Monday, July 2, 2018

The Last Unicorn

Few of life's mysteries can be contemplated without ending up in some sort of logic loop that both ends and leads with "The Last Unicorn."

If you haven't seen the film, it's little wonder you live each day questioning "What does it all mean?"

The rest of us - those learned folks who've seen the cartoon wherein Mia Farrow falls for prince Jeff Bridges and becomes the only unicorn in existence to understand the concept of regret, soundtrack by America - don't know the answer to "What does it all mean?" either, but at least we have a solid point of reference.

So today, as with most days, I found myself once again contemplating my failing health and the inadequacies of the modern health system, when - obviously not for the first time - a scene from "The Last Unicorn" played in my head and offered some insight.

In the film, most humans cannot see unicorns. Instead, where a unicorn stands, they only see a white mare.

Mommy Fortuna, a witch voiced by Angela Lansbury, can see unicorns, but, knowing that most folks can't, she sagely casts a spell giving the unicorn a faux horn for the plebs.

When Farrow questions the choice, Lansbury explains, "Do you think those fools knew you, without any help from me? Ha ha ha! No! I had to give you a horn they could see!"

While the implications of this - that most human beings cannot see the magic that surrounds them - are plain, to me, today, this scene speaks to my experiences with the healthcare system.

My symptoms are real, and frightening, and debilitating.

But often they are not measurable by standard medical testing.

Those that are routinely come back indicating that something is wrong, but those tests are repeatedly passed off by doctors as blips, anxiety reactions, idiopathic, or indicative of something that "should pass any day now."

But the abnormal results - the daily fevers, the variable blood pressure and heart rate, the elevated immunoglobulans that indicate my body is constantly fighting off an infection, the spreading small fibre neuropathy - they don't pass. Theyr'e constant.

And because no one can explain it, I'm dismissed or shuffled off onto another specialist.

Few offer help.

None offer hope.

Thus this scene in "The Last Unicorn."

Like Farrow, when doctors look at me and my illness, they see a white mare.

The signs are all there - signs that there's something different about this mare - signs that in the puzzle of life as we know it, this piece doesn't fit - but those signs are ignored.

"White mare, white mare, white mare," is all the doctors say and see.

And until a medical magician - a Mommy Fortuna with a parlor trick - comes upon me and slaps upon me a horn that other doctors can see, this white mare diagnosis will continue.

Like those in the decades before me who suffered invisible illnesses like Fibromyalgia, I will continue to be ignored until the science catches up with the symptoms.

I just hope that I will live to see that day.

And, if I do live to see it, that it will not be too late to save me from this daily nightmare.

Friday, June 22, 2018

I resign

I wanted a father

more perfect than mine,

so I made one up

and called Him divine.

I wanted a father

and so I assigned

those things that I needed

to one I designed.

I rang every evening

imagined His mind

of wisdom and honor

a heart pure and kind.

I asked His allegiance

and I pledged Him mine.

'Twas faith as I knew it

but o'er decades' time

the incessant silence

was His only "sign."

...

So I have resigned.

I am resigned.

...

I wanted a father

more perfect than mine

so I made one up

and called him divine

I wanted a father

and so I assigned

goodness

grace

mercy

kindness

healing

justice

Love.

But I have resigned.

I am resigned.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Samsara

Take me to the water

for that's where Pisces go

Let Aries flame 'neath the crust

Let Gemini winds blow.

Return me to the water

a pisces fully claimed

by darkness that I never left

- the oubliette to which I'm cleft -

despite bipedal gain.

Return me to the water

that I might be reborn

Not as ashes of the earth

no more of Capricorn!

Leave me to the water

for that's where Pisces die

the currents there compose my wake

Samsara standing by.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

May, you may go.

May,

you may go.

I won't miss you.

No, no.

Your 31 days

hurt 31 ways.

I just thought that you should know.

Your 31 days

hurt 31 ways

I won't miss you.

You can go.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

lonely

Been trying to suss out what I feel and this is all I've come up with:

I'm lonely.

Not, like, in the "woe-is-me-I-don't-got-no-friends" way of lonely.

This loneliness is deeper.

More along the lines of lying-on-your-deathbed-knowing-you're-finishing-this-journey-alone kind of lonely.

I use words to express how I feel, but you will never really know how I feel.

I use words to tell you what I see and think, but you will never really know what I see and think.

You will never really know me.

And I will never really know you.

Which has always been the way of things.

Each of us is a secret - one that will be kept until we die - one that will only ever be fully known by the very person the secret embodies.

That's nice imagery.

But you'll never see that imagery the way I see it.

DAMMIT.

...

I don't want to be a secret unto myself anymore.

I WANT to be known.

I want every person on this grassy orb to see what I see, feel what I feel, know what I know.

And I'd like to return the favor.

I wanna know what joy feels like to you.

And pain.

I wanna know if your red and my red are the same.

I wanna taste your sweet and sweat your salt.

I wanna breathe your breath and beat your heart.

What does it feel like to laugh like you?

To cough like you?

To fawn and scream and fart like you?

What does "home" feel like for you?

What's it like to actually like golf?

...

I don't want to be a secret unto myself anymore.

I don't want to be lonely anymore.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Does God Cry?

The older I get - the more I know - the more depressed I feel.

Sure, I'm a pessimist at heart, and, sure, this tendency toward the negative likely colors my view.

But I know I am not alone.

As many have said before me, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."

There's lots of good going on in the world.

But most often we're bombarded with the bad.

And maybe that makes sense.

Bad sells papers.

And even that fact ^^^ illustrates my point.

Just another piece of knowledge to be sad about - that human beings, on the whole, flock to the negative.

As I do.

But I digress.

Negatives sell news - and, after all, what is one person's giving to a food bank, when corporations are polluting the environment, and ruining it for all 7+ billion people on the planet?

What good do solar advancements do, when the government actively works against them in favor of antiquated energy sources that literally kill people (the Black Lung. Look it up.)

I've always been told that one can only control onesself.

That to do a good deed is to, in some small way, set the world right.

Sure.

That's great.

But I've gone off down a path I didn't intend to tread when I started this missive.

No, what I came to say is this:

If I - a 37-year-old woman with a decent brain and internet access - am dismayed at the world, and if any of you feel a fraction of the disappointment I feel about how humanity is basically a cesspool of selfishness, then I think we all need to stop for a second and give empathy where it's due:

To God.

For truly, if He (She? It?) is all-knowing, then He/She/It must be fucking miserable

ALL

THE

TIME.

Can you even imagine the futility of seeing humanity spinning its wheels, knowing, without doubt, it's not going anywhere?

Or even if it is heading someplace, knowing already the destination and the outcome, but still having to watch the cruelty play out in real time?

Honestly, it's a wonder God hasn't offed himself to this point.

But Erin, you ask, "What about Free Will? Maybe God doesn't know how things will play out. Maybe He/She?It is relying on us to make the choices and shape the future!"

To this I reply, gesturing to everything around me, "Have you SEEN the choices people make? If the future is up to us as a species We. Are. Doomed."

But maybe God's an optimist.

Maybe He/She/It sees the soup kitchen as offsetting the destruction of the entire planet.

Maybe, to Him/Her/It, it'll just all come out in the wash...

Maybe, He/She/It has a subscription to cosmic Netflix and, instead of watching us kill each other, binges on celestial comedies?

Maybe He/She/It is a cutter.

I guess what I am saying is, I dunno how God copes.

It's all I can do, with my limited exposure, to make it through a day, and God has the (mis)fortune of seeing all of our shit 24/7, 365.

If it hasn't happened already, I'm pretty sure this is where the Jesus convo comes into play.

And I haven't the time, the energy, or the desire to get into how convenient it is to have a human God destined to show up eventually to save the day...deus ex machina much?...so I'll just answer with an aspect of Judaism I've always liked:

Live each day as if there is no God, and therefore all good things that are to come are dependent solely on you.

In other words - don't sleep tight relying on Jesus to clean up your mess.

Clean up your own fucking mess.

And try not to make another one.

But I've veered down a side road again.

Sorry.

Add it to the list of human mistakes I make that reek to high heaven.

And, with that, it seems we have come full-circle.

The Rolling Stones have a song about sympathy for the Devil.

But maybe it's time we give God some of that pity.

Because I cannot imagine a worse punishment than being all-knowing.

For about three years now, I have wanted to know, for sure, if I would heal from my disability.

But, in looking back, it's probably a blessing I wasn't told.

Because if you told me three years ago that by May of 2017 I'd still be sick - that my vision wouldn't recover, that the tinnitus wouldn't cease, that my sleep would still be fractured, and about the continuous and innumerable pains/malfunctions, I would have killed myself.

I would have given up all hope and ceased eating.

I'd have dwindled away to nothing.

But because I did not know, I lived each day in hope.

That hope, even if only briefly, would scare away the darkness, and allow me to live another day.

That hope keeps me going still, even though it is routinely dashed - another of life's cruelties - when each day brings no measure progress.

And that's the tragedy of omniscience - it doesn't allow for hope.

If one already knows the outcome of everything - even if that outcome is good - it doesn't allow for hope.

So God will never know the thing with feathers

that perches in the soul.

He/She/It will never hear the tune without the words

that never stops - at all.

...

That's is, perhaps, the saddest thing I have ever contemplated.

Because God IS hope to most of the people I know.

God is MY hope of ever beating this disability.

God is the source of rest from all our suffering.

But who is there to tend God's suffering?

What hope is there to ease His fears?

Can our sympathy provide Him comfort?

Or, as He already knew the sympathy was coming, will it calm no sorrows and dry no tears?

Despite already knowing the outcome, does God cry?

Monday, April 30, 2018

Pro Choice

There's not one among us who - if given the chance - wouldn't go back and do something differently.

Maybe you'd go talk to that cute guy in your Spanish class.

Or have studied harder for that crucial exam.

Or foregone the Achy Breaky Heart mullet that seemed like such a good idea at the time...

But while everyone on God's green earth would welcome a do-over of some sort or other, there are those of us walking among you for whom a second chance would be inarguably life-changing.

I am one such person.

My friend *Julie (not her real name) is another.

Nine years ago, Julie was about five months pregnant.

While driving home from work, she decided to go to the grocery store - but which one?

Publix was closer, but more expensive...and Kroger, cheaper, was on the way home...

She chose Kroger, and, within minutes, was hit by a teen driver who was texting and not watching the road.

Julie was severely injured, and she lost her baby.

To this day, Julie wonders what would have happened had she chosen Publix over Kroger.

Such a small choice, seemingly, at the time, had enormous, life-altering consequences.

I imagine it's the same for vets who lost a limb in battle. "If only I'd been a foot to the right"...

Or people who overlooked mundane symptoms - "It's just a headache" - only to suffer a crippling stroke.

People who, despite wanting to reconnect, continued estrangements only to learn one black day of the unexpected death of the estranged...

Or people, like myself, who placed their bodies in the hands of doctors, who botched treatments and ruined or ended lives.

In "Field of Dreams," Ray Kinsella is given the impossible - the chance to right a wrong from his past. Ray is given a gift that we dare to hope for but will never receive: a do-over.

The rest of us don't get a magic baseball field in the corn.

We have to live - or slowly die - with the consequences of our choices.

Some might say this is only fair.

But I'd ask those "some" to say that to my friend Julie, for whom wanting to save a couple of bucks put her in the wrong place at the wrong time and cost her...immeasurably.

Or to people like me who, by conventional wisdom, did as a patient is expected to do. Acquiesced when the doctor suggested treatment.

In other words, say that to people exactly like you, who were harmed by unforeseen rolls of the dice.

Each day we make choices. And choices have consequences.

If you're lucky, the consequences are good, neutral, or - if bad - minimally so.

But as you go about your busy day, please take a moment to think of those of us for whom a seemingly innocuous roll of the dice resulted in ultimate tragedy.

Give us your empathy.

Empathy is a good choice.