The Good and Bad Journey That is LIFE

by Stormy Lee Monday

Life's a trip, man. I know it affects everybody different. Some people just get it handed to 'em...on a platter...filled with goodies. Treated like a little porcelain doll bout to fall of the table like  fragile glass…

Hmmm...Wonder what that's like? I never  had that one. That’s a life experience I know nothing about. Mr. Green-behind-the-ears on that! I always wondered about something. Do you get a bucket of shallow with that stuff? Ya know, a little slap on the behind and a couple'a atta-boys.  

Ha ha, funny man.   Alright, I'm being a tad bit facetious and just a notch past cynical...ya know,  like an ol' river rat. Cool, cool, I'll slide back.

Now look, Is it just me or , well, here's the thang...why is it that you gotta get drug through the mud, slapped around, beat like a dog, kicked in the face, and cut like a log...just for a thug  to realize you ain't playin', in fact, you fo shore, deeper than any deep they ever knew and they are you... 7 lifetimes ago. Then,  you gotta pull Mr. Bonecrunch and  Evil out to shake ol' boy's senses right.

When all you really want to do is breathe in the air,  touch a special someone, do a  double check,  make sure your soul's still there. Just sit on a beach, run your fingers through the warm, warm sand, stare out into the Heavens, makin' sure your livin’ with success rolled in a plan.

Life's a trip, man. Let me give you a hand.   Let me touch your thinking and thoughts for a few moments in time.

It’s the right thing to sit back and ponder all your possibilities. See, I'm a ponderer, too. I sit back, like, think about this, some mysterious stranger in the midst of some serious ass chess game, like, maybe you,  watching the soldiers, the pawns, bishops, rooks, knights, all with their different strategies, smooth plays, tactics,  manipulations and pathways. Each in a different playing field, different set of rules, different morals, standards, closet secrets and perceptions of how we think it is, as opposed to how it really may be.  

Then, we have, all the queens making their moves and we’re so mindful of the smooth and careful and sometimes, not so careful, moves coming back. Ever so surely, the silent moves come. We’ve all got that player in us, really, now don’t  we, really. Don't lie.

The seductive and sexy felines, so cleverly, but cautiously calculating four or five moves out. The men, smooth, some clumsy, some with their chests pumped out, nervous that their manhood may be challenged. Many, just praying their manhood will be challenged, to highlight their prowess.  Kings of the jungle! The bad-boys. You know who you are! Don't we?  But, really, who's the hero here? You know, the real man?

 What really matters? Trust me on this one. What really matters, for real, can't see that  with your eyes. It's invisible.

It's not whipping anybody's behind, cuttin' somebody's throat, or shootin' anybody dead. And it doesn't shine when the lights come on. It’s not the muscle-ripped, six-pack wielding, tall, dark and half drunk smooth talkin’, big smilin’ sexy man charmin’ Miss Fancy Pants and out on the town,  into bed.

No… It's who you really are inside. When the lights are out or the stranger needs a dollar. There’s nobody looking cuz you're in a room all alone and the mirror's all you got.  Well, the mirror and that little steadfast voice inside your soul whispering guidance to your better sense of reasoning. Better listen and, crafty, smooth friend, you  better listen well.  Time in a cell is Hell. Did you hear me? Say that with me!

Time in a cell is Hell. If you don't give your freedom more than a second thought, go without it for awhile. Then, only then, will the taste of free life, filled with reckless abandon, be it's absolute sweetest. Each singular moment savored like the sweetest moment in your mind, lingering with the juices of sweet, sweet honeydew. I know a few, seasoned with time, sprinkled with all resounding knowledge, flavored with life- types are out there. Thinking twelve moves out!  Might be you. Could be matter, they are there…and they are so experienced by the ways of the scarred path, the dark, lonely  way.

So many,  so beaten down to no avail. The hardened resonance emanating with their mere presence. Not asking for respect because the desire within others  to respect them emanates from their very nature, their very presence.  Hoping the misguided nature of puppeteers find their own truth. Demanding their space, their inner space, their self-respect.
Life is a trip!

My emotions run the gamut. See, for me, the reality I grew accustomed to has changed. A couple of decades of sitting across a big table of laughing children, watching the wife set the pies out on the stove to cool while I cut the turkey – this will deeply affect a man.

A childhood filled with those memories is like pouring concrete to form a sidewalk. It doesn't matter how many people walk on that sidewalk, it doesn't matter how long they walk on it...those memories, like that concrete, don't go away. The concrete don't leave, man. The memories don't leave.  It's part of the land, part of the path, part of the life.

I'm blessed to have children and I'm thankful NOW that when I was younger, I spent some hard years inside a maximum security prison. It really was hell. That first day when you walk through those iron clad gates, you're scared, man. If a man says he ain't scared on that first trip through the clothing house to get fitted for the prison clothes, he's flat out lyin'.

A man's a man! I get that. Nobody will ever disrespect me or mine. Not without war! I'm a man, so, yes, I get that.  But, walking through the gates of Hell, 5th gear red alert, all flags up and adrenalin shootin' straight out yo behind! If you’ve ever been there, you know what I'm sayin'.

Then everyday after that. No smiling, no happiness ever...all signs of weakness. Gladiator school! Knuckle-bust and cut'em up! I know.  I'm thankful to have survived it, but, mostly, the hell of that  hole reminds me daily how beautiful it feels to be free.

Were it not for that memory, well, truth is, I'd be in prison for the rest of my creative, witty, spontaneous and adventurous life. Losing true, deep and beautiful love is hard. It sure was hard for me, anyway. It’s really painful, beyond understanding unless it’s actually happened to you. Then…you know.

What I do know is, life has its moments now. Transition from 18 years of a true love into single life and just the whole trip is, well, for me, a trip. Many of you, I'm sure, relate to what I'm saying, and many understand what I'm feeling.  Periods of deep despair that seem to dissipate with time. I fight it and fight it, but, it slips up and grabs me, ever now and then... and there I am. Depressed and reminding myself freedom IS the key to a better life. Without it, well, without FREEDOM,  your dreams are framed in cold, senseless, miserable concrete, literally, hell on earth.

So, I move through this, like all of you. I read how you are thankful for this and  you’re thankful for that,  lights are going up on the CHRISTmas trees, then lights come down  and all the travels to see family are filled with old memories, new memories and joy.

I've been down all those roads and God knows I miss them. I know time is healing my soul more and more as time passes. I’m okay now. I really am. It’s been two long, miserable and difficult years for me since losing my true love. Believe me, I'm worlds away from that emotional nightmare – and feeling better and happier all the time. There’s that word again. Time. Time heals all the hurting souls. It does, doesn’t it? Time, time, time, in time, we'll all be fine, right.

 Just really remember, life does go on and someday, I have to believe I will meet someone that will make me realize why my marriage had to end. I'm not looking anymore.

I've decided to let go and let God.

I’m deeply into just raising my son, Storm.  Man, I'm thankful. I'm thankful God gave me enough intelligence to realize a marriage that ends up in divorce, like everything you mess up, in life...these are all learning tools. They're all learning tools. As painful and hurtful as they may be, they are tools to improve who we are, as time moves forward.

Anyway, my new readers,  I'm thankful for my God-given  skills and I'm thankful I've had moments in  life that were so special and memorable,  that I yearn for the beauty of that again.

So, friends, don't throw in that wet, sloppy, depressing towel on me yet and I won't throw in the towel on you either.

 Life really is like  a big, juicy apple. You got to peel away the outside to get to the fruit, to the good parts, to the tasty stuff. The part worth having we all hear about!  Well, I've been peeling quite a lot lately. I've been doing just that. I've been peeling into some layers...some deep ones and you know what?

 I'm finding life, with its ups and downs, its highs and lows, its garbage, and yes, its beautiful joy, its pain, its hurt and all the mushy stuff, too. It’s still life,  it's still a gift and I'm still for every bit of  that.  God-willing. I'm still for that. I hope each and every one of you, are, too.

Till next time, this is the one, true, original “maniac man”, saying,  much love … and remember…any day above ground is a great day.

You’ve been  “Inside the Eye” with Stormy Lee Monday.

Look for my stories in each and every issue of Peoria Life!