Does everyone else feel good during their birthday month like I do? I’ve always loved September. I loved being a teacher and going back to school. I love school supplies and autumn leaves, scarves, the cooling weather, all of it. Summer has never been my season, I was always too pale and felt awkward hiding from the sun. In the fall, I could come out from underneath the beach towels and walk the world again.
It’s weird to look at these old memories that pop up on Facebook or show up on my computer as I look for something else. My life changes so much that I’m constantly reeling from whatever crisis I just survived. God I hope this trip goes well. I feel ok about it, I don’t have a bad feeling about it. When I considered moving the trip later, I got this feeling like I was supposed to keep it for this week. I’m still in awe that we were unable to get to Vashon last week. Poor bestie is dealing with the struggle of finding the right medical facility for her fragile dad. The system is so fucked up.
She said straight up: it’s not about money! I mean it IS about money, but that doesn’t help navigating the system.
My mom is the oldest baby boomer. She was born in 1946, she is now 73 years old. As her generation ages, the already strained system…there’s simply not enough beds and services for all of them. It’s math, as I like to point out, it’s always about math.
Even if you have some idea on how to navigate the system, finding the right place or the right doctor or the right treatment is a nightmare. That’s why having a lot of money doesn’t necessarily protect. It’s insider information.
This is what baffles me about so many people who think that a pile of money will protect them.
Not if you don’t have the survival skills to navigate our fucked up medical system.
So many people don’t cross-network, I’m finding, and that will become more and more of a liability as things worsen. Those who can walk in different worlds will fair best.
Speaking of my mom, I should clarify something after yesterday’s post. She certainly would have noticed if I was missing for an entire weekend in high school! Safety and checking in were always super important to my folks - I was exaggerating for storytelling purposes, but I do like to clarify when I do that because it’s way too easy to do.
I mostly did what I wanted but that was because I was so responsible. I did take off to Portland for that weekend but later she said she was proud that I did my own thing. I’m sure I let her know I was leaving. It does seem strange now with smartphones and easy access to teens how we went into the world back then without a way for our parents to find us.
She was always very protective of us. When that Adam Walsh boy was found dead in a river, it changed things. We weren’t allowed to wander around stores anymore (he was taken from a store, if I recall correctly) or be out of sight in public. Now that I think about it, a lot of changes happened during that span of years - the late 1970s. Divorces were happening everywhere, kids were being kidnapped, things felt more tenuous, the world became a scary place.
Kind of like now!
Sometimes the protective thing came in handy. I remember my first make-out. I was a late bloomer - again, people likely make assumptions about me because I’m so open about sex and all that, but I’ve always been very picky, and more conservative than I’m sure I appear, I was just considered “wild” for the era and where I was from. I was pretty sheltered back then. I was the last age group to have a fairly innocent high school experience. Just a few years later, there were way more expectations on girls, and boys too. I’m very grateful for that. And that it was “cool” for us to wear big, baggy sweaters! I can’t imagine how these girls now feel with the pressure of looking a certain way, in real life AND on social media.
His name was Mark. He’d gone to Israel at the same time as me but was in a different group with a friend. Her and I went down to Los Angeles for my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah - she was my plus one! We met up with her friends from her - omg my cat Lucy is so freaking big now, she can’t jump to the low window sill what do I DO with her? I keep trying to monitor her food intake but the older one gives her some of his, because he is grumpy on the outside but a total sweetheart on the inside - and met up with her friends.
I’d only kissed one boy before that. At camp of course! That was not a great experience so I waited another couple of years to try again. I think I must have been 16 years old on that trip to LA? Pretty old by today’s standards. But I was nervous. I think he was a year older, he invited us back to his house. I ran up to the hotel and told my mom: I kissed a boy and he wants me and C to come back to his house but I don’t think I’m ready.
She said: tell him I said No.
And that’s what I did. It was never questioned.
I worry about the kids now. The expectations on them, without the emotional maturity to handle what they are dealing with. Then, I think about how people not that long ago got married by 17 years old.
I have no idea why that story came out today.
It’s a far cry from where I am now, that’s for sure.
The texter dude that I’m giving a hard time has teenage girls. I feel a need to explain why I’m so hard on him, because I sounded like such a dick yesterday. He started off sweet - they often do - but eventually he couldn’t handle the terms. I’m never sure why this happens. I’m so clear now, I say what I want and gave him a pretty sweet deal: casual hang out but must treat each other like a friend. I’m open to counter-offers, compromises but he wanted to move it to late night booty calls.
When he started acting like a jerk, I walked. I’m not sure why this is so hard for so many to comprehend.
I’m 100% he isn’t reading in here - if anyone is - because that was the whole problem.
He only cares about having access to my shell. I get it. There are people out there, I’m sure, that have less requirements than me.
But that’s not how I roll.
If someone acts like a sweetheart to me, I’m a sweetheart.
If someone is a dick, then I’m a dick.
This is not brain surgery.
I’m especially surprised who left me to flail during the winter - not knowing if it was me that was dying, only that I could feel Death lurking, my dad was in better shape than me in February when things started breaking down inside of me - are surprised that I’m irritated with how they handled that.
It can’t be a surprise that how it went down would impact relationships.
As if ignoring me when I reached out, at my weakest, would have no consequences.
And now my dad is dead.
The world is on fire.
I have limited options for survival.
I’ve always fought for the underdog, even now when it’s me.
Whoever is least likely to win a game? That’s who I root for.
None of this should come as a surprise. I announce everything I’m doing too! I give warnings, I share strategies.
I think about what I wrote about those women yesterday. I wrote a lot yesterday that was kind of harsh.
But I’m tired! I’m tired of being on defense. I have been for so long.
Hmmm the words aren’t flying out of me today. Slower, lots of pauses.
I guess this shift from defense to offense will take some adjustment. I still feel that need to explain myself.
I’m tired of explaining myself. I’m tired of having to prove that what I’m saying is rooted in science, that if I say something I mean it, that if I say I’m in, I’m in, or if I’m out, I’m out, that I don’t mess around with feelings when it’s real and deep.
It’s so hard for some people at the top of the food chain to truly understand survival. It’s so interesting to me who listens, who evolves, who can handle the changes happening in the culture, in my life, in my mind.
And who I have to beat over the head. Metaphorically, of course. I don’t believe in violence. So cave man.
This poor guy, the texter, had a lot of trauma as a young person. That happens, because underneath that tough exterior, I am very gentle, especially with someone’s pain.
If they don’t want to heal, though, there’s nothing I can do. I do try to be benevolent. I know everyone is flailing around even under the best circumstances. And now with the outer world on fire, so many people are struggling, getting triggered, not having the resources I have.
I get it.
I don’t wish pain upon anyone. I really don’t. I get pissed. I get frustrated. I feel disappointment.
But I don’t wish them extra PAIN.
I just need to be very careful now. I have to let the punk rock side of me take the driver’s seat, and put the codependent self in the back seat. I’ll never be able to toss that side of me out of the car - it’s part of who I am - I accept that. So much of getting to this place I am now is acceptance.
The more I try to resist something like the codependence, or the nervous teenage girl still inside of me, or the anxious, neurotic aspects of myself, the more they roar up.
I see that now. I have to work with those sides of me, soothe them, address them, ACKNOWLEDGE them.
If I IGNORE them, then others do too.
That’s why I’m disclosing SO MUCH. HERE I AM WORLD. This is the REAL ME, here I am. Come, Go, Do whatever, but this is ME.
Punk rock neurotic, scaredy-cat, codependent, probably some aspects of my personality have addict in there too I’ll own it, soft and mushy and sweet - which I tried desperately to hide beneath that tough exterior for so many years, all of it is still me.
It’s more about which part of me I’ll draw on for a certain situation.
I look at the boys and realize that going through a cocky phase is a crucial part of their development from boy to man. I don’t love it. That is for sure.
I think back to when I was such a bitch in my thirties. Lord. The people I “learned on" - I should write them thank you notes. I’ve been hard on a bunch in here, but it’s only now after writing those stories, reviewing them and making peace with them, that I see how hard it must have been.
I’m not an easy one.
That is for sure.
I have to understand that some can’t show up now. Or, possibly, ever.
As I start to reveal more photos of who I am now, it will become more clear, how much privilege impacts a person’s looks and energy. I can see that loss. I still have SO MUCH privilege, I KNOW that. For sure. Which is why I do what I do.
Because I can.
There’s an edge I didn’t have before.
That’s what happens when you’re left for dead.
And then someone right next to you gets the bullet instead.
While you struggle to reach across the trenches, in pain and injured yourself, crawling to the person gasping for air, laying there, scared, knowing it’s his time, none of us wanting to accept that, but I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t reach him in time. I couldn’t stop the blood seeping from his bullet wounds.
The only thing I could do is make sure his death was as good as it can be in a really, really awful situation.
I get mad at him sometimes. I yell at him DAD WHERE ARE YOU? Where did you go?
Why did you leave me?
Why did you leave all of us?
Our unit has shifted, the gaping hole still there, but I have to morph the fastest, my survival depends on it. I have to adjust fast enough to figure out how to keep myself upright, to keep myself going, all the while I’m grieving.
So yeah, I get a little impatient with middle aged men who text me in the middle of the night after I explicitly asked him not to.
Why do I not block?
I like to think of myself as an amateur anthropologist. Studying man.
He isn’t toxic, just clueless. There is a huge difference. Texas guy became toxic and mean. He gets blocked.
Clueless? Immature? Unwilling to evolve? Meh.
I find that interesting, I’ll admit it. Why? Why won’t he budge? Why won’t he evolve?
I want to understand.
We can’t heal what we don’t understand. What we don’t examine.
I look at the boys and wonder: how do I make sure you don’t end up in middle age and unable - or unwilling, I’m never sure, like I said I only try to ask for things that I think people are capable of, otherwise, that’s unfair and uncool - to honor a woman’s basic request?
Then I see the opposite too. Where they’re expected to just do as their told.
I’ve never liked that either. Like I’ve mentioned many times in here, neither model appealed to me.
I don’t want anyone controlling ME, I don’t want to do that to anyone else.
How do I make sure they don’t STAY in the cocky phase?
My next podcast is about women supporting women. Somehow, we went down some interesting tangents that I could not have anticipated but I love because it revealed several more podcast ideas.
My friend mentioned the idea that women like assholes, not nice guys. I gave my response which I’m pretty happy with - it has to do with the difference between boy and man, girl and women, you’ll have to listen to it for the full explanation - but I keep thinking about this. (It’s not true that all women like assholes, fyi, you can listen to that next episode later in the week).
I caught a young male saying something pretty cocky and a little bit dick-ish to his girlfriend recently.
I looked up startled.
So unlike him.
I want to be careful. I don’t want him to be controlled OR be controlling.
But exploring that dick-ish behavior is part of the deal, I’ve realized. He HAS to flex that muscle. He HAS to have SOME of that to navigate the world. He’s got to have thick skin.
I think about my Bitch phase - lord, can I call it a phase if it lasted for years?
And I realized: I’m glad I had it. Even though it couldn’t have been so much fun to be on the receiving side - though, that’s not even true. Some of them love it, more on that another day.
I need that Bitch now to live inside me. I like that I have the maturity and impulse control to decide when it comes out - haha, not ALWAYS, but for the most part, being hungry so much of the time has forced me to control the more base side of being human, I’m glad for that. i’m glad I can manage it (except for when I’m hungry, dehydrated AND on that steroid - best to not piss me off in August, I’ve decided).
I remember one therapist - the one that asked if my boobs were real! Damn I still can’t believe that happened - she said: emotional control is crucial to maturing and self actualization. Well, it wasn’t exactly that but that’s how I remember it.
I like having that Bitch inside me for when I need it. It looks like I’m sharing a lot but there are LOT of vignettes that have happened in the medical system where I’ve tapped into that Bitch in order to get what I need to make it out alive.
If I hadn’t gone to New York and let that side of me really take hold, would I have it now? Would it be such a strong part of my personality that I could easily access it when necessary?
Would have I been able to handle New York if I hadn’t had some tough things happen? If I didn’t have my skin thickened at a young age?
I remember when that Italian restaurant owner would start screaming, I mean, practically frothing at the mouth, and I just stood there thinking: that’s all you got? He loved me, of course. I could handle his Hulk, and keep on working.
We’ve coddled a lot of kids these days.
Maybe we all need to go through that dick and bitch phase in order to get to grown ass man and grown ass woman.
The trick, as always, is to not get stuck there. Or get stuck in anger, or sadness, or brokenness.
I’ve felt broken for so much of this past chapter.
Done, wrecked, laying on the dark tunnel floor, wondering how I’ll make it out.
I wonder, if I didn’t have that tough bitch inside of me, could have made it through this? With my sanity intact (IS it intact? I think so)?
Are we doing kids a favor if we don’t let them flex this muscle? If we don’t challenge them enough?
I try to think hard about what they can truly handle, what they’re ready for next. I try not to nudge them to the next level if I don’t think they’re ready. This is from years of teaching something that can end up being pretty dangerous if they’re not ready for the next level.
I remember during one teen camp, I had a kid who really struggled. He burned some carrots in a pan - no biggie, I don’t get upset with shit like that because burning food is part of learning how to cook, all of these things are part of a process of growing and evolving, burning shit, messing things up, making mistakes, how else do we grow? I think some of these men didn’t hear that enough with love behind it: it’s ok to fuck up, you’re human, try to learn from it and do better.
That’s my new theory about what’s happening now, but more on that another day, I’m still working out the details - and I said: throw them away.
The teen was about to pat the hot pan on the edge of the garbage can that was lined with plastic.
Now, if you don’t cook and haven’t made the mistake of getting plastic melted onto a hot pan, you don’t know that you’re going to ruin the pan. You can’t ever get that plastic off.
So I said in my firm teacher voice: don’t touch the plastic!
He was so startled - again, why it’s important that we don’t ALWAYS speak so damn gently to kids, they’ve GOT to be able to handle the tough coaches, the dismissive professors, the harsh boss, we’re not doing our job if they fold under basic interactions in the real world - that he spun in several circles, me horrified, watching him spin around with a hot pan, nothing I could do because if I tried to stop him, I’d likely get burned.
He had to spin around and around, I guess.
It happened to be a day when some donors were coming by the kitchen and watched the whole thing unfold.
The day they’re there.
Fortunately, he didn’t hurt anyone or himself. And the donors were somehow impressed with how it went down (? I guess a lot of people were surprised I had the patience to teach kids and teens how to cook.) I should have just let him ruin the pan. I’d rather throw out the pan than have a burned kid any day of the week.
I guess sometimes we’ve got to let them spin. And make mistakes. And burn shit. And be a dick. And figure how much of that they’re going to integrate into who they are.
In the end, that’s why I think my dudes (JULIE NEGRIN!) put up with me and my loudness and my requirements and my terms - because I’m patient with them and everything I do is really from a place of love.
It doesn’t always feel like I’m patient and loving! I’m sure.
But it’s there.
How did we end up with such sad people that they feel the need to mass murder?
How did we end up with these loons in office who hate women?
What was DONE to them? I wonder about this all of the time.
And why do they gravitate to positions of power?
What is going on with the good ones? I think about that asshole at the doctor’s office who was glaring at me, shooting daggers with his eyes.
If I didn’t have SO many lovely ones to counter that, how would I feel now about dudes? I’ve met some woman who literally have never met ONE man in their world that is lovely and supportive. How is that POSSIBLE?
But then I think:
How do I forgive people who left me to die?
That’s the ultimate forgiveness, right?
I aspire to it. I aspire to that level of forgiveness and wokeness.
Like I said. I like to challenge myself.
How do I make sure these boys grow into healthy men?
How do I remain patient with the actual men?
How do I see past the hurt and disappointment?
How do I embrace my more punk rock side while also remaining benevolent and compassionate?
I guess by reminding myself that we’re all on our own journey.
We’re all on our own plane and sometimes we just need to wave to each other from the window.
Hello! I see you but I can’t connect right now.
I get that.
I’ve been through SO MUCH now, how can I NOT be patient? How I can not be understanding that we’re all going through our own shit? That maybe someone needs a dick phase for awhile, to figure out who they are, and if I choose to not be on the receiving end of that, that’s fine.
I think I may have consented to some of that in my thirties because I wanted to know.
I was always such a curious kid. I remember my grandma telling me not to touch a hot pot on the stove. I was so curious, I did it anyway.
Another time, at the bowling alley, someone said: be careful as the bowling balls come through.
It didn’t look like it would hurt - I remember this so well - so I put my fingers down and allowed the ball coming through to hit my fingers.
It hurts like a bitch, for anyone that’s also curious.
Why am I always so fucking curious?
So maybe that’s what some of us do. Put ourselves in different situations because we’re curious.
Will it really burn? Oh yes, yes, it definitely does. Will it really hurt my fingers? Oh yes, yes it definitely does.
Would I be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone through everything I went through? If I’d been coddled when I was young? If I didn’t have so many boys thickening my skin, forcing my sensitive, cry-baby self to handle whatever they threw at me, would I have been able to handle NYC?
If I hadn’t been a bitch - and had others curious, what happens when I poke her - then would I have the toughness I need now to survive?
How can I expect people to always have it together and do it all right when I’ve fucked up so many times myself?
I guess, in the end, I’m hopeful.
Even amidst the world literally burning down, and the quiet good ones, and the mean loud ones, and the complicit women, and the warrior women, and the kids standing in horror watching it all unfold, I remain hopeful.
People wonder how I get through what I do and I try to answer that in here, because I’m curious too.
I’m always thinking, even while I’m weak and on my knees, quoting the song playing right now, aptly named Monster, people can do better.
I’ll turn into a monster if you pay me enough.
I don’t want money.
I want justice.
I want equality.
I want to be in a position to protect the most vulnerable.
It’s all I ever wanted. As I got picked on as a kid, or blown off by my sexist soccer coach because I wouldn’t flirt with him in order to play - yes that really happened on my high school soccer team. Hell, I just remembered something - the woman who said: how many kids do you have?
She was the biggest flirt of all with that coach.
The complicit ones. Water polo. Travis Scott!
I wondered when it would be time to tackle that. They’re a big part of this picture. The good ones are quiet, I’ve only realized, because they need permission.
It’s hard to be patient.
It’s hard to be empathetic.
It’s hard to be compassionate.
It’s easier to be mad and point fingers and blame everyone else for our problems or the world’s problems.
But the only way out of this if we take a look at ourselves.
I won’t always love it. I see that now. As I watch boy grow into man. I consent to have him learn on me though. All of them, can learn on me.
I can take it. It’s harder when it’s a boy in a man’s body that is learning on me. I’m at a point where I’d rather they learn the hard stuff on someone else.
I know what it feels like to be burned now. Too many times.
I can be patient though. I know this about myself.
I think that’s why they come back. Because I see the best version of them. I always have. I always will.
I see their gifts, their wonderfulness, their sweetness.
I also see their dick-ish potential - as I say, if they have a dick, they can be a dick, but so can I and I don’t have a dick, so there’s that - their ability to be harsh, snippy, even manipulativeness.
All I need to do is set the terms. If I don’t like it, I can step back. Same thing as before. I stand stoic and still, chin up, and give them a look.
You got this. I’m not going to put up with your shit, but I know you need to experience it, feel it, flex that side of you in order to figure out who you are in your totality.
Boy to man.
Girl to woman.
I’m excited to explore that in my next solo podcasts.
I also want to explore why I like to travel the world on my own, why that feels so important to me, when I know for others it’s so confusing why I love it so much.
I’m an observer, when I travel alone, it affords me the chance to see things, take my field notes, understand a landscape I’ve never seen before, and interact with the locals, or visitors, learning, always learning.
Damn I’ve been writing a long time and I have a LOT to do. I feel ok about the trip. If I have to come home, I come home. If I get sick, I get sick. If I can’t eat much, I can’t eat much - I’ve been shoveling down food, last night a half pint of coconut ice cream and whipped cream, an avocado with dressing, goat cheese, anything I can safely tolerate - if I don’t like traveling alone anymore, then I don’t like traveling alone anymore.
I just want it to be MY decision. But it may not be, and I have to accept that.
Accepting myself. Accepting what I can and can not do. Accepting others. Accepting what they can and can not do.
It’s really the key to lowering the anxiety and finding some peace.
I’ve got to get better at it, the accepting.
Whatever it is, however it turns out, I can handle it, I tell myself this.
I’ve handled so much so far. I’ve handled getting burned, being abandoned at my weakest, losing jobs, being broke, heartbreak, mistreatment, toxic shit, even emotional abuse, being gutted, being lost in a broken medical system, jumping out of a plane, swimming with sharks, literally and figuratively. I’ve done it all.
Ahhhh this is important! This is very, very important! FUCK YEAH!!! I made it here! OMG. Geezus that was fucking painful as all fuck.
Let me explain. When I had the inflammatory bowel disease, I was always afraid. I was afraid of getting sick. I was afraid when I saw blood in the toilet - a common occurrence with that disease - I’d be afraid I’d have to go on that nasty steroid, prednisone, I’d be afraid of ending up in the hospital.
When I was in that bombing in Israel - I’m trying to get my nerve up to submit that to an actual publication because it’s a good story and hopefully explains forgiveness with our so-called enemies, even the ones who try to kill us - it was a rough time.
Living in Israel that year, in my twenties, had been very healing - this is why I like traveling so much, it’s so healing for me, I’d gotten off the prednisone which I’d been on for the first few months.
A few hours after the bombing, when I was back in my cousin’s apartment in Jerusalem, a mess, rightly so, I saw a little blood and started freaking out.
Then I shrugged and said to myself: well, if there was ever a time that stress would induce a flare-up (that’s what it’s called when the intestines become inflamed), it would be now! Oh well, if I get sick, I get sick, if I need prednisone, I need prednisone, if I end up in the hospital, I end up in the hospital.
And I felt such peace around it.
My symptoms went away and I’ve never had a major flare-up since.
That was 1997. Or 1996. Damn it I always get those years wrong.
One website said I died in that blast.
Maybe I did. Maybe the old me died and the one that was more accepting and more confident in my own abilities to survive was the part of me that lived.
Maybe this time, I had to let parts of me die. In order to make room for this new me.
This new me that is writing about being ok with whatever happens on this trip.
Confident in my abilities to navigate it.
I guess that’s what I want for the kids.
They’ve got to have that confidence that they can handle whatever life throws at them.
I want to impart that to more than just the kids. I want everyone to feel like they can navigate whatever life throws at them - that’s so much of the root of why I do the podcast. Let’s talk about hard shit! Let’s do our inner work! Let’s figure ourselves out!
People who don’t know themselves are more likely to hurt others, this I know, because I’ve been on both sides.
People who know themselves and what their terms are, and what they can handle and what they can’t handle, are safer to be around.
I dream of creating a dating app that has people match via their “crazy,” their dark sides - we all have them - and their kinks and all that. But really, me delving into kinks is just another way for people to figure out WHO THEY ARE. What drives them, what turns them on, what turns them off, what they need, what they want, what they desire.
Otherwise, you’re driving with someone who has a blind-fold on. Kind of risky.
It’s only by stepping into our darkness, that we can find our way through to other side, I guess.
Fuck. I hope this lasts, this feeling I have right now.
I must stop.
My eyes are starting to shut which means no more words. I feel like I can write on Facebook now. Like I said, I’m walking in circles, sometimes I can’t do more than one platform at a time, but now that this daily blogging is entrenched, I can add in another area of sharing.
Damn it’s hard though. Third circle, I guess, is being back on facebook and instagram. Videos will be last, if all goes well, and I have the energy and support to do them.
My new girl will be here soon.
I’m so tired though. So sleepy.
Must shut my eyes for a few minutes.
Your accepting friend,