Deep morning thoughts:

My health isn’t good. Earlier this week I was made aware in a much more realistic way that my body is unhappy. Tests were done. More (very scary ones) have been scheduled. And for a moment I found myself frozen in fear. Utterly terrified. This is how people find out worse news. “Well, we see your problem with this area but whilst scanning for this problem we found these nodules or lesions and we need to further test them.” Then, a week later, “we’re sorry, it’s cancer.” That’s how it happens. Almost every time, that’s how it happens. At least this was true of both my daddy and Dorie. 

My therapist calls it irrational fear. I don’t see what’s irrational about it. First of all, the fear is not of being sick or of dying. It’s of not being able to take care of my son or my mom. These people NEED me. I don’t have time to be sick – no matter how trivial the situation is, no matter how quickly recovery from (possible) surgery might be. I don’t have time! Besides that, rational fear versus irrational fear is simple: a fear is rational if you’ve experienced a bad thing or result, or death has occurred (if fear of death is the issue) with the same or similar situation in the past. I have. Multiple times. HELLO? Same with my fear of driving in the rain. What an idiot, right? No, just a person who has experienced multiple bad things in that situation and has a very valid reason to fear the situation. 

Anyway, none of that is the point. The point is this. Lately, but especially yesterday, I have felt alone. I haven’t been, but it’s how I’ve felt. I’ve felt very distant and disconnected; from friends, from my family, from LIFE – just separate from everything. And then, this morning, it suddenly hit me. I’ve outgrown it. Maybe I’ve outgrown my life. I’ve outgrown it and I feel like I don’t belong anymore. Especially since the election, and living in America, I feel like I don’t belong – more profoundly and painfully than ever before. 

Perhaps it’s just my life in general. I stretch myself transparently thin to meet all the requirements of the roles I have to play and I’m tired. Exhausted. That’s what’s wrong with my health. It’s not that I don’t take good enough care of myself, it’s not that I stress too much or can’t emotionally handle it, it’s not ME AT ALL. Nobody – NOBODY – was ever created with the ability or the expectation of their creator to deal with this much weight on them. We just weren’t. 

Our bodies have limits and no matter how emotionally flexible we are, one can only bend their body so far (or push it so far) before it breaks. In my case, the doctor says I’ve done it to myself by mismanaging my stress. In that case? “Screw you, therapist – what am I paying YOU for! You’ll be receiving my medical bills as they pile up.” Ha! Admittedly stress is a factor but in this case, in a general sense, it’s not about how well I’m handling the stress. It’s just about being literally stretched between homes and people and being exhausted, and having only one of me to go around isn’t likely to change soon since cloning humans has yet to be made legal. 

In the end, there’s no one to blame. It’s just what happens. So, we fix it. People who believe in a Christian God will say that he never gives us more than we can handle. I think that’s BS. I think that’s a crock and a fairy tale that helps some people keep love and hope in their heart when their subconscious knows that otherwise they might fail, so that when they do (like I have), they have someone to blame. And if it helps them, that’s ok. But it doesn’t help me. “It was all part of God’s plan.” Pfft. What plan? To make you miserable? To make your loved ones miserable? To cause suffering in the world? To teach you or someone a lesson? OK. Maybe so… Or MAYBE, just maybe, it’s just the way the cards fell. The way the cookie crumbled. The way it was meant to happen. 

Maybe there doesn’t have to be a reason and it’s time to stop looking for one. Maybe you just feel what you feel, desire what you desire, need what you need, and want what you want, find beauty in what you find beauty in, are hurt by the things hurt you, are too sensitive or not sensitive enough or are too deep or not deep enough (labels often applied to me) because it’s just who you are. 

I’ve outgrown this rampant and cancerous behavior of society in general to constantly blame and not grasp the concept of personal responsibility, or to require an explanation, or to have anything make sense. At a personal level I’ve outgrown this ridiculous need I’ve always had to be accepted and to be a part of something “bigger than me.” By default, we will always be extremely small beings in an extremely large (immeasurable) universe, and that’s the reason I suppose so many of us long to feel like we belong… But I’m beyond it. I do belong – to me, and to the universe. Why are we so afraid to go it alone? Why have I been? I don’t know. I think religion and indoctrination into this idea that “the universe is a scary thing” is the reason. 

Since she died, I’ve outgrown a lot of things but the main thing I’ve outgrown and dropped off at life’s thrift shop is religion. I’ve completely shed my skin. I’ve shed the skin of my past and the skin of my captors – both secular and religious. I’m done with it. I’m me, and I’m ok even when I’m not ok. I have a handful of people around me who have outgrown their own versions of these things, or who are on their way at least, and the rest of it…well, I just don’t have time for it anymore. 

I’m almost literally barely surviving right now. My life is extremely heavy. It has been since she died. I mean, after daddy it was bad enough but then her…and I’ll be damned. You’d think that there would have been relief, and initially there was, but mostly? There wasn’t. It was just a whole other, different burden. At the end she said I’d be just fine and she accused me of being the strong one. In honesty, neither of us was. Nobody is. We are not strong or weak – we are just us. We do what we gotta, somehow. Strength and weakness are just labels we create and then give some sort of modifier to so that we can judge each other and tell ourselves whether we are doing ok or not, when in reality, we’re always ok – even when we’re not, as I’ve said so many times before.

She loved tulips – in fact, I took all these photos of tulips (including the cover photo for this post) to send to her while I was in New Orleans a couple of years ago. Tulips were her favorite. They’ve meant many things to me, especially since she got sick. But now, looking back at these photos, they remind me that, “why?” is not the question I need to ask. The question is simply, “what’s next?”

This’ll be a better blog someday, and maybe then it will make more sense. For now…the ideas and thoughts are just fuel for tears born of exhaustion and expressing them is the quickest and easier way of relieving the pressure on my heart. 

C.


Good morning… ❤️ I am here at my mother’s now, waiting on the home health nurse to arrive and looking out over the field where in my youth I would surely find myself on a warm winter day like today, doing upkeep and spring gardening preparation with my beloved Mama Kay. What beautiful, cherished memories I have of my home place and of my childhood with my grandmother. Yet, today I find myself in a very different phase of life. As I recollect a childhood passed I realize even more how grateful I am to have been prepared so well for this particular time in my life. 

I am in that phase of life where it’s all about everyone else. I don’t have the time or resources for all the self care fantasies that people (especially women) go on about – bubble baths, manicures, beauty shops (anxiety on fleek in places like that, for me), shopping trips (who can afford that anyway?) – but I take care of myself in the ways I know how, and have available to me, and know are right for me. 

For me, it’s walks in the backyard (or at my mom’s when I’m there), reading a book before sleep, watching space documentaries (or listening) while I clean, taking photos randomly and editing them because I enjoy it so much, ALWAYS listening to and sometimes making music, writing down thoughts in the notepad on my phone (if not a napkin or scrap of paper shoved into my bag) during those waiting moments (in line at the store or over morning coffee). It’s always in nature, and it’s always in self-reflection and self-expression.

You can’t always make time for yourself and you can’t always make yourself a priority. All the self help psycho babble bullshit that puts pressure on people to do that is detrimental. It’s not humanly possible for me, or many people, to be on a daily basis what truly feels to me like being self-indulgent. To be perfectly honest, I don’t CARE about my appearance that much. It does not make me feel better to have fresh hair or nails or perfect makeup or a “style.” My style is just me, as I am. It’s pretty simple – clean self, clean clothes that are comfortable and that I like, a little eye makeup just because it makes me feel awake in the mornings and I really love my eyes… LOL

I’m a simple person. Being a simple person is OK. My self care habits include the things I mentioned above, and I eat fairly clean(ly). I stay hydrated. I take my St. John’s wort and vitamins every day. I wash my hands a lot. I keep my home and the environments I’m in clean. But most importantly, what truly makes me feel better about my life and about myself is that I love. I give hugs to people and I show concern for them – especially my son, and all the animals. I try to smile even when I don’t feel like it or am on a rant somewhere inside myself. 

Loving and caring for and trying to conscientiously be kind to others is the best way for me to love and care for myself. It promotes self-growth and self-love at off the charts levels to simply put others first. How convenient that I’m in that stage of life that daughters and mothers, both of which I am, often face during the mid-life years. It’s a BEAUTIFUL phase of life, even as ugly and dirty and exhausting as the tangible bits of it can be. At least 95% of the time, I feel…privileged to have the opportunity to touch people’s lives and to be a part of making them better or at least more livable than their situations might make them feel. I wish society would stop promoting self indulgence or putting such pressure on people that they only love themselves if they do it a certain way. 

I do get down, and especially in exhaustion I rant and carry on but it’s not from a negative space. It’s from a real space. I wish people would see the beauty in just being who they are and in just loving and helping each other. Anything else – anything more or less than that – is what makes life seem so bad, when really, it’s just…what it is. Not inherently good or evil – just life… Even I, in my darkest moments, know that even when it doesn’t feel or look or seem like it and even when it’s impossible to truly understand, life is a gift – but it’s only a true gift when we share it with those we love. That is what makes any human being’s life worth living. That is the only thing worthy of the pain and heartache and struggle life can be. Just love – any kind. Love, and kindness. I have to muster it from the depths of me some days lately, but I do try, always. Ultimately, I know that it matters. We matter. Please remember that, always… We all matter and we all have something to offer. You – whoever you are, whatever you’re struggling with – are loved…by me…

C.