Archives for posts with tag: Memorial Day

I am sipping the cold remains of my second morning coffee, abandoned earlier, on my way into the garden. It’s less than ideally satisfying, as cold coffees go, neither properly cold, nor at all warm. I don’t much care; relative to other concerns it is a meaningless detail. Today, I’m feeling the weight of Memorial Day; it’s been a very long time since Memorial Day was any sort of celebration, for me. It is a day to remember the fallen: lives lost to war, lives lost to violence, a moment to contemplate the wasted human potential sacrificed to the causes of various governments… some of those lacking in moral high ground of any kind. I don’t find it something to celebrate. Instead, I honor those I’ve lost, and the lives lost that matter to others that I will never know. It’s simply my way.

I spent yesterday afternoon in my studio, painting. I’ve commented in other places that I am less likely to paint when I am content, fulfilled, happy, or satisfied. It’s an emotional experience that requires emotional impetus, and emotional momentum, and, for me, a way to communicate what I lack the words for. Make of that what you will. Honestly? I dislike “watching the world burn” in these problematic, chaotic times… but in my studio, and so many elsewhere, these are conditions that have a lot of potential to create great art. (Fingers crossed that anyone is around to appreciate any of it… later on.)

I am feeling a bit glum, and a bit angry. How is it 2021 and sexism is still a thing? Or the chronic condescension of patriarchy? How are so many people unwilling or unable to see the strong connection between sexism & misogyny – and literally all of the other evils of our society? (How many racists do you know who are not also sexist? How many people filled with hatred toward immigrants are not also sexist? How many elected idiots are not also sexist?) Sexism isn’t even limited to men, for fuck’s sake; there are ever so many women willing to carry that apologist torch to maintain this system that burns us all. This is where my head is at today; perplexed and sorrowful about all the human relationships tainted by the ugliness of implicit sexism. I’m not feeling open to excuses, explanations, denials, or “othering”, today. I’m not interested in justification, or placating platitudes. Hell, it’s not even connected to Memorial Day sadness – not even a little bit. It’s just where my head is at. I’m in a place in my own life where I no longer feel any obligation whatsoever to placate various men in my life, although out of general consideration, and a lack of interest in their opinion on an experience of sexism they can not share (and largely seem unable to recognize, as a result), I mostly just don’t discuss it, at all. Complicating all this is that is sometimes feels like a conversation with my father. He’s dead, though… hard to “feel heard”. So the anger comes and goes, not unlike the sorrow of any one Memorial Day; it has a place in my experience, a moment taken to care for it tenderly, to consider and soothe it, and then I move the fuck on to other things. There’s no solution that I reasonably expect to see in my lifetime, and I’ve got things to do.

I put on music to write to, suited to this peculiar headspace, while I sip this cold coffee and practice self-soothing a lifetime of seething rage until I am “okay” once more… For most values of “okay”. It is what it is, I guess. Life is, generally, pretty good. I find it worrisome to see so many people take their anger out into the world, along with a gun… and then end someone else’s life. That seems pretty unfair and entirely inappropriate. I don’t like seeing it become more and more prevalent… but of course, it’s hard to be certain that it has; likes, clicks, views, and the eager drive to capture consumer attention dictates what is in our news feeds every day. The undermining of “truth” – real, factual, documentable truth – has progressed to the point that I’ve even removed satirical and comedic content that uses current events for the foundational content from my feeds. I don’t care to risk my understanding of what is real and true, if I can avoid doing so. I try to stick with content that is fact-checked reliably. It gets harder all the time.

What do we do with all this anger? I feel it, too. I’m trying to find healthy ways to process it, to deal with it, to care for my own tender injured heart without doing damage to someone else’s. Painting is one way. Funny thing; yesterday I was not “painting anger”, although it was among the mixed emotions that pushed me into my studio. I was painting love, and painting hope, and painting joy, and the comfort of emotional safety. I was painting what I want to see in the world and in my own life. I surprised myself with that. Maybe it’s a good practice? I guess I’ll be needing to practice to see what comes of it, over time.

Today, though, is a day for housekeeping, and mindful service to hearth and home. This, too, is “my way”. I’m not sure why Sunday. I could say “the habit of a lifetime” – but it isn’t. Growing up, I most commonly saw housework being done more or less in all the waking hours of our family life – and all of it done by my Mother, or Grandmother, or some other woman, in some other home. I’m fortunate. I get a lot of help from my Traveling Partner. We generally both handle routine basics during the week. I do a few hours of focused housekeeping on the weekend, to get ready for a new week; I like the results, all week long. My partner tackles a lot of the maintenance and upkeep of the house and the technology we live with. It mostly seems a pretty fair division of labor. My resentment, when it occasionally builds up over time, tends to be more about my own shortcomings self-care-wise, and lack of skillful boundary-setting or time management, and discomfort with asking for help when I need it. Recognizing that’s “on me” to resolve, I try to be aware of my bullshit before it spills over elsewhere. No doubt I could improve in this area. lol

I look at my list of chores for today. It’s honestly not “all that”, and definitely doesn’t amount to enough work for any hint of annoyance or resentment or fuss. It’s just a routine Sunday on a long weekend. 🙂 Hell, I may even paint more later – I’m feeling very inspired lately. I don’t suggestion that that is a good thing… it’s just fuel for the artistic fire within.

I glance at the time, and into the bottom of my now-empty coffee mug; it’s time to begin again.

Today I pause to acknowledge the fallen. I consider the friends and comrades at arms who did not come home. I make a personal accounting of the cost of war. The price of war is high. The sacrificed men and women were precious – how many could have truly changed the world? War doesn’t change improve much of anything, only increases the amount of blood we have spilled for the sake of someone else’s vanity, profiteering, or arrogance. Wrapped in patriotic language, we accept slaughter as necessary – so long as we don’t have to look too long, too closely, to too honestly upon it. We accept the justifications. We accept the fear-mongering rhetoric. We look the other way when death comes for someone else’s daughters and sons.

I came home. Some did not. Over time, a great many did not come home. The numbers are horrifying. Add in the innocents – the children, the civilians, the people attempting to flee war, the people attempting to survive, the countrymen upon whom the governments have experimented for further gains in later wars – and the numbers become unfathomable, and impossible to truly grasp. We are killers, and we are fairly indiscriminate about it. So, here on the calendar is this one day. One day to account for our murderous inexcusable rage, our “patriotic” defense of our arbitrary borders, and our willingness to slaughter the daughters and sons of parents we’ve never met, and who have done us no harm – and our future potential. We’ll kill it all, but hey, at least we take a memorial day to observe… what? Our glory? The wastefulness of our violence? The passing of innocence? Probably not. More likely, we’ll take a long weekend to barbecue, and the most notable concern of the day will be the temperature of the grill, and whether the sauce is the same as what our father made, and will it rain?

Please enjoy the feast, and be merry. Sure, why not? Please also take a moment to consider the cost – the price paid in blood, by countless lost moments of a future we’ll never see, counted in bodies. Take a moment to consider who won’t be at the barbecue, this year or ever. You owe that moment to them, today.

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 thanks  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. ❤