TEMPER, TEMPER! – Marilyn Armstrong

“Temper, temper!”

That’s what grownups used to say to us when we got angry about whatever it was about which they weren’t angry. I don’t think people say it anymore.

There are so many things to get angry about. I think I’m more puzzled by people who don’t have a temper and seem to think “Oh, everything will work out fine, dear …” Like some kind of mentally deranged auntie who thinks a cookie and milk can solve everyone’s problems.

I say it to me, though. Because there really are so many things to get angry about. Unlike days of yore, everything is important.

Cuts to Medicare will make it less likely we will get proper medical care and considering we aren’t getting any younger, that is a terrifying prospect. Reductions in Medicaid — what we call “Mass Health” — will mean more sick people everywhere. Other cuts will ensure more people living in the street.

In this climate, people freeze to death.

Our desertion of any attempt to control the environment bodes ill for everyone living thing, no matter where they live. If you can’t breathe now, wait a couple of years and you will really be choking.

Temper, temper!

I try to keep it in check because otherwise, I’ll be ranting and railing about everything. We are living on a planet spinning backward, trying to recapture the “perfection” of a time that was anything but perfect. Some kind of mental breakdown is convincing people they should go back to those non-existent days when we lived in a world of smiles and rainbows.

Except we didn’t live there. We just saw it in the movies and on television. I certainly didn’t live in it. I guarantee Garry didn’t live there either.

The world has always been terrifying. All these things going on are intended to make the world safe for the 240 remaining Very Rich White Men. It will not make the world safer for me, you, or anyone we know.

All of us struggled to make a decent life. Everything happening now will increase the struggle and make life harder for us.

FOWC

DON’T BE AFRAID TO LET THEM SHOW – Rich Paschall

True Colors by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

It’s hard to grow up with the perception that you are different from everyone else, even if it is not really so. When you do not know much about the outside world, the world inside you can make you sad. “Why am I not like everyone else?” you may wonder.

“Why am I so different?”  Thoughts like this can lead to sadness. Even though you try to act happy on the outside, your eyes might give you away.

“You with the sad eyes

Don’t be discouraged

Oh I realize It’s hard to take courage…”

75-RainbowNK-2 There is no way to know that being different is not necessarily wrong when your emotions are telling you otherwise.  Worse yet, other people are telling you that different is wrong, even if only in an indirect way.

“Cut it out.”

“Be a man.”

“Grow up.”

“Stop crying.”

“Why can’t you be more like your brother, cousin, sister, uncle, ____(fill in the blank.)”

“Don’t you like sports?”

“Don’t be a sissy.”

“Only a queer would wear that shirt, pants, shoes, ____(fill in the blank).”

Some seem hard-wired to accept the criticism as they grow up. They look like everything just rolls right off of them. They smile while they hurt. You may think, “Every kid is teased as he grows up. It’s just part of life.” Yes, we all get teased, but some of us are different from the majority … and can’t cope with the teasing.

“In a world full of people

You can lose sight of it all

And the darkness inside you

Can make you feel so small…”

At the darkest moment, a rainbow may appear

With a limited view of the world, and lack of experience dealing with the emotions tossed your way, you can feel small, insignificant, different. And different seems bad when you are trying to find your way. What is inside you has dark colors and no glow.

“Dear god,” you may silently cry in the loneliness of a dark room just down the hall from the so-called regular people, “please make me like everyone else.” The prayer might be repeated until you are empty of tears, and they no longer wash down your face.

“But I see your true colors shining through

I see your true colors and that’s why I love you…”

If you are different, but not in a bad or destructive way, you may need someone to reach out and tell you it’s all right. Someone, anyone, needs to explain that different can be okay. You don’t have to be like the majority. Each can possess unique characteristics that make them special, important, creative, fun. And everyone is worthy of love.

“So don’t be afraid to let them show: your true colors…”

Encouragement is needed to let friends, neighbors, and especially young ones know that each has his own gift. We can’t all be the same. We can’t all do the same things. There is nothing wrong with singing a different tune, being a different kind of person. Diversity can be strength. All the pieces can come together to form a perfect picture. When all the colors are put alongside each other, they can bring everyone joy.

“True colors are beautiful like a rainbow.”

If all this seems a bit cryptic, then let’s just say it is tough to grow up different and hiding who you are. The song “True Colors” has taken on a rather symbolic meaning in some circles since it was first recorded by Cyndi Lauper. Contrary to what some belief, it was not written by Lauper and was in fact the only song on her True Colors album she did not have a hand in writing. Nevertheless, it resonated with her and years later she co-founded the True Colors Fund to wipe out LGBT youth homelessness.

John Legend sings this for kids and teachers. You can find a Cyndi Lauper version here.

HIDING BEHIND MYSELF – Marilyn Armstrong

#FOWC — Hidden Identity

When I first started blogging on WordPress more than six years ago, I was still very into the book I wrote, so I took as my online address part of the name of my book and I called myself “Teepee 12” because the book is called “The 12-foot Teepee.”

A couple of years down the road of blogging, after I’d broken through and had an audience and all that, one day I realized no one knew my name. Everyone called me “Teepee.” I had never intended to be anonymous. I’d been writing publicly since I was a very young woman, so my name was published in a lot of places. If I’d sought anonymity, I should have done it a lot sooner.

So way back then, I switched and started using my own name. Why? Because I got really tired of being called Teepee. The book became old news and I seriously wish I’d taken Serendipity as the address for this blog because it would have saved me from WordPress’s shenanigans when a couple of months ago they decided to not bother to protect site names anymore. I’ve had to dig myself out of that hole. If my address had matched my site name, it wouldn’t have been an issue, but they were different and Serendipity was no longer an option.

So I had a secret identity entirely accidentally. Which was silly because I was at that point still a published writer under my own name, so having a secret name as a blogger while publishing as myself in magazines seemed a bit peculiar.

Thus I became me. A lot of people decloaked and became themselves at that point. It turned out that being yourself made you no more of a target than not being yourself because any hacker who wants to really know who you are will find out quickly enough. I could do it, but I don’t want to bother.

Hacking is like, you know, WORK. And as Maynard G. Krebbs used to say: “Work is a 4-letter word.”

Amen, Maynard. Amen.

DREAMING OF LOTTERY WINS – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP #3 – IMAGINATION

I’m imagining my life if I really won the lottery. Would I fix this house, or knock it down and build a new one? What kind of car would we get?

I’m imagining spending the worst months of winter in a warmer climate … like … Arizona maybe? I’m imagining getting my teeth properly fixed and Garry getting whatever is on his wish list. Being able to afford to get the dogs groomed — which would require that they find the time to take them. I don’t think more money would help with that!

What does Duke dream about?

I’m not imagining how this would change my body because — other than my teeth — it won’t. We are what we are. With all the money in the world, we aren’t going to be doing vast amounts of traveling, although I suppose flying first class might beat out Economy. Okay so maybe a little better.

The ultimate non-repairable problem is you can’t buy youth or health. These matters are in the hands of larger powers than the lottery.

This is my favorite form of dreaming — the one where we get all the money we need and imagining how we can use it. Who we can help. How many others we can help dig out of the holes getting older has pushed them into.

Then I realize we have a problem.

We never buy lottery tickets. We intend to buy them, but we forget.  No danger of winning. Or losing.

No tickets, no bushels of bucks. Next time?

DREAM AND REAL – Marilyn Armstrong

Juxtapose

In my dreams – now rapidly fading as dreams do when you wake – is that I was so exhausted I could not continue. I didn’t know why I was so exhausted, only that I could barely raise my head from the pillow. I knew I had to quit the job that I had and I wasn’t entirely clear what job I was working

It turned out I was working for the military, searching out information on obscure (unknown?) bases in distant places … and I was not allowed to tell anyone what I was doing because I was supposedly doing something else. I had gotten my old friend Dorothy to join me and she had been working on some other base in some other part of the world, but had finally had enough and quit.

I wanted to quit too, but I felt I had to stay because it was secret and military and somehow, important, though I wasn’t sure why it was important. Or to whom.

Juxtapose reality: Life has been exhausting. I do what I must and then I do what I should and just when I think I’ve done everything I need to do, it’s the next day and I have to do most of it again and I know it will never end.

Moral of the story? I need to cut back on what I think are the requirements of life. But I’m not sure what they are anymore. I’m no longer sure where the necessities are versus the things I really want to do. For whatever reason, they have become so entangled that I just try to do everything. Because I know that no one else will do them.

Having dug my computer out of hacker land, I’m changing the router – which I can ill-afford to do – but I feel pretty exposed and I need to feel more protected in a world gone mad with crazy people who are out to get me.

Why is anyone trying to get me? Or us? We have so little, why us? We know there is no answer to that question, or at least, no answer that will make us understand. The ugliness of the world is the real truth of it.

A group who had little feel they owe nothing to anyone but themselves. They probably laugh at us when they imagine how many poor people have been made even poorer through their efforts.

The right way to sleep

A cold shiver runs down my back when I realize that there are so many evil people in this world and my trusting them has not gained respect but simply made me a target.

If my dreams are telling me anything, it’s that there is too much on my plate. Too much of it feels desperately important and frightening. Oppressive. Somehow, I have to find a way to lower the pressure. I don’t know how.

I wish I had a list of ways to get it done. Something. This is no way for me to be living, not at this time in my life.

MY BROTHER MATTHEW – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week – Siblings

My brother was four years older than me. We did the usual scrabbling and arguing as kids, but over all, we were friends and allies in a seriously dysfunctional home. How dysfunctional I would not know until we were teenagers, but it was bad.

 

Matthew left home — with my mother’s help — when he was 17 and I was gone by the same age — in my case, without help.

I loved him and he loved me. He had many problems caused largely by that same horribly dysfunctional childhood we lived, but we understood what had happened and though we did not talk to others, we talked to each other because we were the only ones alive who knew how it had been.

He died 10 years ago of pancreatic cancer and I have never stopped missing him. I haven’t many pictures of him but these are a few.

SHARING YOUR WORLD – IT’S BEEN QUITE THE WEEK! – Marilyn Armstrong

Sharing My World: What A Week!

What household chore do you absolutely enjoy doing? (can be indoor or outdoor)

I don’t really enjoy household chores. I get a certain satisfaction from getting stuff done, but enjoying it? Not really. I’m just glad when it’s finished. Probably the best I can do with this is feeling pleased that something which needed doing got done. I won’t have to worry about it at least, not until the next time it needs doing.

Back when I had a spine that bent, I used to enjoy gardening, but these days, it’s more work and less fun. I still love the flowers, though. Even though it hurts.

Create a sentence with the words “neon green” and train.”

The neon green train roared across the Providence-Worcester bridge in Uxbridge.

Everyone stared, rubbed their eyes, then — being New Englanders — said “Well, that was different” and moved on. You can’t surprise people in this region. We’ve seen it all.

Other than your cell phone what can you always be found with?

A camera. Actually, you may not find the cell phone (though it’s usually somewhere in my purse, but not turned on), but there are cameras everywhere.

A bench full of cameras

If I’m in the house, computers too. I have too many cameras and I love them all. Each one is unique and special in its own way.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 

Garry finally got to talk to the doctor who is going to do his cochlear implant and now things are moving forward. I think sometime before summer ends, the surgery. It’s kind of a miracle because it will be the first time in his life that Garry will be able to truly hear.

Then the long process of tuning up and learning the sounds and waiting for his brain to make it sound “normal.” Apparently, at some point for no known reason, your brain will turn the mechanical sounds you get from the implant and make them sound normal, like they used to sound when you could hear.

Why does it happen? No one knows, though many people have made good guesses. The brain is an amazing tool.