Why Can’t We Slow Down?

tumblr_ln6ma5pk1i1qkmpj8o1_500Do you ever have times/days/weeks where you are fumbling so out of control you finally have to stand still and say STOP?

I don’t know if it’s a symptom of (self-prescribed) A.D.D., but I constantly find myself in swirling situations where I’m turning and falling and rushing and not finishing.

And I can’t take it.

The other day I dropped something. I bent to pick it up and hit my head against the table leg. Then I stood up and dropped it again. In turning to reach it I swiped all the paperwork off the table and into a raining mess. The raining mess knocked over the stemmed wine glass with a trace of milk still left, breaking the glass and spilling milk all over.

I had to stand still, close my eyes, and count to 10.

Then the reprimand begins.

Who drinks milk out of wine glasses anyway? Why didn’t I just do the dishes and wash the glass when I was finished? Why are all those papers on the table anyway? Why aren’t you paying attention?

One time I was running a little late for work; stepped out of the car in the parking lot and slipped on a slice of ice right next to my door. Those bruises have finally faded.

Why didn’t you leave for work earlier? Didn’t you see that patch of ice when you pulled in the parking space? Don’t you watch where you put your feet when you get out of the car?

It’s like I’m moving through time and space too fast. Keeping up at work and keeping up at home is a non-stop travelogue for me. I find myself forcing myself to slow down. If I don’t, I get bruises from car doors, misplace my glasses and/or keys, lose earrings and other items of jewels — all kinds of stupid things.

Where am I going in such a hurry? What ever happened to stopping to smell the roses? Watch a sunset? Watch fireflies? I know I have to slow down. To think before I do. I’m not as flexible as i was 20 years ago. And I’ll wind up in the hospital if I’m not careful.

It’s just that with (self-prescribed) A.D.D. I feel at times I can’t sit still for 5 minutes. I’m either itching or swinging my leg or flipping through TV channels or snacking. I’m always afraid I’ll be left behind if I don’t get it all done. That I’ll be standing at the end of the driveway waving goodbye to everyone else because I couldn’t get ready on time.

This is especially true because I’m older. Every forgotten thing is Alzheimer’s; every hesitation is senility. Every broken glass is old age; every pain is cancer.

Although I do believe you can’t do everything, be everything to everybody and still keep your sanity, my unconscious mind is trying to prove different. It thinks that if I keep going at 150 mph, I can outrun the grim reaper.

Maybe it’s time for a speeding ticket or two.

 

Who Am I Tonight?

Alright Readers, Writers, Painters, Sculptors, and all other Creative Musi —tumblr_n768syHP341tp9r4eo1_500

I have been on the writing rollercoaster for quite some time now, enjoying the ride when I can get it, thinking about it when I can’t. It feels good to admit that I have focus, a purpose, and a plan (at least this week).

Before I settled on my current plan, I entertained another idea. A book, a novel, that would have taken a lot of research and smart thought and emotes in worlds I don’t often delve into.

I was going to write a book about dementia from the patient/subject point of view.

Being a mixed genre writer, I was going to throw in some faerie stuff in the prologue, and have that be in the patient’s thoughts throughout the book. The ending I was going to leave up to the readers. It wasn’t going to be campy; it was going to be merely a different take on the situation.

It’s a great idea. A great story. But then I started to think. I don’t know anyone with dementia. I don’t have it (yet), don’t have family with it, or friends, or acquaintances. The thought itself terrifies me, so that would have been my point of view.

After a lot of thinking and rearranging and NOT being able to rearrange my life, I decided to go in a different direction, working with something that I’m already familiar with, something I think will be a hit.

But one of my fears was that those who did have loved ones going through this tragedy would be offended that I “took it too lightly.” I mean, mixing faeries and memory loss and loss of bodily functions — what was I thinking?

So what I wanted to know was, have you ever written/painted/created something out of your comfort zone? Did you finish it? Did you do anything with it? Did you get any reaction because of it?

Maybe you’re pretty clean-cut but wanted to write a sex or demon novel. Maybe you wanted to paint a nude of someone. Or sculpt a piece that, in one way or another, was offensive. Did you do it?

Society is strapped with bungee cords that hold us back from doing anything too off-kilter. I admit I often am a victim of it myself. I often wondered if I took a Stephen King turn at a short story if my family would think I’m psycho. Or if I wrote 600 Shades of Grey if my grandson would coil back in horror.

There is a little of us in everything we create. Even when we step out of our comfort zone there is still a thread that holds us to our sanity. To our safety. I know there have been plenty of artists who have pushed the boundaries of sanity, decorum, and sacred truths to make their art known.

I admit I’m not that adamant about testing the waters of propriety. I know there are plenty of sexy novels out there written by 60 year old little ladies, sculptures of nudes by conservative bankers, and all that. Somehow they either create a persona — a pen name/life — that takes the brunt of the criticism, or are so confident in who they are that they really don’t care.

I haven’t totally trashed the dementia idea, but because of the structure of my life at the moment I can’t give it the time, research, angst, and especially the respect, it deserves.

I’d really like to hear if you were tempted by another “you” — and if you ever followed that Muse.

And don’t worry — I won’t give away your secret —

— you will.

Let’s Go There Together

two-old-ladiesIt is truly the beginning of Summer — 85-90 degrees, thunderstorms out of nowhere, sweaty body parts and streets that wave in the heat (who ever thought?)

Trying to find time to finish my Sunday Evening Art bloggeroonie, along with cleaning, cooking, watering the plants, catch up on Game of Thrones, play fetchie with the dogs, and run around with my grandson. I don’t remember being this busy 30 years ago when my own kids were little. All this running around with lists and markerboards and post-it notes full of things I don’t want to forget make me begin to wonder.

I sometimes wonder if I am at the beginning stages of dementia — I forget names, I forget occasions. I get turned around at the drop of a hankie. I was talking to my bff in the car on the way to the Art Fair Saturday: we were in this big, fun, heavy discussion and I had this great point I wanted to make, and suddenly I drew a great big blank. A white 50 x 50 foot wall couldn’t have been more empty. I KNEW where I was going seconds earlier; it’s just that something (who knows what) distracted me, and before I knew it I was sitting with my mouth open trying to catch flies or something.

The only saving grace was that my friend chuckled, started her own story, and hit that very same 50 x 50 wall. She’s several  years younger than me, and maybe it was contagious, but we got a good laugh out of that one.

How would you know if you were losing your mind?

I laugh at that thought, but it’s just as serious as any other disease or accident that may or may not befall you at any time. When does the joking become real? I mean — when does it get serious?

I am able to do my job fairly proficiently still; I am able to write sentences and make my readers smile and collect unique art and talk on the phone and sketch and stencil and read long, windy books with the best of them. I remember how to get to most places, how to balance a check book, and how to do Excel and Word.

But I also forget names, recipes, and directions. I forget how to reprogram the stupid TV/Dish recorder if I hit the wrong button, and I sometimes stare at the computer screen because I’ve forgotten the next step.

I’m sure it happens to all of us. I only hope that I can make a creative moment out of every mistake that takes me in the wrong direction. I’ve already decided that there is no wrong direction (except walking into traffic). Coordinated outfits and hair styles that last the day are more like a crap game to me. If they work, fine. If not, don’t worry about it.

I often get tired of others telling me what to do, and do make strides to “do it myself.” Which I do. Most of the time. The rest of the time I nod and smile and go into my creative world and do things my way anyway. I go off on writing jaunts and unique art jaunts and kinda don’t care anymore if my family goes with me or not. Heck — I’m even singing “My Way” with Frankie now and then.

I don’t know if that’s the beginning of dementia or Alzheimer’s  — and it really doesn’t matter, does it? if I get there I get there. In the meantime I want to leave my own little legacy behind. Lots of pictures of whatever on my phone. Unicorn collections and fancy, second-hand-store wine glasses. Sappy novels, blogs, short stories, poetry, love notes, unique artwork. And, by golly, forgetful or not, I’m going to have a great time doing it all.

Someday someone will go through my laptop and smile at what was left behind.

(Oh Good Lord — did you see this?!?!)

Life is But a Memory

flowerMost times I try and keep the flow of this blog upbeat — there are so many positive things in this world, I just can’t sit idly by and let them pass me without dipping my toe in their pools.  But, as many of you know, there are a lot of sad things out there, too. Some things we can change, others we can only deal with.

A good friend at work was telling me her story about her grandmother who was slipping into full-fledged dementia. K said she could see it coming for over two years, but many in the family did not (or chose not to see). Dementia comes in many ways; it slips in uninvited and refuses to leave. How and when it affects their chosen hosts is more up to Fate than choice.

Our conversation was more from her grandmother’s point of view — did she recognize her children? Did she know her grandaughter? Moreover, was she upset that she “should” know these people but just…didn’t?

Seeing a loved one go through irreversible illness is heartbreaking. Young people with inoperable cancer, friends lost in senseless car accidents, all are part of our lives that we truly have no control over. Every one of those experiences change people’s lives forever. Those who survive hurt the most, and have the hardest time accepting and moving on. But we do. We have to.  But Dementia is a gradual experience. You are alive and thinking and reasoning one minute and you are forgetting things the next until one day you don’t remember what you’re supposed to remember.

Back to Grandma.  K told me this was her first experience with anyone she knew slipping into the grey of tomorrow, and wasn’t sure how to handle it. I, in my naive way, told her that as long as her grandmother was “happy” with her every day life, as long as she was relatively healthy and alert, that was the best you could ask for. The hurt, the pain and confusion usually come from our inability to accept the fact that we’re not a part of their memory any more.

Which leads me to today’s thoughts. I wonder what the world seems like from inside a dementia patient’s head. I have heard they see and talk to people long dead, or remember 50 years ago as if it were yesterday. Does that frighten them? Does it matter to them? Often patients don’t remember their kids, their grandkids. Do they feel guilty about that? Are they sad about that? Or does it not matter in their emotional scheme of things?

I find it fascinating that, at least at the beginning, K’s grandma talks normally about day-to-day things: who she talked to (even if they are no longer on this Earth), what she did this morning. She mixes up nurses and nieces, but still processes information the same way.  It’s as if her reality is real, yet different. To her, her brother dead 15 years really sat next to her bed and talked about little things. What’s the big deal about that?

I don’t know if that’s good or not. Or whether the word “good” is even appropriate here.

People with wild imaginations also talk to people who don’t exist. Even as a writer, I find myself wandering off on a mental tangent through my character’s mind, the end having nothing to do with her/his life — or mine. I suppose the difference is that I can come back to today and know I went on a mental adventure. Dementia patients do not.

I did not wander through the Internet, looking for symptoms or shared experiences. I didn’t want the distractions to change my feeling quite yet. I have these fears and thoughts because I sometimes wonder if that’s my fate down the line. I adore my kids, my grandson, my husband and friends. The thought of having all this love inside of me fade away because I don’t remember them hurts more than I can say.

This blog has been brewing for a few days, and I wanted to hear your take on these things. Have you gone through this sort of separation? Do you know of blogs or websites that share these kinds of experiences without becoming a panic attack?  If you do, please share. If not, don’t worry. I’m sure you have experiences of other depths that you might share one day.

And no matter what, experience and explore and remember as many new things as you can while you can. For I can’t believe it doesn’t matter in the memory of your soul.

Which is all that matters in the end.