Blank Slate

At least once every day I have a moment of sheer terror.

My brain screams: What the F are you doing? You’re going to die! You’re going to go broke! Your world is going to end! There’s not time left! It’s all falling apart! It’s all for nothing! It’s hopeless! ETC. ETC. YAWN.

Needless to say this is where I despair even being alive.

And then I either collapse and go to bed, or have a nice pity party first.

Surprisingly, this scenario plays out no matter what my current situation is. I had these moments even when I was working and well off and healthy.

But I learned a simple technique.

Today is a whiteboard, or if you’re old fashioned, a chalkboard. Whatever is written there can be wiped clean off.

Tomorrow is a blank slate. That is, every day that I am permitted to live on this earth is another chance to change my life and make what is wrong, right. What doesn’t work, work. To put new marks on my whiteboard. The rule is however, that board is always wiped clean at the end of the day.

Whatever I screw up today, tomorrow I have a chance to do better. And if I screw it up more, at least have a good laugh.

So when I fail – I overeat – I don’t exercise – I can’t write one damn word on my book – I can’t even draw a squiggly line on my latest art project – I said the wrong thing – I ate junk all day – I spent too much money – I bought crap – I forgot to do something – I failed an exam – whatever – I know that tomorrow I can write all day, I can eat properly, not spend money, pass exams, make an apology. Or not. There is always the next blank slate day.

It is ditto for successes. They are only good for a day too. Well, sometimes, maybe, okay, I can let them linger for a few days longer. But all those mistakes, errors and failures Swoosh! Gone.

I don’t need to carry my failures into the future. They are wiped out at 12:00 a.m. when the next day starts.

Let’s Talk About NOTHING

There is so much going on in the world that my head is spinning. Talk, talk, talk.

I propose that we, at least for a while, talk about nothing.

How can we talk about nothing? Everything is a subject. Everyone has an opinion. Even when we are quiet our brains are still chattering away.

I had an aunt that never stopped talking. Even if you fell asleep listening to her. She was oblivious to the entire outside world. She was locked in her own head. She would phone me and I could set the receiver down and go have a cup of tea, read a book, do housework and come back and she’d still be yammering.

The world has become my aunt. Yakkety yak yak yak.

I want to talk about nothing.

It would be so good to just discuss a fine summer day, like the beauty of flowers, bees buzzing, clouds floating by without digressing into why’s and wherefores and why nots.

At the bus stop a young man noticed I was taking pictures of clouds and had to point out that those clouds were caused by pollution. When I said they were still beautiful, he got quite annoyed and started lecturing me.

Oh, please. Just talk about nothing.

When I see some creature or plant or scenery that I can’t name the genus, species or rock formation, please don’t tell me. There is beauty in the unknown. If I find out this bug is nasty, that plant is invasive or that scenery was caused by man made blasting, it ruins the whole thing. Sometimes, I just prefer mystery. It is not necessary to know everything. It is not important.

I remember reading about a man who saw the most magnificent birds soaring over the coastline and sea. Their outstretched wings angelic white in the sunlight. And when he found out they were seagulls and people were generally unimpressed with them, it ruined the entire experience for that fellow. I happen to like watching seagulls. They are so free.

So let’s talk about nothing and just appreciate what there is. At least, for a while.

I Think I’m Gonna Be Sad…*

When I was very young, my Mother took me to see Charlotte Whitton, much to the outspoken chagrin of my chauvinistic father. Charlotte was a feisty Canadian politician who left quite the impression on me, I must say. My Mother also made sure I knew about Judy LaMarsh, who my father passionately hated.

My Mother was determined that I grow up knowing I had power. There weren’t a lot of role models then.

I came of age during the emancipation of women, burning bras and fighting for our rights. Gloria Steinem was a prominent figure in those days. I witnessed sexual freedom, equal employment rights, abortion rights. Those were hard earned.

And today, in a flash. Gone.

Make no mistake. If abortion is banned in the United States, all women’s rights will fall like dominoes, worldwide. Already there are plans to make contraceptives and same sex marriage ILLEGAL. It is the intention of many men, and women, to create the Handmaiden’s tale in this century. Many revere what is happening to women in the Taliban right now. That can happen here, and fast.

Gloria Steinem was quoted (mistakenly) as saying: If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

Our society is going backwards in time in leaps and bounds, back to some very dark ages. The past is being viewed through some overly rose coloured glasses. There is not much about the 1950’s that is attractive to me, nor should it be for anyone, man or woman.

The only person who has the right to a woman’s life and body, is the woman. She has to make some pretty damn difficult reproductive decisions that men so easily avoid, consequences they can just walk away from. A woman does not make such decisions lightly. And if you think abortion is a quick fix, you know jack. If you think raising a child with zero help and resources, you know double jack.

Outlawing abortion won’t stop it. It’ll only cause many women to suffer and some to die. Outlawing sex sure as hell won’t stop it! Abstinence? Come on, get real. Banning contraceptives is beyond my comprehension. And why does that only apply to women? Why is this not a joint responsibility, since, hello, it takes two to tango.

As with so many things in this world, women have to make things right, and we have to fight like hell.

As we take giant steps backwards, I think I’m gonna be sad, I think it’s today, yeah…*

* A Beatles song that is in no way related to the topic I discussed, but reflects how I feel.

The Saint

Influenced by the TV program The Saint – do-do-do-do-dah-do, I wrote a short story in grade school that the teacher, much to my horror, chose to read aloud to our class.

As she read, I shrivelled till near under my desk, mortified. The class fell into a death like silence until you could hear a pin drop.

It was a story about someone knocking on my bedroom window at night, which turned out to be a branch blowing in the wind. I know, I know, but hey, I was in grade school when I wrote this – a pre teen.

She was nearing the end of the story when the school bell rang and everyone, including the teacher (except me) jumped out of their skin! The teacher put her hand to her chest and gasped Oh my!

Fellow classmates zoomed out of that room, and the teacher apologized to me that she hadn’t finished the story.

That day is forever etched in memory.