The Portrait of Bill Cosby

I’ve finally stopped hating Bill Cosby. Current pictures of him look fucking awful. He’s practically toadlike with cropped white hair, bulging, staring eyes and moles on his face that make him look like a large fungus with a mouth. He looks both pitiful and nasty at the same time. I’m certain the shots are from live performances, and his choice of wardrobe ( a sweatshirt that says “Hello There”) just heightens the creepiness.I can’t help but think of the “Portrait of Dorian Gray” story about a man who seems immortal, handsome but who has a portrait that looks more and more horrible as he commits crimes and sinks further into debauchery and evil.

When the count of women with detailed rape stories about him got to 20, I knew he’d done it and more. The fact that he can’t be legally prosecuted by time statutes of limitation only brings the heinous nature of his addiction to violating women by drugging and raping them into sharper relief. That he could use his image as a trusted male celebrity to cover it up and get away with it all must have become part of the thrill. The women he raped need, more than anything, to be able to acknowledge what happened to them without all this appalling bullshit about his legacy. I think it’s good they can’t prove he did it, because it makes legal proof, which is and has always been skewed to protect men and nearly impossible to make conclusive of intent, Moot. HE USED DRUGS. THERE WAS NO CONSENT.

But the court of public opinion is far more exacting than legal proof. He lost his son Ennis to murder. He may remain famous, and a millionaire, living out his days, but he will never again be trusted either as a man or a performer by a critical mass of people which includes me. I loved him and his comedy, was raised on it and his comedy record alblums. He’s now just another delusional sick bastard male who’s been allowed, big time, to hate and hurt women.

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It’s Only Natural

This morning I read a post on Facebook by a man who has been sharing his life stories. He’s a published writer, and his posts have been great reading since he began doing them. I admire this guy, know of him through affiliation to a progressive type of group therapy for men and women that he and his wife helped facilitate. He’s pretty honest and straight forward in his writing, even humble.I’ve been impressed with his wisdom and transparency concerning his interesting and varied life.

But this morning I was very NOT impressed. He recounted an incident where he was distracted while driving, by a young woman in a car who was wearing a short skirt and pink panties, so much so that he ran into another driver. He exposed his feeling of entitlement for visually objectifying the woman as a fuckable sex object from the get go by adopting a more lofty, formal tone to whitewash what he was doing as noble and necessary as he began to describe her.

He left out that she was female in the first descriptive sentence, focusing only on “young and attractive”. The second sentence skipped right to not describing a person but PARTS: her panties and “milky thighs” (oh how cliche, but it could have been worse). Then it became all about elevating himself. He was, after all, a young male in his sexual prime, who doesn’t get to see these (exposed female body parts) very often, and “it’s only natural” that he would need to take a look(STARE and crash while staring) at them. I have no doubt he believed she was asking for it by wearing what she did, thereby justifying what he was doing more.

Perhaps this young woman was wearing what she was wearing to get people of both genders to react to her. Yet that is never, ever the point. It’s never about what a woman is wearing, nor is it about any human being experiencing sexual desire, attraction, or lust. It is about the deeply rooted beliefs underlying the entitlement of men to use women in every way they can get away with in dehumanizing ways. It is also about the cultural objectification of sex and pleasure as a scarce commodity that has to be stolen or forcibly extracted from women by boys and men at all cost, women’s safety and well being be damned.

Yet I have to say that it is women now who have not been willing to look at our collusion in not changing this disempowering to both genders rape culture which is why this continues. Men do not protect women, women do not protect women. The worse thing is, children are not protected of either gender. So it’s really not just about sex at all.

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The Never Ever Neverland of a real 4th Step

I’ve been going into the rooms of AA and Al Anon for years, and though I’ve embraced the 12 step philosophy and practices for some time, I’ve never, ever done a 4th step Inventory that felt like it was doing what 4th steps are supposed to do. I’ve had 4 actual sponsors, and though I can’t drink and expect to function, staying away from alcohol is not a problem for me. Living is.

Yesterday I listened to a 2 cd set in my car of an Al Anon speaker from Texas. She spoke for 2 hours and was very good. One of the things she spoke about at length was not wanting to feel her real feelings, of not knowing what they were, not being able to believe she could feel them and survive, and being afraid she would be stuck in them forever. She spoke of playing the victim, being stuck in hurt, and then finding anger.

Last night I went out to see a live music performance and too many things just did not go well. Though I prepared beforehand by looking up driving directions to Fort Mason in San Francisco, I ended up having to drive through the Presidio instead of down Marina Boulevard because they are rebuilding everything around the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. When I got to the performance, the band was good, but the volume/decibals were so high my ears are still recovering from it. I paid for 3 hours of parking and the performance didn’t last an hour. I stupidly tried to get back to 19th Ave by taking Marina Blvd despite the construction mess around the bridge and ended up having to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, turn around and pay toll to get back to where I needed to to go home.

This morning I was tired and irritable I ended up emotionally crashing into a place I have not been for awhile. Those cds had affected me and I’d had two different women tell me I needed to do a 4th step and talk to them the day before. I ended up crying and talking to myself and FEELING. FEELING how much I don’t understand 4th steps, and what that really translate into for me:

Having to trust someone, anyone with the truth about me, my actual life and feelings, NOT! Having to trust myself, the being that is NEVER good enough, does not matter. Why would I want to do something that I could only relate to as another confirmation of my worthlessness and degradation? Feel once again what I NEVER want to feel?

I’ve hit this inner bank of pain and confusion gazillions of time in my life without ever being able to grasp exactly what would finally help it. I’ve now seen someone who helped me start my inventory, and shared something really awful about what happened to them that they were ashamed of, which when it was finally flushed out and shared with someone else, removed the deep pain and and shame it had caused.
The 4th step is like praying for those you hate: if done right, it begins to free one up from that which is still festering within. The weird thing is, it can help take away so much that a person is not aware of in their daily functioning. That is exactly what I need.

I’m praying with all my hear that this time it will help me. I just barely started it on Monday, it’s now Thursday and there has been much occurring since.

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Mad as a Hatter

Oh My God, I’ve had a just had a power encounter I never expected. A learned, very bright woman coach just kicked me hard to the curb. She took offense at my not jumping in line to become her client. She was in a huge rush to tie me down. I felt like a target, like a calf at a calf roping. She went all sideways on me over a context, a context that was not even the real point. Big Fucking Red Flag, Lady. What was your hurry?

I was blunt in fending off her imperious pressure to get me to commit to her, by saying I would not commit to paying her prices without taking time to consider the information she’d just given me. I tend to be caught up in the rightness of my own arguments, but my instincts were telling me something was off before she took offense.

Her reaction was too quick and off center for someone without an attachment to a personal agenda. Her ego flared and she used outrage to cover whatever it was she was really feeling. She’s accustomed to using who she is and what she’s got to create a non level playing field.

We were using private message on FB to discuss the possibility of me hiring her, which I now realize in retrospect was asking for trouble. When you are talking on the phone or face to face there is communication that is impossible to have by email, text or private message. What I found out nevertheless, was that her title of “performance coach”, was not incorrect, but it signaled nothing of her counseling background, which she did not choose to get a license for. Her education was extensive, which does not, in my opinion, guarantee a thing.

She had told me the people who come to her are either extremely desperate or ready to change radically. Her two attempts to refer me to someone else indicate she assumed the former situation was mine, along with some fairly strong arm verbal attempts to make me stop talking and commit to hiring her. Her mistake was in assuming she had read me enough to know, and she did not pay real attention to what I was saying to her as we proceeded and her messages got more and more one pointed. So who was the one that was desperate? Not me this time.

I am grateful for the ease in which I was allowed to get out of this situation. My inner bullshit detector is improving, and that it was connected with my awareness of what I don’t need while I was going through this was a welcome revelation.

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The Millionth Misplaced Key

I just found my car key. Where was it? In a basket I have that I carry stuff in, that I thoroughly looked in at least 3 times yesterday. This was after I have been stranded at home for about 24 hours. And I could not use a spare set because the ignition key I’ve been using had broken off in the lock, and nothing can start my car without the fragment that is not stuck in the ignition cylinder.

I’ve been putting off getting it fixed for the usual excuses but I have a feeling I should not anymore. Nor should I continue to have a cluttered house and overgrown grass around my home because I have spent years delaying on getting my life together. The suffering of spending hours looking for that key has re-acquainted me with how my home and life are not current energetically, despite constant and obsessive daily cleaning and re-arranging. It seems to me I found the key when I finally became willing to call the dealer and make an appointment to get the cylinder fixed.

This is only one of at least a million times I’ve misplaced something key, if you will excuse the pun. It’s either my wallet, cell phone,key or keys. I have learned finally to never think or say I have “LOST” whatever it is,only “misplaced” it. I have tried to use tricks to keep misplacing from happening: making many sets of keys,hiding them various places, having stuff on the ring which makes it easier to find, putting a key hook rack in the house.My car, which has a black interior, has canyons of crevices for the keys to fall into and disappear. As experienced as I am noticing something is gone and backtracking, searching for it, locking it in the car and getting fire, police and auto services to help, I still am mysteriously handicapped in finding misplaced keys.

I was meditating this morning around the phrase “misplaced key” and it turned into “misplaced qi or qui or chi” which means misplaced life energy. I’m getting the message I have not been focusing my energy where it needs to be focused in order for me to get my life together for me.

Just yesterday I was using a chant with sound toning designed to vibrate certain chakras in order to distinguish needed truth from non. I even paraphrased it in English to “all answers come to me”. Misplacing the key for a millionth time seems to be a kind of answer to me at the moment.

Today I saw an article on candida that makes a very good case for what has been affecting me digestivly for the last 15 years. And Candida can make a person scattered. It says that candida overgrowth interferes with the absorbtion of minerals, creates insulin resistance, lactose, sugar and gluten intolerance. This in turn, damages the gut and interferes with absorbtion of everything else. I think I may have it because if I am not taking minerals often, I start being hot and throbby and inflamed and have increasing pain at night. I also have to pee more, have dry mouth, and if I don’t take minerals it becomes mild but very bothersome incontinence.

Someone in my family has had candida, it incapacitated her for years, though she finally got it handled. I’ve been swollen up for about 15 years. Though I can alter my health for the better by doing certain things, I’ve had this chronic bloat up front from pubic bone to sternum that never goes away. Now I’m starting to hurt again, and I’m going to increase my minerals straight away.

The irony of all of this is that I’ve been chasing Candida and whatever is affecting me for years without really knowing what I have. I’ve got an infrared sauna and a biomat I don’t use for chrissakes. I know of a certain protocol I have wanted to use for at least 10 years. It now occurs to me that if I have Candida this might account for my inability to get on with eradicating it and being indecisive, lost and living with the situation I live with that is not condusive to me getting as healthy as I want and need to.

Yet right now mostly what I am is massively grateful I found my key. Gotta call that dealer and make an appointment.

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Cat Pee Monday

Yesterday the man I live with was roused out of his procrastination of clearing out his cluttered up truck by the scent marking of a young tom cat in our neighborhood of his toolboxes in his shed. He took it personally yet it led to him happily accomplishing much after he stopped reacting.He has chosen for a long time to leave that shed open 24/7 in order to allow cats to seek shelter there. I was able to see it for the gift that it was and effortlessly ignore his anger and distress.

This morning I woke up resentful and sliding towards helplessness, which have brought me to recognize more gifts coming my way. I have a flat tire, which means I need to get it pumped up or changed, and I am temporarily out of money. Our elderly beloved cat is experiencing cat incontinence, which means she keeps peeing on the newspaper underneath the catbox half the time, so I must go get some newspaper or have to listen to someone repeatedly bitch about it.

The man I live with has stopped smoking pot for 15 days,an unbelievable thing after 30 years of me moving heaven and earth to try and make it happen. I am stupidly angry that him stopping is not giving me what I need, as though something/everything is owed to me for opening up my shed to a stray I hoped would share and take shelter with me. And the realization that he’s been pissing on it and me metaphorically ever since is not lost on me.

The gift is I’m recognizing I’ve been allowing him to. Like millions of women, I have been unable to recognize my subjugation from within and know how to actually get on the road of authentic self becoming.

After all the slings and arrows I’ve endured for 30 years from the man I live with, the fact that his quitting pot does not sane behavior towards me make is a huge awakening. SURPRISE! sez life.

Oh, and to those VERY FEW people out there who actually read my blog and bother to make a negative comment…This is a PERSONAL blog. Sky’s the limit, the FBI, CIA and Home Security don’t care so why do you?

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The Only Thing We Are Good For

I just read a Chris Hedges article that was posted through Nation of Change about how Prostitution and Trafficking are being globally enlarged through countries that make it legal and people accepting it as an institution of commerce when in fact it is about economic slavery and degradation of women and people. Not a minute after I read it there was a comment by a man saying that banning prostitution and making it illegal will not stop it, and that organized crime does it if someone else isn’t doing the pimping, trafficking, and profit making. As if it’s ok to make anyone fuck for money EVER.

Hedges goes on to include information about a woman activist in Canada who runs a house for helping women out of trafficking/prostitution that has had it’s government funding cut because she won’t let the government have her records about the women who come through her her venue to be controlled and persecuted after they have gotten out/away from the sex slavery they’ve been coerced or trafficked into. She attests to the fact there are attacks on her and her activism to legally help and protect women from trafficking into sex slavery to keep the classism, misogyny, male indulgence to be able to buy sex and commercial status quo in place.

Once upon a time quite a while ago, I went to an art exhibit by a woman who had a series of masks made from molds of her face about being an incest survivor. I don’t remember where and when this exhibit was, her name, and I don’t remember any of the masks EXCEPT one: It was a small, dull red, eyeless form of her face entitled “The Only Thing I’m Good For”. The mouth area was pursed into an O shape, with the suggestion of something tubelike going there. Within seconds of looking at it, I got the message this was about a penis being forced into her mouth. And I will never, ever FORGET THAT.

This woman’s art inspired me to make clay masks that were from molds of my face and to use art to try and express my personal struggles with being female in a sick patriarchal culture and I still have them today, along with Process Paintings about what I have found unspeakable and horrifying about my life. What I have found is that we women oppress ourselves from within due to the momentum of generations of denial and silence around the explicit and categorical degradation of women and other injustices of our world. Like most of the all the women I know, I have colluded with it, not yet able to get a bearing on how I can change in relation to my growing awareness of my part in it.

Recently I went to a live drumming/dancing/singing performance dedicated to the ocean great mother orisha, Yemonja. As a bata drummer I have played bata rhythms for the cuban version of the mother orisha Yemaya. Yemonja is the Brazilian version and the performance featured a variety of offerings that were magnificent. I heard about the performance through my current drumming teacher because his children were in the performance. Going to it was uplifting and inspiring.

What I did not bargain for was running into my ex percussion teacher. I saw him during the intermission putting drums on the stage. I knew this meant he would be performing in the second half, which he did, with 3 other cuban guys. The performance was sold out, packed, and when I walked from the main room to the lobby, there he was in front of me. We had a moment of unavoidable eye contact and he turned to stone. He cut me cold, as though I hadn’t been the neighbor, friend and dedicated, consistent drumming student of his for 4 and a half years. When he arrived from Cuba, I was the one who introduced him to people that would become his students locally. I had nothing directly to do with the end of the relationship that had brought him to my home town and his exit from it.

This was not the first time he’d refused to acknowledge me. He did it before when I went to a drum class taught by a drumming crony of his in the city. He was there playing bell at the request of his friend during the class. He had ignored my smile and a wave then and it seemed like it might be accidental. But this time it was very clear it wasn’t. Though I can guess why he is no longer OK with me, I can’t be sure what he’s thinking and why he is shunning me.

It hurt and I felt quite angry though I did not react. Not one minute after I saw him and experienced the psychic slam to my gut, I ran into another Cuban fella who was also briefly my teacher. He hadn’t left on the best terms either. He called out my name, seemingly delighted to see me and gave me an enthusiastic hug. All a mystery, as I had been a hot mess when I’d been his student and didn’t believe he thought much of me.

And yet now I see this situation as the sign of real growth that it is. My ex teacher contributed a great deal to me becoming a better drummer. Yet I had arrived at a place where I knew I needed to move on and he’d taught me all that he could before it ended, and now I don’t have to pretend I approve of him personally. I saw signs of his general and particular lack of respect for women long before he was gone. He had some very good points as a teacher, could be benevolent at times, but he was often harsh and bordering on abuse of me and others who were his students. What he taught the most was FOCUS, and I cried some bitter tears learning it while fighting to not walk away from him for good.

I have no doubt now that I was more than occasionally treading upon an inner wound of father/authority material internally. He was perfect for it, holding a rigid standard of perfectionism in playing bata which resonated with my unforgiving internal judge.To his credit he ignored a lot of emotional static from me, including tears. The war between me and my love/hate projection of him was waged mostly in silence while in his presence during class.

I learned not to look to him or any other outside source for praise. As I got better as a player, my ear and awareness of what was correct and in the groove began to inform me more than his guidance. It was three years before I began experiencing my own excellence with an inner knowing that was sure, and there was nothing like that feeling. And I can’t begin to count the days of rage and devastation when I questioned why I was doing this at all before I came anywhere near to the joy of my own development.

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Drumming Class Heaven: The Divine Mr. Santos

Before the year ended, I got a call from a drumming class friend on the coast. She had noticed in the College of San Mateo catalog that a noted local professional musician has a latin percussion class he teaches. Because our Congolese master is no longer coming to our town, opportunities to drum are presently non existent. She invited me to join her in checking out the class before the semester was over. I told her I had seen the class in the catalog for years and wanted to take it, but hadn’t felt confident enough to even go to check it out.

After the New Year came and went, she called me again, and we agreed to call each other the next week and see if we could go check it out on the day of the first class. The day came, I called her, and she could not go, but she told me the time of the class, the building it was in on the campus, and the fact I’d need to pay $2 for parking in the Visitor lot to a Parking Kiosk. I decided to go alone. I actually lost my car keys that day, had to get someone to drive me home to get a spare set, and I knew it was because a part of me was in reaction to me finally going to check out this class.

I arrived, found the Visitor parking lot, and went up to the Art/Theatre/ and Music building early. I had no idea what classroom it was, had tried to look it up on the website but hadn’t been able to. I prowled and circled around the 2 floors of the building, seeing no one, and fretting. Many of the classrooms in the music area had digital dials on them, and small windows which were covered or too high for me to peek into. Finally I saw a guy pulling a conga bag on wheels and followed him into the right classroom. There was John Santos with his fedora, chairs, an empty dry erase board, and a conga. I let him know I was not enrolled but wanting to check out his class. There were some LP loaner congas, and I luckily was allowed to borrow one.

At the end of the class he came up to me and asked me where I had previously played, and was I Carolyn Brandy’s student. This was a moment I had never imagined could happen. It melted me to the core. I’ve floundered and struggled, been lost for too many years. I managed to get online, enroll, and try to register for the class within the next week. I had computer problems and had to call the Registrar’s office, and then had to email the instructor for a code number which was confirmation I had permission to take the class. I sent Mr. Santos an email and he gave me the code. When I had the money, I finished the registration.

I love the class. There are women and men, young and old. Some are experienced, some are not. Mr. Santos loves his subject, and is an excellent teacher. He presents all three modalities of learning: visual, auditory and kinetic. He breaks things down, builds slowly, answers questions. One time he brought a guest drummer, a friend who has drummed for Santana for 40 years. He has an assistant who sends us the drum charts after each class. He has tips from 42 years of drumming and performing. He sings the rhythms,steps and plays them, writes what we are doing on the board. We get three whole hours a week with him and a break.
With Mr. Santos, the latin percussion world is just one big family of people and stories are told of everything from how drums are manufactured to every kind of detail about rhythm there is.

I’m almost grateful it took me so long to get there. I’m experienced enough to know what a treasure I’ve found which I can respect, love and savor. The second time I went to class I took my own drum in a drum bag, and it happened to be cold and windy. Mr. Santos and his assistant were at class when I arrived early. I was bundled up in my North Face coat and a wool hat, and he invited me into the class so I would not be cold. I’m not used to being noticed or treated well, simply for existing. I think I’m going to like getting used to it without taking it for granted.

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Asstanga Yoga

Before the year ended, I took a 7 am Ashtanga yoga class from a woman teacher I’d never met before at the yoga studio I’ve gone to for 15 years. The fact that the class is only an hour as opposed to the usual hour and a half and is at 7 am in the morning really gives it a different feel. For the first time in 15 years, I was willing to change my habitual 15 year old downward dog stance to one which stretches my sacral/sitz bones area by pulling my hips further back and not allowing my heels to touch the floor.

This change has done some interesting things to my lower pelvis fore and aft. I have had both the back sacrum and front of my hips become something I’m way more aware of, get tighter and more open at the same time. I’ve also begun finally doing the chatteranga part of the vinyasa the way it’s supposed to instead of doing a flapjack sort of reverse vinyasa, though I skip planking and drop my knees down.
My Warrior 1 poses are crap, but I’m not worrying about them being good as I am re-introducing my body to classic Ashtanga, and I’m patient because I am not maintaining a strict daily practice.

I’m grateful to be able to be as active, flexible and out of pain as I am. And yet I sure would like to change my stuffed sausage torso and release all the excess flesh I’m carrying which is at least 50 lbs.
I can’t imagine my sanity or my health without yoga, and yet I forget almost all the time that it is there, and how much I have used it. I’m wondering now if a candida cleanse I have heard about for many a year and wanted to do will actually help me shed the excess pounds I’ve had for too many years. I wish I knew for sure. In the meantime, I’m feeling my ass end like never before.

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Can You Say Puborectal Muscle?

Today I watched a very detailed visual representation on why squatting is the way to defecate, as opposed to sitting on a toilet. I’ve known for about this information for at least 5 years, having spent years trying to deal with a sagging and swollen fat body, chronic constipation, overeating, food allergies and spending quite a bit of time and money getting colonics. Yes, that is one of those situations where you get a tube stuck up your anus and have water flushed in and out to remove stagnated poo and toxins.

I have a “Welles Step” I bought from the colonic hydrologist, which puts the feet up higher when using the toilet to put the body in the right squatting position. I haven’t been using it for years, partially because I live with someone who is so obsessive about germs and fecal matters to the point of hysteria, and partially because this unfamiliar position was awkward and foreign, despite the science behind it.I’ve known I should be squatting for some time, having suffered from constipation, varicose veins in my inner knees, two hemorrhoids,and having a distended, puffed up upper and lower abdomen. My torso looks like a balloon animal. I’m 50 lbs overweight and my upper arms, thighs, armpits and other areas are puffed up as well as my front guts and buttocks.

Now there are plenty of yoga and mobility teachers exhorting us all to do squats and stay in them for numerous reasons, yet I’ve found them hard to do. An overweight body literally impedes movement like that and it can be painful and cause injuries, something I have actively avoided a lot in the last 10 years. Now it’s 2 days I’ve begun using the Welles Step or another way of being in the proper position and I’ve experienced minor soreness in my hips and glutes that can only be from how much I’ve been squatting. By making a point of squatting some off the times I go to the bathroom, I am accomplishing what has seemed impossible. So now I’m breathing and squatting, and I feel good, though I look fatter than ever. I’ve also been eating a diet much higher in good fats and my elimination has gotten better than it’s been for years.

Yesterday in yoga I had the surprising experience of feeling two matching internal areas in my lower sacrum open up. It was strange and awesome. I’ve been doing my downward dogs differently, pushing back into the sitz bones more, after never for 15 years. Today I did 10 sun salutes in an Ashtanga yoga class without feeling icky, though the B ones were no where near what they are sposed to be. I’m still in “remembering to breathe 1A.” My hips are far from open and my ankles never seem to like me sitting on my knees, no matter how much “toe breaking” kneels I do. My knees are not in pain the way they used to be, but I’m careful of them, well aware of the varicose veins and broken capillaries I can see at the crease of my knees.

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