Outstepping Our Old

The cold words you whispered,
the sisterly hugs you concocted,
the limiting lessons you pushed
became nothing
after I unshut my eyes.

I see our history now—
you, forcing death into my lungs
and calling your breath life…
your greed leeching, leeching…
leeching everything you touched.

I’m shaking you off,
moving on…
outstepping our old.

 

 

the wee notes…
– reworked from a poem I crafted some years ago. I remember pacing between rage and confusion while I wrote it (I had just ended a long friendship, after finding out that a person I believed to be kinder than most was in fact a total shit to people she couldn’t get anything from). Worse yet, she never understood why I found her behavior disturbing.

– for Hedgewitch’s Friday 55 and Poets United.

Courage Doesn’t Always Roar

The other day I was speaking to a friend who thought her coworker’s anxiety-depressive disorder diagnosis was a hilarious topic. “She’s acting like a crazy person, telling people not to stand near her, won’t let anyone try to cheer her up,” my friend said… and laughed.

Don’t be too harsh on my friend, my Wicked Luvs, for her reaction to her coworker’s illness can be highly attributed to culture. I know that it is hard to believe—it’s 2015 for goodness’ sake!—but yes, there are individuals that still believe that things like depression and chronic pain are myths or delusions. This is a terrible thing for those of us who have to live with one or the other, and much worse for the ones who must spend all their days dealing with both.

I find this lack of acknowledgment shocking and enraging (I think I just heard Climate Change shout, Sing it sister, before the myth of me cooks you alive… *cough, cough*).

The day before yesterday was a physically and emotionally draining day for me… So when my friend started to bring up her coworker’s situation again, I wasn’t feeling as patient as I usually am. Instead of trying to reason with her (my standard tactic), I sent her the following quote with a link to the original article: “Refined brain imaging shows us that when non-depressed people try to retrain their thoughts, or reframe negative emotions, they are often successful. The brain activity responsible for negative emotions in the amygdala (fear center of the brain) decreases. However, when depressed people try this, the activity increases. Their efforts backfire. The more they try, the more activation in the amygdala.”

My friend’s reply isn’t worth sharing. Let’s just say that her “interpretation” of the article and of “those people” left me in a rotten mood. It is difficult to live with an illness that steals bits of you every single day. And nothing adds to the horrors of such malady like the added humiliation of people believing that you’re mad, or weak, or just looking for attention…

I was thinking about that, yesterday, while failing to open an oil jar—my hands and feet continue to weaken; the distance I can walk without my bones, nerves and muscles begging me to stop is getting shorter. I knew this was going to happen… I’ve been getting ready for it, even if I still hate every moment of it. Some days acceptance is shit… But I can tell myself, “Manure is a good thing for gardening, witchy woman, plant more stuff.”

In the past, I would have taken my butcher knife to that jar’s lid and spilled its guts while smirking at it. Today, I know I’m lucky… for I’ve lived enough to know I can turn manure into a good thing. People who are severely depressed can rarely see beyond the shit. And if they take the knife to the jar, it is likely that they’ll end up causing themselves more harm than they can cause the lid.

I’ve never met my friend’s coworker, but I admire her; it takes an uncanny kind of courage to get out of bed and go to work day after day with a brain full of despair and a mind oozing desperation. I’m proud of the Wicked Darling who made me aware of the article I quoted above; for even when she is at her most depressed, she pushes herself to look up from the dark pit, and tells the world that tomorrow might not suck (also, she has learned to ask for help). I have a lot of respect for my Self because I know what it takes to say, “Magaly, giving up on certain things (on certain people…) is beyond difficult, but you’re made of fire, teeth and gut (even if the latter has been sort of crappy lately); you will do what you must.”

P.S. I know I shared no specifics when it comes to what I’ve just given up, or what changes forced me to do it… but I will tell you, eventually… For now, I need to gnaw on it quietly…

For a Moment of Silence, by Gina Morley“For a Moment of Silence”, by Gina Morley

* The title of this post is a quote by Mary Anne Radmacher, borrowed from here.

Sure, You’ll Lose Some People; but Real Friends? Nah, You’ll Never Lose Those

Someone I’ve known for a bit over fourteen years just became the director of the not for profit organization, where she has worked since we both left the military. She invited me to a party that will celebrate the accomplishment. I called her with my congratulations, told her how thrilled I was for her… and apologized because I won’t be able to make it; the trip would be too hard on my back.

A few days after the conversation took place, she emailed me. Her one thousand and sixteen word message started with, “I intend no offense, but…” Most of the text explained that she was “disappointed in both of us. We both should’ve fought harder for our friendship,” she said, and closed the email with, “I don’t want to hurt you, but friends tell each other the truth. If you let your being ill rule everything you do you’ll find yourself without friends.”

I’m sharing this because a very young Wicked Darling—wave at her, she’s probably reading this post—was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease not that long ago. Her symptoms are severe. Her dietary requirements make my eating restrictions seem like a joke. She is yet to figure out a way to eat out with her friends, which doesn’t cause her enough anxiety to murder her appetite. She can’t drink alcohol, and most of her friends socialize around a drink or three… so things tend to get tense when going to the bar or club comes into the equation.

“I don’t know what to do,” she said, tears wetting her words. “I will lose all my friends.”

“No, you won’t,” I told her. “Sure, you’ll lose some people; but real friends? Nah, you’ll never lose those.”

I can speak of this with some authority. I’ve lost many people in my nearly four decades of sexiness (and extreme modesty *cough*). Not because I’ve done something wrong; not because they were selfish bastards; but because certain relationships die when we can no longer nourish them in the way we used to.

And it’s quite all right to mourn these losses… for a short time. Then we must move on.

The world is full of acquaintanceships brought together by common interests. Friendships are rarer and much more complex; they are nurtured by a mutual understanding of life and living, shared by individuals who attend The Party of Each Other’s Lives for more than food or booze.

Would you care to share your thoughts on this matter, my Wicked Luvs?

Embrace the Moment, by Gina Morley“Embrace the Moment”, by Gina Morley

This is part of Gina’s description of her painting and creative process (and my reason for choosing it for this post): “Magaly likes ‘dark and sexy’… and dancing 😀 I used dictionary pages, containing words such as ‘dark’, ‘dancing’, ‘light’, ‘sincere’ you get the idea 😀 I used red and yellow (plus the blue of my hand[prints]) because Magaly is an intensely primal being, so primary colours… I believe she would also admit to being a very ‘fiery’ faerie 😀 so red and yellow also represent the flames of her passionate nature… then a layer of black glaze… cos she likes the darkside 😀 Looks a bit pink here, but it is red acrylic let down with glazing medium… and the grey area is iridescent paint that shimmers when you walk by… just like Magaly 😀 I was going to call it ‘Dancing in the Dark’, but felt ‘Embrace the Moment’ suited it better for now”. Visit Daydream Believer to read the complete post.