you never really know

headaches, nausea, dizziness..

itching, cramps, being hot or cold…

these are just some of the things that happen within us. that no one else can see, hear, feel or know is real. they have to take our word for it. sadly, it doesn’t stop there. the entire world of mental disease is one that has to be shared. no one can possibly know what is going on in the mind of another. i think it’s our most crippling condition as human beings. we are amazing, intuitive, inventing, exciting, creative creatures — but, always ALWAYS locked inside of ourselves.

i was speaking with a friend who has been upset over the recent death of Whitney Houston. she made the statement that she hoped Miss Houston was “at peace”. i, too, hope that she found peace… however far away it may have been or seemed to be. it seems like such a shame. a waste. but we all know that she wasn’t the first and she won’t be the last.

i’d love to share some facts and informative information about suicide, but looking at the word makes me a little nauseous. it’s a very scary thing. i have known a few people who were suicidal and if they hadn’t actually TOLD me with their own mouths, i would not have known until they had either been successful or at least tried. if you want some factual information, try American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and go here for statistics.

when i was in high school, we had an assembly about suicide. i was shocked that the topic was even spoken aloud and that an assembly had not only been thought about, but devised, rehearsed, approved and presented to us. what i remember most was the audio recording of a high school kid that had taken his own life. the recording stopped just before his self-inflicted fatal gun shot wound. whaaaaaat? *gasp* later, my friend derek (where are you derek?) made the statement:

“anything in life is temporary. death. death is permanent.”

miss Houston joins a list of people who we all feel left too soon. someone who was “supposed” to be happy. someone who “should have” reached out for help. it wasn’t long ago that another memorable voice bowed out, never to be heard again: Amy Winehouse. she’s just one on a list of artist’s that died before they were thirty. before they were 28. the Forever 27 Club. how upsetting is that? tragic. as well as the man who put the sooOOOOoooul in the train… Mr. Don Cornelius. what happened to them? did they try to tell us there was something wrong? why did they leave us?

suicide isn’t an entertainment disease though. it affects everyone. all ages, races, religions and preferences. it’s the curse of a human being. a weight that everyone carries. i guess you could say that we are all “carriers”, but without the right combination of pain, trauma or despair… we don’t show symptoms. i don’t understand it, but being me… i sympathize, empathize and mourn for those affected and effected by it. death is devastating enough. but it’s all the more devastating when you learn that someone CHOSE to end their own life.

my thoughts linger upon the following text:

“i have been thinking about Miss Houston and realizing, yet again, how we never know people the way we think we do. we hope, but we don’t. we can’t. it’s impossible. we can only know what they tell us and what they reveal after our endless probing and questioning. and still, we have to settle with what they tell us. it is inconceivable [to me] to be in so much angst that you wish to never take another breath or dream another dream.”

i am going to insert my disclaimer here: i can only share with you what i think and what i know from my own experiences. i do not claim to be an expert on anything outside of expressing myself. but i can tell you that as a conscious member of society, a family member and friend, i see and feel what goes on around me. i ask questions about things i don’t understand and i always try to shed light and share an alternate point of view to help others see what i see. i hope no one is offended by my thoughts and questions, but if you are, please talk to me about it. let’s converse. don’t yell at me, leave obnoxious rude comments or bad mouth me. i’m one person, sharing my point of view on my blog page. you have the exact same option. i welcome your comments, criticisms and concerns.

i have experienced my own times of doubt and worry. horrible trying times that made me wish for another place and another time. i don’t claim to know what another person could be going through. i’m sure we’ve all had problems and situations that we did not know how to deal with — but that we didn’t want to share or discuss with another for whatever reason.

it’s true that money doesn’t bring happiness. fame doesn’t either. at this juncture, it appears that fame does almost the opposite. bringing “fans”, critics, paparazzi and the like… contributing to an agitated and inflamed sense of mistrust. all the money in the world won’t help the voices in your head. harsh. you can be born a genius, labeled a prodigy, test higher than anyone ever; and in the end you could also be loonier than a bed bug, crazier than a road lizard (thanks, Imelda) and plain ole bonkers. your mind could have you convinced that there’s a whole family of YOUs living inside your own head. isn’t that powerful? all of the torture methods ever conceived and developed were meant to try to pry information out of one person and into another. sometimes, that never happens.

what are we to do? how can we fix it? you want the truth??? we can’t. smh. we can talk, text, write, phone, tape, video, chat, instant message, fax, mail and email another person to relentlessly probe them about their condition. we can ask about the way they feel and how they are doing. but how do we know that what they are saying is the truth? we have to take their word for it. we have to trust in the fact that we THINK we know them well enough and that they, in turn, are comfortable enough to tell us the truth. even if neither of us knows what the truth is.

the conversation led me to read and probe the news and articles about Miss Houston. she is an icon and her career came to fruition before my ears. she’s one of my favorite voices of all times. my research led me to People Magazine (not the Encyclopedia Britannica, but mostly trustworthy) and the key to MY point and purpose:

“…she wasn’t a “goody two-shoes,” says a record exec who worked with Houston for many years. she grew up proud of her “street” roots in Newark, N.J., says the source, but Houston was meticulously groomed by [Clive] Davis to fulfill the role of America’s Singing Sweetheart — and it was, at times, a deeply uncomfortable fit. ‘she was in pain from living almost a double life,’ says the source.”

POW! did you feel that? read it again:

“…she wasn’t a “goody two-shoes,” says a record exec who worked with Houston for many years. she grew up proud of her “street” roots in Newark, N.J., says the source, but Houston was meticulously groomed by [Clive] Davis to fulfill the role of America’s Singing Sweetheart — and it was, at times, a deeply uncomfortable fit. ‘she was in pain from living almost a double life,’ says the source.”

if we are ever forced to separate who we truly are from who we want to be.. something horrible happens. it sometimes happens to our outsides, but it mostly happens to our insides.. to our minds and our personalities. some recess into their minds and never come out again. for others, their mind takes over creating different versions of themselves to deal with their situations — to help them survive. some turn into a whole other person and the person who once was.. is no more. but for Miss Houston, she lived that other life while her real hopes and dreams stared out from the inside. all the while wanting to stop the life she was living and live the life she wanted. wanting to cease, to give up, wanting to change… but unable to.

something similar happened to a friend of mine. she was openly homosexual but was married, with children, to a woman who chose not to be openly homosexual. living a life that wasn’t of her own design forced her to be who she wasn’t. she slowly got depressed and eventually withdrew from the outside world. then she withdrew into herself. hardly smiling, never laughing and living her life from behind her own eyes.

eventually my friend broke free of her cerebral prison. but it wasn’t without pain, tears and the eventual separation of her family. she took her kids and left. she’s happier now, but it was a long road to get to that happiness. some people are not strong enough to pull away. as they sink ever further into themselves and their persona becomes their personality, their grip on reality fades and eventually fails them. they seek out vices to help them maintain. any and every vice. they look for a way to hide the pain, to numb the confusion and self-hatred. they look for a way to escape and  with any vice, a tolerance can be built and eventually… enough is not enough.

how can we turn our heads, look with a blind eye or pretend that we don’t see what we see? i think it’s pretty simple. i think we are simply in denial. we chose not to see what we are seeing because it would force us to believe what we do not want to believe. we are animals by nature; therefore we are instinctual. the more advanced we become the less animalistic we remain. we sign over our instincts and rely on gadgets and devices to keep us happy, healthy and sane. we are always plugged in and turned on demanding and requiring constant input. data data data. more more more. this is a very obvious and dangerous underlying factoid in our need for instant gratification and the reason we have so much, but feel so empty.

you can have a rich life and be poor. you can have an extraordinary life and be ordinary. you can have no children, but be a parent; providing guidance and structure.  the problem with any of these things is: if they aren’t what you want, they are not what you are after. and if you aren’t “after” them, seeking them… you will not find joy in them. you will not maximize them. there are many quotes about enjoying what you do. finding a career, not a job. being who you truly are is more important than anything else on your to-do list. you might not know who you are or who you want to be, just like you might not know your exact size in Calvin Klein clothing… but you are not in the wrong for not knowing. trying and experimenting and figuring out WHAT FITs is what you’re supposed to do. give it a whirl, try it on for size. whatever you do, don’t look at it in the window, buy and exact match and force yourself to fit. you’ll regret it.

be who you are. be true to you. if it’s funny: laugh. if it’s not funny: don’t laugh. an outfit might look good in the window but look like holy hell when you put it on. it could be the wrong size, the wrong color or itchy. wearing clothes that are too small, uncomfortable or inappropriately revealing can put you in a bind. wearing the inappropriate personality can drive you insane. it is not recommended. i know nothing of such trials. if you don’t know me already, i am who i am. i am seldom regretful and offer no reasons or excuses for my behavior. i am not mean or disrespectful but most importantly, i will not compromise myself. not all people are so fortunate, lucky or passionate.

we can never know another person in their entirety. what is in their mind belongs to them and only them. just as, what is in your mind belongs to you and only you. but one bad apple can spoil the bunch. turning energizing inspirational thoughts into damaging, relentless and often abusive self-depreciation. we can never be so alone in our own heads that we forget or dismiss the rest of the world. there is no reason to be hopeless, even when you feel hopeless. there is no reason to give up, even when you want to. there is no reason to leave this life of your own accord. life is a gift. even when it hurts.

everything we deal with and experience in this life is temporary. death is permanent. nothing worth fighting for is easy, right? what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger, right? if you have a friend on your mind and want to catch up, call them. we are all on borrowed time. if you know someone who seems a bit out of sorts, check up on them, keep track of them and remind them that you care. if you know someone on the edge, pull up a chair and chat with them. share your frustrations and convince them that life, no matter how trying, is better than death. if you know someone who is suicidal, help them get help. talk with them, share with them and offer them assistance. inform them of their significance in your life. do not let them contemplate and fester alone… devising their own demise. get them! grab them! hug and squeeze them!!! make them feel your love. ❤  or you can always send them here… i have enough to share.

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out with the old

Tanisha Ware
if you don’t plan your life, life will plan it for you. and life takes no requests. two steps forward and one step back is STILL one forward. whatever it is… do it today, because so far, tomorrow is just a hope.

while i AM an optimistic person, i am still able to see and feel the reality in most situations. I wouldn’t say that i’m more positive or negative (although, i’m sure my family and friends would have a much easier time discerning which they considered me to be). in fact, i have quoted myself, more than once as being a “realist”. i am neither too sunny, nor too depressing. i won’t admit to being too agreeable or too disagreeable. trust me, i have my moments.

this morning as i cruised about the last minute christmas eve shoppers, not really paying attention to anything, i was brought to those end of the year thoughts:

  1. planning my baking schedule over the next few hours
  2. remembering to search for the first viewing of “It’s A Wonderful Life”
  3. remembering to search for animated Christmas specials for SuperBoy
  4. quickly considering and then dismissing the idea of a “resolution” with the start of a new year.
  5. wishing I could start every single morning of my life with an amped up version of “Merry Christmas Baby” sung by The King: the one and only Elvis Presley. (i just had to add that because it came on my Pandora right now and really brought a smile to my face).
  6. going back to school, vowing to eat better, eat smarter, eat cheaper, eat less sugary, workout more, sleep more or — uhh,sleep more effectively, get outside more, read more, spend more time investing in my ideas, writing, baking, creating new recipes and so forth and so on (no dammit, that’s a resolution. or is it?).

you know those thoughts, right? resolutions. New Year’s Resolution. The Resolutions of all resolutions. the sometimes private, occasionally public, sporadic yet carefully planned irregular normal things that you promise to yourself and anyone who can hear you to live a better life. this spontaneous burst of zen and chi wrapped up with spunk, zest and mojo to cover the tinge of sarcastic experienced “yeaaaaah right” that’s already oozing from your thoughts about said “Resolutions”.

i know it seems extremely negative and one sided, but i have to say: resolutions are for the birds. why wait? why january first? why the beginning of the year? does the date determine the amount of effort, value or importance over the change that is being made? or is it just a way to find a reason to not do it? why do we postpone our joy? everyday without a job is a day without a job. why would you delay employment another day? the sooner you get the job, the sooner you get everything that comes with it! and while some of what comes can be bad, most of what will come will be good. real good.

if the motivation behind a New Year’s Resolution is nothing but pure of heart, good will and true intention… why do we vow to do it later? tell me how that makes sense. perhaps you can tell that i haven’t made a resolution in a while? i haven’t. i have only vowed to be a better me. i make no other promises. not to me, not to my son, my family or friends. not to my employer, my coworkers or the maniacal Resolution Fairies in the sky. just… “be a better me”. what’s wrong with that? it’s realistic. it’s obtainable. it’s measurable. but by whom? who determines if my Resolution completion is satisfactory or not? only i. just me.

and there in lies the key. a Resolution, composed and held accountable by only it’s maker is nothing more than a thought. a cerebral to-do list. but a Resolution! a Resolution; spoken aloud, written down or taken notice of is a promise. we “resolve”. according to Merriam-Webster.com we will “deal with successfully”. in the course of my research i asked my aunt and number one test subject collaborator if she made Resolutions and her response was almost an exact quote from the disclaimer presented on wikipedia (yes, i know it’s not the most reliable source, however, it is a consensus of public opinion which is the extent of research that i need for my points) stating:

“The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject“.

they must have known that my next question was “is this a cultural phenomenon”? the above mentioned list Judaism and Christianity as both having a similar concept, but in fact their own statement shows that the religious aspect requires that we reflect on wrongdoings or such and seek forgiveness and atonement. no, that is not the same as planning for a prosperous and productive year.

my interpretation is this: resolutions are just part of the game. we indulge for months and months in a row. from the fourth of july through christmas, we have some sort of celebration almost every month. and who, WHO, celebrates without food? from barbecues and cookouts in the summer through formal family dinners served and shared at thanksgiving and christmas, we are eating. eating, eating, eating. who would have guessed right? in a country rampant with eating disorders, diabetes and heart disease… we eat and eat and eat and we top it all with an alcohol soaked celebration to ring in the new year and a whole new bout of guilt, side effects and repercussions. if you ask me, Resolutions are our punishment for being indulgent and gluttonous.after months of summer fun, summer food and holiday happiness rolled up and covered with whipped cream we’re forced out of our comfort zone, our comfortable pants and into the idea of buying a bigger size! hell nooooooooOo. something must be done. we must VOW to be good. to eat good, be good, treat others good and good and good and more good.

nothing is free. that’s why i don’t resolve. i am a work in progress. nothing about me, my physical person, mental aptitude or emotional stability is actually stable. all things human are also kinetic. they are constantly in motion, changing, adhering and adapting to their environment. this is why we are so amazing. and this, my friends is why i don’t resolve. i refuse to put a ceiling, glass or otherwise, over myself. you can ask anyone, i make no promises. i do not resolve. what will come will come and i will deal accordingly. i will not wait for monday. i will not wait for the first of the month nor the beginning of the year. action deserves reaction. no, action REQUIRES reaction. don’t wait. act. react.