Days 9 and 10: Topics/Mice

I guess I missed yesterday’s post completely. I had a lot of ideas for different posts. I wrote them somewhere. Two about my childhood, watching my mom pack suitcases for trips and my dad’s obsession with clocks and watches.

Then there were the mice nightmares; not actual dreams but scary images that pop in my head.

As it’s late and time for bed here are a few. I was just working out and I try to face away from the kitchen as I don’t want to see a mouse run across the kitchen floor from that vantage point. Then the surreal would be a mouse runs over me while I’m on the floor on the mat doing push-ups.

I’ve also scared myself with the idea of lots of squeaking and a nest of baby mice running around.

Seeing a mouse sitting on the couch would be a bad one. Seeing one trying to get out of the sink might finally make it easy to kill. Then I have these images of super mice- very aggressive who would rich at us and attack and bite us. I’m trying to get over being freaked out late at night. Like now I don’t even want to go brush my teeth.

It’s an odd fear. These creatures are how much smaller than us humans? We must be huge giants to them.

What also freaks me out is I’m used to very fast mice you barely see then gone, but these ones seem slower which is creepy.

Many years ago I managed to kill a mouse with a book. I dropped the Physician’s Desk Reference on it.

Day 8: Monday June 30, Pride Post

There is something that feels good about daily practices. Ideally I would get up by 6am and do everything: yoga, working out, writing, comic strip, drawing and meditation. That list is ridiculous. I did just work out as usual after 10pm.

I usually do an annual Pride post and I’m doing it late. On Sunday we couldn’t participate physically like we usually do so I watched the Live Stream of Reclaim Pride and Black Lives Matter March, rally, protest,show with an MC and interviews. We watched about two hours. My child has been a member GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) since sixth grade and CURE (Campaign for Unity and Racial Equality) this year.

It’s funny how bisexuality is very simple and obvious :

adjective

  1. 1. sexually attracted not exclusively to people of one particular gender; attracted to both men and women.

I would add romantic and physical attraction in there but that’s it.

People like things to be binary, this or that, gay or straight, male or female, married or single, atheist or religious etc.

So being bisexual is weird in many ways. People don’t know you are bisexual if you’re in a seemingly straight relationship. When I was in my 20s people would talk about a person being “really bisexual” or the “most bisexual person I know”, implying that you have to prove you’re bisexual or people will assume you’re making it up. And saying to me that they don’t really believe me. One time someone had the opposite reaction and got mad at me for talking about it because she thought people would think we were together and that she also was into women. It was ridiculous because I had no attraction to her whatsoever and at the time I had no idea it was also a terrible way to treat a person. If I had I would have stood up for myself instead of feeling guilty. Classic gaslighting.

Nobody has to sleep with a lot of people of the opposite gender to prove they’re straight. You can be in no relationship and not have to get in a “real” one to prove you’re straight. Said like that it’s ridiculous. I’m bisexual because I’m attracted to both women and men. That would be true if I were with a woman right now and not a man. It’s not a “phase”. People of all genders are attractive for many reasons. In a way it would make more sense if most people were bisexual and gender less and a minority were gay or straight, male or female…

Anyway there’s not much more to it. In general I find most women more physically attractive than men; I’ve had all kinds of experiences but I could be someone who never got in a relationship and still be bisexual.

Day 7: The Red Book

This painting I did yesterday is irrelevant to the post but I finally liked something I made…

I just read 2 entries of Kit Troyer (https://kittroyer.wordpress.com) Kit’s blog

One was about the Harvard Red Book that they send out around reunion time. I think it’s every 5 years. You can write an entry about your life or be mysterious and cool or so famous everyone knows what’s going on with you. But maybe the people who don’t sum up or write something just don’t know where to start or what to write. I agonized over mine. The first attempt in October or fall was an angry sort of lament about mental illness and the stigma and why people want to kill themselves. I was in a bad place. One friend said “go for it. Send it in.” I tortured myself trying to revise that one into something more like my post of 5 years ago which captured the topic and mentioned my close friend’s suicide. Then I tried to do an acronym from the word THIRTY, with a sentence starting with each word. That was even worse and really forced and trying too hard to be funny. I wrote a few more and emailed another Harvard friend. Finally I decided to just write a “Bucket List”, which is the first item as I’ve never written a Bucket List. I omitted that and my first item was to attend a Harvard reunion.

Skip ahead to receiving the noon in the mail. I’ll tell you what I did do with it without opening it yet. A few days ago or maybe more I was in and awful mood, I needed to do something violent so I took the red book from where it was which was probably the floor of my closet and I threw it towards my bed table, over six feet away. It was mildly satisfying. Then I went to workout on the exercise bike, a better choice for working out anger, and felt better.

While quarantining it (leave all mail in box for 2-3 days before opening), I noticed I had no feelings of excitement or anticipation. I still haven’t opened it.

That’s mildly shocking to me. What is disturbing is my lack of curiosity. Alice in Wonderland is my favorite book. Where has my curiosity and winder gone? Why is it only in my painting? I’m sure it’s affected by my not being around kids aged 3-9 which used to be such a big part of my life. And not having a dog since mine died 11 years ago.

Yesterday, Day 6, Skipped: “Subtle” Sexism

On Saturday I was watching a movie, “Afternoon Delight” and wondering how in 2020, we still see these heteronormative sexist cliche scenes: the men hang out and play poker and have no idea what their partners are doing or thinking or how they’re feeling, and the women gather at someone’s house, drink wine and get drunk and say crazy sometimes too honest ugly things.

How many times have you seen such scenes? I recently watched Pretty Little Liars and there was a lot of separateness between the cis males and cis females.

While I was watching the movie Afternoon Delight, I saw in the “trivia” Amazon Video provides on the left side of your screen, that it was Quentin Tarantino’s favorite movie of 2013. Funny that he made a movie that year, Django Unchanged, which was not bad, but certainly focused on the usual male characters and actors. I just looked through a list of 50 best movies of 2013 and Afternoon Delight was not listed. It’s fun to watch but super annoying. It’s sexist, classist and probably microagression level racist in some way.

I was focused mainly on the sexism, the way couples are still portrayed in this way that seems so stale and so insulting. The characters arent’ people. They are tropes. The middle aged married mom who is bored with her life so she gets obsessed with a stripper, who of course, is young, beautiful, etc. The only real person in the movie happens to be her because she isn’t chasing some kind of “happiness” and is authentic and actually likes herself. As much as a mainstream movie can do, it portrays her as someone who sees sex work as a job. It’s the main character and her friends who are judgmental or turn her into a fetish. The main issue in the movie about the mid life crisis of the main character is that she can’t deal with her life but also seems to miss being young and sleeping with lots of people in college. There is an allusion to a possible date rape but the focus seems to be of her fascination with this stripper/sex worker, both judging her and fetishizing her.

Anyway it was very sexist except at lest showing that there are sex workers who just see sex work as a job and have clients the way lawyers and therapists and other careers involve clients. The other women are shocked that Rachel would hire her as a baby-sitter because they assume it means the husband would want to sleep with her or be distracted by her, thus demonstrating that these women are the cliche of the older mother who feels she is no longer attractive. In the movie the main character doens’t see herself as beautiful or desirable.

Anyway it’s not even worth talking more about. There are just too many shows and movies out there that have this sexist narrowminded view of relationships, and most of all of women. Quentin Tarantino himself doesn’t have a great record with his protrayal of women in movies so it’s not surprising he loved this movie.

Day 5: 3 Day Old Spinach

I thought I posted this on Saturday but it stayed in drafts.

I got into cooking spinach and garlic a month or so before quarantine. For a while I was eating it daily. With ADHD and food, you find one thing and keep doing it; it doesn’t lead to quinoa, kale, Brussel sprouts, just more spinach and garlic. I hadn’t had it in a while.

I’m not a health food nut though that expression is old school. Now people talk about eating clean.

Food is food. My office is near Billy’s bakery. Yesterday for a late lunch I had their deconstructed cupcake, a plastic cup with cupcake, icing, cupcake, icing, sort of like a parfait. I eat it with a spoon. The other day I was dying for a regular cupcake so bad it was hard to stay focused during last few sessions.

I don’t know. Sometimes I wish meals were pills and you didn’t have to deal with feeding others and yourself.

It’s very quiet right now. I’m in my closet office off the kitchen. There’s no dryer going on, no cooking, nothing. I’m in the other side of the house alone. Quiet has a sound. Very peaceful.

It’s gorgeous to hear absolutely nothing. It’s indescribable. This is my vacation instead of a trip and mountains, beaches, lakes. I deleted Zillow and Trulia from my phone. I’m just going to try to be simple. At home most of the time you feel like you’re hiding but tomorrow there will be time for noise. It’s Pride Sunday and sound/noise is a huge part of it even if you’re streaming instead of marching.

Right now it’s 10:47 and the quiet is not like lying under the stars hearing frogs and nature. It’s silence, pure silence where I can hear the sound waves in the silence. what a gift. Such peace even from my own mind.

Day 4: In my office

A new client I had 3 sessions with just quit so I can write a post for today. In my old DBT class for Weekend Self-Care post they asked for a favorite quote. This is what came to me.

“Barn’s burnt down. Now I can see the moon.” Kiera Van Gelder

I want the barn to burn down so I can be in a field and see the moon and there will be no big buildings there. When I move out of this city, I will be able to sit outside or lie on my own grass and look up at the moon and feel how spacious my life can be, uncluttered and free of everything I hate about living here.

It also expresses how space is much more freeing than stuff and rooms and clutter and things. Here in my studio I am surrounded by crap, art supplies and old art work. To some extent I wish I had to have a small studio and have to downsize. This office is a total mess because I work all the time when here, and when I have free time I do other things like write and make art instead of cleaning.

Since I’m not seeing clients in person there is no incentive to clean.

I don’t think I’ve had a new client stay recently. Maybe it’s just today’s. In February someone started with me and it’s going great, so I will not start up with the negative. I’ve been doing this since my first internships in 1996. I’ve been making art since 1989.

It also refers to my writing. If I follow this quote, maybe I can finally write something good, by burning down/editing to the point that is as strong as that very short quote.

I’m working on this big one.

Small one

For Yesterday, Day 3

I didn’t have time to write yesterday for the first time in over 100 days. I’m not in the greatest mood and don’t have much to say.

Partly I’ve been watching the show on Jeffry Epstein. I don’t care if I spelled his name wrong. Depsite working with a lot of people who’ve been raped, molested and sexually abused and harrased and heard all kinds of stories, I still was overwhelmed and even shocked. Disgusted I expected. I knew little of the story before watching this. I must say it was kind of a relief that besides him obviously being a white guy, it seems most of the girls, children, teenagers, young adults who came forward were seemingly not people of color. I guess just to underscore what happens when a white guy like him gets a hold of a ton of money through criminal means and gets away with that and then gets away with having probably 100 or more victims and turning victims into “pimps” for him, that the bad person you should be afraid of for your daughters no matter their race or ethnicity may be a very wealthy criminal white guy, who, like his buddy Trump, gets away with molesting and raping tons and tons of girls/young women.

I know lots of people have watched this series. It’s good to watch in the climate of right now. It’s also interesting that the man was getting away with crimes from the beginning, way before he built a complicated empire sex slave city on an island.

Obviously a sociopath and narcissist, he is still shocking, the extent of damage to so many people he caused as casually as someone else would shake someone’s hand or say good morning to a stranger.

I am very aware of how this scar that happens at whatever age on the victim, permanently changes her whole life. One woman said she was a blooming flower he plucked and stomped all over. There is no real recovery from that. There is healing, but that wound and pain is there forever and the ramifications last a lifetime. These victims who bravely came forth to tell their story in this movie and in the courtroom which was practically stolen from them without their awareness, they were the tip of the iceberg. My experience tells me there could even be hundreds who have told nobody about what he did to them. And I have no doubt (no proof either) that Donald Trump has dones similar things maybe on a lesser scale. I’m sure he’s had sex with girls in high school age. He is sexually inapropriate with his daughter on camera. He said the best thing about his daughter was “sex” and then may have added some words. My daughter saw that clip. He has an incestious relationship with his daughter in terms of crossing lines. Who knows what lines have been crossed. Read the book, “How to Cook Your Daughter”, a true account of the daughter of Tony Hendra, who hung out with people like Belushi and others, he Tony molested his daughter on several occasions. Once is too many. Many of his friends like Belushi seem to have behaved fine but there were likely others who did similar types of things. They didn’t object to his piece in National Lampoon entitled How To Cook Your Daughter.

Read the book. It’s real. This stuff happens, whether father to daughter or Epstein to every vulnerable teen he can get his hands on and young women in their twenties to rape and traffic.

It’s happening right now. I have listened to many stories. Talkign about being molested and/or sexually abused/raped and also importantly about being coerced into doing such things to peers, it’s beyond difficult. The people who went to “procure” victims for Epstein were also victims, make no mistake. It was coercion and control and a disgusting way to victimize them so they feel the guilt for what he should be feeling. Many did it to avoid having to be raped by him.

There is a big difference between being an adult sex worker who consents to do sex work than an underage or adult who is trafficked. A huge difference. Hearing these victims tell their stories is just heart wrenching. I have heard rape victims talk about how they see the guy on Facebook all happy with his wife and family, getting away with worse than murder, while they, he or she or they, are sick and broken and trying to heal and suffering every day at the hand of this evil. They do get away with it, especially the white guys who are “fiilthy rich” like Epstein and can pay everybody off.

Are there pure evil people in the world. He’s gone, taken the cowardly way out. He’s just one example of many like him; they’re doing what he did now and every day and most of them are able to hide behind their billions and connections and get away with it, leaving a trail of broken traumatized people in their wake.

Day 2: What’s in a Name?

“The way you name your boat is how its going to float”.

I’ve always been into names and their meanings, so this gem came from a client during a discussion of some odd names someone named their children. We looked up the meaning of a few of them.

I’ve known my first name for a long time as I took Latin and natus, nata means birthd or born, hence the English words, natal, pre-natal, post-natal, nativity, probably even nationality has that as it’s root.

So my first name is birth, which goes with creating.

I have two middle names, Elena Elizaveta.

Elena means: light, shining, splendor, vigor of the sun

Elizaveta directly means, ” God is my oath”, which did not resonate but I looked up explanations and it can be “translated” to mean, I want to be good, or being good is my task or something like that. I do remember even as a kid worrying about being a “good” person and what did that mean.

I might have been named Tatiana which sounds like an Olympic Russian ice skater. Definitely doesn’t feel like me. I just looked it up and it means, “Fairy queen, princess”. Makes sense that my mother won the fight over the name. War and Peace by Tolstoy was her favorite novel and the main character or one of them is Natasha. When I finally read the book, which is the heaviest novel I’ve read and had a book mark with each character and who they were in case you got confused, I spent a summer in Iowa reading it. I was working on Bruce Babbitt for president campaign as a volunteer. For sure the book was long and somewhat boring in places esepcially the history war parts. The character Natasha is more like a Tatiana and I didn’t like her at all.

It seems more true to the floating boat that I was named after a fictional character in a Russian book. At times, I indulge my fantasy that I am a character in a novel, not even necessarily the main character.

Day 1: NYC Phase 2

I guess this is some kind of new day count. I’m still trying to write everyday. I signed up for the Shut Up and Write’s poetry prompts so maybe I will find some kind of way to improve my writing.

I really thought that like with drawing, if you write daily, you can’t help but get better at writing. I’m not sure if it’s true or not. Today I felt good about my drawing for the first time in a while.

I walked to my studio today and it was Cops With No Masks Part 2. On Friday evening I saw it and this morning in broad daylight a bunch of them hanging out with no masks. There must be a way to start some new branches of city workers that do work the cops are obviously incapable of doing, besides of course, dealing with houseless people and people with mental illness.

I know more about mental illness than pandemics and viruses, but it seems for sure it is true that it’s much safer to walk the streets with some kind of mask or face covering. A lot of people seem to have forgotten that just 100 days ago, it was so scary here we had no idea how long it would go on and if we would see the sunlight for the rest of the year.

Here are my list of good things:

  1. I actually received my absentee ballot in the mail and filled it out. Some people only received another form and had to go line up somewhere. So I’m grateful for that. I filled mine out and got a paper cut on my lip closing the envelope. I mailed them in the mailbox on the way to work. I can still feel the paper cut and it’s one of those things, it’s just a tiny paper cut, but it’s a reminder of all the blood shed and sweat and suffering that has led to my having the paper in my hand and filling it out and mailing it. It’s incredible all the fighting it took just for that, and obviously, as we know, the fight for real justice rages on. So I’m grateful to have had that privelege and filled it out.
  2. A little note found and texted to me that my kid wrote years ago. I will post it here. It made my day.
  3. Fountain pens and ink and drawing with them.
  4. Picked up sushi for my child at the place we like that now has a B rating but we’re desperate so we eat from there anyway.
  5. One of my clients speaking out in a very important way that could have gone badly but went well and he spoke his truth which was very healing.

Day 101: Happy Father’s Day!

It did not feel much like Father’s Day. The usual phone calls to father/grandfathers. We usually get Carvel ice cream cake on parent’s days but not today. They really should have a Parent’s Day to celebrate parents who are neither “mothers” nor “fathers”.

I had a better day than yesterday, not particularly creative but working out to three different workouts and riding the bicycle 40 minutes; I guess I have to keep it up and try to wake up early. Now that I’ve been home 2 days not going out or even noticing the sunlight or time of day based on outside light, I find myself resistant to the idea of going to my office tomorrow. It’s only a ten-15 minute walk. I have people all day long but being home with my 12 year old I don’t want to leave and I’m afraid to leave the house on the big opening day of everything in Tier 2, mostly seeing too many people on the street without masks..

I have nothing to say. Yesterday I ripped up some pages in my journal to satisfy the urge to throw things and break stuff. I was tempted to rip up my Harvard “Red Book” that just arrived, the book with alumni from the whole class listed and some people write in about their lives and others they just have their address and info. When I get really fixated and depressed I get this wild feeling of needing to destroy stuff. I don’t know where it comes from. I wasn’t like that as a kid.

I remember after my second year at college I spent the summer at Middlbury in Vermont in a Russian immersion class, where you only speak Russian at all times unless you are in town. I mostly did the classes and went running in the nearby cemetery, around it. There is nothing like the peacefulness of running around the edges of a cemetery with the trees in a quiet area without much traffic.

I had a single room off some kind of double room maybe with a roommate I remember nothing about. I remember one day, I came to my room and I was so irritated and upset and agitatedly depressed that I threw everything in my room all over the place. I took things out of drawers and threw them; I don’t know if I broke anything. I should find whatever journal I was writing back then. I just trashed my entire room. It’s like having a demon posessing you and you need to do something like explosive. I think that’s why exercise helps. I don’t like it but it is vigorous and makes me out of breath so it satisfies something.

I have worked with people who “self-harm”, cut themselves with razor blades mostly. Some have kits they leave with their therapists. I can’t imagine doing that myself but I understand the need to self destruct. One time I took a paint brush and scratched at my arm and tried to hurt myself and I have tried to bang my head against a wall a long time ago. I hate physical pain and can’t stand needles or blood or cuts so luckily it never appealed to me. People say it’s a relief to feel the physical pain and it kind of washes over the emotional pain and there is some kind of high. I never get a high from destroying my stuff but it feels like a relief. The exercise definitely is a great substitute.

It’s hard to describe the demons that are inside the mind. Given the world right now, I have no right to complain about my life, but the mind can get sick; it’s part of the body. Like the coronavirus, the mind doesn’t care who you are, whether you’re rich or poor- at times it just tortures you and you have no control over it. People tell you rational things to do, but it’s impossible when you’re in emotional mind to be rational. I guess forcing myself to exercise is part of being rational.

The only time my therapist answered back when I was writing him crazy emails one after the other a few years ago, when I begged him to say something, it was May 18, 2019 and I said, “Just email me once and tell me something positive. I really want to be dead or in a coma.” He wrote back, “You’re not always going to feel this way.” Maybe he could have written anything and it wouldn’t have mattered what it was, but he definitely intuitively said the right thing. When you’re in it, it feels like it’s going to be that way forever. Even if it only lasts 3-4 hours!

Today I really was ok. Ok is good enough these days. I helped my 12 year old organize and clean her desk and shelves; she was so excited to redo her stuff and have a clean place to do her collage stuff.

So that would be number 1 on my list for today. I almost forgot to do the list.

2. The exercise, longer than week days, very satisfying.

3. Making chocolate covered oreos with her. We cound’t use the oven to bake. You just melt chocolate chips in the microwave and dip the oreos in them to cover them, put sprinkles on them and put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

4. Talking to my 2 Sunday friends on Zoom. We used to meet at one person’s house for coffee and yoga, but we’ve kept up the weekly Zoom coffee since the beginning. I’m always monitoring myself around friends when I’m in a shakey place, just extra aware of not wanting to say the wrong thing or talk too much, so I usually try to shut up for most of it but I do talk.

5. The sound of the dryer right now is loud but even though it’s an ugly sound it somehow is soothing. It sounds like the way a very old computer in the Twilight Zone sounded in this episode with a computer that gave weird answers. And Part 2 of Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone is coming soon so that will be great to watch with my kid. We both like similar episodes of the old one. The series finale of the new one was great.

This post is not really organized and probably contains too much personal information, but I’m still counting on knowing who reads it and that there won’t be any random other people reading it, so I’ll just let it go and be ok with my craziness.