Sunday, May 29, 2011
After dinner at a restaurant I'd been dying to try, and as a treat and pick me up, I surprised her with a Skype psychic reading from one of my other besties earlier and we laughed like hyenas at the things my intuitive friend was saying, some of which was at my expense about my ego blah blah but mostly what C had to work on and look forward to. C was getting more and more excited and astounded and I took notes and tried to keep my mouth shut. A couldn't see me but she told C she knew I was probably biting my hand to not say anything and indeed I was. A told C that the guy who would fall for her wouldn't give me a second glance and that relieved C and they both joked that I couldn't have everyone. I told them the joke was on them because I wanted C's happiness more than my own and was actually content regarding my own romantic horizon. in due time. All in due time.
If we could all know the future, would we dare want to?
I pose this question because A has been saying for oh maybe a year that huge huge things are going to be happening in my life --beyond my wildest dreams and deepest desires of my heart. At one point I thought I lost that, that the timing was off or she was mistaken and both of us disappointed and disillusioned, actually lost touch for some time. Only recently we've reunited and I told her it was like losing a limb and she said she never stopped loving me, that I was her spiritual sister and we are both so relieved to be back together it's like giant weights have been lifted off our shoulders.
One thing that particularly touched me was that everything she saw in my future has not changed. It's all solid, and she was sad because she thought she would not be a part of it. I told her she underestimated my gratitude. In spite of our differences, I would have hunted her down and celebrated with her. I know myself. I am completely incapable of holding a grudge. That may be both my greatest strength and flaw. It most certainly is my biggest vulnerability after my wide open heart.
When we were apart, I did question the authenticity of her gifts. But something strange began to happen. People would appear and events would occur in my life and subsequent changes to my maturity and spiritual growth did occur, perhaps not exactly as she had said but in such a way that it was not vague but unmistakably had her thumbprint all over it.
When we talk, every now and then she gets little bursts of intuition about me and has shared them for free, even though it's part of her livelihood to do readings and she needs to pay bills like the rest of us, but I have told her repeatedly that she never has to do that with me. She is not a psychic who became a friend but a friend who is a psychic and there's a huge distinction. If she never told me another personal insight again, she would still be my friend, She too is also, like C and L and Cat and K, all sisters given to me after I lost my own. That alone is a gift.
Last night (well, night for me, afternoon for her) as we were saying our goodbye's on Yahoo, I told her jokingly that I was proud that I used remarkable restraint in not horning in on C's reading (she wanted me present because she was nervous) and deserved a cookie. She reminded me that I could ask her at any time always and we said hugs and talk to you later and logged-off.
The funny thing is now I have arrived at a point in my life, (and she had said a long time ago that I would reach it) that I don't need to know and she's right. I have a lot of stuff to do this coming summer, fall and winter. A lot of rebuilding but also preparing for something I came very close to losing because I was looking in another direction and had let myself be distracted. I'm not going to be asking any questions about that part because part of the journey is the learning, the surprise. I love surprises, (well the good ones anyway) and there are far too few of them in my life.
So now I sit near the open door and the cardinals are playing in the short red tree not ten feet from my couch and they're singing for me and Wonton. Wonton actually is licking her lips but she does too like to listen. They know she's there and they put on a show and dance, flit and flirt with her near the door. She rolls over on her back and yawns and pretends to be bored but the lashing of her tail betrays her.
I too am excited but I am in no hurry either. The best things in life are worth waiting for and while I'm getting my act together, preparing for the next stage and know by my effusiveness, everyone has tickets to the front row, the show must and will go on. Critics may be a bitch but I'll be living it and not judging from a cold bitter corner, and regardless of what they say, I know I am a fucking star.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Remember the Buzzer is just a tool and if you're still writing when it goes off it's not cheating to finish.
The point is to get you writing.
Speaking of which, is this helping? Let me know, I'm curious.
And with that Today's 10 Minute Topic is: SHOW
The corporal punishment of choice at Rose Avenue Public School was the strap. It was whispered about in hushed tones with a terror normally reserved for Vampires, Frankenstein's Monster and Mr. Jackson, the certifiably insane 4th grade teacher.
The strap was either 3 feet long wrapped in barbwire, a foot and a half of rawhide with hooks. The length and material changed, as did the presence or absence of metal accessories, depending on who was telling the story. The fact was that very few kids had actually seen the strap. And the group I hung around with considered it a challenge.
The guys I ran with weren't the wrong crowd. They were A wrong crowd but not THE wrong crowd. THE wrong crowd were perrenial Grade Sixers who always hung out in the back corner of the schoolyard, sneaking smokes, mumbling incoherencies, and slouching, kind of like grade school Brandos without a cause. We weren't The Wrong Crowd, but we aspired to be.
Then it happened. Danny Telfer got caught trying to sneak into the supply room (why we could never figure out, and he wouldn't tell us. I think he may have had a thing for chalk) and was taken to the Vice Principal's office. The VP of Rose Avenue PS was a guy named Marvin Lipton. He was tall from my 8 year old perspective, bald, and wore rimless glasses. It turned out he also wrote a weekly column for the Toronto Star on Current Events, complete with a quiz at the end to see if you'd been paying attention. But as far as we were concerned he was the Executioner.
So we didn't see Danny 'til we got out of school that day, and once we did we asked him how it was.
"It wasn't anything' Telfer said, "Didn't even hurt."
"You're full of it" Michael Barnes opined.
"You think so?" Telfer smiles " Then you go get the strap, and prove me a liar"
And it was on. We had begun what was, to that point, the stupidest dare of my 8 some odd years on the planet. Barnes picked up the gauntlet. Two days later Barnes was sent to Lipton's office for bouncing a rock off Mrs. Babbington's prominent posterior.
He confirmed Telfer's report. " Guy can't hit for shit" Michael Barnes announced.
I was after Ilhan Dagastanli, who tried to get in after the doors had been closed and locked post recess, and made a dent. He too said it was nothing special.
My disgression was much less spectacular, but it did get gasps, and I assure you that it wasn't intentional. I was not a stupid child. I already had parents who thought spanking okay by them. I did not wish to do a comparative study. Problem was I was a little too smart for my own safety.
Remember I said Mr. Jackson was insane? Well, he was also a pompous windbag who took sadistic pleasure in mocking his (Grade 4) students. (In retrospect, he was almost certainly Gay too, but that probably didn't have anything to do with his personality disorders. They have Gay assholes too...so to speak). Jackson was not above physical discipline himself. I saw him personally throw a little girl against the back cupboards in a fit inexplicable rage over some perceived slight. But nobody believed us when we spoke about him and what he had done in class. He had all our mothers completely conned. They all thought he was charming and nice, and would never do anything as heinous as we had described.
He has just finished berating my friend Sean for misspelling Egypt or Rhythm, something with a "y" as a vowel. and I muttered something starting with the vowel "a" and ending with the vowel "e" at a subsonic level. Well, Jackson must have had bat hearing, because when I looked up he was hovering over me.
"Mr. Boyes? Office." Mr. Jackson smirked.
I knew that arguing could lead to worse punishment so I got up. and walked towards the classroom door. Sean asked me what I had done, and I replied this time quite audibly (making sure Jackson wasn't within grabbing distance) and, using my theatrically trained 8 year old voice to project, I said " I called him an Asshole", got the gasp, and left. I was much tougher as a kid.
I walked down the hall to the main office, like Cagney goes to the chair in "Angels with Dirty Faces". Not the part where he turns yellow and cries like woman, but the part where Father Jerry is trying to talk him in to feigning cowardice, as he walks the last mile with a sneer on his face. I may even had done the Rocky Sullivan shoulder roll, at least I like to think I did, as I walked into the office.
" Go into the Vice Principal's office, Michael"
I wish I could say I maintained the Cagney cockiness as I went into Lipton's office, but I didn't. I was scared. Maybe he did hit harder. The one question that had had my curiosity was answered immediately. The strap itself was laying on the the top right hand corner. It was brown shiny leather (almost, naugahyde looking),no visible metal, and about 15 inches long. That mystery solved..
"Have a seat, Mr Boyes"
I sat in the armed wooden chair opposite Lipton's immaculate desk and stared straight ahead through the window that actually faced the apartment building where I lived. I didn't hear much. I was in something like a meditative state. I turned my palms up as instructed. I stared through the bricks of the opposite building. The first strike took me by surprise and I grunted. They had all fucking lied, the bastards. It hurt like hell. A scorching sharp pain. In the microseconds before the next hit a voice inside my head said quite distinctly " Don't Cry or Yell ". I felt an explosion of pain in my right hand, but I made no sound and kept staring through the window, through the bricks, through the rooms, through the back wall to the parking behind the building, through the cars, out into the streets beyond.
When I had received 5 on each hand, he put the strap down and stared at me as though I was a weird inhuman creature.
"Well, I have to admit that you're the first I've ever given the strap to who didn't cry."
I wish I'd said something grand and melodramatic like "Your weapons have no power over me" or thought to slip my glow in the dark vampire teeth into my mouth beforehand so I could hiss at him and thus confirm his suspicions. But to tell the truth my hands were starting to smart and pulse and all I could manage was " Thanks".
" Go back to class"
By the time school let out word had spread, and the group surrounded me. Michael Lanka asked me what it was like. I looked at Barnes, Telfer, and Dagastanli in turn. Then looked at Michael Lanka and said "It hurt a lot"
Friday, May 27, 2011
Sometimes things get so broken that it seems there’s no way of fixing it.
When I was 9 and you were 11, I idolized you, my big brother. You were the kid everyone wanted in their club. You were always the captain of the Capture the Flag team, always on the winning side in Kick the Can. I was so proud to be your sister. But I had problems. I was shy – painfully so – and I didn’t have the magnetism you had. That made me awkward in social settings, and you didn’t enjoy having me around because I made you uncomfortable. So you would go out of your way to ditch me, and even join in with your friends in teasing me and excluding me. I learned to play by myself.
As we both hit teenage-hood, things changed a little. You were so handsome, so popular with everyone, so charismatic. Everyone loved you. You were the soccer champ, the amazing singer, the one all the girls swooned after. I was no longer as awkward, not quite as shy – the boys loved me – and I still had stars in my eyes for you. All I wanted was to please you. Since dad left you had made yourself the head of the family to help mom out, and I knew you had expectations of me, and I was determined to make you proud of me, in spite of the fact that I was still non-existent to you in social circles. We had many of the same friends, but you rarely acknowledged me when we were out with them. So I started acting out, trying to get your attention. Dating the bad boys, worrying mom, staying out late. This only succeeded in making you angry at me and embarrassed by me. When I ended up marrying “the wrong boy” and starting a family with him, your disappointment in me was palpable. You made it acutely obvious that there was nothing about my life that you accepted or approved of. As my children grew, I saw flashes of your distaste and anger reach out and touch my children, sometimes literally, in ways that were very unacceptable. I stopped communicating with you, avoided family events that you attended, and lived my life in the best way I could, still secretly yearning for your approval.
Fast forward to now. I am the antithesis of everything you find acceptable. But there’s something about me you obviously don’t know. Your approval means little to me now in how I perceive myself and live my life. I don’t need to know that you’re proud of me. I want to be friends with you, and I’ve tried. I reached out, expecting you to reach back so we could find middle ground, but I didn’t realize I was stepping into the lion cage, and the lion hadn’t had his “tranquil”izer.
Your perception of me is warped. I’m a stranger to you, and your desire to discover who I am isn’t there. You’d rather live in your misconceptions and lash out in anger and indignation at my “accusations”. Your perception of the past is warped, as well. It matters little to you that the effect you have had on people all of your life has left scars, and you can’t face that fact in order to try to fix it, even though those you scarred are willing to leave it where it lands and start fresh, if only we could get you to open up and talk. Okay, yes, I could leave the past in the past and try to have a relationship, but the scars and resentment will still be there, and frankly, after a lifetime of being the one who compromises, I’m not willing to do that anymore. You can puff up and be the big man and push others around all you want, but you’re not doing it to me anymore. However, I watch you doing it to mom and it takes away any desire to have a relationship with you. In fact, it makes me want to RUN from having anything to do with you. I do have some news flashes for you, though:
Being “emotional” isn’t a bad thing. God made our bodies to cry for a reason, and there’s nothing wrong with it – in fact, it’s healthy. Try it sometime and maybe it would help unclench your ass a bit. Being aware of how you feel and why you feel it can lift huge burdens, all it takes is being brave enough to crawl into that mirror and explore, and be willing to be honest with yourself.
Now that you’ve got what you wanted and are back in control of “the family”, you want me to step up and get in line with our siblings. You want me to accept that you’re in charge and you know what’s best and stop “being emotional and over-reactive”.
Recently for the first time since the one time in July, I held a bottle of painkillers in my hand and considered swallowing the contents. One of the reasons was the same as it was in the summer but there were many more reasons including that I am taking an increased dosage of a new medication which can cause suicidal ideation and that I am at risk because two of my three siblings died from 'accidental' overdose. The emotional reasons are unnecessary for me to go into here in detail but someone will be finding their own place in the summer or sooner and couldn't be happier. Thank God for friends who recognize a cry for help, even one in voiceless grief.
The loss of my sweet baby brother Donny less than a week after his 41st birthday this year, and my only sister at 35, two years ago and my godmother and my mother, most painful of all, has left a deep hole of grief inside me. I struggled with medication to at least allow me to function but it made me robotic and completely blocked my creativity. It did not however address that I have been desperate to be loved for too long by people who should have been out of my life a long time ago.
I have tried four different meds and for one medical reason or another others are unavailable to me, but that doesn't mean I won't stop searching. Much of my therapy is in writing, so there will have to be a trial-and-error happy medium so I don't lose my mojo. I have a book to finish and it will be published. NOT might, but will.
I didn't realize it then, but I do now that a lot of my feelings of being rejected and unloved were valid but not because of me. I am indeed most lovable. It was because of people who were incapable of seeing or appreciating who I am, what I have to offer and also were battling their own demons. It wasn't until a talk with a stranger today that I was able to let go of all of it and put down that bottle, not the one in my hand, but the one in my mind whispering that it would be oh so easy to check-out.
The best most exciting part of my life is ahead of me. I've decided it's worth living for, so no more flirting with self-harm. I'm worth a wonderful life so to death, I'm taking a pass.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
There was a time when your rudeness, boorish behaviour and bad manners would have started a chain reaction. First, I would have analyzed the situation for days, if not weeks, wondering what I had done wrong and how I could fix it. Failing that, I would have begun socially and professionally dismantling your life.
Recently, I had my first moment of clarity. I was lying awake in bed, when the voice of a former co-worker, a dear friend and mentor, chirped up:
"Lex, so what? Who cares?"
So simple. So effective. It's my new damn mantra.
Why should I waste time worrying about people who aren't worth it? I've got too much on the go! I've accomplished everything I have ever set out to do, and am about to embark on my biggest journey yet. What have you done lately?
I don't have to excuse being treated badly (as per my mother, another wise sage). Being angry at you only makes me angry. Feeling wounded by your actions only makes me a victim. I'm taking a new approach: It's not me, it's you. At the end of the day, you have to be who you are and I get to be me.
I'm giving it back to you. I'm putting it in a bubble and blowing it away. I'm blowing your shit up. I'm taking a pass on you and your whole damn existence.
Have fun my little scribblers! And it's good to be back!
Saturday, May 21, 2011
I have no idea what the synaptic trigger was for this. The blog is called "Drop and Give Me Ten", maybe? My first name [Evelyn] was frequently difficult for other kids to remember and/or say, and lately that's been on my mind because I've been heading down strange corridors off Memory Lane on Facebook? The whole Rapture nonsense, maybe? (You know: "elevate", and it gets corrupted to "eleven" because I'm not paying attention?)
Who cares. Nobody's reading it except you - sorry - so I guess you care. And you also have to write something on my whimsical topic word. Fortunately you are eleven times better than I am at writing so there is probably some sort of formula for how much easier these are for you to complete. Remember to factor in my lesser-than-years-ago expectations for my own efforts. Let's call that variable "X", and then solve for it.
I just counted my teeth. If there were eleven of them I could complete this essay on that topic: my teeth. Unfortunately, I now have nineteen, too many. If I'd been smart I'd have counted my teeth before deciding on the topic and thus been able to make the topic "nineteen". I know you're writing now - so, would it throw you off too much to change yours to "nineteen" at this point, or have you gotten too far into the whole "eleven" thing?
All right, I guess that's not particularly fair. So this is what I'll do. I'll write a song.
(To the tune of "Put Them All Together, They Spell Mother")
E is for my slack e-magination
L is for the levity I seek
E confirms my mind's evacuation
V is "verily, I've got some cheek!"
E the third within this word so rotten
N concludes the Digital Plus One
Line them up and read from top to bottom,
Apologies to you ~ I'm done.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
My job had nothing to do with teaching. I was the secretary. I took the checks, made up the bank deposit, did follow-up calls with a script for students who had expressed interest but not given a commitment, answered the phone, read library books, and eventually went home before the actual classes began, four nights a week. Fridays were free and there were no day classes. There wasn't much money involved in it for me, which was OK at the time because I had alimony for my actual expenses.
My boss and his wife loved me. This was the second job with this couple. The alimony angle had tipped the scales in my favor both times, of course, but I tried not to give them any cause for regret. There was that time I called in late from a freeway pullout about forty-five miles from the office, on my way hone from Los Angeles. I was a call screener for his radio show and it was five minutes till showtime, but, you know, credit for trying. The bartender academy job hadn't presented any opportunity for that sort of thing. Plus his wife was as good at making up the bank deposits as it turned out she was at call screening. She could have done my job, except she was pretty busy home schooling their kids, and that took precedence. I was OK.
Until the day I discovered they were using real alcohol in the school bottles. Why would they do that? For one thing, how could they make any money? OK, sure, it wasn't really Maker's Mark, but it was skotch (not a typo), said so right on the bag. The half-empty bag that I found in the back, in an open box with my name on it. Then I was suddenly not OK.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I haven't had a pool for years. I don't live by an ocean any more, either, but the lake is big. It's a Great Lake. I've never seen anyone swim in it, although I suppose people do. I should check into that. I'm sure there's someplace online where you can do that.
I wonder if they let people know when the water is too toxic. They do that with the ocean. Or do you just have to keep an eye out for dead fish because it's just a Great Lake? That's would be another thing to check into. I certainly wouldn't want to be poisoned through my skin. Would there be fumes? All those birds that fell out of the sky - was that over a body of water?
I can't remember. I do remember going swimming with the family one summer afternoon, at Lazy River in upstate New York. Except it wasn't that lazy; I submerged and came up covered with leeches. Well, not covered. There weren't any on my hair or my swimsuit. The rest of me, yeah, but not my hair. Or my swimsuit. Wouldn't have objected to a little toxicity then - just enough for the leeches, not for people.
You need to be able to build up a little immunity to these things. Such a thing as too clean. For example, I myself only take a shower any more when I actually smell bad or my hair is really greasy, because, frankly, I'm terrified to fall in the tub. I do think I could probably drag myself to one or the other of the pull cords for the 911 service, though; they're pretty well-placed, so it's not that part. It's the aftermath, the not being able to get out and get the french toast essentials on my own, you know? Scary.
I hate being a wet blanket. I should probably learn how to just not sweat it so much.
Both of you had little time so we knew it was just a drive-by party and I wanted to make the best of it and I kept playing with your bracelet as you regaled me with stories of growing up in Cuba and how stylish your socialite mom was and how much you loved your nanny and you didn't want to talk about your own lab results so we didn't.
It was late, because you arrived late, which was expected and welcomed with delight like a fancy sparkling midnight snack and we drained the bottle and you kept eating the kalamata olives and one other thing I made but I can't recall and it's making me a little tearful because I want to brand this memory on my heart of hearing your laugh and seeing your bright smile and the way you gazed at Karl and he at you and everything you'd been through together and meant to each other and now I'm standing next to the same couch listening to Spouse play back the message from Karl that you died last night and for some reason I keep thinking, 'Why does Karl keep insisting on calling our business phone in the closet when he knows our cell numbers' and my hands are shaking and my heart is pounding and the rain is pouring down the skylights and filling up the driveway and I look at him and no words come out.
Today is our 9th wedding anniversary which we haven't celebrated in at least four years although we've agreed to go to dinner tomorrow at my favorite restaurant because at the very least we can tolerate each other over good food, the last thing we will ever agree on as long as I don't hug him or touch him or brush against him or complain about what a cheap tipper he is and go back and throw more money on the table but at least we're friend and not mortal combatants and I find my voice and he speaks up and asks me if he should call Karl and I said, 'No. Go over there right now, please. You're a man. He's surrounded by women. Just sit with him. Talk about nothing. Just sit with him.' and he says okay and puts on his jacket and steps out into the rain, closing the door behind him. And now I'm alone with you if only in my thoughts, like a prayer of wistfulness.
You always had a kind of quiet dignity and innate graciousness that I could never hope to accomplish because I'm so much like a big fluffy pedigreed puppy running around in circles, quite entertaining and nice to look at, and smart too (she does tricks!) but at the end of the day exhausting and demanding and your presence was like a tuning fork where my mind would just stop racing and sit politely with my hands in my lap and just listen, just listen and I'm reminded that Beth said she didn't quite understand you and how did I get along with you and I said I didn't see what she meant, no maybe Melinda wasn't the most open person and took everyone in small doses but she had her reasons and we all have reasons don't we, so Beth changed the subject and I remember the last thing Beth said to me was, 'I'll see you at the funeral' which angered me a little even though it was true and the last time I was in that church was because Beth's dog had died and she asked me to go with her because it was Lenten season and she was part of the altar group so she HAD to go but didn't want to talk about the dog to everyone so needed me to be a buffer or distractor of sorts and I thought for sure when I stepped into a church again I'd be struck by lightening or at least smoke would swirl around my feet and she said to stop being so silly and now I have to go again and have no excuse because this time it's not about a dead poodle, but a next-door neighbor and friend and friend's wife so my attendance is required.
I remember when we were having our first annual cook-out and there was a freak thunderstorm and you called and asked if it was still on and I said, 'Oh yes! Rain or shine', and you said you had a problem and was embarrassed and didn't know how to say it and I to just say it and you said you locked yourself into your bedroom and the doorknob came off in your hand and you were literally locked alone in your house and was a little scared and panicky and I said, 'Is your back door unlocked?" and you said it was so I called Spouse and he was angry because he'd just stepped out of the shower and said, 'Why can't she just call the fire department?' and I said, 'Put on some goddamn clothes and get the toolbox and stop being such an ass. Do unto others...Jesus God what the hell is wrong with you.' and he stomped off but did it and eventually had to kick in your door and you were able to make it to the party after all and no one had to know that you were scared and you told everyone that Spouse saved your life and you and Karl did something nice for us and I said, 'See! This is why we look out for our neighbors' and he still sulked but I didn't care.
Then there was the freak blizzard and my car got stuck on the hill and a new neighbor reluctantly drove me to my driveway and I slipped on the ice under the snow just as he pulled away not even bothering to check if I made it to my front door and I couldn't get up no matter how much I tried to get traction and I was crying and screaming in the dark and my fingers were turning blue and Karl came out of nowhere and went into the garage and got a piece of cardboard and helped me up and after a few hours under a blanket, by the fire I was fine and I was able to say YOUR husband saved my life and we'd joke about it whenever we'd get together.
You loved my chili and eggplant parm. I loved your green bean casserole and fruit cake. We could hear each other laughing from our decks and I was thankful that yours was the only house I could see through tree cover because you laughed as much as I did and would climb up the little incline between our back woods to say hello and slap mosquitoes and also talk about one day making a path between houses and now I'm sitting here and I can't type anymore because one more person I love is gone and my eyes are filled and I can't see nor do I want to.
I'll see you at the funeral and I love you.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Arise! Thy couch has clasped thy butt enough!
And soon there will no longer be a worm ~
The early birds are tugging at the rough,
The tardy ones must settle for wheat germ.
Now take thy quill and scribe ambitious lists
Of groc’ries, household tasks and lofty goals.
Then focus on the ones above the mists
The other crap, consign it to the coals.
How many days begun with fragile trust?
How many hours are burned up in the flame
Of obfuscating Vampire Wars and dust?
See clear! My friend, forget that online game!
Achievement comes to those who know the score,
That doing gives the strength for doing more.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
"But that's why they'd be perfect," quoth I.
"No, no, too slapstick."
And that was that. There were, and there remain, too many things upon which we had to agree to disagree. Too bad, really, because not living together has done nothing but enrich our relationship. It's so much easier to get along when you don't talk about stuff. When you're spared the details, sort of like in the silents if you can avoid the title cards. Or not. That's probably too tortured, trying to make an analogy between the movies and marriage. Forget it.