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The Elephant

At one point in time, A once close friend told me the following:

Better it is to live alone. There is no fellowship with a fool; let one live alone doing no evil, being care-free, like an elephant in the elephant forest.
Some of you may know it from the Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence, which is most likely the place that my friend picked it up. It became a mantra of hers, or so it seemed.

Standing back a bit, I meditate on the quote and think about whether or not it rests well with me.. And if I'm going to be honest, it doesn't. A simple answer of why it doesn't is because some believe hell to be a place of absolute solitude. Having felt that before, I never want to go back.

I remember living for a full year as a hollow shell.. Barely anything there. I was so far gone, I had lost the ability to laugh. It sounds near impossible of a thing to happen, but that just goes to show how damaged I had become. It's not easy losing your two best friends.

Second semester of High School was painful. Imagine being in a High School where your graduating class consisted of seven students-- That's half of the High School, elementary students aside. You would think that social groups wouldn't exist in a school like that.. And for the longest time they didn't.. But senior year, things started to change. After three solid years, the two people I cared about the most slowly left my side. There was no more family like feel. It was around this time that I developed an appreciation for metal, so I started getting into In Flames, and particularly found peace through two of their albums in particular: Soundtrack To Your Escape and Reroute To Remain. Reroute To Remain became my favorite of the two, and it comforted me.

Eventually the year was over, and I graduated. Unlike what I had originally anticipated, I saw a graduation party consisting of only family and one or two friends.. While the education I had at my school was much better (hands on approaches, etc), it obviously had it's negative sides.. But I made the best of it.

Fall of 2007, I was registered at the local community college. My music selection changed, and I became very fond of Nine Inch Nails. Every day as I drove to and from school I would be listening to With Teeth. Ironic, really. Between the release of The Fragile and With Teeth, Trent Reznor took time off "getting comfortable with [himself]". Primarily because with all his albums before it, he felt he couldn't be creative enough sober.. But I didn't and never have had drug problems. Sure, I've been tempted, but I've always felt it's more important for me to be strong enough to handle things as "myself". I didn't want a crutch, and I didn't want another thing to throw my money away on.

But I digress... With Teeth has a lot of solitary elements.. Along the attitude of being okay with it. When I walked into my classes, I held the mentality of "I'm just going in, doing my work, and getting out. I don't need to talk to anyone, and they don't need to talk to me". So that's what I did. In simple terms, it was "strictly business"... As one of the tracks from the album says, "I believe I can see the future.. Because I repeat the same routine". And as depressing as that may have been, it's what I did.

Things stayed the same for a while. Like I said earlier, I was a hollow shell. Toward the end of fall quarter I started wanting different music. As much as I loved With Teeth.. The influence it put on me wasn't something fufilling. I desperately wanted to pursue a change of pace.. So I did some searching.. I had always been interested in checking out Dream Theater, as the band name reminded me of the way I value my sleep. I ended up starting off on Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.. Fitting enough.

I started listening to the album the same way I do with all my music. Take it piece by piece, album by album. Listening to one album on repeat for nearly a week at a time. But just like I did with With Teeth, it became 90% of what I listened to for about a month, and I felt like I was starting to grow. I was engrossed with the concept behind "The Glass Prison", and became hungry for more.. So I bought another of their albums.. Octavarium. And slowly things started to change.

[VI. Ready]

Proud enough for you to call me arrogant
Greedy enough to be labeled a thief
Angry enough for me to go and hurt a man
Cruel enough for me to feel no grief

Never could have just a part of it
I always need more to get by
Getting right down to the heart of it
The root of all evil has been running my whole life

Dirty enough for me to lust
Leaving nothing left to trust
Jealous enough to still feel envious
Lazy enough to sleep all day
And let my life just waste away
Selfish enough to make you wait for me

Driven blindly by our sins
Misled so easily
Entirely ready to leave it behind
I'm begging to break free

Take all of me
The desires that keep burning deep inside
Cast them all away
And help to give me strength to face another day
I am ready
Help me be what I can be
[To be continued...]


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