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WHEN HOPE DIES
So Sad it Sucks
I felt no pain at point of impact. I had already long been a dead man walking. I saw pieces of my soul getting strewn everywhere I looked. Bloody silhouette on the wall portrayed a spread-eagled human body shape. Unpalatable sight. The wall had sucked much of my spirit. My strength was gone.
“The bottom line is the dollar sign!” sang South Bronx in 1982. Two decades later I had leapt from the bottom line to high up in the sky.
Sky is the limit. It’s a common saying. The dollar sign knows no limits in the sky. Elon Musk will tell you that. Maybe. Try Richard Branson too. But then again, the dollar sign and its numbers are written on paper. Paper burns to ashes when fire rages. Sky holds no ash. Trash. That’s how we fall. When this happens, gravity becomes our worst enemy. We can’t beat the force. For we are not peregrine falcons we can only spread our limbs. Close our eyes. Hope for a few seconds to project our last prayers to God before we embrace the first wall to receive us, if not the ground itself. Welcome back down to earth with a plash. Instant death sealed if it’s not your lucky day.
They shall make another dollar sign note. The bottom line is that the dollar sign is forever. For now, anyway. In the digital space they call it cryptocurrency these days. I do want to live forever, but I’m only human. I survived my fall. Miraculous. Today I’m with my feet on the ground below the dollar sign bottom line. I’m in sync with the grassroots. I can hear my heart beat. I feel life everywhere. My soul is together again.
Perhaps it is because, despite its timing and speed, I had in fact had a hunch of the fall coming. I had seen some men and women fall around me before. I had rescued a few in my job. I knew, I know the signs therefore. I knew that if I did not take a time out, eternal darkness would be my destination. In the realm of eternal darkness, everything of the unthinkable, everything of the anti-life is possible. Once people have fallen into this abyss, there is no turning back. More often than not.
Fortunately I am a child of the light. I’ve never been inclined to be drawn towards the direction of eternal darkness. Temptations abound, with or without dollar sign opulent existence. These temptations come forth in variable manifestations, but eternal darkness is a constant. I understood that if ever I got to succumb to temptation, I’d ultimately find myself knocking on the door to eternal darkness. Therefore, I zeroed myself out from conventional social routines. I had acknowledged my lack of passion for the latter after my fall had sapped nearly all of my desire to live and love.
Somewhere in my growing up years, I had learned that there was no dishonour in accepting defeat and all that it entails at the personal and material levels. If I got the chance to wait for as long as it was necessary, I would regain my strength and passion for living again. I went into hibernation. For five years and three months I faced isolation, my frustrations, my bitterness, my fears, my inadequacies, my nightmares, and my hopes head-on. In time, my reflections on hope as a concept and process rekindled my life light.
Despite everything else, my hope that everything would be alright someday was steadfast. I reckon that this effectively dissuaded me from seeking to enter into the path towards the realm of eternal darkness. I felt a strange warmth and respect towards suicide. Finally, it all made sense to me. And I began to write books. The books have driven me to visit the deepest recesses of my being as a private soul, and as a social entity. I obsoleted my demons. I know myself better. I understand my world better. I have found inner peace. Life is a joy. Pure joy.
Suicide feeds on the state of emotional desperation of everyone equally. Hope is a constant human attribute that conditions behaviour towards achievement of certain values or states of being. All things remaining equal, happiness is derived from different experiences from person to person because human beings are born ever so different from one another. People also rightly define what happiness is owing to who they are vis-à-vis their respective stations in life. However, once attained, the feeling of happiness as a human emotion is a planetary constant.
In the same vein, people shall as individuals or collectives hope to attain a myriad of desirable ends in their lives. They’ll be variably motivated to actively work in as innumerable ways towards the achievement of these goals. Success is the reward for keeping the dream alive, driven by hope and faith during the process of overcoming eventual obstacles encountered along the way. Success then ignites the auto neurological response manifest through various ways of expressing the constant of happiness. Like a rose, happiness is happiness by any other name.
In the extreme, regardless of the goal or the dreamer, failure to achieve can lead to one common denominator that is also a constant across the board: desperation. Desperation is a recipe for depression. Depression is a rough surface, unlit downhill express tunnel highway into the realm of eternal darkness. If the mind still works positively somehow, and if even a minute glimmer of hope still exists at this stage, the afflicted might ask just one last question: “What am I living for?”
I know – I’ve been there, done that.
I do not speak for religious and other convictions. Neither do I speak for wanton social deviants, psychopaths, when I postulate that suicide is the respectable way out when people have come to the conclusion that they have nothing left to live for; when they have concluded that their lives have no worth or meaning to anybody, when they are caught up in the maze of helplessness against deceit and cold-heartedness of fellow humans. How many times have we in anger, or outright malice, said to one another something like, “You are useless. You are fuck all. You mean nothing to me. Get out of my life. Go hang, loser!”?
Human nature is complex. That complexity directly translates itself in the complex nature of human relations. That said, I believe that much as I am responsible for my own happiness, I am as responsible to help to make other people find and sustain their own happiness. The overriding assumption being that I am allowed the privilege to give and to assist whenever necessary. Happiness does not occur in a vacuum. It is also imperative that we allow one another to make mistakes, correct them, repent, and forgive*. Just as it is of absolute importance to show humility in the face of our sins and errors of judgement as we all go about each the routes and obligations of our respective journeys of life.
Given the adventures that the routes of my life’s journey have exposed me to so far, I have developed profound but non-attached love for the vast majority of people I have had anything to do with in all the human survival and growth endeavours that I still go through. I am a humble and grateful recipient of much love from all these people too. This grand love is the reason for my living.
All categories of love considered, my love for people is non-attached to the extent that I could never impose my love on anybody that does not want my love. Neither could I ever beg, nor long for non-forthcoming love from anybody that despises me. In my world, love is a voluntary, spontaneous two-way traffic. It’s either it works, or it doesn’t. Love is not an entitlement. Love is a desirable, not an imperative.
Love is discerning. So is its redemptive power. Unconditional love is for children; it is for the sick, the weak, and the vulnerable. Love becomes an imperative only when it comes to the self. The greatest love of all is the love of the self. Should I ever feel devoid of self-love one day, I might as well be dead.
On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, I lost my youngest cousin in South Africa to suicide. Exactly one week later, Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25, 2019, all-Norway’s Ari Behn followed suit. Beloved South African activist friends in Johannesburg, Sipho Singwisa and Gillian Schutte had already begun to grieve since their only child and son met his demise likewise on Sunday, December 01. 2019. I am Sad as Hell for sure. My deepfelt condolences to the bereaved parents, their broader families, friends, and fans in South Africa and Norway.
Who feels it knows it. I find comfort and lasting hope in that I have reason to believe that I have an idea as to the magnitude of the battles the three dearly departed had to put up against their respective demons along the way into the realm of eternal darkness. No weaknesses here. No cowardice. No stupidity. No selfishness. No eccentricity. No madness. Only insurmountable troubles of being human having crushed spirit and hope foundations of a man’s existential premises: Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows … my sorrow.
In the end, we are all ever so vulnerable against forces that make us breathe. When it’s over and done with, it’s not in the act, but in compassion we want to dwell upon; it’s in the enshrinement of dignity of our humanity in our hearts. It could happen to anyone of us. Anytime. May the souls of Kagiso, Ari, and Kai rest in eternal peace. My thoughts also go to the numerous others whose fall into the suicide trap have gone unnoticed the world over, as well as those that suicide beckons and shall consume in obscurity today, tomorrow and beyond.
- This article must be understood in the context of the entire ‘38 YEARS AN EXILE’ series thus far. Dedicated with unreserved love to my Dearest Uncle, Family Patriarch, Legend-In-His-Own-Time, Mr OB Chilembo, in Lusaka, Zambia.
- It is with never so small humility that I emphatically declare that my African culture in the 21st Century is one of the most prolific breeding grounds for Depression in the world. This, for purposes of only this writing, from the point of view of family and social relations dynamics that are outdated, and have remained static since the onset of European domination and subsequent colonialism from towards the close of the Middle Ages in the 14-15th Centuries. Who, for example, is more prone to Depression than an African family patriarch, or matriarch? … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon).
April 05-08, 2015