Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Long Vs. Short Form

It's hard to believe I have been away from my blog for nearly a year. I was surprised to learn that before January of this year I hadn't written a post for two years. In fact, since 2008 my postings became increasing sporadic.

I created a Facebook profile in 2009. Conversely, my postings there became very frequent: sometimes 4 or 5 status updates in a 24 hour period. I haunt my news feed looking through others' activities and updates. I post news articles, photos, you name it, and voraciously consume those posted by others. I confess, I have even tailored postings with likes and comments in mind.

This blog is as close to a journal that I have ever come. It allowed, and allows, me to flex my expository muscle, to reflect, and explore without regard to audience. I am able to delve deeply into whatever is on my mind, and in so doing purge, or at least expose some demons. I have a long list of blogs written by some seriously talented people. They were, and are, a source of inspiration. Their writings let me know that I am not alone in my search for answers and meaning. I see the same love of writing and clarity of thought I struggle to achieve. Some have gone fallow. Others continue on, as rich as ever. When I abandoned my writing, I also abandoned my reading.

Brevity is the hallmark of Facebook, Twitter, and similar platforms. Social networking sites are excellent vehicles for disseminating information quickly to a wide audience, whether it's family updates or world events: witness the Arab Spring and Hurricane Sandy coverage. Information traveled far and wide in words and pictures. In such situations, this is a good thing. It brings much needed awareness to the plight of the day. However, as a means of significant personal expression, there is nothing that can be fully explored in 140 characters.

I have read my recent Facebook posts. My grammar and usage have gotten sloppy, and it is not possible to edit posts. I can edit my comments on other people's posts, but not my actual posts. My blog posts are constructed differently: I write, read, edit, revise, edit, revise, then post. It is not an instantaneous process. It is deliberative. And, if, months later, I find an error, I can correct it.

The introduction of these short-form platforms has influenced not only how we, or at least I, write, but how we consume information. More snippets, headlines, and soundbites. Less in-depth analysis. Less critical thinking. While we decry ADD in kids, we cater to it in adults. We bounce from thought to thought, story to story, without actually assimilating the information, discerning its veracity, and assessing what it actually means to us as individuals, or citizens, for that matter.

Let's be clear: I don't want to abandon my social network. I do want to take a more balanced approach to my online options, both in terms of input and output. Actually, I want to take a more balanced approach to my LIFE, but that is another post...


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On Needing a Good Cry

I need a good cry. And it seems that the universe is conspiring to ensure it happens.

Seriously. Here is my case:

• I have had a keen sense lately that I have lost my way, or at least my sense of equilibrium
• My husband of 21 years was drunk when I arrived home from work last night at 7pm
• A Facebook friend posted THIS story from CNN on her wall
• My 15 year-old named me his model of faith for the essay portion of his religion midterm exam
• I came across this Huffington Post article on child rearing and nostalgia in my email
• I accidentally found out that the father of a new friend of mine most likely went to high school with my mother (you know, the presumably living parent I have not seen or spoken to for over 10 years now. I mean how cool would it be to call her up and say, hey, guess WHAT?!?!?!)
• Let's not even mention the 20 pounds I've gained, or the last song that played on my iPod.
I'm not menstrual, or even premenstrual. I am just plain sad. And tired. And lost. And forty-fucking-five, wondering what the hell to do about it that won't involve more pain, injury, collateral damage, or isolation.

I've read through previous posts. I am not prone necessarily to self pity, and certainly not martyrdom. But I am prone to these bouts of restlessness, and they generally fade. Maybe I just need to wait it out. But I don't think so. Something feels broken. It is the slow walk home from the train. The realization that going to the gym at night and getting home at 9 or later might not be so bad after all. I always looked forward to going home. Less and less now is that the case, unless the house is either empty or my son is the only one there.

Oh, and I learned a new word: Kairos. Author Glennon Melton defines kairos as God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. In Greek mythology, Kairos, the youngest child of Zeus, was the god of opportunity. In rhetoric it is the opportune time and/or place, the right or appropriate time to say or do the right or appropriate thing. I think I like God's time best. As opposed to Chronos, ordinary time. Even in these muddled times, I have moments of Kairos. They will have to do for now.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In Your Eyes....

Love I get so lost, sometimes
days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
when I want to run away
I drive off in my car
but whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

all my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

in your eyes
the light the heat
in your eyes
I am complete
in your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
in your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches

—Peter Gabriel
(photo: a restless flycatcher in flight)

I have always loved this song. Of course, the image of John Cusack holding up a boombox playing this song to Ione Skye's bedroom window to win her over is forever etched into the minds of those of us of a certain age (can this movie really be 23 years old already?). Such longing. Such vulnerability. Such certainty of his young, idealistic love.

Yet when you actually read the lyrics, the singer is a lost man. He is nowhere near as complete as he is seen to be. He is restless, searching. He seems self aware, but unfulfilled. In your eyes, I am complete...oh, I want to be that complete. It is clear he loves his woman. That she is home to him.

I understand how he feels. The need for a secure home base. The feeling that while one may be flying, it seems to be right into the sides of the jar in which one feels trapped. Do I return "home" because of the security, and truth of the actual home? Or is by default? In defeat? In acknowledgement of the failure to break out of the jar?

I recognize that one cannot be made complete by any external factor, whether it be material gain, a job, a lover, a child, or a pet. That has to come from within. Yet I search and I search and I search. All of my life, there has been this undercurrent of restlessness. Emotional wanderlust. I crave, and have created, a home. A place to which I return (and thus far have been welcomed), no matter what. I would like to think there was no tether. However, that isn't true. I am a quite literally a kite on a string. The string is long, but ever present. And I tug on that string all too often.

I have no idea what I am looking for. Maybe affirmation that I can still hang. That I am not getting old. That I am still beautiful. That I am desirable. To cover up fear. To have someplace to hide for a while. To prove I can fly, albeit into a wall. So, after I've (mis)behaved ridiculously, I come home. I look like hell, I skirt the truth about where I was or what I was doing, I apologize, and am forgiven. So far.


Post script:  Actually, I stopped skirting the truth right after this point in January. That came with its own price tag.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Under The Influence

I know the second I walk in the door that he is in his cups. It is evident in his posture, the barely perceptible slackness in his face, the slight change in speech patterns. I ask him how far in he is, he says not even close. I know better. He becomes so much more impassioned in his viewpoints, shouting over any that oppose his. Though he isn't, he seems angry, and can easily become so if the rebuttal is too persistent.

Watchmen is on HBO, a story about which he has very strong feelings. Among other topics, it touches upon the Vietnam War, a subject he is now expounding upon vociferously to his son, along with other references the child is too young to fully grasp. I remind the boy that he has homework and studying to do before winding down for the night, as much to get him to do his work as to remove him from his father's cross hairs. He isn't in any danger, but I don't like him experiencing his father this way. I try to keep my efforts from being obvious. The boy finishes his work, and heads for the shower.

With me, he is overly solicitous, maudlin in his expression of affection. This makes me uncomfortable so I retreat, but not too far. To do so would fill him with a sense of rejection which would make him either morose or defensive, depending on the day. Citing office work to finish up, I head to the bedroom but leave the door open. It is important to appear accessible. He comes in the room to impart the news of the day, then goes back to his movie. I wait for him to fall asleep in front of the TV, then quietly push the door closed.

I am no teetotaler. After I finished my dinner I poured myself a glass of wine, and enjoyed it fully. One small glass from a bottle I opened 3 days ago, and still have not finished. There was no alteration of my personality or demeanor. Nothing to cause confusion or worry or discomfiture. That is not to say I haven't had nights of binge drinking that very much did cause these things—I have. And the child has seen some of it, much to my chagrin.

There is something about being the only sober person in a room that makes the whole spectacle so damned sad. Every nuance of drunkenness stands out in stark relief. It makes me want to protect my child from it, and run from it at the same time. It makes me consider more carefully my behavior under the influence, or perhaps ensure I stay just a bit less under the influence.


Friday, January 08, 2010

I Might Still Have Something to Say...

I thought that perhaps I was out of words. Or maybe the words were no longer making sense. Or maybe there were just too many other distractions. Or maybe I just got too close to something too big to face. But lately, I find that I might just have something to say. That there are now words and thoughts to commit to pixels. Stories to tell. There are still too many distractions, but I am learning to manage them better. When last I visited this place, I was writing from a ego driven place--writing for the comments that would be left for me, and feasting my ego upon them. Since I have been away a full year, my "audience" is gone. I can write from a place that is more pure.

I have bits of me scattered all over the blog-scape and now Face Book. It is a funny thought, really. At one time, those bits would have been actual pieces of paper--letters and cards sent and received or journals kept. Now they are pixels. If someone pulled the plug, any evidence of my thoughts and stories would be lost forever. Having just really committed to that thought, I am unsure how I feel about it. Maybe I will print out the stories posted here, and put them in a binder of sorts. The posts I have written about my son are stories he has heard, and I am sure he knows how much I love him, but in years ahead, when I am no longer here, it might be meaningful for him to read them. Or to read the full measure of who his mother was at one point her her life. I don't think that is ego...I would have loved to have read my mother's words at any point in her life. It would have been illuminating to say the least--a part of her that was never accessible otherwise.

So, here I tentatively stick my toe back into the writing/journaling pool. This time, I think it is an extension of my yoga practice...just off the mat. We'll see. If I come face to face with a really big truth, I hope this time I have the courage to face it, rather than retreat.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Core Strength

I recently experienced a new yoga instructor. I considered not attending the Friday noon thirty class any longer, as I really enjoyed the former teacher's style. He could be tough, and he had a wicked sense of humor. But I had two sessions left on my class card. So I attended her class. Her style was vastly different than what I expected. She was a little tough. A little gentle. Encouraging. And delivered one hell of a workout.

She emphasizes core strength. Several days after class I got to thinking about her emphasis on core strength. While I work out almost daily, and do core work, I don't concentrate on my belly and back. Arms, shoulders, chest and legs are easier to work, more obvious targets and visible results.

It occurred to me that just as there is bodily core strength, there is also personal core strength. That part of your person-hood that forms your core, your sense of identity and boundaries. And all the other forms of strength—the external, easy obvious signs of strength. A bad-ass attitude. A knack of taking on too much. The warped notion that I can fix things or people. That is not real strength. That is is not a strong core. That is strong legs, strong arms, shoulders and back. But one swift punch to the gut, and I would fold in. Too soft.

This needs thought. This needs work. Maybe I can work the body and spirit together.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Seriously Lacking Motivation

I've done my best to live the right way
I get up every morning and go to work each day
But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold
Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode
Explode and tear this town apart
Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart
Find somebody itching for something to start

--Bruce Springsteen, The Promised Land

This pretty much sums it up, more or less. But I don't think I want to pick a fight. I'd probably just sit there and cry. It's been a rough few weeks. And let's just say I need to pay better attention to my actions, and how they are intended vs how they are perceived. As my grandmother pointed out to me decades ago, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

This is one part of my current malaise. The other is that there has been news out there in blog land that shook me to my core when I read it (late of course). There is something about love not being enough to see someone through that breaks my heart. Every time. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in happily ever after in the fairy tale sense. But maybe I have always wanted love to be a salve. The right love to help heal the hurts. But it seems that again and again that is not the case. Maybe that is just ego. I don't know. I understand better now that one has to heal the hurts of their life under their own power. And the love that provides the strength for that is truly special and rare.

I sometimes wonder what, exactly, I am holding on to. And what would happen if I let go. Or if I have already let go on some level that I haven't quite yet admitted to my conscious self, even though I just typed these words. Guilt. Fear. Self incrimination. Blame. Shame. No way at all to live. Or is it all in my head? Wouldn't be the first time I over analyzed, when I should really just go to bed. But somehow this feel just a little different.