Earning Points (Punkty)
Western National Parks Inspired
Reflections on Life

My sister, Mama and I invent
Punkty game
(Points in English)
While exploring south-western national parks
Following our agreed-upon rules for a
Month-long journey together:
No air-conditioning in the car
No hotels
Camping every night
No planning

My sister is about 13
I’m 23
Mama is ageless

We spend all day and all night
Of that month

Hiking and singing and laughing
Oh do we laugh at everything
We scream on one breath
As we drive over bridges
And we earn punkty

Punkty are assigned randomly
There is no formal framework
Sometimes an action earns one punkt
Sometimes the same action earns many
Sometimes punkty are taken away
None of us keep track
Yet we play the game non stop
It doesn’t matter who wins
It’s about playing

We chant:

It is so hot that summer
That at a gas station in the middle of New Mexico
My plastic nalgene bottle
Shatters like thin glass when
I fill it with ice water and drop it
Punkty earned there
Making the impossible possible
Always earns more punkty

We arrive regularly to
The last remaining camping site
At many camp grounds
Punkty earned

We make a game of everything
We earn punkty for eating too fast
We earn punkty for reaching the “no pets” sign first
We earn punkty because why not
Isn’t that what life is all about
Earning punkty?

There was a period of my life
Especially after 9/11
When I decided to
Earn punkty in the proper way
As proper Americans do
In modern America
I earned degree after degree
I worked endless hours

I bought a house and a car and a sofa
When I bought my king-sized bed
I thought of the months of travel that the cash
Could have supported
But I was buying into
What I decided was the proper punkty system

I continued to earn my punkty
Getting awards and grants
Adopting dogs and cats
Marrying a kind man
Investing all my energy
Into doing, doing, doing

Yet the satisfaction of the punkty
Slowed and slowed and slowed
Until I would find myself curled up in bed
For days
Not moving
Not knowing what else to do

I slowly realize
That I am playing someone
Else’s game
This isn’t my game
I don’t care if my lawn is green and mowed
I don’t care if my car is the newest model
And I can’t put up with one more conversation
About what doesn’t seem to matter to any of us
Yet we can’t figure out what else to discuss

One evening I discover
Stuff White People Like.com
It’s a hip analysis of the emptiness
Of my educated, white, previleged
Social class
When I first start reading
I laugh and laugh
Wow – so right on
The writer is brilliant!
And then I want to cry

Is this the fucking game that I bought into?
Is this what my life game is all about?
Going to the right gatherings in the hip new scarf?
Travels to exotic locations and lists of doing?
Constant anxiety about how else to fill up time
As one can’t pause for even a moment
Pauses are not allowed
Pauses may allow a realization
That this is all empty
So no pause, no pause, no pause

Earn punkty as everyone else seems to be doing

Deep down
I had never fully bought into that game
But I reached a point where I wanted to try it
Could I own a house?
Could I live in animated stability?
Could I appear like other humans?
We all have choices

I read Eat, Pray, Love
See her in my mind’s eye
In her beautiful home sobbing
I then see myself
In my beautiful home sobbing
What other games are out there?
How else can I decide to earn punkty?

I’d always lived on the edges of systems
Always searched for something deeper
How did someone like I
Lodge herself into a system
That really doesn’t match me?
How can someone like I
Create something else?

So one night
I chose to end that game
And begin a new one
New set of punkty
New set of challenges
Everything else needed wiping

How does one wipe away a life?
Wipe it away

Endless examples throughout history
If you need a guide
Pick one
Simply wipe what no longer fits

I am at burning man
Walking alone deep in the desert under a full moon
When I hear her say
“Your marriage is over.”
How does one resist the moon?
She has been following me my whole life
So I listen to my moon, my stalker, my lover
And by ending my happy marriage
I end an entire game

I leave behind my king-sized bed
My house with too many rooms
My flexible and awesome job
My loving husband
My beautiful furry kids
And I do what I know I have to do

I begin to return
To playing my own game
To creating my own rules
To crafting my own moments

I think of my real life now
I have no home to return to
I have no job to return to
I have nothing to return to
And therefore I simply am
Flowing through my days
Being with whomever arrives
Being with myself

My punkty earning continues
Punkty for musing projects into birth
Punkty for holding space
Punkty for rituals and pages of words
Punky for making the impossible possible
Punkty in this game
That is mine

That is my authentic game
That is crafting my authentic life
That is crafting my authentic me

In these punkty games that we all choose to play
We all need to remember
That we are choosing our games
There are endless different games to play
Which ones are making our planet feel loved?
Which ones are making souls feel loved?
Which games fit who we know ourselves to be
At the deepest levels within ourselves?

I invite you all
To look at all that you do
As the games that you are choosing to play
Are not real
You’re the one who decides they are real
You’re the one who decides how to play
You’re the one who will grant and take away
And you’re the one who decides
That the points have meaning

When you lie on your deathbed
Taking your last gasps of air
What games will you remember?
What games really matter?
What really matters when you lie dying?

If I told you tomorrow all will change
Which games would you consider changing?
Which games will you change NOW?

******************************WE ARE ALL STARS***************************

All images and writing are copyrighted.  These stories will be published by 2012.
Printed version available upon request.
All feedback and comments are welcome.  Please send to blissmeander at gmail.com