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Who Am I?

Welcome to this healing blog.  This site focuses on writing; the content related to my professional healing practice has its own space.  Click here to enter that space. 

I practice as a Feldenkrais teacher, TARA Approach practitioner, and counselor who is trained in EMDR. I teach various forms of shamatha meditation as I learned them under the instruction of my teacher, Thrangu Rinpoche. In August of 2014 I began shamanic initiation and training with Buffalo Thunder Tatanka Waikia of San Antonio, Texas.  Essentially, I'm an indigenous American healer, born and raised in Austin, Texas, with many healing threads that weave together into a tapestry as unique as the person I help

I dance with Julie Nathanielsz and Heloise Gold, both recipients of Austin Critics' Table awards for their work.  In addition to dance, I studied percussion for a number of years, and have recently come back to the study of music and drumming under the tutelage of Hossam Ramzy.

I hope that your visit here finds you something to laugh about, something to think about, something to dream about. 

You can subscribe to the blog through the boxes on the right. 

Peace to all, and thanks for visiting.
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An Experiment, With Interesting Results

So I decided to do this, give things one more try.

I wrote an ad that specifically asks that ONLY men of color contact me. I've never done that before. I want to see what happens if I just take white guys out of the mix for once.

As you might expect, there are not many responses, which is actually nice because it's much less to go through. And as usual, very few guys I can actually talk to. But do you know what I am NOT getting? Penis pictures. Shirtless photos. I am getting beautiful, pleasing, clothed, handsome photos of beautiful, pleasing men of color. And nice emails. And when I write something like "I'm not sure what you are asking for" or "I'm not sure about what you just wrote" I get a NICE response, or an apology, or a real dialogue.

This is very different. And it confirms something I've been suspecting for a long time: Men of color, overall, treat me with more respect. They listen to me more. A funny side of this: They also think I am too thin, which is really different than white men, for whom "thinner is better" seems to be the rule. I have been asked three times already, "Why are you so skinny?" with concern. LOL. That's beautiful.

It's really interesting how taking white men out of the mix removed 97% of what's obnoxious about running an ad. Isn't it?

Anyway. As usual I expect nothing. And when you expect nothing you always get more than you expected. I might make a new friend or two, or not. I'm going to tell you this: these photos of these beautiful men are amazing, and wonderful to look at, and they are making my day.

Yea.

Off to work.

Mist And Talllll Boots

Stepped out the door. 10:12 pm. The mist immediately envelops me, a damp palm wrapping me with its softness. I take off down the driveway and into the hood, into the dark. Within minutes I'm wet skinned, inside my tights and jacket, the humidity coming from outside to inside, nestling between clothes and flesh.

I like running in the dark. I rarely do it any other way. It frees me, the invisibility and the silence, the smells of leaves and oil and rainy grass. I don't think about technique much any more; all those times I started over and over and worked with Jonathan, years back, on proper form mean that these days when I start again I automatically do it right, no matter how long it's been since the last time. That was a couple of years of learning that have served me well. So I can let it go and let myself feel my way into it, looking for what feels nice, where the movement is and where it can go through my body, find the Zen of it and the feeling of gliding through darkness.

Here's what I was listening to at the end, when I bump it up to a sprint:

My name is Prince
I don't want to be king
I've seen the top
And it's just a dream
Because women in fancy clothes
They'll save your face, but they won't save your soul
I'm here to tell you there's a better way
And I'd be happy if it came today
I'm not saying I'm better, no better than you
But if you want to play with me, you better learn the rules

Yea. Tell it. He would know. He's Prince.

So there's an Intercultural Fashion Show on Friday. I'm going. This is actually Master Strategist's deal, for his non profit. Ya know, it's a fashion show, so I think I'm going to wear the super long stiletto boots. I pulled these out the other day and wondered when was the last time I wore these things? They are so cool. I think it was for a photo shoot because they have white dust on them and I seem to remember it being very dusty at the shoot. That was a long time ago. Coupla years.

A woman doesn't have that much occasion to wear stretch stiletto thigh high boots unless she comes up with one. The couple of times I've worn even moderate heels to the office, I've utterly terrified my clients, and in these, I'm a towering force of Gothy superpower. Especially when they're over the fishnets and the holster bag is over all of that. It is a good, good, fierce look and I've not done it in a long time, too long actually.

And that's just exactly what I'm going to do. I never go downtown (because who goes downtown any more except for Downtown People, and I could write a whole post on Downtown People and how sad their lives are--I've known a few in my time), but I'm a-goin' downtown for this.

Word.

Everything Good Comes Back To You

So, right after I decided Supafierce could have the money if he needed it (should I have said that to him? but I didn't want to even bring it up again because I didn't want to make him feel bad), I get two new clients. Or three? Maybe three. Yea, I think it was three, plus two previous ones came back.

See? Everything good comes back to you. I'll easily earn back what I gave him plus quite a bit more. That's how she works. Good creates more good, and fast too. It always comes back to you bigger than what you put out. South Texas checked in with me about all this. I told him I feel sad that my gut says this guy is going to disappear from my life, run away, so to speak. I mean that's what he's doing with drinking, too. But also that I realize there's nothing I can do about it, and that if nothing else, the process of dating has taught me a lot about how to grieve--how to let things go. 

I let myself be sad about it and I let myself move on. You can't ever control what other people do, no matter how good you try to be to them, or how sincere, or whatever. I remember how I missed that first guy I dated, that paramedic guy, a lot. How hurt I was at what he did. But now I don't even think about him at all anymore. I grieved, I healed and that was that. I came to peace with it.

He said that I shouldn't be too sad--sometimes people just need to run and bail out when they don't know what's going on. He said, "You probably put this guy into some new places. And if he doesn't want to be in those places, you don't need to know him. But sometimes people just have to disappear and see if they want to be there. And I think he really needed that money and I like the way you handled this and what you took away from it."

True, that. Thanks. Well. I've done what I can right? All with good intention. All with kindness. That's what I feel and what I hopefully left him with. 

Today was another good day. I'm learning that the pain cycle has a predictable beginning, around 3 or 4 pm. It starts small, and I think I haven't been noticing it because it can take an hour to two hours to get ramped up enough to grab my attention. However, being completely pain free has given me the window to notice the beginnings of discomfort and get on the ball right then, and it makes a big difference. I was thinking today about how hard the last year was and how a LOT of what I have gone through may well be related to these tumors--the anxiety, the depression, the strange panics, even the PTSD type symptoms. 

I'm telling you--being pain free, it's like I am myself again, the person I know, from YEARS ago, when I was in a really really good place. I think I also got the dose right--not enough to make me weird or hallucinate, enough to take the pain away for a good handful of hours. I feel like I have my life back, not even the life of a year ago but like the life of 7 years ago, it's that good inside myself right now.

So yea. That makes it easier to navigate life. The lack of pain, peacefulness. I'm about to go do a run. I trained for a short period on three days last week. First time in months. That's the me I know. She's in here. Her time is coming again. 

You know, I was thinking about that, too. About the whole thing about how I've never belonged to a gym or done that sort of thing. I realized it's because I've never needed someone else to give me a structure to train. When I want to learn something new, I take classes, or to maintain skills. But I get myself out there. To the gravel, to the pool, to the studio. I've never needed anyone else to make me do what I need to do. I drive myself. And then I got what Hossam said, all of a sudden:

You're a tough cookie, Elaine.

And I felt proud of that, because it came from him, one of the world's great artists, and he meant it as a 100% positive thing. Hossam has a huge heart but he doesn't tolerate bullshit or weakness of character. He doesn't have time for it. He knows what I'm made of. That, I guess, is why he wants me as his student.

Everything's gonna be alright. I'm gonna be alright. Me, my body, the business, all of it, it's good, it's full of goodness, big heart, good intention, authenticity. I put the good out in the world and it comes back. That's how she works.

The Solution, The Type Thing, Culture

I think I understand the solution to my deal with men, here.

It's this: Date, and get to know men over time. Slowly. Do it as I can. Don't get anxious or bend my life around it. Just when I have the time. If nothing else, I'll make friends. If more comes out of it great. If not, I have new friends.

I've been musing over how mad I got about the whole "type" thing with Supafierce, and how really it's kind of funny that I did that. I mean, he never knew this because I never told him, but if he'd seen pictures of my exes, they are--to a T--tall, blond, good looking, athletic men. Nary an exception to the rule, pretty much. If you looked at that, you'd sure as hell think I had a "type," all right. And you'd think that was my type. And maybe I even thought it was, you know? 

I have to laugh at myself, because I remember that when he asked me what my type was, I said, without a hitch, "Oh, dark skinned, shorter, fit guys." (Because that's what he is. Aren't I good?) If he'd ever seen pictures of my exes, he would have thought I was the biggest liar in the world. But the thing is, that's how it used to be. I used to date this "type" of guy over and over and I didn't ever really notice it, or think about it. It just seemed to be who I would end up with.

For whatever reason, it's different now. I really AM attracted to darker skinned, shorter, fit guys now, though I will always love me a tall man. But I'm different than I used to be. It's become more, a lot more, interesting to me to date men of color, or who are different in some other way, like height, than it used to be. In fact, I'd prefer it. I've changed, so I can no longer say I have one kind of type or preference. I do notice that now I tend to look for men of color first in any crowd. I no longer look for the tall All American white guys anymore, like I used to. 

Who knows what's made the change--getting older, my own identity development, my always-evolving interest in the questions of culture, race, identity. Or maybe it's just that I did have a "type" and didn't know it and it never gave me what I wanted. The tall white guys are still attracted to me, and always will be, I imagine, being an Asian woman. But I myself want to do things differently. At this point in my life, I'd strongly prefer to go out with men of color who identify as being proud of their home culture, whatever it is. I want to learn. I want to learn about languages, and food, and how things are done at home, and all that. It feels important.

I'm not saying that white men don't have a culture. Everyone has a culture. But they're far less aware of it, and far less aware of other cultures, in general. It's kind of stifling. I just enjoy myself a lot more with men who have that mix, that vibrancy. Ya know?

The problem is, how do you meet those men in Texas? How do you find them in a town as hipster-ish as Austin? They sure aren't on the online dating sites. They sure aren't in my neighborhood. They sure aren't running around in droves in Central Market.

Unfortunately.

Conundrum. To think about.

Optimism, To Be Me Again

I was assured today that all the anxiety and stress I've randomly been experiencing is going to go away, along with all of the pain, after my surgery. It's all related and it WILL go away. Hearing this was like the light breaking through the clouds.

I like me on pain drugs...because it's me, the me I was before all this started. Knowing I'm going to be that me again without the drugs is a pretty big deal, what I needed to hear. Giant sigh of relief. Feeling of giant optimism. Yes.

I also felt very positive today about the brief text exchange I had with Supafierce. I said what I wanted to say to him, and it felt nice. I'm leaving things in his court from now on. It felt like a closure to me. I'd like to see him around in my life, but it's up to him, of course. All the needed words have been said. I miss him, and I think good things about him, and it's all OK with me. His call, his choice. I decided, but didn't tell him, that I don't care about the money. He can have it if he needs it. It feels right. 

It's funny, but, texting him, I realized that he really doesn't understand me hardly at all. Not like I thought he did. His thinking is very square in some ways, and some of his models are broken, like the one he uses to select women. He doesn't seem to have figured out that since most people date in order to mate, if he is not going to mate (i.e. I don't want a girlfriend, I don't want a serious relationship or to ever get married again, etc.), he pretty much has only casual dating and lovers situations left, and the way those work is different. He'd be better off cutting the pretense of dating and just getting down to what it is he wants and needs. That's what I originally had wanted he and I to do, but I get now that it's a substantial shift in his thinking, one he's not ready to make. And that's OK.

I also had the opportunity to teach a client some Jin Shin today and it was SO fun. She did some practicing on me and she's a natural, which I actually had figured her to be beforehand, but it was amazing how good she was at it. I strongly encouraged her to study the system as she has the hands and the sensitivity for it. That was very exciting for her, and I got to get wee treatments, which was even better. Super awesome.

Yea. Today had a lot of good things and a lot of light breaking through the pain and the shadows. Just came out of nowhere, like a rainbow. I also heard from Colombian Shaman, who I've been trying to reach for a few weeks, and I'm going to see him on Wednesday. I really really connect with that guy and I miss him when he's not around in my life, a lot. I'm looking forward to seeing him now that I have pain management that's working and I can be ME socially. 

Today was good. It was really good. It closes with something Rudy Ramirez wrote on Facebook today:

Never let anyone treat you as though you are some kind of idiot because you are an artist. In order to recreate the world, we have to learn about the world better than a lot of people who move through it every day. Dramaturgy, motherfucker. Look it up.

You Tell It, Rudy Ramirez.
You tell it.

Clean And Clear, No Baggage

Didn't sleep well last night. I guess that "Killer Bees' Knees" cocktail I had interacted with all the other stuff I'm taking to create insomnia. Note to self: don't do that again. Or maybe it was the cocktail itself, which had gin in it, which I never drink because I don't like it. That said, the cocktail was nice, it had jalapeƱo in it, I enjoyed it.

You know something? Being pain free is pretty awesome. It's like it clears my mind to actually think and be present. I gotta say that although I don't like the side effects, the Tramadol the surgeon gave me to get me through til the surgery does take the pain away. I don't want to use it all of the time, but in those moments when the OTC stuff is just not doing anything, it's like a miracle. I only take half a tablet and I get pain relief for like 12 hours which is amazing, and I mean real pain relief--I'm not thinking about pain, I'm not IN pain, I'm calm emotionally and I feel sweet and clear and clean. I truly hope that this is going to become my regular place again after the surgery is over. So, despite my aversion to this kind of drug, I have to say I understand its place in my life right now and I'm glad to have it. 

I'm also glad I only have to do this for five more weeks.

I was thinking about Supafierce this morning and sent him a little note. I miss him. I'm not afraid to say it. I never wanted that much from this guy, and he made me happy. I'm glad it happened. It's just what it is, and I'm not afraid to express my feelings about it without worrying about it. I used to be someone who wouldn't say what she felt, because it was too vulnerable. But it's something I've been working on and practicing, and as I get better at it, I'm actually finding that it feels powerful and true to say what I feel simply and without expectation. After all, there's no projection about anything happening. It's just, this is what I was feeling when I was just thinking about you. That's it.

I wonder why it's so hard to find something simple with a man. My guess it's because I just have so much less baggage than men my age. No messy divorces. No kids. No huge financial problems, no mortgage, no gigantic bills, car payments, all that stuff. I may not have much, but I'm gaining traction financially, and my life is really simple and really well managed. Of course, it's that way because I structured it that way, made choices around it. It leaves me free to be myself and know myself and know what I really want. 

I'm also not bitter against men. The men I've met are bitter about the women  they've been in relationships with, I've noticed. I pointed this out to Supafierce too, about himself, and he agreed. I have a hard time getting that, because, after all, these men chose those women. They picked them and stuck with them. No one made them do that. It's kind of dumb to blame all women for the bad choices you yourself made. You could have chosen any of a dozen women, probably, and you chose and stayed with the ones who screwed you over. I chose my ex too, but hell, I don't hold other men responsible for his crazy, and I got out. It took longer than it should have, but I did it, and it was done. I'm healing from that, and I don't punish other men for the things he did.

I have my things to deal with, of course, like everyone, but I just don't have a spread pattern of gigantic midlife fallout like pretty much all the men I met over the last year. They all had some kind of major drama going on, around relationships, kids, sexuality, money, whatever. And they weren't able to keep it out of what was going on between us even though I actively tried to keep it out. It's too bad because I liked some of these guys. Ya know? I'm not saying I would necessarily have considered being their girlfriend, because let's face it, being someone's girlfriend means inevitably having to deal with their drama on a closer level, which I didn't and don't want to do at this point in my life. But I liked them, and enjoyed meeting them, and if they'd been able to keep it simple, it would have been sweet. 

But, they couldn't do that. It's too bad. I'm not sure what I need to do next. I don't really feel like starting over on a search for a lover, five weeks from surgery. I wrote to the guys who emailed me last week and explained that dating is something I really don't want to do right now both due to my upcoming medical stuff and the fact that it feels too much like work. In both cases I didn't feel like they heard me since the next thing they suggested was getting to know each other over email. Guys have a terrible listening problem sometimes, I've found. I just said I didn't want to do this and now you want me to do more of this. I have to answer so many emails a day that I don't want to spend more time typing missives about myself. One of them also mentioned having bought a new grill, which as we all know is the big signal that Elaine needs to disengage immediately from the situation. Talking about the grill is, like, the deal breaker. 

Well, I said what I needed to. They don't listen, their problem, not mine. I may have some other options but I'm not sure I want to take them, which probably means I don't want to take them. Ah, why is it so much work?

Ah well. It's Monday. Time to get to my week.

That Unicorn Thing Again

A male friend and I got into an intense discussion tonight. About sexuality, men and women, all of that. He asked me lots of questions and I answered all of them honestly.

At the end, he leaned back and looked at me intently. He said, "Well, you weren't kidding when you said you're different than other women. You're essentially wired like the ideal woman men want."

"I'm wired like the ideal woman you men SAY you want," I corrected him. "But that's not how it really is. Every time I've tried to find a steady lover over the last year, it falls apart because I'm getting confused speeches about dating and relationships or some kind of relationship drama he's having gets dropped into my lap. Y'all say you want something simple and easy, and then y'all bring all this drama into it yourselves. 

"I mean even look at this most recent thing I was in. Was I asking that guy questions about anything? Was I at any point of demanding something? No, he was the one who kept on saying stuff about dating and relationships. Acting like I wanted something I hadn't even had enough time around him to consider. I don't know what it is with you men assuming that I want a relationship with you when I haven't been around you enough to know if my interest goes that way."

"It's what most women want," he said. "The stereotype."

"I might want something like that eventually, but not for quite a while," I said. "I'm just so tired of hearing it from guys. They say they don't want relationships, or that they can't date, when I'm not even asking those questions. What I want is pretty straightforward and it's like men can't handle it. Who on earth would want to jump into a relationship with someone who has as many problems as most men my age do? Any woman with her head screwed on straight would wait quite a while, as should they."

"I get what you are saying," my friend said. "But I've known you a long time and even I didn't know this is how you think about things. It's fascinating. You really are a unicorn."

The unicorn again. Blah. 
Being a unicorn is frustrating.

Anyway. On my drive home I thought about the Supafierce thing and thought to myself, I don't even know why I offered friendship to that guy. Friendship wasn't ever what I was interested in with him. I'm not sure why I did that, it's so conventional. I was interested in being his lover, laughing with him, having a good, sweet, sexy time. I can't imagine why I said that thing about being friends other than maybe out of some kind of  programmed social guilt or something. I can't imagine why I'd pretend to want to "have coffee and catch up" with him ever. 

Kinda stupid on my part. My interest in him was never that, you know? And never will be. When I'm attracted to a guy, it's not a friends kind of thing. I'd much rather take my chances and hits with the other side than pretend I care about what happens over coffee. It was a dumb thing I did, to even say that to him. Guess I should be glad he didn't accept. I guess if he does accept down the road, I'll have to deal with it, because it would be crappy to take that back after offering it, wouldn't it? "I know I said we could be friends, but actually..." No, a woman can't do that.

What's a unicorn to do?

Bad Choices, Ah Well

The Count asked me, as he always does, about my dating life. I told him about what happened with the whole Supafierce situation. He thought a minute and said, "You know, I get it. He wanted to have a chance with you, just to be in the game. He liked you and he didn't want to reveal anything that would take him out of the running. But it was still a bad choice, because if you'd kept on seeing each other, he would have HAD to reveal it, and there's no way that would have gone better. I mean, what are you going to do, wait until you're in a relationship with someone and THEN tell them something this huge, after they already trust you? How would THAT go?"

"Yeah, I agree," I said. "To make things even more embarrassing, he owes me some money. He borrowed a small chunk of change during a temporary cash flow hitch and still owes me for part of it. I'm thinking about just writing it off as a gift to the guy with my blessing. I truly don't have anything against him; I offered friendship, but I wouldn't be surprised never to see him again."

"Well, that would be another bad choice," he remarked. "I mean, now that everything IS out in the open, it'd be a smarter choice to keep knowing you, since the worst is behind him now."

"People make bad choices all the time, hon," I said simply. "And he's embarrassed. And guys do weird stuff when they're embarrassed."

I mean yea, they do, right? I'm at peace with the whole thing. I bless the guy and wish him well whether or not I ever see him again. His ain't no easy row to hoe, and the fact that he borrowed the money makes me think that he isn't nearly as well off in real life as he might be on paper--which would make sense, given his situation at the current time especially, between maintaining multiple residences, lawyer fees, and the whole lot. I wasn't sure about loaning to him in the first place, but now I'm OK with having done that and with letting it go, since he did pay half of it back. Of course, I would like it if he paid the rest back, but I decided I'm not going to chase him down about it. If he comes through that will repair some of the damage done to his integrity between the two of us; if not, well, life will go on. 

The Count and I talked about how hard it is to date when you are so busy; he's in a similar situation, between his teaching, international travel, grant writing, and publishing. He does a better job of getting out there and meeting new people than I do and keeping himself in the loop, but he says it's still hard, and agreed with me that the kind of time investment a more committed relationship takes is extremely difficult to pull off when you have a career that also demands that time. It was nice to be able to talk about that. 

I get what he was saying about how people compartmentalize, and try to leverage themselves to give themselves the best chance in dating. He said that in his experience, men do this a lot more than women. But he's also right that ultimately it ends up working against you to hide things, because--it's hard to meet someone you like, and then if you do, and then you get into something and you've hidden stuff...then what? The longer you wait to disclose big stuff, the worse it is when it comes out. 

But I also have to say that I do understand it. Would I have gone out with him if I'd known the whole truth? I can't honestly say that I would have, even though I would like to think so. Most women my age don't want to go out with a man with a young baby, because he's going to still be raising a teenager when he's 60 years old. Women in our age range either don't have kids and don't want them, are raising their own or are almost done raising them and don't want to start over. Younger women want their own families, with men with a lot less baggage, such as the multiple divorces and other kids in the picture. I mean, he was right in thinking that this information makes him undateable to most women. The world of dating is harsh. He's not a dumb guy.

The Count said, "I can understand why you're disturbed by his hiding having a baby. It inevitably brings up the question of whether he's ashamed of his kid, which is disturbing to think about. I mean that might not be the case, but that's the question it brings up. It also really degrades his integrity as a person in some ways whether that's the case or not."

"It does," I agreed. "But, ah well. It is what it is."

It is what it is. It's neither my story, nor my pain. Thankfully.

Girls, Guns, And Machetes

Yesterday and today were BAD pain days. Worst yet. I finally had to get into the Tramadol last night. I hate narcotics; they give me auditory hallucinations and I spend hours roaming around the house trying to find the source of that strange sound. However, the meds did kill the pain after a while.

Today was pretty bad too. I took the OTC stuff but it didn't do that much. I decided to handle it a different way: I grabbed the two machetes and headed over to the studio. Two hours later, I felt better, calmer, less anxious. Anxiety attacks are another, more recent symptom of what's going on in my body, and it's profoundly unpleasant; I never know when I'm going to be overcome by this sudden wave of somatic panic. It's another part of what's making me a social recluse right now.

I figured dancing with machetes would create a situation where my brain would have to pay very close attention to something other than the pain and anxiety. It worked, then and for a few hours afterward, long enough for me to go out to dinner with the Count, whom I've not seen in forever, though I did see him briefly at Justine's on New Year's Eve. 

It was really good to see him and catch up. He looked great, as he always does; he's a tall Hungarian neuroscientist, after all. What's there not to love? We hadn't really talked in months, we're both so busy. We always have the best conversations about science, the brain, people we know. We caught up about the dramas surrounding various people in our social circle, and he finally said, amused, "Don't we have any normal friends?"

"Just you and me, I guess," I said, and we both laughed. 

I said, "I started learning shooting. I always think of you because of that thing you said to me after one of my nightclub shows, way back."

"What was that?" he asked, startled, smiling.

I started laughing. "You came up to me after the show and said, 'Ah, yes. I remember, growing up behind the Iron Curtain. All those shows on the TV, those girls with guns.' You were smiling and your eyes were dreamy. I've never forgotten it."

We both burst out laughing. He said, "I loved those shows."

"I KNOW," I said solemnly, and we laughed again. He said, "You have to find a way to get me a picture of yourself in your shooting attire. You know, I was in the Hungarian army once, using an AK-47 for target practice. I was a terrible soldier. Definitely the weakest link in that chain."

Yea.  Good times. Maybe we'll grab a drink tomorrow. He wanted to tonight, but I was starting to hurt, and I had to come home and take my hallucinogens.