Therapy. Repeat. Therapy.

TAM said someone’s name in passing the other day; a name I’ve said myself at least 5,000 times, but when he said it, I shook and snotted and sunk.

My reaction was so strong that I couldn’t rein it in. I crawled into bed and cried for two solid days. To be honest, a couple of weeks later I’m still not quite back to okay.

I understand that part of my reaction was because I don’t want my old world showing up in my new world. And in a town this size, just like Mr. Prine told us, there is nowhere to hide.

There are many overlaps that I have had to navigate – from friends on facebook, to co-workers, to shared social activism. I have managed to weave these bits and pieces into the background of my psyche – not allowing them to get me riled. Some of the connections have actually been blessings in disguise – offering opportunities for healing and reconnection.

Who knows why this one conversation, which was really about nothing except for a pair of children’s snow boots, should set me off the way that it did. But it did.

And the outcome…

HDD, get your ass into therapy.


For like, the 53rd time.

On a recent visit to my canyon refuge, an old friend declared, quite enthusiastically “I love EMDR!”

So maybe I will too.

It has taken me some time to find a therapist who, practices in Colorado, does EMDR, works on Zoom, is affordable, a woman, and normal.

I had one conversation where I dumped it all only to have the therapist on the other end of the phone refer me elsewhere. That was rough, and rather unprofessional if you ask me.

It certainly made me more anxious about doing it again.

But yesterday, I did. I am determined to get some help. I have an amazing community of friends but it’s not support that I so deperately need – it’s full on HELP.

I need fixing.

I sat on TAM’s bed for my first Zoom therapy seesion. I’ve barely used Zoom – maybe twice, so my inexperience and lack of knowhow added to the angst. So did staring at my own face for an hour.

All I could think was, “My eyelids are really droopy.”


She was great. Perfect as a matter of fact. Showed up in a fleece jacket and jeans, not feathers and flowing scarves and crystals. I thought that I could be friends with her in another reality.

We talked about everything but. We discussed my health and my family relationships and the pandemic. I was doing okay leading up to the real reason that I was there. As we got closer, though, my fingers began to tingle and my armpits began to pour liquid in a steady stream down my sides. Each breath got more shallow and my ability to pay attention to her was weakening.

And there were my fucking eyelids.

Honestly, just writing about this is making me shake.

One more indicator that in therapy is exactly where I need to be.

We got to the point where we’d discussed everything but IT, so it was time.

I am sweating and my eyes are welling up right now.

I gave her a bullet list of the key events that took place in that three-week stretch three years ago. Then there is a sublist of all that happened in the aftermath of those three weeks that I also shared. I left much out because we only had an hour – not a hundred hours.

I told her that I feel as if there is a dark, goopy, tangled ball of shit stuck inside of me that I can’t manage to shed.

After naming it all and hyperventilating in the process and telling her that I beat myself up for letting everything still have so much power over me, she got to speak.

“You never had the time or space to process any of these events. Everything still strikes you as freshly and painfully as when it happened.”

Then she said, without me having referenced the incident with TAM at all, “Sometimes even the mention of a name can trigger a devastating reaction.”

Yeah, I burst into tears again at that moment.

She said, “We can deconstruct this. We can take out the charge, the sting. You will still have painful memories, but they will be just that. Not triggers that send you into a tailspin.”

Tears are flowing down my face.

Can I really get some relief?

Is it really possible that my reactions, my feelings, my pain, are understandble, explainable, and not a sign of my weakness? Am I hanging onto this because I haven’t had the opportunity to heal, not because I am a puss?

Do I get to drop my feelings of shame around my continued grief?

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Was it really that much, that bad?

I think I really periodically need the reaction of “Oh holy shit” to remind me that it really was horrible and too much for anyone.

It validates me. And it makes me so sad.

In all of my perseverating and reliving and breaking down, I have come to see that there are mulitple layers to my grief.

As there usually are.

I am so pained and angry about what happened to me.

But on a deeper level, I need to grieve what happend to me.

I broke.

I functioned; I worked, I moved. I supported my son through his post accident trials. I shoveled snow and camped on the slickrock. But I was on auto-pilot. I did what needed to be done to not completely evaporate into nothingness. I couldn’t vanish because my children were also going through the shit – I needed to be there for them.

But I wasn’t here. I was shattered into a million little pieces. I felt no stability within myself. My world was small and dark and confining and excruciating.

I can barely write right now.

I have been so hard on myself for letting it all affect me still. I feel as if I continue to give the negative all of the power rather than reveling in the goodness that is my life now. I despise when my past impacts my interactions with TAM and my interactions with my entire home town.

I hate that I have trouble trusting my child again. Or anyone else for that matter.

I have been trying to muscle my way through all of this and brute strength has proven to NOT be the answer.

This woman, this therapist, made it okay that today, I have all of those feelings still. And, she reassured me that I can get some relief.

She didn’t get off the call as soon as I told her about my innermost demons.

There is hope that the charge will be taken out of the picture – that names and places and dates and any other connections will no longer be triggers that send me into a panicked tizzy that leaves me in tears under my pink comforter hugging on my sweet little dog scarfing down massive amounts of chocolate.

I’ve never done EMDR but I understand that it is super effective in dealing with trauma so I am holding out a lot of hope, although not expecting miracles.

Step one, accepting that yes, I suffered trauma.

Step two, stop beating myself up for still suffering.

Step three, move through it.

Here’s hoping.

I’ve stopped crying. Now I need food.

Destroyed by this

A new study has found that some popular forms of spiritual training — such as energy healing, aura reading, and, to a lesser degree, mindfulness and meditation — correlate with both narcissism and “spiritual superiority.”

An implicit feature of spiritual training is that it allows its adherents to distance themselves from their egos, and thereby from things such as the need for social approval or success. By encouraging self-compassion and non-judgmental self-acceptance, spiritual training should presumably make people less concerned with such things.

But as a new paper explains, spiritual training may have the opposite effect. Namely, spiritual training might in fact enhance people’s need to feel “more successful, more respected or more loved,” as the authors Roos Vonk and Anouk Visser write.

The first study to measure spiritual superiority

No previous studies had specifically examined this topic, which prompted Roos Vonk and Anouk Visser to investigate. Their new paper, “An Exploration of Spiritual Superiority: The Paradox of Self‐Enhancement,” appears in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

The authors developed a new measure they call “spiritual superiority.” It measures whether people feel superior to those “who lack the spiritual wisdom they ascribe to themselves.”

The measure’s questionnaires ask people to respond on a scale of 1 to 7 to a series of statements, much like would on typical psychometric tests. Example statements include “I am more in touch with my senses than most others,” “I am more aware of what is between heaven and earth than most people,” and “The world would be a better place if others too had the insights that I have now.”

Spiritual guidance, supernatural overconfidence, and self-worth

The authors also created three scales that they hypothesized would correlate with spiritual superiority.

The first scale, “spiritual guidance,” relates to how much people try to help others acquire the same wisdom they have acquired. It includes statements such as “I help others whenever possible on their path to greater wisdom and insight,” “I gladly help others to acquire my insights too,” and “I am patient with others, because I understand it takes time to gain the insights that I gained in my life and my education.”

The second scale is “supernatural overconfidence,” and it encompasses self-ascribed abilities in the paranormal domain. Example statements include “I can send positive energy to others from a distance,” “I can get in touch with people who are deceased,” and “I can influence the world around me with my thoughts.”

The third scale, “spiritual contingency of self-worth,” measures how much a person’s self-esteem is derived from their spirituality. Sample statements include “My faith in myself increases when I acquire more spiritual wisdom” and “When I gain new spiritual insights, this increases my self-worth.”

In the three studies described below, the researchers found that their scale of spiritual superiority is a valid instrument. Moreover, it correlates significantly with the other three scales. It also correlates significantly with narcissism, self‐esteem, and other psychological variables. Finally, it also correlates, to varying degrees, with diverse forms of spiritual training.

Assessing spiritual superiority

For the first of the three studies included in the current paper, Vonk and Visser recruited 533 participants. They found them by contacting schools and spiritual centers that offer courses in subjects such as mindfulness and energetic training.

The participants in this first study were about 75% female, with an average age of 51. They indicated that they were currently following some form of spiritual training. The types mentioned included mindfulness, meditation, energetic therapy, reading/healing aura, haptotherapy, reiki, and others.

The respondents filled in the questionnaires described above, and also answered questions about their age, sex, education, religion, and spiritual training.

The researchers found that “spiritual superiority” correlated significantly with self-esteem, mindfulness, supernatural overconfidence, and spiritual guidance.

As the authors predicted, these correlations were strongest for participants following forms of “energetic” training. These participants rated higher than the mindfulness/meditation students on all of the superiority-related scales, especially on the scale of supernatural overconfidence.

This makes sense, the authors write, as energetic training is meant to develop supernatural skills. This likely attracts students who already believe they have talents in this area.

Likewise, the training itself might further enhance their confidence. This is because no objective performance standards can conclusively demonstrate they are not in fact paranormally gifted.

What about people who don’t follow spiritual training?

The second study broadened the pool of respondents to include people who are not currently undergoing spiritual training. The goal was to compare their results on the spiritual superiority scale to those of the spiritual training students.

For this study, the researchers recruited 2,223 participants via a Dutch popular psychology magazine. Of these, 1960 were women. Their ages ranged from 15 to 82, with an average age of 41.

About a third had never followed any spiritual training; another third had followed mindfulness or meditation training. About 10% had followed some form of energetic training (including aura healing/reading). Another 10% had followed other kinds of spiritual training.

The result of this second study also showed that “spiritual superiority” significantly correlates with all the other measures. Furthermore, it also found the same pattern in Study 1. Namely there was a gradual increase in spiritual superiority as one moved from the “no spiritual training” group to the “mindfulness training” group to the “energetic training” group. And again, the results for the “energetic” group were much higher than for both the “mindfulness” and the “no-training” groups.

Correlations with narcissism

Study 3 tested the hypothesis that spiritual superiority is related to narcissism. As the researchers explain, past research has used the term “spiritual narcissism,” but none those studies empirically measured it.

For this study, the authors did not measure “agentic narcissism” (for example, “I am more special than others and deserve special privileges”), but rather “communal narcissism,” which describes people who think of themselves as more nurturing and empathic than others. Example statements that characterize this trait include “I have a very positive influence on others” and “I am generally the most understanding person.”

This study recruited 965 participants via various channels. These included a Facebook page about psychology, spiritual schools, and participants who were not able to participate in the previous two studies due to a lack of space. The final sample included about 88% women, aged 19-79, with an average age of 46.

The participants answered the questionnaires for spiritual superiority and spiritual guidance, as well as several existing scales related to humility and overconfidence, a short 7-item version of the Communal Narcissism scale, and a three-item self-esteem scale.

The researchers found that the correlation between spiritual superiority and narcissism was 0.47. This is significantly stronger than the correlation with self-esteem. And once again, the same pattern emerged in terms of the type of spiritual training that the participants followed. The weakest correlations were among subjects with no spiritual training, and the highest for those who practiced energetic training. The mindfulness/meditation group was in between, though it was considerably closer to the “no-training” group than to the “energetic” group.

Why the link between spiritual superiority and narcissism?

The authors argue that the lack of objectivity in the spiritual domain plays a role here. “Like religiosity, spirituality is a domain that seems like a safe and secure investment for self-worth,” they write. “One’s spiritual attainments allow lots of room for wishful thinking, thus easily lending themselves to the grip of the self-enhancement motive.”

And because spiritual matters are generally “elusive to external objective standards,” that makes them a “suitable domain for illusory beliefs about one’s superiority.”

The results of these three studies do not imply any casual direction; the authors suggest the causal arrow may work in both directions. On one hand, people may use spirituality as a self-esteem booster: it allows them to see themselves as special, and they can achieve progress in the spiritual domain relatively easily, as there are no objectively measurable outcomes (in contrast to, for example, sports, academic success, or wealth accumulation).

On the other hand, spiritual training may attract people who already feel superior. And the “extensive exploration of one’s personal thoughts and feelings” that spiritual training encourages “may be particularly appealing” to narcissists, the authors write.

Towards genuine spiritual growth

The people who agreed to take part in this research might not represent spirituality students in general. “The question is whether a truly enlightened person would even participate in our studies,” the authors write. “Would such a person be interested in or even capable of answering all these ‘me’ questions?”

In any case, the researchers hope that future research can “reveal more insights into the effects of spiritual training, and possibly the conditions and personality characteristics that facilitate genuine spiritual growth.”


For a day that had the potential to go many different ways, this Christmas will go down in history as one of the great ones.

I know that I am blessed. I know to not take it for granted.

After all of the running around and stressing about money and worrying about my mom being alone and listening to Pavarotti missing my father, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be laughs or tears.

It was both. In every good way.

About halfway through Christmas Eve – after hitting the Dollar Store at the end of my road TWICE, and realizing that I couldn’t clean my house because there is a handi-wipe lost somewhere within the multitude of hoses on my vacuum cleaner and having to call TAM’s daughter and her partner to let them know that my gift will, in fact, NOT be arriving on time – I was suddenly filled with joy. I let go of all the stressors and wishing that things could be different and decided to revel in the fact that I am loved and that I love those in my world deeply.

My father loved Christmas. I love Christmas.

TAM and I had a magical Christmas Eve complete with tequila and tamales and tenderness. We cozied up, thanked each other for our shared love, and slept like babies.

Yesterday, ALL of my children came over; Boys 1, 2, and 3. Girlfriends, dogs, TAM.

We masked up in the living room to exchange gifts then headed out for a socially distanced hike in the canyon. How fortunate am I to live in a place where I could safely and gleefully share the day with my family?

How fortunate am I that my children are willing to indulge their mommy by getting out of their PJ’s and driving all this way to wander amongst rocks and sand?

I adore being in their presence. Their laughter and teasing and hugs fill me up. Watching them embrace TAM because he is embracing me, embracing them, as part of one big family is the best thing that I can imagine.

At points, I lagged behind (not because the younger ones moved faster then I could;)) to enjoy watching them together. They all lead their own lives now. They no longer all live together. They don’t all get together very frequently, so it was a treat for them as well as for me.

I am not close with my brother – he doesn’t like me very much. One of the most important lessons I tried to teach my children was the value and preciousness of their relationships with each other. Watching them, listening to them, hearing their mixed laughter…priceless.

Two out of three of them have brought girlfriends into our little world. The girls couldn’t be more different, but they are each perfect for my boys. My sons are happy and in love. They are tender and caring and loving with the women they have chosen and who have chosen them.

Maybe growing up in a “broken home” has taught them the value of real, respectful, supportive love. Maybe they just lucked out.

But I lucked out too. If I have to share my boys’ attentions with other women, I am grateful that I have J and J because they are not only lovely but they wrap themselves around me as well as my boys.

My boys are happy. They are healthy. They are persuing dreams – making shit happen. They are kind, funny, affectionate, warm, open, and loyal. After all that my family has been through in the last few years, there is nothing that warms my heart more than to have all come out on the other side…


I hadn’t seen my boys in months. I was grieving. Two out of the three are moving away this spring and I couldn’t bear for that to happen without seeing them.

Fucking Pandemic.

But we made it happen.

The only only only thing that would have made the day more complete would have been to have TAM’s kiddos with us too.

I went from a traditional, husband-wife-two kids family to a cluster of misfits: The Mexican, the Mormon, the Homeless, the Felon, the College dropout, the mildly-unstable mom, and the incredible, twice divorced, super sexy single dad who stepped right in, stepped right up, and embraced the hodgepodge.

I wept with joy multiple times yesterday and I am welling up as I write this.

After all of the shit that we have been through – as individuals and as a whole – it’s a wonder that we not only landed on our feet, but did so with strength and resiliency and gratitude and determintaion and compassion and love.

I will be forever grateful for these oh-so-special human beings.

On days when life seems like more of a struggle, I will have yesterday to lean on, to remind me of all of the goodness that I have in my life.

My heart is full.

I feel a peace that I haven’t exxperienced in years (and years and years).

And I have renewed hope that one day, eventually, all will be right in the world again.

And I don’t take one single second for granted.

tooting my own horn

I take a lot of photos


birds, flowers, dogs, landscapes

I’m not all that great. I get some really good shots once in a while, mostly by chance

I do close-ups – zooming-in often eliminates having to worry about composition, lighting, setting, or anything else for that matter

I’m on a huge bird kick

my landscape photos are rather plain

but the thing is, I don’t care

I take all of my photos just for me

I hang them all over my house

just for me

if it makes me happy and isn’t completely blurry, I print it and hang it

because bird faces and flower stamens and smoky sunrises are glorious to me

and I don’t really care if my photos are professional or not – as long as they make me smile


today when I picked up my prints at the photo shop I was asked for copyright permission for one of my very own pictures of one of my very own birds who resides in my backyard

they thought I stole it

How great is that!?!

Is it covid or is it my normal?

I cried all day yesterday and as I sit in bed a write this, I am tearing up again.

I have chronic anxiety and a tendency towards depression. So when I cry all day, I blame it on that.

But then, I get online and read article after article about depression and anxiety on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic, and I wonder, is it that?

Probably all of the above, but I do realize that all of my hours alone have given me quite a bit of space to perseverate on all of the past transgressions and hurts and failures.

Anyone else dong that?

And then of course, minus my uterus and minus my youth, I’m still getting all PMS-y; but that could just be an excuse to eat flan AND ice cream for dessert.

I think that I am struggling to admit that I have succumbed to the struggles of Covid and isolation. I have convinced myself that time without being social is my dream world. But, even me, the ultimate introvert, could use some live entertainment.

I went to TJ Maxx yesterday to buy a gift card. In the town over the hill, in the more progressive and socially conscious next county over, they wear masks, sanitize surfaces, and limit the number of people in a store.

Imagine that.

Anyway, It’s hard to say “I went to the mall” here because the mall mostly consists of vacated store spaces surrounding TJ’s and Bed Bath and Beyond – the last men standing next to the long-gone Pier One and JC Penny.

I wasn’t planning on actually shopping because there is a pandemic and lingering in public spaces is low on my list of appropriate behaviors, but when I stepped into the store I felt like a kid walking into Santa’s Workshop with a shopping cart.

I promised myself I wouldn’t spend money on me – this is Christmas time – but I had so much fun pretending I was a gazillionaire. It was irresistable. I browsed high heels, lingerie, and butter dishes. I picked out 3 beaded purses that I didn’t need and thought about a fake mink coat. I picked up a few presents and some super luxurious hand soap for my kitchen.

For $3.99

I can’t tell you how liberating it felt to take my time and casually stroll through the entire store, coursing through every single aisle, checking out every single item on the shelf.

From afar. Not touching.

And to be able to do so, anonymously, because I finally got out of my 4-store radius, was like breathing fresh air.

It felt so normal, in a time when nothing has felt normal for so so long.

I told two saleswomen and a fellow shopper that this was my first time doing something like this since the beginning. One woman said, “Relax. Enjoy. I’d serve you tea if I could.”

Can you imagine if TJ Maxx served margaritas?

Eventually, I left, after miraculously remaining within my budget.

I also left with enormous awareness of how isolated I have felt – without realizing it.

I can see that those unimportant little things like filling up my basket with unnecessary cashmere bathrobes and butt-enhancing clay masks, are missing and…


Suddenly, I realize that even this introvert with an enviable quarantine-life (boyfriend, beautiful home, Elvis, and a natural penchant for shutting out the world) has been craving normalcy.

As often as I have said, “I love me a pandemic” I can now see that it has slowly been chipping away at my sanity.

I think about those folks who are not natural loners and worry. If this is killing me, what is it doing to people who have more of a desire, or need, to connect with other human beings?

I don’t really know if my tears are covid related or just my natural state of being. Because I am already anxious and depressed half of the time, I can’t say that this is any different.

But I can say, after my response to being in a discount store with bright shiny objects, that this pandemic has clearly gotten to me.

crying uncle

I’m so tired of it all

Covid fatigue

Election fatigue

Election fraud fatigue

Anger animosity hatred fatigue

I want the current administration to go away. To stop the hatred and the fear mongering and the resisting of reality

I want the new administration to move in and start fixing things

I want the virus to stop killing people

I want my neighbors to pull their heads out of their asses and WEAR A FUCKING MASK

I want the racism bigotry train to derail

I’ve gotten off Facebook. I spend only 5 minutes a day on Twitter

I’ve cut myself off from seeing people in person

I was reading the news cover to cover but have now reduced that to one or two headlines

This morning I clicked on a clip depicting the Proud Boys shenanigans yesterday at the MAGA march and as soon as I heard the yelling, I turned it off, traumatized by the amount of aggressive hatred that we’ve been exposed to all year

I can’t take any more

Of all people, I do not need another reason to cut myself off from the world

I need prompting to reach out to other human beings since my go to is “go away”

But I’m not seeing any reason to engage with 99% of the population right now

I am so tired

So very very VERY tired

I am discouraged

I am afraid that the little bit of hope that I felt post-election is wasting away with the chipping away of our democracy.

I’m tired of living in a country, and a county, where people are literally dying because of the rejection of a 5 inch piece of fabric

I’m tired of distrusting (and disliking) my community members

I’m tired of hearing the loneliness in my mom’s voice

I’m so tired of worrying about my loved ones

I’m tired of chaos

Elvis is tired of it all too


Aimlessly scrolling around the internet, clicking on headlines like “Women tweet about quarantining with their spouses” and “Did Rudy Guiliani really fart on tv” and “Why you should fill your bathtub with Dawn dish detergent” which led to “8 times you shouldn’t use vinegar to clean.”

Yes, it’s been an aimless, directionless, unproductive morning.

But here’s an interesting (and random) tip that I received while in the rabbit hole:

6. Never Use Vinegar On Egg Stains

Since eggs have protein enzymes, adding vinegar to egg stains — on clothing or on your car — could cause them to coagulate. However, some say vinegar does work to remove eggs from a car, as long as the vinegar-water solution is not too warm. The best bet would be to play it safe and opt for soap and warm water, so you don’t risk damage to delicate fabrics or your auto’s paint.

Do enough people really get their cars egged to warrant this helpful hint?

Where the fuck do you live and who are your neighbors??

human geyser

I think that one of the hardest parts about being me is that I have emotional overflow. Sometimes it eeks out, just a little dribble, sometimes there’s a tsunami, but since my “normal” is being filled to the brim with feelings, it doesn’t take much for my cup to runneth over.

Which, my friends, it has been doing a lot lately.

Winter? Darkness? Pandemic? Missing my children? Missing my Mom? Really missing my dad? Missing my uterus? Missing Gail?

Who knows what is causing the waves of emotion, but things are bubbling up all around.

I’m like a geyser getting ready to erupt.

I have spent a considerable amount of time crying lately. It just seems like there is a well of grief that is bottomless. As I tap into that, I feel anger and resentment and betrayal and frustration and the recurring theme of being misunderstood.

And judged.

Recently, I’ve been struggling with my (former) dentist’s office. They seem to be ineffectual, non-communicative, and perhaps a bit lazy. I will not go into details but my frustration with trying to get a dental cleaning has frayed me. I start to shake when I hear the word tooth.

The problem is that suddenly, because I am putting the pressure on for them to a) do their jobs and b) communicate with me about my own case, I am suddenly the bad guy.

Admittedly I have become a thorn in their side.

But, after 4 months, I am still waiting for a return phone call, an appointment, and my medical records.

So, yet again, I am the bad guy.

I am being judged for my reaction to a situation rather than taking it one step back to judging the actual situation which would make my frustrations perfectly understandable.

And I am triggered beyond belief because this is not the first time. This is a recurring theme in the life of someone who feels things deeply. The tables get turned onto the re-actions, not the actions.

I think it’s referred to as “gaslighting.”

Said tongue in cheek.

We all know it’s fucking gaslighting.

And I don’t handle it well.

And honestly, I’m not sure I should be expected to handle it well.

My ex-husband constantly blamed our problems on my reactions to things rather than his actions. If he came home for family dinner hours late with no call, no explanation, no apology, and we argued, it was because I got upset, not because he didn’t fucking show up.

I was told I was too emotional, too sensitive, too critical, too much.

Then, when the shit hit the fan with the breakup-accident-betrayalbyfriends shitshow, I was hugely criticized, judged, and abandoned because I was throwing a hissy fit.

Granted, it was a really really big hissy fit. And rather ungraceful.

But what was so devastating about it all was that while my reaction, my emotional overflow was seen as problematic, no one was willing to say, “Well, no wonder.”

My reaction became the focus, not the actions that led to it.

Even when I was a kid…

I remember so clearly being in a NYC hospital for knee surgery in the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. I was terrified about getting put to sleep and the dying man in the bed across from mine was oozing and gasping and fighting for his life.

I was terrified and told that I was being a baby. I think the words were, “You cry too much.”

So, with all of that, I am a bit self conscious about my emotions and letting them show.

And, with that said, I actually have no control over them and no matter how self-conscious I am, my feelings still come out of my eyes, my mouth, my heart.

Unfortunately, in the process of processing painful events in my life, I often have to deal with shame. Do I need to feel shame? Is that an appropriate feeling? Did I behave in a shameful manner?

I don’t know and can’t tell. It’s one of those pieces that I am constantly trying to figure out. I want to be honest with myself without beating myself up needlessly.

Should I be embarassed?

Does shame over my emotional reaction really mean that I am ashamed of my feelings?

Being told not to react, or that I am overreacting, (in my head) sounds an awful lot like I shouldn’t have been upset by the circumstances in the first place.

It gets really murky.

This all leads to today, and the 55 years of days leading up to today, when I am wandering in the canyon with tears running down my cheeks dripping onto the sand creating little dark spots that trace my path.

My grief is endless. My pain excruciating. And I wonder why I can’t possibly finally let go of some of the past.

I spin and obsess and perseverate over every little detail. I question myself, replay painful scenes, repeat the things I wish I’d said back then ad nauseam to Elvis.

And so often it spins around to my feeling misjudged and misunderstood.

I know that I am not the only one who has felt slighted. I wonder how other people, people that I perceive as normal, deal with those feelings and move on.

How do others move out of the well of grief, and perhaps self-pity, to the point of not caring about how they are seen – or at least not letting others’ opinions ruin their day?

How does one finally let go of the injustices?

How do I drain the well so that there is not constant overflow?

how do you drain tofu?

Last night I had a serious hankering for tofu and eggplant. I asked TAM f he wanted to join me,

“At gunpoint” was his response.

His loss.

When I lived in San Fransisco we frequently frequented Phuket Thai in the Haight. The food was sublime. Outrageously spicy, but delicious. My favorite dish was Eggplant Tofu Curry, which I attempted to recreate in my tiny Colorado kitchen.

Since no one else in my world is a tofu fan, I have stopped making the effort to prepare it at home, instead, ordering off a menu all of my Asian food, loaded with curd, knowing that I’ll never have to share.

But, with eating out no longer an option, I figured that I would do it up right – just for me.

When I opened that all-too-familiar plastic carton and sloshed that weird, white-ish, slimy liquid all over the counter I remembered that tofu fries up better with the water drained, and suddenly I recalled (with a shiver) how another chef drains her soggy soybeans…

I’ll get there.

When I worked for Outward Bound in Silverton, we spent 30 days at a time in the field; no showers, no lattes, subsisting on only freeze-dried veggies and instant brown rice and burning calories at an alarming rate. We had three days in between courses to fatten up and feed our cravings and revisit the joys of fresh veggies.

One night, during those three days, we would take a field trip to Durango to grocery shop, maybe indulge in a movie, and enjoy a meal prepared by someone else on a stove that didn’t fit in a fanny pack.

We had our choice and always chose Chinese.

Our restaurant of Chinese choice was a lovely joint that had a back patio and didn’t mind our slightly raucous behavior.

One of the best thngs about mealtime there was using the restroom. Why? you ask…

Well, because the women’s room had two toilets, side by side, hand-holding close, without a wall between them.

No shit.


Seriously though, when you entered, the sink was on the left, a table with extra paper towels, t.p. and fake orchids on the right, and directly in line with the open door, facing the dining room, were two normal potties, waiting to be used with one roll of toilet paper in between.

So many questions, right?!

But back to food…

I ALWAYS ordered tofu and lots of veggies. This grandma seriously knew how to fry tofu to crispy yet tender perfection. Mouthwatering.

For years, I tried to replicate her skills and knowhow.

I was told to drain the tofu.

I used paper towels and colanders and weights – everything I could think of to squeeze the last remaining liquid from the block of bean so that it would crisp up, not crumble when exposed to hot sesame oil.

The one thing I didn’t try, which apparently is what she did (according to a former employee) was squeezing the tofu in…

The yellow mop bucket.

I’ll just leave you with that.

And I’ll head off to my soggy, squishy, mushy, Mr.Clean-free curry.