The Rabbit Hole

rabbit hole

Well, the roommate search was a bust.  After the chimera fellow responded for the third time, I shut the whole thing down.  If a guy’s best pitch is that he absorbed his deceased female twin’s organs in the womb, what’s next?

Now, to make ends meet, I needed to find another place to live.  After residing in a basement apartment for five years, this was probably a good thing.  Such relief I felt when I gave up the roommate idea.  The Tiny House Lady would have to find other accommodations to set up her tiny house trial run.  She was very excited, stating that she looked forward to dividing the tiny bedroom into four tinier rooms.  “Only folding furniture,” she said.

My current landlord, as far as landlords go, is pretty decent.  Yeah, there was that rent hike, but I expected it in this housing market.  So, I decided to transfer to one of their other properties.  It all happened very fast… I barely had time to recover from the shock of natural light.  Wow!  The colors, the textures!

I originally moved into the basement to escape the tormenting heat of life on the third floor of an old, albeit very lovely building. I had just survived a psychotic break brought on by an intense heat wave.  I sat huddled next to my window a/c unit, popsicle in hand, plotting every possible escape route from the fire I was convinced would engulf the whole building in flames.  I had all my bags packed, lining the hallway in specific order.  Seriously, I was out there.

hotel-on-fire

 

In the subterranean, my sensory perceptions were no longer overwhelmed, I didn’t have to worry about my cat who had suffered heat stroke during the hot summer.  Holding onto some sanity would also be a plus.

I was dating Dave at the time, an eleven year relationship that ended abruptly this past January, at Brick House Pizzeria over on Sandy Boulevard.  Dave said he decided it was time to have kids, and I’m not the mothering type.  This happened while we sat in a padded vinyl booth waiting for our half-and-half pizza.  I ran from the restaurant, hearing Dave’s voice say the strangest string of words, “I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal…”  And yes, he waited for the pizza.

First the broken heart, then the anger, along with the oddest sense of betrayal that still can’t be described.  I need to mention that Dave is turning 60 years old, so he’ll be pushing 70 by the time he has someone to play video games with.  We never wanted kids… zero population growth, the anti-American Dream.  This was truly baffling.  And no!  I don’t have a peri-menopausal death wish to have a child at nearly 50– not that I was even one of his options.  Who wants to be an option, anyway?

The November move was filled with the good and the bad, but always with the consistent undercurrent of something remarkably bizarre.

The Sun Enters Scorpio

(& some other astrology stuff I don’t understand)

After the improbable chain of events over the weekend of my move, I decided it was time to check the astrology forecast.  Something strange and rare had to be happening in the sky, right?  I guess I was looking for a reason, an explanation… and the only thing that made sense was a magical view of the world.

Dark and intense Scorpio entered the sun on moving day #1.  According to one astrology site, it was a good time to buy binoculars.  My overall take:  Time to empty my drawers of fading dreams.

Even amidst the chaos, I immediately felt at home in my new place.  The window sills were below my shoulders!  I could see whole people, not just their feet!  I did feel a little exposed, not being used to so much light and an actual view of the outside world… the metaphor was perfect.

You know when you’re in something, a dysfunctional relationship for example, it’s hard to see the whole truth.  Being objective often takes a big dose of reality brought on by external factors.  Well, I had a dysfunctional relationship with the basement.  Now that I’m out, I see how it messed with my mental state, my ability to feel socially acceptable and part of a community.

When I went underground a few years ago, it was in a mentally-unstable twisted way that I wanted to be completely isolated in my own world.  I had been suffering as a result of trauma, and thought maybe if I kept myself apart from typical reality, the suffering would end.  Not an effective thought pattern… and for the record, it doesn’t work.

It’s been almost seven years since the assault, rape by a stranger.  I had imagined what it might be like to be in that frightening situation, how I would fight, how I would miraculously get away.  Sadly, I found that some people are just stronger than you.  I didn’t scream… I tried fight, flight and freeze.

Nobody knew, not even Dave.  After the assault, even holding hands felt suffocating.  I began to retreat more and more to underground isolation.

I’d been through enough therapy to know that it wasn’t my fault, that the shame would be overwhelming and that speaking out is empowering.  I was surprised by my decision… I had always believed in a mission for justice.  Instead, rather than face him in court, I wrote this poem over the two years following the assault:

truth new

Well, that’s kind of a conversation stopper.

Venus Trine to Pluto

Ahh… stay in a place of love (strange segue).  Well, I do love the bizarre.  That magical feeling of slight dissociation, before it becomes full blown psychosis.  When you feel like you’re in a one-way bubble, and you can see everything, but nothing can see you.  It feels like universal synchronicity is on your side, and everything seems to fall into place.  The weirder it gets, the more it makes sense.  It’s like a warm blanket of absurdity.

Amidst the odd events that kept piling up, I ran into Dave for the first time since January.  We were in our cars and he made a left while I sat at the red light.  My spontaneous reaction was to laugh, and laugh and laugh.  I had reached that point.  Humor was by my side during that trip to drop off another load.  I thought, “Dave, you can’t put a baby seat in that two-seater sports car.”

Next load… sobbing.

Two days after the break-up, Dave came over and we had an awful, unkind exchange– an attempt at that elusive thing called closure.  Somewhere in the midst, he took a nap on my couch.  It was weird.  Later that day I phoned the mental health crisis line… something I had done in the past at times of great distress.  It just didn’t help.  I needed human connection, to speak to a professional in the flesh.  I felt crazy.

I took off for the emergency room, where they told me I’d have to wait two or three hours to talk to a social worker.  It was pretty obvious that was not going to work.  How could I sit still for that long in a room full of oxygen tanks and lacerations?  In the short time I was in the emergency room, someone entirely encased my truck in industrial strength saran wrap.  Yes, of all the back to back cars on the street they chose my truck.  In their defense, they put a pvc pipe around my antenna so it wouldn’t break.

It didn’t really phase me at the time, though I’d never heard of such a thing.  I just thought, “Of course this should happen”.  Around and around I went, unwrapping, thinking of nothing… and thinking of nothing was a great relief.

Mars Opposes Chiron

Apparently, this is a time to notice a chink in one’s armor… a painful awareness that despite our best efforts, we keep getting knocked down.

I realize that I keep alluding to a string of bizarre events that I haven’t really made much mention of.  It really wasn’t an event, it was  a state of being.  Throughout the day I felt strength, vulnerability, compassion, heightened awareness.  There was always a sense of separation from reality.  Maybe that separation was my mind’s way of protecting me from how intense things really were.

The whole thing makes me contemplate reason vs. cause.  Guess I’ll save that for another discussion.

Mercury Exits the Shadow Zone

Day #2 was a bit more level.  Of course it was another heavy day, but in a much different way.  Applause for Mercury fully out of retrograde!  What does that even mean?  I hear people say, “Oh, Mercury is in retrograde, that must be why”.

So, I looked it up.  One fascinating tip for these periods is to pack an emergency road kit.  It is also advised to not believe everything you hear.  There are several phases to the retrograde cycle… the final one being the ‘Post Shadow Period’ during which Mercury begins to move forward again.  But be warned, even on this last day of the cycle, back up your computer and pay close attention to details.  Wait until tomorrow to make life-changing decisions.

The Earth, at Last

After all the knocking down and getting back up over the past month, I’m finally returning to my own forward movement.  I celebrate my feet set firmly on the earth, taking one step at a time.

feet-on-ground

 

Goodbye, Rabbit Hole, until we meet again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Search Of…

Eviction-Notice

If you haven’t heard, Portland, Oregon is in a full blown housing crisis.  It’s a landlord’s market, a developer’s market.  Long-term and loyal renters have become disposable.

Urban growth boundaries tell us the only way to go is up.  Even so, it’s just not possible to keep up with the demand for housing.  And going up means demolishing single family homes in trade for typically monstrous box-shaped buildings that encroach on sidewalks and offer no green space.  Ok, I’m exaggerating, there are a few rosemary bushes out there.

Granted, some of the structures going up are thoughtfully planned and eco-friendly.  Down the street from my apartment is Ankeny Row, a collective of Passive Housing structures that greatly reduce energy consumption and focus on community, not ignoring your neighbors.  We’re all in this together, right?  Wrong.

In Oregon (and Texas), it is not law that a local government must mandate inclusion of affordable units in large projects.  Combined with a rush of no-cause evictions across Portland… this is not just about insensitive architecture anymore– which is what I told myself for a while.  It’s easier to blame differing aesthetics than to realize the loss of compassion.

Soapbox aside, I’m realizing my role in this changing housing climate.  After a twenty-five year stint of living alone, I must now enter roommate-land.  I’ll be giving up my second bedroom that served as my art studio, but it’s a small price to pay in light of so many other people’s situations.

When I first embarked on this roommate quest, I had a fairly positive attitude.  Now, well, let me tell you.

THE ART OF POSTING A ROOMMATE AD

I think I have pretty good boundaries.  I’m trying to appear approachable and “sane” for lack of a better word.  Letting people get to know you is a process… especially with total strangers.

So, I censor my unconventional, dark and sometimes mildly disturbing sense of humor.  I changed my outgoing message to include my name, not Josephine Baker’s stage manager.  I’ve always thought the outgoing message is the perfect opportunity to really express yourself, probably not so in this situation.

My wants aside, I need to do this.  I’m expecting a $100 monthly rent increase soon, and it’s just getting too tight.  I live in a highly desirable neighborhood, so I thought this might actually be a snap.

My ad is pretty straightforward and honest… looking for someone clean and sober, preferably female and close to my age, which is late 40’s.  And all the usual, quiet, respectful, clean, responsible– understanding that we’re all good at giving our own testimonials.

TRAVELING LIGHT

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“I’m an adult coloring book artist with nothing but a can opener.”

“HEY, CAN I SPEND THE NIGHT, JUST TO SEE WHAT IT’S LIKE?”

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To Paraphrase:  “I live out of town but I have a friend who lives in Portland.  She said she’d spend a few nights with you and report back about the experience.  Then if it all checks out, I’d like to come spend a night or two.  You know, just to see what it’s like.”  You know.

ALIEN FISH

dumbo-octopus

To Paraphrase:  “I’m a 26 year old, but I look 23.  You should check out my Facebook page and listen to my new music mix.  It’s called “Expectations”, because I expect alien fish to invade our oceans sometime during my lifespan.”

 

RENAISSANCE WOMAN

bookShamHeal.web_67eb99ad-1035-4106-b3cc-d5c00c7dd66a

Shamanic bridger.  Vitality consultant.  Cranial sacral therapist.  Gift shop employee.

Other services offered include “house cleansing” to reconnect one with their living space.  Dishes and vacuuming are included at a rate of $30 per hour!

THE CIRCUS

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A self-proclaimed ex-lion tamer and lover of all things orange.

ISO CLEAN AND SOBER FEMALE:  NOT SPECIFIC ENOUGH?

Sea_OtterSea-otter-D

“Hi, my name is Otter because I like to swim.

Actually, i’m probably more disqualified for occasional cannabis consumption than for maleness.  Technically, I’m a mosaic chimera– an incompletely absorbed twin–but i look like a man.”

Stream of consciousness… words & story

Juice

Injustice

Kind

Joke

Flower

Fold

Midget

Twist

Red

Stitch

Click

Twinkle

Nothingness With Twinkles… Oh!  But What Twinkles!

The kind midget twisted the lemon for juice and pulp. A click drew his attention to a fold in the drapes… is this a joke, he thought?

A twinkle from behind the fabric lit the stitching in shiny neon-like light. It sped and shimmered forward into the air.

Around the kind midget flew flowers and red grapes in temporary light– bright then dissipating, its disappearance an injustice to the sense of sight.

The kind midget had lemonade and thought about imagination.

Opening

I opened the curtains yesterday – looked outside myself. Sun swallowing the dark, I saw squirrels on wires, moments in a man’s life as he walked away. I ate blueberries by the window and cried, luscious blueberries, all matte-black-purple and sweet. Clouds (not unlike ghosts) curled in the otherwise blue sky.

I turned to face the room, narrow daylight spread across my feet. Stepping away from the light, I felt a tear plummet to my lips… maybe it’s the last one, I thought, maybe I’ve used them all up.

I saw the makings of yesterday – Japanese characters of twigs and twine. Compassion. Existence. Sacred Fire. It was sweet distraction… searching in the yard for brittle stalks fallen by wind, sifting through shadows, simply living.

In This Flesh

The early bright opens our rooms

We are pleased to live

to be placed in this flesh for a time

We relearn our hands

spend silence with new pastimes

realize that often

only we believe our own truth

Back when night used us up

our ashes fell like lace

upon hollowed out bones

of lovers and children

Embers took our names

smoldering age and a promise

to walk in towering crystal halls

with opulence and narrow minds

Now these prisons fade

under a flash-glow ballad of sky

Beautiful just for you