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I Am The Lion

At the age of 23, the male lion is ostracized from his group, his family. By way of lethal force, only if necessary, he is cast out by the Alpha, the overarching leader of the Pride. Others may ride the coattails of the strong, content in their complacency and secure in their mediocrity. But not the lion. Lonely, bitter, starving and alert, he is all too aware that he is completely self-reliant. Fear washes over him, a foreboding sense of unease at the calamity of his situation. But, nestled within the trepidation, is a priceless gem, buried underneath the turmoil and dread. It is the knowledge that one can only be truly free if unfettered by the chains of others. Enlivened by this new information, the lion strolls forward boldly, ready to meet his destiny head on, with roaring spirit, gnashing teeth and protruding claws. That lion is me.

With the dissolution of my last relationship, my old enemy, loneliness, has reemerged. No longer will, in the throes of a nocturnal panic attack, I have a warm body to hold tight, to crush in a vicegrip of embrace, a kindred spirit to seek elusive solace in. When my unwanted companion whispers anxious, condescending thoughts in my ear, I will have no one to relate them too, no hand to squeeze rhythmically for assurance, as if each pump of my hand in hers could kickstart my frozen heart and make me feel again. Make me love again. As I must remind myself eternally, it seems, to walk this solitary path was my choice and mine alone. And in that moment of remembrance, I rediscover my strength. Like the Lion, I must wander on my own, forever searching for a new Pride. My Pride.

Everywhere Ive been stationed, even in my beloved San Diego, my spirit city, Ive felt abandoned and alienated. I sit in bars, upscale and dive, for the detached sociability of it. I can be around people whilst avoiding engaging them. It may sound odd, and I freely admit that the practice is, although in satiating the needs of both my introversion and extroversion, it performs its duty adamantly. One needs not jolt and throw their entire body into a raging bonfire to feel the benefits. They need only maintain a desirable distance. Pleasant warmth without bring scalded or immolated. Even so, every so often I happen across a family, and immediately I am beset by heartache. The size of said family is irrelevant. It could be the classic nuclear variety, or an LGBTQ couple with their children. A Father and Son, or, most distressingly, a Mother and her Son. They all affect me the same. In such close proximity to unabashed, unconditional love, Im painfully reminded of the ice encasing me. Of the fact that, while they are protected by the resilience of a tribe, I am a vagabond, a drifter, the strength of my mind and body coupled with an unerring faith in God the only things keeping me from ruinous oblivion. When they depart, they will return to a snug, comfortable home, practically marinating in love as they sleep. I meanwhile, return to my sparse quarters, fending off my demons with prayer, exercise, reading and writing. The absence in my heart, as well as my bed, is duly noted. As a sultry Autumn ends and a bleak Winter looms over the distant horizon, I again remind myself of my choice. I can only pray that one day that same Autumn may grace me again with her presence.

The majority of comedians that have some moderate semblance of popularity today have been diagnosed with clinical depression. As fellow writers, they and I are very similar. I, however, have been told that my writing has made my friends want to hang themselves. "Its all dreary.", one said apologetically. "I never knew you went through so much.", another remarked. Frankly, people expect me to be depressed, or at least a little sad, the majority of the time. Image, I guess. But comedians, the purpose of their art is to make people laugh. To make people fucking happy, skipping with uncontainable gaiety, laughing maniacally. Yet many of them are weighed down with any number of depressive disorders. When prodded, they say that it helps their art. In the enduring of their suffering, theyve trained their minds to see the humor, humiliation and humility in every situation, bar none. One of the articles speaks of the election, and how many across the country are depressed due to the fact that President Trump won. As a devout Trump supporter, I was ebullient. Others were discovered trying to drown themselves in their morning cereal. While I personally find the idea of being "depressed" over the winner of the election immature and mentally weak, I set aside my bias to understand the perspective of the afflicted. In doing so, I garnered a nugget of invaluable wisdom. One funnyman, when discussing the suicide of his brother, related how, when begging his psychologist for answers regarding "getting over it", the man leaned back and simply stated "Dont get over it. Just walk through it.". Clear, concise and precise. Dont battle your mind to a grinding, laborious finish. Instead, embrace reality head on, focus on the positive and fight. Always fight.

I will stand firmly, my feet anchored to the ground like dried concrete, and I will embrace this darkness. I need no one to complete me, only to enhance me. This anger, this emptiness is a divine gift. I am the arbiter of my destiny, the navigator across the torrential seas of my future. There will be no more sulking, there will only be action. This desolation, a snarling, massive Tiger, will be beaten and overpowered, domesticated and submissive. A kitten on the back of a Lion. And remember, I am that Lion. Proud, regal and free. The nights may stretch for eons, pain echoing in the distance for an eternity, the cries of the dead and damned serenading me in a chorus of insanity. But this is my pain, my walk. My fight. I am the Lion. Hear me roar, world. Im coming. And this time, you won't stop me.

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