We shared the same parents. How had I managed to become a lost man? Homeless. Addicted. Living in the woods. We come from a nice family, well respected in this small town. Wealthy, and with means. My brother would go on to be a doctor. Married. One child and another on the way. An officer and gentleman in the Navy. He followed my father's directions for his life to a T. I took a left turn at Albuquerque. I'd try so hard only to fail and to complicate things. I wanted so much to please my father -- to make him proud. I ended up alone, mentally ill, and bereft of friends and family.
I remember when my niece was born. I was an Uncle. I heard through the grapevine about it. Not from my family. I cried. I sobbed. I was jealous. The evening would find me in my tent drinking beer and feeling intense emotions. Why did my brother get all the lucky breaks? He had the perfect life of a loving wife and a prestigious job. I was left with nothing. "I didn't ask to be mentally ill," I would cry out in anger as I got drunker. That was when the thoughts of suicide would sneak into my mind. Maybe I could drink myself to death, I would think. I would eventually pass out to wake up freezing cold and still alive. It was terrible times -- like some horrible rendition of Groundhog Day. Times I want to forget, but temper the man I am these days.
That is what I just wrote in my memoirs and deleted. I am shying away from all things analytical. I felt uneasy about it as if I shared too much emotion. I talked about the dreaded suicide that so escaped me during those days. I think I have run talking about homelessness into the ground as well. Like some apparition from a dark past, it haunts me. Calls me. Come back to your old ways it seems to say. I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It inhabits my every waking thought like some penance I am doomed to pay.
The hardest part of writing a memoir? The past. It hurts to relive those memories. I want to go on with my life with some pollyannaish mentality -- forgetting where I've come from. For me to write these memoirs, I am going to have drudge up old, tired emotions and family dirt. The mental illness that all effected our lives for years. It is scary, but something I feel I must do to put the past behind me. Here's to hoping I would learn and grow, and not become some bitter soul living in the past.