"THE EDGE, there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."
Hunter S. Thompson
Eight days before the anniversary of poet Sylvia Plath's tragic suicide, five days after my friend Brett's heartbreaking hara-kiri (his samurai sword) and one day after Academy-award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found with a syringe in his best heroin arm, and I am perpetually sad. The sadness is paralyzing. I am not particularly tormented by the missing of a physical presence, so much as I am deeply empathetic. I know the EDGE. There is a great precipice. We stand, often teetering, on the brink of reason and insanity, and it seems to be perpetuated by a certain sort of genius; and if not genius, then the madness stems from an ability of the inquisitive brain which ferociously and relentlessly tries to process external stimuli. Over time, these external factors we tirelessly process inevitably embed themselves in the soul and turn to a thick, black, tenacious sludge.
We see more, we know more, and we are of the generation and among the most spiritually adept to hold onto it all. Brett was this way. Sylvia, dear Sylvia, she had so much on her mind and heart, as many of the tragedies that came after her did. I'm sure all who chose to end the pain were in a similar mind space. Whether we check our pain in as over-sized emotional baggage, keep it stored under the bed as crumpled up yellow legal pads of written shattered dreams, or we spew unprocessed verbal vomit all over an unsuspecting subject who turns his ear for a moment of compassionate listening, we all can share our deepest discomfort and our greatest mission. Share your reality. Share your truth. Embrace the pain for a moment.
Can we learn to sit with the discomfort? My therapist would ask this of me after a day of agonizing emotional turmoil. Can you sit with the discomfort in non-judgement and gentle compassion with yourself? Can you remain just on the edge of reason and insanity without falling into the abyss of no tomorrow? It's a scary place, and it is important for anyone who feels deeply in these ways to find their center point and fight like fuck to get back to it. See more, do more, and love more. It is the prescription to rich life experience and acceptance of what is. In this seeing and doing, though, there is risk. Your heart may break.
Your mind may contain a chemical composition not quite built to withstand the intensity of truth, love, and the like. You may come to a breaking point. There is always refuge. There is always hope. There is always a way through the thick, tenacious sludge, the swamp of sadness, that we may have to walk through. Travel to the edge of reason, and don't be afraid to feel. Someone near you feels the same. Find solace in peace. Keep your head in the game. This too shall pass.