In the photo below is a decal thingy that is posted randomly around Austin-where I live. This particular one is on a piller under a freeway on the lake that runs through town. It’s called Lady Bird Lake-after President LBJ’s wife who did a ton to beautify Texas roads and highways. This lake has a beautiful long hike and bike trail. It’s a very Austin place. There’s even a larger than life statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan at the other end.
These things are all over town-in the weirdest places. (Fun fact: there is a long time movement and lots of bumper stickers that say “Keep Austin Weird”) Yesterday I saw one of these decals on my way back from taking some friends to the airport in a delapidated vacant lot. They’re thought provoking. They’re a reminder. A nudge. Something to ponder on a long walk.
Is my life a “great story”? In comparison to say, Cleopatra or Joan of Arc it’s pretty mundane. Or Elizabeth Taylor. Now she lived a great story. And much of it drunk or stoned. As I write this though, I do see some similarities.
Did you know that Cleopatra and Marc Antony formed a drinking society called “The Inimitable Livers”? Wow! I’m pretty sure that I would have been a member in that club! They had nightly feasts and wine binges! Sounds au courant to me! Cleopatra was also adaptable. Her family was a long line of Greeks who hated the Egyptians and refused to speak the language. She learned it and spoke it. Then had the chutzpah to say she was an incarnation of Isis! My kind of woman! Not only adapts to a situation but claims herself a Goddess! As all women are, I might add!
Now Joan of Arc! There was a strong woman. She didn’t actually participate in war. She rode alongside the troops as a kind of inspriational mascot, brandishing a flag instead of a weapon. My God! I feel like I do that every day in countless ways-supporting friends, my SO…She also had a volatile temper. Moi at times! She outlayed strategies and directed the troops. Sounds like catering! She also tried to find diplomatic solutions to problems with the English. Well, hello! I have an Englishman in the house that I am often having to be diplomatic with! Not to mention there’s a language problem! He does not speak American English! However, unlike the English that Joan of Arc was dealing with who never accepted her solutions, my SO is always (almost) open to suggestions.
Elizabeth Taylor! Now SHE was something else! Beauty, brains, talent, loads of fun and a stark raving alcoholic for most of her life. She was certainly a very well heeled drunk-especially when she put the bling on! I’m sure that made up for tons of bad behavior. But, she fought. Stopped for awhile. Started back up. Went to re-hab several times and we don’t really know what else. She was a businesswoman, a humanitarian, a wife-like a gazillion times-a mother, an actor. God! And most of that while drinking! Just think what she could have been had she been sober for most of her life!
And, little ole me! What great story am I living? I know I won’t be in any history books or any kind of world press, but just writing this post and talking about these three women and seeing that I have some elements of each of them is kind of mind boggling. That wasn’t my intention when I started and the three women I’ve focused on just came to me-like that! Or not, if you believe that everything is as it should be. So, I don’t know exactly how “great” my story is to someone else. Or if it’s of any interest, but one thing I do know is that I am now living this chapter soberly!
I feel I must also mention Stevie Ray because I brought him up earlier. I’ve always loved the blues and he is one of my very favorites-of course the fact that he was a fellow Texan and played around Austin in the early days, makes me swell with pride. And, like so many extrodinarily talented people, he had a drug and alcohol problem. Which he licked! (no pun intended!) The thing he was most proud of at the time of his life when he died was not his music or all of the awards he’d won for it. No! What he was most proud of was that he was sober! That he had overcome addiction and was still an amazingly talented, creative person.
Are you living a great story? Are you living the best story that you can? Are you discounting your story? Is your story a broken record of the continuous cycle of addiction? It’s your story! You can create it, change it up as many times as you want, live a new chapter every day, rewrite it any way and every way you can imagine. Let it have a happy ending. An ending of overcoming, an ending of winning, an ending of not “living life by the drop”.