Ben called me yesterday. After reading my blog he had one question. “What’s your drastic plan to change?” Of course, I didn’t understand the question. His questions are so simple they often elude me. Upon clarification he told me that if his kids were to ever have problems, he’d likely change their physiology. Escape to the woods. It’s the “chop wood, carry water” mentality. This question has been posed over the years in some way. What if I were to leave, escape to the woods? Go to an obesity clinic in-patient? Do SOMETHING different. Completely different? For years, the answer was easy. I didn’t have the money. My company wouldn’t give me that kind of time off. Jacob is sick. I need to be there for Naomi and Ana.
The answer is somewhat simpler now. I work for myself. Jacob isn’t sick anymore. Ana is in Chicago. I am not poor. <Disclaimer: I am NOT rich either in case anyone is wondering.> Am I serving my wife, my family and my friends to the best of my ability? If I hit reset and escaped to my metaphorical, mythical Sherwood Forest for a month or so, would this drastic change have better long-term effects? What is my drastic plan of change?
My life has been fueled with well-intended excuses of martyrdom. It’s embarrassingly raw and painful. I take on way too much without much completion. When I do complete something, it’s a production. Look at me. Look what I did. Why am I not getting credit? Is my selflessness and sacrifice being noticed? Very few things that I’ve done, in retrospect, are altruistic. I’ve been selfishly selfless. I see it now. I’m the modern, male Joan of Ark.
My family and I have been through hell in the past three years. I walk a tight line. These experiences and feelings are mine. I will let everyone speak his/her own truth. It would be unfair of me to speak for anyone else. As much as I thought I was being tough for walking through the fire of fears, I wasn’t. I was in that root existence and coping with Jacob’s cancer in a destructive way. He saw it. He would tell how he felt about my weight. When you’re in a hospital room for days upon days, a lot is said. We had very deep conversations of fear and coping. Jacob knew I was in pain. He read it on my face, even when I tried to hide it.
I was a rock in the early stages of Jacob’s sickness. There were FEW moments I let my family see me break. I wore a smile and positive attitude to my demise. I remember needing the walk up to room G111-19. I needed those 5 minutes to mentally cloak myself in my “Super Dad” outfit. I wore it the entire visit, only to take it off on the five-minute quiet, lonely walk back to valet. I would then go directly to my local ice cream palace <insert Mitchells, B/R, CVS or Walgreens> to pick up whatever was going to help me “heal” for the night. “I am not drinking,” I would tell people as my weight shot up. I am sober. Yes, in the sense that I am not drinking, I am sober. Am I truly being selfless?
Killing myself with the guise of helping others is a rouse. It’s not heroic. It’s not selfless. It’s total bullshit and needs to stop. So, what is my drastic plan of change? Is it writing this blog? Is it putting myself out there and taking a “me first” attitude? For the first time in a long time, I think it is. It’s nice to get comments from people talking about my “bravery.” It’s flattering to hear nice things. What’s more important to me is someone sending me a message and saying he/she has these feelings too. That Person X is struggling too and wants to change. This commonality is what fuels me. Can we find a way to better ourselves one day at a time? Can I, Brandt MF Butze, step up and be selflessly selfish to realize that I don’t need to be a martyr. I just need to b the best Brandt I can be. No more, no less.
Tomorrow’s Blog: Using humor to deflect my pain
Thursday: I made a promise to a dying, young man that I need to honor