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.
Well I went over to my daughter’s earlier to check on George. Then I was going to take a walk in the park, but I forgot to put on some shoes before heading to my daughter’s. (You can blame that on my upbringing). So instead I went back at the house and put on a pot of black eyed peas I had soaking. I then made myself a cup of iced coffee from the leftover coffee I had this morning. So now I’m sitting outside just watching the cats take a nap under my old Ford Ranger. I guess there are better things I could be doing, but at the moment I can’t think of any.
I’m not a big fan of the last of the month. Mainly cause I only get paid once a month and if you pay any attention, shit ain’t getting any cheaper. I’ve watched gas across the road from me go up 50¢ a gallon in the last week. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say some Big Corp was trying to pull a fast one on us. Using the current world situation as an excuse. Too bad all my Atlas Shrugged friends believe in the no regulation way of doing business.
But we all believe what we want to believe. And here in America we believe each individual has the right think as they wish. Until of course it offends our sensitivities, then we want to legislate their beliefs out of existence. It’s not up to me or you to judge who another person wants to love. No more than you have the right to tell me how to pray. Yet here we are demanding to control a woman’s body and legislate what we believe is righteous and good according to us. How dare we play god beyond our own selves. Teach yes. Set an example, no problem. But I’ll be damned if I’ll watch anyone condemn and shame and marginalized the less fortunate. Just to suit their own personal agenda.
Got a line full of clothes today. It’s a nice breezy day in the low 70’s so it shouldn’t take long for them to dry. For the last few days I’ve been hearing more and more songbirds gathering in the area. And while Easter’s a little late this year, I don’t think we’re going to have much more cold weather. This coming Saturday we’ll be celebrating my father-in-law’s 80th birthday. Doesn’t seem that long ago when we are celebrating his 50th. But Lisa and I just celebrated our 34th anniversary in December. Barely ahead of our oldest 34th birthday this month. Don’t worry it was a miracle birth.
Growing up in a world where my parents were looking for the devil in every toy, book, and portable radio me and my siblings had. You had to be sneaky about appearing sanctified while playing footsie with the devil. Don’t ask me what got me on this subject other than my father-in-law being a retired Pentecostal minister. I guess that it’s just the fact that I’ll be surrounded by like minded religious individuals this weekend. But as my Mom used to say, I ain’t nothing but an old heathen anyway. And I’m sure it’s my fault that three of my four kids tow the heathen family line.
It's not that I’m anti-religious, quite the contrary, I respect anyone’s faith if they are sincere. But I’m not here to lay out any particular conditions for my “lack of faith”. I simply embrace what I think, feel, and see. Life should be a golden moment. Moments when stitched together make up a fine line. Between doing our best and being compassionate towards others. Now if you can’t embrace those terms without hatred, distrust, or fear then I feel sorry for you. For life is more than just about us waiting on some heavenly reward. I’d rather turn to dust in the ground knowing I did my best. Then gnash my teeth and wish destruction on anyone.
This is one of those rare occasions when I’m actually bored. Where I don’t feel like watching TV or reading a book or even writing. So I suppose I’ll just sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and watch the world spin around. But in a way that’s not so bad, I mean it entails that I sit on my ass, look around, and stay quiet. What’s the trouble in doing that?
I guess the trouble comes when you don’t know how to sit still and allow your mind to let go. I remember back when I was first trying to quiet my mind. I had just gone through a wonderful series of mental breakdowns. I was heavily medicated and just barely able to function at any capacity. Still there wasn’t any peace, just the numbing sensation of the medicine beating down my destructive thoughts. The mental health clinic was satisfied with me barely functioning, but I knew I needed more. So long story short, that’s when I discovered the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
He gave me permission to grieve, he showed me how to mindfully and compassionately listen to my soul. To learn and make amends with the broken parts of myself that needed compassion and not hatred. We are all hurting and we all need a little compassion sometimes. It’s just that often we find stupid ways to take care of it. Listen, I am far from the perfect Zen Master. Hell, I’m really not even Buddhist. But I do understand the importance of quieting my mind. And that through observing nature I learn about balance. Because too much of any one thing usually isn’t very good.
It’s funny how freedom itself can become a kind of prison. Without others around you the very word free becomes meaningless. Trapped within ourselves with only your own interdialog to keep us company. I remember a time when I was surrounded by people. Not everyone being a close friend, but close enough to share an experience or a moment together. Now I sit here with just my words and images to share over a lifeless social platform hoping for just a few likes.
I suppose I should have seen this coming, after years of self-isolation. Burdened with a fear I never asked for, but sure as hell received. It’s a wonder I’m still around to be perfectly honest. Because if my mental state wasn’t going to kill me, my physical state surely would do me in by now. Yet here I stand (or at least sit). Pushing through to yet another decade. But as the clock ticks I’m getting to live longer than my parents. It’s a strange unfamiliar feeling to know that that with each passing moment, I’m experiencing more of life than they.
Well let me put my morbid thoughts back in my pocket and celebrate what I do have. A family that loves me despite myself. A wife that is faithful to a fault. And at least one person that I’ve never had to prove a thing too. To die without a legacy isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. But to die without your name falling off some one’s lips without love? Now that’s a fate I would wish on no one.
A friend of mine posed a question on social media a few days ago. “Anyone else feel like they are taking a leap of faith, over and over again?” At the moment my reply was, that it wasn’t some much me taking “a leap of faith” as it was me getting pushed off the cliff over and over again. A few decades ago, I did take a leap of faith and begin my journey toward self-improvement. Through therapy and of pursuit of mindfulness, my life and overall feelings towards myself began to improve. But in 2015 things started catching up with me physically.
While mentally I felt like I was heading to a good place, I was ignoring the warning signs that “something wicked this way comes”. While creating for myself a more positive attitude towards my self-esteem; I was ignoring the undo stress I was placing on myself. This led to my first heart attack, which led to a number of hospital stays and number of other major lifestyle changes. It blew the world I had planned for my family apart. This has since led to a number of other physical problems such as my gut situation, blood issues, and now kidney problems.
So I sit here and ask myself, were any of these leaps of faith worth the trouble? Other than the physical and mental inconvenience, I suppose not. If anything, this entire journey has taught me patience and how to let go. For so long I handled anything myself. I took on the responsibility of raising my family and being the caregiver. Now I’ve learned to accept that I could use a little help. Other interesting aspect of this “moral foil” is that I am no longer afraid of death. For so very long I worried about my family and who was going to take care of them after I was gone. But now that I have stared over the edge a few times, I’ve learned that we all eventually face that journey. And that, we can eventually face it with fear and dread or with peace and contentment that we did our best. Life is too short to fear tomorrow or even worry about yesterday. We have to be in this moment and learn to face it head on. So if that’s what you call a leap of faith, then I guess I’m all in.
After two days, I’m finally getting a chance to just sit down. The last couple of days have been a whirlwind. For the better part of a week I’ve had pain in my groin and a good bout of porcelain hugging. Thinking the pain maybe from a UTI I made an appointment with my PCP to get some antibiotics. What I discovered was instead of a UT infection I was showing signs of having kidney stones.
Well surprise, surprise . So they sent me to the hospital for a CT Scan, what they found were four stones of various sizes and one stone 17mm by 7mm stuck in the plumbing. Well talk about an overachiever. I’ve never had kidney stones, so this is a first. I had gall stones, but that old thing went bye, bye last year. So there you have it, I’m sitting here waiting for my appointment with the urologist in the morning to see what happens next.
None of this shit surprises me. I mean, “if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all”. Now some of you may think that’s a piss poor attitude to take. But in the real world you have to be prepared for the inevitable. I know that the damage has been done, and there’s no positive spin I can put on it. So would you rather see me claiming some faraway miracle that more than likely never comes. Or would you rather have me tell the truth and do my damnedest to “adapt and overcome” to the situation? So yeah, I’m hurting a bit. And yeah, I have a little infection. But I’m also sitting here with a gentle breeze blowing against my back enjoying another “blessed day”.
Sometimes turning off the noise is never enough. Distractions are but a momentary gap that fills nothing. I’ve lived through enough of these moments to know that wondering through them isn’t for the timid. Because when faced with the abyss, the unknown as it were; no one knows where you’ll land. So I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, with enough ignorance and/or determination to see it through. But all you ever really do is just walk through another door.
But I’ve come to an understanding that this to shall pass, but not without cost. For this decaying body reminds me every day of the of the toll stress and anxiety can take. But just as fatigue has taken the place of stamina, so to has determination overtaken paralyzing fear. The kind of fear that stops you dead in your tracks and forces you to second guess yourself and your faith. Causing you to waste time, by forcing you to stand in place.
So I do my best to watch the moments as they pass. Absorbing each one like a sponge in water. Taking in and pushing out with needs to be let go. Still there are those moments when I see reality and wonder into a dark place. A place where the seeds of fear are planted deep in your soul. With roots so deep they are nearly impossible to pull out. So you breath. Listen to yourself. And wait till the panic is chased away by peace. For avoidance only breeds more pain. But acknowledging what’s inside and accepting it are but the first steps to grace.
Feeling a little indifferent this morning. I mean I had a fairly decent evening catching up on my guilty pleasure TV. But this morning like many mornings this month, I’m just ready to get the shit over with. I hate feeling this way about my day. You know, waking up going through the whole routine without an ounce of enthusiasm. I suppose you could say, that’s just how life is sometimes. But isn’t that what turns us all into little worker drones bees? Draining all the purpose out of ourselves?
Creativity… art for the lack of a better word, is my driving motivation. For the last few years I’ve turned into a dreamer that way of sorts. A worthless human being to some, that dreams in typed out images. Mostly writing in the first person mind you, usually droning on and on about my “inner demons”, but creating all the same. But with the passing of the holidays and the return to reality, life takes on a slow boring routine. Where I feel a bit, no a lot helpless, to it’s relentless pull. So I digress.
Back to a world of waiting. Waiting for the light to return, for that spark that motivates. But this routine of indifference has a date on it. A date where a moment of euphoria takes over, then disappears like the winter sun. But what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, motivation, inspiration, and total indifference. Three of the deadly sins that effect my once “normal” mind.
In my gut I feel pain
Through the mail I read pain
Across the news I see pain
In my heart I know pain
Transgressions both created and thrust upon me, enveloping my soul
Moments turn to hours and hours into days
I’ve built the patience, but after a while it becomes a façade
Making my heart weary from the journey
So I turn off the world, and search for solace in the teachings
Away from prying eyes that seek and destroy
Until all else fails and I’m left just a little smaller than yesterday
Since my soap opera was so rudely interrupted by this week’s news. It’s warmed enough for me to enjoy the day outside. It’s a busy little day for my neighbors apparently. The guys across the street are continuing to take down the dilapidated house. And the EMC guys next door doing a little remodeling to the maintenance offices. In fact it’s a bit noisy out here with the backhoe and the hammering. It kinda reminds me of all the noises, sights, and smells I experienced; on hundreds of constipation sites I worked throughout the years.
But time and a broken body have reduced that life to a distance memory. So now all I can do is sit in my rocking chair and watch. But that’s okay, I’ve accepted my fate. No longer do I fight myself to change what can’t be undone. But that’s enough feeling bad about me, because like the laundry blowing in the wind I can adapt and change. I laugh to myself watching that kid next door get frustrated when the old backhoe shuts off. Having to constantly restart the thing, I wonder if he knows to check the fuel filter for water.
It is a hell when life does us that way, stopping and having to restart at the most inconvenient moments. The best you can do in those situations is take a breath and walk away for a minute. Getting mad and taking a hammer to it usually makes things worse. And while it may feel good in the moment, so to can just quitting all together. Learn to adapt to the situation and weight your options. While my physical role in life has been reduced to being a chauffeur and a housekeeper, I use my mind to create. Never give up on life. Never look at yourself and think, is this it? Stay engaged, stay brave, and never let circumstance steal who you really are.
There’s this old dilapidated house across the street from mine. It’s been quite an eyesore for a while. For the last several weeks a small crew has been taking the house down one board at a time. I’m sure they could just as easily took it down with a backhoe or a bulldozer. But it’s been refreshing to see the crew going board by board reclaiming as much material as they can. Sitting here thinking as they work on getting the floor and brick foundation blocks up. How recently in my life I’ve been doing the same thing.
You see we could easily just demolish whatever parts of ourselves we don’t like and throw them in the trash. And honestly for some stuff, that’s all you can do. But within us there are some things that are still redeemable. Parts of us that need to be thrown away. But oftentimes we grab a sledgehammer and go to town. On ourselves, our relationships, and on our very existence. And I should know, I’ve done this more times than I can count.
Anyway when going into a reconstruction project; understand what parts are salvageable and what needs to be discarded. There are parts of me that I had lost that I never thought I’d get back again. So don’t let fear or destroy the best parts of yourself. Don’t let hurt or jealousy pull you away from the ones you really love. Clear your mind, learn to listen to the pain. Forgive yourself, forgive others in order to see intention the commonality. As the crew stops for their lunch break, I can now see clearly through the debris. Through the ugly parts that are being laid to waste. To see with clarity what lies on the other side.
Well I’m literally chillin' outside. After three days of cold rain and clouds the sun is finally out. It’s still chilly 47° (8°c) but I’m sitting outside with the sun to my back. Watching the laundry dry and checking out my neighbors at church. It’s sorta of a silly nonsensical life, but one I readily embrace. While I’m cold (which I may have mentioned a few times), but I feel pretty good. Oh I know the world the is “going to hell in a hand basket”. But isn’t going to stop me from having a decent attitude.
You know just because the situation around you looks like crap. Doesn’t mean you have to be mad or upset about it. Now I’m not saying to just give up and live in your situation. What I mean is to do your best to face it with a little hope and faith. If you know me at all, this may sound a bit hypocritical. But seriously, acceptance and clarity are just what you need to see you through.
So as my buddies next door pack it up for the day, I know things will eventually change. Nature teaches us that things move in a cycle. Winter comes, but soon after so does spring. So while I’m riding on an optimistic high, I’m reminding myself, that “this to shall pass”. So don’t let fear take you down the rabbit hole so far, that you can’t see the light. Accept your fear and love those parts of yourself that are messy. Then learn to forgive yourself so you can eventually see things change.
Just kinda goofing today. It’s been cloudy and cold, so I’ve spent a good amount of the day under the covers. As you may or may not know we have no heat in this house other a few space heaters. It may not be the smartest way to live, but when you got just a little, you do what you can do. Having little to nothing seems to be a way of life for me. Even when it looked like the tide was going to change. There was always something standing in the way to snatch it all away.
For long time I used to be really bitter about that. But as I’ve grown more comfortable with myself; I’ve learned that jealousy and feeling sorry for myself only creates more despair. But you might say, “Damn aren’t you still living hand to mouth”? And I would have to reply, “Yeah, I still do”. It’s just that now I’ve learned to live with less and to have enough patience to see the light. I am fully aware of my limitations and I do my best to use what I have to it’s fullest. But drive and outward success aren’t my focus as much creating a better me.
Look there’s nothing wrong with being successful. It’s just at the moment I got a different vision of where I need to be. My focus is on kindness and using my intuition to create a better world. At the moment my world is very small. But size has nothing to do with the obligation. Becoming the best person I can is my ultimate goal. Trying to be a light to those in my circle is now my greatest satisfaction. We may not have a lot, but it is the intent of the heart to focus on compassion and peace.
Panic and anxiety attacks are nothing new to me. I mean I’ve spent the last 20+ years fighting them, tolerating them, and accepting them. My recent attacks shouldn’t come as any surprise. With our limited income and ever increasing bills, it’s a wonder the world’s going crazy. But as usual I keep such things to myself. I do my talk downs and breathing exercises, telling myself this too shall pass. I guess now I’m at a point in my life where I’m just tired of all the stress and anxiety.
On the outside I’m relatively a low key person. I’m fairly decent at talking people down off the ledge as it were. But as for myself, I’m the worse at taking advice. I guess I spent too many decades being told to “suck it up”, so I do. I don’t subscribe to a lot of flashy in the moment affirmations or self-help talks. I take things as they are. If I’m depressed, then I’m depressed. If I’m anxious, well then I’m anxious. I subscribe to a more Buddhist tradition of listening to the fear and anxiety. Accepting what I feel then loving those parts of me that hurt.
I know to some of you that may sound crazy. I mean I was indoctrinated into a world where we are all inherently evil and the only path to peace is through acceptance. But in a way isn’t that what I all ready said? The world is made up of so many colors and shapes. Still all of us carry a common thread of compassion and need for acceptance. As I work through my own pain, shouldn’t we all be a little more compassionate of the needs and desires of others? Maybe through that way of thinking all our own suffering can be eased?
Went by my oldest daughter and son-in-laws house today to make a delivery. They both have Covid so now I’m their personal door dash representative. But I don’t really mind, I mean after all I’m driving her SUV payment free. It’s funny how give and take works, even in family situations. As you may know, my wife and oldest son live with disabilities. Disabilities that require them to have a caregiver (aka me). And even though I live with physical and mental problems of my own, it’s up to me to look after them as best I can. But just like so many others across the world, this is just an everyday fact if life. So you learn to deal with it.
As human beings in order to survive we’ve learned to “adapt and overcome”. But for whatever reason we seemed to have forgotten how to do that. We’ve all centered ourselves into our own little world’s, often forgetting there is a greater good to be done. We shelter in place hold tight to whatever beliefs feel comfortable and hang out with just our own little tribes. But in a world of greater interconnectivity, being closed minded and openly hostel to traditions other than our own, is simply madness.
Now I’m not asking you to change your own personal beliefs. What I am asking you is be a little more tolerant of others beliefs. Here in the US we live within the boundaries of the rule of law. An imperfect system that can be adapted and changed. But remember what’s fair is fair. Boundaries are set for the greater good. But to rig the system for one’s own personal advantage is unfair and immoral. So let’s stop singing the praises of individual freedom. When all we really want to do is enslave others to our will.
Another desert, another purgatory I find myself in. Wondering but never thinking, dreaming but never building. In-tune but out of tune, searching but never really seeing. Rather it’s illness or just plain exhaustion, my mind can only focus in short burst of energy. I live on a philosophy of the moment. Constructing and deconstructing the man I was into the man I wish to be.
Decades ago I was forever unhappy, I found myself drowning in an ocean of obligations. Fearing that my next move would be my last. So when the ground beneath my feet finally crumbled, I found my hell. A place where the voices I swept under foot poured over me until I couldn’t breathe. For twenty years I fought to come back to the surface, only to find that the dreams I thought I wanted didn’t really satisfy.
So here I am, feeling lost again. Allowing life’s troubles to steal my peace. Part of me just wants to say f*ck it all, while another part of me wants to heal. Why is everything such a struggle? Does every lesson in life have to come with a dose of discomfort? I don’t try to preach to anyone. I’d much rather lend an ear and let things sort themselves out. But damn if I don’t feel my heart sinking back into the water. Not wanting to feel anything, just looking to wonder through another desert.
Just laying here in the bed, having come in from the cold. Our youngest son came in and plugged up the ceramic heater, I guess he got tried of seeing me look so pale and cold. It’s funny in a way, when I was over 350lbs I never had a problem with being cold. But for the last few winters, the cold air has really affected me. Chilling me right down to the bone. Recently though my digestive issues have come back with a vengeance. It seems that every time I take my morning medications, they tear my stomach up and start my daily cycle of hugging the porcelain throne.
I should probably check in with my PCP, but Jesus Christ I’ve had at least one doctor appointment every week for the last two months. And this was supposed to be my month off. Another thing I’ve noticed, other than the obvious, is that my appetite is disappearing again. I’ve noticed my weight has been dropping again and while no one has said anything, I believe the family has noticed as well. Which probably explains why my youngest is constantly checking in on me.
While a lot of deadly illnesses seemed to have been ruled out, I’m still weak as hell. Since my cardiologist pulled me off one my heart medicines (it’s toxic to my liver), my heart flutters are back again. That and one of my son-in-laws just tested positive for Covid. It’s all got me a little stressed out. Fear is a funny thing though, it can heightened your awareness. But at the same time, it can pull out a lot of the dread and foreboding we all keep buried within us. So while digging through that clutter is beneficial; the emotions it can generate are emotions I would much rather not feel at the moment. Do you ever feel that way?
I catch a hint of smoke while sitting in the cold January air. My EMC neighbors are unusually quiet considering their usual hustle and bustle through the day. There’s barely a leaf left on these old sycamore trees. While the only sound breaking the silence is the sound of a distant car on the highway. I used to revel in the noise and excitement of the world. Now I’m much more content smelling the smoke from a chimney and watching a single leaf struggle to hang on.
One of the keys to my continued survival is my ongoing sense of awareness. During the dark times, I would hide away from everything I feared. Now as an observer of life, I embrace the things I see and feel. With a wider perception of curiosity and faith. Writing stories, mostly in the first person, not because I don’t have any imagination to spin. I just find it more comfortable and therapeutic to shine a light on my own growth. I’m sure it doesn’t make much of a story, but then again, everything now in days has to be presented in some short vignette.
So I hope you don’t mind me indulging myself in this moment. For pauses such as this are often the most important things we have. Considering that the world wants nothing more than to consume all your attention. So consider the whiff of smoke or the struggling leaf. Because you never know what you might uncover in a simple pulse of time.
Laying here not doing much of nothing, just going through my social media. Through my scrolling and responding, I noticed a post from a friend. In it a couple were dancing carelessly through a diner window late into the night. In the messages we exchanged we wondered about missing moments like that; and to be brutally honest, I really do. I’m sure we all long for the undisciplined days of youth, where time seems to go on forever. When spontaneity was just an everyday thing.
The new word now is “adulting”. I suppose it has to do with the every day mundane work of being an adult. As for myself, I had about 10 years of carefree youth. Then I married the first time. But after a series of adulterous affairs, drug addiction, separation, and a bitter divorce. You’d think I’d had a belly full of marriage. Well a little over a year later while still sweeping up the pieces of my first marriage, Lisa and I began our scandalous affair. For us the honeymoon quickly ended before it began. We married officially when Lisa was eight months pregnant. So basically we hit the ground running leaving all spontaneity and freedom behind.
After 34 years of official marriage, I can honestly it has taken it’s toll. Not to say there were never any good memories, like watching our monkeys grow. Still in these later years you go into your own thing. Lisa has her hobbies and activities she does by herself, and I can pretty much do the same. I suppose that’s just natural for empty nesters, but with that little bit of freedom glaring cracks are exposed. You notice things you ignored when you’re too busy raising a family. Which to a point has me wondering, what is the balance between security and freedom? And, what is more important stoic determination or dancing late into the night?
It’s a clear day after a couple of days of hot and stormy weather. And while I see most of my peers making plans for the New Year. I’m standing here picking up limbs from around the yard after last night’s storm. You know, I used to dream in plans; but for the last number of years I’ve find myself being content with just being in the moment. I don’t know rather it’s the fear of disappointment that keeps me in this mind frame. Or the fact that I only find peace when I stay in the present. Either way, thinking of these things only gives me a headache and an uneasy feeling of time.
I so often douse any plans I make with buckets full of apprehension or laissez-faire. Often finding myself simply too tired to invest any energy into any kind of faraway goals. It’s funny, years ago I would have looked into the mirror and hated the person I saw for never finishing anything. Now I just see an old man, covered in contentment and melancholy. I suppose I could just pump myself up again with affirmations and promises. But at the moment I just assume close my eyes and go to sleep.
At this point I find it hard to even complete these thoughts. Physically more than anything I just want to be left alone. The freedom from making plans relieves me of the disappointment of failing. Yet I’m smart enough to know that failure often leads to growth. But at this point in time it doesn’t really matter. Soon I will wake up from this momentary wave of discontent and see that things aren’t often as bad as they seem.
It’s Sunday morning and I got a little sunshine popping out of the East and some nasty looking clouds coming out of the Southwest. With the wind blowing in from the Southwest I may not be outside very long. But seeing that I’m a bit of a risk taker, I’ll just roll the dice and see where I land. Yesterday was a brilliant day, for a day that was supposed to be cloudy and dreary. I even got some clothes washed and hung out. Still I couldn’t think of anything in particular I wanted to say. So I stayed away from my Word app and laid around being lazy and bored.
Anyway, I slept well last night dreaming of flying an ultra-light airplane and diving through the clouds. I got up, called my father-in-law, made myself some decaf, and took some pills. You know maybe I should save my writing for something more spectacular. But it’s the doing that brings me the most pleasure. Rather it’s the mundane or the incredible, creating something from nothing is the greatest gift one is given.
I guess what I’m saying is, don’t sit on your creativity. Don’t tell yourself that you are not creative or talented. Each and every one of us has a passion and a desire. It is our heart’s escape button from the troubles of this world. Well it looks like I rolled 7’s, and the dark clouds have passed and the blue skies are back. Don’t take the world too seriously. Save your strength for when you really need it. Take a good hard look at the world around you. If the winds blowing and people are just going about their day, then you are where you need to land.
Some friends of mine in California had the main road in their area knocked out by the recent rains. They live up near the mountains, so I was joking about them now having to live off the grid. They replied, “That it is squirrel stew from here on out”. While we got a good laugh out the situation, it got me to thinking about survival. I don’t just mean living off the grid, something I have no idea how to do. What it did get me thinking about was the survival of my soul and the extenuating circumstances that cause me pain.
On the surface, I had an easy life growing up. But like most everyone else there were the dark corners of circumstance that affected me more than I’d like to admit. Despite how put together I may seem, there was always a feeling of panic, chaos, and despair. Leaving me with the feeling that not only was life unfair, but that I deserved every unkind thing that ever happened to me. So for the next fifty years I took to blaming myself. It wasn’t until recently that I have been able to confront these feelings and overcome that guilt.
Being a late Baby Boomer I was taught to swallow my pain. Many of my generation (including myself) scoff at Millennials and Xer’s for being too soft and too dependent on their feelings. Thinking about it, does that really make us any better than the bullies and abusers we faced? Abuse begets abuse, until the cycle is broken. So many successful people are miserable to the point of death. Among many of my peers they have simply given up on life due to their circumstance. I can’t subscribe to that belief anymore. If nothing else my family has taught me that survival is the only thing that creates legacy. So when reduced to eating squirrels, rabbits, or goats remember, you are surviving. So don’t give up, don’t give in, “don’t let the bastards grind you down”.
After a foggy as hell morning it looks like the sun’s breaking through. I couldn’t sleep last night so I didn’t fight it and stayed up watching TikTok videos till 4am. I had and still have a headache, but I had a cup of regular coffee this morning. So I’m pumping on all cylinders till I crash. I catch the smell of firewood burning in the distance. And while it’s going to be in the 70’s today, I suppose someone out there needed the ambience.
Overhead there’s a damn squirrel in the sycamore tree bitching about something. Not exactly sure what it is they are bitching about, but it’s certainly messing with my mojo. And maybe that’s what it’s all about, something messing with my mojo. While I have an easy time focusing on my words. There are moments when my head feels like it isn’t screwed on straight. Like my thoughts are wanting to pull me back into a chaos I’d just assume leave alone. Lately my dreams have wondered into some strange alternate realities. Where I am who I am, but living a different life.
I suppose it’s okay to fantasize about the “what it’s”. But on more than one occasion I’ve discovered dreams don’t often fit into our realities. The fact that I spent several years trying to achieve the dream a college education. Only to discover that it didn’t satisfy me is a great example. Life usually pulls us back to our roots. My roots were to put my thoughts onto a page. So don’t worry that your career isn’t taking you where you want to go. Center yourself, look deep inside, then from there look to what makes you the happiest. Usually these things are hidden right there in plain sight.
When rooting around in the basement of my heart. I often come across shit I just assume leave alone. But in order to lead a more balanced life, free of the pain these moments cause me. I gotta sweep out the cobwebs and let in some light. From minute one, I knew I was in over my head. With a fiancé with troubles of her own, a baby on the way, and no real plan. We got married and lived our lives as best we could.
Over the years trouble just seemed to follow us. With three more kids and one with special needs, I was on a slow train to a breakdown. Ill prepared for any of this I served as full-time father and part-time mother. I worked mostly nightshift so I could keep on eye on the little one’s before they started school. With little change in my pocket, holidays were provided by grandparents and charity. And while I don’t know about you, for someone raised by a hardworking (but not an exceptionally affectionate father). I felt nothing but inadequacy and shame in those situations.
To this day while our kids are pretty successful and live good lives. I find it hard to really enjoy the true meaning of the holidays. Mostly because of that dirty basement where those feelings lie. It’s easy to say, that we’ve let go of something. But to put those words into practice is a whole other adventure. While I’m still working on my situation, putting on my brave face every day. Don’t think for a minute things don’t bother me. My ongoing health issues I can’t control, not to mention the mental baggage I’ve been “duct taping” together for decades. It all comes down to searching and desiring to live and get better. Ignoring shit only buys you a little time. Find a path and follow it and open those curtains let in some light.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
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