10.23.2015

It is Friday, October 23, 2015. Two days from now shall mark the 60th year after a small male infant was born in a three-story house while outside snow piled higher than the tops of automobiles. Like an older brother, who was still born, this child’s hold on life was tentative at best. Unlike his eldest brother, he made it through birth alive, thanks to the quick thinking of the doctor in charge.

From that moment on the cards would be stacked against our little warrior. The “surprise child”, the one that “shouldn’t have happened”, the dumb, stupid, lazy, good-for-nothing, in-the-way, girly, ugly, burden of a child, would find that life was not fair, and often not even worth living. Yet he pushed on.

Too young at first to comprehend there was such a thing as “taking one’s own life”, he dealt with the pain and humiliation of repeated sexual abuse by simply “not being there”. It was a talent learned young, learned quickly, and one that would serve him well for decades. One that would grow in strength along with him. As he pushed on.

And grow he did. Tall, skinny, nerdy, our warrior did his best to face life happily, even when strained through a veil of anguish, mockery, and neglect. His college years would be spent inside books, in dark corners, anywhere he could avoid the cruelties of classmates. That wasn’t a new concept; all his school years, from the first thru twelfth grade were pretty much spent the same way. Yet he pushed on.

He would raise children, lose a marriage, gain a life-partner, then lose him as well. Over years he had discarded the family of his birth, latching onto any one that spun through his ever-decreasing circle of trust. Friends would die in war. Friends would die of HIV. Friends would die by their own hand. Yet he pushed on.

Now, some 59-odd years later, he looks back on his life searching for successes. From outside we can point to those times when he survived the odds and persevered. But he doesn’t see them. His mind won’t accept positive elements to his life. His heart “knows better”. Many times his faith was the only reason he didn’t stop pushing, stop trying. Yet now, even now, he pushes on.

Sunday will be quiet and unassuming. No fanfare. No balloons or streamers, cake, or ice cream. By now he detests his birthday, keeping it a major secret in his life so it is not even be mentioned. No, there won’t be a party. Instead he will hold his dog in one hand, a glass of bourbon in the other, and toast his lost partner. The day will pretty much come and go like any other.

And Monday … Monday he will push on. There is nothing else.

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12 thoughts on “10.23.2015

  1. Happy birthday to you.

    It is tonight, right?

    I’ve learned so much from you. I’ve learned that you sound much younger than 60. I’ve never met another male survivor. This is the first time I’ve had the experience described to me by other people, who always that I’m ‘so much’ older than I sound. Most people think I force myself to sound younger.

    I’m not sure how one does that.

    Life often feels as if it’s all struggle and pain and sorrow. Life often feels as if life is nothing but a vicious dash for survival till you drop and can’t survive anymore.

    But we are more than animals. We can touch each others lives and nurture each others spirits.

    I will be 63 in a few weeks. I will also toast lost friends. I am lucky, Three of the people I’ve loved best in my life are still alive.

    I made it, I’m alive in spite of every effort to break my spirit and body. I am alive, and productive and still learning,

    And so are you.

    Happy Birthday, my friend.

    I hope you have many more…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let me say “Happy Birthday” even if a little early. I never would have taken you for 63. I would have cast you in your upper 20’s low 30’s maybe.
      “a vicious dash for survival till you drop and can’t survive anymore”
      You said a lot here. Sure how it feels sometimes. I’m glad I’m learning to stop and take a look around. Enjoy art. Enjoy the world I’m in. Watch sunsets and rainbows and even lightning. Listen to thunder. Let your mind fly on the winds of your inner child’s imagination.
      I’m glad you now have met another male survivor. πŸ™‚ There are, unfortunately, thousands of us. And if I can help just one stand for a bit longer, then my writing has done far more than I have the right to expect.
      Thank you for writing such a touching comment. And if I haven’t said it lately, – I truly enjoy your blog site πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have read that children who survive trauma and reach biological adulthood often lag behind their peers emotionally and intellectually. Obviously if your brain has to process and defend itself pain and sexual assault it isn’t going to give its attention to other things. I would say that I’m intellectually in my 40’s.

        the beauty of the internet is the freedom of mobility it gives us.

        I can be my intellectual age without the hassle of the overt ageism that we must inevitably deal with once we pass 50.

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        • Good point! I have no idea where I am intellectually. Probably afraid of the truth, rofl. My “spirit” feels like I’m somewhere in my 30’s … as you know sometimes flashbacks can take you to other ages… And why is it ageism hits around 50? I would think maybe 90’s … but 50’s aren’t old. 60’s … eh, it’s too soon to tell πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

        • I think 50 is considered late middle age–although I am healthier and more in control of my intellect than I’ve ever been. These numbers are merely markers and I suspect they are more valuable to marketing than real life. One’s emotional age and intelligence are unrelated. The good thing about this is that I have a nimble mind that works well and is productive…

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        • I am also much healthier than I was 30 years ago. Emotionally … that’s another story, LOL. I’m certainly more open which I still think is a good thing. Much more creative in the arts – music and writing at least. But I also know more about my past, have much more hurt in that respect. … I suppose it all balances out eventually.

          Liked by 1 person

        • It’s important to know the painful stuff because as it clears you’ll have more of yourself and your mind. I’m only now beginning to understand how my relationships were affected by the abuse. I can make different choices now; and the best part is that now I don’t have to feel guilty about removing a vampire from my neck. πŸ™‚

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        • You have a point – with what I know now, as painful as the learning and remembering has been – it does help me understand so much about my self.

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  2. This is an amazing post Marcus. Your blog title, “survivorroad” is most certainly appropriate. I think that sharing realizations about ourselves with others not only helps us but helps others that can see their own reflection in the words… for whatever reason they my related to them. I hide a great deal of myself within my poetry and of course… between the lines… but I am there non the less if one dwells deep enough into my words to find me there. I so admire your courage and strength that you express in so many of your posts. Thank you for sharing such emotions with us. I also have enjoyed the conversation between you and Robert… Glad you found one another and glad I have had the opportunity to absorb the emotional exchange between you. I am continually enlightened by my visits here. Thank you.
    Hope your Monday is most beautiful…
    Michael

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    • Michael – thank you for your encouraging post. I think a lot of us hide “between the lines” — it’s a good way to stay sheltered for the most part but available for anyone that really wants to look, definitely for those that hurt in similar ways. I think that’s when things jump off the page from between the lines. Robert is a incredible blogger and becoming a good friend. Friends are so far and few between, and when it’s built on openness, vulnerability and trust – friendship becomes an awesome thing. It’s really great when you stop by as well. I enjoy reading you as well, you show a nice artistry of words. As for my Monday — it just got a lot more beautiful. Thanks.

      M

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