The Tree

It doesn’t matter now who said it or why, but back when it mattered I was told that I bought stupid, meaningless Christmas presents and that the trees I picked out were wrong too.

Oh- and my decorations were ugly.

So every year I bought gift cards- to play it safe and  I put up a tree and decorated it and in then I  grit my teeth and ignored it until the 26th.

On that day I pull the thing down an toss the ornaments into a bucket -they’re the unbreakable plastic ones and I pull the tree apart ( its fake and come away in three  parts) and I sort of spin the segments and unwind the lights into little ready to unwind balls of lights and toss the entire kit and kaboodle into the storage closet.

The feeling I have is split between elation and relief- neither one seems appropriate.

So for my own reasons I’m trying to improve my attitude about the Christmas season because I really did come to absolutely hate it.

I’ve taken to doing things like reading ghost stories and looking for Krampus decorations. I listen to hours of  Christmas music because nobody has managed to ruin that for me. I even send out real Christmas cards.

Now when I put up my tree I sort of do it in stages- first night I put the lights on and on the second I decorate it.

I wanted to make it fun again  and splitting the task keeps it from feeling like a task and I don’t get overwhelmed by those nasty shadows from Christmas past.

Sometimes I put a movie on while I work- this year I pulled Dexter up and binged watched my favorite season ( last year it was Lucifer ) and then I take pictures of the tree with my dog.

When I think about my trees now, I remember what shows I was watching- and they are good ones- and I have pictures of Hamish Macbeth and my ugly, badly decorated tree that I actually had fun working on.

I’m hoping that I”ll have a  year when I will realize that it’s ‘that time of the year’ and be excited about it. Being that Christmas is a pretty great thing to take part in, I’m willing to work on that.

It is worth it.

Photo A.M. Moscoso

20191201_141856818498887.jpg

Photo A.M. Moscoso

Photo A.M. Moscoso

The Blank Tombstone

 

Vilhelm Hammershøi,

What do you do

when all you know

when all you’ve been told

in every word, every touch, every look

you have gotten

is how good for nothing you are?

 

Fight? Scream? Prove the world wrong?

I am struggling with that

in my head.

 

I never look up anymore.

 

I think that when I die

my tombstone

will be

blank.

All Who Enter Here

 

Photo A.M. Moscoso

When I was in my late 20’s I began to have crippling, brain scrambling Panic Attacks.

I’m not sure what kicked them off into high gear but they always followed the same pattern: I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking I was going to die and then after that thought took root I couldn’t breathe.

They were horrible. Even if I could get through the attack I was to scared to fall asleep. So on top of the attacks I began to suffer from the affects of lack of sleep- the worst one by far was depression.

So what did I do?

I read every book I could find about death.

I read books about forensics, I read about the process the body goes through after it dies and I also read medical articles about the process of death itself.

I even schooled myself on the customs and folklore concerning Death in cultures around the world.

This went on for a couple of years.

I understand now that this was a risky path- I could have easily taken what I was learning and topped myself off or it could help me overcome my fear of waking up in the middle of the night thinking I was going to die.

What I was doing was learning about the thing I perceived as my enemy so that I would know it for what it was if it did try to get me.

So did it work?

With what I learned I became a Mortician’s Apprentice, I write about death and ghosts with my own special twist. In fact, I think going down that path made me a better writer.

I also know it gave me a warped sense of humor and a lot of patience for the people in my life.

I also learned that Death wasn’t really my enemy.

It was the face I gave my fears and terrors- now I don’t jump from every shadow that falls my way. Now I can see them for what they are and deal with them.

So I can safely now say I learned  a lot from The Grim Reaper and that  he was one of the  teachers in my life that I can look back on and say, ” Wow, did I learn a lot from that one! ”

The specifics  beyond what I mentioned here are between me and my friend in Black. But. I’ll let you in on a secret- the other parts of those specifics are in what I write and in every single laugh  and giggle and  dream  I have.

Daily Addiction Prompt: Cope

Because

It didn’t happen

because

I didn’t want to be the reason

that the person who found me

 had nightmares for the rest of their life.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

The Day I Drowned

Remember when you were a kid and you were into things like dinosaurs or cartoons or all things cats or unicorns or sports?

It was your life. One you got to create for the first time- on your own!

You became part of a tribe outside of the one you were born into. You became a celebrated explorer in your new community. It was your first taste of independence. You were learning a new language, secret codes, and in some cases clothing and new toys were involved.

With me it was astronomy.

I made it my mission to learn all about planets and and gravity, how stars were formed and the spectacular way they died. I hadn’t told anyone yet but I had made up my mind to be an astronaut.

I was about 10 years old.

At that time my Dad’s family were seeing a lot of each other and we were having dinner at our house.

I was carrying around my beat up copy of my favorite book about the constellations and my Dad called me over and said something like, ” ask her anything  about astronomy”

So people did.

I answered a few questions and someone said. ” You have an answer for everything, don’t you?”

I felt very, very ashamed of myself. Which I’m sure was the idea.

” You know Anita, ” my Dad said ” you should learn to keep your mouth shut even if you know what the answer is.”

I remember going into my room.

I remember gathering up all of my books about astronomy

I don’t remember how I felt when I threw them out that night.

Relieved probably.

There were a couple if unfortunate results of what my Dad did that day.

The worst was that I would spend most of my life treating my intellect like the bastard child who shows up at the family reunion which is being held over the Christmas Holidays.

I played dumb, I wouldn’t participate in class or group discussions. If I had an opinion I might express it but I made sure I did it in such a way you’d never ask me for one again.

The second was, I let my drive to learn and write and my passion for reading be marginalized by what everyone else in my life was doing. I mean, why not. What was I doing that was so important?

Having a bad day?

Let me put this amazing book down to help you out of it.

Need someone to talk to?

Let me shut off this great piece of music so I can listen to you bitch about the jerks you live with and the fool who screwed your perfect day up at the grocery store.

Oh. You want me to stop writing so I can go shopping with you at the mall? Why the heck not?

Just like the way the tides are affected by the sun and the moon I let everyone else affect my writing or the time I set aside to catch up on my “science time”

The people in my life don’t know this is happening- just like the Moon or the Sun have no idea that they have an affect on the Earth’s oceans and bays. But I’m aware of it and it was up to me in the end to do something about it.

A few years ago I had to make some changes in the way I looked at my life because my depression had impacted and damaged it to the point that there was very little of “me” left.

I started to make it a point to care about how I spent my time and who I spent it with. I started to read and study again- and with that my writing developed in leaps and bounds. I even began to write Poetry- which to be honest is something I thought I would never do.

Now when I participate in conversations and relationships I really want to be there- as opposed to feeling like I washed up on someone’s curb after a hard rain.

None of that happened over night.

But it’s a start and I’m still hard at it.

And I’m making progress.

So.

Yay me.

Daily Prompt: Tide

Beware The Termagant

A few years ago right after I turned 50  a friend of mine said,

” Me and you are like a couple of ugly mutts, we’re not like ( hey, no names here ) she’s like a show dog. Not us though. WE are mutts. The kinds that don’t get forever homes”

At the time my so called friend knew I was being treated for severe depression and that I was actually working my way through it. I was taking care of my health. I thought I was actually starting to look a little attractive.

” You know what else?”

I saw my anti-depressants and therapy waving to me from the curb as I was sped away by the crazy talk on wheels my friend was spewing.

I said no. What I wanted to say was shut the hell up you nutter, but I didn’t.

” Now that you’re fifty you can say goodbye to getting a nice seat at restaurants  unless you’re with a man. You’re in the invisible club now. ”

She did say that I was a ‘ Crone ‘ now and that I should embrace that. I should let my hair go gray  and that I should hang out with other Crones too. Oh and when menopause hit, my life was going to be hell.

By the time she shut her Pie Hole I had pretty much decided to never speak to this person again ( which took a couple of  months ).

Me Just After I Turned 50 Four Years Ago.

So why did I tolerate this bitter, selfish, clueless person in my life for another few months? Oh who knows. It wasn’t a single thing I can point to. But then she truly crossed a line and poof- she was gone.

She insulted my dog.

I had just got a puppy and one day she out of the blue said that my puppy wasn’t like her friend’s Lab who was very ” Zen ” and relaxed. We were with another person who apparently knew this ” Zen” dog and she looked as surprised as hell to her it called  a Zen and relaxed dog.

Later  out of the blue she made it clear that my dog was NEVER allowed in her car.

I was confused because I didn’t realize that there were any plans for my pup to be in her car. In fact, the few times Hamish had seen her it was painfully obvious that Hamish didn’t like her.

When she showed up at the house or we saw her on the street he’d pull at his leash and want to get away. He didn’t want her to pet him and when she said his name and tried to get his attention he’d snap his head to the side and look for a bug to eat.

Hamish has two people on his S*&@ list and she was the first one.

When I got Hamish a lot of things changed for me- I got a grip better grip on my depression. I started to get out and socialize more. My self confidence and over all health improved.

My attitude about life changed for the better.

It took me a few years after that to figure out why she hated my dog so much.

Hamish was vibrant and alive. He made me laugh. He made other people laugh. He was fun and goofy. He ate cat poop if he could find it and if you leaned over to tell him he was a sweet little puppy he’d stick his tongue in your ear.

Hamish was no where near giving up on life, he was a Puppy and the world was his Oyster-or Kong Toy.

Every day was a new adventure for Hamish. He wakes up wagging his tail- he started that when he was 12 weeks old and now at almost four he STILL does that.

His zest for life rubbed off on me.

Hamish was the reason this termagant was going to be one friend short on her road to Dullsville. That’s why she hated him.  She saw what he represented and she couldn’t tolerate it.

Photo of Hamish Macbeth by A.M. Moscoso

So my dog is a Purebred Chocolate Labrador Retriever with an  impressive bloodline and he’s registered with the  AKC.

I was a  cur who was running in bad company and he bumped over to another path. He didn’t pull or push or hound me. He sort of said, “Hey, wow…look at this!”

That’s what friends do when they see you falter. They give you that little nudge to help you get on your way. They don’t break your legs so you end up stranded with them on the side of the road where you spend the rest of your life hating people who get to keep exploring our imperfect yet morbidly amusing world.

The next time you feel yourself starting to stall remember Hamish- when you’re feeling threatened eat a bug, chase away the monsters and whatever you do-never get up in the morning without wagging your tail.

Daily Prompt: Cur

 

 

 

Thank You Hamish Macbeth

Photo A..M. Moscoso

This is Hamish Macbeth- I was lucky enough to become his Mommy  just before Halloween in 2014.

I almost named him Boris Karloff in honor of the season and one of my favorite actors but he actually responded to the name Hamish Macbeth- so Hamish he is.

Photo: A.M. Moscoso

2014 was not a good year for me for a variety of reasons- one being I suffer from depression and even though I had begun counseling and medication that stuff doesn’t kick in right away so I was struggling.

And why not throw the Holidays into that mess just to make things a little bit harder?

I was lucky. I had help swoop in just before the first fake trees hit the Mall.

The thing that saved me from really having a hard situation become an intolerable one was my  dog.

He was a  12 week old Chocolate Lab Puppy with ( then ) yellow cat’s eyes.

Hamish was this very serious little puppy when I first brought him home. But within a month his personality exploded and he became outgoing, friendly, engaging goofy and scary smart.

He just couldn’t get enough of the world and the people and things in it.

So I got to watch this little bundle of joy take to the world around him with unbridled enthusiasm and energy and curiosity- and I was lucky enough to be there when it happened.

So I went along for the ride an it was just before Christmas.

Here are some of Hamish’s first Christmas pictures- it just seems right to put this post and these pictures up now because I think Hamish is what the holidays SHOULD be about.

Puppies make Christmases perfect!

Hamish wanted in on the Christmas Wrapping fun, so my nieces wrapped him up- which he proudly wore until the tape got warm and the paper fell off.

My niece, my Mom and ” Baby Hamish”

Luis and Hamish- quite the handsome pair!

 

amm

Christmas Special (2017) Writing Prompt #14 – Best Christmas present