From Your Little Boy

 

You idiot! Why are you such an idiot?

How stupid can you get?

Shit, talkin’ to you is like talkin’ to a child, sometimes.

You cotton-pickin’, half-witted idiot!

 

I know that, over the course of our life together, you said many kind, loving words to me. I know you loved me.

I loved you, too. I admired you. I looked up to you. I wanted to be just like you.

And I hung on to every single word you said to me.

Including all the ones at the beginning of this post.

The ones that sliced deep into my heart. The ones that told me I was a failure in your eyes. The ones that have haunted me ever since, and I still struggle to forget.

As far as I’m concerned, I am an idiot.

And so, for the rest of your life, I couldn’t look at you without imagining you looking back at me and wondering how you ended up with such a stupid son.

 

I never told you this. I couldn’t.

I guess I thought it was something I had to just get over. Maybe it is.

But, dammit, it’s tough. Even with the memory of how good you were to me. (And you were.) Even with the memories of all the good times we had together. (And we did.)

You’ve been gone nineteen years, but even if you were here now, I probably still couldn’t tell this to you.

So, this is as close as I’ll ever get, I guess. Now that I’m nearly 60.

On some level, I forgive you. I know you were angry or frustrated when you spoke these words to me.

But, I could never convince myself you didn’t mean them, anyway.

Shouldn’t be so freakin’ sensitive, right? Dads say this $#!t to their sons all the time.

 

At the end of all this rambling, I guess all I really wanted to say is, I wish I had told you.

So you could apologize. And we could embrace. And it could be behind us. And everything would be okay.

But I guess I couldn’t do that right, either. Sorry.

 

A Good F Word

 

There are people in your life
Who’ve come and gone
They let you down
You know they’ve hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby
‘Cause life goes on
You keep carryin’ that anger
It’ll eat you up inside baby

Heart of the Matter”, Don Henley

Songwriters
MIKE CAMPBELL, DON HENLEY, JOHN DAVID SOUTHER

Published By
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Cass County Music / Wisteria Music / Privet Music

 

“We live in a culture that prizes the expression of anger and resentment more than the peace of forgiveness.”

– Dr. Fred Luskin

 

Recently, in therapy, I’ve been focusing on this forgiveness thing.

Forgiveness is a tricky proposition; sometimes easy, sometimes not.

At times, I can do it almost immediately, when the offense is nothing to get worked up over. Someone makes a mistake, I forgive and that’s that.

On other occasions, someone says or does something that really angers me, or hurts me, or both, and coming around to forgiveness may take a little longer. But it does happen.

But then…

There are certain people who have wronged me, at some point in my past, whom I have not forgiven. (Nor wanted to.)

And there are things I’ve done for which I’ve never really forgiven myself. Course, I’m kind of hard on myself, anyway, but that’s another story.

But, I’m in the process now of learning how to forgive, finally.

 

Think about this a minute: How good a job do you think a carpenter, a mechanic, or a baker would do without the proper tools at his disposal? (Correct answer: not so good.)

So it is that I’m just now acquiring the tools I need to forgive. I mean, you know, I’ve heard, since I was small, the importance of forgiving, but nobody ever told me how. It was just something I was supposed to do.

And the thing is, it’s not always as simple as, “Okay, I forgive you.” In some cases, there’s a bit more to it than that. And that’s when you need the tools.

Enter Dr. Fred Luskin, a senior consultant in health promotion at Stanford University. In the course of teaching people how to improve their health and well being, Dr. Luskin researched the role of forgiveness in one’s emotional and physical well being. Turns out, it’s hugely significant.

But, again, none of his students really knew how to forgive, so Dr. Luskin developed a nine-step process, which allows people to approach forgiveness more analytically, separating the emotions from the people and events that provoke those emotions, and putting it all into some perspective.

So, I’m going to try these nine steps for myself to see if I can bust through some long held grudges, including the ones against myself. As I am just beginning to work through this, it’s too early for me to testify to any health benefits. I don’t know how well, or even if, this will work for me. But, if it helps me cope with my depression, I’ve got to try it.

If this has got you curious about Dr. Luskin and his studies, you can go to https://www.learningtoforgive.com/ and check it out for yourself.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, assuming there will be some. I’m hopeful.

Health Update

As I’ve mentioned before, I suffer from clinical depression.

I also have a lot of anger simmering just below the surface.

Reading the news lately has only worsened those conditions.

Therefore, for the sake of my own mental health, I will have to refrain from keeping up with current events for the foreseeable future.

I don’t like that; I try to be an informed citizen of the world, with at least some awareness of what’s going on.

But, the more news I read, or see, or hear, the closer I believe I’m getting to a complete breakdown. Seriously.  😖

And, no, the news I view is not fake, despite testimony to the contrary. Oh, if only it was.

Someday, hopefully, I can channel all this anger into some constructive, positive action.

But, at this point, it just channels into more anger. And I simply can’t take it.

I know I need help. I’m gonna see about getting some.

Wish me luck.

Makes Me So Mad

 

I come home from work at night, to a nice house, with a fridge and pantry full of food, a sturdy roof over my head, and a warm and cozy bed to sleep in…

…and waiting for me there is my loving, devoted wife of nearly 33 years, along with my two precious, beautiful black cats, who are excited that Dad’s home, and it hits me how incredibly fortunate I am…

…and in that moment, I’m as happy as I’ve ever been in my life. Even better, I have this moment five times a week!

But, then, there’s this depression thing…

…that shows up from time to time, uninvited, and pulls me down into an overwhelming blackness, where it goes through its regular pitch about how life really sucks, how nothing you want to do is really worth the effort, how the world is evermore rapidly declining so what’s the point, and how you’re just a worthless, useless, hopeless piece of nothing, and why are you still even around…

…and, obviously, I’m not so happy, then.

And, too often, I will visit both these ends of the spectrum in the same day.

It certainly isn’t boring.

 

Of course, the depression never really leaves. Even in my happy moments, there is still this undercurrent of anger, which is how depression typically shows up in men.

What am I angry about, you ask? Well, any number of things, but mostly, I stay angry at myself for mistakes I’ve made, and continue to make, in my life.

Yeah, I know we all make them, and I shouldn’t be so tough on myself, forgive and forget, etc.

But, even when I can bring myself to forgive, which isn’t always, I can never seem to pull off that forget part.

I mean, how can I forget? It happened, it’s in my memory; how am I supposed to get it out? That’s what I struggle with. I envy people like my wife, who can just let stuff go, and put things behind her, and it seems like it should just be so easy, but it isn’t for me.

For one, certain circumstances in my life are constant reminders of some past mistake. It’s kind of hard to forget something you’ve done when you’re always reminded of it, you know?

I guess I should talk to someone about this. Besides all of you, I mean. A professional. Someone who can maybe help me cut loose all this weight I’m dragging around.

My body already drags enough around, as is.

I do cherish the happy times, though, when they come. I do, really. I’d just like them to come more often, and the other times, less often.

I’d like that very much.