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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The long line of the let down

I am so restless and anxious right now. I am trying not to eat  or play solitaire or anything else that won't really help. We have a new puppy and he is a beautiful dog and it is a good and positive addition to our tiny family. So I know I a thankful for him, yet I also feel that somehow this new positive element in my life overrides any permission to feel shitty. And i do. Feel shitty. I can look aside and say  it's jet lag, it's new vulnerable life as puppy, family grief (always there as a low-grade electrical current, just the other side of pleasant), feeling demands to be a good pet carer of-er. Billions of people have had and continue to successfully have pets, one or many. Some of these billions even successfully raise children. So where is this lack of self-faith. My brain says I'll never know "why", although I could hazard some sharp guesses, with these revelations there lingers an aftertaste of doubt, spoiling, tainting the fleeting good feeling. So fleeting it never actually got to the good part.

I feel competitive with this puppy - how ill is that? I have been trying to give myself and pup time outs. It seems to help. we just had a nice gentle quiet time together. I am so afraid of harming him, damaging him in any way. His spirit is so bold, so boundless. So brave, he seeks out, he  examines - I can see him learning. It is fascinating. I envy this. It is hard to detect evidence of self-learning. again, the verge of tears WTF. The cruelty of depression is how mystified it leaves me. all I know is this heaviness, unease, unassailable. I feel it is wrong. I know it is wrong. It has been said countless times that how I feel is normal for my experiences, yet there is no commensurate balm. I remain unassuaged. For now. (SAY! wasn't that hopeful???)

It's many triggers.

I am tired.

I have a new responsibility that I dread/anticipate failing.

Family is always searing. How many times can a heart break?

The long line of the let down shuffle forward, there is no escape from their bleak grief. The guilt. My guilt.

I want to make everything better for everyone. How's that for goal setting?

I think this is why I stopped writing emails. Good for those who can soldier on. I wonder if i ever have.

I feel untested still, yet endlessly tested, ahhhhhhhh, paradox thy blade cuts twice.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Doug Supple - Musician, Human Being

A very gentle soul and friend died on Thurs night after a long duel with prostate cancer. He was our lighting guy and a wonderful singer and guitarist. He ran countless jams and always had a kind word, no matter what. He was quirky and funny and generous, he was unswervingly upbeat. There was a community fundraiser for him last year while he was in round two of Chemo and he had lost so much weight, but he never lost his beautiful genuine self. Our little valley has suffered a great loss.
Sleep well Douglas, may your pain be finally

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What about MY Dark Matter? plus Robert A. Lowe aka Lichens

Very moving for me, very long (17 minutes), but I found quite worth it. I hear it as a soul gathering courage and reaching out meeting like-souls and reverberating around itself. I love music and the power of the voice, the language that we can all understand.

The snow is falling again, we have almost 4 inches, and it is beautiful. The element that turned the word blanket into a verb! Although I think our culture today allows for the "verbification" of pretty much any and every word.

I love to sing, I have been in a few bands and choirs over the years. Most recently a Pink Floyd Tribute Band called All in All ( We covered all of their songs from the mid 60's to The Division Bell (1994 I think). I got to sing a part of The Great Gig In the Sky, we even put about 10 videos on Youtube. Great Gig was a wondrous experience because there are no words. As the subject matter is one's death, the song is about putting sounds to the feelings one might have whilst pondering death. So every time I got to sing it, it allowed me to channel my rage, my grief out to the audience. While I have definitely received many less than flattering reviews, I always felt cleansed after singing. Detoxed a bit. As if the song were the leeches through which I bled out my despair. In my worst times, I stopped listening to music, I didn't laugh, indeed seeing/hearing others laugh left me mystified.

Yesterday was therapist day, started off okay just discussing the week's events and the puppy (of course!), even brought in my crackberry to show her some pics, however, me being new to the technology, the images remained unviewed. Oh well. Then I went on to describe an encounter I had had with a man busking downtown, he was still wearing a poppy so I thanked him for the music and asked him if he was a veteran.

Suffice to say, bad idea (for me anyway). Tragic story ensued (well d-uh Kel). He seemed to want to talk though, and I tried to listen and then I needed to excuse myself and walk away. I could barely tell Maura (my psych) about it. I cried so hard, words choking out of me wanting to tell, couldn't look at her, I closed my eyes. I guess the story was a lightning rod for every other sadness I had witnessed - mine or another's. It is astonishing to me how completely my sadness and shame take over, suffusing my entire body, and I played cat, closing my eyes in an effort to hide. Part of me understands how the mind can work in these ways, yet my heart is so full to breaking, the proverbial lump in the throat - with me even now. I wonder if therapy is just retraumatising, or instead does it serve to tweeze out my psychological splinters? Some pain in the extraction, some lingering pre and post inflammation, then a gradual cessation of all. What differs is I cannot see the site of the extraction (or the entrance for that matter). There is no where on my body to place it. No map. No GPS. My body is surely storing these memories, I have no doubt, in the U-store that is my brain. I guess there are just many remaining, all jockeying for position, wanting to be seen and heard before they will stop haunting. Isn't this the theory behind ghosts? We are here, despite ourselves sometimes, and we call out in various ways (sometimes encoded and or incomprehensible barely detectable). The catch of being acknowledged. Wanting it, but fearful of the consequences real or imagined. And I am supposed to have faith that these are real and my emotions understandably hyperboled, I am supposed to have faith. How does one have faith when those things which seemed faith-worthy in the past have proven unworthy?

Yep, an emotional GPS would be fantastic. I mean this says a lot about what is considered important in our culture. We have devices to tell us where we are in our car or on foot, devices to connect us to other devices ad infinitum. Soon we will have no need of hardware. So much money, so many brilliant minds dedicated to unravelling the mysteries of space travel, launching thousands of satellites into orbit, detecting the most inner working of atoms and matter, billions maybe trillions spent on the Hadron Collider (and concomitant t-shirts). Yesterday they "successfully" smashed two beams of protons together, falling on the heels of their "successful creation" of a mini black hole Nov 8th). I want someone to detect the whereabouts and characteristics of MY dark matter, spend some money and minds on that, assholes!

Until we get the gist on ourselves, we have little hope of replenishing our planet.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Flinching at What's Possible

Nothing like a call from Veteran's Affairs to fuck me up. Suddenly I am stripped bare of all protections. Not even my scar tissues can stop the stabbing guilt. Plunging to the root of me. I am rendered speechless, dreadfully fearful. They'll find me out! They'll call me a faker, i see the call as a waste when there are SO many more people out there suffering, people without homes, without loved ones, without the prospect of any of these  - they are invisible, their urge to self-protect keeping themselves out of view, out of harm's way. Any interaction can be harmful. So we stay away we hide out, we don't speak we don't connect, all the while staring longingly at signs of friendships blooming elsewhere. People giving up because you take too much energy to sustain a relationship.We excel at self-fulfilling prophecies, at self-sabotage. It adds credence to our self-theories. If we are indeed bad people, everything makes sense. No other explanation is necessary.

Fear is so powerful, it is a paradox. Our will to survive at odds with our will to survive. We live with the harm we know, dread the the risk of others. Flinch at what is possible, because anything is possible. We know this so bitterly and painfully. Any thing is possible. The capacity for utter ruination lurks everywhere. This stark existence suffices.

New Life and Rituals to Assuage Some Grief

Snow's still here, very unusual for Nov on the west coast. Excitement permeates the household cause we are getting a puppy. Here he is at 3 wks. He's very cute and will be needing a great deal of love, exercise and activity. We've called him Strider. We love the Lord of the Rings. We haven't had a pet since my cat died in 2003. Feeling like we are finally ready. He will be a wonderful addition to our little family of 2. Adding life and energy to our home - we both need it I think. I am of course very nervous about the prospect - not trusting that I can properly care for the little fella. That's not surprising, I still feel guilty over my cat's death, although my family reassures me that there is no reason to feel this way. I loved her though. I still miss her. She was whacked out, hostile and yelled at birds.

I think maybe it will help with our grief over losing our baby too. Almost 4 yrs ago I miscarried (well in truth the miscarriage was induced because the little life inside me had stopped developing, even before I knew I was pregnant).  13 weeks. I remember how happy Ken and I both were when I found out. We had sort of quasi talked about having children and I think we both wanted one together but felt it was too late in life. Nonetheless we were happy and excited at the prospect. Then I had 2 ultrasounds and there was the sac devoid of something - what was the word they used? viable. Such detachment, it sends the message that I am not then allowed to grieve this non-viable fetus. So what ensues falls under the rubric - complex (or compounded) grief. We performed a ritual - we kayaked for 15 or so km one way to the end of this island in Johnstone Strait (North end Vancouver Island)to where there are powerful ocean currents - I had made a message in a bottle, each of us wrote a letter to our lost little baby - I had named her Nova - and I added some of our hair and my pre-natal vitamins. We reached the end of the island then together released the bottle. Then we paddled back, the weather had turned so it was a much more intense return trip. Then 3 of my sisters came to visit and we had a little ritual at the beach at a good low tide. These rituals help, they give focus and permission. Yet the grief lingers with each menses - my body discarding itself. I look at the blood and tissue with wonder and longing. There is such mystic promise within us all.
Got some more wood, filled up our woodbox, it's chilly for here. I have love to give, and soon more lives to give to. I can't help but think that this helps my little corner of the world. I know little Strider will help us.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Too short for a title...

I am struggling with this blogging business, writing things then they disappear. I had written an entire extra bit into yesterday's happy blog, but it was not so happy, rather bleak actually. Perhaps the universe just stepped in and swept it away, removed the toxin. So I guess that's ok. I have of course a great deal of vanity permeating my proud words. I try to find the word that fit best so I am a tad choked my words are gone, I felt proud of some of the things I had set down. I don't think pride should be a sin, at least I think we all have felt pride at some point and as long as we name as such, what harm is there.

Had a lovely long walk with my friend, all is ok so far. So i'll go with that.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Good Day with a little Jeeves and Wooster

This morning we awoke to a clean cover of snow. Everything always looks so lovely, it's always nice that first snow that stays. We usually don't get snow out here in Nov - the ski hill will be busy I am sure. I went out and shook the heavy snow off of the various shrubs - the twigs and smaller branches have a predilection for snapping off beneath the snow's deceptive weight. Would that there was some reliable mental shaking that could remove the heaviness.

Although, today is a pretty good day. I got two wheelbarrows of wood, laundered, sorted some camping clothes and worked out whilst watching another episode of "Jeeves and Wooster" I find it quite charming. Hilarious too. I can barely keep up to the banter between Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. They are each adept at physical comedy, Fry of course brilliant in his subtleties. Laurie is definitely channelling John Cleese. I recommend this show. I watch it while I work out - spontaneous guffawing ensues. I've been trying to workout on a regular basis, it does help me feel better, kind of charges me up for the day.

The snow and cold are wonderful. There is so much oxygen outside!! I inhale deeply and it courses through me suffusing the scar tissue with healing.

I've been making more art, I feel steadier about it now, even excited, so this is good. Tomorrow I meet a friend for a long walk - also good.

Laughter is such a tonic. Goodness abounds.

28 Oct

Saw my therapist yesterday, I see her about once a week. Talked about some experiences, talked about how I'll have a memory (I can't call it intrusive because that dishonors the person I recall) immediately followed by a color commentary by my judgmental self. So for a treat (my therapist suggests I "treat" myself after a tough session [it's difficult to use adjectives like tough because all I am doing is talking, on the surface anyway, but the tough part is seeing their faces, seeing the impact their agony continues to have, I am reluctant to see my pain in the same light, because for me I judge it as removed, vicarious]) I got another holes # 7&8 installed in my ears).

How can I say it's tough for me when I didn't see what they saw, didn't hear, smell, watch, feel what they did, but here is the not-so-silver lining of having the imagination I do, it was never hard to conjure a pretty graphic picture of their experiences. And of course, each person could paint a very detailed picture of what happened. My double edged sword aka empathy, which I am grateful still to have (although I see that this developed as a survival skill from very early on in my life, see it was very helpful to be able to read the room as it were, to detect trouble - now I just can't shut it off) could get pretty close to each person as they were reliving, and I tried hard to create a place of safety where a person could release their particular poison. What never occurred to me (and what she, my therapist pointed out) was that not only did I hear of hundreds of others' horror, I also witnessed the relentless impact on them. As a human being (sometimes I think I am human) it is not normal to remain unmoved.

So the cumulative impact of the graphic stories, the cumulative impact of being with people in such evident anguish - this is what I live with. And most days I dismiss my "impact" as less than. It's certainly not the same. I liken it - whereas each person I worked with having had a "s"load of acid thrown at them - to perhaps a few drops spilled on me in my efforts (I tried to help, I really tried, I made many mistakes, times where I was unprofessional, times where I didn't know what I was doing but thought my good heart would be enough, too many times left reeling in the wake of what people are capable of). So I think that after talking with several hundred people, trying so hard to be their ally, to be an authentic witness, to honor the courage of each person's risk in speaking out, that's several hundred drops of acid on me.

Being immersed in the blatant sexism, racism, seeing and living in this world that is so insidiously violent towards woman, assaults things that permeated the everyday, this was my baseline. On top of this, the rampant despair of my "clients" - there needs to be a better word for all of these brave souls. Crisis work EVERYDAY. Suicide intervention, pretty much EVERYDAY. These are not lightweight situations. These are situations where the Chaplains, the Commanding Officers called me and ask what they should do.

This is where I feel like I'm entering into the realm of whining, of wallowing, but I'm trying to understand what happened, without the harsh judgments of my mind that undercuts any "evidence" I bring to the table.

So I often stay at home to avoid jump starting my empathy, I live in a small town, it's not uncommon to see/run into a former client. My immediate reactions is always fear, then guilt: I assume they have only hatred for me. Here are many retired veterans living here. I don't call myself a veteran, I reserve that term for those who served directly in combat. I don't feel that I have earned it.

All About Swarm and the Will - written in September

This is the companion video I sent with Swarm II to Beijing in an effort to explain. Not a great video quality wise, but the bees are spot on!

Art is such therapy for me and so is nature - especially tides. Tides are entirely reliable, they come in they go out. When we lose our foundations and call everything into question, tides offer hope for new trustworthy foundations.

There are many more examples in nature that perpetuate the the idea of will. Will to live will to live, despite voices telling us otherwise. Finding that stopper finding our personal barricades against self-harm. The days of despair mock our will. Our will patiently waits out despair and vice versa.

Whoopsie, not able to attach video, maybe i can make a link to it

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Crime of Wanting Attention

Been awhile.

Lost what to say, or lost the urge to say. Or lost. I think the days leading up to and around Remembrance day are particularly charged. I had been feeling very dull. Although i did finally wear a poppy, it took awhile before I felt I could. Seeing them everywhere felt odd. Some how at first I didn't feel able to wear one, not sure why. Likely feeling too dishonorable to have the right. This thought is often lurking about. I wondered about not blogging at all. I wondered whether I should have a happy or at least interesting but not so dirge-like blog. I thought about what I could talk about at the next session with my psychologist. Felt it was time to deal with the real rather than imagined guilt. I think it was a good choice, but such talk does wrench one. I thought if I could call and apologise to the person (one at a time) I felt I had let down, betrayed, etc that might allow some release. I can't however recall their last name. So now I am thinking about how to find this out. Yet it suddenly occurs to me that it is once again something I think will help me, ultimately not this person. That would place such action precisely into the not-even-remotely-altruistic spectrum of possible actions. Thought and counterthought really.

So on it goes.

Trying to give myself permission to create a space wherein to express these thoughts and feelings that I worry will offend, outrage, hurt others. I imagine "How dare she?" ad infinitum. Then I think, how powerful and important do I think I am?  In any aspect of any and all "schemes of things" I matter not. People respond to people they care about, or know. Knowing is about recognizing a common ground, reading/hearing the words that pass through another's mind. Detecting the self in others. A potential to heal all hurts, to share at minimum, to parse out the hurts to many rather than one set of shoulders, particularly to banish the sense of such utter alone-ness.

I imagine there is no-one who understands or, what's better, can truly validate the impact I feel, fight against. Because it lays somewhere in the liminal spaces of experience. Always on the edge of comprehension, apprehension. There exist many shared traits, this human being ness.  I have often thought there is more we share in common than not. That attaining a truly globally peaceful existence is rooted in detecting our "shares". It is to easy to find the difference, our survival brain scouts them out for us with boundless enthusiasm and reacts before we register. It is harder work to push through this fear. Our planet's survival, not just for we human types, depends upon it.

I do at times feel completely isolated - alien. There is of course great kindness, compassion abounds - just not for me (from me). People try to help me and it is wonderful to feel so cared for, I do appreciate the caring efforts. But. I wonder whether the effort is worth it because it does not register with me. I want to say to all the caring ones, stop trying, please stop, it's up to me. Please focus your efforts where some good can be done. Any good that can be done, that is worth doing on my behalf I must discover and do. I love attention, I want to feel that I matter, that I deserve to live this life I have been given. It hurts to hear people say "He/She just wants attention?". When did wanting to feel that you matter to someone become a crime? Why has it been accorded such disdain?

It's mid-November, the first snow has set down. I love Frost's "whose woods these are I think I know..." Music and muffled clarity in the deep snow. Thank you Robert.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mind Sedge

Healthy and unhealthy behaviour.

Do I ever hate being told what to do. Someone giving me *advice* is not greeted graciously. As with most everything I seem to do, fear is my guide. Is it because when someone notices something I am doing, I feel afraid and immediately paranoid, just because i have been noticed? such that I cannot hear the kind (hopefully) intent behind what sounds mean-spirited. Sometimes people give good advice and I'm not ready/able to hear it. It has to get past my censors first, my scorn detectors, my critique detectors. Sometimes maybe the advice is inappropriate. Sometimes it's what the advisor should consider doing, not doling.

I have lots of experience hiding in the wide open. Much of my life, this has been a successful strategy, convinced no one has seen me. Being seen exponentially increases the risk of being harmed. I could play cat, remain unseen because others remain unseen. Most of us go about our day only seeing what we need, want to see, or that which is necessary to completing the day's tasks. Thus a lot gets missed. It's what I depend on. With attention comes the call to interact, to answer questions to come up with suitable social connections. I can't dwell at the surface for too long, I crave intensity - so that I can then receive care for my hurt? So circular, such trappings, it goes nowhere, it grows not, only leaches away. Spinning, not toiling. Eroding what care I have.

It's a hard line wanting to be valued while remaining a ghost. I've been reading other peoples' blogs: tales of personal horror, such dignity, honesty, clarity, humanity in the face of the worst imaginable instances. I want to crawl into a crack in shame. These are the markers by which I judge my worth. Where  I come away feeling ineffectual, useless - a poser. Pretending to be human. Adopting a character defined by loss. I cannot count myself among the hurt. I cannot. These are the people whose trauma and anguish is founded in reality, people with real, raw events scoring their psyches. In my desperation to belong I see the potential for care as a person who has lived in trauma. My vicariously derived troubles pale against the stories of others. There is no bell curve that includes me.

I'm in a crack of my own making. No one else can fit in. It's far removed from all else. I don't know where I belong. Humans feel don't they? Animals feel? My feelings are imposters. At most I'm a slight irritation. When I put on my game face I'm larger than life, because I'm actually smaller than life, I exist around life's edges.

So this is mind leaching, writing what pops out/up. Tears come. I wish I knew where from. Technically an indicator of feelings I am given to understand. There just doesn't seem to be an adequate explanation. to what can this slight dampening be attributed? Burning behind the eyes, air passage clumping  what the fuck is going on????? I just need to know where I fit, what is my place? It's not selfish to want to be at peace is it? I want a life I can feel proud to live. Not this shuffling around, dreading each new dawn, clockhounding, hiding killing the hours till I can go back to bed. I don't think this is what my body is meant for, what a waste, thankless wallowing. Someone  else should have this body, I'm not using it properly. Some else should have these things I have, I'm not using them, I am not grateful nor gracious. I'm not alive. This can't be what it's supposed to be. I hope to hell there are some people who can say they are living, that they have lived. I want them to tell me what it's like. I don't know. I'm just sedge. Former and future plant life. Compost before I hit the stage. Sound and fury signifying nothing.

Just what is the fucking point. Someone tell me so it sinks in. Someone make it make sense. I can't. never mind, I won't believe you anyway.

Channelling My Inner Tasmanian Devil

Living in a relatively small town, very near to my last military posting. So I run into former clients from time to time and sometimes their families. Yesterday I was having a walk with a friend (I love to walk so i have to make dates with people so I get out of the house - I can sort of commit to others, less frequently to moi).  Well, lo and behold family of a former client walk by.

I don't even know what to say anymore. It's not my right.

My husband says I've been acting very scattered recently, he's right. It seems like it's all been said, that there is nothing new to say. Just that I feel dull inside. Not new either.

Must go and pretend to be interested in my art, act as if. I watch life from a distance. Sort of detached, quasi-curious. wondering how is it that I am the alien. Where's my island of misfits?  Planet of, really. This world does not fit. I'm undercover such that I've fooled myself. No idea where truth and fantasy separate, it all blurs together and all the while I watch, or hide. Keep waiting to wake up.

Last night I was so violent in my dreams. I was consumed with anger. I was hitting people, repeatedly, yelling so loud, swearing, it's a wonder I didn't wake my husband up. I  carry this anger daily. it feeds my mistrust, my paranoia, my quick draw defensiveness. It wasn't even a scary dream, just - just - one where I was enraged and taking it out on everyone. Channelling my inner tasmanian devil

Tasmanian-devil.jpg How cute is this???

OK, don't feel like writing anymore.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Quiet inside

Silent Monks

Clever video. I laughed and laughed.

Sort of in stall mode. Doing mundane things, laundry, some reading, mostly moving from spot to spot, a kind of low key restlessness. I imagine the DSM IV (V? VI?) could become the largest book ever in its  efforts to describe and label all of the oddities we humans demonstrate. It's laughable and ridiculous. However, we are a curious species, as are all animals I think. It seems instinctive to learn, to know, rooted in enhancing survival but also as with everything else rooted in survival, desires can get twisted and misshapen into an unrecognizable state, and/or the roots lost in time.

I imagine that many behaviours are intended as positives, as kindnesses - I believe this. Of course the outcome is a crapshoot. We barely know what motivates ourselves let alone others.

Some people seem very connected, very comfortable in their bodies. Can name, point to exact locations of turmoil in their bodies. Their bodies really speak, or rather, they can listen and hear what their body tells them. I think we give ourselves away all of the time. Sometimes it is obvious to others what we are about, and we are blind to it. Other times, people really know themselves. I know my body speaks to me, gives me clues, shows me things, tells me things, most often I am oblivious to its 'withinput'.

Sometimes I'm just not present in my body, I think pretty much everyone has experienced this. Being on autopilot. Sometimes it's about escaping sometimes it's just autopilot.

Just kind of quiet inside, watchful. My body wants to move. Yesterday I was in the garden again, trimming, raking. Lots of large maple leaves around. Windy today some rain. A fall day. Our fall and winter seamless.

I am worried though about the dearth of ideas artwise. I am working on a couple different pieces, some with merit, but overall it feels lackluster, aimless, going through the motions. Yeah, so stalled. Yesterday, sitting in the garden, pulling grass out of the plant whose name currently escapes me (euonymous??) and it occurred to me:  I am 47 yrs old. The first (I remember anyway) time sort of being struck with the fact of my age and wondering what my life is about? It's never too late, it is said. I hope I am on the right track, even though I feel slightly derailed (someone put a penny on my track). I am not really too excited about anything right now. I do not feel driven by any ideas. Probably time just to look at lots and lots of art and walk.

We are getting a puppy, this is good news. I am terrified at the prospect as well. Doubting my ability to care for something other than myself. Fearing failure, fearing to taint, poison a life. I know there will be challenges, and overall I feel I can manage, and I won't be alone. There are just times where there is no self-faith. But today is okay. I'll go get some pumpkins, try and carve some weirdness.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Headcase and Straitjacket

Some more of my work. I wore the straitjacket around my downtown, interesting results, people were a lot kinder than I had imagined. The images are depictions of trepanation.

Saw my therapist yesterday, I see her about once a week. Talked about some experiences, talked about how I'll have a memory (I can't call it intrusive because that dishonors the person I recall) immediately followed by a color commentary by my judgmental self. So for a treat (my therapist suggests I "treat" myself after a tough session [it's difficult to use adjectives like tough because all I am doing is talking, on the surface anyway, but the tough part is seeing their faces, seeing the impact their agony continues to have, I am reluctant to see my pain in the same light, because for me I judge it as removed, vicarious]) I got another holes # 7&8 installed in my ears).

How can I say it's tough for me when I didn't see what they saw, didn't hear, smell, watch, feel what they did, but here is the not-so-silver lining of having the imagination I do, it was never hard to conjure a pretty graphic picture of their experiences. And of course, each person could paint a very detailed picture of what happened. My double edged sword aka empathy, which I am grateful still to have (although I see that this developed as a survival skill from very early on in my life, see it was very helpful to be able to read the room as it were, to detect trouble - now I just can't shut it off) could get pretty close to each person as they were reliving, and I tried hard to create a place of safety where a person could release their particular poison. What never occurred to me (and what she, my therapist pointed out) was that not only did I hear of hundreds of others' horror, I also witnessed the relentless impact on them. As a human being (sometimes I think I am human) it is not normal to remain unmoved.

So the cumulative impact of the graphic stories, the cumulative impact of being with people in such evident anguish - this is what I live with. And most days I dismiss my "impact" as less than. It's certainly not the same. I liken it - whereas each person I worked with having had a "s"load of acid thrown at them - to perhaps a few drops spilled on me in my efforts (I tried to help, I really tried, I made many mistakes, times where I was unprofessional, times where I didn't know what I was doing but thought my good heart would be enough, too many times left reeling in the wake of what people are capable of). So I think that after talking with a couple hundred people, trying so hard to be their ally, to be an authentic witness, to honor the courage of each person's risk in speaking out, that's a couple hundred drops of acid on me.

Being immersed in the blatant sexism, racism, seeing and living in this world that is so insidiously violent towards woman, assaults things that permeated the everyday, this was my baseline. On top of this, the rampant despair of my "clients" - there needs to be a better word for all of these brave souls. Crisis work EVERYDAY. Suicide intervention, pretty much EVERYDAY. These are not lightweight situations. These are situations where the Chaplains, the Commanding Officers called me and ask what they should do.

This is where I feel like I'm entering into the realm of whining, of wallowing, but I'm trying to understand what happened, without the harsh judgments of my mind that undercuts any "evidence" I bring to the table.

So I often stay at home to avoid jump starting my empathy, I live in a small town, it's not uncommon to see/run into a former client. My immediate reactions is always fear, then guilt: I assume they have only hatred for me. Here are many retired veterans living here. I don't call myself a veteran, I reserve that term for those who served directly in combat. I don't feel that I have earned it.

Time to face the day, going to an art talk, gonna hang around arty types, phew.

Be kind to ourselves

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Networking rocks!

This is a link to an article a new friend wrote, partly about how amazingly creative she felt in Nicaragua .

And check out her blog. We share similar thoughts and experiences. A very powerful writer and fearless performance artist.

My Cousin Cathy

life on the muskoka river

This is my cousin's blog. Wonderful writing, with lots of "didn't see that coming" twists.

A new, old friend of mine was talking about the magic of childhood friendships. Cathy and I spent so much time together as wee ones. Drawing, playing, she introduced me to Frampton Comes Alive - a classic amongst classics. We drew comics and pretended we were spies, we wrote letters back and forth that were addressed to planets and such, back when no one's suspicion would be aroused and thus we wouldn't be seen as a threat to national security.

Magical friends that's what we were and it turns out, still are. It's good to reconnect with her. And I can't wait for her next Friday Flash!

More bad language

So I've been feeling better lately, ever since we came back from the BVI. It's a no-brainer really because it was a beautiful quiet place where we were very active together and sharing a great deal of nature together, this where we are at our best. I think it also reinforced the many things we have to be thankful for. So how come the doubts start to creep in? About whether I am truly laden with some "conditions" or I am just lazy. Many times when I feel that I am functioning well, then I think, so what's the big deal? Why the meds, why the therapy? Then, why am I getting help?


What the hell really. Just mindf**k after mindf**k (I'm feeling coy). When I am feeling NOT sad, then I start to load on the guilt, the judgments, like for instance:

man this is nasty.

wait there's more!

Many time I have felt cowardly, that I didn't stand up better or differently. Effing guilt.
Toaster's up!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Horizontal Violence

This is Exit Wound.

After a walk with a friend in the rain yesterday I got to thinking about the impact of trauma. In particular my paranoia, mistrust and fixation on betrayal. There is something about betrayal (real or imagined) that really fucks me over. Years ago in elementary school, a bunch of kids (most of whom I thought of as friends at the time) passed around a petition to get me kicked off the basketball team. Seems they considered me the coach's "pet" and thus a no-talent, a pretender to the game as it were. The bright spot was the older student who took me aside and told me and the unknown parent who put a stop to it. This older student was and continues to be my revelation; my proverbial beacon of hope. I didn't know she knew I existed, so pale a ghost I was. However for the rest - you left your mark. You dug a big hole and shoved me into it and I'm still trying to get out of it, days where I am out of it but still far too close.

The first betrayal I can remember (the real first happened when I was far too small, less than a toddler spotty memories, immense pain). It was a scorcher. Searing me so all my juices stayed inside. I was already a shy little thing (thank you military for curing me of that, at least enough to allow me to operate in the real world), already vulnerable, too sensitive (apparently), so small in my sense of being and these little kids, oblivious to the damage they would cause, likely oblivious too they targeted me (the weakest in the herd?). I have been advised that they were too little to know what they were really doing, that's difficult to swallow. Sadly we have the capacity for cruelty even while we are so small. I hope they did not know what it would do to me, then that means I went to public school with a several dozen sociopaths.

I don't think they know. But my little world fell apart. And even now I feel like such a wimp for even writing about it, so harsh is the auto-judge there are far worse things in the world a person can go through. But it's my truth, or at least part of the story. It is to this "incident" that I ascribe my incapacity for trust, for love, my pervasive fear of everything (I can now proceed despite it, in most cases, thank you). See, now I expect betrayal, anticipate it, see it when it really isn't there but it seems I cannot judge nor separate the real from the imagined - it all feels the same. It's another heightened sense, part of the hyper arousal spectrum I suppose.

Any injustice leveled towards me or not, it is the biggest trigger (is there another word for trigger - I'm getting sick of it, another depleted meaning). Spark? Kindling? Nope. I'll work on that, maybe make up a word.

Injustice abounds in the world. And when I was a social worker, it permeated my caseload. Too many soldiers deemed disposable. So much heartbreak, heartache (too much?), so much agony when encountering the great lie of war. The torment when you realize you have been selected not for this honor but as an instrument of capital gain. So the hunger to live an honorable life is satiated in the battlefield, the brotherhood of war, the sisterhood of war. The war against women (in case you missed it, there is one - and strides against the enemy are often won through guerilla action) the oldest ongoing "action" in history.

We few, we happy few, my ass. "As commanding officer, my job is to delude my men into defending my bosses' property (or more often to steal someone else's)". That wasn't in my officer handbook. May as well have been. Stripped of tools, helpless to intervene or the repercussions of intervention when intervention is clearly called for. A convenient target of hate, a distractor from the true villains. Paolo Freire understood this, he called it horizontal violence. What happens when the marginalized have no one to turn against, in self defense, so they turn on each other. I see women do it all the time. I guess at the root is survival, but such cost.

A several millennia-old lie that still works because the vulnerable targets of this lie still seek something to believe in.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sewing the Black Ribbon

What to talk about?Making art sometimes flows so easily, it's finding some materials and putting them together according to some of pattern/order/configuration that I make up as I go along. It's a constant dialogue of when to do this, start this, stop this, it's immediate and intuitive and this is what leads to my best work. When I take time and think about things I start to get lost, doubt creeps in, so when I start to flail creatively, it's a sign I need to step away. So I'm trying to do this, to follow this mode of making. I think being away from the actual making for 2 weeks was far too long, I need to always be working on something, that's what is best for me, the best means to access that conversation that issues forth from my purest self. Balance I guess.

It's like writing this blog, I seem to feel most assuaged when I write nonstop, when I just keep going as a stream of consciousness, at minimum it empties out, orders, streamlines the thoughts milling about upstairs. My elevator does go all the way to the top but gets stuck there sometimes, the in and outflow are not well synchronised. So my mind has been blank, my well of creativity is overdrawn, somewhat, I got excited sewing the black ribbon together, and when I rearranged the bottle caps according to colours I felt excited then too, it was soothing, satisfying even. So these are the moments i am learning to notice, then to hear and then to understand as markers of ideas that can take me places.

It is what I hope my art can do too. I may not have the voice, the soothing words, the context wherein I once dwelt, but this new one as a practising artist (the words sound strange) is another way to channel my desire to make a good difference in the word, to astonish people, to simultaneously demonstrate that i have not only seen and/ or heard and/or felt but I have understood. Making concrete the thought trails, the myriad trails broken in my brain many of which remain vital to my survival (redundant???). Pioneering my own brain is interesting, maybe only to me but I am thinking it's the only way I can get through, never around. Mining my neural net for gems, precious metals, or not so precious ones yet useful practical metals! we are all elements each of us a conglomerate of elements in modules of same, yet each unique, each with our distinctive properties of bonding, volatility, natural state: gas, liquid, solid. I understand electricity, currents flowing along the most direct path, always, always finding a way to complete a circuit. This is what I seek, to complete my circuit, to be whole. Is this why the circle resonates so much? Why much of my art is or alludes to circles and circuits and spirals. I think the spiral is closest, and what nature emulates most , and I am a creature of nature, yes?

Why on my recent trip seeing the shells, my fascination with them, the patterns of scales on the fish, the turtles, all very soothing and humbling - nature has all of the ideas. Growth rings, calcification, as we age just as I can see in older shells, the individuality becomes more marked, scarring, historical markings, each of us is our own biography - written, held in our bodies. The memories I can't recall still exist, stored somewhere in my body, perhaps for future reference, mayhap not. Maybe the blanks will never be filled. Calligraphy of memories.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Denial is latent anguish and hiding in my home

Too much death abounds (I know redundant again): quasi-colleague, old friend's oldest sister, wife of dad's best friend, uncle - my dad's brother essentially, 2 neighbours. It's oddly clumped together all of this death, much of it untimely. But then isn't all death untimely? Death holds sway as it were. Death and dominion, death at #1 for ever, "because I could not stop for death it kindly stopped for me " someone wrote. Death can be kind I suppose, we imagine there is such physical suffering that death brings sweet relief, we often say/hear now, "it's a blessing really", but what do we know? It's all surmise (in case that's not a noun, how about "supposition"?). Isn't any death too much? Where do we draw the line between "relief" and "untimely"? calls on the crisis line, a person simply wanting company as their pills and vodka kick in.
People make a distinction between physical pain and emotional pain - why? It's the same to me, except harder to bear because I cannot see the wound, the scar - harder to prove - I don't have a cast on my head, no brain sling, no stitches on my forehead, no splint, no drain. Not a lot of evidence, even if one were to look closely. Because the odds favour being misunderstood, I mask any clues or if I feel unable to do so, leave. So i hide in my home a great deal.

Women who have said to me"Sometimes i wish he would hit me, then I wouldn't be so full of doubt". Psychological warfare is physical in its target and impact. What is this universal campaign to make women doubt themselves, why is it easier to take on blame than direct it toward the true architects. Is it because speaking the truth would be too overwhelming (redundant - what can be only a little overwhelming I ask?). Is it worse to think our abuser doesn't love us? is it worse to think our world is not remotely what we thought it was?Is this why we choose the simpler version - I am somehow to blame?
A new friend mentioned exploring skins and the thinness or thickness of. This got me thinking. Some one like me:

is too sensitive
can't handle it/can't cut it (YOU try it!)
is lazy
is not trying hard enough
is weak
is thin skinned
wants to be depressed (??!!&(*&(* really????)
just wants attention (what's wrong with wanting to be noticed?to feel that our presence on the earth is a good thing?)
likes it (grrrrrrrrr)

Anyhow that of course is just a partial list of all the bad things attributed to people living with altered brains. Blame the victim.
I hear this so much with children and women who are being abused. With women I hear "Why does she stay?" I never hear "Why doesn't he stop? Why does he hurt her?". I know so few men who will challenge their male friends' abusive behaviour.

So there is anger. There is also compassion a willingness to see the world, to hear the world , it takes courage to really witness what goes on around us. To speak out on behalf of those whose voice is silenced.

If successful, Art speaks out reaches past the ears and eyes, right into the soul - breaks through denial. Although denial has its place in the world, denial let's us process at our own speed, even if it takes a long time to get past zero mph. Denial is latent anguish.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tuzo Wilson - Voice of Time

I forgot to say why I posted this. It was a wonderful science show, but thteit was the theme music that got me, arresting.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Allegories 'R' us with Psychological Brain Freeze

warmish, quasi-sunny day, not bad for a rain forecast.Went for a nice walk with my friend Amber today, to Seal Bay (saw a seal!), there was even some sand and a plethora of herons (a gaggle? covy? brace? heehee). Amber is expecting her first child and I am very excited and happy for her, she will be a great mom , one of the reasons is her kindness, compassion and love of fun and out there (out here???) thinking (which of course I love) - ok that's 4. my math is sketchy. And B, she is able to be so very present with others, it's a glorious skillset. I am envious too of her pending motherhood, as I envy all mothers.

lots of yard work yesterday and sat, raking, cutting grass, weeding, digging in the garden, even some worms but no cool beetles, I like their colours. Speaking of, BVI was rife with colours (bevy?) in the flowers, the fish the birds, the people, the accents and dialects. underwater was where we spent most of all of our days there, swimming with turtles, rays, the aforesaid fishies and even the very fear-inducing barracuda, an impressive fish, epic teeth, a lethal (ok, I lived but it was still scary) gaze that shivered my timbers. Allegories 'r' us of course, feeling the wombfort of warm water, imagining the little minnows swam with me because they felt safe - using this as evidence contrary to my imagined evil essence.
Sometimes things sink in, positive evidence, Amber is really inspiring for this, she is able to challenge the dreaded voice of conviction, simply by countering with a concrete example of the good she contributes to the world. Very positive energy.
I see Picasso's Guernica and see his genius, one that can be misconstrued. Deceptively cartoonlike figures- who are in reality depicting what is so difficult to depict - what trauma feels like, how serrated the pain, how desperate is our fear, our rage our sense of injustice that there is not time to fancy it up with realism. It's shorthand cutting to the quick - wait, that was redundant. I only wish he was kind to all of the women in his long life. His early work is so different, so classical in terms of the art canon, but then HE shows up, his essence which includes layers of scarring. Far more fascinating and inspiring. I like it when I show up, I come out in my best work, where I feel most driven, most at fit with the universe. Art is my psychological tailor.
Encouraging news in the science world, CBC talking about the Brain project in Quebec where they study the brains of persons deceased through suicide. Seems there is a dearth of a key substance (of course whose name escapes me). These substances keep our brains elastic, that is able to counter change, deal with our external world. An elastic brain doesn't get stuck, doesn't get frozen, doesn't get HARDWIRED. I think we all know (except that I can only speak for me) that biological/physical is the same as emotional /psychological - well at least it is what I believe, just waiting for the science to spell it out.
waiting for the science
like living for the seance
who who who to believe
who's that rapping tapping knocking
surely science will provide?
where our soul's blood flows
staunchless endless
raw ripped jagged
where else rests solace?
elusions delusions
stoopid infEWsions
uh oh, underpinning is unpinning
unglued, untacked, unhammered, declamped
time to go.
goodnite to dear friends, new and old

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gordian Garden Brain

up again. 02:40 pdt this time. We fly to ON today, Carly's wedding. All my sisters and brothers together, we do have many laughs while we also overwhelm each other, all of our childhood fears and ways show up. But simply seeing them all is good.

Sluggish, tired from my garden marathon yesterday, it certainly felt like I got a lot done, and Ken made me supper, delish. He was happy to see me outside doing stuff. He's a sweet man. He worries about me, I worry about him, together we try to sustain each other whilst surrounded (threatened) by chaos. We are headed to the BVI, i've never been, feels pretty extravagant but it will be amazing. Snorkelling! I think that must be a Dr. Suess word.

I know he's very discouraged about my sadness (etc), he feels sad too, it's been very hard on him. He works so hard to help me, to help us. I hope he'll be ok.

It was good to be outside yesterday and the day before. Digging in the dirt, I dug up the 2 killer Butterfly bushes (big hole, must get more dirt), all the shastas are gone, yeesh. The roots systems on these plants are incredible (I know there's allegory here somewhere). Some plants are so aggressive others so fragile. They can be so delicate above ground, but like icebergs, their true natures lie deep below the surface. Weeds, plants I don't call weeds, incredible networking, some share their space better than others. Some I can recognize their roots and their shoots, the process of growth, gaining footholds, flowering (even!) learning as I go, blindly really. I found gloves that fit my cocktail weenie fingers so I'm getting less ground-in dirt but I miss the feel of it.

Maybe the stories, the memories, the people are ensnarled in my brain garden. It took a long time to dig out that last butterfly, but it was what I wanted to do, so i just kept going. Fell over a few times (honestly I think my centre of gravity is in my forehead) I am a topple-y beast. Love shovels, love digging, it's like a birthright. So this could be the example for the work I need to do. The longer I wait, the more entangled the memories become, the more they start to rise to the surface, the more they crowd out the things I value as life-sustaining. The more entrenched they become the more Gordian the extraction.

Well, time to be off.

Take care everyone.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Wide awake, in the dead of night as it were. 0345 hrs PDT.

Sometimes I just wake up, not sure. I was dreaming, nothing too bizarre content-wise. I went to a funeral last week, and there were some pictures of her. In one she was standing in the middle of a labyrinth and it was just like the one at Homewood, so i was thinking about Homewood and my adventures there. Didn't talk a lot, I was very reactive and angry and I was in there being a rescuer, trying to help, sometimes I did, sometimes not. It's so confusing. remembering Bunny, hoping she made it. What can really help put us on a healing path? I often find myself in a state of waiting, what for not sure. For real life to begin? Expecting so much of other people, perfection, for them never to hurt me. For perfect understanding. I expect such of myself, and of course fall short, self-damnation ensues. So I direct this nasty navel-gazing outwards and find the betrayal I seek. I will always let myself down, so others must too.

It's probably not helpful to watch shows like B.O.B. with PTSD in every episode. And this fascination with all things morbid, hoping for disaster - does this mean normalcy to me? I think it must - I seek it out. I seem to thrive when others are in distress. Perhaps it is an illusion of thriving. I kinda hope so cause the answer to that equation marks me as outside comfy - and human - parameters.

Sometimes i feel i've an old soul, then soulless. I sat in that church completely mystified really. I was astounded at the presence of such faith - I know everyone doubts, or at least I imagine this happens. A church is so big filled with symbols I just do not believe in. And I sit there in a state of incredulity, such a written in stone state of unwillingness. I don't see it as a closed mind, simply a questioning one, except that I have moved beyond questioning whether there is a god. I just don't think there is. What is interesting is that I find evidence of the external presence, the extended aura if you will, of people. There is much untapped about our corporeal selves, I see it as our individual electrical fields, our magnetic resonance. Electricity runs, or tends to run, on the outer edges of a conductor. Our bodies are electrical, we are conductors of same. We just haven't caught up with the science of it, although I am pleased to read of increasing collaborations between biology and psychiatry - so much for that mind/body dualism eh Rene? I am much more enthralled with your math foci.

Love math. Love its apparent certainty.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time for a Poem - and made-up words

I see a therapist
I talk
she listens
She appears to get the gist

Analyzing dreams
the night terrors that cling
trying to find the incongruous thing, in a mass of incongruity
therapy is not remotely new
to me

guilt persists
as does memory
dreams rife with metaphor

"oh no" says my brain
"I won't even make this easy.
You're to be harrowed
and confounded"

"It's come from the very top"

Not my best, when I start thesaurisizing (see post-title) I lose the mark (and, it would appear, the font).

It does help, to talk, but it also seems very indulgent. Yet I will listen, it was what I was best at, really hearing. A finely honed survival skill that served me in my efforts to serve others (wow, THAT sounded really phoney humble want to be a hero - I am revealed!).

I have always - and continue to - had fantasies about being a hero, about being famous. But here's the rub - if I ever was, I wouldn't believe it, cause I don't believe anything goodly to be attributable this soul that is moi - hero by accident.

Ok, I don't like this. Bye

11 yrs is nothing and Warning - Bad language (plus swearing)

Turns out I'm the authority figure who won't help. Yeesh. Talked about Kosovo today. 11 yrs later and the memories are so powerful. Trying to provide hope - or a reason for same - for those who still retain the capacity for hope (despite all evidence suggesting the contrary). Self-damning (what else) for my inaction, my sense of powerlessness in the large scheme of things (and it is a scheme, let me be clear). Just because I AM paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get me - Ha!

Those fuckers killed the camp cat, hanged it (hung it??). Fuckers.

Just as I am the only one able to help myself, it would seem that I can also let myself down - who knew? What a relief.

The scraps of positive that linger - having a beer with the engineers. I hate beer but it felt like an honour to me. Being asked to play cards with them and their short-one-card deck. Precious. Feeling connected, connected in the midst of insanity and quicksand. Desperate clinging. No help in sight. Succumbing together - some comfort there. At least we do not agonize alone. Let's laugh while there is still time, let's be goofy while there is still time. Let us wonder at the coloured sky, while there is still time. Let us wonder.

Nice day

A new day, up earlyish off to see my therapist, I wonder sometimes if it helps, but then she listens and her carpet absorbs my leavings, so sun shining, road trip then costco, hiding in masses of consumerism.

Up, up and away!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Warning: Graphic Freaky Dream Description (GFDD), Negating Negation and Toxic Cores

Been awhile. Life is assorted. Human bits and bites or those licorice allsorts thingys. Lots of odd dreams, as usual the ones of mixed military and school, all anxiety based: you know, can't get this done on time, late for this, missing that, wearing the wrong (insert standard clothing item here). But then really weird ones that I actually physically feel, that seems a new twist. There was one with a male stalker that my therapist said I should write about to discern the message kinda thing and I think the cops showing up (to my initial relief) then holding me while witnessing and not doing anything except restrain me - so people I think i can/should trust are not trustworthy, will see with their own eyes that there is harm being done and will still not act, will even stop me from doing anything to help. So that's messed up. A physical silencing. A willful abandonment - messed me up all day. Like a hangover, with out the fun of the previous evening of drunken oblivion. So then I dream about these horrible little insect creatures who burrow into my skin and leave long long antennae hairs that I pull on to remove them. And I feel the hairs as I draw from my body. Then the "head" of the creature as it comes out, it actually screams - one week later, I can still feel it. I realise the look of it was"inspired" by the sea lice that attach to the poor wild salmon. Later in the dream it's "just" the creature bodies, I am bursting them out of me like they were pimples. Is this some creeped out metaphor of telling my stories, my stories of other peoples stories? Feeling the pain of release, but then still feeling it, sounds a warning to me, just leave them there. Whether I tell or not the pain will never lessen, I'm going out on a limb here, but that's a tad discouraging. Catch-22 of the finest order really.

I read in the news about the gov't raising benefits for injured veterans, and i read all of the disparate comments. People who have anger towards the gov't for even having a military (I am one) let alone condoning and participating in a war action. Let your anger find its true target, it's not the individual solder, they are trying to do something worthy and honourable. I believe this. There are truly a wee minority of freaks. I served long enough to know this. And I still believe that people are essentially good, it is our default position. I feel torn, I don't want anyone getting hurt, alas I am not in charge and I do things that are hurtful and sad to say sometimes it is a choice I make, there being no other explanation for it, hurting someone else may grant me a nanosecond reprieve, may have me convinced it is a defense that I can rationalise but it's never worth it, in the end there is only guilt and shame and wishing desperately for words back. So I guess it's a segment of our human condition, we all screw up, we all seek to make amends and sometimes I just want to hide from everyone - convinced of my essential toxicity. I can only hurt, I cannot help.

I don't think I will ever feel like a good person, it's too fleeting. There is too much damage. There is no - well I was about to say no hope left, but that sounds very dramatic and silly. I have a gift for negating my negation. Yeehaw.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Throw me a bone - back!

Argh, my back is unhappy! Not good. Want to write feel a tad druggy.

My lame-ass back
has me laidback in the sack
comfort looks like food
So bring on the snax

Spinal, bone-ill,
I can't tell which
part it is
back is a bitch

my belly is jelly
abdominal's abominable
six pack my ass
my back's ass is grass

muscle kerfuffle
waffle snuffle uffagas
it even hurts
when I try to pass gas

Skoobie doobie poo
my spine is unglued
this poem sucks
I need help dude!

there goes the sun
can't feel my bum
and I say
it's alright....

Thank you

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sine waves

Back to neutral ground again. Watching life from a safe distance. Was at the beach yesterday, enjoying the water, the life teeming around me, envious of the momentum. Small squeals, barks, water everywhere. Life for life's sake, thousands of sand dollars - why?
Ranges of parenting examples, some encouraging adventure, some entrenching fear. Older people frolicking in the water. Inspiring that.
Instead of rejoicing in the life spirit around, I feel it instead as failure as comparison and lacking. But it's not piercing as it can be. I guess reducing the negative also nullifies the highs. Gotta have a sine wave or nothing.
The sun feels good, the water assuages. Water is like that, the great mother - bolstering, suspending, reducing the weight of whatever we're carrying. My fears dissipate into the Pacific, their concentration reduced. Buoyed with soothing.

Then I come home.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sister Wendy shaves her head - a poem

Hair to the front of her
Hair on her neck
Straight sides, curly back
Heifer...what the heck?

A life devoted to others
Saving them from bad choice
She answers the call from Cancer
"Take that" in her kindest voice

She'll give all her hair
She's done it once before
But this time she 'd better get
more sunscreen from the store

She looks good in hats
She looks good without
I wished she liked cats
But I digress...

All my sisters make me proud
My parents and brothers too
Sister Wendy shaved her head
To help others, so can you

You can help fight cancer too! Donate to cancer research through Wendy's site

Friday, July 2, 2010

Internal Forecast: Wallowing or Drowning

Self-fulfilling prophecies, I hate 'em. I've been feeling really flat, low this past week or so, much of what I talked about last time I think. I think I was hoping all this goodness would make me feel better about myself - guess not. I'm living in a fog of apathy with a slight chance of despair. I'm wondering what will it take - more faking till I finally believe? Is this what others do? Is it just that I am giving into the lowness, I'm not trying hard enough? Well, that's a yes because I don't even feel like trying. I think there are many many others who feel like me out there but they're just trying harder, are being braver. I am feeling very cowardly. There I've done it, made myself cry, so maybe I've hit the truth. I have this utter conviction that I am simply incapable, that I am broken beyond repair, that this is when you toss the model out. I am crying now so maybe I've just managed to get inside my own shell, breached my own defences. Did you know you can be your own double agent. I guess it's confusing wondering what side you're on. Edges blur, I still don't know why I cry, sadness, but will it ever stop? I have talked about almost everything I can think of, terrible things that have mostly happened to other people., I just happened to listen to them and try to offer compassion, I guess it was a trade off, they left feeling better (maybe just momentarily) but I took on the horror, the agony. It's emotional agony. I can betray berate myself for anything, even if nothing bad has actually happened. I think it's a way I try to feel powerful, it's so twisted, all I can say that feels like truth is that I just feel numb most of the time and some of the time, I feel very very sad and sometimes I feel happiness, so its possible, but it's just not that often and I really have no clue about where these happy times come from. They feel good, I want them, some people think people like just like being depressed, that I'm wallowing in it, I'm not wallowing I'm drowning. I think it's goo that I'm crying, at minimum it means I exist. I don't think people cry for no reason. But maybe my brain is just so completely miswired that there nothing to reason around it, there no pattern I can discern. i am able to talk, able to write this stream of whatever, but it mostly feels self-indulgent, which I judge as a negative behaviour - but maybe I need to , I need to get this poison out, I feel so toxic and I am making my body more toxic by not looking after my physical self, it seems part of me is bent on self-destruction, like little slices at a time, like it hurts at first then you get used to it and you stop noticing and all the while you're circling the drain.

I finally got my webpage up, I really like it so now I can apply for other submissions to other galleries, and I've got my resume up to snuff I think. Like I said, good stuff.

Wallowing implies will, drowning may not be a person's fault, maybe not so directly. I remember the things that pierced me. The things that feel like losses, the things I haven't found the way to process, integrate. I haven't found the will to move myself into a kinder place - I'm all about the martyring - I know there are many who have experienced, seen far worse than me and I feel ashamed to even to talking like this, like I have not earned the right. Yet I would say to another person that they have losses and that it is important to grieve them, that a person has a right to grieve. Grieving, crying removes those toxins from my system, cause right now I am feeling tired but less apathetic. So writing helps. It doesn't matter if anyone else reads it, these are my thoughts, they may not fit for anyone else, I need to do this for me not for the aim of helping anyone else, although if that happens I am glad.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Elliott Louis Gallery

Check out the Elliott Louis Gallery website

Balance Sucks and Sharp Relief Leaves a Mark

I think I've had a major crash, it's not that I'm feeling sad, just lifeless. No motivation. I think it's all the China excitement and also school finally ending. The bigger the high etc. I guess it will pass but I do want to keep making.

I've spent a great deal of my life attending school, maybe it's a safety net for me, I don't have to be an adult cause my status as a student protects me. This is when I feel so cowardly and immature. Everywhere I look I see people with all of these admirable accomplishments and at earlier ages. I guess it throws my perceived inadequacies (aka failures) into sharp relief.

Not sure what to do with myself today, hopefully I'll workout. I did finally venture into the facebook world, but I don't really know how well/long I'll keep involved. Blah.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Frog Will Never Get There and Chiclets

Hi. Haven't posted in a long time. Lots of really good things going on in my art world, so this is good. This is Ruth with my Swarm II in Beijing. She's an amazing woman. This is very thrilling!

I didn't take my meds last night (Clonazepam and wellbutrin [ironic name really - I'd like to have the job of naming some of these drugs]). And I guess there was some sleeping because there was plenty dreaming, couple times waking myself up by talking, waking up my partner with my talking.

I read a comment on my artwork - it said "no understanding of life" - I wondered if that was a mistranslation or if that was what the commenter really thought. There are many times when I certainly am baffled by this whole being alive thing. Being alive for the sake of being alive - part of me thinks that there must be a reason for everything, else why have it? But maybe there is no reason - finding a reason for things gives me comfort certainly, then I can exhale with relief and say ohhh, that's why, ok.

I'm weirded out with the good things happening - don't know what to make of it, trying to just be thankful and gracious - but these qualities are not innate to moi. Oh well.

I have decided - aka placed my hopes in - that some day someone will figure out how to undo the hardwiring to the amygdala that happens when a person experiences trauma. There are plenty smart people in the world, someone will do it. Go someone!

I am curious about happiness, are some people happy (as opposed to Meg Tilly's character's belief in The Big Chill)? Is it a conscious effort, a willing oneself to be at peace - is that the real work? I don't think it's possessions for sure - that's silly and external. Yet I believe it vital (as in life-giving, affirming) to witness oneself reflected in the world somehow, that there is a reason I guess. It's hard to see purpose in the many thousands of daily child deaths though - no way to reason around that. reality check.

Questions, discussions that have been ongoing since people became people. I think every being is getting more complex, smarter, more evolved I suppose. The logarithm of learning I guess. All the philosophers have been wrestling with these puzzlers for many millenia. Maybe I should read them more. I don't remember what they were saying when I read them over 18 years ago - sorry Philosophy prof. I wonder why the necessity for the big words, but maybe that just helps people get their thoughts down faster. I suppose it's quicker to write a 15 letter word than an entire sentence of regular-human speak. Just makes me, the dear reader, have to work harder with many interruptions to race to the dictionary. Of course I am a slower learner than I am a retainer so it's kind of like the frog-jumping-half-the-distance-each-time-puzzle: I never get there.

I am so well-defended against criticism - in my mind anyway - I am in a constant state of edit. Kind of a chickenshit (chicletshit!) approach to being in the world. Yet it is an impossible goal, there will always be negative and positive interpretations of me. One day I hope to learn that making mistakes will not kill me - but I remain afraid - not as much though I am pleased to say. And I think the combo of a slightly increased dose of Wellbutrin coupled with all manner of placebo affects and the good circumstances around me are all contributing. Overall I am indeed feeling better and I hope I will really feel and actually be contributing something positive to the world - gotta justify all this taking up space I'm doing!

Take care.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Naive thy name is Hammy

I have been advised that after all my rapturous robin-parenting praise earlier today, that maybe the eggs weren't being cared for, not incubated with warmth of either parent blah. I hope that I had just momentarily scared away the robin, but then there was no dive-bombing by said bird, no berating of said intruder (me).

I will hold out for a positive ending. I can't fathom birds who could abandon their young but then ultimately, it's about survival. She could make more eggs. This is a strange parallel to my own experience 3 yrs ago. My body stopped encouraging my fetus (embryo) to develop, I am guessing my body sensed there would be massive health problems with my baby and just shut down production (lots of contributing factors me being too old having a first child, me taking a cocktail of SSRIs and anti-anxiety meds). Maybe robin mama senses there is something wrong with her eggs - or all of our curiousity left them too human smelly. I hope not for the latter reason, I don't like to kill any living creature. I save spiders and woodbugs (I encounter many in the firewood) and wasps and bees and even those kind of mini-dinosaur-looking earwigs.

It's hard not to think that I was defective when my baby stopped developing. I still grieve this loss so much. I wonder. everywhere I look here are babies, there are mothers walking with their daughters, laughing. It would be so wonderful. But I am afraid. And selfish too I think. Yet I try to be loving to everyone I meet, especially children, to let them know that there is kindness in the world. All I want is kindness.

Why do I hurt so much?

How spears and arrows (but not slings, sorry Hamlet) were discovered

I'm awake again, it's very late or very early - one of those in-between states. Raining hard, windy. Not so windy on as Friday, we had gusts of I believe hurricane magnitude. Lots of trees down, day long power outage. So Saturday was cleanup and also start working on recovering my badly neglected garden. Lots of grass and weeds and very aggressive ground cover with poor boundaries. Lots of pulling, digging, shoveling and I even transplanted a struggling hydrangea, I think it will be much happier in its new home. I love dirt, ate some too, by an accident, I start off wearing gloves but then I just can't stand it, rip them off and start digging and rooting up stuff with my hands. Couple of significant slivers.

What was most impressive were the sticks that the wind had driven into the ground - the ground is soft what with all of the ran, however, they were in there 3 or 4 inches. Got me thinking that #1 - that would leave a mark ; and B) this was how cavepeople discovered a simple weapon. Spears!Then of course advances in killing technology introduced the arrow and its friend the bow - look at us now eh?

The other day we got 4 cords of wood for next winter, but because we were away so much we still had a good cord left in the wood shed. So I moved as much as I could into another area and my husband discovered a robin's nest high up in the back of the shed, no eggs though so we moved it outside. After the storm settled down somewhat we checked the nest and there was an egg in it(!!) and we had our generator all set up in the shed, quasi-noisy exhaust etc. and we were flummoxed because we didn't have a new shelter for the nest. Anyhow, we were saved as the power finally came back on (8pm) and he placed the nest back on top of the wood where he'd found it. Hoping mama would ignore our human smell and come back to roost. Well, she did indeed, yesterday when I was putting my favourite tools away (wheel barrow and assorted digging and cutting devices) I thought I would peak in and see if the egg was still there - well bless my britches there were 2 eggs now! Pretty freaking cool, very inspiring and reassuring- what a great mom. Can't wait for the spring flying school in the backyard.

The nest itself was a wonder of engineering and just trying to imagine the time and number of flights required to gather all of the materials blew my brain. It was soft straw inside, and moss with twiggy bits woven outside with an upper ring of MUD - how the hell do they do that with their little beaks and large weight ratios - its boggles it does. All for its children, how wonderful. So I got to thinking about parenting as humans, and wondering how we compare. I am not a parent, so I cannot really speak to this - but the singular devotion of the robin was very touching.

In many of my digging forays I uncovered worms o'plenty so the robins have plenty to feast upon. They need it. Bless all worms.

My SSRI was increased slightly last week, so far so good.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I am to Toast as Altogether Morris is to Hammy Hamster.

I see a psychologist pretty often and it is a place of safety and trust. I talk, I cry a lot, and she shakes her head at my penchant for self-subversion. She is kind and insightful.

It wasn't shaping up to be a challenging day but then I got into the heavy duty stuff and I've been toast for the day. It's incredible how draining it is. Where is my frickin' cheese!

I love to sing, I sometimes still have hope/dream that I could be a singer in my own band, or just have a someone to accompany me. I love to perform and am a big hammy hamster. Altogether Morris is an inspiration for me, he doesn't care what people think, he just rolls out of his little cedar chip nestbed with his omnidirectional hair and plays his tiny little rodent heart out. Who the heck was the first person who discovered hamsters and guinea pigs? Oh yeah I was takin' a swig out of the local waterhole this morning and check out this little whisker, sniffy and chompin' action by the bullrushes, a gaggle of little furry potatoes that squeak. Might kinda put you off your starches.

I am tenuously hopeful that some day I can move through this deeply, deeply entrenched conviction that I must everyday, by my actions, earn the right to live. It's crazy that I believe this, when I have so much to be thankful for, so many reasons to live, people who love me in this world where billions of people scrap it out everyday just to live. I think I sound arrogant it's too easy to get caught up in this downward spiral. I want to feel grateful, to have a grateful heart, but instead the sadness, the guilt, consume me. I never feel I am doing enough, to help people. There are so many people in my life who are always helping others, being thoughtful, sensitive to others. I just get overwhelmed and freeze in inaction. I'd like to feel useful.

Yep, just another uplifting blog from yours truly.

Peace everyone.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sleepus Interruptus and a Trickster Eye

Awake since 1:30 am. Mind full of things - don't know why I woke up but it's a WIDE awake.

I was initially pondering my "lazy" eye. And I just read a friend's blog about choice wrt to many many issues including our ethnicities. She is very wise and a much deeper thinker than I. Coincidentally another blog of someone dear to me (also wise and deep) was about choice, so I guess these things are gonna happen in threes.

My right eye likes its independence. It looks at whatever it wants whenever it wants. Only when I close my "good" eye do I see what my personal trickster has been up to. I know it's said many elsewheres that tricksters end up only fooling themselves, nonetheless, my Indy Eye just keeps on.

I should clarify, I also know what my prefers-to-be-a-cyclops eye is looking at when I receive all manner of looks - curious, quizzical, friendly waves, etc. - from people I didn't think I was looking at. Here's an example of how it gets me jumbled up aka tricked. I was at an Art Event a couple weeks back, talking with a friend and another classmate smiled and waved at me I thought "Ahhh Coyote Eye my clever friend - getting me into trouble"

I did not choose my wonky eye - strabismus did. My brain at the age of - oh, yeah, birth - was not a seasoned center of dispute resolution. Both eyes campaigned hard, but could not reach an agreement, so my brain, like King Solomon, chose instead. The right optic nerves perforce began what is close to a half-century work action. Kind of ironic really: right eye - work action (left-wing joke - sorry).

Living with this eye is an interesting adventure. Reportedly, it would work very well in someone else's head, a head with optic nerves o'plenty. Apparently the technology for a successful relocation does not exist yet? According to my eye doc anyway, but he's a big bag of himself and, I suspect, a stupey pants.

So depth perception is fun. When I knock over stuff (like my tea last night), drop stuff, run into stuff, try to grab something, drop a wheelbarrow on my forehead (it is possible), give myself a black eye - well guess what, sometimes it is not a success story. And what is even more interesting, some people have called me careless, accident prone. Yes, I find all kinds of tiny little bruises peppering my arms and legs (and head) from time to time (aka most days) and instead of a compassionate response, I don't know something like "you Ok?" I am instead greeted with shaking heads, stares of disbelief and a perception of me as a tainted specimen. A factory second as it were. Why do we most often go to a negative ascription of character when witnessing an action that falls even slightly outside the usual?

I did not choose this. In the big scheme of things it is not a dire issue, it is a minor flaw, I can't even bring myself to claim it as a disability. Still it has shaped me, my life, my interactions in this world.

What is a dire issue for example is the ubiquitous practice of raping of women that STILL goes ignored. I can even say it is a sanctioned even encouraged act of violence because it is so prevalent - someone must have said it was ok to do. It is a weapon of war. And this war is ultimately a war against women. I'm pretty certain this is not what women have chosen. But it is an act rooted in the objectification and commodification of women. So long as men see women as property, as an object, as less; rape will continue.

So, it finally dawns on me that in one of my favourite movies "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", said seven joyously sing a song about the Sabine women - a kind of older brother DIY instruction on how to get a wife. Seems to me that the Rape of the Sabine women was not a joyous event. I can't watch this movie anymore. It's so depressing and discouraging seeing how entrenched rape of women is, in this world. Course now the earth - mother earth - is being systematically raped, has been since "progress' (the noun).

So again, we make what difference we can. Teach our children to have respect for all peoples. Teach them alternatives to violence, give them, encourage, lots of choices. This is not what some people might call spoiling a child, it is instead part of nurturing. Nurturing compassion for and in a child (and in ourselves) makes our world a little less violent.