Bringin’ the Pain

Now I’ve been crying lately
Thinkin’ about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating?
Why can’t we live in bliss?

Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam, “Peace Train”, 1971

Before I get into the real purpose of this post, I want to recommend an absolutely remarkable episode of television. If you’re able to watch the medical drama New Amsterdam (my favorite show, BTW) on demand, catch the episode that just aired this week, titled, “Maybe Tomorrow.” (Season 5, Episode 7) It is unforgettable.

I’ve been really struggling with writing this one, y’all.

There’s been a cloud of self-doubt hanging over me about this blog. I’ve been asking myself, should I keep writing? Do I have anything of value left to say? (Assuming I ever did.) Will anybody read it? Will it make a bit of difference in the whole scheme of things?

And then I recall a comment I once received from my fellow blogger, Jen, whose blog, Dogpaddling Through Life, I follow and highly recommend. She told me:

I hope you continue to write. Share with us your pain as we share our own.

And, trust me, she shares hers. She is compellingly transparent.

And so, here is my pain. Read it or not.

It pains me to see so many people embracing hate, embracing anger, embracing ignorance, embracing fear, embracing violence.

It pains me that the media sees fit to deliver a barrage of bad news, and what pains me about it is, it’s apparently what we want, or they wouldn’t keep giving it to us.

It pains me to watch the steady erosion – recently accelerated and encouraged by the words and actions of donald trump – of such things as compassion, kindness, even simple common courtesy.

It pains me how much astonishing immaturity is being displayed by so many of us regarding an election that was decided – and repeatedly verified – almost two years ago.

To the point of some folks threatening civil war, for Chrissakes, if the midterm elections don’t go their way. Grow the hell up, why don’t you?

It pains me to hear how many absurd, outlandish, jaw-dropping lies are repeated by supposedly responsible adults, and how many supposedly sensible folks willingly, even enthusiastically believe them.

It pains me how many white people, and how many institutions, still view non-whites as somehow inferior, and treat them that way.

And then do whatever they can to keep their children from learning about it.

It pains me to see the the supremely stupefying callousness shown toward children, as proven by the total lack of meaningful gun policy, and to witness so many people more worried about losing their guns than our kids. That is so far beyond unconscionable, it’s obscene.

It pains me that abortions happen; I wish they didn’t. But what pains me even more is the vitriol and the violence directed at anyone who has or performs one, and at anyone who supports a woman’s right to choose. It pains me, also, that the Supreme Court of the United States feels the necessity to interfere with that right.

Incidentally, if all you “pro-life” folks are so concerned with the rights of the unborn, where the f*** is that concern when guns that cut down the lives of children, let alone adults, are so readily available, so fervently protected, and so devotedly worshipped?

It pains me how much humiliation, ostracism, rage and violence is experienced by the LGBTQ+ community. This is not a “chosen lifestyle.” Seriously, how many of you would choose to subject yourself to this kind of cruelty, day after day?

And it really, really pains me that so many so-called “Christians” are at the forefront of all this $#!t. Their behavior is so far away from the teachings of the Jesus they claim to follow, He probably wouldn’t recognize any of them. I would like to think a lot of them are in for a surprise in the afterlife.

And I haven’t even mentioned war, climate change, and a myriad of other pains.

I know this is a lot to take in. But it all causes me pain. Sometimes intense, overwhelming pain.

And, I’m sure telling you about it will ultimately accomplish nothing. Except maybe, spread the misery. Sorry.

Maybe I shouldn’t write anymore.

The Secret to Happy Living

 

Lately, things have been pretty good for me on the mental front. I haven’t been very depressed. Hardly at all, really.

And it dawned on me today why that most likely is: I haven’t done any major screwup recently.

See, that’s what usually sends me in a downward spiral of emotions, when I mess up big time. That’s when I go through the whole you’re hopeless, you’re worthless, you should just do everyone a favor and die routine. I’ve practiced it a lot over the years.

And sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be a big screwup. Sometimes, just a little mistake can start the avalanche that eventually buries me in self-hatred.

Yeah, we’re all human, everybody makes mistakes, cut yourself some slack, blah, blah, blah.

I’m telling you, none of that helps when depression works its magic in your mind and says, Nobody f***s up more than you, idiot. Nobody.

So, I guess I just need to not ever screw up really bad again, and I’ll stay happy.

 

Well, given my history and my common sense deficiency, I’m pretty sure that ain’t happenin’.

So, I guess I’ll just enjoy this lucky streak I’m on for as long as it lasts.

I know it will happen soon enough.

Wishing Your Life Away, One Friday At a Time

 

Typical workplace conversation, Monday through Thursday of any week:

“How’s it going?” “Be going better if it was Friday!”

“How’re you doing?” “Just trying to make it to Friday.”

“Is it Friday yet?”

“This would make a good Friday, wouldn’t it?”

“I sure wish it was Friday!”

Typical workplace conversation, any Friday:

“YAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!”

“FINALLY!!”

“How’s it going?” “Great, it’s FRIDAY!!”

We say this Every. Freaking. Week.

Mondays through Thursdays are simply annoyances, standing in the way between us and our precious, sacred weekends. And Fridays are the golden gate through which we cross into those oh, so longed for Saturdays and Sundays.

And then, just like that, the weekend is over, Monday returns, and the longing begins anew.

Sorta sad, when you think about it.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I love my weekends, absolutely. It’s my chance to wake up without an alarm clock, unless you count my cat. I’m not putting on the uniform I wear through the week as I drive my shuttle bus; I can actually wear other clothes. I can spend time doing what I want, instead of what I get paid for. Weekends get two thumbs up from me.

But, I don’t know, I guess I worry some that I’m rushing my life along, looking for the next Friday down the road. It’s not like I can store up all the Mondays through Thursdays to use another time. Once they’ve passed, they’re gone for good. And as I rush headlong to my 60th birthday, I’m becoming more sensitive to the value of all those days in between the Fridays.

I know I should experience each day just as it is: the people who come my way, the food I eat, the weather I encounter, the opportunities, the circumstances, the sights, the sounds, all of it. After all, who knows if we’ll make it to Friday, or if Friday will make it to us?

But it’s going to take a major mental adjustment to begin taking and appreciating each day for the singular treasure it is. If any of you can offer some tips on how you do it, I’m listening.

 

On a somewhat brighter note, this is the first post I’ve managed to finish after several weeks of false starts, so I take this as a small victory.