Free Souls

I can still hear my sister’s voice scolding me about selfishness. I wish it would shut up. I cringe whenever Polly spouts about anyone being selfish. My therapist helped me by saying that one hundred percent altruism is impossible. I agreed with her. After that, I was able to let it go and move on. To this day I think AA and other organizations that push altruism on people are absolutely stupid. As Sheryl said, it’s impossible to be completely selfless. People don’t realize what they are saying. My therapist was very rational and insightful. She made even the irrational sound logical and plausible. I kind of miss seeing her, actually.

Quarter after three. Then again, Sheryl could be a bad person too. She questioned my involvement in the church at a time when it helped me. Hank, at the store, did an odd thing this morning. He asked me about the church, then he cut me off and started talking to the customer behind me. The conversation involved the brand of cigarettes the guy smoked. After some analysis, I concluded that Hank, as a smoker, felt uncomfortable with the idea of the church. So, he began a conversation with another person who smoked. The customer was also a rider with the Free Souls, I guess. I grabbed my stuff, turned around, and left unnoticed. Free Souls. It makes me wonder what is the true nature of freedom. Is it the freedom to do self destructive things like alcohol and drugs and promiscuous sex? Is that freedom or is it a kind of bondage? I only know that alcoholism nearly killed me. And I found out that there is life without alcohol. A life without addictions is the other way of looking at freedom. The real free souls are people like me.


It’s a Fact

Quarter after three. I spoke with Denise at Laurel Hill. They’re operating on a skeleton crew. Heidi is out of the office and may not be back for weeks. I could tell by her conversation that Denise is a conservative. The virus has become a political issue, with two positions to take, or one in between. Under responders to the crisis are political liberals, over responders are conservatives, and others are independent. There are exceptions, of course. Some Republicans want to open the country again ASAP for reasons of the economy… Anyway, I hope Heidi is doing all right as long as she can’t go to work. Hopefully her husband is still working. Maybe they’ll get a big stimulus check. I feel like going to bed and taking a nap. Nobody’s doing anything. What a waste of a beautiful day! Should I go out for ice cream? No one else is doing anything like that. I might get arrested. But I’ve seen people buying beer and wine every day.

Four twenty five. I bought strawberry ice cream. Saw a man with a mask. Lots of children were out playing. Boys in the street, girls coming out of the store. It was Cathy at the cashier, wearing gloves. Though no one said anything, my internal critic accused me of doing something selfish. It’s only from having heard my sister talk tirelessly about her opinions. She is only a statistic. The ice cream was soft and very sweet. And that’s a fact.

Justice Is Action

One o’clock. I feel too lazy to go play my guitar. The motivation is lacking. I called Polly at nine thirty and we had a decent conversation. I didn’t take exception to much that she said. She accused the students on spring break in Florida of selfishness, predictably. I didn’t argue. That’s just a Polly thing to say. She hates college because she didn’t go. I let her know that I tried to call Jeff last week. She only said that she hopes he is okay… Talking with my sister is always a lot different from that with my brother. But neither one is very easy anymore. All three of us are very different. I can almost remember going shopping with my grandmother once or twice. She didn’t understand why Mom bought me records to listen to. What I begged for I usually got. Mom and I used to watch Tom Jones on tv down in her bedroom.

Two o’clock. My imagination is bankrupt. I can think of nothing to write about. My mind is circumscribed by the readers I write for. Otherwise, I would write about things that interest me alone. I feel the absence of alcohol keenly today. I’d like to get drunk or do something else selfish and fun. Somebody knocked over my recycling roll can before this morning. Probably it was a homeless person. I didn’t feel anger or anything other than puzzlement. How did the can get overturned? And like a lazy man, I left it there, lying on its side. A UPS truck just dropped off a package across the street. My new book is coming by mail tomorrow afternoon, unless it’s early… I’m beginning to understand what people mean with the accusation of selfishness. Anything that distracts you from the real world of people and things could be labeled selfish. Altruism is having your eyes wide open. It is seeing what is right. Justice is when you act according with what you see.


Quarter after nine o’clock 🕘. I dreamt of a showdown between me and my nephew. Though I won, the victory was bittersweet. That poor guy, so clueless and unfortunate. My brother said L probably feels inadequate for having no education or some talent or skill to be proud of. That may be accurate. But if L was very intelligent he would find a way to express it. Still he and his mother are doomed by inanity to stay stuck and unhappy. What really hinders them is the debt of guilt they feel they have to pay to their relatives. It wouldn’t be fair to the others if one of them sought his own freedom and happiness. They call being happy selfishness— a grave mistake IMO. I’ve had to risk being called a snob and other names by choosing to extricate myself from a tragic family system. I accept the imputation of selfishness they aim at me if that’s the worst it gets. Sticks and stones… but names will never hurt me. I did my time with feeling guilty and depressed and now I release myself from the penitentiary. David D Burns inquires, How long do you plan on feeling guilty? How long should your penance be? At some point you just have to move on…