Thursday, October 31, 2013

On writing....

I haven't really written in a while. Really written.

The truth is, I always used to write whenever I had to work through something, when things were wrong, when I was depressed, when I was emotional, when I was flummoxed, when I was troubled, when I was happy, when I was sad. The truth is, I wrote. I simply wrote. It was never for anyone else, it was never for any purpose beyond my own. It was simply writing. Simply expression.

And I even originally started this blog as no more than that -- simply expression. I figured I was in a really isolated situation, and it would help to reach out to others. And at first I thought no one would care, would read, would listen -- and was so excited when people did. I felt connected to others. And I loved it. The more page views I got, the more excited I was.

Except then I started writing for what I thought wanted to be read. Not that this made my blog any more popular or any more read, but I suddenly stopped seeing and using writing as a way to express my inner feelings, thoughts, turmoil. It became so much more than that. And so it became so much less than that.

The other truth is, I've actually had a lot of bad shi.... stuff... happen in the last couple of years. And that's actually really flummoxing. As I've spent my life dealing with serious depression. (As if there's a non-serious kind of it.) Which means -- at least for me -- that I've spent a lot of my life feeling like crap despite nothing going on. The odd thing is, a helluva lot has gone on. But the depression in some ways masked this.

As I've spent my days feeling awful no matter what was going on. I could be having a good day, or a bad day, or a fantastically craptastic day, or a fantastically awesome day, and it did not matter. Honestly, nothing mattered. Life sucked -- though actually that is not it, life didn't suck, life just did not matter -- and a spent a lot of time fantasizing about how to get out of it. And learned a lot -- I don't like the sight of blood, I have a really high tolerance for pain, and my high sensitivity to drugs meant that I usually passed out before I could do any damage. Fascinating all. And useless.

The irony of it all? Depression also meant I had a really high tolerance for crap in my life. And a really low tolerance for crap and drama in other people's lives. I mean seriously? You think that (whatever that is) is bad? Try dealing with something actually bad. As a dear friend once put it -- who is actually, let's face it, a dear friend because she relates the same way I do -- "If people even knew or had to deal with half the shit we've actually dealt with in our lives, they would have killed themselves a long time ago -- and yet here they are, bitching about basically a hang nail, and we're supposed to give a damn."

So yeah, I'm sorry, I am a bitch, but you know what? If you want to kill yourself, here's a damn noose, and here's a damn scrip cocktail, and just get it over with already. Because I don't have the damn patience for people who are drama queens (men or women) about their lives. Life sucks, and then we go on. Seriously. I have not just scraped bottom, I have licked it, and critiqued its flavor.

And life goes on. And that's the worst thing. I was that drama queen. I wrote lots of sappy (and sometimes good) poetry and short stories about how awful life was. And then I had a lot of shit happen, and somehow life goes on. Somehow actually hitting bottom means you see that, well, life goes on. Life. Goes. On.

Seriously people. A lot of people have dysfunctional families. Bad relationships. Woe is me. Seriously. Woe is frickin' me. More people than you know have "looked death in the face" -- and, you know what, some of us have laughed. Even when it was not ourselves holding the gun, but someone else. Because you can't fear death when you actually wish for it.

And apparently you can't write when writing no longer is about expressing yourself truly and is about expressing for an audience. Not that I actually have an audience, but that I no longer have an audience of one: me. Writing used to be everything to me. It was the only way I could make sense of, well, anything. And suddenly, it was no longer about me. It was no longer about writing. It was about everything else. A message. A story. A blog post.

And so.... The last few months I haven't written. It's not that nothing has happened. It's not that I haven't had a lot of turmoil. It's not that I haven't had a message, a story, a blog post. It's that I have. And that I've been too flummoxed to make heads or tails of it. Because it was not about me, it was about "what would make a good story to others". Which is.... BS. Yeah, BS. Capital B. Capital S. BS.

So. I've had no ability to write. Apparently, it's that I've started seeing myself through the same eyes I've seen others: "woe is frickin' you." And you know what? Here's a damn noose, and here's a damn scrip cocktail, and just get it over with already. Because I don't have the damn patience for people who are drama queens about their lives -- including myself.

So. I've had nothing to say, because I've been too busy doing what I hate most in others: feeling sorry for myself, instead of realizing that life goes on. Life. Goes. On.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gut and ... Glory

I should have trusted my gut. But after years of being told that because I didn't have kids, I couldn't understand, I couldn't know, I couldn't have an opinion, I didn't trust my gut about kids.

So when I saw the kid sitting on the park picnic table at 11:30 in the morning, my gut said something has to be wrong. It's a school day, he's school-aged, he looks alone, maybe a little scared. Maybe, maybe, maybe. What if, what if, what if. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. I kept walking my dog onward to home.

So when I ran into my neighbor who worked for the local Fire Department that evening, at the same park, as we ran our dogs tired, I guess I should not have been surprised when he told me a little kid reported a kidnap attempt earlier that day, right (he waved toward the picnic tables) over there.

As my heart sank, I asked if it was a boy, light reddish or blond hair, blue tee shirt, maybe 10 years old. My neighbor registered faint surprise as he said, "Eleven." He continued, as I interrupted -- jinx -- "And it was around 11:30 this morning."

I started babbling about feeling guilty, about seeing the boy, and ignoring my gut. About worrying of overreacting. About, about, about...

Laconic as always, he turned to face me straight on, and shrugged. "But...." I stammered. And he shrugged again and turned back to pitching the tennis ball for his dog. "But...." I stammered again.

He eyed me out of the corner of his eye, then finally said: "Look. Don't feel guilty. You clearly saw him right before he was found. And I'm quite sure he made up the kidnap attempt, as it simply made no sense. I'm guessing he was playing hooky, and something happened -- who knows what, but yeah, probably got into some bit of trouble -- and so he got help and made up a story to cover his misbehavior. It's all good. Stop feeling guilty."

He turned back to the tennis ball, and I realized that was the most I'd ever heard him say in one go. And that I was lucky that day, but it was a reminder about trusting one's gut, and -- no matter your expertise or knowledge -- getting involved.


How often do we walk by things, ignore things, turn the other way, because "it's none of our business", "we don't want to get involved", "someone else will take care of it"? How often do we miss opportunities to make a difference -- big or small? How often do we close our eyes; practice indifference; play deaf, dumb, and blind? How often?

We are known as one of the most generous nations, quick to open our wallets when tragedy strikes.... And yet we often walk right past the blight in our own neighborhoods, muttering under our breaths about "that damn neighbor".

Our generosity seems to know no limits, either geographically or culturally. Whether it's a tsunami in the Far East, famine in the Sahara, or flooding in my home state, we give with open hearts and magnanimous minds. And yet if it's a matter of what baby carriage a mom uses, someone smoking, a political opinion, or God forbid, a parenting opinion, we give with closed hearts and critical minds.

We are hypocrites who point out the hypocrisy in others with glee.

Biblical admonitions abound, but it's really simpler than that: have charity. On both sides. Instead of criticizing, try listening. And instead of dismissing criticisms, try listening. Listen to what the other person is saying -- listen, truly listen -- and try to understand. Really try to understand. Not dismissively, not based upon what you believe or think. But understanding such that you can see why someone else might say, believe, think differently. Listen to your gut -- listen, truly listen -- and try to understand.

As our gut is critical. Our initial responses are usually emotional, one way or the other. Our gut is the heart and soul of who we are, what we understand, what the appropriate response should be. My gut told me a kid was potentially in trouble -- my emotions told me I had no business thinking anything about a kid because I was childless. My gut called bull sh*! as it does not need first-hand experience to make judgment calls. That's the point of your gut instinct -- it's an instinct, not first-hand knowledge.

It why we all need to learn to trust our guts more, to listen more -- to ourselves and to others.

Once you truly understand what the other person is saying -- no matter the issue -- and you also truly understand what your gut is saying in reply, only then will you know what the proper behavior, proper response is.

Whether it is to smile and nod, to address your flaws, or to go over to a young boy and find out what is going on.