n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Adorable Chickens

Who now seem to hangout on my patio on a daily basis. Mary is still a friggin jerk!

From left to right, Octavia, Flavia, Kroshka, Nadezhda, Mary, and Lolita.

Octavia and Flavia exchange kisses. Or chest bumps. (breast bumps?)

Some days, some days most recently, I just don't know what to say. I feel like things are changing, not so much externally as inside me. Life always changes, sometimes we start keeping up.

My bro-law -- may I thank the lordette that the brolaw is in my life -- keeps coming up with this argument that makes me feel weepish every time he brings it up. It's funny, because I'm not sure he notices it makes me weepish, but he does gets a bit jumpy when the conversation sinks in, and he apologizes for making things too heavy if that's what he's done, which for me is sometimes what happens though I'm not sure what heavy means.

But the conversation is good. It is a reminder, if not to agree with my amazing peeps, then to think about what I want and where I am.

See, I think his argument baaaaaasically boils down to "Everyone looks after him- or herself; it is a biological and philosophical reality, and if you ignore it or pretend that some idealistic other reality exists, then you're just the fool who will get tromped on by nature's truth. And guess what, sislaw, you just got tromped, so what does that tell you?"

The whole conversation makes me remember the class I sat in on in AK before transferring to Florida schools where Christ was science and evolution religion. But before that life, I sat in on a psych class taught by the crazy father of my jr. high flirt/nemesis (in my mind). This teacher argued that everything could be rendered down to sex, everything -- all of existence clearly an imperative to perpetuate the species. Even then, a reason for queers existed: an altruistic instinct toward species diversification. Art: (basically) a pretense to attract the other. Kindness: sandbags along the city's shore. In retrospect, this teacher was probably just representing the argument of our friend Freud, but as it was the only class of his I attended, and his questions bit right into my own, I never forgot and have always argued.

It's a hard one to knock down though.

Here's how I knocked it down: it's the stories we tell about ourselves that count.

I believe we can say any number of things, probably most of it bullshit. Bullshit seems to be the mainstay of speech. Bullshit about religion. Bullshit about survival of the fittest. Bullshit about aliens, apocalypse, our own importance, the lack of our importance. Bullshit about karma, pay it forward, it all comes back to you, and I'd do anything for you. Bullshit about the role every other person and creature has in our lives, and we have in theirs. We can always say more. Or different. Or against. Or questioning. Or sorry. Or sad to not. Or I occasionally accept and feel the grace of having had.

Personally, what I say is that to me life seems a balance between "I give" and "I gain." I don't believe there are very many people in this world who are willing to put someone else's interests before their own every time. Parents perhaps, if they are good parents. But in terms of friends, I don't expect anyone to choose suffering so that I may thrive. To believe that would be utterly self-centered and pathetic. I can take care of my own thriving, thank you very much. But on the other hand, I do hope that those folks out there who care about me don't choose that I may suffer so they may thrive either. Certainly that is self-centered and pathetic as well. Instead, I think when people care about each other, it's not about biological imperative, although you can put it that way (When you take care of other people, you are more likely to create an environment wherein people take care of each other, i.e. look after you too. Thus a primary basis of modern civilization). But rather my story is that when people care about each other, they seek the middle ground... This may mean sacrifice. I know it has for me. But it also may mean communicating in order to achieve compromise or at least empathetic understanding. That is what I would like from my friends, although I understand it's not always going to go my way.

And does no good if what life, loss, and experience does is to strip me of my person -- what may be idealistic, what may be naive, what within me may hope and hope, too long, too suspect, too stalkerlike, too pathetic, too much at a loss to even exist anyways. No. I will not be telling that story about my life: that I got hurt and turned into someone else.

So, that our movement towards death, and our physical growth and disintegration and growth and inevitably utter disintegration happens, is truth. That we must look after ourselves and protect and fight and invest and live and dance and joy, is truth. But that we must search and feel sad and hope and create beauty and dance and joy, is also truth. Experience is (at the minimum) dual, the most intense experience is always intensely dual. We hate our best friend for being sick, just as we feel the joy of her continued life for the same reason; we feel grief only parallel to love. Stupid, nonbiological, nonsensical love that like so many things is also bullshit.

So much going on right now... starting school, my birthday, first date in a long time, finding out I don't get paid for that work I did this summer (ugh). And I'm working to keep dating, keep writing, keep finding new ways to be political and involved, keep on keep on. My story involves new stories. And I guess where I'm also at right now is backing away from the "giving" for awhile, and sidling up to the fighting for myself, for what I want. Yes, brolaw, I have not been my fittest for some time, neither physically nor mentally, and so I haven't been surviving in the way I want. Thus, the Year of Repair.

Yep, the Year of Repair is entering its third season: the season of "mental repair." I shall report that the season of "social repair," went well if strangely. It wasn't the kind of repair I expected, but I do think it was repair. I'm saying yes a lot more often to trying new things and meeting new people, which works pretty amazingly. I can say: proud of myself again. For the season of "mental repair," here are some of my goals: work hard on following through on the solutions I've found for the mind ruts (i.e. not brooding about things outside my control), drink way way less, establish a routine for the new quarter that involves exercise, writing, walking Herald, and being a good teacher.

Okay, that's that, but I want to say, brolaw: I'm onto you. These pictures don't look biological to me. They look idealistic, the kind of idealistic I've always dreamed about finding and working to hold on to. So, neiner neiner.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

re: teaching / learning

Thursday, September 13, 2012

it really is time for another deformed toe/foot shot...

Saturday, September 01, 2012

definitely grieving

So I found out this little thing with JS... that when I post things in a fit of temper or sadness or drunkenness or whatever, which I do with some frequency, and then take them down anywhere, say, between 10 minutes to 12 hours later -- in an fit of shame, perhaps, or maybe attempting to mediate my baser instincts -- well, apparently people who use Google Chrome or other browser programs that help manage huge quantities of web information, get notified of my post, and read it probably pretty immediately. So my taking a post down later does not actually have the semi-private journal effect that I always thought it did.

I.e. my shit is out there the second my shit is out there. Mental note.


So, now that I'm back in WA... I have to admit, to myself even, that I am grieving pretty hardcore for the loss of my friendship with NM. While it is not the longest friendship I have had, nor even the closest, it was a fairly long friendship and absolutely does qualify as the most intense relationship of my life. (To be simple about it, she was one of my "best friends," though I'm not a fan of that tag). Regardless, I have never expended as much energy on maintaining a friendship, on helping someone out or simply being present, as I did with N... and although that was done partially out of a sense of responsibility, it was also done out of a lot of love.

Yep, I really and truly love(d) NM, and I'm going to have to pay the price in grief now that she's ended our friendship. Even understanding doesn't really help:
People with BPD often have highly unstable patterns of social relationships. While they can develop intense attachments, their attitudes toward family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike).
No, this doesn't make things easier, but it does help me to remember that it's not my fault.

I know it's not my fault. I did two things wrong the whole time: [1] I responded out of anger to NM's text telling me that she "would not engage me in dialogue" on this issue since clearly anything I said "was said with an intention to hurt her." I told her that was the most insulting thing I'd heard in my life, and she was not welcome to communicate with me again, unless it was prefaced with an apology. I did later send an email apologizing for this ultimatum (ironic, no?). [2] When N's second to final email came through, telling me that neither I, nor our friendship, were worth any effort on her part, I did not pause to consider. Had I paused, I would have realized that she had just ended our friendship, and there was nothing more I could say. Instead, I didn't pause (contrary to JS's subtle advice), and responded. What is the point of responding when a friendship has effectively been ended? All it did was hurt both of us further, and give N the chance to tell me, bluntly, clearly, cruelly: do not contact me again. we are no longer friends. let go.

How, after three months of silence or nasty patronizing emails, could I still be in denial? Well, how about now... I caught myself at it today:

Well, what if I just wrote a nice little note...
Well, what if I popped by with her stuff...
Well, what if I asked her if we could just be kinda friends...
Well, what if I had the exactly right words...
Well, what if I pretended she hadn't lied to my face, and just kinda let it all go...
Well, what if we just ran into each other, surely she couldn't...

And then I remembered. She told me neither I, nor our friendship, was worth any effort on her part. She told me not to ever contact her again. She told me to let go.

The friendship is dead. Ten years of friendship is dead. We have broken up, and there is no going back, and I can't deny it any longer. Further, though I don't need to dwell on it, it is also clear that this has been coming for a long time... basically since her illness.

My initial instinct is to blame EC, to go find her and punch her in the face for fucking up yet another one of my friendships. But I know it's not her fault. Nor is it my fault for "still bearing a grudge" against EC (as N tried to convince me). I don't really have a big grudge anymore. Just sadness and an empty spot. Things with E were not unlike they were with N, actually. I kept trying and trying, sinking more energy in it with desperation, when the truth was: the message had been sent. EC dumped me and started sleeping with my good friend, and we were all in a great big butt-fuck of a class together. She didn't love me, and I would never ever be able to get over that, over having to realize that daily, and be able to have a mild friendship with her. And yes, it took me a long time to realize that she would never do anything to make up for the catastrophe of not loving me... because she didn't love me, for god's sake! Like, how blind do you have to be to keep waiting for someone who doesn't care about you to act with care for you!?! Why do I keep getting into these things? Listening to people talk talk talk about how much I deserve, how great I am, how much I am appreciated and loved, all while they act differently, so differently.

No, it's not a grudge. It is simply final acknowledgement that she will always do what is best for her, or what she sees as best for her, regardless of who she's going to hurt in the process. And I don't want to be hurt in the process anymore. So... being that she will never act with kindness, I don't want her in my life. That is not a grudge, that is a grudging practicality, and one I wish I didn't need to have.

So, for those of you confused why I'm talking about an old grudge in reference to N, it is because N gave a reading with EC. She told me -- two or three times, to be precise -- that she was not. And then she told me she was the day before the announcements went out. Because she had been sneaking behind my back to set the whole damn thing up. And there had been at no point any dialogue where she brought the topic to the table, talked it through with me, or something, anything. So, I feel like having a major temper tantrum would have been within my rights at that point, but all I said was, "I should probably get off the phone now, N, because I am very angry." I even said it calmly. But then, there I was, right in the middle of shitstorm, as N started shouting at me, then hung up on me, then... everything else.

I totally don't get it at all. Really. I mean, she doesn't even like EC. She doesn't respect her, or her work. That I could understand. No, it had nothing to do with liking or respecting EC; it had to do with using EC, to enhance N's reputation and bring new readers to her small, unknown reading. And that, for N, was more important than a 10-year friendship. A 10-year friendship that she could have kept had she simply had a difficult discussion with me ahead of time, or a more difficult discussion after the fact.

I.e. NM is not lying when she says she does not consider me worth any effort on her part. She doesn't love me anymore. Just like that. She has let go.

And so, I am trying to figure out what to do with the residual love. I bought a tree and am going to plant it in honor of the good parts of our friendship. I am trying to keep a gentle little spot inside me for NM's part of my past; I don't want it to go black. I don't need another blight inside me. We made it that far, that long, through some pretty hard shit, and now she's changed, just as I have changed, and it is time for me to let go, and do those things I know help me.

Like writing.
Like reading.
Like exercising.
Like being with people.
Like nurturing myself and others.

Anything else I've forgotten? How do you folks (my five, wink wink, readers) grieve? How do you let go? Any advice for a person who's just leaving the bargaining stage?

My garden, as of September 1st:

And I am free-ranging the chickens now... the dogs don't seem like they're going to be a problem. And I got my first eggs this week: two on Thursday, one each day since. And I'm going to see my sister next week! Oh, and I finished a short story.