Mr. Wow Blog
Mr. Wow Contemplates Changing His Tune (An Old Song That is Never in Key)
5:48 pm | May 8, 2012

Author: Mr. Wow | Category: Lifestyle Point of View | Comments: 63

 

I was reading Playboy over the weekend.  Yes. Really. I love the articles.  I appreciate the pretty pictures, too.  Naked airbrushed ladies—what’s not to like?

 

Anyway, I got to the end of an interview with David Brooks, who is a conservative I don’t mind. (That means most far-right conservatives dismiss him.)  He said something about change, how we really can’t change ourselves, only our environment and habits.  But we’re always, essentially, the same.

    It wasn’t a new or terribly deep thought. There was much more that was interesting and meaningful in the interview. (I certainly agree with his pessimistic/critical overview of President Obama.)   It stayed with me, however, the idea of never really being able to change.  My current situation demands change.

    I’ve given change a lot of thought over the years.  A lot.  I’ve never approved of myself, and can’t ever recall a time in my life I didn’t want to be a different person—a different type of person.  The only thing I accepted about myself without question was my sexual preference.  In time I came to believe God or the Fates or whatever decided, “Look, this kid’s gonna be a mess.  Let’s give him one thing about himself he won’t dislike.” 

 

So, I was okay in that department. I honestly never understood what the big deal was—the gay thing.  As I said to my mother once, “But it’s only sex. If I live a long life, I hope I’ll have more to remember than who I slept with.”  She didn’t see it my way.  At least not until it was almost too late. 

 

Everything else?  My basic personality, the person I always seem to have been?   I did not like him.  I did not like him when I was eight or nine—which is when I believe I more or less fully jelled.  And I certainly haven’t grown any fonder of him.

     By the time I was twelve, I was busy wondering, “What the hell is the matter with you, seriously?”   In the catchphrase of the moment, I suppose I judged myself every day with an arch “Really?!

    I was smart enough to know my childhood hadn’t been a picnic and surely had affected me.  I was also smart enough to know others had it much worse and got over it. 

 

It’s not that I sat around suffering my childhood, or feeling sorry for myself. It was more a matter of being kind of appalled by myself.  And then shrugging. And then being somewhat amused. What twisted form of narcissism was this?  I didn’t think I was much of anything, but I sure thought about myself a lot!

     Aside from a rabid adoration of movies, I was without  interests or hobbies. It’s not even as if I wanted to be in movies, or make movies or write movies.  I was content to watch—rapt and inert.  I loved to read but where did that get me?  The more I read and understood, the less complete a person I felt I was.  Where was motivation?  Where was an innate sense of discipline.  Where was self-respect?  (Because I don’t believe you can have self-respect without motivation and discipline.)

    And where were deep feelings for others?   I wasn’t cold or mean.  Quite the opposite, I was charming. The whole birds from the trees bit.  I was selfish, but could be impulsively thoughtful and generous. I felt things sentimentally—crying over a movie or a book.  But I seemed incapable of anything deeper. I thought. (I don’t know what I expected to feel deeply at the age of twelve.)  I was profoundly lethargic emotionally.  I didn’t have the gumption to become even a serial killer or a drug addict or a burglar. 

 

I would sit on the stoop of my mother’s apartment in Queens and watch people pass by.  I’d think, “They are real people.  They have real feelings.”  I was fascinated by the idea that we are all so separate; each one of us a little universe.  I’d watch people walk on and away and still farther away until I couldn’t see them anymore.  They hadn’t noticed me, but I’d noticed them.  And whether they knew it or not, I’d been a part of their universe for a minute or two.   It made me feel more connected.  Maybe if I watched enough people, I’d catch what they had?    Ah, but remember I told you I was smart about myself?  I was.  And even at 12 I knew “watching” wasn’t going to get me anywhere.   I had to involve myself.  But I didn’t want to.  It was…too much trouble.  Yes, as much as I longed for, or thought I longed for, or told myself I longed for “life”—I didn’t do a damn thing to achieve it.

 

I could have dealt with my mother, difficult as she was, differently.  I could have made more of an effort with school guidance counselors and even one of those Big Brothers I had for a short while.  (My mother felt I needed a male influence. I agreed. She simply didn’t know the sort of male influence I was seeking. My Big Brother was clueless as well—dumb, hot and straight.) 

    But I was already—how to put it—fatigued by life.  I’d been nowhere, experienced nothing of consequence, and yet I was as tired as Garbo in “Camille.”  And like Miss G. I didn’t mind being alone.  I often preferred it.  At times, the simplest question, “how are you?” seemed to me like a gross invasion of my privacy.  Why did I have to explain myself to anyone?  This quirk hasn’t been easy on people close to me—people I’ve lived with.  Maybe it goes back to all the different “placements” of my childhood—the requirements expected of me in each new environment. No matter, it’s an unpleasant attitude.

 

Leaving home at 15 wasn’t a big deal.  It had never felt like home, anyway.  It was an inevitable consequence of lethargy.  It was the easiest thing to do. And I knew just what I’d be doing, so no surprises there.  I wasn’t unhappy yet.  In fact 15 to 24 were the happiest years of my life.  Sure, I had my periodic musing—“what the hell is the matter with you?”  But it was the 1960’s and 70’s.  I was young and cute and in New York.  I had no money but I didn’t need any.  A smile worked.  I was indolent—reading, watching TV, listening to the radio.  Usually all at the same time.  Eventually, my indolence palled.  I knew I had to move on.  I did.  I tried.

 

In all the years that followed, I can count on one hand, with maybe a finger (or two) left over, the positive, comparatively adult decisions I’ve made in life.  They were difficult, I was full of fear—my usual state—but I tried to change.  Yet I didn’t.  I made the decision—this “right” decision–and then stood aside and allowed myself to be prodded along.

     I was often prodded into quite reasonable facsimiles of motivation, discipline, and a pretty good work ethic, despite chronic procrastination.  In the end, however, I found myself always forcing those who cared enough, to enable me—treating me as a fully functioning adult was a path to disaster. I would only allow so much of that!  (I am the strongest weak person you’ll ever not meet.) 

 

In at least one case, my best interests were not truly tended to by my enabler, but I had plenty of opportunities to turn that situation around.  Did I? Not on your life. Self-sabotage was my middle name.  I fell, eventually, into a steaming pot of resentment that looked like comfort food.  Staying was killing me.  Going was certain death. 

 

Now I am gone from that situation, more or less.  Am I dead?  Not quite.  But I haven’t felt truly alive—or in any case as alive as I ever allowed myself to feel—for at least ten years.  

 

I’d like to say I had hoped to “change” once I was free of my responsibilities.  That would be a big fat lie. I’ve never “hoped” for anything meaningful.

    Okay, once I did hope.  And I got it.  I haven’t treated it very well.  Certainly not in recent years. Or ever, perhaps.  I don’t know. I did behave like somebody with a heart, when I hoped for B. (Shit—I behaved like Lana Turner—hysterical phone calls to airports, opening his mail and all-around messy, romantic disarray.)

   Certainly, despite some rough years at the beginning, B. came to treat me like somebody who did indeed have a heart.  Unfortunately, I also encouraged him to treat me like a boy with a slight learning disability—though I was a full grown man and not at all disabled.  And then I resented that.

    Never enough resentment to change, needless to say.

 

At no other time in my life has change been as vital to me, to B., to the few friends who remain, as it is now.   And never have I been more resistant. I play the age card (but I’m not that old.)   I play the helpless child card (I am way too old.)   I sit silently in my room cluttered with dead-movie-star memorabilia.  I read. I watch TV. Do I attempt anything constructive?  No.  Do I even speak at this point?  No. Over this past weekend I don’t think ten words passed my lips.

 

I feel perhaps, at this point, B. is relieved, though hurt, all the same.  I’ve said nothing new in years.  But I am his and he is mine.  Can I ever grow up?  Can I ever alter our environment and habits?  Is it all my fault?  Can this marriage be saved, dear Ladies Home Journal?

 

So…I know at least one of you out there found a recent post of mine depressing, though it was not at all personal. (It was about Obama!)  I replied saying if I’d written what I was feeling, you’d all kill yourselves or track me down to put me out of my misery.  I don’t expect any suicides, but I will let you know I’ve put myself in witness protection, just in case anybody’s feeling the mercy-killing thing. 

 

There’s no neat round-up to this post.  This is what I’m feeling.  This is my outlet.  You are my hapless victims.  I love you all, despite the battering I’ve just delivered.  

 

If I was in better shape I’d do a column about that monumental egomaniac—and perhaps dangerous “medical adviser”–Suzanne Somners. She diverted me on CNN’s  Piers Morgan the other night.  Those lips, that face, the self-love. OMG, the self-love!  Gotta admire it, grisly though it is.

 

Till next time, better times, I hope. 

Comments:
  • Jamie
    Jamie

    Mr. Wow, I am no where near as brave enough as you have been in this very heartfelt post.I say that because I’m not brave enough to share my story with you, but I know one thing for sure, and only one thing.
    The only person we CAN change is ourselves. I have been on this journey for 4 years now, and I have truly turned my life around.
    It took/takes a tremendous amount of work and desire to change. (and of course, my weekly appointment with my trusted psychiatrist)
    First, you have to have a goal. I think you are lacking a goal.
    Once you have figured out what you want, then small baby steps are required.  In my case, they were very small. (I wanted a life. A life with a purpose and friends)
    It took me weeks and weeks but I finally accomplished my first goal, which was volunteering in my local hospital. (I am now on the board)
    YOU CAN CHANGE, Mr. Wow. You just have to know what it is that you want.
    I love you just the way you are.
    XOJamie

    6:23 pm | May 8, 2012
  • Jamie
    Jamie

    PSOy. Suzanne Sommers. Don’t even get me started. Hold me back….

    6:26 pm | May 8, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Jamie…thank you.  I know it is entirely up to me.  I also know–in my saner moments– I can’t be nearly as bad as I think I am.  After all, B. is so nice.

       

      P.S.  Please don’t hold back on Suzanne.  You go first. 

      9:02 pm | May 8, 2012
      • Jamie
        Jamie

        Dear Mr. Wow,
        Ok, I’ll tell you my one and only S.S. story, and I’ve never told anyone this because I was so embarrassed.
        I’ve always wanted to dine at Michael’s Restaurant because I’ve so often read that it is THE place for literary types. And Barbara Walters too.  So, my brother was flying in from out of town and it was my turn to choose a restaurant. (I would meet him in the city) I chose Michael’s even though it was for dinner, not lunch.
        I was the first to arrive and we had a horrible table squeezed in near the bar but I didn’t care. I happily turned to look around the restaurant and I heard this deep voice sort of yelling at me saying “What are YOU looking at”.  I hadn’t even noticed her, but it was S.S. also sitting alone at a table, most likely waiting for someone too.
        God, I was so embarrassed. I never looked up from my dinner plate again.
        Needless to say, I think she is a mean old hag who isn’t nice at all. I said “old” because it is probably the word she would most detest.
        There. That’s my SS story. :(

        9:26 am | May 9, 2012
        • Jamie, geez.  There you were enjoying something that you had always looked forward to, and she had to go and be a prick.  No, no, hag, you got it right.  Full of herself, since she thought you were looking at her.  You have nothing to be embarrassed about – she does.  How rude and low-class.  The perfect response would have been a slightly pained smile, and “Not you.”  Then continue to look about as you liked.  And never give the slightest hint that you recognize who she is.

          7:03 pm | May 9, 2012
          • Jamie
            Jamie

            Thank you so much, Lila. If I had had the confidence then,  that I finally have now, I might have said just that!XO

            8:02 pm | May 9, 2012
  • BabySnooks

    Oh. god, please don’t change. Nothing wrong with you. Which is more than I can say about Suzanne Sommers. Please. I think she read too much Marianne Williamson. 

     

    6:37 pm | May 8, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Baby..she was really quite charming way back in the day, reading her little books of poetry on Johnny Carson.  Then she became successful and turned into this bogus professional victim and self-styled  guru/huckster.  I will tip my hat to her entitlementNothing is ever her fault.  Everybody was  bad to her.  Because she was…a woman, a blond, ambitious, too talented, to real, too raw.

      I want what she’s having.

      9:10 pm | May 8, 2012
  • No one is really as successful,together, motivated or disciplined as others see them.  You don’t need to change anything except your willingness to see yourself as less “successful” at life than other people.  We are all fuck-ups in one way or another.  Some might be better at hiding it. 

    Make a resolution to stop beating yourself up all the time Mr. Wow.  And take a vitamin D supplement. 

    7:23 pm | May 8, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Baby…you are so right on the vitamin D.  I do take a supplement and I might, for the first time in years, allow myself a tan.  So I’ll look like Sylvia from Miami–that’s so bad?

      8:59 pm | May 8, 2012
      • LandofLove
        LandofLove

        Dear Mr. wOw–Just don’t end up looking like that tanorexic mother in the news! Please!!

        7:51 am | May 9, 2012
  • BabySnooks

    Anyone who has managed a relationship for 35 years is probably MORE successful at life than other people. 

    7:38 pm | May 8, 2012
  • Dee

    Mr. W: You have so aptly described my life with some notable differences: I’m not gay. I come from a loving “normal” family. So thank you for sharing your feelings; I no longer feel alone or like such an oddball. I lost my job last year (at age 59). I don’t really “do” anything. I read, watch movies, nap whenever I can and frequently turn off my phone. I’ve been weird like that for as long as I can remember. I much prefer my own company to that of others. Been married twice, been alone for 10 yrs now, stopped dating over 2 years ago because it was just too much trouble to have to be nice.

    Am I depressed? Of course, I am! Been on anti-depressants since my late teens. Take a vitamin D supplement.

    You hang in there and I will, too. What else do we have to do?

    9:14 pm | May 8, 2012
  • Deirdre

    Mr. WoW,Let me tell you this my sweet, very dear friend of the blog persuasion! You are one of the few people I know whose eyes don’t glaze over (at least I don’t think they do)when I talk about old black and white movies, music that wasn’t written 10 minutes ago and of course, Judy, Liz and Marilyn!  I wouldn’t miss a post from you for all the tea in anywhere.  I do not believe for one minute you are half as bad as you think you are. You could not have sustained a relationship for more than 30 years if you were, not even with the most marvelous B! He has stayed because you are worth it! I’m glad you let us all know just how bad this is for you right now. Sometimes when you put it out there, let it fly, well there it is and it’s done with. Now perhaps, you can go from here and a little at a time make a small change and see how it feels. Remember B and this gang will be here to prop you up! And as for Suzanne Somers! A column about her would be hilarious, so have at it!!

    10:06 pm | May 8, 2012
  • Oh, Mr. Wow, let me quote Cher in “Moonstruck” — snap out of it! Don’t play Peggy Lee and sing “Is that all there is?” You are much too young and charming to sit around doing nothing. Turn your blogs into a book. Why not? People do it every day. You have lots to talk about. 
     

    3:32 am | May 9, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Pat…Thanks, may I have one more, please?

        Actually, here’s the terrible, desperate part of all this.  I am still, ah…contributing to my old employer.  Yes, even after being laid off I am volunteering my services, pretty much the same as before.  Only for free.  You see, after all these years, this is all I know.  I am fearful of change and uncertain of my “talent.”  I also need structure.  So instead of attempting to network and put myself out there (difficult as it is at 59 to be starting anew) I’ve remained in my old spot.  What–waiting to see if the boss has a change of mind?  Not likely.  And, I have been so associated with this job, this product, it pains me to know it can go on without me.   I am a mere convenience.   It’s been a disastrous decision. 

      B. has persuaded me to begin anti-depressants again.  

      7:27 am | May 9, 2012
      • LandofLove
        LandofLove

        A couple of things, Mr. wOw: First, don’t be hard on yourself about “contributing” to your old employer. If it helps you psychologically to hang on to that for a while, so what? And, you never know when even that connection could pay off in some tangible way. Second, I agree with B. about antidepressants. The right kind could do wonders for your mental state, lift the fog, and help you move forward with networking. Third: I don’t want to be quick to suggest therapy, but perhaps some type of cognitive therapy might be useful? Does B., as a doctor, have any contacts? Please do whatever it takes to help yourself. And let us know how things are going!

        7:58 am | May 9, 2012
        • TheRudeDog

          I have to strongly agree with LoL on this — as long as it seems to be “getting” you through whatever it is that you’re getting through, you’d probably be wise to just do whatever feels right at the moment.  As long it’s legal or you don’t get caught.  In terms I hate to use, it looks like it’s a “win/win” for you:  Your “free” contribution is making you feel like you still CAN contribute something, and it very well MAY turn into something later on.  One of the too-numerous-to-mention things I’ve learned over lo, these many years, is to never burn your bridges (unless someone’s running across them to do you harm). It never hurts to take a minute to think (oh, man…especially before hitting the “Send” button!).

          Good luck.  Remember, you must always, always fight the good fight.  I was in the same predicament you are, self-esteem-wise (I’m a recovering Catholic — we were taught that EVERYthing’s our fault!) and I noticed I started changing significantly the first few times, when being complimented on something, instead of disparaging the remark, I just said, “Thank you.”  I’m telling you, that was a revelation to me and seemed to kick-start a whole new way of interacting with my environment.  Worked for me!

           

          10:11 am | May 9, 2012
        • Mr. Wow
          Mr. Wow

          Dear Land…I know.  It is actually good for me, on the level of structure and a sense of discipline to do this–to continue on with the old boss.   For the time being, anyway.   But it’s hard, and I allow myself a lot of wallowing.   I’ve started up on anti-depressants again.  We’ll see.  I’m always a bit ashamed I can’t just “snap out of it!”  (Slap)

          5:33 pm | May 9, 2012
      • Mr. Wow, I can understand the need for structure, for the familiar routine.  And I understand that feeling of being pained to know that it can go on without you. 

        Decades ago, I had a paltry little job that I really liked.  I did not see myself staying there forever; it was dead-end and didn’t pay enough.  But dammit, it was fun and unique and I was good at it and got good evaluations.  For a little while, it was a big part of me.  But then the boss (who had a lot of foibles) decided to expand the job, re-wrote the description, then hired his own pick.  I was out.  I was young, and pretty shocked; it was my first experience of just how underhanded, disloyal and ungrateful a company – or management – can be.  I found another job to pay the bills quickly enough, but it was a mind-numbing bore, and management there had their own issues.  This is how I eventually ended up in the Army, which is what finally “stuck.”

        But you know – years and years later, the way I was ousted from that paltry little first job still rankles.  I would not still be there in any case, but I didn’t get to leave on my own terms.

        I think this is the biggest hurt with you right now – you didn’t get to leave the old job on your terms, when you were ready.  I like it that you are still “contributing” because it keeps you busy and current.  This may help when you make your move to land the next job.  There has to be similar work out there!  Go for it!  Move over to the competition!  Join LinkedIn and start networking there – people send me job postings from time to time based on what they see about me there (postings, not offers… I still would have to apply).

        10:15 am | May 9, 2012
      • BabySnooks

        Actually that is not such a bad idea. It keeps your “skills honed” and makes you look “loyal” which is often very important to a prospective employer. “Oh, let’s hire that Mr. Wow. His employer hit bad times and had to lay him off but Mr. Wow kept working for him for free out of the kindness of his heart.” That kind of thing.  Of course not getting a paycheck at some point will get a little old. But it does make you look good. Times are not good. We’ve discussed this often. We have to go what we can do just to keep from going crazy.

        10:21 am | May 9, 2012
    • Susan

      Thank you Pat for saying what i wanted to say!!!! Snap out of it is right..turn you blog into a book. You are soooo talented! And in the meantime, get out and do some volunteer work.
      Show some of your kindess to others. 

       

      9:36 am | May 9, 2012
  • Scott

    Thank you!…  I see so much of myself in what you write. 

    What else can we do other than to keep pursuing the change (understanding?) we seek in our hearts — emotional, gut wrenching anguish notwithstanding?

    I suspect you’ve lived more completely than most.

    8:39 am | May 9, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Scott..thank you.  As there is really no “change” what I have to do is keep pursuing an alteration in my behavior and at least some of my environment.   I’ll always be me.  I hope only to be a better version.

      5:35 pm | May 9, 2012
      • Scott

        But of course…

        7:51 pm | May 9, 2012
  • RWE

    Dear Mr. Wow, I’m reading this post while experiencing some pretty severe depression myself. My prescription for anti-depressants is ready and an appointment with a new shrink on Friday is set. But life seems bleak to me today despite the fact that this feeling eventually passes and my dark imaginings seldom transpire. But while this heaviness descends it’s hell. Please remember — and this is important, Mr. Wow — you are not alone. Millions suffer from this. Some of those people walking past your childhood stoop in Queens may well have been feeling as you do now and yet you envied them and wanted to be as they were. Well, they may have been thinking “I wish I felt as free and happy as that little boy”! Do your best to keep calm and carry on, Mr. Wow. And know that today you made a difference in one person’s life (mine) by writing so honestly. And today is really all we have…

    10:25 am | May 9, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear RWE…first of all, I commend you for reading this post–in a depressed state!–and not going all Anna Karenina and throwing yourself under  a train.  Second–what a concept, that those people have looked at me and thought, “Oh, to be a carefree boy on a stoop again.”   Thank you. 

      5:30 pm | May 9, 2012
  • lulu

    Fascinating post!!!
    I have yet to meet a single person who hasn’t wanted to change something about themselves not only physically but in their lives.  Change can be as small as drinking tea instead of coffee, letting your hair go back to its natural color insteadspending  of tons of money spent on hair dye or as big as realizing the past is over and it is time to take two steps forward, one step backward but move on.
    I am attempting to write my first novel and I have found it to be the most enlightening task I could have ever undertaken.  It is a terrific way to put the burdens of the past into words.  Once the words are said, the burdens become lighter.  So what I am saying is….Keep writing, the more you express your burdens the lighter they become.  Suddenly without warning you will be astonished at what will happen Mr. Wow.
    Now as to Suzanne Sommers….I live in what I call LaLaLand.  The stories are endless about her.  A couple devoted to her would be great fun!!!!

    10:31 am | May 9, 2012
  • Change: what do you mean?  I’m not sure we can change who we are at the core.

    Being adopted, I have a certain take on this.  Growing up, I was just me.  I knew I was adopted but did not wonder about my personality traits.  I was just… whatever I was.  Then in my 20s, I met my birth parents, and my maternal relatives.  They were nice enough and I could see physical resemblances and all, but I was still just me.  Until… I met my paternal relatives.  Click.  This is where I come from.  And what was bizarre was, this was not just general personality traits like being loud or brash or cocky – it was down to certain very specific gestures, facial expressions, even desires, likes and dislikes, behavioral tendencies and opinions.  Things I never wondered about… were… programmed.  Suddenly it made perfect sense that I had repeatedly failed to overcome certain tendencies that I did not like in myself.  They are hard-wired, every bit as much as my hair color. 

    We have choices and we can overcome our hard-wiring to an extent, but I don’t think we can ever entirely suppress it.  It’s too tiring.  You drop your guard, and that tendency you hate about yourself rears its head again.  And then you immediately think, “Gaaaahhh!  Why did I do / say that?  I know better!”  (Or, “Argh!  Why can’t I get myself to do this?”)  And you can suppress it for a while, but it will be back.

    So – what is this change you are seeking?  Maybe all you really need is a burst of uncharacteristic activity, just long enough to get to the next way station – your next job – and then you can settle in to being yourself again. 

    10:39 am | May 9, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Lila…The change I’m seeking is really not a whole new me, just a me who can control his choices in a more adult manner, to be less fearful. 

       

      I mean, I’d never want to be a me who didn’t love Marilyn or Liz!

      5:38 pm | May 9, 2012
  • LandofLove
    LandofLove

    Just wanted to say that I am so surprised/delighted/overwhelmed by all of the wonderful comments and suggestions that have been posted so far. After reading Mr. wOw’s comment about “contributing” to his old employer, I realized that I could have said exactly the same things–that I would likely do the very same in his position. I was laid off in summer, 2010 and had many of the same fears and doubts. Luckily, I could draw on contacts made during my 30+ years in educational publishing; I found freelance work and eventually was hired fulltime by the company I freelanced for. These days, it’s all about contacts and networking. So, Mr. wOw, stick with your contributing to the old employer while sending out feelers to anyone you ever met in your worklife. YOU CAN DO IT!!

    11:27 am | May 9, 2012
  • KEMH

    Dearest Mr. Wow,

     Thank you for sharing your feelings with us. You are a
    brave, brave man for posting feelings that so many of us carry around but don’t
    have the courage to share. And you are also a very talented writer with lots of
    heart for being able to share in such a way that we feel connected and can
    relate.

     There are lots of us who have it better than others, and
    lots of us who have it worse. Also, everyone goes through exhilarating highs
    and terrifying lows at several points throughout our lives. It’s what makes us
    human, and it’s just part of the human condition. So don’t feel like you’re
    someone who deserves some type of “mercy-killing”. If that were the case, all
    of humanity at one point or another would qualify to be “mercifully put down”.

     Also, don’t beat yourself up for volunteering with your
    previous employer. If it’s making you feel useful and it’s keeping you
    occupied, there’s nothing wrong with it. Plus, as so many other posters have
    said, it helps to keep you current and active till you’re able to jump to
    another job.

     May I ask what it is you do for a living? In your previous
    post (the play review) you said you’re not a reviewer, yet reading all of your
    previous posts, I always thought you had a job either reviewing movies/plays/etc.,
    or writing about celebrities. You certainly have a knack for both, and are
    knowledgeable enough about past celebrities and movies. Living in NYC, couldn’t
    you find a job doing what you seem to love so much (writing about past
    celebrities and movies/plays)? You could also start a blog to write about just that.
    As talented as you are, you for sure would get lots of followers and could sell
    advertising space on your blog. Some people are actually able to make a living
    just writing blogs, and you certainly have the talent to be successful at it.

     Whatever choice you make, Mr. Wow, I do wish you the best.
    You’re a wonderful human being, and personally, I don’t think you need to
    change a thing about yourself. (Yes, I know I don’t know you personally, but I
    know the Mr. Wow you’ve allowed us to see, and I wouldn’t want that Mr. Wow to
    change.)

     Love,

    KEMH

    12:11 pm | May 9, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear KEMH…reminds me so much of Madonna’s new CD “MDNA.” 

        Thank you.  I tried and pretty much succeeded today not to beat myself up about volunteering at the old job.  Tho as some others have pointed out, volunteering at a church or hospital or some such would probably do me a world of good.  (Back in the day I used to ladle out food at shelters/churches on News Years Day or Thanksgiving.  And yes, it’s kind of selfish, because you feel SO much better about yourself–”aren’t I a wonderful person!”  But there is a genuine good feeling.  Realizing it could be you on the other side of serving table. Gives one a significant moment of pause.)

      I’ve worked in the entertainment biz.  That’s as much as I can say.  And whatever happens to me, I won’t change too much.  Florence and the Machine is on Letterman tonight.  I don’t want to change into somebody who wouldn’t  want to see that!

       

      6:10 pm | May 9, 2012
  • Lauriate Roly.

    I only cautiously approach responding to your article to-day because what you write is unclear to me, I am uncertain how to express myself for fear of offending you, but reading how you feel about yourself compels me to obey a difficult to control inner self persuasive intention to say something to you about how I perceive the subject.

    To me I can’t realize the need for you to present us with this very open disclosure of your deep repressive feelings in your life.

    It is a soliloquy with furtive tears, unseen, by someone fatigued by life, and who may remain tired forever. You express what appears to be a state of uncontrolled insecurity probably caused by resentful obstinacy to discipline all your life.

    The obvious fact that you strongly recognize your weaknesses would suggest that you would be open to the kind of relief you would receive with the helpful advice of a highly qualified professional. Talking to us about it, isn’t going to help you at all, although I would willingly wager that most of us would do whatever we could to offer some kind of solace and comfort to make your life happier, and even though you say you do not have the right to make us hapless victims, because of the friendship and admiration we have for you, we become involved: though frustrated and discouraged realizing our incapableness in such matters.

    Realize more than anything, that you are not alone. Always close to you, is someone who loves you very much and who is right there, continuously helping you; and you have many friends who will stand by you, plus your adoring fans, if additional encouragement and help is needed.

    Personally my best and only possible offering for you is that you will find better times ahead, soon: and as you yourself have expressed so eloquently, “Till next time, better times, I hope“.

    4:07 pm | May 9, 2012
    • BabySnooks

      Most of us are divine messes.  Not completely connected to the world.  Some of us are willing to admit it.  Admitting it does far more than any psychiatrist could. Mainly because admitting it opens the door to others admitting it. And finding we are all “kindred spirits.” Life would be wonderful if it were the way the “gurus” tell us it can be. Unfortunately, it is not. So some of us do the best we can.  And are a little maudlin at times.  But usually with a little bit of humor about it all. Which the “kindred spirits” get even if no one else does. As for not being completely connected to the world, some of us are better off a little disconnected. It’s not a nice world. Despite what Oprah says…

      4:22 pm | May 9, 2012
      • Mr. Wow
        Mr. Wow

        Dear Baby..what with the ratings on OWN, I don’t think Oprah’s feeling the world is an awfully nice place right now.  Pity.

        5:27 pm | May 9, 2012
        • Jay Kay

            Miss ‘O’ deserves those low ratings..  her network sucks !

          3:53 pm | May 10, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear LauriateRoly…I am so not offended.  Don’t be silly.   I have been in and out of talk therapy.  And you know what?  It was a lot of talk.  It never got me anywhere.  The therapists were always very happy when I told the one or two tales that always brought me to sobbing.  Ah, the breakthrough!  “Why did you cry?” they’d always ask.  And always I would answer–”Because it’s a sad story.  If you told me that story I’d cry.”

      In the end, I’d weary of myself, and want to go and just..talk about stuff.  Politics or Iraq.  Anything but me.  Naturally, that was no good.  Though I always felt since I was paying an arm and leg, shouldn’t I be able to talk about anything I wanted?   I came to view all my therapists as prostitutes, taking money, telling people what they needed to hear, out in 45 minutes–next!  

      Believe it or not, I get more from a response such as yours–and from everybody who comments–than I ever did from therapy.  The therapist can’t tell you of his/her own experience.  Can’t talk in a really personal manner–tho naturally the patient is expected to.   I learn more, get a better perspective, feel less alone, more adult, more “real” here, than paying a stranger to HAVE to listen to me. 

      Medication, if I ever find the right one, or the right mix, is probably my best bet.  That, and getting off ass, getting my head out of my ass, and…people like you. 

      Better times.  Yes, I think so.

      5:53 pm | May 9, 2012
      • TheRudeDog

        OMG, those tales of your “therapy” are horrific!  I’ve never heard of one person having so many terrible therapists…but there you go.  I made a conscious effort to stay far, far away from psychiatrists, psychotherapists, psychologists, etc., and made a bee-line for an LCSW, which is what my background is.  I figured we’d at least be speaking the same language.  (Get this:  Her name was Sybil!)  Viewing my life as a whole, she’s the best thing that ever happened to me.  Everything good that I was aware of post-therapy, I owe to her.  Then again, as mentioned previously, I had been raised Catholic, so we had some very, very heavy lifting to do.

        This  may sound simplistic, but maybe you’re trying too hard to find answers?  Perhaps a little less trying and a little more letting might help?

        6:09 pm | May 9, 2012
        • Mr. Wow
          Mr. Wow

          Dear Rude…as I was with my teachers, I was probably a strain on my therapists, too.  Knowing a lot about yourself can be good.  But in therapy, you are expected to find yourself–I guess.  Well, I found myself a long time ago.  The process seemed pointless.

          Yes.  I over-think.  Which only leads to anxiety.

          I come from a Catholic background myself.  Boy, talk about stuff that sticks! 

          6:15 pm | May 9, 2012
  • NSH

    Thank you once again for a thoughtful, revealing and honest piece.  I love BabySnooks’s expression that we are all, “divine messes”! Brilliant and so true.  

    4:37 pm | May 9, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear HSH…thank you.  And Baby Snooks–always on the nose!

      5:26 pm | May 9, 2012
  • Chandara

    Yep. Sounds like a grand mix of self-fulfilling prophesy  with a nice splash of high-functioning autism.  You sounded just like me so many years ago about everyone else being real & having real lives. Took me years to learn the social norms of being interested in other people, learning to realize that I was real and I “did” have an impact on the people around me, & learning to smile on the outside until I felt it on the inside. Your time will come!

    4:45 pm | May 9, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Chanara…”high functioning autism.”  Interesting.  Now that’s a place I haven’t visited!   Actually, I do smile  on the outside, when I’m outside.  People who know me on a more or less casual level would never recognize me from this post.

       

      I think my time has come.  I need to accept it and make it real. 

      5:24 pm | May 9, 2012
  • Francesca

    Mr Wow, your column and the responses to it, feel like a safe haven to me.  I am 56 years old and the past couple of years have been truly traumatic, and I cannot seem to pull myself out of the fog.  The thing is, though, I have had so many of those same tendencies all my life that you shared with us; wanting a good life, wanting to belong, longing to be loved and nurtured, but never seeming to have the motivation or involvement with my own life to make any of those things happen. It is reassuring, in a way, to know there are others out there who have felt and made the same decisions, or lack of decisions, I should say, that I have.

    Now, though, it is the worst.  I am pretty much alone in the world, and sometimes feel terrified in the middle of the night that when disaster strikes, there will be no one to call or hold on to.  At this age, I find myself invisible to the opposite sex, and I wonder if this is what it’s like to get old; not being seen as a sexual or sensual person anymore, not being seen for who I really am.

    I know that I am not living my genuine life, the life I was put on this earth to live, but I don’t think it is possible to to get there from here at this point. Sometimes the only way I can find serenity is to try to believe that maybe not everyone is supposed to find love and happiness here.  Please know I realize I am on the pity pot, but I think you’ll understand.

    5:47 pm | May 9, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Francesca….first off, if anybody knows about sitting on the pity pot, it’s ole Mr.Wow.  Never apologize.

      I have to give you the same advice that my few good friends, and all my friends here, give me–it is possible to get there from here.  56?  You are still young.  Look, I’m still young.,and I’m a few years older.  Do you have a therapist?  have you tried anti-depressants?  You’re halfway to where you want to be just by the fact that you’re not bitterly blaming others.  You are probably much harder on yourself than you should be.  I don’t know that my nature will ever be different.  It won’t be, in fact.  So I’ll struggle with fear and lack of motivation.  But I know I can get over my fear and I can be motivated.  I have been both, in the past.  It wasn’t easy, it didn’t feel “quite right” but it was far better than the void. 

      I know exactly what you mean about being “invisible.”  When that happened to me, it was like a little death.  No, really, a big death. Yes, I was already with B. for years, but I always liked to flirt, go out alone, pretend to single, see if I still had it.   I didn’t care for the role of Blanche DuBois–”mah youth has gone down the waterspout!”

      But I doubt you really are. But if you feel invisible, less than you were, worry over your appearance, you will be invisible.  People can sense a lack of self-esteem.  Then you are ignored or taken advantage of.  Unless you’ve let yourself go to rack and ruin, let me assure you, straight men like to be with women.  They talk a big game about their “standards” but when it gets down to the nitty gritty they are not so unreasonable.   Think women have it tough?  Try being a gay man of a certain age. I know you want more than a casual date or a roll in the hay.  But, gotta start somewhere.

      If indeed you are all alone–well, I’m going to have fall back on what I’ve been told to do–volunteer. (you might find you are better with strangers who don’t know your “story” than you are with those who do. I am often that way myself.)  You said “pretty much.”  Does that mean friends you are allowing to slip away as you slip away?  I know that, too.   Call “pretty much” tonight and make lunch date.

      I don’t know if we are “supposed” find love and happiness, but it is usually ours to take and have, but we often don’t know it, or don’t know how to obtain it, or think we don’t know how. 

      You are young (yes, you are) intelligent and sensitive.  You know what, start a blog.  I am not kidding.  Look, here I am, answering you, involved, not being grim to B. or motionless on my couch.  Tomorrow I might have a really shitty day, and start to contemplate that pity pot.  I won’t have time for it, though.  Because I’ll be here.  And remember, there’s always somebody worse off.  My line is “at least I’m not a Chilean miner!”

      Let me know how you’re doing. 

      Dear readers..I think the second anti-depressant I took kicked in!

      11:14 pm | May 9, 2012
  • rick gould

    Wow…in every sense.I am overwhelmed.What times we live in, the uncertainty…of the world, and of ourselves.When I first read that you were volunteering your services for free, Mr. Wow, my first response was, “Oh, shit!”Because I think your talents are valuable.But yes, cooler heads advised you to hang tight and continue. Do it, for the time being, while being open to possibilities that directly benefit you.I have basically just turned down a free ride for grad school because the program was not my first (or even second) choice. Instead, I accepted a MFA in writing at a small school, for which I will foot the bill. The fiscal side of me is freaking out, but the intuitive side is thinking I made the right choice.I also gave anti-depressants another chance recently…and decided they don’t work for me. And I gave them a sober, determined try… What I am trying to say is that I admire you wading through the mire…to see what works and what doesn’t. I am doing the same. I think we all are.And so are you.I wish you all the luck in the world.Rick

    1:23 am | May 10, 2012
    • TheRudeDog

      Rick:  Something you wrote struck something in me … more like that lightbulb that (occasionally) goes on above my head:  “…to see what works and what doesn’t.” 

      My idea, I guess you could call it, is that my “job” here (in life) is mainly just to figure out what the hell is going on, which oftentimes can be fairly difficult to determine! But your phrase has added something to my thought processes:  Figure out what’s going on, then figure out how to successfully deal with it (or don’t deal with it at all, an option which I’ve found very handy … it’s NOT “denial…”  It’s just a choice not to deal with something that doean’t need MY dealing with.).  Anyway, I think “figuring out how to deal with something succesfully” is a short-phrase definition of a pretty good life.

      That’s my story and I’m sticking to it :-)

      10:46 am | May 10, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Rick—-I did miss you here when this post first went up.  Yes, cooler heads prevailed.  My head.  Can you believe it–I had a cooler head?


      I am trying anti-depressants again, drinking less at lunch, trying to live for the day.  Trying to be nicer to B.  My life is not his fault.

      Good luck to you, too, Rick.  I think you’re gonna make it after all.  (Toss hat in air!)
      3:09 pm | May 15, 2012
  • Lady Jayne

    Dear Mr. Wow,

    Despite your feelings to the contrary, I think you are a beautiful and amazing man. Your insights and the gorgeous way you express yourself in writing blow me away. I first found you on WOW and was devastated when I couldn’t find your column. I am so grateful I was led to your blog. I look forward to your musings every week! You certainly possess the talent and I would love to buy your book. I know I am not alone. Don’t give in to the ennui…you have a gift that muust be shared.

    10:51 am | May 10, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      My Dear Lady Jayne  (come on, that’s not the first time–even tho the Rolling Stone’s song was “Lady Jane”)   Thank you.

      And thank you for using one of my favorite words–ennui.  Which always brings me to …”fighting vainly that old ennui, when I suddenly turn and see, your fabulous face/I get no kick from champagne”…   (I’ve never agreed with the next lyric “mere alcohol wouldn’t thrill me at all”     If only that was true. 

      I am glad you’ve joined me here. 

      4:50 pm | May 10, 2012
  • KEMH

    Dear All,

    I’m not an expert by any means, so I’m speaking more from
    experience than from an expertise on the subject.

    I’ve never been diagnosed with depression, but I’ve had
    depressive episodes (who hasn’t), I’ve been told I’m prone to depression, and
    have known people who have been diagnosed with depression, or have gone through
    depressive episodes, including children.

    So, from experience, I’m saying this: Telling a person in
    such a state to snap out of it, to stop feeling depressed, to stop “indulging”
    in sad thoughts, or to say, “You know what’s wrong with you? I’ll tell you what’s
    wrong with you” DOES NOT HELP. Quite the opposite, it only makes the depressed
    person feel even worse. Maybe it’s not the same for everyone, but being in a
    depressed state of mind feels like a thick, heavy fog has descended upon you,
    and you can’t see your way out, or like you’ve fallen down a very deep, dark well,
    and you can’t see how to get out, and the light just can’t reach you. It can be
    very frustrating and scary for the person trying to help (especially when the
    one you want to help is a child), so yes, you’ll want to say “snap out of it”,
    because you can’t find any other way of reaching the person, and it makes sense
    that “just snapping out of It” should work.

    So what has worked, again, in my experience, is to “just be
    there” for the person who’s feeling depressed. Let them express everything they’re
    feeling, in however way feels more comfortable to them. Some people like just
    talking their feelings out, others prefer to write, draw, paint, or do a
    combination of any of these. Just let the person know that you’re there for
    them, and are willing and able to listen. Listen without interrupting, judging,
    or even advising. If you need to talk, share some of your own experiences; it
    helps the other person to realize their feelings are perfectly normal and
    everyone experiences the same feelings at some point or another of their life. The
    fog lifts quicker and the way out of the well is found faster when the one you’re
    relying on to help you just lets you find your own way out, and is just holding
    the flashlight for you so you can see the light and the path that leads to the
    way out.

    As for seeking therapy; again, in my experience, therapists
    work for some people but not for all. If you’re someone who already knows
    themselves, more often than not, therapists WON’T work for you. You already
    know yourself, you already live in a state of awareness about you; both of
    these are areas where therapists help, but if you’re already there, there’s not
    much a therapist can do, other than perhaps teach you some coping skills, but
    again, you would already know the coping mechanisms that work for you. So, Mr.
    Wow, if writing and expressing yourself through your blog, and sharing
    experiences with your readers helps, then keep it going. It certainly helps
    those of us who are less brave than you to realize that we’re not alone, and we’re
    not the only ones feeling the way we do.

    Thank you!

    KEMH (not anywhere in the same orbit as MDNA) ;-)

    2:01 pm | May 10, 2012
    • Dee

      KEMH:  Thank you for explaining that the “snap out of it” pep talk does not work for those suffering from depression. My ex-husband would say, “what do you have to be depressed about?” and then he would proceed to tell me all the things in my life that I should be happy about. I truly wished that for just ONE day he could experience what depression felt like.

      I was diagnosed with chemical imbalance depression in my late teens. I have tried many anti-depressants, and combinations as newer drugs are introduced. Some have worked better than others; the “breaking in” time period is agony for me. I’m in that place where I know I need to make a change because the one I’m taking doesn’t seem to be as effective as it once was, but I dread having to go thru that adjustment period. 

      Anyway, appreciate your comments. :)

      4:00 pm | May 10, 2012
      • KEMH

        Dear Dee,Thank you for your reply. I’ll be thinking of you; I don’t know if you believe in God or not, and I hope I don’t offend you by saying this, but I’ll be praying for strength for your soul while you go through this adjustment period.Sincerely,KEMH

        10:59 pm | May 10, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear KEHM…you’re right.  Often the old “snap out of it” or  Bette shaking Miriam by the shoulders bit doesn’t work.  But now and then that “necessary roughness” has a salient effect.  Depends on how depressed you are.  I don’t mind when it’s said to me–sometimes here.

      Before I began to suffer from depression, I had no understanding or empathy.  I wasn’t cruel, I just didn’t understand the concept.  I neatly forgot my mother’s mental issues/suicide attempts, etc. (I guess I wanted to forget)   It never occurred to me I might inherit that part of her genetic makeup.    Once it began to happen to me, I was ashamed of too many “Oh, come on, now” comments I’d carelessly made.  And of course, there’s the shame of being depressed. 

      In general, it is best to allow your depressed loved one to vent, rage, mope or…write long self-indulgent blogs.  As you said–listen carefully.

      It’s almost the weekend.  See, we all made it. 

      My best to you, Mr.W

       

       

       

       

      4:43 pm | May 10, 2012
      • KEMH

        Dear Mr. Wow,

        Don’t be ashamed of not having been able to feel
        understanding or empathy for you mother’s depression. You were young, and it’s
        been my observation that a person is either born feeling empathy for others, or
        learns it in the course of going through life (just a couple of knockouts from Life
        are often enough).Of course there are also people who just never ever feel an
        ounce of sympathy for another fellow human. But children and the young, even if
        born with the full capacity of feeling empathy, won’t always express it,
        especially towards those who are supposed to take care of them. Yes, I love
        kids, but let’s face it, they are selfish creatures (I get it that it’s
        biological, children are utterly dependent on their adults to survive, so of
        course they are selfish; I see it as a survival mechanism, not as a proof of
        the “original sin” we inherited from Adam and Eve or proof of the “wickedness
        of the human race”).

        What’s important is that you now understand, and even more
        than that, you’re willing to put yourself out there, which helps so many of us.
        I keep saying this: You truly are an inspiration to many.

        And yes, let’s be grateful for each and every day that we do
        make it!

        Love,

        KEMH

        7:55 pm | May 10, 2012
        • Dee

          Yes, KEMH, I do believe in God and your prayers are appreciated.

          9:49 pm | May 11, 2012
  • Jay Kay

    Mr. Wow,  I could write an accurate narrative of my life by cut and pasting together various bits and pieces from all the comments.   Fortunately, spiritually, I’m at my best place right now.  My personal, torturous journey has taught me many things, two of which I’ll mention are;  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you know, we’re all making it up as we go, and, it’s all exactly as good or bad as you think it is.  Get up and get back in the game..  live in the ‘now,’ ’cause it’s all you have. 

    4:28 pm | May 10, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Jay…sigh!  I’m so tired of making it up as I go.  Sometimes I warn B. I might just do a Dolores Hart, enter monastic life.  Give it up to a higher power.

      Nah.  No cable. No iPOds. No porn.  Forget it.

      You do sound fairly serene.  Living in the now.  Embracing the now.  So difficult.  But, try we must.

       

       

      4:59 pm | May 10, 2012
      • Jay Kay

          Mr. Wow..   I believe it is the highest function of our minds to create, facilitate and support a rewarding life.   Use your smarts to heal yourself.   

        5:25 pm | May 10, 2012
  • Rho

    Mr. Wow, I think you are a wonderful person.  I have had depression and change.  Don’t change.

     

    6:26 pm | May 10, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Rho….you are so sweet.  I couldn’t change my nature.  I wouldn’t want to, really.  I want change my behavior, I want to be joyful again.  Or as joyful as life ever allows.

      11:06 am | May 12, 2012
  • mommat

    I think you write beautifully and was so happy to find you are now blogging, when I couldn’t find you on WOW (it was the only reason I kept going to the site).  Please know there are many more like me, who have never posted a comment, but look forward to hearing what you have to say.  Keep on keepin’ on!  

    10:43 pm | May 27, 2012
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