Friday, May 27, 2011

This Garment is Wearing Well

This Garment is Wearing Well
An automatic writing piece from a meditation

Put back together what has come undone. The seams have opened before, you sewed them again. Then with wear and tear they opened again in a different place. And you sewed it back together again. Each time the seams get stronger.

The garment is not wearing out, it is wearing well. Each stitch uses a stronger yarn. This garment is fitting you better and better over the years. It has also gotten large enough for others to join you as they find their way.

The life you are stitching together is a piecemeal coat of wonderfulness. You world is under construction – again. But you are not alone and the garment, the life garment you are constructing will fit all in need; all those who are behind you. Light the way so they will walk easier, through a well-worn path with trees that reach out to each person at each juncture, each crossroad.

It is your path; it is their path. Their path is created from yours and will all become universal as one journey of many souls.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Open During Construction

As I move forward and have dropped from my bags the past issues, problems, stories, events, leaving me feeling lighter every day, there is still one “thing” that eludes the shedding. I never imagined that shedding parts of your life would be so exhausting. Or is it that there was way too much stuff attached to me that it took all I had to remove it?

In making one decision, one simple decision, it felt as if layers of me fell off in sheets. Okay, this one done. Now this one. And wow, I forgot about this. Gone too. And not just decisions made. Attitudes totally shifted. The stressors that kept me up at night and made life difficult are now diminished if not gone. They are no longer part of who I am; they belong to who I once was. So bother me if you want, throw your weight at me, make faces, scream. It may ruffle one feather. But for the most part, I am now just caretaking what is on its way out. I will “sit” for it, but not for long.

Another “me” is emerging and it requires all that I have to keep up with it. Yet, there is that nagging item that won't give up. During the turmoil of the last few years, this item moved deeper and deeper into the past. There has been no input from it. Every now and then, it would revisit and its memories would run wildly through my head.

It had been on a hiatus and only now has returned. It does not want to be shed and put on a shelf somewhere in the deep storage of my brain. It is the one item that has not been completed. There has been no door closed and locked on it. And I don’t suppose there will be. At least not in a neat way.

It will hang around and nag me now and then during this new construction phase. Eventually, it will be pushed out of the current chaos and stored on a basement shelf behind a closed door. It will fade, age and decrease in size so that it eventually will fit neatly into an open crevice within my cellar walls. And I suppose that one day, it will crawl out and say, Hey, Babycakes. And I hope that when that does happen, Babycakes will not recognize it nor remember the reasons it was coveted for so long. And then, poof, that old creaky door will close for good.

Monday, May 9, 2011

More Thoughts on Foiled by The Thong

I was talking with a new friend last night after a poetry performance as we walked to her car. (Funny - I walked her to her car so she wouldn't be alone late at night in a gentrifying Chicago neighborhood and then walked back to the venue alone.  My husband said, "what makes you think YOU don't need a chaperone?"  And I said, "I am done with all assaults on me from now on and if anyone approaches, they will get "the look" that according to my children, can scare anyone away!")  Okay, sorry, a little digression here...

We were talking about the man who robbed me and being in court this past week.  I had been wondering why I was so intent on looking at this man in court.  Why would I ever want to see his face again?  I said in the last blog that I wanted him to look at me and see the strong woman that survived his attempt to scare and belittle me three years ago.  I wanted him to know that he lost and I was better for this experience.

But in talking through it with my friend, I realized that I also wanted to see where that hate, anger and need to dominate his victims came from.  I wanted to look at his face and see if I could find where that anger and possibly hurt came from.

My husband was with me and I asked him what he thought as he saw for the first time the man that did this to his wife.  He said he wasn't quite sure yet but what he did see was a man who was still cocky in front of the judge.  A "thug" is what he called him.   The realization came to him that what was neatly “finished”…the thief was gone, his wife was okay, no major damage done…was not; he realized how serious, how threatening this man could have been to his wife and family.

I think what my husband saw in this man was not cockiness, but fear.  This man's world is coming down on him fast and I believe he was scared.  Hell, I would be!  His disregard for protecting his identity during his crimes came back to haunt him.  He did not disguise his face or take care about leaving fingerprints, which is what ultimately led the police to him.  His list of crimes is long.  Did his confidence in getting away with so many of his crimes lead to this cockiness that my husband saw?  Is he just waiting it out to see what choices the state will offer him for his sentencing?  Oh, he is definitely going to jail and from what I have heard, for a long time. 

Digressing again.  I believe I was hoping to find what crime was done to him to turn him into this hardened criminal.  What awful thing happened to him early in his life to lead him down this path of drugs and crime?  Who hurt him so bad that he needed to harm women?

Oh, I am not feeling sorry for him.  He chose the life he is leading.  We all make choices, good or bad.  Even if the only choices in front of us seem bad or worse, we still individually make them.  We all have free will.  Even I had choices to make when he entered my life that day.  And I also had choices to make afterward.  I could have closed the store out of fear of another incident like this one.  I could have become angry and turned that anger inward or outward onto others.

So I guess I wanted both the other day; to try to understand how he became the evil, hurtful, angry man he is today and to let him see that his assault on me made me even stronger.  Every day in our lives provides us with lessons for learning and living by.  And having to relive that event has provided more insight into myself.  And as it patinas and ages and "cures", it will provide more insight for growth and understanding.  I am not angry about it.  Life continues to shape us daily whether we like it or not!

So, a plea to my guardian angels, goddesses, gods and whomever else is listening, PLEASE give me the likes on a daily basis from now on?  Thank you!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Foiled by the Thong!

I went to court this morning for the arraignment of the man responsible for the robbery and assault at my store 2 1/2 years ago.

Detective Keats (not his real name) was the police officer who came that fateful day to get evidence from the crime scene. He said to me today, “See, Eden, I told you we’d get the guy. Two and a half years later but we got him.” I responded, “Yes, you said you would,” but deep down I thought it would never happen. And I was okay with that. I was “over” it and had moved on.

Oh, there were about four times since the event that detectives came to the store with photos of suspects for me to look at. And I did my duty of looking at the photos. Prior to them having a fingerprint match, I picked out the guy they thought was the man responsible, out of the photo lineup. But I didn’t have faith that they would find the guy this many years later.

As I sat in court today and looked over to where the detectives sit, I realized I knew most of them. And why? I didn’t meet them at a social or family event. I have met each one due to an incident at the store. And they know me well. I have come to respect and like them all. I don’t think they get the respect they deserve in town.

Dave (not his real name), a patrol/beat cop and part time special forces army reserve specialist, who goes off to duty to very dangerous areas of the world every couple of years and is gone for a year each time, said that most of the cops in town are not very well regarded by some merchants. People assume they are dumb and socially inept.

And I’m thinking, WHY in god’s name would you NOT want these guys on your side? They have come to my aid many times (too many for my liking). I have come to know and love the regular beat cops who patrol the streets and stop in to say hi and chat a bit when on duty. These are the guys you WANT on your side. Dave was on the scene of the last incident right away and told me I scared the hell out of him because he couldn’t see me right away in the window and he thought something bad happened to me. He is the one who tells me the truth about the criminal world and gives me good advice. I respect him and I know he is there to protect me. This burly army dude is a friend now for life. So I know he’s got my back.

The judge on the bench today was identical to a dear friend, and I pictured what Mike would say and do in this situation. I chuckled to myself as I pictured the judge in a Groucho Marx costume, as Mike came dressed in this past Halloween, and doing his judge duties the whole morning in that character.

I didn’t know if “my perp” would be there today as I am not familiar (thank God) with the criminal justice system (although I AM becoming more familiar and that disturbs me). He was being arraigned. As it turns out, his bus was late in getting there but finally arrived with the criminals. When they called his name I didn’t know if it was him. I was never told what his name was. When they called my name along with his, then I finally had a name to put with the face I had identified three times now.

I went up to the bench and the DA pulled me aside to take me to a small room to discuss what would happen. I wanted to look at this man, Edmund Tate. I don’t know why. I kept looking at him. The judge asked him a question and I heard his voice again and I cringed, knowing this was the man who harmed me. I had also asked to hear his voice when I identified him in the physical lineup. I had seen his picture three times and remembered the face but I wanted to make sure it was him. Human senses are amazing for recall. Of all of the senses, smell has the most powerful memory recall system.

"When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered• the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls• bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory" -Marcel Proust "The Remembrance of Things Past"

I thought at the physical line up, “If I could only smell him, I would have absolute certainty that he was the man who assaulted me”. Of course I couldn’t, but to this day, I recall the days after the assault, I kept smelling him on me. I was certain that everyone around me could as well, but my husband assured me that there was no smell. That is how profound the sense of smell has on memory.

I think I wanted him to look at me in court, to see the woman who is strong and didn’t fall apart during his assault on me; the one who said no to his demands. I told him he had gotten what he came here for and he needed to leave. I wanted to give him the look that my children and their friends have come to know; the look that Officer Dave said scared the last two guys who attempted to rob me. They told him they didn’t because, one, they saw me press the panic button to call police (I did that right in front of them), and two, they said I gave them a look. My kids said, yep, we know that look. It scares everyone!

So I wanted him to look at me and see that he lost. I remembered everything he did and said and what he touched. He was sloppy that day. He didn’t wear a mask, he didn’t wear gloves. When you get nervous, you start sweating and he left his DNA and fingerprints all over the store. Detective Keats, said he got some juicy fingerprints. The perp was sloppy and cocky enough to think that this is just another robbery that he would get away with. His record is a long one; of robberies, bodily assaults, sexual assaults, and drug deals.

And what does he get caught for? A robbery at a little lingerie boutique in a small town. He left his DNA on a ladies thong that he tore apart to tie me up with. How apropos. He’s going down because his sexual deviate behavior led him to man-handle a thong, to go one step further to intimidate me to show his sexual power over me. For what - a minor haul on his part (he only got a couple of hundred dollars in cash – but he did take my wedding band and my favorite ring from Greece which maybe got him another $100 in pawn money) – all this manliness and power asserted on the wrong person in a tiny boutique in nowhere important.

So I wanted this dickhead to know he messed with the wrong woman. Enough is enough I say. I have had way too many events like this in my lifetime and I am done. Look at my face and know that “look” that scares my children and their friends.

But he didn’t look at me. And they pulled me into the back room before he left the judge’s bench. I looked back like a kid that is being taken away from a really good TV show or baseball game, armed being pulled as I strained to keep my eyes on him.

So that ordeal can now close its door, another chapter over in this life. That door was open a long time. I told a dear friend that I would write a story about it as I had with another horrific event that closed its door many, many years ago. I need to find humor in the tales of my life. I said I couldn’t just yet with this story. She said it needs a little patina on it, a little distance and “curing”. The story I write about it later will indeed find the humor and poignancy that only distance can bring.

However, my son reminded me that this dickhead, prior to leaving, after he tied me up, picked up a little lube on his way out. He said, “the guy probably had his girlfriend in the car who told him, “and don’t forget the lube!” “

He grabbed the box as he ran out. It was an empty display box. The thong “got” him. And no lube.