"Move over 'cause you're standing in my light."
- Ian Hunter
* * *
It is like 1978, '79 or thereabouts, and I acquire Ian Hunter's album, You're Never Alone With a Schizophrenic. I play it until no more sound emerges from the grooves except that very satisfying hiss and pop of vinyl records. I hadn't thought of or listened to it in over twenty-five years and then, clear as a bell, from out of whatever dark well of forgotten memories exists in me I had to hear it again and again and again.
* * *
Enough. Enough. Enough of the bullshit. Enough of the endless, withering crap of others' madness. Enough. The true hallmark of a fucked life is one that is constantly eclipsed by the vanity, fear and manipulations of those closest to it. Forever on our back foot, the fucked are too nice to insist on their place in the world. Don't want to cause any trouble and all.
Shit, dude, get over yourself and cause some fucking trouble. Push back against those who would push you around. Tell them, "Move over, 'cause you're standing in my light." And if they don't move shove them out of the way. But for fucked fuckers that is the one thing we don't know how to do. We equate all conflict with somehow being less, with being just like them, and so let others run riot over our lives.
How fucked it that?
Like I said, enough.
* * *
1978 or '79 or thereabouts I am fucked. It is my first trip down Fuck-Up Lane. I am smart, wicked smart for being just a punk-assed southwest-side kid. I know, I know am bound for something other than a life in the sleepy suburbs where dads work in trades and that is enough for them all. I know I am bound for what? glory? fame? something? I am accepted into the warm embrace of DePaul University's Freshman class in the fall of 1978. I attend orientation and then take a job cutting fabric in my mother's tiny dress factory.
Now I can tell you there wasn't money to go to college and that would be true. I can tell you I stepped in to help my mom as a stop-gap measure to help her out and that would be true. I can tell you it all worked out because I went to DePaul two years later and graduated with honors and that is true as well, but all three statements miss the truth behind the truth - I lacked the imagination to find my own money to attend; I lacked the ability to put myself ahead of my mother's needs; I lacked the strength of my convictions and did what was "selfless," and "good." In so doing I fucked myself.
What are our obligations to those closest to us? At what point do our needs recede and their's take precedence? When is it our turn?
Here's the news: it is always your turn - it is never your turn. When you live for a cause greater than yourself, then these acts truly are selfless and good, but when the cause is imposed on you (through guilt or threat) you are fucked. My decision to forgo college for two years was not made from strength, but weakness and it is a bad way, a crazy bad way to live. You know you've fucked up, but you can wear the patina of noble grace to fool everyone else.
* * *
Every life has within it the potential for ascendancy, for its moment in the sun. There is no set timetable for when that moment occurs. There may be hundreds and hundreds of opportunities for you to step into the light, your light. If someone is blocking you tell them to move. If they won't budge shove them out of the way. If they fight you and limit you keep this in mind: the only light that matters is the one inside you and you are the only one who can block that.
* * *
Let it roll.