Sunday, December 16, 2012

Don't feed the Beast.


 Today is a sad day. Our world got a little smaller, a little more broken and there is an overall sadness at the loss of yet more young lives. I understand the anger, the helplessness and the despair. I can feel the trap of frustration and rage beaconing me. I must resist. All the feelings of pain will not change anything. Feelings of loss, of powerlessness are natural at times like these. Yell out if you must. Cry tears of rage and anguish. Fall to your knees with the weight of it all and then, get up. Wipe away the tears and ask yourself "what can I do?" How can I channel these emotions and make something good? Rage is a wildfire that cannot differentiate between that which is worthy of our wrath and that which is not. We must acknowledge our feelings and then craft a way to make things better. Please do not let your words cause more hurt or pain. Hate, when fed doubles it's yield. Love when nurtured will give back tenfold. Choose to love. It is not easy. Nothing about life is easy. I will mourn with you. Those who where lost are worthy of that honor. I will pray and reach out to my own children and to my friends. I will try to be more gentle in my responses to those whom I do not always agree with. I will work harder to love more. Because what happened today, this horrible tragic deed, is bad enough. I will not add to that. This is not a gun control issue. Do not place your soapbox on this bloodstained ground. Move along. Light a candle, say a prayer. Do something positive. I am seeing far too much hate on both sides of this debate trying to co-op this event. Stop it. If you cannot simply give support to those effected, say nothing. This is not about your belief's. It is not about an agenda. It is about children whom will never  open the presents, lovingly selected and beautifully wrapped under twinkling Christmas trees. It is about parents and spouses whom will not be at the dinner table tonight or any other. They are gone. We are less for their lose.

  This was not the blog I had planned for today. But, I am moved to speak to this. It is with sorrow in my heart that I learn about each and every victim. It would be so much easier to turn away. To say it is too much. Too sad. That I cannot stand to know any more than the vagueness of numbers and places. That would be easy. It would however not be right. Because these sacrifices to one man's crazy mattered. These souls that now flash across my TV screen are important. And I understand the desire to be angry. I have been there. It is too easy to wrap ourselves in anger, as if it is a great comfy blanket. Letting it muffle the true feelings of grief and pain. So great that it feels like it will swallow you whole if you do not cover your heart with anger. But that protection all too soon turns into a prison. I have lived there. Wasted years of my life feeding that ugly beast. I have puzzled at the desire to snap at slow cashiers and give a snarky remark to a surly attendant. I have embarrassed my family with a quick flick of my tongue. Dripped venom on the world and been surprised when I get the same back. I was on autopilot. Answering every encounter with a false indignant air. I have harmed and hurt so many. Strangers and family alike. So comfortable had I become in that tent I had pitched in the valley of anger. I had made a little home there. Planted flowers that could never grow there. Everything dies in that valley of darkness. Anger is a cancer that will eat your soul. Please believe me, this I know.

  Turning to anger when you are hurt is like placing a puss filled maggot invested dressing on a fresh wound. It will not heal. It can only become infected and vester. Until it controls your life. Let yourself mourn. It is an honest emotion, and oh so necessary. Acknowledge your pain, whatever the source and then just as you would a leaky pipe, fix it. Stop the rusty water, before it soaks your life through. If you cannot remedy the injury on your own, reach out. You are not alone. And if it will still not stop, turn off the source. Whatever is feeding your pain, let it go. It is not what you need. Anger is insidious, a black mold that will invade your life until the only solution is to burn it all down.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Mystery Called Faith


                                                A Mystery Called Faith

  So, I have been thinking of this for sometime. I so want to make sure I get this one right....let me try

   I have been thinking a lot about what faith is. What is hope and how do you find it and more importantly hold on to it. You can not buy it. However, many try to attach a dollar amount to it. Hawking it like a snake oil salesman. I have seen hope packaged in jars and pills in books and in those past days tapes. It is always the same "do this and you will get that".  It is a falsehood a counterfeit.
Hope and faith are not found outside of you anymore than happiness is. It is within you. I can feel you balk. I know. I have been where you are. So sad and broken. Lost and surely forgotten that I just knew there was no way out of this mess that had some how become my world. So different from what I had planned and dreamed of. I was obsessed with how I had gotten it so wrong. How had I ended up HERE? I have asked myself that so many times, with no answers to be found. But now so far from that shallow port of regret I have my answers. I drifted in the current. I let myself be drawn off course, and then pleaded astonishment when I washed up in despair.  The truth is I had to take that journey. I had to spring a few leaks and do a little bailing. It was in those times of frantic chaos that I learned I was in command. That this life was mine and I was firmly in control of it, or not. That it was all up to me.

  I think I was born with an extra dollop of  faith. I have no idea where it came from. I just know, I always know that whatever it is it will change. Life will turn my way. It has to. I will accept no less. You are not defeated until you choose to be. I look at what I have available. A warm afternoon, a good book, a dear friend and loved pet and I hang on to all of them. I look at my broken life one piece at a time and just like a puzzle, one of those really hard ones with lots of pieces, I start fitting them and refitting them. Piece by piece I rework my journey. Because it is a journey and I will not stay on shore. I must go out to find my dreams. My hopes are not to be found in a lotto ticket or a long lost relative. No, I must do this. It is exciting. The possibility of it all. The idea that I can live as big as I can dream as long as I participate. As long as I seal up those holes with wax and ride with the wind. That is a key. A special secret that no one taught me. I learn everything the hard way it seems. If the wind keeps blowing you off course, it you cannot out pace the storm, turn around. Look at your map. Ponder your course. Something is not right. Something must be changed. Everything that has brought me to this place, HERE with you, has been for a reason.

  I could not understand other's pain and struggles if I had not had my own. I would be some vapid useless being living in a self involved world with no advice or knowledge to impart. What could I possibly know? I am at peace with my life. With where I have been and where I am going. There have been things mourned and things lost. That is the way of life. Everything has added to shaping who I am. Who I choice to be. That is hope. That is faith. I do believe in a higher being. It matters not to me what name you give for it. It's power does not come form a name. It comes from the very fact that it is so. I would not wish to live in a place where I am the highest form of life. When this is the greatest level to be achieved. And so I hold on. When life gets hard, I have always held on. Knowing that whatever it is will pass. That there is a solution to every problem and that the sun will still shine warm on my face.

  It is hope and faith that bring me through. Every time my head says quit, it is too hard. You cannot do this and my body bends from a pain that no medicine can cure, I feel it. It starts very small like a small itch just beyond my reach. It will not let me fail. No, it says. You cannot quit.. It reminds me how far I have come. It does not line up my woes. No, it knocks them all down and says "they are gone, now what excuse do you have" And that inner voice that is fed on faith, sustained by hope says more. It calls me a little girl, which has always been the best way to get me on my tiptoes to prove I am big enough. That voice knows just what to say to get me to take my eyes off myself and to remember that I am no one's victim. That I am not a quitter and I deserve love and happiness, but that I will have to work for it. Going through obstacles is what we are here for. To learn new skills and to hone the ones we already possess. To change what we can and to make the world better for us being here. There is no talent in running a tally, a mental inventory of every flaw or misstep in other's. In shooting out darts tipped in poison, in an attempt to lessen the toxic pain in my own heart. Sharing your hurt only doubles it, but in sharing your love, you triple your return. Invest wisely. You will reap what you sow.

  Be still and listen. Find that small voice inside you. The one that says you can. That you will. That child that still dreams and nurture them. Encourage them, love them. You will be rewarded. Faith is very easy when things are going your way, it is when things get hard. When you hit the bottom so hard you skin your heart and your tears run like blood. That dear reader is when you pull out hope and faith. Faith in yourself, faith in others and grab hope too. They travel together. Hold on tight. Invite them in and bid them stay. Make them welcome. Give them no cause to leave. Do not listen to anyone or anything that says you can't. It is a lie. The negative thought is always a liar and a thief. It will steal your dreams, your hope, your life. Do not allow it. Make it hard. Put up a fight. And when you have no more battle left in you, look for that child's heart we all have and hold on. Stand firm and believe. Everything changes. You can have your dreams, you must simply get up and go find them. No one hand delivers them in this world. So, clear your thoughts, wash your face and look at the child you once were in the mirror. Give them a smile, they are counting on you. And see the possible looking back in those child's eyes. They are waiting on you. Love is a balm to heal, faith is an undeserved grace and hope? Hope is the magical voice that whispers " all things are possible. Get up. You have things to do."

 Love to you dear reader. I hope you catch my meaning with this one. YOU are greater than you know and unless you push on, you will never have all that you desire.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Just Breathe



  If you are on my facebook page you know this has been a surprising and a little scary week for me. I had planned to write about wonderful things. And I still will. But first I must release these words that have been swirling around in my head for the last few days. My wonderful daughter and I had planned a day of shopping. It is that time of year and I love to go see all the decorations and get into the Christmas cheer. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. I have had this chronic on again off again cough. Enough to be annoying, but I have never really worried about it. Then I noticed that my hands had a blue cast. I thought I must have rubbed up against something and washed them and did not give it another thought. That was sometime last month. When the blue of my hands appeared more often, I did what anyone would do. I googled that nonsense. So, it appeared that I must have Rayuand's Syndrome. Nothing serious. Just keep your hands warm and move on. My doctor agreed and when I mentioned my cough, she said it must be post nasal drip and sent me away with a prescription for a cure. I went off to a small vacation in Florida and never thought another thing about it. Until I started getting bluer. I mean purple. It was embarrassing. People would notice my hands right away and I would try to make light of it. I really just did not want to talk about it. I knew it wasn't Rayuad's by now and I was pretty sure what it was. I have always had issue with my lungs. First it was called asthma and bronchitis. Then pneumonia. Every two years or so I would get good and properly sick.

  I knew the way of this and it irked me. I tried to push it away. To not see what was right in front me. Just like a small child I thought if I refused to acknowledge it, it would not be so. But of course, just like that child and their wishful thinking, reality was waiting for me. It caught up to me during that shopping trip. What should have been a fun day of shopping and lunch turned into a chore. My steps were heavy. I was so tired and blue. Very, very blue. I was light headed and out of breath. I had a banging headache I could not shake. I so wanted that day to wonderful. I love spending time with my children and now, with our grandson, but I just couldn't shake this feeling of fatigue. It was a medical intervention. My husband, who was out of town called to check on me. We were driving to another store or something and he rang me up. I put him on speakerphone and listened as he and my turncoat daughter plotted against me. There were stern words and may be a few well placed threats. The gist of it was simple. I was going to the ER. And for once I did not argue. I hate hospitals. I am not a fan of the medical field. I whole heartedly believe that YOU should go whenever need be. I however, do not feel that that sentiment should apply to me. I believe a warm bath and a nap can fix most things and when it comes to my health, I live in denial.

 No more. I am not going to recount all the tests and bloodletting. It was a tiresome enough ordeal the first time around. I have no desire to relive it here. The results were not great. I have emphysema and my blood vessels constrict, which is what is causing my headaches and also some heart issues. I cannot tell you the inner turmoil and anger I am trying to process. You see I have lungs of a heavy smoker and yet I have never taken more than a drag or two off someone eles's cigarette in my whole life. No, I was never a smoker. My father was, he was a four pack a day chain smoker. Benson&Hedges Menthol smoker. He would drive around with us in the car, a vintage blue pinto and puff away. Never opening a window. No, he believed in getting the full affects of his smokes. I am angry. I must work it through. I am no one's victim and I must process this information and find a proper mindset. My mother called me, while I lay in a hospital bed. Between breathing treatments and coughing fits. With a blazing headache and purple digits and I did not answer. I could not. I still cannot. I am hoping writing this here will help. I try never to stay angry. It is pointless and destructive and it causes me to be someone I do not want to know.

  I will find another way to look at this. I will. I will read all there is on the subject and go back and read some positive uplifting words and I will get through. I cannot fix this. I cannot make it better and someday it may be the end of me. I do not mean to be maudlin, but when I decide to face the truth I do so with no half measures. So, what can I do? I can write to you my lovely friend and say, do not smoke. Please if you do now, stop. I know it is difficult, I do. But you know what is a greater challenge? Trying to draw breath with the air seeming to be either too thin to reach your lungs or worse yet, so thick and heavy it feel like you are taking in syrupy liquid. It causes a kind of anxiety I have never felt. There is a large weight on my chest and I cannot get out from under it. I wake up coughing and gasping and feeling claustrophobic. I am not the fearful type. I am the charge ahead, do not bother me with your facts kind of person and I will be with this as well. Hopefully very soon. First I must mourn. Mourn my parent's choices. Their indifference and unyielding need to be self indulgent. I will figure this out. I will make something good out of this. And in a step into that direction I say again, please stop. And if you cannot, do not do it around others. Smoking kills people. Innocent people whom never chose to be a party to someone else's poor decisions. I know it is hard. I know there are withdrawals. I understand. But you know what is harder? Trying to breathe when your lungs have been compromised by someone else's choices.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Night Watchman



  I do not know when I first realized my mother did not like other females. I remember when I was five a pretty blonde woman moved in next store to us. She was tall and thin with long, flowing hair. I was enamored. I never spoke to her, I was not allowed. Looking back, she must have been in her mid 20's b and my mother hated her. She called her "that stupid broad".  I did not understand it at the time. I do not believe my mother ever had a female friend. None that I can remember. Every female was met with the same hostile apprehension. It was about my father,  I know that now. He could not be trust around any female no matter her age. It must have been exhausting, the keen eye she was constantly compelled to impose on herself. A sort of night watchman constantly making the rounds. Endlessly casting a jaundice eye upon other women. Clearly she wore blinders. There were things she simply refused to see. She simply refused to accept the reality of her world. She made herself inwardly small as she grow outwardly large. Never seeming to connect the two things, her marriage and her weight. And her never tiring suspicions. There is a part of me that even now, feels a sadness for that ghost mother I barely remember. The woman child who had a rough and tumble start and just kept tumbling. Everything she grasped seemed to slip away and she hurtled on into the deep well of despair where I cannot reach her. I am sorry for who she became and who she could have been. She limited herself, folding herself over and over. Sacrificing her children, her happiness and I think her sanity to the ideal of a perfect love that never was. And so in that slap dash editing of reality there simply was no place for friends. Friends could not be trusted. They may steal from you. Because that is what people in her world did. First one daughter and then another taking from her. That is as far as I can possibly peer into that deep hole that my mother occupies. I can not comprehend the  thought process that brought her to that dismal conclusion. My ship can not venture into that place. And in truth I have no desire to understand that land so filled with puss and fevered thought. When I do ponder her life though, I doubt she ever had many friends. Growing up the oldest of six and responsible for her mother's brood. There could not have been time. And of course her early voyage into motherhood only set her further apart from her peers.

  Being a pregnant teenager in the 1950's must have been akin to having leprosy. When my first, then husband and my own pretend friend betrayed me, it hurt. It was very hard for me to take in the treturous acts of those whom I had placed the most trust in. I did not give trust easily and for a time I too took up a watchmen's post. Thank goodness this was before cell phones and text messages. There was no internet to further send my own suspicious mind reeling. I spent a year or two marking that path. Watching the clock. Constantly working out the time needed to get from his work to home, from the house to the store. Allotting ten minutes to get in and out with milk in hand. It was jarring. In the end I simply could not do it. The constant side glance and listening at doors. I became angry. Not just with my then, husband, but with myself. That is not who I wanted to be. I was changing myself, sneaking and lurking and in the end I just was not up to the task. I let him go and I vowed I would never, never allow another person send me on that path to unrest and mistrust again. I still get a little twinge now and again. For a moment here and there I wonder about motives and other's intent and if I can not find peace within myself then I let that person go. It is a very easy choice. I can be miserable alone. I do not need someone else to make me feel less than.

  I ran into a little trust issue this weekend. All in all my small vacation was full of opportunities to try and hone my skills in dealing with others. Which is something I am constantly working on. My first challenge came in the guise of praise. Beware those that give praise too freely. Their lavish use of language lets you know exactly how little they value words. A new reader found me here. I do not know the hows or the whys, she just dove in in the middle of our tale and rummaged around. This happens sometimes, someone will peer back at all those blog entries and just decide to pick a random spot and move forward. When they message me, and I know most will, to ask how this happened, or who is this person? I always send them back to the beginning. It is far easier on both of us. And so just like before, I thanked this person and sent them back to the start and waited. She quickly messaged back. She was excited and fairly glowed at her wonder of my story. I started to get uneasy, but I thanked her and appreciated her kindness. But, she was far from done with me. She messaged again, my story needed to be told. People NEEDED to know this. I explained my process of nipping and tucking and learning to make this simple blog into something more. She wanted to help, she wanted to share me with her readers. That is right, she too was a blogger and she had an audience. I asked her to send me what she thought she would like to post, as she made it clear just pointing her readers here was not enough. Of course she would. She wanted to help me. Now, I got that last message at dinner on my phone and it worried me. I prayed for our entrees to hurry and get served because I knew I needed to get back to my laptop. This was supposed to be a nice dinner. My husband and I had looked forward to it, but I could not concentrate on the warm bread and candlelight. The crisp linen napkins and fresh flowers only irritated me further. I tried to act interested, to enjoy the company of my best friend to no avail. I shared my concerns...I pulled at the clothe in my lap. First wringing it and then smoothing it flat.

  Peng tried to make me feel better. Assured me it would be fine. I was worrying for nothing. I had never felt this before. I am not territorial by nature and so I tried to hold on to this wise man's words and just breathe. Sometimes when you have the feeling that something is not quite right well you are unfortunately correct. I passed up my Husband's offer to do a little shopping in order to get back to our hotel. I had my laptop booted up in no time. Instead of the message she had promised, there was a notification that she had posted to my facebook wall. I little annoyance crept into my mood. Just a flicker at first. This was not what we had agreed upon. But I clicked on her little link and went to her blog. Reading aloud to my husband. My mind racing over my life presented in someone else's words. Except, they weren't her words. Now, let me just cop to the fact that I do not read and reread my blog entries. If you have been here long, you know that. I write it and may share it with my hubs if he is around and then I hit post and move on. I have more things to say. So keeping that in mind, looking at this rewrite of a blog I had written over two months ago, probably 40 entries ago, I got the feeling This was too familiar. There was too much of my own phraseology in her story. And then there was a short paragraph which was word for word my blog. I was uneasy. I messaged her and then I commented on the blog. I gave a link to my blog. And I stewed. I read and reread her blog. I reread my own. I was not happy. I asked a few trusted readers to give their thoughts. I may be overreacting. I did not wish to be rash. That little spot in my brain, which most assuredly had been shrunken could not be trusted. I need a consensus. It came quickly. With a loyalty and a love that I am as yet unworthy of I received messages.

  My readers were no more happier than I was. In fact a few were even more angry than I had been. And so I sent another message. I explained to this blogger that I appreciated her exuberance and passion, but not her execution of my story. I had already written it. I was not looking for a rewrite. She seemed to hear me and i thought that that was that. I tried to settle into this mini vacation my husband had given me. And yet I could not. I went back to her blog, one last itme before going to sleep and there it was. More of my words this time chopped up. Sandwiched in between stock photos of strangers . Sentences had been moved around facts reversed. I was angry. Beyond angry this was my life. It had taken me years, decades to pour this all out and someone had stolen it and reworked it? And there at the bottom of her entry that was all about a version of me a counterfeit copy of me. Was her plan. She was going to write an entire section all about me. I was too stunned for speech. Words that I usually find so easily would not come. That is always bad with me. It means there is a storm ahead. And indeed there was.