The death of my eighteen year old brother
|The Gift of having “No Fear”|
For whatever it’s worth, for the record “I think I’m worth it”. For as long as I can remember I have felt this strong sense of purpose. This sense of purpose burns strong within me, guiding my everyday choices, preparing me for what lies before me. It’s safe to say I have endured my share of tragedy; some might even classify my most recent tragedy, as ultimately, “devastation” and they would be on point in that respect.
I bet If you ask a million people what their opinion might be in regards to what they would believe to be THE worst thing that could have ever happen to them, few will be able to answer logically. Unfortunately, as human being’s we are only equipped to imagine average outcomes, things that seem to occur on a regular basis, everyday tragedies such as divorce, adultery act. Some people might navigate more cautiously through their life, more so than others. What ever fear you might have going forth in this life will prove to be small in comparison to unexpected tragedies that can occur.
Only few people experience true tragedy, devastation and heartache in which they had no part in making a reality. It’s weird to think that some people are predestined to endure tragedy and heart ache, that the universe has some intention for their life. I never fully understood the phrase, “God wouldn’t give you something you couldn’t handle”. I never understood this phrase until I was forced to make it my religion. In the face of true devastation and harsh reality, you have no choice but to adopt this sort of mentality, other wise you might end up dying of a broken heart.
I look at all the pain I have endured in the past twenty-six years of my life and I can only accept that it has happened and that through all pain and suffering I have ultimately found meaning in all my suffering. I feel like the last two years of my life I have spent suffering so hard just to stay alive, that it’s time I began living. I owe that to myself, I manage to navigate through my pain and suffering without impacting other’s negatively, I accept what life has given me and at the end of the day I can only find respect for myself. I have been a good friend to many, I never went out of my way to hurt another human being, I have never robbed anyone and I have never stood by a situation that was wrong without trying to intervene, whether or not my attempts were awkward in nature and down right, “odd” believe me I had the best intentions.
I have never been able to really hold back much; at the age of twenty-six I have officially lost hope in developing some sort of adult filtration system of any sort. I just am what I am and I can’t do much about it. It takes a strong individual to get up everyday and be whom they really are, I’m lucky I never really had much of a choice in the matter. I have told close friends that I feel as though I have been the same person since I was two years old, I feel like I have always felt the same way about life. I feel like I have always been on the outside looking in on my life, just buying time. Everything always feels so temporary no matter how hard I try to convince myself that it should otherwise feel premalignant.
Anytime I would get a really good job, I would never feel truly good about it. As much as I may have enjoyed temporary financial freedom, it was never enough. I have had some decent paying jobs, some terrible paying jobs and jobs that still to this day owe me money. I have said the words, “I quit” more than Id like to admit, and I can’t say I didn’t try though, because I know that I did. I stayed even after witnessing the creepiest, strangest of human behavior, but eventually I would snap.
It always seemed odd to me that only the creepiest things had to occur before I was able to quit, but like clock work my destiny manifests. In return I gain more insight, better stories and my bank account remains in the negatives because something has to remain consistent in my life and right now if all that remains consistent is that imp consistently broke well, so be it. Beggars can’t be choosers and I can get by on whatever little shred of evidence concerning consistency in my life, no matter how small it may be. I kind of either want to remain broke or have an extraordinary abundance of money so that I could just solve all of my friends financial problems by buying them homes and hiring them to do weird odd jobs. “Hand me that remote and I will buy you one loft, two cars and 6 vacations”, I know it is time that I gave this life thing called life a real “go”. I feel like I have been fighting who I truly am by virtue for years and some people have a purpose and fighting against it will only delay an individual’s ability to find comfort and peace.
I don’t want to fight anymore; I’m raising my flag. I look at my current situation and I find nothing but sense of accomplishment, a light at the end of the tunnel and certain amount of acceptance for what life has given me. Although it has been “different” sometimes rather, “uncomfortable” really, at least I know who I am and what I deserve at this point.
I did my time, played my role, played my hand of cards skillfully and unapologetically. I truly believe the universe has some sort of plan for me, some sort of reward for keeping such a modest poker face all these years. I continue to navigate through pain and tragedy with a “No projection, strictly self reflection”. What I mean by this is, my pain is my pain and my pain only. Never once have any of my friends endured any sort of unfair treatment by me projecting my pain onto them. It is not within me to do that to another human being, I can move through my emotions, skillfully on my own.
I have provided years of quality entertainment, good jokes and good advice to other human beings. I care to a fault, I can’t ever just let things go, I need to at least try and help others even if it comes of weird, my intentions are good. I truly care about other human beings, I’m not against offering my assistance to a lonely stranger that stumbles into the bar who looks like they might have just had the worst day of their life, I can listen to their problems and drop a few one liner’s to make them smile and forget momentarily. This sort of thing brings me joy, because I am not afraid to be alone with my thoughts, I wish to show other’s it is okay to be alone. Not all those that wander are lost. I wander; my favorite past time is wandering. I admit at times I have felt lost, but I no longer feel that way.
I do whatever I can to try and make others feel comfortable, I have always without realizing it in fact, made other people’s lives better by being able to admit my flaws out loud so freely. It’s a gift and a curse, a gift because I have nothing to hide, no secrets to be concealed that might jump out later on in life to interfere. A curse because, it sets me apart from others. As much as it serves to be recognized as a truly admirable trait by many, it usually works against me in the romantic relationship realm of things.
As we become older, life has a way of separating people. Some people embrace this separation and others fall victim to it. I guess since I have always felt separated or slightly detached from others, I adapted a sort of “go with the flow mentality”. People are getting married and having children all around me, all of my friends are in long term committed relationships and I kind of just hover along side of them, solo. Again, I know that in terms of relationships and settling down, it isn’t my time yet. I am meant to fulfill some life purpose that has been giving me a serious case of acid reflux since birth. A very itchy, itchy intolerable itch that I have been meaning to scratch for twenty-six years. I was able to ignore this itch for twenty-six years and now I find myself incapable of continuing to do so.
I have been writing for as long as I can remember, I graduated from composition books to live journal live journal to blogs, blogs, and blogs. No matter how insignificant I have felt at times in my life, I always was able to produce a decent following some how. There were times I was oddly amused that others actually cared to hear what I an average, awkward short chick from jersey had to say about life, but nonetheless I had followers. Strangers from all over the world would thank me for talking about my run of the mill weirdo problems and this gave me a sense of fulfillment knowing that because I had some weird problem and had to resort to blogging about it verses speaking to an actual human being about it, I made some one else with the same problem feel less weird about their life.
I would blog about everything, music, terrible bosses, creepy relationship situations, numerous homeless people encounters, bar chatter and other “miscellaneous topics”, no matter how odd and off the wall I believed my circumstances to be, I could take comfort in the fact that somewhere, someone was using my relentless banter to ease their own pain. Was there a time I was afraid to investigate further into who these “followers” actually were? The answer is yes, petrified. Apparently a lot of people living in Canada feel me on several different wavelengths.
For a while I saw a significant similarity in trend regarding my followers, they were often times sixteen year olds. This did not discourage me ultimately it just made me realize I was getting way to in depth about my nail polish addiction and I needed to switch up my content and appeal to a broader spectrum.
The internet is a very creepy place, then again so are most Starbuck’s locations within New York City, it is all about your personal intentions and approach to the situation. Are you going into Starbucks on your break and ordering coffee or are you going to meet one of my former roommates I met on craigslist for a used panty exchange?
The truth is, I don’t have time to question other’s intentions, and I only know that my personal intentions are good in nature. The Internet can be a supportive, useful instrument for some and a creepy instrument for others. Humans make their own choices, divide and conquer accordingly. Own your mistakes and learn to accept things in which you can’t control in this life.
My name is Dara, I am a single, sarcastic white Caucasian chick currently living in my childhood bedroom in my parent’s house on the Jersey Shore. Until August 5th of this year I had basically lived in NYC the last 8 years leading up to that point. I moved home to my parent’s house a month before I was required to, I had some sudden urge to move home. At this point I had fallen out of love with NYC for the twentieth time and I had convinced myself it was time that I try my luck at another city. So naturally I did what most New Yorker’s before me had done, I went on JetBlue.com while sitting alone during a Monday happy hour at my second home which was a local neighborhood bar and I purchased a one way ticket to LAX airport scheduled to depart from Newark Airport on September 15th 2013.
I thought to myself if I didn’t buy the ticket while I had a chance, before I lost my “Check Cashing Store” bullshit debit card and most importantly before I lost my nerve, I would never go. I made this smart, impulsive and downright irrational choice on August 3rd 2013 and two days later I called my parents in hysterics telling them that I needed to leave Greenpoint right away. Never once in my eight years of living in NYC did I ever call them demanding to come home to the Jersey Shore. I was clearly either hungry or in desperate need of some quality sleep, not in need of New Jersey, or maybe I was. For weeks following my move home to the Jersey Shore bar friends from the local bar were texting me non stop, when you’re an alcoholic and you have developed a well known presence at a local bar, if you miss two consecutive nights of drinking, you either got murdered or caught doing cocaine in the bathroom which landed you a spot on the “86 customer” chalkboard.
So naturally, because I wasn’t raised in a barn and maintained proper bathroom ediquite, people just simply assumed I was dead. It wasn’t clear to me personally why I had moved home to New Jersey really, so I was unable to explain myself via text, so I didn’t not until two weeks later. When I was at the local bar I was usually either chatting it up with “the locals” as I referred to them or texting my eighteen-year-old brother, warding off creepers by looking preoccupied with my phone. I referred to anyone that lived within a five-block radius as a local; it wasn’t until about April that I started became secretly aware that I too was a local. Just because I wasn’t over 40 years old and hadn’t fallen off my bike in the past 6 months didn’t mean I was any less of a neighbor alchy then they were. That’s what made us a family. One of my neighborhood friends that I met at the Mark Bar told me that considering people you met at the local bar as family members was wrong; well I think he is wrong. Clearly he was the one who was lost and lacking in ability to cultivate strong, long lasting relationships, I for one wasn’t.
So I moved home to the Jersey Shore, with my whole life stuffed into six box’s that have been and are currently still at the foot of the garage. My parent’s don’t really want to address those six boxes nor do they want to address my interesting collages I made out of old vice magazines and bazaar nude photography I found on the Internet. I once tried to sneak my Sid and Nancy poster up to my bedroom at my parent’s but as soon as I could say “Where did my Sid and Nancy Poster go?” that’s how quick my mom had that bitch back in the garage. When I want to revisit my former life I have to go out in the garage, plug my laptop into speakers and sit Indian style on the floor while listening to one of my top ten favorite Radiohead albums, “OK Computer”. When I first moved home my eighteen year old brother told me that my Radiohead song limit was six songs because if I listened to more than six Radiohead songs consecutively it made me depressed, next level. I didn’t know this at the time, but he was completely right. I had a way of forcing myself into a self-loathing episode without even realizing it. I took advice from my eighteen-year old brother frequently, seeing as though we were on similar if not equal to maturity levels. When I first moved back home things weren’t completely terrible because he was there, it felt just like having a Roommate. If I came home late he was still up and if I was sad we would text each other from our bedrooms making fun of my dad with pictures and emoticons. We both agreed we were going through a bad time in our lives and we spent the first three weeks I was home talking about those problems and engaging in witty, sarcastic banter while he chain smoked red’s on our parent’s deck.
On August 30th 2013 at around 6:30pm my mother and I found my younger brother dead. That was the same day I was given the gift of having no fear, because as of this day nothing that could ever happen to me in this life could prove to be more devastating and life altering. People say that life isn’t like the movies; well it is in regards to death actually exactly like a movie. On August 30th 2013 around 6:30pm my mother let out the most gut wrenching shrieks I had ever heard as she stomped her feet and ran down the stairs. I pulled the sheets away from his pale body called 911 and lifted my 6ft tall brother up and carried him onto his bedroom floor and began to administer car and give him mouth to mouth, the sad part is I knew he was already dead as I was doing so, but I thought for just a moment maybe a miracle would occur and I might be considered the hero. I pushed down on his chest forcefully while saying, “no no no no no” but my baby brother would not open his beautiful eyes. Vomit came streaming down his cheeks and onto my arm as the paramedic’s came rushing up the stairs of my childhood home. I was still holding onto his left hand as they dragged me from the room, an imagine that I would wake up with for the rest of my life. The time I spent in my brother’s bedroom that horrible evening was like an outer body experience, just as you see in the movies. I felt as though I was from the outside looking in on some other family’s tragedy, one that would make me more aware of how lucky I was to be given the gift of having a brother in the first place.
I sit here in my childhood bedroom, which is right next to my baby brother Casey’s bedroom. Casey’s bedroom is pitch black, his bed is made perfectly and his sneakers are aligned perfectly adjacent to his flat screen TV and his mini fridge where he used to hide his “oodies” (goodies) from my dad. My brother had a speech empitament for a hot minute growing up in which he took the first letter of each word and I referred to him as baby Helen Keller. My brother had shared a serious sweet tooth with my mother and thus “oldies”, which were “goodies”, aka the cookies or chocolate cake my mother picked up for him weekly. Casey meant the world to us, he was perfect in our eyes. My brother and I didn’t fight, he was eight years younger than me and honestly I think anyone who fought with some one eight years younger than them was truly unstable, especially a child. My brother was like a child to me, my child.