Better Now

There is this thing I do, where I take a feeling I have, or something I am thinking about or something that is bothering me, and I take that thing and I slice it up and I place it under a microscope, and I peer into it and there flayed on a  glass slide, lit from beneath, it looks all-important, encompassing, it looks monumental.  I do this, look at things too closely, examine them, analyze them, and see if there is some kind of truth to be found there, something to take away.  I blow these things out of proportion, make them into something huge, some awful monster and I drag it out and I slay it there in the light.  I am interested in finding out who I am, who really lies beneath all this junk that I have been carrying, here underneath all the armor and structures that I have built around myself for protection.  And I have looked, I have dug in the garbage, and so far all I have found is more junk.  New junk, that kinda looks a lot like the old junk.

I am beginning to wonder:  what happens if I reach the bottom and there isn’t anything there?  What if I dig deep enough and all I find is garbage?

What then?

I make messes.  This is one of my skills, it is on my resume, I did not put it there at the top where you are supposed to put things you want to highlight, what you want the reader to remember, and I am scared of the primacy effect, no, I wrote it there, small near the middle-bottom where all things are that you don’t want remembered, but not last of course, because I am afraid of the recency effect too.

I know what you are thinking.  Why the hell would I put it in my resume at all?

The answer is simple:

To not put it on my resume at all would be dishonest.

And I do not want to be dishonest.

This was not always true.

I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.

This was also not always true.

I am curious: when you look inside, there in the late hours when sleep is a far off hope, when you look inward, do you see yourself, as you really are, or maybe, have you always known?

I have spent a lot of time wishing I was different.  I have spent a lot of time trying to be different, trying to be something that I would never be able to be.  I have spent so long hiding under all this junk that I have become lost there in the jumble.  I look inward and I see confusion, and sadness and

I see wishes.  Useless things, wishes.

I have recently avoided events.  I wish I was different, this is true.  I wish I was more like you.

I didn’t go to these things, not because I couldn’t afford it even though I couldn’t, and not because I had to work even though I did, and not because I didn’t want to even though I didn’t.

I didn’t go because you are a mirror, a living history of all my failings.

I didn’t go because I would remember.

Instead, I whispered all my secrets to the stars, standing alone in the dark, my face turned up to the heavens, I confessed.  All the things I did, all the masks I wore, all the blood that was mine to claim, dripped on the kitchen floor, slung in a loose line of dots across the bathroom mirror.

I am better now, I whispered into infinity.

Here in the white room, my heart bursts, sprays, I write your names in a lurid crimson smear.  I walk these bone white halls and all I see is my own failures, my failings, the times I should have and didn’t.

I remember, and I hate who I was, a selfish and careless bully, I hate the ways I made you feel small, the razor words, the names, broken glass pressed into flesh, blood beading and spilling.  All the ways I intimidated, with my bullish size and my words as weapons, I hate that I cut you, I hate that I shrunk you, I hate that I made you feel dim.

I’m better now I tell myself, but really I’m not.

I’m better now.

I’m not.

You can see my masks, all on display, all there to be examined and liked, you can see the softness and the hardness, the brightness, the shadow.  They are there for you.  For you and no one else, they are there to prove to you that I am not what you remember me as, a monster and a tyrant.  I placed them there on public display because maybe you would forgive me.  I whispered all my secrets to the stars that night, but the stars didn’t care, they were dead for millennia, all I was seeing was a ghost, an afterimage of cold dense matter, collapsed in on itself, alone and hanging dark and hidden forever.

I whispered all my secrets, my hard broken heart opened up and I confessed everything, but I didn’t have to, because you already knew.

In my imagination, I am a victim.

In my imagination, I am a hero.

In the darkness, my eyes search the ceiling for answers.  In the light, I hide from the truth.  Your voice whispering to me, you could have been better, you could have been better.  There were times when I should have, but didn’t.

If you know the secret way, you can find yourself in the room, and the door closes behind you and disappears, and there you stay, there you will be.  If you know the way in, there is no way out.  Commit yourself, walk in knowing that there is no escape, and every wall you face will be one you hurt, everywhere your eyes land is a heart you broke, a trust you betrayed, and there is no sleep, there is no rest, just face after face, heart after heart, all your broken promises, all your lies, everything there on display.

I’m sorry I whisper, but there is no one to hear, the words fall to the ground as ash.

I’m better now I whisper, and there it is, my newest lie, presented with cold clinical inescapable precision.

Because I am not.

Wishing things does not make them true.

Still Writing,

RP 8-23-16

So clearly I haven’t been sleeping enough, and this is the kind of thing I write when I haven’t slept enough.  I have learned to live with it.

Thank you to everyone who bought my book, who reviewed it, who recommended it to a friend.  It is surreal and humbling hearing from people that have enjoyed it, that recognized something in those crazy pages.  Really.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

If you haven’t read my book, or if you read it and haven’t reviewed it, get your shit together, man.  Only a select few have; nearly everyone hasn’t.  Don’t be one of the many, be one of the few.

Comment here, or contact me on Twitter @RDPullins, or on Facebook.  I accept all friend requests, so don’t be shy.

One thought on “Better Now

  1. sheri

    Beautiful Ralph. I think everyone feels that way

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