Nostalgia Flavored Coffee

This was written roughly a few months ago, sitting at a Bigby’s in Muskegon, hanging out in the middle of a Friday before meeting up with a friend. Not sure why I didn’t post it then, but I think I ran out of chill time. Today, my backdrop is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and an occasional, “Mom, I need…” or “Mom, I feel…”, because my small one has strep. It is everything opposite of that Friday; sitting at my bar in my kitchen, drinking coffee out of an old school Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mug, thinking about responsibilities and work questions because I’ve never taken a day off from this job, let alone three, and a sick child that I want to feel better and stupid housework. A contrast of days, the difference of life.

It is a Friday afternoon and I am sitting in a coffee shop, headphones in with a to go mug next to me, thinking about how this used to be my life, filled a little with a sense of nostalgia and longing. Well, switch out the computer for a composition notebook and mini CD player with headphones, because we’re talking about the early 2000’s here, and add a plastic black ashtray on the table with a pack of Camel Lights. Back then, us Michiganders were allowed to smoke inside and I took advantage of this fact wholeheartedly. That pretty much sums up my twenties. Currently, the mood is being set by the Flaming Lips, my child very noticeably not in front of me as he is at his Dad’s, and I have no real place that I need to be. In my twenties this was something taken for granted, but over halfway through my thirties, I think I should probably take a moment to recognize this as a rare occurrence, the successful mating and birthing of a panda bear, and enjoy the hell out of it. I mean, where am I normally on a Friday afternoon? Well, normally I am working at an elementary school as a paraprofessional during the day, and hanging out with a seven year old every night, making sure he’s eating a real dinner and not spending every waking second with his eyeballs glued to his Kindle. By the time he’s in bed and we’ve read some on Percy Jackson, it’s past nine and my brain is fried. If I did cohabitate, my guess is the person would get zombie answers out of me if they tried to start a conversation. Like, “Hey, what do you think of the new healthcare bill?” and my response would be something like, “Ughhh guuuuhh.” Clearly a well thought out response.

My early twenties were filled with a lot of Goodwill clothing that didn’t match, emo music and Wes Anderson films, long conversations over coffee that felt like they held the weight of the world, and PBR over smokes and darts. Homework was a backdrop, classes and work, always there in the background of my memories.

Flash forward to my thirties and I spend this entire time : spaced out from writing, looking up songs and artists on Spotify and adding music to my newer playlists, and bouncing from there to working on a story for a few minutes, reading a couple of articles on NPR but I shall invoke the millennial phrase: I just can’t. I just can’t think about politics today, so that didn’t last very long. I texted a friend about Tim Vantol, then I looked him up and listened to a few of his songs. And here I am again.

I guess I’m just not used to getting big blocks of time on my hands. And that’s okay. I mean, my mid thirties kind of kick ass.

This Is My Brain All Of The Time

It’s like waking from a dream and I get up and have my coffee with far too much creamer because damned if I can quit and the mess is just not something I can be in and around and it makes my brain crazy. I wake up and realize that I have to clean. And I have to clean everything as thoroughly as possible and as quick as possible and I have to do anything I can eke out in the time that I’m functioning on a ‘don’t just do enough to get by’ basis and it’s either falling asleep after I make dinner or the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep which causes zombie like tendencies the next day with a complete inability to focus properly or remember anything and the rest of the week and all I have I give while I’m at work, because my coworkers and the kids need me to be my best me and then I come home and I try my best to be the best mom but sometimes it’s hard and I yell and I’m lonely and I’m so overwhelmed with the bills and the bank account and the responsibilities and the keeping house and the getting groceries and the doing extras with my son and the need to exist outside of this bubble I’ve created is just impossible and I am so goddamned alone. This is my brain. This is my brain all of the time. If I don’t give my brain something else to focus on, sometimes two something else’s or even three it will just drive me absolutely insane. There are people who wonder how a person can drink alone, because when I was younger I always wondered how people could drink alone, but now I understand and now I understand the struggle to not drink alone because being overwhelmed doesn’t get fixed that way, but just existing in this state isn’t going to fix my brain and I worry about my quality of life because it slips by so fast and the time with my son because he’s already seven and he was just a tiny toddler hardly tall enough to see out the window but that was years ago.

My brain is filled with words all the time. Some people see images in their brains, but mine is a stream of flow consciousness all of the time unless otherwise occupied and some days I just need it to shut the fuck up and leave me alone.

Alternative Reality

Science is just
A word
And words
Have been made by man
Have been manipulated
Mangled and mutilated
Fit to the purpose
Fit from the speaker
Fit to sequester the audience

And language is arbitrary
To follow
Reality a construct
And it has never been
More real
With all this
Surrealism surrounding us
As a new reality
Is being constructed

Language makes meaning
Spreads ideas
Ideals and affections
And disease
Disaffection and disdain for difference

There is dissent
The divide
A crater in the center of
This reality
And reading this:
1984 has become a bestseller
In the year 2017
The terrifying nature
of an Orwellian society

This is a society
Where facts are becoming
A choice of belief
Reality being purported
As a construct of
Alternative facts
Also known as
Opinions
And when science becomes opinion
truth become obsolete

Take away the shared reality
Allow the ‘new words’
Remake history
Dare we utter the idea
Of dissent
The idea
of silence
As a form of dictating

And the reality of
The question
The reality of
The outcome
This has become the new reality

To Disappear

*This was written sometime before Christmas, before I started working full time again, when I clearly had too much time on my hands and in my head. However, though I feel more stable in my life, the sentiment is still with me. I am terrified; of the big things and the small things, of my freedoms and choices, and of the 1984-ish aspect of the way facts and history are being handled during these times here in the US. Reality and subjectivity are two of my favorite ideas to debate philosophically,  but the goings on here are most certainly playing a joke on me, like the world has turned into one big, unfunny satire.

 

It is easy to disappear.

Three weeks ago, I was livid, hurt, scared and decidedly ready to get involved. Today I sit, trying to not let something small but maybe big deter my goals, deter my ability to function as a human. A week after the election, it was all so much, so overwhelming, I quit. I deleted social media off my phone and quit reading the stories and quit giving all of my mind to the overwhelming depression.

A simple, “I’m fine.” It keeps even the closest person from asking more, asking those questions, keeping you from facing the truth: Despair. Unaccountable sadness, despair, anxiety and fear.

Death. Failure. Loneliness. Disease. Disaster. Pain. Suffering. Add in family and friends and the pain the death the disappointment the overall sense of failure to know anything and help anyone because…

It is easy to disappear.

I will tell you: A bottle of vodka. A twelve pack of high gravity beer. An empty house. No phone calls.

It is fighting to stay present for a child, for the only child, the only person with unconditional love. This is my reason. He has my eyes. And he’s so intelligent and funny and he makes me want to be okay.

I want to not want to disappear.

Today. On the computer the news headlines terrify me. The posts terrify me. The tweets are disheartening. The hate is so much more palpable and lasting than the goodness. Think back. Try real hard. Those negative comments, those mean people, they’ve stuck in the bank of memories and they’ve taken root, grown black branches, spread the significance of what a negative action is capable of.

Stir with a ceaseless self loathing and

It sticks with you.

And my head is filled it’s always going with the this and the that and the what did I forget what did that comment mean this person probably didn’t like me anyway how can a nice guy care and definitely how can one care after getting to know me and the insecurities and selfish behavior and the me and me me me.

Fuck.

How will my child ever be okay?

I’m Just Not There Yet

This is something I wrote about a month ago. It’s a bit of random thought pieced together, but it all holds true. Anyway, hopefully I will be returning to blogging/writing more now that I’m working into my new job. I’ve been subbing as a paraprofessional for the last month, and I have an interview to be full time, and in doing this work, I’ve reaffirmed the vast changes made in my life. I am EXACTLY where I need to be to enact the even bigger changes that involve going back to school and the giant terrifyingly expensive thing that is going to be. It’s an exciting time. I just need to focus and not let the cultural climate affect me negatively, and work at expressing why it does get me down when I read NPR or PBS, why The Daily Show makes me laugh at the same time it makes me cry, and why I DON’T have to feel bad about these feelings. I DO NOT agree that I need to stay silent for the next four years and be okay with what’s going on. And I don’t need to justify my feelings. Anyway.

 

It always astounds me how quickly time goes despite the fact that I’m 36 and should probably be aware, yet sometimes it feels like I just graduated high school. I know, there are a million sayings about how quickly time passes, I should be used to it. Clearly, humans do not always react the way it is predicted we will act. I think Americans and Trump have illustrated this point. And time will never cease to weird me out, astound me, befuddle me and all around piss me off. Time is a sentence, and the only punctuation at the end is a set of ellipses.

Four and a half months ago I moved out of the safety net of my comfortable life because I needed more out of life, out of work, out of myself. Three months ago, I was excited and nervous. Today, well, things have changed in the time since moving. Time has allowed me to think, to examine, to remember. Time has allowed me to remember that I’m not just blindly trying to make it to the next day, to the next exciting moment, to the next bearable second. Time has caused me to remember depression, and to remember hope, and to remember passion.

After the election, I was reading so many disheartening things and telling myself to get involved, promising myself I would get involved, and, yet, that didn’t happen. Instead, I quit social media, (namely Facebook), and disconnected from the vast reality that didn’t directly involve my child. This was negative in so many ways. Hiding from negative reality never makes it better; the auto pay bills deplete the bank account, the not auto pay bills fall into delinquency, the job does not get secured, the ability and the want to socialize is lost, and all of those little things that get ignored add up until suddenly, at any moment, they might topple the whole tower. And the whole damn thing is just too overwhelming. Which leads to more hiding. Cycle begins again, a much worse version of The Song That Never Ends.

I have some issues that need to be worked out, and it is becoming clearer to me that the need to get them worked out is becoming more pressing as I age. It’s a weird thing, depression. It’s hard to explain without sounding like you have chosen to hide out just because some of the time you are able to function. But I’m going to say this is NOT the life I have actively chosen. Something inside of me has been setting me up for disappointing myself since I was a kid. It was so much easier to shake off then, because there are so many years to make changes, to do better, to fix the things you can fix. And then time comes along and fucks with everything and suddenly you’re a middle aged single mom having the same twenty year long crisis you’ve been having and nothing mentally has changed. Add into that anemia and IBS, and single mom-hood, and exhaustion and depression seem to just become the norm.

Time and reality and history and memory, we’ve been having a battle for years. History, as much as it strives to teach us how to avoid mistakes and continue the good, is a load of horseshit. History is no more than a subjective take on a past we cannot understand. It isn’t made up of facts any more than this blog post is fact based. Some believe the Bible is fact, yet that doesn’t take into account dinosaurs or carbon dating or evolution. History has for years been portraying Columbus as discovering America, glossing over the way America treated and still treat, many Native Americans, and I can say in all my years of school, I never once learned anywhere about Japanese internment camps in the United States. I mean, we have this society that is growing scarier and more Orwellian each day that passes, and yet, has history with McCarthyism and internment camps and Nazi Germany been teaching us anything? Has the last eight years taught us, as a nation, anything? History, the portrayal of reality in the past, it’s all completely subjective. Vast history is the portrayal by one or a few, with their understanding and interpretation, with what they decide is relevant and worth discussing. We as humans believe what we want to believe. From CNN to Fox News to scary Alt right Nazi propaganda, to believing a man with millions and about a million scandals and shady business deals gives two shits about the poor and middle class. And memory? That’s the most unreliable interpretation of reality, of the past, of time that one has. Yet it’s our memories we use to shape our personalities, to shape our realities, our histories, our entire conception of self, (with some biological nature mixed in). And it’s amazing to me that, with something as unreliable as memory and reality, as humans, we make it anywhere at all. Granted, this is my own personal interpretation of these concepts; but language is arbitrary, thus concepts are arbitrary.

I sit and I think about all this stuff at night, think about the impossibility of death and nothingness yet how it is inevitably unavoidable and the idea that something that existed no longer exists as it was, it drives me crazy, causes anxiety, and there are few ways to distract the mind when it gets so bogged down with this bullshit.

I’m trying to be better for myself, but especially for my son. I’m trying to get insurance, because I need help. I need help. And my child needs to know that, with the genetic lineage he is predisposed to, it is okay to ask for help. And I can admit that I need help. Here. But with friends, with family, well, I’m just not there yet.

But I’m working on it.

Trump Gave Hate A Platform

Yesterday, it was so difficult to focus on anything important. I spent the day outside blasting Bad Religion, Anti-Flag, Cobra Skulls and a whole bunch of other angry political punk rock while raking my yard to within an inch of it’s green life. Today, it’s a little easier. I watched a few of the comedic late night news shows, read, wrote and responded to my friends on social media, reached out to friends in an effort to feel less alone, and had an amazing conversation with on of my closest friends. The night was capped off with the most amazing, informative speaker at my son’s school, giving an informative presentation on ADHD. Tomorrow, life will still go on.

However, that doesn’t make everything okay.

Trump won. I truly hope he doesn’t fuck everything up beyond repair. I hope he’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to this country. I hope. It’s become almost a mantra to repeat this country has made it through worse, we can make it again. So the question for me really becomes: Why am I still so very unsettled and sad? Well, look at the cause and effect.

Trump’s campaign did what it was intended to do: It gave him the spotlight and attention he wanted. And he reveled in it, used it to his advantage. Every time we complained or tried to speak reason, we gave him more power. Trump put American dissent in a catch-22. Speak up, give him power, don’t speak up, feel even worse because how can one not speak out against the hateful campaign? And in doing so, it he opened the fucking gates of hell: American racists, misogynists, bigots and xenophobes were put into the spotlight, and he paved the way for their voices to be heard, for their hatred to be spread. Not only did he pave the way with his campaign, America put him the most powerful position. Whether intentional or not, we said his behavior is okay. It doesn’t matter what he does while in office regarding this matter; the gates of hatred have been opened, and, as a society, we now have to come together and clean up the mess.

I am not the most vocal about making my opinion heard unless directly confronted. Being a more reserved, shy person in my older age, I’ve turned to writing to get my thoughts and feelings out into the world. Some of us lead, other’s quietly back up those we believe in in a myriad of ways. Facebook is rife with dissent, heartbreaking with emerging stories of racism. The only thing we can really take from Trump’s hateful campaign is that there is a great number of people living in this society that are scary, and we need to come together to protect and build. The question becomes: How do we combat the ramifications of what we’ve done? How do we repair the societal split Trump caused and a great amount of people vindicated by voting for him, whether intentional or unintentional?

Trump in office will end. It might be okay, or it might takes years to repair the damage he does to the economy, foreign policy, human rights, and education. The road he paved to open hatred is what terrifies me. I am a straight, single white female, and though I may be heartbroken after Hillary Clinton’s concession speech and the ending moment during Michelle Wolf’s commentary on The Daily Show, my life will go on as always. However, so many people now have to worry about whether their present lives will change, and how they will face the newly VERY open road of hostility to those who are different.

What do we do? How do we get involved and change society and the preconceived notions that different is bad? How do we affect this change on a national level? I mean, in my home, I teach my child that though we are different we aren’t different in any way that matters. Skin color, disabilities, economic class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, lifestyle, gender identity, religion– these shouldn’t be by any means, EVER, what a person’s worth is judged on or what their worth is within society.Each person is complex and deserving of respect. WE ARE ALL HUMAN!! It’s so hard not swear right now, because I want to yell and swear and scream about the huge ramifications of such a hateful campaign!

How do we undo what Trump has given a spotlight to and as a country, we have, whether by popular vote or not, said is okay? I only have ideas, but I am sure there are active communities out there getting involved and vocalizing and trying their damnedest to affect a positive change.

  • Contact community volunteer organizations-get involved in the community to spread the message that hate and intolerance won’t be accepted. Volunteer at a battered women’s shelter, get involved with a community political group and peacefully, albeit loudly, voice your opinion.
  • Join larger groups, such ACLU
  • There are always petitions to sign, books to read, and messages of tolerance to spread. Call out the hateful speech around you and volunteer information on why it’s hateful or insulting, and don’t get hateful back. Don’t perpetuate intolerance or vindicate a person’s hateful speech by being insulting back. It’s just more fodder to the fire.
  • Stay informed, get educated, talk to people, organize, network

These are just some ideas that I’ve tossed around. I would love some concrete ideas, organizations (I’ve searched my own area, but I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for as far as community involvement). There are always politically active and outspoken people to get involved with, but for some of us, it is more difficult. However, I feel it time to try and push past the shyness and anxiety, so, as a nation, we can change the idea that hatred is acceptable, tolerable, or something we can simply ignore.  In the next four years, we need to come together and vote a capable, experienced, open minded, intelligent human being into office; not someone who was elected on a campaign playing to our fears and our defeats, exploiting our human weaknesses, and giving hate a platform on which to stand.

Job Hunting: More Work Than a Job

I have been applying for jobs, writing cover letters, copying and pasting my skills, redoing my LinkedIn account because my work email it was linked to was deactivated…and I feel like I’m seeing stars! Hopefully, I’m hearing from potential employers!

Looking for a job has become vastly different than the last time I hunted; I remember I drove from place to place picking up applications, which I then took back home and filled out by hand, after which I redistributed said applications to the appropriate work place. Yes, this was even more work, but the thing about it was that it felt more human. To me, sitting behind a computer and typing why I would be awesome in person is sort of strange, ironic, even. The internet resume and application process has taken out the personal aspect to customer service. I feel very disconnected.

So here I am, blogging about sitting behind my computer, sitting behind my computer! Well, if anyone has any words of experience or advice, ideas besides Indeed, LinkedIn, Manpower, and Monster, let me know!