Some days not a word will be uttered between us. Some days there are just too many. For love is often just a compromise between convenience and duty. But as one grows dependent on another, love is often replaced with a chain. Honesty is often choked away behind tears never seen. Behind verbal abuse and disrespect. Behind smiles of charity often hides the gnashing of teeth.
Seldom are the words spoken, for fear of the names. As self-righteous inclinations pour upon those with no other voice. So we stand at a river too swift to cross. Reaching, but never touching, too far gone to not cause a stain. Standing in our respected corners, we say all the right things. Telling ourselves lies. For peace has escaped this existence. There’s nothing left to say. Yet more to be done.
Sitting with the sun to my back a little chilly air rolls across my bones. A couple of kids walk by carrying a bag from the store kicking a deflated ball from the ditch. I sit here listening to traffic as it rolls down 280; with the occasional sound of a barking dog and a four-wheeler in the distance. Lost in thought I think about creation, the effects of winter, and how I’m oddly enough in no hurry to see spring. Life deals its cards and while some of us lust for power or the next conquest. A fine number of us enjoy working with our hands, minding the store, and moving about our day.
Often I feel like I’m seen as sort of a sloth. Milling about my day at some slow motion pace. A bit of an oddball in a world full of what-a-be winners. I used to feel like I wanted to be a winner, but after a while it was just more trouble than it’s worth. Besides, I’ve discovered that even with a few hundred followers and an average 15 likes. The influencing I do is just enough to keep in good karma standing. I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s positivity parade, but really the message we should be sending is pretty simple. That in order to truly be happy, we must live our lives in this moment and the thoughtful of those around us.
I by no stretch of the imagination, am a perfect man. I fuss and I cuss and I complain as much as anyone. But in quiet moments I’m reflective, I focus on the here and now. I that time to watch the last of the leaves fall. Or listen the flapping of wings over from a small bird. I even eavesdrop on the occasional squirrel feud. Without a little quiet and stillness, we will never regain our sanity. There is such a thing as working beyond your own pace. But it’s never too late to change. All you need are a few moments of silence.
I picture thoughts differently, with no real agenda or course. This freedom allows me to move (within reason) about my world relatively stress free. Yet there are still obligations that chain me to the realities of my situation. Realities of both flesh and bone, and thought and duty. Because no matter how unfortunate the situation. Sometimes your hands just have to be tied. I would love nothing more than to walk away from the responsibilities. But then that would only force me to not be the person I’m comfortable being.
To say life is unfair, can often be a cop-out. A poor excuse to remain stuck in a situation you don’t want to be in. I for one walked into this with both eyes open, and it’s up to me to see it through. For even in my so-called chains, I still have the freedom to express myself. To pursue my passions with a certain degree of autonomy. Whereby I may not be completely happy about my life situation, but it doesn’t stop me from expressing my truth.
As I take in one last cleansing breathe before I rest. I open my mind to the emotions around me. The silence, the sound of my wife snoring, our son watching a west coast basketball game. All these things and more create the words I write. Not limiting me to just the things I see, but to the dreams and desires I have. For life doesn’t have to be just X’s and O's written on a clipboard. Life can be whatever you can make of it, even underneath the weight of the choices you’re given.
I can hear Lisa talking to the cats like they’re our children, through the other wall my oldest son plays an old video game. Me I’m laying here half-ass watching a playoff game while finger-tapping these words into my phone. It still amazes me that people actually read this junk I write. I mean, I have no formal writing pedigree. I lived nothing if not an ordinary life. I’ve lived no exotic adventures or even lived through any extraordinary stories beyond my own. Yet I have a modest following of 10 or 15 people, that either like my words or the silly little snapshots I take.
Whatever the reason, I caught the bug to write again after a 20+ year drought. As a kid I wrote all the time. I wrote poetry to all my girlfriends. I wrote superhero stories for all my guy friends. I later wrote stories just to keep myself sane. I suppose I’ve built quite a persona about myself. Being the person others have perceived me to be. I often think to myself, why do I act that way? Like I’m silly and boisterous around some, hard and grouchy with others, or cold and inhumane around a few more. All the while my wife Lisa gets the pleasure or displeasure of seeing it all.
Now I see the world through a very cynical pair of glasses. I suppose my life experiences, have shaped me that way. Hearing kind words coming out of someone’s mouth, while at the same time seeing true intent coming from their hands. I suppose I could accept some form of redemption for those sins. But when actions are repeated over and over again, redemption is farthest thing from my mind. So in order to walk the path, sometimes you got to wade through the shit to get to solid ground. But some things in life aren’t worth trying to understand. All you can do is just move forward, while dropping that excess baggage as you go.
Where do I start? While I was expecting something to happen Wednesday, my mind is still in a whirl over the events in Washington. I mean these once fringe groups wanting nothing more than the anarchy and civil war. But when you recklessly play with fire, something’s gonna burn down. So between the fear mongering on stage outside and in the halls of congress, what else did you expect? My favorite part was all the news analyst and political elites clutching their pearls in disbelief.
But enough about that shit. My New Year doesn’t begin till 12:02 pm on January 20 anyway. And even then, I’m holding my breath. The last six years have taken a toll on me physically. The last five years have done nothing but exasperate my mental health stability. While on the outside I can show a certain degree of calm, my insides are slowly breaking down. Down to the point where even the slightest change in routine or order, can cause serious changes physically. I reckon after 20+ years of walking around feeling like your pants are on fire will do that to you.
So this morning I probably won’t turn on the news or read my newspaper. I’ll just go over to my daughter’s and dog sit a 100 lb. five-month-old puppy. And for a few hours, I’ll worry more about what George is putting in his mouth. Then what’s driving seemingly rational humans into a paranoid state of fear and hatred. Because without compassion, empathy, or truth; the lust for power “makes for strange bedfellows”. So don’t be surprised who you wake up with in the morning.
Please note this was written the night before the incident in Washington DC on January 6, 2021.
I am done…seriously. I am done with the whining, I am done with the denying, I am done with the anger. Most of my family and a pile of my friends, know I’m a “bleeding heart liberal”. But most of them at least still love me despite my “sinful ways”. And I should know, my father-in-law tells me he loves me and prays for me every Sunday. It’s like when my Mom would tell me, she burned letters for me every day to God. That’s the kind of conservatism and Christianity I appreciate.
But over the last several years I’ve noticed a new intolerant kind of religious stance that’s taken over America. That kind that sounds eerily familiar to the rantings of other intolerant religions. I like to believe in the good of people. I like to think all faiths have some inherent good in each of them. But like I said, I’m just done with the shouting. Give me a valid reason why your way is better than mine. Be willing to listen and compromise. Turn off the rhetoric and fear, and give me the honest truth.
Listen the young woman that cuts my hair is as conservative and religious as they come. But we have a whole lot in common. She loves to laugh, she needs to feel love, and she tells a great story. She enterprising, enthusiastic, and loves those she loves. Why can’t we all be that way? This life can be really sad when all you live for is control and domination. It means you live in anger; it means you live in fear. Let’s all be a little more patient with one other. Let’s give everyone the benefit of the doubt, at least in the beginning. I’m so tired of the hate and the banter, that I’m just about ready to shut it all off. Breathe for a moment and listen to the voices and not the shouting.
Wish to be someone I wasn’t, like an actor on a stage. But eventually when the lights dim, all I’m left with is the man I had always been. Without respect of family or kin, I was left to wonder a path of troublesome introspection changing values, like changing socks. It feels a bit redundant even mentioning this, but most everyone wishes they were someone else as well. But it’s also worth repeating that when chasing fantasies of a better life; change never comes without putting in the work.
As a recap I seriously started reinventing myself some 14 or 15 years ago. I pursued a higher education, which I achieved in 2015. But it wasn’t an easy journey there were many stops and starts along the way. Then there is my ongoing mental health issues, which I still live with, but I can handle far better with experience and mindfulness. Now over the last 6 years, I’ve battled back from near death with my physical health. Which despite the limitations it has placed on me. I sit here more at peace and comfortable with myself than ever.
Life’s journey leads us to lots of disappointments. But in those moments that we often learn the most. I may never achieve my childhood dream of being a rock star or even a decent musician. But I’ve learned to appreciate the little things like the cool chill of a January afternoon. The relaxing companionship of a rescue animal. To breathe in the air and hear the constant complaining of a couple of squirrels. Dreams are tempered by reality, but in moments of awareness, you will find your heart’s desire.
Walking a path through oak and swamp leaving all I had known behind. I walk backwards through time to an ancient fort. The massive structure covered in mold and spanish moss, build in several iterations of wood, dirt, brick, and stone. I thought for a moment how this was once a thriving town, left to waste like someone’s bad memory.
As I lay here the memories fade as quickly as they came. But I still smell the dampness of the wood, stone, and ground. I am a nomad at heart a citizen of no particular cult or kin. I don’t belong to the “burbs”, didn’t stick around any particular religious sect, can’t even call myself “Geechee” though I’m an adopted son.
But yet life still pulls, it pulls us to our desires our destiny’s. When we ignore the pull, we often turn inward destroying ourselves in the process. Making bad decisions and gasping at whatever straw we can find. I understand we should keep moving and that we should bury the past. But life without embracing the pain, is a life without embracing yourself.
So I carefully navigate the path, mindful of roots that can trip me. Aware of the places and the people I have known. Becoming less chameleon and more a product of experience; with each step, each hill I must climb. But when you awaken from the slumber, that’s usually how it goes. So as I look over the next horizon I follow a path to a nobler truth. That I’m never really alone, when experience and curiosity led the way.
New Year’s couldn’t have picked a worse time of the year to happen. For one, I’m not in a very festive mood. Two, the weather is just plain crappy. And three, for me 2020 hasn’t really ended yet. I mean, we are still in the middle of a pandemic, the sitting president is showing out like a three-year-old that needs a spanking, and for some damn reason the entire world is watching our senate race like the damn country depends on it. I’m just tired. Tired of the election temper tantrums, the whole not being able to see what few friends I have, and the preventable deaths that have occurred.
I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s “hope and change” parade, I’m just being honest with my emotions. I cannot will a good attitude on myself. I tried the shit way too many times, only to see my pumped-up emotions get popped by a single sharp pin. My only solace is that soon my attitude will change. I’ve lived over 20 years with clinical depression. I’ve seen my share of highs and lows. I’ve watched myself fight and fight to feel “better”, only to be dragged back to the ground by a single drop of rain.
It’s a part of who I am, so I’ve learned to accept it. I’ve also learned that through acceptance and compassion I can deal with it. I have learned to love myself as I am, warts and all. Through forgiveness and self-respect, I’ve learned that things will never change unless you deal with the inside first. No matter how much weight you loose or how much success you have in life. Nothing is ever enough till you make peace with yourself. Life is an unending struggle for us frontal lobe thinking creatures. We threat about the past, as well as the future. When what’s really important is the here and now.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.