What Keeps Me Sane

An element of mystery smudged with a smidgeon of pain

Front row seat sits surreal screwing with the syntax of my brain

Slivers of doubt that shoot straight up through the central vein

Sometimes, losing control is all that keeps me sane

============================

Gaze in the rear view as the years race past me in the fast lane

Blurred vision, seen through cheesecloth, deludes image I feign

Midlife calls a crisis as the lines of the story speak arcane

Sometimes, losing control is all that keeps me sane

=======================================

Not a shred of hope in the news report of nothing left to gain

Paper dolls cut a look-a-like chain, won't go against the grain

Antique dress form, cast for a princess from a distant reign

Sometimes, losing control is all that keeps me sane

=======================================

Looking for an easy ride, black and white, styled by Spillane

But the convoluted truth can't be bound by scripted constrain

Off the deep end or up in the clouds, our spirit will remain

Yet, still, sometimes, losing control is all that keeps me sane

=============================================

Comments 43 comments

Curiad profile image

Curiad 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

Sometimes, the only way to have control is to give it up. Then we see the truth and the love that lives within, the foundation of who we are.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Control is a wonderful thing to lose sometimes. Up!


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Right on, Mark. I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you for your support, my friend.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I used to think relinguishing control was giving up. I've found that sometimes there is no smarter choice. For every season there is a time....

Thank you, xstatic, for a brilliant comment.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I have written about this before Amy! I had to give up control in order to stay alive. I had to completely give up and admit that I had no control. The amazing thing is, that once I gave up, I gained power and freedom.

Truth be told this thing we call life will function quite nicely whether I am here or not; nature and life in general do not need my approval or interference to function on a daily basis, and there are so many influences that are completely out of my reach that to try and control them is a fool's venture at best.

I am much happier being the leaf blown in the wind. I am finally...free.

Of course, this is lovely...and powerful....but then, so is the writer.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Definitely true: "Sometimes, losing control is all that keeps me sane."

As always, Amy, the way you paint with words is absolutely captivating.

Voted up and awesome :)


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

What a beautiful way to put it, Bill, with every word the truth. I remember growing up with a feeling of overwhelmed awe, watching so many people helter skelter, in constant frantic motion, on a mission. I figured they sure must be important with so many important things to do everyday. Then, when I went to school it was all about homework, projects, and tests where the score was the student's value. Whether a person "made it" meant college or connections and, always, a plan. While my parents worried that I "flowed with the tide", I learned the adult way and buckled down, keeping my nose to the grindstone. Just at the point I'd thought I'd made it, circumstances beyond my control called life, intervened. The best laid plans....

I'll take the experience I gained in adulthood and balance it with my natural inclination to "let it go" and move forward. I think we are kindred spirits, my friend. Thank you, as always, for your support.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you, dear Martie, at some point, it was either acquiese or lose my mind. I can't think of much worth losing my sanity. It was a difficult lesson, since I placed so much stock in playing by the rules and felt secure by doing so. But, when my world was 'earthquaked' despite all my security measures firmly in place, I found out that when life knocks on the door, it's usually not with the news I'd planned on. And, I know I'm not alone. Who'd have thought it would take me so long to understand? I guess I was too busy spinning my wheels, too exhausted or too complacent to look around me. Eventually, though, like it or not, we all get our turn to experience being overwhelmed by reality. I started growing up, gained perspective and am becoming a better person for it.

Thank you, Martie, for your support. It means a lot to me.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

Amy - Number one, it is great to see you on here. Number two, this was an awesome read. I see you haven't lost your touch.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I've missed you Mike. I've been around, writing up a storm. Hope life is being good to you in your neck of the woods. I haven't seen you in any of my notifications these days. Better check to see if the 'hub hobbits' are messing with me again. Thank you for the visit and your 'oh so kind' words.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Amy, I could have written your reply myself, as it was exactly the same with me. Fortunately, slowly but certainly, we do grow up and wiser until we eventually realize that Life will never be what we would like it to be. We have to take it as it is and make the best of it. Just now and then we evidentely lose control and throw a tantrum, as if we do need something to regret. At least somehow, somewhere along the line, everything turns out for the best. In the meanwhile, hold on to your guts :)


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

Hi dear Amy. Martie directed me to this latest...yes, so much of life, time passing, things beyond our control; our comprehension...again..as so often; it is either to completely lose control or to go crazy...Walking on the edge too much lately; feeling too deeply, being disenchanted, disappointed, disillusioned and feeling discarded...unseen, unrecognized...alone and dealing!

So...believe it or not, once in a while; I completely lose my cool and exercise my demons by resorting to; finding relief in a Primal Scream!!! I'm not kidding. thank goodness I live in an isolated area...Yikes!

I still hold onto an overly romantisized view/concept of life...I still think what goes on in my imagination is what is actually happening in the world....NOT! Sadly..NOT! So, typically, I keep to myself.

For some reason; right here, right now.. many of us are feeling the overwhelming burden and weight of so much that IS out of our hands and out of our control but, still...we try; we imagine; we hope that we can turn the tide, influence the outcome; calm the seas...."hope springs eternal."

You've spoken for me...AGAIN...Amy...it is uncanny.

All ups but funny, of course. Kathy


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I saw me mum yesterday, Kathy, and she had a strange episode with numbness in her legs and feeling dizzy, so I did her grocery shopping, rushing through the store, yet managing to get everything on the list. As I drove back to her home, with my little Miata, stuffed to the gills, I cried. Reality hit me, pardon the expression, like a sack o' shxt, that at 85 years old, with some health problems, she won't be around forever. Of course, I know that, but still, I felt it, acutely, yesterday. I called her to see how she is doing today and so far, all is well. I told her we should move her appointment with the cardiologist up, and she said if it happens again, she will. Then, today, Charlie, the maintenance man at the apartments, wrapped on my door. I was on the phone with my friend in N. Carolina as I made my way to the door, expecting him to tell me I couldn't feed the birds out back. Instead, he'd found a beautiful baby bunny and thought I'd like to see the little guy. He was just too cute. Charlie assured me he was returning the baby to the grassy area where he'd found him. I watched as Charlie gently took him to the water dish I keep outside for the birds. I could have cried it was so incredibly touching to watch. Later, when I went outside to water my potted plants, just outside my door, I saw a furry little body in the grass, as if the bunny was on his way back to see me. As I approached, I saw he had died. It looked as if he had succumbed to dehydration or not enough to eat as he had signs of blood on his back end. I put on disposable gloves, gathered him up and as I have no place to bury him, I laid him beneath a large, thick, pine bush in the corner of the building outside my apartment, where he is out of the sun and can rest in peace. I know I sound crazy, but why, why, why??? What are the chances I would "meet" this little adorable critter and then find him outside my door like that? Losing MacGregor recently, and my dad before that, my job right after ending a marriage, I feel like God is telling me something and it feels ominous. Like Martie says, I feel all I can do is keep "gathering my guts", until the next bomb falls.

Thank you for listening, Kathy, as I unravel once again. Keep thinking good thoughts for me and I will continue to do the same for you, my friend. I love you.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

oh Amy, my eyes are welling with tears. I, too, wonder why? Why? I know that 'we are not given more than we can handle,' but..again, why? In an instant; a relationship can form, in the blink of an eye, love can exist. It is beyond physical, beyond our 5 senses; it is something mysterious; even magical. The little bunny needed to know the love the two of you gave. It is possible, in the natural, "survival of the fittest" world, this may have been a situation where the little one was rejected by the mother. Sadly, this does happen. Nature is a bitch! But, you and the kind maintenance man cared for that little one ... and it was known; felt. This is why, Amy...this is what I think. Something very similar happened with three squirrels who came up to me as I was gardening in SE Kansas...no mama, after a severe storm. All had fallen from the high tree...they came to me w/no fear; climbing on my feet. I nursed all three; one had neurological issues; he was "spastic" and appeared to have seizures. (pics in my last hub..)..two made it; the third did not but, he lived in warmth, had food (as prescribed by my Veteriarians) and companionship. I suspected he wouldn't make it but, still; it broke my heart that he would never join his siblings in the tall tree tops.

I'm concerned about your mother; she should NOT wait, she should go now and have the proper tests run..of course, I know this will land on your sholders...I am sorry about this.

Very very sad...and tough to take. We are natural, physical, falible and deteriorating beings with minds that try to make sense of it; try to reason our way out of the natural scheme of things. This is my big Why? How come such a miracle comes to such pathetic ends; knowing, full well, that we do? Such a cosmic twist .... like being stabbed w/a knife.

This is why, w/our amazingly elegant construction, that I know our spirit, when done with this vehicle, carries on w/out it.

Sending prayers of strength and great friendship, Amy...you ARE an angel on earth for so many.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Like those needy little squirrels, I knew that you would understand, Kathy. Regarding my mom, I talked with my friend, Laura, today, who is taking care of her mom in her home in N. Carolina. Her mother has had several TIA's and is on a multitude of meds, including a blood thinner. Her mom had a scary episode not long ago, and Laura got her to the hospital 5 mins away. They kept her mom overnight and assured Laura that a staff member would stay with her mom, as Alzheimers leaves her frightened and confused. When Laura returned the next morning, she found her mom alone, and chaotic as she'd been left alone in a strange place all night. Her mom had torn the IV out of her arm and was bleeding severely since she is on the blood thinner. Laura had left the hospital because she was told she couldn't stay after visiting hours. She'd given the staff her mom's full health history. There was no excuse and no recourse for what happened. The tests revealed no cause for the seizure she'd had. She was released, with the whole episode more harmful than beneficial. This is so often the case that I can understand my mother's decision to wait unless it happens again. When my dad started having episodes of extreme dizziness, he was told by the GP that saw my mom and dad every 3 months, to see an ENT specialist, who concurred that dad was suffering from age-related balance issues. Dad faithfully performed the exercises prescribed by the doctor. I suspected TIA's, and I was right. He suffered a massive stroke that took him 6 months later. I have no problem taking my mom to the doctor at any time. Though she does have some dementia, she is lucid and aware of her health issues. I wouldn't hesitate to insist she see the doctor and have, in fact, told her that any further issues, and we go, period. At this moment, I feel it is a reasonable choice, but that could change in a moment, too. Even with all the precautions possible and direct questions about the possibility of stroke warnings, my dad met his end when, I believe, it was destined. As human beings, we do the best that we can. Sometimes, more often than not, despite it all, no matter how much we love, no matter how much we want it to be different, it is out of our hands. It is a bitter pill to swallow.

Thank you for not only listening, Kathy, but reaching out to me. You are a good friend.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

If you were playing an organ, Amy, I would say you 'pulled out all the stops' with this poetic creation.

"Slivers of doubt ... blurred vision ... convoluted truth?" I was worried until I read your solution: "Off the deep end or up in the clouds, our spirit will remain." So, go ahead, lose a little control every once in awhile - it will keep you sane. Trust me.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I do trust you, my friend. Every time I read those two words from you, I am touched and reassured....everything is going to be just fine... I don't know about you, drbj, but I can perk along through a lot of happenings, but it seems like "the straw that broke the camel's back" syndrome hits when I've reached my limit. After I think I've managed to cope, something will come sharp into focus, and I'm a goner. Losing MacGregor was brutal. I may have to move the painting I did of his beautiful mug. I have it in the kitchen next to the frig. He was a "chow" hound. I never went in the cabinet or frig where he wasn't lurking right behind me. Now, when I go into the frig, his eyes are looking right at me as if to say, "don't forget about me". Crazy? Maybe, but the sadness is "real" to me. I guess "when it rains, it pours" is so readily relatable, because we all feel that way sometimes. I love living alone, but it's difficult when times are hard. I feel living with my mom would be a good thing...for both of us. Thank you, drbj, for listening and caring.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Aha when we look around and see so much that we have no control over and then to see that we still have loved ones who care, all the craziness in our minds just flies out of the window. As long as we have one person in this mixed up world who loves us, we are a winner, at least that's what keeps me sane. I understand your poetry and i love it my friend


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX

Nicely done. Control can be an issue but I'm not one to be controlled nor do I particularly want to control another. Lets not confuse good advice with wanting to exercise control. Just a thought.

Back in the saddle now after going to the Sturgis Bike Rally. Nice respite. Total loss of information was refreshing for a brief time.

The Frog


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

That is so true, Ruby, one person that loves us is what it takes to maintain sanity. I know that is what threw me for a loop when I lost MacGregor. He was the one, loving, living being that I saw and took care everyday for 9 years. My mom has invited me to move in with her, and at this point, although I love independence, I believe it would be a blessing for both of us. It would reduce the amount of driving I do now, plus I would be right there to help her. As it is, I worry constantly about her being alone. I would be able to help her by taking over the yardwork, which I miss terribly since I left my home in Hillsboro, MO. I think about the possibility of her falling...well, the list goes on and on. I think my being there with her would reduce her stress and in the process I would fulfill a valued purpose. In other words, we'd be helping each other and it doesn't get better than that. Thank you, Ruby, for your insight and your emotional support. You help me more than you'll ever know. Love to you, my friend.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I had a girlfriend that went with her hubby to Sturgis every year for the bike rally. Another friend was a "Harley" dude from my former workplace that had a blast in Sturgis every year. I hear you can find whatever you're looking for there! No wonder it's a trip so highly anticipated. Turning off the info stream is a vacation in itself...no matter the destination. Glad you had a safe trip.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

Well nosing in here and there, it is strange this poem reminded me before I read the comments above of the years with my mom who had Alzheimer's and was killed slowly by hospitals and nursing homes. That was when I first come here three years ago and I was a mess. This writing made me think of that time, I came screaming with frustration because I could not stop a thing! She has been gone two years now and never a day passes I don't think of her and wish I had her back. I know you and your mom will be good for each other. Just give her love, that is all we any need.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

So sorry Amy, to hear about these strange and troubling problems arising. I had a bird sitting in my seed feeder this afternoon, looked as if he was gasping in the 90+ heat, tried to think of something to do, but he did leave when I was not watching.

Know that you are in many thoughts here on HP.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh, xstatic, that is so very kind of you. Thank you so much.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. You and me both Amy. Sometimes it does help to just go a bit nuts so to say. Maybe do something stupid, have some silly fun and not care what others think. Don't remember if you read it but I did write a hub Still Crazy After All These Years. Best way to go. Just be yourself and you'll feel way better. I say live and let live. Hugs to you from Riga.


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 4 years ago from New York

Love this! When we cannot control what happens, it is not always easy to roll with the punches life gives us. This reminds me of those times. Great poem that lets us know it's ok to not always be in control.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

I like the Spillane reference, Mickey would be proud - and I need your writing and 'presence' in my life to keep me sane as well from the first day I found you two years ago and from the first hub that I read too - so is here is a homework assignment for all of your readers above me and those will follow - please go back right back to the very beginning - 2 years ago - and read Amy Becherer - to see her 'roots' and how it all started - and yes Amy your intelligence, savvy, passion, honesty, your pure poetic heart and artistry keeps me sane ....... thank you for this amazing journey - lake erie time 11:40pm


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I do remember your piece "Still Crazy after all these Years", Gypsy! I'm going to return there for a refresher. I've found, after all these years, that letting go of what's beyond my control, is freeing. It's a good thing. Thank you, my friend.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi, Bobbi! Glad you relate! I just published a new piece that I titled "Waiting on the Light" and I hope you recognize the meaning. You and Steve inspired it. And, I really hope you like it, my dear friend.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

With a little help from my friends, I maintain some semblance of sanity, Mister C. I haven't gotten smart enough yet to turn off stress. I, unfortunately, am still impacted by it. But, I have figured out the importance of carefully choosing the battles I'm willing to fight. I use to rage against things where I had no control. I learned the futility of wasting my energy on something I cannot change.

Well, Mister C, it's only taken me about 30-minutes to try to assemble my thoughts to you here, as my phone won't stop bothering me. So, once again, I'm losing control to try to stay sane... Thank you, Colin, for your beautiful message that helps me rise about the clatter.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Ohhh Amy – where do I begin? My favorite lines:

“Front row seat sits surreal screwing with the syntax of my brain

“Paper dolls cut a look-a-like chain, won't go against the grain

“Off the deep end or up in the clouds, our spirit will remain”

I love your poetry! but I cannot express my thoughts any better than Colin, who said it all, and perfectly. I am a fan, a friend, and a devout supporter of all that "is" Amy. :-)


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Dear Jackie, I almost missed your beautiful, honest comment. I know how frustrating it can be dealing with Alzheimers. My friend in N.Carolina has her mom living with them and, as much as she loves her mom, it is trying, to say the least. My mom's dementia began with her bypass surgery a year ago, which we found out after the fact, is a very common after effect from being on the pump during the surgery, especially in the elderly. She surprises me with many distant memories that she remembers down to the last little detail, but then, she might forget that she talked to me the day before. It has an unpredictable course, which makes it even more difficult. I am so sorry to hear about your mom's battle. The course of Alzheimers or any form of dementia is especially devastating, because we lose the person we knew long before they leave us physically. Thank you for sharing that, Jackie.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Dear Genna, Your words lit up my face with a huge smile. Thank you for being a friend to me, for making my day and leaving me feeling so much more than o.k. Love to you from the presently stormy, dark, scary St. Louis.


Mr Archer profile image

Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

I applaud your honesty in this piece. Too many of us (myself included) cannot find the way to remain "sane" by doing something daily to relieve the stress. There are times I want to cry out, to shout, to do something, but I continually push it inside and down, deeper and deeper. My wife sees it, and tries to help it get out, but I'm a Man; I'm supposed to deal with it, not let it out. Most of the time, I am able. But every now and again.... The only thing that keeps me sane is my wife and family. Without them, I would be lost. I will pray for you, and your needs. I read your comment to me on bobbirant's hub "An american i am" and I appreciate your kind words for me and mine. I will do the same for you, and hope you have a deliverance in your life. May God Bless.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

Amy, we do look in the rearview mirror at life fleeting past. What a great image. Mid-life crises are the worst - giving up control is the best way to get throught them. We can't control everything in life. In fact, there is not much we can control. I have finally just decided that nothing in life will upset me anymore. Life happens and it is how I react or don't react to it that decides whether life is good or not. I just don't worry anymore and I don't care what anyone thinks anymore. All I can do is the best I can do in this life and that is all that matters.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

The past two years, Mr. Archer, I have had a total eclipse of the heart. First a divorce, then a layoff 2 weeks later from my long-time job, and recently, the loss of my beloved companion, Scottish Terrier, MacGregor from bladder cancer. Prior to 2 years ago, I always kept my emotions in check, in control and proud of it. The day I was laid off, I dissolved in front of everyone at the workplace, without a thought of shame, but only fear, panic and grief. Losing MacGregor makes that event look like child's play. The apartment is so quiet now and I will miss him forever. I have no choice, but to move on. I tell you all this because I understand what you are telling me. Sometimes, adults need to cry. I think I'd be in a mental institution otherwise. It is a powerful, chemical release that I don't try to fight anymore. I try to cry privately, but once in a blue moon, someone will express sympathy for the loss of my best friend and I will dissolve again. It depends on how I'm feeling that day and the sincerity of the expression. Kindness when I feel vulnerably sad always "gets" me. Thank you for your kindness, Mr. Archer.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

It has taken 2 years of overwhelming chaos to get me to that place you describe, Suzette. I have no choice but to move forward, despite loss. I have come a long way, baby! Honestly, I wouldn't have chosen the turn of events, but otherwise, I would have continued on, life as usual, and remained who I was, controlled; thinking I was fully in control of everything in my life. Now, I understand loss. I have more compassion for those that are decimated by circumstances beyond their control. I was compassionate before, but living it changes everything. No longer imagined perceptions, it is real and I look at those down on their luck with 20/20 vision now, and beyond that, I know what it feels like. There is a purpose for everything under the sun.

Thank you, Suzette, for your uplifting and brilliant comment.


Mr Archer profile image

Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

If you have not read the book "The Shack", may I suggest you do so. It is a phenominal read, and strikes at the heart of that feeling of being lost, alone, and adrift in this world without a rudder to steer by. The person who is the main charactor in the story recently had a "Great Tragedy" in his life, and even though he was surviving, he could not allows himself to "live". He felt apart from his family, though they were right there with him. It took a life changing event to bring him to state of being that shook him to the very core. When I read it, I was hunting. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and no deer were moving. I read the entire story in about 4 hours. I laughed, cried, and was myself struck by the love that came through those pages. At the end, I called my wife from the field. She knew inside of a few seconds that something had happened to me. When I asked "Can I just come home early?" she laughed in her wonderful way and told me "Of course you can! Just be safe. I love you." I cannot tell you how wonderful this book makes the world for me. Please, try it yourself, and let me know how it makes you feel. I pray you have those feelings wash over you like cool rain water from above.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh, thank you so much, Mr. Archer. I will find the book, take it in and let you know what I think and how it makes me feel. Thank you for your incredible kindness. It doesn't surprise me that you have such a wonderful, loving wife, as I can see that you are a very kind and caring person. My sincerest thank you to you


CrazedNovelist profile image

CrazedNovelist 4 years ago from Hampton, GA

Interesting work, Amy!! :)


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you, Aubrey!


itouchtheworld 4 years ago

Nice one


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you, itouchtheworld

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