No. I am not okay.

My father has been in the hospital for over a month, with a week in the middle, in a nursing facility for rehab. Most of the time he has been bedridden. It really doesn’t look good, and I have no idea how long he has.

Every time I post an update somewhere, people ask if I’m okay. I appreciate the concern but I don’t like being asked that because I don’t have a simple answer. I don’t like that question because I feel like I can’t answer honestly in an off-the-cuff fashion like the way people say “fine.”

It’s complicated. And most people who ask you how you’re doing in social settings are looking for a one or two word answer. They’re not expecting a full buffer-dump of details about all of the crap you’re dealing with.

Right now I am extremely tired. I’m stressed out more than I have been in my entire life. I’m trying to maintain a job, make sure there’s food in the house, get my mom to her appointments when she has them, check on my dad, and make some very unpleasant and difficult decisions on his behalf. I’m also trying to take care of myself, pay my bills, and get out and spend time with friends and in nature, and get as much rest as I can. I am probably dealing with a certain amount of depression and anxiety. I’m seeing someone monthly to talk that out. But none of this will begin to resolve itself until my dad is better.

I know everyone has their hearts in the right place when they ask, but when I see the question “Are you okay?” my first reaction is to roll my eyes.

I’ll be okay, just not right now.

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But it has always felt like I was there…

It was 1967. I was 4. For a couple of years I had been going to a daycare place a couple of streets over from my grandparents’ house. I never liked being there. The owner and her daughter were mean and would spank us or threaten to spank us over the most trivial things. One Thursday the owner read some story to us about a farm. Then she had us line up single-file and she asked us where cows were found. The thing is, if you didn’t give her the answer she wanted you got your hand swatted with a 12″ ruler.

Every kid was saying the wrong thing. There was even a girl ahead of me who said, “in the country where the farms are,” and she got swatted. I had seen a few Tarzan movies and probably had looked at one or more of the comic books. So when my turn came up I said, “In the jungle.” She hit my hand several times with that ruler, and it stayed sore the rest of that day. When she was done with her interrogation of the last child in the line she told us that a cow is found on a farm. I may or may not have seen African buffalo in the movies, but the female of the species is referred to as a ‘cow.’

After I got back home I told my aunt that my hand hurt. It was red but not swollen, as far as I can remember. She asked what happened and I told her that the woman read us a story and hit us if we answered a question wrong. My aunt told my mom and grandmother, and they had to talk my mom down from going and confronting the woman. And I started going to a different facility after that.

I have a memory of  my aunt coming to me and telling me that they were taking me to this woman’s home to watch me for a while, while the adults all went and did something. I remember being there for several hours. I did not trust the woman, and I was scared of her. Three or four hours seems like an eternity to a 4-year-old. It was so long that I started crying. And eventually my aunt came back to get me.

Recently I told my mother about that day from 50 years ago, and I asked her if she remembered what everyone was out doing that necessitated leaving me with that woman after what had happened. She said that they hated that woman for what she did and that none of them would have ever taken me to her home to babysit me. She suggested it was either a dream or something my mind cobbled together due to trauma. I have bits of memories from dreams over the years. This has always felt like it actually happened. There wasn’t anything ‘off’ about the surroundings like you’d have in a dream. kind of the way you can tell the CG effects in a movie from actual scenery outside.

I’m going to take my mom at her word, that they wouldn’t have put me through being babysat by that woman. I may have in fact dreamt it but it didn’t fade like most of the other dreams I’ve had, and it’s always felt so real.

Time travel

musictimetraveler
The music notes spiral in this image was designed by Freepik.

My music tastes truly know no bounds. I am a multi-genre listener and I always have been. I listen to new musicians all the time, and I have some interaction with them on Twitter and Facebook I know some of them personally. I have to admit, though, I listen to many tracks from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I don’t always notice that something I’m playing is 40 or 50 years old. My Starred playlist on Spotify includes stuff by Diana Ross, Anne Murray, Three Dog Night, Gino Vannelli, Loreena McKennitt, James Ingram, Karen Chisholm, Strega Bianca, Hellena, Paris, Lana Del Rey, Bastille, Bat for Lashes, and Zola Jesus.

As life continues and time moves on I find myself feeling nostalgic, for several reasons, for the past. I was younger. I was in better health. The world didn’t seem quite as jacked up. I revisit old memories all the time, and not always when I’m having a ‘moment.’ The other way I go back to days of less hustle and bustle is music. So I’ll play some Diana with a Led Zeppelin chaser followed by Karen Chisholm and Strega Bianca, then I’ll jump backwards to some Elvis and follow that up with Crystal Casey, Enigma, Jules, Arlo Guthrie, Louise Marshall, Transistor Generation, Gerry Rafferty, Hellena and Bastille.

The old songs remind me that there was good back then.

The new songs remind me that there is still good now.

As one friend put it, “Music is my sanity.”

Cognitive dissonance regarding ‘globalism’

I first heard the term “globalism” when I was in college in the early 80s. I was still very nationalistic in my outlook on the world and I saw lots of us-es and thems. And there were always so many more thems than us-es. It was 30 years ago. I wasn’t as free-thinking as I am now, and I have a long way to go. I bring up September 11th a lot because I see it as the single most significant turning point in world history since the BOMB. That’s how I view it. Others may see things much differently.

Growing up in the 70s we talked about “the year 2000” as this grand trip to a theme park of the future. It was supposed to be sort of a Jetsons ride at Disneyland. So when we got there we were in the recession from the 90s tech bubble and trying to regain the footing when WHAM. Then three buildings, a massive debris cloud, and 3 planes later we were chasing boogeymen in the desert and being fed truth, half truth, no truth, and their opposites about it all.

So coming up on 15 years after it all began I have to say I’m disappointed in the 21st century. I grew up expecting much better.

World_Map_Illustration_RabinkyArtThis is artist Maria Rabinky’s vision of it. Everyone’s perception is going to be different, but the way I saw the years we’re in now was something like this. A world of free and fair trade. Our social and economic issues being handled in a compassionate and equitable manner. And war a thing of the past. Instead of that, there’s Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and now Syria. And the empire marches on.

afghanwarWhen I say cognitive dissonance regarding globalism, I mean that we’ve all been force-fed a dark and unpalatable version of the global village. We’re able to trade, sort of, and the world is a global LZ as far as empire is concerned. Will it, and when will it end? Not this century, and not for a number of generations.

What’s happening should be unpalatable. And it is to many. But humans have a curious ability to adapt to adversity. It allows us to survive but also has us tolerating way too much that we should throw off. Our answers are within. There is no savior coming to scoop everyone up and reset the world. It’s a cute idea on one level. But this is the life we have. Ideas about before and after are nothing but speculation. We have to take care of each other. Keep informing and encouraging one another. We have to reset ourselves. Eventually a generation will grow up that won’t buy the bulk of the anti-intellectual gruel from the so-called “leaders.”