Sunday, December 20, 2015

Days of innocence, of family secrets; being beautiful; mostly good days

Annual cover, Thomas Jefferson High School
Except for the yearbook cover and the last photo, the pictures here are from Leslie’s iPhone… the world through her eyes.
Days of innocence; days of family secrets.
Everything was perfect back then and it was of utmost importance to maintain that myth – within individuals, families, communities, cultures…
Of course there were true good parts too, sweet things, beautiful things. Leslie and I fell in love during these days – when we all really did look kind of like the photo on the annual cover. We fell in love in that environment, that consciousness.
Then along came youth culture, the consciousness revolution, the sexual revolution, civil rights, women’s liberation, the war, the peace movement, all of that – we were the first rock & roll generation. It was a decade like no other before or since in the history of the world!
Now, there are still family secrets, but now there are places to go for help. Now it is a crime for teachers, doctors, nurses, etc. to not report suspected child abuse. Now there is awareness. Now the interview with the child and the police is not a bleeding nightmare for the victim (Respect and Love to Det. Lt. Walsh and Asst. DA Karnutsis – sorry about the spelling. They made it happen in Dallas). For the times they are a’changing.
A photograph of love
Now I know what a Majestic Feeling is.
1967… I would hear someone say, “_______ is so beautiful.” I’d think, “She’s not so beautiful.” Or someone would say, “He’s a beautiful person,” and I’d think, “What! He’s a guy. A guy can’t be beautiful.” But then my mind opened and I realized she is beautiful; he is beautiful; and most incredible of all, I am beautiful!”
When you find out who you are,
David in our Noe apartment, fall 2014
Beautiful, beyond your dreams
If someone had asked me if I ever dreamed myself as beautiful, I’d have thought they were crazy. Yet somewhere deep inside, from the beginning, deeper than consciousness, deeper than words I did dream of being beautiful. I awakened and became beautiful (you know, now and again).
At the same time, Leslie was showing me, loving me how to do beautiful… and I was reaching out, reaching beyond my misperceptions about myself and thus my misperceptions about others.
Another factor in the awakening was war. I came out of that war wounded, sick, soul-sick, skinny, tense, with violence barely below the surface – yet in all that, committed to somehow never lose track of the war, never lose track of being alive.
For the ones who had a notion,
A notion deep inside,
That it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.
One of our hangouts - patio at Thorough Breads
These things worked together in the creation of who and what I might be: the war-driven drive to be fully alive, Leslie’s love and the example of her life, and the changes in my consciousness.
How could anyone ever tell you, you were anything less than beautiful.
How could anyone ever tell you, you were less than whole.
People say things. Sometimes I’m staggered at what people have endured and how some things resonate all through people’s lives. Sometimes it’s extraordinarily difficult, even impossible to “choose to be happy.” Here’s to the ones who have endured – and to those who didn’t endure. And a Curse on those who cause such pain.
On Market Street
I wrote this in 2008: I was in the Parkland Psychiatric Emergency Room, in one of the little interview rooms with a woman, her daughter, her granddaughter, and one of my students. Their story was that the grandmother had learned that her husband was molesting her granddaughter – just as he had molested her daughter. “He’s not going to get away with it again, God-damn him.” There is a curse – the real thing.  
Two hard days the past few days. Otherwise I’m doing pretty well. There have been days in the past few weeks that I’ve actually not been more than ready for the day to be over(!).
Today I finished cleaning the house for Christmas. Part of the cleaning was moving everything off Leslie’s shrine so I could dust and rub the wood with oil, then put everything back. Of course everything in/on the shrine is of the greatest significance and I was sad and grateful and lonely for some hours.
I’ll be out shopping or whatever and see so many couples. It’s like that’s our natural state – in relationship.


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