I am so fucking glad Christmas is over.
Holy Jesus Christ in a dump-truck.
Don’t take me for ungrateful. This may have been one of the, if not the, most peaceful Christmas days of all time. We woke. I wrote. We opened presents. I wrote some more. Started a fire. We began cooking. Ivy played for hours. She took a nap. The food was great. Friends came over. Ivy woke. She played. I wrote some more. Her bed and bath were easy. Sister and I hung out. I almost got stood up for one last visitor, but didn’t.
The new year is upon us. The shortest day has passed, so we can now look forward to spring and longer days. You know, after the rest of winter. I there is nothing but uncertainty to if we’ll see much snow in this area, but then again, we are in the south. Maybe not the deep south, but it’s still Arkansas.
I bring up the new year, because I feel the difference already. 2015 is now only viewable from memory, FB posts, pictures, or millions upon millions of miles away. Passing with it is three hundred and sixty-five full days of learning and suffering. To the latter first.
Doc Jill Taylor says, “To experience pain may not be a choice, but to suffer is a cognitive decision.1” And even if this statement is actually true, which it may be, I did suffer. I was sick from myself. Sick from smoking and bad diet. Sick from not being kind to myself and my closest loved ones. While it may also be true that I no longer suffer, more on the evidence of that shortly, but I still feel the pain from every one of those difficult and wonderful days. Considering the way my mind works, and this may sound a little dramatic, but I assure you true for me, I have had to relive the entire year after graduation, every single day. My temporal perceptions being how they are, there is ample time in any day for me to remember and feel seven months worth of pain. This is the nature of most of my sadness, thus battling depression. I don’t live in the past, but I do have to walk through it everyday. For the longest time I have wanted to be rid of this feature, but I decided escape or external changes would only patch. Yet, I needed a new life or mine would be a continued trail of sorrow. So I began changing the internal environment. I changed for myself, for Ivy, and if I am being honest, for Hilary.
I don’t have any shame about saying her name in concert with the reasons for change. People say not to change yourself for someone else but, I’m calling bullshit. If you want to color your hair blue because a choice hottie likes that shit, go for it. Yet, you’d better own it, or your gonna have an awkwardness which could be troubling to live through. Not to mention, denying that another human being is a major part of your motivation sounds like a self deception. I did change for me, it’ll always be for her too. We aren’t together, or no reason to thingk we will be again, it remains a gift to her—for her. Now, whether or not she chooses to consume the fruits of her investments is not my concern. I’ll quote the good book: from Leviticus 19:9-10, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field to its very border, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner2“ She gets to make a choice of about quantities of Rance. This also means quantities of Ivy. I hope she chooses more rather than less. No matter. Others now benefit from the fallen resource: gifts of a healthier me. Learning, of which I will now speak, is the genesis of a healthy harvest.
You’ve all been watching me cruise forward, bitching and rejoicing, crying and laughing. No doubt some of my more attentive audience will have noticed some writing changes which lay beyond my perception. A point in case, yesterday my friend Anne, who is herself very a observant creature, (although she seeks to further her ability to self-actualize, which I have agreed to help her with via some meditation techniques) told me that my voice is even different. I wonder if had been unaware that there was rage in even my speaking voice. Of course, this is my formulation. She said, if remembered correctly, that an “edgeiness” had been replaced with a softness. This is indeed a gift to the world, as I never, ever, shut the fuck up when orating passionate. Certain friends understand they have to alert me to their interjection wishes. I’ll cool down for a few and engage my listening ears once again. Others have told me they just let me rip as they enjoy my candid articulations. Both of these demographics do well in the new environment of a softer, kinder me. Still taken with an abundance of fierce passion for my fellows and my arts, I think are actions and strategies to help others change the world one self, community, country, civilization at a time. A deep fulfillment rises from my attempts to “learn” how to do this. I just let that personality drive. My rage is still here, and I hear it daily. I give it time to express when I am chopping wood, or sometimes, when I am assured of total solitude, I will scream insults at the people who have hurt me and/or disrespected me. Since nobody can be hurt by my dreadful madness these therapies have been a life saver. After, I let it go and am sure to use any names in a Lovingkindness-and-forgiveness meditation directly after. Then I laugh. I’ll fake it until I fucking make it—until I am laughing out at nothing in particular, something funny always comes to mind. That little trick has also been a part of my education.
That puts me right here, right now. A whole new year with a new way of being. And that it seems to be official, commented on without solicitation, fills me with motivation. It fills me with confidence too.
Now that you all know that there is some good ass Rance being peddled ’round these parts, all you have to ask yourself is “How much do I want?”
1Taylor, Jill Bolte. <i>My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey</i>. New York: Viking, 2008. 176.
2The Oxford Annotated Bible, with the Apocrypha. ed. Herbert G.May, M. Metzger. New York: Oxford UP, 1965. 146.