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  • Artists of the New Century at the Bennington Center for the Arts
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Does your Temper Flare?

May 24, 2013 by admin

I never had a real choice of whether or not I wanted to help my Dad fix the car. They would go through the motions of asking me, but then I knew there was only one answer. I learned early on that to say no to such an open ended question would bring “that look” that you never want to get from your parents. So however begrudgingly it was, I would say sure, okay!

Dad and I

Dad and I

My job was pretty much to hand my father the tools he asked for, or hold the flashlight on something so he could see what he was working on. I was quick to find the right wrench, and I knew that the light had to be coming from as close to his viewing angle as possible to avoid any unwanted shadows. I think I did pretty well at this, I must have because I was forever chosen for these duties. Could have been I was the oldest boy, but hey now.

If you’ve ever worked on things mechanical, or electrical, plumbing, all of these things. There are occasions where things do not go quite right. And on some occasions, nothing EVER goes right, you combine that with a half pint of Jim Beam Whiskey, and the fact that somethings broke and you don’t want to be here fixing it in the 1st place, and there are chances that you just might lose your cool.

My duties had suddenly doubled, now I had to include going to get the tools that were being thrown across the garage, that and trying to understand the strings of expletives coming from my fathers mouth. It did not take long to figure out that these were not to be repeated. Nor let on where I had learned them.

I found it best if I remained calm throughout all this, not say much of anything. Just casually go about the duties that were needed of me, and get back in my position in case I was needed again.

I think I learned patience here, or it was a good start at learning about what would come. I do not have a fiery temper, or do I go off in tangents, at least now that I’m 10 almost 11 years from my last drink. I have taken almost every mantra that the Alcoholics Anonymous program had engraved it deep into my brain. “One day at a time”, “Serenity Prayer”, all of these little tools for getting one through a deadly bought with alcohol  I can’t handle it, but without it I can handle life, and all it’s little eccentricities. It’s a crazy mixed up world and rarely are things easy or go the way you want. But if you have no control over it, don’t try to. And if you can do, do something about it, don’t put it off.

Right now I am smack in the middle of my favorite painting competition in the Kansas City area, the STEMS plein air competition, which lasts 2 weeks. I am finding that there are many things that are keeping me from getting out there and doing what I love, which is

Marcos Baghdatis, smashing racquet

Marcos Baghdatis, smashing racquet

painting outdoors. I still have responsibilities all around, and I do not like to “shirk” those. I  try very hard to prioritize and methodically go down the list doing what I can, when I can. Then reward myself with some fun. Amazing but I even try to include my lovely wife in some of this.

When things don’t go as planned, and there is nothing I can do about it, “roll with it”. I’ve found that it does more harm than good to get mad. I don’t have to like it, and there are many things that come up that I don’t like, and would rather not. But I didn’t make the rules of life, whatever they are. But if you relax, take a few breaths and know that things will soon be going your way, you can get through most everything… so far.


One Response to “Does your Temper Flare?”

  1. HI Gregory.

    I read this and just had to reply. Your life and mine were similar. My dad was a violent man at times, and had problems drinking until he decided to go cold turkey.

    Growing, it was also my job to hand him tools and hold the light. He was a master mechanic. I barely know where to put oil in or gas in. He had a wicked violent temper. I at times deal with anger and frustration issues.

    My dad told me to give up art when I was 18 for a ‘real job’. I listened. He passed away March 2012 and I regret not making something with my art. For 30 years, I dabbled a little, but worked my life away. Since my dad passed, it made me realize that he did WHAT HE LIKED and made a living from it. Why shouldn’t I try?

    So I have been practicing and trying to grow as a painter since then. I don’t know if I will make it. But I’m trying like crazy.

    your last paragraph is true. You are stronger than you think. With God’s help, you can get through tough times.

    My dad wasn’t the same man in the end. He was a better man, though still had problems with controlling his emotions. But I loved him and miss him today. He was generous and kind in his own way.

    We all have to give our best in life. We can’t control the life we were given, the experiences we’ve been forced to face. But they do shape us into who we are.

    I hope you continue to have successes. You’re quite a painter and ahead of where I am.

    and you have a ‘Lovely wife’ as I do. They are a wonderful supporters, caretakers, and more, for guys like us. We are lucky to have wonderful wives!

    just wanted to say hi. Keep painting and keep on “rolling with it”. It’s tough for sure, but we have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, facing each day with decency, hope, and perserverance.

    No one else is going to hand you your dreams. It’s all up to you. So keep striding forward, mi amigo!

    God bless!

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