Monthly Archives: October 2017

Say again, please.

The land of hearing impairment looms lonely and long.

I started losing my hearing in my mid-teens. My mother sent me to visit her parents in the hopes that Grandpa would determine whether I just did not pay attention or couldn’t hear.  He deployed equipment from his work as a hearing aid salesman.  I stood in the doorway of the kitchen and listened to their conversation, learning at fifteen for the first time  that my hearing had begun to fail.

Since then, I’ve lost most of  my voice range hearing in my left ear and about a third of that range in the right.  I have lots of high range hearing left and a small amount of low range.  I’ve learned to read lips (badly, self-taught).  I get regular hearing tests at which I’m counseled to get hearing aids, but fancy kinds, five grand a piece, because of various nuances of my loss and the spasticity in my hands which dictate a certain functionality without which I couldn’t deploy the equipment or keep it charged.

I don’t have ten grand to blow on hearing so I keep slugging, straining to discern the spoken word, turning the radio louder and louder.  I’m waiting for Medicaid, assuming the Republicans leave it for me, which, frankly, I’m beginning to doubt.  I could buy the cheaper kinds, but a drawer full of impossible-to-use implements of other types suggest that equipment which I can’t manipulate will not help me.  I muddle through.

Meanwhile, the sound of my own voice has faded.  I have difficulty judging my tone, register, and enunciation.  Worse, if I’m not looking right at someone, I don’t know they have spoken. I interrupt.  I miss important disclosures.  In the courtroom, I have to situate my body so as to see, without which I would never have a chance of hearing.  Over and over, I utter these words:  Say again, please.  I choose this configuration for two reasons:  One, I really want to hear exactly what the person said.  Two, I dated a military man years ago who taught me never, ever, ever to utter the word repeat.

Most people interpret my request as being one for explanation.  I don’t want that.  If I have seen your mouth and caught any syllables, I have a fair idea what you’ve said.  Your three-sentence explanation does not look remotely like the original statement or question.  Then the tension rises and I wonder if you think I’m an idiot.  I don’t need you to molly-coddle me by offering long paraphrases.  I’ll understand. I just did not hear.  

Say again, please.

I’m not deaf.  I can still hear fairly well in quiet, with no ambient noise to override the human voice.  I can hear women better than men. If I have a volume control, I turn it to a level that will hurt someone else if they get into the car or walk into my house where the radio plays.  I can identify some words and phrases by sight.  My brain supplies a bit of assistance, often incorrect, but usually sufficiently close to allow me to respond.

I feel for those who have lost all of their hearing, for those who never had it.  As this precious gift slips through my fingers, my craving for music rises.  I stood in a bar last weekend with my right ear angled towards the stage.  I pressed one finger against the left ear to eliminate the false readings which my brain sends as tinnitus.  I closed my eyes to increase my focus.

There, just there.  I can hear it now:  the strains of a viola da gamba, haunting, lifting me above the darkened room.  So wondrous.. 

My companion speaks, perhaps wondering if I’ve heard what he hears.  I don’t know.  I will never know.  But this time:  Maybe.  Maybe.  I smile and nod.  We turn our eyes back toward the performers and let the music carry us away.

It’s the thirtieth day of the forty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.


Gerald Trimble (left) and G. Victor Penniman. Both men play the viola da gamba. Seen here at The Clubhouse in the Crossroads last Saturday. Pardon the terrible cell phone picture.



Pretty enough

Yesterday someone told me that he thinks I am pretty.

The compliment pleased me more than it might have most women.  I have always wanted to be pretty, a goal which I shared with Rhoda’s sister Brenda, from the 70’s sitcom “Rhoda”.  In one poignant episode, Brenda sits admiring her slimmer sister and wistfully confesses her desire.

Lest you think that the friends and lovers in my life have not complimented my appearance, I hasten to disabuse you of that foul notion.  But the kinds of compliments given to me never quite satisfied me.  “You look good,” impresses me as entirely too subjective.  “I like you in that color,” acknowledges an effort on my part to accommodate another with my choice of clothing.  I appreciate such offerings, of course; but nothing so thoroughly thrills me as the notion that someone genuinely believes that I fit the word, “pretty”.

I hear my women friends howling.  Pat Reynolds in particular will protest:  “You’re beautiful and besides, who cares what they think!”  Of course, Pat founded and heads the Corinne Corley Fan Club, so  she would say something like that.

In 1977, I lived in Brighton, Massachusetts and had two roommates, Marian Zagardo and Melanie Bonfiglioli.  Both acted; both also had day jobs. Each had a kind of earthy beauty. They dragged me to all their plays, social engagements, and bar-hopping.  I sat in awe of them.

Melanie stored mounds of cosmetics in her vanity which she applied with breathtakingly perfect skill.  Buxom, blonde, and blatantly sexy, Melanie literally dodged all the males at any party.  Her tart Quincy accent and confident air attracted everyone from the little boy down the hall to the gay waiters at Cafe Vendomme.

Marian would proclaim to everyone who listened that “from the neck up,” she could fake it.  Her green eyes flashed beneath a black-haired pixie cut.  Rounded, tall, and big-shouldered, Marian did not need the rank-and-file attention of random panting terriers.  She had Johnny:  Six-foot-forever, dark-Irish, piercing blue eyes.

I openly envied Melanie and Marian.  I annoyed the hell out of them until they finally booted me out, insisting that they had advertised for a roommate, not a sister.  I understood their point of view and went crawling back to St. Louis, even more discouraged than when I had left.

In the forty intervening years, I have grown comfortable with my inconsequential frame.  I’ve reconciled myself to crooked teeth; grey hair which my rocking stylist maintains at a lovely platinum intermixed with something close to my natural brown; and a right eye which flutters in a manner so distracting that I have had it brought to my attention by more than one client.  I unabashedly proclaim myself to be a card-carrying member of the Itty Bitty Titty Society.  I rarely paint my face.  I surrendered to spectacles when the demand for prisms to correct my astigmatism overtook the beneficial countenance afforded by contact lenses.

I pride myself in other talents as well.  I’ve already bragged loud and long that a judge took judicial notice that I am relentless.  Recently, a different judge told the parties and their attorneys that I’d done a yeoman’s job as guardian ad litem.   I positively swooned (inwardly, at least; I strove to look suitably self-deprecating).  I’m grateful to be considered kind or thoughtful.  I even appreciated the recent pronouncement by a friend that my personal worth outweighed my physical shortcomings.  I paused only briefly to wonder if she intended this as praise before thanking her with as much composure as I could muster.

But until last night, I have never been called “pretty”.

So here’s to all the girls who dance the night away, or sit on the back stoop, or boldly strut down  the street.  Every one of them has been raised with some version of the Cinderella story on her mother’s lips.  I hope my son’s generation dismisses such teachings as sheer unmitigated bull-hockey.  I wish I had.  But even though I understand that I make my own glory and forge my own path, it is more than a little pleasant to know that somewhere, someone, has finally given me the label that I craved so long it took on a life of its own.

It’s the twenty-ninth day of the forty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.



Something Blue

We start each new phase of our lives on the heels of a jingle.  “Something old, something new. . . something borrowed, something blue” follows the bride down the aisle and out the church door.  As I stand in the wide empty rooms of my house, the house which will soon not be mine, I wonder what old adage my friends will chant in my wake.

Empty shelves which once held my mother’s soup cups stare down from the walls.  I smile when I see that the cupboards are far from bare despite my best efforts, but soon they will shed their burdens into boxes bound for donation, with one small bundle added to the dozen which have already been segregated for the westward journey.  I sit on a wooden stool which someone blended with my belongings and abandoned, in front of an old white table that hasn’t made anybody’s cut.  A funny assortment of possessions has fallen away to reveal calcified bones scarcely strong enough to withstand a modest breeze.  Yet somehow the whole of it, this which is left and the stacks that have been hauled away, made a life good enough to produce a box full of photos and a heart full of sentiment.

As I prepare for my next adventure, I realize that come what might, I’ve opened a door and dragged a few precious items through it.  I’ll have my son’s childhood in a camp box repurposed as a storage bin; I’ll have my mother in wooden spindles on which I’ll hang my tea towels.  My favorite curmudgeon and his beautiful Joanna will stand next to my butcher block counter, represented by the incongruously situated antique secretary, the one even I think I’m crazy to tote in my tiny house.

The answer to, how much can you fit in 313 square feet? is ‘just the right amount’.  I don’t even miss the two SUVs-full of crockery and books that Ms. Miranda packed and drove out of my life.  I spend most evenings in the same little circle: Kitchen, rocking chair, upstairs in my cabin-in-the-sky.  Of all of this, I’ll miss my front porch the most, and if I’m clever, I’ll have another by spring, on a lot that I don’t have to pay anyone to mow, near a river with its weeping willow, a river which flows to the mother sea.

I’ve wondered where this journey to joy would take me.  I think I have my answer.  The process of getting ready has allowed me to strip the burden from my shoulders and spread my arms wide, unburdened, light, like the back of my neck the first time I snuck out of the house and cut my long heavy braids.  My father wailed, “A woman’s hair is her crowning beauty!”  I pretended to be remorseful.  But I  felt glorious, and that exhilaration again courses through me.  The weight of everything with which I’ve blocked my awakening has been lifted.  I stretch.  I rise.  My heart rejoices.

It’s the twenty-seventh day of the forty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Of the eight rocking chairs which once cluttered my home, I’m taking only two: One for the porch which I will have on my tiny house, and this one, which my friend Cherie Meyers gave me. I covered its new pillow with a baby blanket that I knitted for my son’s stroller.



I’ve done a lot of falling in my life.

I’ve fallen in love.

I’ve fallen for lines.

I’ve fallen behind in my bills.

I’ve fallen short.

I’ve fallen by the wayside.

I’ve fallen for a trick or two, more than once.

But the more significant falls have been at critical moments:  When walking down the steps of the stage at my law school graduation; in a dark dormitory hallway; once in a courtroom in front of a jury.

I tried to explain my falls to one of the fancy Stanford doctors.  His eyes lit and he pulled his resident closer and asked me to begin again.  I drew a breath and started over, talking about weak musculature, uncontrollable spasticity, and proprioceptor sensation.  I strained to explain the sharp little warnings I get of an impending collapse.  They nodded as though I made sense, and clicked on the electronic medical records tablet.  I glanced over my shoulder for signs of an impending straight jacket.

I’ve collected some hilarious responses to my falls, from my friend Alan’s “don’t you have reverse?” to a long-ago colleague’s assurances to our boss that falling was my second job.  “After what?” came the question.  “Single-parenting,” he said.  My boss looked dubious.

On the law school occasion, my mother later breathed a sign of relief that I had taken the tumble.  “I didn’t think it was really you until you fell,” she explained.  I totally understood.

Every host or hostess has been instructed to drag me out into their street if I fall.  “You’d be surprised at the paperwork when a disabled lawyer trips,” I tell them.  “Don’t call 911 until I’m safely deposited on the roadway.  Disavow knowledge of me entirely.”  They know that I’m serious.  I’ve got health insurance; I don’t need them to suffer the pain of subrogation.

The first time someone sees me fall always frightens them.  They feel responsible, nervous, worried.  They want to hoist me off the floor and shove me into a wheelchair, mostly for their own peace of mind.  I try not to suffer humiliation, though the pitying looks of passing strangers might as well be daggers to the heart.  I assure everyone that I’m fine; that I always fall; that I can get off the ground unassisted.  It’s mostly true, though left to my own devices, it could take thirty minutes or more.  I keep my cell phone handy.

I’ve broken hands, elbows, and feet falling through space, on gravel, and in front of moving vehicles.  I’ve got a hip that spontaneously dislocates and I can tell you if it’s going to rain in Saigon at least a week in advance.  Nobody falls with grace, but I make an art of the clumsy spill despite tumbling lessons as a child and decades of physical therapy.

It can’t be easy living with someone who falls a lot, which might in part explain my 300 divorces.  But I have reached the point in my life at which I only cry a little.  It’s more likely that I will laugh, whether from embarrassment, giddiness, or sheer hysteria.  Laughter — the best medicine, right?  Of course it is.  On the way to the ground, I’m already thinking how funny: to be so awkward, to bounce so poorly.

But I’m not complaining.  It could be worse, a lot worse.  So I’ll pick myself up, brush myself off, and start all over again.  Once more, with feeling.

It’s the twenty-fifth day of the forty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Sounds of Silence

A series of rapid pops penetrated the air as I dressed for bed last evening.  I stood in the dark waiting for the inevitable siren.  None came.  I glanced at my phone, wondering if I should call 911.  Then I shrugged and let it pass, one of a hundred noises of night-time in the city.

Lying on the bed a few minutes later, I cradled the phone against my ear.  The warm cadences of a friend’s voice flowed through me, a vibrant melody of unexpected nourishment.  Still later, as I sank into sleep, thunder rolled through the dark on the heels of each bright flash.   The patter of rain on my roof entwined with the perpetual symphony of my damaged brain.  I dreamed of music, the clattering of pebbles on a window, the rise and fall of waves against the shore.

Now only the everlasting chorus in my head and the occasional rumble of a car on the wet  pavement interrupts the silence of my morning.  My stumbling steps echo in the empty rooms.  I hover in the space once occupied by a dining table; I listen.  I hear nothing.  Then I continue into the kitchen where a solitary mug awaits.

It’s the twenty-second day of the forty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.





Out in the night air

I’ll miss a lot of things about Kansas City.

The rumble of the trash trucks in early morning as I sit on the porch has always spoken to me.  When it’s just me and the sanitation engineers in the crisp fall air, it’s hard to believe that anywhere could be as perfect.  I walk the boards of my deck in  worn pajamas, holding the crystal mug which Sheldon and Paula’s daughter left one time, when she was house-sitting.  I pick a few dead blooms off the begonia, and turn at the sharp sound of a recycle box hitting asphalt.  I doubt that trashmen in California will be so cavalier, so tenderly careless.

I’ll miss the crowds on 18th street, once a month, gathering outside of Ruthie’s gallery.  I always try to get there early, before the teens, when it’s still old married couples following their eager grandchildren.  I slip into David Jones’ place first, the big rooms with their wide high ceilings holding art so keen that my heart aches just standing in the open space.  I can’t walk to Gallery 504 from there so I drive around, squeezing the Prius into the smallest imaginable spots to leave room for someone else.

Ruthie has a hug and a drink every time I enter.  She hasn’t figured out that I don’t much like alcohol.  I take the glass anyway.  I sip a little and set it on the tiki bar, ostensibly to pass Ruthie’s love to the next person who happens by.  It’s usually David Arnold Hughes, an old poet with something faraway and painful lurking in his eyes.  David does drink, cold bottled beer.  He waves me into a chair.  We listen to the band and think about all the things that might have been, if other things had not happened along the way.

I’ll miss the children, too; the sad and wistful ones who can’t decide who I am but usually tell me their secrets anyway.  We sit in restaurants, offices, parks, and their foster-parents’ kitchens.  I tell them love is sometimes like a balloon filled with too much air.  I tell them, your mother and your father want me to help them figure out what to do.  I don’t think they believe me but they’ve grown accustomed to doing what they’re told.  Too accustomed, in the case of many of them.  I get down to their level and let them draw in my tablet.  I ask them to draw who lives in their houses.  The forlorn faces of the stick pictures tell me more than the words which I mark on my legal pad.

I suppose in time, I’ll find somewhere to hear live music, on Saturday, on third Friday, on a gentle Sunday morning.  The organizers will figure out that I have a deft hand with social media and they’ll recruit me to serve on their committee.  Soon, I’ll be a regular, and I’ll live-stream the songs with a glass of water on the table and a thousand followers from all over the Delta watching.  Or just a handful, maybe, but intensely devoted.

On the weekends, I’ll drive the hour to the ocean with a shawl, a book, and a picnic cooler.  I’ll wrap myself and sit on whatever comes to hand, a bench or a rock, or the edge of an old stone wall.  I’ll think about Kansas City.  I’ll remember the happy years, the joyful sounds of voices which I heard in love, in passion, and in mild despair.  Once in a while someone will fly to visit, and we’ll walk on the sand beneath the rocky cliffs or in the delta along the timeless banks of the San Joaquin.  They will ask if I am happy.  I’ll look out, over the water, and listen to my heart before I whisper, yes; but I still miss Kansas City.  And I always will.

It’s evening; third Friday on 39th Street.  A singer strums a guitar nearby, reaching for songs which he knows that I will like.  I smile, and I clap, and once in a while I gaze over the heads of the little trick-or-treaters walking down the path.  The dark gathers.  A siren wails.  Here, on a broken bench, on a rough patio, I’m nearly as content as I can be this far away from my Pacific.

Life continues.



One Fine Day

The day began on the porch as so many days have begun over the last two decades.  Sweet sunlight filtered through the air, falling on the plants arranged near the new railing.  I leaned back into the comfort of the rocking chair.  The chair is not the original one which I placed on the porch in 1993 but one in a series found at thrift stores to replace the Amish one stolen in the night after I refused to sell it to a yard sale shopper.

I closed my eyes and wrapped my hands around the warmth of the crystal mug of coffee.  Peace flooded through my veins, bringing its own warmth, its own soothing drug.  For a few minutes, I focused on the good of that, ignoring the weakness in my calves and the crunching, searing pain in the small of my back.  Lament could wait.

Several hours later, I emerged from a courtroom wanting a bath and hot tea.  After cross-examining two social workers and a police officer about the filth in which they had found my five-year-old client and her brothers, and the little girl’s positive STD test, the gross unfairness of life’s lessons to those children overwhelmed me.  But duty drew me back to the office and I slogged through five more hours of machinations attendant to the practice of law.

At five o’clock I pushed a little cart around the grocery store, assembling the accoutrements of solitary life.  A carton of eggs (cage-free, in honor of my son’s insistence on social responsibility); a liter of LeCroix; gluten-fee pasta snagged from the top shelf by a woman shopper tall enough to reach.  I threw in a few tins of wet dog food, knowing that I would not have the energy to drive the few miles for a slightly lower price at Big Lot’s.  I paid for the small assortment, exchanging cheerful assurances of good health with the cashier and commiserating about the length of her work day.

Outside again, I rolled the cart towards my car, eyeing the distance and judging the potential for folly on the way.  I cast a wary eye at a young man moving towards my Prius, then startled when he asked if he could help me.  He didn’t work at the store.  His clothes told another story:  Expensive, coordinated, office wear suggesting IT or middle-management.  I let him load the bags and beamed as he wheeled the cart to its designated return carrel.

Have a good day, Ma’am, he called out, walking towards his sturdy SUV.  Thank you!  I answered.  He waved as he pulled out of his space.  I’m not sure why he helped; good breeding, I suppose, or maybe I just looked pathetic.  I’ll never know but it doesn’t matter.

I smiled all the way back to my house, and smiled even more broadly at the sight of my realtor waiting on the front walk.  I stopped at the top of the driveway, intending to carry the bags to the porch before parking.  But Alicia beat me to the back seat and took charge of my purchases, hefting them up the stairs with enviable ease.

Later, back in my rocker with a cup of Earl Grey at hand, I cast my eyes across the lawn and backward, to the flickering solar candles staged on little tables on the deck.  I’ll miss this outdoor space, though eventually I will have one just as comfortable beside my tiny house wherever she  lands.  But here in East Brookside, one fine day in October, the porch therapy soothed what ailed me, and sent me softly into a long restful night.

It’s the twentieth day of the forty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.



Of Emperors and Clothes

The gratifying result of standing in front of a naked emperor and speaking stems from the exhilarating knowledge that you have called it right, and rightfully.

I’m learning that one stark difference between seeking justice and complaining is the speaker’s motivation.  I complain because I feel powerless.  I seek justice because I am powerful, and I want to use that power to correct the collateral impact of another’s careless choice.

I’ve asked the question here so often, and now I answer it.  You may speak out against harm.  Your calling treachery and misdeeds by their name protects the immediate victim as well as the miscreant’s future victims.

Speak of the action, not the actor.  Speak of the result.  Call it loud:  “I do not like it when you hurt people.  Your chosen behavior has caused pain.”  Stand between the actor and the object of the action.  Don’t seek retribution; seek protection. Strive to protect.

Say this:  I see you.  You strut down the road as though dressed in finery when in reality, you wear no clothing, not even the tattered cloth of beggars.

Say this:  Your choices impact people, some of whom cannot hide from the blows.  Your choices impact me, and I choose to protect myself from your exercise of  free will.

Identify the actions of the person who chooses to inflict pain or to act without thought of how their actions will inflict pain.  If they persist in their chosen course of action, leave their presence — literally and figuratively.  Call it what it is:  You choose to act with disregard for the pain you cause others.  I choose to distance myself from you.

They will retaliate.  They will tell you that it’s your fault.  They’ll say you are difficult, ridiculous, delusional.  Let them speak.  If you honor your truth and live your values, their words mean nothing to you.  Call them by their name:  NAKED; and walk away.  That’s not complaining.  Truly.

It’s the nineteenth day of the forty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.


Me Too

Thousands of women put two words as their social media status:


I join them.  I walk to the line and reach my hands to either side.  I acknowledge:  I have been sexually assaulted.  I endured sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and rape.  I call these acts what they are:  Crime.

The who and what of the acts which I suffered no longer claim me.  The humiliation, degradation, years of shame and terror, worked themselves into my DNA and took my neuro-pathways in directions that nature did not intend.  I own that.  I spent years cringing at the gentlest touch.  I crouched in bathrooms shuddering, glaring at my nakedness, afraid to open the door and let someone whom I believed loved me see my bare skin.  To say that what happened to me changed my entire life, every waking moment, understates the impact.

I suppose that I might have healed more soundly, more surely, more quickly, with professional help.  Certainly, people suggested that I needed it, but usually on the way out the door after letting go.  That’s not a basis for belief.  Telling someone you love them and want to be with them, admiring them, praising them; and then spitting out that they need help as you abandon them, lacks believability.  But I knew that many survivors of sexual abuse and family violence have gotten help from therapists, counselors, and peer groups.

Why didn’t I?  The answer lies in the very shame which my experiences stamped on my soul.  I felt unworthy.  I did not value myself.  Clearly, I lacked worth or what happened to me would not have occurred.  That seemed logical to me.  I had validation for my theory — everybody left me, didn’t they?  Obviously, I was not worth the time and effort that it might take to stay and help me deal with my damaged heart.

But I worked through it.  Decades slipped through my fingers, loose sand falling and blowing to the ends of the earth.  Days that I can never reclaim.  Now, whole though pasted together, I can stand and say:


Recently, I explained in three paragraphs why I rejected someone’s position that they had done right by me. I stayed as true to nonviolent communication as I could.  I avoided personal attack, keeping to an explanation of the events at hand.  I edited the paragraphs for clarity and to avoid grandiose vocabulary.  I wanted the make a strong but clear statement.  I didn’t come as close to non-violent communication as I wanted, but fairly close.  I sent it, strong in my beliefs and wanting to give the person a chance to understand.

The person responded by saying that my email was “dribble” on which the person would not “waist time”.  (Sic, sic.)  “I’m sad for you,” the person concluded.  Luckily, I recognize both bad vocabulary and gas-lighting when I see it.  That’s one of the benefits of living as long as I have with the memories that I have as well as access to the workshops which help me guide my clients safely through recovery to survival.  It’s what abusers do.  They hurt you, then tell you that you are crazy.  They take your money, your pride, your safety, and your love.  They spit on you, and then tell you that your protests are “dribble”.

The person in question did not assault me; the person just mishandled a business transaction that the person had pledged to handle for me.  It cost time, additional money, and aggravation.  Another day, I would have considered that I deserved nothing better.  Another day, I would have assumed that I must have done something “wrong” to prompt the mistreatment.  Another day, I would have looked at what I knew to be the facts and questioned my perception.  But with good people by my side to call reality to my attention, and strength borne of healing, I stand in quiet confidence.

It was not always this way.   Because I have survived sexual assault, family violence, and rape, I struggled for years to accept that sometimes I am right.  You  know — you, who read this.  You know what I mean because you lived it.


On the other side of healing, I can accept that I am worth someone’s time and trouble; someone’s fidelity; someone’s empathy and compassion.  So I ask each woman who experienced sexual assault, harassment, abuse, or rape, to look in the mirror and tell yourself that EVERYONE HAS VALUE, EVERYONE DESERVES TO BE TREATED KINDLY, EVERYONE IS LOVABLE AND WORTHWHILE — and yes:


It’s the seventeenth day of the forty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.


Stand Up, Speak, Let Go, Walk Out, Calm Down

The worst thing about not complaining is the dichotomy between living complaint-free and living my values.  I want to protest injustice. I want to demand fair treatment, both globally and personally.  I want to point out when I’ve been cheated and ask the cheater to make amends.

How to do that without complaining?

When I remain silent in the scorching after-burn of injustice, a foul stench lingers in my mouth.  When I breathe, it flows to those around me.  Worse:  I can’t discern the next cheater from an unfortunate accidental transgressor.  I question everyone and everything. That’s the poison left behind by the thief, most especially the cheerful thief who hides his treachery behind a beaming smile and a flurry of supposed friendship.

My answer, after much reflection:

I’m standing in my space and breathing.

I’m speaking truth but only truth.

I’m letting go so the treacherous actions of others will no longer fester inside me.

I’m walking out of the circle of negativity.

I’m calming down and inviting peace into my soul.

It’s the sixteenth day of the forty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.