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Caught between the moon and Parma City - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Caught between the moon and Parma City [Jan. 13th, 2004|12:11 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |optimisticoptimistic]

I have always hated the movie Arthur II with a vitriolic, acid loathing.

Even though I've never actually seen it.

Judging from its poor showing at the box office, the rest of America felt the same way that I did: betrayed. Arthur was a wonderful fairytale story about a petulant drunkard, rich and spoiled but under the thumb of his domineering mother, who meets and falls in love with a woman not of Mother's choosing. He abandons his arranged marriage and finally stands up for himself, and he drives away to live happily ever after, saved from the emasculating matron by True Love. He had discovered what was making him miserable, had found the core of his problems, and now things were going to be right. Everyone left the theatre smiling.

A couple years later, Arthur II hit the theatres. Instead of straightening up, becoming a man, and living happily ever after, Arthur was still a drunk, had run through his fortune, and was back for more madcap adventures. The public was singularly unimpressed, and not just because the followup movie was a poorly made attempt to cash in on past success. The memory of the first movie was permanently tarnished, tattered by the revelation that Arthur had been completely incapable of holding it together. He hadn't been a frog prince, awaiting the loving kiss of a princess who saw through the evil curse and believed in him. He was, after all, just one more drunk. Our disappointment was deep, and we turned our back on the very memory of the affable drunkard/hero.

And yet, I have come to believe now that Dudley Moore might have made the movie for more reasons than just a badly-executed milking of the cash cow. Moore himself was a man with addiction issues, who understood far better than his audience that the epiphinal moment is not the end of the journey, only the beginning. Arthur - and Moore - still had a lot of pain to work through, but the audience didn't want to see that.

We have come to believe in our happily-ever-afters, and to think that naming a problem and solving that problem should be the same thing. I have poor self-esteem because my father rejected me. I overeat because of my mother's continual beratement. I drink because my parents were too controlling. I beat my wife because my dad beat my mom and I never learned any coping skills. I am depressed/neurotic/angry because I was mistreated. When the epiphany comes, the moment of realization, we are supposed to veer away from our destructive path, set our feet to the mountain and climb, unimpeded by the baggage of the past.

Real life isn't that easy. Real life is filled with huge complications, and the history of habit and familiarity, and the difficulty of living day-to-day without the crutches that used to prop one up. The best of intentions can be sorely taxed by the dailiness of life. It's cold, I'm tired, I think I'm coming down with something - I guess I can skip working out just this once. It's a special day/hard day/happy day - I can indulge myself in this little goody. One drink won't hurt me. She really made me mad, so yeah I hit her just this once....

I could send just one e-mail, say just one thing, and it would be all right. Except it wouldn't, just like all these other things aren't all right. It doesn't matter how well I can justify it, there are rules, there are lines, and they are not to be crossed. A recovering Psycho-holic needs to stay within her limitations. It's not always easy, but I consider it a very good sign that when I find myself tempted I am now talking myself out of the temptation instead of finding ways to justify giving in to it. My former pattern was to find the excuse to run an end-around. I am now able to look at my actions in the cold light of day and say, that is not acceptable and no amount of lying to yourself will change that. That's a big change for me.

Alcoholics Anonymous has Twelve Steps, but admitting that one has a problem is only Step One. It's a crucial step without which nothing else can go forward, but the moment of realization is only the start. It's a bit like Yule. We celebrate the turning of the planet back toward light, but the long cold of winter is still before us and must be faced, day after day, each day logically progressing toward warmth and light but the individual days varying - some calm and pleasant, some stormy and bitter. The temperature climb is never smooth or incrimental or terribly predictable. So, too, the climb toward being a better person is fraught with challenges, bumps, moments of backsliding. But every success, every temptation not indulged, is one more step toward good habits, one more self-affirming moment of faith in my ability to be as strong and good and kind as I want to be, both to others and to myself. Every time I do not cross boundaries, I strengthen my belief that I can both respect them and demand that they be respected.

The days are growing longer, and the sun is higher in the sky.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: scarletdemon
2004-01-13 09:49 am (UTC)
Keep it up...you're doing great. My taste for drama fades with each passing day (at least as far as the main one went). If you need to talk, you know how to find me :)

You really helped me to decide, you know. Until then I thought other people were just telling me to be mean. Heh.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-13 12:29 pm (UTC)
If I had time in my life, you would definitely be hearing more from me - it's been kinda crazy though!

It does get easier, overall. And I'm glad to be away from the tears and frustrations.
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[User Picture]From: wolflady26
2004-01-13 10:07 am (UTC)
Beautiful entry. I'm adding it to my Memories :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-13 12:30 pm (UTC)
Gosh, thanks!
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[User Picture]From: roadnotes
2004-01-13 10:08 am (UTC)
One day at a time. One online session at a time. So it goes.

I find myself thinking about letters/emails to send to people -- which ties in to my core belief that the burden of clear communication is solely mine, and that if I can say it clearly enough everything will be fine, and if it doesn't, then it's all my fault.

...and, as I type this, I suspect that there's more than a little psychodrama addiction to that belief. Ick. Shall have to look at this idea more closely, and get back to you. (It looks nasty and probably true -- that's the problem.)
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[User Picture]From: barelyproper
2004-01-13 10:23 am (UTC)
sorry to completely go off topic here, but wow, you are so stunningly beeautiful. You probably hear it all the time but I had to mention it.

Must go read journal now so as to not be so shallow and be able to see the beauty inside as well.
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2004-01-13 10:59 am (UTC)
Your communication is the most paramount thing, and that's the critical issue. It's not psychodramatic to think that "you're responsible for how something comes across."

It is psychodramatic, however, to confuse "explaining properly" with "convincing someone." They can hear you just fine and disagree, but there are a lot of people for whom "I hear you" and "I agree with you" are the same concept, and cannot believe that someone would hear them - really hear them - and not agree with their wonderful words.

Sometimes, people just don't want to listen.
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From: ladytabitha
2004-01-13 12:59 pm (UTC)
Or, sometimes people are hung up over phrasing things perfectly.  When coupled with talking to people who continue to mishear them...

(Which I see as mis-shear.)

Doesn't help that language only conveys so much of what's in our heads.
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[User Picture]From: roadnotes
2004-01-13 02:08 pm (UTC)
"Sometimes, people just don't want to listen."

Painfully true.

(I'm also thinking of myself at a point where I heard someone tell me clearly, "I've lied to every other woman I've ever been involved with" and I refused to hear, "...and I will lie to you, too." But also of my ex Peabrain, who could not hear, "It hurts me when you complain about my not being Jewish, because you knew I was not Jewish when we met.")
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-13 03:54 pm (UTC)
There are people who, no matter what you say, are so married to their agenda that they will never, ever hear you. Eventually, and for everyone's sake, you have to give up. It only fosters pain and more pain.

Psycho-holism is surprisingly easy to fall into, because up to a point there is a warm-and-fuzziness to it - all that feedback, all that drama. Believe me when I say that I had a head full of it in the car on the way to work. It's learning not to unleash it on the world, that's the first step.
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[User Picture]From: barelyproper
2004-01-13 10:24 am (UTC)

Thank you.

very well put and as always beautifully written. This is one of the many times I am smacked up side my head with admiration for you.

Thank you for sharing this and reminding me of what I needed to hear.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-13 03:56 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank you.

Gosh, thanks.
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2004-01-13 10:59 am (UTC)
Possibly one of your best-written entries, sweetie. Beautiful imagery.

I love you for trying, and I love you for you.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-13 04:49 pm (UTC)
I love you, too.
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From: ex_nyxluna594
2004-01-13 12:44 pm (UTC)
i have nothing profound to say here but just wanted you to know i love reading your journal.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-13 03:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks. A lot.
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[User Picture]From: moominmuppet
2004-01-13 12:53 pm (UTC)
*nod* Well-put.
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[User Picture]From: wolfieboy
2004-01-13 03:01 pm (UTC)

Re: caught between the moon

For me, I don't want movies to depict real life. I can see real life all around me. For me, most of the time, I want to see the hero prosper and the villian fail. In real life, there are no villians, just people who are doing the best with what they've got and the real heroes rarely ever think of themselves as such.

In real life, we do need to go one step at a time and the little victories really are sweet.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-13 03:59 pm (UTC)

Re: caught between the moon

I completely agree. Which is why, despite all this, I STILL hate Arthur II.

[g]
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[User Picture]From: wolfieboy
2004-01-13 04:07 pm (UTC)

Re: caught between the moon

Definitely. I've never seen it and I took great exception to it.

It belongs in the same class as Highlander II: The Sickening. And there are very few movies there.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-13 04:09 pm (UTC)

Re: caught between the moon

[hearty nods of agreement]
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[User Picture]From: correspondguy
2004-01-13 10:23 pm (UTC)
Nice job.

If I might suggest - the temptation never goes away. The thing is to remove the defects of character that make feeding the addiction important. As in "Why do I need to be right?" or "Why is it so important that I repeat this statement again?" or "Why does this matter so much to me?"

"We do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it."
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-14 03:49 am (UTC)
Good points. I am working through a lot here, so the observations ae welcome.
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[User Picture]From: kathrynrose
2004-01-16 09:46 am (UTC)
Beautiful.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-16 09:47 am (UTC)
Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: taisidhe
2004-07-18 08:57 am (UTC)

haven't read this so my comment is prolly OT

but one of the things I love most about your journal is that you tend to give them topics that are song titles/lyrics... or unreasonable facsimiles thereof.

*giggles*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-19 04:17 am (UTC)

Re: haven't read this so my comment is prolly OT

I like the song title thing, though not well enough to think one up for every single post!
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