longtime in d-town

Saturday, 1. September 2012

here they come
all wide-eyed and self-centered
all suburban and new
cars backing out over pedestrians
guitar cases on the lawn
wasting the shopkeeper’s time
the city’ll show them pretty quick
it doesn’t care
smiling doesn’t excuse them
they’re not bob dylan
or funny when they’re drunk
some will wise up
most will retreat
back to wherever they came from
to raise children just like themselves.


The Good Life

Saturday, 16. July 2011

Building a goddamned log cabin!

... a log cabin for snails, worms, spiders, beetles, centipedes and other unidentifiable scary things seen only in science fiction movies...

Jason's first experience with a chainsaw, cutting the old railroad ties. As expected, his Y-chromosome kicked in and got all exhilarated by the experience.

We're also working on painting the house garland-green. Rocco is contemplating going back in the house to eat our breakfast from the Farmer's Market. He decided in favour of the idea.

I've never gotten so banged up, scratched up, bruised, sweaty and dirty. And it felt fuckin' great.

Hey, I know this guy!

Friday, 1. July 2011

(Would it be correct to interpret “Also Available as a Suppository” as “Take your Creativity™  and shove it up your ass”?)

Bloodied But Unbowed

Wednesday, 25. May 2011

For the first time in nearly two years, I am certain: that every action I take is right and good; that I am no longer taking action merely to survive, but to thrive; that I am slowly being released from fear, guilt, shame, and self-doubt; that the energy I am expending is no longer being wasted on trying to prevent violence but to create peace; that I can be me again, and that what I was, what I am, and what I can continue to become does not, and never did, deserve to be treated in any way that causes suffering as I define that for myself; for the first time in nearly two years I am certain that every action I take is contributing to my freedom: to think, to speak, to feel, and to make decisions that are right for me; and that as a more truly free person, I can be better to and for myself and therefore everything else there is in the world. With this statement I celebrate the first week I have not been contacted by the person who worked every day of his life with me to prevent me from being free and certain of these things. I look forward to where I might be in another week. I may not be in a better place than I am at this moment, it’s of course entirely possible I may even feel worse– recovering from trauma and abuse is a lot of very complex work. But now, at least, I know my actions are right and good– and that’s all I ever need to be sure of in myself– and that I am therefore on a path away from suffering and toward harmony.

Consuming People

Thursday, 19. May 2011

I don’t understand what other people call “love.”

I love animals, for instance. And so I want to take care of them, and I enjoy deeply observing them. In my yard there are squirrels, rabbits, and about five kinds of birds who visit daily (opposums and raccoons have also been spotted but I have been unable to cultivate their presence). I make food for them or find things to give them, and I throw stuff out the window for them almost every day. I like imagining they feel excited about finding treats or something new they’ve never had before, or simply that they were hungry before and now they won’t be. I like to watch them discover it, make decisions about what to take or where to bring it. I wish they wouldn’t fight with each other about it, as they sometimes do, but I understand where they’re coming from and I know no one is going to get hurt. I like learning how they do things. For instance, if you give a squirrel something round to eat, like a cookie, they will eat it in the round, turning it like a wheel. When they cover up something they’ve buried, they pat the ground over it several times to pack the dirt down, just like people do. I like learning their habits, preferences and daily rhythms, how they’re different from people, and how they’re the same. I will stand stock still for a very long time just watching them do their thing. I would like to pet them or hold them, but I know I can’t so I just accept that they have natural fears and I have to respect that. It’s important to just let them be. I like knowing I am helping make their lives a little easier or more enjoyable, and that what I do contributes to them having and taking care of their little families. I can see they appreciate what I’ve given them, even though they haven’t a clue about where this good fortune came from. They give me a great deal of satisfaction, pleasure and even a little bit of a sense of purpose or usefulness. When I love a person, I pretty much do the same things for the same reasons and want to get the same things out of the relationship as I get from watching and taking care of the animals in the yard.

I hear people say they love music, and people who really love music seem to want to acquire as much of it as possible. They brag about how much of it they have, or how much their collection might be worth, or how much money or time they’ve invested in building their collections or in having the latest equipment or technologies for listening to it or carrying it around in their pocket. They’re especially proud if they find or own something rare, or expensive, or most trendy or whatever. They tell everyone else about what they like, they want to share it with others, and they think their tastes and media somehow reflect on who they are: you’re cool or classy or a tough guy or deep or rebellious or posi or whatever depending on what you listen to or how you listen to it. People even put great stock in choosing friends and even romantic partners based on their loving the same music. But what do all of these behaviours and attitudes surrounding music mean to people? Most are unable to say. Some people feel “connected” to whoever created the music, I suppose, but this is projection and it isn’t real. Some people are moved by something they listen to, but moved to do what? I don’t deny music is powerful, influential, can create community, political and cultural change, and even save individual lives. It also just feels good to hear something you like. I get that. There is something very critical to our existence that needs music. But for the most part, for most people in technologically advanced societies, one’s love of music is highly focused on the self, is often used to separate oneself from others– literally, as when people are plugged in and tuned out; or more generally, as when people are typed and divided by what they listen to or how– and music itself is obsessively consumed, it seems almost frantically. I love some albums I have, so much that I don’t understand: why do I need more music to love? Am I really missing out on something better if I am not in a constant search for more music? Is my experience of these albums I love really so much less than it could be if I updated how I listen to them? When is good enough good enough? When are people satisfied, when do they decide they have enough to love, or that their love of something doesn’t have to be in a constant struggle to be experienced at a higher-level, which itself is always in a state of limitless ascension– or is never being satisfied the goal? That doesn’t sound like love to me. That just sounds really hectic.

Another thing people seem to really love are their cars: some people love cars in general, or perhaps some particular category of cars– a certain manufacturer, or a certain style (sports, utility, vintage, etc)– or maybe they only love a particular model of a certain year of a certain colour. Sometimes they love the object itself, or else everything they think it brings to their life: freedom, convenience, prestige, “chicks”, or whatever; or both. When someone gets it in their mind that they want some certain car, they daydream about owning it. People break their fucking backs to possess, maintain, and use these things. From what I’ve observed, people are pretty excited if they can get something they want, but it only lasts until they see something newer, or more efficient, or more attractive, or whatever is their criteria in choosing a car. People feel much the same about other people, I think. I’ve heard many heterosexual men assert that “they love women” or I’ve seen them include “women” as a general thing in their loves or interests in their profiles on social-networking sites. Some people are more categorical: they love musicians, or Asians, brunettes, or other “types”: spontaneous types, romantic types, athletic types, outdoorsy types. And we all probably know or have had personal experience with more than one person who only loves a particular model of a certain year of a certain colour: must be between the ages of 23-25, Asian, petite, long hair, no kids, non-smoker, social drinker, fun, spontaneous, athletic, etc etc etc.; and for a certain purpose: for fun, for friendship possibly more, for intimate encounters, for dinners out and movies in, for marriage. Even if this isn’t written out in a personal ad online or in the back of a newspaper, I do know from observation and experience there are many people who at least vaguely have such descriptions of what they want and are looking for in their minds. When someone gets it in their mind they want a certain person, they daydream about them; if they manage to get together with someone who more or less satisfies what they were looking for and/or who brings to their life whatever it is they want, they seem pretty excited– at least for a time, maybe just until they see something newer, or more attractive, or with better fuel efficiency and a 5-disc cd player.

What worries me the most, though, is that people say, “I love you” and they do not mean love like I love animals: I want to take care of them, I enjoy deeply observing them, learning about them, I respect them and want to contribute to their well-being, share in their happiness, and out of all this feel pleasure and satisfaction, appreciation, and a sense of purpose or usefulness and connection to their existence. No, it seems to me from observation of others, hearing of others’ experiences and from experiences of my own, a lot of people love other people like a lot of people love music and cars. They like someone who reflects highly or positively on themselves; they try to build a collection of people worth bragging to others about, to have as many experiences as possible with as many people as possible; they are often dissatisfied, or only satisfied for a limited period of time, because there is more out there, and it could be better, and they shouldn’t limit themselves to what could possibly be a “lesser experience” than one they could be having if they keep searching and upgrading; and if by chance they find that rare track or the best car in their price range to suit the most of their needs, and they are IN LOVE!– they treat that person like an object, breaking their fucking backs to maintain ownership of them. From one end of the spectrum– developing possession by means of cultivating in the other emotional fears or insecurities or increasing financial dependency– to the other– taking a person’s soul by sexual assault or murder– all along this spectrum will be people who are doing these things to someone they say they “love.”

I don’t understand it. I have seen this with my own eyes, I have heard it with my own ears, I have felt it on my own body, and I don’t understand how anyone who feels within themselves the need to acquire, control, or own someone else like a thing to consume or use in whatever way and for however long they desire can identify that sensation within themselves as “love.” For a very long time, I gave a lot of things, tangible and intangible, to someone who did not love me; what he didn’t want he casually threw out; what I would not give, he stole. I love you, I love you, I love you, he insisted to the very last day. Maybe, but in quality like he loves and wants to own a certain car or a lot of music, and in degree far less.

Since no one has ever shown me or treated me with romantic love, I can only imagine what it must feel like to be actually loved. I imagine it’s nice. It has always been what I’ve most wanted to experience my whole life. I’m sure that is true for most everybody. But that just leads to another thing I don’t understand: if everyone just wants to be loved, why is love so hard for people to give? Do people want to be loved so much that they are blinded with greed, is it something they can only consume but not produce? Or is the love they want to receive so shabbily defined: to love another means to them to acquire, possess or control or want to keep someone, so they want in turn to be themselves acquired, possessed, controlled or kept? I would find this hard to believe, and very sad, of course, but I am really wondering if that is what is going on, if people’s idea of what love looks or feels like is really so low that they are actually giving out everything they would call “love”. If that is the case, then maybe I am the greedy one. I want to not be amassed within a collection, I want to not be owned and controlled like an object, I want to not feel consumed like a product; I want to just feel like I hope the animals in my yard feel: un-self-conscious, a little safer and secure in my environment, free to just be. To feel born with everything I’m supposed to have to live and be accepted– needing no more, no less– to play, to eat, to sleep, and even to fight, if that happens, without mortal fear. To do all these normal things without punishment or fear of physical ruin and emotional apocalypse. I guess what I imagine love feels like has become pretty small, but I guess I have small desires and needs in every other way too. I don’t want 937 hours of music in my pocket, I won’t get tired of my few records I really love. I don’t need grand romance and a lot of show, I just want to feel safe and liked. At the end of my last relationship, when he would say he loves me– usually because he was showing me the exact opposite of love– I said something perhaps kind of odd but very true: “I want to love you.” And I really did. It hurt a lot that I couldn’t (I couldn’t because my love for him would get used as a weapon against me or I would get punished for it). It seems like people just don’t know that producing/creating/giving love is just as rewarding, maybe more so, than taking/receiving/consuming it. I feel sorry for people sometimes, when I think about things like this. I don’t want to sound arrogant by saying that. But I do feel bad for people who are caught up in the acquisition of stuff, especially when “love” is one of those things, who spend their lives fretting over the control and maintenance of their “possessions.”

It isn’t new for me to not understand what other people call “love.” I tried really hard this time to understand and accept how others apparently experience and express it, I believed him and those who advised me to put up with his chronic mistreatment when they said I was unrealistic to think things should be any other way; but no number of hours, months, years of scoldings, punishments, deprivations, or other threats or enactments of violence could change my mind about this: love is giving, observant, nurturing and comforting; it is not taking, possessing, controlling or consuming. I write this down in the hope that I never forget or compromise this belief ever again.

Dear Visitor

Monday, 16. May 2011

Dear “help me to disappear from an abusive partner” (this was your search term which led you to my post on disappearing),
I hope you return and see this message.
Please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline (this link includes a “quick escape” button and advice on computer safety). They are very kind and can help you:
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
TTY: 1-800-787-3224
Also, I highly, highly recommend this book: Why Does He DO That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft (this book is extremely informative and helpful even if you are in a same-sex relationship). Find it on goodreads, on amazon, or request from your local library.
Finally, if you want to write me, my contact information is at the end of the right sidebar. I will help you. I also have another blog specific to domestic abuse with other resources for getting help, I can give you the link to that as well.  I understand what you’re going through and how hard it is. You can get out of your situation. Don’t give up.
Please be safe, I wish you strength. 

An Open Letter/Plea

Saturday, 14. May 2011

In the last month, as the mountains of dis- and misinformations have slowly been uncovered little by little, and as I have learned more about what exactly I have been subjected to, I have come to feel that there are a few people to whom I owe an apology either because I did not follow through on something I said I would and/or because I trusted someone I shouldn’t have and as a result put myself at a distance from you. In one case I feel I was openly cold to you when you tried to talk to me like a friend normally would. Anyone reading this I think will know who they are. There is one person who might be reading this who probably would not think I have something on my conscience about him, but I do. To him my flakiness may not be a big deal, but to me it is because it has always been very important to me to keep my word, and with him I did not. I would like to express my appreciation for a favour he tried to do, and apologise for subsequently disappearing into the void when I said I would for sure contact him about something we made plans to do. It’s a small thing, but still it is on my conscience, especially because he was being very nice when no one else was.

The thing is, I would normally do the right and mature thing and take it upon myself to contact you directly; however, I may not know how to do so for one or more of the following reasons:

+ I may no longer have contact information for you, especially since my facebook account is deactivated.
+ Because I know for a fact that he has lied to people about me (not “difference of opinion/perspective”, I mean outright fabrications), I am extremely afraid that you would be skeptical of my intentions (more about my intentions below).
+ I admit here that I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as the result of my experiences over the last two years. What this means is that I am in a place where I have become too afraid of re-experiencing situations that would look or feel like what I experienced at home. One of those things was verbal battering, specifically denying my reality through something called “gaslighting”. Though I want to talk or write to you to apologise for my action(s), it would be very important to my recovery that I not get into any situation where I am “re-traumatised” by having to “prove” what I experienced by arguing or defending myself. I know this is sounding messy and complicated, but what I am trying to convey is that I will want to speak for myself, and not have to speak in defence of myself (I hope that makes sense). And I am not sure who I can trust to allow that to happen.
+ One of the things all abusers do is “campaign for sympathy” to isolate and discredit their partner so that she will have no one to go to and/or will not be believed when she tries to get support. He interfered with several friendships that I know of, but there are many more I just don’t know what the status is between us. I am doing my part to re-establish the friendships that I know of which were lost as a direct result of his interference, or neglected as a result of my withdrawal. So far I have been truly surprised at the strength my friendships had, that more often than not I am told that they trusted me to come forward when I could and that their feelings for me have not diminished in all this time. I am truly blessed, I know this. But to those I have in mind in making this open communication, I am so unsure how to proceed with you. There is one friendship especially, the one to whom I made the worst mistake of letting go, that is breaking my heart every day. But I just don’t know how I could begin to fix things, I most especially don’t know if she would even want me to try or if her opinion of me has been too damaged by the combination of his “campaign” and my own rudeness to her (his campaign went both ways to keep us from each other).
+ Plain and simple, I’m also not sure who even cares.

I guess all I can do is ask that if you are reading this and you think I might be talking about you, please think about what you know about me. I specifically do not want to engage in any kind of gossiping, you probably know from experience with me I have always been against that kind of behaviour. It is not my agenda to get anyone to “take sides”: trust me that I am a grown-up who understands this is not high-school, and I trust you that you are a grown-up who can judge for yourself how you feel about people. Also please consider what I say in my third point, above: I have no energy or even ability to engage in that kind of thing. I am suffering a great deal, not from loss of the “relationship” I was involved in, but from feeling very unsafe and uncertain. Every “unknown” I can eliminate or resolve is a great help to me and can contribute to my recovery. Like I said, there are apologies I feel are owed to a few people, if you are open and willing to hear me, please be so kind and take the first step toward me so that I can make them. My contact information is at the end of the sidebar, or if you have my phone number, you may call me if you prefer. I understand people may want time to think about it. I will not close any doors on these things unless you tell me that is what you want me to do. Otherwise I will wait until you are ready to talk to me.

Thank you for considering what I wrote. I am not sure I have said everything above that I should or that I wanted to, if I think of something later I will add it at the end of this post.

Update: Also, if the above does not seem to apply to you and you are just a curious onlooker: if you can and wish to offer general emotional or moral support, please feel free to get in contact with me. All support is helpful, appreciated, and needed. I have been told so many things that could very well be totally wrong that I don’t quite know who all the people are that I can reach out to, and I know sometimes there are even people out there who a person in my position wouldn’t even think of. If you can or want to help, please do.


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