Shadows and Fog
That was the 80s for me. It was a decade long binge where I tried my damnedest to kill myself with virtually anything that could erase the pain I had inside my soul. I was serious about trying to wipe out my memories and my life and I failed at each and every turn. I was productive artistically, had sold out gallery showings, worked for more than a few magazines and role playing games...Guess I was the stereotype 'Artist' in that way. But the real world?
Really didn't want to be a part of it.
Finally I not only hit rock bottom, I had a shovel and dug a great deal further. There was a moment of clarity and I entered Rehab on September 1989. And while there were more than a few instances where I could have gone right back to the drugs and booze, I didn't. There wasn't anything noble about this, I just didn't like to fail. I'd failed at a lot of things and tried everything possible to hide from the important aspects of my life and the whole substance abuse was how I could live with those failures.
Wouldn't really recommend it.
Time passed and while it looked as though I had everything a person could want, that past of mine had to eventually be dealt with. Each sober day I thought about the time before and while the memories were only shadows they were clear shadows...I could blank out the images because they were too painful but I couldn't erase the feelings that went with them.
It was nearing the turn of the century, I was in debt and my marriage had ended and she left me with a surprise of three months of bills unpaid and the manager of the apartment complex I lived in told me I was going to be evicted and it was little moments like that which made the whole sober thing suck. But the thing that changed me the most?
I had a stroke. A big one. Eventually I had to make a decision because I actually slept behind a dumpster one night and really didn't like it. I called my sister and asked for help.
I had to break into my old apartment and we packed up what we could and I moved out to my dad's winter home, in the summers he lived in Wyoming, and had to figure out what to do...Hell, I had to learn how to draw again because the stroke had done a lot.
Short version of the story here: Spent a lot of time in court and hospitals, sometimes several times the same week. I knew I couldn't run anymore so I kind of threw myself at the mercy of the court and, all things considered, I was given a chance. Of course I couldn't leave the state without permission of the state and I had an ungodly amount of money to pay...Somehow I did. My debts and many court appearances were finally over. There was still the interest of my debts but that, too, was taken care of.
Strangely, I stayed sober through all this. AA has this whole 'Higher Power' thing going and I'm not a real big believer in the whole traditional 'God' thing (One of the many things which drove them crazy in Rehab. They gave me a notebook and instructed me to write down all the wrong things I'd done to others and I wrote on the first page 'Not in this lifetime' and gave it back. I also refused to blame anyone or anything for my addictions. I did it to myself. Period.)
All of that brings me to this point: I have my Faith and it's just that. Faith. No one, I don't care who they are and after Bible School I worked for some of the giants at the time: Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn and more. Every single human being operates on something they can put their minds and souls to and hope they're right, they hope there is an afterlife, they hope...There is no proof of what happens after we close our eyes for the last time.
Science teaches us that energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely changed and as we're a bunch of walking batteries that which gives us life will continue on after we've closed our eyes. I have hopes as well, but I'm also okay with absolute oblivion because, while I've paid my debts to society and my record is (So far) cleared, I still have the images of Shadows and Fog in my mind and there are days when they're too much to deal with. My Faith isn't all that keeps me going, that falls onto a list of people who have accepted me for who I am, not for who I was. My sister, Elizabeth, is the main force keeping me alive.
When I had to learn to draw again I wrote and illustrated a book called 'Family' and because I was really ill at the time I wrote a sanitized version of my life with the hope I could still have a relationship with those who once mattered to me.
Seems 'Christians' don't really care about forgiving someone in the LGBTQ community.
Hopefully there will come a day when people will want to know the whole story and this...This is just the beginning of a story that will fill in those gaps in my history.