I Don’t Know

“Listless” is a descriptive word.
“Adrift” is a descriptive word.
“Lost at sea” is a descriptive phrase.
“Treading water” is a descriptive phrase.

And it seems I’m reaching an intersection of a lot of paths. Or perhaps I’ve been sitting in that intersection while the world goes by, waiting until I can see the paths. I don’t know.

“I don’t know” is a descriptive phrase.

“How are you today, Mark?”
“I’m OK.” And then I think the unspoken part, “For me.”

“Disenchanted” is a descriptive word.

I haven’t been to the Botanical Garden in months. I’m OK with that. And I’m not OK with that. I would like to go. But I never seem to make the time. I never seem to want to go. Yeah. I’m looking for words. Seeking understanding. Trying to figure something out. About me. And I can’t find the words. Only these things called feelings. Emotions. And these other things called thoughts. And I don’t seem to be able to make them talk to each other.

The house is a wreck. But I don’t seem to care. But I should care, shouldn’t I? I’ve got time. I’m a grown up. I’m supposed to take care of the house. I’m supposed to do all those grown up things. Like all my neighbors do. But there’s something disconnected there. Maybe a lot of somethings. Or maybe it’s like an unused tool, and coated in dust, and rust, and I’m too lazy to fix it? Or maybe it’s that way, ’cause I’m looking for something, and I don’t know what I’m looking for?

Thursday, at work, I pulled two systems from the Yellow (waiting for customer action) area of the workbench. And I fixed them. I knew what to do. Took a moment to get the how figured out on one of them. But they’re both fixed. Why did I do that? I don’t really know. Was it the right thing to do? What I was supposed to do? I don’t know. Was it showing off? Being arrogant? I don’t know. Was it a response to boredom? Do something to kill the time? I don’t know.

There’s those three words again. “I don’t know.” Am I looking for something? I don’t know. Am I running from something? I don’t know. How do I really feel? I don’t know. Am I happy? I don’t know. Am I depressed? I’m pretty sure I don’t really know.

How do I feel?

Lost. Listless. Useless. Worthless. “Get up and move your lazy ass, you useless son-of-a-bitch!” “Figure it out!” “Look around! There’s plenty you can be doing!”

Am I lonely? I don’t know.

I keep hearing these voices, oceans of things I’ve heard in life. “You need a plan!” “You need goals!” “You need to grow up, be responsible, be mature.” “Pull your boots up!” “Get real!” “Do your job!” And I keep hearing other voices, saying unspoken things. “I don’t care how you feel, move your lazy ass!” “You don’t have time for dreams!” “You’re getting fat, and lazy, and out of shape!” “She needs you to get things done!”

And it all comes back to “I don’t know.”

Is “I don’t know,” my defense mechanism? Along with, “I don’t care,” and “It doesn’t matter.” Is that how I’ve handled life? Is that how I cope with life? Is that who I’ve become?

“What makes you feel good?” – “I don’t know.”
“What do you want to eat?” – “I don’t care. Food.”
“What do you want to do?” – “Whatever makes you happy.”
“Why do you work here?” – “It keeps me out of trouble.”
“What do you want to get out of your work?” – “I don’t know.”
“Where do you want your job to take you next?” – “I don’t care.”

Yeah. I’ve moved from CA to OA to ARA to Full-time ARA. in less than 3 years. But. I don’t care, do I. I never had a plan to do that. I just went with the flow. Like I do every day. “Do your job, Marcus. Don’t think about it. Just do your job.”

Is this why I can’t walk these days? Because I’m supposed to. Have I stopped walking because I’m walking for all the wrong reasons? Because I’m not walking to feel good? I’m not walking to give myself something I want? Am I walking because I’m supposed to walk, and as a result, now I can’t walk?

Is that why I can’t get to the Botanical Garden? Why the house is a wreck? Why I can’t get outside, and work on the gardens, the fence, the porch, or anything else? Why I can’t write stories for anything any more?

Because everything’s become “supposed to do” or “supposed to be”, and nothing is “because I want”?

What do I want? How do I feel? Am I happy? Am I sad? Am I hiding? Am I lonely?

I don’t know.

I’ve never known.

Is this what the last 5 years is about? Me reaching this point? Me coming face-to-face with me? And having to figure out where the paths lead? And how I feel? And what I want? And who I really am?

I don’t know.

I’ve never known.

I’ve never known.

Wishes : To Be Understood

[Originally Written on Saturday, 05 March 2011

NOTE : I’ve decided to re-post this one. Given what happened today. Given the truth that’s hidden in it. A truth too many people will never understand. A truth too many people simply can’t accept.]

There is a wish I have.
A wish I’ve always had.
A wish I’ve never spoken of.
A wish I’ve had to hide.

I have always wondered why.
Why don’t I understand
What I’ve done
When I’ve done something wrong.
What I’ve done
That scares someone.
Or upsets someone.
Or makes someone wish
I’d just go away.

I have always wondered why.
Why I always hide along the wall,
Or someplace out-of-the-way,
At a birthday party,
Or a wedding,
Or a lunch at work
When someone’s going to leave.
Or a social gathering,
Of any other kind.
Why I never speak
To anyone at all,
Unless they speak to me.
And even then
Why it’s so very hard
For me to say
Anything at all.

And always,
Why it seems
That everyone’s relieved
When I finish talking.
When I go silent
Once again.

I have always wondered why
No one believes
Anything I say.
Like this past Thursday.
When I told my boss,
“I’m a 51-year-old.
In a 51-year-old body.
With a 51-year-old intellect.
But I’m just a teenager
Emotionally.
And I don’t know
That I’ll ever get much further
Than that.”

And my boss,
He said to me,
“You will.”

And I told him
What I’d told my doctor,
And the Fit for Duty Examiner.
That I had no idea
When this whole thing started
What it was I’d done
That got me banned
From work.
That I didn’t understand at all.

And my boss,
He said to me,
“Yes. You did.
You just had never had to face
The consequences
Of the actions that you took.”

I told these things
To my doctor
The very next day.
And when I told him
I was just a teenager
Emotionally.
My doctor said to me,
“And you may never get
Beyond that stage.”

And when I told my doctor
That I didn’t know
In October,
What it was that I had done
That got me banned
From the land of work,
My doctor said to me,
“I know.
And after all this time,
With us having reviewed
What happened in those days.
Now you know
What got you banned.
And you know
What you won’t do again.”

Damn straight.
If you put your hand
On the burner
On the range,
While the burner’s glowing red,
It’s frakkin’ gonna’ hurt.

And I’ve learned
That if I do the things
That got me banned from work,
It’s frakkin’ gonna’ hurt.

No one ever told me
They were wrong.
No one ever explained.
And I had to learn things
The hard way
Once again.

So there is this wish I have.
That I’ve always had.
A simple wish, really.

All I wish for is to be
Understood.
Not punished.
Not abused.
Not bruised.
Not penalized.
Not ostracized.
Not locked away.
Not barred from life.

I just wish to be understood.
And I’ll know I am
When someone finally explains to me
All the things
That I don’t know.
All the things
That every one of them
Takes for granted.
And assumes
That everybody knows.

Because I don’t.
And I never have.

And no one save my family,
My lady
And my children.
And my doctors.
Have ever really understood
That I am this way.

And that I really
Just don’t know
All those secret things
That everyone assumes
That everybody knows.

Saturday, 05 March 2011

Wishes: To Be Understood

There is a wish I have.

A wish I’ve always had.

A wish I’ve never spoken of.

A wish I’ve had to hide.

I have always wondered why.

Why don’t I understand

What I’ve done

When I’ve done something wrong.

What I’ve done

That scares someone.

Or upsets someone.

Or makes someone wish

I’d just go away.

I have always wondered why.

Why I always hide along the wall,

Or someplace out of the way,

At a birthday party,

Or a wedding,

Or a lunch at work

When someone’s going to leave.

Or a social gathering,

Of any other kind.

Why I never speak

To anyone at all,

Unless they speak to me.

And even then

Why it’s so very hard

For me to say

Anything at all.

And always,

Why it seems

That everyone’s relieved

When I finish talking.

When I go silent

Once again.

I have always wondered why

No one believes

Anything I say.

Like this past Thursday.

When I told my boss,

“I’m a 51 year old.

In a 51 year old body.

With a 51 year old intellect.

But I’m just a teenager

Emotionally.

And I don’t know

That I’ll ever get much further

Than that.”

And my boss,

He said to me,

“You will.”

And I told him

What I’d told my doctor,

And the Fit for Duty Examiner.

That I had no idea

When this whole thing started

What it was I’d done

That got me banned

From work.

That I didn’t understand at all.

And my boss,

He said to me,

“Yes. You did.

You just had never had to face

The consequences

Of the actions that you took.”

I told these things

To my doctor

The very next day.

And when I told him

I was just a teenager

Emotionally.

My doctor said to me,

“And you may never get

Beyond that stage.”

And when I told my doctor

That I didn’t know

In October,

What it was that I had done

That got me banned

From the land of work,

My doctor said to me,

“I know.

And after all this time,

With us having reviewed

What happened in those days.

Now you know

What got you banned.

And you know

What you won’t do again.”

Damn straight.

If you put your hand

On the burner

On the range,

While the burner’s glowing red,

It’s frakkin’ gonna’ hurt.

And I’ve learned

That if I do the things

That got me banned from work,

It’s frakkin’ gonna’ hurt.

No one ever told me

They were wrong.

No one ever explained.

And I had to learn things

The hard way

Once again.

So there is this wish I have.

That I’ve always had.

A simple wish, really.

All I wish for is to be

Understood.

Not punished.

Not abused.

Not bruised.

Not penalized.

Not ostracized.

Not locked away.

Not barred from life.

I just wish to be understood.

And I’ll know I am

When someone finally explains to me

All the things

That I don’t know.

All the things

That everyone of them

Takes for granted.

And assumes

That everybody knows.

Because I don’t.

And I never have.

And no one save my family,

My lady

And my children.

And my doctors.

Have ever really understood

That I am this way.

And that I really

Just don’t know

All those secret things

That everyone assumes

That everybody knows.