Your intrepid chronicler of the minutiae of his fairly uneventful life had a good day yesterday. (*SEE P.S. AT CONCLUSION OF ENTRY) Good days terrify him. Terrify him *so much* in fact that he must refer to himself in the third person so as to safely distance himself from the inevitable punishment of lightning strike/bad luck sure to follow. Nothing good comes for free.
Once upon a time a woman in the process of revealing herself to be a rather horrid, insensitive human being said to me, “Did you know my nickname for you is Eeyore?” Well, no, I hadn’t known. Worse, she spoke those words to me the day after my aunt’s funeral, about which she knew, and my aunt’s death had come less than six months after two other devastating losses, about both of which this awful woman was also well aware.
Yes, I was more than a bit sad.
But, in her defense, the period of my life during which she’d known me I had become increasingly anhedonic [Click here for a really well-written piece on Anhedonia by Joan Didion from the New York Review of Books archive, August 16, 1979, “Letter from Manhattan”, an essay about a few Woody Allen films and his anhedonic realities.]. My natural bent toward introversion was being frustrated, forced as I was by circumstance and fear into a shared and public life for which I was not well suited.
Something needed to change. Some things. I had long lacked the wisdom to recognize those things, and, more detrimental, long lacked the courage to attempt change.
But, eventually, when life feels all deficit, all punishment and no reward, when one wakes each day sorry not to have died in one’s sleep and terrified of what one will do wrong that day and certain to be told about it, well, a change — one way or another — is gonna come. For me, the choices were:
- Kill myself;
- Continue to brainwash myself that my detractors’ insistence the diminishing returns of my efforts at love and life were my fault;
- Break free of the world I’d allowed others to dictate and shape and rule, and find, somehow, late in life, a space and place of freedom to be me, without judgment, without constant punishment for speaking my truth and asking my questions.
I chose the latter. It has been extremely difficult.
I see now that my expectations were not unlike a child at holiday or birthday time: so much build-up and anticipation prior to the event, and then, the day comes — uhm — the day after — uhm — well, then, not all that much has CHANGED with the CHANGE.
I was still me. I was still the Charlie who was programmed to be anhedonic. I still feared that any pleasure was undeserved and I’d be punished for it. If I experienced joy, I expected a requisite amount of despair: there would be a cost. The bill would come.
Change is hard. That twelve-step serenity prayer discusses having the wisdom to know the difference between what can and cannot be changed. In these past few years, I have come to believe that the core of my sorrow comes not from my failures, but, rather, from my hopes. Somewhere before life and anhedonia kicked in, there was a soul-Light-Love-child-Charlie who was programmed to believe that if one dug deep enough, waited long enough, looked hard enough, became smart enough, searched and dug and never gave up until an understanding of truth, core, essence was discovered — the emotional archeological mission would get to Love and Light at the source. He believed that everyone was — finally and if truly seen — Good, made of Love and Light. He believed that no matter how awful the circumstance, the behavior, the event, that somewhere, where it started, the original intent, that first flap of butterfly wing, no matter how distorted the final outcome, had — at the beginning– been born of Love and Light.
I still — no matter my conversion to agnosticism/atheism, no matter the abhorrent behaviors and abandonment and slander perpetrated by people who once loved me, no matter the world events, the national tragedies, the culture of bigotry and hatred and classism and inequality and institutionalized discrimination — I STILL believe that somewhere there is HOPE that in it all, through it all, beyond it all, we can get back to the original intent, the original energy of All That Is, of everything, I STILL believe that energy is Love and Light.
So, yes, Marilyn, perhaps I was (and am) Eeyore-like. But not because I have such a dark outlook, no, rather, because I cannot — have never — stopped believing that there is hope, that there is — somewhere — Love and Light enough to make all this life make sense.
I don’t think it is wisdom to “know the difference” and decide what can’t be changed, because I think EVERYTHING can change. I cannot un-believe that original soul-child Charlie’s core understanding of reality; somewhere in there, at the core, at the essence, in the truth, there is always, always, always, ALWAYS Love and Light.
Now, I’m off to get the Sunday New York Times and bask in that for my Love and Light today. Love and Light, friends. Hope you find some — believe in some — yourself, today.
P.S. at conclusion of entry: Yesterday I had lunch with my dear boy, Cody, home from college for a few days. Always a pleasure. Always a treasure. Law school after law school now inviting him to attend. Couldn’t be happier for him. Then, I spent part of the afternoon with my pals at The Curious Iguana [CLICKHERE] — my indie bookstore — and I met and chatted with author Christopher Scotton [CLICK HERE], author of fantastic, soon-to-be-released novel, “The Secret Wisdom of the Earth” — wow — WHAT A BOOK. I will be blogging about it this week. If you are IN the publishing industry, get an ARC now — you will want to get ahead of this before Mr. Scotton hits big — and believe me, this novel is going to hit big. Then, as if those two gifts were not enough Love and Light for one day, I spent the late afternoon and evening with my dear Greene family, who, when the changes in my life needed to come — stood by me every step of the way, including my suicidal-near-efforts-at-self-destruction, near-alcoholism, etcetera, and held me and held me up. Last night’s hugs and kisses from Alison, Pat, Sue, and dear Megan — home from college and running like mad to embrace me(such joy that gave me, I CANNOT tell you), and seeing Justin (not a hugger, LOL) and being there when he opened letters from TWO MORE colleges wanting him — WOW. Honestly, I had a BEAUTIFUL day/night — full of all that LOVE and LIGHT. So, yes, scarily good day — trying not to panic about what hate and dark is coming to balance it … because I’m trying to change my thinking.
So, again friends, LOVE and LIGHT to you. Thank you for reading.