Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Answer me this, if suicide is painless, then why is giving up so hard for me to do?

The last few days have been a grind for me and I have been in denial as to why that has been. Whenever I read or am made aware of through media about an exceptional person who is living with TBI, I also note the most glaring difference that I have with them.  That I am alone as I navigate the world and there isn't anything that comes easily to me.
 I am not afraid of being alone but it is my one glaring weakness. There is no one who is going to be around to comfort me when my mood decides to shift and there is no one available who can help me with my errands or to get things that I need done accomplished. As the cloud slowly passes over my mind, my thoughts, I have had to narrow my focus and concentrate more on everything I do. There is nothing I am taking for granted and I make notes as to what I did for the day, as those are the actions that will lead toward shaping my tomorrow.


I spend a good deal of time sitting around listening to spinning tires on the glazed streets in front of my building early in the morning. When the sun breaks, it isn’t long before I hear the maintenance men for both my tower and the one adjacent to it on its south side (which is why I the one I am in is North Tower and the other is called South Tower) clearing the walks and pathways around the properties. Occasionally there are sounds in the hallways and the shuffle (almost never footfalls) of people going to the elevator and off to their desperate day as loudly as they dare. It is not long before I get dressed, having already bathed, to get out and join the fray (The Fray… really? Who actually likes that band?), adding my own variety of frenetic activity to the world.

I checked the Transit Authority’s website for the routes that I would need to look for to reach my destination, one of the ‘Empire of Evil’ retail stores. I don’t know if there are any better places to do my grocery shopping in town but then again, I really haven’t been around town to price the different stores in town yet. Besides, the convenience of grabbing every item I would be looking for in one fell swoop is a pretty good mitigating factor. That I did not recognize any of the landmarks or neighborhoods wasn’t anything new for me. My making sense out of déjà vu is a common thing for me and is expected that adds to the predictability of my unpredictability when I am out of my apartment. To be honest, I really did not want to be out and it had nothing to do with the weather, which was not as unpleasant on Monday as the local weathercasters had been predicting.

So far I have not seen any neighborhoods that harkens back to the sketchy neighborhoods I have lived in or visited in towns like the Atl or the D.C. Metroplex. As far as any of the places back home… what I am trying to say I guess, is that Omaha free of the decay that I have seen elsewhere and makes me think of more ‘provincial towns’ that I have been around in my travels. Still, I don’t underestimate the personality of my latest hometown, because there are enough shootings that take place here to remind me to ‘keep my eye on my luggage’ and not stare at the activity in a particular environment.

Arriving at a hospital that is a transfer point for riders, I disembarked and searched out for the number of the next bus I was supposed to take. Looking at the signage, I had to wonder if I even got on the correct bus to begin with. Sometimes I wonder when the bottom is going to fall out and my mind spirals downward suddenly, and I am being warned with the experiences that I have had to cope with this month. By the time that Nana has forgotten recipes that she learned at MeMaw apron or Granddad stops regaling with stories of days spent fishing on the nearby lake, there were a lot of other less noticeable lapses experienced without detail. Maybe these are mind and they are increasing in frequency.


I decided to re-board and get on the bus that took me from my apartment to the hospital. Worse case scenario was that I would go home and call it a day. Admit that it is too much for me to be out here by myself in the world and retreat to… where?

For me to cower and pine away for a relief that I believe would never come, a surrender you will never hear from my lips. So whether it is in me or not to live on my own, to even make it though my day, there is only one way for me to find out. Instead of getting off at my apartment building, I rode downtown. If nothing else, I would have added to my library of sensations and image mapping of Omaha. Next time (and there will be one of those) I’ll take a little more money, cause all she wants to do is dance.

Looking at my paper to check my directions for the umpteenth time that day, I asked the driver to point to where I need to catch the next bus. If I am using the phrase ‘next bus’ often, it is because instead of riding on four buses, (two going and two returning) I ended up on SEVEN buses. Two would break down before I would reach the store; fortunately the wait wasn’t too long before a replacement appeared for the one bus and because of a traffic slowdown, an overlap in the schedule brought another to continue the route.

The bus drove past Nebraska’s neighborhood and into the area that she had picked out for me, initially. She was correct in her envisioning me fitting into the neighborhood for the most part and she would only have been a stone’s throw away. BUT, my gym is a couple of miles downhill from where I am not and if I want to hang out, downtown has enough entertainment value to keep me from accumulating too much boredom. It was not long before I found myself whizzing past her high school and it looked exactly like I pictured it in my mind. But the moment was brief before the scenery became completely foreign to me.

Reckless, maybe I am. Especially for me to consider myself out here without a map and chasing ghost that may never have ever lived at all. Manifestations of too many nights watching TV 62 back when it was WGPR and showed R-rated movies from Europe and black movies featuring Louis Jordan and other big name black entertainer’s from the ‘separate but equal’ era of Hollywood, hopped up on chocolate chip cookies and soda (the cookies weren’t from Astoria, but the soda was still Coke!). As much sweets I have consumed in my lifetime, you would be AMAZED to learn that my blood sugar is on the LOW end of the normal range and has been whenever it has been tested. So put that in your pipe and take a toke!

Anywho, for a day that began at 8:30 Monday morning and that would not end until I came into my building at 6:30 that evening I think that I did alright. Forget to pick up some salad stuff and more pressing, blueberries to top my oatmeal with. All in all, I did alright. But IT (which is the complexity of the whole ball of wax) is wearing on me. And the unexplored country that I find myself in, is also quite unforgiving…


Toon said...

And Winter doesn't exactly make any journey easier. Your days would wear me out completely -- in any weather.

* Ashleigh * said...

What's TBI?

Lovebabz said...

You must find yourself a tribe. We all need to belong to one another. You need a tribe. You need to do what you think you can't or won't do....find people and create a circle of friends. Let that be your personal challenge. Your new mission in life.

Stop going it alone and acting as if you are ok with that. No one is ok alone...they just give up on connecting. Extend yourself. Be alive. Be amongst the living.

I dare you to seek other beautiful souls to connect with and fellowship with. Allow yourself the opportunity to be loved.

Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

I agree with Toon. Winter is hard. Hang in there Mark. It's been cold in Texas too and it's hard to feel good about anything when you don't even want to get out of bed in the morning. I slow down this time of year and it's easy to get down without a big dose of sunshine every day. Need that Vitamin D!

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Winter sucks, buddy. I am down in the dumps right now. I am so ready for spring.

Hang in there. You are loved.


Miss.Stefanie said...

I hate winter....

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Seems like you need to make sure of your routes, reduce stress. Hope spring arrives soon.

Cathy said...

So EXPLORE the country, Mark. It's wort it, the pain especially - it's a teacher. Who ever told you it was not allowed to sink into a morass of self-deprecating guilt and depression? You're a human, you're allowed the luxury of this self-pity time. Look at all you're feeling, isn't it better than the average guy in his banal day who does mundane tasks and never sees the creative depths of sadness? Don't you do your best work when you're alone and emotions are flying out of control? There's no map for this area of life, and none needed - you're programmed to find a way out when it's time. I believe we humans are hard-wired to flagellate ourselves just for breathing, we're swimming in guilt, and really so full of crapola, Mark. Make the most of your down time, it's a gift - you'll see.