Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Peeling Onions, part 2

When I get depressed, I do one of two things; I either hide out and ignore everything, or I write like a man possessed. Right now, I'm in the writing phase. This is actually good, because that usually gets me out of my funk.
It's funny how I'll see something and that will just inspire me to start writing. I was on my favorite chatboard, and one thread asked "If You Could Change One Thing..." and I thought, Holy Friggin crap!.-- how can I just change one thing? I've made so many wrong turns in my life that one would think that by now, I would be going in the right direction. Even 3 left turns make a right, so how many wrong turns do I have to make?
And what was that one wrong turn I made that first set me on the path to disaster? I don't know why it is important, but I needed to know. I spent some time in therapy, and even more in self-help groups, and I still never determined what the hell happened.
I have joked with friends about "One Bad Summer" as the point that set me on the downslide. It really is true. I was in pretty good shape physically. I wasn't an athlete, but I was far from the doughy lump of flesh that I am today. I could bench a few hundred pounds, and play a decent game of tennis. I had an ok summer job, and looked forward to the future.
And then it happened. That bad summer. I don't even know how or why, but I became totally overwhelmed with everything. For the first time in my life, I was afraid. I had never experienced fear before.
I used to drive my car like a maniac. The speed limit on my street was 25, and I routinely drove 100 MPH on it late at night. I had no fear of an accident.
I worked late at night in neighborhoods where I was taking my life into my hands. Not afraid. I just did it.
I had some jerk stalk me along with his friends with malicious intentions. Nope, didn't bother me. In fact, I actually went after him one day.
So, what was this terrible fear?
I was afraid of failure. I was going into college, and I was afraid that I couldn't cut it. I had nothing to base this on, as I did ok in a very competitive high school, and scored very well on the SAT's. In fact, I had succeeded at nearly everything I ever tried. Apparently, all the crap that had been dumped on me all my life just welled up and poured out as fear.
My father was about the least supportive person I ever could imagine, and yet, I had this inate desire to please him. The one person I should have ignored, I gave so much power to. And here I am, these so many years later, continuing to do so.
I'm not sure how to get out of this, but I do feel energized that now, I can see where I made a wrong turn (followed by dozens of others.) It is said that if a man has knowledge, he has power. I believe that I now have the power to make changes. I just hope that I have the courage and conviction to follow through.


savvy said...

I'm really happy to read these things from you. Maybe it's better when we don't talk. Have you ever considered that it wasn't necessarily failure you were afraid of, but success? Perhaps you didn't know how to handle success, especially with your fathers unwillingness to ever acknowledge your successes to that point? In other words, at a youthful, vulnerable age, is unacknowledged success no success at all? Keep writing, it's both good for readers and good for you. (Cathartic, and introspective)

Your buddy