About crh

I LOVE MY CATS. I like British humor, pomp, and glamour; Latin color, passion, and weather. I love to dance, and I love being a redhead. I want travel and life-long learning. Cheers, crh

2.20.20

Too busy DOING to write!

That’s a first! At last, I’m living, not talking about what I want to do.

I just finished the top left corner of my 2020 Vision Board: SLAY LAKE CITY is a Rock Camp for women, gender expanzy, non-binary, and men (though, to date, no males have jumped in), and I DID IT! It was terrifying.

On Saturday morning, the only thing getting me there was that I had paid for it, and I don’t waste money, dammit. “What am I doing? Why do I do this to myself?”

In two and a half days, I formed a band with people who were strangers on Saturday. I learned an instrument (guitar). We named our band, designed a logo, screen-printed that logo onto band Ts, and took band photos. More importantly, we wrote an original song (Give ‘Em Hell!), and performed that song onstage at The Depot on Monday night. (That was especially overwhelming, because just Wednesday I had seen the singular, spectacular Marcus King Band on that stage. I’m not worthy!)

I AM WORTHY! And we rocked it!

Give it up for Fellow Sirens!
band photo
onstage with fellow sirensonstage on guitaronstage on guitar 2camp theme song onstageband poster wall at depot

This was the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long, long time. Maybe the best thing, period. I’m renewed. I’m replenished. I’m inspired. I’m fired up. I’m happy. I’m proud. I feel accomplished and brave. I feel active and intentional. I feel extremely grateful and humbled. It was hard. It was so rewarding. IT WAS SO FUN!!!

band T

Haha! I pulled my band T out of the dirty clothes to snap a quick pic for you. I LOVE IT.

Give ’em hell! Give ’em hell!
They may holler, they may yell
Try attempts at flattery ’til it’s weakness they can smell.
Don’t be fooled, my fellow sirens
You’ve a better tale to tell
Hell, hell, hell!
slay lake and rock camp logos

2.2.20

Hindsight 2020 Vision Board!

hindsight 2020 vision board

1.20.20

Progress Report:

If my social calendar is any indication, I’m benefiting from the intention I set for My Last Chance Midlife Make-It: Regular lunch dates, comedy club weekends, cooking, crafting, old repairs “I’m meaning to do” … DONE!

The bullet journal is the key. It’s so simple. Annoyingly simple. I’ve thought about bullet journaling since the craze began. It appeals to every piece of me: LISTS, LISTS, checking off LISTS. LISTS, colorful LISTS. Organized LISTS, LISTS, LISTS!

Look at everything I’ve done! Marinate in delicious minutia! How I adore you, shimmering pens. Leaves and glitter climb columns of beautiful lists, lists, lists! Oh, the euphoria of checking off LISTS!

DO WHAT YOU LIKE. For the love of all that’s holy, what are you waiting for?! It’d be amusing if it weren’t so annoying. It would be infuriating if it weren’t so fun!

I’m seeing old friends, making plans, making food, watching less TV. I’ve joined a Book Club! I’ve always wanted to. I read a lot. I’m constantly asking friends or family to read this tome or that so we can talk about it. No one bites. Or a tepid response to something that inspired me is so deflating, I don’t ask again.

A girl from belly dance invited me to her group last year. She lives in BFE Suburbia. The last thing I want is to navigate some paltry transit extension out there – in the dark, cruel middle of winter – and, worse, try to get home again later, when even downtown options can be limited. At last, I got noisy on the group page. Week after week, I asked if anyone would be willing to hop off the freeway, pick me up from someplace I can bus to, and hop back on. It worked.

I’m loud. I’M NOT QUIET. Fear and insincerity yield nothing. Everyone knows this, but living it is something else. I have a voice, goddamnit. I need a ride.

Thank you!

It’s going to be wonderful! The book, right up my alley. The women, just who I was looking for. Mothers, daughters, lawyers, hippie dippies, and at least one miscreant.

So far, so good. Thank you, Hindsight 2020.

Oh! New glasses. (Check!) Restored to 2020 Vision, I can see behind; I can see ahead.

1.10.2020

Ten, in Numerology, signifies the completion of a cycle. Tonight, the first full moon of the New Year is the last in Cancer, completing the cycle of introspection, revelation, and intense emotion. More meaningful, for me, is the timing of the beginning of moon in Cancer, a turning within that focused the need and desire to SELF-CARE.

Where was I in July 2018?

I was moving here! To the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived, a home that hugs me every day. A year-and-a-half on, I’m still drunk on love of this place. I’m healed here.

In July 2018, I put my sweet Cricket to rest. I felt her so strongly the moment I remembered the move. Going within, looking deeply, and mending my shattered spirit was exactly the intention I brought here with me.

My Cricket is with me today during an epic, rare astrological event: Perigee and an ECLIPSE! The Super Blood Wolf Moon.

Of course you’ve come, my darling mystery! My kitten, black as night, whose mind I could never quite know. Of course you come in moonlight energy, Little Black Magicat, my glorious dark eclipse. Shadow Cat, hushed like a whisper.

I feel her!

She was at once impenetrable and plain. She loved me – I knew that – but I never could unravel her mystery. “Tell me what I can’t know,” I begged in regular cuddle refrains. “My Enigma, wrapped in bacon, dipped in chocolate.”

Oh, how she purred and lolled into me! Oh, I miss her big body and simple sweetness.

What an auspicious start to an amazing New Year! Tomorrow is 1.11. New Beginnings.

Ta Da!

We talk so much of resolutions and goals, but what are you proud of about 2019? What’s on your Ta Da List?

I’ve written about mine extensively. It’s the work of my life, the reason I started this blog, but it wasn’t until 2019 that I really saw results. I saw improvement, but I hadn’t yet managed to sustain it, or found a way out of my pattern: crisis/recovery/crisis/recovery.  It’s all I’ve ever known. It’s how my family relates.

I see it now, the shift. I believe in it. I’m so encouraged and excited by that! Time and again, I’ve met with resistance, rejection, assault, attack, or heartache and upset, and I’ve responded with strength and calm.

My biggest success is the biggest loss, but it was my biggest trigger – my mom – and I DID IT! Poorly, but I did it. That was a toddling argument, full of mistakes and regret. Falling everywhere, bumping, crying, anger, re-centering and starting again, in one stilted conversation. If given the opportunity, I could build mutual trust with her. We could get better at discussions of thorny or painful issues. I could build a real relationship between us, with depth and substance. I understand, too, that it’s not available. She won’t.

Acceptance was the huge Ta Da for me in 2019. I can’t force it. I love us both enough not to ask again. The sorrow, of course, is that I feel hollow and unsatisfied by such a superficial connection, and it’s the only other option to shunning. The sole interaction they permit feels uneasy to me, inauthentic, like being loved with an asterisk.

But love it is. Just as Mom doesn’t have the right erase my origin story, I can’t pretend that love isn’t love when it doesn’t behave exactly like I want it to. For now, I can appreciate that. I accept her limits for our relationship, but meaningful acceptance of this quasi-“love” from my family is beyond my skill set for now. It makes me mad. I want to open my heart to it, but I’m not there yet. Layers…

Perhaps I’ll always feel second-class. It’s still love, the only way they know how. Today, it’s insulting. “Isn’t it a shame?” they condescend. “If only she’d stop causing so much trouble, we could welcome her.” I just won’t receive their embrace. Tsk, tsk.

As for their religious estimation of me, “pearls before swine” sums it up, but I don’t mind them seeing me as Esau, tossing my birthright for sin. We both feel superior in that regard, which is sad, really, and antithetical to love, but I can only handle so much. It’s unfathomable to me how they refuse to examine their thoughts. It’s positively willful, but they don’t see the action verb in their behavior. They’re so used to believing without thinking that they’re blind to the blinders they wear.

There’s a song in Book of Mormon Musical, in which the missionaries dance to a wonderfully irreverent tune about those dreaded, creeping questions. Before allowing themselves to complete any thought, the chorus interrupts: “TURN IT OFF!”

I know plenty of Mormons who think for themselves. I know plenty of courageous, intellectually curious individuals who explore truth on their terms and land in their own place on the spectrum of orthodoxy, but my family is culty. Gross.

Look down on me, then. We share that.

Our problems are behavioral, not theological, but I can see how that refusal to look deeply at an issue came from our religious culture. I believe, too, in genetic memory. Studies show that trauma alters genes, which are then transmitted to subsequent generations. When we feel history in our bones, we really do!

I’ve found a lot of understanding and healing in that notion, and when I sit in it, I feel my ancestors. They’re in my blood, pumping and alive. Whether they’re angelic or not (They are), they’re now.

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” -William Faulker

I don’t think we’re doomed by genetic memory. In the context of ancestry, we’re all the perpetrator and the victim, and I believe we can heal our spirits and bodies in real time. For me, it’s overwhelming and so fulfilling to consider recovery in a larger framework, one that challenges my understanding of time. The cosmos itself offers too much discovery to bend my mind to, that tells me time isn’t linear. Time is both real and unreal. Can I heal the past? Yes. I’m healing me, and the past is never dead.
healing hurts

Intention

the best thing

I’m really proud of that choice. I’m excited to keep doing the work. I hope to feel less judgemental about my family’s unwillingness to look any deeper at our collective functional ability, and more grateful for my strength and willingness to do so. I like the future that intention brings to my life, and that’s all I need to concern myself with.

I do feel alienated and alone. They don’t want to participate in anything below the surface. To them, our time together would be great if I’d just shut up. They don’t recognize that we share that. I never bring it. I leave my politics at the door until it begins to feel dirty not to voice a different view. Unfortunately, by then I’m upset, and we’ve never learned to navigate differences or challenging emotions together. Never. Consider that. It’s crazy, and it’s my reality, my whole life.

They don’t see a problem. It’s my problem. It’s not a far leap to perceiving that I am the problem. I get it. I’m the scapegoat, as far back as I recall. The most maddening thing is that I actually am! I fall so neatly into my part every time I cross that threshold, it infuriates me. I feel powerless and disgusted that I CAN’T resist my role in their context.

Intellectually, I can give myself a break, inasmuch as I can’t do it alone. Emotionally, that feels like a lie. I’m a failure. And seething! Every time I visit.

I cannot change a systemic problem alone… I am alone… I can’t go.

Mom disowned me again last month, when I told her why I wouldn’t be coming home for the holidays. The anxiety that starts in October. Anticipating the rhetoric, feeling at once disregarded and erased. I DON’T MATTER. That’s all I get from them, whether they mean it or not. It’s the truth. They don’t care to shelve their ideology long enough to maintain neutral space where everyone feels included and valued. I’m the only one bothered by that, so get over it. You don’t matter.

It was pretty watershed, actually, my fight with mom. We both got emotional, started our bad habits, and we both reigned it in! Again and again, in one really hard conversation. For the first time in history. Seriously, in all my 46 years, we’ve never had a painful discussion that didn’t devolve into screaming and abuse, both ways.

It was a sad victory; I regret hurting her. And I’m mad, still. It’s not unreasonable to ask my family to choose impartial topics while I visit. I’m not safe there, and I’m not lying about it anymore. I sent my mom an email pointing out our success. We returned to respectful tone, repeatedly. Progress! But she was fully triggered by then and went crazy via text, saying all the insane things that show me how much further down the rabbit hole she’s falling the older she gets.

(And just like before – all the befores – she activated the “phone tree,” and they circled the wagons. I’m blocked from every number. Except my oldest brother, who’s a big sinner like me, and never goes home.)

The truth is, my mother is fragile. She’ll outlive me, most like, but she does not have the resources anymore to cope with any stress or upset, at all. The end. It’s on me.

I accept. It’s a sad truth of my life that my family is a dictatorship, not a home. There’s no diversity or dissent, or you’re out. You’re bad, intentionally. Fighting is futile, and it only causes pain and regression for the two most sensitive, vulnerable [mentally-ill] people there: my mom and myself. She can’t act any other way, but I can.

We deserve peace, and this is the way. It’s so fucking sad! It feels wrong in every way, but it isn’t. It’s love that accepts what we can’t change. It hurts my heart. I feel it everywhere. In my toes, everywhere! It kills me. It really is the tragedy of my life.

I’ll visit in summer (if/when permitted). I love those babies, and crops of ’em are being born all over the place now that my nieces are grown and married. I play with the kids and don’t go near the adults. I’ll have to pay for a hotel, and that’s fun, too. I guess??? Ugh. All so unnecessary, but nothing else is workable for us.

I’m ready to put that to bed and build my own foundation for lasting, meaningful family. Mine is coming. After a big, scary adventure (Bolivia and unknown travel, solo!), some partnership is coming. I’m getting ready for the life of my dreams.

Ooh! Let’s just write it! This is the truth of what I want, and I have no reason to doubt that it’s mine already:

I want to meet a man whose children are grown. I’m gonna be Grandma Christie someday!!! We’ll live someplace beachy. I have no idea where, but I will live in mild humidity and 80 degrees year-round with another person who looked honestly at the hard stuff and built something new.

And then this hot, middle-aged gal comes along? You lucky devil. You hit gold!

Me, too. Let’s go.

mexico 2010

Mexico 2010

peru 2011

Peru 2011

I want to live where people dance all the time. With a man who gets up and dances.