A State of Mind…#414

A State of Mind –

I never believed

that I should be

immune to grief.

I accepted that

living in a

constant state of

unhappiness

conditioned me

to think it would

be my world my

existence.

I begin a journey

that I did not have

a “lifetime” to seek

the answers and

understanding now

it is urgent. We must

live within our own

schedule; we all

experience grief: we

can’t define it the same

way.

Whether a lifetime

or only moments, days

what causes grief are

many times the death

of those we love. But it

all results in one word:

finality.

When we lose, we

grieve happiness and

grief go hand in hand,

my grief

comes in the

form of abuse,

Both physical

and mental. Of

never being

wanted, this

has caused a lifetime

of anguish.

Nevertheless, the

child in me cannot

heal, so I allow her to

grieve, and I have given

her permission to recover

in her own time, if

possible. After all,

somewhere within, I

am still that child

who wanted desperately

to please, hear that I

mattered, and I, as a

grown-up, must now

search for the answer

to, “Who am I.”

A painful death

awaits me, I live

one day at a

time, life is slipping

away with no

answers. Art,

painting, prose,

and poetry from

the first to the

last word. When

Nature in all her

nakedness brings

us to our knees,

through storms with

rain, lightning, and

Fallen trees and

tornado-shaped

leaves that defeat

us?

It is not learning,

poise or grace,

but knowing that

touch of pain and

fear. That making

creation thinks.

When in this world’s

unpleasing youth,

your god-like race

began, the most

extended arm, the

sharpest tooth gave

man control.

Dig into a bruised

and bitten bone

that was taught

by pain and you

have learned that

with the deadly

stone, that “He”

felt on that far-off

shore, when

jabbed by the

singing spear.

When bone against

bone, tooth, and bone

were a means against

a foe. Man was bored

by consistent defeat.

some mind built the

stone and javelin

proved as vain as the

old-time bone against

bone, man fashioned

how to kill as he rose

from fear and pain.

Spurred anew by

fearful cries of terror

embedded deep

within the ancient

millions were killed

for one leader who

taught through fear,

soon the armor

disappeared then

the sword, bow and

pike, and the smoke

of battle cleared,

all men armed with

bombs were alike.

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Broken Bones and Tainted Blood…#412

Broken Bones and Tainted Blood

The screams are silent in your mind

silent to the world

Instant Insanity

Shattered –

Crushed –

Tainted –

Misery at its worse

Mind open to emotional

Tortured Screams within

Bringing the self-mind to

Unthinkable thoughts

Paranoid and unknown

People move about

Unknown unbelievable actions.

The mind searches for a way.

Run, run, run away

Fear clouds the mind and

The spirit, you – are hostage

In this place of grief, a

Room with no doors.

Something shredding the soul

Your body is moving objects

Make a sphere of death

cold? I hear and see s line

of trombones soulfully marching

into the distance.

The red rain fills the space and covers

the floor. Finally, madness rules

over the mind. You will swim for

eternity in the bloody vexation of the

soul.

copyright©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Searching for a Miracle…#410

Searching for a Miracle …

It feels like a cold rain pounding at my heart

these hours before dawn. The grief is

fierce as it raises and consumes my spirit,

assaulting my senses. Memories emerge from

the darkness, becoming one with my soul.

In the depths of my wounded courage, I am

listing in a sea of sorrow, my life filled with

more grief than many can bear.

It is the hard cold times before departing

this misery. I search for a miracle; hope

merges with despair; my destiny is to

leave all I have ever loved. There are times

when I am uncertain and afraid. Hope

has expired. Sometimes waves of anger

and fear hang above me, like a cloud

circulating over the earth.

Many times, I speak of death. Although

much is written about grief, soft words

are meant to calm the grieving heart.

Some will say how lovely words are,

and I doubt this is true. Yet, I sometimes

hear the elderly; talk of death until they

see their own grave beyond the horizon.

Grief is not calm and lovely; the words

do not stop the pain. Words penetrate the

brain, shattering the heart. Most are choked

with emotions under the flesh where the

heart is sheltered by outward suffering;

they close their eyes, hoping to find peace

before disappearing.

The grief therapist in my group believes

the words that enter the ears will have

comforted the unhappiness. Grief has no

place to hide! We all grieve in our own

time, short, long, or forever; we just stop

talking about it. I mourn my daughter,

parents, and only sibling, friends. I miss

them all. I wait, soon, very soon!

Copyright©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Books by the author at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com…

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Living With Multi Myeloma…#409

Sharing with my followers a page from my daily diary…

A myeloma diagnosis can drastically affect the quality of one’s life. The disease gives me a feeling of isolation and being alone.

Myeloma has had a significant effect on the quality of my life, as well as my emotional well-being. I am managing it and have a close and meaningful relationship and conversations with my doctor. She has me on treatments that work and is slow in progression. She is my “rock.”

“Quality of life” is a broad term that describes a range of topics on exactly how myeloma affects the quality of my life or anyone’s life. Despite the impact of myeloma, I do everything humanly possible to make living with the condition more manageable.

About 99% of the time, I feel anxious and depressed, and stressed. I find it hard to exercise; mostly, it is slow walking, along with everyday chores in my apartment. I have no social life; it is difficult when you must ask someone else to drive you anywhere, including doctor and treatment appointments. I feel that most days, I am isolated and alone.

My circle of people has grown smaller over the past two years. I try not to let that stress me out, as stress is a killer too. On top of all the things that harm one who has MM is the unrelenting pain; it never goes away; it goes up and down in degrees. Like the medical team that works with me, always ask on a scale of 0 to 10 how your pain is. I always answer that it depends on what time of day it is and what I have done to aggravate my body. On a good day, my pain level is a 5; on a bad day, it is off the charts.

I know my doctor is trying to slow down the disease. I have great emotional support from most of my children and grandchildren; they have become why I continue to fight. The disease has also caused the family to pull away. I do not fault them; watching a loved one slowly die must be very difficult. My sons and grandchildren allow me to talk to them about my dying. Everyone should stop thinking that death is all I truly know to be certain in my life. Dying is like a divorce; no one wants to talk about it, hoping it will go away, that time will take care of it.

I write this to hope that if you have someone in your life that has or is dying from any disease or reason when these relatives ask, you say, “I am OK?” Well, that means that we are in control of the pain. It never goes away.

The dying individual does not want pity; they do not want anything but your love. They want ask for anything but listen if they talk to you. Take the time to remember that they were once active people who have been thrown into the pits of fiery hell because of their sickness.

May each of you have a great Wednesday. E.

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Casualties of the Times…#408

It’s turning cool in Wisconsin; the mornings are damp, with the sun showing its face late in the afternoon. When the day grows dark, the moon looks like it is covered with ice, light in the distance where life does not exist. Then, the body finds comfort in the warmth of the day. Today I watched a TV program about homelessness; it’s crucial to remember that homeless people are our brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, parents, and children.

(Based on internet statistical information)

©Every night, more than 300,000 men, women, and children in the U.S. stay in homeless shelters. An additional 200,000 or so spend each night unsheltered, whether on the street or in other locations, subway trains, vehicles, etc. Families with children represent 30% of the U.S. homeless population.

I do all that I can financially, buying bags of food sent to my hometown’s food bank. I advocate when possible, for the homeless. I am thankful that my children are adults and have decent jobs. I live in a Senior Housing complex with a food box in our lobby. Seniors here sometimes reach into the box, retrieving one or two items. I put things in this box as well. I wrote how I feel about this enormous problem worldwide.

©Casualties of the Time…

The homeless cannot sleep on winter’s cold nights.

They gather around a burning barrel,

men, women, and children, forgotten, shattered,

and despised, in the distance, a hungry baby cries.

Begging for food, being homeless, no jobs to be found,

families no longer sound, the government talks end

up in contradictions, poverty is the prediction.  

The spirit freezes, the fruit of labor rots, life

squeezes and struggles to persist, bad luck smothers

heart and soul, and hope ceases. 

Shifting winds turn into storms. Will the world

grow wiser or be humbled and beaten into servility? 

Trust departed, a cardboard box in the streets is

where the homeless make their beds, hope disappears,

and the future appears dead.

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Queen Elizabeth II is Gone…#407

Before it, all began…

Americas have always been lands of immigrants, lands that have been “discovered” time and again by different peoples coming from other parts of the world throughout countless generations—going far back to the prehistoric past when a band of Stone Age hunters first set foot in what indeed was an unexplored New World.

Christopher Columbus and his fleet of three small sailing ships had left the Canary Islands, heading west across the uncharted Ocean Sea, as the Atlantic was known. He had expected to reach China or Japan, but there was still no sign of land. The Ocean Sea was also known as the Sea of Darkness. Hideous monsters were said to lurk beneath venomous sea serpents and giant crabs that could rise from the deep and crush a ship with its crew.

Finally, the men demanded that Columbus turn back and head for home. When he refused, some of the sailors whispered of mutiny. They wanted to kill the admiral by throwing him overboard. But, for the moment, the crisis had passed. Columbus wasn’t the first explorer to “discover” America. His voyages were significant because they were the first to become widely known in Europe. They opened a pathway from the Old World to the New, paving the way for the European conquest and colonization of the Americas, changing life forever on both sides of the Atlantic. Five hundred years before Columbus, a daring band of Vikings led by Leif Eriksson set foot in North America and established a settlement.

In the early 1600s, the British king began establishing colonies in America. By the 1700s, most settlements had formed into 13 British colonies: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. British America comprised the colonial territories of the English Empire, which after the 1707 union of the Kingdom of England with the Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, became the British Empire in the Americas from 1607 to 1783.

There was no hope of conquering America — the territory was too big, and available resources too meager. At the outbreak of hostilities, the British Army numbered just 45,000 men, spread over a substantial global empire. On September 9, 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared the new nation’s name to be the “United States” of America. This replaced the term “United Colonies,” which had been in general use.

The ancestors of the American Indians were nomadic hunters of northeast Asia. They migrated over the Bering Strait land bridge into North America probably during the last glacial period (11,500–30,000 years ago). Before the arrival of Europeans, the Native Americans lived as autonomous nations (also known as tribes) across the continent from present-day Alaska, across Canada, and throughout the lower 48 United States. These were my ancestors, North Alabama band of Chickasaw!

This brings me to today, we lay to rest a grand lady. Had things been different today, we may have all been speaking with a British accent and flying the Union Jack.

I wish King Charles the best, may his reign be long and successful.

E.

The Typhoon Of Education…#406

Another post from the website of Chuck Murphree, published YA writer, Mental Health speaker, Edcuator.

It has started again, the feeling of a faster heart rate, the inability to catch a proper breath, the tension that comes from a tight jaw that causes pain in my neck, the squeezing of my lower back which seems to mimic a vice grip on my spine, and then the almighty psoas muscle, tightening against my will, causing a lingering pain in the quad muscles in both legs. I cannot help but sit back and sigh and then giggle toward my pain. After all, it is my mind that is the source of it all. It’s my thoughts and emotions coming out in the form of stress. Stress, oh how I wish it was a four-letter word in stead of five because it should sit beside that most infamous of curse words, F&%K!

I felt it coming on slowly. For those of you who feel the world, you know who you are, it started to pile on after the first few days of school. It’s when anxiety caught me off guard, giving me surges of adrenaline that seemed to be injected in large veins by a tiny needle, slowly releasing it all, and leaving me on the edge of panic. Not quite a full-blown panic attack, just a little nudge reminding me that it’s there, waiting to interrupt my life if I don’t find a way to calm down my stress. And yes, depression decided to join the party because what fun would it be if my little dark friend didn’t come to play?

I suppose I could blame it on the start of another school year. Perhaps it is me starting a new position in the world of education. Maybe “world” isn’t the right word these days. It’s more like a typhoon that makes landfall in August and continues until June. Yes, the typhoon of education. Why? I sit and wonder why we haven’t figured it out yet? We educators have a repeated cycle of stepping into the fire, suffocating on the smoke, year after year. We start off with our professional development and encouraging words from worn-out administrators, which is part of the repeated cycle, and then the dam breaks. We are then flooded. We rush and feel rushed. We are given a plethora of insurmountable tasks to do, maybe I should say unsustainable tasks, and it just keeps coming. And all of this has nothing to do with students or even parents. Yet, they are there. The most important purpose of all, our kids are there, waiting for us to engage them. They are there to tell us about their lives, emotions, and mental health. They are there to share their experiences from their sometimes chaotic home lives, and yet, when we give them our all, we are piled on with more. It makes me wonder what our true priority is? Is it meetings? Is it data? Is it paperwork? Is it politics? It often does not seem like it is students because we are worn out with everything else that is required.

Let’s go back to that word “blame” for a moment. I cannot have blame for anyone but myself for the stress that is unfolding. It is me who feels the world deeply, so while I am being flooded by all the training, meetings, paperwork, parent phone calls, and on and on, I am worried about my kids. They sit before me, some struggling daily with their own depression and anxiety. Some are struggling with their self-worth, and it is them that I keep as my priority. They are waiting for my ears and my heart. They are waiting for my words and my experience. They wait patiently for me to teach them but what they really want is the connection. And so I am to blame for my stress. I am to blame for my anxiety and allowing myself to be flooded because I care. I care deeply for the young human that has come through my classroom door and needs me. It has been suggested that I should let much of my work go and do only what I can while there. I am not sure about this statement. It tortures me actually. I am uncertain if I can lower the expectations that I have set for myself. I am uncertain of it all. This, I am afraid, especially during the moments where my body is screaming at me, when my jaw is tightening to the point where I strain to talk, will be my demise. Maybe not my demise as a human just yet, but my demise as an educator.

I recently had a parent send an email to my district administrators. She basically said how thankful she was that I made a strong connection right away with her son. He is someone who struggles functioning because of his mental health, and she said in her email that I was the reason he wanted to continue coming to class. This gave me a little of my breath back. It helped me distinguish just a little of the fire. However, I realize if I focus my energy on him, helping and connecting with him, as well as my other students, and then attempt to do my best with all of the other tasks that I am required, I will fall head first back into the fire, perhaps burning myself so bad it will ravage my body. The signs are there. I feel this year may require a large extinguisher to put out the flames.

My hope is that someday the typhoon of education will level, or at least become a large wave. Yes, we educators are strong swimmers, so a large wave would be manageable. However, I am uncertain if the powers that be, the community and nation as a whole, and the families, quite understand what is happening. Education is the foundation of what builds this country. I believe we just saw the impact and reality of that during the pandemic. If we continue to have this mass exodus. If we continue to drown our teachers in unnecessary training, paperwork, and lack of support, we will crack our foundation until it crumbles. Actually, the crack is already happening. The levee to the dam is about to release. My regret, the thing that makes me sit in tears at times, is our children will suffer. When they do, teachers will be to blame for taking care of themselves and leaving the field. Why? Well, we often look for blame in situations that are totally in our control but we let it get out of control. If I could ask the nation, the politicians, the school boards, administrators to reflect, to be mindful, I believe they would see that teachers aren’t to blame at all.

As for me, I will find a way. I always do. I find a way to come to the brink of what I feel will be my extinction from being an educator and I manage to hang on. However, at what cost? I recently sat with my wife, told her about the pain in my body, the anxiety and depression, and how I feel that no matter how much I take care of myself, exercise, eat right, and be mindful, that stress may catch up to me. It may kill me. As we hugged and shared tears, she said, “Is it time to do something else?” The thought haunts me.

I love to teach. I love connecting with my students and showing them a new way of thinking. I strive to help them navigate their mental health and the struggles that they face as young people. I am good at it. I prioritize building relationships because I know that is what truly matters in my field. I am the educator who finds that one student sitting alone, looking desperate, and I reach out to them, offering them my compassion and empathy. I have had students tell me I saved them. I helped them to the point that made them want to live and heal and find a better way. I have tried to deny that impact for years because it is difficult for me to admit I have had any impact, but it’s all there. My students’ pictures are hanging onto the wall in my mind reminding me of my purpose, and they are my reason to keep going. That is why it haunts me to think about leaving education. I think, “What if there is a kid out there that needs me? Maybe next year or next month, but what if they are there? They may not know it but they wait for me to make that connection that will help them build the skills needed to survive and take notice of their worth.”

But, to what extent? Will all of the other debris in the typhoon tear me up and continue to bruise me? Will it lead to my soul drowning? Will the pain caused by stress in my body be worth it? The pain in my mind and the torture that anxiety brings? Will my depression lead to more thoughts of leaving this world and sparing all of you my words?

My plea to all of you is to notice that this is not unique to me. It is why we have a crisis in education. Our teachers suffer and have chosen to not perish among the flood. Stop it before our kids do too.

https://www.chuckmurphree.com/

untitled image
Today is my Waldo day. My students love it when I go into a character they recognize.

#Mental Health #Education

Thought’s in the Day of a Writer…#405

I am in my second year after being diagnosed with Multi Myeloma (Bone Cancer). The life expectancy is as low as 2.5 years and tops 4 years. I kept the depression and anxiety levels down the first year, not because of denial but the sheer strength of my mind. In the second year, the depression and anxiety returned with a vengeance. I have gotten weaker and fatigued and have this sense of urgency about accomplishing what I have wanted since retirement: writing. I have published several books of poetry, including an autobiography about my daughter, who passed away in 2010. I have begun my own life story this past year. Then this cloud that many carry above them, depression, and anxiety. I have found that poetry is making a comeback, but slowly. Sales have not been at the top of my money chart. Another worry is that I am starting something that I will not have time to finish. My life has been long, more of a saga, filled with bits of happiness given to me by my children and emotional and physical abuse woven in and out throughout the years.  

The urgency involves my writing. I have been writing since I could print words, simple words. Poems for my aunt and daddy, which she would destroy if found by my mother. I had been told since I was old enough to remember that I would never be anything because I was not as beautiful as my sister Billie nor as bright; all I could hope for was to marry and have someone take care of me. This non-encouragement caused me to work toward good grades and educate myself if schooling was not available. Like many southern girls, I was married “off” to someone much older than me, an abuser. I never gave up wanting to write. I was a closet writer until I retired from the public workforce, fearing that it would be destroyed if it was found.

This brings me to when I give thought to be a writer. Also, what type of writer did I want to be. I have always loved poetry; my poetry books are filled with heartache and anguish that was my life. Many have said that it was “dark” poetry. It was mainly dark as it was given birth from that dark place within me. Many have suggested that I seek help and counseling. Don’t we all need counseling in some form, depression, and/or anxiety?

To be a writer, one must have good communication skills and be able to share a point concisely and clearly. I began years ago by keeping a daily journal; with this journal, I could draw upon incidents in my life that would allow me to put them into my poetry or short stories. I have been told that writing is never a lonely activity; for me, it was because I have always thought of myself as a loner. I turn within, thinking about what I wanted to say, how I wanted to write it to bring others into my “dark” world of reading what I wrote. I know I am not alone; many carry the same burdens that I do, much worse than mine. We may not be alone, but it is a lonely world for me. A world where I can hide and play the part needed to be played.

I have never looked at my writing as a job, one I could make a living regularly doing; be another Sylvia Plath or Grace Paley. That was why I waited until retirement to pursue my desire to write. I write because I love to create, to share with others. Yet, to share those, others must buy my books; maybe poetry was not the best choice. Perhaps a collection of short stories would have been more profitable? However, once again, urgency raises its worrisome head. There are constant changes in publishing and marketing, and I try to keep up with those when necessary. Writers must have adaptability when needed. Discipline is something that comes naturally to me. However, with cancer, treatments and the side effects that come with it does override discipline. It overshadows time, fatigue takes over no matter how committed I may be, and my challenges are health problems I have no control over.

I am organized, have a designated workspace, and have all the proper writing tools; I research what is needed to put out the correct information. I edit, edit, edit…I know what I want to write. I follow all the principles and have proofreaders. I copyright my material. I have had this blog for years. I am a people watcher, listen to tones, and am always mindful of syntax. I try to switch topics, poetry, short stories, newsworthy information, and opinions in my blog. I try to think critically, change styles, and learn new techniques. I follow some social media. However, I am a loner and a lone thinker.

There are two things that I need to observe. Slip away from fatigue and pain; my work may be more productive. Secondly, sales!

It has been a very long day for me, so I will leave you with this, never give up on your dreams.

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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The life story of Charlotte Jean Murphree 7/13/1958 – 7/21/2010

Searching for a Miracle…#403

The hours before dawn, and a cold rain pounds into my heart. The grief is fierce as it raises and consumes my spirit, assaulting my senses. Memories emerge from the darkness, becoming one with my soul. In the depths of my wounded courage, I am listing in a sea of sorrow, my life filled with more grief than many can bear. It is the hard cold hour before departing this misery.

I search for a miracle; hope merges with despair; my destiny is to leave all I have ever loved. I am uncertain and afraid. Hope has expired. Sometimes waves of anger and fear hang above me, a cloud circulating over the earth. I do not speak of death. Yet, the elderly where I reside; talk until they see their own grave over the horizon.

Much is written about grief, soft words meant to calm the grieving heart. There will be those who say how lovely these words are, and I doubt they are all true. Grief is not calm and comforting; the comments do not stop the pain. Words penetrate the brain; they shatter the heart.

Most are choked with emotions under the flesh where the heart is sheltered by outward affliction; they close their eyes, hoping to have the scene before they disappear. Grief has no place to hide! The speaker believes the words that enter the ears will comfort despair.

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Cleansing Waters…#401

Cleansing Waters

raw is this father

and motherless flesh

life in troubled times

blues gone to grays

why do some people

cause others pain

in this all too familiar

love-hate game as

the red around me

spreads, I prayed for

cleansing waters then

suddenly came the rain.

©2022.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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