Backward

I have been hearing the rumbling of how the Supreme Court has ‘let us down’ or ‘failed us.’ I am not let down; I am not disappointed, and I am not surprised. Why would anyone be any of these things by this Court? When you consider the circumstances of how this court came to be, why in the world would anyone think they have been failed by this SCOTUS? They are exactly who we all knew they would be.

Truth be told, if you are an Independent or a Democrat and didn’t vote or vote for a Republican Congressional or Senate candidate during the Obama years, you are part of the problem. You own this outcome; SCOTUS did precisely what they were set up to do, what the GOP has been planning and promising their base since the PRO-LIFE movement became a thing. Mitch McConnell stacked the bench expertly, and Democrats are so fecking weak-willed they didn’t fight back; they haven’t fought dirty, and this is the outcome.

We now live in a nation where 51.1% of the population cannot claim body autonomy. They cannot abort the fetus of their rapist. Cannot access life-saving health care. Cannot choose what is best for their lives or the lives of their born children. All because strangers who have no genuine vested interest have determined their ‘faith’ and ‘religion’ demand compliance to their biblical interpretations. Not science, not medicine, but religious submission. Thou shalt not kill; unless it is with a gun and you are already a living and breathing child of someone who loves you, then by any God you worship, all bets are off.

With the fall of Roe, Justice Thomas has made clear he has his eyes on other precedents. Those of us who follow the Court and the terrifying super conservatives that sit on the bench for life, we know where they want to go. If you aren’t one of those, let me give you a quick view of his words:

“in its rationale, the court’s majority found that a right to abortion was not a form of “liberty” protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution — as the Court had said in Roe.”

Thomas, considered to be the most conservative of the conservative majority, went on to say in his concurring opinion the following:

“For that reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,”

If you don’t know the three referenced cases, they are:

Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), by a vote of 7-2, the Court established the ‘right to privacy’ of married couples to use birth control. This ruling struck down the Connecticut law prohibiting its use. The primary argument in favor is the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. Justice Arthur Goldberg wrote a concurring opinion where the Ninth Amendment was also used to support the majority opinion.

Griswold laid the foundation for everything else.

Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972), extended the right to birth control to unmarried couples.

Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), the Court ruled that the ‘right to privacy,’ even though not explicitly enumerated, was reaffirmed based on precedence. Lawrence ruled that criminal punishment for those who commit sodomy (any form of same-gender sexual activity) is unconstitutional.

Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015), the final case in the target area, granted the right of same-sex couples to marry. The Courts ruled based on both Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the fourteenth Amendment that all adults had the right to marry whoever they wished to marry, opening the door in all 50 states for Same-Sex Marriage without restrictions. As with Roe, the Court cited Griswold in the Majority Opinion.

One other case lands squarely in the realm of the fourteenth and Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967). This landmark decision not only overturned the convictions of Richard and Mildred Loving, but it went further in a unanimous decision striking down Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws and ending all race-based marriage laws nationally.

Of course, we know why Justice Thomas didn’t touch Loving in his sweeping view of what should be undone. Ginny Thomas, his seditionist White Wife, would suddenly no longer be his wife; his marriage would be illegal. He could no longer claim membership in that special and rarefied place he currently occupies because, despite his many accomplishments, his seditionist White Wife provides him a certain gloss he would not otherwise have.

The reality of this SCOTUS is that they are set to become the very first in history to strip rights away rather than expand them. They are the Dream Team of the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, the country’s two most powerful conservative ‘think tanks.’ The confirmation of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all appointed during the Trump administration, gave the Court a Conservative Super Majority. Each lied during their confirmation hearings. None were the Best or Brightest, but each came with one recommendation; they were prepared to roll back all the Due Process and Equal Protection precedents and more. Consider other rights you and I enjoy today that potentially could be entirely stripped from us in the future:

Voting, we are seeing this already, state by state. The difference is now we will not have a court to turn to that will uphold our rights.

Access to Jobs, Education, Housing: all part of Civil Rights. This Court is prepared to strip hard-fought rights and turn back the clock. Make no mistake; whether you are a Woman, Black, Brown or part of any currently protected community, you are at risk.

Freedom from Religion: already the first of these have been decided by this Court. Kennedy V. Bremerton School District, 21-418 (2022), decided in favor of Kennedy. A coach who had been put on administrative leave for holding Christian prayer circles on the 50-yard line at school football games and ‘forcing’ team members to participate. This SCOTUS decided his Free Exercise and Free Speech of the First Amendment had been violated.

The other ruling that furthers the erosion of the Separation of Church and State, foundational to our Democratic Republic, is Anderson et al. v. Town of Durham, which built on a 2020 ruling in a Montana case. In both cases, public money is now available to fund private religious education from K-12. In Justice Sotomayor’s words from her dissent:

Today, the court leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation.”

The list is long, and these Conservative Justices are salivating, calling out for cases that will allow them to achieve the goals of their masters. Listen to them as they speak at various engagements. Read their writings as they encourage new cases to be filed and make their way to their docket. They want these cases; they want to legislate from the bench. They know they can get away with it because they know Congress is powerless to stop them. They know the Democrats are feckless, disorganized and will soon lose what little power they hold. They know the people, that is, you and I, will not vote for what is vital to our long-term good instead, we will bitch and moan about whether gas prices are too high, whether we ‘like’ Joe Biden today, whether we are getting everything we want today, and whether our life is going well today. We, the people, are focused on our immediate gratification, which is why the minority governs us rather than the majority.

I have heard people say they are annoyed by President Biden saying in his speeches, “Vote, Vote, Vote.” Let me reiterate his statement, if you want to change the dynamics and see a change in this nation, hand this President an absolute majority in the Senate and House, and VOTE in November.

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.

Dear God VIII

Dear God, have you been watching? The general fuckery down here is something to behold, isn’t it? I know it has been quite some time since we last talked, but I thought we should have a quick chat. I think perhaps my quiet, private prayers may be getting lost in the cacophony sent to you from the podiums of Congress, the pulpits of the prayers for-profit and State Houses across this nation called “Thoughts and Prayers.” I am not certain where to start, there is so much to cover, and I need to push it from my heart to your plate. I know, truly that you have much to take care of so I will try not to take too much time and only pick the big stuff, but God, really it is getting bad, and you might want to consider a lightning bolt or two just to get folks attention.

Dear God, have you seen what your believers are doing? In your name no less. It is shameful and downright terrifying. No matter where we look these days it seems those who claim you as their own are the most self-righteous, the most unforgiving, the most judgmental, the most violent; they are everything that I would think would be anathema to you, to your word. But damned if I can tell by their activities and seemingly ongoing success in this world that this is true. Meantime, while they seemingly thrive, the rest of us suffer under their heel. So, God, where are you while those who claim your favor are acting like early pagans on the day of Moloch sacrifices. What more must happen before you start with some smiting, or at least some assistance for the rest of us?

Dear God, it goes from bad to worse. It seems we cannot control our worst impulses. Everything from petty theft to genocide is on the plate for our consumption through everyday media. What is even more disturbing, at least to my mind and broken heart, where there is a crime against humanity there is a master pardoner for the perpetrator and inevitably your word is part of their patter. I guess I am old enough now where I can remember when all of us, entire nations came together regarding certain behaviors, where we all believed some things were wrong by any standard. Now? Well, now not so much. Now, seventeen (17) school shootings across this nation before the end of March doesn’t even make a blip on the nightly news. These days, seventy-nine (79) mass shootings with a total loss of life of ninety (90) human beings doesn’t even merit a comment. Nevermind the madman who is raining down misery and missiles on an entire nation’s civilian population, killing innocents in his drive to annihilate those who will not bow to his dream of a new Imperial Russia. God, if you happened to miss it, this lunatic claims a close alliance to you and your word through the Russian Orthodox Church. Not to take you to task for your current inattention, but really Lord so many of the recent batch of the truly bad have held up your word as a shield and it is growing tiresome.

Dear God, I think perhaps I don’t fit anywhere any longer. As I grow older, I also question too much the thinking of those who I once allied with nearly as much as I do those who have always been on the other side of the debate. This disease of extremism is destroying us all, making us fearful to speak up and speak our mind on any subject. Reasoned debate is no longer possible, and the ridiculous must be accepted as the new normal no matter how it harms others. Cruelty seems to be an acceptable alternative to civility. Truthfully? There is so much nuanced ugly to the past five years, political correctness combined with the legislative rape of civil rights, including voting and women’s autonomy it is hard to know where to even start. But God, you cannot possibly have intended for us to walk back every single gain we made, did you look down and say, “Nah, this was too much let’s make them suffer.”

Dear God, I know you are busy and gave us that great gift of self-determination. Yet still, I would think just now and then you might want to take some of your children and nudge them, off a cliff might be good. A bit of discipline is not uncalled for in certain circumstances, even with self-determination. You and I know children without discipline become out of control, eventually turning delinquency and without correction into habitual criminality with no chance at redemption. Lord, I am afraid that is what we have today in this nation, and what is truly terrifying, they are concentrated in the halls of Congress, on the Bench of SCOTUS and scattered throughout the land, in legislative bodies simply working their evil, pursuing power with the thirst of a man who has walked across Death Valley without water to quench him.  

Dear God, I know you have a great deal to contend with. I am not without eyes to see. Human beings have generally screwed up the world. Every opportunity, we find a way to cheapen and destroy the gift you gave us, both for ourselves and the future. We are an unseemly and ungrateful lot. We are good at saying the words, “thoughts and prayers,” and other such nonsense. We are not so great at living by the words so many profess to believe in the book they use to batter others with. Day in and day out, your word, is used to abuse those who can least afford to give by those who have found a way to rob them of dignity, humanity, and a future. You must be tired of your creation by now. I am certain the angels must beg for reassignment when you tell them they are coming to earth, if even for a day. I know I would. But like Lot, I beg you to look down, I know there are still good people down here, maybe not saints but people who every single day do good and are worth saving, worthy of your blessing. Could you please just take a minute or two, send a message to all these terrible recalcitrant traitors of the people who deserve your concern and care. I am only asking for a strong message to steer them back to the path of the righteousness, you know maybe some focused bolts of lightning, thunderous messages of fury, specifically placed sinkholes might work.  Anything that will get their attention would likely go a very long way.

62 and Single

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I never thought I would be single at this age; this isn’t what I believed my life would look like. Truthfully, I assumed my life would be much different than it is today. Some days I wake up and wonder who is living my life, who is inhabiting the life plan I had. Well if I am honest, I wake up and think to myself, just what the fuck.

Excuse my expletive. There might be a few more so if you are offended easily you might not want to read this simple exploration of life at sixty-two, where nothing is quite as planned.

If someone had told me when I was twenty-five the trajectory my life was going to take, I would have laughed uproariously. I wouldn’t have believed them, sixty-two was old as the hills and I didn’t expect to live that long in all honesty. In the back of my mind though, I had expectations;

  • To marry, once
  • To have children, two
  • To have a careerlifethegame
  • To have grandchildren
  • To build a future and a home

To live the same life, follow the same path my father followed and embrace the same familiar patterns I had grown up with once my rebellion was finished. I was nearly done at twenty-five, almost completed my teenage angst and young adult anguish. I had started down the path of adulthood and was building that future though perhaps not quite in a regular fashion I had expected early on in life.

Yet here we are, thirty-seven years later and I am sixty-two years old and I am alone. I have had two husbands and a few wannabe husbands. One who I left and the other who left me. I have helped raise two children, both who remain close, but who are not mine except through bounds of love. I live alone in a house that is mine but still feels not quite home. I have lived a life that by all accounts was not normal but certainly built character, still I have to ask why am I alone when this is the last thing I intended to be.

Oddly, I am not unhappy or lonely most of the time. I enjoy my time within the self-imposed Personal_spacebubble, the time I can spend in my own company is strangely comforting. There are simply times I would like to know there is another person who is uniquely part of my world and chooses to share in my future. Someone who is a dependable source of both solace and pleasure. That single person who I can turn to as companion, partner, friend and yes, lover. Does this seem to be two distinctly different, even polar opposite spaces to occupy?

It may be. I cannot determine if it is or not. This sometime overwhelming longing to have a person in my life, a man who sees me, looks on me with compassion and desire does not take away from my pleasure in finally having peace and quiet. It does not reduce the enjoyment I take in my self-determination, of being able to finally do what I choose without thinking of anyone but myself. There is a strange dichotomy in finding yourself at sixty-two finally on your own, alone and independent of all responsibility but to yourself.

I remember thinking, there will come a time my sons will be grown they will marry, have children and be independent adults. There were times during my marriages I sometimes thought, my husband(s) will grow the hell up and become responsible grown-assed men, they will be full time contributors rather than emotional and financial dependents. I will be free to do what I wish, to work differently, to travel more or whatever else I wish to do. Then of course, divorce struck and financial setbacks took away my freedoms.

I recovered; I was most fortunate. Now I think, I cannot afford to just do anything to squander my recovery and my future. I must think like an adult, huh.

AmbivertScale

Can you guess where I sit on this spectrum?

So, adulthood hits at sixty-two and what it looks like doesn’t thrill me. Who in their right mind wants to do this, alone? This isn’t what I thought it would look like. Dating isn’t something I can do easily; I am not good with new people or small talk. Years ago, I tried on-line dating for a brief minute, that didn’t work for me so I won’t try it again. I am far too picky, a man would have to be extraordinary to catch and hold my attention, he would have to be part superhero, part bad boy and part old school gentleman (like my father). He would have to have the smile of an angel, clean fingernails, the patience of a saint and be able to laugh at himself.

Does this even exist anymore?

ShhhI have been so fortunate in my life. I have been loved and I have loved. I know what both look like. I have also been terribly disappointed, yes, I have also disappointed. None of us are without flaws, none of us have gone through life without mistakes. The thing is, I am better for mine, I hope. I don’t want to spend my last years alone, I want to share this last part of my life with someone who will love me knowing all my flaws, all my skeletons, all my baggage. Who will see me fully and without judgement hold me closely through the end.

I just keep wondering, how did I get here, sixty-two, single, alone and is this it?

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.

depression4

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.

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.

Weekend Coffee Share: One Down

imagesIf we were having coffee I would be sitting at my table and hoping you would share it with me. If you want tea, I would be sure to show you the slim pickings I have to brew (sorry), or you can share my pot of thick as mud cowboy coffee. Yes, there is plenty of creamer selections, sugars and honey.

Things sure have been up in the air this past week, sometimes I think this is a trial by fire just to see how determined I am to set to rights what is wrong. It has been all I could do not to snap at those I love, not to crawl into my closet and stay there, not to fall to my knees and beg the universe for mercy.

The final appraisal was Good Enough, the buyers have said yes to one stipulation I have said yes too selling for less than I wanted to sell for. We all have agreed to some terms that were not in the original contract, hopefully in the next few hours we will have a final contract to sign and it will be done with a closing date within this month, then I can move on from here. New life, new choices to make. I won’t be entirely happy with the outcome but honestly I will be in better condition than I have been.

I would proudly show you how I have started clearing out cabinets in anticipation of moving. Even with everything in the air and not knowing till just a few hours ago I tried to keep a positive view on this process. Then I would point to the full up baskets of CD’s, well over 1,500 I have already ripped to my IPod. This represents about half my music collection, it is a painful process to get them all onto my IPod finally but I swore this time I wasn’t carrying them with me, not again. I am finally going digital on this one thing at least. Will I get finished before moving day? Surely I do hope so, one less thing to think about, pack and carry.

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There is so much more to do, closet upon closet to clear out. Decisions to make about what to keep, what to sell and what to donate. What will go to a very small apartment with me, meaning what I absolutely cannot live without and what will go to storage until I find my next permanent home. So many things to consider, so many choices to make. I wander through my home today and think there are many things I take for granted in my life, many things of great beauty I hardly see until now that I must actually look at them and remind myself of their stories.

If we were having coffee today I would tell you about my week of introspection. How I have been thinking about family, friends and lovers (past and present). I would try to open my heart to you about how I have too often pushed people away for fear of being hurt even while I loved them. I would tell you about my natural inclination to take care of others within relationships, whether family or otherwise, how I am happier when I am taking care of others than when I am having to be constantly in charge, the boss, the strong one. I would try to explain how difficult it is for me to constantly be on guard, to be in charge, to feel uncared for and not trust others to catch me if I fall. This has been part of my week of introspection, part of what has driven me inside of myself.

I would tell you I recognize my strength, my competency and my ability to take care of myself. I understand I am able to stand up for myself, live alone and be happy alone even. I realize how much I have survived in my lifetime, that in truth it is more than most. I am good with my life as it is. I am good with the decisions and choices I have made. I am good with the person I am, with the outcomes of my life. Being strong, it doesn’t change my inner core, who I am or what makes me happy. It doesn’t change what I want in the future or the type of relationships that work for me. This is what I am discovering. I am also discovering, I will not settle for less than what makes me happy not from family, friends or lovers. It is vital I stand up and ask for what I need or I will continue to not get it.

This is what I would tell you over coffee, that all of us should always ask for what we need and expect to get it.

After I finished my ramble I would hope you would jump in and tell me how your life was going this week, what is happening in your world (beside the terrible of the political season). I am going to hope you world has had some joy. I promise you, I would listen without interruption.

CoffeeShare2

Weekend Coffee Share: It isn’t that

imagesIf we were having coffee I would have asked you to come to my house, I know odd but it might be the last time I am able to host you here and it is important to me. I would pour you a cuppa of my favorite blend, cut with chicory and strong enough to stand a spoon upright in, offer you a selection of sweet creams and sugars before we settled in. Look out the back window, my Lavender is starting to come in I am truly going to miss that view, I cut them back in January so they would come in heavy this spring.

This past month has seen too many changes, decisions and strange happenings. I am underwater most of the time simply trying to catch my breath or is it hold my breath in between sinking. Having a house on the market, dang it isn’t easy. In fact, it is hard. Add to just the normal, keeping it in ‘show’ ready condition all the time as if I don’t actually live here, is the barrage of strangers walking through my home. It is an uncomfortable feeling, at best it is uncomfortable.

I had a contract, went through inspection fairly unscathed and then the appraisal came in extraordinarily low, specifically $70,000 low. Even the buyers’ bank questioned the competency of the appraiser and they have ordered a new one at their expense. In the meantime, the house is back on the market and I am questioning my sanity. The original buyers are not happy they will have to make a new offer after the new appraisal (on Wednesday), but they are the ones that wanted their earnest money back.

Why, why am I putting myself through this? But then, I look around and realize I simply cannot sustain myself in this house any longer. I cannot maintain this house, without help. It is no longer a home and though there are many things I truly love, I cannot live here alone anymore. Is what I am planning risky? Yes, surely it is. But then, without risk there is no life. I would tell you, if I can do this and come out on the right side of it all in the end maybe I can get some of my life back.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about my current contract and how my hours have been cut from 36 to somewhere in the neighborhood of 12. How I am now looking for my next contract and it will likely force me to travel again, the very last thing I wanted to do. The mantra of ‘getting my life back’ is looking more impossible all the time. Just when I am trying for more normalcy it is looking as if it is slipping away from me.

I would tell you, I am truly tired. Bone tired and scared too. I didn’t think this would be my life at nearly sixty years old. I thought it would be something much different. I would tell you how hard it is to write at this time, though I have so much to say with words bouncing in my head and hurting me sometimes with the need let them fly, I find more solace in my journals than actual writing for consumption. My natural inclination toward isolation has been in the forefront these days and even blogging has seemed to public, too much like giving up space.

I would tell you how difficult love is, all of it. Friends and family worry about me, they don’t see me or hear from me in any of the normal ways I interact, none of the snarky social media daily posts, none of the morning texts to say I love them. I would tell you though, I am trying to sort out my space and my world in a way that makes sense to me. Trying to frame love, all of it in a way that makes sense to me. Sometimes, love is hard. Especially when you aren’t young and innocent anymore, instead you have had a full life and some disappointments and hurts, you can’t approach love with the same wide-eyed wonder. Love is hard, especially when you know yourself, when you know who you are and what you want and need from life. Finding a partner with luggage as battered as your own, who won’t judge your monsters, well that is damned near a miracle. I would tell you, love is a miracle all of its own.

After I had rambled on, likely with tears at some point because my tears seem to come easily lately I would ask you to jump in and tell me what is going on in your world. I would hope you have had a more uplifting week, maybe good news even something silly we could giggle about. I promise you, I would listen throughout.

CoffeeShare2

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