Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow. No tomorrow, no tomorrow. And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad. The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had. I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take. When people run in circles, it’s a very, very mad world. – Tears For Fears
You really can’t go home again. The ghosts of my youth are still present and palpable on every filthy corner of the city where I drank and moped my way out of a college education. The strange thing is that everything that happened between the walls of my old haunts all those years ago plays back like a film from a bygone era whose central character happened to look a lot like me. They might be memories, but they’re not mine.
While I stood outside of a store cutting another 5 minutes off of the ass-end of my life with a Marlboro (the only slow, non-committal form of suicide in which I still indulge), I watched students trudge through the dirty brown gutter snow on their way to class. Pity was all I could feel for them, though they quite likely felt very similarly toward the overgrown hippie in a trench coat hiding inside his wafting nebula of smoke. Assumptions help to pass the time, but they also skew one’s perspective.
I don’t know how anyone is able to entertain the frivolous holiday pretense this year. The world just seems so sad and lost. After 5 days of laughter and reminiscing with Linda, my beautiful sister texted me last night to say that a colleague and close friend of hers at the Cancer Institute — a man widely considered to be among the best surgical oncologists in the country — killed himself with a bullet to the head. She doesn’t know why. I suspect he didn’t, either.
For reasons I can’t adequately explain, I spent 2017 in the least self-destructive manner of any other in my adult life. Aside from my little cylindrical 5-fewer-minutes-’til-suicide sticks, I eschewed pills and powders (and of course, booze) in an attempt to be a positive contributor to the resistance of the influence of pitiful, powerful men. At about this time last year, it occurred to me that I would probably need to keep a clear head as we embarked upon uncharted territory (read: fascism) in the US. As it turned out, I didn’t help to improve a goddamned thing. Oh well. Another number change on the calendar is just around the corner, giving me an opportunity to fool myself once again into thinking that I, along with the rest of the human race, will stop being so fucking mean and ignorant and selfish and lazy and hopeless. “Back where we started…here we go ’round again.”
I love children, but they make me sad. What horrors might be in store for those still young enough to dream? I can’t think about it for very long or I’ll cry.
I don’t want any more good people to bail out. Listen: I understand. I really do. But we need you. I need you. Life might be a zero-sum game but it can still be beautiful if we love each other, help each other out, listen and prop each other up. I know it’s hard and sometimes it’s all too fucking much. But I’ll stick around if you do. I promise. It doesn’t have to be this hard.
There is beauty in sadness, in vulnerability. Feel it, embrace it, let it wash over you. Then dry your tears, lift your head up and move on all the stronger for having listened to the painful song of your heart. We can’t afford to wallow in sadness. Too many good people are deciding to leave us. And though this is their right, I wish they would understand that they are integral to our world. No one who loves is alone. No one who cares is worthless. No one who has the potential to bring joy to another is expendable.
My 2018 wish for everyone is that you will be right back here one year from now reading some more silly end-of-the-year reflections from yours truly, alive and well and ready to do it all again. Let’s alleviate as much sadness as we can. I’ll keep trying my best if you do. I promise.