Write Now

I have the writer’s nemesis: writer’s block. It’s why I have several half-finished stories.

This is a big part of my shame, the parts of me I wish I could surgically remove and join the doer world.

Books, articles, videos, podcasts, psychiatrists have been consulted – and I still procrastinate.

The controlling editor in my head won’t let me write a sentence in peace – there’s no ‘getting it out and edit later’ for me.

But writing calls to me anyway.

Writing is this beautiful, unhampered soul just waiting for me to get over myself and create. Why does that terrify me?

It’s a rhetorical question. I know the answer, or at least I’ve been given several explanations from the above list of resources – especially the psych docs.

Information is power, sure, and I’m writing now because this is a chunk. This isn’t fraught like finishing a story is.

It’s important that I write – even if it’s never published – even if no one likes it.

I’m writing because it’s what I must do. I just know, or believe, I can be and do better.

Living up to my potential is what life’s waiting for me to do, and I’m only a chronic disappointment to myself, and probably my mother, and possibly my family and everyone who knows me.

Except that’s part of the big lie the boogeyman in my head blocks me with. I give my energy, witting or unwitting, to fear. The unwitting I can do nothing about, but the part of me that knows has to step in and, gently (for me anyway), take pen in hand – or keyboard – and begin.

Maybe I’ll be found a failure and a fraud, but how can I fail any worse than I already have by never following through?

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

 

 

Living Nightmare

So, the goodness I thought would reign didn’t manifest, and the people chose darkness.

They chose hate, fear, misogyny, and it’s the first time a known sexual predator was elected to the highest office in America.

We are lower than we’ve been since John F Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassinations.

Healthcare – such as it is – will be repealed, and people won’t be covered for pre-existing conditions.  Women’s rights – even the right to vote – risk decimation.

Supreme Court justices who are anything but just will be installed, and America will not get over this ruination.

President Obama barely got us out of the hell President George W. Bush got us all into, but at least we were making progress.

The bully elect will knock down and crush the building blocks so painstakingly erected over these last 8 years of a do-nothing Congress, that America also saw fit to continue.

I am bereft, bewildered, and sad for my fellow Americans, especially us women, and for the children who will wonder why we did this to them.

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

 

Slip Sliding Away Again

www.partymom.com
It’s always great at the beginning of the party http://www.partymom.com

Drinking makes me feel different, and better – if I don’t drink too much. I’ll be giddy, and happy, and in love with the world, and if I step over that razor’s edge line, I’m in hell, but it’s the insanity alcohol abstention programs talk about, the thought that I won’t drink too much this time, or that third drink won’t effect me so much.  It’s what drinking does rather than how much I drink, because I don’t normally drink a lot, and I stop if I get near the vomit line, but trouble starts before that.

I know I’ve crossed the line when my thoughts turn dark and I tell my S.O. we’re through, that I just want to move to a cave somewhere and finish out my days without the stress of human contact.

In other words, I’m certifiable when I drink that next half a drink?  quarter of a drink? more than two. Wine makes me reach the terrible place sooner – but there’s more alcohol per volume than beer or mixed drinks, which are more diluted and I drink them slower because I associate liquor with danger more quickly.

I’ve also found that three drinks causes inflammation, and my back and joints are in agony the next day.  I could take turmeric, and other less, or non-toxic inflammation cures, but then I’m just putting band-aids on the problem which is over-drinking, or probably, any drinking.

But I love alcohol.  I adore drinking culture – those false promises of an easy life for those few hours with friends and frenemies alike – all having a wonderful time until the hangover hits, or the ride on the vomit comet that one of my friends experiences every time she over-drinks, and the ultimate realization that most of your drinking buddies are just that, and they’ll fall away if you alter the terms of engagement.

www.dailymail.co.uk
Homage paid to the porcelain goddess http://www.dailymail.co.uk

My goal is quitting the booze for good, and I haven’t made my goal, which makes me think I’m in trouble.  I’m a functioning drunk, if I’m a drunk.  ‘Problem drinker’ sounds less horrible than ‘a drunk’.  But the word ‘problem’ is a clue that my drinking issue needs solving.

For my first week of nephalism, I’m going to write ‘enjoy the insomnia and inflammation’, and stick that on the door so I see it on my night out with my girls, or even with my S. O..

Of course, I’ll probably use the other door to leave – but I’ll still know it’s there.

I wish I could smoke weed.  It gives me panic attacks though.  Not just some vague anxiety but OH-GOD-I’M-DYING terror coupled with the need to get out of my body, which I can’t do without the actual dying part, or if got knocked out, which is why I have Klonopin, that I haven’t had to use for panic for a long time, thankfully.

Panic attacks used to be a daily thing in my twenties and thirties. That really sucked. I don’t remember when they stopped, I’m just glad they did, and if I ever need  a reminder of panic’s scourge, I can just have a toke or two, and it’ll all come back to me.

AA is useful, and I’m glad it’s there, but I dislike the cultish feel, and having grown up in a commune/cult, I tend to eschew groups.

Alcohol helps me feel freer, and happy – even if it’s fleeting – and that’s what I chase. I like escaping myself when I can, but it comes with a price – to myself, and worse – to those close to me.

www.dailystormer.com
What a great party… http://www.dailystormer.com

A new definition of freedom and happiness is needed, and the only will power I need is against picking up that first drink.

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

 

Parental Freak-out

My child is grown and gone.  He’s 25, and living large in the city, and yet, I have trouble not interfering.  I want to say, ‘please listen to my advice because I never listened to those wiser than me, and I totally screwed up my life as a result.’  But, I know it wouldn’t do any good.  That was me, not him.

I try to remember that I survived domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.  He had a pretty solid upbringing, regardless of my Momzilla-ness.  I was present and available.  I provided structure, love, and guidance.

Did he have cotton in his ears the whole time?  I warned him about my DNA, about his father’s DNA – that the likelihood of him becoming alcoholic is stronger than it was for me, and for his father – but I think he took that as a challenge.  He can defy history.  He can out-drink his DNA.

It’s painful, and I know he’s young, and he’ll probably survive – but he also might not.

And there’s nothing I can do.

I don’t want to badger, advise, attempt management, or control.  It’s not my job anymore. Maybe I fucked up so bad that drinking is his way of getting through life, but that doesn’t make sense.  I know I did a mostly good job, and he appreciates my influence in his life.

Letting go and letting him figure it out is what I need to do, I know, but it’s proving very difficult.

I continue to love him as fiercely as ever.

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

Uncomfortable

Life is incomprehensible to me.  I learn from my mistakes as I make them, but it sucks to live this way.  You’d think I would have gotten better at it as time went on, but no.

At 16, I traveled to Virginia Beach with a friend, where we decided to stay for the summer, and quickly ran out of the forty bucks between us.  My friend got a waitress job, but I hadn’t found anything yet.  We met a few kids our age, and I hung out with them, smoking pot, while waiting for my friend’s shift to end after midnight.  The police pulled up where me and the two kids were sitting, and one of the kids ran while the cops asked me and this other kid what we were doing and how old we were.  We both said our ages and were promptly hand-cuffed and put into the back of the cruiser, roughly, as though we were resisting, when I asked why I was being hand-cuffed, and was told to ‘shut up’.

I was taken to Tidewater Detention Home, where I was strip searched, and put in a cell, and had no idea what would happen next.  The next day I took a book, or magazine, to my cell, and at roll call, I was told I couldn’t watch TV anymore for violating the rule of not bringing materials into my cell.  I learned the rules by violating them, and I still had no idea why I was there.

It wasn’t until four days later, when I had a court appearance, that I learned I was picked up for loitering and breaking curfew.  LOITERING AND BREAKING CURFEW.  As well as possessing a pipe with pot resin in it.  No pot.  Just resin.  I was told I was never welcome in the state of Virginia again, which was fine with me, but I still felt as though the punishment was ridiculous compared to the ‘crime’.

My son has a sister, whom I dearly love, from his father’s first marriage.  I was out of touch with her for a while but re-connected on Facebook. Unfortunately she felt she was being FB stalked as I liked all her posts, wanting to be a part of her life, however virtual.  I had no idea that was creepy.  I’m the last person on earth who wants to be creepy, but there’s the rub, I guess?

I try to remember that I was born into hell, pretty much.  I experienced domestic violence from day one, being the fifth child of six in a family that was sick from child number one.  I witnessed my mother’s abuse, my siblings abuse, as well as my own – and I became the scapegoat: the one young enough that I might not be as harmed as the rest, but not too young, like my little brother.  I confessed to many things I never did, my older sisters pleading with me to say I did it because the beating was sure to be less for me than my older siblings, but I still got the beating.

I accept that I saved my siblings from worse at times.  I’m grateful if that was true. Unfortunately for me, I never learned how to cope with the rest of my life as well as my brethren.  Had my issues only stemmed from my family of origin, that might have been more manageable for me, but there were several other mitigating abusive circumstances throughout my young life that have made success elusive.

An anti-poverty organization I held a seat on a decade ago sponsored a poverty conference.  I can’t remember the speaker’s full name – Chuck Flugel? (my apologies), but he said that people in poverty will never make it out of poverty.  It’s not going to happen.  I remember how pissed I was at such a pronouncement.  How could he say something like that in a room full of despairing people?  But, he was right.  I’ve never made it out of poverty, and most people I’ve ever known in poverty are still there.  Still. there.

We had a vote to increase the salary of our Executive Director that year, and I had to recuse myself from voting because I thought $80,000 a year was appropriate, and they wanted to increase it to $90,000.  The board spoke of how they might lose the director to another company who would pay more, and I thought that if the director left the organization for that, then they were better off.  It was astounding to me that several board members were upset with me for not wanting to authorize the pay increase, but I was looking at the big picture.  Why was the director there?  If salary was the reason, then the director was better off looking for a higher paying position.  $80,000 a year was an incredible amount in my mind, and that was in the mid-1990’s!

Finding work I can do has been a life-long struggle.  Two years ago, before a surgery that left me with a paralyzed arm for nearly a year, I had found a job that seemed pretty good, but the repetitious nature of data-entry precipitated my need for surgery, and I can’t do that kind of job anymore.  C’est la vie, right?

So, chin up!  Keep looking.  Keep striving.  Keep a happy face, baby, because nobody likes a downer.

And the irony is, I do.  It’s my nature to hope.  Maybe it’s all of our nature to hope.  Is that what was left in Pandora’s box?  It’s both the chain-lock and the key.

Like many, I’m a sucker believing that I might hit it big, so play the lottery when I can.  What’s a dollar or two when millions stand to be gained?  What’s a dollar or two a month over a year – a couple of gallons of milk, or bread, or other necessities.  Those millions have never been realized, and yet, people do win the lottery, pretty consistently.

It’s easy to believe that some ‘god’ directs all that, but what an asshole god that would be.

Nah, it’s just my insane desire for a miracle to lift me out of poverty.

So, the uncomfortable truth is that I’m fucked.  I have to do the best I can with what I have, and keep hoping, but do my best to stop being a sucker, for love or for money.

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

 

 

 

Age Is As Age Does

http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-83045p1.html Oguz Aral, illustrator
http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-83045p1.html
Oguz Aral, illustrator

I’m in the thick of aging on the decline side, and part of me is all: ‘oh, you just have to accept it’, and ‘this is where we’re all headed’, and ‘this is the way it’s supposed to be’, to ‘Screw you life! This is not going to happen to me!’  I think people before me just lacked the knowledge to keep themselves from aging, but we know more now, and aging is an alleged choice, not a definitive.

But, reality intervenes, as it so often rudely does, and reminds me that I am not in control of anything except dying, and I’m not really in control of that.

I think I want to age gracefully, but I’m also aggressively against that.  Anyone seeking to tell me how I should act, and what I should or should not do, is acting from their insecurities, or issues, and has nothing to do with me.

If I get facial hair maybe I’ll dye my chin hairs purple.  Maybe I’ll have a shaved, tattooed head – I don’t know.  I am not cool with life’s progressive decline, and as I look around me, precious few are.  I see celebrities and non-celebrities doing whatever they can to make themselves appear younger.

A healthy diet, with some supplements as needed, lots of water, and exercise, are the biggest age-slowing activities, along with joyful living.  But, fight it or not, I am aging.

Behind my worry about age is fear.  Fear of never accomplishing anything I wanted to; fear of losing relevance or status, and fear of becoming decrepit and thereby dependent on others for complete care.

The upside of aging is perspective, more compassion for elders, and seeing them not as old people, but as lived people – people with stories to tell, and hopefully, wisdom to share.  Plus, I’ll eventually get senior discounts, so I suppose I have that to look forward to…

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

 

To Write Or Not To Write

I’m supposed to be writing.  I know, I am writing, but I’m supposed to be working on one of the project’s that I’ve tried to complete for the last decade or so.  Maybe I don’t really want to write.  Maybe I just want to want to write?  I mean, thinking is easier than doing, right?  Except, it’s not, really.  It’s just as painful to avoid as it is to confront – at least in this instance.

Am I afraid I’ll be found a fraud?  Out of ideas?  Stupid, incompetent, poser?

I’m all that.  I’m just me, trying to figure out a way to make my time on this spinning living planet work for me.

I thought I wanted fame, and I am sooooo glad I never got it.  Fame is crap – unless you get rich by having fame, and then it’s not the fame, it’s the wealth.  For some, it’s the fame.  Egomania.

Of course I’m ego-driven.  I wouldn’t be writing if I didn’t think I had something worthwhile to say – even if it’s just worthy to me.  I also get inspiration, edification, joy, and connection from other people’s writing, art, and other creativity, and it’s satisfying to get positive feedback – or even neutral feedback.  Negative feedback sucks, but then I have to step back and ask why I got that kind of comment.  Was I offensive?  Are they reacting from their fear?  What’s my responsibility to them – or them to me?

We owe each other nothing, which makes connection all the more beautiful.

Often, I write to survive.  Just getting something out is therapeutic, especially when I feel the nothingness crowding in.

Some things are far too personal to share except to skirt around the edges, and other instances have found me kicking up all the muck and slinging it around on the page, hoping that someone will relate – that someone will tell me their story too – that someone else’s noise will quiet mine.

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

Revisiting

I read through previous posts, revisiting some days and periods in my life.  I changed the links to my stories & recollections to titles for easy reference:

https://seekingsearchingmeaning.com/recollections-and-life-lived/

I’m still reconciling this part of life, feeling like I never really lived the first half – that I was just shuffled through some cosmic crowd or queue – and the line finally thinned enough for me to get up front, but I missed so much I’m craning my neck trying to see it all before it’s forever lost and the only way I could see it is to do it all again, but not only is my ticket one-way, one show only, I might not get a better perspective anyway.

This part of the ride is fine.  There is plenty to see and do, even though I’ve been standing so long my legs and my back hurt, along with my neck from the aforementioned craning.

I’m remembering how, The Velveteen Rabbit, made me cry every time I read this excerpt where Rabbit asks the Skin Horse if becoming real hurts, and how it happens:

The Velveteen Rabbit

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

THE Velveteen Rabbit OR HOW TOYS BECOME REAL, by Margery Williams

Illustrations by William Nicholson DOUBLEDAY & COMPANY, INC. Garden City, New York

This eBook is courtesy of the Celebration of Women Writers, online at http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/.

This generation, and all after it, shall grow, and hopefully become wise. I dreaded becoming like the Skin Horse when I was younger because I saw how elders were treated – either infantilized, ignored, or worse – and I want to stay relevant and valued.

I know it’s up to me to demand dignified treatment as I grow old, to continue to take up space, and value myself, but some days are easier than others.

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

One Of Those Days

I woke up sad.  Like someone close just died sad.  I can’t seem to connect today, have no interest in talking, but I thought maybe writing would help, and I’m sure there are many folks out there who can relate.

There’s nothing wrong, and life is going on as it always does.  Nothing happened, nothing’s coming up, and as far as I know, no one I’m close to has died.

My gratitude list includes my health, my senses, my friends, my lover, and the beautiful area I live.  I’m safe, I have food, and clothing, and shelter.

The sky is blue, the grass and trees are green, the lilacs are blooming and a clipping sits in a vase on the counter where I can inhale its lovely scent.

There is work at home I’ve been intermittently doing, and I’ve been exercising, but I’ve also been tearing up all day, the sense of loss hitting me intensely, then subsiding.

I’m staying away from social media where I will only feel worse, and I’m doing what typically helps on days like today, but I’m still battling surging emotions that make me wish I could go home – the longing for some existential comfort I’m failing to find in myself today.

Perspective is knowing this will pass, and believing I’ll get through it.

I’m trying to find a reason I feel as I do, but maybe the answer is that I’m human, and some days suck – no matter how hard I try to make it better. I don’t need to wallow in my feelings either, but maybe I can just accept that this is how it is today, and with luck, I will feel glad again sooner rather than later.

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

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.

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.

Writing 101, Day Seventeen, Fear With A Twist

One of my worst fears?  That the bartender won’t bring my drink soon enough!  That’s my fear with a twist – get it?

Fine, a real fear. I could say something pedestrian and banal like ‘I’ll never find love’, or ‘dying alone’, etcetera, but an honest fear is dying of AIDS, or being burned alive.

The context is ‘address one of your worst fears’.  Of the two mentioned above, being burned alive is probably the worst because there are good drugs for AIDS, but I watched a friend perish from AIDS, each day worse than the last, his broken body wracked with pain, blistering sores, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and he endured each new opportunistic bacteria, fungus, or virus that destroyed his fragile immune system.

Maybe being burned alive is a piece of cake after that, but I don’t know.  I don’t want to find out.  This was a stupid fucking exercise, and I’m not even sure why I did it, but there, it’s done.

Picture This

The picture I’m viewing shows you and some of your family.  I haven’t seen your sisters in a while and I’m shocked by their age.  In my mind they’ve never changed.  I look again, my sight adjusted, and ‘oh, yes, now I see her as she was, and as she is, both’.  I mourn for those just meeting her, but I shouldn’t because I’m supposing that the past holds more value than today, and that’s my judgment, not anyone else’s.  My life orientation has grown to encompass so much more than I could possibly know from my old, stunted, vantage point.

My son, his friends, and I, are driving to the beach.  One of his friends, a young man barely out of his teens, speaks disdainfully of a woman we pass as we drive.  She’s in a white convertible Volkswagen Bug, a huge pink flower sits in the built in dashboard vase.

He says with a laugh that she’s trying to be ‘younger than she is’ by having that flower in the vase and the shirt she’s wearing.  I react internally, feeling myself withdraw, stung by his words that felt directed at me.  I chuckle, as though in agreement – a betrayal.  I wish I had been better prepared to parry, but I forfeited instead.

No, perspective-lacking boy, she’s not acting younger than she is – she’s being exactly who she is.  The secret that no one has told you yet, dear boy/man, is that this is it.  You are who you are.  You will grow and change and choose whatever works for you, but it’s all a façade.  You do your best to represent who you truly are, but can a picture do justice to the moment you took it?  You’re the only one who feels what it was like to be in that moment.  Maybe there was a slight breeze, and you felt free and caressed by the wind, perhaps by some otherworldly being or force, then.  Maybe the sun was bearing down on you, or a chill in the air made it difficult to keep your hand steady as you snapped the picture.

Until you’ve lived a full life, you have no valid basis to judge someone beyond your years on simple matters, even though you will.  What I wish I had known is that my body would change, but the essential me wouldn’t.  Maybe some people do change radically as they age, and all of us continue to grow – whether we like and/or accept it, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I have loathed the term ‘act your age’ since I was in my teens.  Was there a manual that you came with that I somehow missed?  No, you want me to act, or be, at your comfort level, which has nothing to do with me.  I get that there are circumstances where we need consideration of others, and I think that’s what maturity is about, but otherwise, the only ‘rules’ are the ones you give yourself, or try to impose on others.

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

Evocation

I’m evoking the indomitable spirit that I came into this world with.  I was a handful as a toddler, my mother told me.  I was not someone to be trifled with, even at two.  I learned how to be cowed because of the violence I lived with, but staying oppressed has never been my nature.  My mother says that I was always vocal about what I liked and didn’t like.  I told her I was sorry for being a complainer, and she was quick to correct me that I never complained, I just let everyone know how I felt.  I appreciate my mother making that distinction.  I have never lost that quality, but I know it’s not always a strength.

I do pretty well in keeping quiet and trying to accept how things are rather than how I wish they were, but I can forgive myself more knowing that it’s a personality trait and not just dissatisfaction with life.  If I have a purpose, and that quirk has never left me, I imagine that I am one of those people who provides an irritant until things change.  Maintaining the status quo doesn’t allow creativity to flourish.

I can’t see myself as others see me, but I know that I’ve changed over the years, and I do the best I can in my life.  I probably have less anger than fear at this point in my life, but the fear that remains sometimes stops me from pursuing my dreams.  Anger is often useful to replace fear or procrastination.  Unfortunately, the kind of anger my father had is usually sparked to memory when I’m angry, so it can also hurt more than help me.

Fortunately, I have an easy sense of humor which can trump both anger and fear.  I have also found friends everywhere I’ve lived or gone, which has helped me through this life, and I enjoy the variety of personalities in this world.  When I stayed at the hostel in Israel, the owners, Rachel and Rahmin, were wonderful hosts, and I was usually in the breakfast room before anyone else (or perhaps after everyone else!), but I got a chance to have conversations with Rachel on everything from religion and politics to the many people she has seen come and go through the years of running the hostel, and I was flattered that she felt I was one of the better ones.  One of Rachel’s friends came to Haifa to stay for a week a few days after I arrived and we shared the women’s dorm for the rest of the week.  She was a lovely, personable woman and we also talked a lot about life and humanity’s follies.

I was on a spiritual quest, and ironically found out that the path I was on was not the path for me in a traditional sense, but I still love aspects of the religion I was following at the time.  I found out that I cannot tolerate having my life micro-managed by some unseen, unknowable essence, and while religions aren’t usually horrible, the followers can be.

I’m grateful that my early experiences made it nearly impossible for me to be a faithful follower or believer in anything.  As a result, I’m forced to believe in myself, and trust that I’m where I’m supposed to be.  It’s somewhat ‘Zen’-like that it’s the right path for me because I’m on it, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy walk.

I remember when I first got into a recovery group I learned that we were ‘trudging the road to happy destiny’, not skipping it.  The recovery community has its own dysfunction through its followers, but I always defaulted to the founders who stated they ‘knew but a little’, that more would ‘constantly be revealed’.  I began understanding that whenever you concretize a fluid principle, it starts to lose its meaning and value.

I especially appreciate Grandma Moses’ statement that: “Life is what you make it.  Always has been, always will be.”

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

The Wild Ride

It was in the high nineties yesterday.  I helped my mom run some errands and then we had lunch and I brought her home.  The path down to her place made me feel like I was walking through a rainforest with the sounds of various bird calls, insects, and the weak sun filtering through the tree canopy on such a hazy, humid day.  I imagined that life was this way before we humans arrived, and would continue long after we leave (provided the Earth hasn’t been sucked into the sun by then – or whatever event precedes Earth’s demise).

I knew a storm was forecast for later in the day, and as I drove home, I could feel it coming on.  My gas warning light came on a few miles before I was near a gas station, but I was fairly confident I would make it as long as I didn’t have to idle anywhere.  I vaguely wondered if it would use more gas to turn off and on my engine if I did get stuck in traffic, but I wasn’t hindered by anything.

As I pulled into the gas station, however, the ominous clouds I had seen forming on the far horizon were now headed over the gas station canopy, while another cloud bank was converging into the one over me.  There was eerie greenish light in the storm clouds and a fierce wind picked up while torrential rain poured down.  I don’t know why I didn’t just stay there and wait out the storm.  I think I was worried about the gas station not being a safe place to be, so I pulled out, barely able to see through the rain pounding my windshield, even with the wipers on fast.  Traffic was stopped at a tree that had fallen across the road, so I made a U-turn to take another street.  I watched the tree limbs above me bending and swaying and while I was prepared to stop quickly, I had already decided to keep moving unless forced to stop.

I took the least tree-lined route, instead of my usual one, and at first I thought I had gone the best way; the rain had lessened in intensity, but the storm continued with lightning flashing and the wind still whipping as I turned up another side street hoping to avoid traffic or any accidents.  There was a tree in the road ahead of me, and a pick-up truck drove over to my side of the road, narrowly missing me as the driver careened around the tree and then corrected to get past my car.  I rounded the corner to see another tree down, but it had fallen at an angle with a gap large enough for my car to pass under it – which was really dumb of me, I know – but I was in amygdala/panic mode, not neo-cortex/processing mode.  I got through that to see another tree up ahead and someone ahead of me getting out of their car to check it out.  I put my window down and yelled at her not to touch anything if there was a wire down.  She ran back a moment later saying that there was a wire in the road.

My car has four-wheel drive and I told her I could avoid most of the tree top by driving up the hill around it, and she told me she was going to follow me.  I knew it would be easy to navigate that, and I waited to make sure the other driver got around it before continuing on.  I called the police to let them know that three trees and a wire were down on that road.  There were lots of tree limbs and other debris scattered about the road, but no more whole trees.  The storm was passing and I had turned on my radio after leaving the gas station in case there were any emergency broadcasts, but there was only regular programming.  I thought that was weird because it was such an intense storm, but I guess I was unlucky enough to be at the head of it.

The shape of the storm front reminded me of some kind of alien craft.  The entire edge was rounded while lower clouds were being kneaded into the larger mass, and it was very fast-moving.  I feel stupid now that my last act could have been putting gas into my car and trying to dodge being tornado fodder.  The best thing I could have done was to go inside the store and wait out the storm, or at least park beside the nearby open field.  I’m not sure getting into a ditch would have been a good idea unless I actually saw a funnel cloud because the rain was pouring so hard the ditches were flash-flooding.  Death by drowning might have been preferable to being sucked up into a tornado, but that’s a tough call.  Thankfully, I didn’t need to choose.

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