Finding Wisdom in Mental Illness and Moving Out

 

The Realtor is coming today. The God of possibilities. He has the key to change and the know how to get this giant monkey off my back. I’m nervous as hell. Not only because it looks like I haven’t done shit to the house but because it’s one more step towards the cliff edge called Unknown. I feel like I’ve been going through a time warp on a roller coaster the last couple of weeks. Working my way back through all the years and layers of memories I saved. The kids art work from life like images all the way back to scribbles and stick figures, school work from creative essays back to first writing their name, handwritten letters back to homemade cards, special trinket gifts with endearing messages. I’m reliving the years. These things we pack away because they’re so special and made from love.  They’re mostly only useful to the heart. So we pack away our hearts thinking what? That we’ll get them out again someday? Except for the homemade ornaments we get out every year for Christmas we rarely ever do. Sometimes the kids or family are left having to go through it. The things that made us laugh and smile. The things that made us proud. The things that made us cry. The things that were difficult to deal with. The things that made us feel big and the things that made us feel small.

I’m glad I’m the one mining these paper rivers looking for gold nuggets to give to my kids. It’s hard to decide. Each nugget transports me and gives me a chance to relive and, yes, evaluate my life. Evaluate myself in the art of family raising. I get to beat myself up. I get to beat up the side of me looking for reasons why I was a horrible mother. Why I didn’t deserve this gold. In the past when I would evaluate, even if there were no horrible reasons Crazy made sure to make some up. Crazy’s made-up thoughts would become parasitic and eat up any good thought I had in me. You are a horrible mother Crazy screams! I would believe it and the heavy guilt shadow would loom over everything I did. This would create more fuel for Crazy to use in the next battle.

But something happened over the years. With what only comes from hard earned experience, regrets, triumphs, and also having three wonderful patient kids, I’ve learned about this shadow side of me.  Why she thinks the ways she does and how to handle and accept her. So now with shimmering muscles of wisdom and experience I’m stronger at this fight. I allow Crazy to have it’s say for a couple reasons. There’s always something to be learnt from it and because the worst thing to do is to shut it out. It will come back with a vengeance. But now Crazy’s dark parasitic impressions can’t penetrate the armor that comes with the wise Warriors mask. At least when I remember to wear it and only in the right situations of course.

Even though I’m still working on things and will always be learning I think there is good wisdom here to be passed on. I’m beginning to know what I would say if asked in 50 years what would I have done differently or the same. I feel like I’m recharging my memory battery and replacing what Crazy tried to change over the years with what was real and beautiful. I’m putting a nice neat hem on this part of my life. But instead I’ll be packing it away in the judicious archives of my mind. Complete with all its bright and dark colors, smooth and jagged lines.

If you have Grandparents, or an Elder friend, or even an Elder sitting at the bus station next to you ask them
what they have packed away in their minds. Strike up a converstaion. Ask them what stories and wisdom they can
share and pass on. Ask just for the wonderment, curiosity, and communion. Even if the stories are not all gold there is a lot to be learned from an Elder and lot to be given in return to an Elder just by listening.

By the way, yes, I did get rid of most of the keepsakes, and there were boxes, except for what I gave my kids and a few things that would fit in a notebook folder.

May you find peace……….eventually.

Caregiving, Loneliness, and a Social Life

It’s the evening before July 4th. I had a full kickass day continuing to get ready to sell the house. Putting treasures collected through the years on Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. Another full days lesson on letting go. It’s just stuff right? Still, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing or if it’s crazy making me do this thing that people say is crazy. This follow my dream thing. The sun is going down. The panic starts to creep in. Did I get enough done today. Always multitasking, I have dinner in front of the computer researching our future. Campers, and the right kind of vehicle to pull campers, living cheap, land and houses for sale.

All day people have been setting off fireworks but now that night is setting in it’s getting more intense. I hear people laughing, and kids squeals of excitement. It’s not even July 4th yet I tell myself. Still, I feel lonely. I AM alone. No one is home. Everyone is off doing their own thing. I shouldn’t feel alone. Finally time to myself. This is what I like. It’s what I thought I liked. I’m getting so much done I tell myself. Is it because I can hear people having fun and I’ve been programmed to think I should be doing that too or I’m worthless. I wish I could just conjure up a friend to take a break with. We could go have a beer on the front porch for an hour and watch the action. Then I could just simply put the friend away for another hour on another lonely day. I guess this is what a significant other is for. Except I wouldn’t be putting them away and only getting them out when I need them of course. Although, being in a relationship isn’t like entertaining a friend the whole time they are here either. You can just be yourselves together. I guess that’s what I’m missing. A relationship.

Relationships are hard when you have a Shaman to care for. I mean really hard. Unless the person your dating has a Shaman too. That’s rare. It also helps if the Shaman your raising doesn’t think your boyfriend is a dark wizard. I was in a relationship for 7 years with, I’ll call him Wizard. He stopped coming around much for obvious reasons. I went to him instead. That was a lot of work. Our relationship revolved around Shaman a lot. It was always there on the confines of whatever we did because Shaman was always on my mind. I could never fully relax. Shaman would always tell me to go and have fun and everything is fine. I think part of him believed what he said but mostly he was worried about me with the dark Wizard. So sometimes his anxiety would get the best of him. He would call, and I would come home or he would get into some sort of trouble. My Mother would try to cover it up or clean it up and hush it up. I would always find out later. I knew this was her way of helping. Helping to take the stress off me and also Shaman or whatever other issue was going on. Make the problems disappear. She doesn’t do that anymore. The shits too deep for her to shovel.

Wizard and I also had our share of problems that needed work. Still do I guess. Intimate relationships will do that to you. Mirror your issues in an extreme way. To the point you can’t ignore them. So now that we aren’t a couple anymore I know what I have to work on. As in the first paragraph, the feeling of worthlessness is a big one for me. Although, the fact that I’m taking steps to change my life, huge scary steps, makes me feel empowered. It used to be in the past when I felt lonely and worthless I would have a beer and then another and another. Then I would act like a fool. I’m still living that past fool shit down. But each time one of those dark memories tries to creep in I replace it with a better one. I’m lighting up those dark shadows. So, let July 4th be symbolic to bringing light to the darkness.

As I’m writing this Shaman walks in with a big childlike grin across his face and he wants to tell me about his night. When the folks in our town started setting off fireworks everywhere he went out to take a walk. I was hoping he was going to find a friend to hang with. Apparently, he walked to the graveyard which is a favorite place he likes to hang out. He was so excited to tell me about his evening in the graveyard. So I stopped writing to give him my full attention which I’m not good at doing but I’m working on it. So his evening goes something like this. After a sweltering day everything is fresh and cooler and damp because of a thunderstorm that just passed. In the graveyard he sets up his gemstones in chosen places and lights a smudge stick. He tells me about the smell of sage from the smudge stick. He tells me about his gemstones. The shapes and colors and what they symbolize and how they synchronize with the symbols on the tombstones. Settling down, he watches the fireworks going off all around him along with lightening in the distance from a faraway storm. He remarked how the firework’s light was reflecting off the symbols on the tombstones. He also noticed how pretty the setting sun was in the pink sky. There were also fireflies taking flight and how they added to the light show. There was so much light going on he said sometimes he couldn’t tell out of the corner of his eye if it was fireworks, lightening, or fireflies. He explains all of this in vivid detail. My feelings of isolation go completely away. I am not a single shut-in anymore. I am a Mother and caregiver feeling overwhelmed with empathy and admiration for his courage when I remember Shaman also is lonely a lot of the time. But he just brushes it off like an annoying bug and goes off to find beauty and make the best of a lonely situation. This is why I call him Shaman.

Happy Fourth of July and may you find peace………..eventually.

My Dream….Ready, Set, GO!

 

 

Since my last post I’ve been consumed with getting out of here. My mind won’t let me rest. I’m scattered. I almost feel panicky. I’ve decided to lay my hand down and take a chance. Go for my dream. For me as well as Shaman. It feels like opening up a big space in my life to let good things come in. Nothing will change unless I make room.

I got this idea 8 or so years ago to sell my house and buy a nice plot of land to build a Cob house on. Which is like an adobe-built house. But I guess having a boyfriend was more important. I met him over 7 years ago. We were supposed to make a life together. I was willing to change my dreams. I was blind to a lot of things. On my side as well as his. Since I’m older now I’ve changed to the idea of building a Straw bale house which wouldn’t be as labor intensive. Now I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it by myself at all for a couple of reasons. Building codes and my age. So the modified dream is sell my house. Live in a camper for up to a year while I look for the perfect or close to perfect property. It will have land AND a fixer upper house. In case the Straw Bale house doesn’t work out. We can live in the house while we try our hand at straw bale building on the down low and any other creative damn thing I set my mind to without neighbors around to gawk.

As for the year in the camper. I’ve always been interested in street people, road nomads, people living under the wire. People living in alternative ways. Their stories. Their experiential wisdom. And I will be writing about it. For instance, did you know there are thousands of pre and post retirees living in campers, vans, and cars traveling the US looking for temporary work where ever they can find it and then moving on to the next town. These are people in their 50s to 80’s that were put out by the economy crashing, raising prices, taxes, low social security etc. They’re not homeless they’re houseless and there IS a difference. They’re called a lot of different things but I like Economic Refugees. It’s also called Workamping. They’re fleeing a harsh and unjust system. I’m getting out before I lose it like my mother did and these refugees. I also see it as blazing a trail for my daughter and her family. They are already struggling. More about my daughter in another post.

There are so many people out there that have the same dream as I do. Getting out. Getting off grid. Starting a sustainable life on some decent land with decent water. Living the way you want to live without having to kill yourself paying the bills. What are we doing here except trying to survive? If I’m gonna be surviving I want something to show for it. I’ve been wanting to do this since my kids were little. When we moved here I was hoping to move onto some more land within five years. Teach them the ways of country life. Have room to breathe. Now the kids are grown. Maybe things would have been different with Shaman had we moved away. Maybe he wouldn’t have so many struggles. Maybe not. Maybe it’s me and my problems that’s causing his struggles. Maybe not. I can’t change the past and I can’t be afraid to move forward. In fact I feel like I’m being propelled or pushed almost by some unseen force. Sometimes I think that’s where problems of the mind, at least for me, come from. Not doing what your heart is telling or pushing you to do.

It’s a scary thing. Leaving the familiar. Even if the familiar is uncomfortable. It’s what I know. Now the uncomfortable has gotten downright dangerous and way too stressful. Not to mention I’m fairly certain I’m on the spectrum. The autistic spectrum. I’ve done the research. So I’m an undiagnosed Asperger; although some professionals don’t use that specific term anymore. People have always been hard for me to understand, figure out, know why people do the things they do. I’ve literally learned to just come right out and ask what the hell their talking about. Or if they’re being sarcastic or serious. I’ve always had a certain amount of anxiety when I had to deal with people. So it’s no wonder my kids had issues. When my family moved in and started touching my stuff and putting things where I couldn’t find them or just putting things in a different place it made me realize how much it bothered me. I started feeling like my whole known world was taken away. No sense of space. I had no idea this would happen. As well as other things on the bother me list. Although, I love my extended family. It’s why I told them they could move in when they lost their house. I’m worried this living situation has put a wedge between us.

Because of my issues, raising Shaman especially has been like the blind leading the blind. Who knows what will happen between now and a year or so from now. And since my known world has already basically disappeared I may as well keep on going. All I know is I’m excited. I’m scared but I’m so very excited to stop hiding in this falling down house with all the conflicts and stress and finally let life in.

Until next time may you always find Peace………eventually.

Delusions And Physical Threats

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been working on and editing some things but they’re not ready. I tend to not do something unless I think it’s good enough. And I rarely think it’s good enough. It’s time to let go of that way of thinking.

I realize as the days pass there are things going on here that I want to share. Things are changing so fast. So, I will start trying to post something every week unless Boring shows up which I’ve said before is a nice relief. At least occasionally. These posts will be rough and sharp around the edges. They will not be completely edited. At least not the way I like to edit.

So, without wasting anymore time……. on with the latest happenings….

Youngest decided to spread his wings and move out. There goes our only normal. Our Marilyn. Youngest was also a powerful help in getting between Shaman and Brother when there was a problem. He’s only a few blocks away but we rarely see him. I understand. I’m proud of him for taking the leap. He stops in occasionally to get a ride somewhere because he doesn’t have a car. Or he’ll stop in just to say hi and sometimes to remind me not to forget my dreams. More on that in another post. Without Youngest’s strong grounding normalcy here it feels loose like it could fall apart. Like a house of cards as they say.

Shaman crossed a big boundary last week. He threatened Brother. His words were violent. It scared me. But most importantly it scared Brother bad as well as the rest of the family. I was at work when I got the txt from Brother. Why do these things only happen when I’m at work? So as soon as I could I rushed home to be the fixer.

The incident actually started the day before. Shaman has always liked to collect strange things. Things that are symbolic to him. Like little pieces of distorted wood, gum foil, broken pieces of jewelry, rocks, pieces of string, cob webs… The day before the incident he brought home a club sized piece of wood he found in the river. I don’t know what kind of wood it was but when he happily showed me his found treasure and handed it to me my hand almost went to the floor. It was super heavy. Shaman’s father was here at the time. He’s not used to monitoring what he says. I saw it coming because I thought the same thing. Although I stopped the thought from becoming a vibration. Instead I try to focus on how excited Shaman is about this beautiful piece of wood he found but at the same time watching his body language and feeling the space between his words. Watching for any kind of bad intentions for this piece of wood for which Shaman’s father so enthusiastically expressed, “Wow, that would make a nice club.” I gave him a quick glance and saw it in his eyes. I’ve been there so many times. He’s got a lot to learn. Shamans father has not been in the picture much. Now it’s a club and not just a beautiful piece of natural wood. And now Shaman is agreeing it’s a beautiful natural wood club which he is going to paint and decorate.

The club stayed in Shaman’s possession. I stupidly did not take it away from him that day even though my gut was telling me to. It’s difficult for me to tell the difference between my Gut and my Ego. Especially now because Gut and I have lost touch over the years while I was out working on a 7-year boyfriend relationship and pushing aside any advice or warnings Gut was trying to give me. Gut knows the score and Ego is just scared all the time about things it doesn’t need to be afraid of. The boyfriend relationship also started around the same time Shaman had his first episode but that will be in another post.

The next morning at work my cell phone rings which I can’t answer because I’m at work. Then shortly after that I hear a txt come in and then another one. This makes Gut give me a warning and this time I listen. Hearing my cell phone when everyone knows I’m at work or in the middle of the night when I was at my boyfriends house or hearing sirens when Shaman is out walking are always cause for alarm for me. Especially this time when there is a potential weapon involved. Now I feel horrible and stupid and worried that something bad happened and it’s all my fault.

As soon as I can I check my txts. It’s Brother saying Shaman physically threatened him by saying he was going to bash his fuckin head in. I’m extremely alarmed but at the same time dream mode sets in and everything seems surreal. It’s like my minds way of desperately trying to soften the situation any way it can and get me prepared for whatever comes. There was also a txt from my daughter and a phone call from my daughter. As far as I know only words exchanged between Shaman and Brother. But my mind is whirling and I’m in a panic. I have to put on my mask. I pretend like I’m fine and talk about the weather at work while I make my way to my car. I’m sure you could still see me grinding my teeth. It used to be that people at work were always telling me to smile or cheer up which would fucking piss me off. I’ve gotten much better at putting a mask on and sometimes I’m truly just finding the humor in it all. But not this time.

Driving is normally 20 minutes to get home. It seemed like hours. To tell you the truth I don’t remember if I talked to Brother or my daughter or someone. Because by the time I got home I was just angry. Very tense and angry. Angry that I have to deal with this shit at all. Angry that I have to worry all the time. Angry that this was partly why my relationship with my boyfriend went sour. Angry that I cant just live a happy simple life. Angry at myself for letting things get this far. Angry that all these people in my house need me. Everything that I could be angry about welled up inside filling my body with broken shards of glass. My anger flew out of the car and slammed through the house door straight to Shaman. I was yelling no! No more! This is unacceptable! This is unacceptable behavior! You cannot threaten people! What did you do?! My protective Mother bear instinct stepped in when Shaman started backing away from me like he was afraid of me now too. He always does this when I get angry. He will even cower. This makes me feel even worse. The anger drains away and turns to empathy and the realization that he is ill. This is his home and he should at least feel safe in his home. I know the only reason he would say this horrible thing to Brother was because he was scared. So I say something about this understanding of him. He denies it. He used to say he likes being scared all the time because it makes him more perceptive and sharp. Now he just denies being scared. It’s like a game of cat and mouse to him. He’s proud of himself for so skillfully dodging Brother’s psychic warfare. He tells me that he would never be able to follow through with the threat because he doesn’t have it in him. He’s not violent. He only did it to show Brother he’s not afraid of him. Like when a tiny animal flares out a brilliant color of feathers or gills or something to scare away a giant predator.

Yes, we’ve done the rehabs and mental health facilities. It only buys a little time. They’re basically all the same. Nothing really changes in Shamans mind. Except that he went on a little vacation either good or bad. Usually bad. For instance, when the facility makes him share a room with an ex con white supremacist that wants him to join the cause. That was a bad vacation.

Of course the beautiful natural wood club is now in my possession. With a happy bright white paint job. Like a child giving up a toy in the store that he’s not allowed to have, Shaman reluctantly gave it to me. I couldn’t help seeing it splattered with red like flashes from an alternate universe of what could have been. Crazy can’t resist using a good imagination.

The amazing part is Brother was understanding as well. I mean he was definitely freaked out and upset but he says he knows Shaman is ill. I feel like I don’t deserve such understanding. I finally knew what I had to do. What I must do for the good of everyone. This can’t go on anymore. So I’ve made the decision to sell this house of 23 years. People ask me, “What about your  family that live with you?” I tell them my only responsibility is to my kids. That the weight and stress of keeping this house that I can’t afford so everyone has somewhere to live is killing me and not helping Shaman at all. The house is falling apart and so am I.

It’s so true how growth really only happens in the low times of your life. Look for those growth spurts that God lets happen. That we damn her for and scream at her for letting these bad things happen to us. In the midst of pain it’s very hard to see that tiny sliver of light but I’m learning how to look for the light in every situation…. eventually. I’ve been holding onto this house with the excuse that my family needs me. But really I’ve been afraid to let go. It’s time to move on. It’s time to let go. Now onto the dreams Youngest won’t let me forget.

Until next time. May you always find Peace…. eventually.

Meet My Family Living With Mental Illness

What is Family?

Family is a key to figuring out who you are. If your struggling that is. Like me. Professionals will argue nature versus nurture. I think it’s both. Genetics and experience make up a person. Who is your family? What are your stories? Your memories? They are the keys to your world view. Your perception. Your reality.

Think about what family is to you. There’s no right or wrong answer. I believe family is, yes, a genetic link and with that your physically connected whether you like it or not. I also believe with physical family you have a bit of responsibility there. But that’s just me. Of course responsibility, at least with me, goes out the window if there’s some kind of extreme issue like your brother tried to sacrifice your first born or your sister stole your identity and money and ran off with the circus. I would cut that shit off. But, I would still take the time to find out why and how that issue came to be just in case I may get the genetic urge to run off with the circus.

Then there are just people who come into your life for whatever reason and 5, 10, 15 years later you realize they have become family too. Family are people who try to be there for all the important events. People who take all of you. They take the good with the bad. And some would even accept the really bad. There’s an unbroken connection even if you haven’t seen them for years. It’s knowing a person inside and out.

So let me introduce you to the Fam. The six adults in our house. I’m going to refer to them by how they are related to Me, the blog author, except for my oldest son whom I call Shaman. They are my Mom, my Brother, my Neice, my Oldest Son (Shaman), and my Youngest son.

My Mother

Mom has a country girl toughness. A make do with what you have kind of spirit. Raised in a barn with seven other siblings and not a pretty rehabbed with lots of money barn. A real barn, an outhouse, no running water and a spring house. Her toughness got us through some hard times when I was young. When she got older I think she saw fit to pass the torch to one of her kids. I guess that would mean me, her only daughter. Girls make good glue to hold things together. Now Mom is a lover of all things sad and depressing. The bearer of bad news. Always on the lookout for a good tragedy or someone done somebody wrong story. If there isn’t  anything on the news there’s always President Trump. People like mom say they hate Trump but they actually love him. They love to hate him. He provides a good bitch session when there’s nothing else. But of course there’s always something else. From what needs fixing in our house to did you hear who went to the hospital yesterday. Refusing to have friends, the bitch session must always be with one of us. Usually my brother. If your flying too high from a fantastic day Mom is always ready to help talk you down. I think she needs the tales of woe so she can release the pain and tears locked up inside long ago.

Mom is a 4′ 11″ soft spoken 73 year old. Seemingly fragile from all that she’s been through but don’t be fooled. My father always used to say he was married to a saint, and not in a good way. Now I understand. Smoothing things over and taking responsibilities and consequences away from you is her specialty.  Her compassion and help for people who actually need it is awesome but If I’m not careful she’ll do so much for me I’ll find myself disabled and wallowing in a puddle of guilt on the floor. Or would that be a puddle of glue? Then I’ll become another sad story for her to tell. There’s no letting down my guard around Mom.

My Brother

Brother is a lot younger than me. He’s in his 30’s. I was on my own by the time he was born. I told him once he’s the sister I never had. I had 4 brothers. One has since passed. Brother lived with me once before around 4 or 5 years ago during a difficult time in my life. A different kind of difficult. Divorce. Not having really any close friends at the time he was the sister that I could talk to about anything. Crazy was lurking in the shadows then too. Crazy came bearing gifts of alcohol and promiscuity.

Brother is a soft spoken Gay with a good although strange sense of humor. Brother is lonely. Brother is always there for anyone who needs him. Especially Mom. I sometimes feel bad for him that she uses him for her companionship. Brother had so many dreams. Now I don’t hear about them anymore. He’s either the most humble person I’ve ever known or his self esteem is at zero. Shaman Son keeps a really good eye on Brother. Brother used to play practical jokes on people and tricked Shaman Son into selling his soul to him some years ago. Brother even had a contract for Shaman Son to sign. Brother has since confessed it was a joke and gave Shaman Son the contract including the ones that other people signed. Shaman Son still believes. Believes that Brother is trying to hurt him in a lot of ways. Brother stays in his room most of the time now. He’s done college. He says college was a waste of time and a rip off. This is coming from someone with a high IQ. Graduated top of his class. Although he would argue that he’s not intelligent. When Brother denies obvious things about himself this makes Shaman Son more paranoid about him. Now Brother knits while hiding in his room on the third floor. He knits beautifully. Probably because he has a lot of time on his hands. At least when he’s not keeping Mom company.

Not wanting to upset Shaman Son, Brother will wait a long time to come downstairs for ANYTHING. Deciding between getting a caffeine headache or getting some coffee, getting a headache is better than dealing with Crazy. What he doesn’t realize is Crazy is up there with him too. Making him decide between things he shouldn’t have to decide between. Like thirst, hunger, or boredom. When the time comes for him to have to make the hesitant trek down the stairs I’m sure the dialog in his mind goes something like this….Should I just bound down the stairs as if nothing is wrong? Should I tiptoe as quietly as I can? Should I look up or down when I reach the bottom? I’ll just look at my phone the whole time. Should I actually look at something on my phone or just pretend? At the bottom of the first flight of stairs he pauses for a second to listen for clues telling him now is not a good time to go on. But hearing nothing he proceeds cautiously to the second flight of stairs. Upon reaching the last few steps Brother is at first relieved Shaman is not around so feeling a little more relaxed he heads to the kitchen. Rounding the corner Brother’s fight or flight kicks in. Oh shit, Shaman is in the kitchen! Should I casually turn around and go back upstairs? Or stand my ground and do what I came down to do? Losing his appetite Brother heads back up the stairs thinking at least Shaman didn’t wave his hands at me grunting and growling voodoo this time. I try to remind Brother to keep a chin up and look for the positives. I dont know what else to do.

I’m sure Brother feels better when he goes to work even though he hates his job.

My Niece

Niece became old enough to drink a year ago. Although she says she never wants to drink. There’s a lot of alcoholism in this family. She never swears either. Even tiny little swear words. Once Brother tricked her into saying a swear word in another language. She started crying when she found out. She was 18 or 19 at the time. As a college student and employee without a drivers license she has to rely on Mom to take her everywhere, and also Brother. Niece is one of those big and beautiful women. She has a great confidence mask but she also shows her vulnerability. She’s strong with a touch of softness. She uses her intelligence for strength. Sometimes it seems like she could break easily given the push. She has long dark curly hair and pale white skin. The dark red lipstick she  sometimes wears accentuates her sarcasm and Gothic intellectualism.

Niece also stays in her room on the third floor mostly for the same reasons as Brother. Shaman Son doesn’t seem to think Niece is as diabolical as Brother but he still needs to keep an eye on her because Niece and Brother are very close. College homework keeps Niece busy. She also crochets beautiful things. So some days Niece, Brother, and Mother sit up there on the third floor and have a crafting time together or watch funny movies to remind them to laugh.

My Eldest Son

Shaman is average height and in good shape with dark blond shoulder length hair. He has hazel eyes that sometimes sparkle and sometimes are very dull like someone turned off his light. I refer to my eldest son as Shaman because I think he may be here on Earth to go through the difficult pilgrimage of becoming a spiritual guide of sorts. To interpret what he describes, Shaman is a manifestation culminating from generations of family shit. Here to release all the negative inflamed toxic energy.  The cover ups, don’t talk abouts, undealt with tribulations. A genetic pimple if you will. Except he’s a lot nicer to look at.

Turning whisperings into screams for everyone to hear. He’s not afraid to say what he thinks needs to be said especially when it comes to other peoples shame, embarrassments, vulnerabilities. Of course, I will add, the journey to becoming a spiritual guide or Shaman involves digging out and exposing your own shit as well and this has  been a bit of a barrier for him.

Being very intelligent and interested for years in all things of spirit he has a hard time finding peers his own age. Even peers that are older. Shaman is 25. At the age of 16 he had an encounter with what he describes as an alien. He’s had anxiety since middle school. He can’t work now due to anxiety. And of course there’s the issue of thinking Brother and Niece are trying to hurt him. I think he has a hard time trusting people outside these walls as well. He does his best to keep busy but I have to stand by and watch as Crazy wraps him up in a loneliness shroud which is slowly suffocating him. I’ve spent and will continue to spend a lot of time learning about “The System” that’s supposed to help him but most days all I can do is accept things and pray he finds his way.

Shaman has hitchhiked all over the U.S. Always returning home due to the law, anxiety, or drugs with stories of amazing things and very interesting people. Asking Ayahuasca, mushrooms, and other various drugs for help in finding his soul that Brother took has not helped. He has spent time in jail, rehabs, and psych hospitals.  Shaman has been the biggest help in me finding my Warriors mask. Shaman doesn’t think he needs help. This makes dealing with “The System” even harder.

Shaman has a beautiful heart. He cares almost too much. I tell him he needs to toughen up. I also think he needs to come down to earth. I should take my own advice. Writing, dancing, walking, meditating for hours, and drawing. These are the things he finds helpful and enjoyable. Medication and therapy don’t seem to help. They don’t know how deal with a person on a Shamanic journey. Everyone goes into the sameness box. Just like they tried to do at school. Shaman left school after 5th grade to be homeschooled. He tried to go back to high school like his little brother did but to no avail. Boxes are not a good fit for Shamans in training.

Life in a small town makes it easy to spot a Shaman. All the police know him. The only cops that mess with Shaman are the new ones. They see him dancing in the street and don’t understand that he’s not a public drunk. He’s simply doing energy work for the good of the town. We’ve been here for over 20 years and neighbors have come and gone. Most people really like Shaman because of his big beautiful heart. Our house is the colorful one with weird stuff on the front porch. Antique dolls, rusty old children’s chairs, a collection of found bones and old gnarled wood. And there’s always something that needs to be fixed. Peeling paint or a rotted floor board. My youngest son once said, “Oh we’re THAT house on the block.” My youngest son has a great sense of humor.

My Youngest Son 

I’m going to refer to my youngest son as simply Youngest. He is average height and athletic with dark brown hair cut to the latest style. Youngest has a bright super friendly smile that you can easily talk to. Youngest is 2 years younger than Shaman, although he was more like the older brother. Shaman and Youngest got along pretty good growing up. Youngest was the joker in the family. Always trying to lighten things up and make us smile. With a sampling of anxiety as well he decided to be homeschooled through middle school like the rest of my kids. Youngest had a best friend connection on the outside. Crazy saw Youngest had protection from the outside so it left him alone. Hearing the call of the institution, he listened and went back to school in 9th grade. It wasn’t easy for him but his best friend connection was there to help.

I used to call Youngest Marilyn. He was the odd ball in a Munster Family. Its a tv show from the 60’s. Youngest did his best to be “normal”. He took all the appealing things from life with Crazy and ran with it. Youngest likes to keep moving. Discovering, experimenting, learning the ways of a Rumpelstiltskin Creator which is taking something ordinary and making it better or new. This applies to a situation or a thing. As our entertainer, he juggles a little, does card tricks and throwing cards a little, played a little banjo, draws, writes, does handstands everywhere, and wants to set the world record for riding a bike with no hands the longest. He juggles while riding a bike too.  Always ready with a smile Youngest does not like confrontation. If the smiles aren’t enough he becomes a master escape artist. Escaping from serious words required. Escaping the weight of heavy dark emotional energy that Crazy will cast upon us.

After high school Youngest went on to college. Eventually, came the Philosophy class that opened his eyes. Rethinking society and the absurd way people live without questioning, he quit college. Now he sees with a new common sense. A minimalist scientific metaphysics kind of common sense. He has a new take on sociology and is interested in how people think. Empathic and sagacious, he knows when to ask questions and what to say when he must. Youngest would always be in the middle of great discussions over coffee we used to have with various family members in the house . Discussions about life, philosophy, science, religion, metaphysics, health, and politics. Because Crazy has placed a veil of uncertainty between everyone we don’t do that much anymore. Youngest may not admit it but he will always think outside the box because life with Crazy will do that to you.

Me (The Blog Author)

I’ve never lived alone. I’m in my 50’s. When I was 18 I left my alcoholic family to fight it out and went to live with my alcoholic boyfriend. Crazy makes you run toward the same things your running away from. Then come the parties in the trailer park, pregnancy, then marriage. Finally we moved to a bigger house and away from the parties. But Crazy kept bringing me truths to make me wake the fuck up. My kids grew up and made memories, perceptions, and realities through it all. Some good and some not so good. Crazy brings denial but also truth, eventually. At least for me. I finally listened. Now I’m divorced and housing various family members in a small old revitalized river town. In a three story brick Victorian row home where porches were once used as a means for socializing and getting the latest gossip. We’re all dealing with some sort of denial and truth in our own way. Quiet space is tough for me to find here.

When I was little I used to go out on the roof of our house at night and look up at the sky wondering when the ship that forgot me would come back. Preferring to be alone and never feeling like part of the human race, I lived in an imaginary world and still do.

I could never force my kids to go into the society box. I have a hard time with the box myself. Crazy has a way of keeping you outside. Although I sometimes wonder who is more sane? The ones in the box or the ones outside it? Shaman and I are very similar. It’s hard to live in a fast paced concrete, wired world. Our birthdays are two days apart. Shaman and I are both in space struggling to keep our feet on the ground.

Through the years I found ways to cope and believe in who I am even if it didn’t fit with “normal societal standards”. The trick is stop trying to be something your not. It sounds simple but I know it’s not. I still have to wear masks to assimilate and play the game sometimes.

Am I projecting in the above descriptions? Probably so. There’s a lot to be said for projection when it comes to figuring out who you are.