Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Power of a hug

 December 8th, 2009

Good day to all.  I want to share a little something with you.   This year is coming to an end, and after all, I would have to say that this year has been a hard one.   Isolation can effect us in so many ways, and on so many levels, and sometimes we don't even realize how much until something happens that reminds us of who we are.

When I was out there in the free world, I thought I had a pretty good life.  I had pretty good friends, a good job, and like most of us, I took a lot of it for granted.  Especially the closeness of someone I really cared about, and how we hugged each other whenever wee would meet up.  How we expressed how much we cared.  That part of my life is almost non-existent now, (or it feels that way in isolation).  So I rarely ever get to hug or touch another human being anymore, unless someone comes to visit me.  In here you just don't do that.  The more emotion you display, the weaker you are portrayed  as a man.  As silly as that sounds, it is the reality we live in here.

I had a lovely visit a couple of days ago from a really good friend and her 4 year old son.  I was feeling really bad, and quite alone before their visit.  It's difficult to put into words my state of mind at the time, but two people I had known for many years passed away from cancer (a week prior to this visit).  That they both died of cancer is disturbing enough, (Cancer is the #1 cause of death on the row), but it was more they way everyone seemed to just take it all in stride, like, "Oh well", that really got my attention.  There was no moment of silence, no wake, no memorial service, no gathering of friends and family to send them off in some kind of dignified manner.  One day they were here, occupying a cell, and the next they were just gone.  And the runners (The clean up crew) were in there cells picking through their personal belongings... taking what they wanted of value, and tossing the rest into garbage bags.  No emotions.  No respect for whose property it was.  It was just garbage to them.  Then they prepare the cell for the next occupant.

These men who lived and died in these cells, I don't know how they ended up here.  I only know that they were human beings with families, wives, children, brothers, sisters, and they died... alone, without so much as a hug or a goodbye.  To most people in here it was so routine,  It made me realize that we're all just waiting for the same fate.  How many of us sit here 10, 20, 30 years and never get a visit from anyone?  No human contact at all. 
No hugs
No holding someones hand
No meaningful conversations
No sitting together and eating junk food with someone
No laughing

The simple human gestures most of us take for granted everyday, just do not happen here.  It didn't really dawn on me until I was sitting there next to my friend, watching her incredibly happy son playing games, just how lucky I am to have someone in my life, who cares that much about me... That would go to such lengths to visit me and hug me and let me know I am loved.

I really needed that reminder that week.  I needed that human contact.  I was feeling really bad about the pressure of this environment and how vulnerable we really are in here.  I know in my heart that if something happened to me in here, that I would be missed a great deal.  But, sometimes I think about some of the men around me, who get no visits (and some, no mail either), or any human contact at all, and I wonder, "who if anyone will miss them"?  The truth is that people who used to care about them, love them, miss them, forgot about them long ago.   Most of the time, when someone back here passes away, I'm as much a part of the "it's routine" mentality as the next guy...  on the outside anyway.

I guess that most men back here would confess that it's much easier not to allow yourself to feel anything for anyone.  But we're not really built like that are we?  Because no matter how much we try to man up and hide our feelings from one another, when someone around us dies, all alone like that, it does effect us.  It effects each and every one of us, because we all know that next time, it could easily be any one of us... and that we are not as invincible as we act on the outside.  Even those of us who are really good at acting the part.  Normally, I'm as good as the next guy, but this past weekend, when I was playing word games and hide and seek and looking out the window with my friend and her son, I was reminded of just how much of a human being still exists inside me.  And how much I need and crave that human contact.  All it took was a simple hug from a child to remind me that I haven't lost sight of myself like so many men around me have.  

Most people in society would look at us and see cold uncaring remorseless individuals, but what they don't see, is that under the surface of each one, is a scared and helpless person who doesn't know any other way to be in this environment except to shut everyone and everything down inside and just survive.  I know how easy it is to go to that place.... but for the wonderful friends I have in my life who never allow me to forget how much I'm loved, that I matter, I could easily see myself there... walking around like a zombie.  I have been there.

I'm reminded with each letter and each visit how fortunate I am to get a hug or just hold someone's hand and hear those words, "I love you".  These simple gestures are what make us all human, in here and out there.  Like water, we also need physical contact, even if it's just a hug to remind us that we matter.  I'm so very grateful that I haven't lost sight of that part of me... and I haven't become the monster the system has portrayed me to be.

Much peace and love, and a happy holiday wish.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We are such weenies... really we are.

I love looking at this view of the earth...  Kind of puts me right in my place.   I need that every so often as I tend to get really caught up in my own story and my own woes.  There are much bigger things brewing in the Universe than what we could even imagine in our underdeveloped beaners.  And thank heaven for that! (hee hee, I made a funny!)

This is a mandering post.  I just feel the need to communicate, but am not ready yet to sit down and tell the story of our latest adventure here at Chez Levi.  So, I'm just going to spew nuggets at ya'll and hope that it satisfies me need to report. 
I figured out a name for my coaching business, which is a huge relief!  Now I can begin the paperwork to get my business license and start making some damn money!  That's what I'm talkin about!  I wish I could tell you all what it is... not because it's so great or anything, but because I think it's rude to mention something like that, and then "leave a bitch hangin" as my dear pal SB would say.  The reason I can't is because it isn't mine yet, and since most of the names I wanted were already taken, I think it's best to leave this one under my hat till it's official.    So, this is exciting stuff for me.  In addition to embarking on a new and creative and hopefully prosperous endeavor, I am learning a lot about how I sabotage myself mentally and emotionally whenever I get close to realizing something I want.  I always suspected I did this, but now it's undeniable.  This is good because at least I know what I am dealing with, no?  It's just fascinating to stay present during my process.  It's quite a new experience for me, and I like it.  I usually barrel through life like a bull in a china shop!  Seriously.

Harley is good.  He is having doughnuts with Dad's today at his school.  Very exciting stuff!  I'm sort of proud of the fact that he doesn't really even know what a doughnut is.  He's never really even seen one before.  I'm not anti-doughnut mind you.  I like a good dunkin doughnut as much as the next guy... especially if there is dark chocolate frosting involved, but...  there is just way too much sugar in our lives today, and so the last thing I need is for my 4 year old to be begging me for a lard-ball boiled in grease and covered with confection.  I have it on good authority from a friend of mine, who used to race plastic boats in the dunkin doughnut batter mix, that this is what doughnuts are.  I believe him.  He never touched em, except to make them.  So, I'm hoping Harley has fun, while not getting himself indoctrinated into the cult of the sugary lard-ball society.  (We have enough to handle trying to keep his consumption of organic lollipops, licorice and cereal bars to a reasonable level.)  Oh, and let's not forget cookies.  No, these are not organic!

Red, my old man, has just picked up some unexpected free lance work.  That is always a blessing. So our hearts are joyful about that.

Sunday, I went to visit my best friend, nick named Little Bear (LB) at the correctional facility where he lives.  ) Please visit his blog)  We gave each other many nick names over the years, because that's what we do.  This is his Native American name.  We use them way more than our real names and now his real name seems weird to me.  I like Little Bear much better and it suits him.  He LOOKS like a little bear!  I swear it!  My NA name is Dancing Cougar, or DC.  And since I couldn't tell you the name of my business, I will throw in our porn names at no extra charge!  His is BD Winslow, and mine is Nappy Alabama. (Don't ask!)  It's just good clean fun...  no animals were harmed in the creation of these names!  So, it was great to see him.  He is still having health issues which concern me, but we had a great time catching up.  I wish there was a way to let people know, REALLY KNOW what prison is like.  I mean you hear a lot of stuff and see lots of stuff on tv, and really, you don't KNOW the half of it till you have to deal with these bastards on a real day to day level how messed up it is at its core.  And there seems to be no governing body to watchdog it, that is not some how an extension of it.  The COs (guards) get away with assault and murder, literally.   Oh, don't worry, the guards who murdered Frank Valdez, who beat him TO DEATH, they did get fired.  Damn, that's some justice, no?  Well, before I totally spiral, my point was that this goes on and on, and there aren't many who care enough, because the inmate population is largely judged to be scum, and are not even considered human by some.   Also, there are so many things in life to care about in life, why waste time with people who fucked up?  So, you see, it's hard for me to know he lives in that place.   The good new is, that besides scaring the bejesus out of me, that place FORCES me  to realize how blessed I am... SHOVES IT RIGHT IN MY FACE!  How simple human contact, freedom of movement and good food ~ just a few of the things which we all take for granted, are such blessings.  

And on that happy note, I hope you all have a lovely week.  :-p   I mean it!!  I am planning on doing the same, and counting my many MANY blessings.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Who is going to aplologize to Tiger ?

For taking away his childhood?  His core?

I'm sorry, but this video makes me sick, as cute as he is...  Check out his eyes at the end of this clip.  This is not someone who is treated with respect and love.  I think anyone who would exploit their child in this way is treating them more like a pimp would, than a father.   And where the fuck is his mother in all this?

You cannot FUCK with a child's development and push them in this way, and not expect damage.  Goddammit!  He is human...  Leave him the fuck alone.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quotes of the day

And these are just the ones I can remember....

"You don't get to make any more rules!"

"I have to eat my boogies, they are my gum."

"Please take those panties off your head and put them back!"

"Your keys must have something living in them, they keep jumping around."

"You can't just take your pants down and pee wherever you want to..!"
        "Why not, Daddy does."

"When I grow up I'm gonna be a pilot.  Daddy's gonna be my co-pilot"

Monday, February 8, 2010

Brain Rules.... again.

This week's Brain Rules post is particularly intriguing to me.  I have never doubted that the way our central nervous system responds to life and outer stimuli is largely based on our family of origin.   "They" are starting to prove this scientifically.  ("They" being scientific researchers)  ...Of course some people are born with certain predispositions to mental and physical disorder or posses disorders at birth, this is undeniable. Further, I believe that many of us are born with certain personality traits as well, however, environment has a boatload to do with improving, enhancing or turning that around when necessary.  

The end of this article says what I've intuitively known since I was a child, and is one of the primary reasons I do not believe in capital punishment.  What it says is that through experimentation and intervention, researchers are proving that parents who have better coping skills drastically effect the development of their child's sensitive nervous systems, and thereby effecting the whole way a child interacts with the world! 

The reason I'm saying this is not to make anyone feel guilty or blame themselves about  their child's weak spots.  I am more concerned with those affected by severe abuse, and who do not get the treatment they need... and societies way of "dealing with them".  My point is that society often scoffs at those of us defending men and women on death row when we try to prove that their abusive upbringings are indeed mitigating circumstances. That that information is directly connected to their state of mind at the time of the crime, the direction of their growth  (or lack of) in all ways...  It DOES matter.  And furthermore most of these men need to be in mental health facilities, not further punished for everyone failing them.

That's all.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Boobies, trauma and poop

It's soggy soggy soggy here, and not at all cold, or even cool.  It's downright balmy!  Nobody knows how to feel... not the animals, not the plants, not the bugs and least of all, me.  The power's gone out during the middle of a laundry cycle and cleaning frenzy.  We are having company for the next 4 days, beginning tonight, and we are unprepared.  It's been that kind of week.

Today aside, this week's been all about mammary worship. trauma, and  poop stains....  Yea, I know, weird.  Earlier this week, my 4 year old, out of the blue, squeezed my (ah hem) boob and then ran away, spinning and squealing.  I asked him what he was doing.  He says: "The booby dance of joy!"   I am here to tell you that the booby fascination begins early my friends...   Like, at birth! And while it is very funny on the one hand, it is also just a bit too strange at times.  Stranger still, this was probably the most purely joyful/normal moment of my week.

More antics this week include: gathering poo for lab testing, and yet another semi-traumatic blood draw...  I am not sure why, but for some reason, ER nurses and lab flub-otomists must not be trained in how to handle children these days.  Unless of course you happen to be at a hospital with a pediatric unit, or you luck into a lab with someone specially trained, I suppose.

So, we go in to the tiny and I mean TINY room at the lab.  This room was was the size of a phone booth! Way too small for one person to turn around, let alone 4 adults and one child, but there we all were. ugh.  So I try to quietly explain to the nurse that this is the child that we called ahead about, the one who had the trauma at the hospital a few weeks ago, so you know, let's go slow and easy.  "What do you mean?" She says... (Marc called ahead and was assured that they handle children all the time, and it would be fine)  Apparently, our flub-otomist does not understand what the word "trauma" means.  Then even more dumbly, I find myself explaining to her in as small, quiet and non-traumatizing language that I can muster. (Since I didn't have the sense to pull her dumb ass out of the room and talk to her in the hall.)  Ok, so I was also a dumb ass. sigh.   After I tell her, she leaves and comes back with an older nurse who proceeds to get so in my son's face, so much so, that you couldn't slip a piece of paper in between their noses, honestly.  Then she explains what is going to happen. (Which I had already done earlier that day, but ok, this is good... Just not in his face!)  So already he is reacting to her aggressive posturing.  I have to actually TELL her to back off.  Anyway, that started the semi-trauma rolling.  Dad was talking too loudly in his attempt to sooth Harley and get his attention off of the needle going into his fleshy arm, and on a little Frisbee he brought in to distract him with.... I was apparently holding the arm too tightly in an attempt to keep the boy from wriggling out of the chair and pulling the needle out.  This meant that the blood was flowing s-l-o-w-l-y, and therefore taking longer to fill the little viles.  double sigh.  I loosened up, and then we were told the blood was still flowing slowly because "he was moving".  We finally got er done, but not without tears and screaming, and pleading for Mommy to make it stop. Triple sigh.  At least this time, no blood spurted like that bad SNL Julia Child's bit.  I am amazed at how forgiving and resilient he is, all children are.  So as soon as it was over, it was over.  No more tears, no more screaming. He got a sticker and we went out to see the geese and get a treat.

We also had to take a poo sample this week, because not only are we testing for basic food allergies, but we are also testing for parasites.  This procedure was much less traumatic for Harley, and much more comically tragic for the mommy.  The doctors office neglected to tell us that we have to pick up the poo receptacles from the lab, and we forget to ask.  We get home and start trying to figure out what in the hell we are supposed to put this poo in...  and how to get it there.  Ok, so we finally make a few calls and figure out where we need to get the poo jars.  We get the said jars, and  are now simply waiting for the poo.  I mean, we are not literally sitting around waiting, but, you know.  So, finally the poo comes, and although we have the receptacles, we are not real sure how to catch the poo....  So, thinking fast, but again, not well, I get a large freezer bag, I have Harley lean on my knees and squat over the bag.  All was going well till the poo seemed to sort of take a turn... Most of it got in the bag, but well... uh.  yea.  When we get enough poo, I set Harley on the pot to finish, and dumbly, but proudly trundle to the kitchen to hand the bag over to dad for administration.  By the time I got back, my toilet and a small quadrant of my bathroom were smeared in poo.   There was nothing to do but toss him in the tub and hose him down.  Thank God for detachable shower massages!  

I'm hoping things get back to normal soon. Even if our normal is the booby dance of joy.  I'm hoping ya'll have a nice normal weekend too.