Saturday, October 19, 2013
Where to begin....
Introduction, a Rambling...
It's funny how some of the things I detested most, are the things I find most comforting now. Writing. Writing was a painstaking chore for me, well, at least any type of thought evoking school work was. And Death. Death horrified me. Anytime someone so much as mentioned a death in close proximity to me, geographically or on a personal level, it somehow manifested in my head as a gruesome zombie-type monstrosity.
I had a great imagination, and I loved to tell stories, but the strain of any classroom setting, stole the joy I found in little things such as writing. It wasn't until I was about half way through grade school, did I realize my potential. I was actually quite a decent writer. Usually most of my creative process came from spurt of the moment, dream like thoughts I had in my head. I often found myself day dreaming, and would find myself quite content in the quiet confines of my own mind.
I grew up a nervous child. I feared pretty much anything. I was a firm believer of the Boogey man. I had an older brother who was sci-fi and horror flick obsessed. I can recall the numerous amounts of nights I'd awaken to a rubber mask Wolf man or a Creature from the Blue Lagoon sitting at the end of my bed, only to have arms reach out and swipe at me. I terrified of the Elephant Man, thanks again to my brother. His idea of baby sitting was watching "The Thing" with his 8 years junior sister. I would grip my eyes so tight they hurt. My body would protest to bloody curdling screams of these films, heart pounding, nerve shattering. I feared ghosts. I feared aliens. I feared demons. I feared the deformed. I feared pretty much everything.
My hair would raise on end at the most unexpected times. Even when no Wolf Man was at the end of my bed, no horror flicks, no dark fall. I would feel my heart race suddenly with fear, when I least expected it. I would simply be walking down the hall and I would feel the sudden urgency to move quickly. I didn't understand. I was afraid of something I couldn't see, but I could only feel.
With every single ounce of my body, I could feel it. Like every fiber of my soul was on alert, the only way I could react would be to MOVE.
At 8 years old, I had my first experience of true terror, when I awoke to a man at the end of my bed. This man was definitely not my brother. He was a luminescent figure. No distinguishing features, just a glowing silhouette of light. I was frozen with fear, I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. I could only sit, paralyzed with my eyes wide open from the confines of my bed. He never advanced, only stood and observed. This opened a whole new world for me. From poorly done Hollywood horror effects, to a tangible figure. My level of fear catapulted into full on paranoia. This man appeared to me on several occasions. Sometimes not for months, other times for nights on end. It seemed the more he visited, the closer he would get, until finally felt him upon me; suffocating and choking. I tried to talk to my parents, but of course, no one believed me.
They must have thought I was crazy...
The home life I lived was less than the Cleavers, but to me it was all I knew. I wouldn't realize until much later in life, that the way I was raised was less than conventional. If anything some might say it was completely abnormal. Without getting into the jest of my upbringing....I will just say, it was all I knew. Maybe on another day I might wish to delve deeper, but today I will just concentrate on what's brought me to writing today.
I lost my mother at 13 years old. As a young child I was exposed very quickly to what death was about. The organics of it, the sorrow, the funeral, the smell of a mortuary, the buzz of a urgent hospital room, the loss, the pain, the overwhelming empty promises of "if there's anything I can do's", to the never heard from again. I felt it all, much too young, but amidst this chaos, I realized something. With all the darkness and sorrow with such a loss, somehow this odious experience, I felt alive.
This set the frame work for my life in motion. The loss although wretched, the pain made me feel exhilarated. The pain in my chest from the loss, horrible, but I felt my heart beating wildly. The tears that fell from my eyes, burning, but yet I could see clearly. The overwhelming ocean of anxiety in my stomach, nauseating, but I was still breathing. Each gasp for air, I pulled in more life. I was alive, I was living. I was undergoing the human experience. Every emotion. Painful but I was living it.
So began my obsession. Here I am this kid who had survived the most devastating thing a child could; the loss of a parent. I had friends who experienced loss, and I found myself gravitating to them. I felt the exhilaration again. I became curious. I felt at my best when helping a friend deal with grief. I went from being the kid who feared death, to the kid who wanted to be the first to peek in the casket at a funeral. The morbid thoughts in my head of zombies subsided. Death wasn't scary for me anymore.
Somehow almost by destiny, I became a nursing aide. This put me at the bedside of hundreds who were dying. First with the old, then as my career blossomed, to the bedsides of the young. I felt the pain and the sorrow again, but this time as an observer rather than a victim. On that rare occassion I felt that victimization again and it would break me. But somehow, I felt a comfort in helping people through this transition. Death was not a grotesque thing anymore. It did not appall me anymore. It became a thing of beauty. A transition of life here on earth, to that of which we are meant to go to...the afterlife.
I also discovered later into my 20s, by accident a condition called sleep paralysis. I was watching Montel Williams one day and these people began to talk about figures at the end of their beds, sometimes advancing on them, terrifying them. The paralysis that set in, and how they discovered they only had sleep paralysis. For once the illuminating man at the end of my bed made sense, or did he?
With an intelligent and curious mind, the human spirit began to fascinate me again, as it did when I was a child. But, I did not fear it anymore.
Death has become such a huge part of my life, Ive found myself seeking for answers of the afterlife. The ghosts I once feared, I felt a kin ship with. I felt them upon me, surrounding me at times. Peeking at me curiously from dark corners of the room, and occassionally I would hear them. They were no longer something I feared at the end of my bed. I began to pursue them. I began to find myself in graveyards, seeking these spirits. I then found myself founding a team of investigators who sought them.
My obsession has lead to something productive. This crazy little thing that sits in the back of my mind, a morbid fascination that I can't ignore, finally has found its way of comforting me again. The beauty I find in death. The serenity I find in graveyards. The curiosity I have about the organics of the human body. The mystery of the human brain. The delicacy of the human soul.
I feel exhilarated again, so I write. A collection of the macabre world that I adore.
Memento Mori, 'remember that you will die'.
We will all experience it, We will all wish for it to never come, we may all damn it for robbing us, we may even beg for it to take us home....
But not matter what, we will all face it, inevitably....