“She’s made of hair and bone and little teeth
Things that cannot speak
She comes on like a crippled plaything
Spine is just a string” ~ Marilyn Manson, “Tourniquet”
Happy Sunday, (Is it possible for Sunday to be anything other than an empty space-filler when the dread of Monday sets in and makes you feel weighed down and glum?). Sundays feel like a short-lived fling with a rebound lover...you wish you could enjoy it, but you know its completely useless and you look forward to when its over, so that you can move on to better things…OK, enough of my silly gloom-its the Cold Moon tonight so make sure you look at it. Its the only full supermoon of the year and its going to be beautiful, I’m sure of it. The moon is always, always beautiful. I don’t spend enough time in the moonlight these days and that really bothers me. I miss watching the sky through the car window as the moon raced to keep up with the car…I miss moonlit walks and spinning Widdershins in soft, dewy grass. I think everyone has things that are vital to their livelihood…I know that there are things I need to reclaim in order to exist…being out in the moonlight is one of those things.
I shouldn’t be typing. I told myself I would stay on the couch all day. Why? Because I somehow managed to pinch a nerve in my back, which means that almost any random move I make inflicts sudden, terrible pain on me. Pain that actually makes me gasp aloud…or say ‘ow!’followed by a string of colorful expletives…I’ve never been someone that winces or gasps aloud from pain, but this is a whole new world of pain, so I am indeed wincing, gasping and murmuring dirty words like a angry sailor. Why are spines so annoyingly susceptible to pain? Knees and hips can be replaced…why can’t the same thing be done with spines? This really sucks.
Today, my pals have been ibuprofen, Flexeril and a heating pad ...but by mid-afternoon, I grew tired of being on the couch, watching MSNBC and CNN and hoping there was a way we could fast forward this slow-moving story….fast forward to the climatic ending, when the corrupt madman is thrown out on his Big Mac-loving ass, so that the sane people can stitch the wounded country together, while the confederate flag-waving dregs settle back to the bottom of the well. Life has been surreal this year. I don’t want another year of this apocalyptic feeling. I don’t want to feel hateful and angry when I am out there among other humans, because the entire time, I know that I am surrounded by the morons that actually elected the wretch and tainted the entire idea of what this country is supposed to represent.
Its time for my next Flexeril, so I will wrap this post up with some random things that I’ve been planning on sharing for a while.
I recently watched The Mindscape of Alan Moore, which was pretty good, though, by the end, I was becoming a bit restless…then again, maybe that was down to my restless nature? Its worth having a look if you like Alan Moore. I had a dream last week that I was sitting at a table with da Vinci. We both had been scribbling things on paper, but in a secretive way-the way you do in school when you are trying to stop someone from looking at your answers, (though truth be told, I was usually the cheater) When I looked over at him, he had become Alan Moore. I have no idea why…perhaps its the hair?
I mentioned the song If You Have Ghosts in a previous post. Roky Ericksonwrote and sang the original version, and though I had heard bits about Roky through the years, I never knew what happened to him. Actually, I assumed he was dead, though I’m not sure why. Fortunately, there’s a documentary about him on YouTube “You’re Gonna Miss Me”. Even if you aren’t a fan of his music, it’s worth watching, especially if you’re an avid music-lover who can appreciate any musician’s story…his story made sense to me…I could relate to particular aspects…(And no, I’m not talking about the drugs). Watch it and see if you figure out what I’m talking about. His songwriting is one of a kind…imagine an album of songs written by Roky Erickson and Daniel Johnston. That would be pretty amazing.
Also, We recently rewatched The Witch and it was so, so much better than the first time. Terrible sound quality and a dark screen made the first time disappointing… there was a lot that I missed, so seeing it again actually felt like I was watching it for the first time. I love when a movie ends the way that it should end, and this is one of those perfect endings for me. The score is excellent too. My favorite track is “A Witch Stole Sam”This song makes me want to be outside tonight…in the heavy beautiful moonlight, spinning circles until I fall over dizzy and laughing…like I’ve always done.
And that song ‘feels’ like The Witch from the Suspiria soundtrack, which I sometimes have on repeat while writing. Listening to it right now makes me want to be barefoot, surrounded by trees and the sky. Music is magick…. Imagine a world without music. Grim, if not completely unimaginable, right?
I wanted to share more, but I need to get out of my chair and take a muscle relaxer. I hate it when my body doesn’t function like its supposed to. I can accept an unruly mind…or as I refer to it, a spirited mind. But an unruly body is a completely different story. I wish I could slip into a nice, durable metal body-one which never ages, malfunctions or dies.
Imagine if Philip K Dick was God and he was in a pleasant mood so I persuaded him to answer my prayer for an ever-lasting tough as nails, shiny chrome body. What a perfectly splendid idea.
Feel better quickly vibes are very welcome if you want to send me some, because being in this kind of pain is truly the pits.
And go look at the moon. If I can fight the crazy muscle spasms and the cutting pain that happens every other step or so that I take to witness its perfection, then so can you, right?
‘Cause the sky was all splitting, the night was all slipping away,
…Come On, let’s get killed, let’s get killed, let’s get killed tonight, let’s get killed’
The box fan is on low. Not for temperature, but for the sound. It’s the sound that I need, because the idea of trying to fall asleep listening to the sound of my own breathing or my heart beating in my ears is inconceivable to me now. I don’t know how I ever did it. These days, if I had to fall asleep in silence, I would be filled with dread that the beat or the breath may be the last. See? Being Bipolar doesn’t mean we have a 24/7 death-wish.
So the fan is humming and my hair stirs a little like abandoned spiderwebs in a doorway. The sound from the fan sounds like cicadas and crickets; like when they sing together on early hot summer mornings, when the light is blindingly gold and the sky is a vacant blue, except for the occasional contrail slithering across the top of the world. I have both loved and hated those kinds of days. At the moment, it seems like the best memory in the world to me. The sound of cicadas and crickets, praising the warmth with their chorus that rises and falls in perfect unison like a choir… or really good sex. I would love to believe it’s warm outside and the trees are full of green and the sound I hear are actually insects and not a dusty motor forcing dusty blades to spin.
But that’s a lie.
And right now the singing insects are only here…in my fan.
The air is dead. Everything is still. The cold is cutting. Tonight, I opened the back door and listened for sound, a sign of life. In the distance, I could hear the occasional guttural crawl of cars on the expressway…and sometimes there’s a vibrating hiccup of a semi’s brakes too, but then those sounds dissolve into long intervals of complete nothingness. With the exception of an infrequent car passing by outside and the very distant howl of a coyote, I could believe that I’m the only living thing in the world tonight.
I shut the door and pulled my flannel shirt tighter around me. Inside of my home, I could try to pretend the world isn’t frozen. Oh, but it is, and trying to avoid the truth is like trying to take your mind off the corpse in the room. Put him anywhere for an all-night wake: the center of the room, in the low-lit corner…even in the next room, but you can’t escape that you are sharing the space with the dead. The winter is a corpse, but we aren’t just in it for a night or two; This wake is going to last for months. I try to comfort myself: just a dozen weeks or so of this is all there will be…a dozen hopeful Friday nights, stumbling Saturdays…12 useless Sundays, and then the world will be yours again; the birds will return and the buds will appear, and everything will be green again, and soon enough, winter will only be a bad memory…like food poisoning or an ugly, ugly breakup.
It doesn’t work. It never has. Winter is here and for nearly 100 days or so it will make me feel miserable every time the cold gets into the room through an opened door, every time I look out the window and see the bare trees and dead grass.
Pareidolia is from two Greek words: “para”meaning wrong and “eidolon”meaning image. Have you ever seen a dog in the cloud or Jesus’ face on a piece of toast? Have you heard a voice when you’re in the shower? That’s Pareidolia. I experience it fairly often, especially Auditory Pareidolia-whenever I’m wearing my headphones but don’t have music playing, when I’m taking a shower, and especially when I am lying in bed forcing my eyes to stay shut, trying my hardest to fall asleep-just like I’ve always done. Even when I was seven years-old, sleep wouldn’t happen, and I would sneak into the bathroom and read the labels on shampoo bottles or stare at the dim bathroom light until I fell asleep on the floor or even sitting on the toilet. Sleep is such a bastard!
I assume my Pareidolia tonight has something to do with the fact that I miss summer and, as always, feel that the cold weather is pulling me into a void, where I lack control…after all, its easy to walk in the heat-even when the humidity feels like you’re walking through soup…but the snow-when it’s several inches or, God forbid, feet makes it impossible to do anything, and the sight of dirty snow makes me feel the way I felt when I fell into a pit full of ReDeads in Zelda: Ocarina of Time game. Seeing the weeks’ long piles of muddy snow is a little like observing roadkill to me, and honestly, I would prefer to sleep all winter and then remain awake throughout the whole of spring, summer and the first half of autumn. (By the way, I think it sucks that the season’s names are not supposed to be capitalized…its a bit like how it feels wrong that you capitalize I but not the ‘y’ in you.)
Initially, when I was diagnosed with Bipolar in 2006, it was by a pair of doctors that stepped out of the room to discuss my symptoms, (as if I couldn’t hear every word they were saying). I was prescribed Lithium, but I didn’t take it. All I could think was Lithium is the same element used in batteries, for fuck’s sake (yes, I know-different form, but the same element), so why would I want to put that in my body? The second set of doctors to diagnose my Bipolar consisted of one arrogant jerk and his shy side-kick, who was clearly the yes-man for Mr. Arrogant that looked much more like a junior high science teacher than a psychiatrist. The second pair seemed both horrified and delighted by my stories and examples of my symptoms: I remember Mr Arrogant truly appearing shocked when I told him about my short stints as a homeless 19 year-old. I suspect he’s the type that had never watched anything more harsh than a PG-13 movie and probably listens to the Frozen soundtrack by choice. I was tempted to ham my stories up a little, (for dramatic effect-something I’m proud to be infamous for, thank you!), but since he was so obviously terrified to hear about the homelessness, I thought it best to not add any fuel. Even I have my limits when it comes to being dramatic-especially when speaking to someone that potentially has the ability to have me committed, ya know?
After Mr Arrogant -Show Tunes-Science Teacher left the room, I was on my own with his quiet side-kick, which was much nicer and more likable than his Master. We ran through tests-such as memory and patterns and then he asks if I sometimes heard a radio playing when there wasn’t a radio on, and I abruptly said ‘yes’ and then immediately regretted it. My head was pounding with the fear that saying yes meant I might be diagnosed with Schizophrenia instead of Bipolar. Apparently, it didn’t because I received my second Bipolar diagnosis.
So if you sometimes see your dear departed doggie, Bifin the clouds, or hear dreadful bluegrass music playing when there isn’t a radio, fear not…it doesn’t mean you are Schizophrenic or Bipolar. You’re probably only experiencing Pareidolia…
Cheeky Smiles & Tons of Sincere Hugs,
P.S. A few random things before I stop typing:
Here’s a list of 7 phobias related to the Hell otherwise known as Winter, (and yes, the W was intentionally capitalized because it should be damn it, and No, please don’t bother explaining the difference in proper and common nouns to me 😉 )
Thanksgiving was not a thing for me at all…it never was, not by choice anyway. Thursday, I slept late and then felt complete peace. That being said, I do still enjoy this:
And finally, there’s some (relevant) music…because there’s always music…even when it comes from box fans or showers 😉
‘Cause the past is all written, the future’s always slipping away; and you might as well be spending the time trying to blow it away’
‘You can say anything you want,
And you can do anything you want,
If you have ghosts, then you have everything’
Last week, a friend messaged me to ask why I seem to take long hiatuses from writing. Truth is, I’ve never taken a hiatus from writing. Ever.
However, I do take hiatuses from being visible and accessible online because it can sometimes become a terrible, terrible distraction for me. I’m also sometimes overwhelmed by the number of emails and messages that I owe others…and wondering why people would seriously want to personally communicate with me, (Ah, my sweet self-loathing, you cling so tightly to me, always!). And there are times when it feels like I take a hiatus from myself – especially during those long days that require extra time and much more effort to ensure the bills are paid and there’s food for the week. (Believe me when I say that the whole starving artist thing is neither cool, nor inspirational…its a total bag of wank.) Those long, soul-sucking days leave me feeling empty and completely unlike myself…disconnected from my drive and creativity….detached, even from the characters that thrive, transform, love, fight, and forever dwell in those tenement flats in my mind…where even the characters that die in my stories remain…my ghosts.
So, there are entire days that are consumed with that hideous thing called practicality…something that I have never handled well. And just as tradition and convention have never been friends of mine, I’ve never been pals with promptness and schedules either. That isn’t to say that I don’t accomplish things, because I do…and pull it off pretty damned well most of the time…eventually ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Last month, I said that I wanted to post regularly both for people who take the time to read my blog and for myself. It sucks to check a blog weekly or even monthly and find that it hasn’t been updated. That puts me off and I find myself visiting them less and less. For me, blogs tend to serve as some kind of link to the outside world…they serve as normalcy for me, (well, as much normalcy as I need). I doubt that my blog will ever serve as normalcy for anyone, but I would like to post enough to keep you coming back and to also keep my writing momentum going. I didn’t mean to NOT post sooner. Things happened…like the usual stepping outside of my head to spend exhaustively long days working, and at other times, (especially in the evenings), getting lost in music, music, and more music and art, art, and much more art… or searching for more books about Chaosand Enochian Magick– new (old) phases I’m slipping into at the moment…I’ve missed that part of my life.
And there were also times…those dark times when the idea of saying anything to almost anyone felt impossible, thanks to the bitter cocktail of bipolar mood swings and chronic introversion
And yes, I have also been writing.
I’ve been working on If You Have Ghosts again, which I swear will one day have a proper title, (instead of being nicknamed after a song because both the song’s title and lyrics fit the story so well and also because I do so love the song!), I’ve created a sensible (?) outline, changed the sequence of some events in the story and discovered the moment of death for one of the most beloved characters I have ever known, (which pained me to write, though it was absolutely necessary.) Death is only the beginning of his story, but still, it was hard watching him go through it. Lately, I’ve also conjured up a lot of lines and phrases for potential new spoken pieces. While doing the daily mind-numbing work, I’ve begun scribbling lines, words, phrases, and ideas on pieces of colored paper, (which then live in crumpled piles on the shelf by my desk, in my usual disorganized organization). And in the middle of the night, while attempting to sleep, (In the past five days, I have become immune to the effects of Ambien, so what am I supposed to do NOW?!), I’ve started writing emails full of words, lines, etc. I keep forgetting which writing apps I have installed on my tablet, so instead, I email things to myself. I wonder how many other people email themselves…
My attention span is basically non-existent at the moment, (but there’s no way that I’m asking the doctor for more prescriptions, so I’m toughing out the attention issues for now). For example, on the way to my desk to write this post, I decided to make the bed and then clean the bathroom sink drain out….with an ink pen…seriously. No, the sink wasn’t actually clogged, but since I recently trimmed my bangs and I suspect that most of it escaped down the drain, I had a feeling that it might become clogged soon, so I felt compelled to shove an ink pen down the pipe….you know, just in case it was almost clogged. These kinds of distractions are basically attempting to take over my life at the moment…Leonardoda Vinci could be whispering amazing new ideas in my ear, and I would probably just wander off to chase a beautiful butterfly or pet a stray cat. I seriously have the attention span of a toddler right now, but I’m hoping that since a large amount of stress was lifted over the weekend, I might bounce back to my usual self-where butterflies and cats would still distract me, but I would at least wait until Leonardohad finished whispering before wandering off.
So, less stress means that I am finally back to my usual nocturnal self for now, focusing mainly on writing, and pretending the world isn’t going to be bare and frigid for the next four months.
But at the moment, morning is staring hard at me through the curtains, so it’s time to stop typing, and go wrestle with hesitant sleep before eventually locking horns with dreadful nightmares for a few hours.
In the night I am real
In the night I am real
The moon to the left of me
Is a part of my thoughts,
Is a part of me Is me
Forever is the wind
Is a part of my thoughts,
Is a part of me Is me
In the night I am real
The sky was already a beautiful mad thing by 7:30 Sunday morning. The wind was just strong enough to play with my hair, and a light jacket was all that would have been needed to spend the entire morning outside. I wanted to stay outside…but there’s nowhere to BE outside around here, not without a purpose anyway. Funny that I should find a place in this vast, chaotic country that really lacks places where its OK and perfectly natural to be outside without a particular purpose…to hang about aimlessly…but that is indeed where I am right now. Still, the time I did spend outside was absolutely perfect and walking through the parking lot toward home, I meant it when I proclaimed yesterday as “The absolute perfect day”. Seriously, there’s very little I could have done to improve on the designs of yesterday – had I single-handedly created a day on my own.
The sun came out by mid-day in an intrusive, blinding way that reminded me of an Ex, uninvited and completely unwanted-barging in on something wonderful. Luckily, it seemed to get the hint, because after a few hours it slipped behind the clouds again, and the windy sprinkles and cool air returned. [I was going to say something witty about needing that interruption in an otherwise perfect day to make me appreciate the day even more…like the way that we are supposed to need a bit of pain to appreciate pleasure, or bad times in order to appreciate happiness, but I think that’s complete bullshit. Give me a perfect….completely perfect day every day, and I promise I would never take it for granted.]
Ah, the silly philosophies we create to make ourselves feel better about the hard, sad times…has anyone ever really believed that we need those things to keep us happier during the best times…to make us appreciate something a little more than we might do if we had the eternal promise of perfect grey, windy days or endless laughter? If this idea has been pounded into your brain, resist it…We do not need misery or pain to appreciate the things we find blissful. When did people first begin coming up with silly quotes about needing the bad times to remind us of the exquisite delights of absolute joy?
[So… are we sure its a good idea to leave me with free reign of this blog… to post whatever I want–even when I’m not writing epic-ally long, story-ish posts and might just want to ramble about silly beliefs and beautiful grey skies?]
I know it’s been a while since I did this sort of thing with you, but I’m pretty sure its like meeting up with an old friend or new-found kindred spirit , and once the initial nervous coughs and forced laughs are out of the way, you’re completely comfortable and behaving just like you’ve always been together…
Yesterday was a chill sort of Sunday, thankfully. Several Dark Shadowsepisodes, because the show is our current comfort zone. Along with the weather, I couldn’t have asked for more wonderful day…except maybe spending it in Spring Grove Cemetery, but to be honest, I’m not sure I would have felt like putting on an ‘out-there, amongst other people’ face and figuring out what to wear anyway, so its probably best that I was at home in my comfy, well worn and somewhat hole-ridden eccentric writer’s clothes instead.
Anyway, here’s my plan for blog posts that don’t require me to bleed my memories and feelings onto the keyboard: I’m just going to say and post whatever is going on in my head and in my world: art, music, literature, posting photos of the random possessions I love enough to hold onto…and even bitching about movies that make me want to sue everyone involved with them for the time I wasted watching it…for example, I would seriously rather watch a screwy VCR recording (with terrible tracking issues) of 80’s wrestling shows-complete with Hulk Hogan and Captain Lou Albano-than to sit through the movie, Mother! again, and to be honest, I can’t even tell you why the movie made me feel so angry…but it did, and I am actually gritting my teeth about it as I type.I hate it when things affect me so negatively without understanding why…Perhaps I was hoping for a Rosemary’s Baby kind of film and instead I was served with a pile of religious, borderline pretentious pile of feline grass-hurl… I dislike when sneaky religious themes are injected into my entertainment choices…it feels slimy and underhanded, like Christian rock bands or people that try to lure kids into church groups, pretending to be hip and cool.
So, yeah, I guess its more than fair to say that I abhorred the movie 😉
I woke at 4 this morning, after a decent night’s sleep-with the exception of a night terror involving Bigfoot stomping through a field -on his way toward the back of my mother’s old house. I’m trapped inside her house, with a room full of small children that I need to protect, all the while I’m freaking out because I know that he can smash his way though the glass door and I don’t want to alarm the children, but I know I need to do something fast because he’s only 100 feet away or so..I’ve had the same dream at least a half dozen times in the past few years. One of the children is N. and he’s 5 or 6 again, as well as three of my nieces, who are also around 5 or 6 in the dream. I’m sure it means something about protecting the people I love from the things that can harm them, something that I have always been extremely determined to do-probably going above and beyond the average person’s idea of being protective…still, my ‘over-protective nature’ kept N. safe-he rarely even had a scraped knee when he was small, and I am so happy that there were never, ever a chance for true ugliness to slip into his world. I wish I could wrap my arms around the whole world and protect every child from ever experiencing ugly things… I used to tell my grandma when I was 9 that one day I would build a huge home for all of the unloved ‘old people’ and animals, so they could stay safe and feel loved forever…As of yet, I haven’t started building that place, but it still seems like a brilliant idea to me.
Anyway, Bigfoot caused me to wake up in a sweat, gasping for air, but I fell back asleep briefly before waking up and needing to hear the song that I am adding at the end of the post. I have listened to it at least 100 times today.Its one of the most divine things I have ever heard…every time I listen to it, I get the same chills that its always given me, and once I reach 5:45 of the song, amazement tears starts to happen every.single.time I listen to it. Its one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve heard and I adore that it still has the power over me that its always had. The song is from the studio album, Tomorrow, In a Year and is based on Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species which is perfectly clear – if you look up the song’s full lyrics.
“Music is the strongest form of magic.”
― Marilyn Manson
So, I’ll stop typing now, and add the video. And I’m not even going to fret with adding tags to this post until tomorrow (what a misbehaved rascal I am when I’m sleepy!)
Writing this post has actually been much easier than I thought it would be… I suppose that means the nervous coughs and laughs between us are finished and we can be ourselves now?
Beautiful grey skies and warm hugs,
In the mouth of the river A strange scene it is, Everything in flames. The sky with lightning And the water, luminous A strange scene it is Under over through…
Six weeks old Henrietta smiled for the first time Tail habits proof Instinct that moves Emma saw him smile Not only with lips But eyes …
Over 300 years ago, pieces called British/Irish, Native American, West African, South Asian, Scandinavia, Finnish, East African, Central/South African, andFrench/German, began to gather at a table, and along with the help of colorful threads with names such as Ashkenazi, North Slavic, Balkan, as well as others referred to simply as Broadly Northwestern and Broadly Southwestern, spent the next 3+ centuries creating an unabashedly unique, colorfully crazy, boldly designed patchwork.
…I am the patchwork.
Over the past two weeks or so, I’ve written and rewritten My DNA post 7 times, but it never felt right. I wanted to wait for another result, (I submitted my DNA to 5 companies) and then figure the average of the results…I think I was also focusing too much on writing about the negative experiences I had with name-calling that began when I was in high school (negative high school experiences-anyone seriously surprised?), and which again reared its ugly head last November when I found myself in a small disagreement with a…member of the opposing political party (How’s that for an attempt to be polite when describing a racist, ignorant prick?). When I was defending someone having a hard time with his English, the racist pig told me that I was going to be ‘sent back to Mexico where I belonged’, and when I insulted his lack of intelligence, he decided that I should actually go back to ‘Hong Kong or wherever the Hell I came from’. But there I go again down the road of negativity, when in fact this post is meant to be about something absolutely wonderful for me…
I know that people need many different things to feel complete…identity and self-discovery have endless meanings…I’ve been fortunate-I began developing a strong sense of self earlier than some people do…I know and firmly believe in the things I stand for and will forever stand and fight for those things, just as I always have. And though I’m pretty sure that I have an inner male that looks a lot like Freddie Mercury in the Killer Queen video, I’ve also never been confused about my gender or my sexuality (though that’s often been a favorable hot topic with my relatives, and will no no doubt continue to be discussed over holiday turkey and cranberries along with countless other colorful theories and complete fabrications about me and mine- but hey, at least it gives them something interesting to talk about, right?). I have never been a cruel or envious person (though I really wanted to steal a tube of Hello Kitty lip-gloss in third grade, and I did run over a dog’s tail with my bike when I was 11 and I used to pull earthworms into pieces when I was 3, but only because I believed I was making several baby worms out of each one), nor am I a person full of rage for absolutely no reason-though when I was teenager that might not have been entirely true- and Imost certainly do feel rage for the current political environment and the fact that the extreme hatred in this country has been viciously stirred and is now unfortunately seeming to thrive. With the exception of my rage and disgust over the things I see and hear every day, I’m a pretty straightforward liberal, imaginative, nurturing, empathetic person.
[seriously, did I just actually say positive things about myself? Whoa!]
However, there have always been missing pieces inside…gaps that I knew absolutely nothing about and in my situation there were no seemingly possible ways to find the answers to help me feel complete…but in the past month, I’ve found some of what I have been looking for, a great deal of it, actually…enough to finally stitch the pieces of who I am together and wear it comfortably.
I think the majority of the feeling of missing pieces came down to growing up without my father, and for the first decade and a half of my life, I felt like even mentioning him was taboo in our house. I’m not praising my father…I’m sure that had he been around, I would have gone through some of the same rebellious phases with him that I did with my mother; but there were so many things that I was confused about, not just aspects of my personality: how I came to love writing and jazz, (By the time I was 12, I had an “impressive” list of cassettes by David Sanborn, Wynton Marsalis, and even Kenny G-don’t laugh at the Kenny G thing, I was a kid, OK? Actually, go ahead and laugh a little, it’s pretty geeky), and even politics- I crept out of my room when everyone had gone to bed to watch a rebroadcast of the Democratic convention when I was 13… I remember feeling ‘dumb’ because I really teared up during Jesse Jackson’s speech. (I was 13 dammit, so I was not supposed to cry over anything– great speeches, sad movies or even my grandmother’s death…or so I had made myself believe at the time); but it was also the fact that I felt completely alien to my surroundings-never fitting into the pieces of the world I was supposed to be a part of, (if my family were being paid to be completely honest, they would have to agree with me). It wasn’t until I spent a single evening with my father years later, and discovered that so many of his mannerisms and tastes were so much like my own, that I felt a little more complete…like I had found some of the missing pieces..
Still, there were other things that I was almost certain I would never find. Growing up, I knew very little about my heritage, so I’ve spent most of my life basically guessing at what I’m made of…wondering who the people were that created the opportunities for me to eventually come into existence. I knew that my maternal grandfather was Irish or Scottish, but his surname was most definitely Jewish, and that my maternal grandmother was of Native American descent….that was as far as my ancestral roots traveled. But I always knew there had to be more….I had suspicions and came up with my own conclusions (and I was actually correct about some of them- which is pretty impressive considering that some people laughed at my theories). But still, I basically only knew 10-20% of my ethnicity. So, how could I connect the dots that created me if I didn’t know the patterns? How could I piece the patches together without any real information? It seemed impossible, and I was afraid that I would spend my entire life not understanding what I was made of and this bothered me every single time I looked in the mirror and wondered where my hair, my eyes, my lips, my cheekbones and my nose-that’s never really seemed to fit with the rest of my features- came from. Only since receiving my results have I began to feel more comfortable in my skin…I’m not happy with my face, but now I know more about how it was designed, and knowing that has made me rethink and make peace with my appearance…somewhat, at least 🙂 Now, when I look in the mirror, I think of the patchwork of the people that helped create me.
Throughout my life, people have often asked me or assumed they knew what I was-ethnically speaking ; my former best friend’s hippie uncle used to ask me every time he saw me if I knew any Cherokee words…he had the memory of a goldfish, so at least once every month or so, he would re-introduce himself and begin a conversation with me about my Native American roots; I once told a stock-boy in a grocery store to Fuck Off! because as I was shopping for diapers, he looked up at me and asked what I believed was ‘”Are you an Idiot?” Turns out he asked if I was an Indian, (and yes, of course I apologized). A former boyfriend liked to introduce me as his ethnicgirlfriend; And I, as I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, was called a list of racist names throughout my imprisonment in high school.
I was absolutely ecstatic when I finally got the chance to have my DNA tested, and once I had received my initial results, I had this insatiable need to check, re-check and re-check even more, (and as I mentioned, I received a total of five sets of results) to make sure that what I was seeing was as accurate as possible. I’ve decided to post the median result of the five results. The other sets have a bit more of things like Hungarian and more as well as less British and one totally neglected the Ashkenazi results somehow. The 23andme ancestor timeline, which is probably the most important results for me, is especially surprising and also validating…and from everything I have read, the ancestor timeline is one of the most accurate aspects of DNA testing available through testing kits at the moment. I have read that its even more accurate than kits that cost over $1500.00 so obviously, bigger price tags doesn’t always mean better results 😉
I’m pretty sure I’ve driven people around me crazy with my constant heritagetalk lately, but this is so, so unbelievably important to me…actually, its been necessary for me to finally feel like a complete person, and now that I have results, I’ve already started to spend a lot of time researching and trying to find out as much information as I can about where the people who played a part in creating me originated from. One morning this past week, although I was sleepy because I had been up all night, I completely lost myself in learning about the Yoruba people; And I want to know more about my paternal grandmother’s maiden name, Troxell her German heritage… and more about my maternal grandfather’s Ashkenazi heritage…
…And I know next to nothing about the Slavs…yet.
So, I know I’ve rambled, but you probably already know that I never share a direct to-the-point story with you, right? Besides, I’m so pleased with what I’ve learned, its hard not to get lost in talking about it.
Colorful Patchwork Love & Big Warm Hugs.
This is ME:
(Click each picture to open in a new tab- so you can actually see it 🙂 )
This represents the timeline of my ancestors (8+generations of great- grandparents) that were most likely 100% of each group listed.
P.S. I try to catch up on blogs that I follow once a week or so, and regardless of the blog, there’s comfort in seeing new posts…it makes me feel that the world is still turning out there, so going to attempt to do the same for my blog. I can’t write epic posts every day, but people seemed to enjoy my short daily posts too, so I’m making the effort to do that…Its probably going to be like the old days-when they may even been a few lines about doing absolutely nothing with my day, but I even find comfort in reading that sort of thing, so maybe you will too?
Squint your eyes and look closer, I’m not between you and your ambition. I am a poster girl with no poster, I am thirty-two flavors and then some…
She’s a Killer Queen Gunpowder, gelatin Dynamite with a laser beam Guaranteed to blow your mind Anytime…
OK, seriously-this is finally the end of the post, so you can leave now 😉
This wasn’t easy to write…there was a bit of bleeding involved. But it’s been something that I’ve wanted to write about for years because it’s such a central piece of who I am. More than ever before, I’m really trying to figure out pieces of myself- recognizing and recollecting the scattered ones and even discovering a few new ones. Though I could never do my aunt justice when writing about her, I’ve been as open and honest as I can be, which is what I always aim for when writing so I would like to believe that she would approve.
I remember being 5-years-old and sitting on the floor of the living-room, playing with the cardboard cutouts from the back of TV dinner boxes. Each box came with a piece of a ‘map’ of a town, so the more pieces you collected, the bigger (and more complete) your town became. There were sidewalks and town buildings printed on some of the cutouts, and there were houses and tree-lined streets on others. I used my fingers to ‘drive along’ the roads of the town-over the bridge and onto the streets where houses were aligned perfectly in tidy rows. Playing with these map pieces kept me entertained for weeks, but I never collected all the pieces, so there were huge square gaps missing in my town. I realized eventually that I was never going to collect the rest of the pieces… my town would never be complete, so I gave up tracing the roads into spaces of the living-room carpet where the other pieces were supposed to be. Eventually, I decided that the missing pieces made the entire town useless, so I threw away the pieces I had collected.
But it was during this brief period of box-piece collecting when my Aunt Helen came to visit, and even though I was only 5, her visit had a lifelong effect on me. I was playing with my random town pieces and tracing my finger along the roads when she sat down beside of me and ask me what I was doing. This in itself was a big deal, because as you may know all too well, most adults rarely take the time to not only speak to a kid but to sit down beside of them and seem actually interested in what they were doing. That was practically unheard of in those days, but my aunt Helen wasn’t like most adults. Though I was painfully shy, (especially since I didn’t see my aunt more than once every few years at best), I showed my town to her and pointed out my favorites parts (the squares with the houses, the bridge, and the town square with a statue in the middle). I explained in my best big-kid voice that I still needed to collect the rest of the pieces, but it shouldn’t take me too much longer to complete the town. I remember her tracing the streets with her fingers just as I did, before standing up, rubbing the top of my hair, and walking into the kitchen to talk with the adults. Because of the attention she’d given me, I felt important, and though I didn’t fully realize the feeling then, I also felt ’empowered’, as if the ability to collect all the pieces to complete the town would be a grand accomplishment one day.
During her visit, I remember being amazed at how perfectly unique she was.
She had arrived in a camper, or maybe it was a truck with a camper attached, I’m not entirely sure, but I would stand by the back door, curiously staring in at the small kitchen, and thinking how fantastic it was that she had, what seemed to me, her entire house with her, (on wheels!) She could come and go as she pleased; Immediately, I knew that this was how I wanted to live my life too-coming and going whenever I wanted.
Just when I didn’t think she could be any cooler or I could love her any more than I already did, there was the day she was in the kitchen with my mom when I came into to ask for something to eat. I had seen something on TV about how much Elvis loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches, so I really needed to try this for myself to see what I had been missing my entire 5-year life. I think the fact that my aunt was there gave me a push of courage because I remember walking into the kitchen and bravely requesting Elvis’s favorite sandwich. Because we didn’t have a lot of money, my mom tried to cut corners. Even where there were no corners, she managed to make them, so to her, having both a peanut butter sandwich and a banana was TOO much. But just as she began to say so, my aunt said, “Or for crying out loud! let her have a peanut butter and banana sandwich!”. I was speechless, because not only had someone defended me, but they had dared to stand up to my mother! Truth is, in the end, I really didn’t think much of the sandwich, but my aunt had stuck up for me, and that was priceless.
She seemed larger than life to me, (even better than Wonder Woman!), and not only to me but to most of the family. She was 14-years older than my mother (who was the baby of a family of 12 kids) and she was so worldly compared to my other aunts. Though she had grown up in Eastern Kentucky, she had found her way out…she lived in Chicago where she was a bartender for a time, as well as living in Arizona and eventually Florida, where she lived until her death. Unfortunately, there are pieces about her that I can’t fill in because so much had happened before I had come stomping into the world. The missing pieces of her life are as sad to me now as the missing pieces of my town, where the ugly, itchy carpet interrupted my beautiful town used to make me feel.
From the things I have been told by my mother and the memories I have of her, she was bold, fearless; she did things the way she wanted to do them, the way she felt they should be done. It seemed that when things became too comfortable, she moved on to something new. I remember my mother telling me about one of her husbands and what a good man he was, and how she never understood why my aunt left him. Even though I was only 12 or so when she told me this story, I understood my aunt’s reasons: life was bigger and maybe she didn’t have room in her exciting world for a perfect husband. Surely my aunt had things to do, places to go and people to be…I can’t imagine her cleaning the house or standing at the stove cooking dinner, patiently waiting for her husband to come home…maybe she DID do that sometimes, I can’t say-but even if she did, it wasn’t the bigger part of who she was. But there are so many fucking pieces to all of us, aren’t there? So, maybe there was a domesticated piece to my aunt…I have domesticated pieces too…maybe everyone does, and though I am not in the business of loving and leaving the way I used to be, I still understand why she must have made the choices she made. Throughout her life, she had a handful of husbands, (I believe there were 4), so she obviously wasn’t afraid to love. In the end, it was a man that she was living with who took her away from the 5-year-old me, and the rest of the world
By the time I was 6 years-old, the name Casper felt like a bad word that I should never say. I wouldn’t even watch Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoons…even when my son had asked for a Casper movie many years later, I felt a sick stirring in the pit of my stomach. This was because Casper was the name of the man who had shot my aunt in the back several times, and then left her in the woods until hunters discovered her body. Dental records were needed to confirm her identity. Pieces. Somehow, this amazing larger than life character, that had made such an enormous impression on me had been ended by some small, cowardly man that couldn’t accept his lack of control over her, so he had ended her.
And the forest had silently accepted her, eventually returning only pieces of all that she had once been.
This point in my childhood was full of a blur of things that didn’t seem quite real, although I knew they were. My stepfather had made life for my mother terrible with infidelities, and the winter was especially cold and frozen. The water pipes under our house burst, so for much of the entire winter of 76/77, my mother had to draw water from a well, laying on her stomach to drop a bucket attached to a rope down into the well to get water for us. Her clothes would sometimes freeze to the ground and I remember my hatred for my stepfather intensifying each time I would watch her struggling to pull the heavy bucket out of the icy hole. I knew that I would never live that way, not with a man that didn’t care if I froze to the ground or help me carry buckets of water through the deep snow. I remember being mad at my mom for not being as strong as my Aunt Helen. Surely, my aunt would have never been with a man like my stepfather. During this time, my aunt had been reported missing, and while it was initially plausible that she could have just been traveling on her own for a while, there was a dark feeling that hung over everyone-as if they already knew that the worst had happened. Even then, as a child, I could feel that. Throughout the search, the discovery and finally the burial of my aunt, the entire world was made of hateful, uncaring ice.
It’s one of the reasons I loathe winter… it makes all of the beautiful things disappear.
Both my mother and grandmother were devastated, but as was usually the case, I did not cry…I internalized everything when I was small. I also felt that I should be strong because neither of them could be. I remember traveling for hours on icy roads in a quiet car full of sad people for her wake and her funeral. We stayed overnight in the house my mother had grown up in because that’s where the wake was held. For my mother’s family, the custom is to have the coffin overnight in the house of family and the night is spent watching over and being with the person before burying…letting them go the next day. I had been sent to bed in the room directly across from the coffin, but of course, I could not sleep. I’ve always believed that when you sleep, you miss the important things. Instead, I sat in the dark and stared through the doorway, as my mother and my other aunts stood at the coffin and cried, and if I am remembering correctly, pulling a metal box from the closed coffin…the small box that somehow managed to contain the precious pieces that once had been my brave, amazing, outspoken aunt.
All through the rest of my childhood, I heard so many things about my aunt; her outspoken behavior, and the fact that she had a hard time settling into just one life, and never seeming to stay long whenever she did try to settle…as if the pieces never fit, or maybe the pieces did fit in the beginning, but changed over time. Hearing about the way she had lived, left a deep impression on me. By the time I was a teenager, my mother would sometimes compare things I said or did, or even wore to my aunt, which was the most endearing thing I could have heard. As I grew older, my aunt became less human to me, and more of a legend, so of course it made me happy to be compared to a legend.
I had a reoccurring dream throughout most of my twenties. I would find myself in a world with an Edvard Munch orange-swirled sky…there was an enormous, empty cornfield in front of me, but all of the stalks had been cut, except for a very small patch of cornstalks in the middle…I would spend most of the dream walking through the difficult rocky dirt and then pushing through the stalks until I stepped into a clearing in front of a woman with beautiful eyes and dark red hair. We never spoke, we just stood there, looking into each other’s eyes…Sometimes her eyes were happy, but sometimes, there were tears just seconds away from spilling down her cheeks. Most of the time, I would suddenly wake while standing before her. Other times, I would turn away, pushing through the sharp stalks, and walking through the field, while staring ahead at the fire-colored horizon. I began to refer to her as my guardian angel or spirit guide. Though we never spoke, I felt so much each time I had the dream. Even when I didn’t fully understand what I was feeling, I knew that I was gaining something that either stopped me from making bad choices, or encouraged me to keep going. I felt sad when the dreams eventually stopped. After nearly 10 years, the silent woman with her warm, expressive eyes was gone.
Until last year, when I discovered this photo on a distant relative’s Facebook. This was my Aunt Helen, at least a decade before I was born. The dreams make perfect sense to me now. I’ve promised myself that if I ever have the dream again, I will find the nerve to speak to her.
Pieces…That’s what we are…and if you’ve ever had to pick through garbage or disconnect a sink drain to find something that was lost or accidentally taken from you, you know how wonderful it is to find it again… to clean it off and keep it safe so that you never lose it again. That’s what I am doing now, recollecting the pieces, dusting off the mosaic of jagged pieces that make me who I am. My aunt is one of those bigger pieces-even though she left the world before I had a chance to grow up, and need her even more than the five-year-old me had needed her. According to my mother, when she left our house during her last visit, she had said that she wished she could take me with her. I wish she had…things would have been different for the two of us, and maybe she wouldn’t have been taken away by some cowardly little fool with the name of a friendly ghost…maybe I wouldn’t have grown up to be at odds with the rest of my family…perhaps the fragments that have been strewn all over would be easier to recognize and recollect.
And finally, I want to share this with you because it’s so important to me. I have had this beautiful, damaged “lovely” for the past 15 years or so; She has managed to remain with me when many other things I owned were either accidentally left behind or lost. As you can see, she’s been through some tough times, (or rough patches as I like to call them). She’s the Goddess of my kitchen, where I sometimes go to spend time when I need to collect my thoughts, (baking especially does that for me). She stands right next to the sink, so she has accidentally taken more than a dive or two into the hot, soapy dishwater. She also serves as inspiration, because as broken as she has been, and regardless of the pieces she’s lost, she’s still here, and she’s still beautiful. People have sometimes asked me why I hang onto something so old and broken, with her missing pieces and faded paint, and I’ve always given the same answer- because I love her, and I will never let her go, regardless of how many times she is broken, or how many pieces she has lost (or may one day lose from a sink-diving accident)
Two years ago, I found another photo of my aunt, and I was absolutely overwhelmed with what I discovered in the photo. Sitting on the corner of her coffee table is my beloved Kitchen Goddess! I had no idea that she belonged to my aunt such a long, long time ago… and somehow, she managed to find her way to me.
She is another piece…a piece of my aunt, and just like my aunt, she’s another piece of me.
Pieces…the pieces we keep, give, lose, covet, stumble upon, forget, rediscover, steal, avoid, wish for, bury, the incomplete pieces we give up on and throw away…
…and the pieces we are brave enough to share with others…like stories worth bleeding for.
WE are those pieces
P.S. There’s always a song that plays on repeat the entire time I’m writing something, (I’ll start adding them to the end of each post-unless, of course, I totally forget)The muses grabbed this song when I began writing this, three days ago…and they still haven’t let it go.
When I wrote this earlier, I hadn’t been awake long, having just woke up from a nap that wasn’t nearly long enough to recharge my wrecked body after a 30+ hour writing/music/reading binge. I’m still half-asleep. My brain is still loading ever so slowly-we’re only at 30% or so as I type this. But there is a point to this post, so bear with me, OK?
As I tried to pull myself out of sleep, I began to catch up on messages, emails, posts, etc. I sleepily nibbled on my bland little blueberry breakfast bar as I checked Facebook messages…OK, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again-I’m terrible at being slow to reply to emails and messages, mainly because if someone has made the effort to send a message or email to me, I want to do the same for them, which means I like to go away and think about my reply…you will never receive a one or two word message from me-unless I’m mad at or you or something, but that’s rare because I’m such an effing nice person…97.3% of the time.
Even though I was/am still buried beneath yesterday’s mascara and I have 80s Siouxsie hair, (IF 80s Siouxsie rode for hours in a convertible down the Autobahn at 120 mph), I decided to check messages and have my breakfast bar before attempting to tame my crazy, sleep-deprived, rock-star appearance, and for some reason, I decided to check more messages that I usually do. In total, I checked 17 Facebook messages (I usually have 60-70 unchecked messages, because I’m such a slow replier-I KNOW-that’s crazy, but don’t hate me, its not entirely my fault, I swear!). Most of the messages were great, interesting and kind (I was even given a free CD by a friend who has an amazing band) But there were 3 messages that really, really sucked.
Which is why I felt compelled to finally write this silly post that I have been trying to avoid writing, especially over the past few months.
Guys, (and I say Guys because I’ve never received messages from girls like this), here’s the deal: WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE YOUR GOODS….YOUR WILLIE, THINGY, JUNK, LOVE SABRE, PENIS, (or whatever pet name you have for your toy)
I’m not sure what you feel you’re accomplishing by sending someone you’ve barely spoken to random pictures of your business…IF someone wants to see what you have, they will more than likely give you some kind of hint…IF you aren’t given a hint, then chances are they either don’t want to see it or would prefer to know a little bit about you before venturing onto that phase of the relationship. This is in no way meant to offend anyone and their… goods, but truth is-genitals basically all blend into one generic image when you’re sleepy, and completely uninterested in seeing someone’s bits-especially while you’re doing your damnedest to enjoy your crumbly blueberry breakfast bar.
I’m completely at a loss at what the motivation must be. Are you feeling cheeky because as a child, you were told to keep your privates private, but now that you’re a big, big man, you feel like you can defy the rules and show your pixie-stick to the entire world? Is there some secret reward you receive for spamming as many women as possible with your photos? Are you especially proud of your body, and feel that it would be a terrible injustice if you didn’t share grainy photos of your little masterpiece with every woman you meet? Maybe every time you spam women with your kazoo pics, you receive gaudy purple and green beads that you will proudly hang over your rear-view mirror for a week or so before coming to your senses and realizing that they’re really tacky so you stuff them into your fast food paper bag and toss it in the gas station garbage can? I mean, seriously WHAT is the reason for sending us the same tired old weenie shots?
I’m not being prudish in the least bit here…I’m as liberal as it gets…and I appreciate human bodies in all of their individual shapes and sizes. For example, I thoroughly adore the art of Namio Harukawa, but I’m certainly not going to send it to someone I don’t really even know, and I’m not even linking to his work in this post (but very well may in a potential future post that’s been lying in my drafts folder for ages). Mainly because it’s NSFW and also probably not something you want to look at while eating breakfast…or maybe it is... Regardless, I’m not going to make that choice for you, so Google him if you want to see his work, but be warned- there are booties and tatas, (galore!) in his art, and probably not something you want to look at while nibbling your pop tarts in the company of Auntie June & Uncle Joe.
Seriously guys, how many women have suddenly professed an undying need to be your love slave, simply because you sent her a photo of your little pal, Ruscle? I’m pretty sure it hasn’t happened…EVER. So Just put it away, until the appropriate time comes-when you might have a real reason to share it with someone. Chances are, you weren’t raised by chimps, right? Penis photos are about as desireable as watching you fling your poo, believe me. Your Dickie photos are causing the same reaction 99% of the time time: she catches a glimpse of the photo, probably sighs and mumbles “seriously?”, as she deletes the photo. And then (BOOM!) she blocks your ignorant ass. The reaction for the other 1% of the time: she’s laughing at your stupidity with her friends-before she deletes the photo and blocks your ignorant ass.
…Then she moves on with her day, and your junk becomes about as memorable as bird droppings on someone else’s windshield from last week.
I love knowing about people. I’m an introvert as well as a writer, so I have an insatiable need to know people from a distance: what you had for breakfast, your favorite song, favorite scent, your worst memory, or even better-your happiest memory. I absolutely love sharing music with people, being introduced to new music and introducing others to music. That’s always pretty amazing…so share music with me, or ask me to make you a playlist… Tell me who you are, who you wish you were, and who you’re becoming… how many times you’ve broken someone’s heart…how many times your heart has been broken…you can tell me anything you want.
And I love photos-send me photos of that annoying spot on the ceiling that you stare at every night or day as you’re falling asleep…send me a photo of your pet, your mom, your lover, your best friend, the view from your window, a gravestone of the person whose loss ripped your world apart, the way the rain looks as it collects on you window pane, the reflection of the street lights on the pavement, the sky above your head at that very moment, send me a photo of your enemy and tell me why they are your enemy (maybe we’ll spend some time together-slagging the rotten waste of space off! ). I adore those interactions. I once developed a friendship with a priest in Romania who sent me countless photos of his church and the people in his village. In return, I would send him photos of meals I cooked, photos of my shoes, a drawing of the outline of my hand, my bracelet, the view from my doorway…and I would tell him about movies I watched (though I usually felt a bit guilty discussing horror movies with a priest) I even sent music (which he never seemed too keen on, but still).
Not to sound cycnical, but I know this post won’t do much to hinder most of the ‘phone down the front of the sweatpants’ photography. But then again, maybe, MAYBE it might tempt you to take a photo of something else instead…the possibilities are pretty endless…so maybe if you pull your pants up, go wash your hands (seriously, wash your dirty little hands already!) , then change your approach and actually try engaging people in conversation, you might eventually find a real reason to share your big chief photos with someone…
…Someone who might actually welcome them instead of cringing and blocking you.
Seems worth a try at least, right?
Love & Hugs, (except to you filthy wanking photographers!)