Melancholoholic Issue # 5

Oct 4, 2011 by

Sometimes we just need to remember we are human…

In the past 48 hours I have realized that I’ve lost a friend, an uncle and that soon I may  lose a little furry friend of almost eighteen years who has been with me through some of the worst and most splendid times of my life.

Perhaps the connection I have to my little furry friend is closer than some might understand and that is okay with me. Those of you who aren’t interested in these things and long ago put your hearts away, as you are far too refined, or needed to harden for reasons of your own, and may not yet be ready to feel again, can leave these matters for us simple men and women.  It only took a click or two to get here and should only take a click to leave – I’ll wait to hear the door close behind you.

Everything about this blog is about personal honesty.  I have to be honest to my friend and my uncle that I can easily let them go, and if it was to be that way, to never speak again.  Not because I’m hard, or soft, weak, or unable to take criticism. It is just that… well you will hopefully understand when we reach the end of the post.

I’ve had to make this choice because over the past few days I have seen aspects of people that I don’t want or like to see in anyone, never mind those whom you trust and have held near.  I’ll get back to this and if you’re still reading me after all of my posts then I will assume you are getting used to my many tangents.

What will be very hard to let go is my furry friend. I will let her go when she asks, but when she does it will be one of the single most devastating days of my life. I will never forget her and I will never have another cat in my life because of her.  No cat could ever replace her – every once in a while you are graced to share part of your life with a spectacular creature and I was graced with such a creature; the many who have met her would tell you the same.  Most pet owners feel this way about their pets, but rarely do the people peripheral in their lives feel the same.

Bahji has touched many lives and she has profoundly changed mine. I’m not sure how you repay a gift such as hers other than try as best as you can to live kindly and with noble intent.

When I was young my parents divorced and my father got custody of my brother and I. I’m not going to go into many of the sordid details – perhaps one day, when the time is right, in another post.  It is enough to say I grew up in a home that each and every day eroded everything in a child that is noble and pure.

It was slow and penetrating, very much like acid will scar hardened steel. Hardened steel I had become, and if that acid is left to sit long enough, it will surely eat a hole straight through.

I was fortunate some part of me knew that something was very, very wrong and I left home at thirteen years old. I  began to hitchhike across Canada – numerous times. So many times that I honestly couldn’t even tell you today how many times it was – at least fifteen times, perhaps more than twenty. I just don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter. I’m here today, and relatively intact!

I just felt I had to keep moving, moving, and moving. When you’re young and you have a deep and profound pain you are too young to know that no matter where you go, it will follow.  At times  you think you might have tricked and licked it, left it at the last truck stop – but undealt-with pain is the ultimate trickster. The ignorance of youth can provide as much danger as it does protection.

I have met those who prowl the highway looking for people just like I was, young, scared and easily manipulated. You must escape them and those I can remember vividly. On three occasions I was picked up by some of the most dangerous, despicable, horrible degenerates of human beings you could ever imagine.  The only time I have seriously hurt another human being was escaping from of these sickened people a hundred miles or so from my destination. I walked the rest alone, and I walked alone for a good part of my life. I was a very lucky young man; the very reason my father had tirelessly worked to destroy me, was the thing that saved me: I was a smart kid.

I had no idea that I was a precocious child, as I had been so belittled for so long that I didn’t know if I was much different from a feral dog, I certainly lived like one. I had been told I was one for almost as long as I could remember.

These kinds of parental injustices leave a wake of incalculable damage. The damage of a slap across the face or the crushing of a heart is the same. But those who manipulate and attempt to destroy a child with words are the most dangerous of them all. So easy to pretend you are something altogether else to all those outside the home, even to the child’s friends. Perhaps this was the most damning: my father used to play games with my friends to seem like the nice guy cast me as an unappreciative feral child.

But really friends, what is the point of continuing; some of you may have experienced much worse and already understand the gravity of my words, and to those who could never imagine such a thing – I hope my words up to here at least give you a general feeling of the torment that a child can live through.

We can rise and many of us do rise to achieve great things, and some are destroyed – my brother died in 2000, a destroyed man who ran from inner pain all his life. He found solace in the fraternity of endless drugs and crime.  He was never able to stop running and I will never, ever forget him.

And now we return to Bahji and how she came into my life and why I dedicate this post to her and all the kind and noble acts that followed in my life after she picked me. Pick me she did! Some swear they were saved by some christ – I was saved by a runt orange tabby cat named Bahji.

This post has seemed to grow in length as all of them do. I apologize, I’m not a master of brevity and I will never be. Life is too splendid to me to try to fit it into a few short words. I look for a magic in the rolling and thundering of words as they cascade down a page. Each represents a precious part of my life and I will not make it into a digest so that it is easy to digest. I may not have profound life-changing wisdom that I can share with this world, or to quote one particularly vile attack against me the past few days, I have no interest in being the “King of the Internet” – and anyway I thought that crown was claimed by David Hasselhoff and how could I compete with the Hoff?

But I do have something to offer that seems to be in ever-short supply in this world. I’m not afraid to expose to 10, 100, 1000, or 1,000,000 people that under all the fifty cent words that come welling up at times, the anger at the dogmatic left and the unempathic right, in between all of these things that seem so important to so many of us is a simple thing called humanity, and we forget that these days. So I may not be able to offer you much  but I do offer what humanity I have, and I hope that I may inspire some of you to share some in your own way as well.

Quit being afraid ’cause I can tell you one thing…. As long as you are afraid you will never, ever, truly, be able to love or be loved.

Long ago before I met my wife, Erin I was about to marry a women named Lorna Curran – if you’re out there somewhere Lorna contact us and say hi. You are a definable truth in my life and are surely one of the reasons my life is so filled with value. You broke down that which was broken already, and reduced me to nothingness,  and I needed this final reduction –  I started to feel again. It wasn’t a good kind of feeling but it was better than the nothingness that my life had been filled with for so many years.

Had you not wanted a pottery wheel….  All these disparate things, things we take for granted as we make our way through our lives, things we get angry at not realizing, each and every one of these little things make us who we are, for better or for worse.

You broke me down to a whimpering man. And for weeks I became that feral dog again, wandering the streets in a drug and alcohol fueled rage.

Then it happened.

I began to visit a girl friend of a friend of mine, and every time I visited her this crazy little orange tabby kitten would come running up the stairs from the apartment below. She would run straight up my leg, smaller than my hand, claw herself up onto my shoulder and she would start to suck on my ear lobe. What a crazy little critter she was.

After several visits to Connie’s house, I will admit that after the third or fourth visit it wasn’t Connie I was going to see, it was this little orange cat named Bahji. Finally one day Connie looked at me and said, “You know you and this cat have some crazy connection. She doesn’t come upstairs unless you’re here and she certainly doesn’t do that weird earlobe thing to anyone else.” She took out a large paper shopping bag and continued, “You know the people downstairs are cocaine dealers – I doubt Bahji will have a good life with them. As much as I know this isn’t right, take her home with you. She has picked you”…

And a lifetime of healing began…all from a little orange cat named”Bahji”.

There is more to this story and if enough of you are interested I will continue, but for now I’m going to lay down with my old friend ’cause I don’t know how many more nights, or months I have with her.

We should look at all the things of value in our lives like this. Try to make sure your life is filled with joy and not regret.

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  1. hi rod.

    enjoyed your ramblings on melancholy. from introspecting fall’s arrival to considering the roots of sadness to declaring “no regrets”.


    internet serendipity took me to this telling of Bahji the old soul. i’ll return and enjoy some more of your words, and more of her story.

    we like many of the same things and thinkers. i was just re-listening to some of hitchen’s lectures a few days ago.

    you might peek at a poem of mine on the subject melancholy though its tone is more in the ancient alchemical sense. as i then chased down with research where my words were taking me i found a facinating obsevation by aristotle, that you very well illustrate. in wondering why art so often was not in the golden mean, the greek ideal, the normal, he decided it was because only from the edge could one see clearly.


    • RedIron

      Thanks Jock for your kind words and I certainly encourage anyone here to go look at your website and your own writings. Your poem is beautiful. It takes a certain insanity to do what we do, putting ourselves out there for the world to see. I think we both are on the same page as well, as far as the reasons for this – simply encouraging others to do the same. If more realized that we are as much alike, as we are unique, the world would be a better place without much more effort at all.