I’ve been talking about the commune for a long time now, and it’s starting to take shape. I have found like-minded people I want to be around kind of. I’ve even got a charter of sorts. As reported on a fellow commune member’s Facebook profile, it looks like this:
The problem is that the more I talk about it (meaning I have a lot of people who also want to escape to a land of mellow), the more people want to burst into the party. Some of these I gladly embrace [Do you have a still? yes or no – circle one] and some are not. The whole point of having a commune is hand-selecting companions which means, in my case, keeping out the drama.
I was in the midst of another Facebook thread about the recent slate of Skype marriage proposals I’ve been getting when the commune thread came up. Someone who I am personally rooting for but don’t want to live in community with invited herself to the commune. As long as there is climate control and luxurious bedding she is in.
If you are wondering why the pause was awkward, reread the charter above where I make it pretty clear that high maintenance results in automatic disqualification. I consider someone else putting temperature control restrictions on my commune to be a key indicator of high maintenance. Build your own damn commune. I’m not responsible for your climate control or bedding.
This is a pretend-now-but-god-how-much-fun-would-that-be-to-actually-pull-it-off-somewhere-with-a-garden-and-cool-people plan right now. But I am feeling protective of this sacred space-in-my-head.
On my commune, we are going to have Ed in a hammock out front acting as gatekeeper and monitoring intruders. That’s what we have for guys right now. It’s not that we’re lesbians. It’s just that we’ve hit our quota of bullshit. Next to Ed will be a stack of cookies. He prefers cake, but I make cookies and until we draft for a maker of cakes, he’ll have to do with cookies. His cookie stack will be rivaled in height only by the stack of books beside it. Ed is an avid reader.
We’ve got a bevy of freaking smart, intelligent, funny, snarky, stunning female humans, some of whom have an affinity for hammocks and edible comestibles. One of the few times I have tried them (comestibles), I felt the particular inclination to make a number of pictorial representations of what the alphabet should look like, drawn with my eyes closed. That was amusing. There will probably be more alphabet art at the commune. Obviously flip flops and yoga pants.
“This is a place of yurts, campfires, and hammocks,” I said by way of dissuading this wanna be commune member, “I don’t think you would be comfortable here, but you may certainly visit,” I offered. I meant all of that.
I don’t dislike her. I just don’t want to live with her, and I resent someone barging into my safespaceinmyhead. I was feeling all good about my commune, and now I am trying to figure out how to not hurt someone’s feelings. I have a theoretical non-drama-driven community to protect here, People! I am trying to be tactful.
When she argued the point, it probably wasn’t the best idea to tell her that I was basing her being high maintenance on her propensity toward hotel and restaurant snobbery, a point which she is currently arguing with me.
I’ve done some time in HR, and this would not be a good culture fit. I debated involving the witness of other friends who have reported this snobbery and then caught myself and thought, “I am acting like a seventh grader.” I don’t want to hurt her, rather I want to discourage her without her being rejected. How has this energy pierced the veil of my solidly positive commune mojo? I mean, Jesus, we picked up our cookie-eating gate-keeper this week! This is good stuff!
I guess it isn’t a good idea to broadcast something on Facebook that I’m not really quite so kidding about as I thought I was. The lesson might be that all good clubhouses need to be secret and sacred spaces protected. Or maybe Scorpio shouldn’t be the community manager. Or maybe Scorpio should be the community manager. I’ll ponder it in my hammock.
Circumstances can trigger volcanic disruptions in our lives.
We are embarking on journeys of creativity and then it hits: job loss, divorce, death of a loved one, or existential crisis. This creates a clusterfuck in Maslow’s hierarchy.
In this age of shamanistic positive thinking, it’s easy to feel inadequate when the load feels heavy and visions of self-actualization are abrogated by fears about how to save the food in the freezer in the event that the electricity gets shut off.
How do the resilient recover? How do they keep from slitting their wrists when the path to rebuild feels impossibly un-doable? Well, lucky for you, I have a blog and an opinion, so let me help you navigate this path.
1) Excise toxicity. Put a moratorium on everything and everyone who is an energetic black hole. Start looking for people who have breathed through the volcanic ash and are living bigger than you are comfortable living. Cling to them. Lurk in their online communities. Grok them. Let them know they are an encouragement to you.
2) Breathe. and exhale fully every single time as often as you can. Read this great blog from Jen Violi on breathing.
3) Survive. Do what you have to do in order to survive each day. Stand in line to get food stamps and health insurance for your kids and cry when you get back to the car. If you compromise, forgive yourself and more forward. Do the next right thing. This is training camp, and it can be really hard. Just keep swimming – it won’t be forever.
4) Get clear. While you are heading into your cocoon, determine to spend your time in there getting clear on what you really want – even if it seems impossible. Write it down. Try it on. Feel what it will feel to be in your new ‘space.’
5) Ask for help. We all need it. Let yourself be that person and welcome the lesson of vulnerability and need.
5) Shift your story. You aren’t a victim tossed by the winds. You are a proactive agent of growth and you didn’t expect such a strong nudge into the next chapter. That’s okay. Let the old story have its place and then let it go. Begin to write a new one.
6) Choose you. Commit to what you want. Know that it may very well feel like swinging from one jungle vine to the next without the next showing up quite yet. Choose you anyway.
I get caught between the energy healing, Law of Attraction way of thinking and my own emotions. I feel vague guilt about not being able to feel my way into prosperity or happiness. I get it – it makes sense. I’ve watched “What the Bleep Do We Know?” I’ve even lent it out.
Where the rubber meets the road, though, I just cry a lot. About dolphins in captivity and pictures of butterfly eggs.
The world is too big and beautiful and loud and it feels like this because I have been shut down for so long that the stimulation overwhelms me. The challenge to participate in it alternately creates a siren call toward my power and a compulsion to binge watch Netflix. I am afraid of my power. Still. I am afraid that am being asked to be bigger than I can stretch to accommodate. I am afraid I might miss ‘the thing’ that I feel like all of this wrenching reidentificaiton is preparing me to integrate with.
My Paid for Friend says this is a sign that my emotional reserves are growing. I have the capacity to feel and it is safe to do so.
If our intuitive intake machine is supposed to look like a bowling ball with a couple of holes on the top to filter information through, my hard exterior is non-existent and I am left with the string ball inside and nothing to protect it from overwhelming overload of sensory input. I retreat to sleep to provide the buffer I need between the world and my overactive brain.
Whether I’ve turned into a blazing introvert or whether I’ve just come to terms with the idea that I’ve always been one, the idea of people exhausts me. Telling me I think too much and am too much in my head is 1) true and 2) dismissive. Come be in my head with me and help me make sense of the landscape.
It is miraculous. My intuitive soul knows the rational string ball of my mind is preoccupied with the room of mirrors and it continually leads me into the version of me I am careening toward. And someday they will integrate, says My Paid For Friend – the powerful intuition and the blazing intellect.
She says I am perfectly at the wrenching part of the journey where I utterly destroy the container that got me here and reconstruct an identity out of meaning and symbol, feelings and compassion. If the journey to mental health and integrated living is a bell curve, I am on the tail end of the fire swamp and getting ready to start living through the Intuition and not quite so much sabotage. The Mind that has held the reigns doesn’t yet trust the Intuition and so the battle in all the areas one expects: love, creativity, life management.
We have arrived at this awkward place because I naively thought your marriage made you entirely safe and therefore I was comfortable being myself without much of a mask. At some point, the tension will become too much and you will say something suggestive to which I will respond.
We will have a steamy time of sexting banter and you will develop this conviction that I really am what you have always wanted and all that you are missing in your stagnant marriage. I will try to point out that you are in the middle of a very intense guilt fantasy, and I am simply the object of your midlife angst. I will be convinced and convincing. At first you will deny this and try really fervently to show me this is not the case. I will actually begin to believe you just about the time that you realize that it is so.
You will become conflicted, begin to backtrack, panic, and blame me. You will disappear, go dark. I will go into retreat mode after a very short period of trying to keep communication lines open. When I realize that is fruitless, I will lock you into a very tiny dark place in my heart and I will lose a long weekend to being completely overwhelmed by negativity and self-loathing. By Monday I will be pissed and filled with a renewed sense of fuck you, and I will begin to recover and wonder why I let myself get off my own life and wrapped up in the idiocy of your guilt fantasy.
You will eventually miss me to the point that you will make contact. We may or may not have a flare up, but I am done with you and am comforted only by knowing that you wake up and go to sleep thinking about me.
If you are kind of married: long strained, separated
You are the worst kind. See above but add in the feverish manner in which you will attempt to convince me that the only reason you are still with her is convenience for kids or logistics or health insurance. You will be struck by my intelligence and attention. I will be struck by what I wrongly perceive as emotional intelligence by your ability to diagnose the strangely textured mess that is your marriage.
In this scenario, I get suckered in by your explanation and the attention that you are enjoying showering on a woman when actually what is going on is that I just haven’t quite made it to the part where I realize probably the reason your wife isn’t responding to you is that you are a boy in a man suit and she has figured this out. You still love her but you miss her attention. Soon you will realize that I am an actual person with actual children. You will begin to think that I am after you for your resources and you will begin to do the math on the cost of being involved with two households. You will also begin to realize that now that you are considering making a real move, you might as well figure out if I would be the right person to do this with.
You will begin to backtrack and though I will save myself the embarrassment of finding that your dating profile is re-activated, I am pretty sure that it is. You will start to ask me questions that are designed to instill doubt in me, but I won’t have quite figured that out yet. When you test me with the idea that you may never divorce, and I respond very rationally with the scenario of my life energy going toward what takes best care of me and if I am on my own financially, how is that going to feel when my efforts come before you, you are slightly offended.
When you suggest maybe I just like you because you have a good job, I will hate you from my core and know that you understand nothing about me. I will be too passive to break it off right then, but I will lock you into a very tiny dark place in my heart and I will lose a weekend to being completely overwhelmed by feelings of rage and hatred. By Monday I will be pissed and filled with a renewed sense of fuck you, and I will begin to recover and wonder why I let myself get off my own life and wrapped up in the futility of being your toy.
Your wife will eventually get her sense about her and leave. You will eventually date other women and realize what an idiot you were. There will be no flare up. Linking my willingness to trust you and let you in to me wanting you for your money was a bad, bad move.
If you are single
I will make it very clear that I have three kids half time. I will explain that I am volcanic financially, and I’m not in a position to rush into anything. We will be struck by each other’s witty banter and business acumen and we will end up sleeping together way too soon.
I knew this was a bad idea, because you will begin to backtrack and panic almost before morning hits. Though feedback I’ve received would indicate this is not a lack of skill in the intimate arts, I am beginning to wonder. I am not going to rush you into a dark box because this is new territory. Maybe single guys are different than married guys.
At least you answer the phone when I call and ask, “I just want feedback. I’m not trying to stalk you.” You explain that I have three children and am financially volcanic. Most of a Saturday blown out, but mitigated by a text from the married guy who assured me I am still desirable. Whatever.
When you call back months later to ask me for help with a writing project and ask if I’m still sexy, it takes great pains not to tell you to go fuck yourself.
If you are single with kids from five different women
You are such a sweet guy. You are kind, you listen, you tell me I am amazing and you clearly enjoy being around me. You open doors and hold my hand. And then I find out that you would really like to get custody of your youngest daughter and you think I am just the woman to raise her.
There are two reasons that I am not gay. The first is that I am not physically attracted to women. The second is that if I were, women have the same baggage men have.
I lose far too much time wondering why we humans need contact when it seems to be such an impossibility. I lose far too much time wondering why I still want connectivity when I see little evidence of its existence. “Just take your mind off it,” people say, like I’m 13 and having my first crush. Understand this, I’m 46. I get that it doesn’t happen when you are looking for it.
My fear isn’t that I can’t find guys who find me attractive. Shooting fish in a barrel. My fear is that I am creating a decision point somewhere between my head and my heart where I am trying to kill my desire for it. I find myself getting bitter and having a really short leash on anything that smacks of doubt or rejection. I am fighting the belief that I must be somehow defective. If for no other reason than because I don’t even want to try with single available men.
I wonder if distrusting men is in my blood and I am acting out some karmic debt. It makes me sad because I’m kind of fun to be around and I am a generous soul.
Dear Stupid People who swim in a mire of ignorance, racism, paranoia, and religious fervor,
Get off of the Interwebz. Or, stay on the Interwebz, but quit posting content to the Interwebz.
I’m probably just cranky because I found out I’m a man today. I don’t want to be a man. I like men, but I don’t want to be one.
Though my breasts nearly melted off my body from yesterday’s hot yoga class, I do have breasts. I have birthed three children, and though it’s no concern of yours what I do with my vagina, I assure you I have one. (Spoiler alert: the following video does not contain my vagina.)
Unfortunately, however, I am a man because (and the computer graphic in the embedded video says so) my index finger is shorter than my ring finger.
I am not alone though. I share this fate with “Mechelle Obama,” according to the fount of ever-living truth which is the YouTube source for this revelation.
If you want to know more about “God,creation, and where you need to be,” you can track that down through the YouTube link.
I have a sunburn on the insides of my thighs because I went kayaking on the Cowlitz River a week or so ago and I didn’t think to put on sunscreen.
I think that fear of the sun is over-rated – what with being a pasty-faced white girl living in the dearth of Vitamin D that is the Pacific Northwest and all – also I still think of myself as invincible. Mostly, I didn’t have any sunscreen and it was cloudy.
Though I don’t balk at ingesting whatever it is that makes the shelf-stable Cup O Noodle taste like food of the gods, I am loathe to slather oxybenzone et al on my body’s protective though permeable surface layer. “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your body,” the maxim goes.
Cup O Noodle as sunscreen? Probably not.
So as I was sitting here watching Lynda.com videos on creating infographics and hiking up my yoga pants to get a really good scratch on my thigh, I glanced down and noticed that I’m peeling. Of course I’m peeling. I was sunburned.
The peeling spots appeared to be little circles on my skin, like really thin dried skin stickers kind of held on by sweat or spit or magnetism and yoga pants; but when I went to peel the stickers off I found that they were the holes in the otherwise intact skin. The positive and the negative inverted.
Hey, I’m as much a monkey groomer with bad depth perception as the next guy.
When we are in liminal states like identity clarification or financial unraveling, we hope the holes are little stickers that can be easily picked off, but it doesn’t seem to work like that. By the time we figure out it’s the whole layer of skin that’s going to come off, overwhelm and doubt can creep in. Being responsible for peeling off a whole layer of skin in one sitting is a big day.
So I think the trick is to realize that 1) sometimes not all of the skin has to come off -and sometimes more than one layer has to come off; 2) mostly skin heals itself when you nurture it with natural oils and aloes; 3) you can often be doing other stuff while you haphazardly scratch your skin when it’s particularly itchy; and finally, 4) everyone’s skin is different and heals in its own way and time.
Off to more infographic videos. Maybe I’ll make one about sunscreen.
In case the title didn’t give it away, this one contains material which may be considered offensive. Video link is very graphic.
What Makes Me Applaud Violence:
One of my very best friends came over and we were catching up. I have known her for 11 years. Our families have spent weekends together, camping and playing games. Her kids are my kids. They are fabulous people. Mean card players.
One of their stunning, smart, funny, articulate, fearless daughters is babysitting for me this summer. I’ve known her since she was five. She now stands about six foot tall. Long blond hair. Completely beautiful girl, inside and out. One of their sons is my Cup O Noodle-eating soul brother. I want my daughter to marry him, but she’s only 11, and he has a girlfriend. He’s a good six-four with smiley blue eyes and a heart of generosity and valor. I’ve known him since he was seven.
Meg mentioned that my soul brother, her son, had had a scuffle at school. “What happened?” I asked.
“One of the boys said he wanted to _____ (sister’s name), so he took him out.”
He punched out a punk kid for being disrespectful about his sister? “Perfect!” I exclaimed.
Sincere. All-in. Fist bump. Teary-from-pride eyes. “If you need any support on that one, I’m first in line behind you,” I told her. Some words don’t need to be spoken, but these were.
The Backstory to Put My Colosseum Fervor into Context:
I’ve been doing some investigative digging at the intersection of rape culture, social media, vigilantism, feminism, power dynamics, gender relations, and free speech. I have daughters and sons and so these topics are important to me on a variety of levels.
It’s been three parts stomach turning and two parts social study. Not surprisingly the concept of “douchebaggery” frequently appears.
I love the word “douchebag.” I would only feel hinkier about admitting that if I had decorum or plausible deniability. Though it does degrade, by association, the feminine care product from which its name derives, “douchebag” describes individuals who practice the baser version of humanity recognized by misogyny, bullying, and exploitation. Sometimes there’s no better word to do the job.
Free speech is a two-headed beast. Free speech does not just protect noble expression. We can say the most reprehensible thoughts imaginable and as long as we don’t threaten imminent harm, we are within the bounds of law. But what does that look like when a drunk high school student’s friend makes a 12-minute video of him laughing about and mocking an unresponsive 16-year-old female student who has possibly been drugged and is being gang-raped and possibly urinated on and posts it on YouTube? Is there anything criminal in that? How can there not be? And yet…
Two of the boys were charged as delinquents for rape (“guilty” for minors), but the coach, whom tweets indicated may have known about the incident the night it happened and who neither reported it nor benched his players when allegations surfaced, got a two-year contract extension. The prosecutor said the girl’s family didn’t originally want to press charges because she didn’t want to be drug through the media mudpit.
Social Media and Bullying:
And tweets and Facebook and pictures…
Amanda Todd, another teen victim of peer douchebaggery, has a tragic tale that serves as both cautionary tale and wake-up call. As a 7th grader, Amanda visited webcams with friends. A guy online sweet-talked her into flashing her chest. One year later, he stalked her online and threatened to distribute her pix far and wide if she didn’t “give him a show.” He did. She didn’t know how he got her info.
Police showed up at her house on Christmas to let her know what had happened. Amanda didn’t press charges because she wanted to move on. Friends turned against her. She became “that girl” among her peers. She suffered major depression. She moved.
Watch the video below for the full story. Slut shaming killed her.
Not just boys are douchebags.
And here’s another one. Kid in high school in Colorado makes the team and gets hazed a la sodomy by his team-mates in the back of the bus on an away tournament. The team did well. Principal’s son is the victim. Dad of victim finds out when his other son hears the coach’s sons bragging about it. Coach’s sons are perpetrators. No lawsuit, no real consequence. Coach is part of influential family in town. Families played together since kids were young. Family of victim is ostracized. They move. Don’t rock the boat, Baby.
Girls aren’t the only victims in the “boys will be boys” douchebaggery.
If you don’t know about the guys in the Guy Fawkes masks, welcome to Anonymous, a loosely organized hacking collective that takes its inspiration from the dystopian cult movie “V for Vendetta.” The group is known for inflicting DDoS attacks on sites they find offensive (banking, corporate, etc.) and hacking into and distributing extracted personal information (DOX) of people whom they target as perpetrators. Their signature announcement is to hack into websites where the perps live with their voice distorted videos, warning the guilty to be on the lookout.
Response to the Steubenville rape divided the community. On one hand there was the “Steubenville law enforcement is covering up for the football team and, by the way, satan lives there.” And on the other hand camped the, “That girl asked for it. How dare she try and break apart the football team?!!” people. The social media attention either hampered the investigation, was responsible for the justice that did prevail, or was a witchhunt, depending on whom you ask.
I want to be able to simultaneously applaud Anonymous AND root for a fair and effective criminal justice system, but I gotta be honest: it’s hard not to side with Batman on this one.
I talked with a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s office who has jurisdiction over the grand jury that is going to reconvene allegedly sometime to see if there are other’s guilty in the Steubenville incident. Though the grand jury has failed to meet on two separate scheduled dates, and no new date had been scheduled as of a week ago. It’s possible that vetting evidence and doing so according to the legal process to make a slam dunk arrest takes time.
I’m writing that and thinking, “Oh, c’mon. How long does it really take if you want to figure something out? I bet they’re just hoping the press will die down and the whole thing will go away.” And I get that. But I also get that getting that just keeps the whole stupid rape culture thing framed in the “boys will be boys and she shouldn’t have been there” BULLSHIT that is the booster banner on our collective mental gymnasium wall right now.
Even if our daughters make shitty decisions to go to parties without a cadre of friends who have each others backs… even if, like Amanda Todd, they are complete morons and flash their boobs to guys they don’t know online, couldn’t we agree that we are always going to take the side of the person who gets unwelcomed things shoved into their orifices?
Deric Lostutter, the leader of the band who headed up the Steubenville campaign is facing a five to ten times longer incarceration for being involved in the hacking of the team’s website. I did mention above that the coach got a contract extension, right?
…which works really nicely until they accidentally identify the wrong person. In the case of Amanda Todd, Anonymous ID’d Kody Maxson who, clearly a douchebag as winner of an online underage naked girl screenshot video award, was exonerated on all charged attached to Todd’s case.
…or until they get pissed at Israel and blame them for heinousness in general. I like Israel.
The Room Where Bunny Trails Collide:
What’s the “So What?” here? We have kids, some of us. We are familiar with the idea of kids, the rest of us. Kids aren’t supposed to have to negotiate the messed up world of vindictive little bitches with access to Facebook pages or school-wide bullying based on unchangeable attributes. One of my daughters is approaching middle school. I want her to be safe. I want her to have fun. I want to tell her how to stay away from douchebags without her having to know the extent of the potential douchebaggery. I want her to find the making of dorky unicorn videos hysterical for at least another decade and emerge from that phase at some point in her mid-20’s ready to be respected for the tremendously valuable soul that her body houses.
I have sons. Eventually they will have puppy crushes and wind up on some flat surface with a girl. How do they stay out of lawsuits? “They shall remain virgins!” you proclaim? Um, okay.
I want there to be a clear difference between good and bad and I want there to be justice however it happens.
To give you the best I have come up with so far, I am going to provide a bunch of links. I hope they help you. Feel free to attach more and share your thoughts in general.
Happy. A documentary that talks about connection and compassion. Very powerful section where an anti-bullying speaker gets an entire student body into tears about how they’ve treated a couple of students who bravely share their victim experiences with the group.
In school studying journalism and each week’s assignments are blowing up my mind. Learning how to manage my creativity and workflow is something I’ve never really done before and I feel like a stranger to myself. Having to produce week after week in stretching, practical, technical ways is a powerful antidote to self-doubt. Keeps me too busy to think about the future, men, or logistics. Nose down, next step.
That’s not to say that I’m not filled with self doubt, but I think it’s from the debris field. Everything feels up in the air: how I talk to myself, what I expect from myself, what I want from my life, and how I engage with the world. I didn’t realize how insular I am. So very, very self-protected. Have had to be.
I think I am excited about the future, and hopeful, but I’ve never really felt that before, so I don’t trust it yet. Will be nice to get THAT behind me. You know: the feeling that I’m fundamentally broken and the next shoe is about to drop.
Talking to my sister about the other gender today. Told her about a blogger I heard about who took a year off to just date – no strings, no agenda. Just date.
“What did she come away with?” was her question. “Don’t know,” was my answer.
Not sure why the thought of dating seems so viscerally repulsive. I’m sure I like guys instead of girls, but at 45, the whole Pavlovian dating / intersecting rubric feels like a whole lot of slightly moldly bread. And who likes that?