God speaks in the doing

This has not been a good month.

The irony of becoming depressed with suicidal ideation in the very months after I publish a book on turning to Christ in times of terror & misery is not lost on me. It is in fact a great jumping off point for a dark humour indie film, but enough about inspiring dreck. This is a confession.

I cannot get into all the reasons this was a bad month, & they don’t matter because depression is depression. There was just a lot. A bit of it was financial, a lot of it was tremendous, unrelenting physical pain (which I have also written about, but less well). Some of it was long buried emotional pain, because I am extra good at pretending everything is peachy keen.

Don’t worry about the suicidal ideation, FYI. I ideate; I don’t plan & would certainly never carry out. I know that some of you who have known me a very long time are giving me side eye right now, because you remember a time when I did actually attempt to carry it out (or two). Those days are long past. I wouldn’t even normally describe myself as depressed in the past decade, except for now. Now is a thing.

What I do — & please don’t be jerks about this because there’s a whole story here involving a Buddhist empress — but I pray. And sometimes, when the pain is so intense I do not think I can stand another second, I pray the following:

Dear God, please heal or kill me immediately. I cannot bear another second.

Obvi, it’s not occurred to God to end my life just at this juncture. In fact, He has strangely seen fit to heal a great deal of other things that were wrong with me.

I’ve had a number of doctor, dentist, & physical therapy visits in the past months. And what I have learned at all of my most recent ones is, through my own hard work & some prescription nutrients I do not make or absorb on my own, I have improved my health so dramatically that every health care practitioner has expressed astonishment.

“Your body wants to get better,” one said. “Man, I wish all my patients worked as hard as you,” said another. “You have perfect teeth/retinas and beautiful skin!” gushed yet another couple of health care practitioners. I have improved my already pretty good lab work to stellar, & my terrible no good very bad ankle to Nearly Normal.

So the physical body, with the exception of its inability to recognize simple essential nutrients as good, is very, very healthy. Nobody believes I’m 43. I am physically 30.

Except for my central & peripheral nervous system. Those still fire like a sadist has a voodoo doll of me. Neurological stuff is a bitch, but I am always grateful it’s not organ failure. I guess if you’re going to have an organ go bad, the brain is the least…poisony of them.

How to explain…I’m in little to no danger of atherosclerosis, diabetes, COPD, liver damage, or kidney failure, and even my damaged intestines do some kind of job. Everything that’s wrong with me is in how my brain processes stimuli. It thinks everything is a life threatening injury, & it sends a casacde of pain neurotransmitters in kind.

This is not a fun existence.

But it’s also not a slow death, like the things I listed above are. It’s like…it’s like I prayed for death & God said, “Well, how about a healthier body? Would that work?”

And it kind of helps with the fibro, I guess. So now bad things need to just stop happening, & maybe I will find a moment in between crying bouts & panic attacks to be grateful that my hard work has paid off in radiant health — even if my brain 100% could not give the least of shits.

I mean, I never cry, & in the past month I’ve burst into tears in front of a substitute physical therapist, a nurse, a phlebotomist, a dentist, a dental hygienist, and an optometrist.  But I have also laughed just as hard at all of those appointments.

I’m miserable & feel like I’m short with everyone, but I’ve been called Sweetie & Cutie more times than I can count. I’ve argued before that people think I’m just adorbz when I’m angry & stampy-feets.

My prayers to God now are “Thanks?” and “You’re making me function better. Why? What have you got in store? I can’t see it yet. It seems like I am supposed to flail utterly everywhere while also having every reliable thing I needed fall out from underneath me.”

But I also thank Him for my friends, who have occasionally surprised me with kindnesses & timely bits of assistance that really have saved my ass. Most people wouldn’t want me to say their names, but Art is not most people. Art drove me home when my car died 39 minutes from it. Art is a magnificent being, & also called me a Sham Cougar, which…oh, it’s a long story.

Eventually, I will come up from this mire of unrelenting darkness & see all this as blessing. Right now, I can’t, probably because I still won’t really deeply face it & admit how bad it’s gotten. I keep trying to Gratitude Mindset my way out of things, which sometimes is bullshit. Sometimes, you really do just have to stare a thing in the face & say “You suck.”

So, My Life, you suck right now. You’ve kind of always sucked, but you got betterish at times & you even have moments of magic. But right now, you just plain, flat out suck, & I hate you. And now I feel bad for saying that to you. You didn’t mean to suck, & sometimes you even behave when I try to make you not suck. Maybe it’s actually fate that sucks.

Screw you, Fate, you bastard. Unless I am pre-paying for something bloody marvelous. In that case, I’ll take it all back upon receipt of my lay-away Destiny.

Which apparently requires me to have a mostly functioning ankle & the stellar blood work of a 30 year old woman who eats kale & jogs (I do neither of these things).

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New book! 

Here it is!

For reasons I cannot imagine except I’ve been busy, I forgot to tell y’all I have new book out! Now this one has decidedly less sex & death in it than The Method, but it also has other goals. Like trying to help you feel like you have some say in what happens to you.

So if you’re feeling rubbish or frightened by things that you feel shouldn’t frighten you, Christ, Not Crisis is your jam, in paperback & Kindle. 

You don’t have to believe in Jesus for it to speak to you. I just happen to do so, which has been life changing for me. For example, I can confidently say I love you even though I’ve never met you. I want you to feel joy, or at least safety.

Well I’ll Be

My entire life, I have recoiled with horror when Mr. Mister’s “Take These Broken Wings” is played. This is because I associate it with a murder that I witnessed as a little girl.

It was a murder on television, but still. It scared me so much I ran out of the living room & into my bedroom, where the song was playing on my radio. I can’t hear it to this day without becoming miserable.

This is how I remembered the murder. Matt Dillon ran into a room where Natalie Wood was fighting with an albino who was cutting her with a straight razor. Then the albino was stabbed with a knitting needle.

It is now over 30 years later, & I still have nightmares about this scene, so in an effort to purge myself of this trauma, I crowd sourced Twitter. Useless. So I googled.

You want to know what horror film traumatized a nine-year-old girl so badly that she has nightmares about it at 43 years of age?

Foul Play. Starring Goldie Hawn & Chevy Chase. I’m told there’s even a Burgess Meredith karate fight.

Just kill me now.

But seriously how is this horrific sight funny??! 

Copyright whatever movie studio made this hellish vision & called it a comedy.


Children are impressionable! Be careful what they’re watching!

Knowing my mum she was passed out on the settee. Or cooking. Or my brother was feeding Doritos to the cat.

PM

This is a short story.

Alexander had been dead at least two weeks. Detectives not much bothered by the smell after years of exposure to it at countless death scenes milled about, blandly discussing reasons why nobody reported the decedent missing, or even absent from work.

They soon determined from bookmarks on his laptop that he worked from home at his own pace. Maybe he did well enough to afford an apartment in North Hollywood working only two weeks a month. The detectives all shrugged at each other. 

The coroner was almost certain it was suicide, just looking at the body. The extension cord around his neck had snapped under his weight eventually, sending the putrefying corpse to the floor with a bit of a splatter. The now-loosened post on his sturdy, well-made four poster bed told the tale. There was no auto-erotic asphyxiation. This guy kept his pants on. 

But nobody could find a note. 

There was a cursory investigation and the case was closed. Alexander’s Facebook seemed to indicate there was an uncle in Biloxi. They reached out to the man, who said it was a damn shame and hung up. When they called back to see if he wanted Alexander’s few personal effects, no one answered. 

They tried again the next day, and the next week, and even the next month, but the person answering always hung up. 

~~ 

Three minutes into the raid, with even their stalwart dwarven troops taking heavy fire, the party knew something was wrong. Lord Azazel never missed a raid, much less one he organized. He always provided magical support to the grunts, aided the noobz, and wielded that mithril-forged elven legendary blade, imbued with seven perfectly arranged attribute stones, with tremendous skill. Their beloved leader “L.A.” spent hundreds of hours finishing quests and mini-quests to make that sword, and he equipped it with healing stones so powerful, he could heal tens of fellow raiders at a time.

They were dying against the mountain orcs, and L.A. was M.I.A. The raiders were angry and panicked. Their guild would surely sink in the rankings, and all they’d win would be some lousy pieces of second tier armour and, like, maybe some gold. 

After the first raid was lost, things started to go downhill. They slipped from twelfth to nineteenth in their World’s ranks. There were rumours Lord Azazel abandoned them, but he was still listed as guild father and hadn’t turned over admin responsibilities to guild mother AthenaBlade61, which everyone figured he would if he had to stop playing again for a while, like he’d had to a year ago. 

They asked AthenaBlade61 several times where he was. She only responded “IDK.” 

Eventually, somebody offered to dox Lord Azazel, but the guild voted that it was poor manners, and ultimately AthenaBlade61 forbade it, asking them how each of them would feel if they quit playing and someone did it to them. 

Some in the guild started saying amongst themselves that she must know for a fact that he left the game, with others claiming they were crazy. L.A. had put too much time and effort and love into StoneQuestOnline for Mobile. There’s no way he’d abandon them. He loved to play and he loved giving noobz a leg up. 

The guild was so torn over it that they split into two guilds: To Live and Die in L.A. and Athena’s Blades. Neither guild ever attained a ranking above 25. Lady AthenaBlade61 turned her guild over to Lord Orcbanger20 a few months later and left the game. 

When she did, she deleted her account, destroying this private message: 

“I thought our marriage in-game meant something to you. But in the course of my work as a paid online political operative (don’t worry, sides don’t matter; it’s all highest bidder), I found out that you are actually a 52-year-old professor, have been married IRL to another professor for 26 years, and have a daughter my age. You should have told me. I shared intimate secrets about myself to you. I loved you. 

I can’t go on knowing our love is a lie. I can’t do this any more. I know I should be stronger for the guild, but I can’t. You were everything to me. You were the only reason I did anything, and you are getting into bed every night with a real life man. 

Goodbye.” 

Bowie

This is a short story.

“But imagine if Bowie had been convinced at an early age to never stand out, never be weird, always toe the line. What a disaster that would have been,” sulked the man into his latte. He could’ve sworn he asked for a large black, but he paid for a large black and got extra with the milk. He wasn’t gonna complain.

“Or worse,” harrumphed his companion. “What if he had been Bowie, with all the Bowie impulses, but never was rich?” He stirred his cappuccino without looking up, smiling faintly to himself without mirth.

Latte blinked and touched his own glasses out of nervous reflex. “I don’t follow you.”

Cappuccino was still stirring, but now removed the spoon. “Think about it,” he said without looking up, tasting the spoon. More sugar. He added some. Then, stirring again, he looked Latte in the eye. “If Bowie were just Bowie, a guy, and not Bowie the guy – what would he have been? Annoying and fey at best, dead at worst.”

Latte sputtered while Cappuccino sipped, having found a satisfying sweetness, “Nothing you’re saying to me makes sense.”

Cappuccino, whose real name was Al, waved his free hand in the general vicinity of the window. “Look at all of these unique and special assholes,” he said. Latte, whose real name was Geoff, gazed out into the street.

Al pointed with his spoon. “This one with the blue hair and the leather and the roller skates? She probably thinks she’s an artist. She probably thinks she’s unique. But look about a hundred feet over here, Geoffrey. No, other way. See that? Girl with pink hair, leather, and roller skates.” He stopped a second. “Actually, there’s a lot of them out there. Maybe there’s a flash mob or something. Anyhow, that’s beside the point.”

“What is your point, Al?” asked Geoff, who had sweat on his upper lip and receding hair line and had barely touched his latte.

Al laughed. “When weird people don’t have money, they’re just another unique asshole. And back in the day, when he was coming up, working class England would’ve killed him. Dressing like a girl and all that. He’d have been poof bashed or whatever those fancy assholes call it.”

Geoff was quite beside himself. He wiped his forehead with a napkin. “How can you say that about Bowie?”

Al laughed. “I’m not saying that about Bowie. I’m saying if he never had money, or fame, he would have been seen as just another annoying unique asshole like all the other annoying unique assholes. It doesn’t pay to be interesting, Geoff. Unless you have money, it seems contrived.” He took a substantial gulp of cappuccino.

Geoff wadded up his sweat-drenched napkin and bounced it on the table. He took a hearty swig of his latte. “Oh yeah, well, what do you know about it?”

Al, who looked like a cross between Robert Loggia and sensibly priced overstuffed couch, looked long into his cappuccino and laughed. With a twinkle in his eye, he told Geoff, “When I was 17, I did a performance art piece for the local community college where I wore a black leotard and draped myself in sausage.”

Geoff spat up a good portion of his latte on to the table, which he then mopped up with the sweaty napkin wad.

Al laughed. “Ten pounds of sausage. In links. And you know what my father did when he came to see my performance? He beat the shit out of me. That’s what he did. He said ‘Your mother and I didn’t suffer under Mussolini for you to waste perfectly good food!’ And he was right. He was right to say that, and he probably should’ve beat my ass two years earlier.”

Geoff just shook his head.

Al continued, “So do I love David Bowie as much as the next guy? Yes. But if he hadn’t been rich, somebody’s dad would’ve beat the shit out of him for being an annoying, unique asshole.”

Geoff stared out the window at what was indeed a flash mob of girls with unnaturally coloured hair, leather jackets, and roller skates. He sighed. “Bowie would’ve thought this was stupid.”

Al laughed, draining his cup. “Or he would’ve made it a lyric.” Doing an unnervingly spot-on impersonation, he sung to the tune of “All the Young Dudes”, “Skaters on Main, hair made of paint. Skaters on Main, leather and pain.”

Geoff was just sulking now. “I don’t think you appreciate Bowie at all. I think you think he’s a gimmick.”

Al slammed the cup down so hard, the other café patrons finally noticed the two old men by the window. “Get out,” he barked hoarsely.

Geoff sat back and blinked. “What?”

Al’s hands balled into fists on the table. “In all the years I’ve known you, you’ve never stooped so low. Get out.”

“But I…”

“I never want to see your face again.”

Geoff’s eyes went wide. “We were in Nam together.”

“Out,” hissed Al, and Geoff knew it was time to go. He left a couple dollars on the table and headed out into the rain.

High school

All y’all acting like you hate drama & you just want everything to be calm, but I have looked into your beady little souls & nearly every last one of you is high school AF…as the high schoolers say.

Don’t even; just stop. You know it. The second someone not in your group loses or messes up, schadenfraude washes over you like warm, buttery caramel down a monkey’s back in a movie I shouldn’t tell you about. 

When your group triumphs, you all high five each other like it was 3rd & goal at the end of the fourth quarter & you won! You won, damm it. You’re number one! You’re number one!

I once watched a group of approximately 40 adults learn something at a party about another person — something that was irrefutably awful enough on its own. But after an hour of discussion, they started finding other things to discuss to further drive home this person’s repugnant nature. “Oh, not only did he kill that girl, but you know I never liked him.”

“Oh, me either. He chewed with his mouth open. Who does that?”

And then the swarm. “OMG, one time? We were at lunch? And he didn’t contribute to the tip.” Stories like this continued for hours.

These were male and female adults between the ages of 37 & 68. And that wasn’t the only time. In fact I’m pretty sure I’m confusing two or three incidents.

Y’all do it online with your values signaling to other kids in your clique. Y’all do it when you tweet mean things at the Real Housewife you’ve never met, but hate (but honestly what the hell is wrong with Brandi Glanville?!). Y’all do it when you wreak havoc at the office trying to find out what happened to Clay in marketing.

And you know what? You never won’t. It’s been hard wired into your brain boxes for 40,000 years. You are tribal & are wired to be so. I can’t even talk about how awful you are to my own tribe, who are, generally speaking, thoughtful intellectuals & philosopher kings, natch. We like David Lynch & rescue cats & college radio even though we’re closer to 50 than 20. And we heart David Bowie (every era, damnit) & utterly despise gossip.

Except David Bowie said, I read somewhere, probably in Vogue or more likely Allure in the early ’90s, that gossip is how the middle classes get their news. It’s empowering. And I don’t fault it for that. In some organizations, it’s the only way anyone learns anything.

This isn’t even a treatise against gossip. If it’s not cruel & you admit your sources are not verified, gossip can be entertaining & helpful. Why yes, that chick is pregnant, & that is why she broke down & started crying in the middle of book club, then ate all the quiche.

The problem is the high school pettiness that is everything now. News, public discourse, and even presidential communication has been replaced with adolescent tomfoolery. Everybody is nasty, & don’t think it just started with President Obvious. Obama threw a whole ton of shade, but people think shade is classier. It’s certainly less obvious.

There are all kinds of mean girls. Some say awful things to your face. And some quietly ruin you from the shadows. They both go to high school, they both post on social media, they all run for office & they’re male & female of every flavour of sexuality the human imagination has recently dreamed up.

It’s popular to be high school. But I never liked high school. My core group of friends were literally the same type of people I like now: college radio listening, David Lynch liking weirdos. The difference now is that I like church people, too. Sometimes, they are also college radio listening, David Lynch liking weirdos. Sometimes they have nothing more in common with me than a love of Christ. And the cool thing about Christ is that He’s generally enough in common to break down tribal thinking.

I know a lot of you who read my stuff don’t care for religion of any kind, & the good news is, you don’t have to follow Christ to stop being a tribal high school asshat. Though I recommend Christ as a short cut through everything that blows. He’s like lemon juice; He brightens the flavour of everything.

But enough stupid cooking-oriented blasphemy. The key to letting go of high school tribalness is to find one thing in common with The Other. That’s it. And I can tell you what several things in common you have with The Other right now, even if you can’t bring yourself to do it.

You, a Neo Nazi, a tranvestite dominatrix, a crochet enthusiast, those people who are into curling, Kanye West, and even people who sell Plexus & essential oils require Earth’s atmosphere to live.

Not one of you is a silicon life force that breathes lava and craps stone. But even with that being, you have one thing in common. Crap. Everybody poops.

The next time you want to plaster somebody behind a wall with your hatred &/or righteous online trolling, imagine  that person with Norovirus. Imagine yourself with Norovirus. You both live in the bathroom & want to die, right? Doesn’t that espouse just a little empathy?

See, this is why I turn to Jesus. If I don’t, it’s all going to be poop.

My Muse

David Lynch has Chrysta Bell & had Julee Cruise. I’ve been a muse at least twice that I’ve been told. And today I realized I have my own muse.
It’s the boyfriend.

My first published novel, The Method, was actually his idea. But he inspires me daily to greater & weirder heights of absurdity. He’s like a walking Lynchian Red Room.

Today we were sitting in a Denny’s. He got the Grand Slam, eggs over medium, extra crispy all-bacon as always. I had a salad. While eating my salad, I was chastising myself for not liking country music, which I knew he grew up with. His father was even in a country band.

Then it dawned on me that, in a very real way, I like England’s version of country music. Or specifically, Manchester’s. How did I not see before that pretty much any Smiths’ song would make a fantastic country track? Can you imagine Alan Jackson doing The Boy With the Thorn in His Side

Or k.d. lang doing Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now? Seriously.

Now I actually can’t stop thinking about this. Except on the ride home, he said something to me about a cock horse, which immediately brought forth this song from my lips:

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross

To see a fine lady upon a white horse

Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes

She shall have music wherever she goes

I don’t know how I know this, I don’t know why I “remember” the tune — I just do. I said I thought it was a nursery rhyme, prompting him to make fun of me for being from a country that expects children to sing “cock horse.”

Upon returning home, I brushed the cat for the 5th time today, singing to him to this tune:

H-i-m-a-l-a-y-a-n

You’ve got a fluff ass

Fur in my face

You meow like Ben Sasse

All over the place

You like Greenies

That won’t change

You’re so glamourous

Ooh the fluffy fluffy.

I don’t know if the cat likes any of the songs I sing to him, but the BF & I both do it all the time.

Anyhow, if you hate any of my creative projects, blame him.