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Holiday Blues

In 2016 we moved back to Spokane.  I left behind two friends.  Three, if you count Bryan-- which I do, but don't like to admit.  Then my Grandma died.  Then our cat Gladys died.

This October I lost my best friend dandelionwhine to cancer.  That same month Adam and I lost our beloved dog Millie.

And now I feel lost.  Alone.  So alone.

I used to love Christmas and this time of year.  This year feels so different.  Nothing feels right, and I don't feel like me.

My phone is too quiet.  Anita was my confidante, my sounding board, my comedy relief... And now, nothing.  Silence.  "Defeaning silence" is not just cliche, it's wrong.  It's a painful silence.  An uneasy silence in the most profound way.  Silence spiraling into gentle madness.

I'm not sure how to take care of myself, at the moment.


Spokane captivity continues

The past few days I have felt the gentle stirrings of a slight case of homesickness for the Yakima Valley.

Oddly enough, that's an improvement.

today is a hard day

Seasonal depression has caught up with me. Dealing with new insurance and trying to find a new doctor is giving me anxiety.
And I have not been sleeping well.

I am 44 now, and Grandma is gone.  It has solidified that my childhood is long in the past.  Oddly, I have not felt homesick since she died-- which is new for me.
But I miss her something fierce.

The world is a hazy, slushy, half-frozen mess and I have been close to tears most of the day.
But I'm hiding it well at work.

Or maybe it's just that everyone around me is just as down?

Oct. 25th, 2016

My mind will not be silent and I am having trouble sleeping.

The world has gone shitty and I am sick of it.

Sep. 19th, 2016

I feel like I don't belong here. Spokane feels awkward and foreign and uncomfortable.

My house doesn't feel like my home.

And I am running out of effective distractions.

doctrine of discovery

Today I was reminded of the fact that, according to some people, I don't count. I am not "being supportive" when I have a differing opinion.  Because I don't have kids who do a million things, my life isn't important enough to follow.  When I am personally hurt and saddened by an event like Orlando, it doesn't even register that I might need support because 40-something gay people were shot and killed.

Why am I less than human because you fail to understand me? Because you fail to even want to understand me?  I have to be the smarter one, and the emotionally mature one because your feelings were hurt when I disagreed with you, and so I apologize so that you feel better.

But I don't feel better. And you have no idea. And you don't care.  I am incomprehensible and alien and less-than, and only important as an audience to your "greatness." And while I believe that you do love me in your own way, you do not know me at all and you never have.

All I can do is to love you, because you are my brother.     I just have to remember that to you I will never be fully human.

sunny nostalgia

Sometimes I just want to jump into a memory.  I wish I could be there physically, in that time, feeling that moment all over again.  I wish I could just stay there for a bit, wrapping my existence into that short span of time.

The sun has come out today after a week of cloudy skies in Portland, and it is warming up to 80 degrees.  It reminded me of a summer in high school.

I had gone for a walk around Granger when I ran into Al Martinez who was outside in his yard.  Al was an older guy (in his later 20s, I think) and I knew him from church.  We started talking, probably about Star Trek-- he used to let me borrow his old Star Trek books.  I was there for some time, not really caring about the passage of time when Fr. Janer drove up.

Apparently, I had been gone for a couple hours and my Mom was wondering where I was.  She'd called the church thinking that maybe I had stopped to visit Father; it was not uncommon for me to do that.  I was often dropping in to help with things around the church.  Father would pay me a few bucks and I would save up my money for trips to the movies or to buy books in Yakima.

Father was laughing as he got out of the car and said, "Oh here you are!  Your ma is looking for you!  I told her you were probably just out on a toot!  And I was right!"

The three of us chatted a little longer before I finally decided to head home and let my mom know that I was fine.
The warm sunny weather the past few days reminds me of summertime. It makes me think of summers at home, during my early college years.

Riding my bike to get away from my family.  The smell of the dry air, the orchards, vineyards, pastures full of cows and horses.  A narrow country road, that many years ago had been the old highway, the primary route through the lower Yakima Valley.

I examine everything.  The farmhouses I pass.  The hop vineyard.  A stray rock in the middle of the road: how did it get there?  The home of my high school girlfriend:  is she there?  Does she think about me?  What is her life like, now?

The sky is so blue.  And the sun is hot.  But I don't feel hot.  I am reinvigorated on the empty road, surrounded only by hints of other humans.

I have a destination in mind.  Punkin Center, the old store in the middle of nowhere.  I remember stopping there as a very young child with my grandparents as they bought gas and an ice cream for me. Long closed, it is a ghost of a building now.  Big cement bricks holding dusty counters and old memories.  When I get there, I try to look through the painted glass, and make out shapes, but not much else.

The old pay phone on the side of the building-- it's still there.  No reason for a phone here, not anymore.   It is still here, though.  And it still works.  And sometimes, it works in ways it shouldn't.

With trembling hands I type in the number: 1-900-LOVE-MEN.  This shouldn't work... but it does.  I pay nothing, but I access a voicemail and chat system to men.  Other men like me, though I never talk to them.  I listen to their messages.  Some are creepy, some exciting but intimidating, others sound exactly like me.  They express their fantasies, their longing for companionship, their need to reach out and literally touch someone.  I am alleviated, though frustrated by the experience.

On a whim, I click over to a live chat.  I hear a pleasant voice clear his throat.  He waits, and then tentatively says, "Hello?"

I hang up immediately.  Still scared and unsure of myself, I hop on my bike and see nothing all the way home.

I just realized...

I have not felt depressed for quite a while now.  In fact, I don't remember the last time I actually felt depressed.

I don't mean feeling sad--  everyone has moments of sadness.  But, that sort of overwhelming depression I have felt, at times, when life seems overwhelming and oppressive has not been around for a while.

I mentioned this to dandelionwhine the other day, and had to repeat myself, because it honestly felt like a revelation to me.

So... that's good.

Now if my local McDonald's would just bring back the McRib, I'd be ecstatic.