What They Gained

Looking through frosty glass can make the world outside appear imaginary. Maybe it is an illusion, even unfrosted. After all, it is only what it is while someone is thinking. Depending on what kind of thinking is attending, it can shift shape and meaning. Who knows what colors others see.

The woman said that she would rather that she had never been born. Her fans were telling her that they were dismayed that she could be thinking that way and advised her strongly against it. She made no apologies and dug her heels in deeper — saying, “I stand firm. I wish I had never been born. I wouldn’t wish life on anyone.”

She gave no clue about feeling this way until she said it outright. She was effervescent and animated in her videos and so natural and earthy. She spoke her heart and minced no words — shit, fuck and damn fell out with ease, unedited, and well-congealed thoughts tripped out of her mind with ordered precision. Her communication was easy, made good sense and she was unabatedly funny. She claimed later that that was because of anxiety and not because she was actually comedic.

She was sticking and stitching bright colored scraps to a backing making a new piece of fabric out of bits and pieces left over from other things she had sewn. She seemed so full of life and was so very chipper and everything she picked to patch was cheery and so well considered. She turned pieces this way and that while the camera was watching, trying to make the piece aesthetically pleasing — it was obvious she was filled with a fluid artistic persuasion.

It’s easy to hide behind the fog of the war that is living.

She didn’t seem to be trying to hide. She seemed to be undressing while still keeping on her clothes. She was emotionally fully exposed.

Unrehearsed and played aloud, more about her story started coming out. She had set a stage for telling her truth. She said she wanted an audience to help her understand herself. If it helped someone else, she didn’t mind. The sewing and cooking were just a way to make her viewers look and find a content value. Her story was as much.

“I had a parka that I opened the seams of the pockets so that I could fit all the beer cans along the bottom, inside the lining. It was hard to stuff it all in my locker at my elementary school. I don’t know why no teachers ever confronted me. I was drunk everyday. It was as if nobody cared. My parents certainly didn’t. I was taking beer to school when I was twelve and stumbling and falling in my parent’s presence. I drank champagne when I was ten and drank as much as I could get my hand on at a wedding. When I couldn’t find alcohol elsewhere, I stole. One day my father had to pick me up, drunk and lying in the snow and bring me inside. He never said a word. I was a child. I never hated myself for drinking. And I always thought I was living a grown up enough life to warrant doing grown up things. I hated the people who never seemed to care and who let it keep going on when, clearly, they had to know.”

She was rambling. It seemed like she could burst out crying any minute but didn’t. She stuffed it in. She’s claimed to be a hoarder.

“I hate to look at pictures of the past. I’ll look and see that someone’s gone — has died — and that some of the others will leave before much longer — one way or another. I wouldn’t wish life on anyone,” she repeats. “It’s just a bunch of crap. Whatever’s good isn’t enough to make up for all that’s bad about it.”

She claims it’s not depression, just a realist’s way of seeing her condition.

Her condition might just be a way for others to see what can end up being so subtly gorgeous once the full measure of its being is exposed. That she has undressed, so to speak, is what has let others see. It’s a useless exercise — someone, who once has been, cannot go back to never having been — and certainly not without others losing what they gained.

She is certainly subtly gorgeous and anyone who has seen her has gained.

 

 

Image credit: Simple Stylish Makes

 

The Showoff Business

Jamie Lee Curtis used those words, the showoff business, in an interview she gave speaking about being in recovery for substance abuse.
Kevin Bacon said in another interview that he had a make-up pro create a disguise for him and apply it so that he could go out into some public space where celebrities frequent but where other people also horde to try to catch a glimpse of one. He wanted to see what it was like to remain incognito. It worked. No one knew who he was. He hated it. It really bothered him that no one knew who he was.
I had to start wondering why any of us want to be seen.
Or heard.
Or read.
I garden.
I sew.
I research health-related issues.
I write.
I keep pages on Facebook for the first three and post links to things from here as they are completed each day on my own timeline — much to my own chagrin because I’m not really sure I want family and close friends to know me this well. Strangers are much easier — though, I must say, I have deep challenges to overcome due to responses, or lack thereof, that I have to navigate and I have to keep reminding myself that I post things strictly for accountability.
Originally, the pages on Facebook were just a means of trying to keep track of what I found as I investigated things — but, as time went on and followers accrued, emotional challenges started to accrue in relation to follower’s engagement or, again, lack thereof.
Lately, I’ve been reading a book called You Are The Placebo. It’s more of the research on health-related issues. As I’m reading it, I’m wondering if it is just pseudo science and if it will be effective the way the author claims. That said, it is being useful to uncover some things about thinking patterns and how delicate thinking really is. Thinking has a huge impact on outcomes with regard to how our lives manifest to large degrees respective to satisfaction or I can’t get no satisfaction outcomes.
Something I am WELL aware of, and he brings up, is the part nature plays in how satisfied or not we are with life and I think of how much, each day that I am out in it working with my own yards and witness ants and birds and lizards and stray cats and leaves falling, etc., etc. of just how utterly sustaining it all is and then I want to run in and tell someone/anyone/everyone about it.
My own mother spent five years enduring a clinical depression that almost exhausted all the life in her. Somehow, she managed to escape it — in large part due to two people, who are also not alive anymore, that wrapped their arms around her and, almost literally, lifted her out of it. There didn’t seem to be anything her own family could do — it was strangers. Strangers that saw her pain and loved her out of it. Our love, she expected — strangers she did not. It was a gift and once that started, her life began again.
I remember of how absolutely excited she became and animated when I would show up and she would present the list of things she had done that day. She made lists. She kept every novel she read in a rack, hanging on her bedroom door — a tally of accomplishments is the best way I can imagine why she did it. Once she came back to life, she needed some way of accounting, some way for herself to see what she was becoming again. For most of the years prior, before the depression, she was her children. We were her. It was the empty nest that started her dissent into that literal hell that is depression. She had everything she was tied up into us. She had to relearn a new way to be once she got past that living hell.
So, where I am in the placebo book, he is speaking to just how we become what we are — how reinforcing behaviors by constantly recalling them — like PTSD — there is some biological process, (I have to read slowly and process things so this is the best I can relate it back at this point), that makes it rather permanent. I will give fragrance as an example. I can smell the fragrance my sister wore or an old boyfriend and bam, the memories flood my mind — and not always good ones. I intentionally gave away many of my CDs because I DO NOT want to provoke feelings associated with the past that are dredged up when listening to them. I don’t want to hash and rehash certain memories. I listened lately to Police’s King of Pain and went directly to a broken heart episode in my life. I had to quickly find something else to replace the negative, unwelcome feelings. That might be the moment that Jamie Lee Curtis would go for the Vicodin. Me, I go outside and watch ants march, collecting things to make their fungus — cutter ants.
Writing is different, at least for me. It is cathartic. It is a way to get the memories out of my head, on to paper and then the words can be stared at like my mother might have gloried at the rack of books she had read or the list of accomplishments on a given day. My past serves as fodder for stories and once they are out, they become friendly again — almost like they are someone else’s life.
So, for interest and to make this so-called story asymmetrical, (since I favor odd numbers and think they are more interesting), Diane Keaton brought up how she loves kissing and having love relations but she meant while acting. She says, relationships are perfect that way, they don’t have to go on and become anything more, or less. They are what they are and can be left right where the movie ends.
Why is it that so many actors abuse substances? Maybe they don’t any more than the proportion they represent within their own sphere that the rest of those of us that abuse do in our own spheres.
Why did Jaime call it the showoff business — and when she did, mind, she did it with a little bit of a snarl such to imply that she meant for us to hear the words with a negative connotation.
Someone might say that my mother was showing off when she couldn’t wait to present her list of daily-things-crossed-off to me the minute I arrived — like she had been waiting all day for someone to see her. I love those memories of my mother. I love to remember how animated and happy she was the last few years of her life. She was a wonderful person and deserved to be a celebrity. She was to her children.
At this point in the placebo book, I’m almost wanting to quit wanting anyone to see, hear, respond/not respond, read me. I am wanting to just watch the ants and for that to be enough — the focus for living a life of meditation — contemplating meaning as seen through nature.
Trouble is, I made a commitment. I said, to myself, and YOU, I will write something every day and post it. I think I committed to one year. If not, I will now. That seems fair.
People have been leaving my gardening page. I don’t know why. I can guess all kinds of reasons.
People have been commenting on my comments on other sites where I have felt compelled to have an opinion. One called me bitter because I called out a professional artist/writer for dissing his own son because he thought his son was stealing his artwork. He chastised his son in public as if his son was just one of his followers. I thought he was wrong to do it and simply said, “I feel like I shouldn’t be hearing this.” To which one person said, “Thank you for saying that. I felt the same way.” The writer went into a long recital of why he did it and tried to make it sound like he was admonishing anybody for stealing artwork. But, sorry, he said, “my son.” So when I said, “That’s family business”, and some other, I thought, well-chosen words back in response to his excuses, the second lady called me bitter. So be it, but it did instruct me that I would rather spend my valuable time watching ants from now on.
I will, however, honor the 365 day commitment to write something every day and continue to post here and link it on my timeline — for whatever it’s worth.
I may drop off the pages on Facebook, (except for my own timeline for the remainder of the 365 day commitment). Ants are so much more interesting, they don’t care how I look, I can’t get them to leave me, (not that I would want them to), and I highly doubt if they think I’m bitter or a showoff — they’re way too busy to bother with that bother. From now on, I want to be more like ants — busy in my own world doing something of value.

 

Mom, hovering over me

Mom, hovering over me.