Writings on Life, War, and Exploration

Volatile by Brenton Lee

Sometimes I dont know how I make it day to day. It seems as though I am in a state of perpetual cognitive dissonance with only the briefest periods of respite. My few and infrequent sanctuaries of seeming normalcy only exascerbate the situation… I let them fool me just long enough to get comfortable, and then I am forced back into what I am starting to feel is my destiny. Dont get me wrong, the terrible things I have experienced didnt make me me. I always was. It isnt the storm that makes the ocean dangerous.

I stare at my reflection in the mirror everyday. The person I see makes my eyes burn, green webbed into a halo of golden brown, she said. The color of Thunderstorms and decay, she said. I dont recognize the face which stares back, warped and distorted in the shard of glass hanging from my wall. Somedays burning with an undying, unquenchable rage directed upon itself. Some days somber and solemn with dull, dead eyes. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of the person I once believed I was, buried under layers of unadressed issues and trauma, rising to the surface and desparetely grasping for air only to be pulled under again immediately.

We paint our insides black as the shadows ‘hind our flesh
And make all that we lack, the part of life that we forget

I am not sure if there is anything pure left inside of me. Am I nothing more than a jaded, bitter unapologetic asshole incapable of rising above my shortcomings? More often than not I find myself turning a blind eye to them or blatantly lying to myself, unconvincingly. Sometimes I feel the urge to destroy everything good in my life, its a sadistic self sabotage brought on by the fact that feeling good is so foreign. I react to love and happiness in my life like the immune system reacts to a foreign body or disease, relentlessly attack it until nothing remains. Tall, dark, desparetely unstable and charming, a recipe for tragedy.

Sometimes I feel like I’m close but I never get there,
Does it mean I’m a ghost if I’m still here?

In the end my self destructive tendencies win out. I have no outlet here, no escape and no sanctuary. My best friend was scattered over five square meters of Afghanistan and there was not a damn thing I could do to help him, no way for me to pay him back for keeping me sane over the last eight months. Nothing to do but succumb to the destructive demon inside of me and let him wreak havoc.
I dont want pity. I dont want understanding. I dont want advice. I dont want a second chance. I want everyone that I have ever wronged, everyone that I have ever hurt to confront me and let loose, bring me back to where I am most comfortable.

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2 Responses to “Volatile by Brenton Lee”

  1. Finnian Cornelison

    It’s not the same, but I grew up watching a lot of violence.

    Thankfully, I was not the target of it, or I would be very different. That experience did wire me differently than most people however. My mind works best when under extreme pressure for example. During down time I can barely talk without stumbling over my words. The better I know someone, the less eloquent I’ll be in fact.

    It’s as if my mind has been remapped for emergencies. They are my normal because of what I experienced. I’ve turned that into a gift though, for being able to function in an emergency is not an ability many have. I am a natural protector and defender of others too, and my mind accelerates and perfects under pressure.

    The key to past wounds in other words is to find a way to turn them into strengths. Do not let them turn into weaknesses, and do not let them be crutches or an excuse to fail. No matter what has happened, you can still do good with what you have left. It’s a cliche of course, but the saying goes, “It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. What matters is how many times you get back up.”

    I refuse to stay down.

    Reply

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