Two more years to go before I become the age of my mother when she committed suicide in 1988. She was a mere 55. I was a mere 27 years old. I felt about 16 the day I was told she was dead. Today I turned 53, and see myself more as like her in the brilliant ways she was on her good days, than not, now a days. I don’t have the impregnable depression that she suffered from, nor the fits of cleanliness that accompanied some of her “manic”‘ states. I, alas, am more of a sunny to partly cloudy to rain shower mood rider, like a hang glider on a wicked wind some days, with fewer thrills. I left my mother when I was 15, just. She had become unhinged yet again, and I had not the fortitude to stand in front of her raging one more time, after many times in my childhood, and espcially not at a mercurial age 15. I went to my dad’s home. He had just moved into a rent house behind the hospital in which he worked, almost in anticipation of my move, and subsequently my brother’s very traumatic departure a few months later. But, I digress. Today I am a contented 53. I am happily past the angst of 15 most days, sans the days of hormonal swings that bring back the teenager within as I traverse the next phase of my life here on planet earth, the big “M” for women. I will be in a bit of a tangle of sorts this coming year, as I sort out the last of the negative fall out from a botched divorce, but I am certain I will and can become the person my spirit is leading me to be. She–this new person within me— is a person who values those intangibles in life, who can’t be found worrying about a scratch on a car, or on a computer lap top cover, or a lost earring. Things are completely and easily replaced. Love, wisdom, laughter, life itself simply to be cherish, to be enjoyed fully and completely, now, I journey. The stuff and nonsense that I see society at large worshiping at this point in time, cars, houses, power, money, things—these are so ephemeral, so temporary. I don’t understand even my latent fixation on such things at times.
Mom would be proud now of my journey, and I do feel that she is around somewhere beyond the grave looking in on me in silent tacit approval of my choices these past years, and my girls, ages 21 and 25 as of this next year, are also making her very proud. They are my soul sisters, my butterflies, my perfect babies grown into less than perfect but more than wise young women, almost Shamans, in their interactions with me. I am blessed. So I feel that it is my turn to share the blessings of my experiences. All things, in life, work toward one goal, and that goal is chosen in each moment of life. I know that the choices I have are pretty simple, love or fear. There is no ownership of a material world, but there is manifestation of love or fear that seems to exist in what is called the physical or material world. Can I choose love? Sure. Can I regress and choose fear? But of course! Which will I choose? I am not sure I always choose love, but I do see the results when I do choose it. So, at the tender age of 53, I look back amazed and I can look forward with joy.
I know that my mother, and my father, both did the best that they knew how to do in life. I wish Mom had been able to stay longer than her 55 brief years, but she couldn’t live in the pain she felt. I understand that. I get that. I wish my dad had been healthier, and had been able to stick around for a while longer–he passed in 2004, and is sorely missed by many; selfishly, I wish he had stayed for me, to see my girls grow up, but it wasn’t in his DNA, not in his life style choices, to do so. I so understand him and Mom now so much better. It is like a book opens a little more each year that I am alive, and in that book is perspective, wisdom, love, and acceptance. Only if I choose to read the book upsidedown or backwards does this change to fear. 53, reversed is 35. Would I be 35 again? Yes, and no. I would love to see my babies again so small, and have the energy and stanima of my 35 year old self, but I don’t miss my ignorance, my judgemental ways, my self imposed drama. So, 53 is a good age, a sacred age, as all ages are sacred. I don’t wish for a younger life, but I do wish for a continued life, a long life, a life beyond my mother’s all too short 55 years, and my father’s all too short 73 years. I desire at least 100 years, maybe 110 years? I value each moment. I see the potential for joy now in silly things like losing my car keys or misplacing my cell phone. It is a choice. To laugh. To sing, To dance. To live. To love. Choose those I will. And, for now, 53 is the key to my happiness. Now.
Here is the counterpoint… I am very sure jet planes are metal angels sent to rescue us all at times. However, there is a part of me that does not trust flying in planes though I really enjoy the takeoff and the landing as the best part of any flight. Call me crazy, but I am a thrill seeker by nature. I am now out of the phase that I need the “thrill seeker stage” of my life to have true contentment. That being said, most men I have found in my life can be categorized into three or four at most succinct categories, all of which have moments of the thrill for the thrill seeker. Category number one: The Serial Dater/ Heart Killer–This man takes his lady to the best places, shows her the finest times, and then about six months into what she believes to be her true love in the flesh–her soulmate—her prince in Gap clothing or Biker garb, he dumps her with a line like, ” I never ever meant in any way to hurt you, and you are wonderful, really. I just am not in a good place right now to “be serious” with anyone, especially someone as awesome as you are.” End of dating. Heart murdered in the third act of a five-act play. Category number two: The Broken Man/ Rescue A Pound Puppy— this man is known for his good looks, his acumen in all areas of romance, but needs a place to stay, a supper, a nice shower, and a mom figure to nurture him back to his real life. He comes over in a quandary of wanting to be the “real man” but can’t afford a date out, other than breakfast at three in the morning after his garage band plays yet another great cover song gig at the local dive bar. Or, the long lost father of a former student, down on his luck, not able to work his trade due to a downswing in the economy, but able to seek a woman’s money and aid to live in the lifestyle he had been accustomed to in his former marriages. Both of these types of “category number two” men have their attributes, but neither really care for the woman, rather her resources for them. The heart again slaughtered for the sake of supporting the man. Category number three and number four can be combined: This group of men are seeking that replacement woman, not a true love, rather a partner for a purpose, and after the allotted number of prerequisite dates, amount of time passing, and the appropriate actions of a woman pleasing to a man of “their status” and “ranking” among men, either as an heir apparent or as a self-made millionaire, the woman must acquiesce to the needs or desires to be an ornament or simply an accessory on their arms proffered at an event. All of these men are the type that would never “kill a woman” in real time, but the mere slotting of the woman is in itself a type of murder. She loses herself in his life, his dream, his sketch of her –a painting behind the curtain, “His Last Duchess” so to speak.
I rather take a few more thrill-seeking rides on planes or motorbikes.
I’m a complex person, but
I’m not a serial killer.
I’m an introspective social
chameleon. I love
the good life. The screeching roar
of jet engines makes me
giddy. I’m happier
than I’ve ever been. I’m ravenous
for life and have razor-sharp teeth
at the plate. I am an open
book with sticky pages
and a good
read. I’m 99 pounds
This is a found text poem using the first lines from men’s online dating profiles. The line breaks are mine, the text is copied directly from the profiles.
When I gifted myself with a drum this past year, I had little idea of the effect or importance of my gift. I have been visiting East Glacier Park Village for the past 8 years, attending a traditional Blackfeet sweat lodge, multiple pow wows. And this journeying to my holy ground of northern Montana began the most radical and most needed leg of my spiritual quest to find myself. I had spent decades avoiding my inner landscape, and yet, through the beauty of nature’s seasonally changing attire on the Blackfeet Nation’s glorious rolling high prairie and majestic mountains — introduced to me by my life long friend, and adopted Blackfeet tribe member, Anna Rainingnight. There is not a good description of Anna other than an incredible friend, strong, generous, mindful of others, an intellectual superior. always present, always the teacher in my life.
The sky of Montana seduces, completely. The wind — the sun- the stars– the northern lights in June and July– all beckon like a Lover’s kisses on my needy brow. I see my travels there as my sojourn to myself, my acceptance of my mortality and my spirit. I travel there as often as possible, regardless of price, regardless of time spent there- I must see the prairie and the mountains.
This past summer, I left my holy ground unexpectedly soon, and in a hurry this time, returning with Anna to attend to her father as he passed over to the Spirit World — July 2013 when Mandela began his same journey. The last night I spent in East Jesus – a.k.a. East Glacier- allowing Anna again to teach me about mindful generosity as she took me to Two Medicine Lake at dusk before we packed to drive a marathon back to Arkansas -1698miles -as quickly as possible. The drum I purchased earlier that spring awaited me — hanging on my bedroom’s wall, to be drummed when Howard passed — after I heard his soul greet me with laughter only hours after he had passed, a mere six hours after Anna and I arrived back to her family home here in Arkansas. So, tonight after the first Christmas without Howard, without Anna’s annual sojourn home in December but Anna still present with gifts.. With the lesson, Anna gives me every year- compassion and generosity– I see the Montana Sky in my mind. I feel that Kiss of Montana, and tonight I will play my drum in honor of Howard, Anna, Valentina, Betty, Star, Autumn and Em, Annie and Allen… The kiss of my Spirit. The Drum Dance of my return to my soul.