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a rebours

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In the novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, Wilde has his main character reading often from a collection of the same book that is covered in different colored bindings- so that the color would suit any mood he was in. That book was “A Rebours” by Joris-Karl Huysman.  The title translates to “Against Nature”.

The best-known example of fin-de-siècle decadence, this novel has been banned and expurgated for years. (We suggest that readers not undertake this book until they have attained the age of 65!) A translation by Robert Baldick (“Against Nature”) in the Penguin series is convenient to read and widely available, but we now present a public domain English translation on the World Wide Web, as part of our project to prepare for the coming millennium. A version in the original French is now online at ABU: la Bibliothèque Universelle. (Look for Huysmans under “auteurs”.)

presently, i find myself struggling with my own nature. i have always decidedly (and impulsively) acted on instinct. i have mostly trusted my intuition and gotten through most situations. that is not to say that i haven’t encountered some (as well as left behind) more than just some collateral damage.

but in a quest to grow spiritually, i am slowly learning to think before i act. this sounds so simple, i know, however first impressions are often superficial. i have been reacting with fear first for most of my life. it has served me fairly well up to this point. i am sure my first friend fear has helped to get me to this juncture and age in my life. no small feat considering some of the very treacherous adventures and interactions that i have surfed.

once again i find myself in a situation that i have initially reacted with fear. but it has not been friendly to me. the fear which so often would fade with a whiskey or two, doesn’t do the same dance without the booze. instead, the fear looms and begins to grow like ivy on an iron grate, twisting and turning and changing the appearance of a thing without much notice.

a part of my life has become choked by this growth, and i am trapped in a situation that is toxic. i can’t breathe, and i wonder how much i must endure in order to participate in this part of my life. how much should doing what i am doing cost me?

my instinct tells me to run. this has consistently done the trick for me, and taken me from point a to point b. but then there’s that collateral damage thing. staying and walking through fear is not my nature at all. i am very well versed in the exit. but staying… whew!

i am here in the dark, not wanting to do what i always do,-run-,  trembling with fear inside, and wondering what will happen next. grasping behind me, fervently trying to find something to hold on to, something to give me a clue as to what’s next. something to reconnect me with those things i cannot touch right now- trust and faith..

coming up easy

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i had breakfast with my friend alex today at hi-rise.. it’s a new sorta deli located in lodo. i love the place actually. it’s down the block from SNOOZE which always has a long wait, and i just think hi rise is much more fun and easier to manage… and i like doing things a little differently. always have…

we talked quite a while about how life is progressing. he has been sober about a year longer than me, yet sometimes i think he is miles ahead of me. he is struggling with many of the same issues i find myself in a quandary over. living life on life’s terms is how it could easily be said. but the living is not quite so easy sometimes. we both agreed that things are much better now than they were when we were fucked up all the time, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting everything to be just the way we want it now.

damn there is so much wisdom in the understanding and application of this. i know the things i am worried about are friggin fantasies, yet my crazy brain keeps drifting to the what-ifs and stepping onto the platform of crazy. and i do it repeatedly and  as second-nature. then i also wonder if i have spent so many years living in drama, both external AND internal, that maybe i just go to crazy places in my head because i am wired to do just that. just like a betsy-wetsy doll.

anyway, the validation i got from my pal today is enough to get me through a few more days. i am doing better, no matter how uncomfortable it feels sometimes. and if i am crazy, at least i am TRYING to get better, which seems a nice departure from all the crazy people i encounter who AREN’T trying to change anything.

this is my favorite single from the last Paolo Nutini CD. I love the lyric-” it was in love i was created and in love is how i hope i die”…. i  wholeheartedly second that….

love come down

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Love come down
all the way down
no sleep last night
been dreamin’ of you
please hold me tight
’cause i can’t help the way that i feel
i just can’t help the way that i feel
thief in the night
you took my heart
now danger’s in sight
’cause i can’t help the way that i feel
i just can’t help the way that i feel

there are aspects of being a “sissy” that have caused me grief my entire life. i am not speaking of being gay, but more about being somewhat effeminate- less now than when i was younger. today, on Pride Day, i find myself thinking about what it has meant being gay all these years. i know that “coming out” was a real event and i was thrilled when i had stepped beyond the glass closet and found myself inside with the rest of my tribe. at the same time however, i found myself distanced by many because of my  effeminate mannerisms and characteristics. i would imagine this is most easily explained by internalized homophobia. but on a spiritual level, this understanding takes time and work to reach. initially, it just felt like more hate pointed in my direction, and reaffirmed the notion that i was, indeed, unlovable and not what others wanted.

this is a poignant place for me to arrive on this Pride day. i still struggle rigorously- even after 36 years being out- with this same theme. and sadly, i have turned my insecurities outward and aimed them at others over the years. maybe, i still do periodically. i hung out w/ a friend last evening that i dated for a very short time about 16 years ago. never has there been a question that he cares about me. never have i felt judged or as if i might be an embarrassment. to the contrary, he seems to admire and respect the parts of myself that i have struggled with all these years.

this perspective that he seems to hold about me is where i would like to find myself, too. the deep-rooted shame that has accompanied me through this life may no longer be of service. maybe  it is long overdue for a departure. i don’t quite know how i will work toward this, but i do completely believe it is the direction i have to go.

SHAME AND GUILT



Shame is not the same as guilt.
When we feel guilt, it’s about something we did.
When we feel shame, it’s about who we are.
When we feel guilty we need to learn
that it’s OK to make mistakes.
When we feel shame we need to learn
that it’s OK to be who we are!……… more about shame here

as i sat with my friend, i realized what a gift this across-the-board acceptance is to me. i didn’t ask him for it, but he has it completely- no questions asked. and i realize that i need to strive towards more of this naked acceptance in my world. truthfully, i struggle quite a lot with my own self-judgement as much as i am challenged by the rest of the world. now all i need is another 50 years or so…:)

Prayer to Overcome Shame


There are dark places in my Being, God. There are memories, circumstances, and scars that are unspeakable to me as I come before you. Heal my broken places, Dear God, and help me to feel my Wholeness. Bring me into the Light with You, God, and let me feel my fullness of Being as a Child of God…. from the prayer goddess

OK GO

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thanks to Lady Bunny for this one….

Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Chicken with Croutons

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I had this for dinner last evening.. I can’t remember being so pleasantly surprised by a meal in quite some time.

Lemon Chicken with Croutons

Recipe By : Ina Garten – Barefoot in Paris

1 roasting chicken — (4 to 5-pound)

1 large yellow onion — sliced

Good olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 lemons — quartered

2 tablespoons unsalted butter — melted

6 cups bread cubes (1 baguette or round boule) — (3/4-inch)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Take the giblets out of the chicken and wash it inside and out. Remove any

excess fat and leftover pinfeathers. Toss the onion with a little olive

oil in a small roasting pan. Place the chicken on top and sprinkle the

inside of the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the lemons inside the

chicken. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels, brush it

with the melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs

together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the

chicken.

Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut

between the leg and the thigh. Cover with foil and allow to sit at room

temperature for 15 minutes. (The onions may burn, but the flavor is good.)

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until

very hot. Lower the heat to medium-low and saute the bread cubes, tossing

frequently, until nicely browned, 8 to

10 minutes. Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon

salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the croutons on a serving platter.

Slice the chicken and place it, plus all the pan juices, over the

croutons. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.

round here

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Step out the front door like a ghost

Into the fog where no one notices

The contrast of white on white.

And in between the moon and you

Angels get a better view

Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.

And I walk in the air between the rain, through myself and back again

Where? I don’t know

Well, Maria says she’s dying

Through the door I hear her crying

Why? I don’t know

have been very busy working 3 jobs these days. i work as a substance abuse counselor at a public health hospital here and work with persons with hiv. i also teach DUI classes 3x week and work with highly ambivalent people who may be seeing a substance issue in the light for the 1st time.  i also work with as a cater waiter with private chefs around town. of course the catering is the most lucrative position. it pays the best and the work is fairly steady for part time. i work with some extremely talented people, eat very well, and get to visits homes and neighborhoods that i normally wouldn’t see.

i actually love this diversity. i don’t think i could ever revert to being a server on a full time basis and retain my sanity. but i also think that working parties and small events affords me the luxury of letting go of some of the serious qualities of my day job. there are definitely people with problems and many of them cross my path. i love this job- or at least the possibilities it holds. my co-workers are mostly eccentric and that is very comfortable place for me to be. and the people i work with as a counselor continue to touch my heart.

i am still learning that “being there” sometimes needs to be enough. this continues to be a lesson that challenges my “fixer” sensibility. but i’m tryin’…

i  heard this song last night at a party and remembered how much i liked it….

play ball

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in the camp film “twilight” bela is invited to play baseball with the cullen family during a thunderstorm, as that is the only time they can really play during the daytime not only because the cracks of thunder drown out the incredibly large “crack” sound their bats make hitting the ball, but also as the dark clouds block the direct sunlight from landing on them. i find this particular scene from the film not only very stylized with a monotone colorized quality, but it also connects to something in my psyche.. now i can see that there is more than an obvious reason why.

i have been constantly had ptsd triggered since i got sober. it is powerful, it is numbing, and it’s almost completely crippling for me. the feelings that shroud me during these periods cause me to withdraw almost completely from my life. i become obsessed with personal safety and a cloak of anger circles me which keeps adrenalin flowing and helps to keep me in a watchdog state. and when i am paranoid and angry i feel safe somehow.

god, ain’t this twisted? seems so to me. so many times these “triggers” have come and i have continued to try to play my game of life without any of the sunlight of spirit present. i am acting on instinct, and my brain is leading the way. i have pre-determined how these limbic pathways travel, and on cue, they perform like a domino setup.

it kinda goes like this. i will be in a regular kinda state and then some strange thing, usually a remark or an action by someone else will cause me to go numb. i will sit in the situation for a few minutes, but start to detach and almost as if a cloak of invisibility covers me. then i will physically withdraw and isolate for a bit. i will go over the situation over and over in my mind. i will justify by own words or behaviors. and i will find anger and when i find this anger, i feel as if i have found home. it’s not physically comfortable, but the uncomfortable qualities are very familiar… almost primal. 

and i may stay like this for days or weeks.. sometimes longer. the rest of my life will come back into focus, but the interactions and my relationship with that person will stop living and become still life, just like a fetus in formaldehyde at the state fair freak show.

only now, after several years of clean time, am i able to simply recognize this pattern. i am not clear what all causes it. i know it is primal and began at a very young age. i am sure this is how i survived most of my tween and adult years. it is hardly a wonder that i turned to getting loaded to ease my way through. but now the challenge is to find new ways through it. not unsurprising is the fact that my old coping technique eventually failed and i feel blessed that recognition of this pattern is commencing. one upside to all this is the existence of a desire to let it go. now if i can only find a map to get me out of here.

and so here i am, periodically lost, with sanity sometimes slipping away into oblivion like the mists of avalon. and when this happens, it is very much like having to play baseball in a thunderstorm. so many distractions and very little sunlight to help guide my way. thank goodness for hope.

a tiny flame arose tonight
and in it spoke of deep sorrow and pain
a tiny flame arose tonight
it started off as one
then grew to two and three and four
the tiny flame of sorrow and pain
grew into a light of love and peace and tenderness
and now together the flame will purge the sorrow and burn the hate
and send it all away
so that for this night the tender of the flame
may rest in peace

Dana …. reposted from http://www.hopeforhealing.org/

i love this scene from twilight and i love the accompanying song from “muse”