. 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.
(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
. There is often some bright speck, a teeny-weeny glint, in the midst of devastation. Often this tiny glimmer of good goes unseen for years, decades, even centuries. I’m sure there have been major disasters where no bright side was ever found, the loss being only that. A loss. Losses. Deaths. Dying.
. We could only see that, if we got tunnel vision with this Covid Pandemic. Only the disease, the fear, the grief, the bodies stacked up like cord wood. It could just open it’s huge great-white-shark-sized mouth with it’s blood-covered-razor-sharp giant teeth and swallow us whole. Then our lives will have ended, with a dark shroud of sadness enveloping our memory. Is this how you are feeling? Are you frightened?
. It certainly is a normal reaction to this situation. But there IS a silver lining… Have you heard about the animals? They are coming out of the woods, out of the forests, out of the bushes, out of the darkest recesses and back into the sunlight! With humans staying quiet, staying out of their cars, letting the Earth rest from it’s gasping, the animals are out!!! It thrills me, it brings joy to my weary heart to see images of river otters playing in a grassy median, rolling and romping, and laughing!(I’m sure they are laughing, they have to be!)
. I see cardinals again , and osprey flying low. I hear owls, and see ‘coons and possum. Oh, I know, I’m talking about “less desirable”wildlife, but let me tell you, it fills my heart near to bursting. As a child I would read “Born Free”and Miss Anderson’s Cheetah stories, gobbling up the word images of animals running free across African Savannahs. I dreamed nightly about my wild Stallion that I would ride someday, and about Bambi becoming a Stag.
. My Mom’s Bible Study books had images of happy people hugging lions and petting tigers, and I physically yearned for those images to come true. As I learned about God and thought about His love in creating puppies and kittens, I found Bible passages that promised a paradise one day. And as the years have past my faith has become brighter, and the day for me to hug a white tiger, or play with a wolf pup has gotten closer ,too.
. Yes, there is much sadness, sickness and death. There is injustice and corruption and pollution. And , sadly, there are worse things to come in the future, no matter where you live on this planet. But it all is bringing us closer each day to God’s fulfilled promises, such as the end of wickedness, pain, crime and hatred. To days of joyful work for humans, building houses, planting gardens. Many people think that God is causing this horrible pandemic, and that He is a God who throws people into Firey Hell.
. I have studied the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses for many years, and was baptized in 2003…but I had many things that I changed, only with God’s help. I was a full blown drug addict and alcoholic for 23 years, beginning at age 13. I only knew abusive and violent relationships, having my nose broken twice, being tied to a tree, stabbed and shot at, being choked unconscious more than once, and more. All this by my own husband. By the time I was 33, I looked like a 50 year old, and I felt 100. I had so many health problems, pain was my constant companion and still is. I smoked Crack, Pot, snorted coke, meth and used drugs intravenously for years. I drank my first beer most days by 9am, and lit my first cigarette before my eyes were open in the morning. I now have PTSD, and COPD. I had Hep C . I was dying and wished I was dead. Finally, before my husband killed me, he was arrested by the ATF and was convicted as a habitual offender, 15 years to life.
. Oh, how I cried. I thought my world had ended. I really went wild. He wanted me to work with the law to get his sentence reduced, I thought ATF agents were behind every tree. I refused to work with the Feds, because I thought I was smarter than them. I hooked up with a member of a MC club, and planned to tell the FBI about it… After all the humiliation and abuse they told me they would never use any info I gave them…I wanted to die… But I didn’t.
. I called my Mom, and begged to come home. She let me. I was the proverbial daughter. Near death and bankrupt in every way I moved back to my parent’s house.
Lots of things happened that I could go on about. Bad things. And worse things.
. But there was a glimmer, a glint of good in all that mire I was in…
. I got on my knees before I took the last step to suicide, and I begged, pleaded, beseeched, cried and screamed my anguish and remorse out to God.
. He heard. And He helped.
. I was able to get clean and sober, 21 years ago this September. I quit smoking the next year. And then, after calling God my “Higher Power”in AA for another year I learned that God , Jehovah God, could and would and did forgive me.
. Yesssssss….deep inhale…..Yessssss!!!
KODAK Digital Still Camera
seems like an eternity ago, when my hair was long, and I still felt pretty. This is before all the accidents, surgeries and injuries and before Mom died.
. You can feel this forgiveness too. I hope you do. Then I can meet you, in paradise on earth when all this badness is finished, for good.
(if you want to learn like I did, JW.org is where to go… You’ll be able to read and study the Bible, watch videos and learn precious truths…and you will learn how God sent His Son, Jesus to sacrifice his life for ALL humans…yep, me…and YOU TOO !!!)
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.
I wish I looked like this right now, because it looks like I feel pretty good about myself in this photo! And I did! I think it lasted a couple weeks, it was after I was alost finished moving in, and I was enjoying exploring my new home town.
I had gone into ma cute little salon for a haircut, a new look for my new beginning, and the young man who did it was a true artist!
Then I saw the prices! Forty bucks, just for a wash and cut! Ahhhhh!!! I never paid more than 20 bucks for a cut, and most of the time that included a five dollar tip! As I paid my bill and thanked him, I still felt on top of the world! This was my new, fresh start!
I was full of hope about my financial situation, I still had money after buying my new (1970) mobile home and land. And I had also purchased a car, cash, so I would not have alot of expenses and bills! OOh , I was SO smart!
After all, in a month or so, I would be selling my art in a new gallery, and be in new shows, and my fame would spread like wildfire! I had a big opportunity to be in ” a really big show”, as Ed Sullivan used to say, and I worked so hard-sure that I was a shoo in.
Months passed, money dwindled, but my hopes were steadily pinned on my huge success in this upcoming event. I spent more money, remodeling, new furnishings, paint, welding class, tons of art supplies.
I worked round the clock, taking photos of my work, even going to a free class to learn to present my work just right. I bought black sheets as backdrops, spent hours setting things up, months agonizing over artist statements, resume, biographies.
I wanted to really knock ’em dead, so I got a little dramatic with my entry, really emphasizing my struggles with trauma and mental illness.
I sent my entry in at 11:30 pm on the last day they accepted entries, and the cut off was 12 midnight. I even thought this was brilliant, to make me shine even brighter.
Even thinking about it makes me feel a little queasy, I put so much worry and sweat into the process. I told friends about the show, and I said that I was not pinning all my hopes on it.
That was a BIG Fat Lie. I had pinned EVERYTHING on that show. I even planned how humble and gracious I would be.
Then the e-mail came. The same e-mail I got last year:
so here is my inner rotten, little Susie-In-A-Red-Devil-Suit-On-My-Shoulder, whispering in my ear: ” You stupid, stupid girl, You should have known you aren’t good enough, they are all laughing at you, you LOSER!!” The little Susie-On-My-Shoulder even has the audacity to make an L with her hand and hold it to her (my) forehead.
She has not stopped this horrible dialogue yet, but she will. VERY SOON. VERY, VERY SOON!
“Ha, I DARE you, you loser, nya!nya! You don’t have the guuut, HEY!, What are you DOING! PUT ME DOWN! PUT ME DOWN! AHHHHHHHHH!….”
“bloop!” Oh, my, what did I do? She slipped out of my fingers and into the huge pot of scalding Turkey soup I have boiling on the stove! Oh, my!”
Her tiny little mouse-sized red suit boils to the surface, I scoop it out and toss it in the trash. There is no trace of that rotten little monster!
I will brush the dust off of me, off of my canvasses, off of my paints, and do what I love best: Create Fresh and Relevant ART! YAY!!!
Stay tuned, big things to come! I am merging my 2 journal blogs into one, here under THE WIND, and yes, this is Susan T. from Out Of The Gutter Art! If you were enjoying my journey on my sister blog, you may enjoy some of my earlier posts, as this is my FIRST blog ever!
I am moving upward and onward in my artistic life, as in my spiritual life, so to keep my work apart where potential patrons and clients can view it without my personal life intervening, I am revamping “Out of the Gutter Art” . The Artist Portfolio is entitled Susan*T*Martin, The Artfull Mind.
I am glad to have you as a visitor to either site, and I hope I can impart a spot of sunlight into your life!
I didn’t even know if my Blog, The Wind, was still here, clinging to life! I am so glad that it is, even though I have been concentrating on my visually creative outlets, rather than the written word. I need this blog. I really need this blog to help me set my troubled mind free again.
Sure, my physical Art, is taking me in Wild and Wonderful new directions, helping me gain confidence with every stoke of the brush of bit of glue. But the musings, the prose , the beauty of the written word, the NEED to express… this is also a nessessity for me.
On another, totally unrelated note: I just purchased 2 new pairs of glasses and they are giving be a blinding headache, the ear piecs are so tight! It feels like somone is turning the handle on a huge vise attached right behind my ears! AAaaargh!
So, coming back to my Windy Blog, I will be coming back to write again, to share again, to tell you tall tales of wit and ingenuity! And insanity! Joy and Life!! and really uncomfortable new glasses!
Check me out now and then, and visit my “sister” blog “Out of The Gutter Art” here on WordPress!
It is very dry here in South Florida. I mean popcorn-fart dry. I do not enjoy these droughts we have, I am sure no one else does. I find it particularly painful to watch all the foliage crisping up while I sprinkle my whole Social Security check’s worth of water onto it. In futility, like a dog chasing it’s tail.
I save what I can, moving the plants who still have a chance into shady areas, and setting up areas close to the water hose where I can set the most fragile ones, to be watered daily. We have a very large lot for this area, I like to see the astonishment on my friend’s faces when I show them my backyard garden with the most enormous oak they have ever seen. And my most beautiful gardens. Actually it is God’s garden, I just tend it.
I have been very fortunate to have worked with a Master Gardener in a Paradise called Sailfish Point on the very southernmost tip of Hutchinson Island. His name was Lynn, and he knew the nuts and bolts of every plant that grows here. How to grow it, feed it, water and prune it, until it gives the most glorious display. And I tried, every day, to absorb some small kernel of his knowledge. Any tree or flower growing on that golf course was fair game for me to take a seedling, a cutting, a pod- even an entire plant-if Lynn gave me the green light. This property has some interesting specimen plants who had their roots (ha ha!!) on Sailfish Point. This is a favorite of mine, he called it a “Pine Palm”, and I have only ever seen these near the ocean.
It actually looks much better than it did when this was taken- I have since learned to keep the centers of each group of fronds as dry as possible, or they start to rot. I eventually had to prune the whole near left section off for this very reason. I had not noticed in time that my sprinkler was dropping exactly over the center of that bunch of fronds. The tree frogs told me about it. I believe that, on the wind-swept dunes near the beach where this species grows naturally, the stiff ocean breeze would keep these trees quite dry. One thing I did learn when landscaping: Pay attention to the plants natural surroundings, and plant in as similar a position as you can.
This means that if your new shrub came from the sunny side of a slope, but under a tree that shades it in the late afternoon, then you should give it a well-drained west facing partially shaded spot. Shady in the late afternoon, that is. And pay attention to the soil where your specimen came from. Sand? Deep moist black earth? (Boy, I wish we had that here!!! That is what Pennsylvania earth is like, in the western Appalachian foothills.)
Anyway, I digress. Just be an observant gardener, and your results will please you and make all your girlfriends jealous when they come over for coffee. Another great trick to fool them into thinking you are a master gardener is to find some cheap, aged pots and planters from a Thrift store and fill them with good potting mix and fresh. blooming annuals from a nursery. Then just make sure to tend to these three or four, moving them from place to place near your front walkway or doorstoop (stoop?) (stop?) area. Even if the rest of your yard looks like poo, keep tending these few- Miracle Grow anyone?-and you will blow them all away with your mad skills. Observe:
See how the yard is pretty plain behind my little front patch of flowers? I am SO sneaky! I rearrange the pots as some flowers fade or I just have a whim, taking the shabby looking pots around back to be reworked at a later date.
And I just love taking objects that totally look like they do not belong outside and placing them around my garden for focal points. Broken plates (pretty ones) make nice edging, old chairs you were going to throw away make a great plant stand with a coat of bright spray paint!
That old carved owl was a throw away from a friend- I kept it in the garden till it just fell all apart. and we had bunches of leftover ceramic tile from when I did the house, so Dad started using it to edge the beds, and it looks pretty spiffyI Has been fun sharing this with you all, I feel ready for my own T.V. show now:
” The Sneaky Crafty Artsy Lady Gardener Show”!
I am keeping my prayers focused on Jehovah’s promises for a new world where righteousness will dwell, and where there will be no more pain, suffering, war or death. I pray that we can all be there one day soon.! I’m ready to live in a peaceful world!
Life in a funeral parlor is very boring. Father sleeps all day now. He was always a napper, and absolutely loves to sleep. Perhaps it was an escape for him years ago, a way to avoid dealing with Mom or us kids.
A big part of his nappiness is sleep apnea, which wasn’t even heard of years ago. In the 1990’s Mom convinced him to see the doctor about his constant sleepiness, and he had a sleep study done. It was found that my Dad has one of the most severe cases of sleep apnea that the doctor had ever seen. It was incredible, the number of times he quits breathing in an hour. So finally we had an answer to why our father was always trying to “catch up” on sleep, making us tiptoe about the house each day when he was lying down. I coined the nickname “Sir Nap-a-lot” for him, which he did not find amusing, but we all thought was very funny and accurate.
Fast forward 50 years, and here if my Dad now with severe Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
From the research being done insomnia and lack of restorative sleep are key factors in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This is no surprise to me, having watched my Dad lie on the couch all hours of the day, waking more exhausted than before. Now his eyes glaze over twenty minutes after he gets out of bed, it’s all he can do to make it back to his room or over to the couch. It is especially bad after he eats, which has made me wonder about his blood sugar. He was prescribed one of those machines for people with Apnea, but he never, ever used it. He is totally non-compliant when it comes to stuff like that.
So, here I sit in this quiet house, dogs lying about on floor pillows and blankets, cats on beds,chairs and couches, and Dad laying wherever a space can be found-out like a light!
Do I nap? Oh, I try. I tell myself I should try to live by Father’s schedule. so that I am not falling asleep when he is up and about. That doesn’t seem to make me sleep, though. I lay down and shut my eyes,but the mind races and the pain lies under my skin like an ever present organism, draining my life juices away. my nap time is spent turning this way, then that-stuffing pillows here, moving blankets there. Petting dogs, pushing cats off the bed, always listening for a movement in the next room.
I lay sometimes on my new (used) big red couch, such a pretty piece, and a great napper, and now and then I drift away. Dreaming of yesterdays, when my body moved and I was loved. Dreaming of giant grasshoppers eating my zinnias. Falling asleep to the sound of my silent prayers, prayers for God to send me an angel. An angel to stand over me and keep the bad things away while I rest.
When I awaken, it is always time to perform a task, feed a father, a cat, a dog, a bird, a plant. Wipe a hand across blurry eyes, beg a brutalized body to creak to it’s sore feet. Teeter off, half bent over, to fry a sausage, crack an egg, sweep a mess, say a pleasant “good morning!”. He looks vacantly past me into the blazing day, sips old coffee and says, “I didn’t sleep at all. I’ll be going back to bed after breakfast. After lunch. After dinner. After snack. After everything, I will be going to bed.”