Thursday, January 1, 2015

#ROW80 1ST QUARTER 2015 – LET THE CRY OUT


2014 was a busy year and for once, I met up to certain expectations well, but in other areas, I know I slacked off a bit. Okay, I slacked off a lot. Whether it can be summed up to just the overall fatigue that comes with close to fifty years of battling with depression, in one form or another, or realizing that I've made some stunningly bad life choices in the past, it all added up to an "A" for getting my passion back and a "B-" in just about everything else.


Oh yeah, I started a Python Class, that I ditched about half-way through. Thank God it was free. The repeat starts in February. Finishing would be a win.

Rather than getting myself into messes and then finding out that #whatamess and Holy Mother of God, I have to get myself out of this screwed-up fiasco, before I have a heart attack, die and he wins – yeah, I'm talkin' to you, Lithia, aka Bill Nunnally of Heartland for Children, helmed by one Ms. Teri Saunders, who right about now, must be enjoying dealing with the fact that an esteemed colleague, a CEO no less, over at Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services, was put to death by her own life partner-abuser, because women are open-season and it exists everywhere and is accepted everywhere, you fucking bunch of hypocrites, EXCEPT by me, and, oh, how is Andrea, you sly-boots, all getting' a girl-friend, while I lay up in a hospital bed battling congestive heart failure, at Brandon Regional Medical Center (I've got the medical records, you lying prick), you Master of Head-Fucks – or trying to buy a house in the midst of what seemed to be a rather secure situation at the beginning of the year 2008, or the end of 2007, I forget which, because I was still trying to recover from a severe case of PTSD, it seems.

I still am, but a funny thing happened on the way from now to here. First off, I got really, really honest with myself, for the first time in my life. That's a well-nigh impossible thing to do, when you live in a family that is a solid-gold definition for “dysfunction”. My parents honestly did the best that they could, and I have nothing but love and respect for either of them, but mostly I honor my mother. You see, she's the one who continually harped on me about getting past all the bullshit that had been flying around the house for years. Unfortunately, she had only one tool to deal with it and that was rage, which would be directed at anyone within reach. Boiling, festering, unmitigated rage that would unleash at the drop of. . . nothing; at least from my perspective.

Kids understand a lot, you have to give them that, but they do not understand nuances, or the subtle battles that their parents may be going through. My father chose to deal, by not engaging with her at all, and by drinking. . . a lot, and this left her with nothing but pent-up rage. I've written of this before, and the only way the poor woman could retain her own sanity was by divorcing him. I honestly believe though, that my father hung around as long as he did, because he feared for my own safety; she would fall into these blind rages at times. Once, she tried to burn down the house. There had been an earlier attempt at suicide, so my father's fear was very real. But, they both loved me and they were both trying to do right by me; my dad always had a job, and although a “maintenance drunk” he was never unkind or cruel. My mom pushed me to do better, but not in a rah-rah way. It was more of a “I'm gonna beat your ass” kind of way; not always the greatest incentive for truth, in my opinion. I was terrified of her. It wasn't until I was older and became a bit wiser that I understood what she was trying to impart to me. I was a bit dim-mish at the time. Fear does not make for a good learning environment.


Fear does make for a hell of an incentive to lose yourself in something you love doing; realizing that there are more things bigger than yourself and your stupid fears work. . . for a while, but to pardon the pun, the music must eventually be faced.

So, having waded through all of this, I left home at the earliest opportunity and didn't really look back. My parents were ending their marriage; in rancor and misunderstanding and I was busy with music, but in my heart, there was always an emptiness, an understanding that something had not gone right, and I didn't know how to fix it. I fell back on patterns easily learned; go along to get along, and the hell with what I REALLY wanted. I did have a succession of marriages, each worse than the last, and the last nearly killed me; I ended up hating it and him. I didn't want to get married again, and had told him that, but said “yes” when he asked. Even after that, I fell into another abusive relationship, but I could deal with that, because that was physical, and I gave as good as I got. I've always been a brawler and can easily take down a 250-pound man and have. I came out of that relationship with surprisingly little ill-will and still wish the ex and his family Happy Birthdays and all of that. Physical can be gotten over; it's kinda like boxing.


Lest anyone forget by my cultured tones, I live in da 'hood, and I do train, as do a surprising (well, maybe to you) number of people in the Symphony. A swift left upper-cut, followed by a quick, right jab surprises the HELL out of would-be muggers, and what not, 'cause, pronation + batshit insanity that I can unleash at a moment's notice. I do not play.


This may look like easy pickin's on Nebraska Avenue and it's environs, but it's not. Most people know that by now and steer clear. I sometimes miss the old days; I'd be lying and definitely not a Wallace if I said I didn't enjoy fisticuffs now and again.

Emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse is much, much harder to fix, especially when you're damaged goods to begin with. For years after that divorce, I had panic attacks, at the mere thought of being back in that situation and it's been a solid ten years now, since I left Bill Nunnally, on January 5th, 2005. My heart would not let me stay there. It skittered and jumped around like a wounded animal in my chest whenever I even thought about driving back to the ol' homestead, so this was clearly not a good sign of things to come. Frail of mind and body, I left and lived on a friend's couch for a few months. Thank god that's all behind me.

But, in looking back and now moving forward, I know I've healed. I can now think of the ridiculousness of that situation: Bill, yelling at a blind woman (me; the blindness being courtesy of the Congestive Heart Failure I didn't yet know I had), “Why don't you get a goddamned job! All you do is look at that goddamned book!”, as I looked at a Time Magazine, trying to see the pictures. Me thinking, “Mmmmm, I'm blind, can't drive. Yup, that's a sure-fire resumé builder”. But, by far my favorite put-down was the huff over the 3 Little Pigs or Porkies. There was a local commercial on-air, which featured some badly-drawn pigs, of the “Porky the Pig” style, with the exception that these were wearing pants; this is Florida, after all, we wouldn't want to scare the Q-Tips with butt-naked pigs. I made some random comment, like “Gee, these are like Porky the Pig, exce–“ and wasn't given the chance to finish, before the beat-down commenced. “Those are NOT Porkies, because Porkies do NOT wear pants! These are the 3 Little Pigs!” or something equally asinine, came from the couch Bill would sprawl out on the minute he got home from work, in his sweat pants, and pasty chest, with no shirt. To emphasize, he repeated, “NOT Porkies!”

I had completely forgotten this inanity until the other day, when Alex, JC, Jason and I were kind of looking at something on the television (which I rarely look at; even giant-ass as it is, I really cannot see it all that well) and some stupid local advert came on with some poorly-drawn cartoon characters. I began to laugh and the more I thought about it, the more I laughed. I then had to share this whole #whatamess with JC, Alex and Jason, so they didn't think I was a complete loon and they know my history. So, after we all had a good laugh at that, we continued watching the game, or one of the ancient westerns that JC is so fond of. I am glad that I am in this place; it is right for me to be here, because, JC is dying. There, I've said it and there's no getting around it.


JC, in much more robust days; laughing at some inanity from one of his many friends. I miss the old JC, but help him and honor him as he lives out his days.

At some level he knows this, and I think he's accepted it. There are times when I'm driven to distraction, because he is weak and I am not; it is not in his nature to fight. I'm a strategic fighter; a good general. I know when to cut and run and when to stand and fight and this one time, I cannot do it for him. He is not a strong person and I know he's afraid, deep down. I feel so Goddamned helpless, because just this once, I can't fix it and I love him. I remember asking my father once, “When do we begin to die?” He answered, in his wisdom, “The moment we are born.” I was maybe four years old when he said that to me, but he had already taken the measure of me and knew me well. So, maybe we die a bit every day, but we also have been given this grace; the grace of just this moment. To treasure it and to make sure that everything we do, everything we say is a commitment to our own truth. My truth is to try and ease a dying and frightened man from this world and let him know that he did not fail in his commitment to me. He cared for me when I was desperately ill; he made choices that he thought I would hate him for, when he Baker-Acted me, but he saved my life. I can do no less for him. I fight like a lion with TGH, insurance companies, idiots on the other ends of phones, which I won't do for myself, because it exacerbates my e. t., yet I'll continue to do so, because he matters. He's a human being and a life and he matters and I love him.

I had a dream last night that prompted this post. In the manner of dreams, it was just a mish-mash of stuff that made absolutely no sense. The “Nic Cage as a popcorn box” dream made more sense, but there was one part of it, that made me cry in my dream. There were a bunch of animals; cats, dogs, ferrets, hedgehogs, or something that just were running around in a jumble, along the side of this road. I was riding in a ridiculously tall bus, and as we drove by, a woman called out, “There's my Matilda! Stop, Mr. Bus Driver! My cat Matilda is by the side of the road!” But the bus went on; the driver heedless to the woman's pleas. In the manner of dreams, somehow I could see this little cat left by the side of the road, all alone, bereft. The other animals were gone; my dream “logic” imparted that they had gone with their people, except for this little cat. I started to cry in my dream. I hate loss; just hate it with a passion, but we must accept it and go on.


Matilda looked very much like this kitten when she disappeared. The worst part was hearing the loss in my mom's voice when she phoned and said "I've called and called her home for her supper, but she never comes." This was about a month before my mom died.

I woke up with this burning pain in my chest and shoulders and back; throat working, trying to cry, but my goddamned messed-up mind and my body will conspire against that and quite frequently does. Old habits die hard and I really wasn't allowed to cry at home as a kid. But, I also believe that crying acts as a circuit-breaker and when we cry it alleviates the stress, the pain, whatever the subconscious is trying to tell us. As I lay there, I thought back, and all the while this pain is building in my chest. Just for my own sake and to be strong, I know I have to let this go somehow. I thought back to my mom. I remembered just before her death, she had adopted a little kitten, and named her “Matilda” which I thought was a charming name, but Matilda disappeared and in the wake of my mother's death, she became forgotten. . . until last night. That connection was like flipping that switch; that connection on that circuit breaker and finally, I was able to Let The Cry Out.

We all must do that at some point; without it, we become mindless gray things and just exist in a numb sort of day-to-day shuffle. Life isn't about a series of rote routines, or running around, trying to make money for a nest egg. I no longer have one; I don't care. I have a life; a rich and full one and I spend time with JC and our friends, play my viola with passion and heart and excellence, work on computers, and game and am a proud co-Leader with probably one of the oldest clans in the world. I write sporadically, but write well enough and passion enough, that sometimes people think my shit is worth stealing. That's enough for me. But, when I need to Let The Cry Out, I'll find a way. It keeps me relatively sane and healthy for what lies ahead.


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