When I Posted This Photo 3 Years Ago, My Life Was Falling Apart

Photo: Courtesy of the author
new year's

The picture above was taken three years ago today. It was a terrible time in my life, right when your life should probably be pretty OK.

I had two magic kids and a third on the way. I was writing for a living. I was living in the land where I had always wanted to live. But I was engulfed in a fire I didn't understand.

I look at this image now, a shot taken towards the end of a New Year's Day walk down at Fisherman's Paradise, and I can still feel the taste of my own exploded heart in my mouth. It tastes like death, metallic and gunpowder, poprocks that take you far away from everything forever.

In the days/months/years that followed, I have carried on. It's the thing I think I might do best, ironically enough. I seem to be able to survive somehow. You probably know that feeling. It's small change in the middle of a moment, but it sure means a lot when you zoom back.

Allowed to briefly see myself from high above, there I am/I'll be damned/a single lone wild-ass wolf walking slow across the snow. I stop for nothing. I'm tired but hungry. There's a f*cking National Geographic photographer's drone buzzing above me, but I have to ignore it like a picnic fly. Because what else can you do?

My trust got knifed. My common sense annihilated. Strength comes with a price and if anyone ever tells you otherwise, they're not your friend, my man. I wrote words to help me feel alive again. I confided in basically no one, but the handful who were there for me, I owe them more than I will ever be able to pay.

Three years ago this afternoon, in the first hours of another new year, I carried my Henry back to the car because he was cold and tired and hungry. And I remember wishing he could carry me instead.

Rambling is my thing and I'm rambling now, I guess. Point is, though, you don't know me and I don't know you. But here we are at another fresh start. I'm still sh*t for brains. I'm still all heart even where I shouldn't be. I'm still withdrawn as f*ck and distrustful of everything and everyone except my kids.

And yet I'm still walking across the snow or the mud it leaves behind knowing that every damn step I take is me flinging the bird at the outs I've never taken. And the days I have survived.

Maybe you know what I'm saying. Maybe you don't. Whatever. I ramble this sh*t for myself. And I share it hoping to connect with something bigger than a click on a keyboard. Like everyone else who has ever lived long enough to know what it feels like to truly be alive (it f*cking hurts), I want to plug back into the invisible lightning. I want to grab a fistful of wasps. I want to eat the night sky. I want to slit open the belly of the beast and dance in the blood of what damn near killed me.

I just want to keep on living.

I know you know that feeling. At least I hope you do. I really do.

Last night, me and the kids — root beer, pizza, wine for dad — watched a movie and then fell asleep together, our arms slung across one another in the big bed. It was long before the ball dropped when we all drifted away. But who cares?

We had lived enough kinda perfect life for one day. For another day. And that sh*t will wear you out.

So Happy New Year, stranger.

Just remember one thing. There is a wild-ass wolf out there in the wilderness somewhere who knows exactly how you feel every time you feel it. That has to mean something. I have no f*cking idea what. But it has to mean something.

This article was originally published at Facebook. Reprinted with permission from the author.