Tag Archives: musings

Lessons


This week someone told me that I can be a bit negative. I didn’t particularly like to hear that, but it did make me stop and think. And the more I thought, the more I realized that person was right.

It’s been nearly three years since I was in a hold up in a cartel town. I and the people I was with thought it was a cartel hit and that we would die that day. I fled back to the U.S. This week as I looked for military pictures for my work, I had a panic attack. The pictures of soldiers and guns did not bring good memories, and I realized I was still affected, still a bit scared.

It’s been one year, two months, three weeks and four days since I finished my last radiation treatment. This week as I sat waiting for my surgical oncologist to see me, I couldn’t breathe. I realized how angry I still was.

I think often of the fact that I was homeless and jobless, that I can’t find full-time employment now. And then I get angry.

People have told me to look at the bright side- I didn’t die in that hold up. I left Mexico safely even though I had to drive through some of the most dangerous areas. I got cancer, yes, but it was the easiest kind to cure. And when people have said this, I have gotten angrier, and asked them, Why did any of that have to happen to me in the first place? I quit believing that things would work out. I lost my faith in happy endings.

I have raged at the universe for a long time now, asking why. Sometimes, though, the answers aren’t clear. Sometimes you have to create your own so you can come to terms with what life throws at you.

Maybe I had to dance with death a bit to appreciate life.

Maybe I didn’t get that full-time job, so I could learn to slow down and get to know people around me.

Maybe those people were put in my path to teach me a bit more about myself, teach me that maybe I am likable, maybe even lovable. Maybe they will teach me how to trust.

Maybe that part-time job was put in my life so I could discover a career that I love and that I do well.

Maybe circumstances have conspired to teach me that things can work out. When I stop to think about it, things have worked out for me.

And maybe I have it all wrong about happy endings. Maybe it isn’t about endings at all. Life is a continuum. Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s bad, but mostly, it’s neutral. So maybe the key to contentment is to embrace the neutral.


White trash


Photo courtesy of Morguefile


White trash sitting on the patio, flicking cigarettes into tall grass.
Junk strewn about the yard
A camper rests on cinder blocks, sending roots into the ground
slowly rotting into the littered landscape.

White trash collecting cans, every penny helps.
Old man throws back a beer as kids scour the roadside for aluminum.
Old man looking like a fool, trying to be cool
with a cowboy hat wrapped in snakeskin, skin dirty, clothes dirty.

White trash dumpster diving looking for a score.
Amazing what folks will throw away. Just wipe it off and eat it.
Dinners made from government cheese and church hand outs.
Those rich folks don’t know what they’re missing.

White trash I was born to but never was.
Reaching for the stars, brushing off the dirt, the grime.
Staying one step ahead of myself.
Spent a lifetime trashing that.

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com


The Man in the Box


There is a box within my brain where I store bad memories and forget about them. Only I have the key. The other night I opened the box to shove the reluctant cartel kicking and screaming into my stronghold. Unfortunately, a man, who will not be named here, but who has been locked in my box for many years or even decades, tiptoed past me as I was distracted and scurried down the corridors of my mind. I had to to chase him about for many hours before I was able to corner him and return him to the box. I really must be more careful when putting things away.

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com


Namaste Duck


I often get a visual of what a person would be if they were another species of animal. This is not me being mean or making fun of others, I love animals, after all, and don’t use them as insults. It just comes to me- a movement, a look, something the person does, and I am suddenly aware of the hidden creature, if you will.

Tonight I could not focus during my yoga class. The room was too cold and my brain was racing (I had had an epiphany, you see, but that is not the topic tonight). I closed my eyes to meditate with the others. The brain started wandering and my eyes opened. I looked at my instructor and instead saw a duck, a contemplative, meditative duck with closed eyes. The duck spoke, eyes remaining closed. I could not concentrate on what she said, though, because instead of my instructor’s voice, I heard Donald Duck. You know that little spluttering quack he sometimes makes in the old cartoons? That is what I heard.
The class ended.

“Namaste,” quacked Donald.
“Namaste,” I replied and smiled.

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com


Psyche Soup


I have climbed up hills and fallen down mountains, swum in canals and come face-to-face with a water moccasin. I have played on rooftops and in trees. I wrote a book, at age 10, that was never published, and never will be, and won a writing contest and went to summer camp.

I have spent hours watching alligators swim lazily in rivers, and have rescued animals- lots of them. I have rehabilitated owls, hawk, ospreys, and other birds of prey. I brought a rabbit back to life with CPR, and killed a frog just to see how his insides were put together, then spent the rest of my life regretting it.

I have bared my soul, only to be rejected or ridiculed. I have bared my soul and found life-long friends. I have had boyfriends and lost them or left them, always avoiding a commitment. I have fought, loved, hated, felt homicidal and suicidal. I have had meltdowns and periods of life that were wonderful.

I have been chased around a parking lot by a strange man, and down a street by another. I was chased by a man with a hammer once at a traffic light, but I drove off and shot him a bird. I was chased in my car by two men who tried to run me off the road, and I chased a man down the street. I was in a car when drug deals went down, dozens of hands holding baggies waving their wares in the window. I hid my fear.

I have lived poverty and collected food from trash cans- before it was a popular sport. I have lived on food stamps and church charity. I have been without a home of my own and without a job. I turned my back on a man who needed bus fare, and still think about him with regret. I have given food to people who were hungry and rides to folks who had no transportation. I have denied money to beggars, and given money to others. I have volunteered and raised money for organizations and charities. I have offered shelter to friends who needed it.

I dropped out of high school then studied art, science, language, and linguistics, got a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. I learned a second language. I have worked in fast food and in retail, as a maid, a turn-down attendant, a receptionist, a cook, a rose seller, a kennel worker, a bagger, a veterinary assistant, a waitress, a bartender, a researcher, a teacher, a writer, an editor, a translator.

I traveled for hours by small plane, then bus, then boat to get to a remote rain forest in Costa Rica. I soaked in the hot springs fed by the volcano Arenal, and ate dinner while watching the glowing lava stream down its sides. I have been followed by monkeys who tried to pee on me to chase me away. I have seen endangered tree frogs and heard the distant roar of jaguars.

I have traveled to England, France, and Spain. I have traveled all over the US. I moved to Mexico with only 2000 dollars and no income and no friends yet at my destination. I drove for five days with everything I owned in my car to get there, after everyone told me not too- it was too dangerous. I did not encounter any danger, only difficulties in finding lodging that would accept me with my three cats. I struggled to understand and interact in another language. I received kindness from people who could see me searching for the right words to communicate. An indigenous woman gave me a mat to sleep on when she saw I was sleeping on the floor. I visited a shaman who got rid of my nightmares. I drove by a reputed warlock’s home every day. I made good friends who helped me become a better person. I learned it was ok to depend on others and be a part of the human race. Then I forgot that later when I returned to the States. I learned that life was not black and white. Mexico showed me the shades of grey.

I got typhoid and dysentery, then I got accustomed to life in a foreign country. I lived near a volcano and was showered on by eruptions. I exercised on a pyramid that was topped with a church. I walked to and from my school and work three miles a day. I bought fresh flowers from the market to brighten my bare apartment. I bought wooden crates to use as kitchen cabinets. I viewed the mummies in Guanajuato and smelled their earthy, papery skin. I saw the elaborate alters for el Dia de los Muertos. I have gone to Mardi Gras in Mazatlan and seen the parades for the Guelaguetza in Oaxaca. I lived in a cartel town with a population of 700,000 where there were 144 murders in one month. I was in a restaurant during a hold up, with four men waving automatic weapons and screaming for money. I fled the country I had grown to love.

I survived cancer. That’s still fresh.

Sometimes I think about how I could have done things differently, how that might have changed my life. But then I realize that these experiences, good, bad, or indifferent, are the network of my being. They interact with my psyche and form inextricable bonds, making me who I am. They fuel my thoughts and my actions and affect my relationships with others. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anyone elses’. During down times, when I think I have done nothing with my life, and I wonder what the point is, I look at my list. I think also about the things I have not written down, for whatever reason, and I remember that I have done everything I have ever wanted to do until now.

How many people can say that?

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com


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