Scooby Doo was right: monsters are just people in disguise. I wish I had Scooby’s sniffing-out-the-bad-guys skills, especially back when I was more interested in the prize in my cereal box and watching cartoon capers. I had to learn the hard way, through disappointment, betrayal, anger, and conflict. Now it seems every stranger is a monster in a mask, waiting to see if I’ll act in the manner they find most suitable. Many strangers control my life as a matter of fact; I am learning more and more each day about just how deep the monster rabbit hole goes…
Truth is, I don’t know the truth. Not THE TRUTH. But I do know that vital information has been purposely kept from me, twisted into propaganda to control me, and along with millions of others I am not actually free. The more I dig the more I see; elitist groups pulling the puppet strings, banks and corporations determining human values, manufactured vitriol spilling into the streets, and people turning into sheep-zombies perpetuating the lies. Everything I thought I knew is in question, and the more I research the more I unlearn. Sure, it’s frightening to go about my day and make decisions knowing that I ultimately don’t know a damn thing. However, I’d rather not know then take action based upon someone else’s agenda disguised as my own.
How can I reconcile a need to authentically connect with others with an understanding that I am a disposable person to most of the general public and elites? Must I continually offer up some sort of empathy to those I encounter, knowing that it may be perceived as weakness and gullibility? When does compassion lead to becoming a fool? My expectations have become nearly impossible to meet, it seems. I expect empathy when empathy is given; I expect respect when respect is given; I expect acceptance when acceptance is given – you get the idea. It is noble to give just to experience the act of giving; however, how does one know when it’s time to quit being used? What if others expect me to give at a level that they are not? These questions compound my pursuit of happiness and truth and all I know at this point is that I have to keep being kind, even when it seems impossible. Simultaneously I believe that we are all connected and that most of us are blind sheep. Perhaps being kind will alter the social ether somehow, revealing monsters for who they really are before it’s too late for the Mystery Machine to save us.
Summer is broken. Something happened, and for the first time in my life I experienced 1% humidity. The southwestern heat is different this year, and I have over a decade in Phoenix as testimony to what nature can dish out. This is my third July in Las Vegas, and natural light itself is not normal. My skin immediately burns when I go outside, as if I turned up the UV volume to maximum. I once forgot to put my sunglasses on before leaving the house, and in the second it took me to put them on, I fried my eyes so badly that I saw pink spots for about 10 minutes afterwards. The “bite” is harsher somehow, and there are a multitude of online videos showing unprecedented objects actually melting, including a cactus! When a cactus melts, that’s bad, right?
There are many explanations as to why this is happening and I am not aligning myself with any of them enough to declare an actual “belief” at this point. What I have observed, however, is how it has changed people. My partner works outside and I have never seen him become human jerky until this summer. He is so drained and exhausted after a 8-10 hour day that after a shower and dinner, there isn’t much left for himself or anyone else in the family. I know he wants to be present, but the heat is simply too much day in and day out. I can’t even make it few minutes outside without whining and profusely sweating, and he’s out in it all day… and do you think the general public cares? Hell no. Sometimes I forget to walk a mile in his shoes as well; I’d probably die just carrying his tool belt.
People are getting ultra angry over the littlest of things because it is so hot. The light is frying our brains and I hide a lot lately, avoiding going places during busy times and only if I have to. I’ve gone into hermit crab mode, peering out from my air conditioned shell only when absolutely necessary. When I take Buzz on our early morning walks (before it starts looking like the movie Pitch Black outside), I think to myself, “this place shouldn’t be here.” I see all the casinos, all the hotels, all the people… I hear all the air conditioners, all the cars, all the noise… and know that without Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, this place couldn’t exist as it does now. This summer has tasked the man-made, and it is painfully obvious how expensive it is to keep up a fake oasis in the desert.
The forecast for this week calls for temperatures possibly under 100 degrees, but at least under 110. Thank God. Maybe a monsoon storm will finally show off and give Las Vegas a ride… maybe people will literally cool off and quit being jerks… maybe Lady Luck was never here in the first place. I only know one thing for sure… by this time next year, I want to be on my way to moving further north and looking at trees. I miss trees. And not burning when I go outside. Lava love to my Phoenix friends and family – it’s a dry heat, like a kiln. There’s no Vin Diesel either.
On this last day of my 43rd year of life, I wanted to share some reflections with you. I thought by this age I would know a lot more about the things I don’t and a lot less about the things I do. I have been through the human condition trifecta of experiences that cripple many of the general population: bankruptcy, divorce, and a close family member with cancer. I also battled, and when I say battled I mean it, alcoholism. My scars, grey hairs, and wrinkles all attest to my hardened seasoning. Now all I want to do is be kind. This is the most difficult challenge I have encountered to date because of the current social environment. Highly sensitive people like me are not regarded as strong; in fact, many of us have been used up already, our emotional talents taken for granted and behaviors condemned. Taking the time to actually listen to another person before concocting a response is an artform and I excel at it. I have the empathetic skills necessary to imagine what it could feel like to be another person because I have been through so much myself. I can back up my authenticity and if allowed, and make a real connection with another. I respect vulnerability because I know the pain caused when it isn’t valued. I want to give because my personal results have shown that it attracts positive energy in my life. The more I give, the more I love myself and when I love myself, it is much easier to calm the emotional seas. Also, if I don’t take care of myself, I cannot take care of anyone else. There is something coming, I firmly believe this. I know it sounds like one of those doomsdayer folks standing on the city street corner with a homemade prophetic sign, but I had to dig down to depths never seen before to become a happier person. I have found a purpose and it is to be kind in a world that continues to become meaner. People pile on each other’s flaws, attack each other’s politics, use protest signs as weapons, all the while walking past the mirror on their way out the door. The pendulum is going to swing back and swing back hard. We know this isn’t the right way, don’t we? We are all hurting because something just isn’t right. I haven’t quite figured out how to be classy, forthright, compassionate, and forgiving all at once, but this is my new goal for the 44th year of my life. I believe being kind is going to save us all. Kindness brought my chosen family back together, so on paper I am divorced but in reality I’m committed to my husband. We worked it out from the foundation up, thanks to sobriety. We stopped the vitriol, quit spewing venom, and rewrote our own book on communication. Our kids rock and will continue to rock guaranteed. As parents we fully understand the value of building strong children instead of broken men and we have made so many mistakes along the way. I would rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies these days, treasuring what truly matters: Love, understanding, and acceptance. Many people have faded in and out of my life and I thank you all for the lessons I learned. Some of them really sucked, though. For my birthday wish, I would like to ask you all just to enjoy something beautiful. Really enjoy it. Then go from there…
I am not sure when the epiphany seed was planted exactly – it seems like over a year ago. I do know who planted it, however. What started out as a business relationship grew into a friendship, and with that respect came trust. In a brave act of vulnerability, I was shown an alternate explanation for my reality, the shape of my world, and my place in it. Cognitive dissonance immediately set in, rejecting what I had seen as a collective conspiracy designed to manipulate and confuse me. Yet, I couldn’t discount my new friend because trust dictated that I couldn’t. I started doing my own research and brought in the perspective of my best friend, ensuring that I wasn’t suffering from early-onset dementia. Nausea became my constant companion, and oftentimes neck, back, and leg pain would join in.
The consequences have been varied and intense, and it is the deepest rabbit hole I have ever fallen into. As I go into the public, people do not look the same as they used to. This alone sends me into a self-induced feedback loop where I question my perception of others and wonder if they look different because I am different or if I’m just making baseless conclusions. Memories of the past come into my mind unexpectedly, the kinds of memories that I didn’t want brought into the light. I question everything, for the knowledge I thought I had set in stone is now rubble. Each night my mind attempts to reconcile the conscious with subconscious, leaving only footprints in wet clay. Each morning I wake with an overwhelming mandate to be meek, no matter what happens.
I am dissolving a desire to tell you about all the terrible things that have happened in my life and how amazingly unique I am because of them. Do I really need to lay my heart to bare in a couple of sentences to grab your attention? It seems that the most extreme gets the most attention these days, irregardless of authenticity. I shouldn’t have to lay out all my tragedies and triumphs to justify my voice, and it’s also tacky. Instead, I am going to write what I know and let you make your own conclusions when finished.