She Bets Her Life

A writer and former compulsive gambler reflects on women and addiction.

When Nothing Works: 2

"The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there."

       Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and ugly in us, but our emptiness.  The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there.  ---Eric Hoffer, writer/philosopher 

       Wave a flag, wave the bible, wave your sex or your business degree.  Whatever you want -- but don't wave that thing at me.  Bruce Cockburn, Mighty Trucks of Midnight

       Whatcha' wavin'?  It's working.  I'm so busy looking at what we're waving that I can't see the void for the distractions -- your void and mine.    I'll put down my flag, if you'll put down yours.  I'll close my sacred texts if you'll close yours.  I'll claim my sexuality as the holiness it is, if you'll claim yours. And, our big fat degrees? I'll forget I have one if you'll forget yours.

       You see how easily I forget what I've climbed up talus slopes to learn: our fear of our emptiness loves it when we act only if...  You see how "if" negates my generous offer of vulnerability, how if transforms courage into a business deal.  

       If  I had more money, I could quit and do what my heart desires.  If  s/he would admit s/he is wrong, I could admit I have been wrong.  If  the president would make good on his campaign promises, America would go back to normal.  If  I didn't hurt so much, fear so much, rage so much - I would be able to be fully alive.

       If  blocks the gateway to our great good friend, emptiness.  If  closes the doors to your own knowledge, to the wisdom of your patient body.  

       Imagine this is the last paragraph of this post.  Imagine that yet again, there is no advice. Nothing to do.

       Imagine that now, later, wherever you are, you will be lucky to learn more.



Mary Sojourner, M.A., is the author of She Bets Her Life: A True Story of Gambling Addiction (Seal Press/ April 2010) and Going Through Ghosts (U.Nevada Press, 2010).


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