I’m exhausted: physically, mentally and emotionally. And truthfully, that is not a bad thing.
What is keeping me going is a spiritual experience I’ve been embracing.
I know corny.
Especially considering that I’m agnostic. Probably….I think.
Which, if you’ve been paying attention at all, is consistent with most of my life: a belief in something greater than myself and a complete unwillingness to commit to it.
This makes living or loving me akin to playing Russian roulette.
Eventually, someone is going to take a bullet. It won’t kill anyone but if you are the one that gets shot it will feel like it might. Sometimes it is the other person that gets shot.
Sometimes I’ll take the bullet.
Actually, I prefer to take the bullet. It fills my pathological need to be the Hero and the Martyr. How I do love my suffering.
This allows me the freedom to brag about my bravery while I complain about how painful it was to earn the scar.
I will also throw myself onto the sword. Take one for the team. Grenade? I’m on it.
Tears? I can fix it!
Confused? I’ll explain it.
Angry? Sad? Upset? My fault!
Restless? Irritable? Discontent? Bitter? Jealous? Ditto.
Got a cross to carry or hemlock to drink? I’ll volunteer.
Anything, ANYTHING, so I don’t have to be responsible for my own life, needs, feelings, wants or desires. Anything to change the focus from me to my pain or to yours.
I’m finished with that life. It has left me spiritually, emotionally, financially and physically broken.
I’m tired of trying to be the Hero with a sprinkling of a Lost Child. I don’t want to be Superman, Batman, Spider-Man or Ironman – there is reason these characters are so tortured. They are constantly sacrificing their wants, needs and ambitions for the well-being of others.
Of course, the moment the Hero says “Enough! I’m taking the wife and kids toDisneyland,” they end up blamed for the inevitable crime wave. Of course, the good citizenry ofGothamthen turn on their Hero for abandoning them in their time of need. God forbid the good citizens of Metropolis take responsibility for their own safety.
It is always someone else’s job. The Hero’s job.
After all, what is the reason to have a Hero if you can’t eventually nail him or her to a a couple of wooden planks?
How we love our rituals and blood sacrifices.
This is not a new role. I’ve been the family Hero my whole life.
The first, and only time my younger brother took a beat down, I remember being punished for not doing enough to “protect” my little brother from the neighborhood bullies. He was five.
Never mind it was Little Brother’s mouth that created the problem.
Lesson learned. I was trained.
Little Brother said and did whatever he wanted without consequences – even after he wasn’t little anymore – and I was suppose to defend him because he is “little” and the family Mascot.
Everyone loves the mascot.
I spent the next fifteen years being grounded for his high school parities, the butt of his jokes with his friends and enduring the Little Prince’s tantrums and grandiosity…and resenting him (and envying him) every moment.
Like a good Hero though I endured without complaint. I kept my mouth shut because when I did speak the truth, I would be punished again.
Instead I died a bit more on the inside.
All the while the Little Brother would stand off to the side snickering because he and I both knew the game.
That role carried over into adulthood and family businesses.
When in my thirties we started to work together I refused to accept the role of Hero, and demanded people be held accountable and responsible, I was emotionally blackmailed.
As a result of everyone’s unwillingness to admit the truth and deal with the real problems the business died.
It died because change is scary and in order to save the business the family would have had to abandon old roles and learn now ones. It died because the players were not honest about what each of us wanted out of the business or needed in our lives.
It died because the family was caught up in their roles and not focused on their responsibility.
There is more – there always is but you get the point.
In truth, it’s one thing to know what needs done – another to actually do it. Why? Because even if you know what needs done trying to change a role pisses people off. The boat rocker is usually the one everyone lost at sea eats first.
Everyone is trained and the moment you start to shake up the dynamics and take on a new role – to change – people get angry, resentful and scared.
Change is scary.
Someone has to be the bad guy so it is easier to blame and ostracize those who see the Emperor has no clothes than to deal with the Emperor. The Emperor can never be the bad guy.
A friend said to me once: “The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.”
And the truth today?
Better them than me. Better to be the piss-er than the piss-on.
Not to be a dick but to live my life. I will not be blackmailed. I will not be held hostage by the past or by a role or by shame or by guilt or an ideology or dogma.
I will not pretend to be something I’m not so others can sleep at night.
What is keeping you awake is your ghost. Your fear. Your role.
Whatever it is I know what it is not. It is not me.
Own your life. Accept it or change it. Embrace or reject it.
I own mine. Own yours.