I’m reading Tom Robbins right now, thankfully, again. He’s talking about what a boy with an imagination, in poverty and neglect, does for entertainment. I read. The Reader’s Digest and the mail order book clubs and the library relieved the grinding boredom of being poor. Not to mention the constant terror of constant abuse. Distraction is a wonderful thing.
Besides reading about the dust bowl depression and the Cannery Row of Monterey where Steinbeck would describe dew on a leaf to make your mouth water, I was exposed to Naked Came I, David Weiss, a novel of Rodin.
I remember him being raised also in poverty, also
shortsighted, being under the kitchen table as a boy, drawing. The rest of the
novel was above my reading level, age 10, but I never put a book down, it was
my marathon reader’s accomplishment to finish it. Having been neglected and
abandoned from birth I was never one to leave a book, a pet, a project a
person. All or nothing took some therapy to resolve, life doesn’t provide
certainty. We have the right to change our minds.
Fast forward to age 18, I’m caught in a prairie thunderstorm, on the streets of Calgary since I was 14, the only shelter was the Glenbow Museum, they were having an opening, and I enter to get out of the punishing rain and hail. There before me was this hand, lifelike, straining describing in 3 dimensions, my life. I cried, I just burst into tears.
Later in life this continued to happen, at art school as an adult student particularly, I would get in front of a work and just start leaking. They called it an aesthetic experience, a spiritual experience, I was ‘sensitive’, all kinds of stuff. I think it was being in front of a work where the artist took great care, exhibited love of his work of his medium, husbanded his resources. A demonstration of the kind of devotion to his creation I didn’t experience as a child from a parent. I say ‘his’ intentionally, as my father, a coal miner, died of lung cancer when I was 2. I was introduced to grief and loss of male love in the womb.
Female love, my mother and likeminded women I subsequently became attracted to, was narcissistic and untrustworthy. They were convincing in their promises of avowed commitment and excellent liars. Took some more therapy to heal that as well.
You must get outrage out? That Based on the notion of balancing the humours For which there is no evidence. Is 16th century mental health Evidence is: Anger is a choice Send out anger Get anger back Send out love Get love back Righteous Indignation Is just anger
It wasn’t that bad, don’t be such a baby. Don’t worry about it. You are such a worrier. Comments like that from family and parent growing up. It didn’t happen, if it did it wasn’t that bad. This is how I was groomed, youngest child, to be Mom’s little helper for life. A family tradition. Uncle Charlie squelched his needs for communication companionship and sex with booze and A.A. to live with his Mom for life and care for her. Tears are frustration, the frustration of loss. I cried all the time. I left Mom at age 14, older siblings long gone into foster care as young criminals, and hit the street, living in a squalid boarding house, on welfare. My remaining family of narcissists having dumped me, shamed me, guilted me, and threatened me. (FOG fear obligation guilt). My brother became a trained mass murderer with poor impulse control in the military, who once broke into my house, threatened me with violence and stole my camera because he needed it, and tried on another occasion to sleep with my wife. My sister when supposedly consoling me for yet another loss tried to sleep with me when drunk one night, she now runs Tantra Yoga sex groups. My oldest brother refused to come to my Art School degree graduation because a diploma was OK but a degree was just ‘putting on airs’. I mean these are awful awful people, who learned from and were deformed by my extremely conservative British bigoted Mom who grew up being raped by her stepfather and step brother on an island British colony where incest was the national sport. My inevitable narcissist wife, Carol Graham, now a labour lawyer for management, promised love, and said all the right things. You can’t tell it’s bullshit without training in what to look for, withheld sex, then dumped me for protesting it, threatened suicide if I spoke of it, to a counselor, a common manipulation, divorced me because its all my fault, then married a rich banker, not a broke artist. On top of the sexual frustration there was the old family frustration of it’s not that bad. Minimizing and trivializing. I smoked a lot of pot to mellow out between episodes of extreme frustration where I broke a lot of dishes. After Carol dumped me, overvalue, undervalue, dump, I got into yoga to get out of pot, the computer age had arrived, I wanted my mind back. I wanted normal sleeps. It turned out that cult recruitment like yoga seeks smart people in ‘transition’ misery really, and rapes them of their bank accounts, promising self esteem now and in the afterlife. They too, being narcissists, withhold sex, its called brahmacharya, institutionalized inappropriate self sacrifice. They also dumped me as I didn’t have much money, the excuse (again) was I wanted to be an artist, and going to art school was an ‘indulgence in the senses’ as if that’s a bad thing. I went to the hospital, depressed and anxious and saw a family therapist, got deprogrammed and treated with, and trained in, evidence based psychology, be your own therapist. REBT. For free. While researching this I found an paper by its founder, The Case Against Religion, which showed me my sources of frustration with family and religion and faith based organizations even the political ones. Basically, it didn’t happen, if it did it wasn’t that bad, now focus (by disregarding your needs ) on my ( the ashram, the church, the priest, AA, whatever) desires for money, free labour, priest-sex anything but your needs. These are real needs, you die without them, communication companionship and intimacy. People suicide without these things in their lives. You are trained that self esteem is your God, you must aspire to have it, so you can be manipulated by threatening to take it away. If you have self esteem you can lose self esteem. Self esteem is generated by (conditions) how much you give to the organization, how humble you are, by never mentioning it, how honest you are by telling all you shame secrets. Then how fearful you are that they might be revealed. An extortion racket basically. Ruthless isn’t a strong enough word. REBT solves all this by teaching you dump self esteem, it’s a poison. Instead rate your strategies for your own satisfaction. Narcissist cult leaders, wifes, parents etc. hate your own satisfaction. Talk to strangers, ask for what you want, a job, love, friendship, sex the usual satisfactions. The narcissist will leave because they don’t have any of that to offer, they are in it to get, period, and your satisfactions don.t matter. They say they do in the initial love bombing recruitment stage, but they are liars. Just ask for what you want, they will scurry away to their dark holes, no communication, no frank conversation, no willingness to compromise. Walk away, leave the mutual friends, the joint bank account, everything. Choose peace.
Links and References
Yasodhara Ashram Susan Oughtred was my cult recruiter I think she runs the joint now.
REBT Will Ross was my online teacher, while he was dying of liver cancer, stubbornly refusing to upset himself over such a normal life process. He never asked for a dime.
Shrink4Men Tare is my fav rational narcissism educator. Education is free, a fee for counselling services.
I’m in hospital, last year, victimized by a stroke, can’t move the right side of my body, and my nails and toenails are growing. So, I ask the nurse, could I get them clipped please? Oh, we don’t do that, was the indifferent reply, followed by an indifferent shrug when I asked for advice on who does it. Family, get your family to do it. This is the standard Catholic conservative solution du jour put off of the typical Alberta health system employee. Hmmm they (family) don’t visit, and not only are they not close family, they are actively competitive and hostile. The kind of people you disinvite from your Twitter feed. Still, I called up my estranged sister, a former private investigator and current Tantra sex groupie/leader, Eastern spirituality cult recruiter for hire and asked her to come to the hospital to cut my toenails. “I don’t even cut my own!” was the ridicule response. I’ll pay for you to get it done, she offered. OK, when will you be by to take me to the mall? Well I’m pretty busy. Well we are all busy, can you make this a priority? Well, the dogs need walking, your wheelchair is a bother, I mean the list of put offs was never ending. And my nails kept growing into my hand. which was clenched post stroke tight into a fist 24/7 except for therapy sessions where they managed to get it open using Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), electrodes attached to my arm. I was selectively electrocuted to make my hand open, at a 150.00 a session to the taxpayer, once a week. I bought the same machine on Amazon for 80 bucks and use it daily now for an hour a day, but the hospital wouldn’t receive deliveries so I had to wait and use their machine. So, anyway, the conservative family values option disintegrated into the usual self pity and inconvenience. The next solution was a store I had never been in, at the mall where they would do a pedicure manicure for 130.00. No wonder my sister weaseled out of paying for it, I thought. I booked an Access wheelchair transport, had to be 24 hrs in advance, for the next day at -30 in summer clothes, as it was summer weather when I went in hospital and all my cold weather gear was in storage. I couldn’t get up 4 flights of stairs to my home, or pay rent, as I couldn’t work or drive, so I returned my Toyota to the dealership as well. Serial loss piled upon loss, even the cat had to go to the kitty homeless shelter. The Access driver was an asshole. This I discovered was typical. Career drivers are working class conservatives, their base, they listen to Fox news on the radio. We aren’t friends. Also I imagine he was pissed about loading me in a blizzard, his frustrated inconvenience was a tangible thing emanating off him in waves. This wasn’t a medical trip, it was going to the mall, considered by many conservatives as an abuse of the system. He showed his disapproval by jamming the brakes and gas, throwing me around when I didn’t have proper muscles to hold myself up in the wheelchair. In the past my day gig was as a driver trainer for a bus company, I knew he knew how to drive with consideration for his passenger because I know his training. They refer to their vehicles among themselves as gimp-mobiles, the passengers as gimps, sometimes raisins or prunes if they are elderly, and treat the clients like children with dementia. It’s really humiliating. He got me dumped at the mall, pushing my chair with one arm and leg, in the snow, my first outing since the stroke, I had been indoors in an institution for months. I was really anxious after the abuse of the ride and didn’t know what to look for at the mall. Later I found out it’s called a spa. I really had to pee after the cold and the ride, with no options for that obviously accessible and available. It turned out that there was a nail place right by the entrance, thankfully, the mall was as least a km. long on 2 levels, and they had no washroom anywhere nearby. 200 bucks later I had a haircut, nails and feet bathed and expertly trimmed with the realization this was a monthly expense, and I had no job. Anxiety piled upon anxiety loss piled upon loss. I was the only male, in the spa, I was surrounded by women, in bathrobes, having just arrived from the waxing booths presumably hairless from the neck down, looking I imagine as prepubescent children or porn actresses for their lovers enjoyment. They were acting much the same as children in the spa what with a man being there. Giggling at being busted by my gender for having a hairy ass I suppose. The attendants were all immigrants, Asian mostly, Korean and Vietnamese. Now I understood why the conservative white nurses and my white sister wouldn’t do my nails. This was nigger work, to use a relevant term from a past age. They felt themselves above the class of coloured help: their child’s au pair or the spa wage slave that ripped the wax off their hairy rectums. The nurses aids that emptied the bedpans at the hospital were similarly Asian and immigrant. I once had a coffee buddhy, a retired Brit doctor, and one day I started my sentence with, “As an immigrant you must realize”, which was as far as I got before he exploded in indignation, as I had just called him a nigger in his British conservative mind. He offered me a prescription for Prozac, saying under every bad concept is a bad molecule. Shortly after he was diagnosed with brain cancer and he took his bad molecules off to die in the niggardly hospital system he helped to create. The ride home from the mall was awful. My mall buddy from the stroke ward with the walker was too short to climb up the seat of the Dodge caravan. The driver wanted to leave her at the mall which was closing. I suggested we swap because I’m tall, so I managed to stand up and then fall up into the passenger seat, the wind howling the snow blowing at 30 below. I felt like I was in search of the northwest passage on the open Atlantic in February. The driver stuck my buddy in my wheelchair, crammed her in the back and took off for the hospital. The freeway was black ice, the driver was insane. He obviously had to pee badly but there was no place in the mall for him within the km. of stores. He wasn’t allowed to leave us alone at any rate, why he didn’t stop ahead of time I don’t know. So there we were, racing on black ice, passing cars going half our speed, I’m flying around inside the vehicle unable to hold myself upright, the driver is steering one handed, the other holding his crotch, his face screwed up in obvious discomfort. We get to the hospital and were left alone anyway, the driver racing for the washroom. I got another Access driver to help unload us and get us inside, I never saw my guy again. I’m not convinced he ever returned, due to embarrassment. It was a surreal day full of obstructionist class privilege, animosity and assholes, some bearded, some waxed. A typical day on the stroke ward in a Catholic conservative hospital system. A typical getting around as well to outside appointments listening to Fox news and pissed off drivers. They don’t seem to like me somehow….
I was at the dentist the other day. I felt treated with such care and consideration and empathy. Not the sentimentality that would keep her from removing a tooth if necessary but true compassion. I was able to recognize that same care and compassion, in me, I was able to finally see it, by her example, in myself, too close to it to see it previously, taking my care of others for granted. You see, was constantly panicked and hurt and depressed ashamed and embarrassed and worried from the harm done to me from my parent and siblings. They hate us for our compassion for it makes them look bad, so they attack, the narcissists in my life, my so called family. The knowledge that I can handle life comes with the knowledge that I can give myself this unconditional care and understanding independent of others. My lifelong anxiety and loss was as a child who had never known anything but institutional care, an virtual orphan who needed to ‘be of use’ to have any worth to himself and only conditionally to others. I became free of these emotional consequences when I decided I no longer had to ‘be of use’ as I was no longer dependant on others for care, I am self caring. Both sides of the business contract of love and compassion for hire, thrown in the trash. So my being treated with unconditional care, it an intimate physical way, my mouth, with no expectation of similar return, gave me an example, a reminder, of how to treat myself. I don’t believe that I had ever had a relationship of any kind, professional or otherwise, where there was such obvious care. My typical relationships were like the social worker in the hospital, whose focus was on what an inconvenience I was, how I made life difficult for her, with my situation, conditions of no supportive family, only able to support myself and my art by working hard, none left over to save, not yet old enough for seniors annual income. She said, ‘your body has let you down’, whereas I thought my body had suffered a random injury in my brain, and was busy healing, taking care of it. She scared me, typical of the harsh institutional ‘care’ I had known since birth. When she left, her replacement was even worse, a true conservative sent in to deal harshly with the freeloaders like me. Either get a job or we send you to the single men’s hostel she said. But I can’t walk, and my right dominant arm is flaccid. Doesn’t matter, lots of people in wheelchairs have jobs… My previously agreed upon recovery plan was to apply for government funding for the severely handicapped and stay in hospital continuing to recover and receive treatment till the funding arrived, then see where I was going to go, an institution probably, assisted living, where someone wipes your ass at worst, or set up my own home at best. I mean this nazi social worker hadn’t even read my file, she was a former welfare intake worker whose job it was to reject folks, with a holy zeal. This I knew how to deal with, having grown up in the welfare system. These types of bullies are common and revert to their sycophantic ways in the presence of authority, in this case the Doc who ran the unit, making a proclamation that it wouldn’t be appropriate to send me to the single men’s hostel. He knew me as a professional artist, making me the same class of professional as him, the welfare worker knew me as a labourer, my day gig at the time, self employed courier of meds to patients from the hospital. The system warehoused working class people regularly, on foam mats on the floor, side by side, in neat rows, puking from a nights drinking of Listerine. I first experienced real compassionate care when I met Arlo Guthrie the folk singer. His Mom had started the Huntington’s Society after her husband Woody Guthrie and his siblings and kids died of this genetic degenerative terminal brain disease. His Aunt woke up one day and decided to set the kids on fire. Brain diseases are like that. I knocked on his bus at the folk fest where I was volunteering with my wife with Huntington’s disease. Hi we’re with the Huntington’s Society…C’mon in! Turns out he was mainly an aids worker in NY, touring a bit, and making sure he made time to spend with folks who were lonely and scared and hurting. He wasn’t asking for anything in return, he already had it, he was giving it to himself. And now since that fateful and loving dental appointment, so am I.
I sent a friend request to Angela Gadley yesterday. She had been suggested by the Facebook AI. William Gibson’s cyberpunk world of the corporate and sentient AI has arrived. She mentioned in a post ‘animal slaves’, a term I used in my profile on a dating site. The thinking being that if your pet has to be ‘good for something’ then so does your man, your art, and worst of all you. It just so happened that I was expounding on this to a friend with a farming background earlier in the day. He was surprised that my cat doesn’t have to have a ‘job’, he is a cat. Then I said treat your self the same way. Unconditional acceptance. When I did suicide prevention counselling, the common cognitive distortion, almost always ingrained by religion btw, was that we must have a purpose a meaning to life, then of course the religion provided that, for a price. They would give us little jobs to do, usually fund raising through evangelical activities, spreading the word of corporate religious greed. When I had fewer options I sold my photoshop and writing skills to the advertising execs, who seeing the financial value of the same strategy, an anxiety based ‘call to action’, used it in order to sell everything from tampons to cigarettes. OK now I’m using the same strategy to hurt myself daily. Why? I had a stroke, so what am I good for? To counteract this daily I remind myself I don’t need a job, a girlfriend, a life of travel, conditions du jour. I won’t die without that highly preferable stuff. That ‘need’ is treating myself like an animal slave, I have to be ‘good for something’. which creates consequences of daily anxiety, which can lead to depression and suicide. Or I can work instead to accept myself without condition, and stubbornly refuse to upset myself. If I had a stroke then I had a stroke, I’m not going to make myself crazy about this with the self defeating consequences of shame embarrassment guilt and anxiety, that come from saying I must have a purpose and now I don’t, so therefore I’m useless. I am and will be using the motivating self helping emotions of sadness, regret, concern, annoyance and disappointment to get my ass to the gym, make art because it pleases me, sing loudly because I’m really ‘no good’ at it, and I don’t have to be, talking to strangers, asking for what I want, applying for teaching jobs because I like to have the money to spend, grants and art shows too, in other words everything I ever liked to do, that’s fun and self helping. My friend Will Ross whom I met online on FB while he was dying of liver cancer, found great satisfaction in teaching REBT psychology (which what this post is), and asking ‘what good can I make of this?’ when life’s problems arrived to be solved or be put up with. This is a guilt attacking exercise. I get to do all the things I love to do, that I couldn’t do because I had to go to work and be good for something, as well as pay the rent. Recently, my stroke doctor said I was fired, I have reached a plateau of recovery, he thinks, and should not expect huge improvement now. He agreed I will never play guitar again and should sell it. Two women friends, one online and one not, said they were too busy to pursue any kind of relationship, friends or otherwise, essentially I am not a priority, whatever the ‘good for something’ reason was in their heads. So, what good can I make of this? Same old same old….talk to strangers, meet nicer friends, ask for what I want, exercise, eat healthily, apply for gigs, do things that are satisfying, like putting waffles on Dawn Eyland’s (whom I love like a sister) head. Being accepted by doctors and potential lovers, or not, describes them, not me, it’s their set of conditions. I don’t plan on having any conditions on myself, if I ‘need’ a job, or a purpose or meaning in my life I’ll use that. Unconditional acceptance of myself, of you, and the universe, just like my cat, those don’t need a job, they are just fine the way they are. In constant sorrow, sure, and perpetual satisfaction, if I choose. And I do.
A study of narcissists indicates that you can’t create empathy, or teach it and things like observation of the human body isn’t a magic solution to the problem of caring for another when you only care for oneself.Reading the article it shows that the author has created over-anxiety by extreme self downing. Things like repetitive concentration, yoga, meditation, prayer, drawing, music are good distractions from over-anxiety, though not a cure. When I worked in prisons as a drug counsellor everyone said what good artists the prisons created. But it was all the same, detailed , repetitive concentrated work, a distraction. It wasn’t art unless art is the medication of symptoms of poor mental health. When I worked with suicidal ex-military it was the same, extreme conditional downing of self and others, an objectifying learned and encouraged in order to ignore empathy long enough to kill. Empathy is acceptance without condition of self, others and the universe. It requires using free will and power of choice to accept the randomness of life and the hope and beauty and tragedy contained therein. When I see a show of any kind of art that is highly repetitive, highly skilled, rubber stamp art all traces of humanity removed I know what I’m looking at: mental illness. When I see the opposite, from the cave paintings to Egon Schiele, I am filled with the beauty of the hand made mark an act of acceptance of self, others and the universe. My best art prof Alan Dunning (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Dunning) said, your work is looking stylized, you’ve gone back to emphasizing fundamentals. Ya, my wife has a terminal genetic brain disease, and I’m freaking out about it. He gave me a A for the honesty of my work.
The weather turned warm and I’m out walking to the store and coffee shop. Takes me 45 min to go the five blocks. Thinking of the intrusive things people say to a total stranger in order to either signify their virtue and thereby subconsciously signal their intent to victimize when you walk slow with a cane. Possible responses. Can I assist you across the street? is the most common one, How ya doing? is #2. As I’m 6’2″ 180 lbs and I work out daily I don’t require assistance, but folks think others should walk briskly and not impede. So there must be a problem, they would like it if I went faster in other words. I like to stroll I always have. I have been on first dates where the woman starts speed walking and doesn’t even look to see if I keep up, to which I just turn around and head back to the car. I know she is signifying her virtue, keeping the rules of sidewalk social order, but I prefer a less authoritarian lover. Can I assist you across the street? 1. Why? (Said to guy trying to impress his date, she rolled her eyes and smiled, she knew he was creepy but it was a free meal.) 2. How? Are you going to carry me? (said with a smile to a nice young church going lady) 3. You just want to cop a feel, I know what goes on…(Said to an attractive to me woman as a banter ice breaker, she looked at me funny…no social skills…) 4. Look at them funny (to the standard religious virtue signaller who is probably raping kids and wants to hide the fact.) 5. Ya,you just want to steal my purse (said with a smile) 6. That’s very kind, I’m good thanks…(said to most folks as that’s why they offered, to hear that they are very kind. I watch them puff their chests with renewed self esteem, and think, man they are more handicapped than I am, panhandling on the street to get their self esteem fix.)
Street survival skills, if they can’t get close to you, they can’t harm you. Predators look for victims that they perceive can’t fight back or defend themselves, because they are cowards, they perceive boundaries as abuse.
They ask if they can help, how are you, and they talk softly so you invite them in close to hear, just like politicians and ministers.They are the reason my Irish walking stick comes with a manual of cane fighting techniques…
How ya doing? said softly by the street junkie person, slithering close, no one else around 7. Take one step closer cocksucker and this cane goes right up your ass…cop voice, cop eyes…
Ah yes, just nice Sunday stroll in the inner city. I love it. It’s my home.
Why don’t you get model releases? Well it’s collaborative, so they get half. I get verbal permission to use their image, how they have chosen to present themselves to the world after my work is finished, if they don’t approve I destroy it. Two artists working together. Some people like to be nude, but not painted blues and nude. *shrug*