Journalize the Negative?

On January 1, I had written, "try to journalize the unsuccess, the frustration, the ‘it’s drifting away from me/slipping between my fingers/can’t find my focus’ feeling"; i.e., be honest about how negative I find the struggle to be. To my relief, my painting course has put some weight into the positive side of the scales. But as I plough forward, there are days of extreme sadness and depression. Yesterday was one, and a week ago Monday was one. I awoke crying from a surreal dream about the dog I lost when I came to Europe almost 40 years ago. I cannot discern between sharing and over-sharing. So a warning, the following post is a shared downer.

Awoke after a surreal, terribly sad dream. It was about Jackie. She was unrecognizable as dog. She was something between a piglet and a loaf of bread. I was supposed to kill her as piglet. (I am throwing away -- killing off -- old ‘stuff’: actually reviving memories, possibly reliving them and re-traumatizing myself.) I couldn’t. So I put her in a series of plastic bags and clutched the parcel with her in it to my left breast throughout a long list of things I had to do – don’t know what. And at the end, my husband picked me up. I had decided I had to try to salvage what I could of my piglet. It had been fat, but in the course of my errands it had become lighter and lighter, and now it was just a thick heel of bread. But I peeked into the bag and saw that it wagged its bread tail, so I decided to try to save it. Somehow I knew I had to wash the olive oil off it to save it [a friend just brought us home pressed olive oil] . We had trouble finding a washing place and walked from floor to floor in the building (or ship) we were in. Finally, we waited in line for the woman ahead of us to finish, and I washed it off and took the bread in my arms and hugged it. It was still alive. And I woke up hearing Mahler’s “Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder” (Rückert-Lieder) in my head – Mahler lost so much, too. Bottomless sadness.

(So, I presume the fat, wriggling piglet was the package of dreams I brought with me to Europe that was full of energy and nourished me. And today, a crust is left. But it's still wagging its blimey bread-tail. And I'm trying desperately to take care of it.)

At gym Sunday noticed how very sad I am all the time, preoccupied with myself. Thinking about stuff. This morning I was again preoccupied with thoughts of mother. Recently, while transferring her stuff from one plastic container to another, I found a short tragic poem by her expressing the distance between us and her sadness over it. She was never able to do what would have been necessary to break through. What stubbornness. What a tragedy.

Have been on a ‘search and destroy’ mission clearing out old stuff, throwing and giving away, changing rooms. Husband warned me not to overdo it. Perhaps I am.

I remember once as a teenager going on a radical search and destroy. I felt my father in my memory pressuring me to do so, just as he had forced me to push the ice cream cones we were eating into the sand -- to teach me how to 'let go'. Ha. A child of 8. And afterwards I regretted terribly having thrown away my stuff. Probably also writings.

Have been thinking the last few days about text I dictated on Danube trip about having lived through my life feeling hunted, seldom being in the moment. Except tasting wine and conducting.

A few minutes ago, sobbing uncontrollably, I took a pill. I could feel that I was having one of the horrible rushes I had while doing dissociative therapy, when I would be housekeeping and suddenly break down and sob desperately, even scream in pain, for an hour or two. The spasms don’t go away. Only drugs reduce the pain.

I am wondering… So my ‘search-and-destroy’, my cleaning out and throwing away, is somehow opening up old wounds. I am reliving stuff, but then trying out of the past's memory-ashes to create something new – and I think my blog entry on the sewing patterns is probably a good example. But it is draining, too, pulling up old stuff that's coming out in painful dreams.

So perhaps I need to pace it.

Gave away my records to Oxfam. Hundreds of them. Records I brought from USA. Recordings of pieces on my first concert, Milhaud, Brahms, Bach. First records I bought in Germany. Daniel accompanied my sorting process. Bless his heart. I was not alone.

Threw away travel books. The books and maps I used to plan all those travels. All those years. All those decades. I loved – I love! – planning trips. How I adored planning the USA and Spain and France trips and going on them with hubby. I even found the stuff from our beloved gîte in Epoisses.

So maybe I need to revisit these places?

Somehow I need to pace this better and FIND MORE WAYS TO RE-CREATE IN THE PRESENT. Or else the memories of what I have lost or was never really able to taste will overwhelm and crush my spirit. Either set monuments, like the blog post, or revisit the places in actuality.

Have also been working on my new project “Eeuuw, you eat seaweed!?” which trudges up trans-generational and discrimination traumata. Been listening to James Wood’s podcast on exile, based on Edward Said’s excellent "Reflections on Exile". (Said's face has been peering at me from the book cover on my desk for weeks.)


Yesterday, driving to market in heavy snow, husband said, "Why don’t we retire to Long Beach? I don’t need this snow in my future." And this evening I looked at houses and apartments on Ocean Blvd. and in Belmont Shore. In the photo of a condo for sale on Ocean Blvd. I thought I recognised the home of someone in my sorority Beca next door to the property. All those memories dredged up, too.


And yet, on many of these days I have given a grade of RAD (best) on my mood-meter app ("Daylio" -- love it), because I am getting rid of the burden of endless stuff from the past. But then there's the lonely night-side of things.

My pill is kicking in. I have become numb and will quit.

Perhaps I need to look for a therapist?