Thursday, December 27, 2007

Failure

I must be getting a bit mystical because I asked for a dream last night. In Hebrews 11 it talks about all the rather horrid ways people have had to live and even more horrid ways they died; searching for the country they believed it but never saw with their own eyes. I never even believed. So I wanted a dream: a dream to tell me the meaning of specific horrific icky things that are happening to me. And I got a dream.

I woke up at 5:45 a.m. from a dream about some nebulous time between high school and my second or third university degree. And all the people who had looked down on me and bullied me in school were there. There was an opera and dance performance prep and they had recruited some people to help from the school. It was a simple move based on fencing that the “background dancers” (me) were supposed to do. But no matter how many times I did it, I was wrong. And the director said “We’ll work on it later” in that tone which means I wouldn’t be working on it later but I would be seeing the stage director later. And the stage director would be telling me that it just wasn’t working out and that I could be just as valuable working behind the stage. Only no matter what I tried behind the stage, that just didn’t work right either. And people were getting tired of waiting for me to get it right, which I never did.

I guess some of that could have come from the fact I had a strong case of the dropsy’s and hand tremors yesterday. But I interpreted the dream simply as: Failure. That my life has been one in which I have failed: mostly in meeting the expectations of others. I failed to get straight A’s, always a B somewhere. I failed to go to the wife molding religious college that had already reserved a place for me (without even submitting an application). I have held dozens of jobs but failed to begin a significant career. I’ve lived in the woods for long periods of time while working or going to university because I didn’t have money for tuition and rent. I’ve also squatted in unheated buildings; in places without bathrooms, where McDonalds and bladder control got me through the nights. I took up fencing to help me with mental control regarding PTSD; until I had sold all that I could to keep paying for what is/was a very expensive sport/hobby. I was, with a single exception, disliked at my club. I even threw a fencing club party to which no one came. Actually, I’ve thrown several parties but when people found out I was holding them in where I was living, in unfurnished and unheated, concrete floored sections of unfinished basements; in the end, no one would come. I have done many things, some adequately, but never fulfilled the expectations of those around me; because in the end, I would move on, looking for the next thing rather than dedicating my life to the double bass, or the newspaper, the art journal, the mathematics, the marathon, asylum seekers, Christian Religious Theory, or the great outdoors.

And the irony is that now, I suffer and will eventually die because my body and my autonomic system is failing. I will die, due to failure. This is the time when I ask myself: Have I been a good partner? A good daughter? A good friend? A good person? I guess that for most of those questions, my life circumstances would answer “no.” There isn’t a single person from high school through the 14 years at university that still speaks to me (indeed, after ‘coming out’ the day AFTER I passed my Viva, my references rescinded). Nor this week, with the exception of Linda, has a single immediate or extended family member spoken to me. Most of that is because I said things, things that people didn’t like to hear. And because I guess they thought they had a relationship with one person and it turns out it was with someone else. I don’t think that living and yes, having sex, with Linda is wrong. A lot of people do. Even non-religious people would say, that “it is their generation” or “not something I am comfortable with.” I spoke about sexual abuse I received from people who went to my church. And even more, I spoke about how the church itself was set up so that sexual, emotional, physical and other abuses were carried out with regularity and when the reply from the “Elders” was that this was a “test from God” instead of “call the police.” When I talked about the abuse in my family I did not realizing it would mean my parents choosing between their grandchild and me. As for my extended family; they didn’t approve of my parents’ religious choice so I simply had no contact with them except a few times as an adult. Though most of them living very near here, I don’t think any of them know that I am sick, and since I am “living in sin” I doubt they would care. I mean, they never cared about their own sister trying to escape from a physically abusive husband (she lived for a while in the woods too).

A good daughter; no I am not. I have never lived up to my mother’s expectations; even the emotions I have are wrong (or so I am regularly told). But since she spent her life trying to live up to her mother’s expectations, I am simply glad I don’t have a daughter (stop that cycle). I don’t think my Grandmother ever said she loved me….or to her own daughter. The one thing I know from my mother is that I am going about my illness all wrong: I wear the wrong clothes, care about the wrong things, feel the wrong emotions, and so when I am not verbally overruled, I am simply avoided. My mother has a good relationship with Linda. When she wants to tell me something, she relays it through Linda. So in that regard, I guess more of a monster than a failure; monsters are things you avoid because of fear or disgust. Yet I think we are so close in many ways that I would die happy if we fell down Reichenbach Falls, I don’t know if I would even strangle her, just lead her to her death by her desire to strangle me (Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty fell to their death strangling each other over Reichenbach Falls) .

But is that all I am? Failure. Probably not, but some days, I really do have to wonder. I rarely have ever drunk alcohol and only once in excess and I have never done drugs. I have however, run until I bled. I’ve cut myself thousands if not tens of thousands of times. I’ve attempted suicide from starvation, dehydration, alcohol poisoning, pills, walking in front of traffic, lying down in snow, and many other ways I can’t remember. The starvation took the longest, and probably came the closest to succeeding; months of wanting to die every single day. And in the end I was a failure in that too. Yesterday someone asked me what a person feels that makes them want to cut themselves. Sometimes it is just because you feel so much of nothing that having any feeling, even pain would be a relief. Sometimes, you want to strike out against your anger, your frustration, your helplessness but don’t want anyone to be hurt, or damaged; only yourself. Sometimes it is just the fear that the risk in hoping or trying is so terrifying that you need to remember who you are: An object; something to be used and discarded. I wonder why people think I would hurt someone else when I would do almost anything to myself from the fear of even disappointing them. I’ve punched myself in the face, left welts.

So that’s it, that is the great vision, that I’m a failure; that I die a failure from a body system failure? I was sort of hoping for something I didn’t already know. I’m not convinced I was sent the right dream. Linda says that if each trouble in my life were a pebble, my bucket would overflow. Linda always has these farm analogies that confuse me. I think that either means I have had a “tough row to hoe” or I am really good at failure (Linda read this and say that because “you have been stuck in so many fires, you are such a strong person” – did I mention her analogies confuse me). Linda is still worth all of them (the immediate and extended family). I just wish that either I could have been who they wanted me to be; or that they could want the person I am. My mother told me this year that she wished everyone could experience the pain of knowing someone like me.

24 comments:

Tom P. said...

Holmes didn't die at Reichenbach. It is revealed in The Empty House that he had gone into hiding.

but never fulfilled the expectations of those around me

And that is a good thing. Work on fulfilling your own expectations and the hell with everyone else... including those who comment on your blog.

kathz said...

If death is failure, it's part of being human. There's a bit in a Sara Paretsky novel (I think it's Toxic Shock, which is published as Blood Shot in the U.S.) where Lotty tells V.I. that being human is a matter of accepting that you have limitations and can't change the world single-handed - only make small differences. (She says that it's fascists who try to change the world single-handed.) I find that quite useful when I think of what I haven't done.

I didn't get the British equivalent of straight As. I wasn't popular at school. I haven't had the experience of serious abuse or serious illness but I'm not living in a loving relationship with a partner either. My career has its advantages but it's not exactly what I would have chosen. I'm not a good fencer either but sometimes it's an advantage to take part in an activity without the weight of other people's expectations. (Sometimes I very much wish I were better at fencing.) I too have very bad dreams about failure.

I can't understand your family. I think sometimes mothers tend to hope their daughters succeed where they have failed, or to see their children as part of themselves rather than as independent human beings. I imagine the prejudices stemming from particular religious beliefs (which I don't understand) have something to do with this. If your family don't contact you over Christmas, I think this suggests that they have serious problems which they - not you - have to sort out.

Against the things you haven't done - and we all have plenty of those - please think of the things you have achieved. You reached a high level in one sport and are now exploring another. You published a successful and effective novel. You have a string of academic qualifications which demonstrate your intelligence and ability. You communicate with English speakers around the world through your blog. You are a campaigner - and you are changing people's ideas and expectations about all manner of subjects. You have a happy, supportive marriage. That seems pretty good for one human being. Given the way you have to deal with the effects of your illness, that makes you a pretty amazing human being.

mental mosaic said...

Sure, you've failed at living up to other's expectations, but, boy have you succeeded at living up to your own. You've succeeded in being your authentic self. That's so damn brave!

Perhaps it's the time of year, but I, too, dreamt of people I hadn't seen in years last night. I was working at a strange restaurant where I thought I was the cashier, but couldn't find a register. I kept wondering if I was doing my job right, but didn't want to ask anyone, either. They'd hired me, right? I should know my job description, right? But no one was giving me any guidance, so I was just helping out as much as I could, hoping it was what they expected and needed. (Guess that's the symbology right there.)

Plus, a woman kept urging me to try the house special: a smoothie made with crushed ice, Coca Cola, chocolate and - secret ingredient - mayonnaise. It sounded awful, but she assured me that the flavor would surprise me. She was so kind that I finally decided to try it, but I woke up before I could take a sip.

Marla said...

I like Linda's sayings. I do think she has some good points.

Sigh. What a heart breaking post. And yet, I do believe great things come from suffering. You point out so many negative things in your life but I am sure you are not seeing the positive right now. Surely, you have inspired or helped some people along the way. Even in our worst moments we may not see how we are affecting the lives of others for good.

I too struggle with needing to please others. One of M's doctor's said this to me once when Maizie was very ill, "Sometimes Marla...the key to happiness is lowering your own expectations." At the time this infuriated me and yet it pops back into my mind on occassion. I have always struggled with setting expectations too high and not enjoying the things I have accomplished.

When I read this post I see amazing triumphs, not failures. I guess it depends on how you look at it.

And yet, the fact that you are in so much pain and suffering distorts how you see things. Try not to let the negativity take over.

Prayers and hugs sent your way today.

Gaina said...

I am certain your dream was fulfilling the psychological function of dreams, and helping you sort out the days' stress in the save environment of sleep.

Your life experiences say more about other peoples' failings than they do about yours. THEY were the ones who were ignorant, or snobby or fearful, or maybe even a little jealous of your courage in living on your own terms as a lesbian woman and refusing to apologise for loving Linda (how unenlightened up must someone have to be to think that loving another human being is something to be ashamed of just because they are the same sex as you?).

That's about them, not you.

And as for the suicide attempts, this is only my *personal* opinion but I would say they failed because it's just not your time. YOU didn't fail, you actually succeeded in staying here long enough to fulfil this life's 'blue print'!

I would like to recommend a Live Video channel to you run by a lovely friend of mine who is a teacher. She has this series of video's called 'The Fear Chronicles' and I think you'd really enjoy her warmth, and intelligence.


http://www.livevideo.com/lvbiansynic

...now please don't make me come to Canada and kick your butt. I hear it's a tad chilly over there just now and my thermal knickers are still in the laundry basket ;-P.

Katrin said...

"failed: mostly in meeting the expectations of others"

Haven't we all?

I certainly have. I will never be the daughter/friend/student/instructor/whatever that others seem to desire. Instead I am just me.

"I wonder why people think I would hurt someone else when I would do almost anything to myself from the fear of even disappointing them."

Many days, I wonder the same thing myself. In high school, people, other students, even teachers, would say, "You've got to watch out for her, it's always the quiet ones that will hurt you" What?! I'll do something to myself before someone else every single time.

I don't undestand humanity in general. Maybe it's just that everyone runs on their own fears, and what some fear the most is non conformity or that they will be 'found out' themselves, so they must hurt those who don't conform and are upfront with their differences, in hopes of hiding their own? I don't really know, that's just an idea.

Thing is I tried to 'conform' and make others happy enough to stop the abuse for most of my life, even though many times even that didn't work, that when I finally decided I'd had enough, and started talking again, it totally blew their minds, that I had opinions/needs/wants/etc and I wasn't going to back down anymore and they fought it even more, except by then I had decided to fight back for once.

I've pretty much decided that I can't control how others are going to act or react towards me, just how I act and react. So if they've got a problem with it, they can go shove it.

Anonymous said...

None of us can do everything we want to or as well as we want to, but if it makes you feel any better, you've achieved the things I'm still trying to. And your blog makes me feel better/less alone about disability, and I'm sure countless others. Your own well-being is important--you aren't responsible for other people's happiness--only they can achieve that.

I think your dream was about your worries, not a vision. I've never been able to command them at will. The subconscious has its own agenda, apparently expressing your fears.

My dreams lately are all about scooters/wheelchairs and problem solving about them. I dreamed last night about an automatic front door opener. Oh yeah, how am I going to get the front door and other doors? I didn't even think about it until then.

Veralidaine said...

I don't think you are interpreting your dream correctly. As a person with many strange dreams (I dreamt of a love affair with a female radio host in my city last night- strangely enough, in my waking hours, I am heterosexual!) I must offer my own analysis.

Your dream is not telling you that you are a failure- it is telling you that you are not content with being shoved into the background. When you asked for something to believe in, you were shown the opportunity to be seen- to be on stage in this play- and then you were shown yourself knuckling under after being unable to master a dance move and anticipating being sent to stage crew and then failing at that also. The answer to the question of why you have never believed in a mystical perfect land, according to your dream, is that your mystical land is not a place at all- it is visibility, the inability of others to ignore and dehumanize you, and you are continually pushed farther away from it.

In your life, you have tried to stand up and be an advocate for yourself, and the church members, abusers, and even your own family have pushed you back down, and when that failed to change you, they have made you invisible.

You are not an invisible person here, where nobody can shut you up- the internet is a free podium and stage where anyone can stand up and shout, dance, fence, box, or whatever they darn well please. I interpret your dream as telling you that you have the opportunity to really affect others in the time you have left on this Earth, and that you can find the medium to achieve the visibility stolen from you by church, family, and society in your talents at writing, boxing, and simply conveying your life and struggles to others- IF and only IF you do not succumb to the inward feeling that you DESERVE to be invisible and shoved backstage to fail some more.

cheryl g. said...

Failure as a daughter? Seems to me your family failed to protect an innocent child on numerous occasions.

Failure by society standards? Who cares what they think.

Let’s talk about success…

You love and are loved by an amazing woman.

You have earned multiple degrees Dr. McClung – not an easy thing to do.

You are a published author.

You are an accomplished athlete – still…

You have an amazing ability to share aspects of your life on this blog in a way that really reaches the readers.

You have the courage to examine your own life.

You are accepted by Fiona. (You’re accepted by Psycho and the gang too, but they are a bit more mercenary in their acceptance.)

saraarts said...

You and I have very different definitions of failure, and very different feelings about it.

"I just wish that either I could have been who they wanted me to be; or that they could want the person I am. My mother told me this year that she wished everyone could experience the pain of knowing someone like me."

I am sad that these people have such a hard time loving you, that if they love you they have so failed to let you know, to let you really feel it, and if they do not love you that they have failed to do so. That is a terrible thing, because they are all you had for so long, and they are the ones who formed your expectations not just for yourself but for the rest of humanity.

This is like a crime committed that cannot be enforced, a theft that cannot be reimbursed, a killing that only exists inside you. The accused can demur with a "And so what if I did? So what then? Tant pis, n'est-ce pas?" And you are left to wonder why you and what to do about the wound and all the missing stuff you're still going to need but can't have.

I am very, very glad you did not turn out to be the person you believe these people would have preferred. As much as this "failure" (your word, not mine) hurts you, it enriches me, the rest of your fans and correspondents, probably everyone you know, and certainly everyone who really does love you. You are far more compassionate than you would have become as the person they would have liked to design, and no matter what, regardless of external pressures and motivations, you have become who you were going to be, your unique self the likes of which has never been before and will never be again -- same as all the rest of us.

I am grateful just to be able to read what you write, even when it hurts like this piece.

alphabitch said...

Given everything that you've said about your family, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I'm glad you didn't live up to their expectations. And as cheryl g. pointed out, they failed to live up to their obligations.

It's difficult, though, whether you deliberately buck others' expectations or fail to meet them or ignore them -- there's still some struggle, I think, to even define one's own self-expectation except in opposition to all that refusal/failure etc.

elizabeth said...

I struggle daily beating myself up for not living up to everyone's expectations of me as a mother/friend/contributing member of society. Even my own expectations.

I fail all the time. Daily.

I even get nervous when someone refers to me as "smart" or "beautiful" because that means that in the future I will have to live up to THAT - because somehow I managed to convince people it was true. But when they see the real me will they throw me away? My big fear. None of us are perfect. But I am trying my best to at least be "good".

You are an incredible person. Back when you first started blogging and stumbled upon me we exchanged several emails. You were interested in who I actually was - and noticed that it ran deeper than what I offer up in my trivial daily rantings. That meant a great deal to me as - at the time I was struggling through a nightmare of a divorce. I have been grateful to you for that - but never told you. I tell you now. Not because you are having a particularly shitty day - I am sure there will be good days, and really bad days - I am telling you because you deserve to know it. I am telling you because I should have told you a long time ago.

I envy so much of what you have done. You have done things in your life that I can only dream I might do. I'm actually proud of you - if that makes sense. Go tell Linda you love her - having found the one person in the world who gets you - is a really big freakin deal. Plus - she puts up with your weird squirrel fetish... lol.

Here's to tomorrow being a better day.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Tom: Defintion of Pedant: one who unduly emphasizes minutiae in the presentation or use of knowledge.

I KNOW that Conan Doyle was forced to rewrite the Holmes mythos as much as he loathed to do so because people were not reading his IMPORTANT works like The White Company (I did), The Refugees and Rodney Stone.

However the metaphor of Holmes' death is in many ways the culmination of the relationship between himself and Moriarty, who was so both polar and similar that like matter and anti-matter only a determined joining by one would be able to cancel the other. Sort of like my mother and I.

Kathz: Well, I would say that it is idealist who try to change the world single handedly and facists who change the world because they are aided by the apathetic consent of millions.

I agree that in any group (say a family) pressure is brought to bear upon the non-conforming member. And the difficulty is that often people with serious problems with support each other tenaciously so long as they don't have to change. This is just one of those weeks where you find out in an emotional sense if you are a "have" or a "have not".

Mental Mosiac: DON'T DRINK the SMOOTHIE - my interpretation is you are channeling Socrates and asked to drink the poisoned chalice in order to prove your loyalty to the group. Or maybe I think mayo and Coke IS disgusting. Usually in my dreams it is ME being the only one who does the work (like in a grocery store I have to tell the employees standing there to turn the coolers back on as they stare at me with blank expressions) - and run around while trying to keep things going while eventually facing a manager who says, "This isn't creating a very good image of your work ethic now is it".

If I am so successful, or brave, why don't I feel it?

Marla: Yeah, I think it was just one of those weeks. Sorta. I guess my feeling is; it is not enough. I have worked hard, tried to be a good person, reached out to others and I live in a city where on the days Linda is away, if I had to go to the hospital; though at least 15 of my "relations" life nearby, no one would come to pick me up - or bring my kit from home. So what did I do wrong?

Gaina: I don't know about blue prints, and unless I am going to say that MY way is right; how is it, when others decide to hate me/us; they benefit! I mean, there were probably more family reunions and dinners over shunning us - we really brought a lot of people together (against us..admittedly) - so they get a benefit from the action. Don't worry, I will cheer up soon.

Katrin: "Haven't we all?" - yeah, it is like, 'welcome to earth' - 'the quiet ones that will hurt you." - what an amazingly cruel thing to say. I agree, I can't control how others act and I am not going to LIE because it is more convienant; nor will I be tethered as the Judas goat. But it sure does get lonely sometimes eh?

Anon: True, my subconscious has a lot of um, interesting dreams. As for getting scooters through doors - I recommend a RAM like they mount of trucks in post-apocalypse films like MAD MAX - that will make people LEAP to open the doors for you.

Veralidiane: Oh darn, your interpretation makes sense. Well, that wasn't a mystical revelation of an imagined country I can spend my time fighting for. Drat.

Cheryl: to offer your body a living sacrifice. What you say makes logical sense, just not emotional sense today, if ya know what I mean. I ate 20,000 meals at home and not one of them was "very good" - that's what my mother would say before every meal - "this isn't very good"; "I tried to make something good but it failed and now you will have to eat this." - She says it almost every meal to this day; I have to feel sorry for whatever was done to her and I have to wonder what she has done to me? I cannot express an honest emotion without feeling guilty and trying to explain WHY I have to express an honest emotion around her. She never read my book; she never came to see me fence; even in the same city. Oh no - I am a cliche - a mother/daughter dysfunctional relationship!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Sara: true enough - I wonder what your definition of failure is?

It is also very creepy that you know me so well, that you can describe the feelings I have which I could not describe myself.

Alphabitch: I think when you are determined to live a life a particular way; to be true and truthful and to not swerve from that regardless - you can know that this is what must be done, but there is still a price. Many people, my mother included call me "merciless" because I will not waver or relent (this is on things like "not giving into a bully" even if they beat me or the matter must be taken to the police; which includes telling family members so - and they are like, "You can't call the police at a family gathering" and I say, "Again, if you do or say these types of things toward Linda and myself that is a contravene of the hate crimes of Canada and I will call the police" (this would be after several attempt to get people to agree to NOT say certain things or to have a mediator etc - all refused) We simply didn't go to one "very important" family reunion because out of about 80 people we said, "If any of the more 'unsophisticated cousins or drunk uncles' try something violent simply because we exist - will you stop them?" No one would. So we said, "then we can't go." and they said, "But you HAVE to, it is the XXXXXXX reunion." And we said, "Will you stop them if they are violent towards us"; "Well, I'm sure that's isn't likely" - we said again, "Will you stop them?" - the answer was no. So we said, "Then we don't go." Response: Merciless.

Elizabeth: "I even get nervous when someone refers to me as "smart" or "beautiful" because that means that in the future I will have to live up to THAT" - thanks for saying that - I think this is common, at least in me. I often say, "Wait until you know me...." (meaning, 'then you'll leave' because I wasn't all you thought I was)

Thanks for letting me know that it helped back then and yeah, I'll just work on being 'good' and helping Linda smile.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Hi, Elizabeth, I read this post yesterday and it's taken me a whole day to think of how to respond, and I want to respond. Clearly I admire you, I've told you that before, so it's always a shock to find that the person you admire doesn't admire themselves. But I didn't want to say 'don't feel like a failure' or 'screw the expectations of others and live up to your own' - firstly as someone who lives tormented with self doubt and for whom 'self worth' is a goal taken out of reach by constant messages of inferiority by family - I get really annoyed when I try to tell people how I feel only to have someone throw in my fact a list of my accomplishments - I know they are attempting to be supportive but I just feel 'I don't even do 'self doubt' right'. So I'm not going to say anything about that. I also have gotten 'you need to live up to your own standards a f@@k anyone else.' I didn't find that helpful because I'm not a hermit. I live in a social world and have all sorts of expectations that I want to live up to. I want to be a good employee, a good friend, a good spouse (I've given up on the good child thing). I love it that there are those who have expectations of me. I love that I struggle to be the person Joe thinks I am. It makes me know that I matter. So, I'm not saying any of those things. I decided that you have a right to feel the way you do without people saying 'What YOU a failure' (this isn't about being a failure, it's about feeling like a failure). So heres all I got on this.

I admire you. Not for your disability, your sexuality, your bravery, or God forbid, your boxing. I admire your talent. I read you and feel that I'm reading a person with an incredibly original voice. A voice needed in the world, a voice desperately needed in the disability community, a voice that should be roaring through the gay community, and a voice that reverberates through my life. So feel how you feel, I know I do anyways, just keep telling us about it. Do what you will with that ... it's how I feel.

Tom P. said...

I'm not sure I understand. If you had written a lovely metaphor about the death of Lincoln at the bombing of Fort Sumter in 1860 would I be a pendant for reminding you that Lincoln was killed by Booth in 1865 at Ford's Theater? I also think way too much is made of Moriarty. "The Napoleon of Crime" appears in exactly one short story and doesn't do much more than die. And yes, I was a Holmes addict and read every story including the commentary by Baring-Gould at least three times when I was in high school.

And Sir Arthur killed off Holmes for the simple reason that he was sick of writing the stories. And he brought him back because no one would read anything else he wrote. Making money can be a very big incentive to an author.

saraarts said...

The definition thing got really long, so I'm answering you by e-mail.

Sorry to creep you out. I was aiming for supportive, not scary. (sigh) Oh, well, I guess I've FAILED again. ;)

Anonymous said...

Yes, a battering ram! Finally I can get into the restroom at work.

It sounds like your mother likes to inflict pain (didn't even read your book?). With my own mother, I finally had to stop expecting anything from her, then would just be pleasantly surprised if something more positive happened.

I would worry about the dream too much--breaking the rules, in life or in dreams, makes for positive change.

Lisa Harney said...

I can relate to a lot of this - I haven't had useful employment for a few years, partly because no one would hire me for jobs that I was qualified for, and partly because the constant rejection made it harder to seek out more employment - and the reactions I get from family and friends, that it's somehow my fault that I wasn't getting hired - didn't make it any easier.

Anyway,

Elizabeth McClung said...

Dave: I wanted you to know that Linda appreciated your comment very much because you articulated what goes through her head, that she knows there is no snap on/snap off cure of when you feel that way/see that way/got the bag o insecurities. And I appreciated what you said, which also shows you have been to a LOT of group activities.

Tom: Super, except for several years in Britian Sherlock Holmes WAS dead. I read the Holmes stories when I was seven and a few times after that (and the Professor Challenger series - Cracking!) and I was writing biographies of Doyle by 8th grade using all known materials and I have the original set of the Strand Magazine as well as several Doyle First Editions. And I read the S. Baring-Gould commentary AND most of the books by Baring-Gould. But who cares! Yes, I suppose I could have talked about Michael and Lucifer fighting but I wouldn't have had the nifty pictures from the Strand then. I guess if this is really what you want to discuss, okay - you found the tree but you lost the woods. And by the way, if you look at Victorian/Edwardian literature I am pretty sure you could claim that Holmes must be a) female and b) partially foriegn (British males were supposed to be like Watson, dim....loyal, love the empire...but dim).

Sara: creepy only in the seperated at birth kind of way - supportive yes.

Anon: it seems to hurt either way.

Lisa: yeah, the job thing is very frustrating as north america seems to be what you do IS what your worth is. Bah! Blah! Blech! More B words.

Lisa Harney said...

Yes!

I think I didn't get work because I put my writing work (as work history) on my resumes. Sorry about lack of diacritical there, I'm lazy.

Anyway, I think employers take "freelance writer" to mean "I'm making up work I've done in the past" even though I have a stack of books with my name in them . . . but what can you do? :(

Tom and Michel said...

And by the way, if you look at Victorian/Edwardian literature I am pretty sure you could claim that Holmes must be a) female and b) partially foreign...

Yes, I recall reading an analysis of Holmes with that claim. I also read an analysis claiming that Holmes was gay and Watson bisexual. What truly amazes me about the stories is how seriously so many people take them.

As far as trees and woods, your original blog entry was a little too close to home for me to comment on. But I will say this:

I don’t think my Grandmother ever said she loved me….or to her own daughter.

I had a similar experience with someone very close to me in my life which is why the first thing I say to my daughter in the morning and the last thing I say to her at night is always, "I love you."

ms bond said...

Hey Elizabeth...I love you! Not in a mushy romantic way, or crazed psycho way, just in the way that makes me wanna check and see how you are doing every day. You make me laugh. You find the irony in situations that suck and you know how to say fuck it...And when I wanna run around screaming I read your blog. And when I want to laugh I read it. And most importantly when I want to think and continue thinking I read it. So you know what? I love you.

Ms. Pet said...

I understand how you feel as I have often felt the same way myself. It is hard living on the street or just off from it, knowing you can be there any minute. It is hard speaking up and OUT about Incest and abuse and just using your voice. We are told in therapy and in feminism to use our voice, to speak our truth, but the minute we do, the very same feminists or people saying we should use our voice shame us, shun us, ridicule or attempt to silence us as it turns out, what we are saying...they don't want to hear. More like a "share your truth as long as it validates mine and my self concept of myself." *sigh*

I have often felt like a failure, and then, quite recently, actually, less then a couple of years ago, I felt triumphant. I was proud of the struggles and poverty and fucked up mental state, the first twenty years in my life I'd overcome and was now going to fly above. I felt good about myself and my accomplishments, which, were important and real to me. And then I moved to the mainland, tryed to come out again and basically got the message everywhere I looked, well, not everywhere, but close, from the majority of my dyke community that as far as they were concerned, i was a failure and...what did I have to be so proud about? Living on disability benefits, dependent on the State?

I don't see you as a failure, I find your writing, your truths, your "fuck you"-ness very validating, as in many ways our stories are similiar. But of course many ways different. *smile* But it's hard not to internalize the feeling of failure, the view of ourselves as failures when it seems to be what is reflected in so many other peoples eyes, back at us.

You have brought truth to the world, you have touched hearts with your writing, you have built community through your blogging, connecting people who might not otherwise have been connected. No, that won't make you millions, but it will make you live forever in our memories. That's not failing, that's simply an "Alternative Version of Success!" *hugs*