Saturday, March 04, 2017

The Tea is Steeping

My mother has recently died.

I thought that our strained relationship was already over years before the final act. I thought that my travels into becoming a more enlightened being had prepared me for the void that I had surmised already appeared between us. I thought that I was going to be fine in my body, actions, and mind.

What I was not prepared for was how my focus changed to the immutable void that was left. She and I had already stopped talking. I had written her off years before when she decided that I was too much of a hard-ass when she was living with my wife and I.

My mother liked to play stupid. I suppose it was easier for her. She was a product of her generation where women were supposed to be pigeon-holed into specific roles. It was a rougher time for her sex.

Her playing the stupid woman was self-defense. It was frustrating because she didn’t own up to her faults. She didn’t want to improve upon the issue at hand, whatever it was. She didn’t see the problem, from my point of view, anyway.

What my mother’s death has done for me is give me time to account for my own life. It has led me to questions of ego that I thought were somewhat irrelevant beforehand.

For the last month or so I have withdrawn into myself and into my ego. The strong pull was easy to follow. I folded myself down into the smallest version of myself. I was still going through my life. I wasn’t emotionally detached. I was still able to laugh and smile. I still found humor. I was just on some sort of factory default.

I saw my brothers and sister at my mother’s service. I saw the families. I saw the nephews and nieces. I saw how they grew together. I felt like I was an outsider. I was welcome, but an outsider nonetheless.

This feeling came home with me. Perhaps it has always been with me.

I have a wife of nearly 20 years. She gave birth to two sons. They are still mine despite the lack of my genes coursing through their veins. I have cried over them, spilled blood over them, and have drank into oblivion over them. They are every bit mine as they are the donor’s.

My ego keeps asking, “What legacy have I built for them?”

I see what my sister and brothers have built. I see the skills that they have and the strength they have from their extended family. I have myself. I give myself. I feel that it is not enough.

My writing is circumspect. My stories and poetry seem cliche. My talent in other arenas such as mechanics and carpentry are also stunted. I am not in to firearms or cars. I am a white collar worker who has not saved enough to provide a significant monetary nest egg for anyone.

In short, I see myself as a failure. Failure as a father and a man.

Yes, this is ego speaking. Yes, I see this. Yes, I know that there is more to success than materials that are left in my wake.

But, what else am I producing?

Is it specific?
Is it measurable?
Is it actionable?
Is it realistic?
Is it timely?

Yes, this is the Corporate Citizen trying to analyze a Private Citizen’s actions, goals, and accomplishments. It has become part of the default when I’m like this. Emotion is not being held back, but it is less significant of late. I am still numb from the review of my life and what I was supposed to have done by now.

I know I am not alone in this. I know there are others with far more dire circumstances or shocking tales. There are others who would willingly switch places with me because they feel that my particular brand of circumstances are so much better than their own. I am not ignorant of these facts.

The thing is that I am the one living my life. No one else. My measure of ego is every bit as strong as the next. It is every bit as large as the next. It is every bit as damaging as the next. It is every bit as useful as the next.

I am not on a journey for anyone else. It is for me alone. Well, me and those who decide to walk with me for a while. And while my life may not be so bleak in comparison with another, right now it is a grey wash of pithy emotions and pitiful dreams that have been dashed against the shoals as the waves churn.

Frankly, I am ready to join the ocean, but I recognize that it is not yet my time. I am to be on the shore for some time yet. For reasons beyond my ken. So, with that I seem to be waiting for the tea to steep and entertain my guests. I know that this feeling and time will pass as it will. It cannot be forced out or ignored.

Thank you for taking the time with me. I know it has been difficult.