I hate doing “Morning Pages.” Guess I should do some more.

For those that don’t know what “Morning Pages” are, here’s a link: http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/ It’s from the book “The Artist’s Way” written my Julia Cameron and it’s a great book and program. I know it’s helped me as a writer over the years.

But I dread doing them because I. Am. Not. A. Morning. Person. The part where she says to get up a half-hour earlier in the morning to do them….well, I laughed my ass off on that. That will never happen. I can barely form a sentence for the first half-hour of rising, even with the first cup of coffee down my throat.

I got it done and I’ll do it again because I’ve found that the shit you hate doing is exactly what you should be doing.

As Buddha is attributed for saying (It’s on the internet, so it must be true) to a novice who wasn’t able to meditate for 15 minutes: “If you can’t meditate for 15 minutes, the way to overcome that is to meditate for an hour.”

Shit. He’s right.

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Being mistaken for a bag lady.

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It all started out so innocently.

I came down with a bad cold. A really bad cold, but couldn’t afford to miss work, so I loaded up on the cold meds. The daytime meds so I wouldn’t be groggy but be able to suppress my cough enough that I wasn’t coughing on the patients in the clinic and not have to have Kleenex jammed up my nose because it was running so bad.

I made it through the day and when I drove up my street, I saw everyone had their garbage cans out for pick-up the next morning.

That made me want to cry. That meant I had to put the cans out, deal with the God damned recycling (otherwise I am harming all of mankind if I don’t recycle) and clean up the yard that night. I still had work to do for my other job and I was starting to sound like a frog with laryngitis.

I blew it off. I was too sick and too tired to deal with it, so I figured I would do it first thing in the morning. I would have time, right?

By the time I crawled into bed, it was late. The heat was triggering my hot flashes, so I put the fan on high, took off all my clothes and  loaded up on nighttime cold meds. My roommate wasn’t going to be home that night, so I was safe. Safe from him having to come into my bedroom to use the bathroom and not screaming at what was lying on the bed. A clogged-up, naked, snoring woman who was drenched in sweat, with her hair matted to her forehead and who no longer gave a fuck about life for the night. He owes me.

The next morning, the garbage trucks wake me up. I push myself up. I feel swollen, like a plumb trapped in a grape. I stagger to the bathroom, trying to remember what it is I’m supposed to be doing and then I remember.

THE TRUCKS ARE COMING! THE TRUCKS ARE COMING AND I’M NOT READY!

For some reason, this is crucial. Blame the meds or blame my warped sense of priorities, but this shit was vital!

I grab a t-shirt and find a pair of shorts in the hamper. I get the garbage from under the sink. I grab the recycling bag and it spills. I’m now drenched in spaghetti sauce BECAUSE INSTEAD OF PUTTING THE BOTTLE BACK IN THE FRIG, I PUT IT IN THE RECYCLING BAG!

I have no idea why I did that.

I open the front door and Blue, my dog, goes charging out and bumps me. I drop the bags and they spill on me. So not only do I have spaghetti sauce down the front of me, I now have coffee grounds running down my leg.

But I’ve got to get to the cans and move them out to the street.

I put on a pair of flip flops that I keep by the door for this reason. I’m prefer to be barefoot, but if I need to go outside, there they are. Brilliant.

I put the garbage in the can and hurry out to the curb. One of the flip flops breaks, so I leave it behind me. I’m on a mission and sometimes there is collateral  damage.

I made the first target. One canister done and another one to go. Woo hoo! I put the bag down for the recycling. I’ve got to go back and grab that canister.

I can do this!

I hear the trucks approaching. I run to the next canister. I pray no one sees me.

I get to the canister and haul it to the street. I run over my broken flip flop. It looked so sad but I don’t care. The truck is next door, quickly approaching.

I push it to the curb. I open the one side and dump everything in and then I see it.

I MIXED THE PAPER AND PLASTIC! SHIT!

I start having a coughing fit. I dig into one side of it. Half my body is immersed in it and it tips over. I fall with it just as the truck pulls up.

He stops and looks at me. There I am, rolling around in the garbage with food all over me, one flip flop on, hair all over the place and what looks like dirt up and down my legs.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, he says “Hey, you OK? You know there’s a shelter down the street where you can get some food. No reason for you to eat garbage…”

Lord have mercy, why did I have to run into a kind soul right at that moment?

I nod, thank him and get up. I start to explain, but there’s no point. I quickly put the plastic where it should go and the paper in its bin. I say nothing and he just sits in his truck, staring at me. I brush myself off and walk back to the house. I pick up the flip flop and carry it back inside with me.

Blue acts as if I’ve been gone for a week and starts licking the coffee grounds off my leg. I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry, so I take a long hot shower instead.

I blame the cold meds.

 

 

Finding a balance? Ha ha! That’s really funny.

I can’t really explain well on how I ended up in this exact spot. I mean, I was there with each decision I made and each step I took. But sometimes I wake-up and wonder “How did this happen?” Obviously I have that thought on the bad mornings or bad days. I never have it when I’m happy.  Only when I’ve got a headache from slamming my head and soul against brick walls.

Brick walls of people avoiding me.

Brick walls of people blowing me off.

Brick walls of “I don’t want to do this today…but I have to….” type of thing.

Brick walls of “What should I do today?” That’s only when I’ve either got too much to do or nothing to do. There doesn’t seem to be any type of middle road with me. Never has been and I am envious of people that can find that balance. Maybe the idea of a balance is a joke, a horrible joke, that no one can attain but only say they have. Like a form of bragging. Rather than have you be envious of them because of their car or house, it’s more a type of envy of how cool they are and you’re not.

There are brief moments when all is well with me and the minute I feel it, it dissipates like a rainbow. You know, as soon as you see a rainbow, it remains there until you move towards it. Then it’s gone or moves away. It’s always “Over there” and never right here.

I slug it out everyday and push towards what I want and everyday, it comes back “Nope. Try again.”

So today, I say “Nope. YOU try again to push me down,” and up I get, flip off the the resistance and slap on the lipstick and walk out the door. Doesn’t mean I know where I’m going or exactly what I’ll be doing, but I’ll be damned if I’ll accept defeat. Worst case scenario, everyone yells at me and throws me out of their place of business.

But at least I showed up.

At least I said something and made myself known.

Now THAT sounds like fun!

 

Gender what?

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I was born in 1955, smack in the middle of the ultimate conservative decade. Men went to work, women stayed home and tended the nest. Absolutely nothing wrong with that and I was fortunate that I was raised by two of the best parents in the world.

I was the 3rd child and the 1st girl and NO ONE ever did tantrums and drama better than me. My two older brothers doted on me, my father (who was a Marine) was afraid I’d break if he raised his voice to me (plus Mom ran the household and did most of the discipline) and I was so frickin’ cute, it was scary. Massive curls all over the place, dimples that you could see a mile away, and never a thought that anything I wanted wasn’t possible.

My Mom was so thrilled to have a girl. She hand sewed my dresses – all ruffles and ribbons and as girlie as you could get. Hair in natural ringlets that couldn’t be brushed so my hair was always short. I still struggle with it because when it comes to curly hair, the struggle is real.

I had my Barbie’s, my dolls, my girl toys – child ironing board (there is a picture of me ironing on it), child kitchen set and oven, etc. All those things made for girls and always in pink.

I liked them. I loved my Barbie. I loved dressing her up with my friends. I liked helping my Mom with the dishes and I especially loved that my brothers had to also learn how to set the table, how to behave at the dinner table, how to clear the dinner table and how to do the dishes. We had a schedule and for all our chores every day and every weekend. The boys helped Dad in the yard while I helped Mom clean the house. We all learned how to do the laundry and God help you if you misbehaved in the grocery store.

Imagine my Mom’s horror, after dressing me in my frilly dress with beautiful bows in my hair, I would go out to the backyard and jump right into the dirt pile with the boys and play with their Tonka trucks. It was heaven and they let me because, in hind sight, I think boys are always a bit afraid of girls. At least they were with me. I was a beautiful little doll that no one wanted to break, so I used that to my full advantage.

My parents never told me “how” I was supposed to be. There were rules within the household and we knew them. It gave us security and stability because you always knew what was going to happen next. If it was 5:30 in the afternoon, that was time to start helping Mom with dinner. We knew when we ate, when we had to go to bed, what shows we were going to watch that night, when to get up, etc.

We knew nothing about how some people were “different.” Those sorts of things weren’t known/discussed back in the day. I do remember seeing an odd couple in San Francisco when I was about 13. It looked like 2 women but I wasn’t sure. I did a double take and asked my Mom what did I just see. She didn’t really answer my question but just told me not to stare and let it be.

Looking back and then looking at today, I guess the world is always changing and in the scheme of things for me, what you’re wearing doesn’t concern me. In my way, I’ve always “raged against the machine” but didn’t know it. I’ve always just done the things I wanted.

I am now into make-up and false eyelashes because my little stubby eyelashes are disappearing as I get older. I’m getting ready to enter a training program for one of the biggest corporations in California and I don’t know that game. I will have to learn it. I will have to figure out this new playing field as I start to slug it out with some very heavy hitters. In other words, I’ll be playing with the “big boys” and hope to only be judged on my work and not my looks.

I’m scared, excited, confident, lack confidence, all at the same time. I will have to update my wardrobe.

But I will play the game on my own terms. I’m almost 61, my hair is burgundy and down to my waist. I wear bright red lipstick every day because it looks fucking fabulous on me. I sometimes leave the house without make-up and sometimes I don’t. I still look amazing in a short skirt, but really do prefer jeans and a t-shirt with my hair pulled back and tons of coffee.

Don’t tell me how to live my life and I won’t do the same to you. As long as you’re decent and kind towards me, I’ll be the same with you. I won’t bother you unless you draw first blood. Then I’ll clock your ass.

I don’t care much about what you think or how you dress. Just don’t be an ass and we’ll get along just fine.

Happy New Year, you crazy bastards.

Yep. Here we are again. Fortunately. Made it through another year, which I’m somewhat surprised by a few of you that made it. Seriously. I thought some of you would be dead by now. I am pleasantly surprised you’re still around. I’m glad I’m still here too.

This is my favorite time of year. I love the idea that 7 billion people all agree on one thing – that one slot of time is over and another begins.

I just like that idea that for a brief moment, there is mutual agreement throughout the universe.

Go ahead and make all your resolutions, if that’s your thing, but if they don’t work for you, my guess is that you should have done them all along.

Every morning (well, OK, maybe 85% of the mornings), I spend about half an hour, writing whatever is in my head that I need to get rid of. Whatever negative that comes out (“I fucking hate my life,” for example) is then turned into a positive for the day. I write how fabulous my life is and turn my mindset to that. I write what I’m going to get done that day or how the day will be. Just depends on my mood and what has snagged my attention.

I have demons, but I don’t let them win. Ever. They pop-up mostly in the twilight moment of waking-up but still not awake. I think they run around when I’m not looking and don’t realize that I’m somewhat awake. That is when they are at their most vulnerable and obvious. As the sleep wears off and I become aware of the dog and cats on me that are hogging the covers, that’s when I hear them.

I don’t know if you should slay your demons as much as control them. They are useful if you know what you’re looking for. Use them to do the opposite of what they say.

“I’m fat” becomes “I look great.”

“I’ll always be alone” becomes “I love my independence.”

“I don’t want to get out of bed” becomes “I can hardly wait to get up and have a great day.”

It doesn’t matter if any of it’s true or not. What you say to yourself is what IS true.

So talk back to them. They shut-up pretty quickly because they are bullies and therefore cowards. That’s why they only come out when you are at your lowest point.

Don’t slay them. Put them to work.

They hate that.

 

I reject all labels. So there!

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Just…stop it with the labeling.

Stop taking those dumb ass tests online that decide what percentage of an introvert/extrovert you are. I mean….Facebook? Google Plus? Really?

Stop trying to figure out where you are on some scale, that somebody who knows nothing, made up. Somebody that had never successfully helped another person in their life, who then determined it was all because people couldn’t be helped. So they made a scale, said everyone falls on it to some extent, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

What a fucking idiot and the bigger idiots?

Those that go along with it, so knock it off.

It’s that old joke:

Who first said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

An old dog.

Labels are for those that don’t appreciate and admire the beautiful chaos we call life, who resist the ebb and flow of it, who abhor the predictable unpredictability of it all, and the general madness that makes it all so interesting and exquisite.

Reject anyone who tries to put you in a box and burn that box down, quickly and with great force. Offer no apologies to anyone who gets singed for they shouldn’t have created a box in the first place.

 

 

Dammit! I care more (about the right things) than you do.

“Perhaps, just perhaps, courage, empathy, compassion and the rest of our virtues are not a competition at all.”

Yes, very much this.

word of a woman

Cecil_the_lion_in__3388298b1It seems lately I am not allowed to care about anything without someone saying I care about the wrong thing or that I must also make it clear that I care about something else more.

I am not allowed to care about the death of Cecil the lion unless I have already made it clear that I care more about aborted babies or police brutality or the death penalty.

Some don’t want me to say that #blacklivesmatter unless I also say #alllivesmatter.

We are not supposed to celebrate Caitlyn Jenner’s courage because soldiers (or someone else) are more courageous.

Etc., etc., ad nauseam.

How is it that all of a sudden compassion, caring and courage have all become competitive sports? Something to be won at the expense of others? Has it come to this? Are all our best qualities now just another thing to use against one another? Is empathy…

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Why I’m not blogging right now.

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OK! OK! I know. I know, I haven’t been blogging but I have a really good reason. Honest.

I’m working on my Patreon site instead. I decided that I REALLY needed to finish my book – the one I’ve been working on for 2 years – and working a full-time job and a part-time job doesn’t leave much room for writing.

That’s also not counting the volunteer work I do every week nor a few other projects that I’ve been doing.

Yes, I keep myself busy. It’s the only way I know not to go insane. Well, that and not have another dipshit boyfriend, but I digress…

Here’s the link for it and I’d love for you to check it out. Sponsor, if you can, or check back for a few random free posts:

https://www.patreon.com/SusanLewis?ty=h

I know most of us writers don’t make our living with our writing, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try. Right now I’ve set aside anything that doesn’t work towards increasing my income, and therefore my work, in the areas that I am passionate about. I’ve never blogged for income and I’ve never put ads on my site.

I want this writing to mean something to somebody. I want to help reform the areas I work in and I can’t do it if I’m broke. And the likelihood of Prince Charming coming along and financing is a pipe dream I long ago tossed.

Please feel free to share and I hope to see you over at my new site.

 

“We have two lives. The second begins when we realize we have only one.”

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I really liked this. I have no way of knowing if Confucius said this – no one does – but it’s still a good quote. I’ve worked my ass off my entire life. I started my first job at McDonald’s when I was 16. Prior to that, I did the usual stuff – babysitting the neighborhood kids and making a few bucks for it. But McDonald’s was the big time.

Back then, you had to write the order on an order pad with this thing called a pencil. Then you had to add it all up all by yourself. You know, actually use the math you’d been taught all those years. Then you had to key in the total in the cash register and count out change – all in your head. Let me tell you, you learned to do math correctly. You learned to move fast, be polite, and always be 2 steps ahead of the line of customers. You learned to be on time, work hard, and how to get paid and handle your money. Sure, I will still living at home, but I had earned my money with my own hard work. I was responsible to getting there on time and taking responsibility for my job and therefore, my life.

I’ve only had a few vacations in my life. I haven’t done the traveling that I wanted, but the day isn’t over. Through trial and error, I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up and that was only when I was in my late 40’s. Even then, I’m still pushing ahead on the paths I want to walk.

Just the other day, I had a long talk with someone about the prison system and her involvement with it as a volunteer. Both she and I had had great success with the inmates we had worked with and we both shared the same frustration of a broken system and apathy within the system.

The fact of the matter is this – people say they want crime to end, but their actions show a different story. She and I learned that the hard way. It all sounds good on paper or when someone is pontificating from a podium, but the proof is in the pudding. What are the actions being taken to resolve this?

I suffer from a peculiar disease that I call “Bull Shit Detectorits” which is the constant awareness of people’s bull shit that results in my radar going off. Constantly. When my radar goes off, it pings my head, so the result is a continual pinging in my head that leads to my frustration with those around me. The only known cure for this is to ignore most people and do my thing.

When I come across someone else with the same disease, I feel relief. I feel understood. I feel there is a slight amount of hope for mankind.

Let me ask you this: How would you feel if you had the cure for cancer? I mean, every type of cancer there is but no one will listen to you? Not only will they not listen to you, some go out of their way to make fun of you or attack you? How would you feel if you were holding this cure in your outstretched hand, in the middle of a cancer ward, but people were too busy running around, trying to help people, and ignored you?

Would you feel frustrated? Would you feel angry? What would you do after a few years of this? There you are, with a cure, yet no one (or very few) will listen or if they do, they argue with you? I mean, actually argue with you and yet they know nothing about what you’re offering.

What would you do?

Hopefully, you do what I and a few others do – we lick our wounds, shrug our shoulders, and keep to ourselves while we get the work done.

We realize we’ve limited time and resources and only have this one life, which gives us a second life.

The life of a volunteer. There are millions of us and we try not to listen to the naysayers or read what they are constantly sharing and talking about. You know them. They fill your feed with problems or your life with them, they are outraged about something every 15 minutes and yet never, ever, offer a solution or do shit about anything. They are worthless most of the time and yet will insist that you respect them.

Miracles are performed a million times a day, but they are done quietly and without fanfare. They are performed by the men and women who stay up all night with a sick child, or who rescue an animal or who hand out fliers on a street corner, etc.

Everywhere around you, we work quietly and constantly for we know we are the ones that have stopped this planet from blowing up a thousand times. The rightness of mankind rests on the shoulders of the people of goodwill. We are everywhere and without us, mankind doesn’t stand a chance.

Change comes about from persistence, good organization, dedication and one-on-one help to the individual.

It doesn’t come around because you changed your Facebook picture or shared a link about some dumb ass flag.

It comes around because YOU did something for SOMEONE.

Not the masses, not the “people” and surely not the government.

It happened ONLY because someone, somewhere, rolled up their sleeves and made a difference in the lives of the people in front of them.

Share your outrage with other outraged people, but keep that shit out of my life. You’re getting in the way of the rest of us and that pisses me off.

Arguing about your religion? Bwahaha!

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I swear, it never gets old.

Almost daily, I watch people go at in online. Some idiot, in the name of ____ (usually Christ, but not always) starts to tell others why they’re wrong IN THE NAME OF CHRIST!

OK, fair enough. I mean, it’s going to happen if you post anything. I usually block immediately, but that’s me. Some enjoy a good troll fest.

Then, without fail, someone else comes along, professing to also be of that faith, and tears the first person a new asshole for being wrong in the way they practice their religion.

Am I the only one that sees the irony in this?

“You are going to hell because ________________.”

“Hey! I’m a Christian and you’re being a dick and shouldn’t talk to people that way…..” and we’re off and running.

I grab my popcorn, if I have time, and watch it explode.

Me? I never argue it.

Ever.

“You, Susan, are wrong and your religion is wrong because………………….”

“OK.”

“But, listen to me! I know all about you and your kind…..”

“OK.”  I munch on some more popcorn.

“I’ve read all about………..”

“Great! Hey, gotta go, but thanks for the chat. It really helped me in my life…” and off I scoot.

Lead by example and that often means keeping your mouth shut.

Try it.