Sunday, March 18, 2007

Now I'm living here, on the beach...
...but those seagulls are still out of reach...

I have now been an Oregon rezzident for a little over three months now. After living in the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho area for most of my 52 years, I escaped. Honestly, this is the longest time that I've ever lived anywhere else. A quarter of a year. Time passages. Part of 'why' I came down here was to work on myself. So have I changed? Am I a new person?

At times, yes I have, and at times, yes, I am. When I'm enjoying the ocean beaches or walking slowly around my little town, yes, I am who I want to be. And then there are other times when I'm the same old me, and sometimes I don't like what I see, when I'm the same old me. I don't handle criticism well. I tend to sluff off and not prepare myself well for things I am undertaking. None of this is important if you're by yourself, but it can sure drag down the quality of interpersonal experiences. So I need to be more thoughtful in dealing with others.

All of this came about at a musical jam session last week. I didn't hook up my guitar to a tuner. Well, to me it sounded all right, but a friend of mine who was also playing walked off the stage. And I should have known better. I guess I was more out of tune than I thot. I'd been confronted about this by him in weeks past. So when he walked off stage, I felt so bad about it afterwards, that I wasn't gonna go to the jams for a couple of weeks. was MY fault. The blame is on me. And next time I'll remember to use the guitar tuner. I may be relating this to a musical experience, but it can apply to any situation where you're dealing with others. This might be a good place to quote the old Boy Scout Motto: "Be Prepared". So, while I try to be really considerate of peoples' feelings, there are times when I fall short. I suppose, you can't totally let your guard down unless you're by yourself. I'll try that philosophy and see if it works.

In my previous post, I wrote about an e-mail confrontation with my sister, who can make me feel worse about myself than anyone else on the planet. She's picking up where my Dad left off, I guess. And I don't like to be hurt. I get irrational; I become confrontational, and I become as much an "in-yer-face" person, as the people I complain about who are that way to me. I was told the other night that I "chose" to feel bad about the situation. I still disagree with that; I felt bad instantly upon reading her accusatory e-mail. After thinking about that for a while, though, it WAS my choice to react to it the way I did, prolonging the situation when I should have just left it alone. I'd been feeling really bad our e-mail battles before I saw last night's e-mail, which basically rubbed my nose in a puddle of 'wrongs' that I'd committed over the last 20 or so years. It's hard to look ahead to the future when the past is constantly thrown up in my face.

Well, it's up to me to change my attitude. I do feel myself "coming around", after all. Last week was BAAAAD. First the guitar thing, and then the e-mail run-in with my sister. But wait a second, didn't I come here, in part, to start over? I don't want the same old stuff to repeat itself, after all. I guess I have to try and take control, don't I? When someone pulls the emotional rug out from under me and I'm not prepared for it, I get almost physically ill, with a feeling similar to being struck in the solar plexus. My sleep suffers, and all day long I just sit, motionless, held prisoner by invisible chains. I am depression-prone, after all. So I feel things pretty strongly; too strongly for my own good, it would seem by how bad I feel about everything from time to time.

I don't know how things work out for other people, in other families. I only know what I grew up with. Maybe my upbringing is what made me ultra-sensitive to criticism. I literally break out in sweats and panic. I just do. That's me. I've had several friends of mine tell me how mean my Dad was to me. At the time, I was surprised. I thought that's just the way things were. I feel like I'm "damaged goods", and most of the time I just stay home anymore, because what's the use of going out. I've had people in my past tell me they love me, and I honestly don't know what to feel. Closeness is rough for me; it suffocates me. Something to do with my family? I don't know. All I know is, I see people involved in relationships, tired of it all, tired of each other, tired of everything and at times like that, I'm so glad I live by myself. With my parakeets.

I have dreams, I have things I'd like to accomplish, and if I have to walk away from my family and all the others who have their preconceived notions of what I 'should' be, then that's what I'll do. Heck, I've already done that. So I've got my parakeets. You know why they're such perfect pets for me? Because I can sit there and watch them, and observe "life" happening in front of me. They don't expect a lot of nurturing, and don't care if I come and I go. But yet I take pleasure in watching them eat, and listening to the male parakeet sing endlessly while the female grooms herself.

I am waiting for summer so I can spend hours and hours on the beach with a good book and a transistor radio. Listening to Mariners' baseball while looking at the ocean is the closest thing to heaven I know. Plus, the scenery takes the sting out of the Mariners' losses. I have places all up and down the coast I want to visit, as soon as I get some more things done around my house. There's tax-time I've gotta figure out, and I also have appointments with a doctor down here, so I can keep those vital prescriptions going.

I have thought about getting an old beat-up 4-wheel drive and taking it down on the beach. What a way to navigate the sand. Maybe as I spend endless hours on the beach, I can get more into the rudiments of guitar playing; develop some technique. For, I'd love to be in some type of creative musical situation. So, as this picture implies, I can't get so deep into my personal problems that I lose focus, right? So those are some things I'd like to do in the near future.

I think I need to get better control over myself. I can't help but think that I make myself "go" faster than I was ever meant to go. I wish I was one of these people who just dealt with everything in a happy-go-lucky, accepting manner; me, I'm always pushing and shoving and adjusting and analyzing and provoking and gesticulating and aggrandizing...makes me think that, in a previous life, I must have been a typical New York City resident. I can't help but think that life is not as rough as I make it out to be. Like Neil Young once sang, "all my problems are meaningless, but that don't make 'em go away" that same song, he also sang, "I need a crowd of people, but I can't face 'em day to day"...and both phrases apply STRONGLY to me.


"Now I'm living out here...on the beach...but those seagulls are...still out of reach"; the Seagull as a metaphor for things that are just beyond my grasp, I suppose. But, I'll keep trying. After all, "world's turning...hope it don't turn away." (quoted lines in above paragraph as well as this italicized part are from Neil Young's song, "On the Beach". Long may you run, Neil.


Blogger Silver Valley Girl said...

Having depression in the family really sucks. I've battled it a bit when my children were young. My brother and sister are both diagnosed and are being treated. But the toughest part of depression I have had to deal with is my teenage daughter dealing with it. She was diagnosed at the age of 11, she is now 16, and it has been quite a hard journey. Still continues to be, even though she has gotten better on her meds. In reading your posts, your "voice" has a very familiar ring to it. I have heard it and felt it many times in my life. I appreciate your sharing. And I pray your time in Oregon is healing and refreshing.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous lil' ol' me... said...

Dear SV Girl: Thanks for your kind words. I have been barely able to function this week due to depression/anxiety attacks from this latest episode with my sister. To protect myself as well as her, from further dysfunction, I have STOPPED all communication, for how long, I don't know. She doesn't need to be hurt any more, but then again, neither do I...

12:45 AM  
Blogger John the Libertarian said...

Dave? John's "little" brother?
Lori says it's you.
CDA friend

11:20 PM  

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