commitment · discovery · fear · performance · theater

Give me some wool, and I’ll spin you a yarn.

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I have another audition tomorrow, this one for the role of a
mother in her early 40s. And I’ve been thinking about who I can believably “play,” what my
“place of life” would be as a woman in her early 30s? I feel too young to be
the queen, to be the mother of adult children, but I feel too old to be the
ingénue or the lover. But I suppose I fall more easily castable into the latter
category. Lover, Romantic, Unwed.
So many actors have sordid pasts and upbringings, making it
easy and understandable to want to lay on the skin of someone else, the idea
that it’s easier (safer?) to be someone else than it is to be yourself. However, I think
I’m realizing that to take on the skin of someone else means that I have to
find that person within me, those feelings, and then face them, understand and
inhabit them. And not all of those feeling are easy for me to have. Not all of
those parts are natural for me to play.
And I think that’s why I love it and am challenged by this
so much. (With all my scant experience!) I will have to find the romantic within me, the tyrant within
me, the tortured within me. I’m going to have to let my internal flashlight
illuminate corners I’d rather mark off-limits. Some of those corners I avoid
because I’m afraid I’ll enjoy them too much—Who doesn’t want to dissolve into
rage instead of pulling yourself up to decency? Who doesn’t want to allow the
gnawing chatter to become a cacophony and play itself into Ophelia’s mad death?
How easy it is to go mad; how very hard to stay sane.
And, surely, some of the corners of experience I may be
asked to play, I don’t want to go into because I’ve spent so many years
avoiding what they demand of me. To fully feel passion, desire, or even (don’t
say it!) love?
It’s amusing to me that once I changed up my blog settings
to list the subject tags in order of frequency, “love” became the first one. I
think it makes sense if you put before it the words: “avoidance of,”
“challenges with,” “attempts at,” “softening to,” “fear of.” But, just “love?”
Hm. Yes, it makes me smile.
I also know that acting isn’t therapy, and can’t be primarily intended to process my own demons or fears through its use, but I can’t help
but imagine there will be some side-effects like that. I imagine that I’ll get
to see where my flashlight is happy to go, and where it isn’t. Where I’m
naturally at ease, and where I’ll have to cull my acting chops.
But, isn’t that the thrill of anything new? Isn’t that the
thrill of being alive? Being challenged to feel, do, and be that which you
weren’t able to before, simply by the act of showing up with intention?
I have no idea how long or wide this acting path will be for
me. But the caves it is already calling me to explore are worth the
price of admission. 

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anger · change · childhood · discovery · freedom · love · maturity · progress · recovery · sex · sexuality

Rage Against the Whatever’s Handy.

Last summer, before I started getting help around money, I
was in a bad way. I answered an ad for a company/house looking for dominatrixes
(dominatri?). I was desperate for money, and was almost willing to do anything
to make it.
So, I answered the ad, spoke with a woman on the phone,
looked at their website, and scheduled an interview.
Then, I emailed a friend of mine who’d been a dominatrix
once upon a time, and I asked her what her thoughts were around it. She replied
with an interesting thought. She said that it was a very low and base level
of energetic exchange.
Even though it sounds “woo-woo,” I knew what she meant. She
didn’t tell me yes or no, she just said, basically, that it felt icky. And that
she was heavily using drugs at the time.
A few days later, and before my interview, I called to let
them know I wouldn’t be coming in for my interview, that I’d like to cancel.
And that was the end of that.
However. I’m reminded of this now, about a “low” source of
energy, or power, because I’ve been experiencing the most wonderful (<–
sarcasm) feeling of free floating anger lately.
For those of you who know me, “angry” is likely the last
thing you’d associate with me – quirky, awkward, loving are most likely the top
layers, and indeed, the most core layers. But, in the middle of those is
everything that I’ve tried to put in between me and you. That includes sex, and
that includes anger.
Now that I’m in the process of extricating myself from any
sexual entanglements, grey areas, … dating sites…, I’m noticing that anger has
arisen where “sex” used to be.
When I was in junior high, and I came into school that one
Monday with contact lenses and makeup and suddenly I was visible, I rode that
high, and my anger that “you” only now noticed me, I rode that well into my
twenties.
I fed off of that energetic exchange. The power that a woman
(or man) holds via sexuality is more than palpable, it’s addictive. It’s
enlivening. It becomes what I’d come to believe was my only source of strength.
This was a “low” form of strength, and a false form. But oh
the many heads of it. I feel powerful (or visible, or valid) when you pay
attention to me. When you’re giving me what I think I need, when you’re eying
me, or flirting with me, or seeing what I know (or think I know) you’re seeing
when you see me.
So, now, I’m removing this source – I’m calling this well
toxic, and trying to walk away from it. Sex isn’t bad – but it can be a natural outcropping of feelings rather than
hormones.
I said yesterday to a friend that I feel like someone has pulled my
covers. That my defense mechanisms are being shorn away one by one, and so,
now, here I am with anger.
I am very aware that anger is just the other side of
vulnerability. I don’t want you to see how vulnerable I am, so I will put on my
angry armor and tell you to fuck off.
But, being aware of it doesn’t cancel it out.
I was reflecting this morning about the power of anger. I
realized that before there was the Power of Sex, there was the Power of Anger
in my life. It was modeled to me that if you were angry, you were powerful. If
you were angry, you were paid attention to (and left alone). I learned that
anger was an appropriate way to feel visible.
This, is a poor lesson. As frightened as I was when I was
younger, I began to learn to fight fire with fire. I learned this young too. I
was not really a pleasant kid, behind my shy exterior. The shy came after.
After I learned how to be angry, to yell back, to provoke, to antagonize, and
to defy. I learned that not everyone, especially in school, was going to put up
with that, and it sank inward, enclosed by the layer of “demure” and “shy.”
I’ll just disappear then. If I can’t have power via anger, then I apparently
don’t have any at all.
When I found sexuality, I found a “more acceptable” pathway
to visibility. And now, again, as that one’s being taken away from me – the
abuse of that power, rather – now, I’m falling backwards through my timeline
into anger.
Rage, really. I learned a lot about rage growing up – surely,
not as much as some, but more than Mr. Rogers would have wanted in his
neighborhood.
So, here I am at rage. One of my last defenses. I am sorry
to be here at it. And I also know that freedom from it will bring untold gifts.
But… I like it. And that’s the problem. The problem is that these sources of
power are still salivating. I still feed off them. I still feel powerful from
them, even “knowing” that they’re false.
I made someone angry yesterday, and I liked it. I felt
validated. If I’m able to make you mad, then that means that I’m alive, around,
meaningful. If I’m able to cause a reaction in you (previously, a sexual one;
now an angry one), then I have a purpose.
Yes, I “get” that these are totally fucked up thoughts. I
get that this has to be “gotten through” or it will continue to cause me pain.
And isolation.
But I felt that “low source of energy” when I was the
recipient of that anger yesterday. It’s like a “HA! See, you do care.”
It’s so Psych 101, it’s stupid – better negative attention
than no attention. But, it’s recorded in textbooks for a reason. It must be
prevalent enough and common enough to fall asleep to at your freshman college
desk.
So, that’s my thoughts for the day. Thoughts on feeling
vulnerable, and what I do to hide that. Thoughts on my reluctance to let go of
sex and rage as sources of “power” and validation. My thoughts on compassion
for myself, as I know this is hard. And a modicum of hope and self-validation
for choosing to move through this anyway. 
acceptance · adulthood · commitment · discovery · finances · growth · maturity · TEACHING · time · work

Sucker

Dear Folks,
My new “normal people” hours are conflicting with my ability
to write this with coherence, and eat, shower, become fully conscious. So,
forgive its in/coherency, if it is so.
I had two phone calls yesterday that sort of count as
informational interviews. One was with my darling Aunt Roberta (technically my
mom’s cousin, but all those cousins are sort of like aunts and uncles – that’s
how it was when you played stickball in the streets of Brooklyn in the ’50s).
She has been a professor of English since the sun was born,
and had some great information and tips for me. She sent me her teaching resume
to take a look at, as I’m beginning to apply for teaching jobs – something I’ve
viciously avoided for so long, I almost
forget why. … but I do remember.
For as long as I can
remember, what with my interest in literature, and writing, and reading,
well-meaning folks have said the following to me:
Well, you could always teach English.
Somehow this phrase has turned into an anathema for me. Is this the only
thing that I can do?? It begins to sound like a default, like welp, you could
always settle. It has calcified into a job title that brings to mind aging high
school professors, eking out their little lives in some underappreciated,
underpaid job. My vision of “teacher” has come to also mean “sedentary,” as
once you get a job teaching, all I hear is “tenure” and that’s all people are
working toward – all they want is to stay as absolutely still as possible. No
room for exploration, movement, change. You got it, you keep it, you pipe down,
and suck it up.
Obviously, many of these ideas are unrealistic and quite
ridiculous, but that hasn’t kept them from keeping me away from the whole idea
of teaching – teaching English, teaching high school, teaching college – as if
I’ve ever thought that I could.
But…
The reality.
Firstly, as Roberta was quick to assure me, teaching does not mean wasting away in some small town or inner city
for eternity – it doesn’t have to mean that, and particularly in the beginning,
it doesn’t mean that – as chances are, as a beginning teacher, you’ll have to
sort of go where the job is.
Secondly, … and here’s the hilarious irony … I like teaching.
Sure, it’s hard work – I’ve done it before, but never
considered what I’ve done as “real” teaching. I had a job at a Sunday School last year, once a
week (and had lots of lesson planning experience to really really learn that lesson planning.is.not.paid.). I also
taught ESL in South Korea for almost two years, but I don’t “count” that either,
as I was hung-over most of the time, and worked out my lesson about 10 minutes
before class, if that.
However, I do like being in a classroom. I also think I have
a lot to offer – I, if I may be so unhumble, think I’m pretty cool. I’m funny,
performative, creative, a good listener, and a very good judge of classroom
dynamics and social cues (i.e. they’re not listening – change it up, or so and so is
interested in so and so, so I better move them). I also have a lot of outside
interests, which makes for a well-rounded incorporation of things into the
lesson plan.
Thirdly, I’m technically qualified to do it now, with my degree and all. 
So, I could do it.
And as I’ve reminded myself a lot over the last year, “Can I
do it?” is a different than “Do I want to do it?”
But here’s the change occurring. My wonderful sunshine ball,
Maila, came over for tea last night. Here’s what she said:
“If it wasn’t hard, they wouldn’t have to pay us.”
BAH! Oh, right. It’s work. The ideal is that work include some play or interest, or a lack of
soul-crushing mindlessness that leaves
zero energy available for outside pursuits. And the thing
is, I want and would love to pursue a LOT of outside pursuits.
As she was leaving, I thought of something else which has
probably helped to keep me at arms-length from a “real” job. I’m reminded of my
life several years ago, which I know is similar to a lot of folks I hang out
with.
In the cheepy-birdie hours of the morning, in the hours when
the sky is beginning to lighten, and the new day is dawning, I and we, were
usually heading home. Weaving and wending our way to some pass-outable
location, or so red-eyed and clench-jawed that the chirping birds were a
mockery of all that is holy (Shut the fuck UP! Don’t remind me it’s a new day,
I’m still … still … STILL up!).
And as we were wending home, or at least one well-worn path
I remember particularly, as I was wending my way home in my second tour of
teacher duty in South Korea, I would pass by a church on Sunday morning. There,
people, humans, were walking to church. And I would sneer, Suckers.
These people, in their pressed, clean clothes, with a full
night’s sleep, and a full refrigerator. With brushed teeth, and combed hair,
and a place to get to at 8 or 9am. Who paid rent, and taxes, and didn’t have
their utilities turned off monthly. Whose teeth were not ground down with
clenching, or livers distended with liquor, or clothing bathed in a cheap bath
of smoke. These people, with real jobs, real lives, real responsibilities, were
Suckers. They knew nothing of the way things ought to be, the nocturnal,
hedonistic, nihilistic counter-culture. They were suckers.
And as I begin to accept that it’s time for me to take on
those same responsibilities, there’s a part of me that calls myself a Sucker.
But, I’m not a hedonist anymore. I don’t reek, or steal, or
slink anymore. If a balanced check-book, paid rent, cat and people food, and
some bass lessons are what I want, then I have to do what they do. I have to be
a Sucker,
which I guess is another word for Adult. 

community · courage · discovery · faith · fate · poetry · receiving · school

Rituals, Rites of Passage, and the Spindly Lines of Fate.

Here.We.Go.!
I’d written last week to some of my fellow cohorts to ask if they
wanted to mark our graduation with some kind of a “ritual” or ceremony. That
very afternoon, I was invited to read a poem at the “Spiritual Send-off”
graduation ceremony at school. Apparently, I really do and am meant to have a
ritual around this. To mark and honor and acknowledge what a privilege this is, and to mark and honor and acknowledge what we’ve done and how we have shown up and completed something sort of major.
When I got into school two years ago, a friend of mine suggested we have
some sort of ceremony of our own to celebrate and honor and give thanks for
having gotten there, to wherever there was – an answer to a stated and unstated
prayer or longing or wish. For years, when I’d ask folks what they did for a
living – trying to vicariously divine what I ought to be doing for a living – when folks responded that they went to school full-time, invariably, I said that
I envied people who could do that. Who did that. Underneath envy, is longing.
I knew for some time, and said it occasionally or often,
that I wanted to “go back to school.” That I wanted to go for some advanced
degree, but I had no idea what. I toyed with many ideas. Rabbinic School.
Cantorial School (the singers in synagogues). Masters in Education. Masters in
Jewish Education. Clown School (just kidding). Master’s in Literature… that
always seemed to make the most sense, what with my undergrad in English Literature, but I had no inspiration for what I’d study in that or why.
Through a series of “coincidences,” I’d heard of Mills
College. Although well-known here in our little Bay Area enclave, I hadn’t
heard of it prior. What happened was, in about 2008, my friend in Brooklyn,
whom I’d met here in SF, started a magazine. An arts and culture journal. She
called me and asked if I’d interview a writer for the magazine who lived out here in the Bay,
and despite my lack of experience, I said sure.
Yiyun Li was working as a visiting professor at Mills
College, I found out in my research about her before our phone call. This was the first I’d heard of it. I toodled around the
website, and something somewhere in me sighed,
Yessss….
Every six months or so, I’d revisit the website. I’d never
been to the college campus (The first time I even saw the campus was orientation day!). I’d hardly ever been to Oakland. But, I’d read the
description of the English Department’s Masters’ program, and I felt …well,
like I knew. Like I knew, but dismissed, closing the browser for another six
months. That’s for other people. People who can afford to go back to school, or
who really know what they want to do.
I found a notebook recently that has scribbled notes from a
phone call with my Aunt. She’s an English professor at a university in
Virginia, and has been doing all this for a very long time. My notes are probably
from 2008 or 2009. They’re asking me to check out programs, and seek out
writers I like and see where they’re teaching. They’re asking me to take action
to help “figure out” what I want to study.
See, my above list of my options for Masters’ degrees remained.
What did I want to study? Desire and
action are two different things. Vague desire and clarity are as well.
But, at some point, all of those peekings at the Mills
website came to a head. And in the Spring of 2010, I called the English
department admissions coordinator to talk it out.
Huddled in a side office at my job, I sat on the phone with
her, and she told me about the requirements for the Masters in Literature
Program. The problem became, that I didn’t really do so hot in the last days of
my undergrad (read: Pulling a Britney), and I didn’t have any connections with
my professors from then, and I certainly didn’t have any academic papers on
hand.
I called my brother, and asked him to go through my room in
New Jersey, to see if he could find a paper of mine. He said he didn’t see
anything like that as he sifted through a few years’ of my papers and creative
writings, but that “It is obvious that you are, and have always been a writer.”
This phrase helped more than he knew. I called Stephanie at
the English Department, and as the deadline for application drew voraciously
nearer, I asked her what I should do. I asked her, then,… what were the
requirements for the MFA in Poetry Program….? (insert full body chills)
Those requirements, I had. 15-20 pages of recent poems. I
had 16. No lie. Letters of recommendation – my gorgeous and supportive women
Karen and Kristin who’d seen my evolution over a number of years and were aware
of my poetry (go Facebook). And an essay. My essay. An essay which wove
together the disparate streams of chance and circumstance and fate which
brought me to the cave of longing for a Mills’ degree – about Yiyun Li, and the
thread of creative writing through my life (thanks to Heather for that phrase),
and about a mission statement I’d heard from a friend of mine – “To use my gifts
and talents to be of maximum service to [G-d and] my fellows.” That although I
didn’t have my own mission statement yet, mine would be something like that.
It continues to be something like that.
The threads of fate conspired, faint as gossamer, lost as a
cobweb in the dark at moments. At other times, bright and obvious as the red criss-crossed string of a movie manhunt over a map. Termed as I’ve put it, “an answer to a
prayer I’d never have let myself utter,” instead of the MA in Literature, I
applied to the MFA program in Poetry, and I got in.
In my friend’s living room a few weeks after I was accepted
and in process of heading down a path I’d no idea to where, cross-legged on the floor, we wrote down all the things that we
wanted to let go of – things that had brought us to the point where we were
now, but which we believed weren’t serving us any more. To honor those
characteristics and beliefs which had been necessary ‘til then, and then to
burn them as a symbol of surrender and release of them.
So many of my “let go of” qualities were about doing it “on my own,” feeling like I needed to or had to do it alone, or that I had to figure it out.
I wrote down, “I can’t” and I burned it.
When the ceremony was at its end (“ceremony” being us
burning several strips of paper over a bowl!), we wrote down what we wanted to
take with us, as we headed out from there. On one square of blue lined paper, I wrote what I wanted to
take with me from there, to Mills, to my future, to the world as I engage it
more fully:
We Can.
change · discovery · femininity · grief · growth · love · recovery · sexuality · spirituality · vulnerability

And So, She Wakes.

As I was flipping open my Morning Pages notebook this
morning, it fell open to the back page. Written at the top was “Meditation:
Lodge Day 4.” I usually write my journeys and meditations in another
“spiritual” notebook, to keep them all together, but I couldn’t find it last
Thursday when I apparently wrote this. I’d forgotten, and it makes intensely
marvelous sense to me now, and I’m happy I stumbled upon it.
Again, bear with the “do we have to listen to another one of
these woo-woo Mollyisms”!
As you may recall, I went to my first sweat lodge last
Sunday, and we were told by the facilitator that the lodge “works” for four
days after the lodge, hence, Day 4 above. The meditation on that day, then,
went something like this:
The four characters of Beauty, Love, Sexuality, and
Femininity [I guess I didn’t write a blog about her, but a former meditation introduced my Inner Femininity to me as one anorexic and frightened looking young woman, who has been getting healthier for a few months] gathered at the lodge fire. Sexuality discarded her heavy cloak of
shame into the fire. All of the rest of “us” stood behind her – all my aspects
that sit at my internal dinner table, all my animal guides, and all my teachers
human and otherwise. Then the 4 entered the lodge, not with “me.” In the lodge,
they merged, joined, combined, and exited as one. She then purged all these
prayer bundles [little sacks of tobacco filled with prayers, tied together with
string, usually tiny, about the size of a nickel] and the last one was about
the size of a bowling ball, filled with shame. It burned brightly and a phoenix
rose up from the ashes and swam about the clearing. All the others whooped and
cheered – there was great merriment [so it says in my notebook]. She grabbed
onto the phoenix and made the whole trip back from the Santa Cruz mountains and
to my apartment where I sat meditating. And she asked me, Are you ready? And I
answered Yes. And she joined me, into me, empowers/powers me now [I write]. Am I
ready? Yes.
So, what? I realized this morning as I read over this page
that, in fact, something like this has happened. My dalliance with the married
man began the very next day. Brief and physically Rated G as the now-ended tete-a-tete was, I have not felt that kind of power, or charge, or electric in a long time.
That awake in a long time. 
I relate it to the awakening of a limb that’s long been
asleep. Suddenly it starts to tingle, which feels sorta nice, and then, more suddenly, it begins to
feel like it’s burning as it awakens. As the blood starts to rush almost anew
into this place so long cut off. You almost wish it would simply go back to sleep again – better that than this. As you know, I’ve cut off much of these parts
of me for quite some time, imagining, and having fed the story that my
sexuality, femininity, beauty, and love bring me pain, destruction,
self-hatred, and, again, shame.
So, beginning to feel the tingle of these parts of me again,
these massive alive energized parts of me, means that I’m beginning to walk with
my full self again. See, I don’t think it’s just about sex, or being a woman, I
think it’s about me being a full and entirely embodied human. About allowing
the blood, power, energy to flow into ALL of myself. And when that is allowed
to happen, well, I believe I’ll be able to take actions I haven’t been able to
take before.
I wrote a few informational interview query letters out to
networks of mine last night, and in it, I wrote a line that surprised me at its
truth. I wrote that I would, ideally, like to paint, act, sing in a band, and
facilitate workshops. So, there you have it. I now have an answer to “What do
you want to do.” Isn’t that lovely?
In fact, it is. I know that I’m still finding my way to
getting there. But having full working ability of all my limbs has been the
only way to get there. When, over the last several months I was told that I had
to work on this sex stuff before I could get “more information,” well, I think
I’m coming out of it/into it. I think I’m clearing it.
Apparently, sure, I have some work to do on how to do it
skillfully. My old habits with righteously attractive unavailable men are much
more familiar in my muscle memory – and as my muscles awaken, they seek the
familiar. (And seek to post the NIN “I wanna fuck you like an animal” on facebook!) So, it’s about owning, and holding these parts now – how to hold them
properly, and respectfully – without
fucking shame.
Finally, I realized yesterday, as I was clicking “attend” to a workshop for Shamanic Journey work, that if my professional development could
be anything, it would be this – sweat lodges, and collage parties, and shamanic
journey workshops. That my professional development ought to align with my
personal development. It makes a lot of sense to me.
Therefore, again, it’s about heading there. About allowing
myself to head there. Sure, I may need to find a job for the mean time, the in
between time, but with the full use of my faculties, with a widened and
compassionate understanding of the voraciously ambitious and pulsatingly
powerful support of my full feminine, human, creative self, with an eye for new
behavior, and with a welcome acceptance of all that I am, and want, and yearn for –
I believe that, Yes, I Am Ready.
adulthood · authenticity · band · compassion · courage · dance · discovery · letting go · life · maturity · music · performance · persistence · poetry · receiving · responsibility · self-care · singing · surrender

Pulling a Carmen: 2

When I began this blog-a-day back in November of last year,
my first post was called “Pulling a Carmen,” as I’d been reading and was encouraged by her own blog-a-day postings. In the time since, sometimes I
just find it hugely funny how parallel my path is to my fellow blogger and
friend.
For recent example:
  • I also just starting going back on to the internet dating
    scene. In fact, I have a coffee date today with someone I met on JDate
  • I too have said fuck it, and asked out a dude yesterday.
    Unfortunately, turns out he’s married, but it felt really good to do so.
  • Several of the books that are lining my desk and bedside
    table are travel books about Europe, underlining my intention to take a real
    freaking vacation some time this century.
  • And, I also rented a camera and video camera from the
    school’s A/V department to begin taking pictures again. 

Sometimes I feel awkward about our exceedingly similar
trajectories, as if I’m copying her, but the reality is that independently, we
come to these things, and then come here to write about them. It’s really
funny, and also somewhat comforting to know that there is someone who is
traveling a similar path toward “To thine own self be true.”
On that note, I went to see my friend’s band play in the city
last night, and then headed with my girlfriends to go out dancing in Oakland.
Prior to both these… we went to the Dharma Punx meditation – nothing says
spiritually fit like meditating for 40 minutes before downing coffee with an
add-shot. 😉
But to relate it to the ‘self be true’ part – each of these
are places where I want to feel more connection. I hadn’t been to see live
music in MUCH too long. It’s on my current list of “Serenity Moths” on my
refrigerator (a list of things that aren’t cataclysmic, but slowly and
subterraneaously eat away at my serenity and foundation). Yes, “Absence of live
music” is on there, and so should be “dancing.” I’m a white girl. I have no
ambition or goal to be anything but a mildly flailing Elaine Benice, but … i
love it. The absence of self, the absence of self criticism or posturing or
need to be anywhere or anything else. Lost in the music.
The band brought something else up for me. Like the
“dropping” of the whole acting bent at the beginning of this year, what I’ve dropped
more often than anything is the “being in a band” idea.
As you may know, I have 2 guitars, a bass, and a small USB plug
in keyboard. Each as dust-covered as the next. The bass amp sits as a monument
to abandoned dreams in my apartment.
Last night, watching my friend’s band, I remembered that this is
something I want to do. In fact, I’d emailed one of the guitarist’s wife about
6 or more months ago to talk to her about her own process of getting toward
singing in a band – embracing her inner teenage rock chick. If I had my … well, if I had my own back, I guess, I’d play
bass, and I’d sing. Talk about vulnerability.
This week, I stood practically naked in front of an audience
and spoke my poem into a microphone in a moderately full theater. That isn’t nearly as frightening to me as
standing in front of an audience, singing, or playing.
The truth is that for several years, I’ve been gathering information
about the whole bass playing thing. But, no, I haven’t been playing. A few
years ago, I asked a guy I knew for bass advice, and he sent me a long list of
places to start (which I didn’t pursue). About a year later, I contacted this other guy about bass
lessons (which I didn’t pursue). … And the guy I asked out yesterday is also a bass player. Apparently,
I have a thing.
Every few years, I’ll troll craigslist, and I’ll answer a
few ads for singers. I even recorded myself a little on my computer’s
Garageband to send as a sample. I got a “not a good fit, but thanks anyway” from one,
and no reply from another. And, hey, I don’t blame em. When I’m terrified, it
comes through. I don’t know. I’ve written here about it kind of frequently –
and dismissed it and been “embarrassed” by it just as often.
However, once again, the thing that occurred to me last night as I
watched my friend’s band was another case of “I want to do that” … followed by
“I can do that.” There is no one stopping me, obviously except for myself and
my fears, and that critic that says “Not good enough” and chops me off at the
knees before I start.
One thing I’m working on releasing at the moment, a pattern
and belief and behavior that is just not fucking serving me anymore, is my need
or habit to stay small.
When I was living in South Korea, my friend nicknamed me
“Ballsy Mollsy.” I had the absolute chutzpah and hubris to ask anyone anything,
go anywhere, and do pretty much whatever I felt like doing in the hedonistic
way most drunks do.
However, there is a quality of that Ballsy woman who still I am,
somewhere, and who I want to resurrect or reveal or uncover or let loose – or
even just let into the light a little tiny bit.
I find it’s happening in some ways. And I know to have
compassion for myself as I try to aim in this direction which has been a Siren
song for me (uh, no pun intended) for … oh, 15 years.
But compassion for slow progress, and acceptance of
stagnation are two different things. And I’d really like to move forward from
here.
So, for your reading pleasure, here’s a poem composed about
a year ago. Reading aloud is encouraged.  As is recalling the line “So let it be written, so let it be done.” Cheers. m.
Band Practice
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acceptance · adulthood · change · courage · discovery · forgiveness · gratitude · grief · honesty · intimacy · kindness · love · meditation · progress · recovery · sex · sexuality · sobwebs · spirituality

Somewhere New.

For several months now, I’ve been working on a particular
area of healing. For those of you who have read the “Savage Love,” then “Savage Beauty” blogs, you know that I’ve been working on healing my relationship with
my sexuality, and my past behavior and experience in this area.
This is likely going to be a little heavy – for which I’m
not thrilled, but I’m honest – so if that’s not what you want today, I’m sure Cyanide
& Happiness
will provide some levity
today.
On my way back from the sweat lodge this Sunday, I was riding
with my friend who was running the lodge. I told her that earlier this year,
and late last year, each time I’d “go in” via meditation or shamanic journey
work to ask what I need to do next to move forward, I was presented with the information
that I needed to work on this stuff – sexual trauma and other murky stuff. I have been. Working
with my therapist on EMDR for a little bit (though I’m not seeing her
currently, due to finances), and in these other more alternative ways.
And most of all, through my thesis.
Basically what my thesis trails is a path through my sexual
history. That story parallels my mental breakdown, and my parents’ divorce, but really,
what is being excavated and brought into the light is all of that. The
“highlights” or representative incidents.
Over ages 16 through 24 (a little earlier than 16, but
that’s when it really took off with a very chicken-or-egg tag team with my drinking), is a napalm blanket of sorrow, shame, and
dissociation. When riding in the car with my friend on Sunday, I said to her
that I hadn’t “been in” to ask for a while if I’m “done” with this particular
set of work or not, and wondered if maybe I was, but/and as I found out a little this morning, there are still
some corners left to sweep.
I am grateful that I had the courage to put all of what I
needed to onto paper in my thesis. But, I’m also aware that it goes much deeper
and further than the stark, strobe-like glimpses that I give you, the reader.
And this morning, in meditation, I began to psychicly clear out some of the
cobwebs. (I just accidentally wrote “sobwebs,” which I suppose is pretty accurate
for this morning.)
In fact, I did something pretty literal to sweeping out – in my mind’s
eye, I walked through and into all those situations I remember, and
unfortunately or not, I remember quite a lot quite vividly apparently — more
than I thought I did. I walked through these times and places, into these
couplings and actions, and burned sage there. I carried this sage through all
the circumstances I could remember, and asked them to be cleared of any energy
which is no longer needed.
There are the few where there was kindness,
and the kindness will remain, but there are the many that were out of a sense of obligation, or resignation, or force; or just wanting to feel better; or just wanting to feel anything other than what
I felt. There are those that are truly tragic, and require some extra doses of
compassion and witness, instead of repression.
I don’t know what may or not come of this work this morning.
It was sort of “unbidden;” I didn’t have the intention as I closed my eyes for
meditation this morning to do any of that – but I guess the Powers That Be had
that intention for me, anyway.
One thing I asked for aloud in the prayer circle in Sunday’s
sweat lodge during the final prayer round – the one where we get to pray for
ourselves, out loud so others know what we need – I prayed for healing around
physical intimacy. And that’s where the majority of my tears came on Sunday. My
relationship with my body, my femininity, sexuality, sex, intimacy, being
present in my body when being intimate – all of this needs healing. I’d still
rather hide within my body – offer you it, but not what’s inside it; assume
it’s really all you want from me anyway, so I might as well just give you only
that out of spite – even if you in fact want more. But, hiding within myself doesn’t work
anymore. Beating myself out of my body – or having someone do it for me – doesn’t work anymore. Not being present
is painful now. And not voicing my physical needs to a partner is another way of hiding.
I don’t really know what to do about it yet. I know that I
don’t do what I used to. But I feel like I’ve swung to the opposite side of the
spectrum – from the vixen to Betty Crocker, as I’ve put it. But I know opening
these doors, clearing these wounds, being willing to treat my flesh with care,
and being willing to meet all of you with all of me are mile-markers of
progress.
I’d like to be done with this work. I’d like to declare
myself fit for duty. Maybe it’ll always be an ongoing process, maybe it’ll come
to a place of plateau. I don’t know. But apparently I’m ready to clear the
sobwebs, and arrive at somewhere new.