Well my shade a blooming although it’s not doing much for my lungs and my sinuses. Because that yellow demon spore is everywhere covering up the car, my clothes, and the cats. But we have been promised a little rain this week, so we take the bad with the good and press on with living. It’s 2022 and a little ways down the road it’s going to be my 60th year on this earth. Not bad for someone that shouldn’t have made it past 2015.
But don’t worry, I’m not going to stick to the depressing stuff. I’d much look forward to the rest of the spring and summer no matter how bad my sinuses want to kill me. I’m not going to plan any farther than that, cause I’m not that guy anymore that plans not everything just to crumble. Now getting up one day at a time may not be much of an action plan. But it works for my health and my sanity. It helps me keep in perspective what is wrong and right and what is important and not.
So I press on seeking what is true. And now that is watching the world as it drives and apparently flies by (a couple of Blackhawks just flew by). My life’s too short for “plans”. Now my oldest child would staunchly disagree with that statement, considering she plans out everything with military efficiency. But I for one had to get off that merry-go-round just to survive. So as you go about your life, do as you see fit, remember one size doesn’t fit all. Be flexible and press on.
I came outside just to get away from the noise in the house. Normally around this time of the evening I’m in my room listening to some music and decompressing from the day. But our special needs son decided to have a shouting match with one of the cats who wasn’t having any of it. After 31 years of living with this usually great individual, you have learn to take the good with the bad. So after my beautiful bride decided to join in on the chorus of yelling, I just went outside.
The right now the sun is just about behind the house. I probably got another half hour of good sunlight left before I have to go back in. If this had been 30 years ago, I would stay outside sitting by a warm fire drinking a beer with some friends. But so much for bonfires, beer, and pleasant company; there’s not much of that around here. When I made the decision to move here from my hometown. All I could think about was just getting away from there. Even now I still get a bad case of wanderlust and think about going away. But with age comes the slightest hint of wisdom. So those thoughts get quickly consumed by reality.
I don’t know what got me thinking about this other than the 80% boredom I’m surrounded with or the 20% wanting to pull my hair out. Either way I’m sitting here watching the sunset. Taking for granted that I do have a choice in the matter of rather to take the noise or not. Listening to a few of my old friends I get the impression that I am actually in an ideal situation. While living in a complicated arrangement, I do have some escape routes from the chaos. Such as turning to my writing or simply stepping outside. So don’t allow stressful situations to rob you of your sanity or your health. Take a moment, breathe, then think clearly and move away.
Finally after three days of grey and rainy skies, I’m sitting here enjoying a lovely cloudless day. The wind is sweeping from out of the southwest carrying with it the fresh scents of spring. I noticed the leaves coming out on the sycamore trees, meaning I’ll have a little shade soon. The poor old fig bush is still recuperating from the frost of a few weeks ago but hopefully it will bud again soon.
I’ve been kinda out of it the last few days. I think more than anything it’s been the crappy weather. But to be honest, it may have a lot to do with the seeds planted by my cardiologist, with his diagnosis that I needed a defibrillator implanted. That kinda shit plays with my head and of course with my fears. Each time I feel a bit of a heart flutter the paranoia sets in. I know I should know better, but for those of us that deal with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD); whatever issue triggers us the most is always there.
But from down the road I can hear the sound of a lawnmower and with it the sweet smell of fresh cut grass. So I breathe in the aroma. Telling myself to I understand the fear I feel. That no matter what, peace of mind comes from the understanding that life is how you make it. That you can either live it in dread or you can embrace it and learn from the journey. My hope is that we all learn compassion is the key, and that no matter what the trees will bud again soon.
After a few rough days, I’m outside again. With my back to the sun, I can hear the migrating birds chattering away while the laundry dries on the line. As you may or may not know, it’s been a challenging week for me both physically and mentally. But given time and allowing myself to absorb the information. I can now say I’m ready for the next challenge. I don’t think I go through anymore shit than anyone else. I do think that maybe the difference is I’m a little more open and honest about it.
For decades I searched for a way to make myself stand out, you know to be noticed. But most of my attempts were mediocre at best. And for someone with an extremely low level of self-esteem anyway, you can see where it didn’t take much to bring me down. It wasn’t until I began to break down physically that I started to let go of the drama of my own life that weighed me down. Now does that mean I’ve stumbled across some secret cure for mental abuse I suffered. Respectfully, no. But what I have learned is not to just cling to the good parts of myself. But to embrace and love the hurting and painful parts of myself as well.
You see, God, Mother Nature, or whomever part me together, put me together “warts and all”. And you know what, that’s okay. To reject the weaker sides of yourself would be like cutting off a limb for no good reason. It’s simply not supposed to happen. Embrace who you are. Embrace the flaws, the weaknesses and learn from them. And who knows, you may learn a little something more about yourself. All I’m saying is, be who you are. Be honest with yourself. Don’t let the gauge of society rob you of your uniqueness and gifts.
The world seems so small, when surrounded by your own fears. Acceptance and self-compassion only go so far, when comfort is what you need. Tied in a knot of your own fear. With no way to release the pressure value that isn’t self-destructive. You end up curled up in a ball wishing you were somewhere else.
Social media doesn’t help, it only exacerbates the situation. Seeing all those smiling faces, knowing that you’re not one of them. Knowing that you are alone. The amygdala while stunned by medication, still makes it’s presence known. A hard reality I accepted so many years ago.
But like so many times before, this to will hopefully past. Leaving me exhausting and drained for a while. It feels good to bounce back. But still there is that fear, that maybe you’ve used up your last chance. I know that may not be a very optimistic approach. But none the less it’s a real one. It is said time heals all wounds, but how much time do I need?
I’m just sitting here watching the clock tick away. I had an appointment with my cardiologist a few hours ago to go over the results of my echocardiogram. It’s funny because I already got the results through my patient portal a week ago. It really doesn’t say anything new, just a lower ejection function, with the same visible heart muscle damage. Anyway my cardiologist is wanting me to look at having a couple of new surgical procedures. Apparently the medication I’m taking has done all it’s able to do for my situation.
It seems like I’ve spent most my life dealing with one issue or another. Rather it’s mental, physical, or financial; they all just compound on each another. For a number of months my energy level has been at an all time low. My hematologist attributes it to my extremely low iron count. While my cardiologist is now saying my heart ejection function is going down. While that all maybe true it would be nice if these physicians would also take a look at my mental health. But for some reason that seems to be low on the priority list when it comes to my overall health.
Right now my mind is in a tale spin. I wasn’t giving much thought to this total lack of energy, other than feeling tired. But when you come from the doctor’s office trying to absorb all the information. You end up feeling stuck in a box with no way of getting out. There are flashes of dread pouring through my mind. But I simply don’t have the energy to fight the feelings. But I do have a choice as to what I can do. So for the moment I will let these emotions flow. Listening to each fear and worry. Then I will arm myself with information and patience. I will listen to the specialist and make the best educated decision I can for myself. For as much as fear and worry rob and steal my peace of mind. Compassion and awareness add back to it.
Well it paid off to get the limbs picked up out of the yard, Mr. Brown just came and cut the grass. While the grass growing is still in it’s infancy around here, the grass seeds needed to be taken down before they choked me. Still for me the scent of fresh cut grass is intoxicating. Don’t ask me how I ever ended up like this. I mean decades ago I was a suburban kid growing up next to a port city. My goals in life had nothing to with gardening or taking it easy. My goals were to play music and tour the world.
But living somewhere between rock and roll and religious euphoria. I found myself stuck between living my dreams and righteous duty. Aimlessly wondering, I ended up in a hellfire of a first marriage. Then stuck my toe again in the electric fence of love, becoming the hot mess I am today. I’m amused at how people think I actually know shit. But just like when the Apostle Paul called himself the worst of sinners, I sure as hell know what he was talking about. But with semi-righteous indignation I’ve plowed the fields of my life the best I could.
So here I sit, 59 years from where it all began. But ain’t that all we’re trying to do? Using what intellect and intuition we have to carve us out a path in the right direction? Hell, I don’t know. All I know is that the grass smells really nice and there’s just enough wind to keep the gnats at bay. I often think of myself like that old Kris Kristofferson song. ” He’s a poet, he’s a picker, he’s a prophet, he’s a pusher. He’s a pilgrim and a preacher, and a problem when he’s stoned. He’s a walkin’ contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction. Takin’ ev’ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.” Amen.
Well it’s nearly 11 o’clock in the morning, it’s sunny as hell, and it’s only 34°f. A big change from the 72° it was Friday night at three in the morning. To say a little cold front blowed through would be an understatement. I suspect my little buddy from Canada sent this to me with a smile on her face. But still the bells at the Baptist church are ringing and I’m outside picking up the limbs that fell out of these sycamore trees yesterday.
The old barn owl is hooting behind me today, other then that not much noise can be heard. I got most of the limbs picked up and piled around the tree roots. That way when Mr. Brown comes around to mow the yard it’s easier for him to put them in his trailer. Without all that wind from yesterday the cold is a little tolerable. But I’m still bundled up to the max, because I’m not as well isolated as I used to be. You know sitting here gets me to thinking about change. Not just the change in the weather, but the changes in attitude of those around me.
People seem to be softening up. By that I mean, the hard blunt lines we saw people taking over the last few years are easing. Now you may not be seeing that in your life. But like a few people I’ve been taking the pruning shears to my circle of acquaintances. Cutting back the dead limbs and allowing fresh growth to bloom. This can also apply to your own self as well. So as I continue picking up these dead limbs, I’m reminded that purging yourself of dead weight is never a bad thing, especially when it’s weighing you down.
Well we are coming up on my favorite time of the year…allergy season. So on top of the other BS I put up with; now I have to contend with sneezing, headaches, dizziness, and well you get the picture. So I’m laying here, the fan on high, it’s 60°f outside, and it’s 3:30 in the morning. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had something to do, like work or school. But I don’t have any of that going on. So while Lisa’s asleep next to me without a care in the world. I’m left here my belly tight, nose stopped up, just feeling miserable.
You would think after all this years I’d learn people want to read something joyous or something positive. But leave it up to me to be hard headed and simply speak my truth. I guess because I’ve learned that masking my emotions, masking my truth. Only made me more miserable and more in pain. That by simply facing the truth and coming up with a tangible answer instead of some fairy in the sky bullshit. Was really what my broken soul needed. While none of this is really solving my achiness or insomnia, at least it’s all out there clearly defined.
So I’m down to the final paragraph where all the wisdom comes together in a nice tidy bow. Well, I hate to hurt your feelings. I still feel miserable and I am still wide awake. So what do I do? Read some more social media posts? Listen to another podcast? I don’t know. Sometimes there’s just not any answers. So we go on putting one foot in front of the other and you survive. I have a loved one that goes through way more shit then I do. But every day they put their big girl panties on and live their lives. Nothing’s ever gonna be perfect and the one life you can be sure about, is the one you’re living right now. Acceptance and hope, are the two things I clang to when all else seems gone.
While waiting in the lobby for Lisa to see her doctor, a young couple showed up with their infant child. The mother went to sign in at the desk leaving the father with the newborn. Well as usual the baby started to cry sounding to me like he either was hungry or had a poopy diaper. Anyway, the Dad seemed to be lost. Holding the baby, cooing the baby, doing whatever he could think to do. Eventually the Mom came back out, simply reaching into the diaper bag and pulling out a bottle. The baby quickly quieted down almost immediately.
As he fed and then burped the little one. It took me back to all those restless nights and unending doctor visits I made with my own children. At the moment all our babies are over the age of 30 and one with children of her own. It’s been an eventful 35 years, each laced with triumph and tragedy all their own. So as I watch this young Dad cradle his little one, I can’t help but wonder. How many lessons he’ll be learning on this long journey of life.
I’m sitting out here at noon time and it’s already 80°f . That wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t the first week of March and not a tree or bush in my backyard has a leaf on it for shade. So I guess I’ll just suffer through with a light breeze blowing out of the southeast, and a few cotton ball clouds overhead. Sorry Lauren for you sitting in your winter wonderland. The Baptist have just let out next door and their heading to the parking lot, heading home to their pot roasts and mash potatoes.
It's an on going thing around here, me staring at them and them staring at me. Each wondering what the hell the other’s doing; but isn’t that how it is with most people? Just wonder around aimlessly with no real goal or purpose in mind. Listen on the surface I may seem like the most listless person in the world. One without goals or a spark of determination. But you know what, I lived in that world of goal setting for some 50 years. And to be honest all it ever got me was a wrecked nervous system, shot to hell heart, and a gut with a mind of it's own. Besides what I’m talking about is the purpose and determination that drives your very soul.
I’ve parked myself under the shade of the tool shed to get out of the sunlight. Many of us do the same when hiding from the hard questions we should be asking ourselves. Things like, am I happy with my life? Am I being the best possible person I can be? Or, is this all there is, to get up go to work, drink some beer and then die? These are hard questions and there are some that are even harder. Even as listless as I may seem, I still worry and I still fear. But I’ve learned to ask myself, is this really what I want? And while my life is far from perfect, I’m happy where I am. I’m at peace with who I am becoming. Just a man who cares and knows what drives his soul.
Me and Lisa decided to give ourselves a little vacation this weekend. First we drove to Savannah for half the day to visit family. Then we drove down the coast to our old haunt on Jekyll Island. With no particular plans we just came down because the rest of the month is going to be full of doctor appointments. So there was no better time to sneak off then now Our trip to Savannah was quiet, we had a good visit with our friends. It wasn’t much of a trip, but just being back home was very therapeutic for me.
In the early afternoon we took off down old US 17 towards Brunswick and Jekyll Island. Once we got out of the Savannah area, old 17 turned back into the quiet two lane road I remember as a kid. We checked into our motel, cleaned up and headed over towards Jekyll Island. Once there we nearly got toted off by sand gnats on St Andrews Beach. Then we crushed a wedding and reception being held on Great Dunes Beach and pavilion. But Lisa did get her prize of some sand dollars and I did get a few shots of the wedding and the sunset.
As I lay here now on a quiet Sunday morning, my bones aching in restless slumber on a strange bed. I realize that some things are worth the aggravation. That sometimes an uneventful drive is what you really needed to clear your head. That unfulfilled promises to yourself are often okay. Especially when you realize that the journey is way more important that the destination.
The bandage on my hand offers a little comfort to the hole torn in my skin. We all wear bandages of one kind or another. Keeping our wounds from festering and to quickly heal. But even so there are the scars. The scars that remind us of the scrapes and falls we all take.
Some are good at suppressing the damage. They walk around flawlessly, never showing any weakness. But then there are those of us that are the walking wounded. With wounds that never seem to heal. I see your scars, I embrace your truth. And no matter how many times you fall. I’ll always be there to brush you off and bandage those wounds again.
The scent of the clothes drying on the line helps to center me. Because sitting here I don’t really want to live this day. Instead I’d much rather have my mind free from today’s worries. Instead of just sitting here worrying about the bills, my health, and troubles in the world. So I came outside early. Focusing on what I see and hear around me reminds me that “this too shall pass”. That in the grand scheme of things perception is all we really have and that worry and fear are concepts only a troubled mind attaches itself to.
So the scent of the drying laundry is a comfort. So to are low drone of passing cars and songs of the migrating birds. I feel the movement of the wind through the cloudless sky, the call of a passing crow, and the distant cry of a barn owl. All begging me to listen and to understand. That not all life is trial and tribulation, but instead it can be peace and understanding. I’ve witnessed many things in life, many good and many bad. But to dwell in any one place is never a good thing. Balance is what our lives need. It gives us the perspective and the awareness we need to focus. To focus on the tasks at hand.
Lately I would just try and go back to bed after waking up around 3:00 in the morning. But it’s 5:37am and after tossing and turning for a few hours what the hell is the point. As usual Lisa is soring away next to me, which speaks volumes about who’s living the better life. Despite my best efforts, moments of rest often escape my mind. Right now my heart is beating at an irregular beat. Which of course it could just be my exaggerated paranoia when it comes to physical issues.
But it’s a fight I have to fight nearly every day. A prism between the real and the imagined. Between the physical and mental world. You see for me, mental fear often manifest itself through physical reaction. Some may say I’m a hydrocondriac, but considering how strong my stresses are; the physical manifestations are quite real. Still within me there seems to be two strong, yet opposing forces. One that succumbs to the fear and one that is determined to overcome it.
I’m sure I could spend hours talking about this subject. And if you’ve spent anytime reading my work, then you know I already have. But I don’t believe these two opposing forces are at odds with each other or are even enemies. Instead they are just different ends of the same line. I believe we are instinctively designed with the survival instincts to either take a chance or pull back. But in some cases those instincts get out of balance. So we can fall hard on one side or the other. Which is pretty much what I’m doing right now.
In order to counter that I usually have to “talk myself down”. And I have learned that writing is my go to method for doing just that. By writing I am slowing down my frantic thought process and giving myself a chance to catch up and digest the emotions of the moment. I also quiet my mind by taking moments to just be. Call it mediation or call it prayer. But it’s in these moments where I just shutdown the thought process and observe. This for me is much harder to do than writing, but is just as important. Especially when trying to live a better life.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.