Wednesday, July 20, 2011
9/11, PTSD... Conversations with a Past Life May 31st
While reading the beginning of the book by John Dos Passos,The Unforgettable Years, he writes that in his father's will his father didn't want to be buried in New York but on the family land in Virginia. But the foolish first sons (John was from a mistress turned second wife) didn't read the will until after the funeral. In any case, he said that he didn't want them mourning his death. He wanted them to throw a giant party inviting everyone nearby, blacks and whites to celebrate his death and that he would mourn the lives these poor fools still lived. I thought that was humorous, although John's father had a hell of a life. It's a wonder why he was so cynical. I talk a lot about not mourning people's deaths, but in celebrating the lives they lived... and not to worry about what happens next. I know that may sound rare after what I've been writing the past two days... Truthfully, I don't know what caused me to remove everyone from my friends list. It felt good at the moment and even seemed logical. What doesn't feel good is throwing in the incinerator the illusion.
I can't imagine how it would feel dodging bullets in the middle of a shoot-out. I can't imagine living in Israel with the bus bombings. I was surprised that 9/11 wasn't followed up by 9/14 and 9/23... That's why it is almost certain that it wasn't a truly planned terrorist attack. It was just symbolic, if it wasn't planned by the Pentagon, but went arhy (I don't know how you spell that word... it went wrong with the towers falling; all to justify a new invasion of the Middle East)... A well-planned terrorist attack would have had a second group on the ground with bombs in backpacks to explode in the subways passing below Times Square. Well, that was my concern travelling from Kings Highway through Manhattan to Long Island City... When the subway would suddenly stop and the lights would go out and we would be in that situation for a few minutes... Who didn't sweat? Joey was living in Spanish Harlem very East around 113th street... The subways crossing from Queens and Brooklyn to Manhattan were shut down. So, I walked from work at the Salvation Army Veteran's Homeless Shelter in Long Island City over the 59th Street Bridge singing Simon and Garfunkel (just kidding; Sheri made me very self-conscious about singing.) and met Joey on 2nd Avenue. The police were horribly rude that afternoon. We walked to the West Side, up towards Grant's Tomb, took out a shovel to figure out who is buried there, walked with hundreds of people down Riverside Park to the Chealsey Bikeway, where my Uncle was killed 5 years later, were amazed by the amount of emergency vehicles coming from New Jersey, Upstate New York, dropping down from the George Washington Bridge, since Lower Manhattan was sealed off. I was so impressed by the candle vigils and how warm the New Yorkers became. I was very sorry when Guiliani said, "It's time to remove the alters and for New Yorkers to stop mourning." I figured that he just didn't get the point... Ground Zero should have become a memorial park and not a symbol that "Americans Don't Kneel" by planning an even more ostentatious building project where the towers once were... New Yorkers with hearts? what a nice opportunity. We tried the subways again, but it was an uncontrollable mess. So, we walked from Ground Zero to Brooklyn. Somewhere east of Park Slope, near Ocean Ave., we crossed a Middle-eastern community. The blocks with mosques were barrackaded due to concern about racist attacks upon the mosques... Many people were in the streets. Many were celebrating. That angered me; I felt that these guys were putting themselves into a horribly vulnerable position celebrating the deaths of possibly thousands of people, especially in their newly adopted country. I was thankful that the U.S. didn't put Arabs in concentration camps as they had done with the Japanese Americans during World War II and thankful that the racist attacks were minimal. However, what the hell were these people doing in a country they hate? I believe they gain something and that's why they left their countries and aren't in Italy, Germany or England, the other countries with very high levels of middle-eastern immigrants... A few days later Joey moved in with me... There was an impressive increase in marriages in New York City the 6 months that followed. During that period, I remember reading women complaining about their decision to maintain a lifestyle of not committing to one guy; climbing the social ladder... Sex and the City. Anya loved that program. It made me sick. These women would say, "everyone had someone to cuddle with during 9/11 and then they all got married. And here I was and am all alone!" Joey worked at the NY Sports Club on Wall Street as a trainer at the time. I remember the smell of sulfur gas for months... My friend at the time, Mauricio, a Mexican journalist/reporter was at his fiance's in Brooklyn Heights when it began. So, he crossed to lower Manhattan and was a few blocks away taking photographs when the first building collapsed. He took some great photos and ran... Mauricio told me that he suffered nightmares from that years later in which the buildings of Times Square are falling around him. Before we fell out of touch, he said that he wanted to leave New York City and open up a Bed and Breakfast with his wife in San Miguel de Allende... One of my "clients" at the shelter said that he was working in the Veterans Hospital when it happened and that he couldn't stop thinking, "what about their family members? What will they do? Who will tell them?" So I asked him if he had seen active service. And he told me that he was in the navy during the Vietnam war. His duty was transporting the bodies from the coast to the ships and making sure that they were identifiable to send home... PTSD... The mind repeats what is irremediable in an attempt to master the situation, to find suitable answers to difficult questions... It gets tired or frustrated and maybe shuts down that memory. But it doesn't come to terms; a risk of flash backs, regressions. I must fall into this cycle too. A boy is sexually abused by his neighbor, his uncle. A girl is sexually abused by that same neighbor or uncle. Later on that boy becomes homosexual. Later on that girl becomes very promiscuous or even becomes a prostitute. The rates are very high. Why? They tried ignoring the situation. They tried avoiding the situation. They tried accepting the situation. They aren't successful. They can't shake it. So they enter the situation. But, on their own accord; not with the neighbor or the uncle. But with someone they choose. Why? To master it. To try and overcome it. To perfect it. To accept it. If you can't beat them, join them. But within your own rules... supposedly... I believe that a very small percentage of Homosexuals are born homosexual. I don't believe men are born attracted to blondes... I don't believe that we can't show affection and love to someone of the same gender without it being sexual... How about that for triple negatives? It's kind of the problem about the names you should call someone of African descent... If you say black, someone will say, "no one in the world has black skin..." If you say African American, someone will say, "don't call me hiphenated." If you say of African Descent someone will say, "Look, my family has been in the Americas for over 400 hundred years. I don't identify with Africa..." They all have point. If you say that a person's homosexuality is genetic, it is calling them deformed. If you say that it is learned behavior, you are saying that they are mentally ill... On one side the person doesn't want to believe that it was a choice so no one can say, "why not choose again...?"
My cousin Barry, Craig's older brother, was a real big boy. He scared me. 6 foot 3... He was very aggressive and seemed to have a hell of temper. When I was in middle-school he tried out for the Cincinnatti Reds. They didn't take him, so he went into the military. And then he was kicked out, supposedly for going AWOL. I remember that he was arrested and put into military prison for a short while. During my Bar Mitzvah, he appeared in a Porsche 911. I believe he was 19-years old. How did a 19-year-old buy a Porsche? Years later I was part of Craig's wedding party. To my horror, Barry was too... The day we went to try on our tuxes, a woman passed us in a mini skirt and high heels and who knows what else and Barry, being his normal crude macho self said, "I'd like to wear THAT!" After the wedding he returned to his boat-detailing business in Fort Laudadale... and became horribly ill with AIDS. The last time I saw him was at my younger sister Beth's wedding in 1999. He was ematiated alongside his lover who was distraught, about to lose the man he loved. Barry spent his whole life running away from what would the family say... I was so angry with him for making me believe he was a big macho creep... In Mexico I had a dream with him. We were on a train on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. I believe he was the conductor. The train derailed and went into the ocean...
I don't mean to offend. I just believe in putting things where they belong... as they say, calling oranges oranges... But, if something horrible happened in our childhood, something our psyches weren't capable of incorporating healthfully into our experience of ourselves... (I don't know how to word that) (and I can't finish this sentence...) Denile and lying does not help the society educate it's people against the abuse. If the homosexual is suffering a form of PTSD and he or she claims that it is genetic, the perpetrator is free to abuse others. One may say, "how dare you tell me how to view myself and my interests and styles!" But that's not the point. If I don't see my Uncle Stan beating me during a horrible situation, does that mean he was innocent? And does that mean that I wasn't deeply hurt? Was Todd Golub not guilty of making your life miserable because he was a child, because he was acting out the rage he had inside from seeing his father beat his mother? The abusers become abusers, not all the time. I prefer addressing the situation as it is, the best we can do. Denile makes you or the people nearest you less uncomfortable at the moment. But it doesn't help address the situation and create adequate solutions for resolving issues of the past and preventing issues in the future... Family psychologies, styles and perspectives are created around abuse and denile and transported generation to generation... I went with a former Brooklyn friend to see Joan Osborne in concert on 5th Avenue in Park Slope just after Joey returned to Denver. During dinner that evening Michelle said to me, "Look Ross, it's time you stopped hooking up with problem women and find someone without any deep seeded issues. Someone who will focus on you, and not require so much of your energy... " I found that woman. I believe that Margarita is the first woman I've "dated" in my life who doesn't have issues, nor require work.
Michelle is Lesbian. Why? Well, let me tell you... We met in the Park Slope Food Co-op on 9th Street. I was looking for a roomate, after the monster of a girlfriend returned to Puerto Rico and Michelle was looking for an apartment. After we exchanged information, the older sister of Scott appeared and insisted I give her little brother a chance. Michelle and I scheduled to meet the following morning and Lani insisted I meet Scott that very moment... Scott is a very charming person. He is very insistent when there is something he needs and doesn't accept "no" for an answer. My apartment in Windsor Terrace, across the street from the lake in Prospect Park was a gift in that it was very inexpensive for New York City at the time; just before the housing deregulation doubled and tripled the prices. In 1998 I was paying $1,000. It was one bedroom, with a nice kitchen and the living room and dining room divided by French Doors. Since it was on the top floor, it received a lot of light. Scott's father sold insurance. At the time Scott could have been earning $100,000 per year working with his father in Edison. But, Scott wasn't interested in that lifestyle. He wanted to be a photographer and had just received an internship with a Broadway theater and spectacular promotion company. I imagine Scott got his charisma from his father. Granted, he was the only boy and the youngest of three. I imagine that his older sisters' friends fell in-love with him and treated him like a prince, which helps build confidence. When we lived together, all his sisters' friends were his friends. That confidence got him the apartment. He didn't accept waiting until after I interviewed Michelle. And good thing for him... And he says, "Good thing for Ross." Scott didn't like my relationship with Michelle. He probably had a point.
The following day I met with Michelle. We had a very long conversation. I felt that I had just met a long lost friend... But I told her that I had promised the apartment to Scott. She accepted that and, later on found a share in Park Slope. We maintained contact, developed a friendship. She "disappeared" for long whiles. What was it? Well, when we first met at my apartment, sitting on the wood floor, she told me that her brother had committed suicide somewhere around my birthday a few years earlier. Actually, I believe it was earlier on June 9th.. Her father is in prison. Or he was in prison. The brother, I'll call him John, took his own life after supposedly getting what he wanted, the 10 year criminal sentence of his father who was convicted of repeatedly raping his son. Not only was Michelle's father convicted. Along with him was convicted the father's young lover. When John had reached puberty, Michelle's father met a young homeless man he invited to live in the matrimonial bed of Michelle's parents. For years, Michelle's father forced John into a ménage à trois with him and the young man. And yes, Michelle's mother knew what was happening at the time. Michelle felt very guilty because she felt that she hadn't prevented her brother's suicide and claimed that he was horribly angry with her, not to mention her mother... I believe she felt guilty because she witnessed the events and may have even participated in them. (There were a lot of conversations between us about these issues. Why did they leave her mother alone in the trials?) Michelle is a writer, became a teacher in the New York public school system, burned out quickly because at the time, like the social services, it was managed to fail. Now she does voice-overs. I heard her once while looking for her on the internet. She "disappeared" for good the year I was in conflict with my family, the year my uncle died. I don't believe she could take the things I was writing about my family. During the last period I was looking for Michelle, I had a dream with her. Within the dream there was a message that informed me that it was unnecessary to continue looking for her... like seeing the real her, the truth.
Michelle use to apologize to me for disappearing randomly. She would tell me, "Ross, the thing is that you are too honest. You tell it as it is and I can't handle that. I want to handle it and stop disappearing, but I can't, just yet." Once, in the West Village she said, "you and I should marry and have kids. I think we could be wonderful parents." And I asked, "how would we have children? You would have sex with me?" She hesitated and said, "no, artificial insemination..." I didn't show it, but I got really angry. How dare she assume that I wouldn't meet someone to have a real marriage. Yes, I liked the idea that she thought of marrying me and creating a family together. But that would have meant the end to romantic sexual relationships for me. This is what I mean. Something horrible was created and maintained within her family, between her parents and their children. Her childhood experience warped her adult mind... For Michelle, unhealthy relationships and family structures is normal. No one condemned her mother. Her father was encarcellated and her brother committed suicide.