Introduction: I wanted to do something different on Saturday's the video storytelling was not connecting. On Sunday's I have a picture tell a story without words. So on Saturday we will try having a story paint a picture. My previous writings and book have been well received and I selfishly miss writing and it is my blog. So here we go:
I am a huge Bon Jovi fan. As a younger man it was all about the music. As I grew and got to know more about the artists, I connected with Jon Bon Jovi on matters of dreams, goals, philosophy and the need to try to make the world a better place.
The Circle, to this day, is my favorite album of theirs. It was a return to their roots with some amazing songs. But the title of the album was related to the band's inner circle. The circle of friendship is something that is hard to get into and even harder to leave.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently. She is a writer in Detroit and our conversations are very honest and transparent. In one of our conversations recently, she said this, "With all the shit you have been through, it is amazing that your heart is not pure steel by now. I love that I am in your inner circle. I get it. You let so few people inside those walls, but once they are inside, they are there for life with you."
My friends are some of the most beautiful people I know. There is one who saved my life over coffee.
We were sitting at a Starbucks, as was our habit, and I was pontificating on one thing or another and she laid a truth bomb on me.
"You are becoming so dark, Pat. All there is is anger and it is getting scary."
I knew how hard it was for her to say those words. Critique in compassion is not her thing. I looked at her and defended my anger even though I knew on a very fundamental level that she was right. The truth of the matter was, anger was the only thing keeping me from going numb, but the bitterness was consuming me like a cancer.
But I saw something else in her eyes. Fear. Not fear of me, but fear for me and the fear that she did not know how much longer she could stay in the circle and like my Detroit friend, she knew what the circle was and how few were inside it. It used to be a beautiful place, but it had become cold and desolate and dangerous. The thing is, she was deeper in the circle than almost anyone. Without her, what was left of the ecosystem inside would be thrown out of balance even more than it was.
Here I was, knowing she was right. But I secretly had stage 4 bitterness eating away at me and I was not doing anything about it. I put on a pleasant smile and changed the topics, but I knew that she knew it was bullshit and an act. She played her part and we went our separate ways.
I got less than a mile away before I stopped the car with my hands shaking and tears welling up in the back of the soul. I could not allow the tears. So I screamed punching the steering wheel and the ceiling of my car. I felt the pain as my knuckles cracked open and blood flowed from the right hand. Then I prayed. "Fuck you old man. Fuck you. I served you for years and now I lose everything. What the fuck? You and the devil decided to have another go like your sick little bet with poor Job? Are you a vivisectionist dissecting hearts for your entertainment?" Then I spoke to myself. "Fuck you, Pat, You didn't lose everything. You lost stuff. You lost money. You fucked up a few things! This is your kingdom. You made this mess and now you are going to lose the last thing you have left. People. How many more? How many more will walk away? She was a lifer and she wants out! Who's next? Your kid?"
My heart was steel and the walls around the circle that once protected had become a fortress to keep all out. Inside was ruins. The beauty was buried under rubble.
Jeff Bridge's once said that, "Most cynics are really crushed romantics: They've been hurt, their sensitive, and their cynicism is a shell that's protecting this tiny, dear part of them that's still alive."
When that part dies, there is nothing left. Over coffee I learned it was dying and I did not know what to do. I had no fight left in me. I knew I needed to find the fight because time was running out.
When I take pictures in the night. It is not the darkness that I am fascinated with. It is the light that shines in the darkness that allows us to see. We do not see light itself, but light allows us to see. I think CS Lewis said that.
As I wrap this up, I know this is not a story. Consider this the introduction to the reason for the work. Everything I write and every photo I share is part of the struggle back to life. It is not only my tale of rising from the ashes to bask in the moonlight that pierces the darkness and my quest for the dawn, but it is also my genuine hope that it connects with the darkened hearts of others and inspires.