The Time I Tried to Kill Myself

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This memoir is about the only time I’ve made an honest attempt to off myself. I’d threatened it in the past before this. I’d even made some performative attempts that looked like I was trying to stop the show, but really I was doing it so someone would intervene and I’d know I was loved. This time wasn’t one of those. It wasn’t a cry for attention. As a matter of fact, I told nobody because I didn’t want them to try and save me from myself. This time I really wanted to die deep down in the core of my being. I’m certain I’m not the only person to reach that point in the depths. If you’ve been there and you’re reading this, I’m glad you made it out the other end same as I did. 

I’m not sure how anyone else got to that place, but I’m sure we all get there by a different road and leave it the same way. That means there’s some necessary backstory about the the road I followed to get there, just so everyone knows the way I reached that dreadful spot in our minds.
(Never forget it’s all in our minds by the way)

Fans of my writing are probably getting extremely tired of hearing this, but I lived the vast majority of my life as an abusive sociopath. What few people seem to understand is that for first 25 years of it, I was completely oblivious to the suffering I was inflicting on the people I love. The more I loved someone, the more I hurt them. This led to me driving the person I loved the most, my father, to suicide. 

The last words he ever said to me were “Why do you hurt me?” I yelled at him for having the nerve to ask me that. When he did the deed, I realized he was never coming back. In that moment, I finally understood what he was asking and saw myself for what I was. I finally realized who I’d been and saw the effects of my actions for what they were. I looked back on my life and saw I was a tornado of hatred and despair that hurt everyone I came in contact with. I immediately was overwhelmed by remorse for what I’d done to Dad and the world around me.

I’d always been an addict and an alcoholic (they’re the same thing) but after Papadukes did what he did, the problem got 1000x worse. I spent the next five years dazed with guilt and confused by how I could be what I was without realizing what I’d been. Some days I’d embrace the darkness, some days I’d fight to be lighter,  Neither really brought me much solace so I’d drink to feel numb instead because feeling nothing was better than feeling the shame and remorse.

Leading up to this suicide attempt, I’d had my own studio apartment in Berea, Ohio. At first I paid the rent working as a security guard for a small, all-female Catholic college here in the Cleveland area. I’d go in at night so there was never any oversight because everyone on campus was asleep and I was the only guard on duty. I literally *NEVER* saw my bosses during work hours even once the entire year I held that job.  I made an effort to keep interaction with other people to a minimum so they’d never see how completely blitzed I was. I’d buy anywhere between 1-3 pints every day before I went in, and spent the 8-12 hours after I clocked in doing the bare minimum amount of patrolling I could manage while drinking as heavily as possible. I made the 45 minute drive home at the end of each shift bordering on blackout drunk. If I had any booze left by that point, which was rare, I’d continue taking shots as I rolled down I-480 going across town from the eastside suburbs to the westside ones.

As you can imagine, that eventually got me fired. I’m surprised it took them an entire year to catch on. After that I fell back to my normal line of work: Call center customer service and sales. At first, I was doing customer service for a Medicare Part-C HMO. Then I was taking inbound calls for DirecTV trying to convert people calling in with questions into sales for the satellite TV service. Deep inside, I was absolutely miserable no matter what I did, and the feeling just kept growing. 

The worse I felt, the more I drank. The more I drank, the worse I felt. It’s the same sad song you’ve heard a million times.

Eventually, I just gave up and stopped working. Then I spent a good 4-5 months, from mid-January 2017 until the end of May, drinking like a fish every single moment of every day. The end of May was when the eviction was finalized, and I became officially homeless. 

By this time, Mom was furious with me. She’d been trying to get me to stop drinking and focus on my survival for so long that she’d given up. She decided the best course of action was detaching herself from the situation and letting me spiral downward to the inevitable trainwreck ending I was intent on creating. My younger brother didn’t wanna be dragged down with me either, so neither of them were talking to me. 

The only person who was still talking to me as I spent my days living in a 2010 Ford Fusion binge-drinking to the best of my ability was my best friend Larry. Our conversations were a really repetitious scene that started with me bitching about how pointless and shitty life was, which was followed by him trying to explain to me that my life was only how it was because I was making it that way. I’d then respond by telling him life was shitty and pointless, and that all the hopeful stuff he was telling me was just out-of-touch, hippy-dippy, fauxwoke cliche garbage platitudes.

I was alone, unloved, and the future looked like an endless black void. There was no way there’d ever be a light at the end of that tunnel, of that much I was sure. I never thought I’d feel any better than I did at that precise moment in time, and I didn’t feel very good at that precise moment in time, so never getting better was a bleak prospect. 

My argument went like this:

“I can work to get another place, but then what? Slave my days away at a job I hate so I can afford more liquor so I can go home and numb the pain until the next day? Every morning I revert to robot-worker-drone mode for 8 hours so I can collect a check and do it again tomorrow? Who cares if I find someone to suffer alongside me? That’d just lead to more suffering when they leave. I’m never gonna make a relationship work. We both know that. You’re the only person who can stand me, and you can barely stand me. And kids!?! Are you fucking kidding?!? You really think forcing this hell onto another person is gonna make me happy??? Are you fucking high, dude? Be honest.”

The future was pitch black, and when life gets that cold you just know in your bones that it’ll never warm up.

So one day in early June of 2017, after less than a month of car dwelling, with a pint of Black Velvet coursing through my blood, I swallowed about twenty-five 300mg seroquel tablets. I chased the pills with a second pint of BV I’d bought with my last $5 just to be sure I slept so good that nobody would ever wake me up. I did text my little brother about what I was doing even though I knew he’d blocked my number. That was a spiteful “Fuck you” for when he unblocked me and saw that he coulda saved me before I died. Really, I didn’t give him a location, or tell him what I’d done. I just said “When you guys find me dead tomorrow, you’ll see what I meant two seconds too late.”

I figured if I felt that way about Pops after he did the deed, they’d probably feel the same way.

After swallowing the pills and downing the whiskey as fast as I could, I don’t remember much. I was sitting in the parking lot of Twice Good Wines in Berea, listening to music, laying down in the back seat of my car with my door open and my legs hanging out. I figured if I was gonna die, I was gonna die rocking out and as comfortable as I could get. However, that plan got ruined when concerned good samaritans were worried about my well-being, and they called the police. I managed to talk my way through the police encounter without the police realizing I was on my way to the grave.  They only told me to shut my door so people didn’t worry, and made it clear I wasn’t allowed to drive because they could see I was far too drunk for that. “We’ll be watching you,” they said. That encounter with the police is the last conscious memory I have before things fade into blackness.

Later, I remember police talking to me and shining flashlights in my eyes, and I remember I kept trying to stand up to prove to them I was fine but they absolutely wouldn’t let me do so. I remember I was trying to convince them I didn’t need an ambulance, but something they saw made them keep telling me that I definitely did. I fought it as hard as I could considering I wasn’t really even awake, but eventually they had to have gotten me into an ambulance. I know that because the next memory I have is at a hospital. I remember looking around seeing all the machines plugged into me, and having to pee but the nurses wouldn’t let me go stand to go to the bathroom.

Then suddenly my room was filled with sunlight and my Mom was there talking to me, telling me it would be okay. She said she understood why I did what I did and why I felt how I felt. She said she wished she could help me. She said she loved me and she was there for me, but she couldn’t keep watching me do this to myself. Then she left.

She came back later that evening with some stuff for me. The sun wasn’t shining anymore. She was just dropping off my phone and some cigarettes, she told me the nurses said I could smoke one of the cigarettes right there in bed, so I did. I thanked her for being there for me. She said I didn’t need to thank her, because she couldn’t help it. When I asked why she couldn’t help it, she sang “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. You’ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away!” Her song made the sun start shining again.

It was good to know Mommy still loved me. Something about that brought me hope.

I don’t remember Mom leaving after that visit, but she was gone when I woke up the next day. When the nurse came in, I asked when my Mom left and if she told them when she’d be back. The nurse told me she had no clue what I was talking about, because I never had any visitors. She said I was talking in my sleep for days, and kept trying to walk even though I obviously couldn’t so they had to strap me down. (That’s when I noticed I was strapped down) They wouldn’t have even known my name if my I.D. hadn’t been in my pocket. Nobody knew I where I was because they didn’t know who to call, and I was unconscious for the entire 48 hours I’d been there. My Mom never visited. I had my cigarettes and my phone in my pocket when I came in. They had to take my cigarettes because I kept smoking in my sleep. I’d get them back after I was discharged. 

Then she told me I was in critical condition and needed to speak to a doctor to find out how I got that way. That’s when I remembered how I got that way. I immediately became filled with fear at the thought of a doctor figuring out what had happened and then committing me to a psych ward, so I asked if I’d been “pink-slipped” or if I could still sign out. They said I wasn’t being held against my will, but that signing out in critical condition was extremely inadvisable. I called my Mom for help, and she said I was on my own. All that hope from my dream got instantly crushed. It hurt worse than if I’d never let myself have hope in the first place. I still I signed out AMA (against medical advice) and decided I’d just make up the plan as I went along.

I didn’t have shoes, or my glasses, and my phone was dead. I wasn’t sure when the last time I ate was, but I could tell by the way my insides were twisting into knots trying to digest themselves that it’d been awhile. I only had a vague enough idea of where I was to convince the doctors I was coherent. I didn’t actually know how to get home. 

Mom answered one more time after I was officially discharged, but only to tell me she wasn’t helping me and to leave her alone. Nobody else would answer my calls.  I spent about 20 minutes standing in front of the hospital calling people frantically while I chain smoked my last two cigs, then my phone died. I watched it turn 12:25 PM right as it shut off. I went back in the building to take a piss and get some water, but the security guards said I’d signed out, I wasn’t a patient of the hospital, and I had to move along. They told me that if I wanted the hospital’s help I shoulda let them treat me, and if I didn’t get off their property pronto they were calling the cops.

This would be the start of the longest walk I’ve ever made. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s high in the running for the longest walk any man’s ever made. Perhaps not the longest walk measured in minutes and seconds, definitely not the longest measured in inches and miles, but it was one of the longest walks imaginable when you measure it in feelings of suffering and confusion by a long shot.

At first, I just picked a direction that felt right and went that way. I eventually spotted an Arby’s, and decided I’d go ask someone there for directions. As I got to the door, the restaurant turned into a gas station and the customer I was approaching for directions disappeared into thin air. That was okay though, because another customer apparated behind me at the same instant and asked if I was alright. 

I explained the situation as best as I could without revealing it was all the result of a suicide attempt, and asked for directions to Berea. They pointed in a direction, but I couldn’t quite make out where they were telling me to go. I asked if I could bum a cigarette, and I was lucky enough that they saw I was desperately in need. They opened their fresh-bought pack and gave me three. In my experience, that’s ultra-generous. I’ve tried to bum smokes off a lot of strangers, and that’s easily one of the highest payouts I can remember in my long illustrious career as a total loser. Since I couldn’t see where the apparition told me to go, I just sorta wandered until I found a bench.

I sat down, lit up one of the cigarettes, and decided the apparating man from the gas station/Arby’s had to be real because his cigarettes actually worked instead of disappearing when I went to light them. With the mystery of the apparating man solved, I figured laying down right there on the bench while I figured out if it was a gas station or an Arby’s was probably the wisest thing I could do.

I eventually landed on “gas station” because Arby’s wouldn’t have sold that nice apparating man a fresh pack of cigarettes. He told me he just purchased the pack as he opened it, so it had to’ve been a gas station. The gas pumps might’ve looked like a mirage, but those cigs were real. Seems rational, right? Arby’s didn’t start selling Camel Wides as a side-dish, did they?

As it turned out, giving up and trying to sleep on a public bench really was the best thing I could’ve done. From what I know, this was the first time in human history that giving up and trying to sleep in public solved someone’s problems. You see, concerned citizens informed the police about where I was and why it worried them. The police then came to investigate. The conversation went like this:

P: “Hey man, is everything okay”

Me: “Umm… nah man, shit’s totally fucked so I gave up and lied on this bench”

P: “Why’s everything fucked? Are you thinking of hurting yourself?”

Me: “Nah, I’m not trying to hurt myself. I just don’t have any shoes, I can’t see without my glasses, and I don’t know how to get home from here. I decided to say fuck it, and just take a nap. I’m just being honest about the situation. Saying ‘Life sucks’ isn’t a sign of depression when things are this shitty.”

P: “Do you know where you are and how you got here?”
(At this point they were fishing for reasons to toss me in the looney bin, hence why they asked me if I wanted to hurt myself and then began testing how coherent I was)

Me: “I’m in Parma, I just got released from <Hospital whose name I’ve forgotten>, I know where Parma is, but I don’t know how to get home from here.”

P: “Where is Parma?”

Me: “It’s a westside suburb of Cleveland. Southwest of Cleveland to be more precise”

P: “And where are you trying to go?”

Me: “Twice Good Wines in Berea. My cars parked there. That’s where all my stuff is.”

P: “Okay, who’s the president”

Me: “Donald Trump”

P: “I never thought that answer would prove someone is sane…”

Me: “Yeah, but I can’t help that the world’s gone crazy”

P: “Ahah… it’s not as bad as people make it seem, I think.”

Me: “Meh, it’s definitely not what anyone expected is all I’m saying”

P: “Alright, I think it’s safe to say you’re coherent enough to have signed yourself out of the hospital. We still need to call them and make sure you aren’t an escaped psych patient. What’s your name and social?

<I gave them my identifying info>

P:  “Alright,  give us a second”

<About 10 minutes of me sitting on the bench passed. The entire time I was chain smoking the last two cigarettes the apparating dude from that magical Arby’s/Gas station gave me because I was certain this encounter with the police would end in me getting locked away somewhere. The reason I thought that is because all encounters with the police inevitably end in me getting locked away somewhere. I figured I was losing the smokes either way, so I might as well lose them in a way that let me enjoy them>

P: “Alright, it seems like you’re all clear. The hospital is vouching for your story, and you’ve got no warrants. The only thing you’ve got wrong is that your car is at <The address to my Mom’s apartment complex> Do you know where that is?”

Me: “Yeah. That’s my Mom’s apartment. How’d my car get there? Last I remember I was parked in front of Twice Good, laying down to go to sleep.”

P: “They didn’t give me any information other than your car’s location, and they only told me that because it’s where the ambulance picked you up. What do you need to know to get off this bench and on your way there?”

Me: “How to get to Berea from here…”

P: “On foot? Phewwww… I’m gonna be honest, that’s a looonnnggg walk. You sure you can’t call for a ride?”

Me: “My phone’s dead, and even if it wasn’t, I got nobody to call.”

P: <Pointing in a direction> “Well you go that way until you reach <some intersection> then you make a left and follow that road until you reach <some other intersection>...

Me: “Lemme stop you right there. I’m never gonna remember all that, and I dunno where any of those streets are.”

P: <Runs me through a list of locations to find out where the closest place I’d be able to find my way home from is. We end up landing on W 130th and Royalton in Strongsville, down the road a bit from South Park mall>

“Okay, we can’t take you directly to that intersection, but we can take you to the edge of our jurisdiction on Royalton Rd. and then point you in that direction. From there, you’ll just walk straight until you know where you are. Does that sound like something you’d be interested in.”

Me: “Oh god yes. Thank you so much...”

P: “The only catch is you gotta let us search you, and you gotta be cuffed to get into the back of our car. Are you cool with that? You’re under no obligation to take our help, but if you take our help you gotta follow policy and the policy is that we can’t have someone in the back seat of the cruiser uncuffed.”

Me: “I don’t really have much of a choice if wanna get home sometime today, now do I?”

At the time, I assumed this “helpful ride” was just a ploy to get me to surrender peacefully to whatever jail/hospital they were planning on taking me to. I still agreed to go along with it because I figured doing whatever got me processed and assigned a room where I could sleep the fastest was preferable to being lost and hopeless on a public bench.

To my surprise, the cops let me out at the edge of their jurisdiction on Royalton Rd. They were actually extremely nice and understanding. I’ve never had a more positive encounter with the police. As I was walking away my butthole puckered when the cop shouted “Hold up man… just one more thing…”

“Nothing good ever follows a cop saying that phrase,” I thought to myself

“You want a bottle of water for your walk? You still got quite a ways to go if you’re trying to get over by the I-X center in Berea.”

“Holy shit, yes that’d be amazing. Thank you so so much”

<One of the cops goes in the trunk of their cruiser, grabs two bottles of water, and tosses them to me>

“Good luck, man! Just remember, this is Royalton Rd. Keep on this road going that way and you’ll eventually wind up at W. 130th.”

“Thank you so much officer, you’re guys are true life-savers!”

“No problem, just doing our job.”
(I’m pretty sure beating me up and arresting me while I cuss at them and resist by any possible means is actually a cop’s job, but I wasn’t about to correct this dude’s confusion)

Even if the dude was confused, he definitely had one thing right: Berea is a really long walk from Parma. I just used Google maps to measure the route I had in mind as best as possible, and from where these cops dropped to where I was trying to get is about 35 miles using the route I was taking. The shortest way to get from Ridge and Royalton (where I believe I got dropped off based on what I remember and what I can tell from this map) to my Mom’s apartment where my car was parked is 30 miles, and that requires freeway driving. For those of you unfamiliar with the westside Cleveland suburbs, just keep 35 miles in mind as the distance I had to walk barefoot. If you use the metric system, fuck you.

Just getting from where I was dropped to a place that I knew was roughly 9.5~ish miles. That means it was somewhere in the ballpark of two hours walking at the pace I move when I’ve got my shoes, my glasses, and I’m not hallucinating phantom people. I figure those added complications made it into more of a 3 ½ hour walk until I reached charted territory.

You also need to understand how much of a handicap not having my glasses is. I’m so nearsighted, if I don’t have some form of corrective lens I’m functionally blind. If I take a Bic lighter, place one end of it on the bridge of my nose, bring up Facebook on my phone, and then touch my phone to the other end of the lighter, the text on my phone screen is a completely indecipherable blur. For those of you keeping score, that means I can’t see anything that’s farther than 1 ½ - 2~ish inches from me.

I was also hallucinating *A LOT* but I kept that secret from the doctors and police officers because I knew where telling them that would end me up (Hint: Not where my car was). I heard a committee of voices going back and forth, but none of them were aware I was listening. I could only make out bits and pieces of what they were saying, and I couldn’t see them anywhere around me. I’d look at the end of a driveway or at a storefront that was ahead of me on my path and see people smoking, standing there having a conversations I could vaguely hear, but when I got close enough to talk to them they’d dissipate into thin air.

I spent what I’m guessing had to’ve been 3 ½ hours walking blind like that with no clue where I was, hallucinating pretty much every soul I came I across before I finally reached W 130th St and Royalton Rd in Strongsville. My heart jumped as I thought, “Fuck yes, I finally know where I am!” My feet started pumping forward with a new vigor. Suddenly, life wasn’t hopeless anymore, because I finally knew where I was and how to get to home.

Other than the new-found hope that being back in familiar territory brought me, it was still the exact same situation and I still had a long way to go. I walked for about 10 more miles over another 3 ½ hour period with all the same problems before the next major event occured: The Strongsville police stopped to figure out what my deal was, because they were getting a lot of calls about a strange barefoot dude wandering down the side of the road from concerned good samaritans.

Just imagine I copypasted the same conversation I had with Parma police 7 hours earlier right here, because it was almost the exact same interaction, including the whole exchange about Trump. The only difference was these guys had more access to information on how I ended up in the hospital. 

Apparently, a resident of Mom’s apartment complex found me collapsed either hanging out of my driver’s side front door or on the ground next next to it (“The report isn’t clear” they said) completely unresponsive, and they called 9-1-1. They assumed I’d overdosed on heroin, but narcan didn’t wake me. Since they couldn’t wake me up and I reeked of booze, they had an ambulance bring me to a hospital and charged me with “Public Intoxication - Unresponsive”. The report said they gave the car keys they found on the ground next to me to my Mom, since she was the registered owner of the vehicle and they knew me well enough to know that’s where I’d have them take my keys if I were given an option. 

Me and the Berea Police go way back. I’ve asked one of the guys whose name is on the report if he realized I’d tried to kill myself that night. He said everything they did played out according to their routine because me getting shitfaced drunk then passing out on the ground next to my car while heading to my Mom’s place to cause a scene seemed pretty “in-character” for me.

Really, that charge is the only reason time I’m able to tell you approximately when this all occurred. June 03, 2018 was when the charge was filed. That places this walk on somewhere between June 4th and June 6th depending on a couple different factors that I’m not really sure of. (How long I was asleep before the police intervened and how long I was asleep in the hospital mostly)

If I had to guess, I’d say I was found by the police somewhere around 10-11~ish at night on 6/03/18, and I was released from the hospital around noon~ish on 6/5/18.

Whatever day it was, I know I was released from the hospital at *about* noon because 12:25 is exactly when my phone died. This encounter with the Strongsville Police Department happened at around 7:30-8:00 PM. I know because when I asked them what time it was they said, “I dunno, like seven-thirty or eight~ish.” 

So I now knew the following: Where my car was, why the police were called, how I ended up in the hospital, what time it was, and where my car keys were. Given my car’s location, the answer to “How did my car get there?” was very obvious to me. I tried driving to my mom’s place in a blackout for some reason that only Blacked-Out-On-A-Liter-of-BV-and-A-Months-Supply-of-Seroquel Dave could tell you. 

Was I pissed off and looking to start a fight? Did my subconscious mind realize I was on the verge of death and trying to reach out to my mother for help? Was I just trying to go somewhere less public because I thought I was too likely to be discovered at Twice Good Wines? Did I forget I got evicted from that apartment complex and trying to go back to my old apartment? 

Only Blacked-Out-On-A-Mountain-of-Shit Dave could answer those questions. I’ve never understood why he does what he does and I never will, so I don’t bother trying.

With all the pieces of the puzzle in place I was ready to continue marching the 15 miles I had left to go, but the Strongsville police had a genius idea: “You know, Strongsville and Berea are the same jurisdiction. We can give you a ride straight to your car. You don’t need to walk anymore. The only thing is we’ve gotta search you and cuff you. It’s policy for loading someone into the back of our cruiser for any reason...”

Because of the twist ending with the Parma cops earlier that day I readily responded with, “Of course, man. Parma ran me through the same routine earlier. That’s not a problem at all.” This time I actually believed the cops were telling me the truth. I got handcuffed for freedom, and put into the back of a cop car for a ride to where I wanted to be.

I’ve never been happier than when they uncuffed me standing by the trunk of my car and told me to have a nice night. I’ve never thanked a cop more genuinely than I did that night, and I never will.

I wanted to smoke a cigarette and listen to some music, but my Mom had my keys. I put on my glasses and my shoes, then walked over to her apartment. At first she didn’t answer the door, then after I didn’t give up after a few tries, I heard a yell from inside:

Mom: “What do you want?”

Me: “The cops said you have my keys…”

<Silence>

Me: “Look I don’t want anything except to be able to start m…”
<The door to Mom’s apartment suddenly popped open as the quickly thrusted the keys into my hand>
Me: “You know I tried to kill myself, right… like honestly tried to kill myself for real?”

Mom: “Maybe you’d have been better off if you had…”

And then she slammed the door shut. 

I know that makes her sound kind callous or cruel. What you need to understand is that from her point-of-view I’d been suffering constantly while I tried killing myself slowly for years by this point. She was tired of getting dragged into the misery with me. She was being honest based on how she saw things at that point in our lives: I was probably better off dead than I was continuing on living in the abject misery. I’d spent the years leading up to this slogging through. She was basically just agreeing with the same assessment that led to my attempt, and pushing my Mom to the point where she would agree with that assessment took A LOT of shitty behavior on my part.

At the end of the day, my brothers and I are Mommy’s sunshine. We make her happy when skies are grey. What she said to me that day as she closed the door was just her honest assessment of how I could stop hurting the way we both wanted me to. Regardless of how you guys took it, I wasn’t hurt at all and it’s basically what I expected. I took my keys, went to my car, and put on a song by my favorite band, Streetlight Manifesto, that I felt fit the situation pretty well. 

I’d been walking barefoot and blind for 7 hours. I had no clue where I was half that time. Everytime I tried to ask for help, the person I tried asking turned out to be a phantom. The day I just described to you was by far the hardest day of my life, and I don’t foresee a challenger for that title arising anytime soon. My feet had massive blisters that were so deep you could tell they’d filled with blood. Some of them were actually scratched open from walking barefoot on the concrete. Every one of my muscles ached. I was still half delirious from the seroquel. All of that only described my state in that exact moment.

Looking at life from a meta-overview of my overall situation, nothing that made me attempt suicide had changed. In fact, because I’d caught a charge, things had actually become slightly worse. I had every reason to remain hopeless and despondent.

I didn’t give a fuck about anything I just told you in those last two paragraphs. I was thankful to be sitting down in my car, listening to music and relaxing instead of walking. I was thankful that I had a dry, soft place to sleep whenever I decided sleeping was what I wanted to do. Most of all, I was thankful that I was still alive enough to be thankful. I wouldn’t say I immediately started seeing life as positive. Really, it wasn’t until 9-10~ish months later, back in March or April, when this whole writing project started to get traction that I looked back and saw that my life had reversed directions. 

That reversal of the course of my life happened in baby steps slowly over time, and it only happened because I put in effort to make it happen. I didn’t give up drinking right away, but I gave up drinking eventually. I didn’t seek counseling and mental health assistance right away, but I’d still be stuck homeless and drunk if I hadn’t sought help. The help wouldn’t have been helpful if I didn’t take the things I was told and work to incorporate them into my life without arguing. 
(And I really really wanted to argue with the help I was given every chance I could find)

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment where the course of my life truly reversed. I can only tell you of the moment when the shift in my perspective that made the reversal possible occurred, and that was the exact moment I just described to you: Sitting in my car smoking a cigarette listening to Streetlight Manifesto after the hardest day of my life.

The song I put on has some relevance here, and if you’re on one of the roads that leads to that dark place deep inside us that I talked about at the beginning of the essay, you may wanna give this tune a listen. I’m gonna post the lyrics here to close out the memoir. If you don’t give it a listen, at least give these lyrics a fair read-through. 

Try and set your opinions aside. Try to set the fact that everything I just told you sounds like bullshit aside. Try to make yourself look at things from another angle even if you don’t believe that angle, just for the sake of intellectual open-mindedness. The worst that could happen is you’ll find a better argument against this point-of-view I’m presenting you with. The best that could happen is it’ll really change how you see things though. I think that upside is worth the risk of making a better argument. Don’t you?

So here’s the song I put on, by my favorite band/musician: 

(Band →) Streetlight Manifesto/Toh Kay (← Musician), and the name of the song is “A Better Place, A Better Time.”

I’m gonna listen and personally transcribe the lyrics for you guys, but if you don’t wanna hang around for all that, the only part you really need to know is the chorus:

And when you wake up, everything is gonna be fine. 
Guarantee that you wake in a better place, in a better time. 
So you’re tired of livin’? Feel like you might give in? 
Well don’t. It’s not your time. 

Trust me, I know how unbelievable that sounds. I’m used to biggest doubter of the claim I just made that the world has ever seen. There’s no way you’d ever hear me spitting that corny, cliche, yuppy-duppy, out-of-touch, fauxwoke bullshit ever in a million years.

Except one day I really woke up in a better place, in a better time. That day is waiting for everyone on that dark path somewhere down the road. Don’t throw in the towel before you get there, because ultimately the person who’s gonna miss the best days of their life if you do that is you. You already saw this far into the movie, are you really gonna hit “Stop” without seeing how it ends?

Okay, Sorry4MakeUWait. Here da song:

~ Streetlight Manifesto/Toh Kay “A Better Place, A Better Time” ~
(It comes in two flavors: Punk Rock/Ska or Acoustic Classical/Folk)

And so she wakes up, 
In time to break down.
She left a note up on the dresser and she’s right on time.
You don’t owe anything, right or wrong?

I said I know-oh-oh-oh
And she said so-oh-oh-oh
I wanna panic but I’ve had it so I go-oh-oh-oh
You don’t owe anything to anyone.

But don’t take your life, ‘cause it’s all that you’ve got.
You’d be better off just up and leavin’ if you don’t think they will stop.

And when you wake up, everything is gonna be fine.
Guarantee that you wake in a better place, in a better time.
So you’re tired of living? Feel like you might give in?
Well don’t. It’s not your time.

Lookin’ through the paper today. Lookin’ for a specific page.
Don’t wanna find her full name followed by dates.
‘Cause when I left her alone, she made a sound like a moan:
“You’re known by everyone for everything you’ve done.”

Fuck buying flowers for graves. I’d buy you a one-way nonstop,
To anywhere, find anyone, do anything; forget and start again love.
She said she won’t go: It hurts too much... to stand by.
You’ve gotta a stop and draw a line.

Everyone here has to choose a side… tonight. 
The moment of truth is haunting you.
Don’t forget your family, regardless what you choose to do.
You can’t decide, and they’re all screaming “Why won’t you?”

I’ll start the engine, but I can’t take this ride for you.
I’ll draw your bath and I’ll load your gun,
But I hope so bad that you bathe and hunt.

<The fingerpicking that’s right here in the Toh Kay version is so goddamn dope>

Annie’s tired of forgettin’ about today and always plannin’ for tomorrow.
Tomorrow… and she says:

“The saddest I came I came across when I learned that life goes on without me.”
Without me… Annie says:

“If everyone has someone else, well I ain’t go nobody’s love to save me.”
To save me… and she says:

“I think I’ll pass away tonight, ‘cause it seems I’ll never get it right if it’s just me”
It’s just me... Annie said…

And when you wake up, everything is gonna be fine.
Guarantee that you wake in a better place, in a better time.
So you’re tired of livin’? Feel like you might give in?
Well don’t. It’s not your time.

Annie said she wouldn’t mind if they never find a cure to all her problems.
Her problems… and she says:

As long as she has someone near to make it clear she doesn’t need to solve them.
To solve them… Annie says:

“But this loneliness is killing me. It’s filling me with anger and resentment.”
Resentment... and she says:

“I’m turning into someone that I never thought I’d have to be again...”

And when you wake up, everything is gonna be fine.
Guarantee that you wake in a better place, in a better time.
So you’re tired of livin’? Feel like you might give in?
Well don’t. It’s not your time.

<The instrumental that’s right here in the Streetlight version is so goddamn dope>

Annie’s tired of forgettin’ about today and always plannin’ for tomorrow
Tomorrow… and she says:

“The saddest day I came I came across was when I learned that life goes on without me.”
Without me… Annie says:

“If everyone has someone else, well I ain’t go nobody’s love to save me.”
To save me… and she says:

“I think I’ll pass away tonight, ‘cause it seems I’ll never get it right if it’s just me.”
It’s just me… Annie said…

And when you wake up, everything is gonna be fine.
I guarantee that you wake in a better place, and in a better time.
So you’re tired of livin’ and you feel like you might give in?
Well don’t. It’s not your time.

And even if it was so, I wouldn’t let you go.
You can run run run run but I would follow close.
Someday you’ll say, “That’s it. That’s all.”
But I’ll be waiting there with open arms to break your fall.

I know that you think that you’re on your own, but just know that I’m here and I’ll lead you home if you let me.

She said “Forget me,” but I can’t.

 
I’m what happens when you live by the motto ‘Live Fast, Die Young’ then you realize how stupid that is and stay alive instead.
— Someone Who Fucked Up and Survived
Dave Barletta3 Comments