This has been a crazy week. My mom died, a battered wife was sideswiped on the highway by her maniac husband (who kept screaming he was going to set her on fire and kill her and the kids), another friend's good pal was murdered, and a young woman with severe mental problems, herself a victim of incest and violence, is having her child taken away for sexual and emotional abuse. A similar case is just about at the same juncture. Rough week.
I always try to glean the good from any cesspool situation. Sure, that's a filthy pile of steaming shit, but what good is in that mess? Irritating to even try to look when things are so overwhelming. Isn't it weird how simply attempting to see something good, pisses you off? But I do it anyway. A sort of "let's roll the sleeves up and get out the shovel" type of mentality. So...here I go.
I wanted my mother to die. I didn't want to be without her but how friggin' selfish is it to want her to stay when her suffering is so horrific? Get OUT of that body. Be free. Now she is. The only thing I have to deal with now is, my mom is dead. But that's my suffering. Hers is over. That is a beautiful, bittersweet thing.
The battered wife has at long last left her husband. Since CPS (Child Protection Service) took the children away for analysis, the kids are staying with a wonderful and loving relative, in a place unknown to the father. The battered wife is in a safe house somewhere too, whereabouts unknown. The kids are safe and the battered wife has been ordered to undergo therapy. The loving relative is also tough as nails and no wishy washy sweetie whom the messed up kids can bully. She's a firm, loving hand. That is very good news.
The tormented child and his heartbreakingly screwed up mom are the far more difficult story to deal with because it's just happened. This is the second such case I've heard this week; the other one is still ongoing but, I'm very glad to say, CPS has again been called. So there's the good. The boy is safe, the girl is about to be.
Bad shit is overwhelming. That's a simple fact. One hears or experiences such terrible things, that the brain fires like a night sky on the fourth of July; flames and explosions and noise. Our mind just strobes out, runs like its tail's on fire. Forgets how to be quiet, is offended when one tries to calm it. CALM? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, CALM!?! LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENING! It's fight or flight mode at its most primal.
But calm is the path to strive for. If you've ever been on an airplane and seen the stewards go through the required safety instructions, zombie-like in their boredom and mostly ignored by the passengers, there's one tip I think of now. That's how to put on the oxygen mask. Sure, we all know when the cup drops down, put it over your nose and mouth, pull the elastic tabs, whatever. But if you're with a child, you are not to put the mask on the kid first. Even if your kid passes out from lack of air while you're fumbling with the damn thing, you are to put yours on first. Why? Because you're the adult. You can help that innocent a lot better if you're conscious and calm, as a big honking draught of pure oxygen will make you. What's little Johnny going to do when he's breathing easy and you're turning blue in front of him with your eyes rolled up in your head? It's a strange feeling to help yourself before instinctively helping a child, but it's the right thing to do. The logical thing.
We've got two halves to our brains and they are diametrically opposed critters. Like Jane Austen's Marianne and Eleanor in Sense and Sensibility, one is all feeling and emotions and the other's all analysis and logic. But they're perfectly suited when they work together. Getting them to work together is the key. My ex once told me that the right hemisphere of my brain had enveloped and devoured the left hemisphere. The left hemisphere is just gone. That is a hilariously apt description of my super sensitive artist's brain. I suck at numbers, have no sense of direction whatsoever, but I can feel some body's pain like radar and draw and paint rather well. I also faint dead away when my emotions overwhelm me. Very Edna St. Vincent Milay. It's just how I am. Despite that, I'm strangely calm in chaos. My sister said that's because it's my natural state. Chaos. Looking back on my crazy life, I realize that the thing I'm best at is helping people. All my experiences, all my trials, tribulations and tragedies have given me the gift of empathy. I try to use it for good. So I will never grow tired of the stories, the crises and pain of others. I might retreat for a bit but I'll always come back to it. Because I'm good at helping people. I believe it's what I'm supposed to do. There's something about it that helps me, makes my past a tool for good instead of a sword to pierce me. We all have misery, we all witness tragedies. But if you scrape the shit off your vision, if you work to see the good as well as the bad, even amidst the din of Bad's caterwauling, you'll have that tiny bit of quiet inside. "Peace brings gifts of beauty," Leetah from Elfquest once said. I know how hard life can be, my dear friends. I know exactly how it feels to be face down on the floor and too dejected to even want to get up. So lay there a while to regain your strength. It's okay to be down. But spare a moment to watch how cool your breath looks as it pants a ring of mist on the floor. Magic. Even there, face down and fucked up, there's magic just for your eyes and mind, heart and soul. Let it comfort you.