Home is so much more than four walls and love

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Hello out there to anyone looking back. And hello to those who aren’t.

2013…rough year. It’s almost over though. I wish it hadn’t been so rough.

January is fast approaching, which means the first death date anniversary for that person I loved is also fast approaching. You know those silly scenes in movies where the protagonists go to visit the graves that hold the rotting bodies (fast turning to dirt) that once were animated by their loved ones? I always thought that was so stupid. There is nothing there but, well, nothing.

Well call me a hypocrite. Yes, I know there is nothing there, but I find myself, sometimes quite unexpectedly, taking a seat beside a piece of stone holding a dead person’s name and…and…and what? Sometimes silence, sometimes gossip, sometimes curses and questions as to why. Why? Why? Why had he done that? Did it hurt? Did he suffer long?

It’s strangely good company.

As I’d mentioned some time before, I ran away last spring to the desert. Well, near the end of summer, I ran away again. This time to the ocean. Seems like that will be my thing, this running away. Why run again? One day I took my father out to lunch and he told me he wanted to die. The next week a doctor told him he was going to die if he didn’t get a surgery, and with a smirk, that asshole decided against the surgery.

I told him he was selfish, I told him it would be cowardly, I asked him if the tables were turned, wouldn’t he want me to fight for life?

And his answer was no.

He said no.

No.

But…after that bitter conversation, and the vocal protests from others, he received the surgery and lives. So while his words told me one thing, he chose to stay after all. Doesn’t that mean he actually does love me? Right? Right? Right?

So I ran to the ocean (before his decision for surgery) and drove the coast line, and visited whitewashed lighthouses, and stood in the cold surf staring out at the eternity of sky and water. And I did not want to leave.

But I did, and I’m happy to be here. I have a good job now. A good job in the valley where I grew up and where my family lives. And I have a nice cozy cabin in the woods where I am staying this winter. A lot of snow falls here and everything is warm inside and picturesque outside. It is good.

I put up my own Christmas tree for the first time in my life. There are wrapped gifts underneath and I plan on hanging lights outside on the cabin porch. I am reconnecting with old friends and trying to make new friends. This is where I have planned to live and grow old and die, so I am trying to grow roots. Or should I say, I’m trying to strengthen the roots already here. And sometimes that means going to a graveyard to grieve, and sometimes that means fighting with someone I love. After all, running away, by definition, means running away from a home already in place.

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Wounded after all

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I like bees. I’ve said this before. Bumble bees in particular; their tumbling flight, impossible landings from seemingly non-existent aim, their warrior striped bodies, gentle natures, and fate to die when giving another pain cause both laughter and respect for them.

It’s also recently dawned on me that without bees I’d probably starve to death with most of the rest of the human population.

This has nothing to do what I am here to write about. I’m going to write about something I am apparently unable to talk about. I’ve tried in the past and the words don’t get past my throat. Not to family, not to friends, not in therapy. But my fingers are not as mute.

My last couple posts were about my upcoming (now past) graduation from Graduate School. I walked, was hooded, hugged by family and then I took off on a fantastic road trip where I camped in the desert and hiked among towering boulders and deep river carved canyons. It was amazing, I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to come back. I didn’t want to return to my life where my goal, which I had been fighting for for almost half my life, had been met. Passed. Finished.

My last night in camp…shit.

My last night in camp, an old monster revisited me. I’d thought I’d buried said monster. And I guess I had. Buried it under a filled schedule and hectic life. But there I was, suddenly confronted by that beast from my past.

It took me completely off guard. I hadn’t thought of that personal brute, I’d purposefully not thought of that brute in a very long time. But he showed. He ripped the scabs off my unhealed soul, decimated the shaky foundation I’ve fought to build and laughed at my attempts to forget him.

So I blubbered and wept and wailed like a child who’s lost her parents.

And nothing healed.

And nothing was resolved.

And nothing productive was accomplished.

My return to my life has been a leaving of a desert and an entering of a wasteland. I’m not doing well. I’m not ok. I’m stagnant. Tired. Ambivalent. Robotic. Numb- but only from certain things. The anger, the fear, the frustration…those are present.

And shame. I can’t forget the shame.

I hate that this is what I have become. That I can watch people reaching out to me and it is as if I am observing a science experiment. I feel no connection. No interest in intimacy. Aware of the confusion and hurt I’m causing and unable to care beyond a surface sympathy.

For a very long time, I’ve denied that I just may be effected by my time in war. I’ve denied it since I am a woman. And I was a mechanic…nothing more than a mechanic, practically the very definition of a Pogue or a Fobbit. How could I possibly try to claim any real wounds?

But what is this other than an unhealed wound? What is this other than shame that I may be wounded? What is this other than self-scorn that I would dare attempt to claim this wound? What right have I? What right?

And so I’m trying to shove that beast back down. That laughing, mocking, razor clawed monster who was born in another desert. Because if I live daily with the acknowledgment of these wounds, what good would it do? There is no cure for them. Literally. No cure. They are now a permanent part of me, so what value in focusing on them when nothing will change? And secondly, I know I can fake it. I am lucky enough that mine are flesh wounds compared the soul deep lacerations others received. So I will, because I can and others have been robbed of that ‘can’.

I suppose I should find another goal. Another far off sign post to travel toward.

 

 

The beckoning road

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I’m running away.

This is not something I normally do. At all.

This Saturday, thank any power that exists, I am graduating from Grad school and I will never return to higher education again. Unless it’s for some random fun class at a Community College.

Then Sunday, I am climbing in my car and running. Fleeing. Without any real plan.

This is very unlike me. I usually have things laid out in advance. But not this time. Nope. It’ll be a general direction with no itinerary. Just me and the road and America. I’ve got my tent, sleeping bag, hammock, camp food and a camp stove. I’ve got my tax return. I’ve got seven full days to pick a compass point and drive.

I’m leaving my gun and taking my pepper spray. And an arsenal of prepared lies about meeting with friends. But I’m not. Not at all. I’m going solo and happy about it.

No computer. No expectations. No work, no internship, no required reading, no internet…I only wish I could go with no phone. Except my Mum would throw a fit. And I try not to upset the people who love me.

I’m bringing a stack of books, my hiking shoes, and camera.

It’s been a while since I last had an adventure.

Last sign post in sight

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It snowed today.

Then came the sunshine. Then came the snow. Then came the sun and the snow and the sun and the snow until darkness fell while moisture sleeted.

So April ends and May begins.

13 years ago I was 17, a soon to be high school graduate with a plan.

Lord but I was young. Young, ignorant, naïve, certain I knew who I was. Shy. Terrified. Stupidly brave.

Now I am 30. A soon to be graduate of a Masters program at a respected University.

Still young…but old. Much more aware of my ignorance. My naivety has soured into distrust and suspicion. I have little idea of who I am-or should I say, who I was has splintered and I still am trying to repair all the pieces. Introverted. Terrified. Exhausted. Brave? No, but I hope determined.

13 years ago, I had a plan. In 18 days, that plan will be fulfilled.

Who was that 17 year old child, that her resolve has propelled me to this end? Amazing. How did she do that?

At 18 a Drill Sergeant roared her into the Universe of soldiers. The ‘coming of’ age, the 21st year, was mostly spent at war. In dust, heat, unacknowledged fear, and a meeting and shattering of self. 24 was a launch back into civiliondom…a strange world. Strange and frightening and frustrating. Then came 26 and the entry into higher learning. And a shock as people who shared an age, but few similar experiences, surrounded her. Me. Us?   

13 years ago, I had a plan. Now? Now I am tired. Marrow bone weary. I am 30…looking forward to being done. And that should not be so. I am not even half-way there.

13 years ago, I saw a road, I planned a journey with no rest stops. And now I do not know how to find the exits.

It snowed today and the cold seeped through my skin to the blood and muscle. It snowed and the creak in my knees reminded me of the abuse I had heaped upon them. Of the miles run. Of the weight of armor.

It snowed today and I do not feel 30. There is too much bruising and shredded spirit to call this 30.

23. The number 23 is the latest statistic. The latest and greatest number of daily deaths. Self-inflicted death- brothers, sisters, soldiers. Every day. I bet they didn’t feel young. I can guarantee it. I wonder how many were 30. I wonder how many didn’t make it to 30. I wonder if they felt snowed in when it was, in all actuality, Spring.

Everyone, family, co-workers, friends, peers, professors- all, all of them; they say I am strong. And I wonder at that. Because I know no strength, but only a brittleness from the cold.

not ogle equal

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A couple years back…wait a second. More than a couple years! How the time does fly. Anyway, some years ago, I was in the middle of a move from one town to another and asked for help from my family. They had never actually been to my house (it was quite a ways away in a tiny little town so I usually visited them) and they needed directions. Since my Dad and brother were house painters, I had the bright idea of giving directions by the landmark of a house that desperately needed painting. It was chipped and faded, but peering beyond the dilapidation, one could decipher its former color.

It totally made sense when I thought it through. Both those guys were always making derogatory comments about houses in need of paint protection. So of course I thought it wouldn’t be problematic. I said to “Turn left after the house that used to be pink.”

Well I gave directions to my mother who passed them on to the fellas in route resulting in my brother nearly having a coronary. I really wish he had been recorded. His rants are rather hilarious…even if I am at the brunt end.

“USED to be pink! How am I supposed to know which house USED to be pink! What color is it NOW!” You get the drift.

Why mention this? No real good reason other than I need to be working on stuff so I can graduate but don’t wanna. Instead I wanna blog except nothing more interesting than a tiny event today is stirring in my “topics to blog about” area of the brain.

I is tired.

My Dad sent off a text to me today about passing the house that “used to be pink”, surprising me since that town is far off Pop’s usual trail. After inquiry, he said there was a choice job to bid, a house of some movie star. (Small town, true, but in a beautiful place.) Instead of asking, like any sane, gossip minded person would, about which movie star…I reminded him to charge for the gas he’d be using in transit as part of the bid. Now it’s past midnight and it randomly occurred to me that I don’t know whose house and it’s bugging me this time. Dammit. Why is it bugging me? It never has before. What a bother.

What should be bothering me is the vision of Dad texting and driving.

Bad Daughter!!!

On a wholly separate note, it was warm today. Warm and sunny and beautiful. So I ditched responsibilities and took in a Vitamin D enriched walk. And was promptly reminded of other reasons why I love the sun.

You know what the sun does? It makes things hot.

You know what gets hot? Hawt guys.

More specifically, hawt guys working out who choose to lose their shirts.

God bless ‘em.

So, I shall close this meandering entry with an open letter of appreciation to all hawt shirtless dudes. And specifically to one in particular sighted today.

Hawt shirtless dude,

   Thank you.

Thank you for choosing to care for your physical body in a manner which can be visually appreciated by others.

Thank you for choosing to perform lunges for the full 200 yards it took for me to catch up with you and then choosing, at the precise perfect moment, to find the need to stretch out them legs and gluteus…by using the time tested “bend over” technique. I will freely inform you that all those lunges are working. Very nicely.

Thank you for demonstrating why living in a Paternalistic culture is not all bad since it is acceptable for guys to go shirtless, but not so much we ladies (cuz that would just be uncomfortable). And also choosing to take advantage of the shirtless choice.

Thank you for choosing to give those abs some sun in an appropriate place where it’s expected instead of someplace where it is just awkward. Like the farmer’s market. Or the gas station.

But most of all, thank you (though I know it wasn’t your choice) for that moment when I was nearly crowded into you by a passing bicyclist, when your passing glance was easily misinterpreted by me as a once over. Cause that bit of fiction has made my day.  

Most of all, thank you for reminding me why summer is just so freaking awesome! Beautiful half-naked boys…men…males. Makes me feel a little sad for the dudes and lesbians out there. This is not an ogle equal culture.

Leetle bit of anger

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So I went to a concert. A concert of one of my favorite bands!!!! Excitement extraordinaire!

You ever go to a music event and expect awesome and get awesome of an entirely different flavor?

I mean, I know this band’s music. I can sing along to most of their songs and I mean the verses, not just the chorus. I expected to hear a live, more amazing version of the album. What I got was…uh, not that.

First of all, I hadn’t realized I was listening to a band who attracted such a young audience. A whole lot of high schoolers showed up making me feel alternately hip and out of place (and sometimes downright old. Do the mothers know what their daughters are not wearing in public?) Second of all, a couple rows of the seats had been cleared out to create a mosh pit. I had never thought of this band (AWOL Nation) as a mosh pit band.

Apparently they are.

Made more apparent by how they play live. It was like watching the 90’s come back to life. Like a self-aware tribute to Kurt Cobain. Head banging, crowd surfing and (sadly) some screwed up sound system errors where all the words were indecipherable.

Lucky I knew all the lyrics.

And the grunge added to their playing style was rather notable.

And yet…despite all the above mentioned peculiarities, it was still amazing. And I still love ‘em. Maybe even more for knowing how strange they are live.

Plus one of the dudes wore my State’s t-shirt.

What was really fun, was the crowd/people watching…apart from the sluttily dressed children that is. This town is odd. Weird. Strange, and human watching could be a full time hobby. The dreadlocks hanging out next to the fu-manchus. The sleeves of tattoos next to the polo shirts. The flanneled drug dealer bumping elbows with guy-dressed-like-a-pirate (and not the Johnny Depp pirate, more elegant, more Captain Hook. Actually, that dude was cool…until he started chasing the slutty children. So yeah, more Captain Hook.)

Of course, this being a horticulturally friendly town, the evening was not complete until someone lit up a bong. Don’t get me wrong, there had been plenty enough smoke going up already. Enough to make me feel a bit ill…I hate that smell. But then the bong was lit and even the band tracked the event in staring disbelief. Because when I say lit, I mean it was glow in the dark purple, light up the theater bright.

Event staff shut it down pretty quick since it was distracting everyone in the entire room from looking at the band.

I do not respond well to marijuana. My body does not like it and I’ve a rather low tolerance. All the next day I was sick, groggy and stupid.

So here is my rant against pot.

Wait, I take that back. Here is my rant against pot smokers. Or, because I am really pissed, fucking public pot smokers!!!!!

It reeks. I mean stink like the unwashed backside of a dead skunk’s scent glands. But because, apparently, it is “all good, all fun, peace maaaaan” it’s ok to shove that stench down the throat of anyone within a 50 yard radius. Not to mention the headache, stomach cramps, and sluggish body it could give the unwilling bystander.

Selfish bastards!

Fucktards!

Does pot have its medical uses? Yup, no argument. Is it as harmful and terrible as our society paints it? Nope, absolutely not. Does that mean that idiots should have the right to pollute public air with it? No.

If I spend my money to go see the concert of a band I love, I don’t want my experience to end in nausea because some selfish, unthinking a-hole doesn’t know how to have fun without lighting a joint.

Snarl.

Growl.

Snap.

You want to convince me to legalize it? Grow some manners along with that THC garden. Till then? Bugger off.

The etymology of people being assholes

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So I had a conversation with one of my awesome sauce Grad School class mates the other day. She’s cool and is especially handy in offering insight into the societal privilege of being white. I’m white and grew up happily in a small town, oblivious to racism and quite convinced that it was a thing of the past.

Since my childhood, I’ve gotten more aware, but am always learning fun new facts. For instance, she was visiting my home town the other day and felt genuinely frightened at one point because she is not white. She’s a Native. In my home town she was scared. And she had her kids with her.

Now I love my town and I love my State but we are, as a whole, rather racist, and also in a whole lot of denial over it. “After all,” (I’ve heard as a common sentiment) “we don’t really have a lot of black people, we can’t be racist!” Holy crap.

But people hating on other people is nothing new. Hardly. We humans like to repeat our indecencies. Slavery dates so far back that the first known ‘civilization’ of Egypt had ‘em in spades. Fast forward a few millennia and Rome had so many slaves that their politicians vetoed the idea of having all slaves wear uniforms so that slaves wouldn’t be able to identify each other, realize their numbers, and revolt. Because gods forfend there was a repeat of the Spartacus disaster.

Fast forward even further and you get examples of people hurting people without even using the excuse of “But they’re only property!” WWII gave a nice sample here in the States as we rounded up American citizens whose grandparent’s, parents had been from Japan and were labeled a threat. Oh proud moment!

The famed concentration camps in Germany have yet to go out of style, since their ugly cousins have cropped up in North Korea. These cheerful places have decided to provide housing for entire families, for life, when one’s second cousins, wife’s, brother’s in-laws speak out of turn about the government. Yup, entire families, gathered together forever, because Uncle Jung complained about food shortages. I do wonder, do the children of the children sent to live there get to ever leave? Or is it a forever generational thing? Or maybe that is a moot point since no one is healthy enough to reproduce.

Now there is a horrific fear to live under. “I’m hungry,” thinks you. “Hungry and really want to live. And healthy enough that I think I could make a run across the border. BUT, if I do, my entire family will be thrown into a death camp. Hmmm, choices.”

Ah the evolution of the ingenuity of the cruelty of man. North Korea swiped Hitler’s idea, those clever thieves. And Hitler nabbed it from…wait, what’s this? The U.S.? Nooooo, that can’t be right. Oh wait, it is. Those darned Nazis! Stealing all our ideas! Can’t they think for themselves that they had to pattern their concentration camps off of U.S. Indian Reservations? And they claim the Aryan race to be superior. Pfft! (See how I came full circle there?)

But no, we have no racism, no generational oppression here. Everything is fine. Everything is just perfect.