That's who I amA Story by Mark
“Because that's who I am.” More often, as I grow older, I find myself thinking or saying this phrase. Not as an excuse for those things I don't like about myself (like my s**t-lust for pasta), but for those things I have figured out that I like, and prefer, about myself.
My father told me the other day I need to start saying the rosary. That my life was the pits, and the blessed Mother would help me out if I just prayed to her. He told me 'what can it hurt?'
I had to think about this. What could it hurt? For 40+ years off and on, I pretended to be Catholic, (although Catholicism is close to being Jewish in some ways; more culture than faith), and in all that time I prayed for faith.
I pretended to have it as soon as I understood what it meant, but I never really could quite bring myself to believe in all that the Church dictates is Truth. Always in the back of my head I was questioning. Always I was praying for the big F. 'God please give me Faith!' became an unspoken mantra of mine. The tension between non belief and desire to believe had a lot to do with my misery for most of my life.
Not that I have a single thing against the Catholic Church, I have known many fine Catholics, and the Church is the institution that it is, and as defines all institutions, self preservation is its primary, if unstated, goal. I can understand the faith Catholics have, it is just not my faith.
So when I thought about Dad's statement regarding my life being 'the pits' (I think that is the word he use, if not it was something similar) I started thinking about what makes my life the pits right now. Basically, its the lack of money. There is the fact that I have no woman to share my life with, but then, realistically, I'm not going to find 'Sugar Momma', making the possibility of finding a soul mate dependent upon the fact that I am broke.
When I think back to a time when I did have money, I think about the fact that at the time I never considered doing or saying anything 'because that's who I am'. I worked a job because I had a family to support. I was married to a woman I didn't love because, well, way too complicated to explain here. I had money, but I was miserable. Except for a brief period of three years out of twenty, I didn't really like my job. There were times it was rewarding, but mostly the stress far exceeded the compensation I received. When I was downsized, I was in shock, I had no idea what I was going to do but looking back, I can't imagine being that person working that job now, 'because that's who I am'.
My life has always been the pits if I wanted to look at it that way, but I can say for certainty that now I am in a place that I mostly want to be. I write. I've always wanted to write. I took a few halfhearted stabs at it throughout my life, starting when I was seven and wrote about a lonely school desk during the summer. They were always halfhearted and mostly I concealed or ignored the fact that I was a writer; an artist.
I may be terrible at it, I may never make a living at it, I may even die before anyone else really sees me that way, but I know I am.
I ignored who I am because I had to make a living. I refused to believe it because it was a silly dream and silly dreams are not for the responsible who go out in the world and earn a paycheck and have families, take out loans for cars and homes and charge their Visas at Walmart on a regular basis. I wanted to 'fit in' all the while knowing, down deep, that I didn't; that I was different.
I always knew I was different. I always knew this wasn't me, it wasn't making me happy. I hid from a lot of it by blaming it on my marriage. I was miserable because I was in a marriage I didn't want to be in, but that was never the whole story.
So now, I'm past middle age and looking at the downhill side of my life and have finally come to grips with who I am. I am a writer. Not because I want to be lazy; in fact I love hard work and the satisfaction you get from it; the good sort of tired that lets you sleep peacefully at night and appreciate the leisure earned. I'm not a writer because I don't want to get a 'real' job. In fact, a 'real' job will be much easier for me now knowing that it is not a career path but simply a means of putting food on my table while I pursue my real avocation.
I am a writer because that is who I am. That is what makes me feel right, feel my place in the world, feel centered and balanced in a world where I was always a stranger before. I am a writer because I love sitting down and putting my thoughts into words. I am writer because I am a dreamer and the visions I have, when set down, satisfy some hunger in me.
So I found it a bit strange that a follower of Christ would tell me my life is 'the pits' simply because I'm broke. I may be broke, but I am far from miserable. If I end up homeless and looking for a place to sleep every night and only enough work to see me through the next meal, I will not be miserable for I know what it is I am meant to do. I know that as long as I can write, I am doing what I love.
Because that is who I am.
© 2012 Mark
Added on April 25, 2012
Last Updated on April 25, 2012
AboutI"m a gypsy born in New Hampshire, raised in Alaska, schooled in Washington, raised a family in California. Recently settled in Houston area. Where to next? I don't really have to think about it, it j.. more..
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