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Friday, February 27, 2015

List

I've been away from this blog for a few days.  I do enjoy writing it and sharing my random thoughts. Often it helps me get centered before working on other writing.  This week I have/had two dance performances, one tonight (Thursday) at Don Quixote's.  If you have been following this blog for awhile, you know that I was assaulted at Don Quixote's a few years ago and had a great deal of emotional trouble afterwards.  I can see how far I have come in healing from that because I did not even think about the assault, at all, until just now....when I realized I did not think of it tonight!

Last night I dreamed about m, also--I was driving in a car with my granddaughter and a few other people when I saw him on the sidewalk, and asked to be let out so I could talk to him.  Curiously, he looked like other people I have seen in dreams after they die--about twenty years younger, and not in color (shades of black, white, and gray, like a black and white photograph), with very neat hair, a slightly trimmed beard, and neat, clean clothes.  He said he was really proud of all the work I have done on myself in the last year and was glad I seemed to be doing so much better healthwise and emotionally.  I told him I missed him and was glad to see him.  I had the sense he was going away to Jerusalem, of all places, and watched him go towards an open door that other people (all in Middle Eastern dress) were going into...I sensed it was to some other plane of existence, but knew I would see him again one day.  Before he went in, I yelled out, "L'chaim!}" (to life), and he yelled it back to me.  I woke happy to see him, but very disturbed by his aspect in the dream.  About two days after people I know have died, I always dream about them in the exact same "black-and-white photograph" way, with the age regression and very neat clothes and hair.  He is the first living person I've seen in such a way, in a dream. I don't like that...it has disquieted me even as I felt happy to see him and hope he visits my dream world again. 

My dance performance at Don Quixote's with my troupe, Dancers of the Crescent Moon, went well despite multiple problems.  First, one of our troupe members learned tonight, just before the performance, that their marriage of over three decades is in serious trouble.  I wish the partner could have waited til after the performance to tell my friend, as my friend was very upset and I really admire them for going on stage tonight.  I am sad about it in many ways, for his sake and for the both of them: their marriage seemed to be the one that has had amazing lasting power and I really, really hope they work things out.

So we had an upset troupe member, and then a major glitch with the band.  We'd learned a coffee-and-bread-making song (from Lebanon, I think), with singing--and unfortunately the lead singer in the band started singing with us, at a much slower pace than we were used to.  It nearly threw us off, but we recovered.  Then I could not get my finger cymbals on in the next dance, but my troupe leader and I make a funny comedy improv about it.  All in all, it was a good night, and I was made grateful again for my troupe, which is truly my "family" in so many ways.




Monday, February 23, 2015

Danced

I have two dance performances coming up, and today had rehearsals for both, a total of four hours.  I think we are well-prepared in both my troupes.  I was thinking today how much I love the dance community in Santa Cruz, and how much dance has kept me sustained all these years, but especially over the last year or so.  I remember that even in the middle of my worst chemo, with a lot of hair loss, I still got up and did a couple of performances.  It took everything I had and yet I am so glad about having pushed myself.

This week is costume refurbishment week.  I wear a coin belt with my costume for Dancers of the Crescent Moon and realize that one of the decorative chains on it has been off-kilter for years.  It's hard to see the mistake, but I know it's there now.

I've also been working assiduously on yoga every day for my back, especially, and also for flexibility, and really feel a difference after even just a week of daily practice.  Small gestures towards better health often really add up.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

UFO?

Sorry to have been away a few days.  I have had a disquieting experience.  Ever since I conceived of writing about Asha Veil, all kinds of strange experiences, totally out of the realm of my everyday life, have happened.

A few days ago (I have the exact date written down, but it is in another room), I was sitting in traffic on Highway One in Santa Cruz, where Highway One meets with River Street. It was a completely overcast day, around four o'clock. Suddenly I saw a very bright white light, really like a star, with a very strong, clear, blue-white light, hovering rather low in the sky over the freeway.  I said out loud, "What IS that?" because it was quite surprising.  It was in the wrong place for the planet Venus (which never gets that large or bright);  I don't think it could have been a helicopter, and no plane would really show through that cloud cover.  The light suddenly started to move backwards and faded into the cloud cover, though it remained a long time enough that you could see it was a circular object of some kind, and then it was abruptly gone.  It was not the sun: this was in a northeast direction.

Ever since then, despite CG's many scientific explanations (he was not there and I told him even he would have been freaked out had he seen it). I have been disquieted by the experience.  If there are really alien civilizations out there, what would they want with us?  I hope it is just that they want to observe us...and hopefully help us if things start to really deteriorate on this planet. 

Still, seeing this object, whatever it was, gave me a strange sense of peace.  I saw a UFO in 2013, far up in the sky, a round metallic object that clearly reflected the sun and moved in a tall arc until it suddenly disappeared.  Perhaps what I saw on Highway One can be explained away, but I would like to think otherwise.

As an amateur astronomer who is constantly learning more and more about our cosmos, I truly believe there are other civilizations out there.  Whether they are intelligent and advanced enough to come here, remains to be seen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Back to Writing

I'm starting to gear up again on Asha's book: I always think of it as hers. I can't go much further without beginning to interview people.  At least I have a lot of time right now, though how I am going to make the time when Thistle is out of school in the summer: that's going to be difficult, as I have no childcare for her over the summer and few people I trust to leave her with.  I figure: I have committed to this book and whatever I need will be given.  I need to find a good babysitter, or a few classes for Thistle this summer, though I am extremely choosy and careful about who I leave her with. 

As I think about what I have already learned about Asha, I realize that the media really skirted a lot of issues around her death and provided so little about herlife. I wish the papers would have talked more in depth to people who really knew her and loved her.  I feel I began to know a totally different, and no less wonderful, young woman after I talked to one of her closest friends, whose courage in speaking to me about such a tragedy I will respect for the rest of my life. 

There is a point in the chapters I have which talks about how hard it is to reconstruct a person who has been long gone: that one must fill in the blank space the lost one has left, a blank space in the shape of a person....and honestly, I have to accept that I am never, ever going to completely get this right.   I can only take up the brush and sketch as best I can, metaphorically.

Cleaning my Lompico house has really helped me get back on track: something about being in my own house, working on my writing space, and this week organizing closets and cupboards, and throwing out tons of old paper, and bringing old books and clothes to Goodwill, makes me feel cleansed in a strange sort of way.





Cleansing

It is very purgative to be cleaning my Lompico house. I have a huge garbage bag, mostly of my sister's old clothes she gave me, long ago. I have very few of her clothes now.  I am really letting go many of her old things.  I had so few of them; the ones of sentimental value, I am keeping, of course.
Lots of old school papers from the kids, which I am keeping in a special cabinet. That house has an incredible amount of storage, and will have more so, of course. The hardest part will be the kids' room, not only for the fact that right now it is a mess, but for the memories and the fact that they are grown and gone. It was so short a time from when we moved in there to those kids all leaving the nest.

I thought of how my sister helped us in those years and how much I wish she was still here.  She was not perfect, and I often felt obligated (because she and my younger brother were the only ones really there for us) to pretty much do whatever she asked of me. If she wanted to call at nine and keep me on the phone until one, even on school nights, I felt I had to do that.

I wish now that my sister had understood how important it was for me to have time after dinner to get the kids to bed.  Invariably she called at nine every night, just when the kids were getting ready to settle in, finish baths, etc.  I realize she had the same problem I did:  our violent family fights as children took place at night, so nights were a time of panic and fear. At the same time, my own therapist helped me learn to be okay at night and not hypervigliant. Yet, difficult as things were, she was truly one of my only sources of support and love in those years. I will be sad for the rest of my life that she never had the loving relationship she deserved, which I think increased her sadness and emotional vulnerability. There is so little of her left in the world now, and I am sad about that.

Still, it is good to get rid of things that no longer serve. We are, after all, not the sum of the things we carry into the world. I find myself wondering what is left of Asha's things: what did her husband keep of hers? I wonder if I will ever find out.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Can Believe, Not Can't

I wonder why it is that a man who has nothing but bad things to say about his late mother (I could never understand that one, as she seemed more than adequate and obviously loved him), calls his exes "slutty women," and tells me I was responsible for a sexual assault, goes on and on about the rights of women and how he respects and understands us so much.  I should not mull over these memories, but maybe my words will help someone...God knows I have a cautionary tale.  I don't hate this person: it just makes me sad to have known this, and I do hope one day it changes.  We all have the power to change things.

I have come to see the phrase "I really understand women" as the ultimate pick-up line and one that should never be believed until proven.  Yes, I am sure men are vulnerable to these things too, and my only thought on this is that words are cheap, as they say, and had I really been watching over time, I might not have believed this.  I feel pretty stupid to have not had my eyes open. We all have to confront the deeper things behind what we say.

The house is quiet and I have a little time to write, so it is time to put these thoughts away.




Writing Group Tonight

I have to say that I unqualifiedly love my writing group for accepting me back after a long absence (this is a group I've been with for 20 plus years).   I just want to say that I brought in the first seven pages of my Asha book and they were blown away.  It was quite validating.  I've been in a struggle to get back to it because of the addict's shenanigans, but feel inspired to keep working.  That is what a good writing group is for.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Safe

The addict is safe tonight, and I appreciate those who put them where the can get help. My family members rest easier tonight.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Bebe

There is a new baby in the family (no identifying information here, sorry, will be calling the little one Bebe, French for "baby"), though I hear the little one is having some tummy trouble.  A suggestion:  La Leche League can give the most contemporary information on whether mom's diet might be affecting Bebe.  It is said that reducing cow's milk in Mom's diet might help a little baby with tummy troubles:

http://www.llli.org/


I know someone who was colicky for three solid months, though it was not as bad as relatives make it out to be.  He was a little night owl and we would just sit and be quiet together on the couch while Dad slept.  Most of the time he felt better in the "football hold" because there was some gentle pressure on his tummy.  I was living on a diet of coffee and toast half the time because there were relatives living out of our house (and in our side yard from time to time) who literally ate the fridge bare (my mother cooked for me after I came home from the hospital; this was about two or three months later and continued for quite some time, creating a great deal of tension in an already fragile household).

I am convinced my terrible diet, unbelievably bad for a woman who has just given birth, was the worst thing for my baby and also for me--it was also, it seems to me, another bout of the anorexia I had in college (I know I am back in anorexia when I fascinatedly watch my weight drop a little more every day AND am curious to see how low the numbers can get).  Pictures of me from that time show me with glacially white skin and far too thin...every bit of fat I had in my body went into the milk production.

I loved my baby so much and, looking back, there were so few people who really, really cared about me, and him,....way too many significant people in my life were battling alcoholism, drug use, and work addiction, and what I needed then--some person to support and be just a friend to me--was not available at the time.  I was off my center: a year before I had a child, I was a college student and still identified as such.  Suddenly I was in Santa Cruz, and the whole disorientation: moving, getting pregnant, figuring out what to do with everything, put me so completely off center.   The two stable things in my life were my determination to have my child, and my writing.

Had I one stable person in my life, it might have been better.  I remember sitting with my son and trying to talk one of my alcoholic parents out of killing themselves.  Nice environment for a baby, huh?  I had fantasies at the time of running away with him somewhere, anywhere, to get away from all the people reaching out for anything but to support a young mother and child.

Still, here is the present time.  I know this sweet bebe will have a much easier time of things, and I am glad.



The Irony

Favorite quote (paraphrased) from a friend during this time:

"Police can't find (the addict), who is in the meantime chatting on Facebook.  What a world!"

I wish every addict could know how much heartache they cause for a family and friends, though that part does come later, I think, as part of the addict's recovery--really, the most important part now is that the addict gets clean, sober, and starts to try and figure out their life.

In the meantime, my sleep cycle is better and I no longer drive in dangerous areas of Santa Cruz looking for the addict.  I was very foolish to do that and edge closer to danger, but there were nights I could not sleep until I did so...and then didn't sleep.

Spent five hours today working on my Lompico house, scrubbing walls and cabinetsm and felt better.  I'm glad right now that I do not have anyone else working there with me.  The solitude and the rather mindless work both suit me right now.  I don't have to think, even though I am steeped in the past there.  At least I am organizing and making the place look nice.

I've completely lost my fire for Asha's book, though I promise to pick it up when I feel less wretched, probably in a week or two.  People have lost so much more than I could ever comprehend.  I'm completely unable to turn off the past and the parade of several sad memories, guilt, and fear for the addict's life.  Then I remember what I have learned in my 12-step programs, which completely changed my life for the good: how I wish now, in some ways, that I was dealing with the situation then, which was sad, but not with someone's life literally on the line, and someone I love headed for a fate with no really optimal path.  There has never been a time in my life where I have not had to deal with someone's addiction, and I am not sure anymore that anyone's family is immune completely from this scourge.

 I can only say that CG and I have helped the addict probably way more than we should with treatment programs, places to live, and endless trying.  At some point, you have to back off...though honestly, how do you back off when someone's life is on the line and they have that brashness of a person still in their 20s who believes they will never die?

Though this is selfish to say, I can't believe I have written all these years, with all these maelstroms around me, and done relatively well.  I can also look to my kids and realize they are such great adults, and feel proud of them....and that with the addict, the good person is still inside there...they always are. 

Let go, let God, is a motto in the 12-steps I love, but its invective is so hard to follow sometimes.


Rain!

Finally, a good rain here in Northern California!!!

Certainly needed...!!!

More tomorrow.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Better

Somehow the rain makes things seem a little better.

I'm still hopeful the addict in my life will recover.  It is hard beyond words on everyone around them, no matter how people try to detach from the alcoholic or addict's shenanigans.

The trick, albeit a sad one, is to hold the person struggling with addiction in your heart, encourage and support them when they try to do the right thing, and, hard as it is, not let your own life slip away.  I have not written nor had a single thought of much worth in the last week.

I do have every hope, as always.


Friday, February 06, 2015

Still Down, Sad

I haven't really had the heart to work on my book, or much else.  It is not only hard to watch an addicted person go through all their shenanigans, but the accretion of losers she piles around her makes matters worse.  She has been engaged two times to the same guy, though in different bodies (same substance abuse problems).  They speak in Twelve Steps about powerlessnes, and I certainly feel that tonight.  Usually I try to ignore the horrible things addicts will say to deflect attention from themselves, but tonight I am just worn down.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Sad Places

As positive as I want to be (and do not always succeed at), having a member of the family so sick with addiction is soul crushing. I went up to the university today with a carload of goods the Dynamic Duo dumped at my home in Lompico, because they might be stolen property. The officers were kind to me and took the stuff into the station. They thanked me for trying to locate my family member. It was gray up there, the fog rolling in. I saw the meadow there that I wish I could go to in the afterlife.

I know this family member is edging closer to being put in circumstances where she can get help and am glad but this latest incident has plunged me into a very dark place. At least I am going to be able to pull myself back out and think clearly.k