Archives for category: War and News of War

I’m sipping my coffee, well-rested, on a lovely summer morning. I scrolled through my news feeds, and at the end of it found myself feeling a bit let down with humanity, with my own relative powerlessness in the face of the world generally, with the drama and bullshit that we allow to impede our forward progress as creatures… We could do better. I mean, obviously. lol Hell of a start to a lovely Saturday.

I push my seat back, and carry my coffee to the deck, and enjoy the rustling leaves, birdsong, the smell of freshly watered plants, the sweetness of a newly ripe tomato fresh from the vine, and a few healthy moments of other thoughts and experiences than the embrace of an office chair, and the bright white pipeline of infotainment shoved directly into my brain through my eye holes. I get way too much of that, and too little of small brown birds daring to come closer to see if maybe I have another seed hidden in my hand. πŸ™‚

When I came back in, I sat right down at my desk, and let the excess of words and pictures continue to stream into my brain. Damn it.

I get up. Again. I breathe. I do some yoga. Somewhere amidst this second flurry of activity, I have a second coffee that I’ve already forgotten now. Some mindfulness. (That’s sarcasm there.) I nag at myself about my baggage. I pause to feel annoyed with myself for nagging myself, instead of simply practicing.

I let that go, too.

I find myself, at some point, wondering about how I create the baggage I carry in life. I mean… some is picked up in some moment of trauma, sure, but what counts? Does it need to be major trauma? (You already know the answer, if you are honest with yourself; it could potentially be the most petty irritation, if allowed to fester.) I mean… hell… I even have baggage about this. Right here. Blogging. No kidding – did you not know? lol (“Do tell!”Β  “Okay, I will…”)

In December 2012, sometime, during a terribly dark time in my emotional life (one of the worst, darkest, most despairing times of my life had begun, and I was very much at risk of not making it to the other side) I began to consider starting a blog. I had mostly given up writing in a journal – a life habit of many years, that I’d found huge value in, but which had become a ruminating spiral of negativity that developed a fairly self-hateful feedback loop that supported the despair more than the woman writing about it. The saner choice, then, had been to just give it up, for at least awhile. I lost an important voice in my narrative in doing so, and I needed… something. A blog? Maybe; I’d be writing in a public place, read by anyone who cares to read my writing, which, I felt, had a chance of keeping me from falling to the demons of rumination and negativity, and maybe give me some purpose and focus,Β  a foundation on which I could… maybe… heal. Or at least feel heard.

I approached one of my partners (now an ex) at the time and brought the subject up. I viewed her as being “more internet savvy” than I was myself, and I knew she also had a blog. I suggested I was considering writing a blog, myself, and asked her for suggestions or recommendations for platforms. What I got back was… a hearty helping of ego and discouragement. “Oh, well, you shouldn’t expect anyone will read it, and you most likely just won’t keep up with it, and you’ll probably just abandon it. Most people are very bad writers, and don’t have anything interesting to write about. You should expect that you’ll get bored with the work of keeping it up. I have several followers and a very successful blog because people love my writing. It probably won’t be that way for you, and you shouldn’t be discouraged if it turns out no one cares and you’re wasting your time.” I felt astonished, first that she’d assume anything about my writing, when she’d never taken any interest in it, and also that she had no awareness that I’d been making a practice, my entire adult life almost continuously, of writing 500-3,000 words a day – entirely without a fucking blog. LOL I also felt hurt by the dismissiveness and lack of emotional support, particularly so early in our relationship (there was much about her, as a human being, I did not yet know).

…Then the insecurity kicked in. Maybe I’m not “good enough”? Maybe I lack worthy content? Maybe no one does care – at all? Maybe I am “wasting my time”? I almost didn’t start. I almost gave up writing entirely. A few more days of systematic discouragement at a difficult time in my life, and I even started considering ending it. My life, I mean. It was a dark time, indeed. Then I read her blog – looking for a clearer understanding; maybe it was “too hard” for me? (Clearly not.) I didn’t really know, and I wanted to understand more clearly what limitations I was truly facing as an individual. I read a bunch more blogs by great thinkers and writers, because it was immediately evident that little was to be gained reading hers. I looked over various platforms that support blogging. I asked myself what I wanted to say – and what mattered most about my writing, generally. Let’s be very real about this; I was attempting to do this while also wholly disrupted by mental illness, and family-life stress. I was in no shape to adult without supervision. I still needed to do my own homework; unavoidably, the advice of other people is shaped by their agenda and biases, and filtered through their own bullshit. It has limited value. Ever.

I’m smiling this morning as I sip my coffee. I value my time writing. I appreciate my readers (hey, that’s you!). Six and a half years and 1625 posts later (not quite one every day), and I’m still writing, still finding value in that practice, and still feeling heard. πŸ™‚ I’m glad I didn’t let one voice of discouragement stop me from being the woman I most want to be… or the woman I am. πŸ˜€

Baggage is a funny thing. It lingers. I did pick up some baggage that long ago winter afternoon, talking about blogging; I occasionally still question my writing. It’s fairly public. There are some things, perhaps, that would be best unsaid? Should I mention my weekend plans? What if someone might use that to burglarize my house by noting when I am likely to be away? Should I mention when I am happy? Someone who has an agenda of minimizing my happiness may use that to undermine it… What about… her? Yep. Sometimes, even now, I consider the considerable drama, bullshit, and emotional pain she continues to inflict on friends and loved ones at personally inconvenient moments, and I can’t help but wonder… did my writing drive the timing? Am I feeding information to a human being who now places me in her world as an adversary?

…Should I stop writing??

More baggage. I laugh it off, and remind myself that she has no power over me that I don’t give her, myself, and no current place in my life, now, at all. Like any bad memory, or former association ended with cause, there’s no real need to revisit that time, place, or person, other than to heal myself. Certainly no reason to give it power over me now. lol

Consequences (of our words, or our actions) are real things, though, and I do consider the consequences of my writing; I spend far longer reviewing a finished post, and refining my words, than I do writing it in the first place. Consequences matter. People’s hearts matter. Being authentic, practical, and frank, matter. Being a better person today than I was yesterday matters. Sometimes I delete whole posts rather than publish something that might cause a stranger undue pain, or “out” someone’s private experience without explicit approval. or even just fall short of adequately expressing my thoughts in a true-to-self way.

What I’m getting at, I guess, is “do you” – support yourself in your endeavors. Don’t let “the world” slow you down or change your mind – but be prepared to face the consequences of your choices (good and bad), and consider them with care. Choose wisely. Be your best self… but do be you. No one else can do it so well, although a few bad sorts may try to steal your identity, your words, your very soul – authenticity can’t be faked, and over time, those stolen facades break down, revealing the real person beneath the lies. Walk on from that drama. πŸ™‚ No direct confrontation can be sufficiently satisfying to make the fuss worth it. lol Life is too short to leave the trolls in charge. πŸ˜€

Bottom line? We really do choose – and carefully craft – most of our baggage in life. It’s okay to put that down, and walk on. Let it go. Just… let it go. Move on with life without it. It can be a choice… if we care to choose it. Yes – sorry – there are verbs involved. It may require some practice. You may have to begin again – any number of times. Still worth it.

It’s time to begin again.Β I’m sipping my coffee, well-rested, on a lovely summer morning, smiling, and content. I am enjoying the morning with the woman in the mirror – she’s a survivor, a bad-ass, and this morning? There is no other woman I would want to be more. πŸ™‚

It’s here. The longest day. The shortest night. A dim-not-dark pre-dawn sky. A sunset will follow later, so much later, and then a lingering twilight late into the night – then, Summer, Fall, Winter… the wheel keeps turning.

Summer Solstice, 2018, before dawn

Yesterday ended on a bizarrely anxious note. It’s really super uncomfortable having to recognize that the United States is squirming as the government leads in the direction of fascism, while the population struggles to resist. Uncomfortable barely describes it. I was able to sleep, which brought relief, and I am exceedingly fortunate, individually. That’s something. Yesterday was hot. I took cases of bottled water to protesters downtown on my way home from work. I thanked them for being there. The traffic home was pretty terrible, but I didn’t feel it so much as I felt I’d done something to help.

…Of course, halfway home, I found myself facing a critical inner voice reminding me that plastic water bottles are an ecological nightmare… and companies that bottle water are draining life-force (and life-giving water) from communities all over the globe for profit. Shit. This is harder than it looks.

The anxiety had me in its grip well before I got home. Every conversation I’d had at work resurfaced to be re-evaluated through a lens of insecurity, panic, and fear. Every decision got questioned. Every moment reviewed, critiqued, and used to build further fear-driven anxious narrative in my head. I got home, heart pounding, breathless, and on the edge of a panic attack, doing battle with myself. I fluttered around the apartment distracted and wretched for a few minutes – the air conditioning was a relief, and in that moment of appreciation, I found a hint of relief, something to hold onto for just a moment.

I took a deep breath, and felt myself relax as the coolness in the house wrapped me, and soothed me (it was a really hot day here). I stood looking out at the container garden, still feeling anxious, and aware of the hot day on the other side of the glass. “Right, well, I can at least water the garden, even if everything feels crazy right now – no reason to punish flowers…” Out into the heat I went, but the awareness of the waiting air conditioning was working on my mind in a nice way; I knew I would be comfortable again, soon. I slowed down. Took my time to really water everything thoroughly. I filled feeders. I rinsed and re-filled bird-baths. I tidied and swept. I weeded some pots, removing still more peanuts that had sprouted, thanks to busy squirrels.

I returned to the coolness indoors considerably calmed. The anxiety came and went a bit all evening. More like a nuisance neighbor I’m on good terms with, but would rather not see all the time, than like an attacker that has overpowered me. I felt content with the improvement, and sleep came easily when time came to sleep. I woke feeling rested, and ready to start a new day…

It is the Solstice, today. Hell of a good day to begin again. America is still full of Nazis – we ought to do something about that. We can. We have choices. πŸ™‚

I have choices. So many choices – in life, in work, in relationships. There are so many verbs involved. Keeping up takes effort, practice, commitment… omg, just spelling it out, it all seems so daunting! One thing at a time, though? Not so bad. I don’t need to “fix” an entire broken world – or even this one entire broken human being staring back at me in the mirror. That’s no longer my approach at all – I just need to water my garden. Maybe tidy up a bit. Do a little weeding. Meditate for a few minutes. Get some dishes done. It’s just one thing, not everything, right now, all the time. “Everything“is super hard – I mean, have you seen all the shit that needs something done about it?? Too much. All that’s needed, really, is “enough”. πŸ˜‰

I think I’m ready to begin again. πŸ™‚

We can so easily do “society” and “social contract” and “social network” better than we do. We have the best possible raw materials for it; the greatness among us. Have you ever sat in the company of your smartest, wittiest, most competent friends, and wondered… “how did the world get hereΒ with these people in it?” I have. I did a bit of that yesterday, enjoying deep conversation, meaningful, topical, varied, insightful – with people of experience, heart, intellect, and will to drive change. How did we fucking get here??

The day was well-spent in the company of long-time friends of great intellect and consideration. We sat outdoors late into the evening, at a cafe, mostly drinking water and talking. Occasionally someone would order something (it’s the proper thing to do). We sat down around 3 pm, my good friend The Author and I. Later another friend joined us, and he and I continued our conversation for hours – The Author had an errand to run elsewhere, leaving us behind to catch up on old times and find out more about these people we had become over the years. The Author returned some time later, and we were all joined by still another old friend. We talked into the twilight and beyond the fall of darkness. We could have saved the world last night, if anyone else had cared to get on board. lol It’s the way of things; there really are people who know how, truly, to “save the world”, unfortunately for the world, the rest of humanity has no intention of following a wise plan. Ever. Too busy being greedy, self-serving, cruel, and destructive. Sad really – we’re a pretty cool species, otherwise.

I fell asleep still dressed, exhausted by a day in the blazing sunshine (no sun burn, yay!!), filled with visiting friends, and grand adventure. I woke with the earliest hint of dawn, and returned to sleep. I woke a bit later, and went back to sleep again. No reason to get up super early… I slept in.

I woke gently some time into the morning, but the highway beyond the motel was still quiet. Yoga on a rock. A cool refreshing shower. An icy coffee, creamy and rather too sweet, full of ice crystals like an unexpected frappe… the tiny fridge is set much too cold. LOL Refreshing.

The Author has to try to run his errand again this morning, early. I opted to stay behind (though I now wonder why). The morning is gentle and lazy, and easy on my spirit. I watch the sun continue to rise, feeling the cool morning breezes fill this odd place. I am barefooted. Relaxed. Contemplating a second coffee while I half-wait to hear from friends about breakfast, or brunch, or hanging out. There is a party, later, and it isn’t at all about me. More friends to connect with, to hang out with, more children to meet before they stop being children anymore.

It’s a beautiful morning. We didn’t save the world last night, maybe we’ll get to it today? It’s a good day to save the world. If we all worked together we could manage it – by relying on the greatness among us. There is so much of it. What about you? Are you the person you most want to be? Are you making the world a tiny bit better every day you live, simply by being who you are? If not – why not? These are important extra credit test questions on the final exam in life’s curriculum. Yeah, it’s a test. All of it. Are you going to get a passing score?

It’s an open book test. It’s time to begin again. πŸ˜‰

Here’s a Memorial Day weekend reminder that now is not the time to be thanking veteran’s for their service. This is an opportunity, for all of us, veteran’s too, to honor the fallen. The brothers and sisters in arms who did not come home. Who gave everything. This is our time to bow our heads and reflect on the horror of war. Just saying. It’s not about the living.

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This matters to me. It probably matters to a lot of veterans. We know the price paid to serve, sure; we also know the price that was not exacted from us. We came home with our lives ahead of us. We may be human wreckage – that’s a thing for some – we may be filled with internal torment you just don’t see – also a thing, some of us struggle with for many years – and for many of us, part of that lasting pain is the loss of so many. We lost people we loved, and served with side-by-side, and we lost esteemed professional colleagues, and we lost legends that had gone before us. We lost role models, and wing men. We lost “that guy”. We lost people we never met, and people we knew very well. We lost leaders, and comrades.

Most of us, most of the time, believed we were fighting for a righteous cause. We’re carefully indoctrinated to think so. Some of us knew better or understood things differently. A small few of us knew a very special painful truth; you don’t understand the price we pay, and you don’t understand how carefully we are remade to serve a purpose. You don’t understand, really, that we always knew some of us would never come home. You don’t understand that we served every day knowing that that someone could be… us. You don’t understand that many of us never quite leave it behind. Because you can’t. It’s not your experience.

Please don’t burden veteran’s with your thanksΒ  today. This is our day to remember. To grieve. To acknowledge that we came home. To regret that others didn’t. This, too, is our day to stare fiercely into the eyes of those in power with a challenge – you show me this was in fact worth the price. Prove it. Prove it or go fuck yourself – and bring our brothers and sisters home. This is our honor, this is our Memorial. I’d frankly very much like to stop adding new bodies to the body count. I say the price for your glory is too high.

I’m taking the weekend off. This is a time to reflect on what matters most, and what is the value of a human life. ❀