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The Double Meaning behind the blog title 'Dream Follower:'
First, for 14 years I was a ballroom & social dance instructor, and have studied both leading and following. I feel that learning to follow is full of nuance and is often misunderstood. I made it one of my personal goals to become a really excellent follow on the dance floor, and will probably talk a lot about the art of following - both in and out of the context of dance.

Second, I am a huge fan of author Michael Ende, probably best known for The Neverending Story. The book is incredible, and the first film captured some of the essence. (Please don't watch the other two films...I urge you to read the book though!) Anyway, at least twice in my life I have been caught in a storm of my own indecision, and my inner Moon Princess yelled to my inner Bastian...'Why don't you do what you dream?' I tear up even now as I write this little blurb. The tension between being practical, keeping my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds (at the risk of compromising my inner vibrancy, true self, and who knows what else)...and reaching for my true dreams (at the risk of losing everything) is still a very real struggle. In fact, one of those struggles lead to my 14 years of teaching dance, so we can see which voice won the battle that fateful day when I was staring at the want-ad...

And so I strive to be two kinds of Dream Followers in my life. One has to do with connecting with others, and the other has to do with connecting with my inner Moon Princess and the world of possibility that opens when I do...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A long pause

A breath






Like an inhale from a dream state that awakens the dreamer, a violent intake of breath saves the dreamer from drowning.

The time is drawing near again, when a river of words will spill droplet by droplet onto the page, and be pumped into the waiting internet...a drought is lifting, a word drought of dried up thoughts, old patterns, unknown and unknowable ways of expression will form rivulets and merge into bigger and bigger forms and burst the dam that has been thwarting any and all the writings.

We meet again soon, and each breath is surrounded by little pauses like parentheses hugging my life with healthy pauses.

Sometimes the silence between thoughts speaks the most volumes...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Exciting News

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to announce the birth of my new blog, Dance Tracker for which I have written my first entry.

I plan to drive traffic from here to there, but not the other way around, so those of you who have gotten kind of an inside view of my life since I began writing here on Dream Follower will get to see a whole new side of me, but I intend to still use this blog as more of a personal journal or outlet for writing in general.

Those of you following my story will need to be comforted (perhaps not by lies?) in knowing I have not abandoned the thread, just been distracted by life. Samantha and Luke will continue their adventure, I promise.

Thank you for your patience, your readership, and your indulgence.  I am evolving in new and unpredictable ways as we go, so again...thank you.

-Jessica (Dreamer, Dancer, Thinker, and now also, Writer)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

power of the mind

Shakespeare said it first in a line given unto Hamlet "...for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so..." and therein lies the trouble.

Certainly the mind can wend its way through labyrinthine justifications or excuses, exceptions or even denials. The mind likewise can defy logic, ignore reason, and leap from one thought to the next with lightning-like nimble electricity.

What defines good and bad? How do we know one without the other for contrast? How can we lumber our way through life rather than insinuate our way through all the paths of least resistance? What fun it is to ponder!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Addendum to Natural Helpers

Someone asked me about the puzzle, so in answer I will try to describe the scenario.

There were probably about 20 kids of all different shapes and sizes, three wooden islands, and one plank of wood that was (purposely) not long enough to simply set down as a bridge. The objective was to get us all across.

I suggested that we have the largest of us anchor the plank, which he did, and as the middle island began to fill up, we realized we would need to do it in stages, keeping enough of us on the middle island so we could anchor for our big guy, which involved passing the plank.

My solution was a little cumbersome which is why I am certain there would be other (perhaps more elegant) solutions. But it got us all across, and not milling around looking helpless, so there's that.

Lies are Comforters

I know I am not the first to think this way.

The lie can be so small, innocuous, seemingly well-intentioned. It could be flattery for the sake of sparing someone's feelings, or so thaI don't appear harsh. Often it protects both parties, making it all the more tempting.

It's like a truth could be the early morning frost biting your nose, and the sun shining brilliantly cutting through the haze of dreaming, and by pulling the warm comforter back over our heads you can (for a time) hide. Delaying the inevitable is still sometimes a way more appealing option.

A lie can be as small as an excuse, as big as blaming someone else for action or inaction. I have been in a cocoon, lying to myself, and I am emerging to find those formidable obstacles were not so formidable after all...

I am still stretching, yawning, and rubbing the grog out of my eyes, but I am getting ready to greet the day in all its glory.

What if...?

As a child I think often found myself wondering what if?

My mother would be annoyed with me asking over and over what if, what if...

It was away in my mind following a train of thought beyond and beyond. And after that I would continue to imagine what else could be a parallel reality. I understand why she was irritated. There was no end in sight. No satisfaction. No silencing the worry-warted beast within.

It is another branch of a symptom of a vivid imagination, this wondering what if.

And at that time maybe it was also another way to stall off making decisions. If we go for it, if we try something, then we must stick to our guns and live with the consequences. Going for it means not wondering what if... Or at least it means not allowing what-ifs to slow you down.

But it can also be empowering. What if also allows the imagination to roam freely, shutting up the judging mind. It can be your mind full of goblins and ghosts and goons your worst nightmares, it can be full of all the possibilities you never dreamed of before.

What if can be a powerful tool to be used for both ill or for good, to motivate or pause the action, to entertain the mind, amuse the heart, or stall the nay-sayers.

I'm sure I will never stop asking what if...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

natural helpers

In Tenth grade, I started at a new school, and I will never know how they conducted the selection process for inviting kids into the program, but I very much enjoyed the Natural Helpers retreat we went on. I learned so many things about myself and about stereotyping, and how to see past conventional boundaries by being part of this group. Perhaps ironically, they had selected people from various factions to represent the concepts and ideals of the program back to that contingent. We had minority groups, as well as nerd or rocker, etc.

We bonded with each other, and learned listening skills and tools. We were learning how to recognise warning signs of suicide or harm to others, and in general it was supposed to be a peer-based support system.

We did games, trust exercises, puzzles and physical team challenges.

It was at one of the last that I discovered something in me. I want to be patient, I truly do.  The group leader had explained the physical team challenge, and I remember all of us milling around, and myself also hanging back...

I was developing a theory for a solution, but also keenly aware there could be more than one approach or solution. My impatience overtook me in a moment of frustration, and I started to share my idea. My peers gathered around me, and decided my idea worthy of consideration and a trial, and it ultimately ended up working. I'm sure there were helpful suggestions as we started realising additional roadblocks along the way, but it was an environment that brought out of me a sense of leadership, a confidence in myself, and a feeling of self-worth. There were pictures of this exercise, though at the time I was oblivious to them taking pictures. I distinctly remember the feelings in those minutes, and the pictures of me explaining my idea in the circle of peers rang a proud bell for me. I remember hesitating, and thinking 'come on guys, let's just try something' and being certain that my solution would work, even though there might be a more elegant one.

I know I have leadership abilities.

perhaps I have become conservative because the risks have not been my own alone...

Monday, June 30, 2014

he was smart or lucky

I was in a rage, and he could not be at his house when I was going to get my things. I'm not sure to this day whether his buddy just happened to stop by or if he called him and asked him to be there in his stead, but either way it prevented some serious destruction of property. I gathered up my things, and stripped the bed of its lovely sun-yellow sheets which I had paid for and they had defiled. I might have set them on fire, or gone in the yard and scooped up as much rabbit shit and dumped it on the stripped bed as I could. I was white hot angry when I came across a shirt that could only have belonged to her...and tore it apart with my bare hands. Every present I ever gave him, I suddenly wanted to strip him of and deprive him even though the gesture would never even come close to the betrayal he had dealt me. His friend's presence forced my civility, and though I resented it at the time I suppose I should be grateful that I could not be arrested or brought up on charges or fined or anything. The witness kept me from going ballistic.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

quietly living

I may not be writing much on here lately, but it is not because I don't have much to say.

the opposite might be true.

I have been cherishing the days and moments, savoring, indulging, breathing, laughing and in general enjoying life.

I have enjoyed sweet tortures, salty sea air, salty tears, bitterness for balance, and the most delectable juicy sweet orange I have ever tasted. I have enjoyed sunrise, sunburn, sunset and dancing.

I have balanced on the knife's edge of losing something precious and survived.

I have memories to add to my ever growing long list of adventures, to my perfect age, to my ageless soul.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


so sometimes an empath like me has mornings like this one, where a sudden unexplained sadness simply washed over me, tears ran through me, and the sadness had no source within me.

I allowed it to run its course with no judgment or attachment, and called my mom to chat because she would understand and not get freaked out or worried.

It passed and I had a nice morning otherwise.

Perhaps somewhere in the world someone suffered, and my body expressed it, that's all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

it shouldn't matter

It shouldn't matter, but it does.

anonymity, or the illusion thereof at least

once eradicated, can never be regained.

hiding in a cocoon

shyly observing 

pretending ended

the observer is also observed, and thus scared off.

we can suspend our interest, evacuate, rehide, restart...but we are still in it, out of it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

points of view

Ninety-nine percent of the time, empathy is my friend, and being able to understand multiple points of view is useful when mediating or troubleshooting or in many other situations.

Take tonight for example. We have an event with a teacher, a student, a judge, and a franchisee, and a manager (me)

We all want happy students (who are also our customers, but many of our students are taking dance for many different reasons)

And we all have hats to wear and jobs to do.

The event tonight had placing (first and second, mostly) where the student is compared with a standard or level of dancing.

The student in question has physical limitations.

One could argue that there should be consideration for that factored in, and certainly it would help morale...maybe. But no one wants a sympathy blue ribbon. We all want to earn it. And to be fair, the judge was consistent giving seconds all night to anyone who danced off time or even off phrase. And the student in question did earn a blue ribbon in one of her events when she was able to stay on time.

If we give sympathy firsts, all firsts lose their meaning.

If we can't stay on time, we have to be ready to do some damage control when the student is upset. We can't control the physical limitation, but we can't Not Try either and expect the judge to hand a blue ribbon when we could do better.

One solution is to avoid entering events with placing/ribbons, etc. Perhaps that would be the student's preference, and if so we will avoid the situation in the future. As manager, I failed to articulate the nature of the event clearly so she would know what to expect. Her teachers failed to dance on time with her. The judge placed her how he had to in order to not be accused of favoritism or not upholding the standard.

There can be arguments in several directions, but certainly the most important thing is to have integrity in everything we do, and sincerely care for our student. Her frustration is at least partly with her body, and sometimes dance brings up things we need to process.

I don't mean to sound unkind or unsympathetic.

I understand each angle in a way. Like the teachers could argue that the judge could give some consideration and be lenient...why wouldn't he? But I'm not sure she'd want those blue ribbons either.

I'm so conflicted on the matter.

How to be both fair and kind.

When ideally one should never have to choose between them...

Friday, June 13, 2014

big bird

Sometimes at work I feel like a giant wandering post-it note, squawking and flapping my wings and fussing to remind everyone...did you remember to________(fill in the blank)...for a million different things as if I am big bird but instead of feathers I am covered in millions of post it notes.

My mere presence is sometimes enough to ruffle feathers and call to action, but more often it's my eyes burning like laser beams into the back of someone's head and they feel it, or my actual words, or a text or phone call or e-mail...

and it's everyone!

students, my boss, my colleagues and people I'm training...and of course myself.

once in a while I drop one and everyone can giggle because I'm human too, but boy it's a flurry and it's constant.

there are things bound to fly off and drop or get forgotten, whether I make lists or not...because I'm human too.

And I sure am tired of being the walking post it note for everyone else.  Slowly but surely they will all learn to rely on someone else, or each other, and it will all be funny and fine, and then it will be someone else dropping post-it notes...someone else to pick up the pieces when someone is upset...a new big bird will be born.

I'm really amused by the image.  I can giggle about it right now, instead of getting my feathers ruffled.  I can't take myself so seriously when I'm big bird.

rambling (short)

We are chugging along, in the home stretch of a long and busy time frame at work, and then next week is blessedly short.

I'm looking forward to a mini-trip to the Bay Area to see family, but there are a lot of things still happening between now and then.

tomorrow's event plus Saturday's festivities (aka fun, aka stressful, aka hyperdrive)

then Sunday is the 17 year anniversary of meeting my father...actually Saturday probably is, but it was father's day weekend anyway, so that's pretty cool slash emotional

and of course sad because my brother's father passed quite suddenly about two and a half years ago and other people I know have lost their dad so there's that.

and then Monday. Monday would have been Grandma's 99th birthday.

and Monday I am supposed to have a Very Important meeting as well.

So it is good that it is going to be a short week next week.

I am processing a lot of things.

glad to have this outlet, whether I have readers or not. Though I kinda want to give a shout out to whoever is reading this in France and Russia, because I don't think I know anyone out there. US and Germany, yes. So thanks for coming back to read more. It's kinda neat to see that someone in Lithuania and Thailand (etc) stumbled across my page by accident even once but it is infinitely cooler that someone in France and Russia came back to read more of my blog. Thank you!

And of course an even bigger thanks to my friends that kinda know me who keep popping in to see my latest really does mean the world to me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

the trembling leaf

she hung and clung
shaking tenuously with each gust of wind

she trembled
the trembling leaf

is it laughter
is it joy
or is it sorrow
is it fear

she trembled
the trembling leaf

she gazed back in time
her dried leafy self a hollowy shell
memories like a misty dew
as the sun warms her well

anticipation of dropping
of little feet crunching
or perhaps she'll be pressed
between new leaves of a well-loved book

she trembled
the trembling leaf

her colors once vibrant, now fading
she knows her home is still strong
and home is a feeling, not a place
and staying too long will feel wrong

her life on the branch now is fleeting
she tries to drink deeply
the sap is still sweet
and her appetite waning

she trembled
the trembling leaf

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Today started out lazy, relaxed, and then became productive! I threw out three non functioning non-donate-worthy pairs of shoes, and bought new ones, and did laundry.

AND I am continuing the sorting process, books to donate...books that are cherished fiction, and a section for psychology, a section for business and management growth, a section for trashy page turners to be read once and then given on or donated. I have an impressive collection of books...some of which I haven't read yet...

And many dvd's as well.

I must say, overall there are more dvd's that I have watched more than once in my collection, than dvd's I never opened. This is a good thing.

The last category is clothing, and I do have a preposterous amount of that. That will wait for a string of days of productivity, not just one


I watched two episodes of Hoarders online last night, and while mine is a milder case, it was certainly a bit of a motivator for today.

I will try to be firm but gentle, but it might take multiple passes and some tough love before I really let go of some of this stuff.

must examine what it means to have it, why it is important, if it is important actually...and so much of it has been out of my consciousness for so long and I haven't missed it, so why hold on?

baby steps.



Sometimes, the oddest things will spark a river of thoughts gushing faster than I could ever type.

I thoroughly enjoyed dinner and a show this evening with my cousin and her husband, and the whole drive home I was prattling along in my head...where does it come from? this crazy river of thoughts...

In any case, my head is still ringing with some of our conversation and the writing and the execution of the play, and the stand up comedians after the show.

And I'm thinking about what kind of material I would include if I ever did stand up, just like before.

Maybe I would talk about the types of hand shakes, and the types of huggers in the world. Would I take a risk and call on a volunteer, or would I hilariously mime it all with the mic stand awkwardly? Would I have the courage to talk about sexuality, or would I turn six shades of red, stammer and rush off the stage? Would I need notes, or could I wing it, or will they have those google glasses by then so I can fake winging it?

And how did my mother have the courage to just up and sell her belongings for two tickets to India? How, and maybe did I over-correct for all that in my caution now, or am I being wise and prudent, or just a chicken-shit lazy

wow, and you wonder what goes on in my head?

I have warring factions in there...and stalemate, stagnation, inaction, passivity, judgment, endurance, fear, yearning, and a desire to make waves and a desire to not rock the boat.

it's never dull.

sometime, I'll do a stand up comedy open mic night or amateur night just to get it out of my system. maybe i'll tank, or get some laughs. but it will happen someday. I'm too damn curious how it would feel, whether I would fail, and so on

so that will now be added to a bucket list I didn't know I was making.

number 1. perform a ten minute stand up comedy bit in front of a live audience of at least thirty people, preferably at least half of them would be strangers. :)

number 2 will be that hang gliding thing that had to be post-poned due to weather.

number 3 is that I will be a published writer. unsure if that will begin as an autobiographical work or fiction, but it will happen.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


I might have some mild hoarding tendencies. When I think of getting rid of stuff, my mind often fights it with 'what if I need it someday' or ' what if I lose the weight' or 'what if I forget that memory without that thing trigger' and the like. Keeping stuff is a sign of scarcity mentality, and also a sign of lack of trust. We moved around so many times when I was a kid and things I cared about got lost in the shuffle, so hanging on now is probably a symptom of that.

Bottom line though, is I have too much junk. What the heck do I need 8 trophies for, which are just collecting dust on top of my book shelf?

I am mentally preparing for some things to become unnecessary. Maybe I can downsize the stuff. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Detachment--Healthy or Escapist? and some thoughts on why positive thinking might not be the answer...

There is a whole culture of positivity, choosing our reactions, responses, etc. I am in a love/hate relationship with it for many reasons.

On paper, it sounds great. I'm a fan of finding the silver lining, looking on the bright side, learning lessons, and on and on. And I agree with so many of the ideas, because we can use positive thinking to comfort ourselves, soothe ourselves, recover from trauma, avoid making things worse or inviting more drama and these are all pretty good results. One negative result I have also experienced is self-judgment or criticism from peers or friends. The lecture (whether from others who mean well or my own self) is the worst wagging finger, self-righteous, annoying and unsympathetic response to an emotional flare with negative connotations. Sometimes, it would be nice to be able to release emotion rather than stifle or swallow or minimize...and it would be even better if it was allowed to flow out without being judged immediately, or accused of indulging negativity.

Parsing this is a work in progress. I see virtue in not wallowing in misery or inviting more misery through self-fulfilling self-sabotaging negative thought patterns. I get that we attract what we focus on, and we need to build habits of gratitude and kindness and be solution oriented.

rah fucking rah.

But when bad shit happens, looking on the bright side is just another drug to numb the pain, and being pathological about being positive seems like an insane response in the  face of tragedy or adversity. Nor is it okay to me to just dismiss all emotional responseif it is out of our control. "When we can't control circumstances, we can still control our reaction to them, it's a choice how we respond." I say bullshit. The only way you have control of your response is a sociopathic detachment either from your own emotions or your fellow humans or both. We have an emotional response. Period. Then we can accept it or judge it or try to councel our way to a new and potentially less painful understanding. But we cannot control our response. All we can hope to do is learn to not give in to a knee jerk response by filtering what we say. And we do that to protect ourselves and our fellow humans, which is mostly still in service to protecting our ego and self-image.

I'm on board. Really and truly. But don't let's pretend that the goal is detachment or a pollyanna perpetual fake smile plastered on our faces when shit hits the fan. Neither of those is healthy, in my opinion, nor sustainable.

I studied stoicism in college, and as a highly empathic person the idea of detaching sounded like heaven to me, and I tried it for a while, unsuccessfully. There must be a balance between falling victim to the storm of human emotion like a boat without a rudder/paddle/sail or being trapped in a fortress of solitude.

Someday I will find a good balance, but I'm not willing to pretend that only focusing on my response to things and force-feeding myself affirmations all day long is enough of a solution. I might go one step further and say I'm not sure the response is what needs managing/fixing/yadayada. Maybe it's the judgment of self and others. As I said, I'm still parsing and wrestling my thoughts on this whole topic.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Second Sight (another vision)

Samantha wiped a tear from the corner of her eye, and looked again at Raven. No. She saw through Raven, as if Raven were somehow transparent. There and not there. She shook her head and squeezed her eyes again thinking perhaps she was having a tear-blurred vision problem, but when she refocused again Raven looked shimmer-y and sheer.

"Are you ok, Raven?" Samantha took a step toward her and reached out just in time to catch the iced tea glass as it slipped out of her hand.

"Lucas!" She shouted for his help-a twist of fear making her own voice sound shrill and disembodied to her own ears.

"What happened?"

"I'm not sure, we were both laughing a minute ago and then she sort of ... faded?" Samantha was searching for the right words, as they stood up on either side of her and  started walking back inside.

"She has episodes like this sometimes, let's get her lying down on the couch and see if this one passes quickly."

He sounded matter-of-fact, and calm, which helped ease Samantha's jangled nerves a bit.

"Do the episodes usually pass quickly?" She felt a pang of guilt, because asking had more to do with a sudden fear that she might one day have such episodes herself. It was impossible to ask Raven anything just now, and she hoped Lucas might know or remember a little from his time living with her.

"It depends. I can't say I know on what, but some are over in a matter of minutes, while there was one that had me worried because she was unreachable for ten hours." He shrugged. "All I try to do is make sure she's comfortable." He covered Raven with a blanket from the back of the couch, and nestled her head gently on a pillow before returning his attention to Samantha. She looked a little pale, but otherwise strong. There was still something that had changed since they arrived, but he couldn't quite sniff it out. "What were you two talking about just before she faded?"

Samantha shook herself out of her unfocused gaze and tried to find a way to summarize. She didn't want to share everything with him, she would feel almost naked if she tried. But she also couldn't shut him out completely. "We were discussing masks people wear. Um, it's kind of personal actually. But it was so helpful and thought-provoking for me. I'm afraid I have more questions now than when I started, but she told me that might happen."

Lucas nodded, and said "You never have to share more than you feel comfortable. I understand. I often wonder where she is when she goes into her episode. Is she deep inside herself, does she send her spirit walking in our physical realm somewhere, or is it a different plane of existence altogether?" His questions were obviously rhetorical, but Samantha enjoyed hearing him articulate her own thoughts almost exactly.

They locked eyes for a moment, and a shiver ran down her spine. She felt his lips on hers in a future flash of impossible but so certain fore-knowledge, and her cheeks blushed a deep red. She broke away from their gaze first, and he was left wondering  what he had missed--again.

Following (on the dance floor)

When I was untrained as a dancer, I did more dancing on my own than with a partner, and I felt music move me. I enjoyed interpreting different instruments with body movement in general, and the freedom to explore without any boundaries or restrictions. The few times I tried partner dancing, I guess I thought I was instinctively a pretty good follower. I suppose looking back I was one of those ladies I now find somewhat obnoxious who thought they could dance 'as long as he's a strong lead' which is a commonly held misconception.

I may need several posts to truly do this topic justice, or one very long one...bear with me.

Buried in this misconception are probably a whole host of cultural and gender stereotypes, and I do not hope to unravel them all in one go. I may merely shed light on two or three in this post.

First there are the expectations leveled upon men. And second there is the unhelpful stigmas about men who dance. (At least in the majority of US culture, but not the world over.) And third the entitlement or superiority assumed by many (not all) women, which leads to an examination of the cultural expectations of women when it comes to dance.

And last, the golden thread which is my own evolution of perspectives on the lead/follow dynamic in partner dancing, both in my own dancing and as a teacher. I hope to share this portion of my journey with you most of all.

So let me begin with a short description about men, since the title is following after all. In our culture, men are expected to be assertive, to know the way, to be masculine and to generally be in charge. It is common for young boys to be pushed into sports or athletic arenas, but not so much with music or dancing (I know, such broad strokes, bear with me, I know there are many exceptions). Whereas, by and large young girls are pushed into ballet, tap, jazz or some other form of dance. This leads to an imbalance of exposure culturally, which leads to unhealthy expectations. So many women come in understanding how their body can respond to the outside stimulus of music, where men are often coordinated within themselves but not necessarily used to conforming to an external metronome (the beat)...layer on top of that the ladies are used to dancing directly with the music and now they have to wait for the man, and we have ourselves a hot mess.

So ladies have to realise at any given moment we could have up to three leaders to follow on a lesson or in a class, and on the dance floor two. Who are all these leaders you ask? a class or on a lesson there's your teacher, your partner and your music. If one of those is out of sync with the other two, she has to determine which leader is most important in that moment. I'll give you a hint ladies, the music is always last on the list, even if you hear it better than both your partner and your teacher. Which I do understand can cause cognitive dissonance, frustration or for the finely tuned it can just feel terrible. Dancing off time together is still your better option and this is why: what we are trying to achieve on the dance floor is a living breathing creature with four legs, four arms, two hearts, and one mind in charge at a time. It can, at a higher level, become a dialogue where both voices can be exchanging ideas back and forth, but if you argue in the beginning it just brings up the worst insecurities (in and out of your own relationship, on and off the dance floor) and this noise and chaos turns into a tug of war or battle of wills or turns your teacher into a referee to call who was 'right' which is all beside the point. As I said, it is my opinion that while timing is *important* it should never be placed above partnership.

This is not to say the lady's role is passive or subservient or subordinate. This was my second misconception, which I'm afraid I held for at least the first year and a half of teaching. In fact, I was so blown away (learning how to lead myself) by just how much he has on his plate. Patterns, timing, navigating, when to lead which variation so she is neither bored nor dizzy, how to jump in at the right time with the music, etc. I thought I was very compassionate, but it was my perception that he had the lion's share of responsibility. To be honest, that is probably more visibly the case until we get our social basics under our belt...after that it really equalises or tips the other way a bit, in terms of the pressure of continuity. Following can feel to a novice lady like a pass/fail test from step to step, pattern to pattern or depending on the speed of the music or any number of variables. That's the worst feeling, we hate failing on any part of any test, so when we say try it again, it's cause we want a redemption round, not because we are trying to verbally lead you. The continuity of any dance is probably fifty/fifty least that's what one of my teachers told me, when he felt me waiting passively to be placed. He asked me to dance him back, which sounded so strange, and at first I didn't understand what he meant. Dancing him back is a way of being active response back to him letting him know that I got the message, and am on balance ready to receive his next suggestion. If I merely follow, he can't tell without looking which foot I'm on or whether I executed an action...if I actively follow he is getting sensory reassurance that we're still connected, and I'm listening. In following it is possible to have too 'heavy' or 'light' of a connection (side note, never tell a partner they feel heavy, are dancing heavy, or anything...just avoid the term, it just causes issues, fights, tears, etc)

I am sure I have merely scratched the surface of my own thoughts on this topic, but that will do for a start.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


I think we call them smart "phones" just to keep it within a mental grasp. This gadget can do so many things, and it happens to also function as a phone. But if I think about it too long, my brain hurts. I'm afraid that we are living in the future already, and it is difficult to even imagine what else we could invent.It was so futuristic in TV shows and movies to have a face to face phone call, and now almost anyone can do that not only on their computer but also on their phones. I remember a trip to Tomorrowland in Disney about 12 years ago, where they had a coffee table that you could load with family photos or a book and touch on the edges and pull apart to expand or pinch to shrink and now that's something I have in the palm of my hand.

I go back and forth with feeling awed excited and impressed on one hand, and on the other hand I'm flipped out, worried, nervous. And then it's all too much to feel so I numb my mind with fun distractions like another youtube video, someone's blog, kindle,Netflix, or a TV app on my This Is So Much More Than A "Phone" device.

I have mixed emotions, but on some level I am horrified that there's a whole generation born in the 2000's who will never know a time when Text, Friend, Google, youtube, etc were not Verbs, and some of them were not even words before. There might be a few pockets of parents (if I were one, I'd be one) who limit computer time, social media, etc. Who want to teach their kids the importance of using their own imagination, and to not fear boredom. Boredom is the birthplace of unique ideas. Boredom is when your inner demons surface and you can invent ways to slay the dragon.

of course I also see the irony of using a social media platform to rant about this, because I am insta-hypocrite. Maybe if I point it out first no one will write a stinging remark about it.Though I also have very few hecklers lurking so that's a plus. :)

I'm sure I could say more on the subject, but for now I must go.

Ttfn, dear reader.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I remember some of my exes with fondness, and some with varying degrees of regret. In all honesty, I feel lucky to have been in most of those relationships for at least the growth and self-discovery and so on.

But I will share this fun fact.

I still cyber-stalk two of my exes. (occasionally)

The two that cheated on me.

I'm sure it's unhealthy by someone's standards. My reasons for doing it have shifted, but I still peak at their facebooks now and then.

When I do, it doesn't feel twisted like it did in the beginning. When I did originally, it was myspace...yeah, remember that? And it used to torture my soul to see him change his background and profess his love so publicly for her, especially when he had never done those things for me. It was a delicious and indulgent sort of self-torture to compulsively check his page when we first ended. I got such a twisted sense of elation and schadenfreude when she broke his heart and he changed his background and his status...and even more evil joy when I heard he got evicted...and much of my need for revenge was assuaged by this internet surveillance.

It has calmed and slowed and I go many months on end without even thinking of him, or him...but it was so weird that when my other relationship ended also many years ago by now I took up the habit again, but this time checked on both of them. And now, every so often, I get bitten by a curious need to see...I don't know...maybe are they married, or did they move out of the state, or did they post something personal or who knows why...what I hope to see or find.

perhaps this compulsion will one day disappear altogether. and I use the term compulsion for the mere fact that once it occurs to me to look, I can find no compelling argument not to satisfy the urge, so I look. maybe I will try to control the urge next time it pops up just to see if it's difficult. as I said, it only happens maybe once a year anymore. I'm not worried about it. I'm not sure I care enough to make myself not do it.

I guess in a way I'm almost always curious about all my most cases I truly wish them well...

just a rambling overshare tonight, I'm afraid. No point to make, no confession or absolution...

Do you wonder about exes? Do you cyber-stalk any of them? Or am I the only honest weirdo...?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tripping on May-be

Whatever the mind conjures up may be. At the same time maybe lives in the in between, in the purgatory of not yet, may not, may be. It is a luxury in a way, may be. It is indulging a fantasy, may be. It is also the very seed-like beginning of many a what was. For that reason one should do one's best never to poo-poo a maybe. Do not underestimate the beauty and majesty of may be. Many decades did mankind perhaps daydream about flight, and then may be has now become common place! People thought about space for centuries, and maybe became history and fueled many more flights of fancy.

May be is sometimes also a fence-sitter, and non-committal. Sometimes may be is a procrastinator and a scaredy-cat. May be is not content, but might cling to 'the devil you know' rather than taking a risk. May be is a dreamer, a purist, and of course the dream is pristine and pure and perfect while reality is messy and uncertain.

May be - I will indulge you a while longer, but soon we must explore some messy options, and allow new may bes to surface.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

another night out

Tonight we least I dance. Because I can't help it, and because I will whether or not others do if the music is good...and usually even if it isn't good. Dance is my way of hiding in plain sight. It is safer than talking, easier than flirting. I am much more comfortable moving than trying to connect any other way. It is a weird confident/insecure thing. I move because I am not confident, and when I move I am confident. I move for myself and for its own sake.

So in a way, I retreat into movement. I can't decide if that's a trait I just accept, or I if I should limit my dancing in an effort to force myself out of my comfort zone.

Imagination Runs Wild

The music is loud enough to make talking with words impossible, which suits her just fine for her purposes tonight. Talking is overrated, and words are often lies. But the body never lies. She feels the bass beat vibrating up through the floor, the air, her spine tingles and her feet itch to move in time to the insistent rhythms. Her friend passes the drink to her again, and she tastes the tang of alcohol mixed with something fruity and feels her inhibitions slip a little further away.  There might be a hundred guys or there might be only two, but tonight she is going to be a different self, a self that doesn't stop the presses, a self that throws caution to the wind, a self that enjoys the moment for its own sake. Her body has begun to wave in tiny undulating ripples that express the melody while also acknowledging the driving beat. She takes another long sip from the straw before handing it back to her friend, so she can dance with her arms too. She scans the crowd and feels several pairs of eyes appreciating her movement with unabashed lust. She feels their eyes undressing her, and all it does is encourage her movement.

The dj blends a new beat in so the song moves seamlessly and her dance is uninterrupted. Her eyes move lazily to him, and the dj smiles at her and she beams back at him. She knows her dance gives him validation and appreciation. His eyes shift to the rest of the crowd, and then she feels someone in her space just behind her. Slowly she turns and locks eyes with him, daring him to show her his moves. He is devouring her with his eyes, and she starts to sync with his movement.

It doesn't matter where he is from, where he is staying, whether she'll ever see him again. She doesn't care if he's married, has kids, or is a nice guy or a jerk.

She mingles with him, tastes his lips and the beer and cigarette he's enjoyed before joining her on the dance floor. Her tongue dances with his tongue, and their bodies press together in time with the music, and in her mind the dj is making love with them too in this moment. The sweat is dripping down her spine, his shirt is also wet and she grabs him by the front of his shirt and pulls back from their kiss for a moment, locks eyes with him again and drags him to a dark corner...

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Tonight we're planning to visit Fremont, and then maybe find music and dancing. I'm sure there will be some mild drinking on my part, but not the kind I used to do in college...

It's much more fun to invent a crazy LV story than to share what really happens, since I'm pretty boring.

We'll see. Perhaps tomorrow I will invent and write a wild adventure about what *could* have happened tonight for my own entertainment...and yours!

backyard fun



long talks with good friends

the smell of sunscreen

stringing together thoughts

taking calculated risks

making new memories

a break from thinking

the mind sparks, ideas fly, thoughts scatter, you taste or hear something and words cannot flow fast enough to capture - a mood, a feeling, an unspoken communication, a glance, the way the dog lies, the smell of heat...

fleeting moments of joy, calm, fleeting moments of boredom captured.

a hair tickles the nape of your neck, or is it a fly, no.matter.

minutes stretch into hours of not having a schedule to keep.

suspension, pension, retention...

pressures have not disappeared, but have been pulled away from the tension and the eyeball is relieved for a few days of the poking finger of indecision.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekend Getaway

It's a three day weekend since we're closed on Monday, and the boss allowed me to take Friday also, even though we're in a I am linking up with my bff from high school years and heading to Las Vegas for a little fun and relaxation.

Perhaps I'll write about some of our shenanigans, but I think it's pretty funny that I'm even awake at slightly before six AM on my long weekend first  day.

Maybe it's excitement. I used to feel that way about going to our Speech and Debate Tournaments in high school too. All week long I'd hit snooze six times, but come Saturday, I would gladly wake up at five to go to school and meet our bus. I've been a lifestyle night owl for long before my job but on top of that I have now added nearly fourteen years of working second shift. I love that I don't have to be at work until one in the afternoon. It suits me just fine to be mingling with students until ten pm. It just makes meeting "mister right" a bit of a challenge.

I've had beautiful mornings enjoying nature, or birds, or silence. I rowed crew one semester in college, which was fun and also at six am. At lifeguard camp I was in the polar bear club. Brrrrr. But percentage wise, I think I'm more often a night owl than an early bird.

So great. :)

But maybe I should try to close my eyes and see if I can nap again before our long drive...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Second Sight (Porch chat continued)

Raven sipped her tea quietly while Samantha pondered the masks. A Dark cloud passed over her forehead in thought, but Samantha was preoccupied with her own questions so she missed it.

Samantha had been chewing the inside of her cheek, wishing she wasn't filled with even more questions than before.

"I don't want to sound naive or dumb...but if I am not aware of a mask, how can I remove it?"

Raven smiled.

"There is no question that could make you seem dumb or naive, except perhaps the one you choose not to ask for fear of damaging your image. Do you see? Already your fear of judgment has nearly stopped you from asking the next thing. Do you know something else? All that judgment is In Your Own Head. That's right. Before I can begin to answer your question I must address the way you even posed the question. Perhaps by unraveling that, we will even get one step or all the way closer to answering your thought about masks."

Samantha's brow furrowed.

"I can't imagine ALL judgment is in my head. That can't be right. I know I judge others at times, even though I mean well and I assume others do the same as I do. I've certainly rolled my eyes internally and when I was younger externally when someone was asking a question that seemed obvious to me."

"You may, but Let me ask you something.  Have there been times when you asked a question and felt judged, and other times when you asked a question and saw judgment but didn't care?"

"Well of course, sometimes the person judging me is someone I don't necessarily respect or care about. In that case I could not care less what their opinion of me is."

"That's it. Right there. You allow someone else's opinion of you or your question to matter, have relevance, have meaning. You Allow or disallow. So any judgment you feel was begun in your own mind...whether the thought sprung from your mind itself or you chose to accept or invite someone else's thought in and give it significance, weight, and meaning."

Samantha took a sip of her iced tea, and nibbled on her straw.

"Okay, let's set aside the way I posed the question though. I am still confused about how to remove a mask I am blind to seeing. How can I be expected to get rid of something so unconscious?"

Raven grimaced.

"Child, you are still caught up in someone else's expectations. Who are you trying to please?"

Samantha was getting frustrated.

"Are you toying with me?"

"Not in the slightest. This is actually more relevant to your question than you realise, but you are too close to it yourself to see that. Have you ever known someone who dated the wrong person, but you couldn't tell them until after the relationship ended? What do they always say? 'Why didn't you tell me?' And what is your response, usually? 'You would not have listened.' And you would be right. Samantha, you came to me to learn. You are asking me about Removing a mask, but everything you are saying is through the filter of still wearing one. Presently, you frame each question innocently in your habit. Or maybe it isn't so innocent. Maybe it is possible for you to begin to change your language and your perception may also change with more awareness of word choice. Wake Up! Waking up is not comfortable. Do not apologise for your questions to me ever again. But more importantly, Do not worry about my approval! Do not change your approach to please me or any other audience. Your mask is people-pleasing. If I simply tell you how to change, you have trapped yourself into merely pleasing a new entity outside yourself. This is a path to misery. You can not be held responsible by anyone for someone else's emotional state."

Samantha sat blinking, feeling the words almost physically assault her.

"I want to take off the mask...I just don't know how."

"Bullshit. You are the only one who does know how, but you don't have the courage to do it." Raven's voice was quiet, but firm.

Samantha wasn't even sure anymore if she was angry, annoyed, frustrated, or feeling helpless to change

She stood up, adrenaline pumping. She stalked to the edge of the porch and set her glass down on the ledge. Her eyes weren't even focusing on the lawn or street, and there were little flashing spots at the edges of her peripheral vision. Who was this woman, and how dare she challenge her very way of being? People-pleasing? What does she know, anyway? At work Samantha had been so strong, she'd been asked to fire someone, which had been hard for her, but even as she tried to come up with that example she knew Raven would ferret out that she had done it to please her bosses and fulfill her duties. Her white hot rage began to mellow upon that realisation. Maybe she was prone to people-pleasing. Now what? She turned on her heel and stared at Raven.

"Now what? Any impulse I have, I have to pause and ask myself who I'm trying to please? Every move I make, I should live with second guessing my motivations like some kind of ball and chain?"

"If that's what taking off your mask involves, then I assume it will be temporary. I see you don't have the patience for that so it shouldn't take long for you to come up with an alternate approach." Raven's lips twitched at the edges of a smile, and her eyes twinkled mischievously.

Samantha caught sight of herself in this moment, and saw that right now she was being her own authentic self without caring about anyone else's opinion. It felt free, unfettered, nothing resembling a ball and chain, no second guessing, no apologizing for who she was or what she said or felt.

She grinned back at Raven, and then they both chuckled, and the laughter caught its own momentum, and their eyes lit and twinkled and they laughed until tears squeezed out of the corners of their eyes.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Second Sight (Raven)

"Come in, sit down, and let me get you something to eat!" Raven was petite, businesslike and assertive.  She moved and talked in ways that left little doubt as to who was in charge.  Her manner was friendly, but also no-nonsense.

Lucas glanced sideways at Samantha, a little worried she might not respond so well to Raven. Samantha's eyes glinted, and she smiled at Lucas as if to say "I see what you mean." It seemed some of his stories had prepared her a little for Raven.

Samantha tried to find a time to ask a question, but Raven kept up a light patter about what kind of lunch meat they wanted on which kind of bread, asking in successive either or questions whether they wanted wheat or rye, toasted or not, Swiss cheese or no cheese, etc and Samantha decided to allow Raven to steer the lunchtime conversation.  She hadn't been able to really eat a proper breakfast with her stomach in knots of anticipation and excitement, and enjoyed her sandwich immensely side by side with Lucas. Raven bustled about in the kitchen while they ate on the island and then brought a tray with three tall glasses of iced tea. 

"Now! Let me get a look at you two." She handed them each their iced teas, and took a long draw on her own straw as she gazed with unfocused eyes at alternately Samantha and then Lucas.

Samantha held her breath for a full thirty seconds, and then broke free and sipped her iced tea.  She looked shyly back at Raven, and though her mind was full of questions she could not figure where to begin, and her mind drew a blank.  Then she felt a tremor begin in her spine at about her mid-back and she didn't know what it was, and she closed her eyes and felt herself shaking uncontrollably.  She felt joy, but she also felt tears rolling down her cheeks. With her eyes closed, an image still arrived in her mind's eye. An image of a strong woman, tall, slender, powerful and self-assured and somehow this woman was herself in another realm. And there was also Raven, but in another shape, not a bird, but a shaman like an old Indian man with a bird mask on, with rough leathery skin and joyful twinkling eyes and a tough exterior. She felt these two powerful beings square off, meet as equals, and nod to one another.

When she opened her eyes, Samantha was surprised to still be sitting upright at the island, holding her iced tea Lucas beside her.  As though no time had passed, but eons stretched between the self that had sat down for lunch and the self that had lifted her glass to her lips, Samantha gazed fully upon Raven.

Raven looked her dead on, and then grunted.

"You need to stay with me tonight. Both of you can call in sick tomorrow, this is too important and it cannot wait."

Samantha had no intention to disagree. She needed answers more than her team needed her there tomorrow. She looked at Lucas, and his brow was wrinkled.

"Did I miss something?" He was looking from one to the other, and then settled on Samantha. Something had changed in her aspect. She had been so fragile, so vulnerable, so in need of rescuing ever since he'd met her. But now there was steel in her eyes, a strength he hadn't smelled in her before, and something...dangerous. He sniffed. "What just happened?"

Samantha was not sure she could put into words anyway, but she touched his arm in a reassuring gesture and said "I can't thank you enough for introducing us." Her eyes were shining, but clear.

"Lucas, be a dear and wash up while Samantha and I go chat for a few minutes." It wasn't a question, but he couldn't refuse her even if he wanted to.

"Alright Samantha, let's go sit on the front porch swing with our tea and get acquainted."

Samantha followed her, hope rising in her chest, and gratitude threatened to send fresh tears rolling down her cheeks. She dashed her fingers against the corners of her eyes and tried to pull herself together, tried to reconnect with that inner mystical woman she had just seen as some aspect of herself.

When they sat together for a few minutes neither one of them broke the silence. Samantha wasn't sure what she was waiting for, but it didn't feel right to speak yet.  They sat, they sipped, they breathed. And then an avalanche of words that had been trapped in her somehow spilled forth.

"What did you see? Did you see the same things I saw? Does it mean something, oh well of course it must mean something somehow, but how on earth does one sort through and know with certainty the meaning not only of what I saw about myself, at least I think it was my self or an extension of myself or an aspect of my self, but not to mention of you or for that matter of Lucas or any of the other strange visions and impulses I've had!?" She paused to take a breath and then muttered "I don't know where to start or how this works, and I've been so lost and alone..." and she trailed off.

Raven glanced at her sideways. 

"I remember what it was like at the beginning. I understand. Answers will come, but not fast enough. And some answers you won't like. And some you won't understand until many years later. But the fact is you are not alone. And you are stronger than you portray. Why do you act so weak? Is it so others around you are not threatened by your strength, or is it to allow them the role of hero? Either way that role no longer suits you. Can you let it go?"

Samantha was startled. She didn't think she acted weak. She was a leader at work. She was in charge of a department.  But then she paused and reflected. Perhaps she allowed others to feel important because it puffed them up. Maybe she down-played her own importance at work so that others could shine. Why did she act weaker, pause longer, step back?

"I will need to think about that. I was not conscious I was doing that."

"That is the most dangerous mask we ever wear, dear. The one we forget is a mask. The one we mistake for our true selves."

Samantha sat with that in discomfort and in silence for a long time.

Shifting Meanings

Many many years ago, being thin and tan were signs of poverty while being pale and fat were signs of opulence and wealth. Being tanned meant you had to work outdoors, and thin meant you had to struggle to put food on your table or sometimes go without any.

Now, a tan means you have leisure time to go on vacation, or lay out or pay someone for a spray tan. And being pale means you are stuck indoors behind a screen in a cubicle. And being fat more often than not means you are poor, because unhealthy choices are more affordable than healthy choices 9 out of 10 times, and besides food choices being screwed, the nation has turned fitness and weightloss into a billion dollar industry, so if you are thin and tanned you might also have a personal trainer. Or maybe I've lived too close to LA for too long, and am not seeing that the overweight ones are also wealthy, who knows.

In any case society is all screwed up because whatever the trend is today will be different tomorrow (if today and tomorrow are a few decades apart)...

So the moral of the story is just try to define happiness for yourself and forget fitting in.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Somewhere buried deep in my psyche was a misunderstanding so deeply held that I began to hide (even from myself) my true desires. I am at the beginning of a journey of (or have already begun?) Uncovering, revealing to myself and the world my inner light. the fading illusion of needing to protect myself or the world from...what?

I know this is sounding fragmented, but maybe refracted is a better word, and though it seems unclear, it is actually the opposite.

The light is emerging from within.

I am ready to receive with an open heart and mind the clearest possible vision of my hopes and dreams and future self. I dedicate myself to manifesting this vision in the most productive, supportive and supported way. I am grateful in receiving clarity of mind and purpose. I will Continue to do no harm, but no longer at the expense of inflicting harm upon myself. I will see (and seek) the solution that creates positive energy for as many people as possible, without sacrificing my own energies in the process.

I am being reborn, and will find and follow my true purpose on this earth.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Letting Go

Holding on, the muscles cramping, all the best stuff of the sandwich seems to be slipping out the sides the harder you squeeze, your mind darting this way and that like an acrobat attempting graceful rescues and like in tetris the pieces seem to fall faster and there comes a point past which the adrenaline can sustain this circus.

Open hands, release expectations, allow whatever will be to remain and feel afloat in the flow, merging the muscles in your thighs to the horse beneath you, becoming one with the air you breathe and be in this here and now.

Friday, May 9, 2014


I may write little or nothing or a lot This weekend

I have Important Company


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cocaine, No Need to Try It

My life is pretty colorful, but some of my experiences and memories surprise even me. There was this one crazy weekend in DC sometime in my college years. I have forgotten most of the names, so I'll be making those up if I use any at all. I hope I don't accidentally make up a name of a real person that was involved. In any case, the adventure started with someone asking to borrow eighty bucks. (I might be inventing the amount as well, and my brain also won't allow me to recall whether they ever paid me back or not. Somehow it is irrelevant, and I knew the risk was there when I offered.)

I understood that the money would be used to buy cocaine. I volunteered to 'loan' the money, though I told them I would not be partaking. We took a trip to the ATM. There were maybe four or five people involved. They scored and as we were walking to the party she started in on me.

"I've never done it before either! We could be first timers together! Come on, you have to do at least one line with us, we wouldn't even have it without your help."

I just held firm, shook my head. I obviously was not judging, not planning to turn anyone in or rat anyone out since I was enabling and complicit. Why she was so invested in me trying it, I'll never know. I'll also never know what it feels like, though they were doing lines right in front of me, like a movie come to life in 3D. One of the guys had rubbed a bit of it on his gums, and decided to kiss me. It was a short kiss, and it tasted bitter and had no appeal. His interest was never in me anyway only in himself. He was going to be a model or a rock star or a movie star or more likely a hot mess on self-destruct...anyone around him was charmed for a while. He was handsome, but chaotic.

She went ahead with the group and I am not sure if she enjoyed it. Maybe she was mad that I held strong in the face of peer pressure. Peer pressure has had influence on me at times, so I guess my resolve was strong in this wild weekend.

I think I should give a shout out to my tenth grade Health teacher, Mrs. Puncus-Merola (probably misspelled). She educated us about many things, but drugs was on the topic list and that class taught me that some people's hearts stop on their first try of cocaine. Not to mention it is highly addictive. Duh. I will write about addiction another time, but for now suffice it to say I knew my limitations in that department were real. Also I didn't want to risk immediate death.

My arguments were not powerful enough to convince her not to try it, though if I'm being honest I was never trying to talk her out of it. I was only justifying my own reasons for not indulging. And if I'm being honest, I didn't need to justify and I was never even considering it. My decision was instant and final, not up for discussion.

There are lessons in life that must be learned the hard way, through personal experience. And there are lessons that can be learned vicariously. Apparently this one was the latter for me.


Her eyes lit up, and his heart sank. Her mouth opened, and sounds came out, her face animated in the telling of her story and he did what he could. When she smiled, he smiled, when she got to a particularly funny part of her story and touched his arm he made eye contact with her and then threw his head back and joined her in a belly laugh. On the inside a part of him was tearing apart at the seams, but he didn't want to burden her with his sense of tragedy. He knew she didn't realise that she wasn't speaking English. She wasn't forming words. He couldn't lip read her incoherence.

The doctors had told him that her car accident had damaged the speech center of her brain. Inside, her mind was intact. But her verbal expression was permanently impaired. In moments like this, when she seemed so happy telling her memory, he felt the worst. The big question had haunted him now for two years. Should he tell her? Should he let her know every time she opened her mouth that no words flowed forth? Should he insist on her typing or writing her messages? Or should he allow her another day of ignorant bliss? Two years equalled well over seven hundred days of ignorant bliss, and though his heart still wrestled with the moral ambiguity, his mind knew that telling her was a selfish act. Telling her would be requesting sympathy for himself from her, and it would be a cruel act as well since there was no hope for rehabilitation.

He held her eyes with his own, a light shining in his as he forced his tears into submission in favor of shining love her way. His love for her had not diminished in these two years. If anything, he felt like they had settled into a natural rhythm even more easily than their first three years of marriage. Things were simpler now that she was so clearly dependent on him. But he felt his need for her as well. It was a symbiotic relationship, if a little one sided.

She wiped a laughter-induced tear from the corner of her eye as she came to the end of telling her story. He often found himself wondering which of her many adventures she was reliving. He wished he could connect more mentally to her. In those selfish moments, he had to steel his resolve.

(This was inspired by an old married couple I met when visiting my Grandmother about  five years ago. It was the most heart-wrenching thing, as she moved her lips and touched his arm a twinkle of intelligence clear in her eye. He leaned over to me and explained that aphasia only impacts the ability to speak, not the ability to think which struck me at the time as tragic. It was unclear whether she knew of her condition or limitation, which was the next layer of tragic to me. The question of whether to depress the lady with this news, because I for one would want to know. My research is minimal, and for the sake of my story I made the case hopeless for recovery though it seems like it varies in degrees of severity and so on.)


Monday, May 5, 2014

Good "Following" as Compared to Good "Leading"

This is not about dancing, believe it or not. Obviously I may draw on the analogy of dance for this topic, but I want to discuss a less obvious point of view.

How many books are out there on Leadership? Being Number One, How to be Successful, Business Management, Bosses.

Well I'm in what they call middle management at work. And I have an ax to grind, and this is my soap box, so I'm going to rant here. By the way this rant has been brewing for probably eight to ten years.

It is easy to sit back and criticize a leader. The leader is in the spotlight and also near or at the top of the pyramid. All the leaders can say they learned what to do and what not to do from bosses they had to work for or report to when they were not yet the boss. Kind of like parenting, for some. In any case I'd like to shine the spotlight the other direction for a few paragraphs. (This is not aimed specifically at anyone I currently supervise, btw)

What kind of follower are you? Are you easy to manage, or a challenge? Do you respond well to coaching? Are you prickly or insensitive or do you always play devil's advocate or do you misbehave or push buttons or rattle cages? Would *you* want to manage you?

It's so cozy to sit in the group section and bitch about the boss's short-comings, and let's be honest every boss has them (being human and all). But when was the last time you asked yourself how you would feel in their shoes? Or maybe you are quite capable of doing their job, or doing it better than they do...but does that mean you can't try to see why they might be acting the way they do? How many times in life do we think and judge and say to ourselves "I would never do x,y,z" only to find out more information later which allows us to better understand and justify doing the exact same thing? Too many times, certainly in my case. I used to be pretty judgey, but now I see whys and wherefores and I do my best to suspend judgement and try to avoid the moaning and complaining because it serves no purpose.

Also, when you think someone else needs to lighten up or loosen up, you might want to ask yourself whether your behavior engenders trust. What's the track record? Are you showing up late and leaving early? Are you nodding off in meetings, or forgetting tasks assigned to you? Because guess what? A supervisor/manager person can lighten up when deadlines are being met and your antics aren't getting him or her chewed out by their boss.

If you think someone could be more organised, maybe you can offer to help or ask intelligent (non-accusatory) questions that help steer things in the right direction without insulting the person.

Whatever you can critique is probably something that leader is already aware is an issue/struggle/challenge, so they may be sensitive about it. Are you a supportive person cheering them on to grow and meet their potential, or are you tripping them up on their path?

Be the kind of team member they need, be the kind of follower that observes without judgment, be the kind of person you would want to manage. Be part of the solution, not another fire to be put out or another 'problem' or issue to resolve.

They say praise is supposed to flow down, and complaints flow up, which is nice in theory. But guess what? Praise is appreciated by everyone, and complaints are not to be confused with training/coaching and coaching in my world can go both directions as well. I have learned a great deal from my boss, but even more from my co-workers and students.

screw the pyramid. just be nice to each other, and don't treat someone as if their title defines who they are as a person. and let's all try to make each other's jobs easier.


Am I awake because I'm trying to suck all the weekend minutes I can? Is it because I am not looking forward to starting another week? Is it because I am surrounded by great distractions? Is it because I can hear the TV blaring in the other room? Or because the cat which adopted me is purring and hunting a little bug and being adorable? Is it because I have to get to the DMV tomorrow morning to renew my expired license? Or because I wanted to go to the store in the morning to buy chips, salsa, tequila and margarita mix?

Not that we need reasons, mind you. Insomnia is just a thing I sometimes get. Here's hoping it doesn't set me on the wrong track for starting a new week...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Second Sight (On the way to meet Raven)

Lucas swung his car around the little cul-de-sac and debated whether to honk his horn, or walk to the door. His moment of hesitation earned him a moment to breathe and collect his thoughts in preparation for a two hour drive with Samantha to a potentially disappointing meeting with Raven. His phone call with Raven had been short and to the point, and her response had been a simple invitation. Samantha had sounded nervous and giddy on the phone and he was worried she had too much riding on this first encounter. There would be plenty of time to try to manage her expectations on the long drive. The curtain by the door fell back into place, and Samantha came out of the house before he had made up his mind about honking on a Sunday morning.

He got out and walked around to open the car door for her, and then turned to greet her. There was still some awkward uncertainty so they shook hands and smiled through the tension and her nerves.

"Thank you again for offering to drive, please let me put gas in your car" she gushed.

Lucas sensed the urgency behind her request, a need to tip the balance back so she would not feel so indebted to him. He wanted to argue, but decided to let her have this one.

"You can do that."

He watched her visibly relax. She got in and he walked back to the driver's seat in measured slow steps, savoring a few more moments of solitude. She watched him make his way around so calmly, so gracefully and wondered whether he was ever caught off guard.

He punched an address into the navigation system, selected some classic rock radio station and then started the engine. She settled in, trying to slow her breathing and organize her thoughts.

"Will you tell me how you met Raven?"

Lucas smiled and said "I think you'll like that story, and it's as good a place as any to start. When I first arrived in West Harrington, I was a bit like a lost puppy and Raven scooped me up at a diner. She calls it like she sees it, no nonsense and she put me up on her couch for a few days until I could find a job and get my own place. I don't think anyone can usually refuse her, she just told me I was coming home with her and that was that. Thinking back, I liked her right away, but I'm not sure I could have told her no if I tried. Real business like in her tone, you know?" Lucas paused and flicked his eyes to Samantha's face to see her reaction. Samantha was drinking in every word. Lucas felt protective of her, she seemed so fragile. He wanted to prepare her for Raven's bluntness. "Raven saw something in me besides my need, and decided to rent me her spare room so I basically lived at her house for three months. I tried to help out around the house, and she put me to work fixing things, painting things and helping move furniture. People either love her and seek her out for readings or advice, or they shun her and avoid her. I wouldn't be surprised if some people think she's a witch or something, but there is no harm in her intention. Some folks just aren't too happy with things she sees either so they turn ugly on her sometimes, but she never lets that interfere with her delivery of information." Lucas paused again, and felt Samantha's gaze on the side of his face.

"What kinds of things does she see?"

"I think she'll be better at explaining or describing that than I I ask you what you have seen? Besides the wolf thing I mean." He was careful in his tone, but also curious.

Samantha swallowed and then cast her mind back. "I've seen images in people's eyes, like once I saw a butterfly and another time I saw a snake coiled around some one's leg. Once I felt a deep sadness that was not my own, and while I was not sad, tears rolled down my face and my sad friend who could not cry felt some relief." She shook herself and came back to the present, the car, the conversation with Lucas.

They both felt a silence deepen between them as the radio filled the cabin with a well-known song. It was a comfortable silence that was only broken occasionally by a guitar solo or a rock ballad. At one point they both hummed along with a favorite and their voices mingled in a quiet way with the rumble of the engine, the song, and each other. Her anticipation of meeting Raven was calmer now, less anxious, but just as vibrant.

Easy Choices, Tough Decisions

I love reading Malcolm Gladwell and other authors like him, but especially his collection of New Yorker articles in the book "What the Dog Saw." What's funny is those ideas all swim around in my head freely and  create new associations and sometimes when he references some one's research I look them up because I get curious. One example of this was the article about sales, and he starts out talking about the door to door people, and I think somewhere in there he talks about the taste-testers and the supermarket, and he referenced something called the Jam Study. I found a TED talk by the lady who ran the Jam Study, and then I found a youtube clip of a panel she was on, so you could say I was obsessed for a minute. I found this fascinating from both a professional (sales) point of view and of course also from a personal point of view. Let me quickly summarize the key points, some of which were counter intuitive.

Here in the US, we prize our freedoms, especially freedom of choice. We vote on elections, american idol, dancing with the stars, you name it. And we *think* more options make us happier because we *think* we want all that control. But there's a tipping point (ooh, maybe it was in that book instead) past which options are not freeing, in fact they are paralyzing. They've done studies with customers customizing their cars, it's fascinating but we can skip the long story and just go the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store. Now we have to choose not only brand, flavor, tartar control, whitening, but also size, pump versus tube, and those can all come in combinations or for sensitive teeth or sensitive gums...just walk away. Same with almost everything. Salsa, or tampons, or the gourmet jams in the jam study.

The bottom line is more choices stress us out, so that we defer making the decision altogether or we default to the familiar groove or rut. It's why we order the same food at restaurants, or the same drink at the coffee shop.

hot or cold?
espresso or drip?
soymilk or regular?
whole milk or two percent or nonfat or cream?
sugar or splenda or stevia or nutrisweet or equal or agave or honey or no sweetener OR flavor syrup and what flavor?

Each choice on its own is straightforward or easy. And we think it makes us happy to have them. But maybe it tires us out so that when we're faced withe real decisions we default or defer until later because it's just too hard. And it gives us the illusion of control.

So as a sales person, it has shifted my thinking tremendously from my naive beginnings when I would have resented the sheer number of assumptions going on in every either or proposition. Partly because that was the Sophists method of dialectic in many of Plato's records of Socratic dialogue, an the either or is so limiting by nature and manipulative...and I hate feeling like I'm being lead down a garden path or trapped into saying something when they arrive at a punchline and I feel stupid. So I try to avoid those 'closing' feelings when I'm in a sales situations on either end of a sale. But when I am selling someone now, I carefully limit the options in favor of what I think is probably best going to serve the client in front of me, without burdening them with options that are not relevant to them. And I no longer feel conflicted or guilty about doing that, now that I know how stressful it gets.

The big decisions sometimes need to be buried in smaller ones.

But sometimes default is addiction or habit, and sometimes it's a little bit toxic, but not enough to make you die just enough to make you sick, so something has to shift but not until you reach that tipping point.


Someday I will refer back to Today, but for now I will simply say that I managed to slip through the stress to the after work drinks, and from there to the comedy show

After the show I was invited to try some home cooked Filipino food, all of which was delicious and we watched their recorded Boxing matches which included the Mayweather/Maidano fight. Had a nice phone chat with each parent today as well, and then also caught up with a college friend from the east coast.

All in all, I will leave today behind with mixed emotions.

I am grateful for tomorrow's day of laundry, rest and perhaps I will go see The Odd Couple production (again) that my friends are putting on. Brilliant writing of course goes a long way, but the director has both lead actors taking turns playing Oscar and Felix. This just drives home the truth for me which is that we all of us contain the capacity to be both the slob and the neat-freak. They both represent extremes and both have pros and cons, and need each other for balance. 

Oh and I am exploring'll see when I get to an event, but I joined. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Update, one more very short Monday to go

Those of you following along know I've had a week...and it's Friday, and I'm home...!!!

Tomorrow is my last Monday for a minute, we have an event and I will need to get to work earlier than usual with more effort in the make up department than I mustered today or yesterday. I am sure I will enjoy the tea and the dancing and the teaching, and then there will be an afternoon Martini with my fellow co-worker...and then three or four hours to hang out in a beautiful beach city and relax until my comedy show


I was nearly defeated by the silliest things this week. Today's ridiculous moment had to do with a printing puzzle, which might sound silly because in any other week I could totally have figured it out and not wound up in tears but today I couldn't avoid the tears, but I am surrounded by lovely supportive and helpful people who are absolutely in my corner helping me get through this particular week. I have been blessed with their compassion and the total willingness of every team member to work together to row this ship in a bit of a shit-storm. I am seeing it all, in spite of my somewhat tenuous emotional state.

My goal for tomorrow's Monday is not even not to cry. I've been listening to a book on cd during my drive and out of nowhere I couldn't help it I cried because I got this book from Grandma sort was given to her as a gift because as she began to lose her eyesight some of her friends and family sent her books on cd. And this book was selected for her because it is set in Toulouse, France some of the time. She lived there with her young children for a time, in fact my mother was born in Nice, France and learned French before she learned English.

So at least some of my tears this week are not tears of frustration with deadlines and time management and other things beyond my control at work.

Oh and on *actual* Monday, we'll be serving margaritas because it's Cinco de Mayo. So maybe we'll have a Monday dressed in Friday clothes with happy hour all day to help make up for this past crazy stressful no bueno yadayada.

I'll probably check in tomorrow...and on Sunday (aka Star Wars Day because May the Fourth Be with YOU) I plan on finally writing my next installment of Second Sight. I feel Raven may make her appearance. I'm looking forward to meeting her. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

a pleasant surprise

Her day had been rough, rushing to school, hair wet and freezing and bagel in hand, fighting with her mother and stressing about the test she felt she hadn't studied for hard enough. Head down, rushing to get to her next class on time, she nearly collided with him as he rounded the corner. So gorgeous, so confident, backpack slung ever-so-coolly over one shoulder. The next moment she felt his lips on hers, a tender sweet kiss and then they parted, smiling and both continued on in their bustling effort to get to their next classroom.

*this is a fond memory from high school, and he was one of the boys I had a crush on, though at the time he had a girlfriend. It turned my mood around that day instantly, even though it was illicit. I don't like the idea of being the other woman, but in that moment that particular kiss that day was sweet. (It never happened again, if you're wondering.)

Organised Peer Interaction

Perhaps because I find myself tongue-tied and shy at times but bursting with exuberance at other times I appreciated the opportunities that attending a large high school afforded me socially. There were clubs, and after school rehearsals. Weekend trips with Speech and Debate, a ski trip, a trip to Boston, a few trips to NYC for a Broadway musical, a trip to DC, practice for Mock Trial and then the actual Mock Trial events...many of which involved bus rides and card games and a handful of hotel stays where kids gathered in each others rooms and talked or played spin the bottle or truth or dare. I never felt like I was in the center of the social thing, but I loved the laughter and being close to a large group like that. I think I had a crush on almost every guy at some point with varying degrees of intensity and a *very* rich fantasy life. My first real kiss was in tenth grade, and I was having fun. I like being able to join a club or go on a trip and know that it will force me to interact with people close to my age. I suppose that is what 'meet-up' and all kinds of other online groups or dating websites are attempting to organise. Perhaps I will look into that (meet-ups, not the dating websites) too, in my renewed efforts to be social. (nothing against dating websites, and maybe I'll change my mind...but I tried it a couple times and I would rather meet irl doing something I guess) In any case as awkward as it might have been, it was an external construct that helped me push out of myself...and since graduating I have struggled a bit finding peer groups, since I don't attend any religious services or other 'group'. Ironic, isn't it? My work is by definition social, but we have policies in place (for good reason) about not dating or even socialising with our clients. And I'm way too old to date anyone on fact almost double the age of our newest teacher...wait...not almost...exactly!

right. organised (forced) peer interaction is one of the primary things I miss about school.

School Lunch Times

Most people dreaded quizzes, teachers, exams and homework. I dreaded lunch time. Staring across the ugly orange tray at tables partially occupied, my stomach in knots, my breathing shallow, wondering if I should be brave today or be alone again. This question followed me to college, where I would see easy banter over the table and rather than interrupt by joining I would sit at an empty table, hoping someone would wave me over to join them or maybe at least someone quiet would sit down with me at this empty table soon. In third grade, I'm sure I sat alone. In high school I would often abandon the whole construct fleeing into the hallway with my lunch tray, leaning against the lockers and eating alone. I do remember finding some other refugees there and so we kept each other company, finding a quiet solidarity in our communal escape from the torture and isolation. So funny because I know for some people school was play time with friends interrupted by boring classes. For a lot of my school time, I enjoyed relating to the teachers and the material better than my flailing attempts to relate with my peers. I was an intense young person. I was too open and honest at first. I felt everything all the way. So lunch time was stressful and often lonely, emphasizing a dissociation/isolation that had been introduced at age 4...

I do not miss lunch times like that...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mondays are the 'time of my life'

I like inspirational "just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, it became a butterfly."

Transformation comes in many forms, and often is accompanied by something like a death or apparent death. I liked what my second cousin Susan said at lunch the other day when she was quoting her dad. Everything we choose means letting go of comething else. It is related to a sickness I referenced in last night's late night post, "grass is greener" or life-envy.

We cannot simultaneously enjoy the single life and married life. We cannot be both a non-parent and a parent. We cannot in this time-bound existence have it all at once. So we are potentially doomed to always be cursed with the lament "what if?"

In moments that could escape us, when we least expect it, we should see if we can catch ourselves having a 'time of our lives' or recognise that someday we could look back on even this strange stressful time as somehow blessed or charmed.

We've already done it at some point, most of us. In the time of our senior year of highschool, among prepping for exams, writing entrance essays for college applications or fighting with a parent or a sibling but five years later when we graduate college with no clear direction to point ourselves in (just me? Ok, fine you can think of another example) we find ourselves at odds and loose ends missing the dreaded fifth period that today no longer means AP Math torture.

So today, in the middle of my week of Mondays, I will try to savor the stress and know that I am having a 'time of my life' right now.

case of the 'mondays'

Any fan of the movie Office Space will get the reference in my title.

I really shouldn't complain, since my office is a ballroom, and we get to be surrounded by music and dancing so much of the time.

But this is my blog, my little slice of life and I'm here to tell you the grass is not always greener. And while I am a lucky girl, and get to do something fun for my living it is absolutely still a job with stress and deadlines and other not-so-fun things. So today may be a calendar Tuesday, and tomorrow a calendar Wednesday, but with all the things that need doing and conversations that need having and feeling way behind I am declaring this my week of Mondays. I am open to having a case of them on all the days this whole week. On Saturday we have a short work event, and then the afternoon through the next real Monday will be play time. I am going to see a comedienne (Anjelah Johnson) Saturday night, you may have heard of her and if you haven't you need to watch this clip right now!

But until Saturday at around 2:30 pm, every day may feel like Monday. I am breathing, ducking, and smiling through the best I can.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What I Love About Cats

1. Cats are dignified. They are self-cleaning, and also easy to potty-train. They don't typically drool, slobber or jump up on you and knock you over.

2. Cats are independent, but can also be loving. They are proud, but can also be playful. They are sometimes aloof, and sometimes friggin' hilarious. Of course they will climb on things, knock shit over, and generally let you know they are the true reigning entity.

3. Not all cats are, but the ones I have liked the most are sensitive to your needs and tuned in. I have had powerful psychic connections with a handful of cats. They sometimes seem to have deep wisdom, and will comfort when comfort is needed.

4. They make their moods known with their tails, ears, and eyes. You always know right where you stand with a cat in any given moment. If you pay attention to details. Or de-tails as the case may be. (I crack myself up.)

5. There is usually a reason they vocalize. Meowing for its own sake is limited to mating/howling in my experience (And stops once they are fixed). Typically. Unlike the incessant barking for no apparent reason.

6. Their priorities are napping, eating, napping, stretching, napping, hunting, napping, cleaning themselves, purring, napping, and did I mention napping? What a life...

Full disclosure: I'm pretty sure I was a cat in a past life. I have met some exceptional and wonderful dogs (Gunther the great dane, Bodie the golden retriever, Juno the husky, to name a few) but when I think about dogs I like, the qualities I look for in a dog are kind of cat-like. I met a very sweet and quiet chocolate lab. Gunther was in my dream the other night...this dog is as big as a pony no lie.

So yeah, I'm a "cat person."

Cosmic Kotzen, Cosmigasm, and other Meditation experiences

Sometimes meditation is about stilling the mind, sitting still, ignoring the body and its discomforts and fidgets. Ignoring limbs falling asleep, slowing breath, dismissing all distractions.

I admit this type of meditation is still a challenge for me in many ways.

I have also experienced meditation as connection with something both inside and outside of myself that of course defies description, but naturally I want to express some of the experiences.

I do this (somewhat) selectively...

Kotzen is the German word for vomit. Last fall during a very powerful session I did a lot of energetic vomiting, purging some old emotion that needed to be purged.There was some crying, some screams were ripped from the depths of me and some cosmic kotzen. There is no better word in my mind. This was not a conscious effort, it was something I allowed to move through me. Just like with real vomit, I felt much better afterward.

In a separate experience, my body experienced orgasm during a meditation. Just like I described above, I made no conscious effort, I merely allowed it to happen. It is slightly strange, confessing this experience. But I'm just being honest and vulnerable, and I suppose I am throwing caution to the wind in a way. It actually happened twice.

I have had vivid visual journeys or flashes during meditations, some of which I'm sure I'll share at some point, though I feel maybe a film or photo would be better than a thousand words (so the saying goes, and I'm inclined to agree)

I wonder if others have experienced something similar...

Shame and Flattery

She believed him when he told her they must have been soul mates in a past life. She felt important. She felt cherished. She felt loved. By a man. This man also loved her mother. She only five years old, but age doesn't matter in soul currency and she was an old soul. Everybody said so. And she felt open and connected to the universe. Why should she sort and be selective? This man was giving her love...maybe true timeless soul level love. How on earth would anyone ever try to turn away from that kind of love at any age, but especially as young as five. She didn't, because it would never have occurred to her to turn him away. Love is responded to with love in an instinctive way at that age. And anyway it was mostly words then. He treated me like an equal when he was loving. But not in a fatherly way.

So the bond was strong. My love for him and acceptance of him was thorough. And in important ways he disrespected my mental boundaries. He would surprise me by yanking back my chair unexpectedly. This was scary because it was high and backless, and after he did it the first time, or maybe it was after the fourth or fifth, but at some point I asked him never to do that to me again. But he did what he wanted. I was watchful, and scared, and didn't trust and maybe I giggled as young kids might in fearful anticipation, and somehow signaled to him that the game was ok or funny, but it was not ok and my fear was real and a nervous giggle should not make me complicit. And I loved him.

And he tickled me mercilessly, maybe because he liked to hear me laugh, which always started joyful. But then I would run out of air, and he would still be tickling me, and I was afraid I would die because I couldn't breathe in and I was begging him to stop so I could breathe and he must have stopped because I am alive but what it taught me was that my "no" was worthless. And I loved him. And I also wanted his love and approval.

When his friend came over, they smoked cigars and drank beer and I wanted to be included somehow, and he told his friend to watch while he tilted his beer and dribbled a few drops on my head. I felt like I was less than nothing, less than human, less than less than less than. And still I needed his love. This man that hurt my feelings, this man that did what he wanted, this man that offered me soul-currency lip service love. And I didn't understand his love, but I wanted it. And I loved him because my love was pure.

He tested me in a strange way once, without realizing it would be a test. Maybe we never fully know a test is a test until we go through it. We were walking up to an outdoor bank teller and a little old lady in front of us in line had dropped a hundred Deutsche Marks but being old and that it was a bill and not a coin she hadn't heard or realized it. I picked it up and he told me to run with it. I never would have, no matter what. I pity him in a way. I handed her back her money, and that is just who I am from the core of my being. He didn't make me even question it, though I suppose he tried to.

Just as I question everything, I can understand now how he hooked me and then dangled me like some fun toy for his amusement. How he could use my natural curiosity to make me an accomplice so that culpability could be blurred enough that he was never alone responsible. At that age, there were few sexual intentions, though bath time he allowed me to explore his body in ways that were...questionable...he never fondled or abused my body. I suppose I feel lucky that he waited until a much later visit when I was a highschool young lady. Do you see? I feel lucky that he waited? Not the outrage you expect, because I still love this awful man maybe even now, today, on some cosmic terrible illogical level in some timeless weird and twisted way. He did more than I wanted him to do, but never penetration or rape or even other things. My experience is so miniscule compared to some I feel shame even claiming I was abused. Shame even calling it what it was, a violation of father-hood. Because while I didn't let him do things, I couldn't stop him from talking about or maybe I'm the lucky one still because like I said, his tongue didn't make it past my teeth when he tried to french kiss me, his hand didn't make it above my knee, he only held my breast through my shirt and I'm lucky. Lucky and guilty and lost.

Because how can a lucky girl like me recognize the cosmic love again when it has paraded through my life in disguise up until now? How can I separate the love and the treatment when they were so entangled at such a young age?

This all happened to a different me, a distant me, more than 30 years ago something twisted and strange and I am healing the patchwork as I can. I came across a picture of our little family unit briefly a couple weeks ago and I was unprepared caught unawares and I felt my mother's eyes on me checking to see if I was ok.

I'm Not Okay.