I am just going to write. I am not going to try to be pretty about it. I am not pretty, so why should my writing be? There is this urge to be hypercritical of everything, and an urge to simply blast out whatever pops into my head. L is in the other room watching Mickey Mouse Club House. His grandparents are at Disneyworld with his aunt and uncle, who have no kids. His mom has left to take a road trip up to Oklahoma City for a conference. I should be guilty for putting so much television in front of him while I write and read and maybe do some things I shouldn’t, but I can’t survive until Saturday night without pacing myself. Saturday night is when L’s mom, my wife A, gets back. Ordinarily, I would be kind of mad that a better solution wasn’t worked out, but I stopped caring about things being perfect for me. Maybe it’s just months of the Lexapro, or maybe I am just getting too old to care like I used to in order to complain about things not being perfect.
I have played plenty of phonics and counting videos for L, surely he can use a break and watch some mindless cartoons now and then. It is one month away from the one year anniversary of when I quit IS to stay at home and watch him. It was a magnificent way to kill my ego.
I wrestle with my ego and the remnants of the havoc it has wreaked upon my soul. I will be sitting, staring off into space, and perfectly calm with no emotions, and I will catch someone scowling at me fiercely. I know enough now to know that theirs is a reaction to my own scowly face, though I am not as pissed off about anything as I used to be. In fact, I rarely reach a point where I feel like I am about to lose my temper, anymore.
Maybe I will look back on the years between marrying A and going back to school with some nostalgia, but it isn’t there, yet, with maybe the exception of our vacations and times spent in nature. What I am talking about is all of the stress I brought upon myself by leaving C to go work at a dismal ad agency that hated email button pushers like myself for being there. The fact that I was over thirty-five (and looked over forty) and wasn’t a manager or director of something seemed to incur a lot of resentment in all of the young people who wanted their go-cart races, foozball tables and endless happy hours paid for by the company. I was there to work and make money and didn’t care about all of that stupid shit people just out of college get excited about. Also, the fact that the work I did was what brought them the fancy, creative work they really wanted from clients made them resentful.
The best thing about that place, and the two other crappy places I worked at after it, was that it showed me once and for all that I couldn’t keep running away from my last job into the arms of another shitty job.
I started wanting to get things right again with God as early as 2004. God wasn’t really with me at first, say, at the end of 2001, when everything seemed to be eternally dark and there was no hope of escaping the miserable work and relationship situations I was in. But, I can remember getting very drunk and watching some religious show and wanting very badly to get back right with God, though I felt so far away. Of course, I was so inextricably linked to those folks at MCE, that I still worried constantly about them making fun of me for wanting to return to the church. I tried to live a kind of spiritual-but-not-religious life, and I seemed to attract a certain kind of person into my life.
None of that was for me. I could see pretty clearly just how far gone I was, and it wasn’t just the drinking and sexual sin. I was unable to connect with church people, because I was so full of ego and making fun of others and being clever and arch and meta and above it all. I carried this with me all the way to when I blew up for the latest time inside a Bible class a month ago. I thought I was smarter and better than all of the people in the room, even though I knew one day if I was to become a pastor that such an attitude was a complete career killer. I would have to learn even more infinite and long-suffering patience with others who were slower than me or full of obvious wrong-headed thinking, because those were the people I would be preaching to, not a bunch of perfect people, ie people that thought exactly like me about reality.
The thing is, I don’t go through life wishing how things could have been perfect. I spend too much time meditating on the incompleteness of life, without my little brother and mom being with me through my adult years–and how I could have prevented at least my little brother’s death by improving my behavior in the past. The incompleteness of having no friends from college or high school I can really connect with, because I stayed away from church during those years, but also stayed away from all kinds of social groups and normal activities of the well-adjusted young adult.
In comparison to many others on this earth, this incompleteness probably seems but a slight taste of the tragic. Too many people lead truly tragic lives, and mine is more one of wistful nostalgia for a handful of moments and times in life that could have been better handled. My wife and son would not be part of my life if I went back and did things differently–I say this because I am trying to be perfectly honest about the fact that I likely wouldn’t have waited so long to get married, or I would have become a priest and never gotten married. Surely A would have ended up with someone–perhaps the guy at her work who had a crush on her, or the fellow at church that clearly did. Little L’s soul would have found another womb to be born in–yes? Of course, these are obviously silly things to speculate on, right?
Maybe the big problem here is that I place too much emphasis on a static portrait for my identity. A perfect person is someone I can aspire to be, but who I am is an imperfect someone just trying to get better.