“It’s just noise coming out of an ugly scientist.”

sisters

I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister, Heather, of late.  The anniversary of her passing was in July.  She died the day before her 35th birthday.  She was coming to Sioux Falls to celebrate with me the following day.  I have no idea where I am in the grief process in her regard.  I miss her.

I still ask myself, would it make 7-year-old Heather cry?  If yes, don’t say it.  (A gift from my mom.)  I’ve since changed it to, don’t think it.  (I’m a notorious thought telegrapher.)  My desire to be kind is far stronger than my desire to be funny.  They used to compete.  🤭

When we were little, we had an unspoken alliance as the only black people in our family at the time.  As the older sister, I assumed the role of Heathers’ protector.  If a child hit her on the playground, I would see red and lose it.  As I got older and recognized Heather deliberately antagonized kids to see my response, I learned to relax and assess before attacking.

knight in armor

As a kid, part of me thought Heather was an asshole for doing this, but mostly, I was impressed because it worked.  As an adult, a psychiatrist prompted me to wonder why she behaved this way.  It was the first time I ever looked at it with adult eyes and perspective.  (It also distracted me for a bit when I most needed it.)

I wasn’t affectionate as a child.  Heather needed to know I loved her unconditionally.  So she tested me.  She did this well into adulthood.  I don’t remember ever saying it, (may have screamed it), but I showed her on her terms.  I think my inner warrior originated to protect my little sister.  I’m doing the groundwork (courage mustering) before letting go of that compartmentalization of my mind.

I can laugh about the time I almost went AWOL to (in my head) murder a piece of shit for beating her up.  It would be more efficient for me to surrender at the nearest police station than go through the motions of committing a crime.

Cop:  Did you do this?

Me:  (Long pause while I consciously, agonizingly, make the neurological connections necessary to speak.) Nod.  (Long pause while I debate whether I said it out loud or not.)  Yes.

It’s just not logistically feasible for me to attempt deception.  I mean.  I think there’s a 72-hour time limit to answer questions or something.  I’d need way more time, internet access, improv training, etc.  Just give me the damn jumpsuit.  (In Minority Report, I’d get suspended for murderous thoughts over horrible men who hurt my little sister.)

volcano

Fortunately for that guy, my military training prevailed.  Also, I’ve never managed to hold on to that level of rage for more than an hour, tops.  It’s incredibly draining emotionally.  I firmly believed the punishment for making Heather cry was beheading for about an hour, though.  Then I wept because I knew I couldn’t do that.

It was the last time Heather messed with horrible men.  Our relationship changed a lot after that.  We grew closer.  Listening to me weep over the phone from another country and repeatedly apologize for not being able to avenge her, even though I was a soldier, affected us both in ways I can’t explain.

Perhaps we both grew up a little.  We were honest about our feelings with each other after that.  We talked for hours about our childhood, and how we felt.  It’s when I first understood why Heather changed abruptly as a child.  When she first encountered racism, she was never the same.  She went from being called, Smiley, to an angry little girl who only acted out around me.

monarch

I noticed.  For a large part of my childhood, I hated Heather on some level, because I was the only person who was safe for her to express how she felt.  I’m just now fully grasping this.  The former resentment is now retro-honor.  I’m so glad I was a safe person for my little sister.  She needed me.  🙃

The day Heather graduated from high school, she moved out of state.  The day.  Everything she owned (and everything I didn’t take with me to the Army) was loaded up and ready to go immediately following the party.  (She relocated to the hood in a city large enough to have one.)

I moved out at 16, but only a few blocks away to my brothers’ house.  I couldn’t live with Heather anymore.  I wasn’t equipped to witness (or survive) her transformation from angry little girl to angry teenager.  (I remember crying a lot.)  She knew just what to say to reduce me to tears.  (Not like it’s hard to make a teenager cry; it’s mean.)

I left for basic training before Heather fully got in touch with her anger.  No shame in stating I’m glad.  My mom was an incredible person.  Somehow, their relationship strengthened during that time.  She certainly got over her fear of what the neighbors might think.  (Teenage Heather aimed at that little weakness.)  🤭

sisters

In some ways, I’m glad I was too busy trying to exist in a physically and socially hostile (to me) world to grok subtle racism.  Most of it flew by me unnoticed.  However, I also deliberately surrounded myself with more diversity as soon as I was old enough.  (I think this used to be a symptom of growing up in Sioux Falls in general.  It’s way better now than when I was a kid.)

I think Heather was the big sister when it came to coping with racism.  She was also the little sister; in that, she acted out her rage toward me because she was a child, and that’s how they express hard feelings.  I’m so glad I got to be Heather’s sister.  It was one of my most cherished relationships.

I’m glad I told her how much she hurt me when I was a child, and she listened and apologized.  She told me things I said that hurt her as well, and how those scars affected her choices.  I apologized, and we cried and forgave.  Then she asked me for a hug, and I presume I tensed up because she quickly retracted the request.

Sigh.  And that’s okay because it was my body speaking for me.  Hugging isn’t mandatory.  It’s just one of many ways to express affection.  I didn’t like allowing people to touch my body for most of my life outside of sexual relationships.  I now know it’s because I wasn’t in my body, and that made it a repulsive notion.

My cat forced me to get over this issue.  Weird.  A kid would have done it, too.  I’m just rambling at this point.  Heh.  I’m off to play Warcraft.  ✌💜

“I haven’t had a decent sandwich in 13 years.”

RA by Hey Fran Hey

I got my special gift from The Friendzone Podcast.  (!!!) It’s fabulous (despite my crappy photo.)  The shipping box, the presentation, the product;  all well designed and created by Hey Fran Hey and Resonance Apothecary, specifically for us, (listeners.)  It’s beautiful all the way through.  M is upset I didn’t have the partnership acumen to purchase one for him as well.  (Ouch.)  Therefore, I’m sharing mine with him.  (Lesson learned, application in progress, ego pouting.) 🤪🙃  I feel a bit like I’m in school again.  The universe is showing me all sorts of things I either didn’t notice, declined to process, or wasn’t prepared to accept in the past.

I’m glad I have this new healing tool to help train my brain to adapt to these revelations.  The effectiveness of aromatherapy in this process is impressive.  I smell the oil (Embodiment) whenever I start to wander; both physically and mentally.  I sit on the rug (Criss-cross-apple-sauce) and sniff.  (Putting both feet on the floor doesn’t help me ground myself.)  Then I fill my lungs as full as I can, hold for a moment, and release slowly.  That’s it.  That’s all it takes to get back in my body, now.  🙃  My kit, even halved, will last a long time.  I think some readers didn’t order in time, so I’ll need to wait a while before reordering, (after they recover from fulfilling the first offering.)

Amelia B. my cat
Amelia B: S’up, yo?

The universe is treating me like an adult survivor who has sat with, processed, accepted, and adapted to the joys, traumas, and everything in between on my journey so far.  I’d very much like to fall to the floor and weep because I feel like I need more time to adjust.  But life insists; ready or not, here I come.  I’ve noticed the distinction between sad and depressed as a result.  I’m sad because I can’t make the universe journey at my particular pace.  It’s merely a feeling; not a condition bent on owning me before ending me prematurely.  (Mosquito bite compared to cancer.)  It took longer to type this paragraph than to move on emotionally.  Yay.

I didn’t know what to expect regarding my healing path.  Before I had my map, I felt like I was flailing about aimlessly.  I didn’t even know how to recognize healing.  My intuition served me well as I was already doing many helpful things without realizing it.  The vocabulary and comprehension of what I’m seeking were what I most needed.  It’s certainly a process.  I’m delighted that much of the most challenging work takes place in my sleep.  I don’t awaken from nightmares anymore, which is fabulous.  But I do feel like I spend the nights in an emotionally intense therapy session.  I’m healing my spirit.  (All this time, I assumed it was my mind.  🤪)

My mind is amazing.  It’s not at all broken.  I just had to embrace a lot of hippy shit before I recognized the mind-spirit connection.  If my spirit is curled up in the fetal position in the corner, my mind loses its effectiveness and reliability, (autopilot.)  My eureka moment lasted a while, as I traced the useless pattern back to elementary school when I had an epic meltdown in class.  I learned the difference between memorization and comprehension that day.  Before that, I functioned by rote and memorized everything I heard or read while comprehending little.  My mind and spirit were not working together.  I’m autistic, and the physical environment was far too hostile for me to be all the way there.  (I figuratively sent a tape recorder to class from jump.)

funkopops
My Funko Pop collection (so far)

Then one day, it didn’t work.  Parroting didn’t cut it any longer.  My teacher wanted me to explain with my own words and prove I comprehended.  I just kept repeating my script while getting more and more agitated.  I was like a skipping vinyl record.  When the tears began, I ran home.  It was a horrible, awful day.  Fortunately, one of my brothers taught me math from fractions to trigonometry.  He made it fun, and I love math ever since.  My mom was a voracious reader.  She went through at least two novels a week.  It rubbed off on my siblings and me.  I spent much of my free time as a kid reading the books my mom gave me.  Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Judy Blume, and Erma Bombeck were my favorite living authors until my brother introduced me to science fiction.  😆

In Elementary school, the only classes I could process were art and music.  I also learned about racism, self-defense, and the magic of not responding.  Junior High school was when I figured out how to cope with being in a classroom.  My science teacher, Mrs. Zeeb, was the first teacher I had that treated me like a student.  (She wasn’t overtly-even-to-an-autist offended I was allowed to attend school as the token black kid.)  She saw me as a human child and taught me about science.  It changed everything.  I looked forward to school for the first time in my life.  It was no longer mandatory trauma.  It was a place where I could find out fascinating information about the world.  It was a place where not all the adults were tormentors.  Mrs. Zeeb showed me not all white adults automatically hate me for existing.  I’ll never forget her.

loot
New Stuff! 👍🏾

I believe I scored well on testing because my mom had me keep a journal so we could communicate effectively since before I began school.  My brothers bought me puzzle books and loved having me recite mathematical equations for their friends, and do their homework.  (It probably would have amused teenaged me, too.)  Most of what I knew about the world came from novels and lyrics before I joined the Army.  While I had nicknames like Yoda and Professor Einstein in training, the fact I couldn’t pull off a conversation with people led to my being evaluated and diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  At my first permanent duty station, they called me, E.T., because I was obviously not from this planet.  (I love E.T., so I was like, bet. 😂)

I’ve been filling in knowledge holes ever since.  The assumptions I made based on limited information were probably right once in a while, but it seems like they were wrong a great deal of the time.  (For example, I assumed birth control pills were necessary to get pregnant.)  Conversations with people are required.  😂  I played basketball with my neighbor the other day, and we talked.  I’m having second thoughts about being her friend.  I like her.  Her blatant, willful ignorance, also hurts me.  She gleefully announced she’s lazy and gets all her news from a single, questionable source while denying climate change.  (In my head, I was defining what friendship entails.)

I’ve decided we’re neighbors who greet one another.  I’m unwilling to invite her into my life as a friend.  I don’t want to spend time with someone who hurts me because they’re too lazy to grow and become their best self.  I don’t want to waste my precious energy, trying to coax her into being a reasonable citizen of Earth and adult.  It’s her choice to ride her privilege rather than live her best life.  Many choose this path, unfortunately.  Not it.  I’m low-level grieving what could have been.  However, I won’t allow anyone to hurt me.  I’m off to band practice.  💜✌🏾