With all the good intentions that I have had over the years, I find myself in these last eight weeks of 2021 not knowing where the time has gone and having let so many things fall by the wayside.
This blog has fallen into that category.
As I begin to explore again, I realize that nothing is the same here, and I do not recognize how to do much of anything. Part of me wants to scrap the whole idea of the blog, but even that seems nearly impossible to do.
There is so much to catch up on…so many things I want to share. Yet, fear continues to loom over me.
And then, there is the point of technology having grown past me by leaps and bounds.
Perhaps, I will be able to figure things out again…learn new things…tell the stories that are mine to continue to tell.
Time will certainly not wait forever for me, though (for now) I am still here to tell the stories…
I have neglected so much this year, least of all this blog. To those who have come to follow me, read my words, and more, I apologize. I recognize that it may not be necessary, as we all go through our periods of inactivity, shutting down (a.k.a. depression), and general times of “what the hell is next?”
As I peruse a bit, I see that the site, and how to post has changed. Nothing seems the same, so I am on a bit of a learning curve (and will be), until I can jump in and get my feet wet.
This means this post, and the next few, will be a bit “old school,” and require reading. After all, it has always been my style to write words–and lots of them–and can be rather intimidated by the technology that helps me to communicate what is bouncing around in this tiny brain of mine.
Rather than go back to rehash much of anything since I last wrote, I may catch up with a few things here today, and start anew with the new year.
One of the biggest changes in my life this last couple of years was that I rescued a 10-year-old dachshund minpin named, “Honey.”
Honey came to me purely by serendipity, as I was not looking for a pet. It had been over 20 years since I had a creature living with me. The previous owner was going to put her down, and I looked at this neglected animal and was going to bring her home to get her back to “normal,” then find a good home for her. We all know how that works out. It was a done deal.
Honey is ill, however, and was diagnosed in August with congestive heart failure. We celebrated her “adoptaversy” on November 2nd, so we are coming up on 14 months together. However, her time is coming up much too quickly. She has good days and bad. We take it one-day-at-a-time, which is a constant reminder that is how we need to live life anyway.
So, here we all are, entering into 2021, with our stories to tell, and the stories we don’t want to read or tell ever again.
Stories do need to be told. Stories of all kinds.
One of my goals for 2021 is to resurrect the ways that I can share my thoughts…my stories. Hopefully, you will go along for the ride.
Perhaps, you will also be able to help me learn all these new-fangled bells and whistles that keep me from having the confidence to jump ahead.
Wishing you a gentle passage from 2020 to 2021. Be safe.
September 17th, 1975. I was living in Austin, Texas. I was barely 20 years old.
I had been released from the Air Force just two months earlier, which was something that I did not want. But at that time, under the circumstances, that’s what happened.
I also had been married 17 months earlier to someone I only knew for 25 days. It had been a stupid, impetuous decision, and one that I wish I had not made in my life for reasons that I will not discuss here today.
Labor was very tough. In 1975, we certainly were trying to be better-equipped for the birthing process with Lamaze classes, but that assumed willing partnerships with the coaching father, and also with the medical team. There was little support from either, so it made it even tougher, but when it came down to the actual birth, I remember other women rallying around and helping me through it.
When I look back on my life, there have been a lot of struggles. I don’t remember a lot of easy or good times. Birthing a child was one such struggle, as it is for many of us.
But the one thing I remember that gave me great joy was at 3:03 p.m. Central time on September 17th, 1975, is when I heard the doctor say, “Congratulations! It’s a little girl!”
It has been 7 years since I wrote this piece on Xenophobia. I wish that I could say that we, as a nation, have become kinder where differences are concerned, but I think that we have lost some ground recently.
It was in 1971. I was 15 years old and in the 11th grade. My English teacher, whose name escapes me, gave us vocabulary words each week.
It was in this class I first learned the word, “xenophobia”—hatred or fear of strangers, foreigners, and their customs or culture. Though the word was new to me, the concept was not.
With all of changes we faced in the 1950s and 1960s, and as media coverage became more prevalent, there were daily reminders of the challenges faced by so many people as inequalities in human rights were exposed. The leaders of the time were no longer willing to sit on the sidelines and remain silent.
At home, there were family members who perpetuated the beliefs that were taught to them decades earlier—people who came from a different culture, ethnic background, or skin tone were to be looked at suspiciously, avoided, feared…
It was six years ago last night that I was going to take my life, hearing two weeks earlier that I had only six months to a year to live.
There was a telephone call a few hours earlier asking for my volunteerism with an American Cancer Society walk in the autumn. I knew the coordinator calling, and told her about the “Carcinoid Cancer” (now NETs) diagnosis.
I ended the call with, “I’ll see you next weekend at the Relay,” and hung up. Because I was true to my word and figured she was a mandatory reporter anyway, I suspended my plan until after I saw her.
The following day, May 29, 2012 I had an appointment at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance with Dr. David Byrd, the surgeon who performed my mastectomy and node biopsy in 2007. I learned from Dr. Byrd that there was a much different possibility than what I heard from Lt. Col. Dr. Tommy Brown two weeks earlier.
Dr. Byrd shared that there was hope for life beyond that year. A good portion of the rest of the story can be read in my “About the Author” page, and in blog posts in April through July 2012.
What I want to share here is this…
We must question what we hear.
Living in fear to the point of worry robs us of LIFE. Worry is the lie that fear tells to us.
So, it has been six YEARS thus far…and I am looking for six years times two or three. Here is to living life, one day at a time!!
If something that someone has created is hanging in an art gallery, does that make someone an artist?
I am not certain of the answer to this question, but I am feeling a bit accomplished for having shown two of my pieces at a show that opened this afternoon at Olympic College Art Gallery.
There were so many artists whose work was displayed during this show. There were classic-style drawings and paintings, abstract work of all kinds, and much more.
The painting of the two faces (on the right of the featured image) is a piece that I call “Warrior Sisters–People Heal.”
In the photo below, my “Untitled” piece (acrylic elephant on wood) is displayed with the cardboard elephant sculpture peeking through the photo on top. I love that view, and might have never noticed it had I not been learning to view things from different perspectives in the sculpture class I am currently taking.
I am excited for this stage in my life. I am learning now to be comfortable with creativity, and for showing my work to others.
I have been been a bit nervous about calling myself “an artist,” because I tend to compare myself to others and minimize what I do create. It is why I put these two pieces in the show from an last-minute call for art. It was non-juried, so it was not rejected.
I figured that it would give me the chance to dip my toe in the water of the art world. I will have my own wall at a local shop at the upcoming local art walk in July. I am nervous about that, but will have a few more people viewing what I create. I will also be able to tell my story to more people about reaching beyond the fears of life.
I truly know nothing about art technique, the differences between good and bad supplies, how to use supplies properly, shading and highlighting, complimentary colors, or anything else that one might learn by going to art school. I am simply learning by playing with the things that I never had much of a chance to do as a child or teenager.I am learning to share of myself through creativity.
What you get from me is raw, childlike, and genuine. That means that I will color outside the lines. I will also scribble. I have been like this for 62 years, and I doubt that I will change that part of me much.
I am still not convinced that I am much of artist…but maybe I am. After all, I have the pictures of the art show to prove it!
“You think too much,” a friend of mine said to me recently.
I responded, “You think this is the first time I have heard this? It’s been the story of my life.”
I do not ruminate about things intending to keep myself awake all night (as I did last night). Nor does it mean that I live in negativity by rehashing things in order to make sense of all that goes on in my life or the world, in general.
Yet, there is a war that seems to rage on in my brain…because I think.
For some reason, dates are important to me. These timelines are reminders to me to celebrate events and people. They offer me joy, keep me humble, and remind me of how much there is to live for. However, they also hold memories of struggle, fear and pain, as well as to remind me that some things do not change.
Therein lies the biggest struggle. I continue to ask, “Why? How? What?” and the sleepless nights begin.
This month is the anniversary month for many of the things that transpired with a diagnosis of stage 4 Neuroendocrine/Carcinoid cancer six years ago. I remember all the dates. I am grateful for having life, but the events that took place are not something that I can seem to remove from my brain.
May is also the month for Mothers’ Day. I can no longer call my own mother, though I continue to think of her with good memories. I have nowhere to mail a card to her or to send her flowers.
Then, I wait for a phone call that does not come with consistency. This year, nothing. My logical mind reasons that one is busy and dealing with more important things. My emotions argue with my logic, trying to convince me that I have somehow done something wrong to prompt the silence.
Good or bad. Wrong or right. This or that. One way or the other.
What to choose? Which will be better? How can it improve? What can I do?
These are just some of the conversations that I have with myself on nearly a daily basis. I never quite come up with the solutions, as once I do, I am asking the same questions.
Maybe I do think too much. But that prompts the questions, once again…
There isn’t a year since my mother passed away that I don’t fight the urge to pick up the phone to call her. I wrote this post three years ago, and I feel the same today, wishing I could hear her voice again.
It has been (what feels like) forever ago since the last time I saw my Mom. Yet, it is difficult to believe that it will be four years next month since she passed from this earthly world.
On the eve of Mothers’ Day, I find myself thinking about the last Mothers’ Day that she was alive.
I flew down to California to spend a few days. She was still in a rehab facility, and we were trying to come up with a plan to get her back to her home.
I do not remember a lot about that day. In fact, my memories might be inaccurate, as I was making the trip down every couple of weeks to do what I could. Some of the details (below) about who was there and what all transpired is now a bit fuzzy for me.
I do remember that several of her friends and family…
I am just as guilty as the next person of not following through with what I say I want or will do. It is not easy to admit the truth of this, especially as I become irritated or “butt-hurt” for others doing the same. I suppose when it comes to others and how I react, it is directly tied to those experiences from many years ago.
Now, I can immediately hear some of you out there yelling, “Get over it already! Stop living in the past!”
I get it. I am yelling it with you. I do not always understand how the circumstances of the past can rear their ugly heads and grab me when I least expect it. Or maybe it is that I really do expect it?
I have vacillated throughout life between “ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away” mode and “look-at-it-dead-in-the-eye-and-take-it-on” mode. It is classic all-or-nothing behavior. And yet, it irritates me when I behave this way or I see it in others.
I believe that our past does not define us, but that it does influence us in ways that we do not always see or understand. But the beauty in being aware of our past is that we can choose to look at our own patterns of behavior as we relate to others and what we decide is important in our lives.
In these last few months, I have allowed myself to fall into a bit of a funk. I have allowed what certain others feel, think, and do to affect my own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
One of my automatic thoughts (of which I have been unaware) has been, “If they don’t care enough to (fill-in-the-blank), as they said they would, then why should I?”
What I now recognize is my reaction that I learned in my formative years. It bore deeply into my core, which has given me trouble throughout the years in feeling valued, and has transcended into a limiting belief that value comes from others and whether or not they treat me a certain way or follow through with me in a way that they say they will.
The worst part of it? I do it, too. Guilty. I have done it to others. AND I do it to myself.
Life is a series of lessons and awareness. Understanding our past, and taking responsibility for our current thoughts and behaviors will give us more tools and knowledge to help us as we move forward in our lives.
I am at a stage of life that I am growing weary of having to revisit some of the same lessons. If I am going to get “butt-hurt” at anyone for not doing what they will say they will do, I might as well look in the mirror. But even this guilt-move is fruitless.
Today is a new day to consciously follow-through with what I say that I will do.
And today starts with shaking off clouds of funk, taking a good look at what I have neglected, and getting showered, dressed, and out for an early morning walk.