A Lesson from the Mall Man
Let me tell you of a grizzly man
with a long, white cane, thin and tall
he followed me last night, you see
on my stroll home from the mall.
Clenched tight my arms behind my back
‘till naught I saw was red
as the hoarsely grunted in my ear
‘for sunrise, you’ll be begging you were dead.
He led me to a catacomb
of darkness and despair
and with a rusty razor blade
he shaved off all my hair.
Each button from my shirt he plucked
to leave my chest exposed
to have felt such fright, on that night
I would never have supposed
“Beg to die” he crackled
with a gurgle in his breath
then took his razor to my skin-
carved a sculpture from my chest.
My screams rose high, as the blade drove deep
and scraped against the bone
but no one came to rescue me
indeed, we were alone
Stabbing once... twice... thrice!
then slit me helm to stern
my lungs filled up with fluid as
my bowels began to churn.
My guts spilled out across my knees
life flashed before my eyes
I sputtered for him to “kill me please”
and prayed for quick demise.
Last thing I remember
was the knife against my neck
his final words a lesson
you’d be best not to forget.
“When your parents tell you ‘stay at home’
you’d best not disobey
bet you never thought ‘shop till you drop’
meant that you’d end up this way.”
(c) Stella Darkely, October 30, 2009
A Lesson from the Mall Man
Floating. I am floating in a sea of sleepiness, as the melatonin and valerian I take an hour before bed to help me feel tired – to help my brain from thinking, over analyzing: from hurting.
School is proving difficult. Not because what I am learning is particularly difficult but, because I fail to see how anything at all is relevant to my future dreams and aspirations.
Survival. I am running in survival mode and it’s exhausting. When will I finally be free?... Don’t we all ask ourselves these questions? Why does it often feel like I am alone with these thoughts? Why does it feel as though there are more questions than can ever possibly be answered?
Jean-Paul Sartre said that people define their lives and find meaning in the projects that they set out for themselves – in the tasks that they accomplish towards a larger goal that they have. But what is my greater purpose? What is the larger goal that I am working towards? It used to be writing and a career as a writer/filmmaker. I still want that future for myself, but the closer I am to reaching a time when I can finally work on this “project,” the further away I feel.
My life cannot be about researching and cataloguing. How can I possibly advise people on what to read and where to go for information, when I hardly feel competent enough to advise myself on these things?!
Information – it is out there, it surrounds us all and I have a strange love/hate relationship with it. If there wasn’t so much information out there, we might all be just a little bit more ignorant and just a little bit… happier? Is ignorance really bliss? Is an oversaturation of information doing us any favours? Is there really just too much out there to process and digest?
There is so much information out there to weed through and select from, yet any “project,” can be rendered useless; destroyed, because of inaccurate or an overabundance of information.
I feel as though I know too much now – I know too much about people and their motivations; about society and the structures that keep us “in our place”. The prognosis is bleak (I feel like Dr. House – too many symptoms rattling around in my brain which, the more I try to piece together, the more I fall apart).
Where is my knight and shining armour?.... Oh, rescue me from my existential despair!
Where is the ending promise to us by Disney Inc.? It doesn’t seem fair that the great, creative, unsuccessful minds of this world should set such high standards of happiness for us, through the images that they create, that we can never quite achieve them…
I am tired now. The melatonin has kicked in and I am pleasantly exhausted, even though I’ve done almost nothing productive this entire day.
Perhaps tomorrow I will feel more motivated – will exhume and resume the projects currently idling beneath the veneer of my self-sufficiency.
In this, largely, isolated world that we live in -- in the lonely crevices of our mind, we search out the little things throughout our days and nights that catch our attentions and keep us from blinking. We look for, and anticipate, the hues of a rainbow as much as the wet, glistening rain. We hope that things will remain constant, even as they change with the seasons, and we search our surroundings for signs that "things are looking up".
Unfortunately, all of this we do with eyes that are predisposed to only seeing that which fits our schema of experience. We trick our minds into "shoulding, woulding, and coulding," while we never actually do that which we want. We wait for tomorrow in order to begin attaining the things we wanted yesterday, let alone today. We wait for the perfect moment to splurge on a vacation, a meal, a bottle of wine -- for the right mood and opportunity to tell someone we love them, even if we know they won't say it back. What we fail to see, over and over again, with our shielded eyes, is that tomorrow will never arrive for us because we are living all of our tomorrows, today, yet, never fully cognizant of the opportunities always lingering in full view.
Tonight, I am seeing with new eyes -- fully appreciative of the full scope of the worldview that I choose to adopt. Tonight, I am no longer gazing out at the world behind the restrictive glare of my eyeglasses. ... I allowed a surgeon to cut into my eyes recently -- entrusting him to reshape the defective cornea that were the cause of the hazy, milky, indecipherable "out there," that shaped my perception of my environment. Now I can see, unaided by any artificial prosthesis -- I see and hear, and feel my surroundings like never before -- appreciative of every hurdle and happiness in plain sight.
So, tonight, I probably "should have," finished reading an article that I need to have read in order to write a long overdue essay. Earlier today, I probably "should have," started my homework sooner, so that I would have time to do other things. I always tell myself: 'do the things that you must now so that you can do the things that you want to do later' but, as I near my 30s, my eyes increasingly widen to the fact that my idea of a perfect, uncluttered, responsibility-free "later," does not exist. I must create my future in the present.
If I want to be a writer...
if I want to be a filmmaker...
if I want to find a love...
if I want to make money...
if I want a better future...
a happy future...
I must do these things NOW, not later.
While I have no clear answers as to how I will navigate my way through school, work, and other responsibilities while, simultaneously, living in my newly created present, I can promise myself that: I will not put down my pen when inspired, just so that I can finish my overdue assignments; I will not ignore the occasional palpitations of my heart, signaling to me my loneliness; I will not put off for tomorrow the things that I could have done today to make me feel that I am one step closer to the happy future that I can now see clearly, on the horizon, with my freshly healed, eager, eyes.