Wednesday, December 31, 2014


December 31, 2014
(No, the title doesn’t stand for Fiscal Year.)

As I sit here on the last evening of the year, I look back on 2014, and I look back at what I was thinking this time last year.

This time last year, I couldn’t wait for ’13 to end. I thought the next year had to be a better one.
If only that had been the case. The year started off horribly. My mother was diagnosed in mid-January with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. She was already in Stage 4, and they said in all likelihood, it didn’t even exist at Thanksgiving. Five weeks after her diagnosis, I was at her funeral.

I had work issues, which I’d gotten used to not having, since I was with Barnes & Noble for so long.

I had money issues.

I miss my daughter horribly, and I couldn’t go visit her nearly often enough due to the money issues.

I usually average a funeral or two a year – members of the Gypsy Motorcycle Club, or other members of the biker community. This year, I lost four people. The club lost more – these were just the people who were close to me. This doesn’t include my mom.

Hell, as I write this, I’m sitting at home, alone, on New Year’s Eve, for the first time ever in my life. Yes, I’ve spent NYE at home before, but not alone. And here’s the kicker: I’m alone by choice. I just don’t have it in me to celebrate the turning of the calendar. I don’t even have it in me to be in the company of other people right now.

I really want to say “Fuck you” to 2014, and to be optimistic about next year. But I did that last year, and it didn’t work so well.

Maybe I should give up on looking at years. Maybe I need to look more immediately. Look at time week by week? Yeah, maybe that’s a better way. It’s easier to say you had an off week without getting depressed about it the way you would (and I have) by saying you had a bad year.

Okay, so, to hell with 2014, but this week isn’t so bad. Hopefully next week will be all right, too. Damn, I hope so.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shut Up, Brain!

At my core, I’m not really a naturally happy person. I’m a worrier by nature. There’s something inherently messed up in my psyche that makes me overthink EVERYTHING. It’s not like I’m down all the time or anything – I do have fun, and I do have light hearted times. But if there’s not a good reason to worry about something and be pessimistic, then my traitorous little subconscious will invent a reason and push it to the foreground of my mental landscape.

Oddly enough, I’m pretty introverted, yet I still care a lot how friends/family/significant others think of me. I don’t really care what other people think. Again, an odd thing is that I seek company and solitude equally. I need my alone time, but also need time with “my people”. Not just any people – my usual opinion is that most of them can piss off.

That worrier thing. It’s had the best of me for a while now. For the last year and a half or so, there have been precious few times that I felt relaxed. Sadly, for most of that time, relaxation required either a long, solo motorcycle ride or the consumption of alcohol. After giving it some thought, I now understand the Zen idea of meditation through an activity. Zen uses things like archery or martial arts; losing yourself in the concentration of the activity. I think some of us achieve the same thing with motorcycles. So, that helps. And when I can’t ride, well – alcohol helps to make those worrying voices in my head shut the fuck up.

Sometimes I feel like I’m being pulled in so many directions, all at once. So many obligations. Too many. It’s like I went to a buffet and overloaded my plate, taking more than I can possibly eat, yet I’m not willing or able to put any of it back, so here I sit. At the table. Over-fucking-whelmed.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve never succeeded at much of anything; everything has been a failure or at most, a “just got by”. Work? Ha! Fail. Relationships? Same, but I’m trying so hard to learn from my mistakes. I think I’m making new ones, but at least I’ve learned to communicate more, so hopefully that’ll help. Parenthood? I feel like I’m an okay father. I think I’ve done the best I could, given the circumstances. I may be wrong about that, but I hope not. I guarantee it’s not for lack of love for my kids. It seems like sometimes the only thing in my life I’ve actually done well at is being a Gypsy. That’s a member of Gypsy Motorcycle Club, not the ethnicity. When I was younger, that was fine, but it doesn’t necessarily help with being a parent, and unlike the MCs on TV and in the movies, it doesn’t pay a salary. With the amount of time I’ve had to work lately, and with what I’m looking at in the future, I don’t know how well I’ll be able to continue performing my duties as an International officer with Gypsy, either.

It feels like all these things: job, second job, debt that I can’t afford to pay, child, other child, club, relationship, living expenses, goals for the future, concerns about family (Mom recently passed, Dad’s not getting younger, an aunt is fighting cancer)…. it’s like each of these things has its own voice, and each one is calling out for my attention, all at once. I have a crowd of concerns inside my head, and each member of that crowd wants me to pay attention to it, NOW! Now, remember I said at the beginning that I’m an introvert. I’m an introvert with a crowd of needy voices all yammering at once.

See why I’m not relaxed most of the time? See why that worrier voice in my head gets so loud? Also, I used to write fairly regularly. I was active on three different social media networks. Now, I only regularly use Facebook, and then it’s usually just sharing stuff others have posted. I think this is the first real thing I’ve been able to write since I wrote about my Mom’s passing.

I don’t know what my purpose here is. I don’t know that there’s a point to any of what I’ve just written. I only know that for the first time in many months, I was inspired to write, and that inspiration didn’t disappear when I sat down at the keyboard. Maybe this will break the seal, so to speak, and I’ll get back to writing more often. Or maybe it’s a one time thing. Who knows?

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment. Or not. Like I said: I’m an introvert, and I’m really doing this for me.

Friday, March 28, 2014

My Mom

Eugenia Rea Whisenant Cadenhead was born on September 4, 1943. She left us on February 16, 2014, and our world is a bit sadder, colder and darker for her absence. Seventy years, five months, and twelve days she lived in this world.  I know she lived a full life, but for us in her family, she could have outlived us all and it wouldn’t have been long enough.

She loved Jesus, her family, reading, and butterflies, in that order. Well, depending on how good the current book was. I’m joking, of course.

She was a giving person. Always thinking of others. When we were younger, we got cards for all different occasions. And I mean ALL different occasions, not just Christmas and Easter – Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Halloween, the Fourth of July. If they had ever marketed Arbor Day cards, we would’ve gotten those, too. She continued the tradition with her grandchildren. Usually with a dollar bill or a check tucked into the card. I thought it was kind of silly when I was younger (in a good way, but still kind of corny), but you know what? You absolutely knew that she was always thinking about you and that she loved you. She mailed birthday cards to almost everyone she knew. I think Hallmark’s stock value probably dropped severely when she discovered that she could download and print her own greeting cards.

Also, speaking of holidays, she didn’t just decorate for Christmas and Halloween. She didn’t go all out, but I remember lots of little holiday themed candles and things around the house for those minor holidays. She liked to do fun little things to brighten our days. I didn’t realize it then – I just thought that’s how it was with everybody. As with so much in life, we really only truly appreciate a lot of stuff in retrospect.

Do I need to mention the butterflies? Man, Mom loved them. I don’t think she had any jewelry other than her engagement and wedding rings that didn’t have butterflies on it. Almost all her clothing had butterflies on it or in the pattern. The wallpaper, kitchen towels, bathroom towels, refrigerator magnets, coffee mugs, wall hangings. For her, there was no such thing as too many butterflies. Dad used to say if all the butterflies in the house suddenly came to life, the house would just fly away. I used to kid her and tell her she had bugs on her shirt. She loved those bugs, though. My brother and I both have a tattoo of a butterfly on a music note – the butterfly represents her, and the note is for my Dad.

She was pretty much a wallflower, not saying a whole lot, not usually drawing attention to herself. Dad did most of the talking. That’s not a criticism of either of them; it’s just their personalities. It would be easy, if you didn’t know her, to mistake her for a pushover. You’d be wrong. She wasn’t quick to anger, but if you ever made her mad… well, trust me. There was no room for doubt. She had a stubborn streak a mile wide, and believe me: you didn’t win an argument with her. One time I made a sarcastic remark to her, just kidding around, while she happened to be watering the houseplants. She turned around, held the pitcher of water over my head, and gave me a look that dared me to keep going. I told her she wouldn’t do it. I knew better -I knew she wouldn’t. I was standing on fairly new carpet that I knew she’d never allow to get wet – we weren’t even allowed to have drinks in the living room. Did I say I knew better? Yeah, I was wrong. The carpet got a little damp, but my head sure was soaked.

Speaking of stubborn, there really isn’t much that’s a strong as a mother’s love. Bless her heart  - I know I put that love to the test a few times in my life, but she never gave up on me, even during times I was ready to give up on myself.
Mom, with my Baby Girl, her fourth grandchild.

There’s obviously a lot more I could say, but we’ll leave it at this. She was a loving, caring mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother, cousin and friend to so many. She loved and celebrated life in ways that I’m only now, in retrospect, noticing. She was, and is, so loved, and she leaves a great big hole in our hearts.
Mom's final resting place.
Gray Awareness Ribbon for brain cancer. Mom lasted about five weeks after diagnosis. Glioblastoma is an ugly, ugly word.

I love you, Mom.