Thursday, January 6, 2011

Guilt Trip

I rather enjoy resolutions of the New Year ilk, and look forward to making new ones each year in a constant struggle for self-improvement. I've had pretty good fortune with past resolutions, perhaps the result of not over-reaching my goals rather than innate good character. I never had to stop smoking (never started) or stop lying (not one of my faults), so things like "exercise once a week" or "find something to smile about every day" have been fully possible. But this year, I haven't made but a single resolution yet.

That resolution I shan't tell you, as it is inTENSEly private, but I will tell you that I broke my inner vow within 24 hours of making it, and, in spite of a series of stern talks with myself, have continued to break it almost every day. I tell you, I despair of ever improving that one, small thing within me. I say "small," but it feels monstrous humongous to my inner critic. The Greek Chorus that likes to serenade me in the dark of the night with Tales of Great Ulysses (sorry, fell down a lyric hole there)...but the voices that haunt me, taunt me...they say I am bad, bad, BAD. Unloveable and a miserable excuse for a human being because I cannot seem to stop doing this one thing.

Now then. I'm really not going to share my flaw with you, but I will give you a bit of background, and perhaps that will ease your undeniable itch to know.

My mother set me on this path when I was eleven. She set my sister and niece on the same path, by the way. And she knew she had sewn the seeds, for I reminded her frequently. See? Told you I had no talent with lying. Worse, I often insist on telling the truth when the kind thing would be to simply smile and walk away. Ah well...that's a fault I'll have to tackle in my next life.

I have had two or three periods in my life where this fault lay dormant within me. I say "dormant" because of course it erupted again and again over the years. My 30s and 40s were largely fault free, but then I fell over the precipice and my sleeping Madness came roaring back to life.

Now before you ask, let me assure you that it's probably nothing you're considering. Oh sure, I had a period of drinking (thursday nights, always thursday...fridays were murder at work *groan*), and a brief attachment to the errant stimulant or other, but I was on guard against anything that even whispered "addictive," cutting it cleanly from my life with a surgeon's skill. Well, anything but this one little thing.

A therapist once told me that I wanted people to know, and I spent a good long while considering the veracity of her claims. But I tell you most sincerely, she was wrong. I want nothing more than to live a happy life, free of the strife this malady causes me. And I do NOT want to people to know!

So what to do, what to do? I suppose I will take each day as it comes, step by step, and do my best not to step over the boundaries I find must be set anew on a daily basis. Being human is SO bloody difficult, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Marching Toward the Abyss

Gerry Rafferty in 2003

There is music that I consider the Soundtrack of My Life; almost anything by the Beatles or Joni Mitchell, one album by Bob Seger, a couple from Stan Getz, a Mills Brother's album, and others. Of these, there is a slim set that when played, result in me feeling stronger, braver, more alive somehow.

Gerry Rafferty's City To City album (yes, was originally released on vinyl) is one of those. With perfect pitch and a rich voice, Gerry reaches in, fills my soul, and singing along to his music always results in feeling better.

So when I read of Rafferty's death this morning, it was with a genuine sense of loss overlaid with sincere gratitude for having made his music. Gerry battled demons and it would seem the demons ultimately won (you can read more at the Guardian), but he left behind what I consider a nearly perfect disc. Only 11 days younger than my first husband (Rafferty was born April 16, 1947), I find Rafferty's death also serves to remind me that my generation is now within easy sight of the end. But not yet, not today, not for me, not for many others...maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Blackberry Isn't Working

Enjoy this brilliantly written piece from the BBC (where ELSE?)...