Thursday, May 26, 2011



For some strange reason I cannot seem to bring up the word that I used for the next phase of an idea or project once it emerges from the conceptual stage. Actually, the reason that I can’t isn’t ‘strange’ as much as it is condemnation of the processing ability of my brain, the inefficiency of its CPU or, one of the sign that my hard drive is in need of more than a ‘defragmentation’ to improve its speed.

I tell myself that I have come to grips with my condition and that I fully expect to live a fulfilling life. After all, my desires are no less ambitious from any that I had prior to my CTBI diagnosis, to achieve is something that is an end to itself. There have been moments that have tested this thinking, but never was it as tested as it was when I lost my cell phone. Because of several unreported events surrounding the day, it was like a wormhole opened up and it was as if all the worst things that could happen to me, alone in Omaha, were being visited upon me.

For a while I was nearly in a complete panic. I have been trying to read a book, “That Bird Has My Wings”, the biography of Jarvis Jay Masters, inmate in the state of California Penal system. Raised in a home without positive role models and born into a life where abuse and addiction was rampant and the culture of urban poverty stood ready to claim him. In his incarceration he began a practitioner of Buddhism and his evolution within the practice being part of the finish to his story. Though there is a lot about his childhood that I had no direct contact with, his life had the ring of familiarity to it that had me thankful for the childhood that I did have as it could have been, for ‘the grace of…’, that it wasn’t mine. Since it wasn’t and easily could have been, I had empathy for Jarvis and knowing what was to come for him, I still found myself hoping that he would be able to rise above the current and climb unto shore. But what had made reading the book so difficult was that I felt that I was wading into the deep waters myself.

Last Memorial Day’s weekend for me was spent in the company of the SFC and her oldest son and his then-girlfriend at Virginia Beach. As the four of us lay on the beach, I was seized by urge to walk out into the ocean nearly to my chin. What made this prolly the most symbolic act up to that point and since I have been journaling, is the ‘face your fear, live your dreams’ element to my excursion. Because like Sir Nose D’Void of Funk, who like me can neither swim nor dance, a walk into the ocean in waters had the added of envelope pushing that also had the element of real risk that made it so symbolic for me.

When I finally stopped 200 yards from shore and the tide rising to my lips, the toes of my left foot felt as if they were hanging, and the sea floor broken off as if my next step would have found nothing but emptiness. Sensing the void, I turned around expecting to see the last bather I had passed to reach for to anchor me as I retreated from Bermuda and the waves of the ocean, and the SFC was wading out after me. The significance of my friend coming after me and ‘having my back’ as I wandered out into rising tide is greater now that I again find myself out on the sea. Alone.


When you are telling yourself not to panic, it usually means you are pretty much in a panic. Think Jim Carrey’s Lloyd in “Dumb and Dumber” being stuck in the bathroom and being menaced by a trucker, repeating to himself, “Find a happy place”, with his eyes closed. Fear, dread, whatever name you want to give this sensation that encroaches upon your peace of mind and security, is what has been going on with me for the past two weeks.

The past four years has been a search for my ‘new normal’. Compounding the difficulty of my being disabled has been adjusting to completely different environments with their own distinct cultures and societies. I appreciate the comment that suggested that I find a church to be a part of, but that is not my thing. At this point in my life, I think it is unlikely that I would go for the sake of keeping up appearances. It is enough, IMO, for me to keep a still tongue whenever the subject is in the air or someone makes a faith-based declaration. For someone who yearned to be in a stable environment, one where there was one philosophy, one spirit, one thought, there is no rush to complicate things by seeking external relationships. And expecting me to go to church in hopes of connecting with people is not conducive to short or long term goals.

Besides, I am comfortable alone and that is what ultimately will pull me out of this funk that I have been in. I look outside my window and see the sun streaming through it and the tops of the trees that are in the park across the street, I think back to my choice to make my way to Omaha.

Having this kind of awareness when you are making a decision, particularly a life changing one, is a clear of a sign or maturity and of wisdom that I know of. Though I am still undecided on ‘what I will be when I grow up’, I do believe that choice to move to Omaha is among the best choices that I have made as an adult. I understand that not all things can go as hoped for no mater how solid the plan, and while things can seem to be on the verge of breaking down, should they indeed break down, I am sure it is only so they can be rebuilt stronger.

And speaking of choices, one of the bolder choices that I have made in my life is the one to make sure that I look on the brighter side of whatever situation I find myself. When it comes to that choice, nothing has changed. Now things around me have… and that plays into my lack of enthusiasm for company…


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I am glad you are still celebrating your move to Omaha. I am looking forward to seeing you in November.

Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

Mark, your desires are probably more ambitious from any that I had prior to my CTBI diagnosis. Your diagnosis (I suspect) was a wake-up call. Your writing seems very clear and determined. I understand about the being alone thing. I like to be alone as well. I'm not dissing church or faith either. Spiritual enrichment is often found by being alone.

Anonymous said...

If I have a church, it is one of books, not of spirituality...but everyone has(or should have) their own thing. But I do meditate in a secular way...and I thought the book was fantastic. I hope you stopped reading it if it was causing you any concerns.

You have taken on so much and done so well.... ~Mary

That corgi :) said...

I like your choice Mark to look at the brighter side of things, no matter what. That type of attitude will (has) continued you to do the best you can no matter where you are or what you are facing. It always does take time to adapt to new situations and places, but I do think where you are at right now is a good place for you. Hope you get out of your funk soon; I know that can be hard to go through


Toon said...

Something about the ocean makes me want to walk into the abyss too. I love the beach, but it's definitely not a place to be if you feel unhinged in any way.