Grey Thursday

Suess

So, when all of the food
Had been swallowed and chewed,
The guests left the dishes and host
With their brood.

And, forcing employees
To all do the same,
They shopped and they grabbed
And they spent without shame.

 

Please, stay home on the holidays. Popular greed is robbing store workers of time with family.

Eat, Pray, Love, for Tomorrow We Die

Why does losing ourselves in the service of others help us find our true selves?

I don’t know. I’m with the view of the world: that our true self can be found Eat, Pray, Love style in a soul search involving a year off for pleasure, meditation, and sex (I think).

A glaring problem I’ve noticed with that approach is that I can’t get a $200K grant from my publishing company to pursue this idea. My husband (our current bread-winner) only fronted me his salary, and my children can’t even grant me two minutes off.

Another problem many people don’t seem aware of is: you may find yourself, but who is that and do you really want to be stuck with her?

Before anyone attacks me, please listen.

I really enjoyed reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book I mentioned. I could relate to her dissatisfaction, her depression (GREAT chapter, by the way), and addictions to needing someone.
The end, and follow-up reading about her, were what bothered me. Concerned me. Gave doubt to this approach.

I read some of the social media posts she’d made since. They were the same issues she supposedly admitted to and embraced and addressed a third of the way into the book. Back again to old habits.

I watch others and envy them. I’m not naturally sweet or optimistic. I worry that this is my core person; and, believe me, she’s not one you want to be stuck in long hours with -if she could get those hours.

I live in a community of people that are very service-oriented. Like any good thing, we can do a few things that should be better compensated from following this mentality.
However, maybe service is the better philosophy.

Just me in my corner gets nothing done except permanently imprinting the carpet.

In service, I’ve formed a human chain to move a truckload of sod to a rooftop garden. I pruned my great-aunt’s backyard roses with my cousins. I made meals that helped someone who couldn’t cook. I benefited far more from my neighbor’s social company than I know she did from me, by asking her to a weekly lunch after her husband passed away.

In this selfish world, the gullible serve. Helpful people get screwed out of their money. People accepting handouts often use them misappropriately.
The concluding lesson? Think of yourself, find yourself, pamper yourself. Teach the rising generation to give in to selfishness. Then, wonder at the results.

I keep thinking my true self is the person I’m stuck with. “You learn behaviors and follow those synaptic connections because it’s easier,” my counselor said. She thinks I may be negative, but I can change

I hope she is right, because not changing is slowly killing me.

Maybe I need to come out of myself to find the better me. We’re told our true self may be something divine, and it’s a valid idea that we need to connect to our family to uncover that heritage in all of us.

Whether we connect with something divine, recall our ancestry, or improve through true self-healing with a therapist; we still need to step out of ourselves.

I will not become different squatting forever in my carpet spot, lamenting my personal defects. I certainly will not feel loved.

Forget What?

September 11th in the United States of America was an emotional day for those alive and cognizant enough to recall it.

I was there. Or -rather, I was alive. I was also way out West watching on a small television during choir class with a group of peers, most of whom had never seen New York in person.

Ironically, it was a Spirit Week of sorts and the theme for the day involved wearing army fatigues. Looking ’round the room, I couldn’t shake a premonition of impending conscription.

However, life moved on for us. The world moved on.

I’m not saying we were not impacted.

For one thing, I felt a general coming together of peoples everywhere. The stranger at the store was a person for a while. A random guy on the freeway had a family. People thousands of miles away were in real pain, as they literally dislodged a spouse from the wreckage of an office building.

We have become more “connected” since then with the prevalence of social media and the ubiquitous use of cellular phones.

Just this year, these media were used to post même after image after poem after video about the twin towers.

Over and over I saw: Never Forget.

Forget what?

The last time my social media feed exploded was during a recent political event referred to as the presidential election. And guess what? It was ugly.

Strangers at the store? Cousins were enemies as my aunt-in-law literally unfriended and blocked her own nephew because of differences of opinion.

A random freeway driver? My neighbors wouldn’t talk to me in person because a close relative posted a picture of him wearing a hat about making America great.

People thousands of miles away were openly mocked, cursed, mud-slinged, disparaged, insulted, and intimately speculated about. Cities accused parts of themselves for viewpoints and states glared at other states.

Never forget, huh?

Unity must be a fleeting mistress in the face of actual tension. Or, perhaps she’s been silenced over a decade of numbing, self-pleasing behavior as we disparage the world and feel hopeless about solutions.

Whatever the reasons, I am saddened by it all.

If you want to never forget, at least make it real. Make it about doing something better, helpless, selfless, and loving and not about some sort of online potlatch of pictures.

For those who do, thank you. Please, keep on doing.

Reaching for the Attainable

I was sarcastic before it was cool, before I could even spell the word.

Adults told me people were good, I could be anything I wanted, and my peers would like me for who I was.

Let’s keep this under a few thousand words, and just say that I experienced a few examples to the contrary.

Let’s also clarify that I was never covered in boils, told that my toys all died under the collapsed roof of my bedroom, and that the plush ones ran away after their toy box caught fire.

I had a few of the usual letdowns, disappointments, and lack of any childhood friends to speak of. I probably should have hit less.

Mostly, though, I attained my worldview from watching and reading.
The point I want to make, however, is:

I have been happily jaded for a while and felt unique in this position. But, my complaints are drowned out in a chorus of many whining voices. My wry observations have already been mentioned by other dispirited souls.

Whether the world has slowly become embittered like me, or I just entered an adult world that was that way, I’m not sure.

The discontented dirge is depressing to listen to. I look around at mirrored expressions of frustrated apathy, and wish for a smile.

But, we all think we’ve had it. If any lonely optimists wander into camp, they’re seized upon and beaten down till they join us or die.

Recognition is the first step: yes, life sucks. I’m even okay with complaining about that fact, because I do.

This morning, I remembered a scene from the movie Enchanted: Giselle has just entered The Real World and needs help. In her ignorance, she climbs a billboard displaying a castle and knocks. Not surprisingly, no one answers. Robert and his daughter drive by, notice her error, and rescue her.

Sometimes, we are trying to repeatedly go somewhere we cannot and we do not understand why. Feeling discouraged, we complain. Another person, passing by, points out alternate options: change perspective, look at your accomplishments, realize that things get better, and have a hug.

Take the advice and hug the help. Heal, and move on. You can do it.

Just, don’t get stuck. If all we’re doing is seeking attention like an over-indulged toddler, the adults are going to stop helping and start leaving us pounding on an empty door.

Door of the Mind

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I open the door hesitantly, but trusting and curious enough that I take that initiative. What will greet me?

Will I be thrown into a dark, metal lift, hearing only the sounds of creaking? Is there a girl standing there, shyly looking at her shoes as her personality and past are outlined? Is there an entryway I must cross first, through the ancient history of the world I’ve entered?

This, this is why I travel. But, coupled with the delight of a new place are feelings of apprehension of where I will be taken next. I may open the door, but the journey is one in which I follow the mind tracks of the author afterwards.

Please don’t force my eyes to see gory shreds of a person amidst an otherwise enthralling tapestry of words. Don’t make me swallow a detailed draught of misery when you have the opportunity and power to dose me immersively with a more intelligent and simpler vintage.

I want to visit the differing landscapes of your stories, formed and built by a unique mind. Dragging me through gritty details soils my thoughts and convinces me of the dirty qualities of your own.