Archive for March, 2008

Top Loaders

I had a dream last night and I never remember my dreams but I was in a place that was a sprawling complex that could be a house or a business or a mall or an airport, who knows because everything is always fuzzy around the edges in my dreams. But this place had a lot of rooms and was full of washing machines, the top loading kind that have the metal lift-lids.

And of course there are monsters but please don’t ask me to describe them either because like everything else in these laborious episodes, they are fuzzy (and I believe that that makes it obvious that it isn’t about the monster but more about what I am doing to myself (don’t ask).)

Did I mention the washing machines are everywhere, along every wall, in every room and the monsters only means of attack? That’s right, the monsters were attacking through the lift-lids of those top loading washing machines. You know that sound they make when they get dropped, that clang? Imagine that sound mixed with some unintelligible groaning and moaning, or is it growling, anyway the dream is filled with that sound.

And I have to find heavy stuff that’s heavy enough to keep the lids down and the monsters out. I have to sort through room after room of random crap, mindless possessions to find something for each top loader heavy enough to keep the monsters out. Seems fairly standard except I wonder what on earth is the point of me having to sort through what amounts to someone else’s junk, possessions. I mean, this is a dream right, I should be doing all kinds of fantastic stuff; I could be flying or a spy or hell, I’d settle for a cowboy at this point. Anything but a rummage sale picker of random objects.

So I’m in my dream bored to tears, in the midst of this not really very anxious quest for weighted items and I realized that they wont be able to push through because they will have no leverage, so i just need light things and can basically use anything to keep the lid down.

That’s was my big revelation. Chew on that. Then I woke up and remembered:

My generation can’t sit still,
they can’t meditate or hear their
stomach over the timbre of their singing; they relax
to a drum set and like sharks they must
always keep moving to stay alive,
always keep moving to stay alive-
geographical fixes, moving without change,
butter the bread where it’s lightest.

Zombie Debt - Student Loans

I am in zombie debt which is not your ordinary debt but the kind of fantastic debt that only living dead monsters from a farcical, outlandish end-of-the-world situation could ever have held over their heads. I have student loan debt. The debt that goes beyond the normal debt channels and they are threatening and moving forward to garnish my tiny little wages.

But I am not my debt. I am not broken or flawed.

When I was young, my entire life up till college, I was told, nay beaten over the head with the idea that I must attend college. There was no choice, you we either going to college or skid row. And then as it came time for me to go to college and my parents we all for it, I decided to stay in state and go to a real University - the University of Florida - my parents were thrilled because I was close, but not too close. So off they sent me with some money and a promise to keep the money flowing…

Until six months later and the divorce. The money stopped and was instead sent to lawyers and I was told to fend for myself or come home. Not being one to quit and knowing I would be on skid row if I didn’t get my degree, I went to financial aid to see what they could do for me.

I am not my finances, I am not my economics

The financial aid people loved me. They steered me away from the grants I could have gotten in favor of federal loans. Lucky me. Today, they are only finally uncovering the massive corruption and coercive cheating going on between the loan counselors entrusted with my education and the private corporation that wanted my blood, er, I mean business.

Cuomo calls student loan corruption widespread

Blowing the Lid on Student Loan Corruption

NY adopts student loan corruption-reduction legislation

So basically from the mid eighties through, well, now, we have unleashed the corporate predators like Sallie Mae and others to basically ruin the lives of millions of students trying to get their lives started.

A Subpoena for Sallie Mae

Millions of us out there, indentured servants, working week to week to pay off loans we may never be able to get out from under.

And no one is doing a thing. No one cares that I can barely survive on my salary with my loan payments. My initial loans ended up totaling (through graduate school) a unremarkable $68,000.00. Today with penalties and interest, my loan stands at $115,000.00. That is an increase of 72% in under ten years. I have paid off enough that I wonder if any of that money even made it to the principle before the penalties.

I am not my debt. I am not a bad person for owing so much

And nobody cares. There is no relief. And there are millions upon millions of us in the same boat. And all I ever hear from older folks is “you borrowed the money, you pay it back”. And I will but who would have thought that an entire generation of humans would come to fruition with the massive debt that generation X and Y are holding.

And don’t get me started about credit card debt. Ugh!

Just in case you live under a rock…Obama on race

Mainly I just want this beautiful speech to be a part of my website. He gives me goosebumps and chills and shivers. In my heart I know it’s time for his ilk to take this country over; our ilk as those who have begun to wake up from the partisan hate, the self-hate that has ruled our lives for so long.

Maybe you have woken up as well and maybe you want to wake up. This speech by Barack Obama makes it hard to stay asleep.

March 18, 2008 - Philadelphia, PA
‘A More Perfect Union’ (Full Speech)


Freezing up…

I forget sometimes how fortunate I am, to some degrees, that I am able to be as open and able to express myself and my emotions in a true and honest manner. Yes, yes I know, I am hiding behind a pseudonym or a metaphor with the Drew the Zombie moniker, that is true, but the people that read this are usually people I know and they know damn well who is writing this and whose emotions these are spilling out all over the blog.

But all in all and all things considered, I feel so much gratitude to the Universe for my ability to express myself through the language of this blog and the words of my mind both verbally (harder) and through writing.

Because there are those that cannot do this

I know very few who can actually express themselves and their emotions openly and honestly…actually, I’m trying to think of someone and having a really hard time coming up with a name to prove my point wrong. My cohort, Ms. Yvette comes close to being able to express her emotions in a straight forward manner but is just beginning to understand that you must often go beyond the first layer of emotions to get at the truth of what an emotion is meaning and where it is coming from.

Many people feel something and mis-connect the emotion to the proper life-happening. I see this all the time where someone feels depressed about something and after a little digging we find that they were really upset about two different things with one of them being something that happened days before and that they haven’t fixed. This happens to me a lot and one of my most cherished abilities is my skill at parsing through things until I find the one thing that is really bothering me.

Usually, I will dig through all of these things and allow my intuition to ‘ding’ in favor of the thing that is bothering me the most. Most of the time it is something from a few days passed that I didn’t deal with at that time and is just sitting there causing everything that came after it to get way more distorted than it should have.

Just take a look at this Scientific article regarding this phenomena:

Hahahahaha, are you kidding me? There is no ‘proof’ of this stuff because it is impossible to prove or disprove at this point in science. We will just have to rely on intuition and that ‘gut feeling’ that tells us when we are right and wrong.

I guess you could research IBP Therapy or ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) or maybe read through the Good_Parent_Messages (PDF) but in reality, most of this is still something that isn’t well documented.

And this is what makes me thankful and full of gratitude that the Universe has helped me get to a place where I am no longer at the mercy of my emotions and where I can understand which ones are at play when I am feeling down.

Freezing up

And I watch friends try and express themselves and many of them get that blank look in their eyes, I guess they kind of ‘freeze up’ when they try to deal with these hot button topics and these ancient childhood emotions. They also avoid the emotions without even knowing it, forgetting or delaying action for reasons unknown.

I am still often the victim of the hot-button topics myself, getting side swiped by associations I make now to events in the past. Just recently I was having a lovely time with some friends and was blind sided by a comment one of the persons made. I literally left the room in my head and couldn’t hear what they were saying. My little guy inside didn’t want to hear it and ran away.

Normally, I would just tell them I was feeling ill or tired and excuse myself but instead, I confronted the emotion openly and expressed my feelings and thoughts to my friends and that helped the emotions. We discussed my reaction and I was able to navigate the situation to a manageable place and able to come back into the room and into my body.

And this is so hard to know what emotions were being triggered and which childhood situation was being referenced by my current outburst. Connecting the now with the then is essential when it comes to uncovering old patterns and being able to break the habit. But if I can do it so can you. Life is an emotional experience and we have to face those emotions and bring them in line with the truth: no emotion is bigger than me. I can deal with anything my feelings throw at me with grace and pressure. And I can do it by admitting, without shame and guilt, what is really going on in my head.

This makes my little boy inside so happy and content - that I am dealing with the issues and not hiding from them makes all the difference to him because, he just wants to be seen and heard and to have me deal with things in an honest adult manner.

This leads to contentment…

Hiding things from myself

I’m hiding from things again, I have all the tell tale signs: devoid of emotions, oblivious to the facts and blindsided by the truth that was sitting there all along. Blindsided. The shit is so obvious, yet somehow I manage to be the only one that doesn’t know…

It’s not fair, it’s not fair-

And still I can’t admit, I can’t admit my emotions and can only hedge around because these emotions are at my disgusting root, my disgusted self and my indistinguishable anguish that is abandonment. This is the sap on my trunk, these are notches on a stock, I am going on about truth and analysis when all I want is you.

But you want what you can’t have!

The sense is leaving me, the sense doesn’t make. I’m tragically twisted into 3-D shapes that lift me off the canvas, magically - and he gets sing-songy when he’s scared, further distancing to a place that seems more sensical with its nonsensical manners. We pick apart the legions, toast the world and supersede our powers of good. I’m gonna miss what I never had.

And how do you mourn what you never lost, do you keep that all inside because it was a product of your mind? This is the first and great Commandment and the second is like unto it, “Thou shall love the neighbor as thyself”. On these two commandments hang all the law of the prophets. But these words are proof of the thing that I avoid.

My throat is closing

And there you go again, down that road, down that rabbit hole and away, flying as fast as the neurons will carry me, away. How can a single soul be so important to me that I can see no other? This is the fervor of God, these are the greedy capitalists, I am the most high - and why are you saving my feelings. Stop saving my feelings, stop feeding my soul, stop being so special and fit the mold. Let me dismiss you.

Feel it, feel it.

Patterns make no sense. I’m a covetous being, I attach with a soldering iron. Permanent. The less sense it makes the more I hurt.

Radiohead Free Concert for “In Rainbows”

This album is my favorite album of 2007/2008 and is one of the most beautiful compilation of music I have ever heard. Gorgeous.

And what’s really great about them is how they released this album to the internet on a “Pay what you want” plan that bypassed the ridiculous record companies and netted them enormous profits.

Kudos to Radiohead for being true pioneers in the greedy world. Oh, and the music is amazing. Take a listen:


Binge Journal #16 (bad carbs and body image)

So it’s been about 8 months since I cut out most carbohydrates from my diet and lost a bunch of weight (25 pounds to be exact-ish) making myself feel better, having more energy and not feeling constantly hungry. Hell, I even am down 3 pants sizes!

But do you think that would be enough for my racing mind?

HELL NO!

You would think I would be home clear from the body dyslexia by now, but that’s not the case. Six years of therapy and I’m still smelling the smell of the self-hatred, the self anxiety and anger and the inability to accept who I am. Six years later I am still calling myself the same names and slipping back into the mindset of a fat little boy. And six years later I still haven’t undone the damage of a nasty father who loved nothing more than calling his impressionable little son a ‘pork chop’…

But I am trying to make this little boy grow up inside, trying to lead him to a mindset that involves no hatred, no distortions, no nasty comments and no reliance on food as an emotional crutch. This is the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. Harder than quitting alcohol, cigarettes and emotionally crippled women…combined. Just when I think I am in the clear an emotional situation creeps up and I’m stuffing my face.

The good news is that I am stuffing nuts and low carb snacks into my mouth as opposed to potato chips and candy. I haven’t gained much if any of the weight back and my pants sizes are as small as ever. There is nothing that I could possible take and make into a bad thing; there is no logical reason for me to be hard on myself…except habit.

A little story

I woke up in the middle of the night and had to go pee really bad so I stumbled into the living room and over to the bathroom. Now I never turn the light on because I know where everything is and have no need to see what I am doing. I also am not a girl so I stand while I pee which forces me to face a full length mirror on the bathroom wall. Well, I wasn’t paying much attention to anything other than my duty to the bladder and as I was nearing the end of the task I looked up at my image in the mirror. Gasp!

The mirror image DID NOT match my mental image. My mental image in my head was of a big fat guy but the mirror image (the truth) was of a guy much thinner, smaller and fit.

It scared the shit out of me. I didn’t recognize myself one bit and realized that I was still carrying around a self image that was totally incorrect. I must have stood there another minute after I had finished trying to reconcile these two images.

Since then, I have been trying to keep my mind from getting too negative and getting too distorted. I have been taking long looks in the mirror as opposed to hiding from mirrors and avoiding my own eye contact.

But these things are harder, harder than anything I have ever done. This is the mind and it is the most powerful instrument on the planet. Little by little and with all the love I could ever muster, I will make my little boy see the truth that he is not fat, not ugly and is not the little boy that had to hear those things come from his father’s mouth.

I am not that child.

Websites vs. Blogs

As part-time web consultant (and writer and assistant and handyman) I find that a lot of people are waking up to a desire to have a web presence for themselves. This is especially true in Los Angeles where a lot of the people I meet are writers or producers or directors, etc, the idea that you need a web presence is becoming a fact of life.

It is so much easier to hand someone a card that has a website address for that person to see as opposed to having to wait for a resume or reel to come through the snail mail. This web presence allows the prospective employer the instant gratification of discovering you in a way that they can do on their own time and from the convenience of their own computer.

But the problem I see happening is that websites are a cumbersome, expensive undertaking. As a web consultant I constantly see people who think that their only option to having a web presence is to shell out the $5,000-$50,000 it costs to build a decent web-savvy website and then I also see these same people forgoing the website and having no web presence because of the steep costs involved. But there is another option…

Blogs are an excellent solution

One of the ideas that I push as I consult with individuals and small businesses is to go Blog. A blog is a simple, convenient and cheap solution. Most blogs are freeware (meaning that anyone can use without paying for a license) and companies such as WordPress (my favorite) or LiveJournal allow you to use their software without charge and have vast communities of people that update the styles and looks and add ons that make using them and keeping them current a breeze.

A blog also allows you to be constantly adding new content that the search engines love and to establish a presence as an authority on whatever subject or career you are blogging about. The blog can actually become a source of information for whatever it is you are trying to promote, which means more people looking at you as the presence you are establishing.

Sounds great, what does it take?

The most important thing is the domain name. The preferred choice would be your name @ dot com (not everyone can have zombiepsychic.com you know.) For example JoeSmith.com is most likely taken but I’m sure we can find a convenient and easy variation on the name (jsmith.com, Joehubertsmith.com, etc.) Once we have that all we need is a hosting company to host the domain and see what they offer by way of blog ware. I would find one that doesn’t charge extra for an instance of WordPress on their server and go with them. They should charge you about 15$ a month to host the domain and the blog.

And that’s it. Everything you need to do for one of these blogs is in a web friendly user interface that is as intuitive as any web page you browse. And since WordPress is a freeware product all one would have to do is sort through the thousands of free, user created styles that can be interchanged in the blog to create the look you want and, viola! You have a blog.

Now you may have to pay someone (like me) about 200$ at the start to get all this going for you, but after that, it’s just the monthly hosting fee and your on the web. No massive website to build, no huge labor costs for developers and especially, no big-time up keep to worry about every time something goes awry on the website.

So if you are interested, here’s an email of my friend Gary Phillips @ Sitesurfer who set up the blog for me and helps me keep this blog running. He sets these up for people all the time and owns a hosting company to make everything a one stop shopping experience:

Gphillips@sitesurfer.com

There’s no reason money should stop you from having a web presence. Good luck and keep on writing!

Drew-