Saturday, November 17, 2007

Two Conversations

Friday morning, early enough to feel like death walking, before the pre-weekend giddy set in, I was pushing buttons on the hydraulic lathe when my coworker and nerdy friend came up to me.

"I think we're gonna hafta start sneaking around more."

I had to think for a moment before I knew what he was talking about, "yeah, but it's hard to sneak in a dungeon."

"That's true, but we don't have to smash doors in and run into the room, we could move silently, open the doors slowly, take them by surprise."

"The problem is that we can't all fight through the door way, it's too narrow an opening."

"I'm just worried about Kozeg and Dodorro."

"Who now?"

"Matt and Chris."

"Oh...... Right. What if we smash the door open, and then retreat into the hallway on either side. This forces them to come out to us, controls how many we fight at a time, and automatically put us in flanking positions."

"That way we take advantage of Sneak Attack."


"Good idea. We'll try that tomorrow."

I watch my nerdy friend, aka Felshik, walk away. I throw another piece of wood in the lathe, punch some buttons. When I turn around I come face to face with my burnout coworker.

"Thanks for waking me up this morning." He had spent the night in his truck, parked inside the shop."

"No problem. How hung over are you?"

"Actually, I'm not hung over. Just really tired."

"You know, I have a friend who has a rum still in his basement. The inside of your truck smells worse than the inside of that still."

"Well, there's a couple of empties in there that I haven't got rid of."


"God, it was hot in there. I was probably sweating beer."

"You could always open a window."

The lathe is done. I give it another piece and let 'er rip. I turn around and burnout guy is still standing there. He looks at me for a long moment, all haggard and disheveled.

"Wanna fight?"

I laugh. We both know that in his condition, it wouldn't be much of a contest.

Monday, November 12, 2007

awareness, detachment, and hard work

A couple things....

I went to meditation group on wednesday, feeling so tired and worn down that I knew I needed to make myself relax. I hadn't slept through an entire night all that week, for various reasons. The meditation on Wednesday is 45 minutes, which is long for someone like me who seldom meditates, and then for maybe 20 minutes at a shot. I think that for most of it, I was on the very edge of sleep. I kept coming to, my head jerking up after strange pictures in my head.

The whole point of the "insight meditation" that we do is being aware and present in the moment. Instead of my mind drifting to tomorrow or yesterday or thinking of other places or people, I'm supposed to simply experience the feeling of sitting in the room. I'm not supposed to go anywhere. Those who know me and the slightly disassociative tendency of my brain, know that this is very difficult for me at the best of times.

But on wednesday there was a man. He was wearing a light grey suit, and he would entice me away from the room, and the chair, and the giant round light with the paper shade. Every time I realized what he was doing, I would intentionally return to the room, in my mind, and that would be the moment when my head would jerk back, and I'd wake up, realize I'd been on the verge of dreaming. Many times the man in the suit came for me, and each time that I left him, he grew more irate. Sometimes his face would be red and scabby, like a humanoid demon from a show like buffy or supernatural, but always with that clean grey suit, and every time I shook off his grip and returned to the room.

The question was posed, after we were done with the silent meditation, why do you come here? Why do you persist in the practice of meditating. Being rather new to the group, I chose to remain silent, but I realized that meditating is a way to find out where I'm at. What's up with me? How am I feeling? Where is my brain?

On wednesday I realized that I was really, really tired. How else could I drift into dreams while sitting up in a well lit room at 7:30 in the evening? I sometimes have trouble doing that at 10 in the dark in a cozy bed. As for mr. scabby yet well dressed..... I don't know. I think he may have been mostly informed by the Neil Gaiman novel I'm reading.

Secondly, I feel as though I've run out of compassion for mankind. I feel this because I was watching a video today (No More Drama by Mary J. Blige) and it made me feel compassion, but that compassion felt like a blow to the system, you know? Like it had been so long since I'd experienced it.

I think it started, or at least.... ruptured, right about the time my dad had his blowout. Like not allowing myself to be pulled in by his drama required me to shut down in a lot of ways. I pulled myself away from my family, all of them, in an emotional sense, but I think that I inadvertently pulled away from all people at the same time.

Almost as though it's not possible to separate myself from some people without separating myself from all. Do you think this is true? Is this a question of being aware, and managing my emotions carefully? Is this a result of surrounding myself primarily with "acquaintances" and less with people I'm close to?

Thirdly, I finally buckled down and wrote a short (quite short) story, motivated by my constant battle with the vermin infestation. I'm not overly impressed with it, but it exists mainly as an exercise in making myself do something I haven't done in a very long time..... flexing some neglected muscles, if you will. So whole I'm not ecstatic about the story itself, I am happy with myself for getting it done. It took a day, a beer, a cigar, some 86% Ivory Coast chocolate, 2 episodes of X-Files, and a trip to the park.

If today is typical of a day in the life of a writer, I could get used to it. Though I think my productivity is somewhat poor. I enjoy smoking while writing. I think I'll become a stereotypical drinking and smoking writer with bloodshot eyes. I'm gonna need to get an ashtray.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sharp Things

It's funny how we delude ourselves, how we are able to pour ourselves into the moulds we believe are necessary. All that time in the church, I always knew I didn't belong. Something wasn't right.

I battled it out. I nurtured an interest in music. It is after all the acceptable way to worship God. I learned to play guitar, even wrote a couple songs. I truly believed that music was my thing. It didn't occur to me that making it my thing made me appear to fit.

Well, sometimes it occurred to me. Occasionally I would take a good strong look at the things that truly got me excited, and wonder how these could possibly be of any value. How does my personal character make-up contribute to the church as I know it?

The answer was that it simply didn't. What, after all, can a passion for very sharp things and tree climbing offer a culture of clap-happy evangelicals? I was the best armed pacifist I had ever met. If it was black and silver and sharp, I had to have it. I was the most agile person I knew, I could function nearly as well on all fours as on two legs, be it on the ground or up in branches. I tried that other stuff but the unhappy truth was that the only music that got me excited was loud, angry, growly.

I knew I didn't belong, but I stuck around anyway. Sometimes it felt okay, I deceived myself into a state of contentedness, but there was no passion, or excitement. I always felt that I was missing out on some terribly important secret to my existence. Maybe it was simply because I didn't know anyone who shared my interests (or admitted to it) but I think it was mainly something I did to myself.

I mean, it would be so easy to blame the church, wouldn't it? Church culture held me down and stripped me of my personality, church pigeon-holed me. Church took away from me the things I loved and replaced them with things I thought were "okay."

The truth is that no one, not church or republicans or nazis, can take anything away from me without my permission. If I felt stripped or pigeon-holed or zombified, it's because I allowed it to happen. I may have fooled even myself on most days, but on those other days, the days when I scampered up my favorite oak to doze in the shade somewhere between the ground and sky, when I heard the satisfying thump of a throwing knife embedding itself in a target, I knew that I was living a lie.

I really think that the variety of personality is fascinating. I think everything that we instinctively love serves some sort of purpose in our lives, no matter how outlandish it may seem. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong time slot, like I was meant to be some sort of warrior. As though some integral part of my being needs to fight..... something. This is perhaps why I feel so much more settled now that I've incorporated a punching bag, martial arts, and agility training into my life. But people don't get born into the wrong time slots, do they? Is there room or purpose for a sword-happy-treehugging-comic-reading-girl-power-daydreamy-animal-loving spaz like myself in today's world?

Are the things we love about ourselves put there intentionally, or merely the product of upbringing and environment? Does everything serve a purpose, or are our hobbies like cheap chinese knock-off swords, designed to decorate walls, make us feel like individuals, but nothing else? Do these things have anything to say about who we are or are they like the outfits we wear to express ourselves?

And what about reincarnation? Is it possible that I've been here before? And if so, how much of my previous lives inform my current personality?

People always look at me funny when I run up a tree, but the truth is, I'm happier there. I'm sane there, safe, complete. It's a small thing, even silly, but it's so very important. Is there a "why" or is it just "what it is."

The reason I ask, is I finally got around to visiting the new "Liquidation World" tonight and when I turned around and beheld the glorious wall of weaponry, I very nearly got slain by ecstasy.... pointy objects in every shape and style and color. Some tacky and cheap, others sleek and functional..... and also cheap.... and why do I love them? What jumps inside of me and makes me touch them?

The set I wanted was out of stock, and they'll call me if they get it back in. In the meantime I bought a wooden sword, mainly because it was pretty but also because you're less likely to decapitate an intruder with a stick..... And who needs the legal grief of a headless robber?

Not me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

At Long Last

Well..... I think I'm back.

It's hard to say for sure. I'm forcing myself to sit down and write, because I feel that I need to, yet I'm not sure if I have anything to say. I took a holiday, as I said before, from just about everything, and that largely included thinking about much of anything.

As is apparent from a few posts down, my family has gone through something of a crisis, which has inspired for me a strange sort of liberation. I guess, for the first time in a long time, I'm angry. In a good way. One of the guys at work told me that if I'm not angry, I'm not paying attention. That may very well be true. This year has been all about waking up on the inside, and now the beast is truly awake, and I am experiencing a healthy shot of rage.

In the beginning, you see, I was numb, I was logical. I was the eldest daughter, the epitomy of calm and collected, mildly pissed but otherwise in control. And then there was....... and then came the..... and finally I allowed myself to confront the..... And then was the vortex of rage, and I spiralled down and down for about a week, and then I was calm again.

Calm and angry, a far more lethal version of the more volatile Berserker Rage ....

I have found a couple of things. Anger is a fantastic catalyst for all sorts of things. Exercise, for example. Coming out of the heretical closet with my parents is another wonderful by-product (I'm sure we'll here more on this eventually) And finally, inventing stories in one's head. Stories that end with punching and kicking, and resolving and closure. I think the reason I've been having trouble writing stuff down is that I always do so intending to someday publish it, and doing so would mean that my family would read it. I was always afraid to hurt their feelings, to let them know what I was really feeling. But I also knew that if I wasn't completely honest and raw in my writing, that it would hold no value. So I censored my thoughts, and then I didn't want to write them down anymore.

But I've stopped worrying about all that. I can't very well spend my whole life projecting the image of well adjusted, cool and calm, just so they never find out how much they've hurt me. What would be so bad about that? Really? This is my life, and my future, and my dream. If anyone has a problem with that, they can bloody well fuck off! I'm through being everybody's heavy bag. You wanna oppress me?? Step on up.

So yeah, I'm a little angry. But I've also lost weight, gained muscle, told my parents how I really feel about the bible, and made up a story in my head. Also, I found a comic book character who looks and behaves exactly like I always imagined myself, if I was a cartoon character with a ray gun about 200 years in the future..... Now that I think of it, perhaps I'll use her for my avatar.

I feel good now. It's good to be back. It's good to regurgitate, to see all my thoughts splayed out in front of me, roasting in gastric juices and smelling to high heaven of narcissism. Starting on Saturday, I'm doing a few a weeks of no TV. Hopefully, I can take that time to get all angsty and flesh out a storyline, or at least, inundate this blog with lots of pretension.

I think I'll have to go through my links and figure out who's still out there. I think I may wipe them all out and just start from scratch. If you're still out there, lemme know. I'm suddenly craving community.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Looks like I just took a little holiday from blogging. For those of you who check, I'm very sorry. It's been a busy summer, and quite honestly, I've been taking a nice little holiday from dealing with my shit or even thinking in general. I fully intend to hop back on the wagon very soon. Maybe tomorrow even. Maybe even later on tonight. Just not now. I have a huge bowl of popcorn to eat and butter fingers doesn't go well with keyboards.

I'll be back.... I promise.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

my two favorite things

parkour and black dudes.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Revelling and Reckoning

Back when I was immersed in fundamentalist culture, people used to tell me that my purpose in life was to worship God. That is to say, all humans everywhere were created with that one purpose in mind, to worship and give glory to God. You can imagine the thoughts in the back of my head, the ones I dared not give voice to, the ones I told to shut up for so many years. They wanted to know how God came to be such a narcissist, why having an infinite host of angels wasn't sufficient to feed His preoccupation with being worshipped, why planet earth was ever even necessary if that's all it was good for. Why was free will ever invented if the only reason we're here is to point back at God?

I mean, imagine you have a blank white wall, and there's nothing on it at all, with the exception of a large painting of.... oh I don't know..... a brightly coloured beach ball. Anyone approaching the wall is going to instinctively be drawn to the picture of the ball. You don't need to then paint a whole bunch of arrows that point to the ball. That would be...... redundant.

I can't believe that this world and everything on it is redundant. Can you?

Somewhere in my consciousness I think I've been mulling this one over for quite some time. Not really dedicating myself to the solution of this question, but coming around to fit in a piece from time to time. The way my mother does a puzzle.

One day I felt a piece slip into place, while I was watching Joan of Arcadia. God had appeared to Joan in the form of a little girl, and said "All magnetic fields are the same. All carbon atoms are the same, as are all electrons, protons, and neutrons. It didn't have to be that way, but it makes the universe beautiful. Who would care about the universe being beautiful except for a divine, benevolent entity, such as myself?"

Who indeed? And even then, why? It got me thinking, about creating things that are beautiful, and why anyone does that. I used to create things that were beautiful, but I didn't do it for fame or glory or attention, I did it because I simply couldn't stop myself. That thing, just existing, being beautiful, was enough. It's existence brought me pleasure regardless of who saw it, or recognized my talent, or commented on it's beauty. I required nothing of my creation.

Also, I think that when something is created, be it a planet or a painting or anything else, a part of the creator is poured into it. There is a reflection there of it's source, a piece of the artist is immortalized in that reflection.

Like a child who has her father's eyes.

Then I saw this video and felt something click.

Yes, the world is beautiful, and it seems to me that it was created intentionally to be that way, as were we humans. Perhaps God has poured Himself into this creation, so that His essence is here in everything we do, and as we create our own beautiful things, whatever they may be, we are creating more reflections, like a hall of mirrors, so that the beauty is magnified and cast about, and shared and multiplied. Perhaps the purpose of our lives is to revel in that beauty, to embrace full every aspect of our lives, to experience every moment in the purest way possible.

I had noticed in my religious explorations that many religions have ideas on the avoidance and explanation of pain and suffering, but something always irked me about it. I have seen tremendous good come of suffering, I have felt pain and suffering teach me and change me into a better person. I think that avoiding pain is not the goal. Happiness is not the goal. It's consciousness.... presence.

Perhaps the whole point is revelling in this beautiful world, and when suffering, to embrace the lessons that it brings. Perhaps the attempt to avoid suffering only creates more suffering. Perhaps pure experience is the daily challenge.

This brings me to my father, who has understandably been on my mind as of late. He is a man adept at the avoidance of suffering, and skilled at self sabotage. I think it would be safe to say that his current predicament is the result of a long domino effect, the dominos being his choices. To the casual observer, his decisions might seem rash, stupid, ill advised and even (gasp) illogical, but recent circumstances have brought be to realize something.... his choices have been disturbingly calculated. He has a destination in his subconscious mind, and without realizing it, he is taking himself exactly where he believes he belongs.....

Soon I will receive a phone call telling me that my dad is implying that he is suicidal. He will not be suicidal because he wants to die, but because he does not want to live with the consequences of his actions. He will not kill himself because deep down he wants to be punished for all the things he's done, and he doesn't have the courage to release himself. This cycle has been going on for 51 years, and I can tell you why: Avoidance.

At some point, my father was hurting, and instead of dealing his pain, learning from it, overcoming it, he suppressed it, ran away, pretended it wasn't there. So the pain came back, with a different face but all the same old tricks, and once again he ran away. Around and around we go. 51 years, attempting to revel in the beauty but refusing to reckon with the pain.

My dad doesn't see that you can't have one without the other. They are two sides to the coin, the yin and yang, if you will. Without this balance we would be shallow, spoiled, fat upper middle class north american brats..... those irritating kids you swear you'll never raise. Without discipline and limitations and hard lessons we are foolish and soft and weak.

The real tragedy of my father is not that he has wasted so many years with running and hiding and hurting himself, or that he's so miserable and his children have the challenge of reckoning with (or running from) his stupid choices. Or that at the age of 51 he's lost his livelihood, and possibly family (again) all because he couldn't deal with the possibility of happiness.

The tragedy is that he's a broken mirror. A creation with a shattered and distorted reflection. He was created to revel in the beauty of his environment, but instead he burns bridges and breaks windows and creates for himself an environment more to his taste, something that someone somewhere somehow convinced him was the thing he deserved, the thing that he couldn't avoid.

My dad says he doesn't believe in hell. I think he's telling the truth. I think that's why he's working so hard at it here. That's his tragedy.

I do have my father's eyes. But I see something very different.
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