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On Love

They say you're really not somebody
Till someone else loves you
*****************


   A year or so ago I would have hated that phrase. It makes every feminist molecule in my body bristle. How dare a song lyric imply that I need someone in my life to be whole or to be "somebody". I certainly wasn't going to change my life for another person. I wasn't going to be somebody to garner the love and affection of another person. Surely that was a recipe for disaster.

  Then 18 months ago I met The Beard, and...absolutely nothing changed. I met a nice guy at a bar (of all places), and he fit into my idea of what I wanted my life to be. A musician. Well read. Intelligent. And eccentrically good looking in that "last piece of the puzzle of my crazy artistic life that I'd been putting together since I was 18" kind of way  I was reveling in being a single mom who was still out there working for a promotions company and getting tarted up to sell cupcakes to drunken hipsters on the weekends. Life was finally coming together perfectly.

  The thing that I forgot was that I suck at puzzles. I am not patient. I was the kid that jammed the pieces together and took every shortcut I could devise to make the pieces fit together as quickly as possible. What I didn't understand then is that life is not a puzzle. There aren't pieces to be stuck together and set into a frame that makes some bigger picture. Life isn't a collage, or winding journey through some Waldenesque woodland. Life is just life, and there isn't any one way its supposed to go.

  But I met this guy in a bar, and over the course of the next year and a half he showed me all of the details I'd forgotten to fill in when I was making my life plans. He reminded me how love is about giving and caring, and that it's not a one way street. I'd never been loved by someone who didn't think that taking care of me involved putting me or my choices down. Who didn't minimize my life or treat me as helpless because I needed help. I'd never been loved by someone who took my side, who didn't spend every day telling me what I'd done wrong or didn't let me constantly victimize myself by playing the bad guy. 

  That's something that you learn growing up in an abusive home. As an abused child you learn the lines quickly. "I deserve to be hit. I deserve to be told I'm nothing. Because I am nothing. I am the problem. If I weren't so terrible (or lazy or ugly or stupid or fat..pick your adjective) then they wouldn't hit me or say those things". You learn those lines by heart, until one day that is how you view yourself. And there's really no amount of therapy or working through the trauma that unteaches that. So you grow up desperate for other people's approval, and when you don't get it, it's because you weren't enough.

  When your family abandons you because they don't like your life choices? Well clearly its because you made the wrong choices.
 
  When you fall in love and the guy you love doesn't give you the time of day? Clearly its because you aren't amazing enough to deserve him.

  When relationships fail before they even get started its because you weren't pretty enough or good enough in bed.

  When you get married to the first guy who pays you any mind, and then before you even walk down the aisle things become miserable it's because that's all you deserved.

  When your marriage ends you take the blame. No matter how awful your husband was...well there aren't any reasons why the failing is your fault. It just is.

  When you grow up being abused everything is your fault. The bad things that happen to people you've never even met is somehow still your fault. Because you deserve all of the bad things.

  You make friendships that are the worst kind of friendships. The ones where you follow around, and are more groupie than friend. Those friends too will lay the blame on you for everything that's convenient. You'll be their little girl to protect, or their project to save or just simply their punching bag. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Its all the same. And as the abused little kid you will lap every last bit of up and call it friendship because...

  Because that's the only things you know of love. And dear god if you could just be good enough. Pretty enough. Smart enough. Thin enough. Talented enough. Nice enough. Enough. Enough. If you could just be enough then one day....if you could be enough then its love isn't it? If you could just fix all of the things that are wrong with you, and dear god clearly EVERYTHING is wrong with you. Then it would be love. Right?

Right.

  Then I met this guy. And suddenly the words "it's not your fault" were said. Suddenly someone didn't think that I was so horribly damaged. Suddenly someone didn't think I needed saving. Suddenly someone thought I was already enough.

  When your a kid whose been abused you don't know how to deal with that. Obviously this person is crazy because when every one else in your life can hand you a laundry list of all of your faults (and willingly do so on a regular basis) then this person who is sitting in front of you and telling you that you're fine...well clearly they're crazy.

  But then they stick around. Then they don't disappear and the longer they're around the more they keep telling you that there's nothing wrong with you. They tell you that you're not just enough, you are exactly what they've always wanted. Little by little with every repetition the words start to sink in, and you start to think maybe this person isn't so crazy after all. Maybe I am fine. Maybe I'm not so broken.

  Maybe all those times I thought I was experiencing love I was actually just playing out the same victimization I'd been born into. Because love like this is nothing like I've experienced before.

  Being loved by somebody did make me somebody. Not because I went through my laundry list of faults and changed myself. Being truly loved by somebody for the first time in my life finally resurrected the person I already was. I just didn't know she was there because she'd been buried under the fault and the blame my entire life. Being loved by somebody made me the somebody I'd been all along.

birthday wishes

My birthday is in five weeks which means it's time for my annual wish lists. Here we go


The Anything's Possible List:
1. A trip to Boston to see American Rep Theater's production of Cabaret with a VIP pass
2. A car
3. A job that pays my bills without killing my soul
4. A new laptop with word processing, spreadsheet, and some kind of program like adobe already fully installed on it
5. new mattress and box spring for my queen sized bed
6. Lyra classes paid for a year
7. A trip to NOLA, Seattle or nyc
8. A lyra of my own and somewhere to hang it
9. A sewing machine
10. A new couch (preferably purple and deep for cuddling)

The Practical List of Wishes:
1. Books!
2. Music (if you can load it on my phone even better)
3. decorations for my home. Either paint for the walls or art made by you
4. flowers
5. Supplies to make things (I paint, knit, and sew if I had a sewing machine)
6. Movies or a trip to the movies
7. clothes (or gift certificates/money for clothes)
8. Reupholstering my current couch (I have fabric not the skill)
9. A new pork pie hat (or some other hat that screamed my name)
10. Your company on Oct 6th

That was actually really difficult to put together. There's a lot that I'm grateful for this year and I really just want to enjoy those things .

Mar. 19th, 2010


go back. To the Beginning. To before there was The Stranger stalking the lands with his stolen secrets and empty heart. There was a before. There was a time before the story started.

Before The Tree and the journey there were false prophets and choices made long before even that.

The story ended even though I never found the words to finish it. The girl of The Tree traveled many years and over strange lands. There was the Scholar and The Fool King and many others who came and shaped the path that she took. Always The Stranger seemed a ghost tormenting her, just out of her reach. Trusting in the answers that he held she pressed always on. Never finding rest or sanctuary in those she met.

Then the day came where she came to The Great Cliffs. Standing on their edge she looked down into The Dark Abyss and knew that it was to this end that The Stranger had led her. Across the darkness lay the mirror cliff and there at it's edge she saw The Stranger. He stood staring back at her. Saying nothing. Threatening in his stance to disappear with every second that she lingered.

Breathing deeply and with a great cry the girl lept. With all her soul she flung herself across that Great Divide and came crashing down on the other side. Feeling the hard earth beneath her she rose. Finally she had The Stranger in her grasp and finally she would have the answers his eyes had promised so long ago. Opening her eyes to gaze into his she saw only the green and blue line of the horizon in front of her.

The Stranger was not there.

Hearing a noise from behind she turned quickly and saw across the way she had come The Stranger. Standing on the cliff she had lept so blindly from. Still staring with those dark eyes that piereced her so deeply. And it was in that moment she knew.

The Stranger was nothing more than a Phantom. If he had ever been real he was long ago lost to his own journey. No great reunion was intended for them. The answers he held were not hers to hear, and all her journey had been nothing more than to come to this moment, and to understand. Looking again at The Stranger she saw his own confusion. His own pain. Her heart ached for him as she reached her hand out. Bidding him to jump. To leap as she had done and together they might find a greater truth. But he stood as he always had. Unmoving. Unseeing. Trapped in his own vision, a vision that did not include her.

For turning from him she saw that this truly was a mirror. In the distance, just barely visible along the horizon rose a great aged Tree. Far to the west she could just make out a moving line of bodies slowly crawling towards it. In her heart she knew that she had finally broken free of her small life as a Guardian. She was not nor would she ever be a Pilgrim, marching mindlessly to The City that drew them ever onward.

Adjusting the back on her shoulder, the girl looked up to the sun overhead, and breathing deeply took her first steps into this new world. Knowing for the first time a feeling of peace at the knowledge that all her choices were behind her and that ahead of her lay a new beginning. A world that would look and feel familiar but would be irrevocably different because SHE was different. She was no longer bound to the life of blind duty she had led. She was no longer tied to centuries old traditions and patterns. And in that freedom she breathed deep and walked onward.


Feb. 15th, 2010


When I was little my mom would make hamburgers for dinner.

My mom wasn't a great cook. She didn't have the patience for it, and being a working single mother she didn't really have the time. Our meals were quickly thrown together as soon as we got home because I had homework to get to and she had papers to grade. When I was older I still had homework and her illness meant it was exhausting just getting through the day much less cooking a meal. So my mom would make us hamburgers. They neverstayed together. She'd add bread crumbs or an egg but no matter what she did they always fell apart in the pan as she tried to cook them.

So my mother would make "hamburger crumblies". My favorite was when she'd add bbq sauce to the mix. We'd make homemade french fries and make the patties just like normal and then when they fell apart in the pan we'd call them crumblies and eat them with forks. The truth is that I didn't like hamburgers. I don't like hamburgers all that much. But the crumblies I loved. They somehow tasted better. More crispy edges with that carmelized flavor.

Life is like trying to make hamburgers. How hard can it be? You put the ingredients in a bowl, mix them together, and then pat them into patties and put them in the pan to cook. You can do everything exactly right and they will still fall apart in the pan. But with Mom it was never failure. It was something new, and that made it exciting. An adventure.


Update In Bullet Point Format

Update I started in NOVEMBER and will now finish...Collapse )
So the rest really quickly (I know three months really quickly seems silly, but I'm trying to make it easy on you.

Halloween saw me at the newly renamed "Kotler Memorial One Act Festival for Middle Schools" as a judge. This is the competition that my mom started several years ago. When she and another teacher started there were two schools, and no other competition in the state for middle schools. This past year there were about 15 schools and the competition had two regional and a state level. Next year they're looking into a third region and expanding to somewhere between 25-30 schools. It's really crazy. Being there as "Elaine's daughter" was very surreal.

Already talked about the day of the dead.

After that we had Ren's birthday on the 13th. I can't believe my little boy is two years old! We had a quiet family get together with Rudi's family. I haven't been able to get him down to my grandparents.

The next day I went to the state level of the one act competition I mentioned above. They had asked me to speak at the re-dedication ceremony where they officially renamed the competition after my mom. They gave me a plaque which I then passed onto the folks from the Tavern that were there. I need to go by there and see where they've got it hanging up.

Somewhere in the midst of all of this I had a conversation with The Professor that was very cleansing and I got alot of closure on all of that.

Thanksgiving was quiet. At the last minute I decided to go to my grandparents after all. It was a shell of the thanksgivings I remember as a child. Holidays hurt now because I can feel mom's absence all the more. It is amazing how much life she brought ot those holidays. Something I never really understood until she wasn't there anymore.

Dec was the hardest time I've had in a very long time.

On the good side the big Carter Christmas Party was amazing this year. The best time I've had in a long while. ;-D I'd found a dress at a thrift store and a friend had helped me add black lace to it. It looked amazing. I wore a feathered hair clip that I had made myself and I felt beautiful. I started to feel like my old self again in many good ways.

Just before the party I'd found out a friend was sick. So on the spur of the moment I texted him asking if I could come by. I took him a bag full of things to make him feel better: homemade chilli, pomegranate juice, echinacea drops, tangerines, and a homemade apple pie (his favorite). I also gave him his christmas present early. We settled in and watched movies for most of the evening. Not talking about much, just being quiet and taking care of one another. Again one of the better nights I've had in a long time. I love being able to do things like that for the people i care about. And it warmed my heart to make him smile. ;-)

Mid December brought Neil Gaiman to Atlanta. I'd gotten my ticket at the store and then spent about an hour calling in to get a ticket for a friend. Again it made me happier getting the ticket for the friend than it did getting the ticket for myself. I do things for myself all the time. I give myself special treatment. It's not like I don't acknowledge my needs or anything but the truth about myself is that I am happier when I'm doing something for someone else. It brings me the greatest joy and the greatest peace when I can do someting for someone I care for. Alot of people don't understand that. They misinterpret what I mean, but after years of fighting it and thinking that it was somehow unhealthy I'm starting to realize that really the fact that other people can't understand it is what's unhealthy. I like that part of myself.

The event was amazing. Sadly my friend couldn't go. i was disappointed, but I chatted with folks that I had been standing in line with and ran into another friend of mine who came and stood in line with me. The talk was really great. neil answered one of my questions which made me feel really cool. And he was charming as could be. He read from two of his short children's novels and then signed things for folks. I had a copy of "the Graveyard Book" that I got when I got my ticket as well as my "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" vinyl. The book I asked him to sign for the friend who hadn't been able to come (he drew a tombstone then put my friend's name on it, and signed it underneath).  When he signed my vinyl he said he believed that this was the very first one he'd ever signed (again I felt cool). :-D It's very cute he signed it "Lena- I did." which amuses me. next time Amanda Palmer is in town I'll take it and have her sign it as well. I'll be curious as to what she'll write in response.


That was pretty much the end of the good times in December. Shortly after that I lost my car (unpleasant story. let's just go with "lena doesn't have a prius anymore") and have been dealing with not having a car since. Rudi's truck is dead so we're both without transportation of any kind. This meant that I didn't go to my grandparents for Christmas. Render ended up going out to Rudi's family on Christmas Eve and spent all of Christmas and most of the weekend out there. I essentially skipped Christmas.

I woke up Christmas Eve morning to a message from my Aunt that my grandfather's appendix had had to be removed very early that morning. He spent almost the rest of the year in the hospital (I think he was finally dischared on the 30th?) So my entire family basically cancelled Christmas. My grandparents were in the hospital and the rest of my family wasn't coming anyway. Everyone's since exchanged presents except for Ren and I because I haven't been able to get to my grandparents. It sucks.

Oh, and just before Christmas and the whole car thing I got into a fight with my best friend. We'd been having problems for a long time. Since the summer. I kept saying to her over the fall "I feel like we're drifting apart. I'm worried about us" and she would always just say "we're fine. there's no problem" even when i said to her "Look the fact that I'm saying there's a probelm and you're saying there's not PROVES that there's a problem" she still didn't hear me. Then a situation arose where she was buying my washer and dryer....and well...we all know the saying about money and friends being a very bad mix.

Things exploded pretty quickly and has resulted in us not speaking since. I feel that on my half I have done what I can do to save this relationship. I spent months trying to get her to see what was happening and to talk with me. To try and figure it out. I made plans for us to just hang out and have coffee to try and get back on some good footing, and it never seemed to work even i was heard at all. At one point her not hearing me had gone to such an extreme that it was manifesting itself literally. I would say something to her and she would have completel misheard what I had said. Forcing me to repeat myself over and over again until it just seemed pointless to even try.

That's how I felt about the friendship. That's how I feel about the friendship. Maybe that's cold. Maybe this seems petty of whatever, but I also know that since that argument this friend hasn't tried to talk to me either. She hasn't reached out to me at all. So maybe she's done as well. still sucks though.

Right after Christmas I had an argument with another friend. This one I admit was silly. A text message got sent and replied to and I took the reply personally and just went off. There were alot of factors that went into that moment that had nothing to do with either of us. And both of us were guilty of taking things out on each other that had nothing to do with us. But things were written and at some point I said "you're not worth it" and was told "I'm done" and for some reason.....we were done.

I have been arguing for years with this friend. We have had the most amazing moments together. times that I look back on over and over again as some of the happiest moments of my life. But also some of the lowest have involved this friend as well. Through it all though we have always forgiven one another. We have always made our apologies eventually and tried to move forward. I don't know why this time is any different but it seems to be. We haven't spoken since.

again it sucks. I feel like a part of myself is missing. And I wish I could take it all back. But this friend hasn't reached out to me either. It's the same as before. Though they've let other people know that they're upset and that they don't understand what made this time different, they haven't come to me to say those things.

I feel like I can't keep chasing people down. It's something I gave up in honour of the new year. If you want to spend time with me. If you want to be in my life then make the effort. Come find me.

This phrase has been rambling around in my head. I'm not sure what it wants to be other than somethign to tell myself over and over but:

"Come on in. I'm worth the price of admission. I swear."

 
I saw this meme at another friend's page, so here we go...



If you had me alone, locked up in your house, for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to, what would you have me/you/us do?

All comments are permanently screened - this is our secret!

For when this hits facebook. If you want to play send it to me in a message. Or if you don't care you can post it as a comment.

Re-post this in your journal and see what kind of responses you get.

2009 Wrap Up

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before? 

Lyra. Got laid off 

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't think I made any resolutions last year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, but my brother had a baby girl.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully no.

5. What countries did you visit?

sadly none.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

A job. More time and resources to persue the long list of things I'd like to learn/work on.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Oct 16th, 2009.  

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Lyra hands down

9. What was your biggest failure?

handling the practicalities of my life.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Thankfully nothing major

11. What was the best thing you bought?

my lyra lessons

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Nancy and Sadie for believing in me and knowing I could do this crazy thing.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

I've got a handful of names this year, but there are ones who stick out because their actions have cut me the deepest.  Both of whom were people I once considered the closest people to me in the world and that's changed as the year ended.

14. Where did most of your money go?

What money? Rent and Food

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Lyra.  The Neil Gaiman event

16. What song will always remind you of 2005?

"Maybe" Ingrid Michaelson

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?
probably about the same but for different reasons

ii. thinner or fatter?

thinner

iii. richer or poorer?.
Definately pooerer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Enjoyed the time I had with people no longer in my life, and not spent so much of the time i had with them worried about things.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Working at crap jobs. Trying to figure out what the healthy choices were.

20. How did you spend Christmas? 
I skipped Christmas this year. went to see Sherlock Holmes with Jen.  

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?

Nope.

23. How many one night stands?

one or two. i'm giving them up for Lent.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

Dexter

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

I don't hate anyone. But there are people I regret.

26. What was the best book you read?

I discovered Ursual K Le guin at the end of 2008 and really got into her stuff this year. Also Charles de Lint!


27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Balkan music

28. What did you want and get?

a bottle of jameson for christmas

29. What did you want and not get?

To see him smile

30. What was your favourite film of this year?

The Nines

31. What did you do on your birthday?

Well after almost ruining the surprise party my friends planned for me I had a really fun evening of Lyra and drinks at Thinking Man's.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not losing people I cared about...that i still care about

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?

gypsy punk

34. What kept you sane?

my naive belief that everything will work out somehow.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Amanda Palmer/Jason Segel

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Obama's election

37. Who did you miss?

My mom

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Hmmmm...Sadie. I want to be her when I grow up.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

This was a year of learning about release.


40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"The only way to really know is to really let it go"


Let Me Wrap Your Presents this year!

My very favorite part of the holiday season is wrapping gifts. This year I decided I'd combine my love of wrapping with my need for some extra cash.

So here's the deal:

For $20 plus the cost of wrapping (or if you want to provide your own you can) I will wrap ALL of your presents. I can come to your home or pick the items up and do it at my own home. Simply provide me with the items (and wrapping paper if you so choose) and I will wrap them and make out gift tags.

For an extra $5 I will also add coordinated ribbons and bows.

Also for anyone who does the whole Santa deal I will wrap presents that you mark "From Santa" in a different wrapping paper than the others for an extra $3.

Please pass this info onto your friends and family!
running behind today, but I just wanted to take a moment to say:

Life continues to be amazing and incredible. I'm so looking forward to seeing where everything is headed and I cannot tell you the last time my heart was filled with this much joy and love.

Goddess this time of year is magickal.

right now I am the happiest I have been in a very long time.
I am filled with faith and peace and a deep sense of joy.

It is flooring how beautiful it is outside today, and it has felt that since my feet hit the ground this moring every aspect of this day -the sunshine, the music on the radio, the people I've talked to- have been little hellos from The God and Goddess saying "yes we're here. we're listening. we love you and have gifted you with the ability to manifest all of your desires. Now go do it!" 

You know what? 

I think I shall...