Monday, November 26, 2012

Well, the year marches ever onwards. There are potentially new and exciting things on the horizon beckoning me forward to the new year. I am not exactly excited about Christmas, but I am not quite as hopeless and cynical about it as I think I felt last year. I am in a new job environment, and I am meeting new people. Those doors I see before me do not feel locked against me.  I do not have all the answers, but do we ever? The journey really is about looking for the answers. Yet there are always, always more questions.  The point is which do we focus on, and which do we ignore because there are simply too many to handle in any one lifetime?

I have been listening to The Carpenters a lot lately. I cannot help but be moved by the sad story of Karen Carpenter. She experienced, with her brother, a brilliant burst of sensational popularity and celebrity that few experience. Yet it brought her precious little happiness in the end. Richard Carpenter was and is a brilliant piano/keyboard player/arranger with a somewhat schmaltzy taste in music. I do not think he meant to exploit his sister. He just wanted she and him to be as successful as possible. The success blinded him to what Karen needed, and the record company, of course, wanted hits, media and publicity. And she felt exploited anyway, in my humble opinion. Or at least, ignored.

She died at the age of 32 from complications to an eating disorder that left her body weak and confused. It does beg, for me, the question of responsibility we have as individuals, to try to help the others around us in their times of need and suffering. What can we do to see more clearly what goes on around us day to day. What can I learn from this struggle.

Plus, I do love much of the music. The albums, 'A Song For You' and 'Close To You' are amazing. And I really like 'Passage' from 1976. Those records really show their range and talents as individuals working towards a greater goal.

Yet and still, Karen thought of herself as a drummer first, and the album, 'Passage' has no drumwork from Karen at all. In the earliest days of the group, she played drums with Rich on keyboards and a bass/tuba player. Later, Karen added singing (from the drum kit). The earliest demos and the first album all feature Karen drumming and singing. Many speculate that her forced removal from the drum throne precipatated in her eating disorder and, eventually, slowly, painfully, her death.

So, I again wonder at the doors ahead of me. I had my difficulties growing up, but I was, for better or for worse, given great freedom to roam and explore. Maybe I am lucky I was born a man. Many women would agree! I do not forget the paths of humans who came before me as I forge ahead. I always try to honor the past while not clinging to erroneous tradition that clouds our judgements about the future.

Yet, I am hopeful and grateful. I enjoy what I enjoy from the past while looking towards what I might enjoy of what will not last.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It has been an interesting and intense year. I am astounded that next week is Thanksgiving; yet I am looking forward to this year being over. I'm ready for a new chapter, and 2013 seems as good a chapter break  as any.  I have been terrible at staying in touch with some good, old friends while trying to maintain some good ties with a few new friends. It isn't that I don't want to still seek out the old friends. There is a strong desire in me however to blaze a new trail forward, and change is really the only constant in life, in the end. Well, that and my cats.

I went through a severe depression early this year. There were days when I could not stop crying. I was at Trader Joe's, and I just started balling uncontrollably. I went to a supervisor to ask if I could just go home. He asked why, and I just burst into tears again. He let me go home.

My friend Josh, again who I don't talk to enough really, called me to talk because he saw my pain. I am so grateful. We talked on his lunch break. Beyond words. I was supposed to go to my other job, and I was not sure I would make it. I lay in my bed, on my back with my right hand on my chest. Funny what you remember! My cat, Cora, loves to lay on top of me, and she picked this moment to clamber on top of me. She used my hand as a pillow, and she began to purr. Loudly. I could feel her little breaths. In and Out through her nose. On my right hand. It calmed me down enough that I made it to the other job. I cried. I wondered.

I often wonder about, well everything. Life, love, happiness, contentment, depression.

I wonder at the fact that species as different as humans and cats can coexist.

Yet, we all carry on. We try to figure out a way to understand, but we don't always. So, the question really is. . . .  if we do not understand, can we at least accept that we do not understand everything?

Accept. This is a word that seems to elude humans. We all have ideas. We all have visions.  We all have wants and desires. When do we accept that it is ok to not always understand, as long as we accept it?

I certainly don't understand everyone, and I do not try, but it does not mean that I should not accept that we are not all the same. That of course does not mean that every behavior I do not understand should simply be accepted either. That, again, goes towards understanding. Just like the richter scale, there are degrees of separation and understanding that are simple and brutal and unknown.