All The Sad Men, revisited

His name was Daniel, but he answered to Dan. As in when his mom called out, “Just tell the man ‘no,’ Dan.” 

From my register I was asking him the same questions (those designed as blatant pleas to grab even more of your cash before you leave the store) that I ask everyone. I was doing so, both because we’re supposed to, and also because I didn’t want Dan to think that I saw him any differently than those customers that preceded him. Even though I did.

In fact, my interaction with him reminded me of a post that I wrote a little over two years ago now. A post remembered as I asked God to bless Dan and his family while they happily left my store. A post that I’d like to revisit here today…

She sat there, munching somewhat sloppily on her burger, occasionally spitting forth bits as she yelped out to no one in particular. And I sat there and stared. I felt bad that I was staring, but I wasn’t doing so out of rudeness. No, it was more like envy than superiority that I felt. It was more a case of “what if” than of “thank God not.” And here’s why.

Whenever I experience one living with severe special needs, I become somewhat immersed in what I imagine is their imprisonment. Their imprisonment in a world who wishes that they just weren’t around. Or at least, not quite so visible. But at the same time, I find myself jealous of their freedom. Freedom from this same world that ofttimes judges them in ignorance.

A world, mind you, that can be far more handicapped than they will ever be. A world filled with folk who care more about little dollar bills than they do each other. A world that places much more emphasis on the cut of the cloth than on the content of the character. In my very humble opinion, this world isn’t nearly good enough for people such as her. This world is a damned and empty shadow of what it could be, and I feel that we’ve all worked pretty hard at making it so. Or at the very least, sat back and simply allowed it happen.

So what of the poor girl-woman that suffered under my “not intentionally rude, but extremely rude nonetheless” stares? Why do I sometimes feel jealousy towards people like her? How could I be so crass as to make mention of the concept? Well, imprisoned as she appears, I would love to see the world through her eyes, just once. Just once to see if what I think to be true, actually is.

You see, I’m of the belief that her vision is much clearer than mine. I’m quite sure, in fact, that mine is muddled beyond the point of ever recognizing the Truth. A Truth that I believe she most likely sees quite naturally, and on a daily basis. A Truth that she may even long to share with the rest of us, if only we weren’t so ignorant to her language.

She sees the Truth, and I see only what I choose to see. And yet she is locked in the wheeled chair, while I roam free…

I suppose I should step back for a moment and let you know where my meanderings on the topic come from. I’ve no personal experience in my own family, but when I was young, I was forced (yes, I meant to say that – or at least did at the time) to volunteer at an institution that cared for people like my incidental lunch companion.

As my parents felt it was important to teach us about stewardship, part of their education to this end included a trip to a local long-term care center that managed the severest cases. As a young and unappreciative pisser, I recall hating the place when we first arrived. The stark white walls did nothing to conceal the smell of piss and medicine. The painted-over drop ceiling served more to rebound, than muffle the occasional non-sensical shout or yelp. The halls were clogged with wheel chairs, and in each sat an alien life form. A being so far removed from my knowledge of the world as to be almost comical, if only they didn’t frighten me so.

Being young, and being a pisser, and being there against my will, I decided that hatred would be my best response. Hatred towards these creatures. Hatred towards their needing my assistance. Hatred towards their being around at all. I did as I was told, but only just. How dare they make me? How dare they be here? How dare they exist?

And then, as happens so often in life, something happened. And that something was this. One of them began wailing. And not just a whimper or a sob, but an honest-to-Jesus moon-raising moan. One that would make you think that they were seeing Satan’s ghost himself. And for all I know, maybe they were. The wailing only made me feel uncomfortable. But to another, it provoked a different reaction. I can’t recall if it was an employee, a volunteer, a random passer-by, or maybe even an angel in disguise. But I do remember watching one soul walk deliberately up to the young wheelchair-entrapped wailer, and hugging them. Simply hugging them. The wails continued, but so did the hug. And eventually both were quietly put to rest. Both the hugger and the wailer were at peace. I stood there dumbfounded as the blinds were torn from my eyes, my little stupid pisser attitude backhanded to the floor.

I could physically feel myself growing up a little bit that day. One of the first of many times I’ve had the experience.

A little while later I was pushing along one of the more talkative residents who would speak and speak and speak, and occasionally even say something. At one point he looked me dead in the eye, and with no prompt or reason whatsoever, told me very lucidly the exact day it would start snowing and the exact amount – in quarter inches – that we would receive. I’m sure you already know by now that I’m going to tell you that he was exactly correct on both counts. EXACTLY. Dumb luck? Could’ve been. Dumb luck does seem to have a way of getting around. But I’d like to think that there’s something more to it.

In fact, I’d like to think that maybe – just maybe – there are certain people who are so spiritually in-tuned, so close to God, that they’re incapable of making themselves small enough as to deal with our little shambles of a “reality.” They’re exalted over the angels, but trapped on this mortal plain, and they simply can’t function at such a junior level. They need our help in this world, but only because we’ll need theirs in the next. We just don’t know it yet. They’re not “retarded,” we are. They are of a higher prominence, yet we sit smugly by and laugh at their superiority.

I know. It sounds a little too naive to be true. And that, in part, is why I wanted to jump into my lunch mate’s head. Just once I really would like to see if I’m right. Or if I’m an idiot. Or both. It’ll never happen of course. For one thing, we don’t live in a Disney movie, and switches of this nature just aren’t possible. But even if they were, I don’t feel that the swap would be a very fair one. For her, that is.

•••

I feel it’s important to note, I’m using this song today not in jest, but in respect.  I too, long for the day when all of us “sane men” are locked away, and we allow the “mad” ones to finally be free.

Happy Easter, kids.

 

The Whole Of The Moon

“If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression of something beautiful, but annihilating.”

~ Sylvia Plath

Image courtesy of Elenacaravela

Image courtesy of Elena Caravela

As it turns out, she did have lovers other than me.

Mhmm, but what is that to you?

Well, she’s blaming me for everything, for our demise.

Again, what is that to you?

Also, she’s making people choose between us…

As those types are apt to do anyway. May I ask, what is that to you?

Oh! And she’s inventing in her head a “me” that I never was!

As is her choice. But honestly, what is that to you?

But it’s a lie!

In part, yes. But I’ve still no idea, what is that to You?

I don’t know.

I… I don’t know.

Then let go.

She has made it clear she no longer wishes you to be written into her book, but that hardly means that your story is over. Dear, it’s only now just begun.

In the past you’ve only seen the crescent, as was your choice. But I have always seen the whole of the moon. So write! Write your story with abandon! With glee! With love, and with confidence! Write it with My pen, and with your voice.

I assure you, I’ve seen the end of your tale, and I AM pleased. I am proud of you. The you that you are, and the you that you will become. The you that you already ARE becoming. I take Joy in you, and I Love you.

But what of her?

She has made herself no longer your concern.

Forgive her.

She broke her promise.

As did you. Forgive her.

But it hurts!

Exactly. Forgive her.

I will shelter and Love her as I do you, and as I do your three, and as I do your tribe. The very tribe that surrounds and comforts you. The tribe that beckons you onto your Tomorrow. Listen to them.

OK.

I will.

So, it’s truly over then?

It is.

Please, tell me… will she be OK?

Her story is now hers and Mine alone. And as such Dear, what is that to you?

•••

“Forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

~ C.S. Lewis

My thanks to the talented Ms. Elena Caravela for once again allowing me to highjack one of her beautiful works for this post. And my deepest gratitude to my tribe – especially Beth, Marla, Keri, Cyndi, Shari, Stephanie and the Memolis – all of whom daily beckon me on towards Tomorrow while (whether they realize it or not) also keeping close to my heart the promise that He intoned above.

Chances…

This post will most likely suck. I apologize in advance.

I’m sitting here in my favorite skirt, struggling. Not with the skirt of course, but with the subject matter for this week’s Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday.

You see, today we are to sing The Song Spiritual, but the last two years have left me feeling anything but. I have seen the death of family, the death of friends, the death of beliefs, the death of dreams, the death of love and the death of a life I had struggled to build for seventeen years.

And then again, there’s that damned skirt. Sitting right in front of me, wrapped securely round me. That one stupid piece of fabric that reminds me too, of a life new. Of new beginnings and discoveries. Of the chance to finally be the person that I was always supposed to be – the person I’ve always been too fear-filled to be.

What does all this have to do with spirituality? Nothing I suppose. And everything. It’s a topic I could literally spend hours on, as it’s the only one that I think matters at the end. All love, desire and need grows from it. And no matter the God or not that you attribute it to, it resides in all of us. It IS us, as we are it.

“So then what songs make the queue, t?” Again, I’m struggling. They all should. Music is the language of the angels – it’s how we speak to the Spirit. Whether we scream or coo, raise our fist or gently caress, music is how we converse with the Divine. As such, and just for today, I will dig very deep and I will try to show you my spirit in song. The spirit of who I thought I was, who I wanted to be…

The spirit of whom I struggle with being right now…

And the spirit of whom I hope I might someday still be.

•••

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Again, I apologize for the high probability of this post sucking, and as I see that I’ve left you all in a slump of sorts, all mopey-eyed and possibly-despondent, I will provide you with this for your bonus track. It’s the me that sometimes exists, after I’ve walked my Pride & Joys back to their mother’s for the night, and I’m left to my own dancing devices, alone again with only that damned piece of fabric wrapped round my waist, and my personal conversation to be had with the Divine…

Trifecta 99: Trifecta 1st attempt

Bacall would’ve been proud, Gabriella thought, while wiping the make-up muddled blood from her lip.

Hell, Gabriella was proud, but not because she’d gone down swinging; and definitely not because they decided to kick the “fag outta him,” in the first.

No, she was proud because with every return blow dealt, she felt her conviction rising – her belief in her true nature, becoming real.

She knew now who she was. She believed in whom that person would someday be.

As Gabe gazed into the mirror, Gabriella smirked back at him, filled with newfound life.

Yeah… Bacall would’ve been proud.

•••

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This is my unintended return to the land of Blogsville, and my first-ever attempt at banging out a couple of words (99 to be exact) for kids over at the Trifecta Writing Challenge. Having no intention of doing so, when I saw that the word “Bacall” was available for use as a prompt, I decided to finally swallow my fears and jump onboard with the continuation of my little tale of GabriellaHaving a shot at the $99 Gift Card didn’t hurt either, but this blog is ALL ABOUT THE ART, people…!

I hope you click through the Gabriella link to read the previous installment, I hope you join in the challenge yourselves, and as always, I do hope you enjoy.

Seminally yours…

According to my dictionary widget, “Seminal” means “(of a work, event, moment, or figure) strongly influencing later developments.” Now, I’ve no idea where I came up with that word when suggesting to Jen the Twisted Mix-Tap Tuesday prompt for this week, but… Oh wait, actually I do. I heard it way back when, during the days when I used to listen desperately to the radio, in the hopes of finding through it a new life. I heard it from DJ’s who were hell-bent on impressing their audience with the use of big words. An audience, mind you, that wouldn’t recognize a big word even if it jumped out of the dictionary and gave them a right-good drubbing. But we didn’t care, the words sounded cool anyway, and provided us fodder to name all of the imaginary bands to come that never quite did.

But I digress. Or as my college professor recently said, “I regress.”

Seriously.

Anywho, below you’ll find (5) lil’ ditties that made me who I am today – or in other words – had I never heard these, I would most likely be happily married, successful, and sitting around combing my pounds and pounds of luxurious hair while sampling a steak right now, instead of writing this post late at night while shoving chips and vodka into my soup cooler instead.

But alas, I did hear these songs. And as a result – well, much like the ghost in the machine – “‘ere I am, Jack…”

Too cliché to start off with? Maybe, but this truly was the song that first got me off my duffless duff, and on my way. Or at least it alerted me that it could be done – some sort of Grand Journey – once and if the good Lord allowed me to hit the golden age of 18. This song had so much impact in fact, that it was the first and only one I considered using to start off my musical autobiography with…

OK, I had no real idea what this song was about at the time, but to me it meant (2) things – 1) I would forever more see myself as much more of a Punk than a Head, and 2) I now knew that there were others who longed like I did. There were others who held themselves to standards normally frowned upon by the “popular.” There was – at long last – the possibility of tribe at least somewhere out there…

And it was Tribe that I would find. Tribe that I thought I would never lose. Even though I eventually did. At least for a spell…

Fast forward quite a number of years, and we can find a troy who is now a father, a husband, a self-perceived failure and a man on the edge of a breakdown. A breakdown I eventually muscled through (and to a certain extent, still am) all by my lonesome, or so I thought. Leave it to the boys of Therapy? to come to my aid in embracing that particular darkness…

And leave it to the boys of Pearl Jam – plus an unexpected groundswell of previously forgotten and new tribe, all of whom came rushing to my salvation – to pull me back out. Much like the rubber band that has been my life, there is Someone Up There who seemingly likes me, and that Someone never allows me to stick around in the gloomy spaces for too long, before “snapping” me back into The Real.

And yes, that brings us to your bonus track for this week…

This track, while seemingly a counter-balance to the cliché that started this post, is not. No, this song has been with me throughout my journey. Spurring me on to cross every bridge that has snuck up upon me along the way. That’s what life is after all, right? A series of bridges that we can either cross or not. Regardless of our choice, isn’t it nice to have a song in your heart to help you along on your travels? All the better still, if they’re musical milestones that will guide along your way…

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•••

PS: As life doesn’t stop when our generational interest in music does, this bonus-bonus track is brought to you by an old man who refuses to totally give up, and one of his dearest friends, who said that this makes her think of him. My incoming New Life is now coming up on a rough patch wherein there is much to do, and little time with which to do it in. As such, I apologize if I’m not around here as often as I would like, kids. My hope is that until we hook up again, you will all stay…