Friday, May 26, 2017

The Handbasket is Still Heading Southward


For all that we sad, tired, frightened progressives would like to tell ourselves that Trump is repeatedly shooting himself in the foot and that his days as Village Idiot-in-Chief are numbered...

...the painful reality, outside our fast-exsanguinating liberal bubble, is quite different.

When a candidate can physically assault a reporter--to the point that he is actually charged with a crime--two days before the election, and still walk away with the victory, smelling like a rose...
We are in B.I.G. trouble in this country.
Let's face it.  It took the better part of half a century for our society to disintegrate to the tragic condition we are in now.
Four months of the kind of outrageously pathetic performance Trump is conducting in Washington are not going to significantly alter the course of the Fall of The United States of America.  
Nor, I suspect, should we pin a great deal of hope on the 2018 mid-term elections.
All indications have us suffering through Trump for at least a full four-year term.  If not, perish the thought, a second one on its heels.  That is, if the country is not literally in smoldering ruins by then. 
There really isn't a word for the emotion that overwhelms me as I consider our democratic, constitutional and moral collapse; and my utter helplessness to stop it.  


Long and tedious as the season past was (I hesitate to call it "winter," as the period of horrid weather lasted through fully two of what we would normally call "seasons")  we seem to have FINALLY put the miserable cold, wind and rain behind us.  Oregon has erupted into summer...spring got lost in the transition. 

And with our sudden summer has come a bumper crop of ospreys.  They can be seen on almost every utility pole, bridge span or nesting platform. 

On the "Oregon Wildlife Photographers" Facebook page, everyone has posted his/her picture (after picture after picture) of, fighting, nesting, doing what ospreys do. 

They're easy pickings for photographers all right...but (of course) I never seem to have too much luck with them.  Finally struck up a relationship with this one on Sauvie Island...and duly acquired MY picture of "Osprey with Fish."  Until I pissed him off and he took his half-eaten fish elsewhere...


Monday, May 22, 2017

Some day

some day
soon, I think
I'll say
*we need to be apart right now

and I can make that happen*
and I won't pause
take a breath
and wait for him to stop me

some day
soon, I think
I'll say
*we live these separate lives
in the same house
and sometimes we're nice to each other*
and I won't wait a beat
and hope he'll say I'm wrong

some day
soon, I think
I'll accept what is
learn to live
not pause
not wait
not listen
not hope

...or maybe not

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


I'm a good person.

I have high moral standards.  I have empathy for the downtrodden.  I'm open to change.  I leave people to do, be or believe what they do, are or believe in, as long as it hurts no one; I allow that it's a big wide world, and the things I do or believe are not necessarily the only or the best things.  I can see the bigger picture, and understand that what I want or need are not always the top priorities, to be achieved at whatever cost to anyone else.

I'm loyal.  I'm hard-working.  I'm generous.      

I appreciate beauty.  I love art and music; I have a spiritual reverence for Nature.

I'm sensitive.  I genuinely care what others think of me.  (Maybe THAT is not a good thing.) 

But I am not nice.

Trust me, the two concepts--goodness and niceness--do not necessarily go hand in hand.  Don't we all know people who are incredibly nice, but, at heart, are greedy, selfish, lazy, vain...not good at all?

So doesn't it follow that there are also people who are at heart, quite good...but, for whatever reason, do not possess the gift, or the talent, of niceness?

I am one of those.

As a woman, all those other traits, all those good things that I am or do, are meaningless--or at the very least don't get the attention they deserve--because I am not nice. 

Women are supposed to be nice.

Sweet.  Loving.  Maternal.  Ever-smiling.  Ever-welcoming.

And let's just say I've never been accused of being any of those things.

In forty years in the workplace, this translated into never being able to quite achieve what I should have been able to achieve.  Strong women are bitches.  Strong women are mean.  Strong women need to temper their strength, hide it, maneuver it in ways that don't draw too much attention.  And if they use their strength of character to get ahead, they are manipulative and unattractively ambitious. 

Well, you know what?  Maybe I'm not so strong after all.  Because there's only so much you can do, only so hard you can battle, faced with constant negative reaction to your very existence, much less your demeanor or your management style.

But not only have I been hindered from getting ahead, I've been actively and aggressively sent backward.  For the repeated, grievous transgression of not being nice.  For not wrapping my "less desirable" personality traits in the cotton wool of sweetness and passivity that our still-paternalistic American society requires of a female.  As a woman, you better damned well be the most skilled or the smartest or the best educated if you want to get ahead without niceness.  And since I am none of those things...well, it is what it is.

I used to believe that I had not encountered much gender bias in my years in the workplace.  I used to believe that I had worked hard enough and been good enough to get a lot further than I had ever believed I could.  But that isn't enough, is it?  Looking back, I realize I was never encouraged to have big dreams of achievement, not even by my parents.  And though I did accomplish some things, they were little more than the small things I was allowed to shoot for. 

And always, always, any forward progress I made was a tough battle, hampered as I was by my lack of natural niceness and my inability to fake it.  There were folks along the way who recognized my goodness and my abilities.  But there were more who resented and disliked me.  And when management had to make tough decisions, I was always at the top of the "Expendable" list.  Every. Single. Time.

Which is why I finally took myself out of the workplace.

I believed that the only boss I could ever please would be myself.  I believed, left to my own devices, I could be successful despite the social handicap of not being nice.

Silly me.

We all know how that turned out with the restaurant.  In the end, I almost lost everything--including the one person who, I thought, would always be able to reach inside of me and connect to the good person I was.  And now, I'm running around the countryside with my little concession business, doing fairs and festivals and markets, and I find that still--STILL--being "nice" is what is going to get me ahead.  It's what is going to ensure my acceptance and my continued participation at venues where the competition is fierce and the management is...volunteer.

In fact, being "nice" might be even more important now that I'm a sexagenarian.  Everybody expects older women to be even more sweet, even more loving, even more ingratiating than women twenty or thirty years younger.  Oh. My. God.

I can't do it.  And if that is what is going to be required of me to be successful with even this tiny pebble of the planet that I call my own...

It's not gonna happen.     

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Pressed Into Oblivion

I must have been very young when the concept of responsibility was impressed upon me.  Perhaps I was too young to assimilate it in a healthy way.  Perhaps the Catholic dogmatic interpretation of the concept was so strong, its burning in left indelible scars on my psyche. 

Whatever the scenario, I only know that my life evolved into a six decade struggle between “have to” and “want to.”

I’m just not happy if I’m not doing something I think I’m supposed to be doing.  But neither am I content if I am so occupied. 

The guilt-logged Catholic in me cannot be quieted unless I’m involved in a “project” of some import, impact, or duty.  Conversely, the ever-rebellious counter-culture hippy who grabbed the torch from the dutiful little uniformed school girl is never content unless I’m spitting in the eye of the respected and expected, flipping it off and doing exactly what I want to do.

Over the years, those two battling sets of motivation have become so entangled and enmeshed that I, finally, find myself all but paralyzed.  I can’t be happy doing anything.  I can no longer distinguish between what is “have  to” and what is “want to;”  and even when I do, one half of me works overtime to sabotage my satisfaction with the effort. 

This dichotomy has been particularly damaging during the past several months—the months since the November election.  The weight of all the troubling crap that is going on in the country, and in the world, lies on me like a lead blanket.  And my warring selves will not allow me to pick up anything strong enough to lever that weight off my soul. 

I can find no freedom, no lightness, no distraction. 

I’m just…suffocating.     

Monday, May 1, 2017

April Gets an "F"

Yeah...  So, I failed.
Didn't get those ten entries posted last month. 
All I can say is, what with the state of the country and the abominable Pacific Northwest winter, things are so depressing that I can't whip up enough interest in much of anything to bother committing it to "paper."
Too...I have been keenly feeling my increasing internet invisibility.  Can't really GET too much more invisible here on "Coming to Terms..."  But I don't seem to be much of a force on Facebook , either.  Don't attract the notice of too many of my "friends" around that community, any more. 
As much as I have been wrestling and ruing the "old fart" behaviors I've developed in the past few seems like some things never change.  I'm still that shy, forlorn seven-year-old, walking around the playground at recess all by herself, watching all the other kids playing together; wondering why I am on the outside looking in.
At first, the internet seemed like the place where that old dynamic was going to finally be put in the past.  But, as it happens...not so much.
I'm sure it's entirely my own fault.  There is that old saying, "In order to HAVE friends, you have to BE one."  As a kid, I guess I never had a good idea of how to BE a friend.  I think I wanted too much that I was unable/unwilling to give in return.    
And I think, half a century later, that's still the case.  In real life, in the ether...I am who I am.  Who I always will be, apparently. 
Enough of that, now. 
I'm not giving up my goals on the blog.  Just because I failed the month of April, I am not now going to walk away and dust off my hands, never to return to this place...  This place that was once a vibrant community room, full of life and conversation and sharing.  It has become at once a place of quiet contemplation, and my personal rubber room in which to rant and scream and cry and laugh.
Not the same, but useful, nonetheless.
So I'll be back.