Purposeful Life?

She reminds me of my mother, slowly lifting her leg up the step, unsteady with her cane, as I hold the door open and offer my other arm to help keep her balance.  She smiles warmly, her whole face lighting up, and thanks me for my kindness.

I’m not being kind, I’m being human, I think, but I smile back and tell her it’s my pleasure.  I’m you in several decades, I think.  Decades that will come sooner than I want, if I live that long.

She waits for her husband, a man who shuffles along with his walker, his gait slower as he pulls his unwilling body along, she, with the patience of one long used to this, keeps the door open for him after telling me not to wait.

Inside the office, she sees an acquaintance.  The woman rises to hug her and tell her how sorry she is for her loss of her brother.  The old woman hugs her tighter, thanks her, then cries, telling the younger woman that she’s the only one left now.  The younger woman tears up and kisses the older woman’s cheek, and tears well up in my eyes too.

I wish I knew something comforting to say.  ‘You’ll be reunited with your loved ones one day’, I think, but the words feel hollow and trite as I think them.

This life of sorrow weighs us down.  We’re challenged to the end, and I’m not sure there’s anything after this to make it all worthwhile.  I know the experience itself is valuable, but it’s ephemeral, unless we retain consciousness after we leave this world.

I’ve heard that life’s only meaning is what we bring to it, the kindness and care that we show others, and how much suffering we can alleviate while we’re here.  Maybe suffering is spiritual honor, but it doesn’t feel that way when you’re in it.  It just hurts.  And worse, after a life of enduring, our bodies betray us by breaking down, adding insult to injury, regardless of any wisdom gained through experience and the mere passage of time.

But there is joy, and beauty, and laughter, and pain-free living too.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Online Concerns

An account at an online drugstore that I rarely used – and thankfully didn’t store my financial information – was hacked, and the person tried to purchase something using their name and financials, but using my email.  I got a notice from the company that I had changed my information and to contact them if it wasn’t me, so I tried to log in, but they changed my password, and I contacted the site admin immediately and they cancelled and blocked my account, but then either the same person, people, bot? tried to change my Twitter account to their name and another password using my email, and I’m not sure why?

Maybe they wanted to spam anyone who follows me?  They can try to spam anyone without gaining access to my account.  I do my best not to store any financial information online, always asking any place I purchase from to remove any sensitive information.

I signed up for a healthcare portal at my doctor’s office, and when I accessed it, it was creepy seeing all my health information displayed.  Who else is looking at that?

Being able to check my bank account, or update my healthcare information, or make purchases online is so convenient and easy, but how vulnerable are we making ourselves?

Groups like Anonymous have shown that they can hack into the most allegedly secure sites, so what chance do I stand?  I’m sure my beliefs and activism pisses off plenty of people, but I feel like I’m one of the decent folks – trying to keep our society more free, our air breathable, our water drinkable – and accessible – and our food edible and nutritious, and I don’t try to hack into accounts to make a point, or steal from them.

I don’t have a specific god, but I’m spiritual, and that alone is enough for radicals to wish me dead, or at least silenced.  They follow fear rather than love and goodwill.

I’ve noticed followers on my blog that only want to sell something, and hits from countries known for hacking, and maybe these folks, if they are people and not bots, genuinely like or enjoy what I write, and I apologize if I’m wrong, but my sense is they have no interest in my thoughts.

If anyone reading this has dealt with online attacks, and staying safe online, or just has experience to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you, and I hope you all have safe and kind online presence.  Cheers.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Can’t Get Here Fast Enough

Soon, these will grace the front garden again.

Soon, these will grace the front garden again.

Spring.  Warm, earthy, noisy Spring!  Typically, winter passes, melding into spring, and often, too soon into the hot weather without much fanfare, but this year, I need a parade!

I have the ridiculous desire to get out and rid the yard of snow, but I know it’s nitrogen for the soil – ‘poor man’s fertilizer’ – as I’ve heard.  This year I’ve obsessed mostly on the roof snow leaving, as if that’s somehow the harbinger of winter’s end.

I saw myself somewhat objectively after several days of roof viewing, and shook my head at my newest compulsion – as though my observation increases the snow’s decrease. Quantum physics holds that observation changes a thing, but the effect must also be on a quantum level as all the stupid snow did was mock me for the last few weeks by seeming not to budge.

Complaining doesn’t change a damn thing, but I read or listen to all the grousing about the weather with silent, but insincere, repudiation because I want the motherfucking winter over too – probably worse than they do!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Marching Into Spring, and Smith College Spring Bulb Show

March is only calendar Spring, but it helps psychologically.  I’ve seen a foot of snow in April, and sometimes snow in May.  It melts more quickly, but with climate change, I have no idea what the weather patterns are doing.  Yes, we’ve had fierce winters forever, and there were ice ages too, but we’re in another change pattern facilitated by human industry – whether or not we believe it.

I found this article from The Guardian helpful in understanding the pattern change.  I also appreciated this Guardian article about consensus on climate change, and while it’s not going to change any minds that don’t want to be changed, it’s helpful for a way to talk about climate change.

Mostly I think about how to adapt.  Do I move – even if it’s only 4 or 5 months a year?  I love my area, its beauty, and familiarity, but I’m not coping well with harsh weather.  I know that no matter where I go, there is always something unfavorable, but it’s about what I’m willing to accept, or what I can deal with.

Likely, I am only fantasizing as I have no money to live in two places, and barely enough to live in one, but if there is work I can find to sustain me & my S.O. through a few months a year in milder climes, I will jump on it!

In the meantime, I really enjoyed the Smith College Bulb Show last week, and hope you enjoy these photos from our excursion through all of their plant houses from the tropics to the desert (if you click on a picture to enlarge it, you can click your browser back button to continue with the next photos):

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Website Home

My latest endeavor: Get Creative e-business.

It’s my new business platform – anything from freelance writing, acting, singing, and all kinds of creativity to keep my inspiration hopping!

I look forward to the day when I have a brick & mortar business to have a site for, but for now, you can hire me for writing, singing, acting, or telling you how great you are. :-)

Cheers!

Signs of Spring

Wrapped by this bright day’s light, I know it’s still cold outside, but it’s nice to pretend the air is balmy, with warm spring breezes tinkling the chimes hanging from the porch outside our front window.

Winter’s quiet, now broken by trilling birds seeking mates, claiming their territory, and readying their nests over this side of the hill, is another welcome sign of Spring.

As the day wears on, clouds dim the sky, but not our hope.  The steady drip of snow off our roof belies winter’s frigid grip on the land, and it won’t be long before my fingers feel the warmth of soft, rich, dirt as we sow our garden’s first seeds.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Begin Again

The search for work continues.  I’m thinking of a coffee kiosk business, or something that suits me that I can make a living at and be successful maintaining.

Freelance writing sounds good, but it’s difficult to beat out all the other freelancers or in-house writers vying for few jobs.  It seems more writers are making their money through motivation rather than writing jobs.  The ‘I did it and so can you, and here’s how: just sign up for my step-by-step plan for the special price of’, is saturating the market.  Why wasn’t I savvy enough to get there first?  Ever.  At anything?

I tried direct sales, and pyramid schemes, and I’m tired of making money for someone else higher up on the chain.  Those dedicated few with six-figure or better incomes are far and few for a reason, all you sad hopeful underlings!

There are now ‘parties’ for everything – nail wraps, bags, sex toys, jewelry, along with the more famous cookware, food storage, and make-up giants.

I see creativity all around, and wonder why my brain isn’t as stellar as all those amazing folks developing who knows what’s next!

My significant other suggests that my past & my depression & anxiety have stymied my creative success, but I remember a therapist or friend’s metaphor to think about my situation as though I had been run over and my body were crushed; whether it was intentional or not is a moot point.  What am I going to do now is the only question, the only thing that matters from here on.

That question has broken my heart for such a long time, leaving me feeling like I’ve betrayed myself with my failure to thrive.  Last week though, as I told my therapist that if I’m the only one who can save me, then I’m screwed, she replied: “No!  You are not solely responsible for saving yourself.  We’re here for you.  That’s our job.”  She went on, saying that new ways of treating depression and PTSD are coming out all the time, and I just have to trust her, even if I can’t trust myself.

I have no bootstraps to pull myself up by.  I am failing, and while there are plenty of non-empathetic or compassion-fatigued souls around who couldn’t care less about me or anyone else, I’m still worth saving to some.  I hope to feel worth saving for myself again, but I’m not there lately.  I also know that I’m sensitive and greatly affected by the seasons, and even though the light is returning, my particular danger doesn’t pass until we’re through March.

Maybe some pre-verbal traumatic event happened in March, continuing to haunt my psyche – or maybe it’s just this last bit of a harsh winter to get through while the saying, ‘night is darkest before the dawn’, runs mantra-like through my mind.

Bottoming out leaves nothing but up or out, and I’ve surprised myself by my tenacity, and caring others remind me that as long as we’re alive, possibility remains.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Freak Out!

No car, unemployed, but still housed.  I’ve got it pretty good, I understand, but when a major surgery leaves you with one arm unusable, and no job, and a slick spot that crunched your car so much that the repairs are costlier than the car’s value, and you don’t have the money even if the car were worth repairing, and you’re depressed along with your anxiety disorder, and you haven’t found any medication that works – yet, and you’re supposed to carry on as though nothing has happened, and you’re still trudging your way through ’empty nest syndrome’, and you go to a library for a day to get the hell out of the house, and it’s closing at noon, so you have to find somewhere else to go, and it’s below 0℉, with a wind chill bringing it to -14℉, you start to understand what vagrant means, never expecting its application toward you, but also realizing in that moment how judgmental you are for having any reaction at all toward the word, as though it means you’re a pariah, unworthy of notice or respect, and you decide that it’s time to hop off this particular world, but you can’t because you have a child who it will affect, regardless of said child’s lack of interaction, and not only that, but what would those who love me feel; so I freaked out instead, and yet, my boyfriend said he still likes and loves me, and wants to be with me, and besides the mental health evaluation that I thought he should have, having his arms around me while I broke down felt like a warm pool on a cold night, and my anxiety and fear started dissipating, and he said he’s right where he wants to be, and how great is that? – and winter is ending, and spring will unfold, and there’s hope I’ll find a job I can do, and eventually have money for a car again, if that’s what I need, or maybe we’ll move to a city where public transport is good, and there are new medications and depression treatments coming out all the time, and yeah, it sucks being a government-sponsored guinea pig, (and having conspiracy paranoia?), and we could live off the grid if we want to, and we have plenty to eat, which is good because we were hungry by then, and my prayer to the non-god is to help all those without basic needs, and more than that – my prayer is for everyone’s self-actualization as Abraham Maslow postulated in his hierarchy of needs.

Outside of that, it’s good to remember to breathe – slow and deep – and show gratitude for at least one thing a day, and laugh, even if it makes me cry, because eventually, it won’t.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Go West! (even though you’re bound to return)

When I revised my about page, I thought about all the places I’ve lived, and why I kept moving.  I didn’t really have wanderlust, although I did enjoy traveling when I could.  I wasn’t even very restless, but I never felt satisfied or content.

In my twenties, I saw a greeting card illustrated by Mary Engelbreit that read: ‘Wherever you go, there you are’, and it was an epiphany.

I was running away from myself – only I kept coming with me.  The places, faces, and jobs would change, but the one constant was me.

Once I understood that I could only change myself, life started improving.  Unfortunately the process has taken many years, and lots of ‘one step forward, two steps back’, but, being drawn to proverbs, I also read an alleged Chinese proverb which goes: ‘Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still’, and that gave me hope that I wasn’t the only one muddling through life.

These days, traveling is journeying to, rather than running from – unless, of course, I’ve broken a law, and then I’ll definitely be on the run…

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Mission & Vision

Who am I writing to anyway?  I’m writing to you; I’m blogging for those in my metaphoric choir, and those interesting in joining, or needing practice…

My political being craves righteousness, dignity, kindness, and caring.  One of my Twitter buddies recently posted:

I’ve always been politically focused because I think it’s how we change socially.  We’re all responsible for this habitat we’ve created since humanity began building, domesticating, industrializing, proselytizing and politicizing our society.

I think we owe future generations a livable world, and while that flies in the face of corporate interests, as I’ve heard: ‘you can’t eat money’.

Nor can we have a just society when our solution is to kill people we don’t agree with, or murdering those we see as ‘other’, and therefore less valuable, less human.  There cannot be a true deity that would accept any rationale for killing others except self-defense. Following a bloodthirsty, petulant, deity is pure egotism, or another form of psychosis.

We’re masters at justification, filled with hatred, greed, and lust for power – so my desire for peace, cooperation, and understanding continues needing champions – and I gain strength from co-conspirators in creating a more just world.

Blogging 101 – Saying Hello To The Neighbors

I follow a lot of blogs, and while I want to read and visit each one of them every day, it’s impossible time-wise.  I check in with those I’ve been long connected to here, and sometimes weeks will go by and I’ve barely read anything, never mind write! I’m working on lessening that, and staying more connected.

I found several more blogs while thinking of topics I wanted to follow specifically:

Poetry, Music, Parenting, Humor, and, Politics.  To that end I’ve recently followed:

In Noir Velvet – Beautiful poetry & gorgeous photography

Jacke Wilson – Music & interest

KnowPlaceInTheWorld – Politics & interest

I’ve Become My Parents – Parenting, Humor & interest

Ben’s Bitter Blog – Humor & interest

My friends whose blogs I follow mostly have specific categories like book reviews: pyrajane, cooking: Quarter LIfe (Crisis) Cuisine, and help and support for parents with severely allergic, or ill children: Multiple Food Allergy Help.

It’s incredible to realize that I grew up without computers, or cell phones, or any of the constant contact devices overwhelming our world – for better and worse.

My grandparents saw mass production of automobiles, air travel, rail travel, and automated industry – and I’d say they have this generation beat, because while all that we have now is life-changing and revolutionary, we’ve not gone as far physically as my grandparents’ and great grandparents’ generations.

Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear what you think!

 

 

 

 

Blogging 101 – Title and Tagline Change

Wow, this is a tough one!  I looked at suggestions, other blogs, and am trying to figure out what to settle into – and I have nothing but a general compilation of rants, poems, stories or amusing (at least to me) anecdotes.

I decided on Abstractly Distracted with the tag line: “So many thoughts, so little concentration.”  But my blog isn’t about my A.D.D., but I feel like my writing sometimes shows some of my quirks, my difficulty focusing, and completing tasks.

I’ll have to keep thinking about this because I’m not sure I want to keep this one, but it’s a start.

 

Blogging 101 – Introductions

Well, hello there!  I’m Jerri, but I like writing under a pen name, and I usually choose Hermionejh.  I first heard the name Hermione from an anthology literature class, and I really liked it, even as far as considering changing my name legally.  I think I’m glad I didn’t because J.K. Rowling has immortalized it and I felt I’d always be somehow suspect for having that name.  ( I could say that she got the idea for her name from me…)

Blogging gives me a way to write, and hopefully, find a readership.  I’ve read a lot of blogs, and I enjoy the immediacy, and the colloquial quality of blogging.  Bloggers engage with their readers, and other writers they follow, and I know that interaction has shaped what I write about, and inspires excellence in my craft.

When I started my blog I felt lost and hoped to find companionable others to share some of this life journey with, even if only through writing.  I did find what I was looking for, which was and is wonderful, but I think I’m still trying to find my voice & platform, which is what I hope this course, and others offered here, will help me do.

I look forward to the course, and I’m thankful for the company & other writers buckled in (or not) for the ride!

Cheers. ;-)

Cult Zeroes

Cults abound.  I grew up in one, and the apologists continue trying to convince more reasonable people of the cultists’ righteousness, that they have the answer(s), and you should give them all your money and worldly possessions in pursuit of oneness with their cult leader – because you can be damn sure there is a hierarchy, and they get the best of the best.

With.out.fail.

That’s why it’s a cult – or the politically correct assignment of ‘high-demand group’.   I don’t understand the more pleasant moniker, I suppose it seeks to lessen shame.

There are so many incarnations (pun intended?) of cults, it’s hard to know whether you’re dealing with one.

Here are a few handy tips, taken from Janja Lalich & Madeleine Tobias’s work: Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias (Berkeley: Bay Tree Publishing, 2006). It is adapted from a checklist originally developed by Michael Langone.

Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups – Revised

Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.

Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a “cult scale” or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

‪ The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

‪ Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

‪ Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

‪ The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry – or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

‪ The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar – or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

‪ The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

‪ The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

‪ The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

‪ The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

‪ Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

‪ The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

‪ The group is preoccupied with making money.

‪ Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

‪ Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

‪ The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group. 

Not all of these need to be present for the cult classification, and apologists for cults will read the list, discounting what they read as ‘not entirely applying’, thereby allowing them to justify their beliefs about their group not being a cult.

It took a lot of work to de-program myself, especially when people like my mother still value their experience there.

I ended most of my relationships with ex-culters, and try to only communicate with those de-programmed, or non-apologists.

Several peers with whom I survived the cult continue reinforcing old cultisms such as believing the best, most positive, most understanding people were from their time there, when the reality is that bonds formed in childhood and young adulthood gain stature as time passes because you are known more completely than others recently met, such as co-workers, or casual friends.

The deep friendships I made outside the cult revealed how damaging that place was, because we forged lasting, trusting connections, while acquaintances, and co-workers, currently, and through the years, often increased my sense of isolation rather than connection.  Had I not made those honest and abiding friendships, I too, might believe that the cultists were right, and we were a special group, designated by god.

It’s also the ultimate egomania to believe that you were, or are, ‘chosen’, or accepted into such lofty ranks, above all on earth but those who worship or live as you do.

I’m grateful to have claimed back my autonomy, my power, and my voice.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

The Evening Before The Morning After

Everything crowds in.  My life is all before me.  I don’t know the future, but all the possibles are jockeying for position. ‘I’m just one person!‘ I yell to the cosmos.  Just one.

This is how it often feels.  I have several paths laid out – pretty much all equally appealing, or, repelling, and I freeze.  I am the poster of the ‘deer-caught-in-headlights’.

Sometimes I believe that getting blasted will obliterate the hell in my head, and it sometimes does, but I pay for it.  I can’t sleep and then the hang-over wastes most of the next day – especially now – when life is flying by & I can’t afford wasted days.

My maudlin remembrances dampen my free-spirited, excessive romp, and being aware of my inebriation is the worse for it.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

War On Winter

Aching fingertips numbing as the frozen air rushes to sting my exposed skin. After wiping the fog from my glasses, I ram my hands back into the relative warmth of my glove after adjusting my scarf to cover more of my face from the biting wind.

There is no bad weather, only being poorly dressed for it, echoes through my mind, clearly uttered by some masochist with something to prove, his or her badge of honor.

Really, punk?  How about hurricanes?  What about tornadoes?  Dust storms so fierce they obliterate all they pass over?  How do you dress for those, I spit at all those idiots in my mind.

Well, who’s the real idiot?  Them for uttering it, or me trying to prove it?

Reveling in the rush of warmth greeting me at my door, I’ll let those hardier (and therefore better?) souls keep their icy company without me.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Progressive Liberal

That’s me.  I eschew religion, and anything that tries to micro-manage my life.  I believe in goodness, in caring, in loving, in reason, in live and let live – as long as your ‘let live’ doesn’t include legislation to make me try to live my life as you want me to.

I’m pro-choice, pro-woman, pro-doing-what-works-for-you unless it harms me directly or harms those already born.  I don’t care about the arguments against abortion because that is a woman’s decision to grow a being in her body, and it is NOT a person, just as any egg is not that being, until after, in a human’s case, the first trimester, and even then, there are circumstances where the woman’s life, or the child’s existence outside the womb, are in grave danger, and that woman, her doctor, and her family are the ones making that private, personal, and gut-wrenching decision.

abortion_not_a_difficult_concept

Use whatever inflammatory terms you wish, exaggerate to promote your position, and keep on supporting war and poverty, or denigrating impoverished women with children once those children are born.

Some will agree, and some won’t, but I don’t need to read your words and you don’t need to read mine.

I stay away from this charged topic normally, but today my goat was got.

if only my uterus could shoot bullets

Moment over.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Top Ten Why I Don’t Drive So Fast Anymore

10. Wanting to join the hypermilers.

Go, GO! – but not too fast – or too slow…

 

9. Avoiding those damn squirrels is harder the faster you’re going.

8. Having to brake for a line of just moving cars after hitting all the other green lights on that road.

I didn’t expect this!

 

7. Stupid people in rotaries, traffic circles, or roundabouts

Taking control of the traffic circle?

 

6. Speeding tickets.

Kid gets speeding ticket

Kid gets speeding ticket

5. Insurance rates going up.

Pffffttt!!

 

4. Hitting potholes at 50 mph.

Dum de, dum de, dum de, – AHHHHH!

 

3. Getting the finger from the normally sweet dog-walker lady on my road.

 

Slow down! _http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt84/ericuzialko/OLD-LADY-MIDDLE-FINGER.jpg

2. Hydro-planing isn’t just a fun-sounding activity.

When they told me it was like a slip & slide, I didn’t believe it at first.

And the #1 reason for no longer driving so fast:

I no longer have a car.

Sigh…

Contraindications

Old friendships mean the world to me, but we’ve all changed – and our lives don’t always mesh anymore.

Connection matters so much, but being vulnerable is often too risky.

We sometimes want others to be what we need them to be when we need them to be it, but, at the same time, or at least in that moment, we don’t want them to need the same from us!

I deserve respect, but I loathe confrontation.

The greatest pain I ever felt was from my love being rejected, but it allowed me to figure out how to love myself instead.

I often freak out before I can calm down and see situations rightly.

The idea of a new career, or creative pursuit, energizes me while the reality is often enervating.

I’m always a morning person until I wake up.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

 

 

 

On Further Examination

I’m so scared of taking medication, but medication could probably improve my mood.  I think it’s a slippery slope.  If I take the medication, I might have to be on it for the rest of my life, and is it just the pharmaceutical company trying to make a buck on an unproven chemical cocktail that has had enough results for FDA approval, but then all the side effects and dangers that the announcer or ticker races through makes me wonder how many died, or were seriously messed-up from it while they were counting it a success?

The stigma sucks too, but I’m already stigmatized.  It’s not like my friends and family don’t know that I have issues.  They like to kid me about it, and try to love and comfort me through being me, too, but all the help I’ve ever received has allowed my survival, not my success.  Merely existing sucks.  I want to live, to thrive, if I have to be here.

I cycle through horrible depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation & planning, and then I swing back ‘up’, but my ‘ups’ are really just stasis.  I don’t have grandiose thoughts, or beliefs – except for absolutely knowing I’m going to win the lottery – ;-) – but otherwise, it’s mostly anxiety & depression…

The issue of considering medication seriously is when I’m on the upswing from depression I realize that it’s all up to me to keep level and achieve my goals & dreams and it’s a horrifying thought, when typical people experience that idea with energy and excitement.  Or, I begin a project only to abandon it half-way through – and if I had a room for half-way through projects or plans – you couldn’t open the door for the onslaught you’d be caught in.

Goddess love me though, I keep trying.  I know I’m patronizing myself, but it’s working for me at the moment, so let’s carry on.

I remember an advertisement about creativity – maybe it was an Apple ad, or some such entity – but it showed various people thinking up amazing ideas and then not following through, only to see shortly after that someone else having the same idea realized it.  Every time I saw that ad, I’d break-down, but felt helpless to change.  I’d win the award on ‘person most wanting change’.  That kind of hunger is supposed to motivate me to act – dammit!

Am I the butt of the joke where a woman (or it could easily be a man!  – jeez, work with me) is on her roof after flood waters chased her up there, and she’s praying for help when a helicopter comes by offering assistance, and then a boat, and then something else, and when she refuses all saying she’s waiting for god’s help, she finally drowns and, astonished to be dead, asks god why it didn’t help her, and god replies that it sent a helicopter, a boat, and whatever else – but the joke didn’t include god’s final remark, which I imagine to be ‘you dumbass!’

But that joke is stupid because I would have accepted the first help sent, and so would have that person in the ‘joke’, it’s too obvious.  A better joke is the prisoner at the guillotine about to be executed and the priest asks if the prisoner has any last words. The prisoner says: ‘I only ask that god choose to spare my life.’  The executioner releases the rope, and the blade falls an inch short of the guys neck.  The executioner examines the guillotine, finds nothing wrong, and sets it back up. The priest asks the prisoner for his last words again, and again, the prisoner asks that his life be spared.  The rope is let go of, again stopping short an inch from the prisoner’s neck.  The executioner puzzles over the guillotine, but fails to find anything wrong.  The the prisoner looks up from his vantage point and notices a crimp way up in the rope, points to it, and says ‘Oh, I see the problem.’

You see my problem?

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

 

 

Deconstructing

A load of dirt

Matter is created In the raw depths.  Getting there takes fortitude – carrying on, motoring through, shoveling out the muck.

Maybe there is precious metal and a few gems to uncover, and clean up for display – to show it was worth the toil.

As a child, I dug in the sand for hours, carefully piling the wet sand out of the hole.  A wave rode into my nearly finished pit – crumbling it to a smooth dent – and I sat there in tears for all my lost work.

My brother was working further up on the beach, but the sand wasn’t wet enough.  I told him it wasn’t going to work, but he was happy digging and watching it fill, content to throw sand around.

I took the pail and filled it with water and began pooling the water in the smaller hole I carved out near my brother.  When the water stayed in the pool, we dug a trench down to the wave line and kept filling the bucket, pouring it into the pool, and watching it run down our trench until we tired of it.

We ended up making a moat around a sand hill and defended the fort from the sea-gull enemy by chucking shells and wet sand at them.  They didn’t play along, but kept away from the crazy humans, thus ensuring our defensive victory.

Like the gulls of long ago, I’ve become my unwitting enemy.  I might prove a formidable foe now that I recognize the game.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Fear And Loathing In Massachusetts

Worry, worry, worry.  It rarely lets me be.  Will I accomplish what I need to today?  In my life?  What do I need to make it all work?

It feels beyond my ability, so I struggle staying alive, staying present, remaining hopeful.

My son has grown and gone, and I’m supposed to be alright with that, or strong about that, or happy about that, but I’m just sad.  I’m broken-hearted and it’s like a piece of my heart has left and doesn’t want to be reminded that it’s part of me.

I’m getting up every day, living my life.  I brush my teeth and my hair.  I shower and do laundry.  The dishes get washed, the floor and rugs sometimes get vacuumed, dusting happens when it’s an embarrassing coat over whatever I notice at the time.

Anxiety is my nemesis.  I often – and I mean often – find I’m holding my breath and have to guide myself to inhale deeply and slowly – and regularly.

I’ve tried meditation, and I cannot shut the fuck up inside, and then I get anxious about that.  I feel wired wrong.  I like being kind, and taking care of myself, but so much of my time is anxiety based.  I eat well because I’m afraid of the consequences of not eating well, not because I take pleasure in having a healthy body – although having a healthy body is a nice side effect of that particular anxiety.

Then I think, well, how healthy can my body be when I have so much anxiety?  Am I writing the word anxiety too much?  Should I be searching the thesaurus for alternative words so my writing remains interesting and fresh?

I’m sad I’ve never been picked for showcasing because it says I’m not quite good enough as a writer – not quite interesting enough.  I see so many writers who have hundreds of likes on every post, and I understand why, because I like what they’re writing too, but all I ever wanted to shine at was writing, singing, and acting, and I feel I’ve failed all three.

Writing, like singing, is my soul food, so I’ll continue regardless, as I will with acting, because what else can I do?

I’m not well suited for this world, and after deciding to leave it, and then finding reason to continue, I had hoped it wouldn’t stay as much of a struggle, but it is.

Every day hurts, or goes by in anxious confusion and self-loathing.

I’m running out of ‘some-days’ in my life.  It’s come to ‘now or never’.  I understand that that’s the way it is.  Not everyone wins.  Not everyone succeeds.  It’s my work to keep trying, but the pay is terrible.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Marx Brothers & Not Going Gentle Into That ‘Good’ Night

While watching a Marx Brothers documentary I grieved seeing them in their later years as all I’ve ever really experienced from them are their movies, and it was strange to realize that they were my Grandparents’ contemporaries, even if their crazy comic genius lives on unchanged, and new generations continue discovering them in all their zany wonderfulness.

The ache I felt reminded me that I vacillate between aligning more with Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Nightand feeling that death is as right as life.

I grieve for those who’ve left this world.  I wonder where they’ve gone.  I’ve heard tales of being visited by relatives and loved ones, but I’ve never experienced it myself.

My mother told me that her mother visited her when my mother was gardening.  My mother was in her forties and my grandmother appeared trying to advise her on planting to which my mother responded by telling my grandmother to go away, that my mother was doing things her own way.

It was stunning and scary to hear that when I was a kid, but it’s comforting now.  I want to believe that we continue on with consciousness, and the scientist in me knows we continue energetically because energy is neither created nor destroyed, and another principle of mass conservation is that everything must go somewhere.

Is everyone who has died still sentient though? This world makes little sense to me and I’ve been puzzled over what good is being born just to die since I was little.  I’m still angry with an alleged Creator about that.  Why take on solid forms that can be damaged and feel pain and have emotions?  It’s a cruelty I’ll never understand.

My father thought this is a penitentiary planet.  We’re the scum of the Universe, playing out our time as the lowest form of evolution.  What must we have done to deserve that?!

I couldn’t agree with that because of sunsets and puppies and kittens, and all manner of beauty that continues to delight and enthrall me, and I can share feelings, have intimacy, vulnerability, and care.

If we were the worst of the Universe, wouldn’t we be even more horrible more of the time, or even all of the time?  I guess we couldn’t survive then, so maybe having some goodness is necessary to keep us replicating, but also having to endure or witness evil, or watch those we love grow old and die is part of our punishment?

On the other hand, there are those we’re glad to see leave this world, and know the world is better for them being gone, so the questions remain.

When I followed a religion, I remember reading that god, or the creator, is a ‘unknowable essence’, so trying to understand or know It is a form of insanity.

I feel best when I ask the least questions, but I seem unable to stop seeking answers anyway.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Our Time Comes

My mother is in her 80’s now.  80’s!  I realized what that means at our holiday family gathering when we were opening presents, and I gave my mother her gift to open, and something was happening to her, freaking us all out.  She closed her eyes, and seemed to be struggling internally, swallowing, all the while drifting away.  I called out, “MOM”!, as though my voice could stop her slipping into – whatever the hell was happening.  Her eyes fluttered, then half-opened in response, and I could see it was taking extraordinary energy for her to come to awareness, and then she tried to get up to use the bathroom, but she nearly passed out upon rising.  I grabbed her, but my left arm is still weak and I couldn’t hold her, yelling to my sibs: “Help me! I can’t hold her.”  She was in stocking feet and sliding down our wood floor when my oldest sister grabbed her, and then my next oldest sister, the nurse, took her other side and they helped her into the bathroom.

I felt like we were witnessing her dying, and it was terrifying.  After what seemed like an eternity, one of my sisters came out of the bathroom saying she took her blood pressure, but couldn’t get it accurately – that it was reading so low she’d be dead – and all I could think was ‘duh, she was dying!’, but stopped myself from saying it. I wanted to call 911, or get her to a hospital, but my sisters asked me to wait and see if she worsened.  After 10 minutes or so, she had recovered, becoming her chipper, aware, self within a half-hour or so, which was actually more unsettling, because – what happened?

While the drama unfolded in the bathroom, the rest of us, my son and his girlfriend – who was at our holiday gathering for the first time – my S.O., my sister’s husband, and another long-time family friend were unsure what to do.  Once my mother was starting to feel better but wanted to stay in the bathroom for a while longer, my oldest sister stayed with her and we proceeded with the gift exchange, which seemed rude, but my son had to leave shortly, as did my next oldest sister, and our family friend, so we halfheartedly continued.

I feel like a total shit now, like, of course we should have waited for my mother and sister to come out of the bathroom, but we felt the danger had passed as my oldest sister was staying in there against my mother’s protests that she was fine.  I was trying to weigh carrying on with making everyone wait for however long it would be.  That feels like a co-dependent decision now.

But this is life.  I make crappy decisions all the time, no matter how I try for perfection.

My mother is going to die, and maybe soon.  Perhaps, though, she’ll accomplish her goal of reaching 103, thereby outliving her father, who died at 102 – but as John Lennon famously sung in, Beautiful Boy, and others have voiced before him: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

I don’t want to lose her from this world, though.  There’s the rub.  I know it’s inevitable and I have to prepare for that happening sooner rather than later – but it could also be that I pass before her.  Not being assured another minute is scary, but the odds of me dying soon are lower than that of my mother’s. So, I am embracing whatever time we have left.

Good memories of connection, love, fun, great conversation and family history are what I’m focusing on now, and I hope that my son will feel the desire to know and understand where he came from, and what my young life was like sooner than I did with my folks.

I remember a gravestone that read something like, ‘Know that whenever I was taken, the end came too soon’. I still have more time with my mother, so I will honor our gift of time the best I can.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.