What’s On My Mind?

What’s on your mind? Facebook implores. The first instant I am tempted to oblige, remembering the Facebook days of old when people were nice and language wasn’t so loaded. Back in those days I didn’t read the news much to my friends’ dismay. Today I read the news much to my dismay. My mind was such an innocent and happy place to be before I inserted myself back into the world.

What is on my mind? I actually read 1 1/2 books this weekend. I beach -hopped all up and down the Southwest Michigan Coast, an area called the Midwest Riviera. My dog and I hung out and watched the boats go by in Saint Joseph, Grand Haven, South Haven, Saugatuck and Holland. It was relaxing sitting under a shade tree with my e-reader in my hand. A man with two huge German Shepherds in a kayak paddled amid the yachts and fishing boats. All hell broke loose when a little yap-dog on a pleasure boat passed by.

The first book I read was “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. It’s the first fiction I’ve read in a long time. I just haven’t been interested in made-up stories. True life seems so much more interesting at the moment. But a friend recommended it, so I downloaded it. Even though it was set on the Carolina coast, it brought up memories of the swamps and marshes of Louisiana. Mostly I resonated with the female character in the book who didn’t quite fit in.

Later I picked up “The Night of the Gun” by David Carr. I’d been wanting to read it since reading his daughter’s memoir “All That You Leave Behind: A Memoir”. Erin’s life – and her alcoholism – was so tied to the elder Carr’s journey that I felt like I needed to get the whole picture. Besides, I love journalists. I always have. I would’ve, could’ve, should’ve been one but I was a chicken. So I married one. And I read about them. And I support their work. There’s just something so interesting to me about people who have the guts to uncover the truth about the absolute greed, corruption and insanity in our world. Storytelling is an art form, and they are among the best.

If I had to find a connection between the two books I’d have to say that they both led an underground life. David’s hard-partying, drug use and alcoholism played out every day while he tried to go to work and be a somewhat normal guy. He wasn’t. Kya was trying to cope after being a victim of her father’s addiction and family dysfunction. Both of them had no idea how to run their lives or manage relationships until they came to a spot where they had to figure it out. Fiction or non-fiction, we are the hero of our own story.

What’s on my mind? How do I keep my life simple? How do I stay in the moment and appreciate my time here on earth this day? How do I end the day in a better place than when I started it? Who needs a hand up today? Who is being misunderstood and could use some understanding? Who needs to speak their mind today and is desperately needing to be heard? Who might be in the abyss of their Hero’s Journey and need some support? That’s what’s on my mind, Facebook. Thanks for asking.

6 Comments on “What’s On My Mind?

  1. Hi, Your credo reminds me of the lovely St Francis prayer-“seek to understand, not to be understood”….another add to your list of misunderstood heros….in his time.

  2. Thanks for the book recommendations, Sharon! Everybody raves about Where The Crawdad Sings, and I tend to lag way behind on books that people say I “must read!” – so I’ll get to it eventually…maybe. The other two look very intriguing, though. A topic close to my heart, as the daughter of an alcoholic and sister to 2 brothers (and their wives) who are in recovery, for which I am very grateful. I am also fascinated by the way our memories change our histories, and would love the opportunity to go back and uncover some of the stories of my life from an outside perspective. In therapy, it came up that I have no memories whatsoever of my 21st birthday – and I don’t mean I was given a party and drank too much and don’t remember; I actually have no memory of anything that happened related to turning 21. Makes me wonder what other things I may have lost and what re-writing my brain has done to the things I do remember. I’m adding those selections to my to-be-read list – thanks!

    • Interesting comment. David Carr talks about that very thing. He interviews people who lived with him or worked with him during his substance abuse. His memories are sometimes way off. So he talks about that phenomenon and how memory works in chaotic situations like this. I’d be interested in hearing your take on it.

  3. I think that I am stuck with the blank places and the re-written memories at this point, as there really isn’t anybody I could check back with about it. Can’t talk to my ex, who I was married to when I turned 21. Can’t talk to my parents because they have both passed and I’m not sure I could trust their memories anyway! Younger brother is much younger, so really wasn’t aware of what was going on in my life, older brother was drinking heavily. We moved often through my childhood, so no life-long friends I could ask – it’s an interesting and sometimes uncomfortable spot. Often I only realize something might be lurking there by an underlying discomfort over certain situations that come up. It’s been very eye-opening, I have to say. Thankfully, I took up journaling in my mid-twenties and that was part of the reason why – so I have some kind of touchstone moving forward. Life is interesting, isn’t it?

    • Yes it is. But also realize others will have different memories based on their perceptions. That may not be truth either. My heart goes out to you because I know how painful and how much loss is experienced when you live with alcoholism – yours or another’s. Alanon has a great book called Transforming our Losses. It was so important to me to have validation of the loss I felt. Denial steals that validation from us. I’m sorry you lost that memory. But I’m so glad you are awake. So many never wake up at all. That’s the greatest loss of all.

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