While we waited, with bated breath, for a return to our ‘normal,’ she breathed a heavy sigh, of relief. While we stepped in, she stepped out, and we saw our impact on her, more clearly. While she regenerated from, our relentless destruction, we planned for, next. We will either learn, to respect her, or we will continue, to destroy her. Have we not learned, yet, that to destroy her, is to destroy, ourselves? So step in with me, for just a while longer, and think about how, you do, next. ~Marcela: letting her breathe, so that you and I can continue to do so. May 03, 2020
You may or may not know that my body has been invaded by the Triple B threat of Borrelia (1) Babesia (2) and Bartonella (3). You may or may not care. You may or may not understand how insidious they are, the myriad myths (4) attached to them, the damages they cause, the havocs they wreak on every.single.living cell in the human body, every.single.life-sustaining.system and organ (5), or the dignity-affronting disdain, with which people like me, are (mis)treated.
People like me who were either mis- or un-diagnosed, or simply dis-regarded by so-called professionals in the sick-care system, and Joe and Jane ‘normal,’ alike. People like me for whom current mainstream and/or first lines of treatment are not only ineffective, but more often than not, make things worse, because the bugs are skilled adapters, persisters, and have the capacity to morph into different forms, to hide, in their ‘host,’ in this case, me. People like me who have concrete proof to present (e.g. MRI, ECG and other test results), but are repeatedly told that things like the lesions in our brains, the heart issues and so on and so on, are unrelated random, symptoms. People like me whose bodies are under siege by ever-growing armies of bacteria and/or malaria-like blood parasites. People like me who are categorically dismissed, left to our own devices, our own financial and other resources, with waning physical energies and often severely challenged cognitive capacities (because don’t forget, there is a bacterial and/or parasitic battle for territory, going on in our bodies/brains). People like me, are left to figure things out, or sadly, to just go away because even trying to talk about it anymore, with anyone, anyone at all, is a real and present trauma, and it becomes increasingly difficult ‘to deal,’ in all aspects of human functioning.
I should have pursued a PhD in tick-borne illnesses instead of Social Work and Counselling Psych., oh wait, I have! I just don’t get the piece of paper or letters behind my name for my time, money and troubles, but I digress, how odd… I may or may not care anymore about what anyone in the above noted groups think/believe/judge, about any of it. Stop, revise: I aspire, to get to the point when I am no longer vulnerable, susceptible to the derision noted previously, and the despondence it creates inside me, every.single.day.
What I do care about, is staying on my feet well enough to facilitate the continuing, perhaps lifelong battle, that this is; while maintaining some semblance of balance between sickness, and a desire for so much more out of the rest of my life, than that which is currently my reality.
The most recent manifestation and issue directly related to this scourge for me, is one not unknown in the Lyme & Co. trenches, and targets many whose bodies are developing (secondary to treatment), potentially life threatening filtration organ and detox (e.g. lymph drainage) system failures.
Reader’s Digest: We need to keep killing the bugs to stay alive because the havocs they wreak when left unchecked = extreme suffering and eventually a long and painful death, but; killing them creates endotoxin die-off which the body increasingly struggles to process, detox, eliminate. The kidneys, liver, lymph drainage and other filtration systems, already taxed to the max by the bugs, begin to malfunction and eventually fail.
This then, has been my predicament since November, when I had to stop all pharmaceutical, and most herbals that successfully kill the bugs, because all of my above noted drainage and filtration systems began to fail.
Being the proactive human I am, despite, stop; revise: because of my current and now prolonged battle, I have consulted with those in the know, done my research, and practice all manner of time-consuming, money-munching practices, protocols and procedures, in an effort to support my body eliminate the bad stuff; and all of that, with insultingly insufficient results. So in all my spare time, please read the intended sarcasm into that comment, I went back to my research drawing-board, consulted with previously mentioned ‘in the knows,’ and learned that many folks on this end of my precariously tilting ship, have had good success supporting the failing filtration and detox systems, with the use of Infrared Saunas.
Thus began a process of meticulous research, in all that spare time, into the finer points and distinguishing features of this wooden hot-box technology, which are better and why, and what to avoid at all costs, received the final seal of approval from my ‘in the know’ docs and proceeded with a methodical hunt for my very own box, used of course. Because that’s how I prefer to roll, even if I had all the money in the world, because there’s more than enough perfectly good pre-loved ‘stuff,’ in the world and the consumption of anything, is an ethical imperative. But again, I digress…
It was a with a heavy heart that I quickly gleaned that the reality of what I need, far superseded anything attainable, given what it costs me in pharma and naturopathics alike, to barely stay on my feet, because none of it is covered. So much for working in the sick-care system… but really, am I surprised, or naïve? Maybe…
And so with an equally heavy heart, I reached out to two online sellers of a hot-boxes that met all of the requirements for my needs, gave them a bit of background, and inquired as to whether or not they would be willing to support a payment plan. One responded with a resounding and owie-producing fuck you, and the other stated that she has many folks ahead of me in queue. My heart grew yet heavier as I reached out to you(s), my eclectically eccentric, further and nearer flung village and tribe, and you made it happen for me.
The woman with many in a queue reached back, took her price down by $100, and she and her husband delivered the hot-box to my patio. The Sailor helped me put it together, and as I write this, I weep tears of gratitude for all of you. I have been sweating regularly for a while now and my liver and kidney counts went back to almost normal just prior to the other big C-bug we are all dealing with, and my lymph nodes are less inflamed and painful, but I hope to brave a lab this week for more conclusive testing.
Testing which will determine whether or not I can re-start a heavy-hitter bug-killer. I cannot restart the NUKER until the C-word bug is done with all of us, because the levels of alcohol and other chemicals in everything we use to stay safe at work and that I need to use while out in the community could literally kill me in conjunction with said NUKER, it is a complex protocol and requires a vigilance in terms of food and topical products that is absolutely undoable in the current state of life and affairs. But, I consulted with one of my brilliant docs, and we are looking at a lesser-used anti-biotic that crosses the blood/brain barrier, in conjunction with a couple of other anti-microbials which target different bugs in different systems, in an effort to get a handle of theses beasts again. This particular anti-biotic (Minocycline), is known to cause massive die-off (good) toxicity (very bad), so it is risky relative to my very susceptible liver and kidneys, but I am going to give it a shot.
FFW to today:
I could not be in this position without your help, the sauna, and a number of other add-ons/protocols have made a difference, and coincidentally, the sauna is not a bad thing to have around to help my body with the big C-bug, should I become infected.
Blood sweat and tears has taken on new meaning, and I thank you, from the bottom of my tired and literally broken (by bugs) heart. You are the same handful of people who always suited and showed up when I fund-raised for others in the past, the people who have worked hardest/longest/trudged the most, to have what they have, which in some cases, is very little, I know this to be true. Nothing, but nothing, has ever come easily to any of you. I know this to be true. The same, staunch in their support of me handful of people, that have been there, for a very long time, some, my entire life.
It did indeed, take this village*, to raise (up) from the trenches, this hurting and battle-weary child, and the child is grateful to you, so very, deeply, grateful. You personify the best of humanity and I am privileged, so much richer, for your respective parts in my life. I will not let you down. I will continue to wage this war. How can I not believe in myself, when you so fervently continue to do so? With more love than the word will ever do justice to,
April 05, 2020
*M.P., S.G., C.W., C.M-S., K & K, J.R., J.M., R.W., P.C.Y.
A book of Mormon or a lion’s head bowl your dirty old sneakers and a used camisole A camping potty and a broken TV world’s ugliest chair contest-winner and its mate, the settee A tall concrete tiki set or a big rusty clock and bald vroom-vroom tires for the wannabe jock A Loong Foong vintage cookie tin and a scuzzy old toilet or a decrepit old rocker but don’t sit lest you spoil it A pair of leather-like boots or a real-plastic dresser and some moldy old books from a dusty professor An inflatable hot tub and fake-rattan patio chairs or some lightly used razors includes gross chinny-chin-chin hairs Some creepy old doll parts or a bagful of ‘hemp’ seeds all ready to sow and 2 dozen duck eggs though not in a row A box of A & W Mugs and ‘a fake owl to scare birds’ or a disgusting old hamster cage opportunely pre-soiled, comes with used turds An ‘Old-antique’ horse lamp and a ‘dead’ cow rug or some grossly stained mattresses replete with bed bugs A giant Yahtzze set and miniature chairs made of wicker or a pre-cracked ‘antique’ mirror prices are firm, please do not dicker Cement garden pigeons and barbicide for dog groomers or 4 and 6 inch flex hoses for all the DIY boomers These are but some of the ‘treasures’ You want me to buy Steals of a Deal And (crap)Pies in the Sky Thank you but no deal, at the best of times I would pass, but now during COVID I’d like to kick your sad ass. So Fuck-the-Fuck-Off, which means stay-the-fuck-home re-use and re-cycle up-cycle that thing please stop being a chump or WHEN COVID is done with us take your shit to the dump! With all the love I have, ~Marcela: Asking, begging FB Marketplace and local buy/sell/trade groups everywhere, to take the example of Ladysmith BC, and PLEASE shut.it.down, for the duration! These are NOT essential services, but they ARE actively contributing to the problem! No amount of legal-ass-covering-guidelines are going to change the thoughtless actions of STUPID; the OTHER pandemic. April 04, 2020
As I rummage and ruminate, categorize and discard, too many items, and thoughts, long of little utility, to you or I, though stubbornly occupying space, in my physical and internal environments, I am thunderstruck! …with that which we pay lip-service to; as a matter of course, in our excessive, daily rabblings and babblings; but rarely to never, truly abide by… . And of a sudden, nothing matters! Nothing; …with the exception, of how we choose to utilize, This Moment. And of a sudden, in this temporarily, to the outside world obligation-less life, I find freedom. ________________________________________________________ With boundless love, ~Marcela: choosing to live well, in the midst of my own, and our collective, uncertainty. March 24, 2020.
There have been others since I came to live here, but you commanded and kept my attention, from the first time ever, that I saw your extraordinarily bright, red paint.
And since that moment, when you dwarfed everything around you and obligated me to see you, I have wanted to get closer, wanted to get a better view, and always wanted, always yearned, to see you again.
I needed to experience your power, relentlessly, and with great fervor. And for weeks now, I have been captivated by you, visually, psychologically, emotionally, and with irrevocable commitment.
And I have compulsively sought you out, with the diligence and precision of a skilled stalker, from every vantage point, in this hilly town.
For weeks now, each and every morning, I have clambered groggily up to the step-stool view in my sleeping chamber, because knowing you were there allowed me to face another day, and I have been awed by the turmoil you create, deep, so deep inside me.
For weeks now, each and every evening, no matter how fatigued, I bid you good night, because you give me some measure of consolation, succour, in my solace-less world.
You have represented all that is true about me, the contradictions, and I am as contentiously conflicted about you, as I am about most things.
Your intensity screamed to my own; and like the others in the bay, like me, you are a political and personal hot-potato, and I love you-I hate you, come here-go away, fuck-off, no! fuck-on!
And you present me with a familiar quandary: what is right for the world around me versus what I get, what I need, from you, from the world around me.
And so by direct extension, you have been a secret, conflicted indulgence, analogous for me, to beautiful footwear, but made in China by slaves and their enslaved children.
And I have viewed you with my naked eyes, and through binoculars, and I have captured you with my camera over and over again, from my step-stool view, from the highway coming home, from my excursions on the hilly trails, and from my perambulations about the town.
And this morning, when I opened the curtain to greet you, you knocked the breath right out of me, for the light had you glowing in shades of gold and pewter, and I was mesmerized, shaken to the core, by the beauty of you, and the light, the indescribable, iridescent light, and the way you played together, with, and in the sea.
And I remembered Barrett-Browning, and knew I will do well to concern myself with, fly toward the light, despite additional bruising of my oh-so broken wings.
And my despair collided head-on inside me with the memory of who I am, the shine and vibrancy used to describe me for decades by others, now hoarded away far too long, by me, recently, because: pain.
And I wonder; if like me, despite meticulous maintenance of mechanical parts and attention to aesthetic details, you may meet an undignified, rusted out, abandoned, demise?
But your light rouses me from the melancholy of this early morning reverie and while you are neither Sunflower nor Water Lily on a A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, van Gogh, Monet, Seurat alike, would have been as awestruck by that light show, by your radiance, as I.
So it is little wonder that this evening, upon reaching the place on the highway, the place where I always spy you first, returning from my hated-reality, hot tears burned my cheeks with a vengeance that took me by surprise, but at the same time, not at all.
For I realized that you had left me, as I knew you would; suspected this very morning, that today might be that day, the day I find you gone.
And all that, in a painful morning stupor, while bedazzled, so very smitten, by your glow, your nod to me, to heed Browning’s wise words, to keep fluttering my wings, toward the light, toward my light.
And I am so very grateful, to me, for all the times I hunted you down, from yet another place and angle. I am richer for having enjoyed you, and you fueled, no, you ignited, new fantasies of leaving, to live my art, whenever my eyes, my heart, the core of me, met your steel girth, your vibrant and vivacious red coat.
And I never coveted you more than this morning, never appreciated you more, than in those parting moments, when you willfully, boastfully even, occupied that space, your space in the vast vast sea, wearing the gold,
of the Queen you are.
~Marcela: one skin, 58.7 years, life/version 19.9, and counting.
March 04, 2020
Remnants Like an old (Czech) flag in the wind, tattered remnants of fear, flap relentlessly, in the recesses of my heart and mind; denounce and decry my worthiness of, the unorthodox life I crave. Whispers the fearless wild-child inside, “…burn the flag woman, burn the damned flag.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ With thoughts of my maternal grandmother, Žofie Schlosser Ševčíková, June 06, 1911 – November 17, 1995. She was inordinately dignified and quite literally worked her fingers to the bone for my mother and her. She did it while standing up to, and then leaving (unheard of at that time), a violently abusive, alcoholic husband. She did it during a time in war-torn Eastern Europe most of us cannot fathom, no matter how many history books we profess to have read. She was profoundly gifted in languages,and well-read. She toiled with her tiny body and life-worn hands,in a way we, of more recent generations cannot know. One of the things I remember most about her is the importance to her, of quality, in everything. And I wonder, knowing what I know about the drudgery, the losses, the sacrifices that were the bulk of her life, I wonder, given the opportunity to ask her about what she would have done differently, had she the chance to be anyone,to do anything,she desired,what that would have been. I am anxious this day,and she came to my mind. She was born 107 years ago. A mere blip on the radar of our Universe, not known to most, but remembered well, by me and my mama,her daughter, this day. ~Marcela: tattered in the process of (more, always more,) unfurling. Writing: All Rights Reserved / Image: Google Search June 06, 2018
Your chainsaw voice has dismembered the last vestiges of sanity in my human shell severed the final tendon connecting compassion to my heart Your rusty-grater words have shredded the final ounce of patience in my once limitless hoard corroded beyond salvage the walls containing my desire to be your ally Your atomic bomb behaviours have irradiated the remaining molecule of hope for your salvation jaded this now impermeable spirit to anything but its own voice.
It is a brutal irony, that as my desire to exit the work-world I so grindingly (yes, that is a word!) and lovingly built grows with a vehement vengeance each day, the place and space for which I pay such a hefty premium to escape to, has been anything but peaceful in the oh-so-limited time I have to enjoy(?) it, of late. The level of human disregard for others in some of my neighbours runs deep, the ridiculous human folly of my most inglorious work-folks, along with our culture’s obscene systems and structures, follow me home for longer and longer stays, and the gargantuan contradiction that is my life continues… on the flip-side, I have, without fail, only ever built anything meaningful, to me, on the foundation of strife, struggle and/or suffering… it appears that a skyscraper is in the making here…
~Marcela: corroded and unchained
March 18, 2018
Writing and original images: All rights reserved.
Chainsaw image from google search.
I know you not, love
For you come to me disguised
I get you not, love
For you speak to me in forked tongues
I hear you not, love
For you whisper to me screaming
I see you not, love
For you obscure my vision
I taste you not, love
For your sapor is but acrid
I smell you not, love
For your scent is cheap perfume
I feel you not, love
For your touch is numbing absence
I fear you not, love
For I have a valiant, purple heart.
March 15, 2016
Image credit: Vinoth Chandar
-I believe that we can change the world, one action at a time
-I believe that part of that is supporting one person, family, group, at a time
-I believe that providing that support directly, without conditions, to be utilized as the person(s) receiving it see fit, is crucial to anyone’s success in getting through a difficult time, whatever that is for them.
Chantale is this Sunday’s (June 7th 2015) walk/donations recipient. Her mission is to heal her body from Squamous Carcinoma and she has pursued hollistic and most recently chemo and radiation therapies. You can follow her journey here: Chantale’s Journey
She received little to no support from any number of systems in our world, the very systems designed to help, but fraught with loopholes, conditions, and vast gaps and crevices that folks in the midst of a fight for their very life and breath often cannot navigate, by nature of the very challenge that brought them to these systems. I am not looking to cure Chantale, only she, her body, mind and bottomless heart and spirit, along with the therapies she chooses can do that. I am looking to provide her some basics of life quality and comfort (not having to worry about rent/food/rides to the hospital…), while she navigates this multi-barriered road in an effort to help herself.
My son Thomas & I can walk 50K on Sunday (we’ve done it before… let’s hope we do it again), my mama Marcella and the beautiful (hu)man Dieter can bring us refreshments and cheer us on when it gets hard, but our financial resources are not bottomless, so it has always been my belief, that many of us giving a bit, more often, is more effective in the long term, than a few of us giving more less often.
I have never met Chantale, but I have grown to love her fiercely, for so many reasons, but primarily, because she fought for her right to decide what was best for her in the face of severe opposition and betrayal by previously noted systems, and because when faced with few alternatives, she still hasn’t given up, just broadened her perspective about said alternatives and come at it from a place we could all do well to emulate; a place of love for self, and acceptance of what is, as opposed to what should be.
So here is my request to all of you: Send $20, or $10 if that is all you can do, it’s four, or two, fancy coffees, one meal you pack to go instead of eating out. It might not make that huge a dent in your life right now, but I know it will in Chantale’s, particularly as she now begins the upward climb of healing from the therapies she has undergone for the last several weeks. Please help us help.
History and other links regarding this current and past actions are here:
FB Page is here:Walking With Love For You
Internet Banking E-transfers to: firstname.lastname@example.org (please remember to send a security question/answer)
Cash and/or bottle returns: I’ll pick it from you where/when ever is convenient
Cheques payable to M. Mrnka, c/o: s.a.f.e – #204, 107 Evans Street, Duncan BC, V9L 1P5
Remember last year?
Hello friends, colleagues and above all, supporters of this movement! (For history and more information please click here). Also, this quick disclaimer: this post requires editing, 50.4 K was a long walk and I am tired, get back with better writing skills soon :)
For the second year in a row (for other walks/photos please click here), my fabulously social-justice-minded-son and I, walked 50 Kilometres (50.4 actually) on the Trans Canada Trail between Duncan and Lake Cowichan. It was great, it was exhilarating, because a) I got to spend that much time with my all-time favourite human on the planet, and b) I got to do something in an effort to show two people I don’t know, that someone cares, that someone actually gives a damn, and it was a gift and a grind, as always. And it happens in one of my favourite places on the planet, the community I call home, or rather a gorgeous hunk of trail in that community.
The way I see it, I had the privilege of spending a significant amount of time with my awesome (clearly, I am biased) living-in-another-town-adult-child, I got to spend a significant amount of time on the trail that saves my heavily-burdened social-worky-mind-body-and-spirit, a couple/three times a week, and I/we got the opportunity to be of service. win/win, hands down.
There was a bit of drama first thing after we set out in my vehicle to the trail head, I couldn’t find my watch and Kilometer-counter, so we determined (ok my son did) that I must have dropped it in my driveway getting into the car, and had to go back. This put us a little behind the start time I had planned, but really, we knew it was going to take all day, not my/our first Rodeo, so who’s counting minutes…?
It wasn’t possible to have folks at the trail-head in Lake Cowichan to help us re-energize with food and hydration – clean/organic and home-made of course, so we left a cooler full of health and yummy, including really good coffee, in my Trusty steed, Roger the Social-Working Rogue, and set out at 7:30 a.m. to do our first 30 K.
We walked 15-something K out, and turned around and came back to re-plenish, rest a bit, re-juvenate, and engage in trail-warrior first aid. This was my 4th big walk, and every year, my injuries are different. Kind of fits with the rest of my life ;) This year, blisters on my heels, and some unexpected shoulder pain were/are an issue, but I’m tough. That was at 1:39 p.m., and our distance walked at that point was 31.4 K.
Really, I am tough, but carrying 50 k worth of energy drinks, trail mix, fruit, grass-fed beef jerky and other necessities like moleskin Ibuprofen/Tylenol and water), is a bit much to ask, of even this energizer bunny :)
And then we walked back out 9 K, and turned around for the final 9-ish. The final 9-ish was not horrible for the first little while, but coming up on last few-to-go was starting to hurt bad and even though my ManChild and I never lack for full, rewarding, deep, meaningful, and often uproariously funny topics of conversation, we got quiet. We got back to Roger at 6:27 p.m., and had 50.4 Kilometers on the counter. 11 hours, with 10 of full-on (power) walking, the other hour included our almost 30 minute hydration/food/first aid break, and many, many quick moments of first aid and rock-out-of-shoe-dumpings. There was never any doubt that we would finish, we are not only determined, we are somewhat stubborn, but more than anything else, the why of what we were doing out there, makes the physical discomfort (during and after ;) quite bearable.
Which begs the question, one that is often asked; why don’t I/we just give to charities like everyone else, and get a tax write off? The answer is simple: I/we are not like everyone else. Ever. In most things we do, many of the ways in which we live life, and in what we believe to be the truth about life, the state of the world, and by direct extension, the human experience. And don’t assume, please, that I have created a clone named T.G.R.T.. I have not. I have taught him how to think, not what to think. It shows, and I do not feel ego-maniacal making that statement, I am grateful for all of the hard work I have, and continue to put in, as a parent first, and then, sometimes, a friend-type person. And I have never been afraid to have him pissed off at me, I don’t like it, but it never stopped me from setting what I believe(d) to be the good example, the appropriate boundary, and sometimes, just plain old laying down the parental law. Always, in his best interest, which to me means teaching him the skills to understand the world, and how to deal when life gets life-y, not bubble-wrapping him from it, not dumping my experiences of, and responses to it, all over him. Again, it shows. But I digress, how unusual for me…
Back to the why: I have experienced human struggle of every ilk and variety, and when I hit the wall running (out of steam) almost 20 years ago, there was support available to me. It came from various human serving agencies including those funded by Government at the time, from some members of my immediate family, from grass-roots movements with which I continue to engage to this day, but the single biggest difference between me breathing another day and taking myself off the planet, was the respect and dignity two professionals saw fit to treat me with. They, unknowingly, also had a great deal of influence on why I chose Social Work over Law when I began rebuilding myself, again, at a stage in life when most folks are looking forward to retiring in a decade or two.
The only reason I have become the ‘success’ and (hated, to me) poster-child of comebacks, is because those two people cared enough, to look beyond the outwardly apparent struggle(s), to get to know something about how I got there, who I am, my strengths, my shortcomings, and they saw, that in order to help me get back up, I would need the resources (of every ilk and variety), with which to stay standing. I am a keener, I took their outstreched hands, and have not looked back. See that streak of energy-love-compassion-brain-and-gratitude? That be me, and now, my kid. (For the stories, as told by them, of this year’s walk-donation-recipients, please click here).
Again, back to the why: The very systems and resources and sadly, some of the humans in them, that were once designed to do exactly what I described above, provide a compassionate, context-seeing hand up, are failing all of us. I worked in the non-profits for many years, Government funded and Grassroots, in various capacities and levels of service, and in or around the systems that are meant to help people when life happens, like Income Assistance, Health Care, Housing, (dis)Ability). These are life issues, and even at their perceived and most violently hated, debated and judged worst (i.e. mental health, addictions and the like), still, are not personal or moral deficiencies (for more on that please click here and here), they are, life issues, they have a context, and we are all culpable in it. It is not ok to be globally connected, hiding behind our screens sharing internet memes about ‘Activist Actions’ (don’t even get me going on that), and watching our community members flail, while blaming them for their own misery, whatever shape and/or hideous form it happens to take. Yes, they/we need to own our part, remedy the parts we can, but I personally, and my son, and all of the folks who donated their time and money to us and our recipients, are not smoke and mirror activists, we walk, passionately, and with enthusiasm and love, many many talks, in this case, literally. And we don’t give a hoot (anymore) whether some folks like, or even hate it.
So, we do it because 50 K on a trail, some time and love intensive work on a campaign, some physical discomfort for a few days, lost income for a few days, is beyond worth knowing that the money, time and energy, mine, my sons, and everyone else who has contributed in any meaningful way, is going directly where it is needed most. To some humans who need it most, now, and get to spend it in the best way possible; based on what they need. Not on what we, think they need, or worse, think they deserve.
The most interesting and disturbing observation, piece of fodder for my next rant on this blog, is the following: the folks who can least afford to extend themselves financially, expend time and/or physical energy, extended themselves the most. The folks who are the most blessed in these capacities, the least. No harm no foul though, I’ll take anyone’s money for our Walk of Love, because that, is really and truly what it is all about. Love is everything.
That then, is why. Clear? Great. Peace. And thank you. Truly, from the bottom of our massive, well-lit hearts.
~Marcela & T.G.R.T.
PS: It is never too late to donate:
Internet banking e-transfer to:
I will also provide you with information via that email address about other ways in which I can collect your donation if e-transfer is not your gig.
…is not a pathology, a DSM Mental Health diagnosis, a deficit,
or disordered, or wrong.
Intense is bold, strong, courageous to the nth degree, in your face, truthful.
Intense is neither flexible nor choice.
Intense is not willing, wishful, wanting, hope, or even drive, ambition.
Intense is a primal need;
to push, limits; mine, yours, theirs, ours, always.
And exactly when you think;
Intense has pushed enough, pushed too far,
Intense pushes again;
further, than ever here-to-fore.
Intense is pure, unadulterated.
Intense is the epitome of unfiltered.
Intense is emotional excess:
the good the bad, the beautiful the ugly, the high, the low;
not despite having known pain, but because it knows pain.
Intense and pain, are intimately acquainted;
they are, in fact, in love, inseparable,
pain is fuel on the fire that is,
Intense is often confused and contradictory, no, not contradictory,
Intense is highly conflictual.
Intense is deeply connected, insightful, wise, awesome-crazy, vulnerable and even, volatile.
Intense is wild.
Intense is unfettered.
Intense is not funny or amusing;
Intense is hilarious.
Intense cannot be contained, will not be boxed.
Intense puts the shattered pieces back together;
in a way that creates a picture more beautiful,
than the one which was seemingly in-tact,
prior to its shattering.
Intense has wings.
Intense makes pigs fly.
Intense knows not, of impossibility.
Intense is the home of creativity, its very core, its essence.
Intense is never indifferent, and never, ever, mediocre or neutral.
Intense knows no middle ground.
Intense is love and hate, war and peace, black and white;
but it resides, in living colour.
Intense is primary, neon, even.
Intense registers no nuanced hues or shades of gray.
Intense has no space for washed out and faded.
Intense is not boastful, but it is proudly aware of its inherent
Intensity and character.
Intense is a student and humble teacher.
Intense appears bossy, but is in actuality, a leader.
Intense is loud, especially when silent.
Intense will not walk the talk of shameful suffering and pastel-coloured pity.
Intense occupies souls and fuels the infernos of spirit-blazes too hot to extinguish.
Intense will be doused only, with (premium)fuel.
Feed the flame;
evil; with Love.
Intensely yours: MyLa, Unfettered.
August 21, 2014
Postscript, Nov. 22, 2015:
Intense will no longer apologize for its intensity.
I have a vision
of rapturous pursuit
a chase of the dragon
so intensely acute;
that it requires intensive,
a fire so hot
it has burned many holes
to the core of my being
the depths and breadth of my soul;
these flames must remain,
help me fuel this bright blaze
extinguish only my fear
wish me well on the journey
that which is most dear;
this thing called,
see my light through the cracks
the scars of life’s dealings
and I in turn
will cradle your reeling(s);
in this thing called,
August 11, 2014.
Image from: paigebradley.com
I share the communication below with you for several reasons.
1) I have nothing to hide.
2) I share my life publicly while protecting the folks I work for because I know I am not alone with the experience that hiding, pathologizing, demonizing, victim blaming, concepts of deserving and undeserving in human struggle, suffering and experience, serve only to perpetuate those ills. The very ills that the so called normal people sit in fear and judgment of. It serves no-one, except for those individuals and systems interested only in winning their game, at any cost.
3) I believe in the power of truth, in the power of love, in social justice, in the human capacity to not only survive, but to thrive, and I believe in me, and my own (proven) capacity to do just that. The haters will continue to hate, the judgers will continue to judge, the naysayers will continue to say nay, and the detractors will continue to de-tract. Regardless of how (tactfully, or not) I say what I have to say, regardless of what I do, or how (well) I do it.
4) I must Abandon Hope (and Fear). I must abandon the hope that people will understand if only I explain it to them better. And in the abandonment of that hope, I have abandoned the fear that despite all of my efforts to help them understand, despite all of my efforts not to offend with my experience of my life experience, I will anyway. In the abandonment of these hopes (and fear), I abandon the pain of knowing that they are offended by human suffering. Mine, yours, ours, theirs. And in abandoning that pain, I am one step closer to the freedom of truly knowing and caring for, Marcela: Unfiltered. And for you. And for them.
5) I have nothing to hide.
Email from one professional to another (forwarded to me, not sent directly by the ‘concerned professional.’) regarding the potential hire of my services in a Custody and Access dispute:
“I have received ………… email which says that it is unfortunate that I do not specify what material on Marcela’s Facebook profile would affect her judgment in a professional setting.
I strongly advise you to read the whole of the Facebook, and I am reasonably certain that the language she uses, the history of drug use such as crack cocaine, to name just two things is something that would raise alarm bells with anyone.
I am very much certain that a person, who it appears has worked as a prostitute, has been a hard drug user and uses language such as is seen in her Facebook page, is someone that not many parents would not want their children exposed to.
My client is somewhat distressed that you would even suggest a person who appears from the Facebook page to be as unsuitable as she is.”
Dear ………. :
While I have been advised not to waste my energy on this, please, humour me will you? I will thank you, please, not to jump to conclusions and perhaps ask about how long I have been in recovery (I am joined in this community, in that illustrious group of people. by several attorneys, other social workers, and even a judge or two, doctors, counsellors…. you get my point). You could also ask how I was exploited into the sex trade as a teenager by an upstanding ……… business man, how I escaped, but clearly, context is not something that holds meaning here.
There is an entire blog post written about that, context, but I am certain that you will have already discovered it in the course of your investigation into my person. Would it be too much work, if you are so concerned about my character and history, to contact some of the people who have employed me in the past, or do so now, and inquire about the actual quality of my work? Or how about this far-fetched idea: ask me, clearly, my life, present and past are no secret.
Apparently it is not enough to have worked at not only fixing the damage others created in my life and past, and on my own culpability in parts of it, put myself through University as an adult while raising a family on my own, with no financial support from anywhere, worked my way from support worker at ……… cleaning up the vomit, blood, sweat, and tears, yes tears, of other struggling humans, to a very successful private practice and and and and… by the way, I did not need to turn tricks to graduate with distinction, to earn the awards I earned, and to get where I am, despite, or perhaps because of, small minds with only their limited view and judgment on anything outside of their own personal experience. I have a brain, and a heart.
And in the event you are interested, you must be, why else were you looking at these things, the sex trade and drug addiction, not directly connected in my life by the way, combine for a total of just under 5 years of my almost 53 on the planet. But clearly, they are more important than anything else I have achieved, undertaken, done in the way of community service (that list is much more extensive than anything you will find on facebook), raising a really well adjusted family, and so on… We are not all born, or raised, or subjected to, the same set of ‘choices,’ and I assure you, I have worked very hard, physically, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and intellectually, to get to the point where I can actually choose, and stand up to the kind of abuse in the email [quoted above, your email]. My references, former and current clients, speak to my professionalism, my credentials, and above all, the difference my work, and how I do it, and yes, I do it differently, very differently, makes in people’s lives. The thing that speaks to all of that most however, is how I live my life, honestly, and with integrity. Clean living goes so much further than abstaining from a substance, it has to do with being a good human, and while I am acutely human and by extension acutely imperfect, my biggest priority in life, in all areas of my life, is to ‘do no harm.’ Given the slanderous nature of various communications you have engaged in about me, my person, my life, it appears that our values differ in this regard.
While you are perusing my facebook page, you ought to note that the only people I have as friends are old enough, to choose and accept, or not, my language. Like the rest of the world, I am prone to using language in my personal life; and by extension in writing about my personal life, which is not the same as that which we all use in our professional dealings, and particularly not around children. I have had many a conversation with clients and their attorneys, judges for that matter, outside of office walls or a courtroom, that would require an R rating were they put on video, and I assure you, it was not me doing the swearing. If you had looked carefully during your forays into my world, you would have found that I walk my talk in my personal as well as my professional life, for example in a particular series of recent posts regarding a very important re-union in Europe, but it is much simpler to ‘find what you need,’ and leave the rest, no?
I should tell you that the reason I make my life and past (other and self-inflicted) relatively public, is a) I have nothing to hide, and b) it is an effort to highlight people’s humanity, their capacity to change and grow, to overcome pain, suffering (other and self-inflicted), to normalize what has been wrongfully pathologized as abnormal, and to navigate ridiculously complex and convoluted systems, often hurdles of seemingly insurmountable magnitude, and to illustrate what helps and what hinders in those processes. And, because I simply give a darn about people, and have a particular soft spot for those who continue to be marginalized and stigmatized by the narrow thinking that created the motivation, behind looking for what you and/or your client could find against me, actually the smallest part of my entire life, as opposed to what I excel at: Human services with heart and compassion. With a direct and intentional focus on the human, and with a real bent for finding the truth. For more information on how that does not amount to co-signing bad, criminal, self or other harming behaviour, please do check out my very public blog. Had you taken the time to read any part of that with more than the intent of finding dirt, you may have discovered more under the name Marcela than a former ‘prostitute,’ and ‘crack’ user.
Since you have taken it upon yourself to decide who I am based on little more than the results of a very poorly executed witch hunt, I have taken the liberty to provide you with a little context. I do not, feel the need to explain myself, please understand the difference. With the exception of potential legal action in which case you will hear from whomever is my representative, my communication with you and the parents involved in this matter will end with this email. I have informed ….. that I will not be able to assist with the case and I have suggested to them that they contact …., and have left ….. a voice mail regarding the referral. Thank you and best regards,
Courageously yours, MyLa: Unfettered.
August 02, 2014
The drug addicts, the homeless, the mentally ill and deranged, the alcoholics, the beautifully and frighteningly crazy, the abusers, the molesters, the abused, the victimized, the rich, the poor, the privileged, the socially acceptable, the educated, the illiterate, the marginalized and stigmatized, the famous and the infamous: these are my clients. I have a deeply personal and profound understanding of how we, yes all of us, get to how we get, get to where we got. Whatever that looks like in (y)our respective world(s). I look for context, I pay attention, I listen to, I hear the story, I feel the pain. I give a damn. Really, I give a damn.
I endeavor to keep my own experience out of it, for contrary to popular belief, it is not useful, and it clouds my ability to see them (you) clearly. Moving me out as much as possible allows me to do my job with no judgment, and come at the problem from the perspective that the problem is the problem, manifesting in a person’s life, not the view that the person is the embodiment of the problem. This is how I can come at it from the only fair place there is, from humanity and heart, and with deep compassion, no matter the struggle, the crime, the heinousness of it all, personal, familial, cultural, political, systemic. I treat them with some dignity; it is often their first time, ever.
When I posted these words to one of my personal social media pages, in their brief, raw, unedited and in the moment-version following two extremely heart-wrenching work days, I received wonderfully upbeat and positive feedback, and the word amazing was used by many of my friends to describe me, and how I do my job.
Yes, there are days when it feels that way, but more often than not, my work reality (and by extension other parts of my life), are not always amazing, unless of course I modify it to amazingly painful. There are too many days when I am, as judged as the people I work with, for understanding, for not being disgusted with why they are seeking my professional services, for caring, about their humanity in really tough situations. Let me be clear, I am judged, I do not, simply feel that way.
The more you can increase fear of drugs, crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all of the people. -Noam Chomsky
For you see, there are different levels of acceptability in terms of compassion and empathy, and as a human-helper type, it appears that I am afforded the right to feel these emotions for some, but not for others. The criteria for discerning between those deserving of my understanding or indifference, and by extension my very best, most creative and heartfelt professional services, you know, human services, as opposed to more of the big-box they find in our systems; is entirely dependent on the nature of their struggle. Whether or not it is deemed as self or other inflicted, socially acceptable, or a current taboo, their socio-economic position in the world, are they deserving or undeserving poor, their ethnicity, their skin colour, their perceived level of (dis)ability, their level of formal education, and other socially constructed boxes, assumptions and norms. What a joke. What an excruciatingly painful joke, on me, on them, on all of us.
Make no mistake: my clients (or as I refer to them, the folks I work for), are you, me, and everyone else that you can imagine. They are NOT those people, them, they are us. And if you don’t believe that you and I fit into the same box, I will urge you to check, and make certain that you are indeed, human.
I’m pissed, and let me clear; I am not an angry person (any more). As we know, anger is a secondary emotion, and mine, 99.9% of the time, is the cover emotion to spiritual, emotional, and/or psychological pain. It wounds my heart, damages my spirit, and hurts my brain, when I am weighed down with the shackles of the box. You know, the one I keep blowing up, but find myself repeatedly stuffed into. For it is continuously in the process of being reconstructed, remodeled, and renovated, using ever more covert methods to try and fool me, and you, into thinking that it is OK to think about, and treat some people, and animals and plants for that matter, better than others. The hu(man) created hierarchy of love and deserving-ness, our, their, your, relative importance in this world. The socially and politically created rules and contracts, belief systems, propaganda, and dogma, that are fed to us, explicitly and implicitly, in boxed media like CNN, FOX and essentially any network ‘news’ program, airing on what truly has become the idiot box, or printed in any mainstream newspaper and/or magazine, and so much bullshit on the internet.
The toxic fodder of judgment and victim blaming, are either gingerly spoon fed me (and you) in a manner so devious yet transparent that I am not certain whether to rejoice at my ability to see it, or despair at the greasiness of it, or it is rammed down my throat so overtly and aggressively that it feels as though the proverbial pitchfork is choking every last piece of civility and compassion out of my person. There is very little middle ground in how I am viewed where my position and outlook on the human condition is concerned. I am either a saint, amazing and awesome because I help those people, you know, the ones who deserve my help and (y)our compassion; or I am a bitch and sympathizer of bad and evil wrongdoers, you know, the ones who created their own and other’s misery, the ones not worthy of any kind of hand up, human understanding, effort, or absolution; Ever.
The skills and tools I use to survive and thrive in the worlds (work and personal) that I occupy, are accessible to us all, but too often, from where I sit, misused. Utilized as the means to a personal, self-centered end that has nothing to do with anyone but one’s own need for justification and rationalization of the atrocities of the world we live in, the comfort and ease of continuing to ignore how our every action and inaction, impacts/contributes to, the lives and misery of others, near and far.
Every single day; I go into my life (and others’) on a wing and prayer. The wing of a dragon called Love and the wrongfully attributed prayer of St. Francis. I know, for a non-religious spiritualist, leaning more and more toward atheism, this is a stretch, but it works. It allows me to get out of my own way and do my job, well. I have come to rely on a personally modified version of what I prefer to call a mantra as opposed to a prayer, really, I cannot pray to any ‘master,’ I beg the gods of the dragon world I escape to, because come on, dragons are cool, to help me get through the day without in turn, judging the judgers, hating the haters, carrying that weight to the already overburdened folks I serve, and then wearing it home to try and deal with on my own, and worse, dumping it on the people closest to me.
If you know anything about me at all, you will know that I hold the dubious privilege of insider knowledge and experience, as it pertains to many of my work people’s pain (Manifesto of Pain and Personal Power) and I mean from the hurting perspectives of both victim and victimizer. I was harmed, and a dearth of effective coping skills and tools, however honestly earned, led me to harming others. Primarily the people I love most, the ones who love me, relied on me most, self included.
Please, make no mistake, this is not an exercise in self flagellation, though to this day, I do still excel in that sport; it is a way of making a point. So let’s get to that shall we? I know, you are waiting… context, it is all about context my friends, and that, I know, can feel truly cumbersome. For it is much simpler to jump to a conclusion, exclude any context, build and insert any given human and their actions into a box, make a decision about who someone is, why they did what they did and thus, feel better about self and our own shortcomings.
As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.” -Noam Chomsky
So, the point: the most difficult part of my work day is not what I do with the folks who pay me for support in sorting out their lives, it is everyone’s opinion of them, of me, and of my position on any given social-worky-human-service issue and by immediate extension, my position on and compassion for, the individuals perpetrating the human deeds deemed acceptable/unacceptable in our world, and in direct relation, redemption worthy, or not. By default, that position for me is one of Unconditional Positive Regard. I will let you do your own research on it, but it is an extension of what I said earlier about the problem being the problem, one of the foundational concepts of Narrative Therapy, one that removes the issue as the personal pathology of the person, and places it within its rightful, from where I sit anyway, context.
And before you jump down my throat to join that pitchfork I am gagged with as a matter of course, this does not mean that I co-sign bad, hurtful, criminal, self and/or other-harming behavior. It simply means that I do my best to see the human as human, and as such, as someone who came by their stuff honestly, not, as the sum of their actions. Because really, if I were to tally the total of all my least palatable moments over the last 53 years, calculate the total carnage that some of my actions created, I could not allow me, or you, to think of me as amazing, awesome, or anything useful, what-so-ever. And please, I beg you not to come at me with ‘but look how you turned it around’ or similarly gag-reflex provoking commentary. I did not stop until the second I stopped, did not change until there was no other recourse, and most importantly, please, take this piece to heart: had there not been folks, specifically two human service helper types, who looked for, and saw the well-hidden humanity and potential, inside some of the outwardly visible sub-human actions, I would not be here to accept the amazing and other accolades.
I would be dead. Period. End of (this) story, for now.
Yours, with all the love I have, always,