This is better?

I’m not so numb.

Why was numbing was necessary?  Because it worked.

Why is it now not so necessary?  I’m guessing, because it’s not.

About a week ago, I spontaneously started to shed the need to numb.  I had a pleasant conversation with myself about this habit but I didn’t set out to change it.  It just did.  Or, is doing.  Happening.  Anyway, I’m assuming that the fall-out is detox.

Tell me again how this is a good thing?fidgeting

Detox = that totally fucked state of being where you are stuck between destruction and less destruction.  Where you kind of wish you could be destructive again but don’t know how to get back there.  Where you start scouting around for substitute destruction but nothing quite fits the bill.  Sigh.

It didn’t start out like this.  My initial decrease in numbness played out as an increase in my desire to show up and participate in my own life.  Okay, that’s cool.  It escalated to irritability, hypersensitivity and being generally critical of everyone thus making me a joy to be around.  Not so cool.

There is a lot of white noise and fidgeting involved in full-blown detox.  If you put your ear next to mine, you can hear the ocean.  There are people drowning in it, but it’s still the ocean.  The shrieking is seagulls.  And me.

Oh and the aforementioned fidgeting?  Joy.  Yeah.  Fidgeting as in tapping my fingers so hard and fast on the desk that the tips start to get numb – which is when I notice that I’ve been tapping.

My greatest fear is that this state of detox is my new state of being.  I can endure anything this horrid if it’s temporary.  Luckily, I have a best friend who told me that it is temporary and I believed her.  Because it’s better than not believing her.

I know!  I’ll distract myself by getting in the car to drive around and do errands.  Yes, that’s so smart, Susan.  Get behind the wheel of a massive chunk of metal filled with gas (as soon as I go get gas) and aim it at things.  And fidget.  Brilliant.

Poking fun at myself works.  A much better choice.

Significantly, SSF


Live in the moment. Be mindful. Meditate. Bullshit.

meditation1Live in the moment.  Be mindful.  Meditate.  Be open to the abundance of the universe.  The path is the journey.


I mean, really.  (I can hear my Mother’s voice right now.  She had this way of saying “Oh reeeeaaally” and rolling her eyes when I would make some statement obviously designed to provoke.  I do that myself now.  It’s really irritating.  Anyway…)

My mother was in the hospital the last few days.  She’s in advanced stages of dementia and blanked out more severely and for a longer time than usual so the family thought she had had a stroke.  After all the tests, it’s impossible to tell exactly what happened because her mind is so far gone but it wasn’t a stroke.  She’s back home now.

This latest episode has brought up all sorts of questions.  How do I want to die?  When is it preferable to die?  Why is her body so healthy when her brain isn’t?  What kind of ‘quality of life’ does she / can she possibly have?

After a lot of tough pondering, I’m mostly on the ‘quality of life’ question.  What does it mean?  Being honest with myself, I don’t like the answer.  Because I have to be honest with myself, I have to tell you.  In my heart of hearts, I Desire, with a capital D, the American puritan work ethic of grueling labor with no rest.  Extreme self sacrifice.  Hyper responsibility and drive.  One-ups-manship about how much more insomniac I am than you.  All that stuff.  That’s really who I am.  None of those efforts happen here and now.  They are all fear-based efforts to try to control the future.  They are also great at numbing myself right now.  Bonus.

I would love it if I never had to meditate, exercise or delegate again.  I meditated every day for a whole week and I hated it.  It was hard.  I preferred wallowing in chaos to suffering that kind of discomfort every morning regardless of the benefits.

I trained 6 months each for 2 marathons.  I should never have to exercise again my whole life.  I’ve done my time.

Okay, we’re approaching full circle so bear with me.  If I truly believe that living in the moment, that the path is the journey, that connection with something greater than myself is real, then my Mother may actually still have some quality to her life.  If I don’t, then I must believe that she is better off dead.

Go ahead and hate me for a moment.

Moving on.

There’s a prickly feeling in my reptilian brain that rejects all of this as wrong.  It’s not just wrong that we shouldn’t ever wish someone were truly dead.  Oddly, that’s less of a consideration here.  I’m saying that my intuition is telling me that that is incorrect.  That it’s warped.

My intuition being prickled like this is a call to action for me.  In a weird way, that feeling kicks in my desire to work hard at fixing something.  Perhaps – no commitments here –  a recognition that it’s time to evolve.

Much of my life has been lived in pursuit.  Safety.  Hope.  Boundaries.  Esteem of self.  Esteem of others.  Esteem of life.  My place in and a part of the universe.  In this pursuit, I’ve gravitated to concepts that struck me as true.  Taoist concepts that I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with.

I’d like to release the hate part.  Of course, my instinct is to do that by fighting and striving (read: American puritan work ethic above).  Yeah, yeah.  I know.

Am I ready?  I don’t know.  I do know that I’m readier.  I also know that I’m tenacious – in all ways.  I will hang onto the self-destruction and strive for peace in the same breath.  Phoo.

I know that there isn’t some threshold to cross into living a gleefully blissful existence.  I do know that every day is an opportunity and a choice.  Quite often, I choose poorly.  Sometimes, I choose well.  Some days, I choose well more often.  I guess that’s that evolution I was writing about.

Just like Mom did.

More accidental lessons my Mother taught me.  Damn her to hell.

Except, you know, not really.



Hi! I’m Crappy. How About You?

On the “Welcome” page that promotes a man’s audio books, the first sentence I read today was:  “I had wanted to issue a CD with this book, to illustrate what Shakespeare’s Globe called ‘original pronunciation’ (OP), but the production costs went against it.”

I was taken aback and had to look past this first ‘wah, wah, wah, poor, abused, misunderstood, unsupported, put-upon me’ sentiment to click on the links to his audio recordings – which I think are quite good.

Wow.  Who offers a welcome like that?  Uh-oh.  I think I may have done it once… or twice…  Yes.  Reading his intro bugged me but perhaps primarily because I saw something of myself in it.  Sigh.  Sorry.

It’s funny (not funny-ha-ha) but when I would begin a conversation that way, it was often about something that I thought was really cool, neato and groovy.  I am guilty of taking a person’s conversational “How are you” opening as an invitation to dump.  I assumed they really wanted to know what I was dealing with my life, how I was coping and how I was applying all those lessons to the cool, neato and groovy thing I was doing.

Mea Culpa.

Wait, I blame my mother.

Momma Culpa.

No, wait!  Really, it’s what I was taught.  My mother had no clue how to open a pleasant conversation.  She was consumed with so much ick and desperation to be cared for that her state of being (always horrid unless she had already been drinking that day) was the first thing out of her mouth.  To be fair, she was an unmedicated schizophrenic, so she was doing her best but that’s what I learned.

Oh, no.  TMI, right?

So, here’s where I am now – because you really want to know, right?  The coolness, neato-ness and groovy-ness of the things I’m working on are the driving forces in my day.  These things are great first, lots of work second and I generally feel happy and blessed to be doing this work.  Sometimes, I’m frustrated, tired and overloaded, but those are the ebbs and flows of life.  They aren’t my daily state of being.  My inexplicable flip-flop in perspective is probably the reason that I noticed the sideways bitchiness of this man’s first impression.

Here’s also where I am – as aptly illustrated by my Mother’s to Blame explanation above.  Mental illness and the uglier actions of people were an every day part of life for me as a kid.  My mother talked about them all the time.  It never occurred to me that most people don’t divulge their darkest, hardest and most harrowing experiences and challenges in the average course of conversation.  My mother used to do that.  So, now, I’m at peace with all that stuff but it still creeps into conversation.  When it does, I’ve started to see the horrified looks on people’s faces and quickly try to explain that it’s all okay now.  I’m fine, we’re all fine, everyone’s fine, I’m happy, doing great, blather, blather, gulp, try to recover and change the subject to flowers and sunshine.

Oh, Susan.  I love you, girl and you’re such a klutz.  Well meaning, delightful, funny, bold and (sometimes) a little intimidating, but a dear.  You mean well.

This is a sheepish morning for me.  Imagine that I’m looking up at you with a sideways smile and my chin tucked down just a bit.

Oh! Hey!  How you doin?!



Christmas Full Circle

The Fry family celebrates Christmas as many people do.  Rachael and I decorate, we buy gifts, Ron cooks.  It’s a day devoted to the best aspects of being together, digging the pretty lights, and having fun.  It’s about caring enough to make all the food from scratch that day.  It’s about being with family who doesn’t care that the recipe for an untried dessert turns into mushy yarg.  So what?  Right?

None of us are religious.  The name ‘Christmas’ is a shorthand term for the day.

It’s also a miracle.  I get to let go of the ghosts of bad Christmases past and wallow in the spirit of the day.  And, there is a spirit.  Poo and pah over the idea of a collective consciousness but I believe in it.  When a bajillion people are all hoping for the best for everyone around them, I feel it.  When the focus for a concentrated period of time is on wanting to be a kind and generous person, I feel it.  When this feeling culminates on a specific day, I celebrate it.  I dive in head first and blow raspberries on it’s belly.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the past, as a sentient human being who lives in America, I couldn’t ignore Christmas overload and hype.  It appalled me.  I rejected December-frenzy.  I clung to my dysfunctional brain chemistry baggage with a fury.  For some mysterious reason however, the constant effort to refuse Christmas didn’t engender lasting satisfaction and peace.

As a possible antidote to the poison I ingested, I shifted to questioning Christmas trappings.  Starting from zero, I tried on my own rituals for size.  Some of them were wacky, but I believe in wacky.  I also believe in self-determination and personal responsibility.  If something is nagging at me inside, it’s my gift to fix it.  This multi-year process of reshaping the holiday was cathartic and ended up being delightful.

This year, the gifts that particularly stand out for me are future experiences.  I got a certificate for a cookery lesson that I really wanted.  Ron and Rachael got an aerial silks lesson that they can go to together.  The family got a killer food processor.  I swear!  We gather around it and get giddy over how fast it slices potatoes.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the chocolate and all but these ‘experience’ gifts are teeny sneak peeks at the coming year’s path.

It’s January 1, 2013.  A whole year of evolution ahead.  I wonder what I will come up with for next Christmas.  It may be time for some new wacky.  But, maybe not as whacked as that gluten free cobbler recipe.  That’s too much even for me.

Merry Christmas.