Loss

I recently got the news that one of my college mates passed away. It whisked me away to my first year of college. Away from home and finally able to fully express me. Thrilled to be out of my mother’s house and on my own. Meeting the people who would become life long friends or nemesis or merely a name that I once could place with a face but no longer. Growing into an independent being with increasingly independent thoughts and ways. No curfew. No limits. Grown up…finally.

Grown. Up. When we were young, we thought grown up was turning 18 and being able to vote (and in some states drink legally). When we were out of high school, grown up was turning 21 and being truly legal. After college, it was getting that first salaried job or trading in the futon and milk crate and wood slab bookcases for an actual bed and bookcases. And so on…

I went through those spaces like many and thought I was finally grown. But the moment that I really felt grown was when I learned that my best friend of almost a decade had passed away. It was 1995. I was only 27 years old. Still high on the idea that I would live forever, would always be strong and fine, and free. Still unsure of exactly who I was but pretty sure that I was fucking awesome and would be exactly who I thought I was going to be. The moment that I felt truly grown up was when I lost the friend who was supposed to be my yet-to-be-born (and still ain’t) children’s crazy Uncle Karl. They were supposed to learn to ride Indian ponies in the arroyos of northern New Mexico. They were supposed to hear the story of our getting our first, second (and likely many more) tattoos together. How we rocked the FUCK out of Wesleyan’s campus with a band improbably named Trotsky’s Ruin. He was supposed to finish teaching me how to drive a stick shift – this time sober and NOT uphill. He was supposed to be there when I dialed the phone. We were supposed to be able to laugh at each other as our hair turned gray and our faces wrinkled. As we became parents or at least the whacky aunt and uncle to our siblings’ kids. We were supposed to mourn the loss of our other friends together… sitting back drinking Wild Turkey, smoking too damned much and telling those stories about when we were young and fine and the world was ours. We were supposed to grow old and toothless. Be at the doorstep of death STILL arguing about scientific proof over spiritual knowing.

Karl is still with me. There have been moments over the years that I have felt him quite powerfully. Like the birthday dinner at a mostly empty DC restaurant where the jukebox started playing Bad Brains I Against I in its entirety although no one had touched the machine during the hour that we’d been sitting there. I still hear his laugh and his wise ass comments. His sardonic humor and that place in him that was always isolated from those of us who loved him. He was a beautiful and brilliant man. In my mind, he is still young and hale. Playing that bass beside me and smiling that great smile that so quickly erased his usual scowl. I’d prefer to see him bald and toothless but I am so grateful for the time he was here. The one and only person who has been my best friend. The man who I loved most in life.

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Unmasked

I had to take some time away to find myself again. I know that sounds rather dramatic. It actually was. I had found myself spending the better part of my free time racing to the bottom of fifths of scotch. Not a good look. Especially when part of the race included weeknights and workday hangovers. My liver was starting to hate me and my work ethic was suffering. Not the kinds of things conducive to staving off depression. I knew things had to change.

Admittedly a part of me revelled in the decadence of it all. Even while understanding that hurting myself to mask the hurt was utterly counterproductive and selfdefeating. But at least this was a hurt that I could control. No one held a gun to my head to make me drink…even though that particular form of Russian roulette can be particularly messy. And I was pleased to be drinking a fairly good scotch. But I woke up to the insanity of those actions and thankfully, an angel appeared in the guise of a close friend to point me towards a saner path.

A few weeks ago, I went on a weekend retreat that changed me. My dramatic self wants to claim that Inner Journey (IJ) changed my life. But that would mean ceding power at a time when I can least afford to. IJ helped me figure out what I wanted/needed to change within myself that could manifest in a different life. More than anything, IJ corroborated the thoughts I had been having about what needed to be different in my life in order to be happier and healthier: cutting back on the substances I put in my body – caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar. Being kinder to self- nurturing myself, pampering instead of overindulging, loving myself enough to be more present while still protecting, rather than hiding my more vulnerable and most authentic self. Engaging actively in the work that I have long since been called to do. In short, getting real and being HERE. NO MORE MASKING!

I recently came to understand that I am quite adept at faking intimacy. I can reveal enough detail that seems deeply personal that people around me think I am baring my soul…but really, I am giving up essentially surface info….not the real shit, not the true contradictory, ugly truth of deep self. The intimacy mask is a lie.

Of all of the masks I’ve worn, the intimacy mask concerns me most. When courage mask cracks, I’m merely revealed to be afraid. The crumbling of wisdom masks just shows that I have more to learn. The lie of intimacy mask means that I am ultimately alone. And that is the starkest reality that I could face since what I desire more than anything is connection. Intimacy mask fooled even me…how can I have meaningful and profound connection with another when all of me is not present? And when I am present I am hidden?

So this space of healing focuses on my making sure more of my authentic self is present…every day…in every interaction that I value. This space means that I must stop distracting myself with bullshit and focus on the real.

I’ve been practicing yoga and meditation, journaling, drinking less and have had very little caffeine for the past month. I am more in my body these days than I can ever recall being. I am practicing being present especially in the moments that make me most uncomfortable. I keep thinking of the words of Miss Celie: “I’m poor, black, I may even be ugly but by God, I’m here. I’m here!”

I’m here. Working on being a healthy whole. And present. Feels great!

Stars

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — I suggest you become more curious about your sense of emotional injury. Usually we avoid investigating this kind of thing when we can. Yet recent events might have stirred you up a bit, and that’s an invitation to go deeper. This is especially true if you’ve had any of those ‘I’m feeling something deep but I really don’t know what it is’ moments the past three or four weeks. Your charts give a clue: the picture shows a relationship between your sense of pride, the sensation of being hurt, and a particular way you tend to get stuck. Somewhere in your distant past, you were told it was wrong to be self-centered, which you took as meaning ‘centered in yourself’. The result, of course, would have been to knock you off-center, as if that were somehow good for you or anyone else. Self-centered vs. centered in yourself has many equivalents. I suggest you also sort out arrogant from confident; narcissistic from self-loving; needing attention from craving meaningful passionate contact with others. Underneath these distinctions is a deeper value. The first concept in each pair is about alienation, and the second is relational. The first involves a sense of injury and the second is about healing. Yet they’re not really opposites; they are related like shadow and light, which depend on one another to exist. If you want the light, it’s necessary to embrace what’s going on in your shadows. Both, treated with awareness, are sources of nourishment and wisdom.

Horoscope by Eric Francis at www.planetwaves.net

Yes, I have an astrologer. His name is Eric Francis. Years ago, of my angels, Alex Chee, turned me on to him. I know many believe astrology to be a silly distraction and a hoax. I believe that we are connected to the stars and that astrology is a lens that allows us to see the aspects of ourselves that exists in the space between the physical bits that make up our corporal beings. I know many people think that astrology is a hoax and I honestly cannot blame them given the flood of astrology hacks who paint bold pictures of astrological traits in solid colors rather than the myriad hues of which the zodiac is actually comprised.

Eric is a rare astrologer. He is intuitive – connected to something very broad and does not so much as read the stars as he allows the stars to guide his readings. Those of you have a gift to discern things that are hidden in the dark matter of our physical existence – can see and hear beyond the veil – will know what I mean. I have dabbled in astrology. Know how to use the details of a person’s birth to find their sun, moon and rising signs and can access online systems that will plot the rest of their planets into signs and houses. That is pretty much the limit of my talent for reading the stars.

I can tell you that I have five planets in Aries – that won’t surprise those who have witnessed my conflagrations – have only two drops of water in my planetary chart. The fact that I am an Aries Sun, Leo Moon with Virgo Rising, likely also explains my particular flavor of crazy for those who believe that stellar energy has a direct impact on who we are in this human manifestation and how we present to others. Some of you may have no idea what I am talking about and think I have lost my mind. I’d apologize but it would be insincere.

This blog is for those who understand that human form is comprised of not just the physical matter of the universe but also the spaces between those elements – a place that I think to think makes up the soul. I believe that our connection to the bits and pieces (and non-bits and pieces. Un-bits and pieces?) that make up this vast universe that we are hurling through have energy and force within them that impacts our consciousness if we allow it to. And I think some of us, like Eric, and some of you, have the gift of using that gift to see things that many cannot. Or, it could very much be my human need to make sense of life on this rock and the limitations of this flesh and bone contraption. My soul longs to be free of the confines of life on this plane… so I’m game for every opportunity to flex my non-corporal “muscles”.

Which brings me back to Eric Francis and Planet Waves. I tend to do a lot of self-reflection and this man has the uncanny ability to hone in on not just the broad themes on which I am ruminating at any given time, but very often the details. For those of you reading the snarky wit of Brezny or followers of more substantial astrologers like Linda Goodman (who taught me to read charts through her books), check out Eric and Planet Waves. On occasion he does some free access time frames that allow you to test out his value in your life. Also, his team provides some of the best customer service I’ve experienced. They are very loyal to their supporters.

So Fellow Stargazers, join me in watching the very spectacular events happening between now and the Autumnal Equinox. And the Rest of You, well, hang in there and try to enjoy the spectacle of us whacky , hippie, new age freaks having a damned good time making sense of life on our own terms.

Masked

Masks.

Avoidance.

I keep starting this blog and then changing directions. I’ve been putting off writing for a week. Something is lurking there right below the surface. Some ghost wants to manifest and some part of me is keeping it back. Escapism. Crochet. Reading. Organizing my yarn stash. Anything to keep me from sitting here and just letting the words and feelings flow. I felt so damned tender last week that I feared I would fall to pieces if pulled that little thread that wanted to express. I honestly do not remember what I did last weekend although one evening was spent with Johnny Walker. Mostly, I just tried to tiptoe around my tender bits.

Monday came and I put on the Brave and Competent Mask to get through the workweek. Interesting thing masks, sometimes they can be used to hide our true selves. And other times, they allow us to channel energies that we might not otherwise be able to muster. For much of the week I actually felt pretty good, buoyed on a few flirtations that helped beat back the part of me that was feeling undesirable.

I did not think it would hurt this much. I keep trying to source the pain so I can figure out what balm it needs. Maybe it just needs the healing of being brought out into the light.

Despite my pledge to be honest in these writings – I am still edging around speaking full truths. A part of me seems to want to hold them. As if they are precious or some source of power. Or, maybe more to the truth, they’ve become alibis for my not being able to be fully present in my healing. Perhaps if I offer them up here, bit-by-bit, I’ll be able to let them go.

I try very hard in relationships to be present and considerate, loving and accommodating – often to the point of squashing my own feelings or needs. When things are tense or off kilter, I stop and check myself first. Always mindful that it could just be my shit that is blurring the lens. This is one of the things I really like about myself but at the same time I detest it. I don’t want to be a person who just goes off on every little thing…or even every big thing. But I do wish that I could stop letting people take up so much fucking space in my heart/head. In the past, I have done serious damage by not being able to control some of my more volatile emotions so I think I overcompensate now by just sublimating the anger. Eating it. Trying to be reasonable. Measured. In my last relationship, in particular, I often shelved my annoyance, anger, disappointment and concerns because my lover had so many big emotions and intensity going on that there just did not seem to be any room for my shit. And granted, much of my shit seemed very small in comparison but it was still my shit and a big deal to me. But I have a hard time admitting need and although I have gotten better at asking for what I need, I often did not. I presented myself as strong and independent when all I really wanted was an unbidden hug or kiss on the forehead and to be told all would be well. More than anything I just wanted to be held. To have the comfort of shared heartbeats and heat. To have the space to fall apart and know that someone would be there with crazy glue and a cold beer when I came back to my senses.

Strong and Independent Mask gets major workouts in my relationships and the rest of my life, honesty. Often Vulnerability Mask gets lost amidst the bravado and show of the superhero. And sometimes, when she does manage to manifest, she is unrecognized or worse, ignored. Or called selfish or lacking in compassion or empathy.

I guess I should meditate on vulnerability. Perhaps crochet her a hat so beautiful and intriguing that when I next wear that mask, it will be impossible to be ignored or mistaken for something else.

Or perhaps I just need to recognize once and for all that I can be my whole self and present in my connections with others. And that those who love me, will continue to do so even if I am sometimes sloppy with my shit.

Maybe I just need to put these damned masks away

and be my whole self.

But dear lord, who the hell is that??!

Message

Today was a hard day.

You know the kind of day when you feel like your entire being is that thin layer of shiny, tender skin that’s left when a scab is ripped off a wound before it’s really healed?

Yeah. I feel like that.

Thank Heaven for music!

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