I'm going to write this once and post it in a couple of places to thank the sweet canopy of people who have been so kind to me over the last few really challenging days. I am still a bit weary and foggy and couldn't do you justice by trying to write back to every one of you individually. I hope that each of you will know how much your stories and words have meant to me, how much I look forward to your comments and draw warmth and courage from your words.
I am a very sensitive being, and I become embarrassed when I hurt so deeply over the suffering and loss of my animal friends, while some of you have endured unimaginable tragedies, the loss of your closest family members and friends, or who are fighting cancer and AIDS, or dealing with abuse issues, but I know you understand and support me nevertheless and I am grateful. I could never live in this world otherwise. You are the weave of my softest imaginary blanket, and I know that your good and generous hearts will surround me with comfort when I'm low. I do the same for you, even when I'm off in my foggy little dream world and haven't written to you in a while, I remember you. A piece of all of you is always with me, I promise. I think of you often, I worry over you, pray for you, hold hope for you, celebrate your joys and your losses, even when I'm just too bogged down to post a response. I know there are some of you too, who never write, who just read, but who feel sympathy and love, and I care about you too. We live in the same places, you are my psychic dream family and I love all of you, even the trolls, my antogonistas, because I know you are just people in hurt, who want some kind of love and attention too.
The best part of these forums, these Internet communities, the part I want to bottle and show people who are cyber-phobic and haven't yet figured out how to join us, people who are lonely and disconnected, or the psychiatrists and therapists who ponder and scratch their beards worrying about how our cyber lives will alienate us from the "real" world, is you, all of you. Here there are ten of you to every one person in my more tangible life, who just might have the time to return a phone call, or drag themselves out of a stoned stupor to hold my hand. Where in the world would I meet people like you, people who let me peer into their souls, and in some cases their bedrooms, and bathrooms? There might be jewels at the video store, at the super market, at the gas station, in line at the pharmacy, or driving next to me on the freeway, but how will I know them?
I feel as if I really know you here, perhaps I'm being naive but I trust that when we play together we aren't cheating. Maybe that's why I get so hurt when I find out someone has been faking a persona (this is a whole other subject for another time because I do support freedom and creative expression) faking tragedy and manipulating our hearts, because I want to believe in all of this so badly. I know that's why I like cams so much because they add a whole other element of truth to the equation. I'm sure people can point the camera at one pretty spot in their lives, while there may be sweaty, drooling daemons, and piles of steaming waste just off camera, but that's the exception, I'm sure of it.
In my daily life, my non-cyber daily life, I risk more than most people in this area. I chat up people everywhere I go. I radiate empathy and sympathy for them. I hold open doors, and carry packages. I compliment children and play with people's dogs. I notice the lovely and unique things about them. I look for bridges, compliment their clothes and accessories, give advice, share ideas, and basically talk to, encourage and play with almost everyone I meet. I take the risk that someone will snap back, or judge me in some way for being quirky or different, because I believe in generosity and connection. It's a talent I have, a gift I was given, so I see it as a sort of job. I'm the roving, self-appointed, societal ambassador of love and good will.
I believe in a kind of Utopian dream society, a living in long houses, having communal gardens and backyards, shared partners and parenting, walking around naked, making love in the forest together, kind of society, but I haven't found it or been able to create it out there. (Well, excluding Burning Man and certain naturist resorts, but even they fall short of this dream I have.) The closest I've ever come to having a sense of expanded family, (other than brief glorious moments when I worked with other actors in theatre, or on a film or television project) has been here. I wish we could be together at night though, ten of us together in my bed cuddling, but I don't know how to get there yet. So far I haven't been able to cross that bridge between knowing you here and meeting you here on the other side of this computer. It's kind of like Alice in wonderland, I haven't been able to step through that damned mirror yet, but I will. That's why ana's unvalentine and all of these Christmas cards and now Valentine's cards mean so much to me. They make you real here. Look, I'm touching ana and Stacy's pictures, I've put mini-Polaroid-stickers on my computer next to Mary in Medjugorie, and it's all real and I'm happier because of it.
Every day when I think of all of the things I have to be grateful for, I am profoundly grateful for you. I may be shy and slow moving, a kind of tree kangaroo who watches before cautiously joining in, but I am as much a part of this forest as anyone. I'm grateful, just plain and simple grateful, for my friends and mentors here, angel people who take the time out of their busy lives to teach me things, to help me grow, and who each shoulder a little bit of my hurt when it gets to be too much sometimes.
The more mundane truth is that I'm still feeling pretty raw. I have this baseball shaped purple bruise on my arm to remind me why. I'm grateful for it. It reminds me that I hurt and that I'm healing. Brendan's idea of a tattoo is a good one, but I don't have any tattoos and am such a chameleon, that I've never found one I could live with forever. My biggest fantasy tattoo, the one I dreamed of getting for the longest time, was going to be the word ouch done in kanji at the base of my skull, back of my neck, but I didn't want to affirm dark negative energy so then I started thinking about the word life or joy, but ouch was really more reflective of me, so I never did it. I had a friend once, (I don't know where he went and I miss him, a friend whose mother had seduced him), who was so conflicted and torn up inside that he had to cut himself in order to validate his pain. I'm sure you've had friends or you yourselves may have even done this, I did. A therapist suggested he have a tattoo, a meaningful significant tattoo, placed right where he cut himself the most, and I think it worked for him, as an external reminder of the pain trapped inside seeking release and validation. Brendan was right when he understood my relationship to this bite wound, but I took a picture because it is hard watching it fade. Sometimes weird ritualistic things are helpful, and again, where else in the world would I find so many people who would understand my devotion to a bruise? Bless you my sweet Berwick, I will always love you and miss you, please come back to me somehow.
I'm afraid to write this, worry that my stalker will come back out of his silence and accuse me of lying, because it seems so unreal, but before I close this latest chapter of animal loss, I need to affirm my belief in the power of things happening in threes and tell you that yesterday, when Beau woke up, (he had slept in my room the night before, my mother makes all kinds of drama out of this) he went into his bedroom and found Bluebell, our grey Devon rex cat, had somehow gotten in. The top to his mouse cage had been ripped open and both of his beloved mice were missing. He really loved these mice, had nursed them through some kind of bacterial infection, and loved buying little toys for them and watching them make tunnels and paths. He kept them on his desk in the most important spot in his room.
I found the soft, silvery-grey one, dead on the floor. She was still warm so I was afraid to put her in the freezer or bury her. I thought maybe she could be in a mouse coma or shock and could come out of it, so I just put her back in her cage. Her little white sister was missing. I was so tired, but we tore his room apart looking for her and I kept praying she would turn up unharmed. I tried to be Miss Martial Arts, The Super Silent Sleuth Girl, and waited alone in his room for so long, training my ears to every little sound, tiptoeing carefully to the source, but found nothing. Fortunately we found her alive this morning, hiding in a paper bag under his desk. Again, tremendous gratitude for this small thing, and for everything that lessens the burden of all of this little loss of life. Thank you.