The difficulties in my life have encompassed everything from the most petty and insignificant to traumas and assaults that no human being should ever have to suffer through. It's easy to accept the beauty and kindness in the world, more difficult to embrace and accept the painful reminders in this life that we are impermanent and insignificant, but it is another thing altogether to be a witness to your own death; the death of your childhood, of wonder, of hope, and desire. I have been taught that I must, in order to have a life that is worth living, accept my past without judgement; to let it vanish into the nighttime sky that is my obsession. Instead I have assembled these fractures as building blocks to construct a life that continuously looks backward, forever replaying those horrors, and using them as a blasting furnace in my writing and the music that I created for 23 years. It is unsustainable.
The shedding of the past is a slow process. There is no grand action, no gift of love, no holy symbol that can erase what cannot and will not ever be erased. But there is a beauty that I know exists, that can soothe the savagery of my nearly 47 years on this planet. It happens not only when I run, is not only found in the glacially bitter and desolate winter runs on the AT that I love so much, not only in those anxious early morning moments before I step out of the car on a long run, not only in the awe I feel when mind, body, and spirit, the holy trinity, propel me effortlessly through my temple. It can be found in the kindness and trust of my patients, the way my friends have wrapped their arms around me and done their best to protect me when I felt that there was nothing left. It's in the way the five of us created a musical legacy that will always contain some of my finest and proudest moments. It will forever be in the way Michelle wrapped her arms around me and held tightly, sacrificing her safety for mine, for 13 dizzying years, the way I have been given second and third and fourth chances in this life. And I guess most significantly, it's in the dreams I'm finally allowing myself to have; to one day thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, to witness the Aurora Borealis, to again find what I had with Michelle, to rise up from the psychic ghetto of my life, and to feel love and gratitude where none had existed.