Dear Diary: 20th February 2017

Don’t stroke the Mouse!

Mouse was rushed into hospital last Tuesday with a suspected stroke.

Nearly a week later all we can say for definite is that Thursday night his brain showed no sign of damage.

20 stroke like episodes later Mouse can barely move his left side or speak.

His NHS experience is far from positive but with every reason to be down my brave Mouse is still upbeat and planning new projects for when he finally comes home.

Mrs Mouse

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Poetry Corner: Beyond Repair

I grew up told I was broken, beyond repair

A bad person who did bad things,

No one said what they were,

They were so unspeakable I never knew their name

 

I tried to run, and hide in the bottle and the pill

Saved by a girl, no angel, she had not fallen

Simple words, simple acts, simple faith

No lies, she simply pointed a different way

 

One person believed before me and I walked anyway

The bottle and the pill I kept by my side

Old friends, my travelling companions, faithful amigos

The journey started, walked in alone

 

The broken boy was doing good, shining so bright

The broken boy never believed, and the girl was gone

No one to say well done, to whisper carry on

And the bills to be paid, faithful friends that cared

 

The boy found a man looking back, he was bang on track

All that life called success and his vision only black

The angel of that wedding day was not from heaven sent

On his destruction she was hell bent

 

He was broken, the familiar sound of unspeakable acts

The guilt for something he must have done

Back at home where he had always been

That bad person who did bad things

 

No one said well done, no one whispered carry on

Except strangers in the wilderness looking from afar

They saw, what that girl had seen

They saw everything that broken boy should have been

 

And the demons cast him into the fires of rage

Destroyed and laid waste to all he was and did

And he broke, just for a moment, and he hid

In the wilderness he was tempted, the whisper: carry on

 

The boy looked up, from the bottom his gaze was cast

The darkess welcomed him with open arms,

His amigos waited to greet their old friend,

Into the wasteland so desperate to walk and die

 

And through his bloodshot eye and battered brow

He made one solemn vow right here and now

Not today my old friends, not today

Not the wilderness nor sweet abyss will I walk

 

The broken boy, laid down the guilt of his shattered past

Found no bad things and the suitcase of his regrets

No hero bound, nor glory found, redemption will have to wait

For the boy, broken and unbound in his future will be found

Monday Night Reflection: Logan

Apologies to those who haven’t seen the film, this will no doubt have a spoiler in it. This is not a film review, instead, Logan, like other fictional works became a mirror in which I could see myself more clearly. Great writing, great story telling, whatever the medium talks intimately to its audience, the very best covertly seduces the audience by first entertaining, and by that means lowers their defences so that the piece can speak to those who are willing to listen.

Some films and works are overt in their message, there are self-consciously preaching and reaching for a reaction and response. Usually they achieve their goal of an Oscar nomination or two, or perhaps the equivalent “art-house” recognition that they were born to seek. However, in my mind, the greatest achievement is to talk and embed a thought in something covertly from the Christian allegory of Wall-E to the crushing grief and loss woven into the fabric of Rocky Balboa, such writing is able to stop us dead in our tracks and cut through all our defences precisely because it hides in plain sight while we sought distraction from our lives and struggles.

And so we meet Logan, the once indestructible Logan, the anti-hero for the ages, moody and broody, reluctant but the first into battle for the right cause, driving a Limo at a 4th rate stripper bar. This Logan has a limp, is clearly old and sick. Our Hero has fallen. When we met Logan he was drinking and fighting in a bar for money, running away, this Logan is working to support and care for his old friend Charles Xavier, drinking to hide from the past. The once brilliant mind now dying with dementia, and Caliban literally hiding from the light, like Logan seeking redemption that he cannot find.

The world has changed, Logan and his kind have become  irrelevant and forgotten, their lives passed into mythology and fairy-tales for children and disenchanted youth. Our protagonists are haunted by their failures, hurts and the death of those they loved, they no longer have a place and are simply waiting out their days till death will release them from their suffering. Logan self-medicating, Caliban obsessing and Charles losing his battle with demntia, needing to medicate himself to keep others safe.

If I were twenty, thirty even these would be characters and perhaps little more than back story giving depth to what is to come. I would perhaps focus on the emerging and the new, but I am forty-five. I have lost loved ones, I have made mistakes I cannot change and I carry regrets. Like Logan, I am no longer indestructible, my body has let me down and broken, my place in the world was taken and I am left slightly irrelevant without a place in a world I no longer really want to be part of. Like Logan, I want to pass peacefully, without incident or drama through the days and I am tempted to self-medicate away the pain both physical and emotional. I am not alone, this is the basis of the rather dismissed mid-life crisis, where you realise you have less years left (statistically) than you have lived, where people get sick, they die and you know why people wear sunglasses at winter funerals. And, while many are peaking in their career, many of us never peaked, never had much of a career and see that their time is passing, perhaps past.

It is not all gloomy and black, of course, there are things to celebrate in life, however, those are fragile. Many of us have had those stripped away through no fault of our own, hard work rewarded by being laid off because we were top of a pay grade. We have achieved what we were told was the best thing to achieve and it is nothing at all. The curse of self awareness. The Power-Rangers Movie or Cars 3,  I don’t get to take my children, while other parents will complain and see this a chore, we squander the gifts too easily, and when they are gone we regret we did not cherish them more.

And so Logan is a reflection of us, we see our lives in the characters or we see nothing. If you see nothing then I am slightly envious, because while there are only elements of crossover with these ultimately fictional characters, they are some of the most painful elements of my life. I have tried to hide away and drink, as well as drug my way through life because it hurt to much to face reality. I am keenly aware that as a choice these are on my shelf and while they are not “go-to” so much as they once were, they are preferred ingredients.

Part of me is happy to pass gently and relatively quickly to a state or irrelevance, I have lost faith in a world where I have never felt at home. I have never felt of a place, and the places I feel most connected to I have only visited a handful of times and never lived. I am disconnected completely from any sort of family and have never wanted any connection, when their lives crossed I felt no affinity or desire to foster relationship. Their concerns and focus alien, and their drama’s and big deals seemed irrelevant and trivial compared to what matters. The tie of blood no bond at all. And so it is with the world, I see hate and suspicion growing with an agenda with which I want no part. Not even discussion, because that assumes they are legitimately objects for consideration, and in my world they are not. #notmyworld perhaps?

I have to walk in this world, despite my intense desire to be apart and away. I find myself dragged in and helping others against my better instincts, and I am no hero. I hope simply that what has happened to me can stop someone going where I have gone and feeling what I have felt.

Leave the storehouse of regrets untouched and gathering dust.

Poetry Corner: Pawns and Knights

No greeting required, no words necessary

Oldest of friends the bitterest of foes

The score in scars for eternity kept

 

Ebb and flow of battles won, casualties only one

Silent darkness of plain sight, day into night

Peaceful waging our deathly war

 

Not my pet, nor walking companion

A Ronin silent into my consciousness flows

Once more we come to blows

 

Perhaps we can earn our rest as old men

Sit together with pawns and knights

Where once we had our mortal fight

 

That is not today, not for now

Hide our hurts and conceal our pain

Eyes of blood, we meet again

Dear Diary: 9th March 2017

Threw away the food I didn’t eat; that counts?

Did a to-do list I will probably never do; that’s progress?

Made Stovetop coffee; that’s counts as self care?

Fell Asleep on my keyboard again; proof of work?

My head is full of other people’s words and I cried through Logan more than Schindler’s List.

My limp is back too.

Write 

Don’t write for redemption,
Don’t write for regret
Don’t write for the bitterness
Or tears you haven’t wept

Don’t write for emotion
Don’t write for applause
Don’t write for adulation
That you haven’t had yet

Maybe write for mediation
Maybe write for contemplation
Maybe write for the therapist
Imprisoned in your head

Write elegantly the words
Write triumphantly to proclaim
Write for the abyss
That extinguished your flame

Poetry Corner: The Captain and Jack

The Captain and Jack are gone

Cheaper, rougher whores are what it takes

The mixer shrinks and the ice it melts

The fog no longer dims the lights

 

The empty bottles of my dynasty,

Recycled like my stories of glory days

The bitter taste of regret

Diluted with bourbon or rum till I forget

 

My hand it shakes, my gait unsteady

No longer call it pain, useless cliché

Existence once called life

Time and tide fading away

 

Another day, and breath I steal

Each one I take I cannot return

No redemption for wages earned

Sleep no friend or welcome rest

 

 

Monday Night Reflection: Considering

Considering is a word that has cast a long shadow over me. All of my achievements come with the qualifier “considering”. I know that it is meant well and usually comes from a genuine place. But, this does not make it any the less crushing. I did well at my exams, considering, I did well at University – considering and even last year when I last competed, I did really well, considering.

Somehow, my achievements are unable to stand on their own merit. What considering means is that, although on the absolute scale this isn’t actually any great shakes we are recognising that it was harder for this person to reach a normal standard and we don’t want their effort to go unrecognised. It’s a lovely thought but ultimately I did a bit crap.

If it is not in the realm of achievement per-se, it happens in life where I did really well considering I was sick. Again, it doesn’t feel like there is a true appreciation that in this circumstance, as with others, actually I did well, full stop. The fact I was sick or at a disadvantage does not need to be mentioned unless it is to elevate the achievement, and perhaps this is my own perspective only, using the criteria of considering, does anything but elevate the achievement.

Last week I was crippled in pain, I did well to do anything, as it happens I did a few things and got more done than I would had I done what I should and rocked up at hospital to get the treatment instead of doing it at home myself. It wasn’t I did well considering, it’s I did well because I should have been in a hospital. In the academic realm, I didn’t do well considering my dyslexia, I did well despite it, and because of it, my appearance in the annals of those with a post-graduate education and a degree in the humanities and the sciences (yes 3 in all) is actually phenomenal. It was hard work, long work, rather like finishing top 3 in the 100m when you did 110m. That would not be they did well, considering.

Where I am at it is, I feel like consideration isn’t what I or people who face a challenge really want or need because it feels like it comes from the excuse side of explanations. It feels like you get consideration when you fell short and there was a reason you were below expectation or what was required. Maybe this is an academic thing where you can be upgraded if there are considerations like being ill. I have always wanted to stand or fall compared to my peers, and then for the fact I stood equal or wherever I stood despite the challenges or disadvantages that I faced in my individual journey.

I don’t like excuses, right now my year feels like the shadow of considering is darkening everything I do. I am behind, I am not where I wanted to be, and considering how sick I am and have been this may be a remarkable achievement, but at the end of the day its not enough of an achievement to be doing what it needs to be doing. The project is behind and hasn’t started to realise its income or get launched properly. Considering doesn’t change that opportunities have been lost and things have not happened while I have been ill because its my job and responsibility to get them done. It may be a cant, but I cannot make an excuse, I may have a reason but just as the world of bills and commerce doesn’t let me off, I don’t want to be let off by anyone else. Yes, admire what I have done facing what I have faced, but please, don’t attempt to tell me that what is not okay, is, because the harsh reality is, it really isn’t. In commercial reality, bills need paying, and considering doesn’t pay them.

Perhaps I am being harsh on myself, but this has been my reality till now, where I have been able to be ill and not lose everything. Which is awesome, but which makes me keenly aware that I could be making excuses and I don’t want that. It has been a tough week, mentally it has been impossible knowing what isn’t being done and what is slipping while I am powerless to stem the tide. It’s crushing and no amount of consideration is changing that. It is like school, when I broke my arm the homework still had to be done, growing up, you got ill, your chores were your chores and you did them, as an adult nothing changed, no one picked up what was my job.

I’m not sure where this is going, I started simply a little tired of hearing I am doing well considering, and I am. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t make me feel better, and it doesn’t change things. Where I have arrived is that, considering hasn’t changed anything because it’s been words, consideration has been nothing but a speech given to me. What, has changed is that, while those closest to me have stopped saying considering at all without me saying a word, they have instead picked up whatever slack they can for me, lightened my load to the point I have been able to do something rather than being crushed by overwhelming demands.

And I still don’t want consideration, I am tired, I hurt, I need to rest, I’ve pushed as hard as I can push today, I don’t want sympathy or for you to make excuses, I want you to make a difference, either be inspired by the achievement against the challenges faced or do something to lighten the load of someone you care about so they too can achieve. Lift them up to higher levels, not let them off with mediocre.

Dear Diary: 2nd March 2017

Wednesday feels like last week to be honest. I really hurt last night and today.

Nothing done at all, okay I did eat some chocolate, that counts as success right?

Honestly I don’t have enough morphine left for this and the doctor turned into an arse … weed isn’t cutting it this time, it was working so well, same batch too.

2 weeks ago we had a car each both running fine and now both are going to scrap – not the time for this shit.

 

 

Poetry Corner: Hurt

Its all too much today, the hurt, saying it’s okay

Take it away, take it away

I am tired, and I don’t know what to say

Take it away, take it away

Tired of pretending, it’s not okay

Take it away, take it away

Words, thoughts, nothing to say

Take it away, take it away

It is my all, everything, every day

Take it away, take it away

I don’t care how, please do it today

Take it away, just take it away.