Sunday, 31 May 2009
I confess, I am a freedom addict. Limit my sense of freedom in some way and I wilt, or I go inwards and mope and get depressed, or I get irritable (usually (c) if you happen to be my mother). I know early experiences in my life have forced me into this too-much emphasis on freedom, with too much of a feeling that I am curtailed by other people when in fact I suspect there is really no curtailing at all except what is going on in my own mind (sometimes I wonder what the hell is left out there in reality apart from the shit that goes on in our own minds? Maybe just beauty, or somethin'. Or love or ... I don't rightly know. And these are the questions and ponderances I keep pondering to my poor family who really don't quite rightly understand why I need to ponder the philosophical significances of the most mundane of things.
Yesterday on the plane at takeoff, I blathered on to the people sitting next to me in the seat. I love that feeling at takeoff. The gut dropping feeling, the feel of the plane gaining speed and launching itself into the air. Honestly, that is surely some sort of a miracle and I don't quite think I will ever not feel the unbelievable faith that goes into getting on a plane and trusting that the mechanical engineers, the pilots and all the others who have been involved in getting this giant hunk of metal off the ground have done their jobs. The faith that this big tonnage of weight will fly off into the sky, above the clouds. I raved on in this fashion and they were particularly kind and smiling and somewhat in agreement with the wonder of it all but perhaps afterwards they were thinking I was a bit of a fruit. I do, these days, feel so often like a fruit marching to the beat of a different orchard, but how can one march to that except that which you are hearing, right? Even if so often it feels like others don't understand you?
So often when I am away with other people (not so much friends but more family ... okay, my mother) this sort of creepy control-freaky claustrophobia feeling kicks in and takes away my enjoyment. Even though afterwards I wonder what the hell I was getting so claustrophobic about. It's difficult to explain but it feels really childish. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I shall be home in X days and I can get back to my usual routine. How incredibly boring that is to feel that way! I get this feeling that I will be restricted from what I want or need to do, or something. That I won't be able to sleep according to my own sleep patterns (this is true), that I won't be able to go off and write and be quiet without people thinking I'm weird. And yet this time I have no problems in doing those things. This is who I am and if other people don't understand why I need to do them, then they don't understand. But I still need to do them.
When I feel that tight and tense claustrophobic feeling, I am able to remind myself that if I yield to giving way, in whatever way that means, then this space opens up in front of me and suddenly there is a way to be able to just roll with what's going on. I am starting to find space to be amongst other people in some sort of way that doesn't detract from myself. And that, paradoxically, is not all about me asserting my boring as batshit me-me-meness all the time. For a mature, insightful, people lovin' chick, sometimes I'm really boringly self-centred.
The simplicity of the now. The realisation that letting go of whatever I expect to happen and just sit in what is going on right now, and to just flow with it all instead of feeling like I need to set my own agenda - with a few glaring exceptions, this is a space I seem to be able to bring in more, these days. It brings me out into the richness of things. Turns up the colour of stuff. Takes me away from the incessant cavern of wants that scream from within my soul.
Friday, 29 May 2009
What a fruit
Or almost. In more ways than one.
I head off to Adelaide tomorrow on a broom-broom plane for a long weekend. To herald in the beginning of winter on the calendar, my mother and I will brave the three-headed beasties otherwise known as Adelaide supporters to hopefully watch our footie team walk away with a win on Sunday at AAMI Stadium.
I plan to tourist around Adelaide central tomorrow afternoon. My auntie is picking us up. I shall wander around with my camera like a tourist and enjoy a meal together before heading back to her place at Murray Bridge.
On Monday night I will be maybe staying at my cousin's place in Mannum and Tuesday, before we head back to Melbourne, I hope to jump on Norman's back for a horsey ride. Last time I horsey rode was with the same cousin who put me on the back of an ex-racehorse. Didn't break anything when I fell off after he jumped a log, but you know, didn't feel good either :) Norman, hes way more my style. Last time I saw Norman, he was standing with his eyes closed in bliss as a woman performed reiki on his leg.
Its funny how we humans need to have meanings, rituals, symbolic beginnings and endings. We are built that way. I can see the cracks in the facades of people who do not have those things on the streets. Some days it feels like something bad is brewing. How long can people go on in such a place as this where we do so many things to no real end? Some days it is just enough to grit your teeth and hang on and pray. Little wonder people take drugs. We get our transcendence whichever way it comes.
This weekend away for me marks the beginning of the winter months. It is a time that I hope to put into practice things I have learned and grown into in the last few years. It is delicious to be beginning that time with a finished sculpture (which I probably won't be able to resist posting here even before it is fired because I am addicted to your adulation, dear reader). I feel hopeful.
I feel hopeful that new things are astirring in my life, things that give me meaning and to help me out of the fog I so easily find myself in. I feel like I have been saying that for a long time with little evidence. And yet, small things always happen with small steps. I look back over the past several years and feel like the awakening has been steady and smooth, while at the time it has felt anything but.
And so I hope for things I have been hoping for for some time: community and creativity and Christian spirituality. The three non-negotiables. The only things I need, really, for life to brim over with meaning for me. Things that involve human kindness and caring because sometimes everything feels so brittle, and I think I have spent way too much time out in the backblocks of solitude. And even though I feel excited about the coming four days spent with other people, I know that I will be interspersing those four days with bouts of solitude because it is my peace and my anchor. But how nice to be sitting in solitude while life flows around you, like water around a rock. Should be fun.
See you on the flipside
9pm ~ Fall asleep on couch.
9.30pm ~ Wake up and watch TV and read a book about creative people and how they despair if everything isn't full of meaning for them. Wonder what on earth the book is talking about.
11pm ~ Recover. Go into playroom. Make fourth attempt at sculpture.
1am ~ Oops. Up too late again. Feeling tired and happy because Music Head sculpture is finished after working on it all week and I likes it! Hope when I stuffed the wadded up newspaper into the inside of the head to keep it upright that I haven't mucked it all up.
1.30 ~ Write self indulgent blog post about a whole lot of dullness.
1.40 ~ Go to bed :) Exhausted from another day of the coaster of rolling
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Any arthritic dog owners out there (arthritic dogs, not arthritic owners :) who are considering a round of Catrophen injections, I give a hearty aye of endorsement.
(The vet informed me last night that for some unforseen reason Cartrophen is not available to humans - which is a shame, because it helps, very much).
Bit of a time commitment, being four weeks in a row, but it is totally worth it. Lester's groaning has reduced about 80 per cent :)
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
I should be sorry if I had any earthly fame, for whatever natural glory a man has is so much detracted from his spiritual glory. I wish to do nothing for profit. I wish to live for art. I want nothing whatever. I am quite happy.
Sometimes, I can quickly lose a sense of meaning and fall into despair. I do not wish for it to be so, but this is what happens. It happens when I spend too much time online, as I did last night, another bout of self-sabotage sending me tired to sit aimlessly clicking when there were books to read and dogs to pat and friends to speak to on telephones. Being online is wonderful but oh, boy, it is not neutral. it needs to be an accessory and a tool rather than a lifestyle, at least for me.
The Spirit returns me, this evening after work hopefully, back to the playroom to be creative once more, immersed in clay. It is where life makes sense for me. Clay is so easy to mould when the fingers that mould it are wet. I do believe none of our tears are wasted.
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
One hundred and ninety million dollars. For something which is sending people into a spin and closing down schools and stuff. For what? For a flu. A flu that has killed only NINETY TWO PEOPLE IN THE ENTIRE BLOODY WORLD!!!!
But wait. The WHO warns us that this thing could mutate in strange ways. Who knows what might happen? Best to freak out, just to be on the safe side.
We're a real bunch of lily-livers these days, aren't we? Wonder how we would cope if we were living in 1918 when MILLIONS of people died from that flu pandemic. That's a pandemic to get worked up over, folks.
Come on, people, now, smile on your brother instead of freaking on him. Even if he is one of the 13,000 people in the world who HAS got swine flu, he's got a pretty good chance of living on to fight another day, seeing only NINETY TWO PEOPLE have died in the entire world.
The world is creeping me out. What's the deal with people SO fearful? I actually think people WANT to be fearmongered. Why? Is it some sort of superstitious thing that if we worry about things then we will stop them from happening to us?
I dunno. The whole thing has me baffled. The media just grows fatter, feeding on our fear. Maybe one day it will grow so fat it will explode, like that Monty Python man in The Meaning of Life. Here's hoping :) In the meantime, it makes me vomit.
Exploding man - 6:01
The biblical revelation is about awakening, not accomplishing. It is a realization, and not any kind of performance principle whatsoever.The ego is that part of the self that wants to be significant, central, and important. It is very defended and self-protective by its very nature. It must eliminate the negative to succeed.
The shadow is that part of the self that we don’t want to see, that we’re always afraid of and don’t want others to see either. Jesus, quoting Isaiah, describes it as “listening but not understanding, seeing, but not perceiving” (Matthew 13:14-15). Addicts today just call it “denial.” When we do our “shadow work” we stop eliminating the negative, and actually start learning from it. It is very often the best of teachers.
This is so true. And the most difficult work of all. Terrifying work. Unpaid to boot. And fit in around life and work and doing the dishes and raising your kids and cleaning the windows and cooking food and helping little old ladies across the road. Holding all the cognitive dissonance that comes with this space, feels like you are stretching yourself out beyond all perception.
But maybe that just makes room for what is to come afterwards :)
If we do not do this work and we let our shadows take precedence, then we see how easily it is for any of us to be monsters, to treat each other as objects. It's what goes on out there every day, in the cold world, clenching our souls and sending us home to curl up in our safe spaces. But we must be honest and admit that it goes on in here as well. We are responsible for the care of ourselves, regardless of what the age of entitlement tells us and what others have foisted upon us. There is no escaping it. The cross screams it. We do well to hang there.
Kel's having a mandala art attack over at her place. I dashed this off before. The colours don't look so great here, look much better in actuality but I can't fit A3 pages into my scanner.
I have so much fun messing about with this sort of stuff. Relaxing into enjoying just doing it without getting all worked up that I'm not all that good at it :) It's a nice feeling to allow yourself to mess with stuff just because it's fun (that is not a cue to pep me up in the comments, by the way. It is a fact that I am a bit retarded with a paintbrush, but I am lovin' it! :)
Sunday, 24 May 2009
- Realising how easy it is for me to fall into unhealthy narcissism - feels bad
- Seeing my seedlings come up - feels good
- Reading so much in-depth information about psychological stuff that I have a headache - feels bad
- Sharing my wounds with friends - feels good
- The amount of years it takes to accept those wounds - feels bad
- Living in a timeframe that is completely out of touch with Western conceptions of timeframes - feels good
- Catching on (duh) to the idea that other people's conceptions of me are not reality - feels good
- Doing three "feels goods" in a row - feels good
- Feeling like it's messy because I have rejigged the "feels good/feels bad" order - feels anal
- That stupid stupid Snuggie (which is just a bathrobe-you-wear-backwards you morons) and its stupid, stupid ad has hit Australia with Australian voiceovers - feels bad
- The amount of energy I have these days - feels so good I just can't tell ya
- The thought of my friend who still has CFS - feels bad
- The prospect of living in a country where I am free to go off this afternoon to watch some footy and enjoy myself - feels good
- The shitload of dishes that are waiting for my return - feels bad
- The anticipation of playing Sinead O'Connor's Theology album when it arrives in my letterbox - feels good
- Music - its existence, and feeling like you could argue for the existence of God simply from that - feels good
- Not needing at all to argue for the existence of God - feels good
- Deleting the "feels good" I just wrote which was talking about a creative endeavour I am in the middle of because it is self-sabotage to talk about creative acts in the middle of them - feels good
- Being free to do creative acts - feels good
- The always-there possibility of self-sabotage - feels bad
- The understanding that the more I know myself and own myself, the less need there is for self-sabotage - feels good
- The hopeful fluttering in my heart right now as I write those words above - feels good
- Understanding how wide the freedom is and how it is possible for me to change - feels bad
- Being loved - feels good
- Being loved - feels bad
- Being honest - feels good
- Being vulnerable - feels bad
- Pondering the possibility of maybe I don't even really know what love is - feels bad
- Singing bad Foreigner songs - feels bad
- Wanting you to show me - feels bad
- Wanting you to show me - feels good
- Wishing for people the exact thing I don't have for myself - feels liberating
- My own private Idaho - feels good
- Being too deep and analytical - feels boring
- Being free to travel the threads so far that they lead to doubt - feels good
- The true and deep understanding that I am loved by God and do not need to do anything to 'prove' that or earn it - feels good
- Being free to sometimes doubt that I am loved by God, and sometimes occasionally to even ask myself, "Hey, maybe I'm just spinning myself a line and God doesn't really exist and believing in God is just some sort of paradigmatic quest to stop me from killing myself" - feels good, paradoxically
- Seeing colours and shapes and textures and people and animals and inside my own heart sometimes, and thinking, "There has to be a mind and a personality behind that. Look at it. It screams of God" - feels good
Friday, 22 May 2009
- Friday night - feels good
- Working tomorrow - feels bad
- Wearing my 'claymaking' clothes - feels good
- Procrastinating - feels bad
- Halfway through a new sculpture - feels good
- Tonight is the medical procedure that involves removing the top of the head - feels bad
- Believing that God is here - feels good
- Not feeling God close personally - feels bad
- Feeling ready to get out and date - feels good
- Still feeling a bit uncomprehending and bruised about what wasn't - and wondering why the hell I take things so personally - feels bad
- Looking forward to the future - feels good
- Feeling old and ugly and undesirable - feels bad
- Philosophical about said feeling old and ugly and undesirable - feels good
- Beginning to want to avoid looking in mirrors but still too vain to avoid looking in mirrors - feels bad
- Get off listening to iPod on the train - feels illegal - feels good
- Inappropriate smiling and feeling happy on public transport - feels bad
- Earning overtime money tomorrow - feels good
- Missing out on hanging out with Debbie for a sleepover and a biannual baby spliff tomorrow - feels bad
- Being unable to have a biannual baby spliff tomorrow - feels good
- Being unable to have a biannual baby spliff tomorrow - feels bad
- Philosophical and enjoying learning lessons about things that feel bad - feels good
- Bit of an overemphasis sometimes on wanting to feel good - feels bad
- Feeling good about feeling bad (in a Richard Rohr 'Everything Belongs' fashion) - feels good
- Thinking about K sleeping out in the cold - feels bad
- Considering taking up an offering of sorts for her at work - feels good
- Not sure how it will be taken at work - hate the 'do-gooder tag' - feels bad
- Refusing to feel guilty about the fact that I *do* have a roof over my head - feels good
- Wanting to help everyone and completely unable to - feels bad
- Coming to the end of this post and about to go to playroom - feels good :)
- Particularly self-absorbed post this one - feels bad
Thursday, 21 May 2009
The tear is beginning with this newfangled digital technology where people's music collections exist not in CD towers but on their hard drives. And so some people are actually replacing their CD collections, taking them digital and virtual. Which is sort of cool in one way - transportable music, music of the spheres existing ... well, sort of more in the spheres, inhabiting only a tiny little file on your computer or your iPod. Spiritual, mon.
Me, I'm still recovering from albums. I need the tangibility, you know? I miss sitting down with that cool sized album, the liner notes, the lyrics, the artwork. I have to make concessions with CDs as it is, those tiny little things that make my eyes fall out trying to read the 6 point lyric type. Bah!! And so here I am sitting down and staying fast. I'm not going into greater intangibility. Me and CDs are where I part ways with the prevailing.
The benefit to me out of all of this is that the people who are selling their CD collections are doing it for cheap. This week so far I have purchased or am in the process of purchasing albums by Tori Amos, Sinead O'Connor, Ben Harper, Counting Crows & Clannad. Most of which are, like, a dollar. Whee!
I'm getting old. There's no two ways about it, hmmph.
By the time I got home after art therapy, I was feeling so bad, with such an awful headache, that it got me moaning. And yet at the same time I was starving. Which is a strange combination. But it's been a strange week.
I dialled home delivery, ate it, and went to bed at 7.30. Slept until 12.30 when pop goes the eyelids and I get my very own night watch for the next four hours. It's amazing how quickly four hours can go in the dead of night when you're feeling like you're the only person in the world. It felt like it dragged and yet at the same time I managed to fill it in pretty easily, polishing off a bit giant wad of the latest Wally Lamb book I'm reading. But oh, there's nothing lonely like 4 am.
Getting to see it twice in one week is not really my idea of good sleep hygiene. I feel like a skanky sleep ho, right about now.
Fell asleep around 4.30. Slept till 9.30 this morning. Felt like shite all day. Looked forward all day to getting home and getting to sleep at a reasonable sort of hour.
And yet here we are.
I began my week with a Eurovision Song Contest get-together which had me going to bed at 3 am. All of this has been combined with me fighting off (successfully so far) the onset of some sort of cold, or flu, or ear infection return, or something. I don't know what the hell is going on in my body this week. It's all discombobulated.
And yet, in the midst of all of that, art therapy breakthroughs for me. A sense that old habits are being dislodged. This new birth in the midst of all this feeling unwell and gargantuan headaches and upsettedness and crying jags.
It's enough to make a girl want to take the day off work tomorrow. Luckily for me, my work is flexible on its starting times. Which basically means for me that even though I have had this crazy non-sleeping night, I will still be able to rejig things so that I can fit in a five hour shift by the time I wake up at lunchtime. And hey, my job might be boring but it is perfect for circadian morons like me :)
Here's to better sleeping habits for the rest of the week
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Well, considering she's payin', I ask in return, do large hairy animals excrete in treed environments?
Wheee. I'll take a four day weekend, lots-of-expenses-paid, anywhere. Even Adelaide :) Hell, I'd take it if it was in St Albans :)
Hmmm, funny, I've been thinking a lot lately about getting away, and then suddenly Mum rings me up out of nowhere. Maybe there is something to this Secret thing after all, har.
So. Just in case the universe is a giant shopping centre, sitting there just waiting for me to say the word so it can vomit its gifts forth, I'll throw these out on the wind then:
- a holiday that stretches north instead of east and longer than four days, nice as that is (I wanna hit the Northern Territory).
- a bloke (I feel sorta vaguely ready to get back out there again now, as terrifying as that is. But not till after Winter :) Winter is for me).
- a new job would be nice but I'm grateful for the one I've got.
- greater writing depths.
I would certainly like those things above, and I am open to them. But having said that, I'm pretty content, when it comes down to it (with a few exceptions here and there but you know, who hasn't got any of those?) My immune system is getting stronger. I am enjoying living this life with God in it, the mystical relationship with the divine that feels like a fountain sometimes, the opportunity to explore outwards and inwards. The gifts that appear, in the most mundane of things, when I am not too stressed to see and feel (my seedlings are sprouting). And the greater writing depths is mine for the plumbing. Just gotta open up the arteries a bit more. Which is what I am doing. Slowly.
I am so lucky, living where I do, in this rich, rich country. Had a kick-arse art therapy session yesterday that has left me breathless with the creative ways my subconscious will vomit up things when I'm willing and ready to see. Don't really want to talk about it all at this stage - it's for my eyes only at the moment - but it really does amaze me how deep and wide we go, we humans. The depth and complexity of our workings. The ways we develop to protect ourselves, to protect that little child within, you know? Awesome.
I have done so much work, and I can feel that I am getting ready to discard old outworn things that don't serve me anymore. It's scary and exciting all at the same time, all the more because the these things are so mysterious in their unfolding. These hidden parts of myself feel simultaneously unknown and always-known as I go on and discover more.
There is a part of me, seated in the heavenlies, that knows exactly what it is doing. At the very same time it feels like the conscious steps are taken with a touch of trepidation, into the unknown, only to have the deeper parts of myself step up to welcome me when I set down my foot. It's all very strange and mysterious and exciting and difficult to explain.
But that's all for another post :)
Saturday, 16 May 2009
One day the inflatable boy got called into the principal's inflatable office. He was in big, big trouble ~ he had taken a pin to school.
The principal said to him, "I'm disappointed in you. You've let me down, you've let the school down, you've let your teachers down."
That's Adam Hills's favourite joke.
Friday, 15 May 2009
your emotions are
corseted in. Squeezed in tight
behind your ribs
Sometimes it feels like
your ocean must have
seven times over
of its tears.
Out of the water, whales
fling onto the shore,
confused by ocean noise,
military sonar and
ships delivering stuff.
Out in the deep, whales,
with bones intact,
swim with hearts
the size of a
Thursday, 14 May 2009
The completely lucid dream happened sometime last year or the year before. I walked into a room where a man in his twenties or so was sitting at a desk writing something. I remember thinking, "Okay, who am I going to make this, then?" And I can remember consciously thinking, "Hmmm, okay, I will make him my son." Weird :) And then we proceeded to have a conversation where I was conscious the whole time I was dreaming.
A few nights ago I dreamed of David Tennant. We were snogging. It was really lovely! Ever since then I feel sort of funny, like it really happened. I want to go back there. I have lucid dreamt before and so tonight I want to be able to say: "Here I am, pushing off from the ground, hovering. Isn't this lovely. Oooh, look, here's David Tennant again, back for another snog." That's what I want to happen, but I'm not banking on it.
I have tried in the past saying to myself before I go to sleep, "Tonight, I am going to dream about Rod Stewart." But so far it has never happened. I know some people are able to do this sort of thing. They say it is an art you can develop within yourself. How cool to be able to lie down and tell myself to dream that I am a man, or a 14th century herbalist, or in Bulgaria, or that I am a plank of wood or a hair in someone's nostril. Or to combine them all and tell myself to dream that I am a hair in the nostril of a male, Bulgarian 14th century herbalist. Surreal stuff, you know, instead of the dull crap I usually dream about. An inordinate amount of my dreams are logistical, involving catching some form of public transport).
How about you? Ever had a lucid dream?
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Just before, I came across a tape from someone I used to write to somewhere back around the early 1990s. He lived in the States. Andrea began writing to his friend at the same time. Both of their names were James. From memory we found their penpal requests in a music mag.
James and I first began writing letters to each other, and then progressed to tapes. He found it easier to talk than to write, he said, and we would send each other long rambling tapes. His contained frequent stops and starts. In the background would be this strange sound from time to time. A sound that turned out to be the slamming shut of prison doors. He was ensconced in the Arizona State Prison, he and his friend. I guess he thought maybe I wouldn't write back if I knew he was in prison. Waited until we had written back and forth a few times before he told me.
Well, can't say it was particularly attractive but neither was it something that especially put me off, you know? I wanted to chat and talk about music. It wasn't as though I was looking for someone to father my children or anything. It saddened me, hearing this dude talking down low into a tape recorder, hearing those cold steel gates shutting.
Of course, as these things go, it became sort of one-sided and in the end I did stop writing to him. I still feel guilty about that. But I started feeling claustrophobic. He got attached, you know? He was in jail, for crying out loud. I feel awful the way I just stopped writing to him but it felt a bit too heavy to handle in the end. I sent him a photo once. "Mercy girl," he said to me about my photo. Drew a reasonable likeness for me as a Christmas card once. He was a nice guy.
And so one day I really want to listen to those tapes again. Not so much because I want to listen to him, but because I am wondering what interesting little snippets are contained on those tapes about me. The things he will repeat back about a 20 year old young woman, things I have forgotten.
One day when hearing him whisper "mercy girl" doesn't make me feel a bit creepy.
In an interesting sidenote, the wonders of internet technology mean that I am able to search the Arizona Department of Corrections website and see that he is at this moment serving a 2 and a half year term for some sort of marijuana violation. Legalise it, for crying out loud.
I find it strange that my bank can't reveal to me certain details over the phone about my own accounts, and yet I can know this information about someone. Weird.
On the subject of tapes and marijuana and recorded conversations, my friend Debbie and I used to get stoned and have these amazingly intricate and complex conversations about the deepest things. Those conversations kept me going for days :) Nothing like trying to analyse the insides and outsides of a particular situation when you've been sucking on a bong with your buddy, haha. Oh, my wasted youth.
Anyway, one day we chanced on the idea of taping our conversation as a way of keeping track of the crazy tangents. We digressed so much over such a wide range of subjects that a visual representation would sure make some crazy snaking map. So one night we came up with the wonderful idea of taping ourselves. That way we could just rewind and then be able to pick up one of the 4 million threads we'd diverged on :)
Never saw that tape again. Deb hunted high and hunted low but that bugger just disappeared. I only hope someone didn't find it. How embarrassing if her mum or her brother found it and listened to us crapping on, LOL. Now, that is one tape I would seriously love to hear again.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
I prefer the other term for CFS: myalgic encephalomyelitis. Gives it that extra weighty bite of seriousness :)
Richard Stubbs interviewed Marg Purcell today on radio 774. She contracted CFS two months before I did, in April 1999, and is still sick. She was an athlete before she fell ill. Me, I'm one of the lucky ones. My CFS started around June 1999, when I contracted glandular fever which just never really went away. From memory (hilarious in-joke) it took me a couple of years to get a diagnosis. CFS is a bit of an empty diagnosis to have though. And that's if you can get one in the first place. Unless you hit upon a good doctor, you will have to go through the hell of trying to work out what is wrong with you while the GP who sits across the desk from you quite possibly believes there is nothing wrong with you that an antidepressant and a trip to the psychiatrist cannot fix.
This is where my extreme mislike for the medical profession began :) Doctors are as caught up in the system as anyone. To think that there are still GPs out there with this view after all this time shows how elephantine the system is when it comes to changing perceptions and keeping up, chaps.
In the interview above, one caller said they worked in a 12-doctor clinic where none of the doctors believed CFS was real. Well, I can tell you that the fatigue, muscle aches, flu-like feelings, brainfog, memory lapses, immune system suppression (but in my case, elevation, which meant continual painful golf balls on the side of my neck, ouch), nervous system disorders, autonomic nervous system stuff-ups (causing things like inability to regulate body temperature), adrenal overload, spending all the next day on the couch because you walked for half an hour today, anxiety, digestive problems (causing bloating), regular rapid heart beat and light sensitivity are very real, thank you very much.
The CFS Awareness Day I remember was where I agreed to help man (woman) a stall in a shopping centre. One woman bobbed up to me, listened to me talking about what CFS was, and then trippingly and gaily said, "Oh, I think I might have CFS. I'm so tired all the time!" After which she flubbered off for a bout of shopping.
Which left me feeling pretty good because hey, feeling tired is actually a pleasant, relaxing feeling. But the tiredness that accompanied CFS, at its worst, felt like the marrow was leaching out of my bones. At my very worst, having a shower tired me out for a whole afternoon.
I am so grateful that I recovered. It takes an iron will and determination to keep trying that extra thing. I was one of the lucky ones whose CFS was most likely precipitated by bacterial/viral infections (like rickettsia, for example). It took me a year of rather psychologically hellish ongoing antibiotic treatment to clear those infections up, and then once I did, my body was able to slowly begin healing itself (along with squillions of bucks' worth of nutrition and supplements and stuff once my body began being able to absorb them properly).
I can't believe that people still trot out the line that CFS sufferers are malingerers. I understand the misunderstanding. I don't understand why it still exists. For one, it is often the go-getter types who contract CFS to start off with. Marg Purcell was an athlete before one day she suddenly felt unwell. From there on, she has never regained her health.
I am of the foolhardy and pigheadedly stubborn belief that many people are able to recover from CFS. There must be a stubborn insistence on trying new things, new areas, in learning to listen to what your body is telling you it needs. It is like a full-time job with no accolades. It is difficult to tune into our bodies in this society when we are healthy. We are trained in many ways to switch off. Many healthy people are unable to discern even what their guts are telling them, and often we treat the symptoms instead of the underlying concerns.
To tune into a body whose brain function is causing you to feel as if you are constantly in an out of body state is extremely difficult. Many people give up on a cure when they have been ill for so long and seen so little results. Most realise that they must learn to accept their condition - which feels like accepting the unacceptable. It took me years to learn to accept. I strongly believe that acceptance of the illness is a necessary road toward health. There is no way of living with CFS aside from living in the reality of the present, of the good, small things, as Margaret mentions - the great cup of coffee. This is how the approach must be made toward getting well, also. The small, slow, tiny steps.
Perhaps CFS really is a life sentence for some people. Whichever way it is, it would be a hell of a lot easier if you broke out in spots on your really bad days, like Richard Stubbs said, if it would garner a bit more compassion. Because you can't see how people crash the rest of the day after they have mustered up the adrenaline to talk to you. You can look at them and think they are looking good. I do it now with my friend who is still ill. If I didn't know from inside experience how unwell she is, I would probably forget that she is sick. But I do, and I know this - you gotta take our word for it. If I could bottle up how it feels and give you a dose, you really would help people out with this condition, and with compassion. But I can't. You have to just take our word for it.
Now, I am a very visual person. When I imagine something in the future, I can't help but to visualise it. Rehearse it, if you will. Which, if you listen to pop or sports psychology, is a good thing to do. Your mind, they say, does not know the difference between what is actually being experienced and what is being imagined. Thusly, it is good to visualise yourself in certain situations, especially those that cause some consternation or that you aren't particularly adept in. Rehearsal for the future, you know? Rehearse yourself kicking goals in the football game, or taking criticism, or having written and finished a piece for publication, or whatever. I do believe this works and I practise it. Often.
However, visualising what curtains you imagine your landlord is going to be putting up is a different sort of thing entirely. You can visualise all you want, but The Secret will not deliver your desires into your landlord's head. When the selection criteria is out of your control but you still hold a picture of your landlord getting curtains you will like, then it becomes expectations rather than visualisations :)
My landlord arrived as I was about to leave for work. I do quite trust N; he is an ethical person and so I wasn't too qualmish about going off and leaving him in my house to hang some curtains. I presume he didn't go through my undies drawer or, even worse, the dirty clothes basket, but you never quite know, do you? The most normal looking people are sociopaths and psychopaths after all. You don't spend two years transcribing police interviews without realising that there are seriously whacked people out there. And so how would I know whether my landlord has a secret desire to chop people up or have sex with beasties or go through his tenant's smalls?
(Gee, that paragraph took a rather dark turn, didn't it! I was babbling about curtains and then suddenly bang, shove you into a drear and debilitating "the psychos are amongst us" swamp. Sorry 'bout that. Here, have a towel. Come back to the fabric fireside and get warm (hopefully it's a flame retardant fabric fireside or we might be in trouble :)
So yes, I went off to work with barely a qualm about my landlord being alone in my house. When he was living here in the other house on the property, I fed his cat while he was away for the weekend. And I didn't go through his stuff. So I hope he returned the favour.
Actually, I'm really not seriously concerned about him going through my undies, whatever their state. (Hell, part of me would probably welcome the thought of someone looking at my undies). What I am really concerned about was whether he checked inside the shower. Because that thing is sort of overdue for a clean, and I would have hated the 30 centimetre high stack of accumulated black goo falling out on him if he did open the door to have a squiz. Even though he would have deserved it.
So anyway. I come home this evening and there the new curtains are hung up. And I realise, as soon as I see them, that what I really envisaged were the curtains Jane has hanging up in her lounge room and dining room. Lovely, well made, good fabric. The most beautiful delicate creamy yellow sort of colour that are just the perfect offset on her warm cream walls. Sort of the warm yellowey colour that this blog's text background area is right now (which, if you're reading this blog anytime after Winter will probably not make much sense seeing the background will not be the lovely warm yellowey cream it is now :)
So that's what I had in my head, I realise now. Because what I am seeing in front of me is rather different. I dunno, maybe they looked good in the packet at Spotlight. Maybe they were on special. Maybe they looked different in the light of the shop. But now, in the (admitted) darkness of my kitchen, they look akin to a couple of hessian sacks. Of a nondescript grey or brown colour. Something public transport designers would put on their bus or train seats.
Nice bloke, my landlord, but I think he might be colourblind :)
Monday, 11 May 2009
I did resist responding to him out of anger. I guess that's something.
It has always been a bit of an issue of mine, this defensiveness, especially with men. It is the result of living with a terribly critical father who, I am sure, on at least a handful of occasions must have given me some words of encouragement in my childhood but I remember none of them.
How does one begin to overcome this sort of thing? Well, I have begun, obviously. Very much so. My spikes used to be much worse than they are now. I began observing this propensity to defensiveness when I was about 18 years old. I have a vague memory of talking to Andrea about it at some point and she said that yes, I was defensive, that there were times when she was aware of me overreacting to things. Friends who will be honest with you are like gold in a global financial crisis.
It was a badly constructed fortress, like all self-made fortresses are. They have many holes for dismantlement in them. It's just looking at them that is the painful part :)
Ad break: I just looked at the clock and it is 11 past 11. End of ad break.
Despite the partial demolishing of this fortress, it feels these days like it has returned somewhat. I suppose this marriage breakup has demolished my confidence. In my twenties was the height of my confidence. Not only did I demolish the fortress down to a manageable level, but I learnt by first-hand experience how differently people respond to you when you are open as compared to when you are in self-protective spiky mode. Openness is my actual personality state. Self-protection is a double glazed prison.
All this to say, I am contemplating the idea that part of the fear that makes up my writing block is related to this area. That I resist finishing writing a piece so I don't have to have it published and have anybody criticise it. This makes sense, I suppose.
This fear of criticism is a hindrance and the sooner this is worked out of me the better.
Sunday, 10 May 2009
To heal your depression, you must force life to mean. You force life to mean by sitting down and deciding what you want your life to mean. When you are satisfied with your answer, and if you have been truthful with yourself, you will have stripped away false meanings and motives and arrived at your best understanding of how you intend to shape your life. By providing yourself with personal reasons for taking your own life seriously, you begin to build a shield against meaninglessness.
These reasons must be personal. The hunt for ultimate reasons will prove a waste of time, even for believers, since we are built to dispute anything, even putative pronouncements from gods. No ultimate reason takes precedence over a righteous human reason for taking action and making meaning. Anais Nin echoed this idea when she suggested, "The personal life, deeply lived, becomes universal." If the laws of the universe are not directly within us, where are they? If they are within us, what could make them more purely or more powerfully manifest than living acording to our own best reasons for living?
I did this mandala a week ago. It took bloody ages.
It's so crooked. I am very unhappy about it being crooked. I'm happy with the design, though I am not entirely happy with the colours. Who needs critics when you have yourself, huh?.
I think the outside looks like sewing.
Saturday, 9 May 2009
Gestapo Officer [gesturing toward Guernica]:
Did you do this?
No, you did.
When we finally allow life to take us through the Paschal Mystery of passion, death, and resurrection, we will be transformed. At this stage we’ll have found the capacity to hold the pain, to enter into solidarity with it, not to fear it or hate it or project it onto other people.
Actually, it’s really God holding the pain in us, because the little self can’t do it. But the Big Self, God in us, can absorb it, can forgive it, can resolve it. We know it’s grace when we no longer need to hate or punish others, even in our mind. We know someone else is working through us, in us, in spite of us, and for us.
Our life is not our own henceforward. Now we draw from the Christ mystery, the Christ nature, the Christ source. Oh, we’ll regress; but when we’ve experienced our true self, who we are in Christ, we’ll know what’s really real.
I am developing a fondness for colder weather, Picasso, and a willingness to hold my own evil. It sits alongside all of my good. I can admit to both.
I am maturing. It's miricoil :)
My team got comprehensively beaten by our arch rival. It was never going to be a pleasant experience. But these dudes added a lovely patina of barely contained fury to my already rather dismal viewing experience.
Seriously, there's some blokes out there with real bad anger management problems. I understand why such a thing could be prevalent in today's society. I think men oftentimes feel lost, not exactly sure of how they should be behaving in a post-feminist society where women have somewhat found their voices in some ways. Sometimes it seems that men have been left feeling a bit emasculated. Maybe a bit like women have found their voices and men have lost theirs. Or at least had them stifled under waves of political correctness and lack of social cues on what is acceptable and what isn't. Sitting at the football is one of the few places where you get to yell and scream and vent your spleen and it's fine.
To an extent, though, surely. Because surely in the end, losing a game, playing like poos, being outcoached and outmuscled by the team you hate the most really doesn't entitle you to behave like petulant brats, does it? Some sort of perspective has to come into play at some point. In the end, you know that ultimately it's just a game, no matter how you doth love it, and it's only one game within a season, as thoroughly disappointing as the episode was. Your team has many injuries. And if they are playing a shocker, at some level you know that the players are not losing just to make your weekend start off all wubbly and wascally.
Several amongst the bunch of males surrounding me this evening called our team c***s. The guy next to me screamed his guts out the entire game and abused basically every single player on the team whose colour he was wearing. Some other dweeb threw away his scarf in a fit of childish rage at the end of the game.
I understand the whole anger thing. I was angry myself. But maybe some men need to consider why their self-identities are so flimsy that they can feel entitled to behave like a big tantrum bubby simply because their team has had a bad night at the office.
Their team, and identifying with and being part of that team, gives them that lovely little winning feeling. We all love that feeling. But if you need it too much, then the players, the individual people who are talented enough to be playing professional Aussie Rules, are lauded and loved and exalted but then ripped down when they don't perform to scratch. As if they are just wind-up robots that give you a nice feeling, like rats pressing down on the lever for more drugs, rather than living, breathing people.
And a living, breathing entity. A sporting club to which many people belong, or at least identify with. Part of that adherence involves loyalty, doesn't it? A willingness to stick with your team through "thick or thin"? To be willing to go with the losses as well as the wins, rather than smacking away the drug dealer when they don't give you your fix.
Some Hawthorn supporters need to lift their game even more than the playing list. The playing list has interrupted preseasons and half their backline missing. Some supporters behave like they have interrupted psychologies.
Friday, 8 May 2009
My bus appears several minutes later. It has white lights at least. I am anxious about arriving at my destination on time, a route I have never taken before. I ask the driver to tell me when I get to the showgrounds. Just in case I happen to miss it. It is giant and gargantuan a space, but I am a little anxious today. Premenstrual. Concerned for my ageing dog who had a rough couple of days. I write to quell my edge.
The seats are prefabricated plastic with a hard coating of fabric. It doesn't matter what material is used on public transport seats; it never pleases me. These seats are a jungle print of grey/brown with lighter grey squiggles. They are jollily drab.
At least the bus doesn't smell like rank milk the way the train seems to every time I travel it lately. The fabric on the train seats is a dark blue background with geometric triangles and circles and squiggles in jaunty reds, oranges and yellows. They look jauntily vomitous.
My bus is the 472. It is licensed to carry 76 passengers. The difference between 72 and 76 is 4, which is the extra number of the bus line. This pleases me enough to write it down. Which makes me either autistic or bored. I don't know how boring or interesting this particular trip is because I have been writing in my notebook ever since I got on, writing right up in the front seat about transportal lighting and fabric choices.
I need to pee.
I look up. We are on Farnsworth Avenue. My erstwhile university is to my right and on both sides of the road are playing fields lit up with fit puffing people.
Further up the road, some plonker has tagged the eggshell yellow paling fence of a townhouse. Taggers are right down there with
"Here are the showgrounds," the driver says.
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
This is not your grandfather's bread line. The first ever Unemployment Olympics was held yesterday afternoon in Tompkins Square Park. Organizer Nick Goddard, who's been unemployed from computer programming since February, said his goal was simply to cheer up his fellow layabouts and give them shot at the gold with gift certificates from local businesses. And because the press photographers and reporters often outnumbered the participants, we're guessing the local merchants were delighted with the exposure.
Some 20 contestants took part in events such as Pin The Blame On The Boss, Office Phone Skee-Ball, Office Phone Pinata, and the "You're Fired!" race to the cardboard Unemployment Office. Phone Skee-Ball, where an old office phone was tossed across the park for points, drew much fanfare and even had students from P.S. 34 cheering participants on. Phone Pinata, which involved hitting a pinata with an office phone, only took two strikes to burst. Unfortunately, the much anticipated Fax Toss, which reminded everyone of the infamous scene in Office Space, was canceled at the last moment due to Parks Department concerns over tossing large office equipment around.
Illustrating just how hard the New York economy has been hit, contestants came from a diverse group of industries, including law, marketing, entertainment, retail, tutoring, and textiles. Jing Zhang, an unemployed opera singer, serenaded the park throughout the Olympics. She is going to every audition she can find, and remains hopeful!
Other contestants maintained an upbeat mood, despite the bleak job market, and many said they're making the most of the free time they’ve been granted. Sara, a former paralegal at a LGBT not-for-profit, is exploring her new neighborhood of Crown Heights. And Jesse Fallick, formerly a project manager at a retail chain who trades stock options for income, thought of his unemployment as a time to pursue new interests and possibly a new career: He’s organizing a Laid Off Camp in NYC this May, so you can look forward to more ironic Gen Y coping mechanisms in the months to come!
Monday, 4 May 2009
I have felt strong resistance to getting out and planting seeds. Such a small thing, and I have procrastinated for several weeks about it. Weirdness. My art therapist assured me she still feels exactly the same sort of seed-planting resistance even after years of gardening.
She thinks the resistance is performance anxiety.
Ridiculous but potentially true - I possibly procrastinate planting my seeds because somewhere in my befuddled mind I worry they will not sprout. What a dick.
The process is very simple. It takes 15 minutes to pour seed raising mix into a seedling tray, make little furrows, and put your seeds in the furrows. Then you mark the spots with your little plastic ID sticks that you have written on in pencil ~ broccoli, cabbage, kale, leek, cauliflower ~ cover over the furrows with a bit more soil and that's it. I planted about 40 seeds today.
The seed tray just looks like a pile of dirt with nothing going on in it. There's a universe in there.
I caught up with B again yesterday. She was the lady who gave me some strawberry plants a few weeks ago. This time she came to my place and gave me some seeds, and some pak choi and marigold seedlings (marigolds are good to plant with your vegetables as they invite good bugs into the garden and keep away some nasty ones).
B drags her husband outside to admire her minuscule little seedlings that are, like, 5 mm high and have sprung up in less than a week, astoundingly.
"It makes me feel like God," she laughed.
I understand. All creative acts can cause delirium and dizziness if you stand up too quickly :) Even the ones where you're just shovin' in the seed :)
Saturday, 2 May 2009
getting off the couch
off the cliff.
How many times
must we practise
off into thin air
falling onto trust?
Seems the more love
the more death
the more illumining
the more spaced the crumbs
leading into the middle
of a densely packed
console your heart
when the night is
at its blackest
while you sleep
the sun lies
beneath your feet.
I feel a bit delirious. My football team hung on today to record the kind of victory that makes you believe that you will have a heart attack before the final siren. It was jolly good fun. Then I came home tonight and cooked myself a meal that tasted fandoogilytastic which I made up as I went along AND used up the last of the pumpkin.
I am so talented at mandalas and fandoogilytastic meal-making. It's really quite amazing :)
Okay. I will stop now. It's terribly unbecoming having someone going on so much about how great they are. If you're really great you don't need to go on about it. You just let your actions speak for themselves. But seeing none of you either saw the mandala (which I can't be bothered scanning and which I am not sure will even fit in the scanner, being in an A3 visual art diary), or ate my dinner, I just thought I would let you know.
If it makes you feel better, now you're irritated at my trumpet blowing, I fell over before. I fell over in my bedroom because I stumbled over a pair of shoes that were lying outside my cupboard. I had time on the way down to think, "Oh, look, I'm falling over. Oh, no, I hope I don't break anything." Which leads me onto my goal-setting:
The goal setting part: I have set myself this goal that by winter - ie 1 June or, if I am running late, the true winter, the solstice - that my house will be in decent shape. That is, nicely vacuumed. Shit put away in cupboards. A shower without scunge in the bottom of it and a garden that has vegetable seedlings merrily growing because I have planted them, and that does not have giant wads of overgrown weed infested area down the side of the house.
I want to for once be able to look out the glass doors in my kitchen at the drear groaning turgid skies outside and actually be able to see them because I have cleaned all the glass from where the dog stands and looks outside at the drear groaning turgid skies and leaves his nose imprints behind.
I want to sleep all winter in a bed whose mattress has been turned. (I actually *dreamt* last night I turned my mattress. Don't you wish your life was as exciting as mine?)
I want a playroom whose floor contains only (a) carpet or (b) loose bits of clay and not folders and pieces of paper and stationery and STUFF. Just stuff.
I want to be like that irritating proverbs 31 woman who can laugh at the winter days to come ... that's if I can muster up the energy to laugh, that is. And just as long as I can do it in my dressing gown.