Jephthah’s Daughters

Jephthah’s Daughters.(Click here to read more)

Shall we regard our girl children as Jephthah’s Daughters?  How long will we continue to perpetuate the adage, “Women love their sons, but raise the daughters.”  Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed in life but success comes through accepting responsibility and learning to be accountable.  Any child male or female who constantly lashes out at authority figures in a bid to always be “right” is a child bound for prison or the graveyard.  Stop making girls the sacrificial lambs!!

Ladies, let’s love our girl children and stop putting them on the altar in order to save a son who does not wanted to be saved and does not think he needs help or worse some no account man who should not even be a part of our households to begin with. Let us not return to ancient times when girls and women were thought of as little more than chattel or commodities to be bought and sold. (See below for more details on ancient economies)

Girl Sacrifice

“One of the unusual things about the Bible is that it preserves some bits of this larger context. … It would seem that the economy of the Hebrew kingdoms, by the time of the prophets, was already beginning to develop the same kind of debt crises that had long been common in Mesopotamia: espe­cially in years of bad harvests, the poor became indebted to rich neigh­bors or to wealthy moneylenders in the towns, they would begin to lose title to their fields and to become tenants on what had been their own land, and their sons and daughters would be removed to serve as servants in their creditors’ households, or even sold abroad as slaves.

“[This is what the biblical book of Nehemiah is referring to in the passage,] ‘Some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them.’ One can only imagine what those words meant, emotionally, to a father in a patriarchal society in which a man’s ability to protect the honor of his family was everything. Yet this is what money meant to the ma­jority of people for most of human history: the terrifying prospect of one’s sons and daughters being carried off to the homes of repulsive strangers to clean their pots and provide the occasional sexual services, to be subject to every conceivable form of violence and abuse, pos­sibly for years, conceivably forever, as their parents waited, helpless, avoiding eye contact with their neighbors, who knew exactly what was happening to those they were supposed to have been able to protect. …

Donations to this Ministry for the Housing Fund can be made in U.S. Funds via money order or bank checks made payable to Rochdale Village Inc. 169-65 137th Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11434, Account No. 083-11G-16924 or directly to via Paypal.  Thank you and God Bless.

Pharmacia Cornucopia

Pharmacia Cornucopia

Alice’s Restaurant

Like the words of the famous song Alice’s Restaurant today’s prescription drug addict “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant”. Why risk getting arrested and possibly spending any time in jail when you can go to a variety of doctors and easily get prescriptions for Xanax, Celexa, Zyprexa, Ambien, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Paxil, Oxycotin, etc…..  After all it’s legal.

Go Ask Alice

White Rabbit ☮ Jefferson Airplane ♥ 1967

Thanks to our pill cure obsessed society along with the greed of Big Pharma who consistently bribes most physicians to distribute their pills like they were M&Ms in the Candy Shop to unsuspecting patients who need relief from pain, anxiety and depression.  Very few people are suffering from psychosis which most of the aforementioned drugs are designed to treat.

How do I know this? I am a recovering prescription drug addict. Shocked? Surprised?  Never would have suspected someone like me right? A church goer, Bible student, Cum Laude College graduate, hard worker, one who has always been able to hold down a job and be success in the workplace. Well now you know. I’ve come out from behind my mask. The mask I’ve been hiding behind since 1999 the year after my Mom Mable Palmer passed away.  Nineteen Ninety Nine was the pivotal year when I made my descent down the rabbit hole of grief, depression, anxiety and pressure to get past the pain of my parents deaths which occurred within three years of each other.  I had to keep the charade going. I could never reveal to anyone how really devastated I was by their untimely loss.

Nineteen Ninety Nine was the year I started seeing a psychiatrist. It started off well enough. At least I thought so in my troubled mind. She had me watch a video on mental illness, specifically bi-polar disorder, asked me a few questions then sent me into a journey and eventually a slide into the land of Happy Pills.  What I probably most needed was a mild sedative and extensive talk therapy but no I received Celexa and eventually was promoted to stronger more debilitating prescription drugs.

Mind you because at the time I had a good job and good health insurance there was no problem in me obtaining in number or manner of pills to satisfy my growing reliance on these medications.  In fact my doctor enabled me by reaching into one of her office drawers and dispensing free pills she had obtained from the many pharmaceutical agents who visited her offices, and most likely plied her with dinners, trips, etc…. if she would promote their “medications”.

What Dr. Pill Happy failed to ask me was if anyone in my family specifically my parents had any addictions.  If she had asked me that I would have told her my mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was an alcoholic most of her adult life.  But then again who knows, given the fact that the Big Pharma Drug Pushers were greasing her palms she would have ignored the obvious connection between my behavior and my mother’s and continued adult candy.  Then again I can’t just blame this doctor, most doctors just indiscriminately dispense mind altering pills with little regard as to whether this will cause adverse reactions’ in their patients.  I also blame myself.  I wanted the pain to go away.  I wanted to be ten feet tall all the time.

The only thing that stopped my downward slide was I lost my job in 2006 and my health benefits in 2007. Suddenly I had to confront the ugliness in my life and everything I hated about me.  I couldn’t hide anymore.  Not that I didn’t try. By 2008 I had a new job with its own particular stresses and pressures.

To bring this saga up to date within the last few years I’ve developed severe back, knee and foot pain. My current profession requires me to be on my feet over eight hours a day and the natural ravages of age and time have taken their toll on the lower half of my body.  Many times the pain was so bad I couldn’t get out of bed to accomplish simple housework much less stand on my feet for eight hours.  Not only was I taking medicine to combat pain I also had to take sleeping pills so I could at least get enough rest to deal with the daily challenges of the workplace.  I was going to different doctors getting various prescriptions for physical pain.  I took all my prescriptions’ to the same pharmacy. It would seem a large chain pharmacy would see that the combination of drugs I was taking would cause certain negative interactions within my body.  They didn’t.  At least once or twice within the last four years I nearly lost my life.

Finally I told myself I must climb out of the rabbit hole.  I might be ten feet tall outside but inside I felt only two inches tall.   I hurt not only physically but emotionally and mentally. The poison that I tried to suppress inside began to seep out.  I knew I couldn’t hide behind the mask anymore.  My problems lay not just with my parents’ deaths but with sexual abuse I suffered from the time I was 19 up to and including all the sexually abusive relationships I had been in until I was 48.  Now I’m in the process of confronting my fears.  This is not an easy journey.  I’m in my 50s now.  Life has definitely changed and not always for the better but change is the only constant in life.  I’ve had to make many adjustments and accept my physical limitations.  I may fall off the wagon during my journey but nobody’s perfect.  But whether or not I have the mercy and compassion of people is neither here nor there.  Most of all I have God’s mercy.  I have God’s compassion because He knows what I’m going through.  God has not judged me for mood swings or depression.  This is an illness and I know when I get too tired to go on anymore God in His infinite mercy and wisdom will take me Home to Paradise.

I also knew I had to write this piece clean and sober. My Valentine’s Day piece was written while I was spaced out on Ambien. Strangely this piece was very well received. I mean I got a lot of great feedback from LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter fans. At the same time all the adulation was scary because I knew I could continue as a functioning drug addict or I could make a clean break. As a chronic insomniac Ambien is a very difficult drug to break free from. Taken in its proper dosage you sleep. However take two pills instead of one your body sleeps but your subconscious is still awake, still able to function. In a psychedelic way Ambien has an effect of enhancing talents already residing within you but at the same time with the capacity to kill you.  Obviously I don’t want to die but I do want to obliterate the emotional and psychological pain that threatens to rip apart my very soul. But the realization comes that pain can never be totally erased only dealt with on day by day basis. Small doses of healing dispensed over time.

No matter what I have fulfilled my purpose in life because I share this story with others, not for you to understand me but to at least have understanding and empathy others struggling along the rocky path of prescription addiction.


Black Unicorn Rising

Alice’s Wonderland Deconstructed

Life as a Void Consisting of Only Time and Eternity

Black Unicorn Rising

An exploration of Emptiness, Nothingness, Inner and Outer spheres/realms of being

Do women occupy the inner sphere/sanctum of purity? Is the enclosed female space a sign of sanctity whereas the open hinged male space the spirit of adventure? Are women contained by societal definitions of femininity resulting in us being “Birds in Gilded Cages”.  What is the extent of the power we have as women to define ourselves?

Katrin Sigurdardottir’s piece “Boiserie” explores many levels of existence. The enclosed room a replica in white of the Hotel de Cabris located in the Wrightsman galleries of the Met brings to mind a sense of the finite and infinite. As I observed visitors who thought they would be able to see their friends on the other side of the windows, they quickly realized the panes were security glass, meaning one could look in but not out. The mirrors in the room gave the impression of infinity by reflecting endless images. Like the worlds of many French society ladies and nobility they seemed to have everything, yet they had nothing as they were just “birds in a gilded cage” with their pleasure and privilege brought to an end with the French Revolution in 1789.  This first walled in room gives a sense of arrested development. Its progression halted within the pure white room encased in what appears to be rather dingy plywood.

Viewing this exhibit is like looking into a surreal kaleidoscope minus the rainbow, where white is not just the absence of color but has the ability to reflect all around and within it.

Because I as voyeur and viewer share the same gender as the artist this exhibit propelled me into rethinking what it means to be a woman in our society.  Gender has been defined as a social/cultural construct.  Gender can be said to be the attributes and aspects which society says make up the male and the female.  Women even women of wealth and privilege who resided in the royal courts of Europe have always been considered inferior beings.

How are we taught to see masculinity and femininity in our society?  John Berger in Ways of Seeing, writes that, “A man’s presence suggests what he is capable of doing to you or for you.  His presence may be fabricated, in the sense that he pretends to be capable of what he is not.  But the pretence is always towards a power, which he exercises on others.

By contrast, a woman’s presence expresses her own attitude to herself, and defines what can and cannot be done to her.  Her presence is manifest in her gestures, voice, opinions, expressions, and clothes, chosen surroundings, taste – indeed there is nothing she can do which does not contribute to her presence.  Presence for a woman is so intrinsic to her person that men tend to think of it as an almost physical emanation, a kind of heat or smell or aura.” (p 45-46)

A woman’s space like that depicted by Sigurdardottir’s white room replica of the Hotel de Cabris, is closed and everything about her is directed inward.  Men keep her physically, financially, and emotionally.  Women’s gestures, attitudes and social discourse has been developed and defined within very narrow parameters.  However not only does she watch herself but she watches herself being observed.  She becomes both the subject and object of the male gaze.  As Berger says, she is both the surveyor and the surveyed (p. 46).  In Berger’s definition, men act, women appear (p. 47).

This brings up the issue of stratification of different types of social classes of women.  Women young and old often seek to emulate or embody the concept of glamour.  The behaviors of movie starlets, models, entertainers, and socialites no matter how vulgar, demeaning or degrading have become the order of the day.  However the glamour of media stars is without substance.  Many women failing to reach these unreachable aspirations die ignoble emotional, mental and physical deaths grasping for the brass ring but coming up empty.

Even female garments are designed to create restriction.  Foundation garments such as girdles, corsets or spanx, garters, shoes too tight to be comfortable or heels too high to walk in, suggest a type of captivity.  All are attire that suggest bondage and domination.  A woman is encouraged to be a walking work of art in our society.  Fashion magazines tell her how to dress diet and style her hair.

And what of the women disenfranchised by physical, emotional abuse, domestic violence and sexual harassment.  What of their space.  Can it be recreated or refashioned to include them in the dialogue or are they forever locked out via twin fiends named shame and guilt.  I speak for those women whose space is closed, confined, where the doors are locked and the keys are in the possession of the oppressor.  Once I was a captive of my abuser who physically left me Thanksgiving Day 2007 but the damage he did to my mind, emotions, spirit and psyche has never left me.  He left his imprint on my soul.  The brutes of shame and guilt entrap me by refusing to grant me the ability to trust or love completely.  My only hope at this late stage of my life is that once I transition from this realm into whatever lies beyond I’ll be granted the gift of forgiveness.

I know my absolution will never come from the church or the so-called “body of Christ” as the “church” as a religious entity sanctions male dominance thus the abuse and violent behavior that stems from a patriarchal system.

At present I longingly look through the bars of my prison at those women given pardon and liberty all the while awaiting my next evolution into that great beyond where I will be exonerated, set free and love will once again make an appearance in my life.  But in deference to my ex-boyfriend I dedicate this song to him.

Alice in Wonderland—Bigger, Larger, Smaller, Tinier

Grace Slick & Jefferson Airplane

The extended accordion like rendition of the Hotel de Crillon room also located in the Wrightsman galleries gives a sense of expansion yet all the while the free hinges connecting the smaller and larger doorways gives the viewer the perceived ability to fold up and pack away in a suitcase this wonderful display of abstraction.

The larger doorway is a portal to the imagination, the rooms or cubes within our own minds.  Have I like Alice in the story eaten the cake labeled “Eat Me” and grown too large, then drank the potion labeled “Drink Me” and shrunk too small.  Or like the Alice in the Grace Slick song taken the pills that trick my mind into thinking I’m continually expanding and contracting.  But I like the many visitors to the exhibit calmly walk through happily appreciating the aesthetic qualities of the piece.

These two exhibits are located on the Mezzanine of the Modern Art section of the Met museum.  And just what is the definition of Mezzanine: “A partial story between two main stories of a building.   An intermediate floor between main floors of a building.”

The interpretation of the two Wrightsman rooms is an intermediate, betwixt and between what is real and what is contrived. Similar to the Alice’s trip into Wonderland where reality changes from moment to moment and fantasy is the order of the day.

Can reality be perceived only through the five senses or is reality much like sexuality and/or gender roles only a social construct which time, space and cultures eternally deconstruct and evolve to fit each generations needs.

But I have journeyed from 16th century France, where kings and queens once ruled by divine right only to be deposed through revolution into the 21st century where we read in the papers, on the web and see on television current megalomaniacs and dictators forced to cede their power and authority to the once frightened and enslaved masses who have reclaimed empowerment.  Perhaps since both pieces are constructions of wood paneling or plywood that in itself signifies the falsity of temporal riches.

These two rooms pose questions on gender, race, class and social inequalities than possible answers or solutions to aforesaid dilemmas.  Or perhaps queries that come to mind have within them never-ending possibilities and infinite resolutions.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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