Cedar and Jen’s chicken tried to peer into the living room window by jumping and flapping its wings.
Aug 30th 2005I Laughed When
Introspection, hearing loss, and everyday life.
Cedar and Jen’s chicken tried to peer into the living room window by jumping and flapping its wings.
Aug 30th 2005I Laughed When
there is too much vanilla and not enough moose track.
Aug 30th 2005I Peeved When
The other day Casper started wheezing. He’s a noisy breather anyway and snores when he sleeps, on top of all the squinting he does, but this wheezing thing was new. We took him to the vet, where he promptly stopped wheezing and started rolling around on the floor like this place is great! Then they took him to the other room and subjected him to x-rays and bloodwork, and he stopped being so cavalier about the experience.
The vet took us in the other room and showed us x-rays of Casper. I felt very nervous, because you never know what someone is going to tell you when they show you x rays. Will his internal organs be completely deformed? Will there be an outline of some freakish parasite lodged in his abdomen? Or massive tumors? Will the x rays indicate that he is not actually a cat, but a giant, peculiar looking ferret? However his cat organs seemed normal and the vet showed us some spots on his lungs that indicated asthma. So now Casper is asthmatic and has to take steroids. He already has a large, jowly neck, but I guess steroids are still necessary. If he were human, he would probably have very thick glasses and an inhaler in his pocket that he uses after running away from the bullies at school.
Then there were other considerations that tested our love for Casper versus our money. Ticks and fleas? Deworming medication? Albino sidekick potion? Testing for leukemia? Suddenly Casper’s life is at stake, rife with risks, and we must make sure he is ok. Now he is back at home, free of bugs and parasites and cancer and wheezing. We look at him once in a while and mutter “expensive bastard.”
Aug 30th 2005Pets
If you go to my last entry and click on 2003 at the bottom of the entry, you will find the ONLY other entry, out of 362 entries on this blog, where I write about a spiritual journey. And I wrote it on the same date, two years ago. Perhaps it is one of those interesting coincidences, the kind that occur in times of upheaval. I was utterly surprised when I saw it, but also reassured. Perhaps there is something here.
During my last week at my internship, a bag was passed around and each of us retrieved an object with a unique saying on it. The belief was that it would be meaningful, meant for the person who chose it at random. As I waited to pick out mine, I thought that perhaps the most fitting one for me would say “Let Go”. But someone else got that one. Mine said “Pay Attention”. I thought that was perhaps the worst one out of the bunch. I was disappointed, and then dismissed the whole thing as silly anyway. Since then, however, I have come across this phrase again and it has struck me forcibly, and I remember the object from my internship. This is what I need to do. Pay Attention.
I don’t want to call this a “journey”, as it makes me cringe. But I am setting out to do something, more consciously than I have ever done before. It will involve self-reflection and writing and paying attention. I have wondered whether I should acknowledge it here, on this public forum. I know that I need to, in a more abbreviated form. This will keep me focused. This is my voice, and perhaps it will inspire someone else.
Since my last entry, I have had two dreams. The second dream spoke exclusively to the wound of being female, the first dream- more emotional and painful- spoke to a different wound. As I wrote in my journal, I found myself reflecting on my trip to Silver Bay yesterday (again with the curious timing). I met up with my friend Allison and we gave George a tour of the entire campus. I was struck all over again by the beauty of this place. As we walked through the dorms where I lived during the summer from the ages of 18 to 21, I could feel in myself feelings of bittersweet familiarity as well as disconnect. Disconnect from myself and my experiences there. I didn’t like myself.
Further reflection in my journal led me to name another wound, one that is closer to the surface. I named it, the wound of Exclusion. By nature of my hearing loss, I have experienced profound exclusion in most social spheres, in some ways very subtle and in other ways not. In some ways it is purely the nature of my loss and I must reconcile to it.
I realized that Silver Bay represents to me the most painful ways that I existed in this wound and the most desperate measures I took to repair it. The problem was that it was entirely unconscious and reactive. I was unconscious and reactive. The unconscious projections that happened in this state were a most powerful and compelling force that seemed to obliterate my own voice.
When I realized how I had been in the throes of this for so long, and most intensely at Silver Bay, I stopped, for a moment, devaluing this part of myself and my life and understood it. I felt compassion instead of dislike for myself. Now I can consciously set about healing this wound.
Aug 28th 2005Introspection
Me: I wish I could do something freelance.
Steve: You should be a licensed massage therapist.
Me: Lance’s massage therapist??
Aug 26th 2005I Misheard When
Uh oh. This will be one of those entries that I feel compelled to write and then I slay myself with criticism and self-doubt later. How quickly and easily that voice comes up and how vivid those images are, of other people I imagine to be reading this, their eyebrows raised or their eyes rolling. “What’s her problem?” “She makes a big deal out of nothing.”
Even if people did this, it should not matter so much to me. It should not completely dislodge me from my foundation, so quick I am to condemn myself. This is not their voice, this is my inner voice, my internalized voice. And it is so good at trivialization.
Sue Monk Kidd writes, “Trivializing our experience is a very old and shrewd way of controlling ourselves. We do it by censoring our expressions of truth or viewing them as inconsequential. We learned this technique from a culture that has practiced it like an art form.” (p 34). Blogging has been a practice of overcoming this voice for a moment, even though it sometimes comes back with a vengeance after I post the entry.
After the whirlwind vacation week, this week has fallen heavily on me. Coma-like sleep, lack of motivation, and again inexplicable grappling with anger and a weight of conviction that there was no meaning, no purpose. Profound disconnect, a preoccupation with petty things. “We are not who we used to be and not who we will become. We are in the terrain of “unmeaning.” And we are alone in it.” (Kidd, p 95). I even began to fear that if I wasn’t “careful”, I would become seriously depressed. I have never been so acutely aware of a state such as this.
I kept thinking that it was because I needed a job, and once I had that, things would make sense again. But there is also the worry that a job just served to mask and structure. I would go about my responsibilities, my goals, following the instructions of a supervisor to the upmost. Would this just distract me from what was underneath?
I picked up The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd that my mother lent me, and perhaps this book has come at a crucial time. This is an incredibly profound book, and for the first time I began to feel energized again. There is much meaning and purpose here, this journey that this woman undertook, and is undertaking. Despite my energized response, despite the tears rolling down my cheeks at certain passages, strong too was the voice of trivialization. What are these women doing, I would think. If I was partaking what she was describing, I would feel so embarassed, so awkward. Not only did I feel my own embarassment and vulnerability, at the mere thought of it, I could feel most clearly my mother’s as well. We have the same problem.
I was also so aware of what any man would think if he witnessed it- contempt, bemusement, perplexion, trivialization- and it was playing out in my own reactions and inner voice.
But there was another instinctive and stronger response. She is right. She is so right. I have to hang onto this, record it here, before I trivialize it away completely.
I came across a passage that I read with such pain and recognition that I knew that it was marking where I am right now, if I choose to heed it and consciously begin my journey from here. Kidd describes the myth of Ariadne and how she interpreted its metaphors and symbols to the experience of being a woman. After Theseus conquers the Minotaur in the labyrinth and rescues Ariadne from the kingdom, he takes her to another island, Naxos. “He represents Ariadne’s freeing energy or the way out of her sleep.” (Kidd, p 111). There, she wakes up the next morning to find that he abandoned her and sailed away.
Often, like Ariadne, a woman cannot recognize or contact the heroic, freeing energy inside herself. Instead she projects it outward, usually onto a man. The projection- as precarious and havoc wreaking as it may sometimes be- becomes a force that acts to free her.
When a woman projects her liberating energy outward, she is acting unconsciously. If she projects it onto a man, she may be unable to initiate real independent action apart from him. She will be dependent on Theseus, not on herself. She cannot see that Theseus embodies her own unconscious potential and desire for freedom or wholeness. The hard moment will come when she needs to withdraw the projection, break the spell it has over her, and own up to what she is doing. She will have to claim the qualities she saw in these external figures as possibilities in herself.
She will need to take up her own autonomous life. (Kidd, p 111-112)
In my own life, I abandoned Theseus, even though I managed to feel all the while as if it was I who was being abandoned. In light of this, it now makes sense to me. For me, “the hard moment” of overthrowing this particular projection came and went. I suppose I have made progress since then, but in many ways I still feel stranded on the shore of Naxos, lost and bewildered. Intellectually, I recognize that I need to find these resources within and be true to myself, my spirit. But I don’t know it. And I have no idea where to begin or how.
I am beginning to think I should hold off on finding a job, and focus on this instead, despite all the fears and insecurities, financially and otherwise, that this would entail. I must heed what happens to me when a job and structure falls away and not try to fight it or impose another structure over it, distracting me again. I can incorporate this into my research and process of writing my thesis, perhaps this is the most ideal time. Where could, where will, my spirit take me?
They weren’t kidding about the wild, crazy cucumbers and why you shouldn’t allow them to flourish in your garden.
Aug 23rd 2005I Peeved When
Suddenly it is here, one of my favorite times of the year. Here and there in small gatherings on certain trees, leaves are turning. Yesterday, when I walked outside to go play tennis, I felt it in the air. A definite twinge that means fall is coming. Summer is ending, long sleeved shirts and jeans and the smell of woodsmoke is nearly here. Cozy cozy! It is also suddenly darker nearly an hour earlier. We hit the tennis ball until we couldn’t see it anymore.
I felt so relaxed, and was so enjoying just hitting the ball around, that it was like I had never stopped playing tennis regularly. Everything in my game was working effortlessly. There is a distinct feel to it, to being in the groove and to having let go. I am frustrated that I am so easily affected otherwise- by competition, nerves, insecurity, whoever I might be playing. There were times in my life where I felt so affected that it was as if I had never played before, so plagued I was by acute self-consciousness.
But those times when it falls away, when you have let go mentally, the body takes over. The body pulls out shots that I couldn’t have placed any better if I consciously planned it, it knows how to catch the angles and the lines with pinpoint accuracy and it loves to do it most when I am unconcerned, purely in my body and not in my mind. Damn, my body knows how to play tennis.
If only I could take out my mind and put it in a jar everytime I go to play.
Aug 23rd 2005Tennis
Crystal Lake is vastly smaller than Lake Champlain, and motorboats are not allowed on the lake. As a result, Crystal Lake is the clearest body of water I’ve ever swum in. Sunlight cuts through the water and separates into golden rays that seem to slow down and float through the lake. In shallower areas, you can easily see fish swimming in the clear, sunlit water. The water is waist high as you climb in off the dock, and quickly becomes deeper than you will ever know, as the bottom sharply drops away and the light disappears in murky depths.
One of my favorite things to do at the lake is to put on a snorkeling mask and dive and somersault underwater. The perch and sunfish dart away across the gray stones, and the surface of the water is above me like a pane of amorphous glass. I float and spin in silence, my ears plugged. Steve and Jordan practice throwing the Nerf football so that the other catches it in mid-air while running off the dock.
The highlights of this week: the annual bike ride, sighting a moose, swimming, fishing, tennis, s’mores, thunderstorms moving across the lake and raindrops on the roof of the cabin, dinners with both Steve and my families, and a trip to Montreal with Eric and Kristi.
Another highlight is not having to take Tylenol PM so that I can get to sleep by 9:00 on Sunday nights. My early shift is done, and I need to face the uncertainty, the blank slate of my life right now. I dreamt last night that instead of having to work from 4am to 9am, I had to go to war. From 4am to 9am I had to fight an unseen enemy, firing a gun as bullets whistled past me. I felt outraged. How could I be put in this situation of mortal peril?
I think that, without the distraction of routine and work, we become much more aware of the war within ourselves. Thoughts, feelings, and memories, unresolved pieces of the self start to emerge. This is a time to embrace and I must be compassionate with myself, and not avoid or fear this.
Jordan, while playing Catchphrase: I’m going to blank Jocelyn!
Aug 21st 2005I Laughed When