We all leave trails of breadcrumbs behinds us, as we navigate our way through life. Most of us leave behind multiple trails.
Some trails are more robust and fresher than others. Some trails are stronger, whilst others draw weaker and peter out. Some change form or type; each person leaves behind their own peculiar path and leaves their own specific traces.
Without a breadcrumb trail, how can you find your way out once you've entered the Black Forest? When you're lost, disoriented, afraid, alone, exhausted and ready to quit; your breadcrumb trail is the only thing that can save you. If nothing else, remember that.
There are no rescuers in the Black Forest. No one can lead you to safety. You either decide to help yourself, or you succumb to the darkness, the demons and death. It's a clear choice.
But why the breadcrumbs?
The breadcrumbs are you skills and abilities, talents and key psychological drivers. They are your strengths - both real and imagined - and the things that make you tick, things you work for. They are your wants and needs, and competencies.
Ok? That's simple enough for you, yes? Do your best to keep up, I'm trying to teach you something.
The deeper into the Black Forest one goes, the less likely are the chances of re-emergence. There's a point where your psyche shatters. You become a loose collection of soulless shards, a personality in pieces. Sound familiar?
In one's darkest moments, is it time for truth or is it time for survival? A choice is required and a price demanded. Yet broken pieces can never seamlessly re-join, so compartmentalism becomes the next evolutionary step. Aspirational psychopathy, for some, can deaden all wounds for all time, but heaven help you if it escapes from its box. All anaesthesia is potentially lethal.
One must stay moving. Inertia is death. Keep your brain in motion, like a ravenous shark. Just pray it doesn't turn to devour you.
Find your breadcrumb trail. Embrace it, study it. Follow it. Never let your eyes stray from watching where your next step will be. Don't look too far ahead.
The wraiths will line up ahead of you in two rows. You'll be forced to run the gauntlet as they reach out to grab you, to tear you to pieces. You'll run for your sanity, the only thing of value one ever really has. The wraiths are your regrets, your broken dreams. They are your missed opportunities and they are the mistakes you'd pay any price to erase. They will call to you, offering you a second chance. Be wary though, whilst each will have your face - what they truly want is your soul. They offer what they cannot give, yet you will be tempted when the time comes.
Your hatred shines brighter than all of the stars in the night sky. You think it defines you, I just think it is a waste of energy. You think it gives you purpose, that it moves you forth in life. But hatred shines bright like the sun, going out in all directions. It shines right back at you, and you seem too stupid to understand that. When will you learn, when it finally abacinates you? Now where will you be, blind-man? How will you make it out then?
Focus on the breadcrumbs. What do you still carry within you? What have you not lost? Who were you anyway? Do you even know? Did you ever know?
Who built you? Are you merely a collection of random behaviours and actions, or was there once a plan, a cohesive narrative? Were you designed this way? How many black-hearted mega-trollops had a hand in your creation? Why give any credence to the misconceived opinions of mental-midgets? That's what happens when you treat yourself like shit, it encourages others to do likewise. That's something that you never seemed to ever learn, no matter how many hard lessons you lived through.
The breadcrumbs, let's get back to the breadcrumbs. Clear everything else from your mind. Or is it minds? Aren't you supposed to be a dissociative? How much can you block out? Are you ever really present, so is it just an illusion? Where do you go when you step back from the window?
Study the breadcrumbs, they show what you can do. And should do. It's all you can do. Keep moving, even if you are going in circles. Don't stop. You can't stop. It's over if you do. I think you are starting to see that. Are you?
Your choices are limited, but they always have been. Now they are more so, but there are still choices and decisions open to you. You are not yet completely out of options.
I know what you fear most. It's not the wraiths. It's not the skank squadron. It's the image you have in your mind, the image you've had since you were very small. It's the image of the man in the wheelchair, the man who is nothing but a man in a wheelchair. He's a stereotype, he's an archetype. To you, he may as well be Hitler or Satan himself. He's the adversary, the figure who's stayed with you in your nightmares for 30 years. You fight him daily, but you can never banish him or drag him from you mind. Now when you see him in your mind's eye, he has a new face - your face. It scares you to death.
It's not too late to turn the Queen Mary around, but you'd better set about doing so quickly otherwise the chance will be gone for all time. You've had too long to think about things. Action, not thoughts. For fuck's sake, do something! Anything!! Stop standing around with your dick in your hand waiting for Wonder Woman to come and save you. She'll never come to save you; and she's a dumb bitch who is too stupid to inhabit your universe anyway. It's just you, mate.
You're an inveterate liar when it comes to your emotions and desires, so it is a little difficult to work out what it is that you really want at this point in your life. You've spoken more bullshit in your post-puberty years than the entire Federal Parliament combined since federation. You'll say that you didn't set out to be this way, that the truth didn't work so you changed the story. The truth got bad reviews - you'd say - so you spun things. You'll say you only lied to protect your feelings and emotional wellbeing. You'll say you lied to keep people close to you. You lied so as not to be alone.
Guess what, Einstein? You'd probably be right - to a point. But you overplayed your hand because in among the half-truths, misrepresentations and omissions you lost sight of the person living underneath. You mistook your lies for the truth, and the biggest con-job you ever pulled was the one you pulled on yourself.
The breadcrumbs are your ticket out. They tell you what you want and, if you apply yourself to pursuing these things, you might just survive this brush with oblivion. I know what you want, but I'm not sure if you've got the willpower you once had. I doubt you have enough self-belief.
What you want most is to feel equal. Equal to everyone else, everyone who's able-bodied. You hate yourself as you are now, but you have no idea how to change your circumstances. You're grasping for anything, anything to drag yourself out of irrelevancy. Your sense of vanity tells you that you're a failure. Guess what? You are and you'll remain so until you can accomplish something of significance. Something worthwhile.
But what? And how?
You still haven't figured it out, have you? That is fucking hopeless - you've had two years already! How much more time do you need, a decade? Three? You're not planning the colonisation of Mars or coordinating a journey to the Earth's core. How hard could this be?
Now that's the first part - that you want to feel close to normal again. Equal. Worthwhile. You probably can do that, if you set your mind to it.
Maybe you could write that book you've always said you'd like to write, or maybe you could study something that interests you like philosophy or psychology? Maybe you could contribute to the community in some capacity if your health holds up? There are options, if can you focus on making the best of what you still have - your brain.
The breadcrumbs. They are the answer, but you will have to work at it - consistently. It's all too easy to surrender to apathy.
You pursued the wrong women and ignored the right ones. Hindsight makes experts of us all, but ultimately the truth is that you really fucked up. You defined your own self worth through the eyes of others - if they wanted to be with you, you were worthwhile. But you chose the wrong yardsticks, you entrusted your happiness to those not worthy of the honour. They fucked you, just not in the way you'd planned.
If you think I'm just repeating the old gem that you've continuously told yourself, you know, that no one wants you because you're in a wheelchair - and, by the way, how is that working out for you? - you'd be wrong. It's far simpler than that. Firstly, where are you going to meet Ms She'll Do? The local TAB? RSL scone afternoon? How about hitting on the next Jehovah's Witness who knocks on the door?
The day you were forced to medically retire was the day you hung up your dating boots. Without a job, not only are you the worst catch on the block, there's a logistical problem as well - you don't get out much. And when you do, you feel lower than a gecko's donger because you feel like such a loser for not having the life you'd hoped to hang on to. It's a continuing circuitous cavalcade of shame.
And then there's the thing about living with your Mum. She's a wonderful lady, but the problem isn't with her - it's you. Seriously, you're four years off forty and your living with your Mother. That ain't a winner with the ladies mate. I've got to call it how I see it, and I know it's just not something that you can control. You're lucky you've got her to take you in, but, again, your chance to find someone special came and went when you gave up your unit.
I'll give you some credit, you knew the implications of losing your independence even as it was happening. No unit = no chance at romance. You knew that the moment you kissed your unit goodbye, that also saw the end of your search for love. That's what hurt the most. That's why you fought so hard to stay there, to try and make it work. That was what kept you up at night. You just didn't have enough in the tank to turn it all around. Bad luck for you, I guess.
My unsolicited advice? Put all that shit to one side, and focus on the breadcrumbs. Do some serious writing. Work at it. Write every day, whether you feel like it or not. You have to use what you have. You've been in the Black Forest for too long, you have to find your trail out. What the world desperately needs is one more shitty, third rate novel written by a self-obsessed, faux-artiste in decline. And you're just the man to give 'em what they want, hey Shakespeare?
Do you really want to end up being a fuck-up in your niece and nephew's eyes, when they're old enough to see that you're just a weird old fart who sits around mumbling about when he was 25?
Follow the breadcrumbs.