George Grey Barnard (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York)
We all face this struggle of good and evil within ourselves whether we acknowledge it or not. Refusal does not mean it ceases to exist rather it hides like a caged angry animal ready to leap out and cause destruction at the least provocation. The dual natures is an ever present battleground existing within our various selves. We are in one body a mixture of the sacred and the profane. We seek sanctuary from the island of lost souls populated but shades, ghosts of formerly flesh, blood and bone humans. We bear the stigmata and battle scars of imploding internal battlefields. Redemption and refuge will only be found by acknowledging our weakest points, applying salve and seeking greener pathways. Lest we fall into the rabbit hole. Drowning in quicksands of pride and stubbornness. Our decisions. Our choices. Help is available if we clasp the outstretched hand.
As the Apostle Paul states in “Romans 7:15-20
New International Version (NIV)
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
I’ll Cry Tomorrow
Self-Trust, Inner Guide, the Knowing Voice Within, Strong Internal Core, Ignoring the Experts; These appear to be the latest Buzzwords in the ever present Self-Help craze that has been going on since the 1970s.
Well I beg to differ. I know I’m about to stir up a Hornet’s Nest but that’s what writers do, create controversy, ignite debate and hopefully make readers think. Much to the consternation of the New Age Gurus yes there are wrong choices and bad decisions.
I’ve learned to run major decisions by trusted friends and professionals. Got tired of making bad decisions which backfired on me. You need a few good friends as sounding boards because most of us cannot be objective regarding our problems, thus wrong choices. You need someone or several somebodies to hold you accountable, slap you upside the head and say, “Get with the Program before you Kill Yourself!!”
Friends, ministers, pastors, some co-workers and close family can give objective advice. Sometimes we are way too caught up in our emotions to make correct or wise choices. That guy may be so in love with yet who is violent and abusive is the wrong man. Time to take off the Romantic Blinders and see him as others view him. A violent, abusive, evil tempered jerk. Poor financial choices. Buying a home, car or some other big ticket item could be a very bad choice if you don’t have enough income to cover the outgo.
People have lost homes, jobs, their families and even their lives behind bad choices. The lesson is learned too late for correction. It’s like being a little bit pregnant. No such thing. As humans we are influenced by our fickle emotions, family backgrounds, how we were raised, and society’s expectations. We can’t see the forest for the trees.
For years I was a prescription drug addict. Though the doctors who liberally dispersed the pills are somewhat to blame the lion’s share of the blame is on me because I made the choice to keep taking them nearly to the point of death. Now that I’m in my mid-50s and living a cleaner life, yes my “Internal Core” has improved but it is still not as strong as it should be. Also I still must live with the consequences of previous dumb stupid decisions. Yes I’ve lived through being evicted from my apartment in Queens, been in and out of various hospital emergency rooms, I have a terrible credit rating, plus certain health issues that I’ll be battling the rest of my life. My Inner Guide was a damn fool and an idiot. No I should have gotten professional help. I put my trust in people who I thought loved me and who I assumed would help me. I made choices out of fear and poor health and an addled mind. Finally after seven years of struggle I’m beginning to see daylight. I know my limitations.
I also know that at any point I could backslide but I believe I’ve finally reached the point where I no longer want to live in the Valley. I want a Mountaintop experience. Trust me when I say this wisdom and insight I now possess has only come with fighting depression, fear, panic attacks, and anxieties. Once you hit bottom and you’re tired of living there you’ll find a way to go up. I learned to stop make excuses for my bad behavior, stand up for my rights as a middle-aged Black Woman living in a racist, sexist, ageist society, stopped dating men who don’t respect me, my dreams or goals and who really mean me no good, junked all the pills except for my high blood pressure medication, eat right, exercise and renew my faith. I’m now an active member of the New York Shinnyo-en Buddhist community. Through Buddhism I’ve become a stronger Christian. Truly I’ve begun to understand what it means to work out your Soul’s Salvation. The means of escape you seek is only a delusion. Life is meant to be faced head on. This life is only yours to live. No one can live it for you. Now I’m on a better pathway because I have a clearer more focused mind. I still have some setbacks but my life has improved 95% in the last two years.
Please check out the link for a Bio on the actress Susan Hayward star of the movie I’ll Cry Tomorrow. Susan Hayward a BadAss Brooklyn Beauty who even with her cracks, fissures and faults didn’t take shit from anybody. Susan Hayward’s story resonates with me. We are both Fiery, Hotheaded Strong Willed Redheads. Hers was natural. Mine is from a bottle. I Love actresses from the 30s, 40s, and 50s because they overcame so much and were some of the best actresses ever to grace the stage and films. Exotic Beauty, Fame and fortune do not always bring happiness, sometimes just a new set of demons to conquer. Ms. Hayward’s pain made her a better actress because she approached each role from her gut. My pain has made me a better writer. Like her there were times when I did not want to live. I wanted to leave this earth because the pain was too great to bear, yet God sent someone my way to save me and make me realize the foolishness of my actions.
I suffer no fools and I pull no punches. Shipwrecked. Lost. Perhaps. But learning to rely on G.P.S. ~ God’s Positioning System. Shattered Portraits, we picked up the shards, put them in the kiln to create an entire new piece of pottery changed but not consumed by fire.
Like her I struggled with substance abuse. Mine was prescription meds, hers alcohol. Like her I’ve had many failed romances. But through it all we Strong No Nonsense Women prevail, persevere and triumph over defeat. As the title of Susan Hayward’s movie states, “I’ll Cry Tomorrow.”
Ready for my Second Act.