Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blue Fleagle: The Plot Reveal In Newhalem!

I am only sitting down to write because the dew is not dry on the lawn yet. Catch me if you can!

When I met my Biker my life came to an interesting stopping point and stood there waiting for me to catch up. Instead of catching up, I tweaked and flapped and generally made a nuisance of myself. I had no context from which to operate a life that wasn't completely fucked up and running on coping with disaster from moment to moment. This is what happens to you when your parents are dysfunctional and you grow up in the midst of crazy people...you simply don't learn how to do sane. When sane happens you aren't relieved, you're freaked out. Someone has just given you a brand new car and a licence... but you don't know how to drive, you don't know where you are, and you don't have a destination. Or a map.

I had suddenly found myself with a good family and a stable life. I had no goddamn clue what to do next.
So I started giving myself an ulcer and having random panic attacks. I did stop smoking though...which did nothing to make me look any saner and probably scarred my daughter for life.

This kind of sucked.

In this way I finally managed to flog my immune system into subnmission, and the first flu bug that came down the pike chomped down on my ass like a mad motherfucker. I was bedridden. I could not walk without holding onto the walls and furniture like Helen Keller. I was running an insane fever and weak as milk.

The afternoon the fever broke I woke up from some pretty Heironymous Boschian dreams bathed in sweat, but in my right mind for the first time in a week and a half. I had something to eat, showered, sat out in the front room and watched some tv and eased back into the land of the living.

That night I had a Grandmother Dream.

It wasn't particularly vivid; I didn't wake up disoriented wondering if it had been real or anything. What it had been was extraordinarily lucid, clear, plain, incredibly freighted with what I have to describe as a sense of personal Truth.

All night long I dreamed about my grandmothers house, her yard, her things. It was like a museum of her life. I dreamed memories of things that I'd seen while she was alive and afterwards.
She was absent. I was in her place.

I woke up the next morning and started to rebuild my life, and build a life for my family.
I'd just been given a template to work from.

Years later I was listening to author and Colville NA Sherman Alexie being interviewed on NPR. He spoke about a Grandmother Dream that he'd had at a similar point in his life that had affected him the same way...he woke up the next morning with a beginning-place from which to rebuild his life.

This is why I live the kind of life I live. It's patterned on my Grandmothers life. Her values, her methods.

This is why I no longer identify 'white', either. Something that desparately wanted to survive and be sane inside my mind chose a NA set of cultural symbols to spur me on with. And it worked. This is not to say that I discovered the right 'magic' exterior to myself, but that I had built something safe on a very basic mental level, and labelled it Native. That's what I am.

The difference is, Alexie was raised on the Colville Reservation, by NA parents. I was adopted off the reservation and raised by white parents in a white suburb.
I live on the world like my Grandmother did.
She was a member of the German tribe.

I told you I had a strange brain.

27 comments:

  1. Ooooh a grandmother dream.....thats really cool , i want one now , I could do with a bit of underpinning :-)

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  2. "Strange brain" No, I don't think so.The occasional weird spiral spin maybe, but I read you as a pretty straight-shooter.

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  3. I love your strange brain!
    Happy Muthaz Day.

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  4. beast:i think y'all over on that side of the water have to paint yourselves with woad and run around naked and drunk for awhile before that happens. like around the football playoffs.

    dinahmow: i have learned to like my strange brain. it's like having a small dog that farts, but can also do your taxes.

    homoE: well thank you!!

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  5. oh yeah...happy mo's day! from someone who has appreciated your maternal attentions the past few months.

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  6. "I told you I had a strange brain."

    Maybe so, but I like it, and can definitely identify with it. Don't trade it in or put it in a jar, it's a keeper.

    My Grandma died in 1996, and I miss her every day, still. I try to emulate her, but it's hard to live up to how great she was. Cherokee, BTW, and born on one of the reservations in Oklahoma. She passed as white, once she came to California in the 1930s, and would never really talk much about being NA.

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  7. I only found out recently that Johnny Cash's claim to Native American blood was probably a little over-enthusiastic. Which probably means that Nixon-loving, hippy-hating redneck Elvis (who was part Cherokee) was less of a good ol' boy cracker than prison-gigging friend of the NAACP-supporting and pal of Dylan Johnny.

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  8. Very deep, FN. I completely grok your needing to catch up when you landed the biker. When I met Mrs. Nator and something clicked, I immediately went into "you scare me and um... you're not my 'type', so I'm gonna go do a bunch of stupid bullshit that will make me miserable for months, now. k bye."

    And then came the crippling panic attacks and the periods of being bedridden with spinal problems.

    I don't remember having and grandmother dreams, which is just as well, since my one grandmother was abusive until she was institutionalized, and the other was a mess in other ways.

    Anyway, being in the German tribe isn't so bad. More beer and sausages, I say!

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  9. You're a mother of a mother. Happy Day to you.

    Pass the currywurst.

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  10. w2: i am happy to be your internet hippie grandma. with a mouth like a truckdriver. who takes recreational drugs. and who mooned the border patrol spy tower recently.
    do as i say, not as i do.
    fatty: happy mothers day to our grannies. i hope they're riding harleys together in the afterlife, drinking gin and juice and enjoying the cabana boys!
    footman: i'd heard that too. but with that face? there's a big scoop of NA there, no doubt. you can say that for nearly everyone who came from a pioneer family in america, though. in the days before video games, all a pioneer had to pass the winter months was native 'tang!
    danator: maybe they get valkyrie dreams. hya teeeeee YAH! (hot hippie chick on muttley's blog...scroll down)
    mj: i yam indeed. this never fails to play with my brain. pass the labats, eh!

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  11. oh lord do i have to run around nekkid and drunk AGAIN........ it gets a bit bothersomein this weather , its raining stair rods today (thats heavier than cats and dogs)

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  12. good lord. never mind wanting to be, i think i AM going to be you when i grow up. my counsellor (who fixed me! yay!)said it's normal for people from fucked up backgrounds to react badly when faced with stability and care. we're all like, but where's the fear and the fighting and the trauma? i never realised it til she said it but it's true.

    you rock, fn. proper.

    x

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  13. A Grandmother Dream or the Grandmother of all dreams? they do say our dreams try to tell us things Ms FN. I mostly dream about sex!

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  14. Happy Mother's Day to you, FN!

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  15. happy mommy's day!

    i would love to get more involved in my NA background, but i'm still trying to work on solving the puzzle that is my family tree. damn those freaky looking branches.

    deja vu totally freaks me out. dreams are deja vu for me. shit happens.

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  16. Man, your brain works just fine. I don't think I knew you were adopted, or if it had been mentioned I missed it completely. The old school Europeans are as fine a tribe as any. And I am always so happy for you and the yummy biker, I couldn't imagine a lovelier duo.

    Happy Mothers Day!

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  17. Simply love your "strange brain" cause it is you! You are amazing!!!!

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  18. FN, what strange brain? I understood perfectly.

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  19. Yep - I'm with Surly Girl on that score coming from a variety of dysfunctional family saga's myself. You are a fine wonderful person Your Firstness and don't you ever doubt it. I don't know much about German Tribe - my stepmum is Cree (and diabetic!) - so I know a bit about that....Big kisses and hugs and Happy Best Ever Mother's Day xxxx

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  20. Hope you had a smashing mum's day. Was the YB waiting on you dressed only in a frilly apron?

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  21. I have a strange brain too...it sometimes tells me to throw the computer against the wall because I am so hating dialup right now.

    Hope you had one fabulous mother's day!

    Miss being around..hopefully soon I'll be back.

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  22. I do know what it's like to have a ;big' dream. In fact, I used to wake up, and if I hadn't had some memorable dreams that night, stay in bed and go back to sleep until I did. Sadly it didn't work often.

    I found it fascinating that you had such a specific location in yours. I too often find myself at certain types of places in dreams that are famliar to me in the dream, but I know I've never seen them awake. Unless of course they're the missing memories I warbled on about a few posts ago.

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  23. what do you do if you don't have a grandmother role model or something that gives a beginning place?

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  24. hendrix5:27 AM

    Not a strange brain at all. A wonderful creative and loving brain.

    I went through a similar experience when I met F re fucked up relationships and not quite knowing what to do when a relationship wasn't dysfunctional. Luckily (?!) everything around us was so dysfunctional that it wasn't quite the same amount of culture shock that you went through but the panic was still there.

    The grandmother dream sounds wonderful. If I were more superstitious (or less afraid of mockery) I'd say that someone was/is watching over you.

    The older I get the more I base my values and methods on those of my grandmothers (and great grandmother who I was lucky enough to know well). After all, if it ain't broke then why try to fix it and although I'm very lucky to have brilliant parents (if a little off the wall now and then) there's a solidity and tradition and naturalness to the older females of the family that just feels right.

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  25. any volunteers to be my honorary gran? one offed herself when i was a couple months old, and the other was nuttier than praline plantation and nastier than a badger with the clap.

    ps. i like your brain too.

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  26. redneckarts5:17 AM

    my grandmother...god, I sound more like her every day... and I could do a fuck of a lot worse. Wonderful blog.

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