Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Social Media, Social Mess

    Social Networking, Social Media. Just another source of mutual masturbation for those who want their egos stroked, and those who love to do the stroking. For others it is a wasteland of rejection, snubbing, rumor mongering, and invisibility. It is one more place to feel unpopular and go unnoticed. Just another place to feel like a quiet voice lost in a crowd.
    It is an interesting place for a voyeur Outsider to watch the interplay, misunderstandings and obvious boot-licking that goes on in all social groups no matter the age, education or social status. But it is also another reason for an Outsider to feel even more the social pariah by viewing these interactions and having to fight the desire to flee from the human race in all its sticky glory.
    Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the social networks as a way to keep connected with friends and family, and to keep my finger on the pulse of the world around me. But at the same time I find myself feeling the same hurt and invisibility of the social fringy that I was in high school. Funny how humans need social interaction and acceptance, even when they shun society as a whole. Shun and shunned, all in one untidy package.
    Oddly, and maybe inappropriately, I am minded of overcrowded chickens; one will be selected at random to be the pariah, to be slowly pecked to death by the other chickens. A social sacrifice. There is no rhyme or reason to it. It is random and subjective. I do know this is an exaggeration, an over dramatic viewpoint based on my own feelings of being the social pariah. It is an attempt to understand the subjective nature of popularity.
    Why do some people draw a fawning crowd of sycophants, while others seem to be invisible to the populace? I used to think it was based largely on sex appeal, attractiveness, or in some cases wealth and notoriety. Actually, I still believe this to a degree, but there is something else at work. And I can't quite put my finger on it. Do some put off a pheromone that draws in those inclined to fawn and coo? And do others put off the opposing pheromone that keeps everyone at a polite distance, avoiding eye contact and interactions? It is more curiosity than finger pointing. I know there are those that seek out the crowds, parties, vigorously seek attention and acclaim. And others, like myself, who tend to avoid crowds, lurk in the shadowy fringes, make unpopular observations about the dark messiness of society, and generally make others uncomfortable about their own humanity and desires for acceptance.
    This is a double edged sword. As one who lurks on the fringe, I feel the angst of being the Outcast and social pariah, but know that it is self inflicted. Self inflicted in the sense that I fight against any urges to do the "acceptable thing," to jump through social hoops, to bend my personality to fit into that weirdly subjective standard of popularity. If anything I perversely turn away from doing what I know could raise my standings in the eyes of others, those that seem to "count" in the popularity contest. And yet, I find myself hurt by the feelings of invisibility and nonacceptance. I know I can't have it both ways. And so I continue to choose the solitary path, despite the loneliness and feelings of rejection.
    Maybe as a writer I feel I have to suffer for my art? Maybe I am just an expert at self-flagellation? Maybe I am too empathic and allow myself to see too deeply into the hearts of others? I see and understand what goes on all around me, sometimes feeling as if I am prying up the masks and seeing the true faces beneath. Unhappy faces. Bestial faces. This is frightening and does little to encourage me to seek out my fellow humanity. No, not everyone hides beneath a mask. There are those who are open natured, good and kind. But there are those who are self-centered, self-obsessed, crass, harsh and uncaring, hiding behind masks of joviality.
    It is not a gift to be able to see with unscaled eyes, it is a curse. It makes it near impossible to fit into regular society without also creating a mask, a mask of the calm, rational, "normal" human. So we all work to fit into society in one way, shape or form. For some, it is just to slip past unnoticed, thought of as "normal," blend in with chameleon-like skill, be the fly-on-the-wall to observe and take note of the strange interactions of the species Homo sapien.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Real Homer

    I have a kitten, found alone and cold, tiny and helpless, just a few feet from the cemetary where I walk my dogs. Of course I took the baby, snuggled him into my sweatshirt, picked up kitten formula at my local feed store and took him home to join my hairy tribe. At first I jokingly said, "Hugo (my beloved Pit-mix) thinks I should name him Snack." And so that was his name for the first week or two while I waited for a more appropriate name to present itself. The name should have been obvious, "Homer," after my great-grandfather who is buried in that cemetary, and who I have always thought has kept an eye on the family over the years. Homer the kitten is adorable, as are all kittens. He is black as coal, green-eyed and a bundle of hilarity with a zest for life and fun.
    But who is The Real Homer? Homer Clyde Lemons, father of my dear grandma Pearl. Grampa raised sheep, dairy cattle and hops. He lived in a farmhouse several miles from town, with an oak grove, creek and pond full of tadpoles, and a giant barn with a rope swing in the hay loft. I remember summer days at Grampa's, chasing lambs, catching frogs and tadpoles, swinging into stickery mounds of hay, trying to catch the skittish barn kittens, eating blackberries warm from the sun, and having Grampa feed us farmhand sized meals replete with vast quantities of milk (he was a dairy man after all).
    Homer Lemons loved children and babies. He was just about the perfect Grampa, with a goofy sense of humor and plenty of time to explain things to his grandkids. One of my few regrets is that I did not stop by to see him the last time I was in his neck of the woods a few months before he died. That was 33 years ago, and I still regret it.
    Homer did cool things in his younger days; broke horses, traveled the country working, in Idaho he met and eloped with the "spinster schoolmarm," my Grandma Sadie (who died when I was only 2, so sadly she is just a sweet face in old photos). In the 30's, during the depths of the Great Depression, Homer brought his family out to the Willamette Valley, to the small farming community of Canby. He had his eye on a farm, one that wasn't available, yet. So Homer moved his family into a building nearby that had in essence been a chicken coop at one point. This is one of the staples of our Family Lore: Grampa and the Chicken Coop. It wasn't an ideal home for a family of five, but it kept the weather off while Homer and Sadie worked to buy the dream farm. And they did. A beautiful piece of fertile land on the Gribble prairie with the aforementioned house, barn, creek and oak grove. He grew hops, hiring itinerant workers during the harvest, housing them in an outbuilding, and Grandma cooked meals over a woodstove set out in the yard. The Hop House blew off of it's foundation during the Columbus Day Storm of 1960, and slowly settled into the earth so that by the time I was old enough to go exploring, the doorway was only about three feet high, which made the vast building seem mysterious and extra spooky.
    In his later years, Homer led an active life, being a favorite dance partner at the monthy Grange Hall dances, and had several "lady friends" over the years (long after Grandma died, of course). It was only in his last few years that he seemed to slow down, finally dying peacefully at the respectable age of 90.
    I hadn't known where Grampa was buried until just a few months ago, and coincidently, it is the very same cemetary that I have been walking my dogs in for the last 8 months or so. I had passed his gravestone hundreds of times before my Mom and I searched and found it back in September. Since then, I have stopped and talked to Grampa on a pretty regular basis. Especially since the last three months have been excessively stressful for me. In a short period of time I have ended a decade long relationship, been passed over for several jobs I was sure I was going to get (after protracted interview and hiring procedures), and I've decided to buy a house (though I can barely afford my rent, my job security is non-existant, and flying solo is a struggle at best). So, needless to say, my stressload has been a bit overbearing at times (okay, most of the time).
    I have found that stopping and talking with Grampa is soothing, and helps me leave my burdens behind for a brief interlude. And one real beauty of a cemetary is that if someone were to see me kneeling at Grampa's grave, brushing leaves from his headstone, sobbing uncontrollably and and rambling incoherently about my troubles, fears, lonliness and feelings of failure, no one would dare interfere. A cemetary is a place that welcomes grief, accepts lonliness, honors tears, and politely looks the other way when faced with hysterics and sobbing.
    I admit, this behavior has become more frequent and common as the days march by towards winter and I feel I am not much closer to my dreams, or even peace. This week, I was on my knees in the near-frozen, damp turf pretending to brush away fallen leaves, so if anyone were to see they would not take a second look (granted the only living presence in the cemetary were me and my two dogs). I sobbed so hard I could barely catch my breath as I told Grampa of my failures and struggles, feelings of persecution and  rejection, and a near desperate lonliness born of too many burdens and no one to share the load. Yes it was self pity, but somewhat justified. Grampa listened quietly (if he had done anything else, I'm sure the shock and terror would have banished any self pity), and I was reminded of Grampa and The Chicken Coop. I told myself that if he had the patience to live in a former chicken domicile while awaiting his dream, I could wait in the relative comfort and solitude of my current situation. Granted, Grampa had his sweet Sadie at his side, but those were uncertain times and they were going way out on a limb to make their dream a reality. So, as I inch further and further out onto the limb that is my current life, waiting to hear the creaking of it preparing to snap under my weight, I will keep reminding myself that I could be living in a Chicken Coop.
    Now I have a little, black cat named after a good man. A little, black cat that I am seeing as my lucky charm for reminding me every day of my truely great Grampa. Thank you Grampa Homer, for your kind and gentle nature, your good humor, love of life, and for passing along strong genes and a mental fortitude that will save me. And thanks for The Chicken Coop

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mist in the Gloaming

Sunset Fuschia, fading to Lavender, finally to Ashes of Roses.
Tangerine Moon rising in the east, Autumn Ripe, Luminous Halo.
The light fades as the mist rises in the gloaming.
The cemetary is tranquil.
The still air is Autumn brisk, filling my lungs with the spice of fallen leaves and flowers gone to seed.
My dogs trot faithful at my side, brief strain of the leashes at the glimpse of a cottontail in the dusk.
They resist nature's urge for the chase, and stay by my side.
Such Glory revives my Spirit.
I regain my Strength, Energy and Balance.
I feel my Power surge, pushing out self-doubt and debilitating fears.
I chant the Tenets of my Chosen Path: Harmony, Health, Love, Happiness, Peace, Abundance, Protection.
I wrap my renewed Energy around my Spirit like Armor.
Again I talk myself off the ledge. Renew promises to myself.
I feel the Dream within my Reach.
I must not doubt Myself.
I will not doubt Myself.
I do not doubt Myself.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dark, Light and Balance

    Last night I randomly opened my copy of "Way of the Green Witch" and, as magic tends to happen, I was on the page I needed to see. I read the priorities of a Green Witch (or Hedgewitch, as I label myself): The Earth, Humanity, Self. I am far better at understanding the needs and intricacies of The Earth and Humanity, than I am of understanding and caring for Self.
    The book told me what I needed to hear: that discovering one's true Self is a complicated, rigorous, and often life-long journey. The we (meaning me) often hide our darkest selves deep within our psyche, so deep we may not even be aware of their existence. That often we (meaning me) become so adept at lying to ourselves about our state of happiness and well being that we don't even hear the lies, or know them for what they are. I know I do this, I know I tell myself what I want to be the Truth instead of recognizing my reality for what it is. I have spent so much of my life as an illusion of Smoke and Mirrors. I create the Illusion for myself as much as for others. The book reminded me that we all have a Dark side that we often hide so deep within that we aren't even aware of its existence. But we need Dark to Balance the Light. We need to understand the Dark part of our Nature in order to fully understand ourself, be our true Self and find Balance.
    Dark is not Bad. It is not Evil. It is not Wrong. I feel that often we (meaning me) supress the parts of our Nature that we deem unacceptable to the masses, the white-bread populace, Corporate Amercia, Primetime TV. We hide the Dark so we can slip through the mass of humanity unnoticed, instead of feeling isolated and alone. I admit that I am often on the fringe of society and a loner by choice, this is one aspect that makes me a Hedgewitch. But I need to discover the Dark inside and reconcile it with the Light in order to find my true Self, true Balance, and inner Peace.
    We must have Dark to Balance the Light. By finding those corners of shadowed psyche we can achieve Strength, Balance and Power. True Balance is a powerful energy in and of itself. Just as physical Balance is imperative to physical strength and power, so is mental Balance imperative to mental strength and power. True Balance will prevent Life's vagaries from wreaking havoc and mayhem. Balance will help me better weather the storms that are on the horizon.
    My Goal, as I enter this new phase of my life, is to search every nook of my inner Self, find my hidden Dark Nature and let her out into the Light to play. To stop living by Smoke and Mirrors, find the Dark, understand myself, leave illusion behind and step into Reality. Balance my Dark and Light. Understand my True Self. Find my Balance so I can hold strong in the face of adversity, and revel in the Joy of my Life.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Life in Limbo

    Life is making me more than just a trifle crazy lately. It seems I spend so much time waiting for results of my every effort, left in Limbo, adrift, hovering, clock watching. I want to move forward with so many aspects of Life, and I make concerted efforts to do so, but it feels as if I put my attempts out into the ether and then have to sit back and wait an eternity to see if the powers that be even noticed my endeavors.
    As I wait of course I think of everything that could go wrong with every plan that I try to set into motion. I will obsessively go over transactions in my head, searching for flaws, I will re-proofread documents and applications looking for any minutiae that may act as a rock in the cogs. The problem with Limbo is it gives me far too much time to think, ponder, obsess, tweak.
    I mentally rein myself in, try to force Brain to move onto a different track, change speed and direction. But inevitably, Brain will jump back onto the obsession track if I'm not riding the reins hard, watching every move, sensing underlying quivers of disobedience. Damn Brain anyway.
    I do tell myself that being in Limbo about housing, job, life in general, is far less stressful than waiting to hear back on biopsy results, or news on a missing or injured family member, or... or... or... There are so many other things far worse to be waiting for than whether or not I will get to buy a house, get a better paying job, or figure out what I want to do with my life. I know that Limbo such as mine is agonizing more because it is the anticipation and knowledge that I am standing on the edge on an abyss of unknown depth, waiting to step off into a new adventure of unlimited potential. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cause and Effect

    Cause and Effect. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Immoveable Object, Unstoppable Force.
    I am often overanalytical about how my actions affect the world around me. There are times when I become nearly paralyzed with the knowledge of how my every action and deed can have a ripple affect, changing the world around me, even if only by an infinitesimal mote. Plastic bags, recycling, chemical cleaners, oil spills, garbage, excessive packaging. How my behaviors, emotions, reactions, words can influence those around me either for good or ill. A misunderstood phrase, a snatch of conversation taken out of context, a squint mistaken for a scowl, short temper, anxiety caused over-reactions. All the little minutiae of life that add up to who I am, what I do, how I am perceived.
    Lately, as I ponder how I am often overconcerned at how my behavior affects those around me, I am stymied at how often others are completely unaware at just how much their actions affect those around them. So many people are willing to point fingers at the misbehavior of those in their life without pondering just how their own actions, words and deeds may have created or caused the behavior. They move through life oblivious, unconcerned. They cannot see the ripples, or just choose to ignore them. Cause and Effect. Action, Reaction.
    We are influenced by the events around us, just as the events around us are influenced by our Actions and Reactions. Cause and Effect. I see this as a giant spider web; touch any part of the web and the vibration will be felt throughout, the spider reacts, deciding if it is food or threat, then acts accordingly. Flee or Feed.
    I know how my actions can influence those around me. Whether it is just a smile and courtesy to the overworked gas station attendant, or a short tempered reaction to another inane question from an annoying telemarketer. I also know how my words and actions can affect those that I care about. And this is where caution must be taken. The closer you are to someone, the deeper your affect on them.
    On the flip side of this, I am having to force myself to be less concerned at how my actions affect others, and instead focus on how my actions affect ME. Too many times in my life I have been untrue to myself, to my nature, to my very essence, all because I have been concerned with action and reaction. How I am perceived, how I am judged, how I measure up. Every time it has happened, I see what I have done, analyze my behavior, see the reasons behind my actions and vow to never do it again. And yet, I fall into the same pattern again. It is a self-sabotaging behavior. I know it for what it is. I can even see myself doing it again, and will justify it because I tell myself I am merely adjusting to a relationship, making a few compromises as we all must to make a relationship work, being easy-going, mellow. And to some degree, this is true. But I often find myself agreeing to things I don't want to do, modifying my behavior to fit an acceptable role.
    Because of this, I feel like in the public eye I am often playing a role in life. Just a walk on actor, a stand in, a body double, the understudy. I know I do this because I feel as if I were to be completely myself, no holds barred, unguarded, that I would find myself even  more an outcast than I already feel. I know all my friends would argue this, tell me they love me for who I am, would accept me no matter what. And of a few of them, I would believe this. I know my close family would love me no matter what, because that is what we do (just as I would love them, protect them and cherish them no matter what). 
    But to the world in general, only a fraction of me is for public viewing. The rest is shielded by caution. As for my relationships, sometimes I think that those I have been closest to may know me the least, for it is for them that I have altered myself the most. This is a tragedy.
    As I read over these words, they are rambling and raw. Incoherence caused by fatigue, stress, and inner confusion. I am at an odd crossroads in my life. I am presented with paths that will alter the world as I know it, change my life completely and irrevocably. I have paths  before me that must be taken despite the pain, anguish, stress, loneliness, discomfort and fear that are with me now and will be my companions for some time to come. It is because of choices I have made, am making and have yet to make that I am grappling with Cause and Effect. I know I need to be true to myself, find my own way, keep moving forward despite the ripples that spread out from every step I take. I am struggling to take complete ownership of my life, my fate, my destiny. I accept the consequences of my actions, and refuse to justify my reactions. I know I can do this by Myself, for Myself.
    I will become the Immovable Object and the Unstoppable Force.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Year of Me

    So much has happened in the last 6 weeks that I have neglected my writing for a few weeks. Not that I haven't thought of writing, actually sat down to write, typed out words time and time again. But then I have deleted them because of the stress, misery and negativity that was fueling every attempt. It has been a hard few weeks for me with most of my life in shambles, and me using all my strength to crawl up from the wreckage and managing to present a calm demeanor to the world. It hasn't been easy. When I'm alone the facade tends to crack and crumble, causing restless days, sleepless nights, mental and physical pain, and emotional anguish.
    I'm sure you can see from the words already leaking onto the page my reasons for having deleted every blog written the last few weeks. Even when I attempt to move onward to positivity, the carnage of my personal life rears it's head to slather my words with the gore of battle. Yes, it was a hard fought battle, and one in which I imagine I was the victor. But really, in any battle with massive casualties is there really any winner? No. All participants lose. It was not a victory, so much as a triage. Triage to try and remove parts of me so damaged they cannot be salvaged. But there is the residual "Phantom Limb" pain. I know what I have lost, what is gone, missing, but the pain cannot be denied. The pain is oh so very real. And there is no effective means of numbing the pain, I can only try to ignore it.
    But I digress into morose, stress, angst. Really, where I was going with this is that I do feel like I am gradually making my way back into the light. Getting myself on track. Pursuing personal goals that have been long sidelined, striving to make my life what I know it can be. I am facing a lot of hard work in the next year or two or ten, but I do not shy away from hard work. Through the long night I have managed to keep my Eyes on The Prize, as if it were the glowing nightlight at the end of a long, treacherous corridor. I am so close to my prize, a goal I have dreamed of for too many years. I know there are people out there who encouraged me, told me to not give up, but honestly I feel like it has been sheer tenacity that has finally led me this close to finally realizing a dream. Granted, there has been sacrifice, but every hard-won goal requires more than stamina, perseverence and planning, it also requires that pound of flesh. I have paid dearly over the years for dreams that were really only fantasies, so now to have a solid goal almost within my grasp is heady brew. A brew that is helping to rebuild my self-esteem and self-worth that were paid out in generous proportions with very little gain.
    I feel like I am finally going to have the chance to replenish my coffers of personal energy and passions that have been so depleted these past few years. Depleted through my own reckless spending. I should know better, now do know better, and am striving to be more cautious with how and where I spend my energies and emotions. That isn't easy for someone with my Leap Before I Look nature. I tend to launch myself into my own ideas, plans, and schemes at a reckless, breakneck pace only to get yanked up by the short-hairs of reality. I like being able to get wildly excited, emotionally invested, and crazily ramped up over a plan/idea. The downside is the inevitable Crash and Burn of Real Life. But now, my focus can be on Me, My Life, My Plans, My Destiny. I can finally rush headlong towards dreams and goals with only my own personal limitations to be overcome. Like I said, it is a Heady Brew, this feeling of control over my own Destiny. A control that has been a long time coming, a hard won treasure, paid for with more than a pound of flesh. Yes, I expect it can and will be a difficult, lonely journey at times, but again, there is always a price to be paid.
I am coming into the Year of Me. Finally.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Riding the Rails

    I do find that I think in metaphors a good part of the time. I think it is a self-defense mechanism to help talk myself through the frequent rough spots of life. Just this morning, as I was pulling on my leather jacket in defense against crisp morning air at 70 miles an hour, I was thinking how easily I can get derailed. I get on an idea, and charge ahead with glorious dreams of making the fantasy a reality, only to hit a snag and get myself tossed painfully off of the rails. Derailed. Again. An advantage I have (and maybe my metaphorically  inclined brain helps with this) is that over the years, out of neccessity, I have become very good at picking myself up and getting back on track. I have to do it, because no one else will. It is difficult to be the loner. I am the only one I have to talk me down, talk me off the ledge, talk me back into a sense of purpose. It is great that I am such a good cheerleader, so optimistic, analytical and philosophical. I can find analogies and metaphors to help myself through the all too frequent downturns and defeats that I seem to stumble upon when least expected.
    I hear so many joyous reports of friends' successes achieved with the help of friends, family, partners, and I am often envious to the point of near physical pain and nausea. I know this is unfair of me. That I should revel in their triumphs, feel joy in their success, congratulate them on a job well done. But instead I feel that evil entity of envy. It is my own damned fault. I am not inclined to ask for help, preferring to work towards my dreams on my own. I am not sure if this is a learned behavior from years of having no other option, or an ingrained trait buried deep within my DNA that makes me seek the lone path. Regardless, it does make for a tough, uphill battle. Do I wish I had help? Yes. I cannot deny how often I have wished for an easier route. Could I get help if I asked? Not really. The few times that I have asked, it has done little good and only caused me grief and feelings of rejection. Oh sure, there are plenty of people out there that can offer platitudes and words of encouragement, but little to nothing in the way of solid assistance. I don't blame them, their circumstances put them in situations where they couldn't help even if they wanted to. And as for platitudes? I have become a regular Kreskin at pulling those out of my own hat.
    I am not inclined to voice these ramblings outloud. Mostly because I don't want to sound like a whinebag. But also because it does me no good, and there are plenty of people who have had a rougher time than I have over the years and are struggling with problems far deeper than mine. This doesn't keep me from knowing that my problems are more important to me. They are, after all, My Problems. It doesn't diminish how hard I struggle just to keep my head above water sometimes. How often I cry at what feel like a hundred roadblocks for my simple aspirations. The numerous Pity Parties, attendence of one, that I throw for myself. The multitude of times I see the success of others as failures in myself.
    And this is when I derail. When despite my efforts to move forward, even inch by inch, I find myself lying in the gravel next to the track silently cursing whatever glitch on the rail vaulted me off to join the cinders along the tracks. But then this is also when my metaphorically inclined Brain starts to find correlations  between my life and any journey by any means of transportation. I believe that by seeing parallels between my life and the journeys and struggles of inanimate objects I can manage to emotionally distance myself from the problems confronting me. When I can take my emotions out of the picture, even for a brief moment, I can collect my thoughts and dreams, rebundle them a bit, and climb back onto the rail to attempt to make it a few more feet down the line.
    I have been accused (or lauded) of being too rational and logical, not emotionally invested enough. This may be true. I make every attempt to channel emotions into logic and rationality. It isn't easy for one with a tempestuous nature and the desires to race headlong through life at a breakneck pace. But I have learned the skill, trained myself in cool, calculating thought. Chained the emotions that have no place to go except to shatter on the floor as they are mishandled. I keep my emotions in check, carefully guarded and protected, because they have been mishandled too often and are far too fragile to survive further mistreatment. And so in steps Brain with metaphors, symbolism, logic and rationale. Thank the gods for Brain. Brain, who keeps me calm despite the chaos of my life. Brain, that may run gibbering in circles at times, causing derailment, but then calls a halt to abberant behavior and returns to calculating logic. Brain, that despite repeated derailments (self inflicted and otherwise) manages to keep me riding the rails, inch by inch.  

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cemetary Solitude

    Of late, my favorite place for the evening dog walk has been the Zion Memorial Cemetary, established in 1886. It is a large tract of land, crossed by half a dozen asphalt lanes lined with gnarled old Ash trees. The dogs and I have been walking there nearly all summer, choosing it partially for the well tended green grass and shade trees. It is an attractive place, one end has a stand of old growth Doug Fir that were probably young trees when the first bodies were laid to rest. There are names that I see and recognize, names that have long connections with this area. Family plots that bear the same names as local businesses, roads, parks and praries. The connection between the past and the present, our history and our future.
    Some may think it a morbid, or gruesome place for my evening constitutional. Maybe. But for me it is peaceful, quiet and calming. The rare glimpse we get of another human rarely results in any kind of interplay. Most people visiting a cemetary are there for solitude, grieving, healing and peace, not for chatting up the strange looking woman with the rumpled hat and a handful of leashes restraining slobberingly friendly dogs. I still vividly remember the first person I saw at the cemetary. He was an elderly man carefully tending a gravesite. Even from a distance I could see his gentle, caring cleanup. I steered clear, not wanting to invade his loving visit with who I imagined to be his beloved wife. And in all honesty, he was so involved with his task that I am sure he never even noticed us.
    There are several graves I have developed an attraction to, a bond, an interest, a desire to know their stories. There are the graves of Edna and Tess. Born months apart in 1914. Edna was a respectable 89 years old, Tess 79 when they passed. The grave lists a single last name, implying spinster sisters. What first drew my eyes to their headstone were the items imbedded in the concrete: a wrench and a Ford logo. Not your typical girly symbols. These "Sisters," were they maybe not quite what they presented to the world? Maybe not "spinsters" but a devoted, loving couple? They obviously were more than a couple of old ladies at home baking cookies. I imagine them as two women who lived life their own way, independent and strong.
    Another "friend" is Raymond. Raymond was barely 20 years old when he died in February of 1945, a U.S. Marine fighting in WW2. I think of him, so young, dying in a strange land fighting for our freedom and for the freedoms of people totally foriegn to him. He made the ultimate sacrifice. I visit Raymond almost every day.
    The first graves that caught my eye, drew me in and captured my heart were "The Babies." That is how I think of them. Siblings. A little boy, not yet 2 and a newborn infant that was never even given a name. They both died in the late winter of 1917, months apart. The tragedy of losing two children in such a short time would be unbearable. The Babies graves are a bit overgrown, I plan on visiting them alone one day soon, and pulling the tall grasses that grow around the thin, lichen coated tombstones.
    Today, for the first time, I found a grave decorated with a dozen Hot Wheels cars. Of course I had to look. I found myself weeping over the loss of a 4 year old boy, "beloved son," who died so, so young. It seemed that so many of the graves I saw were of children and teenagers. 4 years, 15 years, 17 years old. Too young to die, and too tragic for me to not feel a heart wrenching pain for them and the ones they left behind to grieve. The grey skies, and shortened daylight only seemed to add to a sadness that I feared would overwhelm me, leaving me disfunctional for the rest of the weekend. I know there are children buried in every cemetary. The Babies are a daily reminder to me. But it doesn't make it less of a tragedy.
    I had to pull myself from the gloom that threatened. I continued walking, tears stinging my eyes, when I found myself at a familiar grave stone: Tess and Edna. Seeing their familiar names, the wrench and Ford logo, knowing that they lived long, and I like to imagine interesting and fulfilling lives, gave me strength. And cheered my heart. I have decided to research just who these women were, maybe find out who puts the flowers on their graves, and find the meaning behind the wrench and Ford logo. I want to learn about Raymond as well, and several other residents at Zion. Who knows what I will find. Who knows who I will meet.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Patience of a Three Year Old

    I have the patience of a 3 year old. I know this. It is a truth about myself that I have accepted and embraced. Yes, I can force myself to be very patient, and appear calm and accepting to the world, but inside I am a roiling mass of angst and turmoil. I want it and I want it NOW. Is that so hard to understand? Is that wrong? I think not.
    Want what? There is a list. Top of the list, of course, is my own home. A sanctuary of my very own. A domicile to do with what I want, with no one to raise an eyebrow at my less than run-of-the-mill design concepts. A place that I can develop into my ideal space, inside and out. It is a dream that has been on hold for about 8 years while I have been waiting for the volitile real estate world to settle back in to some semblance of normalcy. I have kept my eye on the bubble, knowing it would burst, and knowing that eventually prices would return to a sane level. It has been a long, agonizing wait. And trust me, I have not liked it one bit. Not one bit. But now, I feel I am on the verge. Calls have been made, contacts contacted, balls rolling, paperwork started, house selected. Now for the damnable waiting. Of course, I am sure that the house I am dreaming of will be gone by the time the slow gears of government finance grind through my application. I watch, with bated breath, knowing that I will lose out on what may possibly be the perfect (or near perfect) home. It is making me crazy. yes, I know that there are other houses on this glutted market, buit it seems that now that I am actually pursuing the reality of realty that the choices are slim to none. At least for what I am looking for with a price I can afford. I am making sure to not overextend myself financially. I may lack paatience, but I do not lack common sense (thank the gods).
    Second on the list is a satisfying, fulfilling, altruistic job. Yeah, I don't ask for much. Apparently I am too particular to be satisfied with a tolerably decent paying job that is about as secure as anything can be in these uncertain times. But in all fairness, I am relieved to be in the same dead end job at this particular moment. Why? Because despite my frustration with my job, I have been here for a solid 5 years and in the industry for 10 years. Makes me look good to the mortgage peeps. So, dream job search is on the back burner for the moment and dream house takes precidence (as it should be).
    There are other things on the list, but I think they will fall into place easily enough once goals one and two are accomplished (especially #1). So I will force the appearance of a calm demeanor so as not to alarm the sheeple and frighten off prospective realtors, lenders and employers. It is an Herculean effort, I would rather clean the Augean Stables.
    But I am working towards goals that are important to me, my self worth and my satisfaction. I am making great strides, closing the gap. But I want it Now. I feel I have been waiting on the sidelines for far too long and am finally in the game and ready to run. Now if I can just score a goal, I can be content. For the moment anyway.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


    Every day a new challenge rears it's head. I try to think of them as Challenges and not Obstacles, Road Blocks or Dead Ends. Some days this is tougher than others. But today I feel up to the task. I shouldn't. I should be feeling battered, drained and nearly hopeless. But that is not my nature (despite what some may think). It is not in my nature to give up in the face of overwhelming forces, I prefer to think of it as a "target rich environment." Okay, that may be stretching it a bit, but the point is that no one will take care of these "Challenges" for me, I must do it on my own.
    Honestly, sometimes I think that I am at my best when I am battling adversity. Yeah, I may bitch and moan, I may even have hysterics and cry, but then I shake it off and get back to the business of My Life. I hold no one else responsible for my life, it is My Life to do with it what I will. Of course the chaos of the world around me sometimes affects my abilty to make rational choices, or do much more than sit in the corner dithering and drooling, but I can usually manage to see beyond the chaos and know what needs to be done.
    Some days, living My Life boils down to mere survival. Doing everything I can to make it from one day to the next emotionally, physically, financially. But even when I am in survival mode I have a vision of where I want to be, where I need to be with my Life. This vision has not altered much through the course of my life. It is not much different from the Dream-Life I had when I was 16, or even 12. I still want too may animals, some private land, maybe some forest, and a giant rumpus room with an indoor swing and trampoline. Granted, the Rumpus Room of the "mature" me would also include my workout gear, heavy bag, speed bag, and barre (ballet barre, not beverage bar.... in case you were wondering). I also wouldn't mind a climbing wall and obstacle course, though this could go outside if need be. Yes, I am currently in survival mode, I usually am, but I am also actively pursuing the Dream-Life. The Dream-Life that incompasses home, career and life in general. It is hard work. I get up early, spend the day doing everything I need to survive, then try to fit in a few hours of hard work towards the Dream-Life, and finally head to bed too late and very tired. Only to rise early and start all over again.
    I cannot be content to be unhappy with my circumstances. I work very diligently to maintain a positive outlook on life even when I am feeling battered and grubby. I know I have mentioned many times about feeling as though Life kicks me in the teeth, but I try to follow that with the fact that I pick myself up, dust myself off, bandage the road rash, and get back to the business of pursuing my Vision. I won't allow myself to accuse others for my shortcomings, though this is hard at times, times when I would rather shirk the blame instead of admitting that I am the only one responsible for Me. I accept my culpability for my situation, even when choices were made based on the actions of others, they were my decisions and I made them. This is not the time for blame games, self-recriminations, finger pointing, or martyrdom. It is a time for self-fulfilling prophesy, productivity, achievement, attainment. It is time to fight for the Vision, the Dream-Life. It is not, nor ever will be, time to roll over and give up. I will not let Challenges become Dead-Ends. I will, however, meet Challenges head on and turn them into opportunities and learning experiences. Target Rich Environment.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


    I am feeling adrift in a vast and lonesome sea. I have no oars, my tiller is damaged and dysfunctional, my anchor has broken loose, the hull is cracked and I am taking on water. The sea, grey and cold, tosses me about like so much flotsam. The wind hits in vicious gusts, suddenly, unexpectedly, randomly, without direction, hitting from any direction and then dying to dead calm. The sea foam seems more substantial than I am right now. The dark, chilled waters brighter and warmer than my spirit.
    As I drift, I have to cling to the hope that I will sight land, find a safe harbor. Even a tiny cove, or narrow strip of sand. Anything to let me get my feet back on solid ground, even if it is a strange and hostile land.
    I remind myself that at least my small ship is well-stocked with basic supplies. I will not starve, or die of thirst. By sustaining my body I will survive my ordeal at sea, until I can regain my footing, my sense of stability, find my stretch of land, my private beach, my desert island.
    Will I end up as Caruso? Alone on an island of my own making? With my dogs playing Friday to my Robinson? Will that be enough for even one as solitary as I am? I don't know. I can't say. At this point I can't even look beyond each individual wave as it hits the prow of my leaky craft. I scan the horizon hoping for a glimpse of anything but the endless sea.
    Loneliness engulfs me, but does not defeat me. Loneliness has been a long time companion and so does not frighten me, although it is an exhausting and not always welcome visitor. I know I have to realign my spirit, my sense of self, my view of this vast, empty ocean. Shift from Lonely to Alone. I am familiar and comfortable with being Alone. Alone is often my room mate, and is a welcome and comforting ship mate. I can be Alone, I cannot allow Lonely.
    My small boat, adrift and taking on water, may be battered and leaky but it is the only craft I have. So I will repair my tiller, bail the water that pools at my feet, dress the lines and patch my sails. I will manage to stay afloat until I find land. I will survive my lonely, cold, desperate voyage. I have no choice. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Personal Energy Conservation

    I am learning. Slowly but surely, I am learning. I try to force change, and it merely bounces back and kicks me in the teeth. I am trying to practice patience, the Zen of allowing change to happen, and steering myself through these changes, not forcing issues. But this really is not my nature. I want to MAKE things happen, and I know that in order to achieve success, attain goals, that there really is a certain amount of energy that must be expended to create change. And in order to make changes within my own life, changes that I control, there is a definite level of force that must be exerted. Steel will change with heat alone, but you need the hammer to make it take cohesive, functional, beautiful form.
    Where I find myself biting my tongue is when I want to force changes in my surroundings, changes that I really have no control over. The changes that must be made by other people. I cannot be responsible for others' actions and reactions, even when it affects me. Even when I have to feign happiness and enthusiasm in the face of my own disappointments as I see choices being made that force me to rethink my own plans, dreams and schemes. I have made a difficult decision today, to keep my thoughts and opinions to myself (tough for me, seriously), and try to sit back and see how events unfold. I know I could have some influence by letting my opinions out of their Pandora-like box, but I have decided I would rather see how the screw turns without my input. This is not easy for me, and I can't guarantee that I can hold on to this commitment for longer than a few days, but I shall try.
    Why not unleash my opinions on the unsuspecting public? Because I have. And to no avail. So why keep beating a dead horse? Instead I will continue to focus my energies on the few things that I do have control over, use my energy where it will actually reap some benefits, and stop burning energy and emotion where it just flows out into the ether. Wasteful, unproductive, unappreciated, inefficient use of energy. Today's code word is: Conservation.

Pixie Sticks

    Does anyone remember Pixie Sticks? Not Pixie Stix the powdered sugar/ascorbic acid candy, but the game played with brightly colored wooden skewers. I don't know if it is even available anymore, because the gods know that putting anything pointy in the hands of children will probably lead to tragic, untimely death. Okay, we did stab each other on ocassion, but not often. And never in the eye (usually just the knee or back of the hand... not vital areas). I do seem to remember that at some point the nicely jewel toned wooden skewers were replaced by garish plastic ones, which did not have the same visceral appeal, and did not perform nearly as well.
    My point being, as I slowly get around to it after prolonged reminiscing over my long lost childhood, is that the old fashioned game of Pixie Sticks seems an excellent analogy to my life. I do seem to find much correlation between my life and games these days. Is it because I think life is a game? Or there are rules to follow if you aren't a cheater? Or just that it seems no matter how long I play the game, I can't seem to manage a win? I'm not quite sure. Maybe I'm just thinking in weird symbolism due to chronic stress and sleep deprivation.
    Now, back to Pixie Sticks. The game (for those of you under 40 who have probably never heard of it) involves a handful of colored, smooth wooden skewers, pointed on both ends and about ten inches long. The Pixie Sticks are held a few inches above the smooth, level playing surface and dropped to make a scattered, entangled pile of Sticks. The object is to remove the Sticks, one at a time, without making any other Stick move. It is harder than you might think, and better for eye/hand coordination than any video game ever created. We used to play for hours, sprawled on the floor, wiling away rainy afternoons (this was long before video players, computers, a gazillion channels, "kids networks" etc... back when you made your own entertainment and were not entertained by electronic devices, multi-media players or non-stop texting with fifty of your Best Friends).
    Okay, back to Pixie Sticks as an analogy. As a kid, playing the game, it makes you see how interconnected everything is. How each Stick touches many other Sticks. Moving one risks moving another and losing your turn. Yes, at the beginning of the game there are a few Sticks that are off on their little lonesomes and can be taken with no risk. These are the Sticks quickly snatched by the first player, so if you aren't first nothing comes easy. But Sticks gained with no risk are not nearly as fun as extricating an entangled Stick with delicate precision. That is a victory. Pixie Sticks teach the obvious eye/hand coordination, but also patience, viewing the big picture, understanding cause and effect, knowing that for every action there is a reaction, and (here's the main point of this rambling soliloquy) that every move I make to disentangle myself from the pile may well lead to me losing my turn but that without the attempt I will definitely lose the game.
    So as long as I can keep from poking myself in the eye, I'm going to keep playing with my Pixie Sticks Life. Maybe one of these days I will have the most Sticks and win the game. But until then I will just keep enjoying the entanglements, challenge, building of skills, delicate extrication, and the pretty colors .

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Slipping Gears

    Another day of brain slipping gears (okay, more like weeks). I can't keep my mind on any one thing for any length of time. At all. As hard as I try to get involved in a project (of which I have too many) I am as A.D.D. as a squirrel. I take that back, even squirrels can manage to stay on track when gathering their winter stores. I can barely stay on track long enough to wash a handful of dishes.
    I know it is because I have too much going on in my life. Too many changes, too many dilemmas. The only thing that seems to be going smoothly is my art. For that I am truely thankful. When I paint I can submerge myself in the triumph of creation, soothing brush strokes, flowing lines. Maybe I am more productive when stressed, because I close myself off from the world, hide from other responsibilities, avoid decision making. When I am creating the rest of my mind can relax and let thoughts mature and come to fruition on their own, until I know the decisions will be closer to appropriate. There never is a guarantee that any decision or path will be the correct choice, but if I allow my mind to percolate on my problems I do find that the solution will eventually present itself. More or less.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Skewed Reality

    It is amazing how my life can suddenly take a 180 and leave me feeling adrift, scattered, alone and numb. And with this sudden, inexplicable skew in my reality comes the difficulty of reconfiguring my brain to match. I have felt that changes were in the air, I have been striving to make positive changes in my day to day existance as well as my long-term perspective. But this latest cataclysm actually blind-sided me with its destructive potential. No, it is not the end of the world, nor is it fatal or apocalyptic. But it has altered my life, lifestyle, perspective, potential, and path. Altered it irrepairably, irrevocably and irrationally. What was true yesterday morning when I awoke, is far from the truth today. As I rode to work, shivering in the cold, crisp morning air, it seemed as if the bright sun rose on a whole different me and mine.
    It is hard to get my mind around how my life will be affected in the next days, weeks, months. I have a solid feeling that by the new year there will be very little that is recognizeable about my life. And that is hard to grasp. But as yesterday proved, there is no gaurantee of any reality staying true to its course.
    If I were to hazard a guess or prediction I think it is safe to say that by the new year I will be living in a communal household, striving to become debt free, struggling to launch a business venture, submersing myself in my craft to the exclusion of all else, totally lacking a social life, definitely lacking a sex life, having flashbacks to my Thin Mint House days as I co-habitate a large old house with half a dozen 20-somethings and a band in the basement, regressing into my punk-rock mentality/personality, and trying hard to not become the crazy lady on the 2nd floor with too many animals in her solitary room. Like I said, suddenly skewed reality. It is a far cry from what I was imagining as recently as 36 hours ago... a far, far cry.
    But if there is one thing I learned yesterday, it doesn't take much to cause a reality shift. It does not take a cataclysmic event, a death-ray, a paradigm shift, a cosmic twist... all it takes is a chance statement, a reaction, a brief conversation that hits the dark, salient points. So I imagine it is quite possible that I may get blasted into yet another reality at any time, around any corner, and most likely it will hit me when I am thinking that my course is straight and true. That is the actual reality of my life, that there is nothing certain, nothing dependable, no path that leads straight and true.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Deck of Fifty-One

    Have you ever had the feeling that you're playing solitaire with a deck of 51? Yes, I know the old song, "counting flowers on the wall..." but that's not what I mean. It feels that no matter how many times I shuffle and deal the cards I have, I can't seem to get the game to play out. I get so close, and think I have won for sure, but then I am stymied by a few undisclosed cards. Granted, I am still enjoying the game, trying new hands, new strategies, new angles. I am not giving up despite my rather glum record. I guess it does come down to managing to enjoy the game whether I am winning or not.
    I have even tried different games, reshuffling and dealing time after time. But no matter the game I play, without that missing card I feel I will always come up a bit short. What I need is a whole new deck. One that is still sealed in shrink wrap and guaranteed fresh for my safety. A shiny new deck that is still crisp and waxy, not worn and faded. A complete deck, all the cards, even the jokers (because every game needs a few wild cards).
    I think the time has come for me to seek out this holy grail, fountain of youth, city of gold, Full Deck. Not that I haven't  been trying to find the missing card, that vital component that will let me win a game. I really just want to win one game. Is that asking too much? For as often as I shuffle and re-deal I wouldn't think that I am asking too much of  Lady Luck to grant me just one win. It's not like I'm playing for big stakes, or expecting a huge pay-off. I would just like the personal satisfaction of knowing that the concept of winning is not out of reach. I just need to find the missing card. Maybe it is in the sofa cushions with the loose change and remote.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Life is at it Again

    Aaargh. Why does Life have to fuck with mind and spirit? It seems that Life is not content to let me make a decision, work towards a specific goal, and achieve a sense of balance and accomplishment. How so? You may well wonder. Very recently, after too many disappointments to count, I managed to realign my priorities, set new goals, aim for fulfillment of a lifetime dream, started getting things rolling towards a new, balanced reality, and generally found a sense of peace within myself. How did Life manage to mess with this? I got a voicemail inviting me to interview for a job that until my recent realignment epiphany, was what I thought would be ideal. Now, I'm not so sure. As a matter of fact, I am hesitant to even return the call.
    Part of my realignment/peace realization was just how much freedom my current job allows me. I am unsupervised more than 50% of the time, and even when the boss is sitting ten feet away he lets me do my job mostly unmolested and at whatever pace I so choose. This is because he has never had anyone as reliable and diligent as I am, and I have worked up to this point over the course of five years. Yes, my job sucks on several levels. It is mind numbing and depressing at times, but then what job isn't? The job that isn't is me being able to spend my free time creating artistic pieces and actually marketing them to the public. That is the lifelong dream that I am inches away from making a reality.
    Do I pursue the altruistic job with a potential for higher pay, better benefits, and definitely higher stress and the potential for burnout? Or stay put, enjoy my freedoms and easy work, and quit whining about the emotional black-hole of a work environment I am in now? Will my current job even be around in 6 months? With the state of the economy and the sluggish industry, the company may close it's doors mid-winter. I hate having to revisit this quandry over and over.
    My immediate reaction is to stay on the path I have only recently discovered. Stay true to my dream of  making a living (at least a supplemental income) with beautiful things created by my own mind and hands, and let go of my ambitions for a higher paying, government job. I have to ask myself, can I even be a government drone? Can I go down that path knowing the resstrictions that would be placed on me? I don't know if I can do it. I don't know if I should do it.
    I guess I will call back, get set up for the first appointment, that will give me several days to really think about it. I can always call back and say I can't get the time off. But my heart is telling me that I should follow my dream.

Monday, August 15, 2011


    Life is unpredictable, shifting, chaotic, stressful, exciting and ever-changing. I constantly slip down new pathways to alternate realities, willingly and willfully. I can't seem to find the straight, reliable road to a pre-ordained destiny, but doubt I would tread it even if I were to find it. As much as I like a structured life, and say I don't like change, the reality is that I seek out change, force it upon myself, chase it down, and crave it like a drug. Change makes life exciting, exhilarating, inspiring and invigorating. Lack of change is stale, dessicating, cloying, annoying, boring, insipid, and mind-numbing. Change is terrifying, but the lack of it is even more so. Change forces us to confront our weaknesses and overcome them. The staleness of no change makes us weak. To seek change requires courage and boldness (whether real, forced or faked). To avoid change only requires the simple act of doing nothing, inertia, laziness, submitting to fear, committing to lassitude.
    I have been pursuing change. Trying to change most aspects of my life; job, house, status. All with very little end result. I have concluded that I am trying to force changes in areas that I have very little real control, such as changing jobs. This wouldn't have been an issue a few years ago, but now the jobs are few and far between and competition is beyond fierce. I am not shying away from the job market because I fear change, or because I feel defeated and unworthy (although I will admit that the constant rejections gave my ego a real beating). The reality is that I would most likely be trading one set of stressors for another, drop in pay for a while, lose benefits during the transition, and most likely lose a lot of the freedoms I have gained in my current job. In other words, "same shit, different office." So instead of burning energies and beating my head against the brick wall of a floundering economy, I will redirect those energies into my life-long dream/desire/pursuit of making money through my various artisan skills. I am an excellent craftsman and have been producing beautiful pieces for quite some time. I just haven't made any money at it. I have pondered so many potential ways to actually make my art pay, but have been unable to find the path that leads to a real potential income. Now comes the really hard part; making it a dream come true. 
    I have decided to try and combine my love of ancient art, my knowledge of differing styles, my hedgewitch nature, my enjoyment of working in different mediums, and my desire to create original pieces that step outside the lines. My mind is racing with ideas, plans, shopping trips for materials, researching outlets. I will have to make myself follow through; make the items then actually put a price tag on them and get them out into the real world.
    This is where I usually fail, I am not a good self-promoter, but I will learn. I will learn, and I will make myself change. I will step off that ledge and slip into the unknown. I have found an area of my life that is in my control, that I can change, a change that will be totally up to me. Chances are, this will lead to other changes, some terror, more exhilaration, boldness, greater creativity, panic, chaos, accomplishment. It has potential for pain and joy, failure or success. I am not unfamiliar with the risks, having faced them many times before. But I will face them with tenacity, stubborness and bravery (real, forced or faked), because without change I am nothing, I am the same person I was 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago, and that would mean I have wasted my life. To live a  life without change, growth, challenges met, mountains climbed, is to live without Living. I can't do that, it is not my nature. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Soul Searching

    I am having a day of doubt, impatience, and frustration. It is causing a chaos of inertia and wild energy. The need to act dampered by a sense of futility. A driving desire to move forward hampered by no where to go. I keep veering onto different paths, hoping to find the one that will lead me to my heart's desire. But now I am having doubts of what I really desire. No, that isn't quite right. I know my heart's desire. What I am doubting is the paths I am trodding in search of that ideal job/occupation/career that will finance my heart's desire and still feed my soul. The age old, "what do I want to be when I grow up" dilemma.
    I know what I want to be, my heart's desire. I laughingly refer to it as "Hermit In The Woods," my way of labeling my dream of having a small, rustic (not too rustic mind you, I like running water, electricity and internet access) home on the edge of a small patch of farmable land, with a cool, serene forest at my back. No neighbors in sight. Just me, my animals, and solitude. The freedom to grow a garden, have a few chickens, maybe a cow. A small home with a large, airy, bright studio to create works of art and to write my fiction. I don't set my sights on creating great works of art, or the next great American novel, just the freedom to spend my days creating what I want, how I want it, when I want to do it. The freedom that feels shackled by my current situation.
    So where does Soul Searching come into this? Because it is more than obvious to me and anyone who cares to ask, that I do know what I would love to do "when I grow up" but I know that it won't make me any money either. At least not enough to provide even the most basic of essentials. And it definitely would not give me insurance benefits. The Searching is pointed at the reality of the workaday world. I must have money to survive, living in freedom would have very little to recommend it if it came with zero dollars, no home, no food. I have been searching for an altruistic career, a job with a sense of accomplishment, the ability to "make a difference." My current job barely covers my cost of living, but the hours are easy as is the job itself. It does give me enough mental down-time to ponder my next project, but it is also a soul-sucking drain of emotional energy that makes me want to pound my face on my desk. The jobs I have been applying for would have better pay, better benefits, actual PTO accrued on a regular basis, the potential for regular pay raises, but they would also have random hours, sporadic schedules, and require all my brain functions to be on the job at all times... no more daydreaming, no planning next project.
    Where does this leave me? I am not sure. Am I wavering because I have been faced with rejection so many times on the job front? Am I trying to justify throwing in the towel and continuing as a malcontented office drone? Or am I realizing that the advantage of the easy job and easy hours is that despite the stress and emotional black hole that I work in, it does give me a lot of free time, and I really don't take work home with me. Am I looking for fulfillment in the wrong place? Can work be just work? Just a paycheck to support my arts? Can I allow myself to give up on the dream of a "fulfilling" workaday career and focus my energies  on my fulfilling, yet not-for-profit arts? I am not one to give up on A Plan, and I have had serious concerns that my current employment could go down the drain with the economy, but couldn't that be said of almost any job with any organization at this point?
    My life seems a jumble of mixed emotions, crossed signals, and confusion in nearly every aspect. The only thing I feel certain of is that my dogs love me. Everything else is totally up for grabs. I will continue with the Soul Searching, trying to keep moving forward, even if I don't know where I'm going. I sure as hell have no idea where I will end up.

More on the Haves and Have-Nots

    Driving to work this morning in my beat-up P.O.S. van with the glaring "check engine" light staring me in the face, I pull up alonside a new Cadillac Escalade. My first reaction is envy at the pristine white pearl paint,  glistening chrome, vanity plates. Beside it my van looks just that much older and shabbier. I look over at the driver and my envy diminishes: soft, pudgy hands with immaculate French manicure; glittering diamond charm bracelet dangling from a plump yet delicate wrist; hair bleached blonde to within an inch of its life; make-up too thick and still unable to diguise the wrinkles, eye pouches, chronically down-turned pout, and unhealthy pallor from years of a decadent lifestyle. Yes, these are just my biased observations and there is no foundation or fact to back my opinion of her general health and happiness. But after the first visceral reaction of envy, the realization that her Escalade probably did very little for her happiness and/or self esteem, and the fact that I knew at a glance that I could easily take her best 4 out of 5 falls, my envy disapated to be replaced by a glimmer of superiority.
    A little further up the road I see a man walking on the shoulder of the road. He is at the city limits, walking in towards town. He is grey haired, scruffy, wearing slightly grubby and tattered clothes, and I have a feeling that he probably sleeps under the bridge that is a mere hundred yards behind him. I think of the pampered woman in her white-pearl Escalade, and this fella probably heading to the store to spend a buck or two on something warm to fill his belly, and the thought strikes me that I would be more likely to enter into a conversation with the man in the tattered pants.
    Apparently, I am a bigot. I am heavily biased against the Haves. I make the assumption that they most likely came about their money either through dubious business dealings, taking advantage of the little guy, and dicking the IRS on taxes, or they came about it through family money (most likely also earned through dubious dealings). It is hard for me to believe that anyone has made even a small fortune through honest, hard work. I know, many will argue me on this point, and I also know that there are people out there who have made their money in an honest endeavor. But you will never get me to believe that the majority of people out there in the million-dollar-club got there by the sweat of their brow, or clever use of brain power. So, you see I am a bigot. I make assumptions about a person's character based on their external trappings. This is a bias and bigotry that I am actually okay with, and have no plans to educate myself in the ills of my ways, or seek out the wealthy in order to have them sway my opinion (as if they would want to hang out with me anyway). I will remain staunch in my prejudice of the Haves, from the lowly viewpoint of a Have-Not.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's Not Me, It's You

    It's not Me, it's You. Seriously. I was struck with this epiphany as I was out walking, berating myself for not meeting others' expectations, feeling inadequate, disappointing, and depressed. Then I realized that all these feelings are being generated from external forces, not from within. I feel battered by so many outside influences, so many people with expectations of how I should act, what I need to be doing to "succeed," how my feelings aren't appropriate, how much I have changed over time. And this doesn't even bring in the battering I am taking from the economy, job situation, housing. But I realized with near blinding clarity that really, It's Not Me, It's You.
    How do I mean? There is no shame in being upset by failure. Even repeated failures that gnaw at my self-esteem like a hungry rat. There would be shame if I didn't learn from each failure, pick myself up and try again. I cannot expect to be eternally cheerful during these trying times, but I can find ways to bolster my own sense of self. That is a key word; "Self." Self is Me, it is Who I Am. Self is how I act and react, how I cope, how I perceive myself... My Self... not someone else's Self, but My Self. I am Me, like it or leave it.
    Who am I? I am stubborn, self-reliant, optimistic, creative, solitary, calm, mercurial, manic, depressive, messy, neurotic, strong, fragile, athletic, tomboyish, empathic, empathetic, callous, carefree, careworn,  caregiver, reckless, cautious, searching, finding, exploring, experimenting, honest, guarded, secretive, open, shielded, protective, protector. I am calculating, but willing to leap before I look. I plan and scheme, but am no stranger to U-turns in life. I shield myself, protect myself from injury, but am injured often. My shield often appears as anger, hostility, pride, sarcasm, unconcern, stubborness. Which are all ways of saying, "I can't care about what you think, feel, do, and can't let it affect me."
    Where does this epiphany lead me with it's blinding light? To the knowledge and understanding that although I may change over time, mature, learn, grow, adjust... I cannot change who I am, how I act and react. And I don't have to. I have a strong sense of Self, I know who I am, what I am, what I want, and shouldn't have to feel wrong because this doesn't jive with what others think of me, what others expect. This Is My Self and I will do with it what I want. Like I said, It's Not Me, It's You.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Short Circuit, Cataclysm and Purge

    I am beginning to wonder if I am short-circuiting on all levels. It seems that lately when I make a smart-ass, cynical comment I am taken seriously and then get shoveled a huge mass of philosophical psychobabble. On the other end of the spectrum, I make a serious statement and am treated as though I must be joking (or maybe I am the butt of the joke? the punchline?) or insane. I am not quite sure what is going on, but I guess it does seem to fall into place with the chaotic, topsy-turvey unreality of all other aspects of my life. Why should my opinions and conversations not be included into the absurd confusion of the rest of my life.
    Maybe it is another sign that Life As I Know It is coming to end? No, I don't mean my life (I feel I had better quickly clarify before that too, is misconstrued and I have a suicide crisis center calling me), just Life As I Know It. Let me explain, before misunderstandings run rampant and I am being analyzed, philosophized and ostracized; I feel that I am heading for a cataclysmic change, an event or chain of events that will turn my life upside-down, shake me like a rag doll, and drop me in a manky heap in a stark, new reality, a new Life. Much of what I know as my Life, the day to day living, the trappings of my personal reality, seem to be crumbling around me, deflating, eroding, collapsing, as insubstantial as a zephyr.
    I will say, I was reminded today of a quote by Henry Beston, "It is only when we are aware of the Earth and of the Earth as Poetry that we truly Live." It is from his book, "Herbs and the Earth" which he wrote in the early 1930's. I used to have that quote painted on the wall of my kitchen, a lifetime ago, and I looked upon it every day and knew the truth of it then. It spoke to my inner Hedgewitch, spoke of truth and dream, past and future, reality and fantasy.  I think maybe I have lost my way a bit since then, but beneath it all I still dream of having my own little patch of earth, my own Herbs and the Earth, my own inspirational garden to harvest the gifts of Gaia. I have been trying to reach the point of having my little piece of the world, a piece of heaven on earth, but feel continually thwarted by the aforementioned short-circuiting.
    Maybe I do need the cataclysm, the massive event, the epic failure of Life As I Know It in order to begin from zero, to rebuild on a clean, flat surface instead of the debris pile of previous incarnations. But that is beyond frightening, it is panic-inducing. I know that it isn't like the movies, or gentle tales of redemption. Instead it would be a vomit inducing agony. Pain tantamount to giving birth to a 50lb baby with no medical assistance. A gut-wrenching, gruesomly glorious purge. I don't know if I can willingly inflict such anguish upon myself. I see that future and feel my pulse accelerate, my blood pressure crescendo, my brain throb with the tempo of panic. And then I breathe. In with the good, out with the bad. And I think. And I know deep within every muscle fiber that the end results would be worth every shed tear and every drop of sweat. But it is stepping off that edge, into an abyss with no visible bottom, no way of knowing how long and how far I must fall before hitting the bottom. Or how much damage I will sustain on impact. How much must I pay in suffering to earn my dream? I will never know if I'm not willing to test my mettle. No one else will do it for me. No one will hand me my dream. It is a lone pilgrimage to prove my worth, and worthiness.
    Nothing truly worth having comes easily or cheaply.      

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Einstein, Rainbows, Hurricanes and Sanity

    Is it wrong to be focused on life and survival, sometimes to the exclusion of play? I feel like I am the only one reading the news, absorbing the information (incomplete though it may be) and taking it seriously. The rest of the world complains about the issues, gripes about inflation and unemployment, but they are continuing on in their same day to day routine, as if by ignoring the pending apocalypse it will just pass them by. Einstein said it best, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results." Maybe that is not true insanity, but it is the insanity that infects the majority of the population. Where does that leave me though? I keep trying different things, and still end up with the same result every time; Failure. My consolation in this is that many of the world's most successful people have long track records of dismal failures, followed by another attempt, failure, attempt, etcetera, until they finally succeed. Granted there are more people in the world who just continue on with failure after failure, with no rainbow at the end of their road, people destined to vanish into obscurity and poverty. I'm hoping to someday reach the rainbow.
    Sometimes I think that my problem may be that I give up too easily, possibly out of fear of success and the responsibilities that go along with it. I have expended vast quantities of energy chasing dreams, only to finally stop as the dream disappears over the horizon. Is this giving up? Or cutting my losses? I like to think that I am relatively intelligent when I see diminishing returns, intelligent enough to let go of the emotional attachment to the dream, and find a new path. Too often I see people clinging to an ideal, idea, plan, business, project, clinging to the point that they are hemorrhaging money, energy, emotion and spirit. This is the aforementioned "definition of insanity." Slogging along, head down, ignoring the ruins of their dream raining down on them, thinking they are putting one foot in front of the other, but in reality they are slowly sliding down the slope towards the precipice. I see it at work every single day, it has the emotional drain of hospice care without the spiritual satisfaction of knowing I am making a difference in someone's life.
    The current dream is simply the survival of my family, and maybe finally obtaining a small piece of the American Dream. Yes, I really want the small family farm. I am willing to do whatever it takes, give whatever I have, sacrifice nearly anything, in order to have the security of farmable land and a livable house for me and mine. I see the looming apocalypse, lurking just over the horizon, like a tropical storm hanging off the coast while it builds power and speed. Will it hit? Or will it peter out to merely a heavy rain? There is no way of knowing until it is too late to run. I would rather prepare for a full blown hurricane and feel a little foolish later, than to look at the dregs of my life and the loss of my family and bemoan my inaction. This is a dream to pursue with a passion. A plan that needs to be forced into a reality. I need to stay the path, not give up, no matter what roadblocks or negativity gets thrown up in my way. Other's can look at me and this scheme and think I am obsessing, over-reacting, neglecting other aspects of my life, but I have to remain strong and sure-footed in this one endeavor. I have to ignore criticisms that I am too serious, losing my ability for fun and play, refusing to escape into fantasy. Painful as such criticism is, because there is more than a grain of truth in it, sometimes we must put aside frivolities in order to put all energies into reality.
    This is a path that needs traveling to the very end. For once. For once I need to not give up, regardless of what other's say and think. Not let outside influences make me stumble. Because sometimes I think I switch paths too quickly. Jumping from plan to plan, scheme to scheme, without giving anything the time to mature and bear fruit. Expending just enough energy to feel tired, never enough energy to succeed. Do I? I don't know, I really don't know. I don't like to think so. I prefer to think that I am avoiding insanity.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Rising Tide

    I can feel it approaching, gradually, but as inevitable as a rising tide. I feel it touching the corner of my mind as sea water laps at toes. It slides in closely, but not quite touching, then slips away leaving me safe and dry for the moment. But then it is back, and closer. Soon I know it will touch, then deepen and threaten to engulf me. But it is not the tide. It is not something I can simply back away from as I would the seafoam on the beach. It is dark and grim, lurking just under the surface, waiting for a vulnerable moment to swoop in and latch on.
    Curiously, I don't fear the next bout of depression. There was a time when I would crumble before the mere thought of the encroaching gloom. That time is past, mostly. Now I try to prepare, as I would prepare for any of Mother Nature's inevitable calamaties. Prepping my mind and body as I would prep my house for a hurricane. Bring in supplies; food, water, first aid, emergency lighting, extra ammo. Batten down the hatches, board up the windows. Put on the facade of well-being, as you might put security signs up to prevent looters. Cocoon myself in the safety of my home, surround myself with my animals and projects, and just wait it out. There is nothing else to do, you can't fight Nature, you can't fight the rising tide.
    I will admit, my main concern is for friends and family. Just as it would be in the face of a natural disaster. Are they prepared and able to cope with the coming storm? I wish I could go to their homes and get their preparations in order so that they too have no need to be concerned over the inevitable. Are they ready to deal with downed lines of communication? Ready to cope with my isolation? I doubt it. I sincerely doubt it. If you have never survived a hurricane, how can you really know what it takes to live through it? You will surely underestimate the power behind the onslaught.
    I am ready for the storm, ready for rising tides. I hope. As long as it doesn't exceed predicted power, and will hopefully be only a mild summer storm instead of a winter storm of epic proportions that will lash the beaches until the sand is gone and the trees are torn out by their roots. Deep breath.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

if it walks like a duck...

    I'm going to call a spade a spade: I am an antisocial malcontent. This may come as a shock to some. Friends and family that see me as a gregarious, helpful optimist would be disinclined to see me for what I really am. Antisocial Malcontent. I do like the way it rolls off the tongue. I like the power behind the words. I accept the truth behind the words.
    I know I will have to defend my self-diagnosis against naysayers and non-believers. Just a few of the more obvious symptoms of the antisocial aspect include: avoidance of social situations unless absolutely essential; phone phobia; a compulsive desire to never leave my home; prefering my dogs' company to that of humans; a slew of excuses to to miss parties; panic at the thought of having to enter a group; a perverse desire to always buck the system; intentional isolation; and declining offers to "join".
    And malcontent? I have discovered that I am rarely ever content. I feel as if I constantly compromise my hopes and dreams and "settle" for something less. Or that by choosing one path I must sacrifice something else. To make a career change to a fulfilling job I will likely lose access to my sport and hobby. Too many rejections in my chosen career have made me switch to seeking lesser desired, lower paying positions. I love my solitude, but cannot afford to live alone. And so in creeps the malcontent. I know that even if my current irons in the fire produce results, the success will be bitter-sweet. Is it wrong to want it all? Career, money, success, play, love, privacy, fulfillment. Apparently it is too much to ask. I think I will be lucky to get 2 out of 6. And this makes me bitter.
    So you see, Antisocial Malcontent. And this is really just scratching the surface. I am okay with the truth of my self-diagnosis, but will not resist if life finally decides that I am allowed to have it all, not just a few scraps.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

To Have, or Have Not

    I am seeing more and more the gap between the Haves and the Have-Nots. Unfortunately, I fall into the second category. Merely driving to and from work I see the descrepencies: new Beemers and Mercedes seem abundant as do beat-up POS vehicles like my grubby, rattling, brake-squealing, shimmying van. More houses are sitting vacant, and yet McMansions continue to be built and inhabited. Mansions bought and sold, people living on the streets. 5 Star dining, dumpster diving. Louboutin shoes with sexy red soles, worn out sneakers with holes in their soles. The gap widens. The old adage proves true: "The Rich get Richer, the Poor get Poorer." I am frightened for Oregon, America, The World, and Myself. I can't help but dwell on the depression erroneously called a recession. Dwell on the continual grim economic news that seems to get grimmer by the day. I am frightened. Fear wears me out and makes me angry.
    Within my own small corner of the world I watch in dismay as prices on my staples rise higher and higher. I will stand and ponder a pound of cheese for a full 5 minutes, trying to decide if it fits within my budget. At the thriftstore I find a great pair of shoes for $8 but I can only afford them today because they are half off. $4 is in the budget, $8 is not. I am angry that my life continues to constrict around me like a hungry Burmese Python eager to convert me to a tidy, dry oblong of snake poo. I have reached the point where the success of others makes me bitter and hostile, not really my normal state... but these are not normal times. Acquaintences crow over acceptance into a Master's program, or mortgage approval, or new sexy shoes, and all I can feel is the cold ash of envy. My life does not allow for college, a home of my own or sexy shoes (okay, on that score, a new pair of Doc Martin's please). This is partly due to the struggle of a single income household in a depressed economy with inflation taking it's pound of flesh, and partly due to my ever shrinking paycheck as wages and hours are whittled away. Making less money when the cost of living is soaring is not good fiscal sense.
    I know that all I can do is keep trying to make small steps forward, one step at a time. But the chronic state of Have-Not is wearing down my reserves. I try to retain pride in my naturally frugal way of life, I despise conspicuous consumption and waste, but I would like to at least have enough... not too much, but enough. Enough of what? Anything. Anything other then Self Pity, I have plenty of that these days.
    I know, I know, I need to remember to be thankful for what I do have. And I am. Every day I think of my healthy kids, my own health, a roof over my head, a landlord that doesn't bother me, my solitude, my creative skills, and I am thankful. I know it could be worse. There is so much suffering out in the world that I am somewhat sheltered from. I am thankful, truely. But I could really use a break.
    Last night, as my head hit the pillow I did make a vow to myself, to continue bucking the trend, to once again lift myself above the quagmire of financial doom and make every effort to find peace in my life. For now I have decided that I can continue with the Starving Artist asthetic. I will retreat to my little house, clean up the dregs of weeks of ennui, brush cobwebs from corners and from my mind, vaccuum, polish, hang new art, put up the twinkling Skeleton Lights and Scary Eyeball Lights, maybe buy a new houseplant, redecorate the Turtle's domicile, sweep pet hair out from under the couch, reorganize paints and fabrics, and generally try to get back to the business of being a creative, eccentric artist. So I say, "Money be damned! I don't need your fucking Capitalist Pig money! I am a Free Spirit, a Muse, an Artist and Writer and your Earthly Possessions, Titles and Accolades are nothing but corporeal baggage. I have Myself, I need nothing else."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Asylum Attendant or Inmate? The Jury is Still Out.

    I am beginning to think that I have slipped into an alternate reality. Both personal and professional aspects of my life have suddenly become paths pitted with potholes of inappropriate responses to the most casual of comments. Gone is my mundane job sitting at my desk, answering phones, purchasing, receiving, customer service. My job in this alternate reality is that of an attendant in a psych ward, or possibly just the least insane of the inmates. Am I therapist or patient? The line has blurred. It is possible that I have been lab-ratted into an experiment designed to test my patience, adaptability and coping skills. Testing me. Testing my mettle. Pushing buttons. Pulling strings. Seeing how far I can be strained before I snap or capitulate.
    Today has felt like mid-term exams. Just how crazy can the surroundings become and still allow my brain and psyche to function at some level of normalcy? It has been repeatedly shown to me today (as with most days, but today is an extreme) that even the most banal statement can cause a concussion of deranged responses, leading further down the path of lunacy, deeper into the rabbit hole. I mention an amusing anecdote and it rapidly erodes into a discussion of corporal punishment. I don't want to know how it degraded to that point, or how it happened with such speed and ease, but it did. And this has seemed to be the case in so many situations. The random discussion (not started by me and in which I was a reluctant sounding board) about child pornography, teenagers sexting, who is the criminal (he says the girl who starts it), and how it shouldn't be a crime to receive unwanted and unasked for porn. Why do I want to hear this? Why am I being told? Is there a deeper reasoning? An unsolicited confession/defense? I don't want to know, and don't want to play any more.
    Everywhere I turn, I am being bombarded by bizarre statements, announcements, accusations and declarations. I am the lab rat, surrealism the test drug, my life the maze. But I say "Game Over, man. Game OVER!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stress, Breakdowns and Emotional Callouses

    Working late on an over-grandious project last night, back muscle crying, scalp peeling away from my skull with tension, hands cramping from over-use, and eyeballs dessicated and burning, I was struck with the overwhelming realization that there is no aspect of my life that doesn't cause me stress. Work, I will barely mention, is an ongoing stress-fest. But even outside of work it seems the best I can achieve is a balancing act; stress in, stress out. Maybe that is all I can ever hope for? That for all the stress loaded upon my shoulders, I have to hope that I can manage an equal reduction of stress?
    I will say, my animals offer an equal balance. For all the garbage raids, squabbles, damaged furniture, barking at the neighbor, 3am pesterings, and random escapes there is the counterbalance of unconditional love, near psychic understanding of my bleak moods, and sheer comic relief.
    My art is another near-equal balance. I love the creative flow, studying, designing, scheming, planning, colors, words, lines, and esthetics but find myself stressed and burdened by time frames, self-expectations, ocd perfectionism, too much to do and too little time.
    But both my animals and my art are essential aspects of who I am. They are the reason I chose to struggle through the depths of bleakness instead of numbing myself with chemicals, so as to be able to feel the elation, life and love that streams through me through my companions and my creativity. I would rather live in a world of rollercoaster emotions, than to plod through scenery painted in shades of grey.
    Stress, though it causes me countless sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, inexplicable cravings for chocolate and carbs, anger, frustration and uncountable aches and pains, it is still a driving force behind so much that I do. I plan ahead for ways to release my daily pent up stress that follows me home from work like an annoying insect. I walk the dogs, lift weights, beat on a heavy bag, yoga, dance, music, writing, and on rare ocassions I clean like a freak. Stress, though it makes me unhappy is still a part of what makes me who I am, just as my animals and art define me, so does my stress. Though stress will make me breakdown under the weight, it makes me come back stronger. Mentally, emotionally and physically stronger. I am building callouses on my mind and soul to help deflect the needling anguish that pecks away at my psyche with the tenacity of a termite. With each meltdown comes a rebuilding. Each rebuilding using modified blueprints, earthquake resistant tie-downs, tsunami worthy fasteners, and an ever deeper, sturdier foundation.
    The day will come when external stress no longer has the ability to wreak havoc. It will become as insignificant as ripples in a puddle, lapping at my toes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Invisible Woman

"I must be invisible, no one knows me. I have crawled down dead end streets, on my hands and knees." Eric Clapton, guitar god. For a decade now this has been a theme song of mine. Yes, my life is filled with theme songs, playing in my head, accompanying my existance. Different songs for different moods. Songs that fit a mood, songs to pull me out of a mood. This song has played as a background to my life for a solid ten years. I don't view it as a negative, or depressing song, merely a song that expresses how I feel I fit in with society and the people around me. Some may say this is not a very optimistic approach to life, I don't agree. I think it is a realist view of my wish to find the Island of Misfit Toys, an escape from a social network that is more entrapping and confining than social (think of the word "social network" I see NET, a trap, a snare... in the words of colonol Akbar "IT'S A TRAP!").
Back to theme songs and invisibility. I have found that songs can either accompany my mood, or elevate it. I usually use music to elevate my mood, relieve stress, dance away the day's frustrations and boost my endorphins. Some days I just want a song that reflects my feelings, on these days it is often Lonely Stranger by the aforementioned Guitar God, it is a song that most often is a true reflection of the inner me. This brings back the Invisibilty aspect. I often feel that I am looked through or past by so many who say they know me. Are they afraid to truely look at me? To see me for who I am? To acknowledge my existance? Why am I overlooked? I have no idea. But maybe this is why I root for the underdog, literally. Why I prefer dogs that are homely mongrels passed by, overlooked and ignored by people hoping for perfection, beauty and regal lineage? I love the dogs with thinning hair, scaly skin, funky smell and character out the wazoo. They are Ugly Duckling to Swan. Sow's Ear to Silk Purse. Diamond in the Rough. They are the outcasts, the neglected, forgotten, abandoned, abused. They are my Tribe, my Pack, my Family. It is why I willingly spend so much time at home, alone except for the companionship of my beloved, dutiful, loyal dogs because they see me. They see me from the moment the sun lights the room enough to wake them, they dance with joy when they see I am finally awake. They watch, sadly, as I leave for work, watching through the window until I am out of sight (okay, maybe they do that so they can get into mischief as soon as they know I am truely gone). But the first thing I see when I pull into my driveway after a day of dealing with the annoying, indecisive, vapid sheeple is a furry face alert to my approach. My dogs see me, and know me, as no human will ever even attempt.
So, although I may remain invisible to the majority of those who profess to be my friends and aquaintences, I know that I am seen with adoring eyes. Eyes that are adept at seeing into men's souls and judging the good or evil they see there. Eyes that see me, love me, and know me for who I am. And even seeing me as myself, love me unconditionally, without restraint, and never judging. My Tribe. The Clan of The Invisibles.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Rollercoaster

    The Rollercoaster of a manic-depressive personality can be a wild and sometimes awesome ride. But more often it is terrifying, grim and bleak. This year has been the ride of all rides, with a lot more underground tunnels in the track than cloud kissing heights. I don't know if it is a combination of chemicals and hormone imbalance this year that is fueling the ride, or just all of the external factors that keep pressing me down with G forces equal to the bone crushing weight of a high grav planet. Or both. Or neither.
    This is the first time in a decade that I have seriously considered going back on medication, but my naturopathic personality rebels against the thought of adding chemicals to my already out of whack system, I will say, the drowse of Prozac would be a welcome shelter these days. But I keep hoping the dark times have left for Spring. I don't know why I should think that, they didn't leave last year with the return of the sun, and this winter was far more traumatizing than last year.
    I do get tired of crying. But at least that has lessened from several times daily to once every few days. Though this week has brought them back to the surface where they lurk just waiting for the next little nudge from the world that seems so hell-bent on my personal misery. This week has seen the return of cocooning in my bed with a book to shut out the world in an attempt to regain balance, however tenuous.
    I am keeping up with my workouts and healthy eating, which I know helps and lessens any self-flagellation I might be inclined to commit upon my delicate self.
    I know this is cyclical. And there have been a few of those track elevations, though maybe not exactly cloud-kissing and ethereal, but at least high enough for a panoramic view. I have to cling to the memories of those panoramas, hold them tight in my mind as I enter a tunnel long enough that no light is visible from the exit. I cling to images of the light to shield my fragile brain from the terrors of the dark.
    There is light. I know there is, because I have seen it with my own two eyes and felt the warmth of the sun on my skin. Memories can be deceptive. But when the memory is all I have, I have to believe in it.