Warning: Use of undefined constant c - assumed 'c' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/lms/webapps/wp_ilylm/wp-content/themes/light-w-color-changer-orange-02/pagefunctions.php on line 10

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/lms/webapps/wp_ilylm/wp-content/themes/light-w-color-changer-orange-02/pagefunctions.php:10) in /home/lms/webapps/wp_ilylm/wp-content/themes/light-w-color-changer-orange-02/pagefunctions.php on line 18

Warning: Use of undefined constant u - assumed 'u' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/lms/webapps/wp_ilylm/wp-content/themes/light-w-color-changer-orange-02/pagefunctions.php on line 21
I Love You, Let's Meet » i’m melting

i’m melting

Camp was pretty great. For five days I didn’t use or miss money, computers, stereo, TV, radio, any news, meat, alcohol, motorized transport, a phone. Yoga at 7 a.m., writing class every morning and afternoon except Wednesday, shows of some kind every night. My friend Anne describes the class beautifully and thoroughly here and I had a pretty similar experience.

My big internal struggle was also judgment v. acceptance — in this corner, a scowling, quippy New York critic, and over here in the hemp trunks, a hippie just begging to have that beatific smile smacked off her face. Walking around the manicured grounds of the Omega Institute, past the Ram Dass library with the chi machine, hearing the requests to “please refrain from wearing perfumes or essential oils as some guests are allergic,” and how dancing, singing, painting all kept being framed therapeutically as “healing,” the first day or two I kept flashing on the movie Safe and patted myself on the back for that clever connection.

At the gospel workshop sampler, I thought, “Look at these goofy white Unitarians in Birkenstocks throwing their heads back and their arms up like they’re Mavis Staples” and at the same time, “I want to sing Amazing Grace.” I went to a free-form dance movement class and thought, even as I was dying to jump around, “No wonder I usually only do this in dark clubs after a few drinks; this looks ridiculous.”

I argued back to myself; Self, I said, you WANT more creative self-expression, openness, gentleness, acceptance, vulnerability in the world and in you. So why was I stepping out of the experience I paid for to be a bitchy audience?

Lynda Barry attacked the critic-head all week. “Fuck cool people,” was one concise version of this; also, “Where did we get the idea that only famous people get to do what they want [in terms of dabbling in different arts]”?; and she constantly reminded us how much everybody likes to sing, dance, draw, make up stories — to play. And how all kids do it until they “learn” to leave all that to the professionals.

On Days One-Four, she had us write various things from childhood and then on the last day, we got to make up stories. On the third day, as I wrote some not-traumatic memory from being 11, I started crying in class and pretty much couldn’t stop all morning. At lunch, Anne and Marcia said what’s wrong, and I said, “I can feel my critical, judging self dissolving, and I’m afraid it may be what holds me together.” Marcia said “oh my god, you’re like the mountains in Switzerland that collapse when the glaciers melt.” Exactly.

Now I’m back in big, scary New York, and I don’t know how long I can stay slushy like this. But the week did feel [shudder] healing. I did sing Amazing Grace, I did dance in the middle of the day, I did write some tiny stories I liked enough to read out loud. I also went skinny-dipping in the lake with a cute guy after the wonderful concert by Jimmie Dale Gilmore, another artistic hero who turns out to be a big old all-accepting hippie. Jimmie Dale said several times that teaching songwriting at Omega is his favorite part of his musical life, and during the corny-but-beautiful student talent show last night, he did seem to love the efforts of his students as much as he did performing his songs. (Lynda Barry cried when we read stuff we wrote, more and more over the course of the week). Yesterday the old saw “to love others you have to love yourself” inverted in my mind to “loving/accepting others helps you love yourself.” Like I said, I hope I can hold on to some of this.
Thank you John for posting while I was gone. After six years of online dating off and on and researching and writing about it, I concluded that online dating stacks the internal fight in favor of the critic, that it didn’t help me be the person I want to be. Browsing the online human store seemed to make me and some other long-termers more closed and picky and judgmental and pessimistic. People miss something — trust-building, mostly — by not taking in-person risks, not doing uncomfortable things with other people. So it’s nice to be reminded by your posts that it ain’t necessarily so, that you can approach the cyber-potentials with plenty of hope and benefit of doubt. And even if she doesn’t become the second wife, she could become a friend with benefits-of-doubt.

2 Comments so far

  1. M. David Hornbuckle on July 23rd, 2006

    Welcome back.

    Nothing to do with your post, but according to Amazon.com, customers interested in your book may also be interested in Goo Goo Dolls tickets.

  2. virginia on July 24th, 2006

    bizarre! I don’t know from Goo Goo Dolls, but I’d be honored to be linked in any way to the Teenage Goo Goo Muck.