Sunday, April 15, 2012

Momma had a baby and her head popped off !!!!!


This was one of  my childhood addresses. Actually the only one I can remember.  I can still see the large modern, bubble white numbers going down the front of the house. Boldly announcing its presence as if wonderful things were happening inside. Maybe my step-father had those dreams when he put the numbers up. He would end up heartbroken like the rest of us.

Now one would think  with a name like Sunnyside, it would filled with less than bright days, joyous events and perfection. This was not the case. Most of my childhood was a series of upheavals , moving and moving from one place to another. My mother got married many times so in addition to the moves, there was a revolving door of "fathers" that would come and go. With sparse visits from my birth father as he embarked on his own multiple marriages.

Strange.... I recently met a woman from Michigan and her parents had been married multiple times as well.They were also the same generation as my parents. Of the late 1950's ushering out a sort of innocence and in a rebellion. We were the casualties.

I must say though..... even with much despair, there still lived many magical moments. As is the case with childhood. It is the duality of life. We cannot have the good without the bad it seems. Don't blame me.  Have to talk to God about that one........

I lived here on Sunnyside from 1st grade through 5th grade. Ages 6 to about 11, if my math is correct. Although not perfect, this was the most idyllic time in my childhood before lies and deceit blew the illusion of this familial sand castle away.

 It was the early 70's and orange was a powerful color that reigned supreme from interior design to the clothes we wore. Our house was filled with it. Along with plastic mirrored walls and plastic parsons tables everywhere. That was quite a long stretch for orange. I remember it lasting well into the 6th and 7th grade. Awful to wear unless you are a woman of color. Especially on me as I was as pasty as they came.

It is strange what you remember as a child. Some have no memories at all. Too painful, they block them  out. Like a woman does with the pain of birthing her baby. A veil just silently and gently falls over the painful memories. Like the first snow signifying fall turning to winter. It is as white as a clean piece of paper. Silent. Dense in its colorlessness. Yet ripe with potential of truth to emerge. Or delusional stories born of a deep seated denial. What once helped them to survive, now prevents them to thrive.

Never wanting to become the queen of denial , I continue my daily work of pulling the pieces of me back together and attempting a sort of integration necessary after the disintegration of my particular childhood. Part of my way is to re-member with my little self. Sherri. Spelled S-H-E-R-R-I. I was instructed very clear of this specific spelling by my rarely present father in a bowling alley once as my brothers and I  put own names on the board above our heads. It made me feel special. The crumbs of knowing he and my mother had actually discussed the how of my name being spelled. Little, yes, but I took what I could get.

This morning on Facebook  I read a post from a girl I knew during this period of time. She reminded me she had the figure 8 pool. And that she too is a loud Michigan girl. I long to connect with her and remember her better. I am pretty sure I do. Hard to forget those coveted families that could actually afford a pool. I also believe she and I had some great times listening to Elton John at his finest. Bennie and the jjjjjeeettssss!!!!

As an actress one must explore the darker parts of one's personality. DKL taught me that well. Not to be afraid to shine a light into the dark recesses of my mind, my memories, and so I have. If you are at all close to me, you will be subjected to a similar scrutiny. I apologize in advance. I was always exploring this way as a child and the perfect career found me to continue this exploration. I believe as I have quoted too many times to count.

An unexamined life is not worth living.

Some of what I have found in getting my masters doing this deep, personal and worthy excavating my old treasures, has been my own personal stuff from this life. Some is literally thousands of years old passed through a lineage that for all intents and purposes I really know nothing about. Not on a conscience level anyway. I trust what I need to know will be revealed.

 I watched a documentary yesterday about an ancient cave that had recently been discovered. With were these beautiful, pristine images drawn on its walls. So much sparkly crystallization everywhere. When people crystallize in their dead beliefs it is not nearly as beautiful.  There were many animal bones, no human ones. It was clear the humans did not live here but came to do art. There was also foot prints of mainly animals.

One in particular stuck in my mind. It was that of an 8 year old boys footprint with a wolfs print next to it. It begged the question........ Did the wolf follow the boy into the cave as prey?  Did the two walk side by side as friends? Or was one print made at one point in time and the other at a later date?

I choose to believe they walked side by side as friends like in the book, The Old Turtle. A favorite book that I used to read to Myles as a child. I need a new one to share with my Christian as well. Wonderful book. It speaks of a time when all living creatures spoke the same language.

My path is not to masturbate with the pain of the past. It is to no longer deny it. To discover, uncover and recover. To pull all of me back together and not live life as a fragmented, sad and self-medicating person.My medication of choice is wine. It could be worse. Where to some this type of work is scary, to me this is sacred work that sets me free. I no longer which to be held emotionally hostage by my past. This is what works for me. My truth.

I was granted a beautiful memory during my morning prayers a few days ago. A piece of me I had forgotten. Another piece of the puzzle. I remembered when it would rain on Sunnyside. I have always loved the rain. Still do.  As a child it always signaled to me its time to get on some warm clothes and go play!!!!! I would try to flood the streets by putting newspaper all over the drains in the street. Praying for the entire width of the street to become a rushing river , not only on the sides of the slightly curved road.

I would jump in a boat, ride the river and go to where the wild things are.......

As this memory filled me up, I sat and prayed. It poured outside almost violently  but I could feel little Sherri's excitement. I could feel the memories of being bundled up with the strings of the hood pulled tight to cover my crazy sensitive ears. And feel the rain gently sprinkling on my face. Free.... as a child .... without  a stitch of make a woman it mattered not how wet I got. Free of a care of what "they" might think. Dancing around. Jumping in and out of puddles.

As I write I cannot help but smile. A bittersweet smile. The wonderful memory........ Along with a sort of wonder as to where all that joy went. I sometimes now feel it difficult to really have fun. I seek to rediscover that joy, that pleasure. I know I am on my way to finding this joy again. I am firmly on my path. Thanks to God. And some very special people in my life.

It may not seem like much but it was a huge piece of myself to reclaim. To give this part of me voice. A voice that was shut down by fearful adults. They did the best they could, this I know. I blame less and less but my reintegration is essential to coming out of this self-imposed chrysalis state.  I long to become a fully formed butterfly. Not the deformed one of the past. I say that with love and compassion for myself. I was deformed and misinformed. But it is a new day.

My step father on Sunnyside was a saint in my eyes. The best father I had. A very young man who took on an older woman and her 3 children. There were many good times with him. Kenny Moore. I will always have a special place for him in my heart. He was kind and good to me and my brothers. Showed up as our own blood father did not have the ability to. I love him always. More about him later.....

This is a sort of serial blog about Sunnyside. I will be a process of un-peeling layer upon layer. A needed purging for me. I will keep names out of this to protect some that choose to not explore these things as I do. They are allowed theirs and I mine. It is time.

I hope this may serve to help others to unlock the doors on their powerful and personal experiences as children and no longer keep them hidden away. Or less, to take them on an honest young person's journey in this complicated world during a time that was more innocent. And in a place 22831 Sunnyside, St. Clair Shores, Michigan that simple and innocent as well.

To be continued........

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A non- pleasure seeking change......

It is Easter Sunday 2012. I was brought up as a Catholic girl in Michigan. Not to the extent that my mother was...  in an Italian family, going to a Catholic school, being smacked on her knuckles for writing a note of whatever.  Even walking with stones in her shoes as penance, which was her own personal interpretation of it as she felt she was in love with Jesus. Through her schooling, this is the way she came up with to show that love.

My grandmother, her mother, did most of the raising of  my brothers and I in our formative years. I was with her from about 3 yrs old until about 7 years old . And she was a praticing Catholic. "Going to church to pray for all you sinners." She'd tell anyone who was listening.  Going to church once a week, at least... I used to have to go with her, of course. It all just scared me. The typical things; Poor Jesus on the cross with the thorny wreath upon his bloodied head. How quiet you had to be inside the church itself as if everything you said was bad and God himself would strike you down if you uttered a word.

 I hated going to mass too. The preacher bored and scared me all at once. Shouting his empty words. I'd look at my Grandma, she was enthralled. Me, not so much. Just counting the minutes to get out and possibly go shopping at JCPenney or hit Saunders for an ice cream float. It was so difficult for me to
  sit there quiet in church and not wiggle around.   I was always a chatter box. My second father called me "fidget box bouey." And used to hold me tightly in his arms and say "contest." Which meant I  was supposed to sit there still.....say nothing..........ahhhhhhhhh. It never lasted too long. Seconds maybe.

 We from Michigan have a tendency to talk sort of loud. I was  the type of child who not only takes really loud but also who had no filter. I said whatever I saw out loud, much to the dismay of my family. I spoke to the emperor being butt ass naked, to the proverbial pink elephant in the room and a specific memory about the old lady at Lord and Taylor who had her lipstick well above and below her actual lip line. Something that has oddly become a normality in Hollywood. With a few injections to boot. But my Grandma got very angry when I made my observation loud enough for the saleslady with the overdrawn lips to hear.

My Grandma, ever gracious and dishonest shoved me away. As we left she said that maybe the woman did not KNOW her lipstick was well over her lip line in a clown like fashion. I thought, all the more reason to tell her. Maybe she lost cosmetic sales as a result of her lips. Its like when someone has food on their tooth. And nobody tells them. As if there is something inherently wrong with just alerting them to the green thing on their tooth. Don't you WANT someone to tell you when that happens? They why don't you tell someone when you see it. We feel a weird SHAME about telling them. Boy are we ass backwards. Or maybe its just me.

As you might expect, I got a lot of negative feedback as a result of speaking my truth. Then and now. How embarrassing I was told I was. I felt the same about their inability to just be honest and truth be told, people sometimes only seem to hear it when I sort of blast it out ...... after failed attempts to keep my mouth shut. At times something bigger than me sends out the words that I swear I won't utter.

This is my path and so it is my work to keep refining my tools or lack thereof where communication is concerned. Hence my desire to make this a special few holy days. Combined with the old Catholic tapes that do not die easily. It was a long way around but this is how I spent the Easter holiday.

My dear friend Joanie explained to me what each of the days mean according to Catholicism. Whether is is the greatest story ever told, or sold concerns me not. I knew for me for some reason, it meant more this year than it had in the past. And I was determined to experience it on a different level that I have in the past. And I did.

It is important to note that over the many years I have lived, my relationship to God and what I believe in has changed drastically. I no longer believe as I did as a child that he is well, a "he" necessarily to begin with But it is easier out of habit to call him that.  Nor that he is watching and frowning upon my every move. And since I grew up with pictures of Jesus at my Grandmas, I take comfort in his images. Even as a child because he was after all, same as me. A child of God and maybe was afraid of God as well. So I saw him like one of my big brothers.

I have come to feel that hell is living on this earth with out the image of God being completely loving and accepting. Of all I do. That when I pass in this life I will return back to source. And that all of us will. Even those who are judged and condemned as being horrible people committing horrible acts. That is the God I have experienced to be the truest. Please don't send debating letters to me about this. Truth has many faces and this is my space and my sharing. It is simply not up for debate. And I apologize in advance if somehow my truth threatens yours. "It is just simply mine. Some like the color red, some purple. P.S. I hate red.........with the exception of a good retro shade of lipstick.

So Holy Thursday is the day-night os the last supper. Where Jesus was betrayed but one in his group. I looked in my life at who I had felt betrayed by. Sad to admit that I was at the top of my list. A long list it was. There were a few others, my birth family, the business, my man but really the main focus was on me.

I looked at it. I wrote about it. I explored the lies I had told myself about things. The various acts of betrayal I perpetrated . I just tried to sit with it. Not so easy or comfortable at all.

The next day consisted of Jesus carrying the cross on his back through town. Being mocked by some, helped by others. then being nailed to the cross and crucified. Who has not in their life felt crucified on one level or another. Between 12-3pm, I was told it is a quiet time of contemplation. To eat no meat, only fish. I was told these were the last 3 hrs before Jesus died. Again, please no responses as to the "facts" being mis-stated here lest you miss the point entirely.

I contemplated what I wanted in myself to die. My list looked like this:

Death to my ego.
Death to my rage.
Death too my lack of self-worth.
Death to my inability to have real pleasure.
Death to my hiding.
Death to lies created and spoken about me from others in their attempt to hide their lies.
Death to my childhood.
Death to my accounts against people.
Death to my judgements.
Death to bludgeoning people with my truth.
Death to emasculating men.
Death to the lack of acceptance of me and my beauty.
Death to my "old career."

Verbatim, that is what I wrote.

I had both my boys on this day's 3 hour quest with me. No technology at all. A nice pasta meal together at a restaurant. And even a stop at a local church to say a little prayer. I tried to not shhhh my little one too much, which was a challenge. He loved it in there and how everything echoed and whispered SO loud for all to hear. Maybe it is not just a Michigan thing after all. Once in the car he continued his loud whisper for the next hour.....

As the Gods have a sense of humor, the end of my 3 hours had me in a confrontation with a young and immature manager of the Italian restaurant. I had accidentally left my shawl there and it could not be found anywhere. I was treated so rudely when I frequent this place regularly. I was not sure how to handle it. It was a "what would Jesus do" moment. He was after all dying on the cross in those moments in my mind's eye. And all I could think about was my old green shawl with FREEDOM written across the back.

I remembered a story of a time someone stole some stuff from Jesus and his followers in the night, and that some were very angry. But Jesus said something like: Shouldn't we find them and see if there is anything else they need. Well, I was not that holy and feeling shame about it as well by this point. I had lost my temper now with my teenager who was practicing driving with me with his permit. All on and during the most "holy" moments of this experience.

I talked to our beautiful, wisdom-filled Isabele who watches my youngest and assists my oldest with his Spanish lessons. I knew she would know what was right work in this situation. She promptly told me to go back, find a manger and explain the situation before it was too late and the shift changes. And so I did.

I was met by the young, rude manager who obviously places little to no respect on his returning costumers. I calmly explained again what had occurred. We went back and forth, he raised his voice. And then a busboy reached under the booth and behind it and pulled out my shawl. The silly man did not get the point at all. He had simply lost the plot and a good paying family to boot.

My mind raced for the next few hours replaying the scenario. Repeating things I said that I thought were particularly poignant. And frankly, it was just a waste of valuable energy. But I had my FREEDOM. To speak my truth. To choose to never go back. And maybe to buffer a little of the deeper intensity that was stirring inside of me as a result of my self-imposed personal experience of these days.

The full moon didn't help........the point of this is that sometimes it is the best laid plans. Things happen. And the hardest part was my resistance to it happening in my "holy time." As if it is only holy if it looks a certain way. How ridiculous. Compartmentalizing events like that. I should know better. It is through flow not rigidity. It is not what happens to us that cause us the most pain. It is the STORY we tell about it.

Saturday is supposed to be a kind of mourning. A bittersweet time because Jesus is no longer suffering. But he is also dead and free. But killed in such a horrific way. The yin and the yang of it all. My day reflected this as well. I  had two extreme situations. The first was a long overdue lunch with a beautiful sister-wife of mine. Where we deeply connected, shared truths, experienced what mirrors we are for each other and planted seeds for a real friendship that can benefit both of us loners.

The next occurred after dinner in the form of a conversation- confrontation with a friend that I literally knew from age 6 to about 10yrs old. She was one of my best friends as a kid and we reconnected through Facebook. This turned into a very difficult talk as we are quite different in every way now.  It is sad but true. I am not saying I am better. I am not special, we all are. Simply it ,became glaringly clear that this was not someone with who I had things in common with anymore. And I took time away  from coloring eggs with my family.

I was trying to help her because she was having a situation with her husband. I extended a hand. But Ain't nobody saving anybody here. When things become unpleasant I have learned but forgot in this instance,  I need to remove myself from those situations. Not feel I am the sacrificial lamb going to the slaughter. It is quite a razor's edge to walk. To know when something is becoming toxic and gracefully bow out.

It was extreme examples. I am thankful for them.  The first what I do want. The other, what I do not want. This does not mean that I don't love her and wish her the absolute best. It simply means she is on a different path. And I need people like minded around me now. I also need to not think I need to fix anyone. Because I cannot. I struggle daily with dealing-fixing me.

This morning. Day break. Jesus has risen. Gone. Free. Freedom. Magic. Beauty. Tears of gratitude. Many candles lit all over my home. TO me it means we rise above it all. We are changed. By owning our stuff completely and fully.

Of course there still is so much more work to do. And I shall. Until I take my last breathe. I shall seek. And actually, oddly, in a weird way.....pleasure seeking.

Again, this is not a lesson in theology. This is my way of interpreting these days that are holy for me to a personal level.