Trauma is a Private Wasteland

”Let me tell you something about being traumatized. Being traumatized is like living in a different world. It’s your own private wasteland, it’s filled with your ghosts. It’s lonely in there but that’s the way it’s supposed to be. You don’t want to be there but you have no choice. There’s the memory, you’re not allowed to forget. You can only dilute it. Get yourself so fucked up you might forget about it for a few moments. You have to understand that your tragedy wants company. It seduces with salvation but there’s nothing in there. But your tragedy, this parasitic meme, cannot sustain if it doesn’t get your mindful energy. It needs you to live. It tells you: ‘come inside, we don’t have an answer but I can make your pain go away- if only for a moment. You can hide in there.
So you go inside and wreck the world around you. No matter how many people you invite to this wasteland, none of them will be able to find it. It’s because this world belongs to you, its your unwanted creation….This wasteland is the only place that feels real. Cos none of this, all of this around us, none of it feels real. You don’t feel real to me cos you don’t live inside my world. Your trauma is always there to crash the party. It taints everything. It keeps coming back for you. And you need it. Life doesn’t make sense without it. This is what being traumatized is. It’s a fucking shit-show. But it’s my fucking shit-show…”

Picture taken in Groningen, Holland. 

***

Lunch on Saturday

”Look I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know where I’m supposed to go. I haven’t known these things for so many years, I can’t even count them anymore. It used to be simple, everything seemed so simple. But that was never meant to last…
Sometimes I wonder if we were ever supposed to get this old. All we are doing is passing time. That’s it. I don’t care where we eat. You decide.”


Picture taken in Groningen, Holland.

***

Somewhere Else

I’m not really here. All I want to be is to be present, right here, with you. But I can’t. I tried. I just keep going back. Every time I think I’m on my way back, I realize I haven’t moved an inch. At times It’s worse when I’m with other people. They tried to make me feel like I’m part of them and I pretend I am, but I quickly realize this is impossible. The people are here. They flutter now and then but most of them stay where they need to be. They stay in this world. I’m trapped in my own world, I created it without my blessing. I just wish I could be here. I wish I could feel like I should, like you deserve. I wish I could experience joy without this nagging feeling that things are not alright. This consciousness knowledge that the moment is lost. You can never experience it fully. Things are not alright and they will never be alright. It happens to people sometimes. Along the way something happens to them or they make a mistake and it damages them for life. Sometimes they just happen to be born with it. This alienation was always there, it just needed time to grow….
 I just wish I was more like you. The things I could do if I was more like you. Maybe someday you’ll teach me. Maybe someday you’ll make me dream it’s possible. The people can escape hell when they fool themselves its possible. I like that idea. I like that idea a lot.”

Photograph taken in Katowice, Poland.

***

Our Disease 20

Kill the Bug

It was a beautiful dream. It was a dream full of angels. He had a sudden mission in life: to return to the world and save mankind from the bugs eating their brain. If he did this, they would come for him. He would be allowed to live among them, in the place that followed the promises of his country, promises he had heard about since he was a child at school. Promises that were broken again and again.
There was a preacher, an old friend who he could never say goodbye to, his mother, the lover that would one day find him, there was the demon that turned out to be an angel. There was no fear, we conquered it. We were ourselves, we were free to explore our eccentricities, it would be explored on paper. So many people were lost in the old world, now we found each other and made sure nobody got lost. Everyone was welcome, the tired as well as the poor. If we could only see ourselves for who we are, if we weren’t so afraid, this world could be ours.
He had asked the angels what he was supposed to do.
They told him to watch for the sign, you would understand then. Everything would be clear.
But you must go all the way, it’s the only way to escape this world. The only way to escape this prison.
Reality is the dream, all you have to do is wake up and pull the trigger.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania david lynch i fight with myself
Art by David Lynch

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Our Disease 19

    The Return

The waiting-room used to be filled with darkness, a faint light, its walls were scarlet red. There were windows now, light shone brightly inside the olive green room. It was a pleasant place to be, a man would feel calm here.
Her next patient sat there, smiling around him. It looked much better than before. A woman came out the room and smiled at the person in the waiting-room, he smiled back. Perhaps there was a certain attraction the man thought, perhaps I still got it.
The patient entered Dr. Benway’s office. To Dr. Benway, it was like seeing a ghost.
”I really like what you’ve done to the place. It looks much better now.”
”I can’t believe it, it’s really you.”
”It’s me, I’m back.”
He sat in front of her, looked around. The room was another pleasant olive green. There were paintings on the wall. The paintings evoked the natural beauty of this world, a transcendence one could capture if we were to really look.
”When you called I thought it was some practical joke.”
”You recognized my voice did you?”
”You didn’t sound the same. You sounded like a different person.”
”I’m the same person but with a different state of mind.”
She looked him over, he looked better. The scruffy hairs were gone. Clean clothes. His eyes were clear, it evoked even a calmness that seemed so unnatural to him.
”You look good.”
”Thank you, so do you.”
”You’ve been missing for over a year Harry. You can’t blame my reaction. People naturally assumed you were dead.”
”I needed to wander the world a bit, be invisible, do some soul-searching. I needed to get acquainted with America.”
”Where did you go?”
”I’ve been about everywhere. I’ve met a lot of people, so many beautiful people…” Harry paused, as their faces came back to them, ”I’ve fallen in love with his country again. For a long time, I thought it was lost, without a chance of salvation. I forgot how beautiful this country really is. I went to all these different states with different laws, I’ve talked to people. People took me into their houses. I’ve even been with a few women,” Harry smiled, thinking about the young girl he had, the older woman, a woman of his age. How beautiful they are. How there was nothing more beautiful than a woman.
”Maybe I’ll tell you about this one day, but I’m only here for a few days. Hitting the road again soon.”
”So why have you come back?”’
”I wanted to come clean. Been doing a lot of thinking on the road. Even about the things I didn’t want to think about. You were there for me for many years, you’ve tried to make me confront them. And now I have. I wanted to thank you for pushing me as far as you did.”
”Well it’s my job,” she smiled, feeling touched.
”When Sheryl left me I was a wreck. Deep down I knew it wasn’t going to work. I spend years convincing her that I was worth loving, but it shouldn’t have been like that. Her love had faded, it was her choice. When she left me, I lost it. I was a wreck…”
He took a deep breath.
”During this time, my mother was enduring a relapse. A failed relationship had brought her over the top, she called for me. I didn’t answer because it was too painful for me to admit that my relationship had ended. She killed herself and I blamed myself.”
He took a deep breath, it still hurt, he went on: ”It wasn’t my fault. I should have picked up but I didn’t know what was going on. There were signs sure, but you can’t blame it on yourself. She was a troubled person. I loved her and she loved me. She wouldn’t want me to feel guilty about this neither.”
”No she wouldn’t Harry.”
”So for years, I locked myself in a little sound-stage and committed myself to my weekly podcast, leaving my literary ambitions behind. I think I’m going to write again, though I still miss my podcast. I had an audience, even met some people who loved my show.”
”I miss it too Harry.”
”I really miss mom. She was my angel. I like to think she’s still around. I like to think she’d be proud of me.”
”She would be. I’m sure of it.”
”It still hurts and sometimes I want to hide again, but I’ve learned to deal with it. I’m ready to move on.”
Dr. Benway smiled, she felt paternal over Harry, just like she did with many other patients. She was so proud of him, so hopeful.
”I need to go now Dr. Benway, I have a schedule to keep.
”So where are you going to go?”
”I don’t know. I still think there’s this place in America somewhere, where there are people like me. People who want to devote themselves to truth, the values of what America once stood for. Maybe I will find that place and if not, that’s okay too.”
He got up and when they shook hands he said: ”life is an absurd fucking place. Sometimes I don’t see it. Sometimes it looks like an endless series of human tragedies. But then I look beyond, then I think of you, I think of my mother, I think Crispin, Dale, all the people that I loved, all the people that loved me. And things seem better.”
They wished each other good luck on their journey. When he left the room, he said ”auf wiedersehen.”

They were packed and ready to go, when there doorbell rang. ”Could you get that!” she yelled from upstairs as she was finishing up her make-up in the bathroom.
”Honey, you better come downstairs,” her fiancée called out.
When she went downstairs, to the front-door, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
”I’m sorry I couldn’t be at the wedding,” Harry said, ”but I just heard about it.”
”Harry,” Sheryl said, her fiancee patting her shoulder, ”you were messing. It’s been a year… We thought you were..”
”Yes, I know. I’m sorry for making you that. It was selfish of me. I was in a different place back then. I just wanted to say sorry for this and congratulate you on your engagement.”
She held back the years, it came so close to bursting. For a period of time, she had blamed herself for his disappearance, even mourned him. The romantic love had been long gone, but she still cared of them. This will always be, even if they did not share the same bed together.
”I know you probably blamed yourself for a while, but you shouldn’t. You should do what’s right for you, and I’m happy you moved on…”
”Thank you Harry…” She didn’t know what else to say, she felt like hugging him but composed herself.
Harry turned to her fiancée. A year ago he saw him making love to Cheryl through a webcam footage. He watched it in a wail of tears. Now this memory was laughable. You have to laugh at the absurdity of life.
”I’ve heard your a good man,” Harry said, ”I know you’ll take good care of her.”
”Thanks, nice to finally meet you” said the fiancée who was in a loss for words as well, ”We are going for a little road-trip, meeting some family.”
”Good, it’s a beautiful world out there.”
She could see he was the old Harry, the happy person she fell in love with so long ago.
”I’ve got to get going now, but good luck on your journey. I always wanted you to be happy. In the end that mattered most.”
She reached out to hug him, she told him she was sorry. She was sorry she couldn’t love him the way he needed to be loved. He said there was no need.
”I’m glad your back,” she said.
”So am I.”

It was a cheap hotel-motel room, but it didn’t matter to Harry. A luxury life was alien to him to him now, if it were offered to him, he wouldn’t know what to do with it. On the road, you have to give things up. There was a king-size bed, a TV screen on the wall, a closet, a tiny bathroom, that was it. He would be only there for a few days and to be fair, that was all he could afford anyway. He was running out of money, the trip back had been expensive to him. The savings were almost gone. He didn’t know what he was going to do for money, but he didn’t worry much. He had made some friends on the road, people would try to help him. In America, the people are there for you. In America, you are not on your own.
When he entered his small room, there was a box in the center of his bed. Walking up to it, he saw that there was an envelope taped on top of it. A familiar voice then: ”you expected a package?”
Stone came out the bathroom, steam following from the shower. A towel was covering his middle, just like the last time he saw him.
”You remember what you told me last time we saw each other?”
”I do.”
Stone looked worse than he did before. There was a bigger gut, an unshaven white beard, receding hair but with a long mullet at the back. There was a tiredness in his eyes. The ferociousness was still there but the year has aged him rapidly.
”Am I supposed to be scared,” smiled Stone, walking up to him, inches away from his face.
”I don’t think you get scared,” said Harry, smiling back, ”it’s not in your nature.”
”You know, you look good, I thought you would look worse but you look better.”
”You look worse.”
”My lifestyle, however thrilling, comes with a few sacrifices,” Harry grabbed a chair and sat down, grabbed a cigarette from the pack on the table and lit one. He offered Harry a cigarette too, Harry shook his head.
”For old times sake.”
Harry took it then, Stone lit it for him.
”They just let you in this place?”
”I said I was an old friend and then I gave the manager some money and he didn’t care either way.”
Harry sat down on the bed, ”you’ve been busy I guess, knowing what’s happening with the world.”
”Yeah, president is not doing such a hot job. Tell you the truth, I don’t think I can save him.”
”He hasn’t changed much after the campaign, he pretty much seems like the same guy.”
”He was the people’s elect. The rumors were there in the campaign, the signs were all there and the people were still stupid enough to vote him. They got what they voted for. Don’t know why people are shocked.”
”How have you been Stone?”
”I think I should ask that question to you.”
”You thought I was dead?”
”For a while I did, it took me a while to find you. You just disappeared into some black hole. My guy eventually found you in some fucking hippie commune in the west. Then later you were in Alaska for some fucking reason. I thought about confronting you there but I was a busy and I thought you needed some time.”
”I would tell you I’m sorry but to tell you the truth, I wanted you to think I was dead, but I wasn’t naive to think that I could pull that off.”
”You were hoping I would take you down, just to be safe?”
”A part of me hoped this in the beginning.”
”Shit man,” Stone took a deep puff, ”you still don’t see me as a friend, do you?”
”I’ve thought a lot about you.”
”Did you figure me out?”
”In a way, I do think you wanted to help me. But I also think you were enabling the worst in me, that my unhappiness was a prove of your success. That your dream, your America, was the superior than my America.”
”Now you’ve returned. Did you expect to see me?”
”I expected to see you eventually.”
”You happier now?”
”I am.”
Stone smiled, not sure if he was happy about this myself, ”so my instincts were correct. You needed some time with yourself. I guess my handling of your situation…”
”The boy’s name was Alan Kurd.”
”The boy’s name doesn’t fucking matter,” said Stone ferociously, ”what matters is that you never bothered again.”
”They send me the boy’s file, that’s all.”
”Good,” Stone was tapping ash from his cigarette on the floor.
”How long are you staying?”
”Not for very long.”
”Let’s have a couple of drinks.”
”I don’t drink anymore.”
”Come on, for old times sake. We can go see Dale, you know he’s working for that piece of shit Sean Reilly? He went from you to Reilly, poor guy. He’s not even allowed to smoke weed in the sound-booth.”
”I wanted to see him before I go.”
”Perfect, let’s go then, I’m gonna brush my teeth,” Stone went in the bathroom, ”I’m really happy to see you Harry. It’s easy to lose touch with old friends. Hope we can pick up where we left off.”
Harry said nothing, but turned to face the box. He ripped the envelope lose and opened it. There was a piece of paper, it said: ”WHEN YOU’RE READY.”
Harry took a deep breath, got up and opened a door of a cabinet attached to the wall. There was a box full of separated cutlery, he grabbed a knife. He used this knife to open the box. Inside the box was another wooden box. Harry looked back to see if Stone wasn’t coming. Stone was brushing his teeth, whistling a tune as he did. Harry opened the box. Seeing what was inside, Harry knew what was expected of him.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania paris texas painting
Art by Thomas Pramhas

***

 

Our Disease 17

 Alan Kurd 

It was not going to be a good show today, but it didn’t matter. There was a need to speak out, even if he couldn’t speak about the thing that made him want to speak out. This was his only home, this is where he could find himself every now and then.
But a doubt came in his mind. Maybe this home will taken from him as well.
The topic was less than hopeful.
”The children read stories starring magnificent animals,” started Harry, ”those animals don’t exist anymore. We wiped them out. When I was born, most of the damage had already been done. My mother told me there were people warning us, giving us countless evidence but nobody would listen. It just became worse. We believe this world belongs to us, all the other creatures just have to make space for us…”
He took a gulp of a vodka bottle next to him, trying to numb the effect of this particular intrusive thought: where he would see the head of decapitated boy, rolling senselessly around in circles. The worst was the sound. He was still calling out for his mother.

”…They even continued diminishing restrictions on how to slaughter animals. The bullfighting went on for years. When the bull won, they would slaughter his offspring. They would shoot bears when they were hibernating. Even now, with the advancements we need cloning, there’s still a large demand for the meal of live animals, even though cloned meat is exactly the same, but they don’t believe so. There’s all these Disney movies and we think them cute, we humanize them, but what did we do in the end. All these beautiful creatures. We knew what we were doing. We fucking knew…” another gulp.
”But even before the massive floods, before the constant hurricanes, before the hundreds and even thousands of deaths due to global warming, we could have prevented it. It’s just that nobody listened. Nobody fucking listened. They even shut down the EPA for a while, just so they wouldn’t be telling these things to people. The poor died. Those beautiful animals died. For us. So that we can do what we want with this place. I keep thinking about these animals. I keep thinking about them. And I think that perhaps, it was better that none of us were here in the first place. We could call this evolution 101. Simple biology. Survival of the fucking fittest. But do you like that story? I don’t. I don’t like that story at all…”
Harry was silent then. He didn’t know what to say. No words seemed reasonable anymore. He had already strayed far from his script, he thought he was going somewhere with this but maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he’s going nowhere, maybe that’s the point.
Dead air for almost a minute. Dale waved his arms around wildly, hoping to catch Harry’s attention on the other side of the glass. Harry saw him but did not respond. There were no words.
Dale knew something was wrong with his boss. Despondency was normal with him, but there was a despair in his eyes that went beyond the regular depression. Those were the eyes of a man that saw something and knew he could never come back.
The rolling head, the call to his mother. The telephone, a call from his mother. Pick up the phone, somethings wrong. For god’s sake pick up the phone…
We have some unfortunate news to tell you…
We are very sorry…
I never knew she could do such a thing, I always thought she was the strongest persons alive.
Rumors were abound that she suffered from a mental illness. We need to have more awareness about mental illness…
This is the absurd world we live in.
I’m sorry mom. I’m so sorry…
The words came back: ”…There’s a viciousness in the human animal that no other animal can match. My mother used to speak about that there inherent good inside us, it’s just that most of us don’t know what to do with it. If we could just tap into the good stuff and use it in the right way, we would figure out what to do with this world. But I think my mom, always known for someone dishing out the heavy truths, was naive. She wanted the return of true believers, but the truth of the matter is, there were just not enough of here. There never was. She believed that if only people understood what is going on, if they understand the truth, that people will do the right thing. Maybe this could be true if enough people had faith, but there’s too much cynicism, too much misanthropy, too much goddamn darkness we take for granted. A mind-virus went into our heads and spread from child to child. Adam ate from the goddamn apple. Pandora’s box has long been opened. It’s too late. We are damned. There were some that were immune but they could never find a cure. One would think common sense could be the cure. But we are too emotional for common sense… I ..”
Another gulp, a sigh and then: ”I was supposed to talk about something else but I forgot. Tell you the truth I don’t care. I’m supposed to tell the truth here but I can’t. There are things I just can’t share with you. I’m not here anymore. I’ve lost myself. I’ve lost myself a long time ago…”
Silence, then: ”this will be my last broadcast. I hope you are well there. I hope I inspired something positive to your lives, to whoever is listening. Take care of each other, for the love of god, take care of each other..”
End of final broadcast.

”I’m sorry Dale,” said Harry when he joined him in the sound-booth, ”I should have told you, but to tell you the truth I didn’t know before I was talking. I will make sure you will get an advance. I’m sure you can find a place. I’ll give my recommendation if it’s worth a fuck.”
”That’s alright man, come sit down please.”
Harry sat down in front of him, Dale offered a him a joint and Harry shook his head. ”I’m drinking today,” he said, lifting up the vodka bottle.
”Does any of this have to do with Stone?”
Harry swallowed but then quickly shook his head, ”no I… just need to move on.”
”I know he is your friend and all, but I don’t trust him. There’s something about him. My mother had this about people too. You can just feel if something is off. She always said that the devil could never fool her. I hope I can consider myself the same.”
”You’re right, there’s something very wrong with Stone. The devil hasn’t fooled you at all.”
Dale took a deep puff, ”you sure you want to do this man? Where are you gonna go?”
”I don’t know. Maybe I’ll wander the world. I don’t have much money, but maybe there’s a better place for me out there.”
”I’ll miss you man.”
”I’ll miss you too. It was a good ride wasn’t it?
”It wasn’t always easy but it was an honor working for you man. I really believed your words.”
”I never thought you really listened.”
”I always did. But I’m not the only one. I hope you realize there many out there who listened to your words. I hope you will remember this and not remain silent for ever. You made the world a little saner every week.”
”Thank you Dale. If you need anything, maybe a nice severance package, let me know.’
”I appreciate that Harry.”
Harry got up, they shook hands.
”Do one thing for me Harry?”
”What?”
”Follow the music. If you know where the music is, you will find your way. I don’t know what I would do without the music.”
”I’ll do my best to listen.”
The shake quickly turned into a hug. They said goodbye one more time and then Harry left the building.

When Harry was walking toward his car, he noticed someone sitting in his passenger seat. He didn’t care who it was, he just got into his car, sat down, sighed, lit a cigarette. He offered a cigarette to the passenger.
”Tell you the truth, I didn’t like today’s episode that much,” said the preacher, ”the message just didn’t sit well with me.”
”I got pall-malls,” said Harry, passing the preacher a cigarette.
”Thanks,” the preacher lit his cigarette. They shared a silence.
”These are better cigarettes, gotta admit that.”
”I’ve got good taste.”
Harry took a deep puff, he looked at the preacher and noticed a big envelope on his lap. ”Is that for me?”
”Yeah, I was supposed to just leave this here for you. But I thought I’d give it to you in person. I thought it was better, considering what happened. I don’t think it’s right to even give you this, but he thought you should know.”
”He saw what happened.”
”Yes, but he doesn’t blame you for it. He didn’t expect it would happen though. He had heard about Stone and knew he was an evil prick but this surprised even him. Though, upon further research, this is not the first time he did such a thing. That’s the thing about evil men. We consert with them. We befriend them. And when we look back upon the carnage, we wonder how we couldn’t see it. But deep down, we knew the signs were there.”
”It’s a shame he didn’t see it. Maybe we could have prevented this.”
”it’s nobody’s fault but him”
”Did you know him?”
”No, he wasn’t part of our clique. But that doesn’t matter. He didn’t deserve this.”
”No he didn’t. Then again, that’s the way of the world. So many walk around who deserve worse or better. Ain’t no justice in this world. There’s just chance.”
”I can tell you again that it wasn’t your fault but we know you aren’t going to listen. Just as it wasn’t your fault about what happened to your mother.”
”I don’t want to talk about it.
”We understand…”
”No you don’t.”
”Maybe we don’t. We just know it hurts.”
Another silence.
”So has he lost interest in me?”
”He hasn’t, but for your sake and for others, he’s gonna leave you alone. This is going to be last message for a while.”
”For a while?”
”When you’re ready, he will return but it’s up to you.”
”I guess I want to be left alone then. Would have saved everyone a lot of trouble if he did this in the first place.”
The preacher sighed and quoted his favorite author, ”there’s love enough in this world for everybody, if people will just look.”
Harry took a deep puff and replied: ”good luck to you preacher.”
”Auf wiedersehen,” said the preacher who got out of the car, left the envelope on the passenger seat and walked away.
Harry finished his cigarette before he grabbed the big envelope. On the back it said: YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ THIS, IT’S UP TO YOU.
He opened the envelope, it was a file. It was about young man named Alan Kurd. He had been an orphan, lost his parents when he was twelve years old in a car accident. His mother had initially survived but died in the hospital, little Jimmy was there, he cried out for her to return. He became a delinquent. Didn’t do well in school. Arrested for being part of a terrorist hacker group. Missing.
Harry began to cry, ”you didn’t deserve it,” he began to mumble, ”you didn’t deserve it.”

The boy had a name now. It’s always harder when it has a name.
Podobny obraz
Art by Alwy Fadhel

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