Break Free!

break the chains

For something in me was just never satisfied.
I would sit on the porch and stare at the mountains,
convinced that there was something, something calling to me,
beseeching me to “Come, come and drink from overflowing fountains!”

There is another world out there beyond the tall green mountain trees.
No telling what destiny will find for you to do if only you will wander,
wander away from the safety of boredom and the mundane,
and fling yourself into timelessness that only youth can squander.

And so I fled, I fled from the stagnation and strangulation of my nine to five;
and I lived, I lived as only the truly free can live, free from the bonds of society,
free to make my own rules and for this I was punished, held accountable.
 For those who wield the whip will never let the slave break free from his chains of slavery!

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2017 Shelby I. Courtland

Each day, we are reminded in many different ways that life is just too short. We hear of a loved one who is seriously ill. We hear of horrors occurring daily to others in our neighborhoods and around the world and yet, each day, we go to the daily grind so that we can afford to go ‘home’ and what….’live’? Ask yourself this question, “What does it mean to ‘live’? I don’t mean to suck in air and release it. Are you doing what you truly love or are you doing what you NEED to do just to survive? Are you just going to work so that you can keep up the payments on that house and car and maybe, at the end of the week, you can sit down and have a beer and consider yourself lucky? Is this all you want out  of, dare I say, ‘life’? Is this all there is to ‘life’? Working to make someone more money while you give that same person the money that you ‘earn’ so that you can keep a roof over your head and sit in hours of traffic and think and dream about what it would be like if you could do just what the hell you want? We are all stifled and oppressed by what we have allowed. We have allowed others to tell us how to ‘live’ and if our doctor ever gives us the ‘bad’ news that it’s almost over for us, the only reason we kick up a fuss is because it is expected of us and because we fear the unknown.

Life is to be lived, not merely gotten through. Think about it. Are you living life or are you just waiting until your number is up? And when it is, will you smile and say, “At least I lived,” or will you say, “Damn, in a few more years, I promised myself that I was going to live!” Think about it. Live your life, don’t just go through the motions!

Get Up Girl And Live Life To Its Fullest!

private bathroom

Where is the adventuress that has always been me?
How can I get her back and when did she flee?

Who is this person who sits alone in the dark?
Why is she so angry and what lit the spark?

Has she let the horrors of this world get to her?
What does she have to fear from a racial slur?

Tell her you love her no matter what.
Make her understand, she’s got to go with her gut.

Don’t let her listen to the doubts in her mind.
Let her know that she’s got more heart than most of mankind.

Get up girl and live life to its fullest.
Pack a bag and become life’s tourist.

Journey far and never settle for less.
Don’t put up with people and don’t accept their mess.

You’re not stupid and you’re damn sure not brain dead.
So, go where you want to go and not where others have tread.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2016 Shelby I. Courtland

I wrote this about me because lately, I have been down in the dumps because there is so much that I want to do and yet, I am hindered by my sense of responsibility. I am hindered by my sense of duty and obligation. I am supposed to be enjoying myself in my lean-to on a deserted island and yet, I am getting cussed out daily by my cousin because the mental health care profession filled him full of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics and when the medications started killing him, he got off them and now his brain is fried. He lost 154lbs. He is no longer diabetic  or obese. He no longer has a cholesterol or triglycerides problem. His pancreas is back to normal. His heart condition is gone and yet, he will never be ‘all there’ mentally. Yes indeed, I have so many reasons to ‘thank’ the ‘health care’ profession in AmeriKKKa, it is unreal! Heavy on the sarcasm!

And now, I have got to cut this short because I just got a call from him, stating that he has run out of money and is stranded and I must come and pick him up. Since I have his POA(Power of Attorney), health care directive and Living Will, I am responsible for every aspect of his life and there is no one else who will step up to the plate. His immediate family gave up on him decades ago and he has followed me everywhere I go. That is why when I mention that I am dining out with my cousin, who else can I dine with because I am constantly getting him out of trouble and so, there goes any social life for me? And when we are out dining, I am usually embarrassed because he just gets to cussing and carrying on at me for no reason. Waiters and other diners stare at us. The last time we were at Fogo de Chao, he sat and sat and sat until even the gracious waiters were looking pointedly at us. When I mentioned this to him, did the high ceilings in Fogo de Chao, vibrate? Indeed they did!

I feel like a person who has been given a life sentence. Goddamn! I want to break free of this jail sentence! You don’t have to actually be locked up behind bars to be imprisoned, believe me, I know!

Just as I was about to conclude this, I re-read the poem and I called my cousin back and I told him, “Get ta steppin! You’ve got a long walk but since you’re no longer overweight, you can do it!”

Ladies, and I am speaking solely to the ladies here, you don’t need a man to complete you and let me tell you something else, every single man that has ever been in my life has done me more harm than good. I can honestly say that when I am doing things all by myself, I do them better and I am always at my best. I have been married and it was the biggest mistake of my life. A husband did nothing but put me through hell, just as my cousin is doing. It is high time that we let these men who say they are “men” be men and take care of themselves. If we don’t look out for ourselves, they won’t. The ‘men’ who have been in my life, certainly did not look out for me.

And so, next month, since I’ve got some shopping and some packing to do, I am going on a journey to find ‘the adventuress’ that used to be ME, again. I am going to understand that I was not put on this earth to be caretaker to every lost soul on it, to the detriment of my own. Sometimes, you have got to be more ‘self-loving, than self-less.

Ladies, take care of you because I am starting right now!

We Waste So Much Of Life!

time as a blur

Everything is make-believe.
What, if anything is real?
We don’t even know the time,
are the days your own to fill?

We wonder why life seems so short,
when an hour of each day they steal.
It is not as if we don’t need it,
as it is, there’s no time to kill.

We waste so much of life,
just trying to beat the clock.
Life is over before we know it.
At death’s door, we all must knock.

Take a moment to reflect,
on all the things you want to do.
Don’t put them off for tomorrow.
What if tomorrow doesn’t wait for you?

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2015 Shelby I. Courtland

Sometimes we should just say, “Fuck what I need to do! I am going to do what I want to do!” I was talking with a lady a few days ago and she was telling me that she lived from paycheck to paycheck and never had the chance to do anything or go anywhere because bills ate up her entire paycheck. She said that she finally decided to say, “To hell with bills, I am going to book a trip!” She had only enough money to get to Vegas but she said she had a wonderful time and was so glad that she had gone and that even though she is now playing catch-up with her bills, it was worth it to her because she, for once, did something she wanted to do instead of the same ole same ole drudgery of a day-to-day existence; get up, go to work, go home and repeat.

It is such a shame that we never get to do what we daydream about and we feel that we can only dream due to our circumstances of being too poor or too afraid to venture beyond our comfort zone. We have allowed others to limit our freedom to act on our dreams and aspirations. We don’t have the time to indulge ourselves in a favorite pastime such as painting or playing a musical instrument or even traveling because we have bills to pay and more bills to pay and we get stuck in that rut. It is all so sad really that when we look up, we find that time and life have slipped away from us and what we have put off for another tomorrow, is no longer possible to do. I wish that I could tell you that all things are possible, but even I am not that naïve. I just wish that life for many of us could have been so much different than what it actually is.

 

I Have A Purpose!

hope

When I just want to turn out the lights,
and shut the door and sleep,
I know that things have gotten to me,
And all I seem to do is weep.

But I pick myself up off the ground,
and I look towards the sky.
Though winter is here for awhile,
all the birds will not simply die.

I feel such hopelessness and anger,
and when all I want to do is quit,
I see the sun poke through the clouds,
and it’s not so dark from where I sit.

Life will never be all rosy.
Nor will it always treat me kind.
But I must not forget why I’m here.
I have a purpose to which I’ve been blind.

If a gift has been given to me,
and if what I say is true,
then I have a responsibility,
to keep trying to get through to you.

You may never get the message.
But I’ll keep trying all the same.
And if one day, I make a difference,
then I’ll be glad, I lit the flame.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2014 Shelby I. Courtland

Look Up From Your Phone!

images7HVFMFYN

If you ever look up from your phone,
there’s a world of beauty to see.
It’s not found on a screen of apps,
just look up at the leaves on a tree.

You say life is always passing you by.
Where the years have gone, you don’t know.
Have you ever stopped to consider,
that it’s because you are missing the show?


Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2014 Shelby I. Courtland

I See My Beauty!

polls_Old_20lady_20copy_0630_570929_answer_2_xlarge

I was once so young,
but time has a way,
of turning today,
into yesterday.

So many years gone.
Where did they go?
When the clock ticks,
it is an enemy of mine.

Look at these grooves,
in my youthful face,
the purity of my flesh,
sunken and hollow,
the brittleness of
once strong bones.

The gray in my hair,
so vital and thick.
Brown spots cling
to delicate hands.
Thickened ankles
beneath veined legs.
Stooped shoulders
bear the weight of years.

Time has caught up with me
and I cannot outrun its pace.
But I am still beautiful,
though time has marked me.
I know that I am still here,
for I can feel and touch.
And though you don’t see
the beauty I used to be,
I am still beautiful,
and time will never change,
the way I feel about me.

I see my beauty,
in these age spots,
and in my hollowed cheeks.
Beauty is my thickened ankles,
and my wrinkled skin.

I am not in the first blush of youth
as time is a thief,
of the young and of the old,
and I am thankful to be alive.
For time will never stop
and this I know.

But I shall not weep
for what is lost.
So long as I live,
I know that beauty is life
and life is beautiful.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland

Embrace your beauty regardless if you are 9 or 99. As long as you are alive, you are beautiful for life is beautiful and in these trying times with so many losing their lives, do you have any idea how blessed you are to be alive at all? Love yourselves and love life for it is too short to worry about the trivialities of age spots, wrinkles and gray hair.

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

waiting

We are all waiting, waiting, waiting
for a train headed to nowhere.
We are waiting for something to happen,
something, anything, just please happen.
While we wait, life is passing us by.
While we are waiting to live,
we are forgetting to live.
Whatever is going to happen
will happen and we may not
like it and we can do nothing
about it. So, just live and
stop waiting, waiting, waiting,
for what? You
do not know.
As life is over
in the
twinkling
Of an eye.
And the
Dead,
if they
could speak,
would tell
you why.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2014 Shelby I. Courtland

It is so very easy to get caught up in the things that make us want to pull our hair out because we feel so powerless. I know that I have participated in the ‘waiting, waiting, waiting’ scenario and hoping and hoping and hoping for something or someone to ‘change’ things. But while I do that, life is passing me by.

I am going to try to not get so caught up in all of the problems in this world. I am not going to stop eating apples because they will kill me. I am not going concentrate on the radiation that is creeping across the ocean. I can do nothing about that. We are bombarded every day with stories of what will kill us and what we should do to become healthy. We are all going to die. Face it. Deal with and accept it. If the pesticides in your vegetables don’t kill you, the polluted air that you breathe will. If the vaccinations that you received don’t kill you, a drunk driver will. If the drone does not strike you, falling airplane equipment will. If chem trails don’t kill you, carbon monoxide poisoning will. There is no way to escape death. There never was and there never will be. I don’t care about some biblical fictitious man called, Lazarus. Have you met him? I didn’t think so. Eat your apples, cross the street, sit outside and look up at the sky, breathe the air, swim in the ocean. Drive to the store. Enjoy that which is killing you. Just stop waiting, it will come.

Now, have I cheered everyone up? Good!

The Little Things In Life

winter scene

Today was overcast and the air was crisp and cold.
I let the cares of the world slide and off my shoulders roll.

There is beauty to be found if only we will look.
Snow was falling softly and I laid down my book.

I glanced up as a bird landed to be fed.
And then a hungry squirrel perked up his little head.

The world may be in chaos and headed who knows where
But there is beauty to be found if we become aware.

So, I’ll not focus on the bad and forget that I’m alive,
just from the little things in life, some pleasure I’ll derive.

Written by,
Shelby I. Courtland
©2014 Shelby I. Courtland

Frustrated!

Frustrated24Many times I have wanted to call it quits with regards to doing this ‘blogging’ thing and many times I have decided to forge ahead, to continue. Even though, like many, frustration kicks in because you put so much effort in before you click that ‘publish’ button. Some will get a few ‘likes’ and maybe even a comment or two and you think to yourself, “why did I go through all of the effort to research, to type and to find relevant images to display?” “Why has no one enjoyed the epiphany that I have experienced? Don’t they see what I see and if they do, then why have they not acted upon it? I’ve given them all the data they need in which to do what needs to be done.” Now, therein lies the problem. Do what? What can they do? What am I doing? I have been over this forwards, backwards, sideways, upside and down and there is just nothing that can be done to solve a multitude of the problems and issues that many face on a daily basis.

There will be no savior to sort this out for us. There will be no one person who will stand above the crowd and ‘fix it’. There will be no second coming of Christ, for those of you who believe in the first coming of Christ. We go on each day until there is no ‘next’ day. We open our eyes. We get out of bed and we do what we have to do to survive. This has been going on for centuries and it will continue until either we fuck this planet up to the point where it expels us all or we drop dead. GMO foods may kill us, a drone may kill us, or a vehicle accident may kill us, but either way, we will be just as dead. There is no way that we can fight every single battle there is. We are human and we are weak and fallible and the human body is going to seek sustenance over spirituality when push comes to shove. We can think that we have all the inherent goodness in the world, but if it came down to sacrificing ourselves in some way(I don’t know quite how) for the good of the many, what would you do? What sacrifice is worth it? What would be the point? What would change? History has shown us that even those who are held in high esteem, the ones who are in the history books for effecting change, what good did it do them? They sacrificed themselves to make people aware of the suffering and injustices perpetrated on others and look at where we are now? Not just here in America, but all over the world. What good did it do for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to step out of his comfort zone and get assassinated for his efforts when the Supreme Court just dealt a blow to all that he and others marched and protested, got arrested and brutalized for? What good does it do to quote Gandhi? What good does it do to quote Mother Teresa? What good does it do to quote Malcolm X? George Orwell? Or any other ‘visionaries’ who tried to warn us of where we were headed.

Yes, some people have awakened, took a look around and said, “we’re fucked!” But what else can they do? If they have not the money to build affordable homes for the poor, if they have not the money to purchase land to grow food for the hungry, if they have not the money to pay the medical bills of the uninsured or money to simply put to good use and help as opposed to aiding in destruction, then there is nothing that they can do except to try to not contribute to the problem. There are so many so-called faith based charities that are nothing more than tax exempt corporations who are not helping the poor, they are not mitigating the consequences resulting from a lack of housing, food and health care. They are in the business of lining their pockets with one hand and preaching bullshit on the other. It is hypocrisy. That is all I see when I look around, hypocrisy in the guise of charities and government officials who grandstand to win votes and then disregard their constituents needs and instead, sell themselves to the highest corporate bidder for their own selfish agenda. Self is another key word of today. Selfish, self-fulfillment, self-serving, self-centered, self indulgent, self-satisfying, self, self and self. It is all about ME, well isn’t it? If not, who is it about? Is it about YOU? What can I do for you? What can you do for me? You scratch my back and I will scratch yours. That is the mindset of today.

Why do you think that when the holidays approach, people will gladly line up and stand in freezing, below average temperatures and trample each other over what is considered to be an unbeatable bargain? Why are they like that? Why is it that they can somehow find the time to pitch a tent for a week or more in a store parking lot to grab that huge TV, but when it comes to lining up to protest against homelessness, hunger, lack of medical care, there are a few stragglers wandering around with signs while people pass by them in vehicles yelling at them to “get a job!?” No one yells at those who are lined up to buy the latest Apple product to, “get a job!” The emphasis is placed on materialism to the exclusion of all else. If you don’t have it, you’re a loser. There are going to be winners, but there are going to be so many more losers and the winners have the microphone. The winners own the papers, the media and they feed us Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber and Rihanna and we eat it up. When Kate Middleton or Michele Obama struts an outfit, there is a stampede to purchase said outfit. That is what is important? No, but it is to those who have been programmed by the people who control the media and who shove down their throat what is important.

So, just because we have not joined forces and somehow stopped a world takeover does not mean that all of us are simply sitting around awaiting the latest chapter on Tim Tebow, it is just that we are all limited in what we can do. I can volunteer. I can advocate on behalf of those who are suffering. I can even sometimes help house a homeless person. I can continue to keep the issues in the forefront. It does not matter if I never get a ‘like’ or a following. If I am talking to myself, so be it. The fact that I am sharing my thoughts, sharing what is important to me, sharing my frustration at the status quo may be all that I can do because I see no other way to get my two cents in, but I will not point the finger at another and say, “you are not doing enough.” I know not what they are dealing with and so I will concentrate on what I am dealing with and hope that I can somehow find it in me to help someone else, even if it is only one person. I cannot change the world. I can only say to the world, “we’re fucked!”

Throwing In The Towel

fist

I am tired and I am shattered and before in tears I drown,
I shall put away my pen, as I exit with a frown.

I wish to thank you very much for stopping by and all,
I shall not listen to the cries; nor will I heed the writer’s call.

I’ve struggled with my faith and the battle has been lost.
I’ll settle in with winter and await the first cold frost.

I am bitter and I am angry and I have such great contempt
for those who hate the ones who are homeless and unkempt.

I have tried in every way to not concede the fight,
but the price is just too high; there are none to see the light.

I’m pummeled here and pummeled there and though the cause is just,
there are way too many issues and another one bites the dust.

Written by,

Shelby I. Courtland
© 2013 Shelby I. Courtland

Many times, those of us who care so very much for others feel as though our very spirit is being pulled from us. Even though we may be perceived as strong, we do have our weak moments. We ALL do. The point of the above poem relates to the struggle within myself. It is the struggle of those who have compassion, empathy, concern and sensitivity for the so-called underdogs of our society, those who are the left behinds, the forgotten. My struggle is so overwhelming because I walk the mean streets and I look and I listen and what I see and hear just breaks my heart! I see the ignorance. I see the cruelty. I hear the moans. I hear the pleading voices, begging for help. And I can do so little. The leaders of this country need to take a walk with me. But the question is,”Would it do any good?”

…and no, I am not conceding the fight. I am just conceding that  sometimes the force that is what makes me, me just has to push back, has to acknowledge that I am but one person and there will be times when I will falter and want to surrender, give in to hopelessness and so it helps to write about this frustration and that is where this poem came from.

After faltering, the battle for peace resumes!

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Frederick Douglass