The Power

Prompt: Disturbing

woman flying

There were a couple of illuminating aspects of an exhausting dream I had last night. (No need to read on— other people’s dreams can be paralyzingly boring— but if you have any interest in dream significance or interpretation, it might be tolerable.)

I was lost in my dream New York City, which has elements of the actual city, but like many of my dream cities is more a travel brochure version (with obscure references thrown in for good measure). Tall buildings, crowds, millions of storefronts, subways, and trains, and a main street upon which I walk in search of…

This time I was in search of the building where my sister lives, a vintage mid-rise apartment block in a neighbourhood of vintage mid-rise apartment blocks. I knew where it was, but somehow was very lost, walking miles and miles out of my way, for hours and hours, through strange neighbourhoods (like “Jamaicatown”) and the docks, sometimes on busy, crowded sidewalks, sometimes in menacingly empty industrial areas. On and on, the frustration and anxiety growing unbearably.

At one point I bought and wore a green dinosaur suit and danced along the street uncaring— Revelation number one: Sometimes we are pushed to a point past caring, where alarming unorthodox behaviour is a release, and feels good. I will look at the square pegs, the sometimes scarily weird people, differently from now on.

At another point, after a gruelling attempt to reach my destination by taking a route off the main street, I found myself further away from my sister’s flat than I could ever imagine; across an inlet, on much higher ground, with the city seemingly inaccessible now, after the interminable unsuccessful efforts to navigate it. So I said to myself, “I’ll just have to fly” and started to lift myself off the ground.

Then, as a crossed the inlet high above the water, I said to myself with exasperation, “Why didn’t I do this earlier?”

Why indeed? Flying in dreams can be difficult; often concentration is needed to keep me aloft, but it is immensely liberating, especially when, as in this dream, I will it— a dream intervention.

Revelation number two: Sometimes we have to consciously free ourselves from the things that hold us back. We forget our own power, that we have resources that can seem magical when they actually lift us out the quicksand of confusion or indecision.

To recap: We are all vulnerable sometimes, and sometimes pushed to a place beyond our control or understanding, causing us to behave uncharacteristically, impulsively, loopily, and we should maybe learn to sympathize and forgive ourselves and others when this occurs. Oppressive feelings, whether of depression, loss, confusion, doubt, or fear, drag us down, but we need to remember that we have the power within us to help lift us up and out and away, where we can feel free and find some perspective.

…Perhaps I should say “I” instead of “we”— but I found the dream to have such valuable messages that I wanted to share it. My alarm awakened me from this dream and I truly was emotionally exhausted (in the dream I was also physically spent and very hungry). Don’t you think one of the most delicious things in life is to wake from a disturbing dream and find it was all an unpleasant brain fantasy?

Might I Suggest

Prompt: Tab


Dear Wednesday,

When we run a tab we expect others to honour promises unfulfilled, whether it’s drinks at a bar or those times when we’ve been distracted, distressed, or ill and unable to take responsibility. I suspect we all do it at some points in our lives. I know that for the past year, I’ve been running a tab— withdrawing from once-important aspects of my life, from friends and family, feeling sad and unable to cope, and somehow firmly expecting others to stand with me and be there when I was able raise my head again.  I was also running a tab with myself— existing on the promise that things would get better.

And they did. I’m not sure exactly what turned it all around and sincerely wish I could bottle it up and present it to those who also suffer. Much of it had to do with regaining my physical health, without which gaining perspective (in my case) would have been impossible.

So if you are struggling, be kind to yourself, be patient, get enough sleep, get checked out by your family doctor. Don’t be afraid to say you are depressed or overwhelmed. We all need to run a tab sometimes.

May I now present a few of my favourite cartoons, which may or may not be relevant to today’s prompt, “tab”?

cartoon run a tab

cartoon suggest

cartoon olives table


Love and peace,

~~FP

Cheer Up

Prompt: New Year


Greetings, Wednesday!

“2020” has a good ring to it. It implies perfect vision. It is reminiscent of the Roaring Twenties. It could very well be a good year, a less interesting year (alleged Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times), a year that we strive, accomplish, endure, enjoy, appreciate. A better year than 2019.

How can we ensure that 2020 is a better year? Here are some simple suggestions:

  1. Be kind to yourself. You are a human with limitations, not a superhero, but the beauty of humanity is that we are all unique. You bring something to the world that no one else can. What is it?
  2. Relearn how to cry. Happy cry, sad cry, doesn’t matter. It means you feel things. It’s ok.
  3. Vote.
  4. When you are feeling particularly frustrated or upset, take a few seconds to imagine you are looking down on yourself from a great height. The higher you go, the less afflictive the frustration becomes. Breathe. Be patient. Know that your neighbours  have sorrows too.
  5. Find a place where the air is fresh and the water is clean. Revel in it. Resolve to do your part, large or small, to make this accessible to everyone, everywhere.
  6. Make your world smaller. Buy local. Look people in the eyes instead of through text on a screen. Go for walks. Look around. Take time to feel what you feel, from base sensations to profound feelings of joy or distress.
  7. Pet your dog, or someone else’s, regularly.
  8. Say please. Smile. Hold the door. Offer your seat. Donate a winter coat. Give to the food bank. It’s not that hard to be a good person.
  9. Love freely, knowing it is an infinite resource.
  10. Enjoy the cartoons on Fluffy Pool, including the ones below!

cartoon new year still good

cartoon new year hat

cartoon new year trash


Peace and love,

~~FP

Dear Santa. Grrr.

Prompt: Christmas card


Dear Wednesday,

It seems like only a year ago that I sat down and wrote Christmas letters to far-flung family and friends, regaling them with the perfection that was my previous year and wishing them even a fraction of the utopia that is the life of Fluffy.

This year I’ll treat them (and you) to a slightly different analysis of the year that was; i.e. the main occurrences in 2019 were these: 1. My dog died and 2. Men suck. 3. I got old. These do not seem to be the usual joyous events lovingly described in Christmas letters, but that’s the challenge. How to make convince people who don’t really care that my life is a exuberant dream that they should envy, when the news seems less than ebullient?

My dog was a very good dog, a black and fluffy dog. He got old before I did, and so we had to set him on his journey to the Rainbow Bridge. Sad? No, because a dog’s afterlife is a certainty: they go to a green meadow in a heaven where they can run and play with other animals, indulge in delicious treats, get belly rubs on demand, and in general  enjoy the kind of blissful existence they deserve.  People may go to heaven, hell, purgatory, or, more likely, nowhere to spend their eternity, because people are imperfect. Dogs are full of nothing but love and should (if they are not) be the centre of the Universe. If you disagree with me, you have never had a dog.

Men. I have a father, a husband, brothers, male friends, a beloved nephew… but holy shit, men suck. Think Donald Trump, incels, war-makers, sexual harassers and assaulters, arms dealers, rapists, Woody Allen, and the guy who really set me off, a piece of work by the name of Tommy Callaway, who felt entitled to slap and squeeze a reporter’s ass as he ran by her. What kind of person thinks it is ok to sexually assault a young woman or any woman, and who thinks his utterly cynical and smarmy “apology” is more meaningful than a poop bag? Tommy Callaway, that’s who. Tommy Callaway and, presumably, a huge population of men who seem to think the whole Harvey Weinstein thing, #metoo— and, one assumes, sexual assault in general, is nothing but an overrated joke. How else do you explain the man, his grope, his excuse? Men suck, that’s how. (Yet my father, husband, brothers, male friends, beloved nephew wouldn’t even dream of groping a woman— why are the good men like them never in the news? I know why, because being baseline decent is not newsworthy, so we have to hear about the Tommy Callaways grrr of the world.)

And I got old. I went to bed one night, a dewy, lithe, fluffy young woman and woke up as an ancient relic. To be honest, I am not so much a relic as fighting to wipe that thought out of my head. Every little twinge in my back, every bit of fatigue, every fleeting whiff of forgetfulness is now a reminder the size of a skyscraper that my dewy days are done. The real cherry on the top is the fact that my aging will be held against me, I will become invisible and easily dismissed while guess who will grow old with looks that become more distinguished and whose credibility increases? Men, that’s who.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my Christmas letter! I promise you that my contention that men suck in no way diminishes my great love for them. That’s what comes with extreme old age: you can hold two opposing thoughts in your ancient rattling head at the same time.

Obsessive-Compulsive Santa

cartoon dear santa

cartoon roll around santa


Peace and love,

~~FP

Thanks, Batman

Prompt: Hero


Dear Wednesday,

Do people still have heroes? And I do not mean comic superheroes, those tiny-waisted muscle men and women who have remarkably similar histories of tragedy, misunderstanding, and injustice and similarly remarkable and predictable current obsessions and similarly pyrotechnic, technicolour battles against villainy. Sorry (not sorry), I supposed you’ve guessed by now that I’m not a fan.

Perhaps superheroes are popular because there are so few real human heroes in our midst. Remember when politicians like John F. Kennedy or Nelson Mandela or Tommy Douglas or Lester Pearson or Winston Churchill or Ghandi innovated and inspired? How about Neil Armstrong and the other astronauts, and those who devote their heart and soul to a pursuit despite tremendous obstacles, like Jackie Robinson or Jesse Owens, Terry Fox, Martin Luther King Jr., Oskar Schindler, Rosa Parks or Harriet Tubman? What happened to the kind of courage that left us breathless?

There are many unsung heroes, of course: Many of the “greatest generation” who endured the Great Depression and World War II, doing their duty with honour and without complaint even in the darkest of times. There are people who quietly and selflessly dedicate their lives to caring for the less fortunate, people who protest and even vote under dangerous circumstances, people who commit invisible yet meaningful heroic acts in their daily lives, like standing up to a bully or speaking up for the marginalized.

I think current political systems that value money, possessions, and personal power above all else create a wasteland in which it is hard for heroes to act or, when they do, to be recognized. Adversity is often a breeding ground for heroes, but the adversity most of us face today is dulled by distractions, drugs, ignorance, or hopelessness. In this atmosphere true heroes are desperately needed— who will step up?

On a lighter note and related to today’s prompt, “hero”, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon baby batman

cartoon superman xray

cartoon thanks batman


Peace and love,

~~FP

Personalized Greetings

Prompt: Jargon


Hello Wednesday,

It is twenty minutes past four in the afternoon, and time to turn on some indoor lights.

What a short day you were, Wednesday.

This isn’t helped by the Fall Backward clock adjustment out of Daylight Savings Time, which makes it a little lighter a little earlier while I am still asleep. I’m one of the millions in favour of DST ATT, Daylight Savings, All The Time. Who doesn’t love daylight? And savings?

My doctor recently recommended a “happy light”, which I expose my eyeballs to for twenty minutes a day with the intention of elevating my mood from dark winter blahs to bright happy bloops.

How did our primitive ancestors survive without Daylight Savings or happy lights? Do we tend to invent solutions for problems that we create? In other words, what is stopping me from going outside and staring in the direction of the sun for twenty minutes?

Commerce, that’s what. My purchase of the happy light provided income or other benefits to researchers, inventors, manufacturers, factory workers, doctors, and governments (by way of sales tax) all over the world.

Plus, there’s a chance I may graduate from blahs to bloops.

In celebration of this transformation, and in very tenuous connection to the prompt, “jargon”, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon corkage fee

csrtoon email spam

 

cartoon greetings


Peace and gloves,

~~FP