“I’ve had a lot of experience with semantics, so don’t try to lure me into some maze of circular logic.”

couple separating

I know I haven’t said a word about the Beyoncè show.  I’m still processing the experience.  Spoiler:  🤯🤪🤩😁😍😭😍😭🙃  I finished reading a novel for the Gettin’ Grown podcast book club last night, titled, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.  (It’s an Oprah book club edition.)  I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed the story.  Marriage is a painful subject for me.  (Skirting spoilers, sorry if I tripped.)

I realized about halfway through the book how much it mirrored my (former) marriage.  How circumstances beyond our control sabotaged both our relationships.  While the sabotage differs, the effects on those involved are remarkably similar.  It allowed me to see things from another perspective, where before I didn’t have one.  The way my marriage ended was so far outside my experience and understanding it left me emotionally paralyzed.

The novel brilliantly allows the reader to exist in the minds of the main characters, getting a complete and intimate view of their perspectives.  It’s like watching a movie filmed from the eyes of the actors.  All the minute details we don’t consciously collect are just so.  I lived this story as different individuals, and I understood their feelings.  I effortlessly adopted their thought language as my own.  I was male at times, and female, others.  I gained insight into how it feels to be a black man in America today.

marital tensionI’m intrigued by the writing.  Tayari Jones is an impressive author.  The small details and phrasing that stand out and beg for memorization are like Easter Eggs in novels.  I’m so glad I read this book, and I highly recommend it.  It’s packed with useful information about how to survive when your world explodes without notice, and it’s not your fault, and there’s nothing you can do to reverse it.

Everyone knows we’re supposed to get back up when we fall.  Thank goodness for the people that show us how.  I put a lot of trust in books, music, and art.  It’s because it’s people giving us their best after a lifetime of training and practicing.  Most artists have to compete fiercely even to get noticed.  I’m sure there’s corruption involved in who gets famous, but I’m excellent at recognizing unicorns.  They catch me up when I lose faith in humanity.

Even though I still get twinges from my mom’s spirit when fangirling over famous people, I hold tight to my unicorns.  My mom had an incredible record for being right.  I had accepted this by the time I was 12, merely because it was statistically logical, and painful to ignore.  However, in this single instance, I think she was wrong less than right.

mother nurturing puppiesI don’t think it’s unreasonable to appreciate the gifts these incredible artists give for little in return.  I love my obsessive tendencies.  They’re part of who I am.  So is my need to express my delight in what others give me.  I realize most people don’t study every interview with Stevie Nicks on Youtube.  They probably don’t continually reread long epic novels and marvel over the useful information presented in such an enthralling manner.

Not everyone wept (with joy) while watching Beyoncè be so Beyoncè.  I may be the only one who grieved the loss of my little sister with Amy Lee and her beautiful songs that expressed what I felt when I couldn’t find the words.  I’m probably the only one who has to listen to ABBA Gold on repeat to participate in raids in video games, (but I usually get at least three other people to sing along and celebrate their fabulous, universally adored music with me.)

It’s probably about time, but I think I’ve finally grown beyond the need to escape epic guilt by only doing what my mom approves.  Her stings from beyond the grave no longer rule me.  Instead, they remind me how much I needed my mom for most of my life.  I realize now she was the perfect mom for me.  She’s a significant, bright part of who I am, and I’m glad.  Even though she died, she’s always with me.  So is Beyoncè, Stevie Nicks, Amy Lee, J. K. Rowling, Sheryl Crow, Oprah, and so many others who nurture my spirit through their creations.

Here’s every word my mom ever said to me about spirituality:  Don’t take the bible literally.  She raised me up but isn’t part of my spiritual data gathering.  It tickles me (now) because her words were necessary.  I just laughed hard remembering what I was like before my mom gave me this advice.  When I was eight, we got kicked out of our church.  I recall my brother swallowing the Sunday School goldfish on a dare as the reason.  My inner adult suggests there were probably several prior incidents involved in the decision.

The Great Upside-Down Philosopher by Rube Goldberg

All my biblical knowledge came from songs I learned in Sunday School.  After we stopped attending church, I went through the house and stole all the bibles I could find, then hid them under my mattress.  (No idea.)  It’s also when my friendship with Jesus may have grown a bit obsessive.  I developed my continuous internal conversation with him (and stopped talking to anyone else.)  We talked about everything like we were aliens exploring and observing earth.

Now I’m starting to get self-conscious because I’ve never told anyone about this.  🤫  I assumed everyone did it.  (I still do it, but I often doubt my Jesus is THE Jesus these days.)  I suck as an atheist or anti-theist.  The more I reject Christianity, the more time I spend wrestling over it in my mind.  I forgot what it’s like to take a shower without weeping over the horrible, awful shit people do to other people every single freaking day.  How can I hate organized religion so much while also loving the people who hold tightly to it?  What kind of never-Catholic-atheist loves the Pope?  What the entire hell?

So I keep reading and listening and watching.  I don’t call myself a Christian because I don’t understand it.  I still feel like an alien on this planet.  I’m just thankful for these invisible connections that comfort and guide me through this maze of unknowns known as life.  I’m fascinated by how our spirits can and do lift each other up from even the deepest pits of despair without our ever even crossing paths in the physical realm.  I don’t understand it, but I love it.  I’m off to band practice.  💜

“Ah. Catalog writer’s block?”

Once upon a time...

I’m living in my head in no small degree of late.  I’m not stuck, I’m in fascination overload.  I love it here.  I’m learning so much so quickly.  I feel almost like The Lawnmower Man, (before the madness.)  I understand humans more profoundly than before.  I’m giving my mind some breathing room to process my third reading of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, (ASOIAF.)  I’m on season 2 of the HBO series.  (I need to pick up the pace.) 😉

In the meantime, I’m reading the Xenogenesis trilogy by Octavia E. Butler.  I haven’t read the final book, yet.  When I do, it will mean I’ve read all she published.  It occurred to me the stories I’m reading now are clarifying and expanding the wisdom I’ve acquired from the other epic series I’m studying, (Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss, The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, and ASOIAF.)

Octavia E. Butler

Octavia E. Butler’s voice reaches me easily, much to my delight.  (She’s who I’ve chosen as my ((imaginary)) writing mentor.)  I love reading books by authors whose voices require no internal translation.  John Scalzi, Stephen King, John Irving, Ernest Cline, Peter F. Hamilton, and J. K. Rowling are some favorites with this skill.  I also appreciate imagined dialects that can enhance the otherness of a world.  George R. R. Martin used neglected words to help shape his world.  Brilliant, eh?

I’m sad Octavia E. Butler died young, (58.)  I would have done whatever reasonable to meet her, otherwise.  I’m serious about her being my mentor.  When I first discovered her novels, I was initially a bit upset.  I didn’t want to read about enduring slavery.  (I avoid horror because it horrifies me.)  But the novel claimed to be science fiction, so I stuck with it.  I survived but was understandably sure Octavia E. Butler’s books weren’t for me.

Then the thinking about it began.  What I read wouldn’t leave me alone.  I realized I wasn’t ready to dismiss an author that managed to climb inside my mind and rearrange the furniture.  Despite the fact it hurt me to read about humans embracing their darkest, most vile impulses.  It scares the shit out of me to acknowledge the human capacity for evil.  I’m a human.

I can’t be a tree.  It’s outside my control.  I can only be a human pretending to be a tree.  My mind forgets and returns to human thoughts.  My perception remains that of a black woman from South Dakota.  My roots are invisible, and I barely believe in them.  It feels as silly as pretending to be a tree.  So I faced my fears and processed what the book taught me.  What I discovered astonished me and prompted my journey of reading her entire catalog.

Octavia E. Butler

I don’t have the words to define what I’m gaining from reading Octavia E. Butler’s books.  Healing comes pretty close.  I’m still grokking.  And growing, and forgiving, and understanding.  I’m a unicorn magnet.  😁  I added two more podcasts:  The Read and The Friendzone.  I love, love, love them.  Aside from catching up on ‘Thrones, and my We Bare Bears obsession, I’m over TV.  I prefer podcasts.  (Plus, I have a massive girl crush on Chrissle.)

I wrote a letter to Octavia E. Butler, yesterday.  I told her all about the story I’m creating and asked for advice on how to begin.  (I know she’s dead, I’m not sending it! 😂)  It was a long letter.  In fact, it was a short story in need of a rewrite or ten.  (!!!)  See?  She’s a fabulous mentor.  (Please imagine an emoji taking a bow.  Thank you.)  🙃

In my mind, all these epic tales are a single story with varied voices and perspectives.  They’re crucial pieces of the map I use to navigate life.  They’re teaching me how to heal from PTSD, how to cope with chronic depression and anxiety, and why humans are worthy of my love and attention.  They’re convincing me I can survive and reminding me I have reserves no matter how spent I feel.  They’re helping me forget I can’t be a tree.  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.  ✌🏽

“Have you ever seen the Incredible Hulk, sir?”

Victory is mine

I’m beside myself. Therefore, I’m writing to myself.

Dear Alison,

I can’t believe you did that shit!  Are you kidding me?!  Who are you?  You can’t be the same me that spent an embarrassing amount of time last night thinking of a way around this challenging situation.  Nope.  I was there.  You sincerely thought about taking a stab at time travel around wee-dark-thirty, don’t you know.  Did. That. Shit. Way to go!

Love, Alison

I’m proud of me for overcoming my fears and interacting with a (former) stranger in my home.  I’m in the middle of a project (building a laser midi violin for a client with rheumatoid arthritis.)  I needed to work with him to tailor it to his limited range of motion.  The last time I let a stranger in my home was when I had a connection issue with my ISP.

Everything went as expected, the person was polite and fixed the issue.  Despite that, it took a while to recover afterward (stop shaking.)  I despise reacting without my explicit consent, especially when it defies logic.  I want the ability to rationalize with my body, please and thank-you.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I needed my equipment, so doing it here was mandatory.

Yay

It took a while and most of my energy, but I got the information I needed to move forward with the project.  Yay.  After what felt like a minute of sleep last night, I awoke with no alternate plans (or time machines), and a 6 AM start time.  So I told myself to be like Beyoncè.  I have no idea, but somehow strongly suspect she wouldn’t have wasted precious sleep time dashing between a PC and whiteboard, though.  (She’d get the expensive, connected version, eh?)  😂

I’m floating on this victory.  I forgot how focusing on being professional drains away some of the energy typically wasted on being anxious.  I can only do so many things at once, so I love it when one of the things I’d rather not do gets kicked to the curb.  Take that, Anxiety, you ruthless bitch.  I’m pretty sure I used up too many resources to make it much further today.  Sitting upright is sapping away what little I have left, so I’m going to lay down and watch We Bare Bears and hope for a second wind.

 

“I think we all would have been a lot happier if they hadn’t landed a man on the moon.”

tickets

I know.  (Head suddenly too heavy to hold up)  What the hell, Alison?  I’m sorry.  I’ll get my shit together straight away, and get back in sync with the blogosphere, as soon as I finish this one thing.  For, today is the day M printed out the concert tickets.  (I know I said it weird, but it’s to signify this epic event.)  Yep.  We print out our tickets; we’re so old.  😂

freaking jubilant

Besides, I wanted something I can sleep with hold until it’s time.  So did the young woman we’re chaperoning to the Beyoncè show.  She (17) makes me feel a lot more secure in my reaction, (which consists of me nearly freaking out.)  We keep texting each other reminders that The Carter’s do not tolerate *lickspittles, to stay calm.  (*My new favorite word, isn’t it fabulous?  Thanks, George.)

I’m freaking jubilant.  I decided to give my brain the rest of the day off for good behavior.  I’ll likely spend what remains of it jumping up and down while listening to music.  Yay.  Here I go.  💜

“Will you calm down? I took all my blood to Newman’s.”

Me so happy

I probably shouldn’t be blogging right now.  My mind is threatening a meltdown.  The upcoming concerts I’m anticipating are wreaking havoc on my ability to remain calm.  My thoughts are running at warp speed, so there’s little chance I’ll stay on topic today.  If glimpsing someone else’s mindmap in raw form disturbs you, this is your signal to bail.  You’re welcome.  🙃

I wish people would add links to their blog on their WordPress profiles.  I can’t believe I’m going to be in the same space as Beyoncè and Jay Z.  Damn.  My hands are shaking again.  What the hell?  I can sense my mom’s spirit scolding me for being a fangirl.  (It still stings.)  I used to get in trouble for loving people too eagerly.  Is it weird I so rarely relate to others on a physical level?  Survey says, duh.  (+10 for consistency.)

If there were an awards ceremony for being weird, I’d be getting lifetime achievement props (while grinning at the wrong camera via satellite.)  Dammit.  😁  Be good at whatever you do.  My dad told me that when I was bawling because the neighbor kids told me I don’t play right.  After that, I took pride in how well I organized all the Barbie accessories; (/acceptance speech).

OMG, it's almost time!

I heard a cutoff bit of commercial by Autism $peaks yesterday.  I equate the organization to a bumper sticker that reads; Your kids’ autism paid for my kids’ education, rehab, and bail! Sigh.  People are very human.  Regardless of how holier than thou, we believe ourselves to be, we still opt to be naughty whenever the opportunity presents.  Most of us merely restrict our behaviors to that which we’re confident we can commit without consequence or shame.  (It’s just that some don’t seem to feel shame at all.)

The naughty gene is universally present in warmbloods, it seems.  At least those I’ve managed to observe.  We despise this in others despite possessing it ourselves.  Human and hypocrite are synonyms.  Society determines the threshold of tolerance in all instances.  We reset every time we awaken.  No wonder it’s so arduous for me to see people. They continuously change before my eyes.  I haven’t trusted vision since I was 11.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin continues to dominate my reading time.  I purchased the first seven seasons of the HBO series recently, and I’m reading and watching daily.  When the series strayed from the novels, I got out of sync, and am now much further ahead with the books than the series.  Reading is much more intense for me.  Yay.  I learned how to marvel at the FX when things get all stabby, instead of getting triggered.  (I’m pretty sure I long-blinked through the beheading scenes, though.)

Those with no shields experience joy more easily.

There’s an underlying theme to the characters resembling a priest who broke faith before ever taking vows.  Reading of the human condition in such varied and well-developed imaginings tickle me all the way through.  George R. R. Martin sees people very well.  My mom’s spirit is already scolding me for fangirling over it.  I want to scream; it’s impossible not to love people when you honestly see them!  Hello!  And on top of everything, Fleetwood Mac is coming to Sioux Falls!  Those seven words are playing on a non-stop loop in my head in Stevie Nicks’ voice.  Yes. There’s a dance to go with it.  💜  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.  ✌🏽