Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Guest Post by Tommy Connolly: Sounds of Silence

First published February 14, 2014 at

A thought-provoking blog post from one of BryonySeries' former publicists.

I LOVE YOU...Wonderful When Heard...Stinging When Withheld...
I love you. It is such a simple phrase. A powerful one at that. It can hold you together. It can make you fall apart. I say it every day to my Wife. I say it every day to my Children and my friends. I say it to the World and mean it. There are times it is said in passing like a tip of the hat. The times it can have the deepest impact are the times it's not said.

Growing up my Grandmother's rarely, if ever used these words. They were of a different generation I guess. Both were strong women from tough backgrounds and challenging lifes lived. I knew they loved me. To hear it spoken wasn't so. A scribble in a birthday card nestled next to a crisp five dollar bill was as close to the deed as they got.

In my drinking and using days I threw "I love you's" around like raindrops. They landed upon any young woman who was the object of my desire. I desperately wanted to feel love because I felt so badly about myself. I was a love junkie. I was always the first to say those three little words. I see now how empty and shallow it was. Those are sacred words. To me they are the definition of God himself.
As I have matured and grown in my sobriety I have noticed a terrible habit that I have picked up from some of my family members. That is the intentional omission of the words I love you. To me that is more harmful than a half hearted utterance of the phrase. After a disagreement with my wife when reaching a resolution to our conflict, upon her saying an "I love you" to me there have been times where I have replied, "luv ya," or "ditto." Most likely because I was pouting or things weren't resolved to MY satisfaction.

There have been times when ending a phone conversation she says, "I love you" as she utters her goodbye, and I merely say goodbye. This is truly a sad statement about my conduct and a reflection on what a big dumb baby I can be sometimes. I love my Wife to the center of my being. Why in the name of GOD would'nt I take every single opportunity to let her know that?

I know how bad it makes me feel when I tell someone I love them and they don't say it back to me. To do the same thing to others is just continuing a cycle that is fruitless and cold. Love is the most beautiful thing that we have in this world and should never be taken for granted. I would hate to walk away from someone knowing I held back those words in my selfishness and never see them again.

I know I can be corny. I know I can be a dork, but I really believe that the whole problem with this big ball we are spinning on is that we are moving away from hugging each other to getting wrapped up in ourselves. That "meism" might be our downfall. I have so much to learn about myself. I am glad that I can see where I am wrong and try to change things. I know I don't have to be the guy I was yesterday or an hour ago.
All You Need Is LOVE was such a simple Lennon song. Almost nursery rhyme like in its' structure the songs' simplicity is right on the Money. If all you need is love when someone gives me what I need I damn well owe it to them to give them what they need. Right?

Chasing Serenity, the Clouds and the Corn Row Runners...

Serenity is one of those words that has the feel of the word wrapped up in itself. Words like agitate make my tongue live the definition as it lurches uncomfortably through the three syllables. Caress soothes my mind and body as I utter the invitingly crafted letters. When I say the word serenity I feel the lightness of the elusive term just barely hovering on my lips tranquilly coaching me to comfort.

I have known moments of serenity. I enjoy them as much as anything I have ever experienced. The feeling of being completely at peace with myself, my creator and my universe is like nothing else. The paradox is that serenity is like a drug in itself. Now that I have had fleeting glimpses of it I want more. My whole problem with myself and my conflict with the real world is my desire for ME and MORE and NOW!
The harder I chase serenity, the farther it seems to be from me. I remember when I was a kid and I would be riding in the backseat of the car staring at the clouds. As the car would be going along I would pick out a cloud and wait for the car to catch it. No matter how fast we went, no matter how long I stared, the cloud always seemed to be just out of reach. Then suddenly we had passed it by.

I also raced the corn row runners. If you lived in corn country as a child you know the corn runners. When you drive by great spanses of cornfields and stare at the rows of corn they seem to come alive. The rows begin to take the shape of legs and begin to run. No matter how many fields you pass corn runners never tire. They just keep on going. They either are just in front of you or right along side of you. they can run all day and into the evening, as long as the shadows are just right.

I would compare it to taking a pad of paper and making an animation. You start on the first page. Draw a circle, turn the page. Draw the circle again slightly lower on the page. Continue page by page until the circle hits the bottom of the page and you reach the end of the pad of paper. Now flip the pages through your fingers and the ball magically becomes an animated bouncing ball. I used to do this for hours on end with clouds, corn runners and many pads of paper.
Serenity is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as, "Clear," "Tranquil," "Unruffled" and "Unclouded." I was surprised by the definition when I read it. I though it would be much more mystical and Dali Lama like. That is how things tend to go for me when I "pre-decide" how outcomes should be. They rarely live up to the billing or grand notion my mind has erected. People and their lives, feelings, choices and reactions keep getting in the way of my big picture.

I have come to realize that serenity, for me, isn't a chosen, conscious feeling or experience. It happens when it happens. Usually when I go with the flow and let things be. What I shoot for now is "surrenderty." I can make that happen or end up with that agitation I mentioned way back at the top. I can choose to be happy to a point in life. People don't MAKE us happy we allow them to make us that way. The same can be said for unhappy, angry and all the rest of the positive or negative emotions that come with human interaction.

I know this for a fact because there are times when my wife has called me a co******er and it didn't phase me. I laughed in fact. On another occasion she called me a "Drama Queen" and I almost filed for divorce. It's all in how I decide to accept and surrender to the people and circumstances who are in my reality that are going to determine my serenity or lack of it. I look forward to when it comes again.
For now I am grateful to have moments of serenity and a philosophy of "surrenderty." I will still chase clouds and dreams. I will still watch the corn runners keeping pace alongside my car. I don't waste the paper I did drawing those bouncing balls in crude animation. I am lucky to be a part of real films and television. I know one thing for sure. If I think I can control outcomes, run other people's lives and worry my way to serenity, I'll never even catch a glimpse of it. Thanks God for giving me the wisdom to realize how little I know....and finally realizing I don't need to...

Tommy Connolly - Comic, Actor and Author shares insights into a 28 yr. battle with alcohol, depression, FEAR, faith and sobriety. He has appeared in Shameless, Parks and Recreation, NCIS, Chicago Fire and 26 other TV series. He was featured in the films "Chasing Hollywood,"Just Kneel" "My Extreme Animal Phobia" and "ALTERED." Comedy puts him on stages, and in front of groups sharing his message of hope. "Never give up hope! Anything is possible with hope, faith and the hand of a friend

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