I walk a line between a real life and my heart.
A lying life that betrays my happy beat.
Mine is to be lighthearted in my failures
and flailing attempts at
If only I could knock myself out with some
And awaken in another life, where I’d
and found some measure of success
and real understanding.
Perhaps it is the irony of life’s tragedies
that keep my disposition
It is often not the comedic source I seek.
Rejection takes its toll.
Shhh…if you listen, you can hear,
my heart break.
-Hopefawn Levenson R.
Explore with me the idea that addiction as a syndrome occurs with the basic need for escape. Escape from life, or work, or death, financial troubles, relationships, or the lack thereof, pain or all of the above. When our natural “fight or flight” response is so great that it is desperate for an outlet people find something to throw themselves into.
Some things we use to escape or hide are: gambling, going to the gym, drugs (prescribed or not and that includes alcohol), sex, work, music, video games, football, appearance or shopping. If we try to recognize the need to escape, to flee, it feels like for our very lives; understand that we are not engaging in behaviors for healthy reasons like entertainment, sustenance, medicine, but for the sense of escape – no matter how fleeting that is – which our “addiction” provides, maybe we can get a clue as to what really needs to be addressed in our lives.
We need to ask, what we are escaping from? When we go shopping, drink a rum & coke, eat a box of Oreos, shoot heroine, have an affair, or whatever our choice of escape is, we are running from a severe discomfort in our lives. It’s a reaction we have learned.
We’ve been trained to believe we need to go drink and party and happy hour at the end of the week (TGIF!) or workday (“It’s Miller Time”). And the idea that sex is the key to happiness is force fed to us through every media stream and patriarchal hand-me-downs. We believe that working overtime will get us that wonderful thing some day. Or keep us from facing our hot mess of a life.
What can we do to change it? Introspective searching is appropriate. Ask, do we need a different job? To fix a silence in a friendship? To admit to a wrong, own up to it – take responsibility and try to make changes or amends, so we can forgive ourselves and grow some self-esteem, is a good start. But until we face the fears we are running from, we will continue to run back to the arms of our addictions and unhealthy choices and beliefs.
Only in facing our deepest fears, can we conquer them, love and accept ourselves, and not need the kind of escape we’ve come to believe is our only relief.
Now consider that as a species we cannot afford to run from our fears like addicts anymore. Our world is unraveling economically, socially, politically, and environmentally. Ours will not simply be like the Fall of the Roman Empire. At the most crucial time in our human history, we need to face our fears in a hurry. Extinction is coming for life on Earth as we see the destruction of species after species, by the thousands, every day now, and large swaths of ocean developing growing frightening “dead zones” with no oxygen. We see it in the stories of water contamination in communities around the world. We cannot afford to run from this.
An apocalypse is coming and if we can’t handle our petty lives now, we will not be able to save so much as a time capsule, much less a few Earthlings. We must overcome our fears, our addictions – it’s what we need. It may save the World.
– Hopefawn Levenson Robertson (1/09/18)
A version of this was also printed at: The Ghion Journal
I seek pen to paper.
The connection- tantalizingly different.
It’s the feel of the pen,
the texture of the paper or table or wall on which I scrawl.
It’s the sensation of manipulation with every stippled or sweeping stroke.
It’s the consistency, the viscosity, and smooth glide of ink
as much as it could be in the color or scent, acerbic or
Or the scritching, sand-raspy sound of felt tip, quill or fountain
or the whispering tack of roller ball.
My words fall differently
when a pen is in my hand.
When it is held, hefted, lodged in the crook of the web
between forefinger and thumb,
resting, pressed to middle digit;
they loosen between most words.
Fingers stretch, adjust and
press the point to its mark.
So much more intimate than
the hit and run
stabbing at keys with
tips of fingers
and pausing in thought
at the SPACE BAR
for FAR too long…
Dear Friends & Family,
Tonight begins Rosh Hashanah. One of the holiest Jewish days of the year. It is the New Year, and as I consider what message I would like to send to you; of happy wishes for health and prosperity and happiness for the coming year, I can’t stop thinking about the immediate threats and assaults we face, at this point, everyday.
There are wars we should not be in. There are government heads aligning with ideas and forces that most of us would never consider. We are being pitted against each other when we need each other the most.
So my wish for this new year, is that we seek and find each other. Offer each other solace, kindness and aid, and remember self-care, because it is more important now than ever.
And I wish us all Peace, Love, good Health and most of all a loving Connection to each other. Humanity is all we have to save us here on Earth.
Whether we believe in G-d or the Good Orderly Direction of the Universe, we also need to believe in each other. Forget what divides us and reach out for what we have in common.
We have children. We bleed. We hunger. We are desperate. We are lost. We need homes.
We need health care. We deserve clean water. We deserve a voice. We share a planet.
We are a family. Act with love.
May we all live together well and with love, for 5778.
Toothbrush – compound word, to specify;
there are so many types of brushes.
One would not successfully scrape
plaque from enamel with a paintbrush’s soft
And definitely not to be confused with a
For your information, I mistakenly believed,
most of my life,
that I needed a good firm toothbrush.
And now I find the softer touch is so much
But toothbrushes are like White House Spokesmen;
each bristle at their jobs,
And attempts at their work sometimes results in painful,
albeit quick, extractions –
Could someone turn up the nitrous?
The doctors have muttered about my sugar levels being high for a couple of years, and in the past have simply said, avoid sugar, lose weight, exercise more. But it wasn’t specific enough information, and the term “borderline diabetes” didn’t convey the importance of my situation did not successfully impress me.
My new doctor thinks I’m melodramatic. She’s never said this out loud, nonetheless, it’s in the nodded tilt of her head and wan smile when I say things like, “I feel like I’m at a tipping point where, either I will help myself or I will just continue to fail slowly.” I am living with my symptoms and very conscious of the uncomfortable changes in my body.
From changes in my eyesight to bouts of nausea, malaise, lack if energy, and having to pee all the time – even at night. Every night. Once to thrice. I don’t sleep well. I am all to conscious of how diabetes affects the heart and kidneys and nervous system. My mom was diagnosed with diabetes at 51 and died very shortly after her 60th birthday. I’ve read that the disease cuts an average of 8.5 years off a person’s life. I’m 56 now and have enough love in my life that I can’t see 8-10 years as being enough time left in my life.
Apparently I’ve been eating too much sugar all my life. Most of us do. Since I’ve been reading labels looking for the sugars in our food, I find it everywhere. It’s almost as prevalent as dust. How frustratingly difficult it is to cut fat and sugar in the American diet. All of the processed foods have increased/added sugar, sodium, and fats. I now try to avoid most processed foods. But they crop up in our kitchen when I have to go to the food pantry to supplement our budget. “Beggars can’t be choosers” ya know. Apparently we just die younger.
I am on the hunt for healthy carbs, fiber, protein rich foods with little to no sugar and fat. Et tu, avocado…banana…? And sample menus. And recipes for tasty foods that mind the sodium, sugar and fats…without fake sugars – because I can taste the difference and I dislike it intensely, AND I personally believe all those chemicals aren’t good for me either. Come along on my journey to avoid high-fructose corn syrup, refined and processed wheat products and sugars, and not only partially hydrogenated oils, but slashing fat consumption in half and (almost) never adding salt to my foods. Suggestions, feedback, and questions are always welcome.
Here’s my first suggestion. This downloadable pdf article by Adam Brown (@adambrown1), on the “diaTribe” site, has seemingly useful info and a worksheet for my personal 10 commandments of eating. It’s important to learn what strategies for handling my food exist so I can tailor what’s out there to my needs. There are also some great tips on everyday challenges like which foods are appropriate and portable? How to more simply dine out and be more successfully mindful of healthier foods. How to avoid tempting unhealthier foods right in front of me.
Adam Brown (@adambrown1) has also written a diabetes guide called “Bright Spots & Landmines -The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me” and is available in paperback, Kindle and a PDF: Bright Spots & Landmines
Bright Spots & Landmines review in the next installment of “Damn Self”.
Rocking that baby,
She held her swollen belly,
To sleep, to sleep… sleep.
Rocking that baby-
Like malignant pregnancy,
Keening high, whimpers.
She mewled kitten soft,
Tiny moans, worked tenterhooks
Gingerly for ease.
No longer knees high,
desperate kneading fingers,
Nor rocking Baby.
She drifts to Twilight,
Pointing us toward miracles.
Hopefawn Levenson Robertson
Homeostasis like the
Mirage of oasis
From a parched dune
Beneath arid moon
And glare of sun
Hopefawn Levenson Robertson