All the Things I Cannot Say

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(Photo: L’esprit de Solitude)

So what kind of writer do I want to be? A paid one! Besides that, though, I have no idea. The problem is I have too many ideas. I want to write about chronic illness, aging in our society, love, sex, mental illness, healthcare, veganism, all forms of social injustice, religion and politics. I want to write my memoirs, fiction, short stories, creative non-fiction essays, a one-woman play, and film a documentary. Where do I begin?

I don’t remember it being this hard when I started this blog four years ago. Of course, I was taking Effexor and, more importantly, Klonopin. I’m glad to be off of them because they’d stopped working, but I miss how I felt when they worked, especially the Klonopin. I miss being able to focus on one subject, having a mind not overwhelmed by worry and ruminations. And I miss Peggy, my therapist during the divorce years. No matter how bad things got, I knew I had my weekly appointment with her to talk it out. She was my biggest fan. She told me I could film a documentary–even said I could get the male film star I envisioned for the dream sequence I’d written! Told me I would write my memoir, act in a Shakespeare play, sing in a coffee house, travel the world, graduate from college, find healthy and long-lasting love. It was a physical pain being unable to afford seeing her anymore.

It’s isolating and lonely being a divorced older woman with no children and chronic illness. And to have lost that one person everyone should have in their life, that one person who understands you, listens, cheers you on, helps you see the good in yourself, the promise in life. Somehow I have to become that person for myself now. I’m all I have, and it scares me.

Making Lists vs. Taking Risks

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So here’s the deal–I’m a 47-year-old divorced woman with RA, no college degree, $20,000 in debt, three aging cats, dwindling retirement savings, a car payment and part-time cashier job whose alimony ends in eight months. No surprise, then, that my mind fills with angst and worry like a stopped-up toilet the moment I wake up each morning. So much so that I can’t focus on one aspect of my life at a time, much less write about it. I haven’t stopped writing, actually. I journal daily, though it’s become more a series of lists than ruminations.

Take last night’s pre-bedtime entry: “27 May 2017. Saturday (insert sunshine emoticon). Off to bed soon…I wrote/posted on my blog again today 🙂 Walked 🙂 P/u’d groceries @ TJ’s 🙂 Returned magazine to library 🙂 M/y/r’d (meditated/yoga’d/rebounded) 🙂 Read 🙂 LBs’d (cleaned litter boxes; I’ve created my own style of shorthand) 🙂 Took out trash 🙂 Paid bill 🙂 Did small laundry 🙂 Watched some Twin Peaks 🙂 Discovered turquoise vegan hair dye 🙂 Did ab work 🙂 Made 3 smoothies 🙂 Prepped work clothes & coffee for tomorrow 🙂 Oil pulled :)”

I started this nightly ritual to remind myself that I do more than I give myself credit for, especially on days when I’m plagued with increased RA fatigue and pain. Nothing wrong with doing this, of course, but lists do not a writer’s life make. This task helps empty my mind before bed, end the day on a positive note, and allows me to give myself a pat on the back for trying again. It’s not enough, but I’m scared of doing more. Not just because I’ll fail, but because I’ll use up my finite energy reserves creating and have nothing for the physically demanding but necessary part-time cashier job.

Such are the fears of a woman on her own living with chronic illness.

The Forty-Seven Year Itch

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(photo: New York Lovers)

My friend, Greg, and I belatedly celebrated my birthday in New York City a few weekends ago. I couldn’t afford it, but couldn’t afford not to go. Thank you, Discover card. I flew to Baltimore on a Thursday. We enjoyed a late lunch at my favorite vegan joint, Great Sage, then browsed the other Conscious Corner establishments. Back at his house, we soaked up the balmy air and a couple White Russians on his back patio before calling it a night.

On Friday we took a late morning train to Union Station. Thanks to the Happy Cow app and on-the-nose directions from a native New Yorker kitted out in Yankees activewear, we made our way to The Pennsy and the first of several fine vegan food establishments, The Cinnamon Snail. I was home…as at home as I’d ever be for someone who’s never felt like she belonged anywhere.

Our hotel was a short five block walk from the station and except for one Uber ride, we walked everywhere those three days. Greg booked me my own room with the best bed I’ve ever slept in and stunning views of the Empire State Building. I sang along with Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! that night AND Sally Field in The Glass Menagerie on Sunday. An embarrassment of riches! I was bitten by the acting bug again. Feasted on.

I feasted on Korean bibimbap twice at Franchia Vegan Cafe, a stone’s throw from the hotel, where we chatted with the actress who played one of the witches in Wicked on Broadway. We twice trekked almost thirty blocks to indulge in Delice & Sarrisin’s decadent vegan French fare in Greenwich Village. Of course, we dined at Candle79. Enjoyed cocktails and live music at the sumptuous lounge in the hotel we stayed in last time. Wonderful like our past NYC weekends, and not particularly extraordinary, except that it was.

For this time I made a promise to myself that I would move there by age fifty. That’s a little less than three years from now. I’ve wanted to live there since high school. Since I sang the entire Evita soundtrack into a jumprope handle at the age of ten. Since I performed one of Hermione’s monologues from The Winter’s Tale in my Shakespeare class around age 40. Since I read David Foster Wallace for the first time. Since I wrote that essay about my childhood for English class. And since I started this blog.

I know I can write and audition and act anywhere, and I shouldn’t shelve these desires, and, more importantly, the work, until I get there. That’s why I’m forcing myself to write again, every day, no matter how badly, no matter how difficult. It’s not fun. I’ve so much to say, I don’t know where to begin. I have no idea where it might lead, only that it’s become a persistent itch that needs to be scratched.

I’ve survived enough heartbreak and pain not to fear death. What I fear is wasting the rest of my days just existing. Right now I don’t care if no one wants to read or hear what I have to say. It’s enough that I want to say it again.

 

About Me: An Update

I’m a 47 year old divorced, broke white woman with RA, dentures, and three cats seeking a life. Since my first Update, I moved to DC, dated one man for a few months, weaned myself off of Effexor and Klonopin, stopped writing, had lung surgery, moved to upstate NY, become estranged from the last founding member of my family, got a part-time job,  started a high raw diet, and am in the process of moving back to Maryland.

Hundreds of stories lie within those events, and hundreds more lie ahead. Why can’t I write them? I miss the girl who wrote all these posts. I don’t know what happened to her. Did her nerve and confidence and discipline disappear with the Klonopin? Did just existing extinguish her desires and dreams?

We shall see.

“This land was made for you and me.”

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And all beings.

I pinned the above photo with quote some time ago. Recently, “I P” left a comment and I felt compelled to respond. Below is our conversation. I know most vegans have heard the same rationalizations from omnivores. There’s the variation on the hypothetical “desert island” scenario, the “plants activist” and “God made me do it” route, and the “I’m compassionate!” and “I’m more compassionate than you!” routine. I’ve encountered this last bit before and it baffles and disturbs me the most.

I checked out her Pinterest boards and wasn’t surprised to find she was religious, a Trump supporter and Hillary hater. Against GMOs, though. With 99% of Americans being omnivores, however, it’s important to remember that just as many liberals are meat eaters.

I P
Even more so the human unborns being slaughtered every minute of every day!
3d

Vegan Spinster
Why even more so? All life is precious 💚🌱
3d

I P
Human life is more precious than animals and trees and whales and dogs and
3d

I P
If you were in a burning building with animals, whom should I rescue first?
3d

Vegan Spinster
Human life wouldn’t be possible without non-human animals and trees. Rescue whoever you see first. 💚🌱
3d

I P
Wow! Guessing I value you more than you. That’s ok. Have a great and marvelous day.
3d

Vegan Spinster
All life is precious 💚🌱. I wish you peace.
2d

I P
The Lord is my peace.
2d

I P
And you’re absolutely correct, all life is precious including all my chickens, my wild doves, my dogs and all the other dogs I have rescued.
2d

I P
And the girl I adopted at 3 weeks.
2d

Vegan Spinster
Do you eat and/or wear animals? If so, what makes their lives less precious?
2d

I P
Then why eat at all if trees, and animals are too precious? I love veggies and meat. I do not overeat nor believe in game hunting for the fun of it. God provided us with many resources and the free will to chose. It is our duty to take care of this planet, brother and beasts.
2d

Vegan Spinster
Fruit trees and bushes and veggie plants don’t have central nervous systems, and most willingly drop their fruit or are picked of fruit or veggies again and again.
2d

Vegan Spinster
As a meat water, you eat more plants than I do because animals eat enormous amounts of plants before being slaughtered for human consumption.
2d

Vegan Spinster
How does striving to cause the least amount of suffering and including all beings in my circle of compassion equate to me valuing your life less?
2d

“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”

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Photo: Mitzgami/Instagram

Not this New York. This New York.

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(Mother Nature Network) Upstate New York.

Yes, I moved to New York. To be closer to my mom, to have a support system I failed to find in DC, to pay off debt, to save, to live a more meaningful, joyful, peaceful life. I said I’d never move here. It speaks volumes of my desperation that I’m here. Not that Rochester’s a bad place. Not that my mom’s a bad person. She loves me, as much as she can love anyone when she doesn’t love herself. As with my sister and dad, she doesn’t love  me unconditionally. Why is this conditional love so common among family? Not condition, really, but a grudging love, an envious, angry, bitter, impatient, and competitive love. Is it a narcissistic, masochistic, passive-aggressive strain that’s passed down through generations, or a more recent construct?

Whatever the case, like Obi Wan Kenobi, she’s my only hope. OK, that’s a tad fatalistic. Still, ten days here and I had to cancel what was to be our first “Girls’ Night” at my new place tonight because I need a break. I want to be there for her as much as I need her help. I absorb people’s energy, however, and she oozes negativity from her pores. I understand. I know why she sees the bad in everything, but I won’t subject myself to it without end.

I can’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien.”

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I grow weary of the racist, uninformed rhetoric regarding illegal immigrants in the US. Have those that wish them thrown out asked themselves why they’re here? (Hint: research NAFTA.) Do they know the top five industries that hire undocumented immigrants are farming, fishing and forestry, building/ground cleaning and maintenance, construction, food preparation and serving, and transportation?

For example, illegal immigrants make up a third of US slaughterhouse workers. If you want them out so badly, why do you support the industries that hire them? More importantly, who’s going to build the Walmarts and Targets, clean their bathrooms, serve your fast food, drive you to the airport, and kill your bacon and eggs when they’re gone?

“Many undocumented immigrants in the US already contribute a great deal to the country’s economy, according to a new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML). That report noted that in 2014 unauthorized immigrants had a labor force participation rate of 70% compared to 62.9% for the overall population.

BAML also cited research that refutes the notion that America’s roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants might be ‘taking’ jobs from US citizens.

[A] study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that immigrants are imperfect substitutes for native US workers due to different occupation choices and skills and immigration has a positive effect on the average wage of US-born workers overall, BAML noted.”

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/trump-clinton-immigration-economy-000000410.html