Wednesday, June 8, 2011

the unbearables

I've been writing abundantly. I'm hoping to enter a few writing contests with deadlines approaching so my focus is primarily on pieces that I'll be submitting. But tonight I stepped away from the disciplinary writing and decided to disseminate my thoughts here once again.

My best friend will be visiting for a week as of Saturday. I'm hoping to venture into the night with her on Sunday. But because my nature is to assume all that is unbearable really is unbearable, I find a great deal of anxiety revolves around these kinds of settings. Outings that may or may not turn out to be stimulating. Then I begin to ask myself, how do we know when something really IS unbearable? If it passes then we know it is bearable, if it does not pass are we stuck with the unbearable sensation until death or does the sensation claim us thus ending in death anyway?

Unbearable has frequented my vocabulary when I search for words to describe my recent days. And yet, I'm pumping blood, I'm inhaling the urban air around me in all its rowdy and polluted splendor. In essence, I AM bearing the unbearable, am I not? But I don't feel alive or connected or lit. I sense nothing ...and then I sense the unbearable. This is my reality every day. I awake with a gap between myself and this place and the gap's grandness becomes grandeur and the unbearable slowly yet swiftly calls my thoughts toward it. So seductive and toxic is the unbearable. Something to be so severe that you can't face it is the unbearable element. You must escape it. And to realize that what you can't face is yourself or your actions or your emotions is tragedy as tragic narrative. To want to escape yourself is the spirit of the unbearable.

I've learned to face it everyday and because I face it I bring toleration along with me. Tolerance causes death to the unbearable. If you can tolerate that which is unbearable, it is no longer that which you can't bare. Bringing consciousness to it brings light, and with light comes visibility. As I've been told time and time again by my friend Ben, "if you can see it, you can kill it." We may identify the unbearable when it's too late, when all is lost or life is over or we've been locked up and medicated. We may mistaken the unbearable for a day riddled with poor judgement and lack of effort. Those days when the dirt sticks to your feet and water is out of reach and you develop a fear of the soil. Days when masturbation brings loneliness to your mind so you lose all sight of what was once a healthy libido. And those moments when you kneel on hardwood floor, destroying your knees while you cry pathetically, staying as close to the ground as possible so that your legs don't buckle from your temptation to surrender to anything that might tell you to die. Unbearable days, moments, minutes, whatever severity, can be changed if you turn your attention inward and outward, simultaneously...leaving no room for protest of what's real and no room for analysis or judgment. Attention, consciousness, awareness. These are our weapons against the unbearable.

But we don't want to hike through life tolerating the constant struggle to "be." And it's not only the zealots like myself with BPD or clinical depression or bipolar disorder who trek through this on the daily. Mental illness is in all of us on some level. Some are born with or grow to have a better temperament and are more likely to turn their unbearable moments into positive experiences. People like me though, tend to find the heavily leaded stem of a feather more frequently than most. Life becomes a thing we tolerate instead of take part in. How awful does that seem? Life is a thing we tolerate. Life is a thing I tolerate. So then I ask, is that even a life? If I'm continuously looking for ways to change my situation so that tolerance becomes experience and experience grows into enjoyment, then will I ever have the strength to truly change? I find myself almost constantly wishing I was somewhere else, in other company, in other parts of the world, in another state of mind. And this might be because the present tends to feel so very very, relentlessly unbearable. And the present is all we have. If I don't change anything today I won't wake up different tomorrow.

We think in terms of the future or progression. We think in terms of "progress." We put all of the things we'd like to feel in the future so that the present time becomes only a gateway to something better. But this is self destructive. If we're continuously looking ahead for salvation, then salvation will always remain there. It will always be ahead of us. We won't be able to catch up. If we tell ourselves "I'll be up for it next week," and put it off this week, then we are gambling our own happiness. We're delaying it. There's no need to sit and wait for the future. The future will come to you eventually. And when the future comes it will be the present. And when that future that has presented itself to you, you have to be conscious and open and proactive. You can't open the door to the future and then close the door to it once it steps inside. That's what we do over and over when we seek things to fix us down the line.

There's no waiting for salvation but there's no chasing it either. It is here, always, but it doesn't come easy. I try so hard everyday to stay alive. I mean this literally. Feeling alive and staying alive are separate sensations. Feeling alive is vibrant and beautiful. Staying alive is survival. Surviving is not living. Surviving is getting by with very little pleasure. That's what I, and many alike, push through in the waking hours. Peeling a cheek from the pillow when our eyes slowly open is an undertaking. Cleaning the junk from under our finger nails is a major operation. Making a phone call is dreadful. But once staying alive is natural we will be able to feel alive again. In the unbearable times it's easy to forget that. The unbearables are finite only if patience can greet them. Patience will bring the vivid. The vivid will bring the eyes. The eyes will sting the unbearables.

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