At a crossroads…

Current song: What About Us by P!nk.

So, it happened. I am not sure if it is the current situation we are living through, but I think a sequence of events has just pushed me to a point I never thought I would reach.

My eyes cannot stop seeing what is in front of me and I cannot not speak up.

I have spent the majority of my life saying to myself, “well this is wrong, isn’t it?”. When I watch someone throw litter on the ground; when I see animals being hurt for our pleasure, or children being abused; when someone says something to another human being that is disgusting. When the 2016 election happened. When there have has been wars, and fighting, wildfires and floods. “Well, this is wrong.”

But I never did anything.

I didn’t campaign, or very actively join movements (although I pushed for them in my own way). I didn’t speak up about what I was witnessing. I went about my business, doing my thing, hoping other people saw the ridiculousness that was happening around us and cared too. That maybe they too were outraged, but yet no one ever really did anything. Not anyone around me. Not me.

Not really.

I never thought I could make any kind of difference in the world. And truth be told, I probably can’t. But, then, now I wonder, why not? Lately, I have been reading books and watching documentaries about strong women, women who during the women’s lib movement changed our history. And so many people have used their voices, their talent (in every shape and size), their skills to advance the world, so why not me.

Why not us.

(Not that anyone is actually reading this anyway, so it is more about my own introspectiveness.)

Why can’t we make changes that impact everyone and everything around us? We can, can’t we? Is that what is scary about it all? That we can actually make conscious choices in our every day life that really have a positive affect on others, on the planet, the world we are all on.

The past 5 years, and more recently the last 5 months, have been a major transition into how I view the world. My daughter was born, for starters, and I also realized I have been a writer my whole life but kept it hidden (for various reasons), and a bunch of other things I won’t list here. The point is, the slow motion of those events, had lead me to where I had been until today, and it had somehow triggered me to ask, how can I be a better person? How can I make a difference? How can I lead by example? Now, with everything going on, it has become, how can I continue to just watch things happen? How can we bury our heads into our phones, into lala land, pretend none of this is really happening? I know a lot don’t, a lot of people are awake, paying attention, but not enough of us. Myself included.

The past week has been a nightmare for a lot of people in this country, a nightmare for months around the world. It slowly built up and now we are all looking around going “wait, what is happening?”. In my little bubble, we had been planning several trips and parties, prepping the house to sell, going to shows, organizing playdates, or just doing the laundry. So, basically, life, for me, as I am sure for others, was running at 5 miles a minute in my everyday business and then everything came to screeching halt with this outbreak.

It was like we were on a speeding train, and then whiplash, my body jolting awake, and I was forced to see the reality around me. I, personally, had to cancel an international trip that I had been planning for months, almost a year. I was (am) heartbroken. In the middle of the chaos, we are about to put the house on the market (as we are about to move across the country again), and now we are hoping the market doesn’t crash into a recession before we can sell. We are going to start keeping our daughter home from preschool, affecting the tiny bits of our daily lives.

Today, after juggling the airlines, and communicating with an AirBnB host who has refused to refund us even though they are supposed to, my brain could not compute what was happening. The funny, but not really funny, part is, you think it would be just the money, right? At least that is what most people might think. That is where we have gotten, that is where we are as a world, almost accusatory, “The monetary aspect is your concern.”

On the exterior of it, it is what it looks like. But for me, we had to cancel this trip because of my husband’s underlying health issues (he has Cystic Fibrosis, so he is in that small percentage of people who, if he did contract the virus, could die) – so we have spent time reading and deciding on what to do, weighing all the options, having to explain to our daughter how unstable it all is right now. The AirBnB host, a person I thought was a decent human, continued to refuse the refund. But that aside, he then somehow managed to say, “don’t panic, and read reliable news”. An assumption that normally I would ignore, an assumption that in not so many words implies that I am a twit, ignorant and not reading, instead believing the fear mongering; implying that I have not been agonizing over the choices in front of me or the what ifs that may happen.

It sparked something in my core.

A series of events then followed after I dropped off my daughter at school (for what will now be the last time, until who knows when) – a woman cut me off, almost crashing my car, only because she wanted to be in the front of the line at Starbucks, even though I was not doing the drive-thru. Then someone cut me off to get the one parking spot, a spot designated for only mobile orders, and once inside I realized she was not picking up an order. Then someone else almost hit my car because they were texting instead of watching the road in front of them. All I did was shake my head.

First world problems, I know. I see it. I recognize it.

That is not the point. I consider myself fortunate to have these be the things happening in front of me, instead of bombs or attacks on me because of race/religion/gender/etc. I recognize what I wrote sounds frivolous but the fact is, those little tiny actions became a crashing wave inside of me.

Because, see, it all ties together. From the most extreme situations, to the smallest of ones. I asked myself, when did we all stop being decent human beings? When did we decide bombs and hatred were the answer? When did we decide holding a door open for someone, or saying thank you, or covering our mouths when we sneezed, was no longer necessary. When did we decide, as a collective whole, that my bullshit (my money, my race, my power, my property, my whatever) is more important than yours. When did we stop caring about our fellow humans? Was it always this bad and I am just now seeing it? Or has something changed in us, and is continuing to change, heading us all down a rabbit hole, one we may not be able to get out of?

That is what I am starting to look at with more depth. I want to understand when we transitioned? When did we start (nonverbally) saying we do not care? When did we go from, staying silent and thinking, “oh that is wrong”, to not giving a fuck about anything or anyone but ourselves? And when did we start to assume the worst in people, that people are idiots, or selfish, or assholes based on a single act?

I am to blame, too. My AirBnB host may really need the money, I don’t know. My Starbuckians may have been having an off day, or had a screaming child in the back seat, or a sick parent at home. But at the end of the day, it still comes down to the concept of human decency. I have always assumed most people on the planet really are decent and kind and I like to hold on to that idea that we, the majority of the human race, are all good and decent, albeit a bit distracted lately.

Right now, with everything happening in the world, maybe we should all stop for a second and consider how people all over the planet are feeling. That we are not alone on this spinning ball we call home. So, forget about yourself for a moment. About the drama in your small circle of the world. Think of how the families in China or Iran or Italy are feeling? Losing people they love, losing their livelihood, being locked up at home. How are the airline workers feeling, juggling so many people with so many different issues? Or the employee’s being told they are being laid off for a while? Or how the people who are elderly or have health conditions are feeling? How are sports players or theatre actors feeling, not able to do their passion? How about the doctors who are fighting to figure this out? The researchers staying up late trying to sort out what is best? What about the kids watching us, as we forget about each other and only care about how much we have for ourselves right now?

We are at a crossroads, it feels like, not just this country, but our planet. Between climate change, politics and now our health and economy. The planet is shaking us to wake up. Mother Earth is begging us to get our shit together as a whole. To care about each other, to be kind to one another, to understand the other side. To make changes while we still can.

The question is, are we willing to let go of our egos and see it; are we willing to make the conscious choices, to do the right thing, to do something about it now, while we still can?

I really hope the answer is yes.

Cake

Guys. I made a cake for an adorable 2 yr old. At the party I was asked for sneak peaks at my writing and if I make cakes for a living. To which I say no. The reply, oh no? You should! Wow!

I take it as a compliment but at the same time I don’t. Mostly because it’s me. I don’t know what it is about my brain that says, “oh no no please don’t acknowledge my work”. I like to pretend it is my inner anglophile ways, modesty and self-deprecating. Lucky for me though, my husband is pretty emboldening to be around. It makes the compliments easier to swallow.

Either way, as I continue to learn to put myself and my art (in whichever way it manifests itself) out there… I made a cake guys!

#cake #baking #writing #art

Don’t blink…

Current Song: Circle Game by Pink

The past few weeks have been a weird earthquake of the endless circle that life really is.

I remember studying psych, learning about Erickson’s Stages of human development. Fascinated by it. In awe at how much alike we all are as humans, yet still on very different journeys. We all battle the same basic battles, simple, yet the experience of them is so completely different for all of us. And here I am at the cusp of these stages – Intimacy vs. Isolation. Generatively vs. Stagnation, feeling like the earth is shaking.

Lately I have been trying to sort out the next stage for my daughter. She just turned 4 (Initiative vs Guilt). She will be starting kindergarten in a year and now here I am learning to navigate the school system, in a state I just recently moved into. Trying to figure out what I can do for her, what is best for her. How do I know if I am not screwing her over in the long run? How am I now making decisions for a tiny human being when sometimes I can hardly make a decision for myself. Meanwhile, my husband is questioning his career choices. We have been on the endless birthday party circuit. We worry about student debt. My closest friends live miles away, on the other side of the country. We used to talk every day, do so much together but now life has pulled us all in different directions. Currently several literary agents are reading my complete manuscript, and the anxiety of that is overwhelming. I am researching cults and trauma for my next manuscript. Exploring the psyche of the characters that are in my brain, ready to start writing. …

During all of this, my sister texts that our dad is in the hospital due to an injury. Watching him decline has not been easy for either of us. The fear that now we have to hold his hand, instead of him tucking us into bed and telling us funny stories, is scary. I am not sure I am ready.

How is that we have spiraled into this so fast? Where did the time go? What have we been doing? How is this adult life? Is this what our parents went through too?

I want to leave a mark on this planet, via my words, via my child, via all of it. But then I spiral back to the reality of what life is – my daughter sprouted overnight, my dad has started to deteriorate in a flash, and I wonder… am I blinking too fast? Is it all just going by faster than any of us want to admit to? Do I have time for all of it?

Was Erickson right? We all just plow through these stages of development and end up at the end thinking, what have I left behind? What have I done with the chance I had? Is that what our parents are thinking when they look at us, raising our own kids, creating our own paths. Do they think, this went too fast, what was I doing? How do I go back, and try again?

Is that the question you want to leave behind? Or perhaps the better question is, to ask now… how do I get from here to there, knowing I did all I could to be here while I had the chance.

The Door

She was sitting alone in her kitchen, sipping on a warm cup of tea. The smell of peppermint drifting up, filling her lungs as she took a few deep breaths. She was exhausted – the day had been too long, and it was only half done. Her to-do list was endless and the thought of moving made her want to vomit.

As she sat there, she let her mind wander, and then settle. A calm stillness. Everything was quiet when she heard the bedroom door slam. Her heart fluttered. No one else was home, it was just her and the dog, who was curled up at her feet.

Her familiar friend, panic, set in.

The fear pulsated in her head, rushing down her body, then back up, causing bile to churn in her gut. She bit her tongue, a habit she had developed as a child, and it reminded her of the therapist who tried to teach her CBT, a few simple gimmicks to deal with her anxiety. It didn’t work then, and it would not work now.

She tried anyway. Deep breath in, slowly, pause, exhale out, slowly. Nothing. Of course.

She was sure no one was home. And her phone was charging in the bedroom. The dog was not barking but that didn’t mean anything. He was pretty mellow now, at 10 years old. He barely woke up, and when he did it was to shift his weight closer to her.

She placed her cup down, and slowly walked toward the hallway – it was like a funhouse, the floor shifting up and down, as her heart raced inside of her. The lighting was so dim and she could hardly see that someone was at the end of the hallway, staring at her. But she could. She could see teeny eyes staring back at her – like a creepy rodent peaking out from the sewer.

Relax. It’s nothing. Nothing is really there. She repeated the words in her head until she believed them. Sort of.

She crept to the end of the hallway and placed her hand on the door, letting her hand slip down to the knob. Her breathing was faster now, the blood pounding in her veins as she turned her hand, closing her eyes before pushing the door open.

There was light bleeding in through the window. The open window. The curtain blowing with a light breeze. She scanned the room. Some papers had fallen over, a picture had been knocked down. There was a strange smell – burnt wax, and cigarettes. She didn’t smoke.

She walked further into the room, peaking into the large closet, her breathing heavy and shallow. She turned her head, continuing to glance around the room.

There was nothing there.

She glanced at her phone, no messages, as always. Nowadays that was the norm. She walked to the window, and closed it. Her hand on the glass, remembering she had opened it to let some fresh air in. She shut her eyes tight. Her body relaxed. She was an idiot. So stupid. She let her panic take over again.

As she reopened her eyes, she saw her best friend standing there.

“Fucks sake,” she said. “You scared the shit outta me.”

“Sorry.”

“What’re you doing here?”

“I miss you.”

“I miss you too.” She said, her eyes growing wet. “Just don’t do that again, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Tea?”

“Sure.”

They walked down the hallway together. It’d be nice to have tea with her again. Her best friend had died only two weeks ago, but it felt like eons had gone by.

Starting something new

I am starting on a new venture. Not sure where it will take me but I decided it was time to start something new. So here I am, sitting in front of my computer, typing. As I often do, only this time, for the world to read. Because, well, why not.

I had been away from my little writing office for a month now. Not by choice, rather by circumstance. My little office also doubles as our guest house, and this past month was a busy one for company. Point is, as I am finally back to where I belong, in my little office, in my cozy room, where the words like to float around and tease me, I think I can honestly say I am excited to try something new with my writing.

I plan to write as often as I can on here – little stories that flutter by, prompts that just laugh at me, or ideas that may lead to future manuscripts.

Hopefully someone finds some of this interesting. If not, that’s okay too.

Time to turn the page…