September 16, 2010

Who I Am Now Is Not Who I Was- Atonement

Yom Kippur begins tomorrow night and I am at a loss because who I am now is not who I was. That is the sort of cryptic, new agey comment that I hate. I look at it and say what the fuck does that mean. It is gibberish and not the authentic frontier gibberish that they used in Blazing Saddles.

When I asked Scary Mommy if she was interested in a guest post she said yes and asked me to provide a short biography. Here is what I shared there:

The Jack B. is a writer and author of 39 unpublished books and three screenplays. A former athlete and would be superhero he still fights for truth, justice and the American Way. Though he may look like a grown man, don’t fool yourself he is still a boy at heart. When he is not engaged in Walter Mitty like fantasies he is a husband, father and friend and blogs at Random Thoughts.

Some of that is true and some of that is what I want to be true. I am not going to bother providing you with the details of what is what- read it and decide for yourself what is or isn't. And for the last time, my real name is not Jack. Call it a pen name, a pseudonym or whatever the hell you want to it really doesn't matter to me. Way back in the ice age when I launched this beast I called a blog I wanted complete anonymity. It suited my needs and purpose.

Now the need for anonymity is less clear and I have become semi-anonymous and for the moment that suits me too.

If it isn't clear by the tone and tenor of this piece I am angry, incensed, irritated, disconcerted and discombobulated by a few things. The shit has hit the fan and I am busy wiping chunks of it off of my face and the surrounding walls.

Some of it can be attributed to me. I take responsibility for those things. I hold myself accountable and that is part of my anger and frustration because the buck stops with me. But, that doesn't prevent me from seeing the bigger picture. That doesn't prevent me from being aware of what was outside of my control and the role those things played in this particular play.

So on the eve of the day of atonement I find myself wearing what my son used to call my angry face. It is like a freaking Halloween mask that has been glued to my face. As I walked through the mall people who caught my eye moved away from me. They made room and I walked on by as if I was Moses splitting the Red Sea. Walked on by and headed to my vehicle because I needed to hit the gym. Walked on by because I knew that time with the weights, heavy bag and steam room would help.

And it did. The endorphin release brought blessed relief and moments of clarity. In the land of Hollywood it would be great to say that this moment of clarity led to the happy ending- but it didn't. It didn't because the challenges we face in life aren't solved in 90 minutes.

Instead it confirmed for me that the path I have chosen may be rocky and uneven but I am getting closer to the finish line all the time. The solutions that I seek are coming. Some have been implemented and I see the fruits of my labor. Some of it is less clear, but I am doing what I can to make it happen.

Part of my frustration stems from my dreams and expectations. Who I once was never would have expected to see me doing what I do now. Some of that is because he was young and naive and some because he wasn't as worn out.

But he also wasn't as tough. He couldn't have written these posts and admitted how hard it has been. He couldn't have looked in the mirror and accepted what was fed and forced upon him. So while I may say that who I am now is not who I was it is also not who I will be.

This challenge is a moment in time, a blip that may make life more irritating but cannot last. Things will turn and the sunshine will warm both my back and my face again.

So on the eve of the day of atonement I ask myself if I am ready to speak with someone who has been silent for far too long. I ask because I don't know if I am. I ask because I am furious and the fire burns as brightly as it ever has, even if the oxygen seems to have been cut off.

And in truth I wonder about this strictly because of signs. I ask because the universe is playing and I can't figure out if what I see is random happenstance or something else. But something tells me that I am going to find out.

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