I have an essential tremor, essential in that it is not a familial tremor genetically inherited. Somedays it is imperceptible, almost like a slight vibration, other days it is a noticeable tremor in my hands and arms; then there are the times my whole body shakes, my wife Phoebe used to notice when we had a waterbed I would shake in my sleep. What makes it such a frustration is I want to draw and paint, but I am a perfectionist and so the imperfection of the lines I try and draw is like nails on a chalkboard to me. The simple truth is I need to learn to accept the tremor and own it in my art work, I need to incorporate it into my own style and learn to loosen up. I also need to suck it up and use the tools available to me such as rulers when I need straight lines, or curved rulers when I need curves. Just one of the many things in my life I need to work on.

Working on a short story to try and work through some issues, sometimes it helps to change the names and look at a problem from the outside.

Doug considered himself one of the luckiest men in the world. He had a beautiful, intelligent wife named Jennifer. They had been married for over twenty years raising their two children who both graduated high school and went on into college, not any easy feat in this day and age. Doug had a good steady job and was able to provide for his family, not necessarily able to get them everything they wanted, but there was always food on the table and a roof over their heads. It did not matter to Doug that the spare money went to pay medical bills for his wife’s disability, his children’s health problems, or his mental health problems. In his own way Doug was happy even if it did not show in his demeanor, unfortunately the demeanor his family always saw was one of stress, anxiety, and depression. Often times Doug would lose his temper at the smallest things as he desperately tried to exert some control over his life.

Years of being diagnosed and treated for a major depressive disorder that seemed to never get better, but steadily got worse, left Doug feeling helpless and bitter towards his doctor. Finally, Doug made the leap and came off of all of his medication for 9 months until he could find a new doctor that diagnosed him as bipolar, a diagnosis that should have been made in high school when he was suicidal and started self-medicating with cigarettes and alcohol. Somehow Doug had survived that, the same as he survived being bullied for years in elementary, middle and high school. Doug just internalized everything silently bearing the pain. The biggest pain Doug bore though was rejection and it was this pain that would be his undoing.

Doug never really fit in anywhere. When he sat daydreaming in class his dreams were always different. When he was asked questions, his answers came from a much different point of view and so he stopped answering because it hurt when other students ridiculed him. To make things worse Doug would blush at the drop of a hat, and not just blush but turn a deep crimson red that other students always found funny. There was no one for Doug to turn to as even his parents could not understand him, he lacked the ability to articulate his inner thoughts and they thought he was just silly and lazy at school.

Life did not get easier as Doug grew up, interest in girls quickly led to rejection by girls. The same kind of rejection he experienced in group activities spilled into individual relationships and so he sunk further into himself. The few relationships Doug did have always ended badly or never became anything. It was at one of the lowest points in Doug’s life that Jennifer came back into his life, they had been friends on and off since his junior year in high school, but suddenly she wanted a romantic relationship with him of all people. He kept wanting to pinch himself, surely it was just a dream, even on the day they were married Doug was still in disbelief that Jennifer actually wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.

Through the ups and downs of marriage Doug trod carefully, afraid at any moment Jennifer would realize her mistake or he would wake up from the best dream ever. That Jennifer stuck with him through his anger and depression could never register through his obsessive fear of rejection and his insecurity. Doug had such a low opinion of himself even after decades of Jennifer trying to build him up that one day, he succeeded in realizing his self-fulfilling prophecy. Doug could not tell you what the fight was about, he was under a lot of stress at work, his mother had recently passed away, his medications recently adjusted, and medical bills were piling up again. Doug knew though when he put himself down and Jennifer reacted by telling him he did not trust her and apparently never had since she had spent 20 plus years trying to build him up, he had gone too far.

Are bad enough on a regular house, on an earth sheltered home they are more difficult. Today in the rain, my son Trevor and I moved about 120 cubic feet of dirt and mud to get water draining off the roof. Still have to wait for it to dry in order to clean it up and patch the leak. Really need to take all of the dirt off and put down new sealant over the entire roof and put the dirt back on. At this point I am exhausted.

So I have decided to get in on the gig economy as a part time professional cuddler. Yes you read that correctly, I will be charging money to sit and hold another person in a platonic, non-sexual manner. I strongly believe in the therapeutic powers of personal touch and companionship that comes from holding hands, hugging, sitting in an embrace. If you are interested in booking my services please visit my page at https://www.cuddlecomfort.com/CDEngland there is a standard rate listed but that is negotiable based on fixed income and need.

My Pastor has mentioned several times over the last year how dangerous insecure people can be in our lives. The problem I have is that I am the insecure person in my life and the life of my family. Often times I wonder when my insecurities will destroy my marriage and am astounded that it has not already. When will my overarching fear of rejection become one too many times that my wife feels like I doubt her love for me and become a self fulfilling prophecy? Insecurity breeds so many different emotions; jealousy, self loathing, fear, anger, worthlessness, doubt. It is a horrible storm that threatens everything it comes in contact with.

Somedays it is all I feel, a deep chasm of emptiness, alone in my own thoughts. Too far away from even those I love, only emptiness and loneliness eating away at me, gnawing on me like a dog with a bone.

For quite sometime now I have not had the will to write. When I self published my book I found myself at a loss for words and confused as to how to sell and promote my book. I just do not know how to self promote myself and ended up letting my depression drag me further away from writing. Right now i want to write, to give voice to the thoughts in my head, yet i have been silent so long I find myself stumbling on the keyboard. The words are just a jumble in my head.

Vehicle with Back the Blue/Punisher decals speeds past as many cars as possible during a lane merge, forces their way in cutting off another driver nearly causing a wreck that would have involved several vehicles. Never mind the fucked up correlation between the Punisher, a vigilante, and law enforcement; I understand they support allowing law enforcement to be judge, jury, and executioner as long as it only involves non whites and poor whites. The real WTFery is they sport their Back the Blue decals while breaking the law and endangering others in their self centered, self important need to get where they are going. Almost makes me want to go all Frank Castle on them and teach them a lesson.

On the afternoon of September 28, 2019 Susan Yvette England succumbed to a short battle with aggressive cancer at Columbus Hospice. Susan spent her last week excited with the prospect of reuniting with Jim and great granddaughter Brooklyn. Her last days were spent enjoying the company of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Susan was born January 3, 1950 in Oklahoma City, OK the youngest of two children of Herbert and Louise Spellings. Married for 43 years Susan met her husband Jim England when he was on leave from Vietnam in June of 1970 and they were married in Honolulu Hawaii October 13, 1970 during Jim’s R&R leave from Vietnam. Together they raised their two sons James Warren England Jr and Charles Dean England.

Susan spent many years waiting tables, tending bar, and managing restaurants to help support her family; teaching her sons the importance of hard work and sacrifice. She graduated in 1993 Magna cum Laude from Columbus State University and then worked for Aflac, before leaving to pursue her life’s passion as an artist specializing in pottery and jewelry making.

Susan was preceded in death by her father Herbert Spellings, her mother Louise Spellings, her brother Herbert Spellings, Jr., and her great granddaughter Brooklyn Oliphant. She is survived by her sons James and Charles, daughters-in-law Tamra and Phoebe, grandchildren Vanessa, Courtney, Trevor and Brandon, grand sons-in-law Matthew Faust and Shane Oliphant, great grandchildren Luke and Sofia Oliphant.

Memorial Service will be held at noon on Saturday October 5, 2019 at Columbus Hospice in the community room. In lieu of flowers the family is requesting that donations be made in honor of Susan to Columbus Hospice.

Some days are just harder than others. They come and all you can do is live through them hour by hour and minute by minute. In those hard moments you might realize how trivial most days are and come to grasp what is truly important.

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