07 March, 2010


It's not that often that a major left turn in a life-story starts with a stolen, antique, cast iron, three hundred and fifty pound, claw-foot tub.  Theoretically anyway, the statistic could hover below the 1 percent possibility point.  And yet, the theft of this tub (not just any old bathing receptacle but a genuine art object, labored on (by me) for a full three weeks) has catalyzed just this.

When the bathtub disappeared it left a gaping hole.  Not just the obvious one where its presence marred the grass that didn't grow well underneath.  And not even the one where the empty-vessel-feel it engendered could (if the world was believed to be multi-dimensional) energetically carry away the ugly-s and invite in the lovely-s.  No, this robbery facilitated a hole of gargantuan proportions.  An opening so quickly filled with fear that it barely seemed an aperture at all.  So, not-withstanding the fact that I've been told all my life that "... ninety nine point nine percent of all people don't think like you... don't feel things like you... don't see things like you... and are perfectly happy not to", and that therefore, I naturally (it's almost organic I think, if it comes special delivery from your own mom) have a slight propensity to self-negate, self-invalidate, self-deprecate  (because with such a tiny percent possibility of ever finding my tribe I'd have to destroy any self esteem on my own) and self-doubt, this breach created by my missing tub and so quickly filled with fear made me suspicious.  Somehow the vacancy's just too peculiar.

Granted, it's not inconceivable to me that a three hundred and fifty pound tub could fly up and out of my yard.  I certainly hear weirder stories every day on the news.  You must have heard about the military officer at Fort Hood. That poor man who had such vicious Post Traumatic Stress, apparently from honorably doing the wrong thing for so long that he had a flashback and killed thirteen people.  That story is clearly more odd than the hole in my heart due to the orifice created by my absent bathtub.  I mean it's so obvious to a random on-looker.  Anyone who's been responsible for teaching people that wrong is right, that killing is 'not' in certain contexts, and that although the pretext under which you thought you were working was mostly lies, you will not be helped or assisted when you get home, must feel pretty bad inside.  And this is all before that poor Army man didn't receive what we so readily know is required in terms of PTSD treatment. 

So, although in moments of clarity I am well aware that my tub will not arrive back in its precious spot, wing-laden or not, I still periodically check the cloud cover.  The fear though, that's seeped in like a long lost tributary, simply doing what water does best: flowing the path of least resistance, even if it's less desirable (not unlike a lot of human behavior if you think about it), is a part of the left turn in my particular life story.

You see without dissociation, I would be one groveling, shaking, shattered, blubbering piece of fear.  It couldn't be otherwise, given the three violent rapes in my life and the pervasive denial in the prevalent environment in which I've dwelled.  Unless of course I was to take drugs, which evokes a whole separate set of issues.  (And incidentally is something I adamantly refuse to do because of my belief that if I become a reflection of the denial, by disappearing my pain, it will hurt - not help - the world.)  If I were not dissociative, this rapid onset of fear would not surprise me.  But it does.

Now that three black male thieves, un-apprehended (and unlikely to be) by the police, have disappeared my tub, and in so doing, have helped me break through my dissociative barriers so that the SHEER ENORMITY of my fear is suddenly visible, I know that I need to take some sort of action.  Before the theft, the regular old come-a-little-go-a-lot fear I'm accustomed to was easily remedied by making art, writing an essay or doing something connecting with my kids.  It's always been important to me to be a proper contributing member of our species, so creating something wonderful out of something other than that was an accessible diversion.  But since I now know that I carry this monumental sized fear, I know that I need to do something so that my personal bathtub-of-psyche has a greater repertoire.  I mean who'd want to get to the end of their life (unless they were the ninety nine point nine percent of all people my mother's assured me are real) and reflect back to see a self that simply wasted this precious gift of living in a body with activities limited to door locking, door checking and door guarding? 

This seems to me one of those rare life questions with an obvious answer: No one.

So I need to feel safe or risk failing at this business of living as a person.  Please don't misunderstand me here.  I am in no way willing to propagate a belief in a feeling of utter safety.  I use the word 'safe' strictly in a context of relativity.

The idea that people can buy locks that are sound enough, alarms that are loud enough, and/or building materials that are solid enough to create safety, is ludicrous to me.  However, the understanding that the feeling of safety is possible in any context, through our magnificently human ability to choose our life-stance, is pertinent here. 

If I feel safe, then I am safe, all the way until I'm in a moment when I'm not safe.  Until (and if) such time then, feeling is paramount. 

I'll put it to you, dear reader.  Can you imagine stealing my bathtub, antique or not, in the middle of the day, if you had to cross a great big beautifully trained guard dog that loves me, in order to do so?  I cannot.

Can you guess the left turn I am about to take?

The new puppy arrives at 9:18 PM, one week from today.  I am alternately terrified, excited, panic stricken, happy, overwhelmed, confident, hopeful and bathtub-full-brimming-over with yearning.

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