THE SHIFT: IT’S TIME TO CHANGE GEARS

There comes a point in everyone’s life when they have to shift gears. For purposes of survival or sanity, a decision will be made to alter the speed of engagement or the direction of the course being taken. For some, boredom is just the norm. Low level depression has become a tolerable condition. Feeling alive doesn’t seem as important as staying alive. Those who have multiple talents and no longer find life to be enjoyable or even bearable, must make this shift. Some people are good at being in the present, while others languish in the past and view the future with uncertainty. We create our tomorrows by what we engage in today. Very simple. No matter how successful someone is, in any given field, if the juice is gone-then it’s gone. It is not anyone’s fault. It is just a universal demand for change in the lives of every living creature. Homosapiens (while more complex) also experience this primal need for change. 

We have become trapped by want. Our want of anything and everything. It keeps us locked in. What would happen if we just stopped wanting? If we simplified and in some cases downsized our lives. We have been told to “super-size” everything-except for our weight! We went along with this agenda because it fed our want. Having fed our want, we wanted even more. How disappointing when our want has consumed so much of our planet. But, I am mainly talking about being personally content. Stop wanting. I plan to. I did not give up wanting as a New Year’s Resolution. I did not give it up for Lent. I am giving it up because I find it to be anxiety producing and the source of great misery when the object of want does not lend itself to being wanted…by me.

I am involved with multiple creative endeavors and I hit a dry spell. I did not want to read. I did not want to write. I barely wanted to create lyrics. I did not want to sing. I lost the song in my heart. It was the end result of having wanted too damned much. Old story, but perhaps a salvation for me. Without want there are no “knobs to turn.”  There are no “carrots” to be successfully dangled. There won’t be the sucking sound as the takers take what they promised to give. Now, I plan to create a new tomorrow. I plan on slashing anything upon the ledger that will bring me back to the state of wanting. Creating a new tomorrow requires going deep within ones “spirit well.”  I am going and I will stay there until I have sorted out what it is that my eyes would like to see.

I have created many futures, already. I started as a fortune-teller, long ago. Then, I became a Registered Nurse. After a season, I went into Forensic Psychiatric Nursing. Rough stuff. I would find myself on night-shift writing poetry. I intended to get the poems published-but they just seemed too dark.  Simultaneously, I had been writing lyrics. I studied everything worth reading on the subject. I got the general idea of how to structure lyrics. Having been an abstract poet, lyric writing required discipline. I, then, hooked up with a talented musician(Bobby Parris) for a Spoken Word CD.  I wrote blues, Contemporary Christian and jazz lyrics that were published and became beautiful songs. I sang jazz songs from the 30’s & 40’s to Afro-Euro Groove. This was all while having had five consecutive  husbands and raising five children(ages thirty-five to thirteen)

There are so many things that we are told that we cannot do without. Well, the list is not as long as one would suppose. I wanted to make my mark in the earth and that I have done. I never wanted riches. My family has had prosperity for generations. By nineteen years old, I had discovered that money and status never made me happy. I spent my time giving away anything that I had and did not utilize. Now, that was fun! I have blogged my heartfelt opinions. Now, I am fairly well blogged-out. Cyberpace has been sucking up my future life. I have to make it stop. I have got to change these gears!

 

Alice Parris

REPUBLICANS: OBAMA WILL NOT BE TOPPLED

I have held my peace during the post-election/inaugural period. Now, the Republicans have attempted to pepper the people with fears of an incompetent Obama administration.  Now, the Republicans say that they want a stimulus bill, they just don’t want a huge mistake that the tax payer will be weighed down with for countless years to come.  News flash…honest, working people pay their taxes year in and year out. They will continue to pay them until they stop breathing. The wealthy have been shown to skirt this ritual with unusual success.

Now,  former Vice-President Cheney is conducting interviews from what looked like a utility closet. Cheney,  an irrelevant by-word, is not a prophet. He is a reptilian.  His job is to keep the masses in fear and convince them that they are constantly unsafe. How dare he continue to espouse these opinions in an authoritative manner when he is just as much a private a citizen as the rest of us?  The paranoid-megaphone, Rush Limbaugh, is able to get twenty million people to listen to his convoluted thinking while he speaks with a drug-addled mind. Also, let us not forget:  Limbaugh failed with his “plan chaos” strategy. 

McCain’s poor judgement has now become a well-spring of wisdom? Former President Bush escaped into the Texas suburbs, disgraced. Karl Rove is balancing on a wire. The Republican party is still unable to manage through the grieving process. They still place daily offerings at the feet of their idol, Ronald Regan.  They do not care for the American people. They care for the rich among them. They also want to stop the prosecution of their fearless leaders for their plethera of clandestine,  heinous acts.

Now, the truth: this stimulus bill will begin to stave off hemorrhaging from multiple sites of the economy in order to sustain life.  If there is NO attempt to stop the bleeding,  the people will suffer far more than the continuance of their quarterly/yearly tax ordeal. The Republicans are NOT thinking about average citizens. They LIE!! They just want Obama to fail because his success will exact a high price upon their party. They will wander in the proverbial wilderness for many years to come. Michael Steele will not be able to save the day.

What is left of the Republican party,  has decided that the best way regain control is to pattern themselves as insurgents (using the pattern of terrorists) in order to topple the Obama presidency. The term bipartisan is a dirty word to them. They want a complete destruction of President Obama. Our new President held out an olive branch to them and they responded by holding out a fistful of poison oak.  They mistook President Obama’s kindness for weakness- big mistake!

They will fail. Their false-front shall fail. Every thing that they set their hands to do will fail. Oh, Rush, you cannot curse what God has already blessed. This is very Old Testament. With all of your listeners, and all of your money, you will fail. You are not a righteous man. You may have deceived many, but God knows the intentions of your heart.  It is not for the good of the people of the United States of America.  It is for the good of your diluted, compromised Republican party. There is a special judgement with your name on it.  Since you peddle fear,  sudden fear shall be your portion.

Alice Parris

THE ADDICT IN THE ATTIC

Addiction is one of the most entrenched and difficult phenomenons in society today. It is so complex, so far reaching that I hardly know where to begin. I will start by saying that according to conventional wisdom, it takes twenty-one days to acquire a habit. This would be the repetition of a behavior for a consecutive three week period. Habits are not addictions, but they are the forerunners of all behavior that leads to any type of addiction. Addictions are many and varied. It is easy enough to identify when you see the wasted bodies and lives of those who indulge in “killer-drugs.” These would be opiates, methamphetamines, and cocaine. Those who have acquired these habits are reminiscent of “zombies.” They develop the look of ‘wasting-away.” The appearance of their skin is unhealthy.  Considering the fact that the skin is the largest organ in the body, it is quite revealing. The eyes will look dead; as if there is nobody at home. Inside, their organs are being consumed.  There will be a manifestation of personality changes. The addict’s entire life will revolve around obtaining their drug of choice. If the addict has money, vast amounts of it will be spent without the generation of additional funds, because a true addict will not have the time or ability to engage in consistent work. If there is little money, the addict will engage in illegal activities to aquire the money to obtain their “fix.” Behind every addict, is the person who first turned them “on” to the drug. It could be the physician who is trying to treat intractable pain in a patient, it could be the “friend” who themselves is also addicted, it could be a callous drug dealer who hands out the drug for free until the habit is formed and the habit demands the “fix” in order to make the person feel “normal again” There is a genetic predisposition in the pathophysiology of addiction causation; it is about  the neurotransmitter called dopamine.  Dopamine will be low in those who become addicted.  The addicted seeks out the drug which will boost the levels of dopamine in the brain which will cause them to feel “normal” for awhile.  This genetic predisposition is the reason that the relapse rate of addicts is so high in those who have been to rehab, had the twelve steps, are on a buddy-system, etc.  I, in no wise, want to indicate that there are no success stories. There are. They are inspiring when they occur and are long-lived.

Those who love the addict live with a type of misery which is unspeakable. They wait for the other shoe to drop, always. They wait for a phone call in the middle of the night. They watch for missing items in their houses, they wait for the unannounced visit in which the addict will lie and ask for money for things which are basic to existence (making it difficult for the compassionate mother, lover or friend to refuse the request.)  Those who love the addict have to live with the fact that the one that they love is not only “flawed”, but that they are not even the same person. A stranger has taken over their bodies. Those who love the addict wait for the call from the police. They live with the fear that the one that they love will wind up incarcerated or dead.

Alcoholism deserves adequate attention. How many people living today are the adult children of the alcoholic? How many have horror stories from their childhoods having lived with the alcoholic? The prognosis is not good for those who refuse to try and save themselves. There are the everyday drinkers, and those who binge. Binging is extremly hard on the body, because within days and weeks, the binger has a “bottomless-pit.” It appears as if no amount of alcohol can satisfy.  The binger will usually stop for awhile when they become “sick.” This would be nausea, itching or any of the symptoms that could be associated with early liver damage. The everyday drinkers, who eat and hydrate themselves adequately, can live a long time. My father, an alcoholic physician  used to inject himself with vitamin B-12, to stave off liver damage from his alcoholism. He lived to be almost ninety. Once, while on a fishing trip in Canada, he aquired a cigarette burn upon his abdomen which reached the viscera before he knew that he was burning. It is hard to imagine being so drunk that you do not realize that a part of your anatomy is on fire. There were the “secret stashes” of liquor all around the house. An alcoholic will do this if their behavior is unacceptable to the people that they live with. They will create ingenious ways to disguise their drinking. I cannot tell you how many sports cars were crashed, how much whoremongering occurred, and how much indiscriminate activity occured. I only know that my mother suffered deeply and that my father kept a medicine cabinet full of sleeping pills and benzodiazapines to which my brother and I would help ourselves when bored. My mother slept alot. Spouses of alcoholics might seek sleep to escape the anxiety of living with alcoholic behavior. The alcoholic who is “drying-out,” is meaner than snake-spit. They can be so nasty that those who experience their “dry-drunks” want to go out and get them something to drink, just to assauge their ‘free-floating” wrath. I have seen my father in the lobby of a beautiful hotel in Freeport, Bahamas (where he owned two condos) relieve himself as if he were in the men’s room. Now, I cannot tolerate the smell of alcohol on the breath. I actually caught a case of PTSD from living with an unrepentant alcoholic.

Addictive gambling is pervasive in this country, especially with all of the Native American casinos springing up. Many times, obsessive-compulsive behavior will also be associated with the “nocturnal creatures” who haunt casinos. I have been such a specter. I spent four days and nights in a casino engaging in the repetitive behavior involved in the playing of slot machines. For me, it was never about the money. I would win and play until it was all gone.  For me, it became a way to release anxiety and to engage in obsessive-compulsive behavior. I was never the kind of gambler who just knew they were going to win despite every evidence to the contrary. My first husband was such a gambler. When I was just married at ninteen, my new husband and I made a stop to Las Vegas on our way to sunny California. I stayed in the hotel. In the morning my new husband explained to me how he had lost all of our money and that he had to get it back. He, then, began pawning our wedding gifts. He came and told me that he had to “recover’ what he had lost and he needed a “stake.” He asked me for the title to my sky-blue, convertible 1970 Alpin GT ( my father had given me his car as a wedding gift.) I did not understand the value of money, then. I was so naive that I thought there was no point in owning a car when we could not afford gas for it, so I signed over the title. He lost the money for that and I ended up losing my wedding ring as well as his own. I lied and told my father that we were totaled in a car accident at Boulder Dam and that we needed bus money to go to California. He wired one hundred dollars and we went to live with my husband’s hippie friends. We ended up staying with the bass player(and his family) of the Neil Young back-up band, Crazy Horse. Those were the days! It was 1971 and I was in California. Need I say more? We, then, stayed in an apartment building that my father’s sister (another physican) owned, until she realized that neither one of us was going to work. After that, we stayed at my mother’s cousin’s house-a family of musicians. We stayed with the sister of famed arranger Ernie Freeman who received a grammy for Frank Sinatra’s, “Stranger’s In The Night” We performed in their gospel group called, “The Young Saints.” We performed at Century Plaza. The girls in the group wore red blouses and short white skirts with shoulder straps. We marched upon the stage and sang, “Didn’t It Rain, Children.” Then, we moved into an apartment complex owned by a wealthy hippie. It was free, but we had to sing in the park at his whim. We also had to all do community clean up and various chores related to the upkeep of the apartment complex. My husband finally got a job ( I had never had a job outside of working in my father’s medical office) and we got our own apartment. I loved our little place in Echo Park. One day, he announced to me that he had to go back to Las Vegas and retrieve our wedding rings. He got on a bus for Las Vegas. When he returned, he had literally lost the coat off of his back. I thought, “what a loser!” I got the invitation to be the bride’s maid at my sister’s wedding. She was marrying a dentist. I went back to Shaker Heights, Ohio (where I grew up) During my six-month marriage, we had discovered that my husband was not really my husband, afterall. He was a bigamist! It seems as if his wife had called my father out of surgery to inform him that his daughter had married her husband. My father had a friend who was a judge and in the blink of an eye, I had an annulment and was on my way back to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee( still not knowing what I wanted to do with my aimless life.)

Sex addiction is all about engaging in obsessive-compulsive behavior. A thought pops into someone’s head, they entertain the thought,  the thought drives them, then they act it out. If there is poor impulse control(as well as a sociopathic personality) you are looking at a very real potential for serious criminal behavior.  There is no accounting for personal taste when it comes to sex. It really has everything to do with early childhood eroticism. What was the thing which made a child first “tingle” in unidentified parts? Many of these images or scenarios have everything to do with what will turn the adult on. I am no expert in this area. I can only say that I remained anorgasmic for fifty years of my life. I had an inability to let go. Then, when I truly wanted to let go, I did not know how to let go.  A rape at seventeen and a multiple-rape at twenty-one rendered me incapable of surrender, which is required to achieve the “orgasmic state.” I would have an “out-of-body experience” everytime I engaged in sexual activity. It was if someone else was having sex. This was disassociative behavior. I wanted to be healed from it. I read alot and discovered my own anatomy. The only problem that I had was the ability to share this intimacy with another. Trust is a big issue for many women regarding sex. Just because I could not achieve orgasm during an intimate encounter, it did not stop me from trying, and often. After I had analyzed the psychological problem, and checked my plumbing, at fifty, I finally hit the jackpot. I was like a sealed-up dam that burst. It was extreme. I, then, thought that having multiple orgasms might kill me. I understood why the French call it, “les petites mortes” translated means “the little deaths.” I will leave you with a poem from which the title of this piece is taken; “The Addict In The Attic.”

 

 

THE ADDICT IN THE ATTIC

He finds his home in gray matter-

on a sunny day; below my sunhat,

which boasts of its fine Madagascar fibers.

He called at first. These promptings

ignored, he began to yell.

The addict takes his green-scaly

hands and uses his nails to penetrate

my area of weakness: the darknessess

of my mind. To the alcoholic,

“you want a drink, don’t you?”

He mimics the ring of bells that

sound, to the compulsive gambler,

like triple Double Diamond dollars. He

will demand another pill five minutes after

the last pills were shoveled down.

He stretches himself out on a full moon,

then plots and leaves his attic;

takes the bodies of his victims. A

chameleon doing dastardly deeds,

he cruises bars, slings dollars into

G-strings, copulates in anyway he can.

He shoots-up,snorts-up.cooks-up-

in ecstatic escape. Then, quietly, he

returns to the attic, I am not alone.

I live with a madman. I don’t know

when he dug his way in,

his long fingernails, piercing & probing.

Alice Parris