Each month in the Columns section of LOP Forums, we hold a competition to determine who was the best of the previous month, crowning the Columnist of the Month. The winner earns the right to present you, the Lords of Pain main page audience, with an example of their work.
October’s winner, Kleckamania is someone long time LOP readers will be very familiar with, either from his time on the main page or numerous (six) columnist of the month awards. Kleck has been quietly chipping away all year and everything came together in October. If you enjoy his work then you can check it out down on the LOP Columns forum, where just today he continued his run of excellence, taking on the Legend of Orange Cassidy. Below is something quite different, a piece about mental health and wrestling.
Anyone can write for Lords of Pain and it you’d like to have a crack the path to doing so starts with the Columns Forum. You can visit it and begin your own journey by clicking the image below.
Life is such an interconnected web. So seemingly obtuse, yet so deeply woven.
And what we see from the outside, how we view the world, isn’t necessarily reality. It is our own reality. My own reality, as a kid, was that this kid a year above me in school had the picture perfect family. They owned the local VHS/Video Game rental store in town. The dad coached baseball, and just seemed perfect- he was like a living, breathing Ken doll. The mom was very involved in coordinating youth leagues, and very supportive and encouraging. And he was the picture perfect kid. He was the coolest of cool, life never seemed to even phase him. He always not only had the answers, but seemed so outlandishly confident, and sure of both himself, and life, that looking at him became like looking up to/at him- as if suddenly he elevated to a perch quite a bit above where I thought I was.
He played Pitcher and Shortstop on my baseball teams as a kid. Whenever I looked over from First Base he was always stoic, and as relaxed as a human could be, even if we were in a super tense moment. He was kind of like a rockstar on my teams, and in school- he just seemed to own life. Like it was a foregone conclusion who was most likely to succeed. And yet, 4 days ago, he killed himself.
People have commented, saying they only saw him days ago, and he gave no inkling that such a tragedy would happen. Reality is such a subjective thing. We idolize rock stars, pro athletes, including wrestlers, other people. Our perceived reality is that these people are on a different level. Like they are almost super human, but clearly, they aren’t. They feel. They bleed. They die. Just like us.
Chris Benoit clearly had some stuff going on. To this day we don’t definitively know everything. Was it just CTE? Was it a moment of blind weakness? People often don’t talk about just how hard it is to be a parent, but there are moments for all of us where a combination of things, often involving severe sleep deprivation, make us feel like we could lose control, or are losing our sanity. Maybe between such a difficult, demanding profession in wrestling, and then a demanding home life raising a family, it all finally caught up to him? It fractured him to a point where he just flew into a rage, like a cornered animal whose fight or flight reflex just kicked in. Does it excuse what he did? Hell no! But this was a human who seemed to have it all together if you asked many people before that tragic night. He clearly didn’t though.
How many times have you personally gossipped about someone’s weaknesses when they came to light? We rush to share news of other people faltering. Myles Jordan, or ACH essentially going crazy on social media recently highlights this. Instead of reaching out to help someone who is clearly dealing with stuff that goes way beyond his current issues with WWE/NXT, and goes deep into his psychology, we kind of pass the video around and talk trash, or joke about it.
We joked about Ric Flair taking a bunch of drugs and pulling his dick out on an airplane or anywhere else, using women like objects. Or Andre the Giant drinking outrageous, otherworldly amounts of alcohol and doing outlandish, Paul Bunyan esque things, but they both did stuff like that because they were dealing with some serious heartaches and pain. They were fractured. Like Chris Benoit. Like the kid I looked up to that just blew his brains out. Like you. Like me. Yet we all put on a song and dance, because we are all afraid to admit we are fractured humans.
Facebook, and social media are like our perceived reality in physical form. Caricatures of reality, neatly hiding our fault lines. Like people are afraid to expose weakness, or to share those things. Why? Because society looks down on those things, kind of like why we glamorize people who we perceive to have little to no weaknesses.
We latch on to super heroes. We see people who seem to have it all together, and we want that. We envy that family that is always on vacation, always smiling in the pictures, and in public. Or the couple kissing in 800 pictures, always smiling and laughing for the cameras. We want it because we don’t have it. It’s like we are ashamed of our own weaknesses, so we kind of shun it from others. To the point where you don’t realize at least 10 of your current friends are in abusive relationships. Another 20 are battling depression. Another 20 or so are dealing with addictions, whether they be drug, alcohol, or various others. Another 5 are suicidal. Another 2-3 are on the verge of committing murder. They all seem so happy on the outside, because they are afraid to truly let anybody in. And you couldn’t tell from your reality. Just like they can’t tell what you are dealing with from theirs. Which leads to a lot of confused people when we die, because we were too stubborn to open up before it became too late.
I always thought the song posted above was much deeper than face value. Much more than a cheesy break up song. More than the loss of a loved one. But rather, one’s struggles with life- a collection of heart aches, losses and experiences, and how we navigate it. Life is like rapids- wearing us all thin in time, as we, the rocks, attempt to anchor ourselves down amidst the chaos. No matter how strong a rock can be, or big, or how much we play down our weaknesses, in time that constant strain takes pieces of us away, never to be regained. And in more time, eventually, we have nothing left to give.
Some of us lose that fight sooner than others, and in that, we remaining learn more about ourselves, and just how precious and turbulent life is until the day we die. There are two ways to interpret the phrase “Nothing lasts forever”. A duality. A reminder in opposing times that life won’t ever stand still for us. The best we can do is not let our pasts, and the things we’ve lost ultimately define us, and cost us a future. If you are reading this, it isn’t too late. If you are still holding on- hold on. This world needs you more than you know. Reality isn’t just your own. Don’t be afraid to be a fractured human. Open up about it. Maybe you will find strength from an unexpected place. A strength you needed to make it through to another day.
When you die, when your rock has finally been stripped of it’s last fragment, and you fade away, life/reality doesn’t just end there. You were (bold)never(/bold) the only one. Those rapids now hit the other rocks around you harder, taking pieces away from them quicker, straining them more. You think you’re alone, but the reality is life is such an interconnected web. So seemingly obtuse, yet so deeply woven.
We all should accept our humanity, and embrace others. Because no one is perfect, and feeling like you need to be is why so many of us are now gone. Not all cases would have changed by doing so, but enough would have. Enough to change the world around us for the better.
“Don’t ya think that you need somebody?
Don’t ya think that you need someone?
Everybody needs somebody.
You’re not the only one.
You’re not the only one!”