All Alone, Together

I believe we are all in this together, working together, pooling resources for the social good or simply helping the stranger with a heavy lift or a held open door. I’ve made my major life decisions with that belief. I believe working together and working out our “stuff” is why we are even here, incarnate on this Earth. (I’ve been told I’m an “empath,” but I thought everyone felt intimacy and connectivity with everyone, only some cared less than others, so I don’t know if I’m different or not.) 

That being said, on a deeper level, I believe we are all alone. Sorry to break it to you, but everybody leaves. I know that sounds like Eeyore but to deny this or avoid this is at your own peril and loss of contentedness. I am so grateful Mom and Dad taught me this important fact. You’d better like the skin you are in. You have to be OK with yourself and be your best friend. It is the only place to find inner strength or peace.

Many go to desperate measures to avoid being alone instead of honoring that space. Not I. I truly adore my own company. I’ve said it before but the only time in my life I ever felt lonely was in a bad relationship or when a friend betrays me. On occasion, Mom would remind me of these soulful and meaningful words in the following song. Regardless of your beliefs, these words are true. It’s been recorded by artists from Elvis to Woody Guthrie, in rock, folk and country. For this song, I prefer the country versions. The lyrics are attributed to Woody Guthrie and to old, folk tradition. “(You’ve Gotta Walk That) Lonesome Valley:”

Enter Happy

With a preface of a brief apology for the delay in posting (to all two of you who follow my blog!), my absence was due to my focus on the speaking and improv side of my expression. I might be repeating myself from previous blogs but unless I share my internal and external evolution, I fear further writer’s block on other fascinating matters, like Donald Trump’s failed attempt at hair, people wrapping themselves in a seditious flag or same-sex marriage now being called marriage.

For just shy of ten years, I had the honor of being a stay-at-home daughter, moving Dad in with me the day Mom passed unexpectedly. Being a save-for-a-rainy-day kind of gal, I was able to leave work to be with him after about a year. Dad’s health was pretty good when he moved in but he was getting tired. His various medical conditions were not catastrophic but the cumulative nature of health issues with age eventually take their toll. I ache for him and Mom. I never wanted those days to end. If you ever have the fortune to do what I did, know this: the difference between raising a child and caring for someone one at the end of life is the world can’t see the grown, independent, upstanding, accomplished adult you helped make. It’s hard to walk from that role and not feel responsibility, as irrational as that is.

I never thought about what I would do after these glorious days. I was in the moment, happy and filled with joyful love. But I knew I’d been changed. My social and political convictions remained a passion and strengthened. I also reclaimed my intellect, something I had curtailed in jobs, relationships and routine social encounters. I lost a tolerance for foolishness, bullying and temper tantrums manifested by ego in the workplace that felt too trivial and droll for my personality, creativity – or life! Whether he knew it or not, Dad was teaching me this life lesson. I vowed I would not squander what Mom and Dad gave me in this life. But I did have to claim it.

I first began to see possibilities and find avenues to channel my energy, creativity, humor and communication abilities once I began to let myself be myself. It certainly isn’t the easiest route to remove the extraneous, refuse the comforts of old paths and stay true to honoring one’s uniqueness, but it is the only way to be of the greatest value to this world or know bliss. After all, what good are you doing anyone if you aren’t chiseling at the marble slab of life to uncover your imperfect masterpiece?

Frankly. I am still a bit shy saying it but I am drawn to public speaking and some audiences seem to like it. Same goes for improv work. It’s true about creativity that you only can please some of the people some of the time. And I have had plenty of experiences in certain venues where the audience made me think I was speaking an unfamiliar tongue, which could only explain their vacuous stares, unless it was thinly veiled, face-chewing  disgust, an accidental attendance or concealing trapped gas from a high-fiber lunch. Rather than owning defeat, I stoked the engine and pushed on to other venues until someone laughed, smiled or applauded. And they have. I expressed “the head and heart,” won some laughs and even found a few who like to read my written word. Finding these channels of expression feels like what I think is a life for stage and public speaking work feels, actually; sometimes you spark for others and sometimes you burn a bridge. Such is the metaphor of life, too, no matter the situation or circumstance. Now, about Donald Trump.