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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Entry 84: Perpetual astonishment (rough draft)


"Every spring is the only spring - a perpetual astonishment."  -  Ellis Peters
"Life sucks and then you die" - the 80's.
In the middle of a horrific week, in which I not only turned 50 but 2 young men deposited destruction and dragged fear thru several cities, I made a video - a video about two things:
1. An art based online fundraiser I'm participating in for survivors of the Boston Marathon explosions
2. Surviving violence (or the threat of violence) myself. 

This is kind of a slow boiling, annual, panic filled reaction to my birthday and the trauma my friends in the Boston/Dartmouth/ New Bedford areas sustained this week have hit a nerve that's possibly too personal to mention, but I have to - I feel like I'm coming out of my skin with anxiety, frustration and fear.

Every spring, starting around March 1st, I go into a spiral - it traditionally lasts about 45 days and ends a few days after April 15th - the big birthday day. My annual spiral into hell started in Germany on my 7th birthday. My mother father, sister and I celebrated the day in the German country side with my brother and then we went back to my brother's apartment to have dinner with his family. The adults all drank beer with dinner and things went from tense to angry and violently very quickly. The entire day went south and continued going south, every year, during March and April, for the rest of my childhood. Only we never took another trip around my birthday, we never "celebrated" with other family members again, we "celebrated" at home. Or at least somewhere near home - like our house keeper's home or at the home of a friend of my mother while my dad stayed in the house, drank and fought his own demons

Memories of the annual, 6 week long alcohol and anger fueled events are something I've been trying to combat most of my adult life. However, for the past 8-10 years I've put my nose to the grindstone and made real efforts into clearing the memories away.. Therapy and 12 step meetings have alleviated some of the reverberating issues but this year the annual spiral came on with devastating force. This year seemed to be particularly devastating because I turned 50 and have managed to fall short of meeting goals I've been working for 5 years to achieve. And now I feel even worse knowing that hundreds to thousands of people will go into April 15th feeling as violated as I have for the last 43 years.

Like me, most of the survivors will never be able to fully shake the sadness and fear. It'll pop up, swallow and envelope. No parade, no flag waving, no court room conviction will ever make them feel safe again. How do I know? Experience. I know from experience that they will live and relive the violence and the fear of being preyed upon. It's something you never fully "recover" from. That feeling of being venerable tends to be part of a pattern that can wind thru your life and end up being a theme. My experience(s) have left me with PTSD that flares up at the worst possible moments - SOMETIMES when I'm being yelled at,  SOMETIMES when I'm cornered or feeling trapped, always around my birthday and always when someone intentionally makes an effort to hurt me or betray my trust. The depth of my annual  implosion depends on how safe and secure I feel and, this year - just like last year, I don't feel safe or secure. 

And even though the two young men, who headed the explosions, can't inflict more violence on us, the memories of my experience(s) have bubbled up and left me feeling a little weak. Like almost anyone who's had to endure the fullness of anger, hatred, violence, the threat of violence (or had to endure long term abuse) I know the survivors of the blasts have a life long road ahead. It's something that never goes away.

Because I have an empathetic understanding for the survivors of this week's horrific events I'm  participating in an upcoming, art based online fundraiser. The event,  organized by painter, tattoo artists, carpenter and runner Josh Robinson, is still be organized (he's gathering artists, artwork and trying to find the best venue to sell the work online) but I wanted to share the idea so people could link to the event's Facebook page and watch as work comes in and the event is constructed. I'm donating at least one fresh painting (maybe more) and some appropriately themed prints. Pictures of the painting(s) and prints and more will be posted here as this thing comes to fruition over the next few weeks. But, in the meantime, -
Please like, share, and participte:  
Artists for the Boston Marathon Fund:
  Thank goodness for this fundraiser - there's little I can do to help relieve the horrors of this week but maybe my donations and Josh's event well help to provide some relief to people who might other wise be left venerable and struggling on their own . I know it's helping me to get out of my head. I look forward to being filled with purpose and drive again.

 Studio 120: #52 - Why I am participating in fundraiser for Boston Marathon survivors


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