Just for the record, after at least 15 years, my sister can’t spell my name.


She commiserates with me on having a bad day.

A bad day? Much more than that.  Much more.

And she assumes sleeping in my father’s den will bring me comfort.

Bullshit, death.

Bullshit, death .

Fuckin’ Magical

Saw Disney’s Enchanted, about Princess Giselle who ends up in NYC through the curse of her wicked stepmother.

The message is clear: magic counts.   Unless someone believes and makes it happen, by being in their own magic, it won’t sweep in and change lives around them.

And this is the lesson I need to remember: my magic counts too.

But only if I let it out, express it in the world.

Change Your Struggle, Change Your Life

So, what is the challenge of your life? What is the struggle that defines you, your “life myth?”


It’s real, that struggle. It’s real for two reasons.

First, it’s real because it’s based in fact. You really are torn between those challenges.

Second, it’s real because you believe in it, and because you believe in it, it shapes your choices.

Your understanding of what your struggle is changes your perception of the events you experience.  Your perception of your experiences shape the choices you make.   And the choices you make shape your life.   Changing your choices is the only thing you can do to change your life, since you have no direct control over environment or outcomes, just control over what you choose to think, to believe, to do.

The challenge, though, isn’t to not struggle.  You are human; struggle defines life in a finite world.

The challenge is to struggle for something good and empowering.   Creating a struggle for something better, rather than something futile or petty, will change your choices, and change your world.

“Buy the premise, buy the bit,” as comedy writers say. Changing the premise changes everything.

In trans, we see people’s struggle by seeing what they hate. HBS people have defined their struggle as against perverts & poseurs, rather than a struggle against a society that has trouble with trans. Struggling against freaks seems easier than struggling against the world, or worse — struggling against yourself.

Rehab isn’t there to fix you. Rehab is there to redefine your struggle. It’s no longer between you and whatever is hurting you, now the struggle is between you and your addictions. The change from an outer directed struggle, one where people are out to hurt you and the best you can do is dope up, to an inner directed struggle, one where you strive to engage your own healing and deal with all those outer interferences.

Life threatening diseases have the same effect, instantly changing your struggle. Your first struggle might be to try and not let go of your old struggle, but your new struggle will win out, and that will change you.

Andy Rooney loved WWII because the whole country — heck, the whole world — was engaged in the same struggle, which gave a kind of commonality and community he hasn’t found since. Choosing a struggle that is one of outwardly-directed service offers a whole different life than a struggle of inwardly-directed hurt & anger.

It’s amazing how many struggles are ones that we believe we have to engage to join the group. Do you share the struggles of women, of African-Americans, of Christians, of conservatives? If you change your struggle, do you lose your identity in that group?  So many people struggle to be comfortable, to be normative, to maintain the status quo that  they see their struggle as outwardly directed, silencing people who threaten change.

It’s not easy to change your struggle, to change what you see as the defining challenge of your life.  But that struggle does change across your life, as any kid knows.  The struggles of a second grader are different than the struggles of an sixth grader, are different than the struggles of a freshman in college.

My struggle is, and always has been, one of denial. I need to deny my own whatever in order not to disquiet people, because if they saw the real me — big, queer, tranny, smart, shaman, intense, whatever — they would not be able to handle it. I am just too whatever for society, so my struggle is to deny that whatever.

With a struggle of denial, is it any wonder that I also deny myself choices that would be healing, be powerful, be rewarding, be good for me?

I need a new struggle, one directed towards becoming better rather than one directed to becoming smaller.

People around me know that’s what I need, but they want me to just change in small ways, not to be transformed by transforming my struggle. They know their struggle, and their struggle is to stay in place, stay in the status quo, and not to enter the struggle to make good and potent drama.

I need to struggle to be present and positive in a world that wants to erase me, to be what I can be, to boldly sing the song my mother in the sky placed in my heart.

The only way to change my life is to change my struggle.

But, as all humans in community know, the old struggles of others just keep hauling me back in, and that feels like too much struggle anyhow.

Secret Christmas

There is, in a bag just over there, are the secret Christmas presents I bought for myself.

There are two pair of Worthington tights from JC Penny, both black, but one with chalk stripes, like those on suiting.  I think they probably won’t work well over my hockey player calves, the ones that have always stopped me from wearing pale hose, but since both pairs were $2 after the $10 bonus certificate, I figured I’d try.

The big splurge is a Braun Silk Epelle I hid in an Amazon order, a mechanical epilator that is said to get more hairs in one pass.  My old Phillips still works, but it takes many passes to get close to clear, and that’s a challenge.

But what I crave are the two ultra soft, long sleeve, v-neck t-shirts from Target.   The ones I got on clearance last year fit well, thanks to the bit of lycra in the cotton, and this years are even softer, nicer.  So, when I saw them marked down from $12 to $7 last week, I found a bit in the grocery bidget to buy two, one in black and the other in citrus.

Yeah.  What I want to slip into are standard, budget essential t-shirts from Target.  I’m no fetishistic monkey, wanting or needing somewhere to give me a thrill, no I just want to put on a decent bra and a good t-shirt and jacket and get out into the do some work.

Instead, I’m pounding out the servant work, with repacks and fixes and laundry made harder because the drier is broken.  My mother has even gone so far to throw the urine soaked towels she keeps in her absorbent pants at me when she wants them washed.  Yum.

My sister didn’t do much with me, as she has a friend up and a boyfriend and his daughter around.  I handed her the table grace, but she never got back with a comment, and I never got to ask her to go through the ritual of handing me my secret gifts, so they would have some connection.  It wouldn’t be strange.  I bought maybe 85% of what I was gifted, cheap men’s knit shirts and electronic bits so my mother would feel she had done what was needed.

I’ve worked and worked and worked, and this moment is secret Christmas.  Tomorrow is work again.

And somehow, it doesn’t feel like the way Christmas is supposed to be.

Light & Love

(Another attempt at a tablegrace.)

Today, we — in the Northern Hemisphere — celebrate the end of our long dark nights and the rebirth of the sun.  We may celebrate with a yule log, a menorah that gets us through the dark times, or with the birth of a son, who to Christians is often seen as the sun.

I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun
–not only because I see it,
but because by it I see everything else.
C. S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?”

What do we see when we see the birth of a babe?  We see, in us, the rebirth of love.  We feel our love as a wellspring, opening up the flow where previously we might have been running dry

 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Paul’s Epistle To The Corinthians, 13:13

So, as we celebrate rebirth of the sun, isn’t love the greatest thing we can celebrate today?  It is the love of our families that brought us here, and it is love that brings the glimmering light that gets us through the dark times.

Today, as we gather, sharing presents as tokens of love shared, enjoying food that is cooked with love, and just being in loving company on a dark night, let us celebrate the exuberance and power of love.

May all at this table find themselves able to open to love, and to be supported by others in pursuing the love, the desire and the Eros that our creator put in our soul to get us through the nights.  May we dance and sing in love, preach and pray in love, claim and create in love, live and laugh in love.

May the gift we receive today be the rebirth of our own love, love for others, love for the world, and love for ourself.  May the power of the love we hold within get us through the darkness and hard times, lifting us up and letting us flow into great rivers of love shared, where transformation beyond the frail is not only possible but also required.

On this day, let us not squelch our love, but let us feel reborn in opening to love and opening with love, as we would with a newborn child, as we can with the newborn son.

Let us celebrate today in shared love, big love that will grow to last through the many nights of our life.


Like The Sap

OK, OK, yes.

I want to get sappy on Christmas, all soft and sentimental and emotional.

That’s what I think the treat is, to be in a safe space where I move away from having to be all smart and upright and forced, and just fall into the music & the eggnog.

Not gonna happen, not here.

So it’s just another workday where the nagging drives are louder and more irritating.

Happy whatever to you, too.

Enter The Drama

An unsent note to a friend:

As long as the drama disquiets you, you will stay away from it.

And staying away from the drama, well, that seems to me to put you in a bad spot.Staying away from drama means you won’t stand up for yourself, because that standing up requires drama.

Staying away from drama means you will feel beaten down, because the drama of others is something you have no defense for.

Staying away from drama means you will have a hard time energizing & leading your staff, because they need a bit of drama to keep them up.

Staying away from the drama means many people won’t be able to see your passion and commitment,  won’t believe you are really energized.

Staying away from drama means you won’t feel the impulse and energy you hold within you. It means you can’t tap those reserves.

Staying away from drama keeps you from the laughter & exuberance that can empower you to be big.

I get why you eat your own dramatic power, the intensity of expressing who you are through performance . I also come from a family that is a bad audience, with autism and narcissism shutting us down, leaving me to value sacrifice, endurance and eating pain rather than bringing out the expression I hold inside.

Yes, I want you to write. It allows you to look at what is inside you.When you do, look, though, I think you will find you are a powerful person with your own sense of expression who can stand up for herself, performing defenses, performing attraction and performing lots more.

That’s where your power is, in expression.

Enter the drama, rather than just feeling it beat you down. The world is not like your parents; in the world, you can speak up and be seen as shining, not just as a pimple.

Trust your drama, gorgeous. Own your drama. Show yourself, and people will see you as beautiful, powerful and compelling.

If you don’t, though, they will see you as an emotional doormat to be avoided.

Full-Assed Holiday (Christmas)

We live a half-assed life, most of us.

We are in contingency plans all the time, scraping it out, knowing that enough is enough, and great is way too much to aspire to. Good is acceptable and fine is sufficient, and we can even live with just OK if we have to.

This is a fast paced, crazy world that demands we take the pressure, speeding up and stretching thinner just to stay in place. We have lost relationship with the seasons, with nature, with our neighbors and even with the beat of our own heart. We respond rather than react, jump rather than walk, pant rather than breathe.

Over time, speed and vibration are very hard on the human soul, very hard on our precious nature.

This is why, I think, that the thing we dream for most in the darkness and cold of winter, is that somehow, with some magic, though some miracle, we will have a full-assed holiday. We want a holiday where we can be fully present, sharing quality with those we love, the hand-made, the special, the love.

When people drool over images of perfect Christmas, they are, I suggest, thinking not about stretching themselves to do everything they see and more, rather they are thinking about what it might be like to have a time where the goal is perfection, selfless creation where we work with the creator to make times where people can feel safe not in the multitude of expectations society lays on them in every moment, but safe in knowing that when they bring the best of themselves, the best they can do with the gifts they were given, they bring delight, joy and the ability to be loved for who they are.

There is a reason that parents quell over gifts made by tiny hands, because they see in those gifts enthusiasm, exuberance, commitment and love. That is a kind of perfection that we understand as humans, not the low tolerance perfection of the machine made, but the handmade perfection that comes from a heart that is perfect in this moment, now. Wouldn’t it be great if we could see that perfection in every bit of our holiday, from the decorations hung so carefully to the dinner laid before us, to the words of time out of time, of love and energy that we share?

As modern, post-industrial humans caught in the woosh of culture, what we seem to crave most is what we feel we have lost: the connection, presence and humanity of coming together as community where each is valued.  We want to come home, that perfect home, a home where we are known, understood, seen and valued, where we are cared for, pampered and just relaxed.

We want to be in the place where people are present for us and we are present for them.  We want a place where we can stop being split up, defended, shattered and torn.

That’s what I wish for you, this holiday season.  That you have a full-assed holiday, where, even if just for a moment, you feel like you are really there, really present with people who are really present for you.

Harder than it seems, I know.

But ass-fully-in, well, it’s still something to be sought this season, and for that matter, the year around.

Exuberance & Laughter

My sister is in another drama at work.  It’s almost inevitable when you manage a passel of women who sell, and when you are an introvert in that situation well, it is inevitable.  Internalizing brings problems onto you rather than distributing them around.

To me, it means another morning used.  In the last five, there was storm shopping then snow, her needing to swap cars for a few days; my mother needing to go out, and now an early call to move furniture at her work.  She was fired a year ago and hired back, and I know that means I gotta take care, be there, work, work, hard work.

We talked about taking control, of leadership rather than just management, and all the stuff she talked about with her manager and her mentor today.  People can sense her pain and challenge, and that doesn’t make people comfortable, and no one gets out in front to help staff understand how much she does.

But I talked about two things that I think are crucial, and that she has some trouble with.

It’s my experience that laughter is the only thing that can break social ice.  Without laughter, well, the tension just builds.

And the only thing that can really refresh us isn’t softness, rather it is exuberance.  We can sleep all we want, and it is important, but good, positive, enjoyable energy is the real antidote to bad shit energy.

I was throwing songs into a holiday play list tonight, and I realized that what I need are the ones that make me laugh or make me dance.  Delivering her car back to her after working with it — she still gets tense when she hears belt squeal — the oldies station played Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, and I felt the call to get out on the nice winter day — sunny and 22 degrees — and dance.    I realized that all I want for Christmas is me — and there’s not much chance of her showing up.

I laugh when I hear a great version of Amazing Grace; it unlocks something I usually hold deep inside.

My sister wants to write more now, to see her thoughts in front of her, to keep a record, and to share in a constructed way.  That’s good, I think.  Writing is the only way I have figured out to stay sane and stable.

But I hope she wants to dance more too, to engage the tension rather than just run from it.  I think it would be good for her, and good for me if she wasn’t so freaked by my energy.

But exuberance and laughter.

Those seem so important to get through these dark nights.  And, in this stressed culture, well, it’s often dark.

Shaped By Audience

I was watching a few episodes from season 30 of Antiques Roadshow, noting how while the US version is centered on values — the valuation is shown on the screen after the appraisal — with the classic UK version is centered on sharing stories, telling the tales an object carries.  No banner with values in this edition.

Miz Ruby once told me that my blog showed me as a bit of an anglophile, with words she had to check to understand, as I used them in the English context, not the American.

While there are downsides to the UK, it is a country that values language, poetry, context, nuance, age and diversity in a different way than the US.  Idiosyncratic characters are valued, and eccentrics are taught about in schools where language is seen as a sacred heritage, rather than just a means to homogenize for the sake of commerce.

You create a different culture when people are trained to be an audience, to listen, engage and respond.  In that culture, people have more ownership of their own performance, melding regional characteristics with individual character, rather than trying to shorthand everything with quick summaries: What do you do, How much do you make, What can you do for me?

My adopted nephew was diagnosed with Aspergers, one of the classifications on what some call the Autism spectrum.  It is characterized by a mind that has deep internal focus, but challenges to social interaction, especially around non-verbal communications.

I started reading around it.  I have known my father to have some type of autism, dating from early days.  His mother spent cash, rare on a northern Alberta farm in the late 1920s, to have a doctor check his delayed or limited communication skills .  All the doctor could do was hold up a watch, ask if he heard it tick, and declare him OK.  My father didn’t like his mother wasting money on this test; he told her he was OK.

When I read about Aspergers, I had a name for what I saw now, for what my grandmother probably saw 80 years or so ago.

Nothing that can be done now, of course.  He has been a crackpot engineer for so long, with brilliant visualizations that he has trouble explaining to others, always an individual contributor, failing when they tried to shunt him into management, that his patterns are firmly developed and hard to change.

Those patterns, though, have shaped me a great deal.  My mother was lost in her own disappointments, and  I knew I didn’t want to be like her, so I tried to be more like my father.

Yes, that means I tried to act more like I had Aspergers.  Oy.

Beyond that, because he has issues with non-verbal communication, I realize how much I had to learn to be verbal in my expression.  He may have big limits in understanding that verbal  communication — I don’t think he can really understand how my mind works, that I actually have emotions and not just thoughts —  but verbal was my only chance to break through, to be understood.

My deep understanding of self is not verbal, it is deeper and more intense than that.  I am the shadows my words cast, not my words.  To my father, though, those shadows are invisible, and the claim of them is just confusing and disrupting to him

I have spent my life trying to engage someone with Aspergers, and that has defined me in many ways.

My audience shaped me, for good or for bad.  Just did.

A Poetry Christmas

If I had one wish
for Christmas

It would be
that it sound very special
without the palaver of the year

No judge shows or droning commentators
No regurgitated arguments
No panicked chatter

People love Christmas music
because it is the closest most get
to the poetry we crave

Poetry of hearing
Poetry of listening
Poetry of being listened to
Poetry of being heard.

Cards are for Christmas
Cards are for Poetry
Tiny verses
by writers who consider
what we want to hear
what we want to say
what is left

On this holiday
On these holy days
may the essential human gift
the gift of communication
be shared between us
the still silence broken
by being present
in the breath of life
and the power of voice
in this quiet time.

Let us make our art
and bring it to the table
the best and most beautiful we can offer
given with love
received with even more love
open hearted gracious receiving
leaving us open to change
leaving us open to rebirth
in a midwinter night
where the stable welcomes
newly revealed light.

For me,
the sounds of winter
the sounds of Christmas
are not for gluttony
but are to be savored
heard over the howling frosty wind
spoken over the landscape silenced by snow
shared over the beat of hearts drawn close
for warmth.

A poetry Christmas
when we value what is too often lost
the spark of life
in the breath
of a new-born
of the newly-born

Just Get Hit

I’m trying to work around my mother in her pit (the living room) and she is on the phone with my brother saying no one is working to decorate here.

Yeah. No encouragement, just passive aggressive shit. No participation in her own pleasure, just disappointment that no one makes her happy.

I come downstairs feeling slapped. I tell my father, demonstrating with slaps to my head.

He tells me that I shouldn’t be upset about that I can’t control. After all, he says, I have my own hang-ups too.

I laugh, slap myself more and explain the paradox. I can’t control her, and I can’t control what they want me to control in me — more compartmentalization is needed, my mother once told me — but I still get slapped for it, because I should make things happen, even when those things are out of my control.

Yeah. It’s out of my control, but within my obligation, so I still stand to be punished for that which is out of my control.

And he, with his Aspeberger’s like behaviors, well, he is out of my control too.  Ambiguity confuses him, he has no real empathy, just tries to understand thinking with the assumptions that others think like he would, and is generally in his own world.    No wonder I learned that emotions would never cut it.

Excellent crap, eh?

Feelin’ Girly

I listened to my girlfriends chat last night.

Well, actually I listened to our girlfriends chat; I watched the end of season six of Sex And The City, with Miranda getting back with Steve, Elizabeth Taylor having puppies, and Samantha having Jared cause injury when he does something as perverse as hold her hand.

And what those gals reminded me is that you can’t do holiday spirit as a chore. It’s gotta come from within, or it won’t happen.

Gawd, every time I see a woman in black tights, I ache. I think about the moments when women have affirmed my maternal nature, when kids have seen me as a good aunt. I saw the third season opener of How To Look Good Naked and cried as a Sonia rediscovered her beauty, her confidence and her smile, as she got her life back.

I even dreamt about being a manager and having to pitch in at a big confab when some legend passed away. “I’ve never worked with a tranny before,” one person said. “Cool.” A woman who worked for me years ago had some words of support. Good dream.

But here, in the real world, my mother is peeved because holiday decorations aren’t up. Of course, she fills the living room every moment I am here, because they never leave without me, and the living room therefore is filled with gifts and boxes and such. I can’t bring everything into there, because it won’t fit, and even cleaning up is impossible when she eats, sleeps and poops there.

She has taken to calling herself a lump. She used to call her father Lumpy Lump Lump. He sat in his recliner or was in hospital, a fast heart and touches of Mustard Gas from WWI. As a lump, she is a black hole, resisting energy & destroying it.

I am aware that as a woman, I’m not boring, bland or small. But those are attributes that I am expected to aspire to around here, where drama — even cheery, positive, upbeat drama — gets my sister quivery, confuses my father, and wears too much on my mother.

Yet she is who I need to get through the holiday times with brio & gusto. And getting through it any other way is just a wearing chore, too much work.

The list of what needs to get done is long, long, from decoration to cooking to hosting to cleaning to packing and unpacking, to shopping to… Well, if you are a woman, you know how long it is. And of course, add to that negotiating my parents through all their chores and choices.

So for a moment I’m feeling a bit girly, and I can actually even write again.

Sadly, though, I know that will have to pass.

Happy chores, eh?

Selling Sensation

James Twitchell, the author of Shopping for God, about how churches compete by marketing, in an interview on WAMC, reminded me of one key point in sales.

What we sell, after all is said and done, is not product, but sensation.

Products we need we just buy. We don’t have to sell drinks. Rather, we have to sell why our drink makes you feel better than other drinks.

In his example, after a certain point, you don’t get any more quality in, say, a handbag. A $250 handbag doesn’t have to be much worse than a $500 handbag, and a $7500 Birkin bag, well, that premium isn’t because it’s so much higher quality.

That premium is because you can feel that you are more powerful and more sexy and more unique and more privileged because you have a bag that you know other women envy.

In his book, he talks about how mega-churches become mega because they deliver pleasurable sensations to men, who are much more resistant to the charms of community than women are. Good chairs, jumbotron screens, less guilt — all things that can make men feel good.

I suppose that even thoughtful ol’ me can’t debate that the heart of the trans experience is sensation. Without that inner drive in our bodies, that seeing of pleasure rather than discomfort, we wouldn’t go through the shit that we do.

I remember that asshole Blanchard from Toronto saying that MTF trannys say we express trans because we are more comfortable that way, then making a list of all the things he identifies as discomforts in the process — high heels, hose, girdles, padding, makeup, wigs — and using his identification to dismiss the comfort narrative and replace it with his constructed fetish narrative, androgynephila by name. The idea that women often feel more comfortable in the world when they see themselves as well dressed, even if that dressing requires some tension, well, that’s not something Blanchard could seem to understand.

Humans do things that give them pleasurable or comforting sensations. So they have to identify which sensation they want to have, and find a way to get that sensation. A fella on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition worked two jobs and lots more to support his challenged kids, so the sign For My Family became vital to him. He may have been suffering in body and mind, but the sense he was taking care of his children was enough to give him pleasure and encouragement in difficult times. The pleasure he got from being a father, caring for babies, well, that was a good sensation to him, and he knew that the sensation of abandoning and/or losing them would be pretty darn bad.

The luxury of a culture beyond basic need is the luxury of selling sensation. It is a cycle, the machine cutting humans off from basic sensations, like community and connectedness, then creating products that seek to create similar sensations, now man-made and at a price. We brand ourselves to become part of a tribe — The Yankees Gang or The Starbucks People or The Coca-Cola Village — or stretch ourselves to gain status, with a bag or a car or a watch.

By denying myself the quest for sensation, and trying to engage the sensations I actually have, even if those sensations are decay, pain or isolation, I am aware that I go against this world.  My wishes have been marked as sick, so I live in my mind and not in my wishes, and that makes me separate.

But as people shop for holiday gifts, I need to remember that what they are actually shopping for is sensation, and their words around those desires can easily be rationalization of a deeper craving.

Interesting Damage

I was watching a documentary about porn star Ron Jeremy.

Al Goldstein of Screw said  “Of course, he’s damaged.  How could anyone go through what he has been through and not be damaged?”

Jeremy’s damage has lead him to be the clown prince of porn, chasing the dream of becoming a legitimate mainstream personality, the dream he was chasing 35 years ago when an amateur  photo in Playgirl got him into an industry that was trying to make theatrical presentations on film.  He vacuums up everything on every plate after meals, hordes his money, takes every gig he can, and hustles for that attention and affirmation he needs.

Is it the result of seeing his mother die from Parkinson’s very early, or something else, some combination of factors?  Who knows?  But people connect with him, and his success has been large, even if he is still looking to settle down and have kids at 51 (or later).

All this got me to thinking.  Every human is damaged in some way.

What if the only thing we can aspire to is interesting damage?

What if our job is to find a way to be damaged in a manner that reveals ourself while creating something bigger?

When sculptors remove chips from a block of stone, what are they doing but damaging that solid surface?  Still, when they are done, they have art that can express to people, can move people, can endure and create change.

It’s important to leave our mark in the world, and maybe we do that by leaving parts of ourself behind, or by creating something with our own unique damage.

Maybe, in the end, all we can hope for is not coming back to some kind of perfection, lost in the tumble of our lives, but rather to achieve some kind of interesting damage, damage that carves out places where others can nestle, damage that allows us to have tools to create change, damage that leaves our unique stamp on other’s hearts.

Maybe the best we can hope for as humans is to create interesting damage, on our world and on ourselves.


Playing Hurt

Rachel said “Of course, your family finds it impossible to read your blog.  They need to believe that what they demand you to swallow is no big thing, like when your mother thinks she is offering you a chance to dress up in your room like some closeted crossdresser.  But if they read your blog, they will know it is your entire nature that you are forced to deny, that you have been forced to deny, and the cost to you is huge.  That’s something they can’t afford to engage.”

The expectation for me is simple: I am required to play hurt. That less than 1/2 inch of space between my body, my elbow and the door on my sister’s old car may mean that my elbow always aches as it is smashed into the door, but I just gotta play hurt and learn to be smaller, driving like a Muppet who has no elbows.

One thing I was never allowed to be seen as is being delicate.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I am not delicate. It just means that I wasn’t allowed to express being delicate. Someone always told me to take it like a man, to put on my big girl panties, or some such aphorism that meant to me my behavior wasn’t acceptable in their eyes.

The problem, though, with denying my own delicacy, beyond the price to my own soul, is the challenge of identifying boundaries where I am denying too much, being too tough, to the point of long term injury to myself. If I was obligated to play hurt, then how hurt did I have to be before stopping and seeking help? Shouldn’t I just keep taking the pain and go on?

I don’t know. This may actually be an obvious line to normies, who aren’t actually expected to deny their entire essence, but to me, caught between the narcissistic indulgence of my mother and the asperger’s disconnection of my father, well, there has never seemed to be any middle ground.

I just learned to live through decay & desperation, through separation & suffering. It’s what I did. The intern may have been stunned I turned down pain meds in the emergency room when I had a PER4 ankle sprain with broken bones, but I just had learned to be tough, not delicate.

Problem is, of course, that under all this carapace, I am really delicate. I just know that I can’t go there, because being delicate requires taking off the shell that protects me.

I need to be able to be in my own pain, to crash and be not OK, not always ready to be out front and serving.
I need to not have to have all my distress written off as “just emotional” and have any good points I make washed away as just part of that pointless emotional shit.   My emotions have to be real, someplace or other, engaged by humans as real and not just as terror.

I do know how to play hurt.  But I know that playing hurt gets me more damaged, and playing hurt denies me the power of getting well.  I have to take the sickness of others and internalize it, holding it away so it doesn’t impinge  on their comfort.  They get what they want, and I get to be more marginalized.

My elbow hurts.  I know that I want to externalize the pain I feel inside, make it visible and present, but I also know that the only one that hurts is me, because when I do bring it forth and then have it made even more invisible, I only hurt worse.  I learn to play hurt, and that only hurts me more.

I spent an hour with Caroline Russell, CSW, a few years ago.  “You are so smart that I could listen to you forever,” she said at the end, “but what you keep telling me is how much pain you are in, and when I look in your eyes, I know that to be true.”

Rachel & I talked about why no one but the non-watchers care about House’s use of Vicodyn.  People know he is in pain — is “miserable,” to use the writer’s term — and they understand why his x-ray vision isolates him and demands he keep distance so he doesn’t fail.

House plays hurt all the time, cause he is too damn delicate.

I am sick of playing hurt, because I am sick.

Does that make any sense?

Vehicle Death

Just consigned two cars I had a relationship with to death.

I’m not as upset as when they dumped the ’56 Chevy for the ’64 Chevelle, but I’m not good.

I got given the ’93 Caravan after my Taurus was trashed. I was so happy to get a Taurus after the Subarus I had been driving; they were too small. This was my second Taurus, after my tranny expired on a trip to Holly & Terry and such. It was nice and quality, from a car-proud guy.

The Caravan had been my brother’s family car. But things fell apart in 2004, and the registration expired, and, and, and. It sat in the driveway here, after I had to use it to move fast.

I started driving my parents purple ’95 Intrepid. It was a big saloon with big tires, and I had gotten into scrapes with it before. It was big enough that I fit, easy. But it’s an American car, and there were issues; a rusted oil pan, an overtorqued tyre that was wheel-destroying man-ass hell, a broken light patched together after I had to drive sick to help my sister.

My sister’s car got funky in the summer. I had to find the solution and find a fix; ’98 Subarus had head gasket leaks into the exhaust. I finally took it to Pittsfield to get fixed.

By then, though, my father had planned to buy a new Subaru and give my sister his 2002. I had to manage that process of shopping, too.

And I was told I would have to give up the purple car, with about 100,000 miles on it and take my sister’s car with 200,000 miles on it.

I needed help to get through the anxiety, but my sister was busy, busy, busy. Now, though, with winter here, and inspection up on the purple, something had to happen.

My sister called the places I gave her while I clung to the top of a ladder, a second and successful attempt to relamp her security floodlights, a job she and her boyfriend found too challenging to do, but knew is required to illuminate coming snow shoveling.

I spent the morning dressing the cars for death, getting them ready for internment. Both ran, both worked, both had to die.

She came over and cut a deal, though I suspect it was just accepting the first offer.

Then she took me over to pick up her car, the ’93 Subaru. It smells like dogs and ducks have died in this car, and they have. They had her dog Bukka euthanized in the back, and her kayak gear has been full of the sludge of decaying river mud.

I had to take my father’s car to get the windscreen replaced before giving it to her. In 5 or 6 months, she never got to fixing hers, even though I offered to help.

The carpets are melted and mucky, and she never took the time to clean it out, let alone vacuum. It stinks. I had to pump the tyre and collect the junk left in there, from stones to pop bottle.s

I don’t fit in the car. My left arm needs to be cut off to fit, unless I play small. And no matter how small I play, the car still makes me look big in contrast, far from what I want as a woman.

When I drive it it makes going 40 miles an hour feel fast, because it handles so comparatively poorly on those tiny tires.

I get emotionally upset (is there any other kind?) and act out some, and I know people just think it’s my distress over loss. Well, yes, sure, the emotions are actually real, whatever this family thinks or expects me to swallow, but then again, so are the problems.

Still the driver’s side window goes down — my brothers family broke the Intrepid, and made it worse with a half-assed repair — the A/C works (the reason the Intrepid was abandoned by my mother) as does the radio. It will pass inspection.

I understand that beggars cannot be choosers, and I need to be grateful for whatever I have. I get the fact that over time I will shrink to fit; my expectations will be diminished and I will tolerate the car better.

My sister just didn’t have the time and energy to make this car nice for me, the way I worked to make my father’s old car nice for her, cleaning and cleaning. She didn’t even have the time and energy to look for both sets of keys. Now I have to clean it in the winter, when no one can clean a car properly. It’s the same as when she wanted to help make the transfer easy, and then required me to do all the legwork and many of the details.

But my friends were thrown out, and my needs were ignored again, and that don’t feel so good right now. Especially after the three hours I would have had the house to myself were denied me to help my mother go to a creepy, canned, production of Plaid Tidings. They have already said they are denying me my winter break by not going south, so things add up, add up, add up. My teeth are way bad, making my sleep way bad, and things just suck.



I know how to swallow anxiety.

I just don’t know how to digest anxiety.

And that means it comes back sometime.
April 24, 2007

I have more to swallow, more to swallow, more to swallow.

Vehicle Death.