Empty…or is it a mental exorcism?

If I was to attempt to put how I feel into words, I would say that I am empty.

Nothing, nada, zip.

Just a husk of what used to be a thriving individual.

It won’t always be this way, nor is it wrong to feel like you are nothing more than a soulless zombie stumbling through life with no other interest than existence.

If the coffee is hot and the wifi is free, I should be fine.

Before people start sending out search parties and dropping sage advice like “call the suicide hotline” let me clarify my position. This is just a comedic writing exercise or a mental exorcism. Either way, there is no reason to worry. I’m fine.

Why do I feel empty? I haven’t had a bowel movement in days. In no way should I feel empty, rather, I should be bloated like a dead whale washed up on the shores of Oregon (you must see that video on YouTube!)

Ah well, life goes on. I have no choice but to walk the path laid out before me.

Mental exorcism complete.

Freeman out.

Powerless….

I am powerless to change what is.

Welcome to my mind tonight, it is a madhouse in here so buckle up.

The revelation that I am powerless to impact anything concerning another human being is a humbling feeling. Each of us are entitled to our own feelings on a subject or person. Whether it is love, career or any other aspect of life, we can only operate within certain confines of this reality. At no point are we able to change a person to meet our perspective or need. We can influence people to lean a certain way to see our point of view, but that is not the same as changing their mind or feelings about life.

So, why is my mind spinning with this madness tonight? I have no idea. Everything was fine and then BAM! I was blindsided by this crap. I am going to have to let go of everything. It is as clear as a cloudless day. What entails letting go of everything? I suppose I could list it out but summarizing it in a few sentences would be best. Letting go of everything means that I need to leave certain situations to the whims of fate. In no way should I be attempting to “fix” anything. Therefore, it is imperative that I remove myself from every part of life that requires me to exercise any sphere of influence or control.

I am not angry tonight. Resignation seems to be my mood for some strange reason. Mentally, I am tired, exhausted even. Everyday presents a new challenge.  While I like a good challenge, enough is enough already. A guy can only take so much crap without losing his temper on the next available target. If I could only turn off my brain, then I could reset my status to single and unavailable.

God did not give us the power to shut off our brain. It seems we are hardwired to overthink, overstress, and over complicate the smallest events that crop up in our day to day life. He did not create us to change others to suit our needs or desires either. Therefore, if my logic is sound, I should stop crying and get over it already. After all, I am powerless to change what is.

Freeman out.

Solitude….

It is morning here in North Mississippi. After a fretful evening, I was able to drift off to sleep for a bit. My mind is quiet, no thoughts of “what if” are clanging around and giving me an ulcer. I am safe from myself for the time being.

Hindsight shows that I never should have left the solitude that I had created through the years after my divorce. However, I can create it again. Some people think that you can’t grow if you never risk pain, or that you can’t find love without going through heartache. To each their own I suppose. I don’t particularly care for pain, therefore, I am okay with never experiencing it again.

Plenty of people make a good living passing off advice and informing us that being emotionally stifled is dangerous. “You can’t let anger build up! It’s bad for your heart and sanity!” I heard this crap for over ten years. I toiled tirelessly to build the walls that kept my heart from being vulnerable. It took one year to undo the work that I had put in to keep me safe. It took another to completely decimate my emotional state. It seems that I am not happy unless I destroy my life and set it on fire. Then I sit out in the yard and make smores over the embers of what is left. “I will rise from the ashes like a phoenix!” Yeah, that will not be the case this time.

It is 0630 and all is well.

I suppose I should get my act on the road. There is plenty of time for writing later, I have other things I must do today. You guys take care of yourselves. Fortune favors the bold! Carpe diem and all that crap.

Freeman out.

Light….

I am lying in my bed. It is almost midnight, my room is dark but something catches my eye. In the oppressing darkness, light cuts through the inkiness. My mind has been troubled all night, but this little nugget of truth brought a smile to my face. “No matter how dark the situation is, light shows the way to a brighter tomorrow.”

Good night.

Failure to Launch….

Iuka, Mississippi early 80’s:

This sleepy little town is settled in the North-East quadrant of Mississippi. A shirt and shoe factory passes for industry in this small town. People drive from Alabama to labor in these factories. It is a simple life, but a happy life. However, this town is experiencing a boom, the federal government has promised to bring in a nuclear reactor! Jobs are promised, a life of prosperity is envisioned, and a bright future is on the horizon. The Yellow Creek nuclear plant is going to make life better! By 1985, the project is dead, and the envisioned prosperity is a pipe dream.

Iuka, late 80’s:

NASA has decided to move into Iuka to develop new solid rockets for their spacecraft. Once again, Iuka is the site chosen for this project. Again, the promise of prosperity is envisioned. A sign hangs outside of a convenience store that reads: Will the last person out of Iuka please turn out the lights?” Money begins to flow into the town again. Promised jobs and a bright future looms on the horizon. The town is abuzz with excitement due to the promise of security and revenue. Prices skyrocket and people do not mind because the future is bright. Locals provide the unskilled labor and life is good. Communities are planned, homes are built, new cars and boats are purchased. Engineers and scientist from all over America moves into the sleepy town. 1.5 billion dollars is invested by NASA. In 1993, the funding is killed, and the project dies at 80% complete. Once again, the residents of Iuka is left holding the bag.

Twice this town has been promised a bright future, and twice the federal government has pulled the carpet out from under the residents of this town. This town is evidence of the out of control wastefulness of the government. The buildings that were meant to house NASA and their rockets now sit idle. One and a half billion dollars later there is nothing to show for the money invested. What was meant to be a game changer for the northern part of Mississippi is nothing more than a painful memory of what should have been. The entire fiasco is nothing more than a failure to launch.

What is the future for this small town? It has been labeled “a retirement community.”  History is part of this town; Civil War battles were fought in this area. However, the opportunity to be brought into the modern age has been torn from the fingers of the people of Iuka. As time passes by, bitterness has seeped into the perspective of those that live here. The adage that seems to fit this situation is this: Don’t count your chickens until they’ve hatched. Residents of Iuka can attest to this fact. This small community is still attempting to recover from promises of the federal government that failed to launch them into prosperity. One waits with bated breath to see what the future holds for the residents of this small town.

Small town heaven….

Last night I was poisoned.

As I cut open my veins and bled over the pages, I felt the poison seep out of my system. Anger, frustration, stress and a smidge of rage oozed out on the pages of my writing. Each typed word cleaned the venom out of my heart. It will not be shared on my blog. Rather, I will stockpile it and then destroy it. When this is done, my process will be complete. To give you an example of how toxic the environment was, I will tell you what I started writing about last night. My blog last night was going to be about small-town living. Instead, it turned out to be about avoidance and the downside of living in a small town.

Therefore, I will make this a blog about the town that I live in and show my affection for Small Town, USA. I live in a small town of about 400 souls. What I like most about this small town is the peace and quiet. When I wake up in the mornings the crickets are up and belting out their tune. Soon, the sparrows and cardinals will be fluttering about, searching for their breakfast. You would be hard pressed to hear my neighbors; we all leave a small carbon footprint in our neighborhood. If you are an outdoors type of individual, this would probably be paradise for you. There are lakes a-plenty to fish in, hiking trails are littered about, and wildlife stalks the woods. It is truly God’s country here.

Once upon a time, I fell in love with the town of Estes Park. It is in Colorado, and to this day my love affair with this small mountain town continues. I once went on a Tinsel Tavern Tour of this town. What a fun night that was! It was where I had a Blueberry Beer. I spent hours hiking the Rocky Mountain National Park. Inspiration comes easy in a place like Estes Park. I partook in a 5k event in the middle of winter just to be in this town. My memories of this small mountain community brings a smile to my face. It truly is a blessing to be part of a close-knit community.

In small towns around the world there are several things that we have in common, but each community is different. Generally, there is a table with a group of old men gathered around it talking about the one that got away, cars they once owned and the worst jobs they ever had. Neighbors are friendly, helpful and full of gossip. If you need to be brought up to date on the latest happenings all you must do is listen. Small business owners greet you with a genuine smile, and then charge you an arm and a leg for their goods because Walmart is thirty minutes away. Still, small towns have their charms and it is not lost on me. I am ever grateful to have been raised a small-town boy.

Freeman out.

A slice of heaven….

18 October 2011: People are crowded outside of the courthouse in the breezy, fall air.  My mother and I sit quietly in the van as people pass by and never seem to notice us. My mom takes a sip of her coffee from her go-cup and I nervously look at the watch on my left wrist.

“It will be over today son.”

Scoffing under my breath, I nod my head. Words fail to come out of my mouth, and my heart is burdened. “What is going to happen to my children?” Finally, it is time for my appointment. I reach for the door handle, and my mom lays her hand on my arm. “It’s okay son. Things will be fine.” Pushing my unwanted weight to the right, I exit the van and slowly make my way toward the courthouse.

The judge is a young man. He looks like he is barely out of his teens. He enters the room and we both stand; he sits down and clears his voice. “Do both parties agree?” My wife nods her head and replies yes. I agree as well. He looks at both of us and proceeds with the business at hand.

“Mr. Freeman, you will pay 775 dollars child support until your children are 19, your Jeep payment will be your alimony, you will provide insurance for both children and you will pay their college tuition.” I nod.

Welcome to the day when I lost everything.

December 2015:

“I can’t make it. There is no way that I can afford 700 dollars for a one-bedroom apartment. What am I supposed to eat, air?” I reach for my phone and call my parents.

“Mom, I need to move home. They want 700 bucks a month for this run-down crap I am living in.”

I hear hushed conversation in the background, and then my mother comes back on the phone.

“Come home son.”

January 2016:

I arrive in North Mississippi with a heavy heart, and a wounded spirit. I didn’t bring a lot of stuff with me, just a few clothes, my PlayStation 4, and some games. Moving in was easy. As I prowled around, trying to get a feel for my new habitat, I felt resentment well up in my heart. “If people weren’t so greedy, I could have stayed in Colorado!” However, as time passed by, I grew accustomed to my new stomping grounds. “It’s not bad here, just different.”

January 2017:

“Son, sit down and talk to your dad. He has something he wants to offer you.”

Pouring a cup of coffee, I walk to the couch and sit down. My dad is watching the western channel, and I watch a bit of it with him. Finally, my dad looks at me.

“Would you like to buy this house and the land that goes with it?”

I look at my father incredulously. Taking my hand, I wipe my mouth and glance around the room.

“Dad, I don’t think I can afford it. How much do you want for it?”

“I didn’t ask you that! I asked if you wanted to buy it.”

“Yes dad, I want to buy it.”

We agree on a price (his price) and suddenly I am a homeowner again. The pain of loss all those years ago is forgotten in the ensuing excitement that I felt inside.  Once again, I have my own Ponderosa. My own personal slice of heaven. It is amazing how quickly things can change in your life.  The cabin that I purchased is small, but it is big enough for me. The acreage that came with the house is alongside and to the front of my home is teeming with wildlife. Every morning I walk to the end of my porch and watch the sun come out of hiding. In a word, life here is perfect. The sound of the occasional car is the only sign that life exists outside of my Fortress of Solitude. Robins and sparrows sing, the piercing gaze of red tail hawks stalk rats in my pasture, and the deer will often stop by to visit. Life is good.

Freeman out.