Each year I battle depression in the summer. I don’t know if it’s seasonal affective disorder or not. My psychiatrist hasn’t said; but every year as summer approaches I can feel it like I’ve heard people say they can feel that it’s going to rain, only this is darker. This feels like when you’re walking alone in a dark parking lot, your arms full of paper bags of groceries, and there’s footsteps behind you. I tell myself every spring that it’ll be different, that the depression won’t come, and every year, like clock-work, like a big semi-truck emerging from a dense fog speeding 90 MPH towards me–I’m a tiny car, a 1970s VW Bug–and slams me, crushing me flat.
That summer, though, was a particularly ruthless one.
My book, Violence: Metamorphosis, was born during one of those summers. That summer, though, was a particularly ruthless one. Work was more burden than joy; money was tight; the kids were little and loud and needy in the ways that small children are by nature; and a category 5 hurricane, Irma, was barreling straight towards us. The thing had already smashed into the islands and decimated them, rendering them unrecognizable, and now it had leveled its sights on us.
Anxiety told me that change meant something terrible was coming.
In the midst of it all, my wife and I sensed some change coming. She was hopeful about it; I fought it. Anxiety told me that change meant something terrible was coming. That I was going to lose my job, we’d be homeless, the kids would be eating dollar store dog food, and we’d be living under a bridge. That’s what anxiety does: it tells you that the worst is coming and that you’re fucked no matter what you do.
We absolutely cannot live without some kind of transformation, but changing can be painful and terrifying.
I began to think about how us normal people, us day-to-day type folks, live our lives. We get up, dress, maybe eat, get in cars, work, go home (sometimes to family or someone), eat something (maybe microwaveable), get drunk, possibly get laid, and take a pill to go to sleep only to wake up and do it all again the next day. There’s a violence in living a regular person’s life. There’s a violence that leads to change, to metamorphosis. We absolutely cannot live without some kind of transformation, but changing can be painful and terrifying. Violence: Metamorphosis is about the fears of the mundane life: the kids growing older and leaving you; past trauma that will not break its ligature from your heart and mind; and the what-ifs: what if my family dies in a fiery car crash on the interstate coming home from fun, and I’m alone with just the cat and 3,000 square feet of silence? What if one of the kids gets sick–like really, really sick?
How a person copes with tragedy usually is determined by the degree of the tragedy; but how does a person cope with the vicissitude of a normal life? There’s a portion of violence that goes into the metamorphosis of living. Violence: Metamorphosis attempts to unravel and make sense of the horror of living an everyday life, and it’s possible that in the end one could maybe look back and find that it was all rather beautiful.