Darkness

They were givers of hugs and holders of hands. When I was baby, when I became an adult.

One of the things that hit me hard after Grandma died was visiting her home and sitting on her couch and all I could think was how she would sit there next to me and hold my hand. If she was there. Which she wasn’t and wouldn’t ever be again.

And now, 4 years later, he’s gone, too.

I’m having waves of realization over how much of a constant, an anchor, they were in my life.

My other grandparents have demonstrated a preference for their biological families. So, yeah, I don’t really feel bad for having a preference for my biological grandparents, thanks. The last time I saw the mother of my adopted father, she didn’t know who I was. Thanks for caring so much, grandmother.

Speaking of my adopted father, it becomes difficult to push away the hatred in my grief. He did so much behind the scenes to prevent me from spending time with my dad and his family. All those years, lost. Anger at my mother for letting her husband do that to me. Anger at my dad for leaving me and letting all those years of heartache invade my life. Anger at myself for choosing a life so far away and letting my adult years slip by so quickly, my life too full of debts and commitments to get away often enough.

Rage. Guilt. Sorrow. Grief.

Meanwhile, the world is exploding — not just with bombs and gunfire, but with fear, racism, reactionary diatribes, and more. Humanity just lost someone who loved people and gave back and it is difficult to see hope when it feels like everything beautiful is collapsing.

I know it isn’t. I see people embracing refugees with different skin and beliefs than them and I’m reminded that there’s always hope.

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”  – JRR Tolkien

 

A New Voice

I’ve spent many years trying to turn down some of the voices of my childhood. You know how it is: a situation approaches and all you can think is what your mother would say if she was there to lecture.

There were positive voices over the years, don’t get me wrong. But, the loudest, as is often the case, were the worst of them all.

It has been 17 years since I lived in my home country, and about 13 of those years have been living away from family. Much of that negativity has dissipated, fading into the background. Unfortunately, the voices I was listening to instead over the past 16 years have turned out to be just as toxic.

It is startling to me to realize how loud these influences are. While I don’t wish to dwell on them, I find I must untie all of the strings that pull on my mind — and untie them one by one. Tricky little buggers still get tangled and have to be unwound over and over…

I am trying to replace those voices with ones that are positive. This becomes confusing because I thought I was doing that before, and only jumped from one pile of shit to another. I’d rather not repeat the process again. But, I don’t want to hold back out of fear, either.

Perhaps, what is most needed is to strengthen my own voice first of all.

“Sometimes it is good fortune to be abandoned. While we are looking after our losses, our selves may slip back inside.”
-Ameni Rozsa

How?

How dare they?

How dare they?

How dare they?

Do people realize how they are perceived, how their actions harm others? Are they so blind to think all this mess belongs to someone else? I think they must be unaware, else how do they sleep at night? They must believe their choices are Right.

I once was certain, myself. Looking back, I am sure that I caused harm to others based on my convictions. Convictions I no longer hold. Digging through my memories to try and see how much carnage my stupidity caused. Thus far, I’d guess it’s a fraction of the damage left by these particular others.

I’ve found myself seeking out people and apologizing for my ignorance, for preaching at them when I should have been cheering them on, for supporting a system that tore them down. It feels good to own up to any part I played in all of this. Also, the responses I’ve gotten from people have been reassuring, which is a bit hopeful. Not that I’m out to merely make myself feel better – I’d like to undo what damage I can, if possible.

I think that my simple acknowledgement is healing for those I’ve spoken with thus far. One of the biggest frustrations is this inability for the abusers in question to recognize that they have hurt people. Their bubble of denial creates a continued state of wounding.

But, perhaps it’s not simply denial. Maybe they are entirely unable to see themselves for what they are:

“A beast does not know that he is a beast, and the nearer a man gets to being a beast, the less he knows it.”
― George MacDonald

Anger

I am in my anger phase of grief and processing. It feels cathartic to be this pissed off, to vent with friends, to rage against injustice and abuses, to sift through the past 16.5 years, to rip up paper and throw away mementos that are associated with it all. But, though this sort of anger is therapeutic, I do not want it to settle into a form of bitter-anger. So, then, I wonder if I should try to stop the anger…

I ran across this quote today:

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.
– Maya Angelou

Exactly. Thank you, Maya. I can be angry. I need to be angry. This anger spurs me towards action, towards health, towards closure. This is a process, not a destination.

Erich Fromm – Avoid bad company

“I should add…that just as it is important to avoid trivial conversation, it is important to avoid bad company. By bad company I do not refer only to people who are vicious and destructive; one should avoid their company because their orbit is poisonous and depressing. I mean also the company of zombies, of people whose soul is dead, although their body is alive, of people whose thoughts and conversation are trivial; who chatter instead of talk, and who assert cliché opinions instead of thinking.”
— Erich Fromm

Edward Abbey – Benedictio

Benedictio: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you—beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”
-Edward Abbey