Archive | October 2020

Evolutionary/Spiritual Midwifery

Chaos in politics, at work, in my family, wow.

I’ve been trying to figure out a role for myself. Not even so much a dream, just seeking what I can offer the world. At work, one of my favorite co-workers is resigning because she got a better job at Target. Part of me is envious because I got turned down by them twice and have no idea why. Part of me is so happy for her. I love her and her boyfriend. They are two really good people who managed to find each other. And I gave him a good reference that helped him get a better job. And I have paid him well to get some furniture out of my apartment. It feels so good and right to try to help the next generation.

Then there’s my mother basically indicating that she may be ready to die. So unexpected. Trying so hard not to freak out about that.

I don’t know what will happen politically this year, but I know the demographic trends. I’m looking at 2020, 2024, 2028, and 2032. This year is not it. And the coronavirus adds a deadly dimension to what is going on. I see absolutely everything as a long-term reality. Nothing is instant.

The old is passing away. The new is coming. I am part of the in-between generation. Because of my extended stay in academia, I feel more connected to the younger generation than the older one.

I feel like I have a lot to offer in the transition. I can write. I can tutor. I can encourage.

All of this is abstract, academic, and theoretical–until your mother suggests she is ready to go. People forget that, in the past, many mothers died in childbirth. The foundation of the new is often built on the grave of the old.

Such is the grief-ridden trajectory of history.

Not Sure What to Think

I talked to my mom today. Maybe not the best idea.

I don’t think she can look further into the future than the next year or two. That disturbs me greatly. Serious longevity runs in her family. She had an aunt that passed away just a couple years ago at the age of 98. Ma is 78.

When we talked politics (always a bad idea, why she brings it up is a mystery to me), I told her that I was looking beyond 2020 and into 2024 and beyond. She said that that wasn’t her problem. I told her that the last majority-white kindergarten class America had was in 2011. She asked what that had to do with anything. I asked if she was kidding. I informed her that kindergartners today are the voters of 12 years from now. She said young people do not vote. I told her she needed to watch something other than Fox News. I told her to look at the lines of voters in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, that it’s not senior citizens standing in line for eight or ten hours waiting to vote. These are the 20-30 year old crowd.

I talked about the concept of a “ticket out,” where people who aren’t really all that sick find something to die of simply because they are not happy with their lives. I talked of a friend whose sister had multiple sclerosis and was in a not-very-serious accident, but died anyhow. I wasn’t trying to plant the idea. I have simply come across a lot of death in the past few years. She seemed okay with the idea and related to it easily.

WTF? Is the coronavirus her ticket out? Is she incapable of looking down the road? She already doesn’t want to be Aunt Marge. I don’t blame her for that. She seems more concerned with her own entertainment than in making a positive difference in the world. She wants to be comfortable. She is unwilling to be inconvenienced to save her own life.

What do I do with this? How do I not get thrown into fits of grief?

What is Your Life Worth?

I am trying to find purpose and meaning in my life. Isn’t everyone?

But I am panicking a little bit. This country has hit 8 million positive coronavirus tests. That does not include all the false negatives. I am unsure whether we can get it under control at all now. It may be too late. Florida is among the worst states. My parents are going down there November 7.

I talked to Ma today. She said she wasn’t going to “stop living” her life. She would continue to play shuffleboard. My parents are adults. They can do as they please. However, my mother’s life is not worth quitting playing shuffleboard for a season or two. Apparently, she has nothing greater to live for than her own entertainment. Good to know…Why do I keep valuing the lives of my family members more than they do? I thought her life was worth more than that. I guess I was wrong.

Like I said, I am trying to find purpose and meaning for myself. Right now, my favorite author is Iyanla Vanzant. I love her voice. She understands that there is no healing without truth. She is all about the healing. She is the Jon Taffer of emotional healing: willing to get in your face for the exclusive purpose of bringing clarity and love to a situation. She pulls no punches.

And then there’s my family, playing willy-nilly with their lives.

My family belongs in my past. They are not bad people, but neither are they role models. I can have superficial conversations with them, provided that I always retain the understanding that they have nothing of value to offer.

I need to value my own life. I can see why I spent so many years suicidal. I believe I have something to offer the world. My life is worth more than shuffleboard.

Silence and (Non-)Trauma

There are different kinds of silence.

There is peace, an absence of fighting. Phew.

There is sullenness. Words are simmering just beneath the surface.

There is the lack of hustle and bustle. A store goes out of business. The liveliness is gone.

There is also the absence of acknowledgment. A trauma has occurred and saying something would make it real. Advice not given. Encouragement not happening. The end of pretending that a relationship exists. Hoping for love from people that never had it to give in the first place.

I have been going to a psychoanalyst for over a year now. I have learned so much. The big lesson: I need to learn to love myself and be kind to myself at all times. Why is this so hard? Because I had zero role models. I keep feeling like my situation is so much better than other people’s because I have not been been beaten, raped, or anything obviously traumatic. My shrink points out that having certain basic needs go unmet is traumatic in and of itself. I was fed, clothed, and sheltered. My parents played their roles as best they understood. But then I go out into the world and see parents that actually encourage their kids and my heart breaks. The further I got educationally, the less support I got from my dad. Now he says he is proud of me and it makes me a little nauseous. Now he likes to take credit for how I was raised, when my brothers and I actually raised ourselves and were expected to solve our own problems. Ick. I am physically revulsed by it.

It’s not that bad things happened. It’s all the good, right, absolutely essential things that did not happen that created the problems.

When I turn off the TV, the silence is there. I am familiar with the silence. I know silence. I have spent most of my life running from it. And I’m tired of running.

So Exhausted

My iPhone had been dying. The battery did not even allow me to take it to work. It wasn’t always registering incoming calls, but it was recording voicemails.

Also, I had been doing paperwork in preparation for moving. You know, proof of income, to reassure the leasing people.

Once I did the paperwork, and felt much more reassured as to when I would be moving, and finished getting my new iPhone at the local Apple store, I went home and struggled to stay awake. It was as if I finally got to exhale.

Apparently, this stuff had been weighing on me far more than I realized. I think about all those people struggling to pay rent at all. The endless stress so many people are living under right now. Never mind the coronavirus. Just the chronic stress will do a number on people’s health.

My parents are going to Florida on November 7. Florida has a higher rate of infection than NY. They are going to go stir crazy in their trailer, go out to eat, and possibly get the virus. Such a bad idea. Oh well. They are adults, pushing eighty, actually.

I am just trying to keep my own stress level manageable at this point. And only doing a so-so job at that. I am in no position to offer advice. I just sit on the side lines and watch the train wrecks.

The Reality of Impermanence

I feel like everything is changing at once.

I will be moving to the west end of town within the next few months. I have given notice to my current apartment complex that I will not be renewing my lease, which means I will be paying a very high rent on a month-by-month basis for the next couple months. I am willing to do this because I don’t want to still be where I am now when the pandemic ends. Also, my mother has shown me no encouragement in terms of my ability to move. So I probably won’t tell her anything further about moving until after the fact.

And my iphone is dying. But because of the pandemic, I can’t just go to the Apple store and get another one. I have an appointment next weekend. For a while, I couldn’t even give it a charge. Wow.

It feels like all my expenses happened at once. Thank goodness I didn’t spend much of anything during quarantine. I actually saved money while I was getting paid and not working or doing anything. Sometimes discipline is survival.

Also, I wen to have coffee with a friend. She clearly has a fast-developing case of dementia, probably Alzheimer’s. She is one of the nicest people I have ever known. I hope her husband has plans for the future, long-term-care wise. Watching her go downhill is so painful. At Barnes and Noble, I felt like I was taking responsibility for her in the exact same way I had to for Barry.

And then Trump and his allies came up positive for the coronavirus. Hilarious. Reality is still real. Science is factual. Denial does not work long-term. Karmic justice is occurring in real time. The conservative worldview has been definitively and forever repudiated by reality itself. No liberal media source has the ability to sow the chaos in the GOP that their own carelessness has created. Their Fox-News fantasy world has been exposed as total crap to the whole world.

Do I think Trump will die of coronavirus? No. What I know is that he has had some neurological problem for a while. I saw a video of him in some factory dragging his right foot. As the widow of a man with neurological problems, I know what they look like. And Trump is obese. I think this will cause long-term physical problems, especially with lung capacity, exhaustion, and weird circulatory issues.

I look at the Republican party and laugh. Even if you believe that Trump is the greatest President ever, so what? He is still mortal. His going to Walter Reed is a good reminder of just how fast things can change. He says there will be no transfer of power. He is a moron. Of course, there will be an eventual transfer of power. Duh. Did Kennedy transfer power to Johnson? Not at all. But it still happened. Nobody lives forever. When Trump is gone, there is simply nothing left of the Republican party. It has no platform. There is no pretense of being a functioning political party without a platform. What does it stand for? Nothing, because its positions would be encapsulated in a platform, which does not exist.

It can be hard to believe change is occurring when every day seems exactly like every other day. The quarantine has created a strange sameness to life. But someday, the quarantine will be over and everything will be different. We have to prepare for that. And it is painful to admit that everything is changing when you want to maintain the status quo. I am feeling that intense pain right now.

It’s Raining

Of course, I am overwhelmed, but that seems to be the new normal.

Today, weather-wise, we had lake-effect rain. Yuck. Just like with lake-effect snow, it can be sunny and gorgeous in Milwaukee and crappy and drizzly on the other side of Lake Michigan. Not helping emotionally.

I am looking for an apartment on the west end of town closer to where I work. I am ridiculously ambivalent. Part of me wants to move so badly and another part does not want to leave the last place Barry lived. This is an internal struggle. No one can help me with this.

Part of me just wants to escape. I have a friend that keeps telling me she is “so over 2020.” I know what she means.

My challenge is maintaining my sense of self. When under stress, I can dissociate a little too easily. It is pure emotional survival, coming from my childhood. But then it’s like it’s not my life. I too easily think of myself in the third person. It is as if I am doing something and simultaneously watching myself do it. And the watcher and doer are not best friends.

My ultimate goal in life right now is to be gentle with myself. Maybe, someday, I will be an integrated human being and even love myself. Not overwhelmed. But whole.