Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

The last Tuesday of February, "All of Me" month. Well, no portrait of myself would be complete without my soul partner.

Isn't she beautiful?

For nearly 13 years, she's added to my life. NO... not just added to, she's absolutely kept me alive. In the ugliest darkest moments, as I sat in a room alone, implement of death in my hand, wondering how long it would take for them to find the body, she's appeared out of the shadows where she was napping to sit in my lap and quietly meow. She appears in my dreams and tells me secrets of where we've come from, and how strong I can be. She is my empress, my mentor, my child, my friend. When I feel most alone, she is there, keeping despair at bay just long enough for me to get back on my feet and remember why I came back again.

Friends, family and therapists have made me swear that before I decide to go willingly into that dark night, I will call and ask for help.... but honestly, it is my promise to her, to care for her all her days, that keeps me on the planet when all else is black and hopeless.

And this picture is so symbolic for while it captures our favorite mundane pasttime, napping in sunbeams, it actually shows how time and time again, she draws me into the light, for renewal of body and spirit.

She is my heart, walking around outside my body. She is my Muse. She is my Laughter. She is my Gaurdian, and she is my Ward. She is the one whom I truly can believe will be there till death does us part. She is magic.

She is "Nicnevin", and she is the best part of me.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Hard to do

I've not been jounalling really, here or anywhere these past few days. I've had a few abortive attempts, but nothing that produced any real release (or even made much sense for that matter.)

It's because I'm angry. Processing disappointment and betrayal. Trying not to turn it on myself, such that it become suicidal thoughts or self abuse. But that's hard, because it's been a pattern for me for so long.

Anger was never my jurisdiction. Emotions were regulated in my house. We each had one that specialized in. My Mother was "Happy".... ala "Nothing wrong here, don't look over here, nope, there's nothing wrong ... we're HAPPY." My Father was (is) a Vietnam Vet, so he was the "Angry" young man, deserted by his country, with a lot of dead friends to show for it. Angry with reason, no doubt, so he had the corner market on that part of the household

And me... I specialized in sad. Grief. Despair. Morose self-indulgent sadness. I still do it pretty well too. Not that I want to, but old habits die hard.

So trying to be angry is challenging for me. When I feel anger rising up in me, my body starts to quiver. I get hives across my chest. My heart hurts, and my breathing is labored, and then I have the uncontrollable urge to vomit. After which I begin to cry, and suddenly the anger is not anger, but morose self-indulgent sadness, disabilitating in its conuming grief.

I want to find some way for it just to be anger. Just angry. I'm looking for some places, classes, physical moments in which to let it out, as anger. Last night at dance class, I kicked some dancing ASS to a very hard rock song. When i finished, i lay bruised on the floor, breathing heavily but feeling so much lighter in spirit. The teacher asked "Wow... when did you last dance?" I said "Yesterday", and then laughed... because i got, she was asking "How long has that been in there, eating at you, needing release?" and the answer is that its been in there so long, it's like an imaginary friend I grew up with. I could dance every day and not run out, I've got such a collection of rages.

Anyway... I'm looking into things. Things that both distract me and provide me safe outlet. But until I manage to untie this knot of fury that's been sitting in my belly.... I might be intermittant with this blogging thing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

But I'm here 2 tell U, there's something else.....

I hit a snag in working on my "52 Figments" (the weekly project hosted by the inspirational Swirly Girl )

Week 6 asked "What Does Heaven Mean to You?" and Week 7 followed with "What does Hell Mean to You?" Being that I don't look at the afterlife in the traditional Christian definitions of those locations, this was a challenge to me.

For the first, I think about that damn question that James Lipton asks in his ending survey, "If Heaven is exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?" I've speculated this a dozen times, and I come back to this vision of place that is merely a way-station between go-rounds. A place to pause, reflect, and sign up again. And I've long said in this life time that I need a NAP. A Looooooooong nap, a real chance to reflect (of course, I have the feeling that my 'higher self' leaps out of each life like a pre-teen on a rollercoaster with a "WOW... canwedoitagain? Can we? Huh? Huh? Can we, pleeeeeeeeeese?")

I picture the Empowered Entity who caretakes this place as some sort of patient parental figure who understands the toll the 'emotional g-forces' can take, and thus says "Hold on.... take a minute... Rest." So when I look at that James Lipton question I think about God/dess greeting me at gate with a "Nice Job... now here's your milk and cookies, your bed is over there under that lovely oak tree. Rest."

Yep... a big celestial Nap Time (followed of course by a big celestial Recess, where I punch the other souls in the arm and then run away, cause that's how you flirt... and then we all climb a tree. Hmmmm.... apparently I think there are a lot of trees in heaven. )

And pets! Lots of pets too! !

Hell for some reason, was easier to put together thoughts on, although the "whole picture" is less tangible. It's a random assortment of conditions and concepts, which I have tried my best to capture... here....

And speaking of my own little piece of hell, I need to go look into some car repairs. Good Night to you all.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Hardly "R & R"

Sure, it was supposed to be a three day weekend.... but during the last 72 hours, I've:
  • Gotten into a screaming fight in a roadway, trying to get the drunk angry man to calm down and get back in the car
  • Tried to break up violent fight between drunk angry man and his equally angry brother (they are dealing with a family tragedy and both have a lot of emotions to process. I say that not to excuse their behavior, just to say that their rage is understandable.)
  • Worked at least 5 hours, each day, at the dance studio
  • Finally purchased some MUCH NEEDED new shoes (Goddess bless "BOGO"- 6 pairs for $60)
  • Spent several phone calls comforting friends with a myriad of emotional breakdowns
  • Hiked for a couple of hours in Griffith Park (hooray for outdoors! & hooray for a friend who listed with fascination at the tales of my life these last 3 months)
  • 3 loads of laundry! (Hip Hip Hooray for clean jeans and undies!)
  • And my FAVORITE- Got pulled over by LAPD. It's one of those times where as soon as you see the car, your intuition says "beware". I was on my best behavior, but within one block, they indicated I should pull over. What for? A crack in my windshield, and light tinting on my side windows.... both of which have been there for approximately 5 years since the car came here from FL (and both of which my LAPD next door neighbor has not commented on in the last 5 years of parking next to me in our shared garage.) Officer also threatened to write me up for speeding, but admitted that he couldn't prove it... he was just "willing to bet" I was going over the speed limit because he "felt" that I noticably slowed down when I noticed his car. Considering this was 2 blocks from my house, and he basically saw me shortly after pulling off my residental street, I have serious doubts that I'd had enough time to get my 98Honda up to 40 mph. Still, my good Southen upbringing taught me to be nothing but polite when dealing with law officers, so I nodded and smiled. While he wrote up my fix it ticket, his partner stood beside my car on the passenger side, one hand resting on the gun at his hip. Now, again I remind you that 2 30+ caucasian women are sitting in an older Honda, being perfectly polite while recieving a ticket in an upscale neighborhood. Officer #2's behavior seems, OH SLIGHTLY a bit dramatic. Particularly when he startled and looked as if he'd go for said gun when my passenger reached for her purse to slowly remove... her chapstick. I drove off with a warning and a "fix-it" for ALL the windows in my car. Ahhh, yes, what a way to celebrate the weekend.

And so here it is, late Monday night, and I'm at the computer at the studio, working on attendance and retail sales (and this blog), trying to make sure that all the I's have been dotted and the T's crossed, because in addition to holding down the office while Bossman is out of town on business for the next 2 days, I will also be seeking out car repairs.

On an up note, my cats continue to be a source of joy in my life, cuddling me en masse during these suddenly cold evenings.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Veto the Hallmark Holiday

Since Amandarin has already utilized my usual V-D graphic, I shall simply have to leave you with the message sprawled across my chest.

However you celebrate, whatever your plans, may your Tuesday not suck.

(HEY WAIT... this can also count as my self portrait for this week! Hooray!)

EDIT: Ok... after some thought, i figure i'd better put up a little more explanation behind the attitude.

People keep coming by and reading my shirt and asking me why I think “Valentine’s Day Stinks”

First of all, it is a fairly made up holiday, created to sell cards and candy.

Furthermore, it is a day that seems to belittle everyone it touches. If you are single, then you are deemed “unlucky” for the day. You are looked upon with sympathy, or worse, pity, and people chirp unrealistic, insincere quips such as “Maybe next year” and “You’ll find someone soon.”

If you are in a relationship, then there is pressure & comparisons that few can live up to. It becomes an endless stream of analysis: what did you get; what did you give; how does it compare (either to your last big gift, or to the Valentines gifts gotten by others in your acquaintance).

THEN, as if the analysis of this wasn’t demeaning enough, we must now look at “what does it mean for the future of your relationship.” One can’t go too big or too small, or the “love” is doomed. WHATEVER!!

Still.... despite the fact that I can sit here and logically look at all this, I found myself walking around the office, looking at the long stem roses on a co-worker’s desk (which I don’t even LIKE, by the way), and thinking “Oh that lucky girl…I wish I had someone who….”

"STOP… Stop right there," my brain thinks. I had someone who....

Once upon a time, I had the kind of man who would send flowers to the office. No... not even send. He hand delivered them, to let me know that he was waiting downstairs until I was off work, and then he whisked me away to a picnic.

You know what else he did?

He frequently grabbed me by the throat and cracked the back of my head up against a wall when he thought I wasn’t paying enough attention. He berated me for hours and hours for my “trust issues” (when I’d found the 8 page letter from his latest lover, specifically describing in language that Hustler wouldn’t print, the intimate details of their last encounter). He casually stuck his penis in any agreeable woman who would stand still long enough. He practiced his cruelties daily in one way or another.

Oh yes, I’ve had the “passionate and demonstrative man” and while I’m not saying that flowers on the desk indicate a philanderer or abuser, I’m saying that it is only one moment in time that does not tell a whole story. The behavior of any one day doesn’t tell the whole story! So why do so many make this one day life or death? The “be all/end all” statement of domestic bliss and heart contentment?

Give me a lover who after a year and half of waking up next to me, still smiles the moment he sees me. Give me someone who celebrates my individuality, instead of being embarrassed of the way I stick out in a crowd. Let me go home every night without the fear of finding evidence of another woman in my home and my bed. Let me express myself unedited and be loved and appreciated for the strength it takes to do so.

And if I can’t have that… then fuck it! I'm fine wearing my “Valentine’s Day Stinks” t-shirt with pride, going home and drinking a glass of wine with my cats. I’ll toast ME tonight, and every night. Sometimes I’ll laugh about it. Sometimes I’ll cry… but I’ll have a “whole story” that I can be proud of.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Thought, Some Truth & a Thank You

Traipsing around the internet, one can find a number of sites to amuse, entertain, and inspire. I’ll be honest and say that I hope that at some point, I’ve fallen into each of those categories for some cyber-space explorer.

But this week, I’ve been remiss in much posting, because I am the one seeking.

February is not usually kind to me, for a number of reasons. I fight my own memories and demons and usually come out black & blue from the battle. So amid the noise and haste, I’m trying to find some daily bit of ‘uumph’ that continues to propel me forward.

Superhero started me down a path of thought with her inquiries regarding “the path of least resistance”. It’s a difficult concept for me to contemplate, because in my mind it equates with the idea that if you are on the ‘right path’ then doors glide open the moment you approach them, like some celestial grocery store, ripe for the pickings. And if you meet with constant and sometimes insurmountable resistance, it is a sign that God, like some judgmental parent, is offering up stumbling blocks as a way of telling you that he is patiently waiting for you to “outgrow this silly dream of being an artist” and settle down to a “reasonable” life.

The path of least resistance often leads me to the ergonomically-designed chair behind a desk, organizing schedules, arranging conference calls, and fixing the perfect cup of coffee for someone else.

Not to bad-mouth the life of an assistant. Truly we are the cogs that make the machine go forward, confidants to some of the greatest secrets of history… but nothing about this 40+ hour a week endeavor feeds my soul, and for some silly reason, I believe that a life well lived should include that.

I understand that however enlightened one may be, not every day will be sunshine and bunny rabbits. I’m not asking that it is. As much as I try to operate from a place of possibility and believe in the good of the Universe, I myself have days of petty anger and heart-wrenching disappointments that come from unfulfilled expectations. While I try to conduct myself as open and honest and honorable, I don’t always manage it, and I’ll be the first to tell you that. As I told an ex, “Some days I’m not going to be my highest self. I’m not going to want to be calm and think through it rationally. I’m going to be sad and angry and jealous and vengeful, and … fuck the fuck off if you can’t handle that.” (and clearly, he did).

Moments like that then cause me to pause and wonder if I’m doing this thing right at all. Perhaps it is about being a little less honest. Perhaps it is about being filtered and watered-down, such that you fit into the daily appearance of it all. Perhaps it is about being a leaf in the river, and just going where the path of no resistance takes you.

Then a voice in my brain (or maybe it’s my soul) cries out “That’s not what she said. That’s not what they are asking of you, and further more THAT’S NOT WHO YOU ARE.”

ME: Ok Little Soul Voice, then you answer it… Who are we?
LSV: Um… don’t know… Still working on it. But not that, we’re pretty sure.
ME: Pretty sure? PRETTY SURE? This is my life we screwing with. Can we please get something more than “Pretty Sure”?
LSV: I told you. We’re working on it. Now calm down and go read the internet.

And thus I did. Because Sulky Moody me can be passive aggressive, but can also be pretty good at taking suggestions. And I believe that sometimes we hear things at just the right time, in just the right way to make a miracle happen. Serendipity is a glorious thing.

And in my search for a muse, I came across Self Taught Girl, and this glorious quote:

“I am the first to say that refusing to settle and dealing with the pain that goes along with it is the hardest thing in the world, but I wish—WISH—there were some way to hold the hands of those who haven’t yet stepped off the precipice, and help them to believe that it can be done and it’s worth it.”

And when I stopped sniffling into the tissues that were muffling my tears from the office, I looked for some way to respond, to comment back “YES YES YES & Thank you, thank you, thank you.” For while I have stepped off the precipice in the past, I repeatedly find myself at the edge once again… wondering if I should stop the leaps of faith and just sit content (and bored) on the current ledge where I stand. And in one simple paragraph she said “Nah… that’s not who you are.”

So I thank SelfTaughtGirl & SuperHero, and the host of other muses today, who were examples of courage & honesty, love & integrity. For when one is cliff diving, and gravity is the path of least resistance, it’s very nice to not feel alone.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Joy in the smallest things

When all the night seems darkest and daily events have lost their meaning, sometimes the smallest thing will bring gales of giggles and the ability to keep moving forward.

Today, my soul's revival is due to this:

Seriously folks.... I saved it as my desktop wallpaper, and each time I close out a document, it appears once more as a pleasant surprise, and I must, in my "cute voice" say, "Ooooh... Bunny Tongue" and then collapse into giggles.

(This unbearably cute bunny brought to you by the great folks at CuteOverload, your home for all things adorable!)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Urge to Express, the Desire to be Eloquent

.... grrr....

and the Inability to do either.

So many things rumbling around in my head that I find my nights dotted with short bouts of restless sleep and dreams that would disturb even the most calm of Buddhist monks.

However, at those moments when my trouble soul stirs me from my bed, I have no access to a computer, and any attempts at handwriting turn out to be largely illegible in the morning.

And so the angst eludes the exorcism that might come thru writing, and instead, slips back into the mired maze of my grey matter.

Constipated anger and confusion are clogging my mental pores, making it difficult to concentrate, or to give the appropriate amount of energy to any one task. Emotional meltdowns attack from behind the bushes; outraged outbursts explode forth before the ‘censor monkey’ can keep them from escaping my mouth. In general, I’m walking around akin to some ticking time-bomb, and each click of those hands, each moment of digital countdown resonates deep within me.

I feel myself aging quickly these days.

Many thanks to Luke Chueh for this fabulous piece "Eruption". It says so much more than I can right now.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Simple Math Problem

Shimmery Vanilla Lotion + Black Pants = Bad Idea/Sparkly Butt