What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Stronger

I’ve never heard a bigger piece of bullshit propaganda than this title. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. It might not kill you, you might emerge stronger, and it’s more than likely that what doesn’t kill you will leave you more and more broken, cracked, damaged. And it charges interest, further depleting you in ways yet untold.

I’ve been through so much in my life, so many ugly moments that lasted what seemed forever. So many things beyond my control that I just had to survive. Many choices I’ve made that went sideways. I’m definitely not the same person I was yesterday or last week, last year, a decade ago. None of us are. While I’m strong, partly because I’ve been through so much and have always had to be to survive, I’m also so deeply wounded, so damaged, and so tired.

So far, nothing has broken me beyond repair. I’ve survived a lot of harrowing shit that most people who know parts of my story are astonished. Astonished that these things happen. Astonished that someone could survive. Astonished that I seem relatively well adjusted and good natured. What they don’t see is how I have almost lost my entire shit, given up, broken down, felt completely hopeless. How have I not completely broken yet? Mostly because I’ve had responsibility to my kids and I’d hoped to create a better life for them and myself. I’m not sure any of it matters anymore. I’m not sure I’ve managed to do that. I’m not sure that it is enough. In the words of Machine Gun Kelly, “I’ve been through so much that what I took is not enough.”

Until this point in my life, I’ve always been working to make mine and my kids’ lives better. I’ve had to claw and scrape, go to battle with monsters, sacrifice my dreams and goals, wait for my moment to live my own life just to survive some of these moments. I don’t know what is going to finally break me. I’m terrified to learn what that might be. I’d rather not learn at all. I’d like to avoid that. I’ve had enough tough shit. I’ve had enough awfulness to last several lifetimes. I’m tired and worn down. I have so very little attention, energy, love to give. I have very little stamina left and I still have over a decade of work before I can retire from that part of my life, if I’m ever actually able to retire.

I know what would break me beyond repair – something happening to one of my kids. And that looks more and more likely at the present moment. I don’t know how to survive the present moment. I want to give up, yet don’t know what that looks like. I’ve never been suicidal a day in my life so I know that isn’t me giving in or giving up. I think my giving in and giving up would involve a lot of drugs and drinking myself into oblivion. I think my giving in and giving up could be me going somewhere tropical and never returning; if I have the money, which is looking less and less likely right now.

I don’t know what is going to finally break me. I’m afraid to learn what that might be. All I know is I am one worn out mother fucker and don’t know what steam I have left to go on giving a shit about other humans, this country, this world, my work, or anything outside of myself and my children. Because that’s all it’s ever been, me and my kids. The only thing I know is that life keeps moving, bills still need paid, I still need to eat and have a place to live – not for myself but in case my kids need a soft place to land. Fuck. I fucking hate it here and don’t see anything ever getting to a point where I have peace and can just live without fighting evil. I’ve thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel many times in my life, that tunnel is super long and the light never comes. Which is another example of a convenient lie we tell ourselves, more propaganda the people with tidy little lives tell the rest of us. That and money can’t buy happiness – money buys peace of mind when I’m able to pay my bills, which brings me happiness. This lie is told by people who have always had enough to those of us who don’t have enough. Stupid lies. Stupid propaganda.

Sure, there are moments of reprieve but they are too few, too far between, and I just return to the same hellscape that is my life. What happens if I finally submit to the feelings of despair and hopelessness? What does that even look like? For me, perhaps it’s a never-ending acid trip – god, that would be nice. Or a never-ending coke-scapade. Or a mighty long drunk. I know for me it isn’t suicide. I also know it is going to be a good long time until I can just flee to a tropical island somewhere. Because fuck it! What the fuck is the point? What is the point of continuing to press forward when all I ever have to do is fight evil, fight to save my kid’s life, fight to ensure my kids have a slightly better go of things than I’ve ever had, fight to live a better life for myself? What is the point even?

Because I don’t know any other way, I press on for now wondering what giving up looks like for me, scared of the moment something happens that finally breaks me. And I guess the good news of this depressing post is that I’m really only afraid of one thing, harm coming to one of my kids. There ain’t shit anyone can do to me that hasn’t already been done to me. I have little fear and few fucks to give. Which makes the work I do that much more subversive. From deep pain, comes great power perhaps. Or perhaps not. Shit, I don’t even know anymore. What is it all for?

And in the words of M. Shadows: “I think of all the places I just don’t belong, I’ve come to grips with life and realized this is going too far, I don’t belong here, we gotta move on dear, escape from this hell tonight, because this time I’m right to move on and on far away from here.”

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