Carnival Games

I’ve been spending a lot of time around doctors and nurses the last few months as I had a giant bit of nonsense in my uterus that was causing near-constant bleeding for the last year. The endless waiting rooms have given me some time to think.

I have a Chinese gyno, who I love, who sent me to a Chinese surgeon, who I now also love. They are both easy to talk to and have a great sense of humor. My OB/GYN surgeon is little and cute, kind of roly poly with white hair. He’s heavily in demand and always being delayed by one emergency or another. 

On the day of surgery I sat in the hospital waiting room for two hours, then was put in a hospital gown to wait for another three hours in a freezing room in one bed in a line of beds full of other surgery patients. I’m generally happy to lay around all day but it was too cold and it’s difficult to relax when there’s a skeletal dude moaning and wheezing 4 feet away from you. 

The doctor finally arrived at the foot of my bed with another guy in tow, and they proceeded to have a lengthy conversation in front of me without acknowledging my presence. I became increasingly irritated by this, but because I like him and I know how rotten I can be when cold and cranky, I tried to keep the bitchiness somewhat in check, albeit unsuccessfully. When he finally turned to greet me, I said, because his surname is “Ho”, 

“Well, hello Dr. SLOW.” 

He said, “I have had a terrible day. Don’t you feel even a little sorry for me?” 

To which I replied, pointing at the other guy. “I would have more sympathy if I didn’t have to wait five hours just to lay here like a chump while you ignore me and chat it up with this asshole.” 

He said, “This guy is very smart! He has a PHD and he’s studying with me.” I told the smart sidekick I was kidding and they shuffled me into surgery in my jammies. 

I frigging love anesthetic and I totally get why Michael Jackson was hooked on it. Is there anything better than counting backwards, only hitting the first number and then boom, blissful blackness? The only thing wrong with it is that sad, disorienting moment when they shake you awake again. And, admittedly, that it’s quite possible to overdose if you use it as a nightly sleep aid. 

This year has been so emotionally wrought, with issues still yet to be fully resolved, that I found myself thinking, “Wouldn’t it be awesome to drift off and never wake up?” I thought about it for days. I am not suicidal, nor even that dark anymore, but the idea of getting out of cosmic class early, of wiping the slate clean and starting over fresh, seems appealing at times. I’m tired of having a bad brain! I’m tired of learning lessons! I’m tired of vacuuming and trimming the cat’s toenails! Serenity now! 

Alas, it was not to be, and with a small tinge of disappointment I woke up, healthy as a goddamn horse and now clean as a whistle, at least uterus-wise. 

Because it’s funny, I am willing to embarrass myself with these details:

Two weeks later, at the follow up appointment, my doctor scrolled through his computer notes and suddenly made an “Ew!” face. He turned the monitor toward me and said,

“You had a LOT of stuff in there! It was impressive!”

To which I responded, “Please do me a favor and never, ever repeat that to anyone else.”

He pointed to a photo of a large, disgusting, bloody mass set out on a clean white table proudly, like a wedding centerpiece, and said, “I took that out! But it was vewwy difficult!” His accent makes him sound like Elmer Fudd.

He went on: “I cut it away from the wall of your uterus, and then it was just floating around in there. I couldn’t catch it! I kept trying and trying but it was slippery, and it was vewwy embarrassing because I had that student with me. The student said, ‘It’s like a carnival game you can never win!'”

He blinked and smiled at me serenely with his sweet little Buddha face while I laughed until I couldn’t breathe. 

I am a Scorpio and all my emotional damage plants itself in my reproductive system. We all have different areas of vulnerability; this happens to be mine. Over the years it’s been interesting to see how dysfunctional relationships, self-hatred, sexual damage, whatever other tiny monsters are rolling around in the unconscious, have manifested in my body. Not always fun, but interesting. When I was young I didn’t understand the mind/body connection. Over time I’ve learned to read symptoms as a gauge of whether I’m taking care of myself emotionally or physically. 

As one of the petite Chinese nurses took my blood pressure that day I looked down at her hand on my arm. It was tiny and smooth with tapered, delicate fingers, the skin flawless from the hand to the top of her arm going into her sleeve. She looked so pretty and clean. It contrasted mightily to my own arms, which are covered with tattoos and cutting scars, ending in pointy fingernails covered in black polish. I felt a little ashamed, she was so pretty and fresh and there I am, an ancient vampire full of old poisons and coated in the debris of dark thoughts and social rebellion. She was sweet and oblivious and I’m sure she’s seen worse, but it gave me pause. 

I lost an ex-boyfriend a few weeks ago to an overdose. He struggled with heroin addiction from a very young age up until he died in his 40’s. As a result, he never wore short sleeves, no matter what the weather. Twenty years ago, when he took his shirt off in front of me for the first time, I was stunned to see long scar lines snaking up his arm. I had never seen anything like it. Years of moving the needle one millimeter at a time had created its own tattoo of sorts. I ran my finger along it and marveled sadly at the countless hours it must have taken to create. 

It didn’t make sense for me to be interested in him. I was still a rock star and he was an unknown musician/barback with a dope habit, who lived with an equally addicted girlfriend. I had a long line of more appropriate and famous suitors waiting for a wink and a nod. But I was naive to the ways of dope, drawn to tragic characters, and there was something about him that compelled me. He was kind, gentle, intelligent and honorable in a very non-junkie kind of way. He had a depth and a sadness that moved everyone in his vicinity. Plus it probably didn’t hurt that he was gorgeous, with long black dreads, high cheekbones and beautiful eyes. I, being the codependent that I am, fell hard and wanted to fix things for him.

So, I yanked him from his girlfriend before either one of them knew what hit them. And then of course immediately had an unmanageable mess on my hands. On top of the pesky dope habit, which ate all his cash and necessitated lengthy disappearances in order to keep me somewhat in the dark, the alcohol we drank socially turned him into a different person, an unrecognizable maniac. You could see his face morph into a scary new persona after a shot or two. He would throw himself into traffic, smashing into windshields, scream, break glasses against bar walls. 

I was losing patience quickly. It was simply not a good look for me. We played a one-off show with Motorhead at the Ritz and although the boyfriend was on good behavior, Lemmy pulled me aside and chastised me for my taste in men. He could see something wasn’t right and he felt I should be with someone who could take care of me. I understood his point and I knew that the relationship, only a month or two old, was already nearing its conclusion

One night he (boyfriend, not Lemmy) went out drinking with a friend and at the end of the night at 5 am the friend tried to dump him at my place. The friend hit the buzzer over and over again until I woke up and trudged the five flights downstairs (no one had working door buzzers in the EV back then) to find my boyfriend on his hands and knees on the sidewalk. He was a flailing, screaming mess, getting up to try to punch the friend and then falling back to crawl position. He was a mad, frothing beast and I knew if I took him upstairs he would destroy my apartment and terrify my dog. 

My survival mechanism kicked it. I felt like the worst person on the planet but I still told the friend they were on their own. I turned and went back into my apartment; the friend ditched him there on the street.

I didn’t sleep much and went downstairs a couple of hours later, expecting to find my boyfriend passed out on the sidewalk. He was gone, and he remained gone for three days. I was beside myself, calling his apartment, his ex-girlfriend, calling his friends. We were all worried that he was dead somewhere. I felt so guilty. 

Five am on the third day, coming home from a night at the Scrap Bar with my sister and mutual friends, we found him sitting on my doorstep in hospital pajamas. He was delirious and said things like, “They took me away, they attacked me…” I cried and took him upstairs, docile now, and put him to bed. The next day, more coherent, he told us that the cops had been called, it took more than a couple to subdue him, and he was tossed into Bellevue. He had very little memory of what happened. He agreed to go to rehab while I went on a two week tour playing shows down South. 

He had my schedule and would call me from rehab during soundcheck at clubs to give me progress reports. He found comfort in my voice; I cried quietly while staring out the window of the van. It was great that he was doing something to make a change but I knew it was doomed, as all my choices always were.

When I got home he showed up on my doorstep with short hair. The dreads that I loved were gone and I hated it, but he was cheerful and clear of focus. He lasted that way for about a week. We were too young to know how addiction works and just assumed everything would be fine without any follow-up work to the rehab experience. 

We went to a party at a friend’s house and a half hour into it I turned and saw my boyfriend upending a bottle of Jack into his mouth, chugging it down. Something snapped in me and I knew I was done. Before the Jack kicked in I told him it was over. He was devastated and I was sad, but it was as if all the romance chemicals in my brain had simply dissipated and left me with a burning desire to be free.

A few days later, while I was meditating, a vision danced across my eyes. I was in a desert, I was a man, a member of a nomadic tribe. The boyfriend was in my care, maybe he was my son, he was young, ten or twelve, and I left him with people while I went out to take care of something. I was gone for a few weeks and when I got back the boy had been murdered and I was crushed by the guilt and sadness.

I took this to be a past life vision and the reason that I felt so compelled to connect with this person. And now I had paid my debt and that’s why the energy was no longer there. 

We remained friends, although I kept a distance because I was afraid of getting sucked back into drama. When he died of an overdose a few weeks ago, I felt sad that I wasn’t a better friend to him in our later years. But his death allowed me to reconnect with his childhood sweetheart, the girlfriend I stole him from, and I was able to apologize and mourn with her. She was gracious and told me I’d saved her life. 

Our friend Stephen Trimboli had this to say about him:

“I’m grateful to him for staying here this long. He was always so sad and our interactions over the years were special for this reason. He lived heroically. It was just time for him to go.”

Some people simply have a harder time than others. He was one of them, not that it made him any more or less worthy of love. It just is what it is. When I see him again I will apologize for protecting myself at the expense of being more present, of letting him know that I did indeed love him. 

I had originally intended to write a blog devoted to this person, but decided against it because of the nature of his death and the details of our interaction. And the doctor silliness is fresh in my mind so I figured I’d go with that. But then once I started writing that story my ex kind of popped in there, and it seems connected. We weave a fabric with our lives: everyone is different, everyone is similar: my darkness and light, his, yours, what we do to and with our bodies, who we feel compelled to connect to, how we live and die. We all have happy and sad aspects to our existence. I suspect that we all think about how nice it would be to not to wake up sometimes. And maybe that’s okay as long as we can keep a sense of humor when we do wake up. Life goes on and we fix what we can, try to forgive ourselves for the rest.

Another ex-boyfriend, Jesse Malin, has written a few songs about me, and I’ll leave you with one of my favorites. It’s egotistic to post a song about yourself, but I like the way it captures an energy and the choices made as a result. Except that, happily, I never got knocked up and moved to Brewster. 

Onward and upward, my friends. Hope this blog finds you happy and free of unwinnable carnival games. Make sure you tell your people that you love them whenever you can. 

Jane Street

I did a reading for one of Ms. Puma Perl’s writer’s nights last night. She is a killer poet and author, a true East Village rebel artist, and an all around lovely person, so if she asks I am there. I feel like she is one of the keepers of the creative flame in a neighborhood that has lost much of that fire, and I am grateful that she includes me in her circle.

So I wrote a piece a while back that I read last night, and I hadn’t intended to post it anywhere. But since I haven’t had any time to blog lately, and a friend asked me if she could find it online, I decided I might as well house it here:


One of my best friends is semi-famous. She’s not like, Motley Crue or Tom Cruise famous, but she’s got a lot of action in her life as a performer. Let’s say she’s past 5000 facebook friends famous.

We’ve been friends for 25 years and it’s a relationship in which there is a lot of trust because we went through some difficult times together. I was the semi-famous one when we first met, so it’s been entertaining to watch the roles reverse, and it has created a safety wall around us because we both know what it’s like to be either visible in a way that isn’t fully the truth, or invisible, which is an untruth in another way.

Recently my friend flew into town to meet someone new that she had hired, and she asked me to come with her to a party this person was throwing so I could offer my assessment. I do love to give an opinion and gladly accepted the invitation.

The party was at the Jane West Hotel, where I lived for a brief time in the mid-80’s when it was a trannie hooker flophouse extraordinaire. It was hardcore, complete with the guy in the weird cage desk in the lobby and a vibrating air that smelled of crack sweat and desperation. The guest rooms were bum hotel tiny but two friends and I managed to rent a large, sparsely furnished room in the basement. These two friends were Michael Schmidt, who has since become a well known designer and who created the legendary party Squeezebox, and a supremely talented painter named Martine. We were all kids fresh out of the Midwest, so we had a lot in common, primarily obscurity and a lack of income.

Our room must have been a ballroom at one time. It maintained that sad brokedown aura of elegant days gone by, with ceramic tile on the floor and a balcony running along one side of the room. It was probably beautiful once, but by the time we arrived, it was filthy and depressing. There was another large room on the other side of one wall that housed parties, most notably the Rock Hotel, which was the first party in New York to feature hardcore and heavier bands like Motorhead on a regular basis. And sometimes they’d rent out that room for low rent disco parties. The bass would thump, thump, thump all night long against the wall near my head, until I would sit up in bed and scream, FUCK YOU, MICHAEL JACKSON! FUCK YOU!!

We were beyond broke. Michael (Schmidt, not Jackson) weighed little more than a hundred and some odd pounds and lived on mini-marshmallows for what seemed like one entire week. He sat crunched up in his jacket like a bony mantis picking them one at a time out of the bag with long fingers, shivering in front of our television, which featured a screen cracked with what looked remarkably like a bullet hole.

We shared a bathroom with a Chinese family who we never saw, but every single day, without fail, would jam the toilet beyond use with leftover food. The floor and tiles were gritty with grime, and waterbugs were our constant companions as we stood in flip flops day after day, shaking angry fists at the unusable toilet and the unseen Asians who crept in at night to fill it with rice and mystery meat.

And just to round out the picture of this magical time in my life, I was date raped in our room by a Frenchman who was my boss at my very first job in New York, working as a salesgirl at Betsey Johnson. I didn’t know that it was date rape at the time, it was quietly traumatic in a way that didn’t become clear to me until years later, but this is a another story. I just want to give you a memory snapshot of my time at the Jane West Hotel.

So now it’s been renovated to the nines and it’s very fancy and Jane Street is THE street in the West Village. And this is where my friend’s very expensive new person was throwing the party.

When we approached the building I recognized the entrance staircase, but everything else was quite different. The smoky desk cage was gone. The lounge we entered was sumptuous, with a sort of murder mystery mansion come Moroccan feel, featuring that taxidermy of exotic animals that is both horrible and beautiful and very fashionable right now. Suffice to say not a waterbug in sight.

At the entrance to the party room was a single file line-up of very bored looking models hired to stand in a row as eye-candy. They were very pretty, of course, but looked miserable and bored. It seemed a pointless waste of thin nubile flesh to my experienced party eye. I would have given them drink tickets and sent them into the fray. Let ‘em get too drunk, pick a fight at the bar, blow someone in the bathroom! This gives the guys something to focus on and old cranks like me the opportunity to feel superior with our more mature behavior. Everyone is happy. Instead they just stood there, like giant statues, reminding me of all my physical flaws as I slouched past them, avoiding eye contact.

The new hire was cute: one of those typical industry girls–short, animated, not much makeup, trying very hard to exude that super-hip, “just one of the guys” energy that many women working behind the scenes in entertainment adopt in order to survive. She seemed cool enough. She introduced us to people who seemed cool enough.

My friend and I got a drink and sat on a plushy couch and things immediately went awry in that quietly horrendous way that these kinds of parties always do for me. The models looked even more hostile from our new vantage point. We were seated across from a couple on the couch who were as cute as could be and more boring than should be humanly possible. I think the guy was gay. He had side-swept bangs that he kept tossing out of his eyes and the kind of wardrobe that my boyfriend and I play a game with on the street: “Gay or Hipster”. His adorable and clueless girlfriend was dressed perfectly in overpriced Soho boho gear. Someone took a polaroid of the two of them and handed it to her. She set it down immediately and stared off into space with her hand in her chin. He stared out into the crowd, probably wishing he could tell his girlfriend he’s gay.

I said, “You should keep that photo, you both look very cute in it.” They turned for a moment, looked at me as if I had three heads and then went back to staring into space.

My friend sat next to me, talking  to new hire, who, in the space of five minutes had morphed curiously from professional businesswoman to teenage drinky gal. She had curled herself up into a ball with her knees scrunched against my friend and was alternately whispering into her ear and taking gulping swigs from a Heineken bottle.

My friend, who is the soul of patience, responded to each utterance briefly, and with eye contact and body language tried to direct Drinky Gal to the fact that there was another person on the couch, namely ME. But she could not be less bothered with my unimportant ass and rambled about her bad relationships and how she couldn’t be friends with ex-boyfriends and the usual completely inappropriate stuff that you shouldn’t talk about with employers but we all do when we drink too much.

I caught a small portion of it and said something that I thought was incredibly deep about the fact that until the lesson is grasped your energy will remain stuck. She glanced at me with that same three head glaze, and went back to ignoring me and whispering. I rolled my eyes and stared into space. Then I went back to staring at the young couple, fascinated by how truly not-fun they were at such an early age. The polaroid sat there, unclaimed, and its presence tortured me.

My second glass of wine kicked in and I started to get really mad, and I decided to play a game with Drinky Gal. I figured, I’ll give her the stare of death until she either gets uncomfortable and is forced to include me in the conversation, or until I finally master the power to explode people’s heads by deftly harnessing and focusing my rage. I thought, surely before her head blows up into a million pieces and covers my friend’s face with drippy viscera and bits of brain, she will notice that she’s being an asshole and include me in her dumb, stupid, ridiculous conversation.

She did not notice. And try as I might, I could not make her head explode. My wine glass quickly drained to empty and along with the wine, my passion dissipated, the residue a sort of limp resentment. If I had a third glass things were sure to head south, but my friend knows me well and we took our leave, abandoning Tiny Toad and her Heineken bottle.

In the cab I asked, “Why do people think that they can be rude to the wives and best friends? Don’t they realize we are the ones who will be sitting in the car with you on the way home, complaining about their shitty behavior?”

My friend slouched into the seat and sighed. “I don’t know. I guess she just got too drunk. I’ll give her three months and see how it goes.”

Then she asked, “Was it weird being in that hotel again?”

I said. “It was fine. Except for the stupid fuckface models reminding me that I’m a billion years old.”

She snorted. And I felt loved and that made me less angry about being ignored. And it occurred to me how much easier and safer things are for us than they used to be.

Twenty years ago this same friend was a nobody to the outside world, but still everything to me. She helped me put back the rubble of my shitty East Village apartment when my crazy, high-on-pills boyfriend trashed it nearly beyond repair. He smashed my antique jewelry box through a closed window, where it flew along with shards of glass down five flights and onto the courtyard below. The box contained all my tiny trinkets, a necklace from my dead father and a check for a few thousand dollars from Sony records, the only real money I would see during my big rock career. This friend climbed a concrete wall to try to salvage some of the items and almost got shot by a cracked out neighbor for the effort.

She had a broken mom and I had a gone daddy and it fucked us up nice, so then we fucked ourselves up. We fucked inappropriate people. We made disastrous choices. We talked complete shit. We spent endless hours working a coke grinder at our dealer/friend’s house, until the sun was well up in the sky, until we felt nothing but a longing for death, and still we didn’t stop. We both know what it is like to lie down on a dirty floor and cry, desperate and alone, for help that won’t come.

At the time, much like those models probably, we had no idea how impossibly beautiful we were. We were so very young and lost, how could we understand that we sparkled? Our hearts were broken. Our badass middle finger in the air hid the fact that we thought we were garbage. And we were of no real use to each other’s healing process, except that it was always a safe place to crash, a guffaw in the dark, a warmth in the eyes that did not falter. A true love, if you will, and a soft landing among the jagged rocks we’d chosen to reside upon.

I thought about the new hire and her less than stellar party behavior and the gorgeous decor of the hotel and my past there when it looked so much different, and the bored couple and the photographers and how all of it, everything around us in those public situations is like a tiny tapping on our window. We can hear it, it exists, we can even play with it and have fun. But because we are now closer to whole, it lives outside of us, and cannot penetrate or harm in any deep way.

So ramble on, Drinky Gal, and rock on, fancy new hotel, and enjoy your own trajectories, beautiful models. I hope they give you an ocean of free drinks and let you roam free at the end of the night. I do not begrudge you your youth and beauty, I can live without being included in your conversations, although I’ll probably still keep trying to blow up your heads telepathically, if only for personal, petty amusement.

Safe and Sound

A long-time friend was in an accident last night, which caused a momentary scare and set me on a course of thinking about friends, the passage of time, our mortality, and who we are at this stage in the game. I’ve also been thinking about personal power, which is a regular ponderance theme for me anyway.

We all have to come to terms with the fact that not everyone on the planet is going to think we’re as awesome as our dogs believe we are. Some people don’t care what others think, and it would appear that I wouldn’t with the way I’m quick to react and constantly open my big mouth, but I do. I’m an adult now (kind of) so I can handle rejection with some dignity, and in some cases it’s a relief to be rejected by the truly crazy people I’ve co-dependently brought into my sphere. But there’s still that moment where you think, “Wah! They don’t like me!”

There is also the even darker issue of someone who truly does not wish you well. In my own experience, whenever I have wished someone would fail, which thankfully has been rare, it’s because I was feeling threatened in some way. Until recently I could not see when others carried that same motivation, I would instead just take everything completely personally. Taking things overly personally is one of my lifelong passions.

During my time in CSFH, there was one person with whom I fought constantly. I was on the defensive but undoubtedly behaved offensively. I felt undermined and sabotaged all the time. There was a mean-spirited subterfuge and will to control swirling in the room that I was not mature enough to deflect properly. As a result, I was regularly in a fit of  rage, shouting and stamping my feet ineffectually. I couldn’t handle the flow of selfish intent moving in my direction, and I didn’t fully understand what was happening. In the end, I simply walked away. It was too uncomfortable to live in that toxic energy for a minute longer, and I still blame the dynamic for the band’s demise. Well, that and grunge…
I have never talked about it with anyone other than the inner circle because it was such a complicated thing, and I still to this day have love in my heart and really don’t want to hurt the person who hurt me so badly all those years ago by spouting our fights publicly. I think in some way, too, the little girl in me still wanted this person to like and accept me. We’d shared so many amazing, funny, historical moments together that I see what a wonderful person they can be, and I have never wanted to sully the good memories with nonsense bitterness, especially after so much time has passed.

But whatever, this is not a blog meant to stir up dirt about the past. I’m far more intent upon examining the dynamic of personal power and the journey toward understanding and trusting what is real.

I have always had a certain charisma that pulls people into my circle. I didn’t get this until recently, and in my younger years I felt extremely insecure about every aspect of myself. I was able to use my physical appearance to get attention and approval from men, so this was the one area that I could wield some power, but of course this is an outside source that only fills you up for a short period of time, and I always believed that I was only conning people into finding me attractive. On the female side of my social life, I would often carry people that desired my energy, feeling comfortable playing the giving lead role, but I would inevitably walk away feeling sapped out and used while the other party hated me for starting out so strong and then abandoning them after one too many crises.

I can see with hindsight that my energy and appearance were so threatening to this one particular person that they felt the need to take action to keep me down at a level that felt comfortable to them. It wasn’t malicious as much as an unconscious attempt at self-preservation, which, in the end, is the reason for all of our malicious behavior, isn’t it? I bought into it as well, nothing happens in a vacuum, and I felt safe playing the role of the band bimbo and wild card, the one many wanted to fuck who didn’t pay attention to the business details or the one that shouted like a maniac what the rest of the crew were thinking but were afraid to articulate. 

After the dust settled, years passed, and I was free of the day to day awfulness, I worked very hard to maintain peace and a friendship. It worked for a time and I even got the apology I never thought would come. But in the end a truce simply wasn’t possible. I was rejected, which is ironic considering that I thought I was being the great giver in the whole scenario. But it was still the same dynamic, and because I am unable to squash my true self down any more now than I was all those years ago, a rift was inevitable. The rejection and bitterness coming off of this person hurt me. But I am okay with it now because I can see clearly that this whole scenario was never really about me.
I did have to ask myself this question once I got over festering on how awful I perceived my treatment from the same hand twice in one lifetime: Why was I spending so much time caring about the thoughts of someone who has never had my best interest at heart anyway? Can’t I be confident enough in my own worth to enjoy the abundant love and friendship that is available to me from other sources? That is a revelation in itself: How about we stop rolling around in the mud with the assholes when there are a million good people out there who have no interest in keeping us down? What a freeing thought! And last night I got a text that my other ex-bandmate was in the hospital, and this point was driven home. I am so grateful that she’s going to be fine and that I will have more chances to thank her for her support and love over the last 20 years.
We all have our own power that very few of us know how to manage, especially when we’re young. We allow bosses and lovers and strangers to tell us that we are unworthy, or only worthy of love, money, attention, whatever the currency is, if we forfeit something of ourselves in return. The truth is that we are completely magical from the get, we just need to get out of our own way and let it shine. 
But how to do that? It’s like solving a puzzle that changes up all the time.
In my case, I am being forced to let go of the beauty of youth; I notice men in the room looking past me at younger women. I am pretty okay with that right now, although it is a definite process to let go of one identity and get comfortable in another. It is forcing me to move on to a new chapter in life, one in which I have to rely upon other means to feel whole and loved, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I am also still hiding at least a portion of my light under a bushel to make a living, and I’m unsure of how to make the shift into feeling the sunshine on my face (mixing metaphors?) while still getting the bills paid. I’m definitely in a much better space with this than I was many years ago, working bar jobs that destroyed liver and self esteem, but the question remains: how to find a way to work in a place that most resonates with our energy, that makes us feel good about ourselves, that makes the world a better place? This is what I desire most these days.
I see some of my beautiful girlfriends dampening themselves down to keep their men or attract men. I am so incredibly lucky that I have a man who is unafraid of strong females, and indeed finds my loud friends and me entertaining rather than scary or “too much”. But I wouldn’t have been able to handle his acceptance years ago, and it has taken me years to trust that his love is real. He, like anyone else, has his own personal doubts and fears that sometimes make him doubt how strongly his own light shines. And so it goes with everyone I know. 
The mission seems to be to reach an understanding of how great we really are, and by “we” I don’t mean the outer, fleeting shit that we use to hold our egos up, but our actual true, creative, loving selves. I wish it would arrive all at once, but maybe the plan is designed to take a lifetime, or maybe a few? I don’t know. I do know that it’s enough for tonight to know who I am as much as I can at the moment, who my friends are, and that we’re all safe and sound.

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