8.2020

I didn’t forget you on the 20th. I was busy learning a new skill!

My landlord – you know, my problem child, Rich – is a home renovator. He’s working on the property a friend has neglected damn near to death. It’s in Bear Lake, so I figured while I’m unemployed I’d learn some new skills and earn myself a free vacation.

I invited Galen, to mitigate the sexual harassment I could expect from Rich, with whom I drove up Thursday night, in order to get a head start bright and early Friday morning. Galen would join us Friday, and play on the lake all day. I planned to wile away the hot hours of the afternoons there, and work again ’til sundown.

California’s fires blew into the valley and, I’m telling you, you could hardly see the lake! Galen decided against the two hour drive. If he was going to paddle around in smoke, he might as well stay close to home.

Oh shit.

Rich vacillated between begging, whining, groping, pouting, and the aggression we know so well, when I repeatedly said no.

He’s a full-grown raging man with the mentality of a 5 year old. He’s the biggest victim I’ve met in all my life. Besides incredulous, I’m beyond feeling. Well, irritation. This again? It’s such a hassle. It’s more work than painting an entire trailer!

I hate baby boomers. I didn’t understand that it’s pervasive. I knew only my father, a good Mormon, and Marko, an extraordinary exception who simply never saw anyone as anything other than equal.

I made a dangerous assumption that Marko’s friends were like him. I really did not understand that these men do not understand festival ethos and culture, and don’t care to learn. The open-hearted exchange of energy that builds there is not an invitation to bodies. For grizzled voyeurs, however, it’s precisely that: a panoply of scantily-clad bodies on display like a pastry counter, theirs for the choosing to tickle and niggle and grind and grab. These perverts cannot be made to understand that women’s bodies are not theirs to manhandle. No means no, not keep badgering me. Coercion is not consent. Women are not coin slots you put alcohol in and tits-n-ass come out.

Someone said, “The loss of privilege can feel like oppression. It isn’t.” These rapey, infantile men just scream. I hate them.

In fairness to Rich, he didn’t block the exit of a 14 year old girl and “talk her into” having sex with him. I have no doubt Zafod’s been doing so for decades. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. His rape charge was reduced to sexual misconduct with a minor, with a kidnapping enhancement. I know exactly why he chose a child. Grown women make noise or make an escape. Barely, in my case. In 2011, he got caught. Poor young girl. Probably affected her so deeply, she couldn’t hide it. Makes me so sad and angry.

(Incidentally, this week would have been Burning Man. As you know, I give myself a year off of my traumas. It resolved relatively on its own, a while ago. We’ve done a little work on it in therapy, but generally I’m interested in healing the deeper traumas that have led to the inability to trust my gut, build boundaries, or value myself. Not being raped and abused is not asking too much. How ’bout that?

It’s a matter of learning to listen again to my intuition and believe it, without guilt. It’s hard for victims of childhood abuse to trust their instincts. It’s too complicated to understand how your caregiver can attack you while claiming to love you, so a child turns off the ability to protect herself. The message is I’m not worth my safety.

EMDR has done a lot to heal my brain. I recover faster. Also, I had that satisfying experience last year of using my words and finding exactly the right ones. I owned that room! He couldn’t leave, and I didn’t require him to stay. I didn’t even raise my voice. My tone alone stopped him, dead calm and in charge. He didn’t say a word. I accused him face-to-face of lying, entrapment, and sexual assault. His shoulders slumped with a sigh and he nodded. And still, he remained seated. I excused him! It was so empowering.)

****

So Rich threw fits when I asked for instruction and feedback.

“I’ll just drop what I’m doing inside then and do this!”

“I’m not asking you to do it. I’m asking for guidance. I’ve never painted before.”

“You paint all the time!”

Art. Years ago. I’ve never painted a house.”

When I got the instruction I needed and got rid of him, I enjoyed great music and being outside. We only went to the lake once, for an hour. I told him I wanted to hit the water once a day. He wholeheartedly agreed. Not surprisingly, he lied.

I did not enjoy painting the minutiae. For three days, Rich had me on window sills and edge trim. I saw the trailer in its original state, when I went to Bear Lake in July with Zack. I made Rich promise not to paint the exterior without me. I really wanted to experience that exciting reveal. I had told Rich that I wanted to finish the entire exterior that weekend. Did he think that was possible with just the two of us? He said yes.

In other words, he knew darn well what I was volunteering for. It was on the drive that he informed me we’d paint only the deck side exterior wall. The rest would be back[neck]-breaking tedium. I expressed my concern, that that would take skills I simply didn’t have. Anyone can get the basics of painting a flat-ish surface and be trusted not to ruin it entirely. I am not a construction worker. I’m a volunteer. I needed guidance to do the job he roped me into, and I wanted the high of that WOW transformation.

I was anxious that I was making all kinds of mistakes. I don’t have a frame of reference for what “right” looks like, or even good enough. And it isn’t mine to experiment on! Mistakes are costly and time-consuming. I don’t know what I’m doing, so I continued to ask for reasonable progress checks.

“You’re doing fine!” he barked, angry.

“I think so, but I’d like you to double check.”

Annoyed as possible, he hardly glanced at my work. “It’s fine!” he shot back. “I can’t hold your hand!”

“I’m not asking you to. I want corrections. It’s not mine to ruin.”

I got punished for checking my work, so I didn’t. He can’t say I didn’t try.

I did the best I could, and unknowingly dripped all over the underside of the innumerable angles I painted. You have no idea how many! Oh my god, these tedious boards took THREE days to paint, and fix, and paint again. Do you know how much labor and time goes into sanding latex off of a long, fine edge? He’s such an idiot!

painting minutiae

Reco’nize what a Princess can do!

window sills 2
window sills 3
window sills

Finally, on the last day, I got the satisfying reveal I longed for! I’m so proud! I have to say… TOTALLY WORTH IT! I learned the hard stuff the hard way on someone else’s project, and have no doubt that I will be involved in the learning and labor of crafting my own someday home.

Next weekend, I will drive up with Galen so as not to get trapped with that old, angry, sexist, presumptuous manbaby. I will work in the cool hours of the day and play in the afternoons. I will paint the exterior, as promised, and assist where and when I’m able, if I desire it. I don’t care what he says. I told him all along I considered this a working holiday. We didn’t holiday at all. We hardly ate. (I didn’t lose a pound!)

I told Rich what I was available for. He tricked me. As for sexual harassment, I hold myself responsible for putting myself in any kind of situation with him. I know what to expect. He took advantage of me. It’s what he does. I can’t hope for anything else.

Free labor, for the love! Be gracious. In what way can you make yourself a victim in this? That’s entitlement for you. Stuck in permanent mindset of mine, mine, mine.

I adjusted. I made it an opportunity to confront fear of the unknown, flex new muscles, and gain new knowledge. We’d been unable to build a temple for Element 11 this year, since burn events worldwide were cancelled. I saw right away what this weekend was going to be, in spite of what I’d communicated and Rich agreed to, and saw an opportunity to gain confidence for the build crew next year. Maybe even come in stronger! It had been very intimidating to volunteer last year, when I had no skills.

And look what I did! IN ONE DAY! In the end, I’m glad I only painted one side. The juxtaposition with the janky remainder makes it all the more satisfying. Weeee!
exteriorpainting exterior

I love painting houses! I want to play with a paint spray thingy!

3.20.20

Social Distancing notwithstanding, this has been an overwhelmingly busy week.

Last Saturday was my final social engagement. I had a huge event to attend that night, but it was cancelled. Early in the day, however, my friend had a small gathering in her home to bless the delivery of her baby boy, due anytime now.

It was International Pi Day. In honor of the perfect circle, she invited us to bring round things to place on her birth altar. I brought drums that we beat in unison during tearful readings that bonded us like witchy women’s circles can. And my gift was a COUP!

My friend is a Labor & Delivery nurse, but she started out a midwife. She has her babies at home, with a doula. I knew a commissioned, hand-made piece from a crunchy mama I know would be perfect!

My niece custom-made this for her: (It had sold online, so she quick-arted another!)

The energy of that gathering left me on a high that stayed with me for days. It was a wonderful reminder that I have a circle. I have community. I’ve surrounded myself with some key people that inspire me to breathe, to reach for the best in myself, and go forward expecting to find and attract the authentic, vulnerable connected-ness I feel.

Then… CRASH!!!!!

The sky didn’t fall, but the ground beneath us heaved violently, as if to shake off humankind and start over. On Mar. 18, I survived my third earthquake.*

Best of all – Seriously, you CANNOT MAKE THIS SHIT UP! – Moroni lost his trumpet. The angel Moroni atop the holiest of Mormon houses; indeed, the HOLIEST of the holies, The Salt Lake Temple – that Moroni dropped. his. trumpet!

moroni

Moroni lost his trumpet.

marko has moroni's trumpet

Marko took it.

It’s moments like these I wish I weren’t atheist. I want to believe in that God! That’s one gorgeous, omniscient sense of humor, and I’m on board! Are you serious? The world is ending and Moroni dropped his goddamn bugle. Fend for yourselves, suckas!

BEAUTIFUL!

So bear with me. I can’t be stopped.
viral moroniutah covid earthquake
i said trump pence
dona't tell my bishop

shaken not stirred
jesus to utah(I disagree, of course, with the meme-creator minimizing COVID, but that’s beside the point. But how ’bout that?! A freaking pandemic! Once every 100 years or so, they say, long enough for generational memory to be wiped clean. We will survive this, too.)

__________________________

*   7.3 Idaho, Mt. Borah – 1983 (Rexburg is 159 miles away.)
7.2 Los Angeles, Northridge – 1994 (smack dab in the epicenter! I worked at the
[decimated] Northridge Mall.)

corona virus

The last thing anyone wants is a virus on their crotch, but what’s done is done.

International Women’s Day

Krcl, the best community radio station in the world does International Women’s Day right! (You can listen live online!) Yesterday, I went with my old neighbor to the Queens of Music fest. Eight female artists live-painted murals of their music icon, and local female rockers of every stripe took the stage all afternoon. I ran into Rock Camp organizers, and even met an old camper on the bus!

I’m in a community now, and it’s a good one. Just what I needed after the heartbreak and betrayal of my former chosen family. I could post today on that community board what happened surrounding Marko’s birthday and be loved, held, and supported.

I’m okay.

I’m reminded how happy I am for reconnecting with my old neighbor this year. We meet for bi-monthly lunches and have decided to spend the summer together at all the free outdoor music and cultural events our beautiful city has to offer.

I’m not as close to the friend who returned from her divorce, and I’m comfortable with that. We’re doing things particularly suited to our wonderful, irreverent relationship, and I dearly love her. I’ll never laugh as hard with anyone as I do with her, but she doesn’t regard the changes I’ve made. Rather, she pushes up against them, perhaps unconsciously, disrespecting me in subtle, annoying ways. Less annoying now that I see it for what it is. When I lacked boundaries or the courage to refuse things that peck away at them, I gave power to her that I’m taking back now. I let slide a lot of hypocrisy and bulldozing, and I don’t now. I want what’s best for me.

I want to surround myself with people who reflect what I’d like to develop. A strong sense of self that frees me to enjoy others as they are, not as I idealize them to be.

I do have community. I have old friends I’ve let slip by, and I’ve finally opened the door to dreams I’ve been “meaning to do.” I’m on the right path, making micro-adjustments as needed to create the future I want for myself. A future that will inevitably attract those of like mind and progress. Energy does that. A future that isn’t here. For the time I have left in Salt Lake, I’m going to cultivate friendships with those who lift me up.

I’m different. At last, I’m ready to meet people who support, challenge, enjoy, and like each other, without filling holes in one another. I’m ready to level up.

Nothing’s perfect, of course. My friend’s “playful” jabs still get to me sometimes, but the irritation doesn’t last long. My biggest challenge is not to deify acquaintances in the beginning. I’d like to accept imperfections in others, not be devastated – or feel betrayed – when time reveals them. That way, I can assess whether differences are deal-breakers. It’s just a matter of fitting, not fighting. If you don’t fit, don’t fight it.

Baby steps, still, but I can see appreciable progress. There’s movement down the road I turned onto for New Year’s 2020! Two months in, there’s already a tiny bit of Hindsight!
the woman you're becoming

brooklyn working

I was delighted to find an old acquaintance, Brooklyn (@brooklynlineco), at work on a mural of an artist too hip for me to recognize. I love her work!

brooklyn ottens

dolly

queens of rock

i'm not hip enough to know who this is, but i love the image

Another artist I’m not relevant enough to recognize, but I love the image!

photovan crop

Also at The Gateway was Catalyst‘s Clean Air Expo, so when we got a little chilly, we ran upstairs to support my neighbor, whose indie urban periodical puts it on every year. We had Ayurveda tea, wandered the witchy, sustainable market, and had a Tshirts and re-bags live screen-printed.
clean air

It was a wonderful day. I recover more quickly from set-backs. I feel good (other than the Fibro flare, but all in good time). I have community. I have a strong self.

And I have Penny. Source of All.
penny in the hamper

Why Organized Religion Fails Me

“As a scientist, I’d much rather have questions I can’t answer than answers I can’t question.” – Max Tegmark

When I Googled this quote to ascertain his surname (It flashed across the SciChannel screen pretty quickly after the statement was made. I guessed Mark Rugmuth, haha!), I found that he plagiarized, er, restated another scientist, Richard Feynman.

Either way, me too. I like to say, “I dance in the question mark!” In truth, some unknowable things vex me, like Black Holes. I cannot be made to understand them, so they irritate me. Even worse are Dark Matter and Dark Energy. I DON’T GET IT!

Just dance, girl. Dance!

P.S. A young scientist, like, totally captured the image of a Black Hole today. She decided in high school that’s what she’d do, so she wrote an algorithm in grad school, and did just that. Today, she’s 29 years old. I don’t know how old she was when she invented brand-new technology that changed the world.

katie bouman
“Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed.” -Katie Bouman on Twitter
richard feynman

Progress Report

I’m a girl who appreciates her gold stars. Okay, I’m the girl who needs her gold stars. Okay, okay, I’m the girl who demands them.

“I want my gold star!”

So I’m giving myself one.

Last night, my group Ala performed at the Samba Queen Competition. We rehearsed backstage before the show. One girl took the lead and put us on our respective sides, but she was wrong and put each group in the opposite place. This would require agreement with everyone sharing the stage. Do we switch sides in formation to compensate for the reversal in our starting positions? Or will we all navigate brand new pathways – LIVE in performance – to get to our originally rehearsed positions?

Here’s the answer. Make the quick correction to match what we set in rehearsal. No onstage collisions in the forecast.

She wouldn’t budge. It was interesting. We didn’t conflict at all. No energetic frustration, just disagreement and discussion. Suddenly, it didn’t matter to me. She was mistaken, but she was sure. And she had taken charge. I wasn’t rebuffed. I wasn’t ruffled. I was right, and feeling no need, urge, or pressure to “fix” or force anything.

I realized, that’s kinda why I do this stuff. I’m a rigid person who has spent most of my life controlling outcomes, and failing. As she directed us, wrongly, I practiced flexing a new muscle: Flexibility itself.

The group was in a state of confusion. From time to time, I’d restate that we were now on opposite sides. Discussion would follow, and the woman who took the lead, whom I like and enjoy a great deal in class, continued in charge and in the wrong.

Several other women came to me during and after, saying, “You know, I think you’re right? I did start on the other side in class.”

“Yeah, we did.”

We worked it out. One way or another, the performance would begin and end. We’d all get there somehow. I actually rolled with it.

Another woman said proudly of the collaboration, “That was very democratic of us.”

“It was!” I was proud, too.

“You know how it is. Women can sometimes get catty with each other.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “We just don’t have that kind of group.”

I’m a right fighter. I’m often technically correct. I’m very exact. I know my mark, and I know yours. Theatre suits my brain, because it’s reliable. X marks the spot.

I will lose to be right. Last night, I didn’t. It felt good to win in a new way!

Yay, Christie! Good job! Gold star!

I’m so behind in my rudimentary life skills. Better late than never, truly.

I will say, this Samba thing I’m doing is so powerful. I truly believe it calls on the best of us, and all of the women I’m studying and growing friendships with are examples of feminine power applied outside of the patriarchal dichotomy. What that means for me is an acute awareness of how my strong female voice has spent itself SCREAMING my entire life, using masculine energy, because that’s the only model we’ve had.

Until now.

The world is changing. Flux is catastrophic and devastating, but it’s growth and it’s time. My belief is – my prayer is – that we will see the other side of this upheaval with more voices at the table and a new, initially unsteady alliance gaining its footing and making healthier strides for the benefit of the world.

Female power doesn’t wish to supplant male power. We want to cooperate. But we have to fight like hell first to get a seat and a voice. That’s what’s happening now. Better is to come. I believe it.

That’s what Samba teaches me.

Oh, and last night, a girl in the group chickened out of her position front and center. We have simple dresses in red, orange, or yellow, and we’d organized ourselves to avoid color clumping onstage. Like this dancer, I was in a red dress and had to take her place.

My friends were in the audience. They congratulated me after the performance. “You were the leader!”

God damn, I can’t avoid being in charge, even when I try!

samba queen ala performance

photographer Rudy van Bree

nennette and me at samba queen

 

Sweat Lodge

I was so gratified to meet the woman I wrote about last week. I had failed at Thanksgiving not to respond to the hate-mongering chatter that accompanies every family gathering, and I felt it: Failure.

Meeting hostility with anger is useless and stupid, but what the hell am I supposed to do? I asked politely. I teased. I asked again. I got mad.

This woman explained the difference between suffering in complicit silence, and going within to meet hatred with love. I’ve been trying for 15 minutes to capture the epiphany I had in a 2-minute conversation, but it was almost funny how simple it seemed.

Of course, the practice of it will be a different story, marked by many failings, to be sure, but it moved from theoretical and seemingly-impossible to entirely practical and doable. There’s a huge difference between angrily holding one’s tongue, and actively holding a space of “non-duality,” she called it. The silence of love is not the silence of restraint. That’s a game-changer for me!

I talk about energy all the time. Everyone knows what it is to walk in a room and feel it. The silence she described isn’t passive at all. It’s energized! It’s silly now that it seemed such a unattainable concept, when, really, it’s a straight-forward product of choice and action. It can’t be mistaken for tacit approval.

Suddenly, my need to act as standard bearer seemed silly, too. It’s not as if my family doesn’t know me. If any of my nieces or nephews is different, in any way, they know there’s a safe place for them. I don’t need to do that anymore.

I’m ready to graduate!

It does hurt that I don’t matter in my family. At best, I’m a joke. My point of view is the minority, so it’s dismissed. No one cares that that hurts me. They know. They continue.

And I’m strong enough.

“I will love, even here. How can I love, even here?” I trust Spirit to answer, if I truly commit to trying a new way, and I’m ready.

(Whoa! I just got really scared again!)

I AM READY.
non-duality

****

I brought a new, blank drum inside the lodge, which was borrowed by a leader and praised by her for its tone. That felt great! It was plenty soggy and bleak-sounding by the end of 4 long rounds, but bounced right back in the cold night air.

[I also made a killer leftover-turkey casserole for the pot luck following the lodge. It went like gangbusters! Jax is teaching me how to cook. We take Mormon comfort food – primarily based on Cream of Chicken Soup – and turn it out! This dish contained organic, home-grown tomato puree and chili powder. And cheese. Lots of cheese.]

My personal drum stayed out on the altar by the fire, to soak up and sing with our prayers and come home to bless me when I dance and meditate. So far, it’s attended a Love Rally and this prayer for Standing Rock, for water, the earth, and all of us. I love my drum!

Here’s my most recent. (So much detail is missing in this grainy shot!)drum-5
13″ on wood frame with mallet
$200
Nov. 23, 2016

I have a few more color incarnations to realize before I’m finished with this design, and more drums than I can paint right now (including 2 with rawhide lacing).

****

This was the first lodge that I didn’t really go into a trance-like state. Usually, when the heat starts to rise, I’m transported to the plains in a covered wagon. I don’t know that any of my ancestors came across in a covered wagon, but that imagery is powerful for Mormons, and it would be a no-brainer for my ancestors to get my attention in that way, to signal very clearly who it was I was feeling. The first time it happened was one of the most alarming and powerful visions I’ve ever experienced. I saw the faces of the Native people my ancestors would have encountered, and recognized that they were the brown-skinned ancestors of the the people I was praying with! Then, “Oh my god, they call the stones ‘The Ancestors.’ Our ancestors are here!” It was overwhelming.

I try not to expect repeat performances of my experiences. I try to be in the now, and learn what new thing is available from each event. But it was hard not to hope for that impression again when I went to my second lodge. And they came. Again and again and again. It was the same wagon journey into Spirit at every lodge, except this one.

Abigail, my favorite pioneer ancestor, did pop to mind in the 3rd round. I smiled. I love her. I thanked her for being with me since we “met” when I was ten, and then I had a thought of Sarah, who doesn’t come to me often. I don’t feel her strongly, but I have had a sense of her quiet, and it would make sense for me not to get it. What’s quiet? I truly don’t understand quiet. In fact, quiet people scare me. I think they hate me.

But Sarah did come to mind, and I had the thought to pray around her voice. “Please come as a signal for when it’s appropriate to act differently. Help me discern between the time to speak and the time to turn inward and LOVE, even here. Come in when it’s time for me to honor the place of neither right nor wrong, and just love, fiercely, quietly.”

I’m excited to see if I recognize her as I begin to practice non-duality. I think I might. I have recognized her energy. It’s harder, but she has a distinct feeling, and I’m excited to imagine I might a foster a relationship with her. Especially if it leads to healing. Especially for my mother’s family. Sarah is my mother’s family.

not-the-end

Not The End, by Julie Rogers, depicts my ancestor, Sarah Ann, on one of her 32 crossings of the icy North Platte River to carry Saints to safety.

Tell My Story gives a detailed account of this episode of the Martin Handcart Company’s ill-fated journey to Salt Lake City. I’m really proud of Sarah. Scroll down and enjoy!

One Big Union

one big union.jpg

So excited to see this show today! Joe Hill was a labor activist and musician who was executed 100 years ago for a murder he may or may not have committed. This Plan-B Theatre original play contains Hill’s own songs, recently released to the public domain, and also highlights his work with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who visited him in jail here in Salt Lake, and went on to co-found the ACLU.

rebel-girl

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was the inspiration for this 1915 battle hymn.

Plan-B is the only theater in the United States that produces entire seasons of original works by local playwrights, with emphasis on socially conscious themes and issues. It’s owned by one of my dearest friends and his husband. http://planbtheatre.org/

It’s a relevant stage experience, following a week that has seen boys at a local football game chanting, “Grab her by the p*ssy!” and a white van trolling Rose Park, a Salt Lake City neighborhood rich with immigrants, screaming, “Trump is President! Build the wall!”

Don’t mourn… ORGANIZE!
joe-hill

*****

It was amazing! Very emotional at times, as they were describing precisely what we’ve been living with this week and for the last 18 months.

I have to go to more shows at Plan-B! I’m so cheap. I always say, “Next time,” and next time never comes. If nothing else, I should be supporting my friends. The real reason, of course, is that theater transforms us! It makes us think, laugh. It gives us a break from everyday and all that that entails, but it can also light the fire of our own creativity. Above all, theater connects us. This was wonderful.organize

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 has accomplished things across both sides of the aisle, that make the world a better place. Deal with it.

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.

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!”

It goes in the bin with the other shit hippie chicks say, but it can’t hurt.

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

drum

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 I catch myself and stop. That’s huge. I’m developing the ability to watch my thoughts!

I want to 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

First Women’s Sweat Lodge

This post is the most recent from my other blog, http://dreamermadwoman.blogspot.com. It documents the shift that brought me to this creative writing space. I will continue to post there, when next I travel the globe!

This post has more to do with the wild, Western journey of this wildwesterngirl, so I wish to share it here as well. I never guessed I would one day be attracted to and adopted by a Native American practice, but it feels right and good and glad.

“Feb. 20, 2012. Of course a sweat lodge was just around the corner. I was feeling all kinds of connected. I had just transferred Wendy’s contact info from last year’s planner to 2012’s when she messaged me Saturday night inviting me to pray. Yesterday was my fourth lodge, my first with only women. They get better and better, but yesterday was some kind of magic! Wendy is an inspired leader and sister.

I feel so blessed and perplexed as to why I get to remain here to continue learning and celebrating. I passed hurdles yesterday I didn’t know I needed to climb. At one point we were instructed to simultaneously unleash our gratitude and call it to the heavens, our guides, ourselves, one another, Creator god, whomever. Without the self-consciousness women experience sometimes in the company of men, who don’t understand and/or fear our emotions, we were unrestrained, unleashing the most raucous, sobbing joy up and OUT! I laughed out loud at how uncomfortable, even frightened, some of the men I know would be at the sound of it, and became conscious of our firekeeper, Brett. When I remembered him, I sent out a blessing of thanks.

It was beautiful. I declared for the first time in my life, ‘I’m glad that I was born.’ It’s what I say to people on their birthdays, but I’ve never said it to myself. It’s quite true, when I celebrate others’ existence. Without birth, they should never have crossed my path. I’ve long felt blessed (and curious) that such extraordinary people should surround me, but I never felt the same for me. Once those words fell, the gratitude (and awe!) for having survived the abuse I heaped on myself for decades at once uplifted and defeated me. I felt sick that I’ve wasted so much time on childishess and ingratitude.

I didn’t beat myself up for long. I have some understanding of my strange journey. So it took me awhile to wise up. I’ve begun. That’s all that matters.

A great lodge. A great blessing. I love women. I love being a woman.”