a lil cheese to go on that cracker…

i’m feeling really low today. agitated. angry. just boiling mad, in the spot barely beneath the surface of the smile that i force my face to endure. i want to get into my car and just hit the fucking gas; no looking back…no looking forward…just leaving it all up to the Fates.

some days are like that, you know. i’d be surprised if you never had one or two or ten of them. we all do. it’s natural, right? my intellect has made perfect peace with it. i wish that my heart could. is this about a man? yes. of course. what else? two, actually. one who is dead and gone and another who is well on his way.

death was a lovely imagination to me when i was younger. actually, not even so much younger than i am now. i’ve always done that…made terrible things into bearable ideals that are to be cherished and revered. i don’t know why. don’t care to. it just made life much easier. certainly, anyone can understand why. we are all on this plane of existence for a very short time and it can be difficult to bear the burden of that knowledge.

when you begin to outlive those around you, and their demise does not come by your hand, it raises questions that you weren’t so comfy asking before. personally, i feel that we’re all here to perform a singular task. that task can be anything from offering the tiniest kindness to a stranger at the exact moment he, or she, needs to hear it in order to complete his/her task, to inventing or discovering something that will change the world. to me, that answers that old question about why some people die of lung cancer at 30, while others live to be in their 90’s, still puffing away till they finally pass on, peacefully, in their sleep. none of it matters. the only thing that matters is that damn task. that one thing. that moment that we were born for. see? simple. except that none of us ever knows what that task is. not ever. until right after we perform it. we only know then because our clock starts ticking down…to…zero.

it’s so very early, but still a couple of hours from sun-up here, in Mayberry. i fell asleep in my recliner for a couple of hours, and i dreamed of terrifying things. i was happy when my eyes flew open and i caught my breath. i often wonder if dreams aren’t simply another life we live all the time, but can only see when our ‘alpha’ life allows. the alpha life being the one we are consciously aware of living here, in this dimension.

i don’t see how we could be limited to a singular dimension, really. we are made of such stuff that i see no reason that we can’t jump the fence now and again, should we see fit. however, i, for one, am happy that my alpha dimension is the way it is. the other is like Hell come to my door. i know, i know…this sounds nuts. but i don’t think it’s any more nuts than the idiots at NASA and those ridiculous think tanks come up with. normal people are as adept at critical thinking as the most highly educated scientist. why? because wondering about where we come from and where we are going is as normal as breathing. nobody has to teach us to breathe. why must we be taught that, without a piece of paper, our thoughts are any less relevant than any others?

i guess i’m just going through some crap right now. i never got a degree…Hell, i never graduated high school. all i did was marry and raise a couple of boys, and a few more that were not my own, but were my sons, no less. i kept my vows to the bitter end and i worked a very difficult job for most of my adult life. i’m just a regular person with a million questions, but only half a million answers.

maybe that’s my thing…when i get my answers, i’m outta here. i wonder, sometimes…i honestly do.

home sweet home

The Mayberry morning has a spun gold look about it. The sun, having awakened in a kind and gentle mood, seems to have opted to share its joy with the rest of us. It feels as though it grew light all at once this morning; the Night, exhausted from standing its post, was all too happy to accept its much needed break.

I’ve been decorating my home for Fall and I feel like I’m starting to fall in love with it. I know that sounds strange, but I’m sure anyone reading this understands the sentiment behind that statement. Those of us who have not had small children in our lives for some time, or who have other issues that have been robbing them of joy, don’t always fall in 20151019_204837lock step with the holiday season. You forget how wonderful it is to walk in the house and be enveloped by the sight of simple decorations that remind you of the changes taking place this time of year…the fragrances from candles burned that create such a peaceful ambiance in an otherwise normal collection of walls.

‘Home’ has always been an issue for me. As a child, my home was on the border. In my heart, it still is. When I think of home, I remember my desert and the beauty of it all. I think of Lajitas…Presidio…Ojinaga…Alpine. Those places live in my heart today just as they existed the first time I ever saw them. Other than that, I’ve had one other place that was a real home to me; our first house, where we raised the boys. The time spent in that old place was the best. My heart was in it. In the years since leaving that house, I’ve been hard pressed to conjure enough holiday spirit to put up a Christmas tree, much less to decorate for Fall and such. So…to me…this feels really good. It’s like candy for the soul…to love your home; to accept a place as your home. I feel as though my feet may be flirting with the idea of actually being on the ground, firmly planted, for the first time in decades.

These have been a hard two months. A friend lost his mother in late July and promptly fell to pieces. I’ve tried to help him in my own way, but it’s not enough. After all, the blind can’t properly lead the blind, can they? I’ve been fighting the deepest depression of my life and I don’t understand why. And, while I’m still feeling quite ambivalent about the diagnoses assigned me by my shrink, I can’t honestly argue against their validity. The proof’s in the puddin, and I am one fucked up bowl o’puddin. lol!

Anyone who deals with bipolar depression knows that it’s almost like a physical fight to get beyond it. A doc can give you every pill they make, but, ultimately, it’s your brain that has the final call. Doc says my issues are caused by early childhood trauma. I never believed in that sort of thing until now. I thought that once you became an adult, it is simply ridiculous to blame things you do in the present on your childhood. And, I blame nothing I do, or am, on what happened to me as a child. However, having become informed on the issue, I can no longer deny that my childhood casts a very long shadow over my life, indeed. It’s the residual parts of what happens to us as children, I believe. It’s the icky you can’t was off. It’s something you wall up, much like a crazed killer walls up a living victim, brick by brick, ignoring the reaction of that thing inside that you just want to make shut the Hell up. (Ooooo…Mama has a dark side!)

I know that many of my FB friends have had the same, or similarly traumatic, experiences as I had growing up. I know I’m not a special lil snowflake, unique in any way. I wish I were because that would mean that nobody else had to hurt this way. I can’t stand to see others hurting. Most others, that is. I can’t even be happy to see the suffering of those I detest. It’s ridiculous. Doc says it’s because I have no sense of self…no idea who I am. I hope that, should I ever realize who I am, I will continue to never, ever, take pleasure in the emotional pain of another person. Because, unlike a black eye or bloody nose…emotional pain affects everything about you and how you relate to others, thereby affecting totally innocent people in your life. It’s simply a ripple effect, like when you toss a stone into a lake.

I should go. The morning is passing me by and I’d like to get a few things done. I hope and pray that whatever has settled into my head will take leave soon. I take my meds. I try to think happy things. I wake up in the mornings determined to incorporate positivity into my life. I try not to cry all the time like an idiot. And, above all else, I keep in mind that I’m not the only one today…this very minute…who is trying to get through it without making it their last day. There are so many of us…and so few people ever even notice. lol! Smile till it hurts, boys and girls!

the magical intangible

I decided to decorate for Fall this year. I know…running a bit late, as always. But I feel very excited about it. It’s truly a magical time of the year…everything changes. Fall saves us from the horrible Summer heat and the drudgery of long, humid, days. It blows in likeProcessed with VSCOcam with a6 preset a fairy godmother and grants us a reprieve; it allows us our fantasies of all things magic and majestic. I adore the Fall…

Mother and I were reminiscing about things this evening. Mostly, about how great it was when my boys and my nieces and nephews were small. I’d take them to the graveyard at the beginning of every Fall, giving each a big plastic bag. I would tell them that the pine cones on the ground were magic, but you never know which ones had the most within, so they needed to pick up as many as they could carry in their bags. This provided a yearly jaunt to visit my wicked old grandmother, buried deep in the darkest dirt. It also saved me hundreds on pine cones from Hobby Lobby! lol!

Those poor kids. I used to tell them such stories. Like ‘Monster in a Box’. That one came to be when my nephews were about three and five years old, respectively. One day, they told me that they had a monster under their bed. So…I grabbed a wooden box that I had had for years and told them it just so happened to be a monster catchin’ box. As they sat and watched, I called their monster, who heard me allllll the way from under their bed at their house. I called it, stamping my feet and carrying on, until the lil bastard jumped into the box! My nephews had this look on their faces, as though they’d seen a miracle. I bound the box shut with some sizel (sp?) rope, and it stayed on my kitchen counter so I could ‘watch it to make sure it didn’t escape’ for years. And, the years did go by…too quickly, I think. One day, my nephews, who were then about eight and ten, came over to the house with their mom. As we sat at the kitchen table, the oldest looked up and saw the monster box. He jumped up and said, “You still have the monster in that box!”. I told him…of course I did, and I intended on keeping him there forever and a day. He laughed and said there was no monster in that box. I asked him if he’d like to see for himself. He declined. 🙂

Lord, I told the kids in this family some tall tales. They’re all grown now, and they still remember them. I love that. It makes me feel good that they remember the best part of who I ever was. From when I was married to Black Beard…or was it Blue Beard…hmmmm….Anyway, I fell in love with Jean Lafitte, stole Black/Blue Beard’s treasure and ran away with Lafitte, and that’s how Auntie ended up in Galveston and how I met Uncle Bennie. I also climbed Mount Everest in my Jeep, Mathilda. She could also swim and fly, as she was enchanted by a shooting star…

Eventually, my tales spread to my extra kids, who told them to their babies. One of my extra sons even named his boys after characters in a book that I have yet to write, after twenty long years of trying to do so. The story is my favorite and, in some ways, I think it’s too precious to me to define by written word. There is much of the tale that is lost when one cannot hear the intangible magical of it all when told by one who is absolutely in love with the story. And, for me…the teller of the story…I couldn’t bear to miss the looks on the faces of the young ones who found joy in the tales of brother dragons and the lovely mermaid, Felicity…or the furrowed brows on intense lil faces as the tale turned to the evils of the Magi. But, in the end, there is love and beauty and peace in all the land and the mighty dragon, Lucien, finds true love with the beautiful Felicity, and Ember, his scarlet brother is set free to protect the land of their ancestors, casting the Magi into the Pit of Oblivion, never to be seen again. Those faces…there at the end…I couldn’t bear to miss them. And, so, the story in my heart will be one passed along, spoken in a soft voice on a long night when a lil one can’t sleep. That’s what.

It’s strange how an action, like putting up a few decorations, can bring back so many memories. I feel happy right now. That’s not my norm. I don’t feel a lot. Not anymore. But I can’t stop smiling and I think I’m going to take some time to contact my nieces and nephews and see how they are. I might even tell them a new tale, or two. After all, they still believe that Auntie is magical. Honestly, that feels as good as it does knowing how much they love me. I only hope they realize how much I love them.

end stage

End stage alcoholism.
End. Stage. Alcoholism.
No matter how many times I try to put that into my brain, I can’t truly understand it. It is exactly as it sounds; it’s the last stage of the disease prior to death. It’s the part of the disease that, even though you may fight it and win, you may never come back from it, completely. Just as it is with cancer, or any other disease. The only difference, in my view, between something like cancer and a disease of addiction, is that you find the addiction, it doesn’t find you. Cancer, for instance, seems to find you and set its sights upon you with a purposeful vengeance. Where addiction is concerned, it is almost as though WE are the disease and it is us who sets out on our terrible journey with purposeful vengeance.

From the moment we are conceived, every part of every cell strives to live. Life, once set into motion, is determined and forceful in its struggle to continue on. I suppose that’s why suicide is looked upon so harshly in nearly every culture, and why it’s so difficult to actually commit suicide. Our will to live is informed by billions of cells that make up our physical being; each cell having its own biological imperative to thrive. The killing of oneself is the most unnatural thing a human being can do, as it is wholly contrary to what our natural selves have known since conception.

When you think of addiction as disease, I believe that what is lost in translation, so to speak, is that it is an ongoing form of suicide. Is suicide, in and of itself a disease? I don’t know. But, I do know that we seek out our addictions, whether or not they are inherent within us via our genetics, or if they are simply the biproducts of our vices. One cannot become an ‘end stage’ addict without there being a discernible prior stage. That is another difference between something like cancer and addiction. Many of us know people who have discovered, much too late, that they have an end stage disease, such asa80e26be38d432231d6c4c7d8937575c a deadly cancer. However, we all know just as many, and more, who are currently using alcohol, or drugs, in a seemingly benign fashion. However, depending on the person, what we may actually be witnessing is a very slow, decisive, suicide attempt, or, at the very least, the onset of a serious illness.

In my view, and in spite of the fact that I enjoy drinking, alcohol is the most destructive drug there is, or ever was. It is not the nature of the alcoholic to keep it to themselves. Yes, some do. They are the exception. Most enjoy spreading the pain around. If they didn’t enjoy it, they wouldn’t do it, now would they? Drunks are, commonly, a violent lot and usually have little insight into the fact that they are being consumed by a disease of misery and self loathing, even unto death.

Many changes take place in the end stage alcoholic. They often lose control of their bowels and bladder function. They stop eating. They are shaky…their memory goes. They begin to show signs of dementia. They bruise easily and they bleed freely. Their bellies often swell due to gastritis and other stomach problems. It’s not for the faint hearted…end stage alcoholism.

I think I’ve over used the words ‘end stage’. But, that’s what I’m talking about. And, I think that I’m having a very difficult time with those words, and, if I ‘say’ them enough, I’ll really begin to understand them. When someone is in the final stages of cancer, for instance, loved ones gather and try to lend help and support. When someone is in the last stages of what amounts to suicide by booze, people judge them more harshly than ever, hoping it shakes them to wakefulness and that the person will change their wicked ways. It’s disgusting. It’s cruel. Because nobody consciously sets out to die of addiction. Nobody. But, I have to think that, on a subconscious level, that’s exactly what’s happening. Something…some seed planted long ago…took hold and the person decided they weren’t worth the air they breath. So they set out to kill themselves. I think. ? Suicide by pleasure, until it isn’t. One day, you’re holding your own, the next, all Hell comes down on you and you’re shitting yourself, trying to get the shakes to stop and hoping you don’t have a seizure. Just like that. Boom.

I’ve known many alcoholics and other addicts in my lifetime. I’ve always found them to be amazing people. They are normally smarter than others…more sensitive…more creative. And there is always this magic about them in the beginning. But, that starts to fade somewhere between the ‘party’ stage of their addiction and the ‘I need to score so I’ll have some when I wake up’ phase. What comes after that is the ‘always loaded’ stages of addiction. Nothing is ever nice about that. But nothing…and I mean nothing…compares to the final stage. It’s like watching Satan, himself, take someone you love and drag them to Hell. I hate it. I fucking hate it. You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved, no matter how bad you want to. And, at some point, even if they do, they find out that nobody can save them, anyway, because they are far too near the end of a very successful suicide attempt.

the man i mourn

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It’s a beautiful morning here in Mayberry, and I am feeling so very grateful to be here. I’ve gone through a lot the last month or so. A misguided attempt to help someone who was very special to me led to hurt feelings and what have you. Honestly, I don’t know who I thought I was that I would even attempt to save someone else. I can’t even save myself. But some people just sort of stick to your heart for reasons you may not even understand. When that happens, you have to at least try to help them, should they find themselves in a terrible dilemma. That’s what I think, anyway.

I’ve been being productive on the homefront. My little house is beginning to take on the ambiance of a sanctuary. It’s like a tiny jewel box, holding all of my very favorite things. I have no room for much else. If something doesn’t qualify as an heirloom or ‘most loved’ possession, it doesn’t get a spot here. The reason is a simple one: My dining area, den and bedroom could all comfortably fit into the den at my old house. My entire kitchen is about the size of my old bathroom, and my bathroom is the size of my old closet. To say that I have downsized is the understatement of the century. However, in light of how badly things turned out in the year before Bennie’s death, I’m thankful that I’m not living in a refrigerator box under an overpass.

Bro is coming to visit at the end of October. We are finally going to all be together, at once, and will be spreading Bennie’s ashes. He will have been gone a year and a half by then. I know that seems a rather long time to wait to have a proper funeral, but Bro couldn’t get enough time off of work before, and we all wanted to be together when we finally laid Bennie to rest. It will be nice to have my boys together. I wish it weren’t such a grim deed that they will gather for, but it is suiting that they be the ones who dispense of their father’s remains. Bennie was their hero…a god to them. Even after he changed, the relationship with his sons remained the same. I thank God for that.

Yesterday, I took Bennie’s picture off of the shelf. It’s in the buffet with every other picture with him in it. I enjoy having family pictures sitting about, but it’s not easy to see his face at every turn. So, for the holiday season, his image will be long gone from my view. I feel better, already. I didn’t realize how much it was bothering me until I closed the door to the buffet. The moment it closed, I swear I could breathe deeper. My chest hurt less. It was, instantly, less tumultuous inside of my head. I had no idea that it was bothering me so much.

I think that we all grieve differently and that we are never certain how grief will manifest in our lives, over time. I had joined a couple of groups after Bennie passed. There was much discussion of the Five Stages of Grief. Initially, I was relieved that there were only five stages, figuring that I could work right through them and be done with it. However, I quickly learned that there are a million stages of grief. And, they don’t come in a specific order. They reveal themselves when THEY decide it’s time.

In so many ways, I have yet to truly acknowledge Bennie’s death. I don’t know if I ever will. Don’t care if I do, or not. All I know is that it’s taken me seventeen months to make my personal boat stop rocking and to find some real footing without him being here. As horrible as it was to be married to him, at least I knew my role in life. I believe that knowing who you really are, and what your role in this world is, is the most difficult part to deal with when your abuser passes. You grow so used to catering to someone that it becomes natural. You don’t even hear the noise of it all until it’s quieted by the hand of God. It’s a paralyzing thing, that. Silence. Normalcy. Taking care of yourself instead of someone else. You wouldn’t think the last thing would be so difficult, but it is. Because, when you live with someone who constantly puts you in your place, the only thing you want to do is take care of them so that they will leave you alone, if that makes sense. You don’t spend a lot of time on how you look or dress, as they may call upon you at any moment and you don’t want to be ‘dragging ass’ when they do. Unless you enjoy getting spit at and/or on, or find the sight of a man with his hand on a gun while he yells at you to be a good thing.

There is so much about my life with Bennie I’ve never told anyone about. Partly, because I don’t like who I was with him, and I think the fact I stayed with him all of those years reflects very poorly on me as a person. I don’t recall having too many good things to say to the man during the last years of his life. I do recall jumping when he said jump. No matter what I said, he always knew that he was in control of me. He loved that. He loved to control me. And, it was only me. I don’t know why.

I really don’t know why I miss him. But, I do. I guess it’s because he knew everything about me, and I, him. At my age, there will never be another who knows me that well. I’ll never look into another man’s face and be able to remember what that face looked like at 18. There will never be another man who was my first. Nobody will be able to laugh with me about that night in the back of his truck, fumbling around like idiots under his old sleeping bag. lol! It may not have been the ideal ‘first time’, but I’d take it over a planned night at the San Louis any day. I guess that’s the guy I’m mourning. He’s the one who danced in the living room with me…the one who’d take me to the beach to make love while we watched the sun rise. He was the one who woke me during a midnight thunderstorm to take me outside to play in the rain because he knew I loved it so much. Truly, I think I’ve been grieving for that man for fifteen years, already. I never really knew the man who died in that hospital. That man was cruel and selfish and hated everything about me. He wasn’t my Bennie. And he deserved what he got.

finis operis

He never gave real thought to his words. Had he done so, I’d hope he’d have chosen them much more carefully; considered the true meaning of the words he spoke to me that day. I’m no delicate flower, but I do mind being ‘handled’. I prefer that one speaks to me in the way his words are meant to be said. It’s only fair that certain truths are no sugar coated. Were my doctor to have had the nerve to speak frankly, these are the words he’d have chosen:

“Your brain can no longer tolerate its lone occupant, so I’m going to give you some meds. They’ll either cure you, or kill you in some way.
Either way, you won’t get out of this without losing yourself completely.20160511_000143 (2)
On the bright side, you died inside long ago, for all intents and purposes. Though I can’t guarantee any of this will help, remember it’s for your own good…”

After a few months of taking poison, the realization hits me, on this gorgeous Mayberry afternoon, that he was right: Elle doesn’t live here anymore. She was simply too hard to handle. Her roar is now a whisper, and her love of all things mysterious has been contained in the vacuous chasm once occupied by her soul. Gone are the silly daydreams and imaginations that made her life colorful. In their stead, a screen, blank and bland, reveals only chemically induced normalcy. People who know her think this is a wonderful improvement. She does not share their opinion.

– End

kiss me, you fool!

the Darkness dances with its shadows
partners for all time, they are
round and round they go, as my sleepy eyes beg them to stop
yet, they’ll hear none of it, as they continue on
dancing throughout the night
parading themselves before me as though i need to learn from them
arrogant Death, you don’t fool me
i know that you come to me by cover of darkened pathways
lest the Light rob you of your precious power
a power that only lives in the minds of mortals who treasure life
many of us don’t, you know
and that makes you little more than an irritant
a thing that parades around us, at all times, like a beggar crying for a scrap of bread
you believe that it’s all in your hands…life and death
silly one…you hold no cards, except those dealt you with a specificity that even you cannot comprehend
take me, if you can
but you will take me with a smile on my face
because, in that moment, i’ll know that thing that you will never know
i’ll know it’s truly my time
now, shut up and kiss me…

no rest for the…

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The night seems all encompassing as I try to find a sleepy bone. Nothing, so far. I feel both restless and exhausted, as I haven’t slept much in a few days. Even so, my eyes are wide open and I cannot bear the thought of succumbing to dreams of evil people doing their wicked deeds.

This day has been a long one. I’ve been looking into my heritage and have found some interesting things. Mostly, I’ve found my ancestors to be a very determined group of individuals who seemed able to look beyond the struggle to the reward. Very few yankees, thank goodness. I couldn’t face life with a family tree full of those horrid creatures.

Honestly, I’ve never cared much for genealogy. We are who we are, here and now, and it does not matter who went before us. If we don’t live up to a high standard of morality and good character, nothing from the past will save us. The reason I began this lil investigation was that I’ve been very curious about my biological father’s family. So far, that endeavor has been a series of dead ends. No tiny leaf at the corner of any of the names of those who I’ve managed to find on his side of the family. I wish it weren’t so. I know that my paternal grandmother was quite something. Nothing nice…but, quite something, no less. She was a frightening red headed woman; an alcoholic who was sexually promiscuous. My paternal grandfather tolerated her. A very tall, large, man, it’s said that he was kind to a fault. He obviously loved my grandmother enough to overlook her…flaws…as they were married till the day he died.

With the exception of a few notes, here and there, I still can’t get much of a feel for what made my ancestors tick. As I stated, it seems as though they were a hearty group, overall. But, I do know of a few wild vines growing on my family tree. To this day, my family is made up of the crazy and determined, as well as the good as gold types. Nothing really changes much with people, generally speaking, much less with families. I suppose that’s why God can curse us up to a thousand generations. After the first couple of generations pass, those curses simply become some sort of warped family trait. They can be seen on and on, throughout one’s lineage, and are as predictable as the sunrise. It makes me wonder if we might actually be the same people as those gone before; reinvented and newly faced…living out our curses and blessings as we’ve done all along. Or, maybe we are all singular beings, born once to flesh, then on to eternity. I suppose there’s only one way to find out and I’m not ready for that just yet.

I’ll be seeing my dad in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait. That old man is everything to me. I know his days are growing shorter, though. Also, I know that I will be lost without him in my world. I can’t begin to imagine what life without him will be like. So, I don’t. But am increasingly aware that I should prepare for his end. His hip is hurting him. He’ll be going to the doctor Monday, next. I pray it’s only arthritis, which is bad enough. Mom is going to get him a walker tomorrow. He won’t use it any more than he uses his cane. He’s a Marine, after all. They don’t tend to go down easily, and they are notorious for loving the difficult path. That just never goes away, no matter how old they get. The Corps is for life. Maybe even forever. Wouldn’t that be something? I think my dad would be pleased as punch to arrive at the Pearly Gates and see his hero, Chesty Puller, there to greet him. If there isn’t a Heaven just for Marines, there damn well oughtta be!