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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The "A" Game



Act One, Scene One
(A man and woman are facing each other on a stage. There is both tension and overwhelming love between   them).
SUZY:
Well, I am certainly not surprised that you are unwilling-
KEVIN:
Whoa, who said anything about me being unwilling?
SUZY:
Isn’t it obvious? I mean if you wanted to be with me then you would  bring your “A”game to do so.
KEVIN:
“A” game? What the hell do you mean by “A” game?
SUZY:
                                                            (Defensively)
By “A” game I am referring to  being a loving and reliable partner. You know the kind of guy whose not afraid  to “man up“.

KEVIN:
                                                            (Annoyed)
Man up? What the hell do you mean by man up?  
                                                           

SUZY:
If you have to ask what I mean by “man up” then it’s obvious that we are not on the same page in this relationship.  The old adage about love being all you need does not apply to us.

KEVIN:
                                                            (Angrily) 
Damn it, Suzy I do love you , but I’m  not ready to settle down, yet.

SUZY:
Not ready to settle down?  Perhaps, you could have informed me of that fact sooner. You know before our fifth anniversary of dating.
KEVIN:
(Sighing)
I have a couple things I have to do this afternoon-
                                                            (Kevin stands up)
SUZY:
Well, don’t let me get in the way of your afternoon errand running.  Who knows, maybe you’ll meet a nice uncomplicated woman  who will  be okay with your   unwillingness to settle down.  But, one thing is for certain my days as your killing time girlfriend are over!
                                                            (Suzy stands up)
                                                          
                                                             KEVIN:
                                                            (Quietly) 
                                                        See ya around.
(They exit opposite ends of the stage)

Act One, Scene Two

(Suzy returns to the stage. Lights come up).

SUZY:
Can you believe that BS about not being ready to settle down?  Funny, how it takes him five years together to figure out that he doesn’t want to settle down, yet.  Twenty bucks says that he has another woman on the side. She  is probably  more than happy to take whatever scrap of attention he throws her way. (Her voice starts to quaver with emotions) I remember the day I met Kevin. We literally collided into each other on 2 for 1 night at a neighborhood bar. We were both drenched in beer. I was there with my friends from college and he was there with his law school buddies.
We spent the whole night talking and laughing . After last call, we all stumbled down the street to an all night diner.  After an hour or so, our large group of friends dwindled down to just us.
We started dating a week later. That was five years ago.  (pause) After he graduated from law school, I guess I just expected that  we get engaged. But as you can see (Flutters her left hand) there is no engagement. I mean I am only 27. At least  I was able to leave the relationship with a few scraps of dignity.
Kevin’s problem is that he doesn’t want to grow up. He wants to continue to live the party lifestyle of his college and law school days.  Making  a permanent commitment to me means that he will have to become a grown-up. (A beat) Perish the thought. (Suzy exits the stage. The stage  goes dark).

Act One, Scene Three

(The lights up on the stage. Kevin  is sitting on Suzy’s front porch  stage).

KEVIN:
Suzy needs to relax. I mean geez what’s this crap about having  “A” game. I’m just not ready to get married right now. Most of my friends are married and they are absolutely miserable. They’re always warning me about what happens after you slip that band o’gold on a woman’s finger. Their wives start to get really bitchy about the slightest little things. They expect to consult you on every little dumb thing about the house décor and they want you to go to boring couples’ party. You know where all the women spend the whole night trying to outdo each other.  It’s like being stuck at a never-ending tea party.
Meanwhile, the men are all trying to figure out what channel the game is playing on and how fast we can escape to see it. I mean granted, Suzy isn’t like that. (Chuckles) Whenever, we go to those things she only makes us stay an hour on game days.
She accepts me as I am for the most part. I mean I guess the main complaint I have about her is the fact that she is pushing to get married. Yeah, I know we’ve been together for five years, but  I’m only 28 years old. I don’t want to settle down for at least another three or four years. Suzy’s just got to understand that.


Act One, Scene Four

KEVIN:
Well, what was so important that it couldn’t wait until I got back from my fishing trip?
APRIL:
I wanted to tell you in person.
KEVIN:
                                                                           (Annoyed)
                                                                          Tell me what.

APRIL:
You’re going to be a daddy.
KEVIN:
Try again.
APRIL:
I know that you’re the father. You’re the only one-
KEVIN:
That you’ve been with? Right.  What about the other three after bar guys on your roster?
APRIL:
(Quietly)
I stopped seeing them after you started coming around.

KEVIN:
Ooh, a monogamous after bar hook-up. I am really touched by your loyalty.
APRIL:
Why are you being so mean? You think that I want to be pregnant right now?
KEVIN:
I don’t know, but please enlighten me as to how since you are on birth control and I used condoms you unwittingly found yourself pregnant.
APRIL:
Even with the use of birth control, there is still a failure rate--

(Kevin begins pacing furiously.)
KEVIN:
You sound like some kind of  public service announcement. This is not good at all.. I am on the partner track at the law firm. I can’t afford to have any distractions right now. This is going to destroy Suzy!

APRIL:
Suzy? Who the hell is Suzy?
KEVIN:
Suzy, is -er was  my girlfriend.
APRIL:
  What does she have to do with us?
                        (April takes a tentative step towards him. Kevin takes a step back from her.)

KEVIN:
There is no “us”.  What we had was some fun and that’s all we will ever be to each other.

APRIL:
Look, I want to let you know that I am keeping this baby.
KEVIN: 
If the DNA test proves that it’s mine, then I am prepared to provide generous support payments.
APRIL:
(Nervously)
Now, that the matter is settled.

KEVIN:
(Agitatedly)
 Yeah. Well, I better get going.

APRIL:
What? You’re not staying for dinner?
                                                (Kevin begins exiting Stage L)
                                                                KEVIN:
No. I am not staying for dinner.
                                                                 APRIL:
How can you just leave me here?

KEVIN:
I’m not leaving you here per se. I am going home. I have a lot of things to sort out. I’ll be in touch.
                                                (Kevin exits Stage L)
                                                (April  sighs heavily and sits down in the dining room chair.
                                                She  blows out the  candles and the stage goes dark).
 

Act One, Scene Five
(The lights up on the stage. April is seated on a loveseat ).
APRIL:
I knew that  Kevin was trouble the first time that I met him. I’m waitress at a  bar around the corner from Kevin’s law firm. That’s how we met. He came in with a few of his buddies .  They were your typical stuck-up lawyers. I was invisible to them, well I mean except for Kevin. He was the only one outta the bunch who didn’t give me attitude. He started coming in to the restaurant by himself a couple of times a week for dinner.  Things just kinda started from there.  Sometimes, we stay up all night just talking about stuff.  In the six months that we’ve been together. He never even mentioned that there was someone else.    Kevin isn’t the only the one who will have to sacrifice. I mean, I got accepted into art school on the East Coast and now I can’t go.
                                    (The stage goes dark.)
                                                                       
KEVIN
I can’t believe April is pregnant. How the hell is this even possible? ( A beat) Don’t get me wrong if the kid is mine I will totally take responsibility for it. My parents split up when I was ten. My dad left my mom for another woman and it destroyed her inside. Mom puts on a tough front but she’s never been the same since Dad walked out on us. I promised myself that I would never walk out on my kid no matter what.

Act One, Scene  Six
 Two years later...
(Suzy  is typing on her laptop at café table is sitting Center Stage. Her brow is furrowed in concentration. Jim enters Stage L).

JIM:
Suzy? Suzy Farris.
( Suzy looks up from her laptop screen in mild surprise)
SUZY:
Oh hey Jim. What’s going on?
JIM:
 Not much. Just taking a break from the grind to take a quick stroll. How about you? Working on your latest project?
SUZY:
As a matter of fact, I am just answering a few client emails. You know how it is. Technology has turned my life as a publicist into a 24 hour work day.
JIM:
I know what you mean I feel as though I am on call 24/7 for the firm’s clients.
He married her because of the baby. He doesn’t love really love her.
(An awkward silence ensues between Suzy  and Jim.)
                                                                    SUZY:
If you don’t mind, I’d rather not discuss him at all.
JIM:
(Nodding)
 Sorry. It’s just that he was always so head over heels in love with you. It’s a shame that it took him so long to figure it out.

                                                                     SUZY

Yeah, it is. But, in the long run. It probably worked out the best for everyone involved.

JIM:
Yeah, I guess so. You know the firm is having their annual picnic next week Would you like to accompany me ? (Another awkward silence ensues. between Suzy and Jim)

SUZY:
(Smiling)
 I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. In light of the situation.

JIM:
Look, Kevin’s not going.  April has a tendency to drink too much and recite the less than savory way they met. The other partners at our firm had a friendly chat with Kevin and advised him to keep April away from office events. For awhile, he tried  going solo to the office events, but April would call him twenty times in an  hour to check up on him. Now, he just stays away entirely.

SUZY:
(Suzy nods somewhat sympathetically.)
Hmm. Well, if that’s the case. Then I guess I can make an appearance for a short time.
JIM:
Great. I’ll call you in a few days to firm up the details.
SUZY:
Okay. (a beat) I guess I better get back to work

(Jim stands up)
JIM:
Yeah, me, too.  See ya later.
(Jim exits and the stage goes dark)

Act One, Scene Seven
(Lights Up on Jim sitting on a park bench.)
JIM:
It’s strange to be taking Suzy to the office picnic (pauses) or anywhere for that matter.  The first time I met Suzy,  I was drawn to her. Of course, she only  had eyes for Kevin.  Now that Kevin is married to April…Well, let’s just saw my odds of getting my dream girl just  increased.

(Stage darkens)
Act One, Scene Eight
(Kevin and Jim are sitting in a bar having a drink.)
KEVIN:
So, you have a hot date for the firm picnic?
JIM:
Not really. I’ll probably go stag.

KEVIN:
C’mon man. I’m starting to wonder about the way in which you swing.
JIM:
No worries there. I am definitely a fan of the ladies. It’s just a little dry spell. Can’t be too careful these days…
KEVIN:
Yeah, tell me about it.  I wish I would have taken heed of that advice. (Pauses) Bailey isn’t even two years old yet and I can’t help but to countdown  the years until I flee my sham marriage.

JIM:
Whoa, I thought that you two were making the best of the situation.

KEVIN:
 That old adage about turning a ho into a housewife is dead on target.  I came home a couple of weeks  ago to find April was passed out drunk on the sofa and  Bailey was hungry and in bad need of a diaper change. It’s typical of April. I can’t win. She blackmailed me into marrying her and now all she does is get drunk as a skunk and cry. In her more sober moments, she accuses me of  ruining her life. Now, she’s bugging me about having another kid. Hell, she can barely take care of Bailey. There is no way that I want to get any deeper than I already am.
JIM:
Sorry, I had no idea that things were so bad at home.
KEVIN:
Yeah, well no use bringing you down, too. Sometimes, I think about what I could have had with Suzy and I get so angry with myself. I can’t even remember what I thought was so appealing about April. (Contemplates). Oh yeah, I remember. April was convenient and  always willing.

JIM:
(Awkwardly) Suzy’s a pistol.
KEVIN:
Yeah and now she’s gone on with her life. She’s probably engaged by now. Good women like her don’t stay on the market  for long.

(Jim nods affirmatively, but says nothing).

(Stage darkens)


Act One, Scene Nine
Two years into the future.
(Suzy is sitting down at a café table chatting on her cell phone. She is admiring her engagement ring).

SUZY:
Yes, of course it was totally unexpected. I mean, we were dating for awhile before I could really admit to myself that Jim was the one for me. Whenever, I think of the time I wasted on Kevin--.
(pauses to listen to the caller on the other end). Yeah, you’re right. No sense in rehashing the past. Anyway, how are Dave and the kids? (Pause) Good. (April enters from Stage Left. She is frumpily dressed and looks somewhat depressed). Well, I have to finish addressing the rest of the invitations.  Okay, talk to you soon. (Hangs up and is startled by April’s sudden appearance). Oh hello, April.

APRIL:
I can’t believe that you are going through with your wedding to Jim.
SUZY:
Excuse me?

APRIL:
You are only doing this to get back at Kevin, because he chose me over you! Furthermore, I never really got what he saw in you anyway.
SUZY:
 Really? I guess I could say the same thing about you.  What I do ceased to be Kevin’s business the moment he became involved with you!  So, forgive me if I cease to be less than sympathetic to Kevin’s  dismay  regarding my upcoming nuptials. (Pauses) What are you doing here anyway?
(There is a frosty silence and then April sways a little.) Are you okay? Have a seat.
(April  reluctantly sits down across from Suzy)

APRIL:
I was at  the doctor’s office and I found out that we are about to become parents again.
                                                                             SUZY: 
Congratulations.  That’s great news.
APRIL:
Yeah, well it kind of puts a  kink in Kevin’s plan to leave me. He won’t be too thrilled about that.
SUZY:
I am sorry April.
APRIL:
(Shrugs)

Good ‘ol Suzy Such a class act. It’s one of the reasons why  Kevin will always be in love with you. (Pause) You know I used to resent the hell out of you.  I didn’t officially know about your existence until the night I told Kevin that I was pregnant. But, I always knew that his heart was elsewhere. If I hadn’t blackmailed him into marrying me, he would have come running back to you.  No matter how many children I give him or days of sobriety that I rack up. It will always be you. When he told me that you were marrying Jim. I was so ecstatic. Finally, we could get on with our lives.

SUZY:
I had no idea--
APRIL:
(Annoyed)

I live with a man who can barely stand to touch me. Let alone look at me. Each time Kevin sees me, he sees what he settled for and not the woman he loves. 
(There is an awkward silence) Jim is a good man. You will be very happy with him. (She turns to go)
Take care of yourself.
SUZY:
April.
APRIL:
Yes. (Suzy  hands her an invitation)
SUZY:
 Jim and I would be honored if you attended our wedding.
APRIL:
(Smiling wryly) Thanks. (She puts it gingerly places the invitation into her handbag).

Act One, Scene Ten

KEVIN:
You look beautiful tonight.
SUZY:
Thanks, Kevin. You look very handsome yourself.
KEVIN:
Look at us. Both married to other people. Who would have thought that you and Jim--
SUZY:
(Quickly) And you and April. Please tell her presence was sorely missed today.
KEVIN:
(Distracted) Yeah, she is having somewhat of a more difficult pregnancy this time around.
SUZY:
She loves you with her whole heart Kevin.
KEVIN:
Yeah, I know. But, we both know why I married her and it is a mistake that I have regretted every day since. Especially, when Jim slipped the ring onto your finger at the ceremony this afternoon. I guess in the back of my mind, I thought that I could erase the past four years and start over again (pauses and looks at her with great admiration).
SUZY:
Yeah, we were good together once. A long time ago, but we both needed some time to grow up.
KEVIN:
And we did grow up and we went on to marry other people.
SUZY:
Because, that’s what we were meant to do.

KEVIN: 
That means that  I can blame my unhappy marriage on  destiny.
SUZY:
(Sadly)

Remember,  four years ago when I demanded you bring “A” game to our relationship.
KEVIN:
Was that the same conversation in which you urged me to “man up”?
SUZY:
(chuckles)  Yes and you said that you weren’t ready to settle down.
KEVIN:
Yeah.
SUZY:
Even if April had not become pregnant. You and I probably would not have lasted.
KEVIN:
How can you say that?
SUZY:
Because, it took  April getting pregnant and living in a hellish marriage for you to appreciate what we had together.
KEVIN:
(Sheepishly)
You’re right. (Pauses) Jim, is a great guy and  you two will be very happy together.
(The song ends. Jim strides over from Stage Left and appears at Suzy’s side. Kevin and Jim exchange curt nods). Well, I better get back home to April and Bailey. (he turns to leave).

SUZY:
Good night, Kevin.
KEVIN:
Goodbye, Suzy

(Stage goes dark)



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Break. The. Cycle.


 

You hated the way in which your parents used you as a bargaining chip for their unresolved issues. You resented the way your mother leaned on you so much after the divorce. You just wanted to be kid yet, you found yourself being the parent instead. You wondered why your father insisted on living so far away from you. You suspected it had to do with your mother's constant need for psychodrama.  Your  dad struggled with feelings of inadequacy leftover from his own childhood. This got in the way of him effectively parenting you.

Over 20 years have passed since your parents' divorce yet, you are still stuck within their cycle of bitterness and dysfunction.  All of your exes encompass the worst qualities of both your mom and dad. Each break up is more emotionally draining than the last, yet still keep dating the same kind of person.

You are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of your parents. You can put a stop to the cycle of chemical dependency, negativity, and/or abuse. This will not be an easy undertaking. It will require a truckload of courage and determination on your part.

You will also have to ponder difficult questions such as:

  • Why do I persist in choosing romantic partners with emotional problems similar to those of my family members? 
  • Why do I shy away from pursuing relationships with emotionally healthy people? 
  • Why am I constantly chasing the approval of my family?
  • Why do I always pit significant others against my family?

You may have to also seek outside counseling from a mental health professional. Your family may insist on staying in denial over their past and current dysfunctional patterns. Therefore, you may have to limit contact with them.

It is never too late for you to break the dysfunctional family cycle and step into your own life.






Sunday, June 26, 2011

Toxicity Alert: The 5 Types of Folks Whom Drag Us Down

 
Below are the 5 types of toxic people to avoid when you seek to raise your game up to a whole 'notha level:

  1. Anchorweights are people whom drag you down. In other words, you will always have limited success until you get rid of your anchorweight. Anchorweights are notorious for manipulating you into rescuing them from their world of perpetual bad decisions. They live in a quagmire of irresponsibility and somethin'-for-nuthinitis. The higher you climb, the more they drag you down into their neverending realm of BS. 
  2. Chronic blamers have a disease called "it's not my faulitis". In the world of a chronic blamer, it is always someone else's fault. They rarely take responsibility for anything. Instead, they spend a majority of the time being stuck in the past. Please also note that a chronic blamer  is not above selling you out to save their own skin. 
  3. Frenemies are to be avoided at all costs. Sometimes, it is difficult to identify your frenemies are.Often times they are folks whom once shared a true friendship with you. However, over time their   resentment and jealousy towards you turned them into saboteurs. These are the most dangerous of the toxic people, because you never see what they are up to until it is too late. (I have dealt with a whole friends turned frenemies thing and it is not pleasant. Luckily, I am a resilient person and sneak attacks from frenemies never took me out of commission for very long.)
  4. Cult leader wannabes demand total fanatical loyalty from their flock. You can often find these folks holding themselves out as mentors. Granted, they are intelligent, however their controlling tendencies will keep you caught up in a whirl of silly psychodrama. Psychodrama is bad for your brand.
  5. Co-signors will tell you what you want to hear no matter what. Most likely, because you are probably paying their way and they do not want to jeopardize your goodwill by telling you the truth. A co-signor will not speak up when you are headed down the wrong road. Instead, they will watch you go over the edge, shrug their shoulders casually, and move onto the next shiny object. Co-signors are all about instant gratification. They are unable to handle anything more than that.








Friday, June 24, 2011

The Subtle Apology

 
The email came as a surprise to me. My first reaction was skepticism. I had given this person the benefit of the doubt and it proved to be unwise on my part.

Looking back, we both acted immature and the whole thing seems so ridiculous now. Yet, at the time, it was a matter of principle and I refused to back down. We both headed to separate parts of the country and I forgot entirely about this person. Until, I received the email. Reading through it, I experienced flashes of  both anger and annoyance.

Then, I reminded myself that life is too short to hold onto grudges. This email was an obvious attempt on the other person's part to make amends. Instead of stewing over ancient history, I decided to accept the email for what was and keep it pushin'.

I replied to the email, wished the person well, and closed another chapter to my past.




Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Undignified Partings

 

You want out. There is a  friendship, relationship, and/or job which is dragging you down. Perhaps, you are just ready for a fresh start.  You feel as though each passing minute in the current situation is shaving years off of your life.

You want to just to walk out and never look back. You envision a new life without any traces of the same old BS which is making you so unhappy. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.
In this electronic age, many people opt to walk out of a situation via text, email, or even Facebook. It is easy to tap a couple of keys and  move onto your new plans very quickly. However, a few months later you will feel extraordinarily guilty for your cowardly exit.

It is important to depart a situation with the same amount if not more grace than in which you entered  into it. In many cases, this means a face to face meeting with those involved in the situation.  (Obviously, a face to face meeting would not apply to leaving an abusive or dangerous situation. That is a different blogpost entirely!)

I have been in situations so emotionally stultifying that I was willing to just leave sans notice and start all over again. Yet, I knew in the long run doing so would only bring an old taint to a new situation. Eventually, the guilt of my abrupt parting would catch up to me. Instead, I chose to put on my grown woman undergarments and gave proper notice of my exodus.

On the other side of it, I have been dumped by friends and significant others via email and text message. The harshest aspect of these breakups was not the dissolution of the relationship. No, I was more upset that the other person chose not to do it face to face.

Ironically, a majority of these cowardly dumpers have tried to come back into my life. But, I made a point to both close and lock the door on them. I wish them well, but I do not want them in my life at all.

Life is complicated enough without dealing with emotional cowards.




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Side Pieces, After Bar Girls, Killing Time Girlfriends, and Defaults

 


Side Piece
You are in the background and you hate it. He promised to promote you from side piece to wifey, but so far this has not happened. It has been over 8 months and he still selling you the same raggedy dream. He is just waiting for the "right" time to introduce you to his family. You have wasted so much time with him, yet you are afraid to leave. It is clear that he does not really respect you. If he did, you would not be his side piece.

After Bar Girl
You do not like to think of yourself as an after bar girl. It is too depressing and brings into question your own issues with low self-worth. Instead, you have convinced yourself that accepting after bar sexual appointments is the same as being in a relationship with the late night visitor in question. You spend most of your time waiting for someone else.

Killing Time Girlfriend
He is not the one for you. Alas, you have put in years with him. You suffered in silence through his infidelity, verbal abuse, and rampant immaturity. He should propose to you on a matter of principle. Your friends and family point out that he is just "killing time" with you until something better comes along. You disagree. You believe that if you just wait long enough he will have no choice but to propose.

Default
He always comes back to you. You have been there for him since jumpstreet. Yet, he never stays. Once, he finds someone else, then he leaves again. You do not care, because he always returns.  However, it is only a matter of time, before he will stay gone for good. 




Monday, June 20, 2011

From a Manipulator's Point-of-View


 

You do not know how to give love. You sure as hell do not know how to receive it. However, you are familiar with how to get what you want out of others.You are in a constant state of manipulating others to do your bidding.  It is all just a game to you. At least that is what you tell yourself. Of course, you would never want to admit that your manipulation stems from a childhood of invisibility. You wanted to feel and be loved during your childhood... but, it did not happen.

You begged to be cherished by someone, anyone but  no one stepped forward during your younger years.
You  also tried so hard to be noticed and recognized as someone extraordinary. But, no one ever paid attention ...until you started playing mind games. 

The game is set up so that it will revolve around you. No matter what happens in the game, you will turn out to be the victor of it all. The goal is to keep other folks  perpetually caught up in your web, so that for better or worse you remain the center of their universe.

Years are ticking by and it has become more apparent that manipulation is a poor substitute for the genuine love which you have secretly sought all along. You are no longer able to delude yourself into thinking that  holding control over another person is the same as being loved by them. 






Sunday, June 19, 2011

Farewell to my Father



"Sometimes, my dad hears voices that no one else can."

I am 10 years old and trying to explain to a classmate why my parents split up a few years prior. I recall the look of shock and confusion on her face.

"Is he crazy or something?" She asks.

I shrug in response. I had a tendency to shrug a lot when it came to questions about my father. I regarded him as two separate people. During his lucid times, my father took us fishing,  taught us how to play sports, demonstrated outdoor survival skills, and played board games. However, whenever he went into one of his schizophrenic episodes it was a completely different story.

My sister, mother and I hid from him in our bedrooms and waited for the proverbial dark storm to leave. An hour later, my father was back to his jovial self and we would come back out into the living room and pretend as though nothing had happened. Ah, the picture of a typical nuclear family...hiding a not so pleasant secret.

My father was a celebrated college track athlete, scholar,  successful entrepreneur, and an all around upbeat man.  Even as a kid, I put so much pressure on myself to live up to his accomplishments. Once my father turned 35, his lucid moments became fewer and fewer. I was around age 7, when my parents split up for good. I remember feeling happy that my dad would no longer be living in the same house. I also felt guilty for feeling relief when he moved out.

I watched helplessly as my father struggled to hold his mental illness at bay. My paternal grandmother and aunt were around during my childhood to make sure that we were able to spend part of the summers with our father. He wrote us letters and called us on the phone. There was never any doubt in my mind that my father loved us.

Yet, at the same it was heartbreaking to see a brilliant and caring man brought to his knees by schizophrenia.
During my adolescence, I began to worry that I would end up like my father. According to family "historians" on both sides, my father always worked super hard and put tons of pressure on himself to excel. His "psychotic break" occurred because of his over-achieving ways. He short-circuited and continued to decline steadily over the years.

I made it my life's mission to not be like my dad in that respect. Sure, I put pressure on myself to do well, however I balanced this need out with a healthy dose of self-sabotage. I had lots of big goals and the skills to achieve them. Yet, I never really gave my all to anything. Just to be clear, I am not blaming my father's  mental illness  for any of my life's failures. However, I do realize that my own fear and prior ignorance about it caused me to put handbrake on my own achievement's.

I am now fully realizing that holding myself back all of these years has caused me just as much  pain as my father's mental illness. I find myself mourning the time which I wasted being half-assed about my own gifts.
My dad during his more lucid times chided me about my "fear of success". I laughed off as me just being dilettante. I am not sure if he ever really believed that about me.

For the past ten years, my father and I had a tradition of spending Father's Day together in the local Pizza Hut. We would laugh and joke with one another. We talked baseball and about the weather. After eating, we took a short drive through town and ran a couple of errands. These visits gave our complicated relationship a much needed sense of normalcy.

My father passed away a couple of months from a massive heart attack and the pain of his loss is still fresh in my mind. His death has made me review how I have lived my life up until this point.  I am not going to waste any more time handbraking my life or feeling guilty about other people's problems.

Now is the time for me to take my turn at bat and this time I am swinging for the fences!

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