Branching out

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A friend once told me that his sorrow owed him something. I believed him then, but no longer do. The only thing my depression owes me is to stay far away from me, never nudging me to explore the darker places within — those desert spaces where the humidity kills and an umbra of madness obscures the light. No one wants to suffer. Even a masochistic nihilist who takes queer pleasure in envisioning a nuclear apocalypse has his limits. And I’m not someone who loves flagellating himself, crawling on all fours, and guilting himself for real and imagined sins. I’ve been there and done that.

I once thought that cheerful people lacked depth. I believed they were airheads, flooding their minds with the golden light of toxic optimism. Everything is going to be fine. Yuck! Think happy thoughts. Aargh! I now believe that everyone’s pretending, and the so-called happiest people on earth mask a deep, penetrating despondency that turns their bones brittle and colours their marrow blue. They don’t want to confront the maelstrom inside because it will probably sweep them away, uprooting sense and reason, and ushering in a bleak epoch of catatonic apathy. So, they trudge on with their little emoticons and fluffy unicorns, tuning into SpongeBob while they eat pork chops (nothing like comfort food) and drink their cokes.

Sorrow is a curse. Nobody wants to spend eternity lost in a bewildering smog of thoughts, the syllables slashing you like little daggers, the badly formed sentences making cuts on your wrist, the gloomy paragraphs swallowing you and spitting out your bones. I’m no longer one of those writers who wants to mooch off depression to write, placing it on a pedestal and worshiping it like it’s some golden avatar of a god. I’m sad and all I know is misery/ I’m lost in spiritual penury/ These lines are dark/ I can no longer hear the lark/ Gloomy room/ Doomy gloom. Yeesh! Imagine living like that! I’m sure singers who chant dirges live a better life!

Now, before some funeral poet who goes on and on about blood, coffins and epitaphs pounces on me, tearing me with their deformed claws and picking on my innards with their black beaks, let me clarify something: I’ve lived with depression for 12 years. That and excruciating OCD with religious delusions and psychosis have made my life hell. Intrusive thoughts plague me like a swarm of psychopathic locusts, and I dart between hebetude, normalcy, and hadephobic obsessions like a bunny in heat. Damn! This life sucks! I might as well lie down and sleep and sleep. I feel good today! I’m going to hell, and so, I must delete every poem that glorifies lust, askew morals, and self-pity. Clean up my act faster than metal drumming. Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum. The double bass. Faster! Faster! Mike Portnoy shouldn’t have anything on me!

So, I get you, writer of dark sonnets, and lover of pathos and caves that scare trolls away. It’s just that I don’t want the darkness, the sense of impending doom, the rage, the paranoia, the guilt, the shame, the tears and the fears anymore. I don’t want some punitive force towering over my lines and threatening to imprison me each time I pen down a sentence soaked with self-loathing, and saturated with cries that eclipse a mongrel’s bark or a wolf’s howl in intensity. I want a pill or a shake of a wand that ushers in a brilliant epoch of tranquility that makes the darkness seem like something that haunted someone else a millennium ago.

I want my saddest lines to be purely fictional, and my sob stories, pure entertainment for the cheese ball munching throng. Listen to the gloom and doom folks! Yep, step right in! Take your seats and bring your candy; walk away riveted with a heartache that mirrors watching Ladder 49 or some other tear-jerker, but know that I’m a liar who wants you to weep. I want these stories to move you, to inundate you, to crush you and swallow you whole, but I also want you to know that’s all they are — words on a page like the stuff any other writer pens down. Just tragedies written in the vein of some other bleak writer; stuff you should read and not associate with me. The author is dead, damn it! He dies with each story!

So, the next time I write a self-pity infused poem dealing with friends forsaking and ostracism, or a roaring tragedy talking about suicide and madness, think it’s about Timmy. Yup, I’m creating him now, in real time. He’s the character all my terrifying rants, my ennui-washed, bleak triolets, my technically terrible sonnets alternating between iambic and trochaic pentameter with an odd anapaest tossed in like a glitch in a video game, strangely still giving you the malodorous stench of dejection as foul as a bean and veiny sausage eating glutton’s flatulence, and my villanelles talking about death and darkness or whatever’s between them are about.

So yeah, think Timmy. He lived like a pariah and walked on thorns, ate the greasiest pork to comfort himself, had his friends stigmatise him, calling him a freak who wasted his life writing poetry on a blog, deleted a hundred blogs because of scruples, went on philosophising or faux-philosophising mapping out free will as the X axis and fate as the Y axis, couldn’t wrap his head around predestination, listened to the most depressing post-rock by unheard-of bands like Instil the night sky in my bones, hated and loved writing, and was an idiosyncratic madman who never knew when to quit. And the best part is he’s still around, selling his lines for free, hoping for some cyber validation from people who claim to hate technology, but stare at their computer screens like zombies, checking their followers and stats, quoting some now redundant pop-psychology that talks about narcissists, empaths, gaslighting and self-love. The stuff a clinical psychologist would cringe at, sending them straight to ERP or CBT sessions.

I’m moving on to better things. Learning to play the bass guitar, studying French, playing the next immersive RPG, reading the latest Jane Harper thriller, calling The Brother’s Karamazov the greatest novel ever written even though I couldn’t get past Fyodor Pavlovich’s cringy buffoonery laced with a guilt-ridden self-worship that rivals Timmy’s, listening to Lewis Capaldi and watching a show that helps me relax unlike some dark shit like Wednesday or everything else on Netflix. Yup, I’m branching out and eating healthy food with the occasional gourmet meal thrown in, and I’m switching from coffee and toast to tea and biscuits. Foie gras with a glass of champagne. Anyone?

17 responses to “Branching out”

  1. I honestly think everyone has a dark side and personal demons of one sort or another. The question is how we face those demons and that darkness and what we do about it. I think people find their own ways to deal with it all, and those ways differ just as much as people do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had a lot of things on my mind when I wrote this, and it all came out in a stream of consciousness. I think it was me hating my self-pity, and not wanting to wallow in depression that inspired this. That and people thinking all my lines are confessional. As far as dealing with those demons are concerned, I personally don’t find writing everything out cathartic. It often makes me relive the trauma. I prefer distracting myself or escapism. I want to form healthier habits though. To each their own. You’re right. For some people, writing out the darkness inside helps. I also think we can never get rid of the dark side. It’s about finding a balance in the end, methinks.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I shall join you for the champagne.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad. On a depressing note, I’ve never had foie gras before. What’s it like?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I will admit to having had it – when I lived in Quebec. It was ok (I think). These days I feel sorry for the goose.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I think of foie gras being really expensive stuff served at Michelin Starred restaurants. That and scallops and caviar. Yeah the force feeding is a little sad.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I fairly sure it’s available in the supermarket – but it’s probably only pretend stuff. As for caviar – it didn’t do much for me. I’d rather dip my cracker in a cheese and onion dip.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Maybe if you tried caviar and foie gras in a place like this. I would like to, but I’ll go broke lol.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Great balls of fire! All that money for what I usually knock up in my own kitchen every day!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. We feel the attacks of that, darkness, that depression, because we allow those, negative experiences, emotions to, take control of our lives, and, sometimes, we trap ourselves, in our own, miseries, to the point, that we see, no way out. It won’t be until, we realized the, negative effects of these emotions on us, then, work through them, dig deeper, to find the centers of the cores of our own, miseries, that we will, start to, gain the control back.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. He’s the character all my terrifying rants, my ennui-washed, bleak triolets, my technically terrible sonnets alternating between iambic and trochaic pentameter with an odd anapaest tossed in like a glitch in a video game, strangely still giving you the malodorous stench of dejection as foul as bean and veiny sausage eating glutton’s flatulence, and my villanelles talking about death and darkness or whatever’s between them are about.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 👆🏻 My favorite part, although I didn’t hate all that Timmy wrote in his earlier years. 😉

      You’re onto the better path. I’m happy to hear it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Chelsea 😊 I’m glad you liked those lines. Timmy is weird. Although I created him when I wrote this post, he’s been writing the weirdest stuff on the net for years. I can’t understand him lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Dang. I feel you, dude. I want the same exact thing. I haven’t drank yet (even though I’m beyond the legal age in the US) but I would love to join you with your champagne.

    I deeply thought something was wrong with me when I turned ten (the age of realization) and when I got my first cellphone at twelve, I obsessively looked up mental illnesses over and over and over. I wrote characters based on those, a lot have the same characteristics as my newer crew, but over and over until I could recite them. I didn’t do my homework, I just stayed up all night chatting with internet “friends” and/or watching adult videos…I used to write cringy stories and crummy philosophies and tried to get my life together but I was depressed with other issues that are never going to get resolved.😂

    Anywho, I love your writing style. It reminds me of the time I read A Modest Proposal. While yours isn’t only satirical and is more about something serious, I do feel like your vocabulary and sentence structure is reminiscent of that (it’s a compliment).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sure. Here’s to a glass of champagne 🥂 Yeah I feel you with the depression thing. It affected me later in life (early to mid twenties) but it was the same crap. I dropped out of a masters degree, watched porn, hated my life, tried pulling it together but failed. I finally saw a psychiatrist, got diagnosed and have been on happy pills for more than a decade now. I doubt they’re working though. In a way, creating characters like you do out of your struggles can be cathartic, methinks. It’s tough, but there’s hope. There should be. Every dog having its day and all. Thank you so much for such a kind comment Feets 😊 I need to catch up on reading the classics by Swift, Austen and others. I read a lot of contemporary work though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you read Gulliver’s Travels and Modest Proposal, you’ll definitely see the parallels, but personally, I think yours is funnier and a lot more interesting to read.

        I read classics in high school (because they’re mandatory) and just struggle to read now. Anything I’ve written is probably from a fan of a book that modeled their whole internet persona based on it. I have more of an attention span for that instead of reading.

        And it is cathartic. I love being in control. There are things that I can’t control and things that I hate and they hurt me so I just write about the possibility of them being different or changing.

        I’m sure you working on your issues and the anti-depressants have made you functional enough to post.☺️ I hope you continue to get better and enjoy yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much for the kind comment. I think mine is more contemporary. If we lived in the 17th century, I would have had nothing on Jonathan Swift. I’ve read an abridged version of Gulliver’s travels when I was a kid. I should read the proper version one day.

        I’ve read some classics by Russian authors like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky in particular can dig deep into your soul.

        I’m glad you find art cathartic. I really hope that the things that hurt you go away, and that you can control them.

        Yes. Antidepressants help me survive. Thank you Feet’s for the lovely comment and words of encouragement 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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About Me

Ordinary Person is a guy who likes to write. He writes fiction, essays, poems and other stuff. You’ll find his other blog here.


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