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

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

Jojo Dancer

My little sister-friend got married and moved to Germany last Fall, so I bought her car 6 months ago today. Here’s the report on my ugly little Hyundai Accent named Jojo Dancer, after her previous owner.

She had 128,001 miles the day I bought her. I’ve added 3,147, averaging 29.6 miles to the gallon. She hasn’t had a hiccup. Or a bath.

I gained 15-20 lbs within months of leaving the bus-n-bike lifestyle. (Until New Years, I only learned my exact weight at doctor’s appointments, but I know where I hover.) Of course, now that I’ve added yoga I’m down 8 lbs, and I’m seeing muscles I never had before. Wee!

Speaking of yoga, and the fresh confrontation with pain I’ve been negotiating this year, I remembered something random the other day. In a Spanish class in college, we had to stand and introduce ourselves: name, age, what I’m like, what I fear.

“Me llamo Christie. Nunca pregunte a mujer su edad. Soy hablante. Tengo miedo de dolor.” I’m Christie. Never ask a lady her age. I’m talkative. I’m afraid of pain.

“Well, yeah,” the professor dismissed me. “Everyone’s afraid of pain.”

“No, like phobic. I have knots in my stomach just thinking about it. I’m not afraid of dying; I just don’t want it to hurt.”

I used to say to my best friend growing up, “At least if I have to cry the tears of the damned, I have a strong body that doesn’t hurt.”

How could I have forgotten that pain was my biggest fear? I’m living my biggest fear! I once went to a psychic who said, “Oh, that’s interesting. You came to see how much you could stand.”

“K?”

“You push everything as far as you can, just to see how much you can take. Start to look at your life that way and see what you find.”

I do! The will I/(probably)won’t I of motherhood. The (non)career/low-income life I’ve chosen. The abusive/devaluing relationships. I thought The Unmarriables were a result of my upbringing, feeling abandoned, unworthy of love, unable to love and be loved. But, being an imaginative mystic myself these days, I follow it further. I think I chose my childhood and family – possibly to see how much I can stand.

I believe in reincarnation. In my last between-life phase I examined what I learned in the life I just left in the context of the lives that came before it, and looked at what I wanted to conquer in the next, to learn and accomplish, to see, to feel.

I think I came here for exactly what I got. I came to discover my strength. In the context of community (i.e. I couldn’t be dropped in the wild and make it), I can do anything. It’s crazy to have such confidence, but nothing can crush me. I’m tough as hell. What’s to fear?

I even think I chose to come up in an extremely religious culture. Those are some serious eternal consequences to contend with! And it isn’t easy to be shunned and shamed.

So much of my time is freed, not scrambling for survival. I get to explore, wonder, play, find, relax, love, dream, laugh.

If I’m honest, I’m kinda bitter to have both the psychological trauma of my childhood and early adulthood and now the physical pain of mid-life and beyond (which terrifies me). However, I would say to my best friend today, “At least if I have to suffer the pains of the damned, I’m not emotionally tortured anymore.”

She say’s I’m a Fucking PollyAnna, always finding the silver-lining, but don’t mess. 🙂
happiness

Blogiversary the Fourth

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I confess I expected a more immediate response to yoga than what I’m experiencing. I’m still in PAIN. I remind myself that I’ve made positive changes to aid my healing and better my prognosis. Secretly, I fear that this is only going to keep getting worse. It’s pretty bad.

I’m grateful it’s almost exclusively on my left. I’m right-handed. Life would be a lot harder if this insane discomfort interrupted function of my dominant side. I’ve wondered why it should be so marked a difference on one side of my body, and the only thing I can think is that the car that hit me (hard) in 2009 struck me on the left. I flew 20 feet off my bike and landed on my left, as well.

The injuries were minor, but here I am. I’m not the only person to develop Fibromyalgia after an accident. It’s also common for sufferers to come from violence and abuse. ?

It sucks. I hate Fibro. But my life is good.

I love my home. I hit the roommate jackpot. I like my job. I love drumming. I’m reading book after book, with a cat on my lap. Sixteen sun-drenched plants are bursting at the seams, in Winter! I’m excited for festivals and road trips this Summer and Fall. I’m planning on Oktoberfest in Belgium and Germany.

(I don’t have kids to put in braces, college, or therapy. I do what I want!)

(I’m terrified for such a long flight, twice. Last year, I flew to the Gulf and then to NYC, back to back, a total of 3 weeks travel. I was in SO MUCH PAIN in-flight. I consider that trip the marker of my new relationship with my body. I’ve never fully recovered. ‘Til then, pain was sporadic, not nearly as high on the scale, and could pretty well be counted on to go away between flares. Now I start every day assessing what hurts and wondering if today will be a bad one. For me, Fibro worsens in the afternoon. I’m glad. It would be hard to stay my upbeat self if I woke with the discomfort I go to bed with.)

I’m utterly stuck at 155 lbs., but I can see a difference in muscle tone. I think I’ll start paying attention to body fat percentage. I need some numerical satisfaction!

I’ve quit Diet Pepsi and cigarettes. I don’t drink as much. (I can’t anymore. A Fibro hangover is like a 2-day, whole-body migraine.) (And I’m bitter!) I’m thinking about quitting coffee… but then I might as well be Mormon, and that depresses me.

I think I’m middle-aged. Weird.
HappyBlogiversary

An Anniversary I Didn’t See Coming

It was as simple as explaining to my therapist my history on the guitar, and why I’m not starting lessons tomorrow after all. (Yoga has aggravated my wrist a bit. I’ve decided not to add another stressor until it settles and I’m stronger.) It all came back.

I played the guitar at Boise State. It was a beginning class, and I excelled. “I don’t know why I didn’t follow through with it,” I wondered aloud. “Oh! Oh, my god! Uh, because my roommate tried to kill me and I was scurried to a cement dorm for one week, where I convulsed and cried, and aced my finals before going home.” (3.8 GPA, thank you.)

I regaled my therapist with the tale of The State of Idaho vs. Roger T. Black. I was the key witness. It’s pretty gross. (Read my history – How I Got Here – if you want the gory details.) The only thing that remained in the retelling was seething anger at my parents.

HOW COULD THEY NOT SUE BOISE STATE FOR MY TUITION AND RENT? I could have crucified that school with punitive damages, and I wish I had. I was too young and traumatized to think of it. I know if I were to ask my parents about it now they’d claim non-litigious humility, but Boise State injured me! I shouldn’t have to pay for the privilege!

I’m disgusted at the inferior adult guidance I had.

I had a nervous breakdown after my first semester. (I went back for more, but could scarcely get out of bed.) The difference in my wellness was marked. I’d struggled all my life in a bad relationship with my mother, angry and drowning in a tragically dysfunctional family, but I was perfectly absent after that semester. I look back now, stunned. I don’t know how I climbed out of that. ALONE. How could they not take care of me?

There’s a handful of circumstances in which they DID NOT DO THE BEST THEY COULD. I think that’s a bullshit platitude, and I’m sick of it. My parents failed to do their JOB. They consciously ignored a medical emergency. You should have seen me. When I wasn’t catatonic, I was flailing, fighting, trying to fix, clean, contain… something!

I know I slipped through the cracks in some regards because we just weren’t as sensitive to issues of mental health 20 and 30 years ago, but after Boise State I broke. Because of Boise State, I broke. It would been obvious in the 50s that the young lady needed a doctor.

WHY DIDN’T MY PARENTS HELP ME? EVER?!!!!! I’m so ANGRY!

And they’re in medicine! Sanctimonious hypocrites! They’re so smug about Obamacare. They know everything about how “socialized medicine” will fail us, because they’re in the business. THEY DIDN’T EVEN TAKE CARE OF THEIR OWN DAUGHTER!

After that, there were 5 or 6 suicide outcries, a term I detest for the suggestion of faking. I meant it on April Fools 1997, learning at last the difference between an attempt and a cry for help, or simply the desperate willingness to do anything to escape that moment’s agony. I think I only tried to kill myself twice. I OD’d more times than I know; I knew as soon as I started swallowing gobs of pills I’d stop feeling. I became a machine. Then I’d try to lay down, but invariably ended up driving myself to the emergency room for a tube down my throat, wretching suction and a gut full of charcoal, never telling a soul.

Why didn’t The State of Idaho offer trauma counseling? What of victim’s rights?

What parent wouldn’t insist on care for their child after something like that? Even if I seemed fine? (And I didn’t!) They didn’t do their best. They didn’t do anything. I was in crisis! Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is real, and I already had it from growing up verbally, emotionally, physically, and sexually abused. I can imagine, though it’s a stretch, that they hoped my earlier problems were average adolescence, but when I got home from Boise I was a shell. I was spiking and raging all over the place, because there was nothing left in me. I was trying to force “me” … out! But I was gone. All attempts at interaction were like being in space, grasping but floating away. I was dead in there!

I was in danger, and my parents ignored me. Again.

Shame. Shame. Shame.

It wasn’t until I left therapy today that I remembered when it happened. Initially, I couldn’t even recall what time of year it was, but it didn’t take long to go back. I came home in that condition for Christmas break. Twenty years ago.

****

Goddamn, I’m an insufferable optimist. Yes, I’m angry that no one looked out for me. Right now, it chaps my hide that I could fairly have got my hands on hundreds of thousands of dollars for Boise State’s complicit indifference, which very seriously endangered my life and leaves me with scars to this day. I’m not the same. I’m suspicious, jaded, angier, harder.

That being said… Good god, I’m strong! I’m really amazed by me right now. Not just my survival. My thrival! I find beauty in everything! I still have enthusiasm and belief. I have hope and joy and humor. I see the good. I must. The fact that I can come through my life and be this playful, joyful and loving is amazing!

I see the good.

I often regret that I was so slow to start my life, but I spent 20 years re-parenting myself. Mine were pretty pitiful examples, if you ask me, so I literally didn’t know how. They’re not bad people. Good, in fact! But they failed me. They did not parent me. I did. And I’m a pretty good kid. Musta done something right.

~ BSU ~ Bullshit for You! ~
bsu

Chrissy-Squared Barcelona*

I measure my life in anniversaries. One year ago… It’s been a year since… [this trauma or that]. I need to add more frequent progress measurements to my skill-set for living fully, to help myself more quickly and effectively along the process of recovery. Life careens at speeds I couldn’t imagine pre-midlife! 🙂 I don’t have time for this shit anymore, and I’m not interested. I want to heal faster and move on to the great joys and opportunities my life presents. I’m extraordinarily fortunate.

The Year of The Answer is NOW. I’m creating the future I want now. I want to see more significant healing in all future “years from now.” Next, I plan to see fewer and fewer traumas, because I finally understand how to spot danger (or believe myself when I do). I trust my intuition and make safer choices. I deserve to be well, and I owe no one an explanation! I AM WORTHY.

I’m tripping out over what just happened!

I’ve been working for Big Brothers Big Sisters for a month now. Just this moment, I decided to empty my shelves of books I no longer need – for donation – and came upon my Spain journal. I LEFT TO VISIT MY FRIEND A YEAR AGO TOMORROW! I only realized yesterday that the was anniversary was so close upon me.

The journal begins, “Um, I’m being held captive in a 3-story mansion with a pool and poolhouse, and a view of the Mediterranean, by 2 drunken, violent addicts who deserve each other.”

My trips this year – to the Gulf Coast and NYC – were eclipsed by a previously un-experienced level of anxiety. Except for 10 days in the home of my best friend’s family in Texas, I was freaking out the whole time I was on the road! I’m not an easy traveler. I’m not an easy person. But this was full-blown panic. I couldn’t help but consider that I’m still suffering from PTSD. I cringe to hear myself say it, because that illness belongs to heroes. Selfless, courageous people who would die for me without even knowing me. I’m just a spoiled girl who travels the world, and doesn’t do it very well! Boo hoo.

But it didn’t take long after Spain to realize that I was the perfect candidate to suffer under the “care” of my former friend Christine and her disgusting life-partner, Brian, because I reverted to the child who couldn’t leave. Who had to find a way to love the people abusing her! And make sense of love that hurts. I was never safe then, and I couldn’t protect myself or get away. In Spain, I turned into the terrified, dependent girl who still grieves in me. Until I got out. And I did get out.

It will stay with me forever, but I’m learning. I’ll do that forever, too.keep-calm-and-viva-españa-30

* We called ourselves Chrissy Squared: 2 girls and a childhood nickname shared.

the last time I enjoyed her company

Oct. 2009

Books

I can read again! It took 2 months after my trauma in Spain to crack a book and stay with it. I had stops and starts, but I’m reading again. It’s lovely.

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” ― James Baldwin