I have not been able to admit that I am…
It is a blow to my pride. Today, I am unable to deny it. After an evaluation of my condition I have been “approved” for disability. I find it funny they call it an “approval” as if it were an endorsement. As if I were waiting on the edge of my seat for their acknowledgement; that without the tip of their hat in my direction I would not actually have this…
The reality hits you when you get that letter, that insidious nauseating sheet of paper. It names the flaws in the collection of fodder that is your particular flavor of the human condition. It lists them in black and white, a blasphemy in Times New Roman. A condemnation and salvation, supplying me with the money I need to survive, spitting in my face the weakness I strive to hide.
Tears fall down my face, Three Doors Down blares on the radio in my truck paying homage to the gods of rock old and new. I can’t seem to put it in drive. I want to scream, the kind that bares your teeth and is not a cry for help. The kind that incites, provokes, and threatens the violence I feel inside. A scream that echoes my desire to rend the flesh that has betrayed me - that lends credence to my supposed instability.
I let it go - it comes out a roar. Fists clenched and knuckles white, with recently clipped nails digging into my palms. My face turns a shade of red normally reserved for the sun faded paint of old rusted out trucks. The tendons and veins bulge through my neck as I slam my fists into the dash, ignorant of the pain in the action. Bending my head to the steering wheel and bringing my hands up to my face I can still smell the residue of cigarette smoke on them, the sharp tang of nicotine. I snatch the envelope and letter, wadding them up. Throwing it into the floorboard, the wadded paper resists my attempt to give it a hateful speed and lightly hits the rubber mats. Throwing back a few pills the psych doc prescribed I ram the truck into drive, regretting my trip to the P.O. Box.
Audioslave begins to play on the radio, my sub-woofer kicking in, “This ringing in my head; is this a cure or is this a disease...!”
I do not want their pity, nor do I want yours. Reserve your sympathy for those without the ability to resent it. I want to be normal again. I want to look into the mirror and see the man I could I become not the man I was, not the man I am. To be able to sleep at night and not dread the dreams - the things unmentioned. I can only speculate as to what it would be like to be able to tell myself the truth, and it not be a burden. I don’t want their damn money, I just need it.
This letter, I keep now in my file cabinet. It is my scarlet letter; a condemnation for all to behold. Even in the grocery store, the cashier knows it…she sees it in my eyes. A mark of the beast posted on me in such a way that it cannot be washed off.
My cesspool of a soul and mind is open for them to read clearly. I feel defeated; I somehow hoped they would say I was ok and that everything was going to be all right. They didn’t. Instead they gave my monster a name. They call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - I call it a surrender.