Merp was my cat.  We named him Merp because that was the first sound I ever heard him make.  It was the last sound I heard him make, as well.

He died in my arms about fifteen minutes ago. 

I'm not sure what happened.  He's been sort of lethargic the last few days.  I thought it was just standard cat it's-fucking-cold-outside-i'll-just-sleep-instead behavior.  Obviously I was wrong.

He slept with me on the couch last night, curled up next to me.  About twenty-five minutes ago he woke me up, crying like he was in pain.  He couldn't move much.  I carried him over to the computer and he laid on my lap while I googled emergency veterinary services here in BFE.  Multiple calls to competent, caring, friendly sounding voicemail inboxes.  Nothing open on a Sunday. I didn't panic, because they trained me not to.

Then he quit breathing.  I wrapped him in a towel and put him inside a contractor bag.  I'll bury him tonight, at my ex wife's place. 

He was her cat too, for a long time.  And she's got a shovel.

Today is broken; I'd like to return it, but I didn't keep the receipt.

I'm so fucking sad it's hard to breathe. 

I see them often, in the impersonal green haze of night vision.

Lying on their backs, heads bare, surrounded by darkness. I can see the one closest to me clearly, the shade of the other one just past him. Every few seconds the percussion washes over me as they desperately try to stop the bullets from violating their bodies. He's so close to me, I scream at him to grab my hand. Fragments of rock and metal pepper me in the face and body, but I only felt them as an afterthought. He reaches far enough that I grab him, hand to hand, and I pull hard. Fatigue has set in as adrenaline fades, and I'm stretched so far I can't get any purchase to pull against. Finally, something smashes into my leg, the sting and impact forcing a wave of angry heat over my face, and I feel the cold night air against my shoulders. The lasers on their guns wave around wildly, and they jump and dash around as the weapons fire at everything in every direction. Tim and I back away as he screams into my ear that its not worth it and pulls me from the corner. I can see the mouth of death yawning around them as we move back to the building.

Minutes later, as I sort the living into wounded and still useful, I look around the corner to see where Tim is. He's on a knee with a body in front of him. The man I had by the hand had crawled out to safety. Tim whispers to me as he reaches out, "This guy's fucking dead man." We drag his body to safety. His comrades reach out to hold his hand, and tells me he may still be alive. I grab him by the arm, and tell him I'm sorry, but he's dead, and there are still more dying. I need help, and I feel desperately alone as Tim and I work to find the rest.

Minutes later a man stumbles out, holding his neck. I grab him and drag him to the relative safety of the building. The bullet went in his mouth, and came out the back of his neck. The bones in his neck are showing, venting his precious heat into the chilled night air. I can't believe he lived that long with such a gaping hole in the most precious and delicate of parts. More so, he walked out on his own power... This hard mother fucker!

Brian treats him, I can hear him yelling at them, "Don't wrap the bandage around his fucking neck!" Finally, some more dudes arrive. They mount the building, and I grab the last two healthy guys I could find.

I key the radio, and say "fire." Like a short sputtering engine it starts, pop pop, then the most delicious orgasmic combination of sonic waves beat in my body like war drums as a dozen weapons go off all at once. The tracer fire streams over me like a meteor shower, smashing the building and flying in a thousand different directions, bright and glorious in the night. I scream at the two in front of me. "GO! GO!" as I shove them into the mouth of death. They reach the last body, and stand over him, unsure of what to do, surrounded by the sound and feel of fury raging through our bodies. I reach down and grab the body by the shoulder strap of his equipment, "GRAB HIM! FUCKING GRAB HIM! GO!" They grab him as I scream at them to pull him to safety. "KEEP FIRING!" I scream into the radio and blast a magazine into the window for good measure as they drag the body past me. 

We drag him to Brian, who leans over him and assesses him. He's still alive. He is still fucking alive. His abdomen is punched through in 3 or 4 places, and his right leg flops around unnaturally. Brian cuts his pant leg open to reveal a single hole, a single thin stream of blood running down his ghost white flesh. He was startlingly cold to the touch. The bullet smashed his femur into pieces. We tourniquet his leg, and I scream at those around me to lift him onto my back.

I carry him to a ladder, but I'm desperately fatigued. It takes every ounce of my energy to crawl up this rickety bamboo ladder. The whole time I bob and sway, trying not to fall under the cumulative weight of 400 pounds of flesh and equipment between he and I. I can hear him, moaning and groaning breathily into my ear as I struggle and grunt and pant. I can't make it up the hill. Tim takes him the rest of the way. He dies there.

I had a weird dream last night. I had this friend who died over a decade ago, in his twenties. The official story was that he had cancer, so his family claimed, and refused to receive any treatment for it, but everybody who knew him knew it was AIDS. His family was very religious, and in my dream I was his younger brother (in reality I don't think he had a brother, just a sister), and I was to deliver his eulogy, and was struggling with whether to acknowledge in the eulogy that he was gay.

Oddly, I never really knew if he was, though it would have been no surprise. But in the dream I was walking through his bedroom, his bathroom, his closets, empty of clothes and filled with mirrors and lens flare, trying to solve this riddle. I asked his mother about it (who, in the dream was my mother as well), and she freaked out. So there I was, wondering what I ought to do. Frustratingly, I woke up with no resolution, and the question very much on my mind.


In node auditing news, progress stubbornly squishes forward, and here is where I stand:

jessicapierce is on page 9 of 11.
hamster bong is on page 7 of 14.
passport is on page 2 of 27
Pretzellogic is on page 2 of 4
Pseudo_Intellectual is on page 2 of 31
Segnbora-t is on page 2 of 34
And pukesick is on page 2 of 29.

Blessings, all!!

For a change, this daylog is not about my current state of depression. Nor is it (directly) about flying.

I've been depressed for a long time. Since before coming to E2, really, although my level of depression has varied up and down. But basically, all of my time on this site has involved a very different version of me from the version that passed his general exams at MIT.

He came back.

Not the same, no. Not unbowed. Not unscarred. But the younger me was so fiercely sure that whatever he wanted to do, he'd be able to do, that when I finally failed (like they'll tell you you need to - try, fail, try, fail, etc) that I took damage. Many dice of damage.

But a few days ago, I became so frustrated with my job that I walked into the office of a very highly-placed executive at my company, one with whom I've had a good relationship which doesn't involve my working directly for him, and said "Look, the shit is fucked up down here. I can fix it. But you have to give me the team." I have spent a lot of time here building a comfortable nest in this company where I deliberately had no maangement responsibility or authority. Then I spent a lot of time feeling crappy and bitching about the fact that nobody ever took the analyses I'd given them (that they'd asked for) to heart.

I realized that I was at the point where I was willing to leave my job and take my chances without a new job to step into, because it was making me miserable enough.

Right at that moment, I realized: there's nothing they can do to me.

And with that, I realized that in no way would what I did at work, henceforth, touch me as a person. It wouldn't say anything about how good or bad a person I was. Fuck it. It's a chess game. I might lose the myriad fights that I'll probably have; I might fail at tasks I've taken on. But it wouldn't affect how happy I was. Might affect how my week is going, sure, but that's it.

Holy crap.

I felt like I was in cold, clear water. I felt like nothing could touch me. I thought about all the parts of my life that had caused me such pain for so long; all the parts I felt were mistakes, fuckups, things that meant I was a loser, and so forth. I looked at them, and I felt myself pull them out of my body into that cold water. I felt the twang as they snapped loose. I looked at them there, murky and reddish, and I realized that while I could still feel them, I could now see them clearly. I could rearrange them, like blocks. I could do things about them without feeling them twist in my chest.

Is this how Charlie Sheen felt when he had his public bout of flamboyant DILLIGAF those months ago?

I don't know. I know I went in and fairly ruthlessly made three or four political moves, moves I wouldn't have contemplated even a month ago. I know that when I was done, the dice cast and the results not yet known, I wasn't anxious. I wasn't stressed. I wasn't worried. No, I felt the singing of a fading adrenaline rush, and I still felt the gentle currents of the ice water. It was so, so, fucking clear there.

I realized that while I didn't know it fifteen years ago, I suddenly had a better handle on what 'winning' meant. I had a list of things I like and like doing, and I realized that anything that didn't involve me getting to do those things, more, was automatically not winning. I had a compass. Every situation, or potential struggle or conflict, I can look at: is there any potential outcome of that which lets me do more of those things? If so, then it's something I should do, or try; it's something worth putting energy into. If not? Forget it.

And if I get into turbulence, on one of these situations? As I have over the past month? I realized I could articulate my response to adversity and confusion and chaos and change, in three words.

Fuck it; win.

That's it. That's the response. Someone tries to fuck over my project? Fuck it; win. Something I was driving for is no longer available, and I'm not sure what to do with the energy I was using there? Fuck it; win. I don't like some part of my life? Fuck it; win. Win. Not because I'm better than other people, not because I'm special, not because I'm going to change the world, not because I'm a special snowflake, not because I have an obligation to do so.

Win because I want to. Win because I know what that means to me. Win because I can make things better on WHATEVER scale, if not the world. Fuck it; win.

I looked in the mirror this morning, and instead of feeling a sort of hollow pain at how overweight and gray I looked in it, I saw something else. I saw someone who's still active, who is still skilled at some things, who can still make himself happy, who can make other people happy, who wasn't a fucking waste of protoplasm, because he had agency and will.

Oh, don't worry, Ayn Rand can still suck my entire taint.

But damn it.

Fuck it; win.

I think - no, I know - that I'll wake up, or leave work, or find myself sitting around and realize "I'm depressed" again in the future. Maybe many times. Maybe just as many times as over the past six months. But I think that when it happens - because it will - I will also be able to say "Yes, but remember that feeling? You do, right? Because you got there. You can get there again. You will get there again."

I'm not saying I won't fall back into the place I was 18 months ago. But I will say that the arc is upward, right now - and I've reached a place I haven't seen in far too long.

I think getting my pilot's license - finishing one of those big tasks I set for myself long ago, and thought I'd failed - was really part of the catalyst. Finding a new friend, starting to learn about shooting - a whole other new area of knowledge and entertainment and hobby - and realizing that unlike many people I know, I'm financially independent, functional, and now have a short list of things I know can make me feel better - all those things and more pulled my mood up above some critical level, and that cold clear water became familiar, in my memory, from those years ago. But clearer, now, because I've failed, since. Before, I was young, and hadn't faced things, and hadn't really failed - and I was swimming atop that water, blissfully self-confident, but not knowing what was below the surface. Now? I'm hanging in space, floating, and I can see for miles and miles and miles.

Fuck it; win.

I like winning.

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