The Struggle to be Treelike When You’ve Always Been a Cat

There is that saying that it’s none of our business what other people think/say about us. I believe that’s a pretty healthy way to approach life and social interaction. There is too much biased and sometimes completely untrue garbage spoken about each one of us that only wounds us unnecessarily when heard. It’s always a limited interpretation from the outside, like that parable of the blind men and the elephant.

I try to be as open as I can in conversation and online because I value honesty and I prefer that information about me comes directly from me. I know it won’t always be received as I would like, but that’s the chance taken. I also feel that an openness about my “journey” (barf) is helpful to others who may be having similar experiences. I get a lot of emails from people thanking me for articulating their thoughts and emotions, and that’s the payoff for me. But writing about personal experience is tricky because it’s nearly impossible to exclude opinions and details about other people. None of us live in a vacuum. So while I try to be loving and protective on this public forum, I have my own dislikes and discord, like anyone else.

I am in the process of regrowing a protective skin after a long period of having everything painfully burned off, down to muscle, down to bone. I cry easily and don’t enjoy battles the way I once did. Conflict makes me anxious. I don’t necessarily mind being so raw; it’s certainly healthier than walking around with the gut full defensive rage I once carried. It’s made me kinder and more understanding of other people. But it also makes my somewhat public persona a liability at times. Lately I haven’t posted links to this blog on Facebook or Twitter because it feels safer to stay low-key.

On my last day of summer vacation at my mother’s home in Michigan, I woke up to have an exchange on Instagram that felt pretty devastating by the end. I was called embarrassing and desperate, and someone who knows me better than most and whose opinion I value highly was said to be included in that opinion.

InkedBoyfriend 1_LI

InkedBoyfriend 2_LI

InkedBoyfriend 3_LI

InkedBoyfriend 4_LI

 

InkedInkedBoyfriend 5_LI

[Ed. Note –  Okay, I will admit she has a point with the relationship crack]

InkedBoyfriend 6_LI

Admittedly, I fueled the fire by not reacting as gently as I could have. And I know where she’s coming from because I could have easily sent something like this when I was in my 20’s. But it was early in the morning and it felt like an attack out of left field from someone who has never been great to me. So while I wasn’t fully rotten, I didn’t hop all over apologizing either.  Also, I should probably note that we’re talking about 3-5 photos posted over as many years, and nothing had been posted too recently. I was half asleep and completely unprepared to compose a kindly older lady response.

It’s taken me a couple of days to regain my equilibrium and consider the source, which I have definite opinions about, but in the interest of operating as close to loving as I can muster, I will keep them to myself here.

What is more of note to me, and the reason that I’m still thinking about it, is that I felt more hurt than the situation warranted, and all of a sudden vulnerable to the world. Does everyone see me as embarrassing and desperate? Does someone I trust with my innermost thoughts and have been friends with for decades think this of me? Is my self-identity a lie? I thought I was posting fun old photos that are a part of history and of interest to friends. But maybe I don’t know my own motives? I know for sure that I don’t want anyone’s boyfriend, especially one that I’ve already had. Still, I couldn’t stop myself from internalizing words that seem designed purely to injure, words that were self-serving lies, words that left me feeling nauseated upon ingestion. Literally–I felt like I had to throw up and couldn’t eat all day.

Happily, I have a beautiful, loving, group of friends that are kind, honest, wise and hilarious. I sent the exchange to a couple of my closest female friends, and they immediately understood my feelings without question. We talked about how we had each experienced hurt and frustration at the hands, or words, of this person. The screenshots triggered one friend into realizing that she too had felt abused but was so busy trying to keep the peace that she had never admitted it to herself. Then I sent it to Sam, somehow a constant voice of reason for me, and he said : “You’re being gaslighted”. And then he asked if I was okay and what he could do to help me feel better. This concern and rallying from all of them helped me feel safe and normal again.

Interestingly, at the same time that this all went down I have been in the process of reconnecting with a friend who I thought I would never speak to again. The falling out, partially due to the words and opinions of other people, was so big that we were lost to each other for years. Then we ran into one another by chance and all of the anger/mistakes of the past fell away. I just saw her smile and the warmth in hr eyes. All those bitter words floating away like dust. I can’t help thinking the timing is not coincidental.

So why am I posting this here now? I don’t want to perpetuate negativity. I don’t want to injure my friend, no matter how questionable his taste in women might be. I am not angry or sad anymore, and at the end of the day, after I calm down and stop reacting, I very much want to operate from my higher self. So now I’m simply curious about the mechanisms of who we think we are, who others see us as, and how we navigate a peaceful existence between the two without forcing ourselves to become numb or shutting down all social media.

On this journey of the last few years I have been forced to jump headfirst into the murky water of disdain by someone I thought would always love me. The Universe has shoved me repeatedly into finding a way to stand up and get through painful moments in the face of loss and harsh judgment, my own and others. I wouldn’t wish some of it on even this particular Instagrammer, but at the end of the day, I’m grateful. The more I am forced to face my fear and shame about myself, the less I have to hide from the world. I feel pretty open right now, and so blessed by the love that I do have around me every day. The rest, really, is just noise.

So I bless her for bringing me a lesson this week. And shout out to the insanely awesome Melody The Metal Yogi for showing me this quote.

praise-and-blame-gain-and-loss-pleasure-and-sorrow-come-13782493

As always, Namaste, Bitches.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Everything

Wheee! 2018 has been pretty bananas so far. Here’s a quick recap of all the Wendigo Productions stuff that’s going on:

Wendy (Scripps, owner of Wendigo) and I went down to Nashville to see two of our bands–The Liza Colby Sound and The Tip play at the Hutton Hotel. We got some time with old friends Bebe Buell and Eerie Von and strong-armed Tip singer Benny Carl into BBQing for us.

The Liza Colby Sound went to Spain and played sold out shows and ate so much good food that Liza is still worried about it, unnecessarily of course.

Liza Spain

Sam’s band The Sweet Things are recording a new album at Flux Studios with Matt Chiaravelle producing.

Sweet Things studio

(Photo by Nat Koho)

The Threads are working on a new video and already have an album in the can that we will help them release soon.

Mick Stitch

Ten Ton Mojo are regrouping at the moment in order to rise like a badass, guitar driven phoenix. In the meantime their tees are showing up in some pretty fresh new places:

38270354_2443186889041232_7529464032261046272_n

Wendy’s birthday party on July 18 was beyond awesome, with sets from The Shrine (featuring our good friend Corey Parks slaying the bass), The Liza Colby Sound, The Sweet Things, and The Tip. I’m especially proud of this because I put the whole thing together, complete with shrieking at everyone about everything and then getting super wrecked after to assuage the guilt over all the shrieking.

(Stage shots are courtesy of Johan Vipper, people shots and video below courtesy of Anjanette McGrath)


We filmed everything and will have a video out in a month or two.

Wendigo is helping produce this benefit for the Joe Strummer Foundation happening in September, so Wendy, Liza and I are headed across the pond once more.

Jesse.jpg

And lastly, in December Liza Colby Sound is headed to Japan with Wendigo artist Reiko Lauper in tow to act as interpreter, fashion consultant, voice of reason, eye candy. I’ll have more on that later.

Right now I sit here happily in the woods of Michigan at my mother’s beautiful, fairyland home. Hours of time alone, the guest cottage to myself, with only the sound of wind in trees and squirrels scolding my dog. It feels like cool water running over my parched energetic field.

Usually there is a lot going on during these summer visits: my brother and his wife vacation at the same time and my sister lives down the road, so we cook and argue and eat and go to the beach and watch movies and drink too much wine on the porch or patio. For over a decade the-ex-who-is-a-total-dick-now-and-thus-shall-not-be-named came with me, and for the most part it was perfection. Storm is here with me sometimes, last year it was Sam too. He would have come this year but he is recording. So it worked out according to what was needed, just me and the dog. No loud music, no navigating through crowds on the street, just books and a bit of yoga and staring at green–a welcome refueling and reflection after months full of shows and travel.

My experiences and emotions of the last few years have been so raw, so deep. so buoyant, and at times so rife with sadness that I can’t help but assume that I still have much to learn. Why else would my soul insist upon thrusting me into so much at a time when most people are looking toward settling quietly into a life of comfort and peace?

I can see now that my spirit has always known exactly where it wanted to go. My brain and heart not so much. My intuition and some weird drive deep within have thrust me into difficult situations that test all sanity, and wonderful situations that other people only fantasize about experiencing. Highs impossibly high and lows well into the abyss. I am both incredibly lucky and simultaneously stuck in an accelerated math class that no one could possibly enjoy.

One of the NPC’s in one of my favorite video games occasionally shouts as he’s dying, after behaving quite badly, “I feel EVERYTHING!!!”

(last ten seconds)

Ayup.

Recently I found myself in the company of a physically gorgeous, carnally gifted, emotionally intelligent and decidedly cavalier young man. I didn’t seek the experience out, it sought me and I was taken by surprise. There is a homing device that some people have toward each other. There is a recognition of sorts; your drives and damages match one another’s in a way that you can operate comfortably, at least temporarily, within a personal parameter, like familiar dance steps.

Anyway, the experience, as pleasing as it was (which was very) held up a mirror for me to have to examine once again who I am and what I fear (aging, inferiority, being a fraud, blah, blah). In other words, it made me feel crazy. But it did set something in motion within me that while not exactly comfortable, feels necessary to come to the surface at this time.

My favorite dance is one of control, of taking care of. What do you need? I will provide. I am grounded, let me calm you. I love playing the great mother. So the people that seek me out desire my energy, my care. If they are attractive to me in some way–physically, emotionally, mentally, I will take over for them. And they will love and occasionally resent me for it.

I have always been unsure of my value, especially with men, if I am not the giving tree. But that can be draining and at some point I find myself depleted, fed up and rebellious, usually pulling it all back and leaving people feeling bereft and confused.

Half my people think I’m the sanest person they know, the other half thinks I’m completely bonkers. They’re both right. I have spent most of my adult life trying to prove sanity, always failing miserably in the end with too much emotion or a ramped-up-to drunken tirade. I’m finally willing to accept it–I’m fucking nuts. Not all the time, but often enough to be a source of exasperation to the men who love or have loved me and an even bigger source of frustration to myself. I want to be normal; but I never have been. Not when I was a little girl, not now.

But you probably aren’t either, are you?

So with that final, sighing acceptance comes this thought – maybe the nutty part isn’t what it appears on the surface. Maybe the “crazy” is actually my spirit’s sane reaction to the constant pressure that I put on myself to be admirable, to be loveable, to somehow be a holy badass, both chaste and solemn but also exciting and fun. In practical terms that means I should be more: a more thoughtful friend, a great partner to one person for the rest of my life, less dramatic, less emotional, more sexual, less sexual, more NORMAL.

It’s exhausting.

I am thoroughly enjoying this time alone and I wonder if I am one of those women that will live out her dotage without the usual one to one partnership. My mother is one of them. My closest female friends seem to be on that track as well. There are lovers and loves, but in the end we choose not to stay. We always blame ourselves, but what if there is no blame to be had? Maybe some people’s souls need to create a bit of chaos now and then. Maybe normal is different for every person and it’s okay for some of us to vibrate at a higher pitch. At the very least it gives the saner ones something to do.

When I landed in this peaceful place a week ago my mind was running, running, running. I couldn’t stop the obsessive thoughts. I can obsess over anything– people, the past, work, why I’m not exercising more, hair color, anything, everything, nothing. At first I tried to slap the thoughts down. For days I shouted in my head “Stop it!!” But to no avail.

Then it occurred to me–if this is happening and there’s no way to fight it, there must be information to be gleaned before gaining freedom. Maybe this default-mode chaos is trying to tell me something? I sat quietly and let the thoughts flood, working to observe impassively. letting lie the urge to pick up the phone for distraction. Until finally my higher, deeper self spoke over the chattering.

This what came to me; maybe it can help you too:

My rush of thoughts and obsessing is like any other addiction; it is noise designed to keep me from feeling everything. Everything which is often unpleasant: sadness, shame, regret, anger, confusion, fear. But knowing that still doesn’t immediately create silent space. What do we do with it, or how do we learn to live with this particular defense mechanism comfortably?

My inner voice said clearly and simply: “I love you.”

To which I responded, “Are you fucking kidding me? Really with this shit again?”

GROSS! So gross. It’s always the same stupid, Oprah book club answer. But I knew it was right. That’s it. There is no defense. Fighting only makes the demons more determined to be heard. There is only a slow, quiet shift one excruciating, mundane, non-immediately gratified moment at a time.

So I sucked it up and have started saying “I love you” at myself, or the spinning thoughts, or the brownies my mom made, maybe my dog, at whatever is handy, whenever I feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed by my bad, bad brain. Doesn’t really matter who or what is being addressed. It’s simply the act of allowing love to enter the energy field. And the chattering, while still there, has quieted. I am comfortable in my own skin right now; I can breathe fully in this moment.

For me, a loving acceptance seems to be the key to everything. It’s not enough to just say it’s okay any more. It has to be deeper and kinder than that–more forgiving, more heart-centered. We have to love the parts of ourselves that don’t gibe with that ideal and impossible version that we’re always hammering ourselves to attain. We love the weirdnesses of our lovers and friends; we must do the same for ourselves.

I wanted to stay in that relationship I thought was forever, but I couldn’t. My soul wouldn’t allow me to take the easy route and deny my own wild, weird, lonely nature. I would have missed all the amazing, sexy, gorgeous, terrible, devastating things I’ve been through since that implosion. I wouldn’t have Sam to lean on as partner-in-crime and confidant. I would have missed this beautiful time in the country with just me and my dog, and maybe only postponed the inevitable calculus class set to a Motorhead soundtrack that my life insists upon being, despite all efforts to tame it otherwise.

Namaste, bitches. ❤

Craziness

Yoga.jpg