The Blinding Loop of Covert Emotional Incest

Last night, as I watched “Dead Poets Society” for the third time, I discovered I had left my stodgy old Dell PC on without realizing it. I paused the DVD player, got back on the internet, and began looking for material about fat and what it symbolizes in Jungian symbols. Years ago I bought a number of books by female Jungian analysts I could barely read or understand. The most notable of these were Sylvia Brinton Pera and Marion Woodman. Woodman had a great deal of material on women, femininity, and eating disorders. Other books examined Scapegoating, taken from an actual ancient jewish ritual, and there was more nearly incomprehensible bad news about being female and “medial” in a book called “The Cassandra Complex”.

Though it was like trying to read an alien language, I stubbornly kept on periodically reading the books and trying to use some of the ideas and images in countless process paintings. I paint concrete things, not abstract, so what I would end up painting were attempts at depicting literalized symbols. This was all an attempt to tap in to my inner archetypal self, get down to the deep inner stuff beyond my conscious mind. I also made clay masks which were molds of my face and tried to help deal with my endless inability to mature or get anywhere. Last night I had the real and current appearance of my body in my mind: My body is encased in a rounded, soft,swollen casing of water and fat. I am carrying about 50 lbs of extra weight, which hangs in folds off my body in too many places

Then I began to recall a recurring theme in all those Jungian books about “Covert and/or Emotional Incest”. I started looking that up and found it roundly defined and discussed on the web where in the past it was vaguely referred to and not very often though touched on a great deal in the Jungian texts by many women analysts. I ended up reading about some horrific examples of such abuse, which I now believe is a completely inadequate term to use for any of this kind of shit.

And I’m newly appalled at the tremendous societal, familial, cultural denial and ignorance about it, along with the secret war of women against women. I consider childrearing and parenthood in it’s present state to be one of the most barbaric, stupidy-ridden atrocities of all time. I’m now absolutely certain NOT marrying, NOT having kids and perpetrating this madness has been a must for me, despite the desperate and somewhat awful life I have had to live.I look at the man I’m with, at the people I know, and every single one of them is a product of insanity that is far from minor: alcoholism, drug addiction, severe traumatic abuse, incest, and the blind conditioning of thinking marriage is a thing to do.

I’d do paintings, read the books, have no one I could actually discuss any of it with, be roundly misunderstood and ignored, and I’d sink further into despair. It’s different for me now, I’ve grown into a better place despite great and prolonged, unwanted suffering and struggle.
I also have swam my way through clinical psychology and psychiatry and found them wanting, because there is too much playing god stuff involved with even the most minor definition of what is mental illness. Where I have finally found useful information about so called mental illness is with the orthomolecular pioneers who have learned how to treat deficient brain chemistry with mega vitamins.

Clearly now there is a critical mass of SOMEONE out there who have defined and tried to work with so called “Covert/Emotional Incest”. I’ve now seen a few actual approaches where some therapists have actually cared. Most rest in their definition of the pathology, which by the very nature of it’s terms and attitudes identifies, separates, and sets apart the “victim” from the world of the diagnoser. I call it the “Boy are you fucked” syndrome. It’s like a social quarantine for something that is so rampant and interwoven in our culture that it makes the diagnoses a fetter that the “victim”, if she or he gets healthier, eventually has to break out of and escape.

I’ve had some good help and support from therapists, but I’ve also been exploited, confused, and put down by others. I’ve wasted a lot of time and money trying to get help for me and help for my guy from therapists who had no conscience regarding their success or failure. They dont’ have to give a fuck because people who go to therapists are desperate and vulnerable. They get away with failure all the time, and they get paid regardless.
I’ve floundered in Al Anon and AA for years, lost in the even more amateur delusions of people there, many of which have no business sponsoring anyone in the deep and swirling waters of subconscious projection.

But I am clear on one thing: Our Society and human Culture is one big series of “Covert/Emotional Incests, with the attendant denial, amnesia and maintenance of the masquerade of it all being something else normal and healthy. It sheds once more a light on why I still can’t “STOMACH” a lot of things in my life, self and world.

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20 Minutes of Practice-Back to the Cuban Future

It’s been 2 days in a row now where I took my borrowed, garage sale quinto and congo drums down from their shelves, and placed them on my back porch with the blue owl kitchen timer, my bamboo contra clave’, two drumsticks and a chair. I have actually PRACTICED methodically, doing all the basic Afro-Cuban percussion patterns I’ve been learning from my pal the Shekere’ maker. I have a notebook I’ve tried to notate them in repeatedly, and get the names straight.

This is something I’ve wanted to be able to do for at least a decade! HOORAY for Me. I know now, more than I ever have, that the only way I can ever really drum is if I create enough critical mass of practice to get better. Repetition and lots of it is the key. My body and my ear get it in ways my mind cannot fathom. No amount of thinking about it, intending to practice, or fumbling around gets it done. Only actual practicing and playing does.

Last Weekend I hit a double header and got to the class of my Congolese Master to play, something I can no longer do every week because he isn’t coming to my home town anymore. The next day I attended a Cuban Festival in SF where there were a lot of dance classes and took a beginning cuban percussion class from a friend of my ex Cuban Master.

The inevitable happened: I ran across the man who used to be my Cuban Drumming Master. He was there passionately banging away, playing with his friend in the flesh. He looked right through me. That is, he didn’t let on he knew me. I gave him eye contact, smiled at him, but did not wave or approach him because he has not been visible since the relationship he had with a friend of mine ended despite still living in my home town. It’s clear to me he has roundly avoided all contact with me.

I could only reflect that he gave me much as a teacher and leave it at that. Whatever he is thinking or feeling about what happened in relation to me and what I know personally is none of my business. I supported him a lot on many levels, but that’s all water under the bridge. What I know about him is also no one’s business but my own. He was a dedicated teacher, and he had some real faults, but I made my choices, stayed his student for about 4 years, and I got what I got. I learned to focus and became three times the drummer I was before I made it through the crucible of his unrelenting drive for perfection.

When I mentioned I had seen my teacher, my guy said he’d been approached by said Cuban teacher since the split. I’m not too surprised. My guy opined that “he doesn’t want to be hated”. I have no idea if that is actually true, but the good news is that I don’t really need to know if that is true. It could easily be my guy’s projection. What matters to me is me, my playing. I’m not holding my breath waiting for my ex teacher to show me either affection or respect. In Cuba, you either play well or you’re nothing.

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Another Fine Mess: My #1 Blinding Loop

I have been praying lately, not to have my Character Defects removed, but to find out what my Blinding Loops are, so I can stop being blocked and controlled by them. Blinding loops are what Dr. Mario Martinez says are self delusions we have created around behavior patterns that keep us in deprivation. In my case I have three chronic major life disasters: My body, my guy and my nearly non-existent work/income making life. And I’m praying I will be clearly informed as to what EXACTLY is going on, ONCE and FOR ALL. I figure I’m ready for it, having reached 60 and surviving through molto hells I never thought I would.

I got mad this morning at the twitchy, poorly functioning laptop my guy has hooked up to a big screen because I couldn’t get an unsubscribe clicked on a site that keeps sending me ads by email about “FUCKBUDDIES.” I tried to update an email address and send an overdue email, only to have it bounce. I got mad because I’ve requested help by phone and email to be able to apply for a job at the Ritz Carleton in my actual choice of professions, massage, and I couldn’t figure out the crappy att email format to send them something terse because they haven’t done what they are supposed to: respond and get back to me. I got mad because I asked ATT NOT to put their blue advertising band at top of my email in my face, and THEY HAVE, ALL ALONG. I got mad because my guy clicked on some intro offer to a movie download which will automatically charge somebody 50 bucks monthly and he never cleans up his own messes. After I cried, shattered the glass, yelled etc, I calmed down and looked at it from a different angle. I have a pc that is slow, cluttered, barely functional because I keep living from the place I don’t deserve decent computer stuff, don’t want to spend the time, money, attentions, etc. I have a false idea I can’t choose to create different and better for myself, that it’s too complicated and so on. My life reflects this nonsense.

I had what my guy calls a “Tizzy” and slammed a glass cupboard door, shattering glass all over the floor, the counter below, shelves and dishes inside the cupboard, and part of the kitchen table. I was barefoot at the time and in my jammies. We have cats, not a lot of space, and I had to clean up all the shards and glass. Luckily, the guy was not around, and when he came back, I told him about it because I wanted him to know what happened, and demonstrate my concern for him, truth and our home.
He did not see the point of my talking to him, and used to this to pressure me to eat something he’d brought home which I did not want, and ask me what I’d been doing all morning to eat breakfast so late (10:30 ish). I did not allow this disrespectful treatment to fly. He yelled at me, called me names in the driveway and stormed off. He came back to overfeed the cat, glare at me while I was talking on my cell, and leave again.

Last night I watched the classic movie “Dead Poet’s Society” to see Robin Williams play the teacher who champions his students finding their own voice and life. I’m NEVER MINDING the fact the main character kills himself because of a brutally controlling father and that Robin Williams is dead.
I need to find my voice and tell the truth about somehow being so worthless that I have to be with people and situations that are shitty for me, that there is nothing else, and I’m helpless, have to stay in it.

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No More the Housecleaner

Recently I asked someone I know if I could clearn their house for money while I am seeking employment. I used to clean houses, never full time, but I did it with some regular clients for years. I think both of us knew it wasn’t going to work, but I was aware of wanting to do it to see how I have changed since I last was doing it and be around this persom’s unusal home environment.

They live in a spacious warehouse/loft with a very high ceiling. They have tons of large plants inside, some tree sized, and an indoor water feature with a series of waterfalls. They have a lot of stuff stacked vertically which cannot be cleaned from the floor, even with a stepladder. The floor is concrete, with a chipped and spotted surface that never looks clean no matter how clean it really is.

The plants, much like a mini Rain Forrest, shed leaves, dirt, and dust 24/7 all over the place. There’s a skylight over the kitchen from which pollution in the form of diesel particulates drops black specks. Definitely not what I was prepared to be responsible for as a cleaner in a kitchen with a lot of fancy and expensive exposed dishes and kitchen equipment. There were two large cat towers with plant debris and spiderwebs on them in an area where past cleaners hadn’t been cleaning.

I discovered soon enough that they had ideas about cleaning and what is sanitary or orderly that exceed what they can reasonably expect from a regular housecleaner. Further, they were there when I started to clean, never a good idea, wanted me to literally BE them, read their mind, and have super powers. This is often the case with would be cleaning clients. Housecleaners are a projectional free-for-all, a handy container to catch the deep longing for a Great Mother force in the form of a troop of elves or fairy godmother who will magically and instantly grant every wish and fill every need. An uncleaned home is a metaphor for just about anything and everything that is unaddressed or troubling in a person’s life.

Though our supposedly democratic and liberal society won’t admit it, housecleaners are associated with absolute class, gender and race dominance and there is a disturbing, incestuous intimacy involved because of a paid stranger being in the home space of another person and being around their secrets, stories, needs, problems and things. Women, so conditioned to ignore and suppress their power needs, can easily act out them out on a housecleaner, who is considered a disinfranchised, captive audience and non blood recipient of whatever the mistress or master want to dish out to them, much like indentured servants or slaves.

They wanted no harmful chemicals but had cleaning liquids of mostly unknown origion, including Simple Green, which I didn’t know is actually not non toxic, and expected me to be able to put away their cleaning tools in a closet jammed with things I could not hope to know how to arrange. There was no learning curve allowed right off the bat. There was a broken steam cleaner left out for me with the illogical hope I would a) be able to use it, when in fact, it was unusable,not broken by me and something I have never used. b) that I would somehow want to use it, c)that I would fix it with my magical powers.

I was rebuked, before the day was out, for not wiping the top of a kitchen compost bin, when in fact, I was waiting to find out exactly how they wanted it emptied. I sprayed Simple Green on a couch stain because I have used it to get out stains, only to be told it is not non toxic, though it was their Simple Green I used, and they admit they use Simple Green elsewhere. It was assummed I would mop the floor and then take off my shoes once I had. People don’t get it that they have to begin with getting to know their own needs and allow the process to reveal how the cleaner can evolve with them to fullfill them. There has to be some consciousness and trust. When there is not, it’s disastrous.

Essentially, I was to meet an inhuman standard of cleanliness they themselves cannot do or meet. Most people start out in this stage and then eventually learn to be happy to come to a house that has been wiped, dusted, vacuumed, washed, and so on. They don’t want to know how it’s done, and the less they think about exactly how or how much, the better. Over time, cleaning a space becomes a dance between what the client thinks they want, what they actually get, and the way a cleaner forms a relationship with the space and finds a way to create order and cleanliness which create satisfaction for the cleaner and client.

In this case I knew we would not be continuing, and I was fortunate to be allowed to come the next day and finish up alone, actually get paid and be told exactly what had to be done over, though once again, what was perceived as not being done had been. The exit email was mercifully undetailed and decisively non hostile. My reward was being able to see clearly what was happening, not take it personally, and find out that what I would really like to do is make my own cleaning substances. I’ve been in love with a little book I bought years ago on the subject.

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God’s Latest Dish Commandments

A miracle happened a few days ago. God actually did the dishes. By this I mean he immersed all of them in hot water with soap, possibly rubbed them with a sponge or wet rag, rinsed them, and piled them into the dish drainer, where they air dried completely. I witnessed this after being gone in the evening, having fled to a friend’s house so I could sleep without having to listen to God work himself up into one of his endless rages.

But this miracle has not prevented God from coming forward with more commandments, handed down on high to me, the deeply inferior female being. According to God, the silverware drainer is “really gross”, despite the fact that I clean it periodically and God NEVER DOES. God has now told me that if I do not put the rinsed silverware either handle up/or handle down( I can’t remember which, having succumbed to my astonishment that God is so blindly and tyrannically OCD), that bacterial safety cannot be obtained. He was definitely not pleased that I bluntly refused to accept this new commandment as red, telling him basically he is full of shit because he has never done ANY dishes, EVER.

He started calling me names. He emphatically declared “YOU ARE A MONSTER” several times. I told him that I am not, that he is, and started telling him he has 60 days to move out. I returned, hours later, there was a silent truce, and I left in the evening to pick a friend at the airport and stayed at her house overnight. I told him I would be staying overnight, he didn’t remember, and called me at 3 am to find out where I was.

God’s latest dishwashing peeve is that I have left soapy water in the dishpan overnight. He has decreed this taboo, not suspecting that he is the one who has been leaving the dishpan full of cold, greasy dishwater with food in it and dishes that need to be scrubbed for about 3 weeks since he began this campaign. He leaves buckets full of greasy water from detailing his vehicles, flea laden dirt water from combing the cat, and open cans of cat food without tops unto eternity but is not aware he’s the one doing it. Such are the ravages of malnutrition brought on by decades of substance abuse coupled with severe abuse from infancy. There is no short term memory, and God has regular fuck you fights with himself over the fact he can’t find stuff, like his lighter. Lately God has been telling himself he needs to quit smoking pot but has no real idea it’s possible. I say nothing, as usual, having exhausted any kind of hope he could ever hear what I have to say. I know he will never listen to or believe anything I say.

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No More Ta Ta Tamer

I have been informed that Windows 8 is no longer “being supported” by Microsoft, and that I must upgrade by downloading a new version, 8.1 because I am “unprotected”. I tend to treat the endless waves of tech demands from life much as I treat ticks I find walking around on my body, my cats, or my house. I remove them from my world and forget about them as fast as I can.
This works well with most things, but I know this particular thing ain’t going away.

I just managed to actually LOOK at my bank balance, line out the bills, write the checks, seal them in envelopes, with stamps and return addresses, make clear records, and put them in the mailbox before the post person came today. My guy even let me find the remaining ones he had hidden from himself and handle them, be on the same page, and let me sort, file and shred. I’m so proud of myself. I feel wonderful. This is because I have a deep pattern of infantile fear around money,work, managing things and self worth that I fall into aversion and stay there.

Taking the steps necessary to “handle” the bills becomes this looming, gi-normous, dreadful torture, and the longer I procrastinate, the worse it looms. I forget I’m actually capable of doing it, that I still have shelter and food and so on, and I somehow leave my cringing emotional fetal position and grow into a 60 year old within an hour.

I’m also proud because I actually applied for a job and interviewed for it. It took all I had to admit to my Al Anon sponsor I could not do it alone and allow her to help me for a day filling out the hated “online application” for checker/stocker/deli-juice person OR nutrition and body clerk. I went and bought job appropriate clothing: actual blue jeans, size 16 that fit, and an on sale robin’s egg blue Land’s End V neck T shirt. That and a bra, size 36C.

The bra, a brand new, blazing white, Bali Flower underwire, was a radical move for me. My tits were falling. They seemed to be getting bigger, looser and lower. I finally put a stop to it. I’ve worn Bali bras for years, and I used to be a 34B. Underwires are supposed to be very bad for breasts, confining them and the lymph drains around the armpits, and being receptors for Electromagnetic Fields detrimental for health. I don’t care. When I was getting clothing for my nephew’s wedding, a fat, but tan saleswoman told me I needed a 38D. much like, I believe, she was wearing. I bought and wore it a few times. It had no underwires, had soft cups and was fairly expensive. When I wore it, I felt like I had large fat lumps, not breasts, and I recently decided I didn’t want to be a D cup OR a 38.

What occurs to me now is that I can see and feel a Bali Flower underwire, feel it around my ribcage, feel the underwires separating my breasts, and I feel supported. I can imagine and project that my breasts, which CAN fit into a 36C, are not collapsing and getting firmer, higher and shaping themselves into a more compact cone shape that I like. I took the the 2 very worn out bras I had and the Ta Ta Tamer to the “Us Again” clothes dumpster. I got tired of the cross back feeling, and of my breasts being squished together in a shapeless, sagging “uniboob”.

I know I have flesh hanging from my upper arms, and there is fat gooshing out the sides of my back armpits. I have 2 fat front abdomen continents and a line of fat from the top of my inner thighs to my inner knee. My legs look better than they have for years because I’ve shaped them with spinning, walking, clubbells and aminos acids, but my ass is square, large and my back is covered with fat. I’m at least 50 lbs overweight. While I feel pretty good, I know I need to lose the weight for my health and well being.

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God’s Dishes and Laundry Commandments

Today was a perfectly fine morning until I dared, in my blatant and flagrant stupidity, to touch a dish in the kitchen. God gave me a foul look and explained that I was not to touch his eternally soaking dishes, the ones he does not take OUT of the soaking water EVER. It’s only been 2 weeks since God took over the kitchen, laundry and dishes, but he has finally divulged why he has had to take over things: “YOU DON’T GET THEM CLEAN.”

God, on the other hand, does not eat meals, does not put away whatever salty and fatty food he has cooked, does not put the lid on the open cat food cans he opens, doesn’t put dishes in the drainer( OK so I saw him do it ONCE) and apparently believes that my using the sink or kitchen at all is “Not letting me do my dishes.” My terrible cleaning incompetence and bacterial failure notwithstanding has somehow been good enough for God to lean on and not lift a finger for 28 years, though God has inquired periodically if I actually use soap when doing the laundry before.

God’s idea of laundry is heavy loads on hot soaked in original Blue Tide. Nothing else but the strong and unmistakable chemically toxic scent of Tide, a planet killer, will do. God has suddenly become concerned with water conservation, another horrifying failure of mine, according to God. But then God tends to believe I’m shit at everything, unless he’s about to become homeless. Then God is kind of soft on my crimes and ubiquitously glaring defects of character, until I let him get settled in and complacent again.

God has taken to forbidding me to dump vacuum dust and cat hair over the fence, or organic carrot pulp, or cat box pee divots. God does not believe in sustainability and the efficacy of compost, rotting organic matter and the way it feeds both the soil and rodents, like mice which our cats like to hunt and eat. God has now switched his divine will from hating and wanting to shoot the raccoons who live under the empty mobile home next to us, to wanting to feed them his cheese scraps and wasted wet cat food. Never mind that setting out wet catfood close to where we feed the feral cats on our porch may in fact give a wrong message like “COME and GET it- we love you as much as we love these cats we overfeed!”

God is not big on allowing me to have my say on anything. He likes to have a tantrum to get his way, forget about whatever agenda he has, then get mad because he’s got some new one he’s never bothered to inform me or the world at large about. I’m about to find out how to evict God. I’m tired of his hateful, miserable, disrespectful, delusional dope fiend ass.

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2 Steps Away from the Shelter: The Rage’s Red Glare

On July 4th I was with my guy and we went and bought fireworks, walked on a local beach and basically had a good time. But he has an injured leg that has not healed completely yet, and he was wearing his heavy work boots, so he accidentally injured himself by stomping his feet to get beach sand off. When we got home, he got angry. I got out of the truck, took the fireworks inside, and had a piece of gluten free toast. He went into the back yard and started going nuclear. I heard this FFFFUCK ring out loud, and when I looked back there he had the mad dog hate look on his face. I did not wait for an exploration into whatever he was triggered by. Lately it’s been just about anything and everything. I got one of my drums and a chair and left in my car.

I drove a ways, checked out the Legion for music, which was going on, then meandered around a shop area. I saw my guy in a truck driving on a main road where I was waiting to turn onto. He passed by me sitting in my car. I turned in behind him at the light, only to see him floor it and turn left when the light turned green, screeching his tires. I got the message: I hate you, fuck off. Leave me alone you BITCH.

I headed straight and called a friend to ask if I could stay over. They said yes.

I dozed at the beach in my car, then practiced playing afro cuban bits on my drum. I looked up an Al Anon meeting and went. It was only 3 other woman, but perfect. Then I journeyed to a friend’s house and had a peaceful and safe evening until I went to bed on the floor. My cell phone stayed completely silent. I didn’t worry. They next morning, I got up and hit an early morning 12 step meeting I usually go to. My guy showed up, sat next to me, and declared himself an alcoholic. Something I never thought to see ever. I attached nothing to that, knowing it would be a mistake for me to assume he was not drinking or going to do anything in particular with 12 Step. The weekend went by, not a terrible weekend, but not necessarily that good either. The guy has a lot of stirred up stuff going on. He’s damned unhappy.

Today, I left in the morning earlier than I needed to because of the vitriol and seething bitterness flooding the airwaves at me from Mad at the World Guy. As I was getting home, I noticed his truck was gone, and I got a phone call from a woman in a medical office. She said my guy had come in and gotten very agitated and angry, stormed out. She was trying to explain the charges for a pre-operation bill he has. I knew he’d decided the charges were false and they were trying to bilk him. Not a minute off the phone, he drove in the driveway in a raging rush. I stayed outside in the driveway. He banged around inside the house, swearing, then came out to tell me he will sue the medical office. I offered to try and look up when he’d gone. This fell on deaf, raging ears.

I got into my car and left, thinking maybe it was time to call the shelter and leave for good. Not a half hour later, he called me and apologized for yelling at me. I could hear something had collapsed inside of him. He was already talking about just paying the bill. I went on and handled some other chores. He called me again and asked me to pay the bill and apologize to them, promising to pay me later. For the moment, he was aware that he is unable to control himself and is mad at everyone. I’m completely blown away. The story is not over, and the shelter awaits.

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Stealth Dishes and Not Volunteering

Today I had to wash, dry and put away dishes in stealth mode. My partner, suffering from long months of incessant coffee drinking, excessive nonstop smoking of 2 kinds of tobacco, and pain pills to excess, is deep in chronic malnutrition and OCD. He doesn’t eat much actual food, and he eats and drinks crap like sodas. Therefore he had a series of Fuck You fights this morning with a) his shoelaces b)his shoes c)me not conserving water while washing dishes, d)his shirt, e) the cat not eating exactly how and when he decrees it, and yes,the awful noise intrusion of me washing dishes.

Today he is 55 and had broth with me in the morning , though I don’t know why. Besides the rotten,can’t stand being in my skin anger, there is anxiety, confusion, depressive thoughts, and many ideas on what he wants to do for work and with his life, which he then discards. I use to flounder in this poisonous pool of misery and toxic energy hating him, hating myself and feeling awful and terrified. Now I simply arrive at the other side and go to Spin class or whatever like a kid in high rubber boots wading through a deep mud puddle. He now periodically tries to shut himself up, expresses concern for me, and fails. Yet he’s now paying bills,(be still my heart-28 years of not) went to 2 AA Meetings with me after he first took a drink. He has now paid $800 of his own bills after attacking me about them, accusing me of lying to him about them, and throwing a metal chair at the wall in blackout.

I remember when the hate/self loathing was virulent and delusional 24/7 nonstop,and I could barely do anything in my home at all, including shower, dress, cook, eat, clean up or work. I’m still living out of my car a lot, and the damned thing is a mess. I need to clear it out and clean it.

My drumming group is going through an interesting change also. We can no longer drum at the place where we’ve been for a while, and there is upheaval going on within the group to manage the change.
I just know I’m not the one to manage. Been there, done that, and it’a shitty job. People take if for granted, ignore the messages, and the more headstrong ones doe whatever the fuck they think they want. I am not wisely not volunteering to take her place, or even “HelP”. The few members who matter are a headstrong lot, and they generally do what they want to get what they want when they want it, devil and anyone weak enough to get in their way take the hindmost.

Now it’s a week later, and the question as to where our drumming master will teach on the coast has not been answered. I have steered clear of creating more strife by re-ingratiating myself with the ex-coordinator, and staying detached from outcome regarding what, where and when the master will be drumming in the future. My car is a heck of a lot cleaner and clearer. The decision for the time being by the group is to attend one the master’s other classes in a different location and celebrate his birthday next Saturday. The ex-coordinator is still clutching at what she thinks is reality and not letting go. It’s all perfect exactly the way it is.

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How Sweet It Is Being Able to Drum

Today I went to my usual congolese drum and dance class, a class I have been attending for 5 years plus. Our Congolese Master had not come for 2 whole weeks, because of a marathon and an event in Half Moon Bay which takes place annually called “Dream Machines”. It is a fundraiser for the local senior center and it’s huge and clogs all the roads when it happens every April. The class is not very big, but has somehow lasted, despite many forces to the contrary.

Picture, if you will, a pair of little kitten paw hands. My hands are fine boned and have small, short fingers. My drumming masters have hands with fingers twice as long as mine. I’m 57 lbs overweight, and I’ve got fat hanging off my frame in the stomach area, underarms and the inner part of my knees. And yet, I can play with those little bitsy hands like people twice my size.

Playing today was a joy. I stand to play, use a rack for my conga, and when I am playing, I am clear and strong. My hands fly and float like birds, even when the pace is brisk. I am relaxed, my joints loose. My upper arm flab moves, but it is only part of my wingspan when I drum. I have skill I have earned 100 % of. I have speed, accuracy, clear strokes of base, slap, muff and tone.

The road to this state was a long and wretched one. I wasted years struggling with and chasing what had to come with persistence and determination. I used to be mad at everyone. I used to be affected by what everyone else in the class was doing, their lack of committment, their personal bullshit, you name it. I WAS ATTACHED to all kinds of unnecessary ideas about how things should be which I have now completely shed. I have trained my hearing and accuracy to the point where how others play no longer is a problem. I hear only what I need to hear to play and enjoy my playing.

My acquired skill does not make me a big deal. I am simply someone who drums and CAN drum for dancers. Congolese drumming is not for the faint of heart. It takes stamina, which I have. I have no doubt I would not impress the big dudes at Congo Camp straddling their N’Goma rocket drums a whit, but I could technically keep up with them for an hour and a half if it was called for. I can remember the long years of yearning to get there, the despair and confusion over many years, and the pain of wondering if I should quit many, many times. But I never did, and here I am.

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