Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Guess My Cats...Aren't Really So Bad

In my previous post I gave a truthful, and problemly (for definition of this word, see The Bloggess) disturbing, albeit comical, account of what it's like to try to sleep in this house. But today I discovered that we probably have it VERY easy.... I don't know whether to laugh at these people, call them a vet, or an exorcist......

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve's Sleeping Twister Game

Yeah, I realize the title makes relatively little sense, but I couldn't figure out what to CALL what I experience while trying to sleep at night. This "sleeping" thing, has become a SKILL in our house. And it is only attained by much patience and practice.

I remember the days of yore, when my head hit the pillow and I was out like a light, regardless of what was happening around me. I was so tired by the time my head was laid down, you could have held a rock concert and not bothered me in the least. Of course...I was four then.

Then at 16, sleeping was more an interference and obnoxious necessity, than anything else. I mean, seriously...I had shit to DO. This sleeping thing was just accomplished as quickly as possible to make way for more pressing activities. And really...if I didn't get it wasn't a crisis. I could always sleep some other week.

At 23, sleep was more like an after dinner cocktail. And dinner was something I ravenously devoured...sometimes repeatedly...between "cocktails." You can read into that whatever you'd like. You'd probably be right on.

By 35, sleep felt more like a nap between sustained intervals of housework, homework, and work work. Yes...I was one of those over-achievers that thought raising children, working full-time, going to school, keeping a house clean (well...sort of clean), and a husband happy...was a good idea. Hey...I've never been accused of having a lot of common sense. But when I FINALLY got to sleep...I don't remember anything about it other than hearing that alarm and having to wake FAR too soon.

Now at 46, sleep has become an exercise in entertainment, coupled with that "you've got to be joking" feeling, and a pinch of "OMFG come ON already!" I have a sleep disorder. It's called, "I'm aging, I have arthritis, demanding pets, and I'm married," essentially.

Image from Sleep Health

Positions in bed used to be a more adventurous, sexually-charged exploration. They have become a marathon of searching for a comfortable position in which to pass the fuck OUT.

And to add to the delerium of endless flipping, flopping, and rolling, is our precious Miss Stumples, who has her OWN nighttime agenda and requirements for suitable rest. She must (this is not an option, mind you) have Momma's right hand on which to rest her little black and white furry head. So while we're finding comfortable positions in which to SNORE....we're having to be sure they fit around this very important requirement.

Image from Health Professionals Directory 
This is the definition of irony. This is also NOT an actual photo of Miss Stumples. Stumples only sleeps on Momma's hand, I can't GET a good pic of that, because I'm trying to sleep then TOO.

If we somehow fail to accommodate....there will be plenty of meowthing off about it. No...I mean REALLY meowthing off. The kind that would set the short term destiny of a human child to being grounded for a week. But the HUMAN child that lives with us is 19. Refer to my re-accounting of teen sleeping habits. Right. He's hardly ever home. And when he IS home....HE is sleeping. Grrrrhwie;klgahhg;aejwja;f. (translation: the fuck? how is it YOU can sleep?)

Last night:

  So we head toward the bedroom to begin our perilous journey toward slumber; Miss Stumples, as expected, trotting along behind. Sharon lies down on her right side, Miss Stumples takes her position, daintily perched over Momma's right hand. I re-spread the blankets over the bed, their sleepy bodies lay beneath the warm, fluffy layers, and I think..."Oh, I am sooooo tired. That looks wonderful."

I crawl up my side of our king size bed, along the wall side, up from the foot of the bed, pull back the top right corner of the blankets and wriggle underneath. Ahhhhhh.....warmth, peace, relaxation....

Then it begins....

"Meow, meoooow!"

Me: "Honey do you have your hand up there for her?"

Shar: "Of course I do."

Me: "What is she meowing about?"

Shar: "She probably wants you closer." (See...sometimes, she requires BOTH of our hands, or at the very least, the ability to SEE that I am there also. This can be accomplished by making sure she can see my head on the pillow. So...I fluff my pillow. She stops meowing.)

Me: *cough cough cough* (I have allergies...we have cat hair and dust, because I SUCK at cleaning house.)

Me again: *cough cough cough*

Shar: "Are you okay?"

Me: "Yes, honey, I'm fine."

*I roll over on my right side, sticking my nose between Sharon's shoulder blades.*

"Meow, meow, meow!"

Me: "Stumples!...geebus, okay!"

*I throw my left arm over Sharon's waist so Miss Stumples can SEE my hand...PROOF that I am indeed in bed.*

Shar: "Oh honey, that hurts, my hip is kind of aching."

Me: " sec..."

*I roll back over on my back, making sure my head is high enough on the pillows for Miss Stumples to see it....*

*long drawn out sigh*

Shar: "What?"

Me: "It just feels so good to lay on my back tonight. My back hurts and my right shoulder is killing me."

Shar: "Yeah, it's been rainy and cold today. Probably why my hip is hurting too."

Now we also have MY requirements for sleeping, and Sharon's as well. These are the cause of the following technical difficulties....

Me: "I can't reach your butt to put my hand there." (I can't sleep without one hand on Sharon's behind. Don't ask me why...I have no idea.)

*Sharon scoots down. This works well, because now Miss Stumples has a much better view of my head, but...she has to readjust and re-position herself on Momma's hand now. (brief flopping and readjusting time)*

This is when we discover that elastic bikini waistbands, make very good hand position stabilizers when you're too tired to actually HOLD your hand in the spot it needs to be in....

Me: "Oh wow. I never thought of that. You'll have to sleep in your underwear more often. This is very helpful."

Now fits of laughter ensue. Probably because we're fucking slap happy from lack of sleep.

In this process, our feet have become tangled in the blankets, which are now all over the place, and totally not in the orderly arrangement to which normal people are accustomed. (If using the word normal in this blog post causes you to laugh maniacally, it's okay...I understand.)

(LOTS OF WILD KICKING. Puntuated with heavy breathing and PANIC. We both have anxiety disorder and mild claustrophobia, which makes having our feet totally covered, without at least ONE of them sticking out into the air....unbearable.)

Me: "Whew...." *sigh*

Shar: "Better?"

Me: "Yeah...god. That was intense."

"Meow, meow, meow, meoooooow!"

Me: "Stumps, what on earth is the problem?"

Shar: "MaryJane is trying to scoot her out of her place." (That is her mother...of the cat persuasion.)

Me: "MaryJane get down! Go sleep in your brother's room!" (No, I'm not being abusive, just practical. If she tries to sleep in here, Miss Stumples will never let us hear the end of it, and we'll probably get shunned tomorrow. I can't have that.)

Shar: "Awwww, it's okay Jane, Mommy still loves you. Honey, pet her at least, so she knows you love her and that you're not really mad."

Me: "O M F G...."

*pet pet pet pet pet* .... /rolls eyes

Me: "Now, go to Darren's room." (Yes, our cats are very smart. They understand English.)

Me: Okay. Are we all functional now? Miss Stumples? Everyone?

*I lie back down, on my back, making sure my head is high enough on the pillows for Miss Stumples, stick my right hand back under the newly "discovered" hand-stabilizing-elastic-bikini-waistband, and begin to relax and breathe. (I had to get up, make sure MaryJane was happily tucked away elsewhere, and also to get a drink. All this exercise makes me parched.)*


Shar: *sigh* Isn't this wonderful? I love our family.

Me: Me too.

Shar: Merry Christmas Eve Eve, Baby.

Me: Merry Christmass Eve Eve to you too, Baby. Nighty night.

Shar: Night.

Miss Stumples: *purr purr purr*

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Post-it Note Tuesday



Hide and Seek - Imogen Heap

Monday, December 21, 2009

Love and Tradition

Yesterday was our daughter's wedding. It was beautiful and tender and even funny. I can't believe that one of our CHILDREN is now married. Weren't they just awkward pre-teens like...I don't know...last week?? Yet in just the past 6 years, we went from comical moments like this pre-Homecoming photo:

To this much more serious, and also adorable, but more deeply-affecting-to-parental-units-of-any-kind-photo here:

ACK! When did that happen?? And let me tell you, her birth mother, is feeling MUCH older right now, than her step-mother is here! The poor woman cried, worried, and all around seemed to feel insane, the entire week preceding this life-changing event. And now, after the fact, as I'm editing video and pulling out snapshots from the footage, I have time and opportunity to think about something related, and also important to me, yet today, I'm struggling with feeling a little selfish for thinking about it.

As we (Sharon and I) sat on the couch together reviewing the Flip cam footage of the wedding, our heads pressed together at the temples, side by side, watching this beautiful celebration of love...our daughter's love...another part of my heart...sank.

Would there ever be a time when we could do this same thing watching our OWN wedding? And IF so...when? Will we also have, by then, sat in this very spot watching our sons' weddings, our grandchildren's birthday parties? Will we marry when we're in our 60s, or 80s, or never be allowed that union at all?

And it reminded me of a discussion I had gotten into in the comment section of a YouTube video by one of my favorite vloggers, Philip DeFranco, otherwise known as "sxephil." He made some very bold statements about gay marriage, gays in general, the Catholic Church, PETA, and...I don't really remember what all else, but suffice it to say that if you're easily offended by pretty much ANYTHING, you shouldn't watch this video. 

This is also TOTALLY NSFW. No...I'm serious here. And if you have small probably won't want them in the room when you see it either. However, it is hilarious (like all of Phil's vlogs), so provided you can handle some very serious (and not so serious) adult topics without being'll want to see it.

DISCLAIMER: If you watch this and then find it offensive, please don't shoot the messenger. I'm using it because I like Phil (the vlogger), and I think offensive things can sometimes BE funny. Your mileage may vary.

Now in the comment section, of course, controversial discussion and arguing ensues. But there were a few things in particular that really stuck in my craw. For one, that marriage is only a "word," and we "gays" should be happy calling OUR unions something else. Sure...let's try calling "voting" something else if you happen to be a minority voter. Wonder how well that would fly?

Frankly, I believe EQUAL means equal, not almost the same, or well...pretty much the same, but...NO BUTS. Of course, we could just say everyone gets a civil union, and do away with the word marriage, but somehow (and for obvious reasons) a lot of people probably wouldn't like that...and they shouldn't. And neither should we.

Secondly, that marriage takes place in a church. Incidentally...our daughter did NOT marry in a church, was married by a judge...a female judge, no less. She had a lovely non-religious wedding and she indeed can call herself "married." She can say she is "married" simply because she is heterosexual. And for her mother and I...there is a bittersweet sting, therefore, today as we sit, Flip cam in hand, arms entertwined, side by side, on a couch we've had for years, in a home we've shared for as many...a home that is full of love and kindness, the home that our youngest son still shares with us...our home.

So I suppose what I come here to write about today, is love...and tradition. Not all traditions, are necessarily good things. For instance, traditionally, marriage is a "sacred" commitment between a man and a woman. Yeah...I'm not really seeing the "sacred" part of that these days, but okay. And the whole "tradition" is very interesting today, isn't it?

Today...I took some time to think about that. Sometimes traditions are the vessels that hold antiquated behaviors and ideas that no longer serve a valuable purpose. I'm not saying that all traditions are bad...the holiday season is a great time to think about this. We see traditions all around us, being acted upon and acted out. But some of them...may be more detrimental than good. And some may just need some adjusting. Just a thought or two or 50 cents worth.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Save Hope

This week's 100 Word Challenge. Why not join us?

Save hope, breath be nothing more than the ticking of a clock

Tic toc Tic toc

It counteth away the beats of a heart tis all but stone

Ticking away, beckoning a finality

An existence with not beginning, neither end, void of purpose

Be there nothing for which one would die
Neither for which one should live

To have not life, aye neither death, but only incessant drudgery
A pseudo-mechanical time-keeping

Forging onward toward one sure end that will neither be felt, nor  missed

Alas we are not this, 

but rather hope manifest in flesh

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Post-it Note Tuesday: Eco-Friendly Version

My case in point:

Just THINK about it for a minute.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Giving Voice: The High Calling of Teaching

Today my 19 year old son and I got into a conversation about college and learning,  which ultimately led to a conversation about "giving voice." He is the youngest of our three children, none of which I can easily refer to as "children" any longer, and the only one who is still at home. We often converse about things as simple as what's for dinner, and as complex as philosophy.

During our conversation, I was recounting being in high school and remembering that gnawing question that always plagued me, as to what possible purpose classes like English and Algebra could ever serve, particularly in my own personal life. English, where we "diagramed" sentences, or algebra where we seemed to intentionally make numbers painfully mysterious, both were an enigmatic exercise in apparent frivolity to me. At least that's what I thought at the time.

Then one day I became a mother, and both learning and teaching began to mean much, much more. I wanted my son to be able to express himself, so I taught him to talk. I wanted him to be able to fully communicate and interact with the world around him, so I taught him to listen. I wanted him to be able to play that guitar he loved so much, or to be the best possible athlete he could be...if that is what he wanted. How do we go about becoming the people we become?

Every human being has within them the potential for greatness. And by greatness I simply mean the most robust expression of who we uniquely are in the universe. But to express that...we must have a voice. I don't necessarily mean a literal vocal output of sound, but rather a vehicle of self-expression...the TOOLS to express.

My son and I were talking about learning scales in music class. He has so much beautiful music inside of him. He hears it in his mind and heart. But to be able to express it, he's had to learn the tools that give his creativity a VOICE.

As a writer...what if I had never learned, for instance, the alphabet, or how to read, or how to type, or how to make a complete sentence? (Yes, I know...sometimes I still struggle with that last one, and the tool called "grammar," is not always at home in my tool belt, I'll admit.) But what if I had never learned to spell or to write?  I could be full of amazing stories and imaginative prose and verse, but without a would those things come forth?

And this brought us back to the topic of teaching. He wants to be a teacher. He wants to teach grade school music. And I am delighted with this, as you can imagine. Because when it's all boiled down to the most organic truth of the matter....teachers....ALL teachers, not just academics...give others VOICE. Without the tools, the basics, the foundation, the "technical aspects" of any given skill or study, whether it be the English language, or the notes and keys and scales on a piano...there is no VOICE with which to express oneself.

One of the tragedies of our society, is that there are very likely great authors, brilliant painters and sculptors, and inspired musicians trapped within their own limitations. Authors that have never learned to read and write, musicians that have never learned to play an instrument, painters that have never held a paintbrush and wouldn't know the difference between acrylics and oils...sculptors that have never once touched wet clay or whittled even a toothpick. If you don't have the either have no voice, or your voice is very dampened by it's limitations. Teachers give...voice. The molding and shaping and unique sound of each voice, comes from within. But the creator must have the tools to make themselves "heard."

It's a quirky odd thing about me that I have always felt deeply saddened when anyone dies. I mean ANYONE. Even when I was very young I remember watching the news and feeling acutely grieved by the passing of someone in an automobile accident or when someone left this earth due to a terminal illness, or any other mode of "exit." And I consciously remember thinking, as a young teen...all of the beauty inside that human being, the beauty that was unique to their experiences in life...all...gone. What they might have written, what they might have said, or sang, or painted, or built...all that they would have become...has been taken from us. We may have been left some of their creativity...if they had a voice...but some of them did not. Some musician died without ever writing a song. Some writer passed from this earth without ever penning that haunting poem. Some painter took their leave without gracing a canvas with mesmerizing color and form. And it is a great and irretrievable loss.

So when we have the opportunity to learn something new, or the opportunity to teach something to another soul that is open and hungry, maybe , just maybe...that should make our hearts pound with passion, whether we are a mother teaching our son the alphabet, a father teaching his daughter how to whittle a working whistle, or an elementary school teacher patiently explaining how to construct a sentence, or just a good friend...sitting down to teach their friend their first guitar chords. For all of our voices together make up a tremendous, amazing symphony. Every voice is unique. Every voice matters. One of the most enduring things you can give another human voice.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thoughts on Polarity

We are a strange species. We fall in love...and we're foolish in love. We get our hearts broken...and we break hearts. We're so seemingly unique in this universe, although there may be others...but I wonder if they are as crazy as we. We make ourselves crazy with all of our emotions and obsessions.

We write poems and songs, so full of emotion...we give and love...we rage and murder...we medicate ourselves to keep from feeling...we hate our numbness and do extreme things, seeking adrenaline highs, to feel again.

We're contradictory in almost everything we do. We believe that we believe one way, but we find our actions are incongruous with our beliefs...we wonder IF we believe. We search...we find...then we bury much of what we learn of ourselves deep in our subconscious minds, hoping the truths, both beautiful and awful, will not find light again, for both the beautiful and the ugly us to account.

We're painfully transparent...yet we also omit truths and hide our flaws, as if anyone equally human would believe our projected flawlessness. We lie. We hate liars. We condemn violent criminals to die for taking a life, or lives...we take theirs, payback's a bitch, you know....

We are so lacking in consistency. We are incongruous as a society, and often even within our individual selves. We loathe contradiction and hypocrisy...and we BREED it. Order and chaos...yin yang...polarity...would the Earth spin wildly off her axis if all of this seeming contradiction ceased? Is it all part of the natural balance of existence? Is that, in some strange way, what holy scriptures of all faiths tell us in their own historical and mythological accounts? They too are contradictory within themselves. Perhaps there is some kind of strange magic in that truth...

Is it all just necessary polarity?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Post-it Note Tuesday

The Harshest Itinerary...No Kidding

Tell Helen I never knew.

Tonight he's in northern Kentucky.

Tortured heart, indecisive, never knowing ~ trying hard.

I never kissed this handsome, incredible, natural knave...truthfully.

His illicit niceties ~ karmic. To her, I'm nearly kidnapping them.

Harsh inconsiderate nasty kunt. That's how I'm now known to her.

I never knelt to his incessantly needy knob. To her it's not knowing, that has

incriminated naivete.

Karma teaches hope.

Ingenuous neutrality keeps these hearts isolated, numb. Kindness?

That's how I'm not killing the harrowing intrepid nonsense.

Knots that hinder intuition, no?

Knowledge...true, he's in northern Kentucky.

This hour is not kind.


Saturday, December 05, 2009


a slow turning kaleidoscope
every movement altering design
can’t you see that what you do
is forever branded on my bruised tender mind

i am broken shards of colored glass
shapes and hues too numerous to count
reflected by mirrors in the faces
of people all around

what they see is genuine
they just don’t understand
that the colors i reflect are changed
with the touch of every hand

my brokenness betrays me
it’s easy to see it’s so
just look into my eyes
you’ll see that i’m alone

what once was born complete

now lies shattered at your feet

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Beyond My Own Static

You know, if we're all really does give us a sense of superiority, a little, a little pride, maybe some small feeling of validation, when we're very confident that we're right about something, and that the "other person" is wrong. Sometimes that "other person" is a vast SEA of people, entire populations of countries, human beings standing up opposed to your "knowledge" as far as the eye can see. And somehow, even though we're not apt to admit it, we can stand facing all of those fellow human beings utterly convinced that we, with all of our "special" revelation, are the one that is right, and they...are either "unenlightened" and ignorant, stupid by choice, "deceived" by some supernatural force, or delusional. Yet here we stand, in opposition to vastly more minds than what we see behind us...convinced of our "rightness." The arrogance of it is so profound, it almost escapes words.

I think that I can probably be a rather arrogant person. I am, very likely, overly confident in my intellect." Oh, don't get me wrong...I'm well aware that there are many people far more intelligent. It's certainly not that I think I "know everything." In fact, the older I get, the more sure I am of how truly little I know. The older I get, the more easily the words, "I don't know," roll off my tongue. Perhaps...just perhaps...that is the first step out of intellectualism, into wisdom.

Last night I dreamed of this. I woke, only for a few seconds, thinking, "I must remember this." But then it all drifted away under a blanket of warm exhaustion. All that was left me when I awoke, was this impression of what I now write. A vague, fleeting, foggy impression. But as I sit here, morning coffee in hand, my mind swells with thoughts of this paradox. The more I know that I do not "know," much of which I used to proclaim to know...the more that I truly know, that I don't know very much at all.

I look at this from a couple of my journey from Christian fundamentalism, to atheism...almost, for me, like two sides of the exact same coin. Oh sure, at once I could provide "evidence" through human scientific the other end, I could provide "evidence" by human "evidence" of things not seen. I chuckle at it now, finding it both desperately sad, and just downright desperate.

On the other hand, scientists at one time held many theories, that for some, became personal beliefs, that were later proven to be scientifically wrong. At one time  geologists were all wrong about the origin of continents. They thought the earth was a solid object. Now they believe that the earth consists of plates. The theory of plate tectonics has replaced the old theory, which is now known to be false. Science is an ever-growing, changing, dynamic field of study. It is fascinating because it is always disproving itself and, in the process, discovering more "truth." Religion, on the other hand, is an ancient sedentary system of beliefs that tends to scoff at discovery, learning, and the intellect, and often holds to antiquitous ideologies that often have no factual basis, many of which have caused strife, war, hatred, and vile behavior for centuries. Science, however, by its very nature, is open to revelation and correction. I have "worshiped" at both of these altars.

Today...I "know" only one thing. I don't KNOW, with absolute certainty, very much at all. Spiritually, I would probably be considered an agnostic. And you would definitely not be able to paint me with a broad brush by labeling my spirituality as belonging to any particular "prophet" or teacher. I believe in kindness and charity, in honesty and dignity, in compassion and in taking peaceful action to affect positive change in the world around me. Sometimes I am lazy in my actions, but my intent is toward goodness and kindness, and toward loving the other human beings with which I share this planet....because we're all "in this boat" together. I try  never to look carelessly at anothers pain, to take delight in their joys, to never belittle someone for their choice of paths through this existence, to empathize with my fellow travelers, and to remain open to learning.

My values are strongly set on this one other thing...

Whereas some atheists and some fundamentalists are set on their own brands of "evangelizing" others to "set them straight," or "show them the fallacies of their beliefs," or even (possibly underlying whatever other "reason" they give for their arguing incessantly the "truth" of their own stance) to show themselves to be "right" and prove the opposition to be delusional, or even to "save" them from their  "false beliefs"....I have no such passion. As a matter of fact, I find that such "discussions" and arguments are counter-intuitive to allowing for individual human growth. The greatest teacher of life itself. My journey IS my teacher. Your journey...yours. Our paths may cross, but it is not my "higher calling" to attempt to alter your path. You have everything you need...within you, and around take the journey.

I end this long journal entry with only this, the Socratic principle:

"The unexamined life is not worth living." 

It is, in my opinion, not wise to hold too tightly to anything, any person, any belonging, or any principal, without the awareness that the world is constantly changing, in flux, in varying states of decay and renewal. Life is not static.

A stream of motion.....

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Five Senses

Today I was looking over my favorites on Flickr and I ran across this video I hadn't seen for a while. It washed over me like a cool summer breeze. And I got to thinking about how its own music. Music may very well be "the universal language," but all five of our senses are singing beautiful symphonies every day, if we just listen...

~ the sound of the rain or a thunderstorm

~ the smell of the air after a thunderstorm

~ the sounds and smells of the ocean

~ the colors of any sunrise or sunset

~ the way the brisk autumn air smells and how it feels on my skin

~ the warmth of a thick cotton cable sweater in the autumn

~ the sound of fallen leaves crackling under my feet

~ the colors of the leaves in Carthage, MO in the autumn

~ the sight of the first really fluffy big-flaked snowfall

~ the way my partner's skin feels and smells, and the beauty of her soft curves

~ the look on my son's face when he's truly happy

~ the sound of my mother's laughter

~ the silky soft fur of my kitten and the sound of her purr

~ the smell of really good coffee first thing in the morning

~ the softness of flannel sheets and fuzzy blankets

~ the smell of clean laundry

~ the way really good food, can affect all five senses

~ the caress of a spring breeze on my skin and through my hair

~ the fragrance of grape irises and carnations

~ windchimes and birds chirping

~ crickets late at night

~ a pitch black sky full of stars

~ putting on warm clothes fresh out of the dryer on a cold day

I don't ever want to forget to notice these things. often something so very simple.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Meet the Writer: Unedited, Transparent, and Utterly Flawed

Alone I sit. A cup of hot tea, cigarette lit, resting in an ashtray, my desk cluttered with papers, bills, mind cluttered with unforgiving thoughts toward myself for accomplishing nothing, both now and in my past. I don't suppose I can exactly say that I accomplished "nothing," but rather nothing of any consequence in fulfilling the longing in my soul to create something that is wholly me...that reflects my soul, my passion.

I'm 46. I recognize that this is mid-life crisis mode for me. I'm quite sure that it's a common theme of thought for many my age. Yet knowing I'm not alone in my grief and yearning...sure isn't giving me much comfort.

Over the past few months I have traipsed through a myriad of "interests" trying to find something to DO that will either make money for me and my family (god knows Sharon would probably love to have more help supporting us), the very find something to do that will squelch this incessant gnawing need in my soul to express itself somehow. I have an HD camcorder, software for making videos, a new classical guitar, a tiny keyboard, my journal here, books stacked around the room...maybe I thought just SEEING all of this stuff would inspire me. Sharon is an angel to tolerate me. No...I mean REALLY.

I can't even call this "tortured artist syndrome" because I have not BEEN an "artist" for so long now, that I can't even conjure up a simple creation to share with my CATS, let alone another human being. So I'll just be honest and call it mid-life crisis that is teetering on depression. Yes...I suppose if I have to admit it...I've probably been manic, clamouring for things, running after every idea as though it were some fairytale salvation of sorts, never accomplishing anything real in the process, and driving everyone around me insane. I feel as if I don't fit in the world in any useful way any more. I've always had an undercurrent of that feeling throughout the entirety of my life, but's like a ravenous perches on my shoulder waiting for the next piece of dead flesh to drop.

It's ugly, it's mean, it's scary...and it's where I am right now.

You can't write about anything hopeful when you're feeling this way. Music soothes me, but I can't hide in it long enough to make everything else I feel go away for more than the length of time the music is playing. And if I take my focus off the songs...the wolf comes back to devour any hope that I've gained. I feel trapped. I'm caged within my own soul, my own body, and in this apartment. And the by choice. I don't WANT to go outside. I don't want to be out there and see, under a looking useless I really am compared to every other single person that is living out there and really LIVING.

I have no self-discipline. I am lazy. And lazy people just don't accomplish much. These are the "sins" that will crush my dreams. I'm not even sure I know what my dreams are anymore. Well okay...that's not entirely true. I want to WRITE. But I want to write something someone will READ and gain something FROM. I don't want to just sit here and endlessly type rubbish into a machine that has no response to me either negative or positive.

I want to write something that will come to LIFE and have a being of it's OWN. I want to GIVE BIRTH. Maybe...just maybe...what I am going through is a creative pregnancy. I certainly FEEL moody, pained, disturbed, sick....yup, I feel pregnant.

The greatest problem with all of this, for me, is that I don't feel I have a lot of TIME. I don't feel I have the luxury of seemingly endless years, the way I felt when I was oh...15. Now the clock is ticking and I don't work well under pressure. At least that's been my experience in the past. Pressure tends to paralyze me, and what I'm feeling, in part.

Maybe after this M.R.I. on Monday...maybe this won't be so intense. I've not told anyone...not a soul...but I have some fear about the M.R.I. and that fear is that I may have something very very wrong with me. Oh sure...that's probably grossly melodramatic. I don't know. But many things have run through my mind. Things like bone cancer, leukemia, a tumor now I stop to light another cigarette. Maybe I've always had a secret death wish...a sort of under-stated suicidal nature somewhere within. A lot of my life would tend to appear confirming of that diagnosis. But my conscious not ready to die. And every fiber of who I am inside...resists that idea.

It's funny to me, that every time I am in crisis mode of any sort in my life...I always gravitate back to the music and poetry of Stevie Nicks. It's like...somewhere in what she writes...I find ME...that part of me that longs, that yearns, that dreams, that WANTS to reach for me. And yet that girl...that young girl...she's buried so deep within me that I can't REACH her anymore. I feel myself stretching my arms to her and trying desperately to grab hold of her hands, but she won't reach BACK to me. She just sits there...a semi-blank stare on her face. The only emotion I see there is sorrow, and she's looking sadly at me as though I have betrayed her and she no longer trusts me. I promised her so many things throughout the course of our life, and I never made good on the promises. And now...she resents me, a little, and grieves...a lot. And she is far too fearful of more heartache to reach back to me. But she sits and listens to Stevie too. And I hear her humming...she's still hungry...she still wants more, but she doesn't trust ME to feed her.

Amazing that I can write so much about so little. I talk the same way. I can ramble on endlessly about things that don't matter in the least. Well...all of this matters, but not to anyone but me. And to try to explain these feelings to Sharon or someone that is just doing what they have to do to SURVIVE another day at work...just makes them hate me for having the time to even THINK about this kind of shit. I mean...Sharon doesn't have TIME to sit and debate about what she should "do with the rest of her life." She's busy supporting our family and doing those needful things that are really TRULY important. Oh sure...they might not leave a lasting impression on the "rest of the world," but they leave a lasting impression on me and Darren. Her gift is giving US life. And that...that's something vital and important. And even though it might not seem like much to's a whole whole lot to me. Perhaps I have a lot more to learn from her about being few...being just as vital as being important to many.

You know, a few years back, there was a class reunion for my graduating high school class. I didn't go. I didn't go because I didn't want to answer the question, "So what do you DO?" I didn't really want to hear the answers from my classmates either, when someone asked THEM that. But's not so much that I care what OTHER people think of what I "do," but that it's become a painful wound to me. I don't "do" anything. I don't even think that journaling can allow me to claim to be a writer. I haven't "given anything" to the world. I haven't contributed in some important way. Oh sure, I raised a son to the ripe old age of 13. I wasn't a great mother. I was passable, but it wasn't a talent, that's for sure. And I made many mistakes with him...of course, we all do, with our children. But outside of that...I have really done nothing.

So here I sit...typing away...longing to "be a writer," and indeed "writing," but unfulfilled, because I want my writing to MATTER. I want SOMETHING I do to matter. If I leave this world without having written whatever it is that I am here to write...then I have failed. And I feel ever so close to that becoming a reality. And I am scared.

You know, I would like to be able to write a very raw, poignant account of a life that has been scarred by drug abuse, moved by the beauty of the world, and motivated by the desire to touch others in a meaningful way, but that little girl...she won't reach back...she refuses, because I have let her down too many times before and without her...I cannot connect the dots. I cannot paint the landscapes. I cannot sing the songs, write the poems, I cannot claw my way up out of this well without her, and I cannot stay here, for we shall both drown.

I don't know where the story starts. I don't know where it ends. I don't even know what the ligaments are that connect the structure of the body. The ligaments, fibers, cells, that make up this life...are disconnected...scattered, broken...a kaleidoscope of tortured images. My memories are fractured. The fog of past drug abuse has made ordering the visions in my mind near to impossible. I can't remember when and where so MANY things happened. Details are fuzzy, emotions are numbed. And through all the recent past years that I have NOT been illegally drugged, I have been LEGALLY drugged because of this illness, and it has not rendered my memory any better, but rather it seems to have made it so so much worse. I'm actually not sure that the medications haven't done FAR more damage to me than all the years of other crap. No one to blame for any of that one but me.

I suppose that I could put all of my writing, no matter how trite and unimportant, on my blogs and just call it good. Maybe once every few months someone will accidentally happen by and read it. If I'm very very lucky, perhaps they'll leave a comment and I'll know that at least someone READ what I wrote. But the dreams of fame (no matter how small the "fame")...yes, I suppose that's what they are...or something akin to that, anyway...those dreams are probably just childish fantasies and I have to be honest with myself...they will probably never come to fruition.

I am ONE middle-aged homemaker in a world full of ridiculously talented people who are able to tell THEIR stories in much more polished and powerful ways, and I cannot compete in that realm. I am so not in their league. I am one voice in a sea of voices, and the entire world will go on when I pass, as if I never was, and there is not a damn thing that I can do about that. My family...or what is left of them then...they will notice my absence. But by and large, I will pass from this world without fanfare, without a blink, without anyone except them, ever knowing what I felt, what I experienced, what I thought, what I dreamed, what I believed, and how amazing and beautiful life really me. That is just the inescapable truth for all but the tiniest percentage of people on this planet. And it is a desperately sad truth...for us all. Because wonderful, and beautiful, and full of wisdom and truth that would heal many hearts...will die. And their story will never be heard, will never be known, and the beauty of all that they learned in their life will be lost. And we ALL will lose just a little something because of that, but...we won't even know we lost it.

And perhaps that is why, people like Stevie, are so loved and revered. Because somewhere inside all of us...we know the truth. We know that we will pass from this life without ever being able to tell our stories. So we look to Stevie, and others, to tell them FOR us. And when we hear them sing, see their paintings, or read their words, and RELATE to them...perhaps we feel that somehow, in some way...someone heard at least a part of US in that, and that we were, if even for a moment, understood.

In my mind...I am like Stevie...twirling across that stage, draped in chiffon and lace, the free spirit, abandoning my fears, pouring my heart out, touching thousands of people, letting them know that they are LOVED...that someone cares deeply for them...singing their stories...telling the world that THEY matter. Has anyone ever written anything for you? Yes...someone has. And I hear her singing. She touches my bruised and battered heart with the gentleness of butterfly's wing, and in that touch...I begin to heal. And that will probably have to be enough...unless...

I can I pick up the torch...not as a singer, but as a writer, and use the gift that God has given do the same. Can some of us pay it forward, can some of us jump into that flowing river of truth, and ride it with sincerity of purpose, taking others into that warm ocean tide of healing as we go? Can I....?


*This entry gets to the HEART of why I want to write. It may sound grandiose and delusional (and perhaps it is), but I want to be a voice for others that have no voice. The ordinary, the housewife, the guy that's working 9 to 5 and has so much to say, but isn't eloquent with words, the teenager reeling from the heartache of that lost first love, the drug addict gripped in addiction, running from pain, because her heart is so sensitive that it gets crushed under the weight of this life...the one that longs to be free, but doesn't know how to cry anymore. This...this is my passion. And it's an enormous weighty thing, and I don't know where to begin...but it's all in the world that I want outside of my family. I want to paint, with words, the beauty of our souls...all of our souls. We are all survivors, artists, creators...every one of us. It's just that many of our songs go unsung, our words go unspoken, our stories go untold.*


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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Disabilities Do Not Make Us Less Than Other People

Today, as I was doing my usual "Googlerama" festivities for the day (searching around through topics that interest me), I discovered something that saddened me, and yet it was already keenly familiar to me on a personal level. It seems that people with disabilities, particularly those that are predominantly homebound, often struggle with tremendous feelings of inadequacy and may feel lonely, depressed, and bored, among other things.

I don't pretend to know what it's like to be physically disabled. My father is physically impaired, and I have seen some of his challenges, and those of my mother, due to this. However, I can only speak from my own internal experience, and that is with mental health disabilities.

I have rapid cycling bipolar disorder, in addition to struggling somewhat with agoraphobia, and generalized anxiety. Then there are some other annoyances that are aggravated by my mental state such as colitis and IBS. Leaving the house is not as simple for me as throwing on some clothes, putting on a bit of makeup, hopping in the car and zooming off. It is a torturous, stressful, and painful process, that starts hours before I leave my house (on the rare occasions that I do so). I worry. I worry about everything. I worry about things normal people never even remotely consider. I shake, my heart pounds, my palms sweat, I feel weak, irritable, and even nauseous sometimes. Medication, while making these things more manageable, is definitely not a "cure all." And to be painfully honest, I'm not a very good example of staying on my medication consistently, even when I know I should. I still fight with myself about my illness, as though my wishing it wasn't so, would make it go away. It doesn't.

Thinking about the stark reality of this, stirred my soul. It's a topic that feels close to home.  Maybe too close to home. To blog about "feelings" and shortcomings, disabilities and desires....not really on the top of my list of "fun things to do." As a matter of fact, it's downright scary as hell. How much of the "real me" am I willing to put out there for public inspection, and ultimately judgment? People, by nature, especially those on the internet, seem to lean toward the judgmental side of human nature, possibly because many are intellectual or fancy themselves so. Anonymity...doesn't help matters. Many of the more cowardly internet "frequent flyers," so to speak, take great immature delight in tearing others down, often with no reason other than...they can. (I don't think generally intelligent people do this, just the more immature.)

So here I sit, typing out what feels like a sort of death sentence to normalcy. And by "normalcy" I mean the convienience of staying very shallow, always a bit humorous, and at arm's length, emotionally, from anyone in cyberspace. I, of all people, love safety. Emotional safety, mental safety, physical (Yes, I'm a bit of a germaphobe too.) But what do I have to contribute to anyone if I don't make myself transparent? Sure...I could continue to hide behind funny stories (not that I don't have some genuinely funny stories to share), or...I can be 100% real, raw, vulnerable, and essentially naked. I don't know if "naked me" is all that appealing (I mean gravity at the age of 45 is frighteningly don't wanna know). But isn't ME all that I have to share? And in all honesty....isn't it also what I want from you? Yes, yes it is.

I have decided, after probably not near enough thought, that one of my ferocious dust bunnies (fear) needs to come out from under the bed and face the light of day. Sure, I could leave it under there, forget about it, let it grow. That's probably not the best idea. For the past 11 years I have managed to be on the internet, "socially" relating to others without ever really showing "those" parts of myself. I've worn the Mommy Hat, the Gamer Hat, the Blogger Hat, the College Student Hat, the Facebook-MySpace Hat, the High School and College Alumni Hats, the Poet Hat, the Vlogger Hat, the Shopper Hat (online shopping, of course), the Geek Hat (hence my internet persona name of "kcgirlgeek"), I've even worn the Catch A Predator and Let's Help the Cops Hat. *sigh* After all of that, I think it's time to conquer the fear of being hatless....the fear of exposure.

So from here on, I'm going to be blogging (and soon vlogging) about the challenges of life with a disability, from my perspective and my family's, and...I'm going to address the issues of feeling inadequate, lonely, and bored, and how we can begin to conquer those things together. These feelings are not unique to the disabled, by the way, as though I'd have to tell anyone that. I'm  going to address ways in which we can stretch ourselves by stepping outside of our comfort zone in ways that are beneficial to our well-being. And I'm going to invite you to share in those experiences with me, via HD video and blog, which will be uncomfortable for me, and hopefully uplifting for at least one other person. Because if I can take one other person on this journey with me, it will be all the more worth it.

*The image used above is by disastrous.

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