“WHAT’S PAST IS PROLOGUE”
I’ve been delving a bit lately on the subject of creativity, and I’d like to share some thoughts; maybe open a dialog with anybody that might have their own spin on the conundrum that is “creation", and it’s little sister known to all us “outer-directives”, validation.
I’m just gonna dive right in here, so be forewarned: the squeamish or faint-of-heart should probably stop reading at this point. Parts of the following are going to get ugly. If you are of the type that likes to waltz through this life blissfully unaware (which seems to be the rule rather than the exception nowadays), and cannot handle getting your hands sullied by raw exposed humanity, ugly reality or any variant thereof, please proceed at your own risk. My personal advice would be to stop reading.
Just like in previous Daily Doses telling tales of past head trauma, here's another: the big one.
“TO BE, OR NOT TO BE: THAT IS THE QUESTION:”
In the summer of 2006, I found myself, cross-eyed, sucking on the barrel of a .45 (if you’re going to do a job, do it right.) with my own finger on the trigger. As meticulously as I arrange or write music, as well crafted (at least to the best of my ability, anyway) as I write these posts, as methodically as I have achieved the modicum of success in the music “biz”, I planned my own elegant demise.
At that moment, I had finally achieved a total clarity that had eluded me my entire life. The white noise that had been blaring between my ears in every waking moment since I can remember was finally silenced.
The only other time I felt this type of clarity consistently was only momentarily after a particularly strong orgasm (which was always an element in my self medication regimen to stay “even”, along with Beethoven, Chopin, coffee,and cigarettes: all in copious daily doses).
This was different: The choice to finally give in and give up, prepare my affairs (about a two week process, including pre-paying for a cremation and manipulating discovery issues to insulate loved ones and family members from having to deal with a headless corpse with brain matter splashed all over the walls), and flick the switch to the final “off” position with one squeeze of the trigger provided something that I had always heard about, but never truly experienced: Peace of Mind.
At the time, I didn’t know what forces were in play to prevent me from pulling that trigger and flicking that switch. At that razor's edge, it’s hard to recognize Fortuna’s hand on your back, or the Universe (or God, or Buddha, or Allah, or Shiva…. whatever you’re into) tapping you on the shoulder, whispering in your ear: “Not yet: Maybe later, but not yet.”.
In retrospect, I can tell you that that is exactly what happened to me. At the time, in my supposed state of grace and clarity, I just felt my grip loosen, and heard the sound of my teeth clacking against cold steel as the barrel left my mouth, and felt like a total failure.
I think it was the sound of little podners Huckleberry and Doodle's whining doggie cries in the back kitchen that pulled me back to the living. I had locked them back there, and they were experiencing separation anxiety. Dog only nose, right?
Immediately the decibel level of the white noise rose exponentially and started whipping through my cranium, but before it reached it’s sustained crescendo, I made a resolve to get some help and see just what finally was really going on.
So I got some help. (Thank You, New Orleans Musician’s Clinic), and got diagnosed: Yes folks, what was always an undefined fear was now a bonafide medical reality: I got the dubious distinction of being classified as “Borderline Stage 2 Bi-Polar”, or in my own personal vernacular, officially “crazier than a shit house rat”.
Two interesting things came to light between the period of diagnosis and the commencement of treatment (Drugs. A lot of drugs and intensive cognitive therapy sessions two times a week for a year).
1. The psychiatrist that diagnosed me made this statement and then asked a very interesting question: “Most stage 2 Bi-Polars your age are either dead or incarcerated… do you have any idea how much energy you’ve expended during your life time just to stay nominally functional?” (She then added the observation that the fact I was even sitting in her office was an awe-inspiring feat of human endurance to pain).
So basically, I just ran out of gas: a relieving thought at the time.
2. The other point was the diagnosis in and of itself: It functioned as a transparent overlay that I could apply to my entire life’s history. Every imploded relationship, every misstep, every self destructive episode, every blown opportunity, every missed save; finally made sense. It wasn’t their fault; it was mine. I was crazier than a shit house rat! I could let go of all that blame that was choking my soul, and finally focus on fixing myself.
One thing about being nuts is the total confusion that you have relating to the outside world, to reality and the people in your orbit functioning within reality.
In other words, to a shit house rat, every one else is nucking futz, and you the rat are the only sane one in the room. When things go kablooie (and for us crazy shithouse rats, everything eventually does go kablooie), it ain’t the rat’s fault.
So the diagnosis immediately pointed me in the direction of understanding. Like a recovering alcoholic in a twelve step program, I went back to these incidents and the people involved in them (those of whom still spoke to me, of course), and explained and apologized with the ah-ha moment of understanding firmly attached, just in case there was a little part of them that felt remotely guilty about their own responsibility in their participation of things “Kablooie”. All contributors of the choreography to the “Danse Madness” could now let themselves off the hook.
I could now own it all. Clarity of a different kind.
Immediately after that folks, the drug therapy commenced and thus another long journey into the heart of darkness, but this time there might be a light at the end of the tunnel, finally. I was just hoping it wasn't a far and distant oncoming train.
"You may shoot for the stars and end up in a back alley behind Pluto, beaten and bloodied, but at least I dare to dream, and that’s better than being Earthbound, mired in the muck of mediocrity.
I judge my forward progress and success by the crushingly epic nature of my failures.
The more epic the crash, the more I’m convinced I must be doing something right"
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THANK YOU KINDLY,
COLONEL BEAUREGARD "IRON THIGHS" JEFFERSON, A.K.A. "THE MANAGEMENT"