Lessons

“Each and every lesson learned through my life, has been learned the hard way.” -JSM-

 

The “phoenix rising” metaphor is overly used, and way too cliche. The example may fit the bill for a lot of people in a lot of cases, but I hate using it. It’s almost cringe worthy. As most of us already know, a series of catastrophes and personal tragedies through life potentially have the power to mold us into something we never expect, or break us beyond recognition. Our tragedies and overwhelming struggles define who we are, and what we become.

My raging storms, tragedies, and personal struggles ultimately transformed me into an emotionless vessel of priority and order. A manipulator of chaos. It was both a blessing and a curse.

During my divorce proceedings I only shed tears one time, for roughly three minutes (give or take). In the shower, after the water turned cold, I stood there with both hands pressed into my face and allowed the tears to fall for a time. I gave myself one moment and one moment only. Who knows… maybe I was sobbing cause the hot water was gone. Yeah… let’s go with that.

During that brief moment I whispered into my palms, said what I had to say to whoever was listening, took breaks to catch my breath, and purged incremental rounds of continued emotion until I believed it was finally over.

Then I flipped the switch to robot mode, buried those emotions as far down as I could push them, and life moved forward. I had to. I didn’t have a choice in the matter.

I haven’t cried since 2011.

One difficult afternoon a couple years ago I said goodbye to the mutt, speaking my love to her, scratching her ears and nose while the drugs slithered through her veins to stop her heart, and I never cried. Even placing her in the ground with her favorite bone, chew toy, and blanket, sprinkling a handful of fresh earth over her corpse, I was as calm as a cucumber.

Nancy’s pain, death of loved ones, funerals, receiving crushing devastating news, jumping through bankruptcy hoops, attending four court hearings for unpaid debt knowing I was facing warriors much stronger than I, continuing mounting bad news, epic medical situations, betrayal, piling stress… sleepless nights… disconnection… lethargy… borderline catatonic…

Big deal. Your crap is no different than anyone else’s crap.

You’re absolutely right.

Why even bring it up?

Why not?

I believed by switching that emotional lever in my mind to the off position, I was able to survive my tragedies. My lack of emotions created a force field, and shields were always up. I had to attack the obstacles thrown with logic and reasoning. Applying deduction, and breaking details down into minutiae. Even delving into the metaphysical when needed. Life became a chess game. Timing was always essential. Routine and management was absolutely necessary and thinking about each and every angle was paramount.

Robotic.

I couldn’t laugh. I couldn’t cry. I could barely smile. Eyes always moving, wide open and shifting, darting all around and watching my environment. Analyzing and scrutinizing everything.

Of course… it’s all different now, but it took a long time of life lessons to get there.

Those lessons helped me be more prepared, mentally. Over a short time I developed the thickest of skin. When formulating and developing the mentality of, “anything bad can happen, at anytime, and you must be prepared for the worst case scenarios at any given moment…”

Life will indeed take on a whole new meaning.

Sleeping with one eye open. Hearing every noise. Listening intently to the random swarms of butterflies flapping around in the stomach. On the cusp of paranoia, but not to the point of watching the neighbors through the windows with binoculars. Driving the same series of roads every day and maintaining a specific route. Trusting only those few folks you truly trust with absolute certainty, and conversations with everyone else is all surface dialogue.

That was my universe for almost three years.

I wasn’t incapable of love, just the ranging emotions that accompany love.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but I’m veering off onto a side path for a moment.

When filing for bankruptcy, all the noise stops. The harassing calls. The angry messages. The piling unopened mail on the end of the counter. The threatening emails and cryptic text messages. It all vanishes. Absolute quiet. Serenity. I remember receiving bill collector calls almost every five minutes. At ten at night, sometimes eleven. Sunday’s. Holidays. Relentless pursuits of my money.

File for bankruptcy? It all goes away.

It has it’s obvious drawbacks, but once approved and the process is complete… life changes.

For me, it changed for the better. Quite possibly one of the greatest things I’ve ever decided on. A struggle in it’s own right, but a fight worth fighting.

No loans, no credit cards, no leases or contracts, no mortgage, little ties to the Old Life, zero debt. I didn’t have much, so essentially I was starting over clean slate. All I had to worry about was a student loan nagging me and threatening to garnish wages.

I made arrangements with their loan department for a monthly payment I can afford. They continue to intercept my tax return as well, and I see the monthly deductions from my account without fail.

Three years later, in 2018, I receive a notice in the mail, on October 30th.

A second student loan has gone to collections. A loan I thought was was being paid. A debt I was unaware of. I “believed” the arrangements made with the loan department three years earlier had settled the matter.

Nope. Not the case.

I quite literally almost lost my mind. The verge of tears.

I take full responsibility and blame no one but myself. I never asked questions. I never dug deeper and looked into the details. I never asked the loan department, three years ago, if I had any other outstanding debt with them or anyone else in the network of student funding, and if so, let’s take care of it pronto. Apparently, the re-payment arrangement was made for one debt. Not all of them.

I never did what I should have done.

I want to pay my debts. I don’t want to owe anyone anything. Some things are apparently unavoidable. I’m a victim of my own ignorance. I wasn’t prepared.

The thing that pisses me off is the fact I never received any correspondence from the entity seeking payment. No bill in the mail. No email. No phone calls. Nothing but a paper notification one evening after work, stating the debt is now in collections.

What’s that all about? I mean… really? Out of the blue it arrives in my mailbox from nowhere.

I was so furious I couldn’t communicate with them. I hung up when the agent on the other end started asking questions about my utility costs and what I pay a month for electricity, food and recreation.

Nope. I don’t have the ability or time to discuss that with you right now, “Bruce.”

The moral to all that is, I was never prepared for the blindside. It caught me completely off guard and I almost freaked out and lost my faculties. I hate being caught off guard. I once vowed to always have my guard up.

When I brought Nancy home from the hospital, I made a promise. I promised to think only of her, and getting over this new hurdle. If we can do this, we can do anything. Together we’ll find strength through struggle. I had to prepare. I had to be ready. One little oversight can lead to catastrophic failure and the domino effect from that failure will land on my shoulders and I’ll be held responsible.

Time to robot up.

Realistically, we can never be fully prepared for what the world throws at us. We can only hope to be prepared, believe we’re prepared, and do the best with what we have.

Nothing could prepare me for what was yet to come.

Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeremymorang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vengence

“Don’t ask me what I believe. I’ll just tell you what I don’t believe.” -JSM-

 

I didn’t really hit a doctor with a chair.

That would have made me a monster.

I wanted to. My mind went there. For a fraction of time I tapped into that primitive side of me.

Eyes bugging from the sockets I scanned the room searching for the closest object with which to do the most immediate damage, and I truly wanted to exact some kind of vengeance, but come on now… I’m not that kind of person.

The logical, rational part of the brain kicks in a half a second later.

Instead of smashing the doctor’s face and having him join in all the suffrage, I hung my head, stared at the floor, and tried to breathe normally.

And allow her sleep.

She was unconscious for roughly three more hours.

I felt like life was beating us down. We couldn’t get ahead. We were happy with our current paradigm but the world was winning again. We couldn’t seem to catch a break. We couldn’t make lemonade from the lemons.

The next string of words that came from her mouth later that afternoon, changed me forever. The kind of gut punch that’s felt for all of eternity. The sentence was uttered twice to me over the next five or so months, and the moment she was able to speak, she slowly turned her head, licked her lips, looked me dead in the eyes and whispered, “You don’t deserve this.”

I couldn’t move.

I was at her side, paralyzed in the chair, dumbfounded and silent.

All those ugly little demons of self preservation hiding within the deep recesses of my brain swarmed the space around me. They crawled onto my shoulders, clamped their invisible claws into my skin and the disembodied voices of Joe, and all my imaginary friends conjured up over the past year whispered in both my ears, then screamed at each other like madmen, and my mind went to war with itself.

She accidentally opened a door, and I was inundated with negative power.

“She’s right. You don’t deserve this. With everything you’ve…”

“Shut up! You know you love her.”

She doesn’t deserve this! It has nothing to do with you.”

“What do you deserve?”

“She really cares about…”

“… you didn’t ask for this.”

“Take some advice for once. She’s telling you to leave. To end this. You have her blessing.”

“Coward.”

“It will be difficult, but we can get through it.”

“Can we?”

“Why!? Why is this happening!?”

“You know what you have to do.”

“You were never going anywhere, you fool. This is just the next phase of the journey.”

I might have blanked out for a minute or two when her eyes shut again. She spoke the words to me and I never replied. Then her lids fluttered closed.

I couldn’t tear my stare from the wall beside her bed.

It was by and large the most selfless thing I have ever heard spoken to me by another human being. Especially considering she had been torn open from throat to navel, breastbone broken, insides moved around, and then stitched back together with surgical wire.

I didn’t feel worthy of her presence.

She never said, “Thank you for being here for me.” Or, “I’m so glad you’re here, can I have a hug?” Or, “Help me sit up.” Or, “I’m thirsty.” Or, “It hurts.” Or anything that resembles “normal” everyday dialogue after undergoing major surgery.

She could have said a thousand different things. But through it all, she remained her true self.

“I” believed, that “she” truly believed, “I” didn’t deserve all this heartache, struggle, and pain.

And the difficulties to come.

She wanted me to live my life. Free from those hardships. She was sincere in her statement.

And it literally blew me away.

Regardless of her philosophies on the matter, I internally stuffed away all the dark shadows and taunting demons. I buried all the whispering evil voices back into the deep dark void accompanied by all the other negative energy, and I then knew what I had to do.

I had to help bring her back to life.

When she opened her eyes again, I grabbed her fingers and whispered, “This will be a cake walk. baby. We got this. Do you believe that? I believe that.”

She nods.

“I’m gonna go talk to work and tell them my plan. Then I’ll move things around downstairs, take care of the mutt, and then I’ll be back. You keep resting. If I’m not here, I won’t be far.”

She nods again.

“I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me, and I’m going to help make you better.”

“I know.” She whispered.

We’d get our vengeance on this cruel world, by winning this battle, and the battles unforeseen along the way.

I closed the hospital room door, and the next five months are a disjointed blur.

Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeremymorang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rage

The ride to the the hospital the following morning was a brief trip of silence. I drove with a white knuckle grip, lost in my thoughts, and she sat in the passenger seat sending text messages to her friends, family, and co-workers to fill them in on the details of her day surgery.

We were both in semi good spirits and came to a realization the night before, while packing her day bag, that this hurdle was a necessity. It’ll be over and better before we know it. Just something we have to get through. Just like any other hurdle in life. Jump over it and keep on moving forward.

Her biggest complaint was not being able to eat anything the night before. God love her.

My mistake was not asking more questions.

Always ask questions. Dig for information. Read the fine print. Read, research. Question everything. Absolutely everything. Take nothing at face value. Burrow under the surface. With the right information, we can be better prepared. Preparation is everything.

Regardless of my mistake, we entered the hospital and made our way to the designated room.

The drugs were taking effect after a short time, and she was feeling giddy and light headed. She relaxed into her chair, licking drool, eyes rolling around, giggling at nothing, and I could tell it was almost time and that’s when the nurse approached us and said, “OK… we’re ready now.”

I kissed the top of her hand and watched the nurse wheel her away through the double doors. A moment later a second nurse came up to me and said, “Nancy asked me to text you from her phone when it’s over. Is that OK?”

“Of course.”

“She’s in good hands. It’s a fairly quick procedure and shouldn’t take too long. I’ll text you when she’s in recovery.”

“Sounds good.”

I left the hospital and immediately went to my place of employment.

Concentration was impossible. Focus was all but gone. I couldn’t think. I paced throughout my office. The words and numbers on the computer screen transformed to foreign languages I couldn’t understand. Co-workers tried to make conversation and all I could hear was gibberish.

After a few maddening hours trapped in my mind, I received a text message.

“It’s all done. She’s in recovery. This is what we removed.”

The message was accompanied with a picture.

(I was going to dig up the old photo from her phone and attach it to this post, but to this day it makes me squeamish. I decided not to include it.)

The picture showed the removed mass cradled in two cupped, Latex gloved hands. Under the extraction, I could see the bloody tools and scalpels, and wadded up blood crusted gauze on a silver tray. The tumor was the size of a softball, dark crimson, and streaked with black lines.

I couldn’t believe something that large was wedged and growing inside someone that small.

I almost lost what little I had eaten for lunch.

Feeling a little overwhelmed and off balance, I bolted for the car and sped back to the hospital.

After I checked in with the receptionist and found her location, I hurried down the hall to her room. Staff was entering and exiting with clipboards, whispering to each other in their own secret codes, and the doctor we consulted with the day before was sitting on a wheeled stool at the foot of her bed, making notations on a tablet.

I couldn’t breathe. I felt as if I was teleported elsewhere. I was in someone else’s reality looking through the eyes of another.

This is all a bad dream. This isn’t happening.

Oh, yes, it’s happening. The question now, is what to do about it.

She was partially reclined and unconscious. A thick plastic tube was stuffed in her mouth and taped off at the corners to keep it secure. A see-through plastic accordion device sat on the floor under her bed pumping blood through hoses and beeping machinery. She was connected to the wall behind her with wires and small digital contraptions and displays, and the room was a cold, dark tomb. Her hospital gown was partially opened in the front and a long white bandage was taped to her breastbone; starting at her throat, and disappearing under the blankets which were folded down neatly and perfectly across her stomach.

The doctor stood up and approached me. “The good news is that we didn’t find any cancer in, or around the tumor.”

My face reddened and my legs weakened. I lowered my voice. “What’s the bad news?”

He snatched up a clipboard and half smiled. “No bad news. The procedure was a complete success.”

Feeling on the verge of fainting, looking at her from the corner of my eye, I asked, “What’s the recovery time?”

“It varies. She won’t be able to climb stairs for at least a month, possibly six weeks to be certain.”

Our bedroom is upstairs.

“She can drive a car again, to be safe, eight weeks, but keep it local. The bandage will need to be changed often, probably every few hours to help fight any potential infections. Infections can lead to fevers and if her temperature climbs anything over 99 degrees, she’ll need to be brought in right away. She’ll need to have her temperature taken every hour.”

Keep going, doc.

“This is her pillow.” He places a thin white pillow over her feet. “During the healing process she’ll have a natural instinct to cough. If she coughs, or feels like coughing, put this over her chest and tell her to gently hug it.”

You’re not done yet. Give me more.

“For the first couple of weeks she’ll probably need help getting to the bathroom. She’ll be sleeping a lot. Simple tasks will be difficult and she’ll need assistance. We’ll provide ointments, prescribe the medicines, pain killers, and all the materials needed to make the healing process as quick as possible for when you bring her home. We’d like to keep her here for a few days and monitor. You can visit any time you want and if you want to stay the night, we’ll make you a spot.”

“See, doc? There’s always bad news.”

My vision tunneled and the room stretched out. The nurse in the far corner seemed a mile away and I had to blink through the disorientation and lean against the closet.

“Are you OK?” The doctor asked.

My eyes opened wide. I was morphing into something I always try and suppress. Bringing the internal darkness to the surface is always dangerous and I fought the impending violence festering in my head. A fight I felt I was bound to lose.

“No. Not really. I’m fucking far from OK.”

Something clicked in my mind. I was watching a scene unfold that I couldn’t control.

I reached to the floor, grabbed the silver stool’s leg, and swung the lightweight chair at his face with all my strength.

It was bound to break something.

Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or follow me on Twitter. Please give this a like if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tension

The cough intensified as the days wore on.

Deep and rattling. At times, uncontrollable.

As if she was surrounded by an evil entity, squeezing all the air from her lungs. It literally came from nowhere. All was fine… until the cough magically appeared.

Nancy’s one tough lady, but this was knocking her down. All I could do was offer my support and retrieve from the store what she needed to fight it. What I was able to provide, didn’t seem to help.

She eventually paid a visit to her doctor.

This may rub some folks the wrong way, but I don’t look fondly at western medicine. I used to, once, in the Old Life, but not anymore. I have my reasons, and experiencing Nancy’s next few hurdles, solidified my position and stance on the matter.

Her doctor prescribed her a nebulizer with an inhaling mist, and told her she had bronchitis.

It wasn’t bronchitis. But we wouldn’t know that for another week or so.

I wish they could get their diagnosis accurate the first time around.

She’d draw the mist into her lungs and cough until she was purple in the face. Hands clutching her chest. Deep breathing and wheezing in between the moments of doubling over in obvious pain. I was helpless watching her go through it all.

“What can I do? What can I get you?”

“Nothing.” She’d reply. “I just have to get through it.”

We dealt with that for almost a week.

It takes a catastrophe to keep her from work. When she started calling in to her job, and taking extended time off, was when I knew we had a more serious problem than a case of bronchitis. She made the decision to re-connect with her doctor.

I was told over the phone she’d fill me in when she returned.

I stood at the kitchen window and listened to the water fill the sink. I scooped up a pile of plates and lowered them into the suds, keeping my attention on the flock of crows gathered on the neighbor’s roof, and cursed out loud when the water spilled over the edge and splashed across my feet. Something didn’t feel right. The hairs on my neck stood up and the room felt smaller.

I was losing focus and concentration.

Something was about to happen. I could sense it. That bubble which once surrounded me for protection was starting to reappear.

I paced the room feeling anxiety racing under my skin as the dishes sat in the sink unattended.

I told you something was coming. I told you the fight will soon be on your doorstep. You never listen to me. You need to prepare.

“For what?”

A war. 

“My wars are over.”

Sorry. You’re wrong. They’ve only just begun.

Five minutes later she called me and asked me to meet her at the doctors.

Typically I drive like an old man who can barely see over the steering wheel. I’m cautious of the law, speed limits, and all the rules of the road. I was lucky I didn’t get pulled over on the way to her.

I tore open the door and felt as if I was walking into a brightly lit tomb. We found each other and I was introduced to her primary care specialist.

He had the same Joker smile as my old buddy, Bill, from BizzaroTech.

Why are you so happy?  I thought, while shaking his hand. You’re about to tell us difficult news. Wipe that smug smirk from your face.

I watched the doctor pull out his file, slap an assortment of X-Rays on the wall, and flipped on the light. “I’ll just get right to it.” He said, and pointed to his breast bone. “We did a series of tests and took some X-Rays of the chest cavity and found something that demands immediate attention.” He approached the light and circled a location blocked out by a large dark mass. “Ordinarily, the human Thymus disappears and is replaced by fat after we reach puberty. Nancy’s never did.”

I swallowed hard and was waiting for the bomb to drop. “Inside her Thymus, is a growth. A tumor if you will, that needs to be removed.”

“Is this a quick and easy procedure?” I asked him.

“It does involve surgery. But in order for her to heal, it needs to come out.”

“How soon can she have this taken care of?”

“We can do it tomorrow.” He sat back down and scrawled notes on his papers.

“How rare is something like this?”

He glanced up to me over the rim of his glasses. “Very rare.”

I looked to her and she attempted a smile. I asked, “Do you want to do this tomorrow?”

She nodded.

Here it comes. I told you something was about to happen. You need to start listening more.

Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or follow me on Twitter. Please give this a like if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Silence Before the Scream

I stare at the horizon and the waves hit my shins. The receding water buries my feet in warm sand, and I’m finally at peace. My cluttered mind now at ease. A place I desperately wanted to call, home. Here, I can relax. “I’m not returning until I find answers.”

“You’ll leave when I tell you to leave.”

Then I was back. Back to the paradigm we call, reality. Torn from the fantasy world once again, and whisked against my will back to the land of the living through a swirling vortex of color and light.

When I snap out of it, it always takes a moment to re-calibrate. I have to find my footing and clear the webs from the noggin. I have to stop in my tracks, back up a few paces and remember what it is I’m fighting to forget. What is it I’m trying so hard to ignore?

I believe that’s all it really is on the grand scale. We cling to those negative past experiences and once they become the primary focus they slither deep into our souls. The roots find a home where they’re nurtured and watered daily, then they branch, weave, and spread out like a virus without a cure. Thick vines choking us out to the point where eventually the inability to breathe feels normal. No machete or chainsaw is strong enough to hack it all away.

We find comfort in escapism. We seek methods to mask the madness dwelling inside. Those coping mechanisms vary individual to individual, but we all have them.

Sometimes we walk the path of the light to escape, and sometimes we go dark.

For a brief moment in time, I went dark-silent-protected-contemplative-introvert-hermit.

No method of escapism was good enough. No matter what I drank, I couldn’t quench my thirst. My mind was racing 24-7 and my thoughts were erratic. I’d indulge in escapes I was accustomed to, but had a hunger I couldn’t feed. Because I couldn’t find answers where they didn’t exist, I decided to go to the source of the problem; instead of focusing on the results. I needed to dig for my answers and to this day, I still dig in the same holes from time to time. I could not longer exist on the surface of my personal issues in life, I needed to find the reasons to “why” I was having my experiences. There has to be more to it.

And it all derived from a central point. I know the source of the problem.

That problem is, me.

I used to carry a sledgehammer. A heavy tool to break down obstacles and obliterate impassible walls. Now I carry a shovel in it’s place. I traded one laborious tool for another, but today I dig, search, and look for personal discoveries that are applicable to me. Instead of smashing through the wall and moving on to the next, I try and figure out who built the wall, what it’s made of, why is it here? Why am I facing it? Why today?

Of course, no answer will be found, but through that search I believe I’ve come to be a better person then who I was in the Old Life. And to me, that’s all that really matters. I exchanged my negative experiences for positive ones. I transformed the bad, into something I like to think is, good. If not good, then better than what I was the day before.

Quite possibly the biggest hurdle thus far, the largest of the walls I’ve ever seen, was constructed in early summer of 2012. I couldn’t see the wall, until I was standing toe-to-toe with it. On the other side of the barrier I could hear the screaming of the enemy and all its minions and monsters. Mocking, taunting and yelling obscenities. Telling me to walk away. Instructing me to try the other paths instead. This one wasn’t for me.

I had to find a way to silence the screams. I couldn’t retreat. The path behind me wasn’t for me anymore. I had to keep moving forward. I had to continue to pursue something away from the darkness.

I needed to undertake a journey I wasn’t prepared for.

The journey involved a place between places. A location conjured in my mind. Somewhere I needed to reside temporarily, in order to get through it all. My little trips into the fantasy world were my coping mechanisms. My escapes. My methods to quell the madness. The subtle clues and hidden secrets were starting to appear in locations I didn’t expect. My subconscious mind took control and I gave in allowing it to take me elsewhere. I latched onto the snippets of information I was provided and I taught myself to put the pieces together accordingly, to create a scene I somehow needed to see, even if the picture was hazy and vague.

I had to make sense of it all. Why is this happening? Why me? Why us? What’s my bigger picture here?

I still don’t know. I’ve lumped it into the category of, “life happens.”

It’s what I do with the provided data, that makes the difference to me. I have to look for a potentially bigger picture, and continue to place the pieces. Transform the bad into something good.

Something that makes sense to me.

My brief time as a hermit, that dark path I walked before deciding it wasn’t for me, came to be an asset. I was able to latch onto that experience again and it guided me to where I needed to be. I didn’t want to relive that moment in time. I had to.

“You have to do what needs to be done.”

“What is it?”

To continue being honest, I still don’t know. I don’t know what needs to be done. All I know is what I can do and what I try and accomplish within my parameters. Nothing more, nothing less. To continue being myself.

If not for the journey, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I dig who I am. I like me.

The wall was high and wide and I walked head first into it. It was invisible at first. Subtle, easily ignored, and overlooked. Maybe a lozenge would help. A little non drowsy medication before work. Go see the doctors when you’re ready, or it lasts longer than a week or becomes something that needs to be looked into.

It all started with a cough.

Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or follow me on Twitter. Please give this a like if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

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The Stars and the Sea

“Stuck. In the muck. Down on my luck. My mind has been hit by a speeding dump truck. Feet firm on the ground, brain running amok. I see the sea and the sky and behold I’m awestruck. -JSM-

 

In 2009, I spent some time in Bermuda. The only real vacation I’ve ever had. Three slow moving days at sea. Two days docked at King’s Landing at the island, and two days returning to Boston.

The ship was an adult playground. Event rooms on each deck. Dance floors and a bar in each corner. The best food I’ve ever eaten, with twenty-four hour eateries. Five star restaurants and the meals were delivered on demand and as much as you could stuff in your face. On deck nine was a twenty-four hour arcade. Tennis courts top side. Running track. Batting cages. A swimming pool and water slides on the main deck, with more lawn chairs than can be counted, and a handful of hot tubs.

The staff preformed improv routines. Cirque du Soleil made an appearance. They had magician acts and stand up comedians in large theaters. Bartender contests. Karaoke and Bingo halls. Back rubs and pedicures…

A little bit of everything.

A little bit of everything that really didn’t pertain to my interests.

Near the bridge, where the captain and his crew manned the ship on the other side of bullet proof glass, was a library and attached to the library was a cigar lounge. Cigars were purchased in a mall area on the lobby floor and smoked in the ventilated room along with cigarettes, if a visitor so preferred. The lounge had high-back leather seats and thick dark carpet. It was a dimly lit room with internet access ($15 for five minutes), and magazines draped over end tables.

I’ll give you three guesses how I spent my time on the ship.

When I wasn’t swimming in the pool, soaking in the tub, or eating a meal, I was in the arcade. Now and then, I’d spend some time in the library.

I kept to the itinerary designed for the day. You gotta get what you pay for. I went to the bars and played Bingo in the event room. I watched the magicians, I played the games and participated in the contests. I smoked a cigar or two. But the arcade brought me back to my childhood. A room crammed with nostalgia. Since most people see me as a big kid at heart, it was fitting I spent most of my time in a place that suited me.

The library had an air of mystique and mystery. It’s own separate draw. The shelves were jammed with old leather bound books and trinkets.

Between the two locations, I knew where I wanted to be.

The island was a different experience altogether. With the ship docked at the nearest port, the tourists could come and go freely. During the day, my vacation escape was the arcade and the library. On the island it was experiencing the rich history and seeing the local sites, tasting their home brews and filling up my bottomless gut on popular cuisine.

Dusk and dark was my favorite time during my stint at sea.

Off my cabin was a narrow balcony. With the glass door closed behind me, the only noises of the night were the waves crashing against the hull far below and the whispers and giggles of lovers on the balconies to either side.

The night sky was something out of a sci-fi movie. Purple and green clusters of pulsing color. It appeared as though every star in the universe was congested and gathered right above my head. I couldn’t get enough of it. The light pollution was non-existent and what was visible was breathtaking. The stars flickered and fluttered and seemed as if they were speaking in Morse Code to each other.

It was indeed a surreal experience. As though I didn’t belong there. I was an impostor. Like I was intruding on something greater than me. I was provided special permission and full access to see the secrets of the galaxy. My own personal light show.

The ocean at night, far far away from land, is a powerful sight. I can’t wait to see it again.

In the meantime, that sight exists only in my memories. For now, it’s confined to the dream world. My conjured fantasy land. The only place in the universe where I exist as a different person. A place in the universe I visit when my eyes are closed.

***

It’s all yours. Every grain of sand. Every air molecule. Every drop of blood and water. It’s yours. Your inheritance. You are the ruler of this world. 

“I want to talk to Joseph.”

Oh, now you want to speak to him? Joseph isn’t here right now. You’ll have to leave a message. He’s just a middle man. A gatekeeper. When the time is right, he’ll say hello.

“Where am I heading?”

It appears the southern most tip of the continent. The furthest south one can walk. You’ll get there in a minute. 

A minute was forever. He lied.

I did arrive eventually, but was winded and tired. I was thirsty and without my canteen. The sun was rising in a cloudless sky ahead, and when I thought the walk would never end, it did abruptly where the ocean met the sand.

My bare toes wiggled in the still water and I stared off to the horizon.

I was finally home.

Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or follow me on Twitter. Please give this a like if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Hard Fall From a High Wagon

“I’m on the front line, don’t worry I’ll be fine, the story is just beginning.
I say goodbye to my weakness, so long to the regret, and now I see the world through diamond eyes.”  
-Shinedown-

As winter approaches, I’ve felt fatigued, sluggish, and slightly grumpy. Winter in Maine, while beautiful and magical, can also be looooong and gray. The things I enjoy, are now the sources of great stress. What should feel easy, is exceedingly difficult. I can’t even finish reading a book by a favorite author for some reason. I get to the good parts, the slow burn is paying off, and I shelve it. The things I love to do, (no matter what it is) feels more like a chore than a positive experience. Recently thinking of a new hobby to mix in with the others.

I am indeed the creator of my own misery.

Falling off the wagon, sucks. It’s a tall wagon I’ve been riding for quite some time. A custom made vehicle built with layers of impenetrable protection from all outsiders and made for one rider. When I fall off, however, those few moments where the wagon hits a rut in the road, I make an impact crater when I land which takes forever to climb out.

I try not not gripe about it. Griping will get no one, nowhere,… real fast. I try and suck it up and make due with what I’ve been given. Make lemonade from rotten lemons and no sugar. I don’t communicate much to those around me about the things that stress me out, or piss me off. Instead, I come here and vent.

Weirdo.

I become a recluse. I revert back to a hermit mentality. I ignore social media unless tagged or mentioned. I sit in my chair, daydream, ponder, think, and ignore everything around me.

Since disconnecting cable from the television, the methods for escape have diminished substantially. Sure–The internet, the gaming system, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and CBS All Access have filled in a few spaces here and there, but when an app crashes or the connection is interrupted… it stresses me out to no end. Like a big frigging baby who isn’t getting his way.

And yes, that’s all on me.

I have so many unfinished projects strewn around, I wonder why I even started them in the first place. Incomplete crossword puzzles. Starship models half done. Household chores waved off and ignored for another time. Partially written emails and some waiting to be sent. Writing projects now collecting dust high up on the digital bookshelf waiting for me to get off my fat keister and do something productive about it.

Hell… I haven’t even started winterizing yet, and the first snow fall happened today.

You have to get on that. That shit’s supposed to be done in September.

Losing power for six days, after the last storm, really put a dampener on my way of life and I’m not sure why… and I haven’t climbed back on my wagon yet. It’s been easier to just turn on YouTube down in my hole and watch mindless videos or research topics I will probably do nothing with in the future. Simpler to just stare off into the distance and hope the time passes. It’s not a depressive state of mind. I know that. Been there, done that, and no plans to repeat. I know I’m not in any depressed state.

I think I get bored and don’t want to admit it. I shouldn’t feel that way. I’ve always told my children, “Boredom is a lack of a creative mind,” and I feel as though I should practice what I preach. But my interests are so varied and unorthodox and outside all of mainstream, I feel as though I engage in these activities, as a solo entity. That can be tiresome.

Which, (now that I think about it) might be a good thing. I don’t know many people who I can chat with about Thoth’s emerald tablet, or why… if the land masses and continents continue to drift a certain distance each year, and always have… why certain stars can still be seen through holes in stonework, designed and carved to watch those specific stars, constructed thousands of years ago.

Einstein once said, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” I believe this to be true. But the places my mind leads me into… I have difficulties sharing with others. So… I keep that stuff to myself. Then I get bored.

I suppose when you don’t pay attention to politics, the news, war, sports, the media, trendy topics, popular music, Insta-Snap, and now mainstream entertainment, the topics for conversation stay mostly within the confines of the mind.

I guess it is what it is.

With that said, I want to take a moment and thank everyone: My Twitter followers, subscribers and Facebook friends who continue to read this madness called, Tales of the Chronicles. This crazy project is something I thoroughly enjoy and without you guys, I wouldn’t do it. So thank you. I never believed it would have gotten to this point.

I’d also like to take a moment to thank the few of you who’ve really helped me over some hurdles in this journey of life. Especially the current leg of the race. You’ve helped me in ways I can’t explain. The road may still be long, and winding, but it’s getting easier to navigate.

Some paths just take a little longer to walk. Some wagon’s are taller than others.

In the beginning, all I had was figments of my imagination to show me what I enjoyed. Conjured specters appearing from the mist pointing towards a path. Quick visits. Brief glimpses. Knowing they weren’t real, but just as real as anyone else, made the experiences more difficult at first. Ray McKay said, “you need to let go. Give into it,” and those words of inspiration made no sense to me.

How am I supposed to let go of something when I don’t know what it is?

Are you supposed to cry again? Let the emotions go? What does that even mean?… Let it all go…

I still struggle with what it all might mean. When provided cryptic replies and answers, one can’t help but to speculate on the interpretation.

Just like with anything else, we make due with what we’re given.

The dreams stopped for a time. I estimate two, perhaps three weeks passed before experiencing another vivid, jumble of weirdness. Life moved on.

I ignored Pastor McKay’s words of wisdom, and his puzzle metaphor, and sallied forth.

Maybe that’s what I was supposed to do.

Because the next time I visited the dream realm, I bypassed the Rillian Sea completely and landed on the beach where I met the strangers in the storm. Joe was nowhere to be seen and never once made his presence known. I wouldn’t see him for another five nights. The strangers were gone, and the fire was a smoldering coal pile in a shallow pit.

Barefoot, I walked the beach’s coastline towards the rising sun.

Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or follow me on Twitter. Please give this a like if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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