anger

wicked game

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What a wicked game to play, to make me feel this way.
What a wicked thing to do, to let me dream of you.
What a wicked thing to say, you never felt this way.
What a wicked thing to do, to make me dream of you …. chris isaak

frances farmer.. image credit people.virginia.edu


a situation came up this week which jettisoned me directly back to a film titled “frances” which came out in 1982 and starred jessica lange. that story, told in words and pictures, still haunts me today. lange turned out a performance which embedded the struggle she was portraying into my mind’s eye. 
and all the nuances of that particular bio-pic’s telegraphed turmoil came popping up on monday like dandelions on a summer lawn. i found myself suddenly steeping in the primal dance i remembered watching and experiencing a reflection of ms. farmer’s internal struggle with her own body chemicals looking for balance. 
farmer lived by her impulses. her very nature was ruled by those impulses and her intuition. there are brain chemicals released when impulses are acted upon. fear, anger, sex, paranoia can all fuel these brain charges. people who are manic demonstrate this on a daily basis. i see it with frequency and have some personal experience with it. and her placement in an environment which put her directly under the watchful eyes of ‘healthcare” providers  (really just behavioral police) created a situation which caused her to just seem crazier and crazier- even though she was most likely in touch with quite a lot of what she was experiencing. her behaviors were the 1st thing people were noticing and not her insight nor her brain. this sense of dismissal only continued to frustrate her and cause her to “act out” even further. her anger and her frustration were the part of her that was knocking on doors.  it was a vicious and crippling cycle for her and created an environment for a lobotomy. 
all this flashed  before me as i encountered an updated version of someone i love from my past. i felt sad. horrified. i felt helpless. i felt as if i were witnessing an accident in slow motion. these feelings were so pervasive that it could have been deja vu. none-the-less i tried to help. i spoke some truth. i used strength-based support. i have no real concept of how my information was received. 


”FRANCES” is based on the sad, profoundly troubled life of Frances Farmer, the golden-bright Seattle high-school girl who had some measure of Hollywood fame in the 1930’s, in such films as ”Rhythm on the Range” and ”Come and Get It,” and one Broadway triumph in the Group Theater’s production of Clifford Odets’s ”Golden Boy.”

In the early 1940’s Frances Farmer went into a physical and emotional tailspin that, according to this film, was arrested by something that can only be described as ice-pick therapy. Apparently with her mother’s consent, she was subjected to a transorbital lobotomy that turned a talented but disturbed woman into an eerily calm humanoid who lived on until 1970.

At the age of 56, Frances Farmer died of throat cancer in Indianapolis where, she spent her last years as the hostess of an afternoon television program.

”Frances,” which today begins a one-week engagement at the Cinema 2 to qualify for 1982 film awards, is such a mixed up movie that it still seems to be unfinished, as if Graeme Clifford, the director, and the writers hadn’t yet discovered the real point of the Frances Farmer story. It contains too many show-down scenes, too much raw material that hasn’t been refined, and more brutality than either the movie or the audience can make dramatic sense of.

Yet it also contains a magnificent performance by Jessica Lange in the title role. Here is a performance so unfaltering, so tough, so intelligent and so humane that it seems as if Miss Lange is just now, at long last, making her motion picture debut… reprinted from newyorktimes.com

jessica lange as frances…. image credit filmmisery.com
i have been watching footage of news coverage of the floods of 2013 with hodge podge curiosity. it somehow startles me just how rapidly a sense of security and safety can be washed out from under us. i have moved from the honeymoon  phase of a part of my life to somewhere that feels entirely different. i  struggle with inspiration, recognize betrayal and am reminded of the scent a hooker must encounter when she realizes that she is merely being used without much care or concern for the rest of the skills (person) she brings to the table- she is only there for 1 thing. it is if a mudslide has sabotaged my sense of home and safety, washing most of the daily comforts away, leaving silt and mayhem in its midst. in no way am i even attempting to compare my current discomfort to the actual devastation left by the floods i mention- i am merely creating a metaphor to demonstrate my emotional life. my real home and my belongings are still very much in tact. i can still watch tv and take a shower. but i have lost touch with a feeling of safety that had helped me shake loose a prevalent feeling of uselessness that had become home.
walking through the aftermath is what recovery has come to mean for me. not only are there the tangible challenges that life has to offer, but there are the primal patterns and labyrinths we have created as well. maturity affords us perspective, courage, and hope. these attributes feel very different when instinct and impulse are no longer driving the bus. i am going to do my very best to see myself through this challenge, just as i encouraged my dear friend to do. anything less is hypocracy.

“If you are never scared, embarrassed, or hurt, it means you never take chances.


justified and ancient

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image credit…. kriistina wilson

Fortunately analysis is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts. Life itself still remains a very effective therapist.

this year has opened up the realization that i still have some anger issues. not just current ones, but some residual leftover justified and ancient pissed off. haven’t actually taken the time to figure out what the f**k i am angry about, but i have learned that it’s okay to move one step at a time.

as i do the work again with my sponsor i find that the revelations are more intimate. at the same time, my work grows in intensity- both quality and quantity- at the hospital. i am discovering just how primitive and how intricate working with others can be. 

what i do know is that this hidden side of me- the angry side- has protected me for years. it has allowed me to operate “as if” when i most definitely could not have otherwise. this makes good sense to me, but i honestly had no clue that my rage and i had formed a symbiotic relationship. i’m not even sure i have a clue as to how not to be angry- that’s a scary statement.

now i am not talking about typical garden variety anger here. no, no, no. i am talking deep rooted thistle type anger that keeps coming back even after you pull it, burn it, dig it. that’s the kind of rage i think there is. rage so thick that it protected me from all the times i was used and discarded, all the names i was called growing up. anger that encircled me in denial for the 1st 12 years of being hiv positive- that double helix kept me alive and strong for over a decade as if i had an inner layer of titanium protecting me from the environment.   i know it has been there since my childhood. and i know that it has been my soldier and hero. but i can definitely say it’s not serving that purpose in my life today.

this is probably the 1st post of at least a few to process and saute this issue. i pray that i am actually ready to let go of this no longer needed companion. i ask for the strength to trust life today. no doubt this will take time. and i’ve already been given more time than i had ever imagined.

They’re Justified, and they’re Ancient,
And they like to roam the land.
(just roll it from the top)
They’re Justified, and they’re Ancient,
I hope you understand.
(to the bridge, to the bridge, to the bridge now)
They called me up in Tennessee
They said “Tammy, stand by The Jams”
But if you don’t like what they’re going to do,
You better not stop them ’cause they’re coming through
(bring the beat back)

haven’t got time for the pain…

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“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”…Rabindranath Tagore

i spent the morning reading texts from a friend who is angry. not at me per se, but at life. he has struggled with his art, his work, and his finances for the last several years. my belief is that it is taking quite a toll.

he has always had a tendency to be critial of others and sharp witted with his criticisms. but this once very entertaining leaning of his seems to have shifted into toxic territory. members of his inner circle have left the building and are staying as far away as they can. getting close somehow gets them under his silver-tongued knife and who wants to live like that?

not surprisingly, he messaged me with diatribe that was intended to surprise and stir up doo doo about them and with me. and on a small scale, it worked, but i didn’t want to give rise to that energy. some of what he said was no doubt true, but certainly not all of it, and his intentions didn’t merit respect.

but i’ve known him for 30 years or so. i care about him and have made a few attempts to share my new direction with him, and he listens although i am not sure he hears. i know he is hurt by this seemingly endless struggle, by the loss of his nearest and dearest, by the insistence of his family that he let go of some of his dreams, and this hurt has become a virus that has taken hold of his heart.

i am sad. i rebuffed his shit-stirring attempts and highlighted the posture of assuming the best, making room for good in life, choosing peace. but i don’t know if i’m heard. i don’t know if i can help. i know i don’t have to to judge or set free. i can try to understand and hold a light. i can remember that i have loved him and understand he may need it now more than ever.

carly simon.. 1994… grand central station…. i haven’t got time for the pain..

disturbing behavior

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i got a call yesterday from a guy whom i used to work with. i had helped get a program called “mile high meth project” going- had done a lot of research, checked out programs in other cities, campaigned for funding with the ryan white fund aficionados and had delivered an evidence based curriculum for gay men and a funded 3 year grant. it had been work, but mostly fun because that’s how i roll. anyway this guy came into the picture after being released from employment at a boulder case management agency and came on board with our programs. he he infused himself with stealth into our team and began to smoothly accept credit for work he hadn’t done. it irritated me a bit and i still haven’t  forgotten- but that’s later on. soon after he arrived,  i was released from service from that agency after some protracted intrigue and planned deception. you can read about a bit here at my former blog..

so when he called today, i felt a rush go through my system. it was one of those moments i had quietly been coveting for a few years- a possible opportunity to right some old wrongs and get some vengeance. i returned the call and spoke with the now mad hatter. he has recently been released from service from this same agency and has concocted a scheme to bring a suit against the organization, perhaps to right his own wrong- or perhaps to fix a plate of steaming hot revenge. he relayed his 4 pointed plan and i realized that here within my reach was something i had fantasized about these years and it was completely vulgar and distasteful. i quickly wondered how i got to this point, but immediately knew that i had created this window. now all i have to do is find a way to board it up.

thank god for my inability to take action sometimes. it saves me from myself… i don’t always really want what i dream about. not at all. not even a little. .