No longer high, voices still hammered away at the fragile membrane of mind. This time though I was more prepared. At a red light, I ran and hid in the shadows of my mind preparing for my counterstrike. Idea: use their own power against them like they did in martial arts. The torrent of scorns and abuses came as predicted. I took one on then let it go at the precise moment another appeared. It was tactical diversion at its best. All I had to do was wait for the light to change color, then I’d show them.
The light turned green. I readied myself and attacked.
“Okay guys, are you ready for this? Let go!” I stepped out from the shadows and began to run, not too fast lest I give the game away too early. Fumbling with the gear shift of mind, I put it in high and sped up. The race was on! I could still hear them in the distance, but then shifted gears again sending them shrieking into the ether. Sweet sounding voices shrieked. I paused for an instant, before trusting their fate to the hands of their Creator. Then I was off, speeding like a madman into the distance. I was a free man. Back in the saddle, it felt so good to be in control of my mind-vehicle once more.
With a renewed lease on life, I entered ‘Ratsville‘. Something had changed: the air was lighter and brighter. People went about their business as if I didn’t exist. Before me, so-called normal people alike played games of ‘You’re Not Going to Beat Me‘ and ‘Catch Me If You Can‘ or some other slick posturing. The street kids were more blatant in their game playing. ‘Try And Stop Me‘, ‘Look Over There‘, or ‘You Don’t Need It‘ to name but a few. They stole from one another if it wasn’t tied down, locked up or because they could. A shadow passed overhead, but this time I stood my ground and made sure it saw me too.
‘What if it was like this all the time?’ “What?” I asked the voice. ‘What if nothing out there had changed?’ Could I be so gullible to think everything else changed on account of me? Maybe the light I shone wasn’t strong enough? Maybe I wasn’t powerful enough? Maybe….
Saddened, I looked on the state of the world before me. Realization stung. The world hadn’t changed at all – only my romantic vision of it. Had everything I worked for been in vain? Could nothing be done to save them?
Even though some of them had done some pretty nasty things, they were still my friends and I loved them for trying. I asked a girl friend for help. “What’s going on? Why is everyone so … so bad?” ‘Bad. Who’s bad? No one’s bad. They’re just doing what they think they need to do to survive. That’s how it works. Here and everywhere. You did it in your own way. We’re all here together remember?’ “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be so judgmental. I just thought…” “What do you think? The world revolves around you?’ Her words cut to the bone, but such was the nature of truth.
Did I really think that if I stopped doing drugs everyone else would too?! The world still went about its business as if … as if I didn’t exist! Had I died and was having a bad dream? Or was this the way it had been all along? Was this the way it had to be? I felt so useless, so infinitesimal, so non-existent.
I looked upon creation with renewed eyes. Anger flared, but I kept its fiery flames to myself. Nothing deserved to get scorched anymore than it had to by the fires of creation. But where there was fire there was smoke! When the smoke cleared there was always room for new growth. Was that it? The Universe was making me choose between my new lifestyle and this one. What did I want for me?
Wearing a mask of confidence, I told others about my feeling the need to move on. They labeled me a ‘quitter’, a loser, a cheat and a liar. Unlike before when I clung to their every word as gospel, now they were like gauges showing me how much I’d changed. I wasn’t a quitter, loser, cheat or a liar. I just had new choices. For once in my life I had the ability to choose. So did they if they wanted it. If they didn’t then they could either accept it or not. It was up to them. That was their choice. No one else was going to do it for them, especially when they didn’t want them to.
Turning to my heart, I spoke my truth to a few friends: “I appreciate you guys so much. You’ve all helped me in your own way. Nowhere’s felt more like home than here with you. Unlike so-called civilized ‘normal’ society, you haven’t judged me for my sexuality, skin color, clothes, drug use and other stuff. Being free to be real and honest has shown me how racism, homophobia, hetero-phobia and other phobias are games people play to feel good and not feel bad about themselves. It’s not wrong if people don’t know how to deal with their stuff, only when they do know better. Jesus said, ‘let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.’”
“While being judged hurts – it’s supposed to! If it didn’t it’d be called something else! But expecting it to not hurt only amplifies the pain and makes it more real than it really is. Avoiding feeling my hurts is only setting myself up for even greater ones. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but like everything else it requires hard work and dedication – just like doing drugs and living this lifestyle. Sure people can throw bigger stones, but they might stop throwing stones too. Like Neo stopped those bullets in The Matrix, I’m tired of letting my fears rule my life. But everyone has lessons to learn. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be here. We’d probably be sitting on the right hand of God.
I’ve learned so much from my lessons and everyone around me, but I don’t need or want the insanity, violence and mindless manipulation anymore. Life’s all about choice. When you’ve learned what you came here to learn you can move on too. It’s all up to you. Playing the same games over and over again is like never leaving the sandbox – not even to go to the washroom. Then it just becomes a litter box!” We all laughed at that one. Some liked the analogy; some didn’t, but no one liked to be called on their shit remember!
On December 14th, 2002 I gave into temptation and got high – just to see what my old friend felt like again! Nothing had changed. I sat all alone totally fed up and disgusted, playing with my mind like a cat a mouse. Suddenly, a Mad Hatter appeared followed by other characters from Alice in Wonderland. I laughed out loud. It was so simple to turn it all on and off. That was when the truth finally sank home. I wasn’t addicted to drugs, just the rush from them.
I stopped shaking. Lifetimes of trauma still resonated within. Capitalizing on my moment of truth, I did something unexpected and jotted down thoughts upon my gravestone of addiction. My mind calmed. Other characters arrived, dancing, hooting and hollering, but even they couldn’t shake my new-found reality. They were normal everyday people in costume on the way to a Christmas party. Fond memories of days long past percolated within. I used to be like them, once, in better times past, but now…. Sadness unfolded multiple times over like flower petals opening in the sunlight. Even madness was swept away in its wake.
That was the last time I ever did crystal meth.
© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –
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