Metallica – The Outlaw Torn: A story of Therese Paderta

Metallica released this song on their Load album in 1996. Usually I almost always focus on the music in the songs and how the melody / rhythm of the vocals matches up. I may even know the words to the songs but not fully understand them if I really do not pay attention to them. Not long after the album came out, I had read the story behind the lyrics. James Hetfield said it is about “losing someone to death and longing to find a replacement that never comes.”

Therese Mary Paderta left this world very early in the morning on December 15, 1992. I remember laying on the couch, watching men carrying her body out. Not long after family members and friends were woken in the middle of the night by either by Laura or Dad. Soon after those people were there for us, keeping us company in that old house on Cullom Avenue. Later that day it rained. I remember going with Laura and Dad to the funeral home and cemetery to plan things out and to pick her grave. After the two-night wake, funeral, and proceeding luncheon, life went on as a motherless child; I was just 15 years old.

When you lose someone, you have many directions in which you can take your life. Within months of her passing I had discovered The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. I had made many new choices in my life in the years thereafter; in the past I would usually follow the crowd instead of creating my own identity. I chose to be strong. One example of this strength is how people asked how I kept strong after her passing. I used to explain things in a more complicated way. Recently I came across a more concise version: “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” People out there have tougher lives than I have.

After awhile you can only be so strong. Life is about balances. You can only have so much of one thing until the yin yang balances it all out. No matter how how hard we try to push our lives in one direction, there is something always pulling us back to bring in some sort of balance. Butt-Head said something along the lines that if nothing sucked, then nothing would be cool. We do need to come crashing down from time to time to learn to appreciate the good in our life.

. . . losing someone to death and longing to find a replacement that never comes.

I feel like I have been waiting around, searching for that comfort that Mom gave me. Sometimes I look for it in others. Sometimes I really feel like I am waiting for her to come back, living in denial. Most of the time I life my life without dwelling on this too much. Other times I become obsessive on the subject.

Sometimes I feel like I am living my life in fear. If the person who meant the most to me left me, there is no guarantee that anyone else in my life will ever stay for me long-term. One of two things happens. Sometimes people run away when I need them most. If that does not happen, I manage to cause enough chaos in the relationship to drive them away from me, fulfilling my own prophecy.

Mom held me together. Mom held our family together. Mom held our family together to our extended family. It seems since she has been gone my whole life has come undone. I have been searching for either that person that will get me back together, or at least find the strength and wisdom from inside to do it myself. No matter how hard I work to improve my life, there is always something knocking me off my pedestal.

Of course, I cannot just hate the bad things in my life. Wikipedia defines yin yang as “complementary opposites, unseen (hidden, feminine) and seen (manifest, masculine), that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system.” Larry Winget says about change, “People never make changes when they are comfortable.” You have to have those crappy moments to realize you can make better choices when you are otherwise not doing so.

I had to fail out of school to realize that being a school teacher was not the best thing for me. The years thereafter sucked royally, but I would have never been blessed the way I am now if I kept on that same path. At this moment I will do everything I can to keep the job I have right now. The pay is great, each day comes packed with fun moments, and I have a very high sense of job satisfaction.

In my past there was a falling out with one friend in particular. Since then there is a better sense of respect and openness. Although things are not perfect, I have a greater sense appreciation for this person. Of course the falling out was not necessary for things to improve. However, changes were made due to that feeling of discomfort.

All too often it seems that I am going through these cycles of ups and downs. Why can’t I just learn the right way the first time around? It just makes more sense to stay close to a certain few people and maintain & enrich those relationships. Yes, it may close off opportunities of meeting and getting close to new, great people. However, having long-lasting relationships is more valuable to me than meeting and losing so many good people.

Why couldn’t Mom be there with me anymore? She would be 77 today; that’s not that old by today’s standards. 19 years, 3 months, 16 days is both a very long time and a short time; it has been that long since she left me. At the same time it it is hard to believe it has been so long. However, I barely have many memories of Mom.

One of my defense mechanisms is blocking my memories. Not only is it hard to remember memories of her during the 15 years, 10 months, 19 days that we both lived on this Earth, this mechanism is now being used in other relationships in my life. It is becoming harder and hard to remember things. I know I need to learn how to slow down my life; more will be posted about my recent progress later. What I have been doing is blocking out memories, both good and bad, of those between people with whom I have had hard times. The problem being is it is hard to remember things that those people say to me; many things they say to me are somewhere locked inside my mind.

Time was never on my side
So on I wait my whole lifetime

Every time I hear that line in The Outlaw Torn I beat myself up. I get so emotional every time I think about how I do almost everything last minute. Then I am running around trying to get that half-court shot in so I can I beat the buzzer. When the buzzer goes off before I can release the shot, it just brings up all the memories where procrastination has meant fewer chances for success in my past. It has even been causing me pain with things happening in my life right now.

Time is not on anyone’s side. However, you can be on time’s side. I need to force myself to create structure so I can accomplish all the important things and bring happiness to my life.

Best regards,

It’s about time I start writing again!

I used to write A LOT! Way back in the day I used to contribute some of my thoughts over at the Off-Topic forum. Then I used to post stuff over at my MySpace blog (NSFW language). I actually logged into that waste of space website to make sure I still had a profile! It seems as if I have neglected myself in so many areas of my life.

Writing is something that is very dear to me. I never cared much for it. Then in junior year in high school I won a writing contest. I only entered it because my English teacher picked me out of my class. Especially after losing my parents early in my life, writing became a sort of therapy. So much can be accomplished with a keyboard and virtual paper! Writing as a therapy does not have to be done directly; I also feel great just getting my thoughts down permanently, even if I am in a great mood!

Living the single life and being in a relationship both have their positives and negatives. The best thing you can do is to keep all the positives from the single life and sprinkle on some companionship, love, and new memories from the one you love. However, so many of us fall into the trap of forgetting our own identity in order to focus on that new love. I am so guilty of that. If anything, that can be blamed as one of the worst things I have done in this relationship.

You lose your identity once you stop doing the things you love to do. There is no way your love will want to do all the exact same things that you enjoy. Life is all about balance. Should you stop doing the things you love, then you stop filling up your love tank. No matter how much your family and friends love you, it won’t mean anything if you don’t love yourself. Just like when you have to pay bills, you get your online payments done before you start going shopping. Go shopping first before paying your mortgage / rent and you will find yourself looking for a new place to stay!

If you stop doing the things you enjoy doing, then you are no longer happy. All the love in the world will not replace all the things you have given up. Those things are ingrained in you. Writing, hiking, photography, drumming, long drives, visiting museums, reading, and so many other things are missing out of my life. I still try to fool myself into thinking that I am so happy with my life.

I have been with for a year and a half. They pay me about twice as much as my best paying job prior. As of December I now have a safe, reliable vehicle, my 2010 Toyota Yaris. My best friend has been living near me for the past three years. I am now getting back into Church, meeting wonderful people there, and getting myself in a morally straight direction. I don’t mean to whine and say that my life sucks, even after being blessed with these gifts. There are just somethings that cannot be replaced.

Since January 1, 2008 Laura has been the number-one person in my life. Unfortunately I began neglecting so many of those above-listed joys in my life in lieu of spending a great deal of time with her. Most likely things would have been better if I spent less time with her and doing more things that made me happy. That way time with her would be more valuable and my own love tank would be kept full by doing the things I love. Keeping me happy keeps me being the person with whom she fell in love.

In recent times I have made drastic changes in my life. Again, I have a job for which I am extremely grateful. Some parts of it suck. Otherwise, I have a set Monday – Friday, business-hours job that I enjoy so much! It provides incredible benefits. I have been seeing a counselor, for the first time in years I started going to the doctor, I am taking speech therapy, and I even just went to the hospital for the first time in 25 years! My car takes me all the places I want to go without any worries of breakdowns. After picking up the car I got to see my sister for the first time in three-and-a-half years and enjoyed a beautiful cross-country drive home. Too bad I did not get to see my other sister during that drive due to time constraints. I live about a mile from work. It sounds like things are getting better for me!

Regardless if I am doing this for myself, Laura, Kristen, my friends, or my family, I need to most importantly get my life back on track for myself. At the end of the day, the only person who is responsible for my happiness is me.

One thing that has been on my mind a lot is Mom and Dad. Without a doubt the next post will be about them. One huge topic I have been focusing on in Church and in my readings, probably the most important one, is repentance and forgiveness. Also, last year I read an incredible book about breaking destructive habits passed down in your family. Like I said above, I am responsible for myself. That means I am also responsible for my actions. Just because I learned bad habits does not mean I have the right to use what I have learned to negatively impact those I love.

While wrapping up The 5 Love Languages, I war reading how with children we have to discover what their love language(s) is / are and meed their individual needs. I used to resent Dad for not being the loving father that I wanted; he just was not speaking my love language. I wanted someone warmer who would spend more time with me. Instead he was a hard worker, a provider. Very rarely did he miss work. He worked outside in Chicago as a garbage man. Yes, he was outside regardless if it was 95° or in the middle of a blizzard. We always had a home and food. We had a private education from Kindergarten through high school.

When things do not go well it is so easy to get upset and blame Mom and Dad. They are not around to defend themselves, so it’s so easy to point fingers at them! Seriously, what are they going to do? After reading that book, I cannot deny that I was very much loved; maybe it was not exactly the way I wanted. However, smoking until your children at a young age are left without parents is not one way to show love.

Because of Mom passing when I was 15 and Dad when I was 29, I have been very resentful towards them. So many times I blame them for the bad things happening in my life. If only I had parents to turn to when I did not know what to do. . . If only I had parents to turn to so I could find out what life was like when they were younger. . . If only I had parents to be reminded what they were like. . . It has been 19 years since I have seen Mom. So many of my memories of her are erased as a defense mechanism.

Because of these losses I am a very vulnerable person; I am so easily hurt. When it comes to so many things in life I have become so strong. At the age of 15 I had to become an adult; handling things in an adult-like manner is nothing new to me. However, I can be so easily hurt by those who are important to me. It is hard for these people to understand why I so easily become hurt and express that emotion through anger. Anger is my biggest destructive pattern that needs to be softened.

It all comes down to forgiving Mom and Dad for their wrongdoings. They did their best. They did so many good things for me. They are long-gone, and holding a grudge does absolutely no good! Since it is on my mind, let me steal a quote from Laura’s facebook page: “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Why do I carry around all this weight? I need to just let it go. Let that ever-so-happy Jimmy break free and live!

Now is a good time to put this nice little journal of mine on hold. It has been well over a year since my last post. I promise to write a lot more often. Sorry to leave this open with some incompletely-documented thoughts. However, I work in six hours! Time to get some rest.

Best regards,