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    Did I Build This Ship To Wreck?

    In the middle of a rare night's sleep back in late February, I woke myself up crying from a dream I couldn't remember. That's unusual, because I have excellent dream recall. But back in February, I wasn't remembering very many dreams; probably because I wasn't dreaming; probably because I wasn't sleeping. Immediately restless, I jumped out of bed and made my way into the bathroom.

    The first thing I did was I look in the mirror. Now, at that time, like Dracula, I was avoiding mirrors. The Prince of Darkness stays away from mirrors because he doesn't cast a reflection, so anybody who saw that would become......a little suspicious. Well I avoided mirrors out of fear as well. Not the fear that there wouldn't be anything staring back at me (although at that point, given my nocturnal preponderance, I couldn't say for sure that I hadn't turned into Nosferatu). No. I avoided mirrors because I was afraid of what would be staring back at me.

    Well now, there I was. Staring at myself. In the dreaded mirror. And I was fuckin' horrified.

    My eyes: The same ones that lit up like Christmas bulbs when they saw you. The same ones that lovers would stare into. The same ones that wanted to peer into your heart and soul. The same ones that used to be a vibrant shade of green that shifted hues depending on the light. Those same eyes had lost their sparkle. They had lost their shine. They had lost their color. Well, that's not completely true. They did have color. They were red. As in bloodshot.

    They were also sunken. Sunken into a gaunt, grey face. A face that had also lost its color and vibrancy. A face still showing the many tracks of my recent tears. A face I really didn't recognize.

    And my hair. Jesus. It was past "bed head". It was more like "dead head". And not the kind that's into that wacky band from Haight-Ashbury. 

    For the first time in my life, I had absolutely no idea who the man staring back at me was. I had absolutely no idea of who I had become. Not only did that scare the crap out of me, but it broke my heart. Shattered it, really. And I didn't think my heart could get any more fractured. Shit, was I wrong.

    Standing in front of that mirror, with a shattered body and a shattered heart, I lost it. Again. And again, it felt like a dream. A bad one. The worst kind. The kind you have when you're awake. I put my head in my hands, dropped to my knees, fell down, went into the fetal position, and balled my eyes out, right there on the bathroom floor. 

    After a few minutes of that, I got up and looked at myself in the mirror again. I stared at the reflection, long and hard. I don't know why. It was horrible. But I kept staring. Something in me wanted to burn the image and the feeling so far into my soul that I would never forget it. The last time I did that, I was looking at my father, as he lay dying in front of me in the hospital, the nurses trying to jolt his body to life with a defibrillator. I didn't have any control over the life and death of my dad. Watching him die was the worst experience of my life. Now, it felt like I was watching myself die. 

    Except, I sure as shit had power over my life and death. I sure as shit had power over what to do next. And living the rest of my life "phoning it in" like I had been wasn't on the fuckin' menu.

    Then, as is so often the case, who shows up but My Forever Love. And once again, she saves my ass. I was literally starving: physically, emotionally, spiritually. Outta nowhere, she flies in from beyond and feeds me; giving me her beautiful, succulent, sexy, nourishing tit on which to suck. She kissed me all the way to my soul. She wrapped herself around me. Most importantly, she loved me, unconditionally, regardless of what I had done. Once again, Mistress Music reached in, grabbed my heart, and pumped new life into me.

    As I looked in the mirror, I started singing this song by Florence + The Machine, "Ship To Wreck", in my head. Now I love that tune, but I hadn't thought about it for months. Now, all of a sudden, in the middle of this identity crisis of the soul, it pops into my head. I didn't even know many words, but I knew the melody, and it was calling to me like The Sirens called to Odysseus. 

    So I run from the bathroom, grab my iPhone, my headsets, and crank it up. I listen to the words, I mean really listen, for the first time. I play the song, over and over again, until I can sing it from memory. 

    The poignancy and power of the lyrics sent chills up my spine, put tears in my eyes (yup, more of those fuckers), started a fire in my belly, and created a storm in my heart. And I began singing. Loud.

    "Don't touch the sleepin' pills, they mess with my head

    Dredging up Great White sharks, swimmin' in the bed

    And here comes a Killer Whale, to sing me to sleep

    Thrashing the covers off, it has me by it's teeth

    And oh, my love remind me, what was it that I said?

    I can't help but pull the earth around me, to make my bed

    And oh, my love remind me, what was it that I did?

    Did I drink too much? Am I losin' touch?

    Did I build a ship to Wreck?

    To Wreck, To wreck, to wreck

    Did I build this ship to wreck?"

    I looked at my shallow face with the colorless eyes and my emaciated body. I had lost almost 20 pounds of muscle. What the fuck? I had spent most of my life taking great care of myself. Eating right. Exercising, as in religiously. I had gone from fat kid to fitness freak. I was a man who did the outer, and inner, work. Personal Growth was my middle name. Workshops. Books. Seminars. Kripalu. Omega. Emotional work. Spiritual work. Intellectual work. My entire life, I had continuously educated myself. I knew a lot, about a lot. I had my MBA, for Christ-sakes. Was I really OK with pissing it all away?

    I kept looking at myself in the mirror. And it hit me. This was MY ship. MY Fuckin' Ship. I built this ship. Me. Me and the divine. And we didn't fuckin' build it to fuckin' wreck. 

    We built it to sail. We built it to live. We built it to love. We built it to touch, and to be touched. We built it to laugh, to cry, to feel; we built it to drum, to create, to express; we built it to work, to play, to make love, to fall in love. We built it to learn, to grow. We built it to do all those delicious things that My Ship could do. 

    No. I did not build this ship to wreck. 

    ©2017 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart LLC, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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