Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ingredient 3: haunting addictions - Blog5

Ingredient 3/Blog 5: Not just addictions, but haunting addictions: that's what is going into the mixing bowl. You might think that this blog is going to be a barbiturate, amphetamine, benzo, and narcotic salad drizzled atop with bourbon and cheap vodka. But let the guilty and self-righteous fall, because this little dish could just as easily be contrived of power, control, abuse, food (particularly those delicious nutter butter creme thingies), cars, porn, exercise, cleaning, hair pulling, skin cutting, god, anorexia, shopping, coupon-cutting, stealing, sex, adrenaline...the list goes on. Anything can be an addiction, but to make people feel less like committing suicide, doctors have contrived special names for any addiction that doesn't fall under the shame of substance abuse, and the main categorical name for the least socially deplorable of habitual self-destruction seems to be "disorder." Don't get me wrong: mental disorders do exist outside of addiction, but the very discreet fact of the matter is that we - as a society - don't want to admit that the "scarlett A(ddiction)" should be donned by the kleptomaniac and self-mutilator as much as by the heroin junkie or alcoholic.
It's important to understand that the addiction precedes the HAUNTING addiction just as the living body precedes its ghost, and the body of addiction is a thing conceived by the tainted unity of unexplored darkness and the human conscience. It is pushed through the shadowy, bruised birth canal of pain and regret. And shame...we mustn't forget shame, for not only does it line the addict's passage into hiding, but shame boasts the most potent DNA of any addiction. Once born unto the addict, he (the addict) finds himself overcome with conflicting emotion: a strange kind of treacherous deliverance that is instantly mistaken for peace combined with a recoiling feeling of grotesque disownment, but as the addiction gains its nourishment through carefully prepared denial heated to perfection by the red-hot flames of self-hate, it begins to grow into a strong and willful existence. In no time at all, the addiction becomes bigger, meaner, and louder than its parent; yet, in so doing, it becomes a sweet beckoning thing with razor-sharp fangs that the addict begins to covet and protect at all cost, because let's face it, we never wanted the responsibility of exploring and ruling over our own cavernous darkness, did we? We don't wake up in the morning wanting to tumble face-first into the canyon of our pain; therefore the precious poison of our addictions fill the hollows of our mind with the beautifully ugly distraction it so craves. So, yes. It's better to keep an umbilical cord attached to the monster that we believe is strong enough to fight the darkness for us, when the truth of this matter is: the monster is and always has been fighting US, not our pain, and on some very tangible level we have always known this, and here's where the sickness becomes paramount: the development of the belief that the struggle is ALL THERE IS. The addict - regardless of the vice of choice - believes that the hurt and turmoil is all she gets; it's all she's good for; it's all she deserves. And wrapped in this belief, the addict wears the body of her addiction in place of her own.
So, at what point does an addiction transform to a HAUNTING addiction? To a bodiless, ghostly horror? Answer: when the poison is no longer enough to silence the Who and What that we really are. When we remain awake, alert, and aware of the pain despite the monster's best attempt to bury it, we begin to betray the betrayer. And oh how the monster will fight to keep us wanting to need it. The monster doesn't want to be orphaned or abandoned any more than we do. The monster will haunt us right along side the very thing that gave it life. And MAKE NO MISTAKE. Any such monster -to whom we give our time and attention in a failing effort to avoid having to face what we BELIEve to be the unfaceable- IS AN ADDICTION, no matter how the doctors of the world try to label us. It haunts us; it consumes us; it becomes us...and we let it because losing ourselves to the addiction is so much easier than finding ourselves amongst the pain...everyday.
But, it's when we stop running that we can breathe, and when we can breathe long enough and deep enough, the stench of addiction can no longer be ignored...outrun. It is at this point of realization that we cut the cord and become free, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. This is where the haunting begins, and if we let it, the monster's ghost will create such fear within that we find ourselves reduced -once again- to limited choices, BUT they ARE choices nonetheless. We can resurrect the bastard and restart the waterless marathon that dehydrates us of our very being, or...we turn and we fight. We fight for the right to love ourselves. We fight for the gift of life, of love, of choice. We fight for the courage to feel the pain so we can feel the solace that awaits us on the other side of it. We fight for the safety that is in the lesson. And maybe as the battles begins, none of this seems obtainable, or even real. So maybe, at first, we fight for no other reason than the dark and lonely reality that NOT fighting is a failing option we have already tried...again and again.
The hard truth is, even in victory, the haunting is likely to continue from time to time. But what merely haunts us cannot become us and without becoming, the thing that haunts can have no solidity: We can walk right through it, smile, and never look back.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ingredient 2: rivers - Blog4

Honestly, I have no idea what I was thinking when this word made the List ten years ago, but everyone knows that if you skip an ingredient, your recipe's gonna suck. So. Um...rivers. Okay. They're nice. Tranquil. Made of water. Fish swim in them. They often connect a smaller body of water to a larger one...
Actually, in all seriousness, rivers are a perfect metaphor for life. So, let us pretend that it is this sort of depth I was after when I randomly plopped the word "rivers" into the first line of the List.
Like a river, life has a distinct flow to it. And there are big jagged rocks and fallen trees that break up the flow; forcing change, forcing choices. Sometimes we see the obstacles in time to counsel ourselves and/or others that may be along for the ride. Other times, we come around a bend and (seemingly) without warning we catch a tree limb to the face. Ah, yes. Life. Isn't it just a jolly, roaring wonder? I guess the point of the river metaphor (and it's obstacles) is to emphasize that no matter how distant or big the choices may be, we have to make them. If we are living, we are choosing. By breathing, we're choosing. In holding our breath, we're choosing. Even deciding to abandon the river and swim for a choice. But that's a whole other blog; for now, let us assume that we have the courage to stay in the water.
In the river, we must choose.
For instance, it's a choice to rely more on the life jacket than instinct and intuition; it's a choice not to wear a life jacket at all. It's a choice to pull others in need onto your raft and wrap them in warmth; it's a choice to push them back into the current if you should find that they wish to take more than you are willing to give; of course, how much you are willing to give is a choice, as well. It's a choice to use the oar, hand it off to someone else, or toss it away completely. We can choose to be the lifeguard or the drowning one; we can be the fish, the fishing pole, or the bait; we can be the rock or fallen tree; we can be the raft. Yet despite all of the infinite possibilities from which we have to choose, so many of us waste our time and potential trying to be the one thing that we simply cannot ever be: the river.
We can be OF the river, my friends, but that's the All that we get, and not only is it enough, it's more than any one of us can handle most of the time. In fact, we're so used to being overwhelmed that we fool ourselves into believing that if only we could be the flow itself, if only we could be the current, if only we could have all the control that the river has over its inhabitants, we could finally at peace...find stillness. We blindly play with this illogical thing, kneading it between mental hand and emotional fist, completely ignoring the simplest truth: rivers are motion. By their very nature they move, they change, and they challenge. Nobody climbs into a raft without expectations of the unpredictable, and if they do, they aren't paying attention. No one plunges into white-water without knowing that they are going to get really, really wet or without understanding that they're going to have to work almost too hard to avoid the looming obstacles accessorizing the river's natural flow. And even still, with this understanding and enormous exertion, the skilled rafter knows that not all obstacles will be avoided. The novice, on the other hand, will learn through observation, practice, collision, utter fear, hope, and reaction: all products of choice; each an impetus to choose. Yet no matter how skilled or unskilled we may be at manipulating life's current, we are never as skilled or unskilled as we think we are.
It is essential to note, too, that every bit of litter and waste with which we burden any river inevitably ends up in the same place. Just because you keep your own waters clean while contaminating someone else's, doesn't mean that you are free of the filth. There is but one source, one directional flow, and one ultimate destination.
Perhaps, though, the biggest detriment to all of this is hiding in the realization that inspite of - and as aptly put: BECAUSE of - the delicately designed and forged vessel of choice, the most important thing about the flow of life is: regardless of how many days we think we have left to either fight the current or float lazily along, time will always outrun the river, leaving us struck dumb when we are suddenly pushed out into the Ocean where the weight of that which we were unable to release will have to be considered, and

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ingredient 1: Dreams - Blog3

Dreams. What comes to mind at the mention of the word? For me, it conjures those ghostly tales that play out when our minds fall far enough into the nether regions of sub-consciousness to be so easily convinced of the unfathomable. Or, it brings to thought those ideas and goals that define our every waking choice until we either become them or relinquish them. Two entirely different ingredients, really, but each as capable of as much sweetness and bitterness as the other, and each influencing our palates more than we are ever willing to admit. But, for the sake of any potential readers that have an attention span as short and fickle as my own, I will focus only on the kind of dreaming that (i think) I had in mind when I wrote the List of "ingredients" ten years ago: The dreams we live with -or without- in our waking moments.
Dreams - or aspirations as the grown-ups say - are those grand things that begin right around the time we learn to walk, talk, and immitate the giants that intrude upon the tiny and perfect perspective of infancy and toddlerdom. They begin as fragments gathered from the shiny new world around us juxtaposed with the immeasurable reach of the undaunted imagination of the child we once were. These defining elements called dreams begin their formation before we understand the concept of impossibility, and by the limitlessness of the young mind, dreams are built with the strongest of materials: belief. Pure, unquestioned belief in...everything.
But, as we grow (in size, not insight), the years (and the influences that populate them) teach us to construct fences, blockades. We learn very quickly that we must keep our dreams in line with the reasonable and realistic lest we be let down by the harsh lessons of life. We are sized and suited with armor in preparation for disappointment before we can even pronounce the word "potential." So, we dress for success, but only of the ordinary, attainable kind. And as we begin to rein in our imaginations and solidify our limitations, we unwittingly commence cutting huge, gaping holes in the very thing that begets every aspect of life: inspiration. Without inspiration, there can be no ambition; and without ambition, dreams remain fruit on the vine: untouched, untasted...We dream of being astronauts, but are pulled back down to earth by the gravity of our own constricted ideas of "realistic." We dream of being Broadway stars, but instead portray the mundane - but safe - role of the audience member. We dream of being marine biologists, but faced with the challenge of difficult prerequisite courses and requirements that we believe to be outside the scope of our intellectual vision, we settle for annual visits to Sea World.
And life speeds on by without apology.
Our aspirations - whether shrinking or expanding - are essential to who we are. By expansion, they fill us with pride and wonder and the feeling that anything is possible; in shrinking, they leave us feeling confined, insignificant, and hopelessly predetermined. Here's the great thing about dreams, though: they're never lost, only forgotten; they're never dead, only resting, waiting; and they never, never agreed to any did.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fill These Pages (The List) Blog2

Dreams and rivers and haunting addictions
Lovers and hypocrites and dwindling prescriptions
Turmoil and sunsets and purpose and pain
Oceans and graveyards and secrets and rain
Forever and children and Angels of Sin
Mother and mountains and obsessing again
Failing and wanting and truth and forgiving
Bibles and waste and torture and living
Media and blindness and hopelessly preaching
Securities and wishes and students now teaching
Fiction and opinions and worship and touch
Saviours and warnings and the grudges I clutch
Self-pity and visions and love and decisions
Boredom and magic and unstitched incisions
Guidelines and panic and fortune and wine
Cold sheets and salvation and the existence of time
Today and weariness and anticipation
Beauty and focus and withered creations
Blame and breathing and Spirits that talk
Acceptance and seeking and Daddy's long walk
Memories and sleep and virgins and waves
Cycles and greed and the safety she craves
Doubts and carelessness and the vice to forget
Fables and backstrokes and the God I've not met
Changes and circles and Masters and sages
Profanity and certainty and old scattered pages
Caution and eternity and battles and dust
Intention and fury and do what you must
Merriment and serving and ghosts and ambition
Squared-off and needing and unwanted transition
Christ and commandments and celestial learning
Conflict and ego and tossing and turning
Judgement and sharing and distance and scars
Messiahs and devils and which Morning Star?
Hell's fire and burdens and the No-ones I trust
Me too; who asked you? I'll do what I must
There is no excuse not to fill these pages.

Cooking Without a Spoon - Blog1

So, here I am: diving into the world of "blogging." It's a wonder that it has taken me this long since I am such a word-whore, just dying to share my newly strung phrases with a world so eager to unstring things. Actually, it isn't a wonder at all. As much as I love writing sentences that are entirely too long and garnished with ridiculous amounts of commas and others conjuctive measures, I just didn't want to start another writing excursion that would end with withered ambition, because I am just too lazy to properly care for it.
I recently found myself wishing that I had some equivalent to Julie's copy of Julia's cookbook: something to push my writing life forward; something that reminded me of my passions and loves and collossal dislikes and woes; something that could water the old ambition plant when I am away on vacation, so that upon my return - however long I may be away - I come home to find my inspiration in good health...thriving, even. But alas, no such writer's cookbook exists for me...or does it?
One night, while I lay awake in my usual state of incessant pondering, my mind came upon an archaic document. A decade-old poem. Yes, most self-declared writers do, I also write poetry; most of which is blathering metaphorical carnage full of self-pity and loathing, but...this particular poem was written at a time when I was overcome with utter disapproval of my literary laziness, and as it turns out - while it certainly isn't a cookbook - it does have a certain flow of read-between-the-line recipes, only providing the most basic ingredients and leaving the rest to future expansion. And THAT is what makes it so perfect for the purpose for which I need it. It's a list. Well, it WAS just a list. Now it is a compass of sorts that I plan to use to guide me away from re-runs of "Six Feet Under" and "That 70's Show" and into a place of creative continuity, and if I'm really lucky: maybe a bit of self-fulfillment, too. Whether or not this "compass" has any real sense of true north remains to be seen. And whether anyone other than my closest friends and family will tag along with me on this guided tour that is bound to lead right off the map...well, i have my doubts. Truthfully, I expect that only my husband will pack for the entire trip. But, that's okay. That is perfectly okay.
So,this is my official Blog #1. It is a set-up for the set-up. Blog #2 will be naught but the List itself; which, incidentally, was - for all (my) intents & purposes (that - sadly - still remain ten years later) - aptly entitled "Fill These Pages." And beyond Blog #2, each blog thereafter will address the List, one ingredient at a time. So come hungry...or not. As for me: I'm ready to binge...and purge.