It’s been a long way down…

Or maybe we never really rose up.

Maybe I’ve been watching too many bleak television shows. (But, that’s not an apology, mind you.)

Coming off of watching The Killing, and now wrapping up the last of Torchwood.

Really hitting me about having to be human, especially looking around at the world.

I never really realised how I always felt like an outsider, but my awareness about being human has shifted over the past month or so. Or maybe just remembering how my awareness used to be when I was a kid.

Trees were amazingly vibrant friends.

Plants sang to me.

To recycle a phrase that’s probably grown cliche (or a borrowed quote from some other human somewhere), I felt their pain with all the “intensity of a thousand knives” hitting me all at once. When trees were being cut down, that pain that I felt was excruciating and unbearable. I wanted to scream with the agony I felt. Sure, you could probably chalk it up to just being an imaginative and sensitive kid, but it didn’t erase how I felt. Especially when I had to be the plant murderer (i.e. mow the grass, trim plants, etc. *wry laugh*). I would be standing there with a pair of hedge clippers just sobbing my little kid heart out. (Yep, I was a weird one!)

I tried. I tried to adopt that normal human insensitivity to non-human life forms. For a while, I succeeded in turning it off. In building up a fortress of protection. But the older I get, the more that fortress crumbles. And I’m back in a morass of emotion, and conflict. It’s like being a teenager, but even worse in some ways.

Animals look at me with souls of the ancients…tolerant, loving, inscrutable, and, sometimes, (rightfully!) angry and/or scared of me as a human that’s come bumbling into their midst. And I love them for it. Because they should be scared and angry.

Yesterday, I saw the article about the whales beaching themselves in Florida. And it was so unemotional. “Why,” I screamed. “How?” “What the f*ck are we doing about it?” And, the answer is nothing. There’s no change we can implement soon enough. Even if we did (and do) care, it’s not enough. There’s nothing we can do.

Because we are human.

And I have never been more ashamed of that fact than right now.

I don’t want to live on a planet without bees and birds and animals and trees and plants and water and oceans and fish and whales and everything else that is a non-human life form.

Akin my (faulty?) memory of Medea (from when I was in middle school), when she talks about being underwater and the fish eating the flesh from her bones until she is pure and white, that’s what I feel sometimes.

Like I want to strip off my human skin and transform into an animal. Or a bird. Or even the air, or an unknown fantastical elemental. Anything but a creature that’s linked biologically to the human race. Enough with cell phones and social media and television and money and stuffy stuff and banal work and being hated and being insulted and put down and being ignored and losing…everything.

And, yes, I know that’s not possible.

But that’s what I wish. have wished since I was a child. And that I could fix things. Help make people around me understand. Help make sure that evil doesn’t win. Like so many kids, maybe, I wanted to be a hero.

But now I just feel helpless.

I am a coward.

I am weak.

I am so very tired.

 

 

 

Nerd’s Survival Guide to Break-Ups…

 

With the exception of one, my break-ups have been relatively easy and straightforward, with minimal moping. So I don’t sound too heartless, I’ll admit there was a fair amount of pining (aided by lots of old-school goth/80s music) over some of them. But, mainly, it was easy to walk away from them because of the (lack of) character of the person (and the time duration) involved. Because I’m one of those people that is annoyingly practical and cautious about relationships. I don’t often jump in feet first–I take the time to get to know a person before letting them in–even when I’m mad about the person, I always proceed slowly. Maybe I’m old-fashioned that way, in that I have a period of courtship, but it’s saved me a lot of heartbreak and other woes.

But I’m not really here to rub it in, I just wanted to share some ideas on how to cope with the loss of your geeky soulmate. (slightly tongue-in-cheek).

  • Binge-watch Star Trek (TV and Movies) from the beginning.
  • And/or watch the original Star Wars movies (“I love you.” “I know.”)
  • Close up your house and go to comic book, sci-fi/fantasy, and other conventions you always wanted to visit (zipping around in your restored Delorean, of course.)
  •  Watch the Harry Potter films for friendships/relationships that face problems but still have a happily-ever-after. (Eventually.) Or read the books (which are always better *laugh*) while eating lots of Bertie Botts’ Every Flavour Beans.
  • Keep an eye out for mysterious blue police boxes. (Or, just settle in to watch Doctor Who series for some tears and laughs.)
  • Re-read your epic fantasy favourites.
  • Blog (but, avoid posting things you’ll later regret. Write, wait, and then review, and post). Avoid badmouthing your ex online or in any public forums.
  • Attend game nights at your local comic book shop or gaming store.
  • Play (or replay) your favourite video games for 10 hours straight. (My favs are the Zelda games, American McGee’s Alice, or the Myst/Riven type games.)
  • Find a geek-themed pub trivia event near you and wow them with your nerdy smarts. (and, get drunk while you’re at it, if you want.)
  • Listen to your most moody, depressing music (or songs that remind you of them) while reading and/or writing maudlin poetry. Or, make art of some kind.
  • Write love letters to your ex (but don’t deliver them, of course).
  • Cosplay at conventions or audition for local plays/films. Being someone else, even temporarily, helps get you out of your head space.
  • Cultivate a sense of magic, wonder, and serendipity/synchronicity as coping tools (Just don’t go so overboard you lose touch with real life).
  • Visit your favourite museums that showcase geek/nerd culture (science/space/fringe art–anything you’re interested in).
  • Find something new to obsess over–crafting, volunteer cause, hang gliding, anything that pushes you outside your nerdy comfort zone.
  • Eat lots of pizza! (Or, other comfort foods).

What about you…got any post-breakup coping tips you’d like to share?

 

Culture of Hate, Florida, and the Orlando Shootings

I am not writing this article to downplay the tragedy and horror of the shooting that took place inside the Pulse nightclub. As a relative of a local thespian in Florida, there are friends of the family that know people who had their beautiful lives cut short because of this hate crime. I am glad to see that the media, even the president, is not downplaying the atrocity of this event.  This is so difficult and I can only hope that I can write this the right way–express things without adding insult to injury and the pain that the local community is feeling. I’m trying not to be, but I find myself so frickin’ angry, as well as devastated, by this event.

This may have been the act of a “lone gunman” with mental stability issues (as many articles claim), but this type of hatred is no stranger to Florida.

I know. I was born in the Sarasota/Bradenton area in 1972, and spent my younger years (20s) in the Tampa and, occasionally, the Orlando club/music scene. I remember the justifiable riots in the “ghetto”(yes, that’s what people called it back then, as well as a few more other unmentionable terms), aka the Newtown community, for the rampant injustices and crimes committed against African Americans nationally or locally. These riots blocked off the streets  that my bus took to school and required police intervention that seemed straight out of the civil rights movement era. Now that community is being gentrified by people going in, fixing up houses, and raising the prices and land values, there is less and less affordable housing in a city where the standard pay for the working class and laborers is often well under minimum wage levels.

Police brutality was as common as the humid, tropical air. Hatred and intolerance was just as strong. Racism and sexism permeated every aspect of my upbringing, including the language. Intolerance and injustice was as common as grits. I had a bit of a safe zone in that I grew up in the theatre, but there was still a lot of classism that couldn’t be avoided, even in that more progressive environment. If you shopped at Kmart or didn’t have designer clothing, you were treated as if you were caked in fecal matter. As far as racism and racial hatred goes, there was also a thriving subculture of skinheads that persisted well into the 80s and 90s. As young, American-style punk/alternative/goth 20-somethings, we constantly had to be on our guard against the skinheads. We used to have to travel in packs to avoid getting attacked by the bands of skinheads–even in sleepier Sarasota. I remember having to escort my gay friend around because the skinheads were harassing him, and he was terrified. There were concerts you didn’t go to because they were all-out battlegrounds between skinheads and S.H.A.R.Ps (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice). One of my punk friends asked me to blow off work one night to go to a concert. While I wasn’t a direct witness, her story was that it was a setup (there was no actual concert) for the skinheads to attack punk kids because they had a Mexican American punk kid they were hanging out with in their family-like group. According to this punk girl, they slashed everyone’s tires and then circled the group, attacking them with 2x4s and broken beer bottles. One kid was put in the hospital and later died. Again, while I wasn’t the eyewitness, this punk girl said the skinheads got off because they were from rich families with political connections.

After the crackdown on kids hanging out in downtown Sarasota (so as not to disturb the wealthy elite), we finally absconded from Sarasota to spend time in the more liberal atmosphere of the Tampa goth and gay nightclub scene–driving an hour 6 or 7 nights a week so that we could feel safe and accepted. Then the Christian hate groups descended in white vans…parking outside the clubs and harassing the club goers with both verbal hate chants and picket signs saying we were going to hell. And lots more epithets I won’t even bother to repeat. I never saw them again after my Christian goth friend went over and challenged them on their own grounds. They packed up and left.

Then the news crews showed up–doing exposes on the evil Satan worshippers of the goth club scene and how we were all vampire wannabes up to all kinds of sick and twisted shenigans. Because of the danger of the romantic appeal of the Anne Rice vampire novels on impressionable youths, ya know.

Then the frat boy types came. Then the police began targeting the clubs, with their thuggish police brutality beat-downs.

The goth/alternative scene often intersected with the LGBT scene…both providing havens for Florida’s misfits and fringe communities within Florida’s intolerant, noninclusive cultural climate in the 80s and 90s.

But I read the articles about this event, and Florida just seems to come off as this tolerant, accepting place, where this sort of hate-fueled violence is an anomaly and completely uncharacteristic. I absolutely mean no offense to the people affected by this violence, and express my deepest sympathy for the victims and their loved ones. But, Florida, I’m not letting you off the damn hook. The truth is, as a previous long-term resident of Florida–born and raised there–this type of hatred and rabid intolerance is ingrained in Florida’s culture. I saw it everywhere growing up.

The perspective of these articles act like the Zimmerman types are not commonplace, and that people have already forgotten about Trayvon Martin. But, even as I neared my more mellow 30s, I still experienced it firsthand. It was 2013-2015 and the level of racism and sexism freely expressed by a group of local public performers was astounding. One of them threatened to flame me on Facebook for posting “bleeding heart liberal crap” on my own page, and said that Trayvon Martin “deserved to die” and that “he should have never been in that neighbourhood in the first place”.  Another person in this same group at a social get-together said that it was too bad that was illegal for him to take an outspoken woman that was a friend of my friend outside “and beat her head repeatedly against the wall to teach her a lesson” for daring to talk back to him. This is the real Florida: where if you don’t fit a narrowly circumscribed status quo (rich, white, elite, Republican, male, conservative) you do not matter. You have no rights. You do not exist.

Yes, the articles have explained that Omar Mir Seddique Mateen committed the attack in support of ISIS-type beliefs, but Florida has, and is, a culture of hate and intolerance in itself. Thankfully, I am no longer a resident of Florida (I successfully escaped, finally), I can only hope that this incident will serve as a wake-up call–a mirror–for Floridians’ own tendencies to the same levels of hatred and intolerance within their own communities and cities. And within themselves. Put an end to this hatred. This kind of hatred is not an isolated case in Florida, it’s an epidemic…take the word of a born-and-raised former Floridian.

Dear Sarasota, Florida…

Dear Sarasota, Florida,

So, even though I have a love-hate relationship with you, and was born and raised here, and for some frickin’ reason (or circumstances beyond my control) I keep coming back and trying to build a life here, I am writing this letter to tell you we are breaking up for good. I should have done this a long time ago, because it’s clear that, no matter how much I love your swamps, your natural areas, your beautiful old oak trees, the human culture that resides here has made it clear, time and again, that I’m not welcome. You think I would have caught on after the tenth hundredth time I got dirty looks, rude treatment or followed around the store every time I went into a place of business, or even refused customer service outright. Or, getting fired because my fuchsia hair made me “a bad role model” for kids, or finding out my conservative clothes  I borrowed money to purchase and wore to a (finally!) job interview still “weren’t good enough to work in my office”, as I was told.

Still, I wish I could pass on my passion for the “Old Florida” as we long-term locals like to call it, but seeing more and more woodframe/older homes fall to the wrecking ball and replaced with McMansions, even in the neighbourhood I grew up in, I am hard-pressed to remain optimistic. I even had someone tell me that those McMansions did reflect “Old Florida” architecture style. *sigh*

So, here is the list of things that I wish you would preserve or change, as I leave here, and the latest wave of out-of-towners/out-of-staters/more-wealthy locals moves into Sarasota, and into my neighbourhood.

  1. PLEASE stop cutting down big, beautiful oak trees, and other wonderful trees that have been here since I was a little girl. It’s killing me that almost every day now, I hear the heart-wrenching whine of chain saws–I’ve tried so hard to protect the trees in any way that I can, but I can’t seem to fight the standard ruling of code enforcement or whomever is issuing these permits I had thought they were safe, based on code enforcement laws, but, according to an individual I recently had a conversation with, they told me they were able to get the/an arborist to say the tree was diseased, and were able to cut down a gorgeous old oak tree and this individual had been very angry that they did not have the right to cut down anything on their property (they had recently moved to this area, from out-of-state). So many animals and birds rely on those trees, especially since new development is swallowing up more and more of the natural Florida:  hawks, songbirds, owls, and many other forms of wildlife that rely on the tree cover to live. Please protect these trees, not cut them down.
  2. Please consider planting more eco-friendly lawns, and please don’t continue to spray/maintain your turf yards, public sidewalks, and driveways with Roundup and other chemicals, fertilizer, and pesticides. The almost year-round red tide and dead zone in the Gulf is not there by a whim of nature. Also, City of Sarasota/Sarasota County and other park areas, fairgrounds, local businesses, and eve nature reserves, please stop using Roundup to water the grass and maintain the landscaping/nature trails.
  3. Local officials and police: In my perspective, it has seemed that you are primarily catering to a specific demographic–developers, conservatives, gun aficionados, rich people, people in condos downtown complaining about the noise, leaving the rest of us that make up this community as well alienated and with no say in anything that stands in the way of your vision for Sarasota. Once, I even called the cops for men that were trespassing, and were even coming up the house and standing there watching me. I was told by the cops (true story) that instead of calling the cops, I should go outside, confront any trespassers, and if/when they attacked me, I should call 911. (And, if you say this is libel, well, just FYI, I even have the officer’s name and the date and time the incident occurred and the date and time when I spoke to the officer’s supervisor, or so they claimed to be.) I also remember reading in a local paper that a certain county official told the press that they implemented a ban on food trucks out at the Siesta Key Beach because they didn’t want to have the kind of people the food trucks would attract out at the Siesta Key beach. I have no idea what those kinds of people are, I just know that I am the “kind of people” they don’t want out on the Key, because I love food trucks.
  4. Implement a living wage. Stop exploiting underpaid, under-minimum wage workers to clean your megahomes and take care of your lawns and build said homes.  End modern-day slavery that exists in Florida.
  5. Fix your school system. It failed me, just like it’s continuing to fail thousands of kids since I was in school, and currently. Treating students like prison inmates, delaying them emergency medical care over something more trivial, and mentally, emotionally, and physically abusing the children in your care is UNACCEPTABLE. And, yes, I witnessed this firsthand.
  6. Address the systemic racism, classism and sexism that plagues the local community.
  7. Although it’s inevitable, because I simply have Florida can be so much more than a tropical, suburban, beach/golf playground for the rich. Again, please give the natural Florida a chance to work its allure. Stop overdevelopment, stop encroachiing on wildlife habitat to build unnecessary gated communities, stop cutting down the trees I loved as a child, stop killing/culling wildlife just because they are “inconvenient”, please stop clearing shorelines of natural mangroves. Please don’t fire firecrackers into a rookery of nesting birds (and their babies) just because you happened to move into a house that is near said rookery (they were here first, and supposedly protected by law.)
  8. Again, please, I beg you, look after the natural Florida–it’s rich, wonderful, atmospheric, and a treasure that I hope you will learn to love, and embrace all of Sarasota’s inhabitants, rich, poor, young, old, artistic, progressive, nature loving alike. And please stop feeding the raccoons, the Muscovy ducks, the alligators, and any of the other local wildlife. *wry laugh*

I hate giving up, myself, but even this ass-kicker (wanna-be?) is admitting defeat. Since I have no money, no social status, no income, no social connections (I’ve tried!), and, therefore, no worth, or voice, in anything that happens to Sarasota, I’m giving up. I wish I could buy huge swaths of land and wetlands, to save them from development. I feel so helpless. I know that, the way I feel right now, I can’t imagine ever coming back to Florida. I wish I could take all the trees and the wildlife with me. Dammit, I told myself I wouldn’t cry. Goodbye, Florida, I will miss you, and your trees, and your fecund swamps, and the way it gets so rich and atmospheric and vibrantly green right before the (rarer and rarer) torrential rains.

Sincerely,

A heartbroken A Chaos Fairy

Music Mixes Part II

This time, I’ve listed music mixes people have made me over the years (and, yes, three of these are actually on real cassette tapes). I’m writing them as they appear on the actual lists they made. So many memories/nostalgia.

(I got these–Playlists A & B–from a lovely wood elf during a voyage to an alternate dimension *sigh* They’re a treasured favourite–because of the extraordinary, unusual circumstances behind them…)

Playlist A:

The Cure–Plainsong
Slowdive–Melon Yellow
Gary Numan–Love Isolation
David Bowie–Glass Spider
Magnum–Only a Memory
Marillon–Bridge
Slowdive–Catch the Breeze
Michael Jackson–Earth Song
Black Lab–This Night
Type O Negative–Can’t Lose You
My Bloody Valentine–No More Sorry
VAST–Lady of my Dreams
Travis–Broken Mirror
Seal–Crazy
T.H.C.–Overfire
Skylar Grey–Building a Monster
NIN–Every Day is Exactly the Same
 

Playlist B:

The Mission–Butterfly on a Wheel
David Bowie–Kooks
Slint–Washer
Ozzy Osbourne–Dreamer
VAST–Flames
Madonna–Frozen
Gary Numan–Dream Killer
Black Lab–Keep Myself Awake
VAST–Lost
VNV Nation–Illusion
 

These came from an old friend who died in January, and who is hopefully on her own voyage in fantastical parallel dimensions. (I’m sorry.)

The Sliced Finger Tape comp
Chris & Cosey–October Love Song/Relay/Smell the Roses
The Angels of Light–Angels of Light
The Best of Divine–I’m so Beautiful
Tubeway Army (Gary Numan)–Down in the Park
Seer–Private Plane
Dalek I–Dalek I love you
John Foxx–Underpass
Fadgadget–Ricky’s Hand
P.I.L.–Pied Piper
 
Untitled comp
Shadow Project–By God
Sonic Youth–Star Power
Psychic TV (Pink Floyd tribute)–Set Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Leather Strip–Learning to Fly
Moby–Porcelain/Why does my heart feel so bad/The Sky is Broken
Can–Spoon
Godley & Creme–Cry
 

This was from some wacky, but interesting, best friend that I had once upon a time–90s maybe?…I look at this list, and it practically reads my fan list–David Bowie–check, The Cure–check, New Order, Nitzer Ebb, Jane’s Addiction, etc etc.

Tor’s Valentine’s Day Comp
Side One
New Order–World (The Price of Love)
Rollins Band–On my Way to the Cage
NIN–Happiness in Slavery
Leonard Cohen–The Future
MC 900FT Jesus–The City Sleeps
Cowboy Junkies–Escape is so Simple
The Cure–Strange Attraction
Nitzer Ebb–Getting Closer (Pool Mix)
Bad Brains–How Low can a Punk Get
Bad Brains–Another Damn Song
Sunshine Blind–Release
A hilarious bit by my friend–titled PSA
Side Two
Jane’s Addiction–Had a Dad
Beastie Boys–Transit Cop
Beastie Boys–Jimi
David Bowie–Suffragette City
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult–Mr. & Mrs. Bottomless Pit
Erasure–Love to Hate You
Utah Saints–What can you do for me?
Babylon Zoom–Spaceman
Funker Vogt–Fantasics
Skinny Puppy–Worlock
Course of Empire–Houdini’s Blind
Deathline Int–Diseases
SATORI–Passion of Lovers
 

So that’s it–now I’m drowning in nostalgia and going to go weep into a pint of ice cream. *wry laugh*

 fishsea
 
 
 

	

Dark poetry for today: Covered in darkness

Goa

petitemagique

covered-in-darkness

Covered in darkness

 –

Hollow eyes, a distant stare

Consumed by sadness and grief

Overflowing with despair

Death would be a relieve

 –

Cold heart, a fake smile

Broken by failure and unable to cope

Drowning for quite a while

Deprived of all hope

 –

Feelings numb, a bitter mind

Tortured by frozen memories

Long lost desire to be kind

Living and breathing, such futilities

 –

Vanished strength, no more fighting

Captured in a never-ending horror story

Exposed wounds keep on bleeding

There is no one who can save me

– 

Naked spirit, stripped of all

Never knew any happiness

Lost wings, sure to fall

I’m just a soul, bounded by shadows

and covered in darkness

Just Patty

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