I over react sometimes to things people say to me. I surely over react when someone underestimates me, patronizes me. i have spent far to much time pointing out what has been done to me, making myself look like a victim. I am not, what I am though, is strong. You have no idea. I see now I have to stop painting it this way, because I am only a victim because I leave myself unguarded.
There is this man whom I had an unrequited crush on, and honestly I was not too happy myself about having this crush. It was utterly unwanted by me, but there is this charisma thing that was pulling me in. I had to remove myself from the situation, so perhaps on some level my over reaction to his underestimating me and patronizing me was self preservation.
But I am strong. I know things with the Pirate did not go as planned, but we are still friends. Very much so, he drives me crazy and is annoying and has made me really fucking mad but I still like him for some unknown reason. We are not and have not been lovers for a very long time, and I could not wait to get out from under his relatives, his home, and his negative angry projections. That we could not live together is one issue, that we have much in common and get along great when we are not living together is another thing. And I left with with my integrity intact and he behaved with integrity as I left.
I am not wounded by the situation with the pirate as I have been told by those that are on the outside, I was wounded when my husband left, things with the pirate are more like an abrasion. Our personalities abraded each other for sure. The wound people see is not from him, it is from Atahualpa, my ex husband.
I keep saying I am done with relationships, people cluck their tongues and say that I shouldn’t say that but this is wh: the three significant relationships I have had have been based on them needing me to support them on some level, financial being most important, and then the putting down, making me feel small by words and actions, to keep me in the place of feeling like I couldn’t leave, or survive alone. My marriage did this in a most insidious way, slow, tiny increments, until I actually believed it. With my daughter’s father and the Pirate it was so in your face leaving it was easy and I have had the strength to leave, not only just a rough situation, but leave when I was early in my pregnancy and prepared to raise my child alone.
The other three relationships I have had have been all about emotional neglect. Rather than try to keep me there, there was a sense that I wouldn’t leave, or that I didn’t matter somehow. Oddly this was a significant aspect of my marriage as well.
I started babysitting full time in summers at the age of 14. I worked two jobs to put myself through college, my parents were poor, and they did not help much, my wardrobe handmade by my mom, supplemented by thrift store buys and hand me downs. After college I worked in group homes with developmentally disabled adults with major behavior problems, not an easy job. I left my daughter’s father when I was four months pregnant, and raised her for all intents and purposes on my own (of course with help, but even married couples depend on grandparents, relatives and friends to help sometimes.) I went to grad school with a toddler at home. Worked in a psychiatric hospital for children, with young teen mothers, and in an inner city school. I supported my husband who returned to school from day one first year to finishing his masters degree and starting in a PhD program. At times I have worked two jobs to make sure my daughter had all she needed, and for a few months for over half a year with not a day off, and all so my ex could take himself out to dinner and to the movies, leaving my young child home alone without my knowledge.
I took care of my home inside and out painting, maintenance, doing yard work, house work, refinishing the driveway, gardening, all of it.
Last summer, the writing was on the wall, which is why I lived in the ADKs for two months, and when I returned to town and started looking for a new home, I put it on hold to help out the pirate who was gravely ill and in the hospital off and on for several weeks. When the time came to move I was ready, he was ready, but the recovery has been quick. But the living together was less than two years, and we were room mates for more than half of that time.
I feel better already.
I know I can do this because I have done for at least the last 30 years of my life. I have always taken care of myself. I have always taken care of my child. Always. I spent 11 good years taking care of my husband who was still a child. I am strong. I don’t need me time, because I have always had me time built in to my life, I am an introvert, I wouldn’t have made it this far WITHOUT me time. I need a man like I need a hole in the head. I just don’t.
I say I am done with romance precisely because I know I cannot allow myself to be in that position again, the one of emotional neglect, or of having to support someone else while they work hard to put me down however they see fit. It is actually for me a good thing. I don’t see it as quitting but as something else entirely. I am putting down the cross I keep trying to pick up and drag, drop it and find another pick it up and drag it. I don’t want to drag that cross anymore. I am done with dragging it around. Do you see the strength in me? From carrying this for so many years? I have done it. What comes next should be easy. It’s lonely sometimes, but I am okay with lonely. It sure as shit beats being ignored, put down and verbally abused.
So to the person who is patronizing me right now. Fuck off. You don’t know me, you don’t know how strong I am, and that wound? Its a scar and I would appreciate it, if you would look around it and see that what is behind it is something else entirely. And don’t talk to me about serenity, I have been working to get there for a long time, I am further along on that path than you are. So don’t patronize me. And do I feel better about telling you to piss off? You are damned right I do, because you made me mad, and now that I am mad it is easier to see the perpetually unguarded parts of me which seem like weakness but is actually openness, an openness I have tried hard to close, but I now know I have to work harder to open even more.
Open like a lotus flower, petal by petal.
If you want to be my friend, don’t fucking coddle me or patronize me.
I do not hide that I am a teacher, although in this climate, I am sure that there are people who are gritting their teeth, as they read this, and thinking lazy useless child hater, and unions, with a vile hatred. I love kids. I love learning so I love teaching, and the union has saved my ass a couple times, from some shit that should really not have happened, but they do an important job. Union haters forget 16 hour days, 6 days a week, with poor compensation, and no benefits other than money.
But I digress, I am an art teacher. I am a creative type. And I despise testing. I never tested well. I scored poorly on my SATs, significantly better on my ACT’s. And I was a high 80’s low 90’s student, basically because I am lazy, not in the sense you imagine, I would rather spend my time following my bliss, than working for a paycheck, or a good grade. My grades improved significantly when I changed my major to art, and I suspect, that they would have done the same if I had changed my major to creative writing, or even landscape design, or homestead cooking. Or knitting.
I went through a stage where I was reading alot of feel good stuff, wiccan handbooks, gemstone rituals and magic, Oprah. But I became sick on Oprah, I think it was the day I watched her carry on and on about this fabulous cable knit sweater she had found, so fabulous she bought one in every color. I felt horrified by this as I watched a woman in my school, a new refugee, walking down the hall in flip flops, during a snow storm. As I watched a student, who had two shirts, wear one day after day, because his other one was in the laundry, watched as the kids teased him for his filthy clothes. And I utter lost interest in her when she started her school for south african girls. Awesome. What about your own country? I know, she is a saint. Saint Oprah, I praise thee.
One day I was reading Oprah magazine, and Suze Orzmann was talking about money. She is like a standardized test though, its all about the end result. She said in the article she only had one pair of earrings. That NO ONE should own more than one pair of earrings. I went to my jewelry box and looked inside, which pair would I find a new home for? Or in the vein of Oprah send to some child in South Africa? Of course here she is on the Oprah show, and in the Oprah magazine, talking about one pair of earrings, I imagine Oprah has one in every color. Fabulous. Would I lose the fake diamonds? The real pearls I splurged on as a graduation gift from graduate school? Would I lose the tiny squares of abalone? The steam-punk disks? The earrings I made that look like doves falling? The tiny copper skulls dangling from a copper chain? The copper hoops I bought in Arizona? Hers were silver hoops, if I remember correctly, I don’t have any, maybe I should go out and buy some? Or settle on the copper ones?
I wear alot of black, it is a habit of artists, that I embrace, it hides coffee stains, and paint stains, and chalk rubs in easily on black, so does clay dust, and glue particles. I am an art teacher, not an office worker. My mother in law (de facto) wants to buy me striped shirts and paisley sweaters, and flowered blouses. No thanks I say, I prefer plain. Later I tell the pirate, I would rather accessorize, wear something that is a pop of color or is funky, as a necklace, a bracelet, a handful of rings. But even in that regard I fall short, because I also like to fly under the radar. I don’t want people to notice me, because I am not flashy, or sparkly, or fabulous. I am just me. And I like it that way. But as I stare down at my jewelry box full of memories, and bits and detritus of nature, and collections, and a life lived, I realize that Suze Orzmann is boring. My bills are paid, I am saving money, and I have a few things that I would consider to be of some quality, but the best quality of all, are the tiny beads and baubles that make me feel comfortable, happy, content. Not to say I couldn’t live without them, like hair, I could LIVE without it, but I would rather have it. Not to say I have to have one in every freaking color. But if I had to throw out all but one pair, I think it would be an ugly thing. Because without the bits of my life that are, cheap, classy, raw, earthy, ugly, stupid, and beautiful, I would not be the full person that I am.
And what the hell? One pair of earrings? Even my refugee kids pull bits of colored string through the holes in their ears. Maybe I should just do that.
He calls me and I am happy to hear from him, he has been a good friend, he has helped me tremendously since the divorce, fixing my car, fixing a leaky tub, helping me with some things when I was working on the house this summer. He has been a hard working co worker, preparing curriculum, literacy in art plans, and just someone to talk to when things at the district are difficult. He loves my sycamore tree almost as much as me. His wife is a wonderful sweet woman, his kids are awesome. His baby used to run to me calling out Hi Meg with his chubby little arms outstretched for a hug. Sometimes we have talked about God and about religion and nothing would make him happier than to have me accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
But I cannot do it.
He says, what if you are wrong? If you just accept Him when you get to the end of your life you will be accepted into heaven with God. He says, his way is the only way, in fact even Catholics are suspect, they will not get into heaven, their belief in God is wrong. See I think this way of thinking is wrong, it puts up a barrier between you and other people. I think this kind of thinking leads to violence between religions, I think this kind of thinking has actually caused the deaths of millions and millions of people over the eons. I think this kind of thinking is actually deeply evil.
He called me the other night and once again told me how much he wants me to be Saved. He told me that God wants me to know that being Gay is a sin. He told me that even if a child is raped and becomes pregnant, they should not be able to have an abortion, that God wants that child to be pregnant, and that the baby’s life is sacred.
I just don’t know. Or rather, I do know. He is wrong.
I have a very strong faith, but my faith is not his.
Let me put it in a nutshell.
We humans, have small minds which cannot fathom the greatness or the vastness of the higher power. It’s like we are in a house and we are all looking out the window at God, but some people are looking out different windows. What they see is God, but it is not all of God, and it is their view, their perspective but it is not the only view, it is not the ONLY way to God. Some people have this basement view too, their view is so limited and so dark. Some people are on the widow’s walk, they see a whole lot more of what God is than others.
We humans have such a limited view of how to get to a greater understanding of God, we all have our paths but it is all a path to God. Its like the sky is God, but we are all on different paths to the top of the mountain. Some people are shouting out, this is the path, not that one. Some paths are clear and straight, but some are rough and require a bushwhack. Some paths are riddled with obstacles and some paths are easy slopes. Some people are climbing up a completely different mountain, some people think they are on the summit, but it is just a beautiful mountain pond, and look there up there, on the face of that other hump is an overlook, but even that is not the true summit, and when you get there, its just a small section of what is God, it doesn’t come close to the whole of what IT is.
Here is what I believe, God made people who are heterosexual and people who are homosexual, and our human minds cannot fathom how or why or what, or any of that, and really it isn’t our place to judge God’s decision to have some people love each other one way and some people to love each other another way. If my friend can accept the raped baby of a pre-teen child, why can he not also accept the gayness of a grown man or woman? And what kind of person would have a child give be to a baby of rape or incest? In some cultures these girls are murdered, not the men who do the heinous act, but the innocent one. I don’t think any one ever choses abortion easily, but what I do know, is that sometimes people do, and absolutely it should be a legal option for someone who wants one, because the illegal option is horrible. Awful. Ugly. And usually ends up hurting more than just the fetus, it often results in the death of the mother, and the end of her chance to bear further children. It is not a man’s place to make this place for a female. Not ever. It is not an option to eliminate the choice legally, because women will continue to make this choice without sanction from men. This is not YOUR body, it is mine, so mind your own damn business, and make sure healthy options are available for any choice.
My friend thinks Buddha is a God. Buddha is not a God, Buddha was a teacher. A man who said listen to my words, if you find them to be true, good, if not keep looking until you find the truth. You do not have to believe my words to be the only truth. Buddha said this life is full of suffering, that you must accept your life, not with a passive giving up, but with an active sense of knowing that all that happens will happen, kind of a let go and let God. You can be a Buddhist and a Christian, you can be a Buddhist and a Muslim, you can be a Buddhist and be an atheist.
I sometimes let him proselytize to me because it helps him, that is something he feels a need to do, and as his friend, I let him, it is a small price to pay for all he has done for me. But sometimes I want to tell him to join me on the widow’s walk because the view is so much better. And sometimes I want to shout his name and wave to him from my mountain top and tell him how beautiful my view is. But I don’t. I let him believe what he believes.
Next time, I will tell him. Thank you my dear friend for your concern, but at the end of my life God will judge me, and I am pretty sure, IT will judge me as worthy.
She comes in my room and asks me if I enjoy going to galleries, my answer is like me, frank and upfront. I have many issues with galleries. First I hate the pinky finger pointing in the air as the wine or tea is sipped. What kind of markers do you use. Oh sharpies or some cheap marker they sell at X. Oh well I use nothing but the best supplies. Um okay. Congratulations. Would you like some cucumber water? Sure thing. But I would rather have lemon water. or water water. Just drink your damn tea the right way. Pretentious ass.
You stand looking at a urinal or a bucket of piss, or some image of a teenager spying on a woman as she masturbates. Or an anatomically correct drawing of a testicle. Okay. I cannot help but think somebody is in the green room laughing his or her ass off as I stand here using flowering language to describe how astonishing and avant garde and cutting edge and visionary it is.
I tell her about waiting in line for 45 minutes to see some installation in DC last year. Once you got in it was literally a dark room with a white wall and a red light. Cutting edge, and visionary. I said in my super loud voice, are you kidding me, I waited in line for 45 minutes for THIS? This is stupid and inane and like PT Barnum said there is a sucker born every minute and I am the one born for this minute.
And frankly that Eric Fischl that to this day I cannot even look at because it is so offensive to my eyes, the drawing is just porn, and not even porn that makes you feel a turned on, it makes you feel dirty. It kept his name in my head though. I didn’t even have to look it up. The book is in my box of sell or throw out though, the rest of the book is great but that picture on the front cover skieves me bad. Real bad. Although technically it is a very good painting, if he didn’t shock you, you wouldn’t really give it a second glance.
And as for the Picasso that someone spray painted. Okay have you actually looked at the painting? It wasn’t even a very good one. But because it has Picasso’s name on it is a masterpiece, it is priceless, it is a tragedy. Even art magazines don’t feature new artists, Picasso and Matisse, the Impressionists, O’Keeffe, yes amazing art, but tired and old, and do we have to be shocked for it to catch our attention?
Yes I guess we do.
So she says to me, so the emperor walks by and you say oh look its just a cube with pubic hair.
Yep I say.
I am going to make it.
You should do it live she says.
I am gagging.
The critics will say it will just curl your senses.
I am laughing.
(Shit I just gave away an amazing idea.)
Maybe I will do spun sugar dripping from the ceiling with all the animal hair dust bunnies floating about the room so it sticks to the spun sugar. It will be astonishing, cutting edge, such a profound message about the nature of humanity.
Many of our local lakes, and rivers struggle with an invasive species of mussel called the Zebra Mussel. It wrecks havoc on our ecosystem as well as water based infrastructure. A native of Russia they were originally thought to have been brought in on the hulls, anchors, or ballast water of boats entering the Great Lakes from the St. Lawrence Seaway. Although they have destroyed much they also have helped the ecosystem because they filter toxins from water, and have actually done some good with the highly polluted Great Lakes and according to Wikipedia (all of the things I stated previously I knew from following this for many years but this is new to me…) they have actually been accounted for the increase in the population of small mouth bass.
In Clark Reservation where I hike as often as I can, there are several invasive species, buckthorn a shrubby tree that was brought here as a purge medicine, chokes out other species of trees, and make bushwhacking very difficult. Also the Pale Swallow-wort an invasive species of milkweed that takes over the natural plants, including the local common milkweed that monarch butterflies love, swallow-wort is however, toxic to monarchs and cattle for that matter. But when I heard on the news the other day that one of the great fears from the Japanese Tsunami is the possibility of a new invasion of unwanted species, I had to stop and think.
Zebra Mussels carried on the hulls of ships is a product of human invasion. Tsunamis are a natural occurrence of nature, and therefore are not the events that transpire with new species being introduced to the western coastline just a product of change and natural selection? Something we should embrace as we continue to destroy our own ecosystem? As we continue to kill off species of plants and animals around the world, not only by our own introduction of toxins to the environment, but also by our introduction of green house gases to the atmosphere, or global climate change. Many species which occur naturally in our area are predicted to die out and a climate more in line with North Carolina’s ecosystem will replace ours, do we not want hurricanes to blow pollen, seeds, and flying creatures into our region to replace that which we are killing already?
One day I was having a conversation with someone about Global Climate Change and he said something that I had never heard before or thought of: When the climate changes we will adapt, or not, other species will adapt, or not, and new species will arise, over the millenia things have changed and our planet adapts. HM. OK.
The thing is, that for a long time I have thought of humans as giant germs or a great cancer slowly but surely killing our earth. We prevent new species from coming in, introduce species which in the end choke out old species, kill living things to prevent them from establishing in the environment, because in the short term other species cannot adapt, we rebuild beaches being washed away naturally by the tides and currents of the ocean, build on flood plains and then wrench our hearts with the awfulness of tragedy when they flood. Build below the existing waterway, destroy water, trees, plants and animals all in the name of our dominance over the earth. A cougar or a bear in our front yard? We kill it, though we are the invader in their territory. We even do it and have always done it to other humans. We want your land, we take it, we slaughter other humans so that we have access to their resources.
And yet we are resistant to culling ourselves. Resistant to stopping ourselves from populating areas that should be left alone, move around the globe establishing ourselves in places where there are already existing populations of humans. As we begin to explore space we are like a metastasized cancer. Spreading out to new planets. What if intelligent life out there one day views us as an invasive species that must be eliminated. What if we are visited by outsiders from the universe, and we decide they too are an invasive species. Hell the whole immigration debate is about preventing an invasive crop of human beings. Right? They take our jobs (zebra mussels kill off other species of lake life), they use our resources (they eat the food other life forms want to eat), they don’t learn our language (they form their own colonies), but too there are good things. What would the US be like without tacos, or salsa dancing, or latin music, or the architecture and art of Central America. What would the Great Lakes be like if the Zebra Mussels had not spent the last several decades cleaning up the HUMANS water pollution?
It is human beings who are invasive. And I have thought for a long time, that the Bible should not have said humans have dominion over the earth, rather that they are care-takers of the earth. But the Bible says love one another, but I suppose, not the invasive ones.
Dude, I have to tell you, you are clueless, you have no idea what it is like to be living and working in this economy. You said you have worried about your job a couple times? Really, because when you lose your job, you can live off the interest of your investments and still make more in a month than I do in a whole damn year. You worried about your job once or twice in your life, dude, I am an art teacher in an elementary school, and I don’t just teach art. I teach science, math, literacy and social studies, I buy clothes for students in need, I hug the ones that cry on my shoulder. I send children to the non mandated social worker when I see that things at home are falling apart, sometimes I catch kids that are color blind, or have head lice, or bruises they shouldn’t. I am not just an art teacher I am a surrogate mother, a confidant, a mentor, a disciplinarian, and the only adult in that child’s life who truly gives a damn. Mitt Romney I worry about keeping my job every year. I have worried about whether or not I will have a job next year every single year for the last 14 years, now I get to worry about whether or not that kid who is out at 2 in the morning gets a 2 instead of a 3 on his state exams, just add that to my list of worries. Mitt I am a single parent, I raised my child more or less by my self, if I lose my job we both lose our healthcare. You want to stump on and on about Barack Obama’s health care plan, just so you can win and he can lose? Well sir, if I lose my job and my health care, would you like to tell me what exactly it is I am supposed to do for my child, who is in college and working almost full time to help pay her own bills, basically because the cost of everything from food, to gas, to health care has gone up and my salary has remained stagnant.
You have no idea what it is like to be poor, to be working class, to even so much as be middle class. So why don’t you shut the hell up. Please. Talk about being rich, talk about having more money than will make in my whole lifetime, talk about what losers teachers are because we cannot teach children in this miserable failing society. Call me a slut, call me one of those single parents who is destroying our society. I pay my bills, I pay my taxes, I work to help the most disadvantaged in our country, and every day of my life I worry about finances, and whether or not I will have a job. You don’t even get it, so stop pretending like you do. You are not fooling anyone with half a brain in their heads and the rest are not smart enough to notice you aren’t bullshitting them anymore.