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confessions of a Taurean woman

last night before going to see the fabulous final episode of Harry Potter, i got to go to McAlister’s Deli for dinner.  having never been there, i wasn’t certain what to expect. 

http://www.mcalistersdeli.com/

i certainly wasn’t prepared for the taste explosion that awaited me, in the form of taco salad (waaaahhhh!  so delish!!)  and some kind of sweet sandwich they had.  ridiculously delicious.

now, for those interested viewers who don’t know, i am a taurus.  growing up, i had no idea i was a foodie.  we were poor, ate a lot of stuff like frozen pizza, pork-n-beans, and hamburger helper, and went out to MacDonald’s    i didn’t grow up with a sophisticated palette.

then there were my 20’s, when i was obssessed with how i looked, paranoid about being overweight (i wanted to be an actress, overweight doesn’t fly real well in hollywood), and fond of punishing myself with rules like no ice cream ever, moderate consumption of pizza, and no alcohol.  WTF???  so my taste buds were resigned to live a life enjoying salads with dry toasted sesame sticks and frozen yogurt with granola toppings.  very good, actually, but somewhat limiting in both scope and nutritional requirements.

finally i discovered my true calling:  food enthusiast.

now, i’m not a porker, but i do represent well.  i am the typical aging Taurus woman, with a juicy center like some kind of well filled doughnut.  not ridiculously huge, just extra to hold onto in the cold Michigan nights.  so finding McAlister’s was a happy treat, and is rightfully going into my restaurant journal as “superior taste experience”!

 

Flying Ford Anglia

Sometimes I feel broken.

I have seen many dark days, and my journey through the streets of life have left me with a great many battle scars, and worst case scenario reflexes. I have wonderful qualities, a good heart, and am an attractive woman. Still, I wondered aloud today – to my sister – why someone would want to pick me out of the lot, rather than a newer, shinier model.

It’s not that I don’t see my own value.

I’m funny. I’m witty too, which I feel is different. I’m sarcastic, and quick, charming and loveable. I am entertaining, silly, fun to be around, and have a child like appreciation of the world and my surroundings. I am loving, kind (usually), compassionate, and loyal. I am strong, intense, passionate and committed. I have goals and ideas, aspirations and achievements. I am understanding, forgiving and resilient.

But I have been ‘round the block. I’ve been dragged through the mud by more than one villain. I’ve got stains, and wounds, and dark patches of questionable material on the hidden corners of my soul. I react and respond to ghostly apparitions that don’t look anything like the person I am talking to, but often have a stronger hold on my attention. I am afraid of love, and life, and realizing my dreams. I’m afraid of hoping in happiness, worried that I will come oh so close, only to watch it float out the window while I am busy working out a feasible schedule for the attempt of intimacy. I am raw and feral at times, bursting into tears for unknown reasons, wracked with sobs from a monstrous past I haven’t yet learned to escape. And there is no escaping it. It is me. It is part of me, this horrible string of tragedies that have made up my life.

I’m like a dinged up car, with mismatched wheels, a cigarette lighter that doesn’t work and badly torn upholstery in the back seat. My rear view mirror never sits straight, my left turn signal doesn’t work on its own, and my trunk needs a bungee cord to keep it from flying open when I’m in drive. Who would want this? Who would want a broken down beat in used up tin can of a person?

And I don’t know the answer, ok? Don’t pressure me on that.

There are loads of brand new models out there to choose from. If that’s what someone wants, have at it. Shiny ones that purr like kittens. Fancy ones with loads of extras. Brand new, glorious, young things that make life easy and convenient.

Thing is, those babies don’t have the magic I have. I’m like the Weasley’s Flying Ford Anglia. Yeah my lighter is broken, but I can fly. I’m magical. I can take what is given to me and create something entirely new. I can hold a nasty object in my hand, and mold it into something beautiful. I can see past what is in front of me, to the future of what that thing will become. I can inspire, and motivate, encourage and renew. I am alchemical, and restorative, and wondrous. I may not have the shiniest coat of paint, but I guess I can settle for being a Magical Mystery Tour.

 

 

the Archivist

 

There are many names I had as a child. Nicknames given to me by parents and grandparents, and maybe friends. Names like Nellie, and Bunny, and Big D. Many of my childhood friends called me Nellie, a natural derivative of my full name Denelle. My grandmother called me Nellie Bly, though at the time I didn’t know she was actually sort of naming me after another person. Was my grandmother prophetic? Could she actually see into the future – as I sometimes can – enough to know that this name would fit me so well? Was she prophetically laying on me an adventuresome personality full of spunk and a disregard for conventional roles and behavior, just like my namesake?

My father called me Tiger, and more often Scooter. To this day I’m not certain he remembers my real name, because it is always Scooter from him. It’s a name I’m fond of. My mother called me Christina Marie when I was in trouble. And I used to be called Denny. This was a name I chose on my own. But unlike other names (Sweet Pea, for example, which never really took) I managed to force my family to call me Denny for an entire year, or maybe longer. Other names I used to go by I have found in secret places, like diaries, old coloring books, and that sort of thing. Christi. Sandi. Cindy. I had secret names, and secret codes, and secret lives that I am only now trying to discover and unfold.

But many of my selves have no specific name, though the individuality is very distinct. There are parts of me that existed in the past, and experienced certain things that others didn’t experience. And these people maybe weren’t brave enough, or stupid enough to stick themselves out and demand a different name. And so, to help myself – and my sister – identify these people, we are giving them names now.

Some of these people you will probably get to know over the course of time, if you hang around the blog. Stormy. Joey-girl. Mexico. You’ll hear me talk about Scritchy, and Lil’ Bird, maybe. Or Bubbles. But today you will hear about The Archivist.

Some of my people, like The Archivist, have titles rather than names. The Archivist actually just got her title, and thank the gods for it. One night talking to my sister, The Archivist pushed her way to the surface, angry and tired and frustrated. And swearing. She was nameless at the time, a hidden identity that had not previously surfaced. I have to admit that I must have known of her frustrations and issues, because I’d written a poem a year or two earlier, complaining of the same things she was lamenting.

She was a sort of janitor, this one. For a great many years – I imagine since my late teens – no one in “the system” or “Team Denelle” wanted to admit that we had others running around in there. No one wanted to deal with the craziness of being Multiple. So walls went up, and everyone went into their own hidey hole, and all the innards went into lock down, needing to hide emotions, thoughts, instincts and memories. This made it difficult to recall things sequentially (like which teachers I had in which grades), and immediately (like where did I lay down my keys, or that missing bra?)

This janitor person was probably created to move all the memories around. Some of my people are too little, and they don’t have certain memories like the others, or even vocabulary advanced enough to explain some of the things that went on in my life. Those memories couldn’t be around the littles, because that would be upsetting. So they needed to be dumped somewhere else. Some of my people hated my mom and loved my father, and vice versa. Some personalities loved everyone in the world, and some people would have grown up to be assassins. But everyone, regardless of name, personality traits or clothing preferences, all of my people were plagued by our past. Our history. The skeletons emerging out of the closet, chasing us down, and trying to consume our life. So for years and years, this janitor person tried to bury the memories somewhere, in some hidden compartment of the soul, or under some forgotten year of the life; a giant dust ball to be swept under a rug.

The Archivist came out one night, complaining. There is no more room, she said. There is no place left to go. No place left to hide. We have run from this past so many times, and hid in all the good places. Now there is just shit everywhere, and it’s exhausting. Hiding information from everyone is impossible. Trying to maintain secrecy about this issue is impossible. This personality was at the end of her rope, because she couldn’t keep up with everything. Where do I put all this shit??? How am I supposed to shovel this shit around forever??? Yeah, my sister and I could see that trying to hide reality from yourself was an overwhelming task. Plus there were no good bennies.

So we gave her a name, or a title really, and told her that instead of hiding and burying all of the information, she should catalogue it. We talked to her about some of the movies we’d seen, like Dream Catchers which, though very weird, has a fabulous scene revealing an intricate and complex memory system in someone’s brain, complete with winding staircases, circular library vault, and oodles of books full of collected information. Harry Potter was helpful too, with Pensieves that could reveal the past, but beautiful little bottles that would contain the memories until they were needed. Instead of having all of these horrible memories lying around in the brain, like a barn full of shit, we could organize them, label them, file them away in little bottles, drawers, and boxes. She would be called The Archivist, and it would be her job to retrieve information as it was needed, and she could put it away in the manner she decided.

Wow, sorry. Long story. But since then, since the naming of The Archivist a few months ago, things have been a lot smoother for ‘the system’. Memories emerge in a less traumatic way. Associations are made more easily. I still can’t remember things I want to in the middle of a conversation with someone. I still know that I know the answer to something, and can’t manage to pull it out of the bank in time for the current discussion, but the ebb and flow of my daily existence seems to be going more smoothly. And I am increasingly more able to actually FEEL the things I have gone through. And THAT is a miracle right there, because there has been a need for detachment my whole life. But that is a whole different blog, for a whole other time.

For now, I have to give Kudos to my Archivist, and tell her she is doing an amazing job.  It’s kind of handy, having all these people inside. It’s kind of like being a fabulous museum full of wonderful art pieces, and all of my staff people have their own little jobs. You should try it sometime. Just be sure to include extra closets and basements for the storage of stuff you don’t want to look at, because leaving it around everywhere is dangerous. Or just start off by hiring yourself someone to take care of it all, but be sure they understand their job, and be sure to treat them right. Because it’s an important job, recalling and recounting the tales of life. And everyone could use an Archivist.

the ups and downs of a morning walk

 

I try to go walking in the morning several times a week. If I can, I’ll go every day for a short walk before work, and on the weekends I’ll go for longer, more leisurely walks. My body gets horrible pissed at me if I don’t get enough Yoga in, though, so sometimes I have to choose the one over the other, so that my old football injuries don’t bother me as much.

Today was a perfect day for a quick walk.

On the up side, it was perfect weather, warm, with the sun shining full on my face. And not too hot yet, with just the right amount of air circulating, so I come home sweaty, but not looking for my asthma inhaler.

On the down side, a creepy guy smiled at me on his bike as he crossed the street. I’m not into men with hairy faces. Scratch that. I’m totally into men with SCRUFFY faces, I’m just not into men with beards. Scratch that. I’m totally into men with Van Dykes and goatees, I’m just … okay fine, I’m not into THAT man.

On the up side, I got to hug my favorite tree, whom I’ve named Poncho. He’s just a little guy, and I’ve been visiting him since he was first planted there. I used to worry about him when he was a pup, and the wind got too strong. No need, because now his hair is all sprouted up, and he’s tall and proud, with cute little eyeballs that make him look like a character from the fabulous movie “Nine”. I’ll have to upload a picture. Poncho is adorable.

On the down side, my neighbors peonies, and the ones in the park were sad, heavy and browning today. Such beautiful flowers are hard to imagine going bad, turning old, fading or withering.

On the up side, I DID get to walk through the park right after it had been freshly mown. One of my favorite smells is cut grass, so yum…it was perfectly delicious today.

On the down side, I usually get to smell two other favorite smells – coffee and toast – as I’m on my walk, and today there were neither. The mixture of those two smells is so completely average and daily, yet something about them is the perfect combination, and the aroma makes me think of home, love, and travel. Maybe it’s like in the Harry Potter movie, where Hermione is talking about what makes the perfect love potion, and for her it is books and toothpaste. Maybe mine would be coffee, toast, rain, grass, and the smell of Old Spice.  I mean, a bajillion women can’t be wrong… (please tell me you’ve seen the hilarious commercial)

On another up side, I got to see a Robin walk right in front of me, carrying off a fat little worm, who was stupid enough to forget to wear his roller skates to scurry away on. I’ve never seen a Robin so close to me, let alone one making off with a breakfast burrito for the little chicklets.

On the down side, right at this same time, and old made up lady, who looked like a coifed caricature from Spirited Away walked by in a strange bouncy walk, wafting of an atrociously unappealing perfume.

On one more up side, my stone lions were upright again today. I pet two stone lions as I walk by a professional building just past the park. The one likes his chin rubbed, and the other likes a good back scratch. One weekend some kid came by and knocked them over, and when I saw them on Monday I could have cried. I rushed to the door and knocked, and talked to a woman who works there, offering to help if I could. She said they were impossibly heavy, and I don’t know how they got them up again, but I’m glad they did. I would have looked really stupid sitting on their grass lawn to give a belly rub to the two lions. But I would have if I had to.

On the down side, a random paper plate littered my neighbor’s yard, making me think that some random person had just had a meal as they passed by and tossed the remains in some strangers yard. It’s happened before.

All in all, a good morning’s walk. I see once again, that the light and dark, the good and “bad” will once again do their work throughout the day, trying to balance out the energies of the world, and keep everything in balance. Hopefully I will navigate the teeter totter of life well today, and face the ups and downs with equal amounts of acceptance, understanding and optimism.