they say it’s like dew

I’m a saint woman
I’m a saint woman
I’m a spirit woman
I’m an atmosphere woman
I’m a day woman

I’m a waiting woman
I’m a crying woman
I’m a speech woman
I’m a creator woman

I’m a doctor woman
I’m a wise in the way of the plants woman
I’m a creator woman

I’m a clean woman
I’m a ready woman
I’m a Saint Peter woman
I’m a clean woman
I’m a ready woman

I’m a waiting woman
I’m an atmosphere woman
I’m a day woman
I’m a creator woman
I’m a doctor woman

I’m an interpreter woman
I’m a Christ woman

I’m the morning star woman
I’m the moon woman

I’m a heaven woman
I’m a doll woman

That’s the way it looks when I go to heaven…
They say it’s like softness there
They say it’s like land
They say it’s like day
They sat it’s like dew

My dear friend Jackie Rock shared this chant with me when I needed it desperately. It was written by Maria Sabina as a Mazatec Magic Mushroom Ritual Chant in approximately 1896. Maria Sabina lived as a Shaman in Southern Mexico who used psilocybe mushrooms for what we might understand as her visits to a different spiritual level. I hope to post more of her chants as I find them, as she’s now my spiritual comfort guide.

So I’m Helpful for a little While

there was a bit of a smackdown over who was going to handle a fundraiser: me, or an accountant acquaintance.

the deal is, a friend of ours got breast cancer, and having a double mastectomy didn’t get it all. she made the saddest thing ever: Jen’s Chemo Wishlist, and Jen’s Chemo Wishlist for Fun on Amazon. the first is obvs the serious one, the perversely described “Chemo for Fun” had things like baking accessories for her Kitchenaid mixer, books, a CD.

Cy, a friend of all ours, organized a group of people who could be in touch and help her out by making donations and have the donation coordinator buy things off her lists. after all the money was in, a donation to her to help cover expenses with what was left would be made to her.

so the smackdown, as it were, to help Jen was whose PayPal account would we use to centralize all this and whose Amazon account had Prime shipping to get it all to her cheaply? i had both so had been offering from the beginning, saying that unemployment gave me time. the accountant popped up and argued “hellooooo i’m an accountant!”

in this Save Jen group, my name popped up first, so instantly money came pouring in. the accountant seemed disappointed. you know, i’m just gonna say it, this accountant loves being the center of attention. i took a jab at her. after i ‘won’ the ‘competition’ (snort), i asked her, “have you talked to Jen lately, is there anything else she wants?” accountant admitted she doesn’t really talk to Jen, so no, she didn’t know. neener, i knew things she wanted but forgot to put on the list! so, yeah, i think i ‘won.’

but after getting that petty poison out, the point is this: i feel useful. unemployment is a literally disenfranchising thing, and it’s left me feeling sort of anchorless. sure i have tons of things to do for my medical health–the whole point of quitting my job–but it’s not like i’m doing anything that serves a direct purpose i’m accountable to someone else for.

Jen’s Chemo Wish has given me determination. i am actually doing something that improves the life of someone else. i’m so happy to check my email and my PayPal and my Amazon to see what’s going on. so far we’ve gotten enough donations to fill all her Amazon dreams and more. we’re going to help her with her yoga studio fees.

i really hope Jen is the last of my friends to get cancer for a long, long time, and i really hope the chemo knocks her cancer out, but, in the meantime, i’m so glad i have a purpose. thanks for letting me be your friend, Jen.


i’m so angry. i’m so mean. i expect total leeway for all shortcomings and failures, but i give none. i expect everyone to fit my tight definitions of what i desire in people, and i have such a hard time accepting–and enjoying–people for their individual selves. i expect the show always on while i’m always still adjusting my costume.

this is an easy out, but Facebook does this to me a lot. i see people’s stream of conscious, and their grammar might be bad or their topic may be obscure, and i’m frustrated: “why aren’t you the you i want you to be?!?”

and to myself. i get so mad at me. why did i make that choice? why am i afraid of the post office? why do i hate going outside?

right now i’m stuck on this tattoo. my artist called me once, it’s been a few years, and she said money’s tight. i’ll tattoo you as long as you can sit for a certain amount of money. and man was it a bargain. here’s the catch: i didn’t get the tattoo i really wanted. i sold my arm for someone else’s rent money.

why the hell did i do that? there are so many ways each and every one of us are prostitutes to something, but i actually sold skin. i am permanently marked for a big fucking mistake.

i’m trying forgiveness today. i’ve changed the name of the flower. it was supposed to be a gardenia in honor of my grandmother and my husband for sentimental reasons. i’ve come to realize it looks more like a camellia. flipping through a flower book trying to see if there was something i wanted to paint, i saw a magic answer. it said that camellias mean “you’re adorable.”

forgive me, Chrissy; i’m adorable.

Tiara Trouble

as a Society Gal on the Go, i’ve lived always to the social extremes—most popular, pariah, belle, irritance, to the now ever glamorous ‘It Girl’ amongst the denizens of my couch.

as a kindergartner, i recall with perfectly that i was the most sought after by both boys and girls because i was totally balls to the wall in everything i did. whether it was making hotdog factories from blocks with the boys or playing dress-up with the girls, i squeezed everything there was to be squozen.

but the same friends started turning on me as we got a little older and i wasn’t balls to the wall Liz Claiborne. the fastest girl still wasn’t as fast as the fastest boy, and the fastest girl, def was not french braid material.

my teeter-totter troubles just tripped into motion a woeful tale of most my life in pecking-order’s dumps. i mean, the only thing i had going for me was that i wasn’t Nicky. dear Nicky’s of the world, i’m sorry, really sorry. but the Christine’s thank you! god at least i don’t *think* i was a Nicky, was i? omg my life is so over if i were secretly a Nicky. or worse, THE Nicky! i’m having heart palpitations! in the not swooning way!

i found my stride in college amongst intellectual peers and partiers, the two areas of my life where i outstripped most co-eds. the catch was i didn’t know this was my bright and shiny moment, i thought i’d finally arrived at me, Me, ME!

i started grad school, and it was totally like eighth grade Poodle Skirt Day, and i was the only one not in a poodle skirt. i did learn who Judith Butler was though. and i did learn it was possible to be smarter than a professor. i also learned that just like Poodle Skirt Day, the coolest kid still has to approve you for you to be “in.”

what i never learned was “who gives a shit?” i could blame social imprinting for teaching me that popularity is everything, but shouldn’t a decently intelligent person outgrow that at some point? i’ve always wanted to win Most Popular Girl tiara, but that’s once piece of plastic i’ll never earn. and that’s it, ultimately, it’s plastic. it’s a rigid, cheap toy easily broken.

popularity is as restrictive as a tiara: try to adapt it, and the pressure cracks.

Normal Dragon

My BFF Erin wrote about finding “The New Normal” after becoming Chronically Ill. I cried as I empathized in so many ways, but instead of wallowing, I decided she would inspire me to write about my own New Normal.

the realization that i was never going to be the “Real Me” i conceptually idealized as what i was really like actually happened just a couple of months ago. my family doesn’t see me often due to distance, but i make sure to maintain a healthy phone and written contact with them. one day, on the phone, my father said, “You always sound so drugged, at this last Christmas you were practically a zombie you were so drugged. I don’t know, maybe this is the New Christine we have to get used to.”

my heart went static like an old UHF TV screen buzzed. we used to call it a “bee race,” “My bee is winning!” all my bees stopped and looked at each other: “are we drugged out now?”

i’ve been some version of chronically ill since 2002, but i always thought rehab would get me back to using my mouse with my right hand… ok, to hiking… hmm, to standing? how about just sitting, ok? let’s freakin sit, in a chair, designed for long-term ergonomic comfort fancier than all the thrones my boss bought the other staff. how about WEAR SHOES! SHOES. on my FEET. WEARING.

Chronic Pain is laughable it’s so ridiculous. i… i don’t know if i can describe? telling you all the modified versions of Christines won’t do the point, and hell, i can’t even remember all the Christines i’ve lost so many! i’m like a paper doll, but instead of getting dressed, layers and layers of Victorian doll drawings of dresses are being removed from me. the shoes. the skirt. the blouse. the pantaloons. the stockings. and finally, the corset that was holding it all together. now i stand holding a parasol and faking a paper smile, disappearing in a weak breeze.

then, it all begins again. grieving Christine is a constant process, not just with each layer of paper doll clothes, but just random. some days “i have to take the elevator,” is just i can’t take stairs. other days it’s “god, i fail at STAIRS. CHILDREN take stairs with aplomb!” some days it’s “hahahah! i forgot my pain meds and the lights look like they’re blinking!” other days: “holy shit it is NOT. OK. for lights to blink!”

here’s a thought: dealing with Chronic Pain is as complicated as rolling a handful of a 32-sided die, a pyramid die, and sundry other 12- and 16- sided dice from Dungeons & Dragons and trying to interpret the Elf Damage or something. the taste of the candy red #32, the prescience of the pale blue pyramid, a green 16 like mint jelly–variables upon variables, flavors, delights, enticements, failures… confusion. ultimately, confusion.

so basically every day is my first day playing Dungeons and Dragons to determine my shield and sword strength and powers of magic potions. some are weak as sprinkling dirt on my head, and others are wode and ululations–who knows which day’s Normal is? at least i have no clue; maybe i seem transparent to the people who call me druggie–i think that’s a roll of the pink 13 sided die.

PS, to read Erin’s post on Normal and check out her blog, head here.

Crying Wolf

in college, i was in love with a woman named Stacia Wolf. she not only had the most perfect name ever, she brought a distinction to our group of friends as being the most brilliant of the females amongst us giggling dahlias.

my favorite moments with Stacia were when she slipped away from maturity land, leaving her fiancé and future step-daughter behind for a night alone with me getting blind drunk. in retrospect, from womanhood, i wish we had gotten tipsy in my dorm room and had the deep sort of girl-talk we did in my drunken torpor, but with the gravitas of the edge of sobriety making those nights more memorable to her. but i presume she hung out with me because she knew i was the party girl of our group and would not just get her trashed on cheap liquor but lead her to the best parties within walking distance. (never drive drunk kids, NEVER drive drunk.)
as we drank, she confessed to me her secret fears of marrying her controlling fiance direct from college and instantly acquiring a seven-year-old daughter and hostile baby mama cum ex-wife. in those sloppy moments, i begged her not to marry. did i tell her i loved her yet? i know i did later, but in the moments of seriousness, i begged her, pointing out she just told me she was semi-afraid of the over-bearing demeanor the future husband already displayed, feared baby mama, and could she be a 20-year-old mother to a seven-year-old child resistant to her because of her confusion about the divorce? these were weighty things for any woman to ponder, let alone a newly graduated genius deserving grad school coffee huse chats and not midnight wet beds.
i burned for Stacia, stared at her as best i could through pure-grain and koolaid eyes. i remember we played checkers one night before walking to a party, and i didn’t even try the game i wanted her to win so badly. i listlessly pushed around my black tablets, leaning on a crooked elbow arm, drinking her sweet water cane liquor face. we actually cried over checkers as she poured out her distilled heart concerning her grave graduation gift. could she do it? Stacia, come to grad school with me! please! you can help me with my papers, tone them to your brilliance, and i’d guide you to self-discovery free of the man who wanted to gobble your life.¬†
she ditched me at the party, indicative of how she used me for imbibed tears and moved on. always the same pattern. drink, debate, ditch.
Stacia, my sweet Stacia, what happened to you? i still love you.