Monday, July 13, 2015

Troll Reminder

This is a public service announcement. This blog is my personal space where I can write the opinions I have about my own corner of the world, from my perspective. I post poetry, restaurant reviews, and other assorted silliness. The content is controlled by me alone.

As such, trolling comments and negativity are not tolerated and will be summarily deleted.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Slang: Suit Farm

Just another Stacie-ism:

Suit farm: any restaurant where lawyers and investment bankers congregate in large groups.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Fundimental Unfairness of Addiction

God, this is awful. Horrible that this exists. Some of the logic I just can't grasp or totally endorse. But so beautifully and painfully written. As the adult child of an alcoholic/substance abuser, I find my empathy strained. I have been hurt. I have been neglected and abused so that my father could use, so that he could serve the unholy twin gods of whiskey and cocaine. I have my challenges in life, but I have never been reduced to helplessness, and for that I am grateful. Truthfully, I want someone to blame.

Some artists have to contend with this unending misery in order to create. And then some get swallowed by it. My own brother went down the rabbit hole of drinking too much and I watched helplessly from a far distance as he went missing and turned up dead on the floor of his own apartment. I had said that he was burning too intensely to carry on for long, and rightly predicted that we would have to contend with putting him in the ground. The circumstances surrounding his death are clouded partially in mystery, but it is well documented by the Navy that he was having a major drinking problem before he died. He was 25.

I want to blame my father, or his father who schooled him in the ways of the bottle and emotional abandonment. I want to rage at the loss of my brother, my college fund, at my hopes for family normalcy. I want to show him how he made me feel worthless. I want to level these things at my dad. But then I look at him, and I see a frail, sickly, and finally sober shell of what my mom says swept her off her feet in hopeless romance. I don't see the man who wrote her drippy romantic, soulful poetry. I don't see the young man who pushed me on the swing as a very small child.  I see someone who, if faced by the full measure of my experience, would crumple like burnt tissue. He's there, burnt already, and holding his shape by sheer force of will. A whisper would scatter him.

Really, that dynamic, romantic artist is gone. Like the angelic boy soprano he was, when he hit puberty he did not mellow into a mature tenor. He cracked and was no more. He couldn't ever after carry a tune any more than he could carry responsibility or joy. He couldn't deal. He was a lead pencil in a broadband world. His capacity was reduced to nil.

I hear from him every few months now. I see that he is trying to be somewhat present in my life. He calls after months of forgotten or failed attempts to remember I am a part of his family. I hear his remorse. If I wanted to reconcile with my father, he is still here on this planet. I see his desire for my forgiveness. I blankly and without much feeling absolve him, my hands in a nonmagic gesture of benediction. I tell him I need nothing from him, not so much because it is true, but because I know I will never truly get what I need, not from him anyway. I am letting him off the hook. I have given what I can to him. I have thrown years of love down a dark hole to him, but he never took my lifeline. He only memorably told me that he wished I was born male so he could punch me in the face. No amount of telling me feebly that he loves me now will erase that. That takes bigger, more fearless and transcendent love that he just cannot produce or hold in his heart. I am left to work on it within myself. Despite being told I am worthless, I have to believe in my worth, love myself, and somehow forgive a man who probably was too wasted to remember saying that to me and shattering me into fragments.

Maybe only other addicts can really understand him, really help him. I am from the other world, with all my judgements and moral superiority for having never fallen prey to the bottle or the freshly chopped line. The hole in me mirrors the hole in him. I fill it with minor peccadilloes, perhaps. I am no saint. But somehow my need to consume Chex Mix doesn't seem to interfere with my ability to love others, although perhaps parts of myself. I am sometimes driven by the desire to be perfect, even though that conceit is the worst form of self-loathing.

But, lacking perfection, how am I to offer myself to the world? How do I consider myself worthy of the love I want in my life? I can bake a killer cake, save the life of a sick person, and even comfort the dying. But what if people knew that I couldn't save my brother? I couldn't heal my father? I couldn't be enough to stop the gnawing monster of addiction from greedily devouring the people I cared most about? Does it matter how kind or good I am? I will bet it does, to people with the capacity. But some people lack that. You can call down to them forever, and ultimately have to rise up from the chasm's edge and step back, lest you fall in yourself.

I am not an addict. I know I can go to Al-Anon for support if I wanted to. I just don't want my father's failings to define me.

I am trying to resonate with kindness and compassion in my life. This lesson is a hard one. It is going to take a lot more work. But I am alive today. I am aware today. I am grateful for that. The frustrated tears I shed over this are just part of the landscape. I don't have to be perfect. I just have to be trying to be good. That is enough. That is a lot more than others may have. Just by virtue of looking at this and attempting to unravel the Gordian Knot , I am better than I was on days when I merely felt sorry for myself. One day I will claim my destiny and cut the knot with one stroke and be done with it. Alexandrian solutions are not lost on me. In the meantime I hope I can at least see it for what it is: a yoke bound to an ox-cart. Just a symbol of what could be. Can I combine my conqueror's heart with the will toward compassion? I can try.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

In which My Dream is the Literal Truth

     I just had an intense dream that I walked into an abandoned, filthy, house and found it full of sick and deformed people, all hiding in the darkened corners, including children with contaminated medical equipment jutting from their bodies. I was trying to help, but I couldn't touch one without getting swarmed by dozens. They were all hungry, thirsty, love-starved, and untouchably dirty.
     I was trying to bake bread, boil water, find medicine, bathe people, and soothe crying people, and was overwhelmed by the suffering around me.
     It didn't occur to me to just leave. I kept trying. I asked for help. And even though the throngs kept growing and pressing, I didn't stop trying to alleviate the suffering.
     In my way, in my waking life, I am doing this. But it is hard. I keep trying, but my soul could use some refreshing.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Legoes and Lunacy

Here's a rant for you about how old and broken down I am: I have been out of my Effexor for 2 days because the pharmacy decided they had to order it for me. I also was at home today with my 5 year old son. This is my day when I am feeling a bit emotionally edgy:
1. Jacob pitched a giant, GIANT fit about his shoes, because he wanted to wear the socks that are still in the laundry, not these other socks. FYI, there would be more of these socks available if he didn't leave the dirty socks everywhere for the dog to chew on and destroy and sometimes eat entirely.
2. Had to take Jacob to an audiology appointment for the school district because Jacob has an IEP. We were late because of the fit about the socks and shoes. The socks and shoes got put on/taken off and thrown in the car about three times. Grrr. Jacob has totally perfect hearing, but I have to have a long conversation about his IEP anyway, even though he is only Speech Only and no longer developmentally delayed. Woman is not listening to me. 
3. We went to feed the ducks at the park and it rained on us.
4. After getting perturbed at me for not being available when he asked, Tony is not available to have lunch with us.
5. Go to the post office. Don't have enough paper to wrap the book I am trying to mail. Have to buy a thing even though I had already printed the postage at home.
6. Take Jacob to Marshalls for more socks, but they don't have the EXACT ones he wants, so no new socks or shoes for him. We did, however, find a SpiderMan watch. Cool.
7. Take watch out of package, and the battery is dead.
8. Go to nearby jewelry store to get the battery replaced. Kid is all over the store, trying to go behind counters and open stuff he has no business opening. Grrr. 
9. Put on watch. Jacob now gives me the minute by minute update on where the big and little hands are. My eyelid starts to twitch.
10. We go get lunch. My contact lens, despite putting drops in my eyes, starts to freak out during the meal. Jacob makes the world's largest burp at the table, causing a grown man nearby to remark on it.
11. Go home and I am dying for a nap. Kiddo, not so much. He decides to go play with his legoes. He comes in every two minutes to ask me to find the one itty-bitty piece that will be the lynchpin of the tractor he is trying to make. Then the labradoodle vomits up a whole child's sock on the bedroom floor. I have a headache. I tell Jacob I am going to have a short bath before I look for the lego.
12. Kiddo now decides that he needs to actually watch me take a bath and make editorial comments about my body. Great. Yes, I do know that parts of me stick up out of the water. I stick my head under the water, but I can still hear him talking. I come up just in time for him to ask me about the legoes again. He has lined them up on the edge of the tub, pointing out that he needs another one like THIS one, right here.
13. I get out of the tub. I realize that playing with These things is NOT as I remember. Now there a billion teeny-tiny strangely shaped bits that have to be arranged exactly according to the diagram, or it is all wrong. I have a headache, trifocal glasses, and am a quart low on serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
14. I spend the next 35 minutes finding all the little itty-bitty lego bits and then painstakingly building the lego tractor and farmhouse. Little Guy watches, but doesn't help much. Unless by helping, you mean trying to jam his Captain America Lego Guy into the house, knocking some of it down, which must be rebuilt.
15. Dog flops down on the pile of blocks, and must be moved while not disturbing the Lego city. 
16. Hubby comes home, and I am ready to die. Not bad for a day off, huh?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Embracing Lunacy

At this point, I must accept the idea that I may in fact be totally insane. At least in isolated parts of my life. You can't have tons of energy and a very vivid imagination for long before someone else thinks you are crazy. I will admit I have a very warped perspective on a lot of things, but my mind is the only place I have to live, so I deal with it.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure it is all relative, and just because something is perceived by my mind or experienced by my senses, sixth or otherwise, doesn't meant it isn't real or true.

And my mind works overtime. I have compared it to the restlessness of a shark, continually moving just to stay alive. When your brain is going all the time like that, it takes you to some strange places. Sometimes my flights of fancy allow me to come up with creative solutions for problems. Sometimes I cook up unusual stories or characters that I write down and make my feeble attempts at art with. Other times, I devolve into anxiety, depression, and worry.

I may not actually be insane. That oversimplifies. Insane people can't function at all. They have no connection to the common reality. I manage to have a demanding job and maintain relationships with people. I just have all this extra stuff. So, if anything, I am super-sane. Better yet, I could define sanity (functional life) along the spectrum of experiences as being in the middle, like the spectrum of visible light. Then religious ecstasy and intuition would be ultrasanity, whereas depression and melancholy would be infrasanity. I just came up with those words, and therefore hold the rights to them.

If you follow that logic, and I will contend that there is a peculiar logic to it, most people have a mix of all three. Some folks vibrate right in the middle, and live quite ordered and sensible lives. Others, and most of the artists I know, exist in the liminal spaces where the common shared reality blurs into imagination. I have patients in the hospital that suffer in the outer areas almost exclusively, or may pass through lucid moments only briefly on their excursions from one extreme to the other.

Go too far to either extreme of course, and you get the life threatening outcomes of mania and suicidal ideation. Biological life thrives in a narrow range of pH, and so our minds thrive in areas where we, as social animals, get the most positive feedback. There is social acceptance in being sane. Falling even a little outside that make you a delightful eccentric, and a lot outside it makes you homeless. So unless you have others around you to endorse your version of reality, you are gonna be pretty lonely.

I don't know about you, but that concept make me feel a whole lot better about my situation.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Who am I? Marie Antoinette?

While I am all for eating cake, I otherwise bear little resemblance to the much-maligned and entirely beheaded former queen of France. But among her often-ridiculous affectations an possessions, she had something I am starting to understand the need for: a retreat in the form of a hobby farm village. It was a tiny, working mini-farm with a herd of 8 cows and one bull. The farm provided food for the parties that the queen held there, and gave her a chance to escape the intrigues of palace life and play peasant while it pleased her to do so.

Of course, the farm itself was run by a real farmer, appointed by the queen. She couldn't be expected to make the thing an actual going concern, could she? She'd get callouses or something. Of course, the fact that the queen amused herself by milking carefully washed cows was part of the reason she lost her head. Being frivolous while glaring class divides exist in your country tends to piss people off. Never mind that this was how she was raised, having been treated to gardens and menageries as a child. Le Petit Trianon was probably an immense comfort to a person whose main (and failed) function as a person was to produce a viable Dauphin.

Of course, I am not under the kind of pressure she was under. Nobody gave me much crap for being entirely unable to conceive. Actually, Marie Antoinette had several children, so she is well up on me there. But I'm still considered a mostly worthwhile person, I figure.

But this isn't about political pressure and class warfare. It isn't even about the indignity of infertilty. It's about goats.

Or rather, it is about farm animals in general. Whether it is inspired by Jacob's endless collection of books extolling the virtues of farm life (The duck says "quack"!), or the fact that I love fresh goat cheese, or the other fact that some of my friends are getting a chicken coop, I suddenly find myself fantasizing about having a few farm animals of my own. Not because I want to go back to my country-fried roots. I don't want 100 head of anything. I just want a vanity farm. Just a garden and few cool animals that would, given care, provide me with the makings of goat cheese and butter and eggs. Not like I don't buy that stuff at the farmer's market, anyway.

Animals are cute. They do funny things. There is something sort of sweet about the pugnacious affection of goats in particular. But I am dreaming if I think I have time, given my hectic work schedule, to milk a freaking goat or sticking my hands under a bunch of chicken butts for my breakfast omelet ingredients. Plus, there are the, um, poop issues. I whine about picking up after my labradoodle's messes. What would I do with the output of a 135-pound nanny goat?

But surely you can see the appeal. Living closer to the land and having your kid grow up caring about other living things. Having fresh food that hasn't been processed eight different ways before reaching said kid's mouth. The romantic idea of animals that come running when they see you, even if it is only because you are the one that feeds them.

Oh yeah. Feed. That shit's expensive. In what economy do I figure I live? One where they don't build houses right on top of each other? Not really.

So what is that feeling about? Maybe I am just craving a little extra space and a pastoral sort of arrangement. It sounds nice. But given the fact that I left the small town/rural area I came from for lots of reasons, shoveling manure among them, it probably isn't going to happen.

I have a lot of half-baked ideas lately. I'm trying to figure myself out. I contain multitudes and contradict myself daily. (Thank you Walt Whitman, for saying it best.) Who am I? Certainly not Marie Antoinette, but I can appreciate the no-win aspects of her life in that no matter what she tried to be, she lost her head because of libelous public opinion. It might be good to be the king, but it seems like being the queen kind of sucks. At least she had her farm, where she could pretend life was simpler. It was probably fun while it lasted.