Highs and masks and cycles

I knew it wouldn't last. Couldn't. That marvelous birthday high on which I floated above worry and bickering and never enough sleep and always too much to do. Real life isn't lived on such puffy clouds, above the storms and never in them. Blissful times like those are marvelous reprieves, and I'm sorry to sink back through the rainy gray to the muddy earth waiting to soil my shoes and make a mess of things everywhere.

Here, on terra firma, the pools of stress and tired and busy and unknown lap at my heels and my psyche. I push them away by lunching with friends and making cards for teachers and mothers day, by helping at school and exercising and cooking. And yet, I have lived long enough to know that the best way to get rid of darkness is to turn on a light.

On Monday, a Roman friend talked of various culture shock experiences she's had. In Hong Kong, the constricted personal space in public, in the States the realization that when most people asked, "How are you?" they didn't really want to hear "Well, not so good. My knees hurt, and I'm worried about X." "Fine" or "Good" were the expected and preferred answers.

The mask. The mask we learn to put on to keep things pleasant, for ourselves and others.

Last month, a friend in town from the west coast came for a quick visit before heading back. Buoyant, smiling, she was "fine" until I pushed a bit, truly wanting to know if "fine" sufficiently described things. Not so "fine" as it turns out. The murky waters were lapping at her heels and psyche too. As they often are for so many of us.

In my struggle to understand what anyone sees in Donald Trump as a candidate for PRESIDENT of OUR COUNTRY, I can only figure that in him they see someone who encourages them to unmask and express the feelings and concerns that swirl deep within. While I don't support his candidacy, platform (what little of one he has), personality, hair, or attitude, I understand the allure of someone who seems to cut to the chase and cast aside bullshit. Masks get hot and heavy after a while.

I threw mine to the curb a while ago. Well, it was more a progressive chucking than a single action, but you get my drift. Being done with a masked approach to hard spells doesn't make them less unpleasant, but I am now able to see patterns, better understand causation, and know that brighter times and even cloud-sitting will cycle back around at some point.