Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Session One

First one on one session today and wow!  Today I learned something that changed quite a lot: I learned the influence of the movie Roxanne and, by extension, Cyrano De Bergerac has had on my outlook on life.  And this was just one session....I should tell you the story now too and, by extension, tell future self.   And yes, I am digging "by extension" today so there!  =P

I am not going to recap the story of either Roxanne or Cyrano De Bergerac, so if you don't know them I guess  you have homework to do.   I will recap one scene that had an impact on me however- the bar scene from Roxanne.   This is from memory, so it may be wrong to the actual movie, but since it is memory, it is what has influenced me since.   I mean none of us are influenced by events, but rather how we remember them.

So there is a scene where CD (Steve Martin's character- get it?  CD= Cyrano De Bergerac) is in a bar and he overhears someone mocking his nose.  Annoyed by it, but eager to impress a girl he is attracted to, he engaged with the mocker intellectually rather than physically.  He berates the man for such a weak pun in the face of such an amazing target and bets he can do better.   He then proceeds to unleash a barrage of insults at himself thus removing all the power of the bully while, at the same time, humiliating him.    I had a big nose.   I was bullied and made fun of.  I couldn't fight for crap.  This scene was illuminating and inspiring: both for the better and for the worse.

For the better, I developed a quick wit and sense of humor.   I became confident in something and actually developed the ego that evolved into "Kanrei."  My humor made me friends and I was "that guy"for a while: the guy who said what you were thinking and didn't seem to fear saying it.  But myself was still my favorite target.  My humor was biting and sarcastic and I could feel my ego growing which is something I never had, so self depreciation was used to both keep myself in check and to I suppose make any other targets of my humor alright since I used myself most.    This worked out great and it is how, as I said, I developed my written voice known as "Kanrei," but I was developing bad habits that went unrealized until today's first session.

The funny thing is, I so over-analyze absolutely ever single aspect of my life that it amazes me I never put this together, but it seems 30 plus years of using oneself as a target for humor can alter how you see yourself.  When you look in the mirror, you stop seeing a person and start seeing a punchline.  You become your own bully and one you can't escape from.  

Now, before cancer, I could fight off this bully.  I had confidence and still had that youthful sense of immortality that gave me all the time in the world to overcome any insecurities I might still have, but cancer changed all that.  I was suddenly not only mortal, but in my last act and my insecurities were still growing daily and my humor fed them.   They grew strong as I grew weak and, as cancer stripped everything from me, those insecurities remained and took up the newly empty spaces.   Then came the bag...

I joked before I started down the "treatment road" that I could handle anything, but a colostomy bag.  It was fear number one.  I even feared having the bag more than dying from cancer.   Hell, I might have chosen death over the bag if I were alone in the world, but I had family and friends, so it was not a choice at all.

I remembered something my Rabbi said when I went to an Orthodox school in sixth grade.  He was teaching us about the Inquisition and asked us "who were more faithful: the Jews who converted to spare their lives or those who died rather than convert?"   Confidently, we all said those who died rather than convert because they stood true to their beliefs.  

"But they are dead," the Rabbi countered.   "G-d gave them a gift with life.  Life is filled with obstacles both great and small; and each is something you must find a way to stay true to yourself and overcome to preserve G-d's greatest gift.   It is not supposed to be easy."

He continued: "I believe" (He always started with that which is a habit I have to this day), "I believe the more faithful were those who said what was wanted to be heard and prayed as they always did in their minds.  G-d cares not what you call Him, but cares that you call Him.  If there is a gun to your head and it is 'pray to my god or die,' you pray to their god and worship your's. You then try to teach them your faith using their texts.   You teach, you inspire, and you live."

All of that is paraphrased from memory and probably nowhere near close to what he actually said, but it is what I got from it and it ties back to the bag: I had no choice but to get it.  This was my latest obstacle for me to overcome in my quest to honor G-d by preserving life.   This mental baggage is the newest obstacle, but not the last one and I will overcome this one  too.

It is obvious based on this plethora of verbiage that these one on one sessions are going to help a lot.  She listens and asked the right questions.  She stumped me more than once about how I feel about things and the fact I had no answer was quite informative.  

I think I am just tired of writing  right now.  CURSE YOU ADHD!


joanie78 said...

Rob got the Rabbi question correct.
Good for you. Your journey has finally begun
Love you said...

I think the hardest thing about being a writer . . . is being honest. I believe that is your greatest asset.