Sunday, February 14, 2016

Erich Fromm guilting me over separation issues

Am I the only one who sometimes worries that the separation part of parenting isn't going so well?  

The attaching felt effortless, the separating feels like part of me gets wounded every day--I don't mean that I'm missing them, but that at least one of them tells me mean or hurtful things when they don't get their way, that kind of thing (maybe I am missing that magical unbroken bond, the invisible cord of attachment parenting.)  

It has taken me a long time to dial down my reactions to their separation behaviors, and this is still a primary cause of conflict with my kids. Separation behaviors include doing things their own way, especially if it is largely inefficient and I showed them a better way, or automatically disagreeing with a parent or sibling just on principle.  I know from studies in human development that this is how the mind develops, through counter-point, but the experience can be maddening!  

On the other hand, the feminist in me is annoyed with Erich Fromm for creating the category of the "perfect mother."  

Not sure why this quote triggered so much emotion for me, "Is it true? Is it divisive? Do I need to adjust my parenting point of view?"

Monday, September 29, 2014

How Feminism Hurts Boys

First off, this blog is changing its title to "The Unwritable Life".  Sticks and scales will still survive with the focus bending toward herbs and music.  This will be my last post before ending this blog.

Second, I had a most extraordinary weekend.  I met with a friend that filled my heart.  She and her family are clear souls that I identify with and to be with them feels as natural as breathing.  We met in a chance encounter at a farmer's market with our babes on our backs nine years ago at the dawn of social media and stayed in contact to meet up again yesterday.   A beautiful confluence.  We each gave each other three gifts of food from our gardens.  Mine was chiles secos, jalapeños, and sweet bells; hers was Hawaiian coffee, papaya, and banana.  We are kind of each others' doppelgangers because we have so much in common, we have a kind of "cut from the same cloth" kind of feeling.  I am enraptured by her beauty and feel lucky to spend time with her.

In the evening I went to book club and realized something very important about feminism and sexuality and the law.

Something happened with feminism that is hurting boys.  It surrounds the idea of slut shaming.  If a precocious young girl seduces an older boy and her parents get mad they can press charges for statutory rape.  It used to be the case that parents were hard on their girls, but not on their boys.  Now there is an idea that a young woman is faultless in all sexual encounters but a boy can carry the weight of a sexual predator conviction for his sexual experiments or for being lured in by a prowess.  If a younger girl seduces an older boy, the older boy will always be the predator regardless of the situation, from a legal point of view.  This Lolita-esque situation hurts boys and impairs them psychologically and sexually.

If we are going to condone girls wearing whatever they want and no means no, we have to start acknowledging that human sexuality doesn't start at puberty and to stop shaming both girls *and* boys for their sexual development. 

But where can teenagers safely explore their sexual feelings for each other?  At home?  This would be the ideal, right?  Privacy.  How do you accept your teen's sexuality if it develops when she's only 13, 12, or 11?  I don't know.  I am trying to figure out, do you just tell them, "No, don't do anything sexually with another human until you live independently?". Or, "Do it in a bedroom only, never at school or in a dark corner somewhere?  Bring your partners home, daughter and sons!". I am not sure.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Open Letter to My Cousin's Taker

I don't want to say the other word, the M-word, because it's so loaded, so let's start with taker.  And let's start with formalities.

Dear Ryan Patterson,

You have entered into our family now.  Now you will meet all the aunties and cousins and friends of Jamie.  You and Jamie are tied together forever.  And Michelle is there too, of course, but in the end the story in our family about Jamie will be tied to you.

So who are you?  You, who made a contract, an agreement, with another soul in this world.

She is revealed to be the angel that we all knew her to be, and you are revealed to be, what?  Incredibly human?  Demon?  Fallen angel?  What do we call you?  What does your mother call you?

Is it true that you dreamed about your first hit for years before it happened?  Did Halloween always mean something else to you even before you took Jamie near that deathly holiday?  Of course, you only took something completely intangible, her Earthly life and only ignited the transformation, mother, son, holy ghost--remember that?  When you used to pray with your grandma and say those words?  Mother, son, holy ghost.  Why didn't grandma say Father, son, holy ghost?  And the other prayers, you learned them, the ones about gathering together.  But what did they mean?  You could never take her, and you know that now.  No one can really kill someone--it is an agreement from before this life.  You knew Jamie, you will know her now!  You will know her pure sunshine smile, just the same as your kids, you have seen that sunshine, that beauty, and you know how rare and precious it is.

What has changed for you?  Are you more powerful now or are you floored?  What kind of human are you?  Are you waiting for someone to slip up so you can capture them or slip out of this world again?  Are you a seeker of darkness and small spaces?

Or can you see your broken heart, scattered in the wind?  Was it an accident?  Why wasn't Michelle in trouble for this?  Why did she say she was trying to kill John for insurance money?  Because if she said she was just doing it in a rage against the "evil whore who stole my husband"  then people wouldn't be so sympathetic to her?  Do you think it's fair that Michelle gets to live the rest of her life on the outside when it was her idea in the first place?  Do you think you are going to prefer living on the inside anyway for the rest of your life?  If you change your mind around and slip back into your human heart you might be able to get something worthwhile out of this life.  If you look at it, you are in a perfect position for redemption because you never killed anyone before.  If you tell the honest truth about yourself to everyone then you can feel what forgiveness feels like, which is a sublime human experience, much different than the kind you were supposed to feel in church.  This is where you set all your sins at the foot of all the humans around you and say, "I'm sorry, how can you ever accept me as a human again when I clearly don't deserve your love or understanding?"  Eventually, the most purest human souls can start to bring you back into human existence and eventually you can work to help other people make that transformation as well.  You still have the rest of your life ahead of you, and you are in a relatively safe place where you can send your intentions into whichever direction.  You will meet real humans and you will meet real demons and you might meet a few angels.  Then you decide if anything is worth your time as a human.  Do you love anyone in your life?  Yes, you loved your grandma, and of course your kids.  Did you love Michelle?  Why did you want to kill so badly?  To make an angel?  Two angels?  Three angels?  You wanted to see what a human was capable of doing?  Creating angels, just like God?

Who am I?  This questioner of all things?  I am Olive Jewel's Dream.  I live in the desert southwest.  Jamie is my cousin, specifically, my mother's brother's daughter.  Jamie was named after her father, James, who was named after *his* father James.  I understand there is a James in your family too.  Incidentally, the name James comes from the Hebrew Jacob, which means "holder of the heel".  Hold on!  Just hold on!  Times like this require us to hold on.

Did anyone try to turn you around?  Ever??  Everyone you talked to thought you were perfectly sane to have a goal of killing someone?  Like the Emperor in his new clothes, strutting naked down the street, people just supported you as you careened way out of control with your life?!  Did nobody ever give you a hand up, just once?  Or were you just spat on by everyone in your life, going crazy with all their stupid rules?  If you want to be like the folks on the hill you gotta learn how to smile when you kill.  Somehow killing becomes this magic gate that will get you out of the daily grunge.  Why do people encourage you to go to college when others only tell you that you are stupid?  Who started saying that to you?  Teachers?  Kids?  And the jobs are all nauseatingly boring.  Killer for hire.

Perhaps I am a bit presumptuous and that is never good for the beginning of a relationship, rather off-putting.

What I want to know is how do you feel about all this?  I have no idea if you have a conscience or not.  Do you actually see life differently now?  Do you feel bad for what you did?  Do you feel sorry for what you did?  Do you see how very very very bad that was?  Was Michelle important to you as a person or would you have done that for anyone who asked you to do that?  Were there others lined up for later?  Did you have any other people waiting to use your services?  Did you consider yourself a "hitman"?

Did you just do it to get airlifted out of society into a place where you would be fed and protected?  Or maybe you thought about how you might get life in prison but you didn't care?

I see in the Missouri newspaper your request to overturn the conviction.  Yes, it does seem like your co-conspirators lied about you to get lighter sentences and racism very well could have laid its heavy hand upon the jury's shoulders.  But your decision cost you your life, plain and simple.  You never could have done what you did and thought that was the right thing to do, especially since you have kids!  You kill someone, you are gone from society, white or black.  Michelle and Ray-Ray should have been punished worse than 15 and 20 years, FOR SURE!  Each of them should spend the rest of their lives behind bars too, ESPECIALLY Michelle, but that doesn't lighten your sentence.  You blew it and no one deserves to have you as a neighbor, you know that's true.  You know that you have to prove to your kids that even though you made a horrible decision and even though society is right to take you away, you are still a good person because you would *never do anything like that again*!  If you can convince your kids that you would never do that again and continue to send them words of encouragement in all their activities and tell them how proud you are of all their achievements then you will make great strides toward convincing the rest of society as well and then maybe when you are an old man, they will let you out to hold your tiny great-grandbaby girl.  But you know that you made that decision and it was a bargain with the devil, so you have to pay up.  But you can still plant seeds while you are alive, seeds of hope in your children and seeds of food outside.  You can still smell the wind and see the birds and the clouds.  Get involved with the animal activities because animals will teach you about forgiveness.  And try to learn the stars so you can begin to feel your place on the Earth as it whirls around the sun everyday, you and me both.

And treasure what little scraps are left.  Because they are still here, just like you are.  No one is guaranteed on more day in this life, and still we are here.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I hear dead people

Again.  In my life.  I have succumbed to the voices.

It started with the plants this time.  Listen to the plants, said the herbalist.  The lady on the plant walk said that gems spoke to her and told her their properties.  Then I found out about Laura Stinchfield, The Pet Psychic on YouTube.  And I started remembering my own weird, strange experiences with animals when I was younger.  And weird, strange experiences with people.

And how I slowly dialed down my ability to tune in to the voices of animals.  In favor of... sanity?  It was much safer to walk around the world not believing that I could understand what animals were saying.  Much safer not to believe that I could influence things with my mind.  That way led to depression.

Therapy.  Getting in touch with my inner child.  Then letting it go.  Travel.  Travel.  Listening to people speak in other languages and experiencing other cultures cleared me for a while.

Love.  Marriage.  Birth birth birth.  Cleared me to a new level.  Brought me to the threshold of believing again, but I resisted.

I don't know what opened me up.  I think it was a video on YouTube of Rupert Sheldrake's study on a psychic parrot.  That made me think, hmmmm....  I recognized how the parrot and the woman talked to each other.  It reminded me of other videos of parrots talking.  And also videos of well-trained dogs.  The way the parrot gives the word before the trainer is even finished giving the cue.  The way dogs perform the action as the trainer is giving the cue.  There is not time for the animal to have thought about what the person is going to say.  The animal is picking up on the intentions of the human.

Watching these videos reminded me of a time in my own life when I spoke with animals.  When I lived with Leyton Cougar, the current director of Wild Spirit Wold Sanctuary, he taught by example how to talk with animals.  He did it naturally with his pets and with the wolves at the sanctuary.  He had a natural rapport with the wolves that is evident to anyone who watches him with them.  He spoke with his animals like they were people and they responded to him with a calm clear energy.  I adopted his way with my own dog, Kenai, who came to the Sanctuary from people who thought he was a wolf, even though he was actually a dog.  Kenai and I had an amazing relationship for fourteen years, that I contribute much of that to his early life out at the wolf ranch and my own learning how to listen to animals.

After that experience at the wolf ranch I returned to college and slowly let go of the idea that I could actually hear the animals.  I studied at the College of Biological Sciences and felt like letting go of that idea was akin to growing up.

There have been a series of recent events that have rekindled my interest in psychic abilities.  I have finally accepted that any and all psychic abilities are not special in any way.  Everyone has these abilities and usually knows at least one person in their family who has some kind of special ability, talent, or gift.

I watched many videos on YouTube about animal communicators and I now realize that this is almost an accepted field.  Almost every veterinarian has or would like to have an animal communicator to send patients to with animals who have problems that are difficult to diagnose or hidden pain.  And *every* animal communicator says the same thing about how they send and receive information... through words and pictures in their mind.

And I've started receiving words and pictures from my animals.  I received a story from my lizard about how she was caught.  She has a regrown tail and I always assumed it was from the person who caught her.  She said that she likes my children and likes children in general, she feels safer around children because she understands their energy and intentions much more clearly than adults.  She said that a child was the one that caught her.  She said that she knew the child.  It was a child who lived in the houses near her home in the desert.  She said that the child was known to other animals as well, that the animals know which children are the ones who are curious about animals.  She said that the child captured her gently and sold her along with a bunch of other lizards to a man who was like a traveling buyer, who traveled around to different towns and offered money for animals like lizards and tortoises and snakes.  Children knew about this man and could earn money for their family by collecting animals.  She said that it was a rough man who handled her in the transportation process who broke her tail.  She said that she understood the child's need and that she was also grateful for life after having gone through such a horrible process.  She thinks that she helped the child get money for its family.  That her life became a scary adventure to help another person but that in the end she is happy to live with us.  We are happy she is with us too and we tell her that every time she comes out.

Then recently another strange thing happened.  We checked out a book at the library called Casey Jones' Fireman: The Story of Sim Webb.  It was strange because it was in the section with the fairy tales, not the biographies, despite the fact that Sim Webb is a real person and the story is mostly factual, with mild reference to the supernatural.  Anyway, the book is a little dense for my 2yo, or so I thought.  She loved it and requested it several times.  Whenever I read this book it made me think of the song from the movie Dumbo about the little cartoon train they called Casey Junior.  I can hear the song from an old record we had as a kid of Disney movie songs.

"Casey Junior's comin' down the tracks!"

That song rattling through my head all the last week.

Then I find out on facebook that a dear sweet friend, who lives down the street, had a nephew, named Casey Junior, commit suicide!  I was so upset for her, as were many many of her friends and there was an outpouring of support on her page.

Then I got this message... from the boy.  I did see a picture of him, but I really don't remember where, it must have been on her facebook page.  I can see his image clearly in front of me.  He's wearing a black hoodie.  He has longish dark brown hair.  I mean the hair is not long, but it's kind of long around his face, kinda spikey longish pieces hanging toward one side of his face.  That's not how it always was, just how it looked because the hoody was pushing the hair around his face.  I think he was squatting or kinda sitting.  He is kinda smiling, but not very big.  His eyes have a relaxed squint to them that his family would recognize as one of their common traits, if they smile you can't see their eyes very well in the picture.

I got a message from him.  The message was that he is okay.  That he wants his family to know that he is okay.  That he didn't mean to.  He did feel sad a lot.  He did feel like he was a burden.  He felt like he was dumb.  He felt like some people were telling him he was dumb and he didn't know how to change that but that it made him feel bad.  He says he's sorry and he really didn't mean to go all the way.  He just wanted to try it, he didn't mean for it to work.  He really loves his family and he feels bad that everyone is so sad.  The reason he was so sad in life was that he didn't think he was smart enough to do what he thought people wanted him to do.  He keeps saying that some of his family are worried about him because he committed suicide and they think that he went to hell but that he's not in hell and that he's okay and that there are lots of other kids where he is at.  He is meeting other kids who did the same thing he did and they are all okay.

And I really want to tell my friend this information, but I think maybe that would be stepping over a boundary.

I have a cousin who also committed suicide.  And for the first time today I really talked to him.  He said that most people who commit suicide feel like a burden and that is why they do it.  He felt like his parents already had their hands full and he didn't know who to turn to and felt out of control.  He didn't like the way he treated his wife and his children.  He didn't know how to control himself.  He was absolutely distraught and felt like a huge burden.

I asked about Hell.  Does it exist?  And he said that there is definitely dark energy and negative fields and that there are people who choose to exist in those realms, but that much of our human understanding of hell is based on human existence and the lessons on earth.

Since I have been communicating with animals I tuned in to what the animals had to say about suicide and I was reminded that animals commit suicide all the time.  Mass suicides of fish and whales happen every year and they do it because they cannot tolerate the conditions on Earth anymore.  In some ways, this is similar to people committing suicide, people cannot tolerate the conditions of their life anymore.

Anyway, the point is that I have officially transformed back in a woo-woo person.  Woot!  It kinda feels good too.  I really enjoy talking to my pets.  But I definitely feel an even greater need to meditate now, to have a daily "grounding" so that I can be able to filter all the many voices that now pull at my skirt.  (Have I started yet?  No!  Only *thinking* about doing it!  lol) Like now I feel major pressure to stop eating meat.  I hear the screams of the animals in a second by tuning into it.  But I also feel the love of all the animals around me.  I also feel more connected to my children because I see how the animals actually speak through the children because the children are so receptive to intuition.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Is Robin Thicke a big dick?

 Who knew our culture would be having such growing pains?  Is the video rapey?  Maybe.

 As soon as my husband saw it he had to do me.  And I him once I saw it.  It's funny, yes.  All the props.  The lamby.  Did he just say "the hottest bitch in here?"  Bitch has almost reached a term of endearment among girlfriends.  And if a husband says that to his wife of eight years it is seriously hot!  And the bodies are beautiful.

But, seriously, why are we not seeing the men's bodies too?! Pharrell in a g-string will be the next hot video.

 You know what part was hot to me? When the woman slapped his face with her foot and he took it. Men take it. I am like a man, in that I take it with my children. I have no choice, I have learned over the years to just take their hits and slaps without hitting back, while still communicating clearly that I do not like it! But it is hot to see a man get slapped in the face and he takes it! Why? I don't know!

I told that to Erik, that I adore imagining him in his past hooligan life getting punched in the face. Images of him drunkenly talking to someone taller than him, with his chin jutting out and then WHAM, down he goes. I don't know why that gets me all aflutter. I think it's his bravado that I admire, that chin up as he careens into life's chaotic events. We joke that he has a whirlwind approach to life. Like he's a kid wheeling both his arms around like windmills, chopping or punching at anything that comes his way, and only looking back after he has sawed through it.

 I saw our dog, Izzy, get punched in the face by a lunatic man whose aggressive hound bitch started a fight that the man finished by punching my dog in the skull with all his might and then launching into a diatribe against pit bulls. But my dog told me she was okay, and she really is super strong, so she has a protective quality to her. She told me that she can take a punch for me. And that is something that is a powerful thing to have in life, a strong ally.

 Are the men in this video protective of the women or are the women like cats who can climb out of any corner? Are the women lambs? Are they both?

 I am thinking of the club scene in Los Angeles. It is a hotbed of gametes. Looking for possible matches. How can you get a potential union as quickly and accurately as possible? Bumping and gyrating and talking, right?

 How important is sex in the daily thoughts and activities of not just the Los Angeles club scene, but all of us? If we are having it often with our beloved does that make us feel more empowered, more sexy? I cannot understand the wisdom of the person wanting to have sex with many different people. That is not my wave. My beloved is my whole self that I grow more connected to as each day takes us further and further down the golden path.

 Which is, apparently, also how Robin Thicke feels about his wife, Paula Patton. They've been married for eight years, I've been married for nine. They have one three-year-old son, we have three children. Robin says that this is a kind of love song to his wife and also (sound of record scratching), please don't forget that my job is an entertainer, and I figured out a way to entertain people really well, so don't be jells.

 He reminds me so much of Ricky Martin! That soft twinkle in the eye.

Anyway, is he a big dick? Is he promoting getting women drunk at clubs and then taking them home and fucking them? Kinda. Maybe not "getting women drunk", but drinking with someone is pretty common before hooking up. (Switch to high school sex ed teacher voice)  And some women really do enjoy going to clubs, meeting men, and having sex with them! They actually have fun doing it too, as long as they feel safe. And it can happen and people can have a lot of fun doing it and it can be a great release if you are a single person who doesn't have a steady sexual partner. There are ways to be safe and still hook up. Lots of women like to hook up with other women because they can have the sexual release and not worry about getting pregnant or certain diseases. If watching Thicke's video or dancing to it at a club makes people want to hook up, then that's great!

 I'm not shouting, but what I'm going to say seems like it should be important so I'm bolding it.  It doesn't matter what song is on or what video is playing, it's just never okay to be pushy in a sexual situation, unless those boundaries have been clearly laid down. So songs and videos are just play and pretend, they are not suggesting that you take advantage of other people, that's just never ok!

 I think Robin Thicke's message about his song is that he is just pretending to do all that stuff because he's an entertainer. What his listeners do on their own time is their own business. Personally, he has a gorgeous wife that he adores, not that it was any of our business to begin with anyway.

 But the part in the video where it says, "Robin Thicke has a big dick"... Isn't that kinda... Oh, it's just entertainment? Got it.

 But how is it culturally relevant? How do people identify with this video? They realize that they themselves are a kind of entertainer in their own lives. What if you wrote that on your bathroom mirror. Your name has a big dick. If you don't have a dick, you can say clit. How would it feel to say that about yourself? To talk about yourself as having the sweetest ass or the most luscious mams. It feels good to say that when you have a partner that sees all of that in you too. It feels even better when you feel that way about yourself too!

 I reluctantly conclude that Robin Thicke is not a dick, not in the sense that he did something stupid. A lot of people are mad at him and are saying that he is promoting men to disregard women's feelings and treat them as sexual objects. But that's not the case here. People can get aroused by that video and not act rude or disrespectful to women. If someone is following songs for relational advice then that person needs help from people around them! I think that's just an excuse that disrespectful people can use, to say that a song influenced them.

 Why "reluctantly conclude"? Because a part of me understands the feminist point-of-view. A point-of-view that says, "Yeah, maybe it is just entertainment. But I still don't like it! I just don't find it entertaining at all! It is morally wrong to be so callous to the effects that these videos do have on young people, whether you care to admit it or not! You say that if someone is looking to a song for relational advice that they need help from people. Some people don't have that help from people, and they end up doing horrible things to people because of irresponsible mass-marketing of culturally damaging messages. People need to be aware that this is happening so that they can work to promote change for our daughters and sons!"

 Yes, that is true, but Robin Thicke is not personally responsible for the popularity of his song that has a message that is similar to probably half of all R&B and rap songs. He is just further evidence of the insatiable sexual appetite of humans! It is our own personal choices and decisions that matter. Those are the only ways we can change culture. We start at the center and work our way out.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What a Kid Wants

At the end of the plant walk today the herbalist invited me to bring my children along on another walk.  "Oh no, they're into guns and digging mines into the earth and general tom-foolery.  Add to that that anything I'm interested in is immediately perceived as uninteresting by the 8yo."  Oh no, my kids would rather run all over the trail, throw rocks, dig in the ground with sticks, pretend to shoot each other, whoop and holler, and destroy any zen balance that may have been present prior to their arrival.  How can this be?  How can I crave peace so much and have children who love to play war?

If I tell my children to listen to the plants and animals and walk softly, will they listen some day?

I figured out what my 8yo wants in a friendship, what he is looking for, by listening to him banter with his friend... his very tolerant friend.  They tease each other back and forth, taking turns and changing subjects randomly and rapidly at times to diffuse the tension if someone went too far in their teasing.  Noah wants a friend that he can tease mercilessly and say bad words to and nonsense phrases and inappropriate raunchy things to, and the friend will tolerate it all.  He is like Donkey, looking for Shrek.  He wants to be annoying to someone who will love him through it.  I recognize myself in that appraisal.  I always thought I was annoying, the annoying little sister was a label I identified with for a long time and during desperate and confusing times in past relationships I felt like I must be an irritating or annoying person.

I remember visiting my cousin, my sister-cousin, we are the same age and our moms are sisters and we have similar features, when I was in my early twenties and she was already in a stable (at the time) relationship.  I remember being mesmerized by how comfortable they were with each other.  It seemed that she could say or do anything and he would stay mellow (I later learned that this was not the case, but from my single-girl perspective, it seemed enchanting.)  I specifically remember a moment where she was sitting behind him as he was chatting and at one point she said, "I just have this overwhelming urge to bite you or slap you, right here on your shoulder.  Can I do it?"  Cool as a cucumber he responds, "Yeah, sure.  Go ahead.  Do it."  So she did, with a little spasm of glee, she slapped him and then maybe bit him, my memory is failing me.  But the point is that he just stayed so calm and cool.  He seemed strong, like he had used his shoulder muscles a lot in his job.  I don't know all the personal details of why they split, but they did, and it really doesn't matter now because she is with the real person who was waiting for her and they have a child together, but that's beside the point.  When I saw my cousin act that way with her fiance, I understood that it was possible for me to meet someone who would be a kind of a sounding board for me, and I did, and I'm married to him.

I see now how even the friendships that are formed when we are a child are all a pre-quel to the Great Love that comes our way in life.  Attachment, trust, bonding, love, are all explored in the friendships of childhood.  Before the hormones kick in, children can love freely all of their companions without any labels attached to them.  The land of teenage-hood feels very foreign and distant to me, so I can't comment much on how to deal with/accept children's sexuality, but the feelings of love and attachment are so clearly explored in childhood friendships, and I see it now.

On the one hand I think, "Should I be that person for Noah, the person that he can say the worst stuff to and will still love him?"  Of course I do, but I don't like it at all when he talks that way and I tell him so!  I don't like cuss words or teasing.  It's not fun for me.  So I can't really fill that role for him.  It's a cleaving, in a way.

Same thing with Micah and his guns.  I just can't relate and I don't like it.  I don't even like the sound of his playing sometimes.  Even though he tells me, "Mom!  I don't mean it!  I'm just playing!"  It's hard to accept it.  It's hard to accept that his way of understanding evil forces in the world is to personify them, to know them inside and out.  But if he can't do it through play, then how else can he do it?  How else can he explore what being alive in this world means?  So I try hard to be tolerant and allow him to play, especially if the only person hearing it is me.  But at the same time I can't help but think, whatever he acts out is what he is practicing to be, so acting out violent or destructive acts would be what he is preparing to do, versus encouraging him to act out positive role models.  Have I done him an injustice by turning a blind eye to his desire to always play the bad guy?  Or does play in children not necessarily indicate their desire to do evil, but maybe a way for them to understand it in order to better deal with its presence in life?

Maybe some day I will be able to comment on some of these questions, but for now these are some of the issues I am exploring.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Facing it, really really facing it

"The feeling I get is more like, every single little sound in the house (furnace, air conditioning, a clock) seems like its yelling at me (I know this sounds odd..). The sound of my breathing even making me crazy, and it just seems like everything in my head is screaming."  from My thoughts are loud and panicky

i have this.  do you?  it happened tonight for the first time in a long time and for the first time ever in my life i found out other people have it.  i think it is related to anxiety.  i am feeling like it's time now more than ever before in my life to really face that "mental illness/disorder" thing.  i suspect that it is related to that whole not getting the right nutrition during critical growth phases idea, and that continuous, really continuous, deep nourishment could ease the frayed nerve endings.  i've been treating the symptoms of my anxiety, which has been helpful, but i'm thinking about trying to go after the root of it again.  but this time from a mostly biological/nourishment perspective with a little bit of emotional/reflective exploration.  in the past i tried going all out with therapy and it opened up some stuff but mostly left me feeling waaay more vulnerable than i would like to be, walking around all open and exposed with anxiety can lead to some scary situations.  at the same time, trying to stick to a strict nutritional regimen can lead to all kinds of problems for me, so i won't be writing out any dietary charts or plans.  just in how i *think* about the situation.  believing that i *can* heal my anxiety is the first step.  i used to not believe that teeth could heal.  i used to think that only medicine and doctors could help illnesses.  i used to think herbs were a nice idea but that they didn't really make a difference for a modern girl like me who was already saturated in processed food and packaged pharmaceuticals.  so believing that anxiety is a heal-able condition is my first step.  and not the old typical, make sure you exercise, write in your journal, and see a therapist.  for me that's like healing my teeth by using colgate total and going to the dentist.  not gonna work.  i need to feel like i am healing from the inside out, not from the outside in.  outside in is helpful too, but that's not gonna be the main route.

i've been treating my anxiety with cannabis.  there, i said it.  can't say that on facebook so i probably won't be adding a link to this post, but if you got here from there, oh well.  my six followers now know that i use cannabis for anxiety.  or used.  i mean i still have some but i am going to try to move in a different direction for treating my mental condition.

marijuana has been extremely helpful.  i would never ever experience loud and panicky thoughts with cannabis.  i am much less likely to feel the compulsion to pick at my skin when it is in there soothing my brain, untying the knots, ironing out the wrinkles.  that's what scares me the most about thinking about not having cannabis around.  if i get in a state where i feel all tight in my brain, and my jaw is clenched, and i'm needing to do a bunch of work but all i can do is stare at my face in the mirror for the tiniest blemish or look over my skin for something to pick at, then one breath of cannabis *kills* that feeling and allows me to just wash dishes or fold laundry or water plants.  And yet at the same time, i sense that the marijuana is kind of like Dumbo's feather.  it gives me the sense that i am doing something to help myself climb out of a spiral or a hole, and it really does bring relief, temporarily.  but that's it.  the anxiety always returns.  daily.  or within a few hours, depending on the day.  tolerance builds up.  i have to take breaks from the cannabis for it to remain effective.  during the time that i'm taking breaks the anxiety can get worse or build up.

are you curious how the anxiety manifests itself?  or is that just too much information?  well it's my blog and i only have six followers so i won't be that embarrassed.  plus, somehow, every five or ten years or so, when i decide to face this thing, talking about it takes away some of its power.  so here goes.  as i've already alluded to, the main and most obvious symptom is the picking.  it's not like picking at a scab.  it's like finding the tiniest pimple that ever existed and squeezing it.  gross.  so tiny that it's not really a pimple at all.  well, first all the things that look like pimples, then moving on to pores that *might* be pimples.  then it's really just pores with a little bit of extra sebum or something.  OCD.  kind of similar to trichotillimania.  it used to be really really bad when i was in high school and college.  really really bad means spending one hour in the bathroom poring over all parts of my skin.  today it's about five or ten minutes a day on average and the place is usually on my shoulders and chest.  a little on my face.  i don't do it on my arms and legs anymore, or it is kept to a bare minimum.  in college i had tiny scabs on my arms and legs from picking at night when i would be staying up late for homework.  all it is is a displacement of anxiety.  it comes from a feeling of being trapped or captive in a situation (in high school it was when i was sent to my room or just was in my room doing homework, in college it was usually when i had work to do or if i was going through relationship problems.)  i did it so much and so often that it developed into a habit or coping behavior for when i felt anxiety.  my first relationship ever was with a girl who had bulimia.  i didn't understand how vomiting could become a habit, could become a way of coping with anxiety.  or at least i *thought* i didn't understand.  of course i totally understood.  it just manifested differently with me.

along with the ocd came depression, of course.  possibly bipolar, but that was never diagnosed, and i had a boyfriend with *real* bipolar, and i didn't have those kinds of manic episodes, mine would have been much more subdued than what would require meds, no hallucinations or delusions on my part.  a year before i met my husband i went through a series of bad relationships and bad breakups and saw a therapist for help.  she said i might have something (at the time) like "schizo-affective personality disorder" or something like that.  that was really at my begging for a diagnosis because i really felt like i was losing my mind and that i would end up homeless or something, i felt so desperate and unwell mentally and unable to converse with normal people.  she sort of laughed and poo-poo'd my desperate longing for mental insanity.  i say longing because there was a part of my mind that thought that if i really lost it then i would be forced to be under the care of others which would remove the burden of trying to recover my self and my identity after the series of bad relationships.  fortunately around that time i had the opportunity to go travelling in europe for about a month or so which kind of swung my mind back around, just by the simple fact that i was in places where i didn't have to listen to the mundane conversations of people around me.  the sound of foreign language constantly around me was actually soothing to my mind.  around this same time was the first time that i became aware of the idea that i might be a "highly-sensitive person", which was the suggestion of my therapist.  looking back i realize that would explain why it was soothing for me not to hear the mundane conversations of people around my.  i now see myself as a very intuitive and empathetic person, the "highly sensitive" my therapist referred to, and it can be difficult for me to separate myself from other people's emotional states and their worries and concerns.  i thought that other people were exceptionally cruel to me by not considering my thoughts and feelings.  slights and rude behavior would be interpreted by me (and i still fight this) as evidence of my own shortcomings, proving that i was not a "good person" or "worthy" of respect and kindness, or so i thought.  i think this way of thinking is part of why when i tried to sign up for a study, after i had been married for a few years, on people who "used to be depressed", i was rejected for qualifying as BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER!  That was a shocker.  I remember when the perky young grad student's face became very serious as she told me that "diagnosis" after a long series of questions, my facial and verbal response made her concerned enough that she offered to walk me to my car.  I refused her offer and made up my mind not to go back to a therapist again!  But my point is that that way of thinking, of thinking that other people were trying to hurt me when they really were just being normal people who aren't trying to hurt others, they are just careless, is what led me to a lot of pain and panic in my teens and twenties.  But it wasn't because I was borderline, i think it was because i assumed that everyone was as intuitive as i was, but i didn't even think of myself as intuitive at the time, i didn't even have that concept of myself.  i didn't know why i felt that way, but i think i do now.

so the marijuana definitely tempered my empathy, in a way.  it allowed me to go with the flow more and also to start to make connections in my thought patterns that i couldn't see before.  it allowed me to have a kind of meta-cognition.  whenever i would pick at my skin, i would often go into a kind of "zone" or trance.  and it was very easy to see that when i was picking my mind was combing over details of the day.  an encounter with a friend or acquaintance.  i could have gone to a party and had a great time, but my mind would want to re-examine the conversations, replay the way i said certain things or the nuances of a friend's facial expressions.  marijuana for me became a way to replace the picking.  with cannabis i could replay the events without the picking.  just take a shower and enjoy replaying the events of the day in my mind without the analysis, without the judgment attached to it.  i could see the events as part of a bigger picture and see the flow of time better, see the development of a friendship and feel good about it.  or realize that i was putting too much effort into a fruitless endeavor and be able to decide to let it go.

so if marijuana has helped me so much why give it up?  i have been using it consistently for about the last five years.  consistently means nearly every day.  not a lot, just a little bit at a time.  but one thing marijuana does is, while it allows me to just let life flow, sometimes i need to have a little more vigor in me, i need to have a little more drive, a little more hope.  so i need to find my balance again.  i am so grateful for the mother herb to hold me in her bosom and tell me that everything is going to be okay.  but eventually i need to put my feet on solid ground and take a step, feel my own weight.

this was not all precipitated by my own sheer will and desire to strengthen and heal.  it was brought on by outside forces as things often are.  my friend who is a patient caregiver for medical marijuana has gotten sick themself.  and when my friend got sick, i got so so sad.  i love my friend so much and want them to be healthy, but i couldn't help wondering why i would be so sad over a friend that i mostly see when i need medicine.  did i really love them that much or was there an underlying reason behind my sadness?  i *was* afraid of losing my medicine.  I was afraid of what would happen to me if i didn't have access to cannabis.  would i revert back to that college girl spending an hour in the bathroom after everyone else has gone to bed?  never wearing tank tops or bathing suits without a t-shirt because my shoulders and arms had what looked like strange little scratch marks all over them?  would i become pent up with anxiety, trying to calm the rising spiral, the beating heart and racing thoughts with something, anything, drinking three beers in quick succession at 3pm on a weekday to quiet the rising tide of anxiety?  would i spend the rest of my life captive to a coping mechanism that seemed to cause the very anxiety it originally sought to quell?  would i die having never figured out how to solve this riddle of anxiety?

i came back to that old realization that each of us has been given this gift of broken-ness, through no fault or effort of our own, that contains the key to unlocking our peace and strength and wisdom.  it's one thing to realize that, but i can't stop there.  I CAN'T STOP THERE!  that old mountain analogy.  you can know the mountain is there, you can read all about it, you can become an expert on it, but you haven't climbed it until you actually climb it.  others can tell you all about it but it's not your feat until you really do it yourself.  no, i think i'll toss that one.  maybe it's more like seeing the scales tipped too far in one direction and trying to put little stones or plants or thoughts on the other scale to bring them back into balance.  the cannabis has been like big momma the owl in Fox and the Hound, holding me to her big soft bosom that is so sweet and powdery and feathery and saying, "don't you fret child, big momma's here!"  but now it's my time.  i feel it.  i really feel it.  i feel just a little bit strong right now and that's good enough for me.  that's better than i've felt in a long long time.  i kept saying, hold on, i'll deal with it later, for god's sake i've got a baby, i've got children, not now!  but now i feel it.  i'll feed that child in me.  i'll recapitulate those tender times myself, those vulnerable growth phases, and nourish that mind, dare i say soul?  it's here.  i'm saying it on this blog to all six of you.  the time has come.  the time is now.  lisa k. rakestraw will you please go now?  the time had come so lisa went.

breath.  breath.  breath.