The Journal of Alison McKenzie

Day 4 of 365
01/05/2015 01:01 a.m.
(I've decided to post my 365 tumblr story here as well...)

These long days of Nana caretaking stretch me, little hands and minds and hearts hungry for Daddy, who has moved to another state ahead of the family, for work in this impossible economy; and Mama working 55-60 hours per week with the future firmly in her sights. And my energy, while stretched, is well-spent and I feel a gratitude that far outweighs the creaks and groans of my years.

I know the end result will be worth it, the family together again in a part of the country we all know as “home”. The desert winds have crisped our tolerance and layered our lungs in a dust that we are all eager to shake off.

And for myself? It’s been an adventurous, yet frustrating four-year circuitous journey, having left Oregon in the spring of 2011 originally to join a partner in the UK, only to have his challenges there cut that future off, and then having found one of my soul mates in Pennsylvania later that year, only to have the unfinished business of a past relationship claim his heart anew in the fall of 2013, blocking my future dreams yet again, and leaving my heart a wreck.

So to return to the place where I started, the Pacific Northwest, the place where I was four years ago (and the place where I was actually born) seems an ironic yet poetically correct destination, at least for the foreseeable future of 2015. Where I go from there, I have no idea.

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Winter Entry
12/28/2014 08:12 p.m.

Seems that I am headed back to Oregon within the next year. Son and daughter in law are moving back, son has already taken a job there, has moved there, and so when the rest of the household moves, I will follow. It's now my post here in Arizona, to keep it together somehow until we can all afford to join him. I will be quite happy to be back there, back home, with the waterfalls and the eagles and the river and the ocean and the trains' sad singing.

Spent the last week there, back home, after helping my son drive and get his belongings transported. It was lovely and amazing to see my aunt (who is one of my favorite humans on the face of this planet) and uncle and 4 of my 6 children along with countless other loved ones. My mother is very ill - emphysema and COPD and CHF. She is taking 4L of O2 on a constant basis. She has reconciled with my black-sheep brother. She kept saying, "...if this is my last Christmas" and "if I'm going to be this ill, I wish the Lord with either just take me or heal me". She has given me the family sterling silver, not that it amounts to anything at today's silver prices - it is the gesture that sinks me.

Back in Arizona, my middle daughter had come to take over my job of nannying the boys and now, to spend a week with me before she returns home to celebrate New Year's Eve with her beau. I will miss her so much - again.

In other news, the mad programmer texted me, wishing me a Merry Christmas. It's very strange, how he appears to wish to keep the frayed connection from breaking entirely. He also appears, however, to be quite happy in his new living arrangement with the girl he left me for. I'm glad for that. She is more his age and overall a better fit for him, I think.

Meanwhile, Adam's and my friendship has been renewed, which makes me very happy. To hear of his life and his love and his progress in dealing with his challenges is very heartening.

I love my life with my grandsons. These are precious times to be certain. Though, I have to say, in realizing I may have 20 good years left, I feel a definite need to secure my independence now, sooner rather than later. *sigh* If only I could find a way to earn an adequate wage, and one that fuels my passions. In caring for the boys, I am earning my keep, but I'm not ready to live dependent on others for the basics. It's going to be paramount that I strike out on my own.

And while I see the value of partnering in all sorts of ways, including the value of having someone to share the burden of making ends meet (I don't know many people who are able to live comfortably on their own income alone), I have come to greatly appreciate the value of being alone. I'm good on my own.

I find myself feeling quite strange about life lately. I am reminded that I don't do transitions well (it is a common struggle, though I have been told I seem to be more challenged by it than most other folks). Perhaps this is part of the reason I continue to encounter transition.

I have decided that I don't understand love, or the reason I have not found longevity with a romantic relationship yet. *shrugs* At least my lack of understanding no longer stops me from focusing on the good that is in front of me to do.

I am currently: stoic
Listening to: a strange desert cold

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A Saturday Morning
11/15/2014 04:33 p.m.

It's Saturday morning, the first semi-cold morning in this winter's Arizona desert for me.

I find myself in a very contemplative place, wondering for the millionth time why I am where I am, and what might serve the highest good of those in my world at this time, most predominantly myself.

Crying for no apparent reason. Missing the closeness of those I've given my love to in the past. Appreciating those I am privileged enough to love in these present moments, including my own sweet self. Loving the me who is faulted. Loving the one feeling lonely. Loving the one feeling the beauty in these moments without a partner to cushion any of it.

The coffee is particularly nurturing this morning.

I am currently: ok in my own skin.
Listening to: Damien Rice

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I want something different
08/22/2014 05:58 p.m.

I want a new life, a new job, a new place to live, somewhere I can go and live alone and let my roots take hold. A home base from which I can continue my traveler ways when the bank says I can, but someplace I can leave all my stuff and come home to when the money runs out.

The job? Something simple, where I can serve people without too much fuss and not have to think too much. Something that allows me to make enough money to afford a room and a hot plate. I don't need anything fancy. I never have.

I don't want to change the world anymore. I just want to be and not encounter anything too dramatic or complex.

Apparently this is a lot to ask of this world, and I get that. But whatever is coming next, I don't want to feel disappointment any more. Enough already.

I am currently: sunken
Listening to: the desert

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Marriage, as an idea
08/22/2014 02:57 a.m.

Please, forgive me while I still believe in the sanctity of what our world refers to as “being married”. I understand that point of view, that “the piece of paper” isn't what makes or breaks the success of a relationship, “...the people are.” I agree with that . But what “getting married” does accomplish is the sharing of a common last name that translates to the real world in signatures and other subtle statements about the relationship; a public declaration to the world that an invitation has been issued to become a family, and the invitation has been accepted by both parties, on paper and for the public record. I may be wrong, but I still see integrity in that sort of progression of a relationship, and that is the value I see in being married, not simply having “the paper” as some sort of “proof” that a person wishes to be committed. Maybe, for the partner who doesn't change their name it won't mean much. But overall, to share a last name becomes a thing of honor, and to be able to wear those rings and sign the same last name - to me those are important and public symbols about one's status in a family.

I am currently: in an emotional debate about the value vs. no value of "that piece of paper"
Listening to: my inner self.

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07/12/2014 06:33 p.m.

I don't work right. 

I guess it's what happens
When the people that made you,
The people who pledged
To care for you,
Place you in situations
That were never intended 
To be places 
Where children should be:

At 10, 
In the path of an open hand
That breaks a nose;

At 6, 
Caring for an infant 
I could barely carry.

At 2, 
Eating whatever I was able to
Reach in the fridge, 
Which wasn't always much
And, likely, never nutritious. 

At 8 months old,
Screaming in a scalding hot bath,
Terrified to get in the water -
According to family lore, 
It took my grandmother
Years to repair that. 

As an infant, 
Left for hours in my own feces
Until the smell of it 
Became my only (disgusting) comfort. 

These instances
Of such severe misplacement
Were full of potential
Later-in-life tragedies
Which have, to some degree,
Unfolded in some of my most
Uncomfortable dysfunctions. 

But worse is the misplacement
Of a young child's hands
On father's pleasure,
And all the ways he set it up
So that I would feel 
It was the most natural thing in the world. 

Until I realized it wasn't. 

Until I said no, and
Would have fought to my death
Had he pressed this issue 
When he approached me at 8
And again when I was 12,
For more. 

And now, when I am 51,
Unable to let go of old love
Because I felt peace there,
Unable to accept new love
From a perfectly good man
Because of the ways
My father broke me...

Well, the truth is,
I don't work right,
And it appears I never will,

Though I owe a huge debt of gratitude
To those other family members 
And dear, dear friends, 
Who have always loved me, 
Who continue to scoop up
All the broken pieces
And have been trying to assist 
In my repair, 
To get me to some degree or other
Of functionality; 

Though I have a mosaic heart
The size of a universe,
Interlaced with precious metals
Meant to keep it glued together, 
Blessed by a capacity for love
That defies the past,

I've always been a little crooked,
Sort of like the way
My nose healed after that blow,


I don't work right.

It appears I never will.

I am currently: Disheartened
Listening to: Retreat

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07/08/2014 06:44 p.m.

I don't know how I got there, but thank you, powers of poetry that be :) I feel very grateful and blessed to still be at pathetic, even though the landscape has changes so very much. This December it will be 12 years.


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Love vs. Letting Go
02/14/2014 08:51 a.m.
There is such a high price to pay for not being true to oneself, and I believe I’m currently still witnessing the waves of those far-reaching ripples in so many ways.

I don’t want to feel anger or cause anger. I don’t want to experience drama or be the cause of it. I don’t want to feel hurt, nor do I wish to hurt anyone else. I just want the way we love and the way we express our kindness to prevail.

We are each human, and we are faulted, and things can go wrong even under the best of circumstances with each of us practicing the best of intentions. Who can know the truth of our deepest longings and desires when we cannot even discover it, and allow it to BE, inside of ourselves?

I don’t believe in ill or evil intent, no matter how many times the “evidence” may say otherwise. I choose, instead, to see all of it as our (perhaps misguided) hearts’ attempts to express and receive love from whatever direction it manifests. That’s all.

We all have lives to live with respect given to our authenticity and our life paths and the lessons we are meant to learn along the way. However that unfolds, whatever doors close/open/appear anew, I just want joy and happiness to be the fruit of our decisions, our proclamations, and our actions.

I know that part of the lesson I’ve learned is that transparency only works when it is absolute and expressed without apology and received without blame. This requires all parties to co-operate with courage and wisdom and tolerance. It requires that I release others from their obligation to love me and only me for the duration. It requires that I bypass the fear of rejection, open myself to wait for another expression of love to find me, and to love myself all along the way so that I do not feel cast aside by the Universe! But if I can do that, if WE can DO that, what amazing and unlimited conditions are created for self growth to blossom!!

In the absence of that pure transparency, I am considering the possibility that the only other possible course of action is to build walls, to remain separated and in judgment of one another. Or, maybe, we just have to let go. I don’t know anymore. All I know is - I love…all of us…so I want to believe we can transcend this old and outmoded way of dealing with love and loss.

Perhaps Cupid’s arrows are not, apparently, always limited to just piercing two people exclusively. But if we can be open about ourselves and what we are learning, maybe there is hope that we can grow beyond those limits toward new and expanded ways of understanding love.

With all best love and hope toward our continued progress in a world gone mad with complications,

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Losing a Sun/Inscribe Your Love
12/10/2013 09:35 p.m.

It seems likely that, whoever you are, you are trying to reach me or send a message of some sort.

As it is, the behavior seems stalkerish.

Do you have the courage to REALLY speak to me? alisonmckenzie@yahoo.com

Currently: feeling stalked
Listening to: the frigid air in AZ

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11/17/2013 01:27 a.m.

I do believe I'm love sick.

Or, maybe, ego sick. Heh.

Either way, I miss Troy something fierce.

I am currently: feeling lonesome
Listening to: Life passing.

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