Where I stand

Never confuse a position with the power – Woodrow Wilson had the position, but Ida B. Wells had the power. Lyndon B. Johnson had a position, but Martin Luther King, Jr. had the power.

Those are words spoken by a preacher in the PBS documentary “The Black Church”.

In these times, we have to admit the President of the United States (whoever that is at any given moment) has the position, but we the people have the power. To that end, the former guy had the position, but we had the power. That’s complicated because collectively we have no one else to blame for the state of affairs in which we find ourselves.

The current President of the United States has the position, but he does not have the power that many claim. He does not have the power to decree the price of gasoline, for example, but many blame him for the high price of gas today. He can’t do that, but the oil companies and oil lobby interests can. The machinations of various lobbying interests who interact with the OPEC leaders can do that. The President cannot.

Once again, I must consider the fact that power is a many splendored thing, to use an old phrase. We confuse power with abandon, we confuse power with strength, we confuse power with force. If money is power, it is only because we have made that agreement. Ultimately, money is an indiscriminate grouping of fibers and metallic tokens that means nothing in the natural world. It is a human construct, like time and like racism.

This issue comes to mind today only because yesterday I got an email response from the company with which I did the one-way interview. My initial response was to be a little dejected, but I quickly realized these people did not have any kind of personal relationship with me so I need not accept this as a rejection or a statement of my inadequacy. The only reason I might have to feel badly about this is because I have chosen to do that. They have a position as a hiring entity, but I have the power. I have the power to give up or keep going, the power to refuse some nameless and faceless entity the ability to dictate my opinion of myself.

I know this. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, what my brain knows is not the same thing as what my spirit knows or even what my heart knows. The brain may have the position, but does it have the power? Does my spirit have the power? Does my heart have the power? I suppose I must accept that brain, spirit, heart are interrelated and it is that triumvirate that ultimately has the power. There’s a catch, though – the power is expressed only when all facets are in balance and in right relation.

Out of balance, I will lean to one side or another, I will tilt and quiver and ultimately lose necessary perspective. That’s where I find myself right now, far off balance. I am not sure whether a remedy for that involves only reminding myself that I know who I am and practicing right thinking and right action. I forget, and forget often but I’m hoping that is not a fatal flaw.

Today is quiet, and that is not a bad thing. I applied for two positions online, which was counterintuitive for me because I want to give up. I want to wallow in a deep well of self-pity, but I chose to do something else, felt compelled to do something else. Hopefully, that will continue because I’m tired of being in combat with my Self.

Note to Self: lay down your arms, do the next right thing, rinse and repeat.

Location, location, location – position is not equal to power.

Chestnuts and other hard-shelled fruits

In my first solo apartment, I was all excited that it was getting close to Christmas. I had a new job that year, and by December I was in my groove and having a great time. The last work day before the Christmas holiday, it snowed! That’s a big deal in New Orleans, where it never snows. Homeless people were marching confusedly down the streets of the Business District, wondering how semi-tropical weather could have deteriorated so tragically. Streetcars and their passengers were stranded on ice-covered tracks as people suddenly recalled the lumbering rail cars are not capable of taking alternate routes.

The office party was cut short and we all took home tons of food (thank goodness I wasn’t drinking any longer or they would still be searching the ditches for me). It was hell getting home, and it took me over 90 minutes to travel less than 6 miles – nobody knows how to drive in the snow there so it was an adventure. Many people in front wheel drive vehicles were stunned to find they could only drive at oblique angles to the curb. Most drivers fought the wheel as though it was a sparring companion, and there were multiple accidents. I waited in traffic next to a car that had skidded into a tree on the side of the road, and the heavily bundled driver was gesturing frantically at the closed window. A swarthily bundled figure had made its way to the window, and was knocking gently. I rolled down my passenger window to see if they needed help, and heard this hilarious dialogue snippet, muffled of course:

Female driver: “I need the police! I need the police! Don’t rob me! Somebody call the police – anybody – please call the police!!!”

Swarthily bundled figure: “Lady I AM the police! I’m trying to help you, so stop screaming!”


Yeah, that’s New Orleans. I don’t know what happened between those folks, but I inched forward and was soon close to home. I managed to stop off at a grocery store because I figured once I got home, I wasn’t going anywhere for a while. I had the bright idea to roast pecans in the oven, so I bought fresh pecans and cinnamon and honey butter and I was so excited I couldn’t stand it.

Shortly after I got home and had tended to the dog, also excited beyond reason, I decided to follow through on my plan for roasted pecans, so I turned on the oven and laid out the nuts with the fixin’s in a roasting pan. The oven was preheated so I stuck the pan in, and so far so good. I went into the bedroom to see what was on the television and watch the snow fall, and…life was good. I heard the dog carrying on in the living room but paid her no mind – she barked at everything.

After about an 30 minutes of her barking, I decided to go and shut her up. As I walked toward the other room, I smelled the unmistakable acrid scent of something burning, the burning of something vaguely woodsy. To my horror I saw flames filling the viewing window of the oven, and astutely deduced the oven was on fire. I had forgotten the pan full of nuts and they had roasted and then singed and finally burned beyond resemblance to a crisp and into black ash. Amazingly, the aluminum pan itself was aflame.

I stared transfixed for at least a minute, because I didn’t quite know what to do. I couldn’t get close to the oven, because of course it was on fire. It was an electric oven, and I had the miraculously bright idea to pull the circuit breaker and shut off everything, including the heat. The dog stared at me, and I stared at her. I realized she had been very close to the front door, probably trying to escape the pending inferno. I could feel her sending me a psychic message that said, “Dumb ass. I tried to tell you.”

The flames eventually died down in the oven, and the smell eventually faded. I never tried to have chestnuts or any other nuts roasting on an open or a closed fire ever again, and as of when I moved out of that apartment the oven door gasket was pretty floppy and dysfunctional. I was never much of a cook so I didn’t miss it too much. Thoughts of any kind of nut roasting on either open or enclosed fire have never crossed my mind again, although I do still love pecans. A lot.

I recalled that story for a couple of reasons, one being a photo sent by a friend showing their outdoor roasting activities. The nut roasting memories remind me that I am fascinated by the fact that nuts are actually fruits. I usually think of fruits as juicy and sweet or sour foods with encased by a rind or skin and containing one or more seeds. Modern horticulture has been able to engineer seedless fruits, but that’s another story. I always understood fruit as something not akin to nuts, but as they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

People are like that. They all contain some kind of seed deep within, one that contains the essence of their being and enables procreation. There are no absolutes, the seed is what it is. Every once in a while, the seed becomes damaged by a breach in the protective covering, courtesy of invasion by some foreign organism. In the case of fruits with high sugar content, the seed is generally the least edible part of the form. In the case of the nut, however, the most edible part is the seed or meat contained within the shell. Same result, different methodology.

There are fruits and nuts that are visually enticing, pleasantly odiferous, attractive. Others, not so much. There’s even a tropical fruit with the moniker “ugly fruit”. Sometimes, the most attractive and pleasant-smelling fruit is poisonous. Cashew nuts are poisonous for dogs, as are grapes. There’s no rhyme or reason to which fruit is poisonous and which is nutritious or merely delicious. People are like that, too.

One cannot judge another person by their physical attributes, whether aesthetic beauty or skin color, ableness, intellect, or any other attribute. Once more, there are no absolutes. I’ve known for a very long time that some people do not resemble my image of evil people, or people who might purposely seek to harm others. They look like anybody else, but they will lie and cheat and misrepresent themselves to better achieve their goals. For example, one of the more notorious murderers often volunteered as a clown for children’s parties and hospital pediatric wards, but he was a heinous killer who showed no mercy to his victims. He easily won the trust of others, and after he was arrested may people expressed shock that such an affable fellow could be a serial killer.

I am not a good judge of character at times. People can pull the wool over my eyes rather easily, only to betray me in the final scene. For that reason, I no longer trust myself to choose wisely. I don’t belabor that point, but accept it as just the way it is. In all honesty, if someone intentionally seeks me out socially, I immediately assume there is something drastically amiss in their character and/or mental health. I’ve known for quite a while that I attract narcissists like flies on freshly dropped dung, so if somebody is trailing me they probably fit that description. Realizing that, I’ll be the one running in the opposite direction.

As I am looking for jobs these days, I still wonder what people see when they see me. I had the unfortunate opportunity to do a “one-way” interview for a job, and I had the chance to see what I look like in a video interaction. I was resoundingly shocked at what I saw – eyes darting form side to side, nonsensical responses, bearing a close resemblance to a cat on a hot tin roof. I wouldn’t have hired me based on that; I looked as though I was lying.

I think I can fix that presentation, but it saddens me to realize where that comes from. That cornered look is the look of the imposter, the look of someone who is waiting for the other shoe to drop, for people to find out that I AM lying about what I can do and who I am. That really sucks.

There are no lies being told, there is no pretense, there is no exaggeration of who I am or what I can do. If anything, I underestimate what I can do. But somewhere inside me there’s a gremlin that has been fed after midnight and is trying to wreck everything that is worthwhile about me. That critter has got to go, but I feel as though it’s too late. I will keep at it, but there’s a huge part of me that figures I will run out of time before I resolve this issue. That doesn’t seem fair. Bleh.

Today is the day after the commemoration of the traditional United States harvest feast we know as Thanksgiving. A great many people are making a strong effort to educate others on the mythology of the day; there were no happy Pilgrims and Native Americans sharing a peaceful meal and smoking peace pipes. Colonization was brutal and there was nothing peaceful about it. It’s still that way, and the United States in particular is trying to extend that legacy intergalactically – the first thing we did when landing on the Moon and on Mars was to plant our flag. I am sure there was someone somewhere muttering “I claim this land for God and the Queen”. If at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again.

So, I will try, try, try again. I don’t know exactly why, because there is so much about the effort that is exhausting. There is so much about the effort that begs why and even more that beg why not. I am the main character in the tale told by an idiot and signifying nothing, and so it goes.

A year ago…

I posted this on Facebook a year ago today, and much of it is still quite true. The past is the present is the past is the future. We can change the present, and that will change the future, but we must take good care in doing that. We have the future in our hands right now, right this moment, and we cannot afford to be careless. It takes only a second to flick a finger on the trigger of a gun and end life, yours and possibly someone else’s. It takes only a moment to dim the light of your spirit with the simple impulse of a muscle – a finger, or even a tongue that sends words out into the universe like projectiles of that can never be taken back. In either case, some bit of a spirit dies, the part that connects us to our Source. Without that connection, we die or at least cease to become who we are. As long as there is a choice, there is a chance to live. The point of life is to live.

let’s see. what’s on my mind. i truly have no idea. get it – no idea? ok, whatever.i do not have so many thoughts on my mind as feelings. the pervasive feeling of not knowing whether to laugh like a hysterical fool or cry like a child in the dark over the never-ending stream of public commentary diarrhea. we don’t know, and they don’t either, but we are desperately looking to the heavens (or maybe even into the underworld) for clues. look! he played golf while an international congress was meeting about the pandemic! we’re doomed – again…doubly doomed…o.m.g.! what does this mean? what is he thinking? what’s the other one thinking? we don’t know! somebody – quick – come up with a theory about what he might be thinking and what he might do.

this is like a horror movie, where you don’t know whether to shut your eyes or look the horror full on, since you knew (hoped) it would be scary and gory when you bought the ticket. you definitely want to get your money’s worth.

so. how big of a disaster will this be? can the election results actually be overturned? quick. someone research the most obscure legal and constitutional references you can find, and can’t explain, for how that might be done. or not. find experts, bonus points if they disagree. and that’s really the whole deal – we don’t know how any of this is going to look like, and the uncertainty is making us all nuts in our own special ways.

some of us are locked into the false pretense of power – we’ve got the right answer, and facts and film and credentials to prove that we know what we’re talking about. some of us are locked into oppositional defiance (who the fuck are you to say i shouldn’t fly off to see grandma, who i have not seen in 12 years, in an enclosed tin can with questionable electronics and people who can’t tell me where their hands have been in the past 72 hours? and no, i ain’t wearin’ no damned mask because this is America and i know my RIGHTS!).

some of us are resigned to the reality that time is going to pass, on its own schedule, no matter what response we make. we are just determined not to be deprived of any further convenience, comfort, so we distract ourselves by any means necessary. look. SQUIRREL! no, not a squirrel, wtf is that??? well, it’s shoe polish running down Giuliani’s face during a press conference on … what exactly? well, let’s discuss what exactly that was about…experts disagree. *head desk*in the meantime, back in the real world.

thousands of people are dying from COVID-19. every. day. millions are out of work. parents are wrestling with the conflicting information about whether or not it’s safe to entrust their children to an in-person school experience, no matter how big they are.

sending your 5-year-old brings up the same issue as sending your 18-year-old to college, although your 18-year-old may engage in more risk-prone behaviors than your 5-year-old. but that’s another story. parents of legal minor children also have to deal with the reality, heretofore invisible to many, that school = child care during working hours, so virtual learning is another kink in the plans for gainful employment. when you can’t work, you can’t participate in retail economy (for food or otherwise), which puts more folks out of work, and depending on unemployment or stimulus assistance (or lack thereof) puts the economy under more stress, which is a problem unless you’re at the executive level of retail corporations or elected government.

is your brain exploding yet? many of ours are, begging … somebody please bring us back to a place before all this (pick a crisis) came up and forced us to think about this inequity stuff. please bring us back to a time when knowing there was inequity was more like an itch on the scalp than a migraine headache that can’t be relieved by even prescription medication, or a hammer, or chanting “personal responsibility” like a mantra. when handing a $1 to someone on the corner assured us that we had done something, at least for the moment.

please don’t make us think about how what we have, or don’t have, might be connected to that person on the corner has or doesn’t have, and how that is not necessarily associated with the morality or character of either us or them but could the reason that one of us has a $1 and the other doesn’t. not just today, but every day. and please, please bring us back to a time when confidence in our decision making was mostly unquestionable, and we didn’t have to suspect that everyone – even our own kin – was lying to us, trying to cheat us, trying to get more than their fair share. even if we did, we could just grab brewski at the local watering hole or some burgers at the pub. when we didn’t have to fear that our migraine was actually a brain aneurysm that can blow at any time.

our leaders, our media, our trusted heroes, even some of our churches have all come under suspicion for most of us. these things are the bedrock of our lives. this is our culture. things that let us feel that we are walking on solid ground, like we know what’s going on and that god willin’ and the creek don’t rise, it’s gonna keep going on pretty much as we expect. but we don’t have that assurance right now, and it’s scaring us into some kind of a feral state, like wild dogs that have never known love or where their next meal is coming from.

to our horror, we find out there’s been an earthquake…whether we felt it directly or not. the ground shook, stuff fell off the shelves, and things do not feel solid beneath our feet. it’s been going on for a while, although the tremors were slight at the start. it was a full-fledged shifting of terra firma. many bodies are on the streets, in the halls of justice and government and the economy – marching, trudging/rolling to unknown destinations, moving to and fro, in a flurry, pacing (metaphorically or otherwise), standing or sitting in place.

there are many quakes, some larger than others – this is more or less metaphorical, but also happens in the physical geology or our planet, where clusters of quakes are documented, shifting the order of centuries- and millenia-old strata, ordering of elements, resources. and there are after-shocks, there is demolition, solid and sometimes ancient human-made structures are in pieces, or tottering. landmarks disappear. some things are damaged beyond repair and have to be eradicated, for continued safety.

the land appears foreign to us in an instant, and is realistically unsafe to house us for now. traditional structures that have encased and often protected us, for good and not so good, are fragile and flimsy if not entirely fallen. some of us live no longer, and the remainder find that we must cling to each other and depend … on each other. well, fuck. that’s a problem.

we’ve been taught for some time now to distrust each other, separate from each other, compete with each other, hate each other. fight against each other. protect only our own resources. forget that all of the resources are connected. forget there’s actually enough resources for all of us, as long as they are distributed equitably. we’ve become accustomed to taking care of only ourselves, and our kind, and our…stuff. we seek to ensure only our own comfort and maximum benefit. extra points if you can do that at a higher level than everyone else. he who dies with the most toys wins. protecting and serving has come to apply only to some temporary man-made contrivances of convenience and status.

we believe the Land has been put here for only individual human benefit and comfort. perhaps that is why the Earth quakes and attempts to shake off the false lines humans have drawn between people and populations and resources.

this is the time. this is the Now. and this is all we’ve got. it may not be the only time, but it is the only Now. we can’t bring back what has been, we can’t bring on the future, without dealing with Now. we have to do the best we can to move from one moment to the next in this new order of things, and not concentrate on restoring the old order. it got us here, but its time has passed. some things will necessarily be preserved – we’ll still inhale and exhale. we’ll still drink water, we’ll still eat food. we’ll still have our faith, and our foibles, and we’ll still (of course) have our brains to form opinions and make judgements about what has happened and what’s happening now.

what separates us from other life forms, though, is that we can dream. we can still dream of a future where things are safe again for all of us, where things are better for us, where there is more of what we want and less of what we don’t. we can still dream, and we can still love. that is what is never destroyed in the human condition, never shifted out of existence, never truly in demand ( perhaps in manifestation, but not truly).

we almost can’t help ourselves. we love. and we dream. and that is who we are. not just some of us, but all of us. i hope we can be child-like enough to realize that some of us color the sun purple and the grass red or yellow, and some of us color the moon orange and horsies blue, and the sky is orange and black or a rainbow for some of us. and it’s all good. every bit of it. it’s ALL good.

Some days it just be like this…all jumbled up.

What more can I do, what else is there to say? Nothing seems to matter much anyway.

I used to write really bad poetry on bar napkins, on a barstool, at the bar. It made no sense to do that, wanting to attract attention but dramatically rejecting it when it came. At least they noticed me, I thought. There was a need to be superlative, the bestest mostest weirdest ugliest. I achieved that status and more, because I was the most undesirable, the one who always went home alone when the lights came on.

What kind of crap is it that runs through my veins and turns day into night and night into an infinitely and incrementally darkening abyss? Scooby Do, where are you? I think I’m right her, but someone or something is sitting on me and blocking out the light. The nonsense is winning and has sense running for the hills. The hills are not alive with the sound of music, unless you count the gators.

Nonsense. I have written nonsense. I have no sense to emote today. It is the first day of the rest of my life or the last day of the beginning of my death. Sometimes there is no real difference between the two. I have always known that, and no amount of “Happiness is a choice” is going to change that. This is no time for platitudes.

On any given day, I can see clearly now (with or without the song) and understand there is nothing to see. There is the passage of time and that dull sound that signifies motion but progress is imperceptible. I cannot see that anything has changed at the moment it changes, but the cumulative effect generally lends itself to stark realization. At the moment of the Presidential inauguration of 2016, nothing actually changed. Four years later, everything had changed, all hinged on that moment in 2016.

That’s how the universe actually works, one moment that leverages the next and the next and so on and so on and son. Ad infinitum. We donm’t speek Latin any longer, but most of the language I speak today has its roots in Latin. We build things. We build things on top of other things and alongside other things and then we have new things. That’s how we do this world, minute by minute.

Deconstructing things isn’t terribly productive, but that often makes way for new things. We don’t really take anything away from deconstruction, or learn anything. If our construction fails, it usually self-destructs and we can learn from that if we pay attention, but deconstruction really only serves our egos. Like the old mama’s admonition of “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it.” And so we come back to the power. Who has power to build, who has power to destroy, who has power to make things happen?

Who indeed has that power? I contend that power is a relationship, because you cannot have power without having something else. Something else that has less power, or something else that has no power, or something else that yields. Sitting here all by myself power is irrelevant. It only becomes relevant when I have something to move against, or move with, in the quest for some achievement.

I do a disservice to the reality of power when I see it solely as a means to an end. Power is the manifestation of energy as directed toward a finite point of time and space. I am wondering if I should not see other humans as measures of energy rather than as measures of power. A political dictator is only as powerful as we allow them to be, although we forget that. Perhaps, however, the charismatic dictator has enough energy to attract complimentary energies and thus manifest enough power to achieve a goal.

Force is the fundamental result of an interaction between two objects, while power is an expression of energy consumed over time (work), of which force is an element. Force and power can both be described and measured, but a force is an actual physical phenomenon, and power in itself is not.

I suppose the point is that power is consumptive. Power consumes energy over time, and that is equivalent to work. If I have little energy, I can’t get much work done. If there’s a lot of work to be done, I’ll have to find more energy, either my own or from an external source. That’s what slavery was for. That’s what sweat shops are for. That’s what corporations are for. All of those systems serve to amplify the amount of energy available to do work, and work yields a product that can yield a net gain of some commodity. Welcome to capitalism.

When I do work, I have to account for how much force is required to overcome the inertia of things I need to move, or change. Once I’ve moved the object, I’ve consumed energy to do that, according to the force I’ve produced. Power is how much energy I’ve consumed over the time it takes to achieve the desired result. I might have that wrong, but that’s how I’m thinking about it right now. More research is called for, but it’s a work in progress.

I’ve got to muster up enough power to find a @$&! job. Sooner rather than later. It’s beginning to stress me out. OK, it’s stressed me out significantly already, so I’ve got to stop eating Golden Oreos and get my fat ass up and rolling in a coherent fashion. This has gotten redickuless. And yes, that is a word. A word of my own making. Creativity is mine.

More powerful than anything we can come up with.

To sleep…and perchance to dream

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately. It’s been going on a few months now, and the pattern has been that I fall asleep and wake up every three or four hours thereafter. Most nights I’m getting a total of around six hours. I used to be a solid eight to ten hour sleeper, so this has concerned me a bit since I feel tired all day.

A few nights ago, I became a little obsessed with the idea that my interrupted sleep was driving down my immune system and/or causing other negative health consequences, so I decided to take a few does of the over-the-counter ZZZZquil concoction. It seemed to work fairly well, and I went to sleep at a reasonable hour. I woke up once to go to the bathroom, but was able to go right back to sleep. I got a total of more than seven hours of sleep, and felt pretty well after the dog drug me out of bed that morning.

I have a relatively slow metabolism, so the after-effects of the sleepy stuff lingered into yesterday, and it’s been more than two days since I took the stuff. I had my 3rd COVID vaccine dose on the day I took it, so don’t know if that played into the prolonged effect, but I was dead to the world again last night. It was an eventful night of sleep, though.

I had the weirdest dream ever, one that seemed to last for days and one that made me feel as though I had run a marathon in my sleep. The dream included people, at least one who I recognized as an actual friend in real-life. I was talking to her and realized I had to go to the bathroom, and while I was telling her that I was going to do that, she suddenly morphed into another person. It was somewhat scary, and I remember in the dream that i felt my solar plexus turn upside down. The “new” person just kept talking as though nothing had happened, and when I came out of the bathroom she had disappeared. Hmmmmm.

After that, I was somehow in a shopping mall, and then an arena, and maybe a convention center. In all of those places, I had to do a lot of uphill hiking, and I’m not sure where I was going. I was surprised that I was able to complete each hike, uphill and all. That was really interesting. I was trying to get somewhere, but I didn’t realize where until almost the end.

When I was in the arena, I knew that I wanted to get down to floor level but I was up higher. There were a lot of people there. A party of folks sitting near me, who looked like maybe a family with kids, said they were going to switch seats so I could have their seats. I didn’t understand but they made me understand that if I took their seats I could tunnel underneath the entire bank of seats and get down to the floor that way. Once I understood what they meant, I realized I had to keep pushing out bricks in the wall that held up each row of seats in order to lower myself to the floor level. Very weird.

So, I did all that, and by that time I realized that I was trying to get to the Michigan Womens Music Festival (to which I have been in the 80s and 90s and which is now defunct). When I got to the floor, however, I still didn’t know how to get to where I wanted to go, so I told a staff person that I needed to get out of the arena but every door I tried wasn’t an exit. (???) The person asked me where I was trying to go, and I told him. He stared at me and said he thought that festival was shut down, but the path was still there. He pointed out to the left, so I headed that way.

When I got to the point the staff person had indicated, it was a dirt pathway, but I started walking. Uphill yet again, but not terribly steep. The foliage got thicker, and that was fine with me. The incline began to increase, and there were some boulders and rocks blocking the path. Because it was a dream, there was some man hiding in the bushes and talking on the phone. (You can’t make this shit up.) I kept going and conquered all of the obstacles and found myself on the dusty road again.

As I kept walking, I began to hear music. It was so welcome to my ears, and this WAS a music festival after all. I kept walking in the direction of the music, and then came to a clearing that seemed familiar. There were a bunch of people there, packing up their campers and trucks and cars, as though preparing to leave. They all just stared at me blankly, and they were not at all surprised that I was there.

I woke up shortly after that, feeling that if I fell asleep again I’d be at that point again and might continue the dream experience. The dog was more than certain that it was time to get up, so I did not attempt a reprise of the dreamscape. It was odd, to say the least.

Normally, I don’t remember my dreams with so much clarity. Normally I don’t remember my dreams at all. But this one I did, and felt that it was very near lucid. I was conscious of doing things and being intentional about the actions I was taking at various points, which is a notch above a simple dream. But who knows.

I wish the Michigan Womens Music Festival was still alive, though. It was a fabulous experience when I was there, and was the safest place I’ve ever been. In this day and age, I would no more dream of sleeping outdoors in the middle of rural woods than I would eating a live crawfish, but…it was Festival, and you could do that. It was 600 acres in the middle of nowhere and they had their own security. Feminist uptopia for a week in August.

Whatever that dream signified to me will come to me. It had layers of meaning and significance that have left me feeling a lot more in place than I have been lately. That’s really bizarre, but welcome. Maybe I need to go on a hike…out in the middle of nowhere…although i’ll need to pick out a safe spot. People iz crazy out thar.

“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).”

Is that a watch in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

History

I checked out a writing prompt and it directed me to reflect on history that I’ve been part of, or at least witnessed, and how it has impacted or changed me. I’m old enough to remember a few significant events in world history, and even more that don’t have quite so wide a circle of influence. Or is that even true?

When I was a kid, I remember the Moon landing. It was all over television, and I remember getting a vinyl record of the famous radio transmissions broadcast when the first steps on the Moon were taken. It amuses me no end to witness persistent rumbling that all of the NASA activity was falsified, and the entire thing was filmed on a movie sound stage. I can’t quite see how that could be, because people have loose lips and it would have taken a large number of people to pull off such a farce. The likelihood that none of them would talk or reveal a conspiracy seems very unlikely.

But I remember those moments, and I remember the mood of people around me changing after the astronauts had done the deed and returned to Earth. There was a bit of wonder, and even pride. Look what WE did! WE landed on the MOON! Never thought it was possible, but WE DID IT! I felt as though animosity was just a tiny bit less, tension a tiny bit less, and people suddenly had a common event to converse about, a positive and non-controversial event they could share.

On a lesser note, I remember when New Orleans got approval for an NFL franchise. People went absolutely wild, they were delighted and giddy, excited like Christmas morning. We all went through first training camp, first draft, first ticket sales. New Orleans has always had an incredible fan base, the most forgiving fans in the league. We all eagerly watched the first televised games, or proudly stormed the stadium (this was before the SuperDome). I remember one of the games I saw was between the Saints and the Detroit Lions, and the Saints lost 63-0. We were disappointed, but our excitement and pride was not diminished.

I’m not sure exactly how that works, and when victory becomes less an issue than shared experience. The Saints franchise has long been a less-than successful winning proposition, but that has never quelled the enthusiasm and loyalty of the fans. I have gone through more than half of my life with a losing NFL team, and losing alma mater (Tulane Green Wave), and it mattered not. The crime rate always went up just a hair following a Saints loss, but that only lasted as long as the hangovers. By Wednesday, things were back to normal and people were holding open doors for each other at churches all over town.

I wonder where that changes, where it becomes less good-natured and less about a game and becomes a matter of life and death. Where debate about the best player or the worst referee call becomes grounds for bodily harm. How does a difference of opinion like this result in homicide, or great bodily harm?

At somewhere near 8:30 a.m. on September 11, 2001 I was getting ready for work. There was no work-from-home option, so I was gulping down coffee and putting on my shoes in preparation for the short journey to my work site. Almost out of the corner of my eye I saw live television coverage about something I couldn’t quite make out. There was some energy behind it, somber voices were intoning, “This can’t be an accident, folks. A second plane has crashed into the World Trade Center, and this just can’t be an accident.”

I knew it was a big thing, and I bolted out of the apartment and got into my truck to proceed into the downtown area. Nothing seemed out of place, traffic was flowing normally, but the radio was tense. I immediately understood this was a moment in time beyond which nothing would be the same. It reminded me of the moments when the assassination of President Kennedy were announced, when the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was announced. “This is a special report. President John F. Kennedy has been shot in Dallas.” “This is a special report. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been assassinated in Memphis.” This is a special report – life has changed.

I only vaguely remember when Kennedy was assassinated. I was only three years old, but I more remember the solemn mood of people around me. I remember the incessant news reports that interrupted regular programming. I remember my parents and neighbors talking in serious tones about things. I remember the mood of people around me, a mood that begged silence, and demanded stillness.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed I remember the moment the broadcast television program was interrupted. I might be wrong, but I think it was “Gunsmoke” that my mother and I had been watching when the special report broke in. I heard the words, but I more distinctly remember my mother’s reaction. She was sitting up in bed, and I was curled up toward the bottom. She was reading something while the television droned, and when the announcement that King was dead had been spoken, she grabbed at her hair and went nearly stiff. A wail of dismay rushed out of her, and I had never heard that tone before. “AWWW! NO!”

Hearing my mother wail in this way frightened me just a little. I’d heard screaming and cussing and rage before, but not this kind of deep pain and emptiness. She immediately called someone, my grandmother or aunt perhaps, and I went back to coloring or whatever I was doing. I didn’t feel tremendously comfortable at that point, but was determined to stay out of the way. I guess my father was at work, but once he got home they conferred in dark, quiet tones at the kitchen table. I continued to work on my coloring book, but I was on alert and wasn’t sure what might happen next.

The point of these monumental moments in history isn’t so much about the event itself, but the reaction of the people impacted. That’s what ultimately memorializes things in your psyche, and that’s what makes the memory. When I’ve taken history classes, learning about Pompeii and the American Revolution was fascinating but I didn’t have that personal emotional response attached. I understood the significance of those events in the general scheme of world history, and how they contributed to my current reality, but I have only a mental place holder rather than an emotional one.

Because there is a difference between having a mental place holder vs. an emotional place holder, people are rarely moved by factual recounting of events. They become passionate about the emotional significance, and I suppose that’s why a disgruntled Saints fan might seriously contemplate homicide over a difference in opinion about game strategy. That probably holds true for the Popeye’s chicken sandwich as well since projecting the emotional response of a satisfying meal probably lights up the same areas of the brain.

Regardless, we’ve all been through some things. We all have feelings about such things, and how our reactions fit in with the reactions and emotions of others is like a serious game of Jenga. We fit together in bizarre ways, and it’s not for us to say how that works.

I love puzzles, but I must admit the bulk of the attraction lies in the victorious solution and not the process of solving it.

Small things

I’ve been participating in a social justice effort each Friday, courtesy of my UU State Action Network. A bunch of us gather via Zoom and take a few intentional actions toward increasing justice and equity in some way.

A week or so ago, we composed and submitted letters to the editor of our local newspapers about one of several topics including Medicaid expansion, educational system remediation, voter suppression, and so on. We had talking points, and suggestions for letter format, but were encouraged to make the letters personal.

I wrote a letter lobbying for Medicaid expansion in the state, and included a personal anecdote outlining my struggle to afford health care while unemployed. I didn’t spend very much time on it, and considered it a minimal effort. I had revised it a couple of times, but finally just hit the “submit” button on the publication’s website and called it a day.

To my shock, the letter was published a couple of days later. This publication doesn’t notify you if your submission is published, but a friend of mine just let me know about it in passing. I was unabashedly thrilled, and had a spontaneous goofy smile on my face that is only just now fading.

Having your thoughts recognized and witnessed by others does something for a person. When you dabble in writing endeavors, it’s a bigger deal than just making your point. It inexplicably validates the effort, the clarity of thought as well as the artistry. I didn’t consider this a particularly skillful expression, but someone else considered it decent enough to publish.

It’s such a small thing, not like having been published in the New York Times or anything, or paid for a commissioned work, but it’s a thing. There is gratification in having cared enough to impart one’s thoughts for an unknown audience, followed through on making those musing available, and having an impartial judge consider it worthy to transmit. Such a small thing.

A multiplicity of small things will change the energy of our shared existence, and thereby change the world. We underestimate the value of such contributions, and often ignore the less than grandiose. I am infernally guilty of that, frequently deciding that imperfection makes a contribution entirely useless. The letter to the editor that I submitted was tremendously imperfect, but it expressed thoughts I wanted to share so the intent was perfect.

To have someone else affirm that what you feel and what you think is not bullshit is a big deal, even if it’s whispered. A great many monumental things start with a whisper, as Tracy Chapman says in one of her songs…”Don’t you know we’re talking ’bout a revolution, and it sounds…like a whisper?”

Revolutions are sometimes about millions of people and millions of dollars, but they start with one person deciding that something needs to change. That decision is about one person, who finds commonality with another, then another, and another until a gargantuan web of common sentiment is woven. That is how communities of common interest are formed, whether the common interest is voter empowerment or soccer.

It starts with the desire, the passion that will make sympathetic vibrations shake the foundation of receives the focus. We can do this, but perhaps we don’t believe in ourselves. Perhaps we have become accustomed to admitting defeat before we’ve even begun to fight. That’s how it works in my little corner of the Universe, when I stop trying because, “Oh, well. It doesn’t matter how many times you try you’re too small to really make a difference. Just accept that here you are and here you are going to stay.”

That’s the definition of stuck, and I don’t want to be stuck any longer. I don’t believe I have to be stuck, don’t believe there’s nothing I can do. Of course, I must admit, that I have no idea what exactly I can do to change my circumstances or anything I care about, but I have to believe that I’ll figure that out, that something will come to me.

I frequently proclaimed that a storm was coming, so be prepared to run. Run, hide, stay low and wait until the authorities sound the all-clear. Maybe I’m the authority, at least of my own situation. I get to say when it’s all-clear and I get to say whether I’ll run. Maybe running away doesn’t quite fill the bill these days. Some of us are going to have to run toward the disaster, run into the wind, run into the burning building.

We know how to survive. Our survival efforts may not always be successful, but we know how to do that. I have said many times in recent years that I no longer want to survive. I want to live. There is a difference between surviving and living, and I am opting for the latter.

It will be OK. And no, I don’t know what OK looks like, but that may be a good thing. If I knew what OK looked like, it would probably be the recycled image of someone else’s vision and not my own. I have the duty to create what OK looks like for me, and I want to get in the game.

Ain’t I a woman, too?

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The Oracle said we’re not all meant to survive. Show your soul. speak your truth, because that will change not the rotation of the Earth without regard for its substance. It will, however, change the way you vibrate in synchronicity with the motion of all that is. That can be a blessing or a curse, it’s up to you.

I have seen the Galaxy from far away, and it is a flat Edge on the horizon of Forever. Everything that ever was, and ever will be, is contained in that razor thin infinity. It is incomprehensible, but it is reality.

I’ve seen a few things that challenge my grasp of reality, challenge me to define what is real and what is imaginary. How different is reality from imagination? One must dream to be real, in my estimation. It is said that we manifest reality while in it, we manifest our desires while acting as though they are already satisfied. How the hell does that work?

It seems that we are not destined to understand or comprehend how that works, only accept that it does. That is easier said than done, of course, because the bondage of our limitation is woven into the fabric of every moment. If I do not believe that I can have my heart’s desire, then I make that a reality. It will become reality that I don’t believe that I can have it, and so I won’t have it.

Understanding that mechanism isn’t sufficient to alter it. The point at which I cannot alter my belief about the attainment is the point at which I have lost my mind to failure. I suppose that is exactly what failure is – losing my mind. Losing the ability to maintain the integration of mind with body and spirit. That is the point of disintegrationi and dissolution and ultimately failure.

In general, I don’t enjoy articulating failure, but not manifesting what I want is the pith of failure. Failure is not about not measuring up to someone else’s scale of success, but about whether or not I have what I desire. And it starts with desire, a hope, a dream, a wish. A vision for something else.

Right now, my vision for something else is about loosening my inhibition and self-restraint. I have always felt as though I have something to say, something to offer, music to play and songs to sing but I have always been too concerned with how it will be received to really let it out. Always holding things in, always feeling as though I’m not allowed to make too much noise or take up too much space.

The inhibition was given to me, by nature and nurture. By the act of being suppressed by those who loved me and those who didn’t, by those who discounted my words and those who feared them. That makes no sense to me, but I accept that it is part of the reality I have created. Why have I created such a short circuit that fades away into nothing?

These are times that try men’s souls. These are the times that suck our spirits dry. These are the times I came here for, I think. I am supposed to be doing something important, but I have been doing nothing. I don’t quite know what to do, and that is uncomfortable.

I was listening to a MasterClass with Carlos Santana, and he emphasizes having one’s heart in the music. A note is just a note, but with heart it is a melody, it touches another heart. He speaks of emotional dynamics in playing music, and that makes sense to me. Musicians who are mere technicians do not really speak to me. Musicians who cause me to feel something in how they emote speak to me on several levels at once. Santana says when you impart the emotion, and the heart, you will be heard and it will matter.

Right now I am looking at Santana as well as reflecting on my state of reality. I am somewhat restless, but there is fear of moving and fear of not moving. I have to move, though. I have to do something aside from watching videos and nursing resentments against people who have wronged me. Those fine people aren’t spending any time contemplating me, so I am wasting my time contemplating them. I know this.

What becomes of the broken hearted who had love that is now departed? Maybe they become prophets of doom, or embittered souls with little joy to offer. I am broken hearted, but I think I’d rather create something from the pieces that are left. There has to be some kind of cosmic glue, some duct tape, tin foil and chewing gum that will patch me back together enough to hold the water of life. That sounds dramatic, and possibly corny, but I know what I mean.

Where the hell am I these days? I don’t even know. There are places I know I don’t want to be, and other places I can’t be, but I’m not entirely sure about where I am right now. Things still feel a little surreal and a lot ungrounded. The spinning is beginning to make me a bit dizzy, and that’s no good. I stumble into walls and pot holes when I’m dizzy, and that doesn’t do me any good. I need to come in for a landing soon, so I can walk the path I’m supposed to walk.

I don’t know what the point of any of this is, but it does me good to stop running laps inside my head, in silence. Sometimes I have to make noise, sometimes I have to interrupt the silence. Silence is good, but so is noise. Noise is vibration, and vibration is the stuff of creation. Noise is passion, and passion can move all kinds of things.

Off I go, into the wild blue yonder, or at least the darkness of this evening. The weather is changing, and it’s much cooler. It snowed up in the mountains today, and it’s predicted to remain cool in these parts for the duration. It should be in the mid-to upper 30s at night this weekend, which makes me happy. If it snowed, it would be perfect. I’m a winter cycle being, and this is my time.

Round and round and round we go…where we stop, nobody knows.

Feeling…again

When I first got sober, I had realized long before that I was numb. Alcohol has an anesthetic effect; in the past a good slug of whiskey was used before surgery on battle wounds. Well, that and biting on a bullet and what not. I haven’t ever heard of alcohol being used to ease the pain of childbirth, but i digress.

Many people in recovery describe using alcohol or drugs specifically for the anesthetic benefit, to ease the non-physical pain that seemed intractable and interminable. The resultant numbing was maddening, though, like having an itch you couldn’t scratch, and the pain never truly disappeared. Welcome to addiction.

If you’ve been numb for a while, coming back to consciousness is uncomfortable and disconcerting. That’s why so any people in early recovery drink or use again. The recovery programs don’t lie, though – if you stick with it, you’re going to fee better. You’re going to feel pain better, grief better, sadness better. You’re also going to feel happiness and joy better, but that usually comes later. You have to bite the bullet while the nerve endings are coming back to life, because sometimes it hurts like nothing you’ve ever felt before. Hell, that’s why most of us drink, to avoid the pain of being alive.

Last Thursday, I lost a friend. A friend who was almost exactly my age, a friend with whom I had many years of history. She was not a call-you-every day kind of friend, or someone I was in regular contact. Her spouse was actually a little closer to me, having been a sponsor of mine when I lived in SC. She was a very good sponsor, and that’s how I met the now-dead friend. Her name is Susan. Susan Worthington Gager. And she lived, and touched people, and did a fine job of living.

Susan had lost her job when I first met her, and was going back to school at 40 on a vocational rehab program. She wanted to become a nurse, and so she did. She recreated herself, but never lost herself. She and my friend Kasey were married in SC a couple of years after she was done with school, in the middle of the tremendous opposition to same-sex marriage. But there was suddenly a federal law that allowed them to formalize their relationship, and so they did. I drove a few hours to witness that with them, and it’s the last time I actually saw Susan in person.

Kasey and Susan became ex-pats not too long after their marriage, and they moved to New Zealand and then Australia, where Susan became a psych nurse. For some twenty years, they lived in the land down under. They became a part of Aussie society and kept in touch with friends here in the U.S. via Facebook and other social media.

At some point within the last decade, Susan was diagnosed with cancer. I think it was breast cancer, which affects people the world over at near epidemic rates. She had the necessary treatments, and recovered. The experience of cancer recovery is never quite that simple, of course, but she did what she had to do and survived. Life went on, and she and Kasey went back to the life they had created so lovingly.

Kasey and Susan announced they’d be coming to the U.S. a few months ago, and those of us who’d known them here were excited. Susan had one daughter, who lived in TN, and they were excited to see her. A big get-together was planned for the SC/NC friends, and I was ecstatic, marking the time with memories and anecdotes.

Just before the date for the reunion arrived, Susan reported that she’d developed severe pain, so intense that she could barely stand at one point. Her Facebook post described the agony, and the reunion event was called off because she was told not to travel. Less than one month later, she was dead.

I wonder when she knew. I wonder if she came here to say goodbye to old friends and family, because she knew before she left Australia that she wouldn’t be going back there. They’d explained to friends there that it would be around six months before they returned, which I found curious since even the UK doesn’t give you six months of vacation time. I think she knew, and this was planned as a farewell tour.

For a variety of reasons, Susan’s death has knocked me off balance. Maybe it was because she was almost exactly the same age, maybe it was because I never think my friends are going to die. Maybe it’s because I wish I’d been a lot better about keeping in touch, more intentional about keeping the relationship alive. Maybe it’s because death scares the crap out of me, and this one feels so close.

I know very well that whatever I do, in a given trip around the sun, I never know when that will be the last time I take that action. Whoever I see, interact with, however I move through space and time cannot be duplicated. I create some bizarre work of art each and every day that I live, and it is unique no matter how routine it may seem. Accordingly, whatever I do each day should be intentional if it’s to mean anything at all.

No matter how much I may believe that my life is meaningless, or has no impact on the rest of the world, that’s just a fallacy. Whatever I do today has some impact somewhere, whether I realize it or not. I have the ability to change the energy that emanates from me in some way, and who knows what else may be impacted. I don’t know why that’s so difficult to remember.

Susan gave me a great gift in her death, because I realized that I need to be intentional about whatever the hell I do in a given day, a given moment. People in addiction recovery frequently describe their previous way of walking through the world as similar to a tornado, a great mass of impersonal and destructive energy that upended everything in its path with little regard for anyone or anything affected. That’s what happens when you live without accepting that you’re not the only person on the planet and that what you do has some impact somewhere.

When I turned 50, a friend gave me a novelty book that was titled something like “Aging Is Not For Cissies” or something like that. More than ten years later, I agree with that. No matter how much you know about human life cycles, you’re never prepared for the fact that you can’t prepare for change. You never know exactly how it’s going to be, or how it’s going to feel, or how you’re going to handle things when parts of your body no longer work as they once did.

You never know whether you’re going to be a good sport about receiving a terminal diagnosis and knowing that you are going to die in a finite period of time. When you’re told to get your affairs in order, will you do that or will you rage, rage against the dying of the light? Will your thoughts be focused on a proverbial bucket list, or will you see out meaningful interactions and be intentional about how you touch other people? I certainly don’t know what I would do. I hope I would be kind and true and go out with some kind of grace and dignity, but who knows.

Perhaps what scares me the most about dying is the possibility that it comes suddenly nad unexpectedly, with ho time to prepare or plan an exit. I could step off a curb today, fall and hit my head on the asphalt and that could be it. It’s more or less a crap shoot (although I believe the spirit has some choice in things, but I don’t know how that works). You pay your quarter and you take your chances every day. so I understand that every day should be lived intentionally.

What I understand and what I have the strength to do are two entirely different things. It’s not for cissies. It takes bravery and courage to live, especially these days. Bravery is not the absence of fear, it’s acting in spite of the fear. Courage is doing that over and over, I think. Living takes courage. Doing the right thing takes courage. Being kind takes courage. Courage takes bravery and just a smidge of “fuck it all” and running headlong into the breach. I am beginning to believe that every opportunity for courage is a crack in the universe, an open door to another world. Things will never be the same once you’ve passed through, and you can’t go home again. It’s a brand new day.

Dark nights of the soul are fodder for crossing the threshold of new life, I think. And I think way too much. When you come out the other side of a spiritual trial, there is new growth and fresh soil, and you can’t let the grass grow beneath your feet or you’ll be stuck there. I suppose we are meant to grow, because like a seed it’s just what we do. We have to split open and blindly send out a shoot into the void, and take our chances. That’s how it goes, unless it doesn’t.

Right this moment, I want it to go…I want to have the experience of living. Actual living, and not just surviving. Godspeed Susan, and thank you for reminding me that death is not the end of life as long as you’ve taken the risk of creation in the first place. I wish you well, my friend.

Just grow, dammit.

Wondering…

…about…things. Like absolutes, and extremes, and gray areas. And stuff.

I have been told that I’m a 1 and 10 kind of girl, going from off to maximum with no stops in between. That could be true, but over the years I feel as though I’ve become a little more oriented to the side of “maybe”. Gray areas can be difficult, since they often paralyze me into inaction while contemplating all of the “what if” and “perhaps” facets of the situation. That makes me tired.

What I’m getting out of that lately is that perhaps I don’t trust myself enough to be sure about much of anything. I’m always trying to mitigate damage before I’ve even taken the shot or incurred any negative consequence. WTF? More life in the fantasy zone, I suppose…imagine, if you will, that that you’ve made a bad decision that has resulted in catastrophe. Wait, there’s no imaginary aspect to this – because it hasn’t even happened yet.

That may be somewhat nonsensical, but it’s my zone so I suppose I can be as nonsensical as I please. Nonsense may actually be a good thing for someone like me who is obsessed with making sense. Life doesn’t always make sense, and so why should I?

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do bad things happen to bad people? Why do bad things happen? I suppose my current take on that is that justice exists on an infinitely larger scale than I am capable of comprehending. Who is to say unequivocally that justice does not exist?

My obsession with justice causes me some dark days, because I can only focus on the immediate circumstances, what I can see and feel and touch. In many ways, that’s all I can be expected to do because I’m a puny human with visual acuity in the range of a muppet and brain infarctions in the range of a minor deity. And yeah, I want fries with that.

When I look at the Karens on video, they aren’t questioning whether their viewpoint is correct or not, or whether there’s another way to look at things. They act, and behave badly in most cases, and don’t really look back even when there are negative consequences. I suppose I don’t know whether or not that’s a good thing or not. Do they get what they want? I am not sure. When you are motivated by that much rage, I suppose it’s not supposed to make sense.

Anger is a wonderful motivator, and rage amplifies that by exponential increments. I have been that angry, and I’m sure my head spun around 360-degrees and my eyes were neon green. It wasn’t pleasant for me, and I don’t recall ever having a second thought about my actions while in the moment. I suppose I can empathize with the Karens on that level because it’s about power. When you feel that you have no power, you’re going to act out in the extreme because anger makes you feel alive and not powerless. I get that.

Right this moment I am feeling rather powerless over many things, but I’m not looking for a fight. Maybe it’s an age thing because there were times in my younger (and more energetic) years when I was always looking for a fight. Just having an excuse to rage at some unsuspecting fellow human or break something or say, “No, I’m not going to do what you are asking and I don’t care what the consequences may be.”

At what point do I stop going along with the system, do I stop obeying rules that are not my own, or at least not for my own benefit? At what point do I make the conscious choice to not be a good girl? I guess I’ve made that point many, many times when I’ve felt beaten down by powers that I couldn’t even name. Desperation takes many forms, and when a person feels as though they are fighting for their life the situation can get ugly to say the least.

I don’t want to feel desperate these days, but I recognize the pre-requisites to feeling that way. Depression. Feeling as though it doesn’t matter what I do, right or wrong, because nothing will change. Feeling as though you have some target on your back that warns others to understand that I’m an imposter and don’t really know a damned thing about any damned thing.

Can I do anything about those feelings? Are they real? What is my responsibility to ascertain whether the feelings are merited, or whether I am truly inadequate?

I must be doing something right because I’m still here. I haven’t caused irreparable harm to anyone else, and I’ve managed to do a few good things along the way. Am I entitled to feel better than I do? I have no answer for that, but I also have no answer for why I feel the way I do.

Today it’s somewhat overcast, and rain is expected for the next couple of days. However, we are assured that Halloween will be a very nice day. The insistence that October 31st is a major holiday amuses me since half the people here don’t let their kids trick-or-treat on the 31st for religious reasons (which make no sense to me) and…there’s a pandemic. For some people in these parts the former is far more important than the latter, which is absurd in my book.

Somewhere on the planet, there is sunshine. In another part of the globe, there is darkness. I presume that one cannot exist without the other, but when I cannot wait for it to end. When my hair is curly I grieve that it’s not straight. When my belly is large I cannot understand why it’s not thin. We always want what we don’t have. Sometimes that is comical, but sometimes it’s tragic. Wanting food when you are starving makes people do extreme things, and often that doesn’t end well.

I don’t want to be desperate for money, or a job, or to be thinner or prettier. Desperation will cause me to do things that are ill-advised and may result in bigger problems than the original issue. That’s when things make less sense than ever before. Karma may be a real thing, although it’s not punitive, just a statement of cause and effect. A friend in recovery said frequently, “To build esteem, do esteemable acts.” Simple, but not easy.

It’s going to be OK, but as I keep saying I don’t know what OK looks like. Having expectation of what OK should look like sets me up for disappointment, and blocks things beyond my wildest dreams. That concept also makes my head hurt, but that could be just my sinuses or lack of sleep. I slept fairly well for close to six hours, but woke up a little tired so I ight do a radical thing and take a nap today. It can’t be that easy, though. Can it?

I am always looking for the spark.