October 10, 2005

Dreams and demons: a day in my life.

I do not often relate personal information on this blog. I like the anonymity, it is safe, there is no rejection, no laughter, no condemnation. I can rant about politics, the unfairness of life. I can tell my jokes, describe the humor I find in every day situations. I have never been one who sits around talking about my feelings. It was just the way I was raised; the guy code. Crying is for pussies, only girls talk about their emotions. Somehow I find myself strangely moved by two very different individuals and their writings today.

The first comes from Bane and his discussion of writing. Bane tells us you have to like your writing for it to be good. I think he is correct. I once fancied myself a good writer. Recently I went back and read through some of my old notebooks of writings and short stories I have composed during my life. Some of it is quite good. I have reread some of my early posts on this blog, and I also think they are decent pieces of writing. Lately, I have not been composing my thoughts in a way that spins mental poetry on the paper, as such. I have not used the language to paint pictures, to frame beautiful arguments, to leave you spellbound in my story. In other words, I do not like my writing on this blog of late. Ergo sum, whatever, it is just not very good.

The second piece is from the waiterrant blog. The man is a true storyteller, he writes with grace and efficiency. His kind soul and feeling for life is felt in every entry, yet underneath there is always a sadness to his tale. In the linked entry, the Waiter talks about the demons in his life, the aloneness that influences his writing.

I think, on a different level I too am suffering, beset by my own demons. Most are self created. I feel alone, fighting the storms that threatened to swallow my soul. Some days I feel powerless to cope, unable to go on. I think I am on a slippery rock, my toes keeping a tenuous hold as the flood water rages around me , occasional waves sweeping up my legs. I slip, I totter, but somehow manage to stay on top. I think maybe the next wave will knock me down, to be swept away to nothingness.

Do you ever feel that life has slipped away? Maybe it is the beginning of midlife crisis. Some days I feel my love is unrequited. Does my wife stay with me only because the idea of being alone is too difficult? Am I just a paycheck? That is the impression I get sometimes. I know I am harsh, unpleasant, my comments laced with sarcasm on occasion. It is often joked that it is good I am not a doctor, I have no patience. Regarding me, my daughter is indifferent, my son angry, the little one attached to comfort, hates change. Has my sole contribution to the legacy of my family become "turn off the lights", "you need to be studying", and "turn down that music"? How do I impart life's lessons and wisdom when I do not have any of the answers my self? I need a writer. Steve Douglas on My Three Sons always has the answer. TV teenagers are never filled with angst, angry at the world. TV Dads always know how to handle the situation without yelling and getting mad. Am I wrong, incompetent, a bad parent? I do not think so, but I often feel a failure, in life, work and love.

On one level I know they love me, yet my heart argues with my intellect. I feel the weight of Atlas' burden some days; work, debt, and responsibility weighing me down until the constant pain in my knees and elbows and shoulders is a regular part of life. You see, when we are young, we have dreams, we have plans, we have a vision. Never does that dream include being incredibly average. Our vision does not include bills, mortgages, the cost of education. We do not dream of mowing the yard, cleaning the bathroom, deciding what to eat. We do not have visions of toiling away in obscurity, doing your best, waiting on that raise or promotion you know will never come. As youth, we think we will make a difference in the world. As we become cynical adults, we realize we are insignificant, meaningless. As youth, we do not see the unfairness in the workplace, the cronyism. Only too late do you remember that you were once told that "if it was supposed to be fun they would not call it work, and they would certainly not pay you for it". As children we imagine fast cars, big houses, exotic vacation. As adults we know we have to pay for these luxuries. Most of us can't.

I am aware I am whining. Sorry, maybe it is the weather. I take pride in my work, in being a dad and a husband. I give all my best effort. Today, it is the thought that on some days, my best effort is not good enough. That weighs me down. There are many less well off than I. Make no mistake, I have plenty to be thankful for. But the demons, the blues, or, as my favorite fictional character called them, "the mean reds" still come.

I used to fight these demons with alcohol, occasionally drugs. Now I have no desire to numb the problems, the demons. Once I turned to prayer. Now I just want the demons to go away. One day of carefree life, no worries, no problems, pure happiness -- that is my new dream. I want laughter, sex, sunshine, a day without drama. I want to write like Hemingway, to sing like Stephen Stills. To just be someone else. I fear it is as unrealistic a desire as the dreams of a schoolboy many years ago.

So what do I do? I write a post. I prepare for tomorrow's business meeting. I will go to football practice. I will eat. I will hug my kids, tell them I love them. Maybe I'll flirt with my wife, hope for some action later. I will watch some TV, go to bed. I will get up tomorrow, thank God for my blessings and begin the fight again. A new man in an old body, watching the demons in the corner.


GUYK said...

Whatever you had lost you found it when you wrote this post. You have just described the average middle aged middle class American man. few of us ever realizze all of our dreams. Maybe I was one of the lucky ones and pretty well got everything I ever wanted except to be president of the USA and I didn't want that very much anyway.

When I was twenty two years old I set a goal for myself that was attainable at fourty two years old and I reached that goal. But the problem was I didn't have any other goals to strive for and wiondered around in a alcoholdaze for several years. Oh, I worked and made good money-more than I had ever made in my life in automobile sales, but I wasn't happy. I didn't need the money and it didn't mean anything to me;spent it as fast as it came in.

One morning I woke up and didn't go to work and said hell with it. I was tired of working at something I didn't like and tired of hangovers. I quit drinking and started trying to find myself. I did and was one of the lucky ones. One of these days I may write about those years-then again maybe not.

I prefer to live for the day and for the future. Of course at 63 and bad health the future may only be tomorrow but that is all right too because I have plans for today and tomorrow.

I would encourage you to set some goals if you have not already done so. Be realistic and set attainable goals and work towards them. made life a lot happiuer for me even if I couldn't ever be the prez of the country. At least I was the prez of my own company.

SuperGurl said...

great post...reminded me of this famous verse, "be not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind" that's it dude! reflection is the solution, and blues are good to jam to.

Anonymous said...

Chill. In the words of Peter Capstick, "it's always darkest before it's pitch black" Everyone has tough times, I'm having some now. You're doing fine.

Alli said...

It helps to vent on the blog sometimes. If you ever need to talk/whine you can email me. You've been good to me during my stressed out times, so I'd love to return the favor. Let me know, HB.

Anonymous said...

I'm a day late, but I see from today's post that the demons moved on. Fortunately for most folks they always do.

Keep strokin'

Galt-in-Da-Box said...

You know all those plans and dreams you had when you was a kid? I had the best chance to live mine, and never did. My life is incredibly, mind-bogglingly average, only I'm single (which for an Xer is the norm). We should be encouraged to write down our plans, dreams and desires in our youth.
On "bathroom tissue".
Preferably, with a pencil.
There are a thousand things we NEVER planned for or dreamed would happen that pretty much f&%$ our idealistic, youthful visions of the universe.
We should also be encouraged to save that TP roll for our old age, so we'll know what daydreams are good for! :)

The Conservative UAW Guy said...

That was a great piece.
Something to be proud of.

YOu'll be ok.

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