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Updated on August 12, 2013

"A BRIEF INTERLUDE" (Part 18 of 21)

How does one stay afloat when one's never learned to swim?

In my own drownings selfishness commanded that I not save the innocent, but rather sink them with me. Looking back, how badly I hurt those who were once so very close to me. I could have bowed out with the respect of a king, yet instead I departed like the court jester.

Only now am I haunted by the wishes of just one opportunity to say what I hadn't the tools to say then. But, As a former friend once said "if wishes were fishes, we'd all have a fry." But the past is pointless and today, staring at 41, I own my past errs.

I suppose that this is what constitutes true maturity; being able to own up to and face the uncomfortable reality that you are only the "victim" you permit yourself to become and that, like it or not, you might be responsible for causing pain and hurt to another person once-upon-a-time.

True change in me would come to occur only after I lost everything and forced myself into taking ownership over my numerous past failures. In my younger days, being comfortable with myself sometimes meant hoping, begging those who loved me at any given time for "one more chance, one last chance" for my own errors and indiscretions. I do not cast stones upon those past loved ones who listened to their hearts and indeed gave me chance after chance, ultimately to hurt them again and again, but the ‘last chances' which I'd been given by those caring, loving few ultimately were just bandages for me and crutches for them. My bandages kept me from Taking Ownership of how failed a person I was. Their crutches kept open their hearts, leaving them ultimately vulnerable to an emotional predator.

I was strung out on chaos.

Ironically, regardless of the reality that I simply did not have the proper ‘tools' to do so, for a long while, no matter how broken I was, I tired desperately to fix myself. Additionally, I tried to fix others and, regrettably, succeeded in adequately fucking-up a great many people's heads.

By the beginning of 2002 I would come to realize rather poignantly that there truly is a difference between being alone and loneliness.

Yeah, we can take ownership of being blissfully alone and yet still feel the sting of loneliness. But that's okay; different strokes, different folks and all of that malarkey. One day I awoke and said "wow, Reid, you really are pouting your life away." Walking about umbrella-clad as if anticipating storms was par for the way I chose, the way I believed that I needed, to live my life.

There was a time when I could not be alone because being alone terrified me.

2001 was the worst year of my life. But by 2002, the reemergence of R. Martin Basso began to evolve. As 2002 unfolded, I greeted the new year reflecting on what had constituted 2001 for me: Impending divorce, a collective of repeated failed relationships, my mother's death, the loss of an old friend on September 11th, continued disassociation from my son, the tepidity of my non-relationship with my own father, bankruptcy, dot-com bomb unemployment, a momentary stint in jail, a brief return to my own homelessness, the liquidation of all real and tangible assets and the re-possession of my car.

New Year's Day, 2002. Yeah... Happy mother-fucking new year.

As I reflected back upon 2001 I had an awakening: All that remained was me. As there was literally nothing left to preoccupy my time I had to learn to live with and even like the person I was. As I reflected upon me, as I began to re-discover me, I concluded sadly that I did not like the person who remained. The time for blaming others for my own life failures was concluded.

It was time to confront my own most relentless adversary - Me.

I was that sort of person who felt the world owed me a living. My ego had become simply too big and too self-indulgent. I was going to hell right before my eyes, yet too blind to see anything farther than the end of my penis. I thought that ‘self love' was some slick reference to masturbation. How could I ever be expected to love anybody else if I had no definition of self-respect and no concept of first loving myself?

We rarely see how much permit others to construct then de-construct us. We don't see (and recognize even less), how we construct and then deconstruct ourselves.

Never once did it ever occur to me that the sole and single person responsible for breaking my heart was ME, and nobody else. And, never once had it occurred to me that the sole, single person capable of mending myself was ME, and nobody else.

Solitude. Peace. Tranquility - all idealistic notions, but how often will we as human beings really choose the light-hearted, simple approach to living? All too frequently we instead choose chaos, or disappointment, upheaval, or other such similar pursuits. At least I did.

I reasoned that survival inevitably meant gravitating towards some varying degree of frenzy rather than preferring the patience of the road-less-traveled. Why? Because, stumbling about through life complaining rather than being content made more sense to me. It was far more convenient to bitch and whine rather than apply in a proactive direction the wisdom assimilated by past mistakes and failures; still is sometimes.

I preferred mere survival to actual living. I partnered attaining contentment with guilt, observing that I should probably feel guilty about being content or happy.

In my reawakening I concluded that I had ultimately desired the "comfort" of perpetual dissatisfaction. Such brief interludes from reality were my greatest personal obstacles. I was not only my own relentless adversary but a hollow man, whose greatest inheritance from his mother was her own selfish ego, and ridiculous self-absorbed vanity. Other than what awaited in her mind, there was no superstardom awaiting Donna "Euphorious Rosebird" Basso.

Likewise, none was destined for me either. As goes the old family joke; I was a legend in my own mind, yes, truly a ‘jilted superstar.'

In identifying this I realize that it is the mere quest for happiness rather than actual happiness itself which most comforts a person like me. It is the process of the pursuit rather than the actual enjoyment of tangible bliss most seductive to me.

Alcoholics have the occasional ‘moment of clarity'. Incidentally, I have always resented alcoholics for stealing that wonderful and apropos term: "moment of clarity". Now, no one else can effectively toss that term out there without some sort of ridiculous precursory disclaimer (i.e. "Hey Bob, I'm no alcoholic, but the other day while thinking about ways to boost sales on The Peterman Account, I had a moment of clarity..." Blah blah blah....)

During my self-actualization process, I remember having had a moment of clarity...

I asked God to give me just one hour, one neutral hour in which I might simply have the thought-process of a regular, ‘normal' person: one hour's clarity-of-thought, one hour's normalcy, a mere hour of sanity. Sixty minutes later, I sat up oddly refreshed, and proceeded to shower. I felt strangely centered and focused. As water caressed me, my seemingly answered prayer for a taste of clarity, albeit momentary, slapped me in the face with a blatant, obvious revelation: Ultimately, could the one lasting legacy contributed by my parents to me be nothing more than inheriting a bloodline of mental instability?

I shivered; was it possible to be born...nuts?

As water washed over me, like random puzzle shapes, ideas came to me and began piecing themselves together - my mother became unhinged due her ultimate inability to keep it all together amidst a gradual, unrelenting barrage of life's stressors - my selfish father, a dark and an extremely disturbed person, was apparently insane his entire life, or so purported the numerous rumors associated with the often horrible abusiveness his antics impressed in the memories of others. As I stood there, the shower baptizing me in haphazard, if not Divine clarity-of-thought, I could not deny the potential genuineness of my new-found revelation, of my glaringly-apparent suspicion: Could it be possible that I either absorbed and/or inherited each of my parents' respective psychological short-falls and mental defects?

Early in life, I'd erroneously conditioned myself to believe that concocting lies and making excuses was far easier than taking ownership of the numerous errors I'd orchestrated, or of the pain I'd caused others. Was my new-found revelation valid, or was I deflecting reality and merely making another excuse for the guilt of my own selfish, hedonistic living?

It has always been my charge that when human beings invest time in retaining something from our respective life's lessons learned, we ultimately come to respect and appreciate life's teachings; good and bad. Not all lessons learned are pleasant, nor are they all intended to be. I am fatigued and so easily disappointed by fellow human beings who trapeze about bitching and whining over their perceptions of what is ‘wrong' in their lives; ranting and raving as though their Ying has lost its Yang, or their God has a sort of vendetta against them.

Jesus, take ownership.

Now, as I reflect and search for accountability, for ownership, I do admit to alienating many of my past ‘accusers' thus missing completely whatever advice or intent I sometimes would perceive instead as attacking barbs. I'll confess; I was fallible after all, and sometimes I was plainly dead wrong too.

I sometimes refused to acknowledge that truly successful men truly become successful by maturing through trial and error. Yeah, I'm sure that I blindly threw away a fair amount of what was probably pretty decent insight, or advice, opinion. Oh well, spilt milk and all. I'd become jaded. How many times had I been examined, prodded, diagnosed, and ultimately packaged neatly into a ‘box', how many people had dismissed me with ‘insightful' commentary on what was or what was not ‘wrong' with me? Horseshit, really. Insights into our own personal ‘make-ups' belong ultimately to the individual and not external observers.

Remember, friend, nobody knows us better than we know ourselves. And, ultimately, the fear of not being deemed a fuck-up, by self or by others, is the only true motivator for anything at all in our lives.

My own turning point came when I realized that I had been ignoring, for far too long, what an asshole I had become. Likewise, my turning point came when I realized that I could no longer do so.

In learning about ourselves we make our greatest advances by not blindly proclaiming like a mental patient "I love me!", but rather in having the gumption to admit to that we actually might like the person we once were; or even could still be.

Learning to love oneself is not achieved through cars or money or sex or drinking, though all are quite fun hobbies. Learning to love oneself is achieved only when nothing remains to be taken away; when in the absence of everything which once-upon-a-time pretended to be so important, forces us to evict all of our past superfluous bullshit in discovering whom we truly are. Learning to love oneself is achieved when one becomes capable of admitting that yes, heinous mistakes and wondrous merits alike, we truly enjoy the person we have become. And, it is when we no longer permit the concept of being alone to scare us shitless, but rather bring us comfort. For this is when we discover that even if we hit rock-bottom we will still be there when all of the others in but five or six or seven seconds, have simply evaporated right before our eyes.

I am no longer terrified about being alone, in fact I rather embrace it; however, the concept of loneliness is something completely different. Yeah, it's okay to take a brief interlude, to be alone, but until one has been truly alone, one can never fully grasp the concept of what is loneliness.

Yes, if wishes were fishes, indeed, I'd have myself a fry.


/ / / / END OF PART EIGHTEEN / / / /


© 2007 - R. MARTIN BASSO


Part 19 - The Goliath Was Intent Upon Killing The David



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