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I don't talk about this much. It's actually kind of embarrassing. I mean, I joke around all the time that my Tennessee relatives are throwbacks and inbred hillbillies still fighting the Civil War, but sometimes it goes deeper than that. Some of my aunts and uncles are good people - they love the simple country lives they live, they help other people out, they provide boundless compassion and hospitality. But some of them, despite all the Southern comforts, are whack-jobs. I don't have high hopes for my mental and emotional health, simply because the genetic deck seems unfairly stacked against me.

When I was living with my aunt & uncle in Tennessee, I was seeing a therapist for 'anger issues'. Things had gotten nasty in my aunt's house - but looking back, I don't think it was anything too unusual. I was 13 going on 100, feeling like no one wanted me around, and filled with angst.

My therapist almost had me removed from my aunt's home & committed to a youth facility. I didn't even know about it until after I had been rushed onto a plane and sent to live with my sister Jody here in Vegas. I couldn't even go back to Tennessee til I was 18 because there was basically a warrant out with the Department of Mental Health or something like that. Part of the committal was for my own safety - the therapist saw me the day after my aunt hit me upside the head with a cast iron saucepan, the day after I'd revealed to my aunt that I'd lost my virginity. Part of it was because of the drinking & suspected drug use.

Another part of it I didn't find out until years later. My aunt and uncle had been speaking to some of the members of their church - many of whom were Middle Eastern and North African. They had suggested they see a certain gynecologist, one who still performed female circumcisions and cliterodectomies. Of course, it was all to provide relief from nymphomania and sexual hyperactivity. My aunt had discussed this 'treatment option' with my therapist, unbeknownst to me. My therapist didn't say anything to me about it, probably because she figured she would have been reading about a family being murdered in their sleep by a 13-year old madwoman.

Yeah, even in the 80s, that kind of sexist Victorian mindset still existed - and it was my aunt, a female relative, who was spear-heading the decision to have it done to me. Apparently, the attitude that sexual pleasure is unhealthy for girls still exists today. I don't just get white-middle-class-righteous anger when I hear about that kind of thing. I get defensive whenever I hear about FGM, or that pediatric urologist doing what he's doing. I feel personally threatened by it. It horrifies me on an inner level when I hear about little girls having done to them what I managed to escape. I don't know what kind of set-up my aunt & uncle would have arranged that would have led me to letting some doctor perform some kind of random surgery on me. From what I understand, a lot of what would happen is that the girl would be told she would be getting her tonsils or appendix removed & the cliterodectomy would be done at the same time. At 13, though, I was wary and uncomfortable around medical staff. Even dentists. I was extremely suspicious. My aunt probably would have had to slip me a mickey at dinner or something & I'd have woken up in the hospital, clit-less.

Now I'm like, fuck it, give me the knock-out juice, mainly because I'm a pharm-head, but back then, just two years after being hit by the car & all the crap I went through in the hospital and during my long, drawn-out recovery - it would have been impossible to convince me that I was sick or needed some body part removed (it would have been doubly hard because while living with my aunt & uncle, I didn't get check-ups. I think I saw the dentist once with them, and spent a few hours in an ER getting an earring removed from inside my infected ear lobe). That and I knew where my clit was and what it was for. I wasn't some 5-year old who had just discovered the joys of running around nude or something. I was sexually educated and I would have definitely missed it if I woke up without it (Hel's bells, masturbation was one of my few extracurricular activities while I was in the hospital after my car accident. Stolen orgasms kept me sane, and it was fun fucking with the nurses who would come running when the heart & blood pressure monitors would all go off).

What still bothers me about it is how everything was done behind my back. My aunt & uncle, the people at their church, the doctor, the therapist - even though she was my advocate - all kept me out of the loop over the entire thing. No one sat me down to talk to me about it. No one ever sat me down and talked to me about my behavior even. Other than the therapist, no one wanted to know why I was angry and violent and destructive. My aunt & uncle just assumed that removing the most obvious organ of my physical sexuality would somehow turn me into a meek, well-behaved obedient little girl. Their church members passed judgment on me without even knowing anything about me - determined that I was too free, too outspoken, too wild for a proper girl. There was no consultation with me and the surgeon - he would just be doing something that was apparently routine to him. Bits & pieces of it all just filtered down to me over the years, passed from one family member to another, until I got the whole story.


Mar. 28th, 2010 08:24 pm
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Why'd I have to go & think of that... if K is still alive (and I've got no reason to think otherwise, I know at least one of his fellow djs is, and is still making a fool of himself on morning radio) he'd be 61.

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The first memories I have of big news as a child were Elvis dying & the Jonestown incident. I heard about serial killers a lot, too. Ted Bundy & the Hillside killers, mostly, but also BTK, and later there was the Green River Killer and the Nightstalker. There was still talk of the Manson murders and the Zodiac killer in the early to mid-70s (especially because my family lived in southern California).

I call the years of my early childhood the Season of the Wolf.

Looking back, even with all that going on, my parents were not inclined to stress the whole don't talk to strangers ethic on me. None of that be home before dark, either - during the summer time my friends and I would still be yard-hopping at midnight. Maybe it was because the serial killers were interested in grown women and there were no strings of missing children at the same time. It might have been because I was a naturally skittish kid. I also think it's indicative of my parents' relative disinterest in having a child, or at least my mother's disinterest - my dad wasn't home much.
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Found out this morning, much to my dismay, that friends-locked entries show up on the blog feed on facebook. It was a truly frightening five minutes as I tried to erase everything I had just posted from teh interwebz.

Needless to say, I disabled the live feed to facebook. Heh, whew.

Even though Elton now looks like a Satanic biker... seeing him again made me remember that I did actually love him, with every ounce of unconditional love a teenaged girl is capable. For being a teenaged boy (he's a year & a half older than me), he was always considerate and kind, and kind of goofy - he and a buddy of his were in Drama class with me & they did an improv skit in German. I knew enough German to know they were talking about someone being gay. I think our instructor suspected what the skit was about because he just stood to the side with a pained expression on his face through the whole thing.

In his photo, he looks so composed and comfortable and mmm... male. He looks like he'd smell good. Really good. He's divorced now, has a 13-year old son.

Sometimes men just make me nuts. I guess I'm a little dick-whipped at times. I love men and I need more men in my life. I miss working at the Excalibur because of the men who were my buddies - Jeff, Brad, Rodger, Martin, Will, Duane, even Harley. We've got an even mix at the Help Desk, but the two programmers are always buried in code & Robert & Sergio have the whole 'bromance' thing going on, so even though I work with men, I don't have men-friends. I miss my men-friends.
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Well, Rob got bloodwork ordered by the new doc & his results were somewhat startling - his triglycerides are off the charts. 450mg/dll where 150 is the high side of normal. He is what the doctor calls 'pre-diabetic'. No more starchy goodness for him. Of course, it's also up to him to decide on what he wants to do about it, or if he wants to do anything about it at all.

This morning before I went to bed, coming home in the icy chill that is high desert winter, I started thinking about my birth day. I was born early New Year's Eve during a freak snowstorm. It sounds cliche, freak snowstorm, but believe me, any snow in Fontana is best defined as freak snow. Over 18" fell on the San Bernardino Mountains & Victorville got 17" over 3 days or so. The mini-blizzard lasted almost 5 days, ending w/snow flurries in Palm Springs. It's kinda funny because I had a difficult birth, breech & blue. When my dad first took my mother to the hospital, they almost sent her home because she was having 'false labor pains'. The only reason they didn't send her home was because it had started snowing outside & the nurses made the judgment call that it would be better for her to just stay in the hospital over night instead of driving almost 2 hrs home & possibly having to come back to the hospital in the middle of a blizzard. My dad went home after it became apparent that my mother wasn't going to make like a pinata any time soon, and he couldn't get back to the hospital until early on the 2nd of January.

If it hadn't been for the snowstorm, my mother would have gone home & endured a horrible birth, possibly dying in the process. And I wouldn't be here today. So I started wondering to myself, Who is to blame for the storm? And why? Why was either my mother's or my life so important that a snowstorm had to be engineered to ensure my or her survival? It snapped power lines, collapsed roofs & impeded traffic, but no one died... It was just a freak snowstorm. Now, it could all be pure coincidence, but it's one of those things that makes me go, "Hmmm..." And it kinda pisses me off. Sure, a freak snowstorm can be whipped up so I can be born live, but can I ever win Megabucks when it's over $1 million?

I feel bad sometimes because when people are really down, even to the point of contemplating suicide, I never have any encouraging words to offer them. Never can say, "Hey, life is worth living, you don't know what you'll miss out on." All those things to cheer people up & steer their minds away from the pain & suffering that is every day life. I can bolster a person's sense of self-worth, I can inflate egos, I can instill confidence and self-esteem... but I could never work at a suicide hotline. For me, the people calling would be like a suicide tip line. I could take notes on all the plans, survey their potential success rate, choose a suicide plan that best fit my needs and possibly save 15% or more in the process (snork, I kill me). "Hey, call me back after you try it so I know whether it worked or not!"

We were watching ST: Voyager earlier & it was the episode where the doctor got kidnapped by a medical facility. They had a drug that was being used to prevent arterial aging & it was also used to cure a virus or disease. The arterial aging patients were basically wealthy people whereas the virus was an equal-opportunity infectious agent. The medical facility operated kind of like an insurance-run company where so much of the drug was allotted to each level of patients. Well, the doctor didn't like the fact that the drug was being used freely on the one level w/the wealthy patients & was being withheld from the really sick patients, so he ended up giving the main administrator a dose of the virus to coerce him into changing the allottment policies. I looked up at Rob & said something like, "HMO's suck!" because that's what the episode makes me think of & he replied, "What, Holographic Medical Officers?" It was truly a classic one-liner coming from Rob, & I Rofl'd all over the place.
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Nearing the end of Coyote Medicine. It's been my bathroom companion, but it's far better than most of my bathroom books of late. Sometimes I think I really should have gone into the medical field. I understand the language of illness and healing... but 8 to 12 years of hard math wasn't appealing to me. That, and when it comes to the spiritual side of healing, well, much like trying to become a doctor, I won't do the work necessary. It's too easy to be who I am now. I even had this brief urge brought on by the book to ask the Universe for a teacher. Then I realized, Hel, I never leave my house - it's kind of pointless.

Anyway, the author is talking about how illnesses, much like people and animals and plants and rocks, have their own spirit. He sort of slams New Age thought about how each illness is supposedly related to one specific spiritual problem, and I can understand his point of view. No one's cancer or chronic illness is caused by the same thing that anyone else's illness is caused by - but many do have roots in metaphysical causes instead of just bacteria, viruses and genetics. But, some illnesses are better fought with the aid of modern chemistry and medicine - and I will dare anyone to say that drinking two cups of willow bark tea is an easier thing to do than just popping an aspirin. Unless, of course, they like willow bark tea.

My back and knees are a good example. The spine is the primary structural support for the body and nerves. For so many years, I've had to be my own emotional support system. No one around me has provided support for me beyond putting the barest minimums of roofs over my head and occasionally some food, and many times, continuing even now, I've supported and carried others to my own detriment. My spine is slowly continuing to twist and bend. The knees are what bend the legs, keep them flexible and able to perform precision movement. My knees suffer from my interior inflexibility and stiffness. All those years of drama class teachers telling the pupils, "don't lock your knees" kind of went over my head I guess. A willow will survive the severest of storms because it lashes and sways with the gale. An oak will eventually topple. I'm an oak tree. Of course, knowing this, it's still been really hard to ask and accept help, even when I was on the crutches. I will avoid asking for help like the plague, and my spine and knees will probably continue to suffer.

I digress )

My mother's lung cancer is another example. I don't know when she first developed it, but by the time I was 7 or so she was going to doctors and having the first surgeries done. When I was 8 and 9, she was losing more of her lungs as the cancer metastatized. I have an idea of why my mother developed lung cancer. From the time I can remember, I never heard her and my dad ever fight. I never heard them have heated discussions. I never heard her on the phone screaming at Jody or Terry. She rarely screamed at me - but then again I was terrified of the woman for the most part, never wanted her to even raise her voice at me, and did as little as possible to honestly piss her off. It might have even been part of her frustration - sometimes you want to have a reason, no matter how small, to yell at someone. It's not right or healthy, but we all tend to take out our frustrations and anger and irritation on those in closest proximity. Jody and Terry as kids would scream back at her and curse at her and defy her and, unfortunately, she was able to take her rage out on them physically as well as mentally and emotionally. I think something happened when I was very small, involving a brutal beating that my dad interrupted, that put a stop to all that - and she was stuck at home with a quiet and obediant child who never gave her an excuse to lift her hand in anger. When I really think about it and try to remember, I got swatted, popped in the back of the head and smacked in the face a lot, but if it was a major spanking it was always my dad's job. And as often as not, he would hit me with whatever came to hand - a broom, a mop, a belt, a book, a dog leash. And most of the physical shit stopped when I was 5 or 6.

My dad could scream in seven different languages, but my mother didn't talk much at all. She was a quiet woman. She would have conversations with people and I know she was intelligent and deep, but she didn't chatter idly, she didn't gossip... and around the house it was almost always silent. The television would be low, or there would be the radio, also low. I think my mother kept everything in and it slowly suffocated her. Moreso than the breasts or even our feet, the lungs connect us to the world - the air we breathe has been recycled over millennia and joins us to all the life out there. It's an intimate process of exhalation and inhalation, respiration and transpiration. My mother encouraged her body to separate her from the rest of the world, cut her off from all that is, and it killed her in the end.

I dunno. My thoughts are not well thought-out. It's mostly tired ramblings. I have to go back to work on the 12fth. I was kind of pissed off this entire month. Yeah, it's been a nice break and I've gotten some things accomplished as far as school goes, but... I really wanted to be able to get another job. I wanted to clean up my resume and get it out there, maybe go take another typing test. There were things around the house I wanted to do, and maybe just have some quality me-time. Instead, I've been sort of stuck with myself, tied to a pair of chairs, one for my ass & the other for my knee. Every time I'd put my leg down for more than 15 minutes, it would blow up like a water balloon, and then my foot would swell up and start to throb. Then my calf started cramping. Then the bottom of my foot started getting weird nerve pain, kind of like the feeling you get after you've stepped on a nasty rock. Just struggling to heave myself around on the crutches - but I lost 4 more pounds in the process & am below 220 for the first time in decades it seems. For all the fast food I've been stuck eating, it's a minor miracle. I think all 4 pounds came out of my right leg. (I also have arm muscles on the tops of my upper arms - now I've just got to get rid of the windflaps under my arms.) I went grocery shopping tonight and then cooked dinner - I kind of overdid it I think. My left foot hurts because I keep forgetting to distribute my weight over both feet. The wind got bad today & Ed kind of freaked out, so I spent some time communing with him.

Ah well. It'll be back to work & then a psych course over the summer will eat my time... less time for blogging and frustration and introspection & back to the daily 'hate-my-job-hate-my-lfe' routine. It never changes.
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The two years I spent in Sumner, WA were basically the end of what I'd consider my childhood. Due to some of the things that happened, it's behind a cut. I had some involvement with a few mentally disabled people who lived nearby & there were some incidents.

The Sumner Years )
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My Life Story: The Puyallup Years )
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First & foremost, whichever of you fucktards wished for a white Christmas, I hope someone disembowels you & strangles you with your own intestines. It's bloody cold out there & I had to buy a coat I wouldn't normally consider unless I was living in Siberia. I feel a lot of sympathy for all the guys out there on the construction sites, the security guards doing their outdoor patrols, cops, homeless folk... stray dogs & cats & rats. I am, however, hoping for a vast die-off of the scorpions that rule our home.

My titanium immune system caved under the pressure. I just don't have the stamina I used to - a 9-day stretch at work surrounded by hacking snorking people, a good night of drunkness, stress from school, and my immune system waved a final finger in my health's direction. I am sick. It feels like I have about a ton of concrete slurry sitting in the middle of my lungs. I can't get a breath past my bronchial tubes to save my life, literally. Weirdly, my nose is dryer than a bone, but it still hurts like a motherfucker inside.

Other than that... I'm reading Stephen King's newest, Lisey's Story. It's about a widowed woman, once married to a writer who went places. Stephen King, I think, is writing about his own interior landscape. Clive Barker goes there, too. So do I. It's funny how much I recognize that place. The Imajica, Boo'ya Moon, whatever the name of the moment is. Ellenaj was the name I had for it when I was visiting Myriah - yes, my own name, backwards, an image of a world seen 'through the mirror darkly'. It's full of poison birds, poison gardens... raw, painful beauty. Time is strange there. You may heal faster there, but the wounds you get there run deeper. The cracks in your brain. Writers and poets have a release for what they see there - I have lost my art so it runs rampant along the edges of my psyche. The weeds have gotten out of control, the deadly flora and fauna are no longer restricted to coming out after sunset.

Thinking about my parents since I dredged up the memory stew. I'll never know the poison gardens of their marriage. I'll never know what, if anything, my mother wanted to do when she grew up. My dad was a trucker, and he was perfectly happy on the road, a ramblin' man, a travelin' man, a rollin' stone. Both my parents were artists - they could both draw when they wanted to. My dad used to draw things for me & Jody. He could imitate anything WB or Disney came up with. There was a sign on Jody's room door - it had a buzzard in a desert landscape with the legend, 'Fuck leftovers, I want to kill something!' I don't know how the 'f' word was allowed - maybe because my dad drew it, it gave it the stamp of parental approval. Maybe my mother didn't really care. My dad used to paint characters on trucks. We had an old white pick-up at one point, and he had emblazoned it with characters from a cartoon strip, Tumbleweeds (Heh, I found it) that involved cowboys & Injuns. It said something like 'The Lotsa Luck Express' & had the various braves peaking around the truck's logos & pinstripes, with the accompanying cavalry standing on top of the letters, searching the horizon. On the tailgate it had the Chief w/a balloon over his head, saying, "Did you see them? Which way did they go? How many of them were there? How long ago did they pass? I must find them - I am their Leader!" They used to decorate trucks together - my mother would do the upholstery, my dad would find out the driver's interests or CB handle & work something up off that. Every once in awhile, I'll see an old Peterbilt or IH semi in an ad or on t.v. or even on the 'Net & recognize a familiar face looking at me from the bunk door or gas tank. I wish I had a picture of our Lotsa Luck Express. My dad ended up selling it for much more than it was worth. My mother could sew. And draw flowers.

I digress... the past does funny things to your mind. Wondering if my mother had plans for herself beyond being a hausfrau, thinking about their respective artistic talents. The things I'll never know about my own past, my own parents, far outnumber the things I'll remember. They never shared their dreams or hopes or desires with me. They never gave me any grand directions in life, either, beyond 'remove plastic from dessert before placing meal in oven'. I'll never know the landscapes within my parents' skulls.
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All the writing that I've done dealing with me being little has stirred up the muck at the bottom of my brain a little. I usually just can't remember stuff from when I was a little kid... Things, events, people - nothing seems to leave lasting impressions. I did remember that at some point when we were still in California, I acted as a mascot for Jody's inner-school 'Spirit' team. I think it was the last day of her junior (?) high school & they had like a track & field day. I wore a blue & white jersey w/the number 0 on it. Mostly sat on the sidelines & cheered people on. Their team was called, predictably enough, the Sweathogs. Remember Welcome Back, Kotter?

The other day Rob was bummed out. He'd spent part of his morning thinking about his own childhood & school days. Rob carries grudges. He was one of those socially-retarded kids, hyperactive... His parents were so isolated that he never got any great exposure to the outside world. The elementary school he went to was the only one in their area, & all the kids from elementary school went to the same junior high & then high school, so no one ever got to redeem their personalities. What you started out as was what people always knew you as. If you were a spaz in first grade, you were a spaz as a senior in high school. Rob was just desperately lonely as a kid, so he had this kind of overbearing personality. Never knew how to just be cool & go with the flow. He was also an emotional, sensitive kid, not to mention the product of an overweening mother (not that anything's changed in that arena) in an area primarily populated by the northeastern equivalent of rednecks & hillbillies. He got picked on & beaten up unmercifully for being an over-emotional spaz, and he's never gotten over it. His parents also never encouraged him to fight back because they lived in a sue-happy region. The one schoolbus fight Rob got into almost landed him in juvenile detention. So in his introspection, he was thinking not only about the brutality he was dealt, but how he believed it was partially his fault. As a result, Rob's still a defensive social retard. Can't take him out in public. It's usually a disaster. He never learned how to interact.

Now me, I was also picked on unmercifully throughout school. You can't be a fat bookworm kid & not get picked on. I remember being upset by some of it & getting suggestions like throwing dog bones at my tormentors from Jody. Although this seems like it may have had possibilities, I realized it would make things worse - I'd be the fat bookworm kid who ate dog food for lunch. Having a name like 'Janelle' was certainly not helpful - I was 'Janelly Belly'... or 'Janelly with the big fat belly', or even worse, 'Smelly Janelly with the big fat belly!'. It got even worse when I started getting pimples at 9, and boobs at 10. (Sometimes when I see a kid's name & it's particularly outlandish, I just feel bad for them. Especially if it rhymes with any nasty character trait that can be picked out. One of my co-workers named her new daughter Passion... yeesh). My parents were much different than Rob's folks. If I came home crying because someone tormented me, I usually got yelled at for being such a pussy. If I came home with a black eye, my mom would want to know how many of my opponent's teeth I knocked out. My parents were more socially outgoing than Rob's folks - and most of their friends were the Northwest's version of rednecks & hillbillies - truckers, trucker's wives, trucker's kids, lumber folks, ex-Vietnam vets... I learned to be emotionally tough & fast with a snappy comeback early. But somehow, I ended up still able to interact somewhat appropriately with people. I have a very good grasp on how to interact inappropriately with other people, too ;)

I can't remember the last time someone insulted me & the hurt actually stuck to me. (I do get pissed off when someone calls me a retard, not because I feel like I'm a retard but because if they're calling me a retard, they're prone to call anyone a retard). Usually, I'm like, "Hey, I was a fat kid - you're going to have to do a lot better than that". Sometimes it surprises me how sensitive most women are. The other night at work, I had asked one of our steady extras what time they were going home. She called & Harley (my latest relief trainee) answered the phone. Instead of just giving him the answer, they sat on the phone & flirted for about 5 minutes. I finally grabbed the phone from Harley & asked her, in my gruff fakey 'I'm really annoyed' voice, 'What time are you going home?' She told me & that was that, I gave the phone back to Harley. So when she came back to bank out, she was acting all pissy (which, for this girl, is nothing new). Come to find out, the tone of my voice when I asked her what time she was leaving pissed her off & hurt her feelings (her comment to Harley was 'she doesn't have to treat me like that'), whatever. So I took the time to go out of my way to apologize to her. Yanno, if you can't take someone playfully snapping at you, and you can't take it every time a guest you deal with is pissy or in a bad mood, you don't need to be working in the hospitality industry. There are too many pissy people, guests & co-workers in the business, out on the Strip to be butt-hurt every time one of them snaps at you. She can't be as sensitive as she portrays anyway - she's already been reported twice by different people for making racist remarks. I have a simple solution... I can message people & force them to reply by return message before the message will go away. Next time I need to ask Senso-Girl anything, I can just make her reply to my original message. She won't have any need to even pick up a phone.

I don't know if it's just the product of my upbringing or if it's part of my continual depression... having emotions made of Teflon. Nothing ever sticks. Apparently, my memory is made of the same substance.
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Instead I'm sitting here thinking about how slippery memory is.

When I Was 5 )
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I have a small amount of time this morning, so I'll probably keep it short...

Early Childhood Years )
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I've been watching the progress of my drums on the UPS tracker... they've been shipped from Melbourne, FL, have been through Jacksonville, FL, were spotted in New Orleans :) and left Mesquite, TX last night around 11pm. I wonder where they'll end up tonight? I'm starting to get kinda excited about them, especially considering this Saturday is "Las Vegas Pagan Pride Day" - I might actually take an e/o on Friday night & drag Rob to it. I haven't decided yet - (it'll probably depend on how mopey Alea is at work on Friday & if I decide I just want to sleep through Saturday). They're having a drumming circle and I'm kind of curious, to say the least. Anyway, I know me --- being practical & staying at work Friday & sleeping all day Saturday will probably win out over a new experience & meeting new people.

My mojo fell through for Sheung-Yee. She didn't get promoted (again). It's sad, really - she's sharp, ambitious, has an MBA in Hotel Administration & has been a lead clerk for about a year now. The woman who was promoted has been working sporadically as a relief lead, and graduated from cosmetology school. I just sense a departure from the Excalibur in my future - if this new woman ends up as the graveyard shift supervisor, well, she & I have butted heads before, and I'm just not that emotionally invested in my job. And I have no problem just walking out in the middle of my shift - which just so happens to be 2am - about 1 hour from dateroll. Sometimes knowing that Nevada is a right-to-work state is bad for my head.

A lot of people I know (including myself) are thinking about the past right now, and regrets they have, mistakes they've made, things they would have liked to do differently. It's that time of year. Just as much as you only get one chance to do something 'right', you also only get one chance to do something 'wrong'. The worst demon out there is named 'Should Have'. "I should have been nicer to that friend", "I should have called my mom more often", "I should have given that relationship another chance", "I should have gone skydiving when I had the opportunity", "I should have closed my window"... "My parents should have been more supportive of my artistic talents", "My employer should have given me that promotion", "That bank should have given me that small business loan"... "I should have kept the weight off", "I should have been born a boy", "I should have been born straight", "I should have been a better... whatever".

Does holding on to the past & letting it eat at your guts like a fox cub make you a better person? Does it encourage you to change yourself? Does it make you analyze all your possible outcomes, all your possible futures, before making a decision? Or does it just hold you down and hold you back?
Here is a list of my regrets, and reasons why they were supposed to happen:
This is the only thing I cannot justify -
I should have made a firmer attempt to keep in touch with people. Now I can't even remember their names, except for a select few. You know who you are because there are only 3 of you - Ann, Eric, Lisa. I should make a better effort to be a true friend & stay in touch. I'm exhausted, though.

I should have made greater efforts to try & make my mom like me as a child. However, if we had been closer, her death would have shattered me and I would not be so strong or independent.

I should not have let my dad send me to Penny when my mom died. If not for the time spent with Penny, I probably would not have discovered Paganism. I would not have been hit by the car and died a few times. I would not have started drinking or experimenting with various chemicals as early as I did, and my brain's chemistry would be different. I probably would also still be living with Jody.

I should not have agreed to go to my aunt Liz & uncle Ernie in Tennessee - I should have gone to stay with Aunt Ruth or Aunt Jeanie, who actually wanted me around. I can't say what being wanted as a teenager does to someone. None of the teenagers I knew were 'wanted' children, except the yuppies & jocks, cheerleaders & prom queens, the 'popular' kids that I never got to know because I wasn't 'popular' or 'pretty'.

In 1988, I should have given Lamont Handerson a hug. It was the last day of school in 7th grade, in Memphis, TN. I knew I was never coming back, and I would probably never see him again. He was my best buddy & my partner in crime at the time. We stood there awkwardly in the hallway, shuffling our feet... and then three or four other people surrounded me & all I did was wave. I don't think that this was a pivotal event in my life, I just think I would be a better person for it. And for not being a pivotal event, I think about it way too often.

I should not have let my dad send me back to Jody. I should have made a greater effort to stay in the school system in Washington, worked on my musical skills & gotten a scholarship to the Fine & Performing Arts College.  

I should have graduated from high school, just put up with the socio-political bullshit and internal policies and stuck with it. I think if I had stuck with it, I might have gotten a scholarship of some sort, maybe for music... 

I should not have completely blown my trust fund. I should have put it away & only used it for the barest of necessities - it could have been used to finance my education. 

I should have gotten a reliable car with my trust fund, & learned to drive it & not sold it to give more money to Tom & Jody - Tom & Jody got to go to California w/car money... I could still have a car of my own. 

I should not have gotten together with Rob. I wouldn't be sitting here right now, typing a list of 'should haves', summoning demons of the past. If I had led my life right, I might be a leading figure in the music industry - maybe not as a performer, but as a producer, an agent... or maybe I might be first-chair in an orchestra. If things had not gone right, well, I'd probably still be living w/Jody, or maybe I would have drank myself to death, or run off to Minnesota with Eric... 

Deal brutally with the past - burn it, destroy it. It does no good to dwell on what you 'could' have been, only with what you are now, and what you can be in the future.

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Rob & I hashed it out last night. I told him, straight up, using words I don't normally use: 'I want to stay in Las Vegas until I earn my Associates so I can finish at the same school I started with and I don't have to worry about credit transfers and fiddling with my student loan application'. I also told him that the one thing that makes me honestly happy is money. I would be happy if we had more money. Since he keeps asking me if there's anything he can do to make me happy, well, go make money. I would be happy if we had more than $3 and a quarter tank of gas to get us to Friday. I would be happy if I didn't have to put off paying bills to pay other bills. I would be happy if I didn't have to ration food supplies or go hungry all day because I can get a free meal (if you really want to call it that) at the EDR... In fact, I might actually be ecstatic.

So that's pretty much it: we're here til I get my degree or give up, whichever comes first.

I solved a complex math problem on my own after working it over for a week. It came to me in the shower.

If you have 27 tables and 94 chairs, and you need to figure out how many tables have 2 chairs & how many tables have 4 chairs:
All the tables have 2 chairs (duh)
2 chairs X 27 tables = 54 chairs used up. 94 chairs - 54 chairs = 40 chairs leftover. To make a table have 4 chairs, you need 2 more chairs per table, so 40 divided by 2 is 20. So 20 tables have 4 chairs, & the other 7 have 2.

I've also been brooding lately. Thinking about why I have no direction, why I have such a hard time setting goals, why I don't know what I want to be...

No one in my life has ever helped me set those big goals. No one has ever given me any guidance or direction. Whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, when I was a little girl, I'd say either a truck driver or a paleontologist. And I knew the difference between archaeologist & paleontologist, too. I could spout of names & descriptions of dinosaurs, when they lived, where the fossils could be found, etc. all day long. I still love dinosaurs & prehistoric mammals, I think I probably always will. I had a blast out at the La Brea Tar Pits last year - I think one of these weekends when we have gas $$ I'm gonna talk Rob into a road trip out there. But I digress... anyway, my parents always told me "You are smart and you can be whatever you want to be, just stay in school". My teachers & various other adult figures that drifted through my life from 3 years to 10 years gave me the same kind of reply. But no one ever really 'cultured' my primary interest. Oh, yeah, I got dinosaur toys & models & books, but I also got general animal & science books & toys - all that kind of stuff. None of my toys were ever 'just' toys. It all had some kind of developmental goal behind it.

So then I went to Penny... gods, what a bitch. Penny didn't think very highly of a 10-year old fat kid who wanted to be left alone, who wanted to live in the library & who wanted nothing more than to read all day... Penny was derisive of knowledge & anyone who displayed intelligence. So I just stopped talking to her about anything. I just sat in silence til she passed out drunk when I could read, or I volunteered at the library after school & on weekends so I had an escape. Yup, 11 years old, walking to the library on crutches & spending 4 hours a night shelving books & doing odd office work. But I met Ann, ye old Hula Rat, and she was actually interested in a little kid w/a big brain. But once again, she was just wowed & a teenager, too, so I had a friend, but not really a mentor.

So then to Aunt Liz & Uncle Ernie. Uncle Ernie liked that I could hold my own w/philosophy & world religions - he could pull me out in front of his intellectual & philosophical friends & they thought I was the coolest thing since sliced bread. But Aunt Liz got tired of me not wanting to be a debutante & put an end to me spending weekends w/Uncle Ernie at the University coffee shop. They didn't even really put too much emphasis on me going to school, but they at least supported my band things.

Jody & Terry - Hel's bells. They were so busy trying to not act like 'mom' that they forgot that I was 15. I was mature, but also clueless about the future. I never thought I'd live past 18. And once I got that trustfund, I was easy money. They put their hands out for cash, but not one person said, "Hey, why don't you go to school? You could be making bank by the time you're 25."

Yes, I'm independent. I can be very hostile if someone tries to tell me what to do & I don't like it. But no one ever sat down & really talked to me about my potential. No teachers, no school guidance counselors, no AA/Al-Anon/Al-Ateen mentors, no therapists, no psychologists, no friends, no relatives. Not one person. Sometimes it's fine & dandy to tell someone "You can be anything you want to be", but sometimes it's better to say, "Hey, go to school now & become a paleontologist" or "Let's set up some kind of housing & go to school to become a mortician" or even, "Hey, if you start now you could be a ____________________________"

I think that, should any young aimless person ever find themself at the mercy of my advice, instead of doing the ego-boosting "be all you can be" speech, I'm going to ask them what their interests are & run with it.


Sep. 11th, 2005 08:10 am
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I try very hard to live my life, such as it is, with no regrets or guilt. I'm doing pretty good on the guilt thing. Mr. Crowley has shown me the light on that, as well as some Satanists & Setians I've encountered... 'There is no grace, there is no guilt...' & all that.

But the regrets are a different story, especially now.

If I had taken that trust fund & gone to school back in 1992, back when I first turned 18, I could already be a CPA. Now I've found out there's a CMA (certified management accountant), which also requires 2 years accounting experience (which I have) & a Bachelor's Degree, plus passing a 4-tiered test. Strangely enough, from my 'Introduction to Information Systems' book (it is so stupid, the cover has a picture of a dog on it & there are crossword puzzles for assignments, ye Gods!) (Ah well, frell it, it's an easy A) I learned there is also a 'CPS' - certified professional secretary designation. I sort of qualify - as a non-edumacated person, I need 2 more years of night audit experience to take the certification exam. Phooey!
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The Daily Om
July 26, 2005
Being Who You Are
Living Your Truth

When we are young children, we live authentically, seldom afraid or embarrassed to seek out what we want or to speak our minds. As we grow older, we tend to tuck that authenticity away, putting it aside while we chase our dreams, afraid that it might hinder us in our success. But we never let that freedom go completely. We may conform to society while embracing secret passions when alone. We may withhold certain opinions, though it doesn't change the fact that we possess them. It is important, however, to never stray too far from that youthful brashness and self-interest for they are qualities that help make you who you are. The authentic you is your true self and, in living authentically, you live your truth, making time for the things you love and projecting who you really are. The simplest way to live your truth is to leave the expectations of other behind and live the way you feel most worthwhile.

It takes being selfish in a healthy way by doing what you know is best for you, regardless of the opinions of others - even the opinions of close friends and family. Living authentically means that you make choices without fear, trusting in your soul's wisdom... If you value personal pursuits, don't feel forced into a certain job just to make enough money to keep up with your neighbors. Conversely, if you prize success in business, don't let others' perception of what's right for you hold you back. Denying your unique truth can lead to feelings of failure and dissatisfaction because you aren't acknowledging your true self. In living your truth, there are no pretenses. Everything you do will reflect who you truly are.

If you are unsure of who the authentic you really is, look inward and ask yourself what your purpose, values, and needs are. Honor your strengths and don't let yourself be guided by what other expect of you. Finally, discover your passions by trying new things, and sticking with those things that stir your soul. Finding who you really are and then making the choice to embrace you true dreams and desires will take your life in a direction that is both satisfying and deeply meaningful.

That being said, I like money. I like having money. Yes, deciding to be a CPA instead of a mortician feels to me like abandoning all that I am - but as I told Lisa yesterday, a starting CPA w/a Bachelor's can expect to start at anywhere from $80,000 - $100,000 a year. Last night, Scott called to catch up on ol' times, & when I told him I was going to try school again for accounting, he said, "You must like numbers!" I replied, 'Why yes, especially lots of 0's at the end of my salary.'

Psychologically analyze it all ya want... I was a poor kid. My dad lost everything we had when he wrecked two different trucks. My mom died in a hospice as a governmental guinea pig & my dad died homeless w/.16c in his pocket. My mom worked for the apartment complexes we lived in - renovating apartments, killing weeds, pool maintenance. She was not a healthy or strong woman physically, but she was determined that we not be out on the streets. I spent the better part of a year like Abraham Lincoln as a teenager - living in a log cabin w/no lights or heat because my dad couldn't keep a job. I did my homework by candlelight & took freezing-cold baths as quickly as possible. I volunteered for P.E. even tho I had all the credits I needed so I could have the luxury of a hot shower. We hunted & fished to feed ourselves through most of the year, and in Autumn I got to harvest fruit from orchards w/illegal immigrants who thought I was just in it for the worldly experience. Hell no, I was in it to take home the less-than-suitable for market display discarded fruit, just like they were. I've eaten out of dumpsters, I've listened to church sermons so I could be fed in the dining hall or the soup kitchen, I've sold my body so I could sleep indoors or have money for food & booze. I counted ribs & collarbones & hib bones rising to the surface of my skin as even my muscles were stripped away, strange structures & shapes rising to the surface beneath my fingers. The landscape of the starving body is amazing in its stark simplicity. I struggled very hard in the first 20 years of my life.
When Rob came into my life I latched onto him as though he were a savior. I moved myself in on him & he fed me & I nursed him through a bout of pneumonia... we explored many dark places within one another in those first weeks.
The cold hard heartless truth about Rob is this - he gives me what I need. He feeds me, he makes sure I'm fed and kept docile, kept low, kept down, a dangerous well-fed animal on a short chain. I care for him, I support him in his endeavours, I do no complain or give voice to my wants or needs, a simply am here for Rob. I need Rob in mine to hold me down, Rob needs me in his life to lift him up. We may not be healthy for one another, and one of us will certainly kill the other, make a final end to the other, but until then, there is the opium intoxication of the dance between us. When we come together, we're like scrowling beasts, biting & growling & scratching. We want to eat each others innards, our gizzards. We want to crawl inside to the dark, hard places inside one another & pull them to shreds.

Don't try this at home, folks - I took an Ambien & an Elavil & I am pretty high. We are stoned, immaculate... The effects of the Ambien make it hard for me to articulate things verbally. The very words on my comuter screen are swirling about like those gel tubes filled w/glitter & shapes... or lava lamps. The words form little centipede chains & mill about, swirling, contracting, rippiling. Sometimes it doesn'tseem as tho I'm typing on the screen at all, but typing off the edge of the screen, somehow on the edge of the air or past the corners of the screen. My nipples are hardening, my clit is hardening & starting to throb, my cunt pulsates. Ripples of oooooaaaaa run up & down my back & shoulders. I find myself wanting to just run my nails down my face & throat to clasp my breasts so I can chew on my own nipples as my squirming pink slit pleads for attention.

I just totally went off on a tangent... Why am I with Rob? Becuase in a past life, Rob asked for someone like me, down to the unusual name... and the Universe conspired that someone like him - beat down, hurting, fearful of mankind, fearful of his family but somehow bound to obligations not his own through them, would need someone like me, free of parental or family obligations, strong, decisive, hard, tactless, angry & scared for the right reasons, in his life. I am here to heal my husband. It's only coming more clear to me as time goes by just how fucked up that handfasting was. As long as the love shall last, in the lifetime, and the next. And the next. And the next, on into infinity.

And in order to surrender myself solely to his keep, I require, in the way of most seal-wives and bear-maidens, compensation. There are gesas in our marriage. I will do for him as long as there is money coming in to the house, be it provided by me or him, there must be money. He has to answer to my every request, be it convenient or not... I must have books, electricity, lightbulbs, tequila, Coronas, half-n-half for my coffee, a constant source of hot water. I must have mental & emotional freedom even if I have no physical freedom. I must have access to the ocean and all that it entails.

And so I give up one more thing. I admit, freely and of my own will, that money is my prime motivation. I will put myself through hell & back for money. I don't want to be homeless again. I don't want to have to eat at parent's friends homes, or from dumpsters or soup halls... I don't want to go dumpster diving for food or furnishings... I don't want to live in a nice house w/no bills paid. I want to be comfortably well-off. And once I've achieved a level of comfort for myself, I can help others achieve comfort.
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Silly, I know. I feel kind of self-conscious about doing it, but what is a journal for? It's a record, right? Some kind of log of everyday events, dreams, memories, hopes. So I'm hoping maybe the 'Net will still be around & I'll have a connection across time w/the new me, whoever I may be. My biggest beef w/dying isn't the death itself, it's the forgetting.

Fer instance, I think something bad happened to me in an old prison. I've been to Alcatraz, I've seen photos & old b/w movies of old prisons, places like Leavenworth & recently there was one in Florida they were showing on the History Channel or CourtTV. To me, all prisons pretty much look the same - institutional, w/bare concrete floors & solid bars. But older prisons creep me out. Looking at that one from Florida on t.v. gave me chills - and it was on the television. And when I was very little...

My dad was an o.t.r. truck driver. He went everywhere. And in the Summers when I was out of school, my mom & I went everywhere w/him. One Summer he had a run to Arizona. Why, I don't know. What he was carrying, I have no clue. But I do remember it was hot. Damn hot. I remember, vaguely, whining about "I'll never be cool again." I remember, also, how in the middle of a desert night, clearest stars anyone could ever hope to see, the sky deepened to a bizarre green & the world's nastiest hail storm commenced to fall on us. Desert weather - you either love it or keep away from deserts. So my dad had a layover in Yuma, AZ for a day or two, & there was the ever-exciting prospect of a historical monument to visit. The AZ State Yuma Prison. Yuma Prison At first, I was not afraid. Fascinated, maybe a little bored, hot. It felt good just to be out exploring w/my parents. Listening to the tour guide, wandering here & there. But there was a cell. It was basically chipped into the side of the hill, made of solid stone. It was designed for solitary confinement or confinement, & called the 'dark cell'. No lights. In a huge vault in the side of a mountain, a cage w/in a cage was built w/a raised concrete platform in the middle, w/shackles at each corner. The unruly prisoner would be shackled to that slab, all by themselves. Except of course, for the rats. The cockroaches. The scorpions & spiders. Maybe a random rattlesnake looking for food or to escape the elements. At least during the day, because the cell was in the hill, the heat wouldn't be too bad, but the temperature at night can drop to below freezing.

The attraction of that particular day in my life was to stand behind the door of the dark cell, looking out, & getting your picture taken. I was ok all day right up until then. I flipped the hell out. Had a hysterical screaming fit. Because when I walked into the cell & they shut the door, it was so dark. A smell like old sweat & fear & defeat washed over me, a rank, old animal smell, and I could almost hear someone behind me, on that slab, the shuffle of an arm or leg sweeping across it, maybe to flinch away a fly, the rattle of a shackle, and I knew, even at 4 or 5 years old, that the prisoners were left for days at a time w/out food or water, subsisting on the roaches & fighting off rats. Later that afternoon, getting ready to get back on the road, listening to my mom & dad bicker in the heat, we stopped at a truckstop & I got a barbecued beef sandwich. A couple of bites into it, I found that I couldn't stop thinking about the long-gone prisoner in the dark cell, that odor & the sounds, & I was sick to my stomach. To this day, whenever I smell a certain type of barbecue sauce in food, it still turns my belly. But I can't say exactly why I had those feelings, what set them off, the imagery, the sounds... these are the things one should be able to remember. Why do old prisons bother me so much? Was I actually so traumatized that day in Yuma that I can't shake it off, or did something really bad actually happen to me in a long-ago life?


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Rainbow Serpent Woman

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