(Contact Info: larry at larryblakeley.com)
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song lyrics and mp3 audio files http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/ (all of which are a part of this Web site) can be accessed simply by selecting the "htm" file for the song you want;
quotations http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations.htm; and
essays written by Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/articles_larry_blakeley.htm,
all of which are used to tell the story in this Web site, can be accessed by going to each respective link set out above.
My son, Larry Blakeley http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/larryblakeley_photos_jpeg.htm manages this Web site.
Major Roy James Blakeley (December 10, 1928 - July 22, 1965) - USAF (KIA)
When I was young my dad would say
Come on son let's go out and play
No matter how hard I try
No matter how many tears I cry
No matter how many years go by
I still can't say goodbye
- "I Still Can't Say Goodbye," Performer: Chet Atkins
MP3 audio file/lyrics http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/still_cant_say_goodbye.htm
For a larger image click on the photograph.
There is only one way for me to start. This is the only way that I have been able to start ever since I can remember - just put your feet into the boots, give your foot a good, hard push; and, then pull against those straps - hard, until they’re on. And, then just pick up one foot, extend it ahead of the other, and continue with the same, every single day of your life.
So, that’s what I’m going to do here.
The same thing that I am suggesting that you do in your life.
So, here we go. I will do my best to reach into my memory bank of survival techniques that I have brought with me all these years. And, for me they have worked fairly well - I survived.
You might even consider these as some “basic tools of survival" - tools that I personally recommend for your repertoire of survival tools - toos that I used to survive, and still use today. And, I just hope, that maybe this will provide some insight to others - to carry on, and live.
I believe we need to start with where we will end up - with ourselves.
You may be thinking, "Well, it isn't me. That's not ‘why’ I feel this pain, nor is it ‘who’ made me feel this pain."
"These thoughts will never to be heard and felt by anyone, but myself. Alone, even after all these years - expression of words flowing as if speaking in tongues, or some kind of alien with a message from another planet. You look out, you see their faces, and you know that they don't know, nor will they ever know what you are trying to communicate to them. It's not their fault. But, when you are around them there is just no comfort at all for you here. You know you will always be alone - as if adrift on a raft in an ocean, no rudder, no sail, just adrift - no land in sight - riding upon a medium that will swallow you up, no evidence that you ever existed, never to be seen from again. You cling in constant fear of being washed overboard - for what reason you do not know" - "Why Bother?," Larry Blakeley, July, 2004. http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/why_bother_lblakeley200407.htm
And, you know what? You're most probably right.
Some of you may need some counseling. Some of you may need some medication (see "Depression," Well-Connected Reports, December, 2001 http://www.reutershealth.com/wellconnected/doc08.html). But, none (or, rather - nearly none) of you need a psychiatrist to tell you where this pain originates from - I don't care how young you are.
You know where it’s coming from better than any other personal walking on this planet. We all know very well where the pain is coming from. We don’t need some stinkin’ professional with badges http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations/badges_quote_traven_book.htm to try to figure this out for us - and, then bill us for it.
Besides, personally, I’m not convinced, yet, that these professionals of the human mind are in the business to cure the illness. I mean if they do - then they’re out of business, right?
“I hope you're finally satisfied. Playing with human lives - gambling with human lives - as if you thought yourself to be God! .... Which one of you nuts has got any guts?” - "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Randall Patrick McMurphy, Viking Press, 1962. http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations/cuckoo_nest.htm
This just doesn’t seem to be an arrangement of purpose that is bent in my favor. And - damn - those prices for their services are outrageous. And, if you have to pay for it out of your pocket (no insurance - poor soul) then that may just be enough to kill you! http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/psychiatry_top_10.htm
But, if you’re a college student, by all means, take advantage of those “free” services - it won’t hurt anything - I don’t suppose.
But, I will say that there has been a couple of times in my life that their prescriptions for the pain may have been needed to “get me over the hump.” I don’t know - I took them, in any event. But, the problem was I had to go back to them in order to get the medication.
And, I don’t remember one single time that I came out of one of their offices and said to myself, “wow, I sure am glad I came here, today.”
But, for survival purposes - it's not the "why," or even the "who" that we need to focus our sights on. No, sir - it’s “us” we need to focus on. It’s “us” that need to survive the slings and arrows of these pains. It’s “us” that need to become the center of our lives - not a vanity thing - we just need some separation, or distance, from those devastating feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness - those thoughts that pain hammers us with. No matter where it originates - it will appear as one, or all, of these damage-inducing symptoms of the mind, heart, and soul. Sure, everyone’s situation in life is going to be different - some, worse than others, some more damaging to this tryst of heart, mind, and soul - but, don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t real, anyway. Never - hurt is hurt - and, that cuts us all, deep.
My objective is to influence you toward making a (always, ultimately yours to make) decision to choose to live; to make adjustments; whatever is required of you to carry forward with your life as best you can - even though living through, and with, the pain, is sort of like “rubbing your stomach, while patting your head” - it’s just very difficult to do - and, then pile on the "crying" inside at the same time - and, your plate is unquestionably - full. It's tough to deal with these god-awful feelings and make it through the day; and, for me, when I was still just a boy, just to make through school so that I could go home.
After my father was killed - my mother had to come pick me up from school on several occasions from the nurse's station.
Why? Because I couldn't make it through the school day without crying - so, here it would come, starting with my remembrances, my memories, then traveling to my heart, then up through my throat, and then exiting through my eyes. I just couldn’t stop it - so, I had to leave the classroom - crying. And, to this day, that’s the same way it travels in me. But, I don’t have to leave the room anymore.
I never did well anyway when my father was gone - and, believe me, military pilots are gone from home - a lot. So, what effect would this have on me? I would act-out in school - if you can call it that. Most of my conflicts, for some reason, were with the female teachers. I can't consciously remember why this was so, and quite frankly - don’t care. But, I do have a few ideas about why this may have been so - one of which is that the female teachers just couldn't figure out why this boy could not behave like these sweet girls - with their pigtails, their ribbons, and their quiet feet.
“And now they're telling me I'm crazy over here because I don't sit there like a goddamn vegetable. Don't make a bit of sense to me. If that's what's being crazy is, then I'm senseless, out of it, gone-down-the-road, wacko. But no more, no less, that's it ...” - "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Randall Patrick McMurphy, Viking Press, 1962. http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations/cuckoo_nest.htm
I had none of this - didn't want any of it - still don't. Nope, there's nothing in their world for me to give up my soul. And, I suppose the feeling is mutual - don’t know much about that, anyway.
In any event, the harder she pushes on me, the harder I push back on her.
Why? Because, in my mind, I believe she wants me to say this to her:
“I'm here to cooperate with you a hundred percent. A hundred percent. I'll be just right down the line with ya.' You watch ... - "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Randall Patrick McMurphy, Viking Press, 1962. http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations/cuckoo_nest.htm
And, I just won’t go there. Never. So, that leaves me suffering the consequences of her wrath - from having to stick my nose in the circle on the blackboard, to standing in the corner of the room, and, on occasion, the ruler to the palm of the hand - none of which really used to hurt me much then; but, hurts a little more now.
You don’t act right, and you will suffer the consequences. It’s either give up your soul, or succumb - I’ll never let go of my soul. Never have, never will - not for any woman walking the face of this earth. And, it’s never something I would recommend to another man - to give up his soul.
So, with my father being gone forever, now - I just never wished it wasn’t so - even today. It’s just something that I have had to live with - the permanence of death.
So, this nurse routine went on to the point where a decision was made for me - to transfer me to another school district. http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/directory_letter_lblakeley19651102.djvu This school was at Rotan, Texas - the town of my birth, the town were I had attended kindergarten - some roots to center myself with - roots needed at this time in my life.
The reason I had attended kindergarten at Rotan is because my father was sent on ahead to “Royal Air Force (RAF) Base - Lakenheath (just a few miles from RAF Mildenhall) located in Suffolk, England, just north of Cambridge, and about 2 hours' drive northeast of London” - http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/lakenheath_492nd_fighter_squadron/lakenheath.htm for a year before we were allowed to go over there. You see, the French (whom we seem to constantly be having problems with - even today) had kicked the U.S. Air Force off of the bases in those countries that were under their control - so, at Lakeheath - there ended up being more pilots (and accompanying families) than housing. And, even after we did go over there, we lived in a trailer (not a mobile home) while on the waiting list for the base housing. http://www.royblakeley.name/roy_james_blakeley/lakenheath_492nd_fighter_squadron/lakenheath.htm
So, for this year, we lived with my grandparents, John Lewis and Edna Ashton - my mother's parents.
So, I suppose possibly just the change to a school where I had a prior connection with some of my classmates from kindergarten gave me the security that I needed in order to make it through the difficult school days.
Or, maybe I realized that I was getting a second chance to start on a better footing - sort of like starting over, again. And, I had better hop to it, and make it work this time - you have to go to school.
Whatever the difference was for me - I survived and adjusted - so that I could make it through the day - just to please make it until the last bell rings, and then I can go home. And, to this day - I still always want to be home.
And, when I came home, my "father speaks to me from the grave and asks, 'Larry, how was your day?'
And, I tell him, 'Well, Dad - I got up, went to school, but I could tell something had happened somewhere inside that made me different? So, I learned how to change color like a lizard in the desert and look just like the rest - and, it worked because I became very good at it over the years. I learned to walk through life and forget that I had a dead heart. But, when I got home I changed back to myself of loneliness, sorrow and pain. And, the 6 o'clock news - every stinking single day for the next 8 years was tough. But, I still miss you so after these 39 years.'" - Email letter written by Larry Blakeley to William B. Rood, Chicago Tribune, August 23, 2004 at 4:00 AM CDT; 0900 GMT, http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/william_rood20040823.htm
I can tell you this - the pain never, ever stops completely - I don't care what anybody says.
"What never? Well, hardly ever" - "H.M.S. Pinafore" - Captain Corcoran's joke," an operetta that opened in London on May 25, 1878, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, as reported on by David S. Brown, http://hcs.harvard.edu/~hrgsp/productions/hms78/hms78hist.htm
If they say any different, they are either a damn liar, or their heart is still numb - and, this defense mechanism is used to bury the remains - those remains hidden from them in order that they can survive. And, this method works fine until something traumatic occurs in their lives that forces it out, again. It’s easy to bury it and live that way. But, one of the consequences of that is that you lose a certain perspective on your life that this pain has played in defining you as an individual.
Even though the pain never goes away - or, at least, not for me - that does not mean that a survivor doesn’t go forward with his life. And, it does not mean that you carry this pain forward to our children - for them to be burdened with, also. No, sir. This is your pain, not theirs. And, if you do a good job of fatherhood your children will never feel this kind of pain - the kind that just makes you want to end it.
So, what does this pain feel like? For me it was sort of like your body, your heart, and your conscious being just - freezes, and becomes sort of numb.
And, it just beats you down, hammers you to the floor - leaving you helpless, scared, and not feeling too good. And, your entire soul - just vanishes. You become a walking zombie at times, and just feel this numbness inside, deep inside of you.
You curl up at night and just cry - every night - until you just get tired and fall asleep. You wake up with the memory of how the night ended for you, but realize that you have no choice - you must go to school and start this "patting of the head and rubbing of the stomach" routine all over again - all the while just hoping that this will not be the day that you lose it - to be picked up, again, from the nurse's station - crying. No, please, just not that, again.
And, this dead feeling just won't stop; the world turns black, cold, and dark - everything feels cold. You're alone. There's nobody else - just you. And, the silence becomes a place that becomes familiar to you.
"If you've never heard that silence, it's a God awful sound
I don't feel nothing, no I don't feel nothing
There's nothing to feel good about here"
- - "Kody," MP3 audio file/lyrics at http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/songs/kody_matchbox20_1997.htm Matchbox 20, Yourself Or Someone Like You, 1997.
So, the bottom line is this - you either survive, or die. I mean those were the only two choices that I saw.
Why didn't I just end the pain? Just to make the pain and hurt to STOP! PLEASE, JUST HELP ME AND MAKE THIS FEELING STOP, NOW! BECAUSE I'M SCARED OF WHAT I MIGHT DO! SOMEONE, PLEASE!!
Was I afraid of death? Or, am I afraid of death, today? Is that why? Not for me - not then, and certainly not today.
Was it because I was a "god-fearing" boy? In fact, at that point in my life, god was the last person I was seeking out for answers. I still remember the preacher, Billy Hudnall saying to me, "it's god's wish, he has other plans for your father." And, I would just politely nod, and think to myself - this man of god is "full of shit." So, not here either.
So, what was it?
Well, for me - my strength to carry on came from inside of me. Something that just told me to make it another day, put one foot in front of the other, and carry on. And, this "something" is your reason for being; for being who you are, who you want to be, and who you will be - a "knowledge" that you are worthwhile - you are special, and others think so, too.
What of the poor souls that don't have this "something?" They've been discarded - thrown away - the product of abandonment by their fathers, as I have described, identified, and heavily accused in my articles, "The Enemy Within: The Extinction of Fatherhood in America" http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/enemy_within.htm and "Another Funeral: Youth Burying its Own" http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/another_funeral.htm
“Yeah? Not that I'm admitting I'm down that road, but what is this something else? ... - "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Randall Patrick McMurphy, Viking Press, 1962. http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/quotations/cuckoo_nest.htm
Well, let's keep one thing in mind, here - everything I have described above happened to me at 11 years old - too young, or at least in those days, to drink, or drug the pain away. These demons presented themselves later (but, really not much later - 4 years, or so) as "the way" - the way to kill the pain for just a little bit. But, only to wake up just like before as a child - with the same memories of how the night ended - crying myself to sleep - alone. And, eventually, the damage is done and a decision has to be made upon reaching the deep ravine of death - you either turn back, or jump to your death.
And, when faced with these two options I chose life - to live it, as best I could, and just see what happens along the way.
And, I want you to do the same. And, realize that you have the power to decide this for yourself - within yourself - to live, life.
I want you to see - see who has done this to you; see them for who they are, and are not; and, realize that you are not worthless to yourself - to "your" life.
And, make a commitment to stay the course - to whomever - your god, your soul, it doesn’t really matter, but, just make it, and stay with it.
Become your own person - not to be owned by anyone - ever - not to your parents, not to your teachers, not to god, not to anyone, but "you" - this is "your" life, and you need to live it for yourself.
Follow your heart, a heart filled with goodness - no matter where it leads you.
And, remove yourself from being the rider in this world of yours; rise up from the ground, take the reins of control in your life, and become the driver.
And, if anyone wants to go along with you along "The Road Not Taken" http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/poetry/road_not_taken.htm, then, by all means, let them come along; but, if they won’t leave you alone with their constant pulling, constantly trying to pull you down another road - their road, then just stop the wagon, and ask them to get off.
This is where you need to go.
This is what you need to do.
This is how you need to think - today, tomorrow, and every single day of your life.
And, over time, you will become the person you have made yourself into - and, you will see that you are not hopeless, helpless, or worthless.
And, you will be a survivor - a survivor of abuse, abandonment, and any of the other sufferings that knocked you down to the ground in the first place.
And, by so doing this, you will reach my age and look around at what you have done as a "A Message to the Common, Ordinary, American Man" http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/common_ordinary_american_man.htm and be proud of yourself - for the good you have done.
Sure, you're still going to cry. Sure, you're still going to feel the pain. Sure, you're still going to see the darkness of your past.
But, you will break the chain of abuse, abandonment, and, whatever other evilness that created your pain in the first place; and, be able to look at your children, and, feel the love and the sense of accomplishment that you have worked for every single day of your life, as a man and as a father - and, remember the memories that you have created for yourself, and them.
"Woke up this early morning, nothing but black, God's creation hidden from view. My heart is heavy, remembering, again the love lost - and I wept and feel and write as the tears flow down my cheek - forever, wiping away the pain. And, as if God reaches out to wipe my tears, I look up and, see again His great creation .... and give thanks." - "Despair and Hope," Larry Blakeley, July, 2004. http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/articles/hope_lblakeley200407.htm
for "Morning Has Broken" in your life, again - for you have survived.
And, when you reach you're last stop - you can lift up your head, look around the room, and see them there with you - a room filled with love, adoration, admiration, and thankfulness that’s there for you - someone that raised himself out of the mud, to lead others in the right direction, and became a real man and a real father. And, by so doing, you will have taken out the bad links in the chain and replaced them with the links of goodness of the soul - for your children to carry on to their children.
And, for all this - you can rest in peace, finally.
And, maybe one day - a boy will become a man, look into his soul, and say, "who done that?" - and, tell others of what a real man, father, and/or grandfather you were to you - just common - yes; just ordinary - yes; just American - yes; an ordinary man, father, and/or grandfather - no, extraordinary - let me tell you about him. He was a man, a father, a grandfather that lived his life for others - a man of goodness, character, compassion, and love for others, and I decided that "I want to be just like him when I grow up."
Then, you can smile, and enter your last sleep - the pain finally gone from you - a pain you kept from others all your life, so that they never experienced this god-awful hurt.
- "Where Do I Start?," Larry Blakeley, October 20, 2004.