Exit, Stage Left

exit sign

Quite a few times Ive heard of a glowing red exit sign; there is a door underneath, it unlocked, unalarmed.
Most times it’s on the left, far from the right side of your mind.
Oh it’s there, we all have it.
We’ve all seen it.
We’ve all crossed our brain to reach it.
It’s there waiting for us to turn off the light.
I’ve heard of this Red Neon Sign place, like it’s the warm embrace of a silence long since yearned and a peace long since forgot, and I get the appeal.
I understand the exhaustion, the never ending infraction of stress induced neuron death that feels like inaction, but depression isn’t a disease that can just heal, it is the cornerstone of in-satisfaction, it is failure, it is the slow conveyor belt that slides you towards that exit.

Yeah, I’ve heard of it.
Four too many times I’ve received a call from four too many friends that have all but reached the switch under the Red Neon Sign and crossed the door into never ending night.
With each call I’ve felt the air so dense draining from my heart, when I hear them tell me how parched they are from the quenching relief that Exit seems to offer,  and there’s no chance, I don’t get a time-out to ask someone else for help because there is just no handbook on how to save a life.
So I improvise.
Just, I say over and over, talk to me,
I won’t leave your side…

I’ve heard too many times of that place…

I’ve heard too many times of that place through calls and texts all of which I’ve fought, over and over again. I say: No, you’re supposed to turn ON the light. NO you are NOT tethered to a broken corner, you still have time. There is far more space than meets the sad eye…
But over and over I’ve hear them say how hopeless they are, how tired they are, they tell me they tried to draw a thicker line between love and hate and failed to see anything but that Red Neon Sign.
I told them that between the two choose both, because passion always redefines a life…
I am running out of things to say…
Just Please…

                         Stay on the line…

I’ve heard too many times that it’s not my job, they are not my responsibility.
I’ve heard outsiders from this existential odyssey tell me not to play the savior,
that this type of behavior is best tended by a professional.
But if someone is drowning and they picked up the phone to call -me-
do I dismiss their calling and wait for a lifeguard to come save them?!
Fuck no.
I’d rather jump in and get soaked swimming with them, than feel the burn of the steam of all the tears after witnessing that Red Neon Sign flashing over that door slowly closing.
I will take that fall any day over a visit to the graveyard because I know that between being scared or scarred there’s only one I would regret.
So I tell them I will stay.
Even if they decide otherwise.
Even after the gunshot.
Even after that jump off the rail.
I will stay. I will be their ally.
I tell them:
I’ll take care of your loved ones.
I will gather your poetry.
The bricolage of memories that most hurt us.
I’ll never judge you.
I am here and I don’t encourage this,
but my friendship didn’t come with a fine print of conditions or excuses to be absent.
I say I am here, for the good times but specially for the bad ones.
I’ve grown too aware of that glowing Red Exit Sign.
I’ve been entranced by it’s lowlight, seduced even.
So I know, that outsiders have no idea that when we’re out on that ledge
Too weak to either pull ourselves up
Or hold on forever,
More often than sometimes,
A reminder of what kindness sounds like, can bring us back.
A gentle reminder  that hope is just as strong as despair, but equally as blind.
Almost always thats what we lack.
Some friendly word to distract us from the irresistible simplicityOf that doorway.
It doesn’t always work but we have to try
Even if they still decide to cross it. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we’ll get to hear that door lock. And that, by far makes all that dread, that terrifying notion of near death;
well worth the scare.
All it takes is a morning texts that says,
Thank you I feel better today.
We’ve all been made aware of that Red Exit Sign one way or another.
Sometimes, that call can come from within the self, a deep cry for a relief
that only an exit can provide.
There’s no real script that can prevent the calls from coming,
so the only thing I can offer from my experience is a gentle reminder
to listen, kindness is so underrated we’re taught how to be kind to others, but never how to be kind to ourselves.
For this piece of advice, I implore you to be kind to both.
And together, instead of being dragged towards the left,
we can learn how to choose life.
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