Revisited: An Old Friend

I wrote this poem in September of 2017. It was the first poem I had written in about 15 years. I had gone through a long stretch of really good energy and positivity, but it was coming to an end. I had taken on the task of going back to school, working two jobs and volunteering 10 hours a week. I was sleeping maybe 2–3 hours a day and my body and mind had had enough. My depression was back.

This is not my best work, or even good I would argue. But it sparked something in me and started me on the path that I’m walking now. I’m revisiting it now because I’ve drifted back to that place again. I wanted to read my thoughts the last time this happened, to compare the feelings and work out the differences. Thank you for reading.

~

My depression snuck up on me today

An old friend I hadn’t seen in a while.

He asked how I had been, I said great.

You see, I had finally found a way out,

A way to not be around him anymore.

He used to be ok, I would tolerate him.

He was company, filling a void of conversation and companionship.

Slowly, I realized there was more,

Other conversations that needed to be had,

Other connections I was missing out on

Because I experienced only him every day.

Yet here he was, invading my space again.

I know how this ends.

I know that he’ll hang around for a few days

Maybe a couple weeks

Hopefully no longer than a month

And then I’ll kick him out

Tired of his bullshit.

But in the meantime, I’ll sit

I’ll try to push him out but fail.

Not because I don’t have the strength,

But because in some small way,

I don’t want him to leave.

~

Photo by Michael Shannon on Unsplash

Sellout

Week by week we sell our souls

In pursuit of regaining them

On a date unknown

But where is the point of no return?

When do we get lost in the pursuit

And become machines

Incapable of emotion, feelings, logic

Unable to remember what we were selling out for

We begin these journeys with a short term mindset

“Someday, when I’m older…”

“Once I save this much…”

“When my kids go off to college…”

But when do we chase our own soul?

When do we soar beyond salesmanship

And into our dreams?

~

Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

Blow

Plucked from the ground

We stop growing

We leave our roots behind

Our frayed stem trailing behind us

But we’re rising

Slowly, our viewpoint expands

We can see more of the earth

We see freedom, open space

And also containment, death

This trip will come to an end

Much sooner than we can ever be ready for

We’ll get our chance to live forever, though

A strong wind, or one big blow

Will spread our seeds

Each one creating something new, different

~

Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

The End

Stand with me

The end is here, love

Nothing can be done

No war to be had

No grandiose measures

We were too late

 

Stand with me

We had a beautiful run

There’s only so much we could do

This world was insufficient from the start

Corrupted by power and money

Destined for nothing more than the end

 

So, stand with me

As the waves crash over us

The fire consumes us

We’ll drown in a world fraught

Burn down to bone and ash

Together

~

Photo by Christoffer Engström on Unsplash

Free

Every flower grows from a bulb. 

Every butterfly, a caterpillar; 

every frog, a tadpole. 

And just like these other metamorphoses,

humans undergo a similar process. 

It is not a physical transformation, 

but a spiritual, emotional and mental one.

However, similar to the caterpillar,

we will only transform when we are ready.

It is only when we complete our journey,

and decide that we are ready to become more,

that we cocoon.

We bury ourselves in protection,

surrounding ourselves in things that will feed our growth.

And eventually, after enough time has passed,

we emerge from our nurturing shell.

We are not perfect, far from it.

But we are evolved, new, but the same.

We are more beautiful and equipped to handle life.

And that’s when we are freed.

~

Photo by Ye Fung Tchen on Unsplash

What happens when we die?

Thoughts on the afterlife, spirituality, and death.

Once you have walked in the shoes of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation

Loving and hateful person

It is only then that you will understand how precious life truly is

How do we handle the moments before death? Very few of us are ever “ready” to go, so how does our brain and spirit process the knowledge of impending extinction? 

I think it matters what we’ve done leading up to that moment to allow ourselves to feel at peace with how our lives played out. But not everyone gets the hospital bed to have time to come to terms with our decisions. 

How does it all change for someone who dies in their deep sleep cycle in the middle of the night? Or the person who only has a split second of consciousness before they get hit by a car?

How does it change for someone who’s taking their own life? Does suicide give you more or less mental acceptance of the end of the line than someone who has to dwell on their life for months as a disease slowly brings them home? 

I have many questions, most of which I have little to no inkling of an answer for. But I believe that thinking about these things opens our minds up to a much greater, more lived in experience.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Where do we go? When it’s all said and done, where do we go?

 Obviously, I’m speaking in the ethereal sense. Physically, the ground awaits us in some capacity. Whether we get a wooden sarcophagus, our ashes spread or we become a tree, almost all of us are becoming reunited with the earth. Which is poetic. From the ground we were born; to the ground, we return. 

But where does our spirit go? Spirit is a pretty neutral term, right? I don’t think any religious group would argue that we have a spirit. Sorry atheists. 

Is it as dualistic as heaven and hell? I don’t believe so. What about those of us that are average? Not objectively great people like Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Teresa. Not objectively bad people like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Pol Pot. Just, average. Plus, this implies that any religion is correct, which is its own separate article.

So if it’s not heaven and hell, do we just…disappear? Does our spirit enter the next sentient being it can find? 

I’m not here to be right. But my thinking on this changed when I listened to the track Waiting Room by Logic. His album Everybody was my spiritual awakening. Sounds strange to say an album with a song called Killing Spree would be the source of a spiritual awakening but alas. There are levels to this.

Anyway, in the track Waiting Room, it’s an almost five-minute conversation between god and a man named Atom. Atom and god have a long back and forth about the afterlife, what it is, etc. 

The basic premise is that there is reincarnation, but it’s not linear. Meaning, if I die today, I could come back as a warrior in medieval times, a farmer in the 1930s or a dictator. The lineation instead comes from our spiritual “wokeness”. Someone like Gandhi is much farther along in the spiritual timeline than most of us.

It’s also revealed that Atom’s spirit is the only spirit, which makes sense if we’re tracking this spiritual journey through reincarnation. Then, god decides to drop the bomb on Atom (pun intended):

I created this place for you, Atom

This entire place was made for you

Every time I send you back, every life you live, you grow

And mature and understand the grand meaning behind all of this

Just a little more each time

And if that wasn’t enough, god tells Atom that he will eventually become like him, mature into an all-knowing being. To which Atom replies:

I’m a god?

And then god altered everything I had ever believed about life and how I approach the world. 

No, not yet. You see, I was once where you stand right now

It is not until you have lived every human life inside of your universe

That I may take you from this place

Once you have walked in the shoes of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation

Loving and hateful person

It is only then that you will understand how precious life truly is

Reading this again for the first time in a while made my eyes tear up. It’s such a beautiful way of looking at the world and makes you reevaluate what we’re all doing, why we’re all here, and who we are growing into. 

But it’s also a bit nihilistic, which is a perspective I hadn’t considered before this moment. This belief also presumes that we are all preordained to be a certain way. We may grow, but it’s all been decided. I can aspire to have the spiritual enlightenment of Gandhi, but it’s much more likely that I have a ceiling on how “woke” I can be, and that ceiling has already been decided. 

I still think this explanation makes the most sense to me, at this moment in my life, but I’ve changed my belief system several times in my short life and I will probably change it again. 

~

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash