Confessions in Silence

Has it nearly been an entire year since I’ve written to you? I’d say time flies, but as years go this one seemed longer than most.

*gentle chuckle*

In some ways, I feel as though I’ve been selfish. Primarily because most of what of what’s written here has been for me. All the things I needed to say to myself I’ve shared with you. Let’s be clear, I know very little about anything significant for the world in general, rather the knowledge I’ve gained only truly applies to my particular journey. I write this because it’s true, but also no one solution can solve every problem. In my arrogance, I attempted to relate the micro of one journey to the macro of everyone’s journeys. For that, I must ask your forgiveness.

Some of you have been so dear to me,  the best of humanity. Others have taught me amazing lessons about who I thought I was or wanted to be, and you deserve my thanks as well.

I’ve learned there’s a difference between helping someone and simply supporting them. My previous course was to do as much as possible to “lighten the load” for other people. In the process, I stole their journeys by not trusting them to manage situations on their own. It also exhausted me because I tried to control circumstances that weren’t mine to control. The result – I screwed a lot of things up and take total responsibility for my actions.

By the way, I’m still working on the jumping in to rescue part.

I’ve learned that it’s not my job to live up to anyone’s expectations, and it’s not anybody’s job to live up to mine. Whoa. Talk about a mind-blowing moment. It happened when someone close to me was making demands about what they thought I should be doing. I said, “It’s not my job to live up to your expectations,” and the line went silent for a moment, then everything changed in the conversation. You see, my expectations for myself are unreasonably high. So much so, that I’ve spent a lifetime beating myself into the ground for not meeting them. This, of course, bleeds out on occasion to other people, until reality slaps me a few times, and I back down. That didn’t stop me from imposing mine and everyone else’s demands on myself, then one day I couldn’t, just simply couldn’t keep going. Mentally exhausted, emotionally strung-out, and physically incapable, I stopped, which may actually be the very first wise thing I’ve ever done.

Of course, I’m still working on that part too.

I’ve learned that my compulsive obsessive need to prove that I’m valuable to people ends in unfulfilled promises and allowing people to take far more than I have to give. The blame for this behavior lies squarely on my shoulders. With no boundaries and far too many “sure, I can do that” conversations, I’m quite effective at painting myself into a tight corner, all because I can’t muster the word no. I ask for little to nothing in return, hoping they’ll see I’m worth giving back to, but not expecting I’m worthy enough to receive anything at all. This isn’t some deep rooted thing from childhood or something my parents did or anything the world has ever said to me. It’s a fault within myself that says if something is easy for me to do, and I can push everything aside to make the time (even when I can’t) I should do it, and maybe, just maybe someone will pat me on the head like a fluffy little puppy dog and tell me I’m a good girl. The sick thing – they do. I mean, like sometimes it’s embarrassing how much they do, but something inside says, “if you knew me like I do, you’d know you’re wrong, so please stop.”

That lesson made me withdraw from the world for a time, mainly out of embarrassment. Really, I couldn’t face what I didn’t complete and couldn’t stand up for myself when people accused me of things I hadn’t done because I felt guilty about everything else. Still, I’m completely responsible for every yes, every incomplete commitment, and every time I tried to “help” even when I couldn’t do it or shouldn’t have been involved. The compulsive obsessive need for validation can be an unrelenting bitch of a thing to conquer, but I’m working on it.

To end this post, I suppose I should say this is my confession. So often people, including perfect strangers, seem to confess everything to me. It’s almost crazy compulsive. I know things about people I shouldn’t, some of it I just try to forget because, these secrets about them, never need to be known. And maybe what I’ve  told you today didn’t need to be written, but then again I heard somewhere that confession is good for the soul.

*quiet laugh*

Or maybe I’m finally giving myself permission to be an imperfect, ordinary, everyday human being.

 

Categories: lettng go, the fear that binds us, the universes we create

Sneak Peek at where I’m going: Angel Mine, Devil Twined

Juliet Notions

The end of my road turned out to be somewhat similar to the beginning; a fork with two paths, no signs, and a dark fog camouflaging the distance. My knees trembled as with any normal human. This, in and of itself, was something to be noted. When I first stepped on to this planet, wingless and bloodied, I hadn’t hesitated to choose a course and follow it, but eons had the propensity to change a person.

A person, humph.

I’d seen beasts become man, and then revert back to a perverted version of their origins. They used every means to destroy love at its foundation, cannibalizing gifts through high ambition and ever lessening compassion until the last of them fell. Though I tried to carry him here so this choice would not be mine alone, he fought as they all fought to push me away; and so I stand alone, deciding which road—allow them to begin again or send the whole of humanity, all the renewed promise of their future, to oblivion.

“No one being should be responsible for such a decision,” I said to an unresponsive sky, and then sat on a rock to eat the very last apple.

The road behind me had evaporated the closer I came to the fork. No going back, no way to figure out the course forward. A child cried in the back of my mind, a hopeless scream of sorts, eerie in its echo out to lifeless arms. No one had been left to hold her, so she lay beside the shells of her dead parents and wept. Soon after her tears ended the cold night blanketed her bone bare body, stealing one final breath.

As tragic as her passing, I envied it. She was the last child ever born and perhaps the final for this next cycle of eternity. Knowing the pain of her end made my choice a tearing and brutal one. If I allowed them to exist again, how could I be certain they’d be wiser?

In the hills many miles and years back, an elderly woman had invited me in to rest at her cabin for several days before continuing my journey. Deep wrinkles of her dark skin pulled and fell as she spoke each night, the fire light crafting her face into a mask of somewhat grotesque comfort. Comfort only in that she was the very last of her age to survive, and I hadn’t seen another human for some time.

“What of the wars,” I had asked. “Did you lose many?”

Her voice dropped in soft innocence. “Oh, those were some years back. I recall a husband and two sons, then a daughter stolen to the ravage, but it’s been so long.” She paused briefly to drink bark tea, and her face pulled sharp at its bitterness. “It’s been so long I can’t count those memories true. A story from a traveler such as yourself perhaps.”

Her ignorance of the outside world touched me then, and I wondered if she knew that no other soul would see as many days as she had seen. The dark creases of her face were the last to touch this world.

I struggled through a lumped throat to continue. “The, um, pictures in the hall show a family of five,” I had said. “That seems to fit with your memory.”

Her forehead pinched in pain or confusion. It was difficult to tell which. “Yes, but… I had a maw and paw once, too. Only, I can’t see them in my head anymore, or any siblings of recollection.” She dropped her head back and rocked away the struggle.

It was a Monday when I buried her, and though her passing tragic, I envied it.

The war on the soul came in too many forms to count. Of the victims, the elderly and youth suffered greatest in the battles. Ravaged by disinterest and contempt, the beasts of this world crafted the young into robotic soldiers, and then ate them whole; while simultaneously sucking the dignity of those who might lead with greater wisdom. They separated the hearts of men from everything of substance, fashioning them into the next generation of beasts for the feeding.

For my part, I bear the scars of too many long days, sharp teeth, and ferrying hope to those who could never grasp it.

I threw the apple core and watched it disappear into the fog. My decision grew closer with its encroachment, but not enough to choose a path. The weight of an entire race lay heavy and the memories I’d gathered too dark to reason anything positive. On one shoulder an angel wept with tears of pity and prayers of hope; on the other a devil snickered with taunts of continued destruction and torment. Both desired humanities return for entirely different purposes, but neither swayed in their argument.

In the fog, the voice of a man I’d once met called out. His suburban home had been neat, trimmed grass and kept cars. Two children rolled in the backyard, giggling and tossing leaves at one another. They eventually collapsed in a pile and watched the clouds, each calling out shapes as they floated by us. In the kitchen their mother hummed as she prepared dinner before leaving to work the night shift at a local factory, and their father sat next to me, packing an old wooden pipe with sweet tobacco.

“You see,” he had said, dragging in a puff. “It’s not easy, but we make it work. The kids get us both, and we try hard to spend quality time with them. Family trips and such.”

“Wouldn’t it aid them to have one of you home,” I had asked.

He took a swig of his fourth beer. “Of course, of course, but I was a latchkey kid raised by a single mom. She worked three jobs to make sure we had everything. That’s when I learned the importance of a good work ethic and quality time. We didn’t see her much, but she made those times count.” His eyes dropped, and the remainder of the conversation lost itself to furrowed memories.

Several years later, he died after a second heart attack, passing his ideals of a strong work ethic and quality time to the teenage children standing graveside.

And still, I envied his passing.

The war on families had been the most pervasive, a final deathblow being a core of common problems everyone faced, but none strong enough to break its cycle. Thinning wages and longer hours plated children up to the system’s wicked hand. Media and law enforced instruction raised them to be separate yet unequal, growing discord to such staccatos that parents were left shaken and unsure—self-doubt stalking as their own personal beasts.

By far, this war had taken more souls than any bullet could hope to gather. Each battle that had been raged against any form of comfort and love hit its mark with fatal accuracy, and separation was its primary goal. The vile roamed free to destroy innocence with silent abuse while the innocent pandered to institutions in an effort to avoid being caged. Sadly, they lived this lie for lifetimes behind invisible bars, waiting for the loneliest deaths on crisp linen beds.

The man who had traveled this path with me some ways back stumbled out of the fog as I sat lost in my struggles. He paused briefly, then staggered sideways, unable to keep his footing. A glint of red dripped from his nose from the effort of each movement and fell down to puddle between stones. Bones creaked and joints twisted in the way a marionette might stand with its strings slacked, and for a moment I thought he might join me by the path side, but neither of us moved.

“Not done,” he exhaled a pained whisper.

“With what,” I asked, digging my boot into the soil.

“Living.” Without hesitation, he lurched forward to follow one of the two forks ahead.

I watched in silent awe at the determination and spirit trailing him. For all the miles, all the pain, all the war and destitute, this one remaining soul pushed on to something no longer in my sight, and I envied the hope in his steps.

“To the right then,” I whispered to an unresponsive sky, and the fog enveloped us both.

Categories: Drive by life | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

The Scream that isn’t heard – Lupus

Have you ever screamed so loud and high that no sound escapes your mouth?

This has been my reality for years. Pain in muscles and joints, pain in my kidneys, fatigue so extreme that I fight to stay awake and even sleeping for hours doesn’t make it go away. I don’t think anyone really understands what it’s like living with lupus, so I’ll try to explain one last time in hopes someone will listen.

I’m so tired right now, so stretched to my limits in a way that makes me not want to fight anymore. I’ve tried to ask for help, tried to break down everything to make it easier. They’ll tell me to just be positive. They look at me and think, she’s just depressed. And I try to tell them I need rest and help and medical care, but no one is listening.

So then, I want to stop talking. I want to curl into a ball of nothingness and waste away because I’m so tired of talking with no one listening.

This isn’t about looking at the brighter side. And I can’t even begin to fucking tell you how tired I am of hearing that. How unheard I feel everytime someone says it. I spent most of my life looking for every shred of hope in impossible situations. And I’m especially good at find it, especially good at flipping a situation on its head and pulling hope out of the ass end of nowhere, so this isn’t that.

This is waking every single day to joint pain that makes me fall to my knees. It’s muscle pain so severe I can’t lift our four year old most days. It’s fatigue so intense I find every way, including pinching myself and unwise amounts of caffeine, to keep my eyes open.

They think because I have good moments, because I have spurts of determination, because I can smile sometimes and make light and jokes that nothing is really wrong. They think if I just changed the way I look at things that magically I’ll get better, but I won’t and I don’t… and no one understands.

I think often they feel like I’m being difficult, that I’m just depressed, and eventually it’ll pass, but it doesn’t because it won’t because I have lupus. I have an illness that treats my entire body as an enemy, and then attacks it. Warm sunny days won’t make this go away because I won’t be able to stay out in them for long without extreme measures to coat and cover myself. This isn’t about vitamin D deficiencies, although I probably need some.

It’s about lupus, and the fact that I’m done talking to people who are simply waiting for a chance to respond with self-help mantras because they don’t know how to listen or simply don’t want to acknowledge that anything is wrong.

If you’re in any way interested in finding out more check out the video.

Categories: Drive by life | Tags: | 4 Comments

A Special Message of Love

stockvault-yin-yang-grunge-cycle133826

 

Our first year together approaches, and I have a question for you, but doing things quietly has never been my way. So, here goes, my love…

As I made plans, the universe made better ones. It’s like that sometimes in life, the broken paths that feel tragic, only because we don’t know something else is coming, something better and stronger. 

In so many ways, I wasn’t ready for love, not that my ego agreed. It bit at every chance, thinking this might be the right fork. And somehow, they were all the right ones because I ended up here.

In the light of a Sunday afternoon with the kids playing in the background a giggle erupts from the other room, and my heart swells. I know the love there. It’s as certain as the next nightfall and sunrise, ever present and steady, bringing peace to some and balance to others.

In that, I rejoice with one thought — this is love.

Soft, with no less passion, yet flowing with all the possibilities of a life so worth living, and in the last place I expected to find it. Not hidden, not for a moment, only unclear to my eyes because, as every magician knows, the best place to hide something is in plain sight. Sometimes our vision clears enough to get a glimpse behind the wizards current, and I’d had many over the past few years. Through confusion and stubbornness, the ever-patient universe allowed the light to adjust, then shine down in a fiery burst to land smack in the middle of my mind.

She worries sometimes, worries that it’s not enough for me because quiet and reserved is her wheelhouse. But that suits me. In truth, I’m loud enough for both of us. Together we are balance of a yin-yang type.

The tears I’m crying at this very moment are ones of joy and being so thankful for the gift of her in this life we share. Okay, maybe I’m a little nervous, too.

So, come closer now, Beautiful. Before I turn into a blubbering mess, I have one question, a little something I’ve been waiting to ask…

*clears throat, wipes tears, and smiles*

I’ll wear out the words…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gEIHgVAkJE

Categories: contentment, happiness, heart, love, messages, relationships, the best damn thing | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Why Size Matters.

Women will give coy smiles and giggle, then say, “It’s not about size, it’s how you use it.” But that’s a lie.

Because a heart closed by fear, pessimism, and doubt can’t be used, not fully.

Let’s go Dr. Seuss for a minute with the Grinch.

00 grinch

The dude had serious issues beyond eye twitching and dressing his dog up like a reindeer. Why? Because the Whos down in Whoville were celebrating life. Okay, Christmas, but there’s a bigger picture here. They were happy and he wasn’t, so they weren’t allowed to be happy.

This goes back to heart.

The narrator cleverly inserts: “But I think that the most likely reason of all, may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.”

00 grinch heart

(CSI-like Exhibit A)

Closed or shrunken hearts can happen over time. Let’s face it, life isn’t always happiness and giggles. Cycles of unhealthy relationships are handed down from generation to generation like keepsakes. Moreover, if you’re not willing to participate in the negativity and codependency, then your punishment is withheld affection and love. Yes, love is used as a punishment in these dynamics.

But people have the power to smash the crap out of those cycles and make different choices.

I’ve written it before but it bears repeating:

The heart is like a universe, incomprehensibly vast and continually growing to accept new situations and people; never filling up because it’s endless.

While it can’t be filled, it can close off or get smaller.

How to stop it?

Well, there’s no ultimate manifesto of love, but I have a few ideas that are working for me.

  1. Only allow positive things and people in. This isn’t a call to arms to block out everyone who might be having a bad day, but it is a suggestion to love people who are chronically negative from a distance.
  2. Watch your words. Pay close attention to what you say, think, and write. If the majority of it isn’t positive, then stop and change it. Bring your thoughts and words back to hope. Evaluate the negativity, then turn it around to see the lesson in a situation or how to change it altogether.
  3. Make a conscious choice to take responsibility for your own personal happiness. Do, say, live the things that make you happy, and stop doing the things that don’t.
  4. Walk away. If someone is committed in a Grinch-like way to arguments, fighting, gossip, and misunderstanding everything you say, then pull up stakes. Life isn’t a battle. You don’t have to prove a point or argue one. Save your sanity and peace, then slip out the backdoor.
  5. While I’m on the subject of gossip… Don’t.  Gossip is an ugly habit and hurts people. Period. So embrace the love and turn the conversation to how your kid picked every flower in the garden because he thought it was Mother’s Day, then destroyed the kitchen making soggy cereal and glitter laden cards. Everyone will chuckle, and you’ll all feel better.
  6. Be honest about what you want, who you are, and do it unapologetically. Again, not a screw you to the world. A simple to say: this is what I want for my life, and I respect what you want for yours. Sometimes, people don’t want the same things. Sometimes people choose to accept who you are and sometimes they don’t. The ones who support, understand, and respect your choices (and you) will stick around. The others will lose interest and find something or someone else to occupy their time. Not good or bad, not a statement about your worth or theirs, but a sincere realization that not everyone will get you. They don’t have to because it’s not their life.
  7. Control is an illusion, so don’t waste time or energy trying to master it. We have control over one thing – our choices. Not the consequences, not other people, not anything else that exists in the world. Only the choices we make. Take your time, choose as wisely as possible, then learn from everything that happens afterwards. If it gets totally screwed up, then make a different choice next time, but don’t wallow in what ifs. That’s a quick road to depression, anxiety, and crippling fear. This is 40 plus years speaking here. Again, save your sanity.
  8. Life is an adventure, so live it. Sometimes I go out and enjoy the world, but most days I’m perfectly content with doing that in my own backyard. If skydiving is your adventure, then do it. Just don’t ask me to go with you. I don’t jump out of perfectly good planes.
  9. Peace is an active pursuit, find it daily. Whether you’re into meditation or vegging to music or driving dirt roads with the windows down, take a moment each day to actively pursue things that put your soul at ease. Peace isn’t going to come find you, you have to search it out. As you remove negativity from your life, it’ll get easier to find, but it still takes conscious effort to live until it’s a natural state of being.
  10.  Remember your heart is a universe and big enough to love the entire world. Do you have time to love the entire world? Probably not, but my point is – just like when a new baby is born – hearts and families expand to accommodate one more person. It’ll continue to do it for the rest of your life. New family members, friends, and even strangers on the street, there’s no end to how many people you can love. And just like the Grinch’s heart, yours will grow and grow until it’s nearly bursting out of your chest. But don’t worry, it won’t pop or anything. It’s custom made by some cosmic force to be pliable and stretchy.

This is you on love, only maybe not so green and minus the Santa suit.🙂

00 grinch heart grows

 (CSI-Like Exhibit B)

Is this going to change the world?

Maybe, maybe not.

Can it change your world?

Well, that’s for you to decide. All I know for certain is I’ve been traveling this path for a while and slowly putting these into practice. Sometimes I really suck at it, but I’m getting better. And in the process, I’m living happiness and peace in a way I never have before. When I screw up, I make a different choice. When things start flowing, I keep doing them. Things like lying in the backyard and hanging with my family while watching the sun set. If that isn’t pure love and happiness, then I don’t know what is.

Categories: allowing the positive, conscious choices, happiness, heart, honesty, journey, life, love, patience, peace, relationships, self reflection, spirituality, the next step, what matters to you, what once was | Tags: | 1 Comment

Believe

butterfly on flowers

 

She told me to wish on a star because it will make my wish come true. Somewhere between stardust and sunbeams when dreams feel so real you can smell the rain, I almost believe. Then sleep falls from my eyes, and I’m hit with the starkness of reality.

She said that grown-ups can’t be happy because they’ve forgotten how to dream. In the fervor of her argument when her tiny hands fly up in exasperation while conviction invades every word, I want to believe. Then it’s time to come in from the chill, and I’m hit with the emptiness of silence.

She gave up on the little lost boy in a green hat when she turned seven. While I watch her scan the twinkling horizon for a hint of fairy dust in hopes that some dreams are worth holding on to, I begin to believe. Then her head drops along with those beautiful blue eyes, and I’m hit by tiny fragments of shattered hope.

She’ll tell you the greatest gift I ever gave her was life. Between the smiles and tears, hopes and fears, lost dreams and found things when I’m sure all strength is gone, I do believe.

I believe in her… and that is enough to make me believe in almost anything.

Is it possible to believe in something or someone so much that we live in the illusion of what or who they might become until reality catches up with our dreams?

In both writing and life I had embraced a type of idealism that dissuaded the possibility of anything save goodness and the best version of people. After spending far too much time in the bitter slice of what others accepted as real, I’ve chosen to return to a life that might resemble illusion or a dream land to those on the outside. As with my current relationship, this is a weighed and balanced choice because the purity of child-like innocence accepts the actuality of magic where reality cannot.

I believe in people, and their ability to do magical and creative and kind things in this world. What do you believe in?

Categories: angels on earth, belief, childhood, choosing faith, Drive by life, innocence, Rob Thomas, the universes we create | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Coming Out instead of Walking Away

Love Bombing is the unique phenomenon of blanketing potential sources of emotional energy with messages, texts, calls, and overwhelming flattery. I experienced this twice in 2013, and together, along with the diagnosis of lupus, it put my world in a definitive spin for nearly two years. Having spent my mid to late childhood with a physically and emotionally abusive narcissist, I should have seen the signs, but honestly I was in an amazingly low spot after publishing my first book. So I walked right into it. My bad.

The first turned out to be a new publishing house complete with relationship. That’s right, I made the mistake of mixing business with pleasure and started dating one of the partners shortly after my indoctrination. Man, did I feel the love. Seriously, they couldn’t stop telling me how I, lowly author of one mediocre novel, was going to be the next big thing. Now, none of them had actually read my novel. Since pulling it from the shelves and doing a heavy content edit, similar to what I do for my clients, I found massive holes and weak motivations. In short, it needs help, but that was missed by my new courtiers. Nope, they weren’t hearing any of it because they were after me, not necessarily my work. Strange for a publishing house. Meanwhile, one wanted me to send secret retweeted messages to their former lover, the other showered me with an ABC list of the ways they loved me, and the third was on fire with passion about the major publishing houses to whom he’d sell my blockbuster novel.

Commence spinning.

The second love bombing came from a potential business partner. I was it, according to them, and we were going to take this industry by storm. My sincerity and skills and knack for inspiring people was just the ingredient they needed to grow this thing into the clouds. Oh, and the calls. So many calls and messages and talks about who wronged them and how, then why they were so happy to be working with me. How I had such an ability to cut through the crap and be supportive. Meanwhile it was look at this, read that, is this person stealing from me, that person is a codependent b—-.

And I was supportive of both until I no longer had the energy to keep up with their constant demands and need for attention. So exhausted, then ill beyond belief and exhausted. Both wanted exclusive rights to my being, but neither were going to get them. Sadly, had I not gotten sick, this might have gone on for a very long time. Thankfully it didn’t, though neither situation ended quietly because not embracing the narcissist’s dream is akin to saying it isn’t worthy, which is ridiculous.

This equation has two sides, and my part was feeding the monster. Having been taught to be a skilled people pleaser, I have an almost intuitive ability to understand people’s needs. It isn’t magic, it’s a way to avoid conflict by satiating and calming the beast. It means constant and blanket unconditional acceptance of every behavior or thought. It means not speaking out when something is wrong and swallowing every opinion that contradicts their view of the world, no matter how paranoid or unrealistic the view.

I fed them out of insecurity and fear and the ominous uncertainty of the empty future before me. Single mother, alone in the middle of nowhere, barely surviving and too proud to tell anyone how bad it had gotten. I wanted to be around people with answers, people who were in control, and somehow managed to find my way back to a sickening yet familiar place, something I thought years of therapy had conquered.

The pit of our past is vast and grows even when we try to ignore it. We are essentially wax figures fashioned from a series of events and people. We live in a large wax museum, waiting for the world to heat up enough so we melt away. And I have several times over the years, at least melted away the shell of experiences that no longer serve me.

But now I’m coming out.

(Yeah, I’ve been dating a woman for almost a year now. She’s wonderful, and I love her.)

However, this is another type of coming out, something I should have done a long time ago. This massive secret and the events above almost made me walk away from writing, editing, and everything I’ve grown for many years now.

I’m a Recovering People Pleaser who seeks out narcissists when I feel insecure or lost or need someone to control everything about me so I feel wanted and worthy and loved. 

Whew. Now I’m sick to my stomach, but it’ll pass soon.

Here’s where we’re going next… *steamers and glitter*

If you don't stand

 

 

I’ve made some mistakes whilst navigating the waters of writing, publishing, and editing. Some bigger than others, and a few I’ve yet to clear up mainly out of fear, but I’ll get those cleaned out by March. Others I simply have to live with, acknowledge, and move on. But to what?

It begins with separation, not the complete walking away I originally planned. My content editing and spiritual stuff people will find under Ranee Dillon, and my fiction under K.C. Charles (currently growing on twitter @authorkccharles.)

I love content editing. I love form and structure and watching an author craft amazing masterpieces because nothing is more magnificent than being witness to the birth of new art. I enjoy writing and crafting and sometimes I want to share those worlds with you, other times they’re simply a form of temporary escape. Both are a part of me as flesh to bone, so walking away from either due to misjudgement and mistakes is incomprehensible.

What do I stand for? Hmm, I guess this is where I begin to figure that out… again.

1) Writing is an art and craft. Both should be respected.

2) Treating people poorly out of fear, ignorance, and insecurity is unacceptable.

3) Speaking up and being direct, even when it isn’t popular. (This one is a constant work in progress.)

4) Showing respect and expecting it in return.

5) Kindness and compassion, but drawing the line at taking on other people’s issues. (If I wanted to be a therapist, then I wouldn’t have gotten my degrees in Economics and Design.)

6) Publishers, editors, and agents work for authors, not the other way around. (Think about this one. You pay them for a service, they don’t hire you for a job. It’ll take a while to change this dynamic, I know.)

7) Understanding that no one has the answers to fix or change my life except me. And I definitely don’t have any answers for them.

8) //*Under construction.*//

So, that’s why I deactivated my accounts and why they’re back up again. It’s going to be a bit of a struggle to get my sea legs back. I’m still searching for medical insurance and care, so my road to lupus remission is going to take time, but we’ll get it done. While I sort that out, I’m slowly returning to work and the human race. I suppose we have to come out of our shells at some point because eventually we outgrow them, then they shatter, and we’re left exposed and vulnerable. But I don’t fear that as much anymore, and that’s a start.

 

Categories: Drive by life | 1 Comment

To Write is the only Choice that Remains: Come find your Voice in the Surround

Voices of our surround layered

 

Beneath every surface a scratching, beneath every thought a lie we tell ourselves to escape the pain, and now the time has passed for pleasant ways around either. Darkness follows too closely for us to fall behind and no one ever comes back from the heavy tendrils of its grip. So we run, faster, farther, higher up the mountain to avoid being enveloped. Yes, we fear darkness. We fear an endless nothing of staying in one place, locked in a routine of normality.

To this end, we become animals, caged and lonely, yet roam in the world as if the bars are invisible because this monument of steel lives within. The tiger paces endlessly, reassuring us, compelling the run to hunt for something better, though we’ll never find it. He knows as much, for this is his game carefully crafted to breakdown patience and courage and faith. All of which are replaced with darker desires, which are rarely satiated by the treasures we gather.

One minute wasted then two, and finally a lifetime of naught surrounding a hole in the ground. Tears, fears, and condolences move closely together, imaging themselves as bedfellows for the distraught, and whispering every manner of guilt to frame our pain. The passing of life is banner-less, save the framed and distorted faces around the hollow hole. No celebrations now, no happy reminiscing, only damp cheeks and downturn mouths to mark a life of minutes racing by too quickly and ones which end too short of their mark.

Click, clack.

The rope is slack.

Click, clack.

A world of lack.

Click, clack.

Return to black.

Fall now, break now, empty now into your abyss. They’ll save in the rendering when all transition to light from the fight of those awakened. These beings don’t proffer excuses in the face of responsibility. Instead, they stand, steady and flexible as the great bamboo, to bend but never break.

But those who perceive themselves as weak and incomplete hear the tiger always. Grunt, pace, growl. It’s stalking you now, so make haste and move on to your next distraction lest you become the nothing you fear.

***

Darkness is easy to embrace. We will forever gravitate towards the worst interpretations of ourselves because to know the dark means we’re working on our inner demons. It also means no one can use them against us.

In the fall of my final year, the tiger stalks the edge of my life with gruffing calls. It knows what I had yet to grasp—this is the end, and no silver ray of anything could change my fate. In truth, there aren’t many moments I’d have asked it to leave, not in the midnight cloak of desperation confronting me. Somehow, the soft hand of near death comforted, yet its grotesque twist of flesh cements in my chest. No breath is deep enough to loosen its grip, which would’ve been far more welcome many years ahead.

“Too young,” I choke out.

Gruff, gruff, my steady companion calls.

“Not yet,” I whisper back.

Not because I’m not ready, but truth told I count myself among the great cowards of the world. Yeller bellied, drop everything and run in face of confrontation. That’s right, no saving lives here, no running into burning buildings, no standing up to schoolyard bullies, even ones many decades younger. You might add spineless in the most disgusting ways, and you’d be correct.

I stand for nothing, fall for everything, then flog myself relentlessly because taking too much responsibility for all the wrong things is my gift. While others divert, obfuscate, and blame, I hold the bag high and say, “Yep, it was all my fault. I’m weak, useless, careless, and lazy.” Of course, no one hears this dialogue except the tiger. It uses my lack as a way to pull me closer, and I craft my guilt to destroy everything good I create, to tear myself down to the shell, so as to be empty.

You know this feeling, don’t you? You know what it is to be a voiceless remnant with no ears to hear your crying late in the eve. With every fiber we want to yell, “Not again. Please stop, get the hell away. I don’t have anything left. Can’t you see? Don’t you know?” No one answers, of course, just the padded pacing of a black and white ghost that growls soft and low. Its waiting with an answer while cleverly suppressing something deeper—an inner voice of ancient and serene knowledge.

In the caverns of my reprieve I hear a voice, not the tiger, but something just as strong. It replies in cut, direct tones. Somewhat cynical and demanding, it blurts out sarcastic responses to questions and small talk, ones which never quite reach my lips. For that much I’m thankful, though often I dig my teeth deep into the flesh of my lip to hold it back. This is more difficult as I age due to my dwindling patience for crap and chit-chat.

One truth I’ve found over the years, besides my lack of backbone, is that people are lazy, wanting, and broken; or so their empty eyes and slack behavior would indicate. They have more to give, but bind it tight inside as if they could use up their energy and have none left. Another myth, another lie, something we buy for everything, yet it gives us nothing in return. That’s the way to distinguish it from the truth.

The truth scratches beneath the surface, beneath every thought we hide from, and lower yet is the voice. Our true voice, the one we hide for fear others will run, the one waiting patiently, the one we keep locked away.

The voice of our surround.

***

“In war, truth is the first casualty.”

AESCHYLUS

 

The first war is always against ourselves. Only one victim exists—our soul.

 ***

With the heart, with the heart, with the heart—he said begin with the heart. If only I knew where it lives. What is tangible and present for some, eludes on the highest levels. Moments of tenderness break through, and I think I might feel something, anything, but it drifts away in a painfully slow death march. Love is unknown, the true feel of it.

Is it loyalty? Patience? Kindness? Infatuation?

These I’ve seen, even experienced, though never for long. I know sadness, I know how the emotions of others crash into my being so as to incapacitate me. The rest is a foreign idea, swimming at the bottom of day old soup; somewhat foul in smell and cringe worthy in consistency, but not the fabled and promised emotion of story books and movies. My chest doesn’t ache for the things I cannot touch, though my body is desperate to taste the newly bloomed rose.

So close, she lets me so close. I want to whisper my tongue down her thigh, to feel her hair against mine, but some walls are too tall, and I’m weak and tired and not in the frame of mind to play those types of chords. A once sweet song brandished with subtle notes of sin, in which neither of us will win because bricks are dull. Every word against them slams hard and falls flat to the ground. Lower still, until the soil grinds my hopes and desires into aged powder, a fine end to a nightshade lover.

But the tiger finds me always. It’s stalking now, a jab of despair, a swipe of all the ways life became too hard. So I mourn with the other framed face around a hole we fill with might have been wishes and never come true dreams. And the tiger gruffs its response or condolences, depending on the ear.

Here lie my voices of ill repent and contemptible promises. Be careful lest they mock and haunt to bastardize even the brightest and most encouraging light.

Do you hear it?

“You can’t have it, ’cause you don’t deserve it.” An echoing laugh follows misplaced keys. “She’ll never want you, ’cause you’re worthless.”

“Screw you,” I scream, though no one listens.

My hand ventures to its throat, finding only mine.

Categories: Drive by life | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Voices of Our Surround

Dark Fantasy Background

In the fool’s folly of new beginnings we stumble often. Frustration, the bitter knife edge of insignificant roadblocks, plague even the smallest thoughts, which lead to second guesses and all manner of self-inflicted criticism. And I, warm in the hollows of new ground, can’t escape the drums of deep caverns and barbed voices. To this end, I fight within myself to balance entrenched stigmas of cycles that no longer serve any purpose. The mother, the wife, the sister, the friend, the enemy, the angel, the demon, the… veil of a person with no identity.

All the while, the sacred devotion of each step leads down familiar paths with different faces. Though none I’ve truly known or sought to devote the slightest energy towards. But life does not wait for us to catch up or hold on, so we run to make time. Run from lessons we’re too afraid to face, run because we’re not strong enough to move anywhere except backwards–a fate destined to break anything worthy of our time in the now.

We break and shatter and blame everyone, save ourselves. We’re tired and weak and fragile because longevity has a particularly cruel way of wearing spirit to the bone. Shells outside, rattling within, we rail against pattern and consistency and the routines of life to find adventure in unpredictable schedules of chaos. Chaos of the broken and those who fight invisible ghosts to insure they never become part of the society that formed them. Nothing, short of death, could be imagined in their sight for such a fate.

As if doing the work turns into the label that becomes the thing they hate most.

Normal.

Wash dishes, do laundry, go to work, raise kids, pay the bills. Cycles of normal. Cycles of life. Cycles of extraordinary events most people turn into boredom. Because normal is boring.

Subtle ways of destroying simple pleasures for fame, for money, for following dreams by sacrificing everything important. As if we don’t have enough time, as if tomorrow our dreams will disappear if we don’t act now, but they don’t, not ever. Even with family, even with jobs and bills and laundry, those dreams never disappear, and their presence or passion never fade in the delay of the everyday existence of life.

Yet the race is present always, the push to start now thrums through the voices of our surround and up turrets to rattle in wrinkled mushy synapses. Fire one, get it done now. Fire two, you’re missing out. Fire three, you’ll never become anything because tomorrow doesn’t exist, and you’re time is too short to delay.

To the orchestra I nod, understanding their rush and push of encouragement roots in fear of never becoming the one thing that will pull them from obscurity. But here in my keep, the drums are replaced with laughter, warm soapy water, and the whirl of a vacuum. My words steadily build and form and wait, knowing one day their song will catch the edge of white for a world still running from itself.

Because time waits for all men and the act of living is one of the noblest endeavors any fool could hope to pursue.

Categories: Drive by life | Leave a comment

Value – Are you a 10?

3d pixel scale of justice icon

Subtle and poetic may be beautiful but, after a phone call from my girlfriend’s childhood buddy, it’s not getting the message out. So, it’s time to be cuttingly direct.

Want to know how you actually feel about yourself? Then look at the people you allow in your life. Do they value your opinion? Are they primarily positive or negative? Do they build you up or tear you down?

The people and behavior we accept in our lives reflects how valuable we think we are.

Let’s do an experiment. Where do you fall on the scale below?

download

 

0 = A flea is worth more.                                    

5, 6, 7 = Safe Zone: More is arrogant,  less implies I don’t like myself.                    

10 = I deserve the best always because I’m worth it. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Not so long ago, I’d have chosen a solid 7. In fact, a swift wave of nausea descended if I even considered anything higher, complete with dry heaving. Then began the second guessing. Oh lord, the lengths of internal damnation saw no end. Truly, every single thing I’d ever felt bad about, every obligation I couldn’t meet, every single person I let down rocketed through my head, then the number fell.

6… 5… But there was that one time I… No, that didn’t turn out well either… 4… Crappy test. Why am I reading this garbage anyway? 

This internal dialogue may or may not sound familiar. For people who struggle with the value of their time, effort, talent, or beliefs it is all too real. Negative self talk is learned from a young age. Abuse, dysfunctional family dynamics, bullying, and media create a lens through which we see ourselves and the world.

You won’t be any good to anyone else, and soon everyone will realize it.

You need to be prettier, thinner, more promiscuous to find love.

If you were smarter your opinion would matter.

You don’t deserve to have anything because you’re not worth anything to anyone.

You’re not going to find anyone else to love you because you’re a mess, so think about that before you leave.

You’re not good enough to make it on your own.

They’ll never hire you, so why bother wasting anyone’s time?

Each one forms a part of who we might become if our input doesn’t significantly change. Sadly, many people (even one person is too many) internalize conscious and subconscious versions of these messages, killing their confidence and spirit. As adults, we should know better, but we don’t. Instead, most people feed the beast by finding other people who also have a negative self-image, and thus reinforce our derogatory and detrimental thoughts from years of conditioning.

Over the past two years I’ve made a concerted effort to retain those people or things in my life that reflect some level of my personal value and cut out that which doesn’t.

Example #1: As hard as I tried to make the West Virginia house a sanctuary, it was anything but. Holes in the ceiling, broken windows, broken water pipes, an ungodly amount of mold in the basement, and deplorable heating. All of it contributed to my bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia as well as worsening other lupus issues.

The landlord? Well, none of the disrepair was his problem. It was my job to fix his house.

Now, on some level, I actually believed I deserved to live in those conditions, a kind of punishment for some wrong or other I’d done. Sick, I know. But rising power and medical bills combined with the inability to do the simplest task because every breath was an effort in itself has a way of bringing a person down to rock bottom. In one particular moment when I was debating whether to call an ambulance or just stop breathing, I looked around and realized how much I’d been beating myself up, and then devised a succinct plan to stop.

Example #2: I don’t deal well with perpetually negative people. If you see a monster behind every face or door, then I shouldn’t be top choice on your friend list. Even worse than dealing with people who indulge random bouts of paranoia are the ones who flatter publicly, but privately destroy. Now, this isn’t a simple venting about a social or business conflict, it’s a concerted and consistent personal attack behind someone’s back, then smiles and sugar to their face. These chaos vampires who destroy other people out of insecurity and fear frustrate the hell out of me.

And I must of had a fucking neon sign above my head because the past several years I’d been attracting them like flies on crap.

This too is a reflection of value. When we begin to value ourselves we then attract people with similar value systems. I began to take a hard look at the people I allowed into my life. Did they value my opinion? Did I value or respect theirs? Were they constantly in some emotional upheaval, always calling me to help sort it out, but never there when I seriously needed support? Did they live their lives poised for the next enemy? Could I be direct with them?

At the time, I didn’t value my own opinion or thoughts. In fact, every word and action showed the belief of my own worthlessness. Speaking up became cringeworthy; being direct, a deathblow. Because who was I to say something?

Snip, snip, snip. That’s the sound of me carefully crafting my life and cutting out unhealthy friendships and relationships. It took some time, but now I’m surrounded by pretty great people. We’re mutually invested in being straight up because blanket flattery is the worse kind of lie. Honestly, when someone spends an unusual amount of time telling me how great they think I am, I run. Seriously, a straight pick up my stuff and sprint because that type of admiration is false and never translates to actual respect.

So, back to the phone call, which turned out to be a woman living with abuse because she believed she didn’t deserve more. She literally listened to someone who said, “You always come back, so what’s the point in leaving? If you hadn’t left in the first place, then he would be nicer to you.”

A person who values you would never, ever, ever say something so unimaginable. Having said that, there are a few things I want to point out that a lot people may not want to hear.

Living in an unhealthy relationship or chaotic situation is a choice.

Valuing everyone else’s thoughts and opinions and not your own is a choice.

Allowing people in your life who don’t value you is a choice.

Settling for less is a choice.

Change may not be easy at first. Hell, just getting away from a bad situation could suck beyond all reason. But where has staying gotten you?

Just for a moment consider the possibility that when you choose to let go of the people and things contributing to your destruction or, at the very least, holding you back, you will then attract an immense world of others who cherish the fact you exist. They’re waiting for you to release everything that doesn’t serve your greatest good.

What are you waiting for?

Categories: conscious choices, the fear that binds us | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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