Yep, I’ve lost a couple more pounds. I’m within about five of my usual weight on carnivore.
But that’s not the loss I’m talking about. A Valentine’s heart–I didn’t even realize what day it was until late that night when I saw a blogger write about it–the days all run together now.
My sister in law gave me a book called Choosing Forgiveness. We had been talking about the necessity for it. It’s a religious book that doesn’t appeal to me quite the way Eckhart Tolle does — vut I’m going to read a few pages of each every morning — yet I am reading it hoping it surprises me or helps me. Expect that there is a synchronicity to it and look for the meaning of it. It made me think, last night, of all I’ve lost. And it’s a real list. For a long time in my life, they were the usual things. My grandmothers, my son being born with Down Syndrome, my mother’s death — that was the worst thing.
But there were incremental losses in the last five years that were substantial and were not the usual. They were losses of my career and my identity, what I counted on in this country, well let me enumerate.
First, I was excommunicated from the literary community in Michigan when they found out I was a libertarian and possibly a Trump supporter. My publisher wouldn’t even respond to the manuscript they were excited to see and had in their possession (they’d already published one and I’d been published in another university press previously, many university and national magaines). I couldn’t even get a reply back and I was unfriended on facebook. This was followed in the same timeframe with Northern Michigan University replacing me in my adjunct queue without telling me failure to fill out a self-evaluation by a certain date (I was at a hospital with my son who had testicular cancer) would mean I lost seniority. That didn’t matter all that much since I knew my father with Parkinson’s was going to need me and I wouldn’t logistically be able to pull it off. But it was done because I supported the university president that we should take NO political position. I didn’t come out for Trump, but they assumed such and called me an “anti-intellctual” and said it was too bad I was a teacher–all said publicly by the interim department head.
This wasn’t all that upsetting, really. At the time. It wasn’t until later that connecting the real dots on what was happening here gave it the utmost isgnificance. Still, I missed the students, but I had intended to maybe write something commercially. And I moved on without too much heartburn. Then… And I got started on that project–my dad would need me full time within a year, it turned out.
But I lost almost all of my literary friends. Slowly. I had more friends who were liberals. I always accepted them but they would not accept me. At that time, all this was initiated by them. Even close friends posted crap about anyone not agreeing with them entirely (and BLM) and/or supported conservative values was a racist. Another friend lied to me yet again and told me he had no respect for me (in another drunken episode in which he fell flat on his face–and another where he nearly did). He hasn’t been over even to see my father who he claimed was his closest friend since even though I made it clear he was welcome to.
I follow a blog by Matt Taibbi and another by Glenn Greenwald, folks who are fighting the censorship and fascist behavior of the modern left and the Biden administration. They get people who presumably care about this from many backgrounds, but all of a sudden some of the people on there seem to have gotten “permission” from this climate to attack people in ways that are breathtaking: if you don’t agree with them you have “dementia, you are psychotic, pathetic, weak minded…these tirades go on so long over and over–things that have nothing to do with issues–it is worrisome how emboldened these people are in their personal attacks. Not to mention, their intentions to “re-educate” us, call us “cultists,” and “insurrectionists,” punish anyone who disagrees with them. Even though their behavior for four years was also, then, sedition.
We’ve all lost our freedom partly due to this virus and these ridiculous lockdowns. We’ve lost our economy and our children have lost a life due to them cowing to the teachers’ unions and not even listening to their own scientists. There is such an alienation from this already–suicides up and depression.
I’ve lost my illusions about my father. I adored him; I struggle now to like him at times. I hear from people that that returns with distance. No matter how much you intellectualize (and I was prepared for this, too), that he is 90 y ears old and doesn’t even remember everything, no matter how much you know that, to be treated like a jailer, called one, and a servant without hardly a thank you, is really hard to take. I think, though, that losing that adoration was in many ways freeing, and might turn out to be good for me. He’s just a person like everyone else and actually has more than the average number of faults and insecurities and even a life-long drinking problem (he doesn’t drink anymore, but he never grew up)–hidden from his friends and social acquaintances. I imagine someday with distance, I’ll like and love him again. He, does, have good qualities.
It’s a huge loss, though. One I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t taken care of him for two years–I’d just have guilt, of course.
I’ve lost a huge number of people who were parts of my support system, slowly, incrementally. None of them matter much, except one. I’ve always known I didn’t need tons of friends, just a few close ones. But one bothers me immensely, yet I can’t imagine in a world like this how we go forward anymore. It would just be awkward. I think sometimes that will smooth out, but I know that depends on what is happening to this country and to half of us here.
Still, I have the ability to adjust, to let go, to forgive people even if I can’t hang with them. Though I don’t plan to hate myself for having to go through the grief process and for not feeling good all the time. I have not lost my immediate family, and I’m lucky, since this has torn immediate families apart. I have made a few new friends, on blogs (Hi Susan and Christopher and John and Smitha and Kate and there are a few others I am not sure of their real names due to their blog titles), a neighbor here I’ve gotten to know much better, and I still have a few old ones: Larry and Karen and Bob. My mother’s friend, Ginny. 🙂 So I’m luckier than some. I still have a support system.
Who knows how long before we’re censored, but so far…I’ve removed Facebook and Twitter–I never tweeted or did Instagram at all anyway.
We’ve remained healthy so far. My doctor is open to prescribing Ivermectin if I reject the vaccine (my father might want it).
So even though I feel shell shocked and like my world has closed up on me or disappeared on me in so many ways, I plan to read mornings about the new heaven and earth and forgiveness, a few pages, each day, and try to remember, as I always did after my son Josh was born, that things could be worse, that there are people who have things worse. We think our refinance is going through thanks to Michigan State University credit union and I have a few updates planned to distract me. My son John has had no big problems with the testicular cancer.
We are lucky.
My biggest problem is I can’t write. I feel empty inside right now. I am worried I’ll never write again. Part of it is even commercial venues might be a problem and I certainly have no chance at any university press — they publush one point of view now even though we publicly fund them. But it isn’t just that. It’s like the words are gone. Did you ever see the movie Adaptation? Weird thing with Merrill Streep. There is a guy in there who has a passion for orchids until one day he doesn’t: “I’m done with orchids.” I always wondered if that might happen to me because I’ve never had writer’s block. Though I suspected one day I might just stop and it seems maybe I have.. Perhaps it is only that or my soul needs resting. I am writing on this blog at least, but I can’t get back to my fantasy novel. I haven’t written a word or hardly revised in two years. My daughter is working on my memoir/woodfire cookbook which luckily was done.
But I’m wordless when it comes to my book…maybe Tolle or the forgiveness lady will help.