Staying Sane.

It’s a fucked up world. Everywhere you look, people are in pain. From the constant low-grade snubs that those in the service industry get, to things peope do in the name of love, in honour, in personal freedom. Fucked right up.

The only way to make it through is to find a way to stay sane. To let off the steam that grows and can blow up, leaving only confusion and more hurt. The thing is, staying sane often looks like insanity. It’s a human thing, I guess.

I have a friend who lashes himself to the mast with alcohol. If he doesn’t drink, he may drown in a sea of introspection. He’s carrying a fist-sized chunk of pain, and when he gets drunk, he doesn’t have to think about it, weighing down his heart and soul. When he wakes up hung over and late for work, he doesn’t have to think much about his heartache, only his pounding head and dry mouth. He drinks because he is afraid of the insanity that threatens to engulf him if he acknowledges his pain. His liver may give up before he decides to. I hurt for him, but I cannot face his pain for him.

I have another friend who digs into sanity in her garden. She has an HR job doing something that I couldn’t do for a million dollars, and has to wear panty hose to work. In her heart, she is screaming defiance at the Establishment and going to punk concerts in condemned buildings. But her health can’t take that anymore, so in order to stave off the self-loathing she accrues working for The Man, she gardens. And stays sane.

There’s also the guy who works the till at the liquor store below my work. All day he works in a subterranean store, the fluorescent lights turning his already-pale skin almost green. He is freckled and looks slightly defeated, scanning through alcohol for a depressing number of people he sees every day. So on his breaks, he comes up to the parking lot and faces the sun. Soemetimes he does a little half-jitterbug jump, a twitch to shrug off the assholes and the drunks. When he jumps, I imagine him leaping like a salmon towards sanity, shucking off the bugs of the tedium of his job.

Me, I read to stay sane. Things get strange? Open a book. Can’t handle reality? Open a book. Want to avoid something? Open a book. Killing time? Open a book. I stay sane reading, because it is the fastest and easiest way of getting ‘elsewhere’.

We need to work harder than ever before to stay sane in this world. There’s too much at stake if we abandon ourselves to the cruel vagarities of the world.

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