Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena

An Anniversary, and Epiphanies

Once upon a time, in February of 1976 (I'm not sure of the date, I just know it was a Wednesday), there was a bright, sunny, unseasonably warm Wednesday. At about 10:30 AM on that day, I spent a few minutes staring at my dormitory from a few hundred yards away, and I came as close as I have ever been to committing suicide; I was one decision and five minutes away from being dead. I decided, instead, to become a writer, and for most of the ensuing 33 years I have been describing myself as a failed (so far) writer. Lately, I have found myself embarrassed by that construction; it is long past time to either lose the adjective, or the parenthetical.

February is always hard on me; it is, historically, the time of year when my chronic depression takes the biggest bites out of me. This year, I arrived at this cursed month in deep depression, with no end in sight, and the likelihood of worse to come. This week's weather has reminded me of that rather critical interlude, lo these many years ago, and that has led to two very different epiphanies.

First, I did not start playing the writing game because I had any passion to write, or found any joy in it. I took up the pen because it seemed a reasonable short term alternative to killing myself. In spite of the fundamental absurdity of being a wannabe writer as I roll up on my 53rd birthday, that choice remains valid. Writing, for me, was never meant to be particularly joyful or worthwhile; I came to it as a Least Evil, and I am foolish to expect more.

Second, I have realized with some amusement that suicide simply is not, at this point in my life, an option. I was aware, back in 1976, that my death would hurt my parents, but that was simply not a relevant factor. They loved their concept of me (which was quite a bit different than who I really was), and I loved them, but not enough to put up with the day to day pain of existence. Today, though... I have never been very good at being happy; I'm not really cut out for it. Dementia is another story, though; she is a fundamentally happy person, various social and moral deficiencies notwithstanding. I love her, and for some bizarre reason my continued existence brings her joy. I do not understand it, but there it is: I am not morally or emotionally capable of causing her the unhappiness that my death would bring. It is amazing to me that her happiness pays the freight, with dividends, on my continued existence, and yet it is unquestionably true.

Uncle Hyena
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