All posts by blairnecessities

About blairnecessities

Living, so the dead don't have to.

The next start of the ongoing saga of the wounded Amazon

Nearly three years ago I was told that I had cancer, it was a fucking ridiculous experience and it was barely stage 1.  This planet does not do cancer well.

Anyway, I am a persona that brings in all senses to my experiences. The visual images that came to me as I was navigating that fucked up process were related to Norse mythology, and most specifically Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s crows.

odin2c_der_gc3b6ttervater
From here, in Portuguese

They were the guides for me during the process. Guides in that they became my eyes and ears, separate of my body, as I made choices and suffered through their consequences. and only in my thoughts and in my dreams.

I love crows and that whole lot of birds in the Corvus genus. I have one tattooed on my back (it is taken from my maternal family crest).

Their images were leaving me, slowly their image disappeared from my dreams. I missed them, but time was passing and I, as a full person, was healing.

Several weeks ago, before anything new was going down (and I will get to that in a moment), they appeared, perched on the shoulders of, what I then thought was, a Valkyrie.

I thought “hmmm” and continued on with life,

Then, shit started going down.  A routine mammogram resulted in suggested follow-up. Follow up resulted in suggested biopsy. Biopsy, a mean mother fucker, told me cancer.

again

My physician called me with the results. His first question being “where are you right now” as if that was not a clue that bad news was coming.

“Home” I reply.

“blah-blah-blah invasive carcinoma of the duct work blah-blah-blah” is all I recall from his end of the conversation… oh, except my response… which was “FUCK”.

I somehow hang up and call my oncologist and ask for an appointment.  I get one, I am told by a friend to get a second opinion, I get three. I am now one week later, waiting for my visit with Dr. Third Opinion and I really have no clue how I managed to get to here from that day.

However,  yesterday as I left my visit with Dr. First Opinion, I realized that my crows had appeared not on the shoulders of a Valkyrie, but on the shoulders of an Amazon warrior.  And, frankly, with the ways myths go they (Amazon’s and Valkyries) were probably based on the same group of bad ass women. Why do I think so, you may wonder? I have no clue, but it is my thoughts and it just felt right, but then it is probably some deep recollection about the rumor about them going around that they used to cut off one breast so that they could be better archers. Ha!

Some images of some bad ass Amazons through the centuries;

Source
Source

Source

For the love of women, from a sugar frosted nutsack (a book review)

One of my favorite authors is Mark Leyner. I have described him as the postmodern reasonable facsimile of Umberto Eco’s doppelganger… at least I do so to people with whom I care to discuss authors of impact without fear of judgement (someday  you should let me tell you about that time I was found wanting for my love of YA literature).

I am reading,  listening  read his novel about the gods, because I love novels about the gods. For the seriously important information about this book:

The Sugar Frosted Nutsack: A Novel
by Mark Leyner
Link: http://a.co/3YsVZVq   (prices vary)

img_4252
Get it? 

The throws of love seem to predominate any tales about the gods (I am looking at Neil Gaiman here, American gods was also a fucking awesome listen if you find the full cast audio version).

The Sugar Frosted Nutsack is a snarky and often hilarious look at modern culture, with some sweet gentleness mixed in. It is past absurd love-story that involves scenes reminiscent of Alice in wonderland (a human becomes 50 ft tall) and part pornographic romp (a plethora of dildos of an amazing variety are involved).  I have missed Leyners’ work, but decided that he was absent for about 15 years because the world needed to catch up in terms of interestingness.

You know I loved the audio-book when I purchase the actual one. Can’t wait for it to arrive.

Anywhosiwhatsit –

What stopped me in my tracks though, was a section where the character, Ike, plagiarizes this gem below which I am reproducing in an homage, if you will, to the story – but in actuality because I want  “Ninety-seven percent of people think it was SUPER-SEXY of…”

ME

Ike to totally plagiarize that from O, The Oprah Magazine.”

1. Even little girls, in all their blithe, unharrowed innocence, have a presentiment of sorrow, hardship, and adversity…of loss. Women, throughout their lives, have an intrinsic and profound understanding of Keats’ sentiments about “Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips Bidding adieu.”

2. This sage knowledge of, and ability to abide, the inherently fugitive nature of happiness somehow accounts for the extraordinary beauty of women as they age.

3. Women have an astonishing capacity to maintain their equilibrium in the face of life’s mutability, its unceasing and unforeseeable vicissitudes. And this agility is always in stark and frequently comical contradistinction to men’s naïvely bullish and brittle delusions that things can forever remain exactly the same.

4. Women are forgiving but implacably cognizant.

5. Women are almost never gullible but sometimes relax their vigilance out of loneliness. (And I believe most women abhor loneliness.)

6. In their most casual, offhand, sisterly moments, women are capable of discussing sex in such uninhibited detail that it would cause a horde of carousing Cossacks to cringe.

7. Women are, for all intents and purposes, indomitable. It really requires an almost unimaginable confluence of crushing, cataclysmic forces to vanquish a woman.

8. Women’s instincts for self-preservation and survival can seem to men to be inscrutably unsentimental and sometimes cruel.

9. Women have a very specific kind of courage that enables them to fling themselves into the open sea—whether it’s a new life for themselves, another person’s life, or even what might appear to be a kind of madness.

10. Women never—no matter how old they are—completely relinquish their aristocratic assumption of seductiveness.

And here is one last thing I know—and I know this with a certitude that exceeds anything I’ve said before: that men’s final thoughts in their waking days and in their lives are of women…ardent, wistful thoughts of wives and lovers and daughters and mothers.

Source: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/what-i-know-for-sure-about-women#ixzz4cka6nyTB

And because of this.

I give you this:

 

 

idyllic mayhem or excuse me, my privilege is showing

I will be the first to admit that I come from privilege. I have been so shockingly lucky for so many things that were and are in my life. Privilege, however, does not mean life is easy. I share many things with people who are not as privileged as me.  One thing I don’t do is fear facing the dark aspects of life. I work hard at being vulnerable. I tend to think that vulnerability makes us more open to others.  Social media may prove this to have many exceptions.

Mary granting the Great Privilege in a 19th-century painting by Charles Rochussen.

One story that makes me deeply consider privilege was when I had a friend visiting from the Midwest and was excited to take them to our local border town for something different but close to home and an example of life similar enough to how I grew up . I did not immediately notice, but my friend was deeply uncomfortable and asked to return to the USA within 10 minutes. I was so bewildered.  I talked to them about it a few years later and they shared that they had never seen anything like it, it was so foreign that it was uncomfortable. I did not quite understand, I tend to embrace those moments of being uncomfortable, they teach us so much. Perhaps that attitude can be too much for some?

I was called to recall this memory when I happened across this quote:

He (John Mellencamp) also confessed he could never live in Manhattan. “I’m too sensitive to live there,” the musician said. “I can’t see poor people. I can’t see the suffering. I can’t see the trash on the streets…I’m not leaving Indiana. I’m going to die here.” (source)

 

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and the post that appeared here on Blair Necessities yesterday started out as a Facebook post. It was truly my intention to highlight that women can be cruel and that any success that women can have depends on then being ready, willing, and fully able to lift each other up. This is not to say that you can’t call a woman out on something we perceive as bad, but it certainly was not a call to attack. That is, however, exactly what happened over on The Facebook.

Someone I knew from High School thought the post so offensive that she decided to call me out for it. It was bizarre. I am still trying to wrap my head around what exactly happened, what she found so offensive… I do take issue with her attempt to direct my narrative when she suggested that someone elses’ comment would have made a better story. When she went on to call my story disgusting, I just had to stop. I was knee deep in a migraine and dealing with a kiddo who was not feeling 100%. I turned off the sound of notifications.

It was kind of crazy.

I have preserved that conversation here.

The thing is, I don’t hate being uncomfortable, I wonder where she got that from?

And this post started out as something completely different.

“The idyllic mayhem of two cultures colliding just doesn’t seem as funny anymore.”
~ Kris Kidd

 

smoke gets in their eyes – My thoughts for International Women’s Day

“Ladies who play with fire must remember that smoke gets in their eyes.”
~ Mae West

For international women’s day I am going to tell you all a story that causes me some disquiet about celebrating this particular day.

When I was back in Ecuador as an adult I visited with a friend of my fathers and his family on a trip to their cattle ranch high up in the Andes mountains. The scenery was spectacular and glorious, there is nothing like being on those mountains for me, there was wind so loud I could hear it, it swooshed by so hard my cheeks were quickly windburned. Then I sat in the grass and there were these tiny pink berries buried in the grass, a slightly sweet taste that I hadn’t forgotten after a 20 year absence. I had loved these kinds experiences on my own family ranch when I was little, and I was so grateful to be able to experience them again.

UNTIL

I saw the wife, a woman – a woman of means, take off her shoe and hit the male ranch hand, a man with far less means than the family, a man they had hired to care for the ranch while they lived in the city. She hit him because he had not been able to do something by the time we arrived. She did this in front of his wife and kids, in front of her own family, in front of me, a guest. His family and their stoic faces as she beat him about the head and shoulders are still with me today. I was horrified. The husband, my fathers friend, was mortified that she did this in front of me, but did not speak up. I did not speak up.

Considering the caste system that is in place in that part of the world, I am not sure what my speaking up would have accomplished. However, I still feel shame; shame that I did not speak up and shame that it was a woman that was behaving so atrociously.

Here is why I am sharing this story though, because women, like men, can be awful. I want to illustrate how much work there is to do in creating a world I am not led to shame because of my gender through my own behaviour and the behaviour of my fellow women.

So, I ask you today, all of you, be beholden to how you treat others, regardless of gender, regardless of caste. We all carry kindness and gentleness within us, and let us all move together in that.

quote-more-than-cleverness-we-need-kindness-and-gentleness-charlie-chaplin-49-88-52

 

without expectation or grace

812px-timmermann_law_and_grace
Law and Grace

an apprehension for reality, the death of the flower,
the collapse of hope, the crush of
wasted years, the nightmare faces,
the mad armies attacking for no reason at all
and/or
old shoes abandoned in old corners like half-forgotten
voices that once said love but did not mean
love.

see the face in the mirror? the mirror in the
wall? the wall in the house? the house in the
street?

now always the wrong voice on the telephone
and/or
the hungry mouse with beautiful eyes which now lives in
your brain.

the angry, the empty, the lonely, the
tricked.

we are all
museums of fear.

 

there are
as many killers as flies as
we dream of giant
sea turtles with strange words carved into
their hard backs
and no place for the knife to go in.

Cain was Able,
ask him.
give us this day our daily dread.

the only solace left to us is to hide
alone in the middle of night in some deserted
place.

with each morning less than zero,
humanity is a hammer to the brain,
our lives a bouquet of blood, you can watch
this fool still with his harmonica
playing elegiac tunes while
slouching toward Nirvana
without
expectation or
grace.

Poem for Nobody
~ Charles Bukowski

little scraps of wisdom

Before I dig in – happy 11th anniversary to me on WordPress!

I started this blog because I needed one that provided password protection as I worked through something in which I as working with quite a few mean, rich, white, ladies. I never thought I would migrate my very first blog over here, but I did – because of my mom… which bring us to today.

The world, it just keeps spinning, doesn’t it?!?!?!

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nathaniel_Dance_-_The_Pybus_family_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg Nathaniel Dance - The Pybus family
Nathaniel Dance – The Pybus family

So, for today’s installment of “my mothers reality is just not my own, but I keep learning from her in ways she might probably resent” –

My mother, with a solid gold heart posted this to her social media;

Which is true, absolutely true – with one exception. She is living in a home belonging to someone else (other than her) home and I don’t feel like this applies right now – though in any other place where she has had a piece of the pie this is absolutely true, and I mean it is absolutely true.

And so in my failing wisdom in thinking that she could acknowledge this I commented something along the lines of “if you lived in your own house, it would be”. I will admit that I was probably guilty of being too strait a shooter in this case, I thought she would get that this was true – based on her own comments to me about where she is living.

Anywho…

With in minutes I got one of her texts (I am starting to think that she refuses to call and face shit because she loves the anonymity of texting – you can be as big an asshole as you want without having to visually or audibly deal with the reactions… and  I get it – I am a coward too).

I am the blue –

 

So yeah, I’m not innocent in the exchange.  But, I loved the idea behind the social media post (which is the primary way she talks to me, she really only emails my husband – and rarely calls anyone – which I get, I hate talking on the phone too)….

**blargh**

 

Mom’s – definitely can’t live without them… but (and it is a big BUT) it is what happens after that, which the real miracle… right?

 

 “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
~ Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

 

As though with your arms open

I scratched my cornea again. Not through any action other than just opening my eyes to greet the morning. 


Yes, that me and how I look when this happens, but with the Snapchat filter that prettifies.

This shit is fucking painful.

By the time that picture was taken I was on day 4… and one day after seeing my eye doctor.

I can’t explain how heinous this pain is. The eye feels like it’s full of sand, the light sensitivity is breathtaking (in the bad way), the pain shooting along the affected side of my face was inducing thoughts of possibly inflicting more severe pains as a form of getting relief.

People, take care of your eyes!

This is how my cancer experience has managed to linger, it’s been a new part of my life since the surgery. My doctor thinks it’s an erroneous assumption on my part, he is probably right… or maybe not.

There are things you can’t reach. But

You can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of god.

And it can keep you busy as anything else, and happier.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around

As though with your arms open.
~ Mary Oliver

the last wall of the universe

For Christmas I was given a box, made of French ivory, that held within its confines a piece of jewelry that  had belonged to my maternal grandmother, aka Zun. In some ways it is so wonderful to have something of hers that rests just above my heart. Zun was one of those magnificent grandmothers that creates such a spate of wonderful memories that there is nothing but deep gratitude she was mine.

The piece of jewelry is a gold chain that has a penguin charm on it. The penguin has emerald eyes. My Zun loved penguins, she even used to claim she must have been one in a former life.  The emeralds are a symbol of where I was born.

I was most grateful that I could add to the chain and include my miniature gold tumi. My tumi was a gift from my host family, when I returned to Ecuador, as a gift for being in their lives and like a sister to their children.

“What matters is at the end of life, when you’re about to pass into oblivion, that you’ve at least scratched ‘Kilroy was here,’ on the last wall of the universe.”
~ William Faulkner, Lion in the Garden: Interviews with William Faulkner

Oh, and here is a wonderful, though different, quote in French;

“Oh ! Les vieilleries ! Vieilles lettres, vieux vêtements, vieux objets dont on ne veut pas se débarrasser. Comme la Nature a bien compris que, tous les ans, elle doit changer de feuilles, de fleurs, de fruits et de légumes, et faire du fumier avec les souvenirs de son année ! (19 octobre 1906)”
~ Jules Renard, The Journal of Jules Renard