The sun is getting ready to go down on another Tuesday. I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary today, except to treat myself a bit more kindly. I’m still the same old pleasure seeker as always. Played some Queen songs on my green Dean bass, including what I could remember of “A Kind of Magic.”
Something made me think of my mother again; it began with my dreams last night, flashing back to January twenty years ago. Life wasn’t too bad back then, although I didn’t feel as free as I do now. Poor Mom never had any friends, and the family from her generation had all passed away. I guess it’s fair to say that she was very difficult to get along with. I wouldn’t want to do it again. Her subjective opinions were so absolute to her as to be irrational. There was no discussing anything with her. She was as hardheaded as adamant. So it was rather odd to have a dream that was indirectly about her. I wonder if it’s because of her memory that I still do rock and roll music? I had another friend whose perfectionism was instilled in him by his bipolar father. He carried his dad around with him in his mind, and it made him depressed and suicidal. Possibly I’m a little bit like him, with the difference of some insight into myself. My mother expected nothing short of rock stardom from me, but maybe this isn’t the lifestyle I want. I think I’m happy enough as a writer of blog posts for right now. But nobody ever said I can’t be both a writer and a musician— again, like Paul Bowles. I reckon some things are just spelled out in the stars…
Eight twenty five.
I paid my utility bill this morning. It was very low again due to the summertime. It amazes me that fall is almost here. I’m thankful that people treat me with respect these days, and actually care what I have to say. My relationship with my family is changing for the better. But I still prefer WordPress to Facebook; it seems a more intelligent platform because you have to be able to write… Today I’m trying not to put pressure on myself to be perfect. A song comes to me, “Walking on Air” by King Crimson. It makes me want to learn to play my Stratocaster better. But there’s that pressure again. Maybe I’ll just listen to the CD and admire Adrian Belew. If I do pick up my Strat today, I’ll be languid about it. I won’t expect too much of myself. I want to enjoy the experience and not be frustrated.
Quarter of eleven. I bought some mint ice cream and shared two dollops with Aesop. The conversation at the salon turned political again, accusing the other side of being political and hateful. It was typical redneck philosophy. I didn’t stay very long because I didn’t agree, and it was awkward for me. Under my conservative clothes I’m still an educated person. People can bray their ignorant opinions and I won’t say anything to their face, but as long as this is my domain, I will write about it. The same people are the ones who hate Mexican immigrants and refuse to learn Spanish to accommodate them. It was always an atrocious attitude. We treat nonwhites very shabbily, and at some point justice must be carried. I’m tired of seeing red everywhere I go, and I’m not the only one… Now I want to play my guitar for a while.
I wonder if the mail can come twice in one day? My vitamins didn’t arrive as promised, yet the tracking page still says today by nine o’clock. I’ll just keep an eye on it…
My parents’ marriage was a failure, mostly. I don’t know what Dad was looking for in a wife, except for maybe a mother figure. Mom married him for his handsome looks. They only had alcohol in common, but after I was born, they couldn’t be wanton bacchants as they would’ve liked. My existence kept them honest. It was quite strange, thinking about it now, that they ever made a long term relationship out of something so superficial. I don’t know what their plan would’ve been had I not been born. They might have just gone on dissipating their lives away together. Nothing meaningful ever would’ve happened in their relationship; nothing of any depth and truth. Certainly not love.
Out of us three, the only love that existed was between me and Mom. She pinned her hopes on me as I grew up. But even that sort of backfired for Mom when I fell ill at 24 years old. She had tried to raise me to be something formidable, a famous star in something creative… But who’s to say that can’t still come to fruition? My mother didn’t live to see it happen, yet I continue to try to fulfill her dreams for me. And I may still fall short of her expectations, which could’ve been unrealistic, a bar too high to jump. If I were like my sister, I would just say screw it and settle for mediocrity. And there’s nothing wrong with doing that. I don’t know how my life will end up since beginning to recover from my demons. How much improvement can I hope for? Until then, I will blog and keep writing diligently, assiduously every day, and keep pursuing music as far as it goes. I guess I do the best I can, which won’t be settling for mediocre…
I’d forgotten that Mom got to see me be a local disco star before she passed away. This ought to have been enough to satisfy her. She’s gone now, and her spirit should be at peace, though my own still struggles with the drive for perfection she instilled in me during my childhood. Maybe it would be okay to relax, to put away the horse whip, the spurs that I alone apply anymore. This is a problem I’ll be wrestling with for at least another year, as my recovery progresses.
Two thirty. What happened to the ego being the Fountainhead of human progress? That’s debatable, like everything. My mother hated to cook when she made failures. She didn’t consider a meal a success if other people enjoyed it anyway. If it wasn’t up to her own standards it was a total loss. She even hated cooking successes because Dad would “chomp them down in two bites.” Polly thought that was funny about Mom. I think I see where my egoism and perfectionism came from. If people can use what you make, then it’s a good thing. If they like it and want it, then give it to them. Mom’s policy was just backwards, but I don’t know where she got it. When I discovered Ayn Rand, I thought this was it, the philosophy I recognized, what I grew up with from my childhood… I just played my bass for a few minutes. My blisters hurt, so I used a quarter for a plectrum. It sounded bad to me. But after I put it away and began to think, I realized again that I was being judge rather than imagining how others would hear it. I have the principle inverted. No doubt it will sound better with a real guitar pick, but I’m still learning my lesson. Now that Rush has retired, the ballpark is pretty much wide open. I don’t have to sound like them anymore. A whole era of music is over. Also Mom is gone. There’s no one cracking the whip demanding perfection and pride… unless it’s me remembering the little voice of my mother inside.
Tonight I have twenty three months sober. I don’t make a big deal of sobriety now. AA can say all they want about it, but it’s not a big deal. It certainly isn’t a “moral spiritual” thing. I don’t think Dave was very smart for being a cock. JP neither, this suicide who thought he was so cool. I guess I get the last laugh 😆 after all, though it doesn’t seem funny. For me, alcohol was about controlling the schizophrenia. JP was a depressive who never got on the right meds. That really was sad because he was so miserable. I tried to help him by talking to him on the phone. I can only imagine how desperate he felt. Part of what bothered him was his perfectionism, which also I tried to help him with. His music was never good enough for the memory of his dad, who had always cracked the whip. From what I’ve seen, perfectionism can kill! If you can’t accept less than perfection, then you need help. Life is never perfect. Nor will it ever be. Poor guy. I wish I could’ve helped. I guess it wasn’t my failure. It wasn’t like I didn’t try. AA was his social life, just as the church is mine. Both come free of charge, fortunately, but sometimes a little more is needed. JP had a therapist, but somehow she wasn’t helpful. If I could emphasize one thing about mental illness, it is that it isn’t your fault, and it isn’t a moral issue. It never was and never will be anything to scourge yourself about. So, don’t give yourself shaming messages. Self love is more important than people realize. Courage of your convictions is everything, because every living person has a place and purpose. Life needs you in it—- just as you are! No need to dance to the crack of a whip. You are good enough just by being true to yourself. If I never said these things to JP, then I say them to you now.