Gratitude Sunday: Complaint And Desire

Gratitude * Sunday


Quote of the Week
– “Once poor, always wanting. Rich is just a way of wanting bigger.” Lily Tomlin as character Wanda Mae Wilford in her video Lily, a 1973 variety show television special with Alan Alda and Richard Pryor

Sunday Haiku
Buckets of cold rain
hit blooming cherry trees, pink
petals snow shower.

Sunday Musings
Often when I sit to write this post I don’t know where to start or what to say. I want to have a positive progressive message, but I am distracted by the sadness and stress of poverty and ill health. I sound whiny, irritable, cranky even.

I’m probably just tired. Tired of wanting to see the good in people and having faith in people and the faith being repeatedly broken. Tired of trying to trust a federal or state government that seems determined to find ways to distort the needs of constituents with the very money we constituents pay in taxes. Tired of those who have blaming those who don’t for not having, yet offering no aid or aid only with strings attached. Tired of working toward a better world and feeling like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, running backward, getting nowhere.

Maybe I’m angry. Angry at working hard all my life with so little so show for it. Angry at how little has changed in the society I’ve worked to improve these last 50 years. Angry at people being left behind, blamed for their own poverty in a rigged economy. At least my anger is not misplaced, as I’m not looking for revenge, I’m working for relief and resolution.

There is joy in my life and I hang onto those moments like a life line. The smell of fresh air. Clean water from my tap. Sweetly scented flowers and trees blooming all over my neighborhood and not being very allergic to most blooming things. Close, easy access to a swimming pool, swimsuits, and my three-night-a-week commitment. The neighbor’s trees that shade my home from the summer sun. Crows watching me from those trees. So much more.

There’s always stuff to want. I want help taking care of my house. Eventually it will happen, in the meantime I get done what I get done. I want a flat belly. Hwell, that will never happen (some things are truly fantasy or dream accessible only). I want to make some changes in my house. Eventually it will happen. Making plans while waiting to make stuff happen gives one time to be creative about funding, since liquid capital is not forthcoming in my household. Resource and enterprise is what built this United States of America and I come by tenacity genetically. Also when there is no funding, some things get done later or don’t get done.

In my little magical fantasy world, I keep planning, because I can’t suspend my disbelief enough to pretend the changes are already done, and the real life stuff to make it happen (money) doesn’t exist in my life right now. I vicariously enjoy the improvements of neighbor’s yards or of my family and friends. I content myself with minor changes because it’s what I can do. In my little magical fantasy world, I have an efficient magic wand to improve the lives of all of us.

Aging is fun (said facetiously or not depending on how you are aging), and not one bit of fantasy about it. One does what one can, enjoys what one can. I’m trying to value what I do now in the same way I valued all I used to be able to do. Competition isn’t always good, but I’ve always thought the one legitimate competition was being better than one was yesterday, rather than trying to be better than somebody else. Aging might not be a valid comparison. One’s abilities change, just as one’s abilities changed when one was learning and growing older. And everybody is different. Just because you can doesn’t mean I can, and vice versa. It’s hard to maintain oneself in that space, where whatever gets done is what you get done and be satisfied with it, when we come from a culture that behaves like the work ethic is the only value of human abilities.

Here’s another thing I wanted. After retirement I wanted to be able to help other people, yet I find myself in the position of still asking for help just to live. That’s really undignified, but if asking for help is what it takes in this United States, and the help in not forthcoming without the asking, then the asking must be done. Living under a bridge is not an option for me these days; I’d be dead in a week. I often feel that’s what our society would be happy to do, just throw all the oldies under a bridge somewhere and let us die. What I just said is entirely morbid; elders have undervalued value in this world. We know history. We’ve tried things youngers might not have thought of, and we can still learn.

One cannot be happy all the time. One must feel a full range of emotions to be truly alive in this world. If one doesn’t acknowledge and experience sadness, or anger, or discomfort, how can one distinguish happiness, or contentment, or security and fully experience those feelings?

My mom used to tell me I was whiny. She was pretty blunt about my shortcomings. She also told me to keep my chin up, and she was my biggest supporter even as an adult. She meant for me to keep going with my head held high despite my anger, fatigue, and discontent. One must keep going. And one can put on a positive face while bearing anger, fatigue, and discontent. We might not want to show our range of emotions to the public, but we should feel free to experience them.

Twenty-one years ago I attended my college graduation dinner with Mom and youngest brother, and we shared the table with a classmate and her family. Classmate was much younger and we’d met at the transfer student orientation; she had heart shaped glasses with purple lenses which I told her I loved and she was amazed an older student would talk to her. She was Latina and was the person who did me the kindness of teaching me “Not all Hispanics are Mexican” (I merely enjoyed Hispanic cultures, but I’d never thought much about it before; that’s privilege – to not think about it; also what college is for: to learn to think); she also helped me practice my Spanish. During graduation dinner we chatted and learned a bit about each other’s families. At the end of the dinner classmate’s mother told me she’d never heard anybody complain so much in all her life and we’d only been at table a couple hours.

Mom and I laughed, which surprised classmate’s mom, knowing this is my style. I explained, as usual, complaining is my way of defining problems, challenges, or issues. Granted, it’s an inelegant method, but nonetheless that’s how I roll.

You know what? Sometimes, after defining the problem, as inelegant as the complaint method is, the definition spells out the resolution.

Isn’t that the root of the issue? To fix something you must know what is broken. The more clearly you define what is broken the easier to see possible resolutions to the problem. That’s another part of the problem, often there is more than one solution. And another part of the problem: when working with other people, not everybody will agree on a solution, yet often the solution requires more than one person.

Is it any wonder I’m cranky? So many things to think about, so many things to fix, so many possible solutions, so much wanting. So much wanting bigger even without being rich.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I don’t think this photo quite captures the neon quality brightness of these red tulips on an early spring late afternoon. Love the pale baby blue of these bluebells. Pink cherry blossoms against their coppery-orangey leaves. How this tiny yellow flower creeps over the red lava rock, against the green geranium/begonia (?) leaf. How wild azaleas feel, this one in baby pink. Neighbor has great clumps of baby blue forget-me-nots, like a ground cover.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Tiny Furniture (2010, not rated), written, directed, and starring Lena Dunham. A new college graduate struggles to find her way after graduation; movie views like a precursor to her more recent TV series Girls. * Green Book (2018, rated PG – 13) with Viggo Mortenson and Mahershala Ali, who took the 2018 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Several years ago through some fiction reading, I became aware of The Negro Motorist Green Book, a paperback publication listing safe places for Negroes to spend the night when traveling, whose final publication was 1966. 1966. I was just starting to learn about the injustices of humanity against humanity at that point; in 1966 I was becoming aware (though as I age I am stunningly naive sometimes). African and African-American culture fascinates me, as do several other cultures; the African-American journey makes my heart ache; I’ve never understood treating people other than you would treat yourself. I love learning. As I stated in last week’s Current View, I view this movie from “white privilege” because I don’t know how to say it other than I’m white. This is the story of a classically trained pianist who happens to be Negro and must travel in the southeastern areas of America in the early 1960s (1960s!) when Jim Crow laws were still very much alive and well. He acquires a driver/bodyguard who has a reputation for resolving issues. The bodyguard has some underlying biases, as does the pianist. They learn from each other that they are, when all is said and done, men together in this ugly world of racism, and they develop a tentatively trusting relationship. The movie is from a true life story, and the movie is Hollywood. It is very much a “white person’s” movie, from the white person’s point of view which seems normal considering the son of the white driver/bodyguard produced the movie. That’s OK because this is the movie it is. We could tell the story from a different point of view and that would be a different movie, just as valid for its own sake. Even if they took literary and life license with this movie, I enjoyed the message of growth and learning to live with different cultures and different people. * Year of the Woman (1973, not rated) a documentary by Sandra Hochman, a poet’s eye view of sexism and feminism at the 1972 Democratic Convention when Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Important history, and available on Youtube.

Currently ReadingMr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (2012, fiction) by Robin Sloan (American author). A fantasy grounded in today’s real world reality, this would be a fun and easy breezy light summer read for fantasy enthusiasts. No spoilers. Recommended. * Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger (2018, sociology) by Rebecca Traister (American author). I have a girl crush on Ms Traister. She says it all so well. I’ve never understood why men would cut off half their resources because of what we have between our legs, nor do I understand why we still have to fight for any advantage, as they continue to undervalue women.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Hearing the geese flying north for the season, looking up from my work, and seeing them through the open door. We had a really nice day this week and several of the flocks circled back around to a local wetland. I enjoy their working voices.
  • The sound of neighbor kids playing outside. Outside.
  • Getting so many spaces cleaned while chasing a sour smell in the kitchen.
  • Finding a short pile of long forgotten clothes in my quest to clean my room.
  • Five minute work windows. Breaks. And more five minute work windows.
  • Consulting with a physical therapist who helped me understand more about chronic pain and how the brain functions differently when dealing with constant pain.
  • A friend’s granddaughter being safely delivered of her own daughter. Mama and baby are safe and well. So excited for their four generations of girls.
  • A short walk on a warm day.
  • How much it sounds like the birds are enjoying the warming weather.
  • Rescuing Mister Kitty aka George Murphy when he fell into a tight spot behind my dresser, without needing help from the family.
  • A semi-successful/semi-failure gouda garlic chicken sauce. It wasn’t the best but with pasta we ate enough to be sated.
  • Rotisserie chicken and how many easy meals I can make from one.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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