August 27, 2020

Ever since I can remember I’ve done things out of anger. As I get older I’m starting to recognize the thought process that can drag me down into negativity and self-sabotaging behavior. They say behind anger is fear and most of my time here on this Earth I’ve been angry. Not the “get in a fight scream and yell at someone” kind of angry but the steady droning, buzzing anger that underlies almost every decision I’ve made.

Spite. Jealously. Greed. Vanity. All these negative emotions are subconscious protectors of our egos. It’s letting go of the ego and accepting who you are which leads you down the path of self-awareness and grace.

Remember, there will always be someone better looking, more intelligent, faster, stronger. Acceptance and love is the key to calming that angry mosquito in your ear.

This is written from my perspective to maybe help someone find their own path. To better understand what I’m saying you have to look at my underlying philosophy on life. I believe we are here to learn how to love, to overcome trust issues and addictions. To fulfill a contract. With whom I have no idea. Why, in the whole grand scheme of things, I too have no clue. In my opinion, during this life you have something you need to do or learn in order to evolve. Something in our contracts with our maker to try and elevate our spirits to vibrate on a higher level. To be more God-like if you will. Everybody plays a part - parents and brothers and sisters and those around you.

I feel in this life my lesson is to learn to forgive. To teach. To love. To be more empathic and break the chain of disrespect to those less fortunate, those who are weaker or handicapped. To respect the opposite sex and everybody’s different viewpoints, sexual orientation or personal religious beliefs is what helps me on the path to loving them.

The thing is I’m not Gandhi or the Dalai Lama. Far from it. I have never worked in an orphanage or a soup kitchen. Just like most people living in America I have to work a 50 hour work week to pay the mortgage. Student loans. Bills, bills bills! I walk by the homeless every day and most of the time they are ignored and I’m told to not give them change for they will just turn that into drugs and not food. As much as I want to believe that i can help them with some spare change, part of me, the cynic that has been burned, robbed, and beaten for trusting the wrong people, wants to scream at the frustration of it all. We are all so bombarded through media with someone else’s moral views on what is right and wrong that it’s almost impossible to see through the static to what is the best path to take or even what is the morally correct thing to do in a situation you can change, even a little, on a daily basis.

Fear and anger, social media, and the pressures of modern society have driven us all into our own little cells. We have become too protective, too afraid to see the door is not locked and we can walk out of our self imposed prisons if we so chose.

To address my own issues I believe I have to start, in a very classical Freudian way, with my childhood. My issues with fear and anger I have had since my youth goes back to my father and the perception of life through his involvement (or lack of) in mine. My parents were divorced when I was 6 years old. I don’t remember much other than there was so much emotion and so many barriers my parents put up to protect me from seeing the awfulness of divorce. Especially in the “me” generation of the 70’s with millions of people just learning how to shift the paradigm their parents and grandparents had about marriage. I remember trying to be tough to show my mother I was a strong boy. It didn’t last past the first 24 hours when my father had to come and get me because I was hysterical. We were the only family on our street that was breaking apart and all the shifting winds of that era came tearing through our little lives in Massachusetts.

My mother was raised in the suburbs of Boston: Dorchester, South Boston, Roxbury. Places where Irish and Italian immigrants mixed and mingled and produced little offspring like myself inheriting the qualities, beliefs, superstitions and culture of two very proud heritages. She lived in a brownstone with her grandparents upstairs and aunts and uncles all around them. Her father, my grandfather Anthony, was born on the boat coming over from Sicily and I found out later that in a very stereotypical fashion that half the family were affiliated with the Italian mafia. Her mother was a very religious Boston Irish woman named Florence. My memories of her were always laced with Jesus references and daily mass and too much perfume. She cooked like an Italian and prayed like an Irish woman.

Please don’t forget who brought you into this work and brought you up in this world.

My mom is hands down the most amazing person I know. I cannot say enough about her. She was not only my caregiver as a kid, she was the source of laughter, inspiration, my shoulder to cry on and my rock. She selflessly put her cares and needs behind the needs of her kids. The most accurate word to describe “The Jude” is Grace. She was a yogi before yoga was hip. She taught aerobics in the 80’s and to this day I am convinced she invented what is now modern day aerobics. She managed to get me to baseball games and skate practice almost every day of the week, bartend at night, teach and manage a spa during the day and keep all of us in fashionable clothes (the one thing about my mother is she would never sacrifice fashion, no matter how hard she had to work). She picked up a job at the mall from September to December so she could buy us all christmas gifts. We never knew how much of her life she sacrificed and I still don’t to this day. I am in awe when I think about what she did for me, how she supported me, and how she put up with me and my brothers alone growing up in a rapidly growing, expensive town in Massachusetts. We could have moved to a cheaper city but she wouldn’t separate us from our friends and our schools. That is my role model and she still is.

My father was the product of a Jewish Russian alcoholic father whom I never knew and who died of liver failure when I was very young. His mother, Rose, was a Sicilian beauty who came here in her teens and supposedly broke every heart in Boston. She was a wonderful, sweet, beautiful woman.

My dad had three kids by 22 with no high school diploma. He had a father who was a nasty drunk and came from a macho self-sufficient, show-no-emotion culture. I am beginning to accept that he is who he is but for years I resented him for his failures as a father and a role model and didn’t understand how incredibly hard it must have been to make ends meet. I can barely take care of my dog never mind three kids. Showing emotion or tenderness is a sign of weakness to many men of my Generation X and I for one am sick of having to be a cave man.

Now at mid life I am trying in my heart to heal the damage and calm my own anger and fear. To see the world through many eyes and not just mine. The feeling that I’m not worthy of love or to be in an environment of people who nurture growth and positive emotion is a fallacy I have been believing, however subconsciously, since as far as I can remember.

So, how do you actually change? How do you become a better person? To all my brethren out there: The men, young and old, brought up by hard working single mothers. We Lost Boys with that rare father figure who comes and goes like a shadow: Forgive your father. All that hatred and fear won’t help and it is a cancer in your life, in your heart. Let it go. He is just a man. Just a human. He has flaws and maybe he tried to do the right thing. We have to rise up and be better men. We have to do right to our wives and ex-wives and girlfriends. Try to be kind to those different from you. Stop and just breath for ten minutes a day and think about all the good things in your life. You will find your kindness and generosity will come back to you a thousand fold and I can attest it feels really really good. I hope whoever you are that reads this that you take even a little bit of what I am saying and maybe use my example to make a small difference in your world. Your son or daughter may someday thank you for it.

Written by Corey Smaller Follow me on Instagram