Being outside my home or being with non-intimates, not-immediate family, once took outrageous amounts of energy from me. I have learned to spend less energy in social situations, and control the contact I have with others. This is an ever shifting challenge. It is a balancing act.
Beyond being a challenge, it also hurts. I force myself to go out and do things. It has been difficult for me to develop and maintain a schedule I can keep in good times and bad. When I am up and productive, I want to do more than I am doing. When I am level and maintaining, I need a schedule that will not overwhelm me when all I can manage is my regular old life. When I am down I need a schedule that will look normal from the outside.
I think at times that I should quit trying to write or have a business. But I have always written and it is something I have to do. It is something society does not value. It is a hobby in the view of the rest of the world. But it is an activity that keeps me sane. As long as I have lots of down time and uninterrupted time to write, I am okay.
I am living with the wrong type of person for someone with my unique set of challenges. I have lived with my husband, friend, and father or my child for 27 years. The fact that we are not an ideal match per what is advised by counselors. But we do not consult psychic counselors with precognitive skills as premarital counselors to address potential situations years down the line after marriage.
My husband is a successful man, but a successful man in academia does not make enough money to compensate for having a wife with depression who is also a creative. I love my husband, but I am trying to build a writing business and develop a life that does not trigger severe depressive behaviors in me. To say that this is challenging is a bit of an understatement.
But for those of you who follow my writings, I have to say that I am pleased with myself. I have survived another period when it would have been easy to give up on my dreams. But I have kept moving and plodding on ahead furthering my personal writing reflections and moving my legacy-focused writing business on ahead. I do not entertain defeat.
I miss this blog! I miss my readers. I miss my topics.
In case you don’t know, I am working on a new site called the Women’s Legacy Project. It is more focused on a certain topic and a certain demographic than this free-for-all that is my life and my quest for a fair trade cuppa.
New endeavors always present a liminally-enriched and -challenged experience (and yes liminally is a slightly invented word.) Liminal is transitional – neither one or the other and sort of an eerie feeling and state of being between. The Wikipedia entry (at least in the version I called up today) is a pretty good coverage of the concept.
I am going to have to double up on the writing to be able to do that project, which is needed and a very good thing, and still have my sanity keeping writing and commentary here.
I have to run. Off to visit my Aunt Maralee who is age 89, and the last person genetically standing in the generation above me, and my cousin Linda who lives with her and takes care of her.
I just wanted to pop in and say, “Hi!” before I check out of the Clarendon Hotel and Spa (that I will write about here or on my Hill Research Site) where I stayed for the Press Publish Conference I attended yesterday.
Those who know me fairly well, or know me over time, will know that I have strong political beliefs. Those who do not know me but have read recent pieces I have written may be surprised that I would talk politics when my brother is in hospice and his life weighs so heavily on my heart and soul.
My brother, the little brother of my family, is nine years older than me. I was born into a family of four brothers who were at various points between 9 and 18 years of age when I was born.
Most of us do not consciously think about family as a concept much while we are young. Family, like so many essential elements of human life, is so integral to our identities that we do not, cannot, separate the concept from our very selves. As a deviant (yes I am one, and it is okay) a psychological only, an analytical observer from an early age, and an accidental after-thought to a family, I probably think about family in relationship to culture and identity more than most people.
Roger is the only brother I actually remember as a brother, as someone with whom I remember playing. Cops and robbers – I was the robber in jail (my crib,) – Cowboys and Indians, and so on in a litany of 1950s-influenced, early-1960s game variations.
These were profound and defining memories that distinguished him from my older brothers whom I loved, but who seemed more like what was probably more typical of an avuncular relationship.
His actions, viewed from a sisterly perspective, taught me the ways of the real world.
- My first political discussion was with him. I was probably about four or five years old and we were walking together up from the barnyard to chicken coop. The conversation topic was the Cold War and propaganda. I said something about how the Russians would find our farm to be a wonderful place. He laughed and said he didn’t think so.
- My first awareness of global politics rending apart personal lives was with him. In 1968 he walked across a street in Hue and the television screens of a hundred thousand homes, including mine, on the nightly news, helmetless, mustached, with an M14 slung over his shoulder.
- My first awareness of police targeting of individuals was when I was in high school and the local cops began a decades long vendetta to jail him, one of those purportedly whacked out vets, for pot.
- I first kept silent about personal assault when I was sexually assaulted when I was 15. I could not let anyone know because I knew he that if he knew, he would kill the rapist and I did not want my brother to be executed or serve life in prison.
War, a needless war against an ideological boogeyman, communism, half-way around the world from where we lived, sliced and diced his flesh like so much meat. It hurt and hardened his psyche in a way that still breaks my heart. He was the last soldier out of Khe Sanh, horrifically wounded there during the first week of August, in 1968, six weeks after the official end of the battle.
Through him I learned that countries and the economies in which those countries operate use the children of the poor, the underclass (whether through conscription or the economic draft) as cannon fodder and regard us as little more than slaves and sub-humans. I see everything from taxation, in which we are taught to use the phrase “income tax” when we refer to wage taxes (to the exclusion of taxes on making profit from money, which is what income is) to election law and the Citizens United Supreme Court decision (talk about double speak!) that grants corporations, and the families they serve, the rights of individuals with none of the responsibilities, through this lens.
The pain and horror my brother suffered, because of war, impacted my family and all we were and are, and all we did and do, since the the late 1960s.
Women, the mothers-sisters-wives-daughters of the warriors who fight for the ruling classes and corporations, are the ones who must change our culture. The price the workers and soldiers pay to preserve a society that cares nothing for them is a high one. The price is the destruction and permanent underclass status of the families we women build and nurture.
My brother taught me this. It is political. It is personal.
I want to write something normal, not something heady, insightful, or politically informed. I don’t want it to be about illness, depression, guns, or require a bunch of research. I have discovered some contentment has slipped in unbeknownst to me during the last couple of decades of life.
In the next week my husband and I will have been married 25 years. Wow. Never thought I would marry, have a kid, be a Girl Scout leader, or teach Sunday School. Life unfolds in unexpected ways.
I need to write simple stories about shopping for dinner in Trader Joes with Hubby and asking him to get pre-pared green peas because I still do not like to snap the ends off after entire summers spent shelling peas and snapping beans as a kid. I want to write about the woman with the beautiful white hair who was also choosing vegetables as we were, who broke out in a grin when she heard me say that. She had shelled a fair number of peas from pods in her lifetime. It is nice to make someone smile.
Kisses That Make It Better
I want to write about how happy it made me when my daughter Face-timed me the other day to ask me about a bad cut she’d just sliced into her finger. We discussed stitches, cleaning, wrapping, and other things when I leaned over kissed her finger on the screen and told her it would be all okay. She laughed and said that was exactly what she needed. She is 24 and lives 1500 miles away, but sometimes she still needs Mom to kiss it and make it better.
The Scent of a Memory
I found peonies in the flower section of a grocery a few days ago. It was wonderful. I do not see peonies, lilacs or any of the flowers of my childhood in Arizona, period. Every time I walked by them, I stuck my face into the bouquet and breathed in the silky sweet scent of my grandmother’s garden.
I cannot wait to do a non-break-neck-edly paced road trip with the Hubby this summer to see sights and wonders neither of us has managed to visit in our multiple scores of years on the planet, and visit our kids and grandkids and finally make it to Niagara Falls. It is good to get out of Arizona in the summer for a while, if you can. This year we can.
Tonight as I write this, I’m enjoying the golden glow of this Honey Moon before the Solstice – and that is enough to fill me with a calm peace.
Sometimes we just need to stop and enjoy the little bits of regular days in a regular old life.