“I don’t want to screw it up”

What is it about the words, “I don’t want to screw it up”?

To the fatalist, it’s nonsensical. Nothing can stop nor change what will come to pass.

But in a very human way, conscious, earnest, self-doubting, it’s at the heart of any strongly yearned for but precipitous result. A result not entirely one’s own to influence.

I see in it my younger self: dramatic, wishful, solicitous, and reliant.  As though my sheer determination should make an endeavor not mine alone to succeed in my own design.  There’s a certain youthful self-centeredness in the belief that the responsibility success or failure of the venture rests solely one’s self.  Sheer ego as though all that mattered was I.

Now older, it’s a phrase that slightly stings. Something the young child I was had said so many frivolous times.  

But now, I can’t help but to think that I can only show up as I am where I am.  The result is never mine alone to truly determine.  The emotion behind yearning to “not screw it up” has faded. It’s a relinquishment to the outside world, to other wills, forces, powers, goals.
I still think about “how” I screwed it up.  Unforgiving hindsight at where the past might have diverged towards a different present if I had acted elsewise.  And again, to a fatalist, a nonsense.  But in calmer, more rational moments that emotional yearning fades as well.  Perhaps there were mistakes, flaws, failings but never was my responsibility isolated in an empty space.

There’s freedom in acceptance.

Those Who Take Advantage

I have a dear, beautiful friend who passionately told me, ‘You can’t blame the victims.  Those doing wrong are the people taking advantage – the abusers.  The victims were vulnerable.  Those who take advantage of that vulnerability are abusing their power and position.  It is their evil action.  The victims aren’t responsible for what happened to them, they couldn’t save or protect themselves.’

The New “Arthur”

Arthur  is a movie about a rich spoiled man who never grew up.

Arthur was originally released in 1981.  The remake starring Russell Brand was released in 2011.  And the story is still the same.  A lost person who never had a reason to be responsible or serious finds he might need to grow up before he can get the girl.  Everyone around him wants him to grow up and quit playing around and drinking to excess.  Maybe an arranged marriage is the answer they think.  But personal growth is one’s own responsibility.  And Arthur himself has to find his own reason to “man up.”

The difference in these two films, besides more explicit celebrity player scenes (especially given the American audience is very aware of celebrity party lifestyles), a female nanny instead of the traditional valet, and an ambitious, driven business woman for his fiancée, is Arthur does have to choose to grow up.  On his own.  Without any promises that his new love will take care of him.  Between his wedding and the couple’s reconcile about 6 months go by.  And Arthur stops drinking!   Wow!

And that’s what I like about Arthur.  It is a story of choosing to change.  But when you change, it is something you have to choose for yourself.  And it is not something someone else can do for you.  And the new Arthur is very honest about that.