Until We Are Fine

Last week, I was taking too many pills. Not purposefully, but also not by accident.
This week, I’m more solid, starting somewhat anew. Still tired and afraid, but possessing a bit of momentum. Not quite hope, but an expectancy.

I’m trying to move ahead, and have several supportive friends and family members who have helped me unburden. There are moments I feel adrift, propelled by the winds of pointlessness. Then I remember others, and decide to finish buttering the bread, get the dish from the sink to the dishwasher. I decide to answer a ringing telephone. Pretend. 

It will get better, at some point. It already has. But I’m still tired and can’t sleep, still sweaty but freezing. This isn’t going where I meant it to go. 

We have to ask for help. If we don’t ask, no one knows. They just think we’re mean or shy or FINE. But we are not fine, are we?

We are not fine. 

But…

Eat the bread. Drink the tea. Hug the child. Pet the dog. Write the poem. 

Until we are fine, or a facet thereof.

Maybe It Doesn’t Help

Asking for help doesn’t seem to be as effective as I advertise it to be. “Ask for help! Don’t go through it alone!” It seems that asking for help just makes people think you are crazy. And makes them think a) they are saviors to your cause, making it about them rather than about the hurting person, or b) they get angry because you’ve lost your marbles and the inconvenience of it pisses them off.

Either way, not what I was expecting. And I won’t ask for help again.

Drown My Sorrow

I could die in this closet tonight and no one would know until tomorrow around noon. Look right through me.

I won’t do it. It’s too mundane and makes too much sense right now. And I know that what makes sense now is crazy. So I won’t follow the crazy. But I am staying in my closet for now.

I’m in the hangers. I have too much. Stuff. Shame. Fear. Anger. Grief. Resentment. Fraudulence. I am never who I pretend to be.

But I do not know who I am, so the pretending is easy. Pens and poems and sadness do not a human make.

Right? Or am I wrong?

I Am Mother

What was your mother like? she asked, with pad and expensive pen in hand.

Like any mother, maybe. Locked in the bathroom, in the tub crying. Taking litte blue pills when she thought I wasn’t looking.

Dad would come home and always pick the bathroom lock. Try to soothe her in his rough around the edges ways, sit on the floor at the edge of the tub until he could get her to crawl out, off balance and dripping wet and cold from the hours-old water.

Mostly what he did helped, but her cry eyes would swell for days, and she always tried to line them with wax pencil, thinking it hid her secrets behind what she called a smoky eye. She seemed to think a melancholy look was beautiful.

I thought sometimes she faked the crying in the bathroom thing for attention. But Dad said no, that if she didn’t hide in the bath, she’d have walked out into our Wyoming desert with the coyotes, lain down in the sagebrush, and we’d have never found her again.

I wondered why she didn’t just leave us if she was so unhappy. Go to California or something, someplace with sun and not so much snow and coal. But I knew in my heart she was too faithful and loving and afraid to know what real leaving was.

Dying, she could do, if she’d have loved us just a little less. But she loved us more than the sun, more than the God she wrestled with, more than the stones and bones and Bibles she kept in her special drawer, and mostly she loved us more than herself.

And that was maybe what saved us all.

Simply Flawed

I don’t enjoy feeling like someone is angry at me, and not knowing what I did. No one enjoys it, I’m sure. It does seem like some people deal with it a bit better than others, though. Water off a duck’s back and such. Wish I could be that way. But instead, I’m a dweller. An over-analyzer. And possibly somewhat paranoid.

Character flaw. Just adding it to the list now. Some days I feel there are just far too many flaws than time to fix them.

I’m tired today, and so grateful it’s Friday. My job is a heavy backpack that I like to sling onto the floor with a clunk once Friday at five rolls around. Then comes the disappointment over those all too high Friday night expectations. I’m not 25 any more. Hell, I don’t know if I was ever 25. I’ve been a mom since 18. On once you’re a mom, there seems to be no age but your child’s.

I’m out of energy, out of motivation, and running out of hope in this dead end high desert disaster. The barrenness sometimes seeps right into me, gets me to the core, and I have to do what I can with books and home facials and online shopping to get to another day.

My life is measured by the delivery of Amazon boxes.

At least it’s something.

An Intro to Melancholia

My life on the high desert. It’s been nearly three years, and I’ve not yet fully acclimated. I’d consider the ocean to be my natural habitat, but this high desert home is dry and acidic. It has its own strange beauty (the deer and the antelope know), and at times it sweeps me away with its vast emptiness and grand, violet-blue sky. But the openness of it is discomforting, disquieting.

There is a book I read in college, Giants in the Earth, about an immigrant woman from Norway, who is led by her husband to the prairies of South Dakota. The vastness overcomes her, and she climbs into her steamer trunk to escape the desolation, to hide from the emptiness, to cocoon.

Sometimes think I’ll climb into my closet, curl up in a back corner in my smallest kitty-cat self, and try to relearn how to breathe.

Instead, though, I play with mineral pigments and soaps, a buy sparkly costume jewelry. I reorganize my writing desk and bookshelves. I watch documentaries and ridiculously embarrassing historical dramas. Anything with jewelry and extravagant fashion.

I like pretty things.

I have blogged for a number of years. So many evolutions have occurred, so many life changes. Reading back makes me tired. I love blogging. There is something so satisfying about writing out the heart, knowing that someone unknown may read it, and possibly relate. And there is something about public writing that holds one accountable, even if the writing is anonymously written, and anonymously read.

This blog is more a journal than anything. I am not here to teach, to advise or inspire. I am not in any position to guide anyone else, although there can be lessons learned from the mistakes I’ve so often made.

Primarily, I am writing here in order to keep my sense of self solid, to hear bones rattling in an empty  house. The high desert sometimes suffocates, and this might be a place I come to breathe.

 

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Leaving God

I haven’t known what I am for some time, now.

It’s not that I don’t believe in the God of the Christian faith. It’s not that I don’t have faith that he exists. I’m actually quite certain that he does exist, in some form or another. It’s that I have no faith in what he is. Truth be told, I think he is an uncaring, aloof asshole. Unreliable. Cold.

The final marker for the death of my former faith was laid down on December 14, 2012. Oh yes, I’d had troubles with Christianity before then. It was a slow dying, one that I fought hard, and by the end, I was clutching at my Bible with every bit of please help me that I could muster. But it wasn’t enough. All my clinging, my pleading wasn’t enough to salvage what was left of the strong convictions and sureties I’d carried with me for almost 40 years. Does that make me weak? To some, yes. But I know otherwise.

I go through phases. At times, I am completely stable and balanced in knowing what I don’t know. I feel good and solid in my earth-bound spirituality, knowing that, yes, there is something behind it all, inside of it all, around us all. For me, nature-based spirituality is more sensible, more attainable, and even more comforting than my old our-father-who-art-in-heaven beliefs. Some may ask what’s so comforting about nature? Well, it’s the surety of it that I find so peace-inducing. We generally know what to expect from nature.

We know that storms come. We know that the sun will rise in the East. We know that ice forms on the lake in the winter. We know when to watch for fawns and robins’ eggs and ducklings. So many things in nature are essentially promised. There is great comfort in unbroken promises. Nature is powerful, and can bring about great destruction, too. Scary, sad, awful things that we aren’t expecting at that time. But, even still, we know that earthquakes and hurricanes still exist, and that they are more likely in certain areas and during certain times.

I once watched a documentary about penguin babies. To be honest, I have watched many documentaries about penguins and their babies, but this particular documentary has stood out in my mind for many years. These penguin babies were hidden by their parents in little seaside hills in Australia. This type of penguin is the smallest penguin in the world, and as you can imagine, the babies are unbearably adorable. The parents swim out to sea to find food in order to feed their babies, and are often gone so long, that the tiny babies have died by the time they return.

A scientist in the documentary who has studied and watched these “fairy penguins”, as they are called, for years, said that it made her sad when the babies perished. She said that many people would call nature cruel for allowing, or perhaps causing, the babies to die. She went on to say that nature was not, in fact, cruel. Nature is neutral. It just essentially is what it is. I thought that was so simple and profound. So sensible. Yes, nature just is. 

And perhaps it’s this philosophy that has contributed to my departure from Christianity. If nature, being so powerful, is not cruel, yet not loving, it is simply neutral. If God, being so powerful, allows bad things to happen to the innocent among us, then he must not be loving. As such, he is either cruel, which Christianity states is untrue, or he is neutral. Like nature. Emotionless.

But aren’t we told in Sunday School that God is all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful? Those are not descriptions that denote neutrality, or that denote a lack of emotion. We are told that God is vengeful. Jealous. So, obviously, God has emotion. Jesus wept. I can’t tell you how many books and essays I’ve read on the topic of why bad things happen to good people. And by good people, I am not referring to myself. Primarily, I’m referring to children, and the horrendous things that adults seem to repeatedly do to them. Pages and pages and pages of reading on where is God when bad things happen. And after all that reading, the conclusion that I haven’t been able to chase away is that God is there, but he just isn’t powerful enough, or doesn’t care enough, to fix what’s happening. To stop it. So he just goes on letting it happen.

I’m told that God doesn’t do bad things to people, people do bad things to people. So, by virtue of that argument, if I sit and watch while someone is beating up one of my children, if I just let it happen because the bully has free agency, or some such nonsense, then what kind of parent am I? A shitty one.

And so, I have deduced that God is a shitty parent, and I’ve essentially disowned him as dysfunctional and lacking. I will try to talk to him every once in a while. Just to see if things have changed. But so far, no luck. Oh, he’s there. He’s just got more important things to do than saving abused children, feeding the starved, healing the terminally ill. And he is certainly too busy to help me get the job I’ve applied for or to help ease my depression.

After Sandy Hook, a cousin posted on Facebook (the worst place on earth to interact with the insufferable) that if prayer had been allowed in school, God would have been there for the Sandy Hook children and teachers. I came undone, tried to reason with her over private messages, and she wouldn’t budge (and, to be fair, neither would I). In the end, I told her that if that is the kind of god she believed in, then her god was a dick, and I’d have no more of him.

I still stand behind every word I wrote.

godNone-the-less, the void that is left, after the leaving, after the disowning, is still achy sometimes. Most of the time, I can cushion it with feathers and flowers, with a ray of sun or two, a cuddle with my puppy, but not always. Don’t tell me it’s a god-sized hole that’s needing filled. Don’t quote Bible verses. And, sweet mother of all that’s holy, don’t tell me you’ll pray for me. Pray for yourself. Pray for children who are suffering. Pray for something that matters. And I hope that your prayers will work better than mine ever did. I strongly doubt they will, but I sincerely hope they do.