A Rainy Night in Soho: Loneliness & Song

I never made a point to go back and speak about the trauma I suffered at the beginning of this summer. It was a deep betrayal of a bond that kept me propped up emotionally. And I collapsed with it.

As I pointed out in an earlier post (In Which I Sing), I did pick up my Dad’s old guitar and have been practicing.

I suppose I enjoy it because my brain is full of words. Words strung together around an idea. Words to songs. Words to stories. I’ve never been short for words, until I was.

I suppose the answer lay the nature of the betrayal I experienced. That relationship was built on words. My words, mainly. And my words were suddenly turned against me, and worse, didn’t matter. I didn’t matter.

I’ve always been a talker. I have opinions on everything that I’ll back up with reams of words. I don’t even have to understand what I’m saying, or why, so long as the words sound good. That they string along well. They’re unusual or surprising, alliterative and witty.

But I can’t say I’ve ever been the popular type. I am exactly what I seem, the former editor of my high school literary magazine.

But I’ve always had friends. Until I was married, really. By the time I came to leave that relationship, I can’t say I had a friend. No one knew me, and I knew no one. My family and old friends had become strangers to me, and I to them.

One of my joys in piecing my life back together was rediscovering friends. Old friends and new. Renewing bonds and learning to understand what had changed during the gap in my life. Some friends took longer to regain, some I never have. I accept that.

Individual therapy has saved me more than once. In therapy, beyond the formal learning, I am able to practice being me. I was no longer sure who “me” was. I had a memory of me. Me healthy. Me full of confidence. Me the pain in the ass who wants to explain evolution to you. But who is “me” now? I knew I was deeply changed. In some ways irrevocably. But therapy gave me a safe space to explore this new “me.”

I suppose such a bond as that with a therapist becomes like a friendship. Mainly one-sided, but an open, honest, trust-based relationship. I like to wear my nice clothes and put on makeup to see my therapists. Present myself well. I want to impress, to prove I’m learning.

So, it was what I view as a betrayal of that bond by a woman I’d seen for two years as my therapist that sent me quiet.

I live with someone I love very much, who is good and kind to me, and who needs me too. I have family close by. But I don’t drive, and there is no public transportation here. I can’t say that I’d see many more people if my situation were different. But I would get out more. And a betrayal on such a personal level makes me less likely to seek people out.

The most helpful friends I’ve had lately are those like myself. Old and new. Involuntary hermits. Kindreds in mind and spirit.

As I said, I haven’t been writing as much. But music seems to help me channel some of that shattered pain, and the frail shards of happiness I’ve recollected.

Instead of speaking, I’ve become a prodigious doer of stuff. Good stuff. Extreme stuff. Gardening, fixing this old house, etc. I’m actually tough! But it all would be empty without my music. And if I feel nervous or unhappy, there is my music. I need my music. But what I listen to most is the words.

I’ve found a lot of solace in the music of resourcefulness. The kind that people make when times are hard, on what instruments they have. When work, if you can get it, doesn’t necessarily pay, and music is a chance at release. The music of folks who make a great noise at the passing of a loved one because they’ve earned their rest.

I like music about the confusion. About the search. Music to raise the dead. I’ve been working on this song above for some time. There are layers of meaning in it that speak to me of misspent youths, friendships come and gone, and somehow, purges my own demons. This song tells me “It’s OK.” Music to soothe. Music so I don’t feel alone.

I’ll borrow the words of others, until I regain my own.

While you’re here: Please check out the wonderful work done by the people at The National Alliance on Mental Illness and donate.

Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of stuff I like and hate. ๐Ÿ˜Š

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

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YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT PAIN IS!: The Buffalo Bill-ing of America

Ted Levine’s portrayal of the serial killer Jame Gumb, AKA Buffalo Bill, in The Silence of the Lambs, remains the most chilling portrait of a socio/psychopath in film history. And while the character from Jonathan Demme’s 1991 classic psychological-thriller has more famous lines — Put the fucking lotion in the basket! — his most chilling comes during his mockery of the pain of the young woman he has trapped in his basement. When she takes his dog hostage in an effort to escape, he shouts at the woman at the bottom of the filthy well “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT PAIN IS!”

Jame Gumb

He can’t understand or feel the pain of another, let alone validate it. And this is exactly where we are as a nation. We have all become so wrapped up in our personal axes to grind, whether they be based on gender, race, religion, class, etc, that we cannot see past our own pain, however valid. I’m not discounting the value of spreading awareness while making the case for change in our culture. Exactly the opposite. Call me crazy, #livingwithmentalillness, but I don’t view compassion, awareness, and political equality as a zero sum game.

If The United States holds out one great Promise, it’s that the constant work of making truer that original promise that we are all equal, and entitled to equal rights will bear fruit. I have no idea where the notion that there is a limit to the number and type of human beings with equal rights under the law came from. But I want to blow it up.

The #MeToo movement is as valid as #BlackLivesMatter as #BlueLives as #SupportOurTroops as #TakeaKnee as #LoveisLove as #CatholicChurchMolestation as #SecondAmendment as #GunControl as #NotOneMore. It’s only when these causes separate into little mutually exclusive cliques that we end up shouting down the well at our fellow human beings.

Is there room in this nation to support Colin Kaepernick and #BlackLivesMatter, be a Quaker who does not stand for nor salute any man-made symbol, live with a former Marine, #SupportOurTroops, and just want to celebrate The Eagles Superbowl win (finally!)?

May I support my #SecondAmendment rights, while still believing in common sense #GunReform? Can I suppot #Legalization as well as #RuleofLaw? Can I be #MeToo without incurring the wrath of males? Can males molested by the #CatholicChurch be #MeToo as well? It would make sense.

#Sexism #SexualAssault #EqualPay #ReproductiveRights and other #Feminist issues affect women of color far more than my (admittedly fine) white ass. And desiring to raise awareness about #PTSD #Depression #Anxiety and #LivingwithMentalIllness doesn’t mean I don’t also care about #PrisonReform. These issues can, and should, coexist.

Now, I absolutely do not want to associate myself with the mealy-mouthed #bothsides are to blame, nor enable the Fascist “I don’t do politics” appeasement movement of #Quislings and #Collaborators. I really don’t know how else to demonstrate my liberal cred than by practicing empathy and compassion.

I believe that this nation is big enough for all comers, and that Freedom and Equality have no limit. In fact, the more freedom, the more democracy, the more democracy, the more equality, and the more equality, the more freedom! On a purely pragmatic level, it keeps the creep of fascism at bay. And it’s also truly American and Patriotic. If America is about Freedom, let’s have it! There is enough to go around in a nation this large and diverse.

All I ask is for the practice of the compassion and empathy it takes to recognize and feel another’s pain and want to help. That’s how we humans survive, right? Working together.

I heard something that the Dalai Lama said once. I cannot remember the exact quote, but the gist of it was: When your fear touches the pain of another, you feel hatred and disgust. But when your love touches the pain of another, you find compassion.

If we don’t all embrace that as a rule to live by in the world’s oldest modern democracy, we’re all just Buffalo Bill shouting down the well in our basement at our fellow human beings. Mocking their pain. Bust down the door to your heart. And, like Clarisse Starling, save that suffering person. You never know when your turn in the well will come.

And if you really want your voice heard: VOTE! I don’t care what Russian propaganda you’ve read to the contrary, it’s the only way to gripe that really matters. Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th. Uber is offering free rides to polling places. And it is illegal for your employer to punish you for leaving work to vote.

PS – I know I teased a vlog earlier this week. It’s coming. But, as always seems to be the case anymore, current events outpaced my ability to edit. Especially with my arm still injured.

While you’re here: Please check out the wonderful work done by the people at The National Alliance on Mental Illness and donate.

Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of stuff I like and hate. ๐Ÿ˜Š

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

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In Which I Sing: The Pogues

As you may have noticed, I have not been particularly active on this or other written social media. There are good reasons for that, which are for another post. However, I have been finding an outlet in music.

I refurbished my Dad’s old 1964 Guild guitar, and have been reteaching myself to play. I look for songs that say something to me about my life, and just let me work out difficult feelings.

So, I’m taking a bold step in posting a piece of music I’ve been working on for a bit. The name of the song is The Old Main Drag by, The Pogues. So, check out my cover! I can take the criticism — a positive legacy of art school. Singing and the guitar have saved my life this summer. But that doesn’t mean I can’t take a hint.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! Should I post more music? Lemme know!

While you’re here: Please check out the wonderful work done by the people at The National Alliance on Mental Illness and donate.

Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of stuff I like and hate. ๐Ÿ˜Š

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

Got a comment? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, tap Like and Share on Facebook! Follow and share on Twitter.


Antici….: Jessie’s First AMA

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I see you shiver!

Hello my lovelies! I asked for it, and you gave it to me. So here you are! Answers to the AMA (Ask Me Anything) questions I requested on Facebook and Instagram! Excitement abounds, as we hold our breaths in antici….pation!

Let us begin, shall we?

  • Chad jumps in with a toughie! He asks: “How hard is it to continue to blog? Do you run out of ideas? What percentage of comments about your blog do you find frustrating?”
    • I’m overlooking the three-for here, Chad, because they are interesting questions . To your first point: yes and no. It’s something that I enjoy doing. It makes me happy to toss my brain droppings at an unexpecting world. But it is one of those things that can get easily lost in the shuffle of life. I try to schedule out a day or half-for blogging once a week. And, of course, it limbers me up to work on other writing, as well as helping me schedule that other writing work in. It’s a practice, like Kung Fu or something.
    • Do I run out of ideas? Oh good gracious no! I hold extensive conversations with myself, and sometimes I just have to settle the issue in a blog. Or I can always do an AMA…
    • The comments that frustrate me are the ones that are never posted.
  • Jenny asks: How does she get the black, henna tattoo she gave herself while mildly intoxicated and disturbed by puppies, off her hand?
    • Baking soda? Strong detergent that removes oils, rubbing alchol, mineral spirits? Good luck.
  • Deborah asks: Is there another job or skill, trade, or occupation that you ever considered trying or at least learning besides your writing?
    • Kudos on a good question. I actually didn’t formally study writing in college. So, I suppose the answer is, I have! I took an audit on small business planning and propsal writing at Temple. I trained in ESL and taught in Costa Rica for three years. I also trained to be a paid, written translator, which I did more towards of the end of my time there. I gringofied text to ensure native usage.
    • I also studied film and art, and that came with some unusual uses, and joys. Including: screenwriting, story boarding, classical oil painting, how to coil a cord, wire things, sound edit, sculpt, draw from life, draw the human form. I also took a lot of wonderful humanities courses, such as Shakespeare (history plays and tragedies), Medieval European History (plague! yay!). I even took a class in which I wrote both Jungian and Freudian analyses of fairy tales. That’s how I discovered Joseph Campbell. Yeah, so no regrets there really.
  • Charles asks if I have any advice for aspiring writers. Mos def!
    • Firstly, write. Write some more. Then more. Just, you know, write a lot. Write about your characters, write about the setting, the view point, what you want to say. Write everything about your story. Then forget about that stuff and let it inform your work from the background. And keep a way of recording your thoughts with you at all times. Ideas are slippery.
    • Secondly, STUDY YOUR CRAFT! You may have the bestest idea ever ideaed in the history of ideas, but execution is everything. There are standard guidelines regarding formatting, beats, plot points, etc. Learn these things! Find freedom in the form. Practice writing synopses. If you see a film or read a book, ask yourself: What genre is this from largest concept to smaller? For example: Comedy, Crime, Heist. Base your stories on one or two word ideas, such as “unrequited love.” Constantly challenge your characters, and raise the stakes. Conflict is drama. Try explaining books or movies in two sentences or less. “While facing threat X, hero must deal with Y and Z, , in their struggle to accomplish A, while learning the value of B and C along the way.” This will keep your mind right when you find you get bogged down in details in your work. Fake being a Pro until you are.
  • Lisarae desires to know: Who inspires me the most, living or dead and why.
    • Everything inspires me. Life is. And it doesn’t last. I don’t need to say “Yes!” to it all, but if something bothers me, that is inspiration as much as any joyful example. I make my meaning and justice as I can. I question everything, find what’s interesting, satisfy curiosity, take in what is good for me, reject what is wrong and try be free and young of mind. And when I fall, I just drag along until I can stand again.
    • Mente sana en corpus sanum.
    • Also, I totes made up that answer because I can’t think of just one person. But it doesn’t make it less true. Carl Sagan & Walt Whitman are big influences.
  • Barbara wants to know my shoe size:
    • Six female. Exactly six. And no other size ever. Just how it be.
  • Barbara also was interested on where she could see my answers.
    • Here, darling.
  • Dave demands to know why reality programming is so popular.
    • Money. A little while back the writer’s union striked. The studios realized it was cheaper to just send out small video crews, use non-union talent, and no script. Pay your writers!
  • Seth states that his questions are too niche to garner much reaction.
    • Well, you write broad statements.
  • Jo Ann has a thought experiment: There is a room with a single light fixture in the ceiling, no doors or windows. Turn off the light switch, where did the light go?
    • Oh my god why am I sealed in a windowless and doorless crypt! Is there a bottle of wine down here? And I can’t reach the light, which is on the ceiling.
  • Mark got all deep with: Do the answers meet my expectations?
    • Do I have a choice?
  • Jak came in with: Have you seen “The Witch?”
    • Yup. Loved it.
  • Jezebel wants dirt: And asks if I could marry anyone else, who would it be? (proviso: cannot be Morrissey)
    • I’m not married. I tried it out, and I’m not a fan. The legal and health stuff is important, and I kinda like Quaker weddings, which are legal in the Quaker State. But, yeah, in general not a fan of weddings, and marriage just seems artificial, and harder to get out of than in.
    • And, Stan, obviously.
  • Joe asks: What is the best, Baltimore-based, crime/drama that he should absolutely watch?
    • It begins with a W and ends in IRE. Jerk.
  • Sue wants to know my favorite food.
    • That which I grow myself, of course.
  • Kelly Anne asked a question about event horizons
    • Kelly Anne thinks I’m Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
  • Marilyn wonders what advice I’d give to an eight-year old.
    • Run!
    • Get dirty, turn over rocks, ask questions, question authority and received wisdom, read books, try something that scares you regularly.
  • @sperzeproski Wants to know which is my favorite Star Wars movie, and why?
    • The first one. Star Wars. It’s a revolutionary sci-fi-action, drama film that changed how films would be made forever. The story follows a young farmboy named Luke Skywalker, who dreams of leaving his nowhere planet, until he discovers a message in a second-hand space MacGuffin that contains a desperate plea for help from a beautiful Princess dressed in white. Luke’s search for answers soon leads him on the adventure of a lifetime, as he joins a group of rebels fighting an Evil Empire with the power to destroy planets, and discovers that he can control a powerful Force that can work for good and evil. This film changed the cinematic landscape forever. Gone were the taut, pessimistic dramas of the early seventies, while the film industry embraced an optimistic view of good vs evil. The models, and computer tracking developed by the need to shoot realistic models with complex movement, introduced film to computers.
  • Fruitocrat came up with the winner: Why are you scared [to do an AMA]?
    • Tom Hardy says that he looks both way before he crosses one-way streets because he has no faith in humanity. Personally, I find that revealing personal information can be used against me. And faith in humanity or no, people terrify me.
    • But, to by honest, I had a fun time! Although I had to skip a bunch of questions that assumed I was Google, I enjoyed answering, and evading, everyone’s questions!

So! What do you think of my answers? Should I do this again? And, if you want me to clarify or call BS on my answers, drop a comment below!

While you’re here: Please check out the wonderful work done by the people at The National Alliance on Mental Illness and donate.

Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of stuff I like and hate. ๐Ÿ˜Š

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

Got a comment? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, tap Like and Share on Facebook! Follow and share on Twitter.


The Anals of History

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” I spent a great deal of time sitting in the bedroom writing furiously and feeling that I was terribly important and that everything that I wrote would go down in the annals of history or whatever. And it’s proved to be… quite true.”

That magical time of year has arrived, my friends. Morrissey’s birthday? My birthday? Well, yes, but more importantly, it’s that time of year when I get pinned and mounted like a butterfly by my former mental health provider! And damn but they must hate butterflies. Yes, I’ve gone through proper channels, but in honor of Big Mouth’s birthday, and Morrissey’s, I’m about to write some highly inadvisable wroth born of misery.

So, if you follow my blog, you may be familiar with last winter’s hits, The Soil Falling Over my Head, and Much Ado About My Last Post , which detailed my previous encounters with the bloated Alien Queen that dwells in the gaping and unshaven cave where the heart of my former mental health provider should be. And while my previous, purely satirical, hypothetical post by Kylo Ren First Order Counseling Kinda Sucks, By Kylo Ren/Ben Solo may or may not have reflected anything IRL, I cannot say. What I can declare without hesitation is the full-on, non-consensual, raping my last few weeks of “therapy” felt like.

Just like Kylo, it began with a bad match for psychiatric care, which happens. So what’s a compliant client/patient to do? Like a pale, wounded Frodo asking Sam to move in with him — read the book! — I spoke about it with my therapist. Obviously, I was asking for it because we all know Frodo gets screwed, and definitely not by his “beloved Sam.”

Somehow, I forget how cruel people are, even those you’ve shared your troubles, wishes, hopes, sadness, and regrets with. I feel as though I have been beaten about the head until my ears ring, my other front tooth broken, and I have to call out of work again. But enough about my attempt at marriage. I have never personally experienced such cold, callous treatment from a mental health professional.

It was as if, this woman who had greeted me with warm smiles for two years transformed into the Bitch of Buchenwald before my eyes.

The first session after my complaint about the psychiatrist consisted of her trying to sign me up for an “intensive anxiety group” at another facility. Besides my general feelings on “group,” which essentially consist of abject terror of people, and the notion that someone may want me to friggin’ pray. I can’t pay an Uber to take me there 3-4 times a week. She knows this. But when I asked about keeping her as a therapist, she sunnily declared that I’d get a new one there. Not one word about what we had been working on in therapy was uttered by her. I brought it up. She swatted it down.

First off, I thought she was trying to be slick and get me to sign myself out of care there and into another program of my own accord. I later learned, by calling this other facility, that the program was a 60 day, out-patient, Benzodiazepine detox consisting of Group several times a week, and a once a week a check in with a psychiatrist. It was their doctors who raised my dosage of those by a milligram in less than a year. So now they kick me out for it? Not only was the program grossly inappropriate for me, but it did not consist of individual therapy at all, and they had no therapists taking new clients at the time.

After leaving and feeling dead inside for a day or so, I thought perhaps I wasn’t seeing things clearly. So I went back to her the next week. Again, no talk of the issues we had been working on. She started in asking about drinking and marijuana use. I responded as I always do, I have one or two drinks sometimes, and once and a while, with months passing in between, I may have a draw off a bowl.

Now, I have zero money, live in the midle of nowhere, with someone who doesn’t care for it, and I wouldn’t know where to find it if I wanted. Furthermore, I don’t know what’s in that stuff anymore. I don’t eat meat because, besides the inhumane treatment, its contribution to Greenhouse emissions (between 75 and 85%), but also because I have no idea what they feed or inject or do to those animals.ย  And while most doctors I report this to are mainly concerned with the alcohol because of my medications, she declared that I needed to accept a drug and alcohol diagnosis for marijuana, along with mental health to continue on there.

But no, apparently I’m a vegetarian, asthma and sinusitus sufferer who tokes up any old street weed and smokes cigarettes? Yeah, she added that to my diagnoses as well. I am thatย jerk who coughs when I smell cigarette smoke. It just makes no sense, unless they are bilking Medicaid, or have been all this time. (Yeah, I saw that segment on John Oliver on Rehab and “Liquidย  Gold.”)ย It’s like they think those with mental illness don’t use the interwebz or like the phone. Urgh.

Now, to be clear, I live in a Medical Marijuana state. And in the past, like a dumb, young farm-boy trying to bring his droid into a cantina, I had asked about it because of my diagnoses. At the time she said she had referred other clients to prescribing doctors, but now my diagnoses, my mention of the state’s program, and my honestly reported use of marijuana became bargaining chips. I was told I had to accept the Drug & Alcohol diagnosis for marijuana to have PTSD on my chart, or I was out.

I had a heroin problem in the past on and off, between my dad dying a few days before I began my senior year of college, and my ex-husband who broke both my front teeth, on separate occasions, stole my money, beat me until I told him where I hid my money, etc. But I have 10+ years in full remission, not that I count, because I don’t for some reason. I was NOT taking a drug and alcohol diagnosis. After what I went through to lose that stigma and regain my life.

I left the lilacs I had picked from outside my house on her couch, and left. And now I’m out in the rain. I do have things moving through proper channels, etc. I had an intake elsewhere, and I’m waiting for an individual evaluation. But, yeah, I was fucked. Hard and without mercy.

So, in honor of my Mozzy, myself, and the three day weekend everyone gets because of my birthday (you’re welcome), I’m just laying this out there. Not to be spiteful. Not to hurt. But to help…me. Because I know my value now. Sure, I have my Morrissey/Smiths playlist on. It’s raining. And I spent the past few days crying into my pillow. But seriously, those unholy assholes. Without mercy. Kicking down a person they are sworn to protect. Thanks for the sodomy without the reach around!

Truly a story for the anals of history.

PS– I bet they never have optioned IP and never thanked the Academy. Ya know, like I have.๐Ÿ˜˜

While you’re here: Please check out the wonderful work done by the people at The National Alliance on Mental Illness and donate.

Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of stuff I like and hate. ๐Ÿ˜Š

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

Got a comment? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, tap Like and Share on Facebook! Follow and share on Twitter.


First Order Counseling Kinda Sucks, By Kylo Ren/Ben Solo

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I’m now in treatment for my RAGE issues. It’s not easy.

Today we have a guest-writer. His name is Kylo or Ben. Give him a warm welcome.

-JL

Hey, it’s your boy. Kylo. I’m feeling pretty fed up today. Like I’m busy. It’s not easy to finish what Grandfather started. And now I’m like Supreme Leader Ben or Kylo or something, I haven’t decided on my Supreme Leader name yet.

So, here I am, and I’m totally trying to stop myself from destroying shit with my light saber. I have recognized that I’m not great at controlling my RAGE. And it’s not really a Supreme Leader thing. I’ve also got this Rey thing going on still, but I feel cool about it. I mean, like why wouldn’t she want to kill the past and rule the Galaxy with me? I don’t really get it. But you know maybe it’s like a girl thing. Like hormonal? I don’t really know much about girls. But I feel we can work it out. We just need time to talk. Maybe I’ll show her my swoll chest again. I don’t know.

But, like I said, I’m trying to work through my destructive RAGE tantrums. So I’ve been working on it with my space shrink. I just started to see this new guy. Apparently space shrinks are super rare or something. Because I’ve seen three different space shrinks in 6 months at First Order Counseling. And I find this taxing on my faith in the First Order to really provide me with adequate mental health services, without me RAGE-killing again. So I think that’s counter-productive to like stated treatment goals.

I mean, they actually gave me to some nobody, who is definitely not anything like Grandfather. And he barely listened to me, Supreme Leader Solo…no!….I’ll figure the name thing out later. Anyway, like the first thing out of his mouth was how much he’d like to cut down on my anti-RAGE pills. So, naturally I immediately needed an anti-RAGE pill. But like this guy just like totally couldn’t even read me. Even though I’m sitting there wearing all black because that’s how I feel on the inside. Not to mention my throbbing red facial scar.

Then I told him about how my sometime Father, and my royal, politician/general Mom totally made me go live with my weird Uncle with the creepy robot hand. Then, I mean get this, my uncle tried to kill me. IN MY SLEEP. I was fourteen. Fourteen. And you know what this guy said? He was like: you should totally go volunteer at an orphanage. Like what part of “I killed my own Dad” do you not understand?

Moreover, I don’t need to just have something to do with my time. Seriously like this Supreme Leader thing is way harder than I thought. Plus ya know, the Rey thing. I mean that doesn’t worry me too much. But like I’m busy here Dude! Not to mention that if I volunteered at an orphanage the only advice I could give them would be: burn down your enslavers, kill the past, then go start up your own badass club with some OG space-wizard dude and a ginger kid with space lasers. Huh. Hux. He’s such a bitch, but now he’s my bitch.

Anyway, so this guy sucked. And First Order Counseling is like: this our only dude right now. I hope they can work something out, or then I’ll be RAGEing out while having to find some space shrink out of First Order coveRAGE. Yeah, people will fall by my hand and sick Force skills if this doesn’t work out. From the very people who are supposed to be helping me with my RAGE issues.

But anyway, so I do get to see my space therapist tomorrow. I really like them. They like actually pay attention to me. But their power is limited. And I may have to get my Knights of Ren (is that still a thing?), anyway, I have back-up. I’m primed to order those dreadnoughts out. And you know, my sweet TIE Silencer.

OK, my point is: I have to worry about being Supreme Leader now, Force-slapping Hux, and the whole Rey thing, which ya know, is still sorta on my mind a little bit. I don’t need more crap on my plate right now, especially not from the people I’m trusting to help me work through acting out in RAGE. So yeah, that’s sorta where I am now. Thanks for listening. RAGE out.

(What? You thought I’d say “Peace out.” ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ Losers.)

By,

Kylo Ben Ren Solo

While you’re here: Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of stuff I like and hate. ๐Ÿ˜Š

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

Got a comment? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, tap Like and Share on Facebook! Follow and share on Twitter.


Self Portrait: Work in Progress

 

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Still a work-progress. I admit I even added my beauty mark in “post.” Self Portrait, Jessica Lakis, oil on canvas paper, 2018

So. I dare to suspect beginning to form an inkling of what I am doing/becoming, and what I need to do. On a Universal-scale, I’m just as stupid as algae or when I was 19. But I think I’ve gotten something close to the human-being I was before November of 2016, with a little extra knowledge gleaned, I would hope. And don’t mention the “XXXtreme Winter+!” That must end. Momma needs to be outside! I have a new garden extension planned.ย  And camping and hiking and boats and water and swimming and fish! And I have been locked in this house nearly every day with a bored Border Collie since like November. She wants out too.

Earlier in the winter I was in a bad way. So I just started finding stuff to do to keep me from breaking into tears all the time. Sometimes I had to work hard to hold them back. But it got easier. Cleaning schedule. Learning vegetarian cooking. Encouraging the growth and maintenance of a way more awesome haircut. I picked up, cleaned, fixed up and started playing some old instruments. And, indeed, the painting above was a part of that.

The cleaning up — of both my environment and of myself — that was the basis. I believe I was sitting on my couch one day and was repulsed by the floor. So I cleaned it. And you know how it is when you make a clean spot, gotta finish it all. Cleaning and improving my environment helps give me a feeling of control. I get to grapple with CHAOS in my own little sphere. As to myself, I learned from working freelance for so long that I have to get up at a certain hour every day, get a shower, have coffee, put on clothes, makeup, and do my hair. It just makes me feel better. And, hey, “the other” will notice. So extra points for not smelling and dressing like a pig.

The vegetarian thing I just had to do for many reasons, mainly for the greenhouse emissions. Also, ugh, what the hell with what people do to animals? Just, no. I still eat fish and any crap you can pull out of water because my family came from frickin’ islands, OK? Learning how to cook vegetarian was fun, and got me interested in cooking and possibly eating again. I do notice a lot about me has changed, and I lost weight, which is reason enough right there. I have been vegetarian or meat-adverse most of my life. I like good bread. Bread and beer built the Pyramids, not aliens.

As to my hair, well, let me tell you: I let it get really long on top, dyed it back to black *eh-hem*, and kept most of the rest shaved. Then when I went for a proper cut with me Mum for our long-delayed Mother-daughter beauty day (MOM!), Adrienne, with whom you can book here, tidied it all up. I love how the front just wants to be up! Can’t take the wall bangs out of the Jersey girl, I ‘spose. But this is a big deal for me. I love the time with my Mom, and I get to feel like a real girl with a cool haircut.

The painting was a way for me to get back to something I used to do more often, and was talented at. It’s been a learning curve, but I adore using oils again. Oils are my favorite medium, they just cost a lot even to pick up again. But, most importantly, I found a non-verbal way to express myself. Because I needed that. I had no words. I had to get out what was on my mind elsewise.

Oh yes, I fixed up my Dad’s 1964 Guild guitar, restrung it and have been playing that again. I can play Dirty Ol’ Town, and several other Pogues songs. It’s not my fault that I can’t replicate the sounds of Johnny Marr, but I’d love to meet whoever could and sing along with them. I sing to the Pogue songs too. It’s part of the fun! I also got some issues with my violin arreglado, and my old flute back!

Of course, this is all good, but friggin’ time keeps marching on. So I finally got a new pocket calendar. And I did start back using that, which helps my anxiety a lot. At least I know what to expect sorta. And I’ve done some really impressive, next level adulting stuff. “The Other” took me out for sushi because I got him a tax refund. I just got some stuff done. I made days for it, like I made a day to write this blog. And the more I use it the calendar, the better I feel. I know what money is going where when. And when I can spend time writing. I can plan around things. It’s soothing.

But this is a busy time of year for my second job as a farmer with aspirations to self-sufficiency. We planned out a new bed, I have most of my herbs from last year. Heck I even have seeds from last year. I planted this one awesome orange tomato two years in a row. I just save some seeds. Like that place in Norway or whatever. The Seed Vault. But we’re also trying some traditional planting methods for this area. I figure if it worked for the original folks who lived here, why am I not planting like they did?

Finally, this is the beginning of camping, hiking, boat, water, swimming, fishing season. And I can’t wait. Last year I did part of the Appalachian Trail for the first time on my birthday. I almost got hypothermia, but it was awesome. Solo is coming out the day before my birthday. But I’m thinking maybe another adventure this year, as the nation is good enough to celebrate my birthday with a three-day weekend.

So, that’s about where I am right now. Although I’m currently concerned about the nice weather keeping me away from writing. I have a project I’ve been eyeing up. But, April is rough. I have to knock the winter off everything and get the creaky old bones moving again. And go out on a hike my Border Collie. It’s good for us both.

“April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.”
–ย The Wasteland,ย by T.S. Eliot
Arrivederci! Ciao! Salvete!

While you’re here: Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of stuff I like and hate. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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Predictions Five to Punish my Pride

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Ugh. It’s still me.

I always say that my two greatest motivators are Vanity and Anger. I hasten to add that somehow these emotions eventually turn to the Light Side. I’m not truly certain of that last fact, but it helps me convince myself that I’m not an absolute monster. However, I am certain that at some point vanity and self-respect meet, as do anger and motivation. Who knows? Who cares? I actually care. And about who cares. That’s the problem. Or have I been taught it’s a problem?!

Look, I obviously need to examine this thoughtling a bit more deeply, and with my therapist.

Until that undoubtedly world-changing — and stilted, trite, and poorly edited — post, I offer this abbreviated list of what my Pride, Insecurity, Awkwardness, Anxiety, Mood Issues, Social Anxiety, and PTSD will probably cost me if I’m lucky. I need hopes.

1) All of the souls of those I’ve held hostage and forced to listen to Morrissey and/or my lectures on the Late Republican Roman era will haunt my waking life.

2) If there is an afterlife, I will be similarly bound and forced to listen to derivative drivel obviously written for culturally uninformed troglodytes and watch historically inaccurate depictions of Roman warfare in Caesar’s Gallic campaigns.

3) Someday, someone smarter than I will call me “basic” for loving The Plague and Camus.

4) I will never have enough fame or money to exact all of the revenge I seek.

5) I will be having a bad hair day and wearing the wrong shoes when I finally meet Adam Driver and/or Morrissey.

I’ll also probably die first in the zombie apocalypse.๐Ÿ˜’ Therapy tomorrow. Breathe. Listen to Morrissey.

While you’re here: Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of stuff I like and hate. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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Destroying Star Wars: “The Last Jedi”

shifting Rey and Kylo

Whether or not the Galaxy no longer needs the Jedi, it certainly doesn’t need any more Star Wars reviews. Why write another? Because I am tired of having this conversation with myself in the shower. The characters and conflicts Rian Johnson depicted in The Last Jedi touched me deeply. I decided to ask myself “Why?” With the Blu-Ray, I can examine my thoughts.

“Destruction” and “Belonging” seem to swirl round the heart of this film. Who and what still belongs, and is relevant, in the Star Wars universe? And what is best left sliced apart by Laura Dern with purple hair in heels?

Rian Johnson’s film creates new space for new characters to live and breathe within the narrow, pigeon-holes called characters in earlier films. The characters, and film itself, rebels against the lofty “archetypes” and “legends” Lucas and Campbell assigned to them in the 70s, and remakes a legend for our times.

The Last Jedi felt like a smack in the face and punch in the gut because it was meant to. Johnson dove into the “sacred” space of Star Wars. And somewhere, between a fold in Jabba’s back fat and a CGI Gungan, he came up with what still matters in Star Wars. Just as Yoda destroys the ancient Jedi temple without hesitation, Johnson blows apart the myth of the mythos of Star Wars. And, though we realize that Rey has made off with the “Sacred Jedi Texts,” the Star War’s fan is left holding Joseph Campbell’s ponderous Hero with a Thousand Faces. Read it have you? A page-turner it is not. Already know we that which we need. Hmmmm!?

The most important piece Johnson salvages from the junk heap that is the checkered history of Star Wars is its humanity. The sometimes disgusting and confusing tangle of real human emotion, exorcised from the Prequels, return. The excitement, adventure, and humor The Force Awakens gave us back have returned, minus the 40-something nostalgia wallow. And, in true Star Wars tradition, offers an awesome and glorious vision of space and The Galaxy on the red and visceral edge of visual effects and cinematography that pushes itself from backdrop to integral story-telling tool.

Within the first moments of the film, we learn everything we need to know about it. Cocky, fly-boy Poe Dameron approaches The First Order’s lead ship with “an urgent communique for General Hux from General Leia.” When Poe’s “tooling” has bought the time his mission required to evacuate the Resistance from the planet below, he signs off with a “your momma” joke directed at Hux.

Aside from the character-appropriate, Star Wars humor, I found myself thinking of Hux’s mother. Hux obviously had one. We know he isn’t a clone. And suddenly all of his Uriah Heep misery and resentment makes Hux human. In a Galaxy where your lineage means everything, somewhere, Hux has a mom.

In the bombing sequence that follows, we also learn that the film is an action film with clear human consequences. In the death of the bomber pilot Paige, we see the human cost of Poe’s rashness. He earned that slap in the face from Princess Leia. Even rebellions have rules. “Into the garbage shoot, fly-boy!”

But where Johnson’s vision truly sharpens, lies in the relationships between Rey, Luke, and Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. We begin where we left off, with Rey earnestly holding out Vader’s old light saber to Luke on the lonely island that houses the first Jedi temple. I had a brief flash in the theater: “He should to toss it.” Single best choice in the entire film: an honest moment that set us up for what to expect from both the character of Luke and the film’s treatment its venerated idols and icons.

We know Mark Hamill disagreed with Johnson’s choices for Luke. So, let’s think about what we know about Luke Skywalker. While his Uncle is purchasing the droid that will lead to the destruction of the Death Star, what is Luke doing? Say it. “But I wanted to go into Toshi Station and pick up some power converters!” In the next scene he’s playing with his model space ships and complaining to droids. Luke is a good person, with good impulses. From what we see, he was raised with care by his salt of the earth aunt and uncle. But his mind is always elsewhere, chasing distant dreams, searching for excitement, a place to belong set apart. He cannot see what is in front of his face. Luke craves excitement and fame. And he will whine and pitch a fit when he doesn’t get his way.

Yoda liberally beats Luke for this. When Luke executes his plan to free Han Solo from Jabba’s palace, Han describes Luke as having “delusions of grandeur.” So what do you really believe would become of such a man when he fails? What happens when the man who single-handedly * destroyed the Death Star, trained with both Obi-wan and Yoda, brought about the end of The Empire, and redeemed his father Vader? The last Jedi? What happens when that guy fails? When Luke Skywalker finds the weakness, the Vader, the humanity inside himself, reflected in his nephew Ben. He lashes out with his light saber, just as in Yoda’s cave. Luke is left utterly broken. Just as Obi-wan failed Vader, Luke fails Leia and Han by chasing their son to the Dark Side. How does a legend, how does Luke Skywalker deal with that level of failure?

Johnson’s choice to leave Luke a bitter, broken, self-pitying and self-loathing man hiding away from the Galaxy in Ireland seems true to the character we have known. So when a young girl from “nowhere,” turns up with his father’s old light saber, in desperate need of a surrogate father, a sense of belonging and care, of a teacher; he pushes her away. Straight into the arms of Ben Solo.

And while both Luke and Rey were from nowhere, let’s call him Ben Solo, is definitely from somewhere and is someone. He is a Skywalker. That passionate family that drove the plot of a 40 year old franchise. They slice each other’s limbs off. They live on the planets where they were engulfed in flames and had their limbs sliced off. They commit vague acts of incest. They are hard-headed, petulant, and powerful. In short, they are a dynasty as mighty as the Olympian Gods. And in Luke’s own words, they have the flaw of those who would be gods, hubris, and they suffer their fate. Pity and Fear.

Which leads us to Ben Solo. While he sees Vader as a man to emulate, his character surpasses Vader as a villain in complexity and relevance. He is a man to be both pitied and feared, in the ancient Greek sense. As a boy, he has a barely there Dad, and a working Mom who pushes him off on his famous Uncle, who feels threatened by the boy. As a young man, he seeks escape and belonging with a manipulative leader. He becomes a patricide, and what we all too clearly recognize as a rampage killer, a Columbine kid. That is who he is. A shattered monster. But he is still a Princeling with pedigree. And, unlike Vader, he is young, vulnerable, and handsome. The perfect “fixer- upper boyfriend” for a lost, confused, lonely, and rejected young woman, searching for someone to show her where she belongs in the world. Which is exactly what Rey is.

Ben Solo uses the language of an abuser with Rey. He tells her what she fears most, that she is utterly alone, a nobody. That her parents where nobodies, junkies, buried in forgotten graves in the sands of nowhere. He tells her that she is nothing, except to him. Except with him. In a world where lineage and status count for everything, to be with him is to matter. #MeToo Rey.

And this is the true essence of Johnson’s modernization of Star Wars expressed through the failure of Luke that Yoda refers to. His failure of Rey. But, like Luke’s insistence that “it’s time for the Jedi to end.” Like the burning of the ancient tree of the first Jedi temple, and Ben’s desire to “kill the past.” Rian Johnson manages to save Star Wars by destroying it.

Earlier in the film, Luke snidely demands of Rey if he should walk out and face down the entire First Order with a “laser sword.” And yet, that is what he does. As Leia and the remaining rebels hole up inside the rusted remnants of an old rebel base, Luke performs his most heroic act in any of the films, he offers himself as a sacrifice so that his friends may escape and live on, and only then finds the Hero he needed to be.**

And, as we watch knowing that Carrie Fisher has herself become one with the Force, the burden of STAR WARS falls away forever. Rian Johnson’s great achievement in creating The Last Jedi was, yes, kill the past. Lords and Princesses are replaced by nobodies from nowhere. Clones are replaced by Finn and Hux’s Mom. Storybook romance is replaced by the complexities of the neglect, dependency, abuse, and just the usual messy humanity that Disney films in particular have glamorized for too long. Both the heroic and the evil, the Light and the Dark, are left in the hands of the uncertain young characters who will determine the future of the Galaxy. And I like that.

*Unapologetic pun

**Like the old King Beowulf, Campbell fiends. ๐Ÿ˜‰

While you’re here: Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of stuff I like and hate. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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Mueller, Midterms & Other Bedtime Stories

superman doing shots

This has been my favorite gif for about a year or so now. Superman in a bar doing shot after shot after shot of Johnny Walker. Superman was developed by two Jewish brothers, and was the first cartoon of its kind. He’s a super-hero. He fought Nazis and the KKK, saved kittens from trees, and stood for Truth, Justice and the American Way. Superman may have been an alien, but he cared for human beings. But he’s currently getting wasted. And I feel ya Supes.

Superman will always be the guy we hope will swoop from the skies and save us, and save us from ourselves. And to every liberal, progressive, and Democrat out there, we have collectively passed his cape on to Robert Mueller. He took down Gotti and Enron. He will save us.

And then we’ll flip the Congress in the Midterms! Then we’ll get ’em all, take down the Russians and everyone even near to Trump. And it all ends with a Biden/Romney ticket. President Warren, Oprah or Hillary, or maybe….Michelle!

Yep. The system that has fucked us for 241 years will just suddenly work for the people! And everyone in the country will rejoice. We’ll get gun reform, and repeal that horrid tax plan, and fix the National Parks, and run everything on solar, wind, or whatever Elon Musk decides. No one will lose benefits, and all of the petty and cruel GOP and Trumpian ideas will be erased.

That’s the story, as far as everyone I know, keeps telling me. But, like the young people in Florida who survived the attack on their school: I’m calling BS.

Nothing is that simple. We’ve had a school shooting every 2.5 days since January 1, 2018. That’s 1 7 school shootings in 45 or so days. I didn’t hear about all of them. Congress does nothing but cash those NRA checks, while the students take it into their own hands. And deplorable despicables argue the idea of armed teachers and prison schools. Drink up Supes!

I’ve always heard, “Americans are a fair people. They want a fair deal.” Oh yeah? How fair were we to the Native Peoples we encountered here? How fair to the human being bought and sold as a work animal? How fair to women and immigrants? How fair was it to buy cheap land off Napoleon so he could fund his conquest of Europe? How fair to save the Nazi who made Hitler’s rockets from prosecution to help us get to space before the Soviets? How fair to drop nuclear bombs on on civilians so we’d beat the Soviets to Japan? Do one for me Supes.

We live in a nation built on, and perpetually helped by, on lies. And the one President who did save our Nation through our Civil War? One super man who was not bullet-proof.

So, my dearest, darlingest fellow libtards, what makes you think getting rid of Trump will just go off without a hitch? And the system that fucks us and keeps us poor and ignorant will work? It’s laughable. And yes, more and more people are speaking out like the students in Florida. PA is no longer Gerrymandered. These are all positive. But it’s not going to be some Coke commercial in which we all hold hands and sing. Nixon bungled a stupid burglary, and look at that insanity! How can we expect an investigation of top officials in our government working with the world’s enemy, Putin, to just happen with no ill repercussions for all of us?

I’m confounded. Think being white and middle class will save you? That it’s white folks getting shot, impoverished, under-educated, and dying of heroin that the halls of government cares about? Don’t you get it? We’re all niggers now. And your children? Canon fodder. Ready to slap them with the burden with a life-time strapped with student debt? Or gamble you’ll have good health until 83? Let people you know who rely on public services get squeezed and squeezed until our lives are spent in grinding poverty with no hope of escape? Concerned about the environment, get in line between the LGBTQ community and women.

And what if the protests turn into civil unrest? Are you willing to give a drop of your blood or your children’s for this despicable nation? I’m not.

I feel like Cassandra, or worse. Seneca serving Nero. No wonder he was into Stoicism. Maybe you either get it or you don’t, but perhaps I can’t explain it to you. I’ve tried. And I’ll continue to try. Albert Einstein happened to be out of Germany when Hitler was elected Chancellor in 1933. Einstein saw the writing on the wall and never returned. Just be smart like Einstein, and quit drinking the nerves away with your Super-Mueller mythos. And I will hope that I am wrong.

“The past ain’t what it used to be.” – (not) Yogi Berra

While you’re here: Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of stuff I like and hate. ๐Ÿ˜Š

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

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