Studies in human nature…

Solitude_IAC

 

“I vant to be alone.” ~ Greta Garbo

Except, according to Ms. Garbo, “I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be let alone!’ There is all the difference.”

There is all the difference.

You can’t do much writing, unless you’re journaling about one of the dustier sciences, without becoming a student of human nature, an endlessly intriguing and confusing subject. Who could ever comprehend humans? And having somehow done so, how would we ever live with what we’d learned about each other?

Once in a while the undercurrent of low-grade depression that accompanies my existence gets to be a bit much and I’m forced to acknowledge its existence to the point of taking a break from whatever seems to be the main problem. This time, Facebook was clearly leaving me in a state, so a Fall Sabbatical was an easy decision, and I’d no sooner closed the door than my normal sunny personality started breaking through again. Full disclosure, I also activated my sleepy Twitter account around that same time and started finding *inner healing* through shooting my mouth off.  To each her own poison.

Yesterday iMessage, which I can get to on my desktop now only through Facebook (I need a teenager, STAT), contained an odd and off-putting message that still has me in a mood. It was a clip of a skit enacted by young black students, male & female, dressed in scrubs, shooting police officers with automatic weapons, along with a personal message that said in part: “I have felt that you lean towards only seeing one side. I know you have taken a recess from FB and I just wanted you to see this. Are the youth in our schools being given permission to have such disregard for authority? This will only lead to more serious problems.”

Why now? Why purposely back me into a corner when I’ve said I need the exact opposite of that for a while?  I can wish mightily that I had answers, but I don’t. I’m tired. My head is tired, my heart is tired, I just need to go in a different direction for a few weeks and let some of the nastiness of recent battles filter out a little. I’m angry. Angrier than I’ve ever been in my life that lizardy old men think it’s just fine that other men assault and take advantage of young girls like I once was, and they laugh about it and celebrate it and elevate each other to the highest offices in the land. So angry. For the first time in my life there are people I hate.

It would have been an excellent time to let me alone. I asked nicely, after all, like any good little American girl would do. And we see, over and over and over again, how that works out.

 

 

 

 

 

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Breakthrough…

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A day comes, if you’re lucky and it’s true, when you see that

You never really know what’s going on

Though others seem to have it by osmosis.

No worries…

Though the dawning knowledge that you don’t…quite…fit…ANYwhere

Is a gift of liberation not accompanied by explanatory text –

It rather defies description.

Quickly you see the grace you’ve been given for navigating

Tricky waters and tests of loyalty – 

  When you’re mostly invisible you get to slide.

That’s when the gift becomes the knowledge that you belong

Only to yourself

And you need to know only your Truths.

You can forget the rest, and *fitting* is vastly overrated.

Or so I hear.

 

JSmith 09/30/2018

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The rest of the story…

Fresh fall desktop wallpaper tumblr Free

 

Part Two of two…

You know what dries up tears? Knowing that you possess power of your own.

I’ve been using the hours I’m not spending on Facebook to finish lots of little organizational projects, which in turn frees my mind to deal with larger issues that are important to me, and the more my inanimate life gets lined up, the more my animated brain freewheels. I’m loving this, I need this, I have to have this.

Full disclosure, I’ve finally had to admit to myself that I live with a fairly steady level of genetically-transmitted low-grade depression, so I have to focus a little more intentionally than some on not making it worse. I’m a natural introvert, so in-your-face small talk in the form of tedium is toxic for me. That makes online social media a good fit – provided I can pick my battles and/or my passions; participate fully as myself; I’m able to speak my truths free from judgment; or I’m at least free to talk back to judgment if it comes at me.

A confession about social media: I’ve been a Twitter snob. I joined five years ago for the sake of this blog – more exposure, more contacts – but didn’t pursue it, mostly because I didn’t know how it worked and didn’t feel like taking the time to find out. Let me just say that I had all the wrong ideas about it, but slap my ass and call me a newborn, we can learn when we’re motivated, and Twitter turns out to be just the ticket for a mouthy girl like me. Once I figured out how to build a community of like-minded people I was off on a whole new adventure. One advantage over Facebook is that Twitter is virtually without commitment and lends itself well to hit or miss skimming, which is what Dr. Me ordered for Fall. (Truly beloved friends on FB, pls remember that this isn’t a divorce, merely a sabbatical. As far as I know. We’ll tawk.)

I do suggest you not follow me on Twitter if your opinion of me hinges on words like nice, careful, and reticent. Those are the qualities, along with the necessity of walking on eggshells and judiciously parsing all my words on FB, and sometimes even here, on MY OWN BLOG, that led to the ever-deepening state of depression I finally had to shake loose from. I’m not nasty on Twitter, but I’m pretty sure some of my FB followers, and some from other places, wouldn’t like me there because I speak truth as I see it, with nothing owed to anyone. And the good news is that I’m feeling more whole than in too long a time. I woman-‘splained how the whole thing works to my baby sister, and after taking a look at my timeline, her spot-on comment was “Twitter’s cool. It’s where the big kids go to play.” That’s it exactly. You can follow any ol’ body you might think of, and if you behave like an adult they probably won’t block you. You can sort of rub shoulders with the people you respect on television, and one of them might even like one of your comments sometime, but try not to be an idiot if it happens.

There are bots and trolls there, but you knew that. Most of them are neither clever nor creative. I hear there’s porn there, but apparently if you aren’t looking for it, you’re less likely to encounter it. There’s everything there because it’s genuinely global. What I’m finding are smart, funny, caring, off-the-wall, freedom-loving, democracy-protecting, feminist liberals like me. Because that’s who I’m looking for. The world is crackazoidal crazy right now, and swimming around in the deep end with the big kids is therapeutic, so don’t send out the posse. Let’s just all make the best of this beautiful “time of endings” we’re in. Fall, despite its heartbreaking melancholy, is my favorite season, and I’m feeling more hopeful for a time of new beginnings to follow.

 

 

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A win is a win is a win…

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Slip-slidin’ through a Sunday, overcast and cool. The sun’s nothing but a weak yellow blob behind lofty layers of water molecules that don’t yet feel like cooperating enough to make rain. That’s only because they have no awareness of how badly we need it, so no hard feelings.

Kim’s playing in a PickleBall tournament today, which is every bit as exhilarating as it sounds, and I’m without adult supervision. I know, I’m just as confused by that as you are. The original plan was for me to go out there a little ahead of now (9am) when his first match is starting and watch as play continues into the afternoon. Today is Men’s Doubles, and Kim and his partner Marcelo are guaranteed at least eight matches, which I would genuinely love to see, so yesterday we made a trial run.

First of all, we live a block off downtown, right on the verge of East Lawrence. And Rock Chalk Park, where Kim plays in all but nice weather, is way the Helen gone out on what is, for now, the far outer edge of WEST Lawrence. A 15- to 20-minute drive across town is not, of course, a dealbreaker, but stay with me here.

2) Parks & Rec puts the olderish-fart PickleBallers at the farthest end of the mahoosive all-under-one-roof sports complex (sure, okay, we need the most exercise, we get that, but…).

3) Above-the-action “Spectator Seating” for PickleBall is three food-court-type tables and a scattering of matching chairs. I tried one out while Kim went down to the courts on an information-gathering mission.

4) So okay, there are actually two choices: a} stand at the rail and watch, or b} scooch a plastic food-court chair as close to the chicken-wire as possible and catch the action from various angles while peering through the wire.

It became apparent that the phenom that is PickleBall is still new enough that they might not be quite ready for prime time. (Just a fact, not a snark.) Also that this fan, loyal though she is to one adorbs player, couldn’t be spending Sunday at the tournament, no need to belabor all the reasons why. (And now I learn that I could have sat on bleachers directly courtside, but still… )

Kim has explained the game to me (repeatedly) in very clear terms but it doesn’t make intuitive sense to me when I see it played, the way basketball, football, tennis, golf, all the games I grew up with do. I’m hopeless at trying to understand soccer or any kind of hockey, and the lines on a PickleBall court baffle me, because they’re nearly always painted across the markings for basketball and other court games, and played sideways on half the court. Clear as mud, right? Yeah, same here.

Just got a text from my big kid – he and Marcelo won their first match quite handily and should now be into their second. He likes playing, he likes winning. And he didn’t need me out there messing with his head game, so this way everybody wins. Kim and Marcelo, after eleven matches, won 3rd Place in their division.

Also, just between you and me, once I told myself I didn’t have to write another word until I felt like it – I felt like it. Love you, friends, thanks for hanging in with me and I hope your Sunday will be nothing but win. Summer isn’t finished with us yet.

 

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Are there any safe subjects left?

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Good Sunday morning, friends. At 7am there’s a perfect day happening outside my door, how about yours?

I made a bold move last week – after five years’ of sharing my thoughts here I no longer had any idea who in my social media circles had been invited to the blog and who hadn’t, so I lobbed it out there, “Come one, come all,” which sort of made it sound like I intend to write something. Again. Some more. Or for the first time, depending on your viewpoint.

Which I do. Eventually. Trouble is, I’m finding that I don’t have much to say lately. Or I have too much to say and don’t know where to start. Or I’m a little chicken to start because I don’t know where the stopping point is. “Saying” has so little effect one way or another, really. But then, not saying feels disingenuous and phony.

Sticking to safe topics would mean talking about grandchildren, of which I have none; pets – unfortunately, none of those either anymore; gardening, which I don’t do; sewing – nope; books – I love them and it’s been known to happen here, but face it, it’s been done to death, right?

Memories. Maybe we’ll talk about some of those again. They’re safe because they’re mine and they’re over with – they don’t hold the power to mess up anyone’s day. Tomorrow’s anybody’s guess and I’m not too cranked about today so maybe I’ll go back and see what else I can dig up from Grandma’s old trunk…

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Bye…please write…

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JUNE

HOT

GOT DISCOURAGED

GOT THE BLUES

DIDN’T WRITE

JULY GOT HERE TODAY

HEAT BROKE

TIRED OF FEELING BROKEN

MIGHT WRITE SOON

“Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.” – Albert Camus

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Catharsis is not pretty…

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Dammit, life in the end is a cruel mysterious bitch because it’s so beautiful and so brief. I stand in the shower and cry wracking sobs that leave my ribs sore because we’re getting into our 70’s now and some of my most brilliant friends are falling to Alzheimer’s and I can’t make it stop and IT’S NOT FAIR. And I’m wrapped in a towel with my hair dripping water and running down with the tears and I’m trying to find words that mean anything at all when the world is ending and I’m mad as hell and nothing’s right anywhere except… a precious beautiful man loves my son and maybe I can stop crying in a little while… maybe… because when life seems like it has to end right this minute so we won’t die from the ache… there’s something so good we’d be really… pissed if we missed it.

And then we’re crying… softly now… from the grace and the sweetness and the peace and the yin and the yang.

The balance is always there if we can let the quiet find us…

… so pain is such a mixed bag that we don’t really dare wish it to be gone forever. That’s a much-needed revelation this morning and I’m glad for it.

Have a beautiful spring Sunday, friends. Because life is good. So good.

 

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The nature of things…

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Random reflections while I watch huge snowflakes swirl outside my windows on April 8th, twenty days into spring:

  • Cold feels colder after ten days in tropical warmth.
  • There’s something deeply satisfying about opening WordPress after a break, finding sixty spam messages trapped by Akismet, and dumping them en masse. {shiver of delight}
  • After several days in the metro Atlanta area, one of America’s supreme melting pots, the Central Florida Gulf Coast was striking in its lack of diversity. Must find out why. It was disconcerting to see only white faces everywhere.
  • Vacations are about food, but my appetite took a hike the day we left here and I ended up losing 2 lbs. Now that we’re home it’s back with a bullet, of course. Isn’t life hilarious.
  • Today is for recuperating from all that fun – tomorrow is for hitting the list and becoming productive again. It has to happen.
  • The weather will eventually get warm and stay that way. Right?
  • That’s enough thinking – it’s taken me all day to get this far…

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We’ll keep a light on for ya’…

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“Energy is wasted when you try to influence people who have already decided they’re not going to be happy or nice. Let them be as they are, and spend energy on the people who love and accept you, where you are and as you are. You’ll always attract more of the kind of people you focus your energy and attention on.”

**********

This ^^^ popped up today as a memory from 2012. I posted it originally sans quotation marks or accreditation, which isn’t how I do things unless they’re my own words, but I somehow don’t think I wrote it. Six years of wear and tear can take a toll on the memories, though, so who knows, and regardless, I agree with the sentiment despite the fact that it’s a hard lesson to own and remember. Thus…

…it took the current state of the union to finally show me that we genuinely are two very different countries here in these (loosely) United States. What turned the light on was seeing the news I get from The Guardian, Reuters, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal and a handful of others, contrasted head-to-head with news delivered by Fox Entertainment in the same time frames, and in no way did the two resemble each other. Different topics, different emphasis, different atmospheres entirely. I consider myself hard to shock these days, but that did it – the contrast couldn’t have been more stark, and I can’t even be cute or coy about it. Because…

…it told me that people in the world I occupy, and people who live in Fox World, don’t hear the same updates, see the same stories, know the same facts, embrace the same concepts – so how could we possibly hope to ever understand each other? No exaggeration on my part, it was a revelation, I don’t care how naive that makes me sound. I’ve held out hope that honest conversation and a give and take of ideas will someday heal the divide, without understanding how deep and wide it really is. I can’t imagine what it would take to bring us together as humans, which makes me very sad. And…

…it’s hard to bottle up the blues long term, so thank you to everyone out there who’s helping to keep the flame lit until it’s your turn in the barrel. I’m pretty sure the brokenness of the world is going to require everything we’ve got and then some, so a team effort is all that really matters right now and none of us can get through this without friends.

“Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.” ~Amiel

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday wins…

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Second day of the weekend dawned overcast and hazy, but warmish – 50s for a high and chances of rain into Monday. We made ourselves over-tired yesterday with the stress of our beloved Jayhawks losing their last regular season game – the trauma, you have no idea. So today will be flake-out day in order to recover. Except that the 5th Rule of Sunday says ranch omelets WILL be consumed, and we’re out of eggbeaters, ranch beans, and the right cheese, so the Big Guy is in street clothes before his time, prowling Stabby Dillons while atoning for our mutual sin of sloth in the preceding 24 hours. Think carefully before retiring, kids – it isn’t nearly as simple as it sounds. There are hazards.

And now the sun’s shining and I see blue sky out the windows. The hunter/gatherer is home and performing the ol’ breakfast magic, so the day is shaping up – I still plan to spend the bulk of it semi-comatose, but I’m guessing the KIMN8R, having tasted fresh air before he was even awake, will be back out there on his bicycle, or afoot, or on a PickleBall court. SoCal Man thrives in the sunshine.

While he was out slaying this morning’s dragon, I had an unexpected conversation with a Facebook friend that was equal parts sorrow and joy, and I feel infinitely richer for it. I hope that before you go to sleep tonight you will have found a new happy thing, experienced a serendipity, resolved a pain, seen things that made you smile. Keep your eyes and your heart open, life is too good to miss and there are people counting on you.

P.S. I’m thinking the pink-on-green looks either springish or bilious, what say you?

 

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The Emo Queen

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falling asleep on

a pillow soaked with tears makes

for a soggy rest

JSmith 11/12/2017

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Off topic…

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sunday morning sun

slants through the blinds and underscores

the small heap of guy and girlie things

fresh from the dryer and

loitering on the unmade bed

like so many multi-colored Jelly Bellies

oops not a metaphor to pursue

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On making sense of life…

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What a beautiful fall day – doors and windows are open and the air smells clean and new. Farmers Market is winding down for the day, and Kansas Jayhawk football is happening over on the Hill, the culmination of Homecoming Week here. Kim’s watching the game while he cuts up a bigly mountain of peppers to freeze, a generous gift from our friends Terry and Leigh and their bountiful garden.

Well hey, I started this yesterday and then Calgon took me away. It was a good day all the way through…riding with Kim while he ran errands, napping, walking to Cielito for a margarita and dinner.

And now it’s a sunny Sunday morning, the chef has returned from the PickleBall wars, he’s in his kitchen making ranch omelets, and life is looking entirely doable all day.

These are the things that matter. When everything around us is unending chaos, these are the things that carry us through the days until the outer world seems real again. We have to keep our hearts open to the beautiful and the true in life – the things we can’t afford to lose. Hang onto them like life preservers. It’s the only way anything makes sense.

 

 

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Summer Sundays…

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house is dim and cool

sun is bright and warm

which spot will I choose today

JSmith 06/25/2017

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Life is too short…

can i start my life

again say fewer dumb things

the next time around

JSmith 06/04/2017

Is it a trick of the light, a scent in the air, not sure where the overwhelmedness gets triggered, but within seconds I can have myself regretting my entire existence and wishing for do-overs. Then pragmatism kicks in and I go on doing whatever it is I do and the mood passes. Reality in the sunshine…

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