Clean Your Room

Today is cleaning day and I normally start my cleaning in the living room, but today I started in my bedroom. I needed to clear off my dresser, which had accumulated a lot of clutter — papers that needed to be tossed or filed, unmatched socks that never found their partner, broken bits and pieces of flotsam and jetsam — I couldn’t take it anymore. So my bedroom was my focus and in my mind I heard my mother from my childhood telling me to, “Clean your room!!”

As adults, our homes take on our personalities, but our bedrooms are our sanctuaries (at least in my case it is – and in many of friends it also seems to be the case). The public spaces are nicely decorated, they speak of our likes and tastes, what we want to say to the world. But our bedrooms are where we keep ourselves to ourselves. I clean for other people sometimes, and I notice the difference between the rooms. I see the little trinkets people keep in their bedrooms, the stuffed animals from their childhoods they keep in a corner; the mementos and photos; the parts of themselves that they don’t share with the rest of the world.

As I’m cleaning my bedroom, these thoughts go through my head and I start to notice what I keep in my bedroom. What parts of me am I keeping to myself? My home is a shotgun apartment; people have to travel through my bedroom to get to the kitchen or to the back of the house and backyard. My bedroom is partially on display, although I finally have a door installed (it took 4 years for my landlord to do it, previously I had a curtain to keep the AC in one room).

I also wonder, does keeping your bedroom tidy or not say anything about how you see yourself? Regardless of how the rest of your home is kept. If your bedroom is who you are … and you see yourself as messy or neat (or ALLOW yourself to get into a state when you don’t really like it to be that way, as I did), what does that mean to your psychological well-being? Hmmm.. I know there are studies done on this but, I should get back to cleaning my room. Or the mom-voice in my head will start yelling at me.

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Turn the Page

When I was a kid I used to think that the world was a book being read by a God, (or maybe He was writing it) and when the day ended, He’d turned the page. I was raised Methodist so at the time, God was “He”. Now I’m pagan so God is “They, She, He, Them, the great unknowable IT” but for this post’s sake, if I refer to God, I’ll just use “He” because I’m referring back to that idea I had as a child. 

It’s a quaint idea, and sometimes I think nostalgically about it. How God would be writing His book of the world, all the things He had going on. All the lives, all the activity, all the dreams of all the people. It had to be a big book, I’d imagine.  So many characters! (This was me around….10? 12? I don’t remember what age exactly but it’s obviously an age where I was having more existential thoughts, before I was questioning whether God was a male God and my place in the Church but I was apparently looking at the world with eyes that wondered about how things really worked in the greater scheme of things. By 14, I was confirmed in the church and definitely not feeling it.  By 16 I was most definitely NOT Christian and considered myself agnostic but not really because I was tapped by *something* I’d come to recognize as a pagan Goddess a few years later. Save that for later posts.) 

I do remember lying in bed at night, thinking about how God would be writing his book and at midnight, as a new day would begin, he would “turn the page” for a new day to begin. A brand new page, white and clean, waiting to be filled with all the things that would happen. Some stories would continue, some would end. Maybe an entire chapter was over (like a war would be ending that day, time for a new chapter.) I’m not sure how I remedied everything for everyone around the world in my mind but I know I wasn’t just thinking of this as MY life — I considered this as a Big Book of Life for everyone, even if they didn’t worship this particular God  — it was an all-inclusive thing, not part of religion. It was the Book of Life, the Book of the World.  

I remembered this the other day, these simple quiet thoughts of a child who still considered the world (and God in His many forms) a pretty nice place. Even though this child grew up during the Cold War, did nuclear bomb drills and lived with the knowledge that a great part of her family was killed simply for existing (one side European Jews exterminated; the other side Jews exterminated during the Russian pogroms. We won’t talk about the Romanov relations because that’s a story for another blog post.) I was, and still am in many ways, a peaceful child , who looked upon the world with compassion and wonder.

And now 40 years later my world is repeating so many of the same things that I was told about – there are numbers on the arms of immigrants in camps — in America, not in Germany. Our political “leaders” are speaking in terms recalling another Cold War if not an actual World War in so many ways. The child I once was recalls that simple way of looking at each day and wonders…

… when will this particular chapter end so a much nicer one can begin. And can the author please stop repeating themselves?

Turn the Page.

Write Here!

I really am just going to start writing here. REALLY. (Part of this is due to The Bloggess’ post, part of it is me.) I don’t know why I don’t do it, preferring to just post snippets on Facebook instead of truly writing out what’s going on in a format that might actually, I don’t know….help? Especially since I write not for anyone else but for ME.  And maybe that’s why I don’t do it — because seeing my words out on a page, putting them down and pressing “publish” means they’re *out there* .

My mother always told me, “Never put into writing what you don’t mind seeing published in the New York Times,” and so I’ve always had this bit of a block against actually blogging or journaling my real feelings. I’ll talk endlessly about what’s going on AROUND me. If you read back through the few posts on this blog, or my public Facebook posts, you’ll see a pattern of “so this happened” and thoughts on the political climate and what I think about what’s going on in the world. But rarely do I talk about ME. I rarely share with the outside world (or, in the case of even friends-locked posts on Facebook) what’s going on inside my head. That kind of information gets tightly filtered, if shared at all. I play it so close to the vest that NO ONE knew how bad things were with me before my suicide attempt. I just don’t talk about it. 

I understand what my mother was getting at, especially in this digital age (though, this was WAY before it. She died in 1989. Maybe I’ll get into that. It’s part of my crazy.) Writing things down and sending it means it can be printed for all to see. You don’t put your private stuff out there to be used against you. I’m pretty sure this was just part of her paranoia, her own bipolar mania — or whatever damage HER mother did to her — and she passed it on to me. So now I have this odd “block” about writing in a blog because hitting send sends it out into the ether makes it permanent. The internet is permanent. It’s not even anonymous — as much as people think they’re hiding behind their screen names. I don’t ever use my full real name online but I’m sure if anyone wanted to figure out who I was, they could. 

But now, I’m past where anyone could use it against me. What could they do? I’m already disabled and on disability. I already live under the poverty line and struggle to get by. I’ve already had a person in authority over me use my words against me, use my mental illness against because I TALKED ABOUT IT.  And I’m OVER IT. 

I made my entire suicide experience and aftermath public on my Facebook page, in the hopes that if someone happened upon it, it might help that ONE person with their decision. And every time I open up and speak freely about what’s happening with me, more people say things like “me too” and “thank you, I needed to hear this” than “shut up” or “you’re crazy, stay away from me.” And writing it out helps me too. It helps to see it out and if I hit that “publish” button…maybe it’ll help someone else. Or not. Because I’m pretty sure no one reads this. And that’s OK. Because blogging again is going to exercise my brain and muscles that need to be worked. 

The fog needs to be lifted and it’s probably going to take some manual labor to lift it. Ain’t gonna be some wind coming by to blow it away. So here I am. I’m gonna blog again. Often. I’m even going to set some Alexa notification or alarm thingie to poke me to do it because I really am SO GOOD at making promises to myself and breaking them. It’s what I’m best at. 

Is there more than one way to skin a squirrel?

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I have no idea. I’ve never done it before today. I’ve seen it done in movies, most notably “Winter’s Bone” where Jennifer Lawrence teaches her younger siblings how to do it – and quite graphically – so I followed what she did. Why? Because my dog killed one. But wait, I’m jumping ahead of myself, let me back up.

Yesterday, I let my big dogs out in the backyard. Shortly afterward I heard an unusual commotion, so I ran out to see Joker, my pit bull, at the side fence and Gypsy, my mutt running around upset. Panthera, the neighbor dog was also making a lot more noise than usual at this one junction in the fence. Then I notice that Joker is bleeding from his snout. Gypsy also has blood on her. THEN, I see the squirrel in between the fence and the tree that has grown around it. A-ha. I start to check Joker’s wounds and get him cleaned up, trying to determine whether he was punctured by chain link or squirrel and said squirrel shakily scurries up the tree with some major wounds of his own to tend to. Gypsy is fine, the blood isn’t hers.  Both dogs got a bath while the foster puppies cried outside the bathroom.

Oh yeah, foster puppies. They want to know why they can’t do everything the big dogs do. BECAUSE YOU’RE PUPPIES and only here for the week. Thank Gods.

Later that night, I have to kill a GIANT SPIDER IN MY KITCHEN. I have arachnophobia. It was awful. And the size of a spoon. OMG.

This morning I let everyone out, and everyone but Gypsy came back in. She’s focused on the squirrels. Fine. A couple of hours later I open the door to take laundry out to dry and look to see my garden shoes are covered in drops of fresh blood. The same garden shoes I’d worn the day before, hosed off all the mud and left to dry on the steps. WHOSE BLOOD IS THIS???? Gypsy isn’t bleeding. But why are flies all over her? WHAT? I start looking for the squirrel, it HAS to be the squirrel. Joker and Gypsy are now digging at another part of the fence by the alley. So I open the gate and go out into the alley and then I see it, covered in flies but not dead yet. Oh dear gods. All dogs go back inside but Gypsy. This is her kill. She has to finish what she started.  I put her on a leash and take her to it.

And this is where I discover that Gypsy most likely ISN’T the killer of the animals I’ve found dead in my yard. She’s likely the one that catches them, but Joker is most likely the finisher. I had to encourage her to finish, to kill, to strike the killing blow. I didn’t want the squirrel to suffer for however long it was going to take for it to die — I wanted her to do what a dog does: swiftly break a neck/back/skull — whatever.  And then I remembered what my neighbor said happened while I was on vacation. The dogs had caught one of the feral cats and killed it. He tried to get them off of it, and Gypsy let go as soon as he yelled out, but Joker was the one that held on and mauled until it was dead. Joker isn’t as fast or agile, he can’t jump as high (nor climb a tree the way Gypsy does). But they do team up and hunt as a pack (they ARE dogs) and I’ve watched Gypsy lead the hunt. So she catches, and he kills. Makes sense. She is the gentler of the two but has the stronger prey instinct — she enjoys the chase part, but once that is over, she’s lost interest.

AND NO ONE wanted it after I skinned it, either. My raw fed dogs turned their noses up to fresh meat. Fresh, bloody, warm squirrel meat. Now that’s just rude. Ungrateful beasts. So I had to put the body parts (and it’s parts. Skin, organs, ripped apart limbs…I offered all pieces to five dogs, puppies included and no one wanted any part of it – although the puppies licked up some of the blood) in some bags and store it in my chest freezer until next garbage pickup because rotting squirrel in Alabama heat is just stinky grossness.

AND THEN I HAD TO KILL A GIANT COCKROACH.

Can I be done being Madame Death now? Please?

 

Morning Battles

I lie on my side, cradling the fragile little being I love

To protect her from the battle going on behind me.

Listening to the noise, cringing as they clash

Hoping they don’t hit me, or her.

But if they come close, I’m here to protect her from harm

My strong body will shield her.

It’s quieting down. They’re slowing the attacks.

One by one, the aggressors are retreating

Each one lies back down, panting, chests heaving with effort

The puppy has been appeased. The dogs are ready to go back to sleep.

And my old fragile chihuahua has been protected from the morning melee.

I agree, Pix. It’s way too early for this shit.

Do to Live

I got out today.

I forced myself past the pain. Past the desire to stay in bed and wallow. I pushed against it.

The abyss beckoned, said, “Stay here. It’s more comfortable”. (Such a lie. It’s not easier to stay in the dark with you. That is the lie you tell me to make me a slave to your whims. )

I got up, shut out the agony, closed it off as best I could. No, you will not get me today. I’m going. I am going to live today.

Out I went. Out into the world, into society. Which tells me I’m not good enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not thin enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m NOT ENOUGH. Or maybe it’s me telling myself that. Either way, the abyss is always there telling me not to go out there, it’s scary and horrible and safer to stay home in the darkness.

No, I went into the world. Just for a brief moment, I went into the light.

I’m holding onto that small pinprick of light. For the next time the abyss beckons and lies to me, “Stay here with me in the darkness, it’s easier than going out there. Nobody wants you out there, but I want you here.” No. I have this… I went into the light and kept some of it. I have that. I DID that.

And I’ll do it again. You just wait.