31 July 2016

Approaching the Tipping Point

I am losing sleep. And chain smoking. And crying a lot. 

I am (as of two days ago) committed to taking my vitamins more consistently. 

I must have coffee in the morning.  Two cups is standard quota now -- up from the usual single cup.

I am finding succor in a virtual world among people I have never met. 

I am holding my tongue and filtering the audience that can hear me when I break silence.

There must be a word to describe the experience of a heart breaking and a brain exploding at the same time.

I watched portions of the Republican National Convention, sitting at a counter in my kitchen. Not surprised that their message of "everything is horribly wrong and it's Their fault -- not ours and our guy is gonna beat them up for us" has an appeal but pained to see the numbers, just how many humans have no trouble, suffer no incapacitating cognitive dissonance while standing under the "liberty and justice for all flag" while spewing hatred.  Some of them even call me "friend."

I watched portions of the Democratic National Convention, sitting at a counter in my kitchen. From time to time I wished I was in Philadelphia. I have not been a registered Democrat for many years but lots of Independents showed up in Philly, too, and I sighed with longing as I watched them marching and chanting and sitting-in.

I struggle to reconcile the hopeful enthusiastic fervor of HRC supporters inside the Wells Fargo Center with the hopeful enthusiastic fervor of Sanders/Stein supporters outside and inside the Wells Fargo Center. I note the frustration and animosity of both groups toward the other, struggle to understand what any or all of this has to do with me, to ascertain where, if anywhere at all, my place is in the tumult. 

The struggle is familiar. Feels like a life-long struggle. The context this time is national politics, a presidential campaign but I know about suppressing personal desire and revamping principles and breathing through delayed gratification and seeking a mature serenity with a making-the-best-of-It compromise, glimpsing a shining city on a hill while slogging through a decimated ghetto full of frightened, disheartened people, all of us in shackles.

And I know my life nears its end. And I wonder will there come a day when I can/will simply stand up and walk toward the city on the hill?  Find the courage to press on, this time toward the Light and only the Light? 

I am likely guilty of the naivete, selfishness, and delusional thinking that some accuse me of. I am not appreciating the magnitude of the danger we face, they tell me. A danger whose devastating potential outweighs whatever truth and beauty I imagine I see on the shining hill. A danger that will make current deprivations look like paradise by comparison.

I am so tired, so aware of my mortality, so aware that time is running out. Something in me is screaming "Enough is enough. No more. The time has come." 

Whatever the particulars of its presentation, the struggle is sometimes like a choice between slow death by torture with nothing to wear or eat and slow death by torture with clothing inadequate to the weather and a steady diet of toxic food. It's a hard choice, right?  

I am told repeatedly that abstaining from either option, choosing a third way that lies along the path to the city on the hill, is foolish, for just around that curve up ahead I will learn that this road actually leads to one of the other two options. 

In the fantasy, somehow I die on the road. Maybe before the curve or maybe just as I enter it. 

14 July 2016

The Long Haul

I was yanked from sleep this morning by what felt like every cell in my body (and the equivalent of every cell in my soul) taking a deep breath and shouting with a determination to be heard at the furthest corners of the Universe. "We are ready!" I felt strong and determined and ready for a slog through Hell.

As a teen and a young woman I wondered why my mother didn't love me. Now and then, my mother and I would have an especially painful (for me) exchange. Seeking comfort (or something) from a relative or friend of the family, I'd hear "She loves you. She just doesn't know how to show it." This never comforted me. Not once.

And I didn't believe it. Any more than I believed "You can be anything you want to be" or "Good things come to those who wait" or "Everything happens for a reason." How could I believe? Real life experience was telling me that she did not love me. The people I consulted didn't want to believe that such a thing could happen, that a mother could not love her child.

In the early days of Donald Trump's candidacy for President of the United States, he made outrageous statements. He lied. He was rude. He was mean. He was stupid. People said "He won't last. He'll be gone before the first primary election." They didn't want to believe that such blatant bigotry and incompetence would appeal to the "good people of this country" (the assumption being that "people are basically good." Add that one to the list of platitudes in the previous paragraph.)

As time went on, real life experience delivered a different message. Blatant bigotry and incompetence appealed to a great many people.

"Well, he'll never be nominated," they said as Trump's march through the primary season began.

"Well, he'll never be elected," "they" are saying now. People from a variety of political persuasions don't want to believe that a man of such blatant bigotry and incompetence could be elected and hold the highest office in the "greatest nation on earth."

A few months ago a big brown envelope was delivered to me via USPS. It contained the Amended Final Settlement of my deceased mother's estate. She died on Valentine's Day 2012.  My name does not appear anywhere in the document, only on the address label affixed to the envelope.  As far as my mother was concerned, as indicated in her Final Will and Testament, I did not exist. The document acknowledges the existence of my son but not me.

She did not know how to show her love for me (if she had any) but she did know how to show an enduring disregard. As the recipient of this disregard, I must say it feels a lot like not being loved.

And I've survived it. For the last 30 years of her life, my mother refused to speak to me, to answer or return phone calls or acknowledge cards and letters. It hurt -- hurts still on certain days -- and I survived it.

There is a strong possibility that some day in the not-too-distant future, Barack and Michelle Obama will give Donald and Melania Trump a tour of the White House. The Obamas will not be happy about it but they will survive it.

I don't want to see Donald Trump elected. I hope he isn't. If he is, the consensus in the entirety of my sensorium is that I will survive it.