“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist
I constantly feel younger than I am. I turned 47 a little over a month ago. Forty-freaking-seven. I am the unhealthiest I have been in my life. The bariatric surgeon says she can’t help me. I felt lost.
Notice I said felt? I’ve have found my stride. I have found my group of ladies who want the same goals and are helping me stick to it. I’ve already lost some weight, but it’s not just the physical weight coming off, it’s the mental.
I’m a very introspective person. Maybe too much so, in that I see and acknowledge my faults, whilst forgetting to acknowledge my strengths. This season is always hard on me, however, I do believe that this winter has been very hard on most people.
The days are getting longer, though. I’m no longer getting home in darkness. The sunlight dappling through the curtains in my living room are proof of that. Even with the snow we’ve been getting, signs of the Spring to come are starting to show. I feel that change. I haven’t felt it in a long time. I can’t wait to be outside, doing yard work, planting, growing things – reveling in that sunlight.
I breath in deeply and can smell those days, I dream of them. Don’t get me wrong, I do like winter. I used to be very winter active – skiing, cross-country skiing, hiking, etc. The cold seeps into my joints now though, it makes me feel old with the creeks and aches that come with it.
As I age, my mind has been left young. I am forgetful, I do struggle with some things I didn’t before, but when I look in the mirror, that image is not who I picture in my mind. I’m working of bringing those two images together into the one I want to be, the one I should be.
Meanwhile, I will dream on about the spring and summer. I will dream about being fit and working on my goals. Most of all, I will dream of having inner peace and loving myself.
“Downtown. Lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I’m feeling particularly nostalgic the last (very long) while. Listening to Downtown by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis makes me reminisce of the past – driving in my old Pontiac Acadian (cherry red, 4 door, 5 speed hatchback – loved that fucking car), sun blinding me and those tiny sun visors doing nothing to stop it. The smell of beach air, friends talking, dancing, singing, laughing.
Summer Shine summarises a bit, but the essence…oh that essence
I love that summer shine you know it The sun so hot the grass so cool you just want to sit in the shade just right under the willow The clouds so high and barely there you wish you could dive into the blue sky so inviting in the day When the night comes the stars shimmer so clear the moon kisses them until they disappear into another summer shine day No breeze to fly a kite the hum of insects frogs croaking birds chirping today is the day of that summer shine The reflection off the lake strikes the eyes and makes you blind to that child that splashes the water on you It freezes and feels so good Tip toe over the hot road feet in the sand make it to the beach When the summer shine ends the bonfire full roars at that full moon They sing and dance filling the night with an intensity until the next summer shine
My hand holds an Alpine, it’s starting to get too warm, but I don’t care. Later, we’ll head down to the green downtown. We’ll hang out on a blanket, so much laughter peeling out from our lungs.
Driving with the windows down, the gas gauge is broken, but it doesn’t matter. We’re together. We’re innocent. We don’t have cell phones, we don’t have computers. It’s just us, my old Pontiac Acadian, laughter, love, friendship. That guy I have the crush on is there, I’m wayyyy too shy and anxious to act on my feelings. Butterflies are floating like crazy in my stomach. My friend teases me, but she knows. They just get me.
I have trauma in that innocence, but it’s grip is soft. I’ve constant friends about me…I’m lonely, but it’s a warm loneliness. I don’t worry as much, I don’t feel like I’m imposing by existing. I’m the driver in my life and it’s pretty damn good (why didn’t I see that then?).
Now, present day. I have a constant yearning in my soul. I can’t pick it out. I can’t identify it. Constant anxiety, worry for my kids, worry for my husband, worry about this world. I’m overwhelmed. I’d love to go downtown, sit on the green and just soak up the sun. I want to hold that memory in a steel trap and never let it out. The grip of trauma has grown so much stronger. I’m constantly raw by it’s chaffing hold. I’m just a breath away from seeing that moment, that crisp feeling of wholeness. It sits just out of my sight, barely in the shadows, waiting for the sunlight to wake it, move it.
The wonder that once filled me has dimmed in the lights of age, but I know I can find it again. I know it’s there.
“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” ― Isaac Asimov
I’ve been thinking a lot about how far we, as a species, have come in the last century. We went from a very basic form of communications, to constant communication with devices more powerful than the computers that sent the shuttle to the moon on it’s first landing.
I’m only 46 years old. In my lifetime, we have come from corded phones with a dial, to cordless phones with buttons, to wireless communication small enough to fit in your palm.
We’ve come from basic UHF TV, bunny ear antennas and all, to 8K TVs that are fully integrated with smart technology and controlled with the push of a button.
We’ve gone from Pong to fully immersive graphically gorgeous games.
Growing up, our first computer was a Vic20. From that we upgraded to an IBM Best with boot disk. You literally had to put in the disk in order for the computer to work. My favourite game was one you used the arrow keys to move. Pretty sure it was Castle Attack or something similar. The character icon (if you could call it that) was a club (as in the cards icon). To attack – you bumped into the opponent. Now, the game play is so immersive that some of the graphics look real. It’s insane to me how far gaming has come in 40 years.
NOTE: I found the game! It was called Castle. Thank you internet archive for that blast from the past!
We’ve come so far technologically and yet…we, as a species, have not kept up with our technology. We are enraptured by the constant bombardment of information and have yet to learn what it means to have it all. Our children have had to cope with the brunt of it all. We have all the ability to communicate with whomever we want, and yet we are forgetting how to communicate.
Science is always changing. It is by nature and evolving discipline. New studies are done everyday that change the way we live, work, survive. New technologies appear everyday to improve our lives, make things simpler, so we are told. Some technologies absolutely have improved our lives a thousand fold. Some not so much. We are ever present online now – but not so much in real life.
Sometimes I think we are all blinded by science and the pace of life. There is something to be said about taking a slower path, enjoying what is present, what nurtures us – time to stop and smell the roses.
This post is going to be heavy – if you are a holocaust denier, I suggest you go elsewhere. I will be focusing mostly on WWII in this post.
I was spurned to write this post as I felt many people are so far removed for the Great War that the memories have faded and seem abstract. I grew up listening to the veterans – never again. Never again. Almost all veterans of WWII have died. The children of the new generations don’t know what it’s like to listen to the old ones and hear their tales of death. We MUST remember.
“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” ― Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
There have been two world wars. There have been many civil wars, skirmishes, political wars, cold wars. Humans have an innate ability to follow the mob – a charismatic leader takes control, tells the mob it is us versus them. The mob rules and chaos erupts.
Out of the ruins of WWII over six million Jews, homosexuals, Roma, disabled, and anyone who didn’t fit the Nazi Arian mold died in various concentration camps, ghettos, war camps. THIS is truth.
Auschwitz-Birkenau is the most infamous of the concentration camps. Below is a link to the museum and Twitter feed – the twitter feed highlights those murdered in the camp every day.
Auschwitz was not the only camp. Nazi Camps in the Holocaust Encyclopedia has a breakdown of the different types of camps from their inception in 1933 (yes, BEFORE the war started officially). Below are selected quotes from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum page on the camps.
“From its rise to power in 1933, the Nazi regime built a series of incarceration sites to imprison and eliminate real and perceived “enemies of the state.” Most prisoners in the early concentration camps were political prisoners—German Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats—as well as Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and persons accused of “asocial” or socially deviant behavior. “
Re-read that – the Nazis were arresting and murdering anyone who was different.
There were even different types of camps to serve the Nazi war machine.
“Many people refer to all of the Nazi incarceration sites during the Holocaust as concentration camps. The term concentration camp is used very loosely to describe places of incarceration and murder under the Nazi regime, however, not all sites established by the Nazis were concentration camps. Nazi-established sites include:
Concentration camps: For the detention of civilians seen as real or perceived “enemies of the Reich.”
Forced-labor camps: In forced-labor camps, the Nazi regime brutally exploited the labor of prisoners for economic gain and to meet labor shortages. Prisoners lacked proper equipment, clothing, nourishment, or rest.
Transit camps: Transit camps functioned as temporary holding facilities for Jews awaiting deportation. These camps were usually the last stop before deportations to a killing center.
Prisoner-of-war camps: For Allied prisoners of war, including Poles and Soviet soldiers.
Killing centers: Established primarily or exclusively for the assembly-line style murder of large numbers of people immediately upon arrival to the site. There were 5 killing centers for the murder primarily of Jews. The term is also used to describe “euthanasia” sites for the murder of disabled patients.”
There were millions of deaths, but not just Jews. The Nazis kept impeccable documents listing all the murdered.
Number of Deaths
around 7 million (including 1.3 Soviet Jewish civilians, who are included in the 6 million figure for Jews)
Soviet prisoners of war
around 3 million (including about 50,000 Jewish soldiers)
Non-Jewish Polish civilians
around 1.8 million (including between 50,000 and 100,000 members of the Polish elites)
Serb civilians (on the territory of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
People with disabilities living in institutions
up to 250,000
up to 250,000
Repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials
at least 70,000
German political opponents and resistance activists in Axis-occupied territory
hundreds, possibly thousands (possibly also counted in part under the 70,000 repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials noted above)
Table from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
First they came for the Communists And I did not speak out Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists And I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists And I did not speak out Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews And I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me And there was no one left To speak out for me
The number of military and civilian casualties during the war varies. This is from the Wikipedia article on World War II Casualties “World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. An estimated total of 70–85 million people perished, or about 3% of the 1940 world population (est. 2.3 billion). Deaths directly caused by the war (including military and civilians fatalities) are estimated at 50–56 million, with an additional estimated 19–28 million deaths from war-related disease and famine. Civilian deaths totaled 50–55 million. Military deaths from all causes totaled 21–25 million, including deaths in captivity of about 5 million prisoners of war. More than half of the total number of casualties are accounted for by the dead of the Republic of China and of the Soviet Union. The tables below give a detailed country-by-country count of human losses. Statistics on the number of military wounded are included whenever available.” Note: there is a table on the Wikipedia pages showing casualties by country as well.
There were many everyday people who took up the cause of resistance and became more than the sum of their parts. They spat in the face of fascism. They did not remain silent and placated. They screamed their resistance to the atrocities that were being done. They were true heroes. They fought for a better world, a world where ALL people are free to live as they choose.
It would take me a lifetime to write everything I could about wars. It would take a lifetime for me to write how much it hurts to see the rise of so much racism and fascism in this world now. People have forgotten. People have forgotten why so many died.
I will never forget.
In Flanders Fields
BY JOHN MCCRAE In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
Self-sabotage. I do it. I do it almost daily. I do it in my mental blocks. I do it in my self-loathing. I do it in my journey to health. I do it without consciously realizing I am doing it.
I keep hearing quips in my head. Little fragments of happy-go-lucky sayings that scratch at my brain, demanding attention. “You got this!”, “You can do it!”, “Baby steps!”, “One day at a time.” “Just keep swimming.” (Actually, I love that last one, Dory is awesome).
This past summer I have had more energy and drive than I have had in YEARS. I wish that was hyperbolic, but it is, unfortunately, not.
I’ve been cutting old death growth off of the trees around our property, cutting back overgrown bushes. Getting thorns stuck in my hands from old rose bushes. I’ve been cleaning up old growth and creating a fence of sorts from the old branches and growth (nothing garbaged, everything re-used of composted). I’ve felt more capable this year than – well, I don’t remember that.
Back at the end of June or start of July (brain fog, can’t remember when for sure), I fell off my deck. This wouldn’t be a huge deal, it’s only a foot tall. What is the big deal is that there was a big stump where I fell…and I hit is HARD with my left shin. I almost passed out.
Fast forward to almost 2 weeks ago. My left leg on the inside (anterior) beside the shin (tibia) starting hurting like hell. I decided to finally get it checked, especially since I still have bruising on my leg. I had injured my tibialis tendon – impact injury. It caused bad inflamation (seen on x-ray). I was told to rest, take anti-inflamatories.
Ok, not a bad thing…right? Wrong. I see the bariatric surgeon on the 23rd of this month to see if I am ready for gastric bypass surgery. My health issues make it hard to impossible to lose enough weight on my own – even with all the work I’ve done this summer, including walking our adorable pup, I have only managed to lose two pounds. In order to have gastric bypass you have to do certain things. One of those is NO NSAIDs, which are anti-inflamatories. Another – 30 minutes of exercise a day. The exact opposite of what the doctor said would heal my tendon.
On top of the anterior tibialis tendonitis, I also have tendonitis in my left elbow and my carpal tunnel in both hands has increased, most noticeably in my right.
What does all this mean? Fucked if I know. I feel like the universe is telling me to stay fat and I’m flipping the bird at the universe – even the constantly numb middle finger.
It’s like the powers that be are saying fuck you bitch – and I’m yelling back at them to BRING IT ON.
Have I sabotaged myself this time? Maybe. Personally, I would rather keep my energy going than lie down and absorb it all again. I don’t want to go gently into anything – I’m raging against it. I’m over all this pain and depression. It is constantly trying to suck me into that vortex of nothingness. The spiral of stagnation.
Am I going to keep this energy going? I honestly don’t know, but I’ll be damned if I don’t at least try.
Bonus – our baby girl is getting bigger…she’s 40 lbs at 5 months old. Sweet Dahlia – she’s a handful, but I love her snuggles and her.