My life has undergone a vast myriad of changes over the last ten years but it is finding a way to come full-circle in a way I would never have dreamed of. Over the last ten years, I’ve gotten away from writing as much of the erotic, admittedly this is much to the dismay of my fans. Let me take some time to explain that and then bring you up to speed.
Why Did I Stop Writing Erotica?
The answer is really very simple. After menopause, I’m just not as interested. *shrug* I went through the night sweats and the lack of sleep. I was on sleeping pills and was simply exhausted all of the time.
Women in my own life had let me down a lot and whether it’s because of that, or just because I’m very happy on my own, I’m not interested in relationships anymore. Sexual intimacy is not important to me and my life is full of happiness found in living life. Who knows if things will change, but I don’t really anticipate it.
I found that my life was always full of drama when I had women chasing me or I was chasing women and ultimately, I decided that it wasn’t worth it at all. I’ve never been happier.
The Future Calls
I’ve been chasing a dream of off-grid living, learning to live self-sustainably, and building my writing career in more serious places. I’ve been doing a great deal of content for websites, blogs, and ebooks that have been ghost written for others.
I’m earning more money from writing than I have ever earned before and I’m living sparingly, but independently. My bills are paid — sometimes late due to the way freelance workers often are paid — but they are paid. I’m grateful for that.
As my career has done better, I invested in ten acres of property in Maine. As this current administration has gotten more and more out of hand, I’ve wanted to be where I could have one foot out of the country as quickly as I wanted. My land is 2.47 miles from the border crossing station into Canada.
The property has a pond, a well, septic, and an old foundation from a barn and house that are no longer there. The possibilities are truly endless and I’m simply biding my time until early next summer, when I intend to take off for there.
The best part of all is that my best friend from my twenties is back in my life. He recently beat cancer and he’s determined to live some adventures, so he’s coming with me. We have two campers – each approximately 40 feet long, a propane powered generator that can produce enough power for both of us. I have solar panels and intend to add more so that the generator will only be for emergencies.
We aren’t sure how we’ll need to get the well functional, but hoping it won’t be an enormous problem that takes more than $1500-$2000 to get functional. We intend to enclose the campers and add-on rooms to them, with wood stoves for the primary source of heat, because of the condensation that propane heat can cause. The propane will be back-up heat and hot water heat, cooking, and run our refrigerators, which will allow the solar to run everything else in the campers.
Maine has very mild summers – thank God. I lived through 112-degree days this past summer without air conditioning until I finally broke down and bought a gasoline generator to run an air unit.
My plan is to build rocket thermal mass stoves and run the stove pipe around the add-in rooms, and then all the way under the campers to keep the floors warm in winter. They are arctic package campers so this is just insurance.
We plan on skirting the campers with hay, then wrapping that in chicken wire, and stucco over that. It will seal the bales to keep rodents out and prevent mold and mildew. They’ll need to be on a rock trench with vapor barrier between that and them.
In the summer, we plan to grow our own food and can it. We plan on stocking the pond with fish that can be harvested for our own use and possibly selling to any local folks who want some. It will also make for a fun place to toss a line in the water.
I plan on having goats, chickens, and rabbits. They will all provide food, milk, butter, soap, and/or money. Jake wants to raise a cow to have butchered and I’m fine with that but suggested that we do at least two, so that the second one can be sold to pay for raising the first one.
My goal is to purchase a van over the next few months to make it easier to move with three dogs and three cats. Jake will handle getting the campers onsite. He’s already closer to the property so it makes sense for him to do that.
I intend to work as I travel. I’ll be writing some travel pieces on locations I visit. Incidentally, I just had an article accepted for publication to a travel magazine and positively I’m stoked over it!
I don’t focus on LGBTQ issues because it just isn’t all of who I am. I wanted to focus on more serious work, opposed to erotica which certainly wasn’t going to be held next to Thoreau’s work, or find its way into any libraries across America. I’d like to write something that will be in a library, read many years beyond my death. That’s a goal that I am working toward.
Once I’m moved and settled in Maine, I intend to enjoy life and do some writing for the joy of writing and not for the sake of meeting deadlines and a paycheck. I am 52 and when I was 16 I told my mother that I intended to retire by 50. Never being very supportive as a general rule, she retorted, “Everyone says that, honey.” Well, I didn’t make it at 50, but I think I’m going to make it by 55. That’s the goal.
I blog at a site called Vocal more frequently than I do here. At Vocal, you may leave a tip if you like a story and I get paid per view. I have had over a quarter of a million reads here and yet I’ve accrued just $97 which they will not pay out to me until I hit $100. It’s been aggravating to me that they earn as much as they do from ads and I gain next to nothing, so I took my blogging to places that were more fair to the writer. Join me there.
My other blog is simply done under my legal name and I have also become far more comfortable being that person. I’m quite happily controlling my blood sugar, marching as a resistor, and living in my little cabin with my dogs and cats. The coffee is hot, the food is good, and life is great.
Unlike most people, I’m not interested in making resolutions at the beginning of a new year. I believe that we should always strive to be better and practice self-reflection. Humans have adapted to this behavior of acting out and then asking for forgiveness. People have truly forgotten how to live in the moment. No resolutions for me, only living in the moments as they present themselves.
Part of learning to live in the moment is believing that you are where you are always supposed to be. Sometimes that is a hard thing to do, especially when nothing is going right, and the world seems to be conspiring against you. Try thinking about it differently. Think that the world is conspiring to move you.
In fact, when life keeps trying to move you and you don’t listen, the lessons you are being taught get harsher until you do listen. If you never learn anything else, learn this.
When it is time for you to move toward something else, the universe conspires to do everything it can to push you along on your journey. We get stuck sometimes. Some of us spend most of our lives stuck. Don’t be stuck in anything. Be willing to change. Change is an important part of life because along with change comes learning.
Some people refer to this as the ability to adapt. Science calls it survival of the fittest’ and it doesn’t always mean physical fitness. Mental fitness is likely to be more important. My father always said, “If you work smart, you never have to work hard.” I wish I knew where he had originally heard the expression because it has stuck with me for my entire life. I’d like to thank the person that he learned it from because it has served me very well.
I’m making a few changes in this upcoming year. As you know, I’m a wanderer.
I’ve been waiting to announce plans that will blow you away. I’m moving to Alaska! Yes, Alaska. You read that correctly.
I have a friend that I’ve known since just before a couple of years before my father died. Jake is a great guy and we used to hang out all the time, doing what 26-year-olds do; not much really, but having fun doing it. We had a lot of fun. He was there for me when my foot was crushed working at K-mart distribution in Ocala, FL. K-mart denied the entire incident, by the way, because my supervisor, Ed, failed to type a written report when I went to tell him about it the accident. I finished my shift, but I developed a horrible limp which turned out to be the tendon being torn from the bottom of my foot.
I walked with a crutch for quite a long time and it was years before my foot felt normal. Jake was the one who showed-up at my door with a couple of bags of groceries for me, knowing that I was struggling without me every even telling him I had little to nothing in the house. He was just always that guy. He’s also gay, but the sort of gay man that most of society never guesses at a glance because he’s big and rugged looking. He looks like Garth Brooks’ younger brother.
He and I lost track of each other through the early 2000s, but I eventually tracked him down again and we have kept in touch through phone calls and text messages. A year ago, he had cancer and went through treatment. He had part of his liver removed and he also lost part of a lung. He’s come through it okay so far but cancer changes people. Life changes people too.
He contacted me and poured his heart out. He’s sick of the rat race, the political crap, the hate crimes, the hatred and anger in the world. He has a void inside him that he wants to fill with something. He’s soul searching like we all do. I feel it too. Each word that poured out of him, I could relate to. Not wanting to date anyone anymore or really want to be with anyone at all, not really caring about partying, pleasing people or compromising what I want for what others want and see as normal.
His words sank in and I felt them more than I heard them. I felt my soul stirring. I wanted away from it all too. There’s a certain peacefulness that washes over you when you decide that you aren’t going to buy into the rat race.
It’s the same as realizing that when you stop interacting with a narcissist and feeding their desire to get in your head for attention that you are happy without them. When they move your stuff, throw your things in the trash, get loud, and demand your attention, ignoring them and going ghost is what makes them the most crazy and gives you the most peace.
I digress. We had a few conversations like this and suddenly one day he asked me if I’d go to Alaska with him. He wants to live more in tune with nature and less with civilization. He wants to hunt and fish and just ‘be’ and I can so relate to that. He also wants to be alone most of the time but understands the sense of security in having people around that you can trust. I said yes.
I had always harbored a desire to see Alaska and we all know here that I don’t just go visit anywhere, I move there. I live there and get to know the place, the people, the places and experiences that are there for me to have. That’s been my life heretofore, but I sense that this move is different. Jake is planning on three of us going but all having our own tiny little cabins and our own 5 acres. That will allow us to have safety and security, while still being on our own.
He is selling his house for the money, and since it was basically a flip house when he bought it, he should be able to sell it quickly and make a handsome profit. That money is buying our 15+ acres and tiny houses. He wants to buy my retirement home, and he’ll deed it to me so that if anything happens to him, it will always be mine.
We’ve discussed whether to be off-grid or not. We don’t really want to be totally off the grid. We’d like to at least have electricity and cell phone service. Outhouses or composting toilets are probably going to be necessary and running water is still being discussed. A well seems necessary, so we’ll see how that shakes out. I’m not opposed to roughing it a little because that just means getting back to basics.
A long time ago, when I took the name Jesse MacGregor-Jones, it was to honor my Celtic roots. My last name came from MacGregor. Jones was my mother’s maiden name, which is Welsh. Jesse is a different spelling of my paternal grandmother, Jessie VanFossen Greer. The name was meant to honor my people because one of the basic tenets of Celtic life and druidism is to always ‘honor those from whom you came’ and I try to do that all the time.
I was born from a long, long line of barbarians, historically speaking. Druidism was the way of life in ancient times and the more I learn about it, the more I relate to it Druids are the people you see depicted on shows like Britannia. Druids were in tune with nature, the moon and the seasons. Druids understood the stars, they were the healers who learned to harness the power of the plant world. Druids kept animals and claimed to hear them speak. Druids were the scholars, the poets, the lawyers of their time. People sought the wisdom of the druids because they were the keepers of knowledge. They were never concerned with wealth or pretenses, only with harmony and they things that would bring them the most peaceful existence.
I identify with much of druid belief and way of life. I also honor animals of all types. I believe that the earth should be honored and taken care of. I feel joy in the changes of season and the boundaries between worlds feel like they are simply portals that we pass through. Magic seems like a good thing to believe in at a time when hope is all we have sometimes. I choose to believe that magic can happen. Druidism isn’t a religion, it’s a way of living your life. I like that, because I’m not religious – at all.
It’s obvious that I’ve undergone a lot of changes since the time I first started this blog. I’m more in tune and self-aware. I feel less of a need to seek happiness and I’m happier with myself. I’m content in many ways. I don’t feel any intense pressure or pain; my emotions are pretty level and my health is good.
I think a lot of my past issues with anger and emotional highs and lows was because my blood sugar was drastically out of control. For over a year now, I’ve been on Trulicity. My sugar was normal at my last A1C check. I’ve not had a normal A1C since 2003 or so. The difference in the way I feel is totally amazing. I’m far less irritable and I’ve also worked hard on meditation and learning to be in tune and aware of my feelings. I’m not perfect. No one is perfect, but I have learned to walk away and not engage in an argument. If something doesn’t serve me in some way, or if it causes me anything other than peace and happiness, I leave it alone.
Just as I have undergone changes, my writing has changed. I know that it may come as a sad realization to some of my fans, but I have no desire to write any of the erotica that I used to write. I’m too detached from that part of self now. I simply have no interest in it. Be it a hormonal change (I’m fifty and beyond menopause) or be it an emotional change due to how I view my place in this world, I’m different and I want to write things that are more substantial. I want to write impactful things.
With that, I’ve been authoring articles again and earning more than I ever have before. I’m doing surprisingly well, in fact. I’m also working on a new book. A fictional novel that is more of a fantasy book with a flavor of sorcery and witchcraft. I’ve never undertaken something like this before but I’m enjoying my research so far and the bit that I’ve written.
I am very hopeful to finish this book while staring out a cabin window, somewhere on the Kenai Peninsula. Cold weather really doesn’t bother me and I’m completely willing to take allergy pills, so I can handle a wood burning fire all winter. I’ll enjoy not being on the internet as much and enjoying the outdoors in-between writing articles. I’m looking forward to breathing fresher air, maybe doing some whale watching, and fishing. I’m anxious to see my totem animal. My totem is the salmon.
Yes, I was initially dumbfounded when the salmon found its way into my meditation over a year ago. I asked why I had been given a ‘fish’ instead of something cool like a wolf. I’m convinced that people who constantly refer to wolves as their totem animals are just picking that randomly because the wolf seems like a cool animal. I wanted my totem to speak to me. It did, and I never questioned it, no matter how unimpressed I was with it.
Several months later, I had a dog training client who was Irish. She told me about the ancient Celtic tale of Finn McCool and the Salmon of Knowledge. I read the story, after I easily searched it up on Google. I was totally stunned. First, Finn is mentioned in his Gaelic name, Fionn mac Cumhaill, in the readings I had done in tracing my family tree. He’s spoken of as if he were a member of the family. The lines of truth and myth were often blurred in Celtic lore.
I realized that I have a personal connect with the Salmon of Knowledge and it moved me and tickled my soul. I’ve been awakening. These stories, coincidences and happenings are awakening me. I’m following my destiny, whatever it may be. For now, my novel is taking shape and perhaps it will be a sensation? I don’t know. Perhaps it will change a life or two, which is equally successful in my mind. Maybe I will simply have fun while writing it?
While in Alaska, I also hope to do some photography. Early in life, from age 15 to 20, I took a two-year course to be certified as a graphic artist, with my focus primarily in photography. I was apprenticed to a photographer in my junior year of high school. I have some publications that I can submit nature and outdoor articles to, with photos. I am hopeful of getting published in a few of these.
That’s it, guys! I’m moving to Alaska. I’m going to live in a tiny cabin with my two dogs (and probably will get a larger husky or malamute to keeps us safer). I will have a home that is paid for, without a mortgage. I will be able to put my roots down in a way that serves me, in a place of MY choosing. I’m not running from anyone or to anyone. I’m deciding for self and it feels fucking fantastic!
So here is to a new year, a season of change and a life ahead of me to be lived. I wish you all the success and happiness that you desire this new year. I hope that you will find what profoundly moves you to be the person you are meant to be. I hope that you find love, not ust romantic love but a love of life and of self. Love is the answer.
The druids lived by three basic tenets: Wisdom, Creativity, and Love.
Just Another Way for Nationalists at to Further Divide?
The word ‘happy’ comes from the word “hap,” which means “luck, or chance, and may imply good fortune. Some of you may have heard the term happenstance? Happenstance synonyms are words and phrases such as, “chance, serendipity, fate, fortuity, fortune, a piece of good fortune, a bit of luck.”
Happy doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
Happy Christmas is the terminology most frequently used in Europe and was the original way Americans welcomed the holiday.
“Merry” comes from frequent usage during the 18th and 19th centuries, respectively. The term was often used as a term for having fun and was a way of displaying the emotion of happiness. Therefore, the two words became very interchangeable in most cultures who ever used the word “merry” for anything. Over time, happy took on the more emotional connotation, while merry became the word for expressing that happy feeling. “Merriment” was the word that referred to the making of merry, which in today’s slang might be referred to as a “party” or as “partying” with younger people.
Standing on Traditions
For those who enjoy fussing about traditions and the terms that are most proper, they should learn a bit about the history of linguistics and look outside of themselves more. The words that you yourself grew up using, are not necessarily ‘proper’ or even ‘traditional’ terms, even in your own country. Just as you may have learned Merry Christmas from the traditional Anglo-Saxon upbringing that came from migrating to the United States several generations ago someone else learned traditional words from their own grandparents who were Dutch. Words also begin to change over time.
The United States of America has become a melting pot of different traditions over the nearly 250 years since its colonization. I will not use the term ‘discovery’ because that is also simply a point of view. Natives who already called this place home never discovered it. If I take a wrong turn on the way to Cleveland, OH and end-up in Louisville, KY, I didn’t discover Louisville. The people who already live there may take some issue with that!
I digress. The song Happy Christmas was released in 1971 as a protest song about the Vietnam War. It was a hit, recorded by John Lennon, with Yoko Ono, and the Harlem Community Choir, based in the United States. John was a famous singer/songwriter who originated from England and grew to fame in the band The Beatles. John was shot and killed in New York City, which had made his home. Mark David Chapman shot JohnLennon in the back, four times, killing him. He was pronounced dead on December 8, 1980. The reason given for shooting John, Chapman had become a born again Christian and found Lennon‘s off-the-cuff statement, “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus” to be offensive. Perhaps if more people did feel that way, the world would be so different today? John preached love.
The song opens with the words, “Happy Christmas” being said to each of the couple’s children from previous marriages. In 1980, immediately following John’s death, the song again rose up the charts and peaked at the #3 spot on Billboard. It has become a Christmas tradition to younger generations. Many living today have grown up with this song , having been a song that was released in the birth of the 1970s and still popular today. This could be behind “Happy” coming back to Christmas?
Why Does It Matter So Much to People HOW You Wish Them Christmas?
The people most often irritated by this issue are those who are most unwavering in their own beliefs, however little facts they use to substantiate their claims. It’s about how it makes them feel. In other words, your feelings don’t matter, only the way in which they perceive Christmas to be is acceptable. These same people are quick to claim disrespect when they respect very little, at the expense of others.
These are the same people who refer to our country as America, never realizing that America is made up of two regions that form a CONTINENT, comprised of North America and South America. We are The United States (of America –you, know … because we are on the North American continent, as are Mexico and Canada).
When these people say things like, “This is how we do things in America!” They are being so haute and boisterous as to claim that every single country located on the continent made up of North and South America also do things that way. Mexicans and Canadians are also Americans in the most technical of terms, the same way in which Germans are Europeans. (It really isn’t rocket science!)
These people really should wake up and realize that the world does not revolve around this country. By now, you would think that we humans would have lost our centrist views. We now know that we are not alone in the world, nor are we probably alone in the universe.
We, as a country, have behaved like toddlers long enough. Now that we have a president who behaves the same way, some of us are realizing how awful we look, and we’d like our country to grow up now, so that we can sit at the grown-up table with the rest of the world. This presidency has been an awful look in the mirror at the worst side of ourselves.
Some of you are spewing , “I will not acknowledge someone who says ‘Happy Christmas’ to me and I will only say ‘Merry Christmas back to them because that is how it is done in America!” I hope that you can one day come to realize how ridiculous, childish, self-centered, poorly educated and hateful you portray yourselves to be. Grow up. Join the rest of in this thing called humanity.
If Someone Wishes You Anything Other Than Merry Christmas What Should You Do?
I’m not the most approachable person in the world sometimes, due to my ADD, my spectrum issues that make me pull back from people, with my auditory processing disorder, and my general need for space, so for what it is worth:
When someone looks at me and says, “Happy Christmas!” I look them right back in the eye and I say ….
When someone walks past me and says, “Happy Holidays” I smile and say…
“Thanks! YOU TOO!!”
When someone at the grocery store tells me that they are Jewish and do
not celebrate Christmas,
I smile at them and I say…
“Have a wonderful and Happy Hanukah!”
I’m a human being, just like them. We are all from the human race. We all bleed, we all have hopes, dreams, fears, and we all cry from pain and grief. If someone takes the time out of their day to wish me something meant in merriment, expressed in good cheer, I am going to receive that gift from my fellow human being with gratitude and love, because the world needs more of that. The United States especiallyneeds more of that right now.
I remember the years after Ronald Reagan very well. My parents were still alive, I was young, and times were different. Times were very different then. There wasn’t access to the news at the spur of the moment because smart phones had not been invented. If you wanted to read the news, you went out and got a newspaper. You put your quarter in the machine on the corner and walked back home, past the telephone booth. In my neighborhood, you waved at the local hooker and gave a head nod to the guy across the street who you knew was selling drugs out of his house. You kept your head down and you stayed out of trouble.
The Early Nineties
The year was 1991 and I had just moved to St Pete, FL. I was working as a waitress in a place that still required me to wear a dress and pantyhose each day. I walked to work or rode a bicycle. I had a car and it was broken down more than it ran. It stayed parked most of the time. It was a brand new Dodge and to this day I won’t own another one.
I had moved to the coast because my parents lived in Ocala. I had not been very wild about the fact that they sold their house and followed me to FL in 1987. I considered it my mother’s final attempt at ruining my life and continuing her efforts at manipulating everything she could. Of course, she wasn’t all bad. As an adult now, I can admit this. At that time, however, I had just come out as gay and she and I were not getting along at all.
The AIDS crisis was in full swing. Being a young lesbian, I was aware of it and was fearful of contracting it myself. Even though it predominantly was an issue that affected gay men, women were not totally safe. I read “And the Band Played On” from cover to cover and was somewhat horrified. It would be many years before that made it to the big screen. Gay people knew. We were living in it, neck deep.
The Real Reagan Legacy
Ronald Reagan didn’t acknowledge the epidemic for what it was. It was never funded. It was, to be blunt, completely ignored. Gay men were dying at astronomical numbers. These deaths were long and painful. Most of the people I personally knew who died passed away from breathing complications – typically pneumonia. I remember one friend the most. His name was Christopher Gomez. Chris was a wonderful person. There were times that he’d see me walking home after work, or on the way to work. He would do a big U-turn in the middle of crazy 4th Street North, stopping traffic in the process, in order to pull-over and yell, “Get in, I’ll drive you!”
He was a nice person. He had dark hair, brown eyes, a pale complexion, and he was short. Chris probably didn’t stand over five feet, six inches tall. He worked as a waiter and he made good money. Like most of us in those days, he spent more on beer and having fun than anything else. We lived in neighborhoods that were seemingly small in the middle of a large city.
I had several friends, a different life back then than the one I live now. I was more social and could more easily deal with loudness and chaotic situations. As I’ve grown older, my spectrum disorder has become increasingly a challenge. I don’t react well to intrusions into my quiet time, I do not socialize outside of the home much because the recovery time for me is lengthier than it used to be. I get grumpy if I feel intruded upon too much. It unnerves me. I do look back on those times fondly, in part because I was able to be social. People don’t realize that those on the spectrum want to be social. We just cannot be social all the time.
George Herbert Walker Bush was our president in 1991. I do not remember ever hating him back then. I disliked his policies and I disliked the fact that we were at war in Iraq. The Middle East has never seemed like a place for American soldiers, in my opinion. Those people don’t like each other, and I don’t think they ever will. Why we have to get in the middle of it all the time is truly beyond me. I am 28 years older now than I was then, and I still don’t understand our constant involvement in the Middle East. It seems a never-ending circle of death for American soldiers to me.
Times Were Hard
My mind still goes back to a time when I held the hands of dying friends, like Christopher, with tears in their eyes, knowing there was absolutely nothing that could be done. Watching someone die, resigned to their fate, is a very difficult thing to when that person hasn’t led a full life. You mourn the years that should have been.You wonder whose lives they should have touched, the loves they should have had. . .
What was extremely troubling, and has haunted the legacy of President GHW Bush, was his continuation of the Reagan administration’s neglect of the AIDS crisis. So many in the LGBTQ community hold them personally responsible for the deaths of countless people in our community. As recently as a year ago I was accused of being a single-issue voter, which I’m not and never have been. The accusation was because of my concern over gay rights issues. That just happens to be a life or death thing for me! As is healthcare. As is social security being there when I am 67 years old one day. As is the housing crisis. As is gerrymandering and voting problems, lobbying, term limits, and a nauseating list I don’t want to focus on at this moment.
I digress. The AIDS crisis is still held against the senior Bush. I have recently seen many people bring this up the last two days. I’ve seen some very hateful things said and shared on social media. I’d be a liar if I said that it didn’t make me sad because it makes me weep for the society we have become. We are just very hateful now!
Human beings are imperfect. Our special qualities have always been in our ability to forgive, to love, and to understand that none of us is perfect. We all struggle with our demons and we all make mistakes. Some of us make bigger mistakes than others. What I base my judgements of people on is whether or not they intended to harm others. I also look at whether or not the individual has done anything to redeem themselves.
Should Four Years Determine Your Legacy?
The patriarch of the Bush family has left behind a legacy of charity work that most of us will never achieve. George HW Bush worked in every way he could to do bipartisan work with Bill Clinton, to bring humanitarian aid to others. He supported and founded the Bush Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund. He also supported the following charities: Covenant House, FC Harlem, Heifer International, Save the Children, Smile Train, United Nations Development Program, and the Vijay Amritraj Foundation.
President Bush was a man who could reach across aisles and do what he thought was best for the country. He lied about his age so that he could fight for his country. He is guilty of imperfection. Aren’t we all? Has he fully made up for the lives lost to AIDS? I’m not sure that he could ever have done that. Is it so hard to believe that in the early days of AIDS many people made bad decisions? They did. It caused a loss of life greater than what it probably should have been. Is the man responsible or was it the era that we lived in? We have learned more and we have moved on. Have we not?
I can tell you that Christopher would say that ‘the guy did a lot of great things the rest of his life. He made his peace with his own God.’ Forgiveness is the only way forward. Today, I’m making the choice to forgive him and move on. While we shouldn’t use our current administration to normalize anything, I do believe that it certainly must be a basis for clarity.
We can say a lot of good things about the senior Bush. We can say that he was a man who made mistakes but tried to do much that was right with is life. We can say that he was a sensitive man, a family man who loved his children and his grandchildren. He was one of the last truly moderate Republicans who could listen and work with democrats. He was from an era that wasn’t all that bad, even though it wasn’t totally good.
The older I get, the more I want peace. I have learned to pick and choose my battles and I’ve learned when to forgive. This is a case that I will choose the latter and show my respect to a man who gave most of his life in service to his country. An honorable member of the armed forces, he never shirked his duties. He knew what decorum meant. Even in death, there is a calm, quiet dignity that we are not accustomed to anymore. I can welcome this return to tradition and values today, with my hand over my heart.
It has been a wild ride, these last 50+ years. This winter, the shoulder pain has been tougher than ever. CBD oil helps immensely though!. If you’ve not tried it, I highly recommend it. The oil helps my ADD and pain. I also recommend turmeric with curcumin. That stuff is an amazing natural anti-inflammatory and scientists agree that it has benefits and warrants more research. It works wonders for arthritis and joint pains from injury. Aches and pains are just there to remind us of the fun we’ve had I suppose, but growing old really does get old some days!
It’s good to be back here in a space I have always held so near to my heart. Butch Ramblings was my healing journey and my happiness. Ramblings was my home for a long time. I blogged my way through isolation, heartache, stupidity, growing pains and more. Someone once said to me that it was’ time I settled down and put down roots somewhere.’ That life isn’t meant for everyone. It isn’t meant for me. I’m an adventurer.
Don’t let people tell you what to do. You do what is best for yourself and you’ll always be fine. Trust me on that. These are my roots right here. This is my legacy. This website will be around long after I am gone. Hopefully that won’t be for a little while yet. On the other hand, if it happens tomorrow, I’m prepared. I’ve lived a good life and I’ve come to terms with most of the lessons I have learned along this path. I’ve had ups and I have had downs.
I’ve had many sleepless nights. I’ve had other nights where I have slept like a log. I have awakened with clarity over things I had been worried about. I’ve ruminated over a decision for far too long. I have still made the wrong choice. In fact, I’ve made a lot of bad choices. I’ve also made some pretty damned great choices. The universe is awesome that way because there is balance in everything we do. The wisdom that we receive, once we are open to it, is pretty amazing.
I have heard people whine about losing their trust of others. I’ve seen people place blame on everyone else in their life for all the messed up shit they have been neck deep in for years. At some point you have to take responsibility for yourself and realize that you’ve been an asshole to everyone around you and that’s why nobody sticks around. At some point you choose to trust or not to. You either get tired of living a life that is an empty shell or you get down in it and get dirty. Bathe in the mud!
I’m a mud bather. I admit it. If shit gets deep, I’ll swim out into it a little further just to see how deep it will get. I figure once I have some mud on my boots I may as well get really dirty. I take chances on people. I walk away from people fast too. Things that will get me to walk away fast are people who become passive aggressive. People who don’t know when to shut up or respect my space drive me cuckoo too. People who, in every single conversation, relive the past and place blame on other people constantly. That gets old really, really fast. At some point, stop being a victim in your own novel. Choose to be the hero.
That’s all of my deep thoughts for now. I’ll move on to reality. I am living with a friend who is letting me use her place as a staging area before I make a big move that I’m not quite ready to talk about yet. While here, I’m trying to help her as much as possible. She’s getting older and her house has been falling into disarray for the last few years. She broke her back and has had difficulty with mundane tasks. My goal is to do some work, help her put into place some things/processes that will make it easier for her to function, and make sure that she has what she needs to survive. Right now we are in the middle of showering her with Christmas gifts, thanks to so many Facebook friends! I’m so blessed to have really good, caring individuals that I’ve met there and I choose to keep them around in my life! Such GOOD we get accomplished as a tribe! Love and kindness really do go a long way in keeping people in your life.
I have plans to do some wildlife photography soon, while I still can. I’m writing again, while I still can. Last year I was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. In other words, the capillaries in the backs of my eyes have been bleeding. It clouds the vision over time. It has slowed drastically with my blood sugar more under control but the odds of me going blind in time are very high. My eyesight is not what it used to be and I have issues already. I miss little typos here and there. The doctors at the Kittner Eye Institue in Chapel Hill, NC, also noticed that I have a cataract on my left eye. It isn’t really operable and it is from scar tissue, likely from blunt force trauma. Apparently, according to them, I’ve had it my whole life since infancy. It is very old and that explains a lot about my sensitivity to light. Lasting effects from childhood abuse I presume but don’t really know for sure. At any rate, my vision is an issue but I don’t intend to let it stop me. When the time comes, I’ll see about voice recognition software and dictate.
I’ve been playing guitar again over this last year. I promised myself that I’d do something for myself, personally enriching, for my 50th year on the planet. I’m having the time of my life with it. I used to noodle around with some chords a long time ago. I’ve picked guitars up and put them down a dozen times over the years. I never really got enthusiastically involved in practice and learning because I never really knew exactly where to start. Fender Play got me down the right path. Technology is so advanced these days that there are lessons online everywhere and I’m really absorbing them. I love it! Best thing I’ve ever done was to pick it up again.
I have plans to begin submitting articles, with wildlife and outdoor themes, to some magazines in the outdoor genre. I have lost a lot of weight in the last year and gained a little winter weight back but I’m on an indoor bike trainer that I was able to plop my Fuji mountain bike on so I am hoping to get that weight right back off plus some more. My mental state is free and easy these days. I’m not running from anything or to anything. I just AM. It’s a great place to be! I’m living life for me. I spread a little joy here and there and just work on being the best me that I can be. If everyone else did that, the world would be such a better place! Don’t you all agree?
I feel like an old book, bound in leather of the highest quality that has become soft and worn over the last 45 years. I’ve seen so very much and I’ve traveled all around, from person to person. I’ve been touched by those who are puzzled and confused by me and perhaps even more so after browsing my chapters. Some have closed my cover shut without even taking much of a look. Their loss. A few came along and read a chapter or two and then just put me down. What a shame that they didn’t take the time to read my entire story, feel the things I’ve felt and let their eyes see the things which I have seen.
When it comes to the chapters entitled “Love” my pages are nearly blank. Some of the words have faded and become hard to read, though they are still there to see. Like a work from Shakespeare, it has been mostly written as tragedy. None of that matters much though, as I’ve come to learn. Life is about how much we love ourselves and learn to do what is right and true. These are lessons that I guess I just always knew…but perhaps my soul had forgotten? Sometimes I feel lonely and I wish for someone to hold my hand and snuggle with at night. I know she’s out there somewhere and I just need to keep turning the pages until she is written into my story.
After “Love” comes an entire chapter on “Forgiveness” and I’ve found that it is the key. I’ve re-read every word in this chapter over and over and sometimes I still forget things, so I read them again. Practice makes perfect. Holding on to anger only hurts me. I am learning to forgive and move on. I’ve spent the last few months turning pages and starting a new chapter.
I’m about to embark on a new journey and I am closing another chapter of my life. Just as I have always brought you all along, I will do so again. I have been presented with an AMAZING opportunity and it literally fell into my lap through a connection I had made over the past year or so. I’ve been asked to come to California and be a foreman of a small ranch. There will be rescued mustangs to take care of and rehabilitate. There will be rescued dogs in a kennel to take care of and do some training and socializing. I have been told that I’ll be in charge of most everything that pertains to the property, including doing some planting of small-scale crops, fruit trees and so forth.
I cannot tell you how excited I am about this opportunity because it will give me the ability to help others a little more now. I will also not be living in my RV. I’ll have an apartment on the property that will become my home and I truly don’t take that for granted. I have not lived in a “home” with actual electricity and running water in almost three years. I’m grateful and so ready to get this new adventure started. The “boss” knows that I write and told me that I’ll have the use of a vehicle and that I’m more than welcome to venture into the city and work on my book connections and do signings. I won’t be too far from San Francisco and Oakland, so I hope to get there and meet and greet some of you who are around.
The old RV will stay parked here, in Illinois and I plan on coming back every 12-18 months to see Mike, Sheila and the kids, as well as all my other friends from childhood that still live here. I’ve kept a low profile this time because I’m really coming off a couple of tough years and I honestly needed some alone time to put the pieces of me back together again. I apologize to some of you that I didn’t get a chance to see or didn’t stop on the way by. Please, don’t take it personally. When I say that I’ve become reclusive it is an understatement. I’m slowly coming back out of my shell. I just don’t work like everyone else and I need time alone to heal. I’m getting there. Thanks for understanding. I even took almost five weeks away from blogging or doing any writing at all, just so I could get quiet in my head and think.
I want to thank my friend Sheila for making this a grand summer. I’ve helped Mike with his cows a little, helped pick some corn here and there, gone camping for 11 days with her and the four kids, been hiking, shopping and got a LOT of work done around here! It’s been very memorable and meaningful to me. I know who my family truly is.
Speaking of family…I did reconnect with an aunt and uncle. Only living relatives I’ve spoken to in about 15 years, so that is good. Hopefully, I’ll have dinner with them before I blow town. To all of you, thanks for indulging me, thanks for your input, your emails and comments and for being the catalyst that helps me to keep going. I truly appreciate every single one of you who read my blogs, buy my books and follow me on Facebook.
Original Art by Julia Miller Title of piece, “Winter Love” Clicking image takes you to her page.
Three years ago, we met online; introduced by a mutual friend. You were married and I didn’t talk to you with any intention of being anything more than just your friend. We hit it right off and talked and talked. You, being much younger than me, often made references to things I didn’t understand and I’d have to ask you to explain. Conversely, you’d chide me for using a ‘big word’ and I’d chuckle at you. There’s something about you that is whimsical, silly and so very adorable that it’s hard not to be taken in. You are a delightful person; somehow innocent and yet so exposed to some of the worst parts of life. You started to make my heart smile.
We saw each other several times over that summer. You came to my house first. We watched a movie, had pizza and just talked. You would later inform me that you were extremely confused and went home to tell your sister that, “she didn’t even try to touch me.” That’s true. I was still thinking things over. By the time I had thought it over and decided how I felt, I was already neck deep. I found myself checking in on you, trying to make sure you knew that I was there and I would be your out. A few times, I came to your rescue… like the night you cried on my shoulder and confessed your secrets to. Then there was the time you called me in the middle of the night and I jumped up and came to your rescue. You were scared and I was the only one you could turn to. You slept on top of me that night, on the sofa. You refused to move, to sleep in the bed or let me move – you clung to me with white fingers. I just held you.
It was still a few weeks before I would get the nerve to kiss you. It wasn’t that I was afraid of you. I was afraid of me. I was afraid of the way it felt and all the mess it meant. You still were married and you weren’t leaving. One day you were, the next day you weren’t. I didn’t understand everything and I surely didn’t know just how bad things were. I’m sorry. I walked away and you would later tell me, “you just walked away….and things got much worse for me after you left.”
Two years later you found me. I had changed my name, moved five states away and was going through my own hell at the time… and you found me. You told me, “I never really let you go … but you left. You ran. Not just to another city. You went half the country away. What’s up with that?” All I could do was laugh. You may be young, but you are wise and when you are right – you’re right. I’ll hand that one to you.
So we talked and talked. I made plans to come back and see you. After I got back, you dropped the bombshell on me that your ex was still involved in your life and that you couldn’t get away to see me. You didn’t want to rock the boat, cause troubles, risk more of the same abuse, etc. I admit that I finally blew my cool. I admit that I didn’t have much patience and that I take some of the things you’ve done too personally. Standing outside of it, I know that it was less about me and more about you and what you had to do. I won’t change my statement to you that it “just hurt” and it really did. I walked again. I would have been here if you needed me, but you never needed anyone. Stubborn. I know…pot calling the kettle black.
A few months passed this time. You contacted me to see if I’d calmed down any. I blew my stack. Yeah…no…not calmed down yet. You backed away again. You didn’t wait months this time. A few weeks passed and you reached out once more and asked if I was ready to talk. You said that you thought we could talk and work this all out. I was still angry. One of my best friends finally said to me, “You know…she keeps trying. She must really care about you? It really is very easy to take things out of context when you are strictly texting and emailing…and that’s all you guys could do at the time. Maybe you should give her the benefit of the doubt? I mean…she isn’t waiting two years this time?”
What could I say to that? It was true. I’ve thought about things a lot. I’ve had about five months to think about this. Sometimes we just have to make a decision. I’ve spent most of my life sitting on a fence post, observing both sides of the fence and never committing to anything fully. Oh…I’ve told you that I loved you…but there is so much more to it. So what do you want to hear?
Maybe I should tell you that for all my talk about going here and going there, it would only take one word from you to change all my plans – “stay.”
Maybe I should tell you that for all the times I’ve told anyone I loved them, I never stuck around for anybody. Ask any of them…they’ll all tell you that I left and I didn’t come back. You’re the only one who got that from me. I came back for you. I’ve been waiting for you to choose me. Do you need to hear me ask? Can we ever get past first base?
Should I tell you that every dream you ever told me about made me want to be right there with you? Do you need me to tell you that you move me to tears over and over because I feel you on a level that I don’t ever let anyone else into?Honey, I’d raise your babies. I’d feed your horses and I’d stay for the rest of my forever if you’d just decide that I was the one you wanted once and for all, end of story. Stop the confusion. I can’t commit myself to a moving target. Stop chasing me and then running. If you want me, I’m right here and I’ve been right here this whole time. I’m not getting any younger. Haven’t we wasted enough time? What do you want to hear?
My day started-off having some fun with a fella who thinks he knows everything. Let’s put this into perspective for you…let me set the scene, so to speak. A couple of days ago, I posted a link for a book I was giving away free for a few days. Other Amazon authors can back me on this and I’m sure they will. When you publish a book on Amazon, you get five days each quarter that you may give this book away for free on their site. Does this put any money in your pocket? No!
Some people argue that it improves your book’s ranking…and it may…but only for a couple of days. The biggest thing that we get out of it is the exposure to new people who may not otherwise read our books. That is it; nothing else to be gained and certainly nothing financially. Sometimes, I’ll see a short increase in sales of my other books. That just tells me that they enjoyed my book and may like to try another. Great…but I’m still not getting rich by selling a few more books in comparison to the loss you take in the books you give away. I have away 192 copies of this book, this time. That is about 400 copies of that book alone, this year.
So…this fella comments on the link, “so in other words..you want the cash.” Now, I rarely use the word stupid…but I think it! After a few comments back and forth, I let him know that I’m really just trying to get the book in the hands of suicidal people or people who KNOW suicidal people. It comes out the he is an accountant. Wow…really? You are an accountant and couldn’t figure out that FREE equated to $0 and that 192 multiplied by $0 is …ummm ZERO? I imagine that he is online so much because business is slow?
The fact is that I don’t care what this guy thinks of me. I am not concerned with the people who do not care about the things going on in the world. I am not going to waste my time trying to change a shallow mind. What I am seeking are those who have an open mind. Are you troubled with the world the way it is? Do you question your own existence and your purpose? Do you want to know what the meaning behind your life is or why you are constantly besieged by challenges that seem completely overwhelming? Do you question pain? Do you feel like giving up but just know that there is a reason that you don’t – even when you can’t explain it? YOU are the person I am reaching out to!
We cannot change everything over night, but we can make a difference. It takes one step at a time and the first BIG step is to realize that we are all connected. You are a miracle. Look at yourself in the mirror. Your body completely replaces every SINGLE cell every three years. Your skin is completely replaced every few weeks. At the very molecular core of your being, you are unique and you are a miracle. Everything had to happen in completely unique and random order so that you were conceived to begin with. Do you have any idea HOW MANY random things had to happen just for you to be conceived? To be who you are? Your entire life is a movie that plays out with multiple plot twists, all based on the decisions that you make and the roll of the dice. You spend your entire life being prepared for your destiny!! I do not care who you are or how bad things have gotten … you my friend, are amazing and you deserve to be here.
It is said that when you remain quiet, that you take the side of the oppressor in any situation. I used to be silent. It wasn’t until I found my voice that I began to feel free. The more I told people about my own situations, the easier it became to accept and sort through those things in my life. I realize that I’m lucky. I realize that I am the end result of a billion different possibilities that ‘could have been.’ You are no longer a “could have” you have become a “you are” and the sooner you realize that, the sooner you will realize your own potential.
What do you choose to do with this knowledge? This is truly a personal decision and I don’t knock what anyone chooses. I WILL say that when you have the opportunity to touch others and you choose not to, I feel it is a sad waste. That’s my personal feeling and has become my personal decision. That isn’t a judgment at all, so please do not see it that way. It’s just that there is so much beauty to be gained in reaching out to others. I refer to humility all the time. I think when we have learned true humility, that we become more selfless. I don’t see it as a bad place to be. That’s my personal take. Yours may be different and so be it. You won’t hear my messages or my voice.
I’ve committed myself to a few causes and they all are about human interests. One of my pet projects is the “Shadows In Your Face” project. I’ve decided to take the next year doing research, filming and even staying in shelters and even a few nights actually on the street. I will be doing my best to expose the way that the homeless are treated like cattle, herded into facilities out of view and how they are often pushed out of the way and not really helped by the very organizations that claim to be helping. City governments work to appease the wealthy by ‘getting them out of view’ and shuffling them to other cities and locations off the beaten path, where they are often forgotten. The system isn’t designed to help these people and their civil rights are often tromped on, while they are treated as a problem and not treated as people.
This video was shot with my cell phone, in the dark – so it’s not fantastic quality. This is just a glimpse of the world that is there in front of your face. There are MANY people living in parking lots in their campers. Many more of them are sleeping the cars that you see parked here and there, in between the campers. It’s a whole ‘underworld’ of people who have been hit hard by the economy.
It is important for me to point out that when the documentary is made for sale to the public, that every penny will go to aid the homeless in some way, whether with clothing, food, shelter or much needed medication. I hope to make a difference, even if it is just for a few people. To me, this will make the entire year worth it. I’m not doing this for myself in any way at all. I’m doing this to put the issue – the people who live in the shadows – right in your face. For the last year, I’ve met many homeless people and I’ve done my best to pass on their stories here. Now, for one year, I will make it my focus. I’m attempting to raise money right now, for the things that I’ll need to make this happen. I need cameras, some editing software and a little money to cover the few expenses that will surely arise. I’ve set the goal at $10k but I know this is lofty. I plan to go forward with the project no matter how much I raise and I do have other fundraiser in the works.
I am seeking fiscal sponsorship to help control the funds of the money from the project. I’ll be picky, but hope to find a non-profit that will help me handle the funds in a way that sees to it that the money is spent in the best ways possible and ensure that 100% of the funds go to the people who need them and not to administration costs.
I’m asking that you take a look at the project and try to see the potential good that could come from it. If you have anything to offer at all…used equipment, assistance in spreading the message, connections with other homeless person projects, etc…get in touch with me. Maybe you are someone who just has time and can help to spread the word somehow? I’m open to all suggestions. One way or the other, this project IS going to happen and I will not be deterred.
Far too old to be living like this, but don’t tell him that. He’s happy. He sleeps in his truck in parking lots all over North Florida.
Many of you have followed my excursions for a good year now. You know that I try to keep things as real as possible. I’ve shown you all some of the good things about life and some of the things that truly stink sometimes too. In the end, I’ve always tried to keep my messages positive. I do believe that life is what you make of it.
That said, when I went through my horrible year last year, I was reminded of how much we all depend on each other and how hard like can be. I felt that God himself had spoken to me and I came to an immediate realization – an epiphany – that I’d wasted a great deal of time that I hadn’t put to good use. I made a promise to myself and to the Universe that I was going to work harder to help others. My purpose is now to do what I can to help others and speak for those who have no voice of their own.
I’d like to tell you about my latest project. This is in alignment with my goals and my passions. I’ve decided to put my author skills to work on a project of almost epic proportions. I’m going to re-enter my life as a homeless person, in order to tell the story from their point of view. How can you tell someone about being hungry if you have never truly been hungry? How can you describe the fear of having no roof over your head if you have never known this fear yourself?
Not only am I going to do a book, but also a documentary while I am living in the life. When I am finished, there will be a book, a documentary and a photo book complete. ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE DOCUMENTARY AND BOOK WILL GO TO THE HOMELESS. The money will go to organizations that help to feed, clothe and provide medication to those who are homeless. I will be very selective over who gets funds; making sure that 100% of the money goes to the people that it is meant for. If not, then I shall set-up a separate charity entirely for this purpose.
I’m currently working on some products for sale to help raise money for the documentary. I’ll be opening a Cafe Press store to the public in a few days. I’m working on product designs at the moment. I have an IndieGoGo campaign set-up to take donations at the above link. I implore you to consider helping this project come to fruition. Not only will it bring to light some of the issues happening with the homeless community, but it will also help to set in place some programs that can offer more assistance to these people. Too many are falling through the cracks because they can’t qualify for help. Some can’t even seek traditional help because of mental issues that prevent them from even trying, much less even being aware that there is help available for them.
Today, I simply ask you to take a look at the campaign page and to do one of two things: 1)Donate if you can or 2) pass it along to others who may be able to help.
Thanks for your time and, as always, thanks for reading!
This is the type of thing I love to write – part of this is based in fact, but told like fiction. Emotions dictate, music added to set the mood for you to match what I was feeling as I wrote … and in the end – a message. I hope that you enjoy! Take the time to listen to the music and let the messages sink in. ~ Jesse
I Keep Holding On
I was awakened by the smell of ocean air and the sound of waves softly rolling up onto the beach. The breeze blowing through the screen of my camper was cool as I snuggled down further into my comforter and pillows, not quite ready to give up on my cozy slumber. My mind began to drift as it always does in the early morning hours; half in and half out of sleep. I thought about the day ahead and what I would do with the hours. So much time on my hands left me with constantly seeking something to keep myself busy. Boredom truly can become exhausting.
I began thinking about my last conversation with Raleigh. She truly left me puzzled sometimes. Raleigh was that sort of woman who would tell you to not try to fix her problems; she just wanted me to listen. She would clearly tell me that she had boundaries. This wasn’t what puzzled me – I was glad to have a forthright person in my life who wasn’t afraid to talk about anything. What left me confused was the way that she would jump in, whenever Iwas trying to vent about something, and start offering suggestions and tell me what I should do. I sighed out loud and thought to myself that it was probably my own fault for not setting my own boundaries. I decided that day that the next time we talked, I’d address this issue and the way I felt about it.
As I swung my feet out of bed, I made my mind up that the next time we talked, I was going to have to tell her how this was making me feel. I didn’t like feeling like I wasn’t allowed to share my feelings about something without being chided for being negative. I knew I was not typically a negative person, but felt that everyone deserved to feel down sometimes and should be able to share that with someone they they trust. Getting told what to do and told not to react the way I did, just made me feel like I had to close part of myself off…and I hated that feeling. It didn’t feel safe. I spent a lot of time being “up” for other people…fans, friends and sometimes suicidal people that I volunteered to help listen to and encourage to get proper help. I felt like I had to maintain for them all…but in private, I needed to feel safe to be able to just “be” however I felt. I shook my head because it made me feel sad. I had to get the thoughts out of my head and I decided that a walk on the beach was in order.
I stumbled past the galley and into the tiny bathroom to relieve my bladder before making my way back to the coffee maker and starting the morning brew. As it slowly dripped and steamed, the coffee began to emerge in the pot. I put creamer in my big plastic coffee mug and then went to go put on some board shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt. As I was slipping on my flip-flops, the coffee maker groaned and gasped for air as it gave birth to the last few drops of caffeine that would start my day out perfectly. I poured my cup of coffee into the large mug and walked out into the world.
The campground was beginning to stir with evidence of life. I could smell someone’s breakfast cooking on an outdoor grill. I saw another family stowing gear and rolling their hose and electrical cord. They were just passing through; probably on their way to some attraction or theme park.
My flip-flops tossed the sand into the breeze and I could feel it on my shins as I made my way to the beach, only a short walk away. The closer I came to the water’s edge, the finer the sand became and eventually my toes were baptized by the cold water creeping onto the shore. It only took a moment for my feet to grow accustomed to the cool water and it began to feel so good that I slipped my flops off and tied them to the string hanging from my waistband so that I could walk with free hands. Why is that as soon as your toes hit cold water, you feel like you need to pee?
My toes sunk into the cool, wet sand as I enjoyed the walk. Every so often I would feel a hard shell and stop to take a closer look at it. While I rarely picked them up, I was always on the look-out for the perfect shell. Sometimes I would come across a clam but never had the heart to remove them from their environment and eat them. Typically, I tossed them out into deeper water to ‘rescue’ them from other clam hunters. I hadn’t killed a spider in years. I’m not sure I honestly have a mean bone in my body, though I was able to show my Scottish temper from time to time. I knew I could get testy about some things … especially when it felt like I was being judged or told that I was living my life “wrong.”
To be perfectly honest, I’d never gotten over the dominant rule of a mother who was abusive, ill-tempered, quick with a fist and even more vicious with her tongue. It took me so many years to believe that I was capable of anything at all, that anyone even questioning me immediately put me on the defense. I was aware that it was an issue … but not really sure how to fix it. I didn’t like being that way. Raleigh said that it often took an equal number of years to get over the amount of time you were in a bad situation. My mother was a dark spot in my world for almost thirty years. I sighed deeply and become aware that my forehead was creased and my eyebrows were furrowed. I brought myself to the present moment and consciously relaxed. Still, I knew that ‘just letting go’ wasn’t so easily done in this case. I walked on.
Closer To Fine
By the time I had returned to the camper, the sun was getting high in the sky. I had no idea what time it was because I’d almost completely stopped wearing a watch. For so many years, wearing a watch had been an anal part of my personality. From years of working in fields that required I manage others and know what time to start projects, I had always worn a watch. Knowing what time it was had become an obsession; almost compulsive. After becoming a writer and deciding that I’d live by my own rules, even if that meant going without a lot of things sometimes, I also gave up caring about the time. Recently, I’d become so carefree about it that I often forgot what day it was and holidays came upon me with complete surprise. Every day of my life was a holiday in so many ways now.
While it was true that I really had little money and couldn’t afford the finer things in life, I was predominantly happy now. It was a little unsettling to me that I had become so reclusive, but there was no drama that way. I avoided drama and stress almost as passionately as I wrote. Sometimes it bothered me that I may just be avoiding a natural part of life, instead of learning how to just deal with it in a healthy way. I considered that perhaps I was just ‘taking a break from it all’ and that was okay … but how was I going to re-emerge? When would I know the time was right?
Raleigh and I had seen a lot of each over the summer. There was a relationship between us that was deeply rooted in friendship. It was more than a friendship … but then it wasn’t. There was really no description that fit. We had both reached places in our lives where we resisted being labeled, placed into boxes or having expectations placed upon us. Neither of us did well with that sort of thing. We never talked about how we felt about each other, it was just the way it was and we accepted it the way that you accept the breeze upon your face … it is welcomed but understood that even the best of breezes don’t last forever and one cannot fully depend on a good breeze being there for you all the time. This was how I thought of her. She was a gentle breeze at times, that made my life a happy place. There were times that she was a hurricane force wind that made me uncomfortable or knocked me off my feet, but I still relished the adrenaline rush that came from it. Other times … there was no breeze at all and I knew that she was still out there and patiently awaited her return. It was free, as all things should be. I respected it as something that was not to be controlled or always understood. It was imperfect, in all the most beautiful ways that something, or someone, can be – it was, in fact, perfect.
Who Says You Can’t Go Home?
I poured another cup of coffee and sat down in front of my computer. As I pushed the button that would connect me to the world beyond, I was still pondering how I’d come to be where I was. Home is something that I’d sought for most of the last twenty years of my life and it had only been in the last year of my life that I’d come to realize that home is inside of me. I’d been getting ‘my house’ in order now for a few months and it hadn’t been easy – once your shit falls so far apart, it takes a while to go through all the pieces and figure it out. What I was coming to realize was that I’d been running away from so much, for so long, that finding my way back to the beginning was like following a trail of tears that had long since dried-up. I got lost sometimes.
Raleigh had confronted me about spending so much time in my home town earlier that year. Apparently, I’d been sounding pretty negative about the place over the phone and she didn’t understand what it was I’d been seeking. I supposed that she’d known me well enough to know there was a reason? At that time, until thinking it over, I hadn’t been sure either. It was just a gut feeling I’d had. Visiting my hometown was something that I had always been compelled to do, but it was less about the present and more about reclaiming my past. That was the place I had been abused, traumatized and belittled behind closed doors. It was a place that I should have felt safe … but I never did. It was a source of angry energy that I had been drawn to, like a moth to a flame. I’d either burn alive or the flame would be extinguished. That had been my resolve.
As an adult, I was able to stare at the house I grew up in and reclaim some happy memories. I had made a journal, with a list of all the bad things I remembered. Back in Florida now, I intended to burn those memories to ashes in a can, take them to the cemetery my parents were buried in and spread them over their graves. With this ritual, I also meant to forgive them once and for all. I knew that when I did this, I’d never return to their graves again. I was cutting the cord and releasing the Karmic debt. I would be absolving myself of the past and freeing myself to move on – burning the symbolic bridges and breaking the invisible chains.
For some people, I supposed this could be seen as walking away from the past and therefore just running again. I imagined that some people may view my way of dealing with it to be very extreme. I didn’t really care. For me, it had become a trip towards something – a return of my soul to self. This had been my way of ‘going home’ and finding my way back to who I was when I was not burdened with the memories. Who says you can’t go home? Don’t question the trip, question where home really is!
For now, life was coming back together. I used my walks along the beach to call my energy back to me. Every ounce of energy that I had freely given to others for so many years, I was now calling back to me. I stopped to look at shells on the beach and I savored every breath that I took, knowing that it could potentially be a last breath at any time. My house was getting in order and though I had no idea where tomorrow would lead me, I was happier than I had ever been; I was home.
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