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 fa├žade 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