Friday, December 28, 2012

Apathy Apocalypse?

    Apathy breeds apathy. It is a perpetual motion machine that feeds upon itself, and drains energy from its surroundings. It grows exponentially. Expands at a slow yet alarming rate. It is the Eater of Souls, the Destructor, the Planet Killer. Apathy. One would think that by its nature, being apathetic, that it would be self-defeating, inert, inconsequential, confined within its own shell. Sadly, this is not the case. Apathy is a slow, steady killer of all that is good, and an active participant in all that is evil. The very act of not acting has dire consequences. And apathy can spread like a virulent plague, effecting all it touches. Apathy may very well be the Apocalypse we have all been predicting.
    Apathy, dire as it may be, is not hard to combat, if you have the fortitude, strength, stamina, optimism. It can be deflected, and in some cases cured. The effects of apathy can be fully flushed from the system with a little work. I am confronted daily by apathy in some of its purest, darkest, vitriolic strains, and there are days when I feel the beginnings of an infection. I can feel it, like the scratchy throat that signals an oncoming flu. But I have a medikit full of preventatives and remedies, as well as an ironclad immune system. The best vaccine against apathy is action. Do something. Anything. Anything but sit by as the world passes, complaining bitterly about the world passing you by. Anything but see where you can make a difference, and chose to turn a blind eye. The best preventative is to work towards bettering yourself, even if it is an inch at a time. The best cure is to move, make changes happen, look to the future, tend to the present, learn from the past.
    Do not let apathy get a toehold in your soul. It cannot be allowed to happen. Fight against apathy with every fiber of your being. If we can beat back apathy there is no telling how far we can go, what wondrous things will happen, what glorious truths we will learn about ourselves and our world. Don't just turn away from apathy, step up and eliminate it, fight it, behead it, banish it. Begin with yourself. Be not only the vaccine but the cure. Apathy cannot hold true in the face of optimism, action, momentum, change. Do not let Apathy be the Apocalypse.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2013: The Year of Grand Adventures

    With Christmas now one for the books, mellow, casual, and loving, it is time when we all start thinking of the New Year that is mere days away. I am not one for Resolutions, haven't been for many years. Resolutions always seem more like promises to self, promises that are hard to keep and often broken. Instead, 12 years ago I made a vow to myself that every year, on my birthday, I would be healthier than I was the year before. I have kept faith with myself on this. Every year I improved physically, but there were more than a few years when my emotional and mental health were on the decline.
    As a fledgling Triathlete, I see the same approach to life as I do to training: Find your weakness and work on it the hardest, while just trying to keep the other disciplines steady. True, I have always worked on my physical fitness and made it a priority through most of my life, but I let it leap to the fore this last year. Once I was on line with the new physicality I knew I needed to bring everything else up to speed, to gain balance and health in all things. Now I feel well rounded, Body, Mind and Heart. I have readied myself for the Event of Life. The Epic Event of My Life. I feel poised at the starting line, waiting for the horn to sound, and then I will be off like a rocket.
    Looking ahead, I can't help but look back and review. I have decided to have no regrets from 2012. Yes, I made some hard choices, fought some major battles, spent time in the abyss, walked through fire and was cleansed by it, wept, laughed, loved. Wonderful, loving people have come into my life, including several beautiful, wee ones who will call me "Oma." I have discovered great new things about old friends, and discovered great new friends. I have pushed myself on so many levels, and feel that I have only just touched at the fringes of what I am capable of. I have begun new adventures that will test my mettle and fill my soul, and plan on even grander exploits ahead. I can't even fathom just how far I will go in 2013, it boggles my mind. The true beauty of it is that I have loved ones who encourage and support me in every endeavor. These days I am far more likely to shed tears of joyous disbelief at my great fortune in the people that love me, and that I love, than to shed tears of grief and lonliness. Truly, the more we love, the more we are loved, it grows until it is almost unbearably bright and delicious.
    2013 will be full of surprises, antics, adventures, exploits. 2012 was The Year of Win, and it did live up to that moniker, far beyond my wildest dreams. I think 2013 will be the Year of Grand Adventures.

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Heart

    Last night I was plagued by graphic dreams. One, involving my Mom, really pounded on my feelings of inferiority. It was a harsh dream brought on, no doubt, by my recent pondering of the inferiority complex that I struggle to overcome. It is one of my more persistent Demons. Fortunately, Brain stepped in and rescued my subconscious. In the next dream I had been hired as a running/track coach for a small school, and even though I knew my experience was not great, I knew I was up to the challenge. I woke at 4am from the scrambling I took because of these dreams. Wide awake in the chill, black of the Winter Solstice. I lay in the dark, thinking over the inner-workings of Brain, wondering what exactly it is telling me. I wanted to get up and write, mull over thoughts in black and white, but my bed was warm, and my desk was not. Bed won out. But Brain was not going to let me slip back into the forgetfulness of sleep, so I realized that there was more to my dreaming than random weirdness.
    I thought over the dream with my Mom. First, you must understand that my mother is a loving, supportive woman who is a wonderful role model. In my dream, however, she was very harsh and critical of everything from my clothes, to my housekeeping, to my overly rambunctious dogs. Yes, I have been acutely aware of the fact that I have been neglecting my housekeeping in order to put time and energy into other, more worthy efforts, and my house is stressing me out. Obviously, since I was dreaming about being criticized about it. As for my dogs? I have been feeling neglectful there as well since life seems to be propelling me forward at such a chaotic pace, and it feels like I am always running, never home, and they are the ones to suffer. But what was most noticeable in my dream were my feelings of failure, inadequacy, and inferiority. This is deep rooted, and does get brought to the fore by circumstances more frequently than I would like. In part, it is from feeling as if I have never really been in a relationship where I was appreciated for who I am. I have always felt like I have fallen short in some way, no matter how I try. This is all changing, but I still feel the echoes of my past too keenly, the echoes are fading, though slowly. Also, I keenly feel my lack of formal education and career. I am surrounded by so many people successful in these areas, and I tend to feel like the blue collar, country mouse surrounded by white collar, techno-mice. I know I am being totally unfair to myself, but there is no rationality involved, these are visceral, self-doubting, lizard brain thoughts, beyond logic or an easy fix.
    The second dream counteracted the first. Me as a track coach is definitely a stretch, but Brain knew exactly what it was doing. One arena that I often do quite well in is the self-motivation of physical fitness and nutrition. No matter which activity I choose, I am willing to be devoted to honing my body as best I can. True, I do change directions now and then, forcing me to start all over again as a newbie. But this has given me a fantastic understanding of so many aspects of training. My current regimen for triathlon has me researching and implementing new exercises, workouts, schedules, nutritional tweaks. I am pushing myself every day. Brain decided to throw this back at me, when I was faltering from the previous dream. Brain stepped in and showed me where I excel, showed me where I am not a failure, inadequate or inferior. True, I am not a top tier athlete, but I am a dedicated one. I may not be the fastest, or strongest, but I have Heart.
    Heart. That is one arena that I do not feel inadequate or inferior. If I fail at everything else I ever try, I know my Heart is strong, loving, dedicated. I was once told, when I was at an absolute nadir, that I always, "lead with your Heart, strong and true." It is my greatest strength. Recently I was told I have a "Hero's Heart," this is probably the greatest compliment anyone has ever given me. I blush thinking of it, but am warmed by it. So despite a deep rooted Inferiority Complex, I do know I have Heart. My Heart will always keep me getting back up and moving forward, it will not allow me to succumb to grief, inadequacy, or failure. I will keep getting up and moving forward because I have a strong Heart. I do Lead With My Heart. I always will.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Puzzle Pieces

    In the ongoing effort to quell my nagging Demons I am a bit of a workout freak. It is the most effective means of beating the little bastards back into their catacombs. Last night, as I was out running, bundled against the cold, thankful that the sleet had abated, I began dissecting a few of my little bastard Demons. I tend to dwell on the past, especially past relationships. Not in a pining way, not in a wistful way, but in more of an analytical way. This includes all relationships, casual and otherwise. I do feel regrets, how can you live a long life without some regrets? My regrets hinge on the knowledge of pains I have inflicted, not intentionally or maliciously mind you, but some things are just painful. But I digress, my thoughts last night were not on regrets, pain, or suffering. I was thinking of how people move through our lives. Some for a lifetime, some for a month, a day, a moment. Our lives are effected by each of these encounters, and what we take away from the experience is wholly up to us. How we chose to react, respond, grow.
    I believe that some people come into my life at the right moment, to help me with one piece of the puzzle that is me, and then they move on. Piece by piece, building a lifetime of memories, lessons, skills, understanding of self. I do not chose people for the purpose of extracting that puzzle piece that I need, I am not a user or abuser, but I am a realist (also an idealist, but that is a whole different can of worms). My life is a puzzle that will never be complete, I know this as fact, but as I fill in the pieces I can begin to see the picture in all its complexity, vivid hues, contrasts. I am thankful for the people who have moved through my life, helping me to learn and grow. I think over past relationships and pull out pearls of wisdom, lessons that were hard taught, painfully learned, but adding to the depth and breadth of Me.
    I also believe that some people come into life when they are most needed, and will always be an integral part of life. These are the kindred spirits, family born and family found, friends, brothers, sisters, lover. These are the people that form the core of our existence. In my case, the very few people that form the foundation of my clan. I do not allow many people into the inner sanctum, the number can be counted in single digits. It is truth. I don't know if my selectivity is directly related to my introverted nature, or my empathic abilities that leave me raw to abrasive or hostile entities. Or am I just so difficult to get along with that no one stays? I like to think the latter is not the case. Whatever the reason, the few I have found are all the more cherished because of their rarity. And not to be taken for granted.
    My life is better because of the people that have moved into my sphere, whether they stayed or moved on. I choose to take the puzzle pieces they offered and attempt to fit them into the massive jumble that is Me.  All the edge pieces are in place, and large chunks of the center. I am seeing the picture more clearly with each passing day. It is a lifelong work, a true puzzle, but also a work of art. one piece at a time.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Out Swimming Demons

    There were days past when my Demons were such constant companions I was more likely to notice when they were absent, than when they were pestering me. They had become so commonplace, so banal, mundane, pedestrian. Oh, don't get me wrong, there were many smackdown, hella cage-match fights between us. And I was not always the victor. But my Demons have been relatively quiet for some time now, I had nearly forgotten what it is like to have one riding my shoulder, flagellating me with its sibilant hissing. Nearly forgotten, but not really. Freud said, "We do not forget. We chose not to remember." It is truth. I chose to not to remember. I am not sure what allowed one to slip back into my world, but it was there today, just behind me, whispering in my ear, finding the cracks and prying them open with taloned fingers. This time of year, I am careful to keep my workout agenda packed and tight. I plan ahead, and do not let myself falter. Tonight my swim bag was packed and I had my fees in my wallet. I would swim despite the Demon battering on my self-esteem. I admit, it took me a solid ten laps before I could even find my rhythm, and then it was a battle to keep on track and moving smoothly. At one point I became so distracted and distraught that I had to start counting strokes to bring my mind back to center. Counting laps, counting strokes. Rolling side to side, breathe in, breathe out, stroke, stroke, breathe. Letting the sound of my bubbling exhales soothe my jangled mind. Stroke, stroke, breathe. The rhythm, the exertion, focusing on making making every stroke the same. The simple monotony is hypnotic. As long as I kept counting all was well. But falling into my normal habit of mind working in overdrive while body swims lap after lap was not the safe route. Not tonight. I swam 2.27 miles, until I was out of time. I wanted to swim longer, I had not yet out swam my Demons. They were still riding my back, like stowaways. Vicious, petty stowaways. But I swam. And swam. I did manage to dilute my Demons in the chlorinated water, bleach them out a bit, leaving them pale and pruney. But they are still here. Maybe I am just tired, susceptible to imagined slights, fatigued, raw, oversensitive. It has been a rugged week, I feel heavy-hearted and drained, vulnerable, delicate, fragile, brittle. I am glad I swam, even if I did not out swim my Demons, it will help me sleep, and that is probably exactly what I need. And maybe the best I can hope for. Trying to out swim Demons is a hard fought race that I did not exactly win tonight. But maybe it was a tie. Time will tell. For now, I just need sleep.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


    We are the Guardians of our world, those of us who feel any compassion, attempt to understand, cry, weep, challenge the gods. At times it feels as if there are far too few Guardians, and far too many opposing troops laying siege to our bastions of hope. The truth is, there are not all that many invaders, but there are far too many apathetic onlookers. Life has become a series of battles, hard fought, not easily won, and overcrowded with bystanders. As we struggle, mired in the trenches, needing reinforcements, supplies, weapons, we turn to those who watch with jaded eyes, blank stares, averted glances. We turn to them for help and succor but they merely turn away, pretending not to see, acting as if all is well, life is grand, peace reigns supreme. The onlookers chose to remain neutral. There are times, when the battle is at its height, when the carnage seems too much to bear, that some of these bystanders have the scales fall from their eyes and they truly see the reality, and then chose to take up arms, throw their shoulder against the wheel, and begin to soldier on with the battle weary forces. Why should it take an act of extremes to force action? Is it not better to be proactive, instead of reactive? An ounce of prevention versus a pound of cure? There are those in the world who have girded themselves for battle with the forces of Satan, and feel let down that Revelations has not given them the chance for glory in the final battle of Good versus Evil. To them I  say, and have actually said, are you sure the forces of Evil haven't already infiltrated the world around you? Better to have small, simple struggles than an all out, end of the world, final battle where humanity's survival hangs by a thread. Better to meet the enemy, understand their motives, and bring them over to the side of Good. I believe in Salvation, not in a biblical sense, but in a compassionate sense. There have been enough stories of violent offenders who were won over to the side of Light by the power of Love, Compassion, and Understanding. It is not so hard a concept to find the source of the anger and violence and find the key to transformation. Not a difficult concept, but the reality is far from simple. But the Idealist in me, the naive, gullible simpleton that resides in my soul, believes in this transformation. I can't help but believe, despite the odds against it. I can't believe that there are so many people out there who are beyond redemption, this includes, especially, the apathetic bystanders. Can we have become so far removed from love, concern, and compassion as to doom   humanity? This I find impossible to believe, despite the evidence that thrusts itself into my face far too often. I won't believe that we have sunk so far into apathy, detachment, and passivity to allow our world to crumble into the savage wilds that we crawled up from in our dark past. We are Guardians, every single one of us, Guardians of our world, our future, our children, and our children's world. We are the Guardians, and we cannot fail in this. We are Guardians, every single one of us.

Friday, December 14, 2012


"When I was a boy, and would see scary things in the news, my Mother would say, "Look for the Helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my Mother's words and I am comforted by realizing that there are still so many Helpers -- So Many caring people in the world."  Fred Rogers aka Mister Rogers

    The tragic events of today have reinforced my desire to become a firefighter. To become one of Mister Rogers' Helpers. This is not a fantasy of heroics, fame, excitement, recognition. It is my deep rooted desire to help. It is nothing new, it has always been an integral part of my nature. From childhood attempts to rescue baby birds that fell out of their nests and bringing home sickly strays, to adult endeavors to provide sanctuary for children, and attempts to rescue baby birds that fell out of their nests and bringing home sickly strays. Not much has changed in my lifelong attempts to protect the small, weak, injured. It is my nature. I have fostered animals, and taken in teenagers. Now, as I get older, and maybe a little wiser, I am able to see the world from a new perspective. When I had children at home my focus remained closer to home, as should be. Now that my children are grown and with families of their own, I can widen that focus, look beyond the needs of those nearest and dearest to me. I can finally realize a long held dream. It is unlikely that I will ever be faced with an event as grievous as what occurred today, and far more likely that I will be continuing in attempts to rescue baby birds that fall from their nests and bring home sickly strays. But as I roar against the pain and suffering, the tragedies and injustices of the world, I know that I must do more than make the noise. I must stand up and do what I am able. I cannot close my eyes or deafen my ears. I must Help.  

They Were Just Babies

    Today our world was faced with a tragedy that I cannot wrap my mind around. A man walked into an elementary school and opened fire on a classroom of children There are 26 confirmed dead, 18 of those are children. My mind cannot get past the thought that They Were Just Babies. Babies! How can such horrific events occur? Anywhere? How can it ever seem right to kill children? It goes against instinct to kill children. Is it another indication that our world has slipped beyond the point of salvation? No, I am not speaking with any religious belief tied to the thought of salvation. I am wondering if humanity can be salvaged, or have we reached a tipping point? Yes, horrible things happen to children every day, and have for a very long time. They are the weak and innocent and so are easy prey for the vicious monsters that lurk in the shadows. I find this abhorrent, despicable, degraded, evil. But for a father to walk into a school, armed with two guns, and shoot children? That takes disbelief and shock to a whole new level. I have begun to despair that we will not be able to pull out of the tailspin we are in. Civilization is on the decline, we are rotting from within, our souls are being ravaged and under constant assault. We have become more accepting to the lower levels of violence, to the point that we can turn a blind eye, thinking, "It could be so much worse." But how much worse does it have to become before we all rise up in protest and fight back against the blackness that seems to be consuming humanity? We cannot continue along mired in our own abject apathy. We need to look beyond our own narrow sphere, open our eyes, see they misery around us and strive to change. What could have caused such irrational, devastating violence against babies? Will we hear how he was, "a normal guy, quiet, kept to himself." What were the signs that people who knew him refused to see? We close our eyes to anything we do not want to see. We walk past dejection, hopelessness, tragedy. We walk past and do not see. We cover our ears to block cries of help. We won't reach out a hand, offer a shoulder, make even the smallest gesture. Why? Because it makes us uncomfortable? Because it makes us become aware of our own unhappiness that we try so hard to sublimate? It has become a time of despair, dejection, and feelings of failure for so many in our nation that it is not terribly surprising that violence seems to be on the rise. People who feel they have lost everything also feel they have nothing to lose. This has got to stop, or things will only get worse. And in reality, they could get so much worse. It is easier to stop the flood when it is a trickle, than to try and stop a torrent. We, as a whole, as a family, have got to rally, to rise up and fight the despair and darkness, bring back hope, bring back our humanity.
    All these barely comprehensible ramblings are a scrambled attempt to comprehend the tragedy. An attempt to make sense out of something so senseless that it defies description. An attempt to bring the world back into focus, balance, regain equilibrium. I am weeping for the babies that were slaughtered today, unable to make sense of it no matter how I try. I have not even let myself touch on the grief of the families yet, that is too painful, too raw. They Were Just Babies. Please let this be a catalyst, if nothing else, let it begin to bring about the change we need. They were just babies.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tower of Babel

   Brain slips gears so easily, and suddenly my mind is like the Tower of Babel, with dozens of voices expressing their individual ideas, each in a different language that none of the others can understand. The chaos is deafening. And confusing. Trying to sort through the noise is nigh on impossible. Often all I can do is try to drown out the voices with louder, more impressive noise. But since my day does require a certain amount of functionality and interaction, sitting in a warm room blasting The Ramones at mass decibels is not really an option. Instead I have to try and cherrypick ideas, weed out the teasel, separate the chaff, sift out the weevils. It is difficult at best, and always exhausting. I want to let Body take control, to run, swim, lift weights until physical exhaustion sets in. When Body is pushing the limits, working towards trembling fatigue, then Brain can slip into the relaxing task of counting repetitions, steps, strides, strokes. Counting calms the Babel chaos. Numbers are a universal language that all the voices understand. Counting equals calm. Counting brings quiet. Music also helps quell the incessant noise. Music, the beat, the lyrics, all give Brain a focal point, a distraction, an alternative to listening to the voices all trying to incomprehensibly out-talk each other. So I do have methods, remedies, weapons against Babel, but they are not available to me during my working day, so I have to soldier on, do my best to pull out needed information, calm the masses, quiet the chaos, interpret the voices. It is not easy, my Babel, but I endeavor to do my best.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Self Improvement

    Earlier today, as on many days past, I was walking in the rain and thinking of how hard I have worked towards self-improvement. Not just physical improvement, but mental, financial, spiritual, emotional. I have worked to build my self-esteem and self-worth. I have struggled to move forward in all aspects of my life, every single one. And I have succeeded. As I was walking, in the rain, I was thinking not just of myself, but of others that have trod similar paths, some just a few steps behind me, some just beginning the journey. It is a sign of strength, determination, and sometimes sheer cussedness, to be able to walk through fire and emerge cleansed and more powerful. When life has crumbled, imploded, roiled in a shitstorm of stress and chaos, that is when true strength emerges. It is a matter of necessity, you either rise to the occasion or get trampled beneath the stampede. So many are willing to be tossed about by the shitstorm, blame life, cry that it is not their fault, make excuses, hide in their shallow cave, refuse to fight back, refuse to grow, refuse to accept the challenge. And then there are the warriors, those who will fight back. Those who see the shitstorm as an opportunity for growth and change, a test of their mettle, a battle worth fighting. These are the people who will become stronger, sharper, flexible and yet unbending. These are the swords being tempered by white hot fire, pounded between hammer and anvil, the proverbial rock and hard place. Fire, Hammer, and Anvil leave their marks, marks recognized by those who wear similar scars.  Swords; sleek, slender, strong, honed, bright, beautiful, deadly if need be, a weapon against the forces of the dark. This are companions I know, kindred spirits that recognize me as I recognize them. We each tread a path, a difficult traverse, an arduous climb, that builds endurance, stamina, speed, strength, makes us dynamic and near to invincible. We chose how we act and react in the face of adversity, of major life implosions, it is our choice to either cry at the unfairness, or to fight to move forward and improve. Our choice: Defeat, or Self Improvement. I choose Improvement.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Always Moving

    Another week passed with very little in the way of down time. Week after week, month after month, this seems to have become the standard operating procedure for my life. I feel as if life is a mad dash, a madcap race, a pell-mell pace, always moving. As I hit the pillow every night, late, exhausted, I look at the clock, do quick math, realize that once again I will be getting too little sleep. Every morning when I wake, groggy, fuzz-brained, still tired, I promise myself that tonight I will get to bed early. It never happens. Even on the nights when I find myself sitting for a few minutes with one cat draped over my shoulder and purring in my ear, and another sprawled across my lap, with sleep just a head nod away, I will get a surge of energy that must be expended. So once again, I will find myself crawling to bed too late to get my allotted 8 hours of sleep. Day after day, night after night, charging ahead at full speed until I drop.
    I fantasize about having a week or two off from work, and being able to sleep as much as I want. Sleep all day if I want. But I know that even if I had the time off I would likely not catch up on my sleep. Why? Why do I push myself at such a breakneck pace? I ask myself this, and there is no easy answer. I do wonder, especially at this time of year, if I race forward to keep myself clear of the abyss. My Abyss. I know it is there. I feel it. It never truly leaves, but currently it is just a tenuous feeling, a wisp of cold vapor, a gloom barely hinted at in my peripheral vision. Do I keep moving forward so diligently so that I can maintain the distance that I have fought so hard to obtain? Fear of backsliding the whip that lashes my back? Every winter for what seems like an eternity I have visited My Abyss, and on a few rare occasions I have even made a mid summer jaunt to the edge. Every winter, like being forced to go visit a despised relative for a prolonged stay. I have become quite adept at minimizing the impact of these trips, through rigorous preparation, diligent nutrition, vigorous physical activity. I feel as if I am in arduous, daily training for an endurance race. Point of fact, that is not far from the truth. I realize how often I rely on physical and mental toughness to get me through tough spots, rough patches, over the hump, past the wall, another mile.
    The dilemma is the double edge of my management system. I workout hard, work hard, push myself, stay fit, maintain Body, protect Brain, keep plunging ahead, work myself to exhaustion. This is good, it gives me little time to fret. The downside; lack of sleep, exhaustion plays right into the hands of The Abyss. Fatigue makes me susceptible and potentially overemotional. I become too reactive, and lose my ability to be proactive and logical. It is a delicate balance, my desire to push myself harder and faster, and my need to rest. I am far better at pushing myself than I am at taking down time, relaxing, resting. I always feel the need to be moving, doing, accomplishing. There is so much to do and so little time, and I do not want to disappoint myself.
    So where do I go from here? Rushing headlong through life, chasing my dreams, ignoring The Abyss that soughs my name with chill breath, moving ahead, pushing, always pushing. Am I running away from, or towards, life, sanity, reason, dreams? I like to think I am moving forward. And at the very least, I know I am moving, not stagnant, not inert, not running in circles. I have come far from where I was, but have further to go. So I keep moving. Always moving.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


    My physical focus has been excellent as I head into the dark days of winter. But then I have always made an honest effort to have workout regimens solidly in place by late summer, so that they are such a habit that it is unlikely that I will fall off the wagon as Brain watches the shortening days with what amounts to abject dread. Body is humming along nicely. Brain, on the other hand, seems to have gone on holiday. I have been incredibly spacey, unable to mentally focus on any task, scatterbrained, loopy, inattentive, and flighty. I have bursts of energy and am able to power through necessary tasks, as long as they don't take longer than half an hour. I have projects left half finished. Even my writing is plagued by constant distractions... oh look, is that a Corvair? Halfway through a sentence Brain taps me on the shoulder to remind me that I need to pay the mortgage, then as I reach for the checkbook and bill.... sweet, it is a Corvair. There is many a moment when I feel I should just bow to the gods of A.D.D. and join the cult, but I know I can force the issue, rein myself in, hold Brain firmly by the scruff of the neck, or by the Medulla, as the case may be. I know I can, by sheer force of will, master my tendency to leap from topic to topic. I have never been quite sure if my A.D.D. is a side effect of being borderline bipolar, or if it is an entity unto itself. I do know that as I balance on the brink of the cold, winter abyss, my attention deficit kicks into high gear, derailing some of my efforts to accomplish anything other than physical feats. Fortunately Body stays on track with an intensity that can be alarming. Brain is on and off the track so much it might as well be an off-road vehicle with swamp buggy capabilities. 
    As I said, physical focus has been excellent, which has me in good stead as Firefighter Academy nears. But I need to be able to get Brain on board with this as well, since there will be much studying and memorizing to do. Memorizing is difficult for me in the best of times, torturous at times like this. I am lucky if I can remember my own damned phone number. There is also the alarming tendency to space out, Brain meandering aimlessly, unfocused, as we drive past freeway exits, or even (and yes, this did happen) drive past my own driveway. My own damned driveway! Seriously. Brain, what the hell are you thinking? Dear gods, at times like this I worry for anyone I come into contact with. And trying to remember appointments? Crikey, if it isn't written on the palm of my hand, it might as well just not have been made. Yes, I make lists. And lose them. I write directions down, then leave them at the computer. It really can be a struggle at times to present a normal facade with such internal ineptitude sabotaging my every effort to function in the real world. It does make me inclined to want to hide out in my home and do physical workouts until I am completely exhausted. This, at least, gives me an excuse for being unable to complete a task, or start one, for that matter.
    Body is moving ahead, guiding Brain to remain focused on fitness. Which is something, I guess. Body has become so intent on its objectives that Brain can't help but be drawn into the obsession. This is good, in the sense that it does make Brain have to focus somewhat. But I am scatterbrained, nonetheless. To the point of distraction and dysfunction... it was a red Corvair. Brain may be turning to mush, but Body is rock hard.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


    Changes do not come easy. Most are hard fought battles with Self. Some feel like hard fought battles against the world. I believe that the struggle to change is well worth the pain, suffering, bruising, deprivation, blood and tears. I know I am inclined to fixate, become OCD, to have such a narrow focus at times that the rest of the world blurs into unreality. It is how I am, how I do things, I know of no other way. The hardest part is to aim that focus instead of letting it aim me. I have gotten better over the years, especially this last year, as I shed many restraints that seemed to fetter me in inertia. Another difficulty is trying to split my focus, exert energy into several different objectives. I become so intent on one track that I eagerly throw vast amounts of energy at the current fixation, often to the neglect of even the day to day necessities. Again, it is how I am, how I do things. This has held me in good stead this year, I will say. I have achieved several things that had been lingering pipe dreams for so many years I felt as if they would always remain vapor, smoke, fantasy, unfulfilled dreams. Now, I can look at both past and future and see changes, growth, opportunity.
    As fixated as I become, "never doing anything by halves," as I have been accused, it is an astonishing way to achieve goals. Yes, I may steamroll over anything in my path, oblivious at times to my own intensity. Yes, I may seem self-centered, self-absorbed, over the edge, engrossed, crazed. As channeled as I seem, it only intensifies as winter settles in, as if the darkness feeds my fascination, my preoccupation, my fixations. Some changes come with a heavy price, some with a steady payout, a mortgage of energy. Others see the change itself and do not consider what price I pay day to day, week after week. But as I said, changes do not come easy, I fight for them, pay my pound of flesh, struggle, weep, berate. Pain is a constant companion, a quietly nagging friend, there to remind me of what I owe, and what I willingly pay out. Interesting to stop and ponder just what I am willing to spend of me, myself. But it is repaid. No, not exactly repaid, it is more like dividends earned, an exchange of goods and services, sweat equity.
    As winter looms I am hopeful that this year, being cognizant of what I need to do, where I need to go, current changes that must be maintained, future changes that must happen, that I might be able to divide my attentions, split my focus. I need to learn to steer my fixation, guide it for precision strikes, aim it for maximum payoff. Being aware, being self-aware, allows me to have some measure of control over the rudder, despite which way the gale force wind blows. I will, must, channel my fixation. There is too much to be done with life to allow my nature to run away with me.