Just got through with some business in town and I’m finally getting a minute to enjoy the breeze under the shade of a sycamore tree. I’m catching the smell of something sweet behind me. Maybe the fragrance of an autumn flower. I stopped over at my daughters to check on George. I got him some chicken nuggets and some fries. I know I shouldn’t, but he’s one of the grandbabies I like to spoil. Now I’m back home in my rocker with a sweet tea in my hand, listening to nature, while listening to the drone of mankind.
The world sounds so much better when you’re not apart of it. No deadlines or obligations to keep. No rush, rush, rush like you’re in some kind of hurry. My lifestyle doesn’t offer many material perks, but it often makes up for it in contentment and peace of mind. Years ago, I used to be so jealous of my family and friends. Always driving a new truck or car, going on wonderful trips, and living in homes I could never afford.
I think those days and I have to laugh at myself. Not only because of my petty jealousy, but because my hypocritical behavior. You see for a very long time I’ve known the commandment about coveting (possessing) your neighbors’ stuff (Exodus 20:17). Even my Buddhist teachings emphasize the putting away of materialism. To unlearn that materialism isn’t the goal of walking a noble path. Too many times we are blinded by the gold of this world. Stopping us from seeing the true beauty of life. Much like John Lennon, I to stepped off the merry-go-round; and believe me the benefits certainly outweigh the loss. All I’m asking is, when you look at your own life, are you living a life of peace? Or a life filled with stress and despair?
It’s not usual for me to dream of friends and family long gone. To conjure up ghost from my past to delivery me messages or words of encouragement. Last night I dreamed of my mother. I suppose it came from the lengthy conversation me and my oldest had earlier. I fixed her a pot of chicken and dumplings, one of my mom’s signature recipes. And she was razzing me about how it was almost as good as Granny’s.
As a kid, my mom always washed her hair and ours in the kitchen sink. My mom always had hard sharp nails, which I always found very soothing on my scalp. So in my dream I was washing my mom’s hair. She didn’t speak much but I noticed she wasn’t much older than she was when she passed. While oddly enough, I was the age in which I am today. I remember telling her as I rinsed the soap out of her salt and pepper hair. That we were going to be the same age soon and that it wouldn’t be too long before I’d be older than her. She just smiled while she laid there.
I’ve thought long and hard about that dream. Trying to dig up some nugget of information my sub-conscience was trying telling me. The subject of death comes up a lot in my conversations. Too often as my family likes to point out. But when faced with parents that died at a fairly young from pretty much the same illnesses you currently suffer. The thought does cross your mind. I like to think of these things as a reminder of the fallibility in which we all live.
Instead of thinking of death in it’s most fearful of terms. I take it as a positive. In that being aware of my current physical state keeps me conscious of the responsibility I have to live life each and every day. Too often we let the things that make us the happiest slip through our fingers. Simple things like texting a heart emoji to a friend or stopping by your daughter’s and eating supper, even if you weren’t hungry. We worry about our own little bubbles so much we forget the greater truth. That memories make up the fabric of who we are. Good or bad, the legacy we leave behind forms the impressions that shape the here and now.
It’s the first day after the fall equinox, and for the first time since spring, we are getting a small taste of cool weather. So I just had to come outside and enjoy it. There’s a crisp smell to the air, despite every diesel log truck in the county driving by. But I can’t blame them, the last several days of off and on rain definitely slows down business. So I just sit here waiting on the laundry to get done so it can be hung out.
Our existence can be a complicated thing. We rail on about the environment, yet we clog our streets with more and more traffic. We fuss and fight about our rights, yet lack any compassion for anyone else’s beliefs. Human existence hinges on our instinct to survive. By the very laws of nature we are wired to put self first. But though the evolution of our cognitive development. We’ve learned that compassion and empathy can also lead to the benefit of the whole. Meaning that together we can all thrive and survive.
Listen, the world’s gonna turn rather we’re here or not. And while the Christian Bible calls for us to take dominion of the earth (Genesis 1: 26-28). That doesn’t give us the all clear the kill and trash it. I may believe I have the right to live in filth and squalor. But my neighbors and the laws that we abide by, may say otherwise. Freedom isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. It’s a responsibly to those around you. Yes, you can complain and yes you can protest. But when you seek to violate the rights of others. Then who’s really enjoying the fruits of all our labor?
Just sitting here listening to the rushing water over the dam. As boats pull in and out with folks fishing and riding the water. I’m just sitting here all by myself taking in the sights, waiting for the pontoon boat pulls away with it’s smelly gas tank. The lovebugs are a gathering about as the clouds built for another rainy afternoon.
An old school bass fisher pulls off from the shore taking the grandbabies for a ride. It’s moments like this I enjoy sharing, with no Ill words with nothing but common ground found. Again I bring up the subject of commonality while the headline makers stir trouble and descent.
So while the wake of the boats slap the shore, I’m taken back to another time. A time when I would watch the water and listen to the stories told around a cup of coffee and a lawn chair. Feeding my head with the grace of God, the gift of freedom, and listening to what nature has to say.
For the last number of years, I’ve entered a new phase of my existence. Where materially the world means nothing and the word possession carries little if any weight. Some 20 years ago, I initially turned to the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, in order to find relief from my mental health struggles. As other physical and mental health issues followed, my reliance on Zen practices grew. While embracing the practice of noble truths, the mindset of contentment and the shedding of material desire; they have become a great influence on my physical and spiritual wellbeing.
I rediscovered the simple pleasures of life. The simple act of being there for family and friends. Letting go of hurt and grievance. Worrying less and less about material possession. All while being able to listen compassionately and remain aware. I’ll be the first one to tell you I am not proficient at any of these practices, but I am trying. I suppose my reason for bringing any of this up is the sadness and outright anger I see on display in today’s world.
While privately I have my outburst of anger and disappointment with others. Within my inner being I still mourn for those that choose not to see the obvious. The ones that would rather “go down with the ship”, than admit a wrong or sacrifice for the greater good.
Still it’s ironic that when confronted face to face, these angry individuals are usually quite kind. To the point of even contradicting there own anger words. I suppose the thing is, what do you value? Are growth and decency towards others too much to bear? Is the dogma in which you were exposed so unbending, that it contradicts it’s own truths? My life is too short for all of this. I’ve visited the edge of existence far too many times just to be that bitter. All I ask is that you think about your beliefs and how in sync they are with how you truly feel.
I’m finally getting a chance to catch my breath. After three days of go, go, go. Several trips to my daughter’s, a dozen phone calls, errands, and two back-to-back doctor appointments; I’m ready to sit down. Back in the day this was nothing, I’d work and go to school all night, come home watch our youngest son. Wait for the inevitable home call to either calm down or pick our autistic son up from school. Catch a nap when I could, pick up Lisa from the training center, then drag the two girls off to softball, basketball, or cheerleading practice. Let’s not forget fixing supper, then taking my long nap in the afternoon and early evening before work.
Like I’ve said before, none of this is to toot my own horn. Believe me, I’m as imperfect as they come when it comes to parenthood and caregiving. But you do what gotta do. A many a times you have read about how tiring and lonely this whole thing can be. And that is still true. At the moment I’m outside watching blue skies turn grey. Still it does me good that Buffy feels safe enough with me to just lay down and sleep. That as a caregiver is a feeling, I wish everyone can feel. Knowing that you have done a good enough job, as to where you are appreciated, no matter how much of an asshole you can be.
Scars heal from liquid, to scabs, to harden skin. Closing the wound, but never really in the same way. We run through life covered with scars, some big, some small; but they all leave an indelible mark. Settling into a routine is simply a way life. For me routines are hard to give up once they are ingrained. Over the last twenty years, I’ve had to move from one routine to the next. All due to life altering health issues.
Two decades ago, it was my mental health. Just when things were coming together for me and my family. A new job, a brand-new home, my world came chasing in. This lead to a years long odyssey of finding myself again. All while dragging my family along for the ride. I don’t know if I’m expressing my experience well enough. But the shame, the envy, and the frustration were and still are hard to bear.
But once I felt like life was finally coming back together, my world changed yet again. After many years of living an unhealthy lifestyle along with the stress of my mental health issues. My heart had finally had enough. So with that have come six years of victories and defeats. Oddly enough through all this, I discovered that nothing really matters but what happens today. Through my mindfulness training and having to stare fear straight in the eye. A lot of the anxiety and frustration left me after that initial heart attack.
Even with the other health issues I currently have like my permanently damaged heart. The ever-present atrial fibrillation and muscular weakness. And of course, let’s not forget about my ongoing digestive issues. Despite whatever new thing interrupts of life, I eventually understand that I must live each moment as it comes. Despite the setbacks and the frustration, through it all, wounds heal.
I find peace on this old weathered park bench. A brief respite from a world of endless decisions and walking on eggshells. I never thought life would stay this complicated. That every single decision would rest in my hands. Yet here I am, looking for any excuse just to get away and be on my own. I suppose I’m just being ungrateful for the life I have, the control it brings. But honestly, I’d trade it all to just live on my own terms and to have the freedom that alone gives
To be surrounded by need is not a blessing, it is a burden I wouldn’t wish on anyone. When someone calls you a good caregiver, it only reminds you of the yoke you have to bear. God, I know this sounds bitter, like a selfish man wishing to live a spoiled life. But I can’t help myself but to think this way. Years of one-way conversations and the constant anger directed towards life. Makes all the work you put in seem pointless.
So I write this in solitude surrounded by the silence of the water, boats pulling up to the ramp, and the popping of acorns under truck tires. The effortless motion of the waves, pulls me back to a time when things were a lot simpler. But just as the waves beat along the shore, the endless erosion reminds me of how the spirit pulls away. Leaving exposed roots of a life lived in servitude.
This is the first time I’ve open my Word app in three days. I think that maybe a record for me. I mean, after all I usually got something stupid to say every day. Anyway, we got back from our little vacation yesterday. But during the drive home I got so nauseated, I thought I was going to have to pull over. The whole time we were gone I felt fine. My digestive tract was on its best behavior, and I slept well. The only deviation from my normal routine was having to eat out every day. Anyway, the ride home and the rest of the evening was spent saying hello to my old friend in the back of the house. I know this doesn’t make for exciting vacation talk, but it’s the best I can do.
The whole time we were there I simply watched as my wife Lisa walk along the shore and dug up seashells. I didn’t have much of an agenda going on other than to snap a few pics and enjoy the scenery. Our time there was nice I really enjoyed the quiet and the total lack of tourist. My goal was to just to tune out for a few days. And while I may have spent too much money on the hotel and overpriced food, it was nice not to worry about everyday shit for a while.
Well, that’s about it. I’m still in chill mood despite my digestive overflow. I guess the moral of this tale is that every so often you just got to shut your brain down. That the worry, confusion, and the “what if’s” of life can really drag you down. At the moment I’m doing alright, I got a few errands to run later. I’m hoping to maybe go out to the park and chill. Listen I totally understand how this world demands so much of us. Remember in a consumer driven society it’s your attention and desire that grease the wheels. Mindfulness teaches us life is more than work and consumption. It’s also about breathing and listening and having an attitude of appreciation. So don’t be embarrassed if you’re not inspired or motivated. It just maybe your soul sending you a message.
With so much death and sickness coming to roost around my door lately, I thought I’d take a moment to speak of good cheer. I suppose since the most primal part of our brains has to do with survival; we often overlook the things that make us happy. For me it’s the laughter of a child, some quiet time walking a trail, and the satisfaction of listening to good music. But a lot of the time our primal fears dominate our existence and cloud our good judgement. Causing us to make harsh decisions that can affect the lives of so many.
My own life has been so dominated by panic disorder for the last 23 years. While I have made strides to overcome it, I still have moments when the primal fears still overtake my better judgement. The end results being poor life and business choices through the years. I don’t know about you, but the ongoing struggles of the last two years are enough to drive up the fear and stress levels of even the strongest person. So for the moment I’m looking outward at nature. Paying attention that in nature no matter what happens, life picks up and moves on.
Sitting here at my desktop waiting for my morning meds to settle in my stomach, I stare through the blinds outside. Not so much wishing for better days but learning despite the situation there’s still a reason to live. By putting away the anger, releasing the fear, and finding the simple things in life that make you smile. You can begin to release the pain, hurt, and fear. Our higher cognitive functions should tell us balance is the key. Living in fear and anger or denial and fairy tales doesn’t solve a thing. Finding the balance between righteous anger and compassion should be the goal for each and everyone of us. Thus creating the balance we all deserve.
Against my better judgement and yesterday’s digestive adventures, I’m out in the yard. Down here we’ve had a brief weather change so the humidity is down to a tolerable level. At least for the next couple of days. I’ve been thinking about the recent headlines coming out in Texas and across the South, dealing with abortion, voting restrictions, and the resurging pandemic. I’m pretty damn sure you all know where I stand on each of these subjects so there’s no point in fussing about that. I guess what bothers me the most is the intolerance each of us have towards the other.
Just because I don’t agree with your political or ethical views, doesn’t mean I hate you. My relationship with my father-in-law is a great example. I love the man, respect him, but seldom do we agree on anything beyond the Atlanta Braves and the kids. I do my damnest to lead by example. I look for the common good in everyone. And do my best to take the time to listen to there views. Often it’s not easy to do, but I’ve gotten pretty at keeping my eye rolls to myself.
I’ve been married nearly 35 years and, in that time, I’ve had to make a bunch of compromises. Shouldn’t the same apply to how we treat others and compromising with their point of view? I’m so tired of fussing. I got much bigger problems to tackle at the moment. While your world my deal in absolutes, there’s a whole another world that sees shades of grey. Evolution is a part of the process, if it wasn’t we as a species would have died out long ago. While it’s so easy to hate and overthrow, true prosperity only comes when we lose the intolerance and live together.
A couple of days ago, Lisa and I had decided we go to town and get us something from the local DQ. Well today sounded like about as good a day as any to go. So we drug our oldest son from out of his room and took him to town with us. When we got there, Lisa ordered a peanut buster parfait, we got the boys m&m blizzards, and I got myself a pineapple milkshake.
Once we got home everyone scurried to their sacred places to have their treats. While everyone else headed back to their tablets and TV’s, I headed outside to sit in the shade. Many years ago when I first started studying the works of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. One of the first things I read was how to eat mindfully, and how to eat slowly and to savor each bite. That first lesson came to mind when I was enjoying the smooth and sweet flavor of my milkshake.
Over the years I’ve learned many more lessons. Some not sinking in as well as others, but none the less taught. But I guess the biggest lesson I’ve learned through mindfulness is to slow things down. To always be aware of my surroundings and to appreciate the complexity of the world around me. To always give an ear to what nature is trying telling you. I don’t know if Master Hanh has ever had a pineapple milkshake. But milkshakes, if made right aren’t things you can rush through. They require time and thought to get through. Let us hope in this instant gratification world. That we to can all learn the lesson of slowing down and savoring life.
I figured by the end of the day; I’ll be apologizing to a lot of people. You see two days ago; I ran out of one of my mental health medications. It’s one of those you don’t notice until you run out of it. In my case without it I get more irritable, anxious, and a lot less patient with others. It wasn’t until after lunch that I finally got my prescription refilled. So at the moment I’m shut up in my room waiting for the meds to kick in.
There are a lot of people out there that either say you’re weak for depending on medication. Or that relying on doctors and medication simply means you’re not, “Putting your trust in the Lord”. Well I tried both, so I guess I'm just a whimpering puss that doesn’t have any faith. But don’t worry I don’t put a lot of trust in man either. But I do trust myself. So after years of living a miserable life, I’ve learned that the highway to conformity isn’t for everyone. That among the masses there are some of us that take the road less traveled. That we understand that our goals and purpose in life isn’t like anyone else’s.
And you know what? That’s okay. I know I need money to survive in this consumer driven world. But money is not my driver. I understand that a strong positive attitude is needed, just to make it through the day. But I embrace my flaws and give them a voice. If for nothing else but to maintain my sanity and to not allow myself to be overcome by self-hatred. For me life is a daily journey. One in which I listen to my turmoil, forgive, and learn from it. Through weakness I understand my limits. Through my limits I find a pathway through. Breathe in the essence of life, don’t let hearsay and judgement limit you. Find peace in what’s around you, know that satisfaction may be a lot simpler than you think.
Just got back from grocery shopping and dog inspection. Both went well. Saturday though wasn’t a good day, my digestive tract went back to it’s old ways, and tied me to a porcelain throne. So yesterday I more was more than timid to make a Krystal run I promised my wife. But a promise is a promise, so off we went on a 45-mile round trip pilgrimage to Hazlehurst. Surprisingly the trip wasn’t too bad my gastroenterologist gave me a little leeway in how and when I can take my new meds.
By upping the dosage of the acid binder and lowering the dose of the anti-diarrhea medication, I’ve seemed to have stuck a happy medium. I know all this is totally gross to discuss and my adult children would much rather I keep my mouth shut about it. But this is the world in which I live, so I can pretty much say this is my focus and frame of reference.
Rather suffering with a chronic physical or mental pain, no matter how much you try to focus on the every day things around you. That damn problem is never far from your mind. It controls your actions and effects those around you. No matter how hard you try the mask the discomfort, it always has a way of creeping into the forefront of your mind. I’ve had a number of issues to confront in my life. Beginning with my mental health issues, then my heart issues, and now my digestive issues. None of which I’ve completely overcome.
I’m a far cry from being victorious. In fact, I could be the poster child for, “Can his life get any worse?” But despite the fact that my ass has been whipped more times than I care to count. I’m still having a pretty good day. So take your victories where you can. Be active, even when strapped to a toilet seat. Make a plan to live your life. Be proactive in finding treatment, and never let the voices around you silence you.
Dedicated to those that feel the same.
I pick through the stories that clutter my mind. Digging at wounds that should have been forgotten long ago. Yet here I lay, another three o’clock testimonial to the person I’ve become. I dampen my head with a cold towel and calm my gut with warm heat. Interchanging to two at the appointed time, seeking a certain comfort that never comes.
A miserable soul living a miserable life. Too responsible to abuse myself in the classical sense. But willing to drag out my pain through a thousand tiny cuts. What is the comfort in such self-abuse? Is it some learned helplessness that craves attention? Or is it the only way I perceive love through the harsh training of abuse? Too many questions with too few answers for me to grasp. For I live in a world of simple logic, pretending to be something I’m not.
So I write and I write. Spilling the blood of a lifetime in selfish pain. Told by my peers to pray and forget it. But my prayers never got any farther than the ceiling. I cannot “will myself happy” nor can I tolerate any more of this pain. So I live through the ebbs and flows of this mortal flesh. Searching for emptiness within a noisy world.
I would love to say I was just taking a break from writing and social media in general. But honestly one of the side effects of my new treatment has been drowsiness and fatigue. Not the worse things that can happen to you. But when you’re the caregiver and decision marked, it tends to bottleneck the system.
Me and my best friend and main collaborator, have both been having one hell of a summer. Me with my digestive issues and her with chronic issues of her own. We are both caregivers, which complicate matters even worse. And frankly it seems either one of us has a “when button” when it comes to putting others before ourselves. We commiserate each other often through text messages and video chats. But even those are interrupted by the demands placed on us.
But we do have our work together, through each other’s words and photography. We grew up together on the banks of the Ogeechee River in Chatham County Georgia. I’ve basically known her longer than both my wives combined. We watched each other grow up, make good choices and way too many bad choices. But we’ve stuck together just like soulmates do.
Yes, I said the word, soulmates because that’s what we are. A secret we’ve kept bottled up for nearly 50 years. But considering our ages and health conditions, why hold back now? I suppose the whole point to this confession is to tell you wrap yourself in support. There will always be times when you will be utterly lone. Face it, there ain’t no two ways about it. It’s in those moments when you’ll need a soulmate. That one person to will instinctively know you need someone. Please don’t limit yourself to superficial relationships. Keep your antenna up for those that are really there for you. So don’t hide yourself under in a blanket of lies. Have that one person in your life that’s closer than even a lover. You won’t regret it.
I don’t want to be mad. I don’t want to be bitter. I even don’t want to be an asshole. But I am all those things and more. This has been a strenuous summer packed on by even more strenuous week. Having to do things I’m really shouldn’t be doing. Putting myself last “outweighing the needs of the one, for the needs of the many”. But of course, these are considered noble traits, ask many parent. But when the caregiver can no longer care for themselves?
I’m not trying to garnish any sympathy here; these are just the things I have to do. But within the depths of heart bitter seeds are blooming. So the reality of what I’m feeling can no longer be ignored. So often we brush aside the negative emotions we feel. We either push them even deeper, swept them into a dark corner, or drown them in unhealthy habits. I’m guilty of all three. But you can only stuff so much into a garbage bag before it breaks. And just like so many times before, my bag’s about to bust.
So I’m laying here, one crisis’s over with several more to go. But I’m thinking, I’m reflecting, and I’m listening. I breathe deeply while my heart cries in pain. Listening to every frustration, every moment of pain. I know my limitations, though I’m pretty damn good at ignoring them. For the love of family, a man or woman will do all that they can. But often there is no satisfaction, no reward in what you do. You may hope karma will shine some grace your way. But in my situation, even that’s become a pipe dream. So why do I press on? To be honest, damn if I know. All I know is it’s in my nature good or bad, to just keep living and seeking peace.
A Chinook helicopter landing on the roof of the US embassy. An image so striking when compared to a similar image shoot some fifty years ago. I never served in the military; my father was died set against it. He was a Korean War veteran. My mom’s four brothers served during the Vietnam War, either state side or in country. They all carried scars of an unfinished job. Thoughts of failure and of the brothers they left behind.
I’m not going to sit here and judge the actions of our service men and women. My own daughter is an Iraq war veteran. But the disillusionment and failure is real. The promise of no one left behind is echoing deep within the minds of thousands of service members right now. I watched an Afghan war veteran yesterday, pour his heart out yesterday for his brothers in arms that were left behind.
Some missions have consequences. Twenty years of nation building may have fallen on deaf ears in the halls of power. But the real effect is with the boots on the ground, the promises made, the lives made better. Oh I’m sure there are those that say, I should keep my mouth shut. But to call out bull shit. I hear the dire warnings the Taliban are more social media savvy. Well so are we. Let the powers to be know you are not happy and to keep searching out the truth, from the one’s living it, not rewriting it.
My oldest child will be 34 on her birthday, but despite her age she’s still my child. You know, I am about as broke down as a man can get, both physically and mentally. There’s not much I can do for her or any of my kids for that matter. I have no wealth, I own no property, in fact I’m doing good to feed my daughter’s dog. But I do what I can because she is my child.
My oldest has gone through hell for the past two years for love. Through government red tape, a pandemic, a quarantine, and travel lockdown. She has not seen her fiancé in any of that time. Others would have just given up, including me. But she’s stuck to her guns and is literally willing her upcoming wedding to happen. Looking at her I can humbly say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
The last few months have taken a costly toll on me. Physically I am as spent as I was during my first heart attack and surgery. Only this time it was a different surgery to put me in my current situation. But my astrological sign says I love passionately and deeply, which may attribute to some of the stupid I’ve done most of my life.
But we do what we do for our spouses and our children, don’t we? My kids are way smarter than me. They have established lives, homes of their own, lives outside my watch. I used to find the exclusion a bit shameful. A subtle reminder of my blaring shortcomings. But in my weakness, there’s still a bit of fight left in me. So instead of being a complete blueprint of what not to be. Maybe I helped lay a foundation, for how they should live, how to love, and how thrive.
I don’t want to be sad or depressed, but that’s where I am. There’s no point in sugar-coating it or lying to myself. I grew up in a world of denial, where if you had enough faith, you could pray your way through. Funny, I suppose I never had enough faith. I went through my entire young adult life never measuring up to my own standards.
Through fatherhood I was determined to be a better parent. But even then, the ghost of my painful past kept telling me I was no good. But my loud boisterous mask kept shining through. With the tough guy persona that nothing ever bothered me. But it did, it did a lot. Living in poverty in a rundown shotgun shack, I struggled, my kids struggled. To the point where I couldn’t blame them from wanting to get as far away as they could.
I guess my first come to Jesus moment came in 2015, with my first major heart attack. That’s when I was pretty sure I was going to final meet the guy face to face. Shake his hand, then I’d take the escalator straight to hell. But you know what? My life wasn’t done. My mindset changed, I changed. And surely, but slowly I have grown to understand. Life isn’t so much about goals, it’s about living. Which brings me too here.
The past few years and especially the past few months, have brought about a lot of physical change. To the point that I don’t recognize this body anymore. The emotions and physical pain have made me weary, tired, and just plain angry. I’m back to questioning my own judgement. I’m pissed at my medical team. I’m home bound tied to a life too embarrassing to discuss in polite conversation. Folks I’m tired of letting go. I’m tired of these chains. I’m trying to be proactive and in charge. But at the moment it doesn’t feel like enough.
I woke up under a canopy of worry. Marking moments by the second, fearing disappointment, wasting time. It’s a habit I like to think I had broken, it’s a habit that’s impossible to break. Looking through eyes jaded by my own reality, it’s hard to feel moments of optimism. So I sit silently watching the world pass. Making up excuses to stay off the ride.
I do so many dumb things, all in the name of peace. I spend too much, I laugh too much, I give in too easily to a child’s cry. All for those precious moments of peace and happiness it brings. Keeping the consequences of my actions close to me, eating away at my heart. But those moments of pleasure are hard to resist. The brightness of that smile and the satisfaction I see. You don’t mean to spoil anymore rotten. But in this world of disillusion, it’s often the only time I feel alive.
But quietly I shrink back into my corner. That same bullied child, a target, the easy mark to hit. It’s that child that’s been hidden away the longest. That manifests I himself in sleepless nights, panic attacks, and failing health. All I can do is listen and write. Cleansing my soul one drop of poison at a time. Looking into the eyes of the ones I love. Staring into the heart of truth, knowing we’re cut from the same cloth.
Can it be a bad dream when the one’s you love are there? In the heat of the evening, dreams swirl through my worried mind. Images of you and me, surrounded by family and friends. Talking about and living days long past. A sweet twist of thick candy melted from the heat. Celebrating bittersweet love, laughter, and tears.
We ask so little of life. A reassuring smile, the touch of a hand, a kiss on the cheek. Yet all we see is pain, discomfort, and the chain of obligation. It’s not like we haven’t been trialed before, judged for our sins and free spirits. Sentenced, condemned, and hung for simply surviving. We’d cry in our pillows, if allowed such luxury. Instead we smile, tell our silly quips, and plow through the rocky clay.
But our thick skin grows thin. Strong arms give way to loose flesh and bone. Fear overtakes our mind, with the cries of how much more. I so want the give encouraging words, but the black ink of pain covers me. To taste those sweet lips again, to actually hold you like we used too. These are the things I cling to, the dreams I still dream. Broken, cursed to live this half-lived existence. Dreaming of a void of just you and I.
I’m sitting here for a moment trying to clear my head. After a semi-restless night, I woke up to a lovely sinus headache. I just got through taking my morning cocktail of medication hoping that might settle my headache down. It’s working a little, so I’ll just sit here and jot down some thoughts. A friend posted on social media about the death of her father nearly thirty years ago. It brought back to mind that my own father had passed away just a year before her father.
It’s ironic that both my parents died at the age of 59 and that this year I’ll be turning 59. For years I often joked about having a warranty that would last until that age. But lately those old haunts about death have been creeping back into my mind. For years my mind dwelled on the thought of dying. It was one of the fears that drove my wounded soul after my initial mental breakdown. It wasn’t until my first heart attack in 2015 that I truly found peace with those thoughts. So through all the other health related shit I’ve been going through over the years, I’ve always felt a sense of peace when it came to death.
But ever since my recent surgery and the slow process of recovery. Those old thoughts have been creeping back into my mind. I know that I shouldn’t let such things bother me. But with my history of verbal abuse and self-hatred, I cannot help but have such thoughts cross my mind. So here I am, listening to the fears my inner self thinks. Trying to block out such thoughts only delays the inevitable explosion that will occur. But by listening compassionately and letting go of such things, you can find peace. This takes practice and a great deal of compassion. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger towards yourself. Create a time each day to clear your mind and breathe. Listen to your inner fears, forgive yourself for having such thoughts, and remember to forgive others. You will never be perfect, but at least you can find some peace. I know I try.
Disclaimer: I often write to vent my frustrations and fear. This is one of those times. This is my release, my way of listening compassionately to my inner voice.
I am so physically exhausted right now. My body has been purging itself all week. The only thing I can think about is how my insides have nothing more to give. This whole situation has left me tired and weak, to the point that I’m physically shaking. But this isn’t something that I haven’t felt before. Pushing myself to physical and mental exhaustion is what started all my troubles some 22 years ago. When answers and absolutes seemed so much simpler to find.
I sometimes find myself asking the age-old question, why? Why do I continue on? Why am I pushing myself to be better? Why am I even telling this story? I have no sense of uniqueness in my abilities beyond those of anyone else. I’m a good talker, although I do tend to ramble. I am still grossly overweight and unhealthy. And the weight loss goals I had achieved were quickly erased after my recent surgery. Maybe, if anything I have an acute sense of awareness. That comes by naturally through conditioning, survival, and my mindfulness practices.
There’s really no point in me talking about this. It’s just me rambling on again. Just waiting to make it through to another dawn. To get up again and begin the routine of living, just like a billion other people. Still, I’m tired and I’m lonely, just throwing words to the wind. Knowing that in the darkness parts of my mind there’s just more loneliness. But we survive, I survive; clinging to threads of existence that at one time were real. Breathing and believing that there’s something more, until you have nothing more to give.
What makes us tick? As humans does the ability of introspection make us unique or just more arrogant? While circumstance could easily make me selfish; at the moment I’m choosing to put my pain to work to care for others. I take time out of my discomfort to reach out with simple words of greeting and sincerity. I learned a while ago that pain often turns one inward. But beyond the benefit of self-refection, there often lies a place of bitterness.
That bitterness benefits no one. It can turn a good heart to anger and a clear mind to disbelief. Most of my life, my mind swam in these waters. Seeing the joy and struggle of others and feeling nothing but contempt and jealousy. It took me a really long time to get over those feelings. To learn that compassion and empathy are much better ways to see the world.
Yet with our ability for introspection, we still look down and refuse to consider another’s situation. I get mad at myself sometimes for the words I say in the moment. But I guess that’s a good thing, it shows I’m learning. Through the pain of whatever you’re going through. Offer moments of compassion and kindness. For the kindness you give, is often the compassion you receive.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.