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News for December 2008

The Dance with Death

Warning: Parts of this post talk about items that may contain triggers for some people. The content is very dark. If you have ever had problems with self-harm; especially cutting, or suicidal ideation, then it may be advisable not to read this post. Please be careful when making the decision and view responsibly.


“The Dance with Death” comes from my favorite author’s, Terry Goodkind’s, series “The Sword of Truth”. The following is an excerpt from the Temple of Winds page 352 on what the dance with death is:

This one on the door, like the ones on his wristbands, was a kind of dance used for fighting when outnumbered. It conveyed a sense of the movements of the dance, movements without form.

He touched a starburst symbol on the door. This symbol was an admonition.
Keep your vision all-inclusive, never allowing it to lock on any one thing. That was the meaning of the starburst symbol: look everywhere at once, see nothing to exclusion of all else – don’t allow your enemy to direct your vision, or you will see what he wishes you to see. He will then come at you as you become bewildered, looking for his attack, and you will lose.

Instead, your vision must be open to all there is, never settling, even when cutting. Know your enemy’s, moves by instinct not by waiting to see them. To dance with death meant to know the enemy’s sword and its speed without waiting to see it. Dancing with death meant being one with the enemy, without looking fixedly, so that you could kill him. Dancing with death meant being committed to killing, committed with your heart and soul. Dancing with death meant that you were the incarnation of death, come to reap the living.

In “Confessor” the last book of the series, Richard describes the dance of death as follows:

It means only one thing, and everything: cut.
Once committed to fight, cut.
Everything else is secondary.
That is your duty, your purpose, your hunger.
There is no rule more important, no commitment that overrides that one.
The lines are a portrayal of the dance.
Cut from the void, not from bewilderment.
Cut the enemy as quickly and directly as possible.
Cut with certainty.
Cut decisively, resolutely.
Cut into his strength.
Flow through the gaps in his guard.
Cut him.
Cut him down utterly.
Don’t allow him a breath.
Crush him.
Cut him without mercy to the depths of his spirit.
It is the balance of life: death.
It is the dance with death.

Right now, I am at a crucial point in my life. I am at a crossroads where choosing the wrong path could easily lead to my death. I stand alone at these cross roads in life. I have no one’s love anymore to provide me any additional strength or reassurance. No bright star to look toward and use as my anchor, to help provide me purpose and a reason to continue. For many long years I have fought, it feels at times that I have fought all my life. Fought one opponent or another. When the enemy is external, it is easier to fight them and triumph. Now though, now the enemy is within me. Within my own heart and soul. The enemy I fight is fear and pain. The enemy is regret and loss.

I need to commit to The Dance with Death to have any hope of surviving. Only if I fully commit to it can I hope to survive, then enemies are many and powerful. The loss of so many loved ones, the regret of mistakes and failures in my life. The pain from all the losses and from all the failures, all the mistakes. The fear brought about by being so totally abandoned and rejected by the world.

Even one misstep during this dance, one missed attack, any single mistake could cost me my very existence. It is odd that I have been able to help others with this dance in the past. Helped them shine in it and overcome it, yet I find it so difficult for myself. I think the reason for that is, I knew they needed me, they depended on me. Right now, no one needs me. No one cares. No one wants me.

This leads to a defeated feeling and belief. A sense of “why bother”. To engage in the dance with that attitude is to ensure losing. One can only “win” the dance with death if they are committed 100%, not just in body, but in mind, heart and soul as well. My vision now is locked in, locked in to the pain, loss, regret, etc that surrounds me, waits to destroy me. Just waiting until the time is right to strike me down.

Already, the thoughts of giving up and taking my life haunt me as never before. The whisper to me, whisper of an easy way out of the pain. A sure thing. A sure way to end all the suffering and pain in my heart and soul. Promising me that I will never again have to suffer through losing someone, I love. Not having to suffer through the regret of failing or making mistakes, of hurting someone I love. Never needing to feel any more pain in this world.

There are days when this is a very difficult thing to fight. At times, it seems so right to think of this. To think “why not? At least you wouldn’t suffer with these pains anymore” …to feel like “who would care if I died?” I used to have someone on my side. Now even she wants me to die and be miserable. If she can’t stand by me and love me for my faults, what hope do I have? I have had no sleep tonight and will be leaving for Ohio to meet my dad in a few short hours. The drive is six long lonely hours, on a day when I really do not care about living. Where I feel so destroyed inside.

I need to find the strength to engage in this dance, but right now, I don’t have it in me. I don’t have what it takes to commit to the dance, to commit to what I need to save myself.

It is the balance of life: death.

Perhaps it is time to bring balance for my life. Perhaps the time of my death is near. To die a total failure and loser, unloved. To die with no special person to care or miss me. No special person to mourn for me. Only to have people hate me and wish me dead. Everyone to see me as a failure in life.

No matter how hard I have tried, all I ever do is fail. I fuck up repeatedly…why I should bother to fight for my worthless life. Perhaps the world would be better off without me in it.

When she was on my side, it meant everything to me. I had the one special persons love. The one person in this world who could help me through this. In her love, devotion and faith I found the anchor I needed and the light to show me the path to take. Now even that is lost to me. She was the only one who could save me. Now I die, it is only a matter of how long.


Edited: December 28th, 2008

Trigger Warning: A Look Back at 2008 (written: December 21, 2008)

Note: This was originally written in December 2008 as a look back at the events of that year.

Trigger Warning: Since this was originally written in 2008, I cannot say with certainity if there are any triggers or not in this post. As 2008 was a difficult year, I assume that there may be one or more triggers. Please read with caution.

Well, with only a few days left in the year it is once again that time of year. It is the time of year to look back on the last year and reflect on the highs and lows. As a whole for me, this past year as simply and totally sucked. It has been the worst year that I ever remember in my entire life. The majority of it racked with pain and heartache it seems.

The start of the year set the tone for the rest of the year. Starting with Brenda hating me from the start because of how the year before ended. I remember at that point feeling my life was worthless and that I was some horrid human being that did not deserve to live. Brenda had been such a big part of my life for the previous four months or so. After what seemed a lifetime of arguing, we finally patched things up, things would last a few more months though they were never the same as before. It seemed she had taken so much back from me until she took everything away from me in May, more about that later though.

Not long after that one of the thing I never wanted to happen did happen – I earned “v”’s rage. I had never wanted to do anything to upset her or hurt her, only wanting her to have good and happy memories of our short time together from the previous year. I remember that night so well. I remember how fully she expressed her rage. It seemed like she was out for blood, to destroy me. The ironic thing is that nothing she said or did hurt me in of it even though that night was devastating to me. It was not her anger or her words that hurt, that I was prepared for because I knew one day that I would experience it for one reason or another. What made that night so devastating was that I knew I deserved it and brought it upon myself. I knew that her hatred and disgust were justified. The fact that I deserved it is what made it hurt so much.

It was knowing I had failed her, something I swore I would never do. Even now when I think about it, I want to cry and beg her to forgive me. I could not defend myself that night; I had no way to defend myself, because there was no excuse for what I had done. Any ‘defense’ would have been nothing but trying to justify something that could never be justified.

The upside of it though was hearing about her happy news, knowing that she had found the right person to share her life with, knowing that she would be safe now. I always feared that she would never forgive me and that even if she did I would never know it since I never expected to hear from her again.

Over the next few months, I would try to re-earn Brenda’s trust and love, but I never did. No matter what I did, she never loved me or trusted me again. I did everything I could think of to re-earn that trust and love, but it came to nothing good in the end. Even so, we still had some good and happy times during that period. After a while she started back away from me slowly, she would only be around for short periods. I remember the long nights sitting here at the computer hoping to get even a few moments with her. I remember how if even saw her just a minute that it made me feel so much better. Then in May, she left me.

Her rage was terrible. For long nights, her and I went back and forth in email, my trying to calm her and soothe her through her rage. No matter what she said, I tried to stay calm and let her rage against me. I hoped that she would get it out of her system so we could work things out. I say her letting her rage, trying to show her love, compassion and understanding. I remember that night when she told me that she hoped I choked, that I would have a flat tire in the morning. Each of her words added another cut to me. I never expected such hate from her.

Some place between these events, I found out that I was bi-polar amongst other things. I remember that it excited me and actually made me very happy. I was finally able to get on medication to help myself. I found myself a good psychiatrist and got myself on a mood stabilizer, Lamictal.

Some time along the way, I thought I found someone new, but a series of things worked against us. The biggest problem was I was not able to get over Brenda. I still wanted her back. Part of it was how I felt about her; part of it too was that I had no say in how things ended. Those things ended for no good reason in my eyes. I was not even close for things to end. The reason that this was so different from when things had ended with “v” the year before, it was that in that case I knew why things ended. They had to end for a very specific reason. A reason that as much as it hurt left me at peace in my heart and soul that I knew it was what was right. When things with Brenda ended, I had no such thing.

In July, I went to Pennsylvania for vacation, to see the Dalai Lama. He was giving a series of lecture on the path to enlightenment. I was never able to get into it because I was wracked with pain and heartache. I started having panic attacks and spiraling out of control. I felt totally lost and abandoned by the world. There was nothing to look toward because at this same time Brenda totally vanished on me. I remember how disappointed I was in her. The time I needed her the most she left me. This intense pain lasted for what seems forever, it lasted for nearly three months.

During this time, I started calling around looking for treatment centers. I had decided that I was going to check into a mental health center, because of how far gone I was. There was a day when I laid in bed until 5p just crying all day, I had to call out of work I was so bad. There were times when I cycled so rapidly through my emotions.

At one point during all this turmoil, “v” came back and started talking to me. This time she was there as a dear and precious friend. As a person who understood what I was going through and who believed in me to get through this. I remember her telling me, the first night she came back that she believed that I could get through this and that I could be stronger the next year. When she said that I damn near cried, those words were words I needed to hear desperately. Once again, she was shining spot in my life. Funny how things work out like that, the year before she tells me how important my support was to her. This year I understand more than ever the truth of that statement. I cannot explain how much her believing in me to overcome things meant to me and how much it helped me.

All this time my anger at Brenda swelled and swelled. The more I felt she was not who I thought she had been, etc. Then one day, she showed me that she was indeed the person I thought her to be all along. She sent me a few messages that I tried to ignore at first, not wanting to get into yet another fight with her. Then she sent me one more message telling me how sorry she was. When I read that message, i knew the truth behind her words.

We started talking again as friends and repairing the damage that had come between us. She and I being able to work through these things, put them in the past, and put away our anger helped me a good deal as well. I could finally close that wound that was still so wide. I was able to find part of what I had lost of myself once more. With each passing day, I started to respect her more and more than I had the previous months, to believe my original view of which she is as a person slowly returning.

On my birthday, I crashed again. None of my friends remembered my birthday. I felt like such a ghost, as if I was wandering through life unseen etc. That night Brenda actually listened to me cry and did not tell me to ‘get over it.’ She did exactly what I had expected from her all along. She listened and comforted me, tried to help me through it.

For about another month or so my depression continued. Then finally, one day it broke. I got put on an anti-depressant and have not looked back. I have moments that have hurt, but nothing that has caused any true hurt or lasting negativity. I have started entering the community, talking to people at the local bar, spending time in social settings, coping with things that do not go my way and just overall being happy.

During all this I started talking with Debra, more then I had the last year or two. Sitting and talking with her on the phone ever now and again. We have had some good laughs and we continue to be good and close friends. A few weeks ago, she got married.

Then not so long ago I sent Liz flowers and admitted to myself and to her how I felt about her. I have not heard from her since then, but I am coping well with that. It kills me that I may have lost her as a friend, but I did what I needed to do for my own well-being. I think part of it is that I may have scared her earlier in the year because when I was going through all that heartache I would sometimes email or text her in the middle of an episode. She once told me that when I sent her messages like that, that she did not know how to react or what to say. I think it has just all overwhelmed her.

Then there was last week. The week was golden for me. I had my labor category changed from Programmer to Senior Programmer, got a great raise and got an award from my company for my performance. Then on Friday, my divorce was finalized ending one chapter in my life and officially starting the next unwritten chapter. It is funny how that chapter ended at the end of the worst year in my life. The New Year is upon us and I am starting a fresh chapter in my life all in once.

I think that about sums up the year.

Edited: December 21st, 2008


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