Door number 1 or 2 or 3. What’s to be?

Spring’s springing in town.

In my life too!

The local job market’s showing signs of life with springtime and gradual roll into the tourist season.

Hard to believe I’m even writing these words but I’ve had a few responses to recent applications!

One’s an independent cable TV station that’s looking for a master board controller. That interview’s Monday.

The second’s at a “plush” community with nice amenities including a clubhouse and pool. They’re seeking a pool attendant as well as an all-around-wearer-of-many-hats, including reception, for the community center. That interview’s Tuesday.

Also received a callback at a nearby deli that’s looking for a kitchen person. Today I’ll follow through and hopefully arrange that interview for early next week as well.

Oddly — coincidentally? — I happen to know someone who works at the TV station AND a former employee at the deli! In the latter, the two parted on not-good terms so best not to drop names.

Three very different jobs. Master board operator. Guest attendant and/or pool attendant. Kitchen worker.

And three very different schedules.

This is notable because I work late nights on weekends at the radio station (and am way too old for the late night-early morning change-a-roo routine). I like my job and want to keep it. Moreover, I’d like to be given additional training and responsibilities (and shifts). So I need the new second job, whatever it ends up being, to harmonize with that situation.

Also, it’s time to follow up on an application at Costco, which too is readying for its busy season. Now there’s a place I’d loooove to work! Been trying for years to get my foot in that popular door!

In the end, will it be what’s behind door number 1 or 2 or 3? Or another door yet to be presented? Only time’ll tell.

I’m more than ready to work. And not only for financial reasons, which of course are not to be underestimated or overlooked! I need to be constructive, productive and interacting with the community.

I don’t wanna continue to degrade and waste my life or cheapen my value so painfully at some job any job — the childhood A Job Is A Job mantra — that I cry through the job (yes, I’ve done that a lot) and come home wanting to slit my wrists.

I want this move into the workplace to be better than the ones before … and this season in my life to be better than the ones before. I truly do.

I want to do something that matters to me .. that makes my heart sing … my bank account buzz {in a good way} … and perhaps above all builds a foundation in my life that is absolutely lacking and puts me back on my path.

Spirit/God/Universe/All That Is and I know what that path is. I know how far from it I’ve strayed … some by my own hand but most through conditions and forces outside my choice and control. I live and breathe the off-path life nearly every moment of every day.

In a nutshell, with these various job matters percolating and popping up, however it all shakes down eventually, I’d ask to be guided into the workplace that is right for me. That supports me. That inspires me. That lifts me up from the darkness and dregs of my former existence. That raises my childhood consciousness of “I’m nothing but a POS and a slave ” into “yes, life CAN actually be pleasurable, enriching and rewarding … AND I can write and support myself doing so!”

That’s my prayer for now and into the coming week. To be put workwise into the right place … instead of the wrong place because of that damn A Job Is A Job mantra that was burned and branded into my brain by my dad. I love him to death; still, he truly did me no favors on this count.

Prayers for the right place and for flow and for things to happen as they’re supposed to for my good and the good of my life.

Stay tuned, this ain’t over yet. 🙂

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whoo-hoo! part two

It’s on!

The interview, that is. For the master board operator at the local independent cable TV station. Monday afternoon.

I’m excited! Not so much because I think I’m their best candidate or that I’ll get an offer. I’m not and it’s unlikely, respectively.

I’m just so excited that my career resume got noticed at all! Excited at a shot at a job in my career! A long shot, sure.

But after a decade of lowered standards and begging for A Job Any Job no matter how degrading, demeaning and detrimental and beneath my abilities, experience, skills and intelligence … to actually be brought in for a job that’ll require use of my brain …. that is big Big BIG!!!

Brain use: Good.
Scrubbing toilets, mopping floors, schlepping orders in a warehouse: Not so much.

Excited to meet the fellow and see the facility. Monday seems a ways away. Yet there’s something to be said about anticipation … sweet antici….pation!

whoo-hoo!

I’m shocked! Pleasantly.

I arose this morning to a response from a job application.

That alone’s headline news! As anyone in the U.S. jobs (“jobs”) market can tell you, no response is the norm. The new norm. Not even a courteous “thank you for your application” auto-reply is forthcoming these days. Sad. Pathetic.

I look at the unrecognized phone number wondering who called. I’ve been layin’ out the resumes and filling out online applications thick these days.

I’ve got spring fever. For me, that means a fever to work. I’m goin’ stir-crazy here not working (apart from my 11 hours at the radio station over the weekend)! I am definitely not wired for being a kept woman. Or for laziness! Take that, Depend-on-the-Government Entitled American Socialists!

I expect it’s a voice mail from an eatery. Food-service jobs comprise the vast majority of my job applications. Not for any insatiable appetite for more of the same ol’ same ol’ wasting my life at menial minimum-wage jobs that have absolutely zero bearing on my path, purpose and career.

It’s complicated. It’s messy. It’s nuthin’ I wish to go into yet again!

Fact is, service jobs are warming up as Prescott slides into the tourist season. In six months, half these service folks’ll be out of work.

So I push the voice-mail arrow, wondering which eatery is responding to a resume.

Why, it’s no eatery at all!!

It’s a local TV station. The independent cable station.

They’re recruiting a master control board operator.

I’d emailed my resume. My career resume, that is.

The one that’s the “real me.” The one that highlights my education and background in journalism, writing, editing, my career in the States and 10-year communications career in Japan, and, of late, my current job running the board at a radio station.

As opposed to my Lame Crap Jobs resume. An entirely separate and different resume altogether! That one highlights my second (and unintended) career as a POS slave laborer, basically. It’s some but not all of the Lame Crap menial service jobs I’ve suffered and endured these past 10+ years. I’ve actually over backwards to really dumb myself down on that resume.

Ya have to. There’s no way a guy reviewing resumes for a dishwasher job is gonna care about my career in journalism or my 10 years in print and business writing in Japan!!

My resumes and work history are schizophrenic. I’m the first to admit it! On paper — on the Lame Crap Jobs resumes — I look like a TOTAL loser just outta prison and on the run who can’t keep it together long enough to stay at a job for even 6 months! Yep, most of those Lame Crap Jobs last 3-6 months until I’m off to the next one down the line.

Anyways.

I was so excited when I saw that master control board operator posted on craigslist! Real jobs like that don’t pop up often here. Moreover, jobs in my FIELD — even less so!!

So I redrafted my career resume, cyber-penned a nice cover letter and out they went across the airwaves!

I really expected to hear zero. In huge part because fortune and luck tend not to be with me in career searches. In the United States. Japan was a different story. There are exceptions. But as a rule, and particularly in my career aspirations, I live my life invisible and overlooked. Not by choice, believe me! People … well, they suck. Not all. Most.

I listen to the message. Fellow has a nice voice. They’re reviewing resumes and he wonders whether I’d like to come in for an interview and see whether this is a fit.

Yes!

A mitigated yes. No, not being a downer. Fact is, this job is above my skills level. Experience is preferred but they’re willing to train.

I guarantee there’ll be several others with either the spot-on skills set or damn near close whom they’ll interview. It’s an employers’ market.

I’m underqualified, though capable of learning. There’ll be others who are better candidates.

Still, I’m thrilled. Just to be called in for an interview for a job IN MY FIELD is a huge YEY!!! Things like this just don’t happen to me!

BTW, evidently neither do calls for my extensive food- and service-jobs experience. All those resumes and applications for like bakery clerk, dishwasher, you get the picture, zip, zero, nada.

What’s a girl gotta do to get a job these days?!

So I’ll call that fellow with the nice voice back to schedule our interview. If you gotta peel me up off the floor today because I got an interview invite for a job that REALLY MIGHT INTEREST AND ENGAGE ME — WHOOOOOAAAAAAAAAA!! — imagine the response if it’s actually offered!!

It won’t be. Still, it’s a day that began well. Also, a reminder that perhaps I really have no business wasting another decade of my life scrubbing toilets, mopping floors, lifting 40-pound boxes of bananas in a warehouse or suffering young people who are more wedded to their texting and cell phones than any work ethics.

Dunno. Today, I’m just joyful I got a callback for something I care about.

Living in pleasure and hope is a whole lot different than enduring darkness and isolation. This is what I am slowly learning.

Hail! The rain! Riders on bikes! Riders on the wind!

Ain’t that a treat?!

Hell Hail yes!

Hail being the operative word there. 😉

I arise this morning — if 11:45 in the a.m. can still be called morning — to a booming male voice over the PA announcing names of bike riders as they presumably cross the finish line.

The Epic Whiskey Off-Road bike races are in town for the 15th year in a row. Prescott’s bursting at the seams with riders, their friends and families, from around the country and world who’ve descended on our little town of 40,000 for three days of serious competitive riding, fun spins, brews and blues.

Downtown’s Whiskey Row is where the action begins and ends so it’s been quite the scene these past three days with foreigners (aka anyone not local 🙂 ) verily overtaking these eateries, shops, cafes, bars, hotel rooms, streets. Prescott rakes in oodles of cash during this extended weekend of riding, entertainment and partying.

I’m with popular opinion here. I welcome their business and money and don’t want ’em to stay. Today’s the last day so not much longer until the town’s back to normal. Locals, myself included, tend to be quite protective of this place. That’s another post.

I live about two blocks behind the courthouse, the emblematic and literal center of history and activity in Courthouse Square and the surrounding famed Whiskey Row with its multitude of bars, shops and eateries.

That’s where the action is and hence the loudspeaker’s been an integral part of my life of late! 🙂

Ditto road closures, detours, parking rearrangements and other requirements to accommodate thousands of riders and spectators filling up the Square.

There’ve been inconveniences, sure. Like the other day when I was driving home. Rather, trying to. I wasn’t aware the road closures were to be set up that afternoon, hence blocking a direct path from A to B, my apartment.

So I just keep following the detours. Turning right when I really need to turn left. Watching in my rear-view mirror as my apartment falls further away rather than approaching. Through the maze, I discover at last the sole access through the back alley. Some 10 minutes of sidewinding detours and an added mile on the odometer later, haha.

Where I’m heading is that today I arise accompanied by the blasting PA system a short pair of blocks away.

And looming dark gray clouds. Clouds thick with a downpour, perhaps even a thunderstorm, moving this direction from the west. Whether they’ll skirt us or drench us, only time will tell.

And as reliable Father Time is wont to do, he does tell us. He arrives hand-in-hand with Mother Nature, who dumps from her colossal bag glistening wet gemstones upon a drought-stricken land.

Rain!

Or so I think.

I watch the view from this here perch on a small hill disappear into a blurry gray. I listen to the crowd’s cheers and that booming voice across the PA system vanish. Simply up and vanish!

I listen to the rain gently tap-tap-tapp upon the metal awning right above the window here where I type. Then tap-tap-tap turns into TAP-TAP-TAP, unabashedly.

Then TAP-TAP-TAP turns into pa-pa-pound … then PA-PA-POUNDING. A cacophony of unpracticed drummers beating their own drums … whenever! No heed paid to rhythm or melody.

A hard rain it is too! A serious rain! A burst of rain!

So I think, until I open the door.

Why, this isn’t rain at all! It’s hail!

Little balls of hail the size of spitballs we used to make in school. C’mon, fess up, you know you did! Pouring down all of a sudden on an otherwise temperate spring day!

They dance and pounce and bounce off the concrete walkway. Sail through the screens to land on the sills of opened windows. They collect on the land like so many concertgoers at an Aerosmith show.

Then just as quickly as they arrive, the hail goes bye-bye. Melted by ambient warmth. The clouds too continue their journey.

Streets and dry soil are wetted, albeit not for long. The Arizona sun’ll see to that.

Yet the smell lingers. That distinct and delightful scent of water, fallen upon us, gifted to us — us being every inhabitant of Earth, from the rocks to the flowers to the insects to the lakes … well, you get the picture.

Though I know it’s not true, I’d like to think that these thousands of bicyclists and visitors here more than their competitiveness, hardcore bicycling muscles, skills, friends, partying spirit and dollars.

I’d like to think they toted in these glorious showers. These good showers. These Sunday showers. Showers so needed in drought-y Arizona … Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, any day of the week’ll do!

I’m not a church-goer myself. However, I’m there for my own brand of a Sunday service … by being present as the clouds rolled in … believe it or not, round 2 is on its way as we speak! … listening to that hard hail and the soft rain.

Gratitude lies in the simplest things. It truly does. Those things that we “get for free” … are given to us … by Mother Nature.

We need not earn these pleasures (this I’m learning despite what my father taught me about having to earn everything, including my breath).

We need not earn these pleasures of simply present while the skies sink into gray and the birds scurry in flight ahead of the storm and the wind fiercely rocks the branches.

Just now, the next round’s arriving. Rain, not hail. Won’t last long. Still, that sound of water pounding a metal awning is music to my ears!

It’s not only riders on bicycles all about town. Plenty of riders on the wind to be seen too!

My awning serves as shelter for this one little guy … see him there through the screen? In nick of time too, this photo; seconds later, he takes off!

temporarily sheltering from the storm

temporarily sheltering from the storm

Shower’s pouring. Wait! Is he back?! Or is that a feathered friend?!

working “undercover” from the storm

Sunday treats for sure. Ain’t life’s moments amazing?

from greasy sinks to showers to sun

Well, lookin’ like I won’t be submerging my hands* in greasy scalding water on a regular basis again just yet!

*preferably in thick industrial rubber gloves

But! There’s always tomorrow! And the day after that and the day after that …

Last week I interviewed for a dishwashing position in the kitchen of an exclusive golf course. The facility’s recently changed hands — speaking of dishwashing — and under considerable reconstruction … construction-workers-here-and-there-and dust-everywhere setting. I’ve not heard back so presume it’s a no-go.

I’ll refrain from my tirade born of anguish, pain, disappointment, fear and frustration at the possibility of another Lame Crap Job (menial job at minimum wage) in which I have zero interest, one with no future or food to build a foundation for my life.

I’ve expressed it a thousand times already. Today I’m simply in no mood for the repetition or re-enactment of banging my head against that bunker wall.

I attribute my refusal to do so to the rain.

Huh?

Today, you see, we here in central Arizona (and other areas of the state) are witness to a rare pleasure. A true treat. R-a-i-n!

Our drought is no laughing matter. It’s everything they say it is — and worse! Presumably the powers that be downplay the severe water shortage for reasons including not wishing to dampen tourism.

For example, what golfer would be compelled to come to Arizona if s/he thought the courses are drought-stricken dead grass?! Not saying they are! Just sayin’ that it behooves the tourism industry to highlight the plusses and perks and downplay the vices and woes of any given location.

Anyways, the rain’s scant and the predicted thunderstorms didn’t happen. Big surprise — not! You’d think with all this technology, forecasters would be right at least 75% of the time! Not so. Not even close.

In the end, my eyes looking out a window, nose sniffing the air, skin and bodily sensations are more trustworthy and reliable weather guide than some dude makin’ beaucoup bucks for bein’ wrong!

It’s more than these sorely-needed showers that are welcomed. So are the cloudy gray skies.

I know that sounds insane coming from me! No one — and I mean no one — has less good to say about sunless gray skies and gloom than I! I best amend that. The sunless gray skies and gloom of the Pacific Northwest (i.e., Washington state, Oregon coasts, etc.).

Were selective amnesia medically possible, I’d have them remove every single cellular memory connected to my five years in Puget Sound! The absolutely and positively most god-awful miserable years of my adult lifetime. I got out (barely) and I know that life will never ever be that dark, that replete with struggle and hardship and pain again. Never again. Never.

And it all began with the weather.

When I left that sinkhole that is western Washington state, I decided that not only would I never step foot in the state again, I’d never again live in a climate void of light, warmth and sunshine. I’d never subject myself to a climate reeking of dampness, molds and round-the-year gray! Sink Deep Into Your Bones Cold Damp Sunless Wet Suicidal Depressing Gray.

More power to anyone who likes that weather. I do not.

Thereafter, I vowed to live only in climates with Sunshine (at least 300 days a year) Warmth and Dryness.

In other words, the utter opposite of the Pacific Northwest!

I’ve not backed away from that commitment either. After departing hell in 2011, I’ve lived in the warm, dry and sunshine-rich states of Colorado, Utah and Arizona.

Because I HAVE lived in Hell and survived (barely) to tell about it (rarely), I appreciate the sun, blue skies and warmth. Possibly more than any other person on the planet. I never tire of them. I could definitely live the rest of my life in a Happy Climate.

Yes, we ARE creatures who need sun and the light! Don’t let Big Pharma convince you that they’ve got the meds to fix whatever ails you when what ails you is the absence of a natural need.

Variety is the spice of life. Much as I adore and worship these prevailing clear blue skies and abundant bright rays in this high mountainous desert of central Arizona, we need to change it up. Rather, see it changed up by Mother Nature.

Thus any precipitation is welcomed as much as the change of heavenly scenery.

What differentiates these gray Arizona skies from those in the (bawd-awful) Pacific Northwest is this: Here they end!

Sure, the heavens may be darkened for a day or several days as a front passes. Rain and/or snow may fall. If we’re lucky!

But Mr. Sol always returns. ALWAYS. And when he does, he stays for a good long while.

He’s the Dependable Father in a family split by divorce who keeps his word when he promises his kid he’ll come watch him play on the baseball field, in the school play, at the piano recital. Or he’ll simply be there for the kid’s 9th birthday party.

Like (uncommon) men who step up to the plate, Mr. Sol is Mr. Steadfast in Arizona. He’s a great father, a great healer and, honestly, my best friend!

Very soon, these velveteen ash-colored clouds swollen with moisture will roll on their way and the sun shall resume his place on center stage. To Mr. Sol, I flick my Bic and give an enthusiastic standing ovation — over and over!

He is, with water, life itself. Our Great Sustainer. The Source of warmth, health and optimism and renewal.

Cheers and salutes to Sir Sol now and forevermore!

(And, oh yeah, not so much to another round and year wasted in menial minimum-wage labor. I’d surely welcome the sun in my career again! Here’s hoping the optimism rubs off in work.)

sun:sunflower

a note to no one.

I feel as friendless as friendless can be.

Isolated. Lonely. Separate. Separated from most around me. Disengaged. Unengaged. Left behind and left alone when I needed not to be.

Utterly and completely alone -in the unhealthy and isolated sense. Alone I don’t have a problem with. I feel on the brink of something horrible that I don’t want to happen but eventually will happen. Rather is likely to happen.

Isolation is the most severe punishment that can be inflicted upon a human being. Yes, there are cases where humans do live in isolation. The proverbial monk on the mountain. Or the severely mentally deranged criminals, for example. But they’re the exceptions. The lower end of the bell curve of social creatures that we supposedly are. Supposedly we’re born to need our mothers. Or fathers. Or primary caretakers. Supposedly we’re born needing that connection, that bonding.

What happens to us deep inside when that isn’t there?

+ + +

What happens to us when we’re forced into isolation in early childhood, in infancy, by a caretaker’s intent or by negligence? The first is born of malice and the latter of lack of caring. Which is worse, really? Which does more damage to the psyche of the child?

I think they’re equal. I think that malice — intentionally ignoring your child through hatred or “I can’t be bothered” or “I don’t care” — is as harmful and damaging as the parent who simply ignores the baby’s cries for warmth, comfort, feedings and holding. Ignorance is no excuse — no excuse whatsoever — for bad parenting. The burden lies on the parent, not the child.

Sadly, it is the child who bears the brunt and burden of parental negligence. It’s never the other way around.

+ + +

I’m essentially friendless here not because I’m a bad person. I am not In my youth, I was spirited, lively, engaging and adventurous — to a fault!

Now I’m a 350-year-old person trapped in a 58-year-old body.

+ + +

My zest for life isn’t what it used to be. Not even close. Depression has become my roommate. My doppelgänger. My soul mate from the dark side. The albatross around my neck that I can’t shake off. The thorn in my heart that I can’t heal. The weight of the world upon my shoulders and back that exhausts and ultimately, I fear, destroys me.

+ + +

When I envision my life when I”m 63 — in five years — I do not see a happy, carefree, fulfilling and rewarding life.

I see a bag lady. With her cart, extremely well organized. Meticulously so. No detail is overlooked. It’s exactly how I am in my life. Some things never change.

I see myself pushing this cart. Guarding it fiercely from the other homeless who would steal from me. Yes, it happens. The homeless do steal from one another and from one another’s carts! You’d think it’d be otherwise. You’d think that those with so little would be the most sensitive and thoughtful about not taking what is not theirs.

But it’s not true. What is true is that there are bad people EVERYWHERE. Even in the homeless population.

+ + +

I see myself pushing my cart, protecting it fiercely from the homeless with cold hearts who would and do steal from one another. People are rotten.

I see myself healthy — for a while And then I take ill. Slowly. I don’t know the cause of my illness. Perhaps it’s just disappointment in life and in people. I think it’s sadness. Grief. Grief for all the things that never came to pass in my life. The dreams weakened, crippled and then destroyed — as much by myself as by others. No. More by others. By human beings who never saw that I was a writer with potential. A writer with at least three novels in her.

But no one gave me a chance. No one listened.

The most deadly sound of all is silence.

I do not mean the silence that is sitting atop a mountaintop. Or inside a forest. Or inside of a swimming pool. Or in the middle of a desert.

Those are natural sounds of silence.

I mean the silence when no one is hearing you. Seeing you. When no one says you matter. When you grow up knowing that you don’t matter because that’s what your parents taught and told and showed you.

You’re invisible. We don’t see you. You don’t matter.

The sign-off signature on a death sentence.
+ + +

In this sunset chapter, I think much more about the things I wish I would’ve done differently … “if I’d known then what I know now …” “if I could turn back the hands of tie, I’d do this very differently …” “or not at all and I’d do that instead.”

Regrets.

But they’re not really regrets. That is, I feel regret for certain roads taken and others not taken. But for me, deeper is the sense of remorse. That is different from regret. Regret is for those things we didn’t do. I lived a full life, well, an adventurous life for sure.

It’s really remorse that I feel. Remorse is deeply of the heart.

And sadness.

Sadness for the child within me so battered and beaten up and hated so early in life by a mother and in ways later a father.

Remorse for my inability to heal myself from the damage done. I wanted to. I really did. I tried. I really did.

But in the end, the damage and darkness were greater than I. Somehow they took hold of my life force itself and sucked away. Life vampires sucking my life force.

+ + +
I have nothing more to say tonight and little to add except that I don’t fear death. I fear *coming back* — reincarnating by karmic necessity. But I really don’t fear death.

It’s life that hurts a fucking lot more.

from bitchy barista to birds to a better day

Oh to sing with the joy of the birds.

The song of birds brings me to pause beneath a large tree bushy with fresh spring leaves.

The pause is welcomed for my daypack is heavy with laptop, books, bottled water and assorted sundries.

While the temperature’s a springtime mild 68 degrees, the sun’s a fast draw here in the high desert and mountains of central Arizona due to the altitude. We’re a mile-high town here, like Denver. Thus Sir Sol’s like the bright spotlight overhead and close. Applying sunscreen for half the year is a good habit to develop if one spends any time outdoors!

Oh to sing with the joy of the birds.

I’m trekking from a less-than-stellar visit at Starbucks. A downright disappointing one, in fact! I’d gone to hunker down for some computer work while enjoying a free birthday beverage.

Isn’t the celebratory occasion I seek. The barista is a bitch. The latte level is low so I return to the barista to fill it to the brim. She’s as bitchy the second time around as the first.

I get all settled at the table and the Wi-fi goes wonky. Again. A frequent occurrence at that Starbucks, which is why I visit infrequently

So I pack up and lug myself and weighty backpack uphill toward the library, mentally grumbling how I’d accomplished nothing work- or writing-wise.

There’s something about birdsong that’s arresting.

Something in it that lifts one’s eyes and heart upward. That soothes one’s troubles. That takes the edge off worries and shifts things back into perspective. That reminds one of life and that life can be grand.

In the simplest moments.

Our feathered friends are veiled by lime-green foliage. They cannot be spotted or seen on their perches of branches and limbs that Mother Nature provides.

Yet their song rings through the wood and the leaves and the sky.

They sing. Because no one told them they couldn’t.

They chirp their melodies boldly — sometimes in harmony, sometimes in crazed cacophony — because they can do no differently.

They “sound off” without fear of consequences or punishment. There’s no mama or papa bird bashing them because they sing too loudly … too quietly … or simply differently from their brethren.

It’s unfortunate for us that humans aren’t modeled after birds, particularly in rearing our young.

Birds are free to be.

I love birds. Of all creatures in the animal (mammal) kingdom, if I had to pick a favorite, it’s birds, hands down and wings up!

Oh to sing with the joy of the birds.

Freely.

What would my life look like were I to have their same freedom to be and express?

Such is the question that enters my mind while I pause to listen to and appreciate the birds above.

Would I continue cleaning motel rooms? Or doing any number of the many menial shitty jobs that have, through no desire or intent of my own, developed into my “career” and taken me far far off path?

No.

I’d be writing. Singing my song. Without explanation or proffered reasons or apologies for being alive. Without shame. Without fear of bashings and burials and repercussions and reprisals.

I’d be singing like the birds … freely, joyfully, within life itself.

It’s amazing, isn’t it, how the briefest of moments — such as that 15-second pause beneath a tree — can bring us back to ourselves?

We need only to stop and smell the flowers, see the sky, listen to the birds sing. To marvel in, and be marveled by, the sweet, the simple and the unadorned moments are a part of life’s gifts.

I need the reminder and moreso I need it frequently! I need just to take time out from the conflicts and deep stresses about: work vs. jobs … dreams vs. duties … the future vs. the past …healthy responsibilities vs. entrapments … and listen to life.

And guess what! I forgot about the bitchy barista because of the birds!

Thank you my finest feathered friends! {While unseen from the ground, it’s likely they looked like just like this high upon their shrouded berths:}

birdsintree

Bang the Drum Slowly. And not at all when a migraine strikes.

Any day that’s free of a migraine is a good day.

Knock wood. Truly. Don’t want to jinx it. Seems that the moment when it occurs to me that I’ve not had a migraine for three days or a week — boom! BTW, that’s not an uncommon phenomenon among migraineurs.

Why, who knows.

Why migraines happen, who knows. Migraines are so individual. Lucky are those who, after searching the haystack for the needle, can identify triggers.

For the majority of migraineurs, identifying triggers is as elusive as the hunt for Bigfoot with a camera. Had I the power to remove a few health issues from the human race, they’d be: (a) Alzheimer’s; (b) dementia; (c) migraines. Their debilitating element is extraordinary. I’d wish none of those diseases on anyone.

Anyways, any day without a migraine is a good day. (Not to overlook or downplay various health issues that I contend with daily. Issues that slow me down, bring discomfort, pain and worry.

A migraine is in its own category. A migraine is like Command Central. It has the unique ability to shut the entire system down, from the most basic level of who we as humans are: our neurological systems.

I consider myself fortunate in that my migraines began in midlife. Some people start getting them as early as their pubescent or teenage years! Their entire lives are spent suffering with, battling and enduring migraines. I’d included “coping with” and then deleted it. Coping with migraines never really happens.

Coping implies some sort of positive action or intent to get through a tough situation. A life force sustaining you and getting you through. However, migraines shut everything down and to such a pervasive extent that even the basic life force peters out or becomes inaccessible. That’s why so many migraineurs are required to retreat into a room with zero stimulation. No sounds. No light. No thing at all.

I often have auras before a migraine. Auras are clues that the inner system’s changing and a migraine’s on its way. Auras have nothing to do with the energetic auras around our bodies that psychics see!

The type of auras vary for migraineurs. For me, sound is a biggie. Even the most innocuous or mundane everyday sound that normally doesn’t catch my attention — say, a song, a stranger’s voice in a cafe — will blast and produce immediate discomfort, anxiety or pain inside my head.

A common example: someone’s voice on the radio. In my aura state, the voice alone will make me nauseous (nausea is a very common symptom of migraines). It’ll also be a piercing stake being driven into my head.

I must immediately switch the channel to another voice or sound that doesn’t poke the hornet’s nest. Or simply turn off the radio.

Don’t misunderstand. Changing the station, in this example, doesn’t eradicate the aura! It merely removes a pronounced aggravator, some element that ramps up the pain and distress already unfolding.

Now, to be clear, that same voice on any normal (non-migraine) day may be just fine! It’s just that when one strikes — or is about to — for me, sensitivities to sound fly off the charts!

I experience other aura symptoms too; other times, I experience none at alL! I can go to bed feeling just fine and awaken with a severe migraine. Or what I call a “walking migraine.” That’s one in which I can pretend-function at the barest minimum through the day. Like walking pneumonia.

My mental/neurological shutdown and pain and inability to think even the most banal of thoughts is visible to no one but myself. Even recollecting my name or address is a challenge with a migraine. It hurts. The brain actually hurts. Everything’s at once fuzzy and fucked-up and fiercely painful.

I have more migraine than not-migraine days. Sometimes I go as much as a week or two without one! Heaven!! Bliss! Paradise!

Other times, one migraine lasts for most if not all of a week, when including preliminary (aura) days and post (recovery) days

Those are particularly bad because I get nothing done. I CAN get nothing done. Just surviving the week is a significant challenge. And all I can do — all that most migraineurs can do — is wait for it to pass. Or get serious about pain relief.

That OTC migraine aspirin helps some but not most. (They have zero effect on me.) Some have to go as far as the emergency room for morphine. Yes, it’s not only the triggers that vary so from individual to individual but the intensity. I’m “lucky” that I can pretend semi-function in a pained state of auto-pilot.

But the truth remains. I wish migraines were not a part of my life at all. They have been for about 7 years now and they don’t look to be going away anytime soon. Probably never. They’re genetic. I just dunno know which side of my family is to blame! 😉

Anyways, it’s worth noting that any day without a migraine is a good day. Even if “bad things” happen, to be free of the debilitation, pain and time and productivity lost — and *self* lost — to a migraine is a great, great feeling!

Again, knock wood! I’ll bang the wood if I must if it keeps migraines at bay! Just none of that before or during a migraine. Even moreso than light, sounds are the killer!

knockwood

Sunday service by the front porch

Happy Sunday.

And a happy one it is. And not only because we here in central Arizona are in the midst of tree buds thickening into foliage, daffodils and irises proudly announcing their presence after months of hiding underground and people generally out and about, mingling and partaking of our fine spring weather.

This morning I was finally able to hook up with my upstairs neighbor. And her boyfriend, whom she insisted join us in conversation about noise issues. Specifically the stomping incident of 10 days ago. More specifically, I actually had a gift for her, a token of sincere appreciation for her responsiveness, thoughtfulness and consideration since our first real talk … in March!

Today was the first time for the three of us to talk on noise issues. I was surprised when he said they’d actually thought of moving! I have too. We’ve all been lived there only 5 months.

She invited me in to see their place. Not from a decorator’s standpoint but rather for an understanding of their floor plan as it relates to the noise I’m experiencing below. Initially I resisted. It’s their home and sacred space and I respect that.

But as we kept talking, I eventually saw that it might help being able to pinpoint and/or identify what type of sounds are coming from what area of their apartment. My place is tiny compared to theirs and with their highly-trafficed kitchen/dining area in particular directly above the center of my apartment, well, it’s a “hot spot” in terms of noise and vibrations.

A fact that can’t be overlooked (and isn’t) is that this is an old building, built in the 1950s. Originally it was one huge house and so no consideration was given to insulation or soundproofing. There’s zero insulation between their floors and my ceiling. Moreover, I reckon that only a foot of space separates the two!

So the fault, dear Brutus, definitely lies in the construction!

We all recognize that. It’d be nice, we agreed, if the property management company would install insulation where it’s lacking. But no way would they take on that cost. And it’s low priority, tenant comfort.

Sooo … learning to living cooperatively is essential to compensate for the structure’s grand flaws.

It was a good talk. Constructive. Everyone handled it like adults. NO one stormed off or called another a bad name! Now that I’ve seen for myself their side of the fence, so to speak, I can connect the dots between sounds and where they’re coming from or what activity is creating them.

Also, we agreed that a tap or two on their floors on their end can be made to indicate they’ve heard my “mop signal” (aka the broomstick method of signaling noise). It was their heavy half a dozen stomps in response to my thumps by mophead and then fist, when the first appeared unheard, that was the real issue needing addressing.

Anyhow, I pen this not because it’s an interesting read (it really isn’t!) but rather to note that this dialogue (and in what context) finally took place! I truly seek to have this be over — the issues, I mean — and for balance and harmony to develop.

I know now that he’s not the “demon” I pictured him to be and that both of them really are making an effort to control the noise. I also know that at the core, many of these current issues are rooted in deep deep home issues still to be explored, resolved and healed.

A part of me feels sheepish for making these issues such a big deal (overdramatizing) and I can be more communicative. I was gonna write “tolerant” but in fact internalizing and keeping silent while suffering on the inside, my usual responses, do more harm than good. It’s not tolerance and patience I need to develop, rather speaking up.

On the other hand, these issues contain kernels of truth and signal room for improvements on their end (i.e., not hammering at 10 p.m. in consideration of others).

I truly wish to strike a balance and harmonious cohabitation in admittedly very tight quarters — and FLAWED quarters, per zero insulation.

We got a good start via our conversation last month. This month, I feel like we made some headway and that involving all three of us this time was the way to go … as well as my seeing their space that’s directly above mine. That knowledge and ability to visualize what sounds are coming from where are positive gains.

I’m grateful we had this talk. I’m grateful that we dialogued like adults. (And a far better communication it was too compared to my family of origin!). These issues, including the recent stomping incident, needed to be addressed. I’m new to healthy dialogue in the home. Truly new. There was no blaming. Attacking. Destruction. Warfare. Bombs going off, violence or deathly silences for weeks to punish.

I like it!

And I want to continue a new way of relating in the home that’s wholly foreign — and polar opposite — from my family of origin. (Much to learn, definitely.)

A happy and productive Sunday is a good Sunday. God may’ve rested on this day but the three of us “worked” and accomplished good stuff. Today’s talk by the front porch was more productive than any church service I’ve attended! {admittedly very few} May we all move forward in greater peace, understanding and harmony.

Contemplations at the Crossroads

Sign pointing to the left reads: “To Hell.” Sign to the right reads: “No Idea. But Way Better Than Hell.”

I’m job-hunting.

I’m finding it extremely hard to get excited about applying for Lame Crap Jobs.

LCJ for short. Menial service-industry jobs that pay minimum wage. Jobs far, far beneath my abilities, work experience, life experience, intelligence and capabilities.

I was set, nee forced, upon a course of slavery — slave jobs, slave labor, slave mentality — by my father when I was tall enough to hold a broom. Around age 6. From that point, my father indoctrinated me (well, our entire family actually) into Slavehood.

For various reasons, I got the worst of it, his brutality and cruelty around work, labor and arduous tasks. The more arduous the better. The more disregarding of exhaustion and death-defying, the better. My father ran me into the ground psychologically, emotionally, physically.

I love him to death but he was a son of a bitch. The wounding and damage are very deep indeed. It’s been a lifelong struggle to survive, cope with and as of late just identify some of these complicated issues.

The complex of Slave Jobs vs. Work.

Work being my own purpose. Life purpose as a writer. A purpose that is of me and has nothing to do with what I was forced to be and forced into, quite literally, by my father. A slave. A means to his end. And if not his, then some other usually overbearing macho ass*ol* of a man.

If he demeans and degrades me, all the better. It means I’m doing my Job. Staying tough. Never giving up at the job no matter how badly I’m beaten. Ever producing supremely high quality work no matter how painful the welts on my back, metaphorically, or bent and crippled my hands from chains and ropes. I never let the slave master get me down so far that I produce anything but the highest quality work. For him.

My worth was based not on any so-called inherent value within our Creator’s breath but on what I produced for my father. Later in life, that became Anyone Else with Authority Over Me in the Workplace.

Truth is, my father did not teach me to be free. By force and control, he programmed me to be a slave. Who I was / am did not matter. My dreams, pfshaw! Useless silly stupid shitty things with no place in life. My purpose: DENIED! Like the giant word stamped by the parole board across a prisoner’s written request for parole.

Again, love my dad to death but he was a son of a bitch.

I write about this because I’m at a crossroads. And in a quandary.

Everything inside me is pushing against continuing this enslaved life, the Lame Crap Jobs that make me want to slit my wrists. If ONE more person tells me: “Take any job temporarily …” I’ll have to shoot that person. In the belly. One of the most painful places to be shot.

There are parts that truly want off this path of slavery and want in on the path to my true self and purpose. I can hardly tell you what it is! I can only say that I know it’s NOT what my dad forced upon me.

It’s all so complicated and complex. Rather than try to put words that can’t be put to this whole mess, I’ll return to the beginning.

I’m finding it extremely hard to get excited about applying for just more of the Lame Crap Jobs that have ruined or destroyed much of my life — and me.

I KNOW I should be excited. Okay, maybe not excited.

Willing.

I KNOW I should be WILLING to do anything — ANYTHING — in order to work and survive. And the more beneath me the job, the more humiliating and degrading, even sadistic, the better. That’s really what’s so much of this Slave complex comes down to. Sadism.

I should be willing to remain nothing except a slave, a peon, a nothing except a tool in someone else’s own gains because that’s all that gives me value. (according to my all-powerful all-dictating father.)

I should fall at the feet of the master — even if they be booted in leather and kicking me in the stomach and the teeth — and kiss them. Because A JOB IS A JOB. The most holy of words. The only words that truly matter in life.

But I’m NOT excited to continue what I was forced to do — BE — from age 6.

The anger and rage swelling within of late speak of an uprising brewing against all that my father shoved down my throat.

They speak of profound dissatisfaction with how things are — how they were made to be and forced to be — since I was a little girl.

They speak of the enormous pain and traumas brought to bear in my life because I was forced to bear them.

This anger and rage and disinclination, to put it mildly!, to continue wasting my life in just another fucking menial Lame Crap Job that pays nothing, jobs I loathe, detest, hate and are a TRUE waste my talents, abilities, intelligence and true self hints that the natives are getting restless.

I haven’t a vision of where the natives want to go. They don’t even seem to know. They want only one thing. To be free.

And to know the truth. For themselves. The truth of who THEY are, each as individuals. Not WHAT they are. Each a slave by the demands and controlling and totalitarian forces of their oppressor and master. He who has dictated: “You are my slave and I rule your world. No questions. No alternatives. No changes. End of story.”

+ + +

“Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.”

So wrote John Milton in “Paradise Lost.”

He’s correct. Absolutely correct.

I wish right now that I could sit down with Mr. Milton and engage in a deep conversation of philosophy. Clearly he’s a wise man to have recognized and written that.

I’d share with Mr. Milton of my past and current crossroads situation and ask him what I should do next. Because it seems clear that even with my enormous plethora of work/job aptitudes, skills, abilities, talents and impeccable work ethics, I’m nowhere near as good at breaking the chains of slavery. Not even close.

I could forge the metal and shape and couple the iron links that create the chain. THAT I could do. It’s my innate craftsmanship and work ethics.

Creating the cutters: I don’t have that blueprint. Or, if I do, I don’t know where it is. Or remember how it looked when I saw it a zillion years ago!

Today’s post is pure therapy. I don’t actually expect anyone to read it or last this far. That’s okay. I just need to put this down on paper. Sift through my thoughts. Organize them best I’m able to in an enormously, even ridiculously, complex and complicated subject. The roots of my slavery run very deep and very wide like those Great Giant Old Trees of the South. Those trees that outlive us all.

+ + +

So I got a call about a potential dishwashing job today.

My enthusiasm for just another Lame Crap Job … just another continuation to ruining my life and destroying my self … is zero.

Why do I apply? Why did I?

Certainly not interest or passion! It’s because:

I need a job.
A Job Is A Job.
My applying is not my choice. It’s because my dad’s thumb still oppresses, dictates and controls. Telling me What I Should Do. Not seeing me for who I am .

I’ve got a fucking lot of inner work ahead still. I’ve no clue or sense of what freedom looks like, tastes like, feels like. I know the tight grip of cold metal around my ankles and wrists and the rattlings and clankings of chains binding me from one man to the next.

“Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.”

Indeed, Mr. Milton, indeed.