A Difficult Month

I have experienced loss this month, not simply grief of losing a loved one to the natural course of life. More presence and banishment. Not hostile as much as confusing. Many aspects of life have been exposed, many others kept in their dark holes of quiet solace from revealing my greatest fears. And yet there is the heartbreak of our lives that we always keep close to ourselves in order to find some sanity in our day to day.

I have known love on so many levels, and now I am being asked to love alone, without any recourse beyond knowing in my own seeming understanding of God or some spiritual entity that love does exist and continues beyond the mechanical or physicality of the human condition.

My belief is in God. I have kept that tucked away for many years because parts of our society do not accept the reality of some of our own ways to find personal strength in ourselves, in our lives. I remember a time over a decade ago when I was struggling and when finally coming to terms with whom I was in the moment, I sat in a chapel, looked at an altar and began to feel the tears stream down my cheeks. I didn’t hold back, I just let them fall, and the memories began to flood my mind. I thought immediately of my cousin Billy, who I miss so much, and my parents, and my childhood, and like a film reel my life ran its course of recall and redemption. I realized that morning that I could be okay with whatever decision I make in life because it is my own. I believed that day, that God was looking over me, and offering forgiveness. It felt unique in contrast to the many times I would on my knees or in a fetal position pray that God might take me out of this miserable life. That day God held my hand.

Recently I have returned to the church and it has offered me a unique peace. Though I still walk through my days with questionable motives. I have very good friends, a support system that is just short of phenomenal, but are we ever completely satisfied? There is a void in my life that I created on my own, that I find troubling because I fall into patterns of neediness that won’t allow that to be fixed. I have made a choice in my life that I could not possibly regret because moments do teach happiness and truth.

Today, my words gradually become more revealing. I hope they might speak the truth in what I feel, not simply words to fill the page and find reader’s eyes, but words that would somehow tell a story that when other’s hear, they have their own quiet ‘yeah’ moments. My mother always called them ‘aha’ moments, so I save her mantra for myself because I do love her and miss her dearly. With my dad the two taught us as a family how to live with one another no matter the struggle. We used to spend hours in debates with all of our family around the old oak table – freedom of thought without judgment. Something I miss dearly, but in writing we can find and use that venue to our own advantage to help define our thoughts.

So it has been a difficult month. I have returned to work in a capacity and the students are clearly my life blood. I see them throughout the day and their smiling faces is all a person needs in the moment. It is the hours afterwards that I will continue to struggle to find my own space, my own identity, my own truths.


© Thom Amundsen 2/2020

The Scrutiny of Self Loathing

People generally believe we bring our pain upon ourselves, the decisions, choices we make. As true as that might be we want also to be responsible for shaking off the doom and gloom that keeps us down. There the difficult task arises in how we acknowledge our own fear in moving forward when caught in the web of self-deceit. We convince ourselves through various measures we are destined to live this way.

Take addiction for a moment and identify patterned behavior. The addict is easily drawn toward what feels good, the easiest route to pleasure. It is more often than not an addict’s choice to stay within the boundary of self loathing than give themselves a fighting chance of a good life. The drug, the habit, the glass of scotch, far too easy to attain and outweigh the risk of facing the contempt their lives become under the influence of a self-destructive pursuit they are unable to see until it explodes their lives and those around them.

A choice also has to be made by the messenger. I choose to write this why, because I have seen its impact on the lives of those around me? I also see on a daily basis the nature of addiction and how it determines day to day decisions in my own life. Not the observation of a friend, me.

On any given day I can be wrapped up in memory of poor decisions I made years ago that haunt me still today, most people would say, let it go you were a kid way back then. That’s true but I still made the choice.

Today I think about self-loathing and the impact it has on my life. Last night in my episodic frame of mind I thought about solutions that did simply scare the hell out of me. Too often we are in the middle of something and rather than face it we literally swallow it and move on. I choose to face it but I have no false pretense of an easy road ahead, I made a phone call last night that helped me move beyond a state of mind that was dragging me down so fast I was drowning before my ankles ever felt the water. Then in a bizarre dream overnight I was holding a device in my hand on stage that blew up and I was suddenly gasping for air in and out of consciousness. I take some dreams for granted, that one not so much.

Perhaps a metaphorical bomb in a crazy dream is what it takes to realize sometimes a jumpstart is needed to feel better and take action. For me self-loathing is no fun. I will choose a different path.

For the reader I ask two favors – one that you might take from this story some benefit for your own life and two that you raise your awareness around family, friend, colleague, neighbor and offer a hand rather than reject that reach with our well planted bootstrap society. Sometimes the boots will not go on.

This post is for everyone and is not about you!

I’m Your Teacher

I wonder if you realize the time we imagine

the words we deliver might benefit the fine

beauty of the child,

taming of the wild.

We don’t ask to change a child’s life

we don’t imagine to understand strife

we offer all our time

with every bell chime.

The other day I walked outside and recognized

an error on my part is certainly ill advised.

Why would I choose pain,

what could be the gain.

I stand before you all daily in my classroom

I would welcome anyone until there were no room.

Yet I need to find an answer

I need to know the future.

I wish I could look you in the eye with a pleasant smile

suggest that what you worry about today is not your last mile

just another daily rule

to understand, why school.

We stand before you with hope and prayer and layered love

would not you think if we didn’t act to be your dove

we’d rather you be miserable,

we’d hold you inside a stable.

I stood in my classroom today and looked around the room

I wish the eyes I see today, could recognize truly the zoom.

this moment is a blip

in years your ideals flip.

Love in our future would be the goal of anyone needing peace

So please give liberty to the idea of some disrespectful release.

A humble teacher we are today

We only wish to delight your way

This Was That Place

Where I began,

a small boy sad eyes

would venture forward

inside cloud grey skies

This was the way I began

while all around me lives

gave credence toward

some manner by which

to understand.

This was when I began

to wonder about where

everyone else had gone,

why the constant search,

what could possibly be wrong

with not thinking too hard,

what is right in my mind,

will fall into question anytime,

they might decide to return.

This was where I began,

somehow I do remain here.

I Tried

I tried to understand,

while waves of despair

enveloped my mind,

tossing me, slapping me,

a ruthless affair.

~

My hands were locked

inside a pattern

everyone else excluded

me from knowledge,

that reality of pain.

~

When on occasion,

a happier time,

we could reflect upon

the insanity …

well such is rare.

~

From there in a day

the skies darkened,

a choking atmosphere,

when finally the burst,

pressure rattling walls.

~

Tears where I land

a thoughtful retrospect

when incarceration of

the mind …

becomes now eloquent.

~

Yet still a reminder

a constant twirl

insidious in nature

is the contempt …

a lack of dialogue.

~

So while the sun rose,

seasons created mood,

a warm reminder while

life shapes today …

speaks aloud contempt.

~

I tried to understand

just how deep my passion

for self destruction might

lend a future …

I suppose I might try again.

Twilight Speaks

sky

I wait for these moments,

clearly,

when some how I begin,

there isn’t a way to describe

the need for expression to find

an outlet that feels right, feels

just almost like a fine thread

being needled through a canvas,

an artist’s sketch,

a Van Gogh perhaps in the mind

of that person creates the image.

A certain melody,

a memory,

perhaps a loss, yet somehow new gains,

the world begins to tick again,

stillness no longer impactful.

We need motion,

always to move forward so when upon a step backward,

we might patient in our minds, figure out a new step.

In every night’s twilight,

I can almost get there, oh so close,

so very much next to me, yet just out of reach,

always, beyond my scope, enough to have me question,

why is it I am so compelled to ignore the stars.

Grey Sky Reckoning

In our journey to see the other side,

We found the world to be the same,

the sky was grey with morning shadow

soft rain with playful tears to dance

away the first light of day’s angst.

~

Inside every dawn a moment’s light

notion becomes a planned event,

our lives are drawn mechanical

inside the world our eyes create,

When then does the body measure.

~

Metal trappings propel us across field

blossoms birthing the gold of summer.

In a streak of brilliance in parting

our eyes will become focused again.

Each transgression now turn to spring

~

A new sunrise, a pretty landscape,

in Nature’s cradle we continue forward.

Then how quickly do the sunrises fade,

in the autumn of a tragic afternoon.

Perhaps we might seek solace in

~

a knowledge of human kind-ness

that skill toward tolerance, that

living will of serenity, a model toward

a future as giving as a summer’s day.

Might we then understand this grey …

~

mornings remind wanton souls today, we may begin

living for others, drawn sweet beyond elegant selves.

Tiresome Notions

When the news is simple with the same complaints,

only to fill the byte,

when I see the same woman walking through the day,

with new bruises

when I realize what little I have managed thus far

with personal endeavors

when sitting down to recognize my practiced routines

will be the same tomorrow

when society claims to be a free-thinking state of mind,

while the same doors remain shut

when glancing upon my fellow man I feel it necessary

to watch my back,

I’m tired,

I’m exhausted by a need to revolutionize

a way of life.

I want to simply appreciate

the world around me,

rather than

be a constant negotiator

of my lexicon.

I am that human being,

that same make of you,

my measures can be different,

if only we recognize our view

can offer hope,

rather than stifle,

can become reality,

rather than illusion.

When I think about all the things I have to do,

I am tired society,

I am tired of you.

Pissed Off

I could hide behind a mask of

Passion

Or present a façade of

Confidence

Although knowing me

As you do

I might simply wear my heart on my sleeve

Yet I am unable to

Feel very good about it tonight while

Wallowing

~

Step inside my mind

And you’ll see

There are demons struggling

With the good guys

Perhaps it is the time of year

Turn of the screw

New resolutions, new horizons

Embarking upon

Efforts to appreciate the future

Right?

~

I think I want to end

That’s it

Perhaps that is the real issue

Creating the angst

Some silly desire to step off the platform

That arena

What is the point of effort anymore

So exhausting

Yet the moment one begins to express

Negative energy

~

Our lives are relegated to simple analogies

That with an epiphany become sweet elegies