Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year in Review

“God hates me.” I said half-heartedly.
            My wife shook her head with a look of disproval on her face. She then made a contradictory comment I didn’t hear because I knew as soon as I said it, the disproval from her would be overwhelming. Basically, I retreated into the dark recesses of my mind, a scary place for anyone, and I began to review how wonderful 2015 had been for me.
            After what seemed like endless hours, which was more likely twenty minutes, I came up with bupkis.
            Sure, I had my highs throughout the course of the year, moments of sheer delight and joy, time spent in fond recollection of my past and I even got to visit some loved ones halfway across the continent. Yet through all these past 365 days there has been looming doom, destruction, worry and pain. Those brief moments where I was able to forget the impending cloud of American disillusionment have truly been fleeting.
            This year started off with a plate full of crap and it seems to be ending with an even larger plate of crap. No matter how hard I try to get rid of it, it never seems to leave. Only grow, like some sort of self-replicating cancerous tumor that holds my life in its disease ridden palm. I’m not happy about this.
            I’ve tried to count my blessings so to speak. I’ve tried to meditate and look at the brighter side of life. I’ve tried to have a more cheerful disposition. Yet through it all, inside me, deep in the bowls of my mind, I know. I know what is waiting. I know that no matter what I do, how hard I try and what I sacrifice, I will never outrun the desolation and pain that is about to befall me and my family.
            I know, I know, I sound more ominous and over-dramatic than I should. But, that is how I feel.
            I’m not going to air my dirty laundry here. This is not the venue for it. Besides, the people who need to know about the craptastic year I’ve had, know. They are the people I lean on. The people I’ve come to depend on. Well, that is not necessarily true. There are still two people I need to talk to. Two people I’ve been putting off talking to. Why? Because this shit is painful to talk about. Also, no one wants to listen to some asshat who is on the edge of just letting everything in his life go to shit and walk away. Walk away to something different, something simpler, and something with less distractions and responsibilities. However; I know that this sort of action is not a proper response to life’s issues. You can’t escape your past, you live in the present and you hope for a better future. No, walking away is not a real option. But it is a nice fantasy.
            Fantasy is a real nice place to be. You can be who you want, be with whom you want, work when you want, pay bills and not worry about overdraft fees, not hear about third hand rumors about you, not be betrayed by new friends, not hear shitty news from doctors and not have people you care about die.
            Nope, in fantasy-land, it’s all sunshine, roses, prime rib lunches and lobster dinners with all the people you care about and need in your life. It is filled with endless conversations, great cigars, amazing books and the most amazing music you could want. In fantasy-land, you can sit down with Carl Sagan and Thomas Jefferson over breakfast. Ride horses with John Wayne and motorcycles with Dennis Hopper. In fantasy-land there is no disease, no rot, no ruin, no lies and no betrayal. In fantasy-land the weather is always 78 degrees and it only rains while you sleep.
            Yeah, I don’t live in fantasy-land. I live in reality. A reality that seems hell-bent on breaking my body. Not my will, for you see, reality knows it can never do that. I’ve proved it four times over. (This is a reference to the four times I’ve almost died.) Reality lost. Reality knows I have a deep and almost unbreakable will when it comes to survival and moving forward. However; reality knows that even I have my limitations.
            Limitations which will force me to do everything I can to complete a task or promise I set out to do. I don’t give up easily. I never have. If you don’t believe me, send me a message, I’ll give you names of people I’ve fought and never gave up even when I was truly beaten and bloody and the only way I stopped was when I was rendered unconscious.
            Wow, I just read the last 800 words I wrote, it’s pretty depressing. Sorry about that. Guess I needed to vent a bit. Like you need to every now and then. So, in order to remedy this, let me try and list some things that offered me some joy in my life this past year.
            I got to witness my daughter act on stage and it was truly amazing. I laughed, I cried and I was extremely proud of her. She has, for the past sixteen years, been a high point in my life. She never seems to not bring me some sort of happiness and accomplishment.
            Seeing my mother and spending three uninterrupted days with her. Being able to reconnect with her and even introduce her to some great friends of mine was an epic event in my life I hope to never forget. We got to break bread, go on long car rides, visit relatives and even bond over the most insignificant events. Hell, she even understood my sarcasm and vitriol when it unknowingly reared its head. I wish for more days with her. Although, I don’t see how that can happen.
            Spending time with good friends and new friends at a convention in Williamsburg. Being around people who enjoy horror books and movies, all the while never taking it too seriously is truly an honor to experience. I thank you all for being there and taking your time to hang out with me.
            Doing my second official public reading of a story I wrote with a legend of the horror writing community. Craig Spector. That was surreal at best. Truly an amazing night and I hope to be able to do it again. With Craig or some other great writers. Just thinking about that night gives me goose bumps.
            Watching my wife go through the learning of her new job, Spreading her wings, expanding her horizons and struggling through all the bullshit she has to go through just to survive. I can’t say I would hold up as good as she would given her physical limitations. However; she seems to be dealing with it better than I would. Hell, I’d probably have just checked out. Nah, I don’t think that is in my nature. My will wouldn’t let me.
            Talking with my friends. I’m referring to you guys. My constant readers. Trust me, this helps and I do look at my stats in how many view I get. I don’t do it all the time. I check a couple times a month just to see if I’m reaching anyone and whether or not I should continue posting my mind droppings. You guys do help me. Just knowing you’re out there, taking your time, reading what I have to say, means the world to me.
            Lastly, and this goes back a few paragraphs, speaking with two special friends I have. They help me understand my life, understand where I am, who I am and what I need to do. Yes, I know we need to get together soon. I’m not ready yet. I wish I were. I wish for a lot of things. Yet wishes are like yesterdays breathe, they are gone in the ether of life as soon as you wish them.
            Okay, so in conclusion, 2015 has sucked more than most years. I can’t say 2016 will be any better but I hope it will be. I have hope, not a lot but some. That is one thing 2015 has not taken from me. Hope. I have just a smidge left.
            So c’mon 2016, make 2015 your bitch and help a brother out.
            Have a great week and I hope your year was a thousand times better than mine.

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