Leave the curse, bring the cannoli

Living with depression is like listening to Verdi on a transistor radio.

I’ve arrived at a place where I choose to see the blessings rather than consider myself cursed. Which gives me a fairly unique take on FOMO, the acronym for “Fear of missing out”. It’s a social media commodity and it’s a thing with kids . . of all ages. And since I really don’t get why that is, Imma guess that’s one of those blessings I mentioned a little bit earlier.

For as long as I can remember, my brain has been living independently of the societal tenets most adults tried to ingrain in my bony little ass. I pledged to their proverbs because I knew what they wanted to hear. I curled up to the narrow logistics with earnestness, even if it felt as if I was test tubing on the Upper Gauley. And when the answers to the questions didn’t make the least bit of sense to me, I simply smiled my best lie.

As a boy, I buried myself in books and curls; the former because they provided far away worlds through which I could venture. And the latter because they proffered riddles with such a furious magic. Whereas my boy pals were as nuanced as ball-peen hammers, girls spoke in balletic riddles whose mysteries soothed my deepest aches momentarily enough.

In my youth, I prospected all manner of clubs as if mining for gold. From Boy Scouts to little league, chess club to school newspaper to mock trials. I did so not because I wanted to fit in, but rather, because I wanted to see if maybe I was missing out on something. Because that’s what every adult insisted was happening when their son or daughter belonged to something I didn’t belong to. I was ‘missing out’ and it was a shame . . they insisted.

Sports was supposed to teach me all about teamwork, but of course, it didn’t work that way for me. It became a way in which I could hone my observational skills. I learned that our head coach was afforded the benefits of all the doubts he created, so long as he won. His drinking and carousing and leering at girls who could have been his daughters was time stamped for future processing: As in, when he started losing games, they became actionable. My teammates were easy to figure. The guys who constantly bragged about getting laid, weren’t. The guys who talked about gay people, were. And the guys who simply wanted to please the coaches were searching for something that didn’t exist.

So yeah, that whole teamwork thing was lost on me. I worked well within the parameters of it, and I still do. Even if I will always march to the beat of my own drum because I possess not a fig of Newton’s gravitas when it comes to the natural order of things.

I do not judge someone for wanting to be a part of something “bigger than themselves” even if I don’t understand it. I don’t outwardly defy convention even if inwardly I will not ride its coattails. I don’t swim in the ‘community’ pool because I’ve learned enough to know that being comfortable in my own skin is where it’s at. And where it needs to be at. For me.

There was a time when I would get pissed off at people who judged me for not seeing the value of some prescribed standard of living. Their rebukes served as a constant reminder to me. That from Boy Scouts to football to marriage to here, I have never been happy. Like, ever. So yanno, it’s rocket fuel personal when you add it up that way.

But I learned. To understand others, even if they do not always understand me. And it’s yet another blessing I’ve found on the way to my something else. Because I am proof positive that we may weave a tangled web, but it doesn’t mean we have to cry inside of it.

So yes, I’m missing out. On so very much, according to all those perfect lives being lived out on social media right this very minute. And I’m okay with that. Because I have what I have, and there is peace of mind attached to the fine print of that deed. And sometimes you have to count your blessings, because it’s a start. And Lord knows, life doesn’t give you very much in the way of breadcrumbs. So choose not to fear the things you do not have.

Love the things you do.

48 thoughts on “Leave the curse, bring the cannoli

  1. Personal reflection is always a good thing – so well done, and thanks for sharing.

    I had a boss who said (I paraphrase), “It’s not who you are, or even who you think you are, the most important thing is the perception of you by others.” Not that I agree with it, but I have hauntedly thought about it for the past 30 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a world in which perception drives the narrative, like it or not. So I think it becomes a matter of being resolute and accepting who you are and who you’re not. How others may view me is not something that keeps me up nights.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll bring the cannoli if you the espresso. 🙂
    FOMO is such a weird, concept isn’t it? What I like to say is.. they’re missing out, not me.
    Idk what living with depression is like, though I feel my life has been peppered with depressed moments and it’s out of anyone’s control how it guides us. Sometimes, I feel like my empathy is like depression. I feel a lot from others. It weighs me down to be touched by what others suffer through and I have to getaway from them or even myself to bring me back up to speed (most times by doing nothing or other times by crying). Whatever releases those feelings.
    Feeling emotions is a great thing. Feeling no emotions is another. It’s who we surround ourselves with that either make it so or not. Not where we go or what we do.
    Ty for sharing this on here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Valeria,

      Depression comes in so many shapes and sizes. It feels ‘normal’ to me, to feel this way.

      I know that relationships have always been difficult,if not impossible for me. My marriage didn’t last because I always felt lonely inside of it. Because she was feeling all these incredible things and I wasn’t. And that has always been the case since. I feel this incredible isolation. It’s hard to explain but the gist is that a relationship is a reminder that I am not feeling the things so many people feel.

      Thank you for reading and for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shoot, son, this could be writing this piece. Except I never tried to fit in. I preferred observing human rituals to participating. I stood on the outside and watched and learned and simply turned my back on it. I was not judging, just didn’t feel the need to dive in.
    I do, however, have to live with FOMO. My son has not yet found contentment with just being and is always out in search of “it”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought FOMO was an interesting thing to write on for me because I don’t suffer from it. What others experience, good for them. It doesn’t make me envious in the least. But of course, I’m the person who’s been to Hawaii three times and would have been plenty fine not having gone at all because I don’t get that “feeling” everyone is supposed to get.

      I’m always good with someone else enjoying whatever it is. Where I used to have a problem is when I would be judged for being the way I am. I mean, I ain’t trying this, yanno? It’s just the way I work.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Here’s an example … New Year’s Eve. When I was younger, I wanted to be a part of the New Year’s celebrations my friends were having. But now? I couldn’t care less. But the wife? Has to go. Has to go to every party thrown our way, and I just don’t care. FOMO? I am absolutely, totally fine with missing out!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      • The truth is you and I both have FOMO. But it isn’t driven by what’s trendy or by how other people define “fun” or by other external pressures We are both driven by a FOMO that is internal. We are in search of something, in a race against time.

        I was thinking more about the whole New Year’s Eve thing. My wife was telling me the plans — whose house, what we would be doing for dinner, games, etc. When I wasn’t excited about it all, she was surprised. I don’t know how many times I have to tell her, “I don’t care about New Year’s” or any of the other reasons people don’t want to miss out. It never sinks in. I am supposed to want to have the fun other people have defined as fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. B,

    Sorry, I am so late to the party. Someone kept me up late last night. Plus I promised I’d wait. 🙂

    I live with depression in the form of my son. And I don’t know what I was living for a good period of time years ago but I was not happy. Ever. I put up a fabulous front elsewhere (outside of the home) but during that period of time I didn’t dare give it a name. I know it’s not anywhere near what you live with. I won’t pretend to completely understand what it is like to stand in your shoes.

    I actually think it’s a good thing to focus on seeing the blessings over considering yourself cursed. Seems to me that it is a much healthier way to live. FOMO is yet another acronym created to make those who don’t live by this “rule” feel they are lacking. It’s the 30-year old schlepping make-up for 60-year olds.

    How could you not try to live up to expectations as you are growing up? It’s being hammered into you to want to want what you’re told to want. And the best and easiest defence is simply to smile. Way better than to express your true desires if they don’t match the status quo.

    Books and curls – there are worse things, no?

    And, don’t you think it’s kinda normal to try out all manner of clubs and whatnot, just to learn who you are? Without trying to fit in, you might have found that which really resonated with you. Or not. I know I tried to push my boys to try stuff. And honestly, now I wonder at my motive. Maybe it’s because I so loved sports, I thought they might too and would find themselves part of something that might keep them out of trouble. Well. We know how that went. Mama failed.

    Your observational skills, so well-honed during your sports years are part of who you are. The fantastic writer you’ve become because of it. And your damn good judge of character, too. I’m sure most of the other boys saw nothing that you did.

    Teamwork. It gets shoved down our throats no matter what we do – back to school, as adults, heaven forbid we be allowed to do a project alone, at work, etc. I’ve always loathed it.

    I honestly think many could learn from your not judging people for living their lives as they see fit – obviously if no one else is harmed! We are all different people with different views and desires and needs. Why do we all have to fit in one mould?

    I’m ever so glad you no longer get pissed off when people don’t try to understand you for being you. Peace of mind is way more important than piece of something you don’t belong in.

    Maybe you think you’ve never been happy, maybe you think you’ll never be happy because you still haven’t allowed yourself your OWN definition of what happy is.

    Love the who you are as well as the things you do.

    Q
    (And I apologise. I overdid it. But know this. Q loves B just the way he is.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Q,

      I hope this individual was worth it.

      Here’s the thing, everybody’s is different. There is no quantifying who’s got what and whose is worse. Each carries with it a list, unique to the bearer.

      I don’t believe in the “poor me” syndrome that dominates the landscape. Everyone wants to tell us why their life sucks . . in technicolor. And I always want to point out the attitude? Ain’t helping whatever it is they deal with on the regular.

      I think we all have those moments, then and now. This idea that we don’t fit in. Anywhere. And if you let the thoughts languish, they prosper and that turns into a spiral. So the thing is, not to dwell. It accomplishes nada.

      Books and curls always worked.

      Mama absolutely did not fail. Not trying . . that would be failing. Being earnest, making decisions from the heart? If that’s failing, I will take it every day of the week.

      Boys were simple. And it’s funny because when I look back now, my friends were indeed a motley crue. Because I always looked for genuine. Even if they were fucked up in this way or that, it didn’t matter as long as they were genuine. And hell, I was fucked up in my ways too, I related to that!

      I work within the parameters quite well. And it’s funny because by NOT eating what has been served up since forever, I am able to be a team player. Without being a team player, if that makes sense!

      We don’t have to fit. It’s okay if we are different, if we disagree. We can’t be what we can’t be, and it’s only a bad thing when we try and push something that doesn’t work.

      I was taking it personally, because such a thing IS personal to the person it’s happening to. But with time comes a new perspective.

      I am who I am, as Popeye would say. 😉

      B
      (It goes both ways yanno)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Is he ever…

        Exactly. I remember people not wanting to share whatever was hurting them because MY hurt was so much bigger. I always said yours is yours and you feel what you feel. There are no comparisons. One person’s broken finger is another’s broken heart.

        You know how I feel about the “poor me” crap – except right now where I am trying to milk all the sympathy in the world for my cold 😉 Coz that’s not serious.

        I agree. We do. And probably will always have those little moments in our future, too. And no, dwelling is never a place to stay.

        Can’t say I blame ya…. I was more into the male variety of the curls…along with the books, myself.

        Thank you. Hard not to feel it.

        Boys can be very simple. Girls can be so very complicated. That’s why I hung out with the boys. I could be “one of ’em”, so to speak. Meaning, I could be myself and not deal with all those airs the girls were putting on. And yes. Nothing, but NOTHING beats genuine.

        It makes perfect sense. And I think it is a necessary piece of the team. Crikey if all were the same, how would anything move forward?

        The world would be such a nice place if people felt free to be who they are without judgments and feeling forced to hide behind the desired mask.

        How can you not take it personally. Yes, time, maturity, self-esteem, knowing what brings peace of mind – all bring new perspectives.

        You are fabulous.

        I know it does. 😘

        Liked by 1 person

        • High praise. 😉

          Couldn’t have said it better myself. So I’m glad you said it for me.

          Yeah, the “poor me” syndrome isn’t something I deal with. We all have shit, yanno? To sit there and bemoan your this and your that is to proclaim “it’s all about me”.

          Yeah, it never goes away. But the key is not to dwell. Easier said than done sometimes, but it’s a must.

          You understand.

          Rest assured, you do plenty fine mamacita.

          And I with the girls, because they felt okay telling me things for some reason. Genuine is as genuine does, right? When a person tells me they are sincere, I think to myself . . “You don’t gotta say it”. If you are, you are. If you’re saying you are, you might be trying to talk yourself into it.

          Right? I thoughts so too.

          Dream on lovely. But yeah, it would be great, wouldn’t it?

          They do.

          No. U are fabulous.

          😘

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well-deserved.

            That’s why we are in cahoots!

            I can’t stand the “poor me” shit. At. All. Do what you gotta do or shut the fuck up. I am mean and lack patience. Maybe because I got it sucked outta me years ago by those energy vampires I used to hang around until I realised that waitaminute…. enough!

            No, I don’t suppose it does but dwelling is what draws you down and deep and you have to stop it from doing that. By whatever means necessary.

            I do.

            I thank you. Some days…

            Oh for sure. I can totally see it. You don’t sit there listening to fix. Most men think that when we talk, we are looking for a solution. No, hun… just listen. That’s like trusting someone who says “trust me”. My guard pops up faster than a Pop-Tart just done in the toaster!

            Course you do.

            I shall keep on dreaming on.

            We are fabulous.

            😘

            Liked by 1 person

          • Cahoots! What a fun word.

            Too many people insist that it’s not them, it’s the rest of the world. Own your shit, simple as that. Things go wrong? It happens. To everyone.

            It’s no coincidence that dwelling has more than one definition- a place we live in. Because yeah, when you let it stick and stew, you’re living inside of it.

            That’s the key. Listening. It’s funny because I do that, and perhaps too well because I pick up on things. Like when someone says “trust me” or “I’m sincere”. Welp, you don’t HAVE to say such things if you’re dealing straight, yanno? Another favorite was “my truth”, which is so transparently disingenuous.

            We ARE fabuloso!!!

            😘

            Liked by 1 person

          • It is… and we are plenty in cahoots 😉

            Absolutely. It’s hard to admit when you fuck up but honestly, it always works out for the best when you do.

            Yes. Dwelling is an excellent word. Nothing worse than when you let things stew and brew and bubble over…

            It’s become a rarity. Listening. People hear what they want with the sole purpose of speaking over whatever it is the other is saying. “My truth” ugh. Talk about giving one permission to lie through one’s teeth.

            We ARE!

            😘

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yeeee HAW!!!!

            Right, it does. Self empowerment comes through the ability to grade yourself. I think that’s a big problem in today’s world. People do not feel as if they need to be held accountable.

            It happens. And you learn after you get burned by the broth enough times.

            Language is importante. I don’t like to parse every word, because it’s annoying and I just am not that person. But some peeps make it easy with the way they talk.

            U know it!

            😘

            Liked by 1 person

          • Woot!

            It’s never their own fault. I agree. It might sound backwards to say you are self-empowered when you admit to screwing up but you are.

            This is true. Some take longer to learn than others…

            It is muy importante. No. You would lose the enjoyment of the moment if you feel the need to analyse every single nuance. Yes. Some are flagrante!

            I do.

            😘

            Liked by 1 person

          • I think ownership of the good AND the bad is empowering. The former is positive energy and the latter allows you to assume control rather than have something control you.

            No kidding!

            I have had that experience a time or two. Where I was ‘graded’ on everything I said. No fun at all.

            Mmm Hmm

            😘

            Liked by 1 person

  6. As a somewhat outsider myself, I’ve learned to think every day is a good day, some are just better than others. Especially when I mentally tell those self-righteous souls to go pound sand. Walking in my shoes ain’t for everyone, and ya know…I’m completely good with that. Bravo to you for seeing so deeply into the pool of life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Monika,

      I think the worst thing about depression is the idea that “something is wrong with me” can spiral into really dark places. You come to a point in your life where you realize that you need to breath, or else.

      Liked by 1 person

      • While I have suffered from minor bouts myself, luckily I’ve never gone too deep. Someone once asked me, “didn’t I think I deserved to be happy at some point?” While it’s a somewhat simplistic view, I keep reminding myself to focus on that notion and hope it sustains me in those dark times. May light be your constant companion as much as your presence is for those who know you.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Exactly. I hope I didn’t convey that notion because it certainly wasn’t my intention. It’s a difficult phenomenon, mental health and should not be treated as a black and white thing. There are scads of shades of grey that make it all the more challenging. Keep smiling my friend.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. You are unique and why would you want to fit in? Fitting in is overrated like a lot of the stuff folks have FOMO over. I would bet there would be a lot of folks who would love to have a piece of your world or at least to be able to pretend they do. You are remarkable, Marc and this piece just proves it. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am not on the FOMO bandwagon at all. Isn’t that just a recipe for ultra-conformity?

    So why do we oddballs end up in the depression handcart instead? Shouldn’t we be celebrating our unique gifts?

    And you, sir, have a hell of one. How could I not hang on every word of this? It speaks to the soul of every wanderer and wonderer. The ones who will NOT be crammed into tiny little boxez (intentional typo).

    Keep on keepin’ on, as the old saying goes. Looking forward to more of your heartfelt melange of glorious vocabulary.

    Liked by 1 person

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