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  1. When you live long enough and have taken a few risks, you’re bound to wind up with scabs on your heart and soul. Scabs that fairly effectively hold the gashes, and the broken pieces, together. Scabs that show the efforts of the universe to heal you back into a functioning person. Scabs that camouflage the moments of solitary desperation and hopelessness, that feel as if they’ll tick on for an eternity.

    And when you’re brave enough you may choose to reach out, slide a nail under an edge and pick one off. You’re still detached from the present as you face down the anniversary of some assault on your still tender heart. You cooly observe your blood beginning to run and pool as it streams over the perpetually wounded surface. For a moment longer you remain a silent witness to what at best can be described as the thoughtlessness of others.

    Memories wash over you, obscuring the mask of composure you once convincingly wore. A parade of scenes flash before your eyes offering up clues to a time when you felt different. When you were different. A glimpse of intimacies shared when nothing else mattered. When you were both privileged and invincible.

    You feel the full weight of the moment catch in your throat as the act of drawing in a single breath betrays you. The panic releases both a burst of endorphins and the first tears to stream down your face. You feel your heart contract as if to make itself so very small that those out there who mean it harm will never see it and pass on by. But breathe you must and with the gasp of air, your heart expands and the tears flow faster. A barrage of emotions overwhelm you as you have begun feeling once again.

    That familiar ache, your original hurt, is now all you can sense. Dulled hardly at all by the passing of days, you’re just as knocked over by it’s force as you were the first time. Breaths becoming shallow, you feel your shoulders begin to shake as the full weight of your loss compresses your chest and leaves you gasping. This pain you know. It’s companionship is at once comforting and unbearable.

    The blood attempts to clot but you decide not to let it just yet. You sink deeper into the emotional quicksand as you begin to detail all the reasons you feel this way. All the things you did wrong. All the things you should have said. All your inadequacies as a person others would choose to be around. Searching all the nooks of your personal history to relive every hurt and slight you can dredge up. As if reaching new maximums in self loathing will release you from this cycle once and for all. At this you can finally be an enviable success.

    Eyes red and swollen, an empty Kleenex box in front of you and with no reasonable hope in sight that you’ll ever experience any happiness, you decide your self imposed penance has been met. Cathartic release ebbs as you pull yourself back together, confident you’ll carry with you an accurate picture of just who you actually are and what you really deserve. The blood slows as the universe once again begins the task of patching you up and forming scabs. And there they will remain until the next time you decide to feel again.
  2. Reflecting back to when I decided to join Solo and I’m not so sure that much thought went into it. The days leading up to it are a blur. I had just come home from the hospital after having had surgery that gave me another chance for life. Blissfully, I was on amazing drugs that not so much deadened the pain but made sure I didn’t care.

    I also was terribly lonely cooped up in my bed in a corner of my house surrounded by a late winter storm. The world outside continued on without skipping a beat. For me, everything had screeched to a halt. All those I had been there for through their trials were suddenly nowhere in sight. At yet another lowest and weakest point in my life, I was all I had to get myself through. Well, myself and my music.

    So much loss and pain this time of year. I can see the days approach and recede on the calendar and sometimes successfully quarantine the despair that washes over me. The last day I saw him. The last time I sat at my desk. Or locked the door to a home I had loved. All that I had been was gone and I didn’t recognize who remained.

    Music was my anchor. It connected me back to who I had been. Times I was happy. Moments I was elsewhere. And music was my companion through those long tortured days last March. And at times when nothing else offered me comfort, I could always turn to music by Morrissey and The Smiths. They soothed me in a way no one else could. It allowed me to relax, and to sleep and to just be exactly where I was. No pressure to be who I had been but to just be. And that allowed me to find peace and begin to restore.

    So I suppose it was natural to discover this was the moment to join Solo. After checking in occasionally over the years, now I was ready for, even needed, the community. One of survivors of their own trials and torturers who understood a depth of feeling not shared by most. Something drove me to Solo and TAT was born.

    So a year has now passed. I view everything with different eyes. A somewhat wiser and healthier TAT is before you. I try to live my life without regret. Everyone I meet provides lessons of one kind or another. And I’ve had some great laughs that were oh so needed. And of course there has always been the music. The melodies enveloping me, offering me lyrical comfort when I’ve needed it most. And I’m still here as I’ll try anything twice.