Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Big Picture in High Definition

I've always waxed un-philosophically about my life, but can create a shiny finish regarding the situation of others. I'll analyze the possibilities of what makes certain people tick because it helps me understand their psyche.

But when it comes to the inner workings of my life, I spend time seeking opinions from friends or family. It's as if I can't think for myself when it applies to, well, myself. Everything from my appearance (Does this make me look fat? Is that outfit too young for me?) to writing decisions (Is it too late in life to enter a writing career?What genre am I?).

Where does my inability to trust my judgment leave me? Disabled, dysfunctional, and left with a waning sense of self confidence. Weakened by my inability to trust my gut fully has bled into my lack of personal understanding of my inner psyche. Better put, I haven't taken a moment to wax philosophically about the one Universal question that has followed me since birth: Why does all the bad stuff happen to me?

Definition of bad stuff (and it's a big list, but here's a sampling): Not getting asked to the prom; getting passed over for a promotion; manuscripts and poetry submissions lost in cyber-space; unexplained retinal detachment.

New to the list: Six months after losing my best friend, Daisy, to degenerative disc disease, my other best friend, Lola, has an unexplained onset of spinal meningitis. Just three weeks ago she was performing like the expected monster chihuahua only to have sudden paralysis in her hind legs. Her prognosis is guarded simply because tests haven't revealed the etiology of her condition, so more tests are under way.

I still haven't fully accepted the loss of my friend, Daisy, but was getting close to some semblance of it when Lola's strange illness occurred. Of course I have to ask myself, "Why me, God? Why are you laying this on me and picking on my poor dog again?"

You know "they" say that when you put something out to the Universe an answer is received. And wouldn't you know it, I spoke my angst out loud, not expecting any response...

But one came. The philosophical waxing process began and I self-analyzed the situation, which produced an answer. Conclusion: Bad things come to those who can handle them. A review of life-long defeats, rejections and losses brought me to this conclusion. I handled them, a practice that explains the old cliche, "God doesn't give us more than we can handle."

My belief is that there are those who can gracefully rise to the occasion and just DEAL. These people don't crumble under pressure, step up when the news isn't good and take the "bull my its horns" even though said "bull" might gore us in the process.

I propose that The Universe knows our strengths as well as weaknesses. It also knows which crap to deal to the appropriate people. For instance, what if someone who didn't have the ability to handle my animals' special needs owned them? Where would my dogs have ended up? Here's a couple of guesses: a.) Animal shelter, or b.) dropped by the roadside in the middle of nowhere.

After analyzing and reviewing the entirety of my life, I'm brought to the conclusion that the Universe/God precisely doles out the enormity of problems to the appropriate souls who can handle it. Think about people who blindly receive A's without lifting the cover of a text, or those who happened to be in the right place at the right time when Lady Luck graced their pathway. Perhaps those smooth sailors fall apart the moment life pitches a curve ball. Let's face it, life isn't always clear skies and calm waters for everyone, but I venture to guess that there are those whose paths are less bumpy, and that a subtle wave sends their stress into overdrive.

I'm not suggesting that all the bad stuff happens to me. This is my hypothesis based on personal self-reflecting and philosophic waxing. And like with all of my hypothetical theories, I've gained a valuable lesson. I now believe that in all its mysterious ways, the Universe/God has a master plan in place, which in my case involves the bumpy path. Could that explain why I tend to take the road less traveled, which generally is filled with curves, dips and beautiful views?

In all its glory I'm finding my necessary peace that more clearly guides my future. Everything does happens to me, and that's a good thing because hope is eternally on my side.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happyfuckinnewyear! (Yeah, whatever...). A Mini-rant.

One week into a spankin' new year and decade, and already the gods are plotting to thwart my grandiose plans. I've pleaded with the Universe to please cut me a break. Last year was bad enough; wouldn't you think I could get at least one week's worth of something good, or even static, rather than more doom and gloom?

Let's begin with my eye, shall we? It has been over a year since I had any major surgery. Knock on wood, the detached retina remains a-attached (medical lingo for "it still sticks.") Yet, a few days before Christmas (when miracles should happen, but apprently that only happens in soap operas and romance novels), something small and peculiar appears. An object floats inside my sightless orb. At first I thought that maybe it was a sign, the Christmas miracle. "Oh, ignore it," I said to myself because who wants to go to the doctor during the holidays? Not me. Surely this strange visual UFO will disappear. Today the sun appeared (a post-Christmas miracle), and I decided to take a drive. Dark sunglasses could not mask the new floater in the eye, which is annoying since I have several floaters in my good eye. I know I'll have to make an appointment to see the retina doctor, which is fine because he's easy on the eye both figuratively and literally, but still...

And then my monster chihuahua, Lola, began walking like a drunk. She lists from side to side and drags her back feet. Monday we took her to the vet for x-rays, which revealed no injury. Possibly she has a pinched nerve, somewhat of a doggie sciatica. The vet sent her home with doggie anti-inflammatories. Five days later, no change, which means she most likely has something neurological going on, and that will entail (pardon the pun) a trip to Cornell Veterinary Hospital for an MRI. Yet, last February my other dog, Daisy, went to Cornell Vet Hospital for an MRI. Her outcome wasn't so good and we lost her last July due to several ruptured discs. Daisy, my dearly departed best friend, was almost fourteen. Lola, my dearly living best friend, is only three. Yes, youth is on her side, but still...

Lastly, some good news. The honors class that I was unable to enroll in because it filled up quickly, opened up an additional section. I was sort of on the fence about the Spring semester thinking that maybe I should skip it, but this class (on memoirs) sang to me ever since hearing about it last Spring. See where I'm going with this? The road ahead as of January 1, 2010 looked clear for take-off. One week later and there's a potential for aborted plans.

Eye doctor equals possible eye surgery. Dog doctor equals possible doggie surgery, enormous vet bill and possible doggie re-hab.

Adios to my grandiose plans. I even planned on squeezing in the beginning of my shiny new idea. Don't know about the rest of the world, but when there's anxiety in my realm I cannot, just CAN NOT concentrate on writing.

Oh woe is me. The lofty feeling of euphoria was fun while it lasted. Hello, Universe, if you're listening, enough already. There must be a terrorist somewhere in the world hiding explosives in his underwear that you can pick on instead of me.

But, I have friends with exciting things happening. One has a new baby girl; another received a request from an agent (or editor) for a full manuscript; this friend progressed to the finals of a writing contest, its possible outcome a shot at publication.

I live vicariously through my friends' good fortunes. It keeps my heart light and hopeful. Isn't that partly the reason for friends? Makes a good argument at least.

How's your New Year shaping up? Hopefully, better than mine.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Rezzies, I've got a few...

Nothing keeps a person more honest than making resolutions. Let me rephrase that: Nothing keeps a person more honest than making resolutions, if made with a bent toward realism. Example: This year I resolve to write 5,000 words per week and query over a hundred literary agents...NOT!

Granted, at times I'm crazier than a shit-house rat, but I'm not stupid. Do not expect to see any writing goals on my resolution list because I know myself well enough to realize that I write when the spirit moves me. If spirit feels up to the challenge, then maybe I'll follow its lead.

And that's how, in my opinion, resolutions should be made, geared toward the doable and not the impossible. That said, without further adieu, here are my resolutions for 2010 (in no particular order):

1. Avoid naysayers at all costs. Last year I allowed the negativity of others to affect me. Not they did so intentionally. Some people just can't help but to whine about everything. EVERYTHING! They start off with just a few gripes, and I always lend a sympathetic ear, and that's when the wheels fall off my "compassion" wagon. It's as if these people only need the slightest bit of "Oh, I know what you mean" before they soon unload the rest of their negative vibes all over. It's happened at school; it's happened at blogs, which brings me to resolution number

2. No visiting blogs that either speak of the cold-heartedness of the publishing industry, or ones whose followers relate their experiences with the cold-hearted publishing industry. I get it. People get burned. We all do at times, but does it help to rain all over my optimistic parade? I blame myself for allowing the naysayers to get under my skin. Forgive them; they are clueless. Moving on to number

3. Stop taking people at face value. I charge myself with this offense and plead guilty as charged. At times I wear blinders, which work in two directions: Either I see nothing but good, or nothing but bad. I have jumped to conclusions about a person's character without allowing it to unfold further. Shame on me. Sometimes it's too late to warm up to a person whose first impression was prickly, and sometimes it's too late to back away when a person's true colors make me want to run screaming. I need to listen to my guardian angel more, which brings me to number

4. Pay closer attention to my gut feelings. Why, oh why, do I always ignore that little voice in my head? Sure, maybe it's hard to hear over all the other ones, but I've felt that twinge in my gut that tells me something is bad or good and have ignored it completely. Plus, I have a tendency to think that everyone else knows more than me. That said, I ignore my own process, which ultimately turns into a real buzz kill, which leads me back to number 1, called number

5. Stay away from buzz kills. When I have a shiny new idea, or just something that makes me feel all tingly inside, I need to share it with no one except, perhaps, my guardian angel.

6. (The autonomous one.) Only visit uplifting blogs, and stop wasting time visiting and commenting at one where there is no reciprocation. Sounds childish? Maybe, but I give my comments in-depth thought. The least I can get is the same in return. Is that asking too much?

So, there it is, etched in figurative granite for all to see and hold me accountable.

Happy 2010!