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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » Feeling Yourself Disintegrate... (A Landmark)

   
Author Topic: Feeling Yourself Disintegrate... (A Landmark)
Ben
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A few moments ago I engaged in a conversation with an old friend from back in the first forum I frequented. She was a fairly influential person in my life at the time and talking to her caused my mind to flood back to that period in my life

I have mentioned it before on here in passing but I will go into more detail now. In the summer, fall, and winter of 2000-2001 I was homeless in Denver Colorado.

During this period I listened to a lot of music during my shifts as a night auditor for a hotel. I was constantly swapping CDs in and out of my CD player. It was not a very busy hotel so I had a lot of downtime. One of the other things I would do while passing the time was moderate the message board for a band called BoySetsFire. With no computer to go home to (what home?), I only had the work computer to turn to. I know I could have gone to a library, but i never thought about it at the time.

With no instant messenger, one of the only ways to communicate with people in my life was through email or the message board. The administrator of the board was a kid named Garrett. Garrett and I would spend hours just bullshitting about anything and everything in the admin only section of the board. It was one of my only outlets. I did anything to reach out to people in my life. I even made Garrett give mod privileges to my friends Sara and Lauren just so I could bullshit with them without cluttering up the main areas of the board. We used it much in the way of a chat room I guess.

Sara was, is, and hopefully always will be a dear friend. I loved her to pieces before i met her and my loyalty only ran deeper after we met. She was one of my running partners so to speak. I could call her at any time of the night (on the hotel's dime) and receive calls at any time as well. I cannot tell you how many times i sat on the floor feeling no emotion at all, just talking to her about how scared i was because I wasn't feeling one way or the other. I was opening up to her and the others more than I was to my friends back home in Atlanta.

It got to the point that Garrett, Lauren, and Sara were my only shoulders for some time, and none of them were tangible.

Sometimes however I wouldn't even wish to speak to them. I would grab my hoodie and walkman, put my orange pumas on, and head on up to the snow covered rooftops of the hotel.

I would spend hours on the roof, listening to an album in its entirety, singing under my breath, and looking down at the empty snow-dust covered streets surrounding the Park Meadow shopping areas. I was a lousy employee. I would retreat up to the roof and only come back at 5am in time to deliver newspapers and checkout slips. If anybody ever needed anything they were sorely disappointed I suppose.

There were no other employees that worked night shift, as the other guy quit. So it was me, 7 days a week. 28 days on, 1 day off, repeat.

So anyways, i would go up on the roof and think, and dance around, and cry, and laugh, and scream, and escape, even if for just a few moments.

hmmm...I feel this thread is lacking a focus. Oh well, I am going to continue typing anyhow.

So days came and went, often times with the only highlights being when I got to come into work and talk to my friends or escape to the roof with my music and the night sky. The days would be spent sleeping in my car, or sitting in the bookstore reading countless books and drinking hot chocolate, and getting my hands on new music.

As the holidays approached I realized that for the first time in my life I felt helpless. Looking back now, I had many sources I could have turned to for support but I didn’t. Some sources eventually reared their heads anyway, and I’m grateful for that.

On Thanksgiving I called up my girlfriend to greet her for the holiday, but she wasn't home from work yet. I ended up talking to her mom for ten minutes until girl got home. Before she handed the phone over her mom told me to be thankful for what I had. This broke me. Instead of talking to girl I just ended up contemplating what all I had. I had no car (it had died a few days before), no home, my loved ones were out of arms reach, and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I just sat there and cried when I got off the phone. I seriously bawled. I was at work to make the phone call and I just sat in the back office falling apart. The call had ended long before I hung up the phone, and when I finally did pull myself together, the door to the back room flew open and my coworker Mike burst into the room with a plate covered in foil. As he tore away the foil he exclaimed "Here you are my light skinned African brother, Thanksgiving dinner is served". This moment, this precise moment, is forever burned into my mind, and I recognize it as the moment that I realized that my life was not over. Before this point I was not suicidal but I was not at all concerned about dying. But this gesture was all it took for me to reassess my current outlook on my life.

After Mike left I called up Sara and spoke to her at length for quite some time about Thanksgiving, those past few months, expressing my graciousness for her role in my life. Without her i don't know what I would have done. I know that I have not really established what all she did or meant to me in these ramblings you are reading, but trust that she played a vital role in my daily life. She lifted me up and inspired me when nobody else could or would. Part of this had to do with me not letting anybody try to help me, be it with words, or other efforts.

After I started to reevaluate my current situation I decided to open some doors I had previously closed. I emailed my friend Marsha and expressed my deepest regrets for not keeping our lines of communication open and I asked for her support and ear during the coming weeks. The only reply I got at first was an email that simply included the words "OK". Three days later a package arrived at the hotel for me. Inside was a book entitled Hope for the Flowers. I read this book, then I read it again. Something about it, maybe not so much the content of the book, but the gesture and meaning behind the package, filled me with joy and hope. Both were emotions that had been out of my grasp for so long.

The following weeks were made up of work, trimming the Christmas tree at work, buying Christmas presents, and arranging to move into my friend Katie's house. Throughout those weeks I spoke frequently with Sara, Marsha, Garrett, Lauren, and Jessica.

When Christmas arrived I flew back home to Atlanta and was coerced by family, friends, Jessica, and Bridget to regain my footing in this world. After the holiday I flew back to Denver to tie up my loose ends and pack up my belongings...and I left.

I left quite a few people hanging through this process and never have been able to express to many of these people just how much they meant to me and how valuable their friendship and love was. I hope one day i will be able to convince them.

If you are still with me in this, thank you for reading this entire thing. Sorry if some elements seem out of place or pointless, my mention of the music for example. You see, while it wasn't discussed much at all in this little diatribe, it was just as important to me as many of these people. It was there for me when others weren't, and it was there when I wasn't there for myself.

So yea...I guess this is a landmark thread? I don’t really know if this story was very enlightening, but I hope that by reading it you are able gain a better understanding of me.

That is all...

[ March 04, 2005, 11:58 AM: Message edited by: Ben ]

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peterh
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Beautiful!

One of my favorite landmarks. It's doesn't have to make perfect sense. You merely need to express. I loved it.

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Ela
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Ben, thanks for sharing that. I really enjoyed reading about a little piece of your life.
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ElJay
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You make a little more sense to me now. Thanks.
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Morbo
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Wow. What a heavy post. It's amazing how a few acts of kindness can have such a strong impact.
[The Wave]

Reading that makes me sorry I tricked you into wasting your 1000th post on Big Wheels. Sorry about that, Ben. [Frown]

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Anna
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Thanks for sharing. [Group Hug]
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Corwin
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I went to the end of the landmark, saw the "That is all", then went back to reading being sure it IS you, Ben. [Smile]

It's nice to know more about you! [Hat]

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tt&t
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Ben, I don't think we've ever had a conversation - in fact we rarely post in the same threads - but I always enjoy reading your posts. Usually it's because you amuse me a heck of a lot, but this time it's because you write well and tell an interesting story.

Regardless of why I'm readng your posts, you always seem very genuine to me. I like your style. Stick around, eh? [Cool]

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twinky
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I like Boysetsfire.

quote:
I left quite a few people hanging through this process and never have been able to express to many of these people just how much they meant to me and how valuable their friendship and love was. I hope one day i will be able to convince them.
You know, if you could write this landmark, I think you can do this, too. Maybe not right this very minute, but having the hope is a good place to start.

[Smile]

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ClaudiaTherese
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Ben, thank you for the writing. It is very vivid, and as ElJay said, it made me understand you better.

I've had a couple of dark Thanksgivings, too. [Smile] It can keep getting better.

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Shan
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Thanks for sharing some more about you, Ben - I love the "That is all" - my grandma Janie always said that when she was done.

I'm glad you are finding what you need, and that you have family and friends that are there for you.

[Smile]

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Kwea
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I have been there a bit myself, Ben, so I know what you mean about even a simple act of kindness meaing so much sometimes.

I am glad that things seem to be going better for you now, emotionally and otherwide.

Don't ever forget what that felt like..both the lonliness and the relief that someone cared. You shouldn't dwell on it..but don't ever forget it. It can be a powerful motivating influence, and make you a better person in the end.

Kwea

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Teshi
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[Smile]
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Ben
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When i went to bed last night, i thought i had just typed the most incoherent piece of trash imaginable. While i still feel my writing style and ability has deteriorated significantly over the years, i believe this wasn't as bad as originally thought. i still feel i rambled more than Dave Eggars on a good day. thanks for the feedback?

.......................................................damn the man, save the empire!

[ March 03, 2005, 03:58 PM: Message edited by: Ben ]

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Farmgirl
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Ben - it was wonderful, heartfelt writing, and I hung on every word. I thank you for sharing.

I also, during my very young adult life, was homeless for a time (living in my car) because I refused to come back to my home state and face the music. I empathize with the soul-searching you did at that point, and I really took me back to that moment in my life, as well.

Which makes me all the more grateful to God for how far I've come since then.

Thanks you for opening yourself to us.

Farmgirl

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bunbun
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I'm really glad you posted this. Thank you for your story! I've had some rough times, too, and I find myself thinking I'm the only person who's had hardship.

I hate that saying, "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger." I will say, going through crap in your life shows you what you've got.

Good show! I liked your decision to reach out. That shows balls.

Eve

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adam613
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Wow.

That's the kind of story you don't hear every day.

And who cares if it rambles a bit? Catcher In The Rye rambled a bit, and that is one of the best books ever [Smile]

I feel like I understand you better, so you got your point across. Thanks for posting it!

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solo
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Ben, I enjoyed reading this quite a bit. I really appreciate all the music discussion you add to Hatrack.

Did you get a chance to dl that Living End show? And were you still interested in a video version of it?

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Zotto!
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Thank you for sharing that, Ben; very similar to my 2004, in some ways. I'm with solo: I greatly enjoy the musical discussions you bring to Hatrack (though I'm pressed for internet time these days and we probably haven't even posted in the same thread before *grin*). Great LM, dude. [Smile]
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