13% [chapter 19]


Before and after selling all of your precious records and disappearing down that long off-grid road, these are some of the bleak thoughts that plagued you on heavy rotation since being removed from that tiny happy Amoeba spot. Like a scratchy record skipping on the old tube amp player in glorious MONO:::


It is true that you might not ever trust men but women can more cunningly deceive. Sometimes it would stun you, the degree to which certain long term malicious and well spun lies could be so meticulously planned out by such a friendly cheery knife weilding harpy. Must be some misguided notion of achieving global domination. Or receiving that Big Gold Medal Made Of Shit hanging from the sky. Only if she surrounds herself with All The Right Guys, believing this is the only way for a woman to get what she wants outta life. Play dumb, show cleavages, manipulate all dicks and bitches. Who knows, maybe she's right? But what fucking year is this? Who wants to put all that effort into being that controlling, that possessive, that uptight? And For What?! A big empty house to watch tv in? ...meh. Not tonight.


During many unemployed amphetamine crazed porned out times, you saw the sense in this depersonalized state of lust for lust's sake. Some part of you not only understood the narrow tunnel vision of sex, but preferred it to the emotionally draining love-making parade. Too much drama. Just wanna get off. Enter sex toys and fantasies that never ask you to scratch their back or make them soup. It's soup. Add heat. Tah dah!! All done. Now go do it yerself, dick face. Not very nurturing for a woman -- whut the hell is wrong with you?!
Later, all porned out on your own, loneliness and shame would sometimes come into the room. But that's why an orgasm is called The Little Death. You might feel more grounded afterward. Or more in the ground. But the cycle repeats its process of releasing more annoying hormones, and inevitably you'd seek relief from death's outrage again. It is such a sad sorry state, being a slave to the impulses that are the most depraved. But you can't look away from guilt's keyhole. Like any other uncontrollable addiction. On repeat. In decay. So you began to experiment with transferring that erotic energy into other things, like performance art or music or paintings. And strangely, despite the work's non-erotic subject matter, onlookers would always say, "This turns me on for some weird reason." Perhaps sexual impressions can travel telepathically. It led you start thinking about what other thoughts or feelings could leak out and spill all over the things we touch or contact or make. The list is endless and amazing and most often leads a person to developing a more disciplined and dispassionate way of seeing those horny thoughts that started this whirlpool spinning around in your brain. Until the water is calm and still, that storm will never come to an end.


It's just sex. Why must such a primal activity proclaim itself emperor and chief over every other aspect of life with its robotic mediocrity? Greedy control and total devastation seem to conquer anyone weilding power for more than one day. And here is that brick wall you'd always end up screaming at: Isn't there more to life than this worn out game of whack-a-mole? Lying there so easy, so trite and made to feel so cheap? Best Not To Think when it comes to sex. Just frig and forget about it. Then go on with the rest of your day. Uninvested. Unengaged. Half asleep.


And in this way, supposedly straight men were so often unjust with their sexual affections. All those times you invited other women in for 3 ways with your boyfriends, and they always promised to do the same in return for you. But they never came through. Never. Too jealous. Too scared of being gay. Too just talking shit to get you to do what they wanted you to do for them, to fulfill their own fantasies. Like all the times they asked you what turns you on sexually, but never once performed that single unselfish act for your sake. Meanwhile, your arm is getting sore and your hip bones are turning black and blue from pegging this experimental dude's forest animals all night long. Again. Because this sexually deviant journey is all about His Path of exploration. Nothing to do with you. All those densely packed overgrown tracks winding around the night with no return policy quickly became about as exciting as watching politicians lie. Pointless. Repetitive. Insulting to your intelligence. The recklessness of a broken but staid system that is so distortedly skewed toward the animus view. You came to no longer care whatever others wanted you to do.


Your whole life, gay boys seemed drawn to you in some sort of flailing platonic way. Especially those who were still stuck in the closet with their secrets, playing along with the straight world's betrayals. Through you, they'd open up, feeling safe to dance erotically with their skeletons, and you were never in any position to judge them. Cleary, you had no fear of the truth or of deviance or of perverse tastes since you were already a walking cemetary of the you'll-never-know-if-you-don't-like-it-unless-you-try-it excuse. All the while, depressed, dying to die. Scared but not giving a fuck either way and at the same time. Better it would be that people Be Who They Are instead of living a lie, taking out all of their narrow minded accusations on those around them. Others that they are simply projecting their own issues onto. As in, the more homophobic a guy is, the further back in the closet his gayness hides behind his self-hate.


You often wished there would be a study done on the statistics of how many boys are abused sexually as children, but they are so much less likely to talk about it, so the staggering reality of this common trauma may never be fully disclosed. You read somewhere that in a safe sexually open environment, people are often driven to explore their own past sexual traumas in an attempt to mentally fully grasp and emotionally understand WHY that trauma happened to them in the first place. This is why S&M dungeons are performing a huge social service in harm reduction. When people understand the origins of their fantasies, they no longer feel lorded over by them. They are no longer crouching under their desires like a child hiding under the bed all ashamed. In the words of Buckshot Jack, Jim Miller's long lost granddad, "No one on their deathbed ever felt sorry that they stood up for themselves." Or wished that they'd spent more time being exploited by a corporation. Or wondered if they should have been more disingenuine.


It's such an insult when an older man behaves as if he is still The Shit. As if a girl would not prefer experiencing her proactive sexuality with someone closer to her own awkward age. Though, realistically, men probably don't really care what young girls want. They are only seen in degrees of tightness, as fuck holes that are severed from the human beings they belong to. Objects onto which to ejaculate. But men will even see other men in the same way when they become the objects of their own piercing disdain. While watching porn, you found yourself complaining when the camera would pan up from the mechanics to reveal the ugly balding guy's sweaty face. All the attractive men end up in gay porn cuz it pays more. pft... Screwed again. Proof that the body severing spectacle is an equal opportunity deciever of seeing humans as full beings when overtly engaged in their sexuality -- Men see women as holes. Women see men as tools. (Unless they're all in love with each other or whatever, but the word love has no place in a paragraph concerned with rape.) Perhaps this mental severing is due to the debilitating effects of testosterone that causes a kind of frontal lobe blindness. This lack of impulse control also explains why 95% of all serial killers, murderers and rapists are male. Neural imbalances and a culturally celebrated psychopathy may explain why other people are not considered to be whole human beings. But that's too sad an answer for someone whose entire lifetime of hopes, dreams and aspirations comes to naught, and is only seen as a temporary random cumrag. When done, throw away, extinguish. Then the rapist calmly smokes a butt and figures out what to do with her dead body now that she has served some sick flicker of his dick's mindless 3 minute long purpose. This is why so many women's dead bodies are discovered in trash cans, dumpsters, junk yards, as human debri that was not considered human, really. America seems to admire this kind of deluded detatchment and it's resulting acts of violence, if the high price of a murderer's belongings sold on ebay or the number of murder mystery shows are any indication. Maybe these episodes are continually broadcast in order to feed misogyny's fire?


Years went by of trying to keep your head above the tidal wave of post traumatic fury. In those gripping states of heated misanthropy, you could see yourself losing it on a cascade of fucktards that, one time too many, made a sexual remark to you in public or touched you in a way they had no right to. You'd send them weeping to their big momma in the sky righteously, but also indiscriminantly. Most likely the death toll would include someone who didn't deserve to get caught in the crossfire. And that's not a feeling that any amount of revenge could aspire to soothe. So, it's a good thing those violent impulses were controlled by taking up kickboxing instead. A small choice that made your world a slightly better place, I dare say.


Growing up, your adolescent ugliness kept all the boys your own age at bay. The only time they touched you was when the spinning bottle landed at your feet and they'd scrunch up, yelling "Eeeew grooosss!" shoving away your chubby acne covered face. Unless, of course, the boy later turned out to be gay. Then he'd be decent, peck your cheek, talk to you about all sorts of issues after school, trade mix tapes and at most, hug you, half-woodied, looking down at his feet in shame. They were wonderful genuine friends, these young sprouting gay men. But the adult straight ones, they hated you. Although nothing would stop them from fucking you if they decided they wanted to. Whereupon they'd lose all their confidence, become instantly pussy whipped and then reinstate their hatred because there was no controlling you after they'd gone all post coital and took an assumed possession of your entire life. And now they felt lesser than. Because they woke your libido up but could not make you climax 99% of the time. Blaming you for their internal pain of feeling powerless, for whatever reason, the word Whore would escape from their inadequate straight mouths right about the time their carresses turned into strangleholds. The sad fact was, all they had to do was take a step back, tickle you with a feather and give you the breathing room to admire their equal arousal or understand the vast imaginative beauty behind a blindfold and you would have flooded the room with unicorn juice. But that voiced sentiment went unheard time and time again, until you no longer had any words left. If men couldn't even hear what you were saying about sex, then how could you expect them to ever listen to anything you--? Hmm...? Oh yeah, no sorry... Yeah. No, totally. I was listening.


So, rather than constantly trying to figure out a situation that's ensconced in endless bias and speculation, you turned your attention instead to thinking about things you'd normally ignore. Like this pile of home fries you're about to hungrily inhale. Before devouring them, think about the long trip they took, from being immersed in the earth, growing into a potato, being dug up, tossed into a bucket and passed through a hundred pairs of hands, boxes and crates, trucks and vans before being dropped off, washed over, chopped up, fried on an oily skillet, and finally plopped onto this plate in front of you. In this way, gratitude began to enter your thoughts on a more regular day to day basis.


"Smart girls know that the smartest thing they can do is act dumb," so the saying goes. But what about all the things women unconsciously believe they're not allowed to do? Ask yourself: you don't actually need a dick to use a power tool or hold a pool cue or drive a truck, now do you? It's quite surprising and sad that most people can't seem to understand how it is possible for a grown woman to live an ascetic life, alone in a box truck, without having a man around to "make love" to, without someone there to "take care" of you. You always tell them, "Life Has Fucked Me Enough, Thank You." And then you close the door to your Haustruk and go back to being an anomaly.


Understanding other people has been your most difficult challenge in life. The only dead end you keep coming to on that issue is that Sometimes, It's OK To Not Understand. But some consolation came from discovering a recent study that said 70% of an average person's happiness depends on having a support system of family and friends around them. A Whole 70%! Now you knew you weren't insane and desperate and needy. You weren't just a downer like your mom always said. You were a drug addict because you felt a 69% deficiency in having a normal support system. It was so simple. Tragically so. Similarly, on a molecular level, cells will commonly self-destruct unless the other cells surrounding them tell them not to. Including them in the group's progression, encouraging them to live out their full life span, a cell can survive suicidal feelings and get by given a little help from their cell-friends.


There came a point when you understood that every frustrating little thing that was shoving itself up yer ass was really trying to teach you something, to show you some other perspective that you otherwise would've been blind to if you got too caught up in the anger that the burr in your butt would predictably produce. So before going all haywire on the world at large, this sort of mental eviction notice to travel light, opened a brief breathing space between being happy in your own insular void and then being pissed off the second you had to go outside and deal with other people, with their shifty eyes and condescending words. All you had to do was try to stay in that small space for as long as possible. Step away gently from the aggressive, always either Right or Wrong thoughts that did nothing but cause havoc in that struggle of You against They.


This minefield that is the human race made you self-impose exile so often. It has exhausted you beyond belief, having to deal with this harrowing can of worms that is people and their hidden agendas, their snake-haired needs, their sexually charged greed. Sweet solitude might have kept you cloistered, but you were never immune to others and their clawing trickery. Your radar for disaster seemed defective. But the fuzzy reception from your broken antenna wasn't to blame. It was your own unconscious frequency, endlessly streaming disortion, sending out the signal
"i am worthless so abuse me."

*u can call me ph!*

13% [chapter 18]


At Amoeba Records on Haight Street, a solid 28 hours a week were spent making garnished minimum wage paychecks and thinking about your anti-social issues while sorting through dollar records and putting them into boxes labelled with their various genres. Over the years, being left alone to listen to music and sort records in that small hallway behind the stage and in front of the bathroom, you came to almost love that job.

In this spot, you met the likes of Thurston Moore, Jonsi, Mos Def, Paul Rubens, John Waters, James Spader, Tura Satana of Faster Pussycat Kill Kill and Joan Jeanrenaud of Kronos Quartet after their in-store performances or during their low key shopping sprees. Then, along with many of the better paid and insured long term employees who'd been there since the mid 90's, (like Ox, of the notorious band United Blood), you got laid off in the spring of 2010.

It had deeply impressed you that most of those famous people were not complete assholes. Especially Jonsi. In his presence, you instantly felt comfortable, like you'd already spent hours hanging out, giggling and watching cartoons. Other famous people, however, seemed like total idiots. Ariel Pink took like 9 hours to set up their gear, spent long hours in the bathroom while their weeks old body odor fumigated the corridor, then left half their gear behind on the stage for days before schlepping back in to pick up after themselves. Vampire Weekend, wunderkinds of the Music Industry were so adept they forgot to bring guitar picks to play their million dollar instruments. Yeah, duh. Clearly some dues had been waived in their favor and would never have to be paid, as it is for lots of marketable bands.

Flip through any major music magazine and you will see 5 White Guys, 4 White Guys, 3 White Guys, 3 White Guys and 1 Black Dude, then 1 White Woman half naked. Lack of diversity and absence of critical thinking doesn't even begin to decribe The Mainstream Ineptitude that blinded all the kids who flocked into the store to purchase every album Vice Magazine told them to.

Not everyone on earth seeks to hide. 33% of the population are capable of not doing as they are told, according to the Milgram experiment; a shocking study on the nature of obedience that was inspired by a social-psychologist's desire to know why concentration camps happened, and how likely human behavior is to lead us into atrocities via groupthink, for the sake of belonging, no matter how much harm is done to others in the process of aligning with popularity.

With a Steppenwolf scowl, these hangups, or lack thereof, and too many preconceived notions fed your alienation and heightened sensitivity. A lot of it had to do with being an overlooked artist, yes. And then there's that seizure of a brain you possessed. Plus the incessant toxic coffee breath. And your sick pleasure that this one stupid thing, a thing so easy to fix, was so successful at keeping other people at bay, satisfactorally. But after you left, you realized that you had, inadvertently, come close to almost loving some of those coworkers that you'd never see again.

Like a compound fracture, too much built up unmanaged rage lived inside you to lay down and take any harrassment or intimidation that showed up at every job you ever had. While working at Amoeba, you were no longer on drugs every day. So you had no buffer zone to quell that overbearing bone that you'd be caught chewing on, down to the pourous bloody marrow. Whistleblowers usually get left out in the cold, alone. But it was better than saying nothing and passively allowing shitty behavior to go on unencumbered, affecting many other women who agreed that they felt the oppression but weren't willing to complain.

Unlike these other women though, you had no capacity to deal with dating your coworkers. In this way, your meager salary was more necessary to you than the ensuing drama that would stink up the room once the relationship inevitably ended. And you couldn't afford the heartache or the stress of keeping both jobs -- Employee AND Girlfriend.

Don't shit where you eat, as the saying goes. Wise words. Until you start hating your job and find yourself crying in the bathroom on your lunch breaks because of the way your boss treats you or the way certain coworkers talk about you. Then, all you wanna do is get fucked up and rub yer face in shit all damn day. Cuz getting that little fix of a dopamine boost from seeing that guy you're crushing on is the only motivation left in getting your depressed ass outta bed and in to work every day.

However, drunk at the bar or at a party after work, some of your peers tried to stick their tongues down your throat, and you ran off in a disturbed haste. Butthurt victims of blue balls make for dangerous hostile work environments so watch out! But you refused to live in fear, so it seemed easier to confront them rather than hide everytime you had to pass them in the hall. Just like high school. A middle finger and a friendly smile can work wonders sometimes. Alas! It's always the people that you're not attracted to that want to ride yer pony. The ones that you would've enjoyed spending time with, watching movies or playing music or spooning fully clothed, they had absolutely no interest in being saddled with your janky mule. Again, just like high school. It was all lies. High school was NOT the Best Time Of Your Life. How very convenient that high school dynamics would unfortunately continue throughout adulthood in every group setting ad infinitum. Sorry, kid.

To dethrone Romance -- there's that reality that once you do spend time with those whose company you craved, you are setting yourself up for failure. Down drops the veil of disappointment and they are not what they seemed. You're irritating to them in some sandpapery way, too. Or simply not resonating in the correct way. Fair enough. But that makes the whole process of getting what you want not only impossible but moot. The only thing that can keep up the illusion for the clinging to others, as if you'll fall off the face of the earth when you finally let go, is your willingness to forgive them their faults and wish that they could do the same for you. Trying not to end up as one of those half-people, connected to the hip of the other half-person, seeking to live out a greater fantasy other-life buried in the digital backyard, right under a faithful nose, 10 or 20 or so years down the yellow brick relationship road.

Feel that hopelessness? Embrace it. It's all you can do. This is as good as it gets, dude...!

So you did. It felt real and true. And the more you embraced the hopelessness, let it in, saw it for what it was, really looked it in the eye, the less fearful and ugly and alarming detatchment from that sphere of mortal love became. At some point on the way down the asexual slide, the realness of that soft hopeless embrace became preferrable to wasting more of your precious time chasing beguiling shadows. Perfect imperfections. White pee. Fantacide. Fake glory. Future lovers who would also one day stop listening. Or finally admit to you that they're gay.

All that confusion caused by love and hate transformed itself through a nearly constant production of music and art. So it was good that you never got too close to crushing your male muse. The intense creative energy that was produced from being in his presence was the best kind of love that could've ever happened to you: non-mortally. So it all worked out just great. So you say. Now if only you could give up, stop flogging the dead horse and let him slide away, the way that he naturally would if you could stop picking at it. Like a scab. Just to see if it still hurts as much as it used to. Just to prove to yourself that healing has occurred. But whenever you peek back into those rejected memories, you find a new distracting weed of hope growing. Hope, that some day you might be Good Enough to share your life with another person who neither worships the ground you walk on nor beats you down into a diminutized pulp, but stands there next to you on equal footing. Not bloody likely.

Like a disease, everytime that hope flares up, it slowly kills every sense of stillness and peace inside you that made you feel worthy, that made you, at long last, feel free. Free from wanting or needing anything from anybody. And in that way, you could be complete and giving, unconditionally. No strings of wishful thinking, no grasping, no emotional defecits dangling. Maybe it's unrealistic to think anyone can ever be free from those haunting self-doubts, from useless subjectivity, from cowardice and inadequacy.

Your truest strength is your weakness, your willingness to face the pain of annihilation because that is where the indestructible and the infinite always live. There is a Buddhist saying that everything in life is like a starving dog standing over a burning bowl of oil. The oil's too hot to consume, but the dog is too hungry to abandon it. Though some short bright sparks marked the fragile times sequentially between the black matter of long slow loss, all you could do was be patient. Wait for the constellations to rise again. But there's nothing to grab onto when they do.

And this is how you saw through The Pissing Contest.

It was infuriating to see men act all jealous when you spoke to other men, but then ignore you when you approached them alone. The only time they seemed to show any interest in you was when other men were watching. Especially those who employed you. All of your short-lived jobs in SF after Amoeba suffered from this dichotomy. Some kind of claim had been placed on your slaving ass, and it didn't matter how good of a job you did or didn't do. You were quickly fired for not complying with this other after-hours duty that was expected of you.

That was how you concluded that this real life video game had Absolutely Nothing To Do With You. You were just so much meat. A pawn made of pussy in the scheming between bored men competing with each other. They had no real interest in the winning "the prize" that they seem to be jostling over, but only in humiliating the other competitors for their own sense of pride.

Yup. That's how evolved we are. Might as well be beating on our chests, swinging in the trees, chomping on bananas and flinging shit.

Oh wait. We still are.

*u can call me ph!*


13% [chapter 17]


While you were still in college at the Art Institute, you flew from San Francisco to Utica, New York to visit your mom and dad during Christmas break. They lived in a beautiful old turn-of-the-century house with white plastered walls, all soft molded corners and black iron cornices. The windows were small and deep, some still retaining their original lead panes. The turreted two story cottage sat on a corner lot like a fairy castle in a Thomas Kincaid painting, embedded in a deep sloping wooded field, home to a raucous murder of crows.

Your parents were in the midst of trying to sell the house because your dad found a better job in Indianapolis and was moving there. But your mother was reluctant to go this time. She'd been teaching yoga classes in town and had developed a healthy sense of financial independence. She'd also grown close to a solid following of students that she didn't want to leave behind. One such student was her secret lover. So your mother stayed at the cottage in Utica while your father lived and worked in Indiana. Insisting that there were simply no offers on the property from any interested buyers, blaming the delay on the housing market, bad timing or whatever else --in this way, your parents' first real separation continued. And your mother finally seemed to come blossoming out of her shell.

Rather suddenly, she came out to you over the phone one day. Claiming she'd always been more attracted to women than to men ever since she was a teenager. You just said, "Okay..." She was so relieved to tell someone, "I knew YOU would understand." And for the first time, she seemed so happy and in love. "Life doesn't even BEGIN until you're 50!" she exclaimed gratuitously.

When you finally met your mom's girlfriend on another short trip to Utica, you definitely caught the spark. She was astonishing, overflowing with a quick wit and a bright eyed vitality. Part of you was truly happy for your mother's authentic joy. But another part of you was completely pissed off that she was, suddenly, so open and caring and warm toward you; sharing her untold stories, calling you all the time, asking your opinion about things, buying you plane tickets to come and visit her inbetween every semester, being there for you, all nonjudgementally -- just because she was now a lesbian. This kind of behavior never occurred before. Or since. And you really didn't give a fuck whether she was straight or gay. Sexual identities never shocked you.You just wanted to feel like your own mother genuinely loved and accepted you, too. But this point has always remained convincingly vague.

But for the short duration of this Christmas visit, your dad was also present, so you agreed to quietly avoid any and all discussions at the dinner table that might leak hints about your mom's newfound lesbianism. Ugh. The burden of secrets that are imposed upon us to keep. Add them to the scapegoat's unwanted heap. Then slap it's ass and hope that it takes away your wax doll guilts before running off the edge of something nonredeemably steep.

You were already bogged down with another secret you did not want; knowing that your father was beaten so severly as a child because his dad was sterile and knew this was not his kid. This secret, shared with you 15 years prior, wasn't revealed to your father by his own half-sister until after their
angry sterile dad was dead. When it was finally found out, he brought his shotgun to the cemetary and unloaded a round of shells into that plot of hallowed ground. Secrets cowards and shrouds, release the hellhounds.

The summer after graduation, after your last spring visit to Utica, a tumor had been found. Within 3 short months, your mom's girlfriend was dead. Brain cancer culled her, this fully functioning, highly intelligent older woman that had just taken you and your mom to a politically invigorating Edward Albee lecture was now instantly stuck bedridden. Losing her vision to a tunnelling darkness, her brain was quickly shutting down. She reached out her arms to everyone standing around her hospital bed and cried, "Why won't any of you help me?! Pull me out of this hole! Please, help me... I'm sinking!" Balking at the starkest futility.

More than a year passed before your mother told you about her girlfriend's death. She just stopped talking to you. As suddenly as she had begun. Soon after that, the cottage was sold and she moved to Indiana to rejoin her husband. Gone back to being the good ol' critical hetero milf. Mourning her lover and her lost self. Crammed back into the brutal closet. Shrinking. Forgetful. Unblest. You cannot even begin to imagine how sunken in run her regrets from doing all the things that were expected of her, being the "weaker" sex.

One stuffy night during that close to the chest stiff upper lip Christmas visit to Utica, you were trying to sleep in the tiny room upstairs while your parents were in their bedroom across the hall. It was freezing cold, yet under the covers you felt feverish and clouded. Burning in discomfort. Sick with unease. You kept slipping in and out of consciousness. Not into dreams but into a thick swampy nightmarish lucidity. The crushing weight on your chest would not stop torturing you and stealing your breath as you lay frozen in sleep paralysis. It felt as if someone was trying to strong arm you into doing their bidding. "GET UP!" it hollered inside your sweaty immobile head. "Go downstairs. Into the kitchen. Open the back door. Grab the axe. Come back up here. And GIVE YOUR PARENTS WHAT THEY REALLY FUCKING DESERVE!!!"

The whole massacre played out, over and over vividly in your mind, as if this horrific scene were trying to convince you of its justifiable rationality. "Just think of how happy you will be once they are gone," the voice coaxed. It took a ton of light innocent resistance and a touch of dispassionate detatched indifference to not give in to this bottomless well of rage and bloodlust. Growing more irritated than scared, you declared impishly at the overbearing manipulative presence, "no. i won't. i won't do it." Perhaps it is a good thing that you're such a stubborn selfish bitch, eh?

The next morning, your mother looked concerned when she saw your pale sleepless face emerge from across the hall. She was dutifully making their bed. As she slid the bedframe to one side to tuck in the sheets, you pointed down to a dark brownish mark on the hardwood floor that was peeking out from under the bed. "Yeah," she said, revealing the whole atrocious width and breadth of the massive pooled stain, "I've tried everything to get it out, but it's too old and too deeply soaked into the wood. I think it might be blood."

Ya think?

But you thought nothing else of that night back then, except to remind yourself that you need to drink more booze and smoke more weed in order to drown out any and all experiences of psychic shit like this cuz you were too busy
trying to be normal, which is really important to most people before they go turning 30.

One huge advantage to age is that the number of fucks you give annually gets peeled away, until you are who you really are the moment you reach your grave. Sometimes it seems as if all those lucid dreams about flying, or altering your space, or learning how to keep still and protect your egglike shell, or increasing your skill for riding those emotional horses is all just practice for leaving this plane and crossing the bridge to the north.

Until you have to come back again. And again, of course. Life is hard, then you die. Death is hard, then you're born.

*u can call me ph!*

13% [chapter 7]


Professional help never helped. Until one autumn day in 1990 when you felt compelled to seek the counsel of a Jungian psychotherapist in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts named Dr. John Huele. Initially, your parents agreed to pay for your weekly visits, relieved that at least you were finally out of their house and living "in squalor" in the big city. But once they received his bill for your first $90/hr session, they did not think your mental health was worth it. Dr. John did however, and asked you how much you could afford to pay without the help of your parents. So you continued seeing him for the next 18 months at the adjusted rate of $15/hr.

Long before the advent of hallucinogenic substances in your life, dreams had always been a place to receive guidance and insight, a place of both secret joys and enormous horrors. Often, it was easier to recall your childhood nightmares than to remember the actual events that took place.

The longest running reoccurring scene began at age 5. The whole family would sit in a small pink tiled bathtub inside a palatial space like a sound stage, always too brightly lit. One by one, they would pass around a plastic orange gun and point it at one of their own eyes. Pulling the trigger loudly sucked that eye out. Then they would all turn to you. Staring, one-eyed. The red hole of their newly exposed occular cavity dripping with bloody severed nerve endings. They'd hand you the gun and pressure you to do the same. Waking up screaming every time, your hands covered your face, guarding your precious double-eyed sight.

Together with Dr. John you moved through these quirky and cruel psychological imaginings, pieceing together an intricate and imposing map of your subconscious landscape. You began to uncover by emotional associations what certain colors, words, sounds, animals, people and places really meant. It was the only type of therapy you felt just as excited to engage in as did the Dr. himself. Whenever you would rattle on about the frustrating things happening in your regular life, he would patiently sit and listen. Inevitably, the words would come, "...and then, i had this dream," at which point, he would excitedly grab his yellow pad and pen and start scribbling down your dream's details like an inspired madman. The two of you would then set about working on the decoding process, slowly adding more elements to the expanding cartography of this emerging new found land.

It was fascinating and sometimes heartbreakingly illuminating. You would always have to take a step back in the presence of this other, higher mind. It would record and playback so many complex issues, effortlessly weaving together a song of solution, so delicate and so simple. You never felt quite qualified to take credit for coming up with these mechanisms for coping. They never seemed entirely yours.

Those sessions enabled you to first conceive of the viable possibility of self-healing through dreams. They birthed the connections your mind made to the infinite sources of healing energy out there in the unknown universe, inside the quantum omnipresent vibrating fields. You're forever indebted to the knowledge gained from Dr. John. You also thanked fuck that Jungian psychoanalysis existed at all. Otherwise, you might have succumbed to your parents wishes that you be committed to a mental institution for being depressed anti-social bipolar defective or whatever. It should come as no surprise then, that when you first heard the song "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies in 1986, you had found a long loyal friend in punk rock. And, incidently, the more involved you became with Jungian dream journeys into the collective world of ancient archetypes, mythological beasts, and other archaic symbols,the less involved you were with the outrageous consumption of drugs and alcohol in order to deal with the ongoing psychological and socioeconomic trials of anyone trying to stay alive below the poverty line.

Lucid dreams happened sporadically as far back as you can remember. But practicing "dream yoga" almost religiously, you were having sometimes 2 or 3 lucid dreams a night, most often in the form of nightmares. Gradually, you learned how to transform these repetitive haunted terrors. Becomming lucid, you could bolster the courage to take control of your own mind. The nightmares then began to diminish and nearly ceased. Getting to know those Black Dogs that chased you for so many years, you now took ownership of your imagination. You screamed at their snarling, "STOP!" No longer would you run from them. You stood still, commanding them with a pointed finger to "SIT." And they did. Their faces shifted to little grins with tongues dangling and tails began to wag. The Black Diamond Dogs became a crazy bitch's best subconscious friends.

However, for some reason, waking up from these exalted states of consciousness became more difficult. Equal amounts of curiosity and fear caused you to question the nature of reality itself in a much more intensely tactile way, having up to 8 or 9 "false awakenings" after each lucid dream. This was so exasperating that you worried if you would ever really wake up at all. And a part of you started to feel the distinction between real life and the lucid dream waning. Thinner and thinner. The difference was disappearing. It got to be a bit much.

This persistent fear of losing your mind, without the reliable excuse of being fucked up on drugs, induced a sober admiration for the practice and a larger sense of responsibility toward approaching this state of mind with sincerity, not aggression or greed. In return, you discovered many valuable truths within each dream's revealing riddle. It seemed these riddles were coming from, again, a source of higher intelligence you couldn't even begin to understand. Nor could you make any sense of why it would feel your damaged brain was worth receiving the wisdom embedded within these undazzling, but inspired insights.

Insights so hackneyed, yet they stood the test of time. Recalling these unvarnished mantras helped you regain a sense of internal calm while caught in the constant storms of stress and strife. All you had to do was take the time to look, feel and listen...because sometimes, it IS all too much. You get so tired of having to fight nonstop for every single little fucking scrap of some stupid bullshit basic need; like being heard, like being seen, like being treated with the barest thread of common human decency. Not being overlooked or ignored or cut off or pushed aside when waiting in line at the corner store or at a red light. Taking a timeout from society's infantile needs to go inward instead calmed you. It calmed the defeatism that would leak from feeling like the blank faced rusty little cog that amuses itself by squeaking in sync while it's trapped inside this massively malfunctioning male dominated earth raping kindness killing machine.

But this is life in the Natural World; even single-celled organisms have to defend themselves in order to survive. Every living thing is a sentient being, struggling just as hard as you to feel a momentary peace. Every single molecule is capable of reflecting intentions, of resounding vibrations of consciousness. Paying attention to those equally sentient cells involved alongside you in the act of living, breeds compassion and kinship. Insights are then bestowed upon us all when we open ourselves to the auras within empty spaces because they are Not Empty At All.

Put into the context of each individual's map of their own subconscious symbolism, any manner of things can take on new magical meanings, or renew a childlike curiosity with the mysteries of life. And despite society's attempts to carve, cut, shock, tranquilize and otherwise mute different kinds of creative thinking, as a species, we continue to be mystified with the ancient ancestral magic of dreams, with the connection we all have to the collective unconsciousness, with the innocent divinity we keep secret but secretly celebrate inside our sleeping minds as it delights us with it's absurd little insights on the nature of being.

Absurd little insights like "There is no such thing as Winning, there is only Spinning"- a phrase accompanied by an image of the cyclical rotation of the earth that occured while you were, once again, feeling like a total failure and considering suicide.

A song, whose humorous showtuney chorus,"Men are Minor, Waste of Eyeliner," was a response to your frustration with the misogynistic inequality you repeatedly confronted both in your intimate relationships and at work.

Your personal favorite, "If you take lots of small steps to hell, you will end up in hell. If you take lots of small steps toward heaven, you will end up in heaven."

After the more recent addition,"All there is is IS," you found some sense of ease in regard to making big life altering decisions, viewing the consequences of your choices as neither good nor evil, but knowing that no matter what you chose to do, all you would ever have to deal with is exactly what is in front of your face. Every decision therefore forces you to face simply THIS. And this 3rd face then revealed itself to you as a face that is All Faces, yet faceless.

*u can call me ph!*