Life Anonymous: 12 Steps from Starving Hungry to Beyond Full

Starving Hungry. I heard that crazy term while working at the post office. That is some serious emptiness I thought and something I would never want to experience. Just what level of hunger is required for one to be both starving and hungry, if that is even possible? Well, today I was Starving Hungry and became quite full, all without having ever put a single morsel of food in my mouth. By now you all should know my stance on judgment; I don’t have any because I won’t have to answer for your actions. But I learned today that if one isn’t careful, judgment can creep in by way of some everyday, superficial un-Godly attitudes and behaviors.

Beyond Full. Today is my grandmother’s birthday and I am full from all the humble pie she and God served up to me today, candle in it and all. I am humble. When it comes to my work, my creativity, things I have, things I’ve done, etc., I don’t brag. I share, sometimes, and often I’m reluctant to do that and when I do it’s only with a select few. I’m private, a born and raised Singleton where sharing was a foreign as well, foreign. I am Wilbur, hear me oink! This is who I am, or who I thought I was until it was revealed to me that being a perfectionist, resistant and impatient (just to name a few) are just as bad if not worse than being judgmental and they are most certainly not of a humble nature. I admit when I’m wrong (humble) but just leave it at that, no need for you to say or add anything to it (not humble). Time was given to me today to examine my body language, voice tone, responses, you name it and let me tell you, on more than one occasion was humble booted out by perfection, resistance and impatience, and I wasn’t even aware of it. Apologize, yeah, I do. When I feel I’m wrong. Sometimes. Apologize if I feel I’m right? Ummmm, no? Nope.

Have you ever read and contemplated the 12 Steps? You know, the 12 Steps associated with AA. I’m no alcoholic but being resistant, impatient and a perfectionist are some pretty addictive behaviors. I always knew those things about myself and thought I worked hard at removing them. Turns out, I wasn’t working as hard as I thought I was. I’m lazy. I’m human. I’m a lazy human because life and everything in it takes work and I don’t feel like working ALL the time. It takes a lot of effort to live let alone live a decent life and not decent by monetary standards either. Oh don’t get me wrong, I work and don’t mind putting forth effort but its human nature for me to want to do it when I want to do it or better yet, have someone else do it for me (can you say Brrrraaaattt!)

Martin Luther King said “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
Step 4 is Moral Inventory. The constant attitude of taking stock of all traits, good and bad and if and how they have transgressed us. Traits of dysfunction that served us well in childhood that cripple us in adulthood. Traits that need to updated, outsourced, reconfigured or just altogether scrapped and new ones shipped in. Businesses take inventory all the time, if they don’t it is unlikely they will be very successful for very long. We humans, rarely, if ever take inventory because it is too much work. To search through the confusion, contradictions and convictions – that have been fed to us from breast and bottle (milk or otherwise), served up on religious cones and community plates – to find that which is truly decent, AND to do it on a regular basis, takes a great deal of work. Some of us are less lazy than other but lazy is lazy. I guess that is why in AA you have a sponsor. Someone who has been where you’ve been and experienced what you’ve experienced. Someone who put in the work, took inventory and is in recovery. Someone who, by all accounts, has been Mended.

I have a sponsor. I have several actually but my main sponsor had every reason to be a perfectionist, to show resistance and impatience and yet he was and is the definition of humility. In AA they have The Big Book. It serves as a guide during your recovery. In life we have a big book. It is difficult to read, often misinterpreted and frequently misused and it serves as THE guide during our recovery. Everyone, regardless how small it is, everyone is recovering from something. Everyone needs to Get Mended.

Life and living take work. Continuous, effortful and courageous work. Working makes you hungry and Humble pie is quite filling. It is dry, without taste or of the worst taste imaginable depending on who’s serving it up and you definitely do not want seconds. Even now, I must fight the urge to scrutinize each line and word, sentence structure and spacing until it is perfect.

AA is about recovery. Life is about recovery from all that is thrown at us each day. I wonder…If I went to a meeting, stood up and said, “Hello, my name is EJ and I’m a lazy human” would they look at me like in disbelief? Would they be angry, thinking I was making a mockery of their program? Or would they simply say “Hi EJ”. If they’ve completed Step 4, I’d bank on the latter.

Step 9 is Making Amends. I made some amends today. Some may be accepted, some may not, but acceptance is not, cannot and should not be the goal. The goal was, is and should always be to put in the work – continuous, effortful, courageous work.

I’m full. Pie anyone?

Platinum and diamond studded fork… in the road

“And I know that He had something better to do
Than to sit and listen to a brokenhearted fool
Could’ve been saving the world from a tragedy
But instead He was listening to me”
(MJB – Empty Prayers)

This is NOT a soapbox moment, just a hmm, never thought about it that way moment.

I try to find the God/good/joy in everything. I Try. I don’t always succeed because most of the time I’m in my own way, in my own world, wanting to see things the way I want them to be; but even if you don’t believe, we all know that rarely do things look and act the way we want them too. City of Angels, The Adjustment Bureau, — somebody give me another one Saving Grace– movies/TV shows where angelic, celestial, heavenly body creatures masquerading as and interacting with humans all stated the same thing – we humans have FREE WILL, something they cannot interfere with. It’s sorta messed up when you really examine it. There’s a plan for me today. Plan calls for me to eat oatmeal. I get up and eat cereal instead. I felt that I was supposed to eat oatmeal but I was running late. Now when I was eating that cereal, somebody/something was there, watching me eat that cereal, shaking its head because I exercised my free will to eat cereal instead of oatmeal. The shaking of the head is justified because the plan called for oatmeal because it was written that I would have a long day and would not be able to eat around the time I normally did, thus, the oatmeal would sustain me and prevent me from developing a hunger headache – y’all know the kind I’m talking about. As simple as my example is, I think it drives home my point.

We all have Free Will and how and when we chose to exercise it is completely up to us. When the exercise and implementation of Free Will is about to commence, those heavenly/celestial creatures jump back like Cliff Huxtable – hands off, I don’t have nothing to do with what’s about to go down – but I’ll be here to help you through the mess. I rarely read or listen to the news because it is so tragic but that is the state of our society, tragic. I have never lost someone to violence, so I do not and will not for one minute try to say what I would do or how I would feel. I am but an outsider looking in, like the rest of the world, who often asks ourselves, as we stand on the sidewalks and behind cars and around TV screens watching the results of another’s Free Will, where was God?

Maybe like MJB said, He was listening…
to a brokenhearted fool,
a sinner confessing,
a priest, rabbi or pastor bestowing a blessing.

Maybe He was sitting bedside at some hospital, nursing home or hospice. Maybe He was in the middle of the desert watching others exercise the appointed Free Will of another, or maybe, just maybe, He was there and there. Right there, watching. Watching that tragedy unfurl, because He dare not interfere with Free Will. He had nothing better to do because to Him, there is nothing better than listening, comforting and protecting His greatest creation; even if it’s not in the way we think it should be. We humans today are a bit haughty. We have a sense of entitlement and some have it more than others. I know. I’ve asked God where He was and why He let my loved one die, when I needed them. I kept asking but He would never answer me. Then one day, I answered my own question.

Who am I, that I should ask Him to spare that which I love most, when no one did it for Him. What happened to Jesus back then would be considered bullying today. We all need to stop bullying; each other and God.

I stopped asking Him where He was when tragic things happen here on earth because I’m fearful of the day when He will ask the same question of me. Fearful He will question my use of Free Will and point out, matter-of-factly that the exercising of my Free Will is not only my responsibility but yours as well and vice versa (we are our brother’s keeper!) and so to that I will say, if you believe, and I hope you do, or even if you don’t believe, be responsible with your Free Will because I AM NOT going down for you!

“Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Surrounded, surrounded
Why’d you have to wait?
Where were you? Where were you?
Just a little late
You found me, you found me”
(The Fray)

Azab Dabaq

If your life is held together with spit and a half a piece of gum, then prepare for that sucker to crumble like feta. Life for me is like a roadster – room for 2 only. Metaphorically speaking of course, I have plenty of room in my life for others but I am quite persnickety about who enters my realm. You’ve got a better chance of getting into Buckingham Palace than you have in getting in my life. I’m funny, oh it’s true, just ask Tracy of Jennifer. I’m funny but I’m a friend for life (if your Chi is right. No Chi, No E!) I think my alter ego is Yosemite Sam. He has the best temperament when he gets upset. I wish I could be so brave, but we have these rules and people tend to frown upon such behavior (eyes rolling). Or better still, Rat from Pearls before Swine. Love that guy. There was this one strip where he would do a long ski jump look (you know the one where you just stare straight ahead, stiff bodied) every time somebody said something stupid or what he thought was stupid. Man, I would be in a constant state of ski jump look. Or even Danae from Non-Sequitur, THAT little girl just rules, kid after my own heart. So I guess that leads to the question, who am I? Answer, whoever I’m required to be at the time required. People ask me, what’s your real name, what does EJ stand for – why? Are you going to do Ancestery.com to see if we’re related or are you just asking because you’re nosey? We ARE NOT friends, call me by what I introduced myself to you as, not what you heard someone else call me. Who do you think you are? I don’t say a lot, but my face, it betrays me often. I try to talk to it, but it just blows me off. Sorry, my ADD kicked in and I got off track, forgive me. Roadster, yes. Seems now, I don’t even need that extra seat because I’ve been forsaken. Taylor Swift-ed. Left out in BFE with no H2O. It’s all good, things happen. I don’t eat feta but when you’re starving, left-out, leftover fish is quite appetizing. Beware loose lips lacing promises of … Guess I’ll get me a dog. At least then I’ll be the one to do the forsaking. Who am I? I… am alone but in the words of Mary J., I’ll be JUST FINE FINE FINE FINE FINE FINE HOOOOO.

1,2,3 – Tap Out

I lost my Wilson (think Castaway). No, I take that back, lost implies that you don’t know where something is. I know where Wilson is, Wilson just doesn’t want to be here with me. It’s a funny thing when your life needs mending. Love is unraveling, family is fraying at the seams, it can get pretty raggedy and there’s never a needle and thread handy when you need one. I believe in pray. I pray, not just during the bad times, when things are in a crap-hole dug in the ground, nor do I forget to pray when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. I pray. All prayer is, is a heartfelt request of hope. Hope that things will get better, directions will be given, right decisions will be made, etc. Remember when Jessie Jackson said “keep hope alive” well, it remains true today. Hope is ever present; it’s the amount of hope that you have that will determine your level of mending. No hope, then you can pretty much toss whatever is unraveling or fraying into the pile marked Goodwill. Life for me Ain’t been no Crystal Stair, but it hasn’t been a candidate for demolition either. I was never promised an ache free, tearless life and let me tell you, life has kept its promise. Images I had in my head about how things would be and how they ultimately turned out, were often times not even in the same galaxy. If life were a friend, we definitely wouldn’t be on speaking terms right now. She’s left me disappointed, hurt, angry, depressed and lacking. I don’t blame her really, she never promised me anything. It was I who had all these expectations and plans so I have no one to blame but myself. She promised me nothing and gave me change everywhere I turned. Change is the requirement to accept something that we weren’t expecting to happen in the first place, be it good or bad. Change isn’t necessarily bad but when the change that happens isn’t bringing any smiles to your face, then in our book, it’s bad. Life for me is changing now, through no fault of my own and to my human credit, I fought against it hard. I tried to deny it at every turn; throwing my best high blocks and punches but alas, I was no match for Change. On Saturday, I surrendered and acknowledged my defeat and skulked away, licking my wounds. I fought a good fight, but I did not win the race. I was no match for the Change that started some 3 years ago. I tried to be accepting, accommodating, and every other action that yields to Change but alas, she proved too much for me. I’ve all but given up Hope that Wilson will return, but I try to keep Hope alive. After this, Change and I won’t be on speaking terms for a little while at least. It’s inevitable that we’ll reunite, but until then, I will climb these stairs; full of nails, splinters, loose footings and handrails. I will climb these stairs, in darkness and in light, alone and unafraid because fear provides no service or assistance here. I will climb and keep climbing; Hoping that with every step Change is there, waiting to make it better. This is my prayer.

“Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Surrounded, surrounded
Why’d you have to wait?
Where were you? Where were you?
Just a little late
You found me, you found me” (The Fray)

LUI

Whoooo are you? (Absalom voice) Go ahead, say your name, I am… Now that you’ve said that, are you confident that is who you are? You sure? Ok, I’m just messing with you, but it does stop and make you think. Everything, wait, do I want to use such a all encompassing term?—ummm yeah, I do, Everything we know, we know because somebody told it to us. Think about it. You didn’t know you were (insert name) until these strangers around you keep referring to you by this moniker and it finally dawned on you that, hey, are they talking to me? Am I (insert name)? Everyone knew you were (insert name) long before you did. The hospital, people on FB, Twitter, OMG, ENews, all of them knew your name and birth date and gender long before you knew what any of that stuff was. Your entire life is based on hearsay. You heard someone say you were (insert name) and you believed it. 1 + 1 = 2 right? How do you know 1+1 = 3 isn’t right? Go ahead, say it, because it doesn’t because you were taught/told 1+1=2 and thus our drinking from the Jim Jones sippy cup of knowledge began. Our family origin has had an influence on who we are today, good or bad. Poor President Obama, he caught a ton of flack for his “you didn’t build it” comment, but I think I knew what he meant by that. Whatever you have, wherever you are in life, you didn’t get there by yourself, you had help, regardless to how much or how little, you had some kind of help from somebody and everything has a trickle down effect. Because of the internet, wordpress and computers, artists like you and I have a public venue to create, without them, we’d probably be typewriting words and putting up our work at local shops on the community board. We live under the influence, all of us do and it’s ok, to a certain degree. It’s all right to admit the truth about what brought us to our current station in life (good or bad). If more bad than good, which is often the case that gets the most attention, others may have played a great role in us getting and being at our current station in life and if so, it’s all right to express our anger and regret over what’s been done to us. We have a right to hold others accountable and grieve over the negative effects they have had on our life. It’s not all right to use this as an excuse for our wrong choices or for staying in a bad/fruitless/useless station. They may be partly responsible for bringing us to this place, but we are responsible for moving on to a better place for ourselves. I’m sure you can or have in the past, thought someone was to blame for something that went wrong in your life. Politicians do it all the time… Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago? That is not a question that just applies to elections. Are you better off now than you were 4 minutes ago? Sure you are, because for every moment that you live, the next one is more perfect. I hear people complaining all the time about this isn’t right because of this person or because they don’t have this or didn’t have that and blah blah blah blah blah. I subscribe to the SUPs Theory: Shut-up and Suck it up, please. McDonald’s straws are best. When you stop living under undue influence, you can find the time To Relax, Get Comfortable, and you know the rest.