The Goddess Isn’t Letting Me Go

Mere days after my biggest artist tantrum, I sold my first drum at retail.

Oy.

I was feeling pretty sheepish after my 2-day fit this weekend. I throw tantrums! Wasn’t I supposed to outgrow that? I didn’t. In fact, they’re worse. I was always a tantrum kid, but they do more damage now. To myself, relationships, property. Like a drum I might have salvaged if I hadn’t stabbed it. (They don’t pierce. That’s something I know now.)

Self-abuse is so… painful. If I were a teenager today, I would have been a cutter. (I used to beat my own head with metal bristle brush until I bled.) (I wasn’t the first to hit me over the head with it; neither was I the only sibling to meet rage at the end of a brush.)

This goddess series has been beyond my capacity to create, but I keep seeing different versions and itching until I express her.

My first commercial sale is my first goddess, at Dancing Crane for $200. My optimistic self would see affirmation in that, but today I’m ashamed. It hurts.

I’ll shelve the shame, I guess, and anticipate joy in this sometime after Monday, when I see my psychiatrist. *sigh*
eve
****
June 20, 2017

I was mistaken! My goddess drum isn’t even on the wall at Dancing Crane. Silly me.

It was the first Tree of Life that sold! My first departure from the mandala. Oh, I’m so glad it brought full price! It would hard for me part with for less than $200, but I could have been talked down in person. I don’t know. Maybe not. A part of me hoped it would never sell, and I could bring it home for my very own. Looking at it now, I can hardly imagine what would have struck me then as a flaw. It’s perfect.

Let that be a lesson to you, Christie. Tantrums are wasted energy. Let your work be!
tree-of-life

Post-Meltdown Post-Mortem

Well, first, it’s clear that I have not accepted inevitable failures. Til now, I hadn’t created something I couldn’t save. Each piece had a feature I disliked, but I was satisfied enough to share it.

I’m a perfectionist. It’s held me back throughout my life. If I can’t do it perfectly from the start, I don’t do it. It’s a limiting worldview. I’ve always admired and envied those who take real risks, unfazed by a public experience of trying something – sometimes horribly – for the first time. Or if they were frightened by exposure or humiliation, they braved it anyway.

So there’s that.

Also, I’m looking with new eyes at a belief I’ve held for 2 decades. That I won’t kill myself because I promised not to at 23. I did try once after that, but never again. It made a difference. It got me through the most dangerous years of this illness.

And so because I’ve had success at not dying, I forgot to be vigilant. Yesterday, I told my cats to fuck off, because I can’t kill myself until they die. It makes me sick to even think how that feels to them. I try to tell myself they don’t speak English, but that doesn’t matter. They speak energy.

They’ll forgive me. They always do. I didn’t yell. But they know. My pain hurts them, even if they just register more stress. Dis-ease. God, I hate it when hippies do that. But it’s real. Disease makes us sick. I don’t want to hurt them.

I have to look honestly at my future. I have to fix this shit or I’m gonna kill myself in 10 years. Why not? I don’t fucking care. It’s a tragedy when a young person dies with all her promise and beauty. When a sick middle-aged woman goes… Well, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a choice that belongs to her alone. Some forms of cancer kill. Some don’t. Why is mental illness stigmatized for the same thing? And yet…

It goes against instinct. If I were attacked, I’d fight to live through it. Even today, with a wish for sweet death, I’d campaign for my life. We’re programmed to survive, so if my wiring is telling me not to, my circuitry is askew. So, time to get real. I’m not well.

Awareness… is a good thing, right?

Solstice Sunday

It sucks to be depressed on the most beautiful day of the year. We’re smack dab in the middle of the longest days, with a small cold front from the north. It’s only supposed to be 85 degrees today, in late June! I don’t want to go to the drum circle. I don’t want to go to Earth Jam. I don’t want to get out of bed.

Yesterday, I ruined the first drum I couldn’t recover. It sucks, too, because it was my first PERFECT piece, and then…

I’ve never made a mistake that I couldn’t modify or mask or turn into a surprise success. I told Jax, “There’s something I hate about every drum I’ve made, but she’s perfect! I love her so much. She’s perfect!”

I couldn’t leave well enough alone. One thing too far.

I gave her weeks of detached consideration. There were several small attempts at a fix that didn’t work, so I put her away quickly and thoughtfully, certain the answer would come. Finally, I found the solution, which I applied yesterday, to her destruction. There was no taking it back, no coming back, no way forward.

Many years ago, an artist friend told me the secret. “You just have to accept that you will hate 29 out of 30 things you do.” And I had, I thought, but I just can’t let go of how much I loved her. To lose her is killing me.

After the week of tolerating this awful user who just won’t leave, I crumbled. (SO much more to the story of the unwelcome couch-surfer.) I fell deep, deep, deep in the hole. At first I tried to watch the self-talk, but that only made me more abusive. Just be honest about the useless, talentless idiot you are. Stop killing yourself with that insufferable silver lining, and those unbearable lessons in the loss. Shut UP!

There’s nothing to my future but the last of my desperately clinging looks and a body that doesn’t belong to me. I fucking HURT! I have nothing and will die with less.

I’m so sick with this goddamn depression. At the worst time. It’s far worse to shut the door and draw the blinds when the weather is so lovely. I can’t get out of bed.

wind in her hair

If only I’d photographed her after finishing her body and limbs, and outlining her curves and edges. Something to remember her by before ruining everything.

All Strong Women Are Called Bitch

nasty-womanI woke up Friday morning, suddenly aware that my belief that election stress hadn’t gotten to me was, in fact, a coping strategy to hide from what now feels very much like trauma! It broke my heart to see how disconnected I’d become from my emotions just to survive this shit. It was alarming, because I try to look honestly at myself and what my feelings are telling me. I was hiding from pain!

Post-election is going to be ugly, too. There will be no ideal reconciliation, or even real workability, but thank god this part is OVER. The longest, most vitriolic election in modern history. I feel like I’ve been beaten.

I ached again for the little girl who grew up in a violent home, who developed that coping mechanism just so she could breathe. I read once that Depression isn’t merely a pervasive low feeling, but the absence of all feeling, eventually the inability to feel. A person crying “the tears of the damned,” I call them, will do anything not to feel them. Not to feel. They stop being able to feel at all, even the good stuff. It’s horrible, and it comes from hiding from pain.

I would have thought that I had a special radar for noticing when that technique was creeping into my life. I didn’t see it at all! You hear the buzz words “election anxiety” everywhere, and I had perched myself above it, in very much the same way I would leave my body during violence that I thought would kill me. When I saw it – her – I ached, and went in again to be the grown-up I needed when I was a terrified little girl.

I decided that I will no longer watch any news or footage of any kind until Wednesday, and I haven’t. Of course, it’s everywhere. You can’t get away from it. But I’m not permitting the sound bytes into my life anymore. I’ll know tomorrow what happens tonight.

At one point Friday, I was praying and dancing – with my new beautiful mandala hand drum – and putting peace and healing into the meditation/energy bubble I’ve described before. I had this vision of Hillary Clinton ushering in a reconciliation era. I felt almost elated! I danced and celebrated, and put all of my love into that vision.

The next day, I woke up feeling like such an idiot! I’m so stupid! Hillary won’t be permitted to lead our national recovery. They’re going to eviscerate her! They are going to make her pay so hard! They will never stop trying to SILENCE THE WOMAN. And they want the rest of us to witness what happens when we dare to speak.

I felt like crying. I felt hopeless.

And then I didn’t. Immediately, I thanked her again. She is the only woman who could break this final fucking ceiling. Whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, SHE has opened the door at last for women to be taken seriously in U.S. Presidential races.

The United States hates women as much as it hates black people. It’s shameful that it’s taken so long for a woman to break through that insistent wall of fear and desperation. Germany has Angela Merkel. England has Theresa May, and the Iron Lady was taken seriously decades ago. Israel had Golda Meir a lifetime ago! She was born in 1898!

But not here. Never here. Here, they don’t want to hear. SHUT UP, said white male privilege to every woman and every person of color. “It is the existential fear of displacement from a world that has slowly – too slowly, for too long – been chipping away at white male supremacy.” -Rolling Stone

Hillary Clinton was the woman to break through that blockade, not because her place in history is that of a peacekeeper. That woman is a warrior! She’s strong enough to take anything they say and do to her. And only that woman can handle what’s coming after she’s elected. She’s a battering ram! And she’s willing to do it.

So I’m grateful. I don’t love her perfectly. That’s a childish world view. Politics is messy business. No one is 100% happy 100% of the time. That’s dictatorship. But Hillary Clinton is among the most honest politicians (Deal with it), and she’s accomplished things across both sides of the aisle, that make the world a better place. That has been her aim.

Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll see any of that ever again. This bipartisan bullshit is an attempt by the Republican party to bring down everyone if they can’t have their way, exactly as they want  it. It’s so dangerous. It breaks my heart.

And that’s where I come in. I have to learn my limit of exposure, and pray. Ironically enough, I’m a warrior, too. But it’s in this way that I came to my calling, which is to heal. Myself. My friends. My family. My neighbors. My world.

I can’t get bogged down by the futility of it all. I just have to believe in my ridiculous mystical bubble – and I do – and send all of my love into it. I can imagine myself into real visions of peace and cooperation, and when that sight takes the pain from my heart, I pray and pray and pray. “Let the world feel this, NOW. Let everyone who sees this in their heart send the power of their healing into the bubble, too, and make it grow!”

“Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.”
-Maya Angelou

drum

Here she is again. I love this drum so much! She is a healer! I love her voice.

Tonight, I will go to a belly dance class, and come home to work on my next mandala. In this way, I’ll hear none of the nonsense that I don’t need. It’s done.

I’ve found that the repetition of each rotation brings on a trance state, where the mind forgets its being-ness, and what’s inside comes up. I’ve caught myself putting hatred and anger into these beautiful lines and curves, but Sacred Truth stops me. I really feel like something else jumps in and says, “Not here! Not this!” So I redirect my thoughts, and pour love, joy, healing, humor, and everything beautiful about my inner nugget into these drums I’ve come to love so much. They contain prayers and magic!

Kumbaya, bitches!

womens-suffrage

I Needed That

new-moonI finally made it to a New Moon Sister Circle. It was just what I needed to snap out of it! We discussed what the new moon in Virgo might look and feel like, and my friend Bonnie said, “I’m just glad Mars is out of retrograde!”

“Is that what’s been going on?” I asked.

All of the women laughed and exclaimed. Everyone, it seemed, had an example of how she was either contrary or useless.

I’ll take it! I’m content to chalk it up to the stars and let it go. I’ve been beating myself up trying to demystify and define that months-long funk, but now I don’t feel so much pressure to learn something from it. It’s done. I’m fine.

The next day, I went to my niece’s wedding and had such a lovely visit with my family in Idaho. The reception was at my sister’s house. It was a dream country wedding, with hay bale couches covered in denim comforters, kids running everywhere, and chickens clucking and crowing in the background. I can’t think of a more pleasant time I’ve shared with my family. I got to hold my first grandniece, all of 2 weeks old and only 6 lbs!

My roommate and I went back to his ranch for Labor Day. It was a wonderful follow-up to my own family visit. His family made me feel right at home, and we spent the evening singing Broadway hits, old classics, and camp-style rounds.

Yesterday, we went to the Mountain Man Rendezvous in Ft. Bridger, Wyoming. Today, we canoed, rode horses, and I chopped wood.

Oh, and I finished my drum!mandala

on casper

Casper the Friendly Horse got a little feisty, especially when Bella kicked in front of us!

riding horseschopping wood 4

Aug. 28th, we climbed to Timpanogos Cave National Monument.stalagtitesdripping rust

Here’s one from my artist niece’s Blessingway on Aug. 12th. blessingway
5 days later, Violet arrived! ~ August 17, 2016 ~violet
On Sept. 2nd, my sporty niece married a fellow marathoner.kolten-and-em

Long, Unusual Depression

I’ve decided to call this month-and-a-half-long aberration what it must surely be, a Depression. I didn’t recognize it as such, because it didn’t progress into anything. I’m just dissatisfied and irritable. At last, I missed the enthusiasm that once so characterized me.

Depressions used to terrify me. Each time, I really believed that – this time – it would never end. Now, I just acknowledge it (“Oh, you”) and check out for a couple of days (I’m going to bed”). Ordinarily, Depression saps all of my strength. If I were to stay awake, I’d be sobbing anyway so… I’ll see you in a few days. I let myself have a good cry but the tears of the damned are not healing, so I sleep through them.

This time, I’ve been bored (I’m never bored!) and AGRO. And unable to escape to my dreams. Horrible. I’ve had to live with this awful person for months! I can’t cry. I feel nothing. Well, I do. I feel over it. I feel superior. I feel inferior. I feel numb. I feel stupid.

Keeping busy is easy. I’m always puttering around on something. Unfortunately, I ruined 2 art projects. They turned out fine, but I put so much hate into both pieces I can’t see them now as anything but ugly. I’m going to use/share them anyway. Hopefully, over time I’ll see their beauty again, and not hear the running abuse that accompanied their creation.

Man, I’m mean! I’m distant and difficult with others when I don’t feel well, but I make Christie pay! *sigh*

I’ve tried to write about it several times, hoping I could snap out of it. You know, Depression. Losing interest in things you once loved. Well, I love to write about myself, and when I hate me, I can really crucify this self-serving blog.

Today, I made something that actually lifted me up. What a relief! I’m EXCITED. I missed my gusto! I’ll post again when the drum is finished. 🙂drum

Confronting My Molester

I don’t know if it was necessary. I don’t know if it did anything for me.

I’m still overwhelmed by the coincidence that brought me to the moment I felt it was time to accuse him. I felt like… well, hell, I’ve always nominated myself the one to speak for any disenfranchised “us” I’ve decided I belong to.

I started dating a guy a month ago who immediately read my blog. He got to the part where I mentioned having been molested by the neighbor, and knew him by name! I got sick. I haven’t said that name in 30 years. “How do you know?!” I learned that I had not been a fluke, as I believed. I thought that I just happened to get caught up in it because, as the best friend of the sister he was sexually abusing, I was in the home.

No. He targeted the entire neighborhood. In fact, he raped some of the young girls, including the ex-wife of this guy. She had been a childhood playmate of mine.

I was outraged. The first thing I did was call my sister and make sure she had not been victimized, as well. No, praise God, but not for lack of trying.

Then I wondered, why have I never sought him out? Everyone’s on Facebook. Sure enough, there he was, with his schmuck smiling face, boasting of his son’s military service. I typed a rapid-fire message and sent it before I could chicken out. Normally, I try to withhold words at a time of intense emotion, but he deserves no such sparing and I deserve to accuse my attacker. Panicked at the moment I hit “Enter,” I scrolled back to read what I could not suck back from the ether… to learn that he had contacted me 4 years earlier in a breezy message that went to a junk inbox I never noticed. He was casually wondering if I could put him in touch with my brother, as though nothing ever happened! I FLIPPED and wrote again, then blocked him.

I don’t feel any different. Was it necessary? It feels so strange to come from the trauma with Christine in Spain, wrestling with why I didn’t leave sooner and grieving because I know the answer: I was perfectly groomed not to. I went into a place of survival, where the little girl in precisely that circumstance couldn’t leave. And she had to find a way to love the person attacking her. I feel as though I’m recovering from my childhood all over again.

And now here’s my molester. I can’t face it all at once! How do other people process their foundational injuries and move on, meaningfully and successfully? I try so hard. I mean to rise above it every goddamn day. I just keep falling back into it, as though it’s happening now. If others are visited from time to time by the shaky beginning that formed them, it’s the exception in functional, happy lives. For me, it’s the exception to be well. It never lasts.

I’m so tired. I’m so confused. I want so desperately to believe that this confluence of early-life traumas is a poetic, timely event designed to help me at last to put my past to bed. I’m sad to know that it’s really all just random. It happened. It’s done.

And then Sunday came. I’m reeling anew.

Since Jeffrey’s death in 2011 I’ve been wrestling with shame and guilt for verbally abusing him during the lowest days of the heroin addiction that killed him. We were roommates. It was awful. I’ve made peace with the fact that I was fully triggered, and even the sanest person would lose it, but not quite at the level I did. Words are weapons, and he got my worst. I abused his parents, too. They came into my home, in what felt very much like an ambush, to accuse me of stealing from Jeff through the utilities. (How do you figure? Half is half.) It’s amazing how addicts can convince themselves of anything to get the money they need for a fix. It was more amazing, and beyond insulting, that his parents believed him and challenged me to prove my innocence, which I refused to do (though I kept meticulous records and made copies for Jeffrey that I explained, and he agreed to, EVERY MONTH). With more than a few extra words – surprise – I told them to go to hell. Well, really, I told them they were killing him. And then he died.

Sunday, his brother and I were headed to the drum circle when his folks pulled up to deliver fresh garden veggies. I haven’t seen them since that day 4 years ago. They couldn’t see me in the car, but I was moved to act and terrified to do so. I had to apologize. I knew through the grapevine that they’d forgiven me. I’m not surprised. Jeffrey was the most forgiving person I’ve ever known; it came from someplace. But I needed to ask for it, and simply to tell them how very sorry I am for contributing to his suffering and theirs. So I did. I was loved and held, and I … feel terrible.

Why EVERYTHING? Why all at once? I suppose I will put this behind me. Even if we don’t consciously put the past behind us, that’s where it goes. But I feel like I’m drowning in regret and failure, while yet knowing I’m doing better than I ever have before. Why don’t I feel good about it?

I’ve had a headache for weeks. I’m exhausted, though neither sleep-deprived nor sleeping too much. I can’t sit with a book. My food addiction is out of control. My eyelashes are getting more and more sparse. (How can it be psychological when they hurt?) I’m irritable and weepy. I’m not coping well.

Thank god for drumming. It’s my happy place right now. Thank you, angels.

***

TO THE SEXUAL PREDATOR OF MY YOUTH:

July 14, 2014

“I just found out I’m not the only girl in the neighborhood you molested. You made the rounds victimizing everyone! You are a sick, violent pervert who traumatized precious young girls. You fundamentally changed us. You robbed us of our innocence. You raped us. All my life, I thought it was a fluke, that you got out of control with your sister and I just happened to be injured because she was my best friend and I was in your house. But you sought us out. You went out of your way to pursue us, to degrade and mock us, and force us to gratify your twisted sexual appetites. In truth, you know as well as I do that the rage it took to perpetrate your crimes was born of your own impotence and weakness. You’re a disgusting loser who has to act out on children in order to feel empowered. That hasn’t changed. Til you die, you’ll be a child molester and rapist. I don’t know how you live with yourself, and I don’t care. I’ve long-since been rid of you, but I found out just hours ago that I wasn’t the only one. You can never make up for what you did to us. You can never restore what you took. I finally decided to reach out and identify you to your face. I see you. I know who you are. You’re a fraud and a liar. You’re a rapist and pedophile. When you take the Sacrament, you are spitting in the face of God, who made me and all of your victims. Shame on you.”

and then…

“oh my god! are you insane? i just saw that you contacted me years ago asking after my brother, as though nothing ever happened! how are you not HUMILIATED? how do you look in the mirror? how do you not kill yourself? i couldn’t live with the burden of being the monster you are. you’re sick. don’t contact me again. I have the right to speak. you do not.”

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – William Faulkner

I’m working through it, presently.