Slumps, Hakken-Kracks and the Serenity Prayer.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

This thought came to my mind this morning not long after I woke up.  And I have a question: am I the only one who has heard or thought that and then immediately rolled my eyes and thought, “Good God, give me a break with this sanctimonious crap”?

Now, now, don’t go getting all preachy on me and calling me out for my irreverence. First of all, if you have read anything on here before, you know I can be quite cheeky when it comes to certain things, mostly things of a religious nature, so either don’t bother with righteous indignation or don’t read this blog.  And, yes, I realize that the Serenity Prayer embodies a high minded and important sentiment – one that is important to those in recovery and those of us who just need to keep in mind that sometimes you just have to deal with whatever life throws at you and, quite frankly, you have just those choices – put very eloquently and succinctly. 

However, it has also become cliché bordering on trite.  It calls to mind countless hokey movies where poor struggling drunks and addicts all hold hands, sing kumbayah and solve all their problems inside 120 minutes.  It makes me think of all the times I have heard the equally trite and worthless “Let go and Let God.”  Sure.  Now, what does that mean exactly?  It also makes me think of televagelists, which is not a good thing (one of these days I will get around to my rants on televagelists, but suffice it to say for this post that I am not a fan.  Of. Any. Of. Them. For the most part, I find them to be a step or two below a snake oil salesman and a politician and, if you know my view on politicians, this level lies just above the Unabomer – at least he could rightfully claim insanity and not just sheer greed, lust and/or meanness).   

So when this popped into my mind this morning, totally unbidden, I had to pause.  Now, I am not a religious person.  (One of these days I will write something about both my religious beliefs and lack thereof, but to day is not that day.)  However, I am not devoid of a belief system nor am I without trust in God or, at the very least, trust in the connectiveness of the world we know to things unknown.  So, what did this mean?

Well, it means whatever meaning I want to give it.  But do I know where it is coming from? You bet your sweet butt I do.  Dammit.

I have been angry lately.  One of the reasons I have not been posting much is because I have been too emotional to write.  I know journaling is supposed to be all cathartic and let out those demons so I can call their names and remove their hold over me, but there is a point I can get to where I am too emotional to write (or even talk) about anything that has been bothering me. Well, I suppose I could write about it, but it would reduce me to a blubbering idiot and I can’t have that.

I have used the analogy before that men and women are like ovens – only men are the self-cleaning type.  Let a man have a problem and he will shut that sucker up tight, flip a switch and the oven would heat up and in time it would cut itself off and you would be left with a bit of residue to sweep up and a clean oven. Problem solved.  A woman, on the other hand, puts off dealing with a dirty oven way past the time she should.  So when we finally tackle it, it is caked and baked on.  We have to use toxic chemicals like Off that burn our eyes and get us high (and not in a good way).  We have to roll up our sleeves, don rubber gloves and use brillo pads and elbow grease to scub for hours in toxic fumes.  It is gross, it is messy, it is disgusting, it is time consuming and it is exhausting.  For some reason we lack that wonderful self-cleaning setting that men take for granted.  And men do not understand the difficulty not having that setting causes for us and, by extension, them. 

I have been furious with my doctors and modern medicine in general; I have been aggravated by my ex-husband bringing up shit so banal it barely ranks mentioning except for the fact that my nerves have been raw and my emotions laid bare so my capacity for bullshit is at a very low point; I am worried about my children to nightmarish degrees – two of them specifically and a third just because I am living with a glass-half-empty mindset and know that if there is not anything to worry about with Ezra right this minute, there will be soon enough (yes, I am including the unborn one here);  I have been angry and disappointed in my boss and some co-workers, but cannot speak my mind so I have to stifle my ire and I wind up building resentment no matter how hard I try not to; and, in my vulnerable condition due to the above concerns, I have allowed difficulties in my extended family to leak out of their tightly sealed compartment further contaminating my mood and outlook. 

These are my Hakken-Kracks.  They are the howling problems that haunt and taunt me.  Each of them, in and of themselves, though aggravating, hurtful or scary, is not insurmountable.  Once added together, however, they take on a whole new dimension and become something all together different.  Given time, I can get over anything.  Believe me, I have tested myself and have proof of that fact.  Years ago I would call my friends and rant and talk and cry and get advice.  I would work through the emotions I had out loud to a person.  A part of me wants to do this, but another part finds it appalling. 

I have told Jay most of what is bothering me and he is aware I am stressed, but I have not unleashed the full amount of pent up emotions at all – much less in his presence.  But the fact of the matter is, I am no self-cleaning oven. I will admit that I have done my share of crying and speaking my mind over most of the things I listed above, but not to the degree I would have years ago and certainly not to a point where I have reached some sort of catharsis.  I am still at a point where, given the smallest stressor, I get a lump in my throat and am afraid that something else will happen too soon and I will actually start to cry – like at work or somewhere equally unacceptable – and I will not be able to stop.  I am afraid that I will lash out at something relatively innocuous and snap at my children or Jay.  I feel like Joe Bfstplk in the Lil’ Abner comic strip with the cloud over my head (not to be confused with Pig Pen from Peanuts who, while more adorable, was just filthy). 

All of this serves to make me raw and prone to taking things in a way they were not intended or see a slight where there really was none.  It also means that I am a bit more bitchy and prone to cussing.  I am not all about those of you out there with your rays of sunshine and butterflies flying out your butt.  I don’t want to read your Bible verses posted for edification.  And I will joyfully take out a hit on anyone with advice comparable to “Don’t worry, be happy.” 

In all honesty, I am in a Slump.  Probably a Lurch and a Funk as well. And un-slumping myself is not easily done.

I want someone to wallow with.  I want to find someone else who is down here with me and wallow and bitch and whine until my heart is content and I am sick to death of it.  I don’t want to pray and Let God.  I want to go to my padded room and bounce around for a bit.  Or go to my bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep for 20 hours.  Or cry until my head aches, I cannot breathe and my sides hurt from sobs.  I want to cuss out a stranger for no reason and pop some kid’s balloon just for the fun of it.   Or all of the above, actually.

But I suppose I will take my irritatingly, aggravatingly, maddening Serenity Prayer thoughts this morning to heart and do none of those things  I suppose what I really need to do is get the fuck over myself and get on with it.  So on I will go though my inner weather be foul and those damn Hakken-Kracks can howl all they want.  Guess I’d better go get the Off and rubber gloves.  This is going to take a while.  

Although, as bad as it may be, this makes me feel a bit better. Ha flippin ha. 

  1. I cannot in good conscience not give props to Dr. Suess who provided me with Hakken-Kraks and other things I alluded to in this post. So here is the text….

    Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
    by Dr. Seuss

    Today is your day.
    You’re off to Great Places!
    You’re off and away!

    You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes
    You can steer yourself
    any direction you choose.
    You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
    And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

    You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
    About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
    With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
    you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

    And you may not find any
    you’ll want to go down.
    In that case, of course,
    you’ll head straight out of town.

    It’s opener there
    in the wide open air.

    Out there things can happen
    and frequently do
    to people as brainy
    and footsy as you.

    And when things start to happen,
    don’t worry. Don’t stew.
    Just go right along.
    You’ll start happening too.


    You’ll be on your way up!
    You’ll be seeing great sights!
    You’ll join the high fliers
    who soar to high heights.

    You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
    You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
    Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
    Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

    Except when you don’t
    Because, sometimes, you won’t.

    I’m sorry to say so
    but, sadly, it’s true
    that Bang-ups and Hang-ups
    can happen to you.

    You can get all hung up
    in a prickle-ly perch.
    And your gang will fly on.
    You’ll be left in a Lurch.

    You’ll come down from the Lurch
    with an unpleasant bump.
    And the chances are, then,
    that you’ll be in a Slump.

    And when you’re in a Slump,
    you’re not in for much fun.
    Un-slumping yourself
    is not easily done.

    You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
    Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
    A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
    Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
    How much can you lose? How much can you win?

    And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
    or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
    Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
    Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
    for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

    You can get so confused
    that you’ll start in to race
    down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
    and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
    headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
    The Waiting Place…

    …for people just waiting.
    Waiting for a train to go
    or a bus to come, or a plane to go
    or the mail to come, or the rain to go
    or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
    or waiting around for a Yes or a No
    or waiting for their hair to grow.
    Everyone is just waiting.

    Waiting for the fish to bite
    or waiting for wind to fly a kite
    or waiting around for Friday night
    or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
    or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
    or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
    or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
    Everyone is just waiting.

    That’s not for you!

    Somehow you’ll escape
    all that waiting and staying.
    You’ll find the bright places
    where Boom Bands are playing.

    With banner flip-flapping,
    once more you’ll ride high!
    Ready for anything under the sky.
    Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

    Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
    There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
    And the magical things you can do with that ball
    will make you the winning-est winner of all.
    Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
    with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

    Except when they don’t.
    Because, sometimes, they won’t.

    I’m afraid that some times
    you’ll play lonely games too.
    Games you can’t win
    ’cause you’ll play against you.

    All Alone!
    Whether you like it or not,
    Alone will be something
    you’ll be quite a lot.

    And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
    you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
    There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
    that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

    But on you will go
    though the weather be foul
    On you will go
    though your enemies prowl
    On you will go
    though the Hakken-Kraks howl
    Onward up many
    a frightening creek,
    though your arms may get sore
    and your sneakers may leak.

    On and on you will hike
    and I know you’ll hike far
    and face up to your problems
    whatever they are.

    You’ll get mixed up, of course,
    as you already know.
    You’ll get mixed up
    with many strange birds as you go.
    So be sure when you step.
    Step with care and great tact
    and remember that Life’s
    a Great Balancing Act.
    Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
    And never mix up your right foot with your left.

    And will you succeed?
    Yes! You will, indeed!
    (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


    be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
    or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
    you’re off to Great Places!
    Today is your day!
    Your mountain is waiting.
    So…get on your way!

  2. Gayle said:

    Looked up a prayer i actually had a poster of in the 70’s. When it popped up I clicked it a few times and your blog posted. I read the whole thing and found I lean in your direction. The fact AA adopted this prayer really ruined it for me somehow. Anyway I know it has been years since you wrote it and I hope things are better for you. Ps the rose parade theme this year..oh the places you’ll go.:)

    • Thank you for your encouragement. This was a hard time for me, but (just as I predicted) I lived through it just fine and have come out all shiny and happy on the other side. At the time I was very upset with doctors warning me that my unborn son might have Downs Syndrome and was unwilling to share that information in this blog. I was unwilling to do anything about it other than cry about it, as a matter of fact. But, sure enough, everything worked out just like it should (and God didn’t strike me down for blasphemy). My son is a perfect and healthy little boy – who just happens to have Downs Syndrome. Oh the Places We’ll Go!

  3. So right there today…thank you for sharing this….because I really needed this today…Hope things are still going well Marnie! With lots of love and gratitude!

  4. Marnie Lapierre said:

    I was looking for the serenity quote for an image for Facebook because I just needed to remind myself about it. I clicked on it and it lead me to your page. Odd things happening for me this year. Too many to recount, but just have to say, you have a great name and it was very coincidental, you having that image for the Serenity prayer, and your name being the same as mine. 🙂

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