So blessed to have another poem on http://www.spillwords.com. This poem is based off the poem “New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus and is a commentary on current immigration policies in the U.S., now, and in the past, but particularly, in the late 19th century where many Europeans immigrated to the U.S. to escape poverty, persecution, and starvation. Unfortunately, the U.S. was not much better than where they came from. But it was better enough that they could survive even in neighborhoods such as the brutal and famous 5 ‘Points District’ in New York City.
The poem was published in late November and I missed it. But here it is now for your thoughts and enjoyment. It’s called “Giants of Hypocrisy.”
Thanks to Michael of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this Tale Weaver’s Prompt based on the figure of death. Emily Dickinson’s poem “I could not stop for Death” and John Donne’s Holy Sonnet – “Death Be Not Proud” seem to say exactly what needs to be said for me on the prompt. And whatever I do, I can’t think of something I could say better than these poets due regardimg the personification of death. Please enjoy!
Day 13 Prompt: Flowing ” Where in your life do you need less struggle and more flow? Show us a time when you allowed yourself to go with the flow. Free write for ten minutes around one of the two sentences above or what flow/ing means to you.”
Prompt: What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?
When you are young as a child or teenager and even in your twenties, it is difficult to understand aging. As in, you see a picture of someone you know well when they were near your age and it is difficult to see how they came from being a fresh faced handsome young man to a gray-haired face wrinkles from the sun overweight sixty-year-old. It is interesting how a person looks a bit the same in their old pictures, yet completely different.
The first big age milestone in my life was eighteen because I could drink and buy alcohol in Alberta. My next big birthday was twenty-one because I could legally drink anywhere in the world, even in Las Vegas and in L.A. My next birthday I remember of being if some significance was age twenty-five. I was still quite sick and not able to do much of anything but I thought it was something to be a quarter of a century old. I was happy with how I looked, my weight wasn’t too bad, and if I had my health I would have chosen to stay twenty-five forever.
Now I’m thirty-years-old and I suppose the meaningful birthdays come less often after this, nothing of much importance until I am forty. I spent my thirtieth birthday in the hospital. This summer, my Doctor had me come into the hospital to do some major medication changes. I was able to take less of a cocktail of medications and the medication I needed as an antipsychotic would also help me as an antidepressant and a sleeping pill. On my birthday I was still quite new to the medication they put me on but my Mom and my eldest younger brother took me out to lunch to Earls. It was a nice location but I couldn’t have alcohol. Instead I had chocolate Carmel pudding cake for dessert.
I don’t know what to think about aging from now on. I read somewhere that from the years of fifteen to thirty-two years old we should worry about having fun and seeing the world and don’t worry about settling down until after that thirty-second birthday hits. What happens when I am thirty-two and I still don’t have my life together. For me the factor which is always present for me every year I age is my disease.
To think about a life-time of possibly being depressed and having to deal with constant low energy levels scares me. What happens if I have to take a different medication and I become fatter because each medication of psychiatric drugs I take for awhile seems to add ten pounds? When do other side effects of medication take effect if they ever do?
Will I shake when I’m old because of them? How will my lack of being able to be physically active effect me? Will it cause me a heart attack? Will it age me quicker? When am I not young and beautiful anymore?
Will I have a husband, even if I can’t handle kids? Will he love me for another fifty years? Will I ever be able to live on my own? Will I always have no energy? Will it get worse the older I get? What do I do to live when I no longer receive disability payments? Will my brother’s marry and have kids? Will I see them often? Will I drive again? Can I fulfill my dream of writing books if it takes me so long to write? Will my parents grow very old, older then their seventies or eightees? What about my Godparents? What about it all?
Growing old is hard and overwhelming to me. I see old friends and they are happy, in shape, have good careers, have pets, marriages, have kids, and travel. I feel so far away from that way of life. I feel like I’m thirty in my body, but twenty-five in my head and in my life. I don’t know what keeps you young. Maybe, trying to have a positive attitude. Maybe having a life that’s full whatever your situation. But I’m scared. Not of death. But of suffering in life. Of that I don’t want any more.
But when I wear myself out thinking and worrying I remember the Bible verse written in Matthew 28:20 “… and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Knowing I have God always with me makes growing old not as scary.
Written for writing 101 Day 4 – but I wrote something else. But if you don’t know me, this explains a lot.
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry (John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men.)
I have many plans and many dreams. I don’t know that any of what I dream will come true. It’s sad to not have hope but I’m not hopeless, just a realist. When I graduated with a BA, got my first job, and job promotion, I felt on top of the world. I felt that my life held so much potential and that anything was possible. But at our high points in life events can go awry. And I fell for many stories, down to a place where all my dreams did not matter because I was consumed by the realities of poor mental health.
Mental health was something I hadn’t given a thought to before. The realities of mental health are harsh and difficult for others to understand. Mental health difficulties hurt you psychologically, emotionally, and physically. I think for me physical effects are hard to deal with do to constant fatigue. But I have learned I am more then my mental health, I am a person with experience to share. And to tell you that no one is defined by their difficulties, rather that they fought/fight through them.
I had plans to become a project manager someday for a commercial developer for the place I worked. I was going to take LEED training, and take a Construction Administration Certificate at the University of Alberta. But the 23rd of December 2008 is the last day I ever worked. My mental health has made me so sick that I cannot work; I’m not even well enough to volunteer.
Soon my challenges were just making it through the day, trying to not sleep all day. I was dreadfully bored stuck at home and not able to do much. I planned an hour reading, watching some TV, scrapbooking, sleeping for two hours, and going for a walk. At first, I tried going to the gym and I even drove there. But I had no energy to exercise and not enough concentration to drive.
I got a bit better. I enrolled in courses in Residential Design. I am taking the last course for that certificate now. I thought that it would be useful if I ever went back to work. But that hasn’t been an option. I have just been trying to find stability in my health over the last seven years. I became a bit better for a couple years, I was going to classes for three hours once a week and spending three or four hours at home working on my current course. I could often go out and stay out late at night with friends or my ex-boyfriend. I could do an activity for four or five hours in the day. But that didn’t last.
I was taking a night course and I only made it to five of the thirteen classes. I just couldn’t concentrate and didn’t feel well at night. I spent all of that July depressed and in bed all day. Then, this summer I was in hospital for three weeks adjusting medications. But I still can’t do much for more then two or three hours tops. I feel so tired, I can’t get up much before 11:00 am. And I am a zombie if I do. I have had to give up many plans with friends because it is so difficult to do things at night.
This was not in my plan. Living with this mental illness was nothing I’d ever imagined. People just shrug it off sometimes like it’s just something that will get better, but it doesn’t. For me it gets worse. I don’t know how to make myself feel better. I deal with insomnia as well. A part of my brain is disconnected and I don’t how to make the neurons function normally. Pills don’t do to much. Psychology doesn’t help. I am waiting for a time when I can have plans again.
When, I think of this quote I think that it really hits the nail on the head. We all have such grand plans and dreams for our lives. And we should never loose hope that we can complete them. But in reality we are not in control. The maker of mice and men has the power to let things occur to us and to protect us. He teaches us and builds us so that we might know what his son Jesus knew hanging on a cross. He brings us closer to him with our trials. And I do not mean to complain, or tell my story until I’m blue in the face. But this is my experience and God and my friends and family bring me peace. And perhaps, not all my plans will go awry and I can help others when their plans do.
There sits the statue of a dog. I remember a certain dog. She had the qualities of queenleness, loyalty, and love. She was the bringer of fun to a childhood of bike rides down the off leash paths and long walks in the river valley.
She ran for miles with my Dad. My Mom said it would not surprise her if that is how the dog died, running her heart out. My Dad had a t-shirt that read: My running partner has four legs. The dog didn’t leave this world running; I don’t think anybody does.
To me the dog was a snuggle buddy at whatever time she wished. She would jump up on the couch and put her right paw on me and lean into me until a soft furry tummy was revealed. She’d push her nose into my hand and when I put my head down she’d strike with kisses.
But our best friends, leave us at a time not of their choice. They are inflicted with sickness, sometimes, ill health that a vet cannot even diagnose. I woke fifteen minutes too late to say goodbye to her. I petted her anyways, she had this beautiful soft fawn coat.
And I stroked her back and her little ears as she lay on the counter in the back of the vet. She was to be cremated. The blanket she was covered with was truly the veil of death, taking her away. My Dad and I tried not to cry as we both went out to the car. But tears escaped us as we drove home.
No dog is exactly the same, but they are each unique. Their time in years is short, but they are never forgotten. I place my hand on the statue and memories flood my mind. This statue is not of her, but to me, in my heart, it’s Nikki.
I would like a little more time please, just to figure my situation out. I would like you to stop asking questions about the state of my life. Because when I tell you how things are for me, I’m not sure that your listening to me. I’d say at least half the time you are off thinking about something or listening to something else. I know you can’t multitask but some of those conversations I had with you ( or with myself ) they were important to understanding me and how my life works.
Yes, I want to work. I want to work more than anything and more than most people who work actually do. But I can’t, that is not a privilege I have. So don’t tell me ” I don’t want to work! ” because if I could go to a job where I was content at and make it through the whole day, be able to concentrate on my work, and not become so fatigued I’m useless at my desk, I would be there. If I could be along side colleagues for 8 hours, making friends with some of the girls my age I work with I would, and If I could build a career and learn more, take school at night to understand my job better I would. But I was 23 years old the last day I was at work and I had a breakdown. Things had been wrong for awhile and I didn’t know I was having a psychotic episode and I didn’t know that that episode would change my life forever.
Why would I take a certificate in Residential Design after deciding in the end it is something I can’t do? Because it was 2009, I needed something to do and The Faculty of Extension at the U of A had a daytime course called Residential Design and it seemed interesting and I liked it. It was 3 hours a week and I could spend time in the other days of the week working on the projects and papers. I didn’t do the best work at first but I improved, the course was a way to measure my mental improvement. It was also related to commercial development, the type of company I worked for before I got sick. I kept taking courses in design in the day until I couldn’t, until the only courses I needed to take were at night. It was extremely hard for me to do night courses and I have one left. I decided I might as well get the certificate after taking 6 of 9 courses even though I knew I won’t really use the certificate. I don’t have the energy levels to be an interior decorator, nor if I’m honest the passion. It was more something I did for myself.
It was not a waste of money, education is never a waste of money and teaches you way more than just the subject your taking. Education helps you to think, to weigh decisions, to think practically and logically. Education is portable knowledge so don’t ever ask me why I am taking Residential Design, I will use it, just not the way you think.
Why am I doing practically nothing right now? Well you see, mental illness or physical illness that causes mental illness, whatever I have, is not black and white. Little things that you can no longer do due to your illness can have repercussions on the rest of your life. Doctors, medications, therapy, and healing (if it’s possible) all take time. Not to mention if you read any of my other recent blogs, you’ll understand I’ve been regressing this past year and my psychiatrist can no longer help me. I have spent the last 4.5 years trying to solve my illness with psychiatric medication and it helped a little. But I still have no energy and there’s a physical reason for that. So now I turn to my family doctor to help me find some hope of recovery physically. Do you know what it’s like to never wake up refreshed? To never not be fatigued? Do you know how it is to have to cut short most of your evenings, and I only get a few, because you can’t handle being out anymore, you’re just too tired? Do you know how hard it is to do just usual every day activities such as studying or house work? Do you know how hard it is not to be able to cardiovascular activity when you so desperately want to lose the weight you’ve put on through medication and inactivity?
You did not get these things yesterday. You were asking for the 3rd or 4th time. And some other things just to clarify: yes I can drive. But I gave that privilege up because paying attention, and the speed of the road was too much after I was sick. I had my license for 2 years and passed the test. Now it’s been about 4 years since I have driven and I can’t afford a car or insurance to drive my parent’s cars. Even if I could, they take their cars to work in the day when I possibly could drive.
Yes, I can cook. It may be only a few dishes but I can do those dishes well. My own diet is pretty simple and cooking foods together often seems to make them fattier so cook simply. Also, worst of all, my Dexedrine wears off right around supper and I become useless from the withdrawal until about 7 pm or later.
Yes, I have money but I’m living off of about $1500 a month right now and that doesn’t go far. I try to save some money to see you and take cabs but it shouldn’t be such a big deal giving me rides sometimes and paying for things a little more since you make 4 times my wage. I realize you have more expenses but I have bills too. It’s not like I can do any better, I’m stuck with what I make. Plus, you know I’m trying to pay down debt and stay on budget. On the same note, when I have the money to contribute please let me. Let me pay for lunch, or buy you a small Christmas gift, it’s not that hard to let me give back.
I think that’s it. Do you understand now? Just give me more time, I can’t fix everything on my own or maybe even at all. Just like me for me right now. That’s all I ask.