Damocles’ Sword

January 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm (Insomnia, Paranoia)



“At the top will be the same place you hang from.”-Nasir Jones

I was quite a few months shy of 17 when I permanently moved out of my mother’s house. For the outsiders looking in, they thought it was a perfect scenario and that I was the luckiest person in the world.  It’s funny how the glaring truth always gets refracted by human perception.  The truth was that the money everybody assumed that my mother was giving to me, did not exist. The family support I expected was also not there. I basically ended up being a lone teen in the heart of a city at it’s peak of corruption and crime.  

Yet everyday in school, I’d be the envy of all.  Kids who dreamt of being home alone, and cursed their parents from a warm bed after a hot meal, while a maid ironed their clothes for the next day. Meanwhile I was on a cigarette break, reading their texts, standing by dumpsters behind some bar, about to go in and finish cleaning the kitchen, so I could get my day’s pay and go home and rinse the stench off me. 

But I never told a soul. So when I’d say I was going to a club with my boy Alex from Tanzania on a school night, they assumed it was to party and drink. But as soon as we arrived at the venue, we put on our overalls and were the invisible slaves for the rest of the night.

Looking back now, I see that I somehow managed to walk one path and leave 2 sets of prints.  Those that follow me have not an inkling of knowledge as to what led to me being here. Mostly because I misled them. I’m a pathological liar fueled by his paranoia; so scared that people would hate me if they knew me, that I create a very elaborate clone of myself and send it to live out my relationships.

Now that clone and I both have our seperate stories to tell.

His is of succes and triumph; victory in spite of adversity, charity,  jet-setting, joy-riding, flying in private jets, going to the best schools, knowing the who’s who of who’s whos and being loved and respected by most.  It’s the calm resolve, the composed humor, the confident speeches, and the good advice, that must have something to do with that hefty library. It is set in exotic locations with a victorious orchestral fanfare and involves a lot of yatches, sun glasses and white linen pants. It’s the dream ideal that people have somewhat developped and molded around me.

My story is dark and dimly lit with an off-key organ playing long, low notes as the theme music, and an intermittent sound of what seems to be a tamborine filled with crushed glass. Really, it’s just me walking, and the shattered heart in my chest shifting back and forth. It’s a tale of suffering. It’s the story behind the scars, the sweat, the blood, the tears, the x-rays on the walls, the bullet casings on my desk, and the prayer beads in my pocket. It’s the nights spent in the worst prisons praying to get out, the days spent in the hospital praying she would get up. It’s set in an empty graveyard with long unkempt grass and monumental tombstones with gargoyles on them, and involves pistols, black leather jackets and furrowed brows.

The reality is the medium between these two stories; a successful young man, with burdens as great as his achievments, and as much hate as he has love. It’s the story of Damocles’ Sword.

Sometimes I wish I could trade places with anybody for 2 months, not just so that they could feel the fear and pain I live with, but so that I could have someone who understands that there is a reason we are born with the fear of heights: being at the top sucks. 

Yet somehow we persist. We climb. We strive. 

It’s lonely at the top because no one in their right minds stays there too long.

Keep this in mind the next time you look up to someone.



  1. Elaine said,

    And who are you now? I can relate to being two people at once. Having two images, two personas; yourself and the people who relate to you. And its always out of fear or misguided love or both. Fear they won’t like you if they knew you, fear that if they knew you it would hurt them so to protect them we hide us. Life is funny like that sometimes.

  2. Mr. C said,

    I am who I am now. Lately I’ve been walking around with a hapless demeanor and a severe case of Ataraxia that might find me arrested of at least in trouble. I recently, gave up entirely on giving a fuck, especially when pertains to people I know I wouldn’t otherwise care for. I guess I may be nice, and I may be a decent person, but I refuse to be me to everyone I “know”. Life has proven that majority of people wont remember you long enough to justify how they feel about you.

    So why bother?

    Then again, common decency dictates that I cant flick cigarette butts at ever Tom, Dick and Harry that I give a dribble of spit about. So instead I smile and introduce them to my clone.

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