Sunday, August 30, 2009

don't cry for me, next door neighbor

As I was eating breakfast this morning, I turned the TV on and started flipping through channels, when I came across an old rerun of Beverly Hills, 90210. It was one I had seen before and obviously it had made an impression on me, because I remember thinking how touching the end was. In the episode, Dylan was having a funeral for his murdered father - which was stirring stuff up for him. And during the episode, Dylan kept having visions of a Dylan that represented his inner self, who kept talking to him, whispering to him his fears, and tempting him to give in to his alcohol addiction. At the end, as he's coming to some peace about his father, he resolves not to give in to his addiction and the vision of the inner Dylan turns in to a little boy. The last scene is of the adult Dylan holding and consoling the younger, crying Dylan. And I don't know if it was the music playing or what, but it really got to me. I'd seen it before, but this time it hit me. And of course, I started to cry. And of course, I went on YouTube to look up that song so I could listen to it some more and cry some more. I knew I needed to. I knew this was one of those times when the tears shouldn't be stifled.

And stifled they weren't! I've not cried like that in so long. There were low, guttural sounds, high-pitched squeals, silent pantings that left me breathless. I'd howl, I'd blow my nose, I'd bawl, I'd blow my nose, and then I'd wail some more. It went on for about 45 minutes.

I hadn't known that I needed to cry. I didn't know that I had anything to cry about. But I found out. Images of my life bubbled up, sore spots. No one's is really, I guess, but my childhood wasn't the smoothest of rides - a very tempestuous stepfather, years-long, relentless fun my schoolmates had at my expense. I entered adulthood with a very shaky self-esteem. It was that sort of thing: memories of rejections I've had - both understood and not so much, crappy things and people I've seen, stupid, selfish things I've done, lots of doubt and guilt over the young man I've been. These all popped in my brain, overcooked kernels.

I thought of my young self, the young boy who was made fun of mercilessly and I went to him and hugged him. I told him all the things I've come to know about the world, about people, and about him. I told him that he was perfect just the way he was, that he was loved, that he was going to be okay. I cried for him. I wanted to save him from walking down the sort of path that I walked; I wanted to protect him and to let him know all that I could have benefited from being told when I was little. I felt a compassion for my present self, knowing that I knew what I knew how to do at the time and that I would have done better if I could - and I cried for him, too. And then I felt a release. I had the feeling of a Higher Self, an older (perhaps my 80-year-old) self, wrapping his arms around ME - telling me that I am okay, I'm loved, and that I'm perfect just the way I am.

It hurt living through those things again. I called out to God, asking for help with shedding these thoughts and the negativity stored up that doesn't serve me. I know that's what these tears were for.

The tears eventually stopped, but I knew I wasn't finished. I still felt like I had pent up energy. I've always heard of primal scream therapy, which I assumed was just raw, primal screaming at the top of your lungs - not sure if that's true - but that's what I tried. I didn't want to alarm my grandmother, so I hopped in the car and went for a drive, so that I could scream in privacy. Down the road, though, after a few decent hollers, nothing felt shifted, so I just drove to the park and sat in the parking lot.

With fall approaching, nights and mornings are cooler, and it made the morning breeze so nice. I sat with the windows down and just watched, feeling both amped up and drained. I looked around, the scene lovely. The birds hanging around, and one in particular who hopped by to say hi, there were people playing tennis, there was the creaking of the swing set, a man wandering aimlessly talking to someone on his cell phone about physical fitness, a little boy driving in to a trash can on his miniature four-wheeler, a bicyclist, joggers and walkers, and a barking dog.

Everywhere I looked - there was Life.
There were no juvenile traumas or mistakes being made, no self-loathing, no more tears.

Just a guy at the park.
Just Life taking place.

As I drove home, I knew I still wasn't through! Often, when riding any kind of emotion, really, I turn the music up and sing. I turned up my speakers and blared my iTunes. Think, Shania Twain's "Up." Think, Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping." The more I sang, the more Spirit that moved through me. I got up and danced around my room. And the more that I danced, the more that Spirit moved through me. And then - finally! - came the screams. Now, my family - especially my brave grandmother - are very aware of my long-standing eccentricities, but with this, I feared my grandmother might think I'd gone entirely mad. My blood and speakers pumping, I screamed, yelled, and made hellacious sounds. I twirled, danced, spun around my room; alternating between singing, screaming at the top of my lungs, and catching my breath. An ecstatic, lunatic soul. It was fucking awesome!!!

I couldn't help but imagine there was somehow a hidden camera in my room and that my fool-ass would wind up on YouTube for millions to see. I also wondered if the people on the second stories of the two houses across the alley could spot me through the bedroom window. I wondered how I must have looked there from the outside in. I couldn't care less, though. I hoped they could see. When you're that aligned, not a single thing can touch you.

I was unleashed, man.
It flew up and out my cells and heart.

So, thanks, Dylan.

That was surrender and release at their very best.
I don't know what brought this all about - but it was needed and it was good.

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