Thursday, June 30, 2016

Physical Manifestations

    Now comes the physical manifestations of melancholy. It is as if Body, knowing Brain and Spirit are managing to dig their way out, is telling me, "Fuck no, not yet."  It is strange to be in the grip of something tangible yet ethereal, held prisoner by demons that know how to eke out every drop of misery from every corner of me. It is easier for Brain and Spirit to claw their way out of the abyss, sometimes it is a case of mind over matter. Yes, I am good at blowing smoke up my own ass. I can talk a good talk, raise my own spirit from the dead, or near-dead. Body is not so easy to convince. Body is stubborn when tired and achy. I do tell myself that it is okay to take a rest day, after all, I do push myself hard. This has been different, for this time of year. Maybe it is just that I managed to glide through the late winter and into early spring without too many missteps. That is my usual time for a meltdown. This year, somehow, I managed to avoid any untoward episodes, kept the demons at bay, and came through the dark days relatively unscathed. I may just be having a delayed reaction.
    I have been trying to find the keystone to this particular episode, and can't quite pin it down. I know it is partly dissatisfaction with my job, combined with a severe shortage of cash this month, and a few other issues that would be minor in and of themselves, but added to the morass they become major hurdles. Being strapped for cash has made my diet switch from heavy on the fresh fruit and veg to a bit heavier on the home-baked (and delicious) carbs.This isn't the best plan for a body that is already feeling a bit askance from having my training interrupted with illness and injury. I have been on antibiotics several times this spring, and that may have kicked me into an imbalance as well. So nothing feels quite right. My whole being feels unbalanced, awkward, heavy, apathetic, sluggish. I have been so tired these last few weeks I feel as if I am drugged.  I try to work on projects, of which there are an overwhelming abundance, but I can't manage to wrap my brain around them, much less muster any enthusiasm.
    Work is kicking my ass on almost every level, and feeling especially intrusive on my delicate, introverted psyche. There is nothing I can do about work though, since there isn't exactly and army beating down my door to hire me as a Hermit In The Woods. On that front though, I am thinking through some good ideas for extra income, if I can get Body to stop being so damned pouty. As it is, I'm not even keeping up with my household chores, much less having any excess energy to launch a business endeavor.
    I just have to get Body through the next few days. That should see me through the worst of it. I hope. I keep managing my workouts, though those are slipping a bit, and taking my vitamins like a good girl. I confess, I have added the little pink pill, citalopram, back into the mix in an attempt to push myself back on track. I'm not sure what else I can do at this point, except keep on keeping on.  Sometimes, that is the best I can hope for. Now I think I will curl up with a book and a cup of herbal tea. That I have the energy for.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Little Magic

    Yesterday felt like the culmination of too many days/weeks/months of trying to find my way. This morning I woke feeling that Thing still lurking just over my shoulder, a ponderous presence, an explosion waiting to happen. I felt hungover, and with melancholy calling my name. Breakfast was an antidepressant and two cups of black coffee. I know, sometimes I like a good self pity wallow, I think it is good for the soul. But this had gone on far too long, with no payoff, no end result.
    Knowing there was not much to be done at this point I decided on a seriously ass-kicking workout to start my day. Then, if I did nothing else all day at least I would have accomplished something. Wednesday afternoon is my time with my grandson, and he is a bit of a devil. I get to act like a kid, with reckless abandon, and no judgement. Spending time with him always makes the day brighter, it also kicked my melancholy hangover to the curb. I had to leave him about 5pm, since Wednesday is also drill night at the station. Lo and behold, I get home and find out there is no drill tonight. Suddenly I have a free evening. Normally this would mean getting in an extra workout, but since I kicked my own ass all morning, then spent an hour in the pool the the little granddevil, I really did have free time. Weird. Okay, I never really have Free time, there is always something that must be done. So I started a pot of vegan chili and wandered outside.
    I have been slowly building a greenhouse. Bit by bit, out of salvaged material. I have a couple of old windows that are getting a fresh coat of paint so I decided to finish them up so maybe I can install them tomorrow. As my hands worked, painting and throwing the Kong for my silly little pitbull, my brain finally slipped off the hamster wheel of doom. I have been so focused on trying to think of One Good Idea that I forgot that what I Do Best is a little bit of everything. For decades I have dreamed of being able to make a living doing a number of different things, things I love to do. I don't know when and why I lost track of this idea, but I have been skirting around it forever. Recently I have come up with half a dozen really good ideas, none that is a huge moneymaker, but all of which have decent potential, and combined could be just what I need to do.
    A few weeks ago I read an article on finding your path. One question it asks, that I hadn't really formed an answer for is: What's one thing you dream about that you've never told anyone? Today I found my answer, like a clarion call, "Magic." I dream of magic. Magic, and the Fair Folk, and dragons, and talking animals. I want magic in my life, and I want to bring it to other people. I used to make Dream Pillows, and little magic bags, and Pookas (Welsh house fairies), and little dragons. I was "Here There Be Dragons." I loved that. But I couldn't find a way to make money with it. Now though, I think I can make it work. If I shift my focus a bit, change the inventory a tad, have a wider array, and a different marketplace. I think I can do this. Maybe. Maybe it is just another pipe dream, but what I really want is Magic. That Thing is no longer lurking, the explosion turned into an epiphany, the melancholy backed off a few steps. Maybe that is my Magic.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Something Has Got To Give

    I can't get past this chronic feeling that something has got to give. That here is something just over the horizon, waiting or lurking. I have been tiptoeing along the edge of an abyss, one that is familiar and yet not. I know change needs to happen, but what that change is I can't quite nail down. I have been spending much of my waking hours, and some of my dream state as well, mulling over what I want/need/should do. I have slipped into a feeling of suspended animation. I can't seem to get anything done, because there is so much to do. I can't seem to make decisions, because there is so much that needs to change. There is a great pressure in my chest, in my skull, in my heart, that feels as if it will explode upon the world, either in a fantastic maelstrom, or a gory mess.
    It is no secret that I try to force change, often well before it is time. But right now I feel as if I don't make a change I will be stuck in this state of lethargy, torpor, stupor, hibernation, until it is too late to make a change. I will become shadow of myself, a specter, going through the motions of my life without actually living. I am tired of where I am at, and since I am not a tree, I can move. But where do I go from here?
    No, I am not talking about anything as simple as moving from one residence to another. Besides, I love my shaggy little house, it is my shelter from the ravages of the world. What I am talking here is a move of greater significance. A need for a spiritual shift, a creative convergence, an artistic alluvium. I need to drag myself out of my current rut, the quagmire I am wallowing in that is stifling my desire to build and create. The muck of stress that holds me in its pervasive grip, and tries to suck me into the mire of self pity and melancholy. I can't give in, but I am finding myself nearly helpless to fight my way out.
    I tell myself I am just having an off day, off week, okay, actually an off month or two. My triathlon training has faltered, my nutrition has suffered, my projects are lying unfinished, my garden is barely planted, my house is in chaos. Every night I psyche myself up, "Tomorrow I am going to jump into working on..." fill in the blank with a dozen different ideas/schemes/projects. And every morning I can barely drag myself out of bed. I want to sit with a book and a cup of tea, all day long. All damned day long. The first few times I told myself I deserved a day of rest. But this has become a habit. Yeah, sure, not a habit that has been going on for more than a few days, really, but too many days nonetheless.
    It all comes down to that feeling that something has got to give. Something is hanging over me, a ponderous, massive, unknown Thing.  I can't put my finger on it. Try as I might I cannot figure this out. Search and research, analyze and over-analyze, over-thinking to the point of obsession, and I still cannot wrap my Brain around an answer, solution, or even a direction to go. I am floundering, and it makes me want to curl up in my room and hide from reality. Something has got to give. For now, I will just have to sleep on it, again. But I am losing my mind, again. Maybe tomorrow I will at least get something done.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


    Throughout my life I have had times of dissatisfaction. Nothing tangible, just a vague feeling, like an oppressive weight hanging in the air. A need to change, throw life into chaos, shake the snowglobe. An indefinable itch that I can't seem to locate well enough for a satisfactory scratch. Sometimes it feels like a faint power vibrating inside my marrow, an undischarged jolt of static electricity. A desire for a madcap dash into the unknown. In times past this has led me to make major changes in my life. Dramatic upheavals that have altered my path, pushed me in whole new directions. I don't foresee that at this time, there are too many aspects of my life that I am satisfied with. I love my little house, so won't do anything to jeopardize that. Besides, a girl's got to have a roof over her head, it might as well be my own. But all other tings are subject to change.
    I do fantasize about what it would be like to have zero responsibilities. Be able to take off at a moment's notice for an adventure, be it simple or otherwise. But then I come back to how much I do love about my life. My colorful home, my beloved family, my loyal dogs, the trees I have planted with my own hands that are bearing fruit, The Fort, the greenhouse under construction. So many things I have done to make my corner of the world be exactly what I want and need. And I have done it myself, for me, just how I want. My hermitage, my sanctuary.
    Much of my life is exactly what I could want. But there is still a need for change, a desire to alter my path, find my True Nature. I could say it is my job. The need for money that keeps me tied to the Real World. A job that, though not terrible, is still stressful, underpaid, and feels like a waste of my talents. But that comes back to not putting my little house in jeopardy. Yes, I live on the edge of poverty, but it is by choice. I chose to have less financial gain so I can devote more of my time to my own endeavors. I have made the conscious choice to put less valuable energy into the wants and needs of others, and more into my own. But what are those? What are my needs? What endeavors? Money is not the issue, except for the tool that it that makes life comfortable.
   What is it in the air that has me retreating into books of magic and fantasy?  It is not as if I expect to accomplish Great Works. It is not as if I were hoping for my Happily Ever After. Is it merely that there are so many horrible things happening in the Real World that I am escaping into the realms of fairy tales and fantasy? That does not feel right either.
    Is it because I feel like a Seeker on a Quest? Looking for my purpose, my grail? A bit of Parcival the Fool, I think. Naive, gullible, the eternal optimist? Maybe my role as Seeker has nothing to do with what lies at the end of the quest, but with the quest itself? I do find myself most content when I am seeking knowledge, even if it is just for the knowing, and not for any concrete reason. I love to search and research. Is this my Destiny? My Path? The simple need to learn of anything and everything? That still does not feel right. Close, but not quite.
    Whatever the cause, this feeling of Impending Something has been riding me like one of my demons of old. Though not quite as noisome. It does have nearly that same prescient aura that would precede a trip to the edge of the abyss, though without the feeling of impending Doom. The same, but different. Those were times of wild, manic change and growth. This feels slightly less manic and wild, but no less pressing. Another time of growth and change? A new Path to traverse? Changes that need to be made, but what are they? They invade my dreams, both waking and asleep. If I think of myself as a Seeker, I will continue to seek. Knowledge, for the sake of knowledge.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A New Endeavor

    The oppressive heat and humidity, combined with yesterday's exertions, have kept me relatively inactive today. I've been drinking iced tea and reading, mostly. But I can't let a day go by without doing something productive (other than housework). So, I opted for working at my computer. I have started on a task of intimidating magnitude. It is something I have pondered and planned for quite some time, but procrastinated because it is an intimidating endeavor. I have wanted to take the bulk of the postings on this Blog, my Random Ramblings, from the very beginning, and compile them into book form. The diary of someone fighting to find their own path through a lunatic world. As I copy and paste my earliest writings from over 5 years ago, it gives me chills despite the heat. Reading between the lines I am in awe of some of my foresight, and proud of the strength I had as I fought my way through some brutal changes. But it is taxing. Even though I won't let myself stop and read every post, I am catching enough words to make me falter occasionally. The raw emotions; fear, anger, joy, loneliness. My stubbornness and determination to forge my own life shine through on nearly every page. It is revealing, a little heart-wrenching, exhausting, and uplifting. I kind of amaze myself sometimes. I hope I have the patience to see this through, it is a bit tedious, kind of like cleaning out an attic. The attic has a lot of little treasures, and I have to keep dusting them off and getting them organized without getting too swept up in all the details. This will be grubby, sweaty work. But worth it in the end, I think.

Day of R&R

    Lethargy has set in today. Not in a bad way, per se, but in an "I deserve a rest day," kind of way. Yesterday I played hooky from work (well, actually I requested a day off and found someone willing to work my shift) and got to spend a long morning with my fellow firefighters burning down a house. Burn to Learn. Yeah, it is as fun as it sounds. There is s certain twinge of insanity involved in climbing into heavy clothing, intentionally starting a fire, playing with said fire until it finally manages to escape the attempts to tame it, then standing around in record breaking heat to watch it burn. We left the our station at 7:30 in the morning, and were back, slightly dehydrated, exhausted and pleased by 1:00 in the afternoon. By then temps outside had reached 99, which is a bit ridiculous considering that a few days ago it was 65 and raining. Welcome to Oregon's spring. This did leave me with a free afternoon to get in a 90 minute workout at the pool, a trip to a local greenhouse for plants, and home by 4:00. I figure I did enough yesterday for a whole weekend, so spending the of my time reading and chugging iced tea while outside temps soar is totally justifiable. Right? Anyway, mostly I wanted to scribble a few words so I could post a cool picture. Not my usual m.o. for my blog, but what the hell, neither is taking a day off.
(yeah, that's me on the right.... rocking the shiny new turnouts)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Plotting and Scheming

    Plotting. Scheming. Maniacally organizing my tool room. Nothing may come of it. But then again, something might. I need to figure out a path, even a meandering one, that will lead me forward. One of my biggest flaws, or most epic traits (depending on perspective) is that ideas flow so fast and free that practically bubble out of my ears. There are so many things I want to do, and yet feel like a kid in a massive toy store being told, "You can only pick one."  I know that isn't quite true. I don't have to limit myself to doing just one thing. But I do need to try to narrow it down to just a handful. I don't want to, but I get so overwhelmed by everything that I want  to do, and everything I need  to do, that sometimes all I manage to do is get in a couple of hard workouts in. No matter how scrambled Brain feels, I can always manage a workout, or two.
    I could make a list. Or lists. 'Though I've tried that before and all it does is remind me of all the things I want to do, and all the things I need to do, and still gets me no further down the path of getting shit done. Oh sure, I get plenty of stuff done. My day to day existence requires a certain amount of functionality. I workout, cook healthy foods, clean up after myself (mostly... okay, kind of half-assed cleaning anyway), feed the animals, clean up after the animals, workout again, get to bed at a not unreasonable hour, spend time with family, spend time at the fire station, and still have a few projects that are mostly done. Mostly. Here I have to insert the confession that Task Completion is not one of my stronger traits. I lay this at the feet of always having to many projects in the works, too many irons in the fire, and never enough time in a day.
    One path that must be traversed is creativity. I need to be creating things. All kinds of things. Writing, art, construction, home improvement. This is the path I wish would lead me to an alternative source of income. I would love to make a living creating Stuff.  All kinds of stuff. My fantasy would be to have half a dozen different avenues, each bringing in a bit of money. Just think, six different creative disciplines, each making a few hundred dollars a month. That's all I would need. I don't think that is asking too much of myself. That would let me be the scatterbrained artist I am inclined to be. It would give me the ability to work on what was consuming me at the moment, not what I "should be" working on. Now I just need to figure out how to get myself moving successfully down that particular path of creative freedom. Back to the plotting and scheming.

What To Do?

                        "If you do not like where you are, change it. 
                                   You are not a Tree."

     I woke up this morning with that strange unrest that hits me now and then, usually in late Winter, when I am feeling like a malcontent. Oddly, this has been a growing feeling over the last year or more. I think It came about after my Grandmother died. That set a series of changes in motion that were inevitable; weeks spent at her property cleaning through the detritus of an interesting and artistic life, time spent with my mother and aunt who have interesting lives, fantasies of the "what ifs" that revolved around the property lovingly called The Art Farm, the acquisition of so much salvaged building material, the building of The Fort with some of the aforementioned salvage. All these seemingly small things that add up to a realization that I still can't decide what I want to be when I grow up.
    I have moved through the bulk of my adult years doing whatever job I happened to get that paid tolerably well, that I was good at, and that fit around being a mother. Being a mother was the full time job that I took seriously, excelled at, and let define who I was for the better part of 20 years. I know this is typical. Get married, get pregnant, have babies, put all else on hold. Then the children grow, the marriage dissolves, and here I am with no formal education or training, a work history of what really amount to menial jobs, and to top it off; a serious lack of desire to be a paid lackey.  I hate to think I am ever typical, but can we say, "Empty Nester?" Not really. Not in the sense that I don't know what to do with myself with no kids in the house. To the contrary, I am busier than I ever have been, but something is lacking.
    I know plenty of people who think it is because I am single, and have basically remained so for a very long time. Yes, there were various relationships over the last 15 years since the dissolution of my marriage, but I haven't cohabitated with anyone other than my sons before they launched themselves onto the world. The reality is, I Love Living Alone. Really. Solitude is my dearest friend, silence being a close second. I can't even imagine having someone around that I had to talk to every day, it would drive me batshit crazy. This is one reason I am single; most guys don't get it. They do not understand that I don't want to chat every day, or text, or "hang out." It's nothing personal, but it makes men feel unnecessary, and unneeded. No one likes not being needed. So, my sense of disquiet and unrest is definitely not linked to my romantic life, or lack thereof. I am a hermit by choice.
    What I keep coming back to is "What do I want to be when I Grow Up?"  Nothing? Everything? I want to do it all, on my schedule. The other day I said, "I wish someone would pay me just to be Me." It is the truth. I am the square peg in the round hole. At work I am a rabble-rouser, voicing my jaded opinion on today's lack of respect for the working class. I feel like an old coot when I say "I remember back when good insurance was paid for by the company... when raises were available... when paid holidays were the norm..." These days every company seems to want to cut every corner possible to make a little extra profit that goes right into the pockets of the owners, never into the pocket of the underpaid over-worked employee, who is being asked to do more and more with less and less. Egads, you've got me monologuing like a cheesy super-villain.
    Back to the question: What do I want to be when I grow up? Maybe I just don't want to grow up? This question, asked when I was still in school, I always said "Veterinarian." Always. That was the dream for years. I wasn't a great enough student to make it into pre-med, and I knew it, so the dream fell to the wayside. In my late 20's I got to be a Veterinary Technician, and it was a great job, but I realized that I am too emotional. It was a heartbreaking job on so many levels. Plus, there is still the aspect of being at the mercy of an employer. In my early 20's I wanted to be a musician, and I was. Sort of. Bass player in a punk band that morphed into a rockabilly/surf band. That was fun, but I knew there was no money in it.
    One dream from my childhood that became a reality is being a Firefighter. I love it, but it is not a career. There is no money in it, it is all volunteer. The pay is in the satisfaction.... and getting to drive a Fire Engine. I am too old to make it a paying career, and would I want to? No. Go back to the reason I couldn't be a Vet Tech, too emotional. It would break my heart over time. But, I get to drive a Fire Engine, and help when and where I can.
     This all still leaves me with the question. Last year I sat in The Fort and wrote two lists:
What I Want:
Self Employment
Alternative Income
Self Reliant Home
Debt Free
Another Ironman
Train Harder

What I Need:
Moderate Income
Task Completion
Self Reliance
Spiritual Reconnect
To Write

    I am revisiting these lists. A few things have changed. Many have remained the same. Most are long term goals. Some are Lifestyle. Some are day to day challenges.
    Also, on the page with What I Need are these scribbled notes:
"Bring Art into everyday Life."
    These are all goals. Ways and means to move forward with Life. Changes. But I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.