Sunday, June 29, 2008


This nightmare is rapidly fading from my morning mind, so before it fades into complete vagueness, I will attempt to recapture its essence.

I was living in the back room of my parents' house. I walk into the living room, and I notice something is wrong with them--they seem possessed, automatons with some terrible intention reflected in their zombie-like expressions. I notice that my mother is carrying around what looks like a huge hose with a gaping hole at the end. She is aiming this hose at some of her most precious possessions, and as she does so, they melt in the intense heat this awful device emits. I try to make sense out of this bizarre situation, but all I can really understand is that they are getting rid of everything that they no longer want, and apparently they don't want much, since they are melting everything in their path.

I sense the danger immediately; I don't know what they did exactly, but I think it had something to do with a threat to all of my possessions, in the name of clearing out the house. I run into my room and fill a bag with socks and underwear. I have to run away. Before I do, however, I need to save two items from the house: old love letters and picture albums from my past. I run out into the living room to retrieve these things, and I see that my parents are in the process of destroying nearly everything they own; I am terrified, for clearly their intention is to harm me. I don't know how I make this leap in logic, but I escape the house pursued by my mother who loses track of me and returns to her grim chore.

What follows are strange travel destinations; I am in Madrid, frantically calling the phone number of an ex-boyfriend (460-40-66) who apparently is the only one who can save me from all of this, yet as usual in my dreams where he appears, I cannot reach him--my fingers cannot dial the number correctly, I forget the city and country code, the pay phone doesn't work, and so on. I continue traveling, to and in places I cannot recall, and I end up back at my parents' home, this time with my stepdaughter, who I am desperately attempting to protect. I don't know why I am returning; I suppose I think that I can stop this madness of theirs, appeal to logic, bring them back to reality, anything but what I actually encounter. I am hiding in the closet with Imanya when they open it and aim the heat gun at me. In that terrible moment, I realize that they intend to kill me. The heat is intense, and if I don't so something soon, I will die. They simply stare at me with fixed eyes and a numb expression. I decide to divert their attention: "why don't you melt the car--that would be really fun!" and lo and behold, my father is convinced, and both of them head off to melt the car.

I grab Imanya, and we run like crazy out of the house and down the street. This time, I finally understand that I cannot go back, and that the situation is completely out of my control. My parents have destroyed almost the entire house, and nothing will be spared, not even me. I will have to start my life completely over, since I cannot take anything away from my house, I cannot pack anything, I cannot save anything.

This realization ends the dream.

The meaning of all this has something to do with understanding that returning to the past is not only futile, but dangerous. The people you thought you knew are irrevocably changed, and may not even know you anymore. There is nothing to salvage from the past, since you are creating your life as you live it, taking with you only that which you already possess. Saving Imanya is really about saving myself, saving the child that I was; could I go so far as to say there was something unhealthy and potentially deadly to me in my childhood home? I could; I can't and won't define it, since the specifics don't matter. What matters is the necessity of self-creation and understanding in the present.

The hoses belching intense heat, destroying anything at which they were aimed, could be seen as cleansing the past and recreating something new from its ashes, yet the process was horrifying and threatening, which makes me think that it was more about fear and anxiety. Why my parents? Were they the source of fear and anxiety in this dream? Obviously; but there is something that I am missing here, something important, and whatever it may be, it is beginning to fade along with the details of the story.

I only take away this: don't go back. Don't ever go back.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Time Away

Time away changes things. You begin a trip thinking of home, still attached to the computer and the daily rituals of taking care of animals, plants, work, and the usual round of worries: money, job, health care, the cost of living, politics, etc. Something happens though, about half way through the journey, and you notice that all of the usual angst and pontificating about aging, death, loss and illness has disappeared from your mind. You are intensely in the present moment, living life as it unfolds in front of you. Then, at some point, you realize how intensely happy you have been and are.

Something about the Grand Canyon blows out all the fluff and mental debris that accumulates over time; when you sit on a rock and look down for miles and see the ribbon of green, rushing water that created this impossible masterpiece, you feel completely tied to eternity and nothing else exists or matters but now, the now of you and the canyon, the wind, the scent of wild rosemary and the feel of the warm rocks on your thighs. A single thought hit me with the force of an epiphany: I am a part of this. I am nature, and nature is me--this is the truth, and as I let it sink in, I cried. I thanked whatever or whoever set this world in motion, so that I could sit here on this day and watch the ravens catch the updrafts from the bottom of the canyon.

Every trip changes the traveler, and this trip was no exception. The three of us solidified our family bond, knowing that once you have braved 116 degrees in Phoenix, explored a ghost town for three hours in blazing heat, petted llamas together, hunted ghosts in the Jerome Grand Hotel and ate venison at El Tovar, you are a team. Eight days of constant togetherness will either drive everyone apart, or forge stronger bonds than ever before; now I look at Imanya and Ty and realize that yet again, we are cementing a process that started over five years ago.

We spent many quiet moments lost in the grandeur of the canyons, each of us with separate experiences yet a common understanding that what we were experiencing was priceless, and was transforming us in profoundly personal ways. We will always have this trip as a point of reference, the secret code of the travelers; while I may never know exactly what Ty and Imanya were feeling or thinking as they wandered around the rim and down into the canyon, I know that we were together, and that this trip will be a point of reference in the future, never to be forgotten.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Am, However, A VERY SUPERIOR 1930s Husband

Yes, I always knew it: I am a better husband than I am wife. Well, cool. Ty is a great wife, and I do appreciate the fact that he presses my suits and doesn't feel any jealousy towards my shapely stenographer.


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

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I Am An Average Wife

So I am an "average" 1930s wife. How utterly boring is that. I was hoping to be a terrible 1930s wife, but I am just domestic enough to earn the average rating. Let's see how I do as the husband.



As a 1930s wife, I am

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kitty's Top Ten: Why 43 is Better than 23

After perusing the last post, I realized I not not answered my lone reader's question, to wit, "What is there to look forward to?" So, as much as I hate "Top Ten" lists, here is mine:

(caveat: I realize that there are twenty-somethings who are much more evolved than I was; in fact, there are people in their twenties who are more spiritually and emotionally mature than I will ever be. I write the following thinking of how far I have come on my personal path, and I don't assume everyone is/was like me at these various stages in life. It's possible that I am growing up very slowly)

  • You care much less what people think. You are much more likely to tell someone who is rude, cruel, stupid or simply nasty to go f*ck themselves, a la Cheney.
  • You feel a lot sexier. A lot.
  • You have arrived at a place in your career where either you are someone with power, or those with power listen to you. They're afraid NOT to, because you have lost your fear at work, too--your influence is real. You're not fighting up the ladder--you've kicked the ladder over.
  • You have enough money to live in a beautiful house and fill it with beautiful things (leaving room for your husband's/partner's/lover's collections of banjos, skulls, cameras, art, whatever).
  • You enjoy life with your husband/partner/lover much more than you would have 20 years earlier; you forgive faster, love more unconditionally, and take things much less seriously. What would have been a relationship-wrecking disaster at 23 is trivial and quickly forgotten at 43. Me at 23: "You don't like Euphoria? Oh MY GOD, HOW IS THIS GOING TO WORK???? Me at 43: "You don't like Euphoria? Pass me the headphones, then. And turn down Cliff Edwards, will you?"
  • You are less needy. If the husband/partner/boyfriend/lover doesn't call you, you either don't notice, or you make the phone call and keep it short. "Lunch?" "Yes." "Great." End of call. You don't need romance and declarations of love all of the time in order to feel secure and happy in your relationship. In fact, you treasure your time alone and allow the other person their space.
  • You don't freak out as much (unless you have some well established phobia or anxiety problem . . . ahem) in general. Emotions carry you away at 23; they rule you. With me, when I was unhappy about something at 23 it was an all-encompassing disaster, affecting everything and everyone around me. When that emotion passed and I felt good again, I didn't see that as simply a change in perception, but a change in REALITY. My emotions WERE reality, not passing moods.
  • Sex is better. I can't go into too much detail here, but trust me, it's true. Even if you think you're having mind-blowing sex in your twenties, trust me, it STILL gets better. I've noticed something interesting in my 40s that I suspect will continue to be true, according to my elders: sex becomes a more pure and intensified total physical pleasure. In other words, it's less wrapped up in emotional neediness and 'proof' of love; it starts to take on a spectacular life of its own, unencumbered by insecurity. It's still the perfect and powerful expression of love, but afterwards I can fall asleep without the nagging worries that used to invade my mind: "does he REALLY love me? Did he REALLY enjoy that? Did I do EVERYTHING he wanted?"
  • You acquire some distance and perspective on parenting and teaching. In my 20s, I wouldn't have been the patient and gently instructive parent and teacher that I am now. Now, I realize that my kid (and my students) needs guidance and discipline--she doesn't always have to be my friend. I didn't have the qualities I needed to parent her in my 20s. For those of you who want to wait, you should--you'll be a better role model, a more grounded parent.
  • Finally, you come to an understanding that where you are is a result of your choices, not other people/institutions/family FORCING you to make certain decisions that you weren't sure about. You realize that you may change your future path by consciously altering your choices. Perhaps the best thing of all about 43 is moving closer to my spiritual nature, the ageless and timeless soul of me for whom death and illness mean nothing. I have a LONG, long way to go on this one, but I recognize that I am closer to letting go of fear that I was 20 years ago; I know there is progress, although slower than I would like. I suppose another way of expressing this is: you are closer to God, however you define that concept.
So there is my Top Ten. I fully expect that 53 is better than 43, and that 63 is better than 53. I hope that life continues to evolve towards beauty, love and immortality. I see that reality in certain elders of mine, but not all--so I think what is important in the coming decades is to find mentors along the path of life, people that make the transitions easier, not harder--and so for my lone reader, I apologize for the gloom and doom, and I hope she will find some comfort in these words.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I owe someone an explanation. There are some posts here that are disillusioning, dispiriting and downright depressing. "What," she wants to know, "is there to look forward to?" The answer is, a great deal. In all honesty, the kind of negativity I indulged in here is rather narcissistic and presents a warped view of reality.

Truth is, life runs in stages. The first stage of adulthood is followed by many, many others, each with their challenges and possibilities. One doesn't grow up all at once; in fact, the process may take much longer than any of us really are prepared to accept. My first foray into adulthood has passed, and that is what I mourn sometimes; however, it's not the fact that it's over, but that I have to fact the second stage of adulthood, and I don't know what to do. I don't know what I want to do when I grow up. So really, what I have here is a repeat of my late teens, early twenties. NOW WHAT????

My first stage was spent chasing after my father's dreams for me: a professorship in Spanish at a small, liberal arts college. So I busied myself preparing for that eventuality, spending as much time as possible in Spain, falling in love and then attempting to maintain a long, long, long distance relationship with a man much older, with a daughter. I threw myself into relationships that were doomed or impossible. That sucked up my life. Then I dragged myself through grad school, struggling through an abusive relationship; actually, several, if you count the abusive professional relationships that were sanctioned and promoted at Yale. Long story short: I received the Ph.D. in Spanish language and literature in 1992 when I was twenty-seven; I had already started my first tenure-track job by then in Appleton, WI. I was far too young to really understand what had just happened, what it meant to be a "professor" with a job for life. I was simply following the program. What program? Whose program? That's the issue I'm turning over in my head now.

Many crises followed. I left Appleton after I received tenure, something unheard of there before or since. I moved to California with my husband, changed jobs six times, experimented with alternative social arrangements, was dumped by said husband, went online and found someone called Tyger66, and the rest you all know. I moved eight times in seven years--I left that part out. Now I am very happy to be Tyger66's wife, and the (step)mother of IMS. My personal life is quite amazing. One would think that marriage and parenthood would answer the questions raised by my spiritual quest; not so. That's a huge burden to place on a husband and a child--no, the job is mine alone.

So what is the point of all this? Simply put, I'm in another stage in life; I spent my twenties chasing various goals without really and truly asking myself WHY. There wasn't enough introspection; I did what I thought I was supposed to do, without breaking away from all the influences weighing in on the issue (mostly family, but also culture and community of peers) and making a series of independent decisions. I was "successful" by any outside measure, yet I was miserable much of the time. My first marriage was based on faulty assumptions (I can make him happy) and I spent much of my time rebelling against my job choice ("forgetting" important meetings, behaving in a reckless fashion designed to provoke and piss off my colleagues, and general anti-social behavior); therefore, I was REACTING, not ACTING, to circumstances that I CREATED, without understanding my pivotal role in choosing all of this. It's as if I chose the wrong mate and the wrong job so I would have an excuse to rebel and act out, blaming other people for my dissatisfaction.

A funny thing happens when you finally get your shit together. You realize, at whatever age you may be, that the WORK HAS JUST BEGUN; and that is why my previous posts are so negative and nasty. It's because I am rebelling against that fact. I can't rest on my laurels, because no one cares what I did ten or fifteen years ago; I don't even care. It's over, time to move on. It's moving on that PISSES ME OFF. I don't want to do the work that the next stage requires. This time, there's no excuse; I can't blame parents, friends, society, whatever, for my choices. I have to make all of those choices and accept the responsibility for them. Period. There's really nothing to rebel against, so I turn inward and fall into a pit of depression and despair, which is really just unexpressed anger. I don't even know who to be angry with, and that pisses me off worse. My odd retroactive tendency--my jealousy of twenty-somethings--is about the fact that it would be easier to go backwards and behave like an older version of myself than create a new version of myself, free from the drama I created in my past.

I obsess about my physical appearance, because my face won't let me pretend I'm twenty-five; it gives me away as someone who should know better. My face forces me to behave like an adult, not the rebellious, angry drama queen with a Savior complex when it comes to men. That was my twenties' face--my forties' face should reflect that I've learned something, that I don't need strangers applauding how hot I am. The fact that I still want that disappoints me; I should be more evolved than that, but I suspect that I will always want strangers to drool over me, even at sixty. Hell, up to the day I die!! It's just that those strangers will be old strangers like me, and they'll have trouble applauding due to Parkinson's, and I'll have trouble posing due to bad hips.

In my forties, I still need external validation; but I need it less. My hope is that the core of me will become stronger and stronger over time, and that perhaps I won't need to wish for transformation; it will have already happened, and I won't remember desiring it.

Evolution is conquering fear.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Perro semihundido

Se quedaba viendome, y yo, como animal que soy, quise matarlo con la mirada de mi escopeta azul, pesada entre mis manos, pero no, no lo hice. Ese dia me dijeron que Lucinda se habia muerto dando a luz a esa pesadilla mia que ahora me consume y espanta; estoy tan lejos de ti y de todo, y solo este perro me recuerda este mundo; somos viajeros por la nada, companhero, viajeros a ningun lado. Me va a seguir el resto de esta pobre vida mia, y no mas por eso no lo puedo matar.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Heroin Addict

I had a vision last night of how I died in my last life. I don't say "dream," since there was a tremendous coherence to what I experienced; there was nothing 'dreamlike' about it; it was an answer to a question, a narration of past events from a source that had agreed to allow me to see it.

I entered a clinic where a nurse shot me up. The context is difficult to understand; it was somewhere in the late fifties, early sixties. I don't know why I went to this clinic, why the nurse was injecting me with hallucinogenic drugs, or why I wanted her to. The fact was, it was voluntary on my part. I then experienced something I have never in "real" life ever felt: the expansion of all objects around me, the altering of my consciousness, the knowledge that I was out of control of this bizarre and amazing new reality that the drug created for me, or allowed me to experience. I liked it; so much so, that I returned a second time for a similar trip.

I returned a third time to the clinic, for what was now something I needed, perhaps even more than wanted. The nurse injected me and left. I didn't feel the immediate pleasurable sensations; instead, I started to feel very cold, and my vision started fading to black. I struggled to remain conscious, but I was losing the battle. I felt colder and colder, stumbling as I reached for a blue button to call the nurse. She entered the room, and the last thing I remember was her look of worry and concern. I died.

After that, I was wandering around in a drug-induced state in something that looked like a Greek temple with columns everywhere. I was absorbed in trying to read the inscription in black on one of those columns, but I was still high from my previous life and unable to understand what I was reading. I saw Ty and Imanya in the distance, but I couldn't reach them, and I was only vaguely aware that they were important people in my future.

When I woke up and had some time to think about it, I realized some interesting things about my childhood. I have always been irrationally afraid of needles, of any creature that stings, and of drugs. At nine or ten, I discovered marijuana in my parents' drawer, and not only did I know exactly what it was, I yelled at them for possessing it; I made them swear never to smoke it (I don't think they followed my injunction). When I was even younger than that, I was furious at them for the marijuana plant they kept on the terrace. They never, ever told me about drugs at that age, but I KNEW what drugs were, and I was terrified of them. As I grew up, I would lose my mind if a friend experimented with drugs or tried to coerce me to 'try' them. I never did. I was the only kid in my high school who refused all drug use, experimental, recreational or otherwise. My reaction to drugs--illegal or prescription--was always one of sheer terror.

I drive my doctors and my family crazy with my fear of prescription medication. I hate taking it, and will only do so if it is absolutely necessary--and even then I 'chip' away at it, refusing to take the full dose. My terror of mind-altering substances has dogged me my entire life. When I panic about something it always concerns the fear that I will lose consciousness, that my sensations will be altered and I will feel my throat constrict; yes, I know that those are classic anxiety attack symptoms, and I've been to therapy, tried various methods, even medication (reluctantly). Even after all that, it seems that my panic attacks are almost like flashbacks to a very, very old trauma. In fact, it seems more and more like I am reliving the moment of my previous death instead of having some illogical and overblown reaction to a current circumstance in my life. Often, there is nothing in my life that warrants the strange reactions.

Let's suppose that this story of mine is true: I did die from a drug overdose in the early sixties, and I returned in May of sixty-five to my present parents and current life. What am I supposed to do with that? I would hope that if I really and truly had the courage to re-live what happened to me on a gut, emotional level, then I would move past that past life and fully embrace this one. I think I'm ready to take that trip, but I don't know how to proceed. It's a frightening prospect, since I didn't exactly choose a glamorous or desirable past life. How much of what I am now is a result of what/who I was then? It's impossible to tell; but I do suspect one thing: we've all been here before, and many of us will be back again.

I would like to say goodbye to the poor girl who lost her life in her twenties. It's time to honor her presence in me now, without reliving her terror.