Let Me Re-Introduce Myself to You by Answering 20 Questions

It’s been a long while since I wrote simply for the joy of, well, writing. I need a fresh start. This is a way to relieve the tension and get back to my natural self. Nice to meet you all over again.

Wild Wind-Blown Self Portrait Near Lake Joanis, photo by Valentina Kaquatosh, 2015

“Wild Wind-Blown Self Portrait at the shore of Lake Joanis”

What did you eat today?

One cup and a half of rice and cream of mushroom soup, washed it down with Vanilla Coke. It’s now late at night, I forgot to have supper, so I have to make up for it by making a quick tuna fish sandwich! I tend to skip meals whenever I get manic creative like I did today. Yes, I’m kicking myself in the fanny over it. But, to be fair, I’ve been on a treatment called Bydureon that has significantly reduced my appetite, so it’s made me extra forgetful when it comes to eating!

What have you done today?

Slept in too late, that also meant I took my medication later than usual (I’m talking about my diabetic meds) so that gave me a combination of a belly and headache, so I spent the first half of my wakefulness in meditation, stretching, easing my body back to a natural state of composure. This is what happens when my chronic fatigue attacks my system, so I compensate. I move slow, have done so for as long as I can remember, but now I accept it instead of beating myself up for it.

Next, I answer to the call of my cats who are ever mindful to help me stay awake by tending to their every need and desire. I not only just feed them, I clean their bowls, make sure their water is fresh, check the litter boxes three times a day (otherwise they will complain, loudly), and the best part is cuddling them. Today my elder cat, Calie, wasn’t feeling well, she’s got a hair-ball problem, so I massaged her belly and throat, prepared softer food for her, and made double sure the water and food bowls are free of dust.

The biggest chunk of the day I spent at my COLOURlovers profile site where my digital coloring obsession helps me relax and forget about the troubles of the outside world. It’s a part of my daily routine. Whenever I get stressed out, I’m there almost too much!

Tonight I am house cleaning, taking out trash, clearing clutter, and preparing for a late night visit with a good friend. She and I planned to collaborate on art projects while I put in a load of laundry. Unfortunately, didn’t work out, so we had to re-schedule, which is just as well considering I still have more cleaning to do before I can really make my place presentable. Ugh!

Name a few friends and what their talents are:

Saumya: Multi-talented, so I will name the one talent she has that’s my favorite (actually, I don’t have one favorite, so I’m just picking the one at the moment) — her ability to create intricate drawings where there’s images seemingly within images, like paisley maps that lead to “mind’s eye” hidden things but each time I take a look, I see something different within each drawing.

Michelle: Watching her drawings and paintings develop is like seeing flowers open fast forward, and they don’t wilt.

Nicole: She’s a true visionary, someone I can really relate to and can communicate with on a psychic level, but even when we can’t seem to connect in the “real” world, she has this earthy, motherly quality that soothes everything out. I can truly call her a “soothe-sayer” because as both an artist and healer, she can apply both at once in her efforts to bring someone a calming truth.

Trent: He drums like he was born out of a different era, yet also can drum in any style of music, or genre. What he is best at is rockabilly and jazz. His specialty is really keeping that nice, flowing beat… I can’t describe it as well as you can hear it. You have to hear him live.

What is your star sign?

Capricorn with Leo rising!

Can you play an instrument?

No. But I can sing. I took vocal training as a child and performed in semi-professional church choirs while growing up. I hated the travel, the church retreats, and constant auditions for solo and duet ensembles I didn’t get to be a part of! Yet when I did get to be, I did it like a Diva. Now I only sing on stage for karaoke contests, or just to surprise friends. I perform Stevie Nicks songs the best, my favorites songs to do are Enchanted, Talk to Me, Stand Back, and Edge of Seventeen, just to name a few, yeah, I could make a HUGE list. However, people who really know me often request I sing Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit.

What has been your work experience mainly been in?

Retail hell.

Considering we’re only a few days away from Black Friday, I am VERY glad to not be experiencing that anymore!

Have you ever been to uni or done any courses?

I spent what seemed like decades in college obsessed with achieving my BFA in Studio Art, emphasis on Drawing and Painting, with a minor in Writing. Originally what kept me in classes so long was I double majored in English and Fine Arts! I soon realized I had to cut down those classes and focus on Art since that was where my talents truly were the best. I didn’t graduate and went on to just achieving a degree in Life Experience!

In fact, it really does feel like I spent my entire life in universities. My mother worked at Cardinal Stritch University during my grade school years, so after school I was “enrolled” in a life drawing class while Mom was at work. Instead of going home alone, it was great to take a bus to the university and engage in creative pastimes like that, really had a major influence on me. Later my Mom went to Central Bible College where religious studies also had a major impact on my life, but not in the way my mother would have hoped! By the time I was of age to get into college myself, university life was already a part of who I was and it’s my “church” in a very real sense.

I miss being in classes. I still feel a deep loss not attending. I have constant dreams where I think I’m late or didn’t show up for a class, and I’m missing out on it “all”, or I need to catch up. I also still feel like I am in my 20’s!

Are you in a band or do anything creative?

Hell’s belles, wish I could of been in a band, gods know I practiced like I was in one when I was a teen! But, no, that didn’t happen.

As for creative… I got that going on up to my eyeballs and beyond! Art’s my bag.

What is your favorite planet?

Planet? Planet sch-man-et! THE MOON!

Last film you watched?

The Shadow of the Vampire — I love my vampire movies. I’m also a HUGE fan of actors Eddie Izzard, John Malkovich, and you can’t beat the amazing Willem Dafoe as the classic Nosferatu!

What have you discovered about people?

Anyone I know, and love, can pass away, or leave, at any time, without warning. So make every moment count. Make sure everyone knows they are loved. Even when they refuse to believe you are their friend, or that you love them, still extend to them love. Just as often as people change their minds, they can change their hearts as well. Forgiveness is liberating, perhaps even necessary for survival.

What clothes are you wearing?

A turquoise and forest green batik sarong I sewn into a poncho, pair of black trousers, no socks, no bra, feeling like an all natural woman.

Are you a jeans and t-shirt girl or dresses and skirts girl?

Bah! I weep if I have to wear jeans. I love to wear dresses as long as they are semi-formal and exotic. And skirts, yes, skirts! I rather wear flowing things than tight, hugging my legs and thighs things.

Don’t even try to make me wear shorts in public. I think shorts are the ugliest things women wear. Get yourself into a skirt or pants, a romper even, but not shorts. And jumpers? Puh-leeeese!

However, you will only see me wear shorts to bed. When you’re a woman going through menopause, shorts are the best thing to wear at night. Never thought I’d EVER wear turn to wearing them for anything until I got the sweats.

Denim or leather?

LEATHER.

But I feel like I should be more kind and point out I don’t condone harm towards animals, even though I do have a leather couch that I know wasn’t made from the hides of cows who committed suicide. I also own a coyote fur coat, a gift from a friend and my father. I honor the animals and thank them for their contribution to my well-being as much as possible. We all nourish other living beings in this life and death and re-birth cycle. Someday my body will return to the earth, and perhaps will contribute to another’s life in this cycle as well, gods’ willing. I don’t know yet. Or I may disintegrate in an instant. Should I even think too long about this?

Why do I feel guilty over my humanity whenever I think about how leather is made?

Oh, I look back at my couch and suddenly start to imagine the moo-ing moans and death cries of the cattle when they lined up for slaughter… ouch. Stop it, Val.

What was the last song you listened to?

This is sad for me to say, but I don’t remember! This means I need to listen to more music again. I get into a silent mode. Last night I was content to listen to the geese outside, and then became very concerned when I heard a blue jay cry out in alarm just after dusk. I get to be a watch dog for my neighborhood woodland, the flora and fauna mean a lot to me, so I worry sometimes when I hear something strange like that.

Lately I am watching more movies, so the last songs I heard were instrumental soundtracks. However, to be specific, last time I heard an actual song was from Pink Flamingos!

The Trashmen : Surfin’ Bird ( 1963 )

Probably one of the most annoying songs ever created, but the “Papa, ooma mow mow” lyrics are perfect for the “singing asshole” scene during DIVINE‘s birthday party.

How many pokes have you got on Facebook?

You know, I’m slow to social media, always have been. Never understood how “pokes” work. So whenever someone pokes me, I don’t poke back, and I never poke anyone! It also took me FOREVER to get the hang of Twitter as well. I even wrote about how much it frightened me.

What things frustrate you?

People and money.

What political party do you support?

Liberal. I lean to the left. No particular party.

What is more important money or love?

Love. Because when you got love, the money follows, it really does. You might be able to “buy” someone’s loyalty, but when push comes to shove, people who love you will stick by you when you’re broke and sick. I know this because whenever I am broke and sick, I’m not that way for long, and my friends aren’t that way for long, too, so supporting each other with or without money, you can’t buy that. Love glues us all together.

You get invited to see your favorite rock star, what do you say?

Ha! I’m either speechless or over talkative at first, but the conversation will be mundane, which may be refreshing to the star. I don’t want to gush all over them because I think it’s just stupid and everything they’ve all heard before over and over again. I also know they are jet-lagged, or weary after a performance, so what I have to say will depend upon the circumstance of the chance meeting. I will dance according to the music played. But chances are, I’m awed speechless, or speech-full silly, so I should let them talk, tell me a story I can repeat for bragging rights later for me to tell to my friends. I collect stories of chance meetings like that, not autographs. Maybe I’d take a selfie with them, if they feel up to it, but even that will feel rude.

Fame can turn people into assholes. Being popular and successful is a job. Very stressful. It can get ugly just as much as it can be rewarding. When you’re famous people think they can say whatever they want about you, uncensored, sometimes even to your face, and this means my “heroes” have to wear thick, heavy armor. When I meet them, I know I’m not meeting the “real” person inside, it’s still a part of their performance. I know this because I’ve met and worked with several famous people, seen the life behind the stage, so being careful and kind to a performer goes a long way. I can’t just walk up to some star and think I’ll be their best friend over night. Even if that star was someone I used to know, went to school with, or was a friend of a friend’s friend, I don’t have the right to call on them willy-nilly.

Also, I no longer have any heroes, no one to look up to like I once did. I don’t believe in heroes anymore. There’s just people who are good. Good at what they do and doing good in the world.

We don’t need to put anyone else on a pedestal above us. Appreciate someone who deserves it more, like your mother, or the people who struggle to save refugees. Or just appreciate yourself. Yes. Do that! Great way to end this tonight. See you again soon!

We Carry Them With Us, Always

I don’t know where to begin, except to start at the trail of my tears, and trace back to a place of calm, somewhere where I can recount a time when maybe there was a time when I sincerely felt solace in this space.  I cannot find it now except in this inner temple where I carry you.

The Island in October, photo by Valentina Kaquatosh, 2015

“The Island” photograph by Valentina Kaquatosh, October 2015

And when I speak of you, I do not talk of one single person whom passed beyond this life, but of the several I last spoke to, or seen, if only in a dream, and now remember as if still awake in that dream.  I try to think of poetry, to form my words into something divine so my memories of you can float up into a heaven we can all recognize you in, someday, yes, that dreadful word someday I speak it like it will be tomorrow.  When I type it a bit of thunder rumbled outside my window.  Imagine that, thunder on Samhain!  What solace can be had this midnight with a thunderstorm?  You know how I am with storms.  My heart trembles and my skin goose pimples as the rain falls as if it were made of pure electricity.

Outside tonight the Halloween revelers are all a scream, running for shelter, their individual bonfires flooded out with the down pour as one more thunder strike silences everyone indoors.  A peace falls again, darkness swells as the rain tumbles with the thunder, thunder growing more gentle now even as it swells in intensity all along the clouds.  The rush of the wind makes me feel like I can hear your voice better now, telling me to call it a night, “go to bed, find a pillow, cry into it, or watch a scary movie, maybe take a shower, wash it all away like old make-up” and the rush becomes a fever.  There is heat all over my face.

I can’t help it.  I carry you with me everywhere I go.  I always will.  But you are not a burden.  You weigh nothing, yet only the sorrow is heavy, that is why I have to cry it out in doses, dump all these tears as much as I can and pray, at this moment especially, the Thunderers take it as my offering tonight.  May my salt leave my eyes, stop stinging my sight so I can finish writing these words, release my sorrow-burden and go on pretending everything has not left a mark, and all will be as if you did not die.

I know some of us say we do not die but we change from one life to the next and in this, yes, we must acknowledge death!  Accept death for what it is!  Do not hide sweet death and shy not from darkness…  but why, why take you so suddenly?!  What cause has your death sweetened for this life?  Those who say there is a plan for everything and that this is the work of God are mistaken.  No master plan is behind this.  Nature is random.  Only people put a riddle, rhyme, and reason to it all.  Poetry.  Yes, forever the poetry.  If only life were poetry!

We’d live forever if you and I had wrote our days long-hand poetry.  What epics we’d be now.

In this end, the poetry still leaks, strays away from me, repeats, even when I am at my loss for words I am poem-ing — perhaps that is how I carry you all — I poem you with me, always.  Like starting from a trail of tears to leaving a tiny, dry, dusty trail of glitter behind me as I reach the end of my lines, reaching for my solace.  On Samhain, forty minutes before midnight, my only strength in lighting candles, petting cats, about to watch an old scary movie, a black-and-white one I never got to watch with you, but one of you would appreciate the most.  I feel a smile somewhere in the darkness like an embrace.  It lifts me up a little at my waist.  Blood rushes back to my feet.  My finger tips tingle back to life after a numbing-stabbing of pain when I was at my bursting of tears.

I am not alone.

I’m not alone in carrying you with me.  You can be with so many different people now.  You need for no cell phone or internet.  Travel isn’t a bitch anymore.  Your body is only emotion, imagination, perfectly mobile in every meaning of invisible, impossible, and beyond understanding.  You can fit into anything, can take the shape of everything, and be the talk of everyone like you never were as a person.  No one need measure you by scientific means, or record you on video, or track you with any devices.  You’re gone in the sense that no one need touch or see you if they don’t need to, or want to, and even if they do, you’re there in the sense you never could be when you were.  As a story, more than fiction, but in this I can back that up with my poetry reference.

But in my times of solitude, where I am in my place of believing experiencing you out of your old body, it is another burden to sleep in the closet.  Sometimes, however, it is nice in the darkness.  It can protect me from the garish light, stop a migraine cold in its tracks, and heal me during times when a crowd is an assault to my senses.  When all I want to do is curl up with you, it would be nice to share what you have to say, yet the worry of the words…

perhaps only poetry is the way?

— in memory of Dylan, Joyce, and Shawnus

In Case You Forgot

If ever any friend of mine has ever felt I talked over them, ignored them, told too many stories that weren’t true about them, grabbed at them too much for their attention, made them feel second best, or that I shoved them aside because I had something else going on that was more “me-centered” and it hurt their feelings, please know that it was never my intention to make you feel disregarded, or disrespected.

I’m too excited when you’re near me, I don’t know when next you’ll go, so I’m anxious to tell you everything I’m thinking because I so easily forget it, sometimes way before you leave.  I can’t let you leave before I get the chance to share with you all the wonderful things I’ve been saving up while you were gone.

I forget that you are just as excited to share as well.  I don’t know how to listen to you.  My thoughts are racing.  I’m sorry.

I’m alone too much.  I know no other life.  The world all around me is too wonderful and too much.  Everything spins me around.  I’m turned on all the time.  Even my own voice is on volume 10.  I can look at your face and not hear a word you’re saying because I’m distracted by the scent of your skin, the bands of light in your eyes, and, look over there!  A squirrel just darted up the tree behind you, but I can’t say anything about it because the scent of peonies is riding the wind, and when I blink I can’t understand anything for that moment you were talking.

I don’t dare ask you to repeat what you said.  It’s embarrassing to admit I blanked you out. You’re going to hate me for doing that.  You don’t deserve to be blanked out.

I can’t tell just any tale about you.  When I talk about you, I will make you fantastic.  I will worship you a hero.  I will breathe into you the poison of a monster if I’m angry with you.  You’ll always be poetry to me.  I won’t name you.  You’ll always have many different names.  I’ll dress you up in costumes.  I do this to avoid reality.  I suppose it’s unhealthy at times, yet it’s too fun to quit.  Try to guess who you are.  You’re all my friends.

You are fantastic.  Let me like you.  I know who you really are off the page.  But let me dress you up some more.  Because I don’t get to play as often  anymore.

I don’t know how to get your attention.  I don’t know how other people do it.  I always think I need a gimmick.  I have to perform.  That’s what I do whenever I’m in public.  Me alone is not enough.  And I can’t let the space between us be silent.  If you’re too quiet, I panic.  I don’t have your attention.  You’re not responding.  I have always had to fight for attention.  I go over looked if I’m not dramatic.  I gotta stand out and shine.  I must entertain you.

I don’t know how to show or return affection.  I really don’t!  I have never understood it.  Giving hugs and shaking hands is uncomfortable.  I never know when someone is sincere when they are touching me.  People touch each other for all kinds of insincere reasons, but when I touch, I am for real, and I pick up all sorts of unsavory feelings from strangers.  No one gets that.  They don’t operate like I do.  Do you know me?  Or do I have to touch you in some special way, and if I do, will I find out if you really like me, or not?

When I reach out, it’s an awkward dance — was that a real hug of comfort or when you were saying hello, you were really telling me good-bye, right?  Like when some people say ‘Let’s do lunch sometime!’ and ‘We ought to meet up…’ and not really mean it, yet I always take it literally and believe it, especially the ones I really want to like me.

I’m alone.  It’s the only way I know to be.  Only way I’m confident to be.  But even I can reject myself…  I should not do that.  We all only have ourselves in the end.  No one else gonna take care of you, who else will love you most?

Do you know I always have to give myself something to look forward to in order to keep going?  I’m so busy pushing myself and patting my own back that I forget to see you giving me support.  I get caught up in my sorrows, hurts, and past complaints, I can get lost within my own shadow.

And I am always somewhere supporting my wounds,  not doing enough to support my healers.

Healers need healing the most.  Because they do the most work.

I take a lot out of my healers.

I’m difficult without wanting to be.  I wish I wasn’t.

I don’t know how to listen.  I can’t listen to you.  I’m in a cloud.

Every night I torture myself with thoughts of what I could have said, or should have done, and talk to myself like I would talk to you if I could talk to you one more time before I sleep, as if you are there in the room with me, so I can make things right with you. And every night I cry because I pray so hard that somehow my wishful words could reach you and bring my love to you so that you never again feel like I don’t like you.

Don’t get caught in your own shadow.  Remember, somehow, remember, despite what you think you swear you may know about me, I’m in my dark corner of the night unable to sleep, saying out loud my “if only you were here’s” and “what I would do different’s” but knowing that when you break away…

When you say it’s “for now”, it really means “forever”, and I lose track of everything with you not in it.  So continue to be in my everything, because you mean so very much.

Without you I would not have been able to crawl out of the pain hole I fell into when my baby boy died, when my mother died, when my aunt died, when my roommate died, when my boyfriend died, when so many others died, and, when I died you revived me, took me to the hospital, held my hand until I woke.  Thank you for being there when no one could be and refused to be.  You were there when my heart got broke a hundred times.  You stayed up with me all night to talk about all the boys who used me.  You were the God who carried me home.  You were the Goddess who tucked me into bed.  Yours were the lips that kissed me on my forehead and bade me many wishes well.

Thank you, a million times, thank you.

Don’t forget!

— For Mindy

Should Old Acquaintance be Forgot…

Much has changed since last New Year’s Eve.  I’ve been unable to bring myself to write much.  Perhaps because I’ve been more active outside than on the inside these past months since the death of my closest companion.  2013 seemed to be a year of many transformations, actual death being just one of them.  The numerology for the year equals 13, the number of Death in the Tarot (and all kinds of bad luck if you believe in that sort of thing).

Death has crossed my path before, yet this last time was my most intense experience so far because my cat was so emotionally close to me.  He wrapped his body around my face every night.  That kind of intimacy…  the loss of it…  it changes you.  And yet I could not have a home without a cat.  2013 will mark the year I lost and found cats.  On October 11th, I invited a new kitten into my life, Velvet, so full of fierceness, spirit, and glee, it’s impossible to be depressed around her. She keeps me on my toes, yet she doesn’t sleep with me like my boy did.  He was the lover.  She’s the fighter.  Both of them teach me how to champion on.

But Death visited me in other ways as well. I changed the way I behave online, mostly. I had to give up so many ways I used to operate for fear and sorrow at causing others distress and my own, sort of. I gave up on a lot of anger, grew obsessed with everything I said, drew myself up in knots. My body took a toll. I’m still healing myself.  The loss of old relationships still smarts, always will, the heart never forgets.  I re-thought about the way I communicate, realized that much of the way I am is really who I am, and that problems some people have with me is really their problem!  My mistake is apologizing for myself for being myself.  I learned that if you go on doing that too often, it gives people the impression that if I don’t believe in myself, how can I be authentic if I’m unbelievable?  Well…  I am unusual, but I think you know what I mean.  I still blame myself for old friends cutting contact with me, and it took a great deal of trial and error to avoid the temptation to write publicly about it, but I managed to slow down talking about my personal life too much.  No amount of anyone shunning me will ever shame me.

The Sun was my Tarot card for 2013 and it shined through me in the way that I was successful creatively. I completed the playing card project, yet my agent and I are not on speaking terms. Even though I cannot sell my work outside the reservation, I learned a valuable lesson professionally. The sun’s light reveals everything, and it also sent many new friends my way.

To make up for the loss of the old, I experienced renewal with people all around me. I continue to experience a spiritual and psychic resurgence in friends.  My circle is wider, and thicker and I am thankful.  Every year I write down a wish that is more like a goal: an intention.  2013’s intention was to secure true and better friendships. Putting that intention out there and meditating upon it attracted to me all types of new and exciting personalities, including spirit guides.

I have yet to write about it at length, but this year marked a new venture: I have started to incorporate my art with my spirit medium abilities.  It all started with a dream I had on October 2011 of a woman I had not met and felt compelled to draw her portrait, when I later saw her face online and learned she was the friend of a friend, it was such an exciting revelation, I had to expand on the portrait and paint it. When I decided to paint her and the spirits all around her, the more of them appeared to me. So after the portrait, I bought I new sketchbook and decided to keep a visual diary of visions I would have. The practice of this “paranormal portraiture” grew and grew…

I now participate in paranormal investigations where I can sketch what I “see” within my mind’s eye. The results have been exciting, with me often capturing personalities from the previous centuries, leading me (no matter what) to study local history and discover our ancestors, leading also to a renewed respect and awe at how they survived. Mostly I’ve been investigating at The Cottage Cafe in Plover, WI, a historical landmark known as one of the most haunted places, but also a quite most wonderful place to be. I’ve made a lot of friends there!

I am truly grateful for getting through the old year. Thankful for the old friends who have come and gone.

My Tarot card for 2014 is The Chariot:  I am moving forward with a better sense of direction and utilization of  my abilities.  I feel more balanced, ready to get going.  There is so much more for me to do.  Much love from me to you!  I promise to catch up with all the subjects I left unfinished.  There is so much I haven’t yet said.  So many words I’ve only thought.  In one half hour the new year’s here.

Drink one for me as I kiss our past good-bye!

Postcard #45: Celebrating Friendship!

“Friendship should not be mourned,” They said.

And when I say, They, I do not speak of People, or voices that may populate my head.  I talk of They that travel on the wind, whisper unseen, guide the lost when they stumble, and sometimes purr through the cat who shares my bed at night.

“Friendship should not be mourned,” They insist, keeping me awake when I want to slip into a nap this afternoon, “Friendship has no funeral. It requires no grief. It should not be mourned. You must celebrate it!”

Pick up your favorite pen, Valentina, my fingers ache with longing, and my back burns with hurt as I stretch and strive for a comfortable position, groaning as I seek my journal, find a page and make your mark so this won’t disappear. Don’t let these thoughts go! Come on, get going, make it so!

Out the words flow — ! My handwriting a river I fall in love with every time I give a damn, I set my pen in motion, the very act of holding it (although pinching my fingers and strains my wrist up to my elbow) is a flight through water, like Antarctic birds do under the ice in the deepest, darkest, undiscovered places. My pen is black and silver, shines in my hand, sharp and slim as a dagger, but does not cut paper as my every drawn word appears thin, small, and slants distinctly stiletto to the right.

I once challenged my friends with my handwritten letters… My handwriting, considered fancy and too archaic to easily decipher, only friends with a curiosity I could pique for Graphological inspired Cryptography (a pseudoscience that I thought I had made up when I was in High School), or who had a penchant for recreating the sort of 19th century literary correspondence our favorite authors had, would be interested and dedicated enough to read, let alone appreciate my letters. Such writing made for excellent handwritten essays only professors lavished attention upon, and I would sigh and dream of a day when I could enjoy a romantic friendship worthy of all my handwritten sentiments. Who did I kid? My rivers of right-slanted, sharp-emoted writing would not serve anyone good but land me a role only worthy to frighten people away as the demented, obsessed woman who scribbles in some horror movie… almost. In real life that is the impression I give! I ought to change it. Yet. Now it does not matter. I write my letters to myself. Occasionally I type them as I may, as I am now, in celebration, too good to keep secret.

This is the public side of true friendship — the celebration of sharing experience — for is that not what friendship is all about, what starts the love between people, this drawing together of mutual interests, the stringing together of the things we enjoy that ties us to one another and leads us to collaborative co-existence?

“Do not EVER mourn it,” They possess my pen, and I shake with so much passion, it takes every part of me not to burst, “Dance it!”

Words escape, the pen does not drop, only feeling excites, makes me fall into bed, pillowing my every thought, They comfort and do not quit, a swooning peace, of only knowing love. I forget all ills. Mercy replaces anger. Tears all dry. A reverse Lachrymatory appears; a bouquet of white roses soaks up the river at my bedside.

“Friendship won’t be mourned again,” It is I who says this, without question, without another memory of a slight or disappointment to mar it, only closed eyes and a smile to support it.

Mourning Friendship

How can anyone who claims to love me and wish me well break my heart? I’m not the kind of friend who rejects. I believe in the good in people, I do what I can to support my friends, forgive them their faults, believe in them when they don’t even believe in their self, stand with them while they face their obstacles, and listen to them on the phone during their states of distress. I’ve been there from the beginning, been there when at their worst and best, endured their temper, hugged them even when they stank, kissed their dirty cheeks, even cleaned their faces and bodies when they’ve been sick. I have lied next to them while they couldn’t sleep, wept with them when they were hurt, and wished I could be there where ever they are when they have suffered all lone far away from me, leaving me feeling helpless and distressed over them. I’ve sacrificed my own health and comfort to make sure my friends are well, and I do not ask for anything in return, only that we remain friends, stay in touch, somehow…

But then there are times when I am the one who is in distress. I have my terrible moments of overwhelming emotion, and it is during these times when I ask for support I find out who are my true friends, or at least those who are truly the strong and helpful. As a rule, I do not turn to my friends for psychiatric support. I’ve dealt with my fair share of mental illness long enough to know not to lean too much on the shoulders of those who are not emotionally equipped to handle someone struggling with a traumatic episode they barely have a grip on, but what about moral support? What about sending soothing messages of hope? When I am in need of hope, I’m not asking my friends to fix my situation, and I’m certainly not begging them for their complete, immediate attention. Yet if they were in my shoes, I would drop everything, get on the phone, or the internet and start communicating to make sure they know I’m on their side.

I know what it is like to rough it alone. What it’s like to be attacked, have my life almost taken from me, and lie alone in the hospital without a visit from friend or family, and be treated better by strangers than any friend or family during the worst times of my life. Surviving traumas like that made me strong, and made me passionate about never letting it happen to my friends. Screw that. To anyone I come across. I have a huge heart. I see someone, human or animal, suffering anywhere and I get involved. It may not always be wise, and a few times I have been taken advantage of, but I care very much and I never let anyone play with my heart.

I like to think that my friends are just as strong. Some of them very much are and I am proud to have made such very powerful, heroic friends, yet no matter how much some of them aspire to, they don’t live up to the virtues of friendship that we all should put into practice. It makes me wonder if some people really know what it is to be a friend.

It confuses me whenever a friend decides to no longer be friends with me, does not matter what the reason, and they always end the relationship with a situational inappropriate oxymoronic statement like “best wishes” and “I really love you” and “I’m doing this because I worry over you” or “I have to do this not because you’re a loyal friend, but because you need help”, all of which are excuses sugar-coated to make the friend doing the rejecting feel better.  No one who really wants you to get help will abandon you in your moments of need.  I’m not stupid. I know what they are really saying. It makes the heart-break feel all the more cruel.  It should tempt me into hating the people who foolishly say these things, who may even truly believe they are being sincere, but I surprise myself at how not angry I am at them.

I believe sometimes people like to believe in the worse possible state of health when it comes to viewing me, especially when I have a diagnosis of an emotional disorder, one that flares up during a stressful circumstance, but not just any stressful one. The danger of being open about my condition is people tend to panic over it, they worry about triggering you into a bad emotional state, but it’s not you that they are afraid of, it’s the illness, they really don’t know what it is like to live with it, they’ve only read about it, or maybe they remember something they have gone through with you and that memory has built up over the years. I don’t know how these things start, yet I’ve dealt with them before, and some people don’t see me for me, they just start seeing the illness and paint any emotional reaction from me as part of my being unhealthy.

One of the friends who just broke away from me knew ahead of time that a friend of mine was going to suddenly dump me.  Anticipating my resulting breakdown, she was quick to write her “I have to cut you off because I need only healthy relationships in my life” and “I’m doing this for your own good” letter.  I was not surprised.  It has happened to me before and I was prepared for such a reaction.  Some friends only want to be around when you are feeling well.  They can’t take the stress of watching you go through something bad.  Shame on them?  Perhaps.  I just think it’s unnecessary.

Unlike other kinds of illness, a mental illness you never heal from, it’s a condition you have to regulate. People fear the loss of control of their mind, just as much as they fear something like demonic possession, and they have no idea if your possible loss of control will lead to harm. People have rejected me out of fearing I will do things I have no history of, they don’t trust me when I tell them the extent of my crazy and think I’m hiding something scary, and when I do share I’m accused of using my disability as a crutch, especially whenever I really do have an episode and someone swears I have ignored them intentionally.

My heartache is that, no matter what good I try to do, and no matter how hard I love, when I get overwhelmed it seems to threaten any good I’ve done for my friends. A great relationship can be ruined in seconds after my friend witnesses me go through a meltdown. Or it can cement our relationship forever, as long as they realize I’m not asking them to be my nurse!

Yet I’m torn as to what to do. I have a lot of love and there is much I have wanted to do with my life.  I have held myself back from doing things I love for fear of being discredited due to my illness and being ridiculed, especially when my insight and lifestyle is controversal.  Living as a Solitary Witch has not always been satisfying for me. I have the passion of a priestess. I want to extend my friendship to the entire human community.  I want to write about what I know and experience.

Yet how can I help anyone when people view me as an unhealthy over emotional monster?

And why am I singled out? Am I that horrible? Have I really been the kind of person who is worthy of such rejection? Do I need to be institutionalized? (I found out I don’t have to be, thank the Gods) I tried to find out, reached out to my doctors, got the help I needed, and the friends who gave me the moral support I needed assured me I’m the same good ol Valentina I’ve always been for them, so what gives? Are, then, some people I love just defective at receiving the love I give? Why do they want to believe I’m not worth their time?

When something does not make sense, I obsess over why it happened. When I cannot find the reason, I weep over the senselessness of it. The senselessness of it is an ignoble violence as real as a bullet hitting the body of an innocent bystander.

And for some people to say, right after you’ve been hit with a broken heart, “your pain will pass” is like them patting your bleeding heart with a restaurant napkin as if it were merely a paper cut. For you, it’s a dire emergency, for someone else, it’s all about “you’ll get over it soon” and the saying of it is their way to encourage it to happen faster so we can all get back to fair weather talk and sharing cute kitteh photos again.

I’m not saying I have an over abundance of fair weather friends, I just have some friends who want fair weather between us all the time, and they would rather I keep my darker emotions to myself. However, even though it takes a lot of trust, and trust takes more involvement, I would rather my friends open up to me and share with me what is going on, dark or not, so when the time comes they can know to come to me if they need support. So I am an open book. I expose myself. You can always tell what page my picture is on. You can read my Facebook or Twitter and look-see and go, “Okay. So that is how Val looks and feels like today” as if it’s my own weather channel.

But… I’m now realizing that it’s not wise to do that anymore. My friends are getting scared off. I’m sharing too much emotional crap. My policy of being so open is influencing them to think I’m all kinds of unhealthy. I suppose writing down my every intimate, twisted, bizarre thought is alarming, albeit I don’t have an exterior monologue like that!

It is time for me to edit and update what I write to truly reflect only who I am on the outside.

How superficial.

Do you want me to be like that? To breeze through your lives like I’m made of  perfume and smoke and smiles and small talk lounging at some neon-lit bar… Because that’s what I liken a lot of social media to, like sitting at those seedy meeting places that can sometimes bore me to death, where people never have anything intelligent to say, only sometimes, but it’s all about meeting people to hook up with in the end anyway. Not interested here.

I only came here to dance.

But it’s impossible sometimes to dance alone. Especially when someone has suddenly stolen the music out from under you. “I’m doing this for your own good,” a voice over pipes in, “I’m taking your favorite song away. I know you loved it a lot, yet I’m pulling the plug. I don’t care how much you loved it. Was it the song or the dance that made you smile everyday anyway? Well, it doesn’t matter to me, I don’t care, you can always find another song, and I only wish you well…”

People destroy things they do not understand have so much value to someone else. They do not even understand what is really being valued. Assumption is the mother of all mistakes.

A friend of mine, someone I consider my personal hero, assumed I am obsessed with him, so he broke his friendship with me thinking that it was the best thing to do for my mental health. He blamed it on his lack of time to give and that he only wished me well. But he failed to really ask me what it was I wanted or even what it was I valued about him. His information about me is askew, much of it likely based on a past when I had a crush on him, and he has yet to give himself the real opportunity to know me as I am now. I’ve been a loyal, supportive friend, been there through many of his ups and downs, and he has hurt me more than he has done good for me by breaking away.

But I live for love. My policy is to pour love over anyone and anything that hurts me unnecessarily. It’ll only hurt me more to feed it with anger.  However, I am sad. I have a right to grieve over a senseless loss of a friendship.  Yet I am not sad that he’s hurt me.  I’m sad for him.  He has chosen to reject one of his most faithful friends.  And I’m sad that he thinks that I care for him in an unhealthy way.

His sudden break from me was a sword shard to my heart, and I screamed and screamed, and my screaming face and shaking body must have been one frightening sight. Imagine if I was in the middle of the street with a real stab wound, freaking everyone out who saw me, my blood squirting out all over the place, me creating a huge mess, people running away screaming at the sight, my neighbors helplessly looking on and frantically calling 911.  If that were the case, I would have immediate help.  A wound like that gives no doubt for help, but since it’s emotional, it can be seen as a cry for attention, or some would see it as an emotional manipulation on my part to get my friend to come back.  But what good would that do?

I would not want to cast a love spell to bring back any of my ex-lovers.  Why?  Because to do so would be forcing someone against their will to be with me.  Do you know what happens when you force someone to be with you?  You do not convince them to love you.  They will resent you for manipulating them to act against what they desired.  When someone gives up their desires to please you, it’s an emotional imprisonment, and not something I would want to do to someone I care about.  I want someone to be my friend or lover out of joy, not out of obligation and resentment.

So, if somehow I did or said something to make it seem like I was holding emotional power over a friend, and they break away from me thinking I am manipulating them, there is something going on I do not know about, something I really do need to fix.  How can I help?  What can I do?  But when I’m not given the tools to smooth the way between friends, I cannot do anything but wait for it all to be over, suffer the pain, and treat myself with love, praying all the while that somehow time will be on my side.

I do not like living knowing that anyone does not want to be my friend because they think I have mistreated them.  I am not a creature of malice.

The kind of attention I give my friends is the kind of attention I think is awesome, yet some people may think it’s weird. I have read about friendships in literature, especially heroic epics where friends really go to the deep ends for each other, and the friendships that took place in literary history where writers shared beautiful correspondences… I had hoped to encourage that kind of relationship with the friend who lost me because our rapport was always spot on when it came to discussions on magic and heroism.

My hurt is a hollow kind of hurt, a hole in my heart. I can walk, eat, breathe, do what I can to live, but for a long while I anticipate doing things all half-assed.  I was separated from him for seven years before.  I once thought that I had to break away from him because he had moved away to another city, had a wife, a temple, and therefore didn’t have any room in his life for me anymore.  I thought saying good-bye would make my mental health better, yet I made my life worse.

Missing that friendship felt like, at least to me, always missing a part of myself, like blurring out a big chunk of my memory that I really could not successfully shut out, yet the constant practice of attempting to shut it out kept my body tense and produced migraines.  He was never someone that I had wanted to strap onto me with some force to make it fit against me against his will, but even now, with him pulled away, he was this nice, warm blanket of a friendship that made me feel confident, like no matter where he is in the world, knowing he’s out there and still my buddy, we’re friends taking on the world together.

And that when we meet again, we’d share the worlds we’ve ruled, have a party, and clink goblets with the Gods. *sigh*

Instead of that vision, I’m left in mourning, mourning-knowing that I won’t have that friendship. And that I’ve waited, looked forward to meeting him again, supported and cheered him on from a distance for so long for nothing. The thought of him not wanting my friendship tries to kill me, but I won’t let it. It wants me to get bitter, but I resist that with all my might.

I only love, and love, and love some more, and stubbornly call everyone who rejects me the same way all a bunch of fools. Oh, and if people do not like how I am choosing to get over this by writing about it here, in this way, they can eat it!

This is my story. My heart. Me.

Postcard #42: A Smile Peeks Out

You know what?
The most beautiful thing happened to me today,
I saw your face in my reflection looking back at me
out of the corner of my eyes, a shine like no other —

a smile I can’t help but recognize, wrinkles at the corners of my lips
from where the line of my mouth is forever crooked,
in the way a front porch of an old home is bent
under the weight of many past guests over years of parties
and even the way I hold myself together is the way
you taught me how to hold a sword, how I hold my books,
how friends hold hands, how I lift my chin when I speak
even how I hold my back straight, and when I do battle as I dance —
The most beautiful things peek out of me all the time,
at times when I least recognize them, automatic, like machine
like nature, like clock work working chiming ticking the time
in the ways I climb and walk, the little ways in the way
a whisper of you is in how I giggle and talk
shadows of you tickle throughout my thoughts
I cannot erase any bit of you, even if you paid me to
make a map of my mind and lots of you are so easy to find
The most ugly thing I ever attempted was to cover all this up,
I tried to hide you, clear you out of my sight,
punish myself for every like of you, and
banish you to ghost, leaving no souvenirs behind
traces of you were too numerous, I could not succeed
you have been tattooed inside me, like brilliant graffiti
in exotic colors, too vivid to lie hidden, and like flowers —
the more dirt I put them in, the more they bloom, bloom, BLOOM again!
 
So, you know what now?
I am the most beautiful woman today — all because I knew you
and you never really left me alone, because there you are
in my face all along…
this face is older, wiser, the eyes darker, ‘specially underneath
and tear-traced are the cheeks, and yet I dare shine
through all this dullness and age, I feel I am a prize
I am the smile I cannot keep to myself
not always because of you
but because of how I love and
the way I love you must also be
the way I have to love me.