I’ve notified y’all that this blog is turning into something very personal. The majority of you are still reading this through apathy and lack of will to read my codebetter.com blog, and I understand the feeling. If you don’t unsubscribe now, welcome to the rabbit hole, for that’s where I am and where I shall lead you. You’re probably going to learn way too much about the intricate inanity my brain is full of. Spare yourself and spare me, don’t read this unless you want to be in Seb’s head.
If you’re still here, I would ask you for one thing, and one thing only: do realize that I’m not sharing these thoughts with you or anyone else. I share for I need to expel those thoughts in a written, however raw, medium. I’m writing this for me, not for you.
Singing in the rain… An amazing program for sure, but more importantly the title of the latest musical at the Palace Theater around the corner. It’s funny how the world evolves silently around you.
It’s not that one doesn’t care or doesn’t take notice. No, the intent is not where the cookie crumbles. There is one thing that makes one feels more human, more comfortable, and more in-tune with the greater scheme of things. Or maybe we like to kid ourselves in the delirious delicious illusion that we do have that one thing. It is not control, for this would be very naive . The real Houdini in this world is the illusion that you *know* what’s going on.
You see, I live next to the Palace Theater. Last year, I bought some tickets to go and see Priscilla Queen of the Desert with my mom. Life has a funny way to get back at you: she introduced me to that movie when I was only a lad, but her seat ended up being used as a very expensive cloakroom for I got the dates wrong, my passion for the film didn’t extend to the musical, and out of all things, it was raining. Ignoring the obvious may well be a human trait.
They changed the musical in that theatre and *i had no idea*, even though I’m their neighbour. I live next door. It’s only by accident, on the way back from a night I attended to celebrate someone’s departure, that I learnt about it - why we celebrate losing people is another one of those questions I never had a valid answer for.
Tonight, I ended up being there for a friend I’ve not seen for a long time. That friend was in distress, needed a shoulder. When you love someone, you ought to be their rock when they crumble. This friend, very much younger than I, is going through cancer, chemotherapy, and did it without telling me.
It hurts so bad. The pain is beyond words. I’m thirty years old, and I have had one friend dying from drugs, another dying from a brain tumour, a member of my family having near-death experiences twice and now being on constant medical care, and another member having to go through breast cancer. Another one of my friends went back to California for another cancer treatment, and while I’ve heard he’s in remission, I was never to have known about it in the first place. Thankfully, indiscretions in circle of friends sometimes include you back in something you’ve bee pushed out of. That said, we don’t talk about it, I don’t talk about it, no one talks about it. Why is it that there is no talking when my heart feels like screaming so loudly, so intensely against the injustice of this world?
That’s not even starting to discuss the impact of HIV on my life. A statistic was recently published showing that 3 out of 7 gay men in London were infected. I was only 18 when my best friend was the first to get over the hedge. Since then, it’s such a regular occurrence that I ought to be prepared for the announcement, and as sad as life is, for it is, it’s a regular occurrence.
It’s not only the raw feelings about those situations, mind you. It’s more profound, complex and dark. I couldn’t possibly imagine not being completely and uttermosly available to do whatever is in my power to help, but I feel guilt for feeling drained by it. My selfishness is as painful as the pain I share with those that are going through this. It’s not only survivor’s guilt, it’s survivor helper’s guilt. Worse, one can only resent the incompetence in one’s ability to deal with those matters. How can anyone look at oneself in a mirror in the morning and accept the sharing of the suffering of others, as well as the realization of one’s obsession with one’s petty concerns?
It’s way too young an age to be dealing with so much grief and loss. The most insulting thing I ever heard from someone was at a dinner when told I lacked empathy. I’ll tell you what empathy is: it is the cancer and the HIV and the death you share with those around you. It is the constant pain felt for all things that are not right in the world. It is the thing that makes you cry when no one looks. It is the thing that makes you detest a world that can provide so many beautiful butterflies and take them away as quickly as they came. Empathy is what makes me cry when I look at the world around me. Maybe I cry too much, but more likely I don’t cry enough, for the pain debt will never get repaid.
We’re not provided with the right equipment to deal with pain and loss. Or maybe some are, I just was never given those tools. It hurts and I hurt. I hurt for my friend, my family members, those that I lost, those that I could have lost and all those that I don’t know the pain of.
There is only one thing more painful than sharing the burden of the life we all have to carry: the pains I cannot share.