Gypsy Shag

I don’t write about politics because I’m not qualified. Politics have always bored me and I am only now paying attention because it’s necessary.

Our country is so polarized right now that most people have drawn a line in the sand and will not tolerate crossover from the other side. I’m there. I want to live my liberal life talking liberal things with my liberal friends and in my mind all things Trump and red/orange are the racist, misogynist, greedy, nature-razing devil we repel as best we can via protests, voting, petitions, and facebook posts. Doesn’t seem like much of an arsenal, unfortunately.

I usually delete anyone uber-right leaning out of my social media friend lists. It’s not the most open-minded thing to do, but it’s less extreme than many of my friends. I have a few Republican friends and I am able to hear them out and we joke back and forth. But we are careful to be gentle with one another because we’re shaking hands over a minefield. They let me post what I want without comment, I do the same for them. It’s a small group, because most of us are too strident with rage and frustration at this point to entertain that kind of courteous finesse.

So I have this childhood friend…

I grew up in a traditional upper middle class Midwestern home. Mom, dad, me, four siblings younger than me (Catholic). My parents worked their way through college and my dad ended up making a decent amount of money while my mother stayed home and did mostly traditional mom stuff. We lived comfortably and without want, at least until he died unexpectedly during my first year of college in NYC.

My best friend in early childhood (grade school) was the second to the youngest of five sisters, parents divorced. It was a classic 70’s divorce–their father lived a happy bachelor life with his new girlfriend in a house on a lake. They had a pontoon boat and booze in the fridge. They were fun and loose and we loved going to their place in the summer. Their mother had full custody of the girls, worked a full time job and wasn’t nearly as fun. She was overweight and angry. She was weary. She was a caring woman and did her best, but even at 9 or 10 years old I could see that she was pissed off. And why wouldn’t she be?

The three older sisters were the most beautiful creatures I’d ever seen–cheerleaders with athletic, lithe frames and long, wavy blonde hair. They would lay out in bikinis for hours in their backyard in the summer; their tan, concave stomachs glinting with baby oil in the sun, the radio playing top 40, which was great back then. They were funny and sharp and had no problem getting boyfriends as they marched fearlessly through the world, always in the right clothes. In my mind they were the real life incarnation of Charlie’s Angels and I worshiped them as goddesses.

Things were great with my friend, who was the second to youngest. We talked about how much we hated both of our younger sisters and taped songs off of the radio holding the mike to the speaker and drew pictures of horses and fantasized about owning horses and had sleepovers that involved many snacks and marking the softcore sex passages in romance novels. There was an ease and ability to be ourselves that you only find with a handful of people throughout your life.

Until we put away childish things. Around the 5th or 6th grade everyone began noticing that my friend was blossoming to be even more gorgeous than her stunning sisters. I on the other hand, was not faring as well. I lumbered awkwardly under the weight of coke-bottle glasses, crippling shyness, and a terrible haircut that resulted from a miscommunication with my mom. I was too uncoordinated and introverted for cheerleading. The neighborhood boys were not amused or interested.

School2

I avoided my friend and socializing in general, retreating into a heavy shell of dark classic literature, where I could stay in my room reading and fantasizing about being the plain, yet noble and brilliant heroine. It was easy enough to separate because we went to different schools, me private Catholic, her public, although we rode the same bus. I began sitting with the chubby, acne-prone red-headed girl who sat closer to the front of the bus, while my friend sat in the back with the cool kids. She would have included me; it was my choice to move. The chasm between myself and those kids was too wide for me. But it made me even sadder. I liked the chubby girl, but I didn’t love her like my friend. And I felt angry that the world so capriciously divided people into worthy or unworthy categories.

Shortly after that period my family moved to a new town, so the issue became moot. I think we might have written letters back and forth for a while, and much later, I think the year after our senior year of high school, I traveled back to visit her. I was doing better then; I wore contact lens and listened to punk rock and had a cool boyfriend who adored me, all which gave me confidence enough for the trip.

But shortly after arrival I dropped back into the old insecurities. She was even more gorgeous and athletic and everything she wore looked amazing on her. I was beautiful too; everyone looks great when they’re 18, but I didn’t know it or feel it.

Always the writer, I penned copious pages of notes to my boyfriend describing everything around me. I don’t remember what I said but it was shitty enough that she stopped speaking to me when I unwittingly forgot them behind for her to read. I wasn’t mature enough to understand what I was feeling and I must have said some very mean things.

Decades passed before we reconnected. I am fuzzy on the details. She says that she reached out first when my father died. I do know at some point she sent back some sunglasses I’d also left behind with a letter outlining her reasons for not responding. I felt ill when I read it–so guilty and sad. It nagged at me for years, until I finally sent a letter to her mother’s house apologizing. My friend responded right away. We exchanged photos and became friends on facebook. She was divorced with children, a runner, a businesswoman, still beautiful. I was me–pets, tattoos, rock and roll, organized chaos. Very different, but it was such a relief to feel that we had healed and connected.

Or so I thought. Because politics.

There we are–me and my liberal kinsfolk, my mom, my friends, my siblings, all posting away feverishly about baby goats, global warming, corporate greed, #45, and Kavanaugh. All 100% in agreement that he should not be on the Supreme Court.

My friend started quietly with small disagreeing sentences on my mother’s posts. Dr. Ford was coached to frame this innocent man. She’s lying. She’s evil.

I though, is it possible? Can it be? Is my friend one of them??

deatheaters

Then I posted a statement about rich old white men and the shit really hit the fan. You could feel the angry keystrokes as she hammered me in comments about unfairly labeling wealthy old white guys. She was PISSED.

My reaction was, “Huh??” It seemed an unnecessary cause to get behind. But I kept it polite because I don’t want to fight with friends, especially ones that I already screwed up on. Plus my current crew is rabid and brilliant, much better informed than I, and I knew would handle it toute suite. Which they did:

And which of course made things all the more intense. But my friend stayed focused on me and called me out on what she viewed as a privileged upbringing and our problems of the past. The energy was weirdly emotional and confusing.

My guru mom opined privately that maybe something beyond politics, something deeper and more personal, could be coming up from within her to be examined and healed. Beyond superficial details, I don’t really know what my friend’s inner life has been since we were children. Maybe some crazy shit happened that now fosters a protective urge toward wealthy conservative dudes. Or maybe my life with my (outwardly) intact family unit looked better from the outside than hers felt?

And sadly, maybe it’s simply that some relationships aren’t meant to last forever and you can’t fix everything. Maybe in some cases it’s like trying to glue a broken vase together. You can make it look decent but it’s always on the verge of coming apart, with glue lines and chips missing.

I feel bad about that. I’m sorry that I hurt her. I’m always sorry for any hurt I cause. Except maybe my ex because I apologized so many times that it became a mantra that almost killed me, while he never owned up to anything. He can eat a bag of unwashed dicks and then apologize as many times while picking pubes out of his teeth.

After that initial sadness, I realized I am no longer so deeply invested in making sure that she has forgiven me or sees me as a good person. There’s this new, quiet release of not having to internalize all these outside opinions and I don’t feel the fear of being “less than” anymore. I’m doing the best I can at whatever level I’m at, at the time. Most of the time most of us are doing the best we can. She genuinely believes in her politics, I believe she’s wrong, nothing more to discuss. Life moves forward and people come in and go out of our lives according to the randomness of the Universe.

The upside to getting the shit beat out of me–by my ex’s lack of empathy, loyalty or accountability, my other ex’s girlfriend going for the jugular because I posted a couple of 20 year old photos, Spiker and Sponge’s pathetic but pervasive laptop-based smear campaign, and finally my childhood best friend freaking out on me for labeling rich old white guys as rich old white guys–is that I finally, blissfully, magically, miraculously DON’T GIVE TOO MUCH OF A FUCK ABOUT WHAT OUTSIDE PEOPLE ARE THINKING OF ME.

This is an entirely new feeling, and it’s AWESOME.

giphy

So the lessons for now are:

–People can be obnoxious for no easily apparent reasons that probably have nothing to do with you.

–Sometimes shit is too broken to fix but it’s okay because other new shit comes in to take its place. Sometimes you were supposed to break it in order to make space. So forgive yourself once you’ve done what you can to make it right.

–Republicans are crazy! Okay, maybe this one isn’t fully true but it makes me chuckle to type it.

–Not everyone is going to like you or forgive you and the more you can let go of the insecurity that drives the desire to achieve this, the happier you will be.

That’s probably it for today. Nothing too mind-blowing.Although I will say that knowing these things in your head is much different than carrying them around happily in your gut. So much easier said than done.

Thank you life for all of your crappy, unhappy, excruciating lessons that inch me toward enlightenment at an unbelievably glacial pace. And thank you friends, as always, for your kind indulgence.

And you’re welcome for that humiliating photo.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

My August of Discontent

Followed by a pretty good September…

Woman #1:  That was the worst! And then you gave all of our drugs to that LADYMAN!

Woman #2:  I know! I’m sorry! I don’t know what came over me. I would have bought him a car if he asked. 

Woman #1:  It’s okay; it’s not your fault. You were DICKMATIZED. It’s a terrible thing that happens to all of us. 

Woman #3:  She got caught in DICKSAND!

This conversation is leading nowhere. I just think it’s funny.

So I know many of you are waiting to hear my take on LAPTOPGATE 2018, in which I was wrongfully accused of stealing a laptop from a DJ booth in which a friend was DJing, in a club owned by friends.

Unfortunately I can’t get too far into it for a number of reasons. First being that the club owners asked me not to, as they don’t want their business publicly dragged into nonsense. Second, I don’t want to perpetuate or dignify peewee-league drama. So I’ll keep it as brief and as non-snarky as possible. Which will probably still be snarky because it’s me and I am furious.

So yes, the day after visiting another bar after getting off my happy hour shift at Bowery Electric, I was accused of sneaking a fledgling DJ’s computer out of this bar via my purse. This is because the world’s two most dubiously capable detectives (seemingly parentally over-indulged and hysterical millennial laptop owner and her intellectually challenged BFF, who both shall, for convenience and amusement’s sake, be referred to as Spiker and Sponge for the duration of this blog) gained access to the club’s security video footage of that night and became fixated on an image of me putting my large-because-I-came-from-bartending purse in the DJ booth, where my friend was spinning, and then taking it out of the booth an hour later. Then, like all clever thieves, I spent ten minutes carrying said bag around the room hugging members of the staff goodbye before exiting for the night with my plunder.

I received a call the next night from the bar owner, who told me things were dire and asked me to call Spiker to try to reason with her so that she would not go to the police to try to get me arrested. I was stunned; it was so surreal. Of course I didn’t take anyone’s stuff. But I did as requested and called and attempted to explain calmly all the myriad reasons that I don’t need or want her computer. She responded, like all rational adults, by shrieking as if she’d been burned, until I was finally compelled to abandon the damage to my ear and hang up the phone. I then texted Sam and learned that Spiker’s reason for living had been found in his bag.

Sigh… all roads of chaos inevitably lead back to Sam. The computer had landed in his constantly open backpack, also residing in the DJ booth for a time on the night of said surveillance video. Spiker probably dropped it on the pile of bags while she was preoccupied texting her Adderall dealer or calling daddy to up her allowance. And because Sam is Sam he didn’t notice the extra weight until the next morning.

One would assume that this would have been the end of it. But Spiker insisted upon remaining in nonsensical victim-mode and accused Sam of covering for my kleptomania. He told her to go fuck herself. Then ensued a ridiculous and seemingly endless campaign of whining Instagram and Facebook prose about what a terrible person I am, followed by huzzahs back and forth between the two of them for being so “classy” while suffering so mightily under such tyranny. There were also countless complainey texts and direct messages via various social platforms from them to people I’ve known and worked with for 25 plus years. Who all assured these two geniuses that they had not cracked the DaVinci code, but instead were harassing an innocent person.

The night of the phone call I was so furious I put up a nameless rant on Facebook. I stated that I wished it could be 1989 for a day so I could mete out my frustration old school style. My friends responded in kind, which then prompted Spiker, (who must have been monitoring my page for possible song recommendations to borrow for her “DJ career”) to get hysterical all over again, flapping her birdlike limbs and squawking that she would now need an order of protection to prevent my army of ancient supervillains from attending one of her crap parties in order to beat her up or throw tampons at her while shouting “Plug it up”. Or maybe simply ask her politely what it feels like to be a complete and utter asshole.

So I then had to assure aforementioned bar owners that no one in my over-30 age peer group has the ambition or energy for fisticuffs at this late stage in our lives. And I took the rant down, as requested. After that some random troll or trolls spent quality time screenshotting and sending out any jokes that were made in the direction of laptop theft in what I can only assume were attempts to injure me further and/or inflame the situation. Then a few days later Sam brought a large group of people to another local bar after a nearby gig, not knowing that Sponge was bartending. She had a tantrum and refused to serve anyone until they left, claiming later that she was afraid, which was ludicrous. And to which Sam “Stay Jewish, Ponyboy” Hariss responded, “What am I gonna do, complain about the weather to her to death?”

Hmm…Admittedly this rundown is in no way brief, went way far into it and is quite snarky indeed. I’m sure I’ll get a call about it. But honestly I don’t give a fuck at this point. I’m tired of always working so hard to be the guy on the high road. August 2018 was the month in which I got hammered incessantly by young women for no good or logical reason, and I deserve to vent some sarcasm on my own damn blog.

The first attack (the blog prior to this entry, if you’re not up on all things Raff and are interested) I did my best to sort out how to be a good person and decipher what role I played in inspiring the aggression. And I did get an apology a few days later, which was gladly accepted. I have no desire to fight with people. But this laptop insanity was a whole new level of stupid. For this one I had to let go of the idea that there was some cosmic lesson at play and chalk it up to two things: one, some people are dicks, plain and simple, and two, chaos and confusion are the fees one occasionally has to pay to have Sam in the orbit.

While in eye of this latest storm I happened to get tattooed. My phone kept going off while I was sitting in the chair so my tattoo artist was forced to overhear all the conversations. He (Jonah Ellis) is awesome, and gave me his thoughts on why bad things happen while you’re innocently standing there minding your own business. His theory is that life is constantly stabbing you in the back of the head, then once in a while it stops long enough for you let your guard down and start thinking life is not so bad. Then as soon as you do, it starts stabbing again to remind you that life does indeed, and always will, suck.

This is hilarious but a bit bleak. I do have hope that there is more cosmic rhyme and reason to be had. Yet it did feel that way. I felt genuinely beat up. I was afraid to look at social media or leave the house for a week. I felt betrayed by my club owning friends for allowing a couple of petulant nobodies to have power to injure me in a scene that I had been participating in and contributing to since well before they were born.

Thankfully, it’s done. At least until they read this and start bleeding their teenage periods all over Instagram again. Plug it up! Plug it up!!

See how I brought that all around again. WRITING!

Onto bigger and better things–

Wendy Scripps, Liza Colby, Robby Bote (The Tip manager and bass player) and I went to London to get some biz done. Wendy loves the UK and all of us believe that breaking a band in the UK and Europe is more productive than doing it here in the States. So we’re looking toward more touring across the pond for all of the Wendigo bands, and we checked out the scene and took business meetings like grown-ups and had high tea for fun and Liza and I spent a day walking around the London Zoo eating ice cream and grinning like idiots. It was pretty great.

Here are some highlights. Check the Wendigo Instagram for more. And follow it for Chrissake. We have awesome content and we need more followers.

Right after landing, on 24+ hours of no sleep, I did a reading, along with one of my favorite poets and friend Puma Perl, for our friend Jane Ormerod‘s Great Weather for Media. It went great. Sometimes readings can be deadly dull or horribly uncomfortable as people read odes to their vaginas. But this one was full of interesting and talented writers and people liked what I read, thank you, Baby Jesus. And coincidentally, Puma read a poem called “It’s Not Depression, It’s August”, which contains the line, “Nothing good happens in August.” FULL CIRCLE! WRITING!

I was delirious but it was a blast hanging with NY friends in London.

 

 

Wendigo sponsored Jesse Malin’s sold out Gates of the West UK concert at Dingwalls. It was packed to the gills, the performances were great, and it raised money for two very worthy charities: Joe Strummer Foundation and Music for Memory.

Gates of the West

Liza and Robby got up and did a few covers at our friend Arno Von Detritus’ club Lounge 666/Nightclub Kolis. That’s the UK Sub’s Jamie Oliver on drums.

 

 

Liza and I met and saw the 5, 6, 7, 8’s in a tiny club and lost our minds. They were so goddamn cute and the music was great. Here’s the drummer:

 

 

Zoo!

 

 

Tea Party

 

 


So that’s the rundown. I hope all these details aren’t too boring but I want to keep you all in the loop and so much is happening it’s hard to know where to begin or end with updates. Wendigo has a lot of exciting stuff in store for end of 2018 into 2019 and I’m stoked to be at the helm. The Liza Colby Sound is going to Japan, The Sweet Things are working on a new album, The Tip is headed to Europe in the Spring, we’ve got a few other band projects in the works and we’ll be doing more projects in the UK.

My dream is to foster a business model in which the artist and the people behind the scenes work as a unit, making decisions together, so that the artist can flourish with the help they need and everyone makes money at the end of the day. We’re getting closer to that every day.

All credit to Wendy Scripps for keeping so much rock rolling and for offering to bail me out of jail next time I get caught with my hand in the computer jar.

41332493_2289372757746696_6669662225856200704_n

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.

 

 

 

 

Bring It

First, I’d like to address that someone in our circle was hit by a truck while on her bicycle, by a driver operating under a suspended license. She was severely injured, has had a number of surgeries and will be recuperating for some time. We are not close, but she is close to many of my friends and I don’t feel it would be right to write about my internal noise without acknowledging that things can always be worse, that life changes on a dime, and that we have to love one another. Patton Oswald quotes his late wife as saying, “Life is chaos; be kind.”  True dat, and my best wishes for her recovery.

Okay, back to my favorite subject–NEW AGE NAVEL GAZING. I feel like I’ve been writing about the same things over and over again for a while, but as vision gets clearer the topic refines itself for me, and it is my hope that any bit of clarity I receive will work for others as well.

I often have to rein in what I share because some of the people in my life are not as public as I am. Its not fair to tell their stories from my point of view or expose them in ways that could make them uncomfortable. I understand that I am already revealing much of my private life to people who don’t have my best interest at heart, but it’s a choice I make for myself.

I have had to be guarded about the dissolution of my 13-year relationship with Drew, sharing just the iceberg tip of the emotion and chaos in my world. But as I get further into the journey I can now speak more freely. I don’t feel that I owe as much anymore. I have paid a great toll for my weakness, confusion and imperfection, a toll so heavy that it culminated in a bottle of pills. And the many attempts that I have made to make amends or find a peaceful co-existence have been met with what I perceive as disdain and, at times, a deliberate desire to punish, to win. It could be temporary, but for now it is a hard and barren ground and does lessen any feelings of obligation. I still wish to speak with respect and love, but my story is solely my own at the moment.

The main lesson throughout all of it, and I believe now the cosmic reason for the rift, is to finally get down to the messy job of loving myself. I would have never had to face the depth of my own self-judgment and self-doubt if my soul had not forced me to step out into the eye of this terrible internal storm. A big pot of shame and secret knowledge that I was unlovable that has been on simmer inside of me since I was a child finally came to a nice roiling boil and I had no choice but to step away from the one person I thought I would be with until I died. My brain did not ask for this change but I couldn’t stop myself from spinning in that dark water until finally change could no longer be denied.

I have been judged harshly–by him at times, by his friends, by his family, by my family, by strangers. But mostly, and with the least amount of compassion or understanding, by myself. Fortunately I am great at choosing friends, and they have loved me throughout this process far more than I have loved myself, even when they didn’t fully understand what the process was.

I re-listened to a lecture by Matt Kahn on twin flames/soulmates and it shifted me from the place of burning hurt and resentment that I’ve been residing in over the last few months. I had listened to it before but somehow it hit the bull’s-eye this time. Sometimes it takes me a little while to properly ingest information. Okay, let’s say a lot of while combined with brutal and repeated ass-kickings usually does the trick.

It reminded me that it is past time to quit looking outside of myself for approval, information and peace, especially in places where it’s never going to come.

I have gotten pretty much everything I’ve wanted in this life. When I was an excruciatingly nerdy and shy teenager I wished every day to be pretty and to be able to open my mouth and talk to people. I was sneered at and called “Dog” by the jocky boys with lockers next to mine. And once I started developing, “Tits on a tube.” It hurt. And it was so dumb, even under the pain I thought, “Really, that’s the best you could come up with?

School1

I didn’t want to be on the top of the food chain so much as off the bottom. I prayed to God, “If you give me this I know I can be happy.” I got contact lens and discovered punk rock and started dressing for my imaginary rock and roll life, and one day I heard a man whistle at me. I thought, “That is so mean…” I went home and sat in front of the mirror and thought, “Hmm. Maybe this could be workable.” That was a good day; I got my wish and it definitely helped. But it didn’t silence the deepest inner dialogue:

“You’re just fooling people.”

I wanted to live an urban, exciting life, I wanted music and cool clothes, to hang out with rock stars, I wanted to be a rock star, I wanted to see the world, I wanted cool friends, I wanted certain boys to love me. Later on I wanted to not hate my job and live in a nice apartment. I wanted a real relationship. Got all that.

“You don’t deserve this. Break it apart.”

While much of what I have is due to some serious determination on my part, I fully acknowledge that life has been exceedingly kind to me. And acknowledge that the information to be gleaned from this luck and progress is that while getting what you want is awesome, it is mostly temporary. You’re gonna lose some of it and bad things are gonna happen. Which means that no matter how much you are given, sometimes you’re still gonna feel terrible.

The lesson always comes back around to this: that the inner current of confusion and sadness that runs through me at times (and I’m guessing almost all of us) only changes or is assuaged in a profound way when I stop dancing around trying to force things outside of me to stay the same or to be as distracting and appealing as possible.

Which means that in this particular case, it is time to stop fighting to be loved by someone who no longer cares about me, to stop being angry, sad and sorry about the way things went down, to stop trying to figure it out, to stop trying to rewrite it in my head, to stop trying to convince people that I’m not a bad person, to stop reaching out, to just STOP. Stop it and be still and accept the death and learn how to give that love to myself so I don’t have to race around looking for it in every dark corner of the world. ‘Cause guess what? Boom! It was here all the time, Dorothy.

Ugh. Blargh. Feh. Poop emoji.

These illnesses and losses and tragedies that we mourn and fight so hard to change, to bargain away, to rework in our heads, are meant to feel this bad. They are meant to break us down, to shatter us in ways that leave us too exhausted to fight anymore. And eventually beat up enough to be open to rebuilding from the inside out.

I especially needed this message from the lecture: when we are in anger, blame, sadness, regret, etc., we can say to ourselves, “Let the one who is judging be next in line to be loved.”

And while we are flailing to ease the pain and fill the void, there is the simple act of saying to ourselves, “I love you.”  Even if we don’t believe it or know how to love ourselves, we can say it, and it is soothing to the heart and mind, and it brings us closer to the truth of why we are here. Why we are in these bodies being forced to learn one bullshit, ridiculous, stupid, excruciating, unfair, fuck you Universe lesson after another.

“How can they do this to me?” – I love you. “I can’t take it anymore.” I love you. “This is so wrong.” I love you. “I don’t want to feel this pain.” – I love you. I’m sorry you’re feeling this. I’m sorry I haven’t loved you enough in the past to make better choices for you. I love you. 

It’s so corny and not at all badass. I’d so much rather set everything on fire and watch my enemies burn. But it works. I feel at peace right now. I feel okay with being viewed as unimportant or a liability to someone who I thought would love me always. I feel free of the fear of being disliked for the first time in my life. You have shit to say about me? Too late, I’ve already said it to myself. And with a better vocabulary and a better understanding of where the knife cuts the deepest. The outside stuff is not going to hurt me as much anymore. I have others who do love me and I know that my job at this time is to focus on being healthy and grounded enough to give them the love and attention they deserve.

I have a beautiful 25 year old boyfriend whose presence is a constant reminder to act with thought and compassion. Because he is a gentle and loving soul, but also because I see my own 25 year old self in him and I know how hard it is to make sense of anything when you’re that young. It would be too easy for me to mess with his head, so I am always cautious of my motivations and the words that I use. I will have to release him into the wild sooner than later because the difference in age and experience level is too great. In some ways that’s sad but as I get clearer I see the perfection in that imperfection. And it’s not happening today so today I feel gratitude. I believe that our partnership was a gift given to me to help make the steps to this next chapter in my life a little less bloody, a little more comfortable and warm. And regardless of the status of our relationship I want to remain the safe and sane place for him that I haven’t always allowed for myself.

My demons are crafty and I don’t want them screwing with me or anyone else anymore. So I give them love too. I love you demons for dancing around and smashing stuff, for breaking my heart, for always working so hard to distract me and keep me occupied. You can take a break for a minute while I sit here quietly and try to practice this self-love crap.

Namaste, bitches. It’s a hard knock life and it goes by too quickly; be kind to yourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phone Call From a Friend

So, as my cleverly original title suggests, I got a call from an old friend about a week ago and I keep thinking about it.

This particular friend has led a troubled life. I know her childhood was difficult; I don’t know all the details. She was neglected, abandoned at a young age, and I’m pretty sure there was some sexual abuse sprinkled in there as well. She is also French, so that makes her an automatic bummer. Sorry Frenchies, I love you dearly and could retire in the South of your country happily, but you know it’s true.

She spent much of her adult life shooting heroin, occasional forays into coke-shooting binges as well, often prostituting herself to pay for the habits. She was beautiful in an offbeat kind of way. She had a great sense of style and a petite, lithe, catlike body and face. When I met her she was a newly sober stripper. She loved to dance and wanted to be a professional dancer but she had no training. She was too messed up to change that or to really do anything other than get on and off drugs while concocting never fulfilled get-rich-quick schemes and obsessing over various men that came and went. They were all transient in her life, much like the stretches of sobriety.

We met after she screwed my faithless boyfriend behind my back. I had liked her prior to that, I would see her on the street and give her change when she was down and out. When I saw she was cleaned up I was happy for her–until she started lurking around his rehearsal space. I felt betrayed and made my feelings loud and clear whenever we were in the same club or passing each other on the street. Eventually she turned it around after a scene on the sidewalk in front of my apartment in which I spit at her while carrying a full bag of laundry. Good times. She reacted with a bemused expression and called after me in her thick accent, I av paid. You av paid. Ee never pays. Ee should pay.”

I really liked that. I stopped dead in my tracks and the rage melted off of me like hot wax. I invited her up for tea. True story. She came home with me and I made tea and we became fast friends, much to the chagrin of said faithless boyfriend.

I had a much different childhood than her. I come from a nice dysfunctional but loving middle class family in which my parents were always there for me and did everything in their power to help their children succeed as adults. I had never witnessed drug use or addiction, but I had my own demons and was fascinated by dark, complicated people. I loved winning over brooding types, always ready to step up and do whatever it took to make them love me. I could sit quietly for months waiting for that turnaround when they would look up and realize they loved me. So the two of us created a cozy, codependent, mirror relationship. We went to shows and watched movies and smoked cigarettes and ate a lot of lunches at outdoor cafes. She counseled and comforted me as I continued to wage a war to the death with aforementioned faithless boyfriend, whose singer in his band became her boyfriend. At another point we both had flings with members of the Black Crowes–another sisterly bond.

The fall from that initial clean period was not a dramatic cliff drop. It was more like an inch by inch slide into the muck. She was always depressed and got more so over time. She wasn’t as fun anymore and was constantly saying it felt pointless to stay sober. She met Christopher Walken at a party, he expressed interest and she became fixated. She would lay in bed and watch King of New York over and over again. Somehow that movie seemed like the beginning of the end. She fell into a triangle relationship with an addict ex-boyfriend and a young boy who worked for him. It scared me with my Midwest straight girl sensibility. She obsessed over all of them as she stayed prone for hours, chain-smoking and coming up with her money plans. Sometimes I’d lay on the bed with her and listen and try to advise her, sometimes I’d just stop in and drop off coffee (extra light, extra sweet) and a muffin. Sometimes I wouldn’t show up at all.

My band opened for Motorhead at the Ritz. It was a big show and I wore an outfit that was a direct rip off of her style. She was pissed at me and complained vociferously. I didn’t get it. We all stole from each other. I understand now that it seemed that I had everything while she had a very small corner that she could call her own. It was insensitive to take from her.

When things got really bad she lost her place and lived here and there, for a while with a trick who paid the rent. She hooked on 12th Street. She would call me in the middle of the night to tell me her adventures. Terrible things like the way the cops rounded up all the prostitutes at the end of the month to fill their quotas, holes in the arm so large that the end of the syringe carelessly fell in, people boarding up apartment doors because they were hallucinating and paranoid from endless days of shooting coke. For a while the bodega underneath my building sold drugs, so once in a while I’d come downstairs and give her $10 and a hug when she stopped by to make a purchase.

When I managed Coney Island High in the 90’s the window in front of my desk looked out onto St. Mark’s Place. I would see her going in and out of a building across the street. She looked pretty rough by then, she had missing teeth and the skin on her face and arms was mottled and patchy. I never stopped loving her but I tuned it out. I had spent too much time dealing with addicts by then and they no longer held as much fascination. Too messy, too needy, too expensive, not glamorous.

Eventually she got a needle stuck in her knee, and it festered and she could have lost her leg or died. Caring friends made sure she made it into the hospital. Then once the initial crisis was over she was nabbed by other caring friends and hustled to a rehab in Florida to clean up. Which she did. She hated it with a passion. Florida is no place for a sullen, chain-smoking, resentfully sober Frenchwoman, but it saved her life. She got a job patrolling some sort of school or institution grounds and she entertained me with funny stories over the phone of how she, truly one of the laziest people I have ever known, used a golf cart to get everywhere. I laughed as I imagined her putting at a ridiculously slow speed in her security jacket, cigarette dangling out of her mouth.

She began painting; finally tapping into that well of creativity, and she created haunting, almost primitive images of her inner world of intense feeling and sadness. She painted furniture and jeans with minute dots and curliques, her patience for sitting still coming in handy. It was nice to see the photos of the results.

One time she visited New York, and that was when I knew our paths had diverged for good. She had gained weight and insisted upon wearing very high heels to give the illusion of length. She wanted to shop but had no money and couldn’t walk anywhere in the awful shoes. She complained that her feet hurt. I paid for cabs around town to inexpensive chain stores, where she complained that nothing fit. I cabbed her back to Café Orlin where I knew they’d make her coffee the way she liked it, and she ordered mashed potatoes and rice pudding on my tab, then complained about being fat.

It was an expensive bummer of a day and I ignored a few of her messages after that. Eventually she wore me down and I wrote that I found her frustrating. I gave her my list of grievances and she told me she wasn’t going to take my inventory and that she still loved me if I wanted to take hers. Diabolical. Or should I say, diabolique?

That was a good ten or fifteen years ago; she’s back in France now. Which she hates as much as she hated Florida, but there was little choice with no money or job skills. She told me two or three years ago, through facebook. that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. I wasn’t sure how to react. As usual, I felt frustrated, irritated. I wanted to yell at her–what did you think was going to happen? You eat shitty food, you smoke like a chimney, you don’t exercise, you’re never, ever happy. And I felt guilty. Whether I’m happy or not during any given moment, I always recognize how blessed I am. I am surrounded by loving friends and family and I have the tools to support myself and stay healthy. Why did I go down one road while she had to take another?

She had been calling me for a while and I resisted picking up. She was never much of a listener and I hate talking on the phone. She’s so self-absorbed that she’s never read this blog and will only read it now if someone tells her she’s in it. But I did relent eventually and we talked. It was intense, but not bad. She is homebound now, the cancer has metastasized and she has maybe a year or so left. She has one ally, an ex-boyfriend. He takes care of her and keeps her company. He keeps her out of the hospital or hospice.

Her father called the caretaking ex and said that he didn’t want to pay for funeral costs and they should look into charitable institutions to handle it. Wrap your brain around that for a minute. What a shitty hand to be dealt. My dad would have cut off a limb before thinking, let alone saying something like that.

For once she didn’t sound brooding. She was actually somewhat upbeat. She said it’s boring; she finally has all the drugs she could ask for but they don’t do much for her entertainment-wise. And she said repeatedly, “I wasted my life. I wish I hadn’t wasted my life.” I always thought she was wasting her life too, but now I don’t know. I told her I thought maybe there was something her soul needs from this lifetime’s experience exactly the way it is/was, and coulda woulda shoulda is the human experience. She said, “I’m afraid to die. I’m afraid I’ll go to hell.” I told her she’s never done anything to warrant damnation and that it is my firm belief that she is going to go home, that this life of deep sadness will finally be over for her, and that she has much to look forward to on the other side.

I think about wasted time all the time as I move into the latter half of my life. I often feel that I should be doing more, that I could have done more, that the clock is ticking on doing more.  Most of my friends are chronic overachievers, they’ve got one woman shows and tour constantly and work out constantly and sing in front of orchestras and write books and own bars. I feel like the slacker in the bunch, upping my xbox gaming score when I could be creating. But I’ve finally stopped allowing that pressure to penetrate my psyche. It doesn’t move me forward, it only makes me feel crappy about myself and I’ve got enough real stuff to beat myself up over already.

Anyhoo, I don’t have a moral to this story. I love my friend. I’ve been frustrated and irritated by her choices. I stopped paying attention and if it weren’t for her persistence I might not even know that she’s in the process of dying. I’m grateful for the gift of her friendship, unconditional love, and late hour insight. I wonder how I would have fared as an adult with her childhood circumstances. I see through middle aged eyes, as friends pass more often through the veil, that life is fleeting and the best thing we can do is try to remember to treat those in our vicinity with kindness and understanding, to pick up the phone once in a while even if we do annoy the fuck out of each other.

Just a Little Bite

I just posted this photo on Facebook but it’s still making me chuckle so it’s going here too:

This is my current mood trying on bikinis to wear in LA:

snowsuit

I love being my age; I hate the bit of extra weight that comes with it.

I am convinced that what I eat and how I process food is as much connected to my spiritual/energy state as it is to my emotional state and general love of all things pasta. So I’ve been noodling (get it!) around on the internet looking for alternative solutions to living solely on salads, which I do enjoy, but I am equally fond of wine and a life full of friends and family gathered around kitchen stoves and tables full of food to be able to buckle down enough to easily float back to my 25 year old waif weight.

Sigh…I sincerely miss those bird arms and bitchy thighs that would never deign to touch one another. But I didn’t appreciate them when I had them so I gotta just keep moving forward.

0acc0ce28d7ae60eb0721405bc12d7be

Abraham-Hicks talks about the vortex all the time, and that if we are in the vortex we automatically process in a healthy way. I still haven’t quite sorted out the vortex for myself. And honestly, I already know I’m healthy. I merely wish to be a little less Midwestern healthy and more neurotic fancy city lady skinny.

I happened upon this video that feels worth sharing. I am not Jewish and some of what this lovely woman espouses does not speak to my mentality or lifestyle. I don’t agree that an animal’s highest destiny is to be consumed and thereby become one with humans at the top of the food chain. And it has never occurred to me to consider dressing modestly. But she is smart, she has a warm, gentle energy and this is good advice. I love what she has to say about savoring bites, about eating to energize, and about being more conscious as we are eating. This makes more sense to me than deprivation, which I will never be able to master.

So maybe some of this will speak to some of you as well. Perhaps when I get back from Cali we can discuss the finer points over a mountain of lasagna and a few bottles of chianti. Until then, l’chaim! Or something like that.