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Resolutions & Realizations

Unlike a lot of other posts, I’m writing this with the full realization that people are going to read it. So really, I’m writing this because I know it’ll be read, not in spite of the fact. If nothing else, maybe this is the traditional bullshit manifesto that I seem to write at the start of every new year. Anyway…
I lay in bed for about an hour this morning, hitting our toll-free snooze button and wondering what I should be doing with myself today. My first inclination was to work on the part-time project that has generally been my focus the past several weeks, but that hasn’t proven financially advantageous just yet. Quite simply, we need money too desperately. So for the next hour or so, I’m going to go through the Sunday paper and see what jobs might be out there. Not that I’ve had any luck in that regard, but it’s not like we can afford for me to stop trying. This doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon the project that I agreed to help with. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been doing for the past three weeks or so, even if server re-sets wiped out two days worth of work on one occasion. But so far it’s been a labor of love which hasn’t helped to pay the bills.
In general, I’m in a pretty positive mood. In spite of the fact that I got sucked into a Battlestar Galactica marathon last night and didn’t get into bed until after midnight (best laid plans and all that). There’s no way to explain it, really, but I feel very positive about 2009. I’m not going to go back and look over past journal entries, because I’ve probably felt positive about every year since 1985. I don’t imagine that reading about how wrong I’ve been for the past 24 years will do much for my general outlook. But I’m still determined that this year is going to be different. Dammit.
Of course, if I didn’t honestly believe that this year will be a great one, I wouldn’t be writing this. Something feels different now. It’s not just blind hope. I can feel the planets aligning. Proverbially speaking, of course. Not that I assume things will just happen. There’ll be a lot of hard work involved. But I really believe that this is the year I finally break through my habitual malaise and strike a blow deep into the heart of my traditional apathy. In 1994 I had self-made wisdom plastered all over my apartment in the form of pieces of paper that said, “Wicasta – be alive!” Now I feel that the sentiment is possible in a way that’s far beyond a simple admonition.
I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here. I’m spewing a lot of words that aren’t connected to anything.
Maybe I should just say that I sat out on the back porch in the dark for a long time last night. After getting home from band practice last night, I was keenly aware that something had shifted inside of me. Something had changed. There was this faint, glowing ember of something inside of me that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I’d love to be able to report that I had some kind of profound, life-changing experience, but the truth of it is simply that I felt something that I hadn’t known was missing. Playing with the band might have a little to do with it. Not in the simplistic explanation that it’s cool to be playing with a band again. It’s almost like learning those songs and jamming with those guys has helped awaken a sort of self-realization, in some way. But that’s just one part of the puzzle.
I think maybe that as much as I’ve schemed and planned through the years about how to get around to recording music and writing, the process of keeping that hope alive through the years had somehow turned my past into little more than a museum display. Like a shrine to the potential that I once had, and might have again. When I wound up in Saint Petersburg, I just assumed that I’d throw off all those wasted years, break the glass on that proverbial display case, and get back to it. But that’s proven harder than I’d ever imagined. It’s not that the skills are missing. Whether writing, making music or drawing, the skills were still there. Something else was missing. Something critical.
I realized last night while I was sitting out on the porch that poor Victoria got the raw end of the deal where our relationship is concerned. She may have wanted me, but what she got was the shell of the person I used to be. September 11, 2001 was only the first tragedy of the decade. After that, my aunt Sis died. Then my father-in-law, Tom. Then my aunt Loretta. I saw my financial fortunes rise dramatically, only to fall as dramatically into an abyss within a year. My marriage failed. I lost my house and home, followed by most of my worldy possessions. Then I spent a year living alone on a truck, roaming the country like some ghost that could find no peace, staring out through the window at the people whose lives had purpose, meaning and some sense of belonging. No, what Victoria got for all of her love was a shell of man; something that looked like Wic and maybe acted like Wic, but inside was made of pullies and levers and gears.
Sure, I’ve come a long way since coming to Florida. But in some small way I always felt like I was playing a role, and Victoria deserved much better than that. “Ladies and gentlemen, playing the part of Wicasta is the faceless dopelganger that watches itself go through the motions of being human.” I don’t mean to imply that I’ve been dishonest or anything. Just that as much as I love Victoria and as happy as she’s made me, I’d kept my head down for so long and just took whatever damage was inflicted upon me that I honestly haven’t known how to be anything else. While I was gifted with the love of a beautiful, wonderful, spirited woman who has an amazing strength of spirit and determination, what she got in return was a marionette that could function well enough to fool people into thinking it was human, but didn’t know what it really meant.
Maybe it’s just the fact that a new year is upon us. I don’t know. But on the way to band practice yesterday afternoon, I found myself calm and peaceful. I wasn’t nervous at all. When we played, I enjoyed it. Hell, I even enjoyed my many mistakes. At least this time my mistakes were a little more musical (although next time I think I’ll take the power adapter for my effects processor so that I don’t have to use the Country Joe sound). After practice, as I was heading home, I turned on the radio. I noticed that I was enjoying the music that was blaring out of the speakers. It was that modern grunge stuff that I don’t much care for but can listen to anyway. But I found myself kind of getting into it. For just a moment the music wasn’t just background noise, or the traditional but ultimately shallow observance of old songs that used to get your blood moving. For just a moment, I was enjoying the moment and not analyzing the experience. I was just a guy who could catch his breath, who was enjoying driving down the road, and for whom for the first time in a long time the surrounding cars were not just targets to avoid.
That’s when I realized that something was shifting inside of me. As much as I like playing with the band and learning songs, it’s not enough to simply say that I enjoy playing again. Though I’m sure it’s a factor. For the most part, I think maybe some perceptual shift have been moving into place. Sure, playing is helping, because it’s forcing me to start thinking like a musician again, and it’s stirring up that faint ember of creativity that I’d started thinking had gone out.
All I know is that as aware as I am that we have a lot of problems around here that need to be addressed (financially, I mean), somehow it just all feels different now. Somehow it all seems possible. The one phrase that got stuck in my head last night when I was sitting on the back porch was “there is hope”. Really, when it all comes down to it, what I’m feeling is that simple. There is hope. In spite of the years of evidence that support the defeatist attitude that no matter how much I try I’m still going to be stuck in the proverbial quicksand, in spite of the stunning losses and damages of this decade, there is hope.
I don’t know if I’ve put any of this in a way that makes any sense. I don’t even know why I’m writing it, except maybe to TRY to make some sense of it. All I really know is that for a brief moment when I was on the way home last night, I felt a familiar presence. It took me a long moment to realize that the presence I was feeling was me. And though I didn’t actually say it, some part of my psyche registered that familiarity, and said “Oh, there you are”.
2009 is going to be a good year. It already is, actually. For a moment I’ll indulge my flair for melodrama, long enough to say that it might just be possible that Wic is back. Maybe I still walk around in this overweight shell, but there’s that faint ember inside, dammit, that I’m not going to let it dim again. Instead of letting life happen to me, I’m going to take hold of it and shape it to my own damned liking. That’s not a resolution. That’s an intent. Changes have to be made. And they will be.
Well, I wouldn’t be much of a writer if I didn’t end this with a zinger. Every journal entry or story needs to end with something that sticks in the mind, if only for a moment. Obviously, sitting right before us is the perfect way to end this; a sentiment that seems more important than ever, but which now isn’t just some psychological trick designed to help me stayed focused on something that I was writing once upon a time. Now it’s more of an incantation and a statement of hope. Now it’s something that I don’t need to write down on a piece of paper, because it’s alive and glowing in my heart.
You should know what it is.
“Wicasta – be alive!”
Only now I think there’s a response.
“Sure. Why not?”

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