“It’s just noise coming out of an ugly scientist.”

sisters

I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister, Heather, of late.  The anniversary of her passing was in July.  She died the day before her 35th birthday.  She was coming to Sioux Falls to celebrate with me the following day.  I have no idea where I am in the grief process in her regard.  I miss her.

I still ask myself, would it make 7-year-old Heather cry?  If yes, don’t say it.  (A gift from my mom.)  I’ve since changed it to, don’t think it.  (I’m a notorious thought telegrapher.)  My desire to be kind is far stronger than my desire to be funny.  They used to compete.  🤭

When we were little, we had an unspoken alliance as the only black people in our family at the time.  As the older sister, I assumed the role of Heathers’ protector.  If a child hit her on the playground, I would see red and lose it.  As I got older and recognized Heather deliberately antagonized kids to see my response, I learned to relax and assess before attacking.

knight in armor

As a kid, part of me thought Heather was an asshole for doing this, but mostly, I was impressed because it worked.  As an adult, a psychiatrist prompted me to wonder why she behaved this way.  It was the first time I ever looked at it with adult eyes and perspective.  (It also distracted me for a bit when I most needed it.)

I wasn’t affectionate as a child.  Heather needed to know I loved her unconditionally.  So she tested me.  She did this well into adulthood.  I don’t remember ever saying it, (may have screamed it), but I showed her on her terms.  I think my inner warrior originated to protect my little sister.  I’m doing the groundwork (courage mustering) before letting go of that compartmentalization of my mind.

I can laugh about the time I almost went AWOL to (in my head) murder a piece of shit for beating her up.  It would be more efficient for me to surrender at the nearest police station than go through the motions of committing a crime.

Cop:  Did you do this?

Me:  (Long pause while I consciously, agonizingly, make the neurological connections necessary to speak.) Nod.  (Long pause while I debate whether I said it out loud or not.)  Yes.

It’s just not logistically feasible for me to attempt deception.  I mean.  I think there’s a 72-hour time limit to answer questions or something.  I’d need way more time, internet access, improv training, etc.  Just give me the damn jumpsuit.  (In Minority Report, I’d get suspended for murderous thoughts over horrible men who hurt my little sister.)

volcano

Fortunately for that guy, my military training prevailed.  Also, I’ve never managed to hold on to that level of rage for more than an hour, tops.  It’s incredibly draining emotionally.  I firmly believed the punishment for making Heather cry was beheading for about an hour, though.  Then I wept because I knew I couldn’t do that.

It was the last time Heather messed with horrible men.  Our relationship changed a lot after that.  We grew closer.  Listening to me weep over the phone from another country and repeatedly apologize for not being able to avenge her, even though I was a soldier, affected us both in ways I can’t explain.

Perhaps we both grew up a little.  We were honest about our feelings with each other after that.  We talked for hours about our childhood, and how we felt.  It’s when I first understood why Heather changed abruptly as a child.  When she first encountered racism, she was never the same.  She went from being called, Smiley, to an angry little girl who only acted out around me.

monarch

I noticed.  For a large part of my childhood, I hated Heather on some level, because I was the only person who was safe for her to express how she felt.  I’m just now fully grasping this.  The former resentment is now retro-honor.  I’m so glad I was a safe person for my little sister.  She needed me.  🙃

The day Heather graduated from high school, she moved out of state.  The day.  Everything she owned (and everything I didn’t take with me to the Army) was loaded up and ready to go immediately following the party.  (She relocated to the hood in a city large enough to have one.)

I moved out at 16, but only a few blocks away to my brothers’ house.  I couldn’t live with Heather anymore.  I wasn’t equipped to witness (or survive) her transformation from angry little girl to angry teenager.  (I remember crying a lot.)  She knew just what to say to reduce me to tears.  (Not like it’s hard to make a teenager cry; it’s mean.)

I left for basic training before Heather fully got in touch with her anger.  No shame in stating I’m glad.  My mom was an incredible person.  Somehow, their relationship strengthened during that time.  She certainly got over her fear of what the neighbors might think.  (Teenage Heather aimed at that little weakness.)  🤭

sisters

In some ways, I’m glad I was too busy trying to exist in a physically and socially hostile (to me) world to grok subtle racism.  Most of it flew by me unnoticed.  However, I also deliberately surrounded myself with more diversity as soon as I was old enough.  (I think this used to be a symptom of growing up in Sioux Falls in general.  It’s way better now than when I was a kid.)

I think Heather was the big sister when it came to coping with racism.  She was also the little sister; in that, she acted out her rage toward me because she was a child, and that’s how they express hard feelings.  I’m so glad I got to be Heather’s sister.  It was one of my most cherished relationships.

I’m glad I told her how much she hurt me when I was a child, and she listened and apologized.  She told me things I said that hurt her as well, and how those scars affected her choices.  I apologized, and we cried and forgave.  Then she asked me for a hug, and I presume I tensed up because she quickly retracted the request.

Sigh.  And that’s okay because it was my body speaking for me.  Hugging isn’t mandatory.  It’s just one of many ways to express affection.  I didn’t like allowing people to touch my body for most of my life outside of sexual relationships.  I now know it’s because I wasn’t in my body, and that made it a repulsive notion.

My cat forced me to get over this issue.  Weird.  A kid would have done it, too.  I’m just rambling at this point.  Heh.  I’m off to play Warcraft.  ✌💜

“Cut off your nose to spider face.”

foggy bridge

It’s been a challenging week.  My central air ran out of freon and froze up.  I had to shut it off and wait until a professional could come out and refill it (the following day.)  I’m stunned by how much this minor situation threw me off.  I didn’t want to stay at M’s or get a hotel room for a single night without ac.  (It’s not like there was a giant spider.)  The temperature in my apartment fluctuated between 76 and 79 F; however, the humidity rose to 90% overnight.  I spent the night watching Steven Universe on my iPad.  (It’s such a fabulous show.)

I thought a lot about how much I love central air and how grateful I am to have access.  Heh.  The cat ran between windows half the night (like ALF was out there or something.)  Her delight in making the best of the situation helped, I guess.  I can’t remember how miserable it was anymore because it’s working great now.  I took a nap while my apartment cooled and slept so hard I was disoriented when I awoke three hours later.  Last night I slept soundly and comfortably, probably grinning.  🙃

I think I’m starting to grok how my subconscious communicates with me when conscious.  I usually notice when it’s Pi Time (3:14 PM.)  I often glance up and look at a digital clock at that time.  (Then I announce it’s Pi Time, smile, and think about it for a while.)  Lately, it’s shifted to 3:16 PM;  (Matthew 3:16 in the New Testament.)  As someone taught by Christians, I know the verse.  The first time I hyper-focused on what it meant, it made me incredibly sad.  I didn’t feel worthy, and it made me want to scream, I object at God.

child pretending to be a monster

I was eighteen and exploring religion for the first time as an adult. 🤣 Now, I feel like I understand the verse.  My former reaction has transformed into acceptance, calmness, and awe.  It only took thirty-two years.  Yep;  that sounds about right.  Always late and excited to arrive.  Love thy neighbor as thyself is more apparent to me than ever before, as well.  (It rings true like all the bells of Westeros.)  I believe this slight shift in time noticing was a message from my subconscious informing me of new connections in my mind.  The pathways feel more solidified now that I’ve connected the dots while awake.

Side Note:  When I was eighteen, I was at my cockiest.  Completing basic training made me so confident in my abilities, I was a supreme asshole.  Then I went home on leave, my niece beat me up, and I got over myself damn near immediately.  (I thought about defending qualifying that, but it just kept making it worse.)

Our minds are so fascinating.  (Yells, brains, in my zombie’s voice.)  I’m a believer in shouting into the void.  Six degrees of separation and the interwebs makes it viable.  (It’s also a great movie starring Will Smith.)  I discovered my participation in social media is unnecessary;  I’m still in the loop through my tribe.  (I only see the memes my friends know I’ll appreciate.)  I don’t train rogue AI for free (or at all), so I’ve never used Facebook.  (Avoiding all the political brainwashing by Cambridge Analytica and Fuckerberg is a nice bonus.  Still happening, yo.)

I didn’t rejoin Twitter after hearing someone lashed out at Hey Fran Hey and Crissle West.  I’m proud of myself for heeding the option to stop and think first.  I have a theory about the tweet author.  The hateful words were a cover.  The person who aimed them and fired was pain-talking.  The targets are people who consciously chose to heal from their pain and grow and thrive while on their journey through life.  From wanting to do that, to actively doing so, it is a journey in itself.  It takes dedication, hard work, and doing lots of shit you’re not confident you can pull off without weeping the whole time.

spider web

It’s daunting when taking your first baby steps away from crisis mode — just thinking about it when that shaky can make you want to cry.  Or maybe even say something horrible to people who are showing us how to do it.  Because now you can’t deny the possibility, which means you probably have to do all that hard shit, too.  And it’s going to suck so badly at times; you’ll be astonished healing isn’t fatal.  It’s not fair.  But lashing out at padawans makes them grow.  So, get a therapist, and get busy because misery is a shitty investment.  I’m off to make noise.  💜✌🏽

“Jerry, you’re getting your father too excited.”

50th birthday cake

Welp.  You know what? I’m 50 years old!!!  Can you believe it?  I made it!  I win!  I survived everything the universe has thrown at me for half a freakin’ century!  Every time I remember, I feel a surge of overwhelming joy. 🙃 (Also, chicken butt.) I stayed in my apartment and lay low on my birthday because I can’t believe I’m still alive!  I nearly convinced myself there would be a life-ending freak accident that day, merely to send me on to whatever comes next while laughing my ass off.  The universe likes to play like that, don’t you know. 🤭

I can still breakdance, but I won’t because it’s so not worth the painful (and embarrassingly long) recovery period.  I’m satisfied just knowing if I end up in a life or death situation where breakdancing is my only path to survival, game on.  💪🏾 Dr. Keia reduced me to a quivering puddle of goo on the floor from laughing at her Pet Peeve this week on the Gettin’ Grown podcast.  (It didn’t help that I could hear Jade ugly laughing with me in the background, probably also from the floor.)  For some reason, in my head, Dr. Keia morphed into Marsai Martin while delivering her sound (and hilarious) advice on just how hot lukewarm my summer should be at my age.  (Yep.  It’s fun in my head.)  😂

Marsai Martin
Photo by Martina Tolot

My attempt to eat my way through my junk food stash before starting a new diet had less than ideal results.  Before I finished, I overindulged, and now I don’t like junk food anymore until I forget this happened.  I realize I panicked and did the opposite.  Whoops.  (Flashback to my brother punching me in the shoulder, then asking, “What did you learn?”)  Sigh.  So my do-over will consist of slowly lowering my carb and sugar intake over a month to the goal amount.

Once I master that, I’ll move on to step two.  (I forgot about baby-stepping.  Doy.)  😉  It’s not a diet; it’s a tweak.  Introducing crunches into my daily routine has gone smoothly.  I cheat on all exercise-related activity by turning on Beyoncé’s Homecoming while I do it.  It makes exercise as appealing as eating cake while getting a massage by someone whose touch reminds you of why having a body is magnificent.  (Also, I laughed so hard when Le Twins used their interview to tell Taylor they wouldn’t dance for her.) 🤣

jon-tyson-1581881-unsplash

I watched the first episode of Euphoria, thanks to Dustin from The Friend Zone podcast.  I believe it’s the most intimate portrayal of Generation Z I’ve seen so far.  I can tell from just that episode it’s mandatory viewing with my full attention.  It’s not my world anymore.  I recognize my role is to support the millennials who are spreading their wings and training their skills.  It’s their turn in the natural order of things.  Today’s young people are traumatized by the state of the world before they even get a chance to find their place in it.  As an adult, I must act.  Therefore, retired now means time privilege to address these big-picture issues.

My life so far has made me willful, resilient, joyful, forgiving, and loving.  I’m my own best friend.  I trust my ability to cope with whatever comes my way.  (I was there all those times life was kicking my ass, and I took notes.  Then eventually, I applied them when I realized it was also necessary.)  🤪  I’m impressed by the younger generations.  It’s evident to me they represent a better version of humanity.  It’s hard for me to elaborate, but I’m honored to support them in whatever ways I can.   They generally make me proud.  I’m off to read.  ✌🏾💜

“I didn’t think you could detect abnormal behavior among your own kind.”

person giving side eye

I’m on the fence about continuing to blog with WordPress.  I’m not happy with the changes they’ve made to their service.  The overall vibe is greed.  Gross.  (I reserve my loyalty for corporations that are playing the long game. Thanks, Jeff Bezos, aka Ironman IRL.)  I messed up flexed one of my features, and now my ability to focus is AWOL.  Whoops.

I started brainstorming a new project with a small group and got too excited.  It’s been two days, and if anything, it’s increasing.  Sigh.  I forgot where I left my focus controller.  Welp.  I bet I sleep well tonight, at least.  I’m burning through energy like it’s an open bag of Hi-Chews.  (My need to maintain effective spoon conservation is crying in the corner.)

person flexing balance

On top of that, I sat wrong again.  Now my left foot won’t obey commands.  It’s hella numb halfway up my shin, and I keep getting a charlie horse in my arch.  Good times.  It’s gradually self-correcting, but the slowness is astonishing.  M brought me some compression socks (and said some medical stuff that floated by.)  I remembered to thank him in real time.  Yay.

All of this is related in that it’s happening while I’m present in my body, which is a new skill.  Alison 3.0 would have fled inward at the slightest hint of body betrayal.  (Blushing, because I just glimpsed my own awesome.)  Leveling up is laden with new growth opportunities.  I understand now.  The universe had to teach me how to recognize them before they started showing up all over the place.  (I used to mistake them for overwhelming obstacles.)

person with camera

The good part of being unfocused is I think differently.  It often results in new insights.  My whiteboards are covered in notes whenever this happens.  (My foot is still janky.  My hi-hat foot!)  I’m multitasking with healing now, too.  Multitasking used to set off meltdown alarms.  Well look at that;  Anxiety is my bitch, now.  Hah!  I’m going to celebrate hard because I know this means the next step is reclaiming all the shit I’ve been avoiding over it, and it’s a lot, (she said while internally reciting fear is the mind killer.)

I compared notes with some of my autistic besties (my new favorite game,) and discovered we sleep with arms in the praying mantis position.  It wreaks havoc on our arms and shoulders when we awaken numb.  Those with EDS pay far more for the habit.  (I don’t have EDS, which is likely why I think this common thing we have is fascinating.)  I’d better go and drag my foot around until it wakes up and stops playing too much.  💜✌🏽

“I choose not to run.”

Here be dragons

Warning:  There will be spoilers.

 

We’ve almost made it to the end of Game of Thrones.  What a journey!  I was exhausted, emotionally wrecked, and drenched in sweat after viewing the latest episode.  While spending 90+ minutes completely immersed in the horrors of war,  I forgot I was watching a TV show.

I was Arya Stark, chased through a city being systematically destroyed by dragon fire.  I almost died a thousand times, but it was nothing compared to witnessing the horrific deaths of so many around me.  I learned vengeance is indistinguishable from tyranny.

Sandor, thank you.  -Arya Stark

masks

I was Cersei Lannister, watching the world end to the beat of my unraveling denial.  As my defenses crumbled around me, the fear overwhelmed me, making my heart shake.  I died in the arms of the only person who truly understood me; loved me.  Finally, free of the terror that’s owned me since my mother was taken from me.

Everywhere in the world, they hurt little girls.  -Cersei Lannister

I was Sandor Clegane, confronting what remained of the man who failed me as a brother.  Blow after blow of hate-fueled rage, honed over a lifetime, against a mountain of evil.  My only remaining purpose to remove this towering hunk of rotting flesh from the world.  Convinced it’s all I ever wanted, I succeed and we both burn.  Victory is mine.

Do it.  Do it!  Just do it!  -Sandor Clegane/The Hound

I was Daenerys Targaryen, alone, distraught, and betrayed.  I wept as I lay waste to King’s Landing.  I felt everything and nothing at the same time.  I burned away the disease so healthy life can grow and thrive in the future.  If I can’t have their love, I’ll take their fear.

I am not your little princess.  I am Daenerys Stormborn of the blood of old Valyria and I will take what is mine, with fire and blood I will take it.  -Daenerys Targaryen

light dancing

When the episode ended, I couldn’t move.  I just sat there, stunned.  (Then I laughed at myself for confusing SD winter with a cessation of hot flashes.  Probably where most of the sweating came from.)  I had to sleep on it, then think about it for a while before I could process what happened.  I’m sure I’ll continue long after the series ends.

I’ve learned a great deal about human nature watching the series.  We’re all in the story in some aspect or form.  It has been fascinating to slowly gain enough information about each character until I could understand them well enough to see the world through their eyes (to a point.)

The emotional rollercoaster of triggers and disturbing scenes were a small price to pay for the many gifts of wisdom.  We tend to behave in accordance with our perception of the world.  Therein lies the value in understanding others’ viewpoints.  Without it, people are indistinguishable from monsters.

Do you lie awake at night fearing my gash? – Lord Varys

✌🏽💜