Monday, January 31, 2011

I have been thinking a great deal lately about the way I was affected by the relationship with my ex-husband and with his family.

In retrospect, I wish I would have had the courage to leave these relationships sooner.

I have never been considered an unkind person, not by myself or anyone else. If anything, in the past, I would shrivel up into myself when in an argument rather than say something mean, or even defend myself. I very rarely used profanity, and now it just seems to pour right out of me.

There is definitely a balance to be found. And I remember my counselor telling me at the beginning of my relationship that sometimes we go to far in order to find it. I know I needed to learn how to defend myself. But I have come to realize that I went to far - and it is going to be another process to come back to central.

I had a lovely birthday dinner with my ex last night - and our children. We have been getting along well and I am glad for that. He made a comment last night that struck me - not in an unkind way - but one that made me realize for the first time that I had hurt him as well.

It was never my intention to hurt him or anybody else.

In my desperation to be heard, I started saying just anything as if that would finally allow me to be heard.

But instead I threw out all the rules of fighting fair and damaged several relationships in the process.

I have started dating again and met someone very kind. But I fear this relationship cannot last because I have not learned how to be in a normal relationship. And it seems he is getting the brunt of my practicing.

I don't know how to fix this. I just know that I need to.

The actual state of the world and the actual state of your own life

Seeing all this, wars, tyranny, oppression, social injustice, starvation in the East, contrasted with extreme riches, seeing all this, not merely intellectually but actually, observing it in yourself, in your daily life, you must inevitably see that there must be a radical revolution in the very activity of your daily existence.

And to bring about such a change there must be self-knowledge - knowing yourself as you are, the causes of your actions, why you are aggressive, brutal, envious, full of hate, which expresses itself in the outer world.

I hope this is clear, not only logically, verbally, rationally, but also because you feel it.

If you do not feel acutely, intensely, the actual state of the world, the actual state of your own life, then there is escape into ideologies and theories.

- jk, Talks with American Students

Friday, January 28, 2011

No Forgiveness for Women

"There is no forgiveness. For women. A man may lose his honor and regain it again. But a woman cannot. She cannot."

— Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Thursday, January 27, 2011


"Love comes and goes but kindness remains."

-Aung San Suu Kyi

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Emotional Tagging

"If you have been traumatized by a dramatic event, such as being in a car accident or watching your house burn down, or if you have been abused by a parent or a spouse, the emotional component of the memory is stored in the deep limbic system of the brain...The total experience of our emotional memories is responsible, in part, for the emotional tone of our mind. The more stable, positive experiences we have, the more positive we are likely to feel; the more trauma in our lives, the more emotionally set we become in a negative way. These emotional memories are intimately involved in the emotional tagging we impose on the day's events."

-Daniel G. Amen, MD Change your Brain Change your Life, p 39-40

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Low Road

What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.
They can set you up, they can
bust you, they can break
your fingers, they can
burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you
can't walk, can’t remember, they can
take your child, wall up
your lover. They can do anything
you can’t blame them
from doing. How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organisation. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

--Marge Piercy

Monday, January 24, 2011

Every Girl Every Boy

For every girl who is tired of acting weak when she is strong, there is a boy tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.

For every boy who is burdened with the constant expectation of knowing everything, there is a girl tired of people not trusting her intelligence.

For every girl who is tired of being called over-sensitive, there is a boy who fears to be gentle, to weep.

For every boy for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity, there is a girl who is called unfeminine when she competes.

For every girl who throws out her e-z bake oven, there is a boy who wishes to find one.

For every boy struggling not to let advertising dictate his desires, there is a girl facing the ad industry's attacks on her self-esteem.

For every girl who takes a step toward her liberation, there is a boy who finds the way to freedom a little easier.

- Nancy R. Smith

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Comings and Goings

I have a friend. The comings and goings of those she loved into and out of her life began very early. Her father was an alcoholic. He was home for a few days, then gone for a few, a coming always followed by a going. She experienced moments of beauty when he was present. He would give “his girl” gifts of silver dollars and chocolate milk. Her heart would soar, but he would always leave again. She made up stories, as any four- or five-year-old would, to make sense of his comings and goings. He comes when I'm good. He leaves when I'm bad. Stories to make sense of life. One day he left for good.

My friend and her mother survived together for a year or two after the divorce, but the pressures of life plunged the mother into her own alcoholism. One day her mother disappeared, and the little girl, my friend, was taken to an orphanage in a station wagon driven by strangers. During her five years there, she created one story after another to make sense of her mother's disappearance. The little girl was sure her mother was dead.

And then on the day of her eighth grade graduation, her mother came again. The little girl, now twelve, didn't recognize her mother for a moment; she had been dead for five years. The little girl had worked out the good-byes; they seemed to last forever. The hellos took another lifetime to accept.

- Patricia Lynn Reilly, Words Made Flesh

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Addiction and the Shadow

"Addicts who relapse have become a standard feature of the psychological landscape. But what do they really represent? I think they are an extreme example of a common situation: a divided self. For addicts, the separation between the "good me" and the "bad me" cannot be resolved. Normally, the tactics for dealing with one's dark side come rather easily. It's not hard to deny your bad deeds, forget your wicked impulses, apologize for getting angry and show contrition for your misdeeeds. Addicts cannot settle for these easy prescriptions. Their darker impulses preoccupy them without the normal checks and restraints. Even access to simple pleasure is denied. The demons inside undermine pleasure and spoil it; they mock happiness; they remind addicts repeatedly of their weakness and badness.

Let's say that this description is roughly correct. I have left out some important ingredients. Habit plays a strong part in addiction. So do physical changes in the brain - substance abusers have attacked the receptors in the brain using alien chemicals hat in time destroy the normal responses of pleasure and pain. Yet these physical aspects of addiction have been grossly overstated. If addiction was primarily physical, then millions of people wouldn't be casually using alcohol and drugs. Yet they do, with relatively little long-term harm and minimal chance of addiction. Without entering the heated controversy over addiction and its causes, one can step back and see it not as an isolated problem, but as yet another expression of the shadow.

Therefore, to treat additions, we much approach the shadow and disarm it.

Addicts are trapped in a fog of illusion. Inside that fog, nothing exists but craving and the terror of not getting a fix."

-Deepak Chopra, The Shadow Effect, pp 15-17

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"I am in the world to change the world." -

- Kathe Kollwitz

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Alcholism is a progressive disease

"In Alcoholics Anonymous, it is said that alcoholism is a "progressive disease." What this means is that it will not stay put; if you've got a problem with alcohol today, then you'll have an even bigger problem with it tomorrow unless you deal with it. And its ultimate goal is destruction, even to the point of death. An addiction such as alcoholism isn't just about alcohol; it's about the movement of dark energy, a shadow force that plagues both the body and soul."

-Marianne Williamson, The Shadow Effect, p 159

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want."

- Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This Rings to True for me

"...people who are "limbically connected" have a very powerful bond, and I believe this phenomenon may be one of the major reasons women cannot leave abusive men. They have had their children with these men, shared their beds and their homes with them. To break that bond, which is at the core of their brain, causes a severe rupture that can make the woman feel fragmented, as if she were not quite whole without the man. She may be plagued by sleep and appetite problems, depression, irritability and social isolation."

-Daniel G. Amen, MD Change your Brain Change your Life, p 46

So Many Thoughts

Yesterday, I spent half the day at a leadership conference at my church. It was time well spent, and I gained a lot of personal perspective as well.

Earlier in the week, I was approached by the pastor and another elder church member about a position that had become available in the church. It's a volunteer position, and I already am involved in many things there, so I felt the need to take some time to think about it so I would not spread myself too thin.

One thing I have noticed in the last year or so, is that as I slowly add these service activities to my life, it becomes fuller, and there is less time for drama and problems.

That said, this is a big commitment - the highest lay position in the church - and a 3-year commitment. I kept telling myself: I'm too young, I don't have my life all put together, What will I do about getting a paying job?

But all the while I kept hearing a voice saying, "You can do it." And I remembered the verse from the Bible that says God does not give you anything you cannot handle. After a long talk with the current member who performed this work, I decided to accept the position.

I have been involved in this church for 30 years, on and off, as it is the church my paternal grandparents attended. Most people know of me there - it's a small church - but few really know about my personal life, which I have mostly kept secret.

We got mid-way through the presentation and the speaker asked us what we wanted to be acknowledged for. She asked us to write it down, and I did. But it really wasn't something I wanted to share with half the church.

Of course, she called on me first! - And, made me repeat it twice so everyone could hear it.

"I want to be acknowledged for not using my personal life as an excuse not to participate in service work at church."

She acknowledged me and then to my amazement, about half the participants muttered that they have often used that excuse as well. How silly of me to think I was the only one with problems.

It was a very empowering moment for me.

The other thing that was an awakening was taking a leadership inventory and realizing what areas I am weak in. The 2 that came up that I commited to work on are:

1) Letting go of the past
2) Living courageously - doing things out of my comfort zone

Later in the evening, I checked my Facebook and saw a post that concerned me about a past classmate. As it turns out, she has been hospitalized for a brain tumor and given a limited life sentence.

It is not someone who I knew well or was close to, but for some reason, it hit me very, very hard, and I have been crying off and on since.

It may be that the hurt is still fresh from losing another friend this same way several years ago. In his case, I grieved because he left a wife and two young children. In her case, I grieve because I know she hasn't had this opportunity.

Whatever the case, an early death is always tragic to me and grieved especially hard. We don't know when our time is up.

It also has hit me because I have been feeling sorry for myself these last years (hence not giving back) thinking I had a sore lot with an alcoholic spouse and all that has traspired since. And I feel like, how dare I feel sorry for the life I have when there is someone else begging God for just a few extra days or months?

How can I not live my life to the best of my ability? How dare I not give all that I can? How can I hold onto grudges?

Louise Hay says, you don't have to know how to forgive, you just have to be willing to. I need to find the balance between letting go and not letting someone continually hurt me. I seem to swing too far in either direction.

This is a long post, I know, and ironically right after I thought I was done with this blog, I was flooded with so much - both in terms of things I have been thinking about and books I have been reading. This passage struck me very hard as well.

"God's love both dwells within us and extends out from us every moment of every day. When we are living in alignment with our true selves as God created us, we receive love constantly and then extend it outward as we have received it. That is what it means to live in the light.

Yet as commonsensical as this sounds, it does not feel like comon sense when someone has behaved in a way that seems undeserving of our love. At such a moment, extending our love to that person feels like the wrong thing to do, and withholding our love feels right. That tiny moment - that little bit of unloving thought that seems like just a tiny thing, just reasonable judgment - is the root of all evil. It is the cornerstone of the shadow's thought system, for it involves a separation from God and a casting of blame. God never witholds love, and we achieve sanity by learning to love as God loves.

Our task, if we are to cast out the shadow, is to learn to think only immortal thoughts, even though we live on the mortal plane. Our higher thought forms will lift the frequency of the planet, and the world will then transform.

But what about now? What makes us forget who we are, thus turning off the light and splitting the world into two separate states - love and fear? It is one thought: that someone s guilty. How we deal with human imperfection is the essential question that decides whether we dwell in the shadow or in light.

God does not look at a person who has made a mistake the same way we do. God does not seek to punish us when we have made mistakes, but to correct us. When we return to our right minds, loving unconditionally and unwaveringly, then the world itself will self-correct.

-Marianne Williamson, The Shadow Effect, p 148

Friday, January 14, 2011

Loved this!

Poster, cards and bookmarks available through Syracuse Cultural Workers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Coming to an End

I haven't posted much lately because I haven't had much to say, really.

The mission of the blog for me was to find answers and hopefully, peace.

I have decided to leave the blog up, in case my experience can be helpful to anyone else.

But really, my advice to anyone who is in the same situation is, get away from the addict.

You will never find peace with an addict.

If you try to "help" them, no matter how good your intentions may be, they will only pull you down into their own deep, dark hole. And it will take a long time for you to even figure out what happened.

The only situation is to let the addict figure things out for themselves and get help when they are ready.

That may sound harsh, but it's true.

I have finally found peace in my life and I am grateful for that.

The only way to maintain it is to have as little contact with him as possible. While this is difficult since we have children together, I can only advise others to limit contact only to what is absolutely necessary. An addict will only drain your time and energy.

I have no intention of ever having contact with my former father-in-law again. And, if I see the signs of addiction in anyone else, I will quickly terminate the relationship. There is simply nothing good that can come out of a relationship with an addict.

It all comes down to how much you love yourself. When you truly love yourself, you will not accept abuse from anyone.

The only thing you can expect from addict is abuse - because that is all they know.

My hope for all of us is that we can learn to live for ourselves so that we, and our children, can have better lives.

I probably won't post much from here on out, but if I find something helpful, I will definately post it.

Peace to you, always.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning."

-Ivy Baker

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Poem about My Rights

Even tonight and I need to take a walk and clear
my head about this poem about why I can’t
go out without changing my clothes my shoes
my body posture my gender identity my age
my status as a woman alone in the evening/
alone on the streets/alone not being the point/
the point being that I can’t do what I want
to do with my own body because I am the wrong
sex the wrong age the wrong skin and
suppose it was not here in the city but down on the beach/
or far into the woods and I wanted to go
there by myself thinking about God/or thinking
about children or thinking about the world/all of it
disclosed by the stars and the silence:
I could not go and I could not think and I could not
stay there
as I need to be
alone because I can’t do what I want to do with my own
body and
who in the hell set things up
like this
and in France they say if the guy penetrates
but does not ejaculate then he did not rape me
and if after stabbing him if after screams if
after begging the bastard and if even after smashing
a hammer to his head if even after that if he
and his buddies fuck me after that
then I consented and there was
no rape because finally you understand finally
they fucked me over because I was wrong I was
wrong again to be me being me where I was/wrong
to be who I am
which is exactly like South Africa
penetrating into Namibia penetrating into
Angola and does that mean I mean how do you know if
Pretoria ejaculates what will the evidence look like the
proof of the monster jackboot ejaculation on Blackland
and if
after Namibia and if after Angola and if after Zimbabwe
and if after all of my kinsmen and women resist even to
self-immolation of the villages and if after that
we lose nevertheless what will the big boys say will they
claim my consent:
Do You Follow Me: We are the wrong people of
the wrong skin on the wrong continent and what
in the hell is everybody being reasonable about
and according to the Times this week
back in 1966 the C.I.A. decided that they had this problem
and the problem was a man named Nkrumah so they
killed him and before that it was Patrice Lumumba
and before that it was my father on the campus
of my Ivy League school and my father afraid
to walk into the cafeteria because he said he
was wrong the wrong age the wrong skin the wrong
gender identity and he was paying my tuition and
before that
it was my father saying I was wrong saying that
I should have been a boy because he wanted one/a
boy and that I should have been lighter skinned and
that I should have had straighter hair and that
I should not be so boy crazy but instead I should
just be one/a boy and before that
it was my mother pleading plastic surgery for
my nose and braces for my teeth and telling me
to let the books loose to let them loose in other
I am very familiar with the problems of the C.I.A.
and the problems of South Africa and the problems
of Exxon Corporation and the problems of white
America in general and the problems of the teachers
and the preachers and the F.B.I. and the social
workers and my particular Mom and Dad/I am very
familiar with the problems because the problems
turn out to be
I am the history of rape
I am the history of the rejection of who I am
I am the history of the terrorized incarceration of
I am the history of battery assault and limitless
armies against whatever I want to do with my mind
and my body and my soul and
whether it’s about walking out at night
or whether it’s about the love that I feel or
whether it’s about the sanctity of my vagina or
the sanctity of my national boundaries
or the sanctity of my leaders or the sanctity
of each and every desire
that I know from my personal and idiosyncratic
and indisputably single and singular heart
I have been raped
cause I have been wrong the wrong sex the wrong age
the wrong skin the wrong nose the wrong hair the
wrong need the wrong dream the wrong geographic
the wrong sartorial I
I have been the meaning of rape
I have been the problem everyone seeks to
eliminate by forced
penetration with or without the evidence of slime and/
but let this be unmistakable this poem
is not consent I do not consent
to my mother to my father to the teachers to
the F.B.I. to South Africa to Bedford-Stuy
to Park Avenue to American Airlines to the hardon
idlers on the corners to the sneaky creeps in
I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name
My name is my own my own my own
and I can’t tell you who the hell set things up like this
but I can tell you that from now on my resistance
my simple and daily and nightly self-determination
may very well cost you your life

by June Jordan

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Starting the New Year off WRONG

My ex no-showed on New Years Day.

I have been looking to find sites that list the psychological effects on children who experience this by a parent, but have not found what I am looking for yet.

But here is what I see now:

Acting out for several days following the no-show
Refusal to eat
Crying themselves to sleep
Worry for the parent's well-being

I worry what the long-term effects will be.

So far, my ex takes no responsibility. No apology. Nothing.

It is difficult to explain to your kids why they have to get up early and go to school when they don't "feel" like it when their own parent can't show up for the parenting time he claims to want.

Today he asked me if he could take the kids on another day that I am supposed to have the kids on. I am not inclined to do it. It is just always a hassle to deal with him.

He also asked if he should invite one of their friends. That puts me in an awkward situation as well. Several of my friends have already told me that they would NOT want their children around my ex. He's asking about parents who have no idea what his situation is. If I have difficulty with worrying about the safety and well-being of my children around him, who are HIS children, what is my responsiblity to these parents?