Archive for the ‘Stuff that’s hard to write about’ Category

Carpe Diem

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W.H. Auden

Today, I heard that a friend died. In my life, I have to say, I’ve been largely untouched by death. Of course people I have known died, but not too many people close to me. My grandparents died when I was pretty young, and I hardly knew them because we moved with the Army in those days. And I heard of a few deaths from people I went to school with, but I heard long after I was gone from there and long since I had known them.

My sweet Rottweiler, Detta, was really my first major death. I had her for 13 years, since she was just a ball of fur, and it hit me hard. She died of cancer, and my dad had recently been diagnosed, and that just made it that much harder.

And then my dad died. He’s been gone since 2007 and still sometimes I’m caught short, wanting to call him, to share some news with him, to ask him something.

And of course, there is the quite recent death of Bodhi, a stalwart and near constant companion for the last nine years. You know all about him, so I won’t go into that.

Tonight I found out a close friend died. And this poem was the first thing that popped into my head. I tried to shake it – it didn’t seem quite right. I remember John Hannah reciting it at the funeral of his partner in Four Weddings and A Funeral and I thought, that’s not me at all. We hadn’t built a life together, we didn’t have the history that that poem speaks to…and yet.

Here’s to the grief of the never-to-be, the sorrow of the I-was-going-to.

To the pain of could-have-been, the remorse of the wish-I-would-have.

Here’s to the plane not taken, the call not made.

To the time not spent, to the press of the mundane.

If you are reading this, there’s a good chance I love you. This is my reminder (to me, and yes, to you) to step out, people, take the leap. Do the thing, whatever it is. Don’t wait.

And remember this poem, by Shel Silverstein.

Listen to the mustn'ts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Who

So, although I am a Doctor Who fan, I shut off my cable over a year ago and so missed out on the last episodes of David Tennant as the Doctor. At the time, I was ok with it, I mean, I really wasn’t watching much TV anyway, way too much going on with classes and practicum and all that.

I watched a couple of the specials when I was at my mom’s (not like a family event – she has comcast on demand). Speaking of family events, the whole reason I watch Doctor Who is because I used to watch the old ones with my dad. I loved watching them with him. I think I didn’t like them as much as he did at the time, but I loved that we watched together.

When the new series started up in 2005, my then-partner and I watched it faithfully every week. We both remembered bits from the original shows and recognized the old enemies of the Doctor. I enjoyed Eccleston and was even a bit disappointed when he regenerated. At first, I thought David Tennant was a touch goofy, and too clean cut for my taste.

After just a couple of episodes, though…I was a Tennant fan. I loved his goofy presentation and found I hardly missed Eccleston at all. So, missing those last episodes of David Tennant as the doctor was really ok with me. I kind of wanted him to stay the doctor, at least in my mind.

About a month ago, the final episodes became available at the library (I had been on a several hundred person waiting list) and so I watched The Waters of Mars – a bit disgusting, but still, good stuff. Last week, the final two episodes came (almost like I’d planned it). I watched it till almost the end, and then headed out dancing. I thought I knew what was coming, just a bit of wrap up.

What was left, however, was the doctor making the rounds. As he did so, my memory was poked and prodded, and I started thinking about my ex, and how much fun we had watching those episodes. I thought about the time now gone, and how those memories are tied to that relationship – the way music gets attached to memories, how certain songs can prompt a visceral memory (to this day, We Built This City provokes a strong memory of washing dishes at my first full-time job).

The memory from the song is strong, and makes me feel a bit nostalgic, but nothing like the wave of depression that swept over me as I watched those last 15 minutes or so. No one I know cares one whit about Doctor Who – I remember I even wrote an email to my ex while watching The Next Doctor at my mom’s – I was dying to share that with him – to laugh together when they said “Allon-sey!”

No, I am not hoping to patch up that relationship. It is complete. Done. Over. And most of the time I am ok with that. I mean, hey, an hour before I was out dancing with wonderful women at Twilight, right? I was inviting people to breakfast! But that time, wasted, those memories, all tied up in the past, that really got to me. I don’t want to start over, build new memories, make new connections. I am lonely for a bit of continuity. Someone who knew my dad. Someone who knew my old dog. I don’t remember feeling this way in the past…

Depression

If you talk about depression to the average person (is there such a thing?), the symptoms that might most likely come to mind would be feeling sad and hopeless, sleeping a lot, gaining weight, and lethargy.

That is not the kind of depression I have. I am depressed, but I am in continuous movement, for the most part. I stay busy – too busy , probably. I work, go to school, work out, take the dog out, sing in the choir, cook meals from whole foods… I read 10 million books at a time while listening to one in the car. Looking at me, most people would never guess that I’m depressed. In fact, I forget myself sometimes.

Except that I really am…I can only really tell, though, when school and work slow down. First, I get sick and/or a migraine. This is my body telling me, “Ok, fine, you don’t want to slow down? Fine. Watch this.”

And then, the depression hits. I can’t read. Nothing interests me. I can’t concentrate on the books I have, I’m not interested in new books. I search for junk that I don’t want or need online, hoping for some retail therapy. I facebook incessantly. And I have watched some 20 episodes of Un Posto al Sole – my Italian soap opera. I have also watched half a dozen movies in the last two weeks, too. This is depression for me.

Feeling alone

Is this just an American thing or what? Why is it that this sense of being alone in our experiences persists? Regardless of what Facebook, TV, new stories, friends, relatives and therapists tell us, we feel as if we are the only stupid, depressed, lonely, tired, hassled, sad, worthless people in the world.

When someone else shares a bit of their own experience and we feel that connection, “YES! I understand you!” or “YES! They understand me!” that seems to last a moment, a fleeting flash of warmth. And then, alone in our heads, we find ourselves comparing ourselves to others, mostly in not very positive ways. Why is that?

Of course there is that old American individualism bit that surely gets in. And as Americans we tend to move more, live further apart than in some other countries. And there is technology that while it purports to be a way to “stay in touch” with people we love somehow seems to push us further from real life experiences.

My rumi said to me the other day, “you sure know a lot of people for not having any friends.” Well, it is true that I have (holy cow, I just checked my page to be sure of the number – how did that happen?) 218 “connections” on Facebook. Yes, that is true. Many of my fb “connections” are from the large community choir that I am a member of and hey, while I really enjoy choir and genuinely respect and admire many of the women, there are a very few that are even close to friends.

Which led Amy and I to a new discussion, “What is a friend?” How does a person define that? I said that a friend is someone you call when the chips are down. A person who calls you when they need to talk. Someone who you want to share the events of your life with. Someone who you feel “gets” you. Friends are people that you want to do things with. Even with a busy schedule, you make time for friends. They are people that you would contact even if you were not both at work, and if one of you left, you would stay in touch with. People you like, who like you.

By that definition, I very few friends. I mean, I could count them on the fingers of one hand. And when I was checking my phone logs for something entirely separate, I discovered that the only phone calls I have made or received on my phone in the last 2 months are work calls and two calls from my mother. There was also one call and three texts to friends. In two months! No wonder I feel alone.

Culturally we have grown away from community events and gatherings. There was a time (yes, long, long ago) when people did gain something from their community. I am not saying everyone got along, but hey, if you needed a barn…there was a barn raising. Nowadays when I am talking to clients who seem way too isolated, the only great option I can give them for interaction is church. Which is sometime not an option at all.

So…now what? I feel alone because of all the nasty little cultural stuff and also because I AM mostly alone. I don’t like it one bit. I have never lived this way before and I can hardly stand it. I tried all the things people suggested, even churches and joining organizations, but so far, nothing has panned out. My current solution is kind of a drastic one…my plan is to move away from here and start somewhere else. It’s nice to have a plan, but since I am essentially stuck here till next year because of school, it’s not very satisfying.

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