Summer’s Eulogy

Waning days of summer, fighting melancholy at the thought. Not just for the inevitable arrival of winter, albeit months away, but also because I a little bit (really a lot) missed the mark of my wishes for summer. The things that were for sure to happen, that did not. The things I intended to do, but didn’t, and as my own worst critic ALL THE TIME, I’m a little bit salty toward me right now. But, I hold onto the idea that everything happens exactly as it is supposed to, and when it is supposed to (maybe) as solace in moments of sadness, and as “get the fuck over it” in moments of “just quit being a whiny bitch, everything is great.” Sometimes I’m feeling a little trapped in the box I chose, until I remind myself that the lack of a comfort zone (excepting that which is inside myself, and the warmth of the few I keep close) is what has propelled me to here, where I need to be.

Its been a really weird fucking summer. I mean, an absolute 180 from last summer. I’ve manifested a couple of things in ways I didn’t think possible. And I’ve found a peace in most moments unlike I’ve ever known. I’ve made new friends who get what’s going on with me, and offer brilliant support. “Old” friends too, have been steadfast in their support. But there has also been extreme sadness. Absolute broken heartedness. And my shadows have come out to play with a vengeance, which is fine. I understand that to move on to the next place, they need to be embraced or cleared or in some instances nuked, to ensure they don’t dip in again.

In tandem with sadness, and heartbreak, have been things I’ve not got words to describe, and am also loathe to put labels on. Things that have amazed me and caused me to say quite literally and absolutely out loud, are you SURE you’ve got the right person? Not because I doubt myself, or because my self esteem is low, but because for as much as I’ve often been deeply psychically connected to my daughters (Sorry I knew who you kissed and when! And told you what you were eating, when there were HUNDREDS of miles between us.), astral projected since forever, have had some CRAZY experiences, nothing has ever been what is now. Never have I felt or experienced things like those of this summer. (Unless you count those dreams and dammit this is a reference that wasn’t here a few hours ago and this is why I should never re-read, because then I re-write, and then things happen)

This writing is, at least when I started it, a return to the roots of my reason for having this blog. A place to breathe or bleed, as needed. This is not written in sadness, as I am not sad. This is being written as a place marker, and a reflection. As in, reflecting on the past, which means last year, and a minute ago. Maybe to learn from it. Maybe to help another. It’s a little bit (psycho)-therapy too. Which should never be confused with psychotherapy, because the former is simply me exorcising (or possibly just exercising so it won’t destroy things, like, for example, me) my “psycho” side. There is no university degree involved here, there is only the knowing that sometimes shit gets crazy, and shadows happen.  I’m just Michelle with the windy path that has led to here, and many pauses along the way have taught me deep lessons; the most important of which is the continued theme of being light, and love, and a hand to hold, or whatever is needed by the one in need. And that there is bliss in the surrender to everything that was supposed to be not much or nothing at all.

Thoughts come in waves of feeling, interruption (with tears right now, each tear that washes another something away only I don’t know what it is being cleansed and I’m feeling someone else’s something right now, and it hurts a little so I’m sending love wondering if its your tears I’m crying) …I’ll set fire to your fears, to stop them hurting you. (Because I think I see, or saw, you ~ in a blaze of yours that altered your course, and you were so close to the everything or way to get to it/there.) Mine too flicker in and around me with varying degrees of (in)frequency. And as I come back to myself, and re-read, the addendum is; do not assume these words are for you, please, unless you KNOW these words are for you because you FEEL them which has nothing to do with me saying them. But maybe if you, whomever you are, react in the least to them, pause. Feel. I think they (who is maybe just me) mean them for more than one person. If you landed here, maybe, if you want to, go deeper….

When I started writing this, it was going to be about the year anniversary, as it were, of me fully leaving behind the life that used to be mine, of which I am only aware thanks to the Facebook “on this day” feature.  It was going to be about how I’d been triggered by a co-worker telling me women make up lies about domestic violence. It was going to be how that caught me off guard because even when the ex leaves me mean, and threatening voice messages, as he did week before last, I’m not triggered, and how I still think it’s important to be a voice for domestic violence. Probably Chester would have been thrown in the mix had I gotten that far, because next weekend is the weekend that was going to be the Grey Daze reunion, and I was still going to go to AZ for that weekend then thought it better to not, and now I am regretting that choice because I am longing for the familiarity of my friends, and to feel that sunshine on me. And to cuddle because there is where I can safely, simply, cuddle with those who have known me forever, and I sort of need to cuddle because irrespective of it being by choice, sometimes cuddling only with puppy is lonely, and this is a huge tangent. Sigh. And cancer too was likely to get a nod; as the dance continues. But everything that is everything else keeps pushing all of that away, in spite of the fact that I’ve said next to nothing.

Maybe it’s just all the waves that have been crashing lately, into me, around me, as I learn to master the energy, instead of it mastering me, that has me so flustered in moments. There’s so much information everywhere about what is the right thing to do, and what I shouldn’t do, and how my path will unfold, or not unfold, and I believe all of it, and none of it. And all of it matters, and none of it matters. (And this isn’t an echo of the mirror I thought it too, before it was said then. Just to say, so if you see, you know, and now I’ve done it, twice)

If some of this isn’t what I believe it to be, then its nothing I want because that would make me crazy. But the labels about what it is don’t matter. All that matters is the (global) love the transformation has reminded me of. I can’t speak of magick and mysticism and play by the rules which don’t allow for them, so, all that matters, is the love. All of this, whatever it is, is an utter gift, and difficult as fuck, but more beautiful than difficult, and all that matters is the love.

There is likely no cohesion here but I won’t be re-reading again because I’ll end up editing and fucking it up. And as my muse was silent for a few week, and then I silenced her, accidentally, for a couple after that, I feel like I have to push publish, just to get the writing happening again. Not to say this is all I’ve written. There is never just one and never just here. But this is the rehearsal space, so here is important.

And as I sit on my couch, in my living room, all I can think, all I keep feeling is; I want to come home. …

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For Chester, For Me, For You

There's a thousand places, (to match the thousand pieces of my broken heart) where I want to start this writing, but I'm so fucking mad, and sad, so so sad, that THESE THINGS about which I must write (or be crippled by the confusion, and pain) are things at all, that words come to me in rushes, and I think them, and write them, hate them, then delete them. And I have emotions colliding against each other with such ferocity I've felt literally for the first time in my life, over the last few days, that I might pass out. If this is where I am at, I can't begin to imagine where must be those whose pain is mine only by association, admiration, and friendship. By history. By love. This writing which had started out about 2 heartaches, I am refining, which is not to say making shorter, to be about just 1.

I want to be very clear about something; I am gutted by Chester's death, and it is a HUGE  loss for everyone who knew him, loved him, and loved his music. And this time "one of us" for me, for my huge extended Arizona family of ridiculously talented creative feelers, really was ONE OF US. But I do not seek to appropriate the pain of those who REALLY lost him. The one who lost her husband, the children who lost their father. The parents who lost their son. The friends since youth, business partners, and band mates. To them I send endless amounts of love, because if my pain is at 11, theirs must be at 11,000,000.

Chester and I were not BFF's. We were more like super casual F's, (friends, just in case that might read other than intended) who were part of a brilliant, ridiculously talented, absolutely insane in the best, and worst ways, group of people in the music scene in Tempe, (really metro-Phoenix) AZ, at the same time. "Tempe Jangle Pop" was big then, with bands like The Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments making names for themselves on the national stage. But also, The Meat Puppets and their punk/country thing, and Jimmy Eat World, were (and are in the case of Jimmy's band) kinda big time too. DJ Z-Trip, The Phunk Junkeez, Dead Hot Workshop…these are just some of the bands/artists who "made it" to varying degrees, from that time, and place, and only representative of a small percentage of the talent that existed then, in the Valley of the Sun.

By now the world knows that Chester in the mid to late 90's, was the vocalist for the band Grey Daze, with his Club Tattoo business partner, Sean Dowdell on drums. I, when we first met, was working as an independent Booking Agent/Band Manager. Having also been a singer, and writer,  most of what we shared was the arsty fartsy creative thing. I was later to find out we also shared being molested at age 7, and drug addiction. Lucky us, right?

Its not very often I know the exact date I first met someone, but thanks to how we met, and the internet, I know the first time I met Chester was September 10th, 1994. I think he was 18, but maybe 17. I was the Booking Agent for, "Tripping With Grace" and Grey Daze was the support act for them that night. It was my first show with Tripping With Grace, and my first show in the Phoenix scene. Literally in the hundreds is the number of shows I've been to in my life, so thousands is the number of bands that I've seen, and I will NEVER forget that night. Not because he became CHESTER BENNINGTON of LINKIN PARK, but because "who the f is the skinny kid with the braids and the HUGE voice, radiating raw passion, and energy as he sings?!" Truly he was riveting to watch, to listen to, even then. That voice. THAT voice. And him, on stage, so young, unpolished, not yet having perfected the front man thing, but riveting none the less.

trip

Forever in my mind I see his stance, singing, bent at the waist, leaning forward, which anyone whose had any vocal lessons knows is the exact opposite of what you're supposed to do when singing. Cupping the mic in his hands, which anyone who has done any singing into a mic know is the exact opposite of what you're supposed to do. Unless you're Chester Bennington.

This is DAYS worth of writing, attempts at writing, and so little said. Because I stop to cry, and remember, and wonder, and to FEEL my sadness and my anger.  I find myself unable to read most of what is written in the last week about him, except the memories written by my friends, his friends, our friends, and the tributes paid to him by fans. These precious memories we carry of this man who touched so many. Not just with his music, but with his genuine kindness, and humility. I'd say I've strolled down memory's lane, but it has been more like a sunshine filled day – running through broken glass. Looks shimmery and pretty in the light, but hurts like a bitch.

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago, after Chris Cornell committed suicide titled "Who Cares if One More Light Goes Out? In A Sky of a Million Stars… I do." Click Me Taken from the Linkin Park song which Chester, with great emotion, sang the day after Chris's passing. This particular blog is about how us ridiculously talented creative feelers are sort of fucked up in our own ways. But how some of us, inexplicably, make our way around, or through, our fucked-upness, to the other side. The side where we're still fucked up, but we're not actively, or passively, trying to off ourselves because of it. And I wrote of  3 (anonymous)  people whose lives to greater or lesser degrees I have been privileged to be a part of. These 3 people who have had certain situations and circumstances  sadly similar to each other, and mine, and each rose to such amazing heights, in spite of bullshit, and pain, and for a couple of them, (and me) in spite of stupid choices. And Chester was one of those of whom I was speaking. The one of whom I wrote "Rise doesn't begin to describe this story's (not yet finished) end." Because he had "made it." Until he didn't.

The last time I had a real conversation with Chester before he became CHESTER BENNINGTON OF LINKIN PARK, has always been for reasons I could never quite understand, indelibly etched on my brain. 4 years had past since the first meeting. I'd been to who knows how many Grey Daze shows, gotten my first tattoo by a Club Tattoo artist at an event called "Club Sex" which was basically live music and tattoos happening all under one roof, on my birthday (known to some as Valentine's Day), and had seen him out and about every now and again because; music scene.  Now working for Never Records Group as the Local Marketing Representative, I had one of our bands playing a show at Gibson's in Tempe. (Either Lords of Acid or Curve, I can't quite nail down dates)

At one point in the evening I was outside the venue, and Chester came walking up. We hugged, exchanged hellos, and "what are you doing here" sort of questions. And then we talked about real life, and heartache. His heartache. And I see him now, just like I do every time I've thought of this the last 20 years, I see him, leaning up against the wall, hands pushed in his pockets, back curved, leaning forward, head down, one knee bent, and one foot on the wall behind him. When he'd look up, the emotion, the hurt around what he was sharing with me, was written all over his face, and reflected in his eyes. His life, and hurt at that moment in it is not my story to tell the world, and is ancient history now. What I can say is that he told me of new opportunities, and changes he was going to be making because he had to make them. I don't recall what I said, but I'm sure I offered some words in which I'd hoped he'd find comfort, and hugs, and wishes that all would turn out for the best. Then we went inside, him to enjoy a show, and me to work my show.

Within a year or so of that is when he started to become CHESTER BENNINGTON OF LINKIN PARK. Every time I've thought of that conversation over the years, I've thought about how desperately sad he was. How he had no idea that the choices, and changes he felt he had to make, were going to lead him to heights none of the rest of us ridiculously talented creative feelers in Tempe, Arizona, could in our wildest dreams imagine achieving. I know by his own admission that even in his happy moments, he was prone to self sabotage, but I'd like to believe that there were at least some periods of time where he was able to ride the wave of happiness.

Grey Daze was set to do a reunion show in Tempe on September 23rd this year, and I was flying home for it. Having only seen Chester a couple of times since 1998, and always in some sort of mob fest meet and greet situation, I've never had the chance to remind him of that day, and how sad he was, and how far he'd made it. Not just in music, but in life, with the work he did with MusiCares, and in love with Talinda, with his kids, with Club Tattoo. I wanted to tell him how much hope he'd always given me, and how privileged I'd always felt that he, the human being Chester, not the eventually famous guy, had shared something so deeply personal, and allowed me to hold that space for him. And like so many others around the world I wanted to thank him for music, and lyrics, that brought me a measure of comfort in so many moments in time when nothing else could. Even if it was just because his was a voice from home, and a challenge to "scream" with! In this last week I have mourned the loss of that opportunity to say those words, which I do know he is aware of anyway.

This really has been a tough one that has brought back around my lifelong deep think about why so many of us ridiculously talented creative feelers go so low, even when soaring so high. I have grieved for him, for the pain he must have felt. I have cried copious amounts of tears. And screamed. And sang, And danced, And walked. And run. I have asked WHY god bless it WHY? I've sent waves of love, and peace, and healing, to the hearts that need it most, so that I could at least do something. I've been moved by the tributes to him from ALL OVER THE WORLD! Over and over reading words, or watching videos in which someone is talking about how they owe their life to Chester, and Linkin Park. I have had coworkers, and friends tell me that they directly credit Chester with getting them through some of the worst times of their lives.

Tonight, the day after the memorial for Chester, I have found myself in the place I feel I have to be, and that feels right, with all of this. I, as usual, have no answers, but, what is a possible truth that resonates for me, even while knowing it doesn't comfort those he left behind, is that his work here was done. He has touched thousands upon thousands of lives with his music, and with his heart. He has been a voice to give courage to those struggling with depression, and addiction. He has literally saved lives because of those things. And now, he has "leveled up." With his passing people from all over the world are coming together to celebrate him, to mourn the loss of him, and to comfort one another.  Funds are being donated in his name, which will help a someone in need someday. People who may not have reached out for help, are doing so. Suicide prevention information is being spread across social media at a rate I'm certain is much higher than usual. Chester's friends in music are openly speaking of his passing, and urging anyone who needs help to seek it, and to reach out to each other for support, and friendship. People are coming together, sharing love, trying to make a positive difference in the world, because of the skinny kid with the huge voice.

For me the loss of Chester has brought about the renewed desire to have the conversation about how the paradigm of the tortured/suffering/starving artist is played out. How there must be a way to create, and be happy, all at once. Not always of course. Not fake "church lady" happy. But that we don't need to be unhappy because its what we're "supposed" to be. We don't have to self sabotage when we do find ourselves happy. We must tell the ridiculously talented creative feelers that it is OK to be those things when they are tiny humans! Nurture that. Give them the opportunity to explore that. Don't bullshit them about it either. It's not pretty, and it sure as hell isn't always fun. The music business and all of the arts don't often give, but when they do they also have a habit of taking away. Allow the tiny humans the space to create because they need to, but maybe also help them find a practical application for their creativity that will provide a steady income. But don't tell them they HAVE to be a Dr/lawyer/scientist whatever. Teach them the value of taking care of reality, while pursuing their dreams!

I get that I'm not solving the problems with this very 101 "choose happy" sort of thing. See above and "I don't have any answers." But I am willing to shine a light, to be a light, to give a hug, or be the ear or shoulder that is needed. There can't be anything more important to do in this life than that, right? If I never remembered another time when I made a difference in a persons life, I will always know that even for just a minute, I helped a sad someone feel, if not better, heard.

The last thing I want, need, to say, is Thank You to that skinny kid, with the braids, and the HUGE voice. Thank you for crossing paths with me in this reality. Thank you for the music that was the sound track for so many moments large, and small in my life, and not just sad moments, at all!! So many happy memories of you, with Grey Daze, and Linkin Park. Thank you for writing lyrics that I understand at a soul level. Thank you for your courage in being forthcoming about your abuse, your addiction, and your depression because it helped me when I was in my deepest, most dark place, where I didn't care if I woke up the next day, feel not quite so crazy, knowing it wasn't just me who'd ever gone there.. Most importantly, thank you for giving me your trust, and the opportunity to be whatever you needed at that time, all those years ago. I will not say goodbye to you, I will simply say see you later, for whenever later may be, and I love you.

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Photos not mine but were found via Google Search

“…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*

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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.

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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.

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

Your Elusive Creative Genius – Liz Gilbert

 

 

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.

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. 

 

 

“…So We Must Love While These Moments Are Still Called Today, Take Part In The Pain Of This Passion Play…”

Listening to:  Everything Indigo Girls (again) which started (this time) here “Galileo”

12 years ago, 2005, in the span of 5 months, my confidant, greatest supporter, in many ways my mentor, my teacher, my almost-mother-in-law become dearest friend, Roxy, 5 days before my trip to Denver to see her, lost her (2nd) battle with cancer; dear, sweet, YOUNG boy, sound engineer working with the band I was managing, Chris, just starting his career making music beautiful, was taken literally by fire; and my niece, Cristina angel completed whatever it was she’d decided to come here for, and crossed back over to where she was free from the medical mystery of a body she’d occupied for not quite 11 years, this time around. And what I thought was forever (and real, and passionate, and nurturing, and healing, and spiritual, and healthy, and everything beautiful) love, found me. I wonder sometimes, had it not been for all the death that preceded the finding of me by (love?) might I have made different choices. Maybe. But I made the choices I made, and really, who the fuck knows. And now here I am… exactly where I want to be, at my core, happier than I’ve ever been.

In 5 days, in a courtroom far away, a Judge will wave her magic wand, and the life, and marriage, formerly known as mine, will be legally, formally, officially, eternally, over. And it’s good. I have outgrown that marriage, and the person I was when in it, and the person to whom I was married. I never understood until a few months ago that people can outgrow each other, their relationships, their marriages. I got it in terms of friendships, but not beyond that. I get it now. From my own experiences, and those of some others who have, or are going through this. They don’t have to involve things such as domestic violence, and addiction, for one to outgrow the other. Or both to outgrow each other, and the situation.  Moving on, walking away, is not something bad. It is not a sign of failure, or of lack of integrity. In fact, it is likely the exact opposite of that in some cases. (Such as for someone I will be quoting later in this writing, who helped me to shift my perspective on this topic.)

In one month’s time, my littlest angel, Ari, will be ascending a level higher toward her dreams, starting out on the road-trip, that is really a (permanent) move to Los Angeles. So much everything cool, and good with that. But cool, and good, isn’t always synonymous with easy, and free of sadnesses of sorts.

In two months time, I’ll be moving, locally, somewhere. As (accidentally) as accustomed as I am to moving, for some reason I didn’t think I’d be doing so again, quite this soon. I have always been “lucky” or whatever it is that has my back in this life, so things always work out, but, this just feels a little heavy this time, which is throwing me a bit off balance.

—-

I’m over-thinking, and under-doing, and not breathing enough, but also, breathing sometimes too much. Maybe I need to get high? Or laid? Or swim in the ocean? Take a road trip. Spend more time in meditation? Allow myself to fit into a box, and be suited to a label? Live more in this world, and less in whatever the one is that so often calls to me? Drive until I get lost, and found again? I definitely need to sing again. And to dance more often, with absolute abandon, in a crowd of people doing the same, to share that energy.

——

From Elizabeth Gilbert – one of my favorite authors, and humans:

Yesterday, I asked my Fear, “How are you doing, my old friend? What’s going on with you?”

My Fear said, “I’m so tired. Trying to keep everyone and everything safe has completely exhausted me. I can’t do this anymore. Somebody else needs to be in charge now.”

And then I heard Love speak. She said, “Let me take it from here, babe.”

That’s when we all started breathing again.

Elizabeth Gilbert – Love this lady

——

I am now self-aware enough that I have been watching myself slip into where fear, or something similar to it, which is not shiny, or beautiful, has started to be a little bit in charge again. Not fear of a something, or a someone, or an event. Non-specific fear, that I’d thought was relegated to my past as a way of life, or even just an interlude. Not to say that I don’t know what some of the “triggers” are, but, triggers aren’t inherently the boss of me. And also, sometimes triggers only have the slightest hint of a fragrance past, which strikes the chord of a memory of a something that wasn’t pleasant, so making the decision to believe that the top notes, and finishing notes, and all in between, are exactly the same as the scent of experience past, is just, stupid.

So I look deep inside myself to see what’s going on, and I look to the planets, and stars, sun, and moon, to see what is maybe their part in all of this. I wrap my arms around myself when need be, remind my me that this healing is a process, and that my shade of crazy is actually quite beautiful, and that which sets me apart. Not above, or below, but apart. I (for once) reach out to others to talk to them about it, this (slightly) off balance moment I’m having.

The origins of fear –

Knowingly putting myself into situations which may result in me getting hurt in the end. But that’s a little bit what this human experience is about in total, so I kick my own ass, widen my view, and remember that I’d be bored, and filled with regret, if I didn’t take the risks of LIVING  vs the safety of existing.

Never afraid of change, but sometimes when a lot of it comes all at once, and when at least a part of it means (physically) letting go (again) (because it has seemed sometimes that universe has wanted to say to me that my super power in this life is letting go of anyone I love, but not because they die, but rather due to circumstances I’d never seen as remotely possible) I stumble, and momentarily clench my hands to grip more tightly, instead of releasing.

Feeling a lack of contentedness for my todays, because I’m very excited for my tomorrows. I got a little high, I think, on the fast pace at which things were changing, and moving (inside, and outside of me) for a while. Instead of appreciating the calm, and matching my energy to the rhythm, and in spite of knowing that a slow groove builds the foundation, so that when the crescendo comes, it is of mind-blowing proportions, I focused on the “high.”

That my wants will be perceived as neediness. That I’ll forget, again, that “no wo/man is an island” and won’t let myself be held, or nurtured, because that means vulnerable. And that vulnerable is scary as fuck for everyone who has any amount of living under their belt, and as far as I can tell, a lot scarier for those who have experienced years of betrayal, and betrayal by everyone in their life ever sworn by lineage or deed, to protect “you.”

That I will be seen (not by anyone in particular) to be “less than” because I don’t have a plan for 2 months from now, much less 10 years from now. Because all the good people, right people, best people, have a solid foundation, a firm plan, own a house, aren’t divorced, have a college degree, and a linear career path. They also don’t feel as if their life will be incomplete if they don’t travel to certain countries. And especially by 50 years of age, they have very firm roots planted somewhere, with someone, the end.

That what is before me, which is burning inside of me to know, and has been since before I knew it was, is held by unseen forces, and just carrot on a stick, with which I will later be smacked.

I want to write about shadows (in which I am not meant to live) because I am the girl who (metaphorically) sings from (metaphorical) sun drenched mountaintops, and dances on them too, not in the shadows. But also not in spotlights. Sun light. Glitter light. Neon light. Lava lamp light. Strobe light. Because I have a primordial need, and unquenchable thirst, for all that is light, and bright, but am not concerned with getting attention. Its not that shadow dims my light, or that (momentary shadow dwelling) is forced (because it is my choice). I’m just not very good at it. So now I’ve written about shadows… without saying anything at all.

These words that are my own, which had such another meaning to me, for me, when I wrote them 2 days ago.  My lovely Bloom says “Why are you doing that to yourself? You’re missing out on the joy of today!” And I know she’s right.  So I take a night off from the weight of all I’ve been carrying, am amused by the couragesness, or craziness, of those much too young for me to take seriously, and take more shots than I mean to. I have another conversation filled with laughter, childhood memories, and connections that defy space, time, and logic.   I allow vulnerability to have a moment or 2. And then hours of poetry in the form of lyrics, and harmonies, and melodies, fill my world. And I let love take over,  recall that vulnerability is absolutely precious, sacred, holy, rare, remember I’m not in shadow, I’m bathed in light, just not in the same way I’m used to, and again throw my arms wide open, and step forward without fear, into whatever might be, in every aspect of my life. 


Listening to: Still on Indigo Girls – Below quotes are from some of their songs. Brilliant, inspiring, intelligent, thought provoking, evocative, lyricists, they are.

“Of all my demon spirits, I need you the most”

“Working through the grammar of my fears”

“The hardest to learn was the least complicated”

“Now we all are chosen one’s”

“My place is of the sun, and this place is of the dark”

“The less I seek my source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine”

“And when you’re learning to face the path at your pace every choice is worth your while”

Coming Down from Clouds

Listening to: Shannon Curfman, Linkin Park, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Lucerene Blue, Dashboard Confessional, The Storys, Tori Amos, Christina Perri, Ed Sheeran, Papa Roach, Cash Cash, Adele

——————-

Adele “A Million Years Ago” “…Deep down I must have always known, That this would be inevitable, To earn my stripes, I’d have to pay, And bear my soul…”

——————–

One last phone call, not taken, because (without malice) there is nothing left to say, and nothing left to hear. At least not for me. And now, names written on dotted lines. A judicial “In nomine Patri et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti” and what once was a beginning, is ended. And its perhaps symbolic, and synchronistic, that it is also the first day of spring. The first day of new life, or life renewed, or something that if I was a poet, or lyricist,  I could capture, and express, with ease.

Today though, I’m “just” a girl in New Jersey. (Just, in quotes, because I KNOW my value, and worth, that I am intelligent, that I am beautiful, for whatever that means, that I am witty, talented, lovable, and worth loving.) So even though unicorn says “never just” to me, about me, when I say just about myself, I am today, just a girl in New Jersey, who has spent a lot of the day crying. I think my tears are similar to a person who is in pain, laughing. There isn’t really a reason to laugh when you’re in pain, but sometimes it happens. So today, I have no reason, really, to cry, in fact, there is real relief. But I’ve cried. It occurs to me that maybe part of the reason for the tears is that I have been in some ways, holding my breath, waiting for this day. So maybe part of the reason for the tears is that they are almost like an exhale.

I’ve spent a lot of time today, too, not writing, and thinking, while listening to music, and crying. Because I really want to feel this, to move through it, to put it absolutely behind me.

A very long time ago, I cried, a lot, about the thought of giving up on another human being. Of having to turn my back on someone, and not spend another minute caring about them, or what happened to them. It was utter heartbreak to me, the thought of doing that. In spite of all that went on, I thought that it would make me a monster to turn my back on another human. In particular a human whose fate is likely to find them in prison, or dead. That is what those of us who have loved someone with an addiction, married, family member, friend, have to contend with. Loving ourselves enough to walk away, and loving the other person enough that you allow them to be master of their own fate, no matter what that looks like. Those 2 things are mother fuckers. They eat you alive, until you erect impermeable fortresses around your heart, and soul, because you have to, to survive.

Today, I don’t feel like a monster for walking away. Maybe because its my nature, I find myself wanting to believe that he isn’t a monster either. I want to believe that he will be able to get his shit together, and stop hurting himself, and other people. I want to believe that it makes me a normal, healthy, semi-decent human being to feel that way. To have finally found the balanced level of empathy which allows me to feel for this soul that has been so damaged that I send nothing but love, without allowing any harm to come to myself.


Now Tuesday, the 2nd day of spring. I read a news story earlier about a woman, who was pregnant, whose husband (or perhaps boyfriend) killed her, and their unborn child, and then himself. She had a son, who is now left without a mommy. After reading the story, I began to shake. Because I don’t know, nor do I think anyone else does, what that line is, where beating your “girl” turns to killing her. I don’t know if any man who beats a woman is capable also, of killing her. I do believe though, that I could have been accidentally killed, or paralyzed, easily.I think it is by the grace of God/whatever, that neither of those things happened. When his rage was in charge, whether i fought him back, tried to run, or just let him do whatever he was going to do, there was no “right” response. And that last time he beat me up, or what I think was the last time punching, and/or kicking occurred, he left me alone for a bit, curled up on the floor, unable to move for the pain, crying, phone hidden from me so I couldn’t call for help, and after a bit, he came back to the room I was in, and punched me, and kicked me some more. …

Enough of that memory though… all I meant to say is, I am lucky, or whatever.

So now the tears of  yesterday are just that… None of this belongs in my today, or my tomorrow.

…Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were …


I don’t wish to write poetically of how much love there once was. I don’t wish to write poetically, or of love, at all. My singular wish is that I could give to you, that which I always sought to give. The ability to see yourself, through my eyes, as I once saw you, so that you would know how much more you are, than you allow yourself to be, should you ever choose that to be your reality. Unless I’m wrong, because certainly, I have been wrong, about a lot, in life. But just in case I’m not…

This is not about love, this is not about love, this is NOT ABOUT LOVE. This is about one soul to another saying; I believed in your ability to be everything you once said you wished to be. Your ability to overcome the past, handed down to you. There is no singularity to mates of souls, in my way of thinking, in my heart. Which is to say I have encountered more than one mate of my soul, to greater and lesser degrees in this life. But you will forever be, for me, the twin spirit I saw next to me, in utero, during a past life regression, in which you do not believe, who didn’t make it out that time, but then found it’s way back to me. (This IS NOT ABOUT LOVE) I hope that wasn’t, for you, in vain. If my voice is ever in any moments, still in your ear, it is my eternal hope that something of what you hear lifts you, strengthens you. For you. For her. For her daughters. Or for any “her” who might come after your current “her.” Mostly though, for you.

I don’t know if you’ll ever see this, but I leave it here, just in case. Because here it may help you, but here, you cannot harm me, even if harm “only” means to attempt to again use me as your ego’s masturbatory tool. This is NOT about LOVE. As in, not about “in love.”


For anyone who may have just read this, who may have been in, or who is currently in, a relationship with an addict and/or in which there is domestic violence, if what I’ve written above illustrates anything, it would have to be that I am fucking bonkers. Haha. Not really. Except sometimes a little. Occasionally a lot.

“For realsies” though, for me I needed to get on “paper” the extreme, and unexpected tears brought about by divorce papers being signed. I process by writing. I remember a few years ago, sitting in a counselor’s office. A lovely woman, who wanted me to cut straight to forgiveness. I kept telling her that I had to get into my anger first, sustain it Pavarotti belting a high-C, style, until I was out of breath. And then hold it a few more seconds. And then let go. She kept telling me I was wrong. So I told her to suck it, and peaced the fuck out. I then found my anger, held it until I didn’t need to, and a few months ago, stumbled my way to forgiveness. I’ve seen many women go immediately to forgiveness. I don’t know how that ultimately works out for them.If it’s really forgiveness, or if it is repressing what they really feel.  And I’ve seen many go to, and stay in, anger, indefinitely.For each of us, all we can do is find our own way, but I (still) don’t think anger, or remaining in it, is beneficial to anyone.

I’m 100% not going to be some preachy pretend guru, ’cause really, I have no idea at any given moment what the fuck is going on. Except for, I know for myself, I had to return to a place of kindness within myself around this whole thing if I was ever going to return to what passes for sanity in my world. And for as non-linear a person as I am, I had to take a pretty linear path this time, from anger, to really fucking enraged, to feeling the pain, to vocalizing the pain, to letting it all go…., and to now sending love (NOT IN LOVE) on a subconscious level, from a distance.


And now its Sunday. It’s been a busy, crazy, weird week, and each time I started writing here, I had to walk away. Sometimes because of me, and sometimes because of things outside of me. And I’m still just a girl in New Jersey, feeling her feelings, and trying to figure things out.  I really thought I wanted to finish this on the 1st day of spring, but, I guess I “needed” more than one day for it. By it I mean, the emotions, and blah blah.

So back to you, those for whom I have chosen to break my silence; you’re not crazy, even when you cry about signed divorce papers, when you no longer are in love with, no longer want to be married to, no longer miss, no longer think about, no longer have anger toward, your ex. You’re just someone who has been through at least a little bit of hell. You’re also not alone.

Listening to: Van Morrison ” Into The Mystic  “…I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old, Then magnificently we will float into the mystic…”

Triggered and Release

Listening to: Ed Sheeran “Save Myself” “…I gave you all my energy and I took away your pain, Cause human beings are destined to radiate or drain…So before I save someone else, I’ve got to save myself But if I don’t then I’ll go back to where I’m rescuing a stranger
Just because they needed saving, just like that Oh I’m here again, between the devil and the danger But I guess it’s just my nature…

—————–

trig·gered
ˈtriɡərd/
adjective
adjective: triggered
  1. (of a mechanism) activated by a trigger.
    “a triggered alarm”
    • (of a response) caused by particular action, process, or situation.
      “a triggered memory of his childhood”

A friend posted on Facebook a few days ago, an article originally from Time Magazine several years ago, which contained pictures of a woman being physically abused by her boyfriend. (I’ll link at the bottom of the blog) Not reenactments, but actual photos. The why is explained in the article, so I won’t go into it. I clicked the link posted by my friend, wondering what would be my reaction to seeing a woman abused, as not so long ago I had been. My only real reactions were to feel sad for the woman in the pictures, and of the abusive man to think “wow, I know him. That posture, and ‘poses’ are so familiar. What a fucking asshole he is!” Other than that, there was nothing. Which didn’t really surprise me because the physical hits were always easier for me to take than the mental/emotional hits, so it stands to reason now that I’m healing (was always so fucked up?) that seeing the images, didn’t trigger me.


What had happened was…. A few days ago something was said to me, that in the moment I had questions about, which I didn’t ask, and I have since then (unintentionally?) ruminated on what was said. Or on the story behind what was said. And I held my past against it, but not in the accidental good way that I discovered those words can mean, but rather in the “here is what my truth has been,” and I decided that a something that is happening now is a lot like something that had happened then, and I (subconsciously) started to hold my breath, and get scared, and decide what is going on, is what had gone on, and that everything beautiful is blurry. And maybe its not beautiful. And maybe this, and maybe that. And the bottom line is that I fucked up, because I didn’t ask the questions. And I’m not sure why I didn’t ask. Except the thing about questions asked is that they get answered.Sometimes answers are “nothing you wanna hear.” Also, I have (had) been conditioned to believe that it was not OK for me to ask questions. That I was a crazy bitch for thinking questions needed to be asked, or just trying to start fights, and rock boats for the sake of it.

So the triggering thing for me, (what has triggered me) is a scary closet monster, that also has an equally scary Siamese twin attached to it.  I’m triggered by a something, and I’ve also “reverted” to a response which is familiar, and painfully comfortable/uncomfortable, in it’s familiarity. And I’m really, really hard on myself, so, healing isn’t supposed to be in total a process, it’s supposed to be instantaneous, and I’ll never again feel anything like I’ve felt before, and I’ll never fuck up again. But I am, and I did, and here I am.

This is all written for me, and you…(the person who will one day, and unexpectedly, find themselves triggered as fuck)  because I fully plan to be one of the human beings who radiate, not drain! Its not the words that were said to me, or the story behind them, that matter, at all. It is my reaction to any, and all of it, that matters. Had I taken a beat, and in the moment, asked my questions, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get spun out. I also though, could have chosen to not get spun out. I could opt to be one of those brilliant, beautiful creatures who always remembers to breathe all Pranayama style, through everything, instead of being spun girl, even with unasked, and unanswered questions floating about in the ether.

Its been several days since I started this writing. I’ve revisited it several times, but couldn’t quite pick it back up. What I have done though, is step back from myself to remember that I spent a good 10 years having my head fucked with in really major ways. I do not play the victim card here, or ever. Because fuck that. But also a little bit, go easy on yourself girly, its not even been a year, and you weren’t that “normal” to begin with! Add to that the last week saw too much interaction with the ex, again for purposes of getting the divorce mutha-fuggin DONE, and having to deal with his – interesting version of everything -. Try as he might, he doesn’t hurt me anymore. He does exhaust me though, and I can’t wait to never have to deal with him again.

Something else has been hitting me the last week or so, in spite of being triggered, (read: a little bat shit crazy) and that’s how lucky/blessed or whatever it is, that I am. (I get very confused about the blessed thing, because that almost implies to me a deity on high, choosing like some omnipotent, omnipresent, Oprah, who gets good shit, and who doesn’t.) Anyway, long before I started talking about the domestic violence, I started joining groups for those who had experienced it, and while I don’t wish to minimize anything, I also have to say, all things being equal, my ass got lucky! Some of the women who share their stories, they are still running, and hiding, from these crazy fucks trying to kill them, AGAIN. They have children with their abusers, and they have to allow their children to spend time with these thugs. Or they were stay at home wives/mommys, who now have to figure out how to support themselves, and their kids, without their spouse. So I’m lucky I didn’t have the baby I wanted, with the ex, and that he never was the sole bread-winner in our marriage, and that even in his abuse he is apathetic, and won’t exert the effort it would take to do to physical harm to me, now that I’m far away.

Those are of course not the only reasons for which I consider myself lucky. Right now, as I type this, I am listening to the sound of a (beloved) beautiful voice singing brilliant songs, trying to figure out how I got so lucky/blessed, to be listening to them. Don’t get me wrong, low-self esteem girl has been kicked to the curb. I actually do know that I’m a pretty cool person, and that, just as I am lucky (that fuckin word!) to have the people in my life that I do have, they too are lucky to have me. But that being said, the confluence of stars, and planets, or spells cast, intentionally or otherwise, or whatever it is the magick that has made it possible for me to be hearing this music right now, is mind boggling to me.

So anyway, I’ll sort out the what triggered me, Don Miguel Ruiz, Fifth Agreement style – “Be skeptical, but listen,” and the conclusion of that situation doesn’t actually even matter. What matters is the awareness I have of everything in this moment, and the really real emotions which accompany the awareness. I’ll at least try to remember to go a little easy on myself, as I walk through this process, for whatever that means. If I start to spin again at some point, I’ll try to get myself to stop, the moment I become aware of it. And I’ll ask questions in the moment, instead of delaying! I really DON’T think there is anything to lose by being exactly who, and how I am, so I’m just going to keep putting my me out there, and trust that all is as it should be, whatever the fuck that means.

Last, because yesterday I found out a former co-worker, and long time friend, passed away, much too young, younger in fact than I, I wish to commit myself to remembering to tell people I love, that I do in fact love them, while I have the chance to. And to say kind things to people, even total strangers, just because. I WILL radiate, in every beautiful way possible. I will also keep releasing to the past, and to the winds, all that does not serve

It’s 4am, I’m sick again, and clearly in the throes of a great bout of insomnia, so I will NOT be proofing this before publishing, because I’m lazy and need sleep. Hopefully something of it makes sense. And to my friend Adam Andrews, I will dedicate this writing. You never did tell me what it was that I had done for you, so many years ago that touched you so deeply, but, whatever it was, I’m glad I did it. Rest in Peace friend, free from the pain you fought here. I’ll see you on the other side.

Portrait of Domestic Violence

“…I guess this is growing up…”

Listening to:  “Poems, Prayers, Promises” – John Denver “…And talk of poems and prayers and promises and things that we believe in. How sweet it is to love someone, how right it is to care. How long its been since yesterday, and what about tomorrow….”

…And now when I start to write I find myself wondering how to honor my desire to reach out to, and be a voice of encouragement for, those who are or have experienced domestic violence/abuse, who may read what I am writing, and may find something of it value in it.

It is 6 days to the date of the one year anniversary of when I moved to New Jersey, putting hundreds of miles between myself, and the life formerly known as mine. With the exception of the on-going legal stuff, nothing about that life seems real.  Or at least it for the most part doesn’t. I am very far removed from the feelings I had while living in that ridiculous hell, kind of being in labor with a child, or at least my experience of it. I have a distinct memory of how intense was the pain. I know it was painful, but I can’t FEEL that pain anymore, and that for me, is the key to moving forward.

For most of my life, I have been comfortable in my own skin, (well, except for body image issues which have always plagued me, and my loathing of my distinctly Roman nose) other than that, at some point in my life, I became pretty cool with me. Right up until, whenever it was, that I started to question everything about me, and how I am, how I treat people, what I look like, how I dress, speak, walk, think. And then decided I had nothing of value to offer the world, and that there was nothing beautiful left for me, to include nothing about me being beautiful. My own skin, then, became my prison, as did my life. And how  unfathomable to me now that I was broken down to that point. I’m obstinate as fuck, so I really don’t know how someone managed to get so far in my head… or why I’d stay in that ridiculous hell for so long. It took me a long time to realize how far-reaching were the effects of the ridiculous hell.

A little over a week ago, I celebrated my 50th birthday. It exists in the realm of possibility that had I not been through the ridiculous hell, and the subsequent transformation to a person who is happier than I’ve ever been, that I might have approached that date, and that number, with some trepidation. Maybe I’d feel OLD, and the desire to hide that number from the world. Instead of that, to me it is just a number that doesn’t signify much, except for 51 times around the sun, and 51 years of experience as this person known as Michelle. And MAYBE, because of the ridiculous hell, and current happiness, I feel the most remarkable sense of freedom to be just exactly who, and how, I am. Where in the past I might have felt the need to justify or explain who I am, while being who I am, now my attitude is much more fuck it, I dig me, and if you don’t, that’s cool. I’m, just…. me. I don’t want to waste any more time in this life fighting with others in the hope that they’ll become OK with me, being me.

As turning 50 relates to the life that was formerly known as mine, beside being back to cool with who I am, one of the most profound changes for me, about me, is my appearance. I place very little value on my appearance, with the exception of how I personally feel about the way I look. I was taught a very valuable lesson long ago, that my looks may open doors for me, which I did not ask to have opened, but once they were, the “wowing” with my intellect, with the deeper parts of me, would be what led me to where I really wanted to be. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice the changes. I had no idea that while I was going through the ridiculous hell, I looked about 100 years older than I now do. My posture changed, along with the way I carry myself. My smile became rare, and reluctant. My weight too, changed, thanks to the back injury, the medication for it, the months of immobility, and the years of being unable to work out, and for a long time, to even stand or walk for long stretches. Mostly though, it was my eyes that changed. My eyes which are green, sometimes light, sometimes dark, and other times are grey, except for when they lean more toward blue. The best way I can put it is, they lost their “light” as in, illumination. Rarely did they become wide with excitement, and wonder. Or soft, gentle, with the comfort of giving love in moments brought on by being able to deeply trust in the knowledge that I was safe to do so.

More than any of that, though, what having been through the ridiculous hell, and “growing up” have given me, is finally understanding what self-care means. To those I love, I will give everything I have, even when it may not seem that I am doing so to anyone on the outside. While that’s cool and all, I did, in the life formerly known as mine, even as I was fighting in words for myself, often forget about ensuring my needs were met. This of course increased 10 fold, as I imagine it does for everyone, due to the nature of the marriage formerly known as mine. Although I’ve no doubt he would say this isn’t true, because it is impossible to fulfill ALL the needs (which are really wants) of someone capable of breaking another emotionally, and being physically abusive, I was constantly chasing my own tail, in an effort to please him, placate him, meet his expectations. I accepted life in an abusive, passionless marriage, in which none of my mental, spiritual, emotional, or physical desires were met, FOR YEARS, with the hope that somehow doing, or not doing, something, would fix everything. Or at least fix something. Instead I became empty, and exhausted, hopeless and bitchy. Not to mention lonely.

While I do forever aspire to be a person who gives to those she loves, and I DO derive the most pleasure in life from giving, whether it be actual gifts, or just doing thoughtful, caring things, I also now know, I have to give to myself as well. I currently find myself in uncharted territory, and it would be VERY easy to lean too far to the meeting the needs of others, over my own. BUT, it would be equally easy to think of only what I need, and be inconsiderate, and quite honestly selfish. Having seen both sides of that coin, and finding both to be lacking in anything shiny, or happy, my chosen balance point is now more a “non-zero sum game.” Where I once may have held an inflexible boundary, albeit for what was meant to be my own good, I now place as much value on perspective, as I do on values.

I could stray now into deep-thoughts on the potentiality for situational ethics to be that about which I’m speaking, (which I am not) or further elaborate on what I am trying to say, without actually saying it. Instead of any of that, I think it is sufficient to be said that what I have learned at such a deep level, is that I can be loving, and giving, and do my sincere best to do no harm to others,  and still take care of myself. I was never much for black, and white thinking, but am even less so now. What I have often been though, is one who spins herself out, over-thinking things. I want always to be thoughtful, but I also want to not spend so much time thinking about things, that I miss out on living my life! 

I absolutely adore the idea of having a man in my life upon whom I dote, to whom I give caring, and pampering, and whose wants, needs, desires, I meet, and whose dreams, I help to see to fruition. But while also doing those things for myself! And accepting getting those same things in return! All while dancing around, singing, sometimes leaving a trail of glitter, and hopefully always, leaving a smile on a (beloved) face. I want always to give to my kids, and my grandson, and future grandchildren, but not to the detriment of myself. Same holds true for anyone with whom I cross paths. I don’t wish to ever again find myself empty, because I gave so much. Especially I don’t wish to ever again be giving, and be abused in return.

So for anyone who may be reading these words, who may need to read them, and who may find value in what they say, because I write of my experiences with you in mind, if it has not done, know that the pain WILL recede. It will fade to a memory, and it won’t hurt at all anymore. And when you finally find the strength to start giving caring again, because I get how it feels to think you’ll never have the energy to give a fuck about anyone or thing again, make sure your priority, in the most unselfish way possible, is you. Also, 5o is the new 30 so, there’s plenty of time to re-write the script, and the plot twists of your future, can be pretty amazing.

——————————-

Maybe because tonight, which is now actually last night, is (was) the new moon, and rooms, and people, were smudged, hearts, minds, and souls were opened to ask for wisdom, overtone chanting was listened to, to raise the vibration, and intentions were written, and then burned, I am moved to (told to) include in this writing, some additional words.

To him, I offer my thanks for finally giving me the push to get, and stay away. To her, that is now with him, I thank her for her actions, which further aided me in staying away. I’d say I wish that I’d done sooner, but, I wouldn’t be here now, and here is where I want to be so, I guess it’s all perfect. To him I also say, I forgive you. I have released all anger I had toward you, and her. Go with God, or whatever/whomever you want.

To anyone I may have hurt in the past, I sincerely ask your forgiveness. To anyone I may unintentionally hurt in the future, for your forgiveness I also ask. And to you, I also send love, and wishes for everything beautiful.

To the most amazing extra-terrestrial unicorn, with whom I have traveled the ages, (or with whom I am currently sharing life, in times which parallel the one we know currently as our reality), I give endless thanks for space-holding, given, and accepted, for always, always seeing me, hearing me, encouraging me, trusting me, and for the brilliant words, wisdom, laughter, tears, and moments of magick of all sorts, shared. You are remarkable. And I send love enough to span oceans, and time.

And to my daughters, the most beautiful, amazing creatures, for your forgiveness I also ask, for anything I have done, or not done, which may have hurt you, in any way. You are that of which I will always be the most proud. I am every single day amazed by your strength, your resilience, your intelligence, your humor, your kindness, your beauty in every sense of the word. It is my profound pleasure to watch you both, in your own ways, find your wings, and fly. I love you beyond measure. Never forget, you can do, and be, anything you wish!!!

 

Listening to: The sound of silence. Not Simon and Garfunkel. The literal sound, of silence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“…the hardest part of ending, is starting again…” (except not really)

Listening to: Emmylou Harris covering The Beatles “For No One” “…she wakes up, she makes up, she takes her time, and doesn’t feel she has to hurry, she no longer needs you…”

It’s weird to have “light at the end of the tunnel” thoughts, about the (much belated) end of a thing, which when it meant something, meant, everything. But tunnels there are, and light too. Light toward which I am running. Also, there are tears, that aren’t of sadness for endings… which I am trying to understand.  I’m sure it makes absolute sense that there are tears.

Is it possible to mourn the final death of something you don’t wish to have? Not even mourning memories of what had been hoped for, or the ideas of what had once been thought to be… (I’ve read that a hundred times and still don’t know if it makes sense). I see too clearly now just how much what I had for the majority of my marriage was nothing like what I ever wanted, to remember what it felt like when I thought it was something good.  Maybe the tears are for the (nearly) 12 years which I won’t call wasted, but I will call, not the best spent. But even that I say with hesitation… the smallest change to them would have meant I wouldn’t be here, and here is exactly where I want to be…

~ Traversing dark shadows in mental hallways of memories, in search of the moment(s) in time during which I was told stories comprised of lies, and deceit, written by the shaky hand of someone who made and re-made the choice to stay locked in their own unhappiness. Lies which I then chose to make my absolute truth. ~ (unfinished?)

100% stealing words right now, “…10 years ago. I knew so much more back then…”  Not supposing to know what the words meant to the person from whom they’ve been stolen, I know exactly what they mean to me. Because I was so certain then, about so much, 10 years ago.  There is no nostalgia here, there is only (morbid?) curiosity… Who was that girl, who thought she knew so much, but, as it turns out, had a lot wrong? That girl who then (let herself get) got beaten, so far down.

There is a reason that we (those who have experienced domestic violence/abuse) are told that no contact with our abuser is a must. Because I had purposeful contact, initiated by me, with mine, last week. Contact which, in spite of it’s purpose, speeding the fuck up the process of divorce,  and it’s hopefully favorable result, sucked. The me of a few months ago would have crumbled during, and after, such a call. I mean, I would have told him to fuck off, but it would have been while crying, and hurting, and afterward I’d retreat into solitude and depression.

—————————————-

He said…

“You’re just doing this to harass me. You’re just a woman scorned, trying to get revenge. That’s the only reason you want any alimony.”

“You can’t PROVE that the injury to your back is from anything I did to you.”

“You’re psycho.” “You’re a nut job.” “You’re so dramatic.” “Shut the fuck up and let me talk.”

“I have a lot of stuff I’m sure you don’t want made public. I can show emails and texts (from your deepest, most dark, terrifying time, when you felt utter despair, and hopelessness) to the judge that will show that you’re unstable. It will speak to your character. The Judge will never award you anything if they find out about any of what you said.”

“What would your daughters, and your mom think, if they saw your emails, and texts, (from your deepest, most dark, terrifying time, when you felt utter despair, and hopelessness)? I should send everything to them, too.”

It was only after much thought that I made that phone call. The last time I spoke with him, a couple of months ago, which was purely accidental as he called with blocked number, the tone of the call, while still decidedly manipulative, was very different. Likely the billion ignored calls since that one, telling him he no longer has any control/affect, pissed him off, so there was no (feigned?) kindness. If I’d believed for a minute that speaking to him, irrespective of which him showed up, could in any way hurt me, I wouldn’t have done. I also spoke to my attorney before making the call.

There’s a lot of  grey area in my life now, and I think it’s better that way, than when I was so certain of so much, about which I was so wrong.

Things I know for sure are that in 9 days, I’ll be 50 years old, and am a little mind blown by that. I’m not freaked out by it. It just used to seem like 50 was olllldddd. But it is so, not! My littlest angel will be 28 on that same day. I remember my 28th birthday, down to the outfit I wore going out that night. And now I hear in my beloved Nonna’s voice, “Quando ci passa tempo.” which conversationally translated means, “how quickly time passes.”

Also I know that at the very latest, the divorce will be final April 7th. Much longer than I wish to wait, but, at least there is a definitive time frame.

In May I’ll be moving, somewhere. Maybe locally for a while longer. Maybe Arizona. As much as I’d love for it to be London, that’s too short a time frame to make an international move. My littlest angel, Ari, will be moving to Los Angeles, my heart aches at the thought of not living near her, but  it has long been her dream. If there is only one gift I can give to my girls, I wish it to be wings, and the courage to use them to not just fly, but to soar to their chosen highest heights. If I move away (or rather when, as it is inevitable) I’ll be far from my biggest angel, Lauren, and angel baby grandson, Gabriel, also heart wrenching. But if I don’t choose to fly, then soar, to my highest heights, for whatever that means, how can I hope that they will? And here was only every a stop over, on the way to, wherever.

Why am I even writing all of this? This isn’t writing about poor me, or anything like that. This is a written deep think, which I’ve been working on for days… I’m dancing around words… over-using ellipses as part of incomplete thoughts, or just holding back, something. And this has a purpose, this writing, so I can’t do that for me, for anyone who might be reading this, who might need the words, or find value in them. This which has now taken so many days, and should be as brilliant, and long, as War and Peace, and is neither!

What is it that’s trying to work itself out, which also feels it needs to be non-journal writing? Is it to type out those cruel words as some form of catharsis for myself, and to say “if your husband is saying anything like this to you, you are being emotionally abused, get the fuck out! Or to say, don’t take, or make, phone calls, until you KNOW you are strong enough? And only if you have to. And if your attorney says its OK. Also, don’t forget to use your wings, (which you do have) to not just fly, but soar…

—————————————————

A thank you,  for threatening to use my lowest point in life, against me. A point to which I’d sank, because of the mental fucking so frequently given me, to the degree I didn’t know which way was up. With each threat, with each attempt at manipulation, and intimidation, with each name you call me, you remind me of who I have become, which is who I always was, and I RISE. I grow stronger. I become someone whose light shines so brightly, you can’t bear to look directly at me, because you’re too content your self-imposed darkness.

——————————————————

Listening to: “We’re Still Fighting It”

“…you’ll try, and try, and one day you’ll fly away from me…”

“…and you’re, so much, like me, I’m sorry…”