From The Jerk to A TOOL

“A couple of people have asked me about my ‘complicated relationship’ status. I just want you all to know that I’m in a relationship with me. It’s complicated, definitely, but I’m the only one who has to put up with my crap <laughs>.” ~my FaceBook status on January 21, 2014.

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The explanation behind my status is this:

I came into this world alone. I’ll leave this world alone. Out of all the people on this spinning planet, I’m the only person from whom I cannot escape. I am the only person I go to bed with every night.

And yes, it’s complicated because at the heart of everything, I’ve discovered that I’m The Jerk.

والهزه (The Jerk)

I’ve forgone the chair, the magazine, the lamp and the matches, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me.

“I don’t need anything except this. And that’s it and that’s the only thing I need, is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need. And this remote control.” Navin R. Johnson

I’ve been carrying around these three things for a while thinking I need them.

The ashtray is my ego. My ego contains all the dirty lies I tell myself to get along in this reality. It’s the voice inside my head that tells me how awesome I am.

The paddle game is the pointless up and down or back and forth of old habits. It’s the voice inside my head that tells me what an absolute loser I am.

The remote control only has two channels: the ashtray network and the paddle game network. All ashtrays or all paddle games, all the time.

None of these relics from 1979 serve the unnamed something that has been growing inside of me like a strange, night-blooming flower. This beautiful and fragile flower doesn’t have a language yet and I’m trying to find words for it. We could call it awareness, but it is bigger than that. Meanwhile, the ashtray is trying to beat it to death, the paddle game is trying to choke it out, and the remote control is charging pay-per-view.

I have never in my life felt as awkward, naïve and stupid as I do now. Every insecurity I possess has bubbled up to the surface, like a bad B movie on Blue-Ray with Dolby Surround Sound. If you understand my experience, if you feel these things, then I would love to commiserate. If you don’t feel things like this, welcome to my strange and frightening world.

If I’m going to change things, the best way to start is to reframe the problem. I think I will look to music for that, preferably something heavy and gritty-ah, yes, here we are. Instead of being The Jerk, I am now a:

TOOL

Whichever way you look at it, a TOOL is a useful thing but it needs to be fashioned and purposed
(to hear the song and see the actual lyrics, click the picture).

(The following is my paraphrase using lyrics  from “Forty-six & 2” by Tool off the album Aenima)

I’m shedding my skin, picking scabs again, and all at forty-six and twos. I’ve been wallowing in my own chaotic, insecure delusions. Contemplating what I’m clinging to, I know this means that change is coming. Live not the lie, kill the remote, Abandon the ashtray and paddle game to die in the truth, learn, love and do what it takes to step through the outside turning in.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m doing everyone a kindness by discouraging anything other than friendship at this time. Maybe after I’ve softened the old armor and cleared the way, I can come out the other side and consider the possibility of something more.

However, I will not complain or stomp my feet if the Morrighan tells me to quit my whining and dumps a hot, metal dude on my doorstep with the instructions: “Open at your peril.” I may be a hot mess right now, but I’ve learned to never refuse gifts from the gods.

Written in the Stars

It’s supposed to get even more interesting on November 3, 2013 with the New Moon eclipse and Scorpio and Mercury Retrograde getting all comfy-cozy in the 12th quadrant (house) of the sky. Karma Brewing, that’s how Urania’s Well describes it and she’s saying this New Moon eclipse energy went into effect approximately 30 days before the actual event. She explains it better, so click the link:

BREWING KARMA

Interestingly enough, the 12th quadrant of the sky sits across the cusp of my 6th (Public Service) and 7th (Partnerships) houses (because when I was born, that’s where the fixed houses aligned with my chart). I went through the furlough like a good federal worker (6th) and I became more active in social media (7th) as my writing got a kick start. I’ve been building relationships in the public sphere for the 30 days prior to November 3rd.

But Urania predicts long-term effects. She warns of deep karmic issues bubbling to the surface and cautions her readers to deal with the issues as they arise.  I have an issue that leaves me paralyzed. I know what to do but I don’t want to do it. I have many reasons not to do it.

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Mercury, you keep coming back to haunt me!

I am a dark, family secret. In my reckless youth, I would have revealed all the gory details if given a golden opportunity like this and damn the consequences. And now that 44 years have passed, the consequences of this secret are laughable.  What concerns me is the possible upheaval of tidy mental worlds. Beliefs are such inflexible and tenacious things and I lack the energy to deal with the fall out of other people’s choices.

This secret is one of the reasons I have been brutally honest with my children. I don’t want them to constantly look over their shoulders wondering when the other shoe will drop. For me, the other shoe just dropped. New information has come to light. The shock is like being mugged in the back alley of a reasonably safe, suburban neighborhood.

My choices are: ignore the information or follow the thread to the center of the labyrinth and face the big, ugly Minotaur that awaits. Ugh. Of course, I am brave to a degree of stupidity that would make Evel Knievel flinch—I speak in emotional terms not physical.

I’ll confess, though I’m dithering about to do or not to do, I know I will do. I can’t help myself. This is my nature. I rush in where angels fear to tread. I leave chaos in my wake and only those things strong enough and flexible enough to survive will remain.

That Is the Question

As I transition from know-it-all adulthood to not-so-sure-about-anything middle age, I am realizing that every breath I take is a new beginning and every exhale is an ending. The world is full of potential, a hot bed of chaos just waiting for my application of order and sanity.

Right now I hold my breath as I fight for a moment of clarity in a world of potentials that collapse in the blink of an eye. The responsibility is monumental. Who am I to impose my idea of order? Who am I to allow chaos to reign? I know N.O.T.H.I.N.G.

I am paralyzed at times by the fear that I must continue to breathe or die. Each breath changes the worlds of any number of subatomic particles. Not breathing does the same. The macrocosm is similarly affected though not in such a noticeable fashion. Lesson: I am responsible if I do and responsible if I don’t.

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The symbol of chaos.

I have reached that level of understanding that could make or break me. At least I think that’s what’s happening. It’s this tension inside, a rubber band stretched tight, and I don’t know if I will snap, bind some serviceable dogma, or soar in flight from the hands that hold me. I’m afraid to choose because I want all three.

If I snap, I will become a raving lunatic or a mellow mystic. If I bind, then others will ridicule or follow me. If I soar, I have no idea where I’ll land and I will be alone. Eventually, I will choose whether by chance or design. Meanwhile, I choose what I wear, the food I eat, and make a host of other seemingly mundane decisions. These decision don’t frighten me, unless I find out that the fate of the known universe depends on my selecting the right shoes for my outfit. If that’s the case, be a dear and keep that knowledge to yourself.

I’m not complaining. The whole thing is exciting in a mad-cap adventure sort of way. I have realized that all the crap I’ve experienced, that I experience now, is due to the choices of not only me but everyone else around me. All the joys, too, are the result of choices – to breathe or not to breathe? Right now, breathing sounds about right.

Read the Warning Label

I’ve reached the point where I’ve decided that labels are powerful. I’m not saying they are fair but one must reckon with them or fall victim to them. In our world of illusion, to make sense of our experiences, we must categorize and in this we are all guilty of delusion. A state of illumination is one in which the world is accepted for the illusion it is, the delusions of others and oneself are acknowledged, and the truth is sought in perfect trust and perfect love.

I haven’t reached a state of illumination yet. I’m working on not complaining so much. I’m working on keeping my counsel because I know my delusions aren’t anyone else’s problem. I’m learning that I don’t have the obligation to teach anyone else, because what the heck do I know? I might actually be leading someone astray with all my self-aggrandized wisdom and insufferable experience (or am I just shirking responsibility? AUGH!).

menagerie

Don’t throw stones at glass menageries.

Labels make it easy to complain. White. Black. Wrong. Right. Yours. Mine. An opinion is a label. We like to think we’re informed by Facts, but what is a Fact? Undeniable proof? If you’ve witnessed anyone labeled Crazy, you can’t argue facts or proof. The experience within is as real to him or her as your experience without. I propose that Crazy people were driven insane by Labels.

Realizing the effect of labels is difficult for me. I can’t even determine if this is an evolution of awareness or a devolution into the abyss of madness. Of course a label that could be applied in this instance is Mid-Life Crisis. Or Pre-Menopausal. It’s easy to write off a crisis of this magnitude once it’s labeled. There are many systems out there that would easily categorize my experience and thus make it more manageable. I have to ask: Manageable for who?

I don’t have any answers. Maybe I don’t want answers. That could be the most liberating aspect of this experience. Answers are labels too. I probably won’t be able to avoid answers and I probably will be compelled to share them. All I ask is that if I do and you take the time to read my posts, remember from whence I came.

Regards from a Land of Delusion,

I.O. Kirkwood

Racism: Like breathing air

Racism is like trying to see air. That’s what is so frightening about this illness of heart and mind. It exists, just like air, and we breathe it but we can’t see it. Sometimes we can hear it like a rattling against the windows or we can see its effects as it disturbs leaves or rips apart homes, but we can’t apprehend racism directly. We experience it and if you are on the “white” side of it, it is harder to acknowledge the inequity of it because it doesn’t reduce your comfort. The tornado or hurricane, as it were, has touched down in someone else’s neighborhood.

I have experienced sexism and understand the obstacles to understanding on both sides of a polarizing issue. I have experienced racism once and my heart goes out to anyone who has been subject to the following description:

As Black Irish, I have been told I look Puerto Rican. When I was in San Antonio, it was if I did not exist. Caucasians looked past me because I wasn’t blond and blue-eyed. Latinos looked past me because I had white skin. I had never felt anything so disturbing in my life. It shook me to my very center. My physical attributes, unchangeable genetic coding, were the basis of their judgment. My character, my heart, my mind, and my actions played no part in the opinion they formed of me. What frightened me more was how UNCONSCIOUS their behavior was.

Racism is too complex, with its centuries of inculcation, to dismantle in a few short decades. MLK and Rosa Parks, symbols for the struggles of many unsung activists, started the process but it’s not over. This recovery idea has applicable wisdom: It takes half the time of the duration of a relationship to truly get over the breakup, sort of like the half-life of plutonium or uranium to give you a more scientific parallel. So we have a ways to go in fixing this and it’s one plodding step at a time, one day at a time, and you have to stay on top of the issue.

Bottom line: Racism exists and as long as it does, NO ONE is free.

Regret & Recovery

Io,

…Now if I could just get over some of the deeper regrets…. Do you have regrets? How deeply do they cut your soul? Does something within you shudder if you even approach the memories sideways? Post your response. I think it might be helpful for others. Peace.

—’Cu’

This question forced me to wrestle with angels all week.  When I was a girl, I had the bedroom that shared a wall with the bathroom. My mother takes baths and I don’t remember a time when she ever took a shower, so on many an occasion, I was in my room when she took her baths.

Baths are relaxing, womb-like experiences for those of you who have forgotten this simple pleasure. For my mother, it was as if the restraint she kept on her thoughts and feelings dissolved in the water of the bath. She would talk aloud as her thoughts drifted into her past; for some reason, she never spoke of happy things. She didn’t reminisce about the most joyful moments of her life.

“I hate you,” she would say or “you bastard.” These outbursts— always spoken in the musing voice of one who is very relaxed—would put me on edge. “What kind of experience,” I would ask myself, “Could make my mother, a paragon of self-control, say such awful things?” I couldn’t get my head around it; even when I was in my twenties and early thirties, I just had no context in which to place her remembrances.

Then one of the most frightening and awful experiences of my life occurred; something perhaps that I could have avoided if I had understood the signs along the road. During a ritual in which I held a significant role, I had let down my guard to such a degree that I had a psychotic break. It was something akin to possession. I was trapped within a body that was not under my control. I witnessed the reactions of the others around me: fear, revulsion, anger.  It was one of the most crushing experiences of my life and until this day, I felt responsible for the unknown, untold damage I may have caused others within my sphere of influence. I regretted—with a passion that I had once reserved for the joys of my life.

There is no way I can ask for forgiveness from the people who were traumatized by my temporary psychosis. I don’t even know if anyone there remembers or even cares about what happened. For me, that moment in time has irrevocably changed me. It was not my intention to allow my inner demons free reign, but some part of me knows that I was working up to that singular event.

I consoled myself with efforts to repair the damage and prevent a repeat. I sought therapy. I removed myself from the pagan community for five years as atonement since I could not make amends. I ritually scarified my body after extensive research and soul-searching. I even studied exorcism.

After considering this question about regret to a depth and degree I had not previously granted, I realized that forgiveness only truly comes from within. It was when I chose to stop beating myself up over what could not be revoked or changed that I realized that I was transformed. I am no longer the woman who stood in that ritual helplessly ridden by an aspect of the Morrigan. That woman is a part of me, but she no longer defines or rules me. I am stronger, more soulful, and more compassionate than that woman knew how to be. She was the seed of who I am now.

Today, I choose to move forward and recognize that if I worked to recover and learn from such a ground-zero experience, then those who witnessed that event are responsible for how they have recovered and learned. They did not help me in my climb back to the light, and they did not require my help to bring them to where they are now. I wish them Bright Blessings.

As for my regrets, they have gone in peace. Merry part.