My Better Half

“Re-think and restart if needed. Adjust, but resist the urge to quit.”–JSM

 

The first week of Nancy’s healing, was a time of madness. I can’t count how many times she wanted to close up shop, and quit on me.

I wouldn’t allow it.

When she begged me with tears streaming down her cheeks to put a pillow over her face, while she was sleeping, and end the pain… I knew she was in a bad place, to say the least. It was heartbreaking.

All I could do was watch, wait, hold her hand, kiss her forehead, be close by, abide by a strictly designed routine, and catch incremental naps while she slept. Every five minutes reminding her, and myself, “everything will be OK. We got this. Everything will be alright.”

Always planting seeds, and trying to keep her spirit positive.

Try to keep her alive… and not just living.

Of course, I never fully slept. I had one eye and both ears partially open, and the moment she rustled, I was moving across the room.

Life was like that for a time. Two months of watching, waiting, helping her with minor stretches, and brief walks around the house. Helping her heal. Listening to her breathe, while sitting silently in my chair thumbing through a book.

I changed her bandages, administered her medications, and brought her to the appointments when she was cleared to be in a car again. I wiped her tears, applied the healing ointments, bathed her, fed her…

And I’d do it all over again if forced into that situation a second time.

My relationship with Nancy is a metaphysical unification that transcends time and space. It breaks all the rules and laws of nature and smashes the stereotypical boundaries into smithereens. She and I are cosmically connected at our cores, and destined to share a life together. I’d take a thousand bullets for her, if it meant she could keep smiling and sharing her energy with the world. Her smile can light up a football stadium. Our bond is carved in stone, unbreakable, unwavering, and if reincarnation exists, or Heaven takes our souls when we depart from here, she and I will meet again on the next go-around. I am convinced of this with every fiber of my being, and nothing can convince me otherwise.

Nancy and I are manifest destiny, written in the stars.

Aside from all that new-age mushy stuff, she’s just a bad ass, with the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. Selfless beyond all comprehension.

I had to keep reminding myself during her struggle this too will pass, this too will pass. You can do this…

Bring her back. That’s your job. Nothing else matters.

Coming into the third month, was when the cabin fever kicked into high gear. Unfortunately, the third month was just the tip of the iceberg.

She was mobile at this point and able to climb the stairs to the second floor, unattended, if she moved slow, and at this point along the journey… I needed an escape, but was terrified to think about myself in any capacity. My job was kind enough to allow me to work from home during Nancy’s recovery, but I was confined (by my own choice) within what was supposed to be my place of contentment. My home was slowly becoming a claustrophobic cage. Every day the walls squeezed in another inch.

Sixty plus days of isolation.

All I did was work my job, attend to the chores, and help my wife with her therapy and getting back to “normal”. We had friends and family living close by bringing us groceries and necessities. Most times the goods and supplies were deposited outside the porch door and I was texted after they left the driveway.

There was no way I was going to a grocery store or a large public place and exposing myself to potential threats. Bringing home anything from the outside world was opening a door to disaster.

And no one entered the home.

We were on lock-down. And unbeknownst to us at that time, we would have close to three more months of quarantine to endure.

And I was on the cusp of losing my marbles.

Thank you for reading Tales of the Chronicles and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeremymorang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

Disconnect

“Nothing ’bout me is ordinary. My friends all say I’m going crazy. I don’t hear a word that they say.”—Shinedown

 

I go through periods of time where I have to separate myself fully from social media and mainstream everything. Sometimes upwards of a week or longer, before I’ll open it back up and take a look-see again. I’ll get the random urge to briefly inspect what the surface dwellers are up to, and then quickly bail out.

Typically, its more of the same thing which I saw a week earlier. Nothing new under the sun.

During my morning coffee, I’ll scroll for a few minutes and check out what madness is available for my eyes and mind to feast upon, but I’m not in there long. At my job, I’m the Facebook administrator, so my social media presence is mandatory, but I never stay for a lengthy visit. I mostly restrict myself now to message responses, tags, requests, and engaging in personal conversations, check out the patterns and trends, post a silly meme if I feel the need to get someone laughing, support those close to me… but as far as I’m concerned, social media is a cesspool.

So much arguing and fighting. Exclamation points, and words in all caps to prove a point. Barking, screaming, noise, and rampant negativity. Trolls, slander, insult slinging, and trying to convince cat people that dogs are the superior pet. Bellowing at random strangers trapped inside the vast darkness of the online echo chamber.

I have to disconnect.

Unplug from the matrix and divert attention elsewhere.

Unplugging, has been an interesting journey thus far. I used to have the “fear of missing out” and “not being informed” but not anymore. When intentionally depriving oneself of the designed constructs that supposedly defines who we are, and how we should exist within the great collective, and what we should be paying attention to based on what is deemed through institutional conformity as important, life changes.

Three years ago, I was “me”.

The me I thought I was supposed to be.

Today… I’m an entirely different “me”.

A better version of me.

A me I never thought I would become.

Perhaps in two years I’ll become a different me, again. I’ll have to wait and see. All I can continue to do, is be myself and hope for the best.

I have to be productive at all times. If I slow down, I fall back into those traps and snares which are designed to keep me down, docile, hypnotized, complacent, compliant, and vegetative.

Just the way they want me.

I looked back on the past twenty years or so of my life, and came to a startling realization… I have wasted years (literal years) of my existence.

“But, but, but, if not for those experiences, you wouldn’t be…”

Yeah, I get the argument. I’ve had the conversation multiple times.

I’ve been working on my man cave in the basement. Years ago I told my wife she can have every room in the house. Every counter, shelf, end table, cupboard, nook and cranny, closet and open space we have available in the home. I’ve become a minimalist, so “stuff” isn’t important to me anymore.

The kitchen table, however, is mine. I only need a small area.

Now, that her stuff has slowly migrated to my area (God love her)… to the basement I go.

It’s coming along. A little more junk to toss, and some wood products that need to find a burn pile, a little rearranging will be in order. The insulation is almost done. It’s heated and has good lighting. My workstation is almost complete.

Because I no longer engage in those activities which once defined who I was, I now have tons of time to use at my discretion. I created time, where time never existed before. I watch less than four hours of television programming a week and two of those hours are falling asleep to re-runs of funny shows I’ve already seen. My current unbreakable TV addictions are: Survivor, and the Star Trek franchise. I pay for two streaming services primarily for my wife and daughter.

I no longer “binge” anything, unless I’m under the weather and laid up. I can’t recall how many shows I’ve abandoned over the years, shows I was once in love with, and I haven’t been to the movies since John Wick 3 premiered. The only video game I play is a tower defense on my phone and I only play when running into a brick wall, hitting a mental block, or finding myself at a standstill. I couldn’t tell you the name of any new band formed over the past year, or the name of the next big up-and-coming celebrity.

What to do when no longer engaging in those things which once defined who I was. Those things that once made me, “me”.

Everything.

Anything and everything. There is no limit. I rejected the reality presented, and I constructed my own, from the ground up.

I believe we are designed to create, tinker, philosophize, invent, and make things. To use our minds constructively. Even if we struggle at first, we only get better with time.

I strive now to create. To make my own entertainment. Rewrite my reality to better suit my goals.

We have the literal ability to transform thoughts into reality. We can think it… and it will manifest. However, if we voluntarily continue to constantly relinquish our power, and stay plugged into the construct, thoughts remain as nothing but thoughts. While thoughts are important… they stay confined within the brain.

My laptop is blanketed with folders. Poetry, blurbs, short stories, timelines, outlines, downloaded PDF’s, images of art, full length novels with free companion stories, names and bloodlines, links, blog posts, sections of edits, device and technology research, silly songs, screen plays, fragments of unfinished works, ideas ongoing, ideas discontinued and untouched for years, maps made in simple paint programs…

And that’s where I live.

When I’m not writing, I strive to grow in other arenas. I read, ask questions, and do research in my areas of interest. My interests have expanded to other realms now, hence the reason for a workstation in the basement. I want to physically create, as well as write.

I want to make things.

I enjoy transforming thoughts into reality. I love watching my mind manifest something before my eyes.

The downside is, I’m an idiot. I have to rely on others sometimes. I’m a stranger in a strange land solely depending on the village to raise me, the child. Research is long. Self-education is a chore. Waiting is difficult. Asking questions and applying the knowledge, can be tedious. Many diverse answers and many opinions. Self discernment is crucial.

However, it’s not the endgame and outcome of the journey that’s important, it’s the growth along the way.  The outcome is just a perk, and the tasty icing on the cake. The adventure is the most important.

And I believe that’s where folks get tripped up. The adventure looks difficult and daunting to the tired mind.

Some of that education and research along the way includes what I should be doing along this leg of the creative journey. Because I’m currently in “this” phase of the writing process, I should be talking about “this” topic. Or, discuss the writing procedure and the step-by-step method to get from point A to point Z.

“Make this content a part of your blog.”

Not gonna happen. In my world, you’ll never read about grammar rules or the difference between a pantser and a plotter or a line and a copy edit.  I’ll leave that to the pros. I just like telling stories. That’s the source of the entertainment in my mind. That’s where the fun is.

Writing the story is easy. One word at a time. Finish.

Once committed to the story, and finally typing “the end” (regardless of the length) it’s far from over. Everything after “the end” becomes work.

Lots, and lots, and lots of work. Patience. Timing.

But is it work worth doing?

Is patience truly a virtue? Is the timing going to work?

Yes.

For myself, and myself only, in order to stay committed to my cause, I had to find time to do the work I believed was worth doing. To find time, meant changing how I engage within a pre-designed reality.

The old paradigm was not fulfilling. I felt empty. Lost. Broken. Fearful. Anxiety ravaged. Bouts of depression and hopelessness. Tired. Sedentary. Stagnant. Off-balance.

Altering the paradigm, altered reality.

I no longer have anxiety, stress, hopelessness, anger, depression or fear of any kind. I’m no longer tired, stagnant, or sedentary. I’m no longer empty, broken and lost. It’s not easy to disconnect, but since unplugging, I’ve become better.

Because I’m waiting on edits, I needed another outlet, other than my blog stuff and tinkering with ongoing projects… So… I’m off to the basement for today. It’s time to finish the cave, create something at the workstation which has always fascinated me… and I can’t wait to see the end result.

Thank you for reading Tales of the Chronicles and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeremymorang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No-Man’s Land

“Joe Schmo sat in the snow. He didn’t know which way to go. All he knew, was his ass was cold.”–JSM

 

While standing beside my snoring, heavily medicated girlfriend sleeping soundly on the couch, drooling into her pillow, I believed at the time the remainder of Nancy’s life would be filled with hardship. I couldn’t help it. During that period of my journey, I was a bit of a fatalist. Shields were always up, and weapons always ready to fire. Always thinking worst case scenarios and structuring my life around that mentality.

I’ve met others who have had their chests broken open for major medical procedures, and years later, they’re still healing. The thoughts on her future hardships only lasted for a heartbeat, before I buried it deep, and then flipped the robot switch back on into survival mode.

Before bringing her home from the hospital, I was named her official “caretaker”.

I was provided a lengthy list of do’s and don’ts littered with medication doses, and time-frames, acceptable temperature readings, and pertinent information. What to be aware of. Potential side effects. Fliers and various tri-fold brochures with numbers to crisis centers, councilors, groups, and advisers. Advertising, and websites for healthy, organic foods. When to do what, and how often, when its necessary to call 9-1-1, and here’s a bucket of medical supplies to help get us started.

I was angry.

I wasn’t angry with any one specific person. I wasn’t angry at Nancy, or the doctors, or the hospital staff.

I was furious with the situation. It’s fine to be angry with an ugly situation, but the question becomes… what to do about it all?

Arm in arm, guiding her along the twenty minute walk from the car to the inside of the home, one foot at a time. Rest. One more foot. There it is. Don’t rush. One more step. There ya go. Don’t be embarrassed. We’re almost there. I gotcha. One foot on the stair, rest. 

Holding her upright as she crept across the grass, I kept thinking to myself, everything happens for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. This is all happening for a reason.

The entire span of time of what should have been a quick 10 second jaunt from the car door, and up the porch stairs, I repeated those words over and over in my mind. I had to.

It was the only way to keep calm, and level headed.

Once inside the house, and she was settled in comfortably, she returned to La-La Land within minutes. I stood at her side until she was fast asleep.

Tip-toeing to the adjacent room, I set the timers for when she needed her medications, pain killers, and the first bandage change. Once calculating the times, organizing the contents of the hospital bucket, and getting all the supplies in order in a straight line, I returned to her side and watched her sleep.

It wasn’t until she was in deep REM, did Joe show up from nowhere.

Hands stuffed in his pockets, rocking back and forth on the heels of his Velcro sneakers the old man appeared in my periphery and said, “If you don’t do something about all this, right now, today, this moment, you’re going to go right out of your fucking mind.”

“What do you suggest? I whispered to him in my mind with my eyes locked on Nancy’s breathing patterns.

“Well, that’s not up for me to decide, but I think you know what you want to do.” He walked by me and slipped into the kitchen, around the corner out of my line of sight.

I kept my attention on her fluttering eye lids. I held my hand out, snapped my fingers with barely enough force to make a slight noise to test her level of consciousness and when she didn’t flinch, I felt safe to leave her side for a moment, I stepped away from the couch and sought him out.

He stood back to me, hands still in his pockets. Staring out the kitchen window facing the neighbors home, he muttered, “We know what she needs, right?”

I stood beside him, looked between my feet and whispered, “She needs sleep.”

“You know why, right?”

“Sleep heals.”

“What do you need to do, to allow her sleep?”

“Keep her comfortable. Keep the TV off. No TV, no video games. No audio distractions. Stay out of the squeaky recliner. Memorize all the creaky floorboards. Turn off all device notifications throughout the house. Deactivate all alarms. Plug headphones into every jack, just in case… OK… first… Buy headphones. Keep the music off. Think about purchasing a white noise machine. Keep the dog quiet. No microwave. Do chores only when she’s awake.” 

Mulling through the noise cancellation list and home quieting strategies, my brain overloaded. Like light splintering through a prism, bouncing around the room chaotically, fractured thoughts raced around my brain. I was inundated with unfinished ideas, spiraling rabbit holes of what ifs, and questions rattling around.

Oh, no. This is way bigger than I thought. What are we going to do about… How are we going to get around… what happens if… this changes everything… diet, sleep, routine… work… my children… social time… spending habits, what are you going to… next week we have to… tomorrow I have to… I have little back-up. Find someone to help with… send out the messages… call… email… text… This is no-man’s land. Uncharted territory. A ship destined to be dashed to pieces across the rocks.

A wave of dizzy crashed over me and Joe watched calmly as I stepped back from the outside view of my backyard, and slunk into a nearby kitchen chair. I closed my eyes and tried to breath through the anxiety.

How are we going to pull this off?

I felt weak and drained, lost, alone, and completely overwhelmed.

Out of one frying pan, and straight into another with the burner cranked up to full. Nothing can really prepare someone for all the variables involved. It is indeed a paradigm altering, reality shaking cataclysm of epic proportions. I didn’t know which direction to focus my thoughts on, so I sat still and silent in the kitchen, listening to her snore in the other room.

Without speaking a word Joe turned my chair with me in it, to face the table.

Standing behind me, he grabbed my wrists as though I were a puppet on strings and lowered my hands flat on the table’s surface.

Focus.

Find a balance. There’s a balance to everything. 

Right now, there is no we. There is only you. You have to find homeostasis, in order to survive this… in order for her to get through this. It’s up to you to fix it. It’s all on your shoulders… and you know it.

OK. She’s sleeping. I have some time. I thought to myself. What to do with the available time that requires no noise. 

A light bulb went off.

Angry Birds.

A mindless game will help me escape. And I truly needed to escape. I needed to shut my brain off.

I swiped my phone, downloaded the app, switched the music and game sounds to ‘off’ and kicked my feet up on the table.

Joe stepped in front of me and pushed my feet to the floor. I lowered the phone.

“What are you doing?!” He bellowed.

I’m occupying time. I’m doing what I’m comfortable with. 

“If you turn that game on, you’ll never forgive yourself.”

I have no idea what you want me to…

“Write something. Anything. Doesn’t matter what it is. Take advantage of this moment.”

Why the hell would I do that?

“Because it’s something you’ve been wanting to try, since childhood. No better time than the present. Take advantage of moments. Take advantage of the quiet. Write just one line. Write me some poetry.”

I laughed, until I cried.

I snatched up a pen and a pad of paper and returned to the chair.

“Poetry, huh?”

“Just one line.” He stood beside me.

“I have no idea what I’m…”

“Visualize a place. A place you enjoy. Somewhere you’d like to be right now.”

Red faced, feeling ridiculous and no less lost than I felt before, I wrote the first thing that came to mind.

“Joe Schmo sat in the snow. He didn’t know which way to go. All he knew, was his ass was cold.”

I ripped open my nearby filing cabinet, and with a side arm throw I tossed the small pad in the back of a drawer. Enough of that nonsense.

Thank you for reading Tales of the Chronicles and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeremymorang. I’m fairly new to the platform and don’t post much, but you can find me here on Instagram jeremy_morang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mortal’s Enemy

“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” –Chinese Proverb

“The world is a vampire, sent to drain.” –Smashing Pumpkins

 

At this phase of my journey, and it happens in phases, I’ve come to understand some things. Bear in mind, this is all coming from subjective personal perspective. My truth.

To quote a friend, “there is no truth, because everyone’s truth is different.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

Seeing my world through my own individual lens, I say the following, based exclusively on my own life experiences. Results may vary person to person.

  1. Any passion that provides us joy, and subsequently brings joy to others, is a passion worth following. Doesn’t matter what it is, just do no harm while pursuing it.
  2. The work involved, is work worth doing, if it brings happiness to self, and others, despite the pitfalls and struggles encountered.
  3. The past does not dictate the future.
  4. Existence is a test.
  5. The more we stumble, and fall, the stronger we become. We may feel the fool for falling, but that feeling goes away; eventually replaced by something better. All scrapes and bruises heal.
  6. Never live in fear. Fear is a brutal, ruthless force to be reckoned with. Fear takes no prisoners and shows no mercy. It’s influence is provided free of charge to anyone looking for a taste, and fear peddling salesmen are lurking on every corner. Be wary of fear, hopelessness, and despair merchants. Looking to bury some fear and despair? Disconnect from the source. My disconnect was television and movies. Ditch TV for one year… you’ll never want to go back. It’s depressing in there.
  7. Time cares not for us. It moves forward regardless.
  8. Fear, is time’s wielded weapon of choice.
  9. Time, is the mortal’s enemy.

My goals in life are simple within my allotted time: Provide for my family, first and foremost. Be the best dad and husband I can be within my current paradigm. To be in this world, and not of it, and always pursue personal growth. Stop living vicariously through others. Publish my full length novel, and it’s sequel shortly thereafter. Work on the series until completion, continue to work on developing skills that make me a better human being…

… Done.

That’s all folks.

Sounds easy, some would say.

Well… it’s not. (sigh)

At least for me, it’s been a trial by fire. I’ve been burned to certain degrees to a point where I question why I bothered. Listening to the conniving words of the despair peddler knocking at my door. At the time, taking it all as a sign. A sign induced by fear, and I recognize that now. I’m learning my lessons the hard way. Focusing on passion, and interests, while being a parent, husband, and a worker bee in the world hive, I’ve learned to be effective with time.

Burns will heal too. It just takes a little longer to recover from sometimes as the wounds demand some extra attention.

Time is not friendly, and when it sends its energy sucking fear minions to run amok and drain the essence and spirit from us unsuspecting victims, time becomes even less friendly. I’ve learned along this journey, that thing called fear, was the biggest obstacle I faced. A fear of failure. Fear of falling down. Fear of even starting the adventure in the first place. Fear of thinking about that thing I feared. Fear of asking questions. Being afraid to ask for help. Fear of being burned along the way.

The ol classic, “You want to do… what now? You’re not special. Foolish mortal.”

It has nothing to do with being special. Just… proving to myself I can do more, and be more, than what I’m told I should do, and be. 

What if? What if? What if? What if?

Stop being afraid. You are your own worst enemy.

Running around the brain 24-7.

You have to.

Why?

Because you do.

Why?

You’re asking impossible questions.

Eventually this content will wrap back around to where it all started over one hundred posts ago with Nancy, Bill, the dreams, and my imaginary friend, Joe, but for the moment, I need to take a second and apologize.

My intention here is not to preach. That’s not how I roll. If I ever sound preachy, my apologies. I fully understand it can be taken the wrong way, and to some, might sound a little like a skipping record.

I don’t want anyone to listen to me, or believe the things I believe, or say, or take my advice, or do anything other than live your own individual truths.

I’m an idiot. Don’t listen to me.

All I want to repeatedly convey is… don’t be afraid… of anything. Fear is everywhere and takes many dastardly forms. It poisons the soul, and provides no rewards. Live fearlessly and unapologetic. Succumb to fear, and you will be trapped forever. Right where it wants you.

I believe we all have a little spark, made up of some kind of innovation, rooted deep inside us, hiding. Every-now-and-again, that spark comes to life when we least expect it, and subtly whispers in our ear. It’s that moment in time, that fraction of a second where the enemy is weakened enough to where the fear can be pushed back… that’s the moment to strike.

I believe our individual spark can light the sparks of others, if we allow it to be seen and shared. I believe that’s the ultimate goal. The true reward.

Sparks light fires.

If my teeny tiny spark ever has a positive impact on someone else, and ignites their spark…?

Mission accomplished. The more sparks and fires, the better. That’s how we heal the world.

If that spark whispers to you, listen for a moment and react to it with an open mind and heart. Create. Inspire. Sing. Write. Sketch. Draw. Build. Paint. Pursue the passions, share them with the world, and do it fearlessly. If you have a skill, utilize it. If you have passions, pursue them. Have a talent?… do something with it. Time moves forward and waits for no one.

Don’t be afraid to let your spark out. Battle through the fear, face it head on, and make the enemy your bitch.

Thank you for reading Tales of the Chronicles and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeremymorang. I’m fairly new to the platform and don’t post much, but you can find me here on Instagram jeremy_morang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addiction

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation.

Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”― Charles Bukowski

Too many moons have passed.

To the folks who’ve been here, reading since the beginning and supporting me… my sincere apologies (sigh). Every now and again life gets out of hand, and unpredictable, and reining it all in can be a struggle. One day can blur to the next, to the next, to the next.

Sometimes our focus shifts, attention is drawn elsewhere, and we can get lost along the way.

My problem is, I allow myself to get lost. I intentionally put myself in those mindsets and predicaments. Some may say, “everyone needs an escape. A recharge. We all need distractions,” and while I agree, I’ve now become accustomed to different distractions. Those distractions once provided for my enjoyment and pleasure, don’t cut the mustard anymore.

I have my own methods of escaping. My interests have changed… radically.

When I revert back to my old distractions, and the vices I once enjoyed, my current addiction can’t be satisfied and I feel unfulfilled.

When I ignore that thing which I enjoy to the core of my being, I feel empty inside. An addict, looking frantically and desperately for his fix. My stomach becomes a hollow pit. When I battle my addiction, and try to sever myself from its influence, I can physically ‘feel’ the after effects.

It’s a thirst that must be quenched, and I indulge.

Chatting with a friend recently I said, “I sleep, eat, breathe, work, socialize, and partially exist in other universe. I live there. A universe I can’t escape.”

(And no… that’s not meant to be interpreted as, “oh wow, he thinks he lives in…”)

To bottom line it, I have an overactive imagination.

A few years ago, sitting in silence after work one afternoon, in my office chair, slowly spinning, thinking, questioning and wandering around my brain, I came to the conclusion through a personal epiphany of self-awareness, that I was lacking in an abundance of skills. Skills I wished to obtain, and I had no choice but to seek that knowledge on my own time. I own that fact about myself.

I’m high-school educated, have had brief stints in higher education over a period of years (not going back), worked multiple jobs since graduation, and I currently grind through my 40 hour work week; and to my credit I’ve been called a ‘people person.’ I have decent people skills, and that’s probably why I did well in retail and middle management. I have life experiences. And the buck stops there.

OK… that’s cool and all. But what else do you have? Look around…

I have “things”. Material possessions, objects, books, mediocre technology.

I have a good job, a good roof over my head. I have a family, a wonderful wife, decent caring friends, a loyal dog…

Fantastic… but what else?

I don’t understand the question.

What else do you have that determines who you are? What are you good at?

My job. Being a good dad, husband, friend…

Stop running around the circle. Does your job determine who you are?

I don’t think so… I can’t think of anything I’m ‘good’ at. Mowing the lawn? Shoveling snow? Driving a car? I have what I need and want in my life. What else is there?

That’s your problem.

Then I stepped out of my box, closed it up tight, and attempted to break it down for myself a little further.

Go below the surface and name one thing you can say definitively, is all yours.

My feelings, my thoughts, my responses and actions…

A little deeper…

My consciousness, my dreams…

You’re getting warmer.

My imagination.

I have an overactive imagination and its easy for me to get lost.

And boy oh boy, do I get lost.

Something once compelled me to get my imagination down on paper. I had to start, create a foundation on which to build, and that foundation has crumbled more times than I care to admit. But I couldn’t stop. I had to somehow, someway, exercise that singular thing I felt I had to my advantage. I had to do something within the realm of my imagination… somehow.

The process has been a blessing, and a curse. More work than some can imagine. Meals skipped, sleep lost, missing time, bloodshot eyes, snoring at the desk, endless reading, researching, and attempting to apply the knowledge garnished along the way. Scrolling through countless threads, browsing hundreds of articles, weighing options, and generating lists of pros and cons. Comparing, contrasting. Guzzling gallons of coffee, muttering, and pacing the room. The weekend gone in the blink of an eye. Added unforeseen challenges to claw and scrape through, worry, anticipation, doubt, anger, frustration, and all the other feelings that accompany following a passion.

Wow… that sounds like hell.

It’s the greatest experience I’ve ever had. Watching my imagination take shape and form, through my own efforts, hard work, and assistance from others, and seeing a vision once trapped in my head becoming animated with words… despite the daily struggle and the labor entailed, has been the most amazing adventure of my life, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

That’s where I disappeared to for a time. My editor sent a batch of edits and then life got to a point where I had to step back… and escape from my escape for a bit. I was a little overwhelmed. I had to find my focus and footing again, return to the manuscript with fresh eyes, and the only way to do that was to retreat into my old distractions. It had to be done. I had to reassess.

If I’m going to do this, I have to go all the way. I can’t look back, or second guess, and allow those splinters of fear and intimidation steer me away from what I want to accomplish in my world. I have to tackle it head on. I’ve found something I’m passionate about and despite the idea I may only be a drop of water, in a vast ocean of billions of ideas, I still wish to pursue that dream regardless. Without those individual drops of water, there wouldn’t be an ocean to swim in.

(Shameless plug) I’ve reached a point in the process now where I have to consider and develop marketing, self-promotion, and navigating areas I’m unfamiliar with and perhaps even a little uncomfortable with. However, if I’m going to do this, I have to go all the way. The finish line is in sight now.

I still have some work ahead of me, but I can say with a hint of pride and a beaming smile, I have something I’m proud of which is near completion, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. I couldn’t have done it without those good people who have supported me since the beginning and have been there for me during the process, whether personal or professional.

I’m convinced now. As long as ‘one’ person believes you can do it, and is willing to stand at your side, then you can indeed do it. It only takes one. Fear is the only enemy. I know that sounds a bit cliche, but I don’t care.

So, I want to say to all the readers and anyone else who may stumble upon this along their journey, I believe in you. If you decide it can’t be done, or its too much work, or its work not worth doing, and adopt a self defeating mindset… I’ll never try and change that mindset, that’s not my place… but “I” believe you can do it, with all the sincerity of my heart… even if you can’t believe it. I really do. When I struggled to believe in myself, a heart full of doubt, one person stepped up beside me and said, “bullshit. Of course you can do it.”

All we have to do is start, commit, then decide to go all the way. Never be afraid of tripping up, stumbling out of control, and falling. Be afraid of what might happen if you stay down.

It feels good to be back, and I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you for reading Tales of the Chronicles and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeremymorang. I’m fairly new to the platform but you can find me here on Instagram jeremy_morang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

Conspiracy Theorist, Part 3:

“Expectation is the enemy to happiness.” –JSM

 

My daughter walked behind me as I was starting this installment. She stopped in her tracks, leaned over my shoulder and said, “Oh, wow! Cool!! You’re doing conspiracy theory stuff? Those are fun! Part three? What are you covering? I’ve seen “this” and watched that, and read “this” and “that”. My friends talk about “this one”. You might like “this” channel, hold on and I’ll dig it up on YouTube.”

I didn’t have a substantial answer for her. She was expecting a concrete topic to be covered and probably wanted to talk about it casually with me. Instead of replying I closed the laptop, and stopped writing for the day. I can’t be certain if there truly is a specific topic to be hashed out and dissected, regardless of the plethora of options.

Designing a conspiracy, typically involves the plotting and scheming between two or more people with similar interests. The Latin breakdown of the word becomes, “to breath together, or, to breathe with.” Most conspiracy theories, or conspiracies in general, are widespread and well established, mainstream, controversial, bizarre and a little wonky, but there are some more localized and close to home. Sometimes a little too close for comfort.

A management team meeting in private, speaking in hushed whispers behind a closed door. Designing, plotting, and concocting a sneaky underhanded method of compiled trickery and mounting lies to remove an employee from the workplace. Intentionally setting someone up to fail. A spouse and their lover cuddling in the darkness, navigating malicious ideas to remove an unwanted third party from the picture, and getting others involved in the charade. People gathering in a small group to somehow devise a way to benefit from the misfortunes of others. A conspiracy doesn’t have to be well-known, widespread, mainstream, or news worthy… it occurs right under our noses.

I know it’s happened to me once or twice over my forty years. Has it happened to you? I’m guessing there’s a good chance it’s happened to quite a few of us.

“They screwed me over. I never deserved that. I was blindsided. They could have told the truth instead of all the secrets and intentional deceit. What they said was a lie. The wool was pulled over my eyes. I was set-up. It never happened like that and everything said was fabricated.”

You’ll never understand the true meaning of being “set-up” and the horror that follows, unless it happens to you. I pray no one ever has to experience it. Truly devastating.

Sometimes those closest to us, those people we trust or thought we could trust, will conspire against us. That’s not even a “theory”.

It’s a fact, Jack.

We just don’t ever expect it to happen to us.

We have such grandiose expectations as a species. I least I did. I’ll never speak for others. I can only reflect on my own life. We expect life to always work to our favor. We expect our children to be happy. We expect our family, and those we love, to love us in return unconditionally. We expect nothing bad will happen to us. We expect politicians and those in the authoritarian positions to work to our benefit. We expect our opinions to have weight and meaning. We expect our friends, significant others and spouses to be loyal and honest no matter what. We expect our leaders to be truthful and decent. We expect apologies when we’ve been wronged. We expect drivers to NOT text and drive, or drink and drive. We expect truth. We expect the best of people. We expect to be comfortable, content, happy, successful.

For the longest time, that was one of my near fatal flaws. I expected too much. I had a ‘karma” mentality.

The universe will make things right. You’ll see. Good things will come to those who wait, and those who seek patience. Bad things happen to good people all the time, and the universe will course correct. 

I had to somehow find a way and muster the courage to cast those shackles of mental constriction off, and as far away as I could cast them. I was becoming my own worst enemy by expecting the universe to fix my problems. Expectation was the enemy. Expectation was the nemesis to my personal happiness.

Expecting something in life, for me, became an impediment.

I’ll never forget the time the steel mill was going through lay-offs and employee cuts. I was one of the few at the bottom of the totem pole and my name was floating around the building. I was terrified I was going to lose my job. Five years invested and fantastic benefits.

“Don’t you worry, Jere. Your position is secure. You’re not going anywhere. We need you.” Said the head honcho of the company, right to my face, during a lunch break.

Whew. OK… back to life.

Less than a week later, I received the ‘ol’ pink slip. “Sorry, Jere, we have to do what we have to do. I hope you understand.” He extended his palm for a parting handshake.

It took me a long time to fully contemplate the philosophy of, “We have to do what we have to do.”  I was so utterly and completely distracted with “life” I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

I never contemplated worse case scenarios. I never had a plan of attack. I expected my position to be protected and my superiors to be honest and upfront with me.

The opposite of that was true. I should have expected to be canned. I should have expected potential dishonesty. I should have been seeking employment elsewhere as a contingency plan, once I heard my name mentioned in rumor.

Therefore, I now work towards a new mentality of zero expectations. Hoping for the best, but prepared for the aweful. Not to an extreme, mind you, but a simplified mindset of, “Anything can, and will happen. What to do with that information? What to do………….what to do……………..”

I no longer expect apologies when I’ve been wronged. I no longer expect this fractured, cruel world to owe me anything. I no longer expect decency even when I project decency.

In regards to conspiracy theories I’ve come to a conclusion. My own conclusion of course. If people whom I once trusted and were once close to me, had the uncanny ability to lie straight to my face, be deceitful, be cruel, heartless, manipulative and have malicious intent in their hearts for their own personal gains, then why would I trust anyone or anything with absolution? I never believed those things could happen to me. Why would I believe total strangers would be any different?

All I can do is trust myself and those few folks inside my circle.

For me, trust is hard. When trust is gone or threatened, I burn bridges. It’s safer that way. I can better focus on what I believe is important when those bridges turn to ash. In my opinion, happiness is the most important thing in the universe. Each and every one of own personal quests should have an end goal of finding happiness.

The path to happiness can be a trial by fire. My trial revolved around Nancy. I was so focused on priority, obligation, bills, money, her health and healing, I never considered happiness. The idea of finding contentment within the new paradigm, was an alien concept at the moment. We had such a long road ahead.

He disappeared from my psyche for roughly two months, but Joe was the catalyst for me locating the path to my own personal happiness. A made up character. A figment of my imagination.

A crazy old son of a bitch who spent twenty minutes of our afternoon belittling me and pushing me around. Telling me I was ruining everything. I would be in just as much pain as Nancy and if I didn’t figure something out, it would all fall apart.

He didn’t stop his rant until I paid attention.

***

If you’re interested in checking out my contribution, and the contributions from twenty other international authors in a recently published anthology, here is the link. Paperback and eBook are both available for purchase. Thanks for your support and your continued reading.

 

Thank you for reading Tales of the Chronicles and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter@jeremymorang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conspiracy Theorist, Part 2

Having one of those “bizarre” conversations a couple of months ago, centered loosely around “theories,” a statement from a friend really hit me hard, but not quite hard enough to knock me off balance. The words had an impact, but it wasn’t a take-down. In fact, the conversation was initiated by them, which indicates to me, a subtle intrigue and fascination on their part in wanting to pursue an answer and initiating dialogue. Perhaps it was merely curiosity. I don’t recall bringing anything up, but I was happy to oblige.

“It must be difficult, and scary, believing everything is a lie.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa now… put on the breaks. Time out. I never proclaimed everything was a lie. That’s an absurdity. I explore the theories, nothing more. I enjoy looking into things most people would rather ignore or blatantly disregard.

To believe that absolutely everything is a lie, would be almost unbearable. I don’t think most people could properly function in life if they believed nothing was true, and everything was a lie. A hoax. A joke. We’d be in a constant state of anxiety and paranoia. Panic stricken. Fearful to start our day. I can’t, and won’t, live under those conditions. I refuse to be fearful and paranoid. Been there, done that. I prefer living, and not restricted to just being alive.

I do, however, have the right to be skeptical, just like everyone else. Being skeptical, leads to investigation. I enjoy exploring the questions. I enjoy the investigation, regardless of my determinations and findings, or lack thereof. 

We tell our children to question everything. “No matter what, you question everything. Don’t believe everything you see, and hear, and read in books and on the internet. Ask questions!”

However, once those days of childhood are over, and we reach a certain age, we no longer ask questions. We accept. We comply. We’re told, “It just is.”

Why? There has to be more than that…

Then life picks up the pace and we have to somehow keep up. Scurrying frantically through the endless maze looking for an exit, or a small prize along the path to satisfy some inner cravings. Priorities take precedence and we forget those things that once had our curiosity. Our sense of wonder disappears. Connection disappears. Thrust into the real world armed with only that which was presented and delivered to us along the way. We become zombified, calcified, dead-eyed, and terrified to make a mistake.

I have truly made my fair share of intense mistakes. As if the world and everyone around me was conspiring against me.

One of those mistakes was attending higher education when I should have considered the plethora of alternatives instead.

My first stint in higher education was, English Literature: Shakespeare, Beowulf, the classics, and creative writing intermixed within the criteria. I thoroughly enjoyed that component of college. I had fun. Mathematics, however, has never been friendly to me, but it was mandatory for college success.

Why?

OK… let’s give it a try. How difficult can it be?

I was forced to take, (some specific level of) Algebra. The concept of unwillingly participating in math classes, to receive a degree in literature, boggled my mind. I wanted to write fun stuff and seek out my creative side, utilizing history, sociology, art and basic psychology as backbones and templates for my aspiring writing goals–not designing complex graphs, and breaking down complicated equations to calculate estimates. But it was mandatory.

I understand our chemists, scientists of varying degrees, biologists, physicists, and theorists require high level mathematics to do their work, but it has never applied to me. Being forced to participate in an activity, that has no meaning to me, doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t make sense, I have to explore the why.

I’ve had to use remedial math and basic measurement fractions when I worked in the steel industry, and those few retail jobs in between other retail jobs, but the mathematical “stuff” that was being taught at my university, never made any sense. None-what-so-ever. And to top it all off, the instructor couldn’t help me make sense of what I was attempting to learn. And as much as I hate to say it, there’s a specific reason for that distinctive outcome. Math isn’t meant for me. I ponder why math is a language I can’t process.

My questions are always focused on one word: why?

“Why is it this way, Mr. Smith? I don’t understand how the conclusion was determined and why the formula has ‘this’ specific outcome. The end result points toward a rough estimate, not a definitive. Why?”

“It just is.”

In order to get through this, you have to accept those things that don’t make a lick of sense. I see how it is… just go with the flow and ride the wave. It’ll be over before you know it. Just muscle through, and don’t ask questions cause you’ll look the fool.

Shouldn’t we be asking questions though regardless of their absurdity? Isn’t that the human mentality? We ask questions, to broaden our horizons and become more educated. Shouldn’t we strive towards making it all make sense and applicable? I don’t understand…

“It just is,” isn’t good enough anymore.

I believe what it all boils down to is personal preferences. I enjoy challenging my own perspective based preconceived notions based on what was provided to me when I was thrust into the real world.

For instance (only an example): I understand millions of individuals from all over Earth believe in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, even though they have never been there or caught a glimpse of the elusive creature first hand. Many claim to have actually seen ‘ol’ Nessie themselves, up-close and personal. They’ve witnessed the ripples, and the humps and breaches, and snapped blurry and grainy photos, and wrote stories and articles based on their discoveries. 

That doesn’t necessarily conclude I should, by default, therefore believe in the Loch Ness Monster. Instead, I believe, that they believe. Regardless of the mass consensus, I don’t have to believe. Perhaps I’d truly believe it if I saw it first hand and could be convinced what I was seeing was in actuality an ancient sea dragon. Until that time comes, I’ll just continue to believe that people believe.

And I leave it at that. People can believe (in) whatever they want. I can believe (in) whatever I want. 

Each personal journey of self-discovery is diverse, exclusive, and unique. My rabbit hole adventures and the exploration of my interests and fascinations have taken me to some places which have challenged how I think, dream, rationalize and how I conceptualize my reality. My reality is different from everyone else, and I have to live and experience it in my own way unhindered. I am merely an individual walking my path toward parts unknown, within the confines of my provided reality.

Reality however, is never easy. 

Sometimes, the world feels as though it’s conspiring against us.

At one point along the journey my reality included a sub-conscious conjuration of an imaginary fictitious illusion formed from an immediate need, as a coping mechanism, which manifested randomly as an old man wearing a superhero tee-shirt, at the most inopportune and stressful of moments.

Joe was my biggest question. Why is he here? Why does he exist? Why, why, why? I needed answers to impossible questions. The types of questions that don’t seem to have answers, no matter how far down you dig and how much time is invested in research. Do we keep digging and seeking answers regardless, or do we give up…

*** 

Joe showed up unexpectedly at Nancy’s side that afternoon and issued a statement to me. He had become that nagging, irritating little voice in my mind always hovering over my shoulder, and whispering things I didn’t want to hear. Like having an angry conversation in your head with someone you despise. You can see their face as clear as day and hear the venomous hate in their voice as though they were right there in the room with you. Joseph Everette twisted, warped, bent, distorted, and manipulated my reality to the point of no return. I haven’t been the same since. 

He stood over her sleeping body with his hands on his hips. He sighed through his nostrils, and then pointed to me with a shaking finger. “If you don’t do something about all this, right now, today, this moment, you’re going to go right out of your fucking mind.”

It took me three days of silence and thinking, watching Nancy’s every move, responding to her every need, sitting cross-legged at her side always at arm’s length and remembering those chaotic inner voice conversations, to finally figure it all out.

Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter@jeremymorang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conspiracy Theorist

This might be one of those installments which could easily lump me into a specific category, and I’ve come to accept that. At this point, perhaps I welcome it? Not really sure to be honest… I really don’t care either way. That’s the beauty of self-awareness.

Those who truly know me, know who I am through and through, and that’s all I really need. If folks want to pass unwarranted judgement and smack a label of sorts on me, I understand. No big deal. Do what you have to do. I’m comfortable.

Engaging in my hobbies has led me down some wild paths. Dark paths. Strange, out of the ordinary, often scary paths. Goose-bump inducing, heebee-jeebee, full body shiver, crazy, sometimes yucky paths. Uncomfortable paths. I won’t say one way or another how these recent years and personal quests of seeking, discovering and searching have changed me as a person, but I do spend quite a chunk of my life researching and exploring.

Wanting to become a story-teller, and practicing the craft of writing, takes an individual down a few rabbit holes; mostly by accident. Some are on purpose, I will admit, not everything is stumbled upon. However, climbing up and out of that strange place, is a challenge. The rabbit hole is a part of me now. That realm of “conspiracy theories”, the unknown, the unorthodox philosophies and topics that go against the grain.

Some may say, “that’s weird. Why go down that hole? Why invest valuable time and energy involving yourself in something that won’t benefit you? What purpose does it serve?”

Who’s to say it doesn’t benefit me?

They might scream, “You need to get out of there!” They might unfriend you or block you on social media. They might whisper to a mutual friend in the group, “You shouldn’t associate with ‘that’ person anymore. They’re going off the deep end.”

They might talk about you behind your back. They’ll refuse to engage in conversation. They may become aggressive, angry, and frustrated. They lump you into a category and smack a label on you.

Hey… that’s cool my peeps. Lump away. I know who I am at my core. I can’t allow the things I read, research, and listen on podcasts, channels of diverse content creators, and YouTube documentary channels and the things I find fascinating and interesting, define who I am as a person. Will those research expeditions affect me in some fashion positively or negatively along the way? Perhaps. I’ll cross those bridges when I get to them. Will it define me?

No.

However, it’s not for everyone.

It takes a strong will, at first, but then it becomes easier. At least it was for me. An instantaneous magnetic pull. I never asked to be dragged in there. It just happened. Six years ago while browsing the web looking for the answer to a random question I had on my mind.

I’m not the sort of person who will approach a friend or family member after a few weeks of silence and busy work schedules and immediately say, “Hey… did you hear about ‘this’ crazy new thing? I’ve been looking into it a lot, and it’s pretty wild. Here’s a couple of links if you want to check it out.”

We’ll still have the same conversations we would normally have. However… if someone asks my stance or opinion of something specific that exists down that diverse rabbit hole… I’m all over it. I can talk for hours. Hours and hours and hours.

I just choose not to talk about it, any of it, unless I’m asked.

I was cornered recently by a co-worker during a lunch meeting and a topic was brought up out of the blue. I was asked if I was following a specific story on the news and I said, “Yes.” Then the questions started flying around the table and I was asked to explain the situation from the perspective of the rabbit hole. The group needed to understand the other side of the fence in order to follow the squabble. Because I sit on that fence comfortably and observe both sides equally, sometimes I’m the one asked to explain the alternate side and the varying points of view.

When engaging in that kind of dialogue with people who have never heard the alternate side, I have to maintain a certain construct to describe what needs to be conveyed, because one question always leads into another more difficult question.

“One group believes “X”. The other group believes “Z”. The few miscellaneous folks floating around in the middle, believe “Y”.

“The “Y” group will say one thing, and the “Z” group will refuse to acknowledge “Y’s” position and then “X” posits the idea…” (or whatever the case may be)

But I never say, “I”. “I” believe in “X, Y, or Z”. I’ll just explain the scenario(s) the best I can, through the viewpoints of the individual groups, and then let the questions fly and try to keep the conversations alive. I’m by no means an expert on anything, far from it, but I make sure I “try” to understand the dynamics of both sides the best I can before engaging in any conversations that describe the alternate side of the fence. That uncomfortable side.

I exist in the realm of, “what if?”

What does this have to do with anything?

Good question.

I ponder sometimes what would have happened if I wasn’t around in her life back then, as Nancy’s issued caretaker. I think about it often. I’ve been told on more than one occasion there was a good chance she may not have made it. She didn’t really have anyone who could have been there, to help her get through it all. She would have had to fight the battle alone. What if she was alone?

If you care to believe in the opposite of my musings, that’s fine and dandy. I’ll never tell anyone what they should believe, or reject, but a small piece of me feels as though we came together, and found each other, at exactly the right moment within our broken paradigms. To sound completely cliche, and commence eye rolling right now, “it was meant to be.”

No one believes in that bullshit.

If it was meant to be then it all happened for a reason. If it happened for a reason, then it wasn’t accidental, and coincidental happenstance. That leads me down the path of exploration to: everything happens for a reason. I can’t help but go that route.

If everything happens for a reason, then I feel compelled to investigate. What I’m shown and exposed to in my everyday world, just isn’t good enough for me anymore.

And other than the few shows I watch on Hulu, while taking a break from writing science fiction and fantasy projects and engaging in a few video games with some close friends, that’s what I do. That’s my entertainment. My TV. I investigate what’s down the rabbit hole. I research the alternate side. I enjoy exploring that which is deemed impossible and crazy. If that lumps me into a category, then so be it.

If everything happens for a reason, which I’ve come to adopt, that also includes the bad and the negative. There has to be a balance in life. Sometimes the bad is compounded exponentially and slowly builds an overwhelming pressure to a potential overload. Always at the cusp of a breaking point, but never truly ready to cross the line. Walking up to the threshold of madness.

***

I was finally able to bring Nancy home from the hospital.

I had to drive 25 miles an hour all the way to our house and creep slowly over the ruts and potholes so as not to tear her stitching. I had rearranged the entire downstairs living room and kitchen to accommodate her needs. It was easily five minutes of exiting the car, and shuffling across the driveway to get inside.

Our living room is small, but she had the couch. The mattress was too low to the floor for her to be comfortable. The couch was the perfect height.

On a small mattress on the floor beside her, is where I slept. The mutt rested comfortably at my feet.

It was almost twenty days living downstairs before we attempted the second floor. We’d exercise on the porch outside, weather permitting, when the cabin fever settled in.

The moment I assisted her into a place of comfort, I dropped her medicine bottles across the surface of a TV tray. I stood over the couch, waiting for her exhaustion to take over. She slipped into snoring sleep shortly thereafter. Day one of the new journey.

Her eyes shifted back and forth under closed lids, and from out of nowhere, with a tap on the shoulder, my good buddy Joe returned.

Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeremymorang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons

“Each and every lesson learned through my life, has been learned the hard way.” -JSM-

 

The “phoenix rising” metaphor is overly used, and way too cliche. The example may fit the bill for a lot of people in a lot of cases, but I hate using it. It’s almost cringe worthy. As most of us already know, a series of catastrophes and personal tragedies through life potentially have the power to mold us into something we never expect, or break us beyond recognition. Our tragedies and overwhelming struggles define who we are, and what we become.

My raging storms, tragedies, and personal struggles ultimately transformed me into an emotionless vessel of priority and order. A manipulator of chaos. It was both a blessing and a curse.

During my divorce proceedings I only shed tears one time, for roughly three minutes (give or take). In the shower, after the water turned cold, I stood there with both hands pressed into my face and allowed the tears to fall for a time. I gave myself one moment and one moment only. Who knows… maybe I was sobbing cause the hot water was gone. Yeah… let’s go with that.

During that brief moment I whispered into my palms, said what I had to say to whoever was listening, took breaks to catch my breath, and purged incremental rounds of continued emotion until I believed it was finally over.

Then I flipped the switch to robot mode, buried those emotions as far down as I could push them, and life moved forward. I had to. I didn’t have a choice in the matter.

I haven’t cried since 2011.

One difficult afternoon a couple years ago I said goodbye to the mutt, speaking my love to her, scratching her ears and nose while the drugs slithered through her veins to stop her heart, and I never cried. Even placing her in the ground with her favorite bone, chew toy, and blanket, sprinkling a handful of fresh earth over her corpse, I was as calm as a cucumber.

Nancy’s pain, death of loved ones, funerals, receiving crushing devastating news, jumping through bankruptcy hoops, attending four court hearings for unpaid debt knowing I was facing warriors much stronger than I, continuing mounting bad news, epic medical situations, betrayal, piling stress… sleepless nights… disconnection… lethargy… borderline catatonic…

Big deal. Your crap is no different than anyone else’s crap.

You’re absolutely right.

Why even bring it up?

Why not?

I believed by switching that emotional lever in my mind to the off position, I was able to survive my tragedies. My lack of emotions created a force field, and shields were always up. I had to attack the obstacles thrown with logic and reasoning. Applying deduction, and breaking details down into minutiae. Even delving into the metaphysical when needed. Life became a chess game. Timing was always essential. Routine and management was absolutely necessary and thinking about each and every angle was paramount.

Robotic.

I couldn’t laugh. I couldn’t cry. I could barely smile. Eyes always moving, wide open and shifting, darting all around and watching my environment. Analyzing and scrutinizing everything.

Of course… it’s all different now, but it took a long time of life lessons to get there.

Those lessons helped me be more prepared, mentally. Over a short time I developed the thickest of skin. When formulating and developing the mentality of, “anything bad can happen, at anytime, and you must be prepared for the worst case scenarios at any given moment…”

Life will indeed take on a whole new meaning.

Sleeping with one eye open. Hearing every noise. Listening intently to the random swarms of butterflies flapping around in the stomach. On the cusp of paranoia, but not to the point of watching the neighbors through the windows with binoculars. Driving the same series of roads every day and maintaining a specific route. Trusting only those few folks you truly trust with absolute certainty, and conversations with everyone else is all surface dialogue.

That was my universe for almost three years.

I wasn’t incapable of love, just the ranging emotions that accompany love.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but I’m veering off onto a side path for a moment.

When filing for bankruptcy, all the noise stops. The harassing calls. The angry messages. The piling unopened mail on the end of the counter. The threatening emails and cryptic text messages. It all vanishes. Absolute quiet. Serenity. I remember receiving bill collector calls almost every five minutes. At ten at night, sometimes eleven. Sunday’s. Holidays. Relentless pursuits of my money.

File for bankruptcy? It all goes away.

It has it’s obvious drawbacks, but once approved and the process is complete… life changes.

For me, it changed for the better. Quite possibly one of the greatest things I’ve ever decided on. A struggle in it’s own right, but a fight worth fighting.

No loans, no credit cards, no leases or contracts, no mortgage, little ties to the Old Life, zero debt. I didn’t have much, so essentially I was starting over clean slate. All I had to worry about was a student loan nagging me and threatening to garnish wages.

I made arrangements with their loan department for a monthly payment I can afford. They continue to intercept my tax return as well, and I see the monthly deductions from my account without fail.

Three years later, in 2018, I receive a notice in the mail, on October 30th.

A second student loan has gone to collections. A loan I thought was was being paid. A debt I was unaware of. I “believed” the arrangements made with the loan department three years earlier had settled the matter.

Nope. Not the case.

I quite literally almost lost my mind. The verge of tears.

I take full responsibility and blame no one but myself. I never asked questions. I never dug deeper and looked into the details. I never asked the loan department, three years ago, if I had any other outstanding debt with them or anyone else in the network of student funding, and if so, let’s take care of it pronto. Apparently, the re-payment arrangement was made for one debt. Not all of them.

I never did what I should have done.

I want to pay my debts. I don’t want to owe anyone anything. Some things are apparently unavoidable. I’m a victim of my own ignorance. I wasn’t prepared.

The thing that pisses me off is the fact I never received any correspondence from the entity seeking payment. No bill in the mail. No email. No phone calls. Nothing but a paper notification one evening after work, stating the debt is now in collections.

What’s that all about? I mean… really? Out of the blue it arrives in my mailbox from nowhere.

I was so furious I couldn’t communicate with them. I hung up when the agent on the other end started asking questions about my utility costs and what I pay a month for electricity, food and recreation.

Nope. I don’t have the ability or time to discuss that with you right now, “Bruce.”

The moral to all that is, I was never prepared for the blindside. It caught me completely off guard and I almost freaked out and lost my faculties. I hate being caught off guard. I once vowed to always have my guard up.

When I brought Nancy home from the hospital, I made a promise. I promised to think only of her, and getting over this new hurdle. If we can do this, we can do anything. Together we’ll find strength through struggle. I had to prepare. I had to be ready. One little oversight can lead to catastrophic failure and the domino effect from that failure will land on my shoulders and I’ll be held responsible.

Time to robot up.

Realistically, we can never be fully prepared for what the world throws at us. We can only hope to be prepared, believe we’re prepared, and do the best with what we have.

Nothing could prepare me for what was yet to come.

Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeremymorang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vengence

“Don’t ask me what I believe. I’ll just tell you what I don’t believe.” -JSM-

 

I didn’t really hit a doctor with a chair.

That would have made me a monster.

I wanted to. My mind went there. For a fraction of time I tapped into that primitive side of me.

Eyes bugging from the sockets I scanned the room searching for the closest object with which to do the most immediate damage, and I truly wanted to exact some kind of vengeance, but come on now… I’m not that kind of person.

The logical, rational part of the brain kicks in a half a second later.

Instead of smashing the doctor’s face and having him join in all the suffrage, I hung my head, stared at the floor, and tried to breathe normally.

And allow her sleep.

She was unconscious for roughly three more hours.

I felt like life was beating us down. We couldn’t get ahead. We were happy with our current paradigm but the world was winning again. We couldn’t seem to catch a break. We couldn’t make lemonade from the lemons.

The next string of words that came from her mouth later that afternoon, changed me forever. The kind of gut punch that’s felt for all of eternity. The sentence was uttered twice to me over the next five or so months, and the moment she was able to speak, she slowly turned her head, licked her lips, looked me dead in the eyes and whispered, “You don’t deserve this.”

I couldn’t move.

I was at her side, paralyzed in the chair, dumbfounded and silent.

All those ugly little demons of self preservation hiding within the deep recesses of my brain swarmed the space around me. They crawled onto my shoulders, clamped their invisible claws into my skin and the disembodied voices of Joe, and all my imaginary friends conjured up over the past year whispered in both my ears, then screamed at each other like madmen, and my mind went to war with itself.

She accidentally opened a door, and I was inundated with negative power.

“She’s right. You don’t deserve this. With everything you’ve…”

“Shut up! You know you love her.”

She doesn’t deserve this! It has nothing to do with you.”

“What do you deserve?”

“She really cares about…”

“… you didn’t ask for this.”

“Take some advice for once. She’s telling you to leave. To end this. You have her blessing.”

“Coward.”

“It will be difficult, but we can get through it.”

“Can we?”

“Why!? Why is this happening!?”

“You know what you have to do.”

“You were never going anywhere, you fool. This is just the next phase of the journey.”

I might have blanked out for a minute or two when her eyes shut again. She spoke the words to me and I never replied. Then her lids fluttered closed.

I couldn’t tear my stare from the wall beside her bed.

It was by and large the most selfless thing I have ever heard spoken to me by another human being. Especially considering she had been torn open from throat to navel, breastbone broken, insides moved around, and then stitched back together with surgical wire.

I didn’t feel worthy of her presence.

She never said, “Thank you for being here for me.” Or, “I’m so glad you’re here, can I have a hug?” Or, “Help me sit up.” Or, “I’m thirsty.” Or, “It hurts.” Or anything that resembles “normal” everyday dialogue after undergoing major surgery.

She could have said a thousand different things. But through it all, she remained her true self.

“I” believed, that “she” truly believed, “I” didn’t deserve all this heartache, struggle, and pain.

And the difficulties to come.

She wanted me to live my life. Free from those hardships. She was sincere in her statement.

And it literally blew me away.

Regardless of her philosophies on the matter, I internally stuffed away all the dark shadows and taunting demons. I buried all the whispering evil voices back into the deep dark void accompanied by all the other negative energy, and I then knew what I had to do.

I had to help bring her back to life.

When she opened her eyes again, I grabbed her fingers and whispered, “This will be a cake walk. baby. We got this. Do you believe that? I believe that.”

She nods.

“I’m gonna go talk to work and tell them my plan. Then I’ll move things around downstairs, take care of the mutt, and then I’ll be back. You keep resting. If I’m not here, I won’t be far.”

She nods again.

“I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me, and I’m going to help make you better.”

“I know.” She whispered.

We’d get our vengeance on this cruel world, by winning this battle, and the battles unforeseen along the way.

I closed the hospital room door, and the next five months are a disjointed blur.

Thank you for reading and joining me on my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email or feel free to follow me on Twitter @jeremymorang. Please give this a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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