Exceptional People

I’m sitting in Carlisle PA tonight, and I will continue to Maine tomorrow and take a couple days off to rest and have my truck serviced. I always look forward to these brief respites back in the state of my birth. Even with all my travels it still feels like home.

In my lifetime to date I have met many people. Most are but a small blip in the movie reel running through my mind. Past coworkers and acquaintances left in the wake of time, some I thought were friends that have faded away. Lonely as I am, I was reminded recently that all is not lost, there are some exceptional people left in this world.

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This is the TA truck stop in Commerce GA that I stayed at two nights ago. It’s not far from Atlanta where I picked up my return load to PA. As I’ve said before I generally choose TA stops due to their cleanliness and amenities. It’s been about five months since I was last here, and I went to the same restaurant as the last visit. Only a “Chain” restaurant but I like to treat myself once a week just to keep it interesting.

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When I go out to eat I always sit at the bar for two reasons. I don’t feel the need to take a table that would serve many and I find the service faster at the bar. As I walk in I see the same young woman working that I remember from my last visit. When I sat down I could see the look of recognition in her eyes.

Mary is her name and she remembered me from my blog and the photographs I showed her on my last visit. I must admit I was a little stunned she remembered as most people in the service industry meet so many people It’s hard to remember a face after so long. They were not very busy and I showed her some more of my recent photo’s and blog posts.

When I told her of my fathers passing, and she read a few posts I had written about it, I could see genuine sadness in her eyes. It’s hard to explain how I felt right then, but I guess it borders on an understanding of how she was brought up, what her outlook on life is, what makes her an exceptional person. You might say, “How could you possibly know that in the moment”, but I say you can.

I think when you first meet someone there is a period of time when there is no mask, no false bravado or fake niceties. We tend to fall back on our upbringing and the lessons taught in being polite in society. I find this most evident in the south where family is still the most important part of the culture. Parents still take a greater hand in the raising of their children, instead of allowing teachers and modern culture impress ideals in young minds we may not agree with.

Church groups and an etiquette of modesty are more often the norm, not the look at me mentality that rules the airwaves and drunken clubs downtown. I may not be a religious person, but I can see the effect of that upbringing and the type of people it produces. I prefer them, to speak the truth, instead of the loose and free lifestyle of many younger people, or the bitter and angry middle aged souls that feel the world owes them something. I have felt the pull of that bitterness many times in the last few years but I am fighting with all my will to escape from it’s grasp.

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As I walk Vinny on a dusty patch of grass I start to think about other exceptional people from my past. Mr Lowell my high school Asst Principal, Mr Mason my Jr high science teacher, and of course my parents. The person I am today is due in part to the things they taught me as a young boy. Some I remember well, some come back to me in a given situation, but all were vital to the stable and productive person I hope I have become. And to Mary’s mother I say thank you, you did a great job!

 

Thank You 

How about getting off of these antibiotics
How about stopping eating when I’m filled up
How about them transparent dangling carrots
How about that ever elusive kudo

[Chorus]
Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

How about me not blaming you for everything
How about me enjoying the moment for once
How about how good it feels to finally forgive you
How about grieving it all one at a time

[Chorus]

The moment I let go of it was
The moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it was
The moment I touched down

How about no longer being masochistic
How about remembering your divinity
How about unabashedly bawling your eyes out
How about not equating death with stopping

[Chorus]

Thank You – Alanis Morissette

When I was young and selfish I had no use for thankfulness. I had the world by the balls, one single squeeze and my will would come to pass. My mind was unbridled by the stupidity of foolish adults, unclouded with the brutality of realism. I knew what must be done and no one was going to stop me.

And then I woke up…

Thank you dad for being the man you were, even though I was to blind to see the wisdom of your words. You never backed down from your responsibilities no matter what. You were a great man and I didn’t deserve you.

Thank you mom for the strength you have shown throughout your life. Even with all that you have endured your steadfast manor and positive attitude are a reflection of the well rounded person I am striving to imitate.

Thank you Cheryl my sister for taking such good care of our mother. I’m so happy she has your help in the most vulnerable time of her life when the help of family is at it’s greatest need. I respect you greatly, even if you wont talk to me.

Thank you Greg my brother for all the times you stuck up for me as a child, all the days you made time for me, even when I got in the way. Though we have grown apart to some degree, I always look forward to your calls and our limited time together. You will always be with me.

Thank you Kathy my sister for all the times you took care of Cheryl and I when we were kids. Even though I don’t remember much about those years I know you were a caring and steady hand when mom needed the help. For your efforts you should hold your head up high and remember your brother is thinking of you.

Thank you David my brother for the fun times we had when I moved to Dallas to get to know you. Even though you decided to move away from the family and broke off contact many years ago, I hope you are doing well. I will come looking for you again soon.

Thank you John my brother in law. You are the only person in my life that has treated me the same no matter what. Through all the years I could count on you to help me when I needed it the most, and you always treated me with respect even if you didn’t agree with my lifestyle. That says alot about you and I have nothing but respect for you to.

Thank you Sheldon and Dave, Ryan and Alex, Andy and Scott and all the other outstanding people I work with. This company has been nothing but kind and generous to me in my time of need. They have bent over backwards to accommodate my situation with my folks without hesitation and I am in their debt. Now I may be able to repay that kindness to some degree in the near future and I wholeheartedly embrace the challenge. More on that as it unfolds!

Thank you to all the friends I have made in the blog world. Your encouragement and support has helped me open up more in the last 2 years than I have in the 50 before! It truly has been a blessing to “Unload” all of this from my mind and gain a better perspective.

And lastly, Thank you to me for realizing it was time to embrace who I am. No more hiding behind false bravado, trying to fit in with people I didn’t really agree with, living a lifestyle that led only to grief and sadness. Thank you for coming to terms with all the pain, some self inflicted, that I have been living with and realizing it’s really all part of what makes me who I am. I now like who I am. Understanding I can’t fix all I have done, just strive to be a better person with the time I have left, make a difference that is worthy of the gifts that were given to me. I am the Weird Guy With The Dog and I am happy about it!

The Perceived Enlightenment 

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Weary am I as the sun fades through the trees. The daily crusade of miles and time demand payment, and stop I must to pay my dues.  A day of introspective assessment behind me now, the solace of quiet as the miles rolled by, only the rumble of the highway received by my ears.  As I nourish body and mind I reflect on my thoughts, search for the thread that binds them together. An index written to allow words to form, a ballet in type. Difficult is the task as eyes grow heavy.

I pondered the image of a life to date, lessons learned and some forgotten. Wiser than I have traveled the same, they too stumbled and fell. We go through life with a perceived enlightenment, a belief that we have the answers to many things, assured by experience we justify actions. Blinded are we who follow this path, trusting in a mindset befallen with error. Only with time can we see the image of truth, only with the acceptance that we know nothing can we truly see the light. Enlightenment comes from the realization we have much to learn.

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Just as this flower blooms with all it’s majesty and beauty, just when it has given it’s all, the hold it has in this world fades, back to the earth from which it came. So too is the life of us mortals, from dust we come and to dust we return. Just like the flower all we can hope for is do some small part to beautify this world, make at least one persons life better, if only for a moment. It’s never to late to make amends, never to late to learn more and build a book of wisdom to base the remainder of your life on, even share with those who seek the same. Like a favorite lyric from a song I know, these words hold great wisdom to follow, a belief to live by…“Life is a lesson, you learn it when your through.”

Where The Streets Have No Name

I want to run
I want to hide
I want to break down the walls
That hold me inside
I want to reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name

I want to feel
The sun on my face
I see the dust cloud disappear
Without a trace
I want to take shelter
From poisoned rain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We’re still building
Then burning down love
Burning down love
And when I go there
I go there with you
Where the streets have no name

I can’t take my eyes off of you
I love you baby
And if it’s quite all right
I need you baby
To warm my lonely nights
So let me love you baby
Let me love you

The city’s a flood
Our love turns to rust
We’re beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled in dust
I’ll show you a place
High on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We’re still building
Then burning down love
Burning down love
And when I go there
It’s all I can do
Where the streets have no name

I can’t take my eyes off of you
Love you baby
Let me love you
Where the streets have no name

Where The Streets Have No Name – U2

This song is from The Joshua Tree album released in 1987. I was 22 years old then, and I still remember the first time I heard this on the radio. I liked U2 before this album, and even though my favorite song is by another group, they became my favorite band from that point to date. I can’t think of one song by U2 I don’t like. I think this album planted the seeds of my dream, I just didn’t know it.

Years ago when I started driving, I went to a school in Tennessee to get my CDL license. I rode a Greyhound bus from Bangor Maine all the way to Memphis. Someday I’ll write a post about that adventure! After school I was trained further by a mentor in his truck for six weeks. He was from Joshua Tree California and we spent four days there at his house.

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Words cannot describe the unearthly scene to someone who grew up surrounded by trees. I had never been in a desert before and the majesty was not lost on me. This is the closest thing to walking on the moon that I could imagine. 90 degrees in the day, 35 degrees at night. I saw my life in that space, the stark contrast undeniable.

I lived my young life in a mental desert, a place where the streets had no name. Wandering from place to place in search of something I couldn’t quite see, an unconscious need yearning for the light of understanding to satiate it’s thirst. The burning sun of misdeeds and mistakes draining me of my will, emboldening the hold of what kept me down.

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Now I travel those same streets, but they have names after all. Endurance, willpower, trust, vision, truth, commitment. These are the names of the streets that are leading me to my future, the roads to a better way of life. Even though they have rough spots, I will continue to travel forward, the journey is not always easy. I may be tired, but the goal is coming closer every day.

You get out of this life what you put into it. You can’t control everything that happens, but you can control how you cope, what your response is to the struggles you endure. If you fail, if you give up, you have no one to blame but yourself. Whatever you can’t control, you must adapt to and face. You can’t cry for long because adversity will still be there waiting for you to finish. Life does not forgive quitters.

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I remember taking this picture in Colorado and thinking how hard it would be to climb this mountain. We are so small in the grand scheme of things, and life is this hill. It’s best not to look at the top, just focus on the next step. I’ve taken the biggest steps, and if I stay focused the rest will be easy.

 

 

 

Champagne Supernova

How many special people change?
How many lives are living strange?
Where were you while we were getting high?

Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball
Where were you while we were getting high?

Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky
Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova
A champagne supernova in the sky

Wake up the dawn and ask her why
A dreamer dreams, she never dies
Wipe that tear away now from your eye

Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball
Where were you while we were getting high?

Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky

Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova
A champagne supernova

Cause we don’t believe
That they’re gonna get away from the summer
But you and I will never die
The world’s still spinning around we don’t know why
Why-why-why-why-I-I

How many special people change?
How many lives are living strange?
Where were you while we were getting high?

Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball
Where were you while we were getting high?

Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky
Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova
A champagne supernova

Cause we don’t believe
That they’re gonna get away from the summer
But you and I will never die
The world’s still spinning around we don’t know why
Why-why-why

How many special people change?
How many lives are living strange?
Where were you while we were getting high?
We were getting high

Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball
Where were you while we were getting high?

Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky
Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova
A champagne supernova
’cause we don’t believe
That they’re gonna get away from the summer
But you and I will never die
The world’s still spinning around we don’t know why
Why-why-why

How many special people change?
How many lives are living strange?
Where were you while we were getting high?
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high

Champagne Supernova – Oasis

I’m sitting in a McDonald’s parking lot in Dingman’s Ferry PA where I will spend the night. Vinny and I have spent many a night in this very spot, and I’m sure there will be many more. It’s quiet, safe, clean restrooms and a Dunkin Donuts (trust me, that’s how they spell it) next door. I LOVE their coffee! Just before pulling in here this song came up on my playlist.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this song, but every time I can’t help but sing it out really loud. It’s really a song about nothing and everything at the same time. Each time I can attribute something from my life to a verse, feel an emotion that leads my back down a path to a point in my life, good or bad.  To me, that’s a mark of another great song.

I see a past full of friends now gone, the ravages of time separating us from people we new well, and others not so. Walking alone I look back to see something I thought would last forever, something true and real, lost in what feels like the blink of an eye. But was it real?

When we are young we think the world is a simple place. Nothing can stand in the way of us because we are right, we know where our destiny lies. We thought we could change the world with just our will, convince anyone of our wisdom and push them to our way. We thought we should run the world.

Summers seemed to last forever, no thought of duty or consequence. We ran head on into things we had no hope of accomplishing, no idea how to think something through and complete our intended goals. We lived in the moment though our aspirations soared beyond our grasp. We ran and ran and got nowhere.

The landslide comes when you realize you have done nothing but waste years of your life in the pursuit of things you never really needed. You lay you head on your pillow and sob, berating yourself for such short mindedness. Having never really followed a thought to it’s completion, your next move is the hardest. Which way to go? This is perhaps the most important moment in your life. This is what separates the winners from the losers.

If you have chosen well your Champagne Supernova starts to come into view. You see a goal worth fighting for, a plan that just makes sense. As you think it through you feel the joy of truly being in control of your life, letting go of past mistakes, forgiving yourself. When you look at life in it’s simplest terms, stop living in a world you will never gain, it’s almost laughable how you were so blind, why you waited so long.

Frozen

You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be
You’re frozen
When your heart’s not open

You’re so consumed with how much you get
You waste your time with hate and regret
You’re broken
When your heart’s not open

Mm, if I could melt your heart
Mm, we’d never be apart
Mm, give yourself to me
Mm, you hold the key

Now there’s no point in placing the blame
And you should know I suffer the same
If I lose you
My heart will be broken

Love is a bird, she needs to fly
Let all the hurt inside of you die
You’re frozen
When your heart’s not open

Mm, if I could melt your heart
Mm, we’d never be apart
Mm, give yourself to me
Mm, you hold the key

You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be
You’re frozen
When your heart’s not open

Mm, if I could melt your heart
Mm, we’d never be apart
Mm, give yourself to me
Mm, you hold the key

Mm, if I could melt your heart
Mm, we’d never be apart
Mm, give yourself to me
Mm, you hold the key

If I could melt your heart

Frozen – Madonna

What is it about 2 or 3 in the morning? Why does inspiration hit me when I’m trying to sleep? Was I dreaming about something and don’t remember? A weird fact about me…I can’t remember a single dream from my entire life! How strange is that! Not one little piece. Weird guy indeed. Well at least the dog is sleeping.

Like I wrote before, putting yourself out there on a blog is a reward and a curse at the same time. Spilling your guts to the world, opening up old wounds, showing your weak side, allowing others to see into your dark fears, it takes alot of effort to not close up shop, put away my toys and say goodbye. Like you said Osyth, “Self doubt is without doubt (double use intended) the most eroding of conditions.” I could not agree more. I have lived with this my entire life, though I never realized it until I started writing.

Imagine a tank of acid with a leak. One drop at a time falls onto the supports holding up the tank. Over time the supports get weaker and weaker, eventually they fail and the tank falls. Self doubt slowly eats away at your supports. Over time you start to give in to the doubt, leaning further over, putting more strain on your weak side. It’s a self perpetuating spiral into despair. I used to mask it with drug use, and now I have to be careful not to go the other way into alcohol. We all have a “Crutch” we use to prop ourselves up, you just need to find one that is safe.

Every disappointment in life is compounded when you live with doubt, every time you fail at something you analyze it to death trying to spot the mistake. By doing so you only make it worse, forever moving in a circle back to where you started from. Frozen.

How am I going to thaw this out? Knowing you have a problem is half the cure, right? When you can look at yourself honestly through the eyes of others, you see a picture of someone frozen in time. Unable to break out of the cycle, you make the same mistakes over and over. You trust the wrong people, you say the wrong things, you hope for something you know wont happen. Then when things go wrong, you want to just go away and hide from the world.

When your frozen your immobile, stuck in the same rut you’ve been in for years. Spinning your wheels and getting nowhere you wonder what you need to do to change the outcome, alter your course. I think what I need to do is to keep doing what I’m doing. I need to continue putting myself out there, continue opening my heart and see where it takes me. Since I have not deleted this blog in the last week, I may be able to overcome this. I came very close to doing just that last night.

But that was the way I always did things, and I need to change. I’m not going to let irrational fears control me. I’m not going to give in to worry about what others think. I’m going to listen more closely to my heart instead of my insecure mind. I need to ignore the opinions of those that only cloud my thinking, climb out of the abyss of conforming to values I don’t believe in. I need to be honest with myself.

Last night I was disappointed. Something I wanted failed to happen and I felt the same old urge to pull back, disengage from everything and regroup. Not this time, I’m making a stand now for my sake.

You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be
If You’re frozen

A World So Cold

When passion’s lost and all the trust is gone
Way too far, for way too long
Children crying, cast out and neglected
Only in a world so cold, only in a world this cold
Hold the hand of your best friend,
Look into their eyes and watch them drift away
Some might say, we’ve done the wrong things
For way too long, for way too long

Fever inside the storm
So I’m turning away
Away from the name
(calling your names)
Away from the stones
(throw sticks and stones)
‘Cause I’m through mending the wounds of us

Keep your thorns
‘Cause I’m running away
Away from the games
(fucking head games)
Away from the space
(hate this head space)
The circumstances of a world so cold

Burning whispers, remind me of the days
I was left alone, in a world this cold
Guilty of the same things, provoked by the cause
I’ve left alone, in a world so cold
Fever inside the storm
So I’m turning away
Away from the name
(calling your names)
Away from the stones
(throw sticks and stones)
‘Cause I’m through mending the wounds of us

Keep your thorns,
‘Cause I’m running away
Away from the games
(fucking head games)
Away from the space
(hate this head space)
The circumstances of a world so cold

I’m flying, I’m flying away
Away from the names
(calling your names)
Away from the games
(fucking head games)
The circumstances of a world so cold

Why does everyone feel like my enemy
Don’t want any part of depression or darkness, I’ve had enough
Sick and tired, bring the sun, or I’m gone, or I’m gone

I’m backing out, I’m no pawn,
No mother-fucking slave to this
Never lied
Never left
Never lived
Never loved
Never lost
Never hurt
Never worry about being me, or anyone else
Not a care, no concern, don’t give a shit about anything

Backing out, giving up, no mother-fucking slave to this
Never lied
Never left
Never lived
Never loved
Never lost
Never hurt
Never worry about being me, or anyone else
Not a care, no concern, don’t give a shit about anything

I need to find a darkened corner
A lightless corner
Where it’s safer and calmer

I’m turning away
Away from the name
(calling your names)
Away from the stones
(throw sticks and stones)
‘Cause I’m through mending the wounds of us

I’m running away,
Away from the games
(fucking head games)
Away from the space
(hate this head space)
The circumstances of a world so cold

I’m flying, I’m flying away
Away from the names
(calling your names)
Away from the games
(fucking head games)
The circumstances of a world so cold

A World So Cold – Mudvayne

It’s 2am and I can’t sleep. I haven’t felt this way in a long time. Overwhelming cynicism are the only words that describe it. In 3 hours I need to drive 600 miles to get back to Maine, and it’s going to be a long day.

It’s said a human being can be summed up as a combination of 3 things…Genetics, upbringing and life experiences. You can’t change genetics, your parents are who they are. You can’t change your upbringing, your parents did the best they could. You can’t change your life experiences, there’s no changing the past. The only thing you have control over is your future, right?

I used to think that, now I’m not so sure. How much of what happens to you can you control? How many bad situations can you avoid, foresee, plan for or stay away from? No matter how hard you try, sometimes you just can’t avoid something you know is going to hurt. Like I said, cynical.

I ask myself often if I’m just to sensitive, to open to the outside pressures of public opinion, willing to let myself be ruled buy what others see as the social norms. Or am I just going crazy. Whatever it is, today is a day of introspective anguish, a day of second guessing every move, thought and hope. Today is going to be hard.

Here in a world so cold, you have to take it or give up. I hear people say life is about choices, should I stay or go, left or right, up or down. Each one has a consequence, each decision has repercussions. How do we choose? How do we know what is the right path? We guess, that’s how.

You may think this choice will result in that, but you can’t know for sure. How much is fact, how much is hope for a certain outcome, and how much is luck? If I give in to the pressure, let my cynical side take over, I go nowhere, I give up. I will never give up! I am a good person with alot to give, I just have to get through today.

In The End

It starts with one thing
I don’t know why
It doesn’t even matter how hard you try
Keep that in mind
I designed this rhyme
To explain in due time
All I know
Time is a valuable thing
Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings
Watch it count down to the end of the day
The clock ticks life away

It’s so unreal
Didn’t look out below
Watch the time go right out the window
Trying to hold on, but you didn’t even know
Wasted it all just to watch you go
I kept everything inside
And even though I tried, it all fell apart
What it meant to me
Will eventually be a memory of a time when

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter

One thing, I don’t know why
It doesn’t even matter how hard you try
Keep that in mind
I designed this rhyme
To remind myself of a time when
I tried so hard
In spite of the way you were mocking me
Acting like I was part of your property
Remembering all the times you fought with me
I’m surprised it got so
Things aren’t the way they were before
You wouldn’t even recognize me anymore
Not that you knew me back then
But it all comes back to me in the end
You kept everything inside
And even though I tried, it all fell apart
What it meant to me will eventually be a memory of a time when

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter

I’ve put my trust in you
Pushed as far as I can go
For all this
There’s only one thing you should know
I’ve put my trust in you
Pushed as far as I can go
For all this
There’s only one thing you should know

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter

In The End – Linkin Park

I first heard this song during my divorce, and it really hit home. It was such a snapshot of how I felt at the time it was downright spooky! As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I was extremely hurt by what happened to bring about the end of my marriage, and even all these years later the scars to my pride and the wounds to my heart are still there.

I first met Christine when I was working for a traveling carnival. My job was to help set up, tear down and operate a 90 foot tall Ferris wheel made by Chance Rides. I was 26 years old and in my prime. Crazy endurance, 6’1″ 195 lbs and no fear of heights. A typical tear down consisted of the following…On Sunday I would operate the ride from 10 am to 11 pm, then tear down the ride without sleep. This ride filled 4 tractor trailers and took myself and 8 others all night to pack away. Drive to the next site in the morning, sleep maybe 2 or 3 hours, then spend 12 more hours setting it back up. NOW we could go to sleep, many times in my dirty greasy clothes I was so tired! I bet I could still remember all the steps but the stamina is long gone!

We were married on August 9, 1992 in Everett Mass, the same day Hurricane Andrew hit Florida. We soon moved to Gray Maine into a small trailer by the same High School I went to. Things went well at first. We both had decent jobs and enough money to afford 2 nice vehicles. After about a year, things started to change.

I worked for a Turf Maintenance company and made good money for Maine, but Christine lost interest in her nursing job, quit and took a job at a department store for half the pay. I tried to be supportive but it didn’t take long for the money to get tight. Like most young couples, we lived right at our means so there was no room to spare. Soon we lost one vehicle to repossession and she lost her job due to missed time. It was the beginning of the end though I didn’t know it.

We struggled for a time, then her sister offered us the chance at a new start in Naples Florida. She and her husband had a successful variety store and offered free room and board while we got our feet under us. It took me 4 hours the first day to get a job, and I started the second day, but it took Christine 2 months to find work. Most days she just watched her sisters kids and did nothing to look for work. She finally found a job as a server and started making great money, so we found a nice little cottage rental.

One morning I awoke to flashlights shinning in the windows. It was the local Police and we found out someone had been in our cottage while we slept along with 2 other houses down the street. That spooked me pretty good, but Christine never got over it. Her paranoia escalated to the point of barricading the door at night with anything she could. It took 5 minutes to get out to go to work! She was not sleeping well and had been using sleeping pills for some time now. Little did I know she was taking 5 times the dose and hiding the empty packages from me.

This went on for a time until one day she called me at work, and I couldn’t understand what she was saying on the phone. When I went home, she was on the couch, open eyed but unresponsive. Well I freaked out! I picked her up and took her to the hospital. After her exam they told me it was possibly a Psychotic Break. The lights were on but nobody was home! It took 2 days to get her to talk about what had brought this on. She said she  had not slept in 7 days. I felt so guilty I had not seen this happening, but she was a good deceiver.

The idiot doctor gave her Valium and sent her home! Are you kidding me? Still, I was so naive I didn’t realize until it was too late, she took a months worth of Valium in a week. When she ran out, she asked me to get her more. Once again, deep in withdrawals, I took her to the hospital where she spent a week this time. Her diagnosis was extreme Bipolar Disorder along with acute trauma from the burglary. She started counseling and I tried to keep her going to it, but she refused after awhile. She did level out so I hoped for the best.

We eventually moved back to Maine and I started a small landscape business. My first 2 seasons were quite successful, but the 3rd year was marred by Christine falling back into her old pattern. She had not worked much since Florida, and she had taken up pot use quite heavily. I think at this time I wanted it to be over. I found myself distancing myself away from her. She stayed up all night and slept all day, the only time we spent together was to eat dinner and smoke pot. She would them retreat to the computer and the web, and I to tv and sleep. Our relationship was basically over.

She came to me one day and said she was leaving, going back to her mom’s house.  I think in a way I was relieved, almost glad she was leaving. Little did I know she was pregnant, and not by me. The next time I saw her was at the divorce 7 months later. Boy was I surprised to see her state! She told me, as matter of fact as could be, not to worry as the child was not mine. Hows that for a slap in the face! 2 months later she had the nerve to send my mother a birth notice of her child with my last name! We were together for over 13 years, and it was then that I realized just how much she had used me.

For many years I was very bitter about what had happened. I hid behind a mask of false bravado, told myself it didn’t matter. As I reflect back on those days I now understand that even though I made some mistakes, the real problem was something neither of us had control over. No matter how hard I tried, it all fell apart. No matter what, I walk away knowing I gave it my all.

I also realize, there are things I do have control over, and that’s how I deal with what is thrown at me. I could curl up in a ball, hide away from the world as I did for many years. I could wallow in self pity, never really letting go of the past. But now, I am done with that, I have forgiven her and I am free.

Free from the pain and confusion, free from the regret and despair of a moment in time that cut so deeply. Free to open my heart again to new experiences and dreams. Free to believe in myself and my worth in this world. With this newfound freedom comes the strength of will to chase my dream of Independence, my dream of new shores and friends. In the end, I now know what it means to be who I was meant to be. In the end, I am truly free to be me.

 

 

Been A Long Time Crossing Bridge Of Sighs

The sun don’t shine
The moon don’t move the tides,
To wash me clean
Sun don’t shine
The moon don’t move the tides,
To wash me clean
Why so unforgiving and why so cold
Been a long time crossing bridge of sighs

Cold wind blows
The Gods look down in anger,
On this poor child
Cold wind blows
And Gods look down in anger,
On this poor child
Why so unforgiving and why so cold
Been a long time crossing bridge of sighs

Bridge Of Sighs – Robin Trower

Take a moment, close your eyes and listen to this song.  Try to put into words the primal reaction you have.  What images come to mind with the agonizing chords, the sound of the wind across your closed eyes.  That’s the power of a great song.

In my mind I feel a great sorrow, a feeling of despair over a deep loss.  His voice exudes a tremendous amount of anguish, but also a sort of resolve to his fate, as though a lover had left with no hope of return.  He wonders why the gods are so angry with him, how long is the bridge of sighs.

We all have a bridge of sighs to cross, and I think it will take our entire life to get there.  There will be missing planks to stumble over, broken rails that cause imbalance.  A heavy fog to cloud our way, strong rains to impede our progress.  I don’t think life was meant to be easy, I think it’s a test.

A test to see what you are made of, a constant hardship ever evolving, no two days the same.  Just when you reach the summit of one difficulty, you see the next hill is larger still.  Those that refuse to give in, those that only see challenge not despair, they are the ones that will understand the beauty in such an existence, the value of overcoming adversity and the timeless achievement of crossing the bridge of sighs.

 

 

The Owl And The Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,

They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are, You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’

Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!

O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’

They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose, His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.


‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’

So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon, The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Rhyme and Illustrations by Edward Lear

I was talking with my mom this morning, and we somehow got on the subject of nursery rhymes.  I recalled my favorite one as “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear.  Try as I might, I could not recall more than a few lines, so when I stopped for a break I looked it up on the web.

I sat there reading it over and over again with an ear to ear grin.  In my mind it was like going to the attic, dusting off an old photo album, and seeing the pictures I conjured up with a 5 year old’s imagination, 45 years ago.  I don’t remember what I thought Bong Trees looked like, but seeing the illustrations again took me back to a much better time.  A time when I was not jaded by things I have seen or done.  A time when I was innocent, curious and above all else, happy.

My happiness is returning after years of strife.  I’ve simplified my life and have achievable goals.  I’m getting back to the 5 year old boy I once was, with the wonder for all things new.  A renewed appreciation for what’s free and right in front of us.  Thankful that I saw the bad road I was on and changed course.  But most of all, thank you mom for planting the seeds of adventure and whimsy in the imagination of your 5 year old son.  All these years later and it’s still there!