The word grade is from the latin word gradiens, meaning steps or walking; advancing, going.
Last week I got into a car accident before class, so I didn’t go to class. I woke up early the next day and had a full day of meetings that lasted late in the evening, until last call at the bar with sales colleagues.
I got sick on Thursday and spent the weekend with a raging fever and chills and sobbing sweats. Yesterday I downed a handful of ibuprofen upon waking and felt well enough to attend nine hours of laser measurement training. Today I had a full day of meetings and, while I type, I can still feel my wellbeing recovering.
Contentment seems so close, but also so out of reach. I can accept my circumstances, and be happy. But that doesn’t improve my circumstances.
I can reject my circumstances, and work myself into a manic state of deluded euphoria. And the thought of progressing makes me happy, the idea that this activity is causally improving my circumstances.
However, if activity does not improve my current circumstances, I find myself in a grave situation, one of self deception, and I ask myself what other realms of self deception I’m a participant.
Sometimes I tell myself that patience is what matters most. To be patient. That you sow in the spring and reap in the fall, that the bamboo blossoms once but every thirty years. Patience and nurture. Steady care.
But I find myself in a bleak state. I am not sure I will ever be happy. It’s a sad reality I find myself wrestling with. A reality I am tempted to sabotage and ruin in order to make manifest, and prove myself right. Or at least, not doubt if I am wrong or not.
What do I want?
I want to not be alone. But I’m not quite sure I can allow myself that pleasure.
I want wealth. But the path seems so uncertain. Is the path clear, and I just lack the courage or faith to pursue? Or is the path non existent. Do I believe in possibility?
So I vex and pine. I lose sleep. I preoccupy. My intention is strong but blunt. Why do I doubt my value? Why do I sabotage? Where is my path? When can I step forward and completely disregard hesitation and doubt? Where is my faith?
This weekend, while my body was writing in pain and discomfort, my mind similarly coiled and knotted. It was hellacious turmoil for seventy two hours. Laying in bed, with the heat on full blast, shivering. I closed my eyes, wrapped in blankets, in layers of clothing, and tried to escape the mental torment. It seemed entirely linked, this bodily fever and this mental suffering.
I closed my eyes and envisioned death. I envisioned dying. I envisioned taking my own life, the steps and moments right before I confronted death. I imagined the various reactions I would have. The moment I stepped off the rusty golden gate bridge and fell face first towards the churning waters below. I wondered how I would fall. Would I embrace the moment of death, eyes open? Would I extend my hands above my head as if to reach for deaths embrace? Would I close my eyes and let my thoughts seek comfort before they become permanently muted? Should I dive, like a swan? Does it even matter?
I think of driving along the side of a mountain, and suddenly give in to the urge to drive off the cliff, right off the road, right through the metal guard rail. I imagine the initial jolt as my SUV smashes through the metal barrier and frees itself before falling down, tumbling over, and crashing violently. I visualize the entire sequence of events, taking note of the cracked glass exploding in my face, the feeling of my stomach rising as I fall toward the earth. I imagine being fully conscious as my body smashes against the car interior like a rag doll as it rolls down the cliff, and the airbags violently deploy with little safety effect.
I imagine myself rising one morning from bed. Eyes snapping open. Laying there motionless, staring at the ceiling, for hours. Maybe its late, maybe its early. Either way, this is the day I decide there is nothing left of me attached to this world. I slide my legs over the side of the bed, bury my face in my hands, and rise. I retrieve my belt from my jeans crumpled on the floor, walk over to the pull-up bar in the hall, slide the belt around the bar and create a noose. I slip my head through the noose and secure it on the bar. I exhale. It’s a peaceful exhale. An exhale I imagined my childhood friends made when they hung themselves. Not an anxious exhale with reservation. A peaceful exhale with resolve. And with that I drop myself and the noose slowly begins to cradle the weight of my body. I close my eyes and the blackness turns to red as my face swells and begins to tingle with pins and needles. I go numb in my face, and then the black turns to red and suddenly there is nothing. Maybe violence, maybe pain, but I am unconscious, so the reaction is little more than a temporary torture before my body succumbs and becomes inanimate.
These are my dreams. Or nightmares, depending if I can come up with better alternatives.