. Fall in a heap, exhausted. Then get up, clean up, and do it all over again.
. There is joy in this. This “living” we do. No matter how sweaty, or dirty, or ugly, this “living” is a beautiful thing.
. There is no ‘give up’ here, no ‘quit’ , no ‘over it, no ‘packing it in’.
This is where every. breath. matters.
. DO YOU HEAR ME?
EVERY BREATH MATTERS.
Right now, in my little trailer in the middle of down, down, way down and out USA, I am deciding to care. I am deciding that my sufferings will amount to something, that all this silence and fear and worry in my heart will be done away with, that with this breath of life my Creator blessed me with will be used to help someone else live, too.
. I know I’m a rag-tag mess. I can’t think straight most of the time, and there are days I can’t leave my house. I am oppressed by an illness that tells me I don’t have it, and that feeling like I’m sick is a sin. I’m not exhausted, it tells me, I’m lazy. I’m not in excruciating pain, I’m a dope seeker. I was not abused, assaulted and raped, I was promiscuous.
. I am here, I am now, and with my God’s help, I will reach out to someone else. And with my God’s help, I will not believe the lies. Instead I believe the Bible, God’s own letter to me, and to all his children. I want to live.
Everyone want’s to be pretty, or beautiful, I think. I know I was obsessed with the thought my whole life, and deprived myself of much happiness for what I thought was a severe lack of it. I had no sense of my own “looks” till about 8 or so, my parents told me I was pretty before that, and my Sicilian Grandma would pinch my cheek and say , “Bella, bella!!”
Then, one summer day, my Mom decided to enter me in a local child’s beauty contest…She started by fussing with my hair. I was busy digging up bugs or something in the yard, so her newfound interest in me was a bit unsettling. I was an obedient child, so I let her fuss and fiddle. I remember it being spring, and the yard was full of bird’s chirping and golden light. Mom was in a good mood initially, then she asked me to sit a certain way on the back porch, and she whipped out a camera. Well, that seemed fine, and I asked her what the occasion was. Oooh, a little contest, and you are going to win! This made me more agreeable, initially.
. The session took quite a while, and Mom wasn’t satisfied with the efforts, so we kept pressing on. I think I must have gotten too fussy, because I don’t have any warm fuzzy feelings attached to this memory. I just know we got thru it somehow, and I went back to my scientific bug experiments.
Weeks passed, then excitedly the local gazzette prints the photos for review. All the other girls had their hair in pigtails with ribbons, lacy ruffled collars, some even had little dot earrings, or a pretty necklace. We raced thru the names to my photo…oh…my photo. Here was a ‘new’ look! With half of my little face in shadow, you could see right away that Mom hadn’t had the right lighting. Or maybe it was the bipolar side showing up even then!!! More than that, though, I was wearing just my favorite tee shirt, and my short “pageboy” haircut was in stark contrast to the other, pretty, girls. No necklace, no cute little dot earrings. And no prize.…Sigh… Mom was more upset than I was initially, I had never compared myself to other girls before that, as I recall. I do remember Dad criticizing her photo-taking ability, as he conitinued to do for the rest of her life, and thereafter for a good portion of mine(till his death!). There were rumblings inside the jealous side of my psyche, the newspaper had it all there in black and white : Susie is different. You would think that would be a good thing for a little tomboy like me, but I did not like the way it felt.
. And I really hated having my photo taken, for a long time since. But now that I am past childhood, even the one that lasted till I was 40 or so, and now that I have a wonderful electronic device to photograph myself, I like to. From time to time I get really down on myself, and I am afraid I may turn into my Mom, who would gaze at herself in the mirror and say, “I’m so ugly.” When I found her doing that it made me cry , for her, and get angry, for me, because I am her identical twin!!! We are all beautiful.
. Make sure you hear me: we are all beautiful. All of us, all the time.
There is no “wait until” time to be beautiful…until I lose weight, until I get a tan, until I grow up, until I get some body changing, unnatural surgical procedure. And you don’t lose your beauty when you age, either, so don’t fall in that rut. Or try not to.
. Be gentle in your assessment of your appearance, don’t judge yourself by peering at your reflection from 2 inches away. Everybody has enlarged pores from that distance! And scars? Honey, I have scars if you wan’t to compare them sometime. From acne, to road rash due to jumping out of a moving car, to adult chicken pox that were even in my mouth and on my bottom as a 40 year old….to all my surgery scars and beatings I received, chipped teeth and all, even the scar where my husband stabbed me, or the ones on my neck when he strangled me unconscious. Yes, I have scars.But it is really true: What is on the outside is of no importance. Some may say, that’s easy to say if you are beautiful, but what if you are disfigured? I watch alot of documentaries, and one of the recent ones was about the Young woman some years ago who had her face torn off by her friend’s pet chimpanzee. This woman was nearly dead when help arrivived, and her story is a traumatic one.
. But her daughter just says it all when she says that she used to not believe those sayings that “what is on the inside is what makes someone beautiful”, until she was with her Mom again after the accident. Her Mom is so beautiful, without a face, or hands, her inner strength and love prove the old saying true. If you are strong and can watch stories like that she really is an amazing and wonderful example to all.
. So, finally, when I was bumming out on my looks the other day, I kicked myself off the couch, put on some colorful makeup and clothes and had a silly photo shoot. It really was nice, in this isolation, to just have a play day. And the fun wasn’t over after the pictures were taken, then I had more fun editing them until I really thought , ” I am pretty!”
P.S. I did mention the make-up and photo-editing, didn’t I?
(we come back to see Princess Alzira still bound in the bottom of a large well)
A faint lyrical voice was calling, calling this strange yet beautiful name: Alzira. Princess Alzira… Why did it seem like the voice was calling me? In this dream was I a princess? Was I the Alzira they were calling?”
” HEY GOOFY! WAKE UP BEFORE THEY KILL YOU!!”
. That did the trick! My eyes snapped open, angrily!
“Was that YOU Tiny?”I grumbled, “You ruined a perfectly good dream! I was a Beautiful Zebra princess, wearing a purple cloak-with a CROWN!!! A CROWN!!!! I had a lovely name too, Albira? Almima? Jemima-no, no….”
“Listen Goofy, and be quiet, would you please? Now is not the time for dreams…you are in DANGER!!”
. “What are you talking about?” I tried to get up but realized I was bound leg and leg, and leg and leg. It all rushed in on me; “THE MICE!! Those awful MICE!!! ”
Now I whispered, “Where are they Tiny? Did you eat them? Can you cut these ropes?”
. “Whoa, whoa now, big filly! One thing at a time… The Men of Mice can’t Hurt you… They are Mice, after all.”
. ” But they have tools , and ropes , and there are soooo many!”
. ” Goofy… I mean Princess Alzira…”
. “So, that is my name? I am a princess?” I tried not to be gabberflasted, I mean flabbergasted, but thwais was monumental news. I was having a hard time whispering, I really wanted to shout, to scream, to run away! “Please Tiny, untie me, help me climb out of here. I feel like I’m going mad…who am I? Is this why the Zing sent me. Am I the Great Zing’s daughter!? Please say that isn’t so…he’s so, so goofy!”
” He definitely is that! No, he is your Uncle. Uncle Dweeble. And he is not the true king. Your Father, Zad the Zadmirable is the real Zing of Kebraland! And your dear Mummy, she is Zolla the Zootiful, the Queen by his side. Your blood is as blue as the the water of the Great River that flows thru the zenter of Kebraland. Oh, boy, now you’ve got me talking funny…Well, there you have it, Princess, proof positive. Now I can untie you. I didn’t want you to hurt me when you were told… ”
. ” I’m still going to Hurt you…now can you please untie me? I have to get out of here and get to the abyss!!! We only have 50 days left!!”
. ” Yes, Your Highness… ”
. With that the ropes seemed to evaporate, and I tried to leap to my feet like the great Personage that I was! Aaaannnd, I teetered, and I tottered…..and I crumbled in a heap!
. “HA!! That was funny!!!!”
. I whipped my head around, flinging Tiny off head over tailfeathers, and seeing now the top dog of the Mice!!! He was bigger than his comrades , by about a pound, looking much more like a rabid hamster in a fat suit, than a mouse. And rather than a toolbelt He was wearing a holster with what looked like a tiny Colt of pure silver.
. ” Tiny! What do I do now? ”
. ” Find your Sea Legs and Climb!!! CLIMB PRINCESS, CLIMB THE STEPS!!!”
. Tiny was flying in a rage, all around the head of the Bloated Hamster, ruining his aim…
I again leapt to my feet, steadier now, and began running in circles looking for a hoof hold…Steps! Tiny said steps!!! And there they were, but they were so little! I had to try, so I kept saying over and over, “I AM A PRINCESS, I AM A PRINCESS (step 1 thru four zipped by…) I AM A PRINCESS! (8 thru 12 now gone) I AM A PRINCESS!! (now steps were passing in a blur..) PRINCESS! PRINCESS!! PRINCESS!!! (the light was now streaming into the shaft!) P-R-I-N-CESSSSSS!!!!
. As I took the 39th Step I burst out of the well with Tiny riding triumphantly on my head with wings in the air, in a big WOOOOSH of wind and feathers!!
. My hooves hit the dirt and away we dashed, me galloping, faster than ever before, my hooves barely touching the earth, my thoughts only on saving Mom and Dad, and the beautiful Zingdom of Kebraland!!!
. (hold your breath for the next installment, coming soon!! )
. c. The Great Zing of Kebraland, by Susan T. Martin
I must not complain. I MUST NOT COMPLAIN. I MUST NOT COMPLAIN! I MUST NOT COMPLAIN!!!!!
I hope I am getting better about that. When so many have, and are, suffering SO MUCH. I shudder to think how it must sound to people who had to say their last goodbye via cell phone. My own little issues are so insignificant in the face of the reality of Covid-19. I suppose I’m like the rest of humanity in the face of enormous grief, enormous death… all we can really see is our own little corner, our own miniscule lives…
. That’s the thing that is SO remarkable to me about God. How can he love us so much? How can He care about a selfish little worm such as I. It is because He Is Love. Not “He has love.” Not “He feels love.”
. He IS love. He IS LOVE.
. Some people have been fed the lie that it is God who causes suffering. In reality, the Bible teaches that it is the evil one who caused death and suffering, by lying to the first human pair in the garden of Eden. That one caused them to die by his lie that they could eat the forbidden fruit and not die. “You surely will not die.”, he claimed.
” Then death spread to all men”
. But God made a way out for us immediately. Immediately, right there in Eden. He spoke about Jesus, about how His Son would ultimately kill off the devil, do away with death forever, and by his willing sacrifice would give humans a way to forgiveness and a clean conscience before God.
. Even little worms like me! Isn’t that amazing. Yes. It really is.
. So, don’t ever doubt God’s love, or that HE IS LOVE. He did not cause this pandemic, nor will he allow such things to continue forever. There will be an end to all human suffering very soon…you can count on it. Don’t give up, keep on seeking…
. I will meditate on these things today, and stay upbuilt, and focus my mind on helping others…and I wish you all peace. We will give a great shout of praise to our God, all of us together, in the not too distant future…
Is anyone out there as old as I am? I grew up to the Mary Tyler Moore show, on every week as I recall. When I was 10 or so, she was beautiful to me, not just as a pretty woman (which she was and is, if she is still alive, is she?…)but as a woman in “the workplace”. I was too young to understand the dynamics of discrimination against women, I was buying into the whole “be a good girl, speak when you are spoken to” misogynist mantra.
Flamingo Billiards Tour at Amy’s Billiards (pictured) The Year Before Fall
Day Old Cleopatra
Mommy and Izzy, in Alabama
my sweet, one eyed pup
That is where the slogan “We’re going to make it after all” first made me feel warm and fuzzy. My folks both worked long, hard hours to feed my brother and I. We saw them briefly each morning. Mom on her way to bed after all night at a local “old folks” hospital, and Dad on his way to the Speciality Steel Mill. The only thing “special” about the steel mill that I could see was the fact that Dad was “‘specially”angry when he got home.
In God’s Memory
Dad and his Fan Club!
baby cleo, in her new dress!
aren’t i the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?
inside the circle of my heart
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Baby Cleo, who had to learn to live with one eye!
. We didn’t want for anything that I ever knew, except that I never got designer jeans like my best friend, with the rich dad. No, my belly was full, and I was as happy as a chubby pre-teen with thick glasses and a mouth full of braces could be in the late 70’s. The only thing lacking was joy, any kind of joy, at home. Even “The Holidays”, when I still celebrated them, were joyless, because there was always disappointment lurking under the tree. Family gatherings were nice before I got old enough to feel the undercurrents of dislike and tension that flowed thru the affairs, like the lambrusco in the fancy glasses.
. We are going to make it. After all.
African Lily, one of my favorites!
sunset in paradise
He Love Us!
“i’m not sure how my feet work yet…”
. I’m in the ” after all” phase of life now. And I have made it, thus far . All the family drama is distant history, now that my parents are dead they don’t fight as much.(chuckle). I have learned to live without them here, and I have gleefully learned to live without my abusive ex and now deceased husband. (No, I’m not gleeful at his being deceased.)
. I have lived on my own for 4 years now, Dad died on 3/7/16, and Mom on 3/21/10. The grief did not stab me like a bayonet to the stomach this year, no, it was a dull, ongoing ache that I thought I didn’t feel, until this very moment. A heaviness inside my heart, a gray, damp blanket on my view. But I have made it, after all…
My Izzy, 2005-2017
This is me now, the pain has mellowed, I see love ahead!
“The Sentinel’s Prayer”, acrylic on canvas, Susan T. Martin2017
. I want to share happy tidings, tho’, not the fear mongering that is flying all around the internet and all the airwaves. Yes, this Pandemic is a very, very bad thing. Many of our loved ones, friends and neighbors will get very sick, and many will die. More people will die than usually do in a “regular” time period. It will be very difficult to work, to shop, to meet with friends and family. However, we must endure these difficulties with a hopeful demeanor, and share our hope with Everyone we can!!! We All need to support our fellow humans, and we CAN!!!!!
You may ask why, and I understand how hard it is not to have a pity party when one has no access to TP or Oreos. I am not immune to this situation, especially the Oreo thing. But as a person who has lived with chronic intractable pain all over my body for the last 20years, I do have experience with the power of positivity shared. This will be a HUGE HELP TO ALL OF US: BE UPBEAT AND POSITIVE WHEN SPEAKING TO OTHERS! DO NOT BOG OTHERS DOWN BY SHARING NEGATIVITY SUCH AS WHAT WE CAN’T DO, BUT FOCUS ON STEPS WE CAN TAKE.
One thing we must do to help is STAY POSITIVE when we talk to others. Just as you would not talk to a Child about negative outcomes of a storm, we all, ALL need comfort from our fellow humans right now. Just as we would not want our Mom to be overly anxious about a situation, think of your friends and neighbors who are anxious also!
. We want to help the people we love, and hopefully we want to help our fellow man who we don’t even know. I am going to work on this, and I already know it helps, because people who cared for me when I was incapacitated did it for me. And I made it thru to better days.
. I hope you are doing well, that you can see the sky today, wherever you are. One thing that helps me so much is prayer because I know God is close to me when I pray to him in his Son, Jesus name. Reading the Bible books of Psalms and brings me peace, and talking on the phone to others about God’s promises soon to be fulfilled. If I can just smile at someone, it lifts my mood and hopefully theirs as well. I send out my warm hugs and smiles to all of you.
Wow…momentous day! Even though I was up and down 3 or four times, ie:cat out, pee, drink of water, pee, help my blind dog find his bed, pee…You know the deal, my fellow insomniacs.
I do feel back in the light, which is splendiferous, warming the little cockles of my heart. I’m going to look cockles up in the dictionary, they sound like a type of marine life. I finished a mural commission yesterday , it only took me a month to complete ! I was “sick ” more days than not , whether it be physically or emotionally, hence the prolonged finish date. I know the client was glad to have it done, albeit I still have to clear coat it for durability . I will post a good picture soon .
We discussed a commission for a painting/photo portrait of her horse, which was the subject of the aforementioned mural , and I am very excited by the prospect. I love to paint and draw and be near horses, they center me and ease my mind. My time working with horses has been the most rewarding work I have ever done, right under serving my God. He certainly expressed his wonderful love when he created horses!
I will make this brief , but oh, I came home right after the conversation about the horse portrait and freepainted a beautiful portrait of a Friesian Stallion racing thru a winter night. I am so pleased. It showed me how far I’ve come, and the beauty I can express when I let it flow, instead of agonizing over each brushstroke!
Cant wake up. I feel like I am sick inside, hot and cold, sticky and uncomfortable one minute , all dry and freezing the next. I feel like I’m going thru withdrawals, and twitchy, jerky-but from what?!? I feel that it is the Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo that I have endured since a series of concussions in 2013…BPPV is a type of vertigo from crystals in your inner ear becoming dislodged from a blow or hit on the head, and generally rights itself after 1 Epley Maneuver, which a trained pt performs.
This is Sooo frustrating, because I don’t have a pt here, and the condition makes me so discombobulated and groggy that I can hardly go anywhere!So I have attempted the maneuver 4 times on my own, with no success it seems, and keep falling asleep everywhere I sit down. The other wrinkle to Post Concussion and TBI cases like mine, is the head injury caused a short-circuit from brain to diaphragm, so when my shuts down for sleep mode, I quit breathing. “Sleep Apnea!”, you exclaim, brandishing a Bi-pap and Mask… (oh, I just want to interject that I have had brief BPPV free days when my excelkent PT Tom helped me for 2 years… he would do the maneuver when needed and I balance trained and did exerciwes regularly)
So, going back to the CENTRAL Apnea, I have been sleep studied a second time since moving here, and had my poor septum done again, and the Nose Guy (ent) who performed the surgey said, “If you cant breath thru this nose then I dont know what else to do for ya!”
He checked out my sleep settings on my machine, said they were fine and sent me on my way with a script for little nasal pillows instead of the “Alien” mask I wear now.
Insurance doesnt pay, etc, etc So I go to bed, fight with the Mask until I’m finally exhausted and angry, then I drift for 20 minutes before ripping the parasitic thing off my face , flinging it wildly across the room, knocking my water off onto my med box…This causes me to rise up like a crazed Mama Kodiak, comforter flying like a war hero’s cape, kicking my medicine box across imaginary goal posts, with different colored pastel tablets raining down, as if confetti!
After this nightly comedy of errors and arrows, I give up and decide to paint faux chintz wallpaper onto my bedroom walls. At 4AM.
Is it any wonder I am tired all day?
Oh, the truly funny part is that I went to bed at 7pm. so that I could be alert and well rested today!!
I did something today that has me all twisted up inside like it just happened…And I thought I was SO far Over It, So Healed, So Strong, So SMART. All the years and years and years of therapy, and here I am again. Bruised, tattered, and lying on the cold floor of a dark green tent, somewhere in the woods near Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. I was a thirteen year old misfit of a girl, never had a real boyfriend, only been kissed once, a true virgin in the full sense, with a facefull of glasses and buck teeth…all I had wanted when I set out was a sleepover with my 2 best friends.
But here I was, in the wee hours of the next morning, dirty and snotty-faced from screaming and crying, bruised from the force of the 2 young men who had raped me, naked and bleeding with my underwear now flying from a tree near the bonfire. “the two young men”h Ha! Who am I kidding? The animals, the dirty rotten dogs who stole my honor, and ruined me forever. From the shame of my friends seeing me, when they woke up and sobered up, and their stony rejection that claimed I had “stolen their boyfriends”, a rejection that lasted for years…to my father’s face when I was shoved out of the guys’ car at 7 am, when he saw my smeared face and smelled the stink of sex and Southern Comfort on me, his thirteen year old child, and when his face screwed into an ugly mask and uttered the searing, scorching words: “You’re disgusting…”and turned his back on me and slammed the door…
It all just came back, hitting me like a sledgehammer, when I looked up the rapists on Facebook, and saw found one of them, bald now and married for 25 or so “happy ” years… How dare they have happy , normal lives? I didn’t know I was still so angry, so scarred…
I will turn 55 tomorrow. I spent twenty 23 of those years as an Alcoholic and Drug Addict,Dealer, Thief , a violent, broken girl who never had a loving relationship with a man her whole adult life. Every single one was abusive, punching me, kicking me, choking, even stabbing me and shooting at me…(and that was the one I married!)
But, you know, I am someone those rapists can never claim to be. I am honest now, and clean, sober, forgiven, loved, and working hard on being whole. I am sorry for all my mistakes, and sorry for all the hurt I have caused. My God has forgiven me, by his Son’s Ransom Sacrifice. And now I will get my bearings back, I will take a deep breath, and let all that anger and shame go… I will pray for the a calm heart and a healed mind, and I ask God to help me to help others get on the road to life… I may never be completely free of the flashbacks in this current world, but one day, when God makes this earth a paradise and does away with all wickedness, I will never think about these matters or feel that pain again.
It has been AGES since I have been here, it seems that when I am on fire with my visual art , my written art suffers. Time is a factor, when I have 5 projects going at once, the voices in my head are rather subdued, because all the poetry is oozing out of my fingertips onto canvas, paper, metal, wood and wall. As has been the way this past year, with some success…
I had hoped top be able to exist on my earnings from my visual art, and while I am not there yet, I am making a dent. I have had one of my paintings put in a permanent collection, I have been highlighted with my artwork in a video for the nearby Mental Health Facility! Woohoo! I find that very satisfying and amusing all at the same time! I should have demanded money, but they didn’t offer, so I used it as a photo op. I gifted them the painting you see here, although I still have it here at the house , because I wasn’t satisfied with it… (never am, you know). I will have to take it in soon, to keep my word… and I need to see my wonderful therapist because memories are pushing their nasty little heads into my reality…
It’s the “holidays”… The time of memories… poo poo, bluck, bluck…. memories have too much power over me, so I guess I just stuff them. Me, the one always saying that “you have to let it out!” I let it out too much, which gave too many people too much power over me, too many ways to rattle my chain. I have been solitary, and sequestered here, and while it may be a little too much solitude I am glad to have my space. True, my sleeping habits could use improvement, but then I am a work in progress…
Just for today I don’t have to mourn. I can just be ok.