Friday, October 31, 2014

I had to see it's face. It had been long enough. I had been haunted for decades by a lonesome memory that was bearable most of the time, especially in the light,but at night it often reached to me and would throw me of balance.

It was an old romance, my only one ever. I wasn't a boy looking for love. It was never something that interested me. I have had hundreds of friends that only think of one thing,,,,romance. I guess maybe when I got gobsmacked by it, the fact I never wanted it made it even more impactful. We were broken kids with substance abuse problems and it ended with me fleeing Houston Texas in the middle of the night with some bruises and a nose with teeth marks and scabs forming on it. It was at the end of a night of bar hopping and I really can't tell you what it was about. Even as broken as I was, hitting me was a deal breaker, as if the deal weren't broken enough.

So, nearly 30 years later i have never wanted to be in "love", but whatever that was swept me up and out like a tsunami  decades ago as a college freshman haunted me. It wanted me to remember what it was like when the mention of his name made me go numb. For thirty years people have asked me why I never partnered up, frankly it's because no one has ever made me feel that way, not even close not even thread of tingle.

So I wrote this guy who lives not more than 50 miles from me and made some excuse to stop by and see him when I was passing through. He called and left a message and when I was free I called him back.  I won't go into the details, but by the time I got off the phone with him, I saw things entirely differently. I think I needed to hear that he wasn't that 18 year old anymore and I got everything I needed. I had confronted this emotional monster that gave me fitful dreams that spilled into the waking day.

I talked to my friend and adviser and when I mentioned the dope smoking, wine drinking my only "lover" had been doing the whole time we were on the phone, he said he hoped I was done with the whole thing. I laughed and said "Done"

5 minutes after I said I was done, I knew with all cells and fibers it wasn't over for me yet. I needed to see his face. I don't know why, but I had to see his face. I was so angry at my spirit because I knew it would never be over unless I saw his face. So without telling anyone, I got up the next morning and went to where he worked.

I saw him briefly and hurriedly got in my car. I felt nothing, I didn't laugh, I didn't cry. I just drove. I thought at least I would feel a charge for staring down this emotional monster that came to toy with me when I was down or lonely. I just kind of  felt sad. I felt sad because this once beautiful kid who took my breath away was now a middle aged man too. The joy that used to explode from his spirit is shut down and roughened. I felt sad that if I only got to have that feeling time once, I would really never prefer never to have known what i missed.

I told my sponsor, imagine you had the best experience from the best drug in the world, but you could only have it once. Would you take it? You can't unring a bell and I can't untake that drug.

Two days after I heard the song by Martina McBride called "Independence Day" on the radio and I thought how many young girls I'd see try to sing that song at the little country shows I sang at. They hit the notes but they didn't have the emotional depth to really touch hearts when they sing them. There are songs kids can sing and hit the notes but fail register real feeling with them that makes them look even more like kids singing grown up songs.  A ten year old singing "Stand By Your Man" is cute but no one buys it.  Since I was 18 years old, I had the real heartbreak that let me sell a ballad. This broken heart , massive in size has helped me help others with their failed romance. It gave me an emotional depth that I wouldn't have gotten any other way. It was in every essence my credential to understand the human condition of "HURT".

That was my first benefit of seeing the face of the specter than followed me for nearly 30 years. The second came just now as I began typing. All this time it wasn't him that I was longing for, it was the feeling. I have been wanting love all this time but was terribly confused about where it needed to come from.  Oh shit, I'm that kind of human after all.  It wasn't him.

I would have spent the rest of my life confused had I not listened to the urging of spirit telling me it was time to face this monster. The hour long phone call could have been enough I suppose, but I knew, I had to see his face and for some reason I needed him to see mine. I just reached over on my desk and picked up a red Sharpie. Without thinking I colored a little red heart and wrote the word "love" underneath it on my upper thigh. It is a statement of intention. It is with only a small amount of embarrassment that I make the declaration, on the 7th day of my 47 year, I, Clinton Rolen Gandy have joined the circle of sappy friends and thousand of people I will never meet, for i am in search of GROWN UP LOVE.

The block in the channel has been forced out and I literally can feel life flow where it hasn't in decades. So, my advice is face your monsters and let what happens happen. I have found yet another level of freedom and it excites me to no end.

I work with boys some of which are exactly one year younger than me when this thing when down in the middle 80's. I was just as broken as the lost boys I work with and I can't imagine any of them falling in love and trying to live out this crazy fantasy of what love was suppose to look like from the tv and the movies.

I'm so humbled when my understanding of things is reframed and I see everything clearer and more precisely. I won't be painting sad clowns or kittens, but as of today, I am going to find someone to share myself with who is just as curious as me about the whole thing and hopefully just as grateful as I am. I am grateful to have gotten this far and I know when you put hope and action together you create possibility. I am mastering the possibilities.

There is a huge amount of ego that says to never share this piece, It is my story and it couldn't be truer, and when I am honest I feel better. Don't judge me to harshly if you need to judge just know, that I so believe in being free, I saw this through when it would have been easier to find a shortcut or pretend it didn't happen all together.

Monday, October 27, 2014

This is my story

I got drunk for the first time in the summer heading into my freshman year in high school. I was on the only family vacation I ever had and we were in Newport Beach, California or "Balboa". My relatives were part of a large food supply company and the bosses hosted us in the tiniest restaurant I had ever seen and our table pretty much filled the whole space. I kept getting poured wine and I kept drinking it. After the second glass it felt like my eyeballs were moving back in for in tiny quick motions and I felt warm and free. I got up and went to the bathroom to look at my eyeballs in the mirror. I stared at my face but I did not see my eyes moving , even though they gave me a swimmy feeling. After dinner we walked the streets of the island and it was liking seeing for the first time. Shop windows with lighted displays illuminating pricey fancy things was a dazzling sight.

I did not know it at the time, but the detonation button had been activated for me. Like the countdown clock on the TV show "24", my days had been numbered and my time was running out. So what began in the fanciest, loveliest place I'd ever seen, a place I'd only seen something like on TV, my alcoholism was activated. The year was 1982.

I was set up by genetics , soaked in environmental triggers, but when I felt the effects of those closes of purple colored wine, the disease was activated. There was no turning it off , no going back. The lines of dominoes had started falling and it was going to be a race to the finish. I became alcoholic. I was activated.

On my own i didn't have a single coping skill for life. The warm glow from the inside of me out and the euphoria that alcohol caused, honestly let me feel like for the first time in my life, everything was ok. When you have spent your life, even if it was just the first fourteen years of it on "high alert" the moment you get to relax and break is a profound moment. Even if it was chemically induced, I found relief.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

When I first heard of autism, I thought the cruelest part was watching your once healthy 3 year old boy , quietly turn to go inside himself and never return.
When I first experienced someone with Alzheimer's, I thought the cruelest part of it was to watch someone you have known your whole life , completely disappear into themselves to the point mothers couldn't remember children.
When I first saw depression lock someone behind a glass wall and everyone was forced to watch them disappear in to darkness, to a place they couldn't be reached, I thought how cruel.
There are dozens of ways to lose someone before your very eyes. They are here, but gone. Close enough to touch them physically without even having to stretch your arm yet you cannot reach them.
I guess I've been on both sides of the glass and truthfully even I am a little hard pressed for explanation on how I crawled back out of myself, I had long ago surrendered to it, fully and completely surrendered to it's nothingness.
I was just thinking of some people I know and have known that have disappeared into themselves and just how disappointing being powerless really is. There is a part of me that wants to turn my head and the other part is compelled to watch for any remaining or significant signs of life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

choose peace

Choose peace. I had dinner with a new neighbor and as I got to know her over the 2 hour conversation I was taken aback at the level of fear she exists in. It seems to cripple her. Not an alcoholic nor drug addict, her fear levels exceed even the level I use to exist in. Here is the thing that confused me. She mentioned her faith 2 dozen times and even spoke of specific passages in the Christian bible. She falls into the same catagory that several of my relatives fall in, those who have faith and don't use to to live a fearless life.
What good is faith, why have it if you don't USE IT? My life transformed when I realized that no matter what happened, I would find a way to be OK. I don't have the paralyzing creepy dread that a catastrophe was going to occur it it was going to consume me. Because of this psychic / spiritual change, I don't fear making mistakes or failing at something I've tried anymore. I have proper concerns about general safety, I still lock doors at night.
Fear is a monster. One baffling aspect of fear is it makes it's victims mistakenly crave more things to fear. The most fearful people i know, even those who are faithful in religion, sit around and watch endless cable news broadcast. As if they don't have enough powerlessness in their lives, they consume stories of terror and of viruses without cures like a kid would consume cotton candy.
My good fortune is that I had an issue with substance abuse that led me to a program thought taught me a way of living which eliminates 90 percent of my fears on a moment to moment basis. I have been known to say out loud when my head/fear tries a hostile take over, "This is not real". Fear lies and it lays in wait.
I was taught worry by the master growing up and she has and still does dedicate her life to worrying about things that a) she has no power over and b) that never happened. I'd rather die than to slip back into a world that is filled with blind fear and abject terror. Running from monsters that only exist in my head and in my sleep and daytime nightmares.
Fear is a product of thought. One fearful thought triggers a chemical response that feeds the next fearful though. It is the anatomy of panic attacks. Panic attacks were what led me to anxiety meds which I quickly learned were great fun to take handfuls at a time.
My hope for my neighbor and all those I know who are trapped in the darkness of fear, or terror is they find away to shine some light into their spirits filled with monsters. My advice is first off, turn off the damn news channel, don't read the paper and stop watching hours and hours of crime shows weekly. Some folks can handle it and some like me just can't just like some people can drink and it not consume them alcoholicly. I haven't watched the news in five years and I don't have news channels anymore. I haven't missed a thing and haven't been caught "not knowing" any vital information that could harm me.
There is a little syndicated show that prides itself on stories "you need to know". "AMERICA NOW- They have stories like, "What is living on your hairbrush that can kill you", "Your baby can die if you don't know these tips". All they do is package little fear bites and tease the fear based people into tuning. They run 2 episodes a day in my area.
America may like to call itself "faith based' but its fear based. Politicians and religious leaders take that fear and use it to herd huge groups of people into "swallowing whatever Koolaide" they are peddling. Five years ago i asked nearly everyone I knew, "If you were going to be hit by a train would you want to see it coming?". My truth was I had spent decades trainspotting and it got me know where. My answer to the question now is, "NOPE", I don't want to see it coming, if something is going to happen, I do want to waste the only moment of life I have waiting for devastation. I choose to live without blind fear and I'll deal with the train when it gets here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The most destructive habit I've ever had is the habit of "Thinking". For decades I tried to "think" myself to sleep at night and the result was disastrous. I grew up thinking that if I were clever enough, if I thought hard and fast enough that I could escape whatever it was that I wanted to get away from. I mistaking thought I could think my way out of whatever I found displeasing. I found out in my forties that "thinking" is it's own kind of prison. To have thoughts you can't turn off is quite frankly torture. The things that are unpleasant or disruptive on the outside of me are far less frustrating that what goes on inside my head and in my thoughts.
The the key to freedom from my thoughts is to find a way to live in the present moment. When I am in this moment I have everything I need and I have no need to be "Clever". The past no longer exist and the future takes care of itself when I exist in my own breath of being. Anxiety only exist when I am trying to exist in the future. There is no anxiety when I am in the moment, just a mindful state of being. Stress lets me know I am not in the moment.
The the biology of stress is an interesting issue, anxiety causes inflammation. Inflammation causes disease. That is how we make ourselves sick with worry and stress. Worry's cumulative effect over time is disease causing.
The kicker about giving away our moment to worry is, no matter how hard or how good we worry, we can't change the outcome or consequences of events we stress over. We have given away all the possibility of peace because we choose to future trip rather than LIVE the moment we are breathing in.