Sunday, August 31, 2008
On my 20th birthday, I went to Memphis to visit my former roommate and other friends. The weekend was our usual laughter and fun including a road trip to one friend’s home in Arkansas. On the way back, she gave me a fur stole as a birthday present. I was a tailored girl/woman then; so that was a magnificent gift for me. And, living on a farm where we hunted animals and had friends who were trappers, I thought nothing of the significance of the fur.
Sunday came, and I realized that I had to leave this friend, a woman named Wanda. I did not want to leave. I had watched her leave Memphis too many times for Arkansas or Arizona, and I had grieved. I realized I was in love with her. We formed a relationship then that took us to Mississippi (where my mother said, “Is Wanda your boyfriend now?”), to Arkansas, to Arizona and back to Memphis – several rounds of this. My first lesbian experience.
Wanda was cute and butchy – we had butches and femmes back then, and when we went somewhere I usually wore a dress and she wore slacks and shirt. A nightclub north of Memphis near a state park was a frequent weekend stop. This was hidden in the woods so that the Memphis Vice Squad would not raid the place. We met lots of lesbians and gays there. However, Wanda was a wanderer, and I followed along – getting and quitting jobs along the way. Finally, I realized that she was and had been two-timing me with another woman for many years.
I went home to Mississippi and curled up and wanted to die. Fortunately, I didn’t. I visited another friend in Memphis, and she took me to a gay bar where I met a woman who became my next girlfriend. I moved to Memphis and we lived together in an apartment where other gay couples also lived. I got a great paying but mindless job with Pepper Sound Studios. They made jingles for commercials in return for advertising time on radio and television stations. I was keeping track of what played and how to bill it to our customers. Then, someone realized that I had only women friends. They saw someone pick me up at work. And, I was fired. I did not fit their family image.
I worked with a job placement agency, and my counselor tried to find me another job that paid as well…to no avail. I did temporary work for a bit, then worked as a draftsman for a city planning firm for a while. Finally, she found me a position with an insurance company. I worked there for six months before the boss’ secretary called me at a doctor’s appointment and told me I was fired. I did not fit with the family nature of the company.
I felt dirty and abused. I felt like my nature marked me as the devil. Everyone liked me until they discovered that I was gay. And, that discovery was not difficult. I had a lot of friends who were what was called then “stone butch”. Transvestites is the term used now...or transgendered. That meant that they dressed and acted as a man, binding their breasts, getting male haircuts, even some padded their pants. I had some friends who were very butchy and despite their breasts and hips dressed as men. In the 1960s that was not acceptable. Even wearing jeans wasn’t. I wore dresses to work every day. Being a lesbian meant that you carefully considered every place you went – would you see someone from work, did you look too butchy, who was going along, how dangerous was it to go there from the standpoint of being beaten up? Women's softball leagues abounded, and we were safe there.
The Memphis Police Vice Squad regularly raided the gay bars – dragging off to jail those who were thought to be dressing too much like the opposite sex, anyone displaying affection, dancing with a person of the same sex, using the ladies room if you were a man, or anyone who talked back to them. I believe those laws that the vice squad enforced in gay bars was repealed in the early 1970s. Being a “femme”, I was berated and verbally abused, but never arrested.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I learned to breathe in several different positions today. And, that little Tai Chi position that I learned so long ago at St. Anne's during a Lenten meditation series - wow, my yoga teacher opened it up and refined my version of it so that I can clear my throat and my mind and get my body ready for bed or for morning.
She's also a healer. Thanks be to the Goddess chickie.
I haven't learned all that terminology yet; so you won't be hearing words you can't pronounce associated with positions that this human body isn't meant to achieve. But, you can bet I'm going back next week. And, I'm practicing my new Tai Chi position/movement every day.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Amazing what 8 hours of good sleep can do for a body and a mind! I used to think I had a high endurance for pain, but now I'm not sure. I added a pain killer, prescribed by my doctor to help my hip pain, last night. I did not hurt. I did wake to a noise and realized it was the cat, got up and picked up the stuff from the floor and went back to bed. Not in pain.
I've been doing the exercises the doctor recommended for this hip, and the knuckle pain is so whimsical that I never know when it's going to hurt or not. The swelling in my knuckle is going down.
On to brighter things. I got most of the yarn stashed away last night, packed two boxes to send to knit/crochet swap partners; so this morning is looking brighter since I have less hassle. Here are a couple of projects I've finished.
Small potholder, mitered square in Peaches & Creme double stranded
Coaster and Pitcher Pad set in Peaches & Creme 8 ply, linen stitch
Saturday, August 23, 2008
We are born again in many ways throughout the years; some of them have to do with God and most of them do not. To me, being "born again" means that I have discovered and begun to use some new facet of my being to renew and update who I am in the world.
2. Has anyone ever tried to save you?
I was reared in the deep South and kicked out of a good Baptist church for dancing. They tried to save me and keep me from dancing. I have also had people try by talking and quoting scripture to convince me that I should not be a lesbian.
3. Is there a difference between spirituality and religion?
Yes. Religion has to do with an organized set of beliefs that is supposedly systematic - that is, consistent within itself. Spirituality is a more generalized practice of relying on various principles and theories to make life easier and more bearable. Sometimes they may co-exist, but I believe spiritual practices within a religion are much broader than the organized set of beliefs of that relgion.
4. Which spiritual person do you most admire?
5. What would you say to Christians if they would listen?
Diversity exists among all peoples of faith. Just as we are not alike physically, so we are not alike in our interpretations and beliefs. But, one God does exist, and Christians don't have the corner on that God. God is big enough for all people. Live your beliefs, state your beliefs, but don't get in someone else's face or condemn anyone.
From Fr. Terry at Listens to the World Check out this blog - used to be Father Jake Stops the World - has shifted to a very thought-filled blog.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
And, here's a picture of my market bag as it nears its finished size.
As a friend said last night, I feel like an outsider. I will occasionally share my story, some pain, some funny, but not often. Conversations swirl around me without my really being a part of them. Sometimes they are about things with which I have no experience or knowledge - remembrances of camp or private schools or vacations or friends and playtime. Sometimes, the conversation flows along at a pace that I don't want to interrupt, jumping from one person to another to another with each person spurring their vocal horses to get into the minute piece of silence that signals another person can talk. Getting into those spaces is near impossible for me. So, I ride along on the edge listening to others talk about their lives. Almost a part, yet not really.
Last night I thought about the conversation - dreams of going places, doing things, plans for the future. Others have those - I don't seem to have any plans or dreams. I feel as though I'm just existing for a while. I knit, I've learned to crochet, I work a few hours a week, I do laundry, I clean house a bit, and I will be starting yoga next week. I have no need or use for the things I make. I buy yarn and I learn - for what? I don't even know. I'm just existing here for a while.
I have no desires that aren't fulfilled. I could wish to feel better; I'd like to ride my jet ski more, to kayak more. But, I have no long term goals or hopes or dreams or plans. Life is just flowing along.
Sometimes when I listen to conversations, I feel as though life is flowing around me and gently carrying me along with it like a piece of driftwood that slips along the edges of the river - not part of the current but moving still, immersed in the busyness of getting to the mouth of the river, but not going very quickly. The driftwood bobs along and lets the faster current get their first.
I think somehow in the last few years, I've retired from the hustle and bustle of living. In the process, I've also retired from some essential part of life, but I can't figure out what that is. I've bought things for enjoyment and use, but most days they are meaningless. Maybe that's what's missing - meaning. Like, where do I go from here?
sharecropper to driftwood
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Gripe, gripe, gripe.
I am truly grateful that I got a hug from Margaret, that I got to eat lunch not fixed by me, that I met some of my partner's friends from church, that it is a beautiful sunshiny day, that I have air conditioning and a nebulizer, that I could leave the workshop and drive only a mile to be at the condo and a comfortable bed, that .....
so, my gratitude is overflowing. So is my need to sleep.
Monday, August 18, 2008
The workshop trip is over, the file cabinet is in place in my workroom, therapy is over for the week, grocery shopping is coming up next today, and I'm digesting a wonderful lunch of Taco Bell tacos. Now is my time to catch my breath and change my internal tension level.
A couple pieces of good chocolate have helped, too.
I'm busy making coasters and pot holders for a knit exchange, finishing a baby hat for a soon-to-be-born girl (she probably won't wear this until the end of the year in Mississippi), continuing to knit a market bag, and occasionally working on a hat for the Seaman's Institute (hard yarn - feels like indoor-outdoor carpet - supposed to be waterproof when I'm finished and likely will). Oh yeah, I'm also working on a shawl for a friend and will then begin another one in a different colorway.
Partner has spruced up the outside of the house while I was away - got the front flower bed looking great and the back latticework painted.
We're going to a religious retreat this Wednesday at the beach - tough life - I hope we're meditating on blessings because I feel truly blessed. I really don't want to think about what God may be calling me to do or to care for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, etc. Let me just meditate on God's goodness for a bit. I don't want to think about new starts or old endings or how they fit together. I want to focus on the here and now and just be grateful. Mother Margaret Neill, who is leading the retreat, will choose what she believes we need to hear - and it will be good.
This is the potholder that my exchange partner Micki sent me - a delightfully thick one - and she really thinks it might see a pan - ha - it will be pinned on my workroom wall to remind me of how far I have to go in crocheting.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Three fire trucks arrived - one a ladder truck since this hotel is 5 floors. Fully outfitted firemen rushed from the trucks into the building...just like in the movies or on TV...I guess, since I don't see much of either of those.
And, we waited and waited. We saw firemen walking from one end of the building through the lobby to the other. We saw the desk clerk running from the front desk to the back office. We waited.
Someone said it was on the fifth floor. Someone said they were on the fifth floor and they didn't smell anything. Someone said they were cold (and yes, I realize that someone should be followed by a singular pronoun, but this is easier). We sat on a damp low wall. Some read, some talked on their cell phones. Some had briefcases; some had purses; some late arrivals tried to go inside. Some laughed and continued their conversations about other things. One man pushed his son around and around in a wheel chair.
After slightly more than a half hour, the firemen came out and said we could all go back to our rooms. Some of the firemen were still inside, and many of us thanked them for their response. Some just walked by silently and coldly.
But, I was back in my room, picking my knitting up from the floor and thinking that I ought to keep my medicines close to my purse when I'm away from home. Car keys, ID, money, medicine, room key - handy in case I need them again.
Now to calm down and think about bed.
Now in Winston-Salem, left Old Fort around noon and with much regret. I saw Maile and Marian, Sharon, Eileen, Marie, Bill and Janice at the P&C store this morning. Ahhhh. And, Maile was talking about new patterns and test knitting and Christmas already. So, I'm really looking forward to seeing the upcoming things from her creativity.
Some of us had fun digging in the seconds bin - bits and pieces, whole balls and lots of tangles because we'd all been digging. But, what a steal! I left with a stretchable garbage bag full and overflowing this morning with everything.
I'll be posting more pix from the workshops when I get permission from the participants, but for now, the pix at the top is a creek that runs near the Pisgah factory and the view from where the workshops were held.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Just a couple of pictures from today's knitting workshop. Don't have program to edit pix on this computer; so just getting raw stuff. LOL The Pisgah outlet store was lots of fun, my trunk is full.
Maile doing the loop-de-loop cast-on - so named by Kim.
Beautiful Flo in the shawl that someone made her - maybe Brian?
Monday, August 11, 2008
The morning began early on the top of the mountain at the fire station...about 60 women and a few men gathered for knitting, crocheting and weaving. What wonderful chaos! And, such beautiful yarns, I kept oooohhh, and ahhhhhinng over all the gorgeous packets for the various classes.
My first class was weaving, and I learned so much and got a good bit of hands-on time during the day on looms that weren't being used for projects. I chose the packet for a blue scarf, but I didn't start the scarf since I don't yet have a loom and would not finish it before the end of the workshops. I wasn't ready to actually begin weaving, lots to learn beforehand. We created some patterns using graph paper and colored markers. Then we created a pattern using pipe cleaners. I discovered that my graph paper pattern would be difficult to weave for a beginner, but it's very pretty. My pipe cleaner pattern was simple and good looking even if I did use a strip of brown and no (I repeat) no blue. That was fun. I wound bobbins of several kinds and used the floor loom, the table loom, the small knitters loom in practicing.
After lunch, I learned to crochet. Now, mind you, we're talking basic chain and single crochet, but I managed to complete at 2 inch x 3 inch square that mostly looks right - at least as well as everyone else in this class. And, I've been practicing tonight. Now, all my yarn overs are going in the same direction. LOL No twisted stitches for me. My hands still aren't coordinated in holding the yarn, the needle and the crocheted piece; so they cramp after a few stitches, but I'll get there.
I had a break sometime in the morning and walked down the road with my water bottle and enjoyed sitting on a culvert looking out at the beauty and the kudzu. I'll try to take a picture tomorrow - such wonderful green sculptures that devour their infrastructure. Sadly beautiful.
Lunch was great with food brought in from local cafes. I got fried chicken, but the person next to me got pintos and corn bread. She gave me a pinch of corn bread - not sweet. I was beginning to think that people in NC could only make hush puppies or sweet corn bread. This was so good that I stopped at that cafe on my way home and ate pintos and cornbread for dinner.
The final class of the day was knitting for me...a cabled scarf with Maile from Cloth of the Week group. I chose emerald green. The yarn is rayon and not plied - which means that I keep splitting it. I had a hard time even getting it cast onto my needles - so many little strings of rayon - all slippery and beautiful but not doing what I wanted. I was tired; so I quit for the day and brought it all back to the room.
I'll work on one of the projects tomorrow with Maile, but maybe not this rayon. Tomorrow morning I'm going to the Outlet store and look over their reduced table adn choose some wonderful yarns for home projects.
On the way home, I passed what appeared to be a thrift shop - but was actually a junk shop - no order, chaos reigned. Found two large Coca-Cola glasses and a bunch of pieces of old jewelry that I will transform...all for $3.50. Last of the big time spenders.
Now, I'm a zombie, but I still want to knit and keep practicing my crochet, and figure out what I'm going to buy tomorrow at the mill outlet. Ummmm. tough choices. I think bed wins. Goodnight.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Found a wonderful bead and gem store - bought some raw stones - two pieces of opal that I intend to wire wrap for partner and me, and some lovely lapis that the owner claims is not dyed - it's so blue that I suspect color has been added. Also a few other pieces of various stones that I think will make up nicely - one has mica in it and will leave tiny bits of glitter on the skin of the person who wears it, but that's attractive, I think. The stuff was also available without the bits of mica, but not nearly as pretty.
The bead store that used to be a great delight to me was a big disappointment - I didn't find anything neat or really unusual there - lots of seed beads, and I'm not doing seed beads right now.
The Guild shop had all kinds of crafts found in this area and the stuff to make them with - but nothing that really struck me...so I came away from there empty-handed. The bookstore had one thing I wanted - some Medicine cards - sort of like Tarot but using animals and their Native American interpretations.
The downtown area is covered with food places - everyone at table along the sidewalks, but I couldn't find a place to eat that didn't have a wait time of half hour or more. Thought I was going to starve. Ate at a place that specializes in sweets - my cake was a bit dry, the quiche was okay but served plain, but the tea was great...though the refill cost me half the cost of the the first glass.
Lots of shops with Indian or Eastern things - art, clothings, beads, junk.
I came back up the hill through a shoe store - a multi-level shoe store - and I couldn't find a single pair that I could afford. When I reached the top of the hill I was very winded and red-faced. I staggered into a Free-trade shop or whatever they are called, and the shop-keeper took one look at me and pointed to a chair. She offered to get me water, but I had that handy. Thank God for the chair and the rest. Then I bought a few things for stocking stuffers this Christmas.
I rested at a number of places along the way...benches were plentiful. One of the downtown parks appeared to be full of lolling men - all ages, sizes, styles, degrees of good looking, various dress - but all men. The women I saw together or in groups were all walking and looking and talking. these men seemed to be waiting for pick-ups...or something. Maybe they were just taking advantage of shade on a warm humid day.
Many stores downtown were empty. No name brand stores any longer.
When I left downtown, I headed out to the Biltmore area, and I found all the name brand shops. But, I also found Yarn Paradise. And, I spent a long time there - bought my first set of interchangeable circular needles...a large investment. And, I was bragging to one of the women there about the wonderful BBQ ribs I'd had last night. She laughed and said she was the sister of the owner of Countryside BBQ. And, I could see a family resemblance, but she is definitely more beautiful than he is good looking. Too much good food has given him width in the middle to balance his height. LOL Ate there again tonight - still good. Going to eat there again tomorrow. Closed on Monday; so I guess it's Maccy D's for Monday.
One of the interesting things I've noticed is that many yarn companies are now selling their yarns in hanks instead of balls or skeins. This means that the yarn owners have to spend employee time winding these hanks into balls. All except two balls of yarn that I bought were in hanks. That's a lot of payroll dollars that will go into winding instead of sales and stocking.
Friday, August 08, 2008
I stopped on the way and visited for an hour with my best friend where we used to live - how great - 5 minutes and we've covered the basics and gotten down tot he nitty gritty of our lives...though it's pretty mundane stuff except for some of those we love having problems. We don't have any problems of our own, you understand (LOL).
Now. I've had dinner at a great restaurant in a tiny town about 45 miles from Asheville and I met three couples who had driven from Asheville just to eat there - BBQ ribs night - and I couldn't even finish a half rack. They were the best ribs I've ever eaten (except for Corky's in Memphis) cooked without sauce and smoked to perfection. They provided a good sweet sauce, but I may have used a half teaspoon of it. Hushpuppies were good and the cocktail sauce that I like with them was tangy but not sinus-clearing. Green beans were cooked just as I like them and the cole slaw was good. The chocolate cake was good but a bit dry.
Then I went to Wal-Mart and bought a pair of supplex shorts and a sports bra, came back and went to the pool. Never mind the rolls of fat hanging out between the two. I mean, whoever here will ever see me again -and do I care anyway - no. The pool was pleasantly cool, but the hot tub was great - not too hot, and the jets placed just right to massage my weary back and legs.
Of course, I couldn't get enough conditioner on my hair to make it feel normal since the water is so hard, but, guess what, the soap came right off. We have such soft water at home that you never feel as if you've gotten all the soap off of you or anything else you've washed.
I just feel as if I'm experiencing camp for the inner child - even if no other children are obviously present. For, mind you, I have not been in a swimming pool since ... ummmm....1979 maybe. Well, I guess I have been in the pool at the condo on the beach - but only briefly because it's cold as ice - shaded beautifully for a hot summer day, but not when I'm there. So, I gave swimming a valiant try - I probably wouldn't drown, but I'm very out of practice. Understatement of the year. At least the kids in the pool didn't laugh at me to my face - and that shows they have manners.
Now, I'm settled in the room, on a chaise lounge with a lap board and the laptop going strong. And, I'm soon to be ensconced in that big fluffy king size bed with lots of pillows.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Breathe deeply in and out for a few breaths. Close your eyes and relax. However, it's not a good idea to fall asleep while sitting at your computer.
This has been a busy week already. Therapy on Monday - a very difficult session in which I've been suggested that I comfort my inner child who didn't have much of a childhood. The concept of the inner child is a difficult one for me, especially since I have very, very few live memories of three years - 7-10 and not much until 11. Actually, I guess there aren't many memories before age 7 either...a few incidences that are isolated from daily life. I was alone so much of the time.
then Dad went back in service when I was 7. A good bit of responsibility fell on me as my mother and brother made the crop that year - we had 23 acres of great farmland - grew wonderful cotton - usually rated good with a few middling ratings occasionally when we had to use a mechanical cotton picker. I remember things, not daily life, not events. Except, of course, the daily life events at which I failed at age 7 - like cooking dinner for Mom and David, peeing in my pants because I had walked from school to avoid a kid who taunted me and I couldn't get into the back door of the building where Mom worked.
I don't remember feeling. Life just was. Now I'm told that this child never had a chance to have a childhood; she had to grow up too soon. She never got the love and care that she needed, nor the praise or very many of those positive things that keep us going. They tell me that my defiant attitude comes from having to fend for myself and feeling that no one cared. And, they didn't...at least not in ways that I needed them to care. They said they did. They acted as if they didn't.
So, I'm supposed to talk to this child. And, I feel foolish. I would have to dissociate in order to talk to the child I was. I know the right words to say to kids nowadays that have been through some of the lack of loving care that I went through. I can comfort them. But, how do you comfort a child that no longer exists?
I can look at me and say, "I'm sorry you had a rough childhood. You should have had better food, more encouragement,...." But, so should a million other kids who grew up to be fine people without being in therapy and needing food to comfort themselves, or hoarding to make them feel safe. Why am I the one who eats too much?
Tonight Ibought yarn and stuff at the Goodwill Thrift Shop (now called the Goodwill Family Center) - yarn that I don't normally use, all donated by an older woman who was obviously a hoarder. Boxes and boxes of yarn, a hundred packages of needles, various sewing accessories in multiples of twos, threes and tens. I understand.
But, I still don't understand how I'm to talk to or write to this supposed inner child who was deeply hurt (I don't deny that) and carries this hurt yet (don't deny that either). They tell me I deserved better. Deserve is not a word that I use very much...not sure that any of us deserve anything. Lots of things would have made my life better and very different. I didn't have them. Now, I'm supposed to go back and comfort that child who didn't have them.
Maybe all I really have to say to that kid are two things: "It wasn't your fault." (don't think I ever thought it was) and "You made it anyway." (not the best way possible, but you're alive and they are dead - you have received many wonderful things and known oodles of great people - you've done lots of good deeds and loved everybody - that's making it, kid!) Living well is the best revenge. The ones who hurt me didn't live well and some of them are dead as a result of their poor choices; I am living well, and I am alive even though I've made both good and bad choices. You, the child, chose to live; and here we are, living well, blessed and graced.
Friday, August 01, 2008
You are The Empress
Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.
The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents,
beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home
decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.
The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.