At Times I feel like…
At times, in some way, I feel like a man who’s been swimming in a raging river for far too long, still trying to help others get to shore, even though knowing it is too late for him – he’s become too tired and too weak. Yet having accepted his fate, he is only now coming alive.
It’s similar to the man who’s standing on the deck of the Titanic, helping women and children board the lifeboats while knowing that it is too late for him. He knows he hasn’t even got enough time to jump overboard and swim away before the ship goes under and the undertow drags him down with it.
But what gives me the right to feel this way? What real effort have I put in to save anyone? Who am I saving? What am I saving them from?
I’m not really sure. All I know (and I do know this) is that this world is hurting and too many people are hurting along with it. And I think I may have a possible solution. I keep thinking that if I could just get people to wake up, to see, to try, then things would get fixed because nobody really wants to hurt. Not really.
The guy in the river? I’ve only just realized (or maybe think) that it’s too late for me. I’m not young/tough/knowledgeable enough to go live in the mountains like I’d like to do (hermit/survivalist) and I’m certainly not a good farmer. Besides, every time I’ve been lucky enough to be able to start building a ‘setup’ (house, some land, etc.), I’ve also managed to screw it up somehow (still figuring that one out) and lose it. I’ve spent my whole life trying to get out of the city and put down roots, yet here I am in the city (admittedly/thankfully a smaller one) living in a studio apartment [happy face here] that is about 11×12 feet (that’s 132 sq. ft.) plus a closet & bathroom. But I do have a small set of roots. [happy face here too]
So what I’m left with is the process of improving/growing my soul, a proper thing for this age, and then perhaps to share some of the little I’ve learned in this life with the hope that it will help. I’ll try to explain with a true story…
When I was growing up, my three brothers and I (no sisters) had the dubious good fortune of having terrible parents. Terrible? Well, I don’t remember ever actually feeling loved. Does that qualify? Also, I honestly believe (with no animosity, full forgiveness, and non judgemental) that my father was a sadist and my mother was a masochist.
My father beat us often, harshly, and evidently got into it so much that my mother would have to force herself in between us and the belt he was using. I remember standing on the stairs one day, looking up as I watched him use his clenched fist to, over and over, punch my brother in the face, yelling, “Say good morning to me!” My brother refused until my father finally gave up and let him go to school.
And my mother? Well, how would you explain it? Knowing what would happen, she often greeted my father at the door, as he arrived from work, and before he even had time to take off his coat would start right in with so-and-so did this or that. Was she afraid to not say anything? Maybe. But I can’t help thinking that she was, for lack of a better word, a masochist. After so many years, she knew exactly what would happen, as we brothers knew as well.
He’d look at her and then us, say, “OK,” and proceed to finish ‘coming home’. We’d eat supper, maybe do homework or play, brush our teeth, get ready for bed, and turn in – knowing what came next.
After we were in bed, he would come in, go over whatever it was we had done wrong, take off his belt – didn’t even need to tell us to turn over & drop our pants, which we did automatically – and begin to beat whoever it was that was unlucky that night. And he would keep it up. Ten, twenty lashes until at some point my mom would throw herself into the scene and start screaming, “Stop! Stop it!”
Sometimes he would. Other times he’d push her aside & keep going. Other times he’d turn on her.
On a really good day he might offer, “Do you want your ‘spanking’ now (before supper), or when you go to bed?” Gee thanks dad.
I even remember that, many days, the first thing out of our mouths after school was, “Is dad coming home tonight?” Meaning before we went to bed. (He spent a lot of time working late and womanizing.) If the answer was no, we’d be happy. Yay! Let’s play! If the answer was yes, we’d be noticeably tense but, being kids, we sure made a good effort at happy & play.
But I’m not here to bash (ha!) the old man, just giving you some (I believe important) background… Anyway…
We all tried to pretend that things were OK or at least not so bad. You know, ignore it and it might go away. Or, it must be my fault. Or, “don’t worry, be happy.” Etc.
Regardless, what eventually happened is that we, my brothers & I got older, bigger, stronger (except I was the weakest of the bunch), and we woke up. We just knew, subconsciously, it was going to stop one day. Sure enough the day came.
I was fourteen and my father was starting in on my oldest brother who was 18. He had backed my brother up against the wall/window and was about to start beating him with his fists. My other two brothers and I, without saying even one word, gathered together and lined up behind the guy. We just stood there, ready, but not knowing for what. When the old man saw my brother looking past him, he turned around and saw us. He knew. We knew. It was over. Tough as he was (and he was strong) if he tried it, we’d gang up on him and beat the crap out of him. If not this time, then the next. Still not a word. He looked at us and walked out, trembling with, I don’t know, rage or fear or both. Within about 3 months he found a job out-of-state and was gone. Good riddance.
Here’s the point. What finally ended the abuse was our facing it. That’s all. We didn’t ‘decide’ to do anything. It just happened – because we no longer would make excuses or ignore it.
And that’s what I wish people would do. Face it. Look at it. Talk about it. Life is wonderful. Life is good. Life is fun. Life is love. But there are a few, if not many, people out there who are bent on destroying us and, ultimately, all of life – for profit. I don’t know if we need to stop/fight them. I don’t know if we need to love them (peace man!).
I do know that if we don’t stop ignoring what is staring us in the face, we’ll never get to figuring out what to do and we’ll never make it to the next step in our/man’s evolution.
Maybe if an ‘awareness’ grows with the next generation(s), the same way the current mess did, it will become strong and real enough to make a difference.
I don’t know anymore. Everybody just wants to enjoy life, which is cool. But the control freaks and profiteers are killing us (literally), all of us and themselves too…
And that’s why I feel like I do. I’ve known about this, been studying it and talking about it best I could since I was about 16. It’s been 45 years and I’m getting so tired. Even my kids don’t get it (maybe because I pushed too hard or not hard enough, or maybe because ‘those who brainwash’ were stronger & more effective) and because freedom of choice, for me, runs above all others, I let them be & I love ’em.
But I’m going to keep on swimming because if I can help get just one more person ashore it’ll be worth it.
Like Dory said, “Just keep swimming.”