Thursday, February 9, 2017

Leftovers

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

                                                                                                          ---Joseph Campbell

I am certainly finding this is true. My life has been a series of careening in and out of destinies I leaned toward and away from, but never fully planned. When I was young I knew I wanted to come to NYC to be near music, but I never imagined I'd front a band. I thought I would spend the rest of my life with Drew and that has altered. Opportunities and change get tossed at me and I catch or drop like an overwhelmed geek in gym class, with much insecure ducking and complaint, dread and fear. I know I'm lucky, but  it's a messy, crazy kind of luck.

So thank you everyone for your concern. I am doing great. Well, except, you know, the whole Deatheater takeover of the Ministry and our imminent doom thingie. That's a big fat bummer. But personally, everything is cool. A big thank you to Mr. William Higinbotham for sending me a book through Amazon. It was a very nice gesture from a stranger. Second, thank you to friends who sent lovely messages. I am so grateful for all the kindness I regularly receive.

I heard from a couple of people who weren't feeling good, and the connection and discussion felt rewarding. I very much believe that while the experiences may differ from person to person, the emotions we feel are universal. And that the more we share, the less alone we feel. So I was happy that my initial purpose for writing openly was met. And now that I finally feel clear and positive and ready for a new chapter, I want to continue to try to bridge that gap.

Last night I had dinner with a longtime friend (not Storm, oh rabid fans). She is a performer, dancer, model and actress--a legendary beauty who photographs like a movie star and moves with a mesmerizing sensuous grace. She is one of the sexiest and smartest people I know. She wrote and performed a beautiful show that brought me to tears. I love watching her dance; if she wasn't my friend I would be terribly jealous.

She's also a complicated, wounded soul with a tendency, much like myself at times, toward self-destruction. We have had moments and adventures and bad times that would scare some people. Hell, they scared me. I've been dazzled by her glamour under the spotlight; I have picked her up from crawling drunk on her hands and knees on a sidewalk.

We ate salads like good girls and drank wine like middle aged ladies and spoke of the last couple of years, since it had been that long since we got together. The running thread through much of it was how much self-loathing we carry. I just released quite a bit of my own; she is still struggling with it. And still struggling to make her way as a performing artist, the world is not a soft bed for women who have the audacity to want to continue acting past a nubile age.

Speaking of nubiles, she informed me that the millennials who have taken over the clubs and streets of our neighborhood call us, the old-timers still hanging out, playing in bands, working in bars, etc., the "Leftovers". THE LEFTOVERS. Roll that around in your brain for a moment. It's hilarious. And terrible. And hilarious. And awful.



We talked for a long time about fears, energy blocks, sadness, love, and specifically what I had just come through and how, at times, she feels that she is still stuck and destructive and frightened--about aging, about loneliness, about lack of success, about addictions, about how to earn a living when the only things you're really good at are not respected or required of a mature woman. We talked about regrets and pain we've caused and felt. She wonders if she should have had a baby. We talked about the deafening silence that comes when you go home after a night under a spotlight that causes people to drink and drug.

These are first world problems, I realize that. But it seems important to me that people know that even the people they envy and desire can be struggling.

I told her that she's second-guessing herself and the baby regret is simply about feeling lost in her current state. Her creative core is her child and she will wither and die if she is not allowed to do what she was born to do, which is entertain people on stages. I told her she remains one of the sexiest people I've ever known and will remain that way until she dies of a ripe old age. I told her she was lovable, that I loved her, that many loved her, and to understand that that voice, that godawful voice that we all have sitting in the back of our brain always ready to pounce, to tell us we're fat, we'll never get that project finished, we're terrible at what we want to do, we could never run our own company, we're past our prime, we're not smart enough, and on and on, is not the truth of who we are.

I am also finally wrapping my brain around the idea that we don't have to stop being sexy and alive and juicy, at any age. It is our thought process that deadens us--media images, cultural skewing. The opinions of dorky teenage boys about what is hot and what isn't. It's still there in full blaze, but it's holding so much less power over me as I gain my bearings. My boyfriend is decades younger than me, and it's been an insecure place for me, while he just doesn't care. We were out one night and a woman around my age wanted to talk to him, as they always do. He introduced me as his girlfriend and her demeanor changed drastically. She got visibly angry. She asked my age repeatedly, I told her old enough to know better than to tell her. She stomped away and he laughed. That energy often comes at me when I'm with him, and always from older women. It's as if I'm breaking some deep rule of ego. We reach an age and we are not allowed to take more than our share.

Fuck that. I want us all to be the girl with the most cake.

I'm not saying that youthful partners are some kind of answer. They're messy and you've gotta pick up the tab too often. I'm saying that my age is becoming less of an issue for me as I accept that the past is gone. I just don't care as much. In more practical terms, if you are female and not feeling well, go get your hormones checked and do something about it. Get a little botox here and there. Love and move your body, feed it with quality food. Listen to everything Dr. Christiane Northrup has to say on aging. She's a revolutionary. Men-- you can have babies and baby girlfriends until you die, so I think you're probably set. Bastards.


Thoughts become feelings, and most of us have bad brains with bad thoughts. I wonder how many come flying at us per day? My new thing is to let the thought come into consciousness rather than repress it, and respond, "Thanks. I got this." I don't know what the science is behind the negative thoughts about ourselves but they are there for a reason, and ignoring them seems to make them louder, the anxiety greater. Giving the thoughts space and then agreeing to disagree works better, at least for me. And as I've been doing that, I've been able to see how ludicrous it is. It's like that one Debbie Downer at a happy brunch, everyone is joking and drinking mimosas and ordering eggs benedict and they're droning on about how they're constantly being wronged and how crappy life is...again. You look at them and think, "Really, girl? This same old tune?" That's the true personality of that voice.

So that's it. I have a snow day and I want to play video games. I just wanted to let everyone know these things:

1. I'm doing great, thank you.
2. Even the people we think look perfect and lead big lives are feeling the same things as us.
3. There's no reason that the third portion of our life can't be as vital and interesting as the earlier two.
3. That pecking voice isn't the truth of who you are.

Oh, and this:



Namaste, Bitches.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tunnel



After I got back from Kripalu, starting with New Year's Eve, which ended poorly, I fell into a deep, deep depression. All last week I felt gray. I felt that I had blown up a comfortable and loving life with Drew for no reason except that I am a destroyer incapable of real love. I felt that I am untrustworthy, unlovable, bad. I felt old, my best days behind me, having achieved very little, wasted so much time, etc. All of the things that people feel when they are depressed. People tell you that you are lovable but you don't feel it. It feels like you've fooled them somehow. I cried every day, all day, except when I had to work or be on point socially.

I have never been truly suicidal. I've written about walking the streets in my youth, drunk and hoping to be murdered, to this day still looking at buildings and wondering what it would be to fly off. But never serious about it. I'm dramatic, but too responsible.

On Thursday night I worked a gallery opening at my job and went out for a couple of drinks afterward with my girlfriends. Sam was, as usual, because he's a near-child with ADHD, unavailable for communication when I could have used it. I got home drunk and thought, "A pill would be nice..." Even though I would have fallen asleep right away if I'd laid down. I just wanted to float untethered for a while. I remembered that I had a bottle of phenobarbitol for my recently deceased dog's seizures, so I went for that. Couple of those should do it.

As I rolled the full bottle in my hand an idea formed. I thought, "Hey...this could work..." This would be so easy. Let's hit the reset button and float away for real. Die middle aged, leave an almost beautiful corpse...

I dumped it in my hand and swallowed 55 pills with a couple of chugs of water. And I went to bed.

In bed, I texted Drew that I took them. I was so high that I thought it would be good to tell people that I found this awesome new solution. I wasn't thinking about punishing him or asking for help. More like, "Hey, this is cool..."

Drew has experienced major trauma from suicide, and I think didn't see the message until morning, when he called my sister. He's so angry he's not speaking to me at all. I don't know that I'll ever be fully able to make him understand how sorry I am for all of it.

I woke up very late the next morning, got up to get to the bathroom and couldn't navigate. I banged into the kitchen table, then off into the stove, veering wildly around the apartment and hanging on to stay upright, like I was on a boat on a stormy sea. My first thought was, "What the hell? I didn't have that much to drink last night..." It took a few seconds standing there hanging on to the stove to realize what was happening.

Boom! My first thought was "Oooooooooh...." And then my second one was, "God damn it!" I'm still here! I burst into tears. The cats looked at me like, "Really, this again?"

An awareness crept in that there was heavy knocking on my door. I don't know for how long. I swerved to it and opened it to my lovely neighbor from across the hall. She's lived across me since the 90's and has seen it all. I did my best to stand upright and tell her I was fine, in a stained GnR tee and ugly cotton panties, hair and tears plastered to my face. I wiped snot off my nose with my hand and swayed a little. She looked dubious but she accepted it and said she was home all day if I needed her. Then I called my sister, who had left a ton of messages on my phone. This was difficult because the numbers on the phone kept dancing around most uncooperatively. I squinted and poked. Upon picking up she said,

"You're a pain in the ass."

I assured her I was alive, then went back to crying all morning until it was time to pull it together to bartend. I couldn't call in suicidal, I needed the money. I actually handled it without looking like a total lunatic, although I kept dropping things and my numbers were probably off. I was high as a fucking kite but I'm the queen of keeping it together when there's a job to do, and no one knew except those closest to me. Once I got out of work it kicked back in again and I had to hang onto Sam to walk home. He, God bless him, was so terrified he couldn't speak. He thought phenobarbitol was one of my new agey herbs; when he finally discovered what it was he just shut down.

Sam spent the weekend sitting next to me, not talking, ordering food for us and working on art while I watched movies and conversed on the phone to my people. I was high until late Sunday afternoon., but I got guy wisdom from Jesse, love from Storm, love from Samara, love from Grace, love from Christa, love from Wendy, love from friends, sarcasm and love from my sister, unconditional love from my mom. I got so much love. I am so blessed.

My mother is very pragmatic and not easily ruffled. She's a fucking tank. If there's a zombie apocalypse, she's the person you want on your team. She didn't see me as suicidal, which I wasn't exactly, so I'm grateful for that. It wasn't a cry for help either. It was more a clumsy attempt to shift out of pain that felt no longer bearable. I would not have done it if I hadn't been drinking, and she got that and didn't get hysterical. She did a reading for me and this is what she said (paraphrasing and condensing):

Kripalu opened up something very deep that you are ready to heal and clear. You came into this life to learn self-love, and now is the time. We are moving into a higher vibration and we cannot carry old baggage to get there. You are carrying cellular memory of another lifetime in which you made decisions that hurt many people very deeply, and you are carrying a lot of guilt and self-hatred. It's time for you to let it go. This chapter is not a failure, it is a graduation. You don't need to do anything, achieve anything. Let go and rest. 

Then Grace asked another psychic friend to call me and give me a reading. It was eye-opening and helped me to understand further how I got here.

Something lifted for me. Like really lifted. I feel brighter and clearer than I have in two years. It's like I went through a tunnel. I could have handled my relationships better, I'm so bone-deep sorry for the pain I've caused people. But there were reasons that things went down, and those reasons weren't all my fault. I can feel that now, before it was just a thought that didn't seem real. I did the best I could. I'm not a monster, I'm not insane. Wacky, yes, dramatic, definitely. But that's okay. I'm ready to sit (mostly) quietly and sort out the next chapter of my life.

I'm writing this as it appears to be my bizarre calling to put it all my crap out there for the world to see. It helps some and that helps me, and honestly I don't care anymore what strangers think of me. Some of you don't believe the same things that I do, and that's okay. Take what you can and leave the rest.

We're all messy, we're all hurting, we're all doing our best under trying circumstances. Being alive is hard. If you are feeling depressed, you are not alone. Whatever you are feeling is exactly the same as what someone else is feeling. Be kind to yourself, wear clothes you like, eat food that warms you, call people that like you, watch movies that make you feel good, clean your house so when you look around you feel good about where you're sitting. Cry more, you'll pee less. If you need some of the kind of spiritual help I'm talking about here, I've got phone numbers.  Please don't send me letters urging mental care, please don't worry. I'm not looking for sympathy or attention. I've got a big support system and well-meaning scrutiny tends to make me feel like a bug under a microscope. I'm absolutely okay and there are others out there who need you more than I do. I feel raw, but grateful, happy, and hopeful.

Namaste, bitches.




Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dick Pics and Other New Year Nonsense

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you had a great holiday season.

My New Year's Eve was marginal at best. I worked the night before and stayed up way too late and felt like dried out, warmed over oatmeal on the 31st. I wanted to stay home and watch movies. Sam never wants to stay home and watch movies because he's 12 years old and has the attention span of a fruitfly. Happily, a friend of ours invited us to be his guests at a group dinner hosted by a minor celebrity chef, at a restaurant on the Upper West Side. 

It turned out to be Italian food cooked and served by Russians, so it was strange from the get. Now I like Russian people. They're full of life and fun at a party. They know how to drink, the men are usually boisterous and most of the women dress slutty and completely inappropriately for winter weather, but with expensive shoes and bags. I find that fascinating. I have one Russian friend who makes me laugh so hard my face hurts after seeing him. This is him running around Patricia Field, where we both used to work:




He took this video of my coworkers and I at Patricia Field a few years back, with this description:


"The ladies of Patricia Field gathered to discuss something they don't get to talk about with their gay colleagues - their vaginas."


He's the voice you hear from behind the camera.




BUT, and there's always a big but, Dottie, the enthusiasm that makes Russians wonderful is the same enthusiasm that can make them problematic, especially in large groups. You can get steamrolled.


I sat at our table, hungover as shit, clutching a martini for dear life and scrambling for a bit of whatever was being served not quite plentifully enough. A platter would hit the table and we'd all dive at it with our forks. Sadly, I never even got near the baked clams. The room was full of helium balloons with long strings that dangled in our faces, caught in our hair, dropped into our food. The owner of the restaurant sat behind me with his chair pushed way out so the waiters had no choice but to bang into my chair over and over again as they raced back and forth. One of his guests fell completely out of his seat, cursed in front of a little girl up past her bedtime, then wobbled around the room unsteadily, still drinking mind you, while the rest of his crew congregated directly behind me to rub their asses on my head, hit my head with their handbags, drip their drinks in my lap, and cheerfully, unwittingly poke at the angry bear that is me. I wanted to set them all on fire. 

I sent Sam to the bar for another martini instead. I was a guest of someone generously paying my tab so I sat quietly and drank my free booze like a goddamn lady. The girl on my left shouted endlessly about Billy Idol past me to Sam on my right, hoping to impress him with her rock and roll expertise. I think she ended up making out with him (Billy) at the end of the story but I was too glazed over to pay proper attention. Sam brought up Generation X and she looked confused, having no idea who that was despite claiming to be a huge fan. He knew she was in trouble, the yelling was causing me to sit up taller and taller, which I do when annoyed, so he tried to hustle her through the story quickly. 




I was so tired that I left my phone on the table when we exited a few hours later. We were lucky enough to get a sort of cab. It was yellow at least and had a meter, but the meter sat on the front passenger seat. For those of you outside of New York City, NYE is a transportation nightmare here, in which you stand endlessly on corners with your hand in the air and walk many painful blocks in high heels. 

A few blocks away I realized I'd left my phone. We had the cab driver turn around and in a quick 20 minutes (yay, NYE traffic) were back at the restaurant, only to discover that the phone had been "claimed". Ugh. 


The rest of the night was uneventful. We had a nightcap with friends at a bar near my place and I left Sam "the night ain't done til you're broke and bleeding" Hariss to go home to do a search for the phone on my computer. 


I'll spare the boring details, but eventually and with some diligent computer sleuthing the next morning, I learned that the phone had been taken by the semi-celebrity chef, who thought it belonged to one of his friends, and transported to way the eff out in Brooklyn. I was irritated. But I took a deep breath, harassed him for the address, got dressed and spent the entire afternoon of January 1 traveling out to him and back. 


Inauspicious beginnings, but I remain optimistic. 

Yesterday I had brunch with a couple girlfriends in one of their apartments. Their names must be shrouded in secrecy due to the nature of our conversation; so I'll call them Laverne and Shirley to keep it uncomplicated. It was lovely to sit around with our shoes off and gossip privately, and it felt like the real celebration for the new year. 

Us, being us, we bought too much champagne and spent hours "finishing" it. The topic turned to dick pics, because I had called someone out at the NYE dinner for sending said pics to a co-worker/friend. He has a unique name, and upon being introduced I got a ping on the mental rolodex and realized that although this was our first meeting, I had met parts of him months before via the magic mashup of sexting and male ego.

Me + booze = no filter, so I had called him on it. He seemed mortified and I felt a little bit bad about mentioning it. But not too terribly bad because I never wanted to see his junk in the first place. It had been imposed upon me by a confused friend most obviously in need of guidance. I don't understand the modern phenomenon of sending photos of one's penis to a woman almost immediately upon considering dating her. It's a deal-breaker for me. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but it seems either narcissistic or gay to me. Gay men can send dick pics to each other all day long and I full support it. Hetero men to women, not so much.

Here's a handy guide for any confused guys out there:


Anyway, Shirley, out of the blue, said, "I really hate it when they want you to snort blow off their dicks." Laverne and I both choked, set our champers down, and squawked something to the effect of, are you kidding me?? Neither one of us had ever done or been asked to do that.



Shirley opened her eyes wide and said, "What? Really? That's impossible. I've been asked a million times. You mean this isn't normal??"

Nope.

She shrieked. "This is terrible! It's so unfair! I thought every woman had to do this. I've been duped!!"

Yep.

Shirley was upset. I decided to take a quick text poll among all my female friends to get a broader cross-section and thought you might find some of the answers entertaining. The percentages I was throwing out are totally off, I just like to make up poll numbers when I'm drunk. 

Subject A:





Subject B:





Subject C. She's led a colorful life:



Subject D, equally colorful:




Subject E:



And lastly, Subject F, the pragmatist:



So there you have it. Feel free to weigh in. And happy New Year, bitches. 



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Pranariffic Yogabutt

Whew! Everyone across the board is adamant that 2016 has been a terrible year.

I'm in agreement for the most part. It's so sad to know that there's an assembly of supervillains prepping to take over our country. People are dying right and left, one of my lifelong best friends left unexpectedly, I know another friend who lost both parents this year. Many people are upset about all the celebrity deaths, which don't upset me too much unless there is a personal connection. We have their bodies of work to enjoy, and I believe they're fine on the other side. I think that death means getting out of this difficult and accelerated school of life and getting to go home for the spiritual equivalent of summer vacation, shoes optional. Honestly, that sounds awesome to me. Also, there is so much going on in the world with the living that I want to keep my focus there. Bowie doesn't need me. Living girls in hijabs getting hassled on the train need me. I will admit that I would have liked to see Carrie Fisher hang around for a little while longer though.

There is so much to discuss, but I can really only speak of my own personal stuff because that's what drives me to write. My goal is twofold: I hope the little bits of illumination that come my way can help others in similar situations, and I look to sort out my own thoughts and feelings by putting them down.

My upheaval started in 2015 and continued through until exactly December 24, 2016, when the fog dissipated and the emotional load lightened. I posted this on Facebook already, it's an interesting article on numerology that is very close to exactly my experiences of the last two years: http://astrostyle.com/9-universal-year-numerology/

I have had a hard time blogging over the last two years because I wish to protect the people I love and I haven't been clear on what to say. I haven't understood my own motivations, my decision-making abilities, my ability to love, my self-worth. I experienced creativity-crippling self-hatred, which was mirrored in a few negative messages that came my way, mostly from strangers. I did a lot of escaping, a lot of drinking, a lot of socializing. Storm Large (my friend and partner in drugs, sex, and rock and roll for 30 years) and I both marveled at the way we regressed after decades of working on maturing. There has been an attitude of fuck it, we're always going to be messy and never properly tamed no matter how hard we try, so let's die if we must, let's live it up while we can.

There can be a lot of fun in that, and I've got some entertaining photos on my phone that will never see the light of social media. But the downside to escape is that you never really do, especially when you're over 40 and you know better. You wake up the next day and assess the damage to your middle aged face, then suffer the work day with a recriminating hangover. In the end it's undignified, depression-inducing and counterproductive. And most importantly, it's wasted time, of which there is a finite amount.

This was the first holiday season in 13 years that I would not be following a list of happy traditions with Drew. He has his girlfriend now (I call her "The Nose" or "Number 2" because I'm a jerk) and I am with Sam. It's strange and new, it's been difficult at times, emotional, confusing--it is what it is because I made my choices. Sam is Jewish and so much younger than me that Christmas is different for him. And even if it wasn't, you can't just pop one person into another person's place and expect to continue on unchanged. It's not fair and it's not realistic. So for me this season has been tentative, one of examining and embracing the newness. Change can be good, but with that comes a mourning of what was, which was, for the most part, lovely. I felt that I had an inner home with Drew, and for better or worse, that is gone.

Storm and I spent hours on the phone dissecting our lives and our feelings, and decided that it was time to go with the weirdness flow and do something life-affirming and healthy. She picked me up a few days before Christmas in a rental car and we drove to the Kripalu retreat, a lovely place located in a former monastery in the middle of mountains, next to a lake, replete with gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. We were determined to rejuvenate our livers and find enlightenment: four days of yoga, no TV, very little phone or internet, organic, mostly vegetarian food, and seminars on things like gratitude and Ayurvedic healing.

The trip exceeded our expectations. It was both inspiring and life-changing, despite the fact that we were our usual dick selves. We became immediately obsessed with the meals, which we called feedings, because the food was so good, healthy and plentiful that we could stuff ourselves without guilt. We planned every day around when we would eat, then sat in corners together, forking into our mountainous plates while whispering a running commentary on our fellow guests. We laughed so hard we couldn't breathe.

Storm: "Look, there's rapey McDowndog. Avert your eyes."

Me (referring to a couple who were supposed to massage their own feet in an Ayurvedic seminar, but instead she sat on the floor and rubbed her husband's feet while gazing up at him in what could have been either fear or adoration)---"The foot people are here. I think they're terrorists. Don't they look like terrorists?"

Storm: "You know they've been screwing all night, look at her hair."

Me: "Eeeeuuuw...oh wait. There's no way she's a terrorist, her name tag says 'Cindy'."

Storm: "I need more soup. Do you want more soup?"

Me: "I think I saw cake. I'm gonna go look."

Okay, so more full than fully enlightened. But we tried. Storm is much nicer than I am so I worked on following her lead on opening my heart to strangers. Or at least to not be rude to them when they tried to engage in friendly conversation. By the end of the four days I forgot to be quite so shitty and even chatted to a woman about the eggs, very inappropriately during the silent breakfast. She snickered and elbowed me. Shut up, yoga butt.

We got massaged, sat in the sauna, meditated, did a ton of yoga, and ran on the treadmill. I tried to take off a tight hoodie while on said treadmill and got knocked off in a spectacular display worthy of youtube. Both of my knees are skinned and I'm covered in bruises. My whole body ached, but I didn't care, we just kept going.

On Christmas Eve, on a whim, I signed up for a tarot card reading and that was when something deep shifted for me. I didn't ask any questions, just told the reader to give me a general overview. I liked her; she was no nonsense with warm voice and a hawk's gaze. She flipped the first couple cards, pointed, looked at me and asked, "What is this grief?" She flipped one more and tapped it and said, "Broken heart."

My eyes got hot. I felt exposed. And surprised at my immediate visceral reaction.

I shook off the looming tears and told her a little about my situation. I told her I caused the dissolution of a long-term relationship with a very good man. I told her how it was my fault, my confusion, my instability that had caused pain to others, not just to him--my family, his family, our friends, even our pets. She continued to set cards down quickly, glancing at them and moving on. She looked at me and said, "You are carrying a heavy burden of guilt that is keeping you from moving forward. Let it go. This is not your fault, it is 50/50. He wasn't hearing you. You could have handled aspects better, we always can, but you did your best. You are doing the work you're supposed to be doing. This is necessary."

A great weight lifted off of my heart. A weight so heavy I didn't realize how much of it I had taken on. I have heard this same thing a number of times from friends but I didn't believe it. You know that thing you carry where you think people don't really see your secret inner awfulness? Deep down I believed what I've always believed--that I am a bad girl, a bad person, a destroyer. This is why we can't have nice things.

She told me to eat warm, comforting food, to wear silk pajamas, to watch movies I love in soft blankets, to be quiet at home and simply be nice to myself. Pretty basic advice, but I needed it. Do we think to do that for ourselves? Most of the time I'm festering on how I need to lose 10 lbs or running out the door to handle the 20 things I've got to do that day. I am far more unkind to myself than I am to the strangers I not so silently judge while stuffing myself on the dinner menu.

She told me a lot of other things too, about Sam, about my friends, about my future, all good. But these are things for another day.

After that I had warm oil drizzled on my third eye center until I was spacey and fully basted like a Thanksgiving turkey. I flopped around the endless halls with my oil-soaked hair matted to my head, no makeup, sweat pants, slippers, banged up knees. I felt like a little kid, for once unbothered with my appearance, snickering with my lifelong pal over our dumb inside jokes. I felt loved by her, by every experience. Everything on this trip kept steering me to be gentle to myself, to take care of my psyche and my body, to feel the love that was being handed to me freely, and to at least try to be gentle with others no matter how weird they are with each other's feet in public.

So I was given a huge gift this Christmas--to feel healthy, free and loved. It's been a long time coming. I know how lucky I am to have had the opportunity, so if anyone is curious about what it entailed, the tarot reader's name, anything like that, feel free to email me. I'm happy to pay my good fortune forward.

And as a special holiday gift, I'll leave you with this photo of Storm, who was beyond pleased to discover that our shower had a glass wall facing the beds. You're welcome, internet.






Monday, October 17, 2016

Full Moon, Dense Boobs


The full moon last night is kicking my ass. I'm puffy with water retention and find myself being forced to accept that people are gonna let me down sometimes. I'm walking around with a ball of rage in my belly while my head simultaneously understands and empathizes. it's disconcerting and I believe there are a couple of glasses of wine looming in the very near future.

Upside, I got a "psychic" reading from the fabulous Shirley Southerland yesterday and she reassured me that all is going according to plan and that the upheaval of the last year and a half were necessary to make room for what's coming. I'm supposed to stop beating myself up, enjoy the moment and quit overthinking everything to the point of paralysis. Lord. What is this mysterious "enjoying the moment" that you speak of?

So I've got a lump in my breast. And typically me, I didn't even think to ask Shirley about it. I don't think it's anything and the only reason I'm blogging it is because the ensuing conversations were pretty funny. Please don't email me that I'm being flippant about cancer, that is not the case.

Cancer doesn't run in my family and my doctor thinks it's probably a small fibroid. I rarely check my breasts and work hard to ignore all mammogram recommendations because it's a rotten procedure that makes me both giggle and squawk in agony. I know I'm fine, but I happened to check myself before seeing my fabulous and funny little Chinese gyno who insists I visit her for regular check ups before she'll hand out the lovely hormones I depend upon in order not to kill people. And I found a small knot in the side of my left boob. When I mentioned it she felt it for herself and then puffed up to her full 5' 2" height and insisted I behave like a proper adult and go get some prescribed titty torture in the medieval mashing machine.

I freaked for about two hours. I thought, really, I need this right now? I already live in a constant fever pitch of inner drama when there's nothing dramatic happening. It's exhausting. People think I'm grounded because I'm great in emergencies and emit a weird calming energy for others. Completely untrue. It's constant chaos inside this bad, bad brain.

When I'm happy, I find myself flying. In the rare moments that I felt good when I was young I would imagine giant black lace wings coming out of my shoulders, carrying me through the day, just high as can be on life. In adulthood there have been moments when I've walked the streets late at night actually hoping to be murdered, obliterated, wiped off the planet like an insect, leaving only a bloody smear on the pavement to be washed away by the dirty rain. It's not wanting to die exactly; more like wanting to cease to exist, cease to feel. I still look up at tall buildings on some nights and imagine flying off into oblivion.

I am not bipolar or depressed. I am too lazy for that kind of commitment. It's more a heightened dark sense of drama and humor that's been there since birth. Everything looks like a movie to me. My favorite book in the 6th grade was Jane Eyre. I imagined my 11 year old self in those austere locations--misunderstood, suffering from an overabundance of feelings in a cold, hard world. Wednesday Addams in a 1970''s world full of Farrah Fawcetts.


God bless my poor mother for her infinite patience with her children, because my sister is equally ridiculous. She got sick a few years back with a buildup of yeast in her system from too many hardcore antibiotics and had to cease eating anything with wheat or sugar, which pretty much just leaves vegetables. She lost it completely and spent a hysterical week sobbing that she was going to starve to death while simultaneously stuffing herself with cucumber slices that she carried around everwhere in Tupperware, like a cold, plastic blankie. You could barely understand her declarations of dangerous hunger because her mouth was so full. And she, like me, loves to send out long, dramatic texts when drunk or ill.







It's gotta be genetic.

So I trudged to Chinatown in the hot sun for a bout of truly vicious mammograming and ice-cold sonogramming.  As I lay there waiting for the last frigid and greasy sonogram on my beleaguered and by all reports lumpy left boob, I ran everything through to the worst conclusion. Double mastectomy, no hair, blogging tediously about my "journey", until the final days--my long-suffering friends enjoying my meds (you're welcome) as I lay in the hospital emaciated, haggard, incoherent, unloved and dying after living a dissipated and self-absorbed existence in which not much was accomplished.

This simply would not do. I am no hero. Suicide would clearly be the order of the day. But how? Jump off that building I'm always eyeing? Roller coasters make me cry and my feet tingle when I look over balcony railings. Carbon monoxide in a garage with a car running? Who do I know with a garage and a car in New York? No one. Okay, I do know a shit ton of former junkies. Drug overdose, heroin probably the easiest to procure! But how much? And that means I'll have to quickly learn how to inject myself. Hmmm...

I called Drew, who let's just say had more than a passing acquaintance with substances during his youth.

"Hey. I have a lump in my boob and I'm probably dying."

He played along, because he knows the insanity better than anyone. "You can't lose your boobs, they're your best feature. And you're annoying enough when you have a cold."

Me: "I KNOW. So I might have to kill myself, and I figure drugs are easiest, and since you're no stranger, to...ah...substances, I'm gonna need your help."

Drew: "Well, if you get to kill yourself with dope, then I get to do it too! I'm fucking tired!"

Me: "Okay, that's fine, but you're buying."

Drew: "That makes no sense. If you're dying who cares who pays?"

Me: "I'm the one whose DYING! I DIE, you BUY!'

Drew: "You really are a jerk. it's about time God finally smote you."


Sam, my too young and completely under-equipped to handle my brand of crazy new boyfriend said, God bless him--"You know I'll be there for you if it's something."

I said, "No way. This would be way too much for you."

He waved his palm in my direction and said, "This whole...ah..."thing" is too much for me."


I called my sister and told her my plan and she informed  me that she has three little titanium pieces in her breasts from lumps that were biopsied and benign and that according to her doctor our family is genetically predisposed to "dense breasts".

She then said, "Soooo, just saying suicide might be a little extreme. Think of all the good wig options."

To which I replied, "Hmm...I do like a good wig...But still. I will not be a positive role model. I'll be terrible and whiney and overly dramatic and it will be a huge torture for all of my friends."

She said, "You're already whiney and overly dramatic and torture your friends. You'd just be doing it in a wig."

I said, "Eh. I guess it could be all right, as long as I don't end up crying and eating cucumber slices."

She sighed and said, "I was DYING of starvation. It was a TRAGIC SITUATION."

So I guess we're all good. Business as usual. I'll keep you posted.



Monday, August 22, 2016

Hate Mail

As mentioned in the last entry, I've been meaning to write about hate mail. 

I've never pushed this blog too hard. I post it on facebook and on my twitter feed, that's about it. It's personal in nature and not for everyone, and I figure if people are meant to find it they will. It gets 2500-3000 hits per month, which is already more than I ever imagined it would.

I like being a small fish in a big pond. As much as it appears that I love attention, which I do, I only really like attention that I can control. Meaning I love attention from friends who love me, I'm terrified of attention from strangers who hate me. 

When things were heating up with Cycle Sluts from Hell I loved being on big stages playing to large crowds. I loved the exchange of energy that comes with a good show: people wanting to touch you, the fists in the air, the feeling of being all powerful, the feeling of connection. My id dancing with your id. I did not like one on one conversations offstage with people asking me about myself and my band. I felt too exposed and would usually crack jokes to deflect attention. When out of my element, I often came off cold and bitchy, which still happens sometimes. It's a defensive posture. i was so shy as a kid that I literally couldn't get words out. I wanted to speak, my mouth wouldn't work. In adulthood it manifests into a sort of insular way of behaving toward strangers. Many people I know have anecdotes about how coldly I behaved the first time they met me. I do a lot of apologizing. 

But now I'm grown up and better equipped to not be an asshole when a new person tries to talk to me. Although my sister still hisses, "Be nice!!" under her breath when making introductions. And with the maturity of age you would think that I would be a little thicker skinned. But I'm not. Any little bit of not-nice mail sends me into a nervous tizzy. I have people out in this world who dislike me, but I know most of them and I think they're jerks too. And I don't have to hear from them. And that's the way I like it. 

So cut to the meltdown or whatever I can call the last year and a half. From the outside it looks like I left my amazing, hilarious, loving, handsome, kind, generous partner of 13 years for no reason for a boy young enough to be my son. If I had money I'd probably be driving a new convertible sporting the female version of hairplugs, whatever that might be (long blonde extensions?). This guy knows...




That's from the outside; the truth is far more complicated and agonizing. But the end result has been the same. I couldn't write, sleep, was manic and drinking too much, acting out. Some of Drew's friends hate me. I can see people giving me the side-eye when I'm out at shows, predatory women stalk my blog and facebook page looking for ways to get to Drew. My family clucks and discusses crazy me over dinner. I've always been the crazy one, no matter how hard I try to be good. I'm like a much sluttier and less chipper version of Maria--no asset to the abbey whatsoever.




The jig was up. I finally had confirmation about what I've always secretly believed to be true-- that I am a psycho, faithless, off-the-rails, selfish piece of shit unworthy of love.

And because I was bleeding this self-loathing out of my pores, bits of mail started rolling in to substantiate the energy being exuded. In the space of a few weeks, and at my lowest point, I got a facebook message that stated that I should eat shit and die. I got an anonymous comment on the blog, from someone who clearly knows me, calling my writing maudlin and juvenile and advising me to take a break from writing altogether. And lastly I got an email from Drew's sister stating that he hates me, that my behavior was ugly and despicable, my friends mere mindless groupies too afraid to tell me the truth about my low nature. 

That last one put me in bed for two days. It was actually Drew who talked me back into a vertical state. And Drew that I keep talking to about what happened. How did we get here? Who am I? Who are you? Why am I destructive? Am I hateful? Why do you love me? How do we find our way to peace after all this devastation? Then my mother sent me that email I posted in the last blog and the fog lifted. I am burning off shit that I've been carrying my whole life. I have made the choice not to rise any higher with my writing or (in the past) with my bands because I have felt unworthy and fearful of exposure. 

This isn't maudlin. I don't feel sorry for myself, I'm grateful to finally get clarity.This is life and I am writing about it because I think most of us feel the same way and we need to talk about it. We need to come clean and support each other. 

I love that line in the Black Crowes "Cursed Diamond", I've quoted it here before: "I hate myself. Doesn't everybody hate themselves?"






One day recently I freaked out on Drew. I'd been clinging to this notion that he was perfection and I was the opposite. I'd been dragging around my Catholic chains and apologizing all day, every day. My bad, my bad, my bad, I am bad, I am bad, I am bad. He said some things about his new girlfriend that set me off and something clicked. I felt like Travis Bickle. This is a woman who would not take it anymore. He wasn't perfect. There were a lot of things that he did/wasn't doing that helped create and exacerbate our dysfunction. He was half of the equation. I wasn't evil, I just didn't know how to fix it in the moment. I wasn't raised viewing healthy relationships. Neither was he, so we both went to our comfortable, fucked up corners and I was the one who finally said it couldn't go on the way it was. What a revelation. And what a gift to be able to talk to someone so candidly after so much damage and sadness. We are speaking more deeply than we have in years.

So, for the first time in my life, I feel ready to start working on steppng into more light, and I'm ready to face outside internet hatred without ingesting it like sweet antifreeze. Maybe that's the lesson in this excruciating chapter. I am a cursed diamond, which is way better than being the garbage I thought I was. So tell me you hate me in an anonymous email and I will counter that with maybe you're not so great either, and I have a whole crew of mindless groupies who would beg to differ. And that's pretty cool.

Much love to you my friends. All your flaws and foibles are what make you interesting. Perfection is boring and it doesn't teach us anything. Don't let the haters tell you any different. 



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Photo by Don BlackCat