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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And Then The Weekend Happened

AGAIN!

What the fuck is wrong with these people!?!!

I’m not kidding. It would be amusing if it weren’t so fucking disturbing! I’m not kidding! THEY FRIGHTEN ME.

What kind of sick people are so married to punishing a woman that they elect to spend their honeymooning time sleeping under the same roof with his ex-girlfriend?

And the boy! He literally hid from me when they were outside wasted. We startled each other in passing, and a sweet, traumatized 10-year old jumped and hid from the scary woman mommy hates! I went in my room and started bawling. What do I do?

I can’t do this. I might be able to forget him over time, but … Come on, who am I kidding? I’m complicit in the trauma of a young person and I’m sick about it.

Jax and Carrie got drunk and trashed the kitchen. I will never believe that spaghetti was unintentional. Biggest impact for mess. They used my dishes, which I had to clean to make breakfast the next morning. I woke an angry, hungover Jax, who growled a demand to stop slamming the fucking cupboards, waking the boy who’d slept on a couch mere feet outside the scary woman’s door.

“One of my cupboards closes hard. You know that.” I answered calmly. “I’m not trying to bother you.” The boy ran through the kitchen into the bedroom with mom.

When I got home from rehearsal, I resumed packing and realized the last box I’d stacked the night before was gone. I’d wondered what they were doing in the wee hours snickering outside my bedroom. I almost opened the door to find out, but I didn’t want a confrontation. I know what they’re capable of sober!

And all the while, the boy was asleep on the couch. I don’t want to scare him anymore!

They’d gone away soon enough, laughing and howling outside in a wild thunderstorm. I honestly think I know the moment they lifted that stupid box.

I’m organized. (Plus, I know what I’m up against.) I have every box numbered according to room, and I know exactly what’s in each. Furthermore, I know where each box is in the house. I have to know. In addition, most everything is in bankers boxes, for neat stacking. (Except for these people, this has been my best move EVER.) (Like, I love it.) (I call this high Organasm, and my friends tell me to give my company that name and make money getting unnatural thrills off of organizing people’s chaotic spaces.)

I had placed a light box on the tippy-top of a pile that reaches over my head, behind a chair that divides the shared living space into 2 separate areas, which has also served to neatly divide us. Almost.

They took it. I heard them taking it. They deny it. I called the cops just to document it, but I had been lulled into a false sense of security with their absence during the work week and thrown off by their party, and failed to take pictures before I left for rehearsal. I don’t suppose it would have mattered then. They took it Friday night. Congratulations, you got me. Without evidence of it being there before they left, and gone afterwards, I had no proof that they’re now actually breaking the law.

The “fun” had begun elsewhere within walking distance. They left sober, I assumed for dinner. The neighbor girlfriend’s? The fair? Whatever. The car was still in the driveway, but they were out. Great.

But when they got home near midnight – tanked, 10 yr-old in tow – and started making dinner, I realized they’d just been out partying. For the next several hours, they left me the de facto babysitter of a sleeping child. I have no obligation to this boy, but obviously if he’d been injured in any way, they were too blotto to even be aware of him, let alone able to care for him.

But I’m so irrational, they have to be on property to “protect” it.

Under any other circumstance, box theft might be a harmless prank, but nothing about these people is harmless. THEY MEAN ME HARM, and they mean for me to know it.

God, I want out.

Jax was making merry the next morning about their exploits of the night before. “Did we eat spaghetti last night?!” har har.

“Oh, yes! Darling! Don’t you remember?” haha! *hair toss

Later in the day, I went to feed his cat and noticed something. There was spaghetti sauce all over the bed. They might deny they took that box and threw it outside somewhere in the rain. They don’t fucking remember! That’s how drunk they get in the company of an innocent child that deserves at least one coherent guardian.

Well, he had me. Poor kid.

Just 2 more weeks.

Also, I’m hoping against hope to catch Jax in another bluff. He tried to blame me for having to cancel his trip to Europe. God, I hope he got on that plane today.

I hope that boy is safe, loved, and happy after this unnecessary, protracted battle ends. I know he loves baseball. He told me all about the Dodgers. I’ve seen Jax toss ball with him. He has a cat named Sparkles, 10 years old, like he is. I know his mother wants him to have music lessons, because I almost loaned him my piano. I just send my love and energy to a good, calm, joyful family for him.

I don’t know this boy. After 2 weeks, I won’t think of him much. But I’ll never forget the look in his eyes when faced unexpectedly with a woman who frightens him that he was alone with, and hid from.

I know, too, that he’s seen more pain and trauma in his young life than any adult should have to bear, much less an earnest, smart, curious child. I hope I’m part of the last of such sorrow for him. My heart hurts.

I was 10 when my mom got remarried, too. I’d never known a father before then, and that period of my life is burned on my brain. I’d just been molested, and my new step-father moved us to a new neighborhood and stopped all that. (I realize now that I stopped it, for my sister, too. I told. Still, they echo, “Shut up, Christie. Shut up.”) And, unfortunately, abuse that had been set in motion long before my shiny new stepdad entered the scene never ended, but I remember that time and age like it was yesterday.

I’m so sorry to be mixed up in this. Wrong is wrong. Wrong is worse when it hurts a kid.

And, no, I won’t shut up about it. I’m fed up with this. I’m saying so. I will always so.

THIS IS WRONG.

*deeeep breathe*

Two weeks. Hang on, Christie. Breathe, pack, rehearse. Two weeks.

Red Flags in the Rear View

I “processed” but didn’t publish Hard Day when I wrote it, but after events of the previous weekend, my first impression of Jax’s wife is relevant now. I was unimpressed with machinations meant to tell me me who’s “got him now.” (Honey, this ex don’t care.) It wasn’t easy, but have at it. I honestly wished them well. I felt empathy and compassion for her, and I loved Jax once. I wanted him to be happy with a nice girl.

My co-worker had warned me to be mentally prepared: This new girl might want me out of the way sooner than Jax promised.

“Oh, he wouldn’t do that.” I answered.

I did pause, though, considered it, and thanked her. Sadly, my co-worker was right.

Jax is the author of his own behavior, but, boy, did I get a taste of his wife! I know exactly who’s fueling this push out the door. That woman scares me! Disingenuous, manipulative, gratuitous. I don’t care, so far as she doesn’t affect my life after Oct. 1, but she has affected me greatly, now.

Those people terrorized me. Carrie is just getting what she wants how she always has. I don’t care after I’m no longer in the way of what she wants. That doesn’t mean she didn’t scare me, scar me, even, but I don’t care… soon.

As for Jax, I’m surprised at the depth of his cruelty. There’s a place in him that feels like he has rights he hasn’t. I’m really trying not posit myself above him. I got dirty in that relationship, and I’ve learned enough to know, “There but for the grace of god go I.”

We are each capable of anything. All of it. There but for the grace of god…

However, I am seeing the red flags in his history. They seemed innocuous. They belonged to youth and arrogance, and Lord knows I’m about the most egotistical person I’ve met. It’s one of my primary life works, to balance the pull of superior/inferiority of an unhealthy ego. Certainly, too, my youth is nothing but “Error, error.” That’s youth!

But in the part of our relationship where we regaled one another with the adventures and follies of coming up in the world, there’s one story, in particular, that didn’t sit right with me. (There’s another that involves company theft that goes beyond the crimes we all commit of stealing time or office supplies, but I chalked it up to getting caught up in young, group foolishness and self-importance. Now it serves to remind me to be impeccable with my character and not feel “owed,” ever. You know how we all become a bit complacent and annoyed on the job. I can get a little more entitled than that.)

Jax didn’t like his friend’s girlfriend. One day like any other, the group was hanging out, and she was reading. Jax asked about her book. After she talked about it a bit, he asked to look at it and she told him to be careful with it. (I should have paid close attention to what he did, because I would ask that. She was probably a Taurus.)

And because she gave him orders, he took the book and ripped it in half.

I took issue at the time, and more than once in our ugly departure shamed him for it, but I should have listened then to what he was telling me. He bragged again in Florida when we were in line somewhere with his brother, who also found it unsettling and said so. Never once did Jax express chagrin. With me, he defended it. With his brother, he allowed the difference of opinion.

And what was his defense? I hadn’t heard the way she talked to him, he said. It wasn’t because the book was brand new, or even important. It was just to tell him what’s what, bossing him around, because she was in charge of everyone and everything.

You don’t get to impose intention on her boundaries. It mattered to her.

Nope, he argued. She was a bitch.

Even if she was brat about it, it was her property!

How dare she assert herself? was the attitude. Woman, know your place.
And it was his right to put her there.

Christie! It was always there!

In fact! Our first fight! Like me, Jax has a very powerful voice, and we both yell. I’m comfortable with that, honestly. I don’t want it. I want to learn together how to disagree better than that, but I hate it when I’m the yeller and my partner is just beaten down by my volume and veracity. Jax held his own. I needed that.

We did improve. We found ways to get heated, with raised voices but not yelling, necessarily, by our standards. There was progress in our relationship that made me feel like this was a partner who could not be bullied by me, but was amenable to taking responsibility – he did sometimes, when I pointed out misapplied blame – and strong enough to make me accountable when necessary. We were good for awhile.

Our first fight, however, was a shock to each of us, I think. Neither of us had met someone who could win just by being loudest. He matched energy, and fed it, too. We went fast from pissed to shocked to rage to fury.

Finally, his screaming shocked me silent, and I paused. “Whoa, Jax!” He continued. So did I. “Jax! Stop! Jax! Let’s reset! JAX!”

I really thought we could. I had never been able to settle myself in that headspace. If I could, so could he. WE COULD. He didn’t stop screaming and finally out-shouted me, a feeling I know perfectly. He’s the first to out-yell me! And now that he had, he was getting it said. I finally screamed at the top of my lungs, “STOP YELLING AT ME!”

His response? “You made me.”

“I’m not responsible for you!” I screamed. “I’m yelling because I’m yelling! I can’t make you yell! Fuck you!” I stormed off and slammed my bedroom the door.

(Blerg. “Fuck off” is NOT OKAY. I also called him an asshole all the time. I did try. On better days, I just called him a jerk. Sometimes I didn’t do any of my old behaviors! But I hate that I still haven’t figured out how to disagree with a boyfriend without disrespecting him. No, it’s the fights. It’s when I’m triggered. There’s something more I can apply there to HALT. Name-calling is a step up the ladder to abuse! It’s called dehumanizing, and I do not want to participate! Blerg.)

That day, I called my best friend in a panic, “Oh my god, is he misogynist? Does he really think I made him do it? That’s what abusers say! Is he just a child? That’s bad enough! I am not responsible for you!!!” I was alarmed and ready to call it off.

I didn’t and still don’t think that’s what he meant, and he did later acknowledge that it wasn’t up to me how he behaves. I still believe him. We were speaking in anger. And we all blame. It’s what we do. God knows I do! Impassioned, we are all the child. Patterns and beliefs come up that aren’t true. We own our mistakes, move on, and work together.

I saw that in him, the working together. It is in him. Not with me, but he’s not one-dimensional. After this weekend, though, wow. I’m more humbled and alarmed the more reflection I give it. Especially now that the threat to my belongings and babies is lifted, and the couple is back to their normal not-coming-around. I can “relax,” and the underbelly is surfacing of a 5-day terror campaign that worked.

She deserved it.

Jax was privy to the pain of the trauma with my sister’s husband 6 years ago, and before that with my family, from childhood to this very moment. I talked about it from the beginning of our intimate relationship, when fears and sorrows and confessions come out. He was there when I went through the heartbreak of “losing” my father and brother, who echoed the sentiment, She deserved it.

He held me when I cried. He knew I was suicidal. I did go to the ER for 2 crisis visits.

Right now, it feels like he didn’t comfort me because he cared, but because he was stuck in a situation where he risked a girl getting sick and she did. I imagine the whole time he wished he could go to Carrie, but she was with her ex-boyfriend. I thought I had a friend who cared that our choice was so painfully costly for me, but now he just feels like a guy who was trapped and long gone in his heart. Now I wonder if he was resentful of me already. He was partly responsible, so… “Guess I’ll suffer the bitch.” ?

What he did this weekend was worst thing anyone’s ever done to me. I’ve been back on my meds for a month now. I’m still depressed, but I have been experiencing pleasure and progress on set and at work. I’m functioning and moving forward toward optimum.

That was all derailed last weekend. I was panicked. I thought I might have to check myself in. I avoided it all summer, no matter how overwhelming the pain became, but I was ready to quit the show. I felt I could never catch up, and the fear and guilt of making myself available to a show that I cannot emotionally or physically honor right now swallowed me up. But quitting meant quitting. And my cats! Don’t get me started.

I was scared.

And that’s not looking underneath! How does one even begin? My whole life has been a sham, a joke. I’ve been so blind, careless, STUPID. I’m too old to change this. I give up! I was curled in a ball in my closet, scream crying. My cats were so scared. I couldn’t handle their panicked faces and efforts to climb up and comfort me, so I hid in the closet and shut the door. I could see their little feet pacing, and it made me cry harder. Sometimes I apologized through the wailing, and I could hear their desperate mews.

And on it went. I was in danger this weekend. I felt brutalized.

He knew. He knew what his behavior could do to to me. He’s seen it. He’s held me, contained me, comforted me, and the whole time he just wanted to get away.

Fair enough. This shit ain’t easy. But he endangered me this weekend, with malice and purpose. And she deserved it.

BLUFF!

He texted before my alarm went off. Naturally, I was jumpy all night and woke to every unusual sound. When I heard the ping, I went faint in my bed. I’m still feel shaky.

“Your cats will be fine. When will you be out?”

I was prepped for attack and misunderstood. “No. You have no grounds to remove me. The eviction remains unlawful.” Then, “Ah, misread that. Jax,” I continued. “You know when I’ll be out.”

“Just stop. When will you be out?”

“WE’ve said it a million times.” I’d be damned if I’d play into his fantasy that I’m holding some arbitrary date over their head when I have no option to leave before Oct. 1. We’ve discussed this so many times, initially in an effort to best meet both of our needs.

This was planned a month-and-a-half in advance, and he chose the date. I wasn’t being arbitrarily obstinate. I consider these conversations evidence now, and an answer might imply that I’m manipulating the situation somehow. I’m not willing to risk Lost In Translation in a court setting. He knows my move out date. He chose it, and it’s been confirmed innumerable times via text.

I’m not playing into ridiculous behavior, both as a matter of principle and to protect myself. I won’t risk inadvertently supporting their story. It’s a lie.

“I’m probably canceling my Europe trip,” he continued, “largely thx to you being unreasonable and unpredictable,” adding, “So thx.”

“You gave me the date to begin with. You are the unreasonable ones. You are the author of your own behavior. I’m not responsible for anything you’ve done this weekend or for the rest of my tenancy.” “And your trip has nothing to do with me, but thank you for thinking so highly of my sway and influence.” (Come on, I couldn’t help it.)

“I can’t even have my family over for dinner without you making theatrics.”

“That’s not what you did. You terrorized me and ruined your own night.” (And they hadn’t stopped by for dinner. He left to get the groceries only after they didn’t get what they wanted from the police, and decided to torture me the whole night by staying.) “Take responsibility for yourself. For all my fuck ups, I always did.”

“Anyhow, no reason to discuss with you anymore other than to say give us our space on the rare occasion we stop by.” HAHAHAHA! Stop when you’re beat, more like. BLUFF.

I’ve never done different! I begged – literally cried, screamed, and begged for space from them. The only alteration to this has been their egregious behavior.

I had been rapid-writing and didn’t even read that until after the volley was finished. I continued with the thread above. “You know damn well an illness is not theatrics. You know who I am and you know exactly what you did.”

I HAVE NEVER MISREPRESENTED MYSELF AND I ALWAYS TAKE RESPONSIBILITY, even when I hate myself utterly for having to, repeatedly.

He’s willing to ruin his own joy to cling to their ridiculous narrative that I’m responsible for the weekend’s shameful events. I did everything I could to avoid it. I feel no guilt or ownership. I also feel absolutely no care or compassion for either of them, and no need to anymore. I don’t feel anything much more than shock and pity. You know how that’s thrown around derisively. “I feel sorry for…” whomever. I really do.

For god’s sake, take a trip! Nothing has changed but you. Take a load off and breathe.

I blocked him then, seeing that I would soon be unable to remain, in fact, reasonable in an emotional situation that has scared the holy fucking shit out of me. I survived it.

Oh my god. I can hardly stand today. It is ALL spent, the whole reserve. I’m tapped.

Fight-or-flight is still right under the surface. Tears, too. Passion and hatred have to hover close beneath, as well, but I just don’t feel the ugly burden of that dark prison right now. Maybe I will after the adrenaline fades, or when I safely land in my new home. I don’t know. This is brand new for me. Usually, it’s all I feel, immediately, to the exclusion of all else. It takes a looong time to process the protections of rage and hate before I can go, in Truth, and heal the wound underneath. Right now, I feel FREE. Almost.

What a gross man. He found a wife to suit him perfectly. I can’t begrudge a good fit.
And I don’t care about it.

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

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