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-Personal blog for Janika Banks.
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Friday, November 25, 2016

dishing on my messy life

This is Thanksgiving Eve with a disability. It was originally the most beautiful swirled mocha cheesecake I'd ever made, a first time experiment with a gluten-free crust. I don't share that much, but this is the kind of nerve fail in my arms I'm fighting to hold at bay. I've been told that once I lose especially ulnar in my left arm, I won't be getting it back. I have destroyed my phone case dropping it so many times, despite taping it back together several times, but since my phone still brilliantly works, that is one helluva good phone case protecting my phone.

I remember sending you a story about a dream I had where I watched a life from beginning to end. Not knowing who it was, passing judgment on that life. Then finally being reconnected with my memories to find that I had judged myself. No matter how hard I tried to think up a reason of how this was unfair, I could not.


My cousin and I have very interesting convos, like no other person I've met. We've both had near death experiences, DTs from severe withdrawals, and close enough childhoods to be able to compare really deep personal meanings we've come away with.

This was the other half of that cheesecake. I've taken things out of the oven a million times, and I assumed this would go per usual, except this time my left hand couldn't make a grip at all in that position, and without warning (there was no pain), there she went, and my right hand was all that barely saved that 350 degree dish from burning me or careening across the kitchen.

I have always loved the debate over the existence of God, because it is unsolvable, even with logic. I was taught to debate from a very young age, and although it's taken me years to let go of using it as a cat and mouse toy on other people, I still love it inside my head. Sometimes I try every way I can to prove God cannot exist (for fun and games, I am not an atheist by birth, or even by nature, as I have found out), but physics keeps changing my footing. I used to be able to stop at If there is no life after death and this universe is all that there is and we are made of and from this universe and nothing else, then we should not be able to conceive or believe in anything or anyone else after life, yet so much of the world does.

I unfolded the saved bit and dug around taking a few bites, and it was pretty awesome cheesecake. I had marbled the lighter coffee swirls and darker chocolate swirls like art, and had used the only cream cheese I had to construct it. This was it. So yeah, I stood there at the stove and ate some after I walked off for 5 minutes on the pissy edge of tears. I'm not very good at self pity and why me, though, so it didn't take long to turn into a pig.

We are learning there is so much more to this universe that I have to keep tacking on provisional statements. For example, the Ancient Alien theories suggest that humans were part of a long galactic history of DNA experimentation, with growing evidence to support that. If aliens were posing as or mistaken as gods and could bring humans back to life via resuscitation, naturally this could be jumbled into a mistaken afterlife concoction. Like that. I allow for side jaunts into all kinds of logic that would still support my main supposition even though the side jaunts are questionably- questionable...

@bonenado was awesome and cleaned up the mess after it cooled. You can see I'm really hard on my oven, lots of broiling and spattering, but oh so yum. He got in there and spiffed it up while I stood off to the side sampling the other half of the mess. We were making crazy funny jokes and laughing our heads off. He always saves my days.

Anyway, over a long time I'm kinda sifting down to a couple of conclusions. There is no logic for the fail we feel over broken relationships at death after decades of not fixing them, and there is no logic for dreams like my cousin shared with me about the kind of life review judging we dread. Notice that both these things are very strictly subjective and usually unexpected. We question these things. We don't know why they happen, and we see nothing in this universe around us, even incorporating the latest physics, that allows or explains why we feel sad and guilty when everything else is stripped away and we are left standing alone before God, as it were. And it's not even that God is the vindictive one. We are the ones who recognize we f*d up. We are the ones who, at the very end of things when time has run out and despite all the other wishes and dreams and regrets we ever had, judge ourselves based on the deeds we did while we were here.

Nothing else.

This was Thanksgiving morning. Right hand this time, grip completely relaxed without warning after cracking the egg for scrambled eggs. I've worked very hard for years on learning to hold my hands differently, using both hands together, standing over areas so I'll stop dropping bottles full of tiny pills all over the floor, plus 4 years of physical therapy. This is life. I need assistance with so many things. When a handicap button to a heavy door doesn't work, I can't get into a building. It's that simple. I'm sharing this part of my life to help some of you understand the challenges holidays can be for people you know but don't really think about. Get up and help people do their dishes after they've cooked for you. If it's a drag for you to clean, imagine the drag it was for them creating the mess and then having to clean up after you. You know what love is, Charlie Brown?
14 Simple Ways Peanuts Taught Us What Love Is (click)

Here are the books.
Love is Walking Hand in Hand
   (1965 edition)
Happiness is a Warm Puppy
Peanuts Guide to Life

From The benevolent God of the funny papers

Throughout his life, Schulz constructed himself as the put-upon target of others' ridicule or indifference, from schoolyard bullying to the plaint, repeated well into old age, that no one loved him. Michaelis identifies the artist's "lifetime inclination to conceal hurt and the harsher emotions that follow on it, the better to brood upon them"; but as he also shows, that hurt was often illusory, the betrayal a figment: no one else recalls the bullying, and Schulz was indeed loved deeply and well by many. Yet, perhaps due to the premature loss of his mother, he nursed forever the symbolic wound of emotional and social rejection. "Arrested, bitter," Michaelis writes, "he spent a startling amount of time over nearly 60 years polishing a cameo of boyish helplessness and frustration." It's a puzzle worth puzzling over: the stunted boy's resentment of a cold, motherless world takes perfect creative form in the hopeful, searching Charlie Brown.

Getting ready for holidays in Mirkwood.

My biggest fail is an auto anger response that flares up over way too many triggers, clear back to childhood. The resulting fallout from that is sadness and depression. I'm trying very hard to change that response. Life is way too short and we have way too much to lose for me to hang onto being petty and hurt. Since so much of this response is both genetic and trained into me from birth (and I would argue might even be the survival tactic that helped me make it this far), it's hard retraining my brain to let go of it. Feeling sorry for myself or being angry about something I have no control over isn't useful. It's actually even wasteful of resources and drains me.

I wish these could stay up all year.

I think the important thing is, now that I recognize I can attempt to control some of this emotional chaos within me, that I apply it before it's too late and I regret later that I didn't try. At the end I want to be able to say I'm glad I was here, I loved my people, and I think I did ok, even if it's illogical and there really is no God or life after death. That doesn't change that I want there to be, and that I want to go on learning and doing and being in a variety of new ways. I definitely don't want to spend my deathbed moments feeling sad or disappointed in myself because I dismissed the important stuff while I had the chance.

I can't go out on sappy. Here you go.



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