Friday, January 15, 2010

Bridges and Snakes

“When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes I will dry them all"

For many years I have felt that BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS might be the most spiritual and meaningful song ever written.

“I'll take your part
when darkness comes
and pain is all around…”

It is so important when people are in trouble, troubled, hurting to let them know they are not alone.

I often don’t understand why some people, coiled like cobras, lay in wait for someone to stumble on their pain and then they lash out…they spew their venom and slink away.

The psychologists will tell you it’s passive aggressive behavior-that may well be but simply put they want to hurt everyone they touch, anyone who reminds them of their pain or even makes them feel less than in control.

Most of us learn as we grow that we are not always the center of everything nor is anything and everything about us-there is lots of room at the edges but spare little room in the center of things.

I’ve had that spot and frankly I don’t want it now.

I never mind helping someone or offering the voice of my life experiences, I think I am generous when it comes to sharing what it took me many years to learn and I can afford to be-I have had the spotlight but more important I am comfortable where I am in life and I don’t need to compete anymore.

I have talked in many posts about the fact that there will always be someone who is better, more creative, more popular but who cares unless you’re keeping score and in that case I hope its worth the exhausting energy drain it takes to be so competitive even if it’s just with yourself.

Now never think that I am under the delusion that I have come anywhere near perfection-I need and want to learn new things I am just willing to accept that some things I do well, some average and some are juat beyond me but it’s fun trying.

I love seeing people discover that they have abilities and creative talent-there’s a feeling I get when I know I have done something that satisfies me…I love that feeling but it doesn’t mean that it’s “good” or “a masterpiece” or any euphemism for “Better than” or “superior to” anyone elses work-it just satisfies ME…that’s enough.

The sad thing is that this comfort with what I do is often misconstrued as arrogance or vanity and it’s far from either.

Despite the fact that I don’t need to compete I do love a challenge and I like to do well at the things I try---though sometimes I disappoint myself…but I can find FUN in a competition now-it’s not serious anymore because I don’t need to invest the high cost of anxiety and energy that it takes to keep up that climb to number one and then stay there.

It may be because my family has been on the edges of Hollywood and the film industry since the 1940s and I have seen what that constant striving for fame does to people…and ultimately how sadly alone they are.

My grandmother had a saying “No one wants to see you when you’re sick but they all come to cry at the funeral”.

It’s not totally true because I think when we are spiritually in need there will always be true friends that never abandon us.

But let someone crash and burn and how many people come out of the woodwork with their best benevolent face on speaking tomes about how they saw it coming and what a tragedy it all is.

Where were they during this spiral into hell?

We learn, some of us do anyway, to ask for help before we are going under for the last time.

But the poor cobras, the hit and run artists can’t ask because they are so busy nursing the bile of their anger and waiting for the next chance to spew.

They are always the first to strike and always the penultimate victim.

It’s the old fable of the frog and the snake brought to life-they must bite because it is their nature.

Sadly it is exactly these people who also need to be soothed so desperately because they are never satisfied and never take any joy from what they do-they are simply too tired.

Like drugs and alcohol, ANGER can be a familiar old chum that we are not quick to get rid of despite the fact that it’s bad company and puts people off, it’s what we know and learning something new takes too much of what little energy we have left.

If we agree that we are all damaged goods, that none of us grew up in a glass tower where we were protected and shielded from the cruelties of life then we can also agree that we might have some small portion of anger and frustration and it might even be righteous.

I hate it when I discover someone who can never live up to someone else’s scorecard for them no matter how much they try…they are forever on the gravel slope trying to move upward but knowing that the ground beneath them is not solid.

The point is whatever level of anger we have we can all relate to sometimes taking that anger out on someone else who doesn’t deserve it. I have even apologized and told people to just slug me when I act up-we sometimes need that reality check because we don’t know that we are being grumpy or thoughtless.

The cobras never have this chance because by the time they realize they have struck the need to run becomes the most important next move and then they rationalize that the person wounded deserved it.

“If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind”

The song doesn’t say that you can FIX anyone just ease them but I wonder if there is any ease for the viper…afterall, it’s their nature.

When you're weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes,
I will dry them all
I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I'll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
When you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind


  1. this is a wonderful post and you're referencing a favorite song of mine. Thank you for being so honest and open about your feelings.

  2. I am relieved to see that you are not afraid of showing your feelings; so many can't. That includes me. I have withheld so many feelings trying to be 'strong' that I'm finding it so hard to express them now. They are weighing me down. I don't have a blog - not sure what I'd do with one - I'm not especially an 'artist' but I do enjoy my mixed media endeavors. I am going to try art journaling. Maybe that will help. Thanks for sharing, Rick.

  3. Reba its a life long learning curve-we are taught NOT to show anger or rock the boat-after fighting anxiety disorder for a long time I learned the only way to get through this world without going nuts is to be honest---many have a hard time dealing with that---never think its "weak" to show your feelings sometimes the strongest thing one can do is to be vulnerable.

  4. LIN- it will always be a favorite song of mine and a comforting one-sorry to hear you left Alt Starts-after many very kind messages I have returned-with no fanfare-as a matter of fact only a couple people know I'm back on the list...

    It was a very open supportive message from a fellow named Doug that made me hit the rejoin button Francine had sent me.


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