“All human wisdom is summed up in two words; wait and hope.”
“Extreme hopes are born from extreme misery.”
“Beware how you take away hope from another human being.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
“The Wise are silent, the Foolish speak, and the children are, thus, led astray.”
“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words. “
~Philip K. Dick
“If you don’t give education to people, it is easy to manipulate them.”
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.
(Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg)
A loveless life is a living death.
~ Old English Proverb
What good is honor when you’re starving?
~ Yiddish Proverb
The heaviest weight in the world is an empty pocket.
~ Jewish Proverb
Pleasures are transient, honors are immortal.
~ Greek Proverb
“A crust in comfort is better than a feast in fear.” …
“All of us, the great and the little have need of each other.” …
“One who steals has no right to complain if he is robbed.” …
“Fine feathers don’t make fine birds.” …
Aesop (or the legend of such a man) has survived for centuries without a shred of real evidence regarding his actual life. Nobody knows anything about Aesop to be fact; mainly what we continue to carry of this legacy is nothing more than word of mouth, handed down for generations. (In itself, this is amazing!)
I feel strange quoting someone who may not have even existed, but the words are there despite any argument surrounding Aesop, himself.
He was supposedly a hideously ugly slave who could not even speak upon the beginning of his becoming a fabulist. He was given the gift of storytelling from a priestess of Isis, after doing a nice deed for her out of kindness. Apparently, there was no stopping him after that, and the rest is history. Either way, the wisdom attributed to him are profound and worth passing on, in my opinion.
“In this poor body, composed of one hundred bones and nine openings, is something called spirit; a flimsy curtain swept this way and that by the slightest breeze. It is spirit, such as it is, which led me to poetry, at first little more than a pastime, then the full business of my life. There have been times when my spirit, so dejected, almost gave up the quest, other times when it was proud, triumphant. So it has been from the very start, never finding peace with itself, always doubting the worth of what it makes.”
This is a post with a certain someone in mind and at heart; but Basho pretty much sums up the lifelong inner-boxing match endured by all poets and writers…as a matter of fact, it describes anybody’s struggle with SELF.
“These are the four abuses: desire to succeed in order to make oneself famous; taking credit for the labors of others; refusal to correct one’s errors despite advice; refusal to change one’s ideas despite warnings.”
“Abuse a man unjustly, and you will make friends for him.”
~ Edgar Howe
“Every abuse ought to be reformed, unless the reform is more dangerous than the abuse itself.”
“What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your tongue.”
~ Yiddish Proverb
I have written in the past about my strange affinity to Jews…I am still somewhat unclear where it came from or how it got inside of my heart and soul so deeply when I was still so young: this painful understanding and relativity I feel for them all throughout time. The Jews have been the “kicking post” for our entire species since there was such a concept; they have endured struggles and strife that few other cultures can appreciate, and in ways – still do, sadly. Several of the best friends that the Gods have blessed my existence with are Jewish, and as a result, I have had the ongoing opportunity to learn the essence of Judaism fairly up close and personally. The world would be lost without this particular ancient string of goodness.
Friendship is something that each and every one of us takes for granted; it is a fickle element in Life that we each find ourselves loathing and loving at some point and another…
Friendship is, in actuality, one of the most precious commodities in the world, when it’s real and true.
Today, I awoke feeling full of gratitude for my real and true friend in the world, so today’s proverbs are with Sam in mind.
“Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.”
~ Swedish Proverb
“You may forget with whom you laughed, but you will never forget with whom you wept.”
~ Saudi Proverb
“We are friends; we must assist each other to bear our burdens.”
~ Osage Proverb (Native American)
“A friend’s eye is a good mirror.”
~ English Proverb
“With true friends . . . even water drunk together is sweet enough.”
~ Chinese Proverb
“The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good.”
~ Abraham Lincoln (16th US President)
“Honest Abe” was a very insightful and intelligent human being, and I believe him to be one of the few “good ones” in a long line of US Presidents. I am cheating in the spirit of the 4th of July and using a more modern-era proverb for this one
This one is technically NOT an “ancient” proverb, but a very wise quote from a very wise soul (who happened to be one of our country’s most enigmatic and beloved men, if you’re American, that is);
this particular statement of Lincoln’s has always struck a deep chord within me to read because of the profound implications attached to it, given the context and culture it was born of: a civil war that killed Americans on an unprecedented and unforeseen level…it resonates with me.
“A knife wound heals; a wound caused by words never can.”
~ Turkish Proverb
The Turks are another ancient culture that have managed to persevere throughout a long, long timeline of various disasters – both natural and otherwise. They have sprinkled ancient wisdom throughout the the cultures across the globe as well. And, they are one of the most eloquently spoken and written civilizations throughout history…something to be said about that much, for sure.
“With all things and in all things, we are relatives.”
~ Arapaho Proverb (Native American)
I chose today’s proverb simply because it chose to grab me when I came across it in a book about Colonial times in the US. I know I am not the only one who has noted the trends amongst native leaders during those times to urge unity and humanity in the face of life-altering impositions and strife; and the above quote is just another example of the tribal tendency to relate with a stranger who is fundamentally different.
“Where the cattle stand together, the lion lies down hungry.” ~ African Proverb
Again, when it comes to the rich and extremely diverse history attached to Africa, it’s almost impossible to narrow this down to any particular focal point. Nelson Mandela was a true inspiration, but we all know about him already. I am going to go with the rich and extremely intriguing story of the Queen of Sheba, instead.
I choose this woman not just because she was the Queen who had a weekender with King Solomon in Ancient Jerusalem before going home; although her status in ancient times suggests that she was a force to be reckoned with. However, the most amazing part about the legacy left behind so long ago is the Kebra Nagast, or The Glory of the Kings: a fourteenth century saga detailing the origins of the Solomonic line of the Emperors of Ethiopia.
This saga illustrates the legendary relocation of the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia, where it is said to remain to date in a tiny building under sacred guard, and is very, very historically accurate and quite possibly: a very TRUE account.
“Countless are the true words spoken or written in jest.”
~ Old English Proverb
Hmmmmm…what to highlight when it comes to Medieval England? (Not quite “ancient”, I do understand – but close enough…)
England has such a rich and detailed history that it’s difficult to even choose a topic or person to put into this post’s supportive content. For fuck’s sake though, I will choose Bede, “The Father of English History”; and one of the most celebrated scholars and writers of his time (a time that was savagely littered with strife and despair).
“Even the hand of compassion is stung when it strokes a scorpion.”
~ Persian Proverb
One of my very favorite dudes from ancient history would most definitely be Cyrus II, the first Achaemenian King of the Persian Empire AKA “Cyrus the Great”. The story of one the most advanced and lucrative civilizations from ancient history began with him in 559 BC; and his dynasty stayed in control for over 200 years after his death.
“Who takes the child by the hand takes her mother by the heart.”
~ German Proverb
“The discovery of a true friend is the discovery of a treasure.”
– Macedonian Proverb
Alexander “the Great” was born in Macedonia; after his death on the road far from Egypt, one of his top generals (and someone he considered a good friend), Ptolemy I Soter (yes, the originator of Cleopatra IIV’s bloodline), stole his mummified remains and took them to Egypt in order to seal his destiny with the Egyptian people. Hence, creating his own place among the beginning of a dynasty of future Pharaohs. I thought this little side note would be rather fitting to today’s ancient proverb regarding “friends” – a proverb passed down from the very same people that would steal the dead body of the other in order to ensure himself a very good Life. What a friend!
Anyway, this post is with my own bestie in mind, a reminder that she and I are indeed: pirate’s…but quite wealthy pirate’s when it comes to the treasure of ‘friendship’.
“Our last garment is sewn pocketless.” – Roman Proverb
Personally, I am not a huge fan of most famous Romans from the the history books, Julius Caesar and his so-called “civilized” goons, in particular…but every once in a while, I come across a little morsel of goodness in written form from that era. Today’s proverb is one of those old sayings that gives the reader pause to think about its meaning, which is why I have always loved it.
“It’s no shame to look into the warm sun and regret a lost limb.”
~ Norwegian Proverb
This particular proverb has become a favorite of mine since my own traumatic injury and recovery began; it’s a fine way of reminding someone that we gotta take Life how it comes to us, and run with it – no matter what we’ve lost along the way. We are going to lose, and we are going to be without things we would rather have…but that makes Life no less of a gift.
It’s not enough to know how to ride — you must also know how to fall.
~ Mexican Proverb
My stepfather is from Guanajuato City, Guanajuato, Mexico. This is a historic Mexican site for several reasons but most notably would be
- the 111 human mummies that are on display in a building next to the ancient, sprawling cemetery; and
- the revolutionary history associated with the building called the Alhondiga de Ganaditas (an old town granary), on which an insurrectionist head was hung at each corner following an uprising.
His hometown is a beautiful place, but, unfortunately it is one of the only places in Mexico that I have traveled to so far.
“A man can never be caught in places that he does not visit.”
– Danish Proverb
My Papa was born and partially raised on the Danish Archipelago, fishing the coast of Bornholm in Denmark before his parents sent him to the united states due to the rising sense of general unrest that began with the occupation of Nazi Germany in the years leading up to WWII. After being emigrated here, my Papa became a military pilot and flew for the US during the war. I have written before about how wise and wonderful of a man and human being he was; and I have a feeling that might have had a lot to do with his early upbringing and environment.
“All who have died were created equal.”
The Shawnee are another one of the oldest and most well established Native tribes in the US; it is also my own tribe. The Shawnee have rooted themselves deeply, along with other tribes (such as the Iroquois) all along the ranges of our continent, all the way up to Inuit territory near Alaska. They were widely forced to assimilate with the Cherokee Nation during the colonial days of settlement and widespread disease out of a sheer desperation to survive as a tribe. Tecumseh was a historically recognized Shawnee Native leader of the tribes during times of severe unrest and civil war.
“Upon suffering beyond suffering the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world; a world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations; a world longing for light again.” – Crazy Horse, Oglala
The Oglala Lakota people are collectively interchangeable with the descendants of the one of the worst National Memories belonging to the US: Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home to the National Memorial Site of the notorious massacre of over 250 Lakota, at Wounded Knee Creek in 1890. They represent a long history of violated treaties and broken promises on the part of US government. In 1980, after the longest-running court case in US history, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Black Hills territory, land sacred to the Lakota, had been seized illegally after gold was discovered there in 1874. The court awarded a compensation payment of US$ 106 million, but the tribe refused the money and demanded return of the lands, instead. This is a tribe that has endured against the most tremendous of odds throughout history, and one that I deeply respect and admire as a whole.
“You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.” –Navajo Proverb
The Navajo, or Naabeehó
This tribal population likely makes up the most diverse tribe in modern day US; they originally hail from the Southwestern United States, and are the largest federally recognized tribe of the United States of America (with over 300,000 enrolled members).
“Man’s law changes with his understanding of man.
Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same.”
The name of the tribe, Apsáalooke [ə̀ˈpsáːɾòːɡè], meaning “children of the large-beaked bird”, was given to them by the Hidatsa, a neighboring Siouan tribe; they became known in English as ‘the Crow’.
Other tribes also refer to the Apsáalooke as “crow” or “raven” in their own languages as well.
One thing that has always stuck with me about the Crow is something I saw when I was very small and could barely read: an account by a Crow Warrior about his home and homeland. He wrote something along the lines of:
“The Creator put my people right where it is most perfect for us to be…protected by mountains and hidden by valleys. When someone is here, all is well; but if you travel out of my home in any direction, trouble will find you.”
Hold on to what is good,
even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
even if it’s easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
even if someday I’ll be gone away from you.
(Excerpted from a Pueblo Prayer)
The Ancestral Puebloans are said to be the oldest Native Americans known to date; their technologically advanced civilization (i.e. canals, rivers and roadways) were able to miraculously thrive in the deserts of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado during the “Early Basketmaker II Era”. They are also historically referred to as the Anasazi (a derogatory Navajo Term meaning ‘ancient enemy’) .
My Papa Joe, as I have conveyed in previous posts, was a very exceptionally wise and wondrous human being; I still feel extremely blessed to have been born into his family, and have always considered the fact that I was to be a gift from the Gods. I say these things for a few reasons:
1) Had Papa Joe been absent from the scene of childhood days, the ever-heeded voice of reason would have been missing, as well;
2) Papa Joe was my lifetime’s most consistent and long-standing teacher and leader, even out-lasting my own father in Life to continue to impart his things on my being;
3) My grandfather was so much more than just the stiff-lipped, strange smelling, old dude that you had to visit begrudgingly as a child – he and I were friends – always, since my earliest memories of his presence, were we close because he not only heard me when I spoke: he listened.
Papa Joe introduced poetry to me as a very little kid; he used to read to me daily no matter what; he encouraged me to create my own stories and song lyrics – and would patiently and attentively listen to my finished products, without fail. He is embedded into the core of my first recollections and remains throughout my entire life through the age of twenty-one. When I say that I hung out with him regularly until the day he died, I am not exaggerating at all: he was literally one of my very favorite people to spend my time with; he never got old or boring. Papa Joe hardly ever told the same story twice unless he was asked to, he was very intelligent as well as deeply spiritual and magickal. He was a WWII pilot and POW, he was the father of four sons and the loving husband to a superbly insane, sawed-off and dangerous Norwegian Sami (my paternal grandma, Lisbett) for half a century. He was a Rosicrucian, a Mason, and a self-taught Egyptologist. He was an avid reader and wrote as well; he was a die-hard lover of ancient lore and craft.
One of his favorite books to reads to me was Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, a solid bond between he and I that led to the collectively used nickname he went by of “CHIANG”. I would go to him with a “secret loose tooth” that I hadn’t told any of my older set of brothers about because they were brutal string-to-door-knobbers; he would reach in my mouth and wiggle it gently and grunt and huff and puff under his breath with a vanilla pipe ember-red stuffed in his teeth, eventually declaring quietly that it wasn’t quite time yet to try to pull the loose tooth.
“Come up on my lap and let’s read some Richard Bach, instead of me pulling your tooth, eh?”
His eyes would wrinkle with the tops of his cheeks when he smiles, and he smiled at me often, I recall. It was always at least ten minutes before I would taste the blood or try and wiggle my loose tooth with my tongue only to find a tender hole where it had been when I showed him. I fell for this over and over – likely every tooth that I lost as a child was taken safely from my mouth in this exact fashion – by my Papa Joe. He was something else.
“I have your answer.” he says through the satellites;
The answer – to a question…that I asked him tonight;
A tickle to his Wizard brain –
A thought, one driving me insane;
He is the winner playing on this field;
He breaks the records, he owns the game;
of my bullheaded difficulty, against his grain.
“Look inside of You.” And his words ring true – to my bones;
“This is me, is this you?” heartache gone…Let’s go home;
A tickle to my inner-ear –
A touch, a truth, I long to hear;
His are the hands that carry gently,
my evidently beating heart, he knows my name;
he holds the stones and feathers of the home from which I came.
“There’s nothing broken about you.” He’s all business in his tone;
Over and over and over…until the message starts hitting home.
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.
““So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion;respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,even a stranger, when in a lonely place.Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” ”
“A twig breaks, but a bundle holds strong.”
“When the legends die, the dreams end…there is no more greatness.”
-Tecumseh, Shawnee Leader
“The instant that we drop the Hope, we lose everything we ever could have been.”
Despite the “unapproachability” that I so openly tease the Orphan about on a regular basis, he continues to be socially accosted by some of the most pond-scummiest of creatures imaginable so far, in his evolutionary adventures as a born-again Red Triangle Surfer God.
- The Orphan is a strange combination of “Foreign” = the Orphan interacts socially in a different manner than that which Americans (especially West Coast Surfer Boys/OGSC’s) are at all prepared for, much less have any clue how to respond to, in most cases.
- It’s actually pretty fuckin’ funny to watch from a safe distance most of the time…shame on me.
- The Orphan does Him, and tends not to worry about what anyone is doing until whatever they’re doing starts to impede on his own gig = he’s 9 times out of 10 NOT the one to initiate conversation with a stranger (I imagine he was this way always, even in his most familiar of environments). He keeps to himself unless a nerve gets pinched.
- The Orphan is, just like Yours Truly, allergic to BULLSHIT = don’t talk in front of him if you’re full of shit because he will sniff you out in an nano-second and expose you until you disappear.
A BELOVEDLY TRUE STORY:
He is sitting out past the breakers in the solitude of a favorite beach break of his, enjoying the peace and quiet away from the trendy tourist beaches that have become UN-FUN due to so many idiot vacationers. Suddenly, he is startled by a raspy voice behind him somewhere close by and he whips his head around to see a washed-up, rode hard, dirty Surf Bum paddling up to his position in the lineup.
His eye rolling doesn’t deter the man from sliding in next to him as he waits for a good ride and begins to talk to the Orphan openly about his problems.
“I feel like shit, Man…haven’t had a drink in over 48 hours…trying to quit, ya know?…
The Orphan just stares straight ahead but gives a nod of acknowledgment because he is, unfortunately for him at this very moment in the story, a Human Being.
“Just gotta stop drinking, Man…” no waves to ride in come, so the Orphan listens on, somehow intrigued by the train wreck of a surfer.
The older guy is obviously distraught and in a state of disarray as he tells the Orphan about a “fight” with his “Ol’ Lady” a few nights prior, and having had to leave the house afterward so as not to be arrested when the police arrived.
“It’s all because women ya know?…they are so fragile …you can’t hit ‘em like you could, a man, ya know…? …so much frailer, so easy to really fuck up in fight…so I gotta stop that drinkin’, Man…”
After several minutes of collecting enough verbal information that the Orphan felt certain of his quickly forming opinion regarding a somewhat “touchy” subject, he responded to this miserably clueless, self-admitted woman beater in the way that ONLY the Orphan could.
He turned and made intentionally piercing eye-contact with the man on the board just 2 feet away from him and simply stated:
“Hey…Dude…. I mean, I think it has certainly occurred to you by now that maybe…..you don’t need to stop fighting with your lady because “she is fragile and frail”…”, his fingers are up to do the accompanying gesture of quotation marks, “maybe it’s just because you’re an alcoholic idiot who can’t control himself when he’s drunk – which sounds like it’s ALWAYS….”
The Orphans posture is straight and self-assured as he sits like statue waiting for a response of any kind that takes a while to come, surprisingly.
“Well…ya got a point there, don’t you Kid?”
As a survivor, I can say that the word “recovery” gets thrown around an awful lot in the medical community, be it in regard to surgery, mental instability and/or impairment, a plethora of varying ailments and illnesses, and of course – alcohol and illegal drug addiction; we hear the word used to describe our economic status from time to time; we hear “recovery” used as a term to describe what occurs during police raids and hostage situations – in the context of anything from tangible assets, to living, breathing human beings. We hear the word used mostly in a productive element, as opposed to a dark or terrifyingly surreal one; the sound of the word “recovery” evokes a sense of upward motion or a confirmation of something’s very existence.
For me, hearing the word so often created a void of meaning, in the human context, at least. I’ve met too many “recovered” individuals that give me nightmares to believe in the idea of “recovery” being a universal one; I’m very keen to the fact that my recovery might not look a god damned thing like the next guy’s form of it – I know from personal and painful experience also, that the next guy’s version of being “fully recovered” might only slightly resemble one of my own first stages of the notion of fully recovering.
DOES THE TYPE OF RECOVERY MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Granted, the basic concept of “recovery” can be stitched loosely and tie together many types of circumstances and people who would otherwise have NOTHING as a common thread; however, the struggles and challenges of recovery that define a person who is recovering from a tonsillectomy for example, as opposed to a person in the grips of a recovery surrounding something along the lines of say: a traumatic injury, a behavioral or mood disorder, or a recent round of Chemo-therapy, forge a line in the dirt between two separate parts of reality. There are vast differences in the goals and time-frames that represent the recovery process of a post-op maintenance knee surgery patient, in stark contrast to the goals and time-frames in question for someone that’s also in medical/psychological recovery, and continues to suffer from the additional challenges presented by ongoing manifestations of anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder – resultant of violently traumatic physical injury.
For example, let’s compare:
someone who is lying comfortably within the drug-induced haze of a post-op ward after a routinely performed surgical knee or back or shoulder repair procedure – one that had been scheduled by a specialist months ahead of time, having had plenty of associated information exchanged between healthcare providers and patient as a means of mentally preparing the patient as much as possible prior to surgery and, in turn, “recovery”. This patient will be detailed a strict rehabilitation schedule upon leaving the hospital, typically complete with a slew of exercise class and various physical rehabilitators that will ensure the complete and accurate recovery process.
someone who is in the drug-induced haze of a trauma ward or I.C.U. – post-op for an unknown length of time, enveloped by physical shock and acutely aware of the ease at which another individual is capable of harming her at will; unable to process the trauma that she has just endured and survived through somehow – unable to trust the safety that continues to be promised to her by the strange people she must depend upon to keep her alive from one long, pain filled day to the next. This patient does not know her surgeons, she does not know what they are performing the up close and very personal surgeries on her for, and this patient is confused, afraid and forlorn. There is no outline set forth for “recovery” upon the release of this patient from the hospital; she will be on her own to forge through the turbulence that awaits any victim of violent trauma.
The people along the way during the process will make an important difference in the overall outcome for each recovering patient, as well. Those with heart and humanity are the silent saints that have been scattered throughout the healthcare industry to somehow balance out the presence of those that represent the polar opposite of such kindness and compassion – and there are more than enough of that type.
For me, my experiences with “recovery” from the Ripper and my traumatic injury would have undoubtedly been defined much differently, had I not been pitied by the specific people who pitied me and in turn, offered me the gift of their attention. When I look back on the long and harrowing process of “recovery” from a near-fatal marriage that ended violently in a gore-fest that could have easily been ripped out of a low-budget horror film, and I recognize the alternate routes that it could have taken – based solely on the influences of outside stimuli that I was constantly exposed to during such a crucial time in my own physical, spiritual and psychological battle of “recovery”.
I am still far from fully “recovered” from my own experience fifteen years ago; it’s been a perpetually domino affected chain of events that have followed the day that I was finally released from the Hot House (the local ICU burn unit) – the day that I was technically deemed as being “recovered” and well enough to go “home”. Little did the prescribing doctors and specialists realize, I had no home anymore – and so the road to TRUE recovery likely began sometime around then, when I was faced with an overwhelmingly unwelcome reality that left me more or less speechless for months on end. Those days are the days that I consider to have been the bulkiest loads carried through my own recovery process so far – the days when I wasn’t sure what I was doing or why, just waking up and shuffling my feet for ten hours before falling back to sleep fitfully.
I had the blessing of motherhood back then; and somehow, I also had the ability, desire and presence of mind to appreciate such a gift – my only thing in the world that made sense and gave me purpose. Being a mom motivated me to carry on for something, it enabled me to escape my own world of confusion and the unknown; it healed me better than any of the days in the ICU ever could have healed me. I feel 110% certain that had I not had Boo and her existence to dive completely into like I did at the time of my “recovery”,
I wouldn’t have made it through the darkness and pain – I wouldn’t have even tried, I wouldn’t have wanted to.
Recovery has come and gone in varying fashion and multifaceted manifestations since the earliest days of my Cut-Throat Survivor’s birth; there are times when I feel so far from “recovered” that I laugh out loud at the prospect of considering myself a “survivor”; other days, I feel like I could mow down an entire task force with my saliva if I spit in that direction; it’s a relative to the current state of my own being, I suppose. I spent a lot of years in trying to fit into some type of “recovery” category or phase, to fall in line with some pre-defined step in a book of instructions on how to recover; I traveled into high and quiet places in attempt to clear my own mind and focus myself better; I’ve gone to prayer groups and spoken at huge seminars on domestic violence and chaired board meetings to outline legislative plans of action against child sexual assault. These things have each played a small part in my overall picture of “recovery”; but not one thing anywhere can ever be the solution in itself – for anyone.
RECOVERY is a path, a road to something better, whatever that might be for a given individual. RECOVERY is a haven for the souls lost to the torment of emotional shock; RECOVERY is a step in any direction when you haven’t been able to walk for a while; RECOVERY is the solution to the things that keep us lying awake at night, unable to rest our minds.
RECOVERY is yours, and it is mine – and it will NOT look the same on my plate as it does on yours.
And…that is okay…we can still digest the contents of it together.
- Never pass up the opportunity to sit shotgun for a joyride.
- Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to make you smile.
- When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
- When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
- Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
- Take naps and stretch before rising.
- Run, romp and play daily.
- Eat every meal with gusto and enthusiasm.
- Be loyal.
- Yawn often; it makes your mouth look capable of hurting someone – just in case.
- Never pretend to be something you’re not.
- If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
- When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and just “be”..
- Thrive on attention and let people rub you.
- Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
- On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.
- On cold days, sprawl out across the couch like it’s sport and you’re the Champion.
- When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body until it seems possible that you might lift-off.
- No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout…run right back and make friends.
- Delight in the simple joys of a long walk or a game of tag in the grass.