Crossroads by Carolyn #71

(Note:     I had a hard time deciding whether or not to submit this, in fear of repetition and of straying from topics I intended to write about. However, since Sera's suicide, I've learned of others following that path and even had someone confide to me that he was thinking of killing himself So, here is my response; my apologies if it unearths more pain.)

     No moment of silence for you Sera. I honored you with an hour of screams that flew like shattered angels through my empty house. Because silence, for people like us, is the demon erasing our bones. Silence leaves too much to the imagination, too much caged inside. The doctors and psychiatrists have it all wrong with their talk of finding peace through softness and stillness, as if tranquillity and equilibrium reside on the same point. No. We have to explode out of life, put extensions of ourselves deep in the earth, in writing, in music. Because the body can only hold so much, and perhaps the mind even less, before thoughts and words and feelings begin to align themselves in ways that maybe we aren't yet ready to see or understand.
     Sera wrote a while back that she wanted to write and write forever. Maybe in the hopes of keeping away from silence and eventually spinning towards some kind of understanding about what the fuck this life is. There is a lot of pain in the world, so much injustice and hate. There is so much that at times evil seems to be the dominating force on earth, but for many of us that just won't do. And so we become writers, musicians, and artists, scholars and people dreaming. We become punks, perhaps to share the burden of screams, angst, hatred and the frustration of searching for a better place to call home when solutions can at times seem so simple, but nobody wants to listen. And far fewer are willing to do anything about it. Are we all seeking ways to live through turmoil and sadness? Do we use music to let go some of the anger before it devours us and leaves us devoid of hope and a reason to live? Is punk music the "physical" manifestation of our lives?
     For me, the struggle to find a dynamic balance gives me power and strength. I don't mean balance in the sense that things are stagnant and in given proportions. Instead, it's an endless process of giving and taking and being comfortable with the paradoxes and contradictions that exist in my nature. It's about loving and losing, falling and rising above. It's in the face of obstacles and challenges that my life's blood surges and I can stand with the wind beating my face and yell with joy, "I will not falter!" But so many of us sink before we find our center, that couch in our soul that we can always return to, where we can sit and be happy, be ourselves. Sadly, we turn to drinking, to drugs, to saying 'To hell with the future, fuck it all." We open the door for depression and illness to enter and weave horrible webs around our minds. These addictions and afflictions make us dependent on things found outside ourselves, while consuming the life inside. It is no surprise to me that lots of older people abandon punk. Many fall into harmful patterns of addiction and despondency and if they decide to rise up and change things, punk is usually the first to go, because it gets associated with their hard times. Or perhaps they feel the scene has nothing left to offer. However, there is a worse possible fate: they end up killing themselves, physically and/or mentally, out of the dire need for freedom that is somehow not found on this plane.
     Sera, I remember sitting with you on a bench in Tompkins Square Park in the beginning of winter almost six years ago, rubbing our legs to stay warm and wondering why the hell we wore skirts. This was before either of us had our dreads or had stared at the stars from a speeding train. Before either of us really knew what we wanted our life to be about. We talked about how similar we were, how we'd be the best of friends if only I wasn't leaving the city to go travel and seek out my own breath of freedom. Through the years we talked about the day when our paths would cross again as we believed they inevitably would. Our lives seemed to be running parallel, like train-tracks in the desert; only I was always a little further ahead. Or were you? Perhaps I can keep living from where you left off.
     I'm reminded of that famous Ginsberg line, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked..." Sera, as a person and as a writer, which is probably the way I knew her best, was so honest and striving. I believed her to be one of the most talented and brilliant among us. Her fall makes the ground beneath me shake. It makes me regret missed chances of the past and scares me about things I might be missing now.
    Sometimes fife seems like it moves too fast and there are always other commitments and things to be done, but we have to make time for each other. Regret is one of the most merciless feelings in the universe. Loss of hope is another. So, to cope with feelings of isolation and pessimism, I bury my arms in rich, dark soil and let them grow like roots beneath the surface of this world. I turn my ear to the struggles of others, because I don't want to lose another precious soul. We all have to hang on to something in life, something that to each of us seems real and full of hope. We must remember that we are not alone, because truly we aren't. We all have a place in the "family of things", in the exquisite song that pulses beneath our feet and through the sky.