stopped for me, because I had some kind of revelation and just realized how much worse the world would get without me. But that would be a lie because the world wouldn’t realize I was gone, only a fraction of it would. And I stopped for that fraction and for nothing else. If it had been for the world, solely for that, I would have gone through with it. But I didn’t and here we are.

 I’m not strong. You don’t really require strength to stop the poison inside your head; you only need time and distractions. Because of you’re having a great time, it all seems to happen too fast. Have you ever noticed that? The poison hasn’t. And the idea is that when you die, the poison is there, contained because it had been distracted for years and years. That’s all you need. Again, you just need to do. Just do.

 That’s what I’m doing, trying to keep the thoughts, the sounds, the feelings, all at bay. I write because I like to do it, it’s true. And because it’s the only thing I feel I do well. But mostly, and many people do not know this, I do it to keep everything from touching me too close. I’ve been successful for the most part of the recent months with a couple of incidents where I just had to take a breath and relax, in order to not let anything inside win any ground.

 One of my weaknesses is when people say to many nice things to me. I mean, they are nice and gentle and even if they don’t really know me that well, I thank them. But when they happen too often I feel they are lies and they start hurting bad, like huge burns. And then the poison starts moving and I decide to chop every arm, every single thing that may let it move more, even if I have to sacrifice some things many others would appreciate.


 It was long ago that I decided not to have any romance in my life, at least none for real. Because I discovered that was the easiest way to let the poison, to let me, kill myself.

lunes, 20 de octubre de 2014

Beauty

Flora Summers was a psychiatrist. She worked in a facility, the biggest in the country, that treats different types of disorders.

She decided to study this field as her grandmother suffered from senile dementia and had died during her last year in high school. She loved grandma and the ineptitude of the people in understanding her condition had been essential in the decisions Flora made from then on.

Now over forty, she married a gynecologist and had a young son. She watched over her mother with great care as the probabilities that she would suffer the same illness her grandma did, were very high.

Everyday, she was in charge of watching over the patients in ward C. In the mornings, she made her rounds, checking them out, talking a bit, watching over their diets and recent behavior. She had lunch in an office with a window towards the patients dining room as she liked to see them in different kind of situations. She thought that was pivotal in understanding their diseases.

One day, she realized Thomas, a patient suffering from depression, had been moved to ward D. Ward D was reserved for those that were deemed "untreatable". She hated to go to that place as the people that attended the patients there were rude and did not treat anyone well.

A week later, Thomas's room was taken over Rudy, another young man. As psychiatrist of the ward, she had to interview the patient so they could now what kind of medication, diet and treatment he should follow.

When he entered her office, she couldn't help being sad: he looked like a ghost, very pale with big dark circles beneath his eyes. He had beautiful eyes, the color of honey. She started by telling him that. She had read he suffered anorexia and depression had already kicked in: he had attempted to kill himself twice.

The boy wasn't very talkative. Not uncommon to be honest, except in those with diseases like persecutory delusion. He looked at his hands all the time, answering only in "yes" or "no" and sometimes just shrugging. When he left, she realized it was yet another one of those cases, the kind you never knew how to solve or how it would end as they depended highly on the patient and their surroundings.

The days passed by and Flora tried harder to make Rudy come out of his shell. She had been sent information about his school and other activities and had even visited his parents. No, she didn't blame them although it was clear he had never felt like he could talk to them, as they only found out about his condition when he committed suicide the second time.

After that, she summoned him every other day to talk and she started, after having read every piece of information, with a blunt question:

 - Why did you tried to hang yourself?

This time, he looked at her, nervous.

 - I have seen many patients that have attempted to take their own lives but hanging is quite  uncommon.

Then he talked, the words just poured out as if she had said a magical word. He told Flora that he wanted people to feel bad for him been dead, even his parents. He wanted all to see him as miserable as he was.

Over the course of many sessions, Rudy told everything the doctor already knew and more. She had learned he was a TV fan, watching all shows and watching all kinds of movies with his friend Robert. He said he loved candy and specially ice cream. Flora told him she could bring her some next time but that threw him over the edge and she had to call a nurse to calm him down and take him to his room.

Rudy was visibly upset by something and had decided not to eat. But what was it? Flora knew that he had a profile in many social networks, that he didn't liked sports and that he had just finished high school. So, what was wrong?

In the next session, Rudy told her he was sorry to have lost his temper but that he didn't like to talk about food. Flora answered they had to, as that seemed to be a part of the problem. She told him he had anorexia and depression, and that the combination was hard to live with.

Flora asked him to give her his hand and, with a bit of hesitation, he did: she pulled up his sleeve and made him look the marks the cuts had left there.

 - That was the first time, yes?

He nodded. Next she asked him to take off his shirt and take a look into a mirror on one of the corners of the room.

 - What do you see?

He knew what she meant: the skin covering the bones and little more. Rudy did not say a word. He pulled down his shirt and cleaned off a tear from his face.

 - Do you see a healthy person or an unhealthy one?

Rudy answered he saw a fat person, a person no one wanted to be with, someone that felt ashamed. Flora told him she was going to change his diet a bit as he needed many vitamins and nutrients to be healthy. He didn't care.

On the weekend, the doctor thought of Rudy while watching her son play in the garden with her husband. She thought of how awful it would be if her son felt like Rudy, misplaced and ugly. She was brought to reality when the phone rang. From outside, her husband watched her cry and went in with their son.

Months later, she continued to work in the facility but had also started a venture of her own: at least once a week, she would visit a school or a college's auditorium and then just talk with young and older teens. Her subject: the destructive beauty standards in our times.

As it happens, the day of Rudy's burial, his parents approached Flora and thanked her for her help. They told her that Rudy wanted to get better but just couldn't. His sister, a young and beautiful twelve year old, talked to her after her parents just couldn't do it anymore. She told Flora they had found things in Rudy's laptop: apparently he had been bullied as he had uploaded pictures all round and he had been attacked for being "ugly".

Even more, he had written somewhere he felt bad because of what he saw all around, the beauty standards that were impossible to follow and that he had felt more and more guilty because he wasn't like everybody else wanted to be.

Now Flora knew why what happened, had taken place. She had decided to make something for her community and started the talks, to teach teenagers not to feel obliged to be something they weren't and to love yourself. She always said "being healthy is not the same as been skinny or muscular. It's about loving your body and doing the best for yourself".

Now, she really felt she was helping people and not only keeping them safe or sane. She thanked Rudy for this and always made sure her son knew he could talk to her.

martes, 14 de octubre de 2014

The Mark

His eyes move, a lot, still asleep. His hairs is all on one side so we can easily see, on his forehead, a big mark. Red, with lines and black dots.

The man, or boy pending on your definition, wakes up rather fast, opening his eyes as if he had been scared by the boogieman in a dream. He doesn't move, as the physical pain of his forehead comes to him and he has to relive everything again.

He finally gets out of bed and goes to the bathroom. With one hand he holds his hair and stares at his image. The red mark is centered right above the nose. Frowning hurts a bit but he has no way of doing some other facial expression. He lets his hair down again and pees and then washes his hands.

As he walks to the kitchen, he thinks that at least it's not bleeding now, as it was yesterday night. He touches his forehead with care and then watches his fingers: clean.

In the kitchen, he pours some juice into a glass and drinks half of it as if he had been walking across a dessert for years. When he's done, he goes to the living room and sits on the sofa, to watch people go by.

Have they ever done that too? Have they ever caved to their urges and fears and weaknesses?
Who knows... He just watches them as he finishes up the juice and, once again, touches his forehead.

He then remembers being in school, twelve years old or something like that and being mocked for having peed his pants. He was so afraid of speaking to anyone he had held his urge for too much time and accidents happen. No one was kind, nor nice, nor decent. They were all animals and he hated them for it. He was just a kid and from then on, he felt rejected, an outcast.

No, not the moment for that. He goes to the kitchen again and makes a sandwich. Somehow, he's starving. He must have had an awful dream or one of those were you run like crazy, not knowing why.

He goes back in the sofa and eats his breakfast as he sees a man helping a woman with some boxes. They smile and each other and are oddly kind. People are not like that, almost never

He then remembers what it was for him to turn into a teenager, parties and all. And still feeling left out. It was incredible how much he had hated everyone in school so much, and none of them knew. They had no idea he never wanted to see them again. He didn't wish them harm or anything but he didn't care about their happiness. He was too hurt and alone.

The last year of school was different. He was just himself, as he knew he would never come back again. And college was another story, with different disappointments. No, not all was bad. Friends, real ones, were there.

As he finishes his sandwich, he touches the mark again and goes back to the bathroom. He puts some cold water on it and on his hair, to flatten it so people cannot see it easily. It shames him. It's a mark of shame and despair.

He washes the glass and the plate and enjoys the feel of water on his hands. He flattens his rebel hair again and then goes back to the sofa, now with his laptop. He puts on some music and finds himself reviewing, mentally of course, his bad luck in love.

He had grown tired of going out, dates, getting to know people. They didn't even tried to know him, at least to fake interest. No. They just didn't care much. Sex was first many times and he caved as it was fun and felt good but soon that ran out and it wasn't enough.

And the world wasn't helping. He had grown up to see how he had to look and behave and he wasn't that model everyone was supposed to be. And if you weren't, you lost. And he did, or so he felt.

He changes the song, to something a little more upbeat. Starts reading an article about sea creatures with incredible strength and the people that look out for them.
And again, thoughts. His brain was his enemy, no doubt.

Now he remembered, as if he had forgotten, that he had no money, no job, nothing. He had become bored too of sending his damn CV to every single company, even to fast food restaurants and retail stores. No one wanted him. And that felt awful. It hurt a lot to feel no one needed him, or appreciated what little he could do.

He shook his head, feeling some pinches, as his brain now was trying to escape, to move away as he too had become bored with him. He closed his eyes in pain, trying to push everything inside, deep, never to come back out again.

Suddenly he heard a voice and opened his eyes. It was his mother.

 - Hi.
 - Hey.
 - How are you feeling today?
 - Better. Thanks.
 - Sure?

He doubts.

 - Yeah.

She sighs and moves on to the kitchen.

After hitting himself with the first object he could get his hand on, he stroke his head too with his fists and he had a physical strength that scared him. He had caved to his inner fears, his demons, everything that was eating his brain.

He bled alone and cried as he hadn't done in so many years, when he thought he had kept it all behind. No. The past always comes back to have a bite of your brain, to torture you slowly.
And he, fed up, had taken matters in his owns hands and almost broke his skull.

As his mother made breakfast for herself, he took a few deep breaths and calmed down. He had to be strong, as she had said. "Take control of your feeling. Don't let them control you". And he knew she was right.

He hoped, really hard, that things would change soon. But that is something no one knows, until it happens or it doesn't.

sábado, 20 de septiembre de 2014

The Summit

They were almost there. Raul, the guide, had said it was only a hundred meters or so to the tallest point. Or so they thought he had said. Hearing wasn't an easy task, as the wind blew stronger in the altitudes Breathing was also difficult and the freezing cold made it even harder.

It was the first time any of them, except Raul, had attempted to hike such a tall mountain. It had been called Ritacuba Blanco and the name was fitting: the place was covered in a think layer of snow, that confused every sense and the mind.

Again, Raul, who was the first in the line to the top, yelled something but this time no one heard him. The wind appeared to be muting all of the members of the team on purpose, although that was obviously preposterous.

They walked another fifty meters and then they understood what Raul had said. Laura, the scientist from Pasto, fell in a crevasse and pulled everyone else into it. Luckily, Raul and Juan had their tools ready and held strongly on the white floor. Fast, the others helped Laura getting out and avoided the crevasse. Franco put a red flag by the gap on the floor, pierced the snow with all his strength.

They continued for a few minutes until they made it to the top. Raul warned them, breathing with difficulty, that they could only stay for a few minutes. As they had no oxygen tanks, staying more than necessary could mean dying there or on the way down.

There were six explorers, seven with Raul. They all sat on some rocks that overlooked the cliff, on which the tallest point was located.

Juan, as experienced as he was, took just one moment to see the scenery and then went back to Raul and started talking about the descent. It wasn't that he took it all for granted, not at all. Juan was just thinking of so many things at same time and seeing mountains from the top of another mountain didn't do anything for him. He had a wife and a baby girl to think of. At the cost of loosing what he loved most, he had to choose either a well paid job or loosing them both.

Laura, however, sat on a rock and filled her lungs with the purest air she might ever breath. It was true that oxygen was scarce, was somehow it felt cleaner and better than anything else. She loved how the mountains looked and how beautiful the world looked like this, just peaceful. It was different of what she had known her whole life, and the fact that this beautiful place existed not that far from home, was overwhelming to her.

Luis, an mature hiker with a thick beard, inhaled too but many more times, as if he defied the world. Only Raul knew that Luis was dying of cancer in the blood and this journey was a way of saying to life "you can't beat me up". The mountains and what he saw weren't as beautiful to him as the fact of having being able to do it all on his own, this last few months. He was going to die, true. But he wanted to imprint his mark on the world.

Veronica, a geology student, had come with a camera and started taking pictures as soon as they had reached the summit. She was a cheerful photographer, having documented her life and her family's life in huge amounts of pictures. Digital or analog, she didn't care. She only cared about keeping memories alive forever and this was her way of doing so. She had lost her father recently, and he had promised to go hiking with him. She wanted to take the most beautiful pictures to honor her father's memory.

Marcos and Tomás thought of each other as brothers. They admired the view, never kneeling or crouching or sitting but standing up to it, taking it all in as if it was a gift that one couldn't just let pass by. Both men, still young but already working through life, had decided to take this trip to defy their bodies and test, once more, the limits of their friendship. Marcos and Tomás were not real brothers, not relatives by blood. They had lived together from a young age as orphans, on the streets and under the care of others. But they never let each other go.

The six visitors came to the mountain, each one with a kind of mission. Some of them were successful, others not so much. But what was valuable wasn't the physical prowess as such. It was the fact that they had decided to take a challenge in order to honor something, to be true to themselves.

As they returned to the base camp, near a beautiful blue lake, their lives seemed to have improved, at least a little, even for a tiny space of time. They had learned no one defies a mountain out of courage or for the need of glory. All who do it, do it just for the urge, the need to define who they are.