Lessons I Teach Myself
A name to not be forgotten of an icon who changed countless of lives.
A woman of frail small body, sharp mind and a mighty heart.
A fighter for justice, a leader, a force, a mother, a quirky dresser, an inspiration to so many.
My heart is heavy today as I am processing her loss with millions of others.
She left big shoes to be filled, and the sense of duty in her honor is very strongly felt.
It is always strange when a loss of a stranger feels so close. So hard to bear. So tragic. Only the brightest lights do that when their lights fade, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg was such a bright light.
We must grow to honor you and follow your footsteps towards equality and justice.
HOPE: (to the audience) So we take whatever shit we need. My sunscreen, his dog, Guinness, smokes, my phone, some cash, my hat, his hat. And we start walking out of here. Well, HE is walking. I'm skating my way as if I am an eight year old again. My dad would take me to this skating ring. Everyone else would skateboard, or rollerblade. But I had my retro skates on. The first time there, I bitched about it or something. I was a "brat" according to my dad. So he made me get back home in the skates rolling behind his car, trying to catch up. And now Mickey is trying to catch up with me. He isn't much of a runner, this guy. Poor guy. He's trying so hard.
Hope is skating while Mickey is running behind her.
HOPE: We can take a break if you need it.
MICKEY: No. Maybe... oh lord...maybe this way we can get there before sunset.
HOPE: You're an optimist.
HOPE: Other times you're a pessimist?
MICKEY: Aren't you?
HOPE: I don't know what I am anymore.
Hey, let's stop. Take a breath. We'll have to sustain some energy if we want to get to that gas station before we exhaust ourselves to death. And your dog is...drooling.
HOPE: Take a long inhale. Hold it. Now exhale... keep it long. Okay, again. Good. Better?
MICKEY: Thanks, I.... I'm not a twenty year old anymore.
HOPE: The smoke and the booze won't make you younger either.
MICKEY: Hmmm... except they kinda do. Up here.
HOPE: They just help you forget, is all.
But your body remembers. Always does.
MICKEY: Are you a shrink or something?
HOPE: No. But I know what it's like to want to escape.
MICKEY: Who said I want to escape?
HOPE: You didn't. Sorry...The heat is getting to me I don't even know what I'm saying anymore.
They continue walking/skating in a slower pace now.
MICKEY: You know, if this was night, we'd see a million stars. They're there now but we just don't see them. The sun hides them out, but they're there.
HOPE: I think I see one! It's the moon. Right there. Can you see?
MICKEY: Oh yeah. It's an onion peel.
HOPE: A tiny banana.
MICKEY: So tiny. It's barely there at all.
HOPE: Where were you going when your car set on fire? It's okay if you don't wanna say.
MICKEY: No... I was going away.
MICKEY: Where the car was gonna take me. I dunno. I was finally getting out. Out of the desert. Was gonna break free! Been livin' out in the desert my whole life. Shitty lil' town, you don't know it. Benderville. Never moved away once. But then my pops... my pops passed away so I, I didn't need to take care of him no more. So I left. Was gonna get to the mountains, my buddy could get me a job out there, but then... the fire showed up. I thought I had it all figured out, but God had other plans for me. He always does.
HOPE: I'm sorry.
MICKEY: What for?
HOPE: Your dad.
MICKEY: Yeah. Thanks. He was a piece of work, my old man. Taught me everything I know. And taught me I don't know anything at all. He was like... the best teacher and the worst teacher, ya know?
MICKEY: I miss him though. The old fucker. He's be laughing so hard right now if he'd saw me.
What about you? Got a family?
HOPE: Sort of.
MICKEY: What - a husband and five kids somewhere?
HOPE: I don't think I'm that type.
MICKEY: Everyone wants family.
HOPE: Do they?
MICKEY: I do.
HOPE: Is that a star? Or a plane?
MICKEY: Oh yeah that one is called 'Sirius'. It's the brightest star.
HOPE: Imagine being on it.
MICKEY: You'd get burned. It's twenty five times brighter than the sun.
HOPE: Oh. Still. I'd like to be on it. See what earth looks like from there. Tiny, probably.
MICKEY: So tiny, I doubt you could see it at all.
HOPE: Aim for the stars, right?
MICKEY: What's that?
HOPE: Never mind. I'm delirious. Don't mind me. I'm weird, I know I'm weird. I'm so fucking weird.
MICKEY: You're not weird. You're....awesome.
HOPE: It's okay really! I'm not fishing for compliments or anything. I like being weird. Too many normal people out there you know? Someone has to be weird so it might as well be me.
MICKEY: I like weird. Maybe I'm weird too!
HOPE: No. You're... kind. Good hearted. Sweet. Not weird at all.
MICKEY: That's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.
HOPE: Really!? Now THAT'S weird.
To be continued...
It has been SIX MONTHS since Los Angeles had its 'Stay At Home' order. (aka Quarantine)
Sure, we have some more freedom now, and less fear, or MORE fear to some, and some normalcy, and more loss, but less loss than before. And more political drama. But some political clarity (ahem VOTE Trump OUT duh!) And more digital cults. And more social media shenanigans. And more work. But less work than we want. And more confusion. And more waiting. And more yearning for social gatherings, but also more adaptability and even some more, yes, joy in isolation....
A lot has happened in these six months. A LOT to some, and nearly nothing at all to others.
For some, it has been a constant nightmare and a brutal challenge.
For some, it has been groundhog day every day.
Some has been getting closer to what really matters.
Some have been flourishing with work.
Some have been hungry, homeless, job-less.
Some have been yogis, zen masters, nature lovers.
Some have found creativity in the collective pain.
Some have found pain in the absence of a collective.
Some have discovered things about themselves they never knew.
Some have discovered things about their spouses they never knew.
Some have closed businesses.
Some have opened business.
Some dreams were shattered.
Some dreams were made.
Some deaths happened.
Some births happened.
Happy six months anniversary to the optimistic ones, the ones who see the light through the shadows of our times, the creative spirits who see adaptability as a virtue, the ones who know there is more goodness even though the badness is so incredibly loud. Cheers to you, golden ones. You've made it thus far. Now spread some optimism on your down and under friends, they need your love more than ever...
At first I was curious.
Then I was furious.
Now I am bewildered.
Update on my homeless situation across the street:
First there was one. He was polite, funny, put together. Even swept the sidewalk around his tent. Played some awesome music. (And I mean AWESOME) I wondered if I could befriend him. I felt curious about his story. I felt empathy for him. Loooooved the music. (Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Metallica and all my faves!)
But then... I saw his drunken side. The side that brought along his inner atrocious racist, sexist & homophobic self. Every night he'd get drunk, and would go on loud rants that were so vile my jaw dropped. Once I even jumped to my feet and screamed from the window "BLACK LIVES MATTER YOU RACIST FUCKING ASSHOLE!!!!"
He got into heated feuds with random homeless people from the nearby block a couple of times. The cops came by. He turned into Mr. Nice Guy then, of course. Cleaned his act for a couple of days...
Now - he put on a giant U.S. FLAG on his tent (um, yeah... why would he NOT turn his back on this country since it's flat out abandoning him is shocking to me), and he brought along FIVE OTHER HOMELESS PEOPLE to live near him. It is now a homeless compound. My view of palm trees was replaced with tents, junk, BBQ, and piles of trash and random furniture splattered all over the sidewalk. Right at the entry of what used to be 'Skill Center' pre-covid days.
And tonight - our racist dude and some other guy went into it and started fighting, literally wrestling on the ground screaming at each other. The kind of fights that don't end well. You know the kind.
And yes, my heart breaks to see ANYONE having to live on street.
Seeing mental illness uncared for...lost souls...damaged people with seemingly no help.
When I first move to this neighborhood (Venice) and passed the homeless, I'd ALWAYS cry. It didn't make sense to me. No, it DOESN'T make sense to me. What kind of a society lets its people live like this? Neglected by Capitalism. Where is the love? The families? The community? The CARE?
Slowly I started seeing the complexity of the homeless community: The drug abuse, the theft, the mental illness, the violence.. I also started feeling unsafe entering and exiting my building. And the guilt of feeling the complexity has shown up as well. I wish I could see this situation as simple, as black & white, as powerful/powerless, as if the homeless are victims of the system and we must help them at all costs.
But when the victim appears to be a predator, the shades of grey start appearing.
We can say that is the outcome of the system as well.
We can. And why not? Let's say that. Still doesn't make the situation and living around it any simpler.
It's not simple.
It's not black or white.
It's a whole lot of grey.
And it's a sad shade of it, for sure.
I know. I know. I KNOW.
I neglected you yesterday.
Didn't look at you once.
Didn't fill you in with my treats.
Didn't embellish you with my 'jewels.'
Left you abandoned, alone, and wondering 'Will she ever come back....?'
Well, darling one, sometimes even a daily-blog writer has to take a break, a pause, an intermission,
and be a reader, and a student, and delve into beginner's mind like there is nothing else.
And that was me yesterday.
So now I'm gonna say 'it wasn't personal.'
And you will roll your eyes and stomp your feet.
But it's simply the truth.
And TRUTH, my darling?
Truth is the only thing I ever promised you.
And the only thing I ever intend to give.
Consider this a promise, dear Blog.
A promise I whole heartedly intend - to keep.
Mickey takes another sip off his Guinness.
MICKEY: Know what? It's gonna sound crazy but for some reason that doesn't scare me. Dying.
HOPE: No shit. For a car mechanic, you're pretty zen.
MICKEY: Well I don't know 'bout that. But dying here with you...wouldn't be so bad, you know?
HOPE: Okay 'ROMEO' I'll take the compliment. But still - we have to find a way to get outta here. I'm not done with my life yet.
MICKEY: You have... hope and dreams still?
HOPE: Don't you?
MICKEY: I think I just found them.
HOPE: Okay.... now look. I don't know how to say it, but you are making me nervous. You don't know me. And I would appreciate it if you keep to yourself all the.... the sweet stuff. Okay?
Mickey turns to the audience -
MICKEY: (to the audience) Here I go. I push and push and push right to the edge until they all just run away from me. I mean how can I blame them? Who the fuck wants to be MY savior? It's a lousy job. And I'm no dummy. I know exactly what I'm doing. I get my whole inner psychoanalysis or whatever. Wasn't born yesterday. And yeah I've read all those self help books and the youtubes. I've done my research. My self examination. Basically I put so much on them so I don't have to look at myself. 'Cause I don't make mistakes. So when they leave me it's all their fault. See? I got this psychology thing. I got it down. And this one... she's falling right to it. Right to my twisted self destructive bullshit. I can't help myself. It's an addiction, really. And I know a thing or two about that.
HOPE: Listen, you are a pretty cool guy, and I... like you.
MICKEY: So what's the problem then?
HOPE: See, that! Too...forward. Too direct. Can you try that again? But make it more subtle.
MICKEY: Okay... Well, thank you for saying that. I... like you too. Much more than LIKE you actually----
HOPE: AHHHH stop! You had it in "I like you too". That was good. No need for the extra mushiness.
MICKEY: But it's the truth.
HOPE: I get it. But I'm not ready for 'the truth.' I need... some space.
MICKEY: Okay. I'm sorry.
HOPE: No need to... It's not you it's me. Oh God I can't believe I just said that, such a cliche..
MICKEY: Nothing I haven't heard before.
HOPE: But it's a banal thing to say. Seriously.
MICKEY: Hey, if it's your truth come out and say it.
Hope turns to the audience -
HOPE: (to the audience) I'm being a total dick to this guy and he still understands me!? What's going on. Did I get a concussion? Am I hallucinating from the heat? Am I dead already!? If I don't get the fuck outta here I may just FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM. And I can't imagine anything worse! I mean... look at him. He's.... he's.....he's.... I got nothing. He's hot. He's charming. He's sensitive. He's perfect. The problem really IS me.
MICKEY: (to the audience) She wants space! We're not even in a relationship and she wants space! My method, UNFORTUNATELY, works like a charm. Fuck me. Okay well, she wants space I'll give her space.
We could just start walking to the nearest gas station you know?
HOPE: Forty miles!?
MICKEY: Maybe we'll get lucky and someone will pass us on the way.
HOPE: And if we don't?
MICKEY: It will be hard.... and long. We'll be exausted, but I don't think we'll die from walking.
I bet it would be the heat that kills us.
HOPE: That sounds morbid. And also - our only plan. So let's do it. Let's go off to the desert and walk forty miles!
MICKEY: All right! I love the spirit! Sorry if I'm being too sweet.
HOPE: Yeah, how dare you.
MICKEY: I know, I should be locked up.
MICKEY: Is that your only shoes?
HOPE: Yes. And they're fabulous.
HOPE: You don't like them?
MICKEY: No I LOVE them. It just may be hard to walk on them. For forty miles.
Hope rushes in to the truck and comes back with something in her hands.
HOPE: I have THESE!
Hope reveals a pair of roller-skates. And they are cute AF.
MICKEY: Oh my lord.
(to the audience)
If she only knew how hard I am restraining myself right now. My goddess also roller-skates!? I mean, stop it. Stop it right now. It's too much to handle. Too much. This...SHE.... will destroy me.
Mickey turns to see Hope in her skates. His jaw drops.
To be continued...
I may not be a music junkie - though I sometimes spend a whole night listening to music and drowning in its journey. - But I would say I'm a SOUND fanatic. Not all that sensitive to sound, but boy do I DESIRE to be. Sounds simply make me FEEL. And I AM all about feeling...
So, for instance - the sound of a SIGH:
Its beauty is in the exhale, the letting go, the taking off of the guard, the emptying of the mind, the slowing down, the gentleness, the ease, the softness, the simplicity of the breath.
The sound of a SIGH makes me FEEL.
And so do the sounds of birds singing their morning songs, or the sound of the opera singer reaching new highs, the sounds of babies giggling in pure joy, or the taunting sound of a deliberate fart and the embarrassed laugh that follows.
I feel pain when I hear a loud sob, a knock on the door rattles me with curiosity, a familiar tune of music brings a memory up to my consciousness, some friends of mine make me fall asleep with their soothing voices, the sound of the waves crashing make me connect to something bigger than myself.
And the sound of silence.... oh the sound of silence.
It makes me go inward. Go inward to deepest warmest inner place where 'I' feel, and long, and rest.
My inner self is silent.
It's devoid of the noise of thoughts. It's devoid of the ego, it's devoid of self-doubt, it's devoid of judgment.
It's calm. It's quiet. It's silent.
And that silence?
It echoes louder than any sound my ego has ever made.
Sometimes a girl gotta just phone it in ya know????
So here goes. My SENTENCE of the day, 'cause that's all I got time for today:
'Imagine life devout of hate and discomfort.
Do you see love in there?
No. Because love needs some shadows in order to strengthen its light.
It's all binary.
Sooner we accept the shadows, sooner we can let the light IN.'
Hope and Mickey are sipping their cans of Guinness.
MICKEY: This is the life.
HOPE: As gross as I remember it.
MICKEY: YOU had Guinness out of a can before?
HOPE: Oh yeah. And you may not believe it but I wasn't always vegan either.
MICKEY: You're right. I don't believe that. You probably came out of your mother's womb with a celery stick in your hand.
HOPE: Um, it was a carrot.
So. Is my truck eighty six?
MICKEY: Not totally.
HOPE: Just sort of.
MICKEY: Basically, there are metal shavings in your engine so if you turn it on it will just make it worse, and eventually the engine will die out on you. If we had a hose or something, I could just go to town on it and then we let it sit, let the water drain and it should be good enough to get thirty or so miles in 'till the nearest town. Oh and we'll need some fresh oil. Guess we could pull some from my car... And that's only if the water gets drained out and takes the metal with it. But... we'll need a hose for that and finding a water hose in the desert is like a needle in a haystack.
And that's the best case scenario.
HOPE: What's the worst?
MICKEY: The whole thing is a done deal no matter what we do.
HOPE: So I guess we either find a water hose in this sad little corner of the desert, or...
HOPE: Scream for help.
MICKEY: I'm no meth wizard, but I say the chance of finding a hose right now is close to...
HOPE: Zero point three percent.
MICKEY: And the chance that someone will hear us screaming is...
HOPE: Zero point... seven percent.
MICKEY: Okay then.
Hope and Mickey clear their throats and begin shouting--
HOPE: HELLO!? HELP!
MICKEY: HELP US!!!!!
HOPE: OH FOR FUCK SAKE HEEEELLLLPPP!
MICKEY: I don't think it's gonna work.
HOPE: No? I was just starting to get a sexy raspy smoker voice on.
MICKEY: Your voice is sexy already.
Sorry. Don't mean to embarrass ya. So I'm thinking maybe... maybe we get some rocks and write 'Help' so any airplane flying over us could see?
HOPE: Have you seen any airplane around here?
HOPE: And you didn't embarrass me. I found your car mechanic talk pretty sexy also.
Okay, so... how do we get someone to see we're stranded out here and help us get outta here?
MICKEY: Oh! How about a fire?
HOPE: You want to start a fire in the desert after I just saved you from one!?
MICKEY: Stupid idea. Forget it.
HOPE: Unless... we could start one over there and manage it. Like a controlled fire, just enough of it so the smoke will reach the gas station on the highway.
HOPE: But I think we'll need to have water to actually manage it. My tears are not going to be enough.
MICKEY: I'm a fairly good crier also.
HOPE: Are you?
MICKEY: For a dude. But don't ever tell my dad. He'd beat the living crap out of me.
HOPE: Because boys don't cry.
MICKEY: Never. We're tough.
HOPE: And strong.
MICKEY: And manly.
HOPE: And know your way around cars.
MICKEY: And got muscles. See?
HOPE: You're a mighty impressive man.
MICKEY: You haven't seen nothing yet.
HOPE: That's what I'm afraid of.
MICKEY: I'm just joking. You know I'm joking right? I'm a teddy bear, honest. And I love romcoms and cry in diaper commercials.
HOPE: And your favorite movie is 'Princess Bride.'
MICKEY: It is.
HOPE: But then... your dog's name is Steel. You smoke like a chimney. Drink Guinness because alcohol is "your vice". Know everything about cars. Kiss like a major player.
MICKEY: And I breakdance too.
MICKEY: No. I wish, but I got two left feet.
I guess I like people to think I'm tough and all that. But I'm really not. Maybe I have a bit of a... what you call it... inner conflict.
HOPE: We all do.
MICKEY: Yeah? What's yours?
HOPE: If we end up dying here together - you'll find out.
To be continued...
It is a force
A stroke of heat
A rush of fury
A vengeful spirit
Looking to release
To let go
As swiftly as it appears.
Its' wildness is hot
It's sexy to the naked eye
It's naked in its goal
until it dies
Until it no longer burns
To say out loud for the world to hear:
'I am here.'
'I am here.'
'I am here.'
All the earth can do when faced with that much heat is -
To understand it
To love it
To forgive it
Because all things long to be held.
Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog that may, or may not be, of any significance to anyone other than herself. If you found her lil' life lessons, stories, poems and blurbs meaningful to you, well that's f**ing amazing! Comment and share so she can pat herself in the back - she doesn't do that nearly enough. Cheers.