Best I Got...Today
I got up feeling alright, but as the day wore on my body’s been finding new ways to bite back. I avoided eating for as long as I could to keep the digestive system at bay. But once I ate all hell broke loose. Which has left me here for hours with a heating pad on my belly and an ice pack on my head.
It’s not like I’m complaining, I mean it’s been like this for over two years. But hopefully within a couple of weeks we’ll finally get a handle on this little mystery is and finally get some definitive treatment. Emotions, fear, and disappointment are aftereffects of a troubled soul. Rather by your own hand or some outside forces, we are all slaves to our conditioning.
For a few of us, breaking the cycle of abuse is a daily thing. No different than addiction each day is a struggle and a victory. There are some days when the victories come easy. But then there are days when victory seems a million miles away. Like I told a dear friend this morning, sometimes all you can do is your best. Well this is my best today. Broken down and struggling just to even make it the bathroom. But it’s okay, because this is the best I got today.
Yesterday morning I had to go through a series of protocols just to step into the hospital for my test. Once inside it looked nearly deserted with only nurses and techs suited up occasionally walking by. Just a few chairs remained in the lobby, while the Fox News Pandemic Deniers Network droned on across the TV screens. There were a few of us spread out across the vast lobby waiting for our appointments.
But even as all the propaganda was pouring out across the screens, reality could plainly be seen around me. People old, young, sick, healthy, all afraid. But then through all this dread came an enchanting sound. A quiet lullaby playing over the intercom. It’s a sound I knew all too well having heard it several times during my stays here. It’s the tune they play announcing the birth of a baby. Beneath my mask I had to smile. Because it reminded me of the times that tune played for my grandkids.
Even though all the panic and fear, life simply moves on. As humans we label things with such question and emotion. Often asking why, and how unfair. And I ort to know, I do it all the damn time. But you know what, life continues to move on. Listen, our emotions have value; our pain has value. But to live in fear or completely denial is stupid. Life continues on and so should you. Don’t let one emotion completely overtake another. Find your balance and just do the best you can.
Apparently, I’m paying for my sins this morning. Over the weekend I treated myself to some fresh boiled peanuts. I know, but I have so few vices left, that the ones I do have can get a little out of control. The logical side of my brain would tell me, you are just compensating for something missing in your life. But my less rational side says, but they are soooo good!
Listen, we all have appetites that are not good for us. Some we proudly admit to and some we would rather not. Life is about finding that happy balance, somewhere between contentment and let’s not go that far. I suppose recently I’ve been heading towards the “let’s not go that far” side. I mean I meditate as much as I can, but the heat and illness have keep me away from my temple. So I’m left listening to the shit coming out of my own head.
The thing is, we all hit bumps in the road. The first step is to recognize what those bumps are. The next thing is to offer ourselves a little forgiveness. But that still doesn’t make you unaccountable for your sins. Listen right now I realize I was stupid gorging down whole bag of boiled beauties. But no one put a gun to my head and forced me to eat them. Understand we all have our faults, learn to forgive yourself, but hold yourself accountable and do better.
Another 3 AM wake up call. Another get up out of the blue for no good reason. Oh, sometimes it’s because of an upset stomach, or a panic attack; hell, even a few times it’s been an actual heart attack. Whatever the reason, here I am just me and the cat and a head full of shit. Tension and stress are my consist companions. Rather they are screaming out loud or being keep to a quiet roar, they’re never far away.
But like most anything you get used to it. Like the consent grinding I do with my teeth. In a way I’m a little like this cat, always on standby. Never far from the panic button. The irony is if you hit that damn button enough, it just gets stuck. For the last several years, every time I’m close to that button, it does a little more and a little more damage. Used too I could recover fairly quickly from a panic attack. But with each passing day, it gets a little harder to turn the volume down.
Oh I have my mediation, my breathing, and my medication. But at some point, the damage is done. Considering all the health issues I’m facing; I’d think one of my medical doctors would have figured this out; and had me checked out by a therapist. But I’ve come to the simple conclusion, that doctors are only human and can only see as far as their training. So what’s the moral of this tale, you ask? How about breathe in and breathe out. Also to be aware. But remember with awareness there needs to be a certain amount of compassion and forgiveness for yourself. For healing is often nothing more than finding peace within yourself.
Of Fear & Disbelief
After a day of fighting with my insides, I return to my outdoor sanctuary. The gnats aren’t too bad today and there’s a slight breeze blowing from the West. Along the way I smell the petunias near the garden. My neighbors at the EMC are particularly quiet this afternoon. Unlike the usual chaos you see from them getting ready for the next day’s work.
Even with the clouds overhead, my skin is hot and dry. Just another unpleasant side effect of my daily medications. But I suffer through for the sake of survival, even in a world gone crazier than a bedbug. While my outward mask presents itself as satirical and calm. My insides often churn like a cauldron of fear and disbelief.
But I have the evening breeze and the call of a distant barn owl to comfort me. I have my personal and virtual friends to rest upon for words of comfort and truth. But what good is any of this if the house is on fire. Can one source of positive energy ever be enough? Still if just one person would reach out to another or better yet ten. How much sweeter would the world be? So, what kind of outlook do you carry? One of selfish survival or one of sanity and a positive voice? Because right now, the world needs you.
The First Stone: A Southern Tale
It’s after 4 in the afternoon, and I just got outside. Me and Lisa have been running around helping our daughter get their new house set-up. But at least I got out of the moving part, but I will miss out on the drinking beer while moving someone. You see, I’m retired, at least from beer drinking, dope smokin', and chasin' ugly women after the bars close.
I’ve spent 30+ years being a good youngin, raisin’ a family and working hard to pay Uncle Sam. But I did get four pretty decent youngin’s out of the deal. And an old woman that ain’t killed me…at least not yet. But there ain’t no point in her trying, I’ve been doing a pretty good job of that myself for a long time now. That’s because no man is always a saint, and most man aren’t always sinners.
I just do the best I can. Learning from my f*ck-ups and having to live with the consequences. Hopefully I’ve been honest, and at least once I’ll take someone at their word. Now I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but I sure as hell can speak for myself. I’m hell bound and spirit filled, I’m a prophet and a whore, I’m all those things and more. If you don’t like me saying that, well then cast the first stone.
Broken & Hidden
The twists and turns of mental health, complicated by physical limitations. Can cloud ones thinking, elevate already high stress levels, and frankly cripple your soul. Years of self-abuse, as well as, abuse at the hands of my peers. Took a heart and mind more than capable of doing the job and break them into a thousand tiny pieces.
In the quiet and reasonable calm of the night, I listen to what my soul is telling me. That things are not okay. That beneath this veneer of calm lies a terrorized child, afraid of living through the stresses of the day. I am afraid and it shows, in my actions, my speech, and in my isolation.
There are no easy answers to any of this. I’ve spent the better part of 20 years meandering between medication, therapy, and enlightenment to solve this riddle. But through these moments of struggle and literal pain, at least I’m trying. That in itself can be a comforting fact. So as you, I, and millions of others move through this life broken and hidden. The least we can do is try.
All of Us Carry
Another breeze is blowing from the East, while cotton ball clouds circle above my head. Behind them sits pale blue sky, as the scent of fresh mowed grass fills the air. Last night was sort of a confessional for me, in that I felt the purging of some hidden truths. Hoping no one would feel any less of me, to my surprise the reaction to my words has been positive. I suppose words are all in the eye of the reader. Their interpretations differ from mine or even yours.
I do my best to plant good seed, but despite the sainthood often bestowed on me; I am very much the jackass. Given to fits of verbal rage and indifference to those I’m around. That’s why my preferred medium is the written word. It gives me time to pause, to let words marinate into one another. Instead of hastily being stewing around in a mess of emotion.
For what benefit are kind words if the vessel is untrue. I am not in total control of reactions. I am often impatient and even cruel. But at least I acknowledge that fact, which hopefully will lead to my redemption. So don’t take your words so lightly. The sharpest of blades leave the most lasting scares. Think before you strike. Don’t let your anger ruin your heart. All have of us have emotion baggage and all of us carry emotional scares.
Bull in a China Shop
I sit here telling stories that no one really ever reads. Asking questions that no one can answer. Spinning truth into whatever justification I can make. You hear me from a distance, crying the same tears. Hiding behind the same make-up I apply every day.
But where is the justice? When do my good deeds mean something? How much longer must my soul toil beneath these chains? For I want to be selfish. I want to break free. Yet the moments of pain that would inflect are simply too much to bear.
So I keep telling stories, I keep living the lies. For what do I want more than to be true. To build a perfect life, out of shear imperfection. For I am nothing more than that innocent child, that lost boy. Stumbling through love like a bull in a china shop.
I can no more predict tomorrow, then I have predicted today. To ask what I think is just conjecture. Nothing more than a random set of thoughts swirling in a sea of ideas. I used to be so controlling, now I just see life as what happens. I was a planner and an organizer by trade. Now I find the whole business nothing more than a chore. Centering myself on just breathing from one minute to the next. Remaining grateful for each moment I’m given.
I allow the words I write to speak for me. For the words I say are often clouded by self-preservation. For nothing is more freeing than letting go of perdition and embracing the quiet order of nature. Made up rules and moral code may bring order, but often they bog down ideas that otherwise free the soul.
Therefore, I ask no more of you than I ask of myself. To take things as they come. For hiding in the shadows is usually an agenda that’s far beyond our control. We live in unpredictable times. For the hearts of men grow desperate and unforgiving. But if you look into the trees and see the light of the sun reflect upon their leaves. You begin to understand that there is an order to things. An order that apparently men do not understand.
Seize the Day
Apparently old habits die hard. I woke up around two o'clock this morning. Went to the bathroom, crawled back in bed, only to discover the kitten peed on my side of the bed. Now my wife feels bad for bringing the kitten to bed. I feel bad because I don’t have a dry place to sleep. But most important of all, the kitten fell gently back to sleep. Seriously, how could you get mad? The vaccinations had made her lethargic all day. Anyway, what’s life without an accident or three.
Yesterday started out pretty good. My blood sugar was fine, my pills went down without a hitch, but then all hell breaks loss. Without going into vivid detail, my gut decided to “carpe diem”. After nearly a week of reasonable digestive health, I suppose old habits die hard. As you may know I had three biopsies done a few weeks ago (negative). In two weeks, they go down the other end for a pipe inspection, and then I get an abdominal MRI. Not that I don’t enjoy a good mystery, but after two years, this book getting a little old.
I suppose I could just lay here and whine about all this shit (pardon the pun). But after 21 years of living with the paralyzing fear of death. You get used to it. I don’t mean to sound so blasé about it, but it is what it is. One of the most interesting side effects of my first Panic Disorder medication was diminished emotional response. While now that most of my emotional responses have returned, I wonder if a little of that Paxil still isn’t buried in my brain? Either way, life is still important enough to fight for, even if it means forgiving a few kittens along the way.
I awoke this morning to another disturbing dream. One of conflict and mayhem and total lack of control. It took a few moments to shake the cobwebs out of my head. But the dream itself remains firmly planted in my mind. But I can hear the faint sound of a robin singing outside my window. A subtle reminder that in this life troubles eventually fade.
But my mood of discontentment hasn’t totally gone. I’m looking at life as a vicious circle, not as if the head is eating its tail. But more like the tail is doing its best to escape. We want so much to live forever, but the grand experiment seems to be running out of steam. Making us willing to do anything to hold on to what we go.
Since I have nothing, I suppose it’s easy for me to just let go. But with absolute power comes a certain amount of arrogance and an unwillingness to let go. It is my wish that we all learn; this too shall pass. That life and its priorities are not cast in stone. Leaving little room for the eventual and much more room for evolution.
All This Fear
Having been raised in a Charismatic Christian home, I was a little ahead of the curve of today’s modern Evangelicals. Many would think my mind is still drowned in the emotional dogma that makes up that sect of faith. Unfortunately, my attitude changed many years ago. Not so much because of teachings of Christ, but because of dogma and convenient truths, its followers cling to.
Without getting into a holy war with the vast majority of my family and friends. Let’s just say, we agree to disagree, so continue to pray for me if you must. The skies are clouding up, not unlike the world in which we live. Tribalism is run amok, and each clan has scurried to its respective corners. Still I sit here under cloudy skies, apparently ignorant to the fact I should choose a side. Which apparently makes me a dreamer, or even worse a new age snowflake.
I don’t mean to sound so cynical, but old habits die hard. My mind recalls the sermon on the mount, in which Christ blessed the peacemakers and the meek among us. Funny how those words ring so hollow from the pulpits, when our actions say otherwise. I am a realist by choice, but I am also an optimist through example. Don’t let paranoia and fear steal your peace. Cling to the words of truth that ring true from whatever Holy Book you read. Life’s too short for this hatred, life’s too short for all this fear.
Inside This Cage
Gotta steady breeze blowing out of the east. It might be 89°, but with this wind it’s mighty comfortable in the shade. I see some thunder clouds off to the north just other pop up shower on the way. I’m still kinda getting used to being retired at this young age. But the limitations and barriers I face make normal life a faraway dream.
But an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, and often my mind drifts to that place. Where hours and days melt into one long continuous nightmare. So I push my mind beyond where I am. Staying in touch, allowing myself to become a muse, a cheerleader, and a friend. But so many of us get so caught up in living, that we can’t see beyond the next task or appointment.
How sad it is to just be a cog in a wheel, where even meditation has to pigeon-holed between meetings and obligations. Don’t get me wrong, we all have our jobs to do. And who knows, maybe if I would apply myself a little more, I could be successful at this, whatever this is. Let your soul be your guide. I’ve watched a lot of friends grow from one life to the next. Because if you allow yourself to get trapped, all you’ll ever do is pace inside this cage you’ve created for yourself.
This must be one of those quiet days. Ain’t a whole lotta traffic riding by house other than the semi's on the highway. Sitting here I assume the gnats haven’t noticed me yet, or they’d be swarming around my head. But I must have woke everyone up, cause they’re now all heading to the courthouse. I watch what’s happening to the world, and I’m sad and empathetic. As an old white guy, I guess my opinion doesn’t matter much. But I do emphasize with the injustice and frustration the young and persons of color feel.
As I’ve said before, we all live in our own reality. We all see the world through a different set of lens, that were shaped by our own experiences and backgrounds. I can’t sit here and judge the actions of another through experience, but only by the common law. But when those laws are unequally imposed then we have a problem. In quiet reflection I see and hear the cries of a minority. The words of anger, frustration, and protest.
Should we be so blind to their words of frustration? Are the words equal rights for all simply window dressing? If so then it’s time for change, a recommitment to the words once for a choose few, but now quoted for all. Life is more than just our tiny world’s. More than just this plot of land, the square footage I see around me. It’s time to open our eyes and hearts at the bigger picture. That freedom and justice are only as strong as their weakest link.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.