The Desert

Wildfires in Utah make for a beautiful crescent red moon.

But I can’t see the mountains.
Or breathe.

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Unbearable Pain

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I were going to attend the Arts Festival together. He had a wake later that evening for a friend and neighbor, so we were just going to spend a couple of hours enjoying the exhibits, performances, food, and music.

Instead, we got chatting and drinking with the neighbor who’d lost her boyfriend to suicide. His best friend stopped by and shared a few drinks and memories with us, and I felt like I really came to know this person. The girl brought out a book of his poetry, some really good stuff, profound and wicked. He had such a turn of phrase! I said, more than once, that I felt like I’d met him. They painted such a clear image of his particular brand of hard, sardonic living. I had a sense of his voice, his presence: Unmistakable, messy, original, intelligent.

Mostly, I regretted that this woman, whom I’d come to really enjoy and hoped to further a friendship with, had to be the one to find him. I let her know that I wanted to see her again. She was such a bright, interesting, and vivacious girl.

“I don’t mean to insert myself in your grief,” I told her, “but I so enjoy your company. I’d love to hang out again, whatever that looks like. If you need to scream and rage, I’m not afraid of that. If you just want to take a stroll and get out of your thoughts, I’m in.”

She agreed, but you know how that it.

“Whatever you do, just don’t isolate,” I asked her. “And thank you for sharing him with me. I feel like I’ve met him. I’m so sorry for his pain, and yours.”

We skipped the Arts Festival, drinking instead on the court until they left for the wake and I went home with a DVD from this gal. I’ve had it for 2 weeks and wanted to reassure her that I hadn’t forgotten. I messaged my buddy today that I’d love to get together again and pass the time, and I’d bring that movie.

He was sorry to tell me that she’d joined her fiance, the same way.

I can’t believe how I feel. I feel like the wind’s been knocked out of me. I didn’t know him, and I didn’t know her, really, just spent a few hours. But it hurts my heart.

Today, I wish to remind us all to tend very carefully to ourselves. Mental illness is real. It hurts so much, and one is never out of danger. I spent the bulk of my 20s occupied by suicidal ideation, outcries, and 2 dangerous attempts. I think, having gotten to the other side of it, I’d come to believe that it’s a young person’s problem. No. We die at any age, of any illness, and we must care for who we are, as we are. Wow. I’m just really, really sad. I ache for them. I’ve been telling these 2 strangers for the last several hours that I’m glad they’re in that beautiful place of only love, together, relieved of sorrow, and able to continue learning without the burdens and heaviness of Earth life. But I’m just so sad.

To think how much someone has to hurt to do that. I’m sad for unbearable pain.

Life is so precious and fleeting. Be kind to yourself and others.

****

Before I met this woman I’d never heard the term, “in my cups,” when referring to drinking, especially of the drowning variety. It so amused and delighted me, and painted such an amiable, tragic picture of the delicious, deceptive nature of alcoholic seduction, I felt as though I could hear this character’s voice. He was very much a character, a writer and storyteller, too, who performed his stories and even regular conversation, as I do.

I’m currently reading a fiction novel. Well, since this man and woman took their lives, twice the main character in this book has referred to getting “in her cups.” I found it curious, at first, nothing more. Just that phenomenon when you’re introduced to a word or concept for the first time and then find it everywhere. But then I about fell over when I remembered that this main character’s brother was an alcoholic who killed himself. THEN… the brother who died, I realized, had the SAME NAME as this man who committed suicide less than a month ago! So I’m absolutely flipping out when I realized that the main character’s name is the same as the woman’s! I mean, come on! That’s too much!

I feel connected to them. I’m not sure what to make of such massive compounding coincidence. There’s nothing I could have done. I didn’t even know them.

Maybe it’s just them confirming that they are there, and they are safe, and out of pain.
Maybe it’s nothing. (Of course, you know I can’t think that.)
Maybe it’s just gob-smacking WOW.

I’m glad I didn’t die by suicide. I recommit myself to that now, even though it feels unnecessary to publicly declare it. I feel like these strangers are reminding me what a gift life is and to be vigilant about our health and the choices we make. I invite all who suffer in that way to make a similar vow not to die by your own hand. Perhaps start an “other options” list or a log of things to love and live for, so that when you invariably fall back into the pain, as we do, you’ll remember that it will pass. Because it does. Do be gentle. Life is hard, and painful, and precious, and beautiful.

And FUN! And so totally worth it! I love being alive! choose happy

Choose happy. It is a choice. Choose it again and again, every time. When you fail, choose it as soon as you’re back on track and able. If you can’t choose happy in the moment, be patient and know that the time will come that you’ll be glad you trusted yourself and your beautiful determination and strength, and your RIGHT to be joyful, and got yourself to the other side of suffering one more to time to choose happy again.

7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7!

WOW! Today was such a stressful and fretful day. I came home from work last night to find my little fatty’s ear had swollen with some kind of huge cyst or abscess. I took her to the vet this morning and had to worry all day.

I finally spoke to the vet, who diagnosed an aural hematoma. He couldn’t explain why she got it; She had no signs of former ear infection, which often is found to be the trigger. Ultimately, it will cost me nearly a thousand dollars. goy! *sigh*

hehe

hehe

While I was on the phone with the vet, I got a call from an unknown number. I returned the call immediately upon hanging up to learn that the nurse from my dermatologist’s office had gone already, having closed the office early that day.

Sure enough, she’d left a voicemail. But here’s the thing: I had a little bad patch of skin removed from my hand 2 weeks ago. The doctor didn’t think it was anything to worry about. Neither did I. Just figured, at mid-life, it’s time to start that maintenance. He said he’d call if there was any cause for concern, not expecting there would be.

I clarified, “Okay, so you’re sending this to the lab and when I don’t hear from you, I don’t need to call panicking, ‘I had this thing biopsied and I never heard back…'”

“No. We’ll call you if it’s anything to be concerned about.” So this chick leaves me a message at the end of her day and leaves me to worry ALL NIGHT LONG about what the hell she was calling to tell me.

So then I reframe it. “Okay, Christie. It’s an opportunity to practice patience and calm. You don’t have a choice, so just be.” I took a breath. “Anyway, it’s nothing. It’s probably something clerical or stupid, in which case it’s an opportunity to prepare to treat the caller with respect when you finally reach her, even though she created unnecessary worry for you.” (It’s not administrative. Otherwise, a clerical agent would have called.)

In any case, it is what it is and I get to sit in the not knowing all night. Okay. I called my mom. We ended up having a lovely conversation. We’ve been speaking more and more the last couple of months. It’s been nice.Today, especially so.

****

I picked up my little fat kitty cat from the vet, and as I sat waiting for the cab I noticed the door of the pet hospital: “Hours: Mon.-Sat. 7-7, 7-7, 7-7, 7-7, 7-7, 7-7.”

Oh my gosh! It’s 7-7!

Oh my gosh! It’s Christine’s birthday! She was apprehended and questioned by the police, on her birthday, for the physical assault that occurred 2 days previously as I tried to escape last year. I was delighted that they were located and hauled in at all, but especially that it happened on her birthday. I knew there would be no consequences for them. I’m sure the whole inconvenience took no more than an hour. All I wanted was for her to know that she did not get away with it. I know who you are. I know what you did. It was wrong, and you know it, too.attack Christine loved that her birthday was 7.7.72. The reason for my visit last year was to celebrate our friendship one last time before finally phasing her out. She didn’t know my plan. I intended to celebrate her with one last round of blind drunkenness, and move on. You can’t get wasted enough to enjoy her company anymore, and I just wasn’t going to feel guilty about it any longer.

I wanted a cute pic, but this was all she'd give me.

I wanted a cute pic, but this was all she’d give me.

I’m so grateful to be home and healing, continuing to learn. My family is getting better, stronger. My new boundaries are effectively protecting me. I still feel a lot of pain and sorrow for the difficulty we experience(d) as a profoundly ill family, especially as I watch the trauma become more disruptive for one of my dear brothers. I think he’ll have a lifelong journey with Depression and anger, and so far I don’t have a lot of confidence that he’ll even look at it as something to recover from and live with. Pray for him?

Things are good.

My angels greet me now and then through numbers, and I don’t care if believing that makes me mad. 🙂 Sometimes it’s just a little nod, a hello, but I’ve never got one like SEVEN sets of SEVEN in a row! What a reminder to take stock and express gratitude. Thank you, angels!7 of heartsWow. I got a new follower moments after publishing this post. I checked out her site and right there on the front page was a post called A Copper Penny In Your Eyes. Pennies became one of the first symbols of angel communication for me. I asked my Grandpa [after his passing] to send pennies. He answered. I was practically knocked out by pennies from heaven, there were so many the first 5 or so years. It’s less frequent now, and less personal. I don’t feel his energy, exactly, every time. It’s just a smiley face for me each time I see one now, but after the connection I had with Spirit this afternoon, I can’t help but find it to be a confirmation of the day I had and the feelings it inspired.

All is well. “Cuddle doon, me bairney,” Grandpa might say.
pennies and quarterThe author of that poem used pennies to represent the low regard in which a false friend held her. Nevertheless, my meaning for pennies remains untarnished and the poem itself is quite profound and well-written, about honoring oneself and drawing on courage to stand tall in the truth of who you are. (A timely nod after my reminder of Spain today, and confirmation that I did well to leave my own false friend.) Check it out.

Fatty’s surgery is slated for SEVEN SEVENteen at SEVEN a.m.
I don’t make this stuff up.
(For those of you keeping track, that SEVENteen SEVENS in a row.)

*****

“The repeating Angel Number 7 indicates for you to keep up the great work you’ve been doing of late. Your angels are telling you that you are on the right life path and that you will find that things of a positive nature will flow freely for you.  Your job is to maintain your momentum and enthusiasm, with the highest outcomes for all in focus.

Angel Number 777 is a positive sign and means that you should expect miracles to occur in your life.”

I love this site by Joanne Sacred Scribes. I don’t remember when I first found it, but I just love it! 77777777777777777! http://sacredscribesangelnumbers.blogspot.com/

THE YEAR OF THE ANSWER IS WORKING! 42! (7×6, like the wall of the vet clinic. 🙂 )
Mid-life is kind and difficult and funny and strange and wonderful and MIRACULOUS!

Clearing

Clearing
by Martha Postlewaite

Do not try to save the whole world
or do anything grandiose.

Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life
and wait there patiently,
until the song that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.

Only then will you know
how to give yourself to this world
so worthy of rescue.
sunburst

Red Bows

I danced that year with girls a grade higher than me in school. All year we prepared for the big recital in May. My favorite number was the tap dance. We were sailors, in little blue pleated skirts and matching vests, which our mothers made, worn over a white, sequined leotard. It was all topped off with a sailor cap, but the best part was the big red bows on my shiny black tap shoes. I loved my big red bows.

The big night finally arrived. I was smack dab in the center of the front row. And mom forgot my big red bows.

Oh, I yelled. I yelled and yelled!

“If you wear your biggest smile, no one will see your feet,” she promised.

Of course they’d see my feet! It was TAP! Did she think I was stupid? What difference did a smile make to my shoes? I was going to be a fool, and it was all her fault!

“Just smile,” she instructed me again, “and no one will notice.”

I would never forgive her, I vowed, as Teacher readied us offstage. I walked into those bright lights near tears and shaking.

The strangest thing happened. I heard my mother’s voice and I smiled, cautiously at first. The music began, and I smiled bigger. I loved that dance! I loved everything about it. I loved the music. I loved the sound my tap shoes made. I loved my costume.

My smile grew.

Then I saw something, two women on the front row leaning into one another, grinning from ear to ear, looking at me. They were smiling at me! I couldn’t help it, I smiled bigger. And bigger and bigger!

They started giggling, and so did I! I’ll be damned if my feet didn’t grow wings that day. I’ll bet silly red bows would have weighed them down.

1980