The hell that I’m in…


Hell. A place different for every person, and yet the same for all.

Willing yourself out of a hell-hole is fruitless. You can no more decide to get up, toss the cot depression has forced a deep slumber in, than the ocean can decide to leave it’s bed. Those who reside on sunny beaches do not understand. Lying on a sandy towel is far different than drowning in the sea’s bed.

I’ve not been able to write. For a writer to not be able to write, it is a very specific kind of hell. The way I keep the world from running me over like a Mac truck is to restrain it and contain it with words. Forcing life to conform to a page; insisting that it take up residence within letters, words, and sentences; it takes the helplessness away.

I’ve never written like other people do. I’m kinda an odd bird. Most people have a vague idea what they want to express, feel a burning desire, and then grab a pen and paper or the keyboard to sketch out what they want to say. It maybe only be an outline or a cluster of words or quotes, but they have a clue.

I’m not really sure how to do that. Writing possesses me, not me it. Authorship dictates what I have time for; what priority my time and obligations get to number in rank, deciding what I will do, in which specific order, to secure my release. Sometimes it can be freeing and heavenly. Sometimes it can be an impatient beast, moody and demanding. Regardless, I live within the parameters that it calls upon my soul in order to keep this life thing rolling along.

keyboard-1176257_960_720Usually I sit down, place my fingers at the keyboard, and I relax. I don’t look at my screen. I stare out the window, maybe watch a bird or a squirrel do their thing. I let my senses loose; let them carry me away while slowing my heart rate slows to a crawl, and, like a burst of life giving breaths, words spring forth and I begin to write.

Now is not the “usually” time in my life, not by a longshot. Now is hell.

Mother’s crave quiet. Mother’s crave the beauty of stillness.

Authors fear the stillness of fingers on a keyboard and the quietness of their minds.

The ability to not be able to write has not just squashed my voice, it’s murdering my wandering soul. I am no longer able to think. I can’t breathe. My lungs have a mountain of hopelessness sitting atop them.

Exhaling. All I can do is exhale. Panic rises with each bit of air that leaks out.

What happens when there’s no more air to release? Tears, sweat, then blood.

Blood begins to take the air’s place. Life giving blood pours out every crevice. Every drop empties me of the will to even try.

There was a time that words were like grains of sand. They flowed from my fingers, escaping regardless of whether I wanted them to or not. Now? What once was life giving, the act of putting words to the page, has turned on me, and, for every word that goes untyped, it punishes me.

I’ve become hollow, empty, depressed. I fell into a hole and I cant climb out.

I’m in a bottomless, wordless, hellish pit that light refuses to enter. The entrance is  sealed with nothing but a password and I can hear the mocking laugher, mocking the fact I have no words to offer.

I must escape. Much longer in this wordless hell and this damned place will become lethal. the last words that will be written will be, “The end.”

When the front lines are fought in a voting booth…


“He who does not punish evil commands that it be done. -Leonardo Da Vinci   
By not taking a stand against campaign violence, Trump is condoning it. He is even verbally encouraging it at the rallies. 

By the same note, those who do not stand in direct opposition to a very real threat, one that’s not just toward this country, but globally, they/we also condone it. 

A withheld vote IS a vote for Trump. NOT VOTING MEANS YOU DID NOT MAKE SURE Trump’s not the winner. If you find Trump as president an un-worrisome idea, you are not just ill informed, you are not taking your own voting education serious. 

At best, the world has never been much more than mildly amused by our races for president; at worst they figure they can hold their collective breaths for four years. This time around? The WORLD is speaking out against Trump. We are not just being laughed at, we are becoming something to worry over. The EIU has gone on record saying Trump is one of the top global threats out there. He is #12 on the list. Let that sink in. A Trump presidency is stated to destabilize the global economy. It’s a threat to the entire world in a very real way. He is dead even on this list with Jihadi terrorists, in an ironic turn of it. 

Not voting could mean helping to destabilize the world. There’s never been a time when your vote counted so much. 

Those who remember WWII first hand are becoming fewer and fewer. We easily forget history when it stops being personally remembered. We are so sure we would recognize a big problem if we saw it. We are sure we are better than those who missed it before “way back then”. We are fools. 

Make no mistake… Fascism did not take root over night; it was creeping down halls and around corners, taking up watch in back doorways without disturbing the dust. Then one day when it was time, the signal was given and the dust went flying. Before anyone knew what happened, before the dust settled, Hitler had a position of power no one could wrestle away from him. 

Make sure you can tell your children, your grandchildren, that you proudly stood up and said NO when it counted. That YOU made sure to go to the front lines yourself in a kind of war that will happen in a voting booth this time. One where Americans choose to take back OUR America. 

  
What makes America great again is not hatred; It’s standing shoulder to shoulder and declaring with one voice, “we will not allow this unrest to take root, nor will we allow it to ever take a position of power over us.”

-Christi Sue Campbell-

Sometimes sitting in the mud is the right thing to do…


Watercolor, art therapy, by my daughter, Lindsey, 16. Used with her permission. Her personal take on living with bipolar disorder, anxiety, OCD and depression.

 

I’ve been rendered completely wordless the last few weeks. I’ve been in a dark place; one with a lot of ugliness and not a lot of sunshine. Some of it is legitimate and understandable. I’ve got some real crap and sometimes crap just stinks. No use calling it by some flowery name. Just like a rose is a rose by any other name and still smells sweet, crap by any other name is still crap and it’s gonna really stink when you go to wash it off, especially if you really dig in and do the dirty work of cleaning it up.

Some of it is me throwing a pity party, I may as well own that. Some of it is weariness, exhaustion, and fractures in my life where I wasn’t quite broken; places that used to be held together by sheer will, but the the bonds of my “will” wore off.

I fell apart.

It is what it is, and justified or not, I’ve dug myself in and wallowed.

It occurred to me I feel a lot like a little girl who fell in a mud puddle in her new pretty dress. I first was in utter shock and horror. Oh NOOOOOO!

…Then tears of not just sadness rose up, but anger; intense, hot, all consuming… of which a person could be either torched to ash or refined by the fire. This was NOT happening!

…Next? I was so angry I refused to get up. What was the point? The dress is ruined! Nothing can ever make it white and new again.

…Furious, I splashed the damned puddle, as if beating the crap of life was somehow gonna get back at it. Laughing at me, it got even by leaving me feeling more livid as the splashes got me mucky where I had actually still been clean.

…Eventually, anger spent and rational thinking returning, still a bit drippy, a whole lot dirty, sheepishly getting up from the mucky pool around me, this girl will go about figuring out how to do what’s next. It wont come easy. “She” will be still mad and muddy, she will still be dealing with the stink for a while, but moving in the right direction, a good cleansing cry and maybe a little rain will right some of it. Later a good long hot shower will wash away the remaining ick and a fresh perspective and dry clothes will allow “her” to carry forward, maybe even better than she began.

Right now? Right now I am still sitting and I’ve just finished a good splashing fit.

There are many word pictures people use when they are in this space. I am using the mud puddle because I am at a full stop, and I feel really mucky and angry and I am in a place where I don’t even WANT to get up. I’ll get there. I know me. I just need to sit here long enough to really hate the mud. Once I really hate it enough I will get up, wipe off the bruises and clean off the mud, I’ll look for scratches on me and tears in my dress and begin to not just wash up, but mend the wounds and fix the rips.

I already know it’s gonna be okay. It really will be. Wanna know something? I don’t want to hear it. So, don’t explain it. I just need to sit here a while. I need to do this.

Here is the thing about mucky places, once in a while they need to be sat in.

Don’t tell me why I am wrong. I’m not. Sometimes you need to sit in the muck, really look around, take it in, acknowledge that it is exactly what it is, mucky, dirty, crap; then intentionally say, “Yeah, so, now what?”

The feelings are real. They are valid. They show up, as they always do, for a reason, and at some point the reason will refuse to be ignored or stuffed back into the closet or under the rock it came out from. So feel it. let yourself live in the now, in the moment, in the mucky place and say, “Wow, it really sucks I fell in this mud and I am really damned angry I got mucky and tore my favorite dress.”  Forcing a smile and saying a fake, “No biggie, It’ll wash,” only works for so long.

Sometimes sitting in the mud is the right thing to do. Sometimes getting right back up, brushing yourself off, and bouncing back right away is the right thing to do. How do you know the difference? Eh, you’ll know. Just remember, ultimately, it really will be okay, and you can get to that end game in many different ways. No path is wrong nor right.

Sing, Sing a song…


I sat beside my Gram and rubbed her forehead with the edge of my thumb. Tears ran down her cheeks as she finally gave in to the weariness and the pain and the frustration of the last 36 hours. She didn’t need my words. She needed love. I had that in abundance.

So we just did that for a while. She needed to feel. I needed to love her. We just were.

“You are better today than you were when I came in here yesterday,” I gently reminded her. “When I come see you tomorrow you are going to be better than you are right now. Give God some time, He’s gonna have you back up and moving again. I know this.” Gently I let my hand trail down her face and find her hands and give it a squeeze. She cried with the name of Jesus on her lips, nodding her head in agreement.

What you need to understand is that this is a woman who always has the name of Jesus on her lips, but not tears. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with tears, it’s just that tears aren’t something she readily allows. She is a strong, hearty, motivated, and fiercely independent woman who’s managed to recover from some pretty significant things in the past. She will again. It isn’t a question. Not for today. Not this time.

“My Tinnie girl, oh how I love you my Tinnie,” Grams cried as she enveloped my hand in both of hers. Tears of my own threatened to spill over.

image2Earlier today she proudly introduced me to the chaplain who stopped in. “This is my favorite granddaughter, Christine. My Tinnie girl.” Then the rest of our treasured joke was explained, how I am also the only girl amongst the boys. I better be the favorite! Over the years the joke has been there, but in the years I’ve been an adult, raising my kids, her great grandkids here in the same town, our relationship has changed into a new one. A precious one.

I began weekly coming for lunches long ago, back when my Grandpa Howard was with us and I would sit and chat with them till Gramps would fall into a post lunch slumber and the two of us would laugh and then slyly turn the channel and watch us some HGTV while he snoozed. After he passed away, going on almost 5 years now, the two of us grew ever so close. I still came weekly for lunch and chats and HGTV, but I went to the grocery and ran errands and did odds and ends around the apartment. We just hung out and I loved on her in ways I knew I could never ever get enough of.

IMG_6029I’ve had friends say, “Oh how I wish I could sit with my Grandma one more time.” I think of it each time I go. Every lunch from Arby’s I bring, I delight in the way her eyes light up as if lit from the place of childhood delight. She loves DQ and the curly Q on the top. She loves a good chocolate chip cookie, and oh how she needs a nice cold Diet Pepsi to wash it down with… and a few salty chips after for that salty bite after the sweet.

I treasure each and every moment because I HAVE it. My Grams is going to be 91 this November. Time is not a given. Some point will come along the way and I too will say to a friend, “Oh how I wish I could sit with my Grams one more time.”  I’ll wish for things… to share a Pepsi, tell her what’s going on in life, and to simply sit and take her in, tears and all, after a fall and illness that put her in the hospital.

When I was a little girl, my Grams would sing to me. She would sing,

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

Sing, sing a song
Let the world sing along
Sing of love there could be
Sing for you and for me.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not

Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

image3And so I do. Often. I’m not the best singer in the world. I am no soloist. But the song I sing is loud and clear. It’s full of love, joy, and happiness. It’s not made up of the same words every day, but the song I sing can be known just by knowing me.  At least I hope so. I hope it’s reflected in everything I do and say, what I am and Who’s I am. Love. So much love.

image1

My Grams and me during one of our lovely Wednesday Lunches

And Grams, I love you.

I’m singing our song, loud, strong, simple, yet enough to last my whole life through, and I’m singing it, Grams, for you and for me.