Weak Sun Still Shines

Waking is dangerous this emotionally tenuous time of the year. The world we occupy, the new/old challenges surrounding me, our country, and everywhere, & I wonder if slitting my wrists would cause too much pain? Where would I do it? A stream bed in the woods, so romantic and peaceful sounding, until the age-old question of ‘if a woman screams in the forest in the moments before her death, and for being a dumb fuck, will anyone hear?’ Bueller? Anyone?

So, I wrench my lagging self out of bed and get fucking dressed, because that’s what we’re doing, and the inner three-year-old is not in charge today.

Sure, the world’s falling apart – literally in some places – and, yeah, life sure doesn’t match up to the brochure, but, then, so few things do.

You’d think people would stop procreating, but honestly, sex is about the best thing on the planet, that’s free – often…

So, on with the day. I’m dragging my ass through my life, but momentum is forward, today.

There’s no dress rehearsal. This is it – whatever that contains – but all that matters is the end. Am I in a tragedy, or a comedy? Life ending on a high note is preferable, thus, comedy it is.

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

 

I’m Dreaming Of Another White-washed Christmas

Christmas has come and gone mostly unchallenged throughout my life. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I learned about the Christian co-option of the pagan holiday (war on Christmas, indeed! Pssh).

I learned dozens of Christmas Carols as a child, singing them in church, and caroling out in the neighborhood (sort of like Halloween – but cookies & cocoa instead of other treats – and we sang for our supper – uh – dessert?) Join the proletariat effort!

I still have my favorites, but doubt the whole ‘Jesus in a manger on a cold winter’s night’ motif – seeing as lambing happens in the spring, but whatev – believe what you want – don’t let facts get in your way.

It was eye-opening, though, when I found out that Jesus is one of many ‘gods’ or ‘sons’ with the same or similar miraculous and humble circumstances. There’s: Horus, Osiris, Attis, Mithra, Heracles, Dionysus, Tammuz, Adonis, and others – born of a virgin, or appearing on December 25th, and it’s just an amazing coincidence that our lord and savior, Jesus the Christ, was also born on that date, of a virgin! There are many places to read about this, but here’s a link:

http://www.weekendcollective.com/all-the-gods-born-to-virgins-on-december-25-before-jesus-christ/

I did not know this. All the teachers and other assorted educated ministers, priests, other religious figureheads, never made this known. It was Jesus, and Jesus only.

That’s why believing in Jesus was so easy.

Jesus is a wonderful exemplar. He’s full of compassion, hope, change, giving to the poor, healing the sick, making the rich look like the assholes they were – and still are. He admonished his followers to ‘turn the other cheek’, rather than seek revenge or retaliation. He would save your soul if you believed in him – interceding for humankind. Why would you turn your back on that?

Unless, it’s more fable than fact. You can marry historical events and the supernatural – spinning it however you wish – but it doesn’t make it true.

If it makes you feel better, then that’s great – but don’t try to make me abide by your fairy tales, and I won’t make you try to abide by mine.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Puppet People

If you think about it, we’re self-animated, or actuated, puppets.  We’re going to die, and if you’ve ever seen a loved one’s dead body, you know how they are utterly gone.  Their body seems like some strange putty – some facsimile of who they were, and somewhat recognizable – but definitely not ‘them’.

We are not our bodies – we control our bodies with who we really are.

You reach for an object, not even realizing that you commanded your body to act, rather than being your body – which could or would act autonomously of your desire.  Outside of blood, breath, temperature, neurology & cellular replication, our body, unless compromised by disease or disorder, is controlled by our thoughts.

Hungry: eat.  Tired: sleep, or fight sleep when you need to stay awake.  Scared: hide, or run, or freeze. Happy: smile, dance, laugh.

There is so, so much we don’t understand, all around us.  Some suggest that there’s an invisible (to most of humanity) world going on as closely as anything we can observe or know.

Why are some people psychic, or able to observe what others cannot, if they’re not charlatans?

Why am I sensitive to things my friends aren’t?  I know when I’m in an occupied space, or perhaps a super occupied space.  I lived in a ‘haunted’ apartment for two years, constantly questioning my sanity and perception, but when I moved to another apartment that was not haunted, I could sleep with the light off, and not be afraid to walk to the bathroom during the night.

I have experienced intense energy, or whatever it was, that others seem not to – and I am nothing special.

So what? – right?  It matters because even if we don’t know where we’re going from here, it means we are not our bodies, our physical matter.  That’s pretty cool.  Maybe our brain is the only part of us that matters most, outside of other vital organs, but even those who think our brain is the limit – that everything begins and ends between our ears – that doesn’t account for anything outside our understanding that we experience.

I feel hopeful thinking that my existence doesn’t end here, and I’m as rightfully here as anyone else, and my continuation, while unknown, is as certain as knowing that death is only of my body, but not of my essence.

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

 

 

Walk Away

Walking Away NEU 2009

Mental health is stopping the ruminating or trying to change my outsides to sooth my insides. I’ve been here before, I recognize that tree!

This cycle comes around every few months, when I get the bright idea to pick up spiritual texts thinking I’ll come off better for it. I clearly never have. I come out swinging every time – so maybe I’m a minion. Except, I wish ill on no one except the deserved. Who are the deserved? Rapists, child molesters, murderers, deceivers – those who knowingly take advantage of others.

Liars don’t bother me, unless it has to do with the above unforgivable acts. Murder isn’t nuanced here. Some people would consider killing in self-defense murder. I don’t. To me, murder is killing for pleasure.

Spiritual texts often say that good works without faith or belief in god are worthless. They’re not worthless to those they help. If an atheist helps me it’s worthless? How ridiculous is that?!

If that atheist helps me for their own gain, that’s unfortunate, but I still got help, so why should I care about their agenda – unless they try to hold that over me somehow.

I consciously chose to live several years ago. I knew I was on that precipice, and after I chose living, my life improved greatly once I started eating well, exercising daily, and doing what I could to quell my negative voices.

Unfortunately I’ve lost sight of that in the last few years, but I remembered again. Maybe I won’t always live my best, but if I can let go of a punishing god, I’ll do better again.

My atheist friends tell me the bible, and all spiritual works, are fairy tales meant to control the population, but I’ve remained agnostic because I fear retribution for not believing – so the control aspect has partially worked on me.

I just need to walk away from those damaging beliefs and live my best life.

Kindness, love, help, care, and concern are important to me, but so is holding people accountable for their actions. That’s why we have laws, judges, and juries. I’m not alone in that belief. But I also believe in mercy.

I wouldn’t be a judge because I’d worry that I’d be convinced to be merciful only to have the exonerated person commit the same crime again, or worse, as has happened many times.

We live in a harsh world. We follow base desires rather than adhering to our nobility. Spiritual works call us to our highest selves, but all too often we turn it into a game of whose version of god is best, and ironically condemn and kill each other over it.

For me, finding peace means keeping what works and dumping the rest – and then trusting that I’m not damned for that.

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

 

 

Heart Of The Matter

At writing group tonight I listened to a friend read her piece about her birthday today and how being sixty was kind of amazing, and it made me feel like I can do this.  I can get to sixty someday soon, and maybe it won’t be so bad.

She is a strong, beautiful woman, and I might not have seen that at twenty, or even thirty, but time shapes us whether we want it or not.  I am not in control.  No matter how much I try to determine my destiny, I am foiled by this great unknown we’re all in.

We are all in.  Once in a while, some of us break out and try controlling the show, life events, or life’s trajectory, but they are quelled by others or by their own mortality. We came into the world by chance or by design, and maybe we’re supposed to cause an effect, or maybe just witness this incredible moment, because it is really only a moment – especially as I get older and see how damn fast it all goes.

I have no idea where I’m going from here, or if there’s somewhere from here, and maybe religion is right, or maybe it’s all a crock – all people just whistling in the dark – but I’ve found love, and friendship, kinship, beauty, terror, and horror, along with inexplicable help and guidance.

What I’ve found true is following my heart.  I might be wrong, but whenever I’ve tried to follow someone or something else’s idea of how to navigate this world, it’s caused deeper pain than just muddling through.

I can’t believe in a punishing ‘god’.  It makes no sense to me.  Maybe I’ll pay for that, but I’ll take my chances.  God is love, or it is nothing.  I cannot be better than ‘god’.  So, if there is such a thing, It loves and accepts me.

If there’s nothing, then this has been an interesting manifestation of life replicating itself.  I hope I’ve left more good than bad, and if my son has a child, or children, then our line continues, and if not, then we die out with his generation.  So be it.

Maybe we’ll colonize other worlds, or maybe humanity will perish with this one, but life on earth has abundant time left for whatever will happen.

And though I have no say, I’d like us to have mattered – to be the reason for existence – but that might be ego rather than reality.

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

Which Way To Here?

‘Wherever you go, there you are.’

I don’t know who coined that phrase, but hearing it changed my life.  I bring me with me – moving away never solved my problems, though it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying.  Looking back to my 20’s and 30’s, I’m surprised I survived.  Even if I had tried to off myself, I would likely have been unsuccessful, and then maimed for life.  So life would still suck, and I’d be scarred, or worse.  Great.

Getting over self-preservation is no small undertaking.  No one makes it out of here alive, so there’s that reasoning, but what we might do here goes beyond us.

A therapist told me that if I kill myself, I give my son permission to end his life too. I fluffed that off, but since I know 3 people who were successful in the last few years, it’s been working on me in whispers at vulnerable times.

‘You’ll never get out of debt, loser girl.’  That’s one of the lovely names my inner asshole has for me.  The ‘girl’ is a nice touch – colloquial and derogatory at once. ‘You’re worth more dead than alive’ – true – as long as I can keep paying the insurance, which looks less likely each time the payment’s due. ‘You’re aging now and you’re losing the little looks you had, and you’re worth less and less.’  ‘You’ve failed everything you’ve tried, and it’s too late to make it anywhere.’  ‘You can’t even get a regular job! Not one interview, and no prospects.’

The most significant, however, is the voice that tells me that I’ll end my pain.  No more suffering.  No more challenges.  No more heartache.

Except, wherever I go, there I am.

Maybe I’ll have a consciousness, maybe I won’t. I’ve never died before. I’ve read lots of books and studies on people who have died and been revived, and they usually talk about bright light, and seeing loved ones who’ve passed on, or of spirits – ghosts – that seem to be stuck in the thoughts and feelings they had when they died.

Finding work I can do has been the bane of my existence. Clearly, I have to get entrepreneurial, but figuring that out is the rub.

The positives of staying alive are seeing the beautiful land where I live, hearing birds trilling, and flying around, watching the fireflies this time of year, and listening to tree frogs and crickets.  Cats and dogs don’t care what I look like as long as I can scratch behind their ears and feed them. They aren’t body-based, or judgmental, but humans sure are.

And when depression’s shroud descends, none of that matters in my messed up head. I don’t care about anyone, and that disconnection is bizarre to witness.

Grandma Moses said: ‘Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.’  She began painting her quaint village scenes in her 80’s, and she lived another 20 years, so not only do I have those phrases to shore me up, but Yogi Berra‘s: ‘It ain’t over ’til it’s over’, is another adage to hang onto.

So, wherever I’m headed, I can’t escape myself – and I prefer self-love over self-loathing, but there I am – whatever it is.

heartcloudbig

 

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

 

 

Addendum To Last Night’s Post

Thinking about how tiny we are in the universe, how much we don’t matter is depressing, or revelatory, or both, or neither, but sitting here with a fire going, watching a TV show, looking around at the house I’m in, the land we live on, the trees, the flowers, the garden, and human creativity, it’s also true that we’re a hidden gem in the universe.

We’re sadly gluttons for our own doom so much of the time, but there are other souls doing what they can to remedy the mistakes we make, to help rather than hurt, being compassionate rather than callous, and giving life meaning through creativity, service, and love.

We are like the Whos of Whoville, and maybe there is a Horton to hear us – a larger concerned entity fighting for us, regardless of how insignificant we appear.

As Horton says: “a person’s a person no matter how small”

We matter as a collective.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horton_Hears_a_Who!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horton_Hears_a_Who!

We know how real we are, even if our time here is really quite small.  Dr. Suess, I am not, though I like him a lot. I’ve been through the bracken, I’ve heard the great Kraken.  I’ve been to the place called Hither and Yon, and I’ve seen many things that made me not want to go on.  And on, I did go, though the weather was foul, on I did go through winds that would howl.  I was afraid, yes it’s true, more afraid than most – I hope it doesn’t happen to you.

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

 

Pissed Off, Yet Accepting…

David Bowie died and left more space than any other celebrity I didn’t know except Robin Williams.

I’m both pissed off and accepting.  I have to be, it happened. One, a death from cancer, which more and more people die from in our toxic world, and the other, suicide – when from the outside looking in – seemed incomprehensible.  I understand depression.  I understand substance abuse, and the ridiculousness life plays on all of us, but didn’t Robin Williams have resources I lacked?  Was David Bowie doing all he could to cure his cancer?  The answer, of course, is, probably, and, none of my business, but they both influenced my life radically.

David Bowie was the unpredictable, brilliant musician, whom I only recently learned was never comfortable on stage.  Robin Williams may have never felt comfortable in his own skin, or maybe he was having a crisis, or who knows what his mental state was in order to off himself, but it’s doable is what I learned.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-suicide-and-depression-are-not-selfish

If things get too real, you can just go.  Just go.  We can off ourselves so easily, yet our survival mechanisms scream that we shouldn’t do it.  So many people overcome that biological directive.  I wonder if there is a god, if it hears the pain.  If it cares, if it really does punish those who take their own lives, because who would kill themselves as a lark? What is there to punish?

It takes a lot to overcome the desire to live.  I know.  I’ve never mustered that kind of resolve, and I wonder if it matters?

I once followed a faith that basically said ‘woe to you’ if you stop following it, or believing it, and that all your good works ‘are for naught’, unless you are a true believer, and do those good works in ‘god’s’ name.

I wonder though.  There are billions of people on earth, and our earth is so incredibly infinitesimal in the universe that it seems ridiculous that some ‘god-man’ has marked us out specially for Its revelation, when you can’t even pick us out from the Milky Way, never mind the entire universe!

Surely there is another race on another planet in another galaxy that has it more together than we do.  And what, exactly, are we marked out for?  What spiritual or godly ambition are we destined for?

We are smaller than atoms, in a universal perspective.  All hail the galaxy rather than our puny little planet lost amongst the puny stars in our puny galactic neighborhood.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/milky-way-collide.html
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/milky-way-collide.html

All I believe is that, sanctioned by a ‘god’ or not, I like being kind.  I want to be a safe person, a helper, in an often frightening world.  Your children are safe with me.  You are safe with me.

It’s astounding that I’m better than some ‘god’, but there you go. All hail to me?

Being a light is better, to me, than adding to the darkness.

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

 

The End

This life was always a hard sell.  I wasn’t sure what I was doing, pretty much ever.  I got in over my head from day one, and I’ve tried to sort it out ever since.

Does it matter if I’m angry, or sad, or disillusioned? I don’t know why I came with expectations.  How did that happen?  Was it television?  Did I believe the fantasy family shows I saw were real?

I existed in my family – I endured.  I didn’t know that’s what I was doing.  Life was what it was. I didn’t know I had any other choice, and none was offered to me.

When my mother moved us to a commune/cult when I was ten, I thought that was the other choice.  I thought my mother finally made the best decision for us – and maybe she did.

Or maybe she was another messed up person in this world who couldn’t do the right thing, and her children suffered for it, and blah, fucking, blah, right?  There’s no redemption.  There’s no ‘making up for it’.  There’s nothing.  We’re where we are.

The world says, ‘what are you going to do now?’.  The world is only curious if it’s interesting or somehow commendable.

I love prevailing stories.  I want people to win, to better their circumstances, to get revenge, and if they can’t get direct revenge, to come out better in the end.  I want the assholes to suffer.  I want them to hurt.  I am so not compassionate toward those undeserving.

I saw the guy who molested his eight year old foster daughter – the girl who moved to his & his wife’s house to flee another predator.  I wanted to hurt him.  Several years have gone by & there is no difference in how I feel. No softening, no compassion. I want him to die. He is useless, and I have difficulty knowing he yet lives. He manages to fill his days instead of hanging himself, as he should.  Maybe he doesn’t have to hang.  He could shoot himself, or poison himself, or a myriad of ways to leave this world, and yet, he’s still here.  I’m still here too.  My molesters were never charged or payed for what they did either.

I’ve concluded that whatever ‘god’ exists does not concern itself with us.  There might be some over-arching energy or force, but it cannot care about what happens here and affect it.  Or, if it does, and chooses not to, I have no allegiance or fealty to such a being, force, presence.

My life is my own.  I don’t commit my life to any person, place, or thing.  No nouns own me.

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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

Dear Son, Sorry

I was reading lists of things to teach your children before it’s too late on my news feed.

To quote former Texas Governor, Rick Perry: ‘oops’.

I didn’t teach you about money very well.  You need to pay your rent, and your bills, and your student loan, and get food, for godssake!  Oh, for all that, you need to budget.  Don’t know what that is?  I didn’t either, yet somehow, we both lived.  Yeah, I have about $8,000 in credit debt, but they’re the ones who gave me the cards!  Also, my debt is down from $15,000, and if I helped you with math, you’ll know I’ve paid down nearly half!

Interest.

They charge you to keep that pretend money  – often a lot! – especially if your credit rating sucks, which mine did.  Because I managed to pay back nearly half, I have better credit now – will they ever learn?

Food.

You really shouldn’t eat all the crap I fed you until I found out that it was crap I was feeding you.  McDonald’s didn’t get rich off us, but we loved their french fries, and sadly, the proof is still in our arteries.  I’m sorry!

Sugar isn’t your friend, fat isn’t either – unless it’s good fat, and then – not too much, OK?

Are you exercising?  Yes, I made you go out and play – holy crap – I managed to do something right – but are you keeping your muscles and bones strong and safe?

I was a helicopter parent, or maybe a light experimental craft, because I hovered, but not to the extent I’ve read about some parents – sheesh!  I can at least feel good about that while I’m wringing my hands over what I failed to teach you.

Teachable moments.  I missed so many.  Again, sorry.  I was winging it.  I did have positive reinforcement skills – telling you to use an inside voice, use your walking feet, and gave you choices – even if it was a choice between two shitty options.

Also, I didn’t swear much when I was raising you, and that was a huge accomplishment, believe me.  I fucking swear all the fucking time now, and before I had you.  I was trying to teach you, and myself, that swearing isn’t necessary, it’s just fun.

I wouldn’t, however, swear when talking to your boss, or anybody who might ever possibly have power over you.

People suck, and life isn’t fair.  Did I tell you that enough?  There are many good people too, they’re just harder to spot, and are suffering from being dumped on by all the jerks.  Be nice to them.

Remember this mis-attributed Mark Twain quote:

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

There are so many things I forgot to teach you, but thankfully, you’re smarter than me, so you’ll figure it all out before you have children – if you have children – which I recommend and I don’t recommend.

If you know that I love you, that you conquered my selfishness, that you made me a better person, that I always wish the best for you – wish for stamina to withstand all the challenges you’ll face, keeping your humor, your hope, and your humanity intact, then I’ll believe I’ve done a good enough job.

Love,

Mom

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

Hell Hath No Fury Like Mine

I’ve heard about those who lives are lived ‘in quiet desperation’, and we’ve all seen or witnessed loud desperation – those vivid, stark, images of traumatized humanity – children with bellies distended, flesh barely covering their bones, their mothers and fathers, if alive, often in the same condition.  These are the scenes that remind me why humanity is its own worst enemy.  If there is a God, do you think it’s going to make me burn for my disbelief while leaders who could relieve suffering, deny their people adequate food, and water, while directing their military to kill innocents, and rape their country’s women and children as a strategy?  Foreign aid rarely reaches those who need it, and brutal regimes are necessary to maintain power and control.

Maybe that’s the law of this world: use or be used, eat or be eaten.  It’s a vicious world when resources are slim or difficult to access.  Maybe God exists and is a bastard, but I would never give fealty to such a one, even though it could mean unending torment.  Perhaps, God is, as I suspect, the greatest farce ever perpetrated on humanity.  Their book, a clever, self-fulfilling prophecy.  Anyone can include facts in a narrative in an attempt to bolster their argument.  People have always had high intelligence or they wouldn’t have evolved as far as they have.  Adaptability is the key to survival, not necessarily brute strength or stellar skills, although those get you the furthest if you can adapt well.

My favorite Stephen F. Roberts quote is:

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

I know I have it easy, living in a part of the world where resources are abundant and easily accessible.  Sadly, we all can’t live here, and I know many individuals and organizations do their best to give aid to those in need all over the world – but that need never ends.

Focusing on situations that I cannot effect, except by bringing attention to it, does not serve me in living my life.  I almost have a survivor guilt for the relative abundance in my life.  So, I can choose to enter the Peace Corps, or align with some other organization that serves the most destitute, desperate areas of the world  Or, I can remain selfishly in my own little world, doing my best to survive, and throwing my measly fifty dollars a year at problems fifty million would just begin to address.  I can also ‘pray for them’ so I feel better even though it does nothing for them.  If you’re a believer, you’ll smugly think to yourself that prayer works, but it only works if it impels you to act, and that action doesn’t need your prayers.

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?  Then he is not omnipotent.  Is he able, but not willing?  Then he is malevolent.  Is he both able and willing?  Then whence cometh evil?  Is he neither able nor willing?  Then why call him God?”
– Epicurus [341-270 B.C.]

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

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.

December 21, 2011

Ice is forming on the river that separates my town from the next town over.  Winter is truly here.  I drove by the river early this morning on my way to an appointment and I thought about years past, and ice skating with one of my best friends back then on that stretch of river.  She lived with her brother and father in a cabin at the end of the cove.  I think about her nearly every time I drive by, but especially in the winter, and I wonder about her life now.

I vaguely remember my daily life growing up, or even young adulthood, but some specific people, places, and/or events have never receded that far in my mind, and certain times of the year bring them clearly back to me.  I’ll open a particular hair conditioner every once in a while when I shop at the store that carries it, and the scent places me back to my seventeenth year, with my best friend at the time, and the situation we were in.  It’s an immersion experience, but only lasts a second, if that.  Like a dream, I try to remain in the moment, but it’s gone.  Smelling the conditioner again will not bring the experience back, even an hour later.  I guess it takes my brain, or psyche, or whatever, more time to reset its visceral memory capacity.

Most of the time, my memories simply detail times past with whatever emotions were attached to any particular one, as well as my current feeling about it.  I might miss friends who were part of that memory, or maybe feel grateful that I’m not there anymore, or regretful for having acted badly, or having missed chances never given again.

I hope that I’ve gained more than I’ve lost, and, that I’ll not only recognize, but have the courage to take advantage of any worthwhile opportunities presented to me, and treat the people in my life in ways that won’t have me looking back in regret.

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

Current Events

I’ve been reading, Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, and while it hasn’t made me detest the Financial Industry and the Federal Government more, the book has framed a better context for my ire.  I’m grateful to understand more about what happened and why, and I know that we’re a nation governed by avarice far more than ever before, checked only by revolt of those it harms the most.

Occupy Wall Street was always going to happen because there’s no way the current system could continue and not experience blow-back.  We might be poor, but we’re not stupid, although I’m betting that’s how many of the four-hundred richest people in this country like to frame it to themselves.  Ignorance is one thing, stupidity is quite another.  As soon as the ignorant become educated, they get angry.  You can’t enslave a people forever, not if they have any sense of self.  You can’t rip us off and tell us it’s our own fault for very long without the ruse starting to come apart.

The irony is that so many of us are amenable to getting by with some moderate comfort.  I believe that most Americans are hard workers.  I know many people, in my blue-collar community, who work to live, and will do that until it becomes impossible due to health issues (in themselves, or in their family, or to others they care enough about to try to help out) or from job losses.  The working class isn’t asking for the situation to reverse, they’re asking for human decency.  We live in a rich nation that doesn’t provide affordable health care, when it absolutely could; our nation doesn’t provide decent jobs or living wages, when it absolutely could, and our government has seemed to have forgotten about providing for the common good, about being a voice for the voiceless, and power for the powerless, because of all the money in politics.

I don’t know what the best solution is, but there are many fixes or stop-gap measures proposed but not being implemented.  The ‘let them die’ crowd will always be with us, but that doesn’t mean they should be listened to, because if it were their own children or family, I doubt they’d be euthanizing them.  Even Ayn Rand took the Social Security and Medicare that she hoped to see dismantled.

Congress having a nine percent approval rating shows that whatever side of the aisle you sit on or root for, nothing is being done except yelling back and forth.  We need action that addresses the problems of the ninety-nine percent, because the one-percent will be just fine, no matter what happens.

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

All Hallows

Rabbit, Rabbit.  The ancient Celtic year begins today, marking the start of winter.  Winter was already ushered in rather harshly with our recent Nor’easter dumping thirty inches of snow in some areas.  I feel lucky that my town escaped with just over a foot of the heavy, wet snow.  I was only out of power for part of a day, while some of my friends are yet to get back their electricity.

Yesterday, I visited my Mom because her phone was out and I wanted to make sure she made it through the storm alright, even though I know that one of my aunts was staying with her, and the guy who works for her and lives nearby would also have checked on her and I figured I’d have gotten a call if anything bad had happened.  Then I thought that all phone service in the area might be out, and I just wanted to visit regardless of anything else.  I was a bit worried that fallen trees or downed wires would prevent me from making it to my mother’s house, and it might well have earlier in the day because I saw evidence of cleared trees and other debris all the way there.

It was almost evening when I arrived, and I brought a flashlight in case it was dark by the time I left.  My mom doesn’t have electricity or running water, so the storm changed nothing for her except interrupted phone service.

The glow of the kerosene lamps, and warmth from the wood stove, enveloped and welcomed me even as I was welcomed by my mother and aunt.  They were happy for my unexpected company and we chatted about the snowstorm’s effects, and how weird it was to have a major storm before Hallowe’en, as we sipped coffee and evening began settling in.  I don’t know if it was the time of day and the way the lamplight glowed and cast slight shadows on the walls, or the steamed windows and cooking smells from whatever dinner my mother was making, or simply spending time with my mother and one of her sisters, but there was something so extraordinary about being there that I noticed and enjoyed in the moment, and that feeling, or experience, actually, has stayed with me since.

I left before it was dark and made my way up the path without needing my flashlight.  I noticed the stillness of the woods around me as I walked, and had a sense of being present to life in a way that I rarely sense.

I got up this morning and began working on things that I often think about doing rather than starting – or finishing.  I feel my life changing, almost radically (for the better), and I hope that’s true.

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

Possible Hit And Run

One of my brothers was hit by a car last night.  He remembers hearing screeching tires and the next thing he knew he was looking at first responders.  I can’t remember if he said he was walking or riding his bike.

His collar-bone is broken, and he’s badly bruised, but alive.  I called the police and they said they could release the accident report to a family member in person, but that requires driving back down to Cape Cod, and I can’t do that now.  We don’t yet know if it was a hit and run, but there had to have been witnesses.  It happened on the main drag, but it was after dark.

My brother sounded cheerful when I talked to him, but he’s also drugged up, so it’s hard to know how he’s really doing.

I feel this intense guilt, like I am responsible for my brother because that’s how it was when we were kids.  There were six of us children, and the older two boys were pals, and my older two sisters were united against me much of the time, and my default family person was my younger brother.  I wanted to be with my sisters, not my stupid younger brother.

That’s probably where the guilt I feel came from.  He was the only family member who accepted me and wanted me around, but I didn’t want the same thing.  We did laugh a lot together as we got older and he wasn’t such an idiot anymore, but I’ve never felt as endeared to him as he seems to feel toward me.  I suppose I should feel closer to him because we are the nearest in age, and were the last kids in a violent, destructive family, but my brother also has A.D.D., maybe even Asperger’s Syndrome, and that has been difficult to deal with as well.

I suppose it’s telling that I believe I wasn’t present enough for my brother, or I somehow caused his deficits by not being a good sister, when where the hell were my parents?

I am so tired of trying to explain my weirdness to people so that they can understand me.  I feel like I am a category of human being unto myself, belonging to a small group of freaks in a dark circus, only I never joined up.  My membership is by default, and if I had joined, I’d either want to be the beautiful lady who rides the elephant, or one of the acrobats.

I get it that these are the ‘cards I was dealt’ – a fucking insipid metaphor if I ever heard one – and I am doing my best to learn how to cheat – believe me – because life always plays with a loaded deck.

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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.

As The Pendulum Swings

A friend and I were debating about taxes and about living in a society rather than as outlaws and renegades.

She thinks everyone should pay the same tax, regardless of income and I disagree.  It’s not about merit that I agree or disagree.  Certainly there are those who are content to not work and subsist on what they are given or can steal, and there are those who work ceaselessly and still never make enough to even be called ‘middle class’.

I’m not debating about how we got into the mess we’re in, or the ridiculous tax code, although those are issues to deal with – and in fact, form the crux of the solution through true reform rather than lip service and reneging on deals, or perpetual amendments.

My conclusions are based on my personality, and what I’ve been through or witnessed in this world, so of course I’m biased.  Every last one of us is biased depending on our brain structure and/or our life filters.

Corporations should pay a higher tax rate than solitary citizens when they make higher profits, and especially when they are a type of business that uses resources directly, but also indirectly.  We all use our planet for sustenance, but those who use greater resources need to pay to play.  Industries who are reaping greater profits than at any other time in history, such as the oil and gas industries, should not be government ‘welfare recipients’ in the form of subsidies.

My friend argued that someone working harder than others shouldn’t be penalized by having to pay higher taxes, and while I heard her argument, I disagree.  I don’t think the taxes should be burdensome, and I think that higher rates should apply after a certain threshold, but I question what ‘working harder’ means.  If she works for a company that compensates her well, and she was lucky enough – because I do know that some people are in a better position than others through birth or by chance, as she was and is – then that is good for her, but there are others working just as hard, and actually harder than her at multiple jobs that won’t hire full-time workers so they don’t have to pay insurance, and those people are not making nearly the wages she is.  I know she doesn’t want to have to help lazy users as she envisions her tax dollars going, and those people shouldn’t be helped if that’s an honest assessment, but the majority of people are working hard and still not making ends meet.

Those tax dollars do a lot to ease the burden of those trying to better themselves by making education less expensive or having more dollars available to help pay for an education that will help those people get better jobs.  Those tax dollars help keep our food supply safer by having more food inspectors.  Those tax dollars help keep art and music programs available which enrich our lives and broaden our minds as surely as any core subject does, and perhaps even better as art and music stirs our creative selves helping us to bring more to our life as well as others’ lives.

Tax dollars help pave our roads, build bridges, and keep police, firefighters and other local, state and federal workers.  Those tax dollars also help the poor get health services, along with giving the elderly and infirm an income – however meager.

A majority chose this as our social standard when the economy went to hell over half a century ago, and it helped build a middle class in this country that was strong and relatively stable.  When the more cynical and greedy among us got power they instituted deregulation of polluting industries, of banking and securities, as well as giving corporations and the wealthy even more money and power by declaring money as a part of free speech in the horrid FEC v. Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision.

Now some in the Republican party are hell-bent on breaking up unions and trying to send us back as a nation to the robber-baron era of lawless rapaciousness in business and industry.

Democracy is only as strong as its safeguards, and I’ve been noticing a lot more foxes guarding our collective hen-house lately.

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

May The Fourth Be With You

I’m sure that will be the title of quite a few blog entries today, but I couldn’t resist!

My son would get upset with me when he would eat with his hands when he was little and I’d say “use the fork, Luke!”  He’d yell at me that his name wasn’t Luke!  Now he just rolls his eyes if I ever say it.  I love Star Wars.  I vacillated between wanting to be Princess Leia, and wanting to marry Luke Skywalker.  Then I wanted to reincarnate as Princess Leia and marry Han Solo.  I wasn’t really up on the whole reincarnation concept.

I don’t believe in reincarnation – and even if it’s real regardless of my belief, I don’t ever want to come back here anyway.  A sincere fantasy of mine is wondering what it would have been like to grow up in a good-enough family.  Maybe I would have turned out exactly the same with all the same issues, but I doubt it.  I would have been braver, and I would have had tangible support.  My parents would have brought me to music lessons, or helped me learn how to pursue my dreams.  I do my best now – and I also have a large network of people who care – some I’ve never even met, and that’s what matters, but it would be nice if it wasn’t so taxing.  I am proud that I was a mostly good parent for my son, and presented him with many opportunities and supported his choices when he took the initiative to try new things.  I think that being present with him was my best gift to him, and regardless of my mistakes, he knows I did the best I could.

When my son was a sophomore in high school, starting the college process, he was being courted by dozens of colleges.  I cried when all the college applications and information starting pouring into our mailbox because it was so outside of my experience.  Those colleges wanted him, or at least wanted him to apply.  I applied at the only college I imagined would take me – our local community college – and then only because of my friend’s prodding.  Once there, it was one of my professors who suggested I apply to Smith College to finish my degree.  I looked at him and told him I wasn’t smart enough to go to a school like that.  He smiled, put his hand on my shoulder, and said: “Just apply”.

I was accepted that summer, on a full scholarship, and I was terrified.  I moved on campus and began what has become one of the most important experiences of my life.  I didn’t get a terrific job when I graduated, because I was still me, with all my untreated trauma issues, and there was a glut of English majors on the market then.  I was told by one potential employer to ‘go back and get a science or math degree’.  That’s what was really needed at that time.  I sent out a hundred applications and got two job interviews, neither of which hired me.

I finally found work as an office assistant, and was dreadfully unhappy.  Then I found work at a daycare, but only lasted there eight months.  I liked kids, but it was an overwhelming job, and was too close to home with some of the abused kids we worked with.  Then I was told of a band audition coming up and I went.  I was hired as a singer, and sang with them for a year, meeting my son’s father, the keyboardist.  We had a whirlwind romance and I was pregnant in two months.  He wanted me to not have the baby, but I felt differently, so I told him I’d leave and never bother him again, but I wasn’t giving up the baby.  A few days later he told me he thought about it and he wanted to stay with me, so he was resigned to my having the baby.  We tried to make our relationship work, but I think it was doomed from that day.

Our son is now in college, a bright young man who is very much his own person.  I wish he had a relationship with his father now that he’s older, and I talk about his dad with him on occasion.  Our son feels that it was his father’s job to keep in touch with him no matter what.  Maybe I should tell him it could be worse; his father could have turned out to be Darth Vader.  Of course, Darth Vader did redeem himself at the end.  I know life doesn’t often end on a positive note – it usually just ends.  I hope my son reconciles with his father because even if they don’t go on to enjoy a close relationship, he won’t be left with the regret of a wasted chance.

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