T for Tom

This Is Cathartic

Posted in Uncategorized by johnsontoms on February 24, 2010

Today’s been one of those days, the kind where I understand exactly where, why, and what’s become of my life, which is to say not something of treasure.  And in an attempt to explain my problems to myself I’m writing this, not as a manifesto but as an open letter to anyone who’s known me in the last five years to shed some light on where I am: I’ve been stronger, I’ve been smarter, I’ve had more ambition, I’ve had things screwed on tight, and, as of recent, the one thing I used to know best I now know very, very, poorly – there’s no telling what is to happen with my life.  The last thing I ever said to someone who used to care about me was that “I knew exactly where I’m going, I’m damn good at my job and nothing can stop me.”  I used that line to make friends even, but I haven’t used that line in a long, long time.

My crippling fault is sadly my greatest trait: I take care of those I know and love at the dire expense of myself.  And now I’ve dug a hole I can’t get out of, at least easily.

I blame my father for this, to no fault of his own.  He grew up stubborn and will leave this world the same way, but in between he’s done everything he could with nothing.  Without getting an education he taught himself a craft and made a life with it, but when the needs of family came calling he did what any loving father would do and sold his craft, packed his bags, and started all over with nothing.  In the process it was, as I’ve been told, been so difficult at times that we couldn’t afford to buy milk when my brother and I were infants; I’ve seen first hand that, though things got better, they didn’t get drastically better.  And just when lady fortune begins to smile, my father does what he does best.  He started doing everything in and out of his power to provide for my mother, my brother, myself, and the people he knew, from his pocket and at his own financial risk.  Without getting into detail, I’ll allow you’re knowledge of the current mortgage crisis to paint the picture – it’s not a good time to work in private construction in an area where there isn’t much, especially when you’re grievously in debt.  But that didn’t matter.  He was doing what he thought best at the time to take care of the people he knew and loved the minute he got something he thought he could give away.  And I’ll be damned if that’s not the most honorable way to live, and I’m damned either way because that’s the single greatest thing I learned from him while growing up.

That characteristic works it way into the backbone of everything I am.  Those of you who’ve known me well as well as the people who’ve talked to me for just five minutes know that I’m as honest as a lion, and it’s made for me as many enemies as it has friends.  But that’s not one trait I’m going to have taken from me.  Hell, if I wanted it gone it wouldn’t leave, but you can’t tell me that telling the truth is ever bad, and if I wanted to be funny I’d say you’re lying.  I hope that everyone finds that part of me honorable, even when I need to be punched.

But to the point, my honesty and stubbornness got me somewhere for a while.  What I took from my upbringing was, in order to take care of everyone I love I could make it easier by getting an education.  So I flew straight from a young age (don’t let me fool though, I wasn’t without mischievous conduct), I kept my grades high, and I was active in the right academics because I knew down the line it would get me to college.  And it did, and to a good one, The U of Texas at Austin.  But when I got there I got in my own way, thinking I could do everything, I mean everything, and still accomplish things.  As I type this, I just overheard a good line: “There’s a time and place for everything, and it’s called college.”  I let the friends I made sometimes get me into trouble, because if it meant we were having fun then I was doing them justice.  I enabled everyone, and that meant they enabled me.  But luckily I got act my together, and in the end was beginning to do what I thought would be the rest of my life.  It’s not, though.

While I was making a name for myself during college and after, I did what I’ve been saying all along: I spent time and money being with the people I cared for, lost sight of my own needs, and now can’t take care of anyone including myself.  I didn’t learn that maybe what people wanted from me was to take care of myself.  And now they’re taking care of me because I can’t.

I’m luckless, listless, lost, and losing.  There are five people in this world who are keeping me off the streets and for that I will owe them my life.  I’m not a bad person, I’ve just made bad decisions.  And the most recent one has cost me, literally, everything I’ve worked toward.

I had greater intentions for this post but it seems to have become a plea for understanding.  I’m trying people.  I need your hope because I’m losing mine.

I’ve got a really good heart, I just can’t catch a break.


One Response

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  1. Warren Brown said, on January 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Tommy, I know I never see you anymore & what conversation we have is over facebook….

    I’m not saying this bc I feel sorry for you or anything like that, but I want you to know you have always been one of my favorite ppl. I really mean that. You are smart, funny, and are a good person at heart. Those who have known you the longest believe that. I hope this new phase in your life will clear up some of the confusion you seem to be facing. I am almost done with graduate school at UTT and there is a good chance I’ll been joining the military as well. Either way man, I just wanted to say “hi” and hope the best for you.

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