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Sunday, December 19, 2010

DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY

jackson pollock in everyday life


My mind continues to look at the time when my spiritual life was activated. It was just like they say in the Primitive Baptist church, that I was chosen. It wasn't because I was somebody special or had intelligence or was without stupid behavior. A confused working class kid who felt like an outsider from kindergarten on. I'd only known a couple of kids my age before going off to school, and them just a time or two. I didn't know there were so many. Maybe about 20. I shit my pants first day of school because I was too shy to say in front of all these strangers, the teacher a stranger too, I needed to go really bad. Didn't know where the toilet was even if I wanted to spring from the room and run for it. Walked home, a mile, with pants squushy and smelly, crying all the way. By the time I made it home after a half hour or more of continuous walking, more than I'd ever walked in one never-ending long haul, made it home the kind of mess only a mother could handle.



That's how I started out in this world, and later after high school I started out on my own in the world again, every bit as unsuccessfully. Major stupid decision after major stupid decision, no idea about anything but you gotta have a job to pay for a place to live and a car of some affordable sort, insurance, groceries, phew. That's quite a lot for a beginner. Had a pretty good job selling shoes and even was able to become fairly good at it after a year or so. Just like in my teen years, I wanted a quiet life without drama, but the guys I worked with wanted me to run the roads with them on weekends, get into stupid situations, and what they call peer pressure took me off my own track, which I wasn't even sure was a track or that my own had any validity. Everybody else telling me what I ought to do convinced me they knew better than I did, so I left off advising myself, because I didn't know anything. I followed advice and direction from people I assessed knew more than I did and got myself into some shit I'd have never done in my own way of thinking. I wanted to join the world, see what it is the preacher talked so much against. He made "the world" a taboo, giving it a mystique that made me want to jump in and see what it had to offer, have some pleasures for a change.


Started going to dance joints, drinking beer, the BIG NO-NO, got the lecture of my life after coming home a few months after 18th birthday having tucked away 3 beers. It put a smile on my face, nothing more than that. Had to be sat down at the kitchen table and told for an hour I'm going to be an alcoholic, the whole time bored out of my mind, thinking, No, I'm not. It's not that big a deal. Then next day all hell broke loose when daddy came home from work after fuming all day. A rather definitive confrontation followed, during which I decided, I'm outta here. For the next month set out to find an affordable apartment, figure out ways to get around, like by bus, then when all the ducks were in a row announced I was out the door, nicely. I didn't want any more nonsense. Just let me go and let me be. I didn't know anything about where I was going, but trusted I could figure out something. Theretofore, prayer had only let me down, so I didn't indulge in it any more. Confidence in church was dead.



Uncertainty went everywhere with me. My self-esteem scuttled across the floors of silent seas. A friend I worked with got us involved with 2 of the meanest women in Wichita, Kansas, at the time, and we both paid dearly for our ignorance over years to come. My self-esteem was such that I let people I assessed smarter than myself, everybody, make my decisions. Surely they knew more than I did about my own good. Living with a harridan, who was the daughter of a harridan, who also was the daughter of a harridan, she'd made an about face after the wedding such that the one I thought I'd married wasn't anywhere to be seen. Fortunately, Navy Reserve active duty abducted and took me out of my life for two years, put me on the ocean, out where you don't see land for weeks, only water to the horizon all the way around. At the time, I hated it, but looking back, it turned out to be a period of time I went into a confused wreck and came out of determined to do something about my ignorance issues. Get rid of the shackles to the harridan first; divorce is legal and, thank the Lord, easy. Ignorance only got me in trouble.



Out of the Navy on a Friday, the following Monday I started at the College of Charleston. The X had told me I could not get into CofC and even if I miraculously did, I'd never make it. Graduated 4 years later. Self-esteem took a giant step. I learned a lot in those years, not only school. It was a new world. Cocktail parties every weekend at somebody's house. I had to learn fast how to talk jibber-jabber that sounds like I know what I'm talking about. Got fairly good at cocktail parties, but never took to them. They were good schooling in social behavior of the middle class. I went into it wanting to climb to the middle class. By the time I left the city to come to the mountains, I didn't want involvement with the middle class any more. I learned by the time I'd finished school I had lost what common sense I had. I wanted to work outdoors at a labor job and see if common sense would come back. Some years of working with Tom Pruitt and going to the church of his brother, Millard Pruitt, the Regular Baptist preacher, my common sense became activated, or what I think of as common sense.



The part I've appreciated all the way along in the mountains was a large part of the reason God set my parachute down in Alleghany County, Whitehead, Air Bellows, Waterfall Road, so I could live in a community of people who were very realistic, pragmatic lovers of God. Whitehead is loaded with them. The rest of the county is too. They go to a lot of different churches, and many don't go to church at all. Before I got my head turned around, I had come to see it that God was a construct of the human mind. Came to find it was the other way around, and that's when I turned up in the mountains. I started out thinking I'd come here for solitude and study. Turned out I needed to make a living, have a job, start knowing people. Plus, the initial solitude was awfully lonesome. In retirement age, I feel more inclined to solitude than ever before. I like to get out and see friends every few days and like every few days to be here by myself all the time. Have found a time of semi-solitude. I like the company of others, esp my friends, too much to lock myself into not having anybody to visit with. Even monasteries are not solitude. I've found a solitude I'm comfortable with that includes people I deeply care about. Like they say, 'Hit don' git no better'n 'at." I have to answer the question, am I happy, Yes. With qualifiers, but enough to say it's all the time. Even in sorrow, I'm happy underneath.



A short time after my store bottomed out, I was going in the library's side door when a woman I know enough to speak with was opening the door from the other side. She said, What are you doing now? I didn't know what to say. It was too much to explain in 3 seconds, so I said, 'Getting some joy back into my life.' I meant it too. All the financial concerns watching the economy tank and the store only able to hang on so far with nearly no business, joy had gone out of my life. I hadn't realized that until I heard myself say I am actively getting it back. Just needed to get out from the mental stress, again. It's coming into view a pattern that my attempts to get involved in the world end after a time of stress overtaking me and putting me down to the ground, unhappy, out of joy. They came back and I don't intend to let them go again. Nothing is more valuable to me than an underlying happiness and joy that catch my mind like a net in a circus when I follow depressive thinking and fall. No worries. The funny part I've found is that God knows us individually better than we know ourselves, understands our motivations and our ways and how they got like they are, and has promised He'd take good care of me. I think I've finally reached a time in the life I can let go and say to God, your will be done, meaning it. It always works out better than my own will. Why did it take so long to get it? Doesn't matter once you've got it.



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