"Beware of Darkness" from Harrison's monumental "All Things Must Pass" release, performed at the "Concert for Bangladesh," August, 1971.
This song is foreboding, creepily beautiful, a musically complicated trail of melodic warning with relation to the ills of what humans encounter in the material world, put very simply. Anyone with a layperson's knowledge of the Hindu concepts of karma and maya would probably not refer an individual to this song if that loved one was in the hurricane eye of terrifying Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which, as a sufferer, can be defined as a trudged up panic over latent fight-or-flight points in time that happened in the past which impede the consciousness of the present moment and overtake the mind with a flood of looming and inevitable dread. Hindus might say that the erupting and interrupting negative and corrupting thoughts are what Harrison forewarns (further in the tune) introduce maya, or utter, distracting illusion.
Watch out now. Take care, beware of thoughts that linger
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness surrounds you in the dead of night
Beware of sadness.
It can hit you. It can hurt you.
Make you sore and what is more? That is not what you are here for.
At a critical psychological moment Monday night, in between looping inside and outside my classroom, vomiting or otherwise having my gastric system go cuckoo, while I paced the halls of Adler trembling in the hallways, attempting to go outside for air in the cold and back into the security-locked down office tower that holds the school, trying to explain to a few friends the how and why of utterly freaking out, my not-so-nimble fingers backspacing over typos and incomplete thoughts and sentences, in his infinite love and boundless tact, Guy Friend (who was on his way home from work) simply texted me back this: "BEWARE OF DARKNESS. GH." That certainly packed a greater right-in-the-stomach punch than his previous text soon before, in which he indicated he was listening to the Commodores' "Brick House," or that he'd been enjoying the guitar riffs of The Knack's "My Sharona," which I'd included on the latest compilation of tunes I'd made for him, uh, the week I died.
At the time, I grounded my teeth at Guy's overwhelming insensitivity in text, especially given in the middle of needing to be soothed, while awaiting the late train out of the Loop towards O'Hare, he casually said to the effect of (paraphrasing), "Well, I'm home and going to eat dinner. Take care." BOOM.
Either he knows me so well to know I didn't have the Anna Karenina in me to flail in front of the train before it stopped and trusted that the PTSD was something I had the wherewithal with to muddle through, he fully comprehended the enormity of an earworm as complex as "Beware of Darkness," which I highly doubt, or, my knee-jerk reaction, that pulling his hybrid into the garage abruptly ended his Relegated Period of Giving a Damn.
Not having spoken with him since, as he left for a long skiing weekend in Colorado without saying goodbye to me, with Lady GuyGuy on the slopes, for whose birthday he trekked up to an outlet mall in Wisconsin with a buddy (who was wearing a dreaded North Face jacket, of which Guy took a picture) and procured her request of a new daily handbag (also pictured) and, as I understood it, a "satchel" as well... my perpetually fatalistic conclusion is that I'd exceeded my monthly allotment of Guycentric Warm Fuzzies.
My impression at our last, uh, mingling, was that Lady GuyGuy shipped him off to shop with a specific goal in mind, and he kind of did what he was told, and came back with something requisite per her request, about which he seemed rather blase. My friends are quick to point out that said activity took only a small percentage of ingenuity and thoughtfulness he put into Christmas gifts to me. Lady's birthday spiked his obligatory "Go get me these...thingys," followed by an appeasing yet fun enough mini-vacation, given Guy enjoys skiing.
As if having to go a female friend's dad's wake today, Dad's Last Day Wandering Through the Coils wasn't surreal enough, and that Guy Friend's own dad would spend the evening of February 2nd trying to revive my father after what was a fatal heart attack from alcohol withdrawal, before the idea of chemically easing withdrawal was the way to go, I was having kind of a harsh week to begin with.
February 2, 29 years ago.
It was 29 years ago that my dad died in the 2nd of February. It struck me strange that on January 29th, which was the last day I saw him alive, the number of years gone matched numbers with the date, which I Googled and found out that 29 is actually a prime number, and furthermore considered a "Lucas prime number" in mathematics. That's freaky.
En route to the wake, which was a good hour & 1/2 in bad traffic, Guy texted me a simple, "About those 2 cd's you..." which sent me into a panic of "AND?" I thought he was going to explain criticism (I gave him complete liner notes as to why I chose what I chose) but as it turned out, I somehow accidentally gave him two copies of the same CD. I honestly thought I'd successfully burned both, but I didn't, and he wants to hear the 2nd CD, so I told him I would burn him a copy for next week. Then it struck me...he's thinking about the CD's, which means he's thinking about me while he's swooshing down a big hill, with old what's her name, which is totally awesome. Unless he went w/his guy buddies, which he didn't clarify but then it would be doubly awesome.
Spade's designs are whimsical, classy, sharp, sophisticated and subtle, minimalist cutting edge with enough traditionalism to be functionally sassy, and, apart from the Louis Vuittons I own from my "Living in the Material World," years and my fondness for Burberry, are the only persnickety non-punk attributes about my choice of wardrobe and accessories. (Hell, Best Male Friend is just like me but has Burberry pajamas.) Kors' designs try to have the status renowned by Vuitton, but in the shape of some of Spade's or Prada's trademarks, with enough Hermes wannabe to pass off an "originally $400" handbag into $99 at any number of retail establishments aimed at bargain hunters.
But oh my, did I ever digress!
My original point being, to realize the intensity and intrusion which accompany a trigger of PTSD is close to impossible, even with the best of intentions and the utmost of empathy. Our professor in Community Psych (who's wonderful) on Monday night showed us a "20/20" clip of a man literally (and not staged for TV) beat his wife to a pulp. It struck such a fearful nerve, that I'd left the room for extended periods twice in a matter of an hour and a half, maybe? I knew the topic of class was domestic violence, and I was ok with hearing more about ways to treat it, if only for my own personal edification. I feel strongly I am not a victim of domestic violence; rather, I'm a survivor of it.
Yes, I understand that I will have clients who present with problems similar to what I've gone through. But the ethical model we follow in the psychological practice is to refer a client out to another therapist who may have more knowledge, experience and tough skin to handle a domestic violence case if I can't, because I am too jaded and afraid. I explained to the professor later, on the train home, what was the scoop. My therapy partner from last semester, who is also in my class, stayed after class to fill the Prof about what's happened to me, which I said was fine. I feel bad that my prof felt bad showing such a graphic video. While blessed with a strong stomach for most things, I was not prepared for the discussion about the makeup of the domestic abuser. (Hint: It's usually the guy everyone thinks is the nicest and most outgoing, seemingly wonderful guy around, which is completely what Chris was like.)
To those for whom my heart actively beating and synapses rapidly firing were intrinsically important or engaging, my death was notably feigned, even if its Pythonesque means lacked the intended humor. For any other sorry sods who probably didn't give two hoots in the first place, or for irritating simpletons and life's annoying miscreants, yeah. I died jet skiing off of Turks & Caicos & the conjecture and speculation thereof was completely purposeful. (Perfect example: Guy kind of convinced two of his colleagues at Balderdash & Verities, "Gumby & Pokey," or "Dumb & Dumber," as I would call them (well, they DID get their medical degrees in Guadalajara), that I *did* die, but still had work to do on the oft-obituary-scanning, obsessive-enough-to-check-with-the-county-coroner office manager.) Let's say I was really dead, and in a pure gold urn, which is Luke's vision of things, and they spilled me accidentally, I'm sure he'd have a similar reaction such as this, Python's tribute to Graham Chapman, which I personally find hysterical:
I wonder, snickering, if anyone who saw the more-faux-than-ostrich-faux news accident report stopped to ponder how in the Sweet Name of Fuck *I* could afford to vacation in Turks & Caicos in the first place.
What's doubly silly is that the older I become and the more sardonic I approach my mortality, the seemingly less funny my demise comes across to others. I chalk it up to being one accidental OD shy of completely being sniped. To all that I would ask for some slack, given today is an historically really poopy time of the year for me.
So what took Jesus 3 days took me a week and I don't even have stigmata with which to impress my friends and assuage the naysayers. It's almost like I never left in the first place.
Resurrected. Reincarnated. Tomato....
Did I go to heaven? Not quite. Did I rest in peace? Hardly. Was I deserving of nirvana? Health long and short of it was "Nuh uh." The Good Judeo-Christian Lord Almighty collaborated with Krishna and Buddha (at a big conference table, no doubt, over lunch) to revert my soul back to the planet with only a small concussion and a sprinkle of Tough Shit after the unfortunate wipe out in the tropics. Turned out I was, at the very least, one PTSD flip-out and an intense hypomanic episode away from any semblance of paradise in the afterlife.
Such is the depth of the sarcasm of God.
Mixed reactions to my reincarnation reveal the world's overall intoleration of Me as An Even Bigger Asshole Than the First Time Around (subtitled: We Didn't Think That Was Possible.). I jest, but I'm sure there are people out there who wish that my life's end was for real.
During most of my psychological vacation into the afterlife, I was pretty severely hypomanic. As my mind fluttered from point A to point F to point Z, wrapping and weaving through the other 23 letters of the alphabet, I was surviving on about 3 hours of sleep a night, and doing things like every-detail cleaning my entire bedroom/office looking for my custody/child support paperwork, frustrated I couldn't find it, & kicking myself when I was done because, while my office area sparkled and organized, all I had to do would have been to call Craig and have him email me the documents, which he had scanned into his laptop a long time ago. Argh. My mania was further compounded by the separation anxiety of both Guy and my best local girlfriend leaving town simultaneously. Don't misunderstand me; I'm not blaming them for my mania, but there are a number of external circumstances that exacerbate an already fragile mind.
I was capable of focusing enough the evening of the room-cleaning to play with my band, and, if I had to venture a guess, was operating on about 80% mental capacity and performed as required over last weekend.
If my memory is correct, the mania eased by Wednesday, I think, and I proceeded to spend much of the last 72 hours dead out asleep, rising only for the occasions of obligations related to my son. Wednesday morning, I had to be downtown at school at 8am and had overcompensated on my caffeine by having coffee at home, a Starbucks (featuring a triple shot of espresso) on the way to school, and an Earl Grey tea at school, before coming home, dozing off on the train, and assuming I'd sneak in several hours' additional sleep before it was time to pick Luke up from school.
Nonesuch was to be had, and I lied in bed with a frantically pounding heart for 4 hours, growing increasingly aggravated, unable to get the mental scenario of working the kinks out of Guy Friend's muscles out of my head, which frustrates my frustration. (Guy'd been complaining before he left for Colorado of a very sore neck from ice-chipping outside several days ago, which I offered to massage out of him had it not been for my sore hands, which broke my fall on said ice when I wiped out in the alley the night before, taking out the garbage. In lieu of physically remedying Guy, I told him to pretend I'd kissed his neck, which'd have to do, which naturally pretty much gave him his own panic attack. And I wonder why he skipped town without texting me so much as a goodbye...)
The depressive slump resulting after the hypomania, yes, comes at an inopportune moment in my year's chronology, but I'm not going to palaver at length about my dad's death, because it seems like I do that every year and furthermore, it serves no purpose other than to make me *more* depressed. So with all the capacity for love in my giant heart, I will gently say "Dad, I miss you every day, and for every day I miss you, I love you even more."
Heartfelt thanks to those of you who kindly left eulogies and condolences within my last blog. Don't think your love and affection weren't appreciated or noticed.
I have to give a shout out to www.healthyplace.com who have recommended "Rhythms" as being a topical and mental health-related site, which in a roundabout way, it is, if one can meander through my complicated personal life to eek out what's socially relevant. To "Stand Up for Mental Health," as I do, visit: http://www.healthyplace.com/stigma/stand-up-for-mental-health/stand-up-for-mental-health-campaign/.