Tag Archives: Dr. Drew Pinsky

There You Are.

 

Once you enter into the life of an addict, you are there. Not only are you there, but you might often find that you are no longer here.

Here is where only you are. But, you are no longer. A barnacle, superglued to the other, not sucking life but giving, your purpose becomes it.

Every time you try to extract, the primordial ooze of regret suffocates you like a stagnant oil spill. You are sure that, without your presence, the addict’s return to dissolution will be far worse than the time before, perhaps tragically. So, you return, just to make the sludge drop off before you shower.

And, then you go to Al Anon. Al Anon is where everybody goes who can’t leave. And, they sit around, and follow all the rules of the meeting, and bite their lips during the droners and chew their tongues when somebody cries out for an answer. And, when it is finally your turn, you know full well that everybody else is either biting it or chewing it but you adopt the mantle of denial just long enough to say your piece so that your face doesn’t come off your head and melt under the lights.

Being at Al Anon serves one purpose. It helps you accept that, from within your particular demographic, there are between nine and twenty two other hapless partners and spouses whose lives are as inextricably caught as yours is.

There are two ways people exit these meetings. They either bolt out as quickly as they arrived, or linger interminably, usually gathered around the latest newcomer. When you are the newcomer, you experience a few minutes of comfort realizing that the rules of the meeting can be bent just long enough for some actual human contact.

Thirty eight minutes later, legs crossed in a standing position, you still haven’t shaken off the last, most desperate proselytizer, the one whose week was by far the most traumatic. That one really needs you. Without you, at least in symbol, the meeting will have been meaningless.

When you finally get into your car, momentary relief that you can finally go floods your being. And, this going is of the highest value. By leaving the meeting, you have performed the only true act of departure you’ve made all week.

And, you drive away.

At this point, you have two choices.

You can keep driving. Or, you can return to the arms of the addict, who waits anxiously for you.

And, everybody knows where you will go.

You go back. You go there, because that is where you are. Even when you leave, you are still there.

There you are.

.

.

.

.

© 4/4/18  Ruth Ann Scanzillo     All rights those of the author, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line. Thank you.

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

 

 

Advertisements

Aunt Ruth Ann.

# break out of frames

	Header always append X-Frame-Options SAMEORIGIN



Perhaps it was last night, or the night before. All I know is, time stopped for me.
.
In fact, I managed to miss the entire Smoky Mountain conflagration which, as it turned out, should have occupied my riveted attention; several old friends, who owned precious property, endured devastating loss in that fire.
.
Fact is, we all endure all sorts of losses as we age. Most notably, once our parents are gone, we confront the deaths of former classmates. These really hit home. They remind us that the end of life isn’t just for the bodies that house our elderly; like the princess said in Braveheart: “Death comes to us all.”
.
But, last night, or the night before, when time stopped, I was very much alive. All my senses were primed. I was teeming. And, this made what happened all the more deadly.
.
Having just returned from my family reunion, planned by our eldest brother to be held over Thanksgiving, I’d begun decompressing and trying to process what felt like a thousand emotions. This seemed best accomplished by getting the two hundred plus photos off of my phone and uploaded onto Facebook, so the family could finally have them.
.
But, what a chore. A task. Normally one I enjoyed, being an amateur photog and a rather developed visual artist, this time the cognitive dissonance clawed through my psyche like a blade across glass.
.
I’d been invited to Kentucky by the brother who lived there. He was determined to bring our family, fractured since mum’s death and apart since dad’s, into the same room. He was also desirous that we all see his masterpiece, the new home into which his family had finally moved after selling the one they’d occupied for several years right next door. A PhD in Chemistry, he’d spent his professional life as a medical lab director, but his real love was construction and he’d built this house from scratch.
.
At first, I balked; a professional musician, I’d been asked again to perform continuo for yet another Bach Cantata which, according to its rehearsal schedule, conflicted with any trip south for the holiday. But, there was a new baby in the family, one whose adorable face I had seen so many times in the Feed. And, my niece and her husband would be driving all the way from Florida to be with everyone. In all likelihood, I would have only this one chance to see and hold the child before her precious years were relinquished; so, when a suitable, qualified sub became available, I booked a flight.
.
As the weeks went by, I knew in my heart that seeing this baby would not be my singular focus, nor would my presence there be the reason anybody else in the family would have made the trip. I knew that I, among the nearly twenty guests in that house, would probably be the least welcome. I was the one nobody really knew.
.
From childhood, I had been relegated to the role of female in a sectarian, patriarchal belief system which rendered our family fraught by a power structure which would upend my ability to find any place in the larger society. For every freedom my brothers enjoyed, I had a restriction imposed. My life choices, once I had finally come of age, were made with very great and radical defiance – even if, to the majority of civilized people, these were nothing more than the decision to pursue higher education and live independently. But, guilt and fear, borne in me by the patriarchs’ dogma, ruled my motivation matrix; I remained close to my parents, studying at a university only an hour from home and taking employment within the school district which had raised our entire family.
.
My brothers had both long since left town. They had each established homes and families several states south. Their autonomy from our parents seemed complete. It would take our mother’s death for me to discover how dependent upon her support they had actually been over the years; in truth, though I lived a mere ten minutes away and my sphere of influence seemed small, I had without realizing it the greater degree of independence.
.
But, to offset my independence both from the family and the system in which I was raised, and to prove to my mother that I was not the lazy and worthless child who refused to lift a hand to help her around the house, I became a workaholic. Seven days a week, from September to June, I worked. Apart from the scant fifteen minutes the orchestra took to break during rehearsal, I had no social life; following the Saturday night band competitions and concerts, when Sunday came my voice was so tired I’d spend the entire day mute, resting it for the onslaught ahead. (And, the first three weeks of summer were the cumulative version of a Sunday off; decompression was the game, played alone.) Beginning in August already, I taught competitive marching band; then, choir, chorus, strings, stage band, and private lessons from one end of the county to the other; and, then, packed my cello and drove to symphonic rehearsal four nights out of seven twice per month and again for the pops weekend. I had no time at all for any human beings on earth, unless they were part of my days and evenings at work.
.
My eldest brother married, divorced, married again. His children were born. I was rebuked for my alleged, rumored lifestyle as he folded diapers, reduced to tears, leaving their home never to visit again apart from family birthdays. When they moved west, I was absent from their lives.
.
My younger brother finally married, age 31. His children were born. As both brothers each moved their families hither and yon, from Arizona to the Bahamas to the Carolinas, I was not there. I was working.
.
Several of the photos were just awful. The baby would not smile. Not for me. (Granted, her mother was bedridden with a familial migraine.) But, neither would anybody else. The body language of my family screamed the enmity they felt in my presence.
.
Yes. There had been, as mum used to call it, “words.” We’d had our “words”, over the years. Most of mine had occurred in bursts, my being backed into a psychic corner by crushing ridicule, passive aggressive slander, embodying the butt of every sly joke, the subject of every snicker, the unblinking, staring scowl of every boy child and girl who had been taught to revile the aunt who was never there.
.
When finally ready to post the photos, I chose to couch them in what I thought was an uproariously hilarious montage of parody, using the most distorted images among them and captioning each with what I was sure would lend levity to our miserable inability to just accept each other.
.
My timing couldn’t have been worse. What ensued was a backlash from one nephew which caused me to recoil in horror. I’d had neither any earthly idea he felt such contempt for me, nor that he would choose to become the second family member to condemn me publicly.
.
The Bible warns us to honor our father and mother, so that our days may be long on the earth. Three psychics have independently offered, unprovoked, that the world will be stuck with me for quite awhile. My parents, in the omniscience of Abraham’s bosom, now know how desperately I loved them both. They know how helplessly I endured inexpressible love for my brothers’ children. And, they know how I have tried since to carry on without a family of my own.
.
I just hope that you, dear reader, can find it in yours to forgive my long winded, self absorbed, “unrepentant”, as my nephew David intoned, “hard heart”. Though he warns me that I may very well die alone, when time finally truly stops for me he may be surprised to know that all the fires in my life will at last be quenched and the blessing of solitude will grace me indefinably.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo   11/30/16     All rights reserved. Write your own story. I double dog dare ya.  Thanks.
littlebarefeetblog.com

To the Third Power.

# break out of frames
<IfModule mod_headers.c>
	Header always append X-Frame-Options SAMEORIGIN
</IfModule>

In my senior year of high school, due to an oversight by the guidance counselor, I ended up choosing a higher math class instead of taking civics. Hated math, quit the homework, ended up with a D in the final, and saw my class standing drop from 18 to 26 – missing the highest honors by just a few points. It wasn’t until the last week of school that somebody told me I didn’t even need that math class to get accepted into college.

Nothing makes my blood hit boil faster than being told I should have done something differently.  Oh, except, maybe, being told that I should have done differently because my actions will have had a negative effect on outcomes, whether mine or those of another.

Since birth, I have been a creative. This means that, without knowing whence the impulse originates, I have been moved to make something – whether story, song, or visual image – and that, daily. Sometimes hourly.

Creatives don’t take kindly to being assessed for either their inherent value or the value of that which they are producing. During the creative process, there is no conscious attempt to meet any external standard. Praise is always thrilling, but that comes after the process has come to a close, and has no direct cause/effect relationship to the process itself.

Deadlines are the bane of the creative. We use time according to the nature of what is being made. If external deadlines are imposed, total control over the outcome is interrupted, and the quality of the end product correlates directly.

However, even in the life of a creative there are processes that take a line of reasoning, instead. Rather than make something, we are sometimes called upon to draw conclusions about events or people, taking any action where deemed appropriate.

Major decisions, regarded as important both by self and others, this creative makes with very great deliberation. Weighing multiple factors, I seek out as much information/data as can be obtained.  Once I determine that I have sufficient data, I draw my conclusion and then I act.

Now, such data to me might be factual, or it might be impression-based. It might be intuitive, knowing no linear path, or historically correlated. I suspect that what is required of the brain during the creative process is brought to bear in this reasoning, but how or where or wherefore I could not say.

What is key: I determine that I have sufficient data at the moment when I see my conclusion in sight.

With regard to the recent Presidential election, I can safely say that I spent hours of days over a period of many months gathering data, and then deciding which factors played a role in what I determined independently to be the priorities.

The wild card factor played a significant part in my readiness to meet its deadline.

When that wild card played, I came upon a vital collection of data within a time frame that had a rather sudden death effect on my final decision. Up until that point, I had gathered a wealth of impressions, and some facts; but, my nagging intuition kept informing the process, suggesting conclusion. This vital collection of data was historically relevant in nature; once I entered it into the equation, my entire body released all inner tensions. I knew that I had reached conclusion.

At that point, my vote was ready to be cast.
I chose a third party candidate, one occupying the outermost fringe of the landscape.

Post election, the uproar about those of us who chose to do so was almost violent. An entire army of party driven players since declared, some using allegedly mathematical calculation, that we who chose a third were the single, collective entity which decided the outcome of the election. And said party, convinced in their own minds that said outcome was absolutely vital to the survival of the species, deigned to pronounce the most condescending of judgments upon us.

No challenge to either the reasoning or the relative value of any voter’s decision is relevant, here. By applying a tiny percentage of votes not cast for one candidate to a total outcome, and discounting the massive percentage which weighted the lion’s share for the other candidate, those who do so only make themselves out to be Draconian imperialists, runt Napoleons pretending to fight Goliath with a jelly bean.

Being reactionary serves no one. Indulging in melodrama inhibits constructive solution. The third party may have wielded a mighty little exponent; but, each majority on either side of the equation still bears the responsibility of solving for x.

.

.

.

.

© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  11/10/16     All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your respect. I Voted. Pardon Julian Assange.

littlebarefeetblog.com