DREAMS ARE OUR BREATH


 

My dream slipped out. Has that ever happened  to you?
You wake up one day, and you’re watching the Olympics, with a robust cup of Italian Roast, and the bed is empty and unmade, and then there’s London, and the glorious athletes, their smiles crossing the world, and here in my room, I am mesmerized by the champions. I’m

 

Thomas Hicks running the marathon at the 1904 ...

Thomas Hicks running the marathon at the 1904 Summer Olympics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

going to look for my dream today.

 

EDITING A LIFE


Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: Sweet Evie)

Many years ago, after my friend, Voice of Reason read my book of poems, he said to me, “ I was a little embarrassed, it was like looking at you naked.”

Truth, it’s almost become an abstraction of the truth. Where did it go? Does it fade with age, or get reshaped by our life experiences?  If everyone is lying, then why not join up?  I was never a convincing liar. Yes I can stumble through incendiary confrontations, like you have to when, you’re attacked for a simple mistake, filling out applications, balancing money, returning items. I am talking about the truth in relationships, your art or business.  It’s tempting to reinvent the truth.  That is why it is one of the  Ten Commandments.

I could write about the last road trip to San Diego, and the little sign that said Jack Ass Acres, or about all the new gangster movies, or what I’ve observed happening in the interior world of people I’ve met.  The truth is, that one of my foremost characteristics is truth, and that is what speeds up the pen when I am writing, and talking, because I like to dig out the top soil and get to the roots.  Here goes.

Since my lover left, in a hurry, practically skidded out the driveway, back in January,  mornings and evenings feel like thunder storms in my heart. These are the moments that keep infringing on my perception. It’s like being crippled emotionally, leaning on the old crutches of what he did wrong, what I did wrong, what the world did wrong.  Answers percolate, but they never satisfy the gap between the truth and my imagination.  So, as any hot blooded Russian Irish woman would do, after five months of reclusive living, I got very angry, cynical, anxious, depressed, offensive, impatient, and talked myself out of the gift of life.

In this precarious state of mind, the tiniest disappointment inflates the size of a monster, and the big disappointments, just send me back to TCM to Robert Mitchum week.  As it happened, the big billboard answer came on a lovely breezy night, sitting on the portal of Geronimo, with White Zen and Rudy. My cynics and sharp-tongued wit drew a lot of laughter, and my company appreciated the humor, but I was reminded of something, that wasn’t funny, it was frightening.

I was imitating those women, whom I met, every Thanksgiving when Dad pulled me into a be dazzling party scene at the home of his attorney. Every year there was this one woman who sat at the bar and mixed life’s lessons with the worst elements of human behavior. She was the queen of cynicism, and at the time, I was keenly observing of her, and sympathetic, painfully attached to understanding what she was so angry about.  I had not been hurt yet.

The final siren of my digression came while Rudy and I were driving out to San Diego. Somewhere along Highway 17, the fields turned into rows of Saguaro Cactus.  They didn’t look like Cactus; I perceived them as hands, flipping me off! I turned to Rudy and said, “You know my head is not working properly.”

Landing in San Diego meant I would meet with my GP at Scripps Clinic for the routine round.   The visit lasted longer, I told her, that my real sickness was mental.  She took a serious interest in my babbling, and emptying out the garbage I’d held back for so long.  No, I have not been on any joy pills, or anxiety pills, or anything, so when she suggested a prescription to add, serotonin to my brain, I accepted her advice.

“Do you see a lot of patients with these symptoms?

“Eighty percent of my clients come in for anxiety and depression. You’re not alone.”

Today is day three of pills, and the roses are waving at me. My motor is running smoother, and    I am not         angry. This is an arguable confession, because I used to sneer at pill poppers for corrective behavior. Psychotherapy was instrumental in my life at one time, and I will use it again when I meet the right therapist.

Truth, about facing what we need to edit and revise cannot be shaded or ignored. If we’re not honest with ourselves, why should we be with others?

It is a day later, and while I was reading the WSJ online, I landed on this article; Why We Lie? Dan Ariely

“We tend to think that people are either honest or dishonest. In the age of Bernie Madoff and Mark McGwire, James Frey and John Edwards, we like to believe that most people are virtuous, but a few bad apples spoil the bunch. If this were true, society might easily remedy its problems with cheating and dishonesty. Human-resources departments could screen for cheaters when hiring. Dishonest financial advisers or building contractors could be flagged quickly and shunned. Cheaters in sports and other arenas would be easy to spot before they rose to the tops of their professions.

But that is not how dishonesty works. Over the past decade or so, my colleagues and I have taken a close look at why people cheat, using a variety of experiments and looking at a panoply of unique data sets—from insurance claims to employment histories to the treatment records of doctors and dentists. What we have found, in a nutshell: Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats—just by a little. Except for a few outliers at the top and bottom, the behavior of almost everyone is driven by two opposing motivations. On the one hand, we want to benefit from cheating and get as much money and glory as possible; on the other hand, we want to view ourselves as honest, honorable people. Sadly, it is this kind of small-scale mass cheating, not the high-profile cases, that is most corrosive to society. “

PATHS TO DOORS


Français : Une chaîne rouillée, à une poignée ...

Français : Une chaîne rouillée, à une poignée de vieille porte. Dordogne. English: A rusty chain at a door lock of an old door. Dordogne, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The signals were all there, but I kept going in the opposite direction, on the road away from the new door, because I’d gotten used to the door I had.

Today the road is closing, it’s going to be shut before too long, hardly long enough to pack it all up, the newly purchased furnishings, drapes, lighting, towels———-and going in the boxes, into storage. The fifth renovate, refurbish, and move play. Three acts-repeating themselves.

Where the new door will open is uncertain, more of these adventurous in livingness tests that I write about.

 

SIDEWALKING TO BREAKING MY SILENCE


SIDEWALKING TO BREAKING MY SILENCE

 

This is the beginning of the journey, to write my way home.

“The fall was impulsive. All the misguided messages and warnings tumbled over me. When I finally found the bottom of self-defeat, the shelves of my soul empty, I was 43 years old.   Beyond getting married and having children, career, or stability, there were the untold stories of my gangster father and glamour girl mother. The struggle to break my silence began to erupt.  The problem was, they were both dead, and no one knew their stories.

The journey began one day in 1994. I was standing on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Barrington, in West Los Angeles.  This was the crossroads of my adolescence; a few blocks from my high school, where I learned to survive silently.

I was in the phone booth, the same booth from which I used to call my father, and report where I was going after school. The fellow next to me was talking on the phone to his agent, about a script.  I was dialing UCLA, Emergency Psychiatric Counseling, inquiring about treatment.  Choking on my tears and the lopsided humor of our juxtapose conversations, I screamed silently.  The next week I found myself inside the UCLA center, seated next to a woman with a clipboard ready to document what I said.  I kept looking out the window. The Hilgard House, where I lived with my mother, was visible from where I sat. I remembered the days we would all go swimming and would later walk in the village, eat cheeseburgers and shop at Bullocks.  I remembered my cats, my friends, my records and my joy.

“You have sadness and pain, how would you describe that?” the counselor asked.

“What do you mean?”

“How do you handle your sadness?” she said, leaning forward.

“By myself, I just live with it.”

“Do you feel pitiful?” she asked.

“Yes. I have nothing.

“Are you eating and sleeping properly?” she asked making a note.

“No, I ‘m not hungry and I can’t sleep. Today’s my birthday.” I said.

“You’ve made a conscious decision to change haven’t you?”

“I suppose.”

She put the notebook away, and with appeasing eyes assured me she would find a therapist suited to my problems.  I walked outside into the light of day. Across the street from the building was where the Hasty House used to be. We used to have dinner there with my grandmother.  I didn’t know if my grandmother was even alive. We had lost touch.  I lost touch.

There were two people to call, Rudy, my ex-boyfriend and Florence, my adopted Jewish mother, whom I had known fifteen years.  My choice was guided by instinct.

“Hi Florence, its Luellen.”

“Darling, how are you? Oh for heaven’s sake it’s so good to hear your voice. What are you doing?”  I didn’t have an answer.

“How are you?”

“I’m fine, fine. Well, you know since the earthquake, the place is a mess and I don’t have time, I’m so busy. Oh, everyone keeps asking me if I’m all right, the girls think I should go to a therapist… did I tell you I was pinned under my oil painting for three hours before the paramedic arrived.”

“You feel all right though?” I asked.

“Well, to be honest, I’m scared– who wouldn’t be all by herself.”

“What are you doing, you haven’t told me a thing?” she said.

“Florence, I quit my job at the Terraces, and moved out of the condominium.  I was supposed to take over an Art Gallery in Laguna Beach; it’s not working out well.  Do you think I could stay…..?”

“Oh would I love it, come right over. I’ll be home.”
That’s how I ended up at Florence’s home in the summer of 1994. We hadn’t spent much time together since I moved back to San Diego from Los Angeles.  Though 30 years separated us, she was the friend that could be mothering one minute and girlfriend the next.

***

“Oh darling you look wonderful,” she cooed.

“You do too Florence.”

“You think so… really?” she said glancing down at her waistline.

“Yes, you look gorgeous.”

“You’re so skinny? Have you lost more weight?”

“A little, you can fatten me up.”

We sat in the dining room, drinking coffee and I answered questions.  I told her selected chapters from the last scene in my life.  I left out the part about PJ’s alcoholic binges and his partner Aaron’s daily dosage of marijuana.  There was the twisted, anti semantic charge between PJ and all Jewish people, and why I fell into a hole with all the alarms of dysfunctional behavior ringing at once.   Florence told me how she survived the earthquake, and how her daughter Madeleine had sensed she was in trouble, and sent the paramedics.  We were both afraid; we needed daily encouragement to face the unsteadiness. Florence put me upstairs in Sam’s old room, her husband who had passed away several years prior.  I flopped on the fold out bed. I was as close as I’d ever come to giving up on myself.”