Finding My Wings : I Can’t Be That Way

These are the words I shared
With three people
On the 22nd of October
Of 2010.

They come from a song
By the group Disturbed.
The song is named
“Violence Fetish”.

So tell me what am I supposed to be
Another goddamn drone

Funny thing about that.
I’ve come to understand
That a lot of people
Read those words.
And took them in a way
I didn’t mean them at all.

They were insulted.

It seems some people thought
That I was calling them all
Mindless drones.
All the same.
With no differences at all.
And declaring that I didn’t want
To be like them.

They were afraid.

It seems other people thought
That I was declaring
I would only be allowed
To behave in just one way,
So that everyone would know
How I would react
To every thing that came along.
And I would never do
Anything at all
That would surprise anyone
In any way at all.

They were disturbed.
Their days disrupted.
By those words.

Those words made people think
That I was violent.
That I was angry.
And God alone
Knows what else.

In short,
People interpreted the words
That I’d sent to them
Completely differently
Than what they meant to me.

I’ve been learning
That people will interpret
The things I say,
The things I write,
In their own way.

And I have no control of that
At all.

I’m here to continue
On this strange path I’m on.
Where I’m learning to understand
Both myself.
And the other people
I encounter in this world.

This single incident,
Centered on those words,
Has lead me to ask
One question after another.
In the past 12 months.

I value independence.
The uniqueness
Of each person that I meet.
Each person that I know.

But in those days,
When those very people
I’d worked with
For years and years
Had told me that I couldn’t
Work there any more,
Because my actions
Were disturbing them.

They wounded me
Clean to my core.

I’d trusted them.
I’d worked with them.
I’d cared for them.
I’d even tried to help them
In any way I could.

Even though I knew
That I did not always behave
Like they wanted me to.

I let them all behave
In their own unique ways.
Even if their behavior
Disturbed me.
And I lost count of the times
That the behavior that I saw
In that work place
Left me so frustrated
That I felt as if
I had to go some place
And scream.

After 10 years of time
Spent in that one work place.
I woke up.
And when I did
I started to change.

I started doing things,
And going places,
No one there
Would ever do,
Would ever go.

I went to Dragon*Con
In 2008.
With my family.
And I had a great time there.
Taking pictures.
Writing haiku in workshops.
Looking at the work
Of artists.
Listening to music
I had never heard.
From bands that no one
From that land of work
Would ever listen to.

In my last three years
In that land of work,
I changed.
I grew.
I came back to life.

That there were things I like
Began to show.
I began to write
In my notebook.
More and more.
I stopped using pens
With nothing but black ink.
I started writing
In bold colors.
Red, Blue, Orange, Green.
And others.

I brought in a fairy figuring.
And sat it on the desk
Where I worked each day.

I started sharing all the pictures
That I’d taken
On vacations,
And on trips
To parks,
And mountains,
And the ocean front.

Gradually,
With time.
The fact that I was human,
And had feelings of my own
Came out.

And as I changed,
As I woke up,
I couldn’t help but notice
That every person I worked with
Behaved in the same way.

That every person I worked with
Reacted just the same
When something happened
In the work place.

It was because of this
That to me,
The place became
The land of gray.
A place where everything
Was exactly the same.

Except for the three of them.

Everyone in the workplace
Was a male.
Except of the three of them.
And the three of them
Were not the same
As the males
In the land of gray.

They spoke to me.
Encouraged me
To write more.
To share my pictures
With them.

I started wearing
My fairy t-shirts in
On Fridays every week.
And it seemed to me
That the three of them
Were OK with that.
And I liked my fairy t-shirts
Very much.
I still do.
I wear them all the time.
Every day,
When I’m at home.

I grew my collection
Of fairy figurines.
And fairy t-shirts too.

And as I shared
More of my pictures,
And the words I wrote
With the three of them,
Something perfectly natural
Began to happen on its own.

My emotions,
And my feelings,
Began to show.

I will always remember
When the one I call
The Lenten Rose
Gave me a hug one day.

I didn’t really know
The rules of behavior
In that place.
I never really did.
I just knew that as long
As I did my work each day,
Every thing was OK.

How very wrong I was.

For at the end
Of my time in that work place
I learned the hard way
That I was supposed to behave
Just like all the other males
In that place.
In that land of gray.

And I did not.
I could not.
And I never will behave
Like the people that I knew,
And worked with
In that place.

To me it’s like
There’s more than one
Of each of them.
The one they have at home,
With their families
And friends.
The one they have at work,
With the people that they know
And work with
Every day.
The one they have
When they are alone.
And don’t feel at all
Like they have to hide
Who they really are.

The one they have
When they are eating out
In a restaurant.

Another one of them exists
Within the walls,
And circles,
Of the church that they go to.

And I would learn
That I could not exist that way.
That there was,
And is,
Only one of me.
And I’m the same
In all those places.

I just don’t become someone
That I’m not,
In the place I work.
I remain myself.
And nothing,
And no one,
Else.

So tell me what am I supposed to be
Another goddamn drone

So tell me what am I supposed to be.
Someone that I’m not?
Someone that exists
Only in one place
In the life I lead?
Someone that exists
In the workplace,
And nowhere else?

Someone that I let
The people that I work with see,
So that they can feel safe
And secure
Around me,
Even though that someone
Isn’t really me?

So tell me what am I supposed to be
Another goddamn drone

Behaving just like everyone
In the land of gray.

I can’t be that way.

It would slowly kill me.

And that’s what I meant on the day
That I shared the words
Of that song
By Disturbed
With the people
I once worked with.

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Finding My Wings : Why Should I?

As I was drying off
From my shower this morning,
Another piece of the puzzle
That is me
Fell into place.

There I stood.
Looking into the blue eyes
In the mirror
Looking back at me.
When I asked myself,

“Why?
Why should I try again?
Why should I put myself
Through the kind of pain
I’ve been through
This past year
Yet again?”

I’d been thinking about
How I seem to be fighting
Picking up the pieces
Of my life.
Shattered as it was.
Scattered all around.

About how very hard
It’s been for me
To do anything at all.
Work on a business plan.
Study for the tests
I want to take.
Work around the house.

Anything at all.

It seems I have to push myself,
Fight with myself,
To get anything done.

Only in the past month
Have I come to understand
How badly I was hurt
Just one year ago.

I find myself asking
Why it still hurts so much
To pick up
Any of the things
I did a year ago.

Why does it hurt so
When I try to study
And prepare
To take the CompTIA A+ tests?

Why does it hurt so
When I try to read
In a technical book.
Like a book that explains
How to use Facebook,
Or Twitter,
Or LinkedIn?

Why can’t I start working
On my lady’s WEB Site?
And why does the thought
Of touching that
Scare me so very much?

Why is it taking me
So damn long
To get around to painting
The dry wall I’ve replaced?

And why the heck
Did it take damn near a year
For me to get the dry wall up
In the first place?

Why is it,
I wonder,
That I just can’t seem to do
Anything at all?

Am I lying to myself?
About how well I am?
What do I have to do
To get moving again?

How do I do that?
How do I pick up
The things I know to do
When every time I try
I feel as if
Nothing matters any more.
And I should just give up.

How do I pick up
The things I know to do
When the only thing I feel
Every time I try
Is, “Why should I?”

Finding My Wings : Life Has A Gift For You

It was a Sunday morning.
And the church service
Had reached its end.
I walked up to my friend.
And took one look
Into her eyes,
Where I saw a look
I knew all too well.

Depression can be hell.
This much I do know.

But the warrior
I am becoming.
The warrior that cares.
The one that listens
To the words his heart speaks.
The warrior knew
Exactly what to do.

I smiled at her,
And then I took her
By the hand.
And walked outside.
Onto the lawn
In front of the church.
And as I did
I informed her,
“There’s something that I wish
To show to your.”

Standing there,
On the grass,
I spoke with her.
“Life has a gift
That’s just for you.
May I help you
As you discover it?”

She looked at me
Like I was crazy.
Which I’m very used to.
But her curiosity
Got the best of her,
And she answered,
“Yes.”

“Then try to do
What I do.
So that you can see the gift
That life has given you.”

I held my hands out
Before me.
Fingers spread.
And then I closed my eyes.
And tried to feel the air
As it flowed past them.
I moved my hands about,
Until I could feel the breeze
As it moved the air
Across the palms of my hands.
And between each finger
That I have.
“I start by finding the breeze.
That’s part of the gift,
You know.
That we can feel the air
As it moves.
So I do this for a time,.
Just to clear my head.
And forget everything
That bothers me.
Can you feel the breeze too?”

I looked at her.
At the smile upon her face
That had replace her frown.
“Sometimes,
I just stand here for a while.
And enjoy the way it feels
To let the breeze
Flow past me.
Wow…”

And we both stood there,
For a time.
And simply felt the breeze.

Then I spoke once more.
“Then I close my eyes.
And I try to feel the warmth
Of the sun.
As it shines down from the sky.
Right on me.
Did you know that if you try
You can almost find the sun
Up in the sky
Without even using your eyes?”

And with that,
I closed my eyes,
And tried to find the sun
Just by the way
It warmed the skin
Upon my face.

“This is another part
Of the gift
Life has given you
Today.
How does it feel?
The sunshine
On your face?”

I could tell from the sound
Of her pretty voice
That the sunlight on her face
Had grown her smile.
And left it stronger
That it was at first.
“It feels good.”

Then I continued on.
“Then I simply stand real still.
And listen.
Until I can hear the singing
Of the birds.
And the sound of the leaves
On all the trees
As the wind blows
Through all of them.”

And that’s just what I did.
And she did too.
“This is just another part
Of the priceless gift
Life has given you.”

And we stood there
For a time.
It does not matter
How long.
While we both enjoyed
That gift of one more day
That life had granted us.

“I could not help but see
The hurt within your eyes
When I saw you today,
My friend.
I know the demon
That depression is.
For I face that demon
Every day.
That demon never
Goes away.”

I looked into her eyes.
And saw the magic light
That shines in them.
A light I love to see.

“And I just had to show you
That the demon
Can’t ever win.
As long as we remember
What a priceless gift it is
To just be alive.
To feel the breeze,
And the sunshine.
And hear the birds
As they sing.
It’s such a simple thing.
But it means
So very much to me.
And I wanted you to know
All about this gift
That life has given you.”

And even now,
After all the days,
The weeks,
And months,
Since I took her
By the hand,
And showed life’s gift to her.

I can still see the magic light
That shined in her pretty eyes.
And I can still remember
Her priceless smile.

Finding My Wings : Friends Are Priceless To Me

Here I sit.
On the sofa
In my home.
Staring at an empty screen.
Wondering
Why it reminds me
So very much
Of how I sometimes feel.

But, I know
That if I wish
I can fill the screen
With letters.
And with words.
I can even draw something
If I wish.

That screen is there.
And it is empty.
Waiting for me
To fill it
With anything,
And in any way
That I want to.

I’ve learned that much
In the year
That I’ve lived through.
A year that has been filled
Abundantly
With change.

I wish that I could do the same
With the life I lead.
But I can’t.
For I also know
This simple truth.

I control the content
Of my computer’s screen.
I can put anything
That I want to
There.
I can fill it anytime
That I wish to.
Or I can strip it bare.

I can’t do that
With life.
For that’s something
I cannot control.

Yes, I know
I can control
Myself.
I can decide
What I wish to do.
How I wish to respond
To almost anything.

But I’ve learned
That I can’t control
Anyone
But me.

People will either like me,
Or they won’t.
They will talk with me,
Or they won’t.
They will be my friends,
Or they won’t.

It’s their choice to make.
I can’t make their choices
For them.

I know people
That would not handle
Being as alone
As I have been
In these past few months
Very well at all.

But for me.
This is normal.
This is the way
That life
Has always been.

I have never had
Very many friends.
And I don’t have many
Now.

I have never had
A social life
To speak of.
And I don’t have one
Now.

Most people
Have avoided me.
And they still do
Even now.

But at least
I finally
Understand the reasons
Why.

It’s because
I really am
Not like them.
It’s because
I really do
Not fit in.

If you watch
The way that I behave
When I am at church.
You’ll see
Exactly what I mean.

If you could have seen
The way that I behaved
When I was at work,
You would have seen
Exactly what I mean.

If you could have seen
All the things
That I went through
While I was growing up.
While I was at school.
You would have seen
Everything.

It’s not me.
It’s not my fault.
That I don’t fit in.
That I’m not
Like everyone I meet.
In this world
We all live in.

It’s simply
How things are
Everywhere
On this whole world.
When you are someone
That’s truly different.
When you don’t think,
And feel,
And react
To anything at all
Like anyone
Around you does.

I wish sometimes
That people
Would take the time
It takes
To get to know
People like myself.
People that are different.
That don’t fit in
At all.

But I’ve found they don’t.
I’ve learned
That people like me,
That don’t fit in.
Disturb almost everyone.
Because we don’t react,
And we don’t behave
In the same way
As we are supposed to.

So they are afraid
Of people like myself.
People
That they do not understand.
And they conclude
That they have to stay away
From people
Who are strange.

After all the time
That I’ve been alone
In this life I’ve led.
After all the pain
That I have always felt
Day after day.
After all the times
I wished
That I understood
What was wrong
With me.
And why I wasn’t
Just like everyone
I knew.

I’ve at long last learned
That I’m not broken.
I’m not wrong.
I’m not cold.
Or aloof.
Or scary.
Or any of those things
In any way at all.

I’m just different.
And that’s all.

And I wish sometimes
That more people
In this world
We all live in
Could understand that.
And would take the time
To get to know
What I’m really like.

Because I know
I’m not evil.
I’m not dangerous.
I’m not someone
To be avoided
At all.

I’m just different
From them.

And I’m very honored
To have the friends
I have.
Even though there are
So very few of them.

Because I know
The few friends
That I have
Have taken the time
To understand
That I’m not like them.

And they have accepted me
Anyway.
Even though there are times
When I do things
And say things
And behave in ways
That they just don’t
Understand.

I’ve come to understand
That I’ll always feel
Isolated and alone.
Sometimes just as empty
As a blank
Computer screen.

But that’s OK.
Because it’s shown me
Just how priceless
True friends are.

And as I sit here
On the sofa
In my home.
I quietly close my eyes.
And then I say
A quiet prayer
To God.

And thank him
For the friends
I have.

For they are priceless to me.
Every single one
Of them.

And perhaps
In some small way.
This just may be
His way
Of showing me
How he feels
For everyone.

Even people
Like me.

Finding My Wings : “It Is Well With My Soul”

There I was in church
On this Sunday morning.
I was not there because
I was supposed to be.
I was there because
I wanted to be.

There are people there,
Who’s names I do not know.
But I like to think
That with time
That will change.
And I will learn
More of their names.

And they will learn mine
Too.

The service started
This morning,
With the Children’s Choir,
Which sang three songs.
And as they sang those songs,
I was so happy
That I nearly cried.

And I said the first
Of may thanks to God
That I have said today.
As I thanked him
For allowing me
To hear the children sing.
And told him that to me
I could not have asked
For anything
More special than that.
What a gift.

As the service went along
One of the women
Of the church
Got up and sang a song
That I’d never heard
Before.

“It is well with my soul.”

It was as if
God, Himself
Wanted me to hear
What it was
That He’s been teaching me
In this past year.

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

Those words spoke to me,
And I remembered
All the things
I’ve lived through
This past year.
All the things
That I’ve learned.
That He taught
Just to me.

I know there are people
That would think very much
That I’ve lost
Everything
That I had.

That the life that I lived
For 29 years
Was destroyed,
And is now
Dead and gone.

That it’s such a shame
That I’m here
Unemployed.
How they wish,
And they pray,
That I can find
Another job.

And through it all I find
That no matter what happens
To me any more.
No matter what trials
Come my way.
That just like the words
In that song she sang
This morning in church.

It is well
With my soul.
This I know.

After she sang that song,
The Pastor spoke.
And the lesson that he gave
Today.
Is one that God’s been
Reinforcing in me
Every single day.

“Don’t follow the blind.”

As the Pastor spoke
This morning in church,
I remembered once again
The people that I used to know.
All the time
I’d worked with them,
And how they’re all
So very much
The same.

Day after day,
They never seem to change.
They all think the same.
Behave the same.
And even act the same.

It’s as if they all have stopped
Thinking on their own.
Having blocked out everything
That isn’t what they want.
That isn’t what they know.
I wonder what they’d think
If they were to learn
That I’ve asked God
Not to give up on them.
Just like he hasn’t
Given up on me.

For my heart knows
This very simple truth.
That even in the days
That I was so angry
With so many
Of them.

I would never
Have hurt them.
I would have only
Wished the best
For them.

And when I think of them
And how lost they seem to be
To me.
My heart aches
Within my chest.
And my soul
Cries tears
Again.

The lesson that the Pastor gave
This morning at church
Also said to me
That to be alive
Means very much
That every day
We face once more
Things we do not know.

And a year ago
I was so afraid
To live that way.
But I’m not afraid
Anymore.

Fear of the unknown
It seems,
Is just another feeling
That we are meant
To have.
And we shouldn’t
Be afraid at all
Of the things
That we all feel.

I stand before
A future
That I cannot know.
Who out there can say
When I’ll find a new job,
To replace the one
That’s gone?
Or what that job
Will be?

Who out there can say
The names
Of the people that I’ll meet
In the next few months.
I know that I can’t.
And that’s how
Life’s supposed to be.

But despite all the change
That’s happened to me
In the year that’s passed.
And the changes
That I know
Are yet to come.

Despite all the hurt
And sorrow
That I’ve felt.
And all the tears
I’ve cried.
And all the things
I’ve lost.

Like that song said
This morning
While I was in church.

It is well
With my soul.

Finding My Wings : Life

Life is fragile.
Life is a gift.
It is meant to be lived.
Happiness and fear.
Joy and tears.
ALL of life.
Everything.

Protecting,
And caring for
Family and friends.
Helping other people.
Watching sunrises,
And sunsets.
Walking in the flowers
Of spring and summer.

Have you ever seen
Anything more beautiful
Than roses?

Life simply is.
It is like tears,
And smiles,
And hurt,
And joy.

Transient.

It does not last forever.
It is not permanent.
Grab it while you can.
Because it could be gone
By the dawn.

And don’t be afraid to feel.
Don’t be afraid to laugh,
Or to cry.
Because those things
Are part of life.
And life is crippled
Without them.

Life is not
How nice your house is.
How nice your car is.
How many things you have.
How many friends you have
On Facebook.

Life is not
Having a boat
To take out on the lake
Every weekend of the summer.

Life is not
Having an absurdly sized truck,
Just in case you have to haul something
Every couple of years.

Life is not
Having Cable TV,
And 500 channels
With nothing interesting
On any of them.

Life is not
Having a job
That pays $50 an hour,
And has full benefits.

Life is not
Being able to eat
At a different restaurant
Every night
Of every week.

Those things are all escapes.
Ways of not having
To face life itself.
Ways of avoiding
Everything.

Ways to wrap yourself
In a cocoon,
And know that everything
Is going to be OK.

Ways of preventing yourself
From hurting,
From crying,
When someone you know
Comes down with cancer,
Gets hit by a truck,
Dies in a car crash,
Or dies in a fire.

Ways of preventing yourself
From hurting,
Or crying,
Or feeling anything at all,
If a friend’s home
Burns to the ground.
Or their son
Gets shot by the Taliban
In Afghanistan.
Or terrorist
Fly jets into buildings
And kill hundreds
If not thousands.
Of people
That you never met.

Ways of preventing yourself
From hurting,
Or crying,
When two children
Take some guns,
And go to their school,
And start shooting
Everyone.
When a lone stranger
Packs a case with guns,
And goes to a camp
Filed with children,
And murders them.
Every single one.

Ways of preventing yourself
From hurting,
Or crying,
When someone that you know,
And have worked with
For years, and years,
Gets let go.
And has a job no more.

The list goes on,
And on,
And on.

These things
Are all ways
Of deadening yourself.

So you can pretend to care
By signing a card,
And doing all
The “appropriate” things.
That everyone
Has declared
Demonstrate
How much  you care.
And how very human
That you are.

What happened to us, as a people?
When did we die inside?

Why are we
So very much afraid
Of Life?

Finding My Wings : The Warrior I Wish To Be

I have said
That I wish to become
A compassionate,
Tender hearted,
Caring
Warrior.

And that I’m learning,
Day by day,
How to do just that.

Let me share with you
Something that I’ve learned
About becoming
What I wish to be.
About becoming
The warrior.

Chogyam Trungpa writes,
In his book called,
“Shambhala”,

Fear has to be acknowledged.
We have to realize our fear
And reconcile ourselves with fear.

We must face the fact
That fear is lurking in our lives,
Always,
In everything we do.

As I have said before,
I have learned
That when I’m angry.
When I’m frustrated.
If I stop
And take the time
To look for the causes
Of my anger
And frustration.
I find they’re caused
By fear.

That it is my natural reaction
To gear up for conflict
When I am afraid.

It doesn’t really matter
What I am afraid of.
Only that I am
Afraid.

Because we posses such fear,
We are also potentially entitled
To experience fearlessness.
True fearlessness
Is not the reduction of fear,
But going beyond fear.

Anyone that’s lived
For more than a few years
Has had to learn
To face their fears.
That you have to do things
That scare you.
Like job interviews.
Meetings at the office.
Presentations.
And so very many other things.

Fear is natural.
Everyone gets it.
Everyone’s afraid.

So to deal with fear
In the appropriate way,
I have been learning
Not to go to war.
Not to turn angry.
Not to bury my fear
Beneath my anger.

It’s been a very hard thing
For me to learn.
To acknowledge
When I am afraid.

But I’ve learned something else,
As I’ve learned to admit
To myself
When I am afraid.

I’ve learn
That fear is a normal thing.
Just another feeling
That I have.
That comes
And goes away.

That just like feeling happy,
Or feeling sad,
Or feeling angry.
Sometimes I feel afraid.

And that the warrior
That I wish to be
Accepts the fear he feels.
And continues on.
That warrior moves
Beyond being afraid.
He embraces fear
As a warning
To be careful.
As a signal
That he needs to help
Someone around him.

I’ve learned that fear exists
For a reason.
And if I don’t run away
When I am afraid.
But instead
Walk with my fear.
I learn why
My fear is there.

And that lets me
Move beyond my fear.
So that I can take care
Of the thing that caused me
To be afraid
In the first place.

But then,
As you experience this sadness
More and more,
You realize
That human beings
Should be tender
And open.
So you no longer need
To feel shy or embarrassed
About being gentle.
In fact
Your softness begins
To become passionate.

I have found
That beneath my fear
There is always something
That I care about.
There is always someone
That I care about.

I am afraid
Of being unemployed.
Because I care
So very much
About my family.

I am afraid
That one of my friends
Could leave this Earth one night
While she is asleep.

I am afraid
That one of my friends
Has an injury
That may cause her
To live in pain
For years and years.

I am afraid
That one of my friends
Is facing
The demon of depression.
A nightmare
That I understand
So very well.

The are so many fears
That I’ve found I have.

But I’ve learned
It’s OK
To be afraid
For one of my friends.

It’s OK
To be afraid
Of something that I’m facing.
Of something that a friend
Is having to go through.

And I’m learning
That what I ought to do
Is what I tried to do
For a friend
I used to have.

To show my friends
That I care for them.
And the pain,
And fear,
That I can’t help but see
That they are in.

You are so tender and open already
That you cannot help opening yourself
To what takes place all around you.
When you see red
Or green
Or yellow
Or black,
You respond to them
From the bottom of your heart.
When you see someone else
Crying or laughing
Or being afraid,
You respond to them as well.
At that point,
Your beginning level of fearlessness
Is developing further
Into warriorship.

The idea of warriorship
Is that the warrior
Should be sad and tender,
And because of that,
The warrior can be very brave as well.

This is the warrior
That I want to be.
That I am meant to be.

The compassionate,
Tender hearted,
Caring
Warrior.

At last
I truly am
Finding my wings.