Quiet Hush

I’m sharing a video posted to my friend’s Facebook page. I expect that it won’t be as touching and lovely to Anonymous as it is to me. Playmill Theatre is staple entertainment in the tourist-but-untouched town that is West Yellowstone, MT.

Nostalgia does that, but this is beautiful. Take a moment to enjoy a quiet hush: Lullaby

That curved stage shaped my entire childhood. I spent every summer in the audience. The thing I loved best was riding alone in an old pick-up truck with Grandma and Grandpa, on the way to the cabin in Idaho, singing all the rounds there are: “Horsey, Horsey,” “Three Little Fishies,” “One Bottle o’ Pop,” and all of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

I danced and sang in those lights just one year before this 90s clip was captured.

Lisa Burton Carter, her husband Jeff, and their friend, Linda, have proven themselves to be 3 of the most solid, decent people I know. I called them out by name in my Home Page Novella, “How I Got Here.” They appeared at the razor’s edge of youth and adulthood, onto which I walked with little more than trauma, pain, anger, and grit.

At just the time when there were officially more holes in the dike than I had fingers, Linda and Lisa loved me, and Jeff wanted to paint my portrait.

I wanted to die. And I wanted to kill them all. It was 1993.

I needed this quiet hush today. I needed a reminder of good people and love in my life. More importantly, I needed a reminder of their example. If you can’t take your eyes off of the mother and daughter in this beautiful melody, it’s because what you see is authentic and deeply good. By choice, by act, by very conscious effort. (Also, ripping hilarious and talented as hell, that family, the whole lot of ’em!)

****

I still have trauma and grit. Today, the angels have sent another reminder that the time has come at last to get my kit together. I have the awareness and maturity to see what I lack, appreciate how I survived as long as I did, and alter it – just the tiniest, albeit significant tweak – to finally achieve the peace and success I long for and deserve.

photoshoot 1993

courtesy Jeff Carter, 1993 (I refused to “sit” for the artist, but after an entire summer he finally talked me into a photo shoot, from which he painted a portrait I’ve still never seen.) (That’s an authentic Native dress! ~ Aho Mitakuye Oasin ~ For us capitalists, that’s a value of $100,000!)

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The portrait I did sit for, in 1984, was for an important artist and teacher, Sergei Bongart. As with Jeff (and that incredible Native dress), it was later that I came to understand the enormous honor. Sergei fell in love with my hometown and summered there until his death in 1985. In southeast Idaho, he found “magpies and lilacs,” as in the Ukraine of his childhood.

sergei bongart

Sergei Bongart as a young man

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Down The Rabbit Hole

I’m swirling down the drain over here. It’s a new me and I don’t really recognize her. The old me would be in bed, unable to function. This one’s at work.

I’m actually better at my job in the midst of existential ennui. I’m nice.

I’m having the strangest feeling of having left the matrix, seeing things for what they really are, and returning to the mundane world. I feel like I have intel that few eyes have seen. I certainly never saw it before. It’s a cinematic moment.

Useless information, really. I learned that I’m a fucking idiot.

So, yeah. I’m creating a whole new persona over here. I don’t know what it’ll be.

I think life is about finding out what you’re afraid of. At least that’s what I’ve been doing. To restate, life is about nothing. What I’ve been doing is creating meaning.

I no longer think life is about finding any sort of answer or solution. It’s just what you look for. I’ve been looking for fear. I found it. My whole life has been a process of finding the scariest thing I can possibly imagine. The next thing to happen is I live it! Lucky me! What am I afraid of and what will it do to me? What won’t kill you.

That’s the end of that sentence. I have no cute platitudes for you.

Once upon a time – 5 years ago when I created this blog – I thought the meaning of life was to forgive. Why else would I have landed in such a shithole of a family? I was born to people who would abandon and abuse me before I could form memories, and never stop. Later, the abuse would become a uniquely mental form of torture called gaslighting. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. (Or look to the behavior of our prezident and figure it out from context.)

I’m afraid of pain, I know that. Now my only goal in life is to get out of it. I’ve conquered emotional pain, inasmuch as I’m in it. It won’t kill me. I have no expectations of relieving it, so I’m not trying anymore. I don’t need to. I know how to live with it.

I need nothing. I don’t need love. I don’t need money. I don’t need family. I have none of those things and I’m still here.

I need a roof. For now. I mean, if the apocalypse comes, well, on that day I’ll figure out how to live without a roof. We’re not there yet.

I feel like this blog has served its function. Five years ago, I moved here and created an address. At wildwesterngirl.wordpress.com, I intended to learn to forgive. I failed.

Whatever’s next, it doesn’t belong here. I won’t move until I have an idea what I want from my new experience. Til then, you can watch the transition, if you like, though I think that sounds unfathomably boring. For me, it takes the form of lists. Endless lists. Have at it.

I suspect my next goal in life might be to find out if I can get out of this new-ish physical pain. Interestingly, it entered my life 5 and a half years ago, just after the first divorce from my family of origin.

I might fail. I’ve done it before. I’m going to try.

My next blog will probably end up being an insufferable fitness journey. I don’t about you, but I’d rather indulge a stranger’s circuitous voyage through mental anguish than read online about how some bitch lost 30 lbs.

But I think that’s where I’m headed. I hate that girl already.

Hey! I know how to do that! Halfway there!

  • TASK ONE: Fucking downsize. I have too much shit.

It is nice that I work at an organization that takes donated items and does good with them. Or means to. I like that.

Oh, no. Intention does matter. My family means well.

Good for them. I’ll perch them above Hitler, Drumph and other despots on the spectrum of assholes populating or once populating the planet.

  • INSIGHT ONE: I’m still a fucking Pollyanna.
    Fuck.
  • INSIGHT TWO: I’m a nihilist. I believe in nothing. Even my angels are a lie. They seem to exist only to demonstrate what a fucking idiot I am.

My family killed Fun Christie.
End of transmission.

Graduation

growth
This blog has served its purpose. I am worthy. It just happened. I’m still rather in shock. I’m certain I didn’t believe this transformation would ever take place. Instead, I expected to search and grow and learn for the rest of my life, which, of course, I will. But I’m worthy. I’m not trying to feel worthy. You know how it is when intellectual knowledge doesn’t match emotional truth. It does now. It was overnight. I suppose it was over 2 weeks in Spain. I’m grateful for the friend who attacked me. I was almost clinical about her brutality and chaos. At once, I released the need to demystify it. I don’t care, and I don’t need to. I have understanding and empathy for it, but no interest in it. Choose out, or don’t. I’m done.

I drew upon a strength and dignity I didn’t know I had. Or, I guess I did; I just hadn’t successfully applied it yet. For all of adulthood, I’ve bemoaned the many failures to stay above the fray, my repeated decision to return slight for slight. In Spain, I did everything right. My friend sought to injure and wound me nearly every day. I never mirrored her behavior. I didn’t tolerate it, either. I was firm. I insisted that she respect my boundaries. She didn’t. Still, I wouldn’t match her hatred. The last thing I said as I escaped her at the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza was “I don’t hate you.” It’s the first time in my life I didn’t respond to cruelty, disappointment, heartache, betrayal, or any manner of difficult emotion without hatred. “I don’t hate you.”

“I DON’T CARE!” she screamed, still hitting and scratching me.

I grabbed her wrist and met her eye! “I don’t hate you.”

I walked away.

I am filled with light and love. I’ve created and maintained a remarkable Chosen Family of beautiful, powerful, strange, delicious people who love me, themselves, all life, and the world. I am love, and the second I landed on home soil I walked into love. My life has been here all along. I’m finally in it, now. I LOVE MY LIFE.

¡Estoy bendecida! I am blessed!
http://dreamermadwoman.blogspot.com/2014/07/spain-y-ibiza-2014.htmlsenseless dramakarmalet no man

I Like Me

Somewhere along the way, I chose to see the silver lining. I’m really proud of the fact that, in spite of my foibles and shortcomings, I find beauty everywhere I go.

I just got home from Spain, where the former friend whose birthday I went to celebrate verbally abused me for 2 weeks until she physically assaulted me. Still, I had an amazing journey and learned exactly what I needed to. I came home with the last piece of unworthiness finally falling off of me, more sure than ever before that I deserve the best. I can live up to the best. I’m capable of my best. The best is in my future and in my now. I’m glad I see the world that way. I did that. I’m proud of myself. I like me.
overlooking barcelona harborafter the attackrocks on salinascafe con sol y enzo

Eve

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

40 has been a hell of a year. Much that I’ve achieved makes me quite proud, really, and it’s a good feeling to be satisfied with your own courage and success. I’ve also been revisited by familiar demons, in new and rather frightening ways. 2013 gave me pause. It alarms me still. I had the standard failure of a new romance. It looked and seemed different in the process of discovery but hindsight shows, of course, that it’s the same problem I always have: me. I chose the wrong person for the wrong reasons – truly not knowing or seeing it – but reflection reveals the same old habits. There’s something I’m missing in my selection process. Once the breakup has begun, I’m all-too-aware of my flaws when responding to things that go wrong. I freak out.

I will give myself credit for leaving my ex-boyfriend quickly. Not working? Don’t linger! I didn’t figure that out in my youth. I guess to have mid-life flashing before my very eyes really does help me to cut ties that hold me back. So that’s hopeful, I suppose. No. The fact is I was in danger. I was running. I wasn’t leaving a bad situation quickly due to any wisdom or self-love (or love of anything). I still marvel that I found a job, started said job, found an apartment, and moved into it in one week. But being impressed with my mad urban survival skills is not the same as behaving better in/out of a relationship.

*sigh*

I haven’t spoken at all about the decline of my body. I’m so afraid of what it means and will the pain just continue to increase? I can’t even begin to voice my discomfort and anxiety for fear of making it “real” and lasting. I’ve finally taken action and made some decisions that I’ll talk about in the coming year as the results show themselves. Or don’t. (Please work! Please let me get better!) It’s a bitter thing when the body betrays.

That said, I’ve had some profound spiritual experiences, “promptings,” the Mormons call them. I’m kind of going through it right now, but I believe that the changes I’m in the middle of are necessary for the next big step. There’s something I’m missing. There’s something in the pattern of self-destructive behavior that I don’t even see. I am in the process of fixing that, right now. I believe that my physical symptoms are an opportunity for me to work on the whole being. Aches that I’ve ignored for years because they don’t plague my every waking moment… now do. It’s the same with my spirit. I’ve been ignoring my intuition my entire life. I want to trust myself to listen to my guides and angels before a misstep onto the wrong path results in danger or cruelty. My angels have to SCREAM at me before I listen, even to the good stuff. I realize later that I heard them all along, but I ignore it. Actually, I dismiss them as delusion or hubris. Mormons call it “the still, small voice,” and I don’t know what the hell to do with it. I grew up screaming in a screaming family. I want different, but I don’t know how to create it. I want to choose the right course and then navigate the difficulties of life thereupon – kindly, gently – rather than jumping from catastrophe to sanctuary to disaster to quivering mass of failure. Again. (I’m not there right now but I have been, like a default setting, for the whole of my life.)

Speaking of blaming my upbringing, haha! Remember when I told you, “My family gets together, decides what my behavior means, then tells me about it during the holidays”? My mom’s Christmas card implied that I am adding to a burden of sorrow on my grandmother’s shoulders because my immediate family has not yet come to an amicable reconciliation. In fact, I have. I gave my cache of free tickets to “How To Succeed” to anyone who wanted them, and hung out with everyone at Thanksgiving, hugs all around and hand-me-down clothes from my wealthy friends, a holiday tradition. I participated in the sibling gift exchange, and sent mom and dad a book for Christmas. https://wildwesterngirl.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/happy-one-year-blogiversary-a-review/

I’ve never spoken a word to my beloved grandparents about the terrifying reality of life in my immediate family. I haven’t said one negative thing. Ever.

I couldn’t believe it. The timing was like a sick joke to prove me right. Dr. Phil would call me a right fighter. When I’m in the chaos of immediate anger and emotion, I don’t care about solving the problem. I care about keeping score and proving myself the more-wronged party. Deep down, though, after a little time in the Cave of Solitude and Recovery, I secretly believe that they’re right. I’m just a horrible b-word (insert “brat” and “bitch” here), who blames a loving family for things they don’t do. But there it was in black and white. Now I get to reconcile myself again to the fact – proof in hand, neatly penned on a Christmas card – that they continue to employ emotional manipulation to bully me.

Perhaps they don’t know how to avoid the truth of their own dysfunction now that their scapegoat has decided to love herself enough to leave toxic people behind, even when they’re her own family. All I know is that cutting them out of my life is the right thing. Even the smallest dealings with them take me weeks of recuperation. I’m fragile, and they are the chink in my armor. I’m capable of personal and interpersonal greatness, I feel it, if I turn my back entirely. Not just on my sister’s racist husband, who physically assaulted me, but on all of them. In the context of my immediate family, I hate myself. I have the right to walk away, no matter how ugly they make it.

I got that card 3 days ago. I’m not going to answer. What could I possibly say?

I was juuust starting to second-guess my decision to maintain distance from them. In a way, I feel like this was what I needed to trust myself. I get to protect myself, even if I’m shamed for doing so. I’m reminded to celebrate and honor my intuition, regardless of what is said about it. The change I seek is to put this into practice somehow, to make it my lifestyle in 2014 and the second half of my life.
survivor
I have survived. I’m a rockstar. Now I thrive.

My Mom Is A Bluebird

A little Rocky Mountain Bluebird
(Idaho state bird)

She broke her wing once and couldn’t get it fixed. She had to make do with three little hatchlings and bum bluebird that flew off. Her wing healed wonky.

Sometimes it seemed like she’d never fly again, but that Rocky Mountain Bluebird Mama was the toughest, most determined, resourceful little thing. She wasn’t about to die, or rely on any flaky birds to bring her nuts and berries! She had things to do!

In the time it takes the carefree birds to fly from A to Z, she gets to C. She looks a little wild doin’ it, but she gets there.

Now when the birdwatchers come, she’s their favorite one. She doesn’t have quite as much to get done. There’s another bluebird that doesn’t go far and she finally gets to sing.

“There she is!” they point, barely able to maintain a whisper. “How did she survive? She shouldn’t be able to fly on that thing!”

And then she alights and, by damn, if it isn’t the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.