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
street is Duchamp is ready made dada is the celebration of uncertainty is the celebration of life street is line shape colour tone texture rhythm fornicating exposed guilt shame embarrassment anxiety depression rage is that contrived in the studio aspiring to be street
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.
displaced from my home pets art music clothes car everything homeless for 6 months lived in hospital climbing out of a wheelchair is harder than any mountain I’ve climbed creating a new home finding 30,000.00 to do it from a hospital bed /family/therapists/doctors/nurses/cabbies/grocery people/ complaining to me that I’ve inconvenienced them was the worst of it most people are insane orphan 4 year olds competing everywhere for the the parents that abandoned them manipulated through guilt obligation and fear conditional acceptance we all suffer setbacks it’s part of life grow (some empathy) the fuck up
I had a stroke. Reality is reality, not the way I think it has “got to” be.
Although I keenly prefer not have a stroke, a preference does not equal a “got to.”
Although I have extra financial and employment hassles with a stroke, that’s all I have—hassles, not horrors.
It could be nice to have a respite from work, which would provide a longed-for break to make art and write a book or two.
I have savings and pension income I am able to live on for life. I am able to take my time and do a really excellent job of rehab & recovery.
Having a stroke could give me just the push that I have been lacking to take a chance on my dream—returning to my profession as an artist.
Having a stroke has given me a golden opportunity to practice accepting misfortunes, rather than needlessly worrying about them.
I can see, concretely, that even the worst-case scenario is not as bad as I had anticipated.
Having a stroke, this is a bad situation, but it would not make me a bad or worthless person.
I am more money-conscious, for example, move into a shared apartment, eat at home more, and buy a new car in five years rather than immediately. This would mean some deprivation, but I’ve survived deprivation before, and I will survive it in the future.
The simple fact of having a stroke, by itself, can never disturb me. Only my bellyaching about it can do that.
Even if I never get a job as well-paying the one I lost, I accept that and still considerably enjoy life, although I could enjoy it even more with a better salary.
Having a stroke provides an opportunity to eventually get a position that may have certain advantages over this one: self employed so a more supportive boss, more friendly co-workers, less pressure, more interesting work, shorter commute times, less crowded work space, or potentially better pay.
Pressuring myself saying I shouldn’t have had a stroke will not help me recover. Moreover, it could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more I demand this, the more stressed and distracted I get, and the worse I perform in my recovery.
In the larger sense, health is temporary. Health changes, unemployment, and lost jobs are part of life.
I started at “square one” at relearning to walk, I worked my way up out of the wheelchair and continued to improve.
Everyone has significant discomforts, inconveniences, and hassles in life. This is part of the human condition. No reason exists why I have “got to” be exempt.
It is a relief not to be so focused on competitive work and instead do contemplative art.
astrologists/religionists/ know it doesn’t work ruthless in their preying on the vulnerable for profit those in transition/loss are vulnerable they seek certainty where none exists and never has the demand for certainty created vulnerability it is the major sting of loss
According to Dr. Burns the CBT guy, a successful relationship is based on 20 things I find satisfying. So I rate my level of satisfaction 1-5 for each thing. This gives me a percentage when I add it up. 20% – coffee buddy 40%- dining dance sex whatever 60% – marriage Because a successful relationship means I am accepting and putting up with 40% bullshit. Because I’m not a damned perfectionist. There are deal breakers like drug addiction etc. but I am talking reasonable mentally/emotionally compatible adults from the get go. So what about my relationship with me? Here I find I am a damned perfectionist. I must I should endlessly, making myself anxious and depressed for not being perfect. Then along comes a stroke, and now I’m really not perfect. Now I’m fucked because I’m living with a tyrant. Me. Oh. Fuck. Hmmm Is there any evidence that I must should be perfect at anything? Nope. I highly prefer to, and so I work hard, but I don’t have to.
here is my 20 things:
compassionate sapiophile/sapiosexual affectionate likes art available attractive to me exhibitionist internet savvy mentally/emotionally reasonable health good conversationalist likes to dine out/coffee shop likes exercise/gym likes healthy food atheism/rational frank conversation willing to compromise has at least one strong interest liberal at least life long educated learner introvert
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.