Monuments to ourselves don’t mean a damn thing. Ego often gets in the way of improvement. I’ve spent the past few decades crawling out of a pit of self-destruction. Rather by depression, panic, or verbal abuse; the signs were all there of my eventual failure. Looking back though, I wonder if I can really call any of it a failure?
From day one of my mental collapse, I’ve sought beneficial relief. I never turned to legal drugs, alcohol, or even prescription abuse for relief. I guess you could say I toughed it out. But even through this or my current physical troubles, I’m not building any monuments for myself. That would be pretentious or at the very least, asking for trouble.
Much like my AA friends, I take it one day at a time. Occasionally slipping and falling, having to get up and start all over again. My point here is, despite any pre-destined troubles you may have, never give up trying. Sitting outside with Mommy Cat, I can’t help but admire her survival skills. Pregnant and alone she and her kittens have survived, eventually landing at our front door. Don’t let the troubles you endure steal away your hope. Remain vigilant of your own survival. Not only for yourself, but for those you touch every day.
At first it was an adventure, the feeling of relentless love. Absolute focus like you’d never felt before. But decades of love, support, and caregiving; have left you with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. Yes, there has always been affection and the gift of children. But are those enough? The guilt of selfishness, of anger, and verbal abuse. The weakness from your own shortcomings, the loss of patience and trust.
So you soldier on, trying hard to make things important. But the distance grows, separate lives bound by total dependence. Never daring to speak, much less write, for fear of the words screaming back at you. So you make do with what you have, never really knowing if you were ever good enough. Bleeding through a pen, scribbling thoughts like dazzling diamonds.
So where do you go? You live in eminent domain, going neither left or right, forward or back. Feeling trapped, knowing you can never leave. Confession it’s said, is good for the soul. Yet you wonder, do you have any soul left? So you hide where you can. Seek droplets of affection where they fall. Preforming like a trained monkey dancing for change for someone else.
Sitting in the Shade
This has been a week full. To start off, I had two doctor appointments in two different cities. Thinking I’d made my doctor quota. I ended up having go back to the hospital for four more hours of testing. Needless to say, my head’s kinda spinning. But I got home before lunch, then I went and checked on George. But now I’m back home again sitting in the shade.
You’re probably thinking, I spend my life riding the roads between doctor appointments and in a way that’s sorta true. But when you’re the caretaker for two disabled adults, the highway becomes your home. Add to that all the shit I put up with, and yeah, I ride the roads between doctor visits. I guess I could just sit around and feel sorry for myself. Or I could stay mad at the world for giving me such a shitty life. Not saying that I haven’t done neither one of those things. But somewhere buried in my psyche as the will to just move on. Call it fear, call it motivation, but it’s there.
Do I say all this to motivate you, maybe? Do I fill these pages with my sad life story for the attention, hardly? All I know is laying under an imaging machine for two hours can teach you some things. Things like life is more than just waiting to die. That each of us has a purpose and it’s up to us to find it. That wrong turns and stupid mistakes don’t have to be the end. With me, what you see is what you get. I can’t put it any plainer than that. If you find yourself stuck, in the dark, or afraid. Know that taking a moment and really looking at yourself, often provides you with the best answer.
Notice It or Not
I know I should be more positive, but as I’ve said before, I’m a realist. Now last night was a fairly decent night, didn’t have get up but once. But this morning, right from the start, I just knew it wasn't going to be a good day. I would have much rather stayed in bed, but medicine and other obligations forced me to get up and go.
At the moment several hours later, the heating pad is my best friend. I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed with myself, it’s just that I’ve learned to accept things as the come. I quit getting mad at myself for having bad days a long time ago. Because bad days are just a part of life. Although I sometimes still get mad at myself for wasting time. But as long as I’m aware of those moments, can I really call them wasted?
So I lay here in bed, taken my afternoon pills; my daily obligations mostly complete. Acceptance may sound like an excuse to some. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s all we ever got. I watch time far more closely than I use to. I see the world in far more detail. It’s unfortunate that it took me so long to become this aware. Because my poor health has certainly taken its toll. But I don’t mean for this to be a sad story. Just a cautionary tale, of how life will past you by, rather you notice it or not.
It is said, life doesn’t put any more on us than we can stand. Frankly I’m not so sure about that. I mean, I’ve had moments in my life where I did lose all hope. Where fear had completely overtaken my thought process, where reasonable thought gave way to panic and hopelessness. Life not placing upon you more than you can stand. Does that account for the millions buried in mass graves around the world? Or to those that die daily from disease and/or poverty?
I feel that for the most part I have a clear desire to survive. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be typing this right now. But the weight of life can place unforeseen burdens on us. Burdens that are often repeated over and over again. Or burdens that slam us so hard, that we are simply overwhelmed. I can’t offer you any solid solution to these situations. I dare not try and offer you any canned solutions, because each person is different. But the first true epiphany I had was realizing that anything outside myself wasn’t going to save me.
Begging for some unseen force to protect you, certainly didn’t rescue me. But the expertise and compassion of others did. Therapist, counselors, and doctors all played a role in educating me in the art of survival. As the years progressed, damage was also being done physically. Here my second epiphany occurred. That of learning to let go and let others carry the burden. Rather it was physically (doctors, nurses, family) or spiritually (burdens, stress, fear), I had to learn to let go. There are moments when life places more upon us. The lesson is learning to face up to your fears and that it’s okay to let someone else carry them for you.
It’s funny how sometimes you have to step into the confessional to cleanse your soul. But what if the sins weren’t entirely your own? We can step into situations not entirely of our own doing. But does that still make us guilty? The one person that has disappointed me more than anyone is myself. So does that make me someone that simply enjoys self-abuse? Or does that make me a pawn in this primal world of dog eat dog?
On my journey of “spiritual enlightenment”, I have been taught to be selfless and giving. Yet the world displays its need for aggression and selfish pride. Why is that? We all have the capability to show kindness. Unless you’re the one throwing paper towels at desperate people after a hurricane. Sitting next to the lake yesterday I simply breathed in and took in the scenery. Then my truest and pretty much only friend texted me. In a few lines she showed a vulnerability rarely seen from her. As she typed I read, reconfirming to me why we have relied on each other for over 40 years.
We all wear our armor. Being taught from an early age only the strong well survive. But even the strongest and most successful of us have burdens that are often too much to bear. The point here is, don’t let society and its impulsive social norms draw you in with its fear. Just look around you. Doesn’t the Christian Bible say, “consider the lilies” (Matthew 6:28). Maybe if we stop and breathe the answers will come. Fear is a seed grown from the unknown. Peace and calm are grown from awareness and understanding.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.