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Creative Nonfiction

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

The resources here are scarce. During the daylight, I conjure endless possibilities in my mind of making an escape, returning to the world that I have lost. But as the night sets in, the ensuing darkness does not extinguish the light from the sky alone. In those moments I am cold, helpless, and alone. In the consuming darkness there is no hope, no dreams, no God, only the cold empty blackness.


This is not my first time being isolated on this island. I have tried many times to paddle myself out to the open water in hopes of finding a vessel to rescue me, but the ever present currents always end up sweeping me right back to the shores of my lament. No matter how hard I fight against the tides, I always find myself dumped here, soaking wet, exhausted, with a chill that will not leave my bones. This island is not a real place, it is a metaphor for my mental state, but just because it cannot be identified on a map does not make it less real.


I have wasted my life chasing things that were never mind to hold. Ignoring the things that sparked a fire in my soul, I instead chased libations in the form of material gain, wealth, alcohol, and women. I relied on chemicals to alter my state of reality so that I could brazenly ignore that part of my brain that warned me that I was going off the rails. I didn't want real, I craved "Right Now." I let myself fall victim to juvenile mentalities like "YOLO," convincing myself that because my future was not certain, that it was not worth protecting. I let myself get lost in a sea of flamboyant lustfulness, fighting, foolishness, and fornication. I drowned my delicate sensibilities in a flood of alcohol, and secretly prayed that I would drown before the consequences hit me like a mighty swell. There were moments where the sea of depravity I was swimming in filled my lungs with the promise of sweet death, but it never came. Instead I ended up choking, coughing, sputtering, and clinging to life on this island of my own making.


I have made strides in my growth. I have a clearer vision about the man I need to be to find my lost heartbeat, and allow it to navigate me back to civilization, but I still lack the conviction to get there. I suspect this is because my will to live and my desire to taste the poisoned wine of sweet sweet death still dance in perpetuity. I am, to this point, unsure of how to shift the balance, but I am painfully aware that until I do, the buoyancy imbalance of my ship will not allow for smooth departure, and will likely capsize. While it's true that we all captain our own ships, there are moments where we fire off all of our munitions in the heat of the moment at an unnecessary rival. When that happens, you set yourself up as an easy target. When you spend your life sinking vulnerable hearts in the sea of life, sooner or later, someone will come along and shatter yours. That is the story of this island.


At one point, before I became stranded here again , I recognized the folly of my ways. I made great strides in the endeavor of discovering my better man, the one who watched and learned from the shadows of my soul, taking note of my many misdeeds. Mistakenly I believed that because I was beginning to allow him to take over, that this in turn would take Karma's bounty off my back. Instead that bounty was amplified, and then collected by the one I loved the most in a shocking betrayal. Initially I blamed her for my long journey, floating on the wreckage of my life, dumping me right back here on the island I'd escaped from once before. Over time however, I realized the fault was mine. In the end the bill always comes due. Life finds a way to balance the scales. The reason I was stuck here may have been her fault, but the reason in which I suffered alone with no one to help me, was entirely my own.


And so, here I am, stuck here again, perhaps this time for good. Thirsting for companionship, starving for purpose, and devoid of any materials I could use to rebuild my faith in myself. As good as a captain as I once was, I was no Jack Sparrow. I was no victim, and so I shan't bother to even play the part. This is my home now, whether I like it or not. This Island has become me, and for every night the chilling darkness sets in, there is less and less fiery will to stave it off. It does seem to be an ironic twist, how the island I was desperate to avoid, has become the island in which I am confined to live my life on, and the Island that will one day mark my grave. Perhaps someday, someone will discover my remains. Perhaps in that moment my tale of selfish peril will serve as a stark warning that helps them chart a different course through the choppy waters of fate. That dwindling sentiment is my only hope of my name doing some good.


The reality, however, is that nobody remembers the men that tried to become good, only the ones who did. Literature is riddled with stories of the men who conquered against all odds, but remains stoically quiet about the all the men who died trying before him. It's a flaw within the confines of humanity, we like winners. Those who win, won because they were stronger, wiser, better. Those who died were inferior. While that may be the perception that shapes literature reality, it is not truth. The truth is that behind every great man are the ghosts of men who didn't quite get there, steering his path. And in that spirit, that is how I intend to use my time on this island, preparing my ghost for guidance. Let my death be the energy that shifts the compass of a great man in the direction to save the same wretched world that dragged me under.


That's what bravery is. When you still wish to save the world, even when your own has been burned to ashes.






June 21, 2022 15:46

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2 comments

Roger Scypion
08:43 Feb 24, 2023

Your words walked me through your struggles. So vividly well written.

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Michelle Konde
04:20 Jun 26, 2022

loved the tone and imagery!

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