Monday, November 9, 2015

Carnival Games

I've been spending a lot of time around doctors and nurses the last few months as I had a giant bit of nonsense in my uterus that was causing near-constant bleeding for the last year. The endless waiting rooms have given me some time to think.

I have a Chinese gyno, who I love, who sent me to a Chinese surgeon, who I now also love. They are both easy to talk to and have a great sense of humor. My OB/GYN surgeon is little and cute, kind of roly poly with white hair. He's heavily in demand and always being delayed by one emergency or another. 

On the day of surgery I sat in the hospital waiting room for two hours, then was put in a hospital gown to wait for another three hours in a freezing room in one bed in a line of beds full of other surgery patients. I'm generally happy to lay around all day but it was too cold and it's difficult to relax when there's a skeletal dude moaning and wheezing 4 feet away from you. 

The doctor finally arrived at the foot of my bed with another guy in tow, and they proceeded to have a lengthy conversation in front of me without acknowledging my presence. I became increasingly irritated by this, but because I like him and I know how rotten I can be when cold and cranky, I tried to keep the bitchiness somewhat in check, albeit unsuccessfully. When he finally turned to greet me, I said, because his surname is "Ho", 

"Well, hello Dr. SLOW." 

He said, "I have had a terrible day. Don't you feel even a little sorry for me?" 

To which I replied, pointing at the other guy. "I would have more sympathy if I didn't have to wait five hours just to lay here like a chump while you ignore me and chat it up with this asshole." 

He said, "This guy is very smart! He has a PHD and he's studying with me." I told the smart sidekick I was kidding and they shuffled me into surgery in my jammies. 

I frigging love anesthetic and I totally get why Michael Jackson was hooked on it. Is there anything better than counting backwards, only hitting the first number and then boom, blissful blackness? The only thing wrong with it is that sad, disorienting moment when they shake you awake again. And, admittedly, that it's quite possible to overdose if you use it as a nightly sleep aid. 

This year has been so emotionally wrought, with issues still yet to be fully resolved, that I found myself thinking, "Wouldn't it be awesome to drift off and never wake up?" I thought about it for days. I am not suicidal, nor even that dark anymore, but the idea of getting out of cosmic class early, of wiping the slate clean and starting over fresh, seems appealing at times. I'm tired of having a bad brain! I'm tired of learning lessons! I'm tired of vacuuming and trimming the cat's toenails! Serenity now! 

Alas, it was not to be, and with a small tinge of disappointment I woke up, healthy as a goddamn horse and now clean as a whistle, at least uterus-wise. 

Because it's funny, I am willing to embarrass myself with these details:

Two weeks later, at the follow up appointment, my doctor scrolled through his computer notes and suddenly made an "Ew!" face. He turned the monitor toward me and said,

"You had a LOT of stuff in there! It was impressive!"

To which I responded, "Please do me a favor and never, ever repeat that to anyone else."

He pointed to a photo of a large, disgusting, bloody mass set out on a clean white table proudly, like a wedding centerpiece, and said, "I took that out! But it was vewwy difficult!" His accent makes him sound like Elmer Fudd.

He went on: "I cut it away from the wall of your uterus, and then it was just floating around in there. I couldn't catch it! I kept trying and trying but it was slippery, and it was vewwy embarrassing because I had that student with me. The student said, 'It's like a carnival game you can never win!'"

He blinked and smiled at me serenely with his sweet little Buddha face while I laughed until I couldn't breathe. 

I am a Scorpio and all my emotional damage plants itself in my reproductive system. We all have different areas of vulnerability; this happens to be mine. Over the years it's been interesting to see how dysfunctional relationships, self-hatred, sexual damage, whatever other tiny monsters are rolling around in the unconscious, have manifested in my body. Not always fun, but interesting. When I was young I didn't understand the mind/body connection. Over time I've learned to read symptoms as a gauge of whether I'm taking care of myself emotionally or physically. 

As one of the petite Chinese nurses took my blood pressure that day I looked down at her hand on my arm. It was tiny and smooth with tapered, delicate fingers, the skin flawless from the hand to the top of her arm going into her sleeve. She looked so pretty and clean. It contrasted mightily to my own arms, which are covered with tattoos and cutting scars, ending in pointy fingernails covered in black polish. I felt a little ashamed, she was so pretty and fresh and there I am, an ancient vampire full of old poisons and coated in the debris of dark thoughts and social rebellion. She was sweet and oblivious and I'm sure she's seen worse, but it gave me pause. 

I lost an ex-boyfriend a few weeks ago to an overdose. He struggled with heroin addiction from a very young age up until he died in his 40's. As a result, he never wore short sleeves, no matter what the weather. Twenty years ago, when he took his shirt off in front of me for the first time, I was stunned to see long scar lines snaking up his arm. I had never seen anything like it. Years of moving the needle one millimeter at a time had created its own tattoo of sorts. I ran my finger along it and marveled sadly at the countless hours it must have taken to create. 

It didn't make sense for me to be interested in him. I was still a rock star and he was an unknown musician/barback with a dope habit, who lived with an equally addicted girlfriend. I had a long line of more appropriate and famous suitors waiting for a wink and a nod. But I was naive to the ways of dope, drawn to tragic characters, and there was something about him that compelled me. He was kind, gentle, intelligent and honorable in a very non-junkie kind of way. He had a depth and a sadness that moved everyone in his vicinity. Plus it probably didn't hurt that he was gorgeous, with long black dreads, high cheekbones and beautiful eyes. I, being the codependent that I am, fell hard and wanted to fix things for him.

So, I yanked him from his girlfriend before either one of them knew what hit them. And then of course immediately had an unmanageable mess on my hands. On top of the pesky dope habit, which ate all his cash and necessitated lengthy disappearances in order to keep me somewhat in the dark, the alcohol we drank socially turned him into a different person, an unrecognizable maniac. You could see his face morph into a scary new persona after a shot or two. He would throw himself into traffic, smashing into windshields, scream, break glasses against bar walls. 

I was losing patience quickly. It was simply not a good look for me. We played a one-off show with Motorhead at the Ritz and although the boyfriend was on good behavior, Lemmy pulled me aside and chastised me for my taste in men. He could see something wasn't right and he felt I should be with someone who could take care of me. I understood his point and I knew that the relationship, only a month or two old, was already nearing its conclusion

One night he (boyfriend, not Lemmy) went out drinking with a friend and at the end of the night at 5 am the friend tried to dump him at my place. The friend hit the buzzer over and over again until I woke up and trudged the five flights downstairs (no one had working door buzzers in the EV back then) to find my boyfriend on his hands and knees on the sidewalk. He was a flailing, screaming mess, getting up to try to punch the friend and then falling back to crawl position. He was a mad, frothing beast and I knew if I took him upstairs he would destroy my apartment and terrify my dog. 

My survival mechanism kicked it. I felt like the worst person on the planet but I still told the friend they were on their own. I turned and went back into my apartment; the friend ditched him there on the street.

I didn't sleep much and went downstairs a couple of hours later, expecting to find my boyfriend passed out on the sidewalk. He was gone, and he remained gone for three days. I was beside myself, calling his apartment, his ex-girlfriend, calling his friends. We were all worried that he was dead somewhere. I felt so guilty. 

Five am on the third day, coming home from a night at the Scrap Bar with my sister and mutual friends, we found him sitting on my doorstep in hospital pajamas. He was delirious and said things like, "They took me away, they attacked me..." I cried and took him upstairs, docile now, and put him to bed. The next day, more coherent, he told us that the cops had been called, it took more than a couple to subdue him, and he was tossed into Bellevue. He had very little memory of what happened. He agreed to go to rehab while I went on a two week tour playing shows down South. 

He had my schedule and would call me from rehab during soundcheck at clubs to give me progress reports. He found comfort in my voice; I cried quietly while staring out the window of the van. It was great that he was doing something to make a change but I knew it was doomed, as all my choices always were.

When I got home he showed up on my doorstep with short hair. The dreads that I loved were gone and I hated it, but he was cheerful and clear of focus. He lasted that way for about a week. We were too young to know how addiction works and just assumed everything would be fine without any follow-up work to the rehab experience. 

We went to a party at a friend's house and a half hour into it I turned and saw my boyfriend upending a bottle of Jack into his mouth, chugging it down. Something snapped in me and I knew I was done. Before the Jack kicked in I told him it was over. He was devastated and I was sad, but it was as if all the romance chemicals in my brain had simply dissipated and left me with a burning desire to be free.

A few days later, while I was meditating, a vision danced across my eyes. I was in a desert, I was a man, a member of a nomadic tribe. The boyfriend was in my care, maybe he was my son, he was young, ten or twelve, and I left him with people while I went out to take care of something. I was gone for a few weeks and when I got back the boy had been murdered and I was crushed by the guilt and sadness.

I took this to be a past life vision and the reason that I felt so compelled to connect with this person. And now I had paid my debt and that's why the energy was no longer there. 

We remained friends, although I kept a distance because I was afraid of getting sucked back into drama. When he died of an overdose a few weeks ago, I felt sad that I wasn't a better friend to him in our later years. But his death allowed me to reconnect with his childhood sweetheart, the girlfriend I stole him from, and I was able to apologize and mourn with her. She was gracious and told me I'd saved her life. 

Our friend Stephen Trimboli had this to say about him:

"I'm grateful to him for staying here this long. He was always so sad and our interactions over the years were special for this reason. He lived heroically. It was just time for him to go."

Some people simply have a harder time than others. He was one of them, not that it made him any more or less worthy of love. It just is what it is. When I see him again I will apologize for protecting myself at the expense of being more present, of letting him know that I did indeed love him. 

I had originally intended to write a blog devoted to this person, but decided against it because of the nature of his death and the details of our interaction. And the doctor silliness is fresh in my mind so I figured I'd go with that. But then once I started writing that story my ex kind of popped in there, and it seems connected. We weave a fabric with our lives: everyone is different, everyone is similar: my darkness and light, his, yours, what we do to and with our bodies, who we feel compelled to connect to, how we live and die. We all have happy and sad aspects to our existence. I suspect that we all think about how nice it would be to not to wake up sometimes. And maybe that's okay as long as we can keep a sense of humor when we do wake up. Life goes on and we fix what we can, try to forgive ourselves for the rest.

Another ex-boyfriend, Jesse Malin, has written a few songs about me, and I'll leave you with one of my favorites. It's egotistic to post a song about yourself, but I like the way it captures an energy and the choices made as a result. Except that, happily, I never got knocked up and moved to Brewster. 

Onward and upward, my friends. Hope this blog finds you happy and free of unwinnable carnival games. Make sure you tell your people that you love them whenever you can. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

September is here and although it's still hot, the nights are getting cooler. I know a lot of people love the change of seasons, but I always get sad when autumn arrives. To me it means winter is right around the corner, and winter equals death: the death of evening light, the death of throwing on minimal clothing to run to the store, the death of barbecues, ankle bracelets and oxygen-giving green stuff. To steal a line from my friend Max Low: Fall is like the day before you have to go back to work after a vacation. You can't enjoy the day fully because its freedom is temporary.

Now I'm depressed. What were we talking about? Oh yes, my summer vacation. So many friends on facebook were fascinated by the travails of this year's annual trek to Michigan that I've been meaning to blog it for weeks. So here it is, hopefully not too long, I've included photos to make it more interesting.

As mentioned in previous blogs, I threw an M80 into my previously happy 12-year relationship this year and Drew and I are both working on repairing it after some dubious behavior on both our parts, instigated primarily by yours truly. Drew loves staying in my mother's guest house in Cedar, it's lovely and relaxing and very close to some pristine Lake Michigan beaches. My sister Lisa lives five minutes away and my brother Nick times his vacation to coincide with ours, driving up from North Carolina with his girlfriend and cat. It is a chance for us to relax and reconnect, this year being more important than others past because of the recent emotional upheaval.

My mom does Air Bnb for the guest house and is booked solid all summer long:

Our flight there was the usual nonsense of late first flight, necessitating a stressful run through Chicago O'hare to make it to the connecting flight. We're used to it.

When we got in, my brother announced his beloved cat had run away. He and his girlfriend are madly in love with him, they named him Professor Putz, pronounced Pootz, as in "foots". I told them that "putz" is Yiddish for the male member, to which they both responded separately, "It's Pootz, not Putz." However you pronounce it, the cat was gone, and they were bummed out and spending most of their time roaming the woods and surrounding areas in search.

So that was bummer number one.

Two days into the vacation, a rainstorm was due. My sister claims that I am darkness incarnate and always bring storms with me. She calls me Darth Mare and the ringtone on her phone when I call is Darth Vader's theme:

I kind of like it, but I've always wanted to be a supervillain.

My mother has about 12 acres, covered in trees. And she has 3 ginormous willows surrounding her lovely pond. This is me on Day 1 at the pond. So serene, so ready to meditate and finally get my shit together:

The next day my sister and I invaded her friend's pool. It was a fabulous day. I'm modeling a tee that Storm sent me. It says "Wish You Were Beer". Yay, Japanese people ripping off my old band!

Never mind that near-dead child floating in the background, he survived.

My sister:

I was overjoyed to be in that pool because it was super-heated and I hate the cold water of Lake Michigan:

Sadly, it was not meant to last. The storm started out rough, but didn't feel out of the ordinary. I love thunderstorms and we watched from the house as rain blew sideways, hail came down and trees waved wildly in the wind. Then we heard trees cracking and my mother freaked.

I have to tell you a quick anecdote that will help paint a picture of my mother. She is a kind, generous, elegant, beautiful, well-educated woman of a certain age who loves the woods and runs her property by herself.

She owns a beautiful little house, a guest cottage, a giant shed, and a garage, plus a pond that takes quite a bit of maintenance, fed by a small stream that runs next to it. She is single by choice, lives alone and maintains all of this on her own, no easy task. Her driveway is a long dirt road, and she runs a snowblower by herself in the wintertime in order to be able to get in and out of town. If she doesn't pull up the weeds in the pond in the summer, they will take it over and turn it into a swamp. She goes into it in waders every year and rakes the muck up. This involves large rakey tools, a rowboat and a lot of muscle, usually wielded in the blazing sun.

It's horrible. Drew and I helped last year and I lasted exactly a half an hour. The stuff from the bottom of the pond smells disgusting, I get crabby in the hot sun and kept gagging at the smell. Then I accidentally stabbed my toe on a vicious bit of tree laying on the ground (wearing the wrong shoes) and simply could not go on. I limped bleeding and angry into the house, showered, put on a comfy dress, got myself a glass of lemonade and sat in a reclining lawn chair and watched the two of them continue. Not my proudest moment, but I was injured, damn it.

This year my mother did some work on the pond on her own. A branch fell on her head while she was dragging through the muck and it knocked her onto her back into the water. Luckily, she told us, it was in the shallow end so she didn't drown while lying unconscious for an indeterminate amount of time. Upon waking she discovered her head was cut open and blood was running down her face. But she wanted to finish the job, so she got up out of the water and continued the backbreaking work as blood ran down her face, congealing on the tip of her nose. She finished after a time, went in the house and cleaned herself up and found that she really could have used a stitch or two, but instead chose to use a butterfly bandage. My childhood is littered with examples of the use of butterfly bandages and one instance of her tying my brother's hair in a knot to hold a wound shut. After this she sat on her patio and had a well-deserved beer and called it a day. That's my mom.

Back to the storm: we heard trees cracking and when we realized they were coming down, my mother went out, in the midst of the lightning, rain and wind, and started dragging downed branches around. Drew and my brother rolled their eyes and went out to help her. I stood in the doorway shouting at them to get out of the dangerous fray, but they couldn't leave her out there alone even though it was madness. And then the power went out. And then my mother informed us that with the power goes the pump that pulls her water supply from a well.

Yay, vacation! No power OR water! We drank because there was nothing else to do in the fading evening light. I went to bed at 9 pm when there was no more visibility; my brother and Drew got completely wrecked by candlelight. The next morning began the hungover assessment. This is a milder example of the breakage, some trees were cracked lower down to the stump, some pulled right out by the roots, most fully destroyed.

About 10 giant trees in all, the willows the most tragic because they make the pond so beautiful. The news that we could get on our limited access, quickly to be out of juice phones informed us that it was not just a storm, but a tornado, and huge swaths of the area were out of power, one town completely cut off because downed trees blocked every inroad. My mother's best friend lost every tree on her property, a store in the nearby town had its roof ripped off and thrown into the road, entire forests of trees laid on their side and the one gas station/store with power was overrun by freaking-out tourists and locals. Armageddon!

My mother began working bright and early, dragging branches from one pile to another while directing my chainsaw wielding brother. Drew used a handsaw and a wheelbarrow. I could not weasel out of this one and put on some practical shoes to drag smaller branches and manage the burn can. Because I like to burn shit down, both literally and figuratively. I happily poked at smoldering green stuff that created great billowing waves of heavy smoke that coated my skin and hair.

Disgusting, heavy work in the hot sun--all of my brother and mother's issues manifesting in this one sweat-soaked destiny. She was obsessed with getting everything cleaned up immediately, to the point of working to exhaustion. She thinks my brother, the youngest of five siblings, is still a kid and she rides him too hard. He misunderstands her intentions and simmers enraged, a lifetime of family dynamics and poor communication quietly creeping to boil over on the surface. He yells at her, she gets weepy. Drew toils patiently and and plays peace-keeper, I roll my eyes, try to interpret for everyone and do as little as possible physically, which is still too much for my manicure and mentality. I shout that I was not meant for hard labor. Drew worries that I will set myself and/or the surrounding woods on fire. Which, I have to admit, is not outside of the realm of possibility, I once accidentally set a piano on fire.

No shower after all of this, and all water for the flushing of toilets and washing of bodies is carried in heavy buckets up from the stream.

Luckily we had a friend with power who loaned us his generator and gave us giant jugs of drinking water. The generator was placed in the garage with a long cord with three outlets running from it to the house, one outlet went to the refrigerator, the other to the freezer, the third to my phone. My mother has a photo of me squatting in her driveway, frantically tapping at its screen, desperate for outside contact. It was just sad.

By day three, the labor, boredom, and lack of shower had taken its toll. My chin looks weird here because it's featuring a giant mosquito bite. Did I mention that the mosquitoes were relentless?

Drew got stung by a wasp on his stomach, causing him considerable pain, itch and swelling. Then I got hit over one eye by a couple of what I'm guessing were genetically modified mosquitoes. My eye swelled to epic proportions instantly. I refused to allow myself to be photographed in that state, and my brother recoiled when he saw me and asked, "What the hell happened to your face???"

You know what happened to my face?? Stupid Michigan, that's what happened to my fucking face.

My mother, meanwhile, was veering wildly out of control, or rather, way too in control, which is her go-to reaction when feeling anxious or stressed. She festered about getting the yard clean and held us to a complicated meal schedule that soon stopped up the sink garbage disposal. She came up with a system of washing dishes in the yard with pans full of creek water but wouldn't let us help her with them. Everyone got crabbier and crabbier. My brother was close to breaking, working all day on breaking down trees and roaming the woods in the evening looking for his cat. I was actually sick of booze and stuck to water, a sure sign that something had gone terribly awry.

I phoned my sister, also suffering without power, and said, "Nick is going to kill our last remaining parent, Drew's hands are bleeding and I am squatting in the yard washing dishes like a goddamn aborigine. This ship is sinking, please help." We discussed grinding up xanax and slipping it in Mom's food or water. In the end we simply made her sit on the patio with me and drink wine while Lisa grilled burgers on the world's teensiest grill.

It was clear we were in need of reinforcement and my sister made some calls. The next day our friend Tim Young, who owns Food For Thought, showed up with his chainsaw and son, and another brother, Tony, and his wife showed up with a wood chipper. There was some discussion of putting Mom in the chipper but Tony said we'd have to freeze her first, so that idea was scrapped.

Assessing the damage:

Things get more entertaining:

And productive:

Drew got to drive the tractor because no one will ever let me drive anything. Ever. That's the top of a giant tree that went down behind him.

Will Mom fit in the chipper? We'll never know for sure:

And finally, mercifully, on the fifth day of no power, when our spirits were broken, our eyebrows unplucked, and none of us cared to live anymore, the power went on. I celebrated by taking a blissfully hot shower and drinking more wine on the patio. That is not the Professor at my feet; unfortunately he is still missing as of this writing.

We finally had some time to relax and spent a day on my brother-in-law's boat:

My sister's glove has to do with a cut finger and a Hunger Games survival theme that carried us through our trials.

And then, just like that, it was time to go home. Drew and I once again found ourselves stuck on a plane full of screaming babies as it sat unmoving for hours on the tarmac. The first flight was cancelled and we had to get off the plane and make new arrangements. I couldn't wait to get home to NYC, but Drew was tense and very sad that he only got a day or two of real vacation. On the next plane, which also sat doing nothing for way too long, this asshole spent hours with her head lolling about like a bladder on a stick, repeatedly flopping her itchy hair onto my shoulder:

I really wanted to go through her bag and steal whatever drugs she was on, and was prepared to kill her if necessary, and then quickly take out the kid behind me kicking my seat before anyone noticed what was happening. It took us 12 hours to get from Michigan to New York City, upon which we found our luggage had been left behind on a later flight. Drew graciously stayed to wait for another interminable couple of hours while I went home to take care of the cats.

This is what I learned from this particular summer vacation:

-- If you live in the country, it's good to own a generator.

-- You can't put someone in a wood chipper unless you freeze them first.

That's pretty much it.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Inner Brat

God breaks the heart
Again and again
Until it remains open...
--Hazrat Inayat Kahn

Thank you, Carla for this quote.

I am convinced that all bad behavior stems out of a need to alleviate anxiety: anxiety created from lack of self-worth, self-trust, imagined lack of love, past life pain, abuse, who knows what. It's like every little slash of damage from all these sources creates fissures in the whole, and those fissures create anxiety and then we do whatever we can to not feel the bad feelings until that particular whatever doesn't work anymore and we're forced to work on ways to patch or heal the cracks. Or maybe find new whatevers if we're not quite ready for anything deeper.

Some people are calmer than others. I am not one of them. It's only in the last few years that I've realized that I am an deeply anxious person. Maybe we all are? Maybe we all drink and smoke and rob banks and post bitchy comments online because we want to escape the gnawing dread that lies directly under the surface? It appears that simple to me sometimes, even though nothing is ever that simple. It's always infuriatingly complex. Some people garden or run marathons, God bless them. I like to burn everything down to the ground and then weep over it inconsolably.

My mother says I was always drawn to darkness, even at a very young age.

I remember looking up at my dad and asking if I would be grown up when I turned 10 years old. He said nope, gotta wait til later, kiddo. I came to NY at 21 and met an amazing woman named Liz who was 35 at the time, which seemed a lifetime away. She led a very alternative lifestyle which spoke of mysteries that both scared and fascinated me. She remained poised and sure of herself while I spazzed around her, bouncing off walls and committing bonehead gaffes with regularity. But I thought that when I too hit 35 I would finally be an adult, wiser and more sure of myself like her.

Spaz with hero:

Then I got there and still felt like the same person I was at 21. I am still waiting for maturity to hit. No one tells you that you will always be who you are no matter what changes you see in the mirror. You might make better decisions based upon past experience, but you're essentially the same idiot with the same idiosyncrasies and demented drives that you always were.

I know that some of you are wondering what the eff I've been up to since that last over-sharing post.

Drew and I are working it out. We were both drinking too much to cope and not connecting and came very close to splitting up. He collected a lot of phone numbers and dated an obnoxious little girl for a few minutes. I continued torturing him with my attachment to another person. It came to a head where it became clear it was time to split, at least temporarily, or cut it the fuck out. So we're making changes. He has a lot of patience and we have a lot of love between us and have always been able to talk things out. We've both made concessions and are aware enough to see that the shake up was inevitable. I would share more details but he is a private person and I have to respect that. Plus I have come to realize that not everyone wishes for our highest good, and I don't need to hand out ammo to those few who love to sling arrows.

It is time to face my demons, at least tentatively. My bratty, unruly, wanna go out and party like a 21 year old so I don't have to deal with middle-age fear demons.

Recently I ran into a woman in the bank that I knew "back in the day". She was cute and fun and interesting then. Now she has crazy eyes and immediately began rambling in a too loud voice about her various ailments and how she never goes out, never goes on facebook, never this, never that, arthritis, medication, no money, etc. She was the physical embodiment of all my terror.

I practically sprinted out of the bank. And this is not a rare occurrence, I get the same energy from people my age via facebook, via email. It is no wonder I have found myself rebelling in every way possible. I will not go gently into that good night.  I will continue to rebel, I just need to do it in a way that doesn't damage myself and everyone in the vicinity.

My mother and I, separately and in different ways, recently began being guided to look at inner child work. One of the readings I mentioned in a prior blog had said that my childhood is what keeps knocking on the door, and that it is time to heal that pain and in doing so free myself from the survival behaviors that are no longer working for me. The main one being destroying relationships when they aren't distracting me from my own fear and shame.

So lame. Why can't my mechanism be over-arching ambition or an obsession with making my apartment look better?

Drew, as usual, figured it out way before me and said he knew that the wounded and rebellious kid buried inside me had been running the show for months, maybe even for last year. And because we have always been mirrors for each other, my damage drew out the deepest of his damage, also inner child stuff. All those points of darkness buried deep within the psyche that tell us we're not good enough, we'll never be good enough, we are unlovable. We both manifested in our own particular less-than-healthy ways.

On top of that, there is the male/female dynamic. Good men (and there are many more good men out there than a lot of women are willing to admit) will try to do whatever they can to make women happy. But most women don't know they have that power and don't really know what they want and don't know that we have to ask for it out loud. So we (women) sit around expecting men to intuit what it is we need, and to provide it, while men scramble around confusedly trying to follow nebulous and contradictory clues. I found myself unhappy and deadened and I expected Drew to fix it. He's always done whatever I asked, but this time I wasn't asking because I didn't know.

Blargh. It's an ongoing process. I am by no means sorted. I am confused as fuck. But I'm looking within more often instead of without and I want to share a few resources that are helping me, in case any of what I am experiencing resonates for any of you.

This guy:

And this guy. Who I initially found annoying, but this lecture blew me away once I got into it, he outlines why we sabotage our attempts to get spiritual:

Christiane Northrup is changing the way I am thinking about aging:

And Mama Gena has some wonderful information about the inner workings of men and women:

Lastly, a side note. Recently my favorite cat Albert escaped the apartment and was missing for two days. It was a rough two days, but so many hundreds of people, strangers as well as friends, extended help that it upped my ambivalent opinion about the human race. So thank you to everyone who was there for me. Albert is safe and sound.

I hope this blog finds you happy and whole.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Succubus Me

I haven't been blogging much lately because I haven't known how to put the words down. I have been writing quite a bit, mostly poetry, and the Lydia Lunch workshops and Badass Babes on a Bender reading event went even better than expected, so we will be doing that again. Everything was filmed, so it will go online at some point, although I hate watching myself talk/read on film. Being in a band is so much easier. 

Like many people, I grew up with a lot of secrets, with shame, and feeling that I had to hide my true self from myself and from others. Over time I've managed to shed a portion of that nagging voice that tells you that if people really knew who you were they would never love you. Though I'm not completely whole, I'm not veering wildly from raging maniac to mommy's good girl anymore. 

Part of the healing process has been learning to speak truthfully to people. I have hurt so many lovers and friends with omissions and half-truths. I would either run before having to say something out loud or hold it in for too long and then blurt it out at the most inappropriate and hurtful time possible. Friends would assume that everything was great while I rolled along gathering steam until I'd freak out and scream at them over something minor. I once told an on again off again boyfriend that I had become involved with someone else right before the boyfriend and his band walked out to play a song on a national talk show. Yeah, I'm that person. It just fell out of my mouth. I've been called a succubus more than once in this lifetime. 

So now I want to live in honesty. I believe that honesty, even if difficult, will lead to everyone's higher good in the end. I also think that my writing is meaningful only if it comes from a truthful place. To me, creativity is making something from the deepest part of yourself that then connects to the deepest part of another. I can't come close to that if I'm bullshitting. 

But what if your truth is something that will damage the people closest to you or endanger your status quo? In my case, you keep it tamped down, drink too much alcohol to not have to think about it, and definitely don't blog about it.

Drew and I have been together for 12 years. We fell madly in love when we got together and I tattooed his name on my arm within a month of being with him. People have always envied our relationship. We eat the same, sleep the same, travel the same, like the same music, think the same things are funny. Even when we fight we still crack jokes. We fight fair, we don't play games, we want each other to be happy. 

Drew has helped me heal a lot of damage. He is the first man in my life that to consistently prove trustworthy. He sees me as fragile, which no man ever has, and always does his best to make sure that I am safe and happy. He is not a perfect person, he has had his moments, but for the most part it's been a healthy connection. I am a nicer, calmer person now than I was when we met, and that is due to his presence and support.

Status quo: everything fine. Then my hormones went kablooey, and maybe something deeper, some kind of soul shifting occurred, long-buried wounds came up to be healed, and I stopped cooperating. Classic perio-menopause symptoms: I needed more time alone, I was bitchy, couldn't sleep, I wanted to focus on whatever I was doing at the moment and not be distracted by whatever he was doing or saying. I went to the doctor, got some hormone replacement therapy (pills) and felt infinitely better. Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord. Drew was beyond relieved. 

But something still wasn't back to normal. I felt antsy. As much as I am a rock and roll rebel on the outside, I've spent a lot of time trying to be this responsible "good girl" persona that was imposed upon me from birth. Suddenly that felt binding. The idea of settling into a quiet middle age, the talks of moving somewhere less urban, felt chafing. I wanted to hang out with friends, run the streets wild like I did in my 20's, stay up all night and write bad poetry into the mornings. And because I am bartending and not working an office job, that is pretty easy for me to do. 

For most of my life love has been about ownership. I've had a lot of rules about how things are supposed to be and many of those rules have been borne out of fear and pain. This is not an especially comfortable space to live in for every involved party, but we all have our damage and that has been mine. Fear of losing, fear of losing control, fear of abandonment, fear of someone taking what I have. And I am a charismatic enough person that I have usually been able to mold situations to suit my comfort level. People have loved me enough to allow me to pin them down. 

Over the last year I could feel the rules dropping away and with it came an excitement to step into the unknown. Who am I really, if I stop reacting and choose for myself? In some ways that's great. The idea of new possibilities is expansive, decisions made from joy and true personality rather than fear and need for protection. But in other ways, it's very difficult. 

Recently, and probably because I am in this wide open space psychically and spiritually, I allowed another person to enter my psyche and heart. They didn't replace Drew, just sort of moved in next to him in a way that was impossible to ignore or resist. This was not comfortable for me as it is a violation of all the rules that I personally created. I felt as if I'd dropped into an open manhole, fumbling around in the dark. I've spent months festering, obsessing, getting psychic readings, talking to friends, and as mentioned, drinking too much to not have to think about it. 

Eventually, and against all friendly advice, I told Drew. It simply didn't feel right to keep a secret from the closest person in my life. He knew already anyway, he had predicted it a year ago as he knows me better than I know myself sometimes. And he could feel the distance and see the weight that I was silently carrying. 

The price for that honesty is high. We are evolved, non-traditional people; he understands me, he knows this is something the cosmos threw at me, and maybe him too, to crack things open in a way that maybe needed to happen. My favorite psychic predicted it ten years ago and Drew and I both believe that there are no coincidences. I don't believe we're here to be comfortable, I believe we're here to sort our souls out, that being alive on the earth is a form of school. We aren't here to coast cheerfully. Certainly joy is an aspect of life if we are lucky, but there are also deeper elements working to force us to expand in ways that aren't always comfortable. 

But understanding it intellectually doesn't change the emotional aspect. I have caused an immeasurable amount of pain to the one person who has always been my staunchest advocate and friend and who least deserves it. His friends think I'm an asshole. I feel like an asshole. My mother is going to be so mad at me when she reads this. I have created damage that might not be undone and I have to live with that on my conscience.

Every day is a rough tiptoe through uncharted territory: heavy conversations and moments of anger and hurt on his part, apologies on mine. Then other days it's all jokes, and weirdly, both of us agree we feel closer now than we have in months, now that we're talking openly again. Maybe we will separate and always be friends. Maybe Drew will add a new girlfriend to his life to balance out the other person in mine. He certainly gets offers every day and now he's got a get out of jail free card, especially as I am unwilling to eject what is a deep connection from my life and try to pretend it never existed, which would be the traditional solution. I watch enough Dr. Phil to hear him shouting it at me. 

But Drew and I both know that trying to step backward into an old footprint is not the solution; forward movement is the only way. But what is that movement? I can barely predict the next hour, let alone the future. Maybe Drew and I will come together stronger in the end. I have always assumed we would grow old together. Now anything is possible. 

I only know that my intuition is telling me that it will all be fine in the end, and that although we are in the weeds, we are still oddly on course. At my lowest moments I have felt an angel's hand on my shoulder. So I'm free falling while working on my inner self as much as possible in the hope that the outer self will follow suit. And trying to remain respectful and conscientious in the process. 

Drew simply says, "I love you, Mary, more than anyone ever, but you are batshit fucking crazy and you're an incredible pain in the ass."

Ah, yep. Thought the crazy was behind me, turns out not so much. Seems as if it might be a life sentence. So that's the reason that I haven't blogged anything wise or funny lately. I am worried about the repercussions of being so public with this, but it is what it is. I may be an asshole, but I'll always tell you the truth. 

Lydia, Zoe and me at Badass Babes, having some words with a heckler. Photo by the uber talented Jasmine Hirst:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Notes from Inside the Lava Lamp

I know these posts are getting more new agey all the time, but that's where my thoughts reside lately, so it is what it is.

I am not a well woman.

Christa Lawrence, who has known me since we were very young, maintains that you can put me in a room full of 300 attractive, emotionally-available men and I will invariably choose the hot one in the corner with a drug habit and and a bad attitude. This myopia carries through all aspects of my life: I currently own four adopted, once-abused and/or abandoned animals, each one with its own weird issue, two of them epileptic. But they look gorgeous. All of the people I truly love are insane. I am drawn to the broken and beautiful, determined to repair. I love the phrase "beautiful wreck", even though it is better in poetry than it is in real life, and I will ram my head against a problem until it shifts, or (more often) until I cut my head open.

As you can imagine, this over-arching codependency and love of drama has created chaos over the years: hospital visits, drug abuse, broken windows, broken hearts, rivers of tears. Therapy, therapy, therapy, talking, talking, talking. Blah, blah, blah. Once in a while you think you've got it together: you don't snort drugs anymore, you choose higher quality people (look Ma, no junkies!), and only a small and  manageable amount of people still hate your guts. 

But in the end you're the same person you always were, just with better manners and a cleaner apartment. Given the right opportunity and planetary alignment, my boundaries are still hopelessly skewed. Because, in truth, I am the one that is broken, gluing bits and pieces back together over time.

Over the last year the planets and hormones have aligned themselves in a most chaotic fashion, and I have been emotional, batty, and sick for months with a low grade cold which comes and goes in intensity, but always saps my energy. I am working on it, so please don't bombard me via facebook with herb and food suggestions, the last time this happened I kept all the wise advice from friends and am utilizing much of it. This is more about finding my way through an energetic vortex than about consuming oil of oregano. 

Some days lately I feel so sad, so angry, so much love, so much desire, so much spinning that I just want to burn my whole life down. Run somewhere and start a cat rescue ranch on a beach. Can you have a cat farm on the beach? Probably not because they don't like to swim and they'd look at it as one big litter box. 

I had two readings recently, one from my mom and one from a friend who is very thorough and spot on, and as a result is highly in demand. They both said the same thing: clearing old energy. Yeesh.

This from my mom:

"Mary is clearing much old energy from past lifetimes as are most others at this time.  It is a process and must unfold. She will have to deal with the physical as needed, but that too is a clearing of old energy regarding female issues from past lifetimes as well as the clearing of the sacral chakra.

She needs to spend more time quietly, less drinking, socializing, and more going within.  She is focused outwardly too much even when alone and is thus unable hear to her inner voice. This is a powerful time on earth when much change is happening for all. The old ways are fading and disappearing and the new and higher frequencies of Light are coming in in ever increasing intensity. Any resistance will simply make this process more difficult.  

She hopes to keep things as they have always been, but this is not possible. She need not fear the loss of who she is with change, for it only can result and a better "self" as one becomes more enlightened. Be not afraid dear one, for you cling tightly to much that is finished in the belief that it is you. No, it is not you. Much of your work is finished in the forms it has been, but new forms will appear when you are ready. The outer is the inner.  For now you must take time to relax and allow this process to unfold." 

Less drinking, more meditating? Seriously?? Drew's response: "But you're so much happier and nicer when you're drinking..."


Luckily, I have a solid support system of family and friends who love me and tell me that I'm a good person even when I can't see it. A mother who is on hand with spiritual readings whenever I feel I need them. She keeps repeating herself hoping it will sink in: Clearing. Fucking clearing. I'm sick of the word. Clearing out the old past life stuff, this life stuff, all the crap that gets in the way of peace and possible "ascension" is coming up now for everyone. How do we even walk with all the past life, this life, this week baggage strapped to our backs?

The second reading I got was two hours long so I can't put it all down here, but one of the main directives was that it is time to revisit my childhood and heal/release old wounds from there. 'Cause nothing says party like thinking about that time in the third grade when your first undying and unrequited most beautiful in the world passionate love Bennett Manville chose Susan Bell over you because you had just gotten glasses, even though you were the one he always talked to and who kept him laughing through homeroom every day. Susan was a real bitch about the whole thing too.

In actuality, there was much heavier stuff going on, but still. Life is hard from the get. First day of kindergarten, I already knew it was going to suck.

Okay, where was I going with this? Oh yes. Revisiting childhood. So yeah, trying to do that. Think about who I was, who I am, how I got here. Thinking about all the shit that went down and allowing myself to feel all the shame, the sadness, the confusion, the anger, the self-loathing, etc. So much self-hatred. What I have learned is that if you allow yourself to feel the feelings instead of resisting or avoiding, there is less pain. Not less sadness, which is different, but do-able. Sadness passes if you don't hold so tightly. Once you've ugly-cried for a few minutes (or hours...or years...) you can let it rise out of the top of your head and dissipate.


My mother tells me that when we are asleep, and if we are willing, our angels and guides work on us to help with the process. Two nights ago as I was falling asleep I felt myself being picked up out of my body. I floated up into a space where everything was blue and green and sort of looked like the inside of a lava lamp. I felt intense energy around me and I got freaked, and I said, "You're going too fast, I'm scared." They, whoever they are, told me that I was safe, put me back in my body, and I woke up with a start. As soon as I started dozing off I was right back in the lava lamp, but I wasn't frightened anymore. 

The next day my BFF wifey Zoe Hansen, who is one of the most psychic people I know, and who is always in tune with what I am feeling even when we don't talk about it, posted this selfie with the exact colors and energy on facebook. So I knew what had happened was real.

So yeah, residing inside lava lamps, cat ranches, colds, childhood, past lives, the outer is the inner. And this is only the stuff I can talk about publicly. 

I need a drink. 

Lastly, I'm coordinating a spoken word workshop with Lydia Lunch. If you are a female writer in the NY area and want some expert assistance on reading to an audience, email me at April 12th is full but there are still a couple of spots left for the 14th.

Hope this blog finds you all well. And thank you for your kind indulgence. =)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Emotional Rescue

I'm back!

Okay, not totally. I still don't feel especially inspired to blog about anything in particular, despite the fact that the world is full of intense topics to opine upon. But the brain is at least starting to turn back on so I guess we'll start by randomly typing with the hope that something of interest shows up.

I have not been unhappy, things have been positive and chugging along as they should. Just not inspiring me to sit in front of the monitor in any other capacity than perusing recipes and hitting the like button on everyone's facebook photos.

There are always the same boring reasons not to create that I've mentioned many times before. Signs lately point to the main reason being exposure/vulnerability. I'm clinging to that because the other alternative is simply that I'm lazy and that's not very interesting. My dear friend Storm, who is the polar opposite of lazy and has already written a sold out one woman show and a memoir and tours constantly and writes great songs and will have one glass of wine and then stop like an adult rather than drink the whole bottle and then get sad about pets that died ten years ago or post really dumb status updates that have to be quietly deleted the next day, so she must be right about oh, EVERYTHING, is convinced that my continuing to remain behind the bar and not pursue a bigger life has to do with fear of blowing up.

Not in the Looney Tunes sense,

More like the sense that if I ever did get anything completed, it would sell at least to the point that I would be more prominent in the public eye, and that is a terrifying thought. Which is true. At least the fear part, dunno for sure about the sell part but it's nice to think that this would be the case. I know that everyone thinks they want to be rich and famous, but if it were true then talented people wouldn't ruin opportunities right and left the way they always do. I can count ten people off the top of my head that are more talented than a slew of publicly lauded stars, but who will never walk a red carpet or get noticed outside their own social sphere. Everyone has their reasons. In my case, I can barely handle it when someone disagrees with me on facebook about what I ate for dinner. For all this past badassery and a love of wardrobe judging, it turns out I'm a total wimp when it comes to being criticized and will avoid arguments with strangers at all costs. The idea of being truly hated all over the internet, and everyone who is public is hated by more than a few, scares the crap out of me.

The other resistance, especially lately, is that I, because of my age and past rock and roll career, am surrounded and friendly with a lot of people who live in the past. It bores the crap out of me and I don't want to fall into that hole. I love my history and I'm proud of it. I'm happy to share old photos on occasion and talk about it when someone is sincerely interested. I've got some good stories and it's fun to watch people's eyes get round when they're told. But there is an air of desperation in what's left of the "scene" to prove that each one of us was important once in some grand way. So there are a lot of old ladies and men out there posting photos from 20-30 years ago and ignoring what is going on around them now, and I don't want to get old like that. Yes, pop culture sucks, I'm not into it. But there has to be somewhere to turn for relief beside the scrapbook.

I see a lot of shows where people trot out the same Johnny Thunders songs for the 900th time and then everyone gets all maudlin talking about what a saint he was and how he would have done this or that if he was here now. I go to those shows and it's fun to jump around to Chinese Rocks. I love Johnny as much as the next guy. But come on. He was no deity and wherever he's at right now, he doesn't give a shit about who you're dating or how many photos you took with him when he was alive. Bass player, DJ, and miscreant Sam Hariss and I have a running joke in which we state things like, "Johnny would have never eaten his sandwich with that brand of potato chips." or "You're doing it wrong, Johnny didn't tie his shoes like that."

This is not to say I'm judging harshly, which would be hypocritical. It's more about poking fun at the (small and large) deaths that aging brings, and a resistance to succumbing too quickly. I like those old photos too, I looked better in them. Especially my arms. I loved my little bird arms, now they're all middle-aged lady big, no matter how many tricep dips are cranked out in a week. I like seeing myself standing next to Joey Ramone and it's fun remembering that the world was once magical. I just don't want to sound like someone's grandmother any more than necessary.

So I'm trying to find ways to exist in the present, as a has-been rocker in a world full of young people who aren't interested in rock and roll and insist on moving to New York just to re-work it to their Idaho standards rather than exploring anything the city might have had to offer before they got here two years ago to help mash it into a real estate pulp. It's a trial and error experiment that every generation for centuries must have to go through.

There is a delicious drink on the cocktail menu at Dream Baby, where I work on Saturday nights, called the Emotional Rescue. Last week a large party of girls fell in love with it and reordered it all night. But they couldn't remember the name:

Courtney My-Dad-Pays-All-My-Credit-Card-Bills: "Can I have another one of those Emotional Breakdowns?"

Me: "Sure, but it's an Emotional Rescue. You know, like the Stones song."

Courtney: "Huh? Okay, yes, one of those."

15 minutes later...

Courtney: Can I have another Emotional Relief? Is that what it's called?"

Me: "Of course you can. It's the Emotional Rescue."

Courtney's friend Ashley I'm-Gonna-Leave-My-Jacket-on-a Couch-and-Then-Accuse-the-Bar-of-Stealing-It-When-It-Sat-There-Unattended-For-Two-Hours-While-I-Ground-All-Over-an-Investment-Banker-I-Just-Met-to-a-Miley-Song: "Me too! Me too! I want an Emotional Thingie!""

This went on all night, until I found myself shrieking sadly: "Emotional RESCUE! Like the Stones song! For the love of all that is holy, Emotional RESCUE!"

Courtney looked at me in all seriousness and said, "Emotional Breakdown! Two more please! What are the Stones?"

And then my eyes rolled into the back of my head and I blacked out for three minutes.

I don't remember where I was going with this...Oh yes, living in the past, fear of change, fear of success, blah, blah, blah. I'll figure it out. In the meantime, thank you for bearing with me, I'm honestly grateful that people want to read these missives and have been nudging me to get back to it, and I hope that this New Year finds all of you fulfilling your highest potential as well.

Much love.