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Monday, September 13, 2010

The Hero Is Missing

So I'm zeroed in on The Oprah Show today .... the premiere of her 25th, and final, season. She's always been a source of inspiration and encouraging others to make their lives great. The show opens up with John Travolta providing a toast to his friend Oprah which included these powerful words: "..... because you inject the spirit into our society of life. You care. Your intelligence, your inspiration, and you do it all without judging, and because you treat everyone equally important, and this makes you a great American hero. You represent the best of our country and what's possible in our country. But, more importantly, you are a citizen of the world, and you are a hero to mankind. So we are better for knowing you...." And I began to cry. Because I can think of about a small handful of people who would raise a glass to me and tell me that I've been a hero to them. And that makes me very very sad. Because that's what I would like for my life to be to others. I've been called a "drama queen" by a very close and dear friend and it hurts...and not in a teasing, humorous sort of way. And, perhaps, its true. I do tend to tear up easily....quite in opposition to the hard, crusty exterior that I often exude. I began to cry because those words are precisely, exactly, what I wish others thought of me. And, honestly and without digging for an overabundance of "You're my hero" comments, I feel so far, extreme distance, from anything closely related to those words.

I have always tried to be a positive person -- encourage others, listen, pass along helpful advice, encourage positive change in others, and such. But the past years of my life have me down. Quite far down at this particular point. For some of the very first times in my 48 years, I feel some fleeting, passing, moments of depression. I never, ever thought that I'd be so under appreciated for who I am as a person. I have been hurt and undervalued by those very, very close to me. And after years of it happening, it is clearly taking its toll on me. I have been spoken ill of by those who I try to help. I have been told that I have poor timing when all I was trying to do is help. My mind whirs with ideas and thoughts about how to make those around me happy. I am constantly in thought for those around me with illness, sick pets, surgeries, the passing of partners, job losses, and bank account losses. I try, I try, I try. But I've stopped. I feel like I'm wishing for something but ending up with far, far less. People tell me that I look tired regularly. I'm eating whatever I can find....far more than I need to be. And, no, I am not looking for sympathy or pats on the back. I'm simply telling you where I am today. Because you are my friends. Because I owe it to me, and to you.

I used to be a hero to some. And now I'm an enemy to some. And it doesn't make me happy. It is not how I choose to live my life but it is precisely what my life is today. 48 has never felt so much like 88.


Blair said...

I am in awe. My hero is not missing. He is right here, right now across the room from me. He has never been far, even during the most troubling and challenging times.

My hero has been my strength and my light and the strength and light of so many around him.

I love you and only wish you could lean on me and I can be to you know what you have been to me and so many others for so long....a hero!

DanNation said...

Let's go back to 1967 and start over...we can wear flowers in our hair. Remember two things - 1) it's never too late to be a hero; 2) hero is a subjective term. None of us will ever be Oprah. Jimmi maybe....

LSL said...

I hope that this is just a down in the ups and downs of life, Lewis. I think it's less important to be positive and more important to be yourself. I don't want you to feel depressed, but I do want to know the authentic you. And maybe the increased tiredness, sadness, discouragement is an indication of how many hard things you've had to deal with these past few years. Maybe that's what's real right now. Those things can be good teachers, and you are a student of life, I know. You're a great person, Lewis, and that's enough. Everything that you are is enough. That's what I think anyway. xo

CJ/Rick said...

What can a www friend say? I too can be moved to tears easily and I don't like that about myself. But on the same note I can get pissed off just as easily.
I don't even know you and I think more of you than Oprah. (And where was I when John Travolta's hair got all f*cked up?)
You're a hero everyday on the job.
You have a stressful job with lot's of responsibilties. I'm sure many,many, people think of you as a hero.
We all have feelings of depression. It's called day-to-day living.
I used to hate it when my Dad would tell me to "buck up". But buck up Lewis.;)

Rick said...

Sorry to hear but this too shall pass. We all get in a funk now and again. The trick is too not beat ourselves up on it. (I'm not very good at that.)

Oprah is indeed an inspiration but a tough act to follow. While a great role model, when it all comes down to it, she's a performer with a cast of thousands to make her look good.

Lemuel said...

Your words resounded with me, but I've just decided to embrace the misanthropic curmudgeon that is me.

Anonymous said...

I know you said you're not seeking pats on the back, but it seems like you need some centering, focus, and a reality check. And I hope you hear this reality check.....when Wink went blind, you were an incredible support to us, even though we had never met. Your constant checking in, voice of support, and even coming over to meet and see her and me, I will be forever grateful. It was touching to know someone else out there cared and understood, and would take the time to be so kind. I really have thought a lot about that, and how it's such a good example to me of what to do for others in times of crisis. So often people are frozen or stay away or words fall flat, but your support was incredible.

BosGuy said...

Come back to the healing powers of Provincetown.

A weekend here post-season can do wonders. If you've never visited post-season, you may be surprised by how cathartic it is.

Noel said...

Be courteous and be fully open to being the man you are. Those who love you matter. Those who don't don't.

Ur-spo said...

Being a Hero is hard work and often to the detriment of being you. Best to be who you is; and 'they will come'.

wcs said...

Words of Wisdom from the Wizard of Oz: "A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others."

And by the looks of things your heart has been judged pretty darned well! And with Mr. BK's comment there, what else do you need? :)

Birdie said...

I like Ur-Spo's comment.

Rather than struggle to be a hero, let us all try for heroic moments. That is a realistic goal. Even Mother Teresa had moments when she didn't believe: in herself, in God, in her work. We are all human beings, and that means we will fail at something sometime, repeatedly. If you have ever been a hero to one person, you have succeeded where many have failed.

Alan Bennett Ilagan said...

I think you're a hero to a lot more people than you may think. Just because we don't always say it (and that is our fault) doesn't mean it's not true.

Anne said...

how many times were you there for me? how many times did i wish i were more like you? how many times did i wanna smack ya? how many times did you wanna smack me? how many times have i thought, "what would colonel do"? how many times have i emulated you? how many times have i simply just wanted to be with you and not let go?

hmmmmm, me thinks you're my HERO!

Jim said...

I've found myself is similar places before. I don't know your answer, but I will share what worked for me.

I stopped trying to make everyone else's world perfect. I took a step back and focused on myself. It sounds selfish at first, I know.

But I thought of it as stopping to refuel. You can't fly in the sky without stopping on the ground to refuel.

When I found my center (or in my case, my off-center) and my tank was a little more full, people that surrounded me had less of an effect.

And so I'll ask, are you remembering to make time for yourself and continuing your yoga?