Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What is seen

A man sharing his orange slushy with a woman. An anxious mother followed my her young daughter, several paces back. The nervous boy, clearly from out of town, with his fanny pack up around the middle of his chest, cluched to his side. The endless stream of boys and girls in the first flushes of hormones, giggling off of eachother. Kids buying trinkets at the cheapo vendors in the atrium. Metro employees getting dinner before heading back to work and office workers getting dinner before heading back to an empty home. The pregnant young woman - a girl really, with her distracted boyfriend who is chattering away to someone on his cell phone. The two kids walking by with matching green casts on their right forearms. The improbably tense woman with her shoulders all scrunced up and hunched over, walking by with a Victoria's Secret bag on her arm, sexuality hidden. The teenaged boy with the hot pink hightops and beige checkered shorts buying some piece of cheap jewlery, thanking the vendor and walking off with his purchase - for a special someone perhaps? The hugely muscled man walkikng by, pulling his rolling backpack. The guys, too cool for school, lounging at their table, sunglasses on, hat askew just so. The toddler girl in the stroller in line infront of me, with her hair in twists and the biggest smile on her face, brining warmth and joy to all humanity around her. The military man with gray hair, holding the door open for the woman behind him, leading the man infront of me to hold the door for me, leading me to hold the door for the woman behind me. The old man with the pita pocket dinner reading the evening paper alone at his table. The large man who works at the novelty t-shirt booth, in his jean shorts and plaid multicolored shirt, ever so carefully refolding a pile of garishly colored tie dyed "I 'heart' DC" t-shirts as he answers questions for a group of boys about the merits of hats vs. hoodies. The young man, typing away on his phone, watching the world go by. The man who gets up and heads home.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On being present

I had a really deep, meaningfull group today. There was a time for me to really speak up and give voice to my emotion and to be seen, in the context of seeing another person. I felt really, really present, and felt that i could really be there for this other person. It was a really (i'm using "really" a lot here, yes?) meaningfull experience, and i'm quite happy to have experienced it. And the exceptionally cool thing was that my hips felt looser afterwards than i have ever felt them. Yay for good work!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring is coming

and I can't wait - can't wait to get out and run again, to bike to work, to keep windows open all day...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

3/12/2008 Dream

I'm out in public in a crowd of people and this announcement come on that the olympic volleyball team will be playing a re-match, but that they must pay some amount of money for each play in the game. at which point George Bush comes on the loudspeaker to say that he'll start the process by giving all the money he has in his pockets to the volleyball team. I see him just over there on the sidewalk talking into a microphone, and see that pulls out a wad of bill and some loose change and puts them into an envelope. I know that i'm tasked with taking that money up to the whitehouse where there is an observer on the roof who will take the money and hold it. I go over and collect the money from him. as soon as he stops talking on the microphone, people start ignoring him, even though he's the president and people are walking right by him. we both start walking towards the whitehouse, and i make a comment to him that doesn't he remember me - i was in some parade of some sort. And then he's gone, and i arrive at the whitehouse and go through the check in process - i have to sign in on the official, ceremonial log. but it's taking me a long time, because i only have a fat red permanent marker to write with, and my handwriting is all childish. As I'm writing, someone makes a comment that I must be a republican, to which i reply - why would you think that? and they say that, i must be, because - look - I'm running an errand for George Bush! to which I say, no - i just have empathy and compassion for everyone. and the person says - everyone? and I say - everyone. and then i finish signing in, and we dash up the stairs - it's a race, really. there is a guard leading the way, and we're running higher and higher up the building, through working spaces, until we get to the final escalator to the attic - it's mostly archives up here - there are some workers doing something, but they mostly ignore me. and i'm running past the file cabinets to the final stairs that lead up to the very top of the building, and i see out of the corner of my eye a photographer steps out from behind the bookshelves to take my picture as I cross the "finish line", as if i'm performing a ceremonial duty that should be captured for posterity.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

3/11/2008 Dream

I start at a mall, where i run into a coworker who happens to run into me. later i find myself at home - IH is there, and i'm in my bedroom and there is a strange person sitting up in my bed. He has on an HB Woodlawn t-shirt - my high school. i start talking to him and it sounds like he has had a lot of experiences similar to mine. but just as he's starting to talk about his t-shirt he gets up and is instantly replaced by a different person - but the setup is the same, as if i'm supposed to thing the person has not changed. the new person picks up the conversation in the same place as the old guy, and starts talking about HB as if he had gone there. but i grill him on it and it quickly becomes clear that he never went to HB, that it was a ruse to try to get me to be comfortable with him and to let my guard down. Then the co-worker from before shows up, and it becomes clear that he had subliminaly planted the seed in my mind when we were talking before that i had to be home at 6:30 - which i was. and it turns out that he's much smarted and clever than i had realized at work. it turns out that he's part of a group of people that have been watching me and monitoring me from a little ways off, but now it's time for them to come in closer and take a more hands on approach to monitoring me. i don't understand all this. then this guy goes into the bathroom and starts setting up the monitoring equipment - he's drilling holes in the floor and the walls to run cables and wires, and i'm getting frustrated that he's damaging my house. i see that a main bundle of wires in coming in from outside and being routed through the holes in the bathroom. i look out the window, and see the bundle of wires leading away from the house - only, they're not going to a normal telephone pole like any other wire - they're leading up into the sky - way up high and out of site. i have no idea how far up they go. and now i'm really worried about these people - they say they're here to help me, but they don't seem to really _see_ me. IH and i go downstairs to the dining room, and IH makes some sort of comment that distracts the two people for a moment, and i know i must get away. i tear off out of the room - through the door, through the kitchen, to the outside. it try to latch the door closed behind me, but it won't lock - i just suceed in slowing myself down. just as they guy bursts through the door after me i jump up onto a wheelbarrow type of thing and launch up into the air, and am suddenly gliding up off the ground - i glide up until i'm about 50 feet off the ground and then turn around and hang in the air and look down at the people - it's clear they don't have this power to come after me, and that i may be able to get away. i also have the power to reach down and pull IH up with me, which I do.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The bubble

At the end of my street is Hoffman-Boston Elementary School. Thirty two years ago I attended both nursery school and then Kindergarten from 1975 through 1980. I've been doing a lot of internal examination and exploration of myself over these past few years, and have just recently come to recognize the core thing I struggle with was with me from nursery school, if not earlier. How fortunate is it that I find myself living one block from this beginning? Is this the gift of my second marriage, to have led me to this neighborhood, to leave me here, by myself, to do this hard work? It was K who found this house, almost by accident, and it required my first marriage to dissolve so that I would need to move here. When the way forward is not clear, go back to the beginning. Go back as far as you can and sit there, look around, remember what it was like to be very young and to be in your own world.

I remember being two or three years old, attending Hoffman-Boston - going there for the mornings, and at some point transitioning to staying for both the morning and afternoon sessions. I remember being a quiet kid, keeping to myself. There were several "stations" in our classroom where a kid could learn to do things - like tying a shoe, or buttoning things, or zipping things up, or polishing silver (and what was that all about?). But the station I spent most of my time was the clay table - where there was grey clay you could play with. And I would spend all my time there.

I recall going to recess, and I had this game I would play. I had a belt that had a magnetic clasp, where if you twisted it a certain way, as if you were opening the clasp, it would make a clicking noise. So my game was that I was a secret agent or a spy of some sort, and I was on a mission. But if I were to get into trouble, I would make this clicking noise on my belt, which would be the signal for my friends to come running and rescue me. I had it in my mind that my friends all knew about this, and were in on the game, and I could see them over there, climbing on the jungle gym. So I clicked my belt. But of course, they were too far off to hear it, and I hadn't really told them about the game or the clicking belt. But in my world, I had, and they were part of the game. And of course they never came running to rescue me.

During snack time we would all to to the refrigerator and get milk to go with our snack. But I never liked chocolate milk, and for some reason that was all the classroom ever seemed to have, so I would have to run over to the main office refrigerator to get my plain milk, and run back to class. Now, the building our classroom was in must have been the original schoolhouse for the area - it's a small three or four room building. Over time the new school was built in a U shape around the old schoolhouse, but the two buildings were never connected, so to get to the main office you had to go outside, and into the other building. One day the class was going outside to have snack time. Everyone went out and down the hill to sit in a picnic. But I had to run to the office first to get my milk. Not wanting to be late and miss anything, I ran down the sidewalk connecting the two buildings. But I tripped on something, and fell, sliding on my hands and knees and getting pretty badly torn up.

From this early age I was creating my own world, all inside my head. I think I did this because the real world really didn't make sense to me, and no one seemed to be explaining it to me. In _my_ world, however, everything made sense. I was a part of a rich, vibrant reality. As I grew older, this reality stayed with me and served me well. When I was old enough to ride a bike, I would ride down to the park and spend hours playing in the stream or exploring in the woods, all by myself. I was never lonely, because in my reality I was never alone - I was always part of a larger universe.

I have a vivid memory of third grade - I was in math class, and was wearing a red plaid flannel shirt. And in my world, I was a lumberjack, and were it not for this class I had to take I would be doing my lumberjack duties down at the saw mill. I remember talking under my breath to the lumberjack dispatcher about how, as soon as I got out of class, I would come back to the saw mill and get back to work. I knew this was not real, but at the same time it was quite vivid and real.

This world I created for myself suited me quite well - it made sense and was a safe, fun place for me to be. And, as a child, my world paralleled quite nicely with the "real" child's world, so there really wasn't any real problem. However, as I grew older, I never left that world. The real child's world gradually became an adults world. But here I am, existing inside my child's world still. What this means to me is that in order to really "be" in the adult world, I must translate what I'm seeing and experiencing outside of this "bubble" I'm in, and recreate it inside of my world, because, you see, I'm the only real person inside of my world. This has been my place of existence, and for me to really be a part of the adult world, I find that I must take what I'm seeing outside the bubble, and recreate it inside the bubble, and then interact with this fiction I've created. Can you imagine how much work that is? Have you ever played the Telephone game, where a message is passed from one person to another and another and so on, and you realize that over time the message has become corrupted? What if you only interacted with the world through a game of telephone, where each interaction outside of the bubble passed through this prism - you'd be reacting to something that resembles reality, but isn't really.

From time to time I've been able to step outside off the bubble - to truly exist in the world. But I've never been able to stay there - I've always had to return to the bubble to survive. But now I can no longer stay in this place. I must come out and live in the world. If I am to have any chance at emotional survival, I must be born. And yet I fear leaving this world, this rich place where I feel most creative. I really feel the uniqueness of looking at the world through this prism, of seeings a little differently, from a different angle. I would like to bring that out of the bubble.

I've come back to the beginning. My house is a physical representation of the bubble - a rich, vibrant place where I am most often alone. And yet, I cannot stay here - I must move on. I have been brought back to the beginning, literally parked right outside of where it began, like a construction office trailer outside of a new building. A necessary to do work, but never meant to last.

I can see the bubble now. I can even feel the bubble. I can feel it clinging to me, this too large adult sitting in a child's world. I can feel the clingy fabric of that world press against me as I try to stand and stretch - I'm just too big for this world anymore.

When you're with me, and I don't really seem there - it's probably because I'm not. I'm in my world, and to be with you I have to make this real time translation between "out there" and "in here" - it's a lot of work! Anyone who has learned a new language might recall trying to carry a conversation on in that new language, only, you're not speaking Spanish in your head, you're speaking English. And you have to take those Spanish words, change them to English to understand what's been said, and then take your English words, translate them to Spanish and pass them back. That's an involved process!

I can feel the bubble. I can reach out and touch it, see the edges, feel what it's like to step outside, and feel what it's like to be inside and overwhelmed with translating. Sometimes I'm here with you, sometimes I'm just not able to be there. But I can see and feel that boundary now. And that's a new thing.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Did Harry Potter's adventures never happen...

Harry Potter is introduced to us as a tortured soul - his parents viciously murdered while he was a baby, left on the doorstep of his aunt and uncle who never wanted him, abused as a child by his uncle, hated by his aunt, tortured by his cousin. Forced to live in a closet, trapped as a creative soul, abandoned to the world.

So... what if everything that happens in all the books are Harry disassociating to an alarming degree - finding a safe place in his head where he has an identity, where he has power, where he is finally seen, where he has control over his life. I posit the following: Harry is still trapped under the stairs, kicked, abused, unseen, forgotten.

What if.