Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm Fifty-Five Years Old And I Just Don't Know

I don't know. Woke up this morning to a foggy, misty world, the roosters' calls of rising drifting through gauzy ground-clouds of moisture. Not so cold, but certainly not the bright shining day I could have wished for.


It is what it is and then I saw that Haiti has been hit by a very strong aftershock and what do you do? Peripheral helplessness, I think is how they referred to this feeling on NPR the other day. Something like that. Peripheral something.
Standing on the sidelines, knowing there is suffering, unable to do a thing but wring my hands, bow my head.

And Massachusetts, the world capital of sensible Democratic left-leaning thinking has elected a Republican senator, a came-out-of-nowhere guy to replace Ted Kennedy. Scott Brown and he declared that he respected what Senator Kennedy had done to represent the people of Massachusetts for all of those years and as we speak he is putting on his wings to race to Washington to stop Kennedy's lifetime dream of health care for Americans, to put the skids on gay marriage, to do what he can to take a woman's right to choose away from her.

Fuck me.

I'm fifty-five years old and what I see is that we can't get anywhere. We take three steps up the mountain and slide back four. Did you read what XBox wrote this morning? Take a moment, go there, read it.
Weep. Because they can do it. Why can't we? Don't we deserve the same, OUR mothers, OUR babies? Don't we?

Peripheral helplessness.

I live in Florida. We expect good-old boys who got their learnin' from the Bible to win elections. But Massachusetts? Hell, I doubt you can run a five mile course there without running into an Ivy League Institution of Serious Learning.

Well. Here I am in Lloyd, Florida where it's misty and all I can do this morning is feed the chickens, thaw out some fish for our dinner, learn my lines, take a walk. I can't lift weights because every time I do, my hands go into complete rebellion, waking me up at night with the fiercest burning and needles. I find a cold spot in the bed and rest them there, stretch them, change position, let the nerves try to untangle, manage to go back to sleep, only to wake back up and go through it again. My damn body won't even let Jock Girl out to play any more. I get my foot almost healed up and my hands go into spasm.

Oh well. Do what I can. I do what I can.
I'll walk. I'll learn my lines. I'll try to do some push-ups instead of the weights, hoping my hands won't hate that as much. I'll plant some pansies. I'll do some laundry. I'll change the sheets. I'll sweep the floor. I'll eat good food. I'll feed the chickens, I'll pretend the rest of the world isn't out there. It's easy today because of the fog. I can't even see down the road to the corner, why worry about what's going on in Haiti, in Washington?

Why worry? I'm fifty-five years old and every time we take a step up the mountain of justice for all, we tumble back down to where we started. It's the way of the world, it's the acts of the gods, it's the rule of the bigots, it's the impatience of the people, it's the fire in the blood, it's the hope in the heart, it's the despair in the soul and let me tell you something- that Eternal Flame? It burns out and someone has to go relight it. Ain't no such thing as an eternal flame.

I am not that guy whose job it is to stand by at the ready to get that flame going again. Neither am I an oak tree, just standing watch silently as it all happens.

I am something in-between.
You are too.

We may be helpless and some days we may even feel hopeless but I am fifty-five years old and I tell you that every time we slide down the mountain again, every time the flame goes out, we get up off our asses and somehow manage to start trudging again, to get the fire to the wick.

I don't know how. But it happens. I'm fifty-five years old and I've seen it happen again and again.
Somehow the fog clears, the mists evaporate and the sun shines through again. Sometimes it seems like it never will, but it does.

And having said that, I realize how weary that makes me feel. I wish I could say that yes! Change will come and it will stay.

I don't think so. There are ages of enlightenment and there are ages of darkness. The mist comes, it parts. It comes again or sometimes a hurricane, an earthquake, a tornado, a spate of perfect weather follows.

What can you do? I am fifty-five years old and I still have no idea.

Do a push-up if you can't lift weights. Walk three miles if you can't run two. Save your energy but get out of bed. Live as if the clouds had parted. Feed the chickens, collect their eggs, plant some flowers. Learn your lines. Speak them with authority. Don't be afraid to be a fool for the greater good of all. Kiss the babies, soothe their tears, ease their pain. The ones right here in front of you, even if you can't reach the ones in your peripheral vision.

That's all I have to say for now. That's what's on my mind.


  1. You said it all so much more eloquently than I did, but isn't it amazing that we are really saying the same thing? that we do what we can, and we still live our daily lives.

  2. Just one year ago today I stayed home from work just to watch the inauguration and I thought maybe this time things would change, but I guess they never will. It's very depressing.

  3. Sigh.
    Yes. I heard the news about MA, right here from you. Because I got home too late for the news and didn't want to look online.
    I don't understand either.
    But it feels just like you said.
    I like what you wrote about the flame (there's no such thing) and the oak tree and the inbetween place where we all are.
    I guess it's where our world is too. At least it's TRYING more now to balance itself. That's something, right?
    I love your writing.
    Push ups are even more impressive than lifting weights!
    Off into the world.
    Thanks for helping and telling it like it is.

  4. This is very inspirational to me, Mama. I know what you mean about feeling weary about having to get back up and light those fires again. But we keep doing it. And doing it and doing it. Somehow there's hope in that. I love you.

  5. We are insane hippies, that is all.
    Hope against hope, the Age of Aquarius and all the same, year after year, generation x or y or z are going to grow surrounded not by the memories of those who fought for the rights of other human beings to be free and for women to decide over their own bodies, but for the cause of rich fat men to get richer and fatter while a country that continues to be traumatized by 9/11 will be forever unless someone does something about it, waiting for a Godot that is never going to come.

    I am not even angry, that is how traumatized I am, how tired of the same old, same old. Tired of seeing how the foxes laugh at the chickens they are "protecting". How people continue to lose jobs while cribs are made in China that can kill our babies. Or strollers that can mutilate their little hands.

    I wish I could say that I have hope but not today, today I think what difference a day can make, 24 little hours, and the makeup falls off and we realize that we never left that place that brought us here. Maybe tomorrow I will feel differently but I am not sure about that. I am not sure at all.

  6. You mentioned Haiti and well, that makes me want to spew my idea all over your blog.

    The kids. I'm sure surviving is of utmost importance but what about the kids? I think something should be done to brighten their day.

    Does anyone know how I could go about sending over some of my kids 'gently used' toys for Haiti children? I just think it would brighten their day and every mother knows that when he child is happy, it takes the off the rough edges of life.

  7. Rebecca- I keep hearing that for NOW, they need to keep the pipelines clear for basic necessities like food and water and medical supplies. But a sweet thought, nonetheless.

  8. I'm tired of being hopeful only to be shoved back down that mountain again.

    last night I overheard some repubs talking about what a great success it is for mass. I don't get it. I really don't.

    so, i stay content in my own little world and never watch the news because it all just makes me frustrated. will that someday ever come when we're all considered equal? I don't hold my breath for it. but I'll secretly always hope.

    love this post. good luck with the pushups, muscle woman!

  9. My sister and I were talking today about all the orphans in Haiti. It breaks my heart and makes me cry. We agreed we want to adopt several, and give them homes and love. But, like you say, I can't do it all. I can't even adopt one. Would that even be what they want? So I can only donate a little, pray a little, think a lot. My mom has been to Haiti several times, to work as a nurse for mission groups. I am wondering if she will return. When she went, we spent hours filling ziploc baggies with nuts and various snacks. Her suitcase was stuffed full with snacks. I think that was her favorite part, passing out the snacks to the kids. She has shown me that there are tangible things we can do. Still, right now, I know my place is to take care of these babies I do have. And I shall.

  10. Worry about Washington because I am there :) And working on healthcare reform summits that may or may not be happening now...oh it's been a day. We're doing what we can.

  11. I had such a sinking feeling when I heard the results of the election. I grew up in a church, Ms. Moon. I know my Bible, and it isn't the one preached from the bully pulpits. I don't know a single place in it where Jesus promotes hate and fear. And all these condescending Bible taught politicians had best read their Bibles a little closer. Nowhere in it does it say that accessible healthcare for all God's children should be a privilege.

  12. Did that comment sound cranky? I think it did. Sorry :( it's a cranky kind of day around here as you can imagine..

  13. Kori- Yes m'am.

    Lois- I know. But part of me feels we have to have some patience. I don't know the answer. But yes, a year ago today was a very, very wonderful day.

    Bethany- Thanks, baby. But believe me- my push-ups are not that impressive.

    Maysie- What the hell else can we do? Retreat into our homes and never come out? Oh. Wait. That's what I DO.

    Allegra- I'm holding your hand and I'm nodding my head and I'm hoping we that yes, we do feel differently tomorrow.
    But like you- I have my doubts.

    Lesbo- I know. Why does it take society so damn long to admit the equality of ALL? I have watched African-Americans fight and die for that recognition. I have seen women fight for that recognition. And now, I am seeing gay people fight for that recognition. It's so tiring. It's so frustrating. It's so disappointing. And yet- we go on.
    As I said before, what else can we do?

    Lora- You have a very important job and you do it with all your heart and soul and energy. I love you for that.

    SJ- And I'm so glad you are there. Selfishly, I am.

    Angie- I, too, seem to know more of the Bible and what it says than so many of these spouting Religious Righters. They need to shut up, open their good books and most of all, open their minds to what they read.

  14. Fuck me is right. I am shamed to be from Massachusetts today. I cast my vote for gay rights and health insurance and hope for women, but it didn't do any good. Ted Kennedy is rolling in his grave, I feel sad for his family and all those in our country who can't get life insurance. I guess I have to be proud to come from a state that does offer all citizens health coverage, i just don't get why we voted not to have that? you said it well.

  15. I blame Vicki Kennedy - Ted's widow. She should have run for the Senate seat, she would have won and been able to fill out her husband's term, and get his health plan passed. I realize she was grieving when she decided to not run, but if she really could not stand doing it, one of Ted's children or Bobby's kids should have done it for the family and the country.

  16. Well fuckity fuck fuck fuck!!

    Et tu Mass?

  17. I wrote this on Bethany's page too: One thing that bothers me about the character that won the MA election is that he posed virtually nude in Cosmo when he was younger.

    I ask you, what woman could get away with that shit AND win public office.

    The double standard in this country is staggering.

  18. I try to be patient. And tell myself that when the time is right, I may be able to do something tangible to help alleviate a tiny bit of the devastation in Haiti. And then I try to focus on the here and now.

    And as for Massachusetts. I think it seemed "liberal" largely due to Senator Kennedy's presence. The liberals there are college/university folk and relatively transient. It's like NY I think. Liberal in and around the city, but if you travel 2hrs away, forget about it.

    Oh well

    But I hear you, Ms. Moon. I'm 46 and I'm hearing you loud and clear.


  19. Thank you Ms. Moon. Like the big book says, "all is vanity and there is nothing new under the sun."

  20. I just don't get how that Republican got voted in. What a tragedy!

  21. Damn, but I get tired of trudging. We do it. We must. But I damn sure get tired of it. Don't you?

    President Carter said something recently to the affect that believing in Christ is best practiced by loving the person in front of you. I liked that a lot. Simple, but not simple. True though. Very true.

    Sending love from Buttfuck, Ohio,


  22. I love all of your photographs. They are beautiful.

  23. My playlist was on "random" and started playing "Grey" by Ani while I was reading your post....couldn't have been a more perfect combo. Thanks for your perspective on all this..

  24. ps-- the house pic was UHmazing!

  25. My God Michelle, you are so right! I lived in MA for a while and was shocked at the redneck mentality I encountered outside the city limits!! There was this circumference of education and diversity, but once you leave the comfortable circle it was as narrow as anyplace you can think of.

  26. Ms. Moon, I am an old radical. I have waged my battles and I have lost and picked up again. This time I think I will stay down, I realize I can't fight this. Today the Supreme Court handed our very fragile democracy to the multi-national corporations. The flood gates of hell have been opened and we can only watch with horror the results. The next battle is ready to be waged, but I am tired. America needs to stand up or we will never be anything but the United States of Corporate Interests America.


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