The Madwoman's Journal
Copyright 1998 New Moon
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  Prev 26 August 98

  Wednesday, 26 August 98

Thunderstorms. I dasn't turn on the computer or take a shower. I'm in the kitchen, at the table, byt the open back door. The sounds of the rain and distant thunder go well with the jazz playing quietly in the other room.

I caught a segment of Sister Wendy [Beckett] commenting on Reubens' Frozen Venus-- is it frozen? Cold? I wrote down frozen, but I wasn't particularly attending to the facts; I was more struck by the concept. A naked, fat, cold (frozen?) Venus in the foreground, all huddled in upon herself, unable to function. I felt quite superior at first glance, thinking, Thank goodness I don't look like a Reubens-- yet! But then Sister Wendy explained her take on the painting (love rendered powerless, hopeless, and dysfunctional by lack of nourishment), and I felt compassion, then empathy. But, as it turns out, Venus is lucky. Behind her, mostly in shadow, we see-- Bacchus, was it?-- arriving with food and wine. She will eat and drink, and be restored. Love is like that.

Lately, I've been feeling cold, hopeless, and dysfunctional-- not to mentions fat. I wish someone would show up to nourish me. I suppose I could call for a pizza-- I'm tempted, even with the vision of Venus's fat haunch still vivid in my memory. But the analogy won't hold. There's a world of difference between ordering up a pizza and having a friend show up with chicken soup.

I'm feeling sorry for myself. Today I feel trapped by my circumstances, and all I want to do is pack a bag and drive away-- I want to shed my life like an old skin and start over clean and fresh with nothing and no one to weight me down--

The thing is, I've got a notion that there may just be a way to do it. All I've got to do is figure out exactly what is stopping me from living the life I want to be living-- get the obstacles defined, and then eliminate, fix, modify, or circumvent as necessary. Piece of cake, right? Yeah. Right. It's positively enervating to contemplate the amount of energy, concentration, determination-- and raw courage it will take take...

How do people keep on keeping on? There's much more to it than just wanting out. It's the people who have a Dream who can slog away, day after day, week after week, year after year. It's passion for a Dream-- passion and a clear vision of the goal. It's a knight's quest for the Holy Grail.

It's been a long time since I let myself have a dream. All the ones I did have, well... when you care very passionately, it's like watching someone you love die. And you grieve, sometimes for a long time. And then, if it happens again-- and again-- after that, if it's a matter of consciously trying to build a new dream, well, then you don't set yourself up to get hurt again. You turn you back on dreaming. And the ones that arise on their own, bright little sparks full of hope, those you do your very best to ignore.

I think a Dream is growing in me again. I don't know what it is. It feels like the veriest spark of-- hope? But it's there. And I'm not ignoring it. I'm waiting, watching...

I used to have a terrible time with my image of my physical self. I couldn't see myself objectively in mirrors or in pictures. I had no idea of what I really looked like physically. I didn't know if I was ugly or plain or handsome or pretty. I had been described as everything but beautiful at one time or another, so I couldn't imagine what other people really saw. And, since I only knew how I felt-- and that wasn't very positive-- a lot of the time, the negative feelings made me imagine and remember all the negative things I knew or had been told about myself and I projected those onto my mental image of myself.

Then, one day, I got involved in theatre. And during my studies, intuitively, I came up with an independent project for which I bought and began wearing an auburn wig. When I put the wig on and looked in the mirror, I saw a stranger. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I saw a woman I had never seen before, and I had no trouble objectively assessing her looks-- and I liked a lot of what I saw. I saw a pretty woman who had a lot of potential. And I could see clearly how to make the most of it. And ever since, I have always been able to see myself objectively. Sometimes I like what I see, sometimes I don't. But the really neat thing is this: now I can always tell what other people are seeing, and that gives me all the confidence I need to face the world.

I'm thinking that this Journal is like the auburn wig. Oh, sure, I've been writing and reading my own stuff all my life, but, like my reflection in a mirror, I've never been able to see it objectively-- to see it as other people see it-- in spite of the criticism. But, this Journal seems to be letting me see the inside of my head objectively. The Internet is a very interesting phenomenon, I think...

One last listen to one last song-- Three Wishes-- and then it's off to bed...

It's still raining, but the thunder and lightning have stopped. The air is cool and fresh, and the breeze is stirring the wind chime. Tonight I think I will sleep well.



  I dreamed about pencils. I was in the offices of some organization where I believe I was or would shortly be employed. There were lots of different kinds of pencils available, but the pencil sharpeners didn't seem to work well on the the pencils I chose...

Then someone showed me a special box of pencils. They were short and thick, like jumbo crayons, and the outside around the thick lead was made of eraser rubber. The sharpener worked well on it, and I commented on how easy it would be to erase--

That's when I woke up.

Dream Lover, Inc: Dream Dictionary

Later: Went to Ma's for dinner. She served chicken soup. How do moms know?


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