each experience is an identifying memory

at the university i attended, there was an international business course for a few weeks the summer before i moved to los angeles permanently. it aligned with none of my other coursework, but for whatever reason, i deemed it necessary to take. the experience was set up a bit like an athletic camp, with just twenty or so of us in a quick-paced, labor-intensive program. we slept and ate and recreationed down the hall from the people we also took class and studied with. coming from differing academic concentrations, never before or after would we see each other despite traversing the same campus.

by the end of the first day, we existed together as familiar strangers. any boundaries between us thinned quickly as we had no choice but to overhear panic and witness weeping on some classmates’ phone calls home. the few unlocked restrooms onsite were shared among us, and, like siblings, neither the irksome teenager ickiness or habits of either gender were finessed or hidden.

the movie “memento” came out while we were there, and clearly a wannabe film geek even then, i went to see it alone. probably in the middle of the day between classes. something about it intrigued me. the covered topics dominated my thoughts, and almost fatedly, also our non-classwork chatter throughout the night.

within a couple of days, a bunch of us went together to see the thriller. the sole repeat attendee, i got increasingly re-hooked as i saw more layers of the story. the tale of how a man with short-term memory loss so valiantly attempted to solve his wife’s murder stuck with us all, and for hours we contemplated the pros and cons and other available options besides his choice of tattoos and post-it notes.

there were a lot of important stories told around that time that we missed. or don’t remember well. this one came out in the year 2000, and other worries took the lead in some of our mental dossiers then. memory wasn’t a consideration for a lot of us as it seemed mostly stable and infinite. and marriages were another level of relationship and awareness of ourselves that we were not even close to
knowing about. especially as well as we thought we did. sadly, without being able to see a tether to a high grade, it appeared that few of us there would have known to exhibit such nobility as the man in the film.

but once the notion of an attainable mark is removed, what we have of that underlying moral ethic is what ultimately remains to shape us. we were all a bit kinder after watching that movie together, and talking through what we thought we may do in the same circumstances gave us immeasurable insight into each others’ psyches. how we all thought, what kinds of people we wanted to be. who we were was still gelling, and we inherently knew that as
we were all in the same boat. but it was a neat, subtle way to experientially learn from each other.

the lessons we absorbed then come in handy in weird ways now. no one who attended the course and nothing that was studied is remembered. the recollections i have are only a grainy image of our bland living barracks and that movie experience, for which i am laughingly, eternally grateful. for a brief moment in my own memory loss expedition, i employed some similar techniques. but loose index cards and my currently mixed-up brain workings made following even simple, one word identity reminders as temperamental and difficult as my pain makes me. and that tends to be disastrous.

with all body systems inexplicably halting at different rates to address any and all wayward physical sensations, coherent execution of any actions that were planned to be taken is unlikely. external and internal communications both get interrupted as often as the wind blows as any thought enters my mind, and the meandering efforts to maintain any sense of stability, be they physical or mental, are both confusing and maddening. i am told and can see via some of the more linear effects that they are often also confounding to witness, if not downright infuriating. like when a toddler washes a wall he mussed without direction in an effort to help clarify the upset he sees that he caused. unintentionally, any progress made for him internally is dampened by the action, regardless of the positivity behind it.

part of my old professional duty was telling people what needed to be done. it began as outlining what could be done to fix situations, or get certain press features to attract and explicate particular awarenesses. but it quickly became more personal. with just a small bit of notoriety, it turned into giving advice on how to keep obtrusive fans at arms length and who not to say things to. former colleagues liken the responsibilities we had to child raising, but without any of my own, i can only relate it to myself. outside of that frustratingly myopic perspective, though, it appears that a lot of us suffer from comparable hinderances in maintaining a sense of joy. regardless of the why of it.

no one wants to be told what to do now, and i can’t argue. why any of us ever had the authority or took it upon ourselves to so is still inexplicable to me. the best of us at our jobs in pr were deeply in tune with our intuitions, but as they were overtaken by the noise of our and others’ fears and agendas, some of us stopped being able to see or hear the messages clearly. our voice boxes bent, and as we were still outrageously loud, we went and led people the wrong ways.

but outside of what we’re told, all of us have memories, and we always have them with us everywhere. even when we don’t want to. or if they have holes like swiss cheese or pieces missing like old puzzles. whatever they look like, they’re still our stories, and we get to share them however we choose to remember the moments we hold onto. and maybe that’s today’s real currency. when we share our individual moments and discuss them, we’re afforded opportunities to learn together from mistakes and fortunes both. and when we listen, we can learn from each other like we do with books and stand-up and tv and movies. we may as well… it’s all just stories anyway.

the colorful mosaic of relatability that connects us

being relatable doesn’t always impart an obvious similarity. the deeply personal facet of experience that enables such visceral understanding often gets mistaken for more superficial samenesses, and in hurried efforts to connect, we inadvertently convey properties that we think will make us more attractive to whomever it is we are trying to align. unfortunately, if we come across in a false light as a more sycophantic nature of our longing reveals itself, it catapults us farther away instead. everything gets disrupted as the energy shifts, and the invisible, connective, energetic ether that was present dissolves and disappears.

part of the enigma innate to old school industry spiderwebs is the existence of a root bond. whatever perceptions and experiences and feelings that are thought to be shared in common exist even when they are not outwardly discussed. once they’re out, though, they are dealt with swiftly and promptly, the bad juju is transmuted, and it is all worked into the makeup of the situation. it doesn’t always become the story. it may forever be there somewhere, but it is not often made the focus. at least, not far outside of those actually involved.

but, feelings are universal despite their flavors coming in unique packaging as if life is all a lesson in a marketing class. or a writing course that uses television’s “lost” as the bones for the experiential guidance. the characters and storylines act as the accompanying fables. regardless of analogy, in the end, whatever the circumstances may entail, all that matters is that any transgressions felt are transgressions felt. all the feelings that had been had remain somewhere, even as the veils of intellect dwindle. but, thankfully for us all, the good vibes that were felt stay and continue to pop up, too.

a recent standup special done by a talk show host explored the depths of that pool, and it is remarkably illuminating. the breadth of the human capacity for authentic communion is deep once we are willing to delve into our own. accept what’s there. own our own personal freak flags and disparate individualities. she doesn’t make issue of too much of what stuck her out as being unique, and that is a transcendent beauty of it. her personal history is publicly spotted enough, and who she is now is just the marinated amalgamation of all that came with and from it. materially and thoughtfully both. her routine speaks candidly to everyone regardless of gender or sexuality, with her coupled status is more a sign of her age than what we made it out to be before. we see some of what’s behind the heightened degree of her introversion, and how she choses to communicate with her person is telling. the medium sometimes is actually a message, but perhaps it is not what we think it is.

that energy is also required to process nonsensical strings of verbiage is apparently a foreign concept to many, especially in societies attuned primarily to the attainment of achievements. what makes sense to one may not make as obvious of sense to another, and hiccups in logic aren’t consistent between all of us. history books get rewritten every year, and are presented differently depending on where we live. we learn some of what we are taught, then we all meld together however life puts us. but pretending to understand one another clearly only gets us so far. splitting ourselves into smaller clusters borne of the choices our bodies make helped us find some
solace for a while, but those tides have shifted, too.

there is no doubt that groups which parcel us into gatherings of the similarly afflicted may be a good way to figure out what it is that we ultimately need to address. but even in the most notable of fellowships, there are offshoots of ideologies. for the most part, variances to the bigger programs are accepted like any other personality quirks. there was probably a group of scarlet letter getters who somewhere deep in their beings sighed with relief upon its receipt. sharing commonalities is freeing, even if it is started by having to let go of the designated guilt.

but it doesn’t end there, and we kid ourselves with fanciful notions of other quick fixes and cover-ups we think we see. what ails me involves personal intimacies that we all likely face, but don’t like talking about. it is squeamish and uncomfortable to get so up close with our defects and demons. i am far from alone in that realization, especially when i get out of my own way long enough to zoom out. but if everyone did that, who knows how many puzzles could be solved. eventually, though, we find out that there is no easy answer to be had, and that re-dos of any sort entail constant work and maintenance. as anyone with a classic car will attest, recalibration is not a one-time ordeal.

when you reach the point that it becomes the gift that keeps on giving, though, maybe that is where life is meant to start. it is certainly a more enjoyable trip holding onto that presence. and, when we do let our guards down, it does make us all that much more relatable in the end.

it turns out, how we all contribute really isn’t for us to decide

the landscape of human perspectives and ingenuity that existed around me changed constantly. stagnation emboldened the existence of ruts to climb into, and the life i led didn’t operate accordingly. when i began working in public relations, i saw few socially with whom i also spent my professional hours. clients and colleagues weren’t yet friends, and we each tightly held onto the boundaries we thought defined us and our personal lives. perhaps thusly, working occasions spent together were special ones despite their being filled with all kinds of professional and personal pressures. but, many of us worked a lot, and success in all the careers in the entertainment business eventually required us to be too social for a lot of our likings. it often felt to be and soon became one in the same.

many of the famous types i was around didn’t drink, but instead would sneak off for more hidden pot breaks while us corporate drones boozed copiously and smoked cigarettes with abandon. it was somehow allowed and even encouraged, yet marijuana was outwardly hidden. not discouraged, per sé, but also not explored or sought as imbibable sponsors. stoners were easily derided in general conversation for what we assumed they did and were about, yet few of us had dealings with vice persuasions outside of our own, which kept us believing that we were better somehow. we were actually just blissfully unaware and heavily opinionated, but as loud and controlling as we were, our slew of regurgitated bureaucratic judgements was mostly petty and imprudent. how things could have been so very different had we all been a bit calmer and more open-minded is one of those life rhyme opportunities that i sincerely hope comes back around.

at a premiere once, i was sent to find a senior colleague. the reasoning why escapes me now,
but he was needed urgently. i didn’t know then how to boundary my spidey sense, and everyone seemed to know that i could find him the fastest. having scoured the emptying location to no avail, i ended up at his car in a nearby parking garage, and inside with him covertly smoking a joint was another older colleague in our little comedy representation community.

responding initially like frightened little kids being caught, giddy smiles quickly broke through their stern cover once they recognized me. they then eagerly chided me for being uptight when i gasped at their defiant suggestions of my weed prudishness. more afraid of losing my job than their waning opinions of me, i staunchly denied their offers as they squawked judgmentally in response. as a glaring sidebar of my life that i maybe only see clearly now, that was neither the first nor only time i would be so pushed and propositioned, professionally or otherwise. and no one was wrong to fervently make the suggestion, especially upon sight of my obvious stress. for the record.

clients traveled into los angeles then from the east coast for press tours and meetings all the time. one man we worked for was a master of the broadway artform, and his agency team tried desperately to translate his prowess there into box office success. he was cast in what seemed like everything, and some projects were enjoyable romps that spread his charm wide. other clients still signed with us years later because of how well we managed that career elevation, and while the look-alikes have since forged their own huge successes, they didn’t garner the same immediate results. but looking in from the outside, we could all tell that simply looking like him was only a small part of the package. there was always something else, something undefinable and indescribable that he brought to the table that was both enticing and mesmerizing. it may not have always translated on screen, but in person, it was transcendent and powerful.

an ancillary member of the pr team then, i was the sole member of my professional cohorts to be invited to a gathering he was having at his chosen hotel. a dozen or so of his local friends were joining him to celebrate his arrival in their town, and in a most collegiate fashion, with expenses not of anyone’s concern, abundant room service was ordered to feed the onslaught of bodies. excited to be included, my anxiety was manageably hidden by my stuffy professional attire and accompanying light-yet-dismissive attitude. but his exuberance at seeing me present seemed to bubble up our personalities, and we squealed and hugged like long lost siblings when we finally saw each other. we lit each other up when we let ourselves, and presumably the same might transpire today if we saw one another.

the undercurrents of friendship are inexplicable sometimes, ebbing and flowing with the environments in which we find ourselves. discovering those feelings of what must come from kismet are a delicacy we don’t always let ourselves experience enough. romantic love gets all the attention, but the sentiment of genuine care can be just as special and important sometimes. shortly after our playful love fest, our attention was split among the guests. as the festivities relaxed into their innately calm cadence, a joint was passed around the group. then an inexperienced novice myself, after one inhale, i promptly fell asleep for an hour, and awoke awkwardly sitting on the couch to him covering me with a blanket.

“you work too much, too late, too hard,” he said with a kind smile. at that time, a lot of it was for his ultimate benefit, but while that wasn’t the discussion i wanted to have then, he wasn’t wrong, either. the saying of finding something you love making work not feel like work has always rung true, and with all the interesting funny people as situational subjects of both my personal interest and professional life, to me, the time required to be successful at the job was a grateful sacrifice. things look different now, of course, but that first chunk of time in that life stick out as some of the most fun and worthwhile moments of my adult time to date.

awareness of how we contribute to the lives of others is a secret to most of us for too long. his mother and i are still connected on social media, and through her i have gotten to watch the evolution of his successes, both personal and professional. i believe i met his wife once briefly, and while we all have our own interpersonal blemishes to address and amend behind closed doors, from the little i glean, their union seems perfectly suited for their quirky personas. she and i have a similarly shared appreciation for each other from afar, and if that is as connected as we get for now, seeing and getting to share in the joy she exuded in those moments we had celebrating her son makes it all worth it. memories are filled with ransom acts of grace that get overlooked all the time, but everyone plays a part somehow, and we best not forget that. about ourselves, or anyone. regardless of the roles we relegate them to in our worlds.

the undercurrents of us are more obvious than ever

so many of us are living in realities run by undercurrents of wants that we don’t always fully acknowledge. the inconsistency that dissonance creates is maddening from an outside perspective, and all those variances of what is ultimately unaware personal dishonesty make communally participating in stable thrulines nearly impossible. linear logic by its very design can be acutely shortsighted and limiting, and few of us live as if we truly understand the fluidity and cyclical nature in which life actually flows instead. having this context now, despite all the efforts made to deny them, regardless of the circumstances, the same demons always exist for us to conquer. until we do. the fight to be right harshly evolves in this type of setting, and such a comparative environment is ripe to create argumentative thought. 

but in real world execution, arguments and intentional offense have thankfully become more passé. we’ve grown beyond desperately seeking the sense of belonging that we foolishly thought they maybe used to offer. the 2016 film “arrival” showed us how others can perceive us externally, as well as some of the unnecessary problems we create in our attempts to resolve non-existent conflicts. but not enough of us watched it, and fewer of us have sat through repeat viewings of it or pieced together the broader workings of a linguistic infrastructure that are dispensed. what message actually got through to us is difficult to surmise at this point.
recently, a more cerebral comedian whom i look up to and admire the work of checked himself into a rehabilitation program. he apparently likened cocaine and alcohol use to social prowess. i imagine it was also likely used to numb the omnipresent undercurrents of stress and anxiety that his stand-up acts showcase so authentically. with our backgrounds, educational tracts, and all the emotions that come with that matrix included, we aren’t all that dissimilar. we know a good friend of his, which isn’t to say they’re the same, but seeing their work made together and reading between the lines can sometimes be as telling. there is a kindred, kevin bacon-like, degree of separation between us, so perhaps the also-shared ability to weave varying perspectives was at some point for him also a welcome side-effect.
with both all of my abilities andnow intentionally, most of my vices, stripped away when i attuned myself to this newer life quality of autoimmune dysfunction, it is clear to me now objectively how we have the ability to duck-and-weave in common too. serenity and humility are core principles of humanity, which he may also know intellectually yet blank on its real life emotional application and relevance. we are all closer to each other than we think, but showing it abrasively or sycophantically is a social no-nos that we have thankfully learned to abide by more in recent decades.
presumably, there will be no tales shared akin to the escapades showcased for entertainment value on shows like “celebrity rehab.” but if there is anything about this news to look forward to, it is how great it is that he of all people will be one of the ones able to tell us what it is like during this part of the messy human bit. as all comedians do, mostly inadvertently, this life experience will be illuminated in his work for years to come.
while the initial block to attitude modification that holds us all back usually derives from a fearful place of unease with change, it is that awareness, that flagrant, stubborn, opaqueness to our beings, that lets the rest of the bits make a little more sense. little by little, more obvious tells get revealed. the intentions that we may think we are hiding but that they divulge are staggering. as blunders affect more than just us, and odd choices trickle out visibly like a monstrous butterfly effect, true acceptance of what our actionable parts are changes us. and until we have a realization of what genuine lived reality is, we’re faking it. butsome of us have evolved to see through the masquerades.
for those of us for whom crafting such enabling tales was a coveted talent, the rug we all knew would eventually be pulled from under us was. hopefully we all remember that en masse, together we know only enough to know that we can’t possibly know everything ourselves. efforts to imply otherwise are also born of those faking it. like in popular stories, the tendrils of deceit are everywhere. the masks worn appear to be made tough, but once you see around them, all that’s there of our makeup is better-seeming duplicates of duplicates. there are movies with plot lines that aren’t dissimilar. the mid-aged among us learned to get information from videos. some new media was well intentioned. some was well executed. some of us who took in information that way made it a career, and now we all get to learn from everything. and even while unintentional, that includes our unsightly missteps, too.

the uncontrollable authenticity of genuine emotion

we are intrinsically the happiest when we don’t feel the necessity to put on a front. emotions outwardly impart their vulnerabilities by creating visible expressions of what dusts up in us internally. at the most positive degree, and as it seeps out of genuine smiles, we exude the delight and joy we feel in the presence of the other. but especially when our presence wanes, and as energy dissipates or we become distracted, all of our not-so-hidden innate responses more readily show up, without question or consultation. the blemishes on our true selves are splayed out on the ground floor for all to see. speaking to oneself kindly has never been more salient as that dialogue indelibly becomes how we think and what we feel. it is the underlying vibe that we effortlessly emanate always, the basis of our non-verbal communication, and the setting we land at when additional effort isn’t put on. it is always a choice, but changing from what’s already there requires energy that not all of us knew we needed to allocate there. what we and those around us glossed over early, and what we felt the need to cover up far too long into our adulthood, is still there. what exists in the deepest corners of our souls can be surprising, and not always in a good way.

early in my human development, the cerebral component of my being was made a primary focus. sharpening its skills and crafting its thought tendrils took over all of the available time, and life became ruthlessly devoted to that endeavor. by then a willing over-achiever, this focus insolently lasted as a strong motivator until sometime in my mid-thirties when i became cognizant that those tendrils had clearly dissipated and dispersed over time, especially as my life changed. most recently, for the better, go figure. while i denied this even to myself, it became suddenly apparent that strands that had once been connected had at some point separated and veered off course wildly. some looked unlike the others now, even if they had come from the same origins. it was messy and unmanageable in some parts, and like leftover spaghetti, those internal neural pieces wilted and stuck to parts of each other, and often ripped and broke when pried from their group.

augmenting intellectual building blocks is no doubt valuable. but while accumulation of descriptive learning is seen as the ultimate goal in some circles, focusing only on that form of knowledge acquisition is ultimately a grande disservice to us all. leaving out sentiments that simultaneously arise may seem like a time saver in the moment, but no kind of energy truly leaves. any curmudgeonly opinions we ever have had stick to us, and over the years, as if in solidarity, others collect and pile up like oatmeal to ribs on colder mornings. eventually, the holder is tasked with sorting out what’s there. why is it still? what is this really about? is this new or old, mine or someone else’s?

when an old family home was recently cleaned out and sold, the same questions arose. it is not hard to see the existing genetic and familial similarities that reside in me given such a bold instance. what gets hidden in any quagmire is anyone’s guess, and it takes a deep love and patience to go through it thoroughly. some of us power through without knowing that’s the actual driving force, but thinking we are orchestrating outcomes is a fool’s errand from which participants are never done. even when we think we are.

until we stop playing.

being able to turn off emotional affect is a trait that best serves agendas of adding to intellectual fields. at times, void of the distraction of feeling, it makes achievement more doable, feasible. academic paths, athletic ones, anything that trains the mind and body to act a certain way when in or faced with certain circumstances. what was once relegated to being an esteemed primary focus in many cases has now become the only one, as the time and energy it takes to sort and address and heal and cultivate proper emotional responses is not always also available. which is likely why the saying tells us, and experience shows us, that it does indeed take a village.

what can happen when that village disappears, though, which we are all facing more and more with this global isolation, is haunting. while it is deeply personal in practice, the foundations of our mental health are only as interconnected as we are to our villages. like wi-fi and internet access. we get to put to use our translation skills as languages are not always the same across the various scholarly and not-as-scholarly ponds. or the words may be the same, but have different meanings, uses, or applications. leading to massive confusion, what we think we are imparting is not always what is heard, or is seen as mutually relevant.

in societies trying to be nicer, words spoken of frustration and differing outlooks tend to fall on polite, but dismissive and deaf ears. we miss a lot in attempting to be acceptable to others, especially when we aren’t yet fully acceptable to ourselves. those of us desperately in need of assistance no longer know where we can turn to be rightfully seen and heard. we feel as though we are constantly, obviously, shouting and being our truths, and forever crying out for assistance. but our struggles, whether they be physical, mental, spiritual, and/or energetic, are usually met with empty pleasantries or calloused indifference. as we with autoimmune disfunction already feel to be burdensome, this reaction can shut us down. silence us. all of us can sound more illuminated and austere thanks to information sharing and technological advancements, but really, what is the information that we are parroting? and why are we judging that of others before we better know the languages they’re using?

the stymying reality now is that a lot of us, from all walks of life, need to find new tribes so we can discover and cement the foundations of our newer selves. in previous attempts to survive and get on in the only way i thought i knew how, i took in all opinions at the same weight. everyone suddenly seemed to know more than me about everything, and my unease at seeming to be the least aware of those in my surroundings was palpably painful. it became a rather masochistic and sadistic practice in living as the masses of unknowledgeable invectives became too overwhelming to keep track of while also discerning and maintaining my own newer kind of awareness.

between a job existing primarily to maintain the secrecy of others, and the painfully inconsistent unraveling of my own self, my life narrowed dramatically until there was almost nothing left. which put extreme pressure on the little that did remain. and while pressure is said to make diamonds, what also gets tainted and wrecked in that process is not also celebrated or discussed. and it all needs to be. especially that in human form, which we arguably often take for granted.

assessments of whatever we make life out to be, including out-of-the-box treatment efforts and relationships that defy what those outside of them think they aught to look like, in shared company can quickly dissolve into snide and unnecessary torrents of offending vitriol. in weaker, more exhausted moments, our minds can easily trick us into agreeing with the remarks we hear. in those times, personally, my sense of cogency implodes, and the inside of my working brain freezes. any overlording processing stops abruptly, and thoughts haphazardly sputter and drip out of my mouth. few ideas expressed are rational or make sense, and to my great chagrin, i often realize far too late how far down the wrong roads i have gotten myself.

rightfully, from others, grace and forgiveness only go so far, and are only granted a resurgence once behaviors are changed. but with memory recycling and dropping off as it does now, that feat is a landmine in itself. we really don’t know what we don’t know, and sorting through all these changes without a web of non-judgmental human support is mentally trying and socially alienating. but i know that element makes me far from alone, which oddly gives me a little piece of solace, if there is any to be found. gas-lighting is real, but our lacking cultural ability to maintain a solidly-structured thruline is a truer culprit. that practice trains the mechanics of our broader thinking, but how we personally modify and re-modify our own realities like working google documents only further muddies the waters.

living a life constantly interrupted by waves of excruciating pain and other non-compliant, wayward sensations keeps that process forever in the forefront. at the oddest moments sometimes, having mixed up senses can be kind of fun, when you want to let it. but while there is a hope that it may eventually be less chaotic, a lot of times keeping the meanings of certain sensations straight requires a presence that dominates all other happenings. self-involvement takes on a new meaning, but eventually it also needs to be mostly assuaged and ignored all the same. the phase of teenage selfishness has nothing on a life with chronic illness, but after we go through our asshat stages, too, we need to grow up again. or we risk losing it all.

a comedian has spoken of his son who years ago was socially doomed by medical professionals for his form of autism. over the course of his proud father’s stand-up specials, we have seen in the disgruntled stories as the boy outgrew the worst elements of that affliction. it comes out eventually that his resolute perseverance stemmed from wanting to have a girlfriend. having the love of another and being able to share it back is perilous for us all at times, but it is also so very strong a motivator.

to have it makes us lucky. to face losing it once we find it is traumatic. but when we want it badly enough, the reality that exists beneath the consummate fear and conspicuous distress pushes us to be better and hope it isn’t too little, too late. the facets of MS mimic the markers of the benjamin button character sometimes, so while time machines aren’t in public existence yet, that’s apparently as close as i could get. next spin, i will try to leave notes for myself so it doesn’t take me so long to upright my hubris and kindness scales. and there will also have to be reminder notes to still watch artists’ comedy specials in chronological order, even if i get called out on netflix again.

everything else

so many things have changed. this year especially, and for us all. life as it was, as we knew it to be, is all different now. the playing field seems to have evened out a bit though as we cut ourselves and each other some slack to find and live some kind of enjoyment. a newly vibrant awareness for how we can impact others has grabbed a keen placement in our purviews, and a lot of us are growing into better humans for it. keeping others we see as our charges from harm is a privilege we get to imbibe in heartily all over again. and the attainment of a parental title is no longer required. when you open-mindedly look, there are always pros with the cons in anything.

maintaining a reality has become an additional chore that didn’t always need to be actively done individually. the flow of the world was obvious, and usually presented consistently enough that we could follow along. generic watercooler chat seemingly hit on it all, with event tv and sporting events and musical excursions dominating topics of superficially vacuous small talk that everyone participated in. layers of it were always there, but for a while, we were less chattily transient about both our physical and mental travels. we all stayed in our lanes more. we may say it was “simpler” that way, or that we were, but the ease we had likely came out of a likeminded collaboration that innately encouraged us to row together more strongly. now, our goals are more scattered, and that by definition cuts down all of our available progress, in any direction.

when everything became available everywhere, life became instantly more and more vanilla as a competition paradigm developed. then everyone was given trophies just for participating, and our unique ways of planning and executing became obsolete. at times even, a hindrance. the need to be forward-thinking diminished in general, and thoughts turned instead to what else we could use our time to get or do. thoughtful long term objectives silently dissipated into shortsighted agendas as we determined how much we could cram into the same space. but, we move backwards when we live from this state of lack-minded thinking at its most extreme. especially when it looks to be progress. it’s all been done before, yet we are always striving to reinvent the wheel for some reason. that song from the 90s may have been appropriated by pop culture before we absorbed what it really meant.

we are left to sort out the basics again. what do we want. what do we like. to do, to have, to enjoy, to share, to need. there really are no rules now, which is freeing. but that also means the onus is on us more than ever to decide how to exist, and that seems to be harder to think about than we imagined. there isn’t a space for difference to be included in the landscape of 1s and 0s. the long running adage that correlates everyone having opinions with also having an unattractive body part has never been more apparent. publicly, or en masse, yet we are egregiously leaning into our jerkiness. we all knew it to be true, yet arrogantly trucked along thinking mostly of, really, only ourselves anyway. how pronounced do our lessons need to be?

working with various outlooks of people while making this book has opened my own eyes to the spectrum of what people see as important. my brain foolishly attaches to each and finds a way to make it make sense to me, which has used up more energy than i have anymore, and has spun me in every direction. my brain literally can’t take the indecision and unaware missteps that are routinely taken for us without any opinions asked. this blind action shuts me down, and angers me. which i feel an obligation to work through and deal with before i give anyone. it costs me days of unhappiness and relationship struggles, and until i outgrow this, that seems to be the price of business. personally, after hours spent frustrated and alone, i am usually cogent enough to not simply wile away negatively anymore, and am doing my damndest to make peace with
having a constantly changing and non-linear mind.

but when the ideological thrulines change, and keep changing as opinions grow with more of what is usually non-information, when realities are fluid without a benevolent base, my wires separate faster and more distinctly than oil and water. only those with the closest emotional connection to me see the putrid darkness i live in when that happens as i disintegrate and spiral untethered. pulling me out is done as is possible, but we have all seen movies that go on too long. no one seeks that sequel, and staying on as that immature character is what keeps things remaining one-dimensional. both on sitcoms and in real life. it is why good sitcoms end when they do. even, specifically, when we aren’t ready for them to.

a quote i saw once as spoken ‘by the universe’ says “i had to make you uncomfortable or you wouldn’t have moved.” in my stubborn case, i have to admit truth. the universe has defeated me many a time, and i know that what i am seeking is visible only when i calm down and welcome a new perspective. when i slow down, i can see it. the happenings of coincidences occur all the time, yet many of us dismiss them without pondering their meanings. it seems to take us all getting uncomfortable sometimes to pay attention, i guess. so we take the time.

especially by this point, i for one, welcome it. this sudden feeling of illumination is presumably what comes from focusing on everything else for so long. what my book most likely will end up showing me through the stories. the title came to me as if in a dream years ago, and has never left. the cover image was shot recently, but has already been changed from a more hardened version of myself to one that feels lighter. modification of what is important to us, to present our truest, best efforts for all of us, is the only thing that matters sometimes. even if that’s all we can do today, so i have had to learn and accept. but the bar has been lowered all around, which i do not see as a stop sign, but a yield one. an encouraged opportunity to pay attention. to look into and take into account our surroundings. and thankfully, as it turns out, driving is not only filled with lessons about cars.

our wild west is our emotional landscape

the effects of the body shutting down are like alcoholism in reverse. said subjectively, but also with a heavy dose of objective perspectives that thankfully allow these beliefs to cement and stretch beyond only my crazy-making personal situation. the life experiences i’ve lived, like all of ours, have been unique. the same facts we may share on paper can have boundlessly differing ramifications outside of what any common rule says we should expect. living with a communal logic lets us piece together like a puzzle how it all can intertwine, but since there is little shared common sense remaining that can be universally found, some circumstances feel new and unknown all over again. 

eerie feelings of cultural deja vu aside, there is no map or legend to guide the way, and the only direction we are given is to not die. when i was really young, before i began formal schooling, when asked what i wanted to be, i said “an explorer.” what that entailed, i knew nothing legitimately of at the time, and clearly the definition has changed as time has passed. as it appears though, i am a living example of manifest destiny in a most peculiar form. popular quotes continuously ring true, and that people will truly think you’re crazy if you talk about things they don’t understand when this is something no one can is saddening. that having and using different verbiage to express shared sentiments is also so easily included in that is frustrating, especially after all the effort that went into acquiring varying languages. and losing control over your intellectual faculties is alarming for anyone.
physical changes are but an illustration of how the infrastructure is falling apart within my brain. inside and outside parts both are deteriorating faster now, and i have no choice but to optimistically hope they can be rebuilt. moods and attitudes have to be repeated as positive one-word mantras or i spiral into useless negativity that can knock me out for hours. dead legs and bowels that don’t work as they once did, and a shrinking mouth and entire right side, are now some of my oddest physical traits. the pain that accompanies those ebbing alignments is less visible, and truly unspeakable. but finding a positive to grasp on to, i thank however i got to be so miswired, because if i actually felt all of it, i’m not sure i could survive.
in the years that it has taken me to understand some of the ways this can manifest, my maturity levels have greatly modified. others’ ideas and perspective now can stick to my psyche without effort. and they require a determined extrication and extermination to be cleared from my own space sometimes. like when owners tent houses. which we have yet to do for the mind, yet imperatively must figure out how to do ourselves.
the chasm between my academic and emotional set-up is staggering, though, which sidelines this process as fact pieces and feelings get mixed up. despite flagrant family denials that this was part of my moving between states life as a pre-teen, why i was one of the few partaking in certain testings when i transferred schools is now very clear. as are the thrulines that connect MS with hiv/AIDS. those realities are now more visible than ever, yet not spoken broadly about publicly, i’m sure to sidestep the panic that ensued from the fear of its unknown origins in the 80s and 90s. that is in my family history is a bummer of a story, but alarmingly telling of what this may be.
seeming crazy when you’re not understood hits a lot of life now. unchecked gaslighting can be dangerous, but when we are candid about what we see as not fitting our known narrative, and patiently provide a pause or calmly invite explication and understanding, growth abounds. the truncated pop-psychology theories that permeate the mainstream consciousness and appear true on the surface have led us deep into hallways of fear and mistrust. but no words alone are as ghastly and confounding as they may sound. and listening to what is actually being said rather than getting stuck and perpetuating momentary offense is an important muscle we all need to develop more strongly. it has gotten soft, and let us and a lot of our thoughts go soft, too.

as i was first being diagnosed, which took a long while and was filled with hundreds of intrusive tests ordered by scattered doctors and a dozen or so titled specialists, little was spoken of the possible contributing factors of this disorder that urgently needed to be addressed. genetic lineage is an integral piece to be found out as best possible, and that in my case was blatantly omitted from the analysis and then-determined treatment angles. as was the makeup of my harried lifestyle that is an obvious harbinger for the both the onset and exacerbation of such physical catastrophe. drastic changes needed to be made, but the medical community i saw was more focused on getting their intravenous medication regimented for mass consumption. with my beleaguered trust of the supposedly-esteemed medical sources, i became an unknowing guinea pig. if only i’d been aware then of what i am now. 

not usually one to panic over the bigger things, i routinely come egregiously undone instead by everyday consternations that are generally ignored or glossed over by most in lieu of a more copasetic existence. the questions that i had for my doctors about what MS is or could become were mostly ignored. between everyone thinking they know everything since they have access to google, and the suddenly appearing and sporadically applied meek demeanor that overtakes my personality in some of the most urgent and dire circumstances, perhaps i didn’t pose them urgently enough. similarly, my tiny family routinely dismissed my quieter fears and ignored realities that i desperately needed to face. knowing that past cases have existed seems to be a big factor of what allowed them to more comfortably ignore both the similarities and differences between known cases and my personal learning of and baffling mystification at my own varying symptoms. the uneducated mentality that someone would just know how to fix me still ignorantly persists. 

whatever the situation, and despite outspoken vocal assertions that indicate i am a contrary example to what is seen as “normal,”, i am confronted at every direction of life by blank expressions and generic anecdotes that are mostly unrelated to what’s at hand. that immune function is still not fully understood gets pushed aside to be out of the way of a potential speedy fix. feeling the feels of the underground communities, our nervous questions highlight the truth that this is special to us all, and that there is a strong mental health component to also take into account.
but shots and pills don’t do that, and mental health unspooling is messy and uncontrollable at times. the practices of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health have yet still to be overtly connected, which invalidates all existent solutions before anything is medically administered. mental health drugs are being used to treat physical effects without proper understanding of influence. in an accelerated effort to solve this or make a handsome profit, perhaps we should look back to square one. start from scratch. adopt newer and broader perspectives rather than polishing antiquated ideas. among all our advancements, some medical conundrums are not unlike the wild west. and in a most gloriously positive framing, exploring takes on a whole new hue of possibility given that perspective.

the fallacies we project by accident

what you want and what you like are two nebulous factors that may appear to be distinctly obvious, but aren’t always in fact as they seem to be. or are they always what gets assumed. even with the best of intentions, efforts to conjure explicit realities rather than working with what’s already there can cause a lot of confusing turmoil, and inadvertently can be quite damaging if we aren’t careful. the things one sees and has the time to piece together when walking ceases to be a thing you’re good at anymore are pretty remarkable. it almost makes immobility worth it. it you want to make a reason for it to be. almost.

the realizations that i have come to understand better these past few years of moving less are perhaps ones that many people just don’t have the time for, or take the opportunity, to see. in general, it seems that we spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about unnecessary things, and pondering life or how best to survive it less. but some of the factors i have come upon seem so basic to living in a kind and worthwhile humanity that it is shameful to think anyone would disregard them if they were truly aware. having witnessed first-hand some of my own emotional blocks, though, they’re unsightly and tough to move. i recognize that we all have them, which is in itself both scary and freeing all at once. but it would appear that we are all increasingly less innately aware of the blocks that we do still carry, and at times, especially out of what seems like ease, we succumb to doing as we are told rather than exploring other options. regardless of the detriment it brings. to our beings, to our daily lives.

most in my world i imagine have been able to see over the years what i am finally now consciously aware of and honestly acknowledging. my odder peccadillos and personality defects have been around for a long time, but i surmised previously how to talk myself out of and around most when they became an issue. but the personal quirks that occur now are almost always painfully obvious in real life, wreaking havoc as they pop up brazenly outside of the personally intimate landscape of my own mind. sometimes, they show up without warning. especially with this new potential happening, i just about always feel awkward and off-putting to someone, and unavoidably, sometimes just to myself. the dark emotions that overwhelm my psyche and the crabby intellectual judgements that my mind erects from scattered pieces of available information take over my being like an unavoidable, unrelenting dust cloud. depression recycles the sad thoughts, and it sometimes requires an externally gargantuan strength to tear me out of such negative thinking. pushing people away in an attempt to be self-sufficient is not advantageous, and if i can forewarn any of the possible external effects to a downward spiral, that has to be the silver lining.

a new comedy special i watched pointed out a social changing of the guard that has transpired without us realizing it was happening. for a while, the opposite was the accepted and sought goal, but those who notably became seen to be the most relatable never actually were. or were intended to be for what made them so, anyway. and most known people didn’t aim to be, either. the comedian pointed out that famous people are the weird ones now, and the majority of the more easygoing, average folks are the normal ones. i think it may perhaps be more apropos for him add “again,” but it makes my heart happy that we will hopefully soon stop striving to be an aspect of something we see yet know little else about. equilibrium in the energies and the reigning life forces seem to be closer than they’ve been in a while. that it is now the holiday season in the states does not feel as arbitrary this year, and we can let the pause borne of a more broad and aware human kindness encourage us to focus a bit more on fixing ourselves, which is sorely needed.

in the era of non-judgement that we created, candor about actions and behaviors was muted, and we all simply continued doing what we were doing when the behavior-addressing and dismantling backlash didn’t come. what bullies excelled at, despite their masochistic enforcements, was a form of behavior regulation. if we forgot or ignored this, that’s on us, but their opinions, like all opinions, are merely subjective and similarly subject to our own assessments. which may have run ignorantly amuck and sideways by our brusque and superficial attempts to be less overtly critical with our language as a society. but without the opportunity to decide for ourselves what actions are helpful and which are deplorable to and in our communities, and how things could otherwise possibly shake out in between, we can easily become vanilla sheep, obliviously following and doing as directed, like the masses in the animated movie “wall-e.”

being energetically sidelined as i have, there appears to be no reckoning other than brute honestly, as uncomfortable as it may be. emotional stability as a concept is not something we easily embrace, yet it is more fragile than many of the bones we cast. and far more influential. what you are made up of is unavoidable, and those truths becomes more obvious the less you can run away. and as a reminder that we are created from a sense of humor, what we find is not always what we think is there.

until now, an old online dating profile i filled out was the most forthright opportunity i have known to present myself most accurately. everything else was more public, seemed far less important than finding a life partner, and was more directly subjective to the whims and maturity of the teller. observations discussed in catty retellings could be voyeuristic and unnecessarily prying.

but now, just being alive requires being a bit public. getting married makes one public before we know it does. women especially, as we change our names and are asked repeatedly to regale starry-eyed acquaintances with coveted tales of getting chosen. but the real stories can’t be shared, and they aren’t to be. the shared privacy of them goes deeper than the awareness of them that even we have sometimes. it is likely why such unions are so special. they’re for us to each find and basque in.

intentional or otherwise, opportunities for humility give us a brief respite we at first are slow to accept. but having MS gives you no choice but to be public all the time, and having a history of working with famous people is also pigeon-holing me into that space, so it seems that that’s my lot in this life. getting there myself is not easy, but i suppose the rest isn’t, either, so it is what it is. we get only what we can handle, so the common saying goes, and apparently, i am part of the super woman brigade. doesn’t it look so very different on us all.

one client i worked with a while ago once looked between me and the schedule i had emailed him with a subtle panic in his eye. “i won’t have you do anything i wouldn’t do myself,” i told him, and he breathed a sigh of relief, i believe at the awareness i exhibited. i’d heard rumblings, but little did i know the wrath he must have already lived through that i had signed up for. the intricacies of my own exhaustion and mental health triggers. the relationships that i would strain, and the people whom i would unknowingly hurt from my blindness as i found myself. he had years on me, but it would be many more until i worked out what authentic projection meant in the setting i found myself living in.

some days, as much as i would like to be and think i am, i may still not actually be there. but, if you’re willing to look at them honestly, mirrors in human form are invaluable to that growth process. it has brought about a lot of heartache, primarily from a depressive place of judging myself for what those mirrors objectively showed me, to know that so clearly. the fancy professional title i once held covertly hid the simultaneous existence of the human inner workings with the commercial agendas. the barriers that allowed us to have any kind of self-preservation have gotten lost as life sped up and we as a culture all angled more to be seen. and we learned the hard way that we all need someone in our corner who knows us. as well or better than we know ourselves.

our blinders run deep, and we often don’t know ourselves like we think we do. a nation of people pleasers, if asked, we usually can describe more easily others’ wants and how to act so we best maintain their copasetic existence. parents don’t remember your particular life as you do, and that is an antiquated expectation of any given reality anyway. their own wants and wishes for us as continuations of themselves aren’t always in sync with our own. we are each our own person, and until we know viscerally what that means for us individually, we are lost and subject to the inclinations of others instead.

those of us who want to share that anguish do so as an educational cautionary tale. there is no other reason i have found, despite all my thoughts and wantings to maintain a more quiet existence. if ever i had been made more aware of the side effects that can come from a life not lived for oneself, the choices i would have seen and made i bet would have been very different. what exists in front of me may inherently take on a kinder hue. when movements don’t also include accusations looks and unsolicited assertions of life or death, space is there for whatever we need. and now if i am a scapegoat, there are worse things. some i have already lived through, while others are happening now. anonymity left my persona too long ago to ask for it back now. and hopefully, without my having too many fears left of being found out for being not even close to perfect, that’s a good thing for us all.

bastions of sanity

my best friend in college likely saved my sanity then, too. probably before i had any idea that it actually needed saving. she acted and thought like my family did in some ways. but she also seemed to be as frustrated with some of the unnecessarily employed antiquities as i was, through which we understood each other on a deep, unspoken level. our distaste for parts of our upbringings, and the lacking social skills they imparted onto us, silently spoke volumes and connected us tightly as we caught each other’s eyes around inattentive conversation partners. our ongoing irritations were often mutual, and we bonded over the silliest things. like knowing the hours and lifetimes that actually exist between a life lived in manhattan and that of an upstate variety. and the importance of setting alarms to get up at the crack of dawn to obtain entrance to a psychology class you really want that was capped at a tiny enrollment.

when she decided to marry, it was to a man we’d gone to college with. we all went to several of the same greek date parties, and knew a lot of the same people. he and i didn’t always see eye to eye, but like a popularly accepted definition of what sparks family connection, our mutual adoration of her made any potential fissures between us disappear before they grew in the open. at their wedding, i wore sky blue taffeta and got a beehive hairdo that promptly dismantled and had to be rebuilt as the night went on. he wore a suitable tuxedo, and i have literally never seen her happier. since seeing them in that moment, any challenged history was immediately bygone.

he and i are both now afflicted severely with disorders that ultimately stem from an autoimmune deficiency. they present and seem to be very different, but make us both difficult to be around and speak to at times. it appears that we both also have given up on generic relatability, and rely heavily on the loving kindness and general acceptance of others. both of which we personally have in shorter supply as the years pass. to speak candidly, it seems that neither of us have a firm handle on ourselves or the situations we find ourselves in either, which is embarrassing to admit, let alone show. against ridiculous resistance, i am learning to admit mine, and we both show how we are afflicted everyday by being ourselves openly. but her strength and the unwitting, at times unfounded, and usurping tenacity makes her a rock for us both, and i thank the universe for keeping us all connected, however it has to happen. in times like this, her reassuring sensibility and willingness to listen and ask questions and take in answers is a gift of this crazy life that i imagine he and i both appreciate more and more all the time. she doesn’t preach often, or even say much most times, but her calmly salient demeanor and thoughtfully random insights are buoyantly welcome. needed. appreciated. 

always, i find myself wishing that i had her ability to humbly translate real life happenings between friends and foes. we all end up on one side or another at times, and certainly now at least, i, like a less-laughable version of one of the female leads in “the family stone,” often feel and mean to impart one thing while i staunchly articulate the more negative side of that same coin instead. 

in one day, i was told by the two most prominent men in my life how unlikeable i am. given what one thinks he knows, and what i exhibited in front of the other, i am unable to disagree. on all other topics, their opinions steer definitively, audibly, in opposing directions. indiscriminately trusting either is unfair to myself, and my voice is loud when i disagree. but when i abhor my own behavior breakdowns and unwanted allowances, the universe veil has been pulled back far enough that i should do nothing but surrender and breathe and find perspective. acknowledge the error, whatever and wherever it was, and amend what i can rather than spend time conjuring viable excuses. 

it always comes down to perspective, and something about the friend i found in our hallway at college causes everyone to let their guards down and relax and open up to see other potentials. the only similar connection i have found, a place as accepting of the oft-unknowingly and almost-always misaligned intentions that we autoimmune types have and the repeated errant actions they too-easily can bring about, are members that make up the a.a. community. forgiveness is regularly engendered there, and handed out until it isn’t sought so desperately anymore. and then without ask or question, space is opened for the next falls from grace that we will all have. some are drinking relapses, while others have more of the dry-drunk ideology where we blindly, aggressively, outside of our control, act like consummate jerks for no apparent reason. any kindness and awareness we have internally to draw from disembark from our beings without handing in their tickets. always late to the party, we don’t realize that no one’s got hands on the wheel until we’re floating adrift, trying to save ourselves when we are lost in the ocean. that same willingness to welcome and forgive is there again, though, and that is what keeps a.a. strong. knowing that we all will make a lot of mistakes, some of us over and over, until we hopefully, eventually, learn our lessons is a cherished understanding that not enough of us have or give anymore.

the hope that regular folk have that compassion i think is how church attendance started, and the joyous communing persisted until the concept got apprehended by bad behavior and not-so-hidden desires. some things can be forgiven with age, but not all things, which is where our own individual morality comes into play. and it is also likely where we are all the most aligned, even if some of us say it wrong. even that holiday film character is likable in the end. she found in another, exhibits, and pulls out of us a different energy. when we need an example of the workings of faith, a reason to hold onto hope, however simple it is or crazy it sounds, we can find it anywhere. whether it lives in memories of old friends or movie screens or zoom rooms doesn’t matter. churches were just the buildings belief was housed in, but it was and is always ours to have. may we hold it out for all to see and know now. we all could use it.

the days we all have… and get to have

when one of those days where nothing seems to go right comes around, it seems that my legs take the brunt of any energetic discord in the physical realm. my right knee bends and waywardly buckles, and my once muscly walking sticks that are now thin and weak crumble, leaving me flailing, arms outstretched like a falling new bike rider. concurrently, my thoughts and emotions scatter and jumble, and get mixed up together in my head as if my default human running script is made from poorly constructed mad libs. it is terrifying and confusing, which feels overwhelmingly dark and heavy until the leading emotion of frustration with myself somehow finally dissipates and i am able to better see the forest for the trees.

when things get riled up in my mind, it is as if someone spilled two brands of pick-up stick canisters and i’m tasked to sort them correctly. this time, they are filled instead with one of intellectually learned and acquired thought pieces, and the other of innately included human feelings and emotions that have been uniquely marbled to fit me through experiences over time. at least i have been able to speed up that sorting process. for a while, even the most basic of conversations could be hazardous.

what used to sometimes be days to weeks of adrift confusion can now thankfully be straightened out usually within a couple of hours if i get a bit of rest, some pot, and adopt a calm perspective. solace is still somehow not the current automatic setting, and it has to be re-manufactured by the moment. over and over and over again, as many times as my wonky memory needs to remind my brain to be calm and upbeat and forward-thinking. left to its own devices, it remains indescribably downtrodden, and will haphazardly recycle feelings from old, forgotten about scenarios. this keeps me stuck and lost and fearful as i unintentionally and inescapably cull through webs of icky feelings from my past. what we grew up on is half right. we are efficient creatures, and nothing is wasted, but the mind is a terrible thing to lose hold of.

when caught in downward thought spirals, i sometimes catch myself daftly stuck examining the bigger cracks in the armor that seem to have let in the flood. as if any of the information gleaned will fix anything retroactively, or do anything other than make me feel worse about the transpired outcome. the damage has already been done. time to move on, dust myself off, and not act blindly again. changing behavior is a monumental undertaking, and creates accidents that emotionally feel to be as erratic and damaging as the physical ones look to be that occur during potty training.

for the longest time, mis-wired to me meant oppositely configured. some parts of my thinking were arranged very dualistically, but not all, and there is no legend for it like i once thought. there are no shortcuts to cut through the process, and all needs to be taken at face value. like that show ‘maniac,’ there are myriad layers that need to be untangled everywhere. what makes them up almost always looks different, but the underlying emotional energies are the same, and all are needing to be cleared. to move on, like in a video game, or to grow up, like in life.

if this life is all eventually to be on a spectrum, which feels to be the direction we’re headed, then the space between dualistic bookends may grow wider and seem more vast, but that just means that the circle of it is that much bigger. our connections are that much closer, which makes our differences closer, too. that is reassuring as we remember that we are all in this together. both a therapist and my sponsor for being alcoholic laughed uncomfortably as i casually in an ongoing stream of consciousness quickly blurted out what to others are heavy thoughts as we wrapped up sessions.

that stuff is not that bad, i said to them both. zooming out, having already experienced such profound unpleasantness makes this form if discomfort more bearable now. according to them both, i am dealing with a lot. but having MS just seems like any other thing that i don’t love, but will have to figure out how to deal with if i want to stay. murky waters are scarily not a disarmingly uncomfortable place for me. that i have thrived in so many male-dominated environments is no universe accident.

even operating at half-mast as it does these days, having a viscerally-built body memory comes in handy when your meat sack doesn’t move on its own like it used to. and when overanalyzing and overthinking doesn’t take over and cloud the waters, sending up loads of false flags. it has had brutal side-effects, but that i couldn’t easily read the silent language of emotion correctly for a while is probably a happy accident that i will come to understand later. the resources aimed to further my intellectual capability i don’t believe are being wasted, either. the alignments gained from their attainment have just started, and are already awe-inspiring. writing lets me re-learn how to speak and use words without talking audibly. someone told me recently as an apology for her behavior that she has become feral since being on pandemic lockdown. that was such an apt description of how i have felt with this chronic condition, too. and we can’t be the only ones. especially if the root of our same feeling is so different.

perhaps the playing field has become a bit more level for us all. like the online groups i joined when i was first was struck with my MS diagnosis that pondered only thoughtless absurdities, everyone in general it seems has or is recalibrating what they choose to pay attention to. what is actually wanted has again become paramount to what we’re told we should want. we’re all learning to express that honesty again, like we initially were taught to as toddlers. how we do that is usually quite different these days, but the dust-ups are as humorous as we learn to laugh with each other at our missteps. there is still no map or legend, but that does not mean things are opposite. or that we should not be heard. but we always have the choice to be what we want, to embody more of what we want to see. that there is a responsibility that comes with that may feel new, but actually it isn’t. we just see the weight it carries more clearly now. wrapping our heads around this reality of onus may seem daunting, but it is ultimately freeing. especially compared to where we are at now.

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