Saturday, February 26, 2011

Horror Films: Why there ain't no dead Indian women...

It is always those scenes when I lose interest with a horror film. The scene where the woman is running from the killer. She falls and he catches her. He then kills her. The last camera shot is her dying. Graphic, huh...

It is always these scenes that tap into a white woman's reality of feeling vulnerable. I had to understand that. I understand those films are not written for me or the people I know.

In the same scene where the killer comes along and swings at the woman.

In my film, she is Indian, she is fearless, and she knows something is going on. She walks into the situation and taps into her 10th sense - something is wrong. All of her senses are engaged. She hears a rustle. She turns in time to duck.

In my film, she pulls her hair back with one hand and puts it in a bun. She grabs the nearest stick and backs up and screams, “Bring it on Motherfucker!”

He lunges at her but misses. He grabs for her but misses.  They dance around swinging.

“Is that all you got...”, she chants.

She swings and gets him squarely across the head.

“Whose the daddy now!”, she screams.

He is stunned and throws himself at her. She is momentarily caught of guard.  They fall to the ground. They tussle.  She grabs a rock and knocks the killer out. She ties him up and waits. Her hair is disheveled. She realizes he cut her.

“Fuck”, she shouts. She then kicks him.


I grew up surrounded by women who fought. My sisters, my mother, my female cousins, my female friends, aunts, and grandmother all fought. They were always fearless in their fights. They fought men. They fought women.

They may not have won all the time but you know what, they stood up. They could stand toe to toe with anyone who dare disrespect them.

Those are the women I grew up around so when I watch a horror film and she falls down and gets killed. I figure, one less dummy out of the gene pool.

Redemption: Can you make a Whore a Housewife?

First of all let me say, I have an interesting life. I meet so many fascinating people. I am intrigued by them and I want to know about them. I realize that I am unique in that I thrive in knowing about their journey.

With all that said... I stumbled upon this piece of advice recently. It reminded me of the sex workers and the ex-sex workers I worked with in the past. They have a unique perspective when it comes to their view on sex. There is a no hold bars approach to it. There is a stark honesty to it. They let it all hang out, so to speak.

“Honey. Don't forget this. The first time you lay down for sex for money then you, 'a whore'. You may find god. Hallelujah! You may get a job. You may do good in this life. You will spend the rest of your life working to redeem yourself... but don't forget this – No one. No one, will let you forget you were a whore. It may be only once. That's enough for people to remember. If you want to be legit then get married.“

When I hear her advice I interpret that sex is not 'devalued'. Sex is viewed as a commodity. Sex is income. Sex provides a 'means to an end'. From an economic perspective, “selling sex” makes sense. It ensures there is a roof over one's head and food on the table. “Sellin' sex” ensures that all your physical needs are met.

I don't hear her advice as cynical or jaded but practical. I then realize what a luxury I have when I have romance with sex. When I have desire with sex. When I get to chose who I have sex with, that's a luxury.

I am keenly aware of our class system that creates an economy that prostitution is necessary. This system creates a profession called, “Whores”. This system in which “whoredom” can thrive. This system that perpetuates a view that prostitution and marriage are equivalent.

One can view her advice as a divergent road, one leading to “good” and the other“bad”. A cautionary tale. A tale of redemption. Redemption from our bad choices. A tale of the baggage we carry because of those choices.

Finally, I believe her advice illustrates the names that others know us by. The names we call our selves. Ultimately, it is our choice what we answer to. It is our choice to move beyond this experience. It is our choice to accept the consequences and live our life.

As I sit and ponder her advice and try to understand it, I am reminded of another statement from a previous client:

“Who's the dumb bitch here? You sittin' there on a gold mine. I get paid Honey. You give it away for free. For what? Love? Hmphf... I'll tell you this. I'm a good whore. I mind fuck him. I tell him some nasty fucked up shit and he comes all over himself. I rarely give up my pussy. I'm a 'Call Girl' not a street whore.”

Who knew?...Even within “Whoredom” there is a class system.

With all that said, "I'm still not sure".  Nobody has asked me to be their housewife...

;0 - I'm teasing.  My hooker, whore, ex prostitute friends and colleagues...Pitch in and help me answer this question.

Poem: He Hit Me?

I didn't wake up until he slapped me.
He first called me names.

The treacherous road to and from
domestic assault
is riddled with contradictions.

how could I have gotten myself into such a situation?

As an educated person
I have a good head on my shoulders

I am dumbfounded

how could I have gotten myself into such a situation?

By the time he beat me,
I was already beaten.

He didn't smack me right of way.

how could I have gotten myself into such a situation?

It began with playful words,
“You think you are all that”.

There was no sneer to them.
There was no contempt underlying them.

how could I have gotten myself into such a situation?

Those words were dropped
in between the giggles
and laughter
about jokes long forgetten.

I didn't wake up until he slapped me.
He first called me names.

February 26, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Peaking Early: A Cautionary Tale!

As a youngster, I was in awe of the people who I thought had it all because I believed they had everything. They had beauty. They had talent. They had charisma. They had that ability to take on life.

As the years have passed and upon reflection I have observed those people who peaked early. When you peak early then you must have the maturity to move beyond it. There are those who have successfully managed their peaking at a young age. It takes wisdom to understand that being the center of attention is a fleeting moment in time. It is temporary. It is cyclical.

Those who have not matured are caught up in their own past successes. They are still telling those sport stories, games won, awards given, a life lived in the adulation of people. I hear their stories now with a sense of sadness because they are trapped. They are trapped in that time. They haven't allowed life to happen to them. They believed they could control it. Somehow in someway they were going to extend that time.

I want to tell young people especially those struggling with feeling different, caught up in their own angst, and sadness that YOUR TIME WILL COME. Life is getting you ready . You will receive all the blessings that you are calling to you. You are gaining a wisdom about life that when your time in the sun happens that you will ENDURE it so STOP-OBSERVE-UNDERSTAND-FORGIVE-LOVE-LIVE!

I also understand that it ain't easy. I like to hold on to something that feels good.  What I've come to know is that life is a process. There are times of happiness and sadness. There is a cycle to life. I know that one day I will get old and return to my infancy. It is all a part of this journey.  

I know that I want to extend those moments where everything is right in my world. It is with age and introspection that I have learned that it will happen again SO I write it down and keep living...

A Prelude to Act III: Part 1

If I don’t write it I will die.  I am sitting here in the third act of my life recalling the many lives that I have lived to date.  There are some that were great and some that ended sadly.  I believe it’s an urging from within each of us to want to be remembered.  Remembered for something grand, humane, and triumphant.  I don’t believe in this life time that I will find the cure to cancer nor create world peace.  What I will be known for is that I lived.  I have struggled many times with my decisions – good or bad.  I left a life on a reservation that stretched into bleakness into one of hope and renewal.  I am not sure whose renewal, mine or my families.  I know that I left.

All stories begin with struggle into being.  Mine was no different.  I came into my awareness of my life with pain.  It was pain of a teenage boy entering my 4 year old anus.  I closed my eyes and the darkness saved me.  The darkness would save me many more times.  When I wanted to feel comfort as a child I would climb into the closet and shut the door.  I knew what was around me.  I knew I was safe.  As an adult there are still times that I climb into the closet. 

Those early childhood years have come and gone in my memory.  I have tried in therapy to uncover them but some are just lost.  Lost or saved by angels.  I’d like to believe that they were when god carried me and comforted me. 

I remember feeling different from the get go.  I don’t believe I ever felt like I fit in.  I always felt like I was born into the wrong body, wrong life, wrong circumstance.  I would read and watch tv to escape the doldrum of my life on the reservation.  I can’t say there were many good times there.  I can honestly say, ‘I survived’. 

My first childhood memory other than that of being assaulted was me watching my brother in school.  My big brother.  The one who was my friend.  I didn’t know him all that well.  He was fascinating to me.  He had charisma, a swagger, and sense about him that I didn’t know.  I remember laying there during nap time.  We went to a small school on the reservation and the headstart kids and kindergarten were in the same room.  I remember seeing him from across the room at his desk listening.  He was intent on learning.  I knew then that I wanted to be like him.  I knew I would grow up and be smart.  That was something that no one could take from me. 

There are flashes of memories from earlier.  Memories of me and my sister, Orga, living with my grandmother.  I remember playing under the table while my grandmother and her friends drank.  It was my job to keep Orga busy.  We would fall asleep under there and be carried to bed. 

(NOTE: This is a series that I am currently working on.  There is much more to this story that covers what I remember growing up.  Stories about my first love, sex, going to college, transitioning to life off the rez, community organizing and my deep profound love of my family who saved me and continues to save me everyday.  As I edit them I will share them with you.)

Poem: At Once I Am

I am searching for a place in my mind to hush the whispers
The longing and aching for someone
Love n intimacy
The elusive duo
I settled and found someone but
Found that it didn’t happen
My hurt n brokenness came forward with a force
Shattering what could have been
Pain that I did not know lay about
I thought I was ready but time showed I wasn’t
I find those places where hurt lay when I stumble
Fumble and fall upon them
The men I loved at the time
Tried in vain
To keep me together but
I pulled
I tore
I screamed
I ran
I couldn’t be
Stifled and healed
At once

The hunger for passion and love
Is unquenchable
It hovers about
Recognize me
I feel beautiful
Fuck me you fool
I have no bearing of what happens
I will have you lose your mind
You will want and need more
From the wells of my desires
I nourish
I am

February 2, 2008

Poem: Complex you say, hmmm

I have yet to meet a man who is complex
Their nature is obvious
You see

I have yet to meet a man who is complex
Whose essence is unusual to me

I have yet to meet a man who is complex, you see
and hunger
are what you offer, you see

I have yet to meet a man who is complex, you see
Giggle at his feet
Jokes that are not funny

Can be constructed
Head back then mouth open with a big smile

I have yet to meet a man who is complex, you see
An "ooh" and an "ahhh"
Appropriately used
He believes he showed you heaven
Shh, don’t let him know
I’d rather paint my nails

I have yet to meet a man who is complex, you see
"What strength you have their I see!"
Boredom engulfs you
but do not show it

I have yet to meet a man who is complex, you see
The wiggle of my hips and
The arch in back
Are lessons I have learned 

I have yet to meet a man who is complex, you see
Whose dotting and mothering
Become my job to date
With all the band aids and encouragements

I have yet to meet a man who is complex, you see
December 24, 2003

Poem: A Thief Stole My Life

A thief stole my life
Gone without anything left
A semblance of someone that once was

They snuck into my life
Told lies and made accusations
Found vulnerabilities

A thief stole my life
Vestiges of someone that was to be
Are gone now nowhere to be found

They took without asking
Vindication or Victory
Whose to know

A thief stole my life
The carnage lies about
I lay there looking and wondering

Who was this person that I became
Questions permeate my mind
Torn between many understandings

A thief stole my life
I imagine them giggling
Laughing at my self pity

I pick my self up and find moments
They are gone now and again
Putting myself back together again

A thief stole my life
Innocence is lost
Humanity is seen for what it is

I wander why I believed what I had
I lay here thinking what a fool
A jester for entertainment

A thief stole my life
Taught me more about myself
‘Happily ever after’ is no more

I see now without my glasses
I peer deeper into what is around me
Fear and shame permeate my soul

A thief stole my life
I wonder what they thought
Sneaking and taking without a thought

I now know that I am free
Lives that I lived have come into one
Wholeness has become my reward

A thief stole my life
Did they believe what they did would teach me
Make me better and more me

Grace and presence is what I feel more and more
Hope descends
No place like here

May 4, 2004

Poem: Who I am IS NOT a Luxury

Who I am is not a luxury
Priorities don’t see me
The ME that is from within
The ME that is from your perception

My sisters and brothers fail to be included
Is it FEAR that keeps us excluded
Fear of demanding
Fear of engaging
Fear of trusting
Fear of wanting

You assume I have a choice
Choice between who I love
Choice between who I am
Choice between what I am

Our lives have become a political ploy
We were catered to when time and energy were a toy
We were catered to when interest was there
Were we catered to when dollars were there

The sexual economy ensures me in your movement
My political value is not seen
I stand amongst my people
The light has been shown but now the darkness has descended

Now is the time of courage and foresight
Our struggle is not one of equality
Our struggle is one of recognition
Our struggle is grown from within

Each movement does not see me as critical
Each movement asks me to payback
Each movement can not understand me
Each movement is ashamed of me

When I brought us together it was to sing
I wanted US to sing
Sing that song of liberation
Sing those songs that have been forgotten

Enemies come from within
Enemies come from outside
Enemies can be embraced
Enemies are our friend

We can choose to be divided
We can choose to be conquered
We can choose to be valued
We can choose to be

When HOPE is gone there can not be salvation
HOPE does not exist only in imagination
HOPE stares back wanting recognition
HOPE keeps us on our mission

Love is what keeps me at it
Love is what keeps me in it
Love is what keeps me for it
Love is what keeps me

Fear is courage turned inside out
Fear is courage turned upside down
Fear is courage turned around
Fear is courage turned inside out

Challenge is all around us
Challenge is what life teaches us
Challenge is what you can not escape
Challenge is all around us

Who I am is not a luxury
Priorities don’t see me
The ME that is from within
The ME that is from your perception

December 15, 2003    
Nick Metcalf

Poem: You think you know me

You think you know me
But do you really know

You think you know me
The pain and the hurt I’ve hidden
Discovering each day

You think you know me
I’m not afraid anymore
Of the light each day

You think you know me
The courage it takes to muster
To leave outside my door

You think you know me
The bravery I imagine
Engaging you right now

You think you know me
The talent I’ve hidden
From the laughter of others

You think you know me
You see me as familiar
You see me as open

You think you know me
I’ve kept a mask on
To hide myself

You think you know me
I am discovering me
I have yet to know me

January 6, 2006

An Examined Life: Veni Vidi Vici!

I am honored by the fact that I was a part of peoples journey as they moved on to the spirit world. I was there moments before or soon after their death. Those of you who are not familiar with it. You see it. You know it is going to occur. A sense of calmness comes into the room and once they pass then there is an exhale, a release...

As I worked with these people and spent time with them prior to them dying, my job was to comfort them and make sure this transition was as easy as possible (Social Work terms). I would sit there listening to their stories for minutes to hours. I would hear about a lost love. I would hear about the riches that should have been acquired. I 'd hear about what they should have done in some situation. Ultimately, they would come to, if only things were different, I would have done X (Fill in the blank).

I acknowledged their mental acrobats and musings about the past because I recognized they were reviewing their life. I couldn't stop what was going to happen. I could only let them know that I was there to hear them. I was there to recognize their journey here.

Each of their stories reminded me to live my life to the fullest. To take an opportunity. To be willing to make a mistake. To try. Failure is only when I don't get up.

Their life reminded me to fully participate in mine so I won't be sitting there at the end telling a young intern or young professional my longings. Imagine this, me in an as eccentric outfit as I have and boldly stating, “Veni Vidi Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered). Sigh!


I need a Man!: Getting What You Pray For...Lesson Learned

I was out to lunch the other day with a friend who exclaimed, “I need a man!” She went on to share that she had been praying for one.

I was supportive and listened to her angst about feeling lonely and alone. The mindless dating. The hurried sex. The lack of intimacy.

I finally lovingly told her, “Be careful of what you ask for. The universe has a way of answering you. I once asked for a man. I sure did get one! It didn't matter what a low down dirty dog he was who beat me, ridiculed me, who I hated having sex with, and I don't think ever loved me. But GOD you know what, “I had a MAN!”. *SNAP*

She giggled at my story and went on to share that she was missing a connection.

I encouraged her to ask for that. I also reminded her that if she was going to be putting a request in for “a man” please be a little more descriptive.

What I've learned about prayer is that they get answered.

I'm a deeply spiritual person who works very hard at it. Let's be clear...I am not religious zealot. I enjoy the ritual of religion and I do belong to church. I go to listen to the sermons and I bear witness to the gospel. It all works for me.

Toxic People: Emotional Vampires

I've learned over the years that toxic people are attracted to me. My caretaking personality and belief that 'anything is possible when helping people realize change' and 'nothing is random in the universe', draws them to me.

What are toxic people?

They are those people that talk about themselves all the time. They are always in pain. Their problems are always worse than yours. They have a deeper and more profound experience than you. They don't care to ask you about what is going on in your life. They don't care to ask you about your feelings. They do not care about anyone else but themselves.

How do you extract toxic people out of your life?

STOP taking their calls. STOP talking to them. They WILL NOT hear you tell them about their behavior and how it affects you. They DO NOT care what you think. They are there to take as much from you as they can.

I have tried many times to rationalize having these people in my life. I've told myself, 'I'm being unreasonable'. I need to be nicer. I'm being selfish when they need to talk. Ultimately, they take and don't care. Their behavior is abusive.

It's OK to walk away from these people. It's OK not to ever talk to them again. It's OK to wave a friendly, “hello” and run like hell.

Understand that their purpose in your life is to teach you that, “I matter”. “I deserve to participate in a mutually beneficial relationship”. Period – End of Story!