affinity groups, grassroots dialogue

As you know, I’ve been interested in, what’s probably a cliche by now, a
time and place for dialogue. Along these lines, if there’s going to be
such a thing, that time and place should be part of people’s everyday
lives, or else there’s a disconnect between the ideal and the actual.

So, I started to think about this. There’s real life opportunities to
develop and promote dialogue within normal activities for people
involved in grassroots or progressive movements certainly, but there’s
also opportunities in the labor/union movement. With this in mind I
started to check around.

I have not really compiled the resources for labor/union examples, but
there’s the example of the “Affinity Group” which has been called
various things, like “Cell.” These minimally hierarchical structures
have been amazingly effective at distributing leadership in places like
Palestine and in any of the resistance struggles as well as in the every
day activities of progressive groups like the SOA Watch.

Here’s a couple links:

http://www.starhawk.org/activism/affinitygroups.html
http://www.starhawk.org/activism/cafe-charette.html
http://www.geocities.com/kk_abacus/insurr3.html
http://woomera2002.antimedia.net/affinity.php3

Anyhow, there’s more to this idea, that the need for dialogue training
is like the organization of any other progressive resistance movement.
This was something I kind of started to ask about when I asked Christine
Vernon about whether there was “enclaving” in response to the loss of
the “fifth discipline” support in her group, an enclaving that I’ve
experienced in the past also. That’s the formulation of informal
resistance. Why not make that kind of thing implicit?

For example, why should we not start thinking about dialogue and in fact
all grassroots resistance skills as something that it is our patriotic
duty to learn and teach? Dialogue, consensus and non-violent resistance
tools could be part of our societal citizenship training and brought to
all aspects of our lives.

Okay, so I feel like I’m on the verge of a rant, so I’ll stop there.
Suffice to say that I thought I’d share what I was thinking. As an
example, I’m thinking of suggesting a project to my discussion group on
fridays where we each engage with dialogue in some other setting and
spend time talking in the friday group about how that’s going, a kind of
dialogue check-in.

Anyhow, that’s probably enough said. ;) Time to leave for class!

quote from a recent Utne e-mail

I was struck by this quote. I thought you all might enjoy it also:

“TECHNOLOGIES WHICH ARE environmentally more sustainable are less prone to being hijacked by those intent on harm. No terrorist is going to make governments tremble by threatening to bomb a wind turbine, or release clouds of compost over our cities.”

Jonathon Porritt, English environmentalist, Resurgence (Sept./Oct. 2002)

The Fightin’ Whites

An article that talks about CafePress, which I was reading for other
reasons entirely (on-demand book publishing they will be introducing
soon), mentioned the Fightin’ Whites, which I thought was fun in
relation to our focus last quarter.

“A Native American college intramural basketball team called the
Fightin’ Whites raised a similar amount for its line of products. In an
attempt to point to racist tendencies in U.S. popular culture, the
organization has used the proceeds from its logo-laden items to
establish a scholarship fund.”

Here’s the link to their products:
http://www.cafeshops.com/cp/store.aspx?s=fightinwhite

This is especially interesting in relation to the AF logo’d t-shirt “Two
Wongs can make it white” about a fictitious chinese laundry. Okay, so I
just realized that I think one’s cool and the other’s not and I’m
wondering about that. So I started doing some searching for links on the
internet.

Here’s a link to a PDF document that actually talks about both that I
just found:
http://www.kamergroup.com/pdfs/LKamerKamerGroupTShirtandValues.pdf

Here’s a related article in the seattle PI about the AF shirt:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/jamieson/68466_robert30.shtml

promise

The promise

Don’t mythologize me. Remember that I am human. I accept myself, good and bad, success and failure. I believe in myself and my ability to succeed and overcome failures. I know that your mistakes are not you and that I love you in part because of your ability to make mistakes but remain on the path of personal progress without getting disturbed by disappointment for too long. More than anyone else, you are the person I would choose to play, mourn and live with. I want to constantly learn with and from you as you develop constantly into the person you are becoming. As I become the person I will be, I wish your company also. With you, I am not ashamed of my failures, but still wish to be my best, becoming self.

I trust you implicitly and have perfect love and trust in you that you will make the best choices you can make. I implicitly trust you to make choices and decisions when necessary. I accept your leadership and your guidance and expertise without the need to compete with you when it is my turn to act as leader. I have unshakable care and respect for you even when that means discomfort or pain for myself.

I desire to be part of a great team with you more than with anyone else or alone. I feel that together we are more than each of us individually or would be in combination with anyone else. I am a better, stronger, more connected person because you are in my life. I am a complete person on my own, but you complement me in ways that no one else ever has before. I wish to be with you, without hesitation and together accomplish what I could not have alone. Together we are more than the sum of ourselves because we are always becoming more that who we were. I am committed to being ready, being and constantly becoming my best and fullest self. I promise to be led by my mind and heart to stand for what is true and right. I promise to live fully and participate boldly in the constant process of transforming my world into a more peaceful, compassionate and loving place.

(Heavily influenced and inspired by “Boldly Live As You’ve Never Lived Before” by Richard Raben and Hiyaguha Cohen)

invitation

I’m glad you told me you want me
to be and what not to be in order to be
what you could, should, would wish.

I don’t care what you want or don’t.
I want what I want and don’t want
what you think I should be.

If I can be and not give up myself
I’ll be what I am with you while you
be all that you can be.

Now that you know what you want
maybe you will spend some time
finding out who and what you are

What you want is far from what I want
because I am far more than what you want.
Be careful what you care about is more
than that you don’t care.

(a response to The Invitation by Oriah Mountain-Dreamer)

MLK’s “beyond vietnam” in audio

The other week KAOS or NPR was going to be broadcasting the audio of
MLK’s beyond vietnam speech which I ended up missing, but clued me in to the fact that a recording of the speech existed. I had a moment today
when I was so busy avoiding other things I needed to do, so I have had a
chance to search online for any links to the audio version of the
speech. Here’s a list of some of the items that I’ve found, which you
may find interesting:

Full speech in MP3 audio, from a radio broadcast
http://atlanta.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=11906&group=webcast

Full text of the speech with RealAudio excerpt
http://www.independence.net/mlking/beyondvietnam.php

Full text with audio excerpts
http://www.aavw.org/special_features/speeches_speech_king01.html

National Radio Project, show on MLK and the anti-war movement
http://www.radioproject.org/temp/king.html

The MLK papers project: multimedia page
http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/multimedia.html

Some other speeches, both audio and text
http://www.wmich.edu/library/depts/archives/mlk/audio.html

quote source I’ve been looking for …

I recently read the following powerful quote:

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But . . . if
you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us
work together”

I’ve been looking for the source of this quote and think I’ve found it.
The quote is from a woman named Lilla Watson, an aboriginal woman living in Australia.

Anyhow, it’s a pretty cool quote and seemed very relevant to a lot of
what we’ve been talking about in class about compassion and shared
intelligence.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman from today’s video on Salon

here’s an article on Salon that includes Rabbi Ark Ascherman who was in
the video we watched today. He was the gentleman that was translating
for the other person that had had his house levelled.

Anyhow, it’s unfortunately a “premium” article and I cancelled my
subscription last month, so I’m not able to forward the whole article to
you all. However, I thought it would be of some interest anyway. Here’s
the link:

http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2003/01/15/shields/index_np.html

signs will show

signs show the sun casts no solstice shadow
what the cold cape of winter now reveals
a love bed of rose like stars glimmer through
hidden in folds of threadbare velvet night
the contrails from her solar chariot
drawn by lions to the hazy horizon
like looking at floating feathers dancing
riddles me sleepy memories full of dreams
we are both angels in love with the sky
she soars high but I am bound to the ground
while watching her enter heaven flying
to that lingering look back in my mind
inceasantly whisper “I love you”

the wait for her return is so very long
though I know she has only barely gone

her hair like silent stars too far from here
I miss her kisses and arms around me
the mist after midnight slides in to hide
trees snap fingers wiggle to the rhythm
rain weaving a tapestry of echo
as the wind throws pine cones hailing down
the first snowfall filters through nearby trees
she spreads her silken rainbow faerie wings
to the station of the sun in the south
I climb steep trails to the highest peak
to the tower of winter in the north
just to get a last chance distant glimpse of her
better a chance than all the warmth at all

the sun is shining through the trees and snow
with longer days I’ll see her soon I know

I should know better.

I should know better. Hiking in the snow on a glacier in the Austrian alps should have made it clear enough. Birkenstocks are not good shoes for hiking in the snow.

Supposedly the local elk herd was out and about, so I went to go see. I didn’t see them, they must have moved on. I’m suspicious that these elk are like snuffleupaguss.

So, I was all dressed for the cold. I decided to hike up the road. I ended up going more than twice as far as A. and I had ever gone. Which is an odd thing, I suppose. I did feel it, and I almost turned around once but kept on going. It was neat because as I went up and up the snow was still there in the trees and on the road. Anyhow I went quite a way past the end of the county maintained road. I didn’t see anyone else up there. I heard a bunch of birds and definitely there were some animals scuttling about in the brush. At one point I stopped to eat some snow and just revelled in the sound of the dripping water and the occassional clump of snow falling off a tree branch. I kept going until I was in danger of soaking my feet in the water running down the road. I really need to find my boots in storage so I can tromp up there more.

So, a funny thing happened on the way back. I noticed all of a sudden that I was smiling and I was practically bouncing as I walked. I felt happy. I met someone on the way back and couldn’t help but be enthusiastic about recommending that he go up the way I’d come since it was so nice.

I came home and had a little snack. Then, I turned my attention toward getting this 2nd computer online so that I could check my e-mail and stuff while the brothers are on the other one playing games non-stop for hours.

Then I started to realize something else. I was running through my head things that we could have done to work things out between us. The thing is that every time I came up with an idea, I realized that she had tried to go that direction. She tried to get me to agree to counseling, and while I didn’t say no I did kind of jokingly pass it off. She tried to get us to talk about what love was to us, but I was being grumpy and didn’t want to go through that exercise. She even told me flat out that she’d have to leave me if things didn’t get better with how she felt like I was insulting and snide to her all the time.

So, with a little perspective I realize that she tried so damned hard and I don’t think I once met her half way. Sure, I tried in my own way to do things, but I’m not sure right now if I was ever able to really listen to what she was saying about trying to make it work.

It’s really tempting to blame all of the anxiety, irritablity, low sex drive and foul moods on a chemical problem in my brain. I mean, I really don’t think I was able to change the way things were going. I could watch as I fumbled constantly and made life … well, I made being with me pretty miserable. I made things worse when she tried to focus on her own stuff, and started to pull away. It’s tempting, but even if it’s is absolutely true, that’s only part of the story. There’s no simple answer, or simple solution, to the issues I have with self-esteem, irritability, sex, neediness, and all the rest.

There was that time where we were having a big argument and the next day I realized like a flash of lightening how much I loved her and wanted to be with her and that everything I was doing was insanely opposite of how I really felt. That was the same day she came home having spent the whole day at class crying and had decided that she needed to be free.

That’s part of the irony, that we came out of it on opposite sides, but I clearly still hadn’t been able to see just how much she already had done to try to make things work with me, with us, before she just couldn’t do it any more.

She told me that she felt guilty for hurting me when we last talked, when she told me she thought that we had run our course and that it was over. She shouldn’t feel guilty. She should feel that she did everything she could to make it work.

No wonder she felt like she was having to take care of me. No wonder she felt drained the minute she walked in the door to our home. No wonder she felt like she had no other choice but to leave that behind. She had tried everything she knew how to do, and none of it worked.

I wish I could tell her that I realize how hard she worked for us, trying to deal with her own issues and having to deal with mine too, trying to point me in the right direction and falling into the role of my caretaker, trying to warn me what was going to happen if I didn’t get with the program.

She warned me and I didn’t understand.

I feel horribly guilty for having hurt her. My good intentions and genuine love brought her into a situation where she couldn’t be happy. She might have thought many times that she was failing when it was really not the case. She did wonderful trying to make it work, but she deserves someone that doesn’t need that kind of help. She deserves someone that she compliments and that compliments her, not someone that she has to try to complete.

Spooky

Okay, this stuff is just damned spooky. Of the list of 11 symptoms which indicate depression, I have had all of them, and have most of them right now. Plus, I have all the physical symptoms mentioned also. I guess the only symptom that I can say I haven’t had consistently is the thoughts about death, if that means thoughts of doing something to myself.

“1. Depressed mood most of the day (nearly everyday)
2. Markedly diminished interest in daily activities
3. Significant weight loss or gain
4. Insomnia or excessive sleeping.
5. Agitation or slowing of purposeful movements
6. Fatigue-probably the most common symptom of depression
7. Feelings of worthlessness
8. Diminished ability to think
9. Recurrent thoughts of death
10. Reduced sex drive
11. Inability to enjoy activities that have always been fun in the past”

People with depression “may have numerous other physical symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, sleep disturbances, low sex drive, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome or headaches.”

And this struck me: “When people become depressed there is a tendency to blame the depression on a present or past event in life. They will say they are depressed because they lost their job, or they are going through a divorce. Most people fail to realize that the reason they lost their job, or are having marital problems, is because of the depression that occurred initially. A spouse with a low sex drive, inability to enjoy life, irritability, and constant fatigue is not much fun to be around.”

Quotes are from this source

The old place

I was talking to A’s brother about dominoes and was thinking about the last time I played being at the old place. It feels funny calling the “old” place. I still think of it as being home, like I should drive up there for the night and tuck in with her for the night, but that’s a million miles away now.

The worst part is that to be honest with myself I have to realize that being together was not really happy for either of us. I think we were definitely in love and that carried us through a great many things. I’m not sure if that makes it worse that I have no moral ground on which to stand and say, “We were wonderful together all the time.” I can’t say that, and yet I wish I could. My wishes aren’t enough to change anything, certainly not the past.

First, I probably have to be honest and say that I was a rotten boyfriend. I was variously moody, clingy, grumpy, distant, cynical, sarcastic, hurtful, angry, needy and, last but certainly not all, difficult. I want to ignore all that, but I can’t. I’m definitely the co-creator of the present lack of us.

I think we also had many times where we were happy and definitely in love, but I also did my part in creating hurt. I felt uncomfortable when a comment was made that she’s the only one that seems to be getting hurt. That wasn’t true of our relationship. We’ve both come out of this hurt, but she seems to have a strategy to deal with it, in a way, or something.

Anyhow, I hurt her by being overly critical. I hurt her by being demanding. For several months, I hurt her by having difficulty dealing with her desire for sex. (that’s a long one to explain.) I hurt her by being distant when I was depressed and feeling helpless about my job. I hurt her by being grumpy when doing activities like hiking or taking walks, finding something to be upset about in almost any situation. I hurt her by putting the kibosh on her when she came home from school full of joy. I hurt her by making her feel guilty for spending time away from me.

For all of this, I feel like it was mostly due to outside issues. Of course, it’s completely natural that she feel that all of that was due to my inherent personality. The truth, I’m sure, is somewhere in between.

We were great in public, but we tended to argue when alone. We’d argue about the dumb stuff, and get snippy at eachother over little things. There were, it turns out, quite a few times that she would complain to her mom or step-mother that she loved me, but I was an ass.

When we first started to argue, we were delighted to see, for example, other couples argue because we realized that the arguments were the same, and so felt okay, or at least not abnormal. But we never really managed to avoid the tension, and stop arguing. It wasn’t constant, but it was consistant, if you know what I mean.

Well, for each thing that I did to create hurt in the relationship, there’s at least two stories about why and how, but it’s important for me to make sure her family knows that I don’t think I’m without blame, or that somehow I’m the martyr. It’s not so.

I have issues I need to deal with. I’m quite certain that I’ve been for many years able to answer yes to almost all, if not all, of the questions used to identify the symptoms of depression. Turns out that my mother, my uncle and my grandmother are all on medication to help with seratonin levels. It also turns out that alcoholism, which runs on both sides of the family, can be a contributing factor to problems with seratonin levels in the brain.

I have issues about self-worth. I have issues about an inability to believe myself worth of love or capable of giving it. I have issues with my sexuality and sex drive. I have learned pessimism and helplessness.

Anyhow, the list goes on.

So, while I, irrationally perhaps, cling to the idea that A. might harbor enough love for me to overcome my faults and miraculously want to be with me, I have to realistically say that she’s probably right when she said that the only chance we have of a future together would be if we started completely over fresh.

Of course, there’s the further hurdle of her anger and the inevitable identification of what happened with what had previously happened with her and Jay … to the point that only a total goober like myself would imagine in a million years that there was a chance for real.

So, we are apart because we both have issues, in spite of my fervent wish that what we had was enough and that we somehow be able to find happiness together.

Which brings me to what she’s doing … or what I think she’s doing. She had met the guy she’s hanging out with at Wow’s one night when she and the girls were out. They had talked for a while and at the end of the night he gave the other girls hugs, but when she wouldn’t, he kissed her hand and gave her his number saying something like, “I know you’re involved, but give me a call if you want to have coffe or something.”

A. had mentioned this incident to me, and we’d talked about it a little. I missed the point, I suppose, that she was feeling odd because she was finding someone else interesting which would perhaps be a sign that she wasn’t getting what she wanted from the relationship.

I found out that they’d started to hang out more, her and that guy, because I screwed up and read her diary one night when she was out, supposedly with the girls. She got home that morning at 10am, and I had been up all night moving stuff, including a 3am run with a load to my mom’s, mainly because I was going nuts.

Anyhow, I confronted her by admitting that I had read the diary, so she then really started to talk to me about all the anger that she’d been building up. It’s like she finally felt she could bring up the things that she’d not felt like she could talk about before. (This would in part be due to her feeling that I bit her head off on small stuff, so how could she be comfortable dealing with big stuff, but I’m sure that there’s also a part that has to do with not being able to accept that such anger had a place in a working relationship, and not being able to express or allow herself to feel anger.)

I pointed out that this was a continuation of a pattern: finding a guy to replace a guy. She acknowledged this. Her fear was that it meant she was becoming like her mother, but I expressed that it wasn’t that she was her mother, but that she was human. (I’d previously been dealing with my fear of becoming my failure father, and she helped me by trying to make me understand that I wasn’t my father, so this was a nice reciprocation. Even when dysfunctional, we supported each other.)

She thinks that she is not going after a serious relationship. She thinks that she’s found someone that’s interesting and that she is going to take time to get to know, instead of diving in. She claimed that she didn’t love him, and that it wasn’t anything like how she felt for me when we got together. She had said at the time that she made it clear that she was still planning on dating me too.

When we talked about her having space, one of the things that she stated at the beginning was that she was planning on dating other people while this was going on. At various points I thought we’d made progress or something in staying committed to eachtoher at least enough to keep dating, and at one point I thought we’d agreed that I would be the one that she’d be intimate with during this period, but our two understandings appear to have not been the same through the various conversations we had.

She thought that she is going to remain single for at least through the rest of her college, but she’s clearly intending on dating and being with people. One idea she said that she wanted to do was to only have one day a week for another person, but that the rest of the time would be her own, but I don’t know if that is still true.

She was going to take her retreat to think about things and come back to an idea of whether she still wanted “us” to work out, like she did for at least some part of december, but I think that’s gotten all bent out of shape. She doesn’t think she can be my anything, and she at least said to me that she didn’t think she could be anyone elses anything either. The idea of us dating occasionally appears to be a dead issue, and I am in denial about whether she’s stopped missing me or not.

She basically took the break over holiday as a time when she could be completely free to go out every night and hang out, since she didn’t really have a place that’s what she was doing anyway. So, she’s been intentionally wild.

When we last spoke, on thursday of last week, she said that she still loved me, but she thought that our relationship had run its course. That she had been thinking the night before that dating would be like trying to put bandaids on something that was fundimentally flawed. That she felt drained when we were together, and she dreaded the approach of that time when she knew it was going to happen.

One of her family said they didn’t think she knows what she wants. What she wants is to be happy and she’s trying her best to be happy. I tried to be that for her, but it got all messed up. I wish with every bit of myself that she and I could be happy together, but it seems that I will have to settle for each of us finding happiness for ourselves.

She’s a beautiful, loving, vibrant person. She may make mistakes but she’s doing her best to make the best decisions she can. I have no doubt in my mind that she will manage to find that happiness eventually.

Clearly, I wish we could continue making those mistakes together and find that eventual happiness with each other, but I have yet to really accept where I am.

I had this idea of contacting the man she was with previous to me, but I’m too confused on whether that’s even remotely a good idea. I thought that maybe he and I would be able to share stories and maybe it would help us analyse what happened, to compare insider notes and maybe come to a better understanding of how much of what was not necessarily our faults. It’s probably a bad idea.

M. said she’s moved in to her new place with the cats, which I didn’t know. That’s how far out of the loop I am now, I guess. I want to call her and invite her to go x-country skiing, but that’s probably futile since she probably wouldn’t want to go and she’s probably got plans already for the whole weekend even if she did.

Hey, it’s snowing!

I think I figured some things out

I think I figured some things out.

When we got together A was dealing with a failed marriage where she felt among other things abandoned. I was shut down after a relationship where I’d forced a very nice person that cared deeply for me to leave because I wasn’t able to see us together and couldn’t continue.

I worked very hard to create a loving safe place where I was available for A since in her previous relationship she never had someone with her, invested in her life. I tried to create ways for her to be part of everything that I did as well as trying hard to be there for all of her activities. It wasn’t really hard work for me, since I loved to be with her and excepting that some of the activities were not my first choice everything we did together was good.

She wanted someone that was going to be as active as her desired level of activity, which turned out to be almost frenetic. I wanted someone that I loved to share everything with in my life. This worked out for a while because my desire to have someone in my life met her need to be with someone that loved her and spent time with her. It also worked because I had shut down and needed and wanted to break out of that by doing more things.

Only something happened along the way where she started to feel cheated by the fact that I didn’t always want to do active things, or would do them but be grumpy. And I’ve realized that I started to feel cheated when I found out that she didn’t always want me around or would not always be there for me as much as I was trying to be there for her. In a way we both created for the other the kind of space that we ourselves wanted and got surprised when the other didn’t quite want that.

I started to get grumpy more when she would want to do stuff other than be together, or when she would want to go visit for somewhere for a few minutes that would become a couple hours because I felt like she’d misled me about her need to be with me and all our plans together were just not her real agenda. She would get grumpy when I would go on an activity because I’d wanted to go, but then when I was actually there I would complain, finding something uncomfortable or annoying

Then, when I’d created a safe loving place where she could finally explore good sex, and grow as a person to the point where I got us started on yoga and helped her to get started back to college. She started to need the safe and always-there person less and started to need something else from me more. She was growing more confident and less in need of a safe haven to deal with her issues since she was getting that from her school environment.

So, when she wanted me to come along I wasn’t allowed to complain, but when she didn’t want me there I felt cheated, even though it’s reasonable that she would want time to do things. When I didn’t go along she felt like I was turning out to be a slug and wasn’t invested in us, but when I did go along she felt like I was doing it only for her and not because I wanted to be there, even though I really did want to be there and do things.

I think what she wanted from that point on was a fun-loving playmate in place of the safe haven which she was now getting elsewhere. However, I was still providing the safe, always there space for her, and then I got sidetracked by frustrations at work and the commute and then getting laidoff. I was feeling a bit helpless about all that other stuff and failed to realize how her needs for me had changed, and she felt unable, or didn’t know herself, to communicate to me how much those needs had changed.

As she started to need that less from me, I think I started to feel like I was failing and got grumpy at things where I felt like I was being cheated out of what I thought was my purpose and meaning in the relationship. When she started to want to go out to do things on her own or needed space, but at the same time would be trying desperately to make things work, I felt like she wanted me there when she wanted me, but that I wasn’t wanted or loved when she didn’t. It started to feel like being with her was obligatory unless forbidden.

I think that’s when the problems with sex started for me. I felt like I couldn’t make love with her when she didn’t want to do so, but that when she wanted to do so it was obligatory. So, while I was still very attracted to her and constantly had many fantasies about her, when she came on strong I felt like I was being required to switch on like the magic marshmallow. So I started to feel like sex was forbidden unless mandatory, and so I started to feel very uncomfortable when she wanted me. Further, since we worked so hard to create pleasure, things for me started to feel mechanical when they did happen. That caused her a great deal of pain because she felt like she wasn’t loved or sexy to me because I was unable to be comfortable, and the more she tried to make it happen the more I would be uncomfortable, feeling like I was being used.

We took time out each month to talk about what was bothering us about things, and to do a renewal of our desire to be with eachother. However, over the last few weeks I feel like the A that I knew has turned into an onion, with each layer covering another fresh layer of anger at me for things that we didn’t really talk about.

I feel like she thinks I have only one layer, and that she’s missed that there’s a fun-loving playmate in me along with the caring, loving provider. I just got stuck and couldn’t figure out how to get myself to shift gears. I mean, I’m a grumpy person and I won’t deny that, but I’m also loving, funny, warm, caring, and I actually do enjoy a lot of activities.

On the other hand, I definitely have issues to deal with. My grumpy nature has probably something to do with learned frustration and learned helplessness. I’m prone to depression and mood swings, and I clearly have some messed up problems with how I feel about my ability to make love and be loved. She really helped me with a space where I could explore a bunch of those feelings. Of course, the catch was that when she started to withdraw that space, I felt further abandoned too.

I’m not sure that being forced out of the relationship was the only way, but I think it really did give me a chance to shock myself back to myself and maybe work on a bunch of things. I certainly feel like I’ve been able to start looking for those things that give me joy, like doing this play and being on stage again. I’ve also been able to find those kinds of activities that I myself enjoy, like my newly discovered activity of snowshoe hiking, that are maybe not things that she would like.

I know she is so filled with anger with me and so feels like what we had is over. That may be true, even though I wish it weren’t, but I think she’s gotten me confused with someone that only has one layer of self, and is missing that there’s a lot more to me than she realizes. I’m grumpy and get depressed, but I’m working on that with myself now. I know it won’t go away, but I can try to consume that part of me and become stronger from it. I’ve been doing pretty good so far, I think. I’d lost track of myself before we met, but she helped me get where I am now and I seem to be on a good path, even if it is without her.

I was going through the pictures we’d collected and was remembering all the fun and good times. I know she feels like those were just occasional flowers growing on a pile of unhappy dirt, but I don’t think so. I think that we had difficult things to deal with while in the relationship, and we did the best we could. We dealt with a lot of things while we were together and helped eachother to grow a lot. We were stronger together than we would have been apart, and we helped eachother do things that neither of us would have done alone. I think we had problems, but that what we had together was wonderful and good for us both.

We went through so much together in a year and a half. It seemed to last forever and fly by at the same time.

Yesterday I tried to go to the one act festival, but arrived right in time for lunch break. The next one act was schedule too late for me to see all of it, so I didn’t get to watch any of them.

I met Joey & Linda and we all went to a screening of a great little homegrown movie called “Immigrant Garden” which was from a play written by Caroline Wood. Caroline has written several plays that have been put on locally, and quite a few of them have had Joey in them. In the movie was really only one actor I recognized. That was Kurt Harris who was in Romeo & Juliet and Moonchildren in which I was also.

This morning I realized, I think, why I keep waking up at 3am in the morning. There’s a train that goes through woodland at that time and somehow the sound of the whistle was echoing all the way up here loud enough that I could hear it clearly.

The air in that room is really dry. I’ve been waking with my mouth completely parched, and I think it’s causing my sinuses to dry out too. I’m not sure what to do about that excepting perhaps to buy a little humidifier and run it at night.

I left around 7:30am to meet with Joey & Linda this morning. We left from their house to go pick up Christina and Josh. Christina was in Romeo & Juliet with Joey, Linda & I also. She was Linda’s bride’s maid when I was Joey’s best man at their wedding.

The five of us, with me driving us all in the jeep, tooled up towards Mt. Hood and went to Mirror Lake on snowshoes. Man, that was some good fun. I could have kept going. In fact, it was funny because I was running around in circles once we got up there, zigzagging around, as the rest followed like ducklings. There were actually quite a few people up there. I also tried snowboarding for the first time. Well, I did manage to get down the hill we were trying it on without falling much, but I also couldn’t quite stand up all the way without starting to tip over, so I kind of crouched the whole way as I came down. It was okay, but I don’t think I got a very good idea of what it would be like really. I’ll have to try it again sometime somewhere meant for that purpose that’s smoothed out by other people having gone down the slope.

Anyhow, it was beautiful up there. The ice and snow on the trees was especially nice. At one point I noticed that the pattern in the snow on the frozen lake was the same pattern as the clouds in the sky. There was also a really stunning view of Mt Hood. I got a bunch of nifty pictures.

I had a load of fun. It was the first time I’d been on a snowboard and the first time I’d ever hiked with snowshoes. I could really get into that kind of hiking. It was wonderfully beautiful and I was surprised at how in shape I felt. I was sweating quite a bit, and I was using some bamboo poles that I’d borrowed from Jerry which worked my shoulders and arms, but it felt really good.

When I got home I did the morning yoga routine. I think I needed that to wind down and stretch out the legs. I can feel in my legs, shoulders and arms that I did get a workout, but it’s a really good feeling.

Next weekend, Linda, Christina, perhaps Josh and I are all going to do some crosscountry skiing. That will be the first time I’ve done that ever, so that will be pretty cool. Joey can’t go because he’ll be at work. Anyhow, sounds like Christina is interested in the Seattle-to-Portland bike ride too, so I won’t be alone in beginning to train for it from scratch. We made a pact to be pathetically slow together on the ride.

It just occurred to me that I have not gotten bent out of shape or overly stressed about the fact that I lost that ring, even though it’s something that was absolutely unique in the world. I haven’t taken it as a sign of anything, nor have I been grumpy or angry about having lost it.

I spent some time hanging out with Joey this afternoon. On the way back, along the freeway, there was a pretty big hawk perched along a fence. It was a pretty bird to see.

Last night, before rehearsal, since I was a little early but didn’t have time enough to make it all the way back home before, I decided that I needed to go on a walk. However, I went in to the theatre to see if anyone there wanted to go with me. One of the guys of the two new Battle Ground people went with me. Turns out that he lives north of Hazen chapel, and when I was going to school there I lived south of the same place, a few football fields away. Further, when I started to think about it, I wondered if he was in school at Yacolt when I was in high school. Anyhow, I used to ride the bus home from the high school, but stay on the bus through the entire matching elementary route and sleep. When I was doing plays I didn’t get much sleep at night, so I caught some on the bus, at least partially because the low rumble of the engine was soothing to me. So, turns out that this guy in the cast remembers a high school kid that used to sleep on the bus when he rode the bus during 1st grade.

Tonight, I was again complemented by several people for the work I was doing. The other night, one person was evaluating something I had done and said that she thought I had an easy time of turning off the brain and just doing the work, which surprised me. Turning off the brain had always been the thing that I had the most trouble doing before.

I was sparked by something Mike Cheney had said about us two dressing up as hunters. I ended up with this idea for the prologue, which I don’t know if will be used. Anyhow, I wrote it up and got to share it with Don today. Mike seemed to like it, and I got some chuckles out of Don. Well, even if it doesn’t get used it was still worth it to have done.

I also talked to Don about the process for petitioning for the degree from Longview. I’m going to need some transcripts from Seattle Central, and then have a person in admissions evaluate the work I’d done and go from there. Anyhow, turns out he’s on the committee that makes those decisions still, once the admissions people give it a go ahead.

fantasy

Holy hell. I don’t know where to begin.

In some kind of poetic justice I managed to lose one of the rings I was wearing today. Of the two, I lost the one my grandfather had made, but still have the one that is the half of the pair A. and I bought together.

Of course, after meeting with her this morning I’m not sure if I should just put that ring in storage with the altar, the henna, the toothbrush she has here and everything else from our life together.

She remembers the good times as being the exception to the bad times. I see the bad times as being the surface, transitory storm over the wonderful thing we shared together.

She says she still loves me, but that continuing on like we are dating would just be like putting bandaids on something that is fundimentally flawed. I feel like the flaws are imperfections that merely are, admittedly big, obstacles to be dealt with in order to get back to the happy parts.

She doesn’t want me to wait for her to get back to the point where she wants to be with me, which is a point where she feels she may never reach again. I feel like by just dating, we’d be able to forget all the stupid day to day stuff that was causing us to have problems, and stick to the fun parts while finding ourselves by ourselves.

I’m living in this fantasy world where I imagine that she’ll have called while I was out, or that by some miracle she will have decided to come visit and have driven down so that she’d be here when I got home from rehearsals. All the while, she’s going on with her life, dreading the approach of time together because she’s feeling guilty for hurting me, but also feels completely drained when we’re together.

I’m barely able to sleep a full night, but she’s sleeping soundly.

I know we had problems, and I know that I messed up big time. I really wanted it to be enough that I love her. I know I was distant and difficult. She said that it might have helped if I had changed six months earlier, but I didn’t. Why can’t my mistakes be forgiven?

She’s been here before, of course, in her previous relationship. She knows that it doesn’t necessarily work out, because it didn’t, even though she thought he would be the one she would be with forever. She also knows that getting back together after things get better doesn’t mean it will work, or even that it will stay good for long, because it didn’t for her.

I had the idea of forever in my head sometimes, but I’ve never been able to say to myself that I really thought I’d found the person I wished to share the rest of my life with before. I think I’ve hurt several people by not being able to come to an understanding of how I should feel about love or forever. I really thought that I have found both this time, and there’s still part of me that still thinks that even the sliver of a chance that I have left to me is enough.

She still wants to keep in touch, to see me in the play and to maybe do things like go snowshoe, etc … but that it’s got to be as friends.

She talked about e-mail and about making sure I had her new phone number, but providing me with the means to contact her is to opposite of the problem: she’s the one that is determining the boundaries, so I almost have to wait for her. It seems that any time I try to contact her or spend time with her, it’s clingy to have done it or it’s me trying to be romantic again. But any fun thing would be romantic, so is the only thing left to converse stoicly?

Is this, as her brother said, a “tide” of her that must be weathered, if any man can?

Is this pattern of her deciding that I must be farther away just before each time we meet something that will continue? Did she intend to push me this far away from the beginning and was just trying to soften the blow by making it a slow progression?

The biggest struggle for me is to not fall into depression, shutting down like I did before. I’m probably going to be a burden to all my friends for a while, and I feel horribly guilty for that. I don’t know if it’s good or bad that some of my friends are her brother and uncle, but it’s at least something that will complicate things.

Another struggle will be in finding a way to not become embroiled in a fantasy world, having conversations with an imaginary version of her or finding myself living for those imaginary miracles of her romantic return to me, like some sappy movie that would no doubt bring me to tears. I’ve already caught myself doing both of these things recently.

I suppose this relates to the thing about not shutting down, but I have to keep on going, work on healing myself, even though my heart feels like it has been ripped out of my chest by cold steel claws.

I already had a seriously difficult time staying focused at rehearsal tonight. I came close to something like a panic attack a couple of times.

As the night wore on, it got harder. It seems like each day gets harder than the previous one.

I’m both looking forward to and dreading seeing A tomorrow. I hope it goes well. I love her so much but I know she needs space from me. I keep thinking that I should offer to stay away for the next couple of months, but I’m so full of fear.

All I can do is to do my best, be as much myself as I can, and keep believing that it will work out the way it should. All of which is easier said than done … but it’s the plan and I’m sticking to it.

Made stirfry, peanut sauce and sandwich mix today. The sandwich mix turned out much better this time, I think.

I took some of the stirfry and peanut sauce for dinner, which I ate damned quickly during a 10 minute break. Everyone was fawning over the smell, and one member of the cast tried some of it and said it was really good.

Found out today which parts I play. I swap the two old men parts with Michael Cheney. It’s so stupid that this depresses me. I’m having so much fun, and such a silly thing like not being in a lead role sets me to grumbling and getting down on myself.

If it’s what I think is going to happen, it’s going to be a bit like “Jack’s House” and even when I’m not doing a role I may be on stage anyway, but even if that’s not the case it just means that for the people that auditioned, that’s the role that I fit in.

It’s so dumb that I’m all bent out of shape because I wanted a big role to show off to all my friends. I should know better than that. First off, it’s been 12 years and I did get cast with a part which is more than I have had in a long time. Also, I played tiny roles in Romeo & Juliet but had people really complimenting my work and noticing my work on stage, so I know first hand that I can still make an impression. Finally, it’s not about impressing people, although I’m still finding myself stuck on other people’s approval it seems, it’s about doing good work that I can be proud of for myself.

It’s also about me finding myself again, and this whole thing where I’m not happy with the role is part of the problem. I need to find the joy in doing it, like I was doing before the cast list was posted. I’ve been full of joy during rehearsals, why stop that now?

I had two meals today. That’s the first day I’ve managed to eat more than one meal. I’ve got to keep healthy, and this whole not eating, not sleeping thing is not good.

I was in line behind someone at the store earlier today that didn’t have a silly safeway club card. The cashier asked if I had one he could use the number from, and I did since I’d actually brought the card in. Not only did I save him $6 but he also got my extra 5% off. He didn’t seem to speak very good english, but he thanked me sincerely. I was glad I could help, and from the way he reacted, I think he was pretty happy to save that much on a single bag of stuff.

Current Music: Primus – Southbound Pachyderm

Last night, I was finally able to sleep without the radio. I did great until around 3am when I woke up for some reason and couldn’t get back to sleep easily. I’ve been to do my old techniques of relaxing and meditation to clear the thoughts from my mind long enough to get back to sleep, but it’s so hard to let go of some of those images and thoughts.

However, this morning the view from my window was wonderful. The clouds had filled to valley to the point that the peaks of the hills across the valley looked like islands floating on an ocean. As I did my yoga, the clouds creeped up the hill and now the house is cloaked in clouds.

Today, I’m going to go to the store to get stuff to make more sandwich mix and also stirfry. I need to make something that I can take with me to rehearsals. I’ve got to start eating more or I’m going to get sick, or worse my body will think I’m trying to do something stupid like go on a starvation diet. I need to make sure that I have food to use since I’m doing so much activity.

When I went to Nature’s, I got a some green tea extract, a bottle of my old multi-vitamins, and a bottle of flax seed oil. I’ve been taking the green tea and multi-vitamins each day because I realize I’ve not been doing good at keeping my body nourished. I’ve been trying to use the flax seed oil instead of butter on bread, but I was twarted by the fact that Toby ate all my good bread the other day when he was home from school. I do have some in the freezer, but I haven’t taken it out yet. Anyhow, it was a half-loaf of my good bread that was left and it went away in one day. I’ll just chalk it up as a sacrifice to the burgeoning teen spirit.

Rehearsal tonight was good. I got compliments from a couple of people on some of the work I did. I almost got Don to tell me to pull back during one of the exercises, but it didn’t happen yet. It’s cool that I got so close already. It’s going to happen, it’s only a matter of time and effort.

Doing yoga in the mornings and warmups before rehersals is a lot of work. I’m sore all over. It feels great.

Current Music: Orgy – Blue Monday