It was a dirty, hot and thankless job. But it paid some bills and funded my stereotypical single man's lifestyle..and ultimately became the connection that introduced me to the woman I married. But my earliest memories of that huge dirty production facility was of the old oak tree by the boiler room and the mockingbird that called it home.
I'd pass by that big, old tree going up the hill to the supply warehouse where I worked and would see that mockingbird flying from nest in the oak tree to the top of the warehouse. He'd fly back and forth all day. I had a lot of conversations in my mind with that mockingbird. "Why in the hell did you decide to live in THAT tree? You like the smell of the steam coming off that boiler room? You like the sound of forklifts running around three shifts a day?" I used to think I'd be doing that bird a favor if I knocked its nest out of that tree so that it'd have to move to some body's manicured backyard and eat out of a bird feeder and it's only worry would be avoiding the neighbor's cat.
The thought has occurred to me that I'm not unlike that bird. I'm still allowing myself to be saddled with the "sludge" that polluted my life for so many years. I'm still allowing myself to set up shop in a very dark and dirty place. Bad health and morbid obesity are no longer defining me physically but mentally they've left their mark. My mind still doesn't allow itself to believe in possibilities, only in worst-case scenarios. I don't visualize success in anything...only disaster.
Case in point - over the holidays I made a conscious effort to VISUALIZE 2010 as being our year. Finances would turn around, I'd find a new job, several projects that had lived in my mind for years would now become realities. But January wasn't over before a frozen pipe exploded and caused the great flood of 2010 in the master bath and bedroom. Our house still isn't completely put back together. Now, one COULD say "look....we've got new floor and trim and paint in the bathroom and new carpet in the bedroom...all courtesy of our homeowner's insurance!" Nope...it was much easier to allow my long-running soap opera "Why does God hate me?" to continue it's 46 year run.
"I tried to call my psychic she wasn't home,
I locked the door and called 'dial-a-prayer.'
Oh God please don't let me die here alone!
I'm hearing voices and I'm losing my hair!"
Yep, I wrote that gem in a stupid little song fueled, I'm sure, by a quality happy hour at some point back in my single, mullet days (yeah, I sported a serious mullet...I was most cool...really, I was!) That song ain't about much, but it does remind me that I was the court jester on the outside, living in fear on the inside. Fearful, quite frankly, that I'd never find anyone brave enough to put up with me. Fearful that I'd become the weird old guy in the neighborhood that sits on his porch pounding beers and blaring old Buffett albums out his living room window. Well, I might still pound the occaisonal beer and listen to some old Buffett, I have found someone brave enough to domesticate me and make me happy. But that doesn't mean that I'm not still allowing myself to be terrified of life in general. I'd like to say it's the big, life-changing things causing the hand-wringing. I'd be lying.
I ran into a roadblock changing out the shower head yesterday (old one wouldn't come off!) I damn near put my fist through a wall and plopped back in my recliner and resigned myself to my destiny!! (cue organ music.) I realized I'd have to just take out the entire shower arm and replace that as well. 'OH MY GOD! WHAT IF I BREAK OFF THE SHOWER ARM AT THE JOINT IN THE WALL AND WE HAVE TO HAVE A PLUMBER OUT TO CUT OUT SOME WALLBOARD AND FIX THE JOINT????" I "Google" replacing shower arm. It says it's an easy job but I do need to turn off the water source before doing it. "OH MY GOD! WHAT IF - WHILE I'M SHUTTING OFF THE WATER - I SOMEHOW BREAK THE VALVE AND THEN WE'RE REALLY SCREWED????????????????" I'd like to say I'm dramatizing the situation, but these are honest-to-God conversations I had with myself yesterday. It's the tip of the proverbial iceberg as far as my mindset is concerned.
I was warned that this surgery would change my body but it was up to me to change my mind. Easier said than done. When my bride left for work this morning she kissed me and said "Do NOT sit and worry about things all day...just concentrate on your work." Sad...I didn't know it was that obvious that I was living in fear. Is there a "brain bypass" that can allow my brain to adapt to the new physical me that gastric bypass has created?