Todd Camack @ tumblr.

Can I show you a little something I shouldn't be proud of?



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    The idea of using a blog as my personal headshrink falls short of appealing to me. I don’t, surprisingly, like to bleed all over the place. This isn’t completely true. I don’t mind sharing my heart nor my mind with the world at all – even when that sharing turns to despair. It’s a controlled bleed I’m looking for, I guess. The problem with that is that I can’t control it. So I’m always looking. Always searching for the right way to bleed onto the world, in just the right amount. And bleeding. As if that’s what I’m about.

    I’m more than the bleed. Positive things happen to me, too, on occasion. I make clever observations. Some of them fucking hilarious. I have something to add to a conversation. I might contribute satisfying answers or at least pose interesting questions. I’m not all about the bleed.

    I smirk. Because I’m going through a period in which cleverness isn’t- It’s not, maybe, what comes to mind when my name does. I might’ve been good for a laugh, once. Now… It’s mostly me, stammering around the words I’m trying to say, the whatever it is I’m trying to convey. I don’t have the answers. And my questions are ridiculously stupid.

    “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.”

    Oh, yeah? Give me a moment of your time and we’ll test that theory out.

    I’ve been at the keyboard all day. The window onto the outdoors a few short feet to the right of that shoulder. First, it was an attractive woman – thin – in her thirties, probably (although it’s hard to tell around here, sometimes, as so many are in such good shape and keep themselves that way), jogging past with her dog. I didn’t notice the kind of dog, but the woman was-

    I sighed. There are a dozen reasons or excuses or more that I could name off for why I could never dash out the door and join her, barring a knee to the groin, a canister of pepper spray, a phone call to the police. A husband or boyfriend or girlfriend. Or that gad-damned dog. I’m having a med-crappy day, today, in particular. The antiseizure meds I take have me sweating around the eyes. I just want to lie down. I don’t feel like working off any amount of my mass of fat. I don’t even care. In fact, give me a chili dog. Forty pounds of tater tots. Another chili dog. A gallon or two of Coca-Cola. Then turn away; I don’t want anyone watching me while I absorb all this. My love comes covered in cheese and onions and I-

    Then comes a woman – immaculate and blonde – along on a skateboard, pulled by her dog. Followed, of course, by an equally immaculate and blond man on a skateboard, too – it pulled by a dog.

    I swear; the Boise area is-

    Well… It makes you think. I’ve not been, to my knowledge, shat-upon for being out-of-shape since I relocated here. What has happened is that I’ve had people gently, kindly push me toward a healthier lifestyle for my own benefit. My cardiologist comes to mind. A young, fit man, who – after having discussed the shape of my heart by his diagnosis (a good report) – suggested I just walk out the door for a start and get out and enjoy the air and keep walking until I felt tired, then rest. But keep pushing myself a little bit more, a little bit more. Maybe take up a jog, then. There’s so much to enjoy, around here; why not enjoy it on foot? Yet no one has vilified me for partaking in the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, either. I’m sure somebody’s made note of my shape. Of me being out of shape. But it’s not- It doesn’t feel like it did before I left Nevada, when I was accosted by meth addicts and regularly castigated by them for my appearance. Which leaves a person feeling terrible, knowing that- I couldn’t even meet the standards of a fucking junkie. In more ways than one. There was what everything’s done to my face, too. The lines so many years of epileptic seizures and the medication to prevent them have put there. The bags under my eyes, the rings around them, from sleeplessness. And-

    It’s a lot. I survived a lot. I got out there and made it to here and everything, I’ve found, is on me, now. And completely doable. But, somewhere along the way, I became old. When did I become an old man? Am I that old? It would depend on what standard I’m comparing myself to. I’m, indeed, no longer a kid. But I’m not elderly, either.

    I see these people jogging by and I think one of two things: I’m no longer a kid or I’ll never pull myself up and out the door toward looking like contemporaries who- And then it’s something else. It’s how far they’ve gotten themselves through life. Their successes. Careers, homes, families. I don’t care about their cars because I don’t drive. I’ve long ago stopped lamenting not driving. Big effing deal. I don’t drive. You live in a metropolitan area, you take public transit. Or ride a bike. I’m not one for the bikes, anymore, though, either. Dammit. Though I have found a stabilizer I can put on my bike that functions like a big-ass adult version of a training wheel setup. Studly. But, if there’s a person who’s fighting a disability by slapping it in the face with something so apparently uncool as training wheels, I have a feeling that the cycling community might find it good on ‘em. So fuck it. I’m getting them. When I can afford the things.

    I’ve been telling myself that, as soon as I’ve got money coming in, again… As soon as the primary worries of life are being handled (employment, self-sufficiency, healthcare)… I’m enrolling into a training program at a gym. There’s like one on every block around here. I’m gonna take care of myself. So I’m no longer on the inside, looking out.

    I’m not sure if- Yeah. I’m 45. A cancer survivor. A suicide survivor. A rape survivor. If it’s negative, I’ve survived it. The experiences have driven me inward. I hunger for joy. Happiness. Love. But… I’d like to be able to walk outside and through town with my head held high, knowing that I’m taking care of myself, believing that I’m doing what I can to ensure a longer lifespan, a happier one. For myself. But I wouldn’t shoo off any beauty who came scooting up on her skateboard with her dog.

    The woman looked like she was close to my age. My age. Hanging onto life and playing with it with the glee of a youth. That’s how I want to meet each day. With the exuberance of someone wondering what kind of fun the day has in store for me. And I’m there, grinning. Looking back and forth. Unable to contain my excitement at what’s about to happen – and I’m not even knowing what it is, yet.

    That’s how you live.

    That would be nice. I’m reminded of my pill box. I shrug. There are other medications. Ones that, once I’m again covered by insurance, I might be better-able to afford. Ones that aren’t killing me. These may as well be. Sometimes I feel like I’d rather be dead and it’s because of these gad-damned pills. I’m not talking about depression; there’s such a discomfort and other side-effects that, yes – I do wish I could just lie down and not get up, again. They’re what I can afford. And their dosage is at safety’s maximum; any more and it’s at the risk of my liver and brain. But they’re keeping the seizures in check. In return, I’m in a perpetual fog and I can’t remember what day it is, most of the time.

    I’m fighting a battle, here. I imagine I survive it – as I have the battles before it. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to remember that this isn’t a permanent thing. That there are solutions I’m working on. One of them will happen. With faith. Effort.



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