The Music to Dance

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dance
The strangest thing has been happening to me all morning; people are commenting on how bright and happy I am. This is not to say that on other days, I am crying and screaming as I walk around; but rather, today there is a little extra something in my smile. Because I am who I am, I have to dissect this and worse, question it. Why am I so happy? My life has been a roller-coaster of change and stress for the last six months, why am I happy today? What is different? And do I try to recreate it for another day, or do I simply enjoy the moment? And can I enjoy the moment?

I work really, really hard to enjoy the moment; and I would say that I am successful about one in every twenty thousand tries. I know that I am supposed to smell the roses; I know that I am supposed to take the time to find the joy in every moment – I am supposed to choose joy. But that is a very hard thing to do.

Like I said in the first paragraph, my life has been in flux these last months. Moving, changing jobs, trying to sell a home, my marriage finally showing the cracks that can scare even the hardest of hearts, and trying to desperately continue to provide a world that my children can thrive in. It hasn’t been easy, and it isn’t over yet these changes from the one move. I have finally resigned to myself that it takes years to build up foundations you lose in moving, or changing your whole life so dramatically. You can’t just replace all the sandbags or the steady brick walls that held up the foundations of your life. You have to take each new brick and replace them where there are now holes; and this isn’t just in your professional life, or your financial life, it is literally all-consuming. Finding joy while I try desperately to push along the process and to find for both me and my children safety and security slowly kills the desperate need for that very thing.

I know better than most that are certain things to concentrate on. For instance, the safety, security and relative happiness of my children will always come first. They come before anything I am or anything I do. I will break my own heart if that means that the life they have is safe and secure. I will easily walk around in ancient clothes, find the best schools despite the cost, and I will continue to give them the small little “treats” that can make or break a day. I will find for them time, space, love, and most of all security so that they can life even if I cannot.

I was sitting at the dinner table last night, just me and my son, and I was listening as my son in great detail told me about being an agent and fighting the bad guys. He had developed weapons, viruses, lairs, and all the details a great story teller knows instinctively. He talked about who was in trouble and who was winning the battle; he talked about what the bad guys looked like, and what color fire one of them threw. It was a fascinating glimpse into the mind of my child.

I don’t believe my mother would have found it fascinating; and my husband while he might have listened would not have let the conversation go on for thirty minutes. My husband would not have sat there and simply listened, occasionally making comments to show he was listening; most people wouldn’t. But I found I could nothing less. I couldn’t walk away, even though my daughter needed me to stop every once in a while and give her direction. I continued to listen despite the fact I was uncomfortable in the chair, and I was cold from a freezing house; I sat there and listened despite the incredible book I am reading or the latest show on the television.

I listened because I have a son who does not complain. I have a son who is inside his head more often than he is in the real world. I have a son who brilliance lies not only in the math and science of school, but in the friends and voices he has deep in his head. In that he is like me. And one of the most important things I have learned about myself is the voices in my head are speaking a truth with far more weight than the words coming out of my mouth. That which I dream directly reflects the needs and desires that I have in my life. Yes, they are comfortable; and yes, they give me companionship in this life but mostly those voices allow me to live my dreams, and to conquer the demons I don’t have the guts to fight in my day. They give me the tools I need to get up in the morning, and they give me the music in which I can dance.

Last night I listened because I needed to know what demons my beautiful son is fighting. I needed to get away from the selfish needs that I wallow in and make sure that my child could still shine. I needed to know his demons, and I needed to know his fight. And at the end, he gave me more in thirty minutes than any novel or any show ever could.

I often worry about my son; much more so than my daughter. My daughter is in your face stubborn, and often carries her emotions and her heart right for the world to see. Her life revolves around characters as well, but they aren’t in her head yet, but rather in her toy box. They are the dolls that she can dress, the kitchen she can create, and the art that she loves to paint. She is artistic, vocal, and incredibly brave; much braver than I ever was. She can out climb, out ride, and sometimes out run her older brother. But you can always, at least at this stage, look her in the eye and know exactly what the problem is. And if her eyes are hiding all you have to do is ask.

My son is much different. I can remember one particularly painful day when I realized that my son suffered, but did so in complete silence. That was the day I learned to listen; to not see but to hear what he is suffering, what he feels. It changed my whole life, and eventually led to the place where I am now as all painful things must.

For my children, I would easily accept death. The thought doesn’t really bother me, except I often wonder who or what will listen to the brilliant boy I am trying to raise. I worry most about him, his sensitivity and yes, even his intelligence. I see myself trying to break through in him, and wonder if it will lead to a path as destructive as the one I have walked.   I wonder if in the future I can steer those silent conceptions my son depends so much on, to a world that will embrace him and give him the freedom to live. Because at the end of the day I will fight to make sure that both of my children have the freedom to live; and if that means sitting on an uncomfortable chair, cold and tired, to listen to the tales of a six-year old; I damn well will. Every day of my life.

Sneaky Little Suckers

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imagesI got a text today.  Not an auspicious event in my life, as lots of people text me. I tend not to respond often, or when I do my responses are one to two words that perfectly states what exactly I am thinking.  But today’s text threw me literally for a loop.  What was a pleasant question from a friend, asking how I was doing, led to a bomb of epic size exploding right in front of my eyes.

It always amazes me when emotions especially, sneak up on me.  For heaven’s sake, I am bipolar; how can an emotion sneak.  I feel happiness from the top of my toes to the bottom of my hair follicles.  I play in happiness like it is bubbles in a bath. And I have so much fear there are times that I can’t move. My emotions tend to be big, loud and on good days, the life of the party.  They are rarely hidden.

And why do emotions hide? Why do they sneak up on unsuspecting fools like myself as if to one day wake up and decide today’s the day? What made today different than the other 364 this year, what made it possible for my emotions to come to the forefront of my life? And what ultimately is the price I am going to pay for these dormant little suckers?

When I thought about what I was going to respond to that innocent little text, I realized I am extremely angry and devastatingly hurt.

Did my psyche protect myself in order to keep from responding to these life changing emotions? Technically what I am angry about and what hurts me so much, is probably not much in the scheme of things. Many people, not living in this moment, would probably even say to get over it, the problem was not that bad.  Even you, dear reader, would say something similar, this I can almost promise. It is the kind of issue that isn’t an understandable issue. It isn’t noticeable when looking from the outside. It isn’t something that can be put into actions that are as readily seen as the latest blockbuster movie.  But it is there.

At first, I did what I always do.  I went to the internet.  I looked up the problem, the anger, in a quest to mitigate the damage before I did something regrettable (although I don’t know what that is).  The problem with anger, as many of us know, is that it doesn’t go away; it either festers and explodes like Mt. Edna, or it pops as loudly as fireworks in July.  Hurt, hurt is a little harder. It destroys the fabric of the self until one isn’t able to even recognize themselves in a house of mirrors.  Hurt destroys slowly, silently until one literally buckles. It may be a fist in the face hurt, or a jab in the back, but hurt kills more softly than the greatest cancers alive.

The internet, of course, had many suggestions.  First, there was the popular exercise.  My problem with exercise, beyond the fact that I am lazy, is that it certainly gives me those celebrated endorphins, but only for a brief moment. Don’t get me wrong, it may last a day but after that the high is gone and I am in the same place and even sometimes a worse place. Plus, I tend to get obsessive about things, and the one thing I can’t afford to really get obsessive about is exercise.

Then of course, the internet encouraged talking about it.  Problem with that.  I don’t have many friends; I am pretty much a loner.  And it is difficult for me to call upon the friends I have just to talk about this one thing.  I didn’t call last month just to see how they are, is it fair to call them for something like this?  I don’t have insurance so therapy is out.  And my family is not the type I tell anything to; various reasons really, but compelling all the same.  So talking to anybody other that you, dear reader, was out.

I can write about it. That tends to put things in perspective.  Of course, I fear that I would be writing a chapter book that ultimately would defeat the purpose of entertainment.  Where is the time? Where is the will to write this long and this hard about something that is so sneaky as to surprise the dickens out of me?

If you are a fellow Pintrest fan, than you might be yelling at your screen right now, the popular sayings regarding ridding oneself of the things that are making me feel this way.  And yet we come to another problem…I am an adult, I can’t.  The things that are making me angry and hurt are not things that can be easily trashed or recycled in the compost bin. The things that are bringing these emotions right to the front are not something that I can easily walk away from; nor should I.  Instead they are a part of life that is sometimes unfair, and most often completely wrong.  They are the demons that have voice and they are the diseases that ravage one to their ultimate death.

So let’s recap.  I have something that makes me angry and hurt, yet I can’t exercise it away. I can’t talk or write about it until it goes away, and because I have the misfortune of living until adulthood, I can’t walk away from it.  I am stuck. I am stuck understanding that I am angry and even why I am hurt; but I am stuck with those emotions as surely as I am stuck with the freckle on my nose.

Angry and hurt will one day take all of my being.  It will become the large monster in the corner of the room and it will become the inescapable necessity of the rest of my life.  It will grow and fester, and it will end of destroying that which is precious to me.  And I will sit here years from now, rereading this post and nodding my head in the knowledge I knew the moment I read that innocent text.

Two Peas With A Disease

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peasI am huge fan of Pintrest.  I don’t know what it is about those random pictures featuring everything from a lovely dresser to a desert I can taste without once stepping in the kitchen that keeps me entertained for hours.  I like to use the pictures to fly away from my little world and create with them a world that is of my exacting and sometimes eclectic taste.  I dream of the places I would see, in that perfect focus, and the dresses I will never be able to afford.  It gives me a taste of the elegance, the sophistication, the beauty that life continually seems to deny one. Life is simply too dirty to ever look like Pintrest.

If you ever go on Pintrest on of the things you will be inundated with from the beginning are little sayings, cute little quotes, and famous words.  These poetic life wisdoms will be on wood, glass, paper, and even sometimes the shirts you probably would never wear.  Some are cute, some are inspirational, some are downright rude.  But they are there to pick you up, dust you off, and change your point of view.

I often read the quotes and chuckle.  Other times, I will save those little bombs for future use; whether in decorating a home I don’t have or in painting a masterpiece that I am incapable of.

Little bits of wisdom are strange and wonderful things.  When they hit you at the exact moment that you need them, it feels like a wind tunnel has blown not just your hair but the whole course of your life.  For days you might remember the words that so powerfully lifted you up, but eventually you will either replace the saying with one more appropriate to that moment, or you will simply slow down enough that you can’t keep up with the very wind whispering those potent words. This is life. This is what happens; and no matter how much you need those words back, you will forever lose the incredibly mighty lexis that once filled you.

I have spent many years looking for those sayings, even prior to the invention of Pintrest.  For some reason Marilyn Monroe’s words, or Aubrey Hepburn’s words, can transport me through the curve that is currently causing me trouble.  They are my muscles, my strength to not give up.  And I use them as easily as I use the words I am writing on this paper to get through the tough times.

Not everyone does this, of course.  There are those who use other inspirations to stay the course, or to beat back the demons of negativity.  Then there are those who simply don’t let the unenthusiastic, unconstructive, unhelpful, pessimistic words to ever bring them down; they are made of eternal sunshine.  I often wonder if these types of people actually exist, and then I simply want to know what they have drank, smoked or swallowed – I need me some of that.

Me, I am pessimistic until backed in a corner or worse, until someone actually sees me.  Then I put a smile on my face, roll up my sleeves, and start with a drop kick in defense.  It maybe in my imagination, or it may in someone else’s, but I fight only when I have to.

My husband is different.  My husband starts out for about forty-eight hours being happy, confident and full of the vinegar needed to make things happen; and then he slides for the next three months into a level of pessimistity that is hard to describe.   Walls have fallen, and then rebuilt.  Worlds have moved, and then stopped dead in the face of a pebble.  Blood that once ran red, all of a sudden look black.  And once that depressing attitude begins, there is no stopping the excuses.  There is no way to change the tide; the woe is me has begun and it is on a train that has no wheels to turn.

Don’t get me wrong, I am bipolar.  There are moments of pure depression that make my husband look like a ray of sunshine.  There are moments of anger, frustration and then sadness that make it impossible for me to comprehend why I even begin to get out of bed.  And most of my optimism is paid by that little pill I take multiple times a day in order to stay sane. But whether it is the pill itself, or my own self, I mostly do get out of bed.  In fact, I will often get out of bed over and over again to face the same dreary reality, rather than stay in bed as I should.

To listen to my husband make excuses when those wheels aren’t turning, when the tide is pushing so quickly and so dramatically, pushes my buttons faster than anything else God has yet to throw at me.  I hear it, I listen to it, I rage against it.  I see red and literally can feel the blood began to flow through my heart as it races to keep up with the demons I can’t keep reined.  I will anger, I will scream, I will cuss, and I will find myself quickly in a place that is as destructive as the place my husband as found.  And then we are both lost.

The worse for me is the what happens when the excuses begin to fly.  My husband’s excuses come in the form of drinking heavily and laziness.  Did you not know that excuses come in other forms; not just words?  Sure the words always exist, but excuses are actually the actions you take in reaction to the insidious words of doubt or even happiness that comes into your mind.  The words that change the reality are important; but they don’t hold a candle to the reality of the actions they make.

My husband is an alcoholic; he doesn’t actually need much to decide to drink.  Give him a good day, give him a bad day or anything in between, and he drinks.  He hides it under the bed, just like any other alcoholic; I suppose in an attempt to keep me from knowing how much he drinks.  He convinces himself each and every time that I don’t know; yet I know before I even get my whole body through the front door.  I can smell it, see it in the redness of his face, and I can hear it in the stories he wants to tell.  Then there is the laziness.  Life not going the way you want, my husband’s response isn’t to fight, it is to concede and hope the next round is easier.  My husband doesn’t use anger or frustration to come out fighting; he uses it as a way to make it simple.  My husband longs for an uncomplicated, effortless, and painless life; and despite his age he hasn’t figured out it doesn’t exist.  My husband sees a mountain, and rather than climb it, go through it, or around it; he sits down and begins the excuses.  He begins to figure out how to become the mountain so no one will see him; and no one further push him.  Being the mountain no one can hurt him, turn him, no one can destroy him.

I understand this about my husband and I love my husband.  There is so much of me that wishes my husband knew how I felt about him.  There are so many times I wish that when I explained his wonderfulness, that he listened.  There are so many times when I tried to explain to him that life is beautiful, but he won’t see it.

From my husband I instead get asked if I love him? Why am I not supporting him? Why am I not seeing the unfairness that is staring into his face?  Horrible questions for a person who believes soul deep that she is trying.  And sometimes I wonder if the old saying about two people with diseases being married is true?  Maybe we are destroying each other with our own destructions? Can I truly make him see that I need him at his best, to fight the darkness; can I give him the words convincing him that he is not less?  That I need him to believe that everything is going to be okay; because fair or not…I had the disease first.

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

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imagesI enjoy listening to music.  I like listening to music when I work, when I play, even when I am writing.  There is something easy about the ability a well-written song has to change your mood, to redefine your mood, or even to simply make your mood.

Typically when I listen to music it is on my computer.  I use a system that has all of my favorite songs listed, and plays only from that list.  Never deviates to something similar, and there are no commercials.  It is just my musical world. 

I have groupings; like for writing, for exercising, Disney, etc.  I use those groupings only when I am in a mood that desperately needs to be reinforced by words written by magicians I have never met.  Put on the music of Gladys Knight or Adele, or the lyrics to Whiskey Lullaby or I won’t Give Up and I can and will successfully accomplish that which I need the music for.

Today, I need the music to remind me.  To remind me that while there is no castle in the sky, nor is there a place I can go to find the serenity I so desperately need, there is a place in the notes of a great song.  I listen to Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding, and while I am briefly reminded of Tom Cruise and a shirtless Val  Kilmer, I am also transported to a home by the sea; to a swinging bench, to the salty air.  I can hear the ocean in the early dawns as the rays of the most beautiful sunrise bathe your face.  I can hear the lack of noise, the quiet for my mind to settle, and the calmness of the simple.

The power of music stuns me.  The ability for a series of notes, that once whistled softly in someone’s mind, to take you exactly  where you need to go, to give you the reminder that you have so harshly lost, or to help you to unburden in a world that accepts drowning as a normal life, is exceptional.  Those simple strings that you have to listen for, that bass line that some have to pull forward and others push back, makes the world if not understandable, as least a little more beautiful.

I often talk about the fact that I desperately need a safe place; a resting place.  I have been to multiple therapists over this concept, and I have finally begun to recognize that a safe place doesn’t exist.  The journey, while holds its own importance, is destined to fail.  There is no safe place.  There is no place to go to that will give you the comfort, and even more importantly the understanding, you desperately need.  Even the songs that we so love are nothing but a substitute, and while usable for brief moments especially when you are singing at the top of your lungs, ultimately they are just a series of notes that the layman can’t read.

But what about that fictional Dock of the Bay?  In your mind it can become a place; a real world that you can find and relax into as long as the measures of the songs continue.  It is a place that only exists in the four minutes of the music, but it is a place that can be captured over and over by the repeat button on your radio.  It shows no understanding; even our affair with the composer lasts no longer than an affair with an author of a book.   It shows no compassion; and while it can wrap itself around you, it is a figment of the imagination God gave us to survive.  It is as real as we make it, and yet it has no powers when silent.  Unlike the eyes, it cannot see beyond the notes; and it cannot comfort in silence.

There are tangible things that I need in my life; things like hugs, warm shoulders, and snuggles from my babies. Those are some of the essential things that I must have, but they are ultimately dependent on another.  Even the snuggles from my babies are dependent on my children’s whims.  These tangible things cannot be synthetically created nor can they be reproduced; no matter how essential I hold them.

Like everything in life, that which we long for is often held far away from our dreams.  The reality of human beings requires that dreams easily change to disappointment when faced with time.  This is a truth far more real than science.  Human beings will disappoint, they will take from each other the necessary air, in order to fly.  They will give you only what they are capable, and the dreams of your own reality will rot as the truth is found.  There is no escape from this; there is no momentarily respite from the knowledge that we aren’t capable of saving anyone.

Music gives us the illusion.  It gives us the illusion that for just a moment we are free; for just a moment the dream that we hold onto so desperately in the night, cannot be felled by our own reality.  It gives a break from the search, not for perfection, but for sanctuary.  It gives our mortal soul a moment of immortality and rest.  It gives an illusion to hide behind.  And then the guitars start, and fly to a different world altogether.

 

Life’s Greatest Sword

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swordI need to write.  It is burning within me.  As my days jumble themselves together in the misery of a life I do not want, the freedom of flying is slowing down to a barely recognizable crawl.  The need to see and feel something beyond these sad souls that surround me is becoming once again a compulsion.  The need to breathe without the stink of failure is crushing me.

I have given and I have taken. I have given my heart and tried to bring solace to the part of my soul desperate for the freedom of art; the fighting strength of the pen.  I am drowning in the mundane seconds of a normal life; the job, the dinner, the afternoon tea.  I am drowning in the extraordinary commonplace that has become my only world.

The dreams still float along my conscience like sparkling lights in the middle of the day; there but so magical as to be almost part of the dream.  There is the hole that is not filled by the passion that I call so easily, and there is a moment’s fear that death will come before hope. There is a space the sits, closing tragically and systematically, as I ignore all that I know and all that I feel for the drudgery that is common life.

I feel the breath slowing as my life is drying and feeling like the arid winds of the Serengeti.  I want to scream Hallelujah, and feel the wind as it runs through my drifting fingers.  I want to know love as only I can see in the darkness of my imagination, and I want to create the facts that will redefine the world as I know it.  It is there; waiting.

I want to believe without worrying about the eventual death.  I want to swim in the direction that will provide the sustenance I need to live.  I want to run so fast the wind mourns my presence.  I want to be so much more than what is dictated, what is determined, what is never risked.  I want to sing so that God himself can fall asleep.

I feel the angels pushing and pulling me away from the decisions I have made this day.  I feel the muse yelling in my ear to find another path; and I feel the truth, the loneliness of not listening.  I feel the death solely stealing over me, and the knowledge that in the darkness I will never find the light.  I feel the twin swords dueling to stay or fly.  And ultimately, the sword of responsibility will kill not just the floating dreams of today, but the very essence of me.

The tip of that sword lies on the heart that is atrophied by disappointment and disillusion.  The tip of that sword lies on the broken promises and the knowledge of the pending destruction that will destroy the hope of rebuilding.  The tip of that sword takes no prisoners, and no hostages; it makes no promises, it only destroys.  And the beats of my heart is leading to a destruction that will destroy even the weapon that fells it.

There is beauty missing; there is no journey through the veritable monsoon of colors that life shows in each instant.  There is a sincere lack of magnificence to sustain even the simplest corners of my soul.  Rather the bleakness of reality has smothered so much in me as to make me mute.

But I remember the feeling of flying, as if I did it in the splendid dawn this morning brought.  I remember that hope, those promises, those dreams that I once promised were so easily attained.  I remember those thoughts of imperfection that brought the truth of heaven and earth like nothing else could.  I remember the secrets of the angels that reminded me I was more.

There is no path but the one in which I crawl.  There is no solution to a world that has wrapped it’s darkness around me and given me nothing but a depression I am fighting with a sword pointed in the wrong direction.  There is no other way. There is no other way to endure.

The responsibilities of parenthood, the simple tasks of being a wife, requires that dreams and hopes lay on the side of the path like carcasses of life.  The meaning of the accountability, the dependability, the reliability, takes the beauty out of infatuations.  The grey takes the passion; the indifference takes the madness.  And one is left with the one I knew my nightmares could bring.

Will I continue to lose myself until the death of my dreams, and the death of my soul, becomes a simpler path? Will I continue to find no strength in losing a fight with a monster that succeeds in drowning all beauty from the eye?  Will I continue to be silent, and lose all the comfort of the madness I hold onto it?  Will I forget the feeling of a beautiful turn of words?  Will I forever be blinded by the simplicity that surrounds me?  Will I slowly lose the capability to breathe until the night finally comes to rescue me and send me to the home I always dreamed?

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