Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Small Change", Time Waits, and Other Borrowed Lines...

     Because I could not stop for Life,
     And It wouldn't stop for me,
     The calendar just rolled along
     And turned a page or three...

     Tomorrow's the first day of school in these parts which means that Summer is done, the leaves have gotten their eviction notices, and what have we to show for it all. I'm not really sure. I did do a lot of outdoor creating with paint and water and wood. I spent some time with good friends and family now and then as well. I spent way too much time in hospitals and doctors' offices. And like parents everywhere I stand at the precipice, under some invisible banner which calls us to celebrate "Tomorrow" with no idea how to do so.

     It used to be August 1st was the saddest day of the year, but that was back when Climate Change was just an infant in our minds. Seems it's the middle of the month now when the light changes and it just plain doesn't look like summer anymore no matter what the thermometer reads. Everything is changed and you cannot go back and unfix it. It's done, summer's done, and you did what you did and missed what you missed, (suit)case closed.

     So with that imaginary banner flapping in a warmish breeze over my head, I needed to do something to mark the occasion. And (pardon me again, Miss Emily) because I could not rearrange the furniture, I murdered my Twitter account. I have 30 days to dial up the Governor of Twitter's office to request a stay of the execution, as it were, but I don't think I'll do that. I think it is guilty and it knows what it did.

     You know though, it wasn't It so much as it was Me. I changed. And just as the slant of light gets lower and thinner and spreads over a smaller and smaller territory with every passing day, so the world inside my head (Science, help us all who have to deal with that horror of a place!) must shrink as well. I can't seem to cast my light quite as far as I used to; I'm like a dying battery powering a big old lantern, poorly. Ain't no sunshine in my soul and on those days I can most certainly hide my beams under a bushel basket...probably under a thimble. And the seamstress is working tirelessly on the weak point where evidently I've come undone.

     So many tiny infractions, with as many accompanying frustrations, echo in my recent memory, but as is usual in these times, it's the amorphous blob that most vexes me. It was and I did and now it's not and I can no longer do. So there. But I did do a whole lot more than last summer...a little voice somewhere pleads. And I am in possession of tons of new keys which have unlocked some very old mysteries, some going back for decades. The voice and the keys seem at times like a rope and pitons, promising to get me out of the holes I find myself in. My internal Google Machine can find "Smile" a lot quicker than it did before I acquired these tools.

     Tomorrow morning the familiar echoes of months ago will return: the laughter of children walking to school, a bus passing by, a distant bell calling the elementary children inside, the hum of many more cars than usual on our street, and then the quiet...the heart-stopping sound of no children in the house. I remember this day several years ago when I still had a child at that nearby elementary school when, as I came out of the building, I was met with another mother, grande fancy coffee of some sort in her hand, who just smiled and said to me in her best deadpan, "Best day of the year." But I also recall the feeling of driving out of the parking lot of the middle school, even on mornings when my kids had been terrors and had stood firmly on my last nerve, when I went from agitated to alone in a matter of milliseconds: In the quarter turn of a steering wheel, in the nod to a crossing guard, in the wave to a neighbor. Alone was huge and came crushing down, sitting on my heart it pushed all the air out of me, leaning on my lungs it made me want to cry.

     It's the thank-goodness-you're-okay-now-let-me-beat-hell-out-of-you-for-scaring-me-to-death syndrome that's gone through every parent's mind whenever a kid does some reckless thing like dart across a parking lot or wander off momentarily. One moment they're pressing your buttons, the next their touch is gone and much as it hurt, you miss it terribly. And this is just the first day back, less than eight hours out of sight. What happens when they start to drive? Go on their first date? Go off to college?

     There are a few summers left between now and those fateful days to come and I hope to build on whatever it is I've created this time around. It's all a blur of course, like sweat running into your eyes on a hot day outdoors. By now, if it wasn't for the signs of my efforts in the yard, I wouldn't believe any of it ever happened. June was a million years ago, a billion thoughts ago, trillions of emotions passed by. Another tough summer for our slice of the rhubarb pie in general of course, but no intensely personal tragedy or loss to speak of. We look back with gratefulness and forward with hopes of many snowfalls to come to our high and dry hills...and a slowly-paced runoff season, thank you very much.

     To everything there is a season, and to every season there is a purpose...if for nothing else, they cause us to appreciate the one just ended or the one yet so far away. And while I may well pine for warmth when it's 20 below, I'm glad I live in a place with changing seasons. It hurts to say goodbye to leaves, then flowers, then berries as a bush reverts back to its sculptural, winter appearance, just as it pains me to drop the kids off and drive away. But the chokecherries will return and the choked-back tears must remain as a right of passage. The only thing to do with Change is to accept it: For though it may not be exact, it will happen. And it'll rattle around and drag you down if you don't spend it well.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Are There Emotional Rescue Service Dogs and Where Can I Get One?

     I've had a fairly easy life all in all. No massive tragedy, no particular long-term agony, nothing you'd think of as the Real Bad Stuff. But I did realize something today: There is not one person on the face of the Earth who I can give myself to completely. Maybe that's why I have dogs, the whole unconditional part of the love would be lost on me without them.

    Don't get me wrong--something that seems to be going on a lot around here just now--I have a husband who loves me, kids who are capable of being spectacularly amazing, and a few people who smooth the edges for me from time to time. (Telling perhaps that none of those people inhabit the same time zone as do I.) But none of them could stand me without a mask or two on my persona, none of them could face what I see in the mirror. Maybe it's that way with everyone and I'm just late to the reality party. I'd like to think that's not the case, but evidence over the past 24 hours points in the glass-half-empty direction.

     Yes, I'm feeling sorry for myself, and pissed, and disillusioned, and paranoid, and everything on either side and in-between. I guess that's what you get when you have a flat tire, ride a rim to a closer point of abandonment, walk home, then discover someone you considered a friend has given you a verbal rim job without benefit of lubricant. Maybe I deserved it, maybe everyone does, or perhaps no one does. Who knows? All I can say for sure is I really don't have a friend I can count on for anything, no matter what. But, by the same token, I cannot say for sure whether anyone would write my name down on that blank of their own life story either. Life's closer to Mad Libs than we would perhaps care to know.

     I don't know what happens next. I feel like it's those ten years of torture in school again, like the decade I don't remember. The time I was afraid to speak, and to share, and to feel. I wish I could throw my phone away, change the number, go into the Witness Protection Program, or at least change the locks on my heart. I wish I could unknow a lot of things, and I really wish there were things I'd never admitted to anyone in a moment of misguided affection. I need to kick the vending machine and unplug the computer, take the card out of the DVR and wait five minutes, change a battery somewhere. Re-boot, as it were.

     But there's never an easy way out with people. People are messy, fussy things that require constant sunshine and watering. They don't take a stormy day well even if you really need the cool-down. They won't just wither quietly if you ignore them, rather they become the plant from Little Shop of Horrors. Charming mo-fos, aren't we?

     And there's this dumbass "People's Distemper" I've decided to come down with for some reason. Talk about charm, it's like having a lobotomy without anesthesia, like Alzheimer's without the grace of being oblivious. You know exactly what's happening to you and you still can't do a damned thing to change it. You can't walk out of the worst movie you've ever seen, you have to sit there and watch the cast of bad actors with unrealistic emotions parade past for day after day with no relief. It's your own one-woman show from the screenwriters in Hell.

     But you know what? There are people out there with Real Problems, with scars and afflictions you can see. People who cry when they're wounded. But those of us with "mental-emotional-chemical-hormonal" illnesses are invisible to The System and to each other. We don't scream when you shoot us, don't bleed when you take a stab at us. We're more like the fish you pull out of a mountain stream: We just stare at you quietly with our mouths open, gasping for a reason to explain what's happening, flopping around in seizure until we finally suffocate on the irony of all we thought our lives could be.

     Or not. Whatever. Screw it.





Monday, July 15, 2013

A Change Has Got to Come

     There's so much I wanna say right now, today. There's been so much I've pondered since Saturday night, that I don't feel I've arrived at the best vehicle for blogging just yet however.

     I'm still sad, but I have a luxury that Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin do not have, the ability to move past sad. They never will.

     Not that I'm not angry exactly, and who wouldn't be, but I feel it more as disappointment and despair. You're not supposed to be able to have a license to hunt people in our society, but evidently a portion of our population has just that. And you certainly should never be the hunted, but that seems to exist as well. It's disheartening, terrifying, and so ridiculously unnecessary as to defy logic...and ethics...and human-ness.

     I'm going to continue to collect my thoughts and develop my anger through rage then, hopefully, into constructive action. That seems to be the way to handle this miscarriage of "justice". If I write anymore now, today, it's going to come out wrong or incomplete or misguidedly arrogant. It's gonna devolve into vitriol and there's bloody well enough of that in our world already. I don't want to add to the hate in this precious child's name.

     But I very much want to add to the truth. We need to and we WILL have The Conversation in this country because our future, our children, and our souls depend upon it, the Fulton-Martin family deserves it, and making positive change in the face of unthinkable horror (and thereby retaining our sanity) demands it.

     Watch this space...