Tuesday, October 10, 2006 Beat Reader

Beat Reader



Recently I was flipping through my tattered copy of "The Beat Reader". I've owned this book since I was in high school. I used to be a prolific highlighter. I would mark the words that I identified with in acid yellow ink to remind me of the feelings I had and the words that gave meaning to them.

Looking at the faded highlighted passages I was struck by the spirit of self-loathing and hopelessness that the words expressed. I remember feeling as if I was stuck in a whirlpool of gloom and sadness. The only exit (in my mind) from that vortex was death. I wasn't sure I believed in heaven or hell, but nothingness was better than constant pain.

I continued to try to kill myself slowly for many years until I was confronted with the reality of death. In 1996 three close friends committed suicide within a two month span, setting off a chain of self-inflicted and random tragedies that continued to decimate the ranks of those I cared about. Beneath my tears, I was...jealous. I was jealous of their bravery to confront the unknown. I was jealous that the world would never witness their beauty fading and their potential dismissed.

I still fight the emerging wrinkles that the advent of 30 has left in it's wake. I still function with more youthful abandon than is appropriate. I wake up every morning a bit surprised that I have been around for so long. I have an appreciation for life now. Each day is a gift I remember. There are so many people, images, and experiences that I have taught me something. I can focus on the present now that I'm not busy chasing death.

When death finds me I will not run, but I will not seek his embrace.

11 Comments:

Blogger Doug said...

If only we could see all our lovers that way.

10:52 PM  
Blogger James said...

I recently, came across pictures of friends of mine that had passed. I look back on that young man standing with friends(in some pics for the final time) and I now embrace the moment. IN honor of them, and myself.
I wondered why I was left, these friends, I deemed infinitely more worthy to be alive than me. I don't claim to understand there rapid departure from this earth. I just know that I am forever grateful for my time with them, and they helped shape me in ways that I am still discovering.....

3:44 AM  
Anonymous Luis said...

congratulations, this is like being "born again" without all that pious (spelling?) holier than thou, politcal connotation being "born again" usually entails.

It's like your growing up all over again.

11:03 AM  
Blogger kludge said...

I would have trouble calling suicide brave. The real bravery comes with facing your life and braving life. The real unknown race is life, suicide is like dropping out early. Who knows what turn life could have taken for those friends of yours. I'm sorry you lost them.

Death will come and it is good you seem to accept that fact, but a healthy fear of it will make your race that much more enjoyable.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Sebastien said...

I think when our spirits sink low or we battle horrible things in our life, that is what makes living even sweeter, at least once the suffering has diminished somewhat. When a friend of mine killed himself(really a wonderful person with everything to live for!), it really changed my philosophy on life, it made me want to accomplish the things I wanted in my life, and not sit back, because time is a luxury that can quickly disappear one way or the other.

1:31 PM  
Blogger inkyhack said...

My daughter recently kidnapped my book of Beat poetry. I don't think I'll ever see it again.

Death scares the bezeebus out of me. I don't know what's worse, living forever and watching everyone you know die, or death iteself and no longer existing.

It's a good think I drink a lot.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Mad Ethel said...

Those highlighted words are like a journal in themselves.
I wrote a few bits of poetry and some prose throughout my rough years. I cringe looking back at them. But I remember the way I felt when I wrote them. It's hard for me to tell someone the old cliche "I was there once, but life is so much better" because when you're in that state, it seems noone really understands the way you are feeling. In a way that is true. So I respect that. But I'm glad I stuck around. I think most people would say that if they've gone through those suicidal motions.
I don't know that I was actually going anywhere with this, except maybe that I understand. And I'm sorry for your loss.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Mad Ethel said...

And I wanted to comment that I don't neccessarily agree with the opinion that suicide is copping out because of the lack of bravery in life. That's not what I felt - and sometimes still feel when it comes to certain things in my life. I would say that it's an escape from the mental anguish that something causes you. The stress, the feeling that hopelessness and suffering will never go away. It's almost like having to endure Chinese water torture with no end in site. You just get so fed up that screaming and cutting yourself doesn't help anymore. TMI? Maybe so...but that's how I felt for three solid years. Torture. Everyday. For about 36 months. It sucks.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Johnny C. said...

back in 2000 an acquaintance of mine killed himself. He was one of my closest friend's best friend though. It was interesting to see how people coped with his death, but one thing I remember though that talking about him was never a joyful thing.

People tend not to remember the dead that inflicted it on themselves.

2:21 PM  
Blogger omnina├»f said...

Thanks

6:38 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

I'm glad you're hear and gaining perspective on things Anomie. Great post and comments.

7:54 PM  

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