Breathe

I am trying to remember that all is not as the dream I woke to this morning.  It was a graphic dream about all items in my wallet being stolen in a restaurant, and when I went to get into my car, I had the body of my car, but all the interior was stolen from it as well.  A person who is an acquaintance in real life was with me in the dream, trying to remind me to breathe.  I am finding that this morning I am very tense and stressed, feeling like I had no sleep at all last night.  I need to breathe, but am holding my breath most of the morning.  I tried to meditate, to do things that relax me, to no avail at this point.

Could be triggered by events over the last few days.  Things moving fast, things breaking, unexpected emergencies that require attention to get them to not get worse.

Breathe, deeply.  Breathe to have life.  Breathe because it cleans our body and soul.  Breathe. Just breathe.

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Frustration

So.  It has been a few days since I wrote. I have had many good things on my plate.  And now I have had some frustrating things.

Good things are time with my daughter and time to have with the her being with her son.  Getting caught up, with her has been a joy.  Her having time to be mom again after me being solo with him.

Frustration is trying to get sorting done at my condo.  It seems the stars are aligned against this.  It is forcing me to have to probably do it in one big sweep.  Okay, so then I will be a lot less sentimental.  It will get done, no doubt.  But it will be one big swipe.

It is forcing me to do another project I should have finished long ago.  Today, that is the goal – to get a lot of that done and under my belt.  Maybe then, the frustration with the condo will go away.  One can only hope.

Things

There are events in our lives the force us to realize that our positions are just things.  A major disaster such as Hurricane Harvey, where flood wash away all you have but the lives of you and your family, a house fire, a  war, or something as mundane as a divorce.  When you lose things such as photos, grandmothers china, your first pair of shoes, or your child’s birth certificate.

When my mother died in 2012, I got into several boxes of hers that had not seen the light of day since 1948.  These were moved literally from one side of the United States and back over the course of her life time. They were articles on how to make aprons, curtains, and doing other home making ideas, most things my mother never had time to do.  The energy to move these behemoth boxes, plus the money spent to do so, was a waste.  To me, but not to her.  One mans junk is another mans treasure.

Now as I am sorting through things from my life, I am looking at items as, 1) is this needed and will it be used 2) does it make me happy 3) will anyone value it after I am gone.  If it gets a no to all three, it goes.  Even if it gets 2 no’s, it is gone, but maybe just to someone else.  If it gets one no, it is saved for now.  What I am finding using this system is that so far, about 2/3’s of the things are leaving my house.

My mother would be horrified.  I have become her sister, Ruth.  But why keep something that does nothing but bring bad memories unless it is something that I know for certainty one of my children wants?  So for now, I am Ruth, or ruthless, in this.

Homecoming and Departure

Today my daughter comes home for a while!  I know when she leaves next, I am going also.  It has been a long time since I made a major move.  I have shuttled around Tucson from 1974 to the present, and now will be going about 1,000 miles to Jacksonville, Florida.  We are on the Navy, See the World, plan.

I am going to leave physically many dear friends, many memories, many accomplishments, and defeats behind.  I will take these with me, and use the wisdom and support of my friends, who even though they do not  want me to go, we will still be in contact.  I will build a new life on the foundation I take from Tucson.

And we will be back.  It is the Navy plan, and we will come back to Tucson for visits and maybe in the end to stay.  Our door will be open to those who come to us.

It is surreal.  Sarah coming home means my leaving.  Sarah has found what makes her feel useful, and that is so important.  She is filled with joy, and prospects for her and her son.  I will support her as best as I can.

Sarah has been gone since my birthday in early February.  I have seen her go from a child to an adult in this time.  She has self-confidence, is self-directed, and she has gained so much poise and inner beauty.  I am blessed that Sarah found her notch in the world, and is going for it full force.

Has it been a challenge, her being gone? Yes, but not a chore, not something I regret helping her with, and not something I feel alone in.  Am I excited she will be back? Absolutely, as I have missed her. So has her son.

Homecoming and departure eminent.

Held Hostage By My Past

I have had to face a reality.   I have been held hostage by my past.  It is what having chronic, complex PTSD does to you.  And it is not easy to escape this prison.  I am determined to keep working on this until I do.

The reason it is complex is that there are multiple reasons I have this.  It was not just one event.  It involved years and multiple people that share one thing – they had a negative impact on me as a person.  Some of these were people who actually were wounded themselves and did damage to me for my “own good”.  I do not believe they were truly trying to hurt me, but that does not change what happened.

Other people I was the target for their viteral.  They wanted to hurt me and break me.  They wanted to control me, and to damage me, then move on and say, “Look at that pathatic”.  I did not go this way for them, but the damage still took a toll.

Chronic, because it happened over most of my life.  I will always have this with me, as it changed my brain chemistry.  But I am going to try to change my brain chemistry back to something different.  It is a daily struggle, one most do not see or know I have.  It will show its existiance at unexpected moments, where something will trigger me.

Yes, I am damaged.  I am broken.  I am not destroyed.  I am not without strength.  This is what those of us who have disabilities face.  I am not a victim.  I survive.  Throw me your worst, I will maybe fall, but I guarentee, I will get back up and keep fighting.  I am not a diamond, I am a pearl.  My beauty comes from the adversity I fight.

Real vs Something else?

Lately, much has been made of what is real, or reality.  In our society today, reality is becoming more often based on what we are told, or programmed to believe.  I am referring to the idea of “reality television”, which has now had a high impact on what reality in everyday life is like.

I have watched bits of most of the reality shows that have come into production until 2016.  At that point, I gave up my cable, and thus the ability to watch current television.  I now use my DVD player, and watch movies or old television shows through Netflix and Hulu.  I am reading more, and more diversely.  I have given up reading newspapers per say, and read via the internet a wide variety of press that gives me a more balanced perspective on things.  I can read both things liberal and conservative, and in-between.  I then can choose what I see as the truth, or reality. As such, I am taking back my freedom of thought, and the responsibility it carries.  What follows is observation and my interpretation of what is happening.

The phenomenon of reality television grew out of game shows.  These were mostly entertaining, and actually made people think.  Some, like “The Dating Game”, were funny, some like “Jeopardy”, were challenging.  The “Amazing Race”, “Big Brother”, and other shows like this are games.  May the best man/woman/team win.  However, some of these shows showed humanity in a very degrading way – contestants who were in marriages using sex to gain position and try to thus win.  Maybe these people would do this in real life, maybe not.

The cooking shows, also reality, are based on a talent, as are the music, tattoo, and dance shows.  While there is the occasional bias, most of these actually manage to keep the best of the lot to the top of the last show.  These I enjoy.  The dramas run along the artistic taste.  Can there be behind the scene things? Of course, but these shows at least try to keep it to the talent, and not the win at any cost of the former mentioned shows.

Another group of reality shows are the ones that grew out of Soap Operas. These were run during the day, advertizing soap products, to housewives and home keepers, as a diversion to their “dull existence”.  I knew people to become so invested in these that they thought that this was reality, and that the lives of the people on the screen were real.  Luke and Laura’s wedding on one of these took some of my classmates to ditch class at the university and watch.

Theses shows then moved to-night time, via “Dallas” and shows like this.  Again, after a short time, people could not tell the difference between these as shows and real life.  Many people thought that these actors lived as the people in the shows, and rabid fans would come  up to them on the street and engage in conversation about their character as if they were really suffering the pains they did on the show.

It was a short step from this to the various “Housewives” productions.  Where wealthy women are playing out the fantasy of the soap opera shows in these shows.  Some of these had been just ordinary people before their shows.  Unfortunately, this gave the perception that this was normal, everyday life for all people.  If you did not live this way, then something was wrong with your life.  Some people went to the length to try to emulate the life style of some of these women.  Actually, most of this was pure acting after a short while, however “The Real Housewives of..” became a standard.  After all it is “real”, right?

A combination of these reality shows was born.  Some of these shows were short-lived, and some became a longer term event.  People competing for jobs, bosses spying on employees (actually one of these was excellent as the bosses fixed their companies and helped their employees), or creative ideas that competed for funding.  One of these shows took off by storm.  “The Apprentice”.  “You’re Fired”, became a cult phrase in short order.  Fortunately, most CEO’s realized that treating employees in the manner this show did would not create a healthy working environment, so kept to the models that worked for them.

The public took it differently.  They took that the opinion of the head CEO in this show was supreme, and he always was making the best choice.  They took that his crass and angry outbursts were how a functioning CEO acts and does business.  It was tough, and devotees learned that you had to be tough and crass to succeed.  You had to bully the opposition, and if you were not up to this, or the backstabbing of competitors, you would be fired.  The head CEO attained not only stardom, but a cult following that would walk off the top of a high building following him.  Everything he said was gospel, and he was, as he told people over and over, the smartest and the best businessman ever to walk the Earth.

After a time, this CEO started to believe his own hype, or maybe he actually believed it before the show.  Only those closest to him will ever know the truth of this. He entered the lives of those who were not devotees, but because his devotees were so inflamed with their love of him, by entering politics.  He believed that with time all people would love him, believe the reality of everyday life as he saw it, and follow him blindly, as his reality devotees did. His addiction to his own reality and inability to live in a life beyond the celebrity has created an instability in our society.  What is real, and what is, well something else. Unfortunately, “You’re fired” has now become “You’re fake” and he continues to try to get all to believe his reality.

Reality is what I am seeing now without the regular doses of television telling me what is real.  It is seeing my neighbor in need and stepping out of myself to help.  It is taking walks in nature, where I can touch, see, and smell what is there, not imagine it from a screen.  It is getting and giving affection to my children and grandchildren, not experiencing this by watching others do it.  It is also the ability to discern what is historically accurate based on reading multiply sides of an issue, and doing this with current events.  It is being real myself, and with myself.  It is not taking someones word for what is real, and denying my existence, experience, and learning.  Giving up ones freedom of thought is the first step toward giving up all freedom.  It is the first step to accepting tyranny.  We can all take back our freedom by doing this one little thing – do not give up your freedom of thought, or what is real in your life.

Flooding in Pasadena 1930’s style

My mother also lived in Pasadena, California most of her growing up years, every season except summer.  In this, she saw a few things put in place that were good for the Los Angeles area. She met the man who drew the original plans for the original freeway system.  Without this in place, Los Angeles would have been a real mess to travel around in. And she even saw the plans implemented, and often commented on how effective the freeways were. She remembered Riverside as being way out off town, and when I took her back to Los Angeles in 2010, she was amazed that LA was now past Riverside.

Mom also talked about the massive rains and how they flooded the streets.  This was before the drainage was implemented.  She said how it was so ironic that New Yorkers were always talking about subways, but that these would not have worked due to the high water table, and the rain floods. One memory of these rains for her was how polite the drivers where.  Usually if they saw a pedestrian, they would slow down and try not to splash them.

If you have ever been in an area of LA, one thing you may have noticed is that the curbs are very high.  This was originally to funnel water during high rains.  Mom said even with that, the rains would go over the curbs, and she remembered crossing the street by jumping from bumper to bumper on cars.  She said this was common, and drivers expected it, making sure people could cross this way.

Driving now in Los Angeles is not so friendly.  However, it is much larger. It also has drainage.  But they still have the seasonal heavy rains.