The Raven is something that regular readers of my blog will be very familiar with. I’ve written poetry as some of you might be aware of, but it is also something that is a reference to myself. The Raven began initially as my darkest thoughts, my most depressive moments made manifest, but now it has something as something more, and it has become what now seems to be, a large part of who and what I am.
It all started, shortly before my sixth birthday. My parents had been expecting a child, a boy, who unfortunately died only a few short hours after he was born. For the longest while, I did not quite process this. It was only at the funeral, that the full realisation of what death meant, and what the result of death was. I was not quite clear of the ritual that lay behind a funeral meant, but I knew quite well, that the cemetery, was somewhere that once you became a resident, you’d never return from.
This was something that was quite hard for me to swallow, I still did not quite understand the notion of death, nor mourning, but I knew the pain I felt. I knew the pang of dreams shattered, and for the first time in my very young life, the feeling of loss. This was the very day that The Raven was born. This was the day wherein I learnt to repress the emotions within me, and the day that the darkness, began to grow within.
My brother was born a year later, and for the first time in my life, I knew fear. I feared my brother suffering his predecessor’s fate. I feared not being able to protect my brother from the loss I had felt, from the cemetery, from death. During our formative years together, I became overly protective of my brother, to the point wherein I harboured almost paternal instincts towards him. I truly felt it was my responsibility to keep him safe, from the darkness. An instinct that still holds true this very day.
Years passed and the tumultuous relationship between my parents and I, allowed the darkness within me to grow, and The Raven to grow also. During my teens, came a moment that sent me spiralling into a streak of suicidal tendencies, and moments of pure despair. Someone close to me was abused in the worst way possible, and once again, I was unable to protect them, to keep them safe. I had failed once more. What’s worse, fear once again took over. Fear of repercussions for going against an adult, fear for the influence that this adult had on my parents, and fear because of the beating that I took, for telling the truth. This lead me to letting that person down, and causing them further pain. A pain that now torments me to this very day.
My teens were the darkest moments of my life. I was full of despair, without care whether I lived or died. This was when the darkness took over and The Raven spread its wings. For the first time, I was in free fall, and this lead to a few suicide attempts, which luckily, my own cowardice, ensured that they failed. I began to rebel, to engage in a pattern of behaviour that was the very antithesis of who I had always been. I was staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, and begging anyone to pull the trigger. Each stunt I pulled, each risk I took, merely fueled my desire to risk everything, to quieten the darkness within me, to fly into the silence, permanently. Thankfully, not one of these risks paid off in the way I had intended.
During my late teens and my twenties, the expectations of life grew troublesome for me. I was not successful, nor had I forged an education or career to be proud of. I was a failure, and this fed the darkness, The Raven, once more. A litany of miscarriages lead me to drink from fear’s well once more when my wife fell pregnant with our first child. When my eldest daughter was born, i knew love and fear, intertwined. I feared that I would fail my children, that I would not be the father she needed, nor the father she deserved. This fear was repeated during each of the birth of my children.
During one of the darker moments in my late twenties, I developed an addiction to someone, to a game, to an ideal, to foolishness. This addiction, fell pregnant and lied to me. We had agreed that I would raise the child on my own, in my own country, since she had no desire to raise the child despite the desire to fall pregnant to begin with. Upon my return to make preparations, she had aborted the child, whilst I was on the plane home. She informed me upon my return, and I knew despair once more, and once again, the thoughts of suicide entered my mind.
Once again the darkness took over, and I pondered whether my children would be better off without me in their lives, whether they would benefit from my absence. Once again The Raven had emerged. In May of 2015, my wife and I suffered a miscarriage, and lost our Angel. This once again sent me spiralling towards the darkness, and towards The Raven. For the first time, The Raven had come to the fore and been made manifest in the written word, as my initial eulogy to my Angel was titled The Raven And The Wilted Rose. It was at this point that The Raven started to become the core of my written identity. For the first time, my words, my emotions, had a name, a symbol, a voice. In the poetic and literary sense, The Raven, in it’s current incarnation, was reborn.
This is the story of The Raven and me. However, things have changed recently between The Raven and myself. The Raven once was my darkness made manifest, yet now it is starting to envelop me, The Raven is slowly coming to the fore, and becoming the very definition of who I am, and I worry as to what that could mean for me. The hardest thing for me is, that I have never had a sense of purpose or worth, or even a sense of identity, so The Raven can easily step up to the fore and yet erase nothing within me.
Slowly but surely, I am Becoming The Raven. My darkness, my depression, still rests within me, quietened at the moment, but always there, ever present, in the background, waiting to emerge once more. The Raven has spread its wings and taken flight and now rests upon my mind. The question is however, am I becoming The Raven, or is The Raven, becoming me?
Until next time,