Monthly Archives: June 2009

on ownership

A while back I talked about having a difficult time with the experience of certain things because of the associations that they have for me.  A cigar is not just a cigar if you will.  Or rather, an avocado is not just an avocado.  Nor are olives olives, nor acoustic guitar music…well, you get the idea.  When you’ve made another person’s needs and wants the center of your universe for so long, a lot of material things end up taking on additional significance, as they can seem like the key to domestic tranquility.  At least that was my experience.  Maybe I was just looking for anything to be the key to domestic tranquility, as I certainly didn’t have it.

But I digress.  I was talking to my friend, Cherry, about this tendency to shy away from certain things: foods, books, etc., because they seemed to be too much infused with something from X.  She told me that after her last serious break-up, she couldn’t listen to music anymore, any music, not for a really long time.  We’re talking for years.  The reason?  In her words, her ex “owned” all the music.

Not literally of course.  Cherry’s ex did not have some kind of universal copyright to every song ever written, but, in Cherry’s mind (and partly due to some abuse issues in their relationship) Cherry did not allow herself access to something that could have been an amazing source of comfort for her.  Painful comfort, I’m sure, yet still a comfort.

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During the six years I was with Mr. X (almost five years of marriage–our anniversary just passed by), he was my teacher.  I don’t mean to say this in a creepy way (though there was that element), but he taught me so very much about judaism.  One thing I will not fault him is his intelligence, and once he devoted it wholeheartedly to learning about judaism, well, he was like a runaway train.  Something I would say about X when we were together was that he either did things not at all, or 150%.  He did not “like” things, he would love them with his entire being–music, food…and judaism.

So, he knew a lot.  And when I was with him I learned and learned and learned and learned and learned.  To be honest, my motivation was often survival (though I could not see this at the time)–to keep his love and to be the super-jewess (which were part and parcel).  But still I learned and learned, and I just soaked it up.  I was a sponge.  Another thing I cannot fault him–he is a phenomenal teacher.  You know if I am saying something so positive about Mr. X, it is true.  He is one of the best teachers I have encountered.  And I had him all the time–at home, in the car, on vacation..  So, I learned a lot.  All the while in a pressure cooker, but all the while soaking up with my spongy brain every nuance I could grasp.

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As I said:  Cherry’s ex did not have some kind of universal copyright to every song ever written, but, in Cherry’s mind (and partly due to some abuse issues in their relationship) Cherry did not allow herself access to something that could have been an amazing source of comfort for her. Painful comfort, I’m sure, yet still a comfort.

And my ex does not have some kind of universal copyright to every jewish thing ever, but, in my mind (and mostly due to some abuse issues in our relationship) I have not allowed myself access to something that could be an amazing source of comfort to me.  Painful comfort, I’m sure, yet still a comfort.

X had a teacher once, who, when asked permission for something taught in class to be used for teaching somewhere else, simply said, “It belongs to the jewish people.”  As in, it is not mine, I don’t own it, I won’t pretend to have any rights over what you have learned from me.

What X taught me (and I must admit, he did teach me), did not belong to him.  He did not own it.  He was just the conduit.  So I will no longer pretend that he has all the rights over what I learned from him.

He has taken enough.

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well THIS sounds kind of fun…

I am a big fan of Miss Conduct–also found here–as well as a certain amount of misconduct, but that’s a different story.

She’s having a very fun-sounding geeky-kind of contest, the specifics don’t really seem to match my abilities, which is not to say I won’t give it a shot.  All in the privacy of my own home of course.  Unless I come up with something good.  In which case I’ll enter and tell you all about it, but I really don’t expect my creative juices to flow in that direction, but one never knows (was that a run-on?).  Anywho…I’m sure some of YOUR creative juices flow in that direction, so enter, but tell me about it, too, because I love this kind of stuff.

And I love Miss Conduct.  And you should, too.

I mean, if you’re in to that sort of thing.

Or whatever.

at the root of it

So a few things happened around the same time and played off each other and have been wreaking havoc in my mind/heart/soul what-have-you ever since, which is the way the universe seems to work for me, and always has.

First, which I have already mentioned in previous posts, was that my emotional focus seemed to shift from X and his aftermath to dealing with family of origin issues (i.e. my mom and dad & family, etc.).  This was in large part due to the work I’ve started doing on codependency, using this book mostly.

Second, I’ve been spending some time over at Lavender Luz’s, in her chakra series.  (Oh, and vote for her as most inspiring blog, please!)  I started reading this series, basically because I didn’t know anything at all about chakras, and wanted to.  I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, but I’m really intrigued by spiritual systems, and then she super-intrigued me by including a connection to jewish mystical thought with each chakra.  I took the test that she linked to and learned about my own “chakra issues.”  So, the way I am looking at this chakra business, is (obviously very simplified and I don’t know all that much about it at all and feel free to give your input in the comments):  each represents one way we function in the world.  Certain areas we are “stronger” in or “weaker” in; we may under-rely on some areas or over-rely on others.  There is a spiritual element, and the whole thing is very holistic.  I find it fascinating.  More about this in a bit.

Third, I remembered something from my childhood/adolesence.  Nothing like a repressed memory or anything, more like I remembered how I used to cope with some of my feelings, and realized how bad I must have been feeling to need to cope in that way.  A little bit more of the wall of denial coming down, the illusion of the happy childhood blowing away.  Sorry to be so vague, but I’m not quite ready to be more clear about this one.

Back to the chakras.  What the test told me, which was no surprise, really, was that my “weakest” chakra (I don’t think this is the correct terminology, but you understand) is the root chakra.  In LL’s words:

The Root Chakra is where we hold tribal issues…The color is red. As in blood (blood ties, blood vengeance, blood brothers, bloodlines)…The root chakra has to do with survival, grounding, security, and safety.

from Weebles Wobblog:  Root Chakra:  Red, Tribal, Survival

So I don’t know if the connections between the things I mentioned above are obvious to anyone else, but they are like a rock in my shoe to me–I just can’t get past them or get much else accomplished until I sit down and deal with it.  Then again, I am the only one living inside this experience, and I am not always very good at conveying my experience verbally.

Right now I am using this information as a confirmation and as a launching point.  I know what the work is that I need to be doing right now, but I am, alas, a bit of a slow learner.  The universe seems to keep repeating itself to me until I get the message.

digging up the present

So a had an interesting comment on my last post.

On one hand, I think it might be counter-productive to relive the past and try to determine what made you put up with someone else’s b.s. for so long – because you’re counting on answers that may not be there (or easily discernible from general life experiences).   On the other hand, who can resist a good rehashing of the past?   You might find some answers too.  Good luck in your quest. I hope you find some answers (or at least, some peace)

So, generally a very caring comment from a supportive bloggy friend.

I got somewhat stuck on the counter-productivity/reliving the past bit and got very thinky about it for a while.  While trying to figure out how to articulate what bothered me about this, I landed on this William Faulkner quote buried somewhere in my memory:

“The past isn’t dead.  It isn’t even past.”

And surely Mr. Faulkner had something in mind other than my own angst and interpersonal issues (note ironic tone here).  But “rehashing the past” in this case feels quite like rehashing the present, if it’s possible to say that.  That is to say that the “issues” (to keep re-using this much overly-used term that I am much-guilty of over-using) that were born in the past didn’t stay there; we keep playing the same old games over and over and over and over and over again.  And that’s my present, that’s my now.

So if the pesky past would just stay there, I’d be very glad to let it.  But it doesn’t.  It is in me, it is me.  I keep replaying that record, hoping that the song will end differently this time, please let it.  And it doesn’t.  It never does, as much as I think, when that chord change happens there, and that guitar riff goes like that, then this time, maybe, maybe the song will be different…

It’s never different.  The only way to change it will be to go back and change the fucking record off the player.

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So I was going to just answer a in a comment, but then it got too long, and so it became this whole thing.  I do want to say thank you, a, though, for inspiring me to be a little clearer (was I clearer?  not so sure with all the weird musical metaphors) about my “process.”   Process.  That’s another one of those over-used words, isn’t it?

shift

So a couple of things.

In the last couple of weeks the angsty focus has shifted from my experiences with Mr. X and the aftermath to what we in the helping professions would call “family of origin issues.”  This shift, while not any less painful, feels somewhat more productive as perhaps it will lead to starting to heal the myriad issues that got me in the whole Mr. X mess in the first place.  Ahem.  (Again–anything he did=his fault/responsibility, but had I been healthier, I don’t think I would have put up with his bullshit from the get-go, people.)

So all the thinky stuff in the background of all the fluffy type posts (have they all been fluffy?) has been less about X and more about things like my childhood, my parents, etc., etc.  Lots of old feelings I thought long dealt with have been dredged up.  I hope to be working through at least some of it here, once it’s coherent, anyway (weren’t you just saying you wanted a side-career as an armchair-blogging-buddy therapist?).

Maybe there will be some fluffy stuff, too. 🙂

show and tell: father’s day gift for the successful dad

Check out all the other showin’ and tellin’ over at Mel’s house.

As a decidedly non-crafty type person, I am really proud of the gift I gave my dad this year for father’s day.  The original idea I had was just to do something with this poem that he really loves that had been on this old plaque from Hal.lmark (like from 1980?) hanging in his and my mom’s bathroom.  Mom told me that we couldn’t get rid of it because he loved it so much, but the plaque had definitely seen better days.  I had some very un-creative ideas about how to re-display the poem, but then I talked to my younger sister, who is as crafty as Kristin, and she walked me through how to do the project you see below.  We bought a frame with a matte built in, and got some scrapbooking rub-ons (who knew that this whole scrapbooking world existed?  or what the heck rub-ons even were?) for the words.  I re-typed the poem on the computer and printed it out on fancy paper, and voila!  The masterpiece you see below was finished!  The top left hand corner has his name, but since I’m all secretive and stuff, I have it hidden. 🙂  Feel free to steal the framing idea to use as your own.  Those rub-ons are awesome!

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(“Papa”  is my dad’s grandpa name.)

Here’s the poem:

What is a Successful Man?

If a man has a mind of his own and a heart that feels for others…

If he has an ability to work hard and to relax completely…

If he has a strong devotion to ideals and principles, but respect for those that differ from his own…

If he has the wisdom to preserve what is good about the past and the vision to seek a better future…

If he has pride in everything he does and everything he is…

If he has purpose in his life and love in his world…

Then he is truly a successful man.

just because

While I’m trying to work out some heavy stuff in my head, I thought I’d copycat some of my bloggy idols like Murgdan and Wiseguy and let you know how the internets at large find their way to this here blogging space.  Below are some of the actual search terms used to find yours truly:

“my parents are social worker” Um, ok.  Not sure what that has to do with me, but, maybe they can find you a good grammar teacher.

“murgdan” Now, seeing as this post is the first time I think I’ve mentioned her, I think this one is really weird.  (They must have found her name in the comments.)  Somebody must have been REALLY disappointed when they got here and found out it wasn’t her blog, but mine, instead.  Murgdan, honey, I think you have a stalker.

“verbal abuse get a fucking real job” Now, this one is quite lovely, don’t you think?  I’m not really sure what it means, though.  Is it the verbal abuse that’s supposed to get a real job, the abuser, or the abusee?  Very confusing, and the answer could really impact how I feel about this one.  It remains a mystery, however, and is likely to remain that way.

Now for my all time favorite search term (at least up until this point):

“how to tell a boy dog” Well, you know what they say…you can always tell a boy dog, you just can’t tell him much, yuk, yuk, yuk.

Heavy, angst-filled posting to return when I get my head wrapped around whatever it is it’s trying to wrap itself around, ‘k? 🙂