"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart..." Linda McCartney

Archive for the ‘Feelings’ Category

Sticks And Stones

In Brotherly Love, Civility, Feelings, Morals, Music, News, Society on October 7, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Conscience: a personal sense of the moral content of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character

with regard to a feeling of obligation to do right or be good. Conscience, usually informed

by acculturation and instruction, is thus generally understood to give intuitively authoritative judgments regarding the moral quality of single actions.”

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online

Once upon a time, good conscience used to be a character component PARENTS, some sort of faith, and community instilled in their children. Children also learned from the example of community leaders– their teachers, their preachers and their neighbors.
Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it.”–Probverbs 22:6
It’s disturbing to me how the media is making it appear as though all of a sudden there’s this prolific increase of lack of good judgement and good conscience. The truth is, this is a social phenomena that has been going on for quite a long time.
Without a conscience, there can be no empathy.  Conscience is the little voice behind you saying:  Do you really wanna say, do, wear that? Conscience is: The awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one’s conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong.- The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
I don’t believe more Internet cyber-etiquette classes are gonna cut it here.
Linda McCartney very famously and poignantly put it this way:
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but *words* can break my heart.”
That, literally, is what’s at the heart of this matter. People not stoping to consider anyone’s humanity– their  feelings– anymore, probably because their own are so dulled down.
“…how can YOU speak good things, when YOU are wicked? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”— Matt 12: 34, 35
Words are powerful.  They are double-edged swords.  They have the capacity to heal and humiliate. Words can kill! They kill the spirit. People who think it’s fun or funny to kill another person’s spirit are, in my opinion, MURDERERS!

The cumulative effect of all of this seemingly innocuous, funny ha-ha mendacity is that it slowly, insidiously, bit by tiny bit, transforms potential friends and talented individuals into frightened, uncertain, helpless victims. Victimization leads to frustration. Frustration leads to anger. Anger devolves into resignation. Resignation leads to self-loathing and creates The 21st Century Zombie. Going through the motions of living on the outside. Dead on the inside.

It’s a slow and wretched existence. First of all, the psychological and emotional energy it takes damping down all that pain, reigning it all in– persevering and enduring, often with no end in sight every day. It. Is. EXHAUSTING!

Job only had to endure his torment three years. So did Jesus Christ.

Because you’re the victim, you have to do all the work. No one must ever know you’re angry, annoyed, disappointed, hurt, scared– fighting the good fight all by yourself in your head and in your heart.

Second, if you fail to understand how victimization works–  Poof! All of a sudden you’re not only a problem, you’re the one with the problem. You’re the difficult person, the malcontent, the complainer, the irritating source of all the friction. You don’t know how to “go with the flow.” You’re INFLEXIBLE! Everybody has bad stuff happen to them. You need to develop a “thick skin.” You have only yourself to blame. You should stand up for yourself!

“How does it feel to be a problem?”– W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

These young people know: Tyler Clementi, Megan Meier, and Hope Witsell, just a few of the former members of the sad and tragic fratority of the walking wounded– the living dead.  Then there are the countless unnamed victims who dull their pain with alcohol and drugs and sexual promiscuity or acting out rages.  “How does it feel to be a problem?”

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?— Bob Dylan

There are so many more stories like theirs in the naked city and silent suburbs.  Not only are children, teens and young adults bullied in schools and on college campuses all across America, but adults are being bullied in the workplace as well. People with children, and car notes, and student loans, and mortgages, and credit cards to repay are being forced to quit their jobs (another form of suicide) to escape the harrassment.

It’s neither fun nor funny to deliberately or maliciously make another human being feel like a victim, to kill their spirit.  When someone physically assaults you, or steals your property, or you lose a limb as a result of medical incompetence or malpractice, the law’s the remedy for you.  But when someone hurts, or assaults, or maims, or lacerates your feelings, where’s the remedy for you?

“Ouch! That hurt my feelings! Quick! Call the police!?”

Society says you just need to suck it up, act like an adult, shake it off, grow up, be a man, turn the other cheek, give it to God. But when mean people, their lies and their hateful machinations interfere with your ability to sustain or even have quality of life itself– when it interferes with your pursuit of happiness–  it’s a tad harder to just shake off.

And the effort. It takes soo much out of you, requires soo much energy.  It’s soo exhausting. Nowadays not even your home is a safe haven, or shelter from the storms or respite to recharge and gain your bearings and endure another day. There’s a note posted on your door. A message on your answering machine. An email in your inbox. A text on your mobile phone. A video on Youtube.

They’re following you home.

You want a friend you- can rely on
One who will never fade away
And if you’re searching for an answer
Stick around. I say  It’s coming up, it’s coming up
Its coming up like a flower
Its coming up. Yeah– Paul McCartney and Wings

No rest for the weary.

What needs to be talked about more, everywhere, is being of good character and valuing a good conscience. Having a good FICA score is not an indicator of good character! All that demonstrates is that you can pay your bills. And yet, that’s all we publically associate character with– a record of bill paying. No wonder no one really cares or has any regard for how anybody feels any more.

True happiness and joy rests in having a good conscience.  You get a good conscience by having goodwill towards everyone every day and all the time. It’s not how well you treat people, it’s how well you make them feel. A lot of the time, being good to one another requires no money at all.
When we can get back to being a society who cares more about the emotional health and well being of people and less about their credit scores, there may be hope for less of these true and tragic stories of people who are just plain mean to other people.
C’mon People now, Smile on your Brother
Everybody get together, try to love one another right now!
Right now!
Right now!

Mother’s Little Helper

In Civility, Death, Despair, Feelings, Life, Music, Musicians, Society, The Bible, Twitter, Unemployment on January 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I think I’ll just let these lyrics speak for me here and now.  It’s my story, only without the “little helper.”  But I think on it. We’re not designed to be perpetually alone.  Even Adam had Eve.  I think I’m being conversant. In my mind I want to be helpful or funny. Only year after year, decade after decade, I find I am characterized as a “know-it-all.”   The penalty for this harsh, unsparing indictment is death, first by insult, then some public humiliation, then banishment.  You may not work, earn money or live.  It’s a death sentence. Life without the possibility for parole.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards penned and produced this tune in 1966. Unlike the paradoxes of the bible, the language here is straightforward and impossible for even the lowest level of understanding to miss.  It’s a great song. Mostly because She is Me.  I hope I will find my “little helper.”

♫What a drag it is getting old

“Kids are different today,”
I hear every mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
There’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

“Things are different today,”
I hear every mother say
Cooking fresh food for a husband’s just a drag
So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak
And goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

“Men just aren’t the same today”
I hear every mother say
They just don’t appreciate that you get tired
They’re so hard to satisfy, you can tranquilize your mind
So go running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

“Life’s just much too hard today,”
I hear every mother say
The pursuit of happiness just seems a bore
And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day  [clearspring_widget title=”Grooveshark Widget: Single Song” wid=”48f3f305ad1283e4″ pid=”4b4a7000e2ee16a2″ width=”400″ height=”300″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

Up In The Air

In Books, Economy, Feelings, Film, Life, Living, Music, Unemployment on November 30, 2009 at 10:58 pm
Help!  I need somebody,
Help!  Not just anybody,
Help!  You know,  I need Someone…,
Help!
Look at me. Still here. Languishing unhappily in this place some might call Hell.  I listened to Jason Reitman today as he discussed, in an interview with Robert Seigle on NPR what he learned from his experience working with “real people who had lost their jobs” for his newly released movie Up In The Air” starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga.

“If you’d asked me before I did this movie, ‘What’s the worst thing about losing your job in this type of economy?’ I would’ve probably said the loss of income,” Reitman explains. “But as I talked to these people, that rarely came up. What people said, time and time again, was: ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.’ … It was really about a lack of purpose. They would say, you know, ‘After I finish this interview, I’m going to go get in my car, and I have nowhere to be.’ And I can’t imagine thinking that every day.”

“I can’t imagine thinking that every day” young Mr. Reitman said.  We’re not just thinking it, Mr. Reitman.  We’re feeling it and that, I can tell you from experience is far, far worse.

You can’t  imagine getting up every morning with no one in the entire world expecting you.  No one even knowing or caring if you’re  even ALIVE or not.  Days blend into weeks.  Weeks into months.  You check and recheck the calendar constantly to remind yourself what day of the week it is.  Or watch The Today Show.

There is no greater hell than to have to begin and end each and every day having had nothing to do.  Nothing to think about.  No Where to be.  No one to be with.  No one who gives a shit.

No one says “See you tomorrow.”  I  go whole days, weeks and months without ever having to part my lips to make a sound.  I can go equally as long not ever hearing the sound of my own name.

The phone never rings.

Death of a SalesmanYou are absolutely right, Mr. Reitman.  It is not the loss of income that is the thing.  I used to always joke if I wanted to work soley for money I’d be a prostitute.  No, it’s not the loss of an income that we miss most.

Work is the anchor of a life. Look what happened to Willy Loman, for gods sake. Everything you do in life is because you work.   Work is not a privilege.  It’s a RIGHT!  There can be no Life, Liberty or PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS without WORK!  Work is the American dream!

Once you have your job and feel secure in it and have adapted to the routine of collecting and managing the paycheck, that’s when L.I.V.I.N.G begins. Every plan, every decision, every thought, even your commute to and from work each day is dictated by the completion of at least eight hours and the blessed assurance you’ll  repeat that routine again tomorrow.

Before work you may do a load of laundry, drop the kids off with the caregivers, stop at a drive through for a McGriddle, stop at the dry cleaner, plan dinner while you’re driving.  Once you get to work, you chit-chat about those mundane, shared experiences with co-workers, grocery shop on your lunch hour, use online bill payer at work, pitch in for birthday cards and cakes for co-workers you hardly know (or may not even like) .

After work, you complain about traffic, listen to your car radio (or iPod), pick up the kids, stop at the grocery store or Pet Smart or Target or just head straight home because dinner has to be made, the dryer has to be emptied, the floor needs to be vacuumed, homework needs to be done.  Bills need to be paid.  Everybody has to pee.

Meal time, bath time, bedtime,  quiet time.  All the while your mind’s already reflecting on tomorrow’s in-basket, e-mails that need to be responded to, deadlines, projects, special assignments or just the every day joy of the every day routine of everyday people doing what they do every day–  anchoring their lives so they can orbit all the things they really love and care about.  The JOB is the sun.  Family.  Friends.  Food. Music, TV and NPR all nourished by the Sun’s life-giving, life-sustaining  perennial rays.

Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They DoThere is no community without  people who are working. Studs Terkel wrote a book about it.  Real people don’t give a shit about “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”  All they wanna do is work so they can live in the same neighborhood they grew up in, make their parents proud and live close to them, grow their childhood friendships, marry their childhood sweethearts, share the old neighborhood and their most cherished memories with their children and then check out realizing some content with the measure of their life. People have to be working to do that.

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before.

I’m estranged from my family, too ashamed to let them know where I am and how I’ve ended up.  I force myself to be cheerful and happy seeming around my only child because I don’t want to worry him or be a burden to him.  He’s all I have–  That’s human.

And then there is my dog.  He’s what keeps me alive right now.  I will not relinquish him. I will not surrender him. I will not give him up.  I love my dog.  He’s here with me every day.  He sleeps in the bed with me. He keeps me hanging on with hope that tomorow… maybe tomorrow something excellent will happen to me at last.  Maybe I just might survive this depression/recession– decession.

Or maybe I’ll just end up like those elephants in Africa who don’t survive the drought or the long trek toward water.  I’m prepared for that, too.

I the meantime I hope.  Maybe once again I will be able to do a load of laundry, drop my dog off at the pet sitter, stop at the drive though for a McMuffin, drop off the dry cleaning, eat  birthday sheet cake at the office, plan dinner, save for an Elton John concert…  Be not afraid everyday.  Be normal.
When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody’s help in any way.
But now those daya are gone, I’m not so self assured,
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors.
Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won’t you please, please help me
Help me..,
HELP me…
Oooooo…. ♫♫

♫♫The Sound Of Silence

In Art, Death, Feelings, Life, Music on September 30, 2009 at 8:02 pm

[clearspring_widget title=”Grooveshark Widget: Chameleon” wid=”48f3ef6c29317865″ pid=”4ac3efeb767dc68e” width=”400″ height=”300″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

The thing about music is once you have it in you, it’s yours forever.  No other art form burrows so deep inside your heart and your head like music.  You feel it. You crave it.  It creates sensations inside.  It makes you leap to your feet or can place you gently into a chair.  It makes you grimace, it makes you smile, it makes you laugh out loud.

It resurrects memories and sights and smells and tastes.  You see colors.  It reunites you with loved ones– or vice versa, the living and the dead.  It blurs the constraints of time or alters them completely.  Suddenly you’re twenty-five year old son or daughter is two again or you yourself are nineteen.  Music is the most powerful art form.

It’s not like a movie, or book or theater.  You can play whole songs in your head; your intimate, personal, private soundtrack  anytime, anyplace, anywhere. It’s portable.  No batteries required.  No equipment necessary.  It is all yours.  No one’s inner audio library is exactly like anyone else’s. No one may judge the sounds in your soul.

You can feel it by yourself or you can feel it in a group.  It can envelope you in melancholy and with the next cut, ecstasy. And the emotional explosion of excitement you experience when just one person relates to your inner sea. Music makes you feel good and makes feeling bad even better.

People fear death because they can feel just how much they’ll miss their music. Like a premonition– A foreboding.  Music is the moon that swells the tide of your being.  Music is your soul and your soul is you. What would it be like when music is turned off? It’s the SILENCE we’re all so afraid of.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence
Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence

♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫…

Raffle Winner: Back at 2:30

In English Bulldogs, Feelings, GS Levine on August 26, 2009 at 6:45 pm
Sharlize Theron in "Monster"

Charlize Theron in "Monster"

“Love conquers all.” “Every cloud has a silver lining.” “Faith can move mountains.” “Love will always find a way.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “Where there is life, there is hope.” Oh, well… They gotta tell you somethin’…”   -Monster (2003)

Sigh.

Monday morning I got a call and it was good news.  No, I didn’t get a job 😮  (I wish).  I won a gift basket in a raffle!  After some small talk, I told the caller I would be there to pick it up tomorrow (Tuesday).

Nowadays all I ever win is the occasional $2.00 playing the lottery.  The last time I won a raffle it was 1991.  It was an office raffle and I won a color TV which was a big deal way back in 1991.

I got up early, tidied myself up and drove to Sorrento Valley.  I got there around noon. After a week of  fall-like temperatures, this week we’re in the midst of a heat wave.  It is hot, hot, hot! Yesterday was no exception.

Sorrento Valley is some 53 miles (one way) from where I live, but I didn’t mind.  Besides, it was a chance to take a drive and maybe stop in the village and have lunch with That (you know he goes with me wherever I go). We’ve been mostly housebound since this episode with his eye and I admit I was excited to visit the office and maybe get some pictures for the blog.

We arrve at the office only to find a post-it note on the locked door:

Raffle winner:  Back at 2:30

It would have been nice to have been called before they left the office to let me know it was going to be closed this afternoon, but I’m a big girl. I take my lumps. I should have nailed down a specific time for the pickup. My bad. Fortunately, there was a company kitchen right there, lots of magazines on hand and the AC was on. I took a deep, cleansing breath and decided to hang out and wait.

The company kitchen is shared by GS Levine (the “G” stands for Gary, CEO and founder), a personal lines and group insurance company that provides a full complement of products and services including Business Insurance, Workers Compensation, Employee Benefits, Risk Management, Financial Services, Personal Asset Protection and ADP services.

GS Levine

GS Levine

It’s lunchtime, so after a very short time several of the company’s employees begin to trickle in.  Naturally, a white English bulldog splayed out on the floor in your company kitchen is not exactly an everyday occurrence, but everyone, to a person, was just so happy to see That.  They oooo’d and aww’d, they smiled and laughed.  They stooped to stroke him.  They offered him treats.

They extended the same warmth, hospitality and goodwill toward me.  One of the ladies was a dead ringer for Judith Light (wish I’d taken her picture).  And Rosemary, herself a bulldog owner, took pictures.  If I hadn’t turned out looking like a lump of coal in them I would share them with you, but as usual, That looks great. He just ate up the attention.  Even with one eye closed, he’s still the ladies man.

That @GS Levine

That @GS Levine

Rosemary & That

Rosemary with That

empathbearAll this activity helped make the time go by fast.  Before I knew it, it was 3:30 and still no sign of life at the other office.

Raffle winner:  Back at 2:30

I called.  I got voicemail.  A GS Levine employee called.  She got voicemail.  The Judith Light look-a-like expressed empathy, after all That and I were there four hours!  I was embarrassed and a tad… put out.  But as usual, I was determined I was going to be happy and enjoy this day.  I was not going to get upset.

This morning, as I was getting dressed to have brunch with the Dog Park Bitches, a group of ladies I met and befriended at our community dog park, the phone rang.  It was Stacy, the Executive Director calling to apologize for the office being closed yesterday.  Seems a meeting they attended took longer than she had anticipated, and since everyone in the office lives in the area, they all decided to just pack it in and go home.  Oops! Sorry.

I’m sorry, too.

She pledged to ship the basket, so what more could I say?  Oh, well…

California.  It’s so laidback.

Words

In Books, Feelings, Reading on March 31, 2009 at 8:10 pm

“It’s only words, and words are all I have…”

I have always had a great love of, interest in and affinity for words. I love language. I love the music of language. I love the individual words of the English language. Even profane language has a certain musicality about it when the vituperation is strung together with the requisite amount of heat when used to punctuate anger or the right amount of wit to invoke humor.  Richard Pryor, we sorely miss you.

People are always either amused or angered by my vocabulary. It’s never made me popular at work.

My own mother hated me all her life because I was a reader and I had an affinity with words. She always told me I was acting white or that I was not smart, and when she thought she wasn’t beating me down enough with her constant assaults to my self esteem, she talked about me abusively to anyone and everyone who would listen. My mother was my most vociferous hater. After her, all others paled. And there were others. Many others.

People have said things to me, to my face, that it would never, ever even  occur to me to say out loud or maybe perhaps think to contemplate or even utter to myself, alone in the dark, under my breath about anyone I have ever met. I must be the biggest asshole I have ever known in my life or I really am Job, only without the three false friends. Even three false friends I would welcome at this point.

I love the English language. It is about big words because our small ones don’t always covey emotion. They just make you seem like you’re going with the flow. Like Elizabeth Hasselback.

The English language is not romantic like Spanish or Italian or French. It’s not necessarily meant to convey feelings or nuance. We have film for that.  It’s utilitarian. It’s cerebral. It’s meant to convey ones thought processes. Its sole purpose is to establish meaning.  In America, it’s all about making meaning, making sense, making the point, being UNDERSTOOD.

Maybe in France and Italy it’s more about expressing feelings, emotions, evoking the past; it’s playful. Here in America, it’s all business all the time.  It’s about not being misunderstood.

Language is serious, especially now in our “it’s my way or the highway” group-think, be different just like everybody else society. You will never see a fiction writer or non-fiction writer appear as a guest on Jay Leno, or sit with Matt and Meredith, or Regis and Kelly and the ladies of The View.

Nobody’s talking about books, or ballet, or opera. Nobody plays the accordion or the harp, or sings songs with intelligent, meaningful lyrics without vocal gymnastics. If they talk about a book, it’s probably written by some celebrity who thinks we “need to understand” their mental health issue, or their divorce, or their list of lovers, or their addictions. Boor..ring!

Seems the only place you can hear about books and words is on NPR or The Daily Show or The Colbert Report or the NYTimes Book Review.

Do we really need another self-help book, or celebrity “cathartic,” tell-all expose, or someone’s false-seeming memoir, or yet another book book about how to get, attract, keep, meet or marry a man? Or get a job, write a resume or network?

Do we?

smile an ever lasting smile

a smile can bring you near to me

don’t ever let me find you gone

’cause that would bring a tear to me

this world has lost its glory

let’s start a brand new story

now my love

you think that I don’t even mean

a single word I say

 

it’s only words

and words are all I have

to take your heart away

 

talk in ever lasting words

and dedicate them all to me

and I will give you all my life

i’m here if you should call to me

you think that I don’t even mean

a single word I say

 

it’s only words

and words are all I have

to take your heart away

 

it’s only words

and words are all I have

to take your heart away

 

da da da da da da da

da da da da da da da da da da

da da da da da da da

da da da da da da da da da da

 

this world has lost its glory

let’s start a brand new story

now my love

you think that I don’t even mean

a single word I say

 

it’s only words

and words are all I have

to take your heart away

The World Is Closed

In Animals and Pets, Death, Emotional Intelligence, Unemployment on March 24, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I’m a very private person. I don’t put too much out there about myself. It’s easy to talk about feelings or to react to current events, or the arts and entertainment, politics, The View. But for the most part my life’s experience has taught me to be on my guard. Anne Frank wrote while hiding with her family in an attic during the Holocaust that she believed people are basically good at heart. I think she’s right: People are basically good at heart but the caveat to that is they are mean as well.

I’m discovering daily over the past twenty years I am just angry. I have cognition around my anger so I pray about it, I cogitate over it, I devise coping strategies and try very hard to act on these. I smile, I try to be nice, I’m effusive, helpful, knowledgeable, funny, ( I’ve read the bible from Genesis to Revelation), but mean people are not invested in me, my success or my future. It’s their mission in life to rid the world of people like me; to expose me as the fraud that I am. I am an angry person trying to look like I’m just like everybody else.

My anger has been reflecting back at me by my recent experiences at the dog park of all places. Before I got ThatOne, I could go whole weekends without parting my lips to utter a single sound. On Friday after work, I’d drive back to wherever I was living, shit, shower and shave and lie in bed where I remained until Monday morning. I have no friends. If I suddenly died tomorrow, no one would care or notice or come to my funeral. Now, I enjoy whole conversations with people who actually touch me, hug me, laugh with me and who call me by my name.

For Christmas 2008,  I saved $200.00 to entertain my son and his girlfriend. I invited them here where I planned for us to relax in the hot tub out back, swim in the pool out back, have breakfast at the Buffet at the casino a minutes drive from here and to show them around the Inland Empire.

It is really quite beautiful here, surrounded by black, craggy mountains with snow capped mountains off further in the distance, the historic old town, the ducks, the lake, the fountains, the ducks. Only it rained buckets Christmas day which was a Thursday, so out of concern for my son I suggested they come Friday instead.  I waited and waited and waited and waited. No one ever came. No one ever called. Part of the reason I hoped I would give birth to a boy 25 years ago was because I believed then that they’re more loyal to their mothers.

Finally I texted my son and told him I was disappointed. He acknowledged in his response that he should have called but that he just didn’t. I told him I was a big girl and that I would get over it. What do you think?

He came here for the first time this past Saturday. He said he was going to celebrate our not seeing each other in over three months by treating himself to a big meal. I took him to the dog park. He met Sharon, and Nancy and That’s doggie friends. Then we went to Claim Jumper. I had the gigantic chocolate cake and milk. He had top round and lobster tail and the crab cake appetizer, cheesy garlic bread and a mixed greens salad.

I recalled how in November I begged him to lend me $130.00 so I could pay my rent. He couldn’t help me. But he and his girlfriend took a trip to Puerto Rico and in April, (the same week as my #52), they’re going to New York.

All of these things and the crushing sadness I feel daily over my unemployment has made me more verbal than usual about my present circumstances. I have been telling everyone that will listen that I am unemployed and passing out my resume to any and all takers. So you can imagine my elation when I got an email response from a lovely woman I met at the dog park suggesting there may be a place in her office for me. But my experience did not leave me totally gullible. This was too good to be true and it was.

You see, it turns out this woman is trying to organize a team under an MLM opportunity called 5Links (http://www.5linx.com/opportunity/index.html). My heart broke in a strange way. I know now what Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath , Ray Combs, David Foster Wallace, Spalding Gray, Vincent Van Gogh, Jean Seberg, Donny Hathaway, Marilyn Monroe, Phyllis Hyman, Kurt Cobain knew at crisis time. They all knew just like I know now: Your arm’s too short to box with God.

“…But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them, otherwise you may perhaps be found fighters actually against God.” Acts 5:39

If  this  pain and decades long misfortune is in fact from God, I may not escape this destiny. The lifelong struggle to escape will only make matters worse as I  become then a fighter against God. Clearly that’s a battle I cannot win or even hope to enjoy a modicum of success at during the brief, fruitless struggle. I’m a fighter against God. How can anything I ever do succeed?

The world is closed. I’ll never work again. I cannot publish a video resume. The world is closed. Like Zack Mayo said in An Officer and a Gentleman: “I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to g… I got nothin’ else …”

“I’ve always taken ‘The Wizard of Oz’ very seriously, you know. I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I’ve spent my entire life trying to get over it.”
Over The Rainbow | Judy Garland

“And now you know… the rest of the story.” Paul Harvey

The world is closed.

On Heroic Sacrifices

In Breast Implants, Feelings, Life, Living on June 24, 2008 at 5:01 am

I awoke this morning with a stabbing pain between my breasts. The underwire had pierced through.  Another good soldier sacrificed in support of Denise and Debbie.  Yes, I sleep in my bra.  I have to.  Denise and Debbie require constant supervision and training.  They must never be neglected.  They’re still as round and plump and upward reaching as they were when I was nineteen.

Denise and Debbie have been an integral part of my life since I was ten when they made their sudden and startling debut to my horror– and my mother’s. I literally went from flat to full-up-to-us in 24 hours.  Mother was furious.  Somehow, I had done this to myself, she muttered repeatedly and to any and everyone within earshot.

To punish me and to register her ever increasing disapproval, I never got a training bra.  She figured if she just ignored us, perhaps we’d just go away. That same year, on Easter Sunday, I fell off my cousin’s bike and broke my leg.  I had been riding the bike without permission.  I ruined my orange Easter dress with the satin, royal blue bow.  Mother was furious about that, too.  To punish me, she left me at the hospital and never visited.  I was discharged after ten days.

My older sister took pity on me.  With the help of her friend, they managed to smuggle into the house a bra her mother gave to them to give to me.  It was beige, lace and it had underwire. After that, Denise and Debbie and I were on our own.  As I lie here in the dark admiring my lovely daughters, acknowledging the heroic sacrifice of this, now broken  pretty, pink bra, She came to me in a vision.

Her gaze was intense.  Strange. Dark. Penetrating. Her eyes, the color squall turns the Atlantic ocean, closely situated and framed between two thick layers of dense, coarse lashes like an artist’s sable brush.

Her voice rich, like fluid mercury, seasoned to her advantage by too many years, too many cigarettes and too much gin.  She was all of 5 ft, petite and well proportioned with square hips and a plump, round butt.  She liked to wear tanks and tees and tailored shirts which cascaded upon Amy and Alma with artful precision, emphasizing their slight uplift and soft, rounded contours.  She didn’t wear a bra because she had to.

I was surprised and happy to hear from her.  We hadn’t seen each other in over a year.  When you’re preoccupied with rearing a child, it’s hard to manage friendships.  She was a wife and mother of two, This One and That One, then six and three, one of each sex.  Each possessed a precocious intellect and were  perfect little replicas of their co-dependant parents.

Woodman and She bore an uncanny resemblance.  Both had intense eyes, expansive eyebrows, classic foreheads and perfectly angled heads capped with thick manes of fast growing brown hair, only hers was dark with natural auburn highlights.  Their resemblance to each other was startling, and yet not in an altogether weird way.

He was enormously talented.  Give that man a choice piece of wood and a table saw, and he could create pieces of beauty and utility.  He built their platform bed, and most of the furniture.  He built the kitchen cabinets and her nail salon and day spa that she owned and operated in their back yard.  He was constantly improving the house and the property.  He earned a living as a practioner of naturopathy.

My son rang the door bell and she enthusiastically ushered us in.  Sometimes you can’t go home again, though, you know?

The business was thriving.  She was taking classes to learn how to do voice-over work.  The house, though, was nearly empty except for the sofa.  The dining room furniture was vintage Pier One.  She’d taken to keeping her store and bank credit cards in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.  This One and That One, spoiled, gifted, and characteristically aloof were practicing their violins upstairs.  Together they made no other sound.

She wore a gray short sleeved tee shirt under a wrinkled, ecru colored, cotton midriff jacket with a wide, rounded lapel.  She kept up a losing struggle to pull it together across the bottom of her now enormous breasts.

“What have you done to yourself!”  I whispered, stunned, but trying not to show it.  They made her look so top heavy. They had almost completely changed her otherwise upright posture.  Her shoulders and back were curved, her flat stomach looked hollowed out to accommodate her protruding ribs. Any minute now I expected to see her snap in half at the waist.

They were a wedding gift from her new husband, a man she met six months ago at an AA meeting.  “He loves them,” she said, sliding their wedding video into the VCR.  She was discovering in dribs and drabs the down side of living la vida Double D.

Walking on thin ice,
I’m paying the price
For throwing the dice in the air.
Why must we learn it the hard way
And play the game of life with your heart?

You can never sleep on your chest or for long on your back.  You are a slave to the bra.  When shopping for these, attention must be paid.  Attention must also be paid to shopping for clothes in general. Gone are the days you can buy a two-piece suit or a bikini bathing suit off the rack.  You have to hope the size five bottom and the size ten top are both available and you must make the switch before you get to the checkout counter.  You have to pay attention to how you move when you dance.  Running and jogging are out.

After you’ve spent all that extra time mixing and matching suit tops, you find you cannot button them.  Shirts must all be tailored.  Your breasts are heavy for your bra straps. You don’t look quite right in a sports bra.  Daily, gravity is not your friend.

They swell when you menstruate, the nipples are more sensitive.  You must always get completely dressed when going out in public.  Gone are the days you could just throw on a tee and jeans and be on your way.  On those rare occasions you do, it’s only to go to the drive through.

Over time, your back will hurt, you shoulders will hurt, your neck will hurt,  your mobility will be reduced. You spend more time concealing your cleavage than revealing it.  There is not a lot of opportunity for that

either unless of course, you’re Pamela Anderson.  Or a Jane Austin heroine.

I gave you my knife,
You gave me my life
Like a gush of wind in my hair.
Why do we forget what’s been said
And play the game of life with our hearts?

“I know. You’re right,” she said with a sigh.

She had not anticipated how life, as she knew it, would change or  how it would affect all the things she’d previously been able to do and had taken for granted.  She wanted to have them removed.  She needed me to validate her decision.

“I’ll even go with you, if you want,” I said.  Turns out, while I publically praised and admired her physique, she secretly coveted mine.  People who have curly hair…

“But he likes them,” she repeated quietly.

I may cry some day,
But the tears will dry whichever way.
And when our hearts return to ashes,
It’ll be just a story,
It’ll be just a story

She pulled the video from the VCR and slowly slid it back into its custom sleeve before putting it back in its place among the others on the IKEA bookcase.

We hugged.  We said good bye.  We left.  After that, I never saw nor heard from Her again.

“i knew a girl who tried to walk across the lake,
‘course it was winter when all this was ice.
That’s a hell of a thing to do, you know.
They say the lake is as big as the ocean.
I wonder if she knew about it?”

Masterpiece: The Complete Jane Austen Collection

Emma | 1996 |Starring Gwyneth Paltrowand Toni Collette

Saturday

In Blogging, Feelings, Life, Living, MoodzStrike on June 14, 2008 at 12:01 am

           

What a diff’rence a day makes
Twenty-four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain

These things never change like the sun rising in the east, the day passing into night, and  hope ever rising in the heart

These things always do like the evening turning into morn’, the sun giving way to the moon and hope ever rising in the heart

There’s a rainbow before me
Skies above can’t be stormy
What a diff’rence a day makes
And the difference is you.

What a Difference a Day Makes | Performed by Esther Phillips | 1975

Say It Loud!

In Current Events, Emotional Intelligence, Life, Politics on June 3, 2008 at 3:00 am

I am Black.  I am an American. I am a descendent of slaves. I am not African American.

I will never know which of the 150 countries that comprises the African continent my ancestors were imported from. I will never be able to perk up with recognition and joy whenever I hear an immigrant from Africa speaking their native tongue. The only information I have about my family and my history comes from my experiences with my maternal grandparents. Neither of them were immigrants. Both were born in this country. I suspect their parents were as well. There are no records and there was never any discussion, not even after Roots.  I have no information about my father or his family, but I suspect his parents  and his parent’s parents were all born in this country.

The search for an identity and an identifying moniker has become something of a pop culture joke over these past twenty-five years. For Blacks, so much confusion, and for hundreds of years, because we as a people were forced to endure being called whatever derogatory name White people wanted. Negro, Niggra, Darkie, Coon. Nigger.

Fredrick Douglas and W.E.B Du Bois and others of their contemporary thinkers reasoned starched white collars and an education would mitigate the predominate social climate of hate, derision and physical disgust directed toward us. If we could just look, act, and sound like them, then they will like us.  The NAACP was so named to “uplift the race,” increase awareness and respect for colored people,  and elevate the public perception of the Negro.

My maternal grandmother was born in 1908. The NAACP was founded the following year in 1909.  Since its inception, the philosophical imperative of the NAACP has been challenged on several fronts, including by one of the pre-eminent co-founders: W.E.B Du Bois. It’s a philosophical debate that continues to this day: Integration or African nationalism? People who continue to poke fun at the various name changes that have been put forward over the years appear neither to fully appreciate nor understand this fundamental divide within our culture.

Those of us who remember when we were Colored recall those times with a mixture of emotions and nostalgia. Colored people endured and lived through the reign of terror in this country known as Jim Crow (the system of legalized segregation and disfranchisement from 1865 to 1954). My grandparents lived in Charleston, South Carolina all their lives in a segregated section called Charleston Heights. There Colored people established an infrastructure of schools, banks and businesses and built strong, vibrant, stable, family oriented communities with the Church at its center.

I grew up among Pentecostals, Baptists and Methodists. There was a juke joint, a beauty parlor and a grocery store on just about every corner. My grandparents home, which they owned, was across the street from the community funeral home.

In the late fifties and early sixties, when Blacks began to appear sporadically on TV, people used to rush to their windows and doors calling out “Colored on TV! Colored on TV!” A Colored person appearing on TV was a cause for excitement. People stopped whatever they were doing to see who it was:   Sidney Poitier, Diahann Carroll, Ivan Dixon, Harry Belafonte, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis, Jr.

When we were Colored we were self actualized and self sufficient. We cooperated with each other. Young people respected their elders. We looked out for one another, protected one another and supported each other materially, economically, socially, and spiritually. By the time James Brown* released his anthem and clarion call for Black pride, Colored people were already Black and Proud. I recall that period as the most moving, self affirming period of my life. I still get emotional just thinking about it. I am proud I am Black.

Which makes all that has gone on in the political arena over the past eight months, and in my life as it stands right now, all the more poignant and sad. This country is poised to nominate the first Black man for the highest elected office in our land. This should be a cause for national celebration, introspection– an affirmation of a collective national pride unprecedented in the history of our nation. That many support Hillary or McCain should not detract from what’s happening here. We have gone from 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow to witnessing the first Black person not only aspiring to the nation’s highest office, but having a real and credible chance of actually achieving it.  At the risk of channeling Oprah:  This is big.

My grandmother was born in 1908. Her daughter, now age 77, still lives. Now her daughter’s daughter and her great-grandson, age 24– three generations– together are witnessing the triumph of the resolute and resilient, ever hopeful Black American spirit. Hell, yeah, I’m saying it loud. I’m shouting it from the roof tops. I’m Black. And I’m proud.  I am an American.

*Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)

Uh! Your bad self!

Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud
Say it louder! I’m black and I’m proud
Look a-here!

Some people say we got a lot of malice, some say it’s a lotta nerve
But I say we won’t quit movin’ until we get what we deserve
We’ve been buked and we’ve been scourned
We’ve been treated bad, talked about as sure as you’re born
But just as sure as it take two eyes to make a pair, huh!
Brother we can’t quit until we get our share

Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud
Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud
One more time, say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud, huh!

I’ve worked on jobs with my feet and my hands
But all the work I did was for the other man
And now we demands a chance to do things for ourselves
We tired of beatin’ our head against the wall
An’ workin’ for someone else

Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud
Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud
Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud
Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud, oh!

Ooh-wee, you’re killin’ me
Alright, uh, you’re out of sight!
Alright, so tough you’re tough enough!
Ooh-wee uh! you’re killin’ me! oow!

Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud
Say it louder! I’m black and I’m proud

Now we demand a chance to do things for ourselves
We tired of beatin’ our heads against the wall
And workin’ for someone else look a-here
There’s one thing more I got to say right here
Now, now we’re people, we’re like the birds and the bees
We rather die on our feet than keep livin’ on our knees

Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud huh!
Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud huh!
Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud Lord-a, Lord-a, Lord-a
Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud, ooh!

Uh! alright now, good God
You know we can do the boogaloo

© DYNATONE PUBLISHING CO

Lyrics provided by Gracenote

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