Tuesday, July 12, 2016


    It has been a bizarre week of ups and downs. For weeks I have been fighting against a melancholy that is more grey than black. Not a trip into the abyss, more like watching a home movie version of a trip. It is hard to describe, and I don't quite understand it myself. I have been thinking that maybe it is more physical, as if I am fighting off some malaise, since it has manifested more like a case of extreme exhaustion than the emotional drain of depression.
    As I have been pondering this weird manifestation of whatever the hell is sapping my energy, the world has continued on despite my lack of involvement. As I hide in my hermitage, feeling sorry for myself, events have transpired that make me want to grab myself by the collar, give myself a shake and a slap upside the head, and scream, "Get over it!"
    Last week, a friend finally lost his long, hard fought battle with cancer. He lived far longer than the doctors predicted. He lived long enough to see both his children marry, and to meet his first grandson. He was a good man, flawed, as we all are, but with a good soul. We used to armor up and fight, way back when, and he was a good teacher. We have sons that are close in age, and close in size, and I remember how he and I laughed the first time we put those two big boys into armor and let them fight with hard, rattan weapons instead of the padded versions they were used to. Suddenly, they were much more cautious with each other, as they realized just how much they could hurt each other.
    Also last week, a friend lost her beloved canine companion to cancer. It was sudden and unexpected, but had metastasized to her heart. There was nothing to be done but make the tough decision. It is a brutal choice to have to make. It was nearly two years ago that I had to make the decision to end the pain of my beloved Tonks, my big, hairy girl.  It still hurts to think about, and my friend losing her dog to fucking cancer makes me hurt for her, and brings my own pain back to the surface. Fuck cancer.
    Monday was one of the good days. I got to run a 5K along our hometown 4th of July parade route, then watch the parade with my grandkids. That was a joy, as always.
    Wednesday started with my pager rousting me out of bed. A 35 year old man, felled by what was likely a massive heart attack. We worked on him for a long time, but there was nothing to be done. He was 35. Thirty-five!  Fuck no.
    The news has been filled with the violence that is tearing our country apart, and terrorism that is shaking the entire world to the core. I can't even log in to get my email without feeling overwhelmed by the tragedies that are happening with daily regularity. It is overwhelming.
    As I feel sorry for myself, with this grey malaise that I can't seem to shake, I have to make myself take a good look at my little corner of the world. I hold myself and my life up to the light, seeing it all for what it is. I can feel empathy and sympathy for the tragedies that are going on around the world, but can be glad it has not personally touched me. Yes, I am poor, skirting the edge of poverty, but my bills are mostly paid. Mostly. I am poor but I eat well, have a car that runs, a good roof over my head, a garden planted, fruit trees, grapevines, berries. As I hold myself up for inspection, comparing my minor woes to those who have lost loved ones, I chide myself for being so damned delicate.
    I think the real root of this malaise is my lack of progress towards.... something. I feel like I have stalled. Dead in the water. Low energy equates to zero motivation. But what am I motivating to? I have no fucking idea. It is just like trying to maintain a high level of training for triathlon, when there is no triathlon to train for. Without some sort of endgame it is hard to keep any kind of focus. Without focus, how can I know what needs to be done? I don't know where I am going, so how can I chose a path? Is that the key? There is no destination? No destination does not mean that I can't enjoy the journey. But I need to let go of the idea that I must go from point A to point B. I need to allow myself to putter about, relax, read a book, write when I have words that have to escape, paint when the need for color arises, build when my hands need to be productive. I just have to step back from the intense level of go go go that I tend to force myself in to.
     Maybe I need to shut out the news of events I have no control over. Focus on the here and now of my own reality. Maybe I am just rambling incoherently because I am sleep deprived and deranged. Maybe I am just blowing smoke, again, to try and make sense of things that make no sense. Maybe my reality has absolutely nothing to do with anything but the babblings inside my own head. Maybe it just is what it is, no explanations needed. Maybe. I don't know.

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