All The Best

ALL THE BEST

I wish you love
And happiness
I guess I wish you
All the best
I wish you don’t
Do like I do
And ever fall in love with
Someone like you
Cause if you fell
Just like I did
You’d probably walk around the block
Like a little kid.
But kids don’t know
They can only guess
How hard it is
To wish you happiness

I guess that love
Is like a Christmas card
You decorate a tree
You throw it in the yard
It decays and dies
And the snowmen melt
Well I once knew love
I knew how love felt
Yeah I knew love
Love knew me
And when I walked
Love walked with me
And I got no hate
And I got no pride
Well I got so much love
That I cannot hide

Say you drive a Chevy
Say you drive a Ford
You say you drive around the town
Till you just get bored
Then you change your mind
For something else to do
And your heart gets bored with your mind
And it changes you
Well it’s a doggone shame
And it’s an awful mess
I wish you love
I wish you happiness
I wish you love
I wish you happiness
I guess I wish you
All the best

John Prine, artist

 

Stranger Things

The Upside Down had you for a year. I understand completely how it took you in an instant…after 24 years doing all you could do, all the “right” things to try and outrun the Monster. It got you anyway. It got you, Baby. I see it. I see it. You did all you could do and so much more than any Man I know would have or could have to outrun it and hide…but it got you. I see it, Baby.

I know I ain’t your Mama, but it is a Mama’s heart, a Woman’s instinct and connection with her Flesh to the flesh of her family who has the strength and fierceness to do whatever she has to do to reach you.

As long as we’re diving into metaphor, let’s go back to the ancient and most familiar one in which you and I were born into and grew out of.

I ain’t no fucking “helpmate” who just has to take it to hold up and serve her Man, though the Deceiver, the Snake of misogynistic patriarchy did a bang up job of convincing all of us that is what and who a Woman is.

No, this Woman made of Flesh as the final crowning act of creation (Man came forth from dirt) is Ezer – strength to save. That is the original word attributed to Woman in relation to Man. Everywhere else you find it used in the OT is in relation to God saving His people.

Ezer was awakened the second you were snatched into the Upside Down. Yeah, she’s been panicked and crying and screaming and crazed. It’s what a Woman does when she KNOWS her love is alive but in grave danger but doesn’t know where or how to reach him. She gets bold and doesn’t care how many people tell her she’s “too angry” or “too sad” and to “just get over it.” She doesn’t even care that everyone thinks she’s gone raving mad painting the walls, tearing holes in them and speaking to Christmas lights. It is what a Woman who is fully awake and aware DOES. It is who she IS. It is who I AM.

At just the right time, my ally and partner appeared. Chief Hopper. My Litter-Mate. The only other person who could see and understand and go in with me after you; the transgender female love warrior wholly/holy EZER, who saw me and believed me and went with me. She was the only one at just the right time. I could not do it alone. I could never have done it alone.

And we got to you just in time. Come on, Baby, come on, Baby, not now, not like this – BREATHE. I’ll breath into you, just come back to us, come back to us, LIVE!

I see all you did even in the Upside Down to try and survive and hold on. Even there, especially there, the Man fought to stay alive to love. I see the Man. I love the Man. He is not the Monster.

The Upside Down had you for a year. Ezer had the strength to save. Ezer has the strength to nurture as you transition back to life. I know the flashes of the Upside Down still assault you. I see the slug monster things coming up and out. I see it, Baby. I see it. Don’t retreat off by yourself to try and handle it yourself to spare us (but let’s get real – yourself) discomfort. Not after what I’ve seen and done. You need Ezer now more than ever, and she is here.

It is not good for Man to be alone.

I have no idea what’s in store for any of us in Season Two. We’re just going to have to go forward and live it. For now, I’m happy to rest in the overwhelming relief that the Man I love is alive and to have a very merry Christmas.

But Thanksgiving has always been and will forever be our holiday.

My Life in Pictures

I held a funeral for my life, our life, in pictures yesterday. It was an odd but necessary few hours of letting go; odd in that I was the only one in attendance and, unlike most funerals where photos are brought out and displayed, I was permanently putting away and deleting.

One by one our smiling faces, snuggling bodies, tender stances of 25 years from the beginning to the end removed from digital memory and social media documentation. The “perfect” couple, the “perfect” family no longer on display. Some still exist as hard copies buried in boxes in the home where we built a life together and loved two more lives into existence. Some adorn the walls. They are yours now. Most have been deleted into nothingness, never to be seen again except in my mind’s eye where they can never be erased. It is where they belong and will forever remain as they were only ever truly mine to begin with  – my reality that I loved sharing with the world – until that world disintegrated.

I was happy in each one, a genuine permeating fullness kind of happy that I only feel when I’m close to you. Each and every picture of the two of us elicited dozens of glowing comments from friends and family.

Now, they are just mine. My mental timeline. My history. My reality. My truth. It was real. I was not pretending. That has never been who I am. I may miss the mark in mind boggling fashion much of the time…but I am inherently sincere, even in my greatest delusion and confusion.

No amount of evidence, pictures, words of truth written or spoken seem to make any difference in what you’ve made up your mind to believe, and you’ve never believed I was happy with you or ever could be. Yet you always liked our pictures together, telling me how beautiful I am when I’m happy. Well, you giant idiot, who was I with in the pictures being my most beautiful?

We woke up this morning at 3 a.m. to the first day of our new life having shed every last remnant of the old. We’re each free, Babe; free to create and present our lives as we wish going forward. If you want to take some new pictures of us together to have for yourself, all you ever have to do is ask…and I’ll be happy to be beautiful next to you. I’m going to be my own happy and my own beautiful regardless, but I’ll always want to be that with you. Always.

The Last Pillar Has Fallen

Hello, my name is Jennifer and I’m a ridiculously fearful avoidant personality in love with an absurdly dismissive avoidant personality who loves me too. Together we are a textbook perfect psychological shit storm.

For me to finally understand exactly how fucked up we are and in what ways is, quite frankly, a massive relief. Every single pillar of certainty that I’d been led to believe was unassailable has toppled in recent years. Throughout this process, I’ve been clinging to what I considered to be the central pillar, convinced it was the one that would never, could never, should never fail. Then it too began to crack and pitch and I could no longer depend on it for safety and comfort.

And that’s the sickest/saddest part about the whole thing- it had never provided me the stability and protection I’ve always craved. No, this “central” pillar never stood still. It was perpetually restless and roaming, resistant to anything and everything that sought its support. Yet I’d been conditioned to believe that it must be that for me and had convinced myself that the reason it wasn’t was entirely my responsibility. If I threw every bit of myself into “supporting” this pillar, i.e. clutching ever tighter as it jumped and swayed precariously, feverishly patching cracks to keep up appearances (we’re good…we’re solid…we’re fine), it would eventually be still and strong and a source of stability and safety around which the rest of my life could nobly function.

It’s actually quite the comical visual. Everything else in my world had long ago disintegrated into rubble and ashes, yet here I was still insisting it was right and good to chain myself to the remaining wobbly and wild pillar that wasn’t even holding anything up and was aggressively trying to shake me off for my own good as it approached terminal collapse.

Up until 3 days ago, choking on spite in spite of what seemed like the never-going-to-end 9.0 temblor that had disintegrated everything I thought should be but never really was, this remained my unshakable belief –

If this one falls, I will die. If this one goes, I’m an ultimate failure. If this one crumbles, I’m the biggest shameful idiot there ever was.

I would not allow myself to let go until the shaking stopped. My God, my God…please MAKE IT STOP! I’m so exhausted and spent and empty…make it stop…make it stop…make it stop…

Then let go, you dear delusional girl. LET GO of the thing that is shaking so violently and let it crumble. You won’t die if you let go…but you surely will if you keep trying to hold it together. Let go, Love. Let go. Let everything die so that you can finally live. 

And I did…right there standing in front of the kitchen sink doing the dishes. I saw it. I understood fully and gave myself permission to do what up until that very second had been unthinkable – give up on my marriage, my idea of what this thing is supposed to be and let it collapse all the way.

The crushing, debilitating panic instantly vaporized. There was no crash, no boom, no implosion, only instant relief and supreme stillness. In that divine stillness such fullness, warmth, nurturing and belonging.

Oh heeeeeey, there They are, Whatever God There Is, or rather – there I AM. Then it began bubbling out of me. A wide, wild grin took over my face followed by unconstrained giggling before finally erupting into deep, somewhat maniacal laughter. I’d imagine it’s the same euphoria one would feel upon realizing they and their loved ones were alive and safe after a disaster, even if they’d lost everything else to it.

And that’s where I am. It’s all gone. All done. Everything, and I do mean everything, that was but actually wasn’t, is rubble. It’s sunrise and I’m getting my first look at the scene after the quake storm (as my oldest Big used to call it when she was little) and I’m happy. Giddy, in fact. I’m in no hurry to clean up or rebuild. I can’t even think about that right now or what it might look like. All I know is that I don’t need to know anything and the future doesn’t have to be any certain way. There is no should be or should have been. There are no supposed to be’s. 

Will a couple of middle-aged, highly avoidant personalities find a new way of being together now that everything has fallen apart? Yes…they will…in some capacity, but I no longer have any expectation for what that must look like nor sense of obligation that I should. Whether what is to be exceeds my wildest dreams of fulfillment or is something wholly undesirable that I never imagined for myself or my family (reality is certain to be somewhere on the spectrum in between)…I AM going to be OK.

There only IS what is, and right now is sacred and pure and I’m not about to rush through this gift of serenity and stillness in the aftermath of the Great Reduction. I’m going to rest here, just me and Whatever God There Is, who have always manifested Themself to me in reality, and find the comfort and security I crave with Them as I laugh/cry in unhinged relief as the encroaching light incrementally reveals all that is now after the shaking. I’m alive, goddammit. I’m alive…and for the first time in my life not lonely and afraid.

Oh, there I am. You lovely, demented girl. Take a beat and then let’s get to work building up YOU – the central pillar – strong and true. Who knows what beauty these hands are capable of creating with what IS now that they’ve finally released their death grip on what never was.

Dear Me

Dear Me,

You are loved. You are wanted. You matter simply because you ARE. Beyond just existing, you are a one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen and never-again-to-be-repeated-in-all-of-space-and-time dynamic miracle, endowed with immeasurable power and worth.

 

Dear Toddler/Early Childhood Me:

You are not inherently whiny and lazy because you’re not in the mood for an adult hike and are being coaxed up the next hill with Oreos…you are a very young CHILD. You don’t have a memory of this, but it’s pretty much the only one anyone else seems to remember of you at this stage, other than you cried a whole lot when you were an infant because of chronic ear infections and were a late walker.

Child, hear me now – YOU are not lazy. Your feelings are valid. You are allowed to honestly express what you like and do not like, want and do not want without judgment. You are allowed your honest emotions and their free expression.

Dear Early School-Age Me: 

Oh sweet girl, you belong wherever you go, whatever you do. You’ve already experienced the greatest defining, transcendent, mystical moment of belonging all by yourself, wholly independent of religious indoctrination…just you and Whatever God There Is who made Themselves real to you. I know you already feel like the outsider trying to figure out the magic formula to make people like you and accept you as one of the herd. Sweetie, you already belong. You always have. You always will. Hang in there, lovely girl. Whether it be those closest to you or the entire herd of thousands that cannot see it, it doesn’t affect your inherent worth. This is going to be the roughest part of the road throughout your life. I’m so very proud of you every step of the way.

You are allowed to fail. You absolutely MUST fail. You are going to be as careful as you know how to be on the ice for the first time and you are going to fall anyway. Even when those closest to you in authority stand over you in condemnation as you lie there in pain with the wind knocked out of you, criticizing you for not being careful enough…Girl, there is NO shame in falling. You will get back up despite being shamed and denied comfort. You are 7 and you are a badass. You’re also going to survive a terrifying hospitalization for respiratory issues around this time. Did I mention you are a badass?

You are also WICKED smart. You absolutely don’t think so and you’re going to spend these significant years and many more to come figuring out how to conform to arbitrary standards as “proof” of your abilities…but darlin’ you have no idea how brilliant and extraordinary you are. There’s a reason you are struggling to meet the arbitrary standard. You are so much more.  How I wish you could see it.

Dear Middle School Me: 

Don’t rush it! Adulthood and all its excruciating disappointments will come soon enough and cloud enormous chunks of your life…but not yet, not You. Don’t be so eager to experience things for which you will never be ready. Embrace who you are NOW…a lovely, sweet dork. Oh how I wish I could go back and be you again, before tragedy and cynicism took their toll. You are so sweet. So naive. So safe. You have no idea how safe. Savor these years, sweet girl. You can’t wait to get through them, but you will one day look back on the you that you now despise with great fondness.

Dear Teen Me: 

Oh honey, it’s a good thing you don’t yet understand how much power you wield. Though you’ve managed to clean it up on the outside, you are still very much a clueless sweet dork at heart. Without that, you could do some serious damage to both yourself and more than a few boys. As it is, there will be damage to both, but you know what? You have nothing – repeat NOTHING – to regret or reason to feel shame. Do you hear me? Nothing. You are not stupid and weak because a boy broke your heart. Most importantly, YOU are not responsible for the feelings or actions of any boy who shows interest in you, and your self worth is NOT tied up in his actions towards you, good or bad or even devastatingly tragic. I need you to understand this now.

You’ve already made a calculated decision as to the type of guidance and support you’ll give your future children based on your experiences. If only you’d see yourself worthy of that wisdom and grace even decades later. You are not a manipulative slut for being a sexual being. You are no man’s self-effacing whore. No, Woman, you most definitely are not.

Dear Early 20s Me: 

If I could choose any past me to visit, it would be you. I ache to physically hold and console you. You are drowning in isolation, disappointment and shame, unable to comprehend how you descended into such chaos, betrayal and devastation. You can’t figure out what you are being punished for, what you did to deserve this. Sweet, sweet, wonderful, faithful, girl…I see you. I see you. I see you. More importantly, They see you. Your salvation is near. Hold on. I’m with you there now. Truly.

Dear Mid 20s Me:

See? I told you! Oh, these are most glorious days! Such relief. Such fun. Such fulfillment. You totally think you’ve got life figured out at this point and have arrived. You totally haven’t, but you are in a crucial restorative time and are savoring every bit and taking nothing for granted. You were made for this and you know it. You’ve never felt closer to your God and your family. Sigh…enjoy this magical oasis, Mama. These are beautiful days and your miracle children will rise up and call you blessed. I’m praying for echos, ripples of you to cycle back through again. But you, now? Soak up every second. It is truly your salvation.

Dear 30-Something Me:

Holy shit. You are giving up nirvana, totally convinced you are doing the “right” and honorable thing. Full time ministry. I mean, if you follow all the rules God will bless you, right? BAM! Crohn’s disease. A church “family” whose love is most conditional. You double down on being the good, compliant girl and you are literally sick and lonelier than ever. Oh dear…what was that about being no one’s compliant whore? Lovely Woman, again, no regrets for you. You ARE doing all you know to do and with all the integrity you can muster. Don’t beat yourself up for these years or declare them wasted. They are anything but.

Dear First-Half of 40-Something Me: 

You think you’ve already endured the hardest things you’d ever have to face. Nope, nope, nope, nope. You are finding out just how strong you are. You are taking the biggest risk of your life and all your greatest fears and weaknesses are being challenged..and you know it is right and good…that it is God. You are simply holding on in the hope it won’t always feel like death and terror. I am so FUCKING proud of you. *This* is what everything has been leading up to your entire life. Every bit of your dorkiness, sincerity, smarts and tenacity is being put into play and utilized.

Dear Present Me: 

You amazing, beautiful, woman…I love you beyond words and you are worth everything. Look at you getting out of bed and keeping young humans alive and thriving day after day even though you are scared shitless and feel more lost and lonely than ever before in your 45 years of breathing, living to witness your oldest as adults beginning their own terrifying, ridiculous journey. What a fabulous gift, knowing more of what you don’t know than at any point prior! Everything you thought you knew and were taught to depend on has vanished. You don’t get any more of a clean slate than this. You are all of every girl you’ve ever been and more. You are more. 

You are more.

You are more.

You are more.

You are infinitely more.

Dear Future Me: 

You are loved. You are wanted. You matter simply because you ARE. Beyond just existing, you are a one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen and never-again-to-be-repeated dynamic miracle, endowed with immeasurable power and worth. See ya tomorrow.

Mama, Help Me

Mama, help me! Please be real

Mama, help me! Hold my hand

This absolute brilliance

To see things as they truly are is more than I can bear alone

Mama, help me…help me…help me

I listened and followed you out

My senses instantly assaulted with stench and horror

A legion of putrid corpses exposed

Mama, help me! Hold my hand and walk with me through

Mama, help me! Please be real

Don’t leave me here to die in the light…alone

Journaling That Doesn’t Suck 09/27/2016

Went for a slow walk yesterday around the fake lake. It wasn’t exercise as much as knowing I have to get out and begin moving, to start putting one foot in front of the other. It doesn’t have to be pretty or accomplish any other goal than moving forward steadily.

Didn’t listen to any music to distract myself or try to elicit a cheap emotional release. Just walked and BE’d.

Said “hi” to a lot of friendly people getting their exercise on. Smiled at their dogs.

A little stormy weather was coming in from the west. Looking east, though it was around 9 a.m., the line of dark clouds not quite eclipsing the brightness of the sky in that direction gave it the illusion of a sunset.

What is your impression of the picture above? Is it a sunrise or a sunset and how does one tell without being there? Impression and “feels” mostly. I dunno. Perhaps if I looked it up there would be a more sciency explanation like more particulates in the air at dusk…but at any rate, my first impression upon looking east was that it surely looked like a sunset at 9 a.m.

Insert the obvious life metaphor. Although I’m pretty sure that’s entirely my problem right there. I assume what’s so goddam obvious to me and speaks for itself SHOULD be apparent to everyone.

But it’s not. Some days (like all of them lately) it seems like the whole world is upside down in delusion, insisting the sun is setting and it’s time to sleep  when I KNOW it’s a sunrise and it’s time to get busy with the day.

How do I know?

Because the sun rises in the east and I know which direction east is.

So was your initial impression of the above photo a sunrise or a sunset? Arguing about which one is truth is pointless without being there. It’s absolute fucking madness to be there in person, day after day, the sun rising and setting in the same place as it always has, and STILL insisting a sunrise is a sunset because it just feels right…or you prefer it to be so.

Do what you want, World. I’m done engaging anyone and anything that trades the truth for a lie and would rather live in delusion than the most basic self evident truths.

I’m hoping last night was a collective turning point and that a majority of us have a clear sense of direction and know the difference between east and west, day and night, and will act accordingly.

I’m getting busy in the day while it is still today. Who’s with me?

Journaling That Doesn’t Suck 09/24/2016

Are you strong enough?

God I feel like hell tonight
The tears of rage I cannot lie
I’d be the last to help you understand

Are you strong enough to be my man
My man

Nothing’s true, and nothing’s right
So let me be alone tonight
‘Cause you can’t change the way I am

Are you strong enough to be my man

Lie to me, I promise I’ll believe
Lie to me, but please don’t leave

I have a face I cannot show
I make the rules up as I go
Just try and love me if you can

Are you strong enough to be my man
My man
Are you strong enough (to be my man)
Are you strong enough (to be my man)
Are you strong enough
My man

When I’ve shown you
That I just don’t care
When I’m throwing punches in the air
When I’m broken down and I can’t stand

Would you be man enough to be my man

Lie to me, I promise I’ll believe
Lie to me, but please don’t leave –

Sheryl Crow

San Diego All Over

Endless-loop thought: – How did I get here-AGAIN?

I did everything I knew to do, everything I’m supposed to do, and once again, it just doesn’t fucking matter. It does not matter what I do, think, say, not do, not think, not say…the only one who matters, the only one I want has left me isolated in the horrible void – the upside down – to desperately try and fill his own with ???…whatever it is today.

Here I am back in San Diego. Again.

Alone. Paralyzed. Cried out on the floor of the apartment. It’s over.

If we’re destined to repeat this cycle, I sure as hell hope it includes the miracle desert restoration.

It’s a hope I didn’t have the last time I was here.

Fuck you, San Diego.

Holding out for Blythe, our oasis in the desert – home, creation of new life, family.

That’s the last time I remember being truly happy and whole – there.

Praying (screaming into pillows) to Whatever God There Is that we can get to there from here…again.

Beautiful Together

Some days are better than others. Most of today was pretty good. Tonight, I’m drowning.

When I discover I hurt someone, I become undone. I will do everything in my power to do no harm in the first place, to stay out of the way, be the good girl, and not cause anyone any trouble. So when I inevitably DO cause someone else pain, distress, discomfort (even if utterly unintentional), I will go to extremes to adjust my behavior to “fix it.” In the case of real harm inflicted by me, that’s a good thing, and I own it quickly.

If it’s a matter of someone else’s discomfort, sometimes a compromise on my part is the loving thing to do. Other times, their issue is theirs alone and I have no business owning it, and changing my behavior to appease them is wrong and unhealthy for everyone concerned. I’m getting better at distinguishing the healthy path in relationships without jumping to my default mode of losing myself to keep a false peace.

Where I’m having the hardest time right now and feeling very out of control is how I handle defensiveness and resistance from people when I show them how their actions are hurting me. Because I’m so damn sensitive myself about causing others any discomfort, when someone isn’t responsive to me and my hurt (and if I express it to them at all, that in and of itself took a tremendous amount of energy and courage to do)…

I

AM

CRUSHED

And when I am crushed I lose all sense and control.

The more significant the relationship, the more devastating it is. It doesn’t matter how well I understand the person and how they tick and which dysfunctions drive them to do what they do. When I show someone as clearly and rationally and honestly as I know how that THEY ARE hurting me and they push me off, or worse, double down on doing the thing that causes me pain or makes me afraid, this is the only way I’m capable of processing it –

That my pain is invalid and/or threatening; either way, greatly unwelcome to be expressed. 

Me being hurt is the sacrifice they are willing to make for their own survival. 

I DO NOT MATTER. I am not worth it. I am unloved and unlovable.

This is, of course, a total PTCS (posttraumatic church syndrome) issue. I just typed and then deleted the story behind it. It’s not worth telling at this point other than to garner some “Oh, you poor darlings.” I don’t want or need that right now. What I want and need is for the damage that was done to my psyche and soul to stop wreaking havoc in my closest relationships.

The last year of marriage has been our hardest to date, and that’s saying something if you’ve read our stories.

Jimmy and I both experienced intense abuse and hardship solidly together as a team over the last 5 years, both doing all we knew to do to survive as a family. We’re also both incredibly damaged on the other side of it and our needs in survival mode are very, very different. They do not play well together at all. Getting too close to the hurt (vulnerability) triggers him, so he avoids, self medicates, numbs and distracts himself from it. I desperately need to make sense of my pain and get as close to it as possible. Vulnerability is my salvation. To be dismissed and left alone in my greatest, deepest pain where I AM because it is too much, spirals me into crushed crazy person mode.

We’ve never been easy, but we’ve always been beautiful…until this last year. We had to separate emotionally from each other, and now physically, just to survive. This makes me so devastatingly sad and angry because I’ve always known just how beautiful we are together.

I don’t think you ever could see Us as beautiful because you couldn’t see yourself and your part of our equation that way, masking your fear and doing anything to stay one step ahead of the shrieking demons of inadequacy and failure nipping at your heels. Those goddamn demons finally overtook you this time…and I’m glad. There’s nowhere left to run and you’re going to have to fight to the death to get them the hell out of our marriage so we can get back to being beautiful together.

We had a way of being together that worked well in the context of our old life. When that died, so did our way of relating to each other.

It had to. Everything had to die.

Fight hard and die ALL THE WAY, My Love. We both have to.

New life WILL take hold. We will be beautiful together again. But we’re not going to look anything like we used to because we cannot BE anything like we used to. We are, neither of us, the same person we were just a little while ago. We are each transitioning and have to, by necessity, go it alone with Whatever God There Is in this process.

It’s OK if I go first.

cliff_jump

I’ll be here waiting, Babe, when we’re both ready to be beautiful together again. Even at our ugliest, there is nothing and no one I’ve ever seen that compares to Us, together. You will always be the only one who matters; the only one I want and need, the only one I need to want to see and love me as deep as I go.