A wicked bout of overdoneness

I have just now emerged mostly victorious from a wicked bout of overdoneness that has led to me being sidelined for the past month.  2011 was such an exquisitely ugly year for me personally that I needed a rest from it. A good long rest from everything.

2011 came on me hard and fast and I resolved to take it on with all the gusto I could manage. It was a year of “one damn thing after another”  and I’m glad that it’s over.

I did however learn a great deal from my experiences of the past year, though many of the lessons  learned still haven’t begun to gel in my stubborn brain. Perhaps some reflection is needed here or at least a semblance of reason on my behalf. What follows my attempt to do so:

I’d like to start with the bathroom scale. this haughty and taunting device has plagued me for years and I have thrown it out. Yes I have.  Really, and I will never get another one.

It’s destructive influence led me to exist on a steady diet of black coffee and nothing. That is bad enough but when mixed with constant and unusual stress, adding a few generous dollops of sleep deprivation, stirring in a flurry of creative manic activity with equal parts of needless worry and anxiety and you have the recipe, well I had the recipe all right, for a total breakdown of all systems.

Stress can be a killer and sometimes life can throw a lot of it at you.  That cannot be helped.  What really matters is how you react to it, what you do with it.  I bottled it all inside and it turned to anger and that can poison you if you let it. I’m trying to learn not to let it.

I’m also learning not to worry so much.  I am learning to let go of the things I cannot change and to act decisively on the things I can.  Be it about money or whatever, nothing is as important as my loving family and my health…nothing. Worry is useless and it’s toxic.

And sleep..sleep is wonderful, its wonderous and it will do wonders. Seven or eight hours a night really does the trick.  I used to think it a waste of time, but no more, it’s vital and very kind to my 42-year-old face.  Perhaps now I could pass for 35? With a full night of sleep behind me I know I feel 25. I cannot say enough good things about sleep and I recommend it highly.

I have turned off the morning news programs and the stock market reports. I have replaced them with relaxing music and good old-fashioned silence.  I allow myself time to ponder. I  have stopped being so damn hard on myself and I have turned off the ringer to my phone.

I have resolved to eat sensibly and try to find time for important issues such as bubble baths and naps. Life is not a race or a contest, it’s a journey and I got a little lost but now I have found my way once again.

I have learned that I am not remotely as smart or as powerful as I thought I was but I also learned that I don’t have to be.  I can sing just as loud. I don’t have to know everything or be everything or do everything, I can just exist and be happy.  Money cannot buy you that.

Happy to be back,

Strawberryindigo.

Love Thy Neighbor?

Love

Image by aftab. via Flickr

I saw a scene today.   It was a small moment, a common everyday boring kind of moment but it changed me and the way I will view people and life in general from now on.

The woman down the street, my neighbor and “Nemesis”, Mrs. Wheatgrass. A person I have written of before. A neurotic, stressed out person who reminds me of sun-baked straw.   If you have not yet heard of Mrs. Wheatgrass, you will.  She is a story and a half unto herself.

Today though I saw Mrs. Wheatgrass in a different light…

A pest control truck in the neighborhood is a dreaded sight indeed and when I saw the sight earlier today, I felt a small panic.  YIKES! Pests!  The bright green truck, with the environmental message on the side looked nice, and responsibly green and expensive. It was parked in front of the Wheatgrass house.

I laughed a little laugh as I imagined high-strung and snooty Mrs. Wheatgrass on a chair screaming down at a mouse. Or worse.

..And speak of the Devil…there she was.  She was walking the pest guy to his pest truck.  She did not look happy. She looked majorly stressed out.  Her straw-colored hair was practically standing on end as she listened to the pest guy talk.  He kept pointing to her roof and every time he did she looked sicker and sicker.

By the time he got to the shoulder shrugging portion at the end, she appeared frantically frazzled.  For a moment I felt glee.  A little part of me felt happy at her misfortune.  I hate to admit it but that is what happened. 

It didn’t feel right and as I said it lasted but a moment but that was enough. I started to think back…where had we gone wrong?  I remember when we first spied each other, the day she moved in 6 years ago.  It was like a scene out of a spaghetti western, I could swear I heard the music genius of Ennio Morricone in the background.   She walked past and we just stared at each other, not a word was uttered. We just stared. 

I guess I should have welcomed her to the neighborhood. I really have no excuse. I could say that I suffer from social phobia or that it’s not wise to talk to strangers; both are true but honestly, I think it was because of the way she looked at me.  She made me feel uncomfortable standing on my own front porch.  Her thin lips curled up in a sneer.  I couldn’t help but feel that I had wronged her in some way.

We eventually spoke and over the years and have had some strange conversations.  She likes to approach me with her odd and neurotic household problems and I think she expects me to have all the answers.

When I don’t have the insight she wants she turns on me and a whole new round of snubs and snide remarks begin.  I know this sounds paranoid, but once in a while I get these strange looks from her family.  I think she talks about me to them, I just get these vibes.

All this makes me feel bad.  I don’t want to be her friend.   I am Strawberryindgo, she is Mrs. Wheatgrass.  We have nothing in common…..I do however hate the mean looks she gives me.  I have feelings.

It’s easy to be nice to someone who likes you….on the other hand…it’s not difficult at all to hate someone back who hates you first.  It’s natural, its human nature.  I tried to justify how I felt.

Why should I care if she has something nesting in her roof? So what?  If her roof is falling apart and I know she needs a new one and can’t afford it. She has never been nice to me and makes snide remarks to me whenever she can.

I know if she saw me in the same situation as she is now, she would have no sympathy for me. I know she would use the occasion to come over and grill me, she is that type. It seems more and more people these days are that type.  It’s like they are waiting for an excuse to “take it out on someone else.”  They take pleasure in others misfortune and feed on negativity.  I don’t want to be like them. I refuse to be like them!

It was at that moment I realised that I must be stronger than any negativity that Mrs. Wheatgrass or anyone else could throw at me. Maybe if I look deep inside myself I can find some sympathy for one such as she although she has none for me.

Niceness begets niceness and hatred begets hatred.  It is difficult to turn the tide, but now I see the importance in trying. If I can’t get along with my bitchy neighbor, who can get along in this world?  

Although she doesn’t know it, Mrs. Wheatgrass taught me a lesson today.  I don’t think I could actually ever “love” her nor do I think I could even like her, she is after all, Mrs. Wheatgrass.  But I will try my damnest…..

….and so this brings me to a quote by “Tricky Dick” and how fitting….

“Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”

Richard M. Nixon (1974)

Have a great day!   Strawberryindigo.

  

A slippery slope

Slippery Slope

Image by Paul Graham Raven via Flickr

I find myself at a place in the road that requires concentration lest I fall off the side and into the mud.  I am learning that this writing “business” contains layers and facets that I am not well versed in.

Call it the human side of writing. The personal side.  The side that comes out at 3 a.m. on one of those long nights of the soul. That is a precious commodity.  It’s the voice, the one that whispers to me and then eventually screams.

It is this thing that I believe to be at the very core of artistic endeavor, it is carnal and raw but honest.  It can be ugly or scary or beautiful.  It is essential, it is like breath, but it is easily lost and with its loss comes a loss of ones true nature.

I have always prided myself an independent thinker. A person who went against the common tide and came up with my own unique take.  I’ve been wrong many times but I have always been true to myself and others.  I’m bull-headed but honest, I’m flawed but pure….

….It’s a slippery slope and it is easy to slide…..

I thought I had this quality in spades and my ego grew like a big fat balloon. This honesty I have always prided myself on, this writing from the heart was lost yesterday. I stopped listening to my heart.  I lost myself on the side of the road. I spilled my integrity all over the street and now I have mud all over me.

Saturday I sent out a post that was not up to my standards or anyone else’s for that matter. This fluff piece about a movie is garbage.  I am not qualified to write anything on the subject of movies, nor do I want to be qualified.   Just because I like a movie doesn’t mean I should expect anyone to read such insignificant tripe. I apologise to you and myself for this.

I was not being true to either one of us.  I am truly sorry. I promise that I will never write any such thing again.

From now on it’s just me.  No crappy junk, no compromise, no dumbing down, all the strange pages of weird stuff are going and I will just concentrate on what I do best.

 

Thanks for listening.  Strawberryindigo.

When it Rains it Pours

The clouds were amazing this afternoon during ...

Image via Wikipedia

My life in color has sure proven “more colorful” indeed.  To say that last week was a bad week would be an extreme understatement.  Last week was horrid, it was the week from hell and I’m glad it’s finally over…

In a wisp of a second, just like THAT. Life can turn on a dime. 

There I am sitting high on top of a mountain, my head in the clouds. I am looking to the sky and shouting; “Life is great!”  I am invincible.  I am full of magic and I can do anything!  The day is long and warm and full of sun.  Its seems it never will end and then…. it does.

The harsh wind of reality blows in, it’s freezing cold.  It raps at my door and knocks it down. BAM!  Once, twice, three times. It cuts, each as deep as the next and I’m left wondering “What the hell was That?”

It seems to be raining on my parade at the moment and when it rains it pours.  One piece of bad news after another, Like tsunamis hitting my beaches.  I am torn and battered.  My coastline has taken quite a beating.  I will survive but I cannot help but wonder “What’s next?”

I pride myself in my ability to stay calm and rational in a crisis. I like to think of myself as the voice of reason in a sea of emotional wrecks.  I still am calm, even seemingly emotionless about my sudden change of fortune but on the inside I suffer. I am human after all.

Over this “Week from Hell” I have acquired another funny little quirk to add to my list of funny little quirks.  I literally have a pain in my neck and its all in my head.  Oh yes.  apparently I am one of “those people” now. I do have to say in my defense, without going into any detail, that the stuff I am dealing with now would scare the bejesus out of the toughest of us. 

I know that nothing lasts forever, and that it’s always darkest before the dawn and all that. I will persevere because I believe I will. That is not the question nor was it when this odyssey began.  The question in my mind isn’t “Why?’  I know there is no answer to that question.  My question is “What.”

What have I learned from all this?   What could someone possibly learn from these unfortunate twists and turns of fate?  I grappled with this for days.  I paced. I drank lots of coffee and I thought.  My ego would like to tell you the brilliance of my mind came up with the answer, but the honesty of my heart cannot tell a lie. For it was not me.

There is someone I know, we are partners in woe but his woe is worse than mine. He has picked this time to undergo the greatest challenge anyone can undergo;  The challenge to conquer himself.  I am very much impressed and inspired by this act and more importantly by this person.

I think this quote really fits;

“Times of Trouble best discover the true worth of a man.”

                                  **Thomas à Kempis**

and

“When we are strong, we are always much greater than the things that happen to us.”        **Thomas Merton**

I now know the true meaning of these true ideas because of this inspiring person. I couldn’t be more proud of anyone for anything.

You are my hero, M.M. and this I shout to the world!


KEEP THE FAITH

Strawberryindigo.

 

Autumn’s Light

Sugar Maple - Acer saccharum leaves in autumn ...

Image via Wikipedia

There is a certain magic in this time of year.  A wild little whimsy of hope and a tinge of excitement at what adventure the future may bring.  There is a crispness in the air that is fresh and clean and fills me with inspiration.  To me, Autumn  signals a new start, a fresh beginning.  It’s the time to wake up from the haze and laze of summer.

 The dappled sunlight of the dewy morning dances and delights on the amber trees.  The sky is a deep blue and the clouds are soft and cool. I sit quietly under the laurel tree and watch the flourish of life before me. 

The very soil itself teems with life, down to the very microscopic. A seemingly endless variety of insects, crawlers and walkers and flyers.  White butterflies cavort among the Asters.   Attracted by the pineapple sage in the corner, Ruby throated Hummingbirds dart in and out. The crows atop the Jack pine stare down in defiance and call to me. I laugh at them and continue on my way. 

The cats follow me around as I do the watering.  Soon the rains will come and this chore will become a distant memory; something I complain about now but I will miss come January.   

The enormous sugar maple in the distance wears the first few signs of the season. There is a richness that runs through this time of the year. Like a deep and vibrant jewel.  I hold it up to the light and its exquisite beauty stuns me. 

This is one of my favorite times of the year and its easy to see why. I breathe in the moment and plan to hold it forever…

Happy Autumn!

Strawberryindigo. 

The word

Ever since I was a young child that could grip a pencil, I wrote;  scraps and pieces and this and that.  For the most of the last decade, I have not had much time to write.  I was too busy being a mom, but now as my kids grow older, I have more time to pursue my dream of being a writer. 

I believe the time is right for me, I am old enough to have built a library of experiences, wise enough to use them and young enough to be able to use them.

 I believe in the power of words and the power of words to change the world. The world is a big place but there are a lot of words.  Words can unite people. A well-crafted story can take the reader on a journey they couldn’t have gone on otherwise.  I myself have lived many lives through the eyes of another by reading a good book or story…or a good blog.

Just last night I visited the blog of an individual who was not only a talented writer but someone who had a story to tell of a life that I am not well versed in. Through the words of that person I got a small glimpse into a life I wouldn’t have known.  A unique view.  I came away feeling enriched and inspired.

I was inspired enough to ask myself  “Why am writing, what is my message?”  There is no denying that I am compelled to write and now that I am doing it regularly, I feel uneasy and unsettled when I don’t.   Writing has become a part of me that I cannot live without. It is the air that I breathe and it has taken my soul.

I can pour my thoughts out on paper in a way I never could by just speaking.  The more I write, the easier it comes and the more I can produce at a given time.

I am a private and solitary person. I suffer from some social phobias and generally I have found much difficulty in communicating orally.  The written word gives me an outlet to the outside world.

I want to someday inspire others with my words, inspire the good to be great and the bad to be better… perhaps save the world a bit here or there.. a tiny bit of it or myself, anyway.  The world is a big place and I am but one person… I do dream. It may be stupid and it may be futile, but it is better to dream than to not to. So…here I am dreaming and writing away….And wishing you a…

 

Good Night….    Strawberryindigo.