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Here. There. And Nowhere.

Many of you have been sending mail, leaving posts, calling, asking about my life since I haven't been around much. I thought it best to just reply here.


There's been a good deal of soul searching going on in these last few months, and if change is truly the only constant in life, then my life has been nothing but steadfast. I have come to realize in that time that everyone wants/needs/requires/has to have an answer to SOMETHING. Every aspect of existence is based on having some sort of resolution to an issue, and answer to a problem. People need a degree of clarity from others so they can go about their OWN lives. They need to know "where they stand." Thing is, there isn't one answer for everything, or everyone. Sometimes you just don't get one. And boy, does that bite it hard.


So, here I find myself in this place, this frame of mind, where I am trying to figure it all out...for MYSELF...and I decide to pull the rudder and turn the ship around hard, instead of keeping a brave face and sailing along smoothly so I don't rock the boat for everyone I've done for years...and of course they all get tossed off and want answers. Why did this happen? Is it me? Is it you? Why'd you do that? Truth is, I haven't been happy with myself or my life for a while now. And I am not quite sure why that is. I ask the same questions of myself that others do of me and I don't have the answers for ME, let alone them. All I know is that something doesn't feel right. My compass isn't true. There's a dull ache in my bones and my brain that will not cease. It's like a bothersome tooth you keep poking with your tongue instead of going to the dentist to have examined because you fear what needs to be done. You know something's wrong, you live with it, and under the surface it gets worse with time. Finally you decide to have it yanked, only to realize the pain is coming from somewhere deeper.


I've been to therapy, I've spoken with friends, I've read more than my fair share of ever-so-enlightening books...but what can they all tell me? Nothing. I have to have some small hope that I will discover what I need. It might take a week, it might take 5 years. I'm trying not to label it as some Zen quest to "find myself," because that just smacks of new-agey bullshit. I go through my routine every day, slog along, finish up and go to bed, and every single night I pray that tomorrow something will happen, or change, and bring me to where I need to be...that I'll find myself in a new place. That I'll be happy. Not just content with life how it exists, but actually happy. Imagine.


And yes, I know I'm not here to be anyone's savior. I don't have to do this alone. I don't have to go into exile. People care, want to help, want to guide me to those rascally, illusive answers again. But I do have to make this journey myself, because no one can for me. Am I being practical? Am I doing the RIGHT thing? Am I just being an asshole? Yes. No. Maybe. All the great thinkers talk about "walking that path." Only you can walk it, young grasshopper. As true as that may be, it blows for everyone that's been walking it with me. Now it's not the same road any more, it isn't even parallel. It's one of those gigantic clover-leaf things in the middle of the road that I've constructed for myself. So, I get carried by my own momentum into a direction, follow the curves. Stop. Start. Wait a second...where am I? It really is that unsettling feeling one gets when they are on a dark road and suddenly realize they are indeed lost. And I am. And I have been.


Originally I wrote that I sometimes wish this was a disease...At least with that, I could point my finger to SOMETHING, come up with a strategy, cure it, know it, live with it. Then my father got a report back from his doctor Tuesday of a biopsy done on his prostate last week. The finding: Dysplasia. Specifically PIN. From what online resources I was able to gather, it's a precursor to cancer. They do another biopsy in a month and see if there is any growth within that time. I'm not sure what any of it means.


You sit on a table in a sterile room, or press a phone against your ear, or read a page and THAT word comes out...cancer...and all of the air suddenly leaves your body, like you've been punched in the gut. Your heart stops. You immediately feel detached from your body.


For the past few days I've been walking around like a zombie. I'm numb. I don't sense anything around me. Sounds are muted. Food has no taste. I shower and get dressed and take the bus and train to work. I listen to the radio, watch tv, surf the web. It's all like I'm not the one doing it. I sit at my office desk and look up at the screen, and wonder who typed all of those words into a document.


I know a person shouldn't worry until they have a solid reason to when it comes to things like this. My father asked what "dysplasia" was. No one's told him yet. All he knows is that he needs a follow-up test. If he was made fully aware of the details, then existence from this point on would be an emotional roller coaster ride. I won't even mention how my mother would react to it.


For now life remains status quo. My parents will go through their days as if everything is normal, following a routine that's been in place for years. And there son will be a ghost, haunted himself by the reality that nothing in the world lasts any way.


So, I don't know what to say. I really do not. All I can tell you is that I am grateful for the love and generosity you all have always shown me. I've appreciated every small act of kindness more than you will ever know.


Where do I go from here?


That's a good question...

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Taken on September 10, 2005