On the go today from 10am to 10pm. Felt on the verge of collapse until I reached home. I went straight to bed to lie down in weariness. Wide awake. Nothing to do but get up after half an hour of relaxing at home. The problem is not what I do or who I see. It's that when I'm not at home I feel like my head is under water, holding my breath til I'm back at home. Even if it is an excellent concert, I want to be at home as soon as it's over. Driving home from no matter what, I'm on my way to the only place I really want to be. A few weeks ago visiting with some friends, somebody asked me out of the blue, "Where would you rather be right now?" I thought, What kind of question is that? I said, At home. Suddenly, everybody is bent out of shape because I didn't exclaim present company the best of all possible places to be. Next question, Does that mean you want to leave? I said, You asked where I'd rather be. No matter where I am, I would always rather be home. Didn't add that I don't honor loaded questions. Drove probably fifty miles today, no radio, too much on my mind to hear more about Ukraine and Russia or listen to music I don't want to hear. Driving is good therapy. I get a lot of mental work done on the road. The only thing I wanted to do today was work on some art projects and didn't have a chance to do anything. Did, however, pay for some paint I bought a couple weeks ago on credit. Found some small L-shaped brackets for a couple of the projects. Got some bills off my back. Driving much of the day with a knot in my head, my own thinking, the result of my own thinking, created by my own thinking. Mental agitation over invalid conclusions drawn and made much of that become reality in my mind and put me at odds with my perceived reality. At odds all day long until lying on the bed earlier, looking at the pickle I'd found myself in was of my own making. I could have handled everything more rationally, easily.
The state of mind is passing now. I can feel it going away. It's a mental pattern I see from time to time. I let my emotional self overwhelm the rational self and take over. I don't stop it when I see the process in its infancy. I like to think my rational mind is in charge, but it's not. So I let the emotional mind have its say, let it wear itself out. I figure it's a state of mind I adhere to from a lifetime of habit. Only in this time of the life rational mind is a little bit more in control. Sometimes I don't even care. I let myself have a day or two of being mad at the world, fussing in my mind until I wear out. This is the process every time I get really mad. I let myself go ahead. I feel like it's a legitimate emotion. I heard Elizabeth Kubler-Ross say at a talk I went to that the first fifteen minutes of anger is legitimate. Beyond fifteen minutes, it's neurosis. I believe that is the one thing I took home from her talk. No. I carried a lot home from her. She talked about reading children's drawings, much good insight. Since that night in Radford, Virginia, I have had an intuitive understanding of children's drawings. I have learned to allow myself to feel the emotion a given context created, live with it, feel it, examine it, let it bring me down or whatever it has to do. I have learned it is my own thinking that does it. Not external circumstances or anything outside myself. I flow with it and experience it. I let it exhaust itself. I don't want to suppress something that will pop up later. Like this evening, after two days of fussing in my head, I laugh at it. Able to see it from outside that mind, I laugh at myself for getting so worked up, examine the process of thought that took me into a state of mild anxiety, see, again, I am responsible for my own frustration and anger, both of which I created. It doesn't do to tell myself that the first day. When it's over, I've had another insight into the nature of my own mind.
Saw my friend April in the grocery store. We talked quite awhile. She's so down and out right now, today, she makes me feel cheerful. She's in process of leaving a jerk of a husband, who has turned her son against her and won't let her have any of her things. She's at rock bottom. She has friends who care, and that makes it possible for her to get through it. She'd been beaten down so much she said she came close yesterday to calling the whole thing off. This county has the highest suicide rate in the state. When a full grown adult talks like that here, it's best not to pass it off for wanting attention. I saw pain in her face and eyes I'd never seen before. She's carrying a deep hurt, such that it makes me laugh all the harder at myself getting worked up over mental stuff when her pain is in the heart. Mine was self-pity next to hers. She was a good example for my own perspective, a good measure of how next to nothing my own worrying mind amounted to. I didn't see this until later. While we talked, I listened to what she was saying, knowing she needed to be heard. Though I wanted to fix it for her, I had to allow April her own experience and admit I wouldn't have the first clue how to fix it. Best to give her the respect of understanding it's her story and she has to figure it out. I can't do anything fix-it, but I can give support, caring, lend a hand, let her know that at least one person in this world doesn't wish her dead. She'll be all right. A matter of months. She has the grief of the separation from both husband and son to go through, a matter of months. She has a pensive next six months, at least. April has what it takes to make her way through it and turn it into a growing experience she will look back on in gratitude. Like my friend Jr Maxwell summed up his life, "I been through it and come out the other end."
I spent the evening with my dear ones, Vada, Cheyanne, Crystal and Justin. I took a hula-hoop for Cheyanne. I'd seen in some pictures Crystal put on facebook of Cheyanne playing with a hula-hoop. I've had one here in the house for so long I don't remember. It was here waiting for today. We had a good time with it. I showed her how to roll it across the deck with a backspin so it rolls back to you. She caught on right away and we took turns. Vada gets cuter every day. She's individuating somewhat, daycare possibly having an influence being with other kids every day in the same phase of development she's in. Vada and Cheyanne are such different personalities they clash more than they blend. Vada has a fast, retentive mind with astonishing understanding, while Cheyanne is a kid inclined to break things. Cheyanne had Vada's potential at birth, but her early years going with mom from trailer to trailer, boyfriend to boyfriend, redneck Harley boys marking time til prison catches up with them, retarded her development a great deal, while making her precocious in ways children don't need to be. She was raised by television and chaos. She's having a very difficult time. But she'll make it. Time. Time heals and time changes everything. I felt today like she has found in me somebody she can trust, who doesn't tell her what to do, doesn't correct her, while still an authority figure, old with white hair, who comforts her and talks with her and listens to her like she's a sentient being. Last Sunday at Vada's birthday party, late in the day when most of the people had gone, the woman living next door was at the table on the deck smoking a cigarette and Cheyanne was playing with the camera. She asked Cheyanne, You ever smoked a cigarette? Straight-faced as it could be said, Cheyanne said, No. I fell out laughing inside and couldn't let it show. One of those chuckles you have to choke down and try not to wobble in your chair. The kids were so refreshing they helped put an end to my self-pitying gloom. It seemed like the Divine hand brought me face to face with April and later the kids, a gentle, loving way of saying, Get over yourself.
magdalena abakanowicz herself