Death’s Texture

Loss is something we all face across the years of our life. The circle of life includes the end stage, Death, and we can do nothing to avoid it. We all face Death; it is profound and life-changing for many of us. Death forces us to examine our own lives every single time someone we know dies, whether that person is a casual acquaintance or dearly beloved. Whoever the dead is, we are touched somehow; we look inward despite ourselves.

Death has a texture. Sometimes it is smooth, even comforting. The Death of a loved one after a long illness can be velvet or a long breath released into the night. We are glad for them; they no longer feel pain, and they are no longer suffering. We feel all of this even as we mourn their loss and wonder about the hole in our spirit where they dwelled.

Sudden and unexpected Death leaves you shaken and raw from the inside out. This is the texture of burlap, scratchy and sometimes unyielding; breathing is sometimes forgotten between tears and screams to unhearing ears. Our mourning comes later, after anger and desolation.

As we get older ourselves, we expect Death. We have seen it, some of us more than others. We have buried parents, siblings, friends and even spouses. We have attended the funerals of loved ones and friends. We sent prayers and condolences and too often wondered why them and not us.

We whisper to God a brief prayer to care for those we love. Then we ask again, why them?

Death is the texture of maelstroms and frigid nights, with endless whys.

I am not afraid of Death; I lost that fear many years ago. I am outraged today at the texture and randomness of Death’s choices. I lost another friend this week, someone I have known for nearly fifty years. When I learned of his passing, I felt like silk ropes were choking me. My spirit excised from my body to watch another small piece of me fly even as I couldn’t breathe.

It is strange to run through rapid fire the emotions of sadness, pity, loss, and guilt. Yes, guilt. That peculiar sense of why am I still standing while my friends die around me. My friends who lived normal, even pedestrian lives, while I lived anything but that. Why are my friends dying?

There are no answers to these questions. Mourning includes the questions. Each of us approaches Death and life differently. Death has a particular texture, a feel that cannot be easily defined. Each death must be felt in its own time and given its place in our spirit so that we can mourn as we will, not as others expect of us. No one can tell us the ‘right’ way to mourn a friend’s or loved one’s passing, any more than they can tell us the texture of Death as we feel it.

The Rabbit Hole

“Alice: Really, now you ask me, I don’t think— Mad Hatter: Then you shouldn’t talk.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland

During times of great upheaval, we look for something to balance us, anything that will provide us with ballast in what feels like a storm. It is a rare thing to find, rarer still to find that steadying hand or even that strong arm to give us a feeling that someone else is standing near, lending strength, and will not let us stumble or fall flat on our face.

Too often, what we find instead are those we once believed had our backs are the first to run, the first to hightail it for the door. Then we sit in the center of chaos, wondering how we will sort through brokenness and shattered dreams to make a new life. Too often, the first response is to lash out; we want to know why. Why did you do this? Why did you run? Why did you hurt me? Why didn’t you stay? Why aren’t you here? Oddly, the answer isn’t going to help us fix what is broken or rebuild the life we thought we wanted. The answer is often worse than not knowing.

Within all the chaos, we have meltdowns, and people want to know why; what is wrong with us. They want to offer their best advice during our weakest moments. Instead of listening to us, to what we need, they slide in with their best recommendations to cure what ails us. It really is fascinating how closely linked our pain is to our expectations and how rare it is for others to understand we have them. This is especially true for those of us who spend much of our time alone. When we venture out, it is with our very public face, one we show to keep others at arm’s length and out of our personal world.

When we sit in moments of silence, it is sometimes obvious to us that what we wanted wasn’t for us. If it were, we wouldn’t have had to fight so hard to keep it. I think this is true of nearly every part of our life, from childhood to old age. Those transient things are there to teach us, and no matter how badly we wish they were ours forever, and ever, and a day; they are just lessons in life. So sometimes, we weep, wail, and rattle the bars; then, we move on to the next thing that hopefully will be better for the lessons we have learned. Yet still, we look back and wonder what we did wrong, why we weren’t good enough when we gave all we had, opened ourselves and made ourselves vulnerable to a world that terrified us.

Mad Hatter: “I know a thing or two about liking people, and in time, after much chocolate and cream cake, ‘like’ turns into ‘what was his name again?'”     

 Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland

Not Feeling It

We all have those days when we simply want to stay in bed, pull the covers up and hope that the world will pass by quickly. Everyone has those days. Most of us don’t give in; we put our feet on the floor and get on with it, whatever it is. We know better than to give in to the inclination to hide from the world, no matter how much we wish for a day without the noise. We roll out from our cocoon of safety and plaster on an acceptable look of interest, even a smile, at the appropriate times throughout the day. We hide behind our walls of social acceptability and apologize to others for our moments of snappishness while inside, we howl and wail.

Smile, you are so much prettier when you smile.

Really? Maybe I don’t want to smile. Maybe, just maybe, I don’t feel like smiling. Perhaps I have not one thing to smile about, and I don’t care if you think I am pretty or not. Maybe I stopped caring when the man I loved left without looking backward to see if I was standing or if his action had finally knocked me off my feet. Feasibly, the truth is the world has convinced me that pretty doesn’t do a damned thing for me, and your demand is just another powerplay that I no longer give a damn about.

Stop being such a bitch.

What this really means is stop speaking up for yourself; stop speaking your mind. My question is, haven’t I earned this? The people who demand I stop being a “bitch” are telling me to be quiet and accept their direction, their guidance, and ultimately their demands for compliance. Even more than the desire to shut down challenge is the desire to shut down questions. Stop being a bitch means stop questioning authority, stop questioning accepted knowledge, stop questioning social norms, and stop asking questions. Finally, it means to stop being more intelligent than those around you and refusing to dim your light to make them feel better.

Why don’t you lose weight? Maybe you’d get a man if you did.

Well, maybe I would; then again, given I don’t smile and I am a bitch probably I wouldn’t. Has anyone considered the words coming out of their mouths when they say this to a person? A billion-dollar industry is trying to convince us our imperfection is an insult to the world. Every time we pick up a magazine, we see airbrushed models with ‘perfect’ bodies and faces draped in clothing that will never be made in our size, ensuring our egos will be bruised, and we will constantly question our value. Hell, even our friends and family get in on the size 10 or go home free for all. As far as I can see, it is a barrage of mean, with little value other than making the other person feel good about themselves. How about this instead, if a man sees ME, he will like me or not for all that I am. A man who sees ME will see beyond my imperfections to my heart, spirit, intellect, and all I am and will be intrigued. All the micro-aggressions about my imperfections will disappear, and maybe they will start seeing others as human too.

You should wear make-up, color your hair, and cover your scars/tattoos.

It would be best if you minded your business. All these people with thoughts on how others should ‘look’ really do try my patience. It is no wonder I have retreated further and further into my introversion over the years. Yes, my hair is nearly all gray now. I stopped coloring it almost three years ago during COVID. I am sixty-five years old and have earned that silver for the love of all that is holy. I am not trying to fool anyone into believing I am ten years younger. As for the rest, why? That is an honest question, why should I wake in the morning to don make-up that does not make me feel better about myself, so others are comfortable with my public face? My one concession, I have tattooed eyeliner; it saves me time. As for the rest of my tattoos, why does anyone need to express an opinion? First, I love my art; second, some of my art covers scars that I found far more offensive; finally, all of my art tells the story of my life. I have tattoos to help me heal, but it is, frankly, no one’s business. Why do people believe they can judge and speak their judgment? All I can say is mind your business, walk in my shoes, spend even a week in my life and then talk to me or just shut the fuck right up.

Talking to God, your way or mine.

Most of us talk to something, whether it is God, the Great Spirit, our Journal or something else. I do a little of all of that. I am admittedly not very good at any of it by common standards. Indeed, I am irreverent and do not approach discussions with God the way most who profess Christianity believe I should. I have been this way most of my adult life; while I believe God exists, I am not a great believer in Christianity as it is presented today by the White Evangelical Church. I don’t think God cares if we abase ourselves to speak to him, I think he cares that we speak to him at all, that we have a relationship and come with our hearts open, even when we are afraid, or angry, or hurt. I speak to God, I also pray. These are separate things and possibly misunderstood by many. When I pray, I do so in private; I pray for those I love, I pray for those who need prayer, who need healing, who need to be lifted up. I pray for patience and grace for myself because I do not have much of these things. I greatly resent those who would tell me how to speak to God or pray; you do it your way, and I will do it mine. Thus far, God has not sent a lightning bolt to smite me for my irreverence.

Some days it is hard to put both feet on the floor and start another day. It would be so much easier if people were kinder and just minded their business.

What It Means

Do you know sometimes you can go most of your adult life focused on the wrong things, working hard toward a future that in the end will not be what you planned or expected. Never mind as you sit and contemplate where you are and what you have done, your dreams have not been fulfilled. You can break yourself, physically and emotionally for that pot of gold at the end of that proverbial rainbow and find nothing but pyrite. You can give everything worthwhile up, sacrifice to the pantheon and what you will have in the end will be rooms filled with the chaff of broken dreams. In a world that values the trappings of success above nearly all forms of decency and compassion, far too many of us have fallen victim to the sales job. Now we are learning, there are no ‘do overs,’ for our failures and regrets.

What do we do when we look at life through the prism of our values, ethics, and standards? Those pesky things that are foundational to who we are and where we come from. Do we first question these as they are not a genetic predisposition but rather cultural and familial. As we enter the wider world, we are challenged more often than not, especially if we come from a more traditional culture or family experience. Do we question ourselves, our beliefs, our parents, our faith, our very foundation as we make our way through the maze of often terrifying new experiences? Many do, while some cling to what we know in an attempt to stave off the changes we see around us. The bombardment of information, especially social norms and expectations that may be significantly different from what we know is enough to make our heads spin and our hearts stutter to a standstill.

When we are young, we are sure to at least try some new things, maybe spread our wings in a few new directions. Most of us are brave, wanting to test ourselves against the world. Many of us believe we are both infallible and indestructible. We have worldviews that do not allow for any opinion but our own and rarely allow for facts that do not align with our ‘truths.’ When we are young there is one truth that is nearly universal, we have an unearned arrogance.  

During the arc of our lives, we usually learn many things and most of us lose our arrogance along the way. We learn we are absolutely fallible, we make mistakes, we stumble, we fall down, and we are taught lesson after lesson about just how much we do not know. This is one thing that continues throughout our lives. Sometimes we need the proverbial kick in the ass, taking us down off our high horse but other times it is simply the cruelty of others who wish to see us fail. Still, you fall down, and you climb back up to your feet, learning the best lesson; you are fallible.

The next thing we learn as we step foot into the world? We are absolutely destructible and mortal. Sometimes we learn this through the loss of a beloved parent, or a friend. Other times it is someone within our immediate circle who is faced with catastrophic illness or injury shaking the foundation of our belief in our own indestructibility. Then there is that time we learn this terrible lesson by a close brush with our fragility, this lesson remains with us for the remainder of our years, we either become risk-averse or alternatively we become what is now known as adrenalin junkies. It is an important lesson to learn, our mortality put in perspective, our place in the world filtered down into more realistic terms, more digestible bites. Over time, there will be more masterclasses to embrace, more blows to our confidence and we will in most cases survive them to tell the stories to the next generation.

So, thinking about all of this, what does it really mean? We magically hit the world firing on all cylinders somewhere between 18 and 25 years old. We leave our parents’ protective nest and rush out to do grand things in a world waiting for us to announce our entrance, only to find there is no fanfare and no one really cares. We begin as dilettantes, so certain of ourselves and our personal greatness, so self-assured. Nothing can stop us; nothing can stand in our way. We pronounce, at every opportunity and with absolute certainty, our opinions as fact. We have no need for wisdom from those who have lived longer and done more. We are full of fight and ready for our march to the corner office, or wherever our ambitions are focused. We are insulted by the very suggestion that we might not be ready, or all the Gods forbid we may not know all we need to know.

We weep and rail at the unfairness of it all. The waiting and the hard work of it all, yet while we are doing that which we thought was so unfair and unnecessary something happens. We grow up, we learn, we mature, and we begin to see the reason and logic of it all. That arc between fresh into the world and “been there and done that” is long and in many cases hard. For too many of us, it is filled with heartbreak, failures, and regrets. Along the way, we learn, and we grow; we also try to pass on the wisdom we gathered and the things we know don’t change from generation to generation. No matter where you come from, no matter who you are, no matter your cultural or familial beginnings, some things are truly foundational, even universal.

  • Treat people the way you want to be treated, kindness and compassion never grow old.
  • Ethics and honesty in business and your personal life will always be the best strategy.
  • Put people before things, before money, before your work.
  • Never forget to tell people you love them; they won’t be there forever, and you may not get another opportunity.
  • If you have the chance to lift up another person, do it.

So simple, yet so many of us have a difficult time getting there. In today’s world of greed, myopic selfishness, curated ignorance, and the ongoing attempt to undermine core values as ‘weak’. We tout our faith, religion, and the Sunday-Go-To-Church faithful are quick to beat the drum of their godliness and goodness. Meanwhile, they are busily tearing out the heart of future generations, their children are becoming monstrous, and communities are disintegrating into viciousness, celebrating ignorance over learning, and meanness over compassion.

So, what do we do? We focus on what we can do to make it better and hope time will make a difference. Some of us, well some of us weep at the time we lost being arrogant shits when we still had the time and energy to truly make a difference in the world.

Bound

 

 

 

 

Tattered and in pieces, shackled invisibly

Howling gales, surrounding me frenzied

Lashing my torn spirit, whispering as I search

Lost, darkness immediate dragging my core

Crying out, find me here on this shore

 

Red skies, angrily brighten the horizon

Breezes calm in dawns face, muting the fury

Showers fall, washing the previous night’s wounds

Chains fall away as a pathway opens ahead

Whispers beckon, barely heard over wind-chimes

 

Soaring, shearing edges from diaphanous clouds

Leaving trails, breadcrumbs to follow as I search

For rest, for peace, for a place to land quietly

Battered, betrayed with redemption beyond reach

Gossamer robes flow around me, burning my skin   

Each touch scorching reminders of pairings

 

Night falls again, nightmares beckon once more

Perhaps tonight will be different

My bond slips as you become more distant

Once my king now my black prince

Still, I miss your skin, in my dreams

My bound memories, reminders of a reverie

 

5-January-2020

Angels, Devils and the Dance

My demons know how to dance

Experts at moving me in the dark

They have known my soul forever

Stood still and waiting, knowing me

Reaching forward, stroking my fire

Melting my ice and moving with precision

Scouring my soul, my pleas unnoticed

Peace, a memory of harmony or quiet

Different from the sound of night cries

Battering me with memories of times gone

When I willingly joined their dance

Under moonlight, in rain storms and lifted up

Skirts raised up, heels pounding the earth

Not today, no longer

Now I only ask succor, reconciliation

I ask them in the quiet first light of dawn

What will happen if once and for all, forever

I kill you, I destroy your dance

Will my angels die too?

Will I be left empty, do I need you both for my survival

Telling the Blues

Starting Here

You wouldn’t know it by my writings I am extraordinarily private about much of my life, especially if it is imperfect in my own eyes. I intimated I was struggling in my last somewhat personal writing, here Introversion and the Blues, still, it doesn’t tell the entire story. I find I haven’t had the words, my voice simply silenced by my internal war with depression. I could not find a way to tell the story of my own fear, melancholy and my failure to be compassionate toward myself.

The truth, while this isn’t the first time I have been laid low by depression it has been one of the worst. It was exacerbated by external influences, some over which I had control but chose to push to the limits and others over which my control was limited if not non-existent. I allowed others inside my world, wanting to believe they had my best interest at heart, even while knowing they did not. I dug my hole deeper, shook my soul harder turned myself inward, allowed myself to be hurt, time and again and ultimately doubting myself, questioning myself, my value and my worth.

There were days when the sun came up and I despaired that I had woken with the sun. There were nights, I lay down and prayed for that one last seizure that would stop my breath and heart.

Terrible, I know. Terrible to write the words. Terrible to admit that I felt this for so long. Terrible to acknowledge there are times I still feel this way some nights, some mornings.

The truth is, my blues had gripped me hard this time and initially I had not realized just how hard or for how long they have had me in their grasp. I kept thinking I am out of it, the fog is lifted I am moved beyond this thing but the truth is, I hadn’t. I keep looking for the starting point, that place in time I can put a stake in the ground, in my soul, in my psyche; when did it start where the Y in the road had appeared and I took that path that led here, to this place right now. Honestly? I don’t know. There are so many intersections over the past five years, so many points in time.

I am so grateful there are a few beloved friends and family members who saw my despair and continued to stand by me, shake me now and then, reach into my self-imposed bubble of silence and demand my participation. They did this even when I retreated further into my natural state of isolation. It would have been so easy to stand aside, let me draw my darkness closer and allow me to withdraw further knowing my introversion was simply part of my personality but that this was different. They saw me and saw this was more, this was dangerous and they sometimes kicked the shit out of me and other times just gently prodded me into the world, if even just for an hour or two.  These diehards, who dug in knowing I was closer to the edge than I would ever admit to withstood my rejections, my absolute and outright sometime lies of “I am fine, really”. They threw lifelines and drug me through and demanded I stay in the world, even when my one true desire was to give up when the world seem pitiless and I wanted nothing more than to get up and get off.

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Am I beyond this funk, this fog, this blue? No, really I am not yet. But I know it has been clinging to me and I get that I have been reacting badly, letting too much of my life be taken over by this terrible. I know I have made some horrible choices because I was hurting. I know I allowed others to hurt me because I was hurting and thought they were the most I deserved. I know now I nearly broke myself because I didn’t heed the warning signs, I didn’t listen to my own heart and soul when I screamed. Thankfully, even during this time, I have made some great choices too. I have done some good things for .  myself though I nearly took myself to the brink of destruction and lost it all.

Is it over? No, not yet. I have recovery to do. I have to find those doors to walk through, those steps to take to recover what I have lost. I have to find ways to be healthy, to embrace what I know and allow others to take care of me when I need it. It is time for me to start the slow climb back, emotionally, financially, physically and elsewhere in my life so I can live with all the choices past, present and future. It is time to re-engage the world on my terms, without apology or recrimination. I have to recognize I am subject to the Blues, not let them overtake my world, destroy what I build and be proactive or one of these days I won’t have the opportunity to say no more.

For those who suffer from Depression, I get it. This is hard. It is always hard. We lose so much every single time. Do not do this alone, reach out if you can and if you can’t let others reach in grab the lifelines they throw.

If We Were Having Coffee-Dang

imagesIf we were having coffee I might spike my own but politely ask if you would like me to spike yours. I am good like that. It has been one hell of a summer, I mean that on many levels. I am listening to music people have sent to me as we sip our spiked coffee and chat.

First, how have you been during my absence? Talk to me! I am certain there is much to catch up with in your life, I have been terribly remiss failing to read your words, talk to you and keep up. I have watched all of you, truly I have just failed to acknowledge your outpouring of thoughts on life and the world. For this I can only offer, I will try to do better and ask you to talk to me, before I ramble off into my own little world of chaos.

Before we get started, can I top you off? Well then, let me pour some more into both of our cups. I am tempted to switch to a nice tall Bloody Mary, I think we might both need one.

Last Monday was my fifty-ninth birthday. Yes, I am embarking on my sixtieth year on this earth. Most days I don’t feel that old. Truthfully, I can remember when I believed sixty was ancient, one foot in the grave and ready for the retirement home. Sixty years on earth? Good grief, my mother use to tell me if I kept it up I wouldn’t see past thirty. Do you think I lived this long to spite her?

If we were having coffee I would tell you what frightens me is the two candidates for President are not much older than me and I wonder if they should be running for President, I wonder if they aren’t too old for the office. Should we be demanding new standards for this critical office and all our other government officials, standards that include term limits, mandatory retirement ages and top ages at which a candidate can run for office. Am I being ageist? Yes, perhaps I am; nevertheless, when the Constitution was written Life Expectancy was significantly lower, as in thirty-six, living to the age of seventy and beyond was almost inconceivable, though a few did. I would like to call attention to the ages of those we call our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) who conceived of and fought for our liberty.

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Well, I will tell you no matter who wins in November I am not leaving the country. I love America, I may hate the politics and the politicians. I may hate the state of the nation, our horrifying injustice and our failure to thrive across so many measurements. But truly, I love the dream that is America and believe in my heart we have the ability to do better. Our utter failure to even present acceptable candidates from which to choose is only one measurement of our failure, there are so many others; Donald and Hilary are simply the face of the lethargy and fear we feel right now.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am finally working to complete the move into my new home. It has been challenging. Maybe I needed it to be challenging so I didn’t settle on ‘good enough’ but instead worked on the details, looked at the small things that would please me over time and spent my budget wisely, ensuring each expenditure was specific and exactly what I wanted. Every time I unlock the front door, I struggle with what is still needed before I will be happy, yet I sigh with relief knowing it is mine and an empty palate waiting my touch.

To say very little has gone right would be a vast understatement. This entire process has introduced me to a new level of patience, a new level of please just stop dancing on my last nerve, a brand new level of I will not kill a human being today. Yes, this move has taught me a great deal about myself, my desire for privacy, perfection, my own way and ultimately my willingness to bend where needed to achieve my goals.

When I started this hunt for new digs, I wanted a woman cave that encompassed an entire home with every room an extension of who I am. This was the first home I have purchased where there were no children, no husband nobody but me to consider in decorating, I wanted what I wanted; it was an act of pure selfishness an act of self-love. I perused real estate websites endlessly, I watched home improvement and remodeling shows for hours. With each marathon, I had a list of ‘love notes’ of things I wanted, things I loved. Additionally, I knew where I wanted to live; what city in the Metroplex even what zip code.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you all those plans went to hell the minute I walked into the house I bought. It was a 1976 rambler that someone had partly flipped, badly. The Professional Inspector, well let’s say he should have his license examined he missed so many obvious things that are now costing me before I can even start on the fun stuff. Even as I work through problems, contractors are running away, or seeing a woman and giving me bad pricing. Things are going slow or at least not as planned. I thought I would have all my projects done before I moved in; that didn’t happen. Now, I am moving in two stages. This one is hard, but it will get done hell or high water. I had great help yesterday to empty a 10X20 storage unit out, now everything is stacked floor to ceiling in the back of the house as we couldn’t put anything on my newly finished stained concrete floors. I am still in my apartment till next week, I will have to figure out how to move my apartment at that time. Packing throughout the week then moving over the weekend, of course how to get that done without movers will be a different challenge. Budgets are now starting to get challenged!

This week I will be meeting with a new set of contractors, maybe I will finally find some who will paint and stuff. Wish me luck.

I you ready to put your feet up? I surely will be by the end of this coming Sunday. Wish me luck.

CoffeeShare2 

If we were having coffee

 

 

Introversion and the Blues

My silence is indicative of my battle with the blues and my aversion to making it public. Isn’t it odd, I have known for years I battle this insidious and all-encompassing emotional sea. This time, I let the waves take me further out, nearly sinking me. This time, I gave free rein to my nature and thus failed to notice as the blues silenced me and built my walls higher and stronger than they had been in years. This time, I looked out of my already well-built bubble of introspection and introversion, shrugged my shoulders and said, ‘fuck it, I am fine, I am good; I can’t care’.

My silence is indicative of the hurt of the past few years. For far too long I have cared too much for to many only to be told it isn’t enough. It has broken me emotionally, financially and worse it broke my trust in others, long nurtured is finally broken as well. I always believed if I was good to others, it would be returned; I was wrong. Time and again, I was wrong.

My silence is indicative of fear. You might ask me what do I have to be afraid of, but that would show you only know my name and not who I really am. I don’t blame you for this, it is who we are as a people, who we have become. Uncaring, unjust and focused entirely on ourselves, unconcerned with anyone outside of a small circle of ‘just like us’. Unwilling to hear anyone who speaks critically, asks questions, or offers any other voice but what is inside the echo chamber of our own narrow thinking and vision. Willing to lash out at friends and allies of years, name them as enemies and call others to do the same when they question the echo.

My silence is indicative of fatigue, both personal and social. This year-long season of the American Horror Story has worn my patience and my hope thin. There is no critical analysis that can be done in the political arena of today, no justification for what the American public is offered as options for President. We argue over who is worse, not who is best. We have become a laughingstock 20ab55a5576cffe1dce94c2fc4b236b0on the world stage when we aren’t a diplomatic nightmare. Our politics and our politicians belittle the dream of America and turn us into a Reality TV show for the amusement of the world. We have lost our way, our demons are on the stage and we must select which one will lead us into perdition.

My silence is indicative of my despair. Yes, I said it; despair. Despair for all of us that we are falling down a hole of ugly we will not be able to recover from. That we are drawing lines we will not be able to erase for decades. That we are allowing the fringe to speak for all of us, rather than standing up speaking up and screaming ‘Shut the fuck up’ when the extreme ratchets up violence, animosity and nativism without a single voice of dissent. When the extreme causes friends and neighbors to call into question the loyalty of decades and shed those alliances and friendships simply to appear more ‘correct’. Where once reasonable people on all sides joined together across political, gender and racial lines to form alliances for good, now those same people are using the language of the extremes and burning down the houses, without care demanding a return to what once was without understanding the consequence of their demand.

My silence then is the only response I have, the only response I am able to offer in this time of terrible turmoil. My silence and my tears as friends of long standing turn on me and call out for others to do the same because I question within the echo chamber. My silence and my tears, as I come to realize how terribly used I was in my time of weakness and sorrow. My silence and my tears, as I watch the nation burn itself down. My silence and my tears, as I watch the extremes on both sides grab the disenfranchised by the throat and shake mightily until out of the pile of brokenness walks the fury that is seen protesting senseless deaths on the streets of our cities or the Trump supporters screaming ‘Make America Great Again’ as they ignore his casual ignorance, racism, sexism and all other ‘isms.

Will my silence continue? I hope not. I hope I can begin to write again. I hope I can start taking an active role in my own life again, become part of the world again. I hope, honestly, I can start interacting with the world again without simply wishing to curl up and crawl into myself. Each time I have tried lately, it has not been an overwhelming success. This world, well it dumbfounds me. I love it less and less. I pay for my interactions within it on more levels then I am happy with. Nevertheless, I am part of it and should not give in to my overwhelming desire to simply retreat, it is far too easy.

black-and-white-girl-nature-photography-favim-com-356563My silence is indicative of the blues. I understand it is easy when you combine a natural introvert with the blues it is easy to do what I have done. So now, I will try to knock the wall back down. So much of the time I feel so very much alone, so very much as if I have to do this on my own. This I think, this reluctance to open the door and let others in, let others help me, let myself be disappointed again; this is another part of the blues.

I hope you are all well and I will be trying to visit.

Things I Know

Sleeping BeautyI know we have an infinite well of compassion, empathy and love at our disposal. We are bottomless, we are never tapped out. Not ever in our lifetimes do we run out of ‘good’.

We might retreat.

We might close the spigot.

The truth is though, we remain full up no matter how much we give. Truth be told, I suspect the more we give the more we have within us to give.

I know we learn throughout our lives. We learn every single day and through every relationship. Sometimes we learn how to become better people, other times we learn to love in better ways. Sometimes we learn our capacity for love, other times we learn our capacity for pain.

With experience we change, our world view changes. Who we are changes as our understanding of self and our place within the world grows. As we learn we find our footing, we determine where we are comfortable, what makes us tick, what makes us sing, what makes us dance. We emerge as our true selves, like butterflies from our chrysalises.

I know we all have the innate ability to forgive, ourselves and others. Not the forgiveness many of us are taught in our churches, but something much deeper and more intimate. As children we are quick to let go of hurt, fast to return to those we love. It is only as adults we hang on to our anger, plot revenge or simply wrap ourselves in painful reminders building shields to protect ourselves in the future.

We forget, anger and hate are active emotions requiring our participation. Forgiveness does not mean you give someone, not even yourself, a free pass. It does not mean you have said to anyone they are free to do harm again. Forgiveness doesn’t come easily to most of us, it is a hard fought battle of letting go. Sometimes, even as we forgive we also must say ‘no more’. There are times when we must see our only choice is letting go, lovingly and with great compassion, simply letting go.

I know each of us is unique and wonderfully made. We are, each of us, flawed and perfect at once. We are forged within the furnace of our family and later by the fires of society; whether tragic or magnificent, usually both, we are formed. As we walk through our lives both alone and with others we are formed into something distinctive and entirely individual.

So many of us these days try to fit in, try to hide our light in anonymity primarily because there is a certain safety in numbers and shades of beige and gray. We fall into the common thought that ‘fitting in’ will gain us acceptance, get us further in life or even provide us a more comfortable living. Maybe this is all true, perhaps if we work hard to strip ourselves of what makes us distinctively us we will have an easier time in the world, but then we will also have to wake every single day and force our spirit into boxes of conformity that may not fit as well as we like, that may squeeze every bit of life from us and leave us gasping for breath.

I know we are meant to dance in the rain with abandon and joy.

I know we are designed for pleasure and it is not a thing to be ashamed of or to shame others out of.

I know we are infused with the spirit compassion and forgiveness.

I know we are intended to give and receive love without stinting or judgement.

I know the world has corrupted our vision of ourselves as human and humane, who we are and what we should be. We have too often substituted joy for shame, compassion for weakness and love for sex in our pursuit of anything to fill a hole in our spirit and our heart. Far too many of us look toward others to define a reality that isn’t our own and then we judge ourselves as failures for not living up to impossible standards.

All of these things I know in my heart. As I continue to work through what I need, how to free myself and where to go from here, all these things I know.

14-April-2016

14-April-2016

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