Friday, August 31, 2012

Corresponding Pieces

    Nights spent thinking of corresponding pieces of a puzzle. Complimentary forms. Entwined. Warm. Calming. A sanctuary. A place of Peace for my restless spirit. Ease of familiarity. Familiarity at the first encounter. Unexpected pleasure. The memory keeps me awake, and yet lulls me to somnolence. In the dark I reach out, wishing to find the warmth. But not tonight. It will not always be so, it is just for the moment. A brief moment in the overall scheme of life. A flash of time to the Earth herself. But an eternity to me.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


    I do worry that at times I may sound preachy, holier-than-thou, smug. I do not mean to. I write more for myself, to record my thoughts, emotions, ups and downs, trials, victories, failures, triumphs. To pull fleeting thoughts from Brain and commit them to permanent record. I write so I have a solid reminder of the good, the bright, the uplifting during dark days that are as inevitable as Oregon rain. I document my trials, my struggles, and my means of dealing with my demons. I write so I can find solutions to current crises in past actions.
    I also write with the thought that my own struggles and victories may help others see that they are not alone in their lunacy. Help to show that there are ways to crawl back up from the abyss, fight through the road blocks that life throws in front of us, turn failures into platforms for epic change and growth. I flay open my psyche for personal understanding, and to share what meager fragments of truth I find there.
    I also hope that, in some small way, I may show that small changes to self and our small sphere of the world can  lead to great changes, understanding, compassion, love of self and love of others. And this is where I fret that I may sound like I have stepped upon the dais, podium, pulpit, soapbox, when I want to share my beliefs that we all have the power to change our world for the better. In all the infinitesimal gestures and acts. Kindness, caring, concern, giving of self. Small things that take very little time. The tiny pebble tossed into the still pond that sends ripples across the water. Maybe it is because I have been in the abyss. Maybe it is my ongoing bouts with my own Demons. Maybe it is the embracing of my own mania, melancholy, chaos, flaws, that makes me want to reach out and touch the world, leave a bit of myself, pass on what I have learned in the hopes of helping even one kindred soul. Acceptance of Perfection in Imperfection. Acceptance of Self. Love of Self.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Every Drop of Rain

    Have I mentioned that I love my life? I think it may have come up a time or two. These days I feel like I hit the ground running every morning at 6:15am and do not slow down until I collapse onto my bed at 11pm. There are never enough hours in the day, and no matter how fast I go, there are still things left undone at the end of the day. But you know what? I love it this way. There is never a moment to be bored. Never a moment to feel as if I am not accomplishing anything. No time to feel as if I am wasting my life.
    Today is Firefighter Wednesday. My tag for my wednesday training days. Last week was the epic experience of gearing up and riding in a firetruck, today will be more of the same. Last week as I stood in an open field talking with my new "family", watching the trucks rolling, practicing maneuvers, I had a feeling of having arrived home. I felt as if I belonged with this group. As is my nature to Never Do Anything By Halves, and with the encouraging words of these devoted volunteers, I began formulating the idea that I would really like to take this as far as I can. I will take every course offered, take every advantage to train, become skilled in saving lives and property. It is an adventure that will have an exponentially huge payback for me. I have enjoyed my previous volunteer activities, whether it is fostering homeless dogs or donating blood, it gives a great sense of satisfaction to be able to do what little I can to improve the world around me. Firefighting is, in my humble opinion, a heroic endeavor. Firefighters put their lives on the line for strangers. This is not why I joined, being a "hero" is not on my lifetime To-Do List. I joined so that I can give back to my community, make my corner of the world just a little bit better. If each of us took a few hours out of our busy week to make small improvements in the world around us, then the world would truly become a Better Place. Yes, there are giants to be slain, but there are also seeds of kindness to be planted. And which has the potential for greater results? I believe in the seeds of kindness. The helping hand, the warmth of a smile, a loving gesture. I believe in protecting the helpless, the sanctity of life, the power of love. Yes, I am an Idealist. But I am also a pragmatist, I understand the reality around me. I see the ramifications of carelessness, anger, hatred, sloth, and the devastation caused by those who simply turn their back and ignore those in need.
    I feel it is time for the good people to step it up a notch. Yes, there are those who are driven to fight the good fight, be in the trenches devoting their lives to worthy causes. But the pragmatist in me knows that this is an impossible expectation for most of us. But if we devote our lives to being Good and Kind, helping when we can, taking a few hours now and then to lend a hand, be kind to a stranger, mentor a child, take in a stray, put a few cans of soup in the donation bin, buy local, help within your own neighborhood or community. The little acts, the tiny seeds of kindness, are as individual drops of rain, which can truly become a flood if there are enough of them. We need to be a drop of rain, a light shower. We do not need to be the flood all on our own. But little by little, every drop counting, we can begin to quench the drought that seems to have fallen upon our land. I want to make the world a better place, even if it is just my tiny corner.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Departure Terminal

    Farewells at airport departures. Sad, romantic, too quick, lingering. There have been a number of greetings and farewells at the airport these days. But I cannot get accustomed to the farewell. I want to draw it out, linger, touch, taste, smell, caress. Commit to memory the smell of fresh shaved cheek, warm neck, curves of body, strength of arms, warmth of hands. It will be a long, lonely month. The departure terminal, too quickly over, driving away alone, wishing for a few more minutes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Epic New Chapter

    There is an undeniably epic quality to my life of late. Especially these last few days. Yes, getting to gear up in my firefighting turnouts and ride in a fire engine was a bit of a childhood fantasy come true, and there will be much more to come of that. Yes, I got to have a sweet respite from aloneness, that reminded me thoroughly that I am not alone in the world. Yes, my body is feeling great, I am stronger, sleeker and healthier than ever in my life.
    But truly, the moment when Epic broke through into my life was at 3:48am, Monday morning. The moment when I heard the first soft cry of my grandson. My first grandchild. The beautiful, perfect Bean. The glowing, beaming, glorious Bright Bean. The sight of my son, my baby, gently cradling his still damp son against his chest, eyes bright with tears of sheer joy, whispering over and over, "this is amazing, this is amazing..." It was a blinding moment of clarity, that moment when I see what a wonderful man my son has become. The moment that concreted my belief that the deep love I had for my sons would channel through to my grandson. There is a indescribable beauty in seeing the flow of love, caring, and bonding of family. To see all the love surrounding this one tiny little man, to understand just how lucky he is to be born into a stable, loving, devoted family. To know that my grandson will be loved without measure, without restriction. Full unconditional love. It fills my heart and soul to overflowing. All else fades to insignificance beneath the power of such love. I feel as if my entire life has been to witness this miracle. To know that the love that I feel for my own children will be carried on into the next generation. It is the part of me that I would most wish to be carried on, my love for my family. It is amazing. It is the beginning of an Epic New Chapter.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When Worlds Collide?

     We work so hard to build up our own little microcosm, biosphere, safety zone, retreat from chaos, our own little world. My world is narrow, safe, quiet, shelters me from the outside, and helps stave off my demons. I have worked very hard to find a balance, a place of my own, a sanctuary. But what to do when Worlds Collide? Country Mouse versus City Mouse? When neurotic Introvert clashes with logical Extrovert? I am sure there are tomes aplenty, expounding on such a collision, making it all seem easy-peasy, sugar and spice, east meets west. But when Worlds Collide there is bound to be earth shaking, quaking, toppling, chaos, confusion, negative and positive ions, Cations and Anions trying to form an Ionic Bond. There is a chemical reaction. Explosive? Benign? Complimentary? Caustic? Too tough to tell. Protons and Electrons sharing space, creating their own energy, melding, blending. Fitting together as the two Elements of a formula, a molecular bond. The stable balance of attractive and repulsive forces between atoms when they share electrons, a Covalent Bond. This is the nature of when Worlds Collide, it can be either a destructive force, or a chance for evolution. Or both. But birthing pains on a cosmic level are never easy or without some fallout. Will I survive the collision? The fallout? Or will I be lucky to walk away with my skin intact? Evolution? Earth shaking. Quaking. Chaotic. New. Evolutionary. When Worlds Collide.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Light, Fluffy, Scrambled Brains

    Light, fluffy, scrambled Brains. With cheese. Sums it up. Major life changing events of a riotously awesome nature, combined with chronic fatigue, too much to do, never enough time, and fun to be had at every turn is definitely a recipe guaranteed to leave me muddled, happy, and more than a little demented. But it is a good form of dementia, and hopefully of limited duration. Or it could be early onset senile dementia. I am sure I will know soon enough. But these days I am content to lay back and let events ebb and flow, tugging my thoughts and emotions in a dozen different directions. When needed, I can narrow my focus to a manageable level, sort of. Staying on track for any length of time is difficult at best, "Oh look, is that a Corvair?" My housework suffers a bit, my To Do list is not getting any shorter, keeping up an intelligent conversation can be difficult, being on time has been a struggle. But none of it is so dramatic as to unravel the fabric of time and space. Unless you count the space that seems to inhabit Brain, that has become a vast field of stars, quarks, nebulae, gas clouds and solar winds. I wish I had the ability to concentrate long enough to get such images into full color. Instead, I peck away at my keyboard, trying to capture the feelings, thoughts, processes, that gallop wildly through the lush landscape of my mind. I know this will pass, sadly. I enjoy letting Brain wander off leash, we find so many interesting little tidbits under the bushes and rocks that lay off the trail, waiting for a curious nudge to expose the secrets hiding beneath. I just wish I could stay focused, just for a bit, just to channel this weird, dreamy quality. To allow it to work for me, not against me. Instead I will just wander along with Brain, seeing what there is to see.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

To See

    To See and Understand. To see differences, and accept. To see beneath the skin, beneath the facade, beneath the mask that most wear to protect themselves from prying eyes and judgement. I see, and understand. I see and accept. I am not justifying, or rationalizing, I am aware of the Why, the How, and the Cause. I see these things with clarity. Call it psychology, call it analysis. I call it Empathy. To truly see and understand the soul behind the words, deeds, actions and reactions. I chose to not judge, to not seek to make a change, but to accept. Yes, it may mean adjusting my own way of acting and reacting, but this does not change Me. It is part of who I am to be able to mold my friendship around the friend. So often I decry that I cannot be who I am, all of me, with anyone. But there are times when I realize that this is who I am, one who can adapt and alter to fit the scenario, the relationship. I still do not know if this is what I should do, what I should be, but it truly is who I am. I see. I understand. I accept. I know you, and know what you need. It is who I am.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lucid Moments

    Lucid moments, these days are not to be trivialized. They talk of Lucid Dreaming, when one is aware that it is a dream. Lately my reality takes on a dream-like state, with Lucid Reality kicking in now and then. I realized this on my ride to work this morning. Pelting along farm roads at a riotous speed, through twisting corners, feeling the shifts in air temperature, the changes in humidity, bugs clicking off of my helmet. It was surreal, dreamy, fluid, flowing, relaxing. It was miles down the road when I slipped back into lucid, temporal reality, with barely a recollection of the past moments. It had the feel of waking from a dream. I find this happens regularly. I move through my life, detached, yet connected. It is not that I am ignoring reality, or shirking responsibilities. It is as if Brain has decided to process data in a dream state, allowing thoughts to ramble, ripen and grow to fruition without rationale or reality interfering. Often dreams are Brain's way of sorting through events and information, coalescing into tangible or symbolic images to allow a deeper understanding. These days, I feel as if part of Brain has remained within the Lucid Dreaming state, sorting, processing, coping, understanding, all in a wandering, seemingly aimless manner. I am finding that on some levels this is allowing me a better grasp of my life, a better understanding of events, emotions, cause and effect. In other ways, I feel reality eludes me, hides just the other side of a shimmering veil, seen yet unseen, as tangible as smoke. To channel such Lucid Daydreams, that would be  ideal. But Brain resists such confinements, rebels against any form of control, denies access to rational thinking, and refuses to follow direction. If I could control the Lucid Daydream I could tap into the creativity and mold it to my wishes, but it remains fluid, ethereal, a zephyr. Thoughts slide through my fingers like warm sand, solid and yet formless, weighty yet blown by the wind. What is Lucidity? Reality? What defines the waking state? It is merely our perception that we are awake. But who is to judge? Maybe I have finally stirred from somnolence, finally achieved true wakefulness. Lucid moments? Lucid dreaming? Or Lucid Daydream? Wherever Brain has gone, this is my new reality, or unreality.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Logic Dictates... or Not

    Logic versus reality. Yes they should jive, mesh, intertwine. There should be a continuity, a reliable bond between the two. Aren't logic and reality solid, unshifting, part and parcel? Not in my world. I find that my reality can slip away from the grasp of logic and slide down the slippery slope of dysfunction at any given moment. "Logic dictates that..." Yeah, maybe, maybe not. I know that at times I can be as coolly logical as anyone I know, erudite, literate, calm, comprehensive sentences flowing like warm honey. At times logic flees, leaving me floundering in emotion, without an internal editor, and lacking the language skills to explain. I stammer, stutter, fall silent in an effort to gather my thoughts, close my eyes in an attempt to minimize input and stimulation. And still, my brain is awash in jumbled thoughts, scrambled emotions, tattered fragments of information. There are times when maintaining a cohesive conversation is nearly beyond my scope of reality. These are the days when I worry that my own scrambled thought process could be a danger. Riding hellbent for leather through morning traffic, telling myself to be alert, and "oh look, is that a Corvair?" Keeping Brain on track can be a monumental effort, only accomplished through a lifetime of practice. I manage the calm facade, the rational demeanor, but it is a hoax. Maybe this is one reason I prefer glasses over contacts? My dark rimmed glasses, that according to my sons make me look like a "punk rock librarian," give my eyes the mask of  an intellect, even when Brain is bouncing pell-mell through the landscape of my mind.
     It makes it all the worse that I can, and often am, coolly, rationally logical in the face of what should be great emotional duress. But this is when I have had the foresight to tuck emotions away into their protective cocoon where they cannot be harmed, or interfere. If I am caught off guard, blindsided, then Brain shoves logic to a dark corner and pulls out all the emotional stops. This can cause an alarming rush of emotions, adrenaline, incoherence, the floodgates strain under the pressure. It is all I can do to prevent a full blown flood from spilling forth, wreaking havoc, terrorizing witnesses, traumatizing myself and others. There are also times, many, many times, when logic has just failed to make an appearance. Sometimes for days on end, logic is M.I.A. Even as I try to understand, explain, quantify the muddlings of Brain, I know my words may make little sense to most. And absolutely no sense to some.
    There is an upside to all of this, seriously. I don't allow logic to dictate my emotions. I can be an open book, a warm rush of emotion. I wear my heart on my sleeve. The more emotionally involved, the more likely there will be the aforementioned spastic muddlings, but it is because I do not want to hold back, to restrain, to rein in. Though I know it will be confusing to observers, as often the mish-mash of emotions present in ways that may seem inappropriate, uncontrolled, and maybe even alarming. Yes, I cry like a baby. Yes, I will tremble with the power of emotional energy. Yes, I do try to keep a modicum of control. Logic dictates that I maintain a semblance of control. Brain knows the impact of my emotional maelstroms. Brain knows we must tend the fire, prevent it escaping with disastrous results. But fire is fire. And even the most logical agree that fire can consume and destroy, or be used to great end. Logic dictates.      

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


    Scatterbrained. That about sums it up. I like to blame the lack of focus on hormones, but in reality I am sure that is the impending arrival of Mania. There is so much to do, so many things I want to be doing at any given time, and I am expending energy with no thought for future impact. I am flying through my days, doing so much, but feeling like I accomplish so little. It is fun, frenetic, frenzied, fabulous. The downside is that I cannot get Brain to settle down and focus. Once again, Brain takes on all the markers of an A.D.D five year old who can't make up their mind for crayons, Legos, swings or tetherball, and so tries to do all of them at once, culminating in a hilarious mash up. That is Me. That is Brain. Fortunately I have pushed my training up a notch, and Body has all the focus needed. I love how Body can ignore the yammerings of Brain and devote all the energy needed to perform joyful torture upon ourselves. There is a daily ache of overused muscles, quietly bemoaning Body's zeal and zest.
    But we need Brain onboard. There are too many projects lying fallow due to lack of organizational skills. Too many tasks left half finished as Brain goes haring off after the latest squirrel. Just to sit at a keyboard and attempt to gather thoughts into comprehensive, complete sentences is an arduous task that requires no distractions, not even tiny ones. Just the sound of the clicking of the keys is enough to draw some focus off of the words trying to flow. It is a weird juxtaposition; Body and Brain. Body, eager to move forward, to strive, reach goals, grasp the gold ring. Brain, dysfunctional, giggly, spastic, running rampant. I do wish there were a way to sync up Body and Brain, a jumpstart, tuning, syncopation, rhythm. But there is none, just happenstance.
    I do not mind Brain joyriding in Body. Brain should be allowed a little down time, a relaxation of standards, a few well earned vacation days. But it makes it damned hard to get things done. But Body is making up for it, taking advantage of the extra time not being consumed by Brain. Body is more than making up for wasted mental time. So I should just relax, let the two take their turns in dominance. Now is Body's time in the sun. Brain can nap in the shade.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dreams Nurtured

    It would seem that Dreams held close to the chest, near to the heart, are the ones that will come true when least expected. The Dreams spoken aloud, pursued, chased, forced, will fall flat, wither, flounder, fail,  either in practice or substance. Dreams are ethereal, should be handled as carefully as the gossamer strands of a spiderweb glistening with morning dew. Beautiful, delicate, fragile, yet with a strength belied by insubstantial appearance. Dreams cradled in the heart, whispered alone into the darkness, carefully tended and kept from prying eyes and mocking naysayers. Dreams such as these grow in power, gain momentum, build energy, all on their own. These are the Dreams we feed with our own vital force. These are the Dreams that will hide from the light of day until they are ripe and ready for plucking. Such Dreams cannot be rushed, hurried, forced, or they will become hollow vestiges of what they may have become. Any fruit picked too soon is hard, flavorless, bitter, best cast aside. But fruit harvested at the peak of perfection is sweet, juicy, fulfilling, satisfying. These are the Dreams worth waiting for, succulent, delightful, enriching. Dreams nurtured in the heart.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Firefighter 101

    Away from the mental/emotional and onto the physical. My training with the fire department is picking up a bit, and will escalate exponentially over the ensuing 8 months. This has got to be one of the more exciting pathways I have trod in many a long year. I have long held this dream in my heart, though none could have guessed. It always felt like the ultimate pipe dream, unobtainable, unthinkable, unreachable, unrealistic, unimaginable. There were a million reasons why I would never make this dream a reality; female, mom, not strong enough, no time, too old, too fat, too broken. Those are just the high points, the list is endless. But like so many things I am discovering about myself, the unthinkable is becoming my reality.
    I cannot express my delight at the sight of gleaming firetrucks, the smell of diesel fumes, the sound of sirens, the flash of lights. It is a ridiculously giddy, euphoric, childhood love. I have been around firetrucks from as early as I can remember. My father worked for a company owned by my uncle that built firetrucks, so early on I remember clambering around on freshly painted, virgin firetrucks in all manner of shape and a rainbow of colors. It was heaven. Last night, the feeling returned as I climbed onto Engine 415 to learn the weekly checklist procedure. Peering into the water tank, opening hatches, lifting out the SCBAs (self contained breathing apparatus), checking fluid levels, air pressure, inventory. It was all I could do to not dance and sing in my sheer delight. I kid you not. Seeing my own set of Turnouts hanging on a hook with my name above for all the world to see. My own mail slot. Parking in the Firefighter Parking Only space. Being greeted by Chief, Captain and Crew as "one of us." The sense of finding a home, a family, kinship. The ease of familiarity, though I've only met these guys a few times. Add to that the bond already forming between myself, the other newbs, and a couple of the probies, as we are all still "the new kids" but welcomed into the core group none the less. This is a fantasy fulfilled, with more, greater levels to be reached with each passing week.
    There is hard work ahead, long hours, giving up spare time that it seems I don't have but will find. This is a pathway that will require sacrifice, but I know the payoff will be great. This could easily become all consuming, and I will have to take care of that. I don't do anything by halves, but in this I will have to practice a modicum of restraint. But only a modicum. I want to do this as much a I have wanted anything, and more than I have wanted most things. It is another lesson in my life that if I truly want something, I can make it happen, maybe through some small sacrifice. But what is achievement without effort? Another step forward on a pathway to a new, grand adventure. I am excited. I am delighted. I am dedicated. I am living a dream.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


    Acceptance of Self and Others.We gladly accept the glorious, glamorous, gorgeous, flawless, fabulous. In ourselves and others. But acceptance of all the quirks, neurosis, foibles, flaws, insanities, imperfections, scars? To accept, unquestioning, unresistant, openly, happily. In ourselves and others. Accept the perfection of imperfection. See scars as tribute to a life lived. Insanities as the electricity in the wire. Quirks as the unexpected bite of pepper in the stew. Flaws as the openings to the heart. None can make it through life unmarked if they have lived a worthy life. None can bare their soul, open their heart, take risks, push boundaries, live, love, experience, and manage to come out the other side without an indelible mark A life well lived leaves traces behind, transfer evidence, that cannot hide from the light of day without crippling the soul and hindering joy. Yet we attempt to hide our flaws, ignore imperfections, medicate insanities, spackle over scars, dampen quirks. These elements that make us unique. Make us human. Accepting one's own imperfections is a hard row to hoe, but acceptance of self makes acceptance of others a simple task. Embrace the flaws, cherish the quirks, kiss the scars, revel in the insanity. See the perfection in imperfection. Accept.  

This Is Your Brain On Fatigue

    "This is Brain on Fatigue" *cue egg frying in skillet.* Fatigue acts as a mild hallucinogen on Brain. When tired, Brain wanders odd pathways with no set objective, much as in the days of my Misspent Youth when I was known to indulge in the "occasional" chemical recreation. No, never anything hardcore, just simple little voyages into mood altering substances. But I digress, this is not a confessional of my halcyon days, but merely an attempt to explain. And so fatigue, legal and socially acceptable, flips on the mental meanderings most can only access through consumption of illicit chemicals, and withe far fewer messy side effects. I consider myself quite fortunate, I never have to rely on induced intoxication, though Fatigue has its own weird hangover.
    Day in and day out I am usually in one form of altered state or another; Mania, Melancholy, Fatigue, Euphoria. Each has its own unique form of altered perception. Mania easily replicates the unrelenting, spastic energy of amphetamines. Melancholy has the cry-in-your beer, achy, lethargic, sleep disrupting earmarks of alcohol, as well as the self-flagellating, degrading delusional aspects of  long term heroin abuse. No, I have never tried heroin, so that particular comparison is based on speculation and observation. Fatigue has the laid back, spaced out, meandering mind, demotivational, attention deficit aspects of a bong hit, replete with munchies. Euphoria is a drug unto itself, an altered state that is more elusive than the others, and far more desirable then, say, Melancholy, and reminds me of a mild acid trip with heightened perceptions, boundless energy, and a brain misfiring on all cylinders.
    But lately, Fatigue has been more the constant companion. Largely from lifestyle choices, racing through the summer taking every advantage to play, compete, workout, work outside, cycle, run, motorcycle, see the sights, enjoy our brief summer. There is too much to do to waste time sleeping. I figure my annual hibernation mode is only a few months away, and then there will be plenty of time to rest. Once the autumn rains come, and they will come, then I can sleep. But for now, I am enjoying Life. I am partaking in as many opportunities as I can. I am exploring options, pushing boundaries, stepping outside the parameters that confined me for so long. So Fatigue will be my companion, with all the unusual effects. I will let Brain meander, wander in circles, step out to lunch, run on autopilot. But I also know Brain will be there in full frontal when needed. So this is Brain on Fatigue, silly, spaced out, goofy, short circuiting Brain. We will rest, one of these days, but not quite yet.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Feasting With Both Hands

    I was once accused of being addicted to drama. Okay, actually was accused of it more than a few times. I denied it then, and deny it now. But none the less, I find life is more exciting with the unpredictability of tumultuous emotions, random power surges, near misses with catastrophe, the warm touch of chaos, the frigid hand of Melancholy, the fire of Mania, and don't forget my Demons that wait in the wing for their cue. Add a second personality into the mix and what is a fragile balance quickly becomes a tightrope act without a net. And I like it that way. The frisson of danger that lurks just beneath the surface. Under my surface. Just under the skin, the potential for cataclysmic event, maelstrom, whirlwind. The whirlwind has dominated these last few months, propelling me through life, carried in a vortex that is only just barely within my control. It is exciting, the power, danger, chaos, lunacy. Do I seek it? No. It finds me. But I do not discourage it. Few can understand the thrill of the epic coaster ride within my own head. Few would know and understand the gamut of emotions that can roil through my body from quaking panic to joyous hysterics to weeping melancholy to rampant mania. Few would understand the appeal of this leap from one extreme to the next. Most would be quick to medicate it down to a soothing beige. True, I am on meds and supplements, but mostly to keep from teetering over the edge and falling too deep into the abyss. It is not to take the wild colors from my life, to drain the verve, steal the electricity. Yes, there are days of grey. Days when the color has been leached from my vision. But I know it is temporary. I know that all I need do is wait for Melancholy to loose its grip, and soon enough Mania will be back in blazing technicolor. Even the negative, the trembling, panicked, gut wrenching, weeping desperation has an intensity that I can relish in the afterglow.
    Am I addicted to drama? Only if I can say I am addicted to life. Addicted to My Life. Because what is Life without Drama? It is a half-life, a token of reality, a smear of emotion. I am not addicted to drama, but I will feast of it with both hands, willingly. I will feast of My Life, gluttonously, for it is a feast. A glorious, unimaginable feast.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Crash and Burn

    I worry. I feel a pending Crash and Burn, and it is not the season. It is coming, as inevitable as the tides. It hovers over me like a heavily loaded slope of snow, waiting for any sudden noise to release the avalanche, the tumbling mass, a white out, painful, tumbling, crashing, chaotic. I can sense it. And pray to the gods that there is silence, calm, quiet, no sudden outbursts or explosions to release that leading edge, freeing the entire mountainside to come and consume me, swallow me whole, bury me in the cold, white nothingness.The foreboding. All the signs are there, if one knows how to read them. I have had ample experience in reading the telltale signs, far too much experience.
    There is a slight advantage to knowing the earmarks of an imminent crash, the foreknowledge lets me take precautions, take certain measures to lessen my impact with the earth. I know what to do, though it is much like waiting in a bunker for the bombs to land and praying that there is not an calamitous direct hit. It is the best I can do.
    Now all I can do is wait, hope for calm, hope for quiet. I flex my fingers, wipe perspiration from my palms and hold on for dear life. I cannot trust autopilot with this one. The controls are in my hands. Maybe I can hope for a controlled crash. They say any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. I just want to be able to walk away.

My Gift, My Superpower, The Price I Pay

    "Sticks and stones may break my bones.... but words can really hurt me."

    Sensitive. Delicate. Fragile. Gentle.  Having a sensitive Spirit is not an easy burden to carry through life. At times I wish I could harden myself, toughen up, desensitize. But I cannot. It is impossible. I know, because I have tried, tried and failed. I cannot count the number of self pep talks, self-analysis, probing, and rallying of Spirit that I have perpetrated upon myself. I am an expert at shoring myself up during easy moments, but a failure at holding fast to those shorings when put to the test. No matter how strong is Body, how logical is Brain, neither can manage to protect Spirit when the need arises. Is this my weakness? My Achilles's Heel? Is it my cross to bear? Or is it one of my greatest strengths? In the midst of an emotional crash, crises, shattering, it feels like nothing less than sheer and abject failure of strength, weakness of character. I so easily  revert to injured child, quivering lip, eyes filling with unwanted tears. Even in the depths of my pain and angst I feel an anger towards myself for what, at that moment, I can see as only weakness. But once the pain has passed, the child has been comforted, Spirit has crept out from hiding, then I can look back on whatever caused the crippling reaction with understanding and empathy.
    Empathy is my Superpower. Empathy is my Gift. Empathy is my Magic. I know this. I love this aspect of myself. But it carries a high price. A price I pay daily. It is what makes me hypersensitive to the Power of gestures, the Power of the spoken word, the Power of  emotion, the Power that surrounds every creature I come into contact with. Empathy makes interaction difficult, emotions rolling off of others like waves of palpable energy, for good or ill. Empathy makes me feel the hurt and pain of others as a physical manifestation that cannot be ignored or easily dealt with. At times I wish for a simple treatment, a drug, a vaccine, against this ability to feel so deeply, so easily. A pill to numb my senses. But I would never actually do such a thing. Instead I work myself to exhaustion, for in sheer fatigue I do find an ability to somewhat normalize my reactions. The flipside of this is that when I am exhausted, every chink in my armor becomes exposed, and it is flimsy armor at best. So I can calm my reaction to everyday interactions, but am less able to withstand a frontal assault. It is a payoff. And I have to hope that I can make it through a day without assault. If an assault comes, intentional or not, I crumple before it. I cannot withstand the impact. I crawl into myself, wishing to block out the world, hiding, crying, berating myself for my helplessness, forceless as a child. I tell myself that the next time I will stand firm, stand tall, stand up and fight. I tell myself that Body and Brain will step up to the plate for Spirit and defend to the death. But when blindsided, all my resolve disappears with the first unshed tear.
    Empathy, it is my greatest weakness, and my greatest strength. It is what makes me the individual I am. It fuels my passions, and feeds my pain. It bares my soul, flays my emotions, opens me to damage, makes me cautious and yet reckless. Empathy lets me love deeply despite the threat of potential devastation. Empathy opens portals to unimaginable highs. It gives a zest to life that only the threat of a deadly Crash and Burn can bring. It is a fine line, a tightrope with no net. Empathy is my Superpower, and as every geek knows, every Superpower has its Price. I pay the price, daily, some days dearly. I pay the price, but would not change it if I could.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


    Oh the weirdness that is my life. Weird, wonderful, worrisome, wearying, wonky, whacked, and weirdweirdweird. Weird in the changes being wrought upon Brain, Body and Spirit by forces both internal and external. Brain has ceased to fire on all cylinders these days, leaving me spacey, tired, confused and at times feeling adrift inside my own skull. Brain struggles with daily duties; morning routine, getting out the door on time, remembering where I put keys, phone, swim cap. Days go by when it seems as if Brain must have stayed in bed, trusting Body and Spirit to be able to take the controls for a while and run on autopilot. The easiest excuse is "hormones." That does lay the blame at the feet of that sinister villain that has plagued my life from pre-puberty, through teen angst, pregnancy, adulthood, and now into menopause. Menopause, fuck, seriously? As if the ignominy of hitting my half century mark wasn't enough on my plate this particular year, now I get to feel the full brunt of the hormonal shitstorm of menopause. It is worse than the hormonal chaos of pregnancy. At least with pregnancy there is a time frame, a carefully measured date and time, as well as the a baby at the end of it for a grand Ta-Da. But now I get the nausea, cramps, aches, pains, fatigue, food aversions, mental shutdown, sleep disorders, general G.I. fucked up-ness, night sweats, hot flashes, and all with no limit, no schedule, no end in sight. Just random freaky shit that crops up sporadically, yet more frequently, mimics frightening medical issues, and seems to lay in wait for the least convenient moment to slap me upside the head with something annoying and uncomfortable.
    I think the hardest part for me to cope with is the fatigue and spaciness. I have a full life, needing Body and Brain to be in the game at top performance levels, not lagging, flagging and dragging. Lassitude, lethargy, languor and listlessness are not a part of the game plan. There is too much to do and never enough time as it is. I cannot waste time wishing for more sleep, lounging in my favorite chair, searching for lost keys, taking a "rest day." A Rest Day? What the hell is that? There is no such thing. For me a day of Rest mostly means I can sleep a little later, have a cup of coffee and breakfast before getting dressed and starting in on the endless To-Do List that dominates my fridge door. There is no down time. Not really.
    And how do I cope with my chronic lethargy? Body's languor? Brain's malaise? Spirit adds more to the plate. We take on more activities, more responsibilities. New endeavors, new adventures, new challenges. Am I insane? Well, yes, I have never denied that. But in this particular case, am I Insane?! By the gods, can't I slow down, take it easy, relax, rest? No, I can't. Not now. Not when there is so much to do. So many new, exciting avenues to tread. Adventures. Pleasures. Discoveries. Challenges. Races to Run. Places to go. Experiences to savor. Now is not the time for Rest, it is time for Life Redefined. My Life, re-imagined, renewed, revived, raucous, rowdy, reinvented, restored, rampant, relevant, real. Relevant and Real. My Life.
    Now is not the time to sit on the sidelines, to be benched, to give a doctor's note. Now is the time to reach deep for that energy that will sustain me for this leg of the race. I have been told "don't leave anything on the course." Don't finish a race with energy to spare that could have been used on the course. So, despite Crashing Fatigue (the latest smack upside the head), chronic fatigue and mental short circuits I will keep pushing, adding challenges, upping the ante. Despite Brain's malfunctions and Body's lethargy, Spirit will keep pushing, playing and participating to the fullest. We know of no other way. Giving up is not an option. Quitting is not a part of my vernacular. Taking it easy is a foreign concept. Full speed ahead. Nothing by halves. Push ahead, break through the wall, catch a second or third wind, find my stride, and finish strong. We know of no other way.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fire Within, and Fire Realized

    As life keeps propelling me forward at a breakneck pace, tonight I take another step towards a new adventure, and even more excitement to pile into my already frenetic life. Tonight is my first official meeting as a volunteer firefighter. I have passed the Firefighter's Physical Agility Test, passed the drug test, passed several interviews, and now I step into the Station as a newb and probie, but also as "one of us." Tonight I will get my first set of Turn Outs, the protective gear worn when on a call. True, the academy is not until January, and that is when I will truly learn what it means to be a firefighter. To say I am excited would be an understatement.
    I know this has come as a surprise to many people. But what they do not know is that I have long harbored the desire to be a volunteer firefighter. It has been a deep secret sheltered within my heart for my entire adult life. This is a dream that I have never dared whisper to a soul, but every time I would pass a station, or see a fire engine, the secret would whisper to me. I knew when my sons were young that risky endeavors were not to be undertaken, but now with both sons grown and independent, my life is my own to risk or not to risk. I know that chances of serious injury are likely slim, but there is always risk when dealing with a potentially dangerous unknown.
    I wish I had taken this step sooner. I wish I had let myself set aside more self-indulgent expenditures of my time, or tried to fit more into every day, or just allowed myself to make the decisive step. But the time was not yet ripe. As those who know me will attest, once I make a decision I do not like to hesitate or procrastinate. But as one who knows myself, I know that I can procrastinate and hedge when a reality is a bit frightful. Though it has been a long standing desire, I have hesitated for it is a scary prospect, but once I made my decision to step up to the plate I felt I couldn't act quickly enough.
    One aspect I find amusing, ironic, and more than a little bit apropos is my acknowledgement of my own Inner Fire. My Elemental Fire. I have a fire that lives within me that can flare easily from ember to maelstrom with the slightest of provocation. Along with my inner fire, there has been my well documented spiritual journey through fire. I have been singed and burned to the core, figuratively. I have written so often of spiritual Fire, as an entity that surrounds me, fills me and inspires me. Fire that cleanses, purges, and purifies. Fire that inspires, motivates and drives me. And now to step into a new phase of life when Fire will become a literal entity, a physical motivation, a force to be understood, respected. No longer will the fire in my life be only The Fire Within.
    There is a quiet excitement and exultation that simmers in my heart at the thought of things to come. Yes, I am sure the bulk of my experiences will be mundane, even boring. But there is the opportunity to help, to contribute, to make a difference within my own community. I am excited. I am going to be a Firefighter.