Hermititus

I’ve been diagnosed with “post traumatic stress disorder”.  I’ve always thought that there  were too many diagnosis for too many issues.  Hyperactivity became “ADHD”, Depressive Manic became “Bipolar Disorder”, and everything comes with a shiny little pill.  Currently my nightstand has so many amber colored bottles with white childproof lids that it looks like the bedside table of someone suffering from cancer.  I linked PTSD with brave men and women who came back from the war and saw things that no one should ever have to see in their lifetime.  What bravery have I exemplified that deserves such a diagnosis.  Someone died, I’ve been a single mom, struggling.  So have millions of other women, many have been through worse.

The pain I feel, however, is very real and sometimes it feels like I might explode.  I didn’t seek much help after the death of my daughters father, but I am trying after my fathers death.  I am alone in this town and no family left that talks to me except my mother and even she only speaks to me begrudgingly! I have no choice but to remain strong for my daughter, suicide is not an option, not even suicide by alcohol.  Somehow I have to find the strength to not just be here for her, but be present for her.  Happy, energetic, patient, loving, kind, compassionate and a teacher.  That’s one of the toughest things to muster up when you are so sad and lethargic that you can’t get out of bed, can’t leave the house.   I keep hearing, “you’re strong”, “you’re a good mom”, but if people knew the truth they wouldn’t say such kind things.  I can’t tell anyone my truth because no one wants to deal with someone who can’t handle their shit.  And right now, I’m not handling my shit.

I’ve always thought the opposite of myself, that I wasn’t strong, that I was too sensitive for this world.  I even tattooed the word “strength” on my wrist to conjure up the very thing I knew I was lacking.  I don’t even want to do my work anymore.  I do, but I can’t.  I need a change.  I need to get out of this retired town and retire in Henderson.  A place I felt at home.  Maybe it’s just close enough to Vegas to be invigorating, and far enough away to feel normal.  The sun shines.  I need more sun.  I’ve tried to find my tribe here and they are nowhere to be found.  God get me out of here before I go totally insane.  I’m not as strong as people seem to think.  I am a survivor, and it takes strength to survive, but no one can be very strong for very long being very alone.  Everyone needs their tribe.  Everyone needs their friends.

I’ve been using Tarot cards to connect with my guardian angels.  To get answers to pressing questions of the moment.  So I don’t feel so alone.  I swear, though, you can read anything into those things and I always seem to get the answers I need.  Or, who knows, maybe I really am connecting to my dad, my nana, to my great grandmother, maybe they are the only people I can talk to right now.  Whatever gets you through it, right?

So until I find my own strength again, I will find strength in the queen of wands, the hangman, the eight of swords, or whatever card I pull for any given day that makes me feel hope, that keeps me from the driving force I am feeling to hole myself up in my room and never leave my bed.300811f10e0c3c8c4b42a20c607a2fab

 

 

For My Dad

My daughter and I took a short trip to Hawaii just after New Years.  She has never been and I haven’t been in over 20 years.  I haven’t been on a vacation at all in at least 14 years!  Not a real one anyway.  You know, the kind where you actually put your clothes in the drawers and hang them up because you will be there long enough to need to see your clothing, not just grab them out of an overnight bag!  The weather was gorgeous, to be expected, but the emotions were unexpected.  Both my daughter and I have fathers, who have now passed away, that lived in Hawaii.

Her daddy was a surfer who would surf the big waves on the North Shore.  He lived there with Jay Adams back in the 80’s, 90’s and told me all sorts of stories about living there.  Including the one where he got air lifted to the hospital after a wave almost ended his life.  My father went to High School there (the same as President Obama) and also was stationed at Barbers Point as a radio man in the Blue Sharks PC2 plane in the late 50’s, early 60’s.  Both were emotional visiting the two places, but my dad, having passed away just a month prior, took the cake.  I just wasn’t expecting the water works, and such obvious, what seemed like signs,  everywhere,  that he was there.

I knew I wanted to visit Barbers Point, but I wasn’t sure what to expect since my dad told me in prior conversations (which in his dementia disease all seemed to lead back to) was that Barbers Point was no longer there.  My dad couldn’t remember if he had breakfast that morning, but he still remembered the Morse code alphabet to the Tee.  He remembered those days so well that it was important to him during conversations to be able to hold one and for him that meant going way back.  He felt important again.  Dementia as I learned by observation is a terrible thing that steals not just your memories, but your dignity.  My dad led a very dignified life.  First in the Navy, then as a HazMat Fire Captain.  Not to mention father and grandfather.  When I came to Port Townsend a year and a half ago, it wasn’t to save my dads life.  It was to do my best to keep him healthy and happy.  That meant, meals cooked, someone to talk to, bedding changed, laundry done, lunches together, movies, conversation and the three of us bonding as grandfather, daughter and granddaughter.  It wasn’t easy at first, in fact, it was extremely challenging.  Our love for each other overcame any obstacles and we learned how to cohabitate together, respect each other and learned so much from each other.  I learned it was very important to him that people understood what he had done in his life because he had lost so much of it.  I think he knew, but would never admit, that he was losing his memory.  He quickly learned how to manipulate conversations that would lead people away from suspicions, but years went by and even that was becoming increasingly impossible for him.  Bless his heart, he always had a smile and the same story to tell.  The kinder people he ran across daily came to understand and were always willing to entertain his stories.  It’s those people who have my heart.  I’ve had many a battle with people in this town, but that’s a different story and this isn’t about me.

The bartender, Sun, at the Ilikai Hotel heard my story and was gracious and kind and gave me a bag full of beautiful flowers to toss at Barbers Point.  My daughter and I set out one day after renting a car and plugged in “Barbers Point” to the GPS.  Google led us to some school.  Although, the sign did say “Barber Point”, there was no sign of a military base, old or new.  So I made a U-turn and my daughter, who is an I-phone girl, asked Siri which led us to an even more remote space near some shipyards.  Distressed, sad and frustrated we parked and threw our flowers into the water, marveled at the beautiful tropical fish that emerged from the rocks when the flowers landed and said a few words.  Crying, I got back into the car, but not willing to give up, I stopped by where Siri ended our trip at an Energy Plant and went inside.  As most Hawaiians are the gentleman at the front desk (wish I got his name) was very helpful in explaining to us where Barbers Point was.  So, once again, we set off.  As we are making our drive and I started to get confused again, suddenly two fighter jets roared over our heads as if to say, “you’re going the right way”.  I kept going and found the traintracks he spoke of and turned.  We saw before us some very old buildings easily 60 – 70 years old.  I pulled in and, as usual the alohas were flowing and the information was well thought out and useful.  They told us to go to the museum but that we might not have any luck because “Brad” who runs it is not there all the time.  I almost turned away, but again, something kept me going.  I kept driving down this road which had closed roads jetting out from the sides and you could really get a sense of days gone by with the terrain, the small roads, the skeletal buildings, etc.  I suddenly stopped at this fence where I could see old planes through.  I debated, but reversed and parked.  I got out of the car and banged on he chain link fence yelling, “excuse me”, to the three men standing off in the slight distance in uniform.  One came towards us and asked if they could help us.

I quickly explained, through my tear stained face, that my dad had been stationed here in 1958 and that he had passed away and talked about these times here daily.  To my surprise, they were so warm and inviting and yanked open the locked gate and brought us into some sort of pilot training room with plane seats and a large screen.  I started talking and they finished my sentences for me and before I knew it they had pictures up on the big screen of the plane my dad flew in and then proceeded to walk me around talking about this is where my dad would have been.  They had long torn down the buildings, but he would have slept there, the planes were there, and I cannot describe the feeling to you of knowing I was walking on the same asphalt my dad did back when he was 18-22.  The guys talked for what seemed like hours and as I thanked them profusely, they thanked me humbly for caring so much.  What a great three men, Brad, who ran the museum, Lt. Col. Mooch, and the historian who also worked for Paradise Helicopters,.  I’ll never forget what they did for me that day.

I’ll never forget that.  And I know my dad was there, so proud that I cared enough.  The bond we shared, he now fully understands, even if he couldn’t at the end.  I love you so much dad.  You are my ohana.  Mahalo for everything you are.

Daily Prompt: Renewal

via Daily Prompt: Renewal

REnewal.  ReNEWal.  RenewAL.  Interesting to me why we westerners choose January First as a day that we believe our lives will be renewed.  I get that it’s the beginning of a new year and we say goodbye to the old one.  That gives us a chance to reflect on the past and hope for a better future for ourselves.  I look on facebook and every post I see is how much people hated 2016 (15 before that, 14 before that, 1999 before that!) and are looking forward to a better 2017.  I think though, it would behoove most, to look at the opportunities that were presented to us, decide if we dealt with them accordingly, did we learn from them, did we find joy in them.  Sometimes the hardest part of our lives are the ones we should relish the most because we had a great opportunity to grow from it.  Sometimes we forget the good that came with all the bad and to find gratitude for those moments.

No, I think it best that we say “thank you” to 2016 for all it provided, the good, the bad and the ugly.  We must always look forward to the future and renewal isn’t something we should strive for but more for more growth in 2017.  With growth, comes strife.  I promised myself after my fathers passing earlier this month that I was going to approach every situation with grace and a non reactive state.  I’ve spent way too many years being angry and reactive.  In a sense, I suppose I will have a bit of renewal.  I wasn’t always so reactive and angry, so I intend to renew that part of me, Christie Martin, that relished every bit of life.  Laughed all the time, appreciated everyone around me, and woke up happy every day.  I want her back.  Yesterday as I drove to an appointment a couple of hours away I had time by myself to reflect and think about my dad which is very painful.  I talked aloud to my dad and I promised him no more sadness in his death.  He has been restored to his former glory without dementia and I, too, will restore myself in his honor. I promised to make him proud and raise a daughter that would make him proud.  I promised him that his girls would make him proud.

Renewal to me, is actually quite important to me this year in particular.  I don’t look back on the last year as horrible though, like I see so many others do.  It was difficult, lonely and very sad the last few months of it watching my father slowly slip away.  I know, however, that 2017 will bring love, joy, happiness, strength, and yes, renewal.

So, happy New Year everyone, and cheers to a renewed state.lotus-flower-8

 

 

My Dad is Gone.

13502046_10154116986916138_6809629631255170763_nThat was my only sentence on my facebook post the day my dad died.  I had no words.  I had nothing to say.It’s been over three weeks now and Christmas has passed and New Years is this weekend and I’ve gone from numb, to sad, to scared, to sick.  I know everyone goes through this, but I haven’t yet and it feels like I’m the only one who has.  I just can’t believe he’ll never come home again.  It’s been a rough few months because he fell two months before he died.  We thought he was going to get better, but he would be ok, then bad, then a surgery, then ok, then bad.  The roller coaster has had me exhausted and currently I’m finding it difficult to get out of bed.

He was truly an original.  We had a difficult time in he beginning of my move here, but we came into our new situation and appreciated our relationship.  We laughed a lot.  He was so funny, and for the first time in my life I knew that my dad saw me for the funny, confident, talented person that I always hoped he would get to know.  I have many many flaws, but, in the end, he saw only the good in me.  He appreciated me and I loved our little family unit.

He’s gone now.  I’m still in his home and it’s truly unbearable.  This entire house is him.  When my daughters father died, I left a month later and it still took me 7 years to even come close to healing.  I feel in limbo, and like I just can’t begin to heal until I leave here.  Port Townsend is beautiful, but lonely.  I have yet to find my tribe and can’t wait to get back to Henderson, Nevada.  I know it was my dads wish that I stay here in his home, but I just can’t.  This was his home, his dream.  I was here for the last year and a half of his life, but it’s time for me to start my life again.

Wish me luck.  Another new beginning.  My mini gypsy and me go off again, maybe finally, to find the happiness I so deserve.

RIP James Hurley Martin.  Until we meet again, I know you’ll be here with me and I want to thank you for everything you have been for me.  I love you so much and I’ll miss you until the end of my days.

 

 

SUICIDE

I’m just writing off the cuff here, not even sure If I will edit or even proofread, but a friend just committed suicide last night.  I haven’t seen him in over a decade, but he’s a part of a time in my life that is very memorable, and, he was still there doing the same thing, with many of the same friends.  I have so many questions.  I mean there has been enough distance, time and space that the pain wasn’t sharp and stabbing, but it was the kind of hurt that doesn’t leave you all day.  I keep picturing his face, his hair, even his stylish clothing.  Then my mind goes to his gentleness, and his kindness.  I keep asking myself, why?

Sebastien was a career club promoter.  The kind that established financial success and popularity success.  He became a San Francisco legend in his own right. For over 20 years he has promoted and produced some of the biggest nightclub nights and parties known to the city for over two decades.  He operated the most coveted nights in the city.

I think back to our times together , not just in the clubs , but outside of them as well.  Sebastien had a tendency back in the day to party a little too hard. He got to the point where he would seriously stumble over his words, and where I would have sent myself home, he just kept on going.  He got sober, however, and he witnessed the death of his sister in 2011.  I have to wonder if her death played a part in the pain he felt to make his final decision, or was it something deeper?

I think you can be surrounded by tons of friends, old and new, adoring “fans”, and a whole lot of people who want to be close to you.  I think that can be a burden in the end.  The desire to want to talk to everyone, need to be liked, but then experience the emptiness of it all at the end of the night, the next morning, or come Monday.    The truth is, we were out of touch except for facebook, I just don’t know what led to his demise.  So many people don’t believe he took his own life, they are searching for something more sinister.  SF gangs, mobs, the who-done-it is now running rampant within our circle of friends and the vast thousands who knew and loved Sebastien.  I think the truth is harder to accept then someone offed him.  The truth is, he called a friend with threats of his desire to commit suicide and that friend called the police.  Too late.  He hung himself in his SF apartment amongst a “thrashed apartment”.

RIP Sebasien.  I’m in shock and very dismayed.  I’ll never forget our talks, your humor, and how beautiful you were.

 

 

My Seven Years of Mistakes

via Daily Prompt: Mistake

What a loaded word.  I’m going to write about the first mistake that comes to mind.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and actually logged in today to write about it.  It’s been very very heavy on my mind, in fact.  It’s a complicated issue and it’s hard to determine where the “mistake” first occurred.  The end result, however, has been loss.  Mostly, the loss of friends and family.  Not via death, thank God, but they have given up on me and deleted me from their lives.  It’s my fault.  This I know, I take full responsibility.  I’ve been very angry, selfish and demanding more so in the last 7 years.

If I’m to think about my anger issues, my depression, my anxiety, my neediness it stems from my bi-polar disorder that reared it’s ugly head when my daughters father died.  I can’t call him the mistake because we created a beautiful daughter together.  He died of a heroin overdose and what he put me through prior to his death was nothing short of horrible, but his death came with a sledgehammer that hit me so hard over the head, I’m not sure I’ve gotten up yet.  I’m so damaged and I’ve worked so hard to make myself better.  A better friend, a better daughter, a better mother.  It seems as though just when I make some progress another event takes me down again.  All of these are excuses though.  I mean, don’t we all have life issues that take us down from time to time?  That doesn’t give us the right to talk to friends badly, react badly, be so quick to anger, and then act out because of that anger.  It takes a second for me to reach a level of rage.  Some days are better than others, but overall, especially in this moment, I’m not a reasonable person.

So, I guess, my “mistake” is not being able to figure out how to control myself.  I miss my friends so much.  I never meant to lose them, any of them.  I never meant to make my brother and his whole family hate me.  I never meant to feel so alone.  I made a big mistake…lots of them, lots of times, with lots of people, and I am so sorry.  I wish I could take it all back, but what’s done is done.  I cry as I write this.  I hope in my heart that I get better.  I pray everyday that I get better.  I pray for forgiveness and I pray for help.  memory lane 023

 

Enjoy The Now. (Who Does That?)

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I moved to this scenic town over a year ago.  The kind of town people dream of retiring to.  The kind of town where artists thrive off of the natural, incredible beauty.  The kind of town that postcards are made of.  Tonight, after a cell phone fiasco at Safeway (never trust your nine year old daughter with your cell phone whilst at the self check-out), we stopped at the local “diner”, named “Nifty Fiftys” made to look like the diner out of “Happy Days” except the back patio juts out over the Puget Sound and tonight the weather and view were spectacular.  I sat there looking out at the sailboat anchored in the small cove and listened to the little waves splash up on the shore and marvled at how spectacular this really was.

I thought back to my days in San Francisco where any given day I would rise up on one of the many incredibly high streets and suddenly before me a view would appear of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay, and it would seemingly always be a different view.  Living here I see those views every day, but somehow, they don’t seem as magical.  I wonder why all the time.  Is it because I was younger and such things were new and astonishing?  Have I become jaded to such beauty and wonder?  Nostalgia is a funny thing.  I’ve come to understand that we never appreciate our here and now.  We find misery no matter.  Later on, however, we miss everything about that time in our life.  That is where the saying comes from. “Live in the moment”.  Is that truly possible?  Or, are we meant to reflect in our current situation (look back at our past and long)?.   Are these our opportunities too grow via reflection?   The old adage, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” is all to true.

So how do we relish our current moment?  How do we find the appreciation now and not five, ten years from now.  I sat there tonight looking out at the sailboats, watching the action of the sound, feeling the beauty of the warm summer Pacific Western late afternoon and thought to myself, “one day, I’ll look back on this moment and yearn”.  And so it is.  Looking out at the boats I felt sad.  I watched kids with their moms and dad playing on the beach below and wished that I had that.  I looked on at the boats and wished I was on one of them.  I wondered, and I found, that little bit of peace and serenity and bliss that is the now.

All we have is the now.  I have come to understand that nostalgia is something we can never foresee.  It just is.  If we make the best of each moment, it may not seem important at the time, but later…it will be the best time ever.