Skip to content

4 Dreams: 4.24.15

April 24, 2015

I haven’t remembered more than one dream, that made any sense at all, in weeks. I slept in today though. I made notes about the first 2, fell back asleep, had the other 2.

+++

#1.

Meeting up with TK and AK, 30 years after mooning over them in high school. I’m recounting for our mutual amusement the things I said about them back then, drawing out syllables for comic effect:

Red hair!

Blue eyes! [motioning to A, to my left] Green eyes! [motioning to T, on my right]

Tall!

Brilliant!

Gorgeous!

 

In the dream, Tony had reddish curly hair, which was thinning on top. (I don’t remember what Adam’s hair looked like.)

+++

#2.

Included inside cards I have that depict an artist’s tapestries in bold colors like red, I wrote and mailed a heartfelt letter to Tony, and another one to Adam, telling them how much they’d meant to me over the years.

On the envelope, I included my POB return address.

After I mailed them, I half-worried that they’d respond just to tell me to buzz off / get a life.

Waffled about listing even my POB, but of course, they’d already gone out.

Decided I’d written the letters for myself, so it didn’t matter what they replied, or if they replied at all.

+++

#3.

A lot of people I follow on Twitter, mostly women, were posting links to their Tumblrs showing photos of themselves from various angles, clothed and unclothed. There was some kind of theme to it, possibly National Breast Cancer Awareness Day (if there is such a thing).

I wanted my sister to take a photo of me so I could post my own link — I’d be nude, kneeling, and she’d shoot from above me, looking down. (I’d seen someone else’s version, and liked it.)

I hadn’t actually checked my breasts for lumps, which was somehow the whole point of the photos. I just wanted a cool nude portrait of my body, to help me love it as it is.

My sister insisted on checking my breasts for lumps. In the dream, my breasts were much more voluptuous than they are or have ever been — maybe a C, or even a D, cup.

No lumps.

But then my sister balked at me posting the (so far untaken) photo. She worried that some asshole guy was going to see it, somehow track me down for the purpose of assaulting me, simply because that photo of my naked body existed.

I thought that was really unlikely.

Also, I really wanted to be part of this Collective Thing that was happening. Even though I’m not solely a woman, and wasn’t as young as most of the people doing it, this was something I could do.

+++

#4.

I was carrying around a scoop of chocolate ice cream in a cup. I wanted to go to an ice cream store, and get a scoop of coffee ice cream to add to it. My brother D agreed to come with me.

When we got there, there was the usual counter with lots of flavors, but behind it, there was a bank of people in an open-office arrangement. I somehow knew they were working on database stuff. One of them in the middle, a handsome youngish black man, hailed me by a name (not my own), then offered me a free scoop “since it’s your birthday”. (It wasn’t my birthday either.) The room was really noisy, so I figured I must’ve misunderstood something, but I didn’t want to cause a fuss, so I said, “sure, that’ll be great”.

Suddenly suspicious of me, a different clerk asked me and D for proof of my name. I didn’t have any identification with me. D pulled a binder out from behind his back; papers within suggested his last name was Hamilton, which he showed the clerk. The clerk somehow decided my first and middle initial were N and J. My brother was going to protest, but I shook my head, whispering to him, “for this place, I’ll just be . . . Nora . . . James . . . Hamilton. It’s like a pen name. It’ll be fun.”

(In the dream, I was thinking “Nora” as a nod to SFF author N. K. Jemisin.)

There was a flurry of activity for a while, which kept me from eating my ice cream. When I remembered to go back for it, it was mostly melted. I ate it anyway.

It wasn’t very tasty, which I mentioned in a disappointed way to D. He said that meant that I was bored with my life right now, and he was certainly bored with his.

I lit up with relief: “But boredom’s a good thing! When you’re bored, and you don’t ignore it, you (can) come up with good ideas to change things up! It can be really fertile creatively!”

+++

NOTES:

#1.

Real-Tony is tall: iirc, 6’4”. I think real-Adam is around 6’, maybe 5’11”. Real-Adam is likely smarter than real-Tony, but both were smart. Not sure I’d call either of them “brilliant”, though. They were both good-looking.

However, neither of them ever had red hair (they were blond), and they both had brown eyes. Their hair was not curly at all.

But I had a red hair as a kid. And my hair is wavy/curly. My eyes are blue-green.

So… I guess these are 2 of my male aspects, the ones I’ve been wondering where they went.

And… it is true that I tried to “banish” dreaming about TK and AK — because I kept defaulting to thinking that my ongoing dreams meant I was hung up on the real people, 30 years on.

The 3 of us were having a lot of fun in this dream though.

Which is actually kind of weird, because usually, I’m in fact “mooning over” them, and/or chasing them around, and they’re ignoring me, or trying to avoid me.

Something has changed. For the better.

+++

#2.

Red, for me, is a masculine color.

This dream is odd because… after seeing real-Tony (for the first time in ~15 years) at a class reunion in 2000, I actually did write to him (but not to his brother). While I may have told him how much he’d meant to me (I don’t remember if I did or not), my main reason for writing was… stressful enough that it overshadowed everything else.

{Oh, this is so dumb, I can’t believe I did it. I don’t know what I thought this was going to accomplish.}

I wrote to Tony to ask him if Adam (whom I’d dated) had known, when he was refusing to take my calls, and running out of church to avoid saying hello to me in 1985, after I returned from OKC (in despair and defeat), that my cousin had been torturing and assaulting me. That I really could have used, if not a friend, than at least one person who had known me before I went to OKC and actually still cared about me as a person.

I did put a return address on it.

{Of course, like any stressful-subject letter I’ve written to someone whom I’m not sure has any interest in hearing from me, I disguised my handwriting, so he wouldn’t just throw it out unread.}

Of course, Tony never responded.

I’m very very good at writing letters that get no response.

= = =

Back to my dream, though.

If dream-Tony and dream-Adam are actually aspects that dream-me wrote, in good faith, Special Letters to, then… even more stuff has changed.

What does unconscious-me know about these 2 male aspects that conscious-me doesn’t? Why are they so special?

+++

#3.

I’ve been taking self-portraits for years, although most of them are me-in-shadow, or me-in-reflection.

But in the last few months, I’ve been taking nude self-portraits. Partly, indeed, so I can love my body the way it is. Partly because, as a bricoleur I work with the materials easily at hand, and what is more accessible than my own self. Partly because my post-menopausal body is an undiscovered country that I want to explore.

When Spouse takes portrait photos of people, he Photoshops out all the things he’s sure they don’t see in their own mind’s eye when they picture themselves.

I’ve used Photoshop before, but not to do stuff like that.

I am not going to “correct”, from these self-portraits, rolls of fat, wrinkles, skin blemishes, stray hairs, calluses on my feet, etc. These photos depict what I really look like. If I could only love an idealized / “cleaned up” version of me, that’s not love, is it?

= = =

I haven’t shown these photos to anyone, even Spouse. They’re just mine for now.

The fear of dream-sister that I would be assaulted, I think has to do with how invisible and unattractive social-me feels these days.

Something I only just now recalled… the cousin who assaulted me, before things were as bad as they got, he did tell me, often, that I was ugly and totally unattractive. That if I wanted to have sex, I should put a bag over my head so I wouldn’t gross out my partner.

When this was happening, I was 18, and the prettiest I have ever been. But I believed him. Guys had started telling me I was disgusting and had defective looks when I was 12. They escalated when our classmates started going through puberty, and I didn’t.

I started wearing a bra at age 13, not because I needed it, but because I thought maybe then they’d shut up and leave me alone. Didn’t work.

Women teachers looked the other way as this torment happened in class. But on the playground, with no adults around, truly vicious things were said to me.

Nobody cared. I was a non-person. I was nobody at school, and nobody at home.

= = =

Why did I have bigger breasts in the dream?

My dressform has big breasts! I needed a size 14 because of my (broad) shoulders, waist and hips, but my bust size is more like a size 8 (or even a 6).

True story: when I unpacked it from the boxes, and saw how big the breasts were, I felt outclassed by my own dressform. I’d been dreaming of having one, so I could make my own garments, for years and years… and now that I finally had one, it had a “better” body than me. I covered it up for months because I felt like it, too, was mocking me for being inadequate and ugly.

So maybe taking the nude portrait to post publicly was dream-me’s way of healing from some of this body image trauma?

Maybe it’s time to let go of hating how I look?

+++

I registered for 3 interesting classes at the local community college. Two of them — 2 different types of dance classes — were supposed to start this month. They were both cancelled for lack of enrollment.

I have a positive genius for picking classes no one else signs up for, and are therefore cancelled.

I’m hoping the 3rd class might could go forward, but…

I don’t really know what else to try, honestly.

I intend to take a ceramics class later this year. And possibly a poetry class at TWC.

Dream elements: 4.22.2015

April 22, 2015
  • New Mexico.
  • “Camp” for women creatives (but not AROHO).
  • Meandering
  • K came to visit me; I kept thinking others of my family would appear at any moment, but they didn’t.
  • I got a massage. I expected it to cost +/- $20, but it was actually $3.13. I gave the masseuse $9, in camp scrip.
  • Driving my car, noticing stuff was off-kilter: the seat was now on the floor. I took it to an auto shop at the camp to get it fixed.
  • Shopping for new clothes at a consignment shop. The clerk was putting out new merchandise (robes), just ahead of me.
  • 2 cute young gay guys behind me, both Japanese-looking, 1 with reddish hair. (Wasn’t sure if they were friends, or a romantic couple.)
  • C, disappointed about something.
  • I had a disagreement with K, and walked away, saying, “I don’t like you very much right now.” She’d been enjoying condescending to me during our argument; she was shocked that I left. She followed me, trying to persuade me to come back, but I wouldn’t. Later, we reconciled, near a purple couch, and hugging her felt really good.
  • Someone talking about the Sandias & me tearing up.
  • Later, the mechanics presented me with a bouquet of Queen Anne’s Lace greenery, in a mason jar, filled with water. It was heavy, so heavy I almost couldn’t carry it. Receiving it felt like the Best Gift Ever — these people were clearly people who understood

+++

From the geology I remember, the camp looked like it was situated in northern NM, but it wasn’t Ghost Ranch. Or maybe it was a part of NM I haven’t been to (which is most of the state).

I felt out of place with the other women at the camp, invisible almost.

Unsure if the “meandering” was physical movement, or a symbolic reference to me.

I think some of my aspects are figuring out if main-me is trustworthy, finally, or not.

I’ve only ever had a massage as part of physical therapy, after an injury; never just for pleasure.

With the driver seat now on the floor, I wasn’t quite tall enough to see over the dashboard consistently. The car was also harder than usual to control for some forgotten reason.

The colors of the robes were vibrant and unusual. I was very attracted to them, but also remembered I have a robe at home.

When I turned around and saw the 2 young guys behind me, I smiled at them, at how cute they were.

Yesterday, I was thinking about how, in healthy relationships, people can disagree with each other, and even argue, and… it’s not the end of the world. It’s not bedrock-essential for one person to dominate the other, yell and carry on, and then insist the other person grovel to them. Reasonable people… act reasonably towards each other. I’m still struggling with this concept, 40 years after my childhood, because… with friends, we didn’t openly disagree about significant issues, so I never saw/felt/experienced how reasonable people manage their values coming into conflict, and hurt feelings. The only mental models I have, still, are screaming and insults and unforgivable things said. But this dream interchange? Dream-me was putting into practice all the advice I’ve been reading from Captain Awkward: state your boundaries, then get up and walk away.

The mountains in northern New Mexico are not related to the Sandias, according to what I’ve read. Not sure how or why central NM mountains would have been a topic of interest 100 miles away. (Or whatever.)

I like “weed” flowers as much as cultivated flowers. Queen Anne’s Lace has been a particular favorite of mine since childhood. And, they grew somewhere near my grandparents’ house, so that my affection for the flowers is tangled up in my affection for that slice of spacetime.

+++

I don’t even really know what New Mexico means to me when I’m awake. Whenever I try to write about it, I can’t. It’s like it’s all behind a locked door that keeps changing its location. One particular night at Ghost Ranch, I stayed up most of the night writing up a storm about all sorts of stuff. And some NM-related stuff seeped out — I made notes, but it clearly wasn’t the right time for me to pursue all of that. Months later, I read those notes, and I didn’t remember writing any of it down, or what I’d been thinking/feeling that night. I think I might need to be in New Mexico to find the door, and the key.

= = =

Oh, gender. The mechanics in the auto shop were men and women. The creative women were, of course, women. The masseuse was a woman. The consignment shop clerk was a women. The 2 cute young gay men. K and C are both women. I don’t know what gender the person who talked about the Sandias was (which is really interesting, isn’t it?).

I wonder if some forms of “creativity” — less “tangible” ones, perhaps — are coded in my mental maps as being obligatory-feminine? Whereas, working with tools and machinery is more open?

I’m somewhat troubled/perplexed that so many of the dreams I’ve been having, for years now, feature almost-completely female characters. Because I know I have several, maybe a handful, of male characters; and way more characters whose gender is undefined. Where are all of those people?

Like, I feel uneasy in my own dreams, as they’re happening, when women outnumber everyone else (in this case) by, approximately 4:1.

I feel like a stranger in a strange land: no one is fluent in the language I would be speaking, if anyone was listening to me.

Which is why the gift of the QAL greenery fascinates me. How did the mechanics know that? Were they able to guess? They did research? What other options are there?

Tool using = weeds?

= = =

With real-K, the most-recent iteration of our relationship, I never even got to the point where I felt I could talk about almost anything personal. When, about little & impersonal things, I tried to talk directly about how I thought/felt, she (infrequently) agreed with me, but more often, she either was mystified by my reaction, or she tried to browbeat me into agreeing with her. When I wouldn’t budge, she escalated. During the call that I had a panic attack while she was hammering at me, I realized… this is never going to work.

But, I couldn’t quite bring myself to let go at that point. I had to keep trying to make it work, because Family.

If only there was some way to directly talk about problematic issues with relatives! But in my family, there isn’t.

However, with dream-K, the script played out differently. I behaved differently, and the world didn’t end.

Just reading the stuff on Captain Awkward, but not having anyone to practice new behaviors with => it’s much slower to make any real progress at changing what feels like something I can actually do. And yet… it’s happening.

= = =

The things with the car… Every car I’ve ever owned is like a seashell to a hermit crab. It’s my refuge. Whether it’s just that I need to escape the apartment itself, but I don’t have anywhere interesting to go, or there’s bad stuff at “home” I’m actively fleeing, or anything in between, my car isn’t just how I go, it’s where I go.

Even though in the dream, I couldn’t always see over the dashboard, I could still drive. I just… wasn’t in control of the car. [I hate the word and concept of ‘control’, but ‘manage’ does not fit the intensity invoked.] It felt dangerous to me. Not because I might crash, but because I didn’t know where I was going, and I couldn’t steer.

Have I been getting “off-track” in my Work somehow?

How do all of these elements relate to each other?

{Very dimly and through a glass darkly, I perceive… a gestalt. But I can’t yet grasp it.}

belonging to who and where and what

April 21, 2015

K told me something about someone else (that neither of us are close to) months and months ago, but suddenly, this morning, I realized why it’s been bugging me.

Maybe I first had to have 2 conversations yesterday with Twitter-friends: 1 with G, touching on paucity of childhood resources; 1 with S, about fear, and about using writing to manage that fear.

The thing told: E, my sister, now that she lives in Austin, sometimes spends Thanksgiving and other occasions with K’s extended family, in OKC or other points Southwest.

I’m jealous.

Why did that banal and utterly boring reaction take months to suss out?

  • Gender.
  • Power struggles in the family.
  • Feeling superior to K feeling edged out of her relationships by E, thinking I was “above all that”.
  • Noticing who has the means to get others to plead their case to 3rd parties… and who doesn’t.
  • Breaking up with someone who didn’t see it coming.
  • Having an elder compare a younger to me, as if that was a compliment, when that younger has had opportunities I wouldn’t even be able to dream about — too absurd.
  • Wondering (for the 1,425,973rd time) if talking about myself “at all” must categorically = “too much”/pathology.
  • Reminders that other people have accomplished tangible things in their lives: did outstanding work, were recognized by their peers, established collegial relationships.
  • Someone else was so well-loved that people are travelling 100s of miles to honor their well-lived life.

Resources.

+++

I told S that I prefer “the devil I don’t know” to “the devil I do”, but oh, I don’t want to pursue these fears! Can’t I just retreat back into feeling unloved and unappreciated? It’s so comfortable. It’s so familiar.

Nope. Can’t stay mired in defeat.

+++

When we were growing up, most family adults and all nonfamily adults preferred my sister to me, by a wide margin.

Even though she’d left the Catholic Church (after I did), she was invited to be a godmother of a younger, while I wasn’t.

She told me if she ever had her own kids, she would name goddess-parents for them… and I wouldn’t be one of them.

At a girl cousin’s wedding many years ago, every girl of our generation was asked to be a bridesmaid, but I wasn’t. And my sister reminded me of that every fucking five minutes, for months and months and months.

My first boyfriend lusted after my sister, and told me about it.

My sister, as a middle daughter of a middle daughter of a middle daughter, received an heirloom ring for the heritage that I deeply care about, and she doesn’t. But she sure let me know how great it was to wear it.

+++

I feel “displaced and mislaid”, like there is no place for me in our extended family.

In her essay, “Writing Home”, in Black Nature: 4 Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, editor Camille Dungy writes:

“I am glad to own the memories I own and through those memories to belong someplace [sic], to have some place belong to me.”

Home is such a fraught concept for me.

Illinois stopped being Home in 1985. I was Home-less until we moved to Maryland in 2008: I wasn’t physically born here, but I was reborn here. I became the self I needed to be.

No one has visited us in Maryland, and no one will. If they come to the Mid-Atlantic, well, they were coming anyway, for work, for a vacation, whatever. They lodge in DC (or Baltimore City, yes, which is in Maryland, but we never go there). Maybe they can “squeeze in” a few hours to spend with me, but only if I come to them. (Often on extremely short notice.) Then we do what they want to do, which is not what I suggested that we do. My knowledge of DC, gained in 7 years of living nearby, counts for nothing.

It’s true that I’ve never offered to host a family reunion, no matter where I’ve lived. But… no one would come.

I drew a genogram of my extended family: 16 people accounts for my parents and aunts and uncles, me, my siblings, and my first cousins. As a thought exercise, I ranked everyone by how much power they wield (at least as far as I’ve observed such), but centered on my branch of the family. (That is, I’m sure my cousins would have a different take on it, based on their branches’ internal politics.)

My mother, as the atriarch, is 1. My brother, D, as her heir, is 2. My father (as a courtesy to his age/generation more than anything) is 3. One of my cousins, whom I perceive as the atriarch of her branch, is 4. Then my aunts and uncles (5–8). My cousins and siblings, all jumbled up (9–15).

Me, at last, is last, 16.

My brother, the atriarch’s heir, despises me. My sister hates me. I don’t get along with my cousin #4. My parents… let’s not even go there.

+++

Now that I really consider the big picture, though…

If I held absolutely zero power in the family, why on earth would My Brother #1 bother hating me? Wouldn’t I just be… utterly below his notice?

Same thing with my sister, who (I perceive) has a middling rank. I don’t… have… anything of any value to anyone else — so why bother hating me?

Hate uses energy, energy that you could be better utilizing to crush your rivals, develop strategic alliances, plot a coup.

I don’t even care about power within the family, and I never have. I just want to do my own thing, but have friends too, friends at all levels.

As far as I can tell, at the moment I have one ally/friend. Several enemies. And a bunch of people who probably don’t care either way.

How could I possibly be a threat?

+++

No one ever has anything good to say about me (in the family); no one ever talks to me about me at all, if they can possibly help it.

That leaves me with my in-laws as potential sources of data about social-me. Extremely luckily for me, Spouse is the golden child of his family. Spouse (who never rebelled as a teenager, and never defied his parents about anything) stood up for me to his father. His mother never liked me, but she’s misanthropic generally. Spouse’s brother used to like me, but apparently doesn’t anymore, I don’t know why. My nephew and niece… didn’t respond to my friendly overtures.

Some of it’s definitely a cultural mismatch.

Of course, in a way, that’s a problem wherever I go. Somehow I’m a culture of one, and hardly anybody is interested in learning about that culture, never mind accommodating it.

+++

All of this will have to percolate longer because I’ve got some flowers that need to be repotted before the next windy rainstorm.

adventures in gender-ing

April 12, 2015

Saturday, went with Spouse on a day trip: he taught a photography class for 6 hours; I walked around downtown Frederick, then browsed the library at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center.

Friday night, I’d felt my inner boy ‘come up’, and dedicated all day Saturday to ‘being a boy’. I woke up Saturday morning to a euphoric chorus in my mind: “I’m a boy! I’m a boy! I’m a boy!”

I couldn’t sustain it the entire day, as it was cognitively draining in ways I hadn’t anticipated, but the flashes where I was consciously embodying it were. . . delicious.

+++

I made no attempt to “pass” for male, any more than I do every day: half my clothes are men’s. Didn’t do anything different with my hair; wore a unisex necklace.

Everyone who spoke to me “read me” (or at least addressed me) as if I was a cis woman.

But… that made no difference whatsoever to how I felt inside. And my inner voices were totally different than usual. A lot more swearing.

+++

Didn’t realize before just how much of a disconnect there can be between my conscious mind’s “normal script” and what I’m actually feeling in my bodymind, especially on a day that involves no social stress whatsoever complicating things.

For instance, why would what other people read me as have anything to do with how my bodymind feels? I mean, it doesn’t. And yet the observer part of my mind was… kind of surprised by that.

+++

Maybe it’s just the different focus of Generations X and Y as parents (vs. how things were when I was a kid) but… all the illustrations I saw that featured people showed… groups of people. And of course, all the music you are forced to listen to is about love, or loss, or whatever, but it tends to be relentlessly social.

I had lunch at a restaurant. I was the only solitary person there.

I really truly enjoy being solitary: I can take in so much more of my environment, what I’m doing & feeling, what other people are doing, the trees, the flowers, the clouds in the sky.

Doing things with other people (unless it’s Spouse) is super-taxing cognitively. My enjoyment of what my bodymind is experiencing drops precipitously because I don’t have the bandwidth to spare for noticing it.

That’s not to say that it can’t be fun to do things with other people, because it certainly can. But it’s probably better for my enjoyment if the thing we’re doing is not something I really want to immerse myself in. Because I definitely cannot do both.

+++

Loved being in the rock shop, especially knowing I was a boy inside. (I would’ve gone into the rock shop anyway — I love rocks, and have had a rock collection since I was a kid.) I stopped myself from mentioning to the owner (impulsively) that I think I was a rock in another life. Or that I feel like rocks are my ancestors. Being a rock shop is especially heady thinking of it like that — being surrounded by “my own kind” for once.

+++

Got more, different (than last time) antique wooden bobbins that had been used for silk threads, at my favorite antique store. Also, this time, bought 2 antique hand-thrown flower pots: 1 for the potager, 1 for my car (in case I find dirt I want to take home).

+++

Upon getting home, napped for 3 hours. Then, as Spouse went to bed, went for a long “midnight walk”, all over the neighborhood.

A bunch of things have settled into new configurations in my bodymind. Improvements. Clarity about who I am now, and what I want, and why that’s good. Honesty with myself about how truly terrible some of my past decisions have been — but I also learned a shit-ton from those mistakes. Frankly, not sure I could have learned as much as I needed to learn without lots of disasters.

+++

Normally in Frederick I spend some time on a “coffee date” with myself, writing, but I couldn’t waste boy energy on that!

But I do have to do another coffee date soon. Maybe Monday.

+++

The utter deliciousness of Being a Boy during Aries… I’m going to have to do this again and again. Loving it.

The best idea I’ve had in a while.

{Although I’ve noticed I’ve started having Best Ideas I’ve Ever Had a lot more frequently lately… Must be doing stuff right!}

Homo habilis

April 8, 2015
  • Touch1 – connecting, physically & emotionally, with another person
  • Touch2 – tactile sensing ~ touching things with fingers, skin, etc.
  • Using hand Tools
  • Skills at a trade

(Being allowed to be) Openly proud of one’s mastery of useful skills

Grampa W. Uncle Ed. Uncle Mark. Cousin R. Cousin D.

What if I’d become a steamfitter, like Uncle Ed? I’ve always wondered if I made the wrong choice.

If I’d had the background such that I could rotate imaginary objects in my mind and then draw them, would I be an engineer now?

= = =

How do I teach myself what I need to know?

men, arm in arm?

April 8, 2015

Is it significant (or just a coincidence) that most of the Lithuanian literature I’ve read has focused on men, men, men?

In the historical (i.e., pre-20th century) Lithuanian literature I’ve been reading, written by men, when women appear at all, there have been 3 female archetypes:

  • the young, beautiful & nubile love interest;
  • the protagonist’s doting mother; and
  • the old hag, bitter that she’s not young & beautiful anymore.

= = =

For months, I’ve been composing a mental list of books of poetry I want to buy to teach myself / improve my poetic craft skills.

All the authors are men.

When I look at women authors (whose books I rated equally highly) in my Literary Spreadsheet, I either already own their books (but don’t feel drawn to them for this project), or… I feel strong internal resistance against including them in this project.

= = =

Could a secret aspect of dream-Lithuanian signify… exploring masculine ways of writing poetry?

Exploring masculinity altogether?

Is part of my own secret heart… masculine?

= = =

Have I been “fixated” on JM as long as I have, not just because of the (considerable) trauma aspects, but because… he’s a guy?

Dream-JM, I have often recognized as signifying “my deepest self”. I’ve run screaming from admitting that, even in my own mind, because of my horrible history with the real person, but… what if there’s truth to it on a different level than I’ve been perceiving?

{Because we’re cousins on my mother’s side, the real person-JM is as Lithuanian as I am.}

= = =

In my mind’s eye, I’m seeing my old friend from grad school, Kelly (a guy), my brother D, and the real JM.

What could the 3 of them all have in common?

Well, I’ve been friends (or at least “friendly”) with all 3. Other than that, though, I’m running aground. Personality-wise, Kelly’s an INFJ; D is an ENTJ. I don’t know what JM is, but I’ve speculated that he’s INTJ.

= = =

A phrase from a SFF favorite popped into my head: “The hope of their house”.

I don’t recall what Kelly’s birth order is, or if he even has siblings. (He is midway between the ages of my 2 oldest male cousins on my mother’s side though.)

My brother D is the heir to my mother’s atriarchy now, but she’s the one who pushed me out of that spot; my brother didn’t. If he’s the hope of the house, gods help them. (Although he’s much more like my mother than I ever was, so my displacement actually makes sense in terms of continuity of shared values.)

I don’t know how the real JM is regarded by his branch of the family. His oldest sister seems to be the social-hub, but I don’t know if she’s the atriarch-to-be (her parents are still alive). People talk about one of his older brothers as if he’d been the Golden Child all along, but growing up, he was anything but. And JM is the youngest of all of them — how does he hold his own among so many other strong-willed people? I don’t have any idea.

{Does he still hero-worship my brother? His brother(s)? Don’t know that either.}

If these 3 men popped into my head solely because they’re competing ideas of masculinity… why not any of the other guy friends I’ve had over the years? Marty. Ken. Carl. Paul. Loren. Wayne. Bree. Spouse. John. Roger. Ernie. Kevin. Matt. Plus, all my guy Twitter-friends.

= = =

I confided in all 3 of them. But only Kelly was emotionally supportive — he’s the first person I ever told I’d had a nervous breakdown. He was easy to talk to; and he didn’t judge, even when we disagreed about some serious topics. I remember a conversation where guns in the context of gun control came up; I assumed he was anti-gun like me, but it turns out, he grew up hunting. In someone else, I might have felt in danger from that, but I didn’t; we just agreed to disagree.

Not only was he willing to be seen with me — we had lunch together every 2 weeks for a couple years — but after returning from a long trip, he hugged me in the cafeteria. It was lovely, but I was so surprised, I initially stiffened up, didn’t know how to respond.

Paul was touchy-feely too (like I am), and Ernie, but they were both my parents’ generation.

So I guess that’s a third thing Kelly, D, and JM have in common: I’ve hugged all of them!

genograms, in verse

April 8, 2015

I finished the last of the (Easter) kugelis for yesterday’s lunch.

I tried to figure out how I could learn Lithuanian — every option I came up with, though, felt like concrete. There was no spark, no sense of “yeah, this could work! Cool!”

= = =

I “stayed up all night” in the usual sense: I went to bed at 6 a.m., slept for 5 hours. I vaguely remember something with Lithuanian(s) in my dreams.

= = =

It must be symbolic. {In my defense, I can still be fooled when dream-characters look like people I’ve had troubled relationships with. Even though I know better.}

= = =

I initially thought these dreams were simply because I was reading a lot of Lithuanian literature; it was getting “processed” by my unconscious mind, into long-term memory storage.

That can’t be so with 8 nights of (consecutive) dreams. For one thing, I finished reading this batch of Lithuanian lit a week ago.

= = =

The more-recent dreams don’t have anybody I know in them: not Gramma, or Grampa, or anybody else I knew that actually spoke Lithuanian. It’s not nuns at Maria High School, or scholars at the University of Chicago either.

Why the dream with the Iranian guy, taking lessons on his vacation? {And he didn’t even look like Omid, who was much handsomer.}

+++

What does the Lithuanian language mean to me?

The very few words I knew (when I was younger) were what I spoke when I wanted to be my deepest, truest self, to someone I loved.

I thought of myself by a Lithuanian word — my name for myself. Later, a variation of that became my signature on most of the ceramic pieces I made (circa 2002–03).

My first houseplant had a Lithuanian name.

My email handles, for years and years and years, were/are Lithuanian words.

= = =

As a kid, I wanted to learn the language so I could say and think…. secret things. I don’t think I even knew what they were, or could be.

(Possibly related to how my grandparents only spoke it around my mother and her sibs, growing up, when they were concealing information. My grandparents did the same to us grandchildren.)

Could dream-Lithuanian be related to poetry, then? With it, I say the things I can’t even think / think about otherwise. I make sense to myself. I figure out what to do.

But… I’m already doing that with poetry. Although…

I either write about myself in the present tense, or I write about other people that I don’t know (imaginary personas / imaginary situations). But except for one — unfinished — poem, I haven’t written about my past, my personal history. Or my family history. Or my history with place.

There’s a Pandora’s box in my mind with New Mexico. I felt it when I was at AROHO in 2013, but it was… way too early, I guess, for me to find the key. On a night that everything was flowing, I made notes, but there was no spark.

It’s not poetry if there’s no spark. (I can’t even do prose with no spark. I can’t do anything. The spark is the catalyst.)

= = =

  • Secrets
  • Places, of personal significance (including New Mexico)
  • Gramma
  • The cento about FJG (Spouse’s great-grandmother)
  • Mountains

Currently, I use surrealism as a way to try to deal with things I can’t find my way to otherwise. I still need something to spark as I’m noodling around though.

So… ancestors, not always in my direct line.

My aunt and uncle’s house in Albuquerque. The courtyard fountain (?). I only remember falling into it once… although it was memorable, in a bad way.

Mountains, always mountains, even contained in the rocks that were everywhere.

The day my sister (3 years old?) accidentally overdosed on children’s vitamins when my mother was “taking care of us” — her own kids, and my (older) cousins, in Albuquerque, and she freaked out. My cousins, 12 to 15, were dragooned into “giving her directions to the hospital”, tricky since none of them drove yet. I vaguely recall driving all over creation, looking frantically for the right signs, while my mother got ever more hysterical. (I might have been told that last part, as I think my mother wanted me to stay at the house taking care of my little brother.)

(Since my mother was overwhelmed with taking care of 3 small children, including at least 2 that were mischievous / got into things they weren’t supposed to, she… probably shouldn’t have gone on to have a fourth child. Why did she, I wonder?)

And that question sparks a similar issue with my aunt: she had 4 kids, who were half-grown, when she had #5 with her second husband. Why? She didn’t even seem to like kids.

#5, unlike the others, was born in Albuquerque. That one thing I’m jealous of, even now. No matter how often I tell myself, consolingly, that I had my own relationship with Albuquerque before he was born (and I did), he was born there. Albuquerque is “visibly” part of the fabric of his life. Whereas, I would have to tell people. And I don’t tell people, because it’s shockingly intimate. (Which seemingly makes no sense whatsoever, and yet, it’s so.)

But! If I had a secret language… could I use that?

Um, yes?

= = =

Okay, what do we have?

Dysfunctional patterns, playing out over generations.

People being given too much responsibility for minding children => tragedy. That formula describes Vyta’s death, when Grampa was minding him; they were both kids.

For that matter, who was “raising” my FIL? He’s fond of both of his parents, but from his stories, he seems to have almost raised himself. With a tiny bit of guidance from one grandfather (but not until high school). Is it any wonder he… didn’t do a very good job? Where would he have learned?

People who are emotionally and/or physically neglected become narcissists as an (unconscious) means of self-care.

I don’t want to use poetry to tell stories of tragedy. My own or other people’s. And yet…

I don’t want to start feeling empathy for my father’s father! Empathy can trip you up, big time: while you’re “feeling their pain”, they’re mistreating the fuck out of you and yours, and not feeling sorry about it neither!

~ ~ ~ Oh. Um. Wasp witch, is that you? Um. We’re in a place of healing now? Yeah, all right. ~ ~ ~

I DON’T WANT THIS.

Hasn’t my soul been torn asunder enough?

 

 

And yet…

No one else has more experience having their life ripped apart. And then surviving it. No one else actually likes uncertainty and not-knowing and “diving down deep”. No one else chases the hard (because I’ll learn stuff – cool!)

No one else started therapy at age 11. And had their most-recent round last year, at 48. (Obviously, I wasn’t having it continuously for 37 years. But I’ve had it a whole bunch of times, with people using a variety of approaches.)

= = =

Okay. So, what would Baby Steps on this entail?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 583 other followers