#5 The Long Way Down

stuggle is real depression
Photo by Mateusz Sau0142aciak on Pexels.com

I’VE BEEN IN THE COMPANY OF CATS FOR SO LONG NOW, I almost forgot that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. There’s a good chance I may not land on my feet this time.

All my plans have fallen through. Everything I was planning to do at this stage in life has been waylaid so that I might focus on being okay. I am locked into survival mode, being-to-be.

My behavior in the past month has been unacceptable. I’ll fully admit to that. I had to abruptly hang up on my mother while she was talking to me at one point, on the verge of tears, unable to speak. I was so upset I couldn’t even tell her why. My father texted me a while later, a long text that I’ve read over and over to myself. It ends with “I really expected better from you”. I never responded. I really expected better from myself, too. I don’t know how to respond to that.

I talked to my mother about it later. I talked to her through stifled, ugly crying. I hate to have people see or hear me when I’m so broken. I feel guilty even typing this. I’m alternating constantly between “She’s already done so much for me,” and “I wish she could support me more,” and I don’t mean financially, no, I’m saying this as someone who struggles to open up, to be honest, and to express myself. I still can’t be myself around my parents and that really fucking hurts sometimes (A/N: In hindsight, having written this, I don’t mean to undermine or downplay the significance of my parents’ contributions to my success as a student, and in general; my reasoning for this goes back to “boundaries,” but know that I do love my parents very much. Mom, Dad, if you’re reading this: I really want to work on our relationship together, and I hope that I can prove myself a better son than the person I am now. I endlessly appreciate your patience and support for me. I love you both so much).

The last month has been turbulent. I secured two jobs (two dishwashing positions, in Northeast and Southwest Portland, respectively) and I found out that I wouldn’t be living with my best friends in a month’s time. I’ve been planning this for a while, and so the news that I wouldn’t actually be a part of the process was heartbreaking. I mean that in every sense of the word. I really wanted this. This is the first thing I wanted so bad in such a long, long time, and knowing that it wouldn’t happen dealt such a blow to my ego that I honestly felt like calling it quits, packing up, and heading right back to where I started in Cali (A/N: This might still be the case as of now).

But, as my mother tells me, “Everyone struggles, struggling builds character,” and, more pertinently, “This is the worst of it, you’re at the bottom now”.

As much as I would like to believe that, however, I feel like it’ll get even worse before it gets better. I don’t feel like I’ve hit bottom yet. It’s such a long, long way down (A/N: This was written at the beginning of March).

I want to struggle. I’m here because I want to struggle. If I can quit at any moment, why would I not want to be here right now? Why would I want to take the easy way out?

Who do you take me for?

If you’re so concerned with the outcome and not the process, if all you do is cut corners, you’ll never grow as a person. I know that I’m slow, but I’m also deliberate. I’m learning. I’m getting better. It won’t be overnight, and it won’t be drastic, but I will be better and it will be sooner than you expect.

I know that my mother meant “Everyone struggles,” to deter me from putting myself under any more stress, to make me feel like I wasn’t alone – but I’m afraid she’s done the opposite. I know she wants me to be okay, and believe me, I do want to be okay, but I’ll never be okay if I can’t struggle for my own sake. I need to prove to myself that I can exist here because I want to, and not just because I have the privilege of existing here now.

There is considerable significance in the misinterpretation of words. There is also considerable value in the misinterpretation of words (in some circumstances).

A writer’s greatest tool is being able to carefully select the correct words to get their true meaning across: it is an honor to be able to translate one’s thoughts into words, but a daunting, paralyzing task at times.

At some point, the fear melts away.

Charles Bukowski published a poem once, entitled “so you want to be a writer?”

If you haven’t read it, here it is, in its full, unedited glory:

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you

in spite of everything,

don’t do it.

unless it comes unasked out of your

heart and your mind and your mouth

and your gut,

don’t do it.

if you have to sit for hours

staring at your computer screen

or hunched over your


searching for words,

don’t do it.

if you’re doing it for money or


don’t do it.

if you’re doing it because you want

women in your bed,

don’t do it.

if you have to sit there and

rewrite it again and again,

don’t do it.

if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,

don’t do it.

if you’re trying to write like somebody


forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of


then wait patiently.

if it never does roar out of you,

do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife

or your girlfriend or your boyfriend

or your parents or to anybody at all,

you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,

don’t be like so many thousands of

people who call themselves writers,

don’t be dull and boring and

pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-


the libraries of the world have

yawned themselves to


over your kind.

don’t add to that.

don’t do it.

unless it comes out of

your soul like a rocket,

unless being still would

drive you to madness or

suicide or murder,

don’t do it.

unless the sun inside you is

burning your gut,

don’t do it.

when it is truly time,

and if you have been chosen,

it will do it by

itself and it will keep on doing it

until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

JD-Jurado © all rights reserved

Part 5 of 9
From Grim to Dire, A Testimonial for Being-to-be



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