If I Drop Dead Today

Today was a painful day.

Tuesday is therapy day and therapy provokes anxiety.

I walk to all of my appointments and I don’t let anything
get in the way.

The panic attacks began as soon as I hit the morning
light and they didn’t stop.

At one point I could only take five or six slow steps at
a time.

I tried to stay in the shade.

I was in so much pain that I considered tossing myself
into traffic.

I avoided the underground because I was afraid
I’d switch and throw myself onto the tracks.

The thing is the panic attacks haven’t stopped.

I’m home and as soon as I move they start.

It’s horrible.

But there is the question: what if this isn’t panic.

Yes I’ve had my heart checked and yes my blood tests were
negative for heart disease but I wouldn’t be the first person
to drop dead for no clear reason.

So what if I die tonight? Do I have any last words?

Yes, I do.

I want to thank everyone who loved me; who saw talents
in me that my abuser taught me to ignore and hide.

I want to especially thank the poet, Harold Norse, who took
me on as a student and with whom I lived for five years.

He believed that I could discipline my mind and become a writer.

I want to thank my friend, Maria, who brought me out of Charleston
to Connecticut where I found my first taste of freedom in the small
town of New London.

I’m pleased that Maria remains on this planet and still calls me friend.

I want to thank my friend, Don, who was my first partner and whom
I now call Brother; I have always loved you.

Nothing will change that.

I want to thank my current Partner, James.

Whatever you do and wherever you go; know that our souls are one
and I am a prayer away.

My regret is that I did not live long enough to fully understand and edit
the writing I produced when I lived with Harold.

I am not the writer Harold thought I’d become.

I am the writer that I am.

That’s good enough for me.

Rob Goldstein (c) 2016 All Rights Reserved

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72 thoughts on “If I Drop Dead Today

      1. Yes. Very true. I have not met as many genuinely nice people or so much talent as here on WP.

        Like

      2. I’m not sure…Most of the people I’ve met on wordpress seem to be focused on advocating for something or on literary pursuits. I wonder if the people that use wordpress are more mature in their attitudes. It’s a just a guess.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I hate to say it but maturity may be it. I had felt as you did, sometimes still do (trust issues) but trying to reach out is a good start isn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes…And knowing how to see when the person to whom you are reaching out will not genuinely reciprocate.

        At this point I’ve pretty much sorted the gamers out from the people who just want to make art and interact with other people without all of the competitive crap that gamers bring to everything.

        Anyone who places numbers above quality is automatically on my list of suspects. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I have Dyscalculia so i avoid numbers. But you cannot be popular and have an opinion so even if i wished to be, I’m too much a thinker for most, they’re bored by my WHYs

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Asking why means giving up the politically correct dogma from both sides of the political spectrum….

        Dogma is the comfortable lie. How much nicer it is to believe the lie that GWB was ‘mistaken’ about the fact that there were no WMD in Iraq.

        Life is simple when YOU know the TRUTH and everything your opposition says if just politically correct BS.

        But the facts are there and even if our media colludes with the lie the facts remain what they are and will be discovered and revealed.

        I’m always amused when I read politically Correct commentary about the politically correct left which is nothing more than a politically correct talking point from the politically correct right.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Many people colude and if everyone faced things, truth would have nowhere to hide. You’re a very bright man ♡

        Liked by 1 person

      8. We all collude to some extent. I have a need to believe that the human species is capable of rising above these baser needs when they threaten our ability to have lives. Note that I did not say life. Civilization and pooled resources extended our lives and gives us time to think and invent. Advanced civilizations such as ours, can use its wealth to nurture the talents of all of the people as long as everyone agrees to do play his part. The reason we will continue to have higher rates of unemployment is that we will always improve our technologies and reduce the need for labor. The only thing that machines can’t do (yet) is replicate the combination of creative drive, inspiration and curiosity. We are wealthy enough to provide advanced community colleges that make learning a lifetime occupation. I can envision a world in which everyone takes a turn as student and teacher.

        But there are people who say that this is woefully out of touch with reality. And they may be right.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Funny you should say that as i suspect as much as we learn, we lose the essence. We know less not more. Advanced civilization irony, our wisdom is paper thin.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. I don’t know that the more we know the less we know. I think that the harsh disparities in education that we now have results in the kind of information hoarding that existed prior to the rebirth of the democratic ideal which uses Public services to promote the franchise. Self government is an expensive form of government because for it to work as intended everyone must have a slice of those resources that are reserved for nobility under feudal systems.

        Therefore the less people know the less likely they are to understand new information because they are less able to place it into a context with which they are familiar.

        Like

      11. Ignorance breeds fear, yes. Knowledge can open minds, yes. My concern is the kind of mass produced information that disuades people from free thought and subscribes their thinking for them via narrow parameters. That’s the majority of “educatuon” today

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Your talking about the educational system as it became after the so-called ‘conservative revolution’….prior to that public education consisted of liberal arts courses and college prep courses. It was a given that High School would segue to college.

        The first target of the ‘Moral Majority’ was funding for public education and public television which they claimed was ‘too liberal’–this resulted in decades of funding cuts and a turning away from the kind of broad based understanding of how we got to this place in our culture that one can only get from a liberal arts education

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Robert. I say your name deliberately because it like that which we’ve both experienced, including our paths crossing has served a purpose.

    I think of the “Roberts” I’ve met prior to meeting you. From elementary school, to my mom’s coworker who invited us to Thanksgiving Dinner the year my dad died. They all served a purpose but none compared to you.

    Tuesdays now hold new meaning for me. They will be the days I remember you most.

    I’m so glad you’re still here…Robert.

    🌹✍🏾🙏🏾e

    Like

      1. You’ve seen some of the writing and commented on it…there is an especially painful piece that I was editing.

        I stopped working on it nearly a year ago…

        Even with material that isn’t emotionally laden editing is difficult but when it’s a journal in theatrical form it’s hard to know how to proceed.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This was really painful for me to read, Rob, because I’ve been in that place much of my life and come to know that anxiety and panic will probably always be a relationship I can’t break up with for good. I’m glad you found writing. It came to me late in life and I give it credit for getting me through my days. I hope this was a piece of writing to help you get through a painful day and not one that gives me reason to worry about you. Wishing you peace 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the comment, Mandy.

      If I die it will be because my body gives out.

      Suicide is not an option for me.

      This was written in response to the fact that I can’t tell the difference between the panic attacks and the physical symptoms of something more serious, even though I know intellectually that what I am feeling is panic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I totally get what you’re saying-it IS hard to know the difference sometimes; I’ve found it pretty unnerving at the least, terrifying at its worst. It is maddening for me when I know, as you say, intellectually, what is going on, yet my brain/body wants desperately to make me not remember, and even remembering doesn’t always stop the symptoms. I’m glad when those of us who experience this can share it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Danica.

      When I was a kid we used to play with Tarot cards and the card that always came up in my reading was the fool walking over the edge of a cliff but not falling. I think about that when I think of meeting Harold. I’m glad that he finally came up in my posts because now I can start writing about it.

      You are right, I am blessed with good people.

      I don’t feel is shortchanged by life.

      I’m not even sure that I would change anything.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s so interesting even though I don’t know what that card means, I like that image. I’m looking forward to your future posts to do with Harold. Time gives wonderful perspective and we can recognize those who had profound impacts on our lives.
        That’s kind of amazing isn’t it? I’m guessing most of us wouldn’t be quick to change anything in our lives.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I lived with Norse during the worst of the AIDS epidemic. I’ve struggled with the work from that period and I’ve only now realized that so much of it was related to the writing exercises he had me do.

        I wouldn’t change anything.

        I am the result of the way I responded to the challenges I faced. Some of those choices were good and some of them made things worse…but I think I turned out OK…All of me..:)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Rob. I hope you’re still listening. That is, that you’re still here.

    Because: I want to tell you that you are on the cusp of a breakthrough.

    That is why the anxiety.

    Ride it: the white snake.

    Feel the fear, and do it anyway.

    Listen to the voice that told me, when I died: You will go through the fire, and you will come out shining.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My friend,

      You wrote: Rob. I hope you’re still listening. That is, that you’re still here. Because: I want to tell you that you are on the cusp of a breakthrough.

      My reply: In yesterday’s therapy we discussed the resistance of my alternates to communicating with each other. Right now there is a big struggle going on with some of the alternates. My guess is that the physical discomfort is a punishment for talking about things that are un-safe.

      I realize now that this post is a little more raw than I had intended. But it is as much about gratitude as it is about the pain. At least I hope that it is.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you have hit the nail ( or the alternates) on the head, Robert. I mean why would they want to go to therapy if it meant speaking to each other. I also suffer from anxiety and when I do there is a great big elephant squeezing the breath out of me but I can tell when I am at the zoo and when I am not – ha ha.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You are not alone in your despair. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I too suffer from moments of despair when I’m panicking. They are brutally terrifying times and like you, I feel I can’t trust myself, which scares me more, and intensifies the panic. Thank you for staying on your path and staying here with us. I am so glad to read you and not grieve the loss of you.
    Your bodily health reports sound good. I am sad that your brain is not healthy to the same standards, but then, I love the brilliance of your creations and the steady honesty you report here, and who knows — Is that the cost of art?
    Were I there, I would hug you. ❤ May you rest well and may you wake up without panic.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Rita.

      There are days that are just bad.

      This was an exercise in gratitude.

      The one indisputable back of life is that it ends and none of us knows when or how that will happen.

      What I wanted the world to know my gratitude to these people.

      Liked by 1 person

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