Sunday, October 30, 2005

fear and insecurity in Oakland

Right at this moment I am wondering if fear or insecurity is more powerful. Perhaps it is a combo but I am afraid it is the insecurity breeding fear.

I have somehow convinced myself I should be afraid. I am worried about everything especially about not being enough or not being good enough.

Hunter S Thompson never gave Oscar Acosta any credit for Fear and Loathing. He changed his identity and called him the Samoan... like any old ethnic guy would do, or maybe because Hunter didn't think Mexicans should be fat... or big, or whatever you want to call it. It's somehow easier to imagine a large islander who is open and free and drugged out of his mind. I guess it's ok... Oscar was really only ethnic when he was Zeta and that was all an act...mostly he was just himself.

Like Oscar, I am uneasy in my own skin... I remember reading through his papers, sometimes he desperately wanted to be earnest in his work whether it was as the musician/soldier turned missionary, night-school educated lawyer or the Chicano activist lawyer... it was always an act.

Uneasy and living beyong the moment, me and Oscar, two of a kind in some ways, only I achieve the out of body with anxiety, fear and insecurity. I don't need the drugs. Maybe he was using the drugs to try to feel in the moment.

I guess we'll never know. About Oscar, I mean. I hope we know about me, that I will keep trying to get at living in the moment, even if I die trying.

Monday, October 24, 2005


This is how I feel... untitled.

Not scripted, not formed, not one thing or another.

Not blank, not empty, not unknown.

Just unnamed.

Open to the possibilities.

But a little afraid to name them.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Testing... and Being Tested

It doesn't seem like a bad thing to put your little toe in the water to see the temperature, right? It seems like a natural reaction to a situation whose outcome is unknown to you. I am sure we do it all the time without thinking about how the other person might feel. I mean, it seems like the appropriate thing for a rational person to do. Except when someone else is testing your temperature.

Then it feels like a lack of faith, it feels like pressure to perform... it feels like, gee, I must not seem like a good bet. Then I start to worry that maybe I do have something to prove, and maybe being tested is the proof that just plain old me is not enough.

I need to resist the temptation to read too much into it... especially since, though I often seem like a crazy person plunging in where others wouldn't dare, I am actually quite careful, calculating as much as is humanly possible, and checking the stars for what is not.

shooting stars

Tonight, late, after the wedding, and the party, and long crazy talks about life, religion vs spirituality, what we call god/creator/supreme or not being with someone whose last name I still don't know... I was standing outside under a sky like a planetarium...trying to identify planets among the twinkling stars.

And there it was, a shooting star.

I was so happy to see it, just to see it, that I did not even make a wish.

Whoever that being is who created the world, complete with crazy people and shooting stars... I was in awe, and thankful.

Friday, October 21, 2005


I feel like hansel and gretel...trying to follow a trail back after the crows have eaten my markers.

To be as truthful as I can stand to be, I have to admit that more than half the time I am happy to be "lost" as it were... unable to follow the trail.

When I get stuck, it can last for days; eventually, the nightmares start... forcing me to resume the trek, compelling me to walk down one of the paths. That is the worst: not knowing where it will lead.

But, then there is some relief in finding out that it was not as scary as I thought it would be. No monsters met me on the path; they only inhabit the nightmares.

It's really never more than I can handle, but not fun or easy either. As I was telling a friend tonight, I just want a day off. I want ONE day where I don't have to struggle with some inner demon or other.

Just one day ... is that an impossible dream?

When I do make it back down the trail to the end, there is just more work... it's never enough just to unpack... then I have to deal with whatever I find there.

Sometimes, I just want to throw all those unpacked emotions out and start over. If any one knows how to do that, please let me know.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


When you are squirreling around for buried treasure, sometimes you get lucky. I did... a few months back when I found Andrea's blog.

The truly impressive thing about squirrels is that they remember where they leave their treasure, and they come back for it.

I can't remember all the time, so I make good use of the bookmark function; I suggest that you visit Andrea's blog, especially when you are feeling like you need the sage input of someone who is not afraid to live in the world. She always seems to be thinking about just what I need to get real about.

Happy blog reading...happy Wednesday... happy life.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Crazy Vs Careful

I have done a crazy thing... crazy, that is, to all the logical thinkers who might say that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Crazy, to all those people who believe it is important to protect build the wall around our hearts.

To the other folks, crazy was not to do it. Letting go of a dream is a crazy, painful thing.

Finishing this 10/18/2005

Where is the intersection between protection and living life? There is something to be said for careful; you know, don't walk barefoot over broken glass; or, don't walk home from BART after 10 pm.

I learned the hard way with Jake. Now whenever I walk home I have an imaginary, angry conversation with whomever would potentially try to curtail my freedom.

But, careful doesn't work in all situations.

I am dancing around this because I can't believe I only feel safe writing about this in cyber space. Sometimes it is more important to throw caution to the wind than to be careful.

When I started this post several days ago... I was floating on air... sort of, and scared to death. So, crazy or not, I feel I should not lose the faith. I think I should stick it out until I know for sure whether it was crazy or not.

There is a big part of me that is looking for the strength, the courage, to face whatever may come... to dare to be vulnerable to the whims of the fates, even if the three of them can't get together on what they want for me and go back and forth with good and bad, happy and sad, unresolved and uncertain...

Cut and run is an all too familiar reaction when it comes to these issues of crazy vs. careful. What will it take to stick it out? I started it, in any case.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy Almost Veteran's Day

Ok... am I only choosing to read really sad stories or are these stories jumping out at me for a reason. I was so struck by this story that I posted it to a listserv where I have been only lurking. I sent it to friends and I forwarded it to a woman I have never met who sent me an equally troubling story last week.

When will the madness of this war become real for those who are in a position to stop it?

Never, actually, because they are not in it for any logical reason.

I am embarrassed, saddened and rocked at my core that this young man's life was sacrified in my name.

Perhaps it is just that fact that forced me to send this story on, that spurred me to write about it. We walk around every day without having to face the fact that innocent people are killed and maimed (physically and emotionally) in our names. If we are not willing to stand up and say publicly: NOT IN MY NAME, then we are more than complicit.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

towns declared cemeteries

I can't seem to find the words to express the deep pain reading just the headline caused me. With all that the world has suffered in the past few months, why should this seem worse? I don't know, but it is. These people and their entire towns are gone. Obliterated. It is now as if they never existed. Is this yet another way to devalue an ethnic group's life?

All around us, the physical world seems to be failing us, maybe even attacking us. Despite the fact that my rational mind understands that there are no logical reasons for this happening, I search for logical reasons why it should stop... or at least stop in some places... Guatemala has had enough, so has Pakistan.

Somehow doubly cruel for weather/environmental catastrophes to befall the poorest in the world... it makes it awfully hard to believe in any higher being, at least not one to whom one could appeal in times of need. If these are acts of god, then how can asking that same god to help be logical?

This surely doesn't seem like an intelligent design.

The things you'll see...

while sitting outside a Starbucks in Union City.

I have to start by saying that I am still practicing sitting in a cafe. It seems like the most natural thing...sitting in the cafe, reading your book, writing a letter, working on the computer, etc. But when I see people doing homework or whatever, I just want them to go home, so it is more than mildly hypocritical for me to sit there for no particular reason.

So, I practice sitting in the cafe, with my coffee, and some other not really important thing to do. I usually can't take it for longer than a half an hour. Yesterday, in Union City, since I had two hours to kill, I managed almost a whole hour.

Here's what I saw:

--four shimmery, silvery cadillac escalades... I wouldn't have paid attention ordinarily, but the three I saw all drove past in the first twenty minutes. I just couldn't believe there was such a need for so many HUGE cars. I was careful by the time I saw the second and third to make sure they weren't the same car... it wasn't that...and there were more, I stopped watching them after a while.

--leather jacket clad, cell phone talking guy... had to be late twenties, maybe older or just not well-preserved...waiting for his mom to pick him up from work. I was intrigued by his inability to sit still... he made five or six calls in succession... most short calls, some were just messages... maybe he was just anxious to get to wherever he was going next. All I know for sure is that when he wasn't on the phone, he was constantly moving, jerking as though about to jump up. Finally, his mother arrived in a shiny blue pt cruiser. I don't know what I expected her to drive; it all just seemed unlikely.

--so many twelve to fifteen year old asian boys wandering aimlessly between the movie theater and the restaurants. I was especially intrigued by the very young boy wearing a shirt about beer. A friend recently wondered aloud where all the teenage kids were hanging out in Oakland... we mused about it... no mall here to hang out in; but in Union City, even outside strip malls are the perfect place to drop off your kids for the day. Ahhh, suburbia.

--No rice, no beans burrito. Finally, I had to notice when the third or fourth person said these words as they rounded the corner. Then I realized that the Starbucks was right next to La Salsa... it must be the most popular burrito.

--finally, MOTORCYCLES. I don't know about you, but if I had a motorcycle and lived in NoCal, I would not spend my weekend riding loudly around the mall. I cannot even begin to count the number of motorcycles that drove past me... they were literally non-stop.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

who really said that??

Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight.
- -- Helen Keller

I read the quotes attributed to Helen Keller, and I think to myself: is it possible that this woman who could not hear or see or speak and still figure out the world better than most folks?? Or did someone else make up all this and just put her name to it? That's a really ugly and cynical thing to think and especially to write about, but that is the thought I have right after I think: wow, what a profound woman. So, is it just plain jealousy? Wish I could be so profound... and I don't even have any physical limitations. Or is it something else??

Anyway, I love quotes. I don't really care if they are all cranked out by some crazy quote machine and no one ever said them in real life.

I like the way they summarize and illuminate in a short space.

I like that they get right to the point and don't bore you with a bunch of examples.

I am tired of reading books and essays by folks who want to hit you over the head with the TRUTH as seen by this author or that author.

LOVE LOVE LOVE quotes...good, true, impossible, funny, witty, sage, or just silly. I LOVE QUOTES.