Archive | December 2022

What’s Missing?

The theme of the day is what is not existing.

There are two types of trauma, according to Gabor Mate: Trauma and trauma. Trauma with a capital T is something bad that occurred, like molestation, violence, robbery, that kind of thing. Trauma with a small t is the good, right, or essential thing that did not occur. Sympathy comes more easily to Trauma victims than to trauma victims. Small t trauma is more disorienting because there is no specificity of “This happened to me.”

I am a trauma victim. Nothing bad in particular happened to me as a child, but certain basic non-negotiable needs did not get met, either.

I realized about a month ago that I never bonded with my mother. About a week ago, I remembered a small detail that today would have worried me if I saw it in a child I never met. Ma took me everywhere. We went shopping at Meijer all the time or K-Mart. I was always getting lost. I never cared. It never panicked me. Today, I have seen plenty of lost children. They are usually bawling. Their mothers represent safety and love to them. Not for me. If I saw today a child like myself, who was lost and unconcerned about it, I would wonder what was going on in the child’s home. Such a minor detail and yet so telling.

Work last night was a nightmare. Nobody created any problems, but that is only because almost nobody showed up. One girl called in. The lead cashier had a migraine and was in the bathroom vomiting. At one point, I realized I was the only cashier, and that’s not even my primary job! Customers were not happy because it was the last Sunday before Christmas. One asked me if there were other employees that could cashier to help speed along the line and I said no. The place was completely trashed because there was close to nobody on the floor.

I mentioned in my last post that Trump is freaking me out a little bit because he has announced his candidacy for POTUS and has yet to leave Mar-o-Lago a month later. He is the master of diversion, fabulous at manipulating the news cycle. Here is the problem. I believe he is addicted to attention and rallies were a main source of adulation for him. To not go anywhere for a month, to me, is like a fall-down drunk who is just too tired to get a can of beer from the fridge. “Hon, be a sweetheart and go fetch me a Bud Light, OK?” It is not what he is doing, but what he isn’t doing that speaks volumes. I believe that, in a few years, people will look back on Trump’s behavior in December of 2022 and be amazed they didn’t see the signs.

Because of my life experiences, I am the person most likely in a room to see or hear what isn’t happening or being said.

When things do not occur that need to, it becomes increasingly difficult to hide the truth. The pretense of normal (denial) is mocked by reality. The store looked terrible when we left because there was no one to make it look good. When a child does not care if she does not find her mother, something is amiss. It takes a lot of work for the remaining people to act like things are fine when basic needs are not met. And we all get tired eventually.

My Heart Breaks for Trump

I am a Democrat. I should be rejoicing, even laughing triumphantly.

But I can’t. Trump coming out with his $99 trading cards and referring to it as a “major announcement” is fodder for every political pundit and they have first dibs. Instead, my first reaction was, “Awww. Is he okay?”

Part of this is due to my age. I was a young adult when rumors started spreading about President Reagan maybe having Alzheimer’s. Nobody had seen Ron or Nancy out and about for months. Not long after he left office, Nancy put him in a nursing home and shortly after that, he was dead. This was personal to me because my maternal grandmother had Alzheimer’s and was in a nursing home at about that time. Alzheimer’s is always tragic.

Then I married a man who would get Huntington’s Disease. I watched Barry go downhill. I saw him, very gradually at first, lose the ability to learn anything new. Towards the end, his sense of night and day faded and his sense of proportion was gone. He did not know what really mattered versus simply trying to maintain his non-negotiable routine. I am extremely familiar with the symptoms of neurological problems.

Then, in the summer of 2020 during the Covid pandemic, a friend sent me a video of Trump at a factory somewhere. My jaw dropped when I saw him dragging his foot. My response was, “Holy crap! The POTUS has had a stroke (or some other huge neurological event) and why isn’t anyone even talking about it?!” Worse, he kept bragging about “acing” these tests that measure cognitive decline for people like Barry and my grandmother. It doesn’t matter if you score 100% on these tests. The point is that someone is sufficiently concerned about your brain function that you had to take one at all.

The trading cards are the topper to the fact that Trump announced he is running again to be POTUS over a month ago and he has yet to leave Mar-o-Lago. Can you hear the crickets? This man was the king of rallies. Back in 2015 and 2016, he would do more than one rally per day. Now the white nationalists have to come to him like visitors in the nursing home?

Imagine the CEO of General Motors saying to you, “I have big news. Do you want to come play with me? I have new Pokemon cards!” Even if your response is, “That sounds like fun. Let’s do it!”, you will likely be thinking, “I should tell a responsible adult what’s going on.”

I think it may be time for him to take another cognitive test. Something ain’t right.

No Panic or Shame

I feel fundamentally different. But I don’t yet trust the shift. I have been meditating regularly for over a year, partly due to my shrink recommending the Crappy Childhood Fairy, who has a “Daily Practice.” I’ve read a lot of authors like Gabor Mate and Rupert Spira. I know I can re-regulate my nervous system. I have never had a yardstick for normal human reactions, so I don’t know when I am acting normally.

Anyhow, my mother was driving in the accident I was in on July 20, 2021. She was 100% at fault. She turned in front of oncoming traffic without having the green arrow. I was a passenger in the back seat, sitting behind my dad. Her car was declared a total loss. I am still dealing with the medical bills from that [which, of course, she blamed me for because “you know how Sparrow (Hospital) is”]. After Blue Cross completely rejected the claim, which horrified me, I was talking to my State Farm (my auto insurance and my parents share my agent) adjustor. We got on a three-way call with BC/BS. BC/BS first explained their rejection, then said they were primary on the accident, then said they were actually secondary. The adjustor just wanted to know whom was primary. If State Farm is primary, which they seem to be, then I owe $500 for the deductible once everything gets that far.

As I talked with a couple friends about the situation, they were like, “You may not need to pay the deductible at all. Who was the at fault driver, again? Perhaps that should come from their policy. You need to get a copy of the accident report. Also, the only way you may be able to get her policy to pay is to sue her in court.” Greeeaaat. That’s what I want to do: sue my mother.

So, day before yesterday, I went to the police department and waited about an hour for them to get back from an extra-long lunch. This would have been the perfect opportunity for my toxic shame to rear its ugly head. Nope. I was so relaxed that I almost fell asleep. I was not in the slightest bit nervous.

I might still have to pay the deductible. Michigan’s laws are convoluted. But the next stop after the police station was the agent’s office. I had the secretary scan the accident report and send it to the adjustor. Had I remembered, I could have been evil and informed the agent’s secretary that my mother has no business behind the wheel ever again and that they are fools for insuring her. If the only way to avoid paying the deductible is to sue Ma, she is not worth it. I would rather pay the $500. That level of drama is not attractive to me. I went to all that trouble Wednesday for the sake of justice and self-care. I was taking care of myself and doing the right thing, things no one in the family seems to know anything about. This wasn’t about them.

However, I am still left wondering: What do you do when you are no longer avoiding or even having so many painful emotions anymore? My relationship to time itself has changed. I never realized how much of my time and energy was spent trying to sidestep or deal with intense emotional pain. Suddenly I am freed to…live? I don’t know. I don’t yet trust this new way of being, but it sure is different.

How Deep You Can Identify

I have been reading Being and The Meaning of Life by A. H. Almaas (1990). I do not understand everything I have read, but dots have been getting connected, sometimes to humorous effect.

The third chapter, Who Am I, suggests the concept that we cannot disidentify with something that is operating at a deeper level than we are currently using. For example, an ocean can easily disidentify from a particular wave. Why? Because it knows that it has many waves over time and space and no one particular wave is all that important to who or what it is. It is bigger than any wave. On the other hand, no wave can disidentify from the ocean. The ocean is its ground, its source of existence. It’s all water, but it is about the size of the container, the container being consciousness or awareness (the bigger your self-definition, the more likely you are to have meaning when something goes wrong to the ego-driven personality). The wave cannot claim to be land-based or any other such nonsense.

I do not understand all the concepts, but I had an a-ha moment when I was looking through the news at how some Republicans are trying to distance themselves from Trump. It can never happen. Remember 2016? I recall how shocked I was to watch the Republican party not even bother to reasonably and carefully formulate a national platform and instead simply sign a loyalty statement to Trump. Even then, my response was, “What happens when Trump dies?” Perhaps they ratified a previous platform. I’m not sure. But here’s a newsflash to everyone that loves or hates Trump: he is mortal. Biden, Trump, you, me, and the guy down the street will all die. These bodies we live in shall perish. I did not think that that was news. To my knowledge, the Republican party has no platform. I could be wrong, but if it does, it sure doesn’t get talked about much.

Why is having no platform so incredibly significant? Because it is your ground, your source as a political party. Leaders come and go. The faces change over time. However, a coherent party platform tells the world what you stand for, the values you hold, and the hills you are willing to die upon. It is your agenda, what you consider worthy of making sacrifices for.

So now, the Republican party stands for Trump only. He has them by the short hairs. And he knows it. They are nothing without him. And he knows it. As a Democrat, I can only laugh uproariously.

Now it is six years later. Trump has never won the popular vote and the people he endorses go down in flames, usually because they are such poor candidates in the first place. As a Michigander, I give Trump full credit for turning our state government completely over to Democratic control, both houses and the governorship. I rejoice at Trump’s toxic influence over the uneducated and anti-scientifically-minded.

Some of the more reasonable and intelligent Republicans (remember Mitt Romney, the son of one of my governors, George?) are desperately trying to “move on” from Trump. The problem? That is not possible. They have no platform. Just a human whose time on Earth is coming to a close.

You say, “Everyone knows what the Republican party stands for.” False. Remember 2012? I am not talking about fifty years ago, just ten. Last week, twelve Republican senators voted for the “Respect for Marriage Act.” It repeals The Defense of Marriage Act from the nineties. It basically says that a marriage legally performed in any state is valid in the other 49 as well. It was inconceivable just ten years ago that that many Republicans would repudiate biblical marriage. I am speaking as an ex-evangelical.

The word “conservative” has the root “conserve” in it. To be conservative means that you are attempting to conserve something in particular. That’s why environmentalists are sometimes called “conservationists.” What are they trying to conserve? The planet. The word “conservative” has simply lost any meaning at this point. Without a platform, whatever it is you are trying to conserve clearly isn’t worth preserving or you would have gone to the trouble of deliberately crafting a national party platform.

To show you how meaningless the word “conservative” has become, here is a true incident from my life. Back in the early nineties, I was a very conservative Protestant. I belonged to a Church of Christ. And, of course, I was going to school. My dad and I were discussing morality. I stated, rather blandly, that for most cultures, morality comes directly from the predominant religion. My father’s response? “Where’d you get that? One of your liberal professors?” What? Huh? Could there ever be a more conservative position than a religious foundation of morality? His reply left me scratching my head for a few weeks.

I eventually figured out what was going on. He defined himself as conservative and therefore any disagreement with his un-thought-out opinion was by his definition “liberal.” He did not know what he was trying to conserve.

The bigger context we can get, the deeper our ground is, the more we can survive the blowing winds of change. You need to know what your limits are, what exactly you are trying to conserve. We all need this. I can’t guarantee much, but I can say with utter certainty that Trump, Biden, you, me, and everyone else on this planet will perish. Trump was the end of the modern Republican party back in 2016 and almost no one seems aware of that. It will be fun to watch Republicans try to disavow their own leader. No matter how bizarre his behavior has been, is, and will continue to be, they are stuck with defending it. He is all they have. Good luck with that.