the weight of a sweater

It’s not my life hIMG_5429_edited-1as been any more or less difficult. There are no new crises pressing down on me. The old ones still wrap around me, their weight about the same as a heavy sweater, one that you sometimes forget that you’re wearing, and one that you sometimes wrap yourself up in, hiding your hands in the sleeves and your head in the collar. Sometimes I panic at the sight of its heavy, tattered cloth, my heart grows cold as I notice the bits of frayed thread and my world feels terrifying. These are the times I grow quiet, the times I pull inside myself and sit.

Outside it’s somewhat grey, cold and damp, sweater weather. This morning I slept late and moved slowly. My dog has gone from running outside to sleeping by the fire. There are birds in the feeders, cardinals, chickadees and a squirrel dashing from tree, to tree. For hours I’ve said nothing except the to the dog, and written very little.

Sometimes I think I could be silent forever, pulled inside myself, wrapped in my sweater.

I didn’t plan to do nothing today, there are many important and pressing things that I should be doing, but the stillness and silence had a greater pull so I leaned into them.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will do important things.

inspiration

and sometimes
when I would be doing other things,
I write words inside my head.

I write words for you as I inhale,
words for you as I exhale.

I write because of your warm hand, the way it felt on my shoulder
I write so I do not close my eyes, and lean back into that comfort
I write so I can leave without reassurances.

I write the words so they brush lightly across the page, touching sightly; I write til I can lean into their comfort.
till the rasping of my pen on this page calms me
till the blank space is filled with words
and within words, I can relax.

you, as I inhale
you, as I exhale

and if
I write for long enough, I will not want to
lean back and rest against your body,
place my head by your neck, close my eyes and breathe.

instead
I lean into words, into the rasping of pen on paper, into the large letters curving across my page
here, in these words, I rest and close my eyes.

 

But then begins a journey in my head

me with quote

The Irreconcilable Differences between Mind and Body had become so profound
they were heard in the Court of Judicium. The usual reserved Attendants
were appalled at the excess of emotion and were given to making small ‘tsk
tsk’ sounds behind handkerchiefs and fans whilst disapproving eyes squinted
down at the proceedings.

Mens Mentis represented Mind, Corpus represented Body.

Mens Mentis presented an extensive past history of failures to illustrate
the likelihood of the present endeavor ending in heartbreak and
humiliation. An impressive parade of witnesses came forward to give
evidence to support the case. One spoke of stretch marks, belly fat, and
sagging breasts, another of age and foolishness, and yet another spoke with
passion about the need for caution and restraint in all affairs..

klimt danaeCorpus, not to be out done presented extensive physical evidence, stomach
sitting too high in chest, heart becoming larger, beating more quickly and
thus increasing blood flow, of the increased occurrence of deep breaths
with extended exhales, the memory of skin on skin, and the presence of a
hopeful smile. All these events occurred despite the extensive evidence
presented by Mens Mentis, argued Corpus, and therefore must be given more
weight.

Mens Mentis moved to strike from the record any memories because they
occurred within the Mind and not the Body.

Corpus then moved to strike all memories of past failures because they did
not occur in the Body.

Both motions were overruled by the Most Honourable Judge Iudex, stating
that both motions included events that could not be solely related to
either Mind or Body, and thus where considered Joint Property.

The proceedings have been going on for weeks, at times it appeared the Mind
would prevail, but then events would occur and body of Body’s evidence
became increasingly stronger. Each time this happened, Mens Mentis would
argue that Body was incompetent to stand trail and should be removed and
placed in protective custody. The Most Honourable Judge Iudex has, so far,
overruled each of these objections, but the talk among the Attendants is
that with the passage of time and without fresh physical evidence
(memories, everyone knows, after a time become increasingly unreliable)
that the Judge will rule in favour of the Mind.

Meanwhile the jury continues to absorb the proceedings with passionless
expressions.

cataclysmic cosmic approaching catatonic

1186330_10201885990572703_1488416210_nThe best laid plans

careful what you wish for
things couldn’t get any worse
you can’t please all of the people all of the time
or even some of the time
sometimes none of the time
sometimes not even yourself
so what’s up with this stupid pleasing thing?

and this you must always remember
never forget
no good deed will ever (ever) go unpunished

friends don’t let friends … what?
and what is it that friends let friends do?
should do?
let do, don’t do, should do, will do – with who?
will this be on the final exam?

planning.
planning is over rated
spontaneity, on the other hand
(there will always be another hand to keep you on your toes)
spontaneity can bite you so hard on your ass it bleeds
(ass biting on the other hand can be under rated)

and as a rule try to express yourself
clearly.
succinctly.
distinctly. vividly. quickly. blissfully. skillfully.
but not sillily. lyrically. and never timidly or fitfully.

and another thing
scratch that last thought
and skip the conversation – its over rated
and can lead to planning
and we all know where that can get you

and sometimes even well placed
“humorous loving support”
can mean fuck all
yes, yes heartbreakingly sad, but true
these times may call for biting sarcasm
and excessive speed

and when you plan
(plan – a four letter word)
to run away
when that escape opportunity opens up
you should Get the Fuck Out of Dodge
do not pause.
do not think.
do not pass go. just
LEAVE

and when you miss that chance
or the chance misses you
or the fates intervene
or whatthefuckever
what do you do?
rant-wallowinwords-tantrum
try-to-find-the-message-in-all?

What if there is no fuckin message?
What if you’re really stuck in dodge?

so what?

So WHAT?

so what if you’ve simply fallen into a
Cataclysmic Cosmic approaching Catatonic
Cluster Fuck
and THAT’S where you were always
meant to be?

So what…

instructions for a bad day

Image

Love my suffering? I’m not sure I’m quite up to that yet. Today has not been a bad day, it’s just a day, like any other that came with it’s own challenges and it’s own frustrations. It includes people not behaving in ways I think they should, doing things that I don’t like. It has me suffering from the attachments I made to specific outcomes, to ‘things and people as they should be – according to me”. It involves setbacks, my own and other’s. It has me spending a tremendous amount of time and energy on things I’d rather not be doing.

In other words, it’s just a day.

Look To This Day

Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!

– Kalidasa

It’s just a day, and in the end I get to choose how it affects me. That’s pretty much the sum total of what I can control today, and everyday. I can see what is beautiful, even in – especially in, the midst of suffering. “The bliss of growth, the glory of action” it’s all here, even when I don’t (won’t) see it. There is always more love, I may not always notice, but there it’s always there.

So today, the world is not as I would want it, so I will sit and drink my coffee slowly. I will eat small bites of very dark chocolate, letting it’s bitter-sweetness melt on my tongue. I will make a bowl of calorie laden macaroni and cheese and pour lots of hot sauce on it, and eat it cross legged on the carpet in front of the fire. I will read poetry from worn out and well loved books. I will talk to my dog about the bird-feeder and the state of the snow covered garden, and he will wag his tail and tilt his head to the side to show me that this too is fascinating and important to him. Later I may even tell him about my worries and my fears, and this he will take sagely and without judgement. Today I will think of my lover’s strong and safe arms, and I will close my eyes and rest my head and my heart there.

“There will be bad days.

Be calm.

Loosen your grip, opening each palm,

slowly now – let go.”

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,

Well I never thought I’d be quoting the Spice Girls, but it is a catchy little phrase don’t you think?

What do I really, really want? Well the easy, somewhat entertaining and glib answer is Viggo on a horse, or to win the lottery, to have six pack abs, for my hair to calm, the-fuck, down, for hunky firemen to come to my bidding,  a really good massage, a clean house, my own studio with a ocean view….

Okay, how about a life? A life would be good. A life where I get to do things for myself and put all those grand plans of mine into action. A life where I don’t bounce from one crisis to another. A life that has some security, financial and emotional.

and Viggo on a horse – of course

What I want is something safe, and strong and solid. I want a shoulder that I can put my head on when this crazy life of mine is out of control. I don’t want to be rescued, not really (although… firemen….) I do want something that feels safe.

ImageI feel like a Matryoshka Doll. Layer after layer of a hard wooden, brightly painted shell each covering another inside it with a firm, smooth and solid layer. The biggest with a smile permanently painted on. Life gets difficult? Snap! On goes another smooth, hard, smiling outer layer. People are unkind? Pop, pop on goes a couple of smiling layers. When I’m alone, and rarely even then, that I think about taking off a layer or two, looking at the small doll at the center.

“Beauty comes in many forms–and there is no form more beautiful than you. Just exactly as you are, this minute, right now, without changing a thing…you are beautiful. Beautiful enough to take God’s breath away. You do believe this, don’t you? Oh, you must. You must. How can I believe in my beauty if you don’t believe in yours?” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

Isn’t that great? I need to have it tattooed on my forearm.

Oh god, I’m rambling.

I grew up learning to gauge other’s emotions and adjust my behaviour accordingly. I hid my own feelings for so long I hardly recognize them. I was told, and believed, that no matter what I did, whatever path I would follow I would never be acceptable. I could twist, conform and mold myself to make others like me, but really, it would never work, and eventually people would reject me. I wore masks, layer after layer of hard, resilient masks, all nesting over another. What I wanted, who I was, what I was passionate about disappeared under the layers.

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” ~ Jim Morrison

Inside. Way inside there is that little doll, but the light is dimmed from all the other layers and it’s difficult to see, to feel what she really wants. It’s easier to retreat inside, to not do the work needed to live without the safe, nesting layers. It’s never convenient to do this, there are always more reasons to stay where you are, to stay within the boundaries and roles that have been assigned to you.

Despite this. Despite the layers we all wear, and the roles we all are assigned, despite all of this, we are only meant to be ourselves, that’s all. We, in theory, have the ability to release the pain, to remove the masks and to look into the darker parts of ourselves.

Those who will not slip beneath the surface of the well of grief,
turning downward through its dark waters
to a place we cannot breathe.

Will never know the secret water
from which we drink, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness, glimmering–
the small, round coins
thrown away by those who wished for something else

– David Whyte

We have been raised to ignore the dark parts of ourselves, the parts about us we don’t like, the parts that we would like to pretend don’t exist. We want the world to see only what is good in us, only the bright shiny outer layer. Except that’s only part of us. The dark and hidden parts, the shattered and broken parts, the really ugly and shameful parts are as important as the bright, shiny and happy parts. Perhaps more important. If you’ve never suffered, you can’t know empathy. A broken heart is more open, feels more, is better able to love.

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”   – Leonard Cohen

So what do I want? The same as everyone else, I suppose. I want to be happy, to be free from suffering. How likely is this? That depends I suppose on how attached I get to certain desires (cough! Viggo! horse!!), and how open I am to accept and appreciate what I already have. So in the end, I’m okay if Viggo doesn’t show up on horseback, and the firemen don’t show up shirtless looking to rescue me. Well.. mostly okay. I think actually I’m okay with where I am right now. I may even like myself a little more, and maybe I’ll take off a couple of those Matryoshka Doll layers and get to know better the not so shiny and slightly cracked and broken parts of myself, because that is where the light gets in.

Dear Drunk Driver

ImageDear Drunk Driver,

You’re probably going to think I’m over reacting. You’re probably going to think I’m being dramatic. Probably. I’m okay with that. I’m okay with you not liking me anymore. I’m okay with your ego being bruised.  I’m okay with this getting really, really uncomfortable, because you know what? none of that even compares with what you’re doing when you make the decision to drink and then get behind the wheel of a car.

I could tell you terrible stories. Stories about dead friends, dead coworkers, dead family from drunk drivers. I could tell you of a few friends who made the choice you make, and drove drunk and of the heartbreaking and life changing consequences they experienced. I could tell you about the funerals, the jail time, the broken families that that a stupid and selfish decision resulted in, but you don’t believe any of this could happen to you. You’re different from everyone else, right? You’re careful. You drive better when you’re drunk maybe? The police won’t stop you. You won’t injure or kill anyone, that only happens to idiots who are really drunk. You won’t get a DUI, lose you car, your livelihood, your freedom. That happens to other people.

Except it doesn’t.

Keep it up. Drive to the bar when you know you’ll be drinking. Get angry when people tell you not to drive. Let your ego determine what you do. Don’t give a single fuck about consequences, or about what your friends and loved ones think, because this is about you! Don’t consider taking a cab, that’s not cool. You show them. Drive anyway. You’ll make it home. That’ll will show them. When someone speaks up, get defensive. Tell them that hey, nothing happened. Make them feel like an idiot for even questioning your actions, because this is only about you. You’re showing people exactly what you value when you do this. What’s important is your ego. you self image. And don’t forget you’re a great role model too.

You could get away with this for quite some time. Years maybe. Or maybe not.

Maybe tonight some last minute shopper happens to get in your way; some family coming home from a Christmas party; someone coming home after working late gets between you and your car and your goddamn right to drive yourself home no matter how much you’ve had to drink. Maybe there will be kids. Maybe you’ll just hit an electrical box and cut power to neighbourhood, because who the fuck cares about how this could inconvenience anyone else.

Remember this is about you.

Or maybe you’ll just get pulled over by the police. Maybe you’ll just get a DUI, just lose your licence, just get fined, just go to court. Maybe you’ll just lose the respect of your friends and family. Maybe you just lose your job and your ability to support yourself. Maybe that’s all that will happen.

Either way, if you get caught, or you don’t. If you hurt someone, or you don’t. If you kill someone, or you don’t. Either way, we can’t be friends. Period. I can’t tell you what to do with your life, but I can decide who will be a part of mine, and if you drink and drive you cannot be part of my life. Period.

sincerely,

Ruth