With news of Congressman Anthony Weiner's indiscretions the word "Hung" has frequently been heard. "Hung Over" too entered our conversations. Many asked if he was. "Hung Up" played a powerful role in reflections. "Hung Out to Dry" seems to be the consensus. Crowds of Congressmen and women, citizens from each political Party, and even those who claim no loyalties, say, The Representative must be renounced. Few wish to admit that Anthony Weiner is but you and me.
Supreme Court Justices, who served under Chief Jurist Brennan, perhaps, make three. Any of us might easily say, as the Justices did decades ago; on the subject of obscene or outrageous, "I Know It When I See It." We each do. Still, the definitions vary.
While few of us are officially appointed to write "codes" of conduct, as the Supreme Court Justices are, we too avidly watch the actions of another and judge.
"That man is hung. He knows it and shows it." Albeit, not to his friends. He hides. She is often hung over. Yet, she says nothing of her excessive drinking to her loved ones. She hides. I binge. I purge or did for twenty-five years and three months. I devoted sixteen hours a day to this truth. Food was my folly. Discuss my doings with others? I too hid.
We are each hung up. Whether others hang us out to dry or not, everyone has hanged him or herself. We punish ourselves for not being what we think is good enough, smart enough, successful enough, sensational enough, sexy or even sane. Rather than say we are preoccupied with our own self-perceived inadequacies, we act out. Some drink or do drugs in abundance. Countless persons jump from job-to-job or relationship-to-relationship. For most of the latter, this equates to hopping from bed-to-bed. Serial marriages are not uncommon. Multiple sex partners in a lifetime are even more common. Indeed, these are so prevalent people do not think to gossip about what so many of us, do daily. Even those intertwined in wedded bliss belie the notion of monogamy and few blink an eye.
While I indulged in more than my fair share of "intimate" escapades, my chosen weapon for self-destruction was food. No matter how much I ate, which was usually enough for perhaps, fifty persons in a single day, it did not fill me up. I hoped it would; however, food never satisfied my enormous appetite. I was forever hungry! I craved a connection, not to a person, place, or thing. I wanted to feel connected to me . . whatever that might have meant. I was unsure. I only knew that I did not trust that I could ever be what I imagined everyone else was.
Oddly, or unexpectedly enough, what saved me was what I feared the most. I told a very close friend. While I was nowhere near the end of my self-destructive path, I knew I had to reveal what I truly believed all would reject, my flaws, my foibles, in unadulterated honesty, me.
One day, while home, engaged in a conversation with a chum of near fifteen years, I took the plunge. "Cher," I said with much hesitation "I need to tell you something." Even now, years later, I remember the wave of anxiety that swept over me at the time. As close as I was to Cher, and by the way I still am, I was sure she would reject me. Nonetheless, I took a deep breath. I sat down on the stairs in my home. I needed to. I did not think my legs would support me if I stood.
I clutched the telephone, looked down, and began to speak. I do not remember a word I said. All I recall was how certain I was; Cher would lose all respect for me. She would be critical. She could never understand. In truth, nor could I. Again, I was wrong, thankfully.
All that I assumed Cher would think, say, do, and feel, she never did.
Cher was there for me, with me. I smile when I think of how much closer we have become. Before that conversation, Cher had expressed astonishment at the reality of our friendship: She and I were so tight, now more so.
But the depth and details of that story are ones for another day. In contrast, what I went through, or imagined I would, could not begin to compare with the agony Barry anticipated. His transgressions, oh my. Please ponder the tale.
A good friend, a successful man in his early sixties, Barry spent his entire adult life behind bars. He was imprisoned by his sense of self. In his pre-teen years, possibly as late as the age of sixteen, he had done a wrong. Barry molested his younger sister.
At the time, he was a good Catholic boy. He attended Catholic schools all his life. His family was active in their neighborhood Parish. Barry was not rebellious, or a rabble-rouser. He did not rant, rage; nor did he reject his teachings.
Barry grew up in a home where sex was never discussed. Demonstrative gestures were not placed on view. His parents were forever proper. Barry, in pre-puberty and his adolescent years was confused when he felt sexual feelings. He was certain these were sinful. Indeed, he believed his very essence was an error. Barry felt as though he was the scourge of the Earth, the devil incarnate. He wanted so much to understand, to speak with someone, any one, but whom.