Saturday, December 27, 2008

Food for Thought at Mudgie's

This morning over coffee, I floated an idea that I read on Pushing Fifty Gently that Barak Obama chose Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation in order to force a national discussion on gay rights. My parents believe this concept is entirely plausible and that Rick Warren would go along with it. Barak often mentioned Enlightened Self Interest during his campaign. The Rick Warren choice may very well be an example particularly since they both support AIDS work in Africa, albeit for different reasons.

During the same conversation over coffee, my mother passed me a section of the Houston paper folding it so that an article by Rev. Matt Tittle, a Unitarian minister in Houston, regarding the Sermon on the Mount. He corrects the often misunderstood idea that Jesus told us to be pussies. Not so. It's all about justice and non-violent resistance. Rev. Matt writes:
Today we see and hear these passages through a particular lens, but they are also acts of radical non-violent resistance . . . Jesus was advocating justice, not violence. Today we seemed to have blurred the distinction between the two.
By turning the other cheek when we have been assaulted, we offer the offender the opportunity to offend again, thus increasing the risk that they will be judged and brought to justice . . . By going the second mile, one was putting Roman soldiers at risk. They were allowed to enlist citizens to carry their packs a certain distance, but no further. If you go the second mile, then they are at risk for requiring what they cannot.
And even if all of these acts are simply acts of goodwill and humility, they achieve the same purpose. They take away power from those who would wield it over you and remind them that all people have worth and dignity. All are welcome.
(Keep the Faith, Houston Chronicle, Dec 27)
So we see that Turning the Other Cheek or Walking the Extra Mile does not make one a pantie waist pussy. It's a big, fat Fuck You to the Romans. Anyone who listened to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's Four Way Street heard Steven Stills saying that American needs to remember that Jesus was the first non-violent revolutionary. No matter what your religion - and I include Atheist as a Religion since no god is still a theology - few people think Jesus himself was full of shit. Most everyone agrees the Christians are the problem. Poor old Jesus gets hauled in to all sorts of ridiculous shit.

Just the other day, I was talking about the vein of insanity that runs up the Texas/Louisiana border with my sister-in-law. We can't determine just how wide this vein of insanity is. Could stretch as far west as Dallas. And there are certainly other veins of insanity in the world. We just know about this one along the Texas/Louisiana border because our families originated there. She told a story about some Crazy-assed Christian family who was on the way to the Rapture. Twelve or so were crammed into a sedan the size of a Ford Taurus - all butt naked driving through the Texas countryside when they were stopped by local law enforcement for having too damn many people in the car. Imagine the constable's surprise to find twelve naked Christians on the way to the second coming. Apparently they had to divest themselves of all their worldly goods but figured out a way to keep the car until the exact moment of the rapture. They blamed the whole thing on Jesus.

Which brings me to Paul Tillich and Grace. I finally read Tillich's sermon, "You are Accepted," and was surprised to discover I've been living in a state of grace for some weeks. Dissed, a reader from Georgia, pointed it out to me when I was feeling very sad and isolated (Internal Characters and Hurricanes, Stonerdate Dec 6, 2008). I wouldn't believe it, though. That's how it is with Isolation and Acceptance, which is pretty much how Tillich defines sin and grace.

I first experienced Grace back in the looney bin. Victor, an 18 year old street thug from the Bronx, was telling the group about how he never really felt like his mother loved him. He didn't know how to get her affection. Listening to Victor, I was hit by the realization that he and I were exactly the same despite the differences in our demographics.
Nice lady from Central Park West + Street Thug from the Bronx = profound human connection.
That connection, as I understand Tillich, is the beginning of Grace. Knowing you are accepted by something greater than you - even if it's just the You that lives inside you - that's grace. Spreading the connection is also Grace. That's what Dissed was trying to tell me. Grace again.
So here we all are, fooling around on the internet, establishing human connections. Some people think blogs are a pathetic attempt to declare our puny existence. Maybe that's true.

Menopausal Stoner Existentialism II: Miserable, inept humans that we are, we struggle to connect with others to combat the isolation and despair confronting us all. Sometimes we accidentally succeed.

Tillich wrote that sermon back during World War II. Back then, people were getting smacked in the face daily with Man's Inhumanity to Man and Nature. We still see that inhumanity today - maybe in Christians like Rick Warren.

It's a lot to ponder - this idea of being separated from your Self (which can be G*d if you want. Personally, my religion is one of those pagan based Spark of Divinity in everyone and everything religions kind of like Disney Princess Pocahontas') So Self being separated from Life vs Acceptance and Connection.

There is a resounding, "DUH," echoing in my head. When you're feeling it, it seems very simple - but when you're sad, isolated and profoundly lacking in human connection, it sounds like pop song claptrap. Just like Pocahontas herself singing, "Colors of the Wind."

In any case, I'm still down here in Texas up to my ass in fucked up Christians who think that finding a good parking place at the mall proves Jesus loves them more than everyone else. To them, I'll quote a bumper sticker my mother has hanging in the game room bar.

It is a little known fact that you can sing Amazing Grace in its entirety to the tune of Gilligan's Island. Try it right now - you'll never hear either song the same way again. I first experienced that Grace before dinner at the Hippie Dippie Quaker Camp in Vermont that Velvet attended for years. If that's not Grace, I don't know what is.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas at Mudgie's II

As pleasant as all this Christmas stuff has been so far, I'm counting the days until we go back to New York.

It all started during the drive over from New Orleans. We were west of Beaumont when I noticed a very nice roadside barbecue stand. It was a tiny green house with a few tables out front, freshly painted to match the gigantic McCain-Palin sign in the yard beside it. The sign was the same size as the dang shack.

Then once we were in the Houston metropolitan area, we passed a cement daycare center called "Little Angels Christian Day Care."

That put any ideas of moving back to Texas to rest for good. Even though I'd be in Austin where things aren't nearly as bad as that - they are still bad in the Conservative Christian Right Wing Republican Straight White American Male department. Maybe those guys aren't the most vocal subgroup of the population in Austin, but they are still there. There may be a couple of those guys in New York, but they go home to the suburbs at night. Velvet's friend - who will get to choose his own name one day soon - the one who said I could easily play the Samuel L. Jackson role in Snakes on a Plane (Response to Diana West Interview, Stonerdate 9/21/07) - has declared Suburbs Breed Intolerance. That may be very true.

This morning while my mother was fixing breakfast, the next door neighbor brought over some amazing examples of white trash cooking. I swear she spies on this house because it was barely 8:30 when she came over with a tray of (1) fruitcake made from vanilla wafers, marshmallows and butter and (2) individual frittatas dripping with cheddar cheese and stuffed with Jimmy Dean brown and serve sausage patties. Heart attack on a plate indeed.

I suspect I'm a bit grumpy because Houston always gives me the worst sinus headaches of anywhere in the world. It's a damn good thing that Velvet was not impressed with Tulane after all because the engineering department has gone into the toilet since Katrina. They're focusing on the medical school - which makes sense because it has been the cornerstone of the University ever since the Yellow Fever epidemic back in the 1850's.

That particular epidemic is the backdrop for Jezebel, the movie written so that Bette Davis could compete with Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind.

New Orleans was delightful, as always. The weather turned so nice I forgot my coat at the bed and breakfast where we stayed. Fortunately, the innkeeper is a personal friend of my brother's wife, but she is so conscientious that she'd have sent the coat to New York anyway.

*note* When in New Orleans, Menopausal Stoners recommends staying at The Grand Victorian on St. Charles in the Garden District.

No white trash cooking at The Grand Victorian, I guarantee. But a quick walk away, on Magazine Street, there's an amazing restaurant favored by the locals - Joey K's. Gumbo, crab and corn bisque, shrimp remoulade salad, red beans and rice. You couldn't ask for anything more - except a beer - and they have cold ones galore.

I'd have moved back down here if Velvet were in New Orleans - maybe - but now that he's going to be closer to home, I can put the idea of moving out of my head for years and years. I'll need to make more money once my alimony runs out - but everyone I know needs to make more money so who cares? I'm just glad this issue is settled once and for all.

Regarding Presents: This morning Velvet declared that he would know for sure if the One True Santa Claus existed if there was a chocolate orange in his stocking. Mudgie distracted him with the project of finding the "Yes, Virginia" editorial while my sister and I dashed off to the CVS to buy one. Fortuanetely, KPP and I were quickly able to locate the necessary object, buy it, get back to the homestead and deposit it into Velvet's stocking thereby proving once and for all that the One True Santa is a loving, indulgent grown-up.

Another day, we will prove that the direct connection between The One True Santa Claus and Jesus and/or God has destroyed the faith of generations of Christians. In the meantime, we'll enjoy the candy

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas at Mudgie's

When I was pregnant with Velvet - which is the one and only time I've ever been pregnant and I consider it an accomplishment to have only been pregnant once in my life and that was on purpose (thanks to my being able to function on The Pill which many people cannot) - I gave my mother the Grandmother name of Mudgie. Short for Curmudgeon. My mother is a certifiable curmudgeon whereas I could be called a flibbertigibbet. A flibbertigibbet is probably the exact opposite of a curmudgeon.

The name stuck, and she's known far and wide as Mudgie now even though she's mellowed over time and may not be quite as big a curmudgeon as she used to be - although I'm sure she has some neighbors who would disagree. They suck anyway, though, and we don't give a flying fuck what they have to say.

I'm spending today in my favorite Home at Mother's manner which is snacking and napping. Mother always has a refrigerator full of good food, perfect for snacking - but as a grandmother she reigns superior because she enjoys being a short order cook for her three grand kids who are all here. So there are nibbles galore as well as Blue Bell Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Bluebell is the Official Ice Cream of Texas

My sister will be taking her little family to Christmas Eve church somewhere in the vicinity. Dad will certainly go along. Mudgie and I will drink wine and I'll watch her cook. I may even stir something. Years ago, when I was living with my folks in St. Louis going to grad school for the first time, I made the mistake of monkeying with the salt in a big pot of pinto beans. That action led to the episode wherein my mother made the memorable statement:

We're all trapped in our own personal Hell, Patricia,
and nobody wants to hear about yours.

I was offended at the time, but even then I knew a good line when I heard one. Apparently, Velvet has a talent not only for coming up with good lines but also for delivering them with a innate sense of comic timing. Sadly, I am his favorite target. Even more sadly, last night after a seven hour car trip from New Orleans to Houston, I wasn't as thick skinned as I might have been. Most likely I should have had a glass of wine BEFORE I succumbed to the temptation to spit on him from the balcony of the game room.
The breakfast area in the kitchen has a cathedral ceiling so when you're playing pool you can hang over the railing and chat with those in the kitchen. You don't have to shout for a beer, since there is a well stocked bar upstairs too.
I wasn't playing pool at the time. I was running to lock myself in my room because my child was verbally assaulting me with glee, stopped to make a parting comment, and was compelled to spit. It was childish, but I couldn't help it. It was a clear, straight shot, and I would never have such a perfect opportunity again. Mother was pissed, but when we determined that the spit landed full on Velvet and didn't splash onto the kitchen chairs or floor, she let it go.
I got my comeuppance later when I ate what I believed to be a tiny piece of bell pepper. My sister and her husband had been out for Pho for lunch and brought some back for Mudgie. She had left a bit of pepper on her plate that looked for all the world like the curved top of a bell pepper - but it was fresh jalapeno. I popped it into my mouth and was quickly sputtering over the sink in tears, spitting it into the garbage disposal. The milk Mudgie gave me to cut the sting absorbed the juice and went up my nose. Ten minutes of hilarity ensued at my expense, but if it's one thing I learned early in life, it was to be a good sport. The whole thing was my own damn fault anyway. Clearly I've been away from Texas a while when I can't tell the difference between a bell pepper and a jalapeno.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guernica Christmas, Shiner Chanukkia and The Hokey Pokey

It's been a rough month, but that's not why I haven't done any Christmas shopping or otherwise prepared for the holidays.

I never go Christmas shopping until the last minute because everyone in my family decided some years ago to only give presents to the kids who are at the same Christmas tree as you. When my nephews were under 10, I sent them presents via internet shopping which saved me a trip to the post office. They are both old enough now to want Green Folding American Dollars more than anything so Christmas shopping just got easier again.

While cruising blogs this evening, I ran across this Christmas Card from I Was Just Wondering

It sums up my feelings about Consumerism and Christmas very nicely. If it weren't for the Christmas Tree and Macy's bag, it could be my feelings about Relationships. I'm the squashed one at the bottom - but it could easily be that the squashed one on the bottom looks a lot like my old boyfriends feel once Hurricane Trish blows out to sea.

I'm filled with regrets tonight - sort of. I'm certainly missing folks. Holidays are a time of memories. I'm happy to say mine are generally good. It's the first night of Hanukkah, which I don't celebrate, and it's Winter Solstice which I like to acknowledge. Winter holidays are all about light in the darkness whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali or Solstice. I'm sorry to say I don't know anything about Eid, and I'm not so sure Lunar New Year counts as a Winter Holiday although it's in winter and the moon gives off light in the darkness. If I wanted to stretch the analogy, I would - but for the purposes of this post, the important point is the Shiner Beer Bottle Chanukkia my dear, lost friend the Rebbe Mohammed McCrory made a couple of years ago.

Remembering friends, even Gayle the Hillbilly Hustler who played a major role in the sitcom of my life last year with that dang Bloody Mary Juice Fast (great story - worth every drop she drank of my liquor), is part of holidays. I'm hoping that when the light returns to the earth in the coming months, some of my wandering friends will return to brighten up my life. And maybe I'll wander in to someone's life as well. With luck, my sister will have remembered to bring my quarter cup of Granny's ashes.

Tomorrow Velvet and I head out to New Orleans, then on to Houston where I'll be surrounded by the warmth of my whole family for the first time in years and years. I have a feeling my mother is going to get me Shaking of the Foundations by Paul Tillich. The next thing you know, Menopausal Stoners is going to get all theological. I have a feeling that somehow, embedded under all this foolishness, there's a very solid theology. It's based on The Hokey Pokey.


The Rebbe and I are now Facebook friends and making plans to light sparklers on the terrace when I get back from Texas bearing Blackeyed peas - a southern New Year's Day tradition. With luck, I'll be having lunch soon with the other individual I've been missing, and we'll have a chance to make up. As for Granny the Ho - I'll have to make due with my quarter cup. But that's okay, she brings light to my darkness all the time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008 Influences: Why not Pot?

When I logged in this morning, I saw this MSN headline and photo:

You really have to wonder about someone who places Hannah Montana and Michale Phelps on the same level as Sarah Palin and Barak Obama.

Is MSN the culprit here or the American public? Is this media influencing the public or the public influencing the media. Just whose chicken and egg is this bullshit anyway? Are these role models for America's youth? WTF? And the final questions: Am I so out of touch with pop culture these days that I don't understand why Hannah Montana and Sarah Palin are equal influences on this country? Is this a bad thing?

If we were to use an objective, arbitrary standard to determine the worth of these people - like how they would conduct themselves in an interview with Stephen Colbert - then Michael Phelps has to be shot down off this photo illustration before any further discussion. He may be a great Olympian whose dedication and motivation can serve as an inspiration, but he was undeniably slow on the uptake on the Colbert Report the other night. If his book is at all interesting, it's because he had a good ghost writer.

Further, he's not going to try to do anything else for anyone else during the next four years - so why anyone on this green earth would equate him with a new president who could change the course of life in this country forever is beyond me. Similarly, Miley Cyrus is an insipid celebrity who may or may not grow up to be an influence of historical significance. We can only hope she doesn't go into finance and bankrupt retirees like the latest Wall Street Criminal - whose name I'm sorry to say I do not know because I hate those guys on general principal (see Bastards with their Backs Against the Wall when the Revolution Comes). That motherfucker's influence will be felt well beyond 2008.

No one can dispute Sarah Palin's influence this year. Whether or not she should have been drowned at birth is something people can debate until the caribou come home. I would wish she would become an equal to Miley Cyrus except in some distorted reality (this would be Real Life and not my personal reality which we all know is unreliable and distorted) Miley Cyrus probably can have a significant impact on the voting patterns of an important demographic.

Maybe the world outside my window exists in a parallel universe to the one inside my living room. Granted, we smoke weed occasionally in this home (sorry, Mom) but I don't think that's a bad thing. It's illegal which is unfortunate. I hear that individuals in Austin, Texas can have a QP (that's quarter pound, y'all) and it's just a misdemeanor again. A mere ticket-able offense.

That's a good influence for 2008.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Current Events in Real Life

The thing I like best about not paying much attention to current political events is that I often get completely confused about who people are which often makes the story much more interesting. Take, for example, the recent announcement that Caroline Kennedy wants Hillary Clinton's senate seat.

I had Caroline Kennedy confused with Maria Shriver. Since residency in NY State isn't a big deal to our Senators, it seemed entirely plausible to me that The Governator's wife in California would think it was a fine idea to be a senator from New York. She is a Kennedy, after all, and as I recall Bobby Kennedy launched himself onto the national stage with the very same senate seat even though he lived in Massachusetts.

No doubt I have details wrong - but what the hell? Some people were bent out of shape when Hillary Clinton came to New York to be senator. Admittedly, her running was unfair to whomever the loyal Democrats in The Empire State believed should be the candidate - but that's life in the big city. Besides, everyone knows Hillary Clinton is a brilliant opportunist. Frankly, I never saw an issue except that in my view, there's no logic to allowing a person who hasn't lived in a state to be elected to public office. When you think about it, though, so many public officials are self-interested bastards who don't care about their constituents that it makes no difference where they grew up.

Which brings me to the flap about that governor in Illinois. Apparently, lots of people are outraged at the blatant corruption displayed about selling Obama's senate seat. I think it's a big "Ho Hum." What's funny is that he hired the lawyer who defended R. Kelly for filming himself peeing on a teen-aged girl. There is a distinct parallel between a rapper peeing on a minor and a Governor pissing on every law in the book.

That's about as much energy as I ever have for current events - especially when there's corruption on Wall Street too. It makes me wonder exactly who will be the mindless jerks with their backs against the wall when the revolution comes. I first read that phrase in The Hitchhikers' Guide describing the Sirius Cybernetic Corporation.

Talk about weird: I was trying to find an exact quote for the Hitchhikers' reference above and one of the first things that popped up on Google was me. Jesus H. Christ - no wonder this country is on the way to Hell in a Handbasket. Menopausal Stoners is becoming some sort of authority on Bastards with their backs against the wall when the revolution comes, Bokonism and Panties.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Moody is my Middle Name

Now that I'm not on my psychotropic medications, my old moodiness returns sometimes. Like right this very minute. I believe I'll isolate until January - or isolate as much as possible given that next Monday night, my dad is picking Velvet and me up at the airport in New Orleans. I'll be plunged into a week-long Jamboree of Family Festivities. Wine will doubtless be consumed in mass quantities. We may even see my brother who somehow turned showing up for obligatory family events into something similar to a celebrity appearance.

In the meantime, I'll be pondering human sexuality and relationships. Not that I can discuss any of that on the blog because from the beginning, I made the decision to keep Menopausal Stoners rated PG-13 . I suppose what I said about Double Wide could be construed as R. It could be construed as mean, too. I didn't mince words about my opinion of ShatAKing either - but since I don't really know either one of them, the consequences are minor. Although there's still something going on in the King's domestic life if blog statistics are any indication. I have absolute confidence that his wife will manage things with sensible panache.

Anyway, I'm taking a break from Romance and getting back to goals for myself and my Self. My friend Bev down in Austin turned 50 over the weekend - which has reminded me that I have roughly six months to finish The Book. According to my personal standards, I'll never be a cool old lady without finishing the book. Being a cool crone tops on my list of personal goals, and crone hood is in sight. Fifty looms on the horizon.

I'm totally cool with turning fifty, but I can already tell that my perspective is changing on a lot of things - most specifically how I want to spend my time.

Tonight I watched Heroes with Velvet. I've seen it a few times with him before and haven't been particularly impressed - and next season will be dumber as the show goes straight into X-Men territory. I liked True Blood better, not that it was sophisticated entertainment.

I like snuggling under a cashmere blanket watching bad TV or good movies with Velvet. And one good thing is that even though I'm moody tonight, I don't feel like there's a hole in my soul or like something is missing from my life. I feel like there's work to be done and winter is a good time to get things accomplished since the world is asleep and waiting.

I've been throwing runes a lot lately since I do feel like I'm missing an Answer. Hitchhiker's Guide fans everywhere will be shouting "42!" at me. That's the ultimate answer to the question of Life, The Universe and Everything. I wish there really were a book of Bokonist Calypsos for me to read on moody nights like these - although I'm beginning to suspect it really is time to break down and read Paul Tillich's Shaking of the Foundations.

It's kind of like when Oprah (or somebody like that) asked women, "What would you do if you believed you were really beautiful?" What could I do if I really believed I am good? Certainly something to consider. Acceptance and Grace.

I felt grace once, a long time ago, one night after I just got out of the looney bin. I was manic at the time - thoughts racing through my brain like a million puppies chasing their tails - but every now and then a big rabbit of a thought would shoot through the crowd and into the clear. That was the night I realized I could exist in and of myself - not as a reflection of someone else and under someone else's authority and jurisdiction. Specifically that would have been my mom and/or dad and my husband - all of whom held my self esteem in their hands. If I had their approval I could live.

During those weeks when I first got out, I would stand in the shower writing my name on the glass door and watching it fill up and disappear in the steam. Now you see her; now you don't. It was one of my favorite things to do - besides sit on Fifth Avenue by Central Park right where one of the side streets intersected Fifth and pretend the cars were going to smash into me. It was just pretend, though.

I can tell my brain is falling back into an old pattern with Teiwaz (Stonerdate Dec 6) who I swear does not exist in real life but only as a character in my mind, along with the conviction that somewhere there is a person who can make everything okay - like falling into a life giving hug. As long as I believe there is a real person like that out there somewhere, then I suspect that romance in real life is doomed.

That's okay, though. Maybe there really is a person out there like that. Oh dear - it must be another Clap If You Believe in Fairies kind of night.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Catharsis and Christmas Past

On Saturday, I'll be taking my LAST Test. Calling the Liberal Arts and Science Test the LAST test may be accurate because it describes the topics covered, but in every other way it's a complete misnomer because I have to take two more tests. I'm sorry to say I forgot I was supposed to take these tests last year. I finished the MSEd and put the requirements for NY State certification right out of my mind. When I did remember, I was usually broke and the dang tests cost $88 each to take which is a lot of money to a preschool teacher - especially one whose ex-husband is always late and short with the child support.

The good news is that it looks like I'll pass thanks to Velvet's expert tutoring in mathematics. The bad news is that while he was explaining simplification of algebraic equations to me last night and I was spazzing because no matter how I looked at it, six equalled six despite the zeros and decimal points, Velvet looked me in the eye and asked, "Are you high?"

Of course I wasn't for a number of reasons - not the least of which is that I promised my mother last year that I wouldn't get high around Velvet. I haven't been getting high much lately because I tend to get very sad and cry and cry and cry. Naturally, I have already made a tear jerking CD to enhance moments like these. Judy Collins singing, "Suzanne," Peter Gabriel singing, "Here comes the Flood," and "Red Rain." Things like that.

It's cathartic in a way that supports my belief that these days, I'm better off getting high and feeling my feelings than taking Depakote to coat them. God knows that the Depakote was entirely necessary for all those years since the feelings were so overwhelming they got in my way every time I turned around. Now I need to experience the emotion and reflect upon it in order to quit thinking I'm bad all the time. It's a drag when you've only thought you had a right to exist on the planet for a few years, and even then the proof that you exist and are good belongs to someone else. Specifically, in my life, that old belief manifests itself as needing a boyfriend, or my mother's approval, to feel good enough about myself so I think it's okay for me to be alive. No wonder I needed catharsis.

Maybe it's time for me to read Paul Tillich. I never did before because I knew there was no way I would feel accepted unless God Herself showed up to tell me so. I certainly wouldn't believe it just because I read a book my mother's been trying to get me to read since I was a teenager. I suppose that all goes back to ways of thinking established in early childhood as a result of the twisted environment into which I was born.

Yesterday at therapy I said I felt like being breech when I was born was my own fault. Bad behavior from someone inherently bad. No wonder I need a catharsis.

As it happens, my therapist says my entire emotional gestalt is not fucked up since I have a great relationship with Velvet. We were talking today about my resilient spirit. According to my psychiatrist, Dr. Nir, if it weren't for my joie de vivre I'd have killed myself in High School. Very likely. In any case, it's nice to know I'm not entirely fucked up. But these days, I'm still feeling sad a lot.

I'm not going to think about that right now today because Velvet and I are going to New Orleans soon to look at a University there. I'd say which one, but what if someone from the admissions office is googling the school name, finds a blog written by an old broad who occasionally smokes weed and holds it against Velvet? It seems far fetched, but stranger things have happened.

Louisiana takes a liberal view on marijuana if the 2006 incident wherein a state trouper discovered a pound of weed and some mushrooms on Willie Nelson's bus is any indication. Nevertheless, marijuana is still illegal - which is a crying shame. As long as drinking wine is legal, smoking weed should be legal too. And as long as you can vote and go into the military at 18 years old, you should be able to drink a beer, for crying out loud.

My sister and her family, my dad and my brother's wife are all meeting us in New Orleans because Why the Hell Not? It's a good time, after all. Mom would go to except for there's no kennel space for the dog. There could be a spot at the kennel, but unless it's in one of the Executive Suites with a TV and three play periods per day, Mom would never put her dog there.
Fortunately, my nephews are both old enough now to appreciate the gift of green, folding American dollars above any kind of Stuff, so the gift giving is dramatically simplified. Not many packages under the tree, but that spectacle was only important to my grandmother in Beaumont, whom I never liked anyway.

She was possessed by the idea of a pile of presents under the tree that was so big it took up half the living room. Unless the receiver had the opportunity to highlight items in the Sears Catalog for Meemee to buy, the gifts tended to come from the dime store or garage sales. One year she gave my mother a blouse with ring around the collar. The same year I got a royal blue polyester double knit pants suit that had been hemmed twice on one leg and not at all on the other. She got confused in the wrapping process, too, so that once my little brother got our cousin's Growing Up Skipper. That was the Skipper where you turned her arm and she grew little tits.

During the late 1960's, my little family was driving home in the station wagon with a load of crap so large that it blocked my dad's view out the back window. We jettisoned most of it without regret. That year, the loot included a plastic badminton set from the Walgreens. You never know, though. Someone might have been thrilled to find a pile of cheap toys on a picnic table at a roadside park in the middle of NoFuckinWhere, East Texas.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Glass Bottom Boat

I like it when somebody is searching a term on Google and lands on a post that reminds me of something valuable. Take Narcissists, for example. There has been a flurry of interest in that topic recently that led several folks to the post with the narcissist joke (How many narcissists does it take to change a light bulb? Stonerdate 9/16/08)

A little while ago, when I was trapped in my own personal hell, I began trying to have an impact (again) on someone who isn't a narcissist but plays one in my head. There is no doubt that the person has narcissistic defense mechanisms, but the operative word here is Defense - like putting plywood over your windows when a hurricane is brewing. We all have our stress behaviors and defenses.

That's the trouble with self-worth, identity, voicelessness and perceptual distortions - you never know when you've got something right or if you've thought something up in the quest for the Corrective Experience.

The trouble is that I'm so adept at running a scenario in my head by including or ignoring details from real life that facilitate my mind's systematic race toward a solution that when the wind from Hurricane Trish dies down, I can't tell my head from my ass.

At least I've got my sense of humor back. That may have something to do with The Artist from the South of France, but I deserve some credit for charging into the Battle of the Incest Issue. Now that I'm coming out the other side, I have started to relax and have some fun again. I also took a lot more time than I usually do when it came to choosing a man to have fun with. Quite possibly, it pays to be selective. We'll see how that develops, but I suspect I have a date for New Years.

Que sera sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera sera

Doris Day in The Glass Bottom Boat

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Internal Characters and Hurricanes

I've been engaged for some months in The Battle of the Incest Issue.

It's not pretty, and I wouldn't haul it out on the internet except that I've found so many women with similar backgrounds are blogging that the internet seems like the safest place in the world to discuss this stuff.

About five years ago, I had a flashback so disturbing that I could barely think about it. I turned it over in my head a few times and mentioned it to my shrink. She said that the mind protects itself and not to push for full recall. We talked about what I sensed was true but couldn't verify since I was very young at the time. It's no coincidence that I work with kids about the same age as I was then. A week or so later, my little family was out to dinner with Vagina Dentata and some of her friends when I was squashed by awareness of the incident. As it happened, the Rebbe Mohammed McCrory's apartment was just a few minutes walk from the restaurant so I rushed over there and collapsed sobbing onto her breast. As it also happens, the Rebbe went through an abusive situation herself, so I found compassion, understanding and comfort for the moment.

I didn't really think about The Incest Issue again until Gayle the Hillbilly Hustler landed in my living room with a vengeance last Thanksgiving. As it happened, Gayle's father pimped her out to his brother for a number of years. The brother had taken a fall for the father and gone to jail. When he got out, the father made it up to him by giving him Gayle. Horrific again. I'll tell Gayle's story because I've already said volumes about her drawers. The Rebbe's story remains her own but it's equally as horrific.

I suppose I think their stories are worse than mine because mine was an isolated incident. It fragmented my ego identity and left me floundering in the world with no idea of who to trust and a firm conviction that I was so bad I was undeserving of love - but it only happened once. Maybe being molested as a three year old is horrific, too.

Busy, busy, busy.

In any case, it's a difficult subject. When Gayle was living here, we both had the freedom to reference our histories. You don't get that often and by talking with her, I got used to the idea that something had happened to me. That was about a year ago, and it's taken this long for me to finally accept the fact of the event. I'm still working on the repercussions and there's a long way to go. That is simply a matter of behavior modification, however. Albert Ellis is great for that.

I could never have reached this place in my recovery, however, if it hadn't been for an internal character I'll call Teiwaz after the Warrior Rune.

The Teiwaz character is definitely a man who bears a striking resemblance to a former friend in my real life, but Teiwaz is a composite character who is much more harsh, judgemental, merciless, egocentric and cruel than any living person I know. The man who lives in my head is like a big, fat emperor sitting naked in a glass palace chucking rocks downhill at everyone else. At least, that's what he's like when he's mad. When he's satisfied that your spirit is pure, he's accepting, jolly and welcoming.

I suspect that Teiwaz is the consort of the Internal Mother - that nasty Medusa many of us also smother with food. Some people would rather barf or starve than feed her. Marion Woodman describes that archetypal character best in Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride.

Teiwaz is the one who demands, "What have you got to say for yourself?" Then I explain and explain and explain. If Teiwaz can be made to understand, then I won't go to Hell. If this were a dream and we were taking a Freudian perspective, Teiwaz would be my Super Ego. A cross between Jehovah and Santa Claus.

The man on whom this character is based has suffered because of it. He's been the object of a frenzied obsession while I've been compulsively explaining to his internal counterpart. Worse, though, is that I have repeatedly spewed displaced anger on him like puss shooting from a giant zit.

Many people would have been quivering out on a ledge after the things I said when I was purging fury and despair as part of the catharsis necessary to reclaim my soul. A primary reason I was friends with this man in real life is that I could feel the shit storm gathering on my horizon, and he'd already withstood a shit storm from his ex-wife. His ego is fully strong enough to survive any hurricane of mine. Like some former residents of New Orleans, though, he may never want to go back there. But that may be as it was supposed to happen.

I'm trying to maintain a Bokonist perspective on this whole thing. That relationship may have been collateral damage in The Battle of the Incest Issue. Further, it's entirely possible that my impression of the real person is so colored by perceptual distortions that I don't really know him at all. Either way, he made a great model for Teiwaz. I always be grateful for that and for the fact that in real life he's been available enough to help me find a path as I journeyed into the underworld to tangle with the beast who stole my soul.

Teiwaz has changed now that I'm well on my way to healing since my mom said everything I ever needed to hear in Real Life. If the thoughts and feelings in your mind are like a soccer or hockey game with 100 balls/pucks speeding about the field at once, you need a seriously good defense person to protect your goal from being hit too hard or at a bad time. Teiwaz is playing defense these days. If a bad guy pops ups, Teiwaz bonks him on the head with his stick. I can reflect later, alone in the dark where it's safe and quiet.

My brother took this photo after Hurricane Ike. It shows how I feel today - still in trouble, but intact.

One day, the flood waters will recede. There will be flowers and tomatoes in the garden, and freshly baked bread. Maybe I'll have a friend.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another Dawn

Velvet and I are off on a college adventure this morning.

Years ago, Buzz Kill, Velvet and I were in Nepal. This was back in 2000 - when everyone called Buzz Kill "The Penguin" because his mannerisms are similar to those of The Penguin on the original Batman TV Show. In those days, Velvet was vacillated between Mandark and Irving. Irving took over in Paris the day Velvet got tired of me asking him if he wanted any hot chocolate and said, "What's with you and the cocoa? You know it gives me indigestion." This was earlier on the very same trip.

We were in a little plane flying over the Himalayas on the way to Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in Royal Chitwan National Park. It was kind of scary because the plane only had about five seats - slung canvas with seat belts from old cars - and the co-pilot was reading the paper. Plus there was no scheduled time to leave Kathmandu because you have to wait until the mist lifts from the mountains before you can fly to Meghauli so you are given a two or three hour time span in which you might leave. The flight was only about thirty minutes and we flew right by Mt. Everest.

Despite the panorama - or maybe because of it - Velvet was alarmed in the airplane. We were barely clearing the snow covered Himalayas, after all. That day, I told Velvet that we were on an adventure, and if you didn't think you were going to get killed Grave Yard Dead at least once every day, it was not an adventure.

There are some that think riding in a car that I'm driving is a similar experience. It's not that my driving is bad, it's just that I occasionally get distracted by the scenery or sometimes other drivers make me scream in fear. There are also the drivers that cause me to shout, "You dumb ass cock sucking mother fucker!"

So we're off on a college adventure.

It's a new dawn though because HCW and I had the first honest talk we ever had the other night. He may have thought we had a million honest conversations, but I was never that forthright before. I have come to understand that my abuse issues from the past were irrevocably tangled up in that relationship. Something about talking to him gives me insight into my distorted perceptions of emotional realities. It's very helpful - but it's intense. As a result of what I learned from that conversation, I was able to talk to my mom about some stuff I'd been dancing around but never really got into deeply.

We got into it deeply, I told her the truth about how I feel about myself as a result of those abuse issues, and she told me exactly what I needed to hear. And I needed to hear it from her - not from HCW even though for nearly a year, I've been trying to hear it from him. Maybe if I'd told talked to him when his heart was more open to me, I'd have heard it. But then I wouldn't have been able to talk to my mom. Then again, if he weren't available, we wouldn't have talked the other night and I wouldn't have initiated the conversation with my mom.

So we have more proof that whatever happens is supposed to happen. I'm not saying That's the Way God Planned It. I will say, however, that when people are driven by unconscious needs to say and do things that don't always seem logical. Reflecting on the results provides insights that feel a tad divine.

I'm grateful to have gotten to that place with my mom. She and I have worked together for years to make the relationship we both need. Lots of people never, ever get that opportunity.

At Tiger Tops, we were out in a field at dawn looking for tigers from the back of an elephant. The damp grass was so tall that it was ten feet over the elephant's head. We had been out for a while in this primordial quiet, the only sounds were the elephant's flapping ears and occasional snort, the swishing of the grass, maybe a bird. Once the mist started to lift and the sun could break through, the grass thinned into a clearing and we came across a spider web.

The spider had spun it so that this giant blade of grass bent into a huge arch. A perfect web, five or six feet across and just as high, glistening with dew in the sunrise. Buzz Kill had the camera, taking repeated pictures of a million different rhinoceros - or maybe it was the same damn rhino running around in circles getting his picture taken by Buzz Kill. Either way, I didn't have my own camera at the moment, but it didn't matter. I made that spider web into an endless memory.

That's how I feel about my life today.