The 4 AM moths

21 01 2019

 

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Wakey, Wakey!

Sleeping has never been difficult for me – more it’s waking up that seems the challenge – but I find that as I get older, waking up at 4 in the morning is becoming a regular thing. I’ve even seen more than a few dawns lately, something I thought I’d left behind. More of a night owl, me.

 

And then it starts. There’s something about this time of the morning that makes me wander through my entire life, highlighting mistakes I’ve made, things I wish I’d done differently, things that were foolish (and not in a good way). I hold imaginary conversations in my head, rewriting them so I don’t sound a complete fool. I turn decisions around, looking for an option. I tell myself off. I tell others off. I revise my life to not make those mistakes I made, waste the time I’ve wasted, spend the money I’ve spent.

dysfunctiondemotivatorAnd I wonder about myself – how have I messed up so badly as to end up here alone and a mite lonely, with a cat who helps keep me awake by checking up on me as I toss and turn?. Little moths of doubt flutter about the room, batting their wings at me and leaving the dust of my misspent adulthood all over the place. Maybe it IS true that “The only consistent factor in all my dissatisfying relationships is you.”  Or me, in this case.

 

 

I think about times when I’ve accepted bad behaviour from friends, where I’ve let my boundaries fall, where I have let myself down. I think about the shoulda dones – the wishes I’d spent more time with friends, less time being busy, the friends I’ve let down or sent away. Then I think about all the things I should have accomplished by now if only I’d applied myself.

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I plan desperate new diet and exercise regimes, I contemplate moving to a new place, a place where I haven’t made so many mistakes yet. I writhe at the thought of bad intimacies, poor judgment, improper financing. I vow to attend church more often. I promise to do better, to make something of my life, to be kinder and more thoughtful and just stop being misled. I remind myself that I never make good decisions after two beer.

 

 

I can’t help but wonder why, when I wake up, I review all the miseries of my life, instead of the fun stuff. There has been fun – laughs with friends, creative outpourings, more affection than I probably deserve, the opportunity to contribute…

 

 

But still the night moths flutter, each one laden with a failure here, an embarrassment there, a poor judgment, a heartbreak.

I’ve always hated moths. Way back when I was small,  I read a story about a boy named 01288582Denny who collected moths and stuck them to the wall of his bedroom with pins. At the end of the story, a giant moth comes to his window and he can hear its wings battering the walls. Then Denny is no more.

The story creeped me right out. I haven’t liked moths ever since and struggle to look at butterflies, though I adore their beauty.

Some terrors acquired early sink deep.

Some acquired late also pester. Usually at 4 AM.

 

 

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Oh, Lance, Lance…

18 10 2012

Way back when I was still married, my young son spent an entire summer getting up at before dawn hours to drag his comforter into the den and curl up and watch the Tour de France. He watched every stage, knew about all the riders, the speed challenges, the mountain climbing. He was so inspired, whether by the athleticism of the riders or the endless ads for exercise machines on the channel, that he wanted to try bike racing. We looked into bikes, I’m sure he dreamt of biking across very pointy peaks and sloping valleys.

Lance Armstrong seemed untouchable, the all-clean American guy with the lantern jaw and a fierce training regimen that allowed him to win. He even had a Harlequin Romance name, one deserving of heroism. He created the Livestrong movement , putting his name on cancer survivors everywhere, yellow bands that expanded to other colour bands and filled the world with arm decorations that will never biodegrade (I like the 7 Deadly Sins ones, myself).

Well, my son and I both older and more cynical now and I hold Lance partly responsible for that. He was so loud about his claims not to have doped, so out there about how he had triumphed over cancer to win that it makes his fall from grace endlessly painful. Demotivating, depressing, destroying. Have we NO heroes anymore? Can no one be an example to others – do we ALL have to cheat to survive and thrive? Surely not, I wail. Is the foundation even real? Or is it a lie, too?

My son wrote a graphic novel about Lance, way back when he was in grade nine. Even then he suspected something amiss. He invested Lance with a bionic testicle. It’s brilliant, as is his take on David Suzuki, a probably honest to goodness hero, but tainted by the same cynicism that all the world gets, unfortunately.It’s called The Wholesome Adventures of Tall Tall Stuart, and he created it all, with his friends, in Word, a tedious experience that showed me that he could really apply himself, provided it led to a cynical attack on someone he was angry about.

Still, today, as more news about Lance filled the airwaves, I couldn’t help but feel grief. For the guy who thought he had to do this fraud to make himself worthwhile. For all the doping athletes who can’t imagine they could be ever good enough to compete without help. For the coaches and their grasping manipulative ways. For all the cancer patients who looked to Lance as a shining example of succeeding despite adversity. And particularly for the kids, everywhere, who look up to sports heroes only to have their hearts trampled when it turns out they’ve doped or gone on strike for more obscene amounts of money, or been selfish, insufficient, and liars liars liars.

Is it so hard to tell the truth?

Even fiction writers do it.

But maybe, this lie does tell a truth. I just don’t want to hear it. It breaks my heart.

 








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