Musings about the laundromat: Barking, Finding and Noticing edition.
Alarm was set for seven this morning, it needn’t have been.
I was rudely awakened by the persistent bark of the neighbor’s corgi. Butters joined in and I dragged myself to my bedroom window.
Said corgi was staring at the side of my house and would not stop alerting.
I threw some ‘outside’ clothes on and headed out to see what the fracas was about.
A newly dug hole now exists leading to under my home.
This after a trap sat unsuccessfully for a week in the very same spot. (Sans hole.)
I’m assuming my skunk is back.
I’m over caring. As long as a) Skunks stay nocturnal and b) Nothing else moves in under there to startle it.
Had a long day of napping yesterday and (without too much information, wishing I had an epidural) so I was wide awake.
Headed out to the laundromat after a shower.
Laundry Lady: Hey! I missed you last week.
Me: Yeah, I didn’t even have half a basket.
(OK, that works two ways lol.)
I tossed my items in the machine and took my usual spot.
This was only after I noticed a rock on the table.
My first thought, “Oh, now we’re claiming tables with place rocks?”
Second thought, “Wait – there’s another rock … Must investigate.”
I turned it over to discover the purpose.
So! There are now painted rocks hidden in our town and if you find one, you can post a photo of your find to the Facebook page – then re-hide it or keep it or leave it.
What a wonderful way to begin the morning though – with the word, “Joy.”
I was a little upset that once again the WIFI the laundromat boasts was not functioning again.
That was ok though, I came prepared with a book.
It’s taking me entirely too long to read, not because it isn’t good, it’s amazing! It’s taking me too long because I’ve slowed down on my reading time (not good.)
There was a particular sentence I savored.
“The scratching of the bushes no longer sounded cozy. Spindly fingers asked to be let in, dark figures flitted around the house and looked for a gap, a small opening to squeeze through” – Stefan Kiesbye (Knives, Forks, Scissors, Flames.)
I kept reading until it was time to check the wash.
That’s when I noticed my laundromat neighbor.
Not to be unkind, but only honest, the first thing I noticed was his ripeness.
Then, his table. (Which, also had a rock.)
I set the book aside after seating myself again and observed.
I took all of him in.
His table, his stance, his belongings.
I make the assumption he was homeless.
I make it because he had a small bag of food items, a small bag of toiletries and because he removed his boots and stood bare footed to include his socks in the wash.
On his table, 17 cents – a small tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush, an insulated drinking vessel and some clean folded socks.
Yes, I felt some guilt sneaking this photo – but he’d disappeared into the bathroom to groom and I couldn’t let the moment pass.
My first thought now? This man had everything he carried with him, and I was going to watch his stuff.
My second thought? He was laundering his items and if anyone had a problem with that I was going into momma lion mode.
This photo breaks my heart a little – and was not intended.
A serendipitous snap of the camera.
And while all we shared was a brief smile, he shared more with me than he’ll ever know.
I chose to leave that rock at the table by the way – so that perhaps someone else could find ‘Joy’.
Last night as I lay in bed I felt shame.
Shame for allowing myself to be sad and for voicing it when I have so much to be grateful for.
The saying ‘there are others a lot worse off than you’ came to mind.
Then I wondered – who then, is within their rights to express their sadness or fears?
The person who has lost a limb? But there is someone who has lost two – or was born with none.
The person who is undergoing chemotherapy? There is someone who is terminally ill with no resources for any treatment at all.
The person who has lost the love of their life? There are people who have never known love.
These thoughts flooded my head with examples ad infinitum.
My last thought before I found sleep, was the realization that I was looking for excuses for my behavior.
And that was unacceptable to me.
This morning, with a rested body and a more positive attitude, I was able to examine those thoughts without the end game being an argument for my negativity.
Sadness must be felt.
It must be because it is.
As simple as that.
It should never be discounted.
We should not tell people ‘you shouldn’t feel that way.’
Feeling pain or disappointment or fear is okay.
It must be felt.
Embraced – released – and remembered.
Letting go doesn’t mean you’re erasing something – it means you’re acknowledging that you don’t have to stay with it.
But to forget cripples our growth.
How are we to be grateful for good when we have not fully experienced bad?
How to know joy when sadness was hurried away? Brushed off as if it had no right to be on our shoulders?
As long as I can look fear or pain or sadness in the eye and ask the right question ‘What can I do about this?’ I should not be ashamed.
But never should I sit in discontent without voice or action.
A Heretics prayer at Christmas
I pray because it feels good and it feels right.
It feels right because I’m saying ‘thank you’ without a human audience, and that feels authentic.
It feels right because I’m taking a moment to reflect and ask for guidance – and not things.
It feels good because I pray for positive energy – I ask for blessings for others.
But, I am not a Christian.
I tried to be. I’ve asked ‘the’ question in the past – with an open mind and willing soul: “Jesus, please come into my heart.”
I tried because it felt like the right thing to do, but mostly because I didn’t want to go to hell.
Then I felt hypocritical asking out of fear.
I wanted so badly to believe – but not at any cost – not because I was afraid not to.
I even convinced myself to some degree that God might actually appreciate an honest heart that at least tried. Although, probably I am going to hell. If there is one.
I had to be honest with myself though. I don’t believe. I do not believe the stories in the bible happened.
And it’s not just Christianity, every religion to me, seems as if a game of ‘telephone’ (Or ‘Chinese Whispers’) has been played with it.
If there is any one and only ‘right’ religion, man has dipped his hands into it over time. As a result, I just don’t feel like what was original, authentic or intended is among the current selections.
I don’t trust man.
But I do have Faith.
I believe in a higher power. Something bigger than me. Something I’ll never understand and am not completely meant to … because wouldn’t that be counterproductive to the concept of ‘Faith’?
I do believe in the power of prayer.
I believe there is a source of good – and of love.
And for all intents and purposes, I call that God.
In two weeks it will be Christmas Day.
Although I’m not Christian, I can appreciate a day selected to celebrate the birth of a child that represented love and forgiveness. I can get behind that.
In fact, I usually adore this time of year. The extra love and kindness that the Season tends to bring from others.
The lights and the music – the joy and the hope that warms Winter.
I’m not feeling any of that this year.
I have knots in my stomach where excitement should be.
I’m looking away from lights and avoiding the holiday music.
I feel like a deadline is beating down on me that I can’t possibly meet.
I love giving.
I especially love being able to grant a wish – be able to witness a smile that reaches the eyes of someone I love.
It’s been a tough year financially.
I know I’m not the only one – but I can’t write about what other people are feeling.
I only know how I am feeling.
I know that presents aren’t ‘the reason for the season’, but I don’t want to let my son down.
I’ve always found a way.
Somehow managed to grant a material wish for the boy I would lay down and die for.
I am falling short this year.
And it hurts.
And it makes me wish Christmas wouldn’t come.
I need to pray on that.
Pray on why the need to give is so strong, that I feel ‘less than’ if I can’t do it.
Because that’s a lot different from needing to give and not wanting to do it.
I need to pray on why it upsets me so much to think I’m letting someone down when I can’t provide things they want.
Because that’s a lot different from not providing things they need.
I don’t ever want my motives to be driven by fear.
I will pray they are driven by love.
I’m quite certain they are.
It is Christmas after all, the one time of year when it’s traditional to show love by offering gifts. To indulge in a few material tokens of our affection.
Catabolic hearts and Candy Corn pencils
I spent last night with a few tears – and like a child in need of comfort, I also grabbed a blanket and my bear.
Yesterday brought joy and sadness, love and aloneness, hope and fear. And sometimes, it’s all just too much to process.
It wasn’t due to any one thing in particular – things build over time to overflowing and when there is no outlet – blanket and bear come into play.
I joke about saying too much – about not editing myself. But the fact is, I keep so much inside that it hurts sometimes.
You know when someone notices that you’re out of sorts and hugs you? That dam that bursts because of that hug?
I feel like life (and, yes, me too) constantly plugs up my dam with no relief in sight.
When I desperately need a hug.
And to be heard.
I posted this on my Facebook wall this afternoon – after a day of feeling unwell physically, but mostly overwhelmed emotionally.
I did this because I felt safe putting it there, I am very selective about who my ‘friends’ are on Facebook. People that know me and ‘get me’ are privy to my mostly quirky, sometimes funny and often odd status updates.
I don’t have friends I don’t trust.
What I really wanted to do was write about it here though. So I’m going to.
I have a lot on my plate and on my mind. A lot weighing on my heart also.
I find it necessary, again, to reiterate that I am a happy person – and a grateful person – and a loving person. And I know what is important in life.
But I am also a human person.
I used to think it was not okay to permit myself to feel my sadness. That I was somehow being ungrateful by doing that.
I know not to wallow in it – not to become melancholic – but it is necessary to feel. Denying myself permission to acknowledge sadness or fears is not healthy. And there is no growth when one does not acknowledge, assess and address a feeling or emotion.
Still, lately I’ve pent everything up. Putting one foot in front of the other and plugging away at life, while I tackled real and imagined problems alone.
The soul has this amazing ability to take a lot of crap from us – but has its limit. I reached mine.
Then I came home to mail.
Not just an envelope either – a small package.
It was from a dear friend in California (she actually taught me how to do what I do for a living over 14 years ago!)
Inside – was this letter, the sweet pencil and a bag of Halloween candy:
Here I was questioning whether I am worthy of love – and I receive this sweet, sweet gift. That she knows me so well – that something reminded her of me – that she made the effort to go the extra mile and purchase the item and tell me that she thought of me … such love.
And to want to feel connected to me.
What a blessing to have such friends.
I’ll take the pencil to work with me tomorrow and put it somewhere I can look at it as a reminder.
And because it touched me so – my heart can’t possibly be in a catabolic state. It’s still capable of processing love.
It’s just scared.
My usual ‘Musings from the Laundromat’ will be written from home, as they’re not open yet.
I’ve been up since just before 5 O’Clock thanks to Butters, my restless bedroom companion. 3 times last night she wanted to go outside … just to bark at something and hang out on the porch. And that was a good night.
So here I am, sleepy, but happy and trying to find the words to describe the past week. I’m not sure I can.
‘Awake’ is a good start.
Haven’t been sleeping much … but the way I see it, if I’m blessed to be very old one day, I’ll look back and smile at experiences, not the time I spent asleep.
Besides, my mind is wide awake. As is my heart is and my soul.
A series of connections and coincidences keep occurring.
It is as if all the intangibles that have made me who I am, ancestry, music, beliefs, memories, words I’ve read, places I’ve been – have found their counterpoint.
I’ve always liked to think that when I experience Déjà vu it is a sign that I am right where I am meant to be. But I have not experienced anything like this past week before.
No sense that something has happened before, only that it was meant to.