A lovely quote by Thomas Merton now graces this blog so please read it embedded in the comment posted on the last entry. We can choose a life of peace and love and thus are made in the image of our humanity. It is something that is a conscious choice for some of us whereas others don't have the frame of mind to understand their hate only poisons themselves as much as it does society.
Originally I wrote in the notebook: I feel ravaged. That is not the way to start a blog though today I have taken off because the thought of getting out of bed exhausted me and anyhow I had no energy to get out of bed to go to work on time. Dr. Krall is having me take a multivitamin with iron because my iron was so low when she tested me on Thursday. I have been exhausted for the past three weeks and undoubtedly this was because of the low iron.
Yesterday out in the City I was fatigued on and off. Friday I fell asleep at work. Tomorrow I return to the gym for a treadmill session. Today I walk the seven blocks up to Gristede's for groceries. I'm going to try a new recipe for dinner where you slenderize a green beans and fried onions dish. I found it in an issue of Real Simple.
This is not how I wanted to begin the blog entry though it will do: the quotidian realities of a life in recovery.
Now: the real deal.
After watching Taking Back Woodstock at the Rose Cinema I wanted to read a book about the making of Woodstock. Friday I was able to check out of the library The Road to Woodstock by Michael Lang-"the man behind the legendary event"-and Holly George Warren. A way to live vicariously through words on the page.
The book details the events leading up to the festival and an hour-by-hour account of the "three days of peace and music." It was such a gripping read that I finished the book in five hours. Any self-respecting music fan would do well to read this firsthand account.
Why am I so unnerved by the book? I couldn't be free like those sixties children who dropped acid and surfed on a let-it-all-be vibe. I'm aghast that a person could lose control that way yet I'm sucked into the energy of the event. Why couldn't I be born and come of age in that era? It's a case of guilt-by-design: if you weren't there, you missed out.
I think of my parents' conventional lives: an antidote to the rebellion. I was born in 1965 and was only four at the time of Woodstock. I would not be a "little girl in a polka-dot pinafore" skipping about Yasgur's Farm. I feel sad about this. Sad that I will never experience that kind of freedom. Yet I must remember my own youth: nights spent at CBGB or Maxwell's, listening to the bands that were my life-Sonic Youth, the Chills and the Ramones come to mind now.
That is what sticks on me like a decal: I have not ever done drugs. I loved the underground life and camped out on the outskirts because of the music. Three years later I can admit the astrologer I met had a point: that was who I was and what my life was about: imitating Siouxsie Sioux, after a fashion. I had always attached greater significance to my persona: linked the theater makeup to a manifestation of the schizophrenia. Now I see that it was no more and no less than what it was: an expression of the times.
Do you think it is unusual for a person not to even have smoked marijuana at least once? I always had a life ethic and I wasn't curious about drugs. I also never lit up a cigarette. It is how it is: I cannot undo what has been done. Life or God gives you something. It is your challenge alone. Yet like a dove resting peacefully on the neck of a guitar you can connect and make music with others in a concert of hope.
I'm not sure I keep this blog for myself. I do so to give others a hand in their recovery. It is-words like poetry I aspire to-lyrics in a minor chord that hopefully resonate in a universal way.
Blarney-I've decided to buy the Woodstock tee shirt if it is still available in two weeks on Amazon. I do not have the money now. I want to go Sunday again to the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and buy the desk calendar if it is still available in their gift shop.
Mourning Woodstock-that unknown era-the regret is ingrained. I was born with a genetic risk for schizophrenia-it runs on my maternal grandmother's side of the family. I could no more run off to a monster rock concert than be a magazine editor-the dream of my youth.
I cannot go on. Time does not always heal memory. I will always remember what happened. To remember is to understand.
To have a Woodstock frame of mind even today I wonder if that is possible. What can I do circa 2009 to have my own Aquarian Exposition? I remember the suggestion from The Way of Thomas: we are one with others in the world. Nothing separates us from each other. Such is the life exposition-an ethic where you carry forward peace and love. I would like to buy and watch the original Woodstock concert video.
You do what you can.
Time does heal memory sometimes in gentle moments. You cannot go back and you cannot change things you can only move forward. I was Chris-a young woman-smitten with the personalities of two other women. They dressed trendy; they were in control. Possibly I hoped their bravada would rub off on me. I was a sponge. Yet I never really knew them on the inside. I didn't realize the clothes and the jewelry were all just on the outside. It doesn't make a woman who she is, though her clothes can make her or break her in the world. I get at this irony in my memoir when I spend my time on the ward reading fashion magazines.
Do you understand?
I have circled this in here before. I was young; other things were important to me. I wrote about this in an article I published about turning 30-"Generation Next"-that talked about how things had changed since that milestone birthday.
My Woodstock moment was taking to the turntables at WSIA. I consider this the defining moment of my life.
This year the Wall Street Journal referred to Obama's inauguration as "Washington's Woodstock." Jimi Hendrix had closed out the three days of peace and love at Yasgur's Farm with a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Forty years later President Obama is our front man.
I am hopeful.
I will do what I do because I must: be a mental health activist.
That is how I direct my efforts in my time on this earth:
To be a messenger of hope.
Most of all there is always hope.
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