This coming Monday is Memorial Day. These days it often is filled with sales galore on electronics, things for Summer and three day weekend and firing up the grill. The historical value of the day has shifted.
Memorial Day was begun three years after the War Between the States ended (that’s a southern expression BTW, since war is NOT civil in any way), on May 5,1868. There were very few in the country that had not been touched by losing a loved one in the war,700 thousand! The official day was moved to May 30, since flowers to decorate the graves of the fallen would be in bloom all over the country. A solemn day, filled with decorating the graves, speeches, hymns and remembrance. The day has grown to include the fallen from every war this country has been involved in. No matter how unpopular.
On this Memorial Day, no matter what you think of the government, the laws of the land (after all, it is your right to speak your mind), take time to reflect on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for you to be able to voice that opinion, to live as you believe. Thank those who served, are serving for their contribution to your freedoms that you take for granted everyday.
I find myself walking down a familiar road. I observe that the wheat field is covered in a sheen of frost. The ground crunches beneath my feet and I’m like wth? It’s supposed to be spring. “I believe your gran called it blackberry winter” says a voice beside me. I look to see my old friend George. I nod in agreement at his assessment. The one last freeze in spring that prod the beautiful berries to burst forth with their dark sweetness. I tell him that with the silver sheen on the webs, it appears as decorations for a fete. “That could be arranged” he tells me.” What will we be celebrating?” I ask. “Nothing and yet something. Everything yet nothing. “I laugh at that ridiculous statement but then I realize that it’s been awhile since I’ve done that, celebrate just to celebrate, to enjoy the day and revel in that which is within. I look around. Look at George and tell him, “let’s party. “Instantly tables appear, food and music abounds. Friends appear as if they had been summoned. It was a grand celebration of nothing and yet it felt like it was the celebration of something important. Life is interesting in that way. The things that are, often aren’t, and they things we think aren’t, often are.
Today I was having a conversation with my husband about other people’s marital woes. we spoke on fidelity, trust, work ethics (both at the relationship as well as providing for the family). It got me to thinking about the vows people take as they enter into their relationship and what it really means to them.
The pictures above? Two young kids with no idea what those words meant at all. Both grew up in abusive households, both left home early and came together forming an”us against the world”kind of relationship. If you had told me that 38 years later, (36 married) that we would be better friends now than at 16,I would have laughed. Through ups and downs, laughter and tears, here we are. With a better understanding of what it means to stand beside one another no matter what storms come. The”through sickness and health”strained my sanity when he became ill and almost died. I would curse the dawn that I survived the night and then put one foot in front of the other doing what had to be done. And yet even now, he tries to make sure that my car is drivable, that there is enough money for gas to get me back and work, does laundry so I don’t have to, cooks as well. Emotional words don’t come easily for him.. He says that is my forte.. Words. His is actions.
I think too often people don’t give enough thought to their vows, it’s the”I don’t think that means what you think it does” kind of thing. And in truth, I can honestly say that I fell into that category myself. Maybe it’s age that helps me reflect on the true meaning. Maybe it’s the life experiences. Whatever it is. Is given me a new appreciation.
I’ve always loved that song by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, Sounds of Silence. It’s always spoken to me and is a go to song when I get a little twisted. Today is such a day.
The news feeds on social media is full of crap (like that’s unusual), but the death of yet another celebrity due to drug use and the over philosophizing and woe is me from many sets my teeth on edge. A throw off comment from a friend caught me off guard.”Not many are as strong as you”. Strong? Moi? I’d better check that mirror again. Know what I see? A woman who still feels the sting of her raising, the losses of family that didn’t/doesn’t want to know her. That child who endured so much, coming so close to ending everything because she could not see the light nor feel warmth in the abyss she found herself in.
Want details? Yeah… Today you shall have them because you dared judge something you know nothing about. I grew up in a household that was seriously flawed. My dad was an alcoholic. He claimed he didn’t since he just drank beer, but he lost rank, money, and driving privileges because of it. He was raised by his grandmother because his alcoholic mother ran off and deserted him and his siblings for other men. Seriously skewed his view of women. (I’ll get to that later). Then there was my mother the enabler. She went out of her way to protect his career since it allowed her to walk away from near squalor of 11 kids and share cropper parents. To the exclusion of ignoring her children. As the oldest I was put in charge of the other two. Cleaned house, put supper on the table etc. It wasn’t until I was grown did I understand the magnitude of what it cost me. As I grew up, and I hit puberty, the names started when I did as normal children do and make friends with the opposite sex. Whore,slut were the tame ones. At the tender age of 11 and in Jr high… I had no clue what they meant or why. I just knew that to speak to a boy got me slapped across the face or worse. I’ve lost count of the times I went to school with bruises, black eyes, busted lips. Fell down the stairs was normal excuse. Nobody said a damn thing. All my life I kept thinking there was something wrong with me. It did not matter that I kept straight A average, stayed out of trouble. I was worthless to those who brought me into this world. I held/hold my mother accountable because I believe mother’s protect their young.. Yeah. That makes me clueless I guess.
As an adult, it does little to my wounded self to understand that violence is often included in an addicts world. It affects those closest to them. It matters not that I understand my mother operated barely walking the ledge of sanity her whole life (she was diagnosed schizophrenic after my dad died and had probably had been my whole life). What matters is that each day I climb out of the abyss, facing the day, one foot at a time, making each moment count. Not for others approval anymore. This time I do it for myself. Does that make me strong? ~snort~ I think it makes me crazy. I mean seriously, who would keep trying? Maybe it makes me a little wiser. I no longer make excuses for others nor accept them. I refuse to allow lies clutter up relationships. In short, I demand accountability. And I set a damn high bar.
If that means after reading the pain bled out above that you still don’t get it, just move along.. You just had to be there I guess.
Those who know me well know that one of my pet peeves is that people are honest. If you give your word,I expect you to keep it. It’s simple right? I mean, that’s how I was raised… Unfortunately not everyone seems to have that same ethical barometer. Got a problem? Hey yeah! They’ll be there… Promise. What’s that I hear? Crickets. I wish I could say that this is an anomaly, but it’s become a common occurrence from variety of sources as if the truth is now on the endangered species list.
It’s not just in personal dealings either. Being on social networks gives one the opportunity to observe and read others. You know just to exercise your gifts a bit and watch the interaction of the comings and goings in the ethics of others. Don’t agree with someone? Lie to their face then talk shit about them later. I mean how are they going to know it’s them if you change the name right? Want to be seen as BMOC? Steal someone’s words and pass them off as your own without a single glance back in the rear view mirror.
The best/worst one? I’m doing this with your best interest at heart. Yeah, I’m gonna call bullshit on that one. What you really mean is that you want something done your way and don’t give a damn about the other persons views/feelings.Why not just admit that?
The”but I didn’t want to hurt their feelings”bullshit is fabrication as well. It has more holes than a damn seive and is worse than any fairy tale written by the Grimm brothers. What kind of macabre game are you playing? A lie is a lie is a fucking lie and no amount of pretty paper and ribbons changes the fact you handed a gift of bullshit to someone you professed to care about.
So just how hard is it to tell the truth? We aren’t pod people, expected to feel the same exactly about everything. That would be damned boring. I’m the same everywhere. If I can’t tell you the truth then I guess we have nothing to say to one another. I don’t have time to play games of who’s prettier/smarter/holier/etc etc etc adfuckingnauseum etc. It takes too much time and energy just to live life that is something more than just existing. I want to be able to find joy in the simple things, to enjoy being around others. But I refuse to lower my standards where I can tolerate the bullshit from those who cannot/will not be honest in their dealings with me. If that means culling some of those people, then so be it. I’m sure it’ll keep me up nights.
I’ve noticed a slight change in my attitude after my job change. Maybe because it’s not as cutthroat as the previous place of employment, or that the reminder if dealing with the public had made me temper my words. I even jokingly call myself “St Shae”! Whatever it is, I like that I no longer bring home headaches from being negative all day. I’m free to be myself without people assuming I have an ulterior motive. No, I haven’t changed paths, or found religion (my soul is fine, thanks for asking) or become a spokesman for some do-gooder society. What I have done is slowed down a little to appreciate the intangibles in my life. Things one can’t measure by a material yardstick. Things like family (while not perfect, is still willing to help when they can). Friends who give their loyalty and gift of friendship without setting limits. Personal space to set down thoughts, travels, dreams, rants (can never thank the ninja enough for her lemony generosity). A job that gives me flexibility to be able to enjoy life in a more positive manner. I guess that’s a great way to start off the new year.
I was coming back from a trip and decided to stop in for some tea at a cafe I knew was near by. As I came in the door, the waitress Jill nodded at me and I made my way to a table in the back. It’s one I usually sit at when I’m here and I chuckle to myself that I seen to have select places to park my ass wherever I go.
Jill comes to my table with a teapot and a plate of biscuits.”I’ve been working on these,”, she says.”Tell me how they compare to yours”. She sits down butter and honey. I prepare a biscuit and take a bite. Fluffy and delicious. I tell her they are wonderful. She smiles and moves off to tend to others while I enjoy my tea and biscuits. I don’t come here often. Too much drama for me, which is saying a lot considering where I travel.
I watch those around me, able to see beneath the masks that are worn. Suddenly someone sits down across from me. I haven’t seen him for some time and his appearance has changed dramatically. Jill looks over and I signal for another cup and more tea (I’m from the south. Even if we don’t want company we’ll feed you anyway). As Jill moves away, I pour my”guest”a cup and offer biscuits which he declines. “So what do I owe the honor of this visit”?I ask. He sips his tea, setting the cup back onto the saucer. “I need your help”, he says. I fold my hands together and ask”what makes you think I can help you”? Better yet, what makes him think I will is left unsaid, hanging in the space between us.” She won’t listen to me. She won’t even let me contact her. I can’t fix this and it’s killing me”, he said plaintively. It’s true he had become a mere shadow of his former self, but he called it to himself through his actions.”I cannot interfere with someone’s free will. She does as she will and how that makes you feel is of no consequence to me.” “You had no problem interfering with what I wanted”he stated loudly. At his exclamation others looked our way. Jill frowned as I shook my head slightly.” You are attracting attention with your outbursts sir snd should they continue it could get a mite uncomfortable for you. Now. As to usurping your free will. Yes. I had no problem doing that because you were harming another. She desired her freedom and chose to break free. She did that. I only facilitated in giving her space to work in that you could not harm her nor interfere with her growth.” He looks at me sadly.”But look at me. I’m losing everything. She left and I’m losing everything”.I sigh and sip at my tea before answering.”I don’t know who you made deal with to acquire what you had, to allow you control over her. That isn’t my problem. What I did was be a friend and confidant to her, allowing her time to decide what she desired and what direction to take. I give no counsel on what that is supposed to be. What you’ve lost, are losing, is nothing compared to what she would have lost had she stayed. I don’t expect you to understand that, due to your selfish nature. You will answer as those you’ve bargained with demand”. He looked at me for a moment, nodded then walked away. I shook my head, then reached over for his cup, swirling, then dumping to read his leaves. Yep, things are not going to improve any… Well in his eyes anyway. For his friend? She will continue to grow, protected by those who love her and choose to live life on her terms. We should all be so lucky.
I finish my tea, say my goodbyes to Jill and continue on my journey. All in all its been a pleasant trip, and most enlightening.
I am such a bitch today. I know, people who know me think I’m one every day, but the ignorance has been rampant today and I have lost all patience.
First there was the pissy attitude when something was pointed out to someone to help their cause move better. Fine. I said what I thought and moved on. That’s how I roll. Say my thoughts and walk away. For me to have to stay and keep the”discussion”going I would have to be invested. Majority of the time I’m not. such was the case today.
Then comes a discussion on another social media site. Naive kid comes in, says they always wanted to learn to be pagan, and could someone give her a works to take out a rival. Turns out, her home girl is doing the nasty with a guy she likes and she wants him all to herself and remove girlfriend from the picture. Up pops someone who wants to know what does she need. Hello? Did you not sees her come in putting what she doesn’t know on front street? What does she need? A fucking brain for one and also to grow the hell up. Some of us were a little tongue in cheek and offered snarky answers. Enter the all knowing grand poohbah of the rule of three. He immediately chastises the snarky for their ethics of attempting to give brain challenged child bad advice on magic. Rolls eyes here. Really? You don’t know me but you are going to challenge my ethics?First, that rule of three shit only works in the movies. It has no bearing in my path nor does it affect anything I do when I work. As for my ethics, I have my own personal code. Don’t start none, won’t be none. But if you do, expect a no holds barred ass kicking.I don’t offer works, especially to those with no idea of what they’re doing. I’m not adverse to doing one for someone, but those are scarce as hens teeth as well. Just don’t come in with your veiled”threats”against those you think are unethical.’Cause I just have to tell ya son, you gonna get what you’re asking for and then some. I have a friend laughing now because she hears the hick voice in that last admonition. I tend to sound like that when I’m out of patience, tired or pissed. Well slap your grandma! I seem to be all of those today so I’m sounding like I live in the swamp.
Yep. I may offer unsolicited advice. I might even take some. But never. NEVER,NEVER,NEVER EVER challenge MY ethics or this could get ugly up in here in a short damn minute.
I get by with a little help from my friends. So the old song goes. That’s fine. I can get behind that. It’s when people want to sit on their ass and let it fall in their lap that bothers me.
Today there was a post on social media. The post was for a good cause. Services offered for minimal price, with funds going to help out a local charity. Great. I can help with that. Share the post, let people know (I might know a few). One problem. The post wasn’t shareable except going through the site. In this instant access time, that won’t work for many because they don’t want to go looking. They like myself feel if you want my help, then make it easy for me to do so”. When was pointed out, it was meet with stubborn refusal to change it. You know there’s an old adage tossed around about helping one’s self, and for many of us, we tend to believe in it. If you cannot physically, mentally, emotionally help yourself, then I have no problem doing the leg work for you until you can do so. But if you are none of those things, while I am willing to give a boost, I’m not running the race for you. You have to lace up, put a foot forward and take off towards the finish line. I refuse to do your work.
It’s the same with path. Don’t be asking deity for favor if you arent willing to give of yourselfyourself. It’s just not happening. Get up and help yourself. Things will not be handled with prayer, magic etc if you aren’t willing to put in the work.
If you need help, just ask. Just don’t expect a full handout. I only offer hand up.
“Ah Cher, where you been ma douce?” I smile hearing the familiar cadence in the speaker’s voice. It has been too long since I’ve come to visit just to speak with one who knows me better than I know myself.”Here and there”,I shrug as I answer. My travels don’t amount to much. No real significance to anyone but myself. In return for that answer, I receive an arched eyebrow and a short laugh.” Eau est encore et profunde eh”? She nods. “Tres bien”. I smile and sit in my favorite rocker by the fire and Maman brings me a mug of her special coffee. I sip and inhale the smell of the herbs drying, the jasmine blowing in the breeze. This is home. I can’t explain the reason it is, but that it always has been. I sit in silence as Maman goes about her chores, understanding that it’s the silence I need to rejuvenate the spirit.”I almost forgot Cher, there was something left for you.”I sit up. Who would leave me something here? Who would dare brave all the defenses even? Maman hands me a long package. It is wrapped in what appears to look like parchment paper. Almost translucent. I don’t see any markings to identify the sender. I shrug and begin to open the package. There is a card, which reads
LA piqure des triomphes lame or volontairement ignorants.
I smile as the wording is familiar. I continue unwrapping and there within the paper is the sharpest blade. It resembles a stinger, pointed and long. The hilt holds my colors and sigil. This was created just for me. The artist who handcrafted it took kir time and made it perfectly balanced. Also with this perfect creation is a scabbard that fits close to the body and can be concealed under my cloak.”C’est beau”, says Maman as she peers over my shoulder. I nod in agreement and think on who sent this. It would have to be someone who can come and go through the area without becoming a feast for the inhabitants and also had the skill to create such a personal gift. Apparently the gifter feels I need more protection as I travel. I probably do. Things can get a little weird in the elsewhere. I place my gift in my bag, gather my cloak and kiss Maman good-by.”Don’t stay away so long next time”, she admonishes me as I climb into the boat.”I won’t”I tell her as I set off for home. I could have just flashed home, but the trip by boat allows me time to think. Perhaps things are finally falling into place. Attendus sont les meilleurs.