I just figured out I am a movie poster. I am an advertisement that comes in a new frame from Walmart. Funny story: years ago, my family had pictures at Winter Park YMCA done. My sister knew she was going to succumb to the cancer and decided to have “Christmas in July.” We took family pictures at that time as well. The photographer took pictures of my nuclear family as well. Several months later, we discovered that he used our pictures as advertisement.
Anyway, I figured out recently that I have relished the picture mentality of life. I had a glorified image of what life, marriage, parenthood, myself was to look like. I would capture the image and print it as a movie poster or framed image. I lived life trying to perpetuate that image at all times. It was important to me to be seen as that poster. Any deviation from that image was rejected and denied. It was great. The image was perfection. It was exactly what I thought it should be like.
The drawbacks are pretty obvious. I was two dimensional. I had no depth. I spent so much energy trying to print and show the image that I was worn thin. Paper thin. A poster or a picture is easy to tear. I deluded myself in thinking that since I looked strong in the poster, I must be impenetrable. I quickly taped the holes and tatters and pretended they didn’t exist.
I was stagnant. A poster can’t change or grow. The moment in time never existed. And even if it did exist, it was in the past. Regardless, the poster will fade. The poster image will be the same. It can’t be sad. It can’t be happy. IT can’t love or hate. It is a poster.
I was bigger than life. I always thought that was a good thing. It seemed like being noticed and revered was the goal of living. I needed for people to tell me I looked good, and fun, and worthy. In order to do that, I had to be huge. I laughed the loudest, I lied about being the smartest. I judged others. I was remembering a moment after I got sober. A patient wanted medical marijuana and I refused to write the script. As he was telling me how disgusted he was with me, he exclaimed that he used to think I was bigger than life. My answer was, “So did I.” He left a little confused.
I lived afraid that someone was going to look behind the poster. I was cowering behind the poster. I drank away the fear. I hid. I ran. I isolated. The worst part is that I taught my family that the image was real and needed protected. I needed the picture because I did not like the coward behind it. And I couldn’t maintain it alone.
The poster fell as the tears won out. The image fluttered to the ground, leaving me exposed and vulnerable. However, I was free of it. My ex-wife and even my kids have begun to erect another poster. I have been excluded from that and deemed not worthy. I am not worthy of a perfect picture. I am broken, fallible, imperfect. I am also redeemed, forgiven, 3 dimension, warm, safe, and loved.