May 26, 2020

Reconnecting with old friends.

I am going to have to add to my Margaret Hess online presence. Search Maggie Hess. Much more me.

I don't identify as Margaret.


Enjoy the following quote

During the Great Plague of London in 1665-1666, Isaac Newton was sent home from college. In his isolation, the student/scientist engaged in the groundbreaking discoveries that marked his "year of wonders."

May 22, 2020

Mom and I each seemed to turn some sort of a corner for the better yesterday regarding how we are coping with the pandemic and creatively finding ways to enjoy the shelter in place rather than stressing over it. This whole time, there has been a big element to my life that has been all about enjoying the time I get to spend home and removed from society. I have been charting my mood and how much I walk in a day in a little bullet journal I am keeping first thing each morning, and notice it is allowing me to set intention and good course for my day each morning. I rate my mood on a scale of one to 10, that generally is a 7 if I am up and spending time on the front porch and walking enough, or a 6 if I need to take the day off and binge watch a tv show all day. So far since May 3 when I started the notebook, it hasn't sunk beneath a 6, but in the months leading up to May, and previously in my life, it an be common for me to experience a long stretch where my highest number is a 6. That is how I led up to this period, earlier in the quarantine. Numbers beneath a 6 basically spend more and more time in bed and my thoughts start to get darker and darker. At 5 I stop exercising enough. At 4 I might think I am getting a little depressed. At 3 I have lost sight of the hope that I might feel a 6 or 7 again. At 2 I have dark thoughts. It barely ever gets to 1. I am not sure what word 1 has, and hope I don't have to know for a long time.

Yesterday I wrote something actually at first for my nephew who is a grown adult, just in confidence. But I am thinking I will share it here as part of this story. Writing the following passage led me to writing the love song that I posted on youtube, in the previous entry.

"I got to a point of probably being as near as I will ever be to giving up on the idea of me ever having a loving romantic relationship in the future with someone. I think I let go of belief it could happen when this one guy who kind of courted me in a way but nothing came of it, E, stopped coming around. Looking back, that was when Brazen was a puppy! I am counting up a possible 7 years since he's been here. I did think I would marry this E. I really think he was considering it too. It is too bad and I can't really say what happened to put my finger on it, other than we just were friends and something shifted with him to pull him forever away from me..."

"Somehow lately the thought of life partner type relationship has been coming back around. It feels a bit changed. I am starting to wonder if I might try to have a life partner somewhere somehow. It embarrasses me a lot to say that. I don't know why, but I am kind of autistic that way. That is actually a big hurdle for me, admitting I want a partner. But a bigger one that is the main point today I think is that I haven't ever trusted myself enough to love somebody else. That is a huge thing. I am not certain how to develop that kind of trust. I think it requires a new determination, that I am considering developing..."

"I have a lot of time to figure it out. I don't want to have kids any longer, so that is different in the equation...."

"I wanted to add one thought. The idea is not that I am now pursuing dating or making some effort to find someone, I am just transforming the way I think about myself and my ability to be part of a love relationship."

Then I wrote the love song that has the following lyrics:

"It's a small voice asking

From the heart for love.

And it rises up from the lungs

When you've nothing left to prove.

It's wee tiny like a dove.

But a fool would ignore it there.

It's as vital as the air

The need for love.

And you deserve it if you care

To try for love.

So try for love.

Try for love.

But first you've gotta sigh for love.

Sing for love.

Sing for love.

Serenade the world beneath your wings

For love."

And I was singing it in my home where I live with Mom from the heart, and Mom was overhearing this heart felt love song of sorts, a very pure song about love. And I think it was this song that led to Mom's heart opening up in a way yesterday, because the night before, she had this dream about a leaf that was also folded oragami that she stroked like a cat, and that turned to her and said "I love you." lol What a funny dream!

(Which I hope she doesn't mind me sharing.) But it is illuminating the world somehow I think.

Anyway, I deeply feel that this pandemic is not all bad for me so far, and as much dark news as she quotes to me, I think my mother would agree.

It is true for many reasons even that I, a former eating out junkie, have fizzled down my eating out to nothing, and only have ordered delivery once a week, which I think I am starting to phase out entirely too. That is a big change, to go from eating out my whole disability check, to not eating out at all.

Also, for as much love as I have for the YMCA or the Bristol, Tennessee society I once surrounded myself with, I hold an equal degree of gladness that I am not spending time at the YMCA or even the local coffee shop I love so much, Bloom, or other things. Focusing outward so much of my energy was taking more of myself than I recognized at the time.

Now I can sit on the front porch still, and be a participating member of my street life. And street life is all I really feel I need right now, other than close friendships with people who stay in touch. Well, I am regularly attending a writing group that I love on a Zoom like platform called Jitsi. My writing group meets for over an hour on Thursdays, and is just 3 people, and mostly we just write poems and journal entries. I am more grateful for that group and how it is spurring me on in my poetry, than anything that I had locally, prior to this pandemic. I even had signed up for a Gotham course, which was no where near as interesting for me or as interactive as my 3 person Jitsi poetry group.

Yes I am lucky. And I am counting my blessings.

May 21, 2020

Not the best at making links here, but if you copy paste this web address you can hear my new hit song:

Now time for me to start planning the rest of the Jitsi based talent show!!

May 6, 2020

So empowered by this recent decision to walk 5 microwalks per day. I am defining microwalk as a 10 to 15 minute dog walk. I did 4 today so far and plan and intend to walk one more after a little more rest. Very hopeful.

May day, 2020

Emotionally, it is really hard for me in the long haul of this pandemic. I guess I have put on a cheerful face most of the time, but many of my troubles have built up. Today I wrote 4 pages recognizing things that are hard for me. I have been reading Tara Brach's Radical Compassion and she recommends Recognizing as part of RAIN, Recognize, Accept, Investigate, Nurture. I called one of my sisters and cried on her shoulder a bit. Then I tried to put on a happy face again for my mother. We went to walk Brazen at the New Site in the country and walked to the waterfall. It really is beautiful this time of year.

My audio version of Moody Tourist in Costa Rica should be coming out early next week.

April 29, 2020

I heard a pileated woodpecker above my front porch chair, laughing like woody woodpecker, so I got up to get a better look.  He kept laughing over the black locust's first blooms that already are falling after less than a day of being.  I saw him a little better, but tired and sat back down.  Then he flew down to the catalpa stump where he perched upside down until we made eye contact and he flew off.   Then Brazen caught and ate her first boring bee.  

April 28, 2020

I am sure Michael Moore is occasionally wrong, but when it comes to the big picture the man has a way of seeing through to the truth better than almost anyone I have seen. Today, in an interview on Rising on the Hill, he mentioned that the pandemic is going to last 2 years. I know because of basic math and science that it will likely be 2 years, and he sites a friend at the NIH who says it is a 2 year pandemic.

As it happens that is bullet one in a three part wham wham wham news series that I will now be giving part 2. Footage of UFO's have been released by the Pentagon, recently, although many of us had seen the footage, it is now confirmed as un-doctored footage. My question is why now? Why is this coming out as true now after being covered up for many years?

The last thing I wanted to say is that I watched Planets of the Humans that is produced by Michael Moore and that came out recently on youtube. It rings to me as true. I remember when I was first learning about climate change, I wondered why people couldn't drastically simplify our lives to reduce carbon emissions. Then came capitalist centered solutions that made people feel better about themselves like solar panels and wind farms and and that allow for us to carry on as usual with our bad consumptive habits. Anyway, it's a long way to say I agree with this documentary's conclusions. If the skies are clearing in India and China due to stay at home orders, it seems we could very easily stop climate change, by quitting the system of mass consumption and just saying enough is enough and we have enough and that's that.

April 18, 2020

How I Have Changed

I used to be guilty.

I carried the weight of war,

which I protested before each one started.

I gave my shoes to a peace demonstration,

and got blisters walking over hot DC pavement.

I gave all my clothes away

except for 5 changes,

I worried about homelessness

and always shared meals

with the people so abandoned.

I joined a crew of climate activists in 2007,

and spent time going car-less for the environment.

My therapist said my guilt was not good for me.

She was right.

I beat myself up over nothing,

and believed my decisions were critical

for the survival of the species.

Maybe you would have liked me then.

But it hurt to care so much.

I was off balance and bipolar and never comfortable.

Somehow my therapists words changed my course.

I learned to meditate and give myself a break.

I gave myself permission and found peace.

But I think I forgot the dolphins, somewhere.

April 15, 2020

I enrolled in a poetry writing class online via zoom at Gotham. (I am coming in tonight to the second class as my first class, having missed the first.) I paid for this because I really started feeling I needed the stimulation, and I have a plan to write poems about these times.

Shelter in Place, Day 34

Give me a reason to shower more often, 

Shower me with reasons,

Let the world call to check on me,

I'll be here.

If not walking my dog

Past some waning half puddle, 

Or stealing dirt from the alley stump.

Give my heart a song to beat with. 


April Fool’s Day 2020

Now those of you who follow me, might only really harbor memory of me in the narrative of my journey in the years after I had resolved upon myself to graduate college. There would be more quitting but my attitude towards college started being resolutely set upon completion in the same year of our Lord that I began as an English student at Berea, 2009. Before that, between 2000 and 2009, if you sift through my life like you might find gold, you will see that I was rising from mentally ill ashes in the direction of this resolution, like a phoenix, steadily, but jolting along my path at the same time.

The reason for me emphasizing the 2009 transition is this. I sat at this same desktop computer and turned a hope into a resolute conviction one evening actually in December 2008 when I applied to attend The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center as an intern the following semester. I said to myself, there have been a lot of fits and quits and starts and stops in my college career, and if I am going to ever graduate college after already trying off and on for 8 years, I hereby decree I must complete this semester at The Mountain as an intern in order to find it in myself the path necessary to sustain how ever much more school my unique life requires of me to graduate college.

So in 2012 when I graduated college, it really really really was a mighty big deal. And the time that I spent at The Mountain was so vitally imperative to my life story that it should not be glossed over either. So I am laying in a bookmark right here in paragraph 3 of this story here, and saying I definitely am going to return to tell the full story of The Mountain and what it meant to me. Yes! I must absolutely.

But it also happens that this very night in which I write these words is a similar December 2008 era quality time of catharsis. So before I write all my memoirs there is this one last statement I truly must make for my humanity, and that too is a decree determining where I am going, and a decree as natural and necessary in my current course of life as bones or muscle tissue in the human form in order to make motion.

That is because it is now hereby time for me to spread my bow, thread my arrow, and launch my ultimate star of destiny upon the hope of all dreams that must become a reality more than any other. But you might be glad that it a simple one, if you are rooting for me, as I hope sometimes my blog readers aren’t just advertisers and haters seeking ammunition. (That’s an aside.)

This is not an April Fool’s Joke. It is the simple prayer of a 37 year old quarantined individual to set a plan and find a way through to successfully create for my self a joyful independent life. As I mulled over words before getting out of bed to write this, I thought I might say “create a way to independent living” because that is more specifically what my goal is around, living independently and sustainably by myself, ie not in the house of my dear harried 77 year old mother.

It always was a part of my graduation agenda, and maybe a cart I should have initially put before the horse of graduation. I did create a way to independent living when I was in Berea pursing the last legs of college, and it was joyful, but I didn’t have the sustainable part then, because I moved back home with Mom because I had exhausted myself to death, and also confused my identity about love and hope somewhat.

Anyway, when I start now to think about independent living, these thoughts find me in the hallmark place of a quarantine during a pandemic. Not really a place where many people I have witnessed even know how to talk about tomorrow let alone the future. But this feels like a familiar place to me somehow. I am pretty sure the world is going to survive on the other side of this pandemic, and I am pretty sure I will make it out alive as will my mother. We have hunkered down, committed to sheltering in place, me and my mother, in order to keep both of us alive.

So I find myself staring at the face, not of the corona virus, but of a different thing, not a beast, but a friendly giant I have been carrying around with me as a hope, that I successfully create for my self a joyful independent life. It really is the last thing I probably will ever have the courage to ask for myself as a major life goal, because I have had many, and people have witnessed me collecting ideas for my future like sea shells. But this one is the ultimate, simple wish that I must complete in order to be ok.

So it also is this boulder that I find that I am going to have to start pushing from now on, whether or not I always am willing to carry its might. My plan pretty much is simple. But I know in order to make it work joyfully with very limited funds, I must push this boulder slowly and carefully if I don’t want it to tumble back a good bit before I finagle a way to roll this Sisyphus up to the height of my mountain. I use that metaphor because I am familiar with the human goal and the way it can feel like it maybe wasn’t what I needed in the first place after all. When I determined myself to completing college in 2009, I did a lot of self sabotage like quitting school a few too many times still along the way. But I did somehow finish, and I know I can complete this goal.

Successfully creating for my self a joyful independent life for me as I think about it today actually is as simple as applying again, post pandemic, for public housing and promising myself to make it a joyful experience this time. I did try this a couple times, but not with the power of this current conviction to complete it.

OK. So it is still the middle of the night, and I am going to go back to bed. But I promise to finish my story soon, and that does mean saying more about what got me here. Until then, good night!

later March 31

I watched Swiss Army Man for the first time today. Something in this morbid humor, and laughing for an hour straight, when I wasn't gasping from surprise, has changed my outlook, possibly for the rest of my life.

I could tell from the start it was going to be my new favorite film. Having finished it, that still is true, which is really making me wonder about myself.

Maybe dark humor is an area I need to explore in more depth. I really seem to be tapping into something that is deep rooted, in my new readiness to live life after seeing this movie.

Part of it was, the protagonist is a man who hauls around a corpse that shows some chance for vitality, so it is all about life and death, and ends up being about extreme situations that people could go through if they stay alive, of course. There is a huge thread throughout the film, about the divide between life and death, that draws up a genuine sentimentality about life, reminding me of why I am alive, in ways I had not even thought about maybe ever.

At one point in watching the movie, I was thinking if I ever get out of this, (my morbid story/being in quarantine with my mother) I will really start embracing life. And I had a lot of oddly specific random new ideas about how to do that. I might tell you what I dreamed up if you comment. : )

Anyway, watch Swiss Army Man if you like such things.

Beautiful and available on Netflix.

March 31, 2020

I was suprised that the best pineapple upside down cake I've ever tasted was made by myself!

March 30, 2020

Eating grapenuts by twilight.

Feeling a lot less worried about social inactivity. Dani called and I called Joey and video chatted with Joey and scheduled a video chat, so now feel over-extended socially already. Plus, every other person is having to manage these times of distancing orders too, so to some degree everyone is switching to introvert mode, whether they planned to or not.

I have really been loving creating my wind hangings. Here is a video of this art:

In other news I recommend journaling and blogging to others. It can give you a place to pinpoint issues that might be hanging around unnoticed.

March 29, 2020

We have been socially isolating in my house for 3 weeks come Tuesday. Schools shut down a week after we started social isolating, to give you a timeline to put us in, in case you hadn't been keeping track. My social interactions these 3 weeks have been limited. In fact, I have written down every in person contact I have made, so that I can pinpoint the person who gave it to me if I get it, and also warn others I've seen. I guess it is supposed to be responsible.

The reason I am journaling though is that I need a place where I can speak what has been occurring inside of me that is not just my paper diary. Actually, there was a point in week one that was kind of purely peaceful, like going on vacation, able to do more in a day, with no outside demands to take my time and energy. But I am the kind of person that really needs other people. I get withdrawn and thinking about being separate from society indefinitely really confuses me.

I am the kind of person who kind of switches back and forth between introversion and extroversion, and this might really make it so I go so deeply introverted I won't know how to be around others, or will be even more confused socially than I already was.

One of these days I did stop for curbside ice cream kind of impulsively, but I got a terrible earful from my mother when I got home. Honestly my decision to socially isolate has been for my mother, and to make her happy. I don't think our relationship with each other is healthy, though, and I wish I could just go back to normal.

At least I am healthy and safe. At least I can sit on my porch and be 6 feet from people but still see them. I know I am not the worst case of suffering, and I'm sorry for all of the people who have lost loved ones to covid 19 and who are currently sick and also other mentally ill people like me who are trapped inside.