Wednesday, January 04, 2012

New Year, New You: Relax, Don't do it

This weeks prompt is: I want you to do something nice for yourself.


I do this constantly.  I'm a Scorpio, and that requires a bit of self-care.  My problem is far more letting the indulgences be occasional.  Just last week I bought myself a remote control helicopter. I'm good.

Instead, I want to indulge my own whims, and write for a minute about the tragedies of people's lives.

When I look back on my life, I can see I made a few stupid mistakes.  I made some well meaning ones.  I made some good mistakes, happy accidents.  The mistakes tend to remain, the good decisions, the successes, they fade (apparently it takes three good occurrences to cancel out one bad).  I've gotten through life partly by diligence, partly by skill, partly by opportunity and partly by luck. All in all, although I'm slightly disappointed with where I am in life (for I am ambitious) I think "Well, I could do more, and I've made some mistakes, but I'm doing all right."

Then I read something like The Chronology of Water and realize I am a fortunate genius philosopher king.  And that I may never live up to the writing ability of the author, whom I've seen read 3 or 4 times, and who's work I'm just now picking up and working my way through.

Lidia Yuknavitch pulls no punches in her memoir.  She writes about her failings, her choices, her happy accidents, her fucked up home life, and does it all with style, wit, humor, rage and a pervading sadness that makes it irresistible to read.  She starts us off talking about her still-born daughter, and the vignettes get more and more horrible from there.  She has the worst luck, and compounds it by self-inflicting upon herself with alcohol, drugs, bad companions, and self-sabotage.  Yet, there's a beauty here I cannot deny, a fascination I cannot resist, and writing I simply cannot put down.  Until I empathize too much, and simply must put it down, so that my heart won't break and I won't weep openly on my lunch break at work.

So, when I compare my life to hers, I realize I've made good, careful, prudent and sometimes even wise choices.


I look at my friends, all of whom focus on their failings and not their successes.  I look at myself, and my motto from Franz Bardon: Be kind and generous to your fellows, but hard and relentless with yourself.  I look at Lidia, who makes the wrong choices, yet manages to survive, even thrive.  Even if she's a little damaged.  I will never, ever be in the position she was in.

I think about the nature of this post, and I realize:  you know, I'm not doing so bad.  I think I'll let up on my motto for a bit.  I'll be hard and relentless with myself:  tomorrow.

1 comment:

Deborah Castellano said...

Thank you for sharing! It sounds like an interesting read.

Also, I demand remote control helicopter pics. :)