April 30, 2010

Disturbed, Distraught and Disappointed

"If I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
If I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes"
Behind blue eyes-The Who

There are moments in my life where I have considered this to be a personal anthem, a theme song that describes me. Days when I woke up and described myself to be disturbed, distraught and disappointed. I count some very dark days among those moments. Times in which I felt like I was living my life alone and apart.

When I think about it those moments have been relatively few and far between. While immersed in them they felt interminably long and I sometimes wondered what was wrong with me. Sometimes I'd sit in silence and look at the people around me and wonder how they could all be so happy while I seemed to be trapped in misery or two steps removed from it.

What I eventually learned was that I wasn't alone in this. I wasn't the only person who felt like he was standing on the outside looking in. For some people that would be enough. That would be enough to make them smile and keep on moving.

I am not them. I am not one of those people. Read through the posts and you'll see that I understand that others have a situation that is more challenging and more difficult. Their lives are harder than mine. I appreciate that and am happy that I don't have to face some of those challenges. But their troubles don't change mine.

"'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet
You're a slave to money then you die
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet yeah

No change, I can't change
I can't change, I can't change
But I'm here in my mind
I am here in my mind
But I'm a million different people
from one day to the next
I can't change my mind
No, no, no, no, no, no, no,no,no,no,no,no(fading away)
Bittersweet Symphony- The Verve

I don't want to give the wrong impression.  I have a good life and much to be thankful for. I smile far more than I frown, but I live with a certain intensity level. When I feel something, I really feel it. And I am ok with that. Took a little bit of time to get here, but I am here.

And I should add that the painful episodes of my life have provided me with some gifts. When I write about some things I go back in time and revisit those moments. The memories lend themselves to better descriptions, they add color and depth.

More importantly these experiences that have helped shape me have helped to give me the strength to get through those that followed. They helped provide an outline and a framework that I can call or draw upon any time they are needed. I am grateful for that.

I frequently write about teaching children coping skills. Well, if you don't have any of your own then it becomes harder to teach. I don't have that issue. I know that I am a survivor because I have done it. I know how to get through it and because of that I can be a better father and that makes me happy.


Kristen @ Motherese said...

Count me among the parents who struggle to teach coping skills to their kids because mine are sorely lacking.

That Who song has been on my mind a lot lately, especially the line, "Nobody bites back harder on their anger than I do..." (Reminds me of my teeth grinding and my trouble with conflict every time.)

Thanks for this thoughtful post, Jack.

Clark Kent's Lunchbox said...

Very much remember that feeling of wondering how people could be so happy, especially when going through my divorce. I've arrived at some of the same conclusions as you. And yeah, I'm thankful to be able to pass on a few coping skills to my kids.

Jack said...


That is one of my favorite lines of all time. Really reminds me of a bunch of moments in time.


You have been through more than I have. Can't imagine what some of that must have been like.

Kelly said...

Reading blogs has done more for building my empathy, compassion, and understand that we all struggle than years of therapy has. I think there's honesty here that is too intense for "real life" conversations.

As for coping skills, still working on those, though it helps that we spend lots of time with a behavioral therapist for my son. She's taught me as much as she's taught him!

Rachel Cotterill said...

This is a really interesting read. I know what you mean about drawing on some of life's harder experiences for inspiration, I have to do this when I'm writing certain scenes.

therapydoc said...

Such a great post. A friend of mine asked me, "Does EVERYONE take life seriously, or am I in a small club?" Fact is, not everyone does, but would you trade places?

And isn't there a song with the line, "ya know it don't come easy?" or is that in the behind blue eyes song? Cuz it don't for everyone. Chaval. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger? Yes. And no.

Jack said...

I think there's honesty here that is too intense for "real life" conversations.

I would agree. There is a different sort of environment here that invites this type of thought and conversation.


Experience is what teaches us how to deal with things, or so it seems to me.


Lots of good comments/questions. I spose that there are a few people out there who have lives that I would trade for, but only a few. The song is right, "it don't come easy" but if it did would we enjoy it as much.