The Creative Epiphany – Santa, Am I Being Punished?

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This is a very stressful and patience-testing time of year. So much to remember to do, so little time and money and endurance with which to do it. Everybody has their way of coping, and those who do not find one single coping mechanism that works are going to be nuts by January 1st. I am on my way to the loony bin.

The season started off with bitter freezing weather here in Colorado and I got a split in the skin on the tip of my thumb that looks like a bloody crevasse. How can something that small hurt so much? I would rather have childbirth with no painkiller than this thumb wound. I have used Vaseline, Neosporin, Chap Stick and Aveeno dry skin ream – tried each one of those remedies overnight with a Band-Aid over it and woke up all mended, but by the middle of the next afternoon it has split open again. It is now December 16th and it is still re-opening nearly every afternoon about 3 pm no matter what I am doing. I could even be motionless and it will flop open… Super Glue? This aggravation does cause crankiness – by the third week of it I was snarling and wishing bad things upon other people – hoping Miley Cyprus would not be able to think of another single attention getting stunt ever again because her creativity would dry up like a crack in the desert soil, and like my thumb. I was also wishing hard that Justin Bieber would lose his driver’s license –  really, is that a mean thought? It might potentially save dozens of lives. He is so young – he’d get over it with no harm done. He needs to have a toy other than a speeding careening car. This is now almost the 4th week of the split thumb and I want to punch something.

I bought a huge sack of white styrofoam peanuts ( we used to call it ghost poop when the kids were growing up) because I had to pack a big fragile thing for shipping. Temporarily I sat it up on the shelf in the walk-in closet, only to find the next morning that it had somehow popped open and had vomited those cheeto-like things all over the place –  even behind stuff that I never even move. It practically filled up the entire closet. How could it do that? The bag that I had safely brought home from the shipping store had emptied itself out! I live by myself! Is it really ghost poop, I had to wonder? Do I have a ghost?

Putting away a large spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner with vinegar, on the high shelf above the washer & dryer, I missed my mark and dropped it, and heard it fall down behind the washer – which might as well be all the way to China, because I can’t move the washer and my arm is not long enough to get down behind it. I decide to wait until my son comes home for Christmas to retrieve it for me. In the meantime, the next morning, I do a load of laundry wondering vaguely, in the recesses of my cob-webby busy mind, why the laundry detergent smells different. After the load is done I pull clothes out of the washer, including a badly mangled spray bottle, in amazement that it landed THERE inside the washer rather than behind the washer, and find that the entire bottle of cleaning solution with vinegar has lost its contents on a load full of blacks. I could have sworn it went down behind, not inside. I am beginning to think I am crazy. The clothes smelled horrible and I had to wash them 3 more times.

I worked myself into a slow simmer when I heard on TV that a young punk kid, barely old enough to drive, who killed 4 people when he was driving a car at 3 times the acceptable limit for alcohol was given probation by a judge who said he was a victim of AFFLUENZA – and therefor not responsible for his actions – because he is from an affluent wealthy wealthy wealthy family who never taught him right from wrong and had him living in a mansion all by himself with no supervision whatsoever. So he was let off the hook. For 4 lives. Have we all gone insane? Where are the parents? Why are they not interviewing those people? Why can’t they be tried if the kid gets off?

I am out doing errands in the car, starting with the gas station. The guy in front of me is having a hard time with his credit card or something and so I decide to change lanes and  back up to go to another pump. I look over my shoulder before I put it in reverse, I check the other side – all clear – I go backwards and instantly feel and hear a crunch as I hit the fender of a car. WHAT? HUH??? I jump out and run over to her and I say, “I am soooo sorry! I looked behind me but I didn’t see any car!!” She answers, very calmly, “Well I was just pulling in – I saw you moving toward me but I pulled in anyway!” HUH??? Who does that? Can you not wait for 3 more seconds when a car is moving toward you to avoid a collision? You can’t? What is the matter with you?

Home from my errands, I file an accidental fender bender report on the computer…instead of waiting to make myself a healthy dinner after I’m done with that, I grab a handful of “you can’t take just one” carmel and nut popcorn. I get a piece caught in my last molar on the left side, I reach in to loosen it with my finger, and a hunk of my tooth comes out with it. When I touch it with my tongue it feels like the Grand Canyon, and I see $$$ signs. Exactly the same amount of $$$ signs that my son’s Christmas gift will cost…am I being tested? Of course he will get his new ski helmet no matter what, I growl to no one in particular.

Have I uttered an expletive throughout all of these mishaps? NO. I have not, Santa.

It was not until the next afternoon when I went to a movie to see the film “12 Years A Slave”, thinking I could chill out a little bit and give myself a treat – but noooooo –  I truly hit the tipping point and lost it. As I got up to the window to buy my ticket they informed me that they were having problems with correct movie listings on FANDANGO, which I had checked for times on my Iphone, and they were no longer offering “12 Years A Slave”. Dozens of people were waiting to see that film. The theater had posted no sign. no apology, no explanation – but instead just decided to inform dozens of waiting people, one by one as they got up to the window, that the film would not show at all anymore. Why don’t people think?

I backed slowly away from the counter, smiling that insane kind of smile that people are afraid to see on a person in a public place. The others cleared a path for me, gave me a wide berth, looked at me with caution and I walked quickly to my car, stepped inside, shut the door and screamed F**K at the top of my lungs about 15 times. It was not just the film – it was an accumulation of rotten stuff.

Am I being punished? Tested? Messed with? All of the above I am sure.

But I can endure – and so can you. Just figure out a way to register your anger with the universe and let it fly in a non-violent expression of some kind. Then get over it and start fresh in time for the 25th. You can do it – I know you can.

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The Creative Epiphany – Life’s Texture

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Life is long, if you are fortunate, deep if you are a thinker, wide if you are an adventurer, lofty if you have dreams and greatly, intricately textured if you are given a gift such as the gift of creativity. Everyone is given a gift of course – it is your mission to discover what it was that was awarded to you free at birth and nurture it and employ it well. I claim, most humbly, to have a life that encompasses all of those above mentioned dimensions. My life is never dull; always rich with fascinating people and wealthy in experiences. The days are not long enough, the nights are dark but stunningly visual. Although I am certainly not wealthy, by all other criteria I like to think I have it all – I do have it all – and I feel fortunate and lucky and rich in the details of life.

As I write this on March 1, 2013 I have had a supremely rotten day. One for the books. At one point I was able to remove myself from the action and watch it unfold right before my eyes as if it were happening to someone else, and I was mildly, oddly entertained. In a “dark comedy” kind of way. What was happening was so ironic – so perfect in its awfulness given the circumstances and perfectly badly timed – so poetically pathetic and so much like a film. I wondered what she would do – that woman I was watching who speaks so eloquently about attitude and motivation and life-changing epiphanies. Was she going to be brought to her knees? Was she going to crumble? Could she walk the walk of the talk? Would she cry? Would she have a molten meltdown?

The day is not over and so I don’t know. She seems ok right now but there is still the night – the 3am wake up when everything looks darker than pitch and seems hopeless. Oh yes there are others who have it much worse – she is well aware of where her puny problems rank in the hierarchy of human sufferings. Yet still they are HER problems, and she is the one dealing with them. She can’t hire anyone to take over – it is her life. She can’t be anyone else because they are all taken, as the saying goes.

As does everyone else, I look to myself for answers, and that is a full time job. As dawn breaks I will probably gain confidence that I will be fine. The complicated nature of life and the simplicity of the answers will strike me, and I will figure it all out. As always I will find comfort in people or creativity or mundane tasks. That’s what we do. That is what she and I do – the me, myself and her. We go about our day and let things un-complicate all by themselves, which is what often happens. As the ball of yarn spins out of control and unravels in crazy, loopy textural tangles all across the floor of our life we are already considering that it cannot be left that way, and we know we’ll have to wind it up again.