Lately I haven’t written as much because I found a new TV show that I’ve been binge-watching. It just goes to show that television really can be a soul-killer, because I’ve been going through a rough patch, with feelings of regret, irritability, and general blah-ness, which makes sense because I haven’t been taking the positive actions necessary for my spiritual growth.
This place that I’m in, I just don’t want to be here. So of course I’d binge-watch TV—well, technically it’s a computer screen because I don’t own a television, but it’s a show, an escape outlet. It’s not easy for me to find a TV show that I like, so I can get sucked in when there’s one as captivating as “Bloodline,” a Netflix original series about a family full of secrets and the ways in which they cope, with one of the sons being an addict, and how those secrets shape their future. Ben Mendellsohn plays a convincing addict, a man who leaves home for many years and returns only to ask for money or wreak some sort of havoc. I felt empathy for him in the beginning because of his tragic childhood, and as the show unfolds I see how each family member is responsible in their own way for what happens, and I feel empathy for most of them. The youngest son, not so much, because he’s a rage-aholic, and a general pain in the ass, but he has his own difficulties to endure. The dad is just a dick, but he looks like the dad everyone wants, playing his little ukulele on the beach. The oldest brother is Mr. Responsible, a do-gooder, but he’s easy to like in spite of his seeming perfection. The sister has relationship issues because no one is ever good enough for her, or it just doesn’t feel right. She’s played by the beautiful Linda Cardellini, who’s only one year older than me. The mother lives in denial. She’s played by Sissy Spacek, who was a teenager in movies when I was growing up but has now become someone in her 60s? How did that happen? I thought she was only a few years older than me. Time seems to go by so much more quickly the older I get.
Every family has their secrets, or things they don’t want to talk about. Why live in the past? But then sometimes we have to air those things out to get them into the open and move through them, maybe with the help of a therapist or a spiritual advisor. Personally I don’t like to think of the past. But sometimes those things affect the way we live today, and we find ourselves reacting to life in the way we learned as kids, in a way that reflects a thought-pattern that the world isn’t a safe place, or that I’m not good enough, smart enough, funny enough, pretty enough, rich enough, physically fit enough, wise enough. We find escape outlets like TV, food, shopping, sex/relationships, drugs, and alcohol, to avoid thinking about it. This obsession to get everything I want—the job, the man, the house—it’s painful. Wouldn’t life be so much more serene if I were grateful for what I had? How peaceful it would be if I knew that I had everything I needed already, or more accurately, if I knew that I had more than I ever wanted, that life has turned out much better than I ever planned or predicted?
Gratitude. Acceptance. Those are the real goals in life. Not, “Life will be so much better when…” Fill in the blank. When I get my own place. Because if I had my own place I’d be alone all the time. My dog wouldn’t have someone with her during the day. Or when I find the right man. Because when I get into a relationship, new problems arise. Or when I get a good job, because when I get a job, I’ll be full of anxiety about whether I’m good enough or smart enough and when and if they’ll fire me. Not that I want to avoid those things, and they’ll happen anyway, but happiness can’t be found in external things or in other people.
Right now is the perfect opportunity for me to accept life as it is today. Today* I have an opportunity to help a friend with some home improvement projects, because she reached out and asked for help, which is something she doesn’t do very often. It will help me to get outside of my head and into the sunshine on this Memorial Day weekend that has gotten me to thinking so much about family, and how so many people spend this weekend with their families, while this year I have to work. Most years I’ve never cared to spend Memorial Day with my family, but now I’m finding myself wishing I was with them. The good news is that my sister is moving to a town a couple of hours from here in just a couple of months, and I’ll have that opportunity to spend with her and the rest of my family, and I’m looking forward to it. Now that is progress.
Life is short, too short to live with the belief that I’m not good enough. What would life look like if I were good enough? Who would I be? What would I do? I would take the actions of a person who believes she’s good enough.
To be continued.
*This blog post was written over the Memorial Day weekend and posted/published afterwards.