Last night I posted a blog called “Wine: A Wolf in Disguise.” It was kind of a scary blog, ending with a tragic DUI story. I took it down an hour later.
But I’m done with that shit.
Writing and thinking along those lines made me ill the rest of the evening. I felt lost and disoriented, for no apparent reason, until my mind connected this discomfort to the words in that blog. Words have power, and it hurt me physically and psychically to put that story out there. I hope nobody read it.
Why did I feel so awful about it?
As I reread it, I thought it made some valid points. It contained a helpful, (I thought) not-so-subtle warning for those who might be drinking and driving to STOP THE INSANITY! My twisted logic: If this story makes one person stop and think about what could happen, if it saves one life … blah, blah, blah.
This same logic is used on a grand scale to scare people into doing all kinds of stupid things. It strikes at our basest emotions and fear-mongering tendencies. It inspires negativity and guilt. It creates panic.
What a gift to bestow upon a few lucky readers. I am profoundly sorry.
It got me thinking about how I parent. I often throw out little warnings to my (grown) children, disguised as stories about someone else. “Look at this,” I might say to my son, while innocently perusing the newspaper. “This poor guy got a DUI practically in our driveway.” Message: Don’t drink and drive, even in our neighborhood. Even for short distances. You could pay a very heavy price. Don’t do it, even though I did. Especially because I did.
What I’m really thinking is I am afraid. I’m afraid for you out there in the world. Please don’t become a statistic. Please learn this lesson the easy way. Please avoid these pitfalls. I can’t stand to have you hurt.
But my son just rolls his eyes, as I did years ago with my own mother’s warning stories, and silently drinks his coffee, wondering when I became so afraid.
I resented my mother for worrying about me, even though she had good reason. But beyond a certain age, it never affected my behavior. I wasn’t listening to fear, not then.
Fear never stopped me anyway, at least not from drinking. Neither did well-meaning warnings from people I loved.
Love stopped me. Learning to love and forgive and respect myself stopped me. Regaining my power, and not giving into fear, stopped me.
Fear is paralyzing. Love is empowering.
I want that to be my message, as I see this same message in so many other people’s blogs and books — people I love and admire. My message should be love and hope and companionship and empathy and self-worth.
That’s what worked for me.
(After this long drawn out post about not blogging about “negative” things, the wonderful people in the blogging world set me straight. Writing here is about being honest, and I was not feeling particularly positive at the time this was written. I now realize that this is OK, and have reposted the original blog entry — Wine: A Wolf at the Door.)