Tag Archives: mental health

Free Spirit

I choke on plastic words creating packaged sentiments of empathy or condolence. Lies slither through cracks in the walls of closets and basements like smoke through an open window. Where do you live in a reality where nothing is real.

To know the truth but carry it buried in the pocket of a smoker wrapped in wolf’s bane for fear of it catching wind. For fear that the others will know and suddenly the scrim will melt away like embers in a moonlit breeze. What would we say, now naked and free, no cloaks to hide our intent. How would we continue without truth layered in embers, but blazing with glory in the dark of night.

These facades have taken on a life of their own trapping us within characters we no longer recognize, but can’t escape. Trapped, breathing though porous masks that suffocate a souls yearning to be free, dying to be released. Is death our only truth and birth no more than awakening to contrived realities dished out in plastic stages of development for the benefit of the play.

We fear nature for its truths. We hide in clothes, houses, and careers dreaming of freedom from it all. We dream of The freedom to be wild and human, compassionate and forgiving in a world without lies.

We fall to our knees looking up to a God who doesn’t recognize us because we hide beneath layers of decay for decades serving a different purpose. A faint pulse beats under a black heart starved of the blood and air nature demands. No one hears the rhythm or feels the life that screams to be judged.

I can no longer breathe the air that’s so polluted with purpose and intent I gag with each breath through constricted lungs. How can I free my soul to meet my spirit before the last breath leads me to a land promised by a bat wearing a doves feathers. I want to live before I die.

I want to overcome the clothes I’ve been given to wear as a child that fashioned my tunic for another mans dream. I want to overcome banners and parchments that hang on dilapidated walls and rusted poles. These shackled dreams of men kept me from wandering free where my God would show me mercy and resolve like Job and his ashes.

I have faith that though I was removed from God at birth I can feel His presence in the absence of the humanity I reside. Everything here is gray and steel, stale and stagnant like ponds of nuclear waste in a forest of deciduous trees permanently dormant. It’s the distant shrill of one lone cardinal that affirms my hope.

My banners are fabric, my honor is defined by laws, and my faith stands alone surrounded by lies. I am made to think. My places of worship have locks and flood lights illuminating signs with catchy slogans selling faith for tithes. It is in the wilderness where truth awaits, where God reveals his majesty, not within rooms decorated for posterity. A forest of mirrors reflecting man’s arrogance and contempt for God’s power and presence is just a step away.

So now I live outside myself. For my body may be imprisoned in this nightmare, but my mind is free to travel the earth searching for a handshake or a hug with the warmth of blood.

My hood drawn loose I walk narrow paths avoiding the noise and smoke from distant fires. My path is lit with the spirits of those gone before me. The spirits of men who walked alone with the weight of the world on their mind. I see with my heart and listen with my mind for signs of life, but the world is static and I was born robbed fluid.

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Angela

I’ll write till I die with a pen in my frozen fingers and never find the words to express how anguish pales in comparison for how I feel about missing your childhood.

It’s past sad into a realm where violence is emotion, not an action. I feel the lighting strike my soul at what we lost on my account. I’ve spent years thinking and erasing the futility of my pain, it’s selfish, but hopelessly true.

I have no right to your sadness or forgiveness. I fell aimlessly grasping at what could have been while I free fell through memories only I share. On the other side of the veil I screamed at smoke figures of impossibility.

I’ll always be stuck in that space with your memory. The images are no longer important, the feelings are what haunts me. Indiscriminately they strike like streaks of lighting across the ocean between us, and I wonder if you see, or even look anymore.

I know it’s just selfish pain looking for broken souls in the darkness of past storms. I know you’ve tasted the sunshine of life and I watch now from afar as you soar through darkness and light seeing sunshine and moonlight with the same joy; and then I wonder if your journey ever really included me. Maybe I was just part of the scenery along your path to a higher journey.

It’s here I understand the age old adage, “if you set something free…..”. You may never return, and if that path is too dark, I’ll continue to look for you in the light of day and night knowing I once held the most precious thing in the world, my child, and now she is free!

Modern Madness

Truth is real as reality is true
For those who enquire
Bidding ignorance adieu

To move along in the realm of subjection
Denying what is objective
Is a grammatical prison

So move past the post modern
Into a new reality that’s old
As the books you burn
Where truth is real and told

This ain’t no microdot mishap
With melting doors and walls
Oozing memories like sap.

It’s that one exception that gives you away
The one I have to ignore
To believe what you say

That’s the point of no return
For sanity and coherence
The truth of you
And a trail of ignorance

Parenting is Offensive

A few days ago I commented on a friends post about fatherhood. I am still getting noticed about folks commenting on his post. So yesterday I get a call from someone who’s wondering how to explain to their parents that they will not be continuing the traditions that brought them into the world. My simple answer was; Nothing offends folks more than your parenting style!.

I remember having a few “pet peeves” that made folks uncomfortable when raising my oldest three daughters. I always told them, “I’m not raising someone’s wife!” They participated in dance, but I chose classical ballet. They had uniforms and dresses, but didn’t wear jeans. They ate what I cooked and were never made to “clean their plate”! I heard all kinds of advice about how that was wrong and because of my military background I was too strict. I was amazed that folks thought my parenting techniques were a statement about their parenting choices.

I didn’t really care what others were doing. I was, and am, paying attention to each child and ensuring I do as little as possible to define who they become. I trust that we are inherently good and that they will respond in kind. I recently told someone that I know exactly what I want my oldest boy to be when he grows up from his current age of 9. He’ll be happy, that’s it.

It doesn’t take long after a child is born before friends and family begin to “put in their 2 cents” about what your child should be doing. He or she turns 1 and they should be walking. 2 Years old comes around and solid foods and no bottle. Potty chairs at 30 months, listening and responding perfectly, and A,B,C’s. It’s crazy. It’s like “terrible two’s” are a parental problem, not the child’s. Everyone wants to control your child for you and advise you how to do it. It doesn’t matter that you’ve raised 6 kids and they’ve raised one, there’s is older and special so their gonna enlighten you.

If your having your first child and looking for advice, don’t. Go with your instincts. Follow development charts and look for good examples. Have a prepared response for those folks that want to interfere in the child rearing of your child. I like the statement for overbearing parents: “My parenting choices are not a statement of how you chose to raise your child. You raised me the best you knew how and I love myself, and I’m sure my child will do the same.”

Our children are ours. They won’t grow up to be what anybody thinks except themselves. They ain’t gonna be babysat by a TV with inappropriate television. They’re not going to have relationships in elementary or middle school. They’re not gonna run around worrying more about what they look like than how they act. And they will not run around with phones as an extension of their security blanket. Believe it or not these few rules will offend half your friends and family.

In the end your family is yours to protect and love. Traditions are wonderful if they don’t define the child. Culture is wonderful as long as it doesn’t oppress who your child wants to be. Family is important as long as there isn’t some vicarious nightmare that stifles who your child will become.

Just remember everyone has an opinion and the intensity is off the chart when it comes to parenting. Have an empathetic response prepared so as not to create too much friction. Most importantly though, make a statement. Those are your children, and while the sentiment behind your advice is appreciated, I’m the parent and I will do what I think is best based on what is best for my child, and there are no negotiations.

Curse of the Babbling Friend

Sometimes I never find the right words. Stolid seems to wooden, stalwart to posthumous, nothing really fits. I ramble on through cob webbed memories of vocabulary searching for the thought that clears my mind, all in vain.

I know all the cliche’s about “blank slates” and canvasses; but good friends deserve better. I struggle intermittently with “the right thought” to convey something much bigger than you would require. Like a dog with fleas I pause every now and then and go at it like there’s no tomorrow; and damned if there ain’t.

Handshakes are easy. The customary hug with the extra squeeze is comforting. For me though, it’s never enough. I don’t make excuses. Reasons are often selfish explanations, and factors just explain excuses. So in the end I guess words don’t matter as much as the effort.

It’s funny how a phone call can be a bridge to “the next time”. It’s never enough and sentiments are easy when you pretend someone is near. It’s “sweet” of you to make the effort. Then there’s the silent caveat that lingers like a speech bubble in a cartoon, if only I took the time when we were together.

Things left unsaid aren’t alway good, or bad either. Most of us have things we don’t say. The bubble is always there, but everyone’s left to just feel the thoughts, rather than hear the words. Our judgement is clouded by the unknown responses or our own demons.

There is a way to say anything, that seems to be a gift most folks don’t have. I suffer from not being able to write it or say it at times; or maybe even worse, say it or write it the wrong way. It’s that one word that says it all correctly that eludes me until after I say or write the wrong thing that haunts me.

This is why I write, how I care. I can edit what’s on my page. What I say is etched in time. One wrong word in the right moment can’t be edited without intense drama.

It’s not always that dramatic, but it is always that important to me. Sometimes it’s simple things like forgetting a phone call or visit. These situations beg for the right sentiment, but only leave me looking forgetful or uncaring, of which I’m neither.

It seems in hindsight the right words aren’t important between friends. The other speech bubbles I never see are the ones that say “I’m caring” because I tried. I have excuses because I care. I have reasons because I want you to know; and all the factors together mean I want you to understand that you’re important.

Maybe this is where writing and I fall short. It’s the words, the bubbles, and the actions together that satisfy our soul. Love is the only word that conveys this triad of affirmation.

For me the right “word” is important. I don’t expect to hear it or see it, but I strive to write, say, or demonstrate it. I’ve fell short more times than I care to remember. I’ve been speechless in words, actions, and thought. I’ve regretted not having the right words, and having the right words at the wrong time. I never regret trying.

So if I’m speechless know I’m caring enough to think. Silence is a word and an action that conveys concern. It’s when I’m at my best unfortunately. It’s not that I don’t care or you’re not important. It’s that you are worth the right word that not even bubbles and hugs can explain.

Empathy

Surreality chokes the world with fear
While everyone fades to myst
And yesterday falls in a tear

Memories and fear share tomorrow
As if never is here
And joy cannot overcome sorrow

My self lies within crumpled dreams
As I rise to the reality
The words I spoke were a silent scream

Tears of the soul carry silent cries
Not heard or seen
By untrained eyes.

I feel the tears of a thousand souls
Carrying burdens and hope
And the the unbearable toll

Grief isn’t silent to those who listen
It screams through silent eyes
And tears that never glisten

So listen my friend to a story of old
Hardly ever heard, but often told
You can hear with your eyes
And see with your ears
If you listen with your heart
And embrace your own fears

Middle Ground

Denying God is a choice for some folks. This choice has many different factors, most of which are not evil. The roots of disbelief are varied and don’t have as much to do with Satan as they do with our psychology.

I’ll stay as far from the atheist vs theist movement as much as possible. These two groups, in my eyes, are the charismatic extremes of the normal everyday believer or non believer. While one labors to live today within an Old Testament reality the other spends an inordinate amount of time talking about the crusades. Neither of these two will help anyone.

I have learned that the middle road scenery is a more realistic journey. I have to stay focused on the path because life seems to push us to extremes. I’m not afraid of God or biology, and for me, it’s what we’re all made of.

At it’s purest form God seems to be the “thing” we question or celebrate every time something good or bad happens to us. After a series of unfortunate events we may question “Why me!” Maybe we hit a string of luck and feel fortunate that somehow it was our turn. Either way, luck, good or bad, assumes an external control.

The strange thing is that whether you believe or don’t, there’s a nagging “something” within the human condition that questions our place in the world. A believer who questions their faith during times of trial, or the non believer who rationalizes events in their life, both rely on something invisible to the average human condition of understanding. Both experience events beyond their understanding and question “why”.

I’m not making a case for or against believing or non belief. I’m simply pointing to the fact that we share this space of unknown consequence. We experience things beyond or control or understanding and attempt to fill it with faith or facts. When both of these fail it seems it’s just us. Somehow we are the unfortunate or fortunate ones.

This space is where the disagreement comes and folks have preyed (no pun intended) on probably forever in human history. It’s almost like I wish we could define for folks what it was like “pre-religious”. Like we do for pre-industrialization. From the accounts we have, it was a violent existence. I’m not saying religion saved the world , it seems it capitalized on humans ability to organize for collective survival. However, we are certainly better off as humans for exploring our spiritual side, it’s when it became a vocation we strayed.

Origins are the key. It’s from these points we can move foreword with coherence. We won’t change institutional religion in government, they’re mutually exclusive at this point, we’d have to eliminate both and that’s not gonna happen. We can enlighten folks on the history of our humanity so that they may exercise their spirituality more responsibly.

So whoever or whatever we fill that void with, we have to leave room for respect and honesty. When I say honesty I don’t mean facts, I mean feelings. I am in the middle between facts and feelings, not to be objective, although that helps, but I think the middle is the space where balance rules.

Hitting folks over the head with a Bible or Quran just makes folks numb. Just like throwing our a barrage of scientific facts to counter someone’s spiritual sensibilities shuts down dialog. Someone had to stand in the gap of reason.

Religion is not spirituality and science is not intelligence. It makes no sense that God would subjugate his creation, just as it makes no sense science would reject possibility. Between the two most of us live, and within the two we survive our own intellectual and spiritual ignorance. And this is life.