I’ve been thinking about hope a lot lately. I mean, how can one not? With the election and inauguration of Obama, hope is in the air. You saw it in the faces of all those millions of people who trekked to DC to stand for hours cheek to jowl in freezing temperatures. I saw it in my friends, my colleagues and complete strangers, this hope that things will get better for us, our country and the world. Hope is truly transformative.
But this post isn’t about Obama or politics or others. As usual, it’s about me, and my own experience with transformative power of hope.
As anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows, during my 20’s, I spiraled out of control with drinking born of depression. I mean, I can’t really blame me. I was raped when I was 21, my mother died suddenly when I was 22, my father was diagnosed with cancer when I was 23 and died of it when I was 24. And this was while I was also dealing with the minor crises of life of school, housing and personal relationships. I also had some pretty strong genetic markers for depression as my father had been hospitalized for it when I was a teen, and my mother was agoraphobic due to an untreated anxiety/panic disorder. Oh, yeah, and they both drank. Basically, I was drowning in my own toxic gene pool.
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Lately, what with the combination of the holiday/new year blahs, general discontent with my relationship, an ailing cat and rather significant birthday on the horizon, I feel as if a drunken squirrel has taken over my brain. This drunken squirrel mind likes to leap from precarious thought to precarious thought with no rhyme or reason, nary completing one cohesive sentence. And it never chooses a nice strong branch, a healthy branch on which to alight for a while. Oh nooooooooooooo. That would make far too much sense for drunken squirrel mind.
Now, when you think of drunken squirrels, you might assume they are fun drunks, maybe even slutty drunks. Put a little lampshade on them and watch them go. But, not my drunken squirrels. My drunken squirrels are of the more maudlin variety. This drunken squirrel would be found alone at the end of the bar nursing a big bowl of nuts and asking the bartender to keep pouring the sauce as he chews off the barkeep’s ear about he ‘coulda been a contenda’. “If only I’d found my Bullwinkle, I coulda been a real Rocky, ya know?” My drunken squirrel mind is a bit of a downer.
After a day of watching from drunken squirrel go from introspective to petulant, it finally got sobered up with a bit of perspective with a call from my old friend, former boyfriend, Gary.
To be perfectly blunt about, Gary is a loser. Well, maybe that was more mean than blunt, but I’m afraid it’s true. Gary lives off disability and goes to AA meetings. Oh, and watches sports on TV. That’s it. There is not a shred or ambition or curiosity left in the man. He is merely existing and seems to be OK with that. I’m all for practicing contentment, but I don’t I think that opting to vegetate your life is actual contentment. It’s like he’s simply opted out of life and it’s hard to maintain a relationship with someone who has done that.
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