I am not a believer in God, nor the Catholic religion I was brought up as. My father forces me to go to mass, even when I beg him to not make me go. I can’t sit through that and listen to the make believe stories that honestly make no sense. “Jesus” never rose from the dead. That is impossible. No one ate an apple and magically created the human race. It just didn’t happen. I need concrete evidence. Something to grasp onto that makes life make a little more sense than it does right now.
If I completely remove the aspect of religion from the definition or purgatory, A place between “Heaven” and “Hell”, where the soul is not bad enough to be sent to an eternity of damnation in “Hell”, but not good enough to go to “Heaven”, it completely makes sense. I have been here all along.
Today, I found the true meaning of purgatory.
For me, purgatory is standing in the middle of a vein of boulders created millions of years ago by huge glaciers. Looking at the waterfalls. Hearing the sound of the water rush through the outcrop of rocks. Dangling over the edge of a fallen tree to get the perfect picture. Sitting on the top of a ledge with someone you love. Looking over that edge and being glad you are alive. Being glad the person next to you is alive, and experiencing life with you. But, not worrying about life. Not worrying about anyone but yourself and the person next to you. Living in the moment. Its neither “heaven” nor “hell”. It’s right in between.
It’s the calm in the storm. But its also the “storm before the calm”. The time where you decide where you want your life to go. Who you want in it. Why you want them there. Whether or not you want to experience life, and why you want to.
The time you decide life over death, or death over life.
Being here made me realize a lot about my life. One, I am here for a reason. Two, I have every right to feel what I feel. Three, I am damn happy to be alive after everything that has happened in my life.
And shit, it feels good.
Today, I woke up at 5:30 to get ready to go for a hike with one of my good friends Jess. I was so happy to get out of the house and go, but all I could think about was how Haley is doing. Its constantly on my mind. I haven’t been able to sleep, eat, or anything. I just hope all day and night she is doing okay.
I got up, showered, and got dressed. I got up and left to go get Jess. We took care of the animals and then took the short drive over to Ross’s Cliff. We couldn’t find the damn place. We drove around in circles and the address wasn’t taking us anywhere near the cliff. So, we decided, hell, why not just make the drive up to Purgatory Chasm?
We drove up there and we talked for a while. There was silence a few times, but it was never awkward. I am so comfortable around her.
We got there and parked the car.
Once we started walking the trails, I felt so at peace. We took a ton of pictures, which was super therapeutic for me. Being able to work on my photography skills and just be able to capture the absolute beauty of the world around us makes me so incredibly happy and calm. I have no anxiety when I am immersed in nature. This place is so beautiful.
We took around a 3 mile hike. It started at the top of the Chasm where we dangled our feet off the edge of a 70 foot rock edge. With my feet dangling off the edge with someone I care about beside me, I wasn’t scared of falling. I felt so conscious. After feeling comatose for a while, it felt good to be awake. I looked at my feet suspended over an open space, where if I fell, I would never live again. It was crazy, because in that moment, I knew I wouldn’t fall, and I didn’t have any thoughts about what would happen if I did. I thought about Jess sitting next to me, and how grateful I am to have her as my friend. We took a picture of our feet dangling, and I feel a lot of emotion when I look at it.
I thought about my impending fear of actually living. I looked down and saw not only something beautiful, but something so incredibly dangerous. I thought about Jess, and how much I care about her. How much she has made even my worst days a little brighter, and how easy it is for me to be around her. How she loves what I love, and how much it means to me to have her presence around. How she breathes nature; how it pulses through her veins as it does in mine. Our auras change when were out there. I guess its just pure ecstasy.
She only brings me up, and I hope she can say the same about me.
Today, with our legs suspended off of the rocks edge, I knew that I had found someone extremely special. Someone who had something that I love pulse through their veins also. I found someone who I can truly relate to, which is crazy. And I don’t mean relate to in a way that isn’t healthy, but in a way of happiness.
While climbing through Purgatory Chasm, we were talking complete nonsense. Jess was dabbing, making horrible Dad jokes (which I am a sucker for), singing, and screaming sounds and sometimes words. I did the same. I didn’t think about what is so incredibly wrong in my life. I thought about where my foot was going next, and what was beneath and above me; earth. We climbed over huge boulders and crawled into caves. We jumped over rivers and suspended ourselves on fallen trees over waterfalls.
Sitting on the top of that waterfall made me feel so incredibly happy. I had the power to go anywhere, and I felt genuinely good. I was in control. I sat up there with someone I really care about, and for the first time in a few days, I was able to disassociate myself in a good way. I was able to stop thinking about what Haley was going through, what my dad was doing, what he had done, what had happened in NYC, and everything else that bothers me on a daily basis. I guess the power of nature and someone who you can be yourself around does a lot for me.
I climbed to the top of a boulder that had an outcrop that looked over the chasm. I sat up there and thought about life for a while.
I remember thinking, “you know, life is so crazy. All of this is incredible. If I was to have succeeded in suicide a little while ago, I would have never sat up here and taken in the surreal beauty here. I would have never been able to experience this with Jess, and I would have never been able to feel like this. To have the ability to just jump at any moment, but chosen not to is the most incredibly feeling. Because life is so worth my time. I think that’s truly amazing.”
Me to Jess while we sat on top of the boulder: “Life is so crazy, and this is so damn beautiful"
I chose today to sit back and enjoy the view. Well, both of them.
(Written March 6, 2016)
"Our shoes are tattered and torn, but our feet are dry. As for our places in history, we will run naked through your streets before we sit decorated in your halls."