Author: Nicholas Silva

A Backpack and a Blade 

I could not tell you that I genuinely consider taking my own life. Not to say the notion has never been entertained, it’s just not my demon. For me, it’s the reoccurring image of just walking off with little more than the clothes on my back and a knife, wandering off into the wilderness and elements to surrender and be free.

There is just so much that makes so little sense to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to honest hard work, or competition, or whatever. I actually have a great work ethic and tend to excel in areas that interest me. And it’s generally when I’m not at what one might deem “the bottom” that I feel most like literally walking away. This is what I don’t get. Sometimes there’s just no explanation. It’s not sadness per se, as there is usually nothing immediate to be sad about. It’s more of an over all fatigue: physical, mental, emotional, and dare I say, spiritual. This nagging “what am I doing this for?” and the knowledge that I’m working to make my employer and my landlord slightly wealthier, while hoping tomorrow might be better than today, but today looks and feels worse than last year.  

I remember the feelings surfaced as a boy. I suppose it may have been a bit more fanciful then, like wanting to live in a tree house, or a cabin, and if things got bad at home, I would always picture the mountains somewhere, some place wild. Then there was the college phase, with long through hikes and plenty of out door excursions. I guess the thought then was something nice with a creek, something away from the cities and noise, something that might make all the toil worthwhile. 

However, it does seem to be two fold. On one hand, there are fairly rational thoughts of owning some piece of land, my own personal paradise, spiritual rehab, and a place for the family to visit. On the other hand, I literally want to just disappear. Leave it all behind. Find some fertile river bend, way out in the cut where no one ever goes, and live as long as possible.

It does not matter what good or bad I might be immersed in either. I can be surrounded by prosperity, health, and joy and still somehow feel like a miserable prick. Or I can be with just a few bucks, in between places, in between jobs, dealing with things that make most people snap and feel completely fine. And it’s not set that way; it can just be that extreme. My brain just forces me to feel whatever, whenever. Some mornings I wake up and for no reason I just want out. Or I go months, wearing the mask of contentment, appeasing the bosses and remaining “civil”. All the while resentful of the ignorance and arrogance that surrounds, the bills and perpetuation of mediocrity, and my own personal shortcomings. I resent expressions like “you can do anything if you put your mind to it”. I’ve been putting my mind on freedom since childhood and still I slave away, month after month, with little to show but a set of dry sheets, sore feet, the back of an old man, and the ever present desire to vanish in the hills. 

It’s a manic world. 


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