Bitch on the Blog

January 18, 2016

Jackson Pollock

Cheerful Monk aka Jean, a woman I respect for a number of reasons, asserted the following in her last post:

“I know some people who think life just happens, they don’t have much say in the matter. That attitude seems to work for them, but it’s against my nature to be that passive. … It’s more fun to be the painter than the paint.

If you want your story to be magnificent, begin by realizing you are the author, and every day is a new page

This last one points out how incorrigible I am, that at the age of 76, I still think I’m a creator in my life.

For me it’s a lot more fun than just being the paint.”


To which I replied in her comment box, and such is my purpose and sorrow that I vent same what I feel this moment on my own blog:

“My dear Jean, if only it were so easy. Yesterday (Sunday) evening, in a moment of misguided optimism and hope, I, the author of my life as you put it, took an initiative and “painted” and what did I end up with? A lot of paint on my face. So much paint on my face it will take a lot of resolve and tears to wash it off.

Say what you like: Sometimes we are at the mercy of others. And when we are at the mercy of someone else, you – the supposed editor of your life’s story – may take time off and go home early. Yes, I hit a brick wall. Hard.

I am devastated. Wish I could “re-write” that chapter of my life (into the future) but I can’t. Why? Because no man is an island. There are occasions, maybe few but nevertheless, where we are entirely dependent on someone else’s ability and willingness to communicate. And if that will isn’t there you may as well (metaphorically speaking) fill your coat pockets with stones and wade into water.”




  1. Jean has the superior air of someone who has been privileged as well as lucky. Anyone who believes they have control over their life is delusional.
    If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire – George Monbiot

    Comment by kylie — January 18, 2016 @ 12:08 | Reply

    • Yes, I like George Monbiot. So switched on, so to the point, yet measured.

      Before I forget and in reference to your last post: So happy that you switched to post natal doulalling (there, Kylie, I just coined a new word, all in your honour).

      Here is a little anecdote to underline your cause and why your mission is important: Attending PRE natal classes (1991) I was very much taken with one of my co-mothers in waiting. Slender to the point of bony, big eyes, decanted just out of her office, bewildered, Irish. I made contact with her and we became good good friends.

      And then? Oh the shame of it, Kylie.

      Twenty four years on I am still so ashamed I can’t believe it’s me I am talking about. So there I was, “the natural” (as decreed by the mid wives attending my son’s birth and after, latching on etc.), end of September, delivered of a healthy weighty fully complete baby, the apple of my eye, the Angel, and got so absorbed in him and my total happiness that when Colette – who gave birth to a daughter a couple of months later – sank into the hell of all post natal depressions I NEVER noticed. I, Kylie, Ms Observant, didn’t realize what was happening to my friend right under my nose. She drowned. And then she downed many a bottle. Guilt ridden as only the (Catholic) Irish can be she floundered in the eye of her ineptness (as she perceived it). All unnoticed by me. Yes, Kylie, she could have done with someone like you, and – with hindsight – her family would have given their all to cover your fee.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — January 18, 2016 @ 13:56 | Reply

      • Ursula,
        Thank you for your huge enthusiasm!
        Despite the fact that postpartum care makes sense, especially to those who have seen or lived through postpartum depression, it is regarded by most as a luxury and the slightly intangible nature of the work also works against me so times are hard right now and your kind words are encouraging.
        As for you not noticing Colette’s distress, she probably covered it and unless you had been quite probing you had no chance of knowing, that is the nature of the condition.
        I have heard of a man who was forced to become the main carer for his wife and child when she was completely incapacitated by depression, it became an enormous financial and personal strain. It is sad that a relatively small investment early on might have saved them the trauma.

        Comment by kylie — January 20, 2016 @ 11:37 | Reply

    • You miss the point if you think it’s about controlling external events. It’s about being flexible and how we handle adversity.

      Let’s face, everyone here has been privileged compared to most people in the world.

      Comment by cheerfulmonk — January 18, 2016 @ 20:15 | Reply

  2. No man is an island? Balderdash. The world is increasingly making men and women into islands unless they are very lucky and that brings us to the basis of CM’s assertion that she is totally in charge of her life. All strength to her but I can see where you come from having seen both sides and felt both ways. Neither CM’s nor my point view is better. Both are simply different from each other and each perfectly valid depending entirely on the context.

    Comment by Rummuser — January 18, 2016 @ 15:54 | Reply

  3. I find that when I’m in the space of “in charge of me” that an outsider, usually a professional or would-be advisor puts a sharp stick in my muse – not always a helpful reminder either! However, as I get older, not as old as CM or Rummuser I start to see that I can disobey and do it my way if I want….

    Comment by cedar51 — January 18, 2016 @ 18:13 | Reply

    • Yay, Cathy! Go, gal! As usual, thank you so much for sharing your experiments and experiences with us.

      Comment by cheerfulmonk — January 18, 2016 @ 22:23 | Reply

  4. Listen to the start of this programme……. It says what I have long understood……

    Comment by magpie11 — January 18, 2016 @ 19:56 | Reply

  5. One of my favorite quotes is by Kathleen Norris:

    “Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can’t imagine.”

    Then there’s Cheerful Monk’s: “Stay curious and open to life. No matter what happens keep learning and growing.” Neither one says anything about controlling what happens in life.

    Comment by cheerfulmonk — January 18, 2016 @ 22:18 | Reply

  6. We are all slaves to our circumstances. Even those of us who strive to be curious and creative, and are wealthy enough to pursue our interests, are simply addicts to mental stimuli, which is not all that different from other addictions, except that we can afford it. My respect is for those who have gone through adversity and learned contentment.

    Comment by Looney — January 19, 2016 @ 04:56 | Reply

    • Have you really never heard of Epictetus? His name means “acquired” because he was born a slave. He’s the fellow who said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

      You also might want to get to know Cathy and tammy better.

      Comment by cheerfulmonk — January 19, 2016 @ 16:32 | Reply

      • Jean, yes, Epictetus is one of my favorites. I plan to re-read him in the original Greek, since I finished the Greek classes. He was a Stoic philosophy teacher, which is both good and the bad. The good being the discipline in the face of adversity. The classical world also criticized the Stoics for two reasons. First, they were good at talk but didn’t follow their own principles. Second, they were invariably wealthy (or the pet of the wealthy in the case of Epictetus), so that they did not need to face the difficulties that the common man faced.

        The belief of the Stoics was that everything was predetermined in our lives by the Council of The Fates. Thus, our only real choice is how we react to it, which is what you are saying. Thus, my reiteration of the 2,000 year old complaint: Yes, I am Stoic in much of my attitudes, but I don’t always stick to my ideals and even if I could it doesn’t imply that such a view is adequate for someone who hasn’t gone through life as smoothly as I have.

        And to make this a little more fun, I will leave you with this quote by the 1st century Rabbi, Josephus:

        “So when I had accomplished my desires, I returned back to the city, being now nineteen years old and began to conduct myself according to the rules of the sect of the Pharisees, which is of kin to the sect of the Stoics, as the Greeks call them.” – The Life of Josephus

        Comment by Looney — January 20, 2016 @ 04:57 | Reply

        • Whatever turns you on. I like believing I’m not a complete slave to circumstances, that I usually have some say how I respond to adversity. It works for me, and presumably something else works for you. There’s no way to prove the matter one way or another. To each his own.

          Comment by cheerfulmonk — January 20, 2016 @ 20:31 | Reply

  7. […] read an interesting reaction to my post It’s More Fun Being the Painter. One commenter/fellow blogger wrote about it and received this […]

    Pingback by Motivational Quotes | — January 27, 2016 @ 03:51 | Reply

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