More random thoughts from further inside the shell

10 09 2014

picard-wisdom

I am a fish judged by how well I can climb trees. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of climbing trees. For a fish. But the apes get the fruit.

Today I was hanging laundry out. As I reached up to pin a sock to the line, a dragonfly lighted on my wrist. I froze. The sun reflected on its wings, its brilliant eyes. It cocked its head with manifest intelligence. It knows its surroundings, exquisitely adapted to do what it must. It was so beautiful, I wept.

Why do people keep doing the same thing over and over when it clearly doesn’t work? Perhaps because it’s all they know how to do, and they feel they must do something. Perhaps what they ought to do is nothing.

The smaller my world gets, the better I can hear the birds singing.

I have poured into this website hours of work, carefully choosing the best bits of my writing to share, crafting blogs, praising the triumphs of others, speaking out, singing and sometimes sobbing. My stats consistently report that the highest number of hits by an appalling margin are on the photo “Brony Party 2”.

I would like to be able to go through one entire day without crying.

What gives me the right to feel this way? There are those who’ve suffered far worse than I, and they manage to keep their act together. I suppose we weren’t all issued the same brain and nervous system at the factory. Some aren’t quite up to spec. Some got dropped on the floor before installation. Some got made on a Monday. Or some dork spilled his Monster drink while doing the wiring. Nothing to be done about it. Non-refundable, no returns. Got to work with the equipment handed to us.

Personal suffering is like dirty underwear. You’d be embarrassed to let it show in public, and rightly so, because frankly, nobody wants to see it.

My sixteen-year-old Aspie son understands me better than most adults, including the therapists. Especially the therapists. Is he old beyond his years, or am I young before my time?

People whose chosen activities interfere, often egregiously, with other people’s happiness, enjoy the same freedom to do their thing as people whose chosen activities do no one any harm. I’m thinking of the noise and stink of ATVs being driven around in circles in someone’s back yard, while in the next yard over Captain America is shooting off every weapon in his arsenal, presumably to be ready for the Socialist Revolution, Alien Invasion, or Zombie Apocalypse, whichever comes first. Meanwhile, all I want to do is perhaps a bit of gardening or enjoy a cup of tea on my back porch. True, I could buy some heavy-duty ear protection, but that makes it difficult to listen to the birds and the hum of the bees in the flowers. If I asked them nicely they’d just yell back that they’ve got every legal right to do as they please, and if I don’t like it, then I can just shut up or get out. Alas, the curse of the quiet soul in a culture that revels in noise.

How does one forgive? I can say the words with earnest sincerity, but how does one reach down into the mind and memory and uncouple the pain from the person who caused it?

Defrosting the freezer, listening to the steady drip, drip punctuated by clang! as a chunk of ice drops loose from the coils and hits the wire rack below. What a perfect metaphor for a mind coming apart. Drip, drip, drip go the moments, the thoughts, the solid, messy, irregular accretion of a lifetime’s beliefs eroded by the relentless hot breath of stress, of contradiction, of suffering. Crack, there goes another piece. Clang, an episode of sobbing, gasping, clutching to any comfort, any solidity, but whoops! down we go. Finally all that is left is stark, empty. Cleaned out. Ready to be chilled and filled again neatly.

There is too much rage, too much fear, too much stress, and too many people with guns. I’m hunkered down in a munitions dump surrounded by people in flames screaming accusations at each other. No kill I.

Why shouldn’t my behavior be erratic? Where is there any consistency in the world? Reality is just one great, shrieking, mosh pit.

I want my mind back. The pills kind of work, but it’s like using a crutch instead of putting in the effort to strengthen the limb so you can use it again. Pills are easy. Exercise is hard. It’s also difficult to focus with jays in my face. Riding the unicycle through the mine field. Maybe I can trick the weeping angels into looking at each other long enough for me to sneak away and regenerate.

Trail

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11 responses

10 09 2014
Mary Jolles

One of my favorite sayings, of which I remind myself often, is: life is not about getting dealt a good hand–it’s about learning to play a bad hand well.

You may very well be right, that life is just one big mosh pit. Accidents happen to good people, caused by idiotic people who don’t intend any harm but just weren’t thinking. Life is the process of dealing with that. Life is finding things (like the dragonfly) to be amazed by, to admire and to enjoy, even though lots of crazy, miscellaneous and downright ugly things are happening at the same time. Keep practicing! Keep dreaming! Love that picture of the trail! Let’s see…was that between North and South Kinsman? Can’t remember. They all begin to run together in my mind. But wherever it was, I can just smell the fir trees and feel the cool air. Thank you for a great memory!

11 09 2014
justinegraykin

Thanks Mary. And as a matter of fact, you are right. The photo is from our Kinsman hike (the successful one, at least from the peak-bagging perspective). I am making plans for the Grafton Loop, allowing myself 5 days or possibly a week. Will let you know.

10 09 2014
heretherebespiders

Ah, hon. I’m sorry. Wish I could help. I’d start by getting the ATV guy to run over the gun-nut 🙂

11 09 2014
justinegraykin

Only if the gun-nut manages to fatally wound the ATV guy in the process. (Oh, the karma hit I took with those thoughts!)

11 09 2014
heretherebespiders

Why not! Sounds like self defence, that scenario.

A healthy imagination is a wonderful thing 🙂

10 09 2014
darleneolivo

You have spoken for me! I applaud your courage in speaking out so eloquently about your pain. Would that I could reach that sobbing place–not to stay there, but to empty out what needs freeing. I pray it doesn’t take some catastrophic loss to enable this kind of thaw. Better it would be the sight of a dragonfly landing like an angel on my wrist. I enfold you in a heart hug. Thanks so much for posting.

10 09 2014
darleneolivo

May I share this on Facebook? It’s a gorgeous piece of writing.

11 09 2014
justinegraykin

Thank you for the kind words. If you think by sharing it might benefit some other struggling soul, please feel free. There is nothing so isolating as depression, and it can be enormously liberating to suddenly realize there are a host of others groveling away in the same miserable, grey bubble. It’s not you; it’s the damned disease hijacking your mind and feeding it poison.

10 09 2014
novelfriend

*Hugs* When I was doing regular work in horse rescue, we’d go to auctions and see trailer upon trailer hauled away of abused horses with a final destination of Canada or Mexico for slaughter. And we had our three worst-looking horses that we could afford to buy out from under the meat men and fit in our trailer. That was it. Just three. Sometimes just two or one. But there was a saying that we posted and reminded each other… we couldn’t change the world. We couldn’t even make big changes in that one little auction.

But we’d changed the world of those horses we’d bought.

So, the world is full of awfulness, and sometimes we need to honor that by breaking down in the face of it all. And there’s nothing that really makes it feel better in that moment or those many moments.

But sharing like this, you don’t know who reads this and who is profoundly changed for the better. Even if there are not a lot of page hits, it might have found its way to someone who needed to know they weren’t alone… or were having a horrible day / time in their life, too, and for a moment, didn’t feel so alone.

I’m sorry you’re going through all this, and I wish I could make it better. But also thank you for sharing. *Hugs*

11 09 2014
Mary Jolles

I agree totally with your comments. You do what you can. Don’t let the awful parts of life spoil the fact that some things are really great about it. When you’re on the dark side of the moon, though, it can be very overwhelming and hard to focus on the beautiful parts.

11 09 2014
justinegraykin

When you’re in the middle of this nest of snakes, nobody can see the snakes but you. Nobody else hears the hissing that sounds so loud to you because it’s all in your mind. Aye, there’s the rub. “All in you mind” means to most people that it doesn’t really exist. If you were gaunt and bald from chemo, the sympathy would flow like the Nile. But the brain is a black box. When something goes wrong with it, it’s seen by most as a character flaw. That fits in quite nicely with the depressed person’s sense of unworthiness, of culpability. “It’s all my fault.” Guilt is such a fiendishly effective stiletto, slipping neatly between to ribs to pierce the heart.

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