Morning Mist on Lake Mapourika, New Zealand by Richard Palmer (2008)
“Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss. It is necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good it is to live . . . the sum of all human wisdom will be contained in these two words: Wait and Hope.” ~ Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo
Well, we made it through the November nor’easter all right: no tree damage, no water damage, no loss of power. We were luckier than many people, for a change, and for that, I am truly thankful. I am also truly thankful that I no longer feel as if I am existing in a wind tunnel. One day is intriguing. Two days is numbing. Three days is irritating. Moving into the fourth day is like the waking dead: I can no longer tell if I am hearing the wind or if it is a constant buzzing in my ears. Oh well.
Many, many strange dreams in the past few nights: my father appeared in at least two, and that is always disconcerting. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel that I did not disappoint my father terribly before he died, but that is not the subject for tonight. Much too hard of a subject, and always leaves me depleted for a long time, and since I am beginning the post in an already depleted state, I will not even attempt to tackle something as weighty as that.
The other night I had this dream about being on a sinking boat. The dream was a complete metaphor for my life: the boat was cluttered and dirty and badly in need of a complete cleaning. And there was one other problem: there was no bottom in the boat. At some point, the boat fell (?) off the support beams on which it had been resting and flew through the air, landing atop the bottom of an old military vessel. The top of the boat and the bottom of the military vessel came together, and both pieces rushed forward into the ocean.
I thought to myself that some remedy had to be found other than the makeshift coupling of the two halves, otherwise, the ocean would be able to dislodge the two pieces, and we would surely sink. In the meantime, someone was complaining about washing the windows of the boat, which were not portholes, but panes of glass like a house, and no one could clean because there was too much clutter—boxes and storage bins and whatever else. I awoke from the dream crying because it was a fast-sinking ship, and I knew that, and just as certainly I knew that the boat in my dream was my life.
Last night I dreamed that I worked at Dillard’s again, and asked to have the home store back because that was always my favorite department. But instead of a home store, there were lawn mowers. Very strange. The weirdest part was that I had all of these great marketing ideas for different departments, and I decided that I should be the store’s roving marketing manager, going from department to department coming up with selling ideas. Also very strange as my marketing background is my least favorite part of my skill set.
So I’m still not sleeping well, even more so since the drop-off for trees and limbs that were felled by the storm is right behind the house in the parking lot of the community park that our house abuts. After Hurricane Isabel in 2003, the City set up a similar drop-off in the parking lot, but is was on the other side of the park, so the sound of the wood chipper and large trucks backing up with their beeping alarms was more removed; now, it is jarringly loud, and it seems to be right outside the bedroom window. It’s not, but that’s how it seems to my head. Lovely.
“The weight of the world is love, under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction.” ~ Allen Ginsburg
Anyway . . . I have had the following quote on my mind for days, but for the life of me, I cannot find out who said it originally (if anyone knows, please pass along the information): Do what you love, and the rest will follow.
Now, I know that there is a book entitled Do what you love and the money will follow, but that is not the sentiment that I am pondering.
Do what you love . . .
What do I love, exactly? I thought that I loved to write, more than anything else in the world. But lately, I have come to question that belief, especially since I am having such a hard time piecing together a coherent blog post. What kind of writer is that? I sit down at these keys everyday, but I do not write everyday. More often than not, I open a computer game and play mindlessly for hours, attempting to lull myself into fatigue. I feel more often than not that I am existing in an endless fog.
Let me pause here. I know that I am depressed, considerably so. That I am not taking my usual dose of antidepressant is not helping matters. Granted. However, I am depending upon samples from my doctor, and I am trying to stretch those as far as they go. No one needs to tell me that this is not how you take a medication that needs to be maintained at a constant level in order to fight the chemical imbalances that lead to clinical depression. I know all of this.
I also know that my particular antidepressant costs over $200 without prescription coverage, which I still don’t have because of the ongoing battle with my health insurance. Not even worth going into that old scenario.
And even though I know that not having my medication is affecting me, and November is affecting me, and being just above poverty level is affecting me, and the upcoming anniversary of my dad’s death is affecting me, and the upcoming holidays are affecting me . . . wait, I lost the subject of that sentence. In other words—everything in the world is affecting me.
“A fierce unrest seethes at the core, of all existing things: it was the eager wish to soar, that gave the gods their wings.” ~ Don Marquis
Last night I was standing at the sink doing dishes (because the dishwasher no longer works because this is the best possible time for yet another appliance to break), anyway, I was doing dishes and crying. Weeping, actually, and no, it wasn’t because I was washing dishes. Why so sad, joker asks?
Let’s see, other than the litany mentioned above, Corey burned his arm two nights ago, bad burn with scalding water, but he has no health insurance. As I applied antibiotic ointment and dressing, all I could think of was that burns get infected so easily. Corey shrugged it off, but I’ve been watching it carefully. It seems to be healing well, but still . . .
And then, the dryer isn’t working right. The dishwasher is now broken. The house as a whole is in horrible shape, cluttered, dirty, depressingly in disrepair. I used to be so anal about cleaning, every weekend, top to bottom. Now, I cannot run the vacuum for the clutter. Did I mention that I cannot write? My phone has been turned off, and basically, I hate life. To be more specific, my life. I hate my life.
Don’t misunderstand. I do not hate the people in my life. I love the people in my life. They are probably the one thing that sustains me at the moment. But my life, per se? The circumstances of my life? I hate, h-a-t-e it. I want to go back to work. I want to have a career again. I don’t want to feel like a burden for which Corey must bear the full weight. I don’t want my spouse to feel that he is a caretaker. That gets old, fast.
I want to sleep through the night, wake up in the morning, get dressed, and go to work.
That I should be happy that I awaken each morning with a roof over my head and some food in my fridge . . . yes, I know that. We’re talking emotions here. Logically, I know that I have so much for which to be grateful. Logically, I know that millions upon millions of people have it so much worse. Logically, I know that in the big scheme of things, my problems are a tiny little puddle in comparison to the monsoons that invade so may people’s lives.
Yes, I know that. Does it makes me seem ungrateful to say that knowing that, I still feel as if I am slowly losing my mind? Losing patience with everything? Losing the ability to cope? Probably, yes, I probably seem ungrateful.
But damn, it just feels as if I am existing, counting days, not living. That’s it. It took me all of these words to get to the heart of it: existing, not living. I want to enjoy life again. I want to be the woman I used to be, the woman who took pleasure in small things, who thrived on stress and pressure, who laughed more, bantered frequently, and bemoaned fate less.
“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.” ~ Sylvia Plath
Do what I love and the rest will follow . . . such a seemingly innocuous platitude. Perhaps even good advice. But how do I do what I love when I can no longer identify what I love? And what is it that will follow? What is the rest?
How did I get to this place in my life, this place at which life is a calendar filled with numbers but not with days? How does anyone get here? What scares me the most is the fear that perhaps I have lost hope.
Lost my way? Is my path occluded? Have I forgotten to pay attention to the journey in my single-minded pursuit to survive? Yes, maybe that’s it. Maybe I have allowed myself to get so caught up in counting the days until our situation changes that I have completely forgotten that life is to be lived, not endured.
What do I love? I love to write, to read, to engage my mind, to watch the sun set, to walk along the shore, to find a shell, to smell the rain, to discourse, to converse, to contemplate, to cherish, to embrace. I love the smell of a baby’s skin and the scent on the air after I have a bath. I love a cup of tea and a good movie. I love freshly cut herbs and spring blossoms. I love the sound of water and the blue of the deep ocean. I love the wind in my face and the touch of the first snow on my lashes. I love the company of good friends and the peace of the mountains in the fall. I love to listen to good music on a Sunday afternoon, and I love the freedom to sing at the top of my lungs in the shower.
I love to be loved, to feel love, to exude love, to share love.
“Life is too short, or too long, for me to allow myself the luxury of living it so badly.” ~ Paul Coehlo
Do what I love? That is so much harder than it seems. Life is so much harder than it should be. Please don’t think me small-minded, and yet, why do I take the time in my stream-of-consciousness to apologize, to care what other people think? Isn’t that always the way?
I have some pondering to do, some searching. Perhaps, though, my search has already brought me to this place of realization: I must get back to myself somehow, before the bottom of the boat falls out and I find myself at sea, a castaway along with the scattered debris that is my life.
I am reminded of a poem by Raymond Carver, one of my favorites:
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth
Yes. To feel beloved and to love. Perhaps that is truly all that is necessary.
More later. Peace.
Damien Rice’s “Delicate”
9 thoughts on ““Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is far worse than the suffering itself—and no heart has ever suffered when it’s gone in search of its dreams.” ~ Paul Coelho”
Oh how i wish I was there with you now to put my arms around you and assure you that everything WILL be ok. Life is a bitch sometimes, totally unfair and each day seems to blend into the next. Just when you think things can’t get any worse they do and you wonder to yourself if this is Karma for past misdemeanors?I can empathise with everything you are going through but never give up hope.What has kept me going through times like this may sound weird but here goes. Although I am not a deeply religious person(I was brought up in a strict Catholic household but several years ago decided to embrace Judaism) I am spiritual and truly believe that there is a higher power looking out for us and none of us is given more than we can handle. I really do believe that we are each part of a master plan and that some higher force is at work. I told you it was a bit weird but it what has sustained me through the darkest times of my life. Just when it all seems too much, something will happen that restores your faith in life.
Know that there are many of us who care for you.
Big hugs my beautiful friend.
I don’t think that it is a bit weird at all. Part of me has always wished that I could have the kind of faith that other people possess, in whatever religion they believe, but the truth is that I do not have that kind of faith. I do consider myself to be deeply spiritual, however, with a firm belief in the mysticism of life, the inherent relationship between humans and nature, and the sense that miracles of some sort do occur. Having said that, it’s time like these that I feel myself floundering. My rational side knows that it is a side effect of not being on medication, something that I long ago reconciled myself to, and I am not ashamed of my depression as I know that it is not something that I cause any more than it is something that I can control, but how I wish that I did not suffer from this condition.
I do wish that we lived close to each other as I have found you to be one of the most reliable sounding boards that I have ever encountered in my life, and it gives me a sense of peace to know that you are out there (however far away), thinking about me and wishing me well. Thank you for being such a dear friend. I mean that more than I can possibly convey.
Indeed. I wish the universe would be done already and stop twisting and turning, just rest for awhile.
My thoughts exactly. I need time to catch up to where the universe is going.
Hey, stop hitting yourself – it only hurts!
I don’t like giving advice – nobody takes it anyway, but perhaps your way out is really through the little things that you enjoy. The way to beat a steep hill is to cut little steps into it – I mean, don’t even try to clean the whole house, just clean the stairs and then do something you enjoy. And no computer games. Computer games do not put you to sleep – computers and televisions in general are extremely strong stimuli that keep you awake. And go for long, bracing walks everyday – movement helps to calm the body. Visit friends, even if you don’t feel like it they’ll cheer you up just a little bit more, and every little bit counts. Stop apologizing and start being nice to yourself, this isn’t your fault.
Oh, and ask your doctor whether you can take St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), otherwise known as Tipton’s Weed, as a supplement to your medication – it’s a strong herbal remedy which has proved to be effective, and is used in Britain and Europe a lot, and you can normally get it over the counter very cheaply.
For someone who doesn’t like giving advice, I do go on a bit, I know, but the main point is – take care of yourself.
Andrew’s right. I totally forgot about St. John’s Wort. I take it daily in the winter.
Thank you for your kind words. Feel free to give advice–it’s always appreciated. I understand what you are saying about computer games. I get so wrapped up in trying to win, that two hours pass, and I have accomplished absolutely nothing. They are too absorbing with absolutely no benefit. I also agree about the walking. It’s something that I wanted to start doing again. I used to walk three miles a day and felt so much better for it. I had plans, and then the weather turned very ugly.
You and JK are right about the St. John’s Wort. I used to take it a long time ago. Forgot about it. I’ll have to look into that.
Thanks for writing.
Love, love, love Damien Rice.
With the culminations of bruises, cuts, and scars I’ve acquired over these past few years and with an uneven current pulling me along…I guess all any of us can do is hope. Hope that the lessons will be worth it, the tears will wash in clarity and the sun finds our smiles again.
But never apologize. Ever. More often than not your words give my thoughts life, and I appreciate every word you spare.
Oh, and another good one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_Af1qeouMc
Too funny that you gave me a link to Sheryl Crowe’s “No One Said It Would Be Easy.” I was debating over using that tonight, but I think that I already have. Too lazy to search my own blogs. That is one of my all-time favorite songs. And speaking of which, I just created a new playlist tonight called Mostly Melancholy, which includes Sheryl and Damien.
Thank you for your comment about my words. After not writing for several days, I just let forth and everything gushed out. Never one to censor myself, I just left it all in. It’s been a helll of a year or two, hasn’t it?