For Those Looking To Check Out Of This Chaos

I had one of my best friends check out of this chaos last weekend. He was my brother. I love him so very much. Not that I would have dealt with it well in any moment, but it came on the heals of losing the kid, as well as another death in the family due to cancer. I recently wrote about another friend of my who decided to take their life a little over 10 years ago, and I could write numerous other stories about people who have taken their own lives in a variety of ways. It sucks. It hurts. But I understand it. I get it. Shit hurts so bad, for so long, that exiting this craziness just makes a hell of a lot more sense than continuing to fight. Before I go too far down this path I have post the disclaimer that I have never thought about taking my life, and I never will. Now, this doesn’t mean I haven’t been in such a bad spot where it made perfect sense. I have. Numerous times. I just made a deal a long time ago with myself that this suicide wasn’t in the cards no matter how bad it gets (there were always alternatives). I have an obligation to stay here fo see things through for my daughter, but also for the greater privilege of having to been born in this time, as the person I am today, and the person I will become tomorrow.

I have lost a number of people whose I love due to suicide by killing themselves (in a variety of ways), consciously and subconsciously overdosing, and by cop. I love and think about each of these love ones on a regular basis. I have conversations with them in my head and in my dreams. My best friend in the whole wide world who killed himself by just pulling a gun on a cop has his fingerprints all over the origins of my programming career, while still whispering advice to me in my thoughts and dreams. Technology is the affinity I found with many of these folks I have known over the years who have taken their own life—a pattern I will have to spend more time thinking about in future stories. With each death I’ve come to understand suicide and addiction a little more. I think I have my masters degree in all of this, then boom I have a fucking PHD. I get it. While I plead with anyone having suicidal thoughts to reach out, I also acknowledge suicide as an acceptable way of coping with this fucked up world. This shit is exhausting. It grinds upon on day after day, then in that one moment, getting high, chewing on your gun, and stepping in front of a train just seems like the logical answer. It is all of this other crap that isn’t logical. I get it. It is your choice. It doesn’t mean I have to fucking like it, and it damn sure doesn’t mean you won’t get an earful from me in this life, and every other life where our paths will cross.

I love you brother. We were twins in so many ways. You reminded me of all the good and bad in myself. I wish I had stopped to see you. I thought about it. Hard. But I had just managed to get the tears out of my eyes from another mess and I could barely could muster the strength for that, let alone the emotions of seeing you—although I could have used a big bear hug. ;-( fuck. I also made the choice to stop in and see another kindred spirit who now has cancer. So much pain right now. So much death. Of course, now I wish I had. Because now I don’t fucking get to see you again, send you boxes of tasty shit from countries around the world. Now I don’t get to get high with you when I’m done doing my service at the White House. Ugggh. Fuck. I get it man. I get it. This shit is hard. It is difficult to have such a smart but spun noggin on your shoulders and possess such a big ol empahetic heart in your chest. You are forced to absorb and process all that energy that goes on around you, something that will eventually catch up with you. And it did. That is why we were brothers because we shared overly productive brains and outsized hearts that had been scarred so many times. I can feel you in that moment bro. I know how you felt. I get there on a regular basis. I can empathize with your choice, but it doesn’t mean I have to fucking agree with it. It was wrong. You just wait. I’ll show you.

Out of respect for your dead ass I am going to talk about myself here, but since we are brothers, clearly you aren’t off the hook. You are a soldier fucker. You have an obligation to perpetually make shit right. You know what good music and art is. You know what true joy is (and despair). You can’t let your incremental failures and insecurities over the years get in your way. You have to hold yourself accountable for getting up early in the morning for what matters, even when you stayed up too late doing what you shouldn’t have been doing. You are responsible for the life you bring into the world. Period. You are too smart for your own good, and it is your responsibility to channel that shit appropriately, sensibly, and not be selfish in how and when you apply it. Yes that new project and idea is exciting, but it doesn’t mean you should go all in on it over that one thing you are supposed to be doing to pay your mortgage. The city lines of your home town do not define you any more than the boundaries of that new domain you just bought to change the entire world forever. The gears spinning too fast are just a product of all the drugs you took over the years to help make sense of that big head of yours and the world around you, and if is your responsibility to guide the little hot wheels you’ve wound up on the kitchen floor as you put in on the track each morning. You’ve been given this body for a reason. You been given this moment for a reason. Don’t fuck it up or off.

I have learned to use the death of my loved ones as fuel for my journey. Sounds morbid, I know. I think about them on a regular basis, and they work with me on my projects each day. They all think they are free, but I’ve got them working on some new blog post I am writing on API-driven audio mixing for use on choreographed overhead projectors. I know better nowadays to think I am going to do that crazy thing as a business, so I stick to just writing my thoughts down in my notebook, and possibly for publishing to one of my blogs. I am going to write my way out of each one of these crazy ass ideas, using my pantheon of dead advisors to make sense of it all, and use the words to move my reality forward in a healthy and constructive way. Writing is how I get out of those moments where I feel like checking out of his chaotic world is more logical than living. I am going to write my way out of every hole I find myself in, and every situation where I feel like I am being my own worst enemy. I would like to think that my friends who reading this and share similar struggles with mental illness, depression, and drug addiction will reach out to me when they are in these decisive moments. The problem is that these are solitaire moments where you’ve convinced yourself that nobody in the world cares about you, and the world is out to get you. The chances of you picking up the phone to call someone are slim, so I’d like to equip folks with other tools. Write. Use your notebook. Vent. Vent. Vent. Write. Write. Write.

You won’t fix the chaos with writing. But it will damn sure help you channel it. It is why I am writing this post, so I can hopefully stop crying in random moments. Shit is really hard right now. I am not talking about all of the death around me right now on my blog(s), Twitters and Facebook because I want some attention—that is the last thing on my mind. I am writing about it all to make sense of it, and hopefully help show others a way. Writing has saved me. It is one the most consistent joys I have in my life. It is one that isn’t based upon transactional metrics like page views or visitors, it is one that is just about me expressing myself and working through my thoughts. Then in rare instances it is also about someone reading my words and connecting with it. While these moments do nourish me, and stroke my ego, they aren’t why I write. I write to help me find my joy. It is how I work through my pain. It is how I remember people that I love and will never see again. It is how I maintain balance so that I don’t ever see checking out of this reality as more logical than just living the life I have been given. My words are how I sit down and have a conversation with all of those I have lost over the years and share a few more stories. Me and my words are going to outlast all of you fuckers. I am going to have the last word here. Prove me wrong. Use your words to outlast me! Use your words to get through your moments. Then collectively we can make the world a better place by just remaining alive and telling stories—as they are what matters the most.

I’ll be telling stories of your ass until the day I die. I’ll miss you brother.