Greetings, readers. Have you ever felt like your favorite TV character? The last two evenings I sure have. And what transpired in those two evenings of viewing made me quite depressed.
I was watching the original Upstairs, Downstairs and parts of my life through the eyes of James Bellamy.
I concentrated on this character, since he reminded me of myself. He is the son of a rich family who wanted for nothing and was taught to do what was expected of him. He gallantly serves his country in World War One to preserve the British Empire. Not that he agrees with it all, but it is his duty and he must do his duty. I thought to myself, that is me. James is a character who apparently went to the best schools and in the eyes of his parents was going to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a successful political figure. I think my parents wanted me to finish college and perhaps go into teaching like my father did.
But for me the biggest eye-opening moment was when James, who had really botched his life more or less, struck it rich in America but lost it all in the stock market crash of ’29, along with the money of one of the servants. It happened in the next to last episode of the series, “All the KIng’s Horses”. There was a marvelous final scene between James and his father Richard, as his father tries to make a final appeal to get his son to shape up. In the next scene, you see James in his bedroom, packing, destroying letters as well as writing a mysterious note to someone. He tells Hudson, the butler, that he is going to the countryside for a while and says goodbye without batting an eyelash. By nightfall the constables are at the door with the grim news of the suicide of their son. He couldn’t take the failure anymore. If any one single episode sums up my life it is that episode.
Now, I’m not saying my life has been a total flop, mind you. I have had more than my share of fun and good fortune. Yet it seems as though, since my parents have died, I have been muddling through life, just barely making my way. I have been complimented by people on how well they think I’m doing. I smile and say thank you, but the constant reminder of who I was then and who I am now will nag at me until my dying day.
As I have told people, my friends here at Addison Court apartments, I do suffer from depression and have thought about suicide, though not seriously, on more than one occasion. There is still something in me, however, that refuses to give up. I feel that it is time, perhaps, at the beginning of the year, to seek counseling. Perhaps a professional can help me make sense of things that have happened in the last fifteen or so years.
On a lighter side of this topic, thinking back over my youth, the parallel theme seems to hold true. No matter what my favorite show was at any given time, I could find bits and pieces of any character and say, boy, that character is just like me. In the 70s I associated with Alan Alda’s character Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H. Just like James Bellamy, that character was a person who did what was expected of him but did not want to be there; who hated his situation.
This raises a big question. Has there every really been a me? Have I really defined myself? Or are we all just bits and pieces of TV characters, parallels of people we have seen in films or read about in books? I’m quite certain that there are folks that have known from a very early age precisely what they wanted in life and went out and got it. I am not one of those folks. Looking back on it, I have always struggled with identity, with self-esteem and self-worth. There are a few things that I can tell you for certain: I am a generous fellow, to a fault in fact, I am an old-fashioned man and proud of it, I enjoy being friendly, and have loved my animals throughout my life, especially my kitty cat KeeKee.
I’m sure that in a few days things will once again seem brighter to me. I must be thankful for what I have and who I am, and not worry about who I could have been. If I don’t, my yet to be found therapist will have even more work to do.
On Friday, a new top ten list will be added and soon a From Rebecca will be added. Until Friday, have a good day, take care, and happy reading.