Thankfulness – My Best Friend and My Air Traffic Controller

Gentle Readers Of Mine,

 

I am going to spend this entire week writing about the people in my life that I am thankful for. They are the people who are, to me, the sun and stars and all the things between them. They give me hope and life and love and laughter and if that isn’t something to be thankful for, what is? Yes, they are being put on here in a particular order. No, I will not tell you why. No, that isn’t the reason. No, it is not what you think it is either. Yes, I am going to keep saying this. No, I will not stop. Yes, I would love some hot and sour soup with extra tofu from Golden Dragon thank you very much.

The world is a terrifying place for me. I am scared of my own shadow most days and, without the help of the two glorious women in this written piece, I would stay inside and send local cats to go and do my grocery shopping for me. I see both of them far less often than I would like and far, far less than they both deserve. However, after all of that, they still put up with me and I cannot express to you the depths of what that means to me. Well, I am about to try, but know in advance that I am not going to do a very good job of the whole thing.

I am going to write far more than I would normally write, so maybe grab an extra cup of coffee, sit back and I will tell you the tale of tales.

I first met my best friend when we were in high school. It isn’t that we didn’t get along or anything, we just were not in the same peer groups. I mean, we were, but we weren’t. It’s a complicated thing that doesn’t matter for any of this. I don’t bring up high school to make either of us sound old, although even saying that sentence makes my rheumatism act up, I say it purely to tell you that there is no one I am not blood-related to that I have known longer than my best friend.

Like all things I do, I am going to tell you a story and then tell you why I told you the story. It is the summation of everything that this woman means to me and it encapsulates all the things that are good about a human being all at once and shows that she possesses all of these traits and more.

Many a year ago, like six I think, the group that was glorious and is no more were sitting around drinking an enormous amount of the cheapest booze we could get our hands-on. Boxed wine and peppery tequila some nights, but mostly window cleaner vodka and rum that you had to be drunk on something else to even call rum. We were laughing, smoking copious amounts of tobacco, and listening and watching the glorious sounds of the nineties and early millennium on YouTube, and, as happens to me far more often than I would care to admit, I fell into a very, very, dark place. Being inebriated helped this situation, not at all and, by the end of my part of the evening, I was lying, shivering and crying on her living room floor repeatedly blowing the bottoms out of paper bags as panic attack after panic attack raked over me.

She sat with me. She sat with me and she made it better. She didn’t belittle me for essentially ruining the evening. She didn’t chastise me for drinking what I did. She didn’t even wag a finger and tell me never again. She laid me down on her couch, wrapped me up in a sheet blanket and kissed my forehead and, I think, sat with me until I fell into asleep. I wish that was the end of the story.

The next morning, hungover and still in that dark place I woke up well before anyone else and sat in her living room and smoked for what seemed like hours. The sadness did nothing but grow and grab me by the throat until I did indeed submit to it. I never did get up and do the thing I was going to do, the thing that I am alluding to so openly I don’t need to name. I didn’t do it because she opened the door to her bedroom, early coffee drinker and all, and I knew I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t because I was at her house, with her kids, away from home and I got that little bit of light that I needed. Not quite the story I usually tell, but the truth nonetheless.

I was undeserving of the act of kindness that saved me the second time. She came to the hospital in the morning that Naomi died. I hadn’t spoken to her in months because I was an idiot who, well I was an idiot. I saw her in the parking lot and, if memory serves, I got about two steps before I simply fell into her and the world went away for a while. I know there were phone calls made, things arranged, even shopping done, but the only thing I remember is falling into welcoming arms and the pain leaving me, if only for a few minutes as oblivion took me.

So, you see, my best friend is better than yours and I am more than happy to say that to the dying breath of my body because the truth can be felt like a thunderbolt when I say it.

She is the encapsulation of joy and hope and love and peace and dignity and kindness and wisdom and forgiveness and I do not deserve her, I do not deserve her at all. Plus, to those of you wondering why I have not said her name, it is because I forgot to ask her permission to do such and when I do, I will gladly come back and edit this. Seeing as it is Thanksgiving week, people are a bit busy, so be patient and you will get it. I am not a fan of seeing the word she in lieu of her name either, so at least you know that part.

Now, some people would think that adding to this would be a stupid thing as I have focused on my best friend, I disagree because the very reason I have become such wonderful friends with my dear Air Traffic Controller is because of my best friend. So, now that your awkward curiosity has been sated by my ham-handed segue, sit back and listen.

Now, I first met Colleen years ago. We did not have the same group of people that we associated with, so I did not get a chance to get to know her until just after my Naomi died and circumstances allowed us to communicate on a more regular basis than what we normally would have otherwise.

One of the first things you need to understand is that Colleen is one of the smartest people I have ever known. Not just book smart mind you, although that is an understatement. No, she has this insight into things that is kind of terrifying. Yes, I tell her that she is terrifying. Not often, but enough that I can tell you that. Colleen can see things twelve steps in advance and, as the Air Traffic Controller nickname can tell you, helps guide me away from the worst of things my brain tells me to think about.

Colleen is no stranger to the Darkness I can assure you, not only does she have her own as we all do, but she can navigate the Dark of others in a way that I have never seen before. Maybe it is as simple as an outsider looking in, but I think it is significantly more than that, and I will tell you why.

I have a fucked-up psyche. I am very well aware of this and Colleen can walk around in there for hours and not only not get lost, which I still do, but tell me things about myself that once I hear I just know they are the truth. There have been times where I have been as close to the edge of things as I like to get and Colleen comes in and, over and over, says the things that need to be said. Not what I need to hear, what NEEDS to be said and all of a sudden I am better. Not fixed, not whole, none of that, just in a place where I can look at myself with a less critical eye and see where to go next with everything. It is, again like her moniker indicates, coordinating hundreds of jumbo jets and making everything land safely. Not always unscratched but by the Goddess they all land.

Colleen is also one of the funniest people I know. it is this delightfully understated humor that catches you off-guard and all of a sudden you are laughing and it is a good feeling that makes you feel warm and happy and there is no expectation of the laugh, that’s it. Colleen is just a funny person naturally, a woman that can tell a story like no other.

Now I need to tell you about the Drums. The Drums and Colleen have connected in my head the same way my children to the word Ducks have. When I think of one, the other is inferred at all times.

One night, in the dark of my head again, I got lost and I was talking to Colleen and through a series of stories, thoughts, and metaphors, the idea of listening to the Drums was implanted. When I hear the Drums I am safe, where I hear the Drums I do not need to worry or fear because the Drums are the primal safety of the Tribe, the People, the comfort and oneness of Home.

I cannot tell you how many times I sit, EVERY DAY, and listen for the Drums. I sit and I calm my breathing and always they come. The rhythmic sound that is calling me to the Fire, to the comfort and absolute security of home.

Now I am not a fan of the term trigger when applied to myself, but I cannot think of a better descriptor word for the Drums. When that thought, not the word but the thought, enters my mind, there is a one-hundred percent success rate in calming me down and bringing me back to where I need to be to continue the day.

I love these women very much. They have been with me for a very long time and they, somehow, still call me their People even after all the nonsense and shenanigans I have put them both through.

Thankful?

I would be physically dead many times over without these women. I would be buried in a psych ward without these women. I would have committed stupid crimes for stupid reasons without these women,

I am as thankful for these two women as I am for nearly anything else in my life. They are two of my nearest and dearest friends, my absolute confidants. They are the walls I bounce ideas and, yes, myself, off of. They hold me when I am broken and do all they can to make sure that only do I heal, but that I am somehow better than I was when I started everything.

To say I am lucky and blessed to know these women is an understatement and I just wish I could have them see themselves as I see them just once, just once so they would see the wonder and joy and Home that they are to a broken, vagabond, Bear from the Valley who belongs where I live about as much as a Polar bear belongs in the Sahara.

Loves to them, loves to you all, I will be back tomorrow with more people and I will continue this until, well, until I am done saying thank you and make all of them feel what I feel every time I think of their name or see their face.

RAWRZ

Love Me and I Will Love You In Return With The Ferociousness Of A Hurricane

For years, I have known that I have an incredibly special person as my best friend. They have been with me through thick and thin, good and bad, desertion, and redemption. I am not worthy of them, although I think they wouldn’t say that, of course. They are one of the fundamental pillars of my life. A tad melodramatic? Maybe, but if you heard the way I talked to them, I think you would at least believe that I believe what I am saying when I say that.

I have been in this maelstrom of late, and, with the help they probably would say wasn’t so special, they have, with the hands of a tiny group of people, pulled me from farther inside of the pit than I have been in some time. I am a very emotional man, and I am not ashamed in the least to say that. I fall into very, very deep Dark when I do. They are one of the let us say, five people in the world who can help me get out of that thing.

A crutch? Aye, maybe they are at that. I would rather them see me ugly cry forever than to hurt them any more than I already have by hiding things from them that one tells their best friend.

There is a quote, a quote I love very dearly from a brilliant poet, that explains better than I what I mean here.

“The only darkness we should allow into our lives is the night, for even then, we have the moon.” – Warsan Shire

They are part of that which makes my moon in the darkness of my life. They smile and laugh to make me smile and laugh and pick up the shattered pieces of what I was and hold onto them in case I ever require them again. They have never been asked to keep the broken and wounded. It is their hearts calling. They are, and always will be, the conduit of a more significant thing.

So, in short, love your friends. Love them with all of your heart. Gender and society be damned. Kiss them on the cheek and tell them that you love them. Hold them close to your heart and never let them think that they didn’t make the tidal forces of the planet that is you create waves that watered civilizations.

“The Truth Knocks On The Door And You Say, “Go Away, I’m Looking For The Truth,” and So It Goes Away. Puzzling.”

We will get to the more creative things later, but I just want to blow off some of the multiple anxiety/panic attacks I have been having this morning most likely brought on by me trying to intake an insane amount of caffeine to try and offset the migraine I feel coming on. I am not bitching about the attacks, I just need to make it a productive thing or I will go into that weird shaking and rocking back and forth thing a few of you have had the unfortunate opportunity to see.

I have had the most delightful opportunity to sit and remember stories my gran would tell me when I was a wee little bear. It helps me with our Siobhan, and it gets me int he mood to be a decent and loving person because to this day I have never met a human being that loved as absolutely unconditionally as that woman AND hated certain things with the fire only an eighty-year-old Irish woman can. She was my favorite person growing up, and I regret not having the chance to spend so much more time with her than I did. In both of our defenses, three thousand miles is a little bit of a drive when you are in your later years, and Alzheimer’s took her away from us long before her body decided that it was time to finally rest from the fight she had undergone.

In addition to her near-encyclopedic knowledge of the wee folk I love to write about so much, she taught me that no story isn’t worth telling, especially if it is one that you feel bursting from your heart and readily to your lips every day.

That is why I write.

I write because there are these things in my head that I mumble to myself before I get to my computer. I write them down in notebooks I never look at again because I need to get them out and I need to share them. Not because I want or need the praise, although I can’t lie that I enjoy when people enjoy something that I have to say, but because I need to get it out of me before it breaks me in half.

Rainer Maria Rilke is my quote of quotes for this sensation:

 “If, when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing . . . then you are a writer.”

I lie in bed at night and compose poetry to myself that I can’t share because it is words of my secret heart, and the world cannot see the depths of it. I sit up in the middle of the night and rock myself back and forth as I whisper continuations of stories that I remembered from so long ago that I think I may have had blonde hair still.

I think I am pretty clear on my point here, if I am not, one last thing.

Years ago, my best friend gave me a book, Zen and The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. On the inside of the cover they wrote words, that I will not share here for they are mine and mine alone, that burned themselves into my mind and I went home after seeing them that day, and I started the blog that I had where I would do this, every single day, a thousand word minimum. I did it for almost two years, 1500 words a day the second year.

I write because it is what I am. Some people doctor, some people science, some people computer or math or bank.

Yeah, that should do for now I think.

With that said,

Until next Time, I Bid You Peace

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I Like Myself Sometimes

So, today I decided that I was going to make a concentrated effort to be gentle and kind to myself, and with that in mind, I think I will tell you some things about myself, that has nothing to do with writing and my Ducks, that I am proud of that I have done. I love my children more than life and writing is my go-to, so, I mean, let’s see if there is anything else I can throw out there and tell people about myself that I like.

I think I am a decent listener. I know I have a hard time shutting the fuck up from time to time, like all the time, but I assure you that I hear what you are saying and I process it as fast as I can so I can give you input that is both requested and if not requested, perhaps need. My best friend always says it is better to hear the ugly truth than the pretty lie. If I think you are fucking up, I will tell you, I will be as cautious about it as I can be, but I will let you know that perhaps you need to make some exciting changes to your decision-making paradigm.

Hugging is a specialty of mine. Have to live up to the Bear moniker now don’t I? I give gigantic lifting hugs on request, and when I feel the other person could do with a laugh because being lifted into the air abruptly makes almost everyone laugh out loud. Yes, I get slapped across the face for it, and quite a few people blush, but the laughter is the thing, the balm.

No one can whip out an appropriate situational metaphor as the Bear can. Even if I have to make it up on the spot, which I may or may not do more often than not, there is always pearls of wisdom from the very hirsute ursine that you are speaking too. I like comparisons mostly. Plus, PLUS, I always give three reasons. Not five, not ten, still three, I think its a baseball thing, or maybe I like the number?

Now, if you ever want tasting notes read for alcohol consumption times, you are going to walk over to the grizzly that is I and ask me to because I think I do a Jim Dandy job of it. Everything properly enunciated, a little bit of an accent, soft undertones, I nail it. Plus, I will loudly and drunkenly call bullshit on any whiskey that says it tastes good and ends up tasting like goddamn motor oil. I can’t give that shit away, and it has been infesting my liquor cabinet for multiple years now.

Is it a good thing that I can make most people blush? Or is that me being an asshole? I will let the jury of my peers call that one.

Lastly, because it is sad and funny, I am pretty much the drunk guy you call when you need to see how your resilient your walls and doors are to hard combat slams. I have a knack for running into things at high speed and then splaying in some slightly vertical position on a staircase that leads to my room. In addition to that, I can make sure that you enjoy being flirted with because if you think I am bad at it when I am sober, you should see me go at it when I am drunk. Slurred words of endearment are in, right?

RAWRS