Elephants // aren’t any more important / than insects // but I’m on the side / of elephants // unless one of them tries / to crawl up my leg
“Elephants”, John Newlove
Young man, / Seize every minute / Of your time. / The days fly by; / Ere long you too / Will grow old. // If you believe me not, / See there, in the courtyard, / How the frost / Glitters white and cold and cruel / On the grass / That once was green.
“The Frost”, Tzu Yeh
My mood, the way I’ve been feeling over the past two or three weeks, is not her fault. I think she is blaming herself for it, I think she has stopped responding because she is blaming herself for it… but I don’t know, because she’s not responding. If she were I think I’d tell her my mood has more to do with the size of my bar of soap than her decision she’s not in love with me.
Things between us started to fall apart about three days into her visit, and it was probably my fault. I was starting to fall just before she arrived, so when she got here I was suddenly responsible for making sure she had a good time and that meant… fuck fuck fuck fuck… look, our relationship was never going to work and I think we both deluded ourselves into thinking it would. You were damaged and I was damaged and I became a possibility, a potential way out of your life for you and for me it was… I’m still not even sure what it was supposed to be for me. I do know, however, that what I felt was real and sincere.
The causes of the mood I’ve been in for the past month and more, go back to my being unmedicated… I’ve been listless and feeling drained and nostalgic and feeling worthless because that’s how I’m supposed to be feeling. When we are in this stage of recovery we realize just how far time has moved without our contributions.
My world has been narrowed over the past three years until it includes my parents and a couple of close friends. Which is what happens when we’re recovering. We can’t be involved in the day to day events of a large group of people because their shit just gets mixed with our shit, creating a massive and festering mound of shit that we lose ourselves in. The blind can’t only not lead the blind, but they can’t lead the deaf or the mute either, and they definitely can’t lead the sighted and the “normal”. And that’s what happens… that’s what we try to do. We, the people with the real problems, lose ourselves in the mundane relationship problems of people who have the resources to deal with their own pile of crap.
So, the deeper into our recovery we go, the more we have to distance ourselves… not isolate ourselves, but pare down the list of people we can be around. And this means losing touch with people we care about. Because we have a disease that forces us to believe we can run really, really fast. And in order to recover from that disease we have to be idle long enough to realize we weren’t running fast… our legs may have been pumping but there was a huge wall in front of us keeping us from moving.
So recovery is us standing still while everyone else moves forward, and a couple of months ago I really started to learn how far I had been left behind.
At the same time she was coming to visit I was starting to find out about marriages and kids and friends and ex-lovers and former girlfriends. Then her own issues started to affect her and caused a depression while she was here, which pissed me off and exacerbated my mood. Then, after she had left, my monetary situation took a turn for the bizarre when my landlord handed me bills he had forgotten about.
Suddenly I was time warping back to my days living close to the street where food and soap were luxuries and that magnified the differences between my situation and those of the people whose lives had continued while mine had come to a halt… not just a halt, but had stopped — because of the disease and that fucking wall — eighteen fucking years ago.
Suddenly I was twenty and living in Ottawa with no money and not really knowing where or what I’d be eating halfway through the month, while everyone else was close to forty and working in a shitty job with a mortgage and a significant other who occasionally smelled like someone else. Suddenly I wasn’t normal again. Suddenly I was using a bar of soap that’s paper thin and eating noodles which cost .19cents for a package of MSG.
So her decision to focus on her recovery is the right one for her and her sanity — especially considering the last few paragraphs — but she should know that it’s not the cause of how I’ve been feeling. Maybe 20 percent. And my friends having moved on with their lives was maybe 12 percent. And my bar of soap was probably 10 percent. And the lack of food in my cupboard was probably 28 percent. And my taking the wrong pill and losing a weekend was probably 15 percent. And my grandfather getting older was probably 11 percent. And missing both the Lost and Heroes Finales was, maybe, 4 percent.