Thursday, June 13, 2002

Identity Crisis
While I blogged early about my take on AKMA's theme du jour, "identity," I am now as lost at sea as was once the intrepid Odysseus -- referred to by Tom Matrullo in his post on the subject. This is not the first time in the land of Blogaria that I find myself time traveling back to my old chair in my old office, looking at an assignment from my boss to interview relevant professionals about on how they apply "integrated arts education" or "non-traditional learning" or "diversity in the workplace" and recognizing that I first have to go back to my boss and ask her how she defines those terms. Because I already know that there are as many definitions of those terms as there are people who use them. I know, from past experience, what happens when you set sail on a group journey of discovery without first all getting into the same boat. You often wind up all sailing off in different directions, having different adventures, and discovering different continents. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Except that the original "identity" of the journey gets lost at sea. Like me. With this whole "identity" trip. Hell, I know who I am. And if you read Frank Paynter's interview with me, you know who I am too. So what's the big deal anyway?
Life is what happens while you're making plans
I'm supposed to be heading out for York Beach, Maine next week with one of my best friends. This afternoon, I'm taking my mom to the doctor's -- dizziness, weakness -- maybe a flare up of the multiple myeloma, the beginnings of which she was diagnosed with several years ago. I haven't had any time away -- I mean really away -- in more than a year. I really need this little 5-day vacation. I hope that I can still go.

This is the first time that I'm feeling angry about having to be the sole caregiver. I have an unmarried, unemployed brother who could very easily come up here (he lives about 80 miles away) and take over for a few days. But he always has an excuse. This time his cat is pissing all over his house because she's afraid to go outside because some other cat is menacing her. One would think, then, that the solution would be to get her a litter box. Only he doesn't want to have to clean out a litter box. So he has to stay home and make sure the cat doesn't continue pissing indoors. What's very very very wrong with this picture! (Oh, he says maybe he can come up for one overnight. What a guy!)

I want to cry "ENOUGH!". But there's this frail, frightened little old woman who depends on me. Someday, perhaps but I hope not, I will be just like her, and I will need someone to care enough about me to set plans aside and take care of life.

I want so much to have a few days at the ocean, nourished by the healing murmurs of Mother Sea, the warm Apollo sun -- to sit around playing Scrabble, laughing, and having a beer or two -- going out for some good dinners. Well, I have to remind myself that at least I'm not buried in a burda. Life. Happens. But I still just want to sit down and have a good cry. Oops, too late.
Hecuba should have cried ENOUGH!
b!X ends this post with "Enough is enough."

The two statements above are synchronistically related.

Tonight I watched the film version of Euripedes' Trojan Women that featured Katherine Hepburn as Hecuba, Queen of Troy, who was given no choice but to watch while her city, her countrymen and women, and her family were ravaged by men of great ego and little else. They took everything from her that they could -- her birthright, her identity, her freedom. But what they couldn't take from her was her voice.

I watched the film with a group of women called together by my therapist friend in ritualized support of one of those woman -- an American nurse suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as result of her expriences in Viet Nam. We were there to help her give voice to her painful memories, to rage and cry out and vocalize whatever was staying stuck so painfully in the deep wounds of her soul. (Ritual, art, drama, healing: the legacy of Asclepius.)

ENOUGH! We wanted Hecuba to finally cry ENOUGH! We wanted the Trojan Women to all finally cry ENOUGH! But they didn't, and so we all cried ENOUGH for all the times we didn't -- for all of the times that men and women of conscience do not cry ENOUGH loud ENOUGH for all of the times that men of great ego and nothing else continue to repeat and repeat, over and over again, the very same tragic scenario that Eurpides so eloquently and dramatically and ritualistically unfolded all of those centuries ago. When will it be ENOUGH?

In the Middle East men of great ego and little else ravage and destroy what they cannot possess. In our very own America, men of great ego and little else take away everything from us that they can -- expect us to watch and endure, like Hecuba. We are all Hecuba, watching, enduring, while men of great ego and little else ravage our liberties, our identities, the very planet that sustains us.

Where are our voices crying ENOUGH! ENOUGH! ENOUGH!