Godzilla is Stomping on My Roses

Do you ever have days where your brain is just foggy and slow and the simplest things are difficult? Sometimes I have days like this right after days when I’m super “ON” and yesterday was all roses and sunshine where everything went my way, which used up a lot of energy, probably because I was movie star walking all day. You know what I mean, right? When you walk-strut to your inner theme music with total self assurance and you’re pretty positive everyone is saying: “Who IS that girl with the perfect hair and all that confidence? Is she a movie star just PRETENDING to be a flooring sales rep in order to get into character?”

Today I left the house with mascara and eyeliner on one eye.  

Then I lost an envelope of cash and I felt like Uncle Billy on “It’s a Wonderful Life” all freaked out and flusterpated wondering who the hell was acting like Mr. Potter and not letting me know I had misplaced my cash, because my NAME was on the envelope. I found myself being angry and all scowling at this mystery person, even though I only saw four people during the time I HAD and then LOST the envelope of cash, and not one of them would have kept it. But DO WE REALLY KNOW PEOPLE? I back tracked my steps and tore my car apart. Later I got home and found the envelope in my front pocket, folded in half. Which tells you there wasn’t THAT much cash in it. But STILL. In what universe does one not check their pockets FIRST? 

The same universe that let me leave the house with half my face in makeup. 

The same universe, I might add, that made my brand new car named Penelope have a lit up exclamation point on her dashboard. Nothing else, just an exclamation point inside a parenthesis. (!) That could mean ANYTHING. Maybe Penelope was trying to tell me my wad of cash was in my pocket. (!) OR it could mean the she was about to detonate and I’d best get out asap. But you’d think that there would be a few more exclamation points for that: (!!!!!) Right?

I pushed a bunch of buttons to see if there was any further explanation and all I managed to do was click off the speedometer with the lit up numbers so I had to look at the actual meter with the little clock hand pointing to ABOUT how fast I was going. Then I clicked the same button and my stereo turned off which meant it was just time to go home before any more trouble happened. I simply can’t drive without music. In my defense Penelope is complicated and her manual is as thick as a bible and I’m super busy right now. Though I wonder how thick my manual would be if I had one.

My brain fog was also partly because I was tired from Godzilla chasing me last night in my dreams. It’s been forever since I’ve had a monster dream and this one felt like it went on all night. I kept running from house to house trying to hide and thinking: “Godzilla is just going to step on this house and crush me but I don’t know of any bomb shelters anywhere and it’s not like I’m just going to stand out in the open”. So I was super exhausted when I woke Grant up to tell him about my dream. He didn’t seem to think there was any explanation other than it being another ‘Heather Thing’. My book ‘12,000 Dreams Interpreted’ was zero help so I googled it on a site called ‘Dream Dictionary’ and apparently Godzilla represents a person or a situation that I am worried is going to destroy everything I have worked for.

So all day I was a little worried and distracted about the idea of this person or entity that I DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT trying to destroy my life. Plus how can I go from movie star walking down a path of roses to a metaphoric Godzilla stomping on my dreams in less than 24 hours? 

You know what I think? 

Fuck Godzilla. 

(!)

Getting to the Root of Things

Recently, I had a recurring dream. It went on for about a week.  I haven’t told anyone about it. Until now of course, because I think I finally understand it.

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The dream started out as a single beautiful tree. It took my breath and seemed to absorb it.  I am not sure if the tree was dead or just dormant but it did not have leaves and I could somehow see its roots all the way deep into the ground, which were almost a mirror image of its branches.

When I  think about the dream tree my heart starts racing and the space on my right hand at the bottom of the V where my thumb and pointer finger come together tingles like crazy. I call this spot my passion sensor. Whenever someone or something stirs my spirit it does this crazy zing. Sometimes I feel it all the way to my elbow.

I only just noticed the zingy spot about ten years ago. So it could just be the early signs of M.S. or something.

I doubt it though.

But yes. It’s weird that a seemingly dead tree with deep, dark roots would set off the alarm, considering nothing else has for quite some time. It’s awful when passion leaves you for a bit. Makes you wonder if never having it might be better.

I found myself drawing the tree. I can’t draw but I thought, well maybe I’m supposed to try. It’s not like I am doing anything ELSE that feels interesting. Something about the roots. Drawing them felt so soothing. Cathartic.  So I said “okay” and drew the trees. For days.

Because the dream kept coming until one night instead of one tree there were many and the branches and roots were all intertwined in this fantastic web. So I drew this too.

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And when I was done I thought “I wonder if maybe the Ents from “The Hobbit” are coming awake. Or maybe there is some kind of alien FORCE trying to tell me something like in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” when people were sculpting and drawing the mountain location where the aliens were going to arrive”. Then rational me said  “Oh my GOD. Bonkers has finally embraced me in full form. It was bound to happen eventually.” So I stopped drawing the damn trees. Because my family was going to notice that crazy had come upon me more so than normal. And because I was pondering drawing the trees on our fence. Fucking weirdo. But you’re humming the Close Encounters tune now aren’t you?

“I’m pretty sure my spirit is broken”.

That’s what I threw out there a few days after the tree dreams and crazy drawings ended. My drama queen way of asking for a lifeline. Or maybe a branch. Or a root to hold on to.

Generally I am not a huge fan of telling people when I am sad. No one want’s to hear about it. It makes them uncomfortable and creates unnecessary pressure. Because I believe that just like happiness, the responsibility of sadness belongs solely to its owner.

Sadness can be a tricky thing. We often have no way of knowing what truly causes another person’s sorrow or how serious it is because we can not be in anyone else’s head except our own, which is complicated enough. If you leave sadness unattended, unexpressed, sometimes it will go away with time. Other times it will fester and grow and possibly turn into depression. Or in my case rage.

My family knows me well in rage. It comes in the form of manic house cleaning combined with wailing in tongues, bloody shins from the vacuum and red, weeping devil eyes, sometimes even a little foaming at the mouth.  It’s never pretty. And the house always gets dirty again, as though it knows I need it to: a cosmic groundhog’s day gift.

The dreams left me: ghost trees in the form of childish doodles. The sad came on even stronger. No one believed that my spirit was broken and I quit talking about it. My passion sensor quit tingling. Rage built and then emptied out leaving toxins upon my household and I sit here now in remorse. Clean house, empty heart, tired body.

My people continue to love me regardless but surely I am better than this. Eventually I always get to the root of the problem, the cause of the current sad. But does it always have to be so painful? So toxic?  

Did you know that there really is such a thing as ghost trees?

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Formally called albino redwoods, these rare trees (only 400 known) are unable to produce chlorophyll, something normal trees need to survive, which explains why their needles are white. It was thought for years that these trees were parasites. But recently it has been discovered that they store a very high level of heavy toxic metals, making them (in my mind) healing trees because they soak up most of the poison keeping it away from the other trees. In any other species of trees, these albinos would die. But redwoods have the ability to graft at the roots so the ghost trees are able to survive by obtaining sugar through the connections between its roots and those of the neighboring “normal” trees who know they need the healing ghosts for their own well being.

I made up this knowing/well being part. I’m not totally positive trees know things. But it seems like they do in this case.

Which tree is stronger, or more important?  Or is it an equal balance of give and take?

We humans sometimes act as though we are completely separate from one another. Alone in a crowd and on our own. We only see our tree trunks and our branches, reaching for something we can not define or truly understand. Standing side by side, separate. Responsible for our own happiness and sadness.

But think on this with me for a minute: are we are not also responsible for both asking for help and for assisting others in their individual journey? We may not ever truly know another’s heart or mind but we must try not to forget that our spirits are infinitely intertwined deep under the surface, at the roots.

We can choose to graft our roots like the redwoods do.

Only differently.

Expressing our worries, fears anxieties (ideally before it builds to rage) is not a sign of weakness nor is it harmful to others. It is a necessary means to not just surviving but thriving. It is a way to open up the channels so that when we are ready we can accept kind words, loving acts, gentle touches, smiles, murmurs that it will be okay even though it might not feel this way. And forgiveness. All the things that ease the pain of the toxins that are a bi-product of our humanness and recharge us so that we can give the same thing back. So that there is an infinite supply of passion sugar. 

Zing.

Talking to Calamity Jane

I dreamed about Calamity Jane two nights in a row this week which made me ask a friend if he thought maybe it was possible that she was trying to speak to me from beyond the grave. For once, he didn’t ask me if I had been into the liquor cabinet and said instead “probably not, you just have her on your mind lately”. It was nice of him not to point out that it’s kinda weird to have Calamity Jane on your mind…ever…and to try and inject a little logic into our conversation which is sometimes tricky to do with me. I replied that this seemed much too simple and that I had perhaps misinterpreted things and maybe it was Wild Bill Hickok trying to reach out to me instead. That’s when the conversation came to an abrupt halt and I was left with my own thoughts on the matter. (Friends do have their limits, especially with me.)

The dreams actually started when I was reading from my mom’s Alcoholics Anonymous book. The book (or the program) didn’t much work for her in the end, though there was a whole lot of underlining and highlighting on the pages (so she at least PRETENDED to wanna be sober). There were also quite a few “congrats, you got out of re-hab” notes on the back cover from her new friends ,which is a story in and of itself but not THIS story which is about Jane and me. Though I wonder where all these people are now and how they are doing, even though I don’t know any of them. Mom did tell me that most of them were drug users and that drugs were much easier to secure at rehab than a ‘damn vodka on the rocks’.

ANYHOW, the reason I was reading from the big blue book is two-fold. First, my uncle (who is technically my ex-uncle on account of d.i.v.o.r.c.e) recently started randomly (and completely out of the blue) texting to me quotes from A.A. Ironically, the texts would come to me right when I was about to make a poor decision, which I thought to be kind of creepy, so I felt obligated to at least peek at the book out of respect for the creepiness. Now I’m not saying that his texts stopped me from making any of these poor decisions but they did cause pause, which is good when you are about to do something stupid, so thanks for trying, my crazy, psychic, ex-uncle (who will always be my uncle).

Second, even though I am pretty sure I am not an alcoholic at this point (I talk more about drinking than I actually drink) if my streak of poor decisions continues or gets more dramatic, the worry could possibly lead me deep into the bottle at some point and time, so I thought it would be good to be prepared in case I end up in rehab. This way I could be a group leader or something on account of already knowing all the 12 steps and stuff…and then maybe when I am rehabilitated, I could buy the place and make some improvements in the facility like better beds and daily spa treatments because I think all people would drink less if they had better beds and daily spa treatments…

…ANYWAY…so in my reading I came across a phrase which stopped me in my tracks a bit: “match calamity with serenity” and I put these words on my wall of things to think about. (Does anyone see where I could possibly be going here with this? Good, can you tell me?)

The word calamity is defined by Merrriam-Webster (my dear friend) as “a state of deep distress or misery caused by a major misfortune or loss”. Some synonyms for this word: apocalypse, disaster, debacle, catastrophe. A couple of nifty related words to calamity are: bloodbath mishap, and misadventure.

Serenity on the other hand means “a state of freedom from storm or disturbance”. Synonyms for serenity are peace, quietness, hush, repose….such a nice word, repose. It sounds like a lady with her hands daintily folded in her lap all prim and proper; her hair isn’t at all messed up by calamity, which can do that to hair.

The idea of “matching calamity with serenity” seems like a solid idea. You can’t always stop, control or predict calamity, not even the self-induced kind, but you can change the way you feel about it and how you react to it. But, I of course, instead of figuring out how I might find this balance in my own life, found myself dreaming about Calamity Jane and then of course obsessing, which is how I roll. The word calamity must have triggered the dreams and I found myself fixating on the life of an 1800’s American frontierswoman who may or may not be speaking to me from beyond the grave. In my dreams she was not the 1953 Hollywood/Doris Day/movie version of Jane. She looked scowly, dirty and she kinda stunk (though is one really able to smell in dreams?). She was not real pretty but boisterous, and pretending to not care what anyone thought about her, which I totally saw through because we are now bff’s. She didn’t say anything to me in the dreams; she was just on her horse, shooting a gun, being all cool, but somehow I could tell she was sad. After the dreams, I started reading about her. (Hello, she was reaching out to me from BEYOND THE GRAVE! The least I could do was to learn a little bit about her and figure out what she was trying to tell me.)

C.J. was born Martha Jane Cannary. ’Calamity Martha’ or ‘Calamity Cannary’ has a whole different feel to it don’t you think? Would a different nick-name have changed her history? I wonder. She had early burdens that led her to make choices that weren’t pretty. Both her parents were dead by the time she was 12 and she had the responsibility of raising five younger siblings in a time when there weren’t a lot of earning opportunities for women. She did whatever it took to take care of them, as a dishwasher, a cook, a nurse, and a little on and off again stint as a prostitute at a hog ranch in Deadwood, South Dakota (all for a little milk money for the kiddos). This is where she met Wild Bill Hickok and fell in love with him, a man who was charismatic, dangerous and indifferent; he did not have the ability to love her because he was too busy being Wild Bill. (That’s pure speculation on my part, but probably accurate. So many women want the men who don’t want them.) I think this created restlessness on her part. She didn’t fit in with the women of her time but she knew how to shoot and ride a horse and drink a whole bunch, and supposedly did this “as good as any man” and this made her stand out and get attention and possibly feel better about herself.  So this became her gig and I think she had everyone fooled into thinking she was this adventuresome crazy, I don’t give a shit woman. Jane had a flair for acting and story-telling. Mostly she told lies, but she told them with such enthusiasm that she became a legend in her own mind and eventually others’. (There is very little truth to much of the Calamity Jane legend: some accounts say that she never killed a single person. I always thought she’d killed hundreds.) She was for sure kind to people (offering aid to anyone who needed it) which made her hard edged self strangely likable. But was she ever serene?

Records say she died, all bitchy, tired and pissed off about life (no longer putting on an act)…in her early fifties…from alcoholism. I made up the bitchy, tired, pissed off part, but don’t you think that’s interesting, the alcoholism thing? On account of the fact that these dreams started from a quote from my mother’s A.A. book who ALSO died from alcoholism? Mom for sure was a little bitchy, very tired and completely pissed off about life. Do you see how this might be wrapping up here? Hmmm…I don’t…

…but! I think Jane came to me in my dreams to tell me more than just “it’s a bad idea to be a prostitute on a hog ranch” (that would be a huge waste of afterlife energy because I don’t think there are brothels on hog ranches any more…and well…I have many other kinds of opportunities to earn milk money for my kiddos). I think her message to me is this: “H! Stop wondering about how I maybe wasn’t serene. Stop questioning whether your mother found serenity in the end. That’s none of your business and not for you to know or worry about. You can only know your OWN serenity, which is different than anyone else’s and it can be only matched with your own, unique calamity. Just be truthful to yourself: in your life; in your stories; in your relationships. You don’t have to fake being tough when you don’t feel tough. This can lead to having to live up to difficult legends, because seriously, the Martha Cannary in me secretly wanted to wear a pretty dress once in a while.  BUT, if you start dreaming about Wild Bill I will come back from the grave and kick your ass. He is mine not to have. Just sayin.”