Shame on me…

It’s funny how sometimes it takes awhile to realize what is the cause of increased fear. The sometimes, was my gift this past weekend…

My daughter Annie, who lives in Los Angeles, was taking a wine tasting birthday trip for her best friend, Tracy, who was celebrating her second 39th birthday.

They had done it right, renting a vehicle that would hold some twenty people and was driven by a non-wine tasting person. Like I said, they had done it the right way, the safe way.

But, how would Annie get home from Tracys? I wondered to myself . . . and the impending doom grew.

Knowing it always made me feel better to talk to someone else, I refused to call my son, Jason, because he would just tell me she will be fine. . .and he would be right. . . .and I would feel better. But, I didn’t want to bother him and most likely didn’t want him to know how crazy I was.

I sure couldn’t call Annie, after all she’s a woman who is in charge of her life and doesn’t need an over protective father.

I know I am NOT in charge of my daughter, or anything else, but when the impending doom is in full swing, I suffer. I know I have unwittingly given the damn impending doom to Annie, and that hurts me. . .badly.

By Saturday night I was a mess and couldn’t stop thinking  the worst would happen if Annie dared to attempt to drive home after a wine tasting journey.  I told myself trust God, he is in charge, but I went deeper into fear. How could I trust some one or some thing I believed in, but no one alive has ever seen.

I refused to call Annie because my struggle with this negativity made her angry. . .and it sure as hell triggered her struggle with impending doom, but I hadn’t thought about that until now.

Then it happened.

I realized that when Brannon and I went wine tasting… I went wild. Drank a lot, smoked dope, drank some more.

I thought about all the times I drove drunk, and by the grace of God wasn’t stopped by police.

It was then I realized that Annie was not Jerry. That she is a smart woman. I was feeding my impending doom and fear by projecting that my daughter was acting like I did . . . and that was my gift.

Annie is not Jerry.

It was my shame driving me. Shame for the way I had acted.  Shame on my shame.

That truism took 30 years of sobriety to finally surface.

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Impending Doom

        Impending doom crept into my being when I was very young. The fact is, probably when I was born and as I grew bigger, it grew worse all the way into adulthood.  It has caused a terrific amount of pain and I’ve lost many hours to it. I’ve said numerous times, this has got to stop but the demon did not stop.

It came from my mother, who was born to an unwed woman in 1908 and was raised in several foster homes. Never knowing her mother or father she searched for years trying to locate them and the parental love she never got.

Her tragedy was my reward and my terrible demon.

My reward?  My Mothers lack of parents helped her become a loving mother. The demon was that my mother was a control freak.

She always feared something bad had happened if I were just minutes late.She had to control absolutely everything.

As a result, all of my life, I also feared something bad had happened to my kids if I didn’t hear from them regularly.

That fear would cause worry and my imagination would run always to the negative, to the worst happenings and then I would obsess on that fear.

Impending doom stole hours of peace and replaced that with worry. I recall one time my mother was supposed to be home at a certain time and she didn’t show up. I was probably 10 years old at the time.

When she came home, it seemed like she was an hour late when in reality it was probably twenty minutes. I freaked out and started yelling and crying. I told her all the bad things I had been thinking and imagined and she told me not to worry because she was home, safe and sound. I can’t recall if she apologized or if my first session with impending doom caused her to think about her problem with the gloom of doom or not. The impending doom didn’t end. . .it grew.

I joined the army in an effort to get away from the doom. I didn’t get away from it. I married and was father to three children. The doom grew stronger and seemed to affect my daughter most of all, probably because I raised her from the time she was six years-old.

I struggle with the feeling, the belief, that life is always going to end in doom until I realize that only I can change that.

I, with the help of God.

 * * *

 Jerry writes on personal growth, happiness and life, including lowering stress in the work world. His book “Life is a Joke and God Wrote it” can be ordered through www.jerrystanecki.com

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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The Secret: Enjoy the journey and have faith

            “I feel sorry for people who can’t cry,” Verdie  McGee said over the phone from 800 miles away. “I really think crying makes you live longer.”

            Verdie is living proof.  She’s one of the best criers I know, and I’ve known her 35 years.

            Verdie Dempsey McGee, my former mother-in-law, is  telling me how she is struggling with the demons of (feeling) down.

            “ I thought I was over with those feelings, but every time I think of mother and daddy, I get sad. I woke up this morning and said I wasn’t  gonna’ cry. . .but I did. I laid there and had a big cry.”

            Verdie sounded like she might cry right then.

            “I’ll bet your felt better after,” I said.

            “I did.”

            The conversation switched to talk of what wonderful experiences Verdie’s life has brought. She talked of childhood in the mountains of North Georgia, when the Buttermilk Road was just a dirt passage that wagons and horses rumbled over. She told me of the time she first saw her first automobile— probably from one of “them” big cities nearby like, Cedartown or Rome, Georgia. And the time, on a bright sunny day, she stood there with her brothers and sisters as an “aeroplane” landed right there in front of them in the cotton fields. The pilot offering $2 rides to anyone brave and adventurous to go.

            Verdie talked of her teen years and Saturday night dances in Cave Spring, Ga., still a tiny town today. We talked of the days before radio and television and the marvel of those inventions that brought glorious sound and sight.

             She reminisced with stories of honeysuckle vines and springtime, of whippoorwills calling at night and thoughts of the great country singer Hank William’s being, “so lonesome he could cry.”

            She’s weathered tornadoes and the creek arisin’ and watched men fight world wars and men walk on the moon. In her lifetime, she’s seen more U.S.  President then she have fingers.

            It’s been rich, exciting life for this woman who still lives on the Buttermilk Road in the shadow of bald mountain and Pea Ridge.

            Amazingly, most of  Verdie’s  brothers and sisters are still alive, still livin’ within a stones throw—which is pretty close, ‘cause Verdie ain’t pitchin so hard anymore.

            One of the bad times in Verdie’s life was when doctors told her she had six months  “at best” to live. Lets see—that was about three years ago.  We talked about that prediction recently. “The doctor who told you that is probably dead, ” I said, and Verdie laughed hard.

            “I’ll be there for your 90th birthday and we’ll dance,” I told her.

             But, plans change, and I couldn’t make it to the Buttermilk Road.  I felt poorly about not making the celebration.  A big party was planned.

            When I called to say I’d be down in a few weeks Verdie was sleeping. Carolyn, my former wife, said she’d told her mom I couldn’t make it.

            “Mother says anytime you want to come is fine with her— if she is living.”

            That sounds like Verdie.

            Actually, it wouldn’t have done any good if I could have gone to Georgia because Verdie’s not there. She and Carolyn jumped in the car and drove 700 miles to Fort Lauderdale to visit my daughter Annie, sit by the sea and celebrate Verdie’s 90th birthday.

            Happy Birthday Verdie.*

*Editors note: This is a column Jerry wrote in 1999. Verdie McGee passed at age 91.

*

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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Talkin’ to…

Written by Jerry Stanecki

Funny, how good I feel when I pray. Thinking about it, I don’t know why I said “funny” because I realize it isn’t so funny.

Saying my prayers makes me comfortable within. I really don’t have any worries or fears while I thank my God for all that I have.

When in the morning and at bedtime, I get down on my knees, I feel a peacefulness . . . a completeness’ come over me.

Why do I get down on my knees?

It’s my way to be humble and show respect to a power greater than myself.  And when I get humble, I become teachable

I am thankful for many things.  My family, my cat, my home. I’m grateful for living as long as I have. Thankful for having been fired from four different jobs. . .so far. Thankful for the difficulty those firings caused. Thankful for what I learned in making a come back from being fired or told “You’re not liked, get out of here.”

It’s good to get out of yourself.

___


Copyright © 2017

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I was confused. . . until. . .

Written by Jerry Stanecki

I’ve put this off long enough. It’s five till seven on a Tuesday morning and I’m an hour late in writing about this experience. So, here goes nothing.

“I’d like to talk with you about the rest of what I said the other day and I’d like your feelings but not a ‘Just don’t think about it,’ input.”

Annie, my daughter, sat down in a chair across from me and looked like she was thinking, “Oh shit, this can’t be good.”

“The other day I said I feel like I’ve been alone too long because I think too much.” I said, “Well, the rest of what I wanted to say is I’ve been thinking a lot about dying.. . . I get up at 3 A.M., I’ve pretty much stopped reading the morning newspaper, I don’t cook anymore and eat basically breakfast and that’s it for the day with maybe a sandwich in the evening.”

My daughter must have been listening, strength she has, because I heard no “Just stop thinking . . .” from her. But what I heard was, “You know the old saying, don’t you?”

I tried to think about what she was saying, but just stared at her.

“You have to do the work.”

I didn’t think much about that.

“Find a girl friend and accept her for not being perfect. Accept her and her faults. Find something to do to get you busy instead of sitting in that chair. Get busy, call friends. You have to do the work. . .but remember, finding a girl friend, getting busy, won’t make you happy, you have to do that.” Annie said.

“I’ve tried to find a woman. . .

“It’s not easy, I know, I dated a nice guy who doesn’t have an interest in getting married or having a family. A real nice guy, but I’m not interested in a guy with four or five other girl friends.
“And, you threw a muffin at him. . . when you pulled up to a stop light and saw him in the car next to you with another woman.

“I didn’t, I was just kidding.”

“And, you gave him a dirty look.”

“That really didn’t happen.” Annie had a look on her face that said it did happen and that she was pleased about it.

I felt the muffin bit didn’t happen but was something Annie thought about doing and found pleasure in that thought.

“But remember, you have to make yourself happy. No one else can do that. You have to make yourself happy.”

I thought about what she was saying and it made sense.

“Write about getting old,”

It was not a smart-ass remark.

I liked what Annie was saying because there was a huge audience out there because a lot of people were getting old.

“We’ll submit it to AARP and a bunch of other magazines.”

I liked the sound of what she was saying but quickly thought negative, it will be rejected. But just as quickly thought positive, rejecting the negative. I liked it.

“Writing about my life in the current book has made me realize that I’ve done a lot, but not enough to make me financially set. Look at John. . .”

John isn’t happy. He worries all the time. He thinks about losing all his money, about who wants money from him, about his job. . .He worries all the time.”

You have to make yourself happy went through my mind at the same time I thought about how could I help John and his money worries. I though about myself worried about how I would loose my job at WXYZ, how I’d end up in the Cass corridor of Detroit despite having a contract, I worried a lot and knew what John was feeling. Then, I was fired from Channel 7 and I went to work for the competition, Channel 2, where I was fired. I didn’t end up in the Cass Corridor . . I ended up rebuilding a house in Bloomfield Hills, MI and creating a television show called “Home Sweet Home.”

I talked about that fear several times at self-help meetings and how the fear dissipated when I accepted the program.

What did I learn from all of this?

It’s really simple. . .replace FEAR with FAITH.


Copyright © 2017

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