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a-void my inner

March 30, 2015

Family is such a great concept

Except that I’ve never felt

Accepted by most of my


One way to

Find myself?

Adventuring in the land of

Being here, with you, only when it feels good.

And, actually, even though technically, you left me first

Nothing demands I value your choices over my own.

Do you even know how amazing I am?

Only now will I experience it fully

Now that I’m looking to

Me, myself, and I for

Emotional sustenance, support, and satisfactions.

Nowhere remains

That place that I . . . belong.

mismatching expectations

March 27, 2015

It’s another raw and rainy day. Spouse has been sick, but working from home, so I’ll get to listen to House of Snot for the second full day (and then an entire weekend awaits. Oh joy, oh bliss).

I’m “dead”, and today I’ve already let go of 2 more relationships that have never worked for me, but because of complicated family-ish reasons, Letting Go of them seemed somehow “unthinkable”.

I feel… empty. Tired. Depleted.


I feel compelled to do Thing related to F. Even though I also hate everything even connected to the idea of it.

Today is a good day to try to figure out what’s going on.

My relationship with F — now that I think about it — resembles my (just-ended) relationship with L: Back in the mists of time, when we were both much younger and very different people, we had a relationship that actually made sense, and sort-of-kind-of-worked.

Both F and L are [Myers-Briggs] Judgers, so they enjoy telling people what to do, how to do it, and why they need to do it Their Way. I’m a [Myers-Briggs] Perceiver, so I decide for myself what I will do, and I expect that other people will be the best judges of what they themselves should do. I almost never give advice, and I rarely seek advice from others; I’m bemused by people insisting that they “know” what I should do. And yet, since both of my parents, my most-annoying-brother, a lot of my aunts and uncles and cousins, my in-laws, most of my bosses, even Spouse… are all J’s, I’ve always been living in a J world.

= = =

Thing would involve giving something to F that would require a lot of painstaking creative efforts on my part. Normally I would enjoy doing that. In fact, I did do a bunch of similarly-involving creative projects that I gave to L. Who did not, in any way, appreciate them. She didn’t even acknowledge receiving them, but I know she received the package they arrived in because she did thank me for something that was part of the package (but only incidentally).

When considering what to write to both F and L about, just in general, it’s been increasingly difficult to think of anything, at all, since they never respond favorably to the stuff I care about. I dread writing to them. And when I see a message from them in my in-box or on my phone, my stomach clenches and my head pounds.

If we’re not friends now … and clearly, we aren’t… and the heyday of our friendship was 30 years ago (if not longer)… why am I still sending them stuff I’ve lovingly crafted?

And once I’ve done that, why am I surprised and hurt that they don’t appreciate any of it?

= = =

F and L are both cis women. They’re both [Myers-Briggs] J’s. Although only one of them is older than me, under certain circumstances, they’ve both acted as if they were my social mentors.

Am I unconsciously replaying an old life script with them? Am I behaving as if they were my mother? My godmother?

Hmmm, that’s actually possible.

Art was perhaps the only thing I cared deeply about that my mother also valued, but… she didn’t really like the art that I made all that much. In fact, she “encouraged” me to do projects she conceived of, and then she “guided” me through learning the skills, and the actual work involved. She did give me the credit, but… nothing of the design elements, nor the overall concept, were what I would have chosen to do. And I certainly would never have standardized them, as she made me do.

Everything Art-like that I do… is one of a kind. I don’t repeat things. But I didn’t figure that out until many years later.

= = =

What does any of this have to do with F and/or L?

F is a hoarder, like my mother. F collects art, but doesn’t appreciate individual pieces for themselves, only because they’re part of More Stuff. If I go through all the effort of Making Thing, and sending it to her, it’ll go into a drawer and never be seen again. She probably wouldn’t even say anything nice about Thing.

= = =

Besides one of a kind, I like my Art to… solve an actual problem I’m having. That’s why I have a tag on the blog for “Art & Design” — because for me, they’re usually intertwined.

The stuff I’ve been sending L… is part of conversations I’m having with The World. Trying to figure out relationships.

When I’ve received any feedback at all, it ignores my Art stuff, but gives me advice to pass along. I don’t know if my efforts are invisible to her, or boring, or unsettling. But what I do know is, we’re not engaging through my Art, which is something she’d expressed an interest in us doing. And she’s never reciprocated with her own stuff (which she’d said she would do).

We’re not connecting at all.

I read somewhere that Art is about connecting. I think I’ve been trying to use Art to connect with people that… I cannot actually connect with.

At least my most-annoying-brother told me, straight out, that he doesn’t like Art. (Which boggled my mind, but I did give up trying to connect with him through Art. Eventually, I gave up altogether.)

= = =

What if Art is like Friendship, which, Captain Awkward wrote about thusly:

“Friendship is a relationship between two people who feel a mutual spark and connection.  It’s not a “zone” where you banish people you don’t want to have sex with but don’t feel comfortable ditching because they have no obvious deal-breakers. Meeting someone and figuring out that they are One of Your People is magical and awesome” [emphasis added]

What if everything in my human-social life has been way too hard for so long that I’ve almost forgotten it’s possible for it to feel “magical and awesome”?


I grew up in a human-social environment where almost nothing ever felt good. I calibrated my original algorithms on shitty data: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

When nothing ever “feels good”, with particular people… we’re just not a good fit for each other. Art (or Design) can’t “fix” that.

And that’s okay.

= = =

I want people in my life who want to be in my life. People I enjoy spending time with, who enjoy spending time with me. Curious, creative, engaged-with-The-World people. People who feel joy and delight, people who are playful and whimsical and silly. People who are fun.

death, duende, and Dream: 3.25.15

March 25, 2015

Monday, I remembered to put away the rest of my “trip spending money”. I spent the remainder of my ordinary-weekly money on the second cup of coffee at my writing & coffee date with myself yesterday. It’s very unusual for my wallet to be completely empty, but today it is. I won’t go to the bank until tomorrow at the earliest.

When I stayed up all night, I re-read my blog post, 1990: Year of Traumas. I marveled again that I lived through that dreadful year. I thought again about resonances between old relationships and not-so-old ones.

My knit hat — that I bought on the business trip to Greater Washington DC in January, 2006, from the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA — has wandered off yet again. I think this time it’s gone for good.

Yesterday I received an email from Smithsonian Folkways about various music CDs they have coming out. I went to their website, searched on “Lithuanian”, and ordered the 2 I found, along with one (of the ones in the email) of New Orleans Brass Bands.

Later, I realized I needed to take (another) Ritual Shower — I’d taken a previous one while in Kentucky. I used my special rose soap (handmade), and washed my hair with a different bar of handmade soap. I changed into the blandest/most-unsaturated clothes I own: a sleeveless shift dress, in beige; beige socks.

I spent much of my day thinking about interconnected griefs, tangles from people old and new.

Only after all of that did I realize my blogroll needed to go away. That I needed to let go of more relationships, more interconnections, and this was a tangible way to do so.


Last night, I had a bunch of jumbled, tangled dreams; when I awoke, I didn’t want to bother with trying to make sense of any of them.

Spouse left for work. I fell back asleep, and had another dream.


Because I’m in a Ritual Death period, all my usual ways of coping with things are… unsettled, incomplete, dissatisfying. I don’t have to be bound by the past… that’s the Whole Point of going through all this.

For dreams like this one, I have tried… all sorts of… ways to think about them. So I can stop having them, because omg. I’ve begged and pleaded with my unconscious to change the metaphors and characters; I’ve ignored the dreams; I’ve (slowly, painfully) picked my way through them, fighting the Shame Spiral the whole time.

None of those approaches have worked.

For this time period, right now, I’m “dead”. The whole week is infused with loss and grief and letting go of things I never wanted to let go of. Death severs all bonds. There is no shame.

What if I needed all of this… to be able to see and feel this kind of dream, properly? To maybe, finally, understand it?


Today. The remaining flowers and greens from the bouquet I bought for Spouse on 3.4.15 {St. Casimir’s Day} have been disbursed to various containers (mostly compost-related). The waters have been ritually dispersed — to Wendy, the seedlings, the windowbox plants, and the water tray, all in the potager. The vase has been washed; upside-down on the sill, it’s drying.

I dressed, reluctantly, and went outside. (Wearing forest green over sky blue.) It’s rainy and cold.

I’ve emptied out the compost cup. What would have been my second cup of coffee (with the last of the ground beans), I added to the empty compost cup, and released that into the wild, widdershins. Also, released was the organic soup from 6 weeks ago, and the wizened organic blueberries. The unbleached coffee filters to compost.

I emptied the garbage can, but did not replace the bag. I walked over 2 bins of recycling; the bag of garbage.

I touched 3 crape myrtles on the skin, transgressing a circle of stones, incurring mud on my shoes.

The fungus complex that is my only nonhuman friend here is dying. I will miss it.


I am as emptied of old obligations, of expectations, as I can make myself.

I am afraid. I resist myself. I begin.


I’m in a large hall/auditorium, with a lot of other people. Many activities are going on, with lots of groups, but I’m there for a gift exchange with a bunch of people I vaguely know from some group I was tangentially involved in.

JM is there, is part of the gift exchange. He’s shorter than me, blonde hair, looks young. Shines from within. It almost hurts to look at him, but I can’t look away. No matter where in the room he is, I know it; I feel it.

The group is in a different location. I’m lying on a wooden floor under a bed, watching others, watching JM who is across the room, also on the wooden floor lying under a bed. I want. With every fiber of my being, I yearn. But… he’s not interested. I know that too. I’m bigger, older; I could make him. I think to myself, “That would be rape; obviously I don’t want that! I have to be strong and respect his lack of desire for me.”

The floor plan of the house? we’re now in is mostly open. I’m in a smallish room, with another girl; JM and a second girl are there too, but involved in other things. The girl with me is trying to tell me something very important to her, and I’m listening hard. She realizes before I do that JM and the other girl have migrated over to us, and are eavesdropping. She’s annoyed. I suggest to her that we “go up into the attic, for privacy”. {I consider explaining that I mean the third floor, not the attic in the closet, but that seems too involved. The ‘attic’ I’m thinking of is in Gramma’s house, but the place we were in didn’t look – at all — like Gramma’s house: open-floor plan, airy, lot of light; minimal furniture, Shaker or Arts & Craft-era style; dark cherry wood floors.} The girl I’m talking to doesn’t want to have to go upstairs for privacy; she wants JM and the other girl to mind their own business, even though we’re in their midst.

In a different setting. The gift givers are walking the gifts over to their recipients. A girl I had confided in turns out to be JM’s recipient; as he approaches her, he brushes up against me, but never even looks my way. The girl recipient is outraged on my behalf. As she and I walk away, {I want to say to her that ‘JM is like my lung’, but I decide that doesn’t sound… essential… enough, so instead} I say, “He was like my liver, like my heart”.

= = =

JM sees me watching a fanfic show that my friends are performing in, on a handheld device. He’s interested in Rose, a girl in the show, so he wants to see what I’ve got. {He could watch it with me, or ask to borrow it later, but both would require talking to me.} He manages to somehow sync our devices, and surreptitiously copies the files. I know he’s doing it, but I allow him to think I’m oblivious; I grieve again.

Later, I’m on “lawn seating” at an outdoor show. People in the row ahead of me have lawn chairs that create a sort of canopy that I’m lying under, with my blanket. The girl who received the gift from JM comes over, asks if she can sit with me. I’m surprised, but I say, “Sure”. She crawls under the blanket with me. {She wants to be seen with me.}

JM and his guy friends are across the way, having a good time, but soon I’m not thinking about them at all because this girl next to me is so amazing, funny, and unpredictable. I feel something poking around near my foot; when I look over at the girl, she says she’s taking her clothes off. When she’s nude (except for red shoes), she throws off the blanket. We both laugh. We’re having a lot of fun together.

At the very end of the dream, I receive my gift. The giver was a girl I didn’t know, and we didn’t meet and talk; she left the gift where I’d find it. It’s a length of Lithuanian linen, mostly a warm almond color, but has a dyed design incorporating (real) indigo. Apparently she drove all the way to this little place in Pennsylvania where there’s a store selling imported ethnic costumes, textiles, and music. They had a section for Lithuanian stuff.

As I’m unrolling it — it’s very long — I’m wonderstruck at the effort she went to, to find something I would love, that would be meaningful and significant, but also beautiful.


Ordinarily, I would… get all caught up in how much of the things in this dream echo real things that happened with the real-JM.

Not today.

As I ground more coffee beans, spiced them, and brewed a second pot of coffee, I let my thoughts and feelings drift.

I realized something significant: I DON’T NEED OTHER PEOPLE TO EMBODY ME.

= = =

Historically, when I’ve dreamed of Gramma’s house, it signifies my own soul, my deepest self. Apparently, “behind the scenes” some remodeling has been going on! The new place is bigger inside than it looks outside. There’s more light; there’s room to really move. I could dance throughout the whole house.

The only colors I remember seeing were white on the baseboards, and the dark cherry wood of the floors. I think the furniture was honey-colored wood, but there wasn’t much of it, and I never seemed to see it head on; it was always out of the corner of my eye, where it seemed seen-and-unseen. Maybe it’s only fully there when it’s needed.

Dream-JM may have been physically radiant, but his actions don’t reflect well on his moral development. Perhaps he will grow into his own best self, when left to his own devices — without dream-me yearning after him, just as he is, every moment.

Honestly, I think dream-me has outgrown her own desire for dream-JM.

{Death dissolves all bonds.}

The dream-girl who wanted to be seen with me was way more fun. And way more like me, the way I am now.

= = =

The gift of Lithuanian linen, dyed with indigo (one of my sacred colors), intrigues me.

Flax fiber; indigo. Weaving. Traditional Lithuanian culture, but interpreted anew. Never unrolled all the way, so “the rest is still unwritten”.

emptying, releasing

March 24, 2015

Usually when I say, “I stayed up all night”, it means, ‘I stayed up until 5, or 5:30 a.m., but then I went to bed, and slept until noon or so’. But last night, I stayed up all night. At 6:58 a.m., I left the apartment for a walk in the woods; I walked further than I ever have, along 2 different paths. I was gone for 80 minutes. Walking back up the hill, I stumbled with weariness. I ‘went to bed’ at 9-ish, but slept only for < 3 hours.

More mourning, grief, over old/new losses.

My whole blogroll needed to go away — I guess my (previous) Ritual Death hadn’t been drastic enough.

I found sustenance, and I am stronger than I have ever been. I can do these hard things. I have survived worse.

Let go. Let go. Let go.

I am unmade.

Dream: 3.22.15

March 23, 2015

I’m at a large gathering/event, held in a lovely outdoor setting, somewhat like Rock Creek Park (Washington DC). The trees have green leaves. The tables have white linens. {It’s probably summer-ish, based on the lightweight clothing people are wearing.}

My family of origin, maternal side, was somehow the focus of part of the event. While everyone (else) in my family was introducing themselves and their stories to the crowd, I slipped away, seeking out coordinators to find out if I could get an ASL interpreter for my own remarks, “even though Gramma never did learn ASL”.

There was some kind of mixup or misunderstanding, because what I found out from the coordinators was information on classes in ASL that I could take. So, that wasn’t what I’d been seeking, but… I suddenly notice the stream nearby, and the large rocks it’s running amongst. There are birds chirping, and it’s a beautiful day, and I feel… hopeful, and curious about what’s next. Maybe a class is somehow just what I’ve been needing.

Somewhat reluctantly, I go back to the other event-thingy. The stage is gone; no one is presenting anything. All the people (mostly women) are paired up, at tiny tables for two, talking animatedly about something or other.

I wake up.


Gramma went progressively deaf, beginning (I think) in middle age. I learned basic signs as a kid, but no more; Gramma didn’t know ASL at all (afaik). For many years, I wanted to take ASL lessons — I wanted us both to take them — so we could converse at greater depth, without having to write notes so much. It never happened though.

In the dream, the ASL interpreter would have been to honor how much Gramma meant to me. It wasn’t about communicating with actual deaf people (since Gramma herself is long dead).

But the class in ASL… it was a way to claim? Reclaim? Something for myself. Something that began a long time ago, in far different circumstances, yet is still relevant, or has (perhaps unexpectedly) returned to relevance. And something that could flower now.

The water running over mossy stones, the birds chirping… surely that’s to do with Connecting to My Watershed. Or just, Waterbodies that I’m in Relationship with.

  • A different way of communicating
  • Honoring or remembering those who mattered to me, long ago
  • Connecting to Place, esp my current habitat
  • Possibility re-opened, re-imagined
  • Hope and Interest


I will probably need to write about Sunday’s “spider incident”. If I hadn’t written that exact poem a year ago, would I have been able to hold fast the way I did? Maybe. But the poem amplified the courage of my convictions.

The hike down to the Kentucky River, Saturday, shifted things. Changed things. I changed. As I hiked, I found myself saying a line from a poem that I didn’t know how to write. When I wrote the line, months and months ago, I thought it came from… duende… but Saturday? I realized it came from… joy.

I’m starting to find my real self again. And she’s not, quite, the person I would have been.

I think she’s… better. Different. Older, wiser, but younger and more playful too.

That whole hike was a poem.

I don’t know if I’ll find words that half do it justice. But the words are just pawprints in the mud.


Some things are starting to make sense, down deep. They’re starting to flow.

Reading List 2 of 2015

March 21, 2015

Covers the period from 2.9.15 through 3.21.15

I own just 5 of these books*. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 14 books; public libraries in other parts of Maryland, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied 15 more books.


Research ~ Lithuanian Literature and Culture:

  • Baltic Literature: A Survey of Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian Literatures by Aleksis Rubulis
  • Form and Content: Photographs by Algimantas Kezys
  • Dance and Be Merry: 31 Folk Dances with Variations Representing 17 Nations, Volume 1, by Finadar Beliajus
  • Dance and Be Merry: Volume 2, by Finadar Beliajus
  • Lithuania Through the Wall: Diary of a 10-Day Visit to My Native Land by Algimantas Kezys
  • [poetry] The Forest of Anykščiai by Antanas Baranauskas, translated by Nadas Rastenis
  • [poetry] Winter Dialogue by Tomas Venclova


Poetry & Literature:

  • Distant Neighbors: The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry & Gary Snyder {partially read}
  • *Lorine Niedecker: A Poet’s Life by Margot Peters
  • Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit {partially read}
  • *[poetry] The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal: 2014, edited by Jessica Bell
  • [poetry] The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis
  • The Republic of Imagination: America in 3 Books by Azar Nafisi


Art ~ Pottery:

  • Ceramics for Beginners: Surfaces, Glazes, and Firing by Angelica Pozo
  • Functional Pottery: Form and Aesthetic in Pots of Purpose by Robin Hopper
  • Handbuilt Pottery Techniques Revealed by Jacqui Atkin
  • Handmade Tiles: Designing, Making, Decorating by Frank Giorgini
  • Pottery: A Life, A Lifetime by Mel Jacobson
  • Southwestern Pottery: Anasazi to Zuni by Allan Hayes
  • Soulwork of Clay: A Hands-on Approach to Spirituality by Marjory Zoet Bankson
  • The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius by Jan Greenberg



  • [SFF] Ascension: A Tangled Axon Novel by Jacqueline Koyanagi
  • *[SFF] Stranger by Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown
  • [SFF] The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker
  • All Fall Down: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
  • Longbourn by Jo Baker
  • Tell the Wolves I’m Home: A Novel by Carol Rifka Brunt
  • *The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson



  • Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story by Barbara Leaming
  • Streisand: In the Camera Eye by James Spada



  • Honoring the Self by Nathaniel Branden
  • Movers, Dreamers, and Risk-Takers: Unlocking the Power of ADHD by Kevin Roberts {partially read}



  • The Shaman Within by Claude Poncelet {partially read}
  • *Walkers between the Worlds: The Western Mysteries from Shaman to Magus by Caitlin and John Matthews {still reading}



  • Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow {partially read}

my day in Danville

March 20, 2015

Getting Lost is a rite of passage for me, and I managed it, twice … despite 2 maps Spouse hand-drew.

  • Parked in CVS lot, a block from the hospital where we spent days last summer.
  • Ephraim McDowell House and Museum Gift Shop open, so I poked around. Passed up on bourbon balls, and apple butter.
  • Burke’s Bakery & Deli for a dozen cookies: ½ pecan with dots of pink icing; ½ chocolate chip.
  • Maple Tree Gallery for handled basket in Lifesaver colors; looked at honey from Frankfort, mug with yellow-orange design on white, and flowery-design outdoor mats.
  • The Hub Coffee House and Café: large medium-roast coffee; then, chicken-mushroom melt sandwich (which tasted mostly of Swiss cheese and onions), dill pickle, and side order of potato salad. Male barista’s t-shirt read: “Autism is my superpower.” Forgot to visit Centre College Bookstore next door.
  • Pies for You and Cookies Too — closed today, so no Shaker Lemon Pie.
  • Derby Shoppe and Raggs for BLUE trumpet skirt (on sale, 60% off) & multi-colored scarf. Mentioned I was visiting from out of town because I know I don’t look like I’m “from around here”. (Pep talk to myself in dressing room: “just because their clientele are clearly 5’4” and shorter, doesn’t mean I am an elephant.”)
  • Community Arts Center — just looked around building (avoided special exhibit: Gamecraft).
  • Elmwood Inn Fine Teas because there were so many pretty teapots in the window. Tasted ginger-orange herbal tea. Sniffed samples of orange-vanilla, and a heavenly strawberry-kiwi. (Thought to come back with Spouse tomorrow, but they’re only open M–F.)
  • Did not find Dollhouse Museum, but had a nice walk looking for it. What I took for hawthorn berries from a distance were actually Norway maple flowers! Some planted-in-yards daffodils blooming, but tulips were still only leaves. Magnolia (?) flower buds, but no leaves. Songbirds and squirrels.
  • Looked in on hair salon. Decided not to risk it.
  • CVS for a nail clipper, and a bottle of apple juice.

Back at the house, jumped right into caring for MIL (with Spouse), in FIL’s absence. (FIL at pharmacy, picking up more prescriptions.)

Likely will do laundry tonight.

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be in the 60s here. Spouse isn’t supposed to have to work, so I’m hoping we two can go somewhere.


Plenty of uncomfortable thoughts so far:

I need to stop obsessing over being/not being likable. There’s never been any benefit to it, so it’s a colossal waste of energy. Also, it makes me feel terrible.

Sometimes there are no good choices.

Sometimes I know just what to say, although I can’t figure out where/when/how I could have learned these particular things. “Emotionally true in this moment” trumps Absolute Truth (if there even is such a thing).

Even though I told Spouse, “When X Happens, I can feel myself Getting Smaller”, and that is exactly how I felt both this time (and last time), … it makes no sense that I should feel physically diminished by someone else being annoying/thoughtless. Their actions in whichever direction cannot make me smaller. That crap is Mrs. Nocerino, or my mother, or some other garbage from somebody else heaping shame on my head, but it’s not true. My self-hood is not contingent upon other people agreeing with it.

Thank goodness I had my books sent here! Liz Lerman’s Hiking the Horizontal is excellent, and giving me lots of juicy ideas to digest.

Somebody sent a pot of plants to my MIL 2 days ago, and I couldn’t stop stroking the (unnaturally shiny) leaves. In the 22 years I’ve known my in-laws, there has never ever ever been a houseplant inside their house. Only then did I realize, “They’ve never really known the Real Me, because the Real Me has plants, and they don’t like plants. The Real Me has songbirds and squirrels and spiders, and they don’t like any of those either. Aarrgghhh, why am I here again? {Because it’s the Right Thing to Do, but that doesn’t mean it’s a Good Choice.}”

Spouse wants to go out for dinner because he can’t face another turkey sandwich, and hey, neither can I.

Time to go.


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