The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, May 07, 2010

Michael Jackson, trapped in the box

Iron Man Day! Can't wait. Don't expect it to be as good as the first, but I bet it's fun. I'm playin' hookie this afternoon!
My IPad is just great. It isn't a full computer, but a computer is most certainly not an iPad. The portability factor is just a game-changer. The battery life is superb, the picture wonderful, the streaming Netflix app just...unreally cool. Now I need to figure out a way to get documents FROM its word processors back to the "cloud" efficiently. Someone will figure out a way to one-step a document from Pages, Documents-to-Go or whatever into Drop Box, the killer app that might replace Buzzword in my heart if I can just get a little more functionality and flexibility. This thing is NOT a "Big Ipod." An Ipod is a small iPad.
Got an email today from a Romanian gentleman who wanted my advice about coming to America. Wow. You know, one part of my head does the "Everyone loves their country and thinks its the best" while the other part does the "America really does rock" tango. I lean toward the belief that if you are running the right mental software, this country is the absolute bomb. The trouble is that most people are running buggy software...
I really do like that model of human behavior. From the time we're born, we are absorbing rules about what we are supposed to be. Very nearly tabula rosa, with only a few basic fears: falling and loud noises. A few basic emotions: fear, anger, love. Out of those basics, we develop a vast web of associations that informs our view of reality. The trouble is that these instructions pull us in odd and conflicting directions. We get it as groups: Women are taught to repress their drive, not be aggressive, to sacrifice their dreams for their families. Men are taught to repress their emotions, to not be yielding or graceful, to sacrifice their lives for their families. Blacks are taught not to dream of surpassing whites ("equality" is as good as it gets. A losing position), gays taught that their own sexual instincts are contrary to their spiritual growth.

We get it as individuals: We are taught to seek money, but simultaneously believe it is the root of all evil. To seek love, but taught that we cannot trust our hearts. To seek health, but taught to hide our emotions in our flesh. I watch people tearing each other apart every day. The "middle way" is incredibly hard.

Just within the last week, I've spoken to a man who was a multi-millionaire who lost it all and is trying to get back on the horse. It was difficult to figure out what might be wrong until I applied the simple body-career-relationship rubric, at which point it JUMPED out that he had been in a twenty-year relationship with a woman who was described in terms he might have used for a buddy. Then a three-year relationship with a woman who pursued him until his resistance dropped...but he never felt he really wanted it. And now, thinking about the future, he doesn't want to think about relationship until he has rebuilt his fortune.

Ah...a lightbulb went on. I saw him as a man without deep love for himself--and because he does not feel it for himself, he doesn't know to demand it in a relationship. Further, he was told (as many men are) that power will win him the right woman. The trouble of course is that that "right" woman is a partner but not a Soulmate. Hell, not even love. He set out on the road of his life to make his fortune, thinking it would make him happy. He did NOT get the emotional payoff he was promised, and destroyed the "bait" that was attracting the "wrong partners." Hitting bottom, he is clawing his way back up, but making the same mistakes again. He must BEGIN with the end in mind. Must START by finding the warm and loving emotions. Then he can build his life around that emotion, rather than thinking "things" lead to feelings.

This is exactly the male version of the woman who, as a girl, was very sexually desirable, and attracted the wrong kinds of attention, and had her heart broken. She puts on weight, seeking (on an unconscious level) to decrease the lure of the "bait" hoping that someone will see her true essence, love her for who she "really is." Without realizing that she has embraced her weakness instead of her strength. Both these patterns are very familiar.

I dated a girl once who was a little heavy, and a little distant emotionally. I was willing to deal with it, because I thought that she was giving what she had. Then one day I watched her caring for her pets. And there, in front of me, was all the love, tenderness and softness that she had never shared with me. I backed away. Years later, she is married, still gives scads of energy to her animals, and ballooned to over a hundred pounds overweight. She said that she didn't really notice it. Recently, she lost a good deal of the weight, but then regained it, and was complaining about all the horrid, grueling work it will take to lose it. This is fascinating, because she works like a field hand to care for her animals. It does NOT take gigantic work to lose weight. It takes intelligent effort applied with consistency. You have to actually process the negative emotions--and THIS is what people can't handle.

For the animals she loves, no effort is too much. For her own body...which she feels has betrayed her, which earlier in her life brought the wrong kinds of engagement is small enough. She's a time bomb. Unless she processes the pain, she will die young, and I have no taste for lying to her about that. Doubtless, she will surround herself with other damaged people who won't call her on this, who buy into her lies about how busy she is, without pointing out that she created the busy-ness. In fact, she needs it to keep herself from growing silent enough to hear her own screams. It is a shame--she really does have a lovable, sweet side.

So much of this stuff relates to self-love. The rest relates to survival. If you combine the drive to love with the drive to survive, you will make choices which both nurture your heart and increase your power and security. That is a powerful combination, and will lead you to any level of growth you desire. Few will take that path.
Heard a Michael Jackson story. While shooting the "'Cape Town" video with Blair, met a lady whose husband was a musician on the "Thriller" tour. She gained a great deal of weight in her 20's--relationship pain, not wanting to be a threat to her female friends...the usual. She finally decided to wrestle with the problem, sought counseling, exercised and changed her eating patterns...and lost 100 pounds in about a year. She attended a recording session for "Thriller." Quincy Jones was there, and didn't recognize her. No one did, and she panicked a bit and left the session. But Micheal recognized her, and followed her into the hall, where she was holding back tears. She didn't know he'd followed her out until she heard a soft voice in her ear: "whatever you did to lose the weight...apply that to everything else in your life."

She has guided her life by that advice ever since. Beautiful advice. I wish he'd had someone as smart and evolved as himself to advise him. The instructions on how to get out of the box are written on the outside of the box.


Lobo said...

Apropos of nothing, I recently downloaded an app to my touch called "LoseIt". It's basically a calorie and exercise log. Since downloading it in mid-March, I've lost 15 pounds, on my way to a 95 pound goal. It turns out that even though I'd been trying to limit my intake for months I was making bad decisions about what I did eat. Tomorrow I'm going to meet one of my personal informal milestones and get a new, smaller belt.

I tried intermittent fasting a few times, but I found that around 3:00 pm I could no longer focus and my ability to do things took a dive. I just couldn't make it work for me. I don't know if I can call this app a life saver, but it definitely has made my quality of life a little bit better.

Marty S said...

Lobo: We have something in common, I just bought a smaller belt this week. Now since I haven't changed my diet or increased my exercise, if only I could figure out why I'm losing weight.

Paul Wolfe said...


Love that Michael Jackson story. Great little anecdote.


Ethiopian_Infidel said...

"Now since I haven't changed my diet or increased my exercise, if only I could figure out why I'm losing weight."

As I recall, you recently posted that you saved a portion of a pizza, rather than eating it all at once. If such restraint marks a departure from customary intake, that explains it. While drastic measures such as IF may be necessary to achieve dramatic physical goals, modest but impressive gains can be made by simply reducing meal size. Congrats!

an said...


Nice post and very informative. thanks for the great sharing.


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