Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Apologies to Readers

Well, that was embarrassing, wasn't it?  For me, certainly.  And perhaps for readers who had considered they were reading a blog written by someone with half a brain and not a total lunatic.  

I think I have it sorted out now: Mrs. Palin is the one with the eyes, right?  And Mrs. Bachmann the one who winks, says "You betcha," and guns down creatures of the wild from flying vehicles.  Do I have them right now?

Seriously, I sincerely apologize for yesterday's bizarre faux pas.  It doesn't escape my attention that I've been prone to these kinds of errors of late.  I'll be honest and say that I have actually wondered if something is misfiring in my brain, and have talked with Steve about that possibility.  He pooh-poohs the idea.  He tells me he himself has had some similar challenges in the same time frame, and thinks stress is the most significant factor for both of us.

I don't want to bore readers with a lot of unwanted information, but since I've been making these strange mistakes with the blog on a routine basis lately, and yesterday was a nadir point, I will tell you that we've been coping with some life problems that produce extremely high levels of stress for both of us, and we can see the effects in incidents like yesterday's.

These are primarily family issues.  I've decided not to write about them in any detail here for a variety of reasons.  First, I do enough complaining, and people rightly tire of hearing tales of woe.  Second, complaining won't change the situation, and telling the story overtly will run the risk of adding pain to more pain--when I would hope to be committed to reducing the levels of pain in the world.

And, finally, if I wrote directly about the story today, I'd probably be trying to exculpate myself for yesterday's glaring mistake by shifting blame to others.  And that's not fair.  I own the mistake and the responsibility for it.

This much I'll say, though, since readers who have trusted my judgment in the past do deserve at least some explanation of why we are highly stressed right now.  In the past year or so, a number of family members to whom we have given much, for many years, and to whom we have shown constant love, have let us know--and repeatedly so--in no uncertain terms that we just don't count.  That we are not respected, not considered, not included or treasured.

A number of these are younger family members, and the fact that they're communicating these things to us as we grow older is--I won't deny it--hard.  It's hard to cope with.  It's hard to cope with precisely because one's boundaries become thinner as one ages and finds oneself a bit more frail, a bit less capable of doing this and that.  The elderly deserve consideration because mere living becomes a bit harder as one becomes older.

The upshot has been that both Steve and I have had more than a few sleepless nights in recent weeks, as a new wave of the ill treatment dished out repeatedly by my younger family members washes over us.  And we both feel very worn down by both the messages of abuse and by the stress these cause us--and the sense that we're relatively helpless as all of this plays out.

It so happens that at the same time these messages come our way, we both have to cope with some similar messages in other, non-familial settings.  The common denominator of these appears to be that we're getting old and rusty and ought not to expect much consideration as we age.  Homophobia does seem to us to play a role in some of this messaging, both inside our families and outside.  Being old makes you second-class.  Being old and gay makes you second-second-class in our society.

We feel as though we're entering our senior years (yesterday was Steve's 61st birthday, and I did blog in haste as I was preparing to cook a birthday meal for him) at the mercy of more than one younger person who has not been taught to value those who are aging--or those who can't compete, or who are not thriving, or who are living on the margins of society.  There seems to be a naked ruthlessness on the part of some of the younger folks we know right now who are themselves doing fairly well and assuming positions of power, and who communicate to us that they are rising to the top because they are entitled and have worked hard--and that we are becoming dispensable and weak as we  age, and don't deserve consideration.

And the upshot is stress for us.  The kind of tossing, turning stressful nights in which you mull over thoughts, replay scenarios, ask yourself how you might have done things differently or how you can make the situation less intolerable.  And in which you tell yourself to break the futile chain of all this scenario-replaying and self-questioning, but find that commands to yourself to stop the thinking don't quite produce the effects you desire.

And one result of this stress is, Steve insists that I should conclude, the kind of error I made in my final posting here yesterday.  For which, as I say, I very much apologize.  (I emphasize that Steve is certain my lapses here have to do with high stress levels exclusively, though I myself am not entirely sure that there's not some misfiring of the brain taking place--and I also note that my blood sugar levels are running slightly higher in recent weeks, though stress can produce such an effect for diabetics.  And though they're well within a "good" range.  I mention the diabetes solely to note that one outcome of the illness, if it's not well-controlled, can be mental disruption and even, in the long run, dementia, and I do keep this in mind as I keep working hard to keep the illness in check.)

Next week, we will be taking a little break from our usual routine.  Steve has a business trip on which I'll tag along.  This is the first getaway (though one that involves work for Steve) that we've had on our schedule since the springtime.

I think I should perhaps use this time away as downtime, and take a respite from blogging--if not for my own sake, for the sake of readers who deserve better from me than the grotesque foolishness of mixing up Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann.  It was because of the rising stress levels and resultant sleepless nights that I took a break from blogging a number of weeks back, but that medicine clearly didn't have all the virtue I would have hoped it might have--and so I welcome the chance for a real getaway in the next several days.

If you will, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.  We stand in need of prayer these days, or of the alternatives that make more sense to my treasured friends who are non-theists, non-believers, etc.

P.S. I owe emails to some readers of this blog who have kindly emailed me, and apologize that I'm very slow to reply.  Just over-burdened lately.  I also highly appreciate one blog reader who has repeatedly sent support for the blog, who knew about the stress, and who called me recently and helped me tremendously through his wise insights into why Steve and I are now being put through the wringer.  I have not deserved the good friends and readers this silly little blog has brought my way.

The video: I saw this clip on a rerun of Ellen's show yesterday, and I identified with Richard Simmons. I felt I knew exactly how he felt as he went sprawling into the curtain--dancing along, enjoying himself, and then splat: the downfall.  The part of the clip to which I'm referring begins about 1:13.

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