Faraway Farallon Hitting Close to Home
I once read a book about the Farallon Islands. Sharp and jagged land, holding many mysteries. Sometimes my mind feels like a Farallon Island. Untamable and dangerous to explore. When I reach back into my memories, think to far into the past, I run the risk of getting sliced, scratched. The islands go through distinct seasons, as do I.
Shark Season. White sharks migrating through. There are some times where I feel confident, dangerous. Lurking through life knowing that I hold the power. The power to chose, the power to dance unafraid for I am the alpha of the water.
Seal Season. Elephant seals beached and breeding. There are some times where I feel content, I feel growth. Outstretched and happy, using my time wisely and trying new things. In this time I grow, my knowledge expands. I feel each steady wave and swell in the support of my heard. Healthy.
Whale Season. Humpback, blue and gray whales, some seen, some hidden. There are some times where I feel uneasy, off balance. I feel shadows passing through the water. They make me stomach shift and leap, but I can't quite get a glimpse of them. Massive issues, and feelings unfelt rolling beneath the surface.
Bird Season. Petrels, gulls, puffins and others, shuffling and nesting. There are some times that I feel anxious, somber. Anxious to settle, overwhelmed, barely grasping onto the shore. Heart fluttering, wings beating against me, beaks picking at me feet and hands. Scraping my arms, battering my ears with squawking. I burrow in my nest, pick at my wounds, and wait for the season to pass.
This book changed my perspective on a lot of things. Surprising to feel such clarity and connection while reading about animals on a small treacherous island. But, there is beauty in everything. I am the jagged land, but I am also the life it holds. The mystery, misery, birth, and death. Seasons.
My Brother’s Keeper
Named after a country singer, and a trouble maker from the start. Toddling around flushing stuffed animals down the toilet and spreading peanut butter on the walls. "It wasn't me mom." A child's lie, simple. Age pulled him forward, a beltline of drugs, girls, and bad influences passing in front of him. "No, that's not mine. No, I don't know her. No, I was just with the boys on Friday, no one else." A teenager's lie, nearly harmless. Then, a man, going through life sporadically. "Are you on pills?" "No, I'm fine, don't worry. Everything's okay." "Were you drunk driving?" "No, I'm fine, don't worry. Everything's okay." "Are you eating?" "Yes, I'm fine, don't worry. Everything's okay." "Are you okay buddy?" "Yes, I'm fine, don't worry. Everything's okay." Adult lies, scary. I love him. I try to swallow the lies. I try to love him enough that he'll tell me the truth. Please tell me the truth.
-Your little sister
Friends are a blessing. If you are lucky enough to have a best friend, or even a very good friend, please appreciate them. I have had a few friends in passing. I'd sit on the shelf of their friendships and beg to be picked. They'd blow me off or criticize me. I'd reassure myself that that's just how it went with "girls". Not supportive or thoughtful, just listening to their complaints and plans. As I've aged this has always been an insecurity of mine. I see other women with their large wedding parties, or catching up at a restaurant laughing freely. It haunts me a little now, being an adult in need of friends. Many people around me have a gaggle of friends from their childhood. The time when everyone is your classmate and nothing is embarrassing. So, what holds me back is this question. Is it me? I am the reason I don't have any friends? Is it what I say, how I act? There are a lot of things holding me back, including the fact that I work with no one my age and rarely come in contact with someone who could potentially be a friend. So I haven't closed the door, but I am trying to give myself some grace. Maybe someday the right person will come along.
Not a Very Lonely Loner
I do not mind being alone. I don't mind taking an afternoon to shop and grab myself lunch. I don't mind an evening alone to pamper myself with a manicure and a face mask. I enjoy these moments to myself, they remind me who I am.
This though, is different from being lonely. Whether I'm sitting in my car, or at a party full of people, sometimes I get lonely. It is not the lack of human presence, it is the lack of true human connection. It is the ache inside when you haven't seen your mother in a while. The burn in your heart when you miss your best friend. I've been there, it's the moment when you need someone to call, but you don't know anyone who would pick up. It is an equal numbing and panic in your gut. A desire to curl in a ball and not return, or scream until your voice goes hoarse.
I believe we were made to make strong human connections. It is the fuel that pushes us through each day. When your lover looks into your eyes and says, "You're the reason I get up in the morning." I'm there, in my bed each day, thinking of him. So, in those moments when our connections seem to falter or fade, we start to slip away, loneliness creeps in and makes us wonder what we're still doing here. Making us question if it's all still worth it.
July 17th, 2023
My Last One.
I spotted him quickly once I arrived. Eyes bloodshot and drooping, back slouched over the bowl of a toilet. The feigning, drowning, once king of rock and roll, was sitting helpless before me. He leaned back slowly, eyes meeting mine. I watched as they glassed over, all fear gone from his gaze. I slowly pulled off my dark hood and sank to the floor next to him.
Most people see the best moments of their life pass in front of them before they go. The drugs were helping him as well, to slip away seamlessly. "Mama," he mumbled, "I just miss Julie." He said quietly, with a small, somber smile. Tears burned down his cheeks. He looked up at me again with tender eyes, his rock and roll façade had faded away. In this moment I could see the young boy he once was. A kid with big dreams and a heavy heart.
I opened my arms to him, he slumped over in relief and folded into me. I felt as he breathed a long sigh, releasing years of sorrow. The man was covered in layers of dirt, sweat, and stage makeup. As I brushed away his falling tears he nuzzled into my chest like a child. This was the worst part. He sensed something, smiled up at me and said, "My Julia." His smile drifted, and I watched as the last fog of life passed through his eyes. They closed softly, then the last breath escaped his lungs. Before I knew it tears began to stream down my cheeks as well.
As I held him there on the floor like a small boy, I wept as I thought of all the souls I had swept up throughout the century. How many mothers I coddled in their final moments, listened as they cried out for their children, begging not to go. The elderly who climbed willingly into my arms, tired from life's long journey. The soldiers that wished for one last goodbye. Or the ones that trekked over calmly, tired and having accepted their fate days before. The babies and toddlers I needed to take, my sorrow consuming me. I watched them for as long as I could, watched the drool pour over their chin as they slept. Or watched as they clung to their favorite stuffed animal, looking so small in their hospital beds.
I wept for them. All of them. There is no judgement in death. I look down at the man in my arms. A filthy drug addict, that cheated on girlfriends, and stopped calling his mom. A man who questioned God, and wished for a father, who missed his sister, and loved his friends. I gently laid his body down, positioning him to look as peaceful as possible. I leaned down and kissed his cheek, trying my best to remember that feeling of stubble on my lips.
I rose, the lost singer's soul still clinging to my body. Now I'd take him away, leaving him in a waiting room of sorts, never to encounter him again. I took my time, appreciating and reminiscing all the gentle souls I've carried. My time as the Grim Reaper of life is finished. I will hang up my cloak and resume my existence with the others, indebted to the gods for giving me this generous opportunity to right my wrongs.
Awful, Anxious, Anxiety Monster
Ah, anxiety. My sometimes nemesis. When my anxiety is raging, what is my body telling me? A couple different feelings come to mind. First, would be a large something sitting on my chest. Pounds of weight pressing down on me, trapped. When I out, I usually feel like there is a tight band wrapped around my lungs over and over. Deep breaths feel far out of reach. Sometimes my body says it's cold. My hands shake, and my teeth chatter. Sometimes it feels like there is a hand around my stomach, or a spoon inside stirring it around, pushing bile into my throat. Or every once in a while, on those really bad days, I feel like it's all crashing in on me. My anxiety plays straight mind games, and tells me I'm going to die. Maybe this didn't sound good, or wasn't well written, but my anxiety told me not to tell anybody so I'm doing my best.
Softest Landing Pad
Floating through the day with a numb mind and drooping heart.
Not a thing in sight that could lift my spirits.
Roadblocks, ungrateful people, and dark clouds of sour feelings follow me.
Just when I think there is no hope for the day I see her.
My mother, sweet as honey, and inviting as a blanket in the cold
She wraps her gentle, enveloping arms around me.
The rest of the world simply melts away.
Nothing matters, not today, not tomorrow, not the sorrow I've been feeling.
Through her eyes, in her world, she sees things brightly.
And in that moment, as she holds me like a child, I see the world that way too.
Hopeful, cheery, kind and good.
This is how Jesus makes me feel.
Since I was a child, I have felt his presence.
Holding me in his arms, soothing my worries, and loving me through it all.