Tortured Souls

I’m betting, being the clever lot that my limited readership is, that you’ve no doubt  guessed by the title of this post that it’s not going to be my normal sunshine and glittery unicorn farts of a post.

And you’d be right.

I’d apologize for it, but the moroseness has to come out and see the light of day from time to time. Even if it’s the pale light of the moon.

I suspect it’s because I’ve been binge watching some Vampire Diaries  spin-off on Netflix. Or perhaps it’s because that sliver of universal truth that lives in each of us and cries to be re-connected with every other sliver in every other living thing is tweaking just the right creative vein. Or rather the right neuron to let the thoughts float in my head. Leastwise until I exorcise them.

And that, as you may have also correctly deduced, is where this blog comes in.

From time to time it’s a place for me to lay my demons to waste. Oh sure…I have the requisite eom-kid paper journals to fall back on for the stuff that’s truly too private. But this blog is, for the most part, where I lay things bare and let the carrion eaters of this universe take the scraps that are no longer serving my higher purpose.


That’s a funny word. I think about it a lot. My purpose. My mission. The reason I’m in this world. This world. This time. This Now. And I’ve stumbled upon a couple of truths that I need to commit to the ones and zeroes.

Don’t worry about me, my friends. You don’t need to fabricate reasons to check on me. It’s all good. I’m good. This is my way of cleaning out the wounds. Healing. Moving on. Whatever insight in to the universe I’m currently feeling (or think I’m feeling) will likely be canceled out by a cider-induced slumber. All will be right with the world.

But in this moment. I have figured out what a tortured soul truly is.  I used to think that a tortured soul was some poor bastard who failed to follow the Love in this Universe (some of you call that Love “God”…that’s not wholly incorrect, although it’s not wholly correct either). But by turning their backs on Love, and living from fear and in fear, they become tortured.

But I don’t think that’s quite right.

I think a tortured soul is one who at some point in their life, gains a glimpse of their higher purpose, their calling….they see it…and they ignore it.  Maybe they don’t intentionally ignore it. Some purposes can be frightening. Some can be confusing. Some can be so completely at odds with this menagerie we find ourselves in that some have no choice but to turn away.  And then there are those who just don’t know where to start. They know that they need to move to this purpose…this calling. But the mechanics of trust in the Universe just aren’t in place yet.

And so nothing is fulfilling.

That is the soul, in my humble opinion, that is tortured. I do not believe in a biblical hell of the judeo-christian machination.  Time may well prove me wrong in that regard. However, I do believe in a hell on earth. And it is populated with tortured souls.

I’ve been there. I see them sometimes. I see the reflections in the mirror when I deny some of the things in my head that I know I need to move toward.

Yes…sometimes I sit..alone in a crowd. I sit confused as I look at people living their lives.   I look around my apartment. The one place that is supposed to be a sanctuary. A home after a long day ‘in the real world.’ And I don’t see me in this place. What I see as I look around are the artifacts of former lives. Things I dug up or acquired  to play a role. To match the image of what I thought you expected me  to be. What I tried to be for others. The geek. The movie maker. The photographer. The writer. The Musician. The pauper. The plucky, dorky sidekick. The philosopher.

All of those are facets of the true Todd. But no single one of them quite fits me on its own. And so as I see things that litter this tiny apartment, I realize that there are some things that do.

And they are the last thing I see as I close the door. And the first thing I see when I come home again.

On the left is a picture my dad took of one of the last remaining structures on what used to be our family farm. It’s a warm house. A natural refrigerator if you will. Warm houses were typically built in to the sides of hills so that they would stay a steady 55 degrees. Canned goods were kept in them. Things stayed preserved. 
That photo reminds me that sometimes we need to stow some supplies away. 
The middle picture is one I took. It’s of a chess board. The message is simple. This is but a game.

The photo on the right is the photo that most moves me. It’s a photo of my papaw’s barn in the winter. Some see desolation. The bleakness of Appalachia. And to be sure, those things are there. But I see so much more in that barn. I see each nail that my papaw hammered. I remember tobacco hanging in the barn as a kid. I remember the black snake my papaw showed me, but would not kill No need to be scared, boy. If they’s a black snake around, the other snakes’ll stay away. (and I remember him saying it every time my dad reminds me that black snakes will keep copperheads away).  I can see my (grandparent’s) dog, Shag, sitting the shade of the barn. 
That barn reminds me that no matter what others see when they look at me, I know the true magic within.
Those three things are enough to remind me that as tortured as I feel sometimes…it’s only temporary. I take one more step out of my hell with each word I write.
With each post that makes someone smile…or laugh…or cry…or (gasp) think, I come closer to living my life’s purpose. 

But what if we never find our purpose?

Excellent question. You’re probably not going to like the answer.  But I believe that you either figure out your life’s purpose or you don’t. No one can tell you what your purpose is…you have to know it. You have to know that it’s the one thing that you would still be if everything else you think you are were taken away.

I think we are here to teach…and learn. And then the next life time…we’re here to learn….and teach.

It’s a dance.

The music was written long before this thing called ‘time’ became fashionable. And it will be played long after our part in the score has passed and we are regarded by some other beings much the way we regard the ‘lesser’ species on our planet. Mildly amusing, and as Douglas Adams said, ‘mostly harmless.’

Sorry if I worried you for a bit. The cider’s kicking in and all is well.

Until the next time I’m awake and dreaming, have a great evening my friends.

-Andrew Todd Skaggs

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