Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What Doesn't Kill You...

     For some people I know it 's the most annoying phrase they know.  Usually said in response to an emotionally devastating event, one will hear said by a decidedly well-meaning person, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger..."  Well...what if it is killing you...  There are many ways to die.  The physical death of a body is just one of them.

    Who would think the girl in this picture would need that kind of advice...

    What you don't know is it was pouring rain that day, and, well, all that water hitting our equipment could have possibly killed us in the literal sense...

     Often times over the years I would wonder, "where did 'she' go?"  Turns out "she" was killed in a tragic accident...

     "She" was me...and I have a horrible propensity to withdraw when things go wrong...

     I've made reference to that fact before when talking about my nickname (If you are new to the blog, you can read about it here.). The confident, fun me, the one that went by "Red," had somewhere along the way been extinguished.  Now, well on the road to what I'm supposed to do with my life, and becoming Red again, I find that I have a few more "band aids" to rip off before I can be confident enough to keep traveling.

    Let me try to explain, without great dramatic detail, what, upon great examination, I suspect happened to my personality...   

    If you've never been in a band, it's like any small group of tightly knit people.  It closely resembles and often times feels a family.  Sometimes in a family, unpleasant things happen.  Being that I come from a pretty fragmented biological family myself, I never learned how to fully process and deal with such unpleasantries.  So by the time I ended my last band, I had withdrawn almost completely from the music scene.  I even stopped listening to some of my favorite music.  I was hiding from the things that happened within my "family" dynamic, unable to adequately asses and deal with the issues, and at the same time trying to throw myself into new families, all because "she" died and I didn't have the coping skills to know what to do with that.  I shut down so I wouldn't feel any more pain.  It just happened.  Accidental emotional death.

     A person who withdraws feels, to some degree, that whatever undesirable event happened, a majority of it was their fault, whether they were a true contributor to the situation or not.  The withdrawal itself breed a feeling of unworthiness; that your life shouldn't feel enjoyed because, well, you messed something very important up and there is no perceived hope of a second chance at it...that there is no conceivable moving on from this point...

     ...That's a heavy, heavy burden to carry around...

     I'm discovering that handling this particular injury may actually be more like taking off a cast after having broken bones set than simply ripping off a band aid. It's gonna hurt to get moving again, but one has to make themselves bend those joints and get on with it. 

     ...and that's what I have to prepare myself to do...

    No matter what anyone thinks of me, no matter what anyone thinks I have done, I can say with all honestly I never have been an intentionally hurtful person.  I am human, however, which means I'm not going to always make the best decisions.  I am truly sorry for having hurt anyone and for having caused my share of trouble.  If you have ever been considered "family," I will always love you. What's done is done. I may wish I had done it another way, but ultimately I have no regrets.  I have learned so much from everything I've experienced on my life's journey that I can let this go. I know that what doesn't kill you...

   ...okay...maybe the phrase isn't that bad.  Just a little overused...but maybe that's because with everything we experience, we all need a little reassurance that pain is temporary and we all deserve to get on down the road that leads to the ocean where our "starfish" is waiting...

    Happy Fishing!


P.S. - I have re-written four times and had almost scrapped this blog completely.  Dealing with this is icky, but necessary.  It wouldn't have been true to what I've been feeling to avoid the subject matter and publish something more palatable and clever.  My joints are killing me, but walking is miraculous...



  1. I LOVE YOU! And I, like you, deal with this very thing. HUGS! You RAWK! and RAWK always!


  2. No...YOU Rawk! ; ) Thank you, Nay; I love you, too!

  3. Beautiful article. Brought tears to my eyes as I am experiencing it right now. Te amo! Besos y abrazos.

  4. Te quiero, también, Tere'! Siempre recuerde, lo que no le mata le hace más fuerte! See? I got something out of college! I'm sure Dad wonders... ; )

  5. Feel like I just learned another layer about you, my friend... love you dearly! Nicole

  6. Si, claro que si...muy bien mi hija, pero algunas veces, death is required in order for new life to begin.

  7. I love you dearly as well Nicole! And I am FULL of layers! ; )

    And, Tere', on so many levels you are absolutely right... : )

  8. Once again, great writing. It seems we are on a similar journey right now.

  9. That's what I was thinking when I got yours yesterday! I fully intend to write "get out of my head..." on your blog! HA! I think it's just because we are pretty spectacular people and spectacular people go through this kind of stuff... ; )

  10. Dear Sis I know what you mean. I ran from some of the very same stuff when I was younger. And you would know that best, only I dealt with all that crap a far different way...with drugs. Today being free of those demons by working the 12 Steps and finding the God of my understanding I am free to live a life that I have never knew. I do love you very much my sister and you have always been a very bright spot in my life. Thanks so much for trying to save my life many years ago.