Adonis DNA

6 Mar

I confess that even though I despise tabloids, lately I found myself riveted to recent coverage of Charlie Sheen. No, it isn’t because I’m a therapist attempting to “diagnose” a man I’ve never met. Nor am I voyeur enjoying the exploits of a movie star in the middle of what appears to be a manic state mixed in with a splash of narcissism. And while I initially loved “Two and a Half Men”, I tired of it before the recent cancellation of the show. I will admit though that for personal reasons, I am eerily drawn into what appears to be a vision of Icarus flying too close to the sun.

As I listened to Sheen speak I was struck by the comment he made when asked why he was with two women who were twenty-two years younger than he. I don’t recall his exact words but it was something to the effect that they liked him as he was and that they didn’t need or want him to be any different. And I thought how convenient and sad it must be to have two lovers who won’t challenge you in any way, shape or form. It would be the ultimate reinforcement of one’s ego because no one would ever call you on your faults, demand that you grow or reflect back who you really are. And I cringed at this because I remember how my father would often date women who simply bolstered his ego. The women who were his intellectual equals or who called him on his crap eventually became an irritant to him and didn’t last. Similarly, although the adored daughter as a little girl, as I matured into a complex woman, I too got dumped.

Nonetheless, as I watched Charlie Sheen hold one of his children before the child was taken from his custody, I did not doubt whether Sheen loves his children or if they love him. Even when parents are destructively self-centered and/or mentally ill, they can also be incredibly fun, generous and loving. And that dichotomy can create a life long confusion regarding what it means to love and be loved. I know because I am reporting back from the battle field.

While my father was by no means a movie star, nor did he turn his life into a reality t.v. show, I witnessed his fall from being a powerful professional to a disbarred attorney who lost not just the respect and love of family, colleagues and friends but his physical and emotional health as well. I watched in horror as his amazing passion and vitality drained out like water being poured down the drain. I really hope that doesn’t happen to Charlie Sheen. I hope he is “winning” and that the “Adonis DNA” will somehow make him immune from tragedy and misfortune. But I doubt it.

So this week while training others to teach an intensive class on mental health, I happened to be in the Southwest, a part of the country my dad loved. And no matter how much I might have wanted to push away thoughts and feelings related to my dad, by the time I reached the airport to fly home, images flickered through my mind like a montage. I couldn’t help but think about Charlie Sheen, my dad and the ways in which our parents impact us even after they are gone. Looking at the Southwestern jewelry and art in the airport gift shop, I thought of how much my father loved these, as well as the mountains I looked down on from the window of the plane. And a tear rolled down my check because whether it is “Adonis DNA”, or as my dad would insinuate some other type of “special” DNA that parents and children share, it is DNA.

For all his flaws, there are days I miss my dad even though I’m not certain what degree he was really there and even though I know I lost him long before his death.

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