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It is still here, and I am still here. Sometimes, like these times, I get swept into a maelstrom of seemingly endless focused work hours and no sleep, and the last thing I feel like I can do is get on a computer when I finally set the work computer down for a two or three hour trifling doze of dreaming about work. Between overload and overtired, it almost took me down this time, to the depths, but MKL proved his wonderfulness again…when I called him, choice in hand, and said, “I need you to talk to me,” he didn’t ask what was wrong or why I needed this or what he should talk about. He just talked, about his day, about a phone call to his parents, about S3’s new car. Just talked. And listening to his deep, comforting, seductive voice talking about normal things that happen in lives when you have a normal amount of hours to live a life, made me choose to empty my hand and look forward to the prospect of holding his. It’s a strange thing, not living in the same house as a married couple (and yes, we’re working on it…we have a new plan.) We are not bound by the day-to-day battles over clean kitchen tables or piles of laundry or car parts, but we have made a point of identifying what our individual triggers are, and strategized on how to make it good for each of us. We’re being grown up about it. But now we are getting impatient, and more lonely for one another, and as sad as that sounds, it is a good thing. Adventures are in the offing, and I have so much to say. For now though, I may have half a day to breathe, and then back into the thick of the fray, so I thought I’d pop by to say hello. And bring you some flowers.
Quote of the day: “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” — Neil Gaiman (one of my favorite authors)
The golden hem of the sunset’s slip against the black mountain’s silhouette
Lights reflecting out of chrome and steel windows
My head on MKL’s shoulder
My boss reading me a poem an old campfire poem – “The Shooting of Dan McGrew”
My fuzzy moose robe that feels like a hug from my husband
A dinner of Merlot and a lavendar bath
Well, not exactly, but the blues are singing a song of me today, and kitties always seem to help, whether it is images on a screen, or the real thing sitting on my heart. Mr. Man does have a tendency to lay on whatever part of me isn’t feeling up to snuff. He’s a wise healing kitty. It was a lovely Thanksgiving, and I hope you all enjoyed it or at least kept family disputes to a minimum. I know it can be a tense time, especially this year.
For me now, we enter into a strange chrysalis-like phase that often lasts from after Thanksgiving until after the anniversary of my Mother’s passing. It will be ten years this year, and seems like yesterday sometimes. Two friends have lost a parent in the last week, and my heart goes out to them. It alters the character of the holidays when a loss is associated with days that the rest of the world associates with a certain celebration.
So for now, kitties.
Quote of the day: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” — Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
A lovely day
A lovely yesterday with MKL
A Downton Abbey marathon
A long talk with Kelsea
The East Simpson Coffee Shop
I believe that on the other side of the darkness of depression is beauty, like this tunnel to the sea. Depression is tricky. People can’t see it. I can hide it from myself, from MKL, from anyone who knows me well. I don’t do so to be disingenuous. It’s just that it’s my problem. Inside, I believe it’s boring and it’s shameful, and I don’t deserve to be depressed because my life is good and rich, and it’s just me being whiny. I mean after all, how many times have I written about it? That’s how depression works though. It tells you you’re not worth anything. It takes a lot to move through its tunnel. And I’m moving now, towards the beautiful piece of blue. Thank heavens, and let’s hope this forward motion lasts longer than a day or two.
Quote of the day: “You say you’re ‘depressed’ – all i see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.” — David Mitchell
A compromise position for Mr. Man
My first piece of art
That Trevor is okay
Silence has been both a friend and an enemy for me of late. I realized, after a day of blessings and a day of self-pity, that service is one of the keys to feeling more like myself. Nothing great, nothing spiritual, just small things that help others. It is what is at my core. It helps me find my fair winds and keep sailing.
Oak Island, North Carolina.
Quote of the day: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi
A beautiful warm day
Finding components of our dream house
The coyote standing in the middle of the dry field at sunset
Sun shining on wild sunflowers this late in fall
MKL’s and my girls’ support and love
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell, especially when depression shadows you, constantly grabbing for your hand to hold you back. Even when I know the things I need to do to come out from a bout, I sabotage myself by not doing them. Sigh.
Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Quote of the day: “When you’re lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.” — Elizabeth Gilbert
An empty drawer
Birds flying in formation
I have had a very, very blue day. One of those days when it feels like I will never, ever get ahead, and there’s no one who I can ask for help. Yes, a pity party. Since this is not my first pity party, I know that making others feel better makes me feel better. I know not to anticipate problems that may never materialize. I know that worrying and feeling sorry for yourself does no good. I know that I suck at reaching out to people when I’m low. I know that some people actually do love me and would be heartbroken if I was gone. I know that some of my friends are hurting over real tragedies much larger than my own – which makes empath me hurt with them. I know that we each live in our own life in our own skin in our own heart, and that comparing someone else’s suffering or troubles to your own, or to your own feelings, is pointless. You feel what you feel when you feel it. Period. I know from the wisdom of my Mother that we all do the best with what we have at the time., so don’t beat yourself up about the past. Just keep movng forward. I know that hugs are wonderful and I need more of them, and to get one, you give one, and since I can’t physically hug all of you, I will share this mural from Cozumel, as a virtual hug. I hope it makes me feel better, and I hope it makes you smile.
Quote of the day: “Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward
after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha.” — Robert Brault
Hugs from MKL
A Skype with my girls
Dogs asleep in the windows in the sun
How in an office I visited for a week in Puerto Rico, every morning everyone hugged each other
Salt water is good at hiding things, whether it’s tears on a soft cheek, or the white wings of a gull skimming along seafoam. I think that no matter how happy I find myself from day to day, sometimes demons and their lies from the past raise their heads when I am dabbling in the dangerous winter waves of depression.
Quote of the day: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” — Annie Lamott
Countdown to the sea
Those thousands of geese circling the dry fields
Stock show time with MKL
Dear and trusted friends
Maybe all I need is a little seawater, sand, coconut water, and time with MKL to cure what ails me.
Quote of the day: “That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.” — Elizabeth Wurtzel
Flocks of birds with white underwings
That the grass is still green by the Prairie Flour apartments
Remembering clothes from your childhood from out of nowhere
Sleeping with the window open
Today was one of those blue days when I just want to crawl into the spiral of a shell and stay there until my spirits lift. But that’s not the way life – or depression – works. On these days. sometimes, my mind wanders to things that made me bluer, and then I have to shift my perspective on those things to see the blessings inside them. They’re in there, just like a conch is nestled within the spirals of its shell.
Quote of the day: “For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space.” — Annie Kaufman
That my mother used to let me eat frozen peas in the summer when it was hot. They were so good and sweet, one at a time.
That I could afford to pay Kelsea’s first quarter college tuition today
The “golden hours” even when I don’t have my camera
The art collages on my bedroom walls
Watching “Catfish” with Kelsea – it’s her favorite show
Winter, particularly these two weeks, are very difficult for me. It seems especially hard this year. I am heavier than I have been. My depression is thick. My back hurts again. I am having a hard time remembering to be grateful for the wonderful things I have and that I’ve recently had an amazing trip to somewhere lovely and warm. And that in itself makes me sad.
When I trudged up the stairs from the bus station yesterday, as most I do most days, I came into Union Station (a story in itself). There are two remaining original benches in the new version of this place where I used to find such solace. On bad days, like yesterday, I try to lower my stress levels for a minute by sitting on one of these benches and just soaking in the spirits that still remain from thousands of travelers who passed through this building for over 100 years – including my own grandfather.
As I watched the light flooding through the high, round, window, a Cat Stevens song came on over the piped-in music. I think it was “Morning Has Broken”. I remember hearing that song when I was in the sunny front window of my first restaurant at 17. At that time, I knew where I wanted to go to college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew where I wanted to go. I was a little slip of a thing, a dancer. I was looking forward to my future, even though I couldn’t see what it was
There was a line in “Out of Africa”, one of my favorite movies, that says, “Perhaps God made the world round so we could not see too far down the road.”
I believe that.
I never thought I would be living in Denver, would have been here for over 30 years. That wasn’t in the plan when I stood in that sunny front window that afternoon. I wonder when I lost track of the plan? I wonder if I ever had a plan? MKL and I were talking about this the other day – how I have a hard time with creating a plan and sticking to it, especially when I have more than one thing to focus on. Together, he and I are building a plan, and that feels good. I never thought I’d be divorced, much less re-marrying. All of that makes me look forward to my future.
I watch my daughter planning her future – I think she’s better at it than I was, but then she’s more down-to-earth than I was. But I wonder, in twenty years, will she look back on being just 18, and having all these plans and dreams, and have achieved them? Or will she be like me, looking back and wondering, “What happened?”. If that’s the case, I hope she finds herself happy with where she is.
There’s that other saying that I love (credited to many) that “Life’s what happens when you’re making other plans.”
I believe that too.
So what’s the point of this ramble? I suppose it’s that when we are younger we cannot see our future, no matter how much we think we can or how optimistic we are. It’s great that we have that vision, but it’s a real challenge to make the vision a reality. I didn’t really understand that at 17. I do now. So that’s part of the point.
And the other part is that I am a gloomy otter and the eighth anniversary of my Mother’s death is next week.
I’ll find my light again. I promise.