August 5th, 2003

Chalkboard

My Friend Ana, Rats, Life, Heartbreak, and Creativity



Oh will you just look at this gorgeous hat that my friend anawee made. I love her so much. She has been such a support, such a source of joyful inspiration to me for God can it be six or seven years now? Sometimes I feel like a little squirrel following behind her collecting the creatively inspirational little nuts and seeds that she drops. Does that make any sense or am I way too tired to be trying to communicate with you all right now?

I have written two really longish posts to share with you over the course of the last few days and just haven't had the time to edit them and put them up. I've been plowing my way into the hellish depths of my garage and it is painful and liberating at the same time. I promised myself last year that these would be my years of transformation and I swear I am transforming as fast as my overburdened feet will carry me and tired, overwhelmed, little soul will allow. All the while doing all I possibly can to care for my child, my partner, my aging Mommy-child, all of our animal-friends, this newly built, but crumbling-nevertheless house, and everything and everyone else I've taken on. Expressing myself here on this computer is my one main outlet for the infinite creative link that flows from the universe to me, and it's hard to have to limit myself to so little when I have stars inside me that want to explode outwards. I hope some of you will understand this and not think I'm simply referencing Kubrick in some fartsy way.

Oh God, big huge sigh, I spent most of today and yesterday sitting in my back yard with flies biting my legs and arms, while five or six helping-assistant people-friends went through box after box of my stored things with me and helped me sort out what was trashed by the rats and what could be saved. And still I won't kill them. Still I value their precious ratty lives, their shiny brown fur, their pointy noses and whiskers, and their big deep brown eyes. In fact after working for eight or nine hours straight yesterday, throwing out precious hand knit afghans and beautifully embroidered pieces from the teens through the forties, and heaps of vintage fabrics, clothes and so much more. They built nests in the base of Maureen Ohara's favorite dressing table chair, and they ate their way into my very first English pine dresser. What can I do but work my way through the garage until it's completely emptied out, something that will take weeks, then drywall or plaster the whole thing, do my best to rat proof it, and find some way to catch and relocate these rat people? How do I find the time to be a mother, a lover, a good daughter, a friend, and channel all the art that is bursting to come out of me at the same time? I live in an almost total state of art abstinence, I need an ARTS meeting so badly.

Every morning and every night of my life I take two syringes, fill them with two different sticky medicines and coax my sick friend Pinky-Rat into taking them. Then I give him a favorite food treat and cuddles. I don't care what anyone says about rats, disease, pestilence or plague, there is no difference between his life and theirs. This morning I heard this plaintive little squeaking ratty sound and spent ages worrying about this little lost rat who was obviously displaced and calling out for help in all the confusion. Had I found it I would have built it a palace of a cage and nursed it back to health until it could have been released somewhere wild but rat friendly. Being this empathic is killing me, while at the same time being my greatest gift.

Today we began the enormous task of going through Beau's boxes and boxes of saved toys; sorting LEGOs, micro machines, Sailor Moon dollies, Power Rangers, Tamogachis (sp?), Beanie Babies, trains, trucks, puzzles, electronic gizmos, rubber band balls, sling shots, rubber duckies, stuffed animals of every kind, comic books, stickers, marbles, cracker jack toys, bubble wands, pool toys, Sega, Nintendo, Playstation, and Game Boy stuff, videos, books, cards, games, figurines, dice, Star Wars things, monsters, action figures, Pikachu and Mew and all of their friends, playschool stuff, little people, books on tape, roller coaster and hot wheel tracks, Rockenbach stuff, arts and craft stuff, it just went on and on, and I couldn't just toss it. It all has to be gone through. It should have been sorted through all along but I was in so much pain both physically and emotionally that I think I just abdicated responsibility in so many areas of my life that I relied on the wrong people to make decisions for me and they did them very poorly. Mostly this consisted of getting paid to dump everything into a big jumble in expensive plastic boxes that I would buy over and over again at Bed Bath and Beyond, and now I'm paying the price. The more weight I shed, the more awake and able bodied I become, the more I have to go back over everything I have let slide and it's hard. Bah.

Anyway all of this came flooding up to the surface when I went by analand tonight and felt this yearning to create. I just want to go to the yarn store, learn how to create beautiful wool things, and make them. But I also want to learn how to play my guitar and my ukulele. I want to write music and record it. I want to make my collages and art journals and paint. I want to make documentaries and edit them on my computer. I want to write my poems again. I want to find a new agent and get back out there and start doing what I was built for. I want to earn money for my art instead of trying to figure out ways to squeeze a few dollars out of all of my crap on eBay.

There's just no other way out for me but to go right on through so I keep going. In the meantime I often feel like I take one giant painful step forward and three tiny steps backwards, all the time, but I'm hoping I've got this reversed and it's really happening the other way round. And then there's the world around me spinning out of control. I can't even touch the news or I'll come apart in brittle flaking pieces of heartbreak. I want to find that man who ran over all of those poor people at the Farmer's Market and tell him I know that he is suffering right now. I want to go to all of those people who lost their family members and friends and hold them and tell them that I love them and that they will all be okay. I want to hug Angelina Jolie and tell her how cool I think she is for adopting little Maddox and how sorry I am that things didn't work out with Billie Bob. Christ I want to go to the Middle East and broker peace but it just isn't going to happen. I just have to walk my own little twenty acres right here and hope that the Divine force that drives all of this will look down upon me with a certain amount of benevolence and give me the courage to keep going. And like a hungry yearning forever girl-child I would give almost anything for a real mommy who would care enough to put loving Band-Aids over all of my very deep wounds, look my in the eye and tell me I'm a good person, that I'm special, loved, appreciated, wanted, that she knows I've done the best I can with what I've been given and that it's all going to be all right; a Mommy who would love me at night and tuck me in and kiss my forehead, but I didn't get it then, I'm not going to get it now, and I have to go deep inside and find some way to give this to myself, when all I want to do is wail and sob hiccups into someone's unconditionally loving arms.


How does she do it? How do any of us do it?</a>
Chalkboard

"MATER ECCLESIAE MARIA ROSA MYSTICA ORA PRO NOBIS".


It was hard to find an image of Mary looking as beautiful as she did in my dream, but this statue of Mary at Medjugorie is the closest I could come.

Sometimes I worry that I'm going to bore the hell out of you guys when I write up my dreams or go on and on about the same problems all the time, especially the ones about my mother and my unusual dependency on her at my advanced age here. But then I remind myself that this is a journal and I write here now instead of on paper and that I have to get out whatever I have inside me that I need to express, and I know that my Live Journal friends are loving people who like me, (this is a big admission for me, any kind of ego or arrogance was taboo in my Catholic, conservatively raised world), and can always scan through the stuff that disinterests them. I'm going to post last night's dream because it was particularly painful and then finally I'll post the one I wrote up a few days ago and then backdate it. That'll leave me with just one older post I haven't put up yet.

As usual despite my many promises to Scott and to myself I stayed up so late last night that most of you were already getting up and having your morning coffee when I finally dragged myself to bed, tucked in my squashy orange ear plugs, grabbed a few cats, and put an herbal-scented, seed pillow over my eyes to shut out the light. Now there are people here and big specially ordered trash cans parked in front of my house waiting to be filled, and although I could use another three hours of sleep at a minimum there's just no way I can ignore my responsibilities and hide out in my comfy room. And already Shayan, Beau's annoying little friend, (I do love the little guy), has begun his daily round of incessant phone calling.

Beau and I had been fighting yesterday and off and on into the night. These fights with my little thirteen year old man truly break my mother's, (my heart not my Mother's), heart, because he means the world to me and he is my only child and as an abandoned, (thrice), adopted person my only blood relative who I have any contact with.

Yesterday when we were just beginning the work of sorting through all of his toys and things, (it's going to take days), and after hours of sitting in the sun sorting through them, he casually breezed out, told us we were doing everything wrong and started to undo much of the work we had already done. He could barely focus long enough to sit with us for about a half of an hour, (and yes I know I should have him tested for ADD since it's supposedly genetic and I've been diagnosed with it), before flitting here and there playing with the toys we had sorted through. Then he had a mini-tantrum because I wouldn't leave all of these paid-by-the-hour people to take him and his little friend back to the army surplus store to buy more stuff.

Granted I had told them several days ago that I would take them back to the store on Monday but I had apologized more than once over the course of the day, explaining that I just couldn't do it today when there was so much work to do. I had no idea what I was getting into when we opened the long ignored garage. Anyway he kept harping on this all day long, unaccustomed as he is to hearing no to any requests, which just makes me feel doubly wrong, wrong for having spoiled him and then wrong for disappointing him when I made a promise. I offered all kinds of alternatives and he was completely unreasonable. Thinking he was overtired I told him that he was going to go to be at a reasonable time so that he would be well rested and able to help us on Tuesday and that if he really did help out that I would then take him and his friend to the store to get him his leafy green army helmet. I swear he is getting more and more like the Jack Osbourne of the early episodes of the first season by the day.

Then at dinner there was more drama, and Scott was here to witness the whole thing and toss his reasonable but judgmental two cents in, and by midnight he still hadn't gone to bed. Still later I came into my office and found that he had not only left the television blasting on Cartoon Network, (picture an endlessly ringing phone here that no one wants to answer because we all know it's Shayan wanting to nag us into taking him to the store, while Beau sleeps away the day because he stayed up too late, argh), when I have asked him repeatedly to turn off the TV when he leaves the room, empty Snapple bottles left all over my glass desk next to my computer, my foot stool toppled over and worst of all an empty bag of my favorite store bought cookie in the world, Raspberry Pogens, sitting on top of the brand new scanner. I can't eat these cookies anymore and Beau knows it and he just leaves the empty crumpled bag right where I have to face it Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee yaaaaaayayayyay eeeeeeeeee eeeeeee eyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. That was the sound of my inner angry screams last night.

Anyway after much fighting he went to bed and left me to fix my friggin' computer whose DSL modem connection that had been working just fine earlier in the day when I had been using it, had mysteriously stopped working when a certain sticky handed little teenage monkey sat here and used it himself. Presumably to download a few more naked cartoon Japanese women, Lord knows. So I sat here and pieced it all back together and then because I was lonely and hurting I wrote up a long journal entry and then hopped around like a hungry bunny in Mr. Whatever His Name's garden patch until I finally dragged myself to bed around five this morning.

So to last night's dream, or the last one I remember; Beau and I are living in some rented series of rooms in a religious communal shopping entertainment complex of sorts. Very weird and interesting. There is a generic loving housekeeper with us to help care for our pets. We have a room full of rats in cages and some of them have died. One of them that I am carrying around and taking care of has lost the top to his cage and I am afraid he will escape and be injured or killed, (God this all so easy to break down and analyze, my dreams are so classic), so I am looking for a way to put a top back on his cage so he won't escape.

We go to a movie and get into an argument with these loud rude girls behind us, then they get up and start dancing with hundreds of other singers who are performing in the aisles and all around the edges of the theatre. I want to sing with them but I haven't been asked and I think I am too fat to join in, (also obvious).

Later I am running through this maze of rooms in our weird boarding house shopping place. It is Christmas time and my mother is coming to get us. We have so much to pack up to take with us to my parents house and I am excited about buying more and more presents to give to my Mom.

I keep getting lost while walking through the many rooms trying to gather my things. I end up walking with a male friend into a tiny room where a group of men are playing classical music. My friend takes out his instrument and begins playing with them and I am standing in the center unable to move and tangled up in their cords and cables. I trip and break the neck of a beautiful antique cello. I am horrified that I have done this and fight to get untangled and run away.

Mom shows up and announces that she is sick of Christmas and is essentially calling it off this year. She doesn't like celebrating it with me, doesn't like the food we always eat because of my being a vegetarian, she wants roast beef and wants to eat it somewhere else, somewhere without us. She doesn't like the exchanging of gifts and has decided to go somewhere else, with my father who is alive again. I start out hurt, wounded, and angry and eventually go insane with rage. I am yelling at her and trying desperately to get her to change her mind even though I know this will just push her further into her own stubborn position. I argue every point thinking somehow I will reach her. What about Beau, doesn't he deserve a Christmas with his whole family? What about me, why is she so callously abandoning us, and on Christmas Eve? Why can't we be together, why is she taking my father away with her.

People all around us are packing up their things and getting ready to go be with their families. There are nuns and priests walking around us as my fight with my mother escalates. I am so embarrassed to be fighting this angrily with my elderly mother, especially embarrassed to be raising my voice at my Mom in front of the nuns, but I am helpless to stop myself, the grief and anger are so deep, and I have to express them. At one point I put my hands around her neck and am almost choking her, trying to force her to listen to me, force her to be the mother I need her to be.

She takes me to these religious people. They're kind of Baptist like but with a weird cult like thing going on. They force me to get on my knees, lift up my arms and pray for healing, which I do reluctantly. They show me a poster of the twelve steps and tell me that this is the answer. I begin to get it, and am hoping Mom will get it too, when she runs off somewhere.

She calls a hospital and tries to get me committed. The person on the telephone is describing my condition to her, telling her how much pain I am in and how much I need love and care rather than harsh judgment and labeling. She tells them to be sure not to give me any pain pills. I am watching all of this from outside myself somehow, then suddenly I am back where she is at this strange semi-enchanting housing complex. There is still time to get our things, still time to save our relationship and Christmas but I must walk through the church, and these nuns are closing it off and telling me that I mustn't look at Mary. The church is filled with thousands of white candles and they are draping everything with thin white cloth. It is some ritual that I am completely unaware of. I never knew that Mary was closed before Christmas. But she is so beautiful and even though they have tried to cover her face I see her lovely visage moving beneath the veil. She looks at us with such love and compassion but I know I am not supposed to bother her now that she is resting and I walk on.

I am running again and hiding, trying not to be seen by mother or anyone who is on her side. I am trying to get to my son to get out of here before "they" catch me and put me away. Beau and I are trying to find each other and eventually do and then something wakes me up.


Okay well, back to the grind. I understand my dream pretty well. I love my dreams, I have dream analogy books and software, but even though I know a lot of themes are pretty universal like suddenly appearing in public naked, or showing up for a test unprepared, I do think people's dreams are as unique and personally inspired as they are. So no worries my friends everything is okay here, I'm just working out my stuff. In general I love my life and I swear that I wake up every day full of hope and gratitude.

Love you guys,
Jacqui


Here is my first scanned vintage family photo. I Photoshopped it like crazy because you could hardly see my Daddy. He's the altar boy on the right. I'm guessing this must be about 1918 or so.