I watched Cast Away a couple of days ago. I have seen it before but it really hit me at the end when he goes back and talks to his girlfriend who is now married. If you haven’t seen it the gist is that his plane crashes and he has to survive until rescue.
We both had done the math. Kelly added it all up and… knew she had to let me go. I added it up, and knew that I had… lost her. ‘cos I was never gonna get off that island. I was gonna die there, totally alone. I was gonna get sick, or get injured or something. The only choice I had, the only thing I could control was when, and how, and where it was going to happen. So… I made a rope and I went up to the summit, to hang myself. I had to test it, you know? Of course. You know me. And the weight of the log, snapped the limb of the tree, so I-I – , I couldn’t even kill myself the way I wanted to. I had power over *nothing*. Castaway quote
I have felt this lack of control. Lack of power. Being unable to do anything about my world crashing to pieces around me because I cannot function. And when you survive a suicide attempt… I was ambivalent about my survival. And it takes a long time to get over that feeling that it doesn’t matter if you live or die, that either is fine.
And that’s when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that’s what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in, and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I’m back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass… And I’ve lost her all over again. I’m so sad that I don’t have Kelly. But I’m so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now.
But then you find reasons to survive. You make them up. All sort so little reasons to get you through the day. Because you have to find a way to stay alive. Despite what your logic is telling you, you have to keep breathing.
But you have nothing to live for (well you Do have a lot of people to live for who love you, but you really, truly feel their lives would be better if you didn’t exist). And the only way to stay alive and fight… is to make up reasons to live for. Anything. I can’t die because it is almost Christmas. Or too close to my birthday or loved ones. Or I want one Slurpee tomorrow. Or after that movie comes out I want to see. Because I cannot cause pain to my family. Any reason that will get you through the day.
I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?
You just have to keep breathing. Until life makes some sense to you again. Until life is something beyond a pained existence. So you live. Until you want to live. Pain and all.
But it is always hard. And it will always be hard with chronic pain when it takes so much. When it torments us. Such an understatement that. It is hard. Better to say it is brutal.
But inch by inch, you make it through. Another inch. Then another.
And then things make sense again. One world ends, but another begins. And you just have to keep breathing because we do not know what the tide will bring in.
There is never smooth sailing for us. Always riding out storms. But the tide brings in a lot of goodness and a lot of joys. Things we would never have touched or seen if the tide had taken as away.
So I am strong. I learned to swim. To ride the waves of misfortune.