Just as anyone naturally becomes accustomed to their surroundings, I am no different. Granted, the nature of my life carries with it a long list of unique traits. I spend half a calendar year a long ways from home. I've written on several occasions why I always felt the give and take of working offshore ultimately tipped in my favor. This is something a little different.
The emotional needs of a man or woman working away. Being gone so long incurs a great deal of dependency on word from home. I have no eyes and ears from a boat in an ocean. Only phone calls and pictures. For half a year I am the adult equivalent of my little girl as she lies in bed listening to the stories I read her. My house could burn to the ground and I'd not even be capable of acquiring such intel without one to first relay it to me. I live on second hand information and the imagination to fill in the blanks. It is all of this and more behind many a man's fall from grace offshore. I've seen people die inside over worry. It festers deep beneath the surface and lies trapped. The inescapable downward spiral that is a compromised faith in the author of the story. All it really takes is once, too.
One of my closest friends endured a difficult personal struggle at home, which resulted in the kind of broken structure that once held his world whole. Nothing was what it seemed anymore. A once infallible concrete bond had been displaced with quicksand. Now, all of that made well enough sense to me. I thought to myself that I'd struggle too with a damaging blow to my greatest vulnerability - faith in the written and spoken word of another.
The part I couldn't appreciate at the time, was how what appeared to be a very specific and isolated conflict, spread through a man like ravenous disease. Dawn to dusk it was in his eyes. A reflection of internal bleeding, the trauma from one organ disrupting function of others nearby. I remember one day another worker borrowed a tool from my good friend, and forgot to return it by the end of the shift. Though an honest mistake, when confronted about the tool, the guy lied about it and said he'd already put it back. That, maybe someone else might have taken it. I thought he was about to lose his head. Complete explosion. Poor guy was backed into a corner and held against the wall. It was very clear if he'd ever told a bullshit lie like that again, the matter would not be settled as quietly.
I knew right then, the heated exchange had nothing to do with a cheap pair of channel lock pliers. The anger ran much deeper. The forgotten tool just poked an already restless hornets nest. Then I could see it. A man can't trust anything after it's been compromised. Restoring a balance that permits the kind of freedom to sleep easy and rarely question the word of another, is like climbing Mount Everest. He lived every day one misstep away from a fire alarm.
I don't know how I'll ever get there from here, but I imagine I will slowly over time. I rarely sleep to sunrise, if manage to lie still long enough beforehand. I sit at home and look at the cat like, "What aren't you telling me motherfucker." Then it occurs to me that he's not telling me everything. Because he's a cat and doesn't speak. How stupid is this, really.
Every time I return to work now, I feel as though I'm surrendering any entitlement I may have once possessed for the simplest kinds of transparencies. Nothing out there is real anymore, or connected in a material way to the world at home. I know it IS, but coming to terms and opening myself up to things also means leaving myself vulnerable to the exact same weapons that put me on my knees in the first place.
Indifference has been my only defense mechanism. What if I just didn't care about anything. Didn't wonder anything. I can place my seemingly endless imagination into indefinite suspension, for it causes me far more harm than good in this compromised state. I long for the return of the simplest reliabilities and the comfort of mind they afford. I'm tired of being angry at the wrong people and allowing fear to permeate the walls of my subconscious into every other matter. I don't want to live like a tin hat conspiracy theorist, driven to the recesses of my social life for fear of further damage.
My task today, is to eat the meat and spit the bone. Let go of the damage and shelf the rest. I refuse to apply self imposed limits to all ahead of me because I carry with me a jaded perspective. There is no room for lingering inhibition when embarking down a new road. Else it will be a short road.
I find it extremely difficult to outwardly work through my own struggles without criminalizing another. I hope the reader can appreciate my intention to just lay down new pavement. And the vehicle I will operate down this new road, does not have a rear view mirror. Removed, as not to distract from the most important direction. Forward.
And don't lie about stealing my channel locks, either.