The sharp intrusion of reality

I’ve been having nightmares lately…for a few months. I exist in a world mostly of my imagination, good or bad. My work consists of rote performances allowing my mind to wonder and my days off are almost the same just a different environment. My brain’s thoughts trail along as anyone’s would I suppose; things to be done, reflections of the last day or an incident, conversation, news report, and such. I’m not lonely, I almost avoid the company of others – a history littered with disappointments (maybe I set the bar too high or maybe other people are just as self-involved and indifferent as I am – moot point at this stage of my life). I live in a present and imagine a future as  white space; a void that is forgiving of disappointments and unrealized goals. Occasionally I give in to pondering ‘end-of-life’ scenarios and think “what a waste of a life” and I feel sadness -or is it self-pity? Either way, I remind myself that I’m one of many or it could be worse or if there’s a purpose *i.e. a God with a plan, then I must be fulfilling my role or it would change. The circuitous pattern of a life lived alone is that the lack of interpersonal ‘drama’ creates an almost hypnotic energy that is very difficult to either boost or maintain an above ‘normal’ level of motivation to do anything.

This morning my phone rang – it seldom does – and I glanced at the face knowing it’s a number from across the continent or some other place and time that doesn’t exist in my world. I never answer these calls imaging them some survey or such thing. My glance turning into a startled wide stare as I took in the name displayed and then turned off the ringer. A message was left – even more seldom does that happen. The one and only time this person has called me was to relay my fathers death, a man I had not had contact with in my entire life but a handful of times – the last time I found the courage, knotted throat and halting expression, to tell him I didn’t want to hear from him anymore – there’s no reason to feign a relationship that has never existed. My grandmother, who I barely knew also has already died so I can’t imagine why the call.

Reality is a rude interruptor, a reminder that there’s a hard world beyond the comfortable musings where I live. I tell myself the call could be benign but how likely is that when the one and only call was a death? I remind myself that my brother is the only living link between me and the caller and this doesn’t bode well.

Today reality will follow and tug at me like a demanding child until I give it my full attention. Meanwhile I will pretend that there is some small matter I have to attend to later in my day when more important things are done – it’s nothing really.

Daily Prompt: Gone

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It’s easy to vanish when you are already living on the edge of existence.

Disclosure: this is boring mind-thoughts: nothing to be gained by reading this.

The last time I wrote was about a month ago. I went on vacation and came back to face reality – which is always a jarring transition, and somewhere between there and here I vanished ~~~ my purpose, my dreams, my plans. I’m artificially ”living” my life and it feels like a black-hole.

I got lost somehow. I go to work and come home and do whatever chores need to be done. I left behind my plans to hike the AT somewhere in pre-vacation mind-fog. I have not given up the plan…just haven’t thought about it much. And, here it is one month later and I’m feeling a little lost – a little unprepared. I have spent so much time in the last year consumed with reading or thinking about the AT that this past month has been one of those dreams that bother you awake but then you can’t remember what it was.

It’s now early December. If I am to start my hike in March or April (still undecided about the whole thing) then I have approximately three months of preparation: emotional, physical and practical.

All I feel right now is tired.

I started the day shift this past week and, after three days, I hate it as much as I thought I might. It may just be the transition. It might be a chronically chaotic shift and I’m only deceiving myself, “just give it some time to adjust”. It’s the lack of daylight, the holiday season, the lack of routine or purpose to my days ~ and I feel drained, I just want to read (“escape”) and sleep. This is not conducive to getting prepared for a six-month rigorous journey.

Tomorrow the sun is supposed to shine. I need to get up ‘early’ and get outside for a walk…hopefully the sun and brisk temperatures will help dissipate the heaviness in my head. I need to ‘get moving’, ‘get back on track’, ‘get out of my own way’ and move this plan forward – move my body and my mind. I need to find my way back.

That’s the plan anyway.

Daily Prompt: Vanish

It’s a short list

The things that make me feel optimistic

Reaching the mountain summit and taking in the view on a clear day

Leisurely driving with open blue-sky, a few puffy clouds and sunshine

Sharing a really substantial conversation in a cozy atmosphere restaurant – with wine

Working (hard) in my yard and finishing the task satisfactorily

Kayaking on a slow-moving river

Holidays

Spring season

Discover Challenge: The Poetry of List-Making

Authentic isn’t Social media

This challenge topic is related to my Daily Prompt entry Urgency is all Relative. I breezed through Erica’s entry but I did not pay much attention to the noted articles and books. I read the post for the ‘gist’ of this challenge but I already had a couple of ideas to write about.

Nothing about “social media” is authentic. It’s all an artificial atmosphere created (by those who create such things as Facebook) to make money. It morphs into other things beyond – and I might be generous here – the simple and ‘innocent’ design of creating an immediate and artistic way to communicate to groups of people, as all things unleashed to the general public tend to do. If you want to be authentic, ask a friend to meet for lunch and have a conversation – face-to-face – without once looking at your smart phone. Try it.

The other thought I had about authenticity is that people sometimes confuse being “authentic” with the license to be rude. For example, when someone dresses in a way that is, lets call it “attention grabbing” and then they notice people looking twice, staring or otherwise doing exactly what was intended by the outfit, these same people become angry and act out. If you don’t want people ‘gawking’, don’t dress or act in a way that demands attention. If you dress the way you do because you like it, it’s “you”, then it won’t really matter who looks and what they think. That’s being authentic. I wear jeans, T-shirts and my hair really (really) short because it’s my preference – I’m being authentic – and I get looks but I don’t care. People can like or not like how I look, it’s not about them, it’s about me being me. By the same tolken I am not offended by being (accidentally) called “Sir” or when asked why I have my hair short shaved.

That’s my brief post. If I decide that, after puzzling over the topic more, I want to elaborate – I’ll ‘edit’.

BTW: I have no idea what is meant by “radical authenticity” so I didn’t address it.

Discover Challenge: authenticity

The subtlety of ‘daring’.

Stream of Consciousness:

It’s so subtle, daring…to be yourself, to speak up, to express your opinions, to smile for no outwardly discernible reason, to chuckle out-loud when you read something funny, to openly observe a stranger’s child entertaining themselves and remember what freedom of spirit was like and unaware of judgment, to dress in something comfortable and not at all stylish, to tune-out the negative conversations around you and drift into a happier world of your imagination, to know each day that the world can and might get much worse but live like it won’t, to be aware that you never know when you won’t be here anymore and disregard the criticism of ‘being morbid’, to wonder what someone else’s hidden life might be like, to show compassion when other’s feel disgust, to turn your face up toward the warmth of the sun and smile and not care what someone might think, to buy a bottle of wine in the morning, to drive under the speed limit, to listen to non-contemporary music/radio with your windows down at a stop light, to walk along the sidewalk and not move out of someone else’s way, to stop coloring your hair, to eat out…alone, to exist completely comfortable with yourself and who you are, for whatever reason, and let the world turn into what it will and know that it doesn’t matter because you can only be who you are.

Daily Prompt: Daring

Disasters create united societies, the dilemma is, how can we be united without calamity?

It’s a very short but quick read book by Sebastian Junger, TRIBE. The cover flap introduction was, for me, a little deceiving because it made reference to how difficult it is for service men/women to reintergrate back into society after service. What the book is really about is the human experience and how we as a ‘modern’ society have become ‘sick’ (my word) because we no longer need nor appreciate each other the way humans do when part of a small ‘tribe’ or culture (or in service together and their lives depend on relying on each other – even if they don’t like each other). I don’t have the book right in front of me so I won’t be writing any quotes here but Mr. Junger’s book is so appropriate for our current times and makes so much (common) sense that I think EVERYONE should read it.

One example of how people pull together and work together regardless of socio-economic standing or race or religion, etc., is when there is a human-created or natural disaster. Mr. Junger also noted the well documented facts that mental illnesses including depression, suicide,  & schizophrenia not only don’t get worse during disaster but the conditions and incidences actually improve during this time. People rise to the occasion, per se, when they are NEEDED, when they feel that they are contributing to their society as a whole. Once the acute phase of a disaster is over, for example when relief comes for those suffering from a flood or earthquake, then ‘modern’ society returns and everyone goes back to living independent of each other with their previous discriminations and biases.

Everyone goes back to being sick.

Voluntarily.

Mr. Junger’s premise, small societies of people such as when humans lived in tribal cultures (btw: there still exists in far reaches, away from modern man small tribes of people) who work less and are happier than those of us living within our ‘first world’ because every one person matters to the whole, everyone contributes what they can, everyone shares what they have, everyone takes care of each other. There is no ‘boss’, or hoarder, or out-cast (if someone does something egregious such as stealing or trying to establish a pecking order with themselves at the top, they are punished and depending on the ‘crime’ it might be death or banishment). We have a lot to appreciate and be thankful for in our modern world, unfortunately we are no longer appreciative of and thankful for each other.

The dilemma: if we are more inclusive and without prejudices, if we share and help each other during calamity, how do we recreate that kind of behavior without disaster? Can we?

Daily Prompt: dilemma