Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

So, if you can’t go back, what’s the harm in looking back? Twelve Step programs counsel “Look back, but don’t stare.” Wonder why? Because it’s fcking painful! I’m sitting comfortably at this lovely computer in my homey home office and almost everything coming to mind is about what an asshole I was and am still capable of being. So many stupid mistakes. So much selfishness and ego-driven thoughtlessness to bathe in. Sure, I recall the victories and joys and laughs and lovers, but for reasons beyond me, those happier remembrances are cloudy, dimmed, and distanced. I have to reach for them. Whereas the miseries and hurt, every mistake, misfortune, and betrayal I endured or delivered remains conveniently at my fingertips. The guns are loaded, the knives still cut, and the adage “Time heals everything” makes a lovely lyric but is a fcking lie. Time heals nothing…

In Twelve Step work we look back to identify the bad stuff we are responsible for and, if it’s possible to do so without causing more harm, we make amends for our wrongdoing. I recommend this cleansing exercise of exorcising. Suddenly, glancing over your shoulder is less frightening. There are fewer shadowy figures following you. You are freer to move about unencumbered, knowing that the scary shit of the past has been peaceably entombed. Unfortunately, entombed is not destroyed. It waits quietly in the dark for someone to dig it up again. Bad shit is patient. So, here I am with my work clothes on and my shovel in hand. If you’re willing to listen, I’m willing to dig.

Harvey Fierstein, from his Preface titled “Look Back, But Don’t Stare” in “I Was Better Last Night: A Memoir” (Knopf, March 1, 2022)


NY Times 11 New Books We Recommend This Week (March 10, 2022)

Comments

  1. I love books that speak the truth – unfiltered! It’s true. Time does not heal wounds. Instead, we must transcend from these memories and pain and discover our authentic self. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is truth, truth we try to forget. Crazy! We can’t will ourselves to forget our experiences or the filters we’ve been given by others to experience them. Learning this late in life. “Why would you want to forget the you that’s you?”, someone recently asked.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow, this book sounds like a real punch to the gut. Need to check it out — there’s something incredibly compelling about someone willing to embrace the unvarnished truth. DK, my reading pile grows ever higher…😳

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great interview with him on CBS Sunday Morning…and if we can look back without the filter of a rosy hue, if we can look at our mistakes with the same detail with which we recall our successes, I think we may get to humility without self-denigration. That said, some look at our mistakes with a magnifying glass and our success with a blurred lens…Balance, I suppose, but he articulates it far better than me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Unforgetable talent!! — Harvey Fierstein, from his Preface titled “Look Back, But Don’t Stare” in “I Was Better Last Night: A Memoir” (Knopf, March 1, 2022).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. straightforward, powerful and true

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I will never forget his amazing role as the stylist in “Mrs. Doubtfire”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bulletholes says:

    I sat in a recovery meeting this weekend and this was the topic.
    As you examine the trail of destruction you have left behind at first there is a sense of shame. But as you progress in your recovery, that sense of shame becomes a humility that you can build upon. And as you discover more about your story the sense of despair and those “shadowy figures” following you disappear and you find…redemption.
    There is an old poem I like very much and recite quite often down at my group. Some of you may recognize it. With apologies for my translation.
    “Keep coming back
    You wanderer, you sinner
    You lover of leaving
    Though you may have broken a thousand promises
    Keep coming back
    Ours is not a caravan of despair”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Time heals nothing…yup…true to me…life is change and a spiral so I work at staying present…thanks for this David🤓☺️🙏sending joy hedy

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can hear his voice! So honest with humor that has gotten me through the toughest times. I heard him interviewed not too long ago on NPR. I really am looking forward to this book. Thanks again for sharing, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. See? This is one that I would never have thought of reading in a hundred years. Now, however…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have the contrary ‘condition’. I forget everything ‘terrible’ and only remember the good stuff. My personal failings (or what I thought they were) I’ve worked out long ago, now I am happily who and what I am. It’s interesting how your readers read/interpret other things than I do. I never heard of Harvey Fierstein but checked him out… not a book I need to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Still, I’m quite impressed by this person. And of course, now I also remember his working with R. Williams in Mrs Doubtfire, his voice, I followed the CBS interview as per Mimi’s recommendation, I must have seen him in roles in films…. yeah, OK, I now can believe that ppl are jumping to read his autobio. I’m glad I learned something today.

    Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks

  1. […] In Twelve Step work, we look back to identify the bad stuff we are responsible for and, if it’s possible to do so without causing more harm, we make amends for our wrongdoing. I recommend this cleansing exercise of exorcising. Suddenly, glancing over your shoulder is less frightening. There are fewer shadowy figures following you. You are freer to move about unencumbered, knowing that the scary shit of the past has been peaceably entombed. Unfortunately, entombed is not destroyed. It waits quietly in the dark for someone to dig it up again. Bad shit is patient. So, here I am with my work clothes on and my shovel in hand. If you’re willing to listen, I’m willing to dig. (read more) […]

    Liked by 1 person

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