A Thanksgiving Message of Sorts

“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”

~ Edwin Louis Cole

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I take an overly ambitious bite of my piping hot fish sandwich before it hits me.

Swirling the overheated flesh hurriedly around my mouth, in a vain – and ultimately unsuccessful – effort to cool it off; I look around to make sure no one is witnessing my faux pas, when all of a sudden it strikes. The observation that within the central section of this particular Burger King, couples are seated on the hard plastic seats, with all of them smiling and carrying on, regardless of their backside’s discomfort or protest. Couples of all shapes, sizes and ages, mulching through their fast food while leisurely enjoying each other’s company. Scanning the perimeter, I then take notice that these couples are seemingly surrounded by people of a most decidedly “singular” nature.

People that are alone.

It strikes me odd that those who “have each other” are encircled – in a sort of “round-up the wagons, boys!” style I suppose – by those who do not. The couples touched by love are surrounded by the untouchables. Or the untouched, if you will. And of the untouched, I find myself to be one.

One with a slightly burnt roof, resulting from the aggressively nuked fish, of course.

I look again at these centralized people, and unlike other couples that I’ve seen before at other locales who simply stare through each other, sharing only the bill; each and every one of these love-duets seems to share a life. A hope, a joy, a smile, a whatever-you-wish-to-call-it, that you notice about them. The point is, they are sharing Who They Are with someone Who Cares To Know. We on the perimeter however, are simply sharing our silence as we stare blankly into our phone screens, hoping that the food will go down easily, and the time will pass swiftly.

I find myself a touch jealous of these couples, although they be seemingly trapped unawares by the untouched, during their hand-held fast food lovefest excursion. I mean, it’s my thing, right? To long for that which I thought I had (but maybe didn’t) and still, on occasion desire to have again (though I don’t really know if it even actually exists at this point, outside of dime store romance novels) in some form or fashion, and with the elusive “someone special,” in order to – I think? – set my heart at ease.

The idea… the thought, brings me to tears (again, it IS my thing after all), and I shove every last fucking bite of that damned fish sandwich, one crafted with far too little tartar and way too much iceberg lettuce mind you, into my cake-hole as I try to fill my belly and still get back to work on time.

I do, by the way, and afterwards my day simply goes on. And I go on. And the jealousy that I feel decreases none (well, OK, a little), and the aloneness that I feel stays at a similar-to exact level as well.

A sad story, right? Pathetic. But one that is not exactly true.

You see, my feeling of aloneness only hung about until I became distracted by the prospect of the movie I was going to see that evening with my friend (“The Day Of The Doctor” in 3D, if you must really know, and YES, it was totally worth the price of admission AND having to sit in the front row so that we could all be seated together), and I was distracted further still when other friends touched base simply to see how I was and/or to fill me in on how their days were going. Laughing along the way as one auto-correct took “for school” and mis-diligently translated it to “fur school” (a phrase which abounds with a plethora of definitions, as it turns out.)

But that’s not the point though. The point is that I realized in the course of my afternoon that I am about as “alone” as Jesus was, the time that He happened upon 5,000 spare loaves of bread.

And for that, I am thankful. I am enveloped (because “shrouded” sounded a little too cocky) with a net of love that would not even be possible to enjoy to its fullest, if I was still “coupled.” I am still untouched, that’s true. But in all honesty, I think that that’s OK for now, as I’m still what I would consider relationshipinal “damaged goods” anyway. And while I loathe the prospect of being like the one older gentlemen I saw on the perimeter – so angrily alone that even Death wouldn’t be seen with him – until such time as the “right one” comes along, should they ever, I think I’ll be just fine.

Better than fine, in fact. Thankful.

I’ll be thankful for the friendships I have and can now enjoy, and thankful for the friendships to come – including those of my soon-to be adult children, and those that might have never been possible without my new-found freedom. In short, I’ll be thankful for what I have been blessed with, instead of jealous of those who might have something different.

And the next time I partake in a piping hot fish sandwich, I’ll be especially thankful if I can just remember to let the damned thing cool down a bit first…

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Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

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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…

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…

Every day I write the book

Sometimes I think there are experiences we need to live, for whatever reasons. Lessons to learn, to grow in life.

So says Nelle.

I agree, and that’s the thing that kills me, especially when considering the fact that I don’t believe in predestination.

So say I.

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I really don’t believe in it. Predestination, that is. And yet, I do believe that there are certain experiences in ones life, that have to occur in order for that person to fully realize themselves (or at least have the opportunity to do so).

“So, how does that work then, t?” Well, I’ve given it a bit of thought actually, and I think (believe) that it all comes down to this.

Now first, a bit of a disclaimer: I read a lot of what my kids call “Jesus books.” “There’s daddy, reading another one of his ‘Jesus books’ again” they snidely say. Stupid kids, whatta they know anyway? But that’s not the point. The point is that what I have to say below is most likely just a simplified conglomeration of other people’s – smarter people’s – thoughts. And if what I say sounds brilliant or wise in any form or fashion, it’s quite accidental that it should be coming from my hand at all, and is much more likely just the result of a having a good memory.

OK, here goes – here is how I think it works.

Say I’m a blogger, which I am. Prior to you ever receiving the “magic” that flows from my slightly abused and underused mind, I have to write it all down. But before hitting “post” I – like all good bloggers I would assume – proofread that sucker, making any corrections that are needed first. Now, that’s not how I think it works yet, though.

No, then we move on to you, You read whatever I post, and if you’re like me, you sometimes go back through thinking to yourself, “Oh, he really should have elaborated on that bit more,” or, “I wish he hadn’t made mention of that at all,” or again “What in the devil is he even talking about, and why am I reading this dribble?” (Just so you know, I always assign you all with British accents whenever I imagine you talking like this.) In short, you – internally at least – edit my work. THAT is how I think it works. We write the story, but God reads it, and once done, goes back to tweak the narrative in ways that will provide us with the best possible outcome to the tale.

How is it that He could read a story that I’m only now just working on chapter 43 of myself? Easy. I am handcuffed by time. He is not. I am trapped in the trenches of life, while He sits above it. While I can only be exactly here and now, God can skim through my story at will, jumping ahead or back as desired (yeah, I’m pretty much stealing that whole idea just now from CS Lewis. Can’t remember which book exactly, but whichever one of his you happen to pick up, will be worth a read none the less).

So, in a nutshell, that’s how I think it works. We the writer, He the editor. We, the main character in our own story and – should we be very diligent in recognizing his edits – we the ones who get to learn, to grow in life, to enjoy the “happily everafters.”

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PS: Yes, I’m aware that the song above has very little to do with the actual post. It’s Elvis Costello – ima gonna use it anyway.