Anonymous.

“Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.”

~ T. S. Eliot

I believe
that so it goes:
the gift of humanity
is bestowed,
to souls with empathy,
and only those,
a carrot hanging,
a step ahead of me,
ever-dangling,
before my nose;
and not just mine,
but anyone,
from the assembly line,
from which I come,
we’re made to ache,
to hurt – to burn,
from day one,
to ride the wake,
to bend and break in turn,
until our last words,
to be heard,
have finally come;
the world is cruel,
unless you’re blind,
it’s a flea-ridden fool,
that succeeds the unkind,
it constantly bleeds,
sucks up my energy,
drains the tide pools,
swallows the sunshine;
for those like us,
nothing is anonymous,
nothing can ever be fine,
no peace,
as we sleep,
only the fire,
from the front-line.

I Know.

I know what you’re thinking…

You’re thinking dark things to yourself now…like:

how all of those people in your past, the ones you helped nurse through to recovery from breast cancer, colon cancer, even a brain tumor; they’ve all gotten well and forgotten about you, when you needed those kindly offered favors returned. Oh Mama, how well I perceive how you feel.

You’re thinking about all the years that you poured out of yourself into others who are long dead already; you’re thinking about how short your end of the stick turned out to be; you’re thinking that you’ve been conquered by the things that other people do or say…or don’t do or say; you think it’s time to resign and become this helpless refugee who can’t find the motivation in your brain to keep your body moving your bones.

I’m thinking about how strong your spirit is when I look down onto your drawn face and seek out any flicker of light within those sunken eyes; I’m thinking back onto my youngest recollections of you: a beautiful woman in a skirt and pantyhose, wrenching at a flat tire on the freeway shoulder – not giving a fuck. I’m thinking about how much you have gone through in your hard lifetime already, even before Cancer pirated your body and brain; before your partner abandoned you and you became homeless…and, when I think about these things, I can barely breathe. I’m thinking about how you have the right to decide when you’re too tired to fight this bullshit life any longer, to “throw in the towel” as you said this morning to my nodding head and tear-streaked face. I’m thinking about so many things that make me feel as if I’m being strong-armed by some invisible being, robbed and stripped of my medals and badges.

You’re thinking it’s time to go; I’m thinking how much I hate the fact that I understand how you feel, completely.

Mama, you are not helpless, you could never be that; you’re not built that way…but you can be tired; you can be forlorn; just don’t be gone too soon.

Delay.

FOREWORD:

They say that the delirium is late-stage cancer – nothing more. Perhaps it is, I can’t say at this point. What I can say is that the delirious woman is still my mom; is still worthy of my love and support; is still a person who I love very much, suffering…dying.

baby-of-mine-dumbo-o.gif


Let me tell you a short (though, repetitive) story; one I have come to know by heart without consciously trying…one that plays itself out through each and every nightmare I have if I am lucky enough to fall asleep deeply enough…one that has come to define each and every “visit” I get with my mama, anymore:

The Bedpan: It is an inevitable circumstance, no matter where mama is.

In whichever facility that she is hospitalized, she is bedridden and increasingly unable to move without severe pain. She, therefor, has been reduced to a bedpan or commode when she is lucid, or, a fucking adult diaper, otherwise.

In her lucid times, the diaper must come off, else she have a massive coronary. During these interim of semi-coherence for her, is the perpetually running song and dance of trying to go to the bathroom. My mother is on diuretics for edema in her legs at present, and therefor has to pee like every 15-20 minutes no matter which state she is in…a detail that seems to define every moment that I spend with her anymore: the horrid revolving door of trying to get a fucking bedpan in time.

The orderlies and nurses are slow as molasses in any setting we have been; they seem to take pleasure in the circumstance of making my mama wait until she can’t hold it any longer, and a mess ensues, without fail.

Then, there I am: frustrated beyond words with the staff for letting this happen AGAIN; and there’s mama: so broken down and defeated by the humbling experience that she’s enduring, she just cries while I clean her up. Each and every time this occurs, it sinks my mama lower into her resignation to death and departure. Each time she cries, it does something to me that I can’t yet find the words to express accurately, but I can say with certainty that her tears in this context make me want to seriously hurt someone, or worse.

As a result of this hideous cycle of requests for basic assistance, delayed responses, messes to clean up, and mama’s subsequent withdrawal further into darkness, I have begun to absolutely dread going to see my dying mother at all.

bambi.gif

 

The Empath and The Opportunist – Continued.

He is carrying on about the business; about profit and loss…I am sitting here across the table from him, wondering why the Hell I even have anything, much less such a co-dependent kinda thing, with this fucking guy of all people.

His father just died, after a long and trying illness, he is sad and needy right now; yet, he only wants to talk business, as usual. Whatever dude…let me print out a P & L and we will comb the fucking books then, fine with me.

Men are so puzzling this way: so likened to a fucking light switch when it comes to using the experiences we have in life as a means of enriching our relationships with each other. They don’t know how to approach it, they just kill the whole operation; they can’t figure it out, they just tune it out; they can’t accurately compartmentalize it, they simply pretend it isn’t there.

Men seem just as happy (or so they like to believe) with stuffing it all down until they are no longer capable of stuffing. And then: Ka-Boom. Right?

This particular man has the capacity to say the right things and do them too, when it might suit his fancy for whatever reasons…but, those times hardly ever overlap with my own times of receptiveness these days, after all that’s passed between us. He has that shit-eating smile that can stop traffic from across the street; but he also happens to be one of the very last people I would ever lean on for any reason – as I have learned the lesson in his case that I will fall the fuck over, should I lean even the slightest bit on him. He always said he loved me because I am “built with so much substance” and am “so deep of a person”, and the reason he thinks he “loves” this about me is because he lacks these things completely. He sings such horseshit as “stability” and “security” (please note: he straight the fuck up tossed me like last week’s milk like two years ago and badly broke my heart), while sporting me on an arm that he can detach from his shoulder at any time via some hidden release mechanism. I am honest with him about how I can’t and never could again – trust him on the levels that matter (to me, at least)…he seems to care less. I don’t sleep with him any more either, and haven’t for almost two years, so he knows that I’m not just talking shit. Whatever, let’s file a tax voucher instead.

Abuela.

Read about the Incident can be found here:

Based on the communal nightmare that took place in my mother’s street (literally two doors down from her home) the other day; and, after seeing firsthand the ways in which panic and confusion can easily take over an already chaotic scenario, I have decided to take the initiative of beginning a “neighborhood panic button” for my own neighborhood. I do not foresee any situation in which a gunman takes, and subsequently murders a hostage – but my parents wouldn’t have foreseen it, either. I feel obligated in a sense to do this for one main reason: empathy. As an outsider who was caught alongside the insiders during this horrible event’s unfolding (a total of 13 hours by the time we were cleared to leave the vicinity), I can say with certainty that things could have been handled very differently in regard to the surrounding neighbors – by the surrounding neighbors. This had NOTHING to do with police actions that were littering any square of sidewalk for blocks in any direction, either…they did an impressive perimeter lockdown and had every resource at work from the time they arrived until they finally left during the wee morning hours the next day.
The issue I kept feeling like I was backhanded by was undoubtedly the overall lack of concern, cooperation, and/or compassion put forth by the very people that live there. It has never been a very close-knit neighborhood, despite what everyone is saying in the news since the incident. Nobody, save Abuela (the woman who was killed), my mother (not my step-father because he is as inti-social as it comes), a Slavic man with a tiny dog named Tiger, and two archaic elderly couples on either corner, even speak to one another regularly. The few people who behave neighborly to one another have only come to do so with a long passing of time and necessity (an earthquake, a car accident outside, etc.). People had no idea that Abuela was even in trouble, much less – that kind of trouble; my mother did not even hear the shots that killed her from two houses away…I swear to the Gods at one point early on in the stand-off, I heard the Korean man who lives in between my mom and the crime scene in his backyard sorting through his recyclables – I would have assumed he was completely oblivious to what was going on, but am positive that he knew because we had all been put on lock-down and the police had been in and through the houses surrounding Abuela’s, including my mom’s. I just feel like maybe if her neighborhood gave a little more of fuck about one another on a humanitarian level, things might have ended differently…I don’t know. What I do know is that THIS is prime example of why neighbors should be neighborly to one another during times of NON-CHAOS.
Empathy is a near extinct and quite unpopular notion, I know…but when are all these uppity, self-absorbed, judgmentally challenged idiots everywhere going to grasp the concept that it is, and always has been EMPATHY that sets human beings (as a species) apart from the rest – – – we are doomed undeniably if we let it fade to chaos.

Anonymous.

“Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.”

~ T. S. Eliot

I believe
that so it goes:
the gift of humanity
is bestowed,
to souls with empathy,
and only those,
a carrot hanging,
a step ahead of me,
ever-dangling,
before my nose;
and not just mine,
but anyone,
from the assembly line,
from which I come,
we’re made to ache,
to hurt – to burn,
from day one,
to ride the wake,
to bend and break in turn,
until our last words,
to be heard,
have finally come;
the world is cruel,
unless you’re blind,
it’s a flea-ridden fool,
that succeeds the unkind,
it constantly bleeds,
sucks up my energy,
drains the tide pools,
swallows the sunshine;
for those like us,
nothing is anonymous,
nothing can ever be fine,
no peace,
as we sleep,
only the fire,
from the front-line.

The Empath and The Opportunist (Still Going).

Last night I had a “date”; not really like a date, because it wasn’t a new person and I didn’t go anywhere…okay, last night I spent time with the Opportunist because I was lonely and emotionally weakened by recent life events.
I shouldn’t have even looked at my phone yesterday at all based on my state of mind over my daughter, but hey – old habits die hard I guess.
He texted me some smart ass remark how nice my ass is out of the clear blue at like 7:30am though, so it was kinda hard to ignore; not to mention the fuckin’ guy’s timing…he must have a sensor of some kind that tells him when my guard is down or whatever, because he pops up without fail (as a good opportunist only should) when I am weak.
Anyway, so yeah…he ended up coming over and we watched Gunslingers and some lame show about gold mining in the arctic or some whack shit. I gave him whatever opportunities he needed last night…and that was that. He says I need to “work on my people skills”…that being asked to get dressed and go home after sex would be highly offensive most guys and I’m “lucky he knows where I’m coming from”…I guess it was always like that between us – even when we lived together, I slept separately at night because I wanted to.
In summary, having a “date” with the opportunist last night only re-affirmed how well-suited someone so shallow is for me at present…because I am still an emotional and social train-wreck, apparently.

Ten Examples of Empathy in Wild Animals.

  1. The pack of buffalo (or whatever they were) from the viral footage from Kruger Park in Africa;
  2. The Lion Whisperer;
  3. Christian;
  4. Post-Earthquake PTSD Pandas;
  5. An unexpected adoption;
  6. My kind of dolphins;
  7. A HUGE (but motherly) giant beneath the ice;
  8. The little nudge that made a big difference;
  9. Koko and her kitten;
  10. The Notorious Blackfish scene;

The Empath and the Opportunist – Continued.

NOTE: “The Opportunist” is someone who broke my heart pretty completely about a year ago; someone who I gave too much to, and got little in return from; someone who made it painfully apparent when I failed to present any further opportunity for him that he had no reason to stay.

He showed up on Saturday to watch the fight at the Man Cave with his lifelong friend, my roommate, Dice. I had known he would be coming – they were ALL gonna be coming, I knew (it turned out to be 16 men and 2 women, including myself) watching the fight.
His face told very sad stories immediately upon opening the front door and seeing him: eyes down-turned and swollen, bottom lip protruding out slightly…unable to make any eye contact with me. I knew something was wrong right away – because despite everything we have been through, he has never been unable to look me in the eye. Oddly, before I could even give it any logical thought, I blurted out:
“What’s wrong Opportunist? Is it your Dad?” (Of course I used his real name, though)
He just fell apart right there on the spot. Came unglued altogether. His father has been deteriorating at a sporadic pace from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; and has recently become very fearful, paranoid and much like a strange child to his own helpless family. I watched when I was a young girl, as my great-grandmother faded to Alzheimer’s – it undoubtedly broke my great-grandfather’s heart and was the most traumatizing experience that he had ever lived through…I often think he wished he wouldn’t have.
Anyway, the empath in me was alive and well on Saturday; I hugged him, and sat with him, and talked with him for hours – let him talk about the living nightmare that he is currently undertaking in regard to watching his Dad slip away in mind and body. We ended up missing the main event fight altogether because he was obviously in greater need of talking to someone about his Dad. In a house full of his best friends that he’s known since first grade or earlier – I found it striking that it was ME he ended up in the garage with all day and night while none of them bothered to even inquire about his father’s status. I guess that’s just a guy thing, I don’t know. Either way, there we were together.

Mushy.

I’ve sat down so many times –

to write to you, to your heart –

to get through,

to tourniquet the bloody parts…

A curse of mine that you’ve come to

so well-define – in the dark,

a partner in crime

painted in timeless hue

fucked-from-the-start

in every lifetime…

But, I’m still blessed –

through a curse, every time

by my bond to you;

So when I try

to sit down and describe –

with any words

or piece of alter-ego art,

exactly what it is,

that’s happening inside of the wound

from which I pulled your dart…

The words do not come

in accordance to

any drawing or poem

or hardcore theme song –

and I’m always brought back

to the sentimental fact,

that you couldn’t have known,

but you’ve always known

everything, all along.

Empathy.

My Great-Grandmother Tannuea (who is full-blooded Shawnee) is the legendary storyteller of my mother’s family, and has always told me stories and lore that were a macabre mix of her own personal and epically divine inclination towards the “Mysteries”, and the blood and guts and gore of the American Yankee Spirit. She always spoke of Great Spirits that took on the form of animals and men and women, fish and birds and trees and rivers…she is the eldest member of our family, who has told every child in her far-extended family the most cherished and sought out tales to be told. I have blood relatives through this woman whose faces adorn Totems in places I’ve never even heard of, much less visited. Grandma T has bore and bred true greatness in her lifetime, though she would NEVER stake claim to this TRUTH. She has also bore and bred sheer Hell during her years alive, but would not be caught dead in allowing such a thought in her mind. She has the whitest hair I’ve ever seen; she always has, since I can remember. She smiles, and I swear to the Gods it seems as if everything else just evaporated around her – she holds strong energy, even at age whatever she is – she is ANCIENT. She is my GREAT Grandmother!!! She has outlived several generations of her offspring, another heartbreaking truth that she neither leans on or against in times upset. She is just present. Always, ever present, in the moment – alive.

I can tell you that not a single one of her stories was lost on me; I was typically either terrified to the point of tremors, or was intrigued by a thought she had tickled deep down in my cerebral cortex during one of the wild sagas she had us entertaining . I always had the feeling that my brothers weren’t listening; they were hearing the words…just not listening to the messages.

She demands alone time often, always has; she can meditate for hours on end, quite happily.
Sometimes, I would happen upon her during her quiet times when she “rests her mind”; she would be silently sitting: the picture of posture, humming her tunes into the air – with ever-replenished tears streaming down the deep lines in her taught, leathery cheeks.
“Who would make Grandma Tannuea cry like that? And why?”
Humankind makes her cry; because it is a damn shame.

Tannuea hails from the Ohio Shawnee clan that Tecumseh lived amongst and led in the late 1800s; she can recall a childhood full of discomfort and prejudice thrown at her after her tribe’s forced assimilation with the Cherokee Nation in the 1870s; she grew up in its wake. She is a stickler about kindness; I have a funny feeling it is because she was never shown much of it throughout her lifetime. For the young Tannuea who endured her own ‘trail of tears’ as a result of being a native-born tribeswoman during the formation of the present day United States of America, a life of hardship was embedded deeply and without awareness. Still, this woman SURVIVED, still survives to date – to be a solidly founded boulder for others: many, many others.
Because of my Great-Grandmother’s support and guidance, I was able to deliver a very healthy baby girl (Boo, 7 lbs. 13 oz. /19.5 inches tall) in 1997, under extreme duress. Because of the same soft-spoken woman’s wisdom, I was able to find the inner-gladiator that it took to testify in court against the father of that beautiful baby girl for his attempt on my life in 2002. She showed me how to be strong when I didn’t feel strong; even still after all these years, her very presence in a room with me naturally humbles me beyond words.
A human being, who has never seen kindness in the first person, yet knows the intricacies of it as if she created its very essence.
THAT is empathy.