Charles Bukowski, “Screams From the Balcony” (via larmoyante)
This quote was bouncing around my Tumblr dashboard last week and naturally it caught my eye because y’know, Bukowski. I tucked it in my drafts folder thinking maybe I had something to say about it, but I couldn’t quite figure out what. It kept rattling around in my noggin, but it took a while for me to nail down why it was clicking in my brain so hard. Why this idea of flowers and knives kept bubbling to the surface of my thoughts.
It reminded me of something, something about myself, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
I’ve been fortunate enough to lead a pretty charmed life by most measures so it’s not that I’ve been attacked by knives as often as Buk was (although I guess it could be argued that no one abused Buk more than he abused himself). It’s not that I’ve been horribly betrayed by people or fate or life again and again to the point where I no longer trusted or recognized their “flowers.”
No, this quote stuck in my head because it reminded me (like SO many things… ugh) of depression.
Because as I’ve probably talked about before the biggest motherfucker about depression is that it’s a goddamn liar. It’s a sneaky manipulative shithearted liar with the poker face of a pro card shark. And when you’ve been lied to that many times by your own head you start to question EVERYTHING. You mistrust EVERYTHING. It’s not that it takes time to recognize that the flowers aren’t knives, it’s that the flowers ARE knives.
On the good days it can be a short blip you quickly recover from. You see the strings and realize what’s going on and wrench yourself out of that lying motherfucker’s grip and get back on course. You blink twice and see the flower as a flower.
On the bad days everything is a knife. Every goddamn thing is a fucking knife.
Depression fucks with you like that. You read silence as hate. You read kindness as pity. You read love as manipulation.
Think on that for a second. Someone shows you love or affection or basic human kindness and all you can see and feel is that they’re trying to manipulate, hurt, or trick you. That they’re only being kind because they feel sorry for you or want something from you. Brutal. Absolutely fucking brutal.
I’ve turned myself inside out believing things that just plain don’t exist. When it’s bad I can get from an unreturned text message to “she never loved me and at this exact moment she’s reading my text to some other guy and they’re laughing about what a loser I am while they fuck” in less than three moves. That’s crazy, right? That’s a LUDICROUS leap in non-logic to make. And it’s not about trust or how stable that relationship was in the first place. That was just depression fucking lying to me. When depression sinks its lying asshole motherfucking claws in deep that feels like a totally rational thought process. It doesn’t just agree with you when you wind up at that conclusion, it twists and turns pulls and guides you to it like it’s the only possible rational explanation for why she didn’t write back. What’s the quote? “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” Depression’s like that because it will absolutely make you believe that you got to whatever dark dank hole you find yourself in all by yourself and that it’s not only the right place to be, but it’s the only place you DESERVE to be. Fucking asshole.
I don’t know what my point here is. I probably don’t have one. Maybe this is just a thing of me applying my own bullshit to some thing I read on the internet. Or maybe this is just one of those things that’s been kicking around in my dome for a over a week and now it’s all here laid out for you to read and that makes me feel a little better. A little lighter. Maybe I’m reaching for something that isn’t there…
All I really know for sure is this: We have to be kind to each other. We have to try as hard as we can to understand where other people in our lives are coming from. We have to listen with our ears and with our hearts and we have to try our absolute fucking hardest to help whenever or however we can. We almost certainly can’t fix everything… maybe we can’t fix anything… but we can try to help. We should never stop trying to help.
Thank you. I love you. Be well.
Just go out and fucking make something.
Simple as that. Get to work.