Challenges

Exhaustion ripples through me like the thunder that echoes beyond the walls.

Hiring a housekeeper should not be so tiring, but I know it’s the emotional strain more than anything. I knew my family would resist the change. It’s a lot to ask them; to move outside their complacency and inertia. Yet, it has not changed my mind or resolve. This change will happen.

Our lives will be lead much differently from now on. The more they resist, the more they fight me, the stronger my will becomes. I’m not going to be lulled back into sleep, my eyes are open and I’m awake.

I don’t want to sleepwalk anymore. I want to feel life, experience life deep within my core. No more excuses, no more hiding behind the walls we’ve made.

I know this is a process. I know it will take time and that it will summon every ounce if strength within me, but I want it. I want it more than I can express. It is that hunger that insatiable need that keeps me going. My will is being tested. My will is strong. I can do this.

They will resist but I’m ready for it, more so now than I’ve ever been. So tonight I celebrate a small victory — the housekeeper.

Tomorrow begins a new battle. The purge.

The death of platonic love?

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Just recently I was reading an article lamenting that platonic love was dead.

It differentiated platonic love from deep friendship as it (to the author) has an unrealized sexual component where deep friendship doesn’t. That has me scratching my head as I always believed that friendships were platonic.

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The diagram depicts the way the author believes current love is experienced and platonic love makes up the lower circle and as you can see friendship makes up the majority of the circle. It’s where it overlaps the other two that the author focuses on, particularly on

fuck buddies

It certainly does show the complexity with which we face relationships these days. There used to be a set acceptable societal norm for relationships: platonic, romantic, comfortable numbness.

These were devised with the focus on child-bearing and making sure men knew from who and where their ancestral line emerges. For women it was easy as we carry and give birth to the child.

Therefore, it was important to keep women chaste, pure and ignorant of sexual pleasures as this would only complicate the determination of parentage.

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That kind of simplicity was shattered with the invention of two things: birth control pills and DNA testing. BOOM! The chaste virgin view of women died.

With the pill, women–and not whores– were allowed to like sex. Oh my!

Women were further empowered by DNA testing to force men to recognize their own offspring. So now men can “know” their lineage. Where does that leave love and friendship?

If the need for procreation is not the driving force behind love in society, what does that mean?

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Can we have love that transcends the physical, the sexual? Can we have platonic love as Plato describes it:

The beautiful or lovely other person inspires the mind and the soul and directs one’s attention to spiritual things.

Do we have to equate male-female (et. al) relationships down to whether or not they have sex with each other? Was platonic love an illusion based on societal norms? Or is it the other way around?

By removing the barriers would we interact sexually without examination or recourse? Would sex then fall to that of any other physical activity; and then love and emotional bonding be elevated to something else?

Would we love with our hearts and our minds? Would we allow our souls to be touched and inspired by those around us without the need to bed them, as the author states? In essence, would we find that platonic love does exist but, gets complicated when sex is involved?

Is it societal norms that make us jealous of others? Why do we get so upset when our partner is close to another man/woman? Even when we know sex isn’t involved? Are we really jealous of that connection?

Forever territorial, our partner’s muse is coveted zealously by us. It is for us and us alone and if someone else can spark passion even if it’s mere intellectual passion it makes us crazy and insecure.

Is that what the author truly means about the death of platonic love? Not the advent of fuck-buddies, true love, unrequited love or love gone awry. But, the actual realization that with or without sex, we want to hold the starring role in our partner’s passions.

It’s funny my best friend is a man and I’m friendly with all my exes, yet I see the insecurity in their current spouses. I feel the wall come up. They may really like me if they didn’t have to guard against my stealing their love’s affections. I feel for them. I wish that they can truly experience platonic love as I do. I don’t want to steal their husbands. I have no need to do that, for we converse on a different level. Our sexual relations are either nonexistent or in the past a will forever remain there. It is for that reason I can be their friend and confidant.

Many souls have inspired me, many a day I find myself enjoying sharing my journey with another kindred soul. I’m truly happy for them and their mates. I ask for no romantic ties, most of the time it doesn’t occur to me.

I just enjoy being with them. For me that is enough. Sure I have experienced passion, I have had my share of lovers, but I’m very selective on physical intimacy.

Why? To me that is the most personal you can be with someone, more so than sharing a meal or your home etc. it takes me a long time to get to know someone well enough to become sexual with them. By then I’m well acquainted with their likes and dislikes. I know what will provide them pleasure and how to ask for what pleases me. It’s all very personal. And for me intimacy needs to be reached first. Knowledge is power, but it’s also pleasure in my world.

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Yet, with platonic love, truly platonic love, I have reached a level of intimacy and knowledge that no amount of sex can provide. It’s a kind of knowing.

Knowing that no matter where or with whom we are, no matter how far we travel physically from each other, we are still on the same journey, we are still facing in the same direction and we love each other beyond anything.
There is no need to leave a physical legacy or testament to this knowledge. It existence is all that is required.

I can count on one hand those who have reached that level in my heart and I am grateful to know each one of them. To me they are proof that platonic love is never-ending. It can not die. The only thing that changes is how we view it.

Platonic love dead? I think not.

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Sleep Mode

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Two months away from my family has brought some crushing things to light for me.

Yes of course I love and appreciate my family and I understand that more with each trip. Yet, this one was different. Our family has been going through a bit of a crisis which came to a head over the past 18 months.

I will spare you the details as this is a blog not a novel, but I knew that once we ripped the scab off the festering wound and started the healing process my life would become (and has) a roller coaster.

This trip solidified that and the fact that [like it or not] someone has got to take the reins and that someone has to be me. It’s not a job I relish but it’s better than careening of the track entirely.

By distancing myself from the everyday, the clarity of dysfunction was almost painful. Mom and Dee can’t get along peacefully. Sure they co-exist, but always with an undercurrent of turmoil that can be sparked with an ill-placed sigh.

Both are terrified that I’m going to walk away for good and leave them in this Cold War. Admittedly, I’ve thought about it. In Berlin, I toyed with the idea of picking up freelance work for a studio and staying.

But, this is my family and like it or not I will not abandon them. I am a party to this mess too. That I know. I have allowed too much to pass by unquestioned and unanswered. I have avoided it because it was easier.

Easier to ignore than to work at it. Easier to pretend everything was fine, because the alternative meant a harsh look at myself.

But then I went away. FaceTime is a great convenience, not just because it allows free access, but because it became my barometer for accessing my family dynamic.

I didn’t like what I discovered.

My sister is still in crisis central and probably will be for a long time. Her battle is a marathon process where everyday she must choose herself over self-destruction. Her abandonment fears became crystallized for me on this trip, when even at this distance she was trying to control and manipulate our interactions. She kept saying how much she missed me but didn’t have an answer as to why. Just that it was different. Yet, in 2 months she never got the hang of our time differences, nor the fact that I am an insomniac who once wakened finds it near impossible to return to sleep. Yet I still got 4am calls.

With mom’s heart condition she knows I keep the phone on and she called whenever she wanted: to chat, complain, whine or tell me silly irrelevant things.

I understand my fault in this. I allowed it by answering her. By not putting the phone on sleep mode with just mom’s iPad given access.

It was clear when I was out of wifi range and they hadn’t killed each other, that they could survive without me for a night’s sleep.

I stopped answering the calls every time they rang, but couldn’t get comfortable with shutting the phone off completely…there was still that fear of missing the urgent call in the middle of the night. But, I did get as far as shutting the ringer off when I was with friends or after a long trip home. Where I needed sleep desperately.

Despite that I think I still made myself too available to them. Mom would FaceTime for hours…and sometimes cry that I was the only one she could talk to, dee would call me from work for no reason, not realizing what a hefty phone bill she was causing.

They would have arguments and fights and FT me to referee or resolve their issue. At one point a friend of mine said “you need a divorce!” He said that while he understood the bond I had with my family, if it were him, he would leave…not even far, but leave and tell them he would return when they stopped acting like squabbling children and can respect each other and him.

My head knows he’s right in many ways, but I realize too that I’m not able to walk away. I would feel like I was abandoning them and I couldn’t do that. Abandonment plays a huge role in my family dynamic. It’s the glue that keeps us together and that suffocates us.

Being away I could see and sense the depressive state of those I left behind. Nothing along the lines of heathy housecleaning and maintenance was being done. There were some inconsistent attempts but most petered out.

Mom, the once independent soul, is now isolated by circumstances. Shame keeps her from reaching out and talking to others–others who could become friends, confidants.

She doesn’t want people to see her “failure,” but what she isn’t understanding is that Dee’s problem is her own. It would have manifested itself if she had married and moved out of this house at age 25. Or, if work took her to the other side if the moon.

She doesn’t see that shrinking her world to this house, to just me and Dee is killing her.

I had already decided things were going to change when I returned. I may not be strong enough to follow Markus’s advice and leave, but I can effect change from within.

When I returned home that decision was turned to iron-will in my soul. The level of depression these two were living in was heartbreaking. They were wallowing in it so deep they couldn’t see how out of control everything was…and my first thought was “did I live like this? And if so for how long?!”

I can’t do it anymore. I won’t. Things are going to change. We are going through a huge purge and we are going to get clean and heathy again.

I’ve already started. I am interviewing housekeepers this week, with a goal to purge all the useless junk by 9/8 and then have a regular cleaning schedule done.

No more trash or clothes lying about. No more dog fur dust bunnies and no more excuses.

This afternoon, I will clean the yard [a 3 day project] while my photos are downloading.

I will make a schedule to meet my goals:

Drivers license

Photo projects that are outstanding completed and put away

Revamping my website and business goals

Getting two new trips for Christmas markets for VTG.

Getting my shit together…starting with “sleep mode” on my phone from 11pm to 9 am.

My real work has just begun…..

The Suicidal Mind

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0195118014/ref=redir_mdp_mobile#

As most of you have heard another celebrity has died at his own hand. In the coming days, Robin Williams’s life will be placed under a microscope and dissected for the world.

But, I really don’t want to talk about him. Instead the suicidal mind itself.
Many, if not all of us have been touched by depression at some point. It’s a natural occurrence in the human condition. Yet as with most things there is a myriad of levels that we experience this condition. Labeling it all depression is like equating a red delicious apple to a Granny Smith. They are apples, yes, but one bite tells you that they are totally different in every other concern.

Additionally we have all had fleeting thoughts of ending our own lives. These are usually temporary reactions to current situations, which if we acknowledge them at all we let pass. Most of us won’t speak of these thoughts. We won’t admit to the world (and sometimes ourselves) that we ever could be so “weak”.

We just want the pain to stop and for most of us, our brain let’s us. We each grieve in our own way and timeframe, but then our brains change our chemistry and we move on. The darkness lifts and we have come out the other side, changed but alive and able to experience life.

What fascinates me [and terrifies me] is the suicidal mind. Unlike many illnesses we are born with this type of disease isn’t necessarily congenital. It doesn’t have to be passed down from parent to child. It can kick in at anytime as if it were always there lurking under the surface if happiness, waiting–waiting for the right trigger to set it off and once unleashed the brain will be at constant war with itself. The balance and harmony in it’s make up is gone and each day is a new test if wills.

One day we may find a truly genetic components which makes us vulnerable to this unbalanced chemistry, but for now it is wrapped in mystery. In some cultures it was revered in others seen as a consummate failure.

Stories are written with it as an ending point of either glory or justice. Yet it is neither. It is harder than you think to commit suicide, even when it was custom like Hari Kari. Or when you know it’s to save yourself from a more brutal eminent death. It still is not easy, the emotions that run through the mind make the moments leading up to death an eternity.

Does the suicidal mind really see death as a sweet release? Does it even comprehend anything beyond ending the pain? Do all other emotions and consequences become secondary?

At what level does the pain and depression become so unbearable that this becomes the answer?

Suicide has touch my life in friends who have died or attempted and failed. I’ve seen others chase death through the bottle or dangerous behaviors, knowing that death is very much a factor. I always wonder if there is a link between the addicted mind and the suicidal mind, as many if known drown themselves in addiction to fight off suicidal thoughts and pain.

They end up calling their deaths “accidents” or overdoses etc. but, really I wonder if they aren’t taking a prolonged suicidal route. My father drank to forget. When he was sober he lived with pain and thoughts of pain I am glad I never discovered. Yet, he never pulled the trigger on his gun. I wonder though how many times he thought to do so.

I see the pain left behind a suicide and I always wonder how bad it was, how dark was their soul that they could think that the pain they left behind was acceptable. I wish I will never know.

I wish no one else could ever know.

Maybe some day that wish will come true.

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👵When did i get so old?

There was a time when traipsing through train stations with my world on my back, negotiating maps and streets and hiking through hills, farmlands and forests to get to my goal would not make me so tired.

I would never win athlete of the year, but I could certainly rebound in a day or so and be my plucky self. But! on this trip maybe it’s the clean country air, or the quiet when the church bells or artillery practice aren’t sounding that have coaxed me into such a sleepy feeling…. No! Wait! It’s none of those things! It her

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The doggie siren of sleep! She snuggles up to you and lays her nose under your chin, so warm and soft. She pats you with her tiny paw as if to say “Sleep human, you want to sleep”

And you know what? I do. What wicked sorcery is this that a tiny 10 pound creature can have such an effect on me? She would like nothing more than getting me to stop working and curl up in the sun with her. If only I were on holiday I would. As it is, I return home and curl up exhausted, her paws wrapped around one hand.

The ultimate secret weapon, cuddly dachshunds!

Ordinary Days

It’s been a very long time since I celebrated Father’s Day. I vaguely remember buying my dad old spice when I was four.

However, that didn’t stop me from recognizing some great dads that were in my life. Two that I have fond memories of are Mr. Struppa and Mr. Riera. The fathers of my best school friends.

We have all heard “It takes a village.” And it does. These two men showed me what it was to be a loving father to children. Both had big families, both loved their wives immensely and both wanted the best for me.

Unfortunately, Mr. Struppa has passed on and I’ve lost touch with the Rieras but I will always thank them for helping shape my childhood.

Restless mind

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It’s 7:30 am here in the city. It’s strangely quiet for a Thursday. Or maybe my hearing is less acute from lack of sleep, I’m not sure.

Sugar is softly humming a pleasant sleepy snore; the turtles are lazy not quite sure if they want to wake; and the house is still dark silent. The birds and cars echo from beyond the walls, but no one else inside stirs.

I’ve been up all night arranging and scheduling the details of next week, lining up contacts and particulars on shoots, transportation and tickets. Markus is working on some time to get together and I’ve done all I can on my iPhone.

The next steps are my lists. Lists of what to bring, what to leave behind, info and contacts, as well as projects I know will go undone while I am gone.

And, the whole time I’ve been doing this, there has been a gnawing in my stomach. The feeling of being split. Do I follow what could be a huge opportunity for me and trust that Dee won’t fuck things up? I want to go. I need to go, yet I keep remembering my last trip to Germany and what awaited me on my return.

Can I trust her to have any strength, any resolve at all? Someone told me recently that she is clinging to me like a life preserver, desperate to keep this odd co-dependency in tact. But, what happens to me in the process? What happens to mom. The knots tighten in my stomach at the thought.

It is so strangely sad, this feeling of distrust, that I can’t be comfortable leaving mom alone with her now. I sit and wonder how things have spun so out of control and second guess my decision to go.

I wish I felt better about leaving, I wish the sister I knew so long ago was here. Or that mom was strong enough to deal with her if she melts down. Do wishes ever come true? I don’t know.

This feeling has thrown an ambivalent blanket over my excitement for this trip. Not even being asked to do my first solo album cover seems to give me a rush.

Maybe I will feel different on the plane. Maybe I will breathe if mom FaceTime’s me with an “all’s quiet.” Maybe then I can enjoy this….maybe.
Do wishes come true?