Saturday, 14 February 2015

Who Do You Feel You Are?

Where to start, a few practical notes I suppose. I will soon be re launching a new web space more streamlined and minimal with mostly blogs and photos, as I couldn’t give a fuck about most of the shite I have done in the past, it seems a million miles away from who I am now. A couple of years ago I began blogging (refer to previous posts) intending to keep it going as a monthly output aware that my “long dark night of the soul” which is now coming up for seven years in length, (and here it must end) is however painful a rich and creative force in connective potential. Anyhow like almost every aspect of my life I let the blog slip away despite torturing myself over it’s absence almost every day of my fucking life since, are you getting my psychological profile yet? “Rhona is her own worst enemy” featured in all my school reports. I keenly wish to remedy this by committing to a monthly blog; I have missed Jan so I will try to publish two this month in order keep on track. Please bear in mind, I have zero editorial skills, I just need to purge.

Who do you feel you are?

There is a time, which is now for myself and others when either an opening or closing occurs. It reminds me of musical chairs as a kid, can you remember the excitement of that? It was one was my favourite games as it was so charged with adrenalin, and anticipation. All of us creeping cautiously around, dreading the bit at the top of the chairs when you take slightly longer to turn the corner onto the next chair, some people would cheat allowing their hands to sweep over the chair almost touching in waiting every second with every fabric of our being, for the music to stop, and when it did it was so exciting, especially if there was only a few of us left with the chairs spaced out to make it harder. The adult presence refereeing the event made it all the more tense and official. I’ll never forget the thrill of musical chairs, I’m remembering church halls and gym halls and community centres with a teacher playing the piano, birthdays in the most cramped of living rooms with someone manning the Hitachi cassette player, back gardens… lovely stuff.

A different kind of musical chairs takes place in adulthood in particular mid life, people grab the nearest person, or place, or thing, grab their partners for what they feel is the last dance, a dance that may last a while but none the less one that feels to be their last which drives the need to secure an imagined base for when their own personal music stops. I have learned through watching the lives of many older people than myself, sixty and beyond that there is the potential for enormous growth throughout all of our lives at any time, and the call to us from within to want to grow doesn’t stop until near the very end, that is our true nature, whether we choose to listen to it or not is another matter. As we know life is impermanent, everything is changing and everything goes, nothing is forever and nothing can be relied upon to be a constant force other than the elements of nature, and tragically the dark forces of our human existence have altered even those. Our struggle to understand and cope with this feeling of impermanence from birth to death is the fear that ties us to people, patterns and places long past their sell by date.

Yet despite guffaws of “50 is nothing” it does present us with a leaving boat, a time where we are given a chance to change track and gather all our energies and resourcefulness (for it will all be needed in order to do so,) and create what will most likely be our last full steam ahead gear shifting moment to propel us into perhaps our last twenty years in this lifetime. It is not negative rather realistic to acknowledge this last boat of true self, for it is leaving and if missed it will take our hearts and souls and our drives with it, leaving us on the edge of the shore like most of our ancestors with a self imposed exile for company for the years that follow, inhabiting a lonely force heavy with failed duty to self which we will try to accept best we can believing that our “best years” were hollowed out in past decades. Though thankful for the bricks and mortar that surround us (and that is a blessing) and perhaps even with “the magical other” for company and a pool of friends in which to dine and chat with, we will become merely creatures of routine and habit, the structures and routines that will bind us, until we die.

This is what I see and feel in the people around me; In all their guises, rich and poor, famous and publicly unknown, financially secure, married, unmarried, mothers and fathers, academically brilliant, widely admired, a mixed bag of us all, none the less I can see the two paths ahead, and very few make it on board.

Yes life is indeed about what you do with the hand you are dealt rather than the hand itself, I agree completely with this philosophy, for some of us it’s a tougher journey to get there is all. I have been close to enough people born into privilege all with great hands who will never need to worry about housing, health care, retirement, caring domestically for themselves or their ageing parents, it will all be sorted by a bank transfer, it always has been. However I found those people to be the least exciting (sex aside) with the least natural capacity for depth, unlikely to be creative powerhouses, and above all the least willing to self examine. For most of them are so reliant on the safe structures in which they grew up that provided them with so much material stability that even after accumulating more than enough wealth to be comfortable for the rest of their lives, it none the less leaves them terrified to venture into the unknown, whatever the human cost. It seems that they are bound by a much more complex and powerful family legacy than even kids born into the working class like myself. Feeling an obligation to this legacy that they cannot after many years live without. I know a beautiful woman born blessed with material wealth and all its fast tracking who often works eighteen hours a day, sleeping under her desk until a deal closes that many of her peers envy, yet she has kept the same hairstyle as her mother since childhood, which despite moving towards middle age is still in the same little girl style which to this day is only allowed to be cut by mater and mater only. Another who has several houses, an all year round tan, a ton of clothes and an unused Ferrari she keeps as a relic of her city days, which she owed to Thatcher’s heyday, her ultimate mummy dearest.

I won’t lie I have deeply envied both these people at times and all like them as they have never known poverty and struggle. Yet despite all the trappings of mummy or daddy’s wealth passed on, which comes with an unwritten proviso that they pretty much follow in their footsteps their entire lives, they display a defensive anxiousness when any threat to their structures arises, choosing instead to hide behind the corporate façade, wining and dining and busy and meeting and closing, until eventually the body gives in no doubt. From what I see this cycle doesn’t bring them any closer to nourishing partnerships, or to themselves, marriages present as merely a length of time they have endured the company of another, which is filled with activities and events, something else brought in to fill in the time between working hours and holidays which they fear will leave them with only themselves for company, and the daunting question of who are they without the big daddy building they go to everyday and all its rules and regulations? For them it doesn’t bare thinking about they must simply “keep calm and carry on” how I hate that fucking mass marketed philosophy, which has made its way onto domestic items such as coasters and tea towels. I propose a new one- “life is constantly changing”

Like most of us I was brought up and surrounded by people who never got to be themselves, such are the sacrifices of the war generation and before and before and so on. Most of them were trapped in marriages they found themselves in as if law dictated they must serve a sentence with someone they did not love, but found to be polite and a good dancer so what the hell, and the two became a couple and the couple had or acquired children and the children kept them busy, the men enslaved to jobs with little fulfilment other than food and a roof which are essential to basic survival of course but play no part in the nourishment of soul. Too soon these figures grew bent and gnarled, regimented in routine like vehicles on a track that couldn’t make right or left turns for fear of de railing, many ironically died soon after retirement. Unexplained lives, mysterious “never married” uncles, chain-smoking in bed-sit rooms in sibling dwellings their entire adult lives. Days punctuated by washing, eating and shitting around various television programmes and the odd game of clock patience. Relatives who did not speak to one another for years, baring grudges that went back decades, simply bound out of a pointless bloodline duty, dark secrets kept under candlewick bedding, whispering elderly neighbours mouthing the words that dare not be said for a fear a child would learn part of another wretched souls tainted history.

I had a great auntie who was “difficult,” married to a down trodden man my great uncle who was born old looking, a man by the time I came along who’s boundaries were already restricted to his work, his home and the car on Sundays with a perhaps a foxes glacier mint whilst driving. My mum explained their marriage to me fairly recently best she could without compromising the “just get on with it” values of her generation, of course the story made no sense as it unfolded, it seemed her uncle felt obliged to marry based on something he had said to her auntie right at the start of their journey that had he backed out would have caused much social embarrassment. Apparently the poor soul was in tears to his young niece, my mother on many occasions once the deed was done, certificate signed and the rings binding them for a purgatory they made as bearable as they could. They had no children so there was no obligation of that kind at the outset, and from what I could decipher it sounded as if he like most of the human race felt compelled to imprison himself out of a fear that he would never be able to investigate. This sadly is not a new concept and forms the bases of I believe many marriages if indeed not most to this day, gay or straight.

My auntie was always a dogmatic force and considered suspicious, though in the family dynamic she was always protective and a great ally to her niece my mother, more so than my grandmother who’s brother was the groom and prisoner in question. I fairly early on was able to see beyond the harshness of my great aunt and her inability to control her opinions and feelings, for beneath her as clear as day to me was a creative and passionate potential who longed to break out, and she did too as a young women during war time which she enjoyed with a vigour that she would yearn for all the way to her death bed. She was for one a smoker for a while, unheard of for a woman from the old style working class. I saw photographs were she sat on seaside rocks in trousers no less, with a smile and a fag. There was talk in later years that she had been sexually promiscuous during the war with American soldiers and the similarly displaced at that time. Although in those days for woman one or two sexual liaisons with anyone outside of marriage was running the risk of being fast tracked to the nuthouse. As a child I listened to the tales with keen eyed curiosity, at this unfolding character with a life force too potent to prevent her from being anything other than who she truly was, and that was a crime in those days, it still is to some extent if it questions the institutions that we grew up in, but not to the magnitude it was then and not with same consequences.>br>
In the years that followed the war, when rationing subsided and life was “back to normal” her own rationing began, and she joined the others in not being herself. There was a period where she turned to writing poems, in a two big ledgers about the hum drum every day things that happened in her tiny world, they all had to rhyme, whether it was about my mum and dad moving house after many years living in the same street as their family (another condition of life then) or me arriving, or a neighbour v council dispute to which she was always involved in, they all made it to the ledger in that handwriting they had back then that breaks your heart when you see it now. She was definitely the dark powerful force of the family, unable to conceal her shadow from the world. I used to love staying the night in her flat and spending the day with her and her chain smoking constantly swearing neighbour Jean who would mid flow always say, “Excuse my French.” Another exciting element to those visits was the acceptance of me wanting to go trouser shopping, and drawing for hours on a large roll of paper that my uncle brought back from his work at the brewery, where I made detailed plans of the interior of a spaceship that flowed easily from a plan in my head. She took me swimming at the Commonwealth pool and shouted encouragement from the sidelines, fake fur hat still on despite stiflingly warm conditions, chips to follow and back to the flat to my architecture.

When part of my true self emerged years later in my late teens early twenties it was all the more shocking when my auntie turned against me, she took the time to write me a five page letter which I subsequently carried around for years later as self harming document, which in basic terms told me I was evil and disgusting and it was a blessing that my father died years before so he wouldn’t have to witness my disgusting god hating gayness, and how my behaviour in all its forms was to blame for the entirety of my mothers pain as well as her physical ailments. She blamed as they all did at times the adoption, and how things could have been different if only I was a different baby. Of course in these days when such huge harpooning of the heart took place, there was no kind way of dealing with it, no “process” anybody to discuss it with, and a bottle of spirits was always your first therapeutic port of call. I did for many years believe the contents of the letter, the philosophical teachings of the middle class lesbian feminist separatists whom I infiltrated for a while in the early eighties helped me understand it better. Activism was added to alcoholism, which gave me a focus and a connection with my personal injustices and the collective struggle, yet the hurt would not subside, nor would the guilt, but at least it could be numbed.
I later learned in my thirties when I was writing my book “1979” that my great aunt had suffered in a first marriage to a man who went to war and declared in his letters from afar that he was homosexual, can you imagine the shame she felt back then? The hurt and the betrayal, so piece-by-piece I completed the jigsaw portrait of my great aunt and the immense hurt she caused me. These patterns and pieces all make up the tapestry of all our all lives and the cameos people play throughout, and my fascination for this has never ceased. It’s amplified as my life deepens through an increasingly lonely path in which I try to make sense of it all and attempt to turn it into pieces of work.

In my late twenties by then a rising star of stand up comedy whilst performing at the Edinburgh festival, I reluctantly but dutifully visited my great auntie on her deathbed in her sheltered housing on the outskirts of the city. Deathbeds are always ugly in my experience, perhaps the dying peacefully ”surrounded by his/her loving family” scene’s reported in obituaries represents most people’s reality, but I doubt it. For my auntie like many childless of her generation and class who far outlived their downtrodden husbands she felt truly grateful to have at least a Macmillan nurse present and god bless these guys. Auntie held on for me no doubt about it, for she died the next morning. I stroked her skeletal head, which contained eyes long blind, and thanked her for helping me with my swimming, as it became such an important part of my life. I left sorrowful and disgusted at how cheated she and everyone seemed to be, and hoped that those miserable days in her tiny bed in her tiny room with a bucket of piss and a changing shift of nurses would be spent dreaming fondly of the war and the part she played in “lifting moral”. For her life had failed to take on fulfilling meaning ever since. There was no mention of the letter, not ever, it became part of the flotsam and jetsam of my life that got lost in one of my many moves, yet still to this day I think and dream of her as I did only last night, could this be a warning? The great reminder of your own life’s potential to break your heart, if you succumb to it and not take up the struggle to be one’s true self.

Away from London back home where I grew up in my small Scottish fishing town tradition still rules, a new middle class from the old working class has emerged, expensive cars, holiday homes abroad, Pilates, wine on the table, choices my mum’s generation could have never have imagined, yet the old order still applies. If you are a working class young lad you are expected to participate in “manly pursuits” such as boxing and football/rugby which will keep you from straying into darker quarters, and if you are a girl educated or not, the focus will be appearance which will be flaunted for online strangers who will hold the key to your self esteem. Drugs are still the most feared pastime for any parent but generations of alcoholism are an accepted norm. People drink bottles of spirits a day but with no family intervention of any kind let alone a conversation. “They function” they “keep busy” is usually the comeback to my astonishment. People buy homes near their ageing relatives from as soon as they are old enough to work and have a child themselves, the plasma now the hearth of each family, a generation of children well versed in technological devices long before puberty but devoid of the pleasures of direct experience, such as strawberry picking, fire making, and a chase of the farmer and such like. Where cultural and artistic expression are still regarded as that thing up the town that all these media types do in the festival. I see people there waiting patiently and politely for months on end for their turn in the chemo cue, one, which is growing at a rate no one, could have anticipated. Not even the sociopaths who put the toxins in our food chain, yet they wait and wait despite how much their enslavement to a working life has contributed to the tax system that is abused by those who have the most, and protected by a governing elite who have no investment in changing that. “A damn good kick of the ball” as my Scottish male friend says referring to his time before marriage and family should mean more than getting pished without the fear of consequences, a few trips over seas and an above average quota of fanny surely? Though I for one cannot discount the pleasures of all three for I have enjoyed them in abundance too, but as the much needed mid life crisis swells up from within we must ask what do we need to be in this remaining time? We must forget our family legacies and our institutionalised learning’s; aside from the fables that taught us kindness and gratitude, and above all disregard the advertisements they are someone else’s prison bars. I truly believe if we could join up the unifying force of self discovery something my poor old auntie could not bare to see in me, for it was a terrifying image to her own self projected fears of shame and failure. If we could be sure of what we really feel then we can be more sure of our actions which in turn affect others around us, if we began with a responsibility to ourselves in the search for our own true identities, we would find more in common as a basic human need than the differences we create and focus on among us that causes such extreme and violent hatred and bloodshed. After all, fear manifests in the action of projecting outwards onto others.

I agree with John Lennon in that the great thing about fame is you can be miserable in comfort,(not saying I am however) but sure, one requires their financial security it does help ease the journey. It certainly buys one some autonomy in which to conduct our affairs and look after ourselves now that compassionate state care is being eroded. We live in very different times from when John said that, we are now in an insanely material focused age where profit and shares are considered by many to be more important than our souls, encouraging business without any ethical limits to bring excessive wealth to power to the top tier, yet whatever the trappings of a consumerist free market society. How much worth are the accolades and the notches on ones belt if we build a fence around our hearts? If one remains so dishonest and guarded towards once self? For the heart and soul speaks to us, it calls us into our centre of being. Its all we can fight with against the contemporary dehumanising forces of comsumerisation and free market capitalism, and as the personal much needed mid life crisis swells up from within don’t we owe it to the toil and sacrifice of those before us let alone ourselves to ask who are we really?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

"Phone Home" Autumn blog

After the sad news of Steve Job’s death, I watched his address on YouTube to Stanford University students back in 2005. It was a moving speech that made me cry, and I could see the emotion rising within him as he delivered it, I watched him swallow and pause and reach for water trying to quell his emotion. I watched the predictable whoops from the 20 something crowd when he spoke about ‘dropping out’ of college as a young man, followed by the pin drop silence when he confessed to have had a diagnosis of incurable cancer, and what it was like to be told you were going to die in three months. There were many things what he was saying that young people now really need to listen to. Things like “Follow your heart and intuition” “Don’t let the opinions of others deter you from what you want to do” Not easy for young folks in a time where institutions devoid of emotion seek to control us, where linear thinkers mostly all in politics and banking talk in doublespeak devoid of compassion and above all emotional intelligence, and contributing massively for what is now a planet in crisis. A generation of people has been created by a society that bore no regard for the welfare of their forefathers and mothers some decades ago, who as a result now believe it is their right to have things provided for them at any cost, yet politicians refuse to trace the link between irresponsible policies back then to the problems we have now. A system born out of greed and rampant capitalism which seeks to de-humanise and turn everything and everyone into a commodity now prevails, and we are left with a world in chronic pain. However we can surely see that people are finally beginning on mass to wake up and smell the coffee, and resist being used as pawns in a game of power and corruption and control. The old structures are crumbling, and not since the mid sixties can have we seen such rapid and direct action that very clearly states “Those times they are a changing.”

The connection with soul, with heart with our internal world that we need so much in order to connect with what we truly are, is not encouraged. Instead we are brainwashed into believing that owning people and material possessions are the key to a fulfilling life. We are taught that creating a ‘family’ is the ultimate goal and those who live outside of that contrived ‘norm’ are looked upon as sad, lost, and left behind. We are encouraged to eat toxic food, take toxic medication once we become unwell from it, put our trust and faith in politicians across all parties who pedal toxic politics of lies and corruption. We are encouraged to lose ourselves in toxic relationships, which invariably involve two people or often three (in the case of most lesbians) who have not yet come to terms with self love, with feeble foundations we cushion ourselves against a world built on fear and paranoia that drives us to seek comfort in all the synthetic antidotes consumerism feeds us in order to keep us from being what we truly are, which is changeable, emotional, creative, potential loving and ultimately wounded souls alone on this earth for a very brief and often painful time.

Computers are a huge part of our lives, and it’s very hard to escape that. We can however use them sparingly as indeed we could phones. The irony in poor old Steve’s case is that mobiles and in particular smart phones are hugely carcinogenic and I guess we won’t see the full fallout from that until sometime in the future, but its very like the era my father grew up in where all the men were given cigarettes in wartime to boost moral. Regarding my telephone usage I now try to live in the ‘old way’ as much as possible. I try to make life’s important conversations face to face, I use my land line whenever possible and I have one or two phone free, days a week. I’m a great believer in Sunday’s being a day of rest, with little contact with the outside world. We live in times of great contradictions; the speed of which we are encouraged to live is unrealistic as we have no time to catch up with ourselves and let our experiences sit with us. There is no time for percolation, and processing. On one level technology encourages minimalism in that many of us have got rid of our records, books and printed photographs in favour of our entire life tunes and words and images stored on one or three technological devices. On the other hand we have never been so mentally cluttered in our history. We are swamped with information everywhere we go. It’s very hard to explain to younger people who largely rely on the façade of social network sites to portray themselves as ‘popular’ and ‘awesome’ and ‘attached,’ truth is people have never been so detached from their intuition (lets remind ourselves that means gut feeling) than before, we are as a human race the most addicted, medicated, overweight and depressed we have ever been. The technological advancement of society has been a miracle in many ways, particularly in medicine but it has come with a price, and that price is the loss of common sense, intuition, actual hands on trial and error life experience, and human heart felt experiences.

Here was a man, the most successful CEO (yawn) on the planet and creator of the most famous computer and set of technological products that we have ever known, here he was in classic mid life crisis mode telling three stories about his life; One about his birth, the birth of Apple Macintosh and his death. To a group of whooping young college graduates. It was a very powerful moment. I have naturally been curious over the years as to who has made the Mac computer I write from and the phone I use, who’s innovative products of pleasure and pain and perfection that I own, so I’ve tuned in every so often to watch a tall thin man in a black top and jeans talk in an American monotone to yet another whooping American audience about them. Then a couple of years ago I saw an article about famous adopted people and I saw Steve’s picture on it, then it all made sense to me. His journey, his ethos, his determination to constantly invent and update and perfect, his need to birth one idea after the other, and so as an adopted person myself I began viewing his life, work and death from that of someone who understands the wounds he would have carried.
I felt crest fallen when I heard he had passed away, and began to write something about a fellow adoptee who is right now probably the most widely known adopted person in the world. I bet Joanne Simpson and Abdulfattah Jandali his birth parents didn’t bank on the little boy they gave away in becoming one of the wealthiest and well known Americans of all time, a pioneer who will go down in history with the likes of Edison. (Let that be a warning).

In his speech before Stanford University he talked about the need to join up the dots in life, which is a notion that has always resonated deeply with me as like many adopted babies I was left to join the dots up in my life and still am trying to figure how and what I truly am and how I got to be me. The adopted psyche is quite unique in that we have an additional set of obstacles to overcome outside of the struggles all humans face. It is almost impossible to start from scratch and explain to anyone who is not adopted what it actually feels like to be told one day that the parents you have been living with are not the one’s who made you. Of course those of us adopted came to that situation at many different stages in our childhood and from many different scenarios.

I was born 1965 two years before abortions were legalised and it might be helpful at this stage to make my feelings about adoption clear. It is, I believe, a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body, I don’t believe it is the right of government, religious leaders, and doctors to interfere with this. At the same time not enough is made of the emotional wounding and psychological damage a procedure such as this can cause, it is after all putting and end to a life inside a human body, and whilst to many women it is a relief to be rid of something that could potentially make the woman’s life less bearable, the something is a life force and therefore losing that piece of life from one’s self, part of one’s self does naturally create trauma, grief, sadness, despair and guilt. The friends I have known to go through this and in some cases I have helped them through, live with the fallout for a long time to come, forever, if they don’t address the healing of such a gaping wound. Adoption has equally powerful and long lasting affects for all concerned, as does being brought up in any family where the parents or parent have not addressed and healed and accepted their own emotional wounding, which is pretty much the bases for all families hence why we were are in such pain.

I, like Steve, was from the pre social work and general acceptance of psychotherapy and counselling era, and as a result my adoption was arranged without any intervention of people checking the emotional capabilities of the family I was going to. I also traced my biological parents some 18 years after my birth by my own detective work, my instinct to join various dots and my chutzpah which I have been lucky to have had in abundance. I have written about this before, in novelistic form in my second book “The Naked Drinking Club” in my first book “Nineteen Seventy Nine.” and for the Guardian family section and various other publications and adoption charities, so in brief…. I found my birth mother at 21, my father at 30 but I do not have an on going relationship with them, in that I haven’t seen them for some time. They have not seen each other since 1965 where my mother returned back to Newcastle after being in an unmarried mother’s home in Dundee Scotland where I was born. She had to endure the misery of writing ‘fake letters’ to her family pretending she was working away as a nurse for several months whilst really waiting to birth me. She waited anxiously like most women on her man rescuing her from this situation as occasionally they did. She has also told me that every so often one woman in an act of bravery and defiance would not allow herself to go through with it, instead leaving and vowing to take care of her baby herself. This was a rarity in those days; laughable when you compare it to now, if it was not so pregnant with irony and frankly stupidity that is the concept that people can receive hundreds of pounds a week to have multiple children whilst milking a floundering and elastoplasts benefit system for every penny they can take.

My birth father did return with flowers and promises but like most men of his class and era went off to sea only to break his word. She next saw him in their local social club where she sat flagged by her sisters in a stony silence looking over at him whilst he put on Bobby Darren’s rendition of Bob Seger’s “If I Were A Carpenter” mouthing the lyrics to my mother. (Er.. that’s sounds like something I would do actually)

So off they went on their parallel paths, both married other people had other children and although lived in the same city all their lives have never met since. Years later both their daughters to their respective spouses were to work together in a furniture store and become friends, unbeknown to each other their connection. So my half sister was bringing home my other half sister to the house of my biological mother with nobody in the equation knowing a fucking thing about who was who? Talk about joining the dots, Jesus… So I appear at 21 face to face with my birth mother, telling her “I’m going to be someone and when I am you can come back to me.” I leave her that day and never see her again until I’m about 3O when she turns up at a theatre and introduces me to my half sister. This was exactly what I had planned, however things as we all know rarely pan out to be the cinematic Hollywood version. We all tried our best in the years that followed to make some kind of relationship, but me being what I am was unable to just make do with nice, light and warm social time. I need by nature to unearth, to uncover and to expose. I want peace and acceptance as my desired outcome like everyone ultimately does but I don’t believe we can any of us get to that unless it’s all dug up first. I’m a Libran sun with a strong need to communicate truth and justice, with my moon, Mars Venus and Neptune in Scorpio, with the tenacious mountain goat spirit of Capricorn Ascendant. I am driven to tell stories and often personal one’s that I believe will resonate with others, and I guess when you give a baby up for adoption to try and make your life more bearable you never take into account what and who that child might grow into. It can be like launching a weapon.
We all tried best we could to get along with visits here and there punctuated with trips, dinners, drinks meeting family relatives, but nobody wanted to talk about the nitty gritty. My father was more candid if blunt claiming he was sorry but he never thought about me but could see I got all my talent from him. “Talent for fucking drinking” I quipped. Truth is I do think my soul line is stronger running down my father’s side. That would be the Maltese connection and the psychic side that seems to dwell in him , his mother and I. I also feel strong links with Ireland down my mother’s side, and have never felt any of that Scottish history fire in my belly “Freeeeeeedom” stuff. I respect the wishes of the people there and I certainly strive for freedom but from much more than just the English, even though they are such hard fucking work.
I have learned to love my mongrel mix and see myself above all else as me Rhona born Joanna, a woman with a strong Mars mix, with a childlike artist’s view of the world. As I have said before we are made from both male and female and I think it is healthy to feel in touch with both, hence I like aspects of both male and female sexuality and I think if we are all truly honest then most of us would admit to feeling the same.

The relationship between adopted child and biological is too much to truly explain in this particular blog but know it is a painful and often unresolved one. My current state of mind regarding it is I can’t do anything about it at the moment. It is also unfortunate that my path has had to cross with journalists of unscrupulous means and naive family members both biological and adoptive who were stupid enough to believe them, which has not helped relationships over the years.
Steve’s journey like mine is a wonderful and bizarre story, a story of courage and determination and self belief perhaps propelled by an adoptees fear of total annihilation. For those of you who don’t know anything about Steve and I doubt if that is the case by now, he was born in puritanical 1955 California the setting for Yates’s “Revolutionary Road” His parents were two young lovers still at university, and for Joanne and Abdulfattah Jandali the societal stigma of being unmarried long before the liberalism of the seventies, they arranged to have Steve adopted insisting that he go to an educated family of graduates. How choking it was to recognise therefore the magnitude of his address at one of the ‘finest’ universities in America on a day where Steve waited some fifty years to actually graduate, the full pelt of his parents plight to give him what they considered to be the best life they could in the circumstances must have come full circle at that moment, one of those huge life affirming dot connecting dot to one’s destiny.

Whilst still at high school Steve met up with a friend and future business partner Steve Wozniak whilst working part time for Hewitt and Packard, whom later he was to co found Apple with. After one term at college he dropped out and went to work for the video game manufacturer Atari with the idea of raising enough money to travel to India which he did, where he was introduced to Buddhism which he followed his entire life from then on is return to the U.S he went back to Atari and joined a local computer club with Monika who was by then building his first computer and by 1976 Jobs had sold 50 of Wozniak’s machines managing to persuade an electronics store on the back of that order to let him have all the components he needed for further manufacturing on credit. By the time he came to launch Apple in 1977 he did so without having to borrow any money or give a share of the business to anyone again, clearly independence and self sufficiency was of paramount importance to him even as a very young man.

There are many adjectives brandished around that are said to described him- mysterious, private, impossible, abrasive, control freak, the phrase that interested me the most was a friend who described him as “a man who commanded love and respect.”

In 1976 when Apple was birthed so was Job’s first computer which was named Lisa, and exactly the same year a human being was birthed called Lisa, who was the daughter of Steve Jobs and Chris Ann Brennan, Job’s on off on off girlfriend though high school, which seems to make human Lisa’s conception around the time of Steve’s return from India where westerners go to ‘find themselves.’ In Steve’s case he found Buddhism then returned and made a human life he named Lisa. He denied being the father of Lisa and it would seem hugely ironic therefore that Steve Job’s chose a spiritual path whose entire ethos is based on “Cause and affect” which essentially makes our life Karma. Job’s was adamant he did not create this particular human life and claimed the computer he had just co created was named Lisa after a technical acronym for “local integrated software architecture”…Wow.

Lisa went onto a life of hardship with a single mother whom was forced to move from place to place in rented accommodation and often on welfare, who spoke of loving times and scattered warm memories of childhood with her mother who worked hard to provide for her best she could, but despite this understandably Lisa felt her childhood was a struggle without much stability. Job’s managed to take responsibility for his first born child eventually during Lisa’s teenage years where they began building a relationship through various visits and vacations they shared together. This must have been very hard for Lisa as she will have felt enormous ambivalence towards her two worlds and completely different lifestyles of both parents, this ambivalence will have made Lisa feel disconnected from both mother and father as allowing an emotional investment in just one would create a fear, terror even of the risk of loss again. There will also have been guilt tied up with feelings about her adoptive mother and the life struggle she endured to raise her alone. The adoptee always carries guilt towards the parents who ‘ended up’ with them and I’m sure Steve Job’s like many of us felt that to some degree with his biological parents. I suspect the birth and developing relationship with his other children by then had enabled him to open his heart to her more. I should add at this point that only months after Job’s was given up for adoption his birth parents married and had another child which they kept, this is singularly thee most painful scenario for the ‘given away’ child to endure, something which he no doubt would not have learnt until years afterwards something which perhaps just seemed too insurmountable to be healed, but to the best of public knowledge Mr Jandali spoke of his desire to make some kind of peace with his son but his son Steve seemed unwilling, no doubt a soon to be published biography of Jobs will shed some light on their relationship status at the time of Steve’s death, but what is most striking to me is Steve Job’s was clearly a man of enormous driving spirit, a bright shining star in this universe, who will go down in our history as one of the great innovators, remembered as Edison was. Here is a man who sought a spiritual path from a young age and rejected many of the conventional approaches to lifestyle in terms of diet and medicine. A man who recognised the creative potential in his first daughter Lisa whom he originally rejected, and paid for her education in order to further her talents. A man who ended up at the time of his death as having four children and a wife of twenty years, and yet he did not manage to make a relationship or any kind of healing with his biological father. Not as far as we know or according to the recent statement from him. This would suggest to me that like most of us we just find it so hard to try and forgive. We can understand, we can forgive in our heads, we can want to forgive in our hearts but we find it for a large part of our lives almost impossible. Sometimes as in my case it takes losing someone further down the line very dear to us to propel downwards into the pits of despair, which in turn connects us with our ancestral wounding and the need to heal. I have spoken to many adoptees in my lifetime, and many now find themselves contacting me to share their feelings. Incidentally there are many adopted “High profile” comedians, which to me makes perfect sense. Even the people who appear to be happily married or with a soul mate and now the parents of their own flesh and blood, answer my enquiry about whether they would like to or indeed have had a relationship or contact with their birth parents, with a brittle response.

The truth is I no longer hear from my biological father, I don’t know whether he is alive or not, I’m hoping someone would let me know, but last time I spoke to him he was recovering from bowel cancer and liver problems. I have never met him when he has been sober, and only twice indeed have I been when I met. We played a trick on his lovely wife Val once by me showing her a picture of me when I was 21 I had taken in a photo booth. I had a quiff hairstyle that I used to have managed by a barber that only Teds and old men went to, I had a cigarette hanging out the corner of my mouth, the picture was black and white I was giving it that “I’m going to be someone” look you do when you are young, and frankly know you are destined for different stuff compared to the others in your tiny town. Anyhow, “When was this taken?” I asked Val as Tom the man who made me placed photos on a coffee table like jig saw pieces.

“That’s when Tom went to sea” She said certain I was him.
“No Val, that’s me when I was young” I said, and Val was gob smacked.

My adoptive mother spoke to me recently for the very first time about the death of her first child, the one I was to “Replace” through the adoption process. She spoke about an era where she was not allowed to speak about any of her pain, how everyone just “Was left to get on with it.” No welfare, no benefit, no therapy, even the natural out pouring of emotion was forbidden. She was left unable to work for almost a year, inconsolable with what she now recognises as depression. Grief had swamped her and she was living with her husband, newly married with a domineering unemotional mother nearby, who was herself struggling with her own wounding from her family of origin. My mother was truly alone unable to even express her pain, which leaves me wondering how on earth she has lived until now through the death of two children, one adoption, chronic psoriasis, the death her husband to cancer when she was the age I am now and a child (me) to take care of, a house and a full time job, and a mother whom she felt great ambivalence towards whom she had to care for until she passed away in the late nineties.

Much later she was to find another soul mate who eventually left her and then died. Four heart attacks and a quadruple bypass some 25 years ago when she was given ten years to live, and she is still here at bloody 81! She defies all that I would consider to be a recipe for longevity. Huge emotional wounding, pharmaceutically dependant, no therapy or counselling of any kind. An amazing and formidable and often very difficult woman, who keeps a diary every day of her life, who reads hundreds of books, who has practised Thai Chi for some twenty years, who is part of a church community she has been with since the start of her life. Someone who challenges her doctor and manages with a determined diligence her heart medication. Someone who has learnt the art of relaxation breathing to combat stress, through a few stiff brandies of an evening and a great sense of humour into the mix and there you have it my mother Jean, a mixture of old school and new school which I think is a good balance. Here is a woman who changed her views and her beliefs and her way of dealing with things at a very late age, a great example of how we can change. “A Leopard never changes it spots” my birth mother once said to me. I Leopard can change it’ spots if it chooses to.
Both women, both mothers, both have endured terrible pain in either the giving away or the bringing up of me.

My life began in the autumn, and I have a fond memory that I would like to share with you. At this time of year (year), I always find my mind straying to an old record store in Edinburgh now long gone, on Lady Lawson street which is the near the art college and the old Royal Infirmary. I had some birthday money in September 1979 and when visiting my mum in hospital (as she was frequently hospitalised with chronic psoriasis throughout my childhood) I had planned to purchase a very cool newly released album. The decision to purchase this particular one was a definite attempt to be more modern than I had been, I remember the seriousness of that intention as up until then I had either bought every BCR album ever recorded from the 70’s and some Beatles and Elvis. Other than that my most played album of my childhood was Glen Campbell’s greatest hits, which is still fucking class by the way. I was heavily into my parents Sinatra albums, Burt Bacharach, Tony Bennett and Shirley Bassey. I also adored Sammy Davis Junior, but in September of 1979 just turned 14 and unbeknown to myself two months away from losing my father I walked in to the shop who’s name escapes me in my fawn chords, orange v neck Shetland jumper and brown checked hacking jacket with matching scarf, and I bought Elvis Costello’s “Armed Forces” That feeling, that proud excitable feeling of it being placed in those tight plastic bags that were barely any bigger than the LP, and carrying it out of the shop. The glee of going home and putting it straight on the turntable on the shared family stereo but with headphones for privacy at times. We didn’t all have our own music systems you know, all kids had cassette players in their rooms as they were pretty cheap, but it was later as teenagers we were allowed our own stereos which if you were a working class kid, was usually bought by saved up money of our own from Saturday or seasonal jobs. I heard a friend of mine the other week offering to buy her eight year old son an i pad if he slept in his own bed!
“Armed forces” what an album.. “Olivers Army” and “Accidents Will Happen” I think only a track away from one another. Years later the American comedian and my friend at the time Greg Proops suggested I come on stage to “Party Girl” which he felt was most appropriate for me, but I felt it too downbeat.

When I was sixteen I had proper sex with a girl for the first time, we snuck off school and went to mine for the afternoon. It was a Tuesday and we met under the clock at the bus station in Musselburgh, which I still give a little nod to when I go home. We planned everything, including what album would provide us with a soundtrack to remember. I didn’t own the album we wanted to play so I borrowed it from the Library, it was the Rolling Stones “Rolled Gold” side one I think and we began it at track two as I think track one was too jangly. (Not sure and not looking it up, I’m not a fucking Google obsessed thirty year old okay?) “Ruby Tuesday” “She’s A Rainbow” “Under my Thumb” my god, what an album. About 20 years later when the said girl and I got back in touch, the subject heading on my e mail was “Rolled Gold” Side one track two, and she replied with the subject heading “It was side two actually” and I was very touched. These things stay with us for the duration don’t they? Music is such a beautiful part of our journey. Clicking on “Buy” is not the same is it? Neither is typing on a keyboard the same as writing with a good fountain pen in a notebook. Love letters, keeping someone in mind on a journey miles form home and buying them a postcard and writing on it and posting it. The hours we spent making cassettes for someone we loved and the collage that decorated the case if you were lucky enough to get one of mine. Light weight air mail letters for someone we really loved so you could write more. That sound of the needle connecting with the record, that slightly crackly sound as the system clicked in. The pips going in the phone box over your rushed goodbye.

Another part of Steve Jobs journey was that he dated Joan Baez for a while, who wrote many great songs one my favourite being “Silver Dagger” which has been my bath song, pretty much all of my adult life. Again the lyrics just resonated with my life themes. I was introduced to it in the mid eighties when I was brainwashed by the crazy lesbian separatists feminists at the time of Greenham, they knew damn fine music though and that alone was a worthwhile lesson turning up for, around that time I tracked down my birth mother and so this song was percolating away in my head around that time.

Don't sing love songs, you'll wake my mother
She's sleeping here right by my side
And in her right hand a silver dagger,
She says that I can't be your bride.

All men are false, says my mother,
They'll tell you wicked, lovin' lies.
The very next evening, they'll court another,
Leave you alone to pine and sigh.

My daddy is a handsome devil
He's got a chain five miles long,
And on every link a heart does dangle
Of another maid he's loved and wronged.

Go court another tender maiden,
And hope that she will be your wife,
For I've been warned, and I've decided
To sleep alone all of my life.

So Lisa Brennan Jobs who only knew her father from the age of seven became a writer, and in one of her pieces she describes how as a girl she was obsessed with Giuseppe Tornatore’s masterpiece “Cinema Paradiso” which she watched over twenty times whilst still a school girl, a film that I defy anyone to watch who doesn’t cry their heart out at the final scene.
The story that the young Lisa clings to is about a young boy (Salvatore) who grows up fatherless in a small Sicilian village in the forties and fifties. He befriends the old man who is the local cinema projectionist who at the start of the film set in the present day, has died and now Salvatore a famous film director returns after some thirty years for the old man’s funeral. We see a now successful man yet seemingly distant, return to where it all began. The unbearably moving final scene is where Salvatore is left a film reel from his old friend which he watches alone in the cinema. On it is all the kissing and passionate embraces from all the old movies that the repressive Catholic Church at the time had forbidden to be shown. This finale makes one of thee most emotionally powerful and heart wrenching scenes in cinema history. This is the film that the fatherless Lisa Jobs fixates on.

It was my birthday at the end of last month, and this one was one of the nicest I’ve ever had. A curry with about nine friends, me sober. I felt very lucky to have such lovely strong open-hearted people as my friends, some of whom had travelled miles to be there. At the meal I unravelled a piece of paper to reveal a beautiful drawing with words that mean the world to me.
My dear friend Denise of sixteen years had made me a kind of life plan chart thing a couple of years back when I was truly at the very bottom of the ocean, I remember at the time of her giving it to me in her kitchen in Leeds on my birthday trying to act appreciative but really the ideas on it seemed so far out of my grasp at that time, but here I was two years later happier than probably ever before, though still a long way to go. It was a lovely moment to be able to produce that piece of paper that she had totally forgotten about but that I had always treasured as a momentum of great an enduring friendship. I do struggle with my birthday and after my soul mate left in 2009 I have not even acknowledged the last two, long before that I dreaded most of my life as do many adopted people. Over the last few years I get an annual text from my birth mother and I got one again this year, it read “Happy birthday Rhona, I hope life is okay for you.” I always feel emotional in anticipation of its arrival and feel sick when I see “Isobel mob” I just stare at it and read it over a few times and then try and let go on my out breath. I cry and think about telling someone but I don’t, I just feel frozen. I think about what to text back, then I feel angry and then lethargic and see texting in this instance as completely ridiculous. I think about texting “Why don’t you write a letter with all the things you would like to say to me before you die.” Then I think that’s not the kind of thing you text. I imagine her in her kitchen in Newcastle, texting me with the back door open, Berkley menthol in one hand. So loaded with all the pain and history, just like I am on each birthday.

I read now that Steve Jobs was unable to have any kind of reconciliation with his birth father before his death. I completely understand, perhaps you can see how despite his talent for bringing us modern tools of communication, the life force that drove that determination, the money rewarded to him, his iconic status, his spiritual beliefs, four biological children of his own, and wife of twenty years, and the knowledge that his life would end within a certain time frame he was just not able to pick up the phone and make that call.

It is down to us to “make the change we want to see” As Ghandi said, but did you also know that Ghandi had a son who died of a drug overdose? Who felt unloved and ignored by his father who was always so busy striving for peace and justice? We can live differently, other than how we are taught. We can choose healthy relationships that allow us to be free and truly what we need to be. We can look after our bodies by being mindful of what and who we allow in them. We can look after our minds and souls and spirits by listening to our inner wisdom beginning a process of healing in therapy, with a compassionate therapist. (Although it is hard to find a good one)

I think above all people should think about what it means to make a life before they do, I think they should question whether they really have the capacity to love another a human being, to give it what it needs. I think we should all spend enough time alone learning to love and respect ourselves first before we make babies or before we buy them. We should all of us being doing the opposite of what we are taught if we want to really start healing, we can’t look to others whether it be a lover or a child to take away our fears and self loathing, only we can do that and only then can we truly love another. People need to think about what it really means to make another human life, and the journey that little being will have ahead.

God bless you Steve Jobs and all of us affected by what was taken away.

If I were a carpenter and you were a lady
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my baby?

If I worked my hands in wood
I wonder would you still love me?
I say yes, I would, I'll put you above me
That's what I want you to say

And would you save my love from loneliness,
Would you save my love from sorrow, if you would
I give you my onlyness, girl and all of my tomorrows

If a tinker were my trade, would you still find me?
Carrying the pots and the pans that I made,
Walking along the highway
That long lonely highway

If I was a carpenter, and you were a lady
And I was just a carpenter,
Instead of a rock and roll star
Just a carpenter
A carpenter
A carpenter

Bob Seger

Monday, 23 May 2011

Births, Deaths and Marriages

The royal wedding seems ages ago now doesn’t it? It was quite a leap over that long weekend from world media focus on marriage (which we are taught is the ultimate act of love) to that of killing with the execution of Osama Bin Laden (whom we are taught was evil personified.) I suspect that those who felt some form of elation about the former probably did also about the latter. Neither served to make me feel more joyous, hopeful or secure on this increasingly fragile planet of ours.

Once again breaking news serves us with a tapestry of craziness fuelled by lies and consumerist propaganda. Those fucking seasonal ads to keep us all on track with what we should be doing with our money and time as we move from winter to spring to summer to autumn and to winter again - how we are encouraged to view life cycles as cyclical spending, focusing our minds on the external rather than the potential wealth of wisdom that can come from our internal worlds. There are lots of Homebase adverts on now for the old D.I.Y with the warm weekends, thank god for D.I.Y- a life saver for many men trapped in marriages of inconvenience who look to play out their hunter gatherer fantasies. For some, mending the garage roof or doing the patio is one of the ‘allowed’ time alone men get in marriages, just as women get their weight watchers and girls night out groups and spa days.

I know some married men living the suburban dream whom without the constant pursuit of endless DIY improvement and repairs would probably put a gun to their head before they would sit still and allow themselves to feel their fears and initiate a discussion with their wives. I relate to this behaviour however, as when I go home to my small hometown in Scotland, I spend a lot of my time either in the garage, in the garden or on the golf course to escape the heaviness indoors, of my mother and myself and our complex history weighted with grief and guilt - that in more testing times can feel like a swamp; such is the nature of the mother daughter relationship. Of course there are many enjoyable moments too - nice dinners together, an appreciation of good humour, sitting down the harbor in the sunshine talking and mum showing genuine interest in my score card when I’m back from my round of golf! Light and dark times; such is life.

It’s not just me who needs this breathing space, she needs to do certain things in order to cope with her life otherwise it becomes overwhelming. She needs to do her Thai chi and her relaxation breathing or her crosswords and soup making. We, the both of us, are a marriage of sorts surviving our journey together - the nature of all human relationships. I do observe the marriages of my peer group with fascination. Many have, what is called, a ‘regular life’ - the one that is sold to us from the moment we are old enough to read and understand pictures. One that I have envied in times of loneliness, but as one of my long time married friends always says - ‘the grass is always greener.’

I do not and have never had this ‘regular life’ that we are encouraged to aim towards. It fascinates me deeply and always has. Here is a familiar story we can all relate to, either because we know people like this, we were made from people like this or we are those people. The family. Two people initially drawn together out of lust if they’re lucky, now sharing a life sealed with a certificate and a band of gold, in sickness and in health…raising a family, sharing a double bed almost every night for twenty odd years…working hard in their respective jobs, providing their children with moral guidance and experiences from which they may grow, plans in place for them and a strict weekly routine of exercise and hobbies to keep them occupied. Hats off to this decent type of family for their commitment to doing the best they possibly can - much more effort than most are prepared to put in. Exhausting and repetitive I ask myself or comforting and ultimately avoidant? There is little talking between them of course, little truth if any at all. Much is said in many marriages and indeed in many relationships but not much talking. They begin through time to realize that they enjoy and want opposite things from life, they both live in a state of compromise, but are united in raising their kids. He, like so many men has never shed a tear in front of his wife or spoken about his true feelings and needs - yet when the lager flows he talks to a friend (considered to be a truth seeker) about his pain from various losses that still haunt him, the alcoholism and dysfunction from his own family of origin, and his longing for a time when he was a young man where he felt truly free to be whatever he desired - now a distant memory he reconnects with late at night through the music of his youth playing from a radio station form time to time. There is no sober talk of these subjects or the longings he harbors or the burden either bares. Life ticks along, the kids reach puberty and start to become their own people, the threat of exodus looms and mum and dad begin acting out their fears of being left alone. A sense of boredom and restlessness sets in; their minds increasingly turn to escape routes whenever they drink as they have done with regularity for years now. She wants more of this and he wants more of that and as they both struggle to not face what is a critical time in their individual lives they secretly grow more and more apart and seek to mask the anxiety those fears bring. Eventually it has turned into a “if it wasn’t for the kids…” scenario - very common this mindset with the married couples.

With mid life crisis building, it must be exhausting to keep that lid on a storm; like trying to contain a tsunami within a teacup. Of course you do come across the odd relatively happy family where there is a remarkable capacity for open hearted loving communication, where two parents have an emotional dialogue with one another and their children, but it is a rare thing, very beautiful when it happens but very rare. I’m not for one moment suggesting that ‘gay people’ who have chosen the ‘civil partnership’ or not are free of this cycle. I would say however, that because many people in same sex relationships do not have children, they do find it easier to leave one another when it starts to break down - this could be a healthy thing necessary for individual growth or a bailing out too soon before real depth has even taken place depends on the circumstances. I do feel that not having children does encourage the lesbian relationship (the one I have personal experience of the most) to remain in a perpetual state of adolescence. As we grow together, we do need a third thing to help our love deepen, a third thing other than a therapist (though we all of us need that for a while, and good one’s are hard to come by.) I mean, if not a child or a dog then shared passion - something else that we can both love together and separately, some way for us to be creative, to birth new life in some way.

If I’m truly honest I believe that the combination of two women is thee most difficult and perhaps limiting of all. The tendency to make our relationships symbiotic and claustrophobic and co-dependant can set in very quickly. Whilst all relationships are hard work, at least the heterosexual pairing has by its very nature and oppositeness that is so needed. Ying and yang, male and female. There are many jokes told amongst lesbians within our community (again a term we are so used to hearing - and I use it, but what the fuck does it really mean- 'our community'?) - about how quickly our relationships end - the old one about being together for two years; which in heterosexual terms is the equivalent to ten. Many of us have been in a relationships for longer but at what point did we really stop making it healthy? Stop having sex, stop talking, or for most even start talking? I know how many lesbians recoil in horror at the mention of our need for the phallus in some form. Lesbian, heterosexual, bi-sexual identified women, we are all women and we all need to be filled up, it is our nature. Therefore how do we really feel about the penis? About men? One way to look at it is that it doesn’t matter what we do, we can express love in whatever way we feel is our way. However the whole point of being psychologically minded is to explore what lies beneath, and on this subject all I’m saying in a nutshell is there are many complex issues that are seen as taboo by lesbians which invariably are about our feelings about us as sexual women facilitating masculinity within our relationships in the absence of an actual potent male. Some lesbians I truly believe deny themselves a pleasure they feel afraid to explore, as if it were a betrayal to the original meaning of what we are. Many older lesbians in my age group and above had to rise above enormous social pressure when we were younger in order to be seen let alone accepted, something I just think most young lesbians take for granted now. That pressure was so great at times it left us with no space to explore how we really felt inside about what we are. Now societal pressure to prove how ‘positive’ a ‘role model’ we can be in order to combat “homophobia” can leave many of us desperate to please; grateful just to be accepted. So when are we allowed to discuss what our same sex relationships are really like? When can we face our shadow without being ‘unhelpful to the cause;’ Address the patterns we continually follow? We are often caught between a rock and a hard place, fighting for the right to be what we are, which is so far removed from what we are told is the ‘norm’ to trying to proving that we are ‘normal everyday people like you so please accept us.’ If, like me, you are into your third decade of carrying this burden you will no doubt be feeling well battle worn by now.
Having all this to bare, it's no wonder that in our forties many of us arrive in new relationships in a completely exhaustive state, making the other a life raft in which we can just curl up and go to sleep in until other help appears. I’m not being judgemental about who and what way people choose to express their sexuality and love, I’m merely saying that all of us, gay, straight, married unmarried, we are all prone to the same disillusionment and difficulties in making relationships healthy and loving and open in a society that discourages truth and pumps us with fear and unrealistic expectations of others. How many marriage vows or wedding proposals actually speak the truth and go along the lines of “I promise to use you to escape from myself” or “I hope you can be everything to me and fill the void within.”
For better or for worse…as Ryan Gosling’s character Dean shouts at his wife in the brilliant 'Blue Valentine' as she is leaving him. "For better and for worse right? That’s what you said well this is my worse. THIS is my worse.” He cries. Yet people keep saying things that they just don’t know the full meaning of, the weight of. The power of words to hurt, to heal, the power of words. As I have said in my earlier blogs there is only one thing we can be sure of in this life on this earth and that is that everything changes - not what we are promised when we sign up for the old marriage deal uh? For most of us, we jump into arms, beds and contracts with people that we barely know, as they do not know themselves yet.

In mid life we start to feel death all around us, whether it be consciously or subconsciously, death in all its forms whether it be the actual death of our parents or friends to accidents and disease, the death of a love we thought would last forever, as in my case, or the feelings of loss that come with failed expectation and the letting go of former ideals and the tools of the past which were once so easy to use as a comfort seeker but now feel so redundant. For most, the pains of my age group are too much to bear and the chance to embrace this as a time of great renewal for a second term (health permitting) is too often eclipsed by the fear of loss and change it inevitably brings. As people continue to look outwards for the answers, the chaos within grows. Hence the term ‘mid life crisis’ and I’m seeing it in almost everyone I know my age.

I recently had dinner with a dear old friend whom I was once inseparable with but drifted away from over the years. She is a rampant capitalist and proud Thatcherite; on her bookshelf she keeps a copy of Maggie’s autobiography, which she queued for hours to have signed some years back. She has various properties and a constant tan from popping over to the South of France (I admit my working class ness will always envy the constant tan.) She believes nice things make us happy. She appears bright, chirpy and positive and is very excited about 'The Big Society'. She has recently gone back to the city to work, as she wants to “give it one more go.” What is “it?” I asked. “To make a go of it.” She replied, riled at my squinting and suggestion that her return to the city was in fact a classic mid life crisis move, she launched into an upbeat monologue in which she dismissed all notions of this, claiming it was indulgent to have therapy and think in that way and that I should get out more because I’m too isolated, too in my own head. (That certainly is my working day.) She spoke of nice restaurants in parts of London that I would love; yet I have no interest in visiting unless I was evacuated there in an emergency. She believes whole-heartedly in the “you just get on with it” ethos. This was the motto of my ex. I couldn’t disagree with that; you do indeed just get on with it - 'It' being the amazing and complicated journey of life which is full of enormous fucking suffering through which if we turn and face with truth and courage we can emerge from bathed in the very light we seek to find in all the other ridiculous ways (that serve us with nothing but a disloyalty to ourselves.) People who believe that thinking too much is not a good thing are afraid of what difficult feelings lurk beneath the surface, feelings that arise as we re visit our past and face how perhaps we have treated people and allowed ourselves to be treated. I believe the key to healing is to revisit in order to let go, not for the fainthearted I know. The task of owning our shit is not an easy one, but we all deserve this process called individuation, and that cannot be reached by just brushing it under the carpet and ‘Getting on with it.’ My friend shared her anxieties about having to maybe be in a position to look for love elsewhere if her current relationship was truly over. She said it doesn’t get any easier as we age to find someone. (Have to agree with her there.) We joked about how despite pushing 40kgs on the old bench press, it has less results as it did in our thirties. Yes our bodies change I do find that pushing weights and the daily press-ups of my entire adult life have more of a maintenance affect rather than improvement. Our skin begins to loosen, our hair needs more coloring to hide the grey and the hairdresser begins to suggest ‘permanent color’ whist we experience a mounting anxiety about our own lack of permanence on this planet and of those we have grown to need around us.

Every breaking second the news and media reports lives destroyed and taken away in an instance through war, or man made and natural disaster. We are constantly warned about the threat of “terror” (I always hear Vincent Price’s voice saying that.) Told that owning certain items and inhabiting certain lifestyles based on the envy of others will make us happy. With these images uploaded into our subconscious we venture out into the world each day armed with all this fear. It’s no wonder humans need to numb themselves most of the time as a coping strategy, it is this cycle of fear and the accompanying numbness that consumerism perpetuates and relies on - for as soon as we feel afraid we are taught to reach for the company of others in mindless chatter and manic laughter, flick through colorful magazines at pictures of botoxed faces with huge white teeth and fake breasts, with labels pointing to their various clothing items telling us how we can replicate them for half the price! The anti depressants, the fags, the cable TV with its abundance of channels featuring a cornucopia of young American’s with their totally totally totally…the endless bottles of wine we now consume. The fake spirituality with countless yoga classes yet still so fucking held in. The DIY must do, must fix this holiday (although some of that can be fun I admit it.) I asked one of my married male friends what he will do when all the work in and outside his modest property is finally completed - “there will always be something to do, don’t you worry" he winked knowingly.

I will never forget accompanying my mother to church a couple of years back and talking later downstairs to one of the many bohemian members there about mid life. To which my mother said “I was 43 when I lost your father, lost my job and had to bring you up on my own and run a house, I had no time for a mid life crisis.” I was stunned into silence. I have never forgotten that, so fucking sad. The truth was my mother was having a crisis of some sorts for a large part of my childhood, as indeed was my father. I learnt stuff about my dad and his history that even my mother didn’t know and I watched them both eagle eyed as I was throughout childhood and am again now. My mother was never allowed (like so many women of her era) to show grief and pain. Not over the loss of her children, which led to my adoption, or the loss of her independence, which resulted in marrying an old school Scottish man of a certain era. She was hard as nails at times, like her mother was to her, a formidable woman defiant to the patriarchal father in law who governed his family in an era where men didn’t even push prams.

It is unbelievable what my mother and many women have endured in family life. I often feel such guilt about their generation about how they worked too much, how the expression of emotions and sexuality within their human relationships was discouraged. How nobody talked about their real fears or even identified them for that matter. All the fallout from two world wars trickling down the family line from broken man and woman to broken man and woman. In my book 1979 I write about the insanity of the silence that purveyed after my father died and still to this day, nobody really asked me how I felt about it. I only really began talking about it 25 years later when I wrote the book. It was just their way of coping, the silence, men and woman of that era who just prescribed to the whole ethos of 'just getting on with it'. What goes on within the individual souls of those in marriage we often do not know, they are seldom given a voice. So often they are bound together in a duty that they have undertaken, and in my parents generation that duty was for life no matter what…so when we congratulate couples on their long and seemingly ‘happy marriage’ how do we know how happy they really are with themselves? We are always told who alarming the rising divorce statistics are, how it seen as mark of a society in downward spiral. Nobody can deny on many levels we certainly are hurtling rapidly towards the conclusion that the way we have been told to live is just not working. So perhaps the growing numbers of divorces are actually a result of people waking up to themselves. I sometimes feel families are necessary for a while in order to procreate and when the children become adults its time for the adults to get in touch with their child within and leave for brighter greener pastures, and so on. I do see a lot of people who seem happier in their second marriage or big relationship they enter into in their late forties and fifties, once everyone including them has really grown up. There is a lot to be said for the positive changes and awareness in our current society, and like I have said repeatedly before, if we could take our awareness of emotions and psychology from now and combine it with a simple life with less emphasize on material wealth as it was back in the day (Pre free market lunacy)

I think about my biological mother now in her sixties. I think about how she must feel so fucking cheated at being told to go to a home in secret and give birth to her baby (me), hand me over to strangers then come back again and ‘get on with things.’ How her and millions of women like her in the 40’s. 50’s and 60’s in particular but for many other years were told that they must give up their children as they were unmarried or pregnant and therefore a source of great social embarrassment. What scale of heartbreak must they carry their whole lives through after we are torn from them? How unfair it must seem to them that many young women can now have children alone and be given social housing, support and acceptance whilst they bare the life long scars of a less compassionate time. We all know the resentment that many of us have experienced whilst crippled by mounting income tax, about the growing number of young girls in this country having a baby then being provided housing and money without any contribution to a system that is so unforgiving on those who work for an average wage. However, we must bare in mind that mindset itself comes from a place of emotional and financial impoverishment - the same backdrop that leads to addiction. Not getting what you need when you are young makes you think you should get whatever you want for free when you are older. The suckling becomes the dealer on the street, or the nipple of the welfare state. Only the truth and acknowledgement of what system created this cycle, this widening gap between rich and poor will remedy this and only love - be it a tough one at times and healing will eradicate it. This will not come from the work of politicians across any party, whom govern or oppose with little emotional intelligence driven but by linear thinking, indulging in belligerent exchanges with one another, trading lies and deceit in exchange for votes whilst paying lip service to bankers and co operations making their wealth through unscrupulous and unethical means.

What is upon us now is work cut out for the lateral thinkers, the artists in all their guises, the psychotherapist willing to embrace heart as well as mind in order to heal the wounds of everyday family life, those of an esoteric nature who combine an ancient wisdom which respects mother nature and our relationship with the sun, moon and stars. Do not forget that spirituality is life itself, we are all a part of it whether we embrace it or not. Spirituality is not to be confused with joining a cult or attending a church and its religious practices, which can often seek to judge and oppress.

As a child I would listen to all the conversations that went on around me with adults and sometimes record them once I had possession of my rather cumbersome Hitachi tape recorder somewhere in the mid seventies. I would observe the mindless chitchat; the gossip and the exaggerated rehashed stories from the events of the day amongst those around me during get togethers. I would despair of the life that lay ahead, where contact with others seemed for most of the time to be based on exchanging information or reporting back. I made promises in my mutterings (alone or to my dog Hector) that I would learn what lay beneath the veneer, and so years later I turned it into making a living. Sadly, most of my working life and the potential to have loving relationships were eclipsed by all my emotional baggage and damage of that time and later. Until finally, I met someone whom I thought I could spend my life with, someone whom I shared an alliance with, who seemed so familiar from the first moment she put her arms around me. Someone whom I opened my heart, body and soul to in a way I have never before and her to me. Someone I saw as my life raft, whom had promised me the future I so desperately wanted. But guess what folks? It didn’t work out; I wasn’t ready and either was she. Both our pain from earlier in life and how it manifests in our hearts in our pathologies drove us apart.

I choose to sleep alone now and have done for a while. I am learning to be with me - long long overdue. I finally have stopped running from one to the next; an all too familiar pattern I have seen and experienced amongst lesbians in particular. I am stopping with me for a while. (As a Libran ruled by Venus with my moon, Mars, Venus and Mercury in Scorpio trust me it’s not easy, but I’m growing to make peace with it.) Its very hard and very lonely but I’m so aware now that one can only be comfortable with others when one is comfortable with oneself. People confuse liking being in relationship with avoiding being alone. Both are necessary. With all these words everywhere in this age of Internet, it can all feel overwhelming at times, and I am aware I have written a lot on this. I would now like to go somewhere without words and just rest now. Have you ever been in a hot, quiet, desolate, desert-like place, perhaps driven miles across sun baked land where you have pulled over and got out of the car to hear nothing but the heat and the crickets? Or gone to the top of a hill or mountain and heard and felt nothing but the wind? These are moments we need in order to balance out al this wordy stuff. It is the non-spoken moments of touch that have impacted on me the most in my life - one is the touch of her, my big love so far and the other is that of my father, when after his late shift smelling of cigarettes and waterproofs from his motorbike he would come up to my bed and stroke the side of head, his large hands making the noise of the sea in a shell across my ear until I slept. This small gesture in our very short time on this earth together has stayed with me for my entire life.

All we can do is be as brave and courageous as we can, be as forgiving as we can, stop lying to ourselves and others and stop hiding and masking - but only when we are ready (and trust me you know when you are ready.) We cannot be too harsh on ourselves and those who are not ready for this honesty. As the late and great comedian Bill Hicks said - “We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution" and we should seek to experience as much as humanly possible. We in this era and we with good health in this part of the world are afforded the luxury of that and we owe it to ourselves and to our parents and their parents who perhaps never got the chance. Don’t let the bullshit out there affect you and deaden you, don’t believe that life is just about buying a fucking house and getting a good pension plan by the time you’re 30. It’s about fucking living through all the light and dark, the joy and the suffering, living as authentically as you possibly can, as truthfully as you possibly can and as lovingly as you possibly can which has nothing to do with money or ownership. As time ticks along you realize that what we lose with age in the superficial sense we gain with depth. As Diana Garland (astrologer and great support to me in this time) reminded me of when I mailed her last year - “when the heart weeps for what is lost, the spirit laughs at what it has found.” This loss, as I have tried to explain before (but perhaps not in such a candid way) is a great gift, I see that now.

Please note: I’m not suggesting I’m an expert or a scholar of any sorts, merely a fellow traveler and I share this with only good intention, nothing else. (Nor am I using this for therapy as I have therapy for that.) I can be as funny and as light as the next person, fake even when one has to be, but I have been compelled to create this space to speak in a very specific way and that is from my heart, so please accept this in the spirit it is intended.

Thank you for taking the time to read me, I hope it helps in some way.

Love RC x

Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Very Blossom Of The Ocean

Hello again,

Thank you for taking time to read me. Firstly let me apologise for not writing a March blog. Many reasons for this; I was bogged down by my own reading of various social commentators and teachers of an esoteric nature whom I admire and follow, writing about the traumatic events occurring around the world. As a result of the strangeness of the current time and the aftershocks felt by us everywhere I felt blocked and unable to communicate well to others, and lost my grounding for most of the month. Plus, I had a lengthy trip home to Scotland to spend time with my mum on her 81st birthday. The trips back home are always so heavy these days and as an only child with just the two of us it really takes it out of me. I find myself escaping back into adolescent behaviour on my return to London, wanting to drink and play music for about two days, watching clips of David Coverdale singing “Here I go Again” whom I am infatuated with as part of my mid life crisis. Soooo, I need to centre myself again best I can and that involves not giving out too much for a while.

March/ April has always been a tricky time for me personally; I have only recently understood this. Firstly, as I have explained in my previous blog’s, it is the onslaught of spring, a fast moving opening energy that I don’t feel comfortable with. A pressure, like the rush hour I avoid at all costs. Having said that, late last Thursday night leaving the NFT on the beloved South bank, I found myself in Waterloo station getting one of the last tube’s home. It has been a while since I have experienced the mass exodus of drunken office zombies lurching across the concourse towards their homeward bound transportation. I was reminded of the George Romero classic “Night Of The Living dead.” Staggering, muttering, clutching those enormous baguettes that amateur drunks eat when they’ve gone straight from work to the pub. Poor, sad fuckers. The tube was rammed full of stinky people, all red eyed, a few people actually unconscious and some couples too drunk to care about their tongue kissing. When I alighted at Swiss cottage I saw a tall man in a suit standing in a corner about to throw up. After covering my ears and making noises (A bit Rain Man) I ran up the escalator and out on to the street. Eton Avenue (the scene of the Belsize Park beheading a few years back), is a pleasant night walk back to my street after the carnage of a tube ride, and I must admit the fullness of the blossom at this time of year makes it extra pleasing. It was just a shame I couldn’t enjoy the peace of the walk due to little Miss clickity fucking heels behind. Jeeeesus don’t you hate that! She was a sturdy girl to with a hefty clop, so I had to run head a little to get rid of her. When I got in I vowed to never go anywhere again within public madness hours. I have said this many times but this time I mean it. To end this section can I just add a disclaimer saying - yes of course I have been the worse for wear on more occasions than most in my past and younger life but never, I repeat never, have I thrown up in public. I just don’t think you should be allowed out if you have a weak constitution, or perhaps you can be allowed out on a Tuesday or something so we can all avoid you. I did, in the early nineties, once shit the bed whilst someone else was lying next to me, but then we had taken ecstasy cut with heroin the night before and were unable to move for about 24 hours, but never a public vomit. Get a fucking grip, standards and all that. May I also add another disclaimer saying that apart from a couple of drug taking experiences (one being Sydney Mardis Gras 1995) it has all been a terrible waste of time and brain cells, but then I am a product of my time and generation and we did what we did, it was just a little more extreme, expensive and dragged out than I would recommend to anyone. There are no rules of course, only common sense guidelines I guess, but in the mid nineties at the age of 30 I was in a relationship with a woman in her mid fifties and we both took drugs together for pleasure. She was enjoying a joire de vive revival after many years of responsibility and working hard building a successful business, and I was just being a naughty little stand up. Our time together wining and dining and class A’ing our way around northern Australia’s finest resorts was one of the most pleasurably hedonistic time’s of my entire life. I should show more compassion to the zombie midnight baguette clutchers of Waterloo station, we can’t all do it style-Daaaaaaaaghling. Hey, that was an out of character moment but I’ll keep it in.

So how are you feeling? There is a really big and powerful energy shift occurring at the moment, can you feel it? Today as I write this on 3rd April there is a new moon in Aries, which does highlight all those big feelings and surges. Please refer to my other sights of interest in previous blogs like

When a disaster on the scale of Japan occurs, it affects people around the world. Fallout from such an event does affect us all on some level, even if we feel unaware at the time, we cannot avoid it seeping into our subconscious and unearthing the big anxieties most of us spend our time avoiding. The big themes are safety and security, truth and of course, a reminder that life can change forever in a matter of moments. What we love, what we need, what we depend on can be swept away in an instant. Did you notice on the news coverage how happy some of the people looked who survived? The smiling faces of them amidst the rubble just so grateful to have their lives and the lives of their loved ones spared. Most of them left with nothing but the clothes they stood in. A reminder of the pointlessness of our increasingly material focused society. How Ironic it is that Japan who supplies the world with many technological gadgets will be unable to do so for some time. Technology, nature and the raped and abused planet earth - everything feels so linked at the moment when you study the layers and think about the cycle of it all.

The simple question; why the fuck are we using a source of power that when malfunctioning and leaking can cause mass devastation? Now finally we learn that radioactive water pouring from a damaged reactor will be soon be reaching the sea. Soil will be poisoned, exports from Japan will cease and the knock on affect will be world wide eventually. Again we are reminded of the power of cause and effect. The wake up call we need perhaps to remind us that we can’t trust governments and media nor politicians who pay lip service to the mighty power of corruption and sociopathic corporations. Who tells us what is safe, what is right, what we should buy and what we should believe.

This month will see the royal fucking wedding. The one time when I do feel like fleeing to Scotland where it will go unnoticed for most. How timely, what a welcome distraction from what some would say is a grim current world. A chance for The Sun newspaper (cock hardener and mind softener to the working class man) to print pages of red white and blue patriotic dribble, the same delusion and patriotism that perpetuates an increasingly insane class inequality, that decimates working class communities and brainwashes young men and women to join the army and give their lives for a cause called freedom and democracy, which any enlightened person nowadays knows really means oil. Could it be that they just love each other and want to get married? There is some of that I’m sure but when one of the richest families in the world does so the effect has wide spread connotations. Like why the fuck should we take it up the ass all year round plus tax and pay for it? We’ve only just forked out millions on red nose day to help people who could be helped by taxing rich businesses, laying off most of the royals, putting an end to our involvement in illegal wars, and making premiership footballers, Rupert Murdoch and Tesco pay for the rest. As for the public holiday, I’m amazed anyone bothers turning up to work at times. Imagine if one day a month everybody just refused to go to work in protest of our ridiculously unfair system and just went and sat down in Whitehall instead? I also want to raise the question of charity, I just think it can encourage government complacency, we need to help people of course we do, but let us never forget that there is enough money to feed and house the homeless, to make sure everybody has a good quality of medical care, a decent education and transport system, and good local amenities. There is enough to pay for all of it; its just there’s too much of it in the wrong hands.

People are fighting back, waking up. This will be an incredible year for the world, a great shift of awareness will occur in some people. Out of the carnage and the suffering will come a hugely transformative time. It’s exciting, it’s frightening but it’s long overdue. Each night before I sleep I have started saying my prayers again, like I did when I was a little girl. Not in following a religion or belief in god in the biblical sense, but just a few moments at the end of the day to connect with the plight of others around me. To say thank you to those who have held me in some way, and to remember those passed who still watch over me. To think about all the people on our fragile earth who live in disaster zones and sick beds, in homes and institutions, and to show gratitude for whatever I have that feels good to me.

I cycled home last night from a friend’s house and that blossom smell was ever so present (blossom reminds me of one of my hero’s Dennis Potter in one of the greatest interviews of all time whilst he was dying and describing the blossomiest of blossom he saw from his window each day.) As I cycled I saw foxes slinking around with things in their mouths, and the wind was blowing so fiercely that I didn’t realise how loud I was singing until I saw people stare at me speeding past. “Memory” from Cats - I know, it’s naff but I love it and it’s my night cycle theme. There are many things unsatisfactory and difficult about my life, and my heart is very heavy with loss at times but for that moment and many others when I pedal around, I feel very lucky to be alive and strong and well and still able to have a shot at it all.

Say your prayers dear friends and followers, for all our flaws and fears and demons, say them each day and think of what simple things we have to appreciate, and for Christ’s sake, if you have never done it and you are able to, then make sitting on a surf board waiting for a wave -then trying to stand up when it comes, a priority in your life this year. It really is one of the most wonderful experiences.

Made myself cry now.

Love and peace

RC x

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Everybody’s Changeling.

It’s Saturday morning, and I love winter weekends. Less traffic sounds, office drones still sleepy and indoors from the Friday night release. No children in the gardens below. Just the sound of the trees moving in the wind. Today’s weather is pretty much ideal for me. Before I slept last night I checked the met office report, and was delighted to see my favourite two meteoric words- Heavy and Rain. Joy oh joy.
So how is Feb feeling to you? Post Valentine’s Day commercial nonsense. It’s out of hand isn’t it? For those of us over 40 we can really see how commercialism has increased its production of neurosis in the human condition, in its relentless pursuit of our souls and true selves. How it uses every event in our yearly cycle to tap into our deepest fears and insecurities in order to develop greed and the avoidance of truth. (Those two very necessary components of capitalism.) The irony being most of our insecurities were instilled in us in the same system, that further down the line promises to remedy them if we just buy some more gear. I guess Valentine’s Day is the hardest to stomach of all the commercial honey traps. Mostly because it’s based on the notion that:

A- Romance is red and velvety, floral and edible.
B- Love is only a love that matters when it concerns another’s romantic love for you.
C- That there is a specific day of the year when we must all be loved up.

Still, it gives the drones a little break from god forbid - The time of nothingness that lies between New Year and mid Feb. Heaven forbid should we all just be left to fend for ourselves for a month. We mustn’t be left alone too much because alone time allows a person to feel and to think their own independent thoughts, and once we think we might not want to be slaves anymore. So just as western civilisation is slumping into a month without anything, particularly after a long period of journeying through the dark of winter, which as I wrote in January’s blog is meant for turning inward and reflection, to gather up one’s own inner strength. The giant nipple comes down for us all to suckle from.
The more I look at people these days the more I see 21st century humans as junkies, looking for their next fix. Capitalism has turned most humans into dehumanised dead eyed addicts, scratching away restlessly until their next score. We are pushed and pulled from one season to the next. No sooner are we out of the Christmas period of excess and over indulgence enough to edge us all over into diabetes type two, disguised as a holiday and ‘family time.’ When we are catapulted into the new year, and all the accompanying neurosis of “I must do this and I must do that” Join a gym, go on a diet, do yoga, self improve. One minute we are encouraged to stuff our faces with party food from Iceland advertised by a string of celebrities whom themselves have battled a life long struggle with addiction that got worse – surprise, surprise as their celebrity status soared. It’s a wonder most people haven’t collapsed under the heavy weight of irony, let alone a mountain of saturated fat by the end of the year.
Then suddenly the dealer switches gear and tells us all we are fat fucks by January 2nd, and that we have to get down the gym or buy a magazine that will change our lives and read a story about some anorexic Hollywood star’s tips for a flatter stomach in five days. Please be reminded that we can all strive to live healthier lives outside of this system, be the architects of our own lives. Be truly what we need to be without spending money on ‘things’ to change us; sure we need a few ‘things’ I love my good watch, good pen and good wallet that I acquired some years ago, and I like everyone have had my wanker stage of going to Selfridges every time I felt miserable, but it was a very short phase that felt pointless very quickly.
The more I grow the more I go back in many ways, meaning I grow back into what was authentically me as young as my late teens probably. There seems to be part of our being, our character that intrinsically was us long before we became totally influenced by other factors. Some of it I think is our soul lines, ancestry, the position of the planets when we were born, and most of it is what happens to us next, but there are things you lose in young adulthood, that perhaps we need to find again. If you are in your early thirties and younger it is doubtful this will resonate with you, and I make no apologies for mentioning in almost all my blogs now, the potency of the mid life transit. Please read “The middle passage from misery to meaning” by James Hollis - a beautiful book.
We grow up or pretend to grow up, do what society calls grown up things. The ownership of property, the ownership of another person through the constraints of marriage, children whom we live our own unfulfilled lives through. I know so many married people who can’t follow their hearts desires, what kind of a life is that I ask you? What point is there in our lives if we can’t follow the desire of one’s heart, the pull of the soul? Some of us do though, and are brought to it in crashing circumstances, where survival instincts are mobilised. Whatever the path that takes us there, nearly all who are brave enough to undertake the pursuit of one’s real desire’s, find it through a hefty life experience, that’s for sure. That’s why the brain washing poison of an increasingly consumerist society tries everything in it’s power to disconnect us from ourselves. For individuation is free, it’s more valuable than any commodity we are told will be life changing, nobody can sell you it and nobody can take it from you unless you choose to let them. It’s merely being who you are meant to be.

I can feel it already, I feel spring knocking from time to time and it scares me. I feel unprepared, not made all the adjustments intended before I’m thrust into the light. I’m trying to enjoy this last month of winter as much as I can, and work hard at my process, so I have fruits to bear. (Trying to write a drama by the way) I wrote in my last blog how much I love going inwards the older I get, and how I need to retreat in order to gather strength for what is next. For the next few years are going to be the most transformative and changeling/challenging years that the planet has known in many respects, but certainly the MO FO of years of my life.
I wrote changeling accidentally because my spell check put it there when It corrected challenging (incidentally, I have big problems with spelling and in particular when to use of and off) I was always best in class at story writing and spoken word, and was actually a bit of a junior poet, getting published in bits and pieces way back, but always had problems with spelling. I would say mildly dyslexic even, so spell check is always working away with my pieces.
So… I thought I would keep changeling in as it does fit. Then I remembered the Angelina Jolie film where she played a woman who’s child was abducted and replaced by the authorities with another, whom she instinctively felt was not her own. Then my analytical brain questioned whether as an adoptee I subconsciously used that word.
Heard a sad but not surprising statistic once again on the radio last night. Radio 4 programme about adoption, where they say only one third of all adoptions in this country are successful - I’ve already written way too much to expand on what is meant by successful so I’m going to leave that in the hope that you will understand. As we know the family unit whether blood related or not has got a very poor track record of producing happy and emotionally healthy people, given that nearly all parents enter into child rearing themselves from a place of unresolved emotional wounding.
A helpful and insightful book about adoption is “The Primal Wound” By Nancy Verrier. It’s quite old now, but still I would say one of the best books for all involved in adoption, especially for those adopted like myself.
Certainly to acknowledge it as a life long wound is a start. I have known so many, and been very close to some other adoptees to know that we come in different types, but we all share the same pain, the pain of abandonment. What happened after that, how we coped with the fallout from it depended on how capable, how open hearted and how strong and nourishing the family we were placed with were. That is a tall order in a society that encourages people not to feel. I would think very very carefully as to whether you have what it takes to become parents of any kind, let alone adopt which is taking things onto a whole different level.
I wonder whether any of you are questioning my authority to write and advise on such matters, I don’t have a degree of any kind after all, but I want you to know as I write this I’m wearing a high visibility vest, so you can trust me.

Karma, would best describe current world events and shifts? For those of you who freak out when someone uses spiritual terminology, then how about “Cause and Affect” People reaping consequences for their actions. I heard some other academic type man on the radio the other day re Egypt saying “We never saw this coming” To which I turned to my radio and said “Well the fucking astrologers did.” Amazing that people will still put the word of politicians, economists and scientists, above astrologers. When will they fucking learn? For anyone still in the dark, I suggest you research Saturn in Libra. I’m one of the Libran’s hit by the transit that began in late 2009 by the way. Libra as you know represents balance and justice among other things, and Saturn is the most revered planet of all, for it is the planet of hard lessons, change and Karma. Now put them both together, Ring any bells? It’s kicking off isn’t it? As predicted - the road to 2012, fight back time. Pay back time. Did those fascist power driven greedy abusers think they would always get away with it? All the sins of greed and misuse of power will come home to roost over the next few years.
Hold onto your stupid fucking hats Etonians, you’ll be next.
I’m not an expert on astrology, I’m merely a student, and someone who has surrendered to my process. For really great coverage of world affairs and it’s relationship with the planets, and for a really compassionate and humanitarian view then please log on to: planet waves.

And for a personal reading with a passionate, warm and wise healer and astrologer visit Diana garland.

Spare a thought in your quiet time, reflective time, prayer time, whatever time you can for the brave citizens of planet earth who are fighting back, some of them who have lost their lives in order to emancipate others. Also Spare a thought for those struggling with natural disasters in particular the souls of those affected by the earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand.

As always, thanks for reading. Thanks for stopping. You should stop more.
Love and Peace
RC x

P.S. I will try and make March’s blog earlier into the month, It’s just I get distracted and end up completing it across several days.