you are my Sunshine

the sun SOM

Hey, Sunshine–

I don’t know why you decided to pop up in disguise to my friend, but I’m glad you stopped by.

But can I say this now, with the confidence I never had when you were around:

Dude, you’re a fucking weirdo.

You must have known that I had been thinking about you–although just in passing…while I was waded in the murky marshes of Mercury’s  retrograde motion.

You really got us, man. We’re those way-too-serious Saturnian types. So you loosened our prim ponytails and lassoed us with your Jupiterian jokes.

Child of Purim, I’ve wondered if were we ever this jokey in the last millennium?

Yes and no. But isn’t that the classic answer of true-blue Maroons?

It’s that our jesting was poisonously laced with a bit of stubborn, respectful sobriety, a little too much reality.

Too much humble earth, not enough raucous light and connective illusion.

Yet once we faced it, in your student ghetto apartment–

you stood by the window, garish street lights illuminating you like some wearisome ghost of carnality, and, oh god–

I wanted to be haunted.

We chose to solemnly spoon, sighing and whimpering into a long-standing, unyielding no.

We’d live in the smothering blankets of our sticky insinuations.

But damn–did I respect you for respecting me.

And then, somewhere north along a long, dark boulevard, I saw you again, that one last time, with Neptune’s ziploc bag of herbs.

“I have a cold,” I said as we sat on my bed, looking at each other with steady eyes and wry smiles.

We both knew what that meant.

Sitting in Lula’s on a lonely, empty night, underneath those dim, white Christmas lights, eating dessert.  I was still so fucking high-strung.

I couldn’t relax into the moment, into you…

And you knew that, and you wriggled, far East and away, in your weird fishy way that drove me mad.

“calm. down.” you wrote replied to me after I wrote you some long screed of worry.

I know now you were feeling all I felt, even more than I could or even express, and how that feels like an inescapable rogue wave of emotion.

If I had only known that I was a seagoat and you were a fish…I would have swum differently…

So you showed up on Friday night in old man cosplay. I can only assume where you are now has surprised you as an atheist–

(can you even call yourself that anymore?)

Well…it’s not over…is it?

Maybe you showed up in tweed and pipe because you’re Classic that way.

And maybe that’s what you wanted, in the end, here.

I wanted that for you, too. I assumed. I fucking assumed.

And when I went to look you up, knowing you wouldn’t be caught dead on Facebook…

I didn’t expect to catch you dead in a ditch.

How banal, darling.

You always had some cantankerous old man, screeching inside of you. And you had probably seen a lot that a kid didn’t need to see, before we met in the middle of Jenny’s genius talks and in the never-ending parade of Echo and the Bunnymen t-shirts.

I knew there was more to it, to you–

And then I learned that you were mad because the world wasn’t fair. Shit, I was just as mad.

An alluring anger burned between us that could never be cooled.

There’s so much I’m leaving out here–besides that we couldn’t quite sync up.

But really, all that there’s really left to say is that you were there for me when I needed you, not when I wanted you.

So, for now, we travel endlessly on this Möbius strip of grief.

And, just so you know, I’ll never have a cold again, but it doesn’t matter now…

I just wish it did.

 

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newton’s cradle of grief

newton's cradle.gif

This month has been a lot for a heart to take and to process.

A massacre. A rock legend’s death. Potentially hundreds of people dying in on an island with barely any power or not enough clean running water. The exposure of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of one movie mogul. The cascade of stories of survival and the exposure of other perpetrators. Wildfires destroying more acreage than the size of New York City.

Another rock legend dies from brain cancer last night.

I took yet another break from Twitter because I was starting to sound shrill and sucked into this vortex of pain and anger. For me to leave because of an emotional contagion is saying a lot, because that’s not usually my bag. The people I am friends with on Twitter are my main community, which I am chagrined, but they are real people, real people who really matter. So it’s kind of a big deal to me when I’m not there.

And I’m not the only one who has left for Twitter for a spell. It’s more than OK to take a break from things when they aren’t serving you.

I also left because astrologically, Mercury is conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio and I wanted to focus more on improving my writing and editing business, to dip my silver tongue in the stars and say all the right things to all the right people. But emotionally, I’ve been a lot distracted, even with my sabbatical from Twitter.

And actually, Mercury conjunct Jupiter, in Scorpio, has probably created the climate of this fixation on sharing pain and anger.

And my heart just pours over…

Gord Downie’s death last night was one that Canada has been bracing for since he announced his battle with brain cancer and the subsequent final tour with his band, The Tragically Hip. It was a band I knew about back in 1996. I loved the song, “Ahead by a Century,” but I had no clue how big the band was in Canada and how much Downie meant to his nation. I learned a lot about that last year.

It’s weird how his death allowed me to shed at least one tear for Tom Petty. I’m listening to him right now (Highway Companion, for the record) and I can finally do that a little more, listen to his music. It’s like all the pain and trauma from this month is in a Newton’s cradle. This new loss of Gord Downie, and the grief of a whole nation, knocks through all the grief from before and starts at the grief at the beginning of the month.

I can’t even comprehend what happened in Las Vegas, though. It’s unfathomable, even though people die of violence here, and elsewhere, every day. What’s going on in Puerto Rico is closing in on genocide due to chosen negligence.

My conscience is seared all the way around, but maybe it’s the only way to get through the day so I don’t collapse under the weight of the all the pain and sorrow that’s been very heavy lately. It’s fixed, like Scorpio energy can be.

And then there’s my own stuff.

Not to roll out the scroll of my own suffering, but living here has been triggering memories of living with my family of origin, of how unpredictable it was due to living with someone who has untreated mental health issues. That came to a(nother) head today when I once again woke at 5:30am in the morning to the smell of brewing coffee, which derailed my whole day. It took forever to go back to bed, and then I woke up too late.

If something gets tripped up like that, over and over, to mean it means it’s time for healing. So today, I was planning on doing some work-related things, but today was a day to work some of those old emotions out: forgiveness and self-compassion and grief and anger.

New things knocking around old things.

And I imagine that’s what it’s like to hear these survivor stories–being triggered as others tell their stories. I only hope that healing can occur as Newton’s cradle of grief goes back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

This may sound really rah-rah and strident, but in this increasingly fixed and stubborn energy, I want to think about solutions. Especially if you’re any kind of marginalized person, you already know the world is a fucked up place. You’ve tried, in your own way, to heal yourself, to bring healing to your corner of the planet. Yet sometimes Twitter can just become an echo chamber and all you can hear are endless screams and cries and groans and yells. It could be an empath’s burden, feeling everyone else’s feels so easily. But one can only feel so much…

As I was telling a friend today, I’m so tired of hearing people glibly say that we’re all gonna die. I’ve gone through hell and back too many times for that sort of existential resignation.

I don’t have any overarching solutions right now that don’t involve a lot of money–as my friend today has surmised. So right now, the best thing I can do is to make sure I can make some so I can donate to causes that support marginalized people, i.e., take care of myself so I can take care of others.

What else can I do?

I love the people who love me back hard.

I continue to find compassion for myself as I look at my old stories with fresh and kind eyes.

I try to push back the dark, rolling clouds of doom that tried, and failed to overwhelm me today.

I keep hope close to me, but not too close so it smothers me with exaggerated optimism.

I cry if I need to.

I attempt to be more grateful and rejoice if and when I’m successful.

I look for the threads that hold things the good things together. Tie those thread tighter.

I do the best I can and know that it’s enough.

I can even look forward to things, like having my own family and not living here and/or in Florida anymore.

For now, I have to focus on the work that’s in front of me, which includes fighting to be here and not drowning in doom. If I’m sleep deprived like I am today, it can be really hard. But the fight is worth it.

To find joy and hope in the midst of immense suffering can seem impossible. But in order to survive and really live, it’s necessary.

May we all keep fighting to be here and to be happy, loved, and safe.