Tuesday, June 30, 2015

be my safe harbor

“If you want the naked beauty of my vulnerability,  [NB:  my naked vulnerability is fucking awesomely beautiful and anyone who gets to witness it is blessed and lucky beyond their dreams] you have to have the strength to share the burden of, the private pain, that makes me feel so tender and fragile. For I am as strong as I am weak. If you want me to come home to you, be the safe harbor, in which, I can seek refuge.”
Jaeda DeWalt ~

Be my safe harbor and I will be yours

not everyone can handle another's honesty

“Honesty is vulnerability. Sadly, not everyone can handle someone’s honesty. However, lying allows people to be comfortable.”
Shannon L. Alder ~

fuck this attitude.  I try to be honest. Then I get attacked for being too blunt, or told I am violating cultural norms. Who gives a rat's ass about a cultural norm that tells me I am wrong to be bluntly honest? or lovingly blunt, which is usually what I am being when I am attacked for being 'too blunt'.

When I undertake the challenging task of telling someone I love what I see in them that might be hindering their evolution, I am loving them, not attacking them.

Now, at least, I know that when someone gets all jumpy and reactive when I broach some truth -- and I am open to hearing others' perceptions of me, to hear their truth for me, of course -- that their fearful reactivity is all about them.

I get told all the time, even from colleagues I respect who have spent a lifetime honing their ingraciation skills (aka kiss ass skill), that I should be softer.

Fuck that.

As a friend said at a meeting on Sunday about our corrupt city servants:  fuck them, just fuck them, off with the gloves.

But it is a norm to consider it disrespectful to say fuck our awful mayor Bates. Fuck that alleged norm. Do a poll and see how many people recognize the norms you think everyone recognizes. You will find that no one recognizes all the same norms, and the belief that there are magically universal norms is nonsense.

courage is vulnerability

“Courage is vulnerability. Vulnerability is courage.
Like shadow and light, neither one can exist without the other.” 
Wai Lan Yuen ~

love is something we nurture and grow


“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
Brené Brown ~

another good lesson for me

Another A Course in Miracles lesson, a lesson I had to stay with for a couple weeks comes to mind. One lesson asks the student to think of someone they have been unable to forgive, bring an image of that person into our thoughts and keep looking at the person until we can see light emanating from their being, from their heart and than expand the light through the whole visage of that person. Then the lesson says "you know who the right person is, it is the first person you thought of when you read this but you probably rejected that person for the lesson. That person, the one you thought of first, that's the right one for this lesson.

I was only a few years past my divorce and past the incident of abuse my ex inflicted on our then-five-year-old. He had immediately come to mind as someone I was unable to forgive. When I envisioned him, I barely saw him, I only saw darkness. So he was the right one for that lesson.

Day after day, for weeks, I would begin my day with meditation and end the meditation by doing an exercise. This exercise got me stuck. For weeks, I tried to envision my ex-husband in my mind, to see even a hint of light, in the vision of him in my mind's eye.  I doggedly stuck with it.

Of course, I slowly became able to see light, first emanating from his heart area, and, eventually, I could see him surrounded by light.

I sometimes return to this lesson nowadays when I feel stuck on some negative thinking in relation to someone.

in my vulnerability, my safety resides

A Course in Miracles (ACIM)  has a text, a daily lesson book (or workbook) and a small manual for teachers. I have tudied ACIM quite intensely at times, then set it aside for years and then return to it. Marianne Williamson's work began in her ACIM studies. It's a great, channeled-material resource, channeled to two professors at Columbia. Science professors, no less, who initially feared losing professional credibility.

My favorite lesson in the workbook is this:

"In my vulnerability my safety lies."

In ACIM, in the workbook, some lessons are a full page of wisdom. Some offer an italicized quote at the top and invite the student to reflect on it, for a day, a week, however long is the right time.

I have attended some ACIM study groups in the Bay Area. I have been surprised by the many students I have met here who compulsively do the workbook one day at a time, beginning with the first day of the year. This is totally different from my experience with the work. The workbook introduction says there is no right way to do the lessons, that one can do them in arbitrary order, one can stay with the same lesson for days if one feels called to stay with a lesson. Sometimes I would stick with a lesson for weeks.

This lesson, 'in my vulnerability my safety lies' is one I return to quite often.  My vulnerability is my strength, my power, my base of safety.

on vulnerability

is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without, vulnerability is not a choice, vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding under-current of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature, the attempt to be invulnerable is the vain attempt to become something we are not and most especially, to close off our understanding of the grief of others. More seriously, in refusing our vulnerability we refuse to ask for the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity.
To have a temporary, isolated sense of power over all events and circumstances, is a lovely illusory privilege and perhaps the prime beautifully constructed conceit of being human and most especially of being youthfully human, but it is a privilege that must be surrendered with that same youth, with ill health, with accident, with the loss of loved ones who do not share our untouchable powers; powers eventually and most emphatically given up, as we approach our last breath.
The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance, our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully, or conversely, as misers and complainers, reluctant, and fearful, always at the gates of existence, but never bravely and completely attempting to enter, never wanting to risk ourselves, never walking fully through the door.
David Whyte ~
‘VULNERABILITY’ From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

restore the world to wholeness

“When we seek for connection we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we realize how truly necessary we are to each other.” –Meg Wheatley

me and Father Godly

After spending a year in Bogotá, I returned to the states abruptly. My Colombian boyfriend, Rafael, had thrown a cup of hot chocolate at my face. I got up, went to the phone, and made my reservation home for the next day. The story of that hot chocolate is an interesting story but it is not my focus here.

We both knew that leaving in response to his abuse meant we'd never see one another again.  He had asked me to marry him, even pleaded with me to do so.  I considered the proposal but, by the time he threw that hot chocolate at me, I had long since decided I could not marry him. 

So.  He and his brother accompanied me to the airport, with Rafa pleading with me until I passed customs, to change my mind, to stay. I was exhausted before my long flight to Miami. I had been up all night packing, crying and arguing with Rafa. I felt sad to leave him but I knew I would not stay in Colombia, could not have lived out my life there. And I knew I wanted to get back to college that fall. The abruptness of my decision may have given the appearance of impulsivity. His act of throwing that very hot chocolate at my face gave me the motivation I needed. I had been procrastinating about scheduling my return to the States, waffling over our moonie romance.  I don't think I was angry about the attack of the hot cocoa. I think I was grateful for the clarity that hot cocoa allowed me to have. Get out, was the message. Stop dinking around. Call the airlines. Avianca Air.

From Miami, I flew to NY's Kennedy airport, then took a shuttle to LaGuardia for my flight to Pittsburg. My mom and youngest siblings lived near Pittsburg. I wanted to see them before I got to Chicago, my hometown with my dad.

Once I got to LaGuardia, with a long wait for my flight, the only place open was a bar.  I have almost never gone to bars, and virtually never gone to one alone. Bars intimidate me, to this day. An airport bar, however, felt somewhat acceptable.

I sidled up to the bar and ordered a Diet Coke. As soon as I ordered that Code, the drunk man sitting next to me said "Oh, me darling, have a real drink. Let me buy you a real drink."

I was 19. Was the drinking age in NY State under age 21 in 1973?  I had never been able to order alcohol in bars before. I believe I was under the legal drinking age but, apparently, airport bars have looser standards. Plus the man ordering my drink was a priest.

Father Godley. He pulled out his wallet to show me his driver's license. "I am the only Godley in the book in Tacoma, Washington."

He explained to me that he was from Ireland, that he was returning to Tacoma after his annual visit to Ireland to see his family. He kept saying "Me brothers, all doctors, gave me lots of shots before I left. Me brothers, God love them, gave me many shots."

My thoughts snagged

karmic considerations

We shall not easily find our way into the innermost nature of karmic connections if we do not pay attention — with the eye of the soul, of course — to the particular mannerisms of an individual. Believe me, for the study of karma it is just as important to be interested in a gesture of the hand as in some great spiritual talent. It is just as important to be able to observe — from the spiritual side (astral body and ego) — how a man sits down on a chair as to observe, let us say, how he discharges his moral obligations. If a man is given to frowning, to knitting his brow, this may be just as important as whether he is virtuous or the reverse.
Much that in ordinary life seems to be quite insignificant is of very great importance when we begin to consider destiny and observe how it weaves its web from life to life; while many a thing in this or the other human being that appears to us particularly important becomes of negligible significance,
Generally speaking, it is not, as you know, very easy to pay real attention to bodily peculiarities. They are there and we must learn to observe them naturally without wounding our fellow-men — as we certainly shall do if we observe merely for observation’s sake. That must never be. Everything must arise entirely of itself. When, however, we have trained our powers of attention and perception, individual peculiarities do show themselves in every human being, peculiarities which may be accounted trifling but are of paramount importance in connection with the study of karma. A really penetrating observation of human beings in respect of their karmic connections is possible only when we can discern these significant peculiarities.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships, Volume I: Lecture IX – Dornach, 15th March 1924

aw. . shucks

A friend told me this evening that he thinks I am, and this is a quote, 'very eloquent'.

Nice.  I'm going to count that as love. He loves my eloquence. I am trying to take note of all the love that streams at me, most of which I tend to discount. Working to count it all.  This friend is gay so its not romantic love. It's friend love.

I am very eloquent. Sweet.

Monday, June 29, 2015

the trouble with me

On the Roof

The trouble with me is that whether I get love or not
I suffer from it. My heart always seems to be prowling
a mile ahead of me, and, by the time I get there to surround it,
it's chewing fences in the next county, clawing
the bank-vault wall down or smashing in the window
I'd just started etching my name on with my diamond.

And that's how come I end up on the roof. Because even if I talk
into my fist everyone still hears my voice like the ocean
in theirs, and so they solace me and I have to keep
breaking toes with my gun-boots and coming up here
to live -- by myself, like an aerial, with a hand on the ledge,
one eye glued to the tin door and one to the skylight.

honoring beloved community

In Beloved Community, everyone is welcome. Love, trust, and peace are present. We honor those places that are the fabric of our civil communities.  Beloved Community is a new FB page

I'm doing it wrong

I'm doing life wrong. And I can't seem to get a handle on doing it right.

a true story: jody told story of grandpa falling flat on face while drunk

When I was in law school, my mom regularly came to visit me. She would do a kind of Upper Midwest tour. Her sister, then still a nun, was based in MN for awhile. She'd come up to visit me, my aunt, swing by Chicago to see her other children.  My aunt the nun was still a nun when I was in law school. And my aunt the nun was based in Minneapolis during my law school years.

My mom, who was wealthy in her second marriage, always treated me to some nice restaurant meals, usually took me shopping. My mom spent money on me. I was, after all, still in school and poor. It is normal for parents to help their children.

Once, when my sister was still a kid, Mom took me, sister, former-nun-Jodi and herself out to a fondue restaurant that I had wanted to try.  The fondue menu items were suggested to be for two, because one got so much food. Being for two people, the fondue items also cost the most. It was not a particularly expensive restaurant. I had never had fondue and had longed to try out this restaurant. And my sister, maybe age ten, was just as interested in the fondue as I was.

So sis and I decided we'd order a fondue item. We spent some time debating our options, none of which I forget. I remember becoming faintly and then increasingly aware of my aunt's disapproval. She said "Mary Ann, you aren't going to let these girls order fondue, are you?" Mom shrugged, waived her hand and said "

Song by Adrienne Rich

Song, from "Driving into the Wreck" by Adrienne Rich

You're wondering if I'm lonely:
OK then, yes, I'm l onely
as a plane rides lonely and level
on its radio beam, aiming
across the Rockies
for the blue-strung aisles
of an airfield on the ocean

You want to ask, am I lonely?
Well, of course, lonely
as a woman driving across country
day after day, leaving behind
mile after mile
little towns she might have stopped
and lived and died in, lonely

If I'm lonely
it must be the loneliness
of waking first, of breathing
dawn's first cold breath on the city
of being the one awake
in a house wrapped in sleep

If I'm lonely
it's with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows its neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Kafka has come to Berkeley

Berkeley is not the most liberal city in America, as many Americans, including Berkeley residents, wrongly believe. Berkeley has been infected by the same unbending conservative drive to elevate the rich, suppress the nonwhite and nonrich, isolate the nonwhite and nonrich into dystopian enclaves while the nonrich work for peanuts serving the rich.

The rich need drivers, maids, cooks, chefs, restaurants, clothing, cell phones, computers, fit bits, linens, shoes. The rich want to pay the non-rich as little as possible. The rich want to take over the best locations for housing, wrecking havoc on the housing market for the nonrich.

Gentrification is a plaque that has descended, on Berkeley and around the globe.

What is happening in Berkeley would make for a good Kafkaesque novel.  I keep thinking about Kafka's Metamorphosis, where a human being wakes up to discover he has become a cockroach. I think the game plan, made by secretive councils in secure enclaves, the kinds of gatherings that our putatively objective Supreme Court justices to go and corrupt politicians attend to get their orders from billionaires, is well under way.

Democracy is dead.

We are experiencing something similar to what happened in Nazi Germany, as the Third Reich rose in power.  We are anesthetized to the routine slaughter of black men and latino men by cops. As long as 'we' have ours, we don't bestir ourselves to object to pushing the poor and nonwhite out of their communities and then taking over their communities.

It's a dark, risky and ugly business. Steiner said this millenia was going to get dark and then darker.  I have known since I first read his indications that this current epoch would be darkly Ahrimanic was true but, of course, I clung to hope that things might be different.

it seems to me history keeps repeating itself. Greedy rich people gain wealth and control. Eventually the people rise up and take some power and wealth back. Then the greedy rich start grabbing again. Over and over. I now believe the American Revolution was a dishonest grab for power and wealth by the elite of Colonial America. They incited young poor men to fight that war under the call to avoid taxation without representation. I think the real story is that some rich men were tired of sharing the endless bounty of this continent, stolen from the people who were already here, with the British. Fuck the Brits, was their attitude. And they sold the revolution to poor young cannon fodder with dishonest rhetoric. And it has been a corrupt and dishonest country ever since.

With ebbs and flows.

I'm weary. I won't take my life but I would be happy to die in my sleep tonight.

the death of six Irish young adults in Berkeley

I am enmeshed in fighting the corrupt practices related to real estate development in Berkeley.

Many in Berkeley have an issue with cognitive dissonance. It is challenging to get our citizenry to vote for truly progressive candidates and insist on progressive politics in our city government becaduse so many Berkeley residents believe the fairy tale that Berkeley is the most liberal city in the country. Many such uninformed residents believe our politicians are like the fiery liberals leading Berkeley in the sixties and seventies.

Berkeley is not progressive. The same infection of corporatism, dark money campaign PACS, the dominator culture and the relilgious of free market capitalism dominates Berkeley. 

Even though six young Irish college kids, who were here on a summer work visa to work a couple months and then travel around the states for a few weeks, the adventure of a lifetime, were killed because a poorly constructed, seven-year-old balcony collapse with thirteen young adults on it.  Six died in the fall. Seven were injured. Two are paralyzed for life. Six are still in hospitals here, too injured to travel home to Ireland. One injured victim has returned to Ireland.

In Ireland, this is a shocking, intensely felt tragedy. Here in the USA and even not-progressive-anymore Berkeley, it is almost forgotten.  The tragedy did not give our public servants pause. They refused, in spite of many prominent residents pleas to revise building codes and halt the issuance of any build permits until we can take a breath, review how we maintain our codes and make sure such a tragedy never happens again. Former mayors, former city planners, university professors, the Sierra Club, and all kinds of prominent people and prominent organizations have called for a pause in our full-tilt real estate gold rush, but our elected public servants keep voting in favor of anonymous, out of town, investors, hiding behind LLC's. Out of town investors don't care about Berkeley. They care about profit. They are all already rich but, sickened by greed, they want more and they don't care if they crush many lives to get it.

I personally believe the 2008 mortgage loan crisis was part of the gentrification gold rush going on all over the country The depressed real estate market gave real estate developers opportunities to buy properties on the cheap. And now they are swooping in, all building luxury, expensive housing, spewing the bullshit that the free market will naturally realign and all the people pushed out of rent controlled units and the low end of the rental market will magically find housing they can afford. Never mind that the displaced are mostly nonwhite, mostly poor and they are forced to move very far out to the furthest edges of this metropolitan area, next to oil refineries and other toxic waste areas that leave affordable housing alone.  No techies want to live next to a toxic oil refinery.

A friend and I took a tour of oil refineries in northern Contra Costa County. When we would see an oil refinery, park and get out of the car, each time, we were greeted with acrid smells of chemicals related to the oil refinery. Toxic smells. And right next to these toxic polluters we saw small, charming, inexpensive homes. We saw only blacks and latinos.  It's racist to force nonwhites to live downwind of toxic chemicals and to push them out of their longtime communities.

A few weeks ago, waiting at a BART station for a bus to Richmond, I sat between a young black woman who had been forced out of Oakland and was now living in Richmond and an older black woman who had given up her SF apartment when the rent was raised to $4,500. Each were paying $700 a month in Richmond for what they said were nice apartments. Their Richmond apartments were far from main streets and it was a long public transit trek to see their community of friends and family.

my runaway bunny

Most parents I have known have read Margaret Wise's beautiful children's book, The Runaway Bunny. Margaret Wise is also famous for her also wonderful book, Goodnight Moon. In Goodnight Moon, there is a picture on the wall of a scene from The Runaway Bunny.

The book, The Runaway Bunny, sprung into my thoughts over the last couple days.

When I read it to my infant, then toddler, then my big girl, I would hold her in my lap or cuddle with her in her bed, reading before kissing her good night. I always had her in my arms as I read the book.

The little bunny suggests running away. The mother bunny says 'if you run away, I will come after you."  When I read that line, every single time, and it is repeated rhythmically throughout the story, I would snuggle my baby a little closer, feel the bond we shared and I felt safe in the world. I felt proud that I could offer her the promise that I would never give up on her, that whatever she did, she would be my little bunny.

If you run away, I will come after you, for you are my little bunny.

My little bunny turned 33 on the 26th. I can't give her a hug, tell her I love her, tell her that no matter what, she is my dear daughter and my love follows her wherever she does, irregardless of what she does.

If I had a grandchild, The Runaway Bunny would be the first book I gave my grandchild.

Yesterday, in the early hours of the morning, I suddenly bought Rosie a new copy of The Runaway Bunny, paying full price and paying for shipping!! I only buy used books, the cheapest possible. Rosie did not like to use library books for she was aware many unknown persons would have touched the books. She was a bit obsessive compulsive, OCD, like her father. I don't think she ever recognized that buying her all the books she read was costly. I have always used libraries generously.

I bought her many great books. A few years after she disowned me, I gave the books to my sister's little boy.  My French brother-in-law, my sister reported, was thrhilled to see Maurice Sendak's 'In the Night Kitchen", a book that had been important to my brother-in-law as a child. Of course, Rosie's copy was in English but that book is all about the pictures.

I suppose my sister claimed The Runaway Bunny. I had only given her permission to take Rosie's books but she also took Rosie's American Girl doll and the custom-made doll chest that my mother had made for Rosie and Samantha.  I didn't like it that my sister took the stuff without asking but I was in California, the things were in my brother's house which he was losing and there was no where to store anything.

I wrote to Rosie to ask if she would like her handmade Waldorf books. In Waldorf Schools, the children make thier own textbooks. Rosie's were, by far, the best in her class. So good that her class teacher asked me for copies. Sometimes Waldorf teachers like to show a sudent's work as part of the teacher's professional portfolio. I splurged and gifted him color copies of all her Waldorf books. Color copies were newish and expensive but we loved Mr. Maier. He gave my Rosie so much. And he gave me a lot too. He is a very good man and we both needed to know some good men.  How I love Mr. Maier still. I wonder if she does?

Anyway. My little bunny has run away and I cannot run after her. And goddess knows I have tried.

So what do some people do? Do they jst get over grief such as I feel? Does such a loss ever become easier to bear. It's been fourteen years and it is, in some ways, harder than ever.

Lately, I have been haunted by a sense that she might have a child. If I were ever to learn I have a grandchild that I am not allowed to meet and love, I know I could not bear it, that I could not live much past such a blow.

She always said she never wanted to have children but falling in love with a good man can change such a conviction.

I wonder what kind of mother she would be.  Truth told, I have a hard time seeing her as a mother, but maybe my vision of her is blocked by the dark shadow in my heart.


What I am about to say, for the most part, does not apply to any gay men I know.


String of Nighttime Fires Hit Predominately Black Churches in Four Southern States | Hatewatch

String of Nighttime Fires Hit Predominately Black Churches in Four Southern States | Hatewatch

black churches burning, not big news?!

Six black churches burned in past week. . . . .

A black church burned in Georgia, arson suspected after preliminary investigation.
A black church burned in Tennessee, local officials called it vandalism, not a hate crime.
A black church in S. Carolina 'caught fire' and arson suspected.
A second black church burned in Tennessee and one in Florida but officials say it was probably electrical or lightning.  Does that sound reasonable to you?
And a not-predominantly black church caught fire in Elyria OH, arson possible.

Stop this world and let me off, or out.

We are under the dome, trapped.

personal work is a good deed

People often ask whether it wouldn’t be better to use the time that one uses for development for doing good deeds in the world. But occultists must reply that time that’s spent on development isn’t wasted. For a man can only work well and rightly for mankind by making himself more perfect. Outer deeds that seem to be ever so good can be harmful; one just doesn’t know it.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Berlin, 5th June 1908

toxic attraction: empaths and narcissists

Toxic attraction between an empath and a narcissist

The above link takes you to an article at elephantjournal.com. It's written by an empath. Everything she wrote is also true for me and my experiences.  I am a high empath and I fall for sociopathic narcissists. 

Not all charmers are sociopathic narcissists but my guard goes up when I interact with a very charming man.  I have a hard time distinguising genuine charm and predatory charm.

I did all the things the writer describes doing in her article.  I became a festering wound, wanting my last narcissistic sociopath to love me, approve of me and stop attacking me. I don't want, or need, a man who projects his unworked wounds onto me and then attacks me for his projections. I have my own wounds. I don't need the unworked wounds of anyone else.

Some excerpts from this spot-on article:

"A narcissist is wounded. Something, somewhere along the line, usually stemming from childhood causes a person to feel worthless and unvalued and, due to this, they will constantly and very desperately seek validation.
 Here comes the empath, the healer (NB: that's me, the empath/healer). An empath has the ability to sense and absorb other people’s pain and often takes it on as though it were their own. If an empath is not consciously aware of boundaries and does not understand how to protect themselves, they will very easily and very quickly bond with the narcissist in order to try to fix and repair any damage and attempt to eradicate all their pain.
What the empath fails to realise is that the narcissist is a taker. An energy sucker, a vampire so to speak. They will draw the life and soul out of anyone they come into contact with, given the chance. This is so that they can build up their own reserves and, in doing so, they can use the imbalance to their advantage.
This dynamic will confuse and debilitate an empath, as if they do not have a full understanding of their own or other people’s capabilities, they will fail to see that not everyone is like them. An empath will always put themselves into other people’s shoes and experience the feelings, thoughts and emotions of others, while forgetting that other people may have an agenda very different to their own and that not everyone is sincere.
The narcissist’s agenda is one of manipulation, it is imperative they are in a position whereby they can rise above others and be in control. The empath’s agenda is to love, heal and care. There is no balance and it is extremely unlikely there ever will be one. The more love and care an empath offers, the more powerful and in control a narcissist will become.

Own your own shit.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

write about the incident for group this week

law school is brainwashing

I increasingly understand that my law school training really was intense brainwashing. 

I drove from Minneapolis to Chicago regularly while in law school. Chicago is my home town. I'd go home to see my dad and five siblings.  Once I picked up a hitchhiker outside Eau Claire. He was headed to Madison to see his girlfriend and returning a the end of the weekend. We agreed I'd pick him up in Madison on my way back. He agreed to kick in some for gas. 

He was fascinated when I told him it was very clear to me that I was being brainwashed, that the intense work of first year law was clearly intended to be brainwashing. He was shocked that I was going to continue. Truth told, I never wanted to go to law school and I sure as shit never wanted to stay in law school. I wanted to get a PhD in Anthropology and spend a couple years with an indigenous, still-primitive tribe I had once visited in the high Andes when I studied in Bogotä. I disgress, as I do. . . . I let my dad bully me into law school under his relentless perssure. Oh, I also wanted to do the peace corps before grad school. I know my dad urged me to do what he thought was best for me. He said writing about culture would leave me starving. He said, and lots of lawyers hear this baloney, "lawyers write, so you'll be writing all the time like you want".

I feel tender sadness for my 23 year old self, unable to allow myself to be myself.  I know my dad had good intentions. He thought he was protecting me.

I often wonder how my life would have unfolded if I had done that doctorate in cultural anthropology, lived with that primitive tribe in the high Andes. It took three days of bus rides snaking up and down the Andes, then a full day's hike upward, to get to that village. No electricity. No one in the village had been to Bogota and no one was entirely sure what Bogota was, other than a big community far away that was different from their life. No one in the village had seen a blonde before me. Some of the villagers suggested I came from outer space. Everyone asked me 'where are you from?" and many insisted I had to be from another world, another planet. Some pointed to the stars in the night sky as they said "you must come from there". All because of my very white blonde hair. When I told them I was from Chicago, most faces went blank. They didn't seem to have the concept that there was a place beyond the Andes, or other countries and they sure as heck had no idea what this 'Chicago' could be. They kept pointing to the starry night sky and insisting I had to be from there.

We are all from the stars, from outer space.

I struggled mightily with dad's dictum that I had to do law school.  I knew I was over 21 and he could not force me. But I also respected my father and feared losing my family if I stepped so far out of his wheelhouse. He thought I was nuts to want to study a village anywhere.

Back to the brainwash. I bought all the gunk I was presented in law school. I believed we had a representative democracy. I believed lawyers, politicians and, most of all, Supreme Court judges were high minded people of the very best character with impeccable ethics and meaningful desire to serve good causes.

We have had some great Supreme Court justices. Some of them wrote piercingly beautiful legal analyses.

I know we have seen the present S.Court hand down a few decisions this week that please many, although not all conservatives or the private prison complex. Geez, did you read that ugly dissent in the gay marriage decision by Clarence Thomas? As I took a dump this morning*, I thought of Clarence, esp. as I wiped my ass, and I thought "How the heck did the Bush administrative find that scumbag?" and I flashed back to the painful experience of watching the Senate nearings on Thomas' appointment. *sorry to refer to that dump but thoughts of Thomas elicit shitty feelings in me.

I watched those hearings at a friend's home in Austin TX. The guy's teenage son was visiting, a very smart, straight-A student and, I thought, a liberal, because his dad is so liberal.  At one point, when Anita Hill was testifying, surrounded by virtually all men, I remarked "Look at all those men, they have so much power and you don't see any women with power on this TV. Anita doesn't look powerful and she is being blown off." The male teenager, the arrogant, white, entitled, privileged kid, said "Geez, you are kinda rabid in your beliefs. What difference does it make that there are no female senators in that hearing? Those men are all fair."  I sighed as dramatically as I could and told the friend's son "You are not nearly as smart as you think you are."  He pressed me to say more, eager for some debate.  I stopped arguing feminism with males in undergrad. That kid, an arrogant white entitled male child who thought that, because he was smart, he was smarter than fully adult, licensed lawyer me.  And he was a good guy. And I imagine he still is.  I bet he is also full of white male sense of entitlement.

I am learning that the law really is an ass, as Shakespeare, I believe, once indicated.  The law is bullshit.  The law shifts and morphs. It is used manipulatively, dishonestly, undemocratically and frivolously. People with power declare the law to mean what they want it to mean and if you want to sue and can't get a nonprofit law firm to help you, you have to be rich to seek redress or, goddess forbid, justice.

A friend recently offered to give me the money to take a bar review court and take the CA bar. Just taking the bar runs more than a grand and a bar review course two or three grand. Plus I'd have to work my heart out for about six months. And for what?

I loved the friend for the offer. And I loved myself as I listened to my reply.  "Thank you very much for that kind and generous offer. I don't want to be a lawyer.  Ugh." Then I shuddered. End of discussion.

But give the system some credit:  I actually bought my brain washing for a long time. Even though, at first, I knew I was being brainwashed, as I told that long-ago hitchhiker, I let myself be brainwashed. I drank the kool aid that says our legal system is about justice.  It is not.

rejoining the cosmic dust

 Star systems by Clive James ©
The stars in their magnificent array
Look down upon the Earth, their cynosure
The stars in their magnificent array
 Or so it seems. They are too far away,
In fact, to see a thing; hence they look pure
To us. They lack the textures of our globe,
So only we, from cameras carried high,
Enjoy the beauty of the swirling robe
That wraps us up, the interplay of sky
And cloud, as if a Wedgwood plate of blue
And white should melt, and then, its surface stirred
With spoons, a treasure too good to be true,
Be placed, and hover like a hummingbird,
Drawing all eyes, though ours alone, to feast
On splendor as it turns west from the East.
 There was a time when some of our young men
Walked plumply on the moon and saw Earth rise,
As stunning as the sun. The years since then
Have aged them. Now and then somebody dies.
 It’s like a clock, for those of us who saw
The Saturn rockets going up as if
 Mankind had energy to burn.
The law Is different for one man.
Time is a cliff You come to in the dark.
Though you might fall As easily as on a feather bed,

It is a sad farewell. You loved it all.
You dream that you might keep it in your head.

But memories, where can you take them to?
Take one last look at them. They end with you.
And still the Earth revolves, and still the blaze

Of stars maintains a show of vigilance.
It should, for long ago, in olden days,
We came from there. By luck, by fate, by chance,
All of the elements that form the world
Were sent by cataclysms deep in space,
And from their combination life unfurled
And stood up straight, and wore a human face

I still can’t pass a mirror. Like a boy,
I check my looks, and now I see the shell
Of what I was. So why, then, this strange joy?

Perhaps an old man dying would do well
To smile as he rejoins the cosmic dust (emphasis added)
Life comes from, for resign himself he must.

solitude, love and egoism

About solitude, love and egoism

All men need to be alone to a certain extent, and this is not just egoism. Someone who always wants to help others will at some point feel that he can’t help anymore if he doesn’t get the forces for this out of solitude. One who always wants to talk will someday sense that his words are empty if he doesn’t let spiritual forces come to him in solitude. We must be alone for prayer and meditation; communal prayer can only bring men to a certain groupsouledness. One who thinks that it’s egotistical to go into solitude simply feels the need to be with other people, not to help them. A supposedly selfless wish to help can really come from egoism, where one simply seeks sociability. For instance, the magnetic healing that’s used to lessen others’ pain could just come from the need to have a pleasant feeling from stoking someone’s body. Although love and egoism are opposite poles, it’s nevertheless true that in certain boundary cases they come very close to each other and it’s difficult to tell them apart.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes –Esoteric Lessons Part IIKarlsruhe, 14th October 1911


I listened to some trainers talk about Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication for five days.  I was, and remain, resistant to this approach.  And I hate classes, lectures and role-plays.  I was mostly bored. But I listened, right?  I absorbed some. And I like a lot about this model.  It's not my path but I went for a reason.

One thing I like is the idea that all humans have universal needs.  Rosenberg defines need a little differently than I have been using 'need'.  I don't agree with all of 'his' needs but, in general, I agree that all humans have some basic, shared needs. Some examples of shared need:  love, connection, understanding, trust, health.  And mourning.  All humans need to mourn.

Mourning is on my mind.

I don't know what motivated me to pony up the big bucks for this Esalen thing. It cost $890. That is a ton of money, at least for me. Geez, I could gone to Ireland. There was an Irish psychiatrist in the training.  He was interesting. I talked to him a few times.  When he and I were talking, mostly, here inside me, I was vibrating "I want to go to Ireland, I want to go to Ireland, wah, pity me, I've never been, I want to go to Ireland" and "What the fuck, I just spent $900 to come here when I could have gone to Ireland". Well, I would need more to go to Ireland, esp. to stay a few weeks, which is what I really want.  But still.

I don't know why I went to Esalen, why I went to this particular workshop.  This trip has upset me.  I am lonely.  I had hoped that I would at least have some pleasant socializing during the days I was at Esalen but I did not much enjoy talking to anyone. The whole time I was there, I was tick tocking the minutes until I could leave.

I don't like what I have realized about myself. I am in mourning.  I have a broken heart, a lost love.  I have been pretending he loved me all these years. This week, I accepted that he doesn't. Not the way I want to be loved.  I guess I already knew this but I really grokked it this weekend.

So I am in mourning.  I don't want to be alone anymore.

I am not answering my phone.  People who know me know that I rarely pick up the phone for random calls.  People who know me leave voice messages so I can pick up if I hear their voice. But I get stuck, fearful.  I can't bring myself to answer the phone.  Some one, or some someones, have been calling.   I sit here right next to the phone, with crazy thoughts.  I want to know who is calling but I don't want to talk to anyone.

I am unhappy, depressed.  He does not love me.  I've known this for a long time but now I know it for real.

On the drive down to Esalen, I spoke of how much I disliked law school and law students and then, of course, being a lawyer. Jody, the woman who gave me a ride, asked me "How could you keep going, finish law school, study for the bar, and do all that work when you hated it, when you were so unhappy?"  I am not sure anyone has asked me that before.  I thought about Jody's question before I answered.  I was able to keep going -- law school is a hard, boring slog, tons of work -- in my first year, I have to read, on average, about four hundred pages of legal opinions every day. And that was tough reading, dense legal language. I used to have to look up half the words in Black's Law Dictionary and even after I looked the words up, I tended to not understand what I had read. And you had to brief every case you won because they called on you out of the blue and if you were unprepared, you were marked down. I feel sick as I recall law school. Anyway, in answer to Jody's reasonable question, I got through law school by ignoring myself.

Her question set a theme for me, for the whole week, I think.  I have drifted through my whole life ignoring myself, ignoring my pain, focussing more on what others wanted from me than what I wanted.

I have wanted two things badly.  I wanted to keep my daughter when I got pregnant and her father, my then husband, demanded I get an abortion. I kept my baby but it cost me.  I shocked my husband and my whole family when I kept the baby. It was the first time in my whole life that I failed to ignore myself.  My mother, my father, my brothers, all urged me to get that abortion. A fucking Catholic priest, Father Val Peter (that's his real name and if you google him, he pops up because he later became head of Boy's Town) told me that my first duty was to my husband so god would give me a pass on an abortion. A fucking Catholic priest urged me to get an abortion.

I shocked myself when I kept the baby.  It was the first time I did what I wanted.

The only other thing I have let myself want since then was this guy.  But he doesn't want me, not the way I want him to.  I have been pretending he'd come around.  Pretending for four years.  I'm done pretending.

I don't answer the phone because I hope it's him.  I know it isn't. Or if it is him, or he is one of these calls, he just wants to be platonic friends.  I don't want to be his buddy.  I'm done. So I am mourning.

Life can be miraculous.  I might return to the golden tunnel.

One evening at Esalen, I sat with a couple women who were playing a game they called gratitude will get you into the vortex.  You were supposed to say all the things about your life that you are grateful for and then you would get into the vortex, which is a wonderful place to be. And then when you are feeling good, in the vortex, you affirm the wonderful things that you want but you don't yet have in real life.

Oh, I said, you are talking about the golden tunnel.  So I explained the golden tunnel.

since I'm sick, can I have some sugar?

I am experiencing high levels of stress and intense cravings to indulge in emotional eating. I want sugar. I want to get that sugar rush to distract me from my anxiety, breathlessness, chest pains, vomiting, and insomnia.

I learned during my one pregnancy when I had hyperemesis gravidarum but my ob-gyn was unfamiliar with the condition. My ob-gyn often told me I was vomiting and dry heaving nonstop for 9 months because of stress.  I think back in 1982, few American ob-gyns gave my condition a name.  Kate Middleton, the English Princess, had this condition in her first pregnancy and now has it in her second.  It would have helped me to be told "yes, this is a real thing" and "poor you, what rotten luck, poor thing, you are so sick all the time".  No one showed me empathy, not even my blood kin. My dad said I was always looking for special attention. One brother called me a prima donna. What prima donna hugs a toilet all day with wretching dry heaves?

When I was pregnant, unable to keep down food, losing quite a lot of my pre-pregnancy weight*, hospitalized three times for a week or so each time because I would become severely dehydrated. Dehydration was risky for my baby. The baby got nutrition because the body just turned to my body fat to feed her.  I mostly dread eating while pregnant because most of it came right back up.

And in 1982 in my red state, Great Plains, conservative city, gynecologists tended to see women with hyperemesis gravidarum as having a mental problem, or a severe stress/anxiety reaction to being pregnant. When my doctor learned my husband was abusive, he suggested perhaps my abusive environment caused the vomiting and dry-heaving.

Actually, the vomiting was not the worst part. The worst part was dry heaves. Some days I would spend hours on the floor, wrapped around a toilet bowl dry heaving.  I could eat or drink whatever I wanted, because it all came up. I learned to eat according to what food tastes like when it comes back up.  I learned that I might as well drink lots of Pepsi, which my gynecologist had suggested seemed to help upset pregnant tummies more than coke because it had more cola syrup in it. It is the cola syrup that supposedly calms vomiting.

Nothing calmed my pregnancy vomiting or dry heaves.

I was very unhappily married but it was always clear to me that my experience of intense illness throughout my pregnancy, almost from the moment of conception to my daughter's birth was physical.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is quite rare. Wikipedia says something like only .02% of women experience it, which helps explains why doctors dismissed it as a mental issue. It was so demeaning to have my doctor tell me I was somehow choosing those dry heaves.

I wanted to eat healthy foods for my baby but since nothing stayed down and my baby either got nutrition from my body fat or from the IV drips of liquid nutrition I received when I was hospitalized three times, for at least a week each time, I ate according to what the food tasted like coming back up.

Pepsi cola was my number one choice. It mellowed out the bitter puke. Anything sweet mellowed out the bitterness of my constant vomiting.  Some vegetables, which I tried to eat for my baby's sake, were okay on the way back up. Green beans were okay, but I had to be careful to chew well. Long stringy food would get stuck in my throat coming back up because it never stayed inside long enough to get broken down by my stomach fluids. And when strings of food would stretch in my throat, I would fear dying from being unable to breath.

The all time worst food for me during my pregnancy, and the most frightening, was deep dish pizza. I only ate deep dish pizza once while pregnant. In that deep dish pizza, the cheese was thick. And mozzarella is stringy, right?  I would eat pizza while it was still warm, right? Man, nothing come back up as vomit worse, or more frightening, than warm long strings of soft mozzarella. I am still a little surprised I did not die over that mistake. I will never forget the fear and panic I felt with that long gooey string of warm cheese blocking my airwave.  Obviously I got past it. And I never ate pizza again during the pregnancy. What a shame.

*I weighed about 26 pounds less after my daughter was born than I weighed when I first saw my ob-gyn. I had probably lost some weight before I saw the doctor to confirm my pregnancy. My ob-gyn did not want to see newly pregnant women until they had missed two periods but I was upchucking, dryheaving and hurling within a day or two of conception. I am sure I lose significant weight in those months until the doc would see me and officially declare me pregnant.

Even before I saw the doctor, people that knew me would see me and remark on my weight loss. I wasn't fat when I got pregnant. I think, altogether, I lost about 40+ pounds. I think I was the most slender I have ever been as an adult the day my daughter was born.

And I nursed her, so I kept the weight off.  I have some memories of nursing my baby while I felt my stomach growling for food. It was hard to get to the grocery store. A brand new baby is exhausting and I did not have one of these contemporary dads who share the load. It was all on me. I didn't mind. I never minded the need to tend my baby. In fact, I considered her nighttime feedings to be sacred time. I tried to coax her dad to get up and see how special she was at 3 a.m., her mouth moving in anticipation of sucking milk. She was usually very gentle and quiet.  She did not really cry, my baby. She would make noise to let me know she needed something and I would be at her side in a few seconds. Our rooms were next to one another. She would just have to roll over and I would hear that and leap out of bed.

When she got older. . .

Gosh, I wonder if my daughter might be pregnant right now. I say that because in the past week or so, I have been writing endlessly about her as an infant and trying to get pregnant, anticipating her birth, the great joy of having my baby.  These memories keep springing up, unbidden. And I write about whatever springs to mind so I've been writing about her. First I was called to write about her as a spelndid, blissful infant but I have also been called to write about anticipating getting pregnant, planning for the pregnancy, coping with the horror of my husband demanding I abort her, getting past the time it was legal to get an abortion so he stopped hounding me to get one, and then upchucking and dry heaving until she arrived. One of the happiest experiences of my life had a parallel quality of hell to it.  My husband demanding I get an abortion left me with significant post traumatic stress disorder. I wish I had access to some treatment for it.

rambling, eh?

Do I stay or do I go?

I want to go to the ER tomorrow morning, for some reason.

Anyway, to answer my question about having some sugar: no. I am sick and the last thing I need is spiking glucose. Right now my glucose is 126, which is within the range I am supposed to keep it. I have been tightly managing my glucose since I started feeling breathless, feeling heart pounding palpitations, some vomiting, inability to keep anything, even water, down.

if doors of perception were cleansed . . .

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.” – William Blake

wow! history moves fast

Stephen Colbert: “Wow, history moves fast. It’s hard to believe that gays achieved full constitutional personhood just five years after corporations did.”

I watch myself

Pray for me today.

It's been awhile since her birthday arose like a dark amoeba of unhappiness that has me feeling like it is hard to read. I hurt so much breathing actually hurts, Being hurts.
I don't want to go on living.  I am not suicidal. I don't think I can ever reconcile myself to her loss. It is all but unbearable.  I think this grief is past and then it descends like a thick fog of unhappiness. Again and again. No end. 

 I sent this note to a friend today. I was looking for another sent email and saw that I had sent it to the wrong email address. Her birthday is over.  I meditated for two hours on Friday.  Seeing myself write about breathing hurting reminded me to breath, to focus on my breath for awhile and then focus on what my body feels, to step away from emotions and thought and just be aware of my body, part by part.

I am enjoying the deepening richness of my experience meditating. When I first sat Vipassana, I had already been meditating for years. One thing I liked about sitting ten-day silent Vipassana retreats was the silence, facing myself.

One important take-away from my early Vipassana work:  I realized on a deeper level something I had known a long time.  How other people react to me is never about me, that how people react to me is about them and I am totally not responsible for how they misinterpret me. But sitting six ten-day sits in the first year, and serving on four, I got deep and deeper.  Around sit number five, I became aware of the way energy emanated from me outward and how energy from others and nature emanating towards me. This probably sounds gobbledegookie but it is real.

Friday, June 26, 2015

the unhoped-for needs space to emerge

The whole feeling and attitude of soul that must emerge from a true understanding of karma, is one which makes us realise when, perhaps some misfortune befalls us as consequence of an earlier weakness in the life of soul — that if this misfortune had not come about, the weakness would have persisted. Looking into the depths of our soul, we must realise: It is good and right that this misfortune has come upon me, because it has enabled a weakness to be eliminated. […] That man alone faces misfortune aright who says to himself: ‘If it has occurred because of an earlier weakness, it is to be welcomed, for it will make me conscious of the weakness (which expressed itself perhaps in some definite failing); I will now eradicate the weakness, I will be strong again.’ […] In a case, on the other hand, where a misfortune befalls one as the first step in karma, the right attitude is to say to oneself: If we were always only to encounter what we wish for ourselves, such a life would make us out and out weaklings! One or two earthly lives might continue to be comfortable and easy through the fact that only that would befall us that we desired for ourselves — but in the third or fourth life a kind of paralysis of soul and spirit would supervene, and no effort to overcome obstacles would arise in us. For, after all, obstacles would not be there for us to overcome unless the unhoped-for, the undesired came upon us.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 224 – The Forming of Destiny in Sleeping and Waking – Bern, April 6, 1923

going to bible study . . .

When my black neighbor Angela, a devoted churchgoer who often preaches to me when we share elevator rides and steadily quotes her pastor, told me, a few days ago, that she was going to bible study after I had said "You look especially nice today." She clutched her bible, squeezed it, almost hugged it, and scrunched her whole self up as she said "I love bible study so much. I am so glad that God loves me and I love to study about God's love."

I used to ignore her religious fervor. It is so not me.  I have come to value her as a good neighbor. Once, when I had a hospital test that required I have someone drive me home and my ride bailed at the last minute, I asked Angela. She had to borrow a car to help me but she did it, God bless her. I would usually write "Goddess bless her" but in deference to Angela's, to me, very traditional religious talk, I typed God. See how sweet I can be?!  (laughing at myself, fyi).

But this time, as I watched sweet Angela squeeze her bible and I noticed myself imaging a group of African Americans, all dressed up for church, sitting around a beautiful wooden table in the pastor's study or library or a nice room in the church, I found myself imagining a white with a gun coming to bible study. Just like that racist bigot in South Carolina was accepted at bible study, I am sure Angela's bible study would accept all comers.

For just a second, I flashed a little anxiety for my friend.

I also felt sickened that I now associate terroristic, racist mass murder when a sweet friend says she's going to bible study.

I didn't share my thoughts with Angela. I did, and she would be proud to know this but I'll never tell her, say a pray for her to be safe. Then I added her whole bible study group in my prayer for safety. And then I was praying for all bible study groups to be safe.

All of this while waiting a minute or so for an elevator.

We live in such a wonderful world and, also, such an ugly one.

Angela has lots of kids. Five, I think, by three daddies. She told me this the first time we talked. She marries her baby daddies.  Her latest marriage ended recently when her now ex-and-fourth-husband, stopped taking his meds and had a bipolar psychotic episode, hurting her and her kids (and his son).  I have listened to her talk about it because I know people need to talk. I even ask about how she is doing, offering my empathy, because I like her and I really do regret that she suffered.

Just imagining, for a few seconds, my friend Angela getting murdered at bible study sears my heart and soul. It must be so deeply painful for the loved ones of the people murdered at, of all things, bible study.

Angela has asked me about my family. When she learned my daughter has disowned me, she began to console me about the loss. Not all the time, but she often tells me I should not suffer over the loss, that no one deserves to be abandoned by someone they raised up and did right by. Angela says she knows I did right by Rosie because she knows me.

So, although I started out, six years ago, judging Angela negatively for what I then referred to as her bible belching, I have come to appreciate Angela, her constant profession of faith in a loving God and her occasional assurances that I deserve to be happy and loved.

I sure don't want any racist asshole mowing down Angela or any other good person going to bible study, yoga class, grocery stores or anywhere. For any reasons.

Some days the world seems to unwelcoming. Today is such a day. I'd knock on Angela's door for some God loving talk but I'd end up crying and she would be so sweet to me that I'd cry some more.

I'm here, I'm queer, get over it mom

When my daughter was sixteen, she had a couple torrid affairs with other sixteen year old girls. As soon as the first one got going, she was eager to come out to me. I think she hoped to upset me, shock me. Or something. She couldn't have thought it through very well. I had made accepting homosexuality a central value in our family, for my best brother and her best uncle is gay. Plus, for several years, my closest friend was a fat bull dyke that Rosie loved as much as I did.

When Rosie was about fourteen, and dancing quite a lot with the dance company where she was an intern, she started coming home telling me moonily about how much she loved doing contact improv with a certain female, twenty-something dance teacher and member of the company. When Rosie told me about that older female, I said "Rosie, you know it is fine with me if you turn out to be gay but you cannot date Shannon (I don't remember the actual name) because she is 28 and you are 14."

When I thought, for a few years, that I should expose Rosie to some kind of religious upbringing, but was unwilling to revisit my Catholic childhood faith, she and I church shopped for a long time, checking out churches all over Minneapolis.  My standard: we could only attend a church that accepted my gay baby brother Dave.

We found an über liberal Unity Church and attended for several years. After awhile, I would drop her off for Sunday school and skip the adult service, go out for breakfast and pick her up. In the fall of fifth grade, Rosie came out to the car after Sunday school and said "Mom, I am done with church" and I said "Okay" and that was it for us and church. I was not a hypocrite, a trait I loathe. I wasn't going to church so I was not about to force her to keep going. And she knew that about me.

She got me. She liked me. So what the fuck happened?

When she came out, at a restaurant, I said "I don't think you are gay, honey. I think you'll have this fling with Anna and then go back to boys." That's when she said "I'm here, I'm queer, get over it". And I said "I've thought a lot about whether you are gay because Joni (my former close bull dyke pal -- she called herself a bull dyke, btw) has told me she's sure you are gay. I never thought so and I still don't. Maybe bisexual." In my being, I knew she would end up with males. She's too much of a diva to be with a girl.  Rosie needs to be adored, put on a pedestal, cosseted with luxury and the finer things. Of course, there are lipstick lesbians. But I am brilliant and brilliantly intuitive. I knew my kid, which probably has something to do with her rejection of me. She can't hide anything from me when we interact. I feel her and she feels me.

In honor of Pride weekend, which is an über big day in San Francisco, I share my Rosie's little coming out day. She came out to me in October 1998 and by February, she was in an even more torrid affair with a boy named Rob. She stayed with Rob until they graduated from an associate's degree program. Rob transferred to Stanford, Rosie to Cornell. And then she was with Michael. Michael seems out of the picture. I sense that he had drug issues and died from them.  I sense Rosie has alcohol or drug abuse issues but is in recovery. Who knows?  This is just stale maternal intuition.

But gay?  Nope.  She's not a lesbian.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Mark Rhoades thinks he has won

Mark, it aint over until the fat lady sings. We've got lots of plays. Don't count your chickens until they hatch.

Last night, walking home from the travesty of that ZAB meeting, I came upon Mark Rhoades, on Allston in front of the Y. He was walking towards city hall and had just crossed the street from the Shattuck Hotel (anyone know where Joe Penner might have been staying last night?). Mark was skipping and kinda dancing with joy, shouting into his cell phone. He did not see me, for it was dark and he focussed on his cell. I am sure he would have spoken in a lower tone if he had seen me.
He was chortling, exaltantly, "We won we won we won", hopping and skipping. "We're going to drinks at SomePlace". (since I don't drink, I don't know the names of any watering holes in town.
As he passed me within inches, after my back was to him and his back to me, I said "You haven't won yet".
Then he stopped shouting into his phone and I could no longer hear him. His joy was not diminished.
 What a fucking asshole, what a venal piece of dogshit.

in his suicide note, someone wrote . .

A brother of a former acquaintance committed suicide, perhaps twenty years ago, by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. I did not know the brother but his suicide note, at least a line from it reported to me, crops up in my thoughts now and then.  He wrote "I don't know how to love".

I wonder if I know how to love.

I have been trying to do this exercise, what should be a simple exercise. I am supposed to light a candle three days in a row. Sit by the candle and write things down, with different assignments each day.

Day one:  I am supposed to write down all the love I have experienced in the past year.
Day two:  I am supposed to write down all the people in my present life who love me.
Day three:  I am supposed to write down the love I want.

I can't get past day one.  The exercise shreds my feelings.  I have a very few friends who love me but I have no emotional intimates, no one in my day to day life who shows me affection or shares their life with me.

Being unable to do the day one assignment, the day two assignment is daunting. A friend gave me a hug on Wednesday, she loves me. I caught that love.  It was a great hug. Not just a social courtesy hug. It was a love hug. So I count that hug as love.

A friend recently took me to Costco and would not let me pay for the ten dollars worth of groceries I had bought (spinach, a melon and a gallon of Vlasic dills @ $3.39. I couldn't resist the bargain, altho I should have factored in how I would store a one gallon glass jar in my always packed refrigerator.  I'm going to count that gift as love, although, truth be told, I do not like friends treating me to groceries. I can pay for groceries. What I need is companionship.  Still, that ten bucks worth of groceries was not really a gift I want. Invite me to hang out, let me pay for myself.

I will accept that gift of groceries as love.

Here is what I need:  companionship, social interaction, fun, hugs, love, sex, camping, going to all the beautiful public parks all over California with people.

I need fun. I need laughter.

I am unbearably lonely, although I spend a lot of time around people. But not with them.

Snidely Whiplash

Remember Snidely Whiplash? He was one of the bad guys in the old Bullwinkle cartoon show.

Snidely Whiplash is my new name for more egregious evildoer in Berkeley, who is raping the city of Berkeley and, apparently, blowing the mayor and giving him lots of hand jobs. Yes, Snidely is more evil than our evil mayor.

after last night's hellish city meetings. . .

I left city hall close to midnight. City hall faces Civic Center Park. My home is three blocks west and one block south. The high school blocks off access on a couple streets north of Civic Center Park. Of course I walk past the park to walk home.

A woman who had been at the meeting was kinda babbling at me. I told her I was tired and I crossed the street in the middle of the block to get away from her. First she yelped "You aren't going to cross in the middle of the block, use the cross walk!". At midnight there is virtually no traffic, although I usually do walk to the cross walk, because that area is better lit. And I usually walk along the edge of the park from a life long habit of living while female and cautious walking alone in parks in the dark.

I am not afraid of sleeping homeless in the park but, unfortunately, this city no longer lets homeless people sleep in Civic Center Park. Where do those people sleep now? isn't it shameful that this city won't let homeless people sleep on the wooden benches, which would feel like luxury compared to the cold ground.

Anyway, this woman exclaimed "I have to tell you something so important that I will follow you in the middle of the block." And then she followed me.

Then she saw I intended to walk across the park. She said "Oh my goodness, you are not going to walk in the park alone at night are you?"

I said "I am not afraid of homeless people sleeping, but the city doesn't let anyone sleep here anymore. Look. No one is here."

I confess that I am sometimes anxious walking through that park after midnight, after public hearings that run that late, but, overall, I refuse to be afraid of homeless people.

That woman talked awhile. I could not track what she was saying. I think she was incoherent but I said "I am so tired I can't hear what you are saying. Please let me go home."

shifting gears to a happier note

Here is Justice Kennedy's final paragraph in the Supreme Court decision recognizing gay marriage:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.  In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As som of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respsect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. TheConstitution grants them that right.  The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.
It is so ordered.                             


June 26th: the hardest day of the year for me

My daughter was born at 4:20 p.m. on June 26, 1982. She was supposedly two weeks early yet she weight seven pounds eight and a half ounces. I loved that the hospital recorded that final half ounce. I loved that half ounce. I love it still.

She was a perfect baby. And I believed, all the years I poured the best of myself into her and gave her every possible advantage I could (which was good enough to get her into Cornell), that she loved me.

She didn't. She endured me.

It is hard to believe I have any value when my daughter, to whom I gave the best in me, and gave unstintingly, sees no value in having me in her life.

I'm weary of this burden.

lean towards the light

I used to own a house with a 100+ year old elm tree that gave most of my property deep shade once all its leaves came in. But in the early spring, before leaves, the front yard got a little sun. My backyard had a couple patches of sun, but the three-story house and the maple tree in the back yard also limited how many plants I could grow that needed lots of sun. I used those patches of sun for tomatoes, zinnias and snapdragons.

And I became fairly adept at growing shade flowers.There are shade flowers but shade flower garden require different considerations. And different plant choices.

So my front yard was densely shaded most of the summer, although the house, with its skylights and many picture windows, got a lot of sunlight in the winter.  I loved the tree, its shade, the absence of its shade in winter, all the light that streamed in from the sides.

I have written about my annual planting of one snapdragon plant in my front yard, right in front of that towering elm tree*. It did not thrive. Snapdragons will fill out and grow many steps of flowers in sun. In shade, my single snapdragon remained a single all summer. I kept planting one in the same spot for the pleasure of watching that one flower grow horizontally about six inches above the ground in its invisible, nonmaterial but very-real attempt to grow towards the light.

I've been leaning into the light myself all my life, trusting that I will get to some light, some happiness, some love.

I'm tired. I'm hurting. I have no energy to lean towards the light.

an asshole

Last night, waiting for a city council meeting to start, surrounded by a few friends, I mentioned that my daughter's birthday was today and I was feeling blue. They asked why she doesn't talk to me and I said I don't know

As the meeting was underway, I did what many in the audience did, which was call out my indignation over something that was happening. And this major asshole, who had overheard my exchange with friends, yelled out 'no wonder your daughter won't talk to you'.

What a fucking asshole, using personal heartbreak to hurt a total stranger. So I told him what happened to her when she was five and the asshole said "Don't talk to me, I don't want to hear what you have to say".

But it was okay for him to eavesdrop and then use private disclosures to attack me in public.

Life is full of assholes.

I just faked being okay

I love my pure joy daughter unconditionally, all the time no matter what. Her birthday is a hard day for me, a day of grief and a reminder of having lost her. She's alive, she has shunned me since 2001.

I've been crying all day thursday, intermittently and I am crying me a river right now.

I don't want to be alive anymore. I don't want to live without my daughter.

A friend hugged me on Wednesday, a big wonderful hug and said "I am so sorry this suffering goes on for you."  I felt so loved in that moment.

I don't feel loved now. I am thinking about my huge, unused, stash of class a narcotics, thinking I have enough to check out.

I will never get over the loss of her. Never.

today is my daughter's birthday

My daughter's due date was July 9th.  I thought the doctor had the due date wrong. I know exactly when she was conceived. I had charted my flow for two years, knew exactly when I was in fertile flow, exactly which days I could get pregnant and when our second anniversary passed, I held off having sex so my ex's sperm would be maxed out the first day I thought I was in fertile flow. I knew I was pregnant the next morning, for I felt sick the next day. I was sick, barfing and dry heaving every day until she was delivered on June 26th.

On June 25 1982, her dad and I started our pre-baby-going-out plan. We would go out every night until the baby was born. Our first night, June 25th, we were supposed to see E.T., which opened that weekend in our city. Her dad, a workaholic came home late. E.T. was sold out so we saw Poltergeist. I didn't want to see Poltergiest. I have never enjoyed 'scary' movies but we were at the theater, I was going to have a baby soon and then not get out much for awhile.

I think the noise of Poltergiest might have unsettled the baby. It is a loud movie. And, given the way scary movies challenge me, she probably felt my tension as I watched a movie I considered bad and distasteful. I often joked, since my water sprung a leak right after Poltergeist, that she was born a little early because of that movie.

After the movie, we went to eat in one of the few restaurants, at least in 1982, and in that red-state hick city, that had its own outdoor patio dining.  It was in the back of a restaurant. We had a nice meal. I got up to use the restroom. There were two tight turns from hallway to the door to the ladies room. I used the toilet and then went to return to our table. As I took the second turn in that tight, bending doorway, I doubled over from a crack of pain that left me breathless. I figured it was a labor pain. It hurt while it happened but then I felt nothing.

We went home. When I got out of the car, I realized I had sprung a leave. My water did not break, but there was a small tear in the womb and liquids leaked out. I said "You might as well back up," (we were in our home driveway when I realized I was leaking) "and take me to the hospital."  I knew, from my endless study on babies, conceiving, labor, childbirth, etc. that once a mom's water breaks, the baby has to come out soonish. There is a risk of infection.

My ex insisted on calling our friend Denise, a labor and delivery nurse. I stayed in the car, a bit resentful that he did not trust my judgment when my water had obviously broken but also I knew Denise would tell him I needed to be in a hospital, tell him about the infection risk.

Denise came through, we went to the hospital and he dropped me off as if I were going to an aerobics class.  He dropped me at the front door of the hospital and went home, telling me to call when it looked like the baby was coming. The next morning, a Saturday, he went to work. He called me from work and again asked me to let him know when it looked like the baby was coming. At his employer at that time, everyone worked half a day on Saturday. The knucklehead walks into his office and says "Guess what guys, my wife is at the hospital having our baby" and all the guys were aghst and said "WTF are you doing here?"  He said "I"m supposed to work on Saturday, right?" And his coworkers, apparently better husband than the one I had chosen, insisted he be at my side.

Oh well, unhappy details that were soon overcome by HER.

I never went into labor. After waiting almost 24 hours after my water had sprung its leak, the obstetrician ordered that I be given the drug that starts labor. I don't know the name of the drug but everyone called it 'the PITS', which I believe is actually part of the name. Pitossin, maybe? So they put me on the PITS, explaining my labor would be more painful with the PITS.

You see? My baby had kicked that leak because she was reacting to the noisy, booming movie!

My pure joy baby. My ex had told me, countless times, that he would be furious if I had a boy. He was shocked when I told him male sperm determines gender, not the female egg, but he was still ready to be a jerk if I had a boy. Once look at his daughter and he was in love.

We were all in love.

They put parents and child in a recovery room with a phone, so they call call and tell everyone the happy news. Then they took the baby to the nursery. All the other husbands stayed with their wives who had just delivered a baby, having their vaginas torn open a bit, exhausted. I imagine couples in love billed and cooed. My ex husband and I never billed and cooed, not even after the birth of our baby.  On the contrary, when they rolled the baby in her bassinet to the nursery, mostly to give me some rest, the husband had been expected to follow me to my room. I was  also rolled away. Nope. He went with the baby.

I didn't care. I was so happy. And tired. He was not supportive and it was stressful to have him around. AS soon as he did go home to sleep, I went to the nursery, showed my wrist band that proved she belonged to me. She also had a wrist band, and rolled her to my room. I was told I could not sleep with her in my bed, that I had to keep her in the hospital basinet, that I might smother her

No way. No way I would smother my baby. I slept with her on my stomach at first. I did not wish to be far from her at all. And we were almost always together for the first couple years.

Nursing her was heaven.  How could the child who once suckled at my breast not love me anymore?

Happy birthday, my pure joy. You are still pure joy to me, even as things are.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

gimme all your love

"Gimme All Your Love" by Alabama Shakes, new album Sound and Color, you can hear it on itunes

So much is going on
But you can always come around
Why don't you sit with me for just a little while?
Tell me, what's wrong?

If you just gimme all your love ohh
Gimme all you got, babe
Gimme all your love ohh
Bit more

So tell me what you wanna do
You say the world, it doesn't fit with you
Why don't you talk to me for just a little while?
I can only try to make it right

If you just gimme all your love ohh
Gimme all you got, babe
Gimme all your love ohh

the blues

The Blues by Billy Collins, from The Art of Drowning
Much of what is said here
must be said twice,
a reminder that no one
takes an immediate interest in the pain of others.

Nobody will listen, it would seem,
if you simply admit
your baby left you early this morning
she didn't even stop to say good-bye.

But if you sing it again
with the help of the band
which will now lift you to a higher,
more ardent and beseeching key,

people will not only listen;
they will shift to the sympathetic edges of their chairs
move to such acute anticipation

by what chord and the delay tha follows,
they will not be able to sleep
unless you release with one finger
a scream from the throat of your guitar

and turn your head back to the microphone
to let them know
you're a hard-hearted man
but the woman's sure going to make you cry.

flee the past, evacuate its temples

Some Final Words by Billy Collins from The Art of Drowning.

I cannot leave you without saying this:
the past is nothing,
a nonmemory, a phantom,
a soundproof closet in which Johann Strauss
is composing another waltz no one can hear.

It is a fabrication, best forgotten,
a wellspring of sorrow
that waters a field of bitter vegetation.

Leave it behind.
Take your head out of your hands
and arise from the couch of melancholy
where the window-light falls against your face
and the sun rides across the autumn sky,
steely behind the bare trees,
glorious as the high strains of violins.

But forget Strauss.
And forget his younger brother,
the poor bastard who was kiled in a fall
from a podium while conducting a symphony.

Forget the past,
forget the sunned audience on its feet,
the absurdity of their formal clothes
in the face of sudden death,
forget their collective gasp,
the murmur and huddle over the body,
the creaking of the lowered curtain.

Forget Strauss
with that encore look in his eye
and his tiresome industry:
more than five hundred finished compositions!
He even wrote a polka for his mother.
That alone is enough to make me flee the past,
evacuate its temples,
and walk alone under the stars
down these dark paths strewn with acorns,
feeling nothing but the crisp October air,
the swing of my arms
and the rhythm of my stepping--
a man of the present who has forgotten
every composer, every great battle,
just me,
a thin reed blowing in the night.