Why this blog?
In the myth of Prometheus, the Greek Titan is found guilty by the god Zeus of giving the gift of fire and the skill of metal work to his human creation. For his kindness to humanity and his defiance toward Zeus, his punishment was cruel and long suffering. Day in and day out, an rapacious eagle would perch beside him on the cliff where he was chained to peck out and then ravenously devour his liver, only to have it grow back each night due to his immortality. This image of unceasing agonizing suffering has long fascinated the imagination of poets and paupers alike. And for those like myself who live with the inevitable reality of a life of unrelenting chronic pain, it presents an enigma. How should we live in our own reality of unremitting pain, diminishing pleasure, profound loneliness, guilty remorse, and abiding hopelessness while still maintaining our humanity and learning how to thrive in a world that really is beautiful, loving, and glorious?
This blog will not be my attempt at banal self-help – one of the most domesticated and facile literary genres to haunt the Western world. This blog will not be my attempt at redemption or some cathartic self-realization. I am not on a humanitarian crusade trying to change the world. This blog is simply stories from my small sliver of life on the side of that bloody cliff. These are my life experiences as a chronic sufferer. Like my real life, when you cross my path on this page you will get the Tyler that happened to punch into work and write his thoughts that day – sometimes depressed and gloomy, often irked and snarky. I may be whimsical one day, able to find humor in an awkaward situation, or I may be pensive, and in a rare moment of mental clarity outside of the stinging fog, possibly connecting the dots of my pain, my family, my career, my hopes, my faith, my religion, my God, myself, and you.
This is a blog for those on the inside, suffering with me. If you are not a chronic sufferer, I welcome you aboard but with a warning that any benefit you receive is a side effect – the second hand afterbirth of our lives. What you see and hear here may hurt you, help you, humor you, or humiliate you. But hopefully when you look around the corpse strewn mountainside where we sit, and hear our stories in moments of unadulterated honesty, in vibrant and voracious color, you may learn to sit with us. I hope that this in some way will be an aid to you to realize that your husband or wife, mother or father, brother or sister, coworker or neighbor, who can be smiling and laughing one moment then squinting at the light and sulking in silence another, is not manic or mean, but may have turned a corner after lunch only to be pecked at and torn by talons of unimaginable depth – that sink past out fleshly livers and into our souls. I hope that as we sit together, you can learn that we may not always want help, we often may not want to talk about it, we may not even want your sympathetic pat on the head because it reminds us that the eagle is guaranteed to return again with the sunrise. We may not even want you there to be honest; but that does not mean we do not love you deeply or appreciate the love you give to us. Believe it or not, we are a mystery to ourselves even more than we are to you.
However, as I said, this blog is not for you. This blog is for myself and my brothers and sisters on the face of the rock as we linger together at the end of the day’s evisceration waiting for our livers to rebuild, or maybe, just maybe, to finally fortify into livers of iron and finally break the beak of the wretched eagle which torments us. This may come about either by the effects of a new pill or a treatment, by the strength of our resolve and the grace of our Creator, or by the final snipping of the golden strands of life at the end – hope is always around the corner. As you walk your way through the trenches between the cubicles, around the dinner table, at the restaurant, this blog is meant to give you windows into another world, another body, another life. Not glimpses of what your life could be like without the throbbing pain, but glimpses back into your own world, just as lived by someone else – a world very much like your own.
You are not alone.