“…I’m a (wo)man whose tragedies have been replaced, with memories tattooed upon my soul…”

Because I'm deep in the depths of my other writing, my writing to, and about, Chester, and cancer, but my thoughts, and heart, betray me so often I can't focus, there is this. Other thoughts that aren't those. They are all here, HERE, in my soul and my fingertips, the words I want to finish,  which I've been writing for almost a week. Today though, I've been riding the waves of memories from ages ago, tinged by anger, and hurt, or something, of right now, but I have to say something. Something… Because the other writing is as much about me as it is about him, and suicide, and depression, and cancer. But this one is about me, as I relate to him, and just me. And Liz Gilbert. (Eat Pray Love) And I don't know why I'm writing it, just that I'm supposed to.

This is not a cry for help blog. This is not an "I'm in a scary depressed place" writing. Because by the grace of what the fuck ever it is, as much as I am some insane mix of angry and sad right now, and clearly dancing with expansion that has left me exhausted I'm OK. I mean, I'm often these last few days on autopilot, and I would LOVE for now to be the moment of melting into the arms of the one I trust implicitly, who trusts me implicitly, and to just let go. (There, I said it, I SAID IT. I'd shout it from rooftops. If I could. Because as much as I'm scared to say I want {translation: need} that hug, I'm not scared to feel it at all, anymore. Mostly not scared. OK, sometimes a little scared but also, not. Fuck. Note to self: finish clearing fear of saying I need that hug, and of actually needing hug, etc.)

There's some sort of irony in the timing when need might be said (more than once) but… reality makes it not really possible to say. C'est la vie. I trust there is a reason to the timing of it all. Maybe now is a time for me to lean in, more than to lean on. Except I do know I'm not alone. That it is inherently impossible for me to ever be alone.

These things that I am going to say next are being "spoken" into smoke to lift them, carry them away, as they are what has been but does not still need to be. I will phrase them in the present tense as in this moment while I am writing, they to some degree still exist as my truth.

I have abandonment issues. Big fat the size of the Milky Way (galaxy, not candy bar, in case you weren't sure) abandonment issues. These stem from boringly typical, and fuckeduply atypical, events throughout the course of my life.

I have trust issues. Whatever is bigger than the Milky Way, (galaxy) is the size of my trust issues. I believe in the best of people. That people are inherently good. My half a hippy wants to bounce across the earth giving hugs, and cupcakes (except cupcakes with their processed flour, and sugar really aren't good for you, so that's kind of not a nice thing to give. But how lame would it be to give, like, celery, or cheese, which are actually better for you? I mean, I LOVE cheese, but, cupcake trumps cheese most of the time.) I will absolutely trust everyone, right until they give me reason to not. Or right up until I start to look for a reason to not. To look for, and find, the teeth that fit the scars, and then say the teeth came before the scars. And it's not just a male/female relationship trust issue thing, BTWs. I can not trust you irrespective of your gender. To not hold my past against anyone continues to be my quest.

My mind, if too much time is spent by me, alone in it, is a bad neighborhood. (I've stolen that from Chester, yes I have!) I over think, I over analyze, I "should" on myself, and have been known to spend entirely too much time looking over my shoulder, or into a figurative crystal ball trying to catch a glimpse of tomorrows. I have been prone to a melancholy I did not understand. I doubt my appearance, my intelligence, my worth, and second guess myself, a lot.

I have a fear that if I don't say everything I need to say RIGHT NOW, I will not have the chance to say it. I believe this stems in large part from ~ went to visit for a weekend, dude I was dating, who lived in another state. When time came for me to go home I said to him, in tears, "I'm afraid I'll never see you again." (Random, melodramatic, and clingy much, 19 year old Michelle?) He said "of course we'll see each other again, we have too much fun when we're together, to not." The following weekend I had a brief phone conversation with him. He said he was going to go for a ride on his motorcycle. He wrecked his bike. His injuries were catastrophic. I never saw him again. Each of his friends thought the other had called me to tell me. It was 5 days after his passing when I called to speak to him, and was told what had happened. So not random, melodramatic, or clingy, at all. I could genuinely have anxiety on the daily out of fear of losing someone I love, and not getting to tell them I love them, in general, or one last time. This is compounded by fear of something happening, and no one calling me to tell me.  So I often say too much, and its never enough.

I've made an art form of self-sabotage. Frequently because of attempting to fit into the boxes others think I should be in. As soon as I acquiesce and climb in, I start fucking things up, left, right and center, in a form of futile protest, as the only damage done is to myself. I can pinpoint every reason I have this tasty little habit, but, meh. Is it when I'm happy too, Chester? (Because he said of himself that he is {was. fuck.} never content, even when happy.)

As I re-read, I can say in all honesty, a lot of the above have decidedly been more my truths in my past than any time recently. But as they each have presented themselves to me tonight, they got included. Many of them find their origin in molestation when I was 7. I only mention it as it is one of the things Chester, and I, share as a commonality. Part of why I GET everything he said, in every interview I've seen, when he's spoken of his depression and where it has taken him.

*Cue smoke into which they will float away*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I listened to a brilliant Ted Talk given by Liz Gilbert titled "Your Elusive Creative Genius." Only 20 minutes long, but, a game changer if you choose to hear what it says. As it relates to me, to Chester, to Chris Cornell, and too all of the other ridiculously talented creative feelers I have ever known, what I HEARD above all was (screen captured 'cause I couldn't copy/paste)

liz

This proved to me once and for all that she is my hero, and possibly my spirit animal. Because I have spent YEARS thinking about WHY so many of my creative lovelies, are so fucked up. But more than that, seem to almost wear it like a badge of honor. "I'm starving for my art." Well, go you! You go right ahead and be that stereotype. Imma be over here, trying to create something, and also, eating. Since you'd rather starve, I'll eat your portion too. You've seen my ass, right?

In all seriousness though, in the years I was working with bands, and in my interactions with artists, always, I have had a very clear train of thought, that starving for one's art, literally and as a euphemism for a bunch of other dumb shit we do because we are "arteests" and sensitive, isn't really cool. Or fun. Or interesting. Also, its been done, to death. Literally. Irrespective of at a point being the girlfriend in the "what do you call a musician without a girlfriend? – homeless" joke, I always ALWAYS walked away from working with those bands who by choice were starving artists. Music was too important to me, people were too important to me, to do either the disservice of saying "Yeah, sure I'll watch you be your own worst enemy, in the name of creating art." My standard line, which was never just a line, but really IS the song of my soul, "keep pursuing your dream, while taking care of reality." Read: get a mother f'n J.O.B. if ya got to, so ya not living in your momma's basement, while you're trying to be the next (Chester Bennington.) Don't be a drug addict while thinking its cool to be a drug addict, because its not. If you accidentally become a drug addict, don't decide it's cool. No judgement. I've got that t-shirt. But heroin chic, is not.

I am not saying that Chester did anything he did, ever, much less at the end, because of the paradigm of the tortured artist. I do not assume to know what was in his head, and heart at any moment in time, less the time he told me exactly what was in his head and heart. (Which is part of another blog, and of a blog to come.) What I am however saying is, perhaps as a group, we should stop accepting that this is who we must be. How we must be. I understand, with a capital UNDERSTAND, how that may not be easy, because we do FEEL, so deeply, so everything, and because when I was in my darkest, most horrible place, I might have told someone attempting to shine a light in, to get fucked. But maybe if we shine a different light on it, each for ourselves, which will then affect the group of us, maybe it will help a little, until it helps a lot? Maybe if we nurture the tiny ridiculously talented creative feelers while they are still tiny, instead of discouraging their dreams, it'll be a preemptive strike but in a good way.

As I see it, Chester did not "go gently into that goodnight." No matter how that goodnight came about. I believe that Chester with every ounce of his energy worked to shift what needed shifting, inside himself. For himself. For EVERYONE. He put his life into his lyrics, in the most raw, and vulnerable of ways. He furthered his transparency by speaking candidly, and frequently about his hurts, and fucked-upnesses. I know many people are watching his interviews and posting them as his alleged cry for help. I think that's absolute shit. I think he was just being his honest self because he knew on some level that to be so would help him, and others. So maybe we can shift that too. Speaking about what hurts, or sucks, doesn't mean you're crying for help, or crying at all. Maybe its just that you know it is the right thing to do, for yourself, for others. Perspective baby. Get some. See where yours takes you. Might not be the same place I go, and that's cool.

Why I put myself so fully onto these "pages"is a combination of my NEED to create a something, joined with my NEED to work through my shit, and my HOPE that maybe my words will give a someone the tiniest something when they need it most. Even if its just because they read what I write about myself and think "this bitch is CRAZY, and I am absolutely NOT" right when they need to think they aren't crazy. Maybe in me they will find a kindred, and feel not so alone, even if they never speak to me. Or maybe they will reach out to me, as some have, and say, "You have been where I am right now, you are giving me hope that I will able to be happy again, someday." And I'll have a new friend, and so will they. THAT is what it is all about, really. Touching lives. Experiences. Making a difference. Helping others. And not being afraid to show our crazy, while also being happy, and creating.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

To Liz Gilbert, thank you for being so wise, and bad ass, and inspirational. Please don't ever stop writing. I mean, unless you want to. Also, tons of love to you, and your Rayya.

Thank you to those who today helped me to walk through the mini fire that popped up. I am so very grateful.

http://wp.me/p6f5rK-1FEChester, your thank you is in another writing. But also in my heart, which I know you know.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Title is an excerpt from "Into You" by Dead By Sunrise

Your Elusive Creative Genius – Liz Gilbert

 

 

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Thank You For Not Being My Hero

Its important to say from the start, this is not a feminist “I don’t need no mans to save me” something. Mostly because I’m not a feminist. But also, I don’t need no mans to save me. Or womans. Or even a priest or minister, although I am sure there are those who will beg to differ, but that ship sailed when I was 6 so, get over it already! Also this is not a “be your own hero” thing. I dig the vibe that is trying to put out, but, that’s not what this is about.

These words have been trying to come out for days, have been partially written for days, as I’ve again, still, been walking, or sometimes what has felt like crawling, through so much that I don’t understand. The things that make me feel crazy, which also make me feel not crazy, that I in some moments fight,then surrender to, when I’m not contemplating running, or crying; with gratitude, or because so much feels like SO MUCH!

I keep it mostly inside because as much as I am pretty flexible about certainty these days, I feel pretty certain that all of what I am being brought to, or that is being brought to me, is a solo journey, except not really, because that is inherently impossible. More its about rolling around in what my intuition says, and what my truth is, rather than seeking counsel from “experts” or friends, or some random dude. Which that one, the random dude one, would be not really about the counsel thing, but more about an attempt to forget the everything, and to fake take away the lonely that sometimes creeps in. For as much as it is a quasi-solo journey though, it couldn’t possibly be any less about me.

If ever you (whomever you are, reading this) aspire to feel like a crazy dumb ass, have a “spiritual awakening” or whatever name is appropriate based on your particular flavor of beliefs. Then try typing those words, about yourself and see if you either laugh at yourself, or think ‘what in the actual fuck is occurring, because I don’t say shit like that!’ Especially if you weren’t ever spiritually “closed” nor were you seeking any sort of opening thing. And also if you roll your eyes every time you read the words “spiritual awakening” because it sounds so cheesy/pretentious, when you think it relates to you, you’ll feel like a crazy dumb ass, who a little bit wants to punch themselves for sounding like an idiot.

Maybe part of my “mission” will be to come up with a less stupid sounding expression for what I’m feeling/doing/have happening to me/I am happening to. Ascension is another frequently used term, but I don’t vibe with that either. It reminds me of Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, and Bible stories. All I know is, some crazy (cool) somethung is going down inside me/around me/in every version of me, and has been since last November. Well, really long before then, as I can pinpoint other dates that  parts of this journey started (continued) in this lifetime. But in November I had some sort of “quickening” like in Highlander. Except there can’t be only one, and while I often feel as if my head has fallen off, I’m pretty certain no hot Scottish dude is going to show up with his broadsword to chop it off anytime soon. I mean, hot British dude always  welcome. Chopping off of head, not so much.

To quote  (again, as I’ve used it in a previous blog) a brilliant line from Marianne Williamson “we are the ones that we have been waiting for”  and in thinking of a story also recounted in another blog, told by Denise Linn, from the Elders of Native American tribes, those who sacrificed themselves lifetimes ago, for a moment in the future/some other time, in which they were needed, are returning because that moment is now. And no matter how nuts I feel sometimes, no matter that “this”  and elements of it, triggers me, challenges me, causes me to dig so deeply into everything I think I know about myself, and my beliefs, in moments I feel raw, I’m all “game on” about this path.

If none of that blabber appears to have anything to do with the title, it really, actually does. So I’ll say it again; Thank You for Not Being My Hero.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many times where all I want is to be wrapped in arms I trust, and to just let gooooo. To not have to be in charge of anything, or worry about anything, or think about anything, for even just a minute.  And this isn’t a “Jesus take the wheel” (haha) thing I’m saying, I mean literal arms. Man arms. Preferably attached to a man. I’d love to just melt into the someone I trust implicitly, who trusts me the same. Chick arms are cool too, for hugs, or cuddling sometimes, but just not the same. Still though, I don’t want to be saved. Or rescued. 

I just FINALLY dipped out of the part of my life where “victim” was the brand I was “supposed” to wear. Victim is more itchy against my skin than cheap wool, uglier than polyester from the 70’s, and more constricting than Spanx. I don’t want to wear that ever again, even in the arms of one supposedly rescuing me from it. Bleh. 

So to my not heroes I need to say, thank you for not trying to swoop in, scoop me up, and “oh poor you-ing” me,  to the point I’d start to think “oh poor me” also. Thank you for instead of trying to make my boo boos all better, giving me your time, your moments, your humor, and your ear. Also, your voice, your opinions, your ideas, and thoughts, without insisting or even suggesting, that I make them mine, as they (my boo boos) healed on their own. 

Thank you for not spouting platitudes that would have annoyed the fuck out of me, but instead, sharing photos, quotes, stories, poetry, or music, meant to comfort me, make me laugh, distract me, or bring me to a warm, and fuzzy place.

Thank you for being whole enough in and of yourself, that you see me as, in and of myself, whole enough to be able to navigate everything I needed to navigate, until I saw myself as that whole, too.  And for patience, as I, like a Rottweiler puppy who has reached full size, am still a clumsy as hell, not having yet fully grown into myself, trip over my own feet while excitedly running through the world, and slip on the hardwood floor  because I’m just too busy wagging my tail to notice anything else going on.  But really, the growth spurt was fast, and my inside is still playing catch up with my “outside” so, thanks also for the patience when I jump on you because I’m just so happy to see you. I’ll grow out of it. Not the happy to see you thing, the having no chill thing.

Thank you for not trying to patch the holes of my insecurities you did not create, with whatever it would be that could fill them for a moment, but instead just BEING, as I remember I don’t need the insecurities. And for kissing my wounds, while not seeing them as disasters in my soul, but cracks in which to put your love (Paraphrased/bastardized from Emery Allen) while making no attempt to fix them, either. 

Also thank you for knowing I want you but don’t “need” you.  (Except sometimes. Shhh, don’t tell.) But also for not NEEDING me, but wanting me too. Thank you for being in your own ways, a brilliant shiny example to be followed, by me, by others, in our own way. 

Thank you most of all for the trust. In its defying of explanation, it is probably the most clearly ‘exactly as it is supposed to be’ thing I’ve ever known.

If you think that this might in part be for or about you, it probably is, because there is more than one not hero. And not heroes aren’t just boys, which still isn’t feminism but is fact.  There is also though, one SUPER not hero? Not SUPER hero? Whatever. One who has, by happenstance, which is more likely part of a “divine plan” not just held the mirror, but is the mirror, that has allowed me to see the possibility of all, to paraphrase myself. 

To each of you, but most of all to YOU, I send my endless gratitude and love. You’re the most amazing not heros any girl could ever have! Thank you for not thinking me crazy. Or liking my flavor of crazy. Whichever works best for you. And at least one of you is going to one day, when I write a book, which will then be made into a movie, in which my not heros will be featured,  end up wearing some skin tight something or other, irrespective of your not hero status, just because it will be fun. 

Floating Around With My Head In The Clouds

An alternate title could be “Jesus Christ Michelle, shut the fuck up already.” But I’d hate to offend anyone. Which is a lie because if you’re offended by my use of those words strung together, 200% truth is you should never read what I write. Unless you enjoy being offended. In which case, you’re more fucked up than me. (More fucked up than I? It’s 430 AM I don’t know which is correct.)

The thing is, I can’t say enough, I don’t have the answers to anything. I used to think I had some answers, which as it turns out were mostly based on what others told me the answers were. And were wrong.

From where I lay right now, which is to say in a home so new to me, as I bleary eyed stumbled to find the bathroom as the rude Restless Soul Syndrome woke me again, I wasn’t sure which way to turn outside my bedroom door, I know less than I used to. I can’t recall in which kitchen cupboard I put what. (Other than those which make logical sense. Do not make me verbally slap you because you don’t know that your dishes should go in the top cupboard closest to the dishwasher!) Outside my apartment, I don’t know where a grocery store is, or gas station, or how to get to the closest Wawa. (If you don’t know Jersey you don’t know Wawa, and I’m sad for you.)

For reasons that have little to do with being severely directionally impaired, I can’t drive to my new job without using my Waze app. Once I am at work at least twice a day I make an ass of myself wandering the halls in search of a restroom, or breakroom, I’d been to earlier. Thankfully I know the industry I’ve gone back into, and learn new software easily, but otherwise most of my days are spent learning things new to me.

I think it’s fair to say that, inside and out, 75% of me, and my life, has 100% changed in the last year. Which is great given the shit show my life had in many ways been for too long. Certainly I’m used to change with my life of permanent impermanence that to others has made me appear unstable, or irresponsible, or flakey, but these changes have been BIG. And I’m not talking geography here.

There are very few immutable truths I’ve held much of my life, those being; my kids before all else, which also means me letting them go to be who they are. If I had to choose between never hearing music again or never having sex again, I’d give up sex. (But also fuck that Sophie’s choice! It’s just to illustrate a point!) For me, blood is NOT thicker than water, and it doesn’t make me an asshole to believe this. I would have traded big boobs, and a big ass, to be a Ballerina. Most forms of math I was forced to learn in school were useless in real life, like I said they’d be! And I fit in everywhere, and also, nowhere, and I’m cool with it.

Also immutable (except those years it wasn’t) is that I’m just, me, and I actually do love me (again  now).  I’ll speak my mind clearly, other than when I stumble over my words because there isn’t (or is) eye contact. Part of me is also about struggling with when to speak, and when to not. Like, timing is everything, but there’s no time like the present. Except maybe my present being the “no time like” isn’t the same as that of someone else. Maybe their puppy is sick and they don’t have the capacity to hear my ramble. And I forget that sometimes.

So right now expansion is happening rapid fire.  Things I didn’t ask for, hope for, dream of, or even know existed, seem to be the foundation upon which I was built, but didn’t realize it until ideas found me, and said “don’t worry baby, you’re not crazy, or a bad person.” And there’s a limited audience whom I sought out to support the “not crazy or bad” thing, cause they’ve been where I (think) I am, who may get this, if it is what is, with whom I can discuss the parts of it which can be discussed. 

But for as much as it makes sense, it’s also scary if I let it be scary, and lonely until it’s not,  and in a run away as fast as you can, sort of way. Where I want to look around and be all Jersey girl and say, “fuck outta here wit dis bullshit, have you MET me? Why would I be a fitting person for this role?” But I feel like I’ve gotten a “this is your mission and you can’t not accept it” note. 

Even if I’m reading a million signs wrong, the direction I’m headed is the same irrespective of who is along for the ride, and it’s good! I will always have to be at least ok, no matter who is coming along. 

So while I still don’t have answers I now at least feel like I get myself, and my life, a bit more. Permanent impermanence has been on purpose to allow me freedom (just another word for, nothing left to lose) and flexibility of sorts. A constant quest for deeper truths without blind faith in anything or one, has allowed me to REALLY find my truths. (Work in progress)

And for those who may wonder or may need to know, each step I am making is made with integrity, love (global and specific) like I’ve never known, and highest good for all as it’s driving forces. My focus is inside me, healing my me, raising my vibration, and watching for the synchronicities as a (beloved) friend has helped me to remember to do.

So all this being said, I’m tired AF, and it’s time to get up for work. Also, I need a break from my own head, from deep thoughts and emotions that come with rapid fire transformation. I need to go out and play, to shake my ass (dance!) hear the ocean. Sometimes too, I just need to shut the fuck up, like right now.

On Being (Sleep Deprived) Light 

Long before I’d had even a glimmer of understanding of the enormity of everything that is still not, but never wasn’t, so therefore is (And to think Jean-Luc once accused me of pedantry!) there was for me, light. That which illuminated. That which is the antithesis of cumbersome/heavy. Light.

Irrespective of the place in which I am for this time, which is in shadow, and maybe I, as has often been the case in life, have it all wrong, but I think it’s now my turn. To lilluminate. To be what isn’t heavy. So from my place in shadow, I’ll be the light. Shining into places that appear scary, but really are not. Making it easier to traverse the road (less traveled) ahead. Being a cosmic cheerleader for those who need it, encouraging them to leave behind the heavy, the cumbersome, the past. 

Written from my bed again, in a night of sleep that has come in drips, and drops, after an evening of fighting everything inside me that feels overwhelmed by a call to trust in some sort of greater plan, and to trust in general. Fighting to transmute thoughts and feelings and energy which doesn’t serve me. Fighting to overcome the sadness of not being where I want to be, where I thought I’d be, tonight, tomorrow, next week. Fighting to believe loneliness won’t be forever. For whatever it means, I’ll be the light. 

There’s some sort of irony in typing this right now, into my phone, in a room with only just now the slightest hint of sunlight peeking through the blinds, without my glasses as I’d planned to sleep tonight, not write,  as with so much else in my life, just feeling my way through, and hoping I get at least most of it right. But also a little bit saying fuck it, if there are tiny mistakes, at least I wrote the thing, instead of just letting it sit untouched in the back of my mind. 

You Were Written Into The Song Of My Soul

Maybe laying here in my bed, typing this into my phone, the words bubbling once again below the surface will find their way to light, in a way they were reluctant to do when it was the couch, and the laptop, and me.

There’s a whirlwind now, circling around me. Everything is changing, inside, and out, and its brilliant, and beautiful, and I’m peacefully overwhelmed. Because I wrote maybe I need to shed skin again, and God, Universe, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, whatever,  responded with “get naked, baby!” So naked I am, in the whirlwind, at peace, overwhelmed, but not. No need to be in control of any of it, but also in control of it all because; manifestation.

And it never looks like I think it will but always looks like what I wish I’d dreamed it to be, now that I let go of what it is, or will be, and just let go. With tears of unknown origin once again finding their way to me, this time I’m not on my knees, or even surprised. This time I’m grateful. Each tear that clings to a lash, reluctant to fall, or makes its way out amongst a rush of it’s peers, is a spontaneous ritual of purification. Is a signifier simultaneously of a closure, and a further opening.

Absent all fear, the step forward, upward, sideways, whatever it’s meant to be, leaves behind another footprint in memory’s past. And I have no more answers to questions than I had when I finally chose myself that day 7 months ago, except so much now makes sense.

Whether it is a matter of heightened awareness or a quantitative rise in frequency/frequency of occurrences, synchronicities abound. And what I need when I need it, words or actions or phone calls or songs or love, reach for me, take hold of me, assure me here is where I’m meant to be. Here where I have the most incredible people in my life. And where magic(k) is everywhere.

I’m still just half a hippy, (the half that will always be well groomed, and never wear patchouli) but in my halfness I am (holy) fully in a place of knowing love more deeply, more intimately, than in any time (in this lifetime) before now.  Love generally love specifically love globally. Starting with me, for me, for both halves (still really both wholes) of me, and with love for all, even those I maybe don’t like, or for whom my first thought isn’t loving, there is love.

Where once I thought a mirror was held before me I’ve come to understand there is no mirror held but is simply a mirror. My mirror into which I reflect back as it’s mirror.  Ideas about, and descriptors of,  history lessons, and titles, none of that matters. Tomorrow, or next week or 2 months from now, it just is. (Everything of light, and bright, and cool)

This is all about me,  but it can never be just for me. While naked 11 (which is not the same naked as skin shedding naked) may appear to be some days a default setting, the absolute truth hovers more around (veiled? robed?) 8 or whatever number below 10 best expresses authenticity & transparency with some (tiny amount of) reserve, except when expressed as frequency (Hz) which makes the number at least 500.  And isn’t about appearance, and only meaningful to those (one) who hear(s) what it/I say(s).

7 months in the past and 15 days into the future are significant, but right here, and now, is where I work to stay.

—–

Fell asleep at 3:00AM, phone in hand, typing. I guess this is the place at which the words stop.

To Elizabeth Gilbert and her Rayya Elias

My Dearest Elizabeth & Rayya,

When I first read the story of your love, of your relationship, I judged you. Not because you’re both women, to that I pay no mind. But because Elizabeth was married. Because she hurt at least one other person, to be with another person. Vows, and promises, and all that we’re supposed to hold sacred. I actually thought you were given a pass BECAUSE you’re both women. I thought if Elizabeth had declared her love for another man, she’d have been labeled a cheating whore, at best. But because it was another woman she fell (or realized she was) in love with, a woman with terminal cancer no less, passes were given.

But not by me. I judged. Because I am after all, perfect. Especially where love is concerned. In particular at that point in my life, where I was very much in the depths of being a hot fucking mess, clutching the pieces of my (repeatedly) shattered heart, because my (abusive, cheating) then husband, had a side piece. Again. But there I was busy being all perfect, and judgey, about you, your love, and your relationship. You, meanwhile, were busy living your lives, and sharing love. Clearly I had the upper hand in things.

Maybe I should have prefaced the formal announcement of my judginess with words about how you, Elizabeth, were a hero of sorts to me. When I read “Eat, Pray, Love” (the first of a thousand times) all I could think was “woah, I want to be as cool, and courageous, as her.” Beside the fact that you were writing as a profession, and funny, interesting, easy to read, but with real depth, writing, and traveling while doing the writing, you were also eating ALL the yumminess in Italy. Then being all one with Shiva, and Shakti or Ganesh or whomever, in India (OK, it took a minute for you to get there… I know! But you got there!) Then you went to Bali, and for hells sake, its Bali!! But also, love happened then. Oh how I wanted to be you! Also too, JULIA FUCKING ROBERTS played you in the movie based on your life, and book!! Amazing!

I don’t remember how long after EPL, came your book “Committed.” Such a different tone, but I marveled at the depth of it. All of the research you did, not just in books, but experientially, and conversationally, whatever it took to help you get to your personal truth, to walk through your biggest fears, and to deal with the curve ball life had thrown you, was amazing. Again, while writing, while traveling, while loving, and being loved.

Some of what you’d found in your research really dug deep in me, taught me history and traditions I’d never heard of. Also, it got me thinking about my personal truths around relationships. I’m a weirdo who digs learning, and thinking, and introspection. Your books brought me all those things because you’re cool! And then you got married to your Bali love. YAY!! Could I just BE you already?

By this point my then marriage had absolutely fallen apart, to put it mildly. Not that I was getting divorced. Oh hell no. My marriage was a horse that I was bound, and determined to beat to DEATH. Then give it CPR to bring it back. Then beat it to death, again.  More than ever, I wanted to be you. Eating, and Praying, and Loving, and traveling, and writing.

September 2016 when you posted about no longer apologizing for your feelings, a month after I’d found out about my then husband’s (newest) side piece, and having either not come forward yet about the abuse in my marriage, or having done so only to a couple of people, when I read about you, and Rayya, and your divorcing to be with  her, I was disappointed in you young lady! I was angry. I felt betrayed. How dare my heroine fall from the pedestal upon which she’d never chosen to sit. The pedestal where I’d placed her, and love, and commitment.

I a little bit broke up with you then.  Not the way I broke up with Shonda Rhimes when she killed off McDreamy, and I refused then, and now, to watch her shows. I still buy your books. But a little bit, we stopped being a thing then, you and I. I’m sure you felt it. I’m sure you being a public figure with a huge following, in a new love, with a woman with terminal cancer, and very full life in general, felt my disapproval from where I live in central Jersey.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, and I definitely don’t know how, or what might have been the events leading to it, but, sometime in October, I, to quote you Elizabeth, got tired of my own bullshit. Or at least started to. It didn’t have to do with the 2 of you. I’m not really sure what it had to do with. Maybe I got bored of spinning around on the nail in my foot. I’ve figured out that I have to stop trying to figure out what it was that caused the shift for me, but, a shift there was. I started to let go of my pain, and to remember to love myself again. And that I was (am) worth loving.

But it was in early November when the change really happened. When I opened myself, to myself, remembered who I am, what I believe, what I feel, and let go of a lot of crap that had been weighing me down for more years than I care to admit. Through a series of events, and choices, and some REALLY unexpected gorgeousness, my thoughts were, at least in part, turned to love. And when I say love, I mean, LOVE. Big, huge, glorious, take your breath away while breathing life into you, LOVE. Self love. Love for others. Friendship love. Global love. Just, love. Which brought me back around to the 2 of you, and your LOVE, and your relationship. And how I’d been Judgey McJudgerson about it, and was wrong for having been.

In moving away from the bat shit crazy woman I’d become in the last few years of my marriage, and closer to the me I’ve always really been, I remembered that, beside the fact that how you live your life is none of my business, love is what is most important. YES, there was at least one person who was no doubt hurt as a result of your having realized your love, your IN LOVE, for Rayya, but had you chosen to stay with him, instead of allowing your love for her be known, you wouldn’t have loved her any less. You wouldn’t have been living as your “authentic self” which is a buzz phrase I hate, but suited to this moment. It likely would have affected him in negative ways, too. 

Also, sometimes love comes from very unexpected places, with timing and circumstances you’d never have dreamed possible. When that love becomes in love, as yours did, I can just imagine how overwhelmingly beautiful that feels. How right, real, and meant to be. How impossible to deny. Especially when you know time is short. 

I don’t think there was a right or wrong choice in your situation, because to each his or her own, but I think you, Elizabeth, made a choice that was brave as fuck.  You knew there would be people like me, who judged you. Some people who judged you were probably publicly mean, and terrible to you about it. (As opposed to me just silently shunning you, from a distance.) Because you live your life in the public eye, and because you wrote the book on your love, and marriage, well, I can’t even imagine what might have been the mental process for you. The emotional process. 

In leaving your marriage you likely left what was comfort, and security, and love, for a love larger than all of that. And to have whatever time you are able to, with Rayya, out loud, in public because your life sort of demands it, and unapologetically, because your love just IS.

When I read 2 days ago of the ceremony you had to celebrate your love, and understanding that you probably don’t know how much time Rayya has left here, the words “does sometimes love come too late” crossed my mind. I immediately answered my own question with, shut up Michelle, because it’s never too late for love. 

Then I got sad for a minute, knowing  your time is relatively short. But that’s sort of silly because you may not have as much time together here as you would like to have, but you have an IN LOVE that many people don’t EVER have. An IN LOVE that I hope to be lucky enough to myself know in this lifetime. And really, that’s the antithesis of sad. 

I’m sure you, Elizabeth, want to know, are BURNING to know, that we’re back to being a thing now. I mean, I know you’re all in love with Rayya, and we’ve never actually met, and I don’t mean it “that way” anyway. But you are a heroine of mine, again. A really human, really “normal”, really just taking life as it comes, and working on your stuff so you can make your way through it as best possible, heroine. You’re brave, and honest, and courageous. I can only hope that I am as gracious, and graceful, and just damn funny, as you, if the really difficult stuff comes my way again. 

I thank you for all the valuable lessons you’ve taught to me, all you’ve helped me to learn, how you’ve helped me to take a deeper look at myself, a deeper look at love, simply by being you, and living your truth. Thank you for reminding me that love is love is love, and helping to reopen my heart to it, no matter what it looks like. No matter if the timing is “off”, and the situation not what would be called ideal. 

To you, and your brilliant Rayya, I’m sorry I judged. I send my love, my light, and my hopes that you get as much time as possible, and then some, together, to share your in love, in this time, and place.

And to Rayya, I can’t begin to know what you in particular are feeling right now. But I’m so happy for you that you have this love to hold you when you need it most. May angels, or whatever comforts you most, wrap themselves around you, now and always. 

All my Love,

Michelle from  8A off the turnpike

 


As a very important PS to anyone who may read this: Please don’t read into what I’ve written. IF you think this is about you, directed toward you, referencing you, unless you’re Elizabeth, Rayya, my ex-husband, (who I’m loathe to mention because my past is really behind me, and its just a history lesson now,  but is indeed part of the history of me) or me, its none of those. Although I did sort of quote a (beloved) someone, if you read this, you’ll know that one thing is you.  And also the other thing you played a part in. But other than that, this isn’t about anyone else’s lives. 

Please don’t think I mean its OK to bang random people if you’re married or in a committed relationship. Random sex isn’t IN LOVE. I mean, if you want to do that, its not my life, just don’t think that I’m all “woo hoo” about it. (As if my opinion matters.) Please also don’t think I feel that one should be keeping their eyes open for greener pastures. Or other pastures. But sometimes pastures make their way to you, or you’ll accidentally come across one.  Also, if one finds new love, but chooses to stay with known love, that is their business, their right, their life. Same same with choosing new love.

To anyone who doesn’t know who Elizabeth and Rayya are, and want to, links below to Elizabeth’s Facebook page.

And also, to quote Ed Sheeran

“…People fall in love in mysterious ways. Maybe its all part of a plan…”

Mt. Michelle – revisited

I came across all of my old blogs from when Myspace used to be “a thing” and I’d write all the time. This blog, circa 2004, was inspired by a PM sent to me via the motorcycle forum to which I used to belong. In case that doesn’t make sense in 2017, the motorcycle forum was a message board. A place where like-minded individuals would gather, virtually, to discuss their common interests. In this case, it was motorcycles, (duh) and the riding of them. Or in my case, passengering on them. But, REALLY passengering. At 120 miles per hour sometimes, leaning so deep into curves, our knees almost touched the ground, and for hundreds of miles at a time.

From Myspace:

Me:  He sees my photos, he reads the words I write, (not here, elsewhere) has limited one to one email interaction with me, and based on these things he says I’m like nitroglycerine…. I’m not sure why he started to write to me, but here is how he thinks men view me. (asterisks are mine, reference at end of writing)

————————————————-

“yes, it’s clear that your volatile* personality is a draw…your ability to change looks from mother to rock groupie chick** to biker to manager……. you are like nitroglycerin. “taking” you would make a man feel very powerful. king of the world. look at this fine specimen of a woman that I have slain / subdued / seduced / caused to fall head over heels in love with me / fucked her brains out. however… mishandle the nitro… and THAT’S YOUR AZZZZZ! this scares many men off, because it’s too much responsibility. all they are in it for is to meet a cutie, have sex with her, go out to eat and the movies, maybe fall in love and have a family. they really aren’t prepared to deal with a forceful personality. other guys will see it as a diamond in the rough. a needle in a haystack. something different for a change from the easily duped and quickly swooning volunteers…”

————————————————–

Me:  So apparently I’m Mt. Michelle, waiting, much like Everest, for the brave souls willing to attempt to conquer me?  And what happens when “they” perceive they have conquered me? What if they have the idea that getting me in bed is something that won’t happen until they pledge undying love to me but I decide to allow it to happen before then? Do they think they’ve conquered me, and then I’m not a challenge? And what if “they” are one of the few that get to experience what I think are the best parts of me? The affectionate, romantic, nurturing, tender woman I am. The woman who will in fact cry for their hurt more quickly than she will her own. And who sometimes doesn’t want to be strong, but rather wants to lean on someone for a moment. Are they let down because Mt. Everest isn’t supposed to be touchy/feely, romantic, or emotional?

This is all very timely and interesting. I know it’s only one man’s (unsolicited) opinion. And a man who does not in fact know me. I see elements of truth in what he’s said though. So it leaves me to wonder, if I’m perceived as this challenge, but then instead of playing those silly dating games of making a guy chase me, I am just who I am, is “their” idea of me destroyed and I then cease to be appealing? A friend of mine once said about herself “hard to get doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. If I’m in it, I’m in it.” And I feel the same way.

Which brings me back to the thought of destroying the illusion of Mt. Michelle waiting to be conquered. I suppose the ones worth my time will realize that whether I wait 3 days or 3 months to have sex with them, it’s not indicative of me having been conquered. And they will also know that number of phone calls or email isn’t indicative of anything other than I friggen communicate with everyone, all the time! And if I seem excited to see them it’s ’cause I enjoy their company, not because I’m whipped. And that if I want to help them out, it’s not ’cause I’m madly in love, it’s ’cause that’s what I do. And that while I’m not complex in a drama queen way, that “conquering” me isn’t based on what they might think it is!

Overall I guess this is much better than being viewed as an easy target though. But for my part I guess I have to try and figure out who’s just in it ’cause they think it would be neat-o to say they stood at base camp at Everest, vs those who plan on actually trying to reach the peak. Mostly I wish that I could ask the guys I’ve let close to me in a boy/girl sense if what is written above was their perception of me as well. I don’t know if anyone would be that candid with me though.


*His use of the word volatile is perplexing to me. I can only extrapolate from the rest of the content of his email that its because I so passionately state my case when I feel strongly about something.

** This made me laugh! Groupie! HA! I’m the antithesis of a groupie. I’m the chick who has intentionally NOT slept with rock stars because they are rock stars! Its all about the music for me! Its just a bonus if the music is made by a super hot guy(s). PLUS, dress like a groupie what? Yeah, my tits and ass are always hanging out at shows and I can barely stand because I’m wearing my come fuck me shoes and my feet hurt! As evidenced by the photos I’ve posted here!!


My take on this, today, 5/16/2017

I’ve lived about 100 lifetimes since I wrote the above blog. There have been a lot of deaths, a lot of births, there was travel a plenty, music (always music) 3 long distance moves, love, and marriage, (a thing I hadn’t counted on happening) and within that marriage, the effects of sex addiction (his), and domestic violence. The writer of the nitroglycerine thing also “predicted” the demise of my marriage, before I got married, because my ex is 14 years younger than me. Nitro dude said ex would want to find someone younger, once I got “old.” Oh the irony that my age had nothing to do with the demise of our marriage.

But about the blog, and nitroglycerine, my thoughts are; I am not Mt. Michelle. Nor am I nitroglycerine. (Although I can be explosive! Which I have worked very diligently to change, and which doesn’t mean only anger, just emotion.) If anything can be learned from the marriage formerly known as mine, it is that the only blast created by the mishandling of me, was an almost irrevocable (it seemed at the time) implosion. That’s not to say that would always be the case, there was a systemic, and subtle, breaking down of the me over years. I dig that this was a plot twist no one saw coming, least of all me, but, I didn’t explode.

I don’t think anything *bad* was meant by what was said to me, about me. But I think it shined a not so flattering light on men, with words on what their perspective is (might be) of me. At least from my view of what I think men “should” be like. I don’t think it was being said that I should make myself small for men to not be scared of me, but, maybe it was. Me, and my forceful personality!

What I know now, that I didn’t know then, is that it doesn’t matter to me how I’m seen by most, or even many, men. But I am not to be conquered, or owned, slain, or subdued. In my experience, (see above referenced former marriage) the one(s) who see me as that, are those who are viewing me through the lens of their own insecurities. I’ll go with the diamond thing, if we leave out the rough. Perfect, I am not (Yoda, I am channeling!) but I don’t need to be shaped, and polished, to the eye that is deserving of beholding me. Unless of course, I wish to shape, and polish, me, for myself.

Most importantly what I now know is that the one who will get me, deserves me, is one who doesn’t need to subdue me as means to make himself to feel stronger. Almost conversely, he gains strength from supporting me as I rise, and grow stronger in myself. There are so many things I have learned about myself because of the introspection, the years of being single, while being married, and being alone so much, and part of that is exactly what I am looking for in a man, and none of that includes someone who feels like conquering me is a cool thing. Lucky to have my attention? Yeah, that I’ll vibe with, because I don’t give my attention easily. But that will only be the case for someone whose attention I hold too, who also doesn’t give it easily.

I’m writing around this again because the last several months of my life have been a lot about deep introspection. As I re-read many of my old blogs, I realized how much I lost myself during the years of my former marriage. Its kind of cool to revisit this time, when I used to think any of what was said in the original email mattered. I’ve still got my insecurities, but really, I’m just me. I AM the needle in a haystack, and its one crazy lucky dude who gets that. And me.

Also, to the friend who sent me the email originally, I wish I remembered why you sent it to me, but, in this moment, I mostly want to say thank you for it. It was an unintentional holding of a mirror to myself, to see how I felt about all of it. About me. I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a ballsy move of you to send the email back in the day! I could write so much more about how I feel, and what I think, about all of this, but, meh. The important part was me going inside, taking another deep look at me, so, thanks for that!

The Day After, the day after…

If any one thing I have ever written in my life has been an effort in writing my way through a specific something, this is it. The residue of too many moments familiar to this one, which aren’t at all the same, except my heart doesn’t really want to hear that right now, are a little bit wearing me down.

But this isn’t then, and nothing bad has happened, its just a something difficult, and not in the least more difficult because of the residue. So I’ll write my way through to the other side of my daughter having left to start her new life, chasing her dreams, in L.A. I couldn’t possibly be any more happy for her, any more proud of her, but also, I miss her so much already. Too many times I’ve had to say “goodbye” even though it was never, and still isn’t, forever or bad, its just – the residue.

Its not that I didn’t expect this, because I’ve always been this way when something painful, or difficult, has happened. There is the day it happens, which I work through, only allowing myself to feel a little bit of whatever is happening, or has happened. On that first day, I take care of business, I make lists, or phone calls, and give hugs. I just roll the fuck with it, saying a little prayer along the way, that I’ll be what I need to be, for anyone else who might in that moment need me.

Then comes the day after “it” happens. That’s the day where a something similar to shock takes over, and “surreal” is the word for that day, and I just float through, in some, contrary to my nature, mostly emotionless trance. Maybe a tear here, and there, but mostly not.

And then there’s the day after, the day after. The day the something similar to shock has worn off, and I feel every single thing I didn’t feel the yesterday or the day before. And tiny streams of tears, become rivers, turn into oceans. Where sadness the day before might have been teensy ripples which hardly register, on the day after, the day after, it is waves that make my knees buckle, and I let it knock me down, because sometimes its OK to fall, I think. Today is the day after, the day after, and my knees have buckled a few times.

Its days like today, when being single, alone, feels also like lonely. So naturally, with perfect timing, the ex-husband calls, and I’m a little bit “Dear Universe, fuck off!” because I’m feeling like a big baby, with a cold been hanging on for a week, and Ari moving, and now this too. The apologies are too late, and I don’t believe them anyway because “I’m sorry” had become like a reflex for him years ago. Then I start to cry when he asks if I’m sick, and says something I can no longer recall that is meant to be caring, because I’m worn the fuck out, but (in a not mean way) his is not the voice I want to hear expressing caring.

I feel unkind when I tell him my tears aren’t for him, or our marriage having ended, because they aren’t at all. I’m just tired, and emotional, and I only called back because he said he wanted to ask me a question about alimony payments. Then he asks me about the boyfriend he thinks I have, and when I tell him I don’t have a boyfriend, tells me he’s happy to hear that, and he doesn’t mean it cruelly, but its so remarkably stupid because he didn’t want me when he had me, and he has his girlfriend, and he knows I’m over him. And he says I can call him anytime I want to, and I want to pound my head against the wall because WHY. I say again the tears weren’t for him, or our marriage, and that I have to go, and hang up.

And now the puppy, who has slept almost non-stop for 2 days straight, which I suppose is his way of (not dealing) with his missing his best buddy, as if he knows I’m writing of this, goes to sit at the bottom of the tiny set of stairs leading from the dining room to the living room, where he would sit when he’d hear her car as she’d  park it, looking at the front door waiting for her to walk through, so he could attack her with kisses, and love, and rummage through her purse or bag of life, which never had anything for him, but he did every day, anyway. And the tears that had slowed down for a few minutes overflow again because its too quiet, and the door won’t be opening.

Because I have recently seen what it looks like from the outside when a someone is constantly saying “poor me” and I realize how much I never want to sound like that, and I feel I could stumble into that territory (in my view of myself) if I’m not careful, and because I have also recently seen what it looks like when a someone, no matter how much not fun is swirling around them, always says they are doing great, and that everything is all good, and that is exactly the example I need to follow for my highest good, its time to turn the day after, the day after, around, and remember there is no tragedy here, at all. No mean people came and took my baby away from me. She’s soon to be “living it up, in tinsel town” making her dreams come true, and that’s a beautiful thing. That is who I raised both of my girls to be, and I wouldn’t want her to give that up, just to live near to me.

I can’t not add to this how incredibly lucky I am to have been so loved, and supported, over the last few days. Friends who were there back in the day, who held my hand (or got me drunk, or both) after each goodbye, who knew the residue would get to me, have been here for me this time around too. To each of you,  thank you, and I love you.

And to the extra terrestrial Unicorn who held my hand, in spite of the (physical) distance between us, with words, and music, and photos, and thoughtfulness, in the hours leading up to,  and after the “sailing”  thank you is (as usual) not even sort of enough to express my gratitude for the caring. You’re the kindest, coolest, and most awesome ET Unicorn ever, and I love you, too. 

———

Now it’s the morning after the day of which I wrote above, and it’s officially time to start living this new version of my reality.  It’s a little (or a lot) more quiet than the version before it, but it’s no less beautiful. I fell asleep writing the last words above, and dreamed for the 2nd night in a row of gorgeous snowy white owls, flying all around me. Watching over me. Maybe they were sent, or maybe I called them to me. Either way, they were lovely, and soothing, and appreciated. 

 

 

Song For Johnny

Non-specific words force their way from my fingers, in a desperate attempt to escape (my heart?) where they have lived since before I knew them. Without understanding of why at all, and without desire to be so crass as to say what it is they actually might mean. Insistent fucking words once woven together like braided ribbon, wrapped tight around a mystery, untangled with the passing of days. Weeks. Months.


This isn’t a song, and there’s no one named Johnny, and this started out as something like automatic writing, in February, and its now the ass-end of April, and at some point most of the draft as it originally existed,  was somehow automatically “unwritten”…   Whatever it is, or was (not?) asks now to come out…

Johnny’s song is; missing what you’ve never had, so you can’t possibly miss it, except you do. It’s (a) dream(s) that bend space, and time, to reach across ages, and reunite souls; sort of.

Johnny’s song is, in moments, that which makes you (not sad) cry for the intensity of the everything that rushes past you, around you, through you, like the coldest winter’s air. Except it’s everything that couldn’t possibly ever be cold… It elicits tears of release, and confusion, of wondering why,  and what are you supposed to do with the everything that was supposed to be not really anything, or not at all. It is the grey of every question you’ve ever had, washed away by the sublime peace of knowing that the questions don’t matter because sometimes things just, are.

Johnny’s song is an “of course I love you”  because to think I don’t would be to imply that there is a way I could, not – when the crossing of stars, and connecting of planets, deemed it to be so. Without understanding of what it is now, or attachment to what it ultimately may be, it is being first drawn in by timbre of an unknown voice, unexpectedly become familiar – love’s song.  It is strength, and confidence, and gentle vulnerability. Complex in its simplicity. Borne of all that is beauty, and light.  If time has a beginning, it was then that this song began, the score for a first meeting of (souls?)

I still don’t know what it’s meant exactly to say, this Song for Johnny.  Or why the night was without rest, as they fed me lines I summarily rejected, once figurative pen, half asleep, met paper. If they want it different then they shouldn’t have unwritten it the first time around. And maybe they is just me, who visits only in heightened states of (emotion.)  Or maybe it’s something more.

And while I will never tire of Johnny’s Song, it’s time to stop writing (this) and launch it into the ether so I stop looking over my shoulder at it. Maybe then my muse, with her ridiculous randomness, will have enough space to conjure something new.

Three

Seeking solace from the silence

A foreshadowing of days to come

And (painful) memory of days past.

It keeps coming around

This familiar (not) goodbye

That with it’s tears, helps me to rise.

In solitude I find my way

To the place where I remember

Trip, stumble, “fall – with grace.”

Even when there’s two, or one

Always there is three

A me, a you, a her, 

…infinity, and beyond.

So to see your dreams fulfilled

Which are separate from my own

Again I will say this familiar

(not) goodbye.

—————–

For my Lauren, and Ari. My biggest, and littlest angels. You are perfect. You are my heart, and that of which I am most proud. You are, forever, my everything.

Never forget, you can do, and be, anything you wish!

“…you are always here with me, in my heart, and in my dreams…”  (Credit to “The Bridge” Ron Taylor & Drew Smith)