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Friday, November 28, 2014

THANKSGIVING THANKFULNESS

vincent van gogh

I did Thanksgiving twice yesterday. It serves as a measure of the thankfulness in my mind over the last few days thinking about the importance of giving thanks, gratitude, appreciation. It is a social day of seeing friends and family all over the land, for some a happy day, for some an unhappy day, according to the individual's experience from birth on. I used to think it an unhappy time, many years ago. My later years are so much better than the early years, I hardly ever think about the early years. Dwelling on them for even a short time brings me down. They were years of depression without recourse, something on the order of hands cuffed behind my back, being assaulted by a cop and charged with resisting arrest. Like when you're up against a cop in court, you lose, nobody believes a child and children are property. What a long, drawn-out time of the long years of childhood, waiting to grow up and take charge of my own destiny, for better or worse. In the teens I would lie in bed at night and fantasize hitchhiking to the West Coast, get a job on a merchant ship going to Asia, leave the ship, walk to Tibet and never return. These were the years Tibetans were leaving the homeland for India to escape the Chinese invasion. The kid was unaware of news of the day outside looking at Time magazine for History class, current events. The rest of the world amounted to a fantasy in my head after movies and television. By the time I saw Rome, I'd seen some Fellini films. The whole time there, I was looking for it to be like a Fellini film and it was not. He was showing movie stars. What I saw was regular people like we see everywhere. Rome did not have the aura of sophistication Fellini films suggested in my mind. I wondered how he got La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2 out of Rome. 

vincent van gogh

Walking on sidewalks among Italians, cars and scooters in a free-style race on the streets, Rome fell from its place as idyllic city in the clouds and crashed into everyday life. Scenes were not framed, but went all the way around. The streets in Fellini's Rome were mostly empty of motorized transportation. Rome of everyday life had so many cars and such frenzied traffic the dream cloud Rome went poof. I'd heard the English were friendly and polite. That one went poof in London. It's like meeting a writer whose work I really love. Suddenly, he or she turns into everyday life and the glitter of my projection falls to the floor. It's a similar feeling with times like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. So much supposed-to is around all of them that anything short of supposed-to, like everyday life, drains the glory out of the day. I noticed yesterday when the dinner was over, it was like Thanksgiving is over, similar to Christmas being over when the last present is opened. From then on it's waiting for the day to be over; daddy's home from work, hunker down and stay out of sight as much as possible. The kid had a happy nature, wanted to be laughing and having fun, but a light hearted attitude made the kid a target. Depressed and shut down, the kid was safe. Through the high school years on Christmas vacation from school, I'd come down with flu first day and recover last day, feeling cheated out of my vacation, but sick in bed the kid was safe. I really don't want to drag you into that place. It created an attitude toward life, hand-in-hand with Fundamentalism in its most absurd extreme, I could not live with out in the world among other people. I've spent my adult life adjusting my attitude toward life, raising it from anger and depression a step at a time, understanding by understanding, insight by insight. My sanity I knew lurked hidden way down deep within locked away for safe keeping. My Hope diamond in the safe deposit box. Uncovering it became the purpose of my adult life. 

vincent van gogh

Essentially, I had shut down my heart that became so wounded I withdrew it from further disappointment. I was told once I was like a cactus, don't get too close. I suppose it was a defensive attitude and possibly a charm to some who would be challenged by someone they can't reach emotionally. The only thing I knew for sure when I went out on my own was I could not and would not live the rest of my life like parents lived. I would not live bitching at a partner, nor being bitched at. I carry this today. When somebody starts bitching at me, that's it. If I were one to believe hitting solved problems, a few people in the past would have been knocked to the ground. Having learned to internalize my anger instead of expressing it, I get mad, then depressed and never want to see so-and-so again. And don't. I don't disrespect anybody and do not tolerate being disrespected. This goes back to early conversations with self, "I'll never take this shit the rest of my life," sealed with determination in the heart. I've walked away from four jobs, that I can think of, over disrespect. At the moment. Didn't wait two weeks. The first time I said, "I took this shit all through my childhood. I don't take it anymore." The other times I failed to explain. Once it's done, it's done. There's no going back. No matter who it is. And I don't have a problem with it. I'm glad I think enough of myself to weed my immediate environment of people who believe they have a right to disrespect me. I remind self, "I don't go back for seconds." An employer who uses his right to fire me as a threat, forgets, or never thought of it, that I have a right to fire him. Rights run both ways in my adult life, or not at all. I came to the mountains to retreat into semi-solitude and live my life in peace. I am devoid of time for people who believe they have rights I don't have or power over.

vincent van gogh

This explicates why I am not a success in business or anything else that pays. If gulping down disrespect is good for making money, I don't want the money. Money is not worth that much. I sometimes think, in certain parts of big cities you can be killed for disrespect. I don't give disrespect, consciously. I can't say I don't because I don't know. Consciously, I cannot allow myself to be disrespectful, but unconsciously, I can't say. I have a way of saying something unconsciously to somebody I meet the first time, something I really should not have said. I've come to see it is a way of saying I'm not somebody you want to know. I've trimmed my social time down to the people I care about who care about me. In this time of the life, I have neither time nor space for superficial acquaintances. Which brings me to Thanksgiving dinners. I had two. In both cases people I care about who care about me. First one, 2 to 7, was friends here from somewhere else,  comfortable company, great food. The second, 7:45 to 12:30, was my friends from here, my hillbilly half, equally comfortable, equally great food. All day long I was thinking how wonderful this is, a Thanksgiving dinner in each of my worlds. I embraced it as such, enjoyed each gathering in the moment every moment. When I say people I care about who care about me, it feels like I mean a flow of empathy both ways. We feel safe in each other's company. Safe unto rescue in a time of need. Good vibrations flowing. Frequently, I'd pause within to take a look at the moment and think, I'm thankful for this. It was representatives from my two worlds that I'm like a bridge between, except nobody uses the bridge to go one way or the other. I felt thankful that I've learned to be equally comfortable in these very different cultures. It was about twenty-five years crossing the bridge between the two. I felt continually thankful to see self at home in both my worlds, that I have wonderful human beings for my friends. 

vincent van gogh by himself


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