Thinking. Not a good choice. I feel as though I should be doing. Doing something productive. I was told long ago that I should not should on myself, and I suppose I should listen to that advice at some point. But that point was not today.

I figured out last night that one reason I’m so out of sorts the past few days is the whole situation with the retiring psychiatrist. I’m pissed about it, and didn’t want to go there. I have been doing what I normally do, which is to power through it and handle it on my own. I got a couple of references to other providers from trusted sources, so I silently flipped off the retiree and decided I was going to jump ship first chance I got. So there.

Well, in the midst of that pouting spree, I got a call from the soon-to-be ex-provider’s office. Apparently, she HAS to see me (or talk to me, since we’ve been doing phone appointments since pandemic response began) because my medications are coming up for refills, and I’ll run out within the two-month window that it will take the new provider to ramp up. So. I have an appointment on Monday. I told the nice lady who called to set that up that I was a little freaked out by the abruptness of this whole transition, and she responded in the necessary way, saying that she was glad they were able to “reach out”. Whatever.

When I was done with that call, I found myself somewhat emotional. I don’t quite understand why, but I felt as though the bus about to run me over had veered at the last moment. No, that’s not quite it. I felt as though a parent had changed their mind about leaving me behind, and come back for me. That’s just nuts, but it’s what I’ve got. I get so tired of this abandonment crap; I’m way too old for that.

I checked out some job postings today, and there were a couple of interesting things. I didn’t apply for any. I think I’m still feeling incompetent, as though I have nothing to offer. I need to get rid of that, because I know it’s a lie, but I just don’t believe that yet. The words “I can fly” keep repeating in my brain, because I do believe that but just can’t visualize it. I know I’ll be OK, I just don’t know what OK looks like.

I’m still watching the eaglet in Alaska, and it’s 55 days old today. It has grown incredibly since I started watching, and looks very much like an adult. It won’t have the white feathers on its head until it is at least five-years old, when it is considered mature. I’m thinking it’s a female because it’s so big (females are about 30% larger than males), but without a DNA test there’s no telling just yet. It’s walking much better, and standing, and flapping its wings (wingercising, it’s called). Today, mama bird hopped up on a branch, and the eaglet was absolutely fascinated with that move.

The eaglet will probably fledge and make its first attempt at flight in the next 25 to 30 days, if all goes well. Fledging is sometimes funny, because they are so tentative and often clumsy until they get that first air current and figure out how to ride it and stay aloft. It’s a fascinating process, and it always makes me smile when they get the hang of it. They don’t know they can fly at first, either, but they learn.

I’ve also been watching a nest of ospreys in Wyoming, and those little ones are just about ready to fledge. They’re already hopping and flapping their wings enough to hover a few inches from the ground, so it won’t be long. They’re adult-sized, and there are three of them. When all of the them are in the nest with both parents, it looks pretty crowded, but they do just fine, especially when there’s food.

All of these raptors are, quite literally, birds of prey. They hunt things, and kill them. THe eagles and the ospreys like fish quite a lot, but they’ll also hunt small rodents and rabbits, and the eagles will chow down on carrion when they find it. Road kill is an honorable meal, it seems, and they are in good company with vultures and even owls at times..

As I’m watching these alpha predators hunt down their sustenance, the prey is frequently still alive when it’s brought back to the nest or wherever the bird will dine. It’s difficult to watch them eating their prey alive, and I understand that’s it’s simply nature. They have no judgement about it, nor should I. That’s all part of their identity as raptors, and it’s part of the reason they can fly. Again, there’s a juxtaposition of fierceness and gentleness in these predators, and that is the sacred balance of nature.

I would assume there is a similar balance for humans. Seeing the insurgents brutalizing police officers at the Capitol on January 6th was nauseating. Hearing them shouting about coming to get members of Congress, or hanging Mike Pence was chilling, because they weren’t playing. They were deadly serious. I cringed to imagine what they would have done if they had been able to get their hands on Pence or members of Congress that day.

As much as I cringed seeing the brutality and hideously snarling crowd that day, I could imagine these were people with children, families, pets, maybe a garden. These were people who, on any other day, could be perfectly capable of holding open a door for an older person, or yielding in traffic to let someone change lanes. Again, the juxtaposition of the worst and the best of what could be possible, all in the same body. Different context, different day, but everything else is constant.

I don’t know how to explain duality. I suppose it is what mistrust is made of. How do I know that a ticking of the clock won’t be the difference between someone offering me the tongs at a salad bar or stabbing me with their steak knife? What changes? How do both extremes occupy the same body? How does an eagle rip the the beating heart out of a small rodent and then gently feed the still warm flesh to its eaglet?

We balance extremes, I suppose, and sometimes nature confronts us with either-or choices. In human communities, we are encourage to de-emphasize binaries of this nature, and steer more towards both-and multiplicity. Well, that’s far more difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable. When there’s a homicide, the victim is either dead or not, and the perpetrator is either guilty or not. There’s not much both-and possible in that kind of circumstance. Particularly when it comes to justice, there’s not always a lot of room to be creative with guilt or innocence, with equity or inequity, with fairness or unfairness.

Both-and is hard. When there are emotions involved, I must admit that I don’t know how to make that fit. When the stakes aren’t so high, when my heart isn’t involved, I have a better chance of crafting a creative solution, taking the best of all possible choices, making a win-win scenario. But…when there is harm, when there is hurt, when there are actions that cannot be reversed…I don’t quite know how to escape the confines of a binary.

When my parents were alive, I went through long periods where I felt nothing but hostility for them both. It took a very long time for me to get to a posture of not liking what they did, not liking how they had dealt with me (or each other) and accepting that I could still love them for good things they’d done and good things they’d provided for me. That took a long, long time…and I was still alive to do the work I needed to do in order to get there. I’m not sure my change in posture was possible only because the damage wasn’t great enough? I’m not sure about that, but here I am regardless.

What is too much to forgive? I have seen the mother of a murder victim address the murderer, and say that she forgave him, and wanted the best for him. Conversely, I have seen parents of murdered children lobby for the death sentence of the murdered, and make the choice to be in the death chamber when the sentence is carried out. Every situation is different, every heart is different. I don’t know how I would react in one of those situations. I hope I will never know.

We are all two sides of the same coin – heads you win, tails you lose. I wonder, however, if we can ever be some of both simultaneously – half of each on both sides? Perhaps that is one version of balance, a blending of both extremes such that the same face is turned outward all the time. I imagine that is what I see as authenticity – showing the same face all the time. I feel as though I am closest to that in the past few years, but I’m still not there – I’m too much of a people pleaser for that.

So, authenticity is the goal. Being the same me all the time, in all contexts. That’s harder than it seems, because I am definitely a people pleaser, but also because some situations demand that I not speak my truth. I’m not quite sure if there’s anything to be done about that, because there are just some situations that require such a thing. For instance, when stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation, I may want to say a bunch of things not in my best interest, but if I know what’s good for me I will say nothing and sign the damned ticket.

There are other situations where, before speaking my truth or anything else, I have been taught to ask myself, “Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?” That works pretty well, because quite often what I want to say is neither kind nor necessary, even if it’s true. What good does it do me to break a confidence and risk the feelings of an innocent third party? Just because I know your partner was cheating on you doesn’t mean I should tell you that after that person has died just because it’s true. It’s not necessary, and quite possibly not kind, so I can just keep my mouth firmly closed.

So many questions, so few answers. Try again, fail again, fail better. That’s how life really goes. It’s really chaos, no matter how much we believe we’ve got a plan and believe we can foresee outcomes. The reality is – we come up with an idea, we throw it against the wall, and we keep what sticks. If nothing sticks, we try again. We try again and fail again, and then we try again and fail better. Some of us just look a bit more polished when doing that, I guess, but it’s still the same. No matter how many policy manuals and process documents you have, you’re still stepping jumping off the edge of the nest and flapping your wings until you catch that first air current, and then you know you’re flying. Until the current drops, and you have to flap again. Rinse and repeat. Fail better.

Life. What a beautiful choice. I refuse to be imprisoned by it, although sometimes I feel that I am. Maybe I’m just needing to flap my wings more, because the air is still and the wind is not carrying me. But a breeze will come, another current will lift me up, and I believe that’s a given (unless Yellowstone erupts or some malevolent intergalactic force blocks the sun or something).

For some reason I want to cry, and I’m not entirely sure why. I am supposed to be grateful to have all my feelings again, since I spent so much of my life being numb. I don’t want to be numb, but I also don’t want to be a pin-cushion. Some days I feel as though I have been wrestling with an irate porcupine, and everything hurts. Today was one of those days, I suppose, but this too shall pass. Everything passes. The good, and the bad. Life is full of ebb and flow in my own quirky syncopated rhythm.

I need to go down to New Orleans, soon. I have got to sell that house, but first I have to get insurance on it. I can’t get homeowners insurance, since I don’t live in it, but I should be able to get a dwelling policy. It’s time. It’s just time. I can let it go now, I can say goodbye to it, and I’m ready. The city will always be home, but I don’t live there any longer. I will always be attached to that land, to that house, and I will carry it with me until I leave here. I just need to have a different relationship to it. It’s just time.

Sometimes I think I should leave this place. I wonder if it’s really my place, or if it’s just where my stuff is, where my dog is, where my truck is parked. My truck with the $1800 worth of a new a/c compressor and valve cover gasket. My funky apartment with my dog who pees on the floor in the same spot even after coming in from outside. Yeah, this place. Is this my place? For now, I suppose it is my place…there are sno-balls here, there are friends here, there are bizarre medical providers who abruptly retire and you never see them again. There are people who bless my heart and can’t cook, people who don’t get me and don’t want to. They are the same people that have been in every place I’ve ever been. This is the same funky apartment that I’ve had every place I’ve ever lived. This is, however, NOT the same dog, and if I wasn’t here to tend her, I don’t know what in the hell she would do. So, I suppose I’ll be here for a bit…for her sake, if nothing else.

Fierce…and gentle. Both-and isn’t hard for an eagle.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: