All right, let’s go through the Thursday morning checklist:
Morning Coffee? Check
KISS Playlist? Check
Subject Matter? Subject Matter?
Wait a second. Let me scroll through my social media accounts…
Nothing? Are you serious? Is there really nothing there that catches my eye, or are my eyes just tired of looking at the same old stuff day after day? This is unusual.
Fine. Let’s check the news to see what’s going on. Ok. Nope, same stuff that’s been on television for years. Donald Trump gets away with everything, China is spying on us, both political parties want to erase our history but do so under different disguises, and our current president is an eighty-year-old man. I don’t care how rich and powerful he is, you know he shits his pants from time to time and some secret service guy is forced to take baby wipes to an ass which resembles a slip and fall into a vat of Wolfe Brand chili. Yummy. Fucking White House probably smells like a second-rate nursing home in a dying West Texas oil town. Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve sat in a pot of Wolfe Brand Chili? Well, that’s too long…
To all the younger people scratching their heads, that was an old slogan for Wolfe Brand Chili. Google is free and in your pocket.
Let’s see, is there anything positive I can pass onto the people of the world today? Well, I have officially been writing for forty straight days with no gaps in between. That’s one hell of an accomplishment if you ask me. Especially since I’ve never done anything like that in all the fifteen years I’ve been writing professionally. For once, I’m impressed with myself! I’ve written short stories for two anthologies since the beginning of the year and well over 100,000 words worth of blogs, articles, and randomness. This also coincides with me changing up medication. I weened myself from anxiety meds and began taking anti-depressants. The change was instantaneous.
Ah, okay. Here is some good subject matter.
C. Derick Miller, what could you possibly be depressed about?
You’re known in small circles around the world for your published works. You fulfill your childhood dream every weekend by operating a 120+ year old steam locomotive. You are married to a beautiful, successful woman who is seventeen years younger than you are. You are co-owner of a fairly decent two-story condominium in a fancy pantsy artsy fartsy neighborhood just outside of downtown Dallas. You retired from your day job at age forty-eight.
Well, that’s the view from the outside, dear reader. Depression cannot be seen from the outside, and that’s why we must dive a little deeper. Every single person on this planet, no matter how rich and successful, has demons from the past clawing in their brain at all hours of the day and night.
True, all the above listed things would make most people happy, but what type of sludge did I have to crawl through to get here?
Skipping childhood completely, let’s go through the horrors of my adult life. Beginning at age 21, I’ve endured a divorce at the hand of infidelity, a brainwashed military career, a super successful telecommunications career that was raped and plundered by the 9/11 attacks and the Enron scandals, a second divorce at the hands of infidelity, a religious excommunication by my own father, uncle, and cousin, alcoholism, resignation from a law enforcement career in which I was stabbed in the back, constant travel while exposed continuously to rich poons in the art industry, a third divorce due to infidelity, a failed rebound relationship in which I crushed pretty much every single friendship I’d gained since the 6th grade, more alcoholism, walking away from my own newspaper and magazine columns because my editor blackmailed me into sexual favors, and an ongoing pandemic. To top it all off, I’ll be 50 years old this year.
Oh yeah. Let’s sprinkle in a couple dozen failed semi-romantic interactions with less than worthy filler females clouded by gallons and gallons of alcohol.
Somehow, I managed to pen some novels and help raise some children during all that. To be honest, none of the good stuff going on in my life right now would’ve been possible without my current wife. She was the catalyst which changed everything in the right direction. It’s a powerful relationship built on mutual respect and trust, but I can’t help wondering what in the world she sees in me.
Perhaps she’s able to look past the demons I’ve mentioned or can’t see them at all. Either way, I know she acknowledges their existence because I’ve told her everything. Somehow, she still manages to love me even though my odometer is in plain sight. Perhaps my current depression doesn’t come from what I’ve overcome, but from inevitability.
I’ll fall apart eventually. I’m barely hanging onto my looks and my body already hurts with every step I take (Thanks, Uncle Sam). Eventually, I’ll be that eighty-year-old President shitting himself during a State of the Union address minus all the money, power, and fame. Basically, just an old guy shitting on himself. If I make it that far, she’ll be sixty-three, and probably full of regret that she spent her entire adult life limited by the passions and failures of a dreamer who never quite got what he wanted out of life.
Holy shit. That’s deep. Self-reflection at its worst. The fact I can even think that way about myself is exactly why I’m on anti-depressants!
They say it’s impossible to love someone else if you don’t love yourself. I disagree. I have loved until I’ve been bled dry and not once loved who I am as a person. I come from a generation whose music, movies, and media encouraged continuous self-loathing, fueled by over importance on physical attractiveness, acquired wealth, and noticeable success. Adding insult to injury, we’re now exposed to everyone else’s inner thoughts and depression by way of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Multiply all that exponentially and you have the burden of the modern middle-aged man.
The bottom line is that we have no idea what the fuck we’re doing at this point. We’re just floating on the wind like a plastic bag in a shitty Katy Perry song, wondering where the next death threat will come from. Will it be invisible like COVID or in the shape of a Russian missile? Will it come from behind like the January 6th insurrection or will our killer have the balls to face us?
These are the thoughts of a creative mind at midnight, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. With that being said, why haven’t they legalized pot yet? You can’t dwell on all this hopeless shit while you’re stoned out of your mind watching Star Wars for the millionth time!
I have zero shame about any of this and speak freely. Hell sucks, but there’s a clearly marked pathway if you’re willing to endure the heat and ugliness. Is this a confession, or a means to encourage the hope of others to take a deep breath, put that first foot forward, and climb from the depths of their own barrel of despair?
Welcome to our nightmares. Let’s see what tomorrow brings, one tiny pill at a time…
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