Alexander Supertramp

Into the wild.  Wow…what a story!

A deep respect for Alexander Supertramp (Christopher Johnson McCandless) grew as I read of his solid character, his fierce determination and independence, and of course his stunningly daring adventures! Every person whose life he touched on his journey felt changed for the better by their association with him (That is one of my ultimate goals from the words of Mother Theresa).   He must have truly been a phenomenal human being to have touched so many lives of so many different types of people and earned their respect and love!!   Amazing!  I adored Chris McCandless (aka Alexander Supertramp) throughout this book!  His premature ending was a  tragic loss for the world.  

I am envious of the life he lived in his final two years – an entire lifetime of experiences gathered in two short years.  I felt his self-righteousness and his need to veto all the mendacity in the world and his life as my own.  I admired his ability to make such a stand and his courage in walking away from all sense of security and achieving his dream.  As I read on though, I began to wonder many things.  In spite of his angry resentment toward his father, had he not had the kind of parents and support he did for his entire life prior to leaving it all, would he have been the same person?  Would he have had such courage?  I say no.  To have such a vast sense of independence and confidence as he did, he must have been given the luxury of a powerful inner sense of stability created at his core that allowed and developed such a firm and fierce stance. …Until I read of his parents visiting the “magic bus” 10 months after his death.

 Suddenly, I was envious of the parents he so vehemently and immaturely resented, wishing I had such loving and accepting people as the main characters in my first 24 years of life.  I gather he had some major discrepancies with his father and the deceit his parents shrouded him in for so long and I certainly ”get” that.  However, some of that was standard child versus parents stuff, that period most go through when forming their own individual identity ….if they are fortunate enough to have parents who allow such growth.  With my history, I could never take such a gift as that for granted.  We don’t all have parents like that. 

My heart tore as I pictured his mother standing sentient in that dilapidated bus, among his personal belongings at the end of his life, breathing in his clothes for any trace of scent of her son to whom she gave so very much free love and acceptance.  She loved him and he broke her heart.  The movie indicated that he might have come to a place of recognition and understanding of his parents before he passed, although I was disappointed to not hear of him leaving them any kind of communiqué specifically telling them and so we can’t ever know for certain.  He owed them both a huge apology!

As a mother, my heart aches for Billie McCandless and wants to have a strongly worded conversation with her son, Christopher.  As a child of my mother, I can’t help but have a fierce envy of this boy and his wide open life possibilities which he was afforded due to the kind of parents and upbringing he had.  It’s clear he was not nearly as stifled by them as he felt he was and it’s deeply tragic to me that he passed before gaining the maturity to acknowledge and comprehend what a priceless and precious gift that was for the very life he so resented.

I ended the story feeling conflicted among feelings of jealousy, admiration, disgust and adoration for this brave and intelligent, albeit selfish and “bratty”, young man.

An interesting personal point to me in Chris’ story is that he shares the same brirthdate as one of my best friends’.  Doubly intriguing in its coincidence(?) of their very similar personalities! (I confess: I’m fascinated by astrology.)  George was such a quiet, intelligent, and reflective type who was fiercely resentful of his parents (with good reason at times) and always far more comfortable alone than in society or groups.  He spoke often of going off into the wilderness someday and living far from what he termed the “concrete jungle”.  He dreamed of building a cabin with a huge garden and just living in relative isolation, free from the deceit of government, society and materialism in the world which deeply disgusted him.  The similarities between George and Chris’s personalities are truly amazing.  This added to my understanding of Chris (and surprisingly, George as well) as a soul who reveled in nature and shunned all things which society represents and reveres.  It definitely added even more depth and beauty to his story for me, although the story certainly doesn’t lack those things entirely in its own right.  Makes me more grateful to have the opportunity to read of this unique and morally strong man and makes me miss and appreciate my friendship with George from so long ago as well.

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Concrete Angel

My youngest daughter showed me this video yesterday.  I’ve heard the song plenty, but never had seen this.  I did not cry!  There was a hollow-ness inside where the images and the words just bounced around uncomfortably.  I thought of so many different things all at once, rushing around my mind faster than my ability to feel or process them all…

My mother, my teachers, the abused children I’ve met in my work, my own children, Dave as the little angel boy, Dave as the abuser….

They aren’t supposed to run off to play in heaven where he knows her vulnerabilities and her weaknesses.  She trusts him…and feels so grateful she has someone who loves her and cares for a change.  And then he uses them to further hurt her, without ever “intending” to do so, of course.

I can’t help but think is he wounded too?  Is that why he has become this?  At this point, I can’t afford to let myself care, but I wonder what creates this vast discrepancy in his character?  Annyway, it matters not, as he is so strong and so proud, even he would not admit to himself if it were.  So, he has that blanket of strength to protect him and give him the coldness (the sense of entitlement?) to jump on other people to get what he needs to make himself feel better.  Somehow while standing in the line of vulnerabilty, I wasn’t given one of those self-survival blankets of protection.  Sure wish I could buy one of those!

An empty triumph of destructive cruelty

When he gazed at her naked and vulnerable and asked, “Good God, why are you so beautiful?”, she wanted to scream, “NO!” 

No!  She understood that in spite of the world’s opinion, she became truly, deeply, and madly beautiful only in the moment she had given herself, body and soul… to loving him.  And as always, the hateful world of jealousy had ensured that this very thing would be the demise and the destruction of that which inspired her heart’s passionately complete devotion… that which ignited the true, deeply thorough beauty – love unconditional, love big and beautiful, love healthy and secure, quiet and unassuming.  Love.

Although this was her thought to herself, her verbal response to him was, “I really don’t know.  God’s blessing….God’s curse?”  He did not respond to her answer.  He was visually distracted and it was only a rhetorical question anyway, right?

The catch-22 was that the very characteristic that captivated him was also precisely the reason he feared and despised her.  It was the reason he couldn’t help but torture her.  It is why her first genuine commitment to unconditional love outside of family was the most beatifully haunting disaster; the source of her irreparable heart break.  It was the reason others took vicious sledge hammer hits on their happiness while they had been blissfully unaware and doing the best they could to trudge through the ugly craziness of their world.  She couldn’t help but to believe that if not for the random hatred and sheer envy her appearance provoked (had always provoked), no one would have even noticed them and therefore would never have been hell-bent on mass destruction.  Or was it more the ugliest envy of all – the envy of the love and happiness they once shared?  Who can truly know what makes those kind of people so destructive?

The sadness of this had affected so much and its effects flowered out like a disease.  She fought this disease with the only defense “they” left her with:  unconditional love.  They might have sullied it, but they hadn’t even touched its being.  It’s light shined on and on…  However painful the damage was.

Truthfully, it was his weakness that allowed their destruction.  And this was the reason she would never allow herself to hate.  “They” were only doing what came naturally to them and envy of such a storybook love was certainly expected.  He was responsible for understanding the depth and surrendering to it.  Since he had not, they had won. 

There was the distinct feeling that they enjoyed reveling in their win over these two unsuspecting victims.  As the two would stand in the same public space, they watched hungrily.  Delighting in the thick atmosphere of the discomfort the two now experienced while in each other’s presence in public.  After all this time and the physical destruction of what was, the disconnected connection between the two was undeniably obvious.  He could not take his eyes off her and she used every ounce of pretense and energy inside her to not look in his direction – the direction of the destructive they.  She knew that if she did, they would see how the misery of her heart remained as painfully fresh and accute as the day of destruction.  She didn’t have much pride left, but she hoped to at least deny them absolute proof.  And so she could not even casually glance in the general direction of him or those people. 

How interesting that this enraged them.  She noticed regularly that although they sometimes acted triumphant, those people seemed not an ounce happier or more content with themselves or their lives.  Instead, she could see how they still felt viciously destructive, long after absolute demolilition had occurred.  When looking in their eyes, even as they stood in the very presence and proof of their victory, they still had that miserable look of the deepest ache in their soul.  They desperately needed perpetual confirmation – regular reassurance of the misery they created. They were starving and needed it like nourishment.  Inside she was dying for a glance at him.  She so wanted to enjoy that brief shared moment of their eyes meeting with that sad understanding, but her stubbornness refused to let them feed any longer off the misery they had created.  Let them die of starvation.  She vowed she would no longer let them feed off her tortured soul, even if it meant she could not share even one delicious glance with him.

The fury they exuded, confirmed it all.  “Bring her here.”    What?  Really?  As though physically attacking her might feed them one additional meal.  As he stood there with them, directly in the midst of such miserable ugliness, did he not see it?  How could he not?  There it was:  the end result of all of it.  She had lost; he had lost… and they had won.  He had handed them the win and as a bonus his constant staring at her awarded them a gigantic, shining trophy for their efforts.  Given the persistence of their still-miserable state in spite of their  big win, how very sad it all was… If they had been in any way actually satisfied or perhaps could  experience true happiness at their created destruction, then at least it would have stood for something.

You poor people you, do you not understand?  You certainly have won this battle and perhaps many others as well, but that is because I refuse to engage.  And I refuse to engage because love will always win the war.

The car in the driveway

The 4th of July….  It doesn’t take her anywhere specifically and yet that blasted nostalgia surrounds her regardless.

Does he not come because of the company?  The strange car in the driveway would be misleading for a man of such risque sexual tendencies as his.  It would have to be another man.  In a mind such as his, there would be no other plausible explanation.  Although it was in fact, only a girlfriend and her children staying for awhile.  This creates a false sense of security.  He’s not coming.  As long as that car is in the driveway late at night, he’s not coming and so she can sleep for a change.

Sleep, however, is still full of the questions she no longer asks while awake…  and she realizes there is no escape.  Escape….  Ahhhhh, to escape!  To have a few moments build upon other moments when she might feel the relief of escape.  She  even likes saying the word escape.  The way the “s” sound rolls into the hard “c” just feels soothing while sitting in her prison.  The vowel at the beginning sets the entire word flowing off the tongue and lips and provoked her mind with thoughts of sliding carelessly down a long slippery water slide;  it prompts in her the sensation of letting go with trust and faith of a safe and amusing landing (which she feels with the sudden plop of the “pahh” at the end!).  Ehhhhsssssskaaaaaaayyypahh…

A safe landing.  She was certain there had to be one at the end of this life-slide, at the end of every slide.  Really, what other end is there in any situation/life?  At the end, you have the end and there you are…at the end.  Landing wherever you’ve landed.

The blessed, blasted strange car in her driveway. The safety and confusion of houseguests unknown to him.  Thank you.  For this moment, she can know stability and security.  There will be no waking up in the middle of the night to him.  There is no “Will he or will he not come to me tonight?”  Ahhhhh yes,  the maddening relief of knowing what the nights would bring.  The confusing sense of knowing and understanding everything she could not know or understand ever…even for just a moment.  Thank you.