GOOD MIKE/BAD MIKE
I’m watching the baseball game, but not really with much interest. Lucy has called from Aspen and arrived safely. Kitties are napping.
I am wondering what it is like there for you. Not really in a physical sense, although I know the watching and eating and palleting and grouping is unfamiliar and uncomfortable. I’m thinking instead of the inner battle between the conscious and unconscious Gingers- the reasoner and the controller.
I remember that battle very well, though sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago. There was a me who was a public person, the “good Mike.” Under control, capable, father, husband, civic-minded, intelligent, an example to all; church-going, God-fearing pride of Lawton, Oklahoma. Then there was this other person who nobody (but you) knew about. Impulsive, uncontrolled, predatory, reckless, self-involved. One person was everything the other was not; a lawyer who knowingly broke the law; a father who hurt his child; a husband who cheated on his wife; president of a family counseling agency who abused his child. The “good Mike” knew very well what harm was being done to the person he loved the most, but I couldn’t stop. For a while, but not really. I don’t know how or where it would have ended but for your courage in stopping it the only way you really could. A lot of responsibility for a teenager. But, I digress – this is about me, and I need to tell it to you.
First, I had to understand that the “other person” was really me. There weren’t two people at all. The “bad Mike” couldn’t be blamed for the wrongs, the damage, the crimes. Accepting responsibility and dealing with the wrongs and the guilt. Next, I had to figure out how to integrate the two. The “good Mike”
had to accept imperfection- I had to learn to live with it, which was not easy. I was very fond of the “good Mike” and the ease of conscience which he provided me. The other side was easier. Impulses can be controlled; 40+ year old men can grow up and be adults. For me, grown up is easier to accept than imperfect.
I am not you and you are not me. There is no message intended here. I’m telling you this because I feel it now and want you to know- maybe because only you will understand. This is not “I’m OK, you’re not.” I am not okay, but I am better, much better. My life didn’t turn out the way I expected and hoped, but I’m loved by the people whose love means the most to me, and that means a lot. I never feared death, but now I don’t fear life either- or at least not much. I can handle it. I am one person and I can live with it.
I love you more than you know,