Wednesday thoughts in May

Why do I share so many personal details on here? Because I can, and because I don’t figure it matters in the big scheme of things. People who know me don’t usually read my writings or follow me online, but even if they did…oh well. It is what it is.

I do feel angry at a lot of people, and I’m trying to find a way to let this go. But underneath the anger is sadness, which is claimed as usually the case. I am sad and bewildered and confused by many people encountered along the way. I do not understand them or their motives or their justifications in many cases, nor do they seem capable of understanding me. Because there are more of them than there are of me, the word is that it is I who should change so as to mold myself to better fit their expectation. (As if they can really agree on anything.) I did try that, at least for a while, but failed. Apparently not all of us were created to be easy to get along with.

Right now I do feel pretty damn hostile toward plenty of people I’ve known. Moved far away and it’s just never far enough. Tried distancing myself emotionally, but then they like to come back around just as soon as I feel ready to let go and move on. I am torn inside, and perhaps this is partly due to religious values instilled in me earlier on that dictate that we should be forgiving and turn the other cheek. Been thinking about that turning of the cheek story and read a while back about how it doesn’t mean what most people think it means but rather is about the slapper defiling him/herself if he/she uses their other hand to hit someone. I’ll have to look that story up, but it seemed to suggest that custom back then deemed one hand acceptable and one as unacceptable, one clean and one dirty, so to use the wrong one was a shameful testament to one’s own baseness. Not sure if the story I read was accurate, but how can we ever know when it comes to texts written 2,000 years ago?

So basically, rather than that being a story about letting someone beat the shit out of you while you stand there and take it, it’s about turning the other cheek so as to let the aggressors behave in such a way that shows them, to themselves and other witnesses, for what they really are. Like holding a mirror up to them in which they can see their own darkness and depravity. Sounds nice in theory, but how many folks could see themselves in truth even if it was made plain as day? Oh, the blinders we wear. Rationalization is one of the easiest tricks for humans to pull off.

I know I’m not innocent or even necessarily all that good. But I have heart and do care. Just grateful I didn’t turn out to be as bad as I otherwise very easily could have. Love saved me, that much I do know, and I’m trying to learn how to better love myself and others. It’s very frustrating since I really did want to love all the people in my family, yet that turned out to not be a good idea. I don’t like this situation, past or present, and I wish we could’ve made different choices a long time ago. But pain pays forward — they were angry and so they spewed it. Now I am angry, and I am spitting it back. But where does it end?

I read or watched something a while back where someone was saying that it’s okay to be angry and resentful so long as you direct it toward who or what you’re actually angry at rather than letting it spill all over onto outsiders and innocent bystanders. That sounds fair enough. Better than the common mantra about how we’re supposed to purge all resentment and aggression from our souls, which just isn’t realistic. People get uncomfortable around angry, bitter people and then like to talk them down further still, improving the situation not one iota for anyone involved. Maybe it would be more helpful to tell them to take their anger out on those who deserve it and not just carry it around to share with all. It’d also probably be helpful if we weren’t so timid around expressions of pain and frustration, because those are human experiences that reflect people’s realities. To simply shun that only encourages more bottling and suppression, which then winds up spilling out at some future date unintended.

But then again, if expressing it let it fade away, mine would be gone by now. But here it stays, threatening to never leave me. That is a very tiring dilemma. Perhaps all one can really hope for is to redirect the residual anger toward something more constructive so as to discourage it from manifesting in destructive and self-destructive ways.

Anger itself isn’t the problem. It’s a reaction. How do you heal your spirit so as to not be burdened by so much pain and sad memories? Some say you dismiss those thoughts and feelings and invite better ones in instead, but how far can mind over matter take most of us? Sometimes it sounds like people are advocating for others to embrace an illusion intended to make them feel better, but illusions eventually shatter. Is there anything more to this existence other than a series of illusions? Is there not real and solid ground on which one can stand and grow from? Or is it just about trading one set of beliefs for another?

No human is an island — we affect one another whether we mean to or not. For better or worse. And it’s always been this way and always will be. We will always be vulnerable and capable of being hurt, because that’s how life goes. And that’s okay, or at least it is what it is. What would a healthy response look like within a profoundly sick society? Some of the sweetest, nicest, most helpful people I know are highly stressed and plenty are pretty fucking lonely. That’s a sad state of affairs right there. Makes me think we live in some sort of bizarro world where everything is topsy-turvy, where the meanest dominate and the sweetest die too young.

Life leaves me with so many questions and so few answers.

Life can change in a blink of an eye…as we know

Dark, dreary, cold and rainy in these parts this week.

Rainy-windshieldWitnessed an interesting event yesterday about 10 minutes after leaving home for a work appointment. A car accident happened ahead of me. Let me set the scene. Apparently an old woman (70ish?) exiting a strip mall parking lot on the west side of a major street pulled out into southbound traffic. That portion of this major street had no street lights or stop signs to slow anyone down. I didn’t actually witness what exactly happened there, just speculating — the scene began for me as I was driving northbound behind a red pickup and I see these two vehicles leaning into one another careening across the two southbound lanes and headed for the truck I’m following. The man ahead tried to brake but couldn’t in time and his truck was struck by these two cars, giving him a flat tire and busting some part that released a bunch of reddish fluid onto the pavement. The two vehicles that had initially crashed were a midsize car (driven by the old woman) and a midsize SUV (driven by a woman who appeared to be in her early 30s).

I see this and immediately started braking and put on my hazard lights about the time they collided with the truck. Get out and find the old woman trapped within her car and unable at that time to get the passenger-side door unlocked or to roll down the window. So she’s panicking in there. The younger woman’s out of her vehicle and freaking out, yelling for someone to dial 911. The old man is a little shaken up but uninjured and is able to get out on his passenger side. I dialed for police assistance and had to get back in my car to hear the operator.

Sad situation. Wrecks just break my heart. So scary for people. Thankfully no one was bleeding, and the first cop arrived very quickly, then another, then the fire trucks and ambulance and tow trucks. An officer took down my name, address, and phone number, asked what I saw, and told me to wait in my car, which I had no other choice but do since I was blocked in by the emergency vehicles. And there for 45 minutes I sat and observed the scene. A man arrived seemingly out of nowhere who must’ve known the younger woman and stood by her on the side of the road, rubbing her shoulder as she cried and fretted. The old woman finally got her passenger door open and rescue personnel leaned in for a long time, figuring out they couldn’t remove her that way due to the console. They used a tow truck to move the SUV and got out the jaws of life tool to remove her driver-side door. The old man from the third vehicle chatted with a tow truck driver until a woman he knew showed up (his wife or family member?) who eventually gave him a ride out of there.

Feels a bit impotent to just sit and watch stuff like this unfold. But what could I do? Followed directions to stay out of the way since the rescue people appeared to have the situation completely under control. So I watched through the raindrops on my windshield and saw as they loaded the old woman onto a stretcher, though it didn’t appear she was horribly injured, just needing to be checked out. Watched some workers picking up scraps of debris from the road and sweeping smaller particles up to haul off in a bucket. Watched the cops go back and forth and collect statements of what had transpired as well as contact information of all involved. Watched the firemen busily go about dismantling the car and one picking up the crumpled removed car door effortlessly with one arm and tossing it onto the back of a truck. Then I watched the tow truck drivers remove each vehicle from the scene one by one as the road crew tossed down some sandy mixture to absorb the chemicals that had drained onto the street.

Listened near the end to a few firemen standing by my car chatting about some technical detail of their job (were trying to get this to go and it was being stubborn — that sort of thing). They laughed a bit, the old man in the truck even chuckled some and shook hands with a couple other men. And it struck me how some folks manage to find humor and camaraderie during difficult and stressful situations. Though for some of these guys it’s probably routine, that being their jobs and all. Just interesting to observe that form of resilience demonstrated by folks…

I’m more of a worrier who has a hard time switching gears and being lighthearted during stressful times.

It was a cold, nasty day for a wreck. Probably should’ve offered for someone to wait in my car, but I smoke so much in there and have so much book and tool clutter that that might seem like punishment for the uninitiated. I’m never really sure what to do in times like that other than call the police and pray for those involved. Scares me a bit. And I’m grateful that some people possess the constitutions to be able to do that sort of work and keep their heads on straight in trying times. It was so fascinating watching all these workers doing exactly what they needed to do quickly and in concert. No confusion, no mix-ups, just working together and getting it done. Actually really nice to see people can still do this and derive value and meaning in their lives through doing so. We appreciate it, most definitely. How can we not?

In less than an hour all evidence of a wreck was removed. Very glad the people involved all looked to be basically okay. Luckily, of all the accidents I’ve witnessed up-close and personally, the people weren’t badly hurt (though one time my husband and I did drive by a wreck on a highway near Tunica, MS, where the injured were being laid out on the grass in the median, obviously seriously hurt if not dead…still bothers me a decade later remembering being waved past that scene).

Driving involves serious risks. No small matter though we take it for granted as something we partake in daily. I drive a lot for my job (past and present) as well as to visit family and people I know in other states. Feels like half my life is spent driving, so I think about these things more than some probably do, especially when the weather’s really crummy and people should’ve stayed home but didn’t (some of us must go out in nearly all conditions, while some just stupidly wander around and wind up sliding through intersections or getting stuck — many of our local retirees and trust-fund babies really should learn to stay home in bad weather). The last two times I’ve been rear-ended (out of a total of 4 times, all in this city and within the last 4 years) were very likely a result of those females texting while driving, and the last one totaled my car.

AMBULANCECould always be worse, I know. And it’s the worse that I worry about for us. Hurts my soul every time I hear an ambulance’s sirens wail, because you know someone out there is hurt and scared, as are their loved ones. That just really fucks with me, call me soft if you must. I’m very grateful that people are willing and able to come to others’ assistance and do so effectively and professionally and with genuine concern and care. That really means a lot to people out here.

A dreary, rainy Thursday afternoon in April

Not a fan of the following song or band, just that the chorus managed to get stuck in my mind since the ’90s:

That was Extreme with “Stop the World.”

More and more, I want off this merry-go-round as well. Seems my mind gets blown daily by so much beyond my control. So many demands, so much water under the bridge with no end in sight to the flooding, and everyone’s saying we should smile and do a little jig to demonstrate how all of this shit is running off of us like off the back of a duck.

Well, that’s not realistic. Shit is getting to me, and I’m not in the mood to pretend otherwise. Continue reading

March 2014 update

Haven’t been putting this blog to use in the way I originally intended. Haven’t dragged (edited and polished) hardly any info from my old blog and haven’t been transcribing enough excerpts from books. Boo on me. The reason is due to personal stress. But hopefully that’s turning around. Transitions can be rough, that’s for sure.

In a weird limbo with my companion where we’re technically back to being single but we still have a lot of feelings and aren’t looking to move away from one another. Just trying to give the romantic expectations a chill while learning to be friends of sorts. We each mean well but are just such different people, and hopefully friendship will prove more healthy and less stressful.

Kinda sad to shift this way though. Change isn’t always easy.

Been trying to play catch up when work is available. January and February tend to be slower months, and now March is kicking it up a notch since spring break sent folks off on vacations.

Natural-born “insomniac,” if we’re to call it that. Sleep is great when I can get it. If I had it my way, the day would never begin before 9am, preferably 10am.

Haven’t been into making videos lately because frankly I’m not sure how to put into words some of the topics on my mind. Not sure how to express these thoughts and ideas in a way that may be worthwhile to others. Been doing a lot of thinking on the perennial topic of what’s best suitable for human life in terms of how we’ve evolved to be. In other words, are we in modern times aiming to cram a square peg through a round hole by requiring people to adapt to the changes societies have underwent? My answer is yes, and I’m not convinced the modern conception of civilization will prove sustainable. Many feel similarly regardless of whether they consciously are aware that this disconnect between who we are and what’s now being asked of us is where much of our anxiety stems from. Viscerally, many seem to know something is askew, though we tend to attribute it to personal circumstances or political chicanery or any number of social influences and frustrations. But it’s bigger than that. It’s the whole web humans up to now have woven that’s fundamentally proving problematic and incompatible with our basic values and needs. That’s my thinking on it anyway. To be fleshed out in greater detail going forward.

I keep reminding myself that the best use of my free time right now would be to go back over books I’ve read and gotten something useful out of, and hopefully I will. Currently am still reading Dr. Peter Breggin’s book Toxic Psychiatry, recently finished listen to Alvin and Heidi Toffler’s audiobook Revolutionary Wealth and G. Edward Griffin’s short audio on The Creature From Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve (available to read free online), and today moved on to Dr. Thomas Szasz’ audiobook The Myth of Psychotherapy. Listen to the audio while I drive and carry a book around with me for when time permits to get in a page or two here and there, like during lunch or when sitting select animals when it’s feasible or when waiting in lines.

Been wanting to comb through past works I’ve read and to transcribe portions of interest and plan on getting back into that soon enough. I figure others might like tidbits to give them a taste of what content a book has in store, plus I benefit from reviewing the material.

But tonight is winding to a close. Busy week. Early mornings and a scattered schedule throughout the days. Just the way it goes in my world. In and out and round and round the town. Can’t complain. Beats being be trapped in a cubicle for 8-10 hours a day.

One big gripe I have at the moment is I’m officially heavier now than I’ve ever been before. Not good on my joints or my little feet. Part of me doesn’t care since I’m not interested in attracting sexual attention at this time, and part of me does care since I am concerned about being relatively healthy. The battle wages on in my mind daily. But cycling in place at a gym resembles a hamster exercising in a wheel. Doesn’t feel terribly productive. One activity I do enjoy that keeps returning to mind is weed pulling. And I happen to own a couple nifty tools for the job that my people gave me as gifts. Been thinking once spring rolls around about asking homeowners if they wouldn’t mind having some removed.  Can’t guarantee your lawn won’t look like a gopher got after it, but the weeds will be removed. ha  Pulling weeds actually helps me work out frustration and pent up energy, odd as it may sound. Not claiming it to be strenuous exercise, but anything that’s calming and lowers cortisol levels is a stab in a better direction right about now.

And spring is right around the corner — I can feel it.  flower

One last thought for the evening: I still can’t believe it’s 2014. Damn. Amazing how time boogies. I look at something from 2005 and think of it as if it was yesterday. The ’90s are decidedly in the rearview mirror, half a lifetime ago for me, but still not that far back. That the ’80s are already feeling classic, even to me, is kinda disturbing. Everything prior was before my time, designating me as a youngen to most I deal with and an old’ne to those belonging to the latest generational focal point in a society obsessed with youth.

Getting older with each ticking moment. Such is life. That’s both hilarious and mystifying.

The leopard acknowledges her spots

Life-affirming is a good way to be, and I try to go that route myself. Though, to be honest, I fall short. Call it depression, call it melancholy — the label’s unimportant… People say you ought not dwell on the past, but what if you can’t help but do so? What if everything you do and try winds up leading right back to the same loop of thoughts and emotions? What if every heartbreak reopens old wounds that never seem to heal completely?

People say you have to talk about it to get it out, but I’ve talked and talked and talked, and still everything remains the same. I’m coming to believe that different people just have different breaking points or limits at which beyond they become fractured, perhaps irreparably damaged. Some would say it’s a matter of weakness vs. strength, and perhaps they’re right, but it’s a not a very helpful dichotomy. People like to believe that adversity builds personal strength and character, and it can, but it can also damage it, and no one likes to talk about that. We like to imagine life is some sort of race where we can prove ourselves in some way or fashion to be winners, champions, work-horses, because we persist. Something I wonder about is why so much glory goes to existence in and of itself, as if simply waking up every day and breathing is some major feat. It can be, but for most it’s simply the default position and not much more.

Seems to me strength of character involves so much more. And no human is an island unto him/herself. We all had lots of help in growing up and developing and becoming socialized, and we didn’t all learn the same lessons, nor did we start out with level playing fields in terms of our core personalities and “gifts.”

Consider this: how many bad people choose to die? It seems evident that throughout history many bad people are willing to hurt and even kill others, yet not their own selves. Some say it is because they are cowardly and selfish. Now, consider this: how many good people, through their deeds, wind up dying before their time? Think of those who put their lives on the line to protect their loved ones or even perfect strangers in need. Think of the decent people who fought in wars thinking they were doing the right thing — it’s sorely unfortunate how many good people are manipulated by bad people with covert agendas that have little to do with the welfare of the republic. Lots of smoke and mirrors in this game of life, sometimes of our own sub- or unconscious creation, sometimes sold to us by great marketers who really know how to pull at heartstrings and stir people’s pride.

Riddle me this: what does a leopard do when its spots are pointed out to it? Can’t remove them. A dye job is only temporary. How possible is it for one to transcend one’s own nature and/or conditioning? People say it’s all in how much you want change, but how can that be all there is to it when we see countless people mourning for change all over the globe and far back in history and going to their graves still clinging to those dreams? How does ONE change when he or she lives within a sea of others who do not share his or her ambitions?

Solitude can be both a blessing and a curse. As can social relations. Like with anything, it just depends on the characters and circumstances involved. And where does one pull strength from when they don’t possess it inside already? How do the weak grow stronger? How do the bad become better? And how can one infuse existence with greater meaning than going through the motions of simply staying alive?

People like to say you must dedicate your time and energy to helping others less fortunate. Go find a hobby. Go do some volunteer work. And do so while keeping a stiff upper lip. Basically lose yourself within collective ambitions that are bigger than any one person’s needs and wants. But what do we do when so many of these volunteer ventures support or at least do not effectively attempt to undermine or negate the new status quo? Does it not lead a person to feeling even more acutely like a hamster in a wheel, running to nowhere, keeping busy for the sake of doing so?

How does one make amends for exercising extremely poor judgment when the harm’s already been done? Beyond that, judgment is in the eye of the judge, and once again we’re right back to us not being created or constituted equally. Because the majority deems a way of being as wrong, does that truly make it so? Not necessarily. But if your loved ones share the majority opinion, then it becomes very real indeed. Can’t just buck back against everything and everyone forever, not if the goal is to remain sane. But what if you can’t seem to change enough to satisfy those you wish to be closest to? Some might say the world is wide and over-populated so there are many fish in the sea — just look for others. But then it’s a question of whether a person can just love any ol’ body, and I don’t think we can. We wind up loving who we do, not usually who we wish to, sometimes even those we wish we didn’t. How do you get around this without transforming into something like a psychopath?

A person may dearly want to do what’s right but not know what that is or how to go about it. So much factors in beyond just what we may wish were true.

Just a few thoughts for the evening…

It only hurts me when I cry… (personal story-sharing)

A song playing in my car today, Dwight Yoakam’s “It Only Hurts When I Cry”:

Got something on my mind right now. A male relative called and we discussed some matters that are pretty sad to contemplate. Continue reading