Somebody Else's to them, whomever they may be.

Somebody Else's to them, whomever they may be.
How I feel after throwing a party...

Thanks for the visit!! :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Out of The Night That Covers Me

Written on Saturday, February 11th

Whitney Houston died today.


In 1985 or 1986 my young women's youth group went to one of her concerts for a youth activity. She was in her prime and performed beautifully. She wasn't who I was "in to" but it was a free concert, and I loved concerts, and she was someone very popular at the time. At this point her star was on the rise and she was vibrant, energetic and electrified with youth, beauty and talent that was spun sugar that rolled out like taffy across the audience. People loved her. Whether she was someone who was my "thing" or not was irrelevant, because I came away thinking the 12-13 yo's I was with were just as annoying as always but that she had some pipes and was amazing.

Whitney Houston was 48. The age difference between us just shy of 6 years. That's not a lot, especially as people in your generation are slowly starting to kick off.

I am not shocked that she died--with the drugs and the abuse, the rough living and the loss of confidence that the loss a beautiful talent can bring, and having your life splayed across tabloids and magazines for years, your life exposed with every move and mistake scrutinized--they haven't announced it yet--but of whatever killed her, truly, a broken heart would have been a part. I think it is so unfortunate that she wasn’t able to get it all under control before it had permanent repercussions: a tainted reputation, a damaged voice, and doubt. She definitely caught the tiger by the tail and, from what can be seen, never found out how to really let it go.

Her death is a marker of passing time. It is a marker of a generation that is aging and beginning to come to death and will come to death more and more frequently as time continues slipping onward.

It's not a "call to arms" to stop doing drugs, or drinking, or eating too much sugar and not enough fiber, not exercising, or whatever other nefarious behaviors people may be engaging in. We already know all of that. If you are doing or not doing then it's your choice to do or not to do.

No--her death is more of the quiet tolling of a somewhat distant bell. Something that you hear that is faint, but should be paid attention to.

The tolling calls out things like "Are you living the life you want?", "Are you utilizing your talents and skills in a way that brings you joy?", "Do you see beauty in your day-to-day living or do you trudge through a grey existence?", "Are you surrounded by people who care for you, love you, support you and encourage you?", even “What do you need to let go of to be happy?”

Sometimes life becomes a drudgery, something dissatisfying, something dismal that we don't want to be a part of. We get into known routines that can turn into ruts. Sometimes you can find yourself in a bucket full of crabs who can't do anything but tear down and hold back, people who don't want to build and move forward, people who would oppress and suppress your talent and your joy. Get out of the bucket. Climb out of the rut.

It doesn't matter so much what has been, or what has not been, what was had or has been lost. There is a great world out there full of joy, delight, experiences both good and bad that can give us richness and texture and growth.

If you are stuttering on the edge of an abyss that you would fall and disappear into, step back just once, and then again, and then again. Change your course. Reset your compass. You are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

An Introspective on...The View From Under the Bus

I wrote this this morning while reflecting on the dregs of these past few days, and weeks, and months. I just keep thinking about all of this human drama, and these nonsensical issues that are just stupid and unnecessary and are caused by a need to subjugate others to ones will, and to always have the last say. It is about power, bullying and unrighteous dominion.

We’ve been having some pretty significant conflict with some of our work partners.  Severe enough that we’ve had a handful of escalated meetings and some strong verbiage used. Several months back I purposefully stated and made it known that I knew that if these issues were not sorted out, discussed and repaired, that several months down the road we would be revisiting them. Sadly, I am right.

The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior and people rarely surprise you with true change. And so here we are…still.

The past two weeks have stretched and pulled me and I have learned a lot.

It has been interesting to see people who have complete denial down pat. It's not just something they “did once” or because “we don't agree on something perspective”-- it has been done so often that it is an actual trait and something that is not going to change.

I've also witnessed adult bullying at some of its ugliest and most manipulative, as well as matured-adult temper tantrums.

My conclusion: these particular people, along with scores of others, have been permitted these bad behaviors by many of those around them that turned a blind eye to dealing with the issue and the behavior because it was easier to work around them.

This would include parents and other family members, teachers through the years, friends, bosses and coworkers.

It is difficult to stand up against that kind of history. It is difficult to stand alone in the face of that type of behavior. It is difficult to be the one that is constant and trying to hold a standard in place. It is difficult to be the one that says "Enough!"

It is difficult because people fear the bully and they try to tell you that it's not really what it seems like. They try to sway you and tell you to get along and go along. But if you don't say “No,” if you don't stand for right, who will? Do you let them continue to destroy people and careers because it's "easier" to go along and get along? Do you say wrong is right just to get business done?

Information has come my way that indicates that these individuals that I have dealt with have always been this way. That they have always been "difficult," "known bullies," and "defiant." That they have never been team players and have always subjugated people around them to such misery that they got what they wanted so that people could get some peace.  Why the acceptance? Why the tolerance?

Essentially what this has done is just create chaos and obstructions for the rest of us down the road.  I have been tossed in to some pretty volatile situations, hot confrontations, lies, deceptions, whining, conniving, cheating, breaches of ethics and been privy to conflicts of interest that everyone else seems to be turning a blind eye to.  I have done my due diligence in discussing these issues and trying to decide how best to handle the varied situations I have been involved in.

I have tried to do right. I have tried to be a defender and a voice. I have tried to be as fair as possible. I have tried to provide good counsel. I have tried to move forward. You try the things that are supposed to work and sometimes they just don't.

The ugly fact is that no matter what goodness and honesty you practice, the wheels of the bus can still end up running across your back. But that's ok. When you're under the bus you're learning.  You may bleed a little and your eyes may sting with some hot tears, but you're learning...and that's not a bad thing for the next go-round that is inevitably coming your way.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Since Before Time We Have Been

"Since before time we have been.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey .
Life is a game of hide- and -seek .
We were never born and can never die.
I see him every time I see your picture or read your sentence structure. "
          February 8th, 2012--Written to me by Gus Scholtz--
                                            My friend, family friend, friend of my father.

The following was written on February 7th, 2012

Topsy Turvy day today.  Along with the other misc day-to-day comings and goings and things to deal with, it's my dad's death day.  I find I always introspect about him and end up writing about my feelings as I process this loss every year.  I don’t really plan on it, it just kind of happens and this year is no different.

And so here I am, orphaned daughter, wondering how 12 years can go by so quickly and yet still seem like an eternity. The memory of his death always pulls on me like a sucking void when the thoughts of it come around and there is no taking it back—and I think that every time.  There’s no taking it back.  There’s no changing it. 

Death is such a personal thing.  Everything you feel, all of your thoughts and memories and that ringing sadness that clings to you as an experience that brings itself around, at times, when you least expect it, and sometimes when you do, it’s all in you and sometimes there are words, but sometimes there is nothing but the sorrow.  It’s a lonely grief because it is persistent and always somewhere in the periphery.  Other people don’t know it, don’t feel it, because it is solitarily yours.  They may have their own, but yours is your burden to carry, your loss to feel, your sadness to pack. 

When people die they take a piece of you with them, and you’re always kind of looking at how to get that piece back, how to fill that space. But it’s changed and morphed and gone, there is no getting it back.  And so you are left with the shadows of smiles remembered, and wisps of memories that start to fade in your mind, and the hollow call that is never answered. The sad piece is that you try so hard to hold on to clarity, crispness and color.  You try to remember the feel of loving arms and the sound of a voice that was home to you, but your brain betrays you and it all begins to fade. 

If you are lucky, perhaps there is a recording of some sort of their voice and you have some happy photos to help jostle the memories loose from their tightly honeycombed cavern within your brain.  It’s a blessing to have those things, but even when you do, it’s not enough because it’s not them.  And it is them that you are actually craving and are what you are looking for.  These other things are only a pale consolation prize.

A few months ago my mom came across an old cassette tape of my dad’s.  Ecstatically I put it into the player thinking “His voice!  I’ve missed his voice!”  For the briefest of seconds he was there.  He was speaking in Portuguese and I only had a moment to register that he sounded a lot like my brother Andy.  Then he stopped speaking and there was nothing.  I thought “There must be more!” and looked down and saw the tape turning.  With a sudden realization I panicked as I realized the machine was eating the tape.  I stopped the tape and was able to pull the mess out without ripping the tape, but it was done for now as we didn’t want to risk another eating episode.

And so, just as fleetingly as I heard him, again, he was gone.  It wasn’t long enough to register and stick, only long enough to make a heart sigh and for ears to strain to remember every sound--but to fail.

Science fiction and fantasy are fun to think about but they are never real no matter how much we may play with it or wish it. Sometimes I dream about time machines and reincarnations and returns from distant journeys or secret missions.  Sometimes I dream of alternate endings or of changes in history or of events and choices.

Sometimes I indulge in scenario-vision and think about what should have been and is not.  Sometimes I think about the things that would be different if he were still around.  Sometimes I think about the injustices that he would never have permitted, of the defending that he would have provided, and the wall that he would have been between me and the buffetings of the world.  I dream about the conversations we would have had and the ideas and music and books we would have shared.  I think about how he would have reacted to any number of situations and peoples and scenarios. 

The reality is that no amount of speculation changes the end result.  No amount of wishing and fretting and dreaming can turn back time and change the end.  He is gone and is gone and is gone and he isn’t ever coming back…not to this life at least.

He has missed a lot and is missed a lot.

I'm a little blue with a tight throat and there are always tears that come...always.

And so time marches on...and so do we.