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Archive for July, 2019

this past year, in summary

You might have some questions, so I’ll get right to it: the stuff that lands folks in jail or rehab ain’t my jam. My heart just grew too heavy and I had to rest. I’m adjusting to the harsh reality that I’m too small to move the really heavy things. In my own life, in the lives of those I care about, and the people I’ve never met and never will, who I also care a great deal about.

If you emailed me I probably didn’t respond. I’m sorry, truly, but I thank you for reaching out to me because it did make a difference. I’ve been writing this entry for nearly a year and perhaps it will be an adequate response. I’m not entirely comfortable with it. It feels like too much, yet incomplete, but I’m trying not to overthink because it’s time for me to do this. This will barely cover it, but it still feels like a titanic sized gob of… vague, guarded honesty? Self-pity? You decide. I’ve lost my muscle memory of the me that you may have come to truly admire or be completely nauseated by. And now I’ve reappeared after a year to trot out this weak excuse for my absence.

Last year, I paid a visit to a used book store. I’ll admit that I did not accidentally land in the midst of Dr Phil schlock and colorful hardback pamphlets crafted to convince teenagers to stop acting like psychopaths. I’m usually able to keep my own counsel just fine, but I was feeling particularly desperate at that moment. A strange little nearsighted man, who was also standing in the cramped space, studied me for several minutes before he asked, “What’s bothering you?” I took several seconds to consider an ambiguous but honest answer to such a probing question from a stranger. I finally replied, “Everything.” Turns out this fellow was just looking to sell his neurolinguistic programming services, which included hypnosis. But I know why he was there in my life right that second: to ask a question that needed asking. What IS bothering me? Dissatisfied with the self-help section, I left with a stack of books about jewelry and even more questions.

entre chien et loup #2 by josette simon-gestin (the hour at which the light is too dim to discern a dog from a wolf)

Soon after, I tried therapy. I’m sure I have at least a couple of therapists in my readership. In advance, I’ll go ahead and make it clear that I mean no offense, and note that this is not a criticism of the service I received. I’ve been told by my personal counsel (I don’t mean the therapist, although she did hint at it, too) that my expectations of therapy were a little bit off. I needed a professional to tell me what to do because I obviously couldn’t hack it on my own right then. When I expressed this desire to my trusted confidants, they actually laughed at me, much to my confusion. Every single one of them. By most accounts, the purpose of therapy is to be “gently guided” into knowing what to do, without being told directly what to do. But I prefer direct. Direct gets the job done. Sometimes painfully, but at least it’s quick. Of course, one of the perks of that indirect and gentle arrangement is that the professional can remain blameless for any bad choices I might make, and they could gently draw this guidance out, along with my money, for years.

Yes, I am a cynic, and I suppose the high value I place upon personal responsibility, thrift and simplicity prevented me from fully committing to being “handled” this way. If I want the unvarnished truth badly enough to pay for it, it’s a freaking emergency. But since my “I feel like I’m losing my damn mind and I’d rather save us both the hassle and just die” face is very similar to my “oh, hey, what’s up” face, nobody should be blamed for proceeding with caution. Ultimately, I felt just as foolish, misunderstood and out of place in that office as I did everywhere else in my life. And since I have trust issues (as we all should) the whole thing was bound to fail. Some people need a therapist to tell them they have trust issues, but I walked in there knowing it, and walked out of there feeling completely righteous in retaining them. Go ME.

death is a circus by dorshak blok (bombsawayart.com)

I have since pulled myself together, somewhat. These are strangely serious times. There is no comfort when we must choose our words and our actions so very cautiously. It’s hard to be light when so many things are so terribly wrong. And when it comes down to righting certain wrongs, certain other things could suffer too greatly. Sometimes I wish it would burn down and we could start all over. And what is it, exactly?

I used to have a few quirky words of wisdom, and a “we’ve got this” sort of resolve to share, but when it has lost its effect on me, what’s the point in sharing it with you? I removed three paragraphs of some pretty serious doom and gloom stuff, because even though I feel it to the very center of my core, it isn’t the message I’d like to send. That’s why I haven’t said anything in a really long time. But I’m still here, with my usual eye out for a twinkle in the fog, for diamonds in the debris. I do find them now and then, and that has to be enough for now. Hope is about all I have, and I’m clinging to it for dear life. LIFE, people. I want to live, but in a better world than the one we’re living in now. I hope you will cling to hope too, that you’ll hang on and resist the wrong, whoever you are, in the tempest of whatever you might be feeling in this moment.

life is persistent

Maybe I have been working this past year in a different sort of way: walking miles, painting my eyelids a different color each day, closely examining humanity and myself… and finally accepting that it’s okay to be human, to need other people, to need help in times of weakness and sadness. But mostly, I’ve just been trying to be brave in a terrifying place. I think we all are. This work has not produced much of anything tangible or quantifiable, and it means nothing to anyone but me… and even that meaningfulness is iffy. ‘Tis the nature of the emotional free fall, I suppose, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t landed yet. I may never. The good news is, something new is looming on my horizon. This hiatus may have yielded new ways for me to work, share and be inspired. Be looking for new work from me in the not too distant future. And I mean it this time.

If I haven’t lost you yet, thank you for helping me let this go. Feel free to email me (z-beads@sbcglobal.net) if you have any comments or curiosities.

I’ll leave you with this, a pearl of inspiration:

watercolor by carol carter

“It takes irritation to produce a pearl…and pearls don’t form in a day. There are irritants in your life at this moment demanding of you to rearrange yourself inside to address the discomfort, annoyance, and intrusion. Yet these elements in our lives we experience as noxious are the very things around which we craft an inner beauty, our pearl of great price. That process is not always a pleasant one, and, who doesn’t wish at times that we could produce that glory in a day, rather than in a year, or a lifetime. Still, I believe the treasure will far outlast the discomfort. That annoyed little critter inside the oyster shell will be long gone, though the pearl will remain.”
Gil Hedley, Integral Anatomy

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