Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My First Meme: A Bokonist Interpretation

Although she probably was unaware of the significance, Utah Savage has introduced me to the world of Memes.*

The Rules:
1. Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures.
2. Pick the 4th picture in that folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

This is my half of the string of photos that my best friend and first college room mate Tish and I took in a photo booth somewhere in Texas in 1979 - I think. Could have been 1978.


As it happens, I have already posted this very item on Classmates.com which is why Tish's eyes have already been erased. She never gave me permission to post her photo on Classmates. She didn't give me permission to post it here either - but what the hell? Tish and I were virtually inseparable until I ran off with a Yankee (it was Buzz Kill). We were Tish and Trish.

I have been told that we look like we could have been in Dazed and Confused by someone who didn't know that we went to High School down the road from Richard Linklater, the fellow who made that film. We must have partied at the same park - the one in the movie where the guys climbed up the tower - but to my knowledge we never met. I don't know the real name of the park. To us kids, it was just High Park.

In the photo, I am wearing one of my very most favorite shirts from that era: an emerald green and white soft ball shirt from Mount Olivet. The shirt came from the Goodwill, as did most of my favorite clothes, and I have no idea if Mount Olivet was a school or a church or what. If the cut offs I often wore were visible in this photo, it would be clear why I had guys following me around a lot back in those days.

If I wore shorts like that these days, I'd probably still have a pack of assholes following me around even though an incurable, auto-immune disease has scarred my right leg from ankle to hip. Funny - back then they were just guys. Now they're a pack of assholes. See what a person can learn in the course of 30 years?

Upon reflection, Match.com is not that different from being surrounded by guys (aka a pack of assholes) back in college. First off, are always a couple you have the hots for who won't pay attention to you. There are also hundreds you glance at and never speak to for one reason or another. They could be wonderful people or complete jerks or somewhere in between. You'll never know. Then there are the ones who hit on you that you would not go out with in a million years. A few you'll go out with who are okay, but not for you. And swirling around in all of it, there are probably a few who are just right - if you could find each other.

I'm still thinking this is the time of my life where I'm not supposed to be seeing anyone. I've been Boyfriend-less for almost seven months now for the first time since before that picture was taken. That picture is from before I was engaged to the Man from San Antone, but after I'd met my True Love. Could have been from around the time I was engaged to Ed who went away in the Peace Corps. I loved Ed. He looked like a cross between a Marlborough Man and a Surfer.

Maybe when that picture was taken, I wasn't engaged to anyone at all.

Looking at this exercise from a Bokonist perspective, this picture happened to turn up for the Meme because that's As it was Supposed to Happen. As a Bokonist, I can interpret this happenstance however I like because what ever I like to believe is just fine. Bokonists believe that everything anyone ever says about Religion, God, Politics and stuff like that is a pack of lies - foma - because none of us will ever know what is really going on.

At the very beginning of Cat's Cradle, Vonnegut writes, "Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy."

I'm thinking choosing this picture says that I've completed the difficult but essential work of freeing that radiant spirit which has been squashed and/or petrified by thirty years of revolving around someone else like a satellite. Being on my own is pretty cool, and when the time is right for me to be part of a couple again, I'll like it better because I am now an independent spirit instead of an independent spirit that has been squashed and petrified. Big Difference.

I Tag:

Gail at Know Your Its
Kimberly at She Shoots to Conquer
Jaliya at Pushing Fifty Gently
Kittywrinkle at Kitty's Bloggy Bits

*definition from Dictionary.com

MEME PHILOSOPHY
/meem/ [By analogy with "gene"] Richard Dawkins's term for an idea considered as a replicator, especially with the connotation that memes parasitise people into propagating them much as viruses do. Memes can be considered the unit of cultural evolution. Ideas can evolve in a way analogous to biological evolution. Some ideas survive better than others; ideas can mutate through, for example, misunderstandings; and two ideas can recombine to produce a new idea involving elements of each parent idea. The term is used especially in the phrase "meme complex" denoting a group of mutually supporting memes that form an organised belief system, such as a religion. However, "meme" is often misused to mean "meme complex". Use of the term connotes acceptance of the idea that in humans (and presumably other tool- and language-using sophonts) cultural evolution by selection of adaptive ideas has become more important than biological evolution by selection of hereditary traits. Hackers find this idea congenial for tolerably obvious reasons.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

976 Removed Profiles and A Shape Shifting Goat

Lately, when I've been procrastinating or generally wasting time, I've been cruising the profiles of men on Match.com for a potential boyfriend. So far, I have Removed 976 men. Given that I've only been entertaining myself with this process for about a week, you would think I was being arbitrary and hypercritical. Sadly, that is not the case. My decisions for Profile Removal are based on limited criteria. Even worse, I haven't been searching across all cyberspace for a qualified candidate. My searches have been restricted to men aged 45 - 53 within 10 miles of my zip code.

There must be a shit load of men within 10 miles of my zip code because every time I do a search, Match presents me with 50 pages of 10 candidates - less if I do a custom search where I define the drinking habits, political leanings and relationship status. For example, I always look for someone who drinks socially or regularly, who is not Conservative or Ultra Conservative politically and who is Divorced, Widowed or Never Married. I am not getting mixed up with Currently Separated.

Even with custom searches, a bunch of these guys had to go. Some of them were innocent bystanders - guys in their mid-forties looking for women their own age and younger. Live Long and Prosper, I say, as they are removed with a simple right click. By far the largest percentage of the 976 (and counting) deleted profiles are those individuals who are older than me who state they are looking for women younger than me. Sometimes I still fall within their preferred age range because they will date women who are 50 years old, but since they themselves are 55 and older, I think that's bullshit.

A surprisingly high number of people begin their introductory paragraph with a statement like, "Ummm, how do you describe yourself?" or "This is really hard for me," or a variation on, "Here Goes!" Granted, almost everyone has trouble writing a computer dating profile, but there is no reason to broadcast it. There is no excuse for bad grammar and poor spelling either, which is why anyone who says, "life is to short," is immediately right clicked as well.

In nearly every case, as soon as you remove some one's profile, they are gone forever. There are times, however, when someone returns to haunt you. Take, for example, ShatAKing the self-proclaimed Wall Street Rock Star (Stonerdate 11.1.08)

Now, I have to say that after our paths crossed on Plenty of Fish, neither he nor I paid any attention to each other. I did make fun of him here on the blog, though, and as it happened, people are frequently doing Yahoo and Google Searches for his dating handles and landing on Menopausal Stoners. They land here more frequently than folks searching for Crusty Panties.

The ShatAKing crowd spends so much time here that I figured I might as well install AdSense and make a couple of bucks off their interest. Recently, one of them left a comment saying my posts were bi-polar and I should put my passive aggressive posturing to good use. Naturally, it was an anonymous comment. The same individual said something about how much writing was devoted to a man no one even cared to meet. This person mentioned s/he knows ShatAKing. Apparently, s/he doesn't know that, over here anyway, we tend to look at the poor man as a joke.

I knew it was bad behavior to post his photo, but really - I'm not the one who posted this profile all over the internet:

Bon Vivant classy and funky but chic handsome Wall Street executive age 45 worldly classy sensual erotic seeks woman who has it all and wants it all. Iam wicked smart big heart which I wear on my sleeve and a deep soul. Clearly believe that two hearts beat better than one. You should be smart, intelligent,erotic in your mind body and soul. You should be willing to work hard and play hard and let your spirit and heart be your guide in your life. I adore children dogs travel the NY night life exploration of erotica and sensuality. . . This is not about sex its about a connection of the senses a journey and an exploration where two people crave to be in love to explore together to grow old together to know the kind of love where your guts twist your heart beats and you make amazing love every day at 5am.
He has this gem posted on a number of more obscure dating sites at this very minute. I wouldn't have this information if someone up around Nyack hadn't left a Yahoo trail on my Statcounter.

In the interest of clarity, I would like to state for the record that the Saga of the Wall Street Rock Star is merely a story that took a very interesting turn when his wife left a comment a while back. It was still entertaining when he himself evidently tried to leave a few choice remarks about her. Now it's reaching The Absurd.

Which brings me to two stories I saw over on Bruce M. Hood's blog: General Butt Naked Confesses to Cannibalism, and Shape Shifting Goat Arrested for Car Theft. These two stories perfectly illustrate how goofy and/or alarming shit goes down all around the world in Real Life. ShatAKing provides more goofy and/or alarming shit. Or you could say ShatAKing has become blog fodder just like the lycanthropic goat.

Here is the photo Bruce uses to illustrate his story.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Two Days of Obama at My House

Two days of Obama has already led to a major development at my place. I've been watching the news. I haven't gone so far as to turn on CNN since it's going to take a lot to convince me they do more than say the same thing over and over again until they finally figure out what's going on.

I've been watching MSNBC because of Rachel Maddow and Keith Olberman. Tonight I actually changed the channel from Stephen Colbert's rerun of last night to look at Countdown.

For the last several years, watching the news was so annoying that I refused to turn it on. Not even PBS. I became one of the huge percentage of Americans getting our news from Comedy Central and on home pages when logging on to check our email. I get the NYTimes on the weekends so there were headlines to ignore on my dining table. I read Newsweek at my shrink's office. And, of course, I read a few blogs.

Those blogs may very well have put all our dynamic IP addresses in the NSA records. Perhaps my mother wasn't a worry wart when she suggested that the FBI was watching me. Certainly Sarah Palin's people were checking closely enough on minor bloggers to leave that ridiculous comment with the non-working links back when I said something about the Weathermen connection.

I'm sorry to say that until yesterday I thought the NSA was a fictional secret organization that lived only on Stargate SG-1. On that show, the NID (National Intelligence Department) and the fictional Uber Evil Senator Kinsey who becomes Vice President are dedicated to the proposition that The End Justifies the Means that they piss off all kinds of advanced civilizations - not to mention fucking over ordinary people as a matter of course. They are such spectacularly paranoid, small minded, money grubbing tyrants that it never entered my mind the could be as real as, say, Dick Cheney.

Now the minute I turn on the news again, I hear those paranoid tyrants are actually real. When I turned to Velvet in disbelief all he could do was roll his eyes.

Sadly, I have been around this planet long enough to remain unfazed by the news that George W, Dick and the gang were spying on ordinary citizens, much less journalists. I hope there is a full investigation, indictments and all that - but you know, I haven't paid attention to the news in so long that I was perplexed by the choice of George Mitchell to be our new Middle East Envoy. For a moment, I thought he was John Mitchell from the Committee to Re-Elect The President who engineered Watergate. Actually, I didn't remember his name was John. I remembered Martha Mitchell, looked at George Mitchell and thought, "That's odd." He didn't seem nearly as old as he would have to be to have been involved in Watergate, but John Dean was appearing on MSNBC tonight and looked damn good. I could have sworn both Watergate Mitchell and Martha were dead, though, yet there stood a distinguished looking fellow named Mitchell.

Those Watergate guys turn up in the strangest places anyway. Given that G. Gordon Liddy was on MacGyver it's no wonder I was completely thrown off by the NSA, NID, Stargate SG-1 and Dick Cheney - especially since MacGyver is Col. Jack O'Neill.

This matter of Menopausal Stoner Confusion is not nearly as entertaining as the time I mixed up Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver and thought the governator's wife wanted to be the next senator from New York. I only had them confused for a minute, and besides, when you look at the congress as a whole, Maria Shriver might as well be a Senator as anyone else.

That the real, live Vice President of the United States is so bad he might as well be a comic strip villain is no laughing matter, even when you're high - although Jon Stewart's comparison of Cheney to Blofeld was pretty funny. I'm not ready to give up Comedy Central's version of the news just yet.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Dating Habits of Old Farts


While cruising Match.com this weekend, I was struck with the notion that I have apparently turned into a dried up old hag.

Who is telling me that I have become a dried up old hag?
About half the men on Match.com who are in their late 40s and early 50s.

Men my own age and even older have set the upper end of their age parameters at about 45 years old. They aren't even looking to breed. Over half of them are divorced with kids of their own. The others have never been married and are Not Sure if they want kids. Either way, I'm thinking they wouldn't know how to deal with a Real Woman - especially since they also indicate that they are looking for a female who is Slender or Athletic and Toned. Some of these guys are clearly delusional because they have not noticed their own beer guts and double chins - or maybe it's that pesky Double Standard rearing it's ugly head again. We see this Double Standard clearly on news programs where men are gray, bald, fat, frumpy and/or generally unattractive while women newscasters are almost exclusively young, thin and well-coiffed.

This trend is giving me an attitude. I removed 200 profiles of men between 46 and 53 who live within five miles of my zip code because of the age issue.

Despite striking out on Match.com, I remain optimistic about the Summer Boyfriend Reality Show. Being a confirmed and committed Bokonist, I know that things happen the way they are supposed to happen. It may be that men are no longer coming along every five minutes like the bus - or maybe they do and I'm waiting on something more stylish and stimulating than a dang bus.

One thing is certain: I'm not getting stuck in a Viagramobile with an arrogant old fart.

Real MatchMan found this very morning in my "Who's Viewed Me" file.
He's 60 years old and also has a Harley. I'd consider him if he'd go out with women his own age

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flight 1549 provides a Metaphor for America

Those folks who were fished out of the Hudson from US Air flight 1549 have undoubtedly been contemplating the Meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything more than most of us ever will. Even more than Douglas Adams who introduced the idea that the answer is 42. Frankly, being chased by Bible Thumpers as a kid then reading a boat load of philosophy when I got older hasn't produced a better answer to the question of Life, The Universe and Everything than 42.

I would say that I can't imagine how those folks felt as they careened earthward yesterday, but I can imagine it fairly well. That's why I always take Valium with a glass of red wine just before boarding a plane and often in flight as well. I also pray when the airplane takes off because I learned from Hamlet that if you kill a sinner while he's praying, he won't go to Hell. I don't really believe in Hell, but I'm not willing to take any chances. It's kind of like Santa Claus - the minute you confront your parents with the idea that there is no Santa, He could quit stopping by on Christmas Morning. I'm not the first person whose entire Christian gestalt was fucked up by Santa Claus. As Kinky Friedman reminds us in They Ain't Making Jews like Jesus Anymore, " We Jews believe it was Santa Claus that killed Jesus Christ." Frequently the best jokes are the ones that present the truth. Just look at George Carlin.

If Life, The Universe and Everything sometimes provides us with metaphors that give insight and hope, I'm going to hope US Air Flight 1549 is a metaphor for the Obama Presidency.

This country is heading to Hell in a Handbasket. It's not just because of the greedy war criminals who have been running the show lately. For decades - ever since Ronald Regan declared an end to the sixties and sent white people back to the suburbs to shop -- America has embraced a lifestyle driven by consumerism and the idea that an individual's professional accomplishments and acquisitions are more important than the well being of people and the planet - a simple count of SUV's will prove this point.

America today is the plane.
Obama could be the pilot.

Due to the mastery of the pilot, everyone on the plane may have shit bricks, but they are safe. Emergency workers of all varieties plunged in to rescue everyone. A ton of boats were at the ready - all in a matter of minutes.

Obama is not walking across water into the White House, but with skill, commitment and a prayer or two, and the willingness of the American people to act like a community instead of a pack of wild animals stomping each other to get a bargain priced piece of plastic at Walmart that nobody needed in the first place - we may come out of this shit storm okay.

And just maybe, Dick Cheney will be tried as the world class dick he is.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Significance of Five Fiancees and a True Love

I just realized that The Narcissist is the only boyfriend I ever had that strung me along. While I was going through the divorce, I obsessed on a couple of narcissists and gave one of them his marching orders the instant I smelled a rat. Of course, I wasn't sexually intoxicated by any of those guys - but I was trying to have an impact on an emotionally impervious individual. Being sexually intoxicated was an important development since it shows I resolved some aspects of the Battle of the Incest Issue. I'm going to take all the credit for that despite The Narcissist's participation.

All in all, it looks like I can trust my process since I've knocked out a life time of angst in a couple of years.

When I look back over all the boyfriends and fiancees, there are only a couple who were jerks and I ditched them quickly. My high school boyfriend and first fiance was mediocre in every way, but I was stuck with him since we were dating during the fall of senior year. If I'd have broken up with him then, The Code of The West would prevent any of the guys from asking me out since I was "Jesse's Girl." Then this girl in my Humanities class got engaged. When I saw her ring, I wanted a diamond of my own and the next thing you know, I was engaged for the first time.

During freshman orientation at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas (home to Rocky Horror Picture Show), I called "Jesse" to say I didn't love him and never did. He demanded his ring back. The next weekend in Houston, I tossed it in his face.

That was a great day. By then I had met the fellow who became my great tragic love. We were never engaged, but we had such a passion and understanding for each other we stayed together for the next seven years. We saw other people since we were kids and I moved to Austin when I was a sophomore, but I loved him through and through. Let's call him Bradley.

As it happens, there were a number of similarities between that relationship and I had and the one with The Narcissist. That's why I mistook sexual intoxication with emotional connection. Bradley also didn't want to be in a heavy duty relationship since it cramped his style. It was the late seventies, after all, and anyone who lived through it knows Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll reigned supreme. I was waiting for Bradley to settle down. We fell apart one afternoon when he wanted to see me, but I had become engaged to The Man from San Antone. I flashed that ring at Bradley saying something like, "Too Late. I'm marrying a rich guy," with every hope that he'd ask me to leave said rich guy. Sadly, he was crushed instead, moved to California and within a year had married a cocktail waitress who didn't wear panties. It ended badly, but that's another story. He and I still love each other to pieces. I found him through Classmates.com when my own marriage was unraveling. He had recently married a younger woman - who is now one of my dearest friends. At the time, however, I caused a bit of a ruckus.

The point is that The Narcissist and Bradley were similar enough so that I believed the Narcissist when he said he had real feelings for me but he wasn't ready for a heavy duty relationship due to going through a divorce. That narcissist/supply source relationship is some tricky shit.

Oh Well.

Fiancee #2 was delightful, but he went to Thailand in the Peace Corps. Being totally unsuited for a long distance relationship when I was nineteen, and loving Bradley anyway, it wasn't long before I wound up engaged to #3 The Poor But Honest Farm Boy. He was great to me, but I only went out with him to spite The Man from San Antone who was throwing his money around to get me to go out with him. We were all in the same creative writing class with a minor poet named Albert Goldbarth. The Poor But Honest Farm Boy was offended that I could be engaged to him and seriously consider going to the Caribbean with The Man From San Antone. He had a point. A few days after that disagreement his former girlfriend called him to say she needed a rescue since she had been wearing a corset and masturbating on her bed when some guy with a machete climbed through the window. When I heard that story, I told him to have a great time with her and hung out with The Man from San Antone until I ran off with a Yankee (aka Buzz Kill) in 1987.

The Man from San Antone and I were engaged twice in the six or seven years we were together (fiancees #4 and 5). The first time, we were twenty years old. During the two weeks we were engaged, we fought so much that finally realized I didn't want to get married at all. I wanted a party and a new dress. To the relief of both our families, we called off the engagement. I threw the first of several annual Blue Bonnet Cotillions which amounted to giant acid parties in Austin, Texas. They remain legendary in some circles.

We were only engaged a few days the second time. I'm pretty sure he didn't want to get married any more than I did, but we were both 27 by then. It was Shit or Get off The Pot Time. We were both finishing our advanced degrees (Law School for him; an MA for me). He gave me his University of Texas class ring which had a diamond in it. I didn't keep it though. I hadn't been in New York long before he picked up a woman in a bar who slipped him a mickey and stole that ring along with his big, fat gold Rolex. I always liked that story.

On my last birthday, The Man from San Antone happened to be in New York. We were out to dinner with a group and he announced to the table that he'd loved me for more than twenty years. I love him too. Who knows - he and I may wind up growing old together. The only reason I wouldn't marry him is that he'd have been a terrible father and I wanted to breed. From what I hear, he's a wonderful Uncle. Even still, when he was married he never stopped dating and named his boat Hookers and Blow. I do love that man.

Then I married fiancee #6. Buzz Kill was very good to me in many ways. The issues were primarily financial.

I will admit that through the years I have shown time and again that I needed approval and validation for other people prove I existed in this world but I had never run in to a Narcissist until I was going through my divorce.

I'm thinking that when I got assertive enough to file for divorce, I felt strong enough to confront my existential issues, although at the time, I was consciously trying to integrate healthy sexuality into my adult life. The point is that the whole Supply Source thing didn't come into play until recently, so I can stop lamenting. Narcissists have been required for my healing process.

I'm not quite ready to dance a jig, but it's nice to know that I fell into the supply source role because I could look into a man's eyes and see a vulnerable, hurting soul who needed a little love. I gave it gladly. Too bad his soul defended by a monster. Before now, the only monsters I had met were the perverts in my own family. There is no defending them. The good news is that I'm going to be just fine.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Speaking as a Narcissistic Supply Source

One of the reasons I hung out so long with That Narcissist is that it was inconceivable to me that anyone could be as __________ (fill in the blank with any number of derogatory adjectives) as he proved to be.

Most of my friends dismissed him as an asshole early on when he joined a conversation they were having at one of my parties which involved getting seats at a movie theater. My friends don't move when someone comes in after the movie has started and expects people to move over so that s/he and his/her friend can sit together. If you want the seats of your choice, you get to the theater early. If you get there late, you take what you can get. Expecting people to move is churlish unless it's a situation where an usher is helping folks find seats at very crowded movies. A few of my good friends have been in arguments at movie theaters because they wouldn't move.

The Narcissist was of the opinion that they were jerks for not moving. They, naturally, believed he was a jerk from that day forth. It's a good thing they met at a party and not at the movies.

My friends never gave me a hard time for dating The Narcissist since they knew I was sexually intoxicated and in sober moments I was fully aware of his _________ (pejoratives). As it happened, he and I generally stayed in when we saw each other, so I only saw the way he treated people in service jobs the time we went to Florida and he was rude to the woman checking in the rent car and the driver of the airport shuttle. Otherwise I was merely stunned into disbelief occasionally.

What continues to boggle my mind is the way he could take a discussion about something that bothered me and steer it so that I ended up doubting my own judgement. Actually, the time we broke up for good is the one time I held firm in my opinion that he had mishandled a situation with his oldest son.

The boy had been with his mother to get a hair cut. The Narcissist thought his son's hair wasn't short enough since he'd need another hair cut in a month. Hair cuts cost money. The Narcissist took the boy back to the barber shop and demanded that the barber give the child another, shorter hair cut for no charge. The child was mortified by the experience and hated his hair. The mother was furious. I took their side on a Friday night in July and by Sunday afternoon, the Narcissist and I were no longer keeping company.

If I hadn't been engaged in the Battle of the Incest Issues, I would be more concerned about doubting my judgement after he said his shrink said I was wrong about the narcissist idea. I got that information while I was examining my tendency to hear neutral remarks as criticism due to erroneously believing I'm bad at heart. And I'm not surprised that I had a hard time letting go of the relationship since I had confused the Narcissist/Supply Source relationship with a true emotional connection. Now that I think about it, I was certainly connected emotionally. He wasn't attached to me personally; he was attached to being adored but I didn't understand that at the time. I'm not so sure I fully understood it until last week.

I've always believed that whenever there is a conflict, an individual must look at the situation to determine what his/her own role has been, accept responsibility and respond accordingly. We need to be willing to hear what other people have to say in all kinds of relationships - friendships, work colleague, students in your classroom, your kids, and with romantic partners and spouses.

Some of us will go overboard, however. Some of us tend to believe that if we were better, somehow, there would have never been a conflict. If we could be good enough, we would be loved. I am only just emerging from that category.

Dr. Richard Grossman discusses Narcissist/Supply Source relationships on his website Voicelessness and Emotional Survival:

People who have not been given "voice" in childhood have the lifelong task of repairing the "self." Much of this repair work involves getting people to "hear" and experience them, for only then do they have value . . . However, not just any audience will do. The observer and critic must be important and powerful, or else they will hold no sway in the world. The observer and critic must be important and powerful, or else they will hold no sway in the world . . .Who, typically, is more than willing to play the role of power broker in a relationship, doling out "voice" only insofar as it suits him/her? A narcissist, "voice hog," or otherwise oblivious and neglectful person. . . . A narcissist is often expert in yielding just enough "voice" to keep his or her victim from leaving. They grant a place in their world, if only for a day or two. The wish that this change is permanent sustains the voiceless person until the relationship regresses back to its usual pattern.
Talk about an Existential Crisis.

I'm delighted to have finally broken this pattern, but it's going to take some time before I've integrated all this experience and insight. I feel like all the ingredients are there, they just have to simmer for a while or sit in the fridge over night.

Every now and then, I catch myself back in the old pattern, wondering how I might have been better. That's when I think of his wife.

On Thursday, I learned that The Narcissist never got divorced.

He says it's too expensive, but that is blatant bullshit because they had already paid the mediator and had a signed, legal separation document. He paid her the lump sum she accepted as opposed to alimony about a year ago - right before he and I went to Florida. Under New York State Law, once a couple lives under the terms of the separation agreement for one full year all they have to do is file the papers with the court to be officially divorced. It's no big deal. Establishing the terms of the original separation agreement is the tricky part. So, clearly, he's full of shit on this score. That divorce should have been finalized months and months ago.

Since The Narcissist a confirmed control freak, we can conclude that he won't sign off on the divorce simply to torment the woman who had the nerve to want a him out of her life. It's a testimony to what a miserable human being that man is, and I'm sorry for her.

When I told my mother about seeing The Narcissist and our subsequent conversation, she said that if I had to find one man on whom to dump forty years of accumulated rage, she was glad it was him. I'm glad too.

I will be forever grateful for this experience, but I can't say I'm happy to have known The Narcissist. He has a number of attractive qualities if you're not around him much. He calls our relationship significant because it lasted so long. Other than his marriage and a college girl friend, he's never seen anyone longer than a couple of months.

I'll try to figure out the positive things that says about me so I can add them to the list of qualities that make up my identity.

Other Narcissist Posts:


Patricia and The Narcissists
Patricia and The Narcissist, part 2: or Why I Obsessed on an Asshole
Light, Shadow and Internet Porn
Life in Cinemascope

Or find the whole story at Redemption and Retribution on the Bluestar Trial

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Patricia and The Narcissist Part 2 ,or Why I Obsessed on an Asshole


I saw HCW on Monday. HCW is the ex-boyfriend that led to my researching Narcissism (Patricia and The Narcissists, Stonerdate 09.28.08) in an attempt to understand how a person with normally functioning cognitive abilities could be completely without empathy.

Disclaimer: Only about 1% of the population is so Narcissistic that they qualify as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I'm not saying HCW has NPD. I'm saying he's an arrogant, self-righteous, know-it-all who negates other people. These are merely Narcissistic qualities. People with NPD are generally reckless drivers, too. HCW is an exceedingly reckless driver, but that doesn't mean he has NPD. It means that he drives like a Narcissist who disregards the safety of everyone on the road, including his passengers, because he is convinced his superiority gives him control over every conceivable situation. (Mayo Clinic on NPD; "How to Recognize a Narcissist," by Joanna M. Ashmun).

Personally, I suspect Sarah Palin has NPD based on the fact that she got on a six hour flight after her water broke. Evidently she always knows best and can control Mother Nature. But back to HCW.

Why would I go out of my way to see him? I not only went out of my way; it was all my big idea. I wanted to see HCW because he is the real man on whom I built Teiwaz, the archetypal judge in my head (Internal Characters and Hurricanes, Stonerdate Dec 6). The naked emperor in a glass palace chucking rocks at everyone else. HCW was between me and my light. He had to be removed.

When I started missing HCW back in October, I hadn't made the connection that I was using him as the catalyst for purging over 40 years of rage that had been accumulated during the Battle of the Incest Issue. As a Gemini and a Sap, I contacted him because I didn't like it that he was mad at me.

Disclaimer 2: HCW had every right to be highly offended and furious by my actions over the summer. However, I was seriously provoked. I had disclosed information to him about being molested as a three year old in a late night phone call. Details followed via email. I asked him to please call me as disclosing that sort of information leaves a person vulnerable. From the moment when I woke up the next morning and he had not called me back, everything I said should have been accompanied by Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.



Even my therapist has said I launched an Over The Top attack on his personal character, but that was after he said that disclosing to him when we'd already split was manipulative and "ridiculous." I told him he was as abusive as a perp.
Trying to understand his lack of compassion led me to research the term Narcissist. I found an article on the website Voicelessness and Emotional Survival about repeating bad relationships which discussed the unique connection between the Narcissist and the Supply Source. Suddenly it all made sense. In an attempt to shed myself of that behavior pattern for Tashlich, I sent him a letter saying that he needed to reflect on his controlling, authoritarian, critical nature so he could repair the damage he'd done to his family. To support my opinion, I included excepts from, "Selfishness and Narcissism in Family Relationships."

When I wrote in October to say I wished he weren't mad at me, he responded with a resounding "WTF?!" During this salvo, HCW emailed to say that if I wanted him to stop being mad, I should quit talking about him on the blog. He was especially offended that I'd called him an emotional vampire and human black hole. I'd also called him cheap. In a show of good faith, I deleted some posts and modifying others so that all specific references to HCW were gone forever. I felt like I had given my blog a lobotomy, but I wanted to prove my good will.

He also said that he had told his shrink that I said he was a narcissist and the shrink had laughed and dismissed the notion saying that successful people in New York City had to be a little Narcissistic. Significantly, the man did not say HCW is not a Narcissist. Further, when therapists discuss the treatment for people with Narcissistic Tendencies, the first rule of thumb is to support the grandiose thinking in order to gain trust. Ergo: of course his shrink dismissed the idea.

I was impressed that HCW had brought the idea to his shrink. Clearly, I had an impact on the narcissist which I considered a victory. Unfortunately, I started thinking I had misjudged him as a result of the distortions in my perception which can be attributed to trauma in early childhood and later.

As a result of this doubt and guilt, I became obsessed with the idea of getting friendly with HCW to determine if I had misread the entire situation. I developed a fantasy wherein HCW only had narcissistic defense mechanisms which were understandable since I had verbally attacked him. We had a unique and rare emotional connection and that there was a good chance that I could overcome his reservations about reconciliation. We would live happily ever after. I was well aware it was a fantasy. I told my sister that if HCW and I did get back together, within a couple of months I'd wonder why I ever wanted to see him again in the first place.

I had also made a conscious choice last winter to stay with him even though I was often hurt by his callous disregard and stunned by his outrageous arrogance because I knew I had to learn how to stand up for myself. HCW's ego is so impervious and defended that he provided a perfect opportunity to practice. What made being with him so confusing is that he was so affectionate and tender in bed that I believed he deeply cared for me.

Disclaimer 3: Like many people, I confused great sex with an emotional connection. I was extremely attached to HCW, perhaps artificially because of Oxytocin, a hormone connected with orgasms and attachment. Being with HCW kept my oxytocin tank full. I have learned that sex is another venue for a Narcissist to encourage a response in another person (the Narcissistic Supply Source) so that his own glorious self reflects back to himself. On the surface, he may seem emotionally connected before, during and after "lovemaking," but it is merely a simulation.

When you're filled with Oxytocin and on Cloud Nine, it's easy to fall for a simulation. I orbited HCW like a satellite, giving him all my Light and Love. I blamed his selfishness on the fact that he had been under pressure because he was stressed by a book deadline and by losing his job. I cut him some slack because he took me to Florida which showed he liked me, but that gesture proved he was kind and good by rewarding me for my loyalty.

In any case, I had to determine whether I had misjudged HCW or if he was, in fact, an emotional vampire. That question was settled once and for all this past week. A bit of time in his company and a lengthy phone call was all it took.

HCW has written a book on a specific investment method, and my dad wanted to compare it to one on the same topic by a syndicated financial columnist. HCW has some books in his possession from the publisher. So on Monday, I met HCW to get a copy of the book for my dad.

By then, I fully wanted to explore a reconciliation. I wasn't sure where HCW stood on the concept. In early December emails, I clearly wanted to get back together. He was clearly opposed. Since then, though, there had been two meaningful phone calls. More recently on the phone, he had been sexually suggestive and vaguely nostalgic, so I thought he might be warming up to the idea. Being unsure, I behaved with appropriate distance and circumspection.

In the bar area of a neighborhood restaurant, I stood up to kiss his cheek in greeting. He took my shoulders and planted a lingering kiss on my mouth. Over drinks, he said that even though he hadn't wanted to believe it, he sees I have a heart of gold. He forgave my nasty remarks over the summer. He fed me french fries by hand. We gazed into each other's eyes and he asked, "Is this a mutual admiration society?" Finally, he gave me a ride home and we were sitting in his car while he autographed a copy of his book for me. He looked me in the eye and asked, "Are you still my Number One Fan?"

Now, I had already observed HCW's fixation with having fans because he signed my dad's copy, "to my biggest fan in Texas," and he wanted to know if my mom was a fan. He may not have ever met either one of them, but that didn't stop his need to count them as admirers. When he asked me if I were still his number one fan, he clearly wanted me to say, "Of course." After hesitating a moment, I answered that I was his Riff Randall (president of the Ramones' Fan Club in Rock 'n' Roll High School).

So he signs the book, "To My Riff Randall, Thanks for your love and support during the writing of this book . . . "

What struck me as odd was that when we got to my place and I was getting out of the car, I asked him to call me sometime. He said he wasn't going to call me, but that he'd always pick up when I called. I didn't know what to make of that, so I concluded it had to do with male pride which is inevitably confusing.

In a lengthy, middle of the night phone conversation on Thursday, HCW declared that he never had any intention of getting back together. I was not a bit surprised, and although I had been driving in that direction, I never lost sight of the fact that HCW is a turd and I had originally been angry for a good reason.

I woke up in the night feeling as if someone had toyed with my affections to feed his ego. I wondered, "Who the Hell acts like that?" Who knows a woman has feelings he doesn't return then makes sexual innuendos, kisses her full on the mouth in a proprietary way, feeds her french fries by hand, and wants to be told she's his number one fan if the idea of reconciling hasn't at least crossed his mind?

A Narcissist, that's who.

My perception had never been distorted. HCW and I do have a unique and rare connection: the connection between a narcissist and his/her supply source.

This morning, I'm feeling fine because my mission is complete. When I was a child, a perverted man damaged my soul to the core. In HCW, I found an emotional power broker, and in the struggle to have an impact on him, I came to accept and value myself.

I've discovered my own light bubbling within. Grace is not an external prize received from an external God who has deemed you worthy of love and forgiveness. Grace is there for all of us all the time. We simply have to claim it and rejoice.

And every now and then, we have the pleasure of telling someone: Fuck You and The Horse You Rode In On.

Blessed Be.

Other Narcissist Posts:

Speaking as a Narcissistic Supply Source

Patricia and The Narcissists

Light, Shadow and Internet Porn

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Little Bits of Paper

In her collection of essays Grace (Eventually), Anne Lamott tells the story of teaching a Sunday School lesson on the Wailing Wall to 3 - 6 year olds. It was a small class and she had fun making a mini wailing wall out of paper bricks with the kids. They even stuck paper moss between the bricks. The point was about how writing down your worries and giving them to a higher power can be relaxing. She writes hers down on tiny bits of paper and gives them over to the elves in her glove compartment. Anne Lamontt calls these Prayers. I guess the folks putting bits of paper in the Wailing Wall considers them Prayers, too.

Velvet occasionally entertains himself by taunting me about being a Witch. This idea is, naturally, ridiculous but some people might think the way I focus my energy on a concept looks like a pagan ritual. Personally, I don't see the difference between naming an issue while lighting a few candles chosen for the symbolic significance of their colors and sticking a piece of paper with an idea on it in a wall to Give it Up to God.

I will say this, though. Writing a problem on a piece of paper and sticking it somewhere does feel like the worry has been lifted from the Squirrel Cage of your mind. Give it to God or to the Dog, someone else is worrying about it for you.

All this thinking simply shows I'm fretting about something these days. Hopefully, this fretting will have a positive impact on my weight. I heard from Velvet's friend Potus - the one who said I could easily play the Samuel L. Jackson role in Snakes on a Plane - that all you have to do to lose 15 pounds is drink green tea and fidget for a year.

Menopausal Stoner Diet: Eat an apple and go to bed.

I've been struggling to re-establish my parental authority. The episode with Gayle the Hillbilly Hustler severely eroded my authority. Great story and ultimately very helpful in my efforts at self-acceptance - but problematic in that Velvet got the big idea he has better judgement in some areas than I do. Perhaps he does. Nevertheless, he's still a big dumb shit in most areas because he's a seventeen year old boy. Adolescent and human developmental psychology shows clearly that there are few people on this planet more thoughtless and less aware of the consequences of their actions than Teenage Boys.

Arrogant Assholes like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney show the same type of magical thinking.

Petition Badge

Note: This is a link to a petition to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate War Crimes among officials in the Bush Administration. I saw it on Liberality's Blog.

If I admit the truth, there are times when I've been behaved with absolute disregard for the consequences of my actions. Maybe that's why I'm fretting and writing secret prayers for a second chance on bits of paper. I'm filled with fragile hopes and a budding sense of belief in Life, The Universe and Everything. As if sometimes, everything really does work out okay.
It's a Clap if you Believe in Fairies kind of day.




Sunday, January 4, 2009

Collecting Grannies

During these few days off from teaching preschool, I've been looking at the links other bloggers have posted. I couldn't help but notice that I've added two "grannies" to my own list: Grandmere Mimi and Yellowdog Granny. Can it be a coincidence that I brought home my quarter cup of Granny the Ho when I came back from Texas and now there are two self-declared Grandmas in my links? I think not.

Can it be a coincidence that both these women are in the South? They're even living in that dang vein of insanity that straddles the Texas/Louisiana border and extends at least as far as Dallas.
A long time ago, I read a book by Mary Karr called The Liar's Club (Viking/Penguin 1995). It begins somewhere out around Sabine Pass, Texas which is smack dab in the middle of the vein. I'd dig around in the book to find the exact location, but the first page is about a little girl showing some grown-up her bruises. I assume they were left from a recent beating, but I'm not reading anymore tonight simply to be precise. In these first paragraphs, Mary Karr explains, ". . . here in East Texas parlance the term Nervous applied with equal accuracy to anything from chronic nail-biting to full-blown psychosis" (p. 6). Her mother smelled of Shalimar cologne and Salem cigarettes. So did mine. That's about where the similarities stop, though, since I'm happy to say my mother never hauled the mattresses out in the backyard and set them on fire.

Anyway, I expect I'm feeling the lack of my Granny. On Christmas Night, after the dishes were done, we all played Bingo in honor of Granny the Ho. It was fun, although my mother observed that my brother is not nearly as foul mouthed as when I'm around. I was surprised to hear it since I've never heard him talk any other way - which is exactly the point. She was somewhat offended by my rendition of a song I made up to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas wherein on the Fifth Day of Something, that bastard gave to me - Crotch Crabs and Claaaaaap."
My brother then proceeded to call G something and said G as in Gonorrhea which really got Mom going since my 10 year old nephew was at the table playing Bingo. It was a family gathering, after all. Frankly, I thought everyone knew about crotch crabs and clap by the time s/he was ten years old. Perhaps we have a skewed perspective here in New York City because the schools have a good sex education program. My brother and I were chastised.

Granny would have enjoyed the evening. Last year, my sister-in-law got a fancy Bingo set with one of those turning cages filled with wooden balls for calling the numbers. My Brother tackled the job of Caller with energy and enthusiasm. Perhaps he got carried away. I reckon my brother has to remain nameless since everyone's secret identities would be blown upon hearing my brother's name. That he went to court and had it changed to XXXXXXXX is a local legend. Since he has a by-line, people google him occasionally and somehow I have a feeling somebody somewhere would get all pissed off at me if a connection were made at this time between Menopausal Stoners and My Brother.

A few people in my life have reminded me that Buzz Kill's lawyer, for example, could be monitoring my business to see if I'm violating the terms of our divorce by writing under my real name. Somehow I doubt it because that would mean that Buzz Kill had actually paid someone which is not a thing Buzz Kill ever likes to do. Buzz Kill would collect information and hold it against me in an attempt to get out of paying me all that back alimony. He could be doing it right now - but he's still going to have to pay a lawyer.

As a matter of fact, my own divorce attorney still wants money. Arbitration is in my future. I sure wish my Granny the Ho was here to talk to me about her divorces. She had five divorces, so she had plenty to say on that topic.

I just wrote she's got and had to change it to the past tense. That's what happens when somebody dies.

Granny the Ho would have had something to say about The Summer Boyfriend Reality Show if she were here, and I could use some support. The fact is that I just don't like any of the candidates and am going to have to keep fishing. That builder from the north shore of Long Island - the one with the house in Maine - is very nice on the phone, but up to his ass in problems. Grown son with autism lives with him, wife isn't quite and ex yet, his mom died last year and his 89 year old father with Parkinson's lives nearby. Maybe I'll have drinks with him, but he's kind of old.

The doctor yammered about his daughter's applications to ongoing schools for entirely too long. I understand that the kindergarten process is nerve wracking for New York City parents, but I get paid to listen to and respond to that shit. Otherwise he was earnest, intelligent and boring.

It's a good thing I started a little early this year.
Plugs for Friends
On a brighter note, last night my upstairs neighbor and I went to see a delightful play off-off Broadway written by Chris Weikel whom I know from Drunken! Careening! Writers!

Pig Tale by Chris Weikel

It must be exciting to write a play and then see it performed in a theater in New York. The house was sold out which makes it even more exciting. Why We Wax, the little ditty about the hair down there from She Shoots to Conquer was a favorite short over in Amsterdam so now it's playing in other festivals in Europe. It's showing in LA next weekend and in New Jersey near the end of the month. Again, it must be pretty cool to have an idea for a movie then finally see it in film festivals.

I may attend myself in New Jersey since I am in the film discussing feminism, orgasms and Brazilian Bikini waxes. It may be exciting to see yourself in a documentary - even if it is in New Jersey. My friend KW's plays have been produced several times in New York and also in London and Dublin.

Hanging out with such accomplished individuals is inspiring me to get busy on the book again.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Candles, Wishes and Grounding Velvet - A Happy New Year

I thought I was going to have a quiet evening at home. And I did - from 9:30 to 1:30. The regular gang plopped on to the sofa for an after party. As usual, they were well behaved, politically astute and aware of current events. For example, one of the boys is Israeli and shared his ideas on the situation in Gaza. He didn't get too far since Batman and Subzero were fighting on the Xbox - but if you're going to listen to someone's perspective on a war, it might as well be someone whose own ass could land in the middle of it.

Perhaps my patience was running thin because the previous night Velvet was supposed to stay with his father, but told his dad he was out at a party and didn't have to be over there until 1:00am. Never mind that the damn party was in MY living room. So that was two nights in a row I was supposed to have a stretch of peace and quiet and instead had a house full of boys eating Pop Tarts.

At 3:43am I informed the children that the party was over at 4:00 and went back to bed cherishing a vision of them putting on their coats and leaving quietly. To my surprise, Velvet came into my room a few minutes later asking if his friends could stay until 4:20. They thought it was a fine idea to smoke a joint at 4:20am in my living room on New Years Eve/Day. I'm sure it was a fine idea, but I had to say "Not no, but HELL no."
Velvet looks at finding his limits as if he were wading out into a lake. Some people take a step and stay there for a while before stepping a little farther out and deeper into the lake. Others charge in with energy and vigor, getting deeper by the second until they splash into some kind of trouble. To stretch this metaphor a bit farther, we could say that Velvet will even use a rope swing to get as far in one leap as a kid can get.

Random kid on internet - Not the Real Velvet

420 was the limit, and now he's grounded for 48 hours. Maybe he can go out tomorrow - but there will be no Xbox soirees over here for a long time. Fortunately, the boys who like it here the most are all going back to college this weekend.

Meanwhile, I have decided that I'm not so into the Summer Boyfriend Reality Show this year because I'd rather explore my relationship with God than with some man. As I have been contemplating Grace, it has occurred to me that the hole we often feel in our soul is the longing to be at one with God. I use the term God for lack of a better word. It may be God, for real, or it might be Higher Consciousness, The Force - I don't know. To me, it means Something Big and With a Purpose Beyond Human Understanding. I like the word God because it is short.

People go to great lengths to fill the hole in their souls. However, it may be that the hole needs to be there for The Light to come in. As I recall, the chakra on the top of our heads is supposed to connect us to the Divine, but in my body I feel like the hole is closer to the heart chakra. It may be that my heart has been very heavy for as long as I can remember, and as a result of a tearful but productive conversation with my mom and dad, my heart is beginning to lighten up.

Last night, in my few quiet moments, I felt the light inside myself. I felt it a little bit down in Texas, but it's hard to fully experience anything except in solitude. Without all those damn kids, my living room is my sanctuary. I can stretch on my giant, Pilate's ball - on my back with my heart wide open to the sky. As it happens, I was listening to a CD I had made for myself when I need to Calm Down. The first song is Judy Collins singing "Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen which happens to be a song my mother listened to a million times when I was a kid.

Between Jesus himself and feeling like maybe I will turn out to be as cool as Suzanne, able to look between the garbage and the flowers, holding the mirror for someone who is stretching out for love, my internal self was so warm, bright and revelling in endless possibility that all I could do was sit in the floor and bawl. The best part was knowing hundreds and hundreds of women have probably sat in the floor bawling to the very same song. It's a tradition.

For the record, I have not, nor will I ever, accept Jesus as my personal savior. He's great and everything - best ethics ever taught. But as a confirmed Universalist, I cannot say Jesus is the one and only path to The Light. Besides, I'd rather light candles at full moon all by myself than go to Church any day.

What has become blazingly clear, however, is that for more than thirty years, I've used a boyfriend to fill the hole in my soul when all along I needed it open to see my own light. I may have even been so afraid of my own light that I had to block it with a man. Or maybe it was that dang internal judge - the fat, naked Emporer chucking rocks from his glass palace who was convincing me that I didn't deserve to be in the Light. Either way, I made sure I couldn't feel it.

In Texas, I sobbed in my mother's arms, pouring my lifelong sadness into acceptance, and it was good. No one ever has the kind of mother they needed as a child, but if you're lucky, when you're older, you get the mother you need maybe when you need her the most.

Anyway - I don't feel like fooling around with a bunch of dumb shits showing off their houses and cars on Match.com. I'll still go out with the Doctor because it might be fun for a time. I'll be surprised if he can compete with Teiwaz - an internal character I'm almost certain does not exist in real life but who continues to symbolize the end of isolation.

I'll light a candle and keep wishing as my own light fills the holes in my soul.

There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind

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