Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

5-19-13 RMB True Colors

5-19-13 RMB True Colors
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Time takes flight. Days pass without a letter written, without any addition to other writings. I am still walking…daily, still losing weight…almost daily. But the writing suffers between the walking, the work and other obligations. I seek your level of discipline. I work towards that end, trying to make better choices for my moments. Even that can get frustrating.
My attitude has suffered as well. Perhaps it is a lack of carbohydrates. I miss my M&M high. As the stresses of a workday weighed heavy, I asked a coworker “What if we could elevate our own mood to a level that nothing could bring us down, nothing could stress us out?”
Just the thought alone lifted me. I believe in “what ifs”. Sometimes I think you have found that elevated place.
I think of Viktor Frankl. I’ve read about his life but haven’t found the courage to read his Man’s Search for Meaning. It patiently awaits its turn on the bookshelf. I fear it contains more of what I’ve seen mentioned in other writings, the torture, what he endured. I’m a wimp, I know. I struggle with just reading about what another lived through. Images haunt me.
My gifts transport me and I absorb a pain long past, one that another overcame, but I don’t have the tools or the ability or the wherewithal to overcome the various pains of so many other people’s lives. Yet I still feel them; I hear the cries.
When a person reads a sad book, tears may come to their eyes, their emotions may connect with the words on the page. When a person watches a scary movie, they may scream and their awareness is heightened by fear. A friend once told me that is why she likes scary movies, because they make her feel something intense, a stretching of the self.
I cocoon myself because if I see pain, I carry it indefinitely. Watching a thriller, I imagine the images that haunted the author, then they haunt me. I see paths. Even if a work is fictional, be it a movie or a book or art, it has roots in life. Dramas on TV tout “ripped from the headlines”; fictional stories of actual acts. I see the path that led to the act and the path that led to the drive to tell the story and the path that led to the making of the art…to tell us something, to say this is who we are, how we are.
The layers of pain weigh me down and they are so tied to all that is good, one can not exist without the other. So I shy from the good as well. My admiration for you includes your willingness to face life head on, to march forward into whatever the day may bring. Some do so blindly. Often the fool can be mistaken for a leader due to blind enthusiasm, but true colors eventually shine through. You have insight honed by experience, matured by nature. Where others may only have acted if they were blind to the outcome you were farsighted. You saw through others as they fell by the wayside. You carried on.
There are costs in honesty, costs in championing the greater good. You paid them, paid more than most. I see a path of moments that built a life. Those moments, some were wonderful, but some were awful, all of them combined to show your true colors. I admire the art that is your life.
All my best,

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