Friday, September 30, 2005

Life changes with the wind.

Well, I just returned from a wonderful afternoon at the Cafe. I was meeting an old friend. She was the top I was always playing with before training. She is the one....who pushed me kicking and screaming...into training with the man who become my leather Mentor. She knew full well, because she disclosed that fact to me, that I may never play with her again after training. She knew the training she was sending me into would change me dramatically. But from the first time we spent time together (before playing) she saw something in me.

During training, Sir (M), as a reward, allowed me to play with her a few times. It was good. And yet, it was sad. During play, I could see how our energy (hers and mine) had changed, and at the time wasn't really compatible. Yes. It was very sad.

I love this person. Even though we rarely spend time together, she has a special place in my heart. In addition, other than the Bear, she is the other delightfully, extremely brilliant sadist and rope top I know. They are in a category all their own, regarding rope work.

Why am I bringing all this up?

Well a couple days ago she left me a voice mail. It was syncronicity because I'd been thinking about her as well and wanted to call her. We got together at the Cafe today. This top, BBC for bondage, boots and cigars, had a partner visiting from Brooklyn who I've met in the past and enjoyed.

We met at the Cafe after work. I put in my 40 hour workweek as of sometime yesterday and so left today at 1pm. While at Septieme, Icarus and his boy walked in (my play date partners who fell through). They reminded me that they wanted a rain check. I suggested they join us, which they did. It was an invigorating few hours, talking, bitching, laughing.

Well, I'm going to tonight's party. BBC top strongly suggested I wear my boots. It sounds like some suspension is in order. We'll see. I did mention to the boy that I'd be driving tonight if they wanted a ride. There would be no pressure to play. He liked the suggestion. So...we'll see about that as well.

Now...I head off to the shrink in another hour.

On my walk home, I gave way to certain thoughts. I've been told in the past that people consider me very intimidating and therefore, unapproachable. Personally, I think that's ludicrious.

Yes I am opinionated. Yes I love having the last word. Yes, I'm competitive. And yes I can be very arrogant (that's why I can recognize it in others), although anytime you smell arrogance from me, it's a telltale sign that I'm feeling extremely insecure. Know that now. I've written about this before.

But, in addition to all that, I'm passionate, emphatic, empathic, sensual, optimistic as well as pessimistic, and not afraid to say when I'm wrong. That's why I don't understand why folks would be intimidated. I care. Deeply. I see all sides.

This is my conundrum when writing my viewpoints. As soon as I take a stance, I can see why others would take the other side and want to explain that. Also, I know that life is NEVER this OR that, and desire to explain as well. And I don't. I'm lazy. It would take too many words.


I will also say, which I don't believe I'd said publicly, or if I have, it's been to intimate friends, that suredness and matter of factness is reacted to very differently when coming from females versus males. I rarely play the sexism card because I do believe it's become a too easy and comfortable excuse. It can be overplayed. Yet there are times when I have to admit, it's there. I watch and listen very carefully.

I share many of my fears, anger and insecurities in my blog. I try not to hide it.

I'm human. As are all of you.

Everything has to do with context.

Life is simple and complicated at the same time. If people are to take my words at face value and not question or see the subtleties, well, stop reading my blog. Otherwise, if you get pissed at everything I say and continue to read, you're a bigger masochist than I am.

I don't hate religion. I hate that religion is being used as a viable premise for legislation. Religion belongs in a private life. I don't hate RACK or workshops. I hate the fact that we are creating s/m drones. I want to see energy spoken about. I want to see people begin to realize their own potential and hone their intuition. I don't hate leather contests. I hate that we assume titleholders become experts and authorities because of a goddammed sash. Or titleholders themselves feel entitled for some odd reason.

I am a life lover. I love the possibility of life. I love the potential in people. I get down because I don't often see what can actually be. It creates despondency in me. I need to learn to work with that.

And...on that's time for me to regroup before my appointment.
Well, I shall go hungry for a little while longer.

Last night, at the Cafe, I was given a heads up from one of the tops for tonight's scene. He wasn't in a good head space and thought he may have to back out. I understood, and appreciated his honesty. He told me to wait and see how things develop.

I just received an email from his boy informing me that they need to cancel and requesting a raincheck.

C'est la vie, eh?
Emerson will add sexual-orientation bias language
By Gregory Cancelada

Gay-rights advocates and sympathetic shareholders are welcoming Emerson's decision to add an explicit prohibition against sexual-orientation discrimination to its equal employment opportunity statement. The Ferguson-based company had resisted the change in the last five years.

"Apparently, they've seen the reasons behind (adding this language) and that it's in their best business interests," said Zachary Wright, a board member of Pride Foundation. The Seattle-based nonprofit, which funds gay and lesbian community groups, led efforts to change the company's nondiscrimination statement through shareholder resolutions.

Emerson joins the growing ranks of Fortune 500 companies that have added this language to their statements.

The company long has prohibited any type of discrimination, Emerson spokesman Mark Polzin said Thursday. "We felt it is appropriate to make the change at this time, consistent with the clear trend in industry," he said.

Pride began to lobby Emerson in 2000 to make the change, then filed a shareholder resolution aimed at changing the nondiscrimination policy.

Emerson shareholders rejected the resolutions in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005 (the resolution was not filed in 2004). But shareholder support dramatically increased earlier this year to 34 percent, compared with 10 percent in 2003.

Read the whole thing.
This little test is spookily accurate in many ways.
It's quick, easy and fun. And it's the first test that hasn't pissed me off because I wasn't limited to choosing one. Speaking of which, multiple choice tests should allow me to make multiple choices, not only give them.

What's not to like about color?

ColorQuiz.comautre took the free personality test!

"Feels too much is being asked of her and is tired ..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

Finally home after a very long day and pleasant evening.

Tonight feels like the Seattle of my first year here. It was dark all day. Low ceiling. The wind picked up this afternoon. Incredibly blustery. Whipping wind. I love it when Seattle gets really windy.

The skies looked as if they were going to open up and dump but it stayed dry all day. This evening, while at the Cafe, it began to mist. That's the Seattle of old. I love this weather, and it's been far too long.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I went to sleep and woke with a multitude of thoughts and ideas for essays. First thing this morning was to jot them down while still fresh. No wonder I am still feeling groggy. Sometimes, while sleeping, my head works much too hard.

As of right now I am slowly becoming more excited about tomorrow night's play. But I can't get too anticipatory. You see, the last few times I've had play dates set up for all out intense scenes, they'd fall through in one fashion or another. Normally someone would get sick. Part of me fears that will happen again.

I've checked in with the guys and the director of the play space. So far, it is a go.

Not having played heavy in a long time leaves me with a little apprehension. Call it performance anxiety. In the past when I was playing a few times a week, I wouldn't think twice. Funny how things change.

This has been a long season of focus on things other than play. I am curious to see, when I return to the play table on a regular basis, how my play changes.

Want to know one reason why I love my shrink? In spite of the fact that I'm furious with him at the moment for touching places he isn't supposed to (says me) and for feeling like an absolute fool the last time I was in his office, he's been my biggest supporter in regards to my s/m. Over these last few years I feared I'd never play again or I would no longer desire play. Each time, he'd laugh and say "not likely." He kept reminding me that my perverted sex is so ingrained and a critical factor in my wholeness. He would also emphasize how my painting and s/m are intertwined. Each feed the other.

It's organic. Natural.

This is THE reason why I have no use for committees in regard to my sex. Or why there is no room for the SSC or RACK credo in my sex. Acronyms and orgasms don't mix. I can't play with people who rely on books, manuals, and workshops instead of their own power, insight and intuition. I need people who play from the deepest part of their bellies. I was ranting about such things to a couple of our titleholders last week - all really good guys. I enjoy them. Love a few of them even. Yet I've noticed something over the last few years. Why does it often appear to be that, when someone receives a sash they seem to misplace their soul?

It would be interesting to see what would happen if everyone expended as much energy on developing the individual by working first on the 'why' before the 'how to'. I wonder if we'd have a more compassionate, humane sexual community filled with awareness and self-responsibility. I wonder if there would be less shame, less guilt. I wonder if the voltage in the play space would send explosions that could be felt round the world. Little particles of sex filtering through the air.

Our earth and our society is in trouble. The very thing our government wants to squash is the very thing we need more of. Sex. All kinds. Unregulated, uncensored, boisterous, sloppy, noisy sex.
I am afraid for our world.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

From the cover of this week's Weekly Dig from Boston:

"Seeing as the Yanks and Red Sox are 'neck and neck,' Weekly Dig editor Joe Keohane thought he would create a bit of controversy by shooting this photo for the cover of the Boston paper: 'We wanted to see what would piss people off more – the gay aspect or the Sox-Yanks aspect. And we wanted to float the theory that sexual tension is the real force behind the heated Sox-Yanks rivalry.'"

I'm taking a little time before the craziness of my work day hits full force. You know, no matter how down I become, how angst-ridden, how angry...the outdoors always seems to bring me joy. If my internal world is black, all I need to do is look outside.

The walks have been good. I take deep breaths as if they are my first. Today I walked to work in the dark and then into a pitch black office. Not turning on a light, I went through the conference room and stepped out onto the deck. Our office is the full 3rd floor of a building, and the wrap-around deck faces east and south.

I pulled up a container and sat, staring at the Cascades. The sun was beginning to rise behind the hills which floated on fog. I sat and watched.

I have no idea what I'll do or how much I will open up in my session with the shrink. He's been gone all week and my next appointment is Friday at 6pm, a few hours before I get the shit beat out of me at the party. First trust one, and then others. Heh. It's going to make for an interesting night.

The struggle outwardly stopped but the question still remains. Can I trust him?
It's not him personally. He is the safest person I know.
Thing is, if I can't trust him with the deep, I can't trust anyone else. This is where I'm at.

If I continue and allow myself to open further to him, it means he will be staring at the crux of who I am. This is where my fear of going crazy stems from. For him to see me, I have to pull away the constructs that I've surrounded myself with. Yes, we've been taking them down, little by little. But there are always different levels of safety.

The sun is filling the sky with a gold, green light. Warm glow.
Rob Brezsny's Freewill Astrology is up for the week.

And today, in Morford's column, he writes:

"As we all know by now, science is, to Bush, a vile and dirty word, a low-lying hunk of social detritus, something to be ignored and spat upon as much has possible unless it affects his poll numbers or upsets the base or makes him look dumb -- which is just about, you know, always. No matter that, as the (London) Guardian pointed out, it was just last year that 20 Nobel laureates from around the world warned that "the scope and scale of the manipulation, suppression and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration is unprecedented."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Yes it is possible that 6 water crackers with a little peanut butter are 6 too much.
The Times - September 27, 2005

Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.

According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.

The study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society.

It compares the social peformance of relatively secular countries, such as Britain, with the US, where the majority believes in a creator rather than the theory of evolution. Many conservative evangelicals in the US consider Darwinism to be a social evil, believing that it inspires atheism and amorality.

Many liberal Christians and believers of other faiths hold that religious belief is socially beneficial, believing that it helps to lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide, sexual promiscuity and abortion. The benefits of religious belief to a society have been described as its “spiritual capital”. But the study claims that the devotion of many in the US may actually contribute to its ills.

The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal, reports: “Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world.

"In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

"The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so."

Gregory Paul, the author of the study and a social scientist, used data from the International Social Survey Programme, Gallup and other research bodies to reach his conclusions.

He compared social indicators such as murder rates, abortion, suicide and teenage pregnancy.

The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered from "uniquely high" adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.

Mr Paul said: "The study shows that England, despite the social ills it has, is actually performing a good deal better than the USA in most indicators, even though it is now a much less religious nation than America."

He said that the disparity was even greater when the US was compared with other countries, including France, Japan and the Scandinavian countries. These nations had been the most successful in reducing murder rates, early mortality, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion, he added.

Mr Paul delayed releasing the study until now because of Hurricane Katrina. He said that the evidence accumulated by a number of different studies suggested that religion might actually contribute to social ills. "I suspect that Europeans are increasingly repelled by the poor societal performance of the Christian states," he added.

He said that most Western nations would become more religious only if the theory of evolution could be overturned and the existence of God scientifically proven. Likewise, the theory of evolution would not enjoy majority support in the US unless there was a marked decline in religious belief, Mr Paul said.

"The non-religious, proevolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator.

"The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted."

Straight Allies Stand Up for Equality
National Coming Out Day - October 11

Now is the time to show your support of equality by signing onto our Equality is for Everyone ads or by honoring your favorite straight ally! Pride Foundation must hear from you by September 29th to include you, or the ally you are honoring, in our ads.

Do you believe that our society is better off when everyone is treated fairly? If so, Pride Foundation needs your help!

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people are not being treated equally in our society. In most places, LGBT people can still legally be fired from their jobs or denied housing, based solely on their sexuality. Same-sex relationships are not treated equally under the law, leaving LGBT families vulnerable. LGBT people are also weathering a cultural backlash with some prominent people routinely saying our lives are immoral.

It has never been more important for heterosexuals to show their support for LGBT people. When straight allies speak out in support of LGBT people, it sends the powerful message that LGBT people aren't alone in the struggle for equality. Working together our voices become stronger, and harder to ignore

On October 11th, National Coming Out Day, Pride Foundation will highlight our straight allies with full page ads in the Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Spokesman-Review that will declare Equality is for Everyone. These ads will list the names of hundreds of straight allies who have joined our campaign.

If you are a straight ally who wants to stand up and speak out for equality please click here to join our campaign. With your contribution of $35 or more (to defray the cost of the ads) to the Pride Foundation, we will list your name in the ads and send you an Equality is for Everyone button to wear on October 11th. To read the full ad statement, or for more information on the Pride Foundation, please visit

If you are an LGBT person,please click here to honor a straight ally who has inspired you with their support. With your contribution of $35 or more (to defray the cost of the ads) to the Pride Foundation we will send your straight ally a thank you note, along with an Equality is for Everyone button to wear on October 11th - and we'll send you a button too. We will also ask your straight ally for their permission to be listed in the newspaper ads. To read the full ad statement, or for more information on the Pride Foundation, please visit

Act now! Please reply by September 29th to guarantee your name, or your favorite straight ally's name, will be included in the ads and to get your button in time for October 11th.

Pride Foundation understands that equality can only be achieved with the advocacy and support of all people, no matter their sexual orientation. Together we can create a community free from discrimination. Please join with us today and stand up for equality.
What does one do when hugely conflicted? Well, I don't know about one, but here's my plan.

I will take it one day at a time. There is no decision to make until it is time to make a decision. I've decided to stop freaking because I'm expending precious energy. I am and have been going for lots of walks, including back and forth to work, an hour in the middle of my work day and again at night. I'm extremely busy at work right now and it's a good diversion.

I'm trying to shrug off the "what if's" and the "should do's". Screw it all. I'm furious, again hate the world (notice the frequency of this recurrence?), hate my life, and am fully aware that it's all a passing phase.

This morning I figured that if I just focus on the present I can't go wrong.

So with's a slight contradiction.
Eric Francis' monthly Planet Waves October horoscopes are out early.
Planet Waves
Inner Space
Guess what I hanker for?

Other than wishing my current challenge would go away, which I know it won't. I just have to buck up and stop stewing in the fear.

I want a big ole puppy pile. 20 or 30 bodies heaped on top of each other. Limbs entangled. Hanging out. Feeling the weight and touch. Talking or not talking. Being. Morphing into a large being with multiple heads and hearts.

The last time I enjoyed such an evening was almost exactly a year ago. We were about 30 people enjoying a nice evening. A few on the floor. Little by little, everyone ended up on the floor, leaning, touching, hugging. Comfortable. It was a great couple hours.

Yeah. A puppy pile.

Monday, September 26, 2005

There are many different types of bottoms. I still have a roof over my head, a job I love, a family (blood and chosen), good friends, a kickass apartment, etc.
Yes, I can still get up in the morning and do what needs to be done on one or two levels.

But, the bottom I meant was the bottom from the digging I've been doing in therapy. Ignorance is bliss and I wish to god I'd never begun this journey. Thing is, I know myself. I'm never happy with surface stuff. I always desire to see what lies underneath.

Uneasy Truce hit the nail on the head with a reminder. He wrote to me -

Pema Chodron writes: When things are at their worst, Turn Toward The Fire. Live in the awful moment. Breathe it in. Let it pass through you. It will neither kill you nor make you go nuts.

I knew it was a time to 'turn toward the fire'. Mind you, I am not actively doing any such thing. I'm still very wary and dragging my feet. Right now, all I can do is focus on what is in front of me...regarding daily tasks. The big freak out comes from the fear that by stepping into this, I will lose my mind.
I will go nuts.

You see, I've never experienced anything like this before. I did send my entry to the shrink...and he wrote back with a few tidbits, including a line that said something like "for what it's worth, I would not advise stopping therapy at this point in time."

Yeah, yeah.

Something hit me while in bed last night. I clearly saw how I am currently in the throes of my big s/m fantasy. About 4 years ago I had concocted what I considered to be my ultimate fantasy. I'm not going into detail about the scene but suffice it to say there is lots of fucking, beatings and confinement. It was a complicated fantasy with detailed logistics. The goal, the reason for this particular scene was to put me in a position where I'd swim in Shadow and dance with the idea of losing my mind.

While in training, my former Mentor (M for short) would talk often about how s/m is only something we put on, like anything else. When you take away the costumes, the toys and the space, you are still dealing with the nuts and bolts of life. It isn't better or worse than another way of living. It is not the ideal. It is only one way of touching ourselves and others.

I am swimming in the midst of my fantasy. The beatings and fuckings look quite different than what I'd expected. The outcome is identical. The question is the same. Am I going to lose my mind?

It's strange. When playing in the dungeon I had no problem walking into the fire. What I discover now is, the fire wasn't that hot. I wasn't running from it. My screams were bloody and wrenching but I cheerfully stepped into the flames.

The heat is up, the flames rage higher and I don't dare move in because I cannot see the other side. In the dungeon I knew there would be an end. I'd come down off the cross or ropes and be held or thrown into the cage for aftercare. Then I'd put on my clothes and go home.

With this, I have no idea how it will turn out. I am petrified I will lose my mind. I can't go back and don't know if I have the courage to move forward. can I do anything else but walk toward it?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

My sense of despair hasn't left. It's been many days. I see how unless I can shake this or more accurately move through it, there is no way I can not feel despair for the whole of life around me which then smothers me. Trite, but it really begins with each one of us.

I am considering the idea of stopping therapy. No, I would not seek out another therapist. Instead, it would mean I'd allow myself to muddle through in the muck I find myself.

Hesitancy abounds as I write this. I'm not sure how much I dare reveal. My fingers stop after every few words and my heart reminds me of its erratic rhythm.

I've discovered a great need for numbing substances. I'm not walking around drunk, nor am I indulging all the time. But the idea is there. I wait for the pain to be so great, and then maybe allow myself a drink or two. In this period, I remain mindful to how much pain I can take and try to find different ways to ease it for a bit, without damaging I can breathe.

I had an intense therapy session on Friday where I felt I crashed and burned, yet the shrink commented on the fact (his fact, not mine) that I worked through hard stuff with a vengeance. Crap.

So it's about intimacy. It's about touch. I need to work this all through in the the relationship with my therapist and right now, it's the last thing I want to do. You see, I want to keep him out there....20 feet away. He's gotten close enough.

I understand transference. I know it's needed. But I never knew that it is attained and immersed in with such great difficulty. For me, anyway.

Anything close to me I look upon with grey, lifeless eyes. Painting holds no joy. I view my work and see it for the caricature it is. All of it. I am the jester, one who pretends to paint. Let's fool the world.

Music is lifeless. Reading and movies hold no joy. The only pleasure I do grab right now is from the beautiful autumn days Seattle is sharing in.

I walked into the bookstore on Friday to indulge in a new book. Something light. Something I could escape in. After an hour of wandering from shelf to shelf...picking up each book only to discover it remained silent in my hands, I left with nothing.

Yes, I think I can safely say this now feels like I've hit bottom - my emotional bottom. It is the murky ocean floor, and I am drowning.
So how about a bunch of links?

First, today begins Banned Books Week.

From the American Library Website:
"Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, the annual event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.

Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met."

Amnesty International on Banned Books Week:

"During Banned Books Week, Amnesty International directs attention to the plight of individuals who are persecuted because of the writings that they produce, circulate or read. Traditionally, Banned Books Week activities take place at the end of September -- but the featured cases are not confined to a week. They continue to need your action."

See some featured prisoners of conscience.

On the lighter side of things, Seattle - part of had another Naked Bike Ride today.

Working in conjunction with the D.C. Massive Peace March was Seattle's Peace March at Westlake Center.

And what I attended, in between being taking Auxugen home from the hospital, including a stop for food goodies, was a quick appearance at the opening festivities of our new Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill. Cal was Washington state's first openly gay legislator in '87 and passed away in '95.

It was a beautiful day. A perfect day to be in the park. Balloons, kids wading in the fountain, the glbt band playing swing, someone strolling around on stilts, and lots of cool sunny weather. It was a very mini slow-paced gay pride festival without the marketing and the mardi gras beads. I needed something light and easy today.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sigh... is quite fascinating when people who have not walked in my shoes can determine that my ideas and viewpoints for my life are incorrect.

Is that arrogant or simply stupid? Or what?

I hate people today.
Digging In The Dirt

Today I see how I've been trying to keep myself busy so I don't feel the pain I need to feel. The only way out is through and I really, really don't want to do this.

Lately, I'm masturbating more than just my morning/night play. It's not because I'm especially horny. I'm not horny at all. Instead, the extra wanking is an attempt to comfort myself. You know, the "there, there" kinda of soothing. It only helps a specky bit.

A recent blurt to the shrink:
"You know me! I'm not afraid to dive into pain, or intimacy. If it's hard I'll jump right in. Yet...this freaks me out because I don't want to do this at all."

See the little skid marks I'm leaving? I have to honestly say that this is the most difficult thing I've done to date. This? Touching the hurt that my infant self felt when I needed to be held and comforted...and wasn't.

The overwhelming sense that encompasses me is one of despair. I am slowly, haltingly taking these steps because I need to.
I don't see a light on the other side. The only thing I can do is trust the shrink.

As I'm writing this, guess what comes on Radio Paradise?

Something in me, dark and sticky
All the time it's getting strong
No way of dealing with this feeling
Can't go on like this too long...

Don't talk back
Just drive the car
Shut your mouth
I know what you are
Don't say nothing
Keep your hands on the wheel
Don't turn around
This is for real
Digging in the dirt
Stay with me, I need support
I'm digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt
Open up the places I got hurt

The more I look, the more I find
As I close on in, I get so blind
I feel it in my head, I feel it in my toes
I feel it in my sex, that's the place it goes

I'm digging in the dirt
Stay with me I need support
I'm digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt
To open up the places I got hurt

Digging in the dirt
To find the places we got hurt

"Digging In The Dirt" – Peter Gabriel

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Nobody touches me when I scream.

I've been pretty quiet. Once again, so many entries written and placed in places other than my blog. A few times I even considered creating another way of sharing certain entries in a less public fashion. Because I couldn't really make up my mind, I chose not to share and therefore they are, with many others, still in a folder on my desktop.

Why? I'm feeling very exposed and vulnerable.

Last night I remembered that once I went public a few years back with the blog, I wanted to keep it that way. I didn't want to censor my feelings or experiences although I attempt to retain the privacy of others. It's about my story, not theirs.

In analysis, we've been working our way back through my life. It's not a conscious move yet seems to naturally happen. Each time I'd say "now I've hit bottom", it's because I'd uncover the layer of pain that came from 40, then 38, to 30, 20, and 13. It seemed 13 years old was it. Last was pain from when I was 3 years old. Large feelings of abandonment. I thought I was it. This was THE bottom. Carrying that, I went back east, home, on vacation.

While home, my brother's wedding happened to be in the town we lived in when I was 3. I didn't make the connection until I was driving my mother to the rehearsal dinner. We were on Main St. and she said "you don't remember because you were 3 years old at the time, but this is where I'd take you for walks."


When I was little, we moved each year. I was born in Canada. 6 months later we moved to New Hampshire where my sister was born a year later. 11 months after that my other sister was western MA (near the NY border). A year after that, my brother was born in the city we ended up in...for the remainder of my growing up years. But in city, we moved 3 times in the first 3 years.

My dad had graduated medical school when I was 6 months old. So it was time for his residency. And then he switched specialties. Take a mom who's essentially always pregnant, has other babies, is moving every year, and is essentially a single mom because dad is working the ungodly hours required of an intern and then resident.

My parents loved us. They love us. Tremendously. Yet there is no way in hell that one person can take care of all those babies, unpack and pack a house, and be pregnant at the same time. Children are selfish. They need to be. This is where the healthy and natural form of narcissism takes place. In the attention, devotion and love, children learn to feel safe. Within the safety net, they can there explore independence.

Mom walked me. And yet I felt abandoned.

This week, in therapy, we've somehow gone one level deeper. I have no idea how it happens. I couldn't explain it if I wanted to.

I'm sure reading "Frankenstein" pushed the buttons. I was ripe for further opening.

What came out of my mouth, bypassing my conscious mind:

Touch is love.
Touch IS love.

I don't believe that anyone who touches me loves me. They may or may not. It is not the issue. But, if someone states they love me or are in love with me, they sure as hell better touch me. You see, touch is love.

I just knew...knew because I knew, that I wasn't touched enough as a child. My kid heart felt if I wasn't touched it was because I was repulsive. A monster. Over the year with the shrink, I've used the word monster when speaking of myself quite a few times. I felt my parents didn't love me because I was a monster. They couldn't bear to be with me.

Seeing that now, it makes perfect sense that this passage resonated so deeply (and yes, I still believe it's a good allegory for queer):

"And what was I? Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant; but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not even of the same nature as man... When I looked around, I saw and heard of none like me. Was I then a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned?

"I cannot describe to you the agony that these reflections inflicted upon me: I tried to dispel them, but sorrow only increased with knowledge. Oh, that I had for ever remained in my native wood, nor known nor felt beyond the sensations of hunger, thirst, and heat!

"Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind, when it has once seized on it, like a lichen on the rock. I wished sometimes to shake off all thought and feeling; but I learned that there was but one means to overcome the sensation of pain, and that was death--a state which I feared yet did not understand. I admired virtue and good feelings, and loved the gentle manners and amiable qualities of my cottagers; but I was shut out from intercourse with them, except through means which I obtained by stealth, when I was unseen and unknown, and which rather increased than satisfied the desire I had of becoming one among my fellows. The gentle words of Agatha, and the animated smiles of the charming Arabian, were not for me. The mild exhortations of the old man, and the lively conversation of the loved Felix, were not for me. Miserable, unhappy wretch!

"Other lessons were impressed upon me even more deeply. I heard of the difference of sexes; and the birth and growth of children; how the father doted on the smiles of the infant, and the lively sallies of the older child; how all the life and cares of the mother were wrapped up in the precious charge; how the mind of youth expanded and gained knowledge; of brother, sister, and all the various relationships which bind one human being to another in mutual bonds.

"But where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses; or if they had, all my past life was now a blot, a blind vacancy in which I distinguished nothing. From my earliest remembrance I had been as I then was in height and proportion. I had never yet seen a being resembling me, or who claimed any intercourse with me. What was I? The question again recurred, to be answered only with groans."
- Mary Shelley

I was created and they couldn't bear to look upon me, let alone touch me. 2 years ago I sat down to do a minimum of 20 pages of stream of consciousness writing. Nonstop, no thinking...let my hand go. The only goal was the quantity. It took over 10 pages to stop my head from editing and censoring. Tucked in there, near the end, I wrote a line describing my birth and how my mother looked down and saw a bloody monster come forth from her open cunt and screamed.

It's amazing what we feel and carry. What we feel can be in direct opposition to reality, but it is our unique personal truth.

So Touch is Love.

Today I am a wreck. It's quiet in the office...alone. Crying. Yesterday's new insights are making their way into my blood.

Yesterday's truth revealed:

Nobody touches me when I scream.

I have a play date next Friday night. I made the date a couple night ago. I will be topped by 2 men who have just returned from the full week of Inferno. I've played with them in the past, but in appetizer type scenes. Impromptu snippets at the bar, or with one, although spontaneous, longer more intense play normally taking place in the kitchen. During the kitchen scenes this would be the toy of choice.

There is a fags/dykes play party coming up. I've played in that space a few times before. It's really not my cup of tea, although I wish it were. It would make my life a tad easier. But it's an energy thing. This one clashes.

I've smelled the energy I crave once before in a large play setting, and I know that I'll never smell it again. In addition to everything else, I've been dealing with the knowledge that I will never be allowed to play in the manner that feeds my soul, while in a large space, with similar energy playing around me. Letting go and grieving this fact.

If any of you wonder what that feels like, imagine this: Those of you who've been to Inferno, imagine your experience, your hunger to do it again, and told that you will not be allowed because you are left-handed, or have red hair. Or, you wear glasses. Other than that...your play style, your sexuality fits right in. The manner of your play, the impact of intensity fits...but you will never be allowed to taste it again.

Of course you'll be a parcipant or create your own small parties. Needed and wonderful. Intimate. But sometimes...once in a while...there is something about gathering a large number of players together, feeling the energy build from the quantity and play within the midst of that. I know that I will never experience the large gatherings. This isn't a pity me entry. It is a fact of life. Life isn't fair. It is not meant to be fair. I also know that I will never design buildings or sing with a band either. It is simply an is.

But sometimes, some things that just are, do hurt.

Well, that was a tangent. Anyway, I've a play date with Icarus and his boy. I need to check in with the coordinator of the space to give a heads up on our play. It's going to be more heavy duty than what would normally be appropriate for that venue. Last time I screamed bloody murder in that room, the DM kept moving closer because they were nervous. I remember feeling them invade our space and snapped "the louder I scream the more I like it". They needed to go away.

So, these two men want to make me scream. Oddly, this developed a couple days before my "nobody touches me when I scream" insight. They were speaking of Inferno and mentioned to me a few times I was missed. They want to now give some of that to me. I had one request. Stingy and bloody. They can do other things. But I need to feel sting and I need to bleed.

They will touch me when I scream.
They will kiss me and hold me and push me and break me and hold me some more.

Yes, it is different than the infant's experience.

I look forward to it. Like any good scene I've experienced, I am apprehensive as well. Fear is a good thing. And I am trying not to hold onto it. Part of me is expecting one of them to get sick and need to back out or something.

Nobody touches me when I scream.

Just a hint of the impact of that statement left me speechless for most of the day yesterday. This morning, while walking to work, my heart began to open to the truth and the pain of those words with each step I took.

This isn't about blame. As I've said before, we are all broken. It doesn't matter how loved or tended for, the act of living is damaging. And healing.

My healing. My life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Classism is insidious. I see it everyday. It sneaks up on us when we aren't paying attention. It filters into everything. Even organizations that work primarily for social justice aren't immune from its icy fingers.

One of my latest mental masturbations is in regards to classicism. The chicken or the egg? Is classicism the vessel that all the other isms flow out of, or did it begin with racism, sexism, et al. and instead, classicism shrouds them in a veil of politeness?
I suppose, as life tends to be, it's not one or the other. I'm sure it's intertwined. Although wouldn't it be easier to have one answer?

Why do I bring this up today? In reading Mark Morford's column, Fine Wine For A Big Quake, I was reminded of my thoughts on classism.

He writes:

"Because let's be honest. Disaster preparedness is mostly for the middle and upper classes. It is for the informed and the educated, the credit carded and the disposable incomed, the newspaper subscribers and registered voters and people who keep a spare pair of Timberland boots in the trunk of the Range Rover, just in case."

As for Rob Brezsny, here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

From The Nation-

For reasons spelled out below, the poet Sharon Olds has declined to attend the National Book Festival in Washington, which, coincidentally or not, takes place September 24, the day of an antiwar mobilization in the capital. Olds, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award and professor of creative writing at New York University, was invited along with a number of other writers by First Lady Laura Bush to read from their works. Three years ago artist Jules Feiffer declined to attend the festival's White House breakfast as a protest against the Iraq War ("Mr. Feiffer Regrets," November 11, 2002). We suggest that invitees to this year's event consider following their example. --The Editors

Sharon Olds speaks out in No Place for a Poet at a Banquet of Shame

Laura Bush
First Lady
The White House

Dear Mrs. Bush,

I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on September 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the breakfast at the White House.

In one way, it's a very appealing invitation. The idea of speaking at a festival attended by 85,000 people is inspiring! The possibility of finding new readers is exciting for a poet in personal terms, and in terms of the desire that poetry serve its constituents--all of us who need the pleasure, and the inner and outer news, it delivers.

And the concept of a community of readers and writers has long been dear to my heart. As a professor of creative writing in the graduate school of a major university, I have had the chance to be a part of some magnificent outreach writing workshops in which our students have become teachers. Over the years, they have taught in a variety of settings: a women's prison, several New York City public high schools, an oncology ward for children. Our initial program, at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely physically challenged, has been running now for twenty years, creating along the way lasting friendships between young MFA candidates and their students--long-term residents at the hospital who, in their humor, courage and wisdom, become our teachers.

When you have witnessed someone nonspeaking and almost nonmoving spell out, with a toe, on a big plastic alphabet chart, letter by letter, his new poem, you have experienced, close up, the passion and essentialness of writing. When you have held up a small cardboard alphabet card for a writer who is completely nonspeaking and nonmoving (except for the eyes), and pointed first to the A, then the B, then C, then D, until you get to the first letter of the first word of the first line of the poem she has been composing in her head all week, and she lifts her eyes when that letter is touched to say yes, you feel with a fresh immediacy the human drive for creation, self-expression, accuracy, honesty and wit--and the importance of writing, which celebrates the value of each person's unique story and song.

So the prospect of a festival of books seemed wonderful to me. I thought of the opportunity to talk about how to start up an outreach program. I thought of the chance to sell some books, sign some books and meet some of the citizens of Washington, DC. I thought that I could try to find a way, even as your guest, with respect, to speak about my deep feeling that we should not have invaded Iraq, and to declare my belief that the wish to invade another culture and another country--with the resultant loss of life and limb for our brave soldiers, and for the noncombatants in their home terrain--did not come out of our democracy but was instead a decision made "at the top" and forced on the people by distorted language, and by untruths. I hoped to express the fear that we have begun to live in the shadows of tyranny and religious chauvinism--the opposites of the liberty, tolerance and diversity our nation aspires to.

I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear witness--as an American who loves her country and its principles and its writing--against this undeclared and devastating war.

But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.

What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us.

So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.

Sharon Olds
19 September 2005

© 2005 The Nation

Monday, September 19, 2005

The turning of each season is something I immerse myself in. I look forward to and enjoy each for their unique attributes.

For some reason, autumn has snuck up on me.

It was summer when I left for the east coast. Upon my return, the temperature was at least 10 degrees cooler, we have more grey in the sky, the mornings are darker and I can smell it in the air. Fall. It's invigorating. I know I love each season, but there is something about fall.

I am a New Englander, through and through. Fall is about harvest and pumpkins. Picking apples and slow, leisurely rides on small country roads with no agenda except for unknown adventures. I used to take off in the morning with a friend and we'd drive with the intent of trying to get lost. No maps. One little road would lead to another. I'd leave, near Maine, work my way through New Hampshire, end up in Vermont and down to Massachusetts. There would always be treasures discovered. And I realized I'd always find a familiar landmark which would lead me home again.

The other aspect of my passion for fall is my back to school mentality. Each September a wee part of me longs to be with the masses that return to school. I wonder if it's a feeling I'll ever get over. And yes, I could reshuffle my life and go back. But it is time to move in another direction.

This autumn, I find myself in a place where I have more financial stability. I've begun painting again. I've worked through so much with my parents. I'm on the road to healing.

It is the season where the earth prepares to sleep. Yet I feel as if I am waking up. In an odd way, while embracing all the aspects of fall that I love, there is a large sense of rebirth and spring.

It's an interesting contrast.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Today I was the rebellious little kid who knew they were sleepy but refused to lay down. Instead, I spent the day in my leather chair dozing on and off. I think if I had simply laid down and napped for a bit, maybe I'd have had the energy to do something else. So much for painting. About 3ish, the phone rang. It was the Bear asking about dinner at Stellar's. I opted in, to at least get out of the house for a bit and move my body. It was also a few weeks since I'd seen him, and it was good to get together. As he slid into the booth he looked at me. "You look tired" he remarked.


I still am.

But why am I surprised? It's the very first day in a while that I had nothing planned and I could fully relax. I guess I need to remind myself that I do need more downtime after being on the go for a while.

Yet...there's a feeling of disappointment that I currently attempt to keep at bay. I wanted to paint. But my body can't even stand right now.

For the next few weeks I need to work 5 8's instead of 4 10's. The trick is to be disciplined enough to leave at 3 if I came in at 7. That will allow me time to paint in the evenings. Even an hour.

I will be so fucking glad when the bulk of this shrink stuff is done and my energy comes back. Sometimes, I feel like a friggin' invalid. I used to pride myself on being "healthy as a horse" I'd boast. Year after year. The shrink reminds me again and again that it's okay and quite understandable. But, especially when I had made plans with myself...the tolerance wears very thin.

Oh well.
I just returned from a jovial gathering of friends, old and new. Dinner at Hoss's is always an event. Again, it was like an LJ gathering with a few extras (5 other men) thrown in for spice.

Hmmm...let's see if I can remember. Hoss, Auxugen, Sunsmogseahorse, Qnetter and I met two new LJ's. One who lives in town, Weekilter, and the other, visiting for the weekend, Theoctothorpe. I've been so tired all day. It's my first slow weekend in quite a while and I felt it. My body wanted to crash and I almost bailed on tonight's party. I'm glad I didn't. A wonderful group of men.

I returned home satiated from good food, good company and lots of affection.

Tomorrow. Blessed tomorrow. I have no plans. It's something to cherish. No appointments.

The only requirement is to tweak and email my bio and a headshot to the coordinator for SEAF. In addition, I want to paint. If I'm rested and energetic I want to work on the masturbation piece. If I'm not clear-headed enough, then I'll work on some play paintings.

My Friday shrink appointment has changed from 1pm to 6 or 7pm. I am amused because my weekends are now bookended by therapy sessions. You see, I have a standing appointment at 8 am on Mondays. They are going well. Still hard work though. I'm finally delving into deeper intimacy and am truly beginning to trust someone in a way I haven't allowed myself to for many, many years. It is frightening. It is necessary.

I haven't spoken much of my vacation. The concert I attended last Monday night was my niece's. She's only 16 and has grown immensely as a trained jazz vocalist. I thought her cd, recorded when she was 14 was a wonderful first effort, but wow. 2 extra years has made a big difference. Her concert was light years ahead of her cd. I suppose the other reason is that apparently, she is very comfortable on stage, doing live performances. Her energy radiates and touches everything in the room.

While listening to the cd I still had a difficult time believing that a 14 year old could sing about such big feelings. Jazz and blues are about a life experience that comes with living. Now I am puzzled because in her concert, I noticed her voice has developed added richness and substance. She seems to dance with subtle and complex key changes effortlessly. The power of her voice wipes away all question of a youth singing songs such as "At Last", "Angel Eyes" and "Muddy Water". The mystery of how it could happen has teased me all week.

After studying music for almost 10 years, her mentor suggested it was time for her to create her own concert. It's quite a project for a teen who plays at least 2 gigs a month, studies music and is taking honors and AP classes in her high school. I envy her dedication and drive.

This effort included choosing the theater, marketing and promo, hiring the band and the many other details involved in such a project. She had a bassist (her mentor), a pianist, a drummer and a jazz violinist who was exceptional. He's been invited and has played at the White House. At times I believed I'd hear the sweet sounds of a horn only to search the stage and realize the sounds came from the violin.

Other than the bassist, these are all young kids from the community music school. Brilliant young musicians. I can't wait to see where they go from here.

My niece's voice is such that tears were shed by many in the audience. There was a group of teenage boys who aren't into jazz, but know my niece and attended in support. One of them approached me at intermission and said that he would try not to cry during a few of her numbers. Being with his friends he was embarrassed. I pulled him aside and mentioned he could sit next to me.

I know I sound like a bragging aunt. Maybe I am. But I don't believe I'm biased in this case. This is the little girl who would sing Ave Maria in Latin for weddings at 9 years old. She does have a special place in my heart. She was born a few hours after my birthday. I remember holding her in my parent's living room right after she left the hospital. My mom was looking at me strangely. When I questioned her, she responded "She looks exactly like you did when you were born." In that moment my mom saw the present me holding the infant me.

In addition, she is doing the thing I chose not to do because I knew I was too frozen to attempt jazz. I'm 45 and am just now discovering my personal voice, figuratively and literally. It's too late to discover my singing voice. And I've made the choice to focus on painting. My niece is living one of my dreams. I can enjoy it though her.

Well, I didn't expect to be so chatty tonight. It's late, I'm tired and so it's off to bed.
Good night.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Whoa. An uninterrupted 7 hours of sleep. Greatly overdue, needed and much appreciated. I woke to a typical Seattle winter day of dark, grey and light rain. It felt so good.

My heart is becoming lighter. I could feel it shedding pounds yesterday afternoon. Getting into a groove again. I want to paint. But returning to work after a week off during the beginning of my busiest season is a challenge. At work we have 3 major campaigns going on simultaneously, and 2 are brand new. One even involves the creation of a complicated flowchart to track the process. I'll finish designing that system this afternoon. Hmmm, looking at my calendar, I'm booked until Sunday, my first free day. I'm penning in studio time for then.

I'm still fascinated with Frankenstein. Gorgeous writing.
A little snippet from Chapter X:
Alas! Why does man boast of sensibilities superior to those apparent in the brute; it only renders them more necessary beings. If our impulses were confined to hunger, thirst, and desire, we might be nearly free; but now we are moved by every wind that blows, and a chance word or scene that that word may convey to us.

"We rest' a dream has power to poison sleep.
We rise; one wandering thought pollutes the day.
We feel, conceive, or reason' laugh or weep,
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away;
It is the same: for, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free.
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but mutability!"

-Mary Shelly

Aidan Key, the organizer for Queering Femininity and the Gender Odyssey conferences, is going to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

This episode is focused on the story of identical twins where one pursues a gender transition . This is of interest to many in the scientific community because of how it challenges commonly held beliefs of how gender is determined. In the past, the debate has focused on whether gender is determined by “nature” or “nurture.”

The air date is September 16th, 2005, at 4p PST on that Friday.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fresh from my inbox-

A call to our straight allies to stand with us on National Coming Out Day!
The statement:

Equality is for Everyone

Our community is better off when everyone is treated fairly. That is why we, as straight people, speak out today in support of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. We want to live in a community free from discrimination. Please join us in making this a reality because Equality is for Everyone.

Check here for more info.
On being queer - an excerpt from a recent read:

"These wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings. Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so vicious and base? He appeared at one time a mere scion of the evil principle, and at another as all that can be conceived of noble and godlike. To be a great and virtuous man appeared the highest honour that can befall a sensitive being; to be base and vicious, as many on record have been, appeared the lowest degradation, a condition more abject than that of the blind mole or harmless worm. For a long time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or even why there were laws and governments; but when I heard details of vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased, and I turned away with disgust and loathing.

"Every conversation of the cottagers now opened new wonders to me. While I listened to the instructions which Felix bestowed upon the Arabian, the strange system of human society was explained to me. I heard of the division of property, of immense wealth and squalid poverty; of rank, descent, and noble blood.

"The words induced me to turn towards myself. I learned that the possessions most esteemed by your fellow-creatures were high and unsullied descent united with riches. A man might be respected with only one of these advantages; but, without either, he was considered, except in very rare instances, as a vagabond and a slave, doomed to waste his powers for the profits of the chosen few! And what was I? Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant; but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not even of the same nature as man. I was more agile than they, and could subsist upon coarser diet; I bore the extremes of heat and cold with less injury to my frame; my stature far exceeded theirs. When I looked around, I saw and heard of none like me. Was I then a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned?

"I cannot describe to you the agony that these reflections inflicted upon me: I tried to dispel them, but sorrow only increased with knowledge. Oh, that I had for ever remained in my native wood, nor known nor felt beyond the sensations of hunger, thirst, and heat!

"Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind, when it has once seized on it, like a lichen on the rock. I wished sometimes to shake off all thought and feeling; but I learned that there was but one means to overcome the sensation of pain, and that was death--a state which I feared yet did not understand. I admired virtue and good feelings, and loved the gentle manners and amiable qualities of my cottagers; but I was shut out from intercourse with them, except through means which I obtained by stealth, when I was unseen and unknown, and which rather increased than satisfied the desire I had of becoming one among my fellows. The gentle words of Agatha, and the animated smiles of the charming Arabian, were not for me. The mild exhortations of the old man, and the lively conversation of the loved Felix, were not for me. Miserable, unhappy wretch!

"Other lessons were impressed upon me even more deeply. I heard of the difference of sexes; and the birth and growth of children; how the father doated on the smiles of the infant, and the lively sallies of the older child; how all the life and cares of the mother were wrapped up in the precious charge; how the mind of youth expanded and gained knowledge; of brother, sister, and all the various relationships which bind one human being to another in mutual bonds.

"But where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses; or if they had, all my past life was now a blot, a blind vacancy in which I distinguished nothing. From my earliest remembrance I had been as I then was in height and proportion. I had never yet seen a being resembling me, or who claimed any intercourse with me. What was I? The question again recurred, to be answered only with groans.

Taken from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I'm late with our Wednesday guys.

Last night was the first night in a week that I only woke once in the middle. So I had two semi-productive sleep chunks of 3 hours each. There is hope I'll sleep through the night again. You'd think something big was on my mind. Heh.

It's strange for me to have so many sleepless nights. But I understand why.
Let's get business out of the way first.

Morford begins The Storm That Ate The GOP with:

Can you hear that? That low scraping moan, that painful scream, that compressed hissing wail like the sound of an angry alligator caught in a vise?

This week's Rob Brezsny was a big affirmation of what I intuited a few days ago, regarding my experiences of the last week. For myself, and other Capricorns, he writes:

It's a ripe moment for you to explore the mysteries of the void. I'm not being glib. You'd really benefit from becoming better friends with emptiness. Your well-being would rise a few levels if you expanded your appreciation for the value of doing nothing and thinking nothing. Do you dare live without your precious opinions and ambitions for a few days? Are you brave enough to gaze into the heart of the great unknown and be free of the need to explain it, change it, or judge it?

As I've alluded to but have yet to elaborate on, I have a massive amount of conflicting emotions coursing through my being. At first I thought that once I left the family to head out to the retreat center, I'd break down in the car. It didn't happen. Nothing has happened. That is, nothing dramatic. By Sunday night I knew that all the insight and shiny new awareness would, if I remained still and not try to judge or figure it out, slowly filter in and quietly become a part of my marrow.

With each year the ability to cup contradictions in my hand and hold them to my heart manifests itself in a less awkward manner. Life is made up of contradictions. Last week was filled with huge opposing factions. And they are perfect. Each and every one. Now I need to become comfortable with the latest knowledge that has created such discomfort.

Become better friends with emptiness. Do nothing. Think nothing.
Zen. Isn't it?

Yeah. I first read it and laughed. "Hmmm, must be time to begin zazen. Formally."
Then I shrugged off the idea. I am not ready for any type of formalized ritualistic spiritual religion anything. Maybe I never will. Or maybe I'll wake a month from now and know it is time.

Instead, I'm seeing other ways of settling into the empty.
More long walks.
Take more long, hot bubble baths.
Don't turn the damned tv on when I get home just to have background, mindless noise.
Go to Septieme's more without my laptop.
And...stop analyzing.

Small, sure steps.

I'll settle into my new truths.

My heart is still broken. I know I wrote that a few days ago. It hasn't lightened up nor has it increased. It is. And it lends itself to a desert in my soul. There are no tears to refresh.

With this comes a new way of being. My family noticed it. The men at the center noticed it. And today, my coworkers noticed it. I am dying inside. Or so it feels. Yet I have been informed, many times, that my countenance is peaceful and I radiate light. They've all said my heart appears more open and happier. I listen, smile a small smile and know that isn't what it feels like inside. I imagine each of them stepping foot inside my heart to really see what's there.

One of my coworkers today even did a double take as he walked past my office. He came back and said "you are so different from last year. That trip home would have wrecked you then. I know this was going to be a tough one. But look at you. It seems that your investment in therapy is paying off in spades."

It is a mystery.

I'm home. Walking in my house, I looked around and breathed deep. Gawd I fucking love my apartment. This space really is my nest. It's safe and comforting.

Now to crash. I'll write more tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

While killing time waiting for my flight, I'm trying to catch up on blog reading. Riverbend blog (the Baghdad girl blogger) has 2 new entries. I was concerned because it had been a few months. I wondered if her home had been bombed - if she was okay.

She wrote an entry in memory of September 11. Although I know it doesn't take much for me to break down these days, this entry made me weep. I've posted the entire entry:


September 11, 2005...
“R.- come in here! You have to see this!” It was September 11, 2001 and I was in the kitchen rinsing some dishes from lunch. I paused at the urgency in my brothers voice but continued rinsing, thinking there was some vaguely important news item on Iraq’s state controlled channel.

“I’m coming- a moment.” I called back. The phone began to ring and I stopped to answer it on my way out of the kitchen.

R: “Alloo?” I answered.
L: “Are you watching tv???” L., my best friend, cried out with no preliminaries.
R: “Uh… no- but…”

The line went dead and I put down the phone, my heart beating wildly. I made my way to the living room, curious and nervous, wondering what it could be. Had someone died? Were they going to bomb us again? That was always a possibility. It never surprised anyone when the US decided on an air strike. I wondered if, this time around, Bush had been caught with a presidential aide in the Oval Office.

I walked into the living room and E. was standing in the middle of it- eyes glued to the television, mouth slightly open, remote control clutched in his hand, and directed towards the television set.

“What is it?” I asked, looking at the screen. The images were chaotic. It was a big city, there was smoke or dust and people running across the screen, some screaming, others crying and the rest with astounded looks on their faces. They looked slightly like E., my brother, as he stood staring at the television, gaping. There was someone speaking in the background- in English- and there was a voiceover in Arabic. I can’t remember what was being said; the images on the tv screen are all I remember. Confusion. Havoc.

And then they showed it again. The Twin Towers- New York… a small something came flying out of the side of the screen and it crashed into one of them. I gasped audibly and E. just shook his head, “That’s nothing… wait…” I made my way towards the couch while keeping my eyes locked on the television. There was some more chaos, shocked expressions, another plane and the towers- they began to crumble. They began to fall. They disappeared into an enormous fog of smoke and dust.

I sucked in my breath and I couldn’t exhale that moment. I just sat there- paralyzed- watching the screen. A part of me was saying, “It’s a joke. It’s Hollywood.” But it was just too real. The fear was too genuine. The incoherent voices in the background were too tinged with confusion and terror.

The silence in the living room was broken with the clatter of the remote control on the floor. It had slipped out of E.’s fingers and I jumped nervously, watching the batteries from the remote roll away on the ground.

“But… who? How? What was it? A plane? How???”

E. shook his head and looked at me in awe. We continued watching the television, looking for answers to dozens of questions. Within the hour we had learned that it wasn’t some horrid mistake or miscalculation. It was intentional. It was a major act of terror.

Al-Qaeda was just a vague name back then. Iraqis were concerned with their own problems and fears. We were coping with the sanctions and the fact that life seemed to stand still every few years for an American air raid. We didn’t have the problem of Muslim fundamentalists- that was a concern for neighbors like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

I remember almost immediately, Western media began conjecturing on which Islamic group it could have been. I remember hoping it wasn’t Muslims or Arabs. I remember feeling that way not just because of the thousands of victims, but because I sensed that we’d suffer in Iraq. We’d be made to suffer for something we weren’t responsible for.

E. looked at me wide-eyed that day and asked the inevitable question, “How long do you think before they bomb us?”

“But it wasn’t us. It can’t be us…” I rationalized.

“It doesn’t matter. It’s all they need.”

And it was true. It began with Afghanistan and then it was Iraq. We began preparing for it almost immediately. The price of the dollar rose as people began stocking up on flour, rice, sugar and other commodities.

For several weeks it was all anyone could talk about. We discussed it in schools and universities. We talked about it in work places and restaurants. The attitudes differed. There was never joy or happiness, but in several cases there was a sort of grim satisfaction. Some Iraqis believed that America had brought this upon itself. This is what you get when you meddle in world affairs. This is what you get when starve populations. This is what you get when you give unabashed support to occupying countries like Israel, and corrupt tyrants like the Saudi royals.

Most Iraqis, though, felt pity. The images for the next weeks of Americans running in terror, of the frantic searches under the rubble for relatives and friends left us shaking our heads in empathy. The destruction was all too familiar. The reports of Americans fearing the sound of airplanes had us nodding our heads with understanding and a sort of familiarity- you’d want to reach out to one of them and say, “It’s ok- the fear eventually subsides. We know how it is- your government does this every few years.”

It has been four years today. How does it feel four years later?

For the 3,000 victims in America, more than 100,000 have died in Iraq. Tens of thousands of others are being detained for interrogation and torture. Our homes have been raided, our cities are constantly being bombed and Iraq has fallen back decades, and for several years to come we will suffer under the influence of the extremism we didn't know prior to the war.

As I write this, Tel Afar, a small place north of Mosul, is being bombed. Dozens of people are going to be buried under their homes in the dead of the night. Their water and electricity have been cut off for days. It doesn’t seem to matter much though because they don’t live in a wonderful skyscraper in a glamorous city. They are, quite simply, farmers and herders not worth a second thought.

Four years later and the War on Terror (or is it the War of Terror?) has been won:

Al-Qaeda – 3,000
America – 100,000+


- posted by river @ 11:29 PM
I'm sitting at Bradley Airport, in Hartford. It appears my flight has been delayed at least a half hour. Not really a big deal, but I'd feel better if the word "estimated" wasn't near my flight time.
Good thing this terminal has free wireless.

It was difficult leaving my parents. They are getting so old. Dad, more than mom. Honestly, I'm pretty worried about him. He's...fragile. But of course he's still incredibly stubborn and will not allow anyone to assist him. Hmmm, wonder where I get it from?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Okay. Don't pay attention to the time stamp. It's set for PST and it's my last night on the east coast.

I just came home from a sizzling jazz concert. Intimate setting. About 200 people. Fuckin' amazing band.

This week at home (minus the couple days in the woods) has left me seriously beat up...and positively blessed. I'm still numb. It's too big to process, let alone write or talk about. So in regards to this, for now, I remain silent.

In the week or so before going on vacation, every single button I have seemed to be severely pushed. All the old ghosts came out with a vengeance. By the time I hopped on a plane, I knew...(or felt like I knew)...that maybe only 5 people in the world loved and cared for me. I was becoming paranoid and honestly had this nagging feeling that nasty and hellacious lies were being spread and so everyone was scattering far away...not to be contaminated by the disease I carry inside.

I spent a good chunk of time sharing with my shrink before vacation. He was relieved that I was aware of why it was coming up. But sometimes, awareness alone isn't consolation.

Crazy, eh?


But it's my achilles heel.


I knew I was feeling that way because I was getting ready to see my family after all the heightened shrink work these last few months. Demons screaming. Chains rattling. A big part of me felt like I was going crazy.

Above it all - a broken heart, stemming from original wounds revisited, that has yet to cease hurting.

Fuck. Tough stuff. And I know it's all good.
Sometimes it just feels like it's too much. So much that I can't contain the conflicting emotions within one place. So much that I'm going to explode and disintegrate.

Life is weird, isn't it?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Today is a perfect day. I'm relaxing in a way I haven't, in a very long while. I even napped on a grassy slope on the mountain. It's been a long time since I've done that.
I don't want to leave. At the same time, it will be so good to be back in home home, where my heart is.

Miss all of you.
Where am I?

My other home. For the first time in a week I can breathe. So much has happened in the last few days. I can't even begin to process it. I was full by the time I climbed into the loft bed in the little cabin in the woods. Oversaturated. My body was buzzing with so much electricity that it didn't matter how tired I was. It took a while to settle into the down comforter and the warmth it shared. It was cool but I chose not to light the woodstove. The briskness was needed.

Today I'll keep quiet. Go for walks. Sit. Write. I brought my sketchbook and may hike into the woods to do a few drawings.

I wonder if I'll be able to sort everything through. My week feels like the Space Mountain rollercoaster ride from Disney World. In the dark, you never know what's ahead and you are instantly hit with a variety of impressions and sensations.

Maybe I'll write more later. Time for breakfast.

Friday, September 09, 2005

"Let's say it outright. The truest measure of any president, of any leader, is how well he takes care of his own people. And Bush, well, Bush has done a simply spectacular job of taking care of exactly his own people -- the wealthy, the corporate, the extreme religious right, his core base of supporters -- while happily and fiercely ignoring, restricting, condemning, destroying the rest. Are you educated or progressive or liberal or alternative-minded or sexually open or homosexual or anti-war? This means you. Are you dirt poor and belong to a minority and don't drive an SUV and contribute six figures per annum to the RNC and maybe live in a flooded swamp in the Louisiana bayou? This means you, squared. Sucker." - Mark Morford

Read the whole column in George W. Bush Still Rocks!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Guess what I've been working on this morning?

Replacing my birth certificate. It's the first step to replacing my naturalization papers. From there, my final goal is to formalize my dual citizenship.

I lost my baptismal certicificate (what was given out in lieu of a birth certificate in Quebec City in 1960) and my naturalization papers about 6 years ago. Yeah, it sucks. I was given a very hard time at the border when returning from Vancouver, BC 3 years ago. Hence, I haven't dared leave the U.S. Now that I have extra cash each month, the big thing is to replace all my papers. I've never had need of a passport and therefore don't have one. Otherwise, this process would be easier. The biggie is to have my dual status in writing, somewhere. My dad is American and when I was born in Canada, mom was Canadian. I am so getting this taken care of.


For being gone a week, it's a busy one. Yesterday was essentially a lost day because of sleep dep bleariness. Today is the only relaxing day. I have a movie date with my mom later. We're going to see March Of The Penguins. From there, my two sisters will be joining mom and I for dinner out.

Tomorrow I'm headed to Pittsfield MA with the family where the wedding is held on Saturday. After the reception, I'm grabbing my rental car and drive up to Greenwich NY until Monday morning. Come back to western MA, see my niece's concert in the evening and then hop a plane on Tuesday.

Yup. That's the schedule.

I've become such a snob. I rarely eat in chain restaurants. I refuse to walk into a mall unless absolutely necessary. The mainstream, typical suburban way of life is now not only foreign, but very distasteful to me. It's all centered around a consumerist point of view. It makes my skin crawl and my insides cringe.

So I keep my mouth shut and go with the flow. It's not like I have to live this way in my regular life. I see it's important to them. There isn't any reason to judge or discuss their lifestyle.

After writing this I wonder if it is a snob mentality or just a different way of being in the world.

Any insights or profundities? Nope.
I'm actually trying not to think a whole lot right now. Instead, I'm really focused more on remaining present to each moment. It's okay. I'm thrilled to see my parents, and they, me. It's good. And it's sad because my life is in direct contradiction to the lives of my family. It gets awkward. Now the way we each achieve our goals is similar. The values of conscious, goodness, strength, passion, patience, love and courage are found throughout the family. My parents passed those on to us, the way their parents passed it on to them.

Of course there's other stuff. It is for another day.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I'm in western MA. I could have blogged yesterday, and even began a few entries but instead said "screw it".
Now, I'm seriously sleep deprived after catching a 1 a.m. flight with 3 very interrupted sleep hours, only to connect in Minneapolis, and because of the time change, as soon as I settled in my seat the sun rose and lo and behold it was too light for me to sleep.

But, here's this week's Freewill Astrology.

And where was Mark Morford last week? How about Burning Man? It seems that people questioned the wisdom of his participation in the wake of Katrina. People are silly, aren't they?

Morford responds:

"In other words, in the aftermath of hurricanes and national tragedies and in the face of the most ham-fisted and heartless and freedom-stabbing administration in recent American history, we need this sort of "trifling" Burning Man fluff more than ever, to act as spark, as beacon, as counterbalance. I know, it's not a perfect idea. It solves no ecological woes. It saves no lives from the floodwaters. But it's all we've got.

And holy Christ on a glow stick, Burning Man is nothing if not all about the celebration of life, the illumination of spirit and the glittery determination of the human soul to find raw joy in the world no matter what, to redefine community and break out of normal modes of thought and to openly thwart the demons of uptight neo-conservative sexless dogma, with drinks. To not only survive, but to survive with humor and style and joy and dust and many open-mouthed screams of dangerous bliss, with fire.

And in BM's case, this celebration takes place in the very face of death, flaunts it, defies it, pokes it with a Bloody Mary swizzle stick chased by two hits of top-quality Ecstasy as all participants read the plain bold letters printed on the back of every Burning Man ticket: "By attending this event, you voluntarily assume the risk of serious injury or death." Period. No BS. You could have the most incredible experience imaginable. Or you could die. You know, just like life."

Read all of Burning Man Defies Katrina? In the wake of epic tragedy, how can a massive, feral party in the desert possibly matter?

Monday, September 05, 2005

I'm anxious today. You see, tomorrow night I hop a plane for the east coast. It will be the first time with my parents since reawakenings within. Feeling old pains, working through and now is the chance to see if I've moved past.

I don't have the time to paint. I haven't painted in over a week and feel the disconnect. Life gets in the way sometimes.

Also, I am feeling resolute and committed.

Well...I wrote about it in a comment to Clarke Lane. Let me copy it here.

"Yesterday, after writing my blog entry, something began churning in my head. I don't have all the words yet, but I believe that it is time for a new artists Renaissance, especially in this country. We need to rekindle our spirit which in turn will ignite the spirit of the masses. Art, music, dance, poetry, theater is the key. We need to dispose of the god of old and create a new religion. A religion of imagination and creativity which will in turn will assist to create a more compassionate world.

It's time to call all the artists together. The world is in pain. We each feel it whether or not we admit it. It's time to put a face to our collective grief and portray it in the arts. We need to remind ourselves and the rest of the world that goodness still exists and can rise up as a phoenix, in spite of the pervasive attitudes of greed and corrupted power. We, through our art, can help heal and return the earth to the wholeness it cries for. With art we can nurture and console. We can rage. We can cry.

It is time for the artists."


It IS time for the artists. Create.
We need to create.

Speaking of artists and healing, I created some self-care for the visit to my parents. After the wedding I need to attend, I called one of my healing places to see if I could spend a couple days. Although my good friend wouldn't be there that weekend, others in the community still wanted to see me. So I'll be there from Saturday night until Monday morning. In addition, I discovered it's a special weekend. Why?

Look here.

It's just perfect.
Made more so because I'll be staying in a little cabin in the woods, made by the hands of someone who is a big part of my heart.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The winds did shift.

They changed when I remembered the magic of submission.

I was low. The news about Rehnquist brought me to an even greater sense of full cosmic despair.

Aaahhhh....that was the key. Yes, I knew I was feeling the effects of the global community but stubbornly clutched the idea that most of the sadness and loss stemmed from the internal changes due to therapy.

A blogger, posted an entry about their grief. In many ways similar to others I've read, yet her words stuck with me. I walked away from the computer, heart heavy. Something clicked. I knew I had not allowed myself to accept that the vast majority of my grief and anger came, in fact, from the the aftermath of Katrina. It was easier to lay responsibility on my personal spiritual work because that was something I could manage and in some fashion, rein in.

To say that the enormous feelings of despair were due to something so out of my control was beyond me.

I needed to submit to the pain that arose from a loss so great. I needed to risk losing myself by admitting the desolation I felt did not come from within me, but from events so massive. I needed to surrender to the fact that I was tuning in to the collective chorus of cries and wails of the suffering ones. I needed to admit that the rage I felt tapped into the ire of the multitudes throughout the country who also felt bereft, desolate, and fully disgusted with our government.

Such surrender initially reflected my infinitesimal place in our universe. Wouldn't I drown in that? To feel so small, helpless and weak. To know, for a time the immensity of our world and how we are each a minute speck. To flounder and struggle in an attempt to tread water in the universal pool of tears. And then, yes, then begin to see how that endless pool is made up of each of our cries, one tear at a time.

Only after submission I gained new eyes which allowed me to pierce through the grey and unveil the paradox of the miniscule and mammoth voice we are, singularly and together. It is truly dynamic.

It is the very energy that arises from the paradox which creates change.
It is the ultimate power which not only lends itself to survival, but to move past and thrive.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Today was one of those days where either my mouth or my energy felt like it contiminated any living thing that came within close proximity. Ugh.

With only minimal success, I tried to stay out of sight.

I'm sure tomorrow will be better.
Thanks to Mandate Media (a good resource for nonprofits!) and Politics and Technology for the Liberal Blogosphere For Hurricane Relief Campaign.
I think I'm full up. Oversaturated.

Between the current internal goings on and churning in my soul, topped off by a big dose of Katrina,...well I'm spent.

I just returned from dropping off my paintings. Right now, all it feels like is one more thing to check off my list. I'm in the space where I don't want to be bothered by life. Not in any way. Honestly, I don't even want to do this therapy stuff anymore. For real. Seriously. It's gotten very difficult...and I just can't deal.

There is a raging infectious case of major doubt infiltrating my system. I wonder if everything I've done has been in vain. I wonder if all the insights, work and learning are simply constructs to justify each step I've taken. I wonder if I've created the ultimate fairy tale, although one without fairy godmothers or heroes.

Or, am I dealing with something so big that I ache to take flight?

Today, not even the idea of a sleepsack and hood feels reassuring. Instead, plain ole' vanilla arms would be perfect. I just want someone to not talk and hold me. Big thick arms. Flesh I can sink into.

Yeah, can you tell I'm feeling really little and vulnerable?

I need the winds to change.

Friday, September 02, 2005

This morning I woke with one thought:

"I am sorry my lack of a dick makes you uncomfortable."

I've said similar to a few friends in the past, but today, when I woke, I knew in some strange way, those words were really meant for my father.

My next statement (which is new for me):
"Deal with it."

I'm still formulating the thoughts surrounding this powerful insight. I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Yesterday in my session I cried because I feel so stupid most of the time. Not smart. I told my shrink how I've always been very intimidated by intellectuals because it's not me. I'm dumb, remember?

He then asked: "So you don't feel that way anymore, do you?"

"Nope. I feel more intimidated that ever before in my life."

I'm sure it's because I'm in the middle of this layer. It makes sense to me that I'd feel greater intimidation. Another monster has reared its head and opened its jaws.

I think it surprised him. Now I know where it comes from. Maybe not in actual realization, but in the trusting of my intuition. In a simplistic fashion, and considering the era I was brought up, girls don't get heard, right? There's no reason to push them in certain ways because their life is all about partnering and families. Yes, it's very old. I know this.

What fascinates me about the analysis I'm doing is, as I've said before, it really is about peeling an onion. The deeper I go, the more I tap into old, buried stuff that then gets brought into the light to be seen and hopefully have its power diffused.

I'm amazed at all the subtle seemingly innocent messages we grow up with that really affect who we each are, how we handle our lives, our relationships, and the intimacy with ourselves.

So much for the placeholder I mentioned yesterday.

It's time to move into my weekend.

As I wrote to mhkrabat, I'm allowing myself grief for the tragedy and the immense rage I feel toward our government. I'll spout as it feels needed. But I won't allow myself to become stuck in a metaphorical swamp. Wallowing doesn't help anyone.

Today I have to find something to wear to the wedding next week. It's pretty much the only day I have.

I've no idea what to get, but it's okay now. I have no good choice but to head out to the stores (which I detest) and I'll trust I will find something. Cheap, comfortable and appropriate.

From there, I'm getting some love from Patrick Bear and then I need to get my paintings together for tomorrow morning, when I drop them off at the show.

It's a weekend of a show, an artist reception, listen to Kate Bornstein give her keynote for the Gender Odyssey conference, brunch at Hoss's, see EBHotbear and time to pack for my trip east.

I really miss painting, but right now there are other things on my plate.