God knows, the older I get, the darker the future gets. And my mind insists on turning a judging eye at my past, at all of it.
I’ve tried to make peace with my past; apologizing to those I had wronged, and because of my temper, because of my heightened sense of righteous indignation, rebuked those who wronged me.
But even then, how much damage to myself have I done? I’ve always had strong, passionate emotions; always been governed by them. Neurodivergent, I believe is the current popular term for people like me who just can’t fit in with society’s expectations of “normal.”
God knows I grew up in a less understanding era; laughed at for being different throughout my youth, bullied for being the only English-speaking kid in a French Quebec grade school, traumatized by my father at home, and put through all the hell that the Other is put through in high school, college, and, life.
I’m no innocent; I’ve learned how to hurt people the most intimately, how to use their secrets as ammunition, how to manipulate people…when life teaches you cruelty, you learn to be cruel.
But through all my life, all I have done is searched out kindness; all I ever wanted when I was a kid was to be accepted. All I ever wanted was to be surrounded by people I could love, and more importantly, trust.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve failed people’s trust; or the number of times my trust in others was misplaced.
But nobody made these choices for me. Nobody else took the actions I took. No one else fucked up my life but me. Oh, some people are certainly as guilty as I am in the destruction of old Steve, some even relished it. But, it was all me, in the end.
All the apologizing and making peace with the past can only heal so much, only resolve so much. There are some mistakes I’ve made I’ll always regret, always rebuke myself for. A small but not insignificant number of people deserved – and some even still deserve better than I can give, or that I have given.
I do my goddamned best to survive, to help provide for my kids, but poverty-level income doesn’t do much to help, nor does racist French-Quebec Language laws and business culture.
I’m trying to be better, do better, but all I seem to do is keep fucking up, or worse, not making any progress at all.
Ultimately, I’m going through all of this alone. Nothing could change that, really; but maybe if I’d have made better choices, what I’d be going through might not be so bad.
What’s this got to do with They Came in Peace? Not a hell of a lot. But what’s that book got to do with anything other than chronicling the same inner demons I’m still grappling with today? My vain fucking hope I could turn a buck selling a story.
They always tell you to pursue your dreams; ask out the pretty girl; reach for the brass ring; take a leap of faith.
They don’t tell you that odds are you’ll give up on your dreams. And if you don’t, odds are you’ll live a life of misery and drudgery, because your dream is either unattainable or you fucked up along the way.
The pretty girl can always do better than you; and that brass ring is so smooth that even if you grab it, hang on for your fucking life because if you let go, you will fall.
I’ve spent my life quixotically; tilting at windmills like a fool, and now I’m just an old fucking fool living with ghosts and regrets, alone, and tired.
All I can do is keep trying, but what they never, ever tell you is how hard it is to keep reaching and falling; that even the most resilient material can be shattered; that eventually you just run out of strength. At some point, you just stop; there’s nowhere else to go, nothing left to do, no new tales to tell and no new tricks to try. Eventually, you settle.