Monday, September 03, 2007

A Michael Jackson Moment

Couple of nights ago Madeleina got the urge to see Michael Jackson's Thriller video and as she's 10 now and can work the internet she found it and was just starting it when I went to bed.
Yesterday morning when she got up she came into this livingroom that I use as my office and sat on the couch for our morning chat, the one where the tells me her dreams, asks me for answers to things she's been thinking about and so forth. But yesterday the talk was about Thriller. Turns out she was too afraid to watch it through because nobody else was home and I'd gone to bed. She felt badly that she hadn't had the courage to simply watch it. "I knew it was only a video, dad, and that they were just dancers, but I was still afraid. Why don't I have the guts you have?"
I told her that everyone gets afraid in the dark when they're alone or something like that, but inside I was shouting to myself: What guts? I don't have any anymore! I'm afraid of everything!
And while I don't think anyone would notice, that's really true. Lately I've been waking in the middle of the night wondering if I offended anyone the previous day, or written anything completely idiotic, anything that will let all of you know how gutless, worthless and useless I am.
I'm not sure where these feelings come from, but they're here and they've been very close to surface for weeks now, not just occasionally as a reality check, but daily, as reality.
And I don't like them. I don't want to have to second guess myself every five minutes. I don't want to be frozen in fear.
I know about the deer-like moments of frozen in fear. After my marriage broke up and we left Peru where we'd been living and ran our Cold Beer Blues Bar, I was a pretty busted fella. Real busted up. But I got on with things.
But when I had guests to take out to the jungle and would return to Iquitos, I would feel--at least until the guests arrived--as if every breath was an effort to suck in thick air and every step felt as though my feet were trapped in molasses. Whereever I went I was reminded of my marriage failing. There were days when I had to force myself to move, to breathe.
It took me a while to exorcise those ghosts and make Iquitos my city again. And I'm still not quite there but nearly.
And now that dread is on me again, here in my head, here in my house. There's a woman I want to ask out and I will but I havn't yet--what if she laughs at me in the store where she works? How will I be able to go in there again?
The other part then rears back and shouts: Who gives a damn? You're just asking a girl to go dancing. If she says no she says no. If she says yes, cool. Either way you'll still go to that store.
And I will because I generally wind up with enough gumption to do what needs doing, whether it's asking the girl out or writing the story and making the deadline.
But I sure wish I should shake these cobwebs of scaredness from my head.
Back to Madeleina: after our chat she went and watched the video for probably an hour before I heard the music change to another Michael Jackson song.
And moments later, I heard my Madeleina shouting: "Why? Why did you do it? I Hate you! I hate you!"
She was shouting and sobbing at the same time and in a moment came back to my office and floomped onto the couch. Her face was streaked with tears. "I hate him! I hate him! How could he do it? Why?"
When she calmed down enough to breathe she wanted me to explain why Michael Jackson had become a pasty-faced white person. She was less delicate than that. I mean, she'd seen photos of him before of course, but for some reason yesterday morning it hit her really really hard that he had done the changing to himself, rather than it being a medical issue.
So she sat there and sobbed and I told her he'd probably begun the changing because he didn't like himself. Because he was a deer in the headlights and couldn't figure out how to move any longer.
I told her that's how I felt too these days.
She told me if I dared to change like Michael Jackson to try to not be afraid anymore that she'd hate me too.
"Just be you dad. It's only temporary. You'll get your guts back. And if you ask me, even when you're afraid like you say you are you still have more guts than most people. So don't worry about it."
That's my baby. Thanks Macaroni.


kykeon said...

I was really touched by your blog today. I'm a first time reader here. Funny how we can go to deep and sometimes very scary places with Aya and come back to "this life" and find ourselves temporarily frozen and paralyzed. I have felt this way lately as well. I wake up stiff with dread and I don't even know why.
I just wanted to thank you for this blog entry. It helps to know I'm not alone in this. I hope we both walk through it with grace.

Peter Gorman said...

Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone either.
How'd you find the blog anyway?

Arbol said...

Yes Peter, Just be you. You're an amazing person, and I'm glad to have met you. If you ever feel like coming here to AZ and visiting with your family, you have a place to stay.
Love Light my Friend