Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Meltdowns & Tiger Woods

I have no interest in golf and unlike Venus and Serena, Tiger has not pulled me into his sport. He hasn't pulled me much at all, though I can't fail to notice he's a handsome guy. I can admire that he's a talented athlete and be touched by the love story between he and his dad, his dad and mom. But I can't get any kind of fire going for him given his reluctance to identify with the African-American and Asian part of his identity, at least based on what I've read. He claims no ethnic identification since he is made up of so many. So I'm neither disappointed in, happy about, or ashamed of his fall from grace.

Meltdowns are not fun to experience,though by the time you get there you couldn't give a speck about how you look or sound. I've had my share. You fall into some pit that feels all too deep, way too familiar, or triggers some old wound still moist. You just don't have the time, energy, or skills to deal with it, and your nervous system goes haywire in revolt or helplessness. And don't let anyone try to get in the way of that energy. Not without armor. It has to spend itself out. Then grown folks and little children resume their lives as functional people.

But a life meltdown is a whole 'nother deal. That's what Tiger Woods is up against now. Day by day, his life as he has known it is burning away, every part of it. And when the ashes stop collecting, he will be left with an unrecognizable life. I've heard brothers at my gym say, Elin should have known what it means to marry a professional athlete. I heard a female commentator on Entertainment Tonight say Elin should leave him straight away, Christine Brenner on Good Morning America say that as a role model who promotes himself with a certain image, his affairs are public business. I myself have been curious to see if any of these alleged mistresses were women of color. Not. When the life of a celebrity melts down it draws all kinds of attention, judgment, and even glee. Come uppance.

The heartbreak, the shattering of trust that goes with these situations is hard enough but to have to bear this pain and shame publicly is an ordeal that imagination cannot capture. TV, who knew how much it would change things. I think back to Edward Kennedy's Chappaquidick, Bill Clinton, and Gov. Sanford. I'm not much convinced that being a professional athlete is the core issue here or sex addiction, for that matter.

Life meltdowns pull the covers, open the trap doors, bare the trees of truth from false words, and insist on greater authenticity, demand some new way of being. If only transformation didn't have to cost so much at times. If only we could learn a little sooner sometimes, heed the messages that come before the meltdowns are needed to get our attention. But who knows what anyone else's spiritual journey is about. I think our hands our full with grasping our own.

It is my hope that the meaning that comes from this meltdown in this family will eventually light an exquisite candle that will benefit them and those around them.

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

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