The Interiors of People

Quote/poem by Catherine “Kitty” O’ Meara.

I just saw that Jared Leto had been off on a 12 day meditation retreat and came back to civilization today to realize it’s now basically gone, and my first thought was how cool and lucky he was to be off doing that so that now he can be that person walking calmly amongst the chaos.


Because Meditation helps you take back your own mind which you didn’t even know it was hijacked, and the feeling of connecting with your self like that is akin to a profound quiet. Where the “striving ceases, and there is life waiting as a gift,” having pierced through the limitations of our own mind as if finally discovering the fullness of ourselves. It’s like that time I looked up at the night sky and instead of the stars/full moon, became terrified as if suddenly I questioned my own safety as the earth—a huge magnified rock supported “underneath” by nothing tangible—spins at 1000 mph and hurtles through the void of space. Which was the start of a journey of coming to peace with how truly safe we are; that we are only alive because of physical improbabilities we don’t even have to acknowledge we benefit from.


And Civilizations have fallen before—we’re not special. Physical structures fall, humanity fails one another; concepts replace the reality of a spinning planet and chaos is embedded in our inability to fully see until we’re forced to. But what we do with the chaos that’s inside and outside—who we become during it, how we can use a mind unhijacked to create a beautiful life fully lived in the wholeness of ourselves—is what makes us special.


For its not just chaos, trauma, sudden change, disruption, brand new ways of grieving as we lose the things that once comforted us; it’s also terror under a darkened sky that pushes us towards a deeper awareness—we never before could fully gasp— that inside all that truth are actually gracious invitations to long-unseen interior places of safety.

Breathy

My daughter, Livy, and I were talking in the car yesterday about Marilyn Monroe and reflected on what a hard road it must have been during that time as a beautiful, sexually-alluring woman with a kind heart and desire for meaning deeper than popular society felt she was capable of.

Livy told me Marilyn was born within one month of Queen Elizabeth and after she said that, I imagined Marilyn as an older woman just like Queen Elizabeth, maybe carrying a little dog in her purse with smile wrinkles around her eyes that doubled as her best friend. But she never got there. Because people kill themselves; that’s real and unfortunate, and often it’s because they don’t feel valued for what they truly are. They’re rushed into the smallness of a carry-on bag for what should be the luxurious potential of a flight bearing beauty, brains and authentic kind heartsAnd it takes a true bullshit personality to accept the limitations of a humanity that doesn’t know how to behave so fidgets. That doesn’t know how to pay attention when the sages talk so instead turn up the TV. And when the mischievous ones with the smile lines show up in curves and breathy persona, our societal norms of rabid extroversion devoid quiet listening bury them. Toss them into the abyss of unhealthy coping skills and a society which has the desire and capacity to be happy—to be so much more and make an incredible world—but delude and unknowingly phone it in, laughing loudly to cover the loneliness.

The end of my conversation with Livy had me reflecting on life and society, the norms, the media, the tendency to fetishize the most vapid and unimportant things, and I told her that I’m trying to walk my own road and instead of moving through life in search of events or tangible things, trying to move through life in search of feelings of wholeness and connection independent of what society plugs as that would be.

And it took me a long time to get here. It was a road where I went off the edge, down the abyss into that loneliness; into the darkness. Devoid of external value, deeming self unloved, unlovable. And that somehow I survived, is an accomplishment bestowed also upon our foremothers who didn’t.

And wherever Marilyn is, I hope she knows I’m listening to the story of her life, and relishing it’s luxurious import, and the gift that it helped carry me out of the madness.

Recalibrating

And I didn’t want my face to be puffy—and don’t like to upset the animals—but I was crying as I took this first picture.

For various reasons that day, I couldn’t hold back the ocean and—as Killian and Smudge moved about their deck—painted my face with loneliness and afternoon sun.

And science says tears carry stress hormones out of the body, leaving us more chemically-balanced but I wasn’t feeling that hope at that time. For life is so thick sometimes. Like windshield smeared with dirt—like the air in Salt Lake City, white snow on the ground Alpine-wholesome while the mountains disappear into 55.5 µg/m³ smog—and true sight is lost inside microscopic complexities and forfeit to sudden worrisome torrents, unseen mountains masked by chemical-laden water breaking free (finally) to flow down slopes of pine needles and skin.

And Killian is an orange kitty with dementia, who is a sweet, playful ham until his parents get home—when he runs and hides as if he’s never seen them before—and Smudge, the black and white is normally more aloof so after this picture—taken exactly 30 days ago; a vision of idealism–I decided to delete my Facebooks. To give up the charade. To celebrate having had a good run—sharing my authentic and whole self, seeing others do the same—and to honor that the world is a dynamic place where I’ve changed, and where tears falling from eyes hold sorrow as it leaves the body.

And today is the last day I can go back and retrieve anything—in where like I’m imagining you log on and are immediately faced with “I told you so,”, and maybe I’d apologize to Zuck personally via email?; I mean, I just don’t know, it’s so awkward and uncharted—but the interesting thing is that I posted so many things, so many pictures, so much fluff, comments, etc. but there’s only one thing that I specifically remembered to go back and save, and that’s the picture of Livy falling asleep in my bed after our night in the ER following her first grand mal seizure at Classic Skating. Pic 2. Julia had seen it happen—I wasn’t even there; they were with their stepmom—and was hysterical/having a panic attack, so Livys then-stepbrother Taylor rode in the ambulance with Liv because their stepmom had to drive the rest of the kids behind the ambulance to the hospital. And the picture itself is nothing really; of a teen girl—covers messy, on her side, face angled towards the mattress; worn, spent, exhausted, alive, safe in my bed after a dangerous day—but it’s everything.

Because some things you can’t ever truly savor until you let the pain bubble up and through, until the mountains are masked and you feel so lonely you’re crying on a Republican’s deck. Until the terror that you’re watching your baby sister die—paramedics hovering over her, asking if she can remember her name and how old she is—gets recalibrated into driving up to Ogden after work to get her from college because you miss her. Until you see your child breathe in your bed, knowing that the deep gift of sorrow and redemption is that your life can now be as profound as you’ll allow.

Until your fairy child has epilepsy (and also depression, anxiety and a micro-tumor on her pituitary) and your firstborn loves like a big dream and a kitty named Smudge is the risen humanity you desperately need, who with paws on your knees one lonely day, asks “Are you OK? Can I help?”

And Time itself dilates—science says that too—and all things have the hope for bearing us back into the sensation of love. So right here, now, today, this year, and [emboldened by gravity’s warping of Time] over this entire life upon this planet, I move towards Julia, Livy, Smudge, Killian, tears, writing, pictures, mountains, sorrow, healing, gratitude, creativity, and all forces yet unknown breaking our culture of loneliness, their black and white fur earnestly checking in with chemical-covered faces and afternoon sun on early November days.

[Edit, 12/11/2019:  And when I say I’m lonely, I don’t mean for human companionship. You can be with someone, married or otherwise mated, and still be lonely. What makes me feel lonely—or did on that day—was “the machine”. The march of humanity blindly forward towards their Truman Show; what makes me lonely is the assumptions we make about others, the misguided envy; how hard it is to stop from saying something hurtful and how we find it perfectly acceptable to not reach out, to help. It isn’t that I believe people are bad or selfish; its actually that I believe they’re good and just can’t be quiet].

Hustling

I just watched a video from my Instagram “posts you might like” which was four minutes of some blue eyed, 30 year old lifestyle hustler detailing the necessity of dermaplaning every six weeks with spot touchups done at home with special razors to prevent you from the scandal of baby fine facial hairs you can’t even see but that have infiltrated your face. And I watched to the very end because I thought it was satire and when I realized it wasn’t was kind of disappointed until I sat inside my middle-aged face, sense of humor and 50 year lifetime arc to come to see that even for a 30-year-old lifestyle blogger rich in youth and money, not-intending-it-as-satire someday it still will be. [p.s., My appointment is Monday ;)] And that screenshot of her is with the special razor you can buy on Amazon. I didn’t purposely take a screenshot trying to make her look so weird but I guess to that I’ll just say to her: baby girl, you’ll be one of us someday and we’ll accept you however it is you show up.

The Dead

Pic 1: “Ladyfinger, dipped in Moonlight, writing ‘what for?’ across the morning sky.” May this day and all others see us into skies speaking songs to the calm of a gentle world.

DD2 and I were talking the other day about the 27 Club. It started because she’d told me how much she liked the song Santeria by Sublime (though Waiting for my Ruca is clearly their best one, duh) and I told her the lead had OD’d then we veered into Kurt Cobain’s death, and I said he was a feminist and an LGBTQ-ally and that it must have been hard for him to breathe so to speak and maybe that’s why he did it. For that was when America made trans people the butt of jokes and when “coming out of the closet” embraced the ridiculousness that being born gay was somehow controversial, and I reflected that for someone like him—an artist, an ally to those treated unfairly—to be popularized and even idolized by often-vacuous people hip to a scene rather than a bigger purpose—who knew of him yet did not really “know” him nor probably ever could—must have felt so empty. Because to be “front page” to such a society would be lonely, knowing you’ve achieved “the dream” only to have that dream consist of the barren hollowness of speaking profound ideas into a world that only loves to hear itself talk.

Anyways, that line by the Grateful Dead always makes me think of Stephen Trig (not his real last name); a few years ago, I made a meme from it and he’s the only one who recognized where the lyrics were from. The GD are the epitome of living your best, most real life because they released all the “shoulds” and just flowed. And yeah, they crashed at the end but sometimes I think crashing is actually when things get so real you have no choice but to shed the vacuous bullshit and uncover your most profound self. That’s how I see it anyways. And Stephen always had something authentic to say—it wasn’t just the same meaningless bullshit talking about himself that makes up the majority of our culture—and when he died of a heart attack while mowing his lawn (not long after I posted that meme) I felt his presence a few days after, and know that all these years later, he’s somewhere more befitting such a self

Crazy/effective

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I boogied home from a pet sit this morning before DD1 and her BFF embarked on their camping trip to Moab because I wanted to give them my pep talk about personal safety (gathered over my almost 48 years of being personally safe), but we hadn’t seen each other for a few days so when I got home we were all laughing and being silly, and Julia was complaining that she had probably broken her toe and I told Ellen that it wasn’t looking good for Julia’s survival so she had my okay to abandon (or snack on) Julia if it came to that so I got distracted and all I could remember was to give them a hunting knife, Continue reading “Crazy/effective”

4:51, and Ripe

This morning I rose at 4:51 to a chorus of high-pitched mews from the foster kitten room (rough translation of which was: “get up! ‘the f-ck this door still closed for?”) and my own cats scrambled when I got up and let them out because the old batch of fosters had been trained to stay the hell clear but this new batch uses my cats’ litter box and scamper around like happy little assholes and it’s bullshit, and watching my cats bitchslap kittens makes me wonder what would happen if cats had access to low grade uranium and Internet forums.

And on their way out, the kittens summit the pile of laundry indelicately blocking the hallway and it’s Class A athlete stuff because the pile is enormous (to include all the clothes that need washing AND all the clothes I even own=I have no clean clothes) and the laundry room is downstairs which might as well be nirvana so it’s been growing in “complexity” (ripeness) but the kittens push forth through my shame and my cats find higher ground as they explode like shrapnel into the living room.

By neither nature nor profession am I a fancy person. Yesterday, I had six animals and two kindergarteners climb onto my lap; I scooped five litter boxes, walked three dogs; helped one girl with lice pull back her hair, reminded one boy to stop picking his nose, one not to hysterically laugh when he passed gas, and washed a thirds accidentally-flicked applesauce off my bottom lip with what (I’m hoping) was superhuman zeal; then today by 8:10 a.m., my Siberian cat rubbed against me with a suspiciously wet tail and I had to give two kittens a bath because they fell into the toilet. When I leave the house, I may or may not be covered in cat hair, toilet water, boogers, lice, or someone else’s crusty food, and there have been moments during my work days when I’ve said “oh my god! What’s that smell?!” and I wasn’t that surprised to find out that it was me.

And it used to bother me because the world likes to keep score, and I know that society values folded laundry, kittens who aren’t covered in toilet water and women wearing their most presentable self. But just past the pile of laundry, is the realm of personal pride in doing something meaningful and the self-love needed to accept that not everyone is here to be black and cream patent-leather Kate Spades, coiffed hair, tailored coat, beautiful to look at with an unmistakable air of frigidity.

And while I don’t always cheer to look down at myself and think “holy shit; wtf happened to me?” I have accepted that it is your heart that tells you what to value and if you don’t listen to her, you’ll one day end up pissed off because somehow you got stuck living a standard rather than your life.

So…I’m out of pants.

Yesterday I wore what amounts to a fashion “concoction”. Sweater over dress, dress over yoga pants with my Nepalese boots disguising the fact that I ran out of socks a full week ago, and, today, my pants are my “Velcro” pants, that are basically size 6 miracles capable of energetically-manifesting lint, fuzz, dirt and copious quantities of animal hair up and down their length even when no animals were even present which is not a joke and not at all funny because it’s like being a walking advertisement for witchcraft.

But whatever. It’s all good.

Live in your heart. Be real. Everyone has a place in this world.

Her baby

December 17, 2016

As I was driving to a pet sit this morning–in the frigid air–I passed a bus stop on 5th East and saw a woman of smaller stature all bundled up with backpack holding a plastic doll the size of a real baby.

While waiting for my light, I stared at her–at first, just trying to figure out if it was a real baby, then after realizing it wasn’t, wanting to join her experience for a moment, to see if she was okay; if she was hopeful or despairing; what the story was; just to be with her for a minute before I had to drive off–and as I did, I saw her look at the baby adoringly, and snuggle it to her, then watched as she gave it quick little playful kisses under its purple, fleece, hooded onesie, as if she was trying to distract it from how cold and boring it was to be waiting out there in the air for the bus.

I just…..This world. Sweet and beautiful and amazing, and filled with surprises, because I didn’t feel sorry for her. The only thing I could think of was “Good for her.” Look at her loving that thing. Look at her unashamed and coping.

I don’t know.

Because in a life filled with trauma and a bevy of unhealthy behaviors–a world where people with mental issues can’t get help and heroin use often begins as self-medication–holding a baby doll at a bus stop and giving it loving kisses in full sight of a judgmental world seems infinitely more functional than trying to appear like you’re perfectly “normal”, nothings ever wrong, then going home to binge on shame, anger, and heroin.

Anyways, my prayers go to all those suffering with trauma and mental health issues who are unable to get help and find effective coping skills; my prayers also go to the rest of us, that we can help be a source for healing where it’s possible to do so, even if that means not pointing and scoffing at the older lady standing in the cold kissing the face of her plastic baby doll.

[This was so intense when it happened last year and seemed like I’d always remember it and yet I didn’t; it popped up on the memories on my old FB profile and I had to read it all the way through to even get the mental image of where exactly I’d seen her and what that moment looked like. Brrr. It was so cold that day, I stepped right back into that part of it, then she came in and the baby, which I don’t emphasize enough the size of but the proportions were interesting because the woman was so petite and the baby doll the size of an actual few month old baby. I originally posted it with that Circa video of the Mannequin Challenge for a heroin overdose which is so powerful but left it off this because I think they compete rather than complement.]