blueglass

maybe she'll have better luck than me



almost (not quite) the view from my front lawn
roland water tower finally getting some desperately-needed restoration
(little all-caps chuckle at that link, won't spoil the surprise)
i've been... pretty hung up on this structure since we moved to the neighborhood eight years ago
quite the convergence of SIGNIFICANT THINGS
a little safer for evening visits than the cemetery across the street from giant, too
though it's going to be fenced off for the next several months

we walked around st. mary's cemetery over the weekend

it's funny how i often seem to end up living near cemeteries
the house i was born in had a hundred-years gone graveyard about fifty steps out the back gate
(note to self: i think i took some pictures with the olympus around the time i wrote that post, maybe they still exist?)
sometimes i'd take my witchy friends out there to show them
hoping maybe they'd feel it
hoping maybe they could explain it
hoping at least maybe they'd be someone i could talk to about it

that moment of tripping the veil
not sure which side i landed on
not sure if the memory i have
of waking after dark to see an old woman standing at the foot of my crib
was a grandmother
or a GRANDMOTHER
maybe one of the reasons i have the experiences i do
is because either way
i returned her smile
and waved back
because that's what we both needed
in that moment

the veils are getting thin
please help your friends with otherworldly sensitivities
this year especially
by sitting and listening for your ancestors and allies
one of the things that doesn't get talked about
at least in any of the literature i've encountered
is that sometimes
if an ancestor has an urgent message for one of their descendants
but for whatever reason
their descendant isn't listening
they'll reach out to a loved one with otherworldly sensitivities
sometimes while they are performing a speaking role
at a public ritual
with more than fifty attendees
i mean i used it
like i do
but listen:

this is one of my callings.
it's one of the reasons i write and make art.
serving as an intermediary in this way is a sacred duty i am honored to perform
i talk
i listen
i witness
i am witnessed
but there is a lot
a LOT
of very heavy shit going on
in this world and in all worlds
especially with regard to
civil rights
the environment
intergenerational trauma
spirituality
the commodification and abuse of magic
the way we are using our resources
our attitude about those resources we are using
against a backdrop of overwhelming sudden, tragic, unexpected loss

which kinda means
i mean
i pray
i shield
i do boundary work
i also
have

limitations.


and it is time all of us learned some skills in this arena
because the overall lack of skill in this arena
the number of people refusing to listen
even to do the sometimes not exceptionally challenging work to understand such messages on their own terms
get past the fear and ego shit
the number of folks not doing that work is exactly why we are where we are with regard to
civil rights
the environment
intergenerational trauma
spirituality
the commodification and abuse of magic
the way we are using our resources
our attitude about those resources we are using

i'm thinking about writing a post about it
guess i kind of just did
maidenfair

that might have been mistaken for tullips with wings


He suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses; the most insipid food was alone endurable; he could wear only garments of certain texture; the odours of all flowers were oppressive; his eyes were tortured by even a faint light; and there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror.

"the fall of the house of usher," edgar allan poe, 1839

*

so that thing about fabric textures, and! samefooding. sensory processing differences like wow. please help me go back in time so i can give edgar allan poe a pair of solid ear defenders and a weighted blanket. this paragraph is very, very specific, and written way before diagnostic criteria had even been explored, much less established. the man is writing what he knows, not what he has researched.

and then there's "the raven."

pretty sure edgar was an autie.

oh, and he definitely had CPTSD. hardcore, poe had CPTSD. just read a brief biography and you're soaking in it. just sit in a room with a print copy of any piece of his work and it's there, radiating from the pages. this past winter, ben and i visited poe's grave for the first time since i moved to baltimore. i could just feel that resonance saturating the limestone.



(i wonder if edgar's plate is so worn because of the elements, folks doing graphite rubbings, or some combination thereof.)

edgar and virginia are ancestors of spirit.

and neurotype.



there's this extremely insidious misconception (think about it) that autistic people cannot sustain long-term trauma injury.

seriously: think about that.

lived experience within the adult autistic community will reveal that trauma disorders are rampant among our numbers. we've been subject to all manner of abuse. abandoned by the system. tortured by neurotypical schooling. our perceptions are repeatedly invalidated, even by our loved ones. our sensitivities shamed, same. too many members of the neurotypical community equate an inability to perform empathy to a neurotypical standard with not being capable of empathy, which is not the case at all. studies demonstrate that autistic children are significantly more likely to experience sexual abuse. shall we talk about ABA "therapy," aka "compliance training?" and then there's the fucking bullying. probably you don't want me to get started on that. probably there's not enough characters on the internet for me to get into it. as i sobbed to my therapist some weeks ago, "where were the adults?" but know it: it doesn't stop when you get to college. it doesn't stop when you enter the workforce, should you be allowed into the workforce. something like 80% of autistic adults are chronically unemployed. at least in part because of bullying. the bullying doesn't stop. there's always going to be someone who can't tolerate the threat you present in merely existing.

why?

there's this fairly useless chicken-egg dilemma of: is it that the neurotype is more susceptible to being traumatized, or are autistic people subjected to more traumatizing experiences? probably it's both, but the latter is where we need accountability, because... seriously. "autistic people can't be traumatized," MY ASS. that's basically saying we are not human. it's basically saying we don't have souls.
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incense

there is no political solution : to our troubled evolution


i started this post last week, before the news of proud boy's very incredibly inevitable diagnosis broke.

here's the thing.

remember the neverending story? proud boy is the nothing. he conquers by obliteration. he obliterates every frequency, leeching away any and everything else we could be looking at or thinking about and calcifying it with himself. who, by the way, if you hadn't noticed? he clearly despises, as is the case with all covertly suicidal narcissistic abusers, as this is the root of all narcissistic abuse by the covertly suicidal. they make everything over into their own image so they no longer have to acknowledge the existence of anything better, which ultimately means anything remotely different.

they kill themselves from the outside in.

the moment in last tuesday's debate that gave me cause to press my face into my bunched up hooded sweatshirt and scream was the moment when the american president scoffed that the number of american citizens with pre-existing conditions could possibly be as high as the number biden gave. as a matter of fact, biden's number was 1) actually on the low side, and 2) could in no way account for all the ways the pandemic is exploding those numbers, because as much as we're learning about the after effects of this virus, we still have no fucking idea. this "leader" is looking to strip the american people of ACA protections at a time when this will prove fatal to a whole lot of people, some of them people you care about, one of them me. it's eugenics, plain and simple. who needs death camps when you can ruin people just by breathing on them?

the fact that proud boy didn't go into his first debate after 1348 days in office without at least a reasonable estimate of the number of americans with pre-existing conditions painfully burned into his brain (i'm pretty sure i have dyscalculia, so i get it, sometimes exact numbers don't stick, but jeezaloo that's why seshet gave us index cards) further demonstrates his unfitness for office. i could go on, but that hungry nothing is already consuming everything that even glances it and i, for one, need to offer more of my attention to other matters. as a matter of fucking survival, to be frank.

please vote.

vote like our lives depend on it.


now i'm going to write somewhat meanderingly about my spiritual history by way of my relationship with incense. i'm a little rusty, writing-wise, so i've included images to compensate. enjoy.
*

prasad's "celestial amber" masala, which i bought from a table vendor my first month at the junior college, was the first incense i loved.

it smelled like sacred space and forest at once. forest inside of sacred space. sacred space outside of comprehension and time. it smelled like an ancient temple, velvet folds rolling up on patinaed brass. fissures in garnet. deep space nebula. celestial, indeed.

i could go on.

i kept it in my military surplus backpack in the same pocket as the orange A5 spiral notebook where i wrote poetry until the fragrance transfered, then stowed the package with one stick remaining in a converse shoe box along with all the lesser stuff i'd acquired at the shopping mall candle store during my brief stint at natural wonders.

i found the second incense i loved, padmini's spiritual guide, at the first metaphysical shop i could drive to without getting terribly lost. it was a compromise. as much as i loved having gone there, i didn't really like going there. while i shopped, the proprietor would emerge from the batik-curtained back room to stare at me from behind the display counter. she made me feel suspicious; worse still, she made me feel like an inconvenience. she gave psychic readings, though her treating me like a shoplifter made me doubt her credentials, because no. my shoplifting career effectively ended when the cadbury egg i stole from the grocery store but couldn't, for some reason, entice myself eat, broke open all over the seat cushion of my mom's archie bunker chair and didn't magically disappear even though i flipped the cushion over and felt really bad about it. the incident haunted me for years. i still can't stand cadbury eggs, though in all fairness, it could just be that foil wrapped pods of tooth-decay flavored slime aren't really my scene. why do that to perfectly decent chocolate? i suppose it is possible that if i had pocketed a lindor mint truffle, i might now be in prison. anyway, because of the uncomfortable dynamic with the shop owner, i couldn't go to that shop very often and was prone to making poor decisions when i did.

i tried to counteract the discomfort by anchoring with my spirit guides: i listened for ~r~, i kneaded a little dialogue with ~r~ in the back of my head, i let ~r~ steer my attention, direct my eye, shoot that little tingle of confirmation through my fingertips when i touched something that needed to come into my life, at least for a time.

~r~ liked the package for spiritual guide, in this case a narrow rectangle sampler containing eight sticks. the name made them giggle. try that one, giggled ~r~, i like the box, so i did. i burned it frequently that winter, my first year of college, my bedroom dark, the curtains open to the yard, white snow gone iridescent in the moonlight. it smells like winter, just inside from the cold. it smells like getting ready in the morning those last few months when my body, time and spirituality still felt like my own; those last few months before i stared feeling like an intruder in my own experience.



after that horrible spring, spring of the psychic vortex, spring of the social trauma that shut me down for years, spring going into a summer from which i emerged friendless and collapsed into the autumn my mother was diagnosed with cancer - that term that went so wrong i landed myself on academic probation at the junior college - i could go on, but i shouldn't: i didn't burn spiritual guide for sixteen years after that. the proust effect, it is real, and not always in a beneficial way.

at new years 2009, i got a first class upgrade, a free plane ticket and a strange afternoon naptime tour of empty gates at o'hare in exchange for giving up my seat on an earlier flight to baltimore. i loved what will probably be my single experience flying first class. bonded with the music producer in the neighboring seat. he also had family ties to chicago. he also had given up his seat on the earlier flight. i was in the second group to board, that never happens. plenty of space to stow my luggage. flight assistants readily smiled at me. got to drink free booze on a plane. if that's what air travel was like more often, i might find air travel to be slightly less loathsome. still can't afford it, monetarily or physiologically, but there you have it.

i used my not first class comp ticket to fly to kansas the following winter and meet one of my first livejournal friends. as it happened, she'd just received a big order from her favorite incense company: padmini. we sat in front of her altar and talked the hazy kansas january sun up the first night, sampling the new stuff. the next night we mutually acknowledged that in spite of our shared sleep disorders, we were no longer teenagers.

before she went to bed at a slightly more reasonable hour, she lit her altar up for me with tea lights and a stick of spiritual guide. i stayed up with the candles, writing half a page i have no memory of writing and fell asleep on my open notebook. the resulting content initiates my first chapbook, "read it back."



it was magical. the first bit of magic i'd found in a while, in fact. i needed it.

the last day of my visit, u took me to her favorite witch store. she gifted me a ganesh statue and a hundred gram pack of spiritual guide. the formula is exactly right. it smells markedly better than any other package of spiritual guide i've purchased since, strictly for the purpose of stretching out u's gift as long as possible. i assume the reason it smells so good is because u gave it to me.

it's lasted me now through ten years and two moves. i found it the week i was radioactive, quarantining alone in my first apartment, and burned it while listening to records at night. now i'm not sure where it is, but know i'll find it when the time is right. until then, it's good to know that the internet can readily provide a quality stopgap in time for what is shaping up to be a long cold lonely winter.
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BAT

at forty-five they are caves in which we hide

i'd say i was impressed with myself for making it this far into 45's "administration" and the pandemic without engaging my self-injury lite mechanism of giving my uncoordinated and conventional-aesthetic impaired self(1) impromptu haircuts at three in the morning.(2) i suspect that's in part because my carbon monoxide fueled nervous breakdown taught me:

a) clawing up my legs and lower back is easier to conceal and ever so much more satisfying(3), and
b) it is beneficial for everyone involved that i put at least ten steps and three doors or lids between a known significant self-injury trigger (like, say....any component of 45's "campaign" for "re-election") and sharp objects, including hair-cutting scissors.

i mean, i tried cutting as a teenager, or rather: cutting tried me. i was pretty bad at it, thank god. focused too much on the music selection and mood lighting, forgot to inventory my plausible tools and dedication to the project at hand. then i had this bloody ankle and the usual ten steps through common space to the nearest bathroom became four miles of potential interactions with immediate family members to whom my little experiment would be difficult to explain, especially as i did not understand the behavior myself. probably one of the few situations in which my chronic and exhausting lack of privacy as a teenager worked in my favor, to be honest. then i couldn't afford to replace the exacto blade i threw into the bushes on one of the too-little-too-late occasions my high school screened us for weapons, so i scaled back to subtler methods: relationships(4), masking my life away, depriving myself of that which brings me meaning, not eating enough. eventually, i learned to subdue my more overtly dangerous impulses with the aforementioned steps and lids and doors. i'm still catching up with the subtle stuff.

distraction seems to be a key first step in managing almost every type of self-harm behavior, overt and subtle, whether i understand why i'm doing it or not. expending resources toward understanding why i am doing it in the moment, on the other hand, seems to make everything worse. better to document and examine after i'm a day or two on the other side of the episode. with practice, i've sometimes been able to combine a distracting activity with a beneficial behavior, like, say, writing, going for a walk, making art. sometimes. seriously, if the choice is between mindlessly sliding around tiles on "i love hue" or laying another eight inch scratch into my right thigh, i happen to think all my ancestors, guides, and allies in this world and all worlds would rather i mindlessly slide around tiles.

what i'm saying is: i thought i'd gotten over randomly hacking off my hair as a solution to feeling helpless.

really. i thought that period of my life was done.

until twenty minutes into last night's debate.

i am now coming to terms with my fresh new "bernice bobs her hair" makeover. off market flapper, here we go.

hundred year anniversary, all that.

ben says he likes it, anyway.




___________________
(1) please god tell me where i can download an app providing guidance on socially acceptable protocol for styling hair and wearing clothing in public as an adult, not a fifteen year old nonbinary kid in the early nineties? that way i can try it out for a couple months and consciously decide if it's remotely worth the resources i don't have to invest in it? i mean, probably not, i am who i am and that's who i'll be, but sometimes i can be trained to temporarily perform normative-esque behaviors if it means i might be able to land a reasonable job providing a livable wage and re-enter the economy. if i'm told exactly what to do, and i do mean exactly. my current presentation has roots in sensory processing differences, my personal variant of cognitive rigidity(5), and challenges with social interaction. i tried mainstream cosmetics for six months in my mid-twenties, and no. nasty slime on my lips, weird taste in my mouth all the time. itchy powders around my nose and eyes. the very concept of eyeliner. let's review: jamming a pointed stick of pigment into your eye socket? what misogynistic psychopath normalized that twisted bullshit?! no. basically, i like shopping for anything but books, witchcraft and weird antiques about as much as i like eating at the vast majority of restaurants: not very much. because: stores. have you noticed how horrible most stores are? i have yet to find somewhere i can buy clothing that isn't twenty-five sensory meltdowns in waiting on a good day. fluorescent lights! very loud music! the assertive sales staff! the stinky ass tie-in cologne! as far as hair is concerned, beauticians make me go non-verbal, or maybe it's just that they work in an environment that, by its very nature, always kind of smells like middle school girls trying to kill me. friends generally either share these same issues or are unable to answer the many questions i don't even know how to productively assemble. because of these (and other) accessibility concerns, i don't have the data i need around how to dress like a grown up. or the financial resources, but let's leave that for another time.
(2) or in the twenty minutes before i was dragged to the way beyond so fucking awful catholic "understanding your emerging sexuality on our terms" weekend retreat at my church in eighth grade that, again! i did not want to attend! for more reasons than i can count on mine and every reader's fingers and toes! so i decided that was the exact minute i desperately needed to rid myself of bangs. which i did. in two snips. very close to the scalp. then i covered my shame with a light blue bandana (oral sex in hanky code, BUT THAT IS NOT THE FLAG WE'RE LOOKING FOR.)
(3) also much more fun to explain to doctors!
(4) yeah, you can self-injure with relationships. we self-injure in relationships by investing too much in people who, at best, don't value us; who, at worst, exploit and abuse. we self-injure in relationships by pushing away the people who matter to us, by not doing everything in our power to share our limited time on earth with those we love. we self-injure with relationships by not acknowledging and getting help for trauma histories and mental illnesses that interfere with our capacity to build and maintain beneficial connections. that's only part of what i've figured out on this one so far. to date my ability to apply these lessons has been patchy.
(5) IT IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE
seven

reckon love deals us the same

i couldn't. i lean into it. i forget all my lines. i wouldn't. i work a new surface. i reconstruct the original process as i am best able. and somewhere deep within it. somewhere far below the certainties and absolutes. deeper even than the ambiguities and rhetoric. somewhere that no one has ever been. somewhere that no one would ever go.

it's just: how did i live like that? and it's also: how did i deprive myself of it for so long? now it's gone and i keep coming back to it, slamming into it, bruised over and through, bruised blood-speckled and black & blue blue blue but that can't be the end! that won't be the end! for whatever reason, i refuse to let it end! and that can only mean i will let it be the end of me. what is wrong with me? what am i doing? why am i thinking about it this way?

such absolutes, such indignities.

i am exhausting
i am exhausting
i am so very
exhausting
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[anderson] she's trouble

bright informational chain pulse shower

                  and then we get on with it
                           like we try to do
                           in spite of our mistakes
                           and horrible lapses
         in spite of who we weren't, before
         in spite of what we're neglecting
                                    who we're forgetting
                                    who we never gave a chance

you know it's always over like that
the next morning, another day, cresting
that hurdle like there's nothing to it
and the thing of it is: that's the fundamental truth
for whatever it is
calling the shots

         it goes on
         and it goes on
         and it just keeps going on like that
                           even when it doesn't go anywhere else
                                                                                 it goes on

i screw up my resources
i smear it all over with words
it's what i do
it's how i'd like to cope
         maybe i'd cope better in a surplus
         of cannabis-scale orgasms and cheese
         not at the same time. but
                           alternating could work

                  why is it always love
                  that hurts more than anything?

                           what else did i think would?


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BAT

good morning, CPTSD

i feel like i need to be better about experiencing experiences while i am experiencing them.

probably everyone feels like that, to a degree? if not that exactly, something very much like it. we are all of us always cutting into cutting away from cutting up ourselves, severing necessary nerve endings, taking ourselves that much more out of the moment by obsessing about how we are not in the moment, not really. entering into the now is a sort of trance, and i'm not great at those.

be in the moment.

don't anticipate and don't recall.

disassociate yourself from all prior associations.

don't perform for anyone.

don't judge your behavior.

don't worry about your appearance, your safety, your checking account balance.

just be in the moment.

don't concern yourself with who or what or where or how.

don't even contemplate "when."

just be in the moment.

this moment.

now this moment.

now


so many trips tripping you out of the moment. putting you back into - not reality, but your resource-intensive synthesis of reality that takes so much time and energy to support you'll never manage a sufficient letting go for a good drift. as far back as i can remember, i've been praised for my awareness, my presence, my powers of weird observation. could it be this is the very thing that's destroying me slowly? not being able to forget. not being able to let go. there's an end to the questions, woman. there's a point at which a question turns back on itself as an answer. if i need to ask if i am loved enough times in enough ways it should become apparent to me that no, there is not love in this situation, love is distinct from attachment, haven't i figured that out yet?

and the answer is OF COURSE I HAVE.

at so many times, in so many ways. but with regard to certain issues, i can't apply the logic, the logic doesn't stick, i needed to clean and appropriately condition the working surface for that before i started processing it, but i did not, so it's a mess, it's unstable, a terrifying prospect with a far-reaching kingdom of negative emotional experiences.

except: never dealing with it is so much worse.

it's strange how a thing seems to be going one way when, in truth, it actually surrenders its opposite. like how the things you insist on doing to make yourself feel better actually make you feel a good deal worse. like i wrote in a writing i've been meaning (for years) to edit into readable form, several of the things my brain does in attempt to comfort itself are dreadful. the most comforting fantasies, the ones i slide into like the best lover, they're the sort of stuff that can easily spiral me into self-loathing and depression. at best, i use them to push myself away from my reliable anchors: and my reliable anchors? seem ill-fit and unappetizing. i mean: what the hell, judy? why do you do this to yourself?
*


what do you want universe, i ask. what i actually need to know is WHAT DO YOU WANT HERE, JUDITH? i can't have it both ways. unless i can. but i can't have it both ways. i can't even gain an operational understanding of what constitutes "both ways." i can't do any sort of manifestation work (can i?) because:

          1. be careful what you wish for
          2. too many of my desires are
                              a) contradictory
                              b) counter-indicated
          3. i can't bring a narrative into form
          4. everything i want makes me feel guilty
          5. WANTING makes me feel guilty.

there is a distinction between the kind of want that can be resolved with an inexpensive purchase and the kind of want that will negatively impact another person's life in a direct way, i suspect... but then again, maybe not. anyway, even an inexpensive purchase could potentially have a direct and negative impact on another person's experience. hell, world we live in right now, especially?

even my breathing can do that.



[HOLDS BREATH]


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