The Emperor’s Brand New Clothes by Julie Greene

Today, the story ends differently.
Today, the Emperor’s henchmen catch wind
Of this young boy’s words.

“We need to silence this truth-sayer!
What to do?”

It doesn’t take long
Till the henchmen drug such troublemakers
And lock them up.
“We will call the boy ‘crazy.’
No real evidence is necessary,
And no one can prove we are wrong.”

What do these brave boys do?
They are stripped of their power and their voices.

Oh, little boy, I ask,
What choice do you have now?
You are tied in chains
And your hair is growing long.

The little boy strips off his own clothes.
Perhaps it’s his last desperate act.
Such little boys don’t take “No” for an answer.

Today, the gathering crowd demands change.
Why have we waited this long?
We call it all a “tragedy.”

So this is why I write.
I tell stories about that little uppity boy
Whose skin, now naked, shines in the dark
So brightly that it lights the way.

–Julie Greene
Written just now, while walking Puzzle

Feminist utopia books in the 1980’s

These were books that I read with fascination back then.
I truly enjoyed each one.
These were like science fiction I guess.
I imagined living in these societies.
Yep.  No guys.  Free of them at last.  No more whistling.
That’s right folks, no more assholes.

But this represented a type of thinking, that, let’s face it, wasn’t true.
And you can’t walk around with an allergy.

No, you are better off learning to put up with men.
In fact, enjoy them.Most are decent.
A few are not.
The ones that are assholes gave guys a bad rap.

Now the same with cops.
It isn’t like all cops beat on homeless men and are gun-happy, right?
There are a couple that are,
A couple that come here to my building and do what they did the other day,
They came to my apartment because they were checking to see
Who the heck rang the emergency bell.
The left my door wide open
Which was a disrespectful and dumb thing to do
To a low-income person
Who doesn’t have that many belongings
And really didn’t want her apartment looted.
But on the whole,
Cops are decent, and most of them are okay humans just like the rest of usJust trying to do their job and maybe surviving their day
Going home, and feeding the kids.

So like I was saying….

I read these feminist utopia books back in the 1980’s, and I noticed some women
Were staying away from men completely.
Now this was this Lifestyle thing.
They would live and breathe other women and there would be no men in their lives.
They would arrange it this way, and this was indeed a possibility.
They would shack up together and even have girl children.

I even read, I am quite serious about this,
That women were trying to figure out how to tilt a test tube of donated sperm
Tilt it just so, to produce a girl child.

I mean really.  Did that work?  Hmm…let’s go see…where’s that census chart I saw?

Just kidding, folks.  It didn’t sound particularly scientific.  This was a pamphlet on how to bring a test tube across town.  Do sperm survive, and how large does the town have to be before they don’t?  Give me a fucking number.  I can see it now, rushing this test tube of sperm on the Red Line, and suddenly, the subway breaks down.

Oh shit, what now?

The subway gets dark and, um, no chance of baby, girl.

This ain’t gonna work.  You got dead sperm sitting in that test tube, completely useless.
The guy sitting next to you has no clue.  He’s listening to headphones on his iphone.
What are you gonna do now?
Well, better luck next time.
Then, the lights turn back on and the subway comes back to life.

Me, I was across the subway from you.
Me and my dog Puzzle.
I was that skinny lady with the dog, me and my screwed-up face a few nights ago.
Why did you fucking stare at me?
Yeah, I saw you.  You looked at me up and down, your eyes.
Yeah, I know the sweep up and down.And then, the turning away, and the whisper, “Anorexia.”
Okay, you and your disgusted look,
I got the right to be here.
I paid for the subway, too.
Fuck off.

Okay, so I took a lady from the 1980’s and I brought her onto the Red Line
And plopped her into two nights ago.
That wasn’t the best writing move, Julie.
You confused your readers pretty bad.

Actually, I totally love doing that.
I totally love being a little off key.
Being a little quirky.

Anyway, like I was saying, men have the right to be here, too.
So leave them alone.
We are not allergic to them.
We don’t have to be “triggered” by them.
Yes, it won’t hurt to touch a man.
It won’t hurt to be touched by a man.
You won’t break out in a rash.
You won’t have to go run and take Benadryl.
You won’t get a disease.
Believe it or not, touching a man will not give you AIDS.

Drop the myths, ladies.

Touching me will not give you anorexia,You can, indeed, give me a hug.
You can touch me and it won’t go all the way to the bone.
I do have skin.
I am human.
I have real feelings and thoughts.
Just like everyone else.

You can let your kids talk to me and they will not get anorexia.
I will not poison your children.
I will not teach them to count calories.
So quit worrying.

Bye.

 

Morning Ramble While My Coffee is Making

I guess I feel like not giving this one a proper title maybe because I don’t feel like it will be worth having it Google searched.  Maybe what I say won’t be organized enough.  Maybe I’ll “go on and on” or maybe you won’t understand what I am saying.  But I’m gonna give it my best shot, okay?  This will be done in verse, today, kiddies.

For today….

This applies if you are a woman and if you are a man it doesn’t and I apologize right here right now.
Usually, stuff I write about ED applies to both men and women, and I do say so.
But today, I am going to speak frankly to just women.
Women and girls.
And I want you to listen up.

When I was young, I was told by my mom, maybe at 16, and I’ve stated this in my blog before
That I was too big up top, and that this was not right.
At 17 my mom presented me the option of breast reduction surgery.
No, she didn’t upfront offer to pay, this I had no clue about.  I didn’t ask for money andI was at the point of wishing very badly that I was financially independent,
But had no clue how to reach this stage.
There was no way I was going to ask my mom anything about doing this surgery or her participation.
Actually, me and my mom were rarely speaking.
However, the implication was that this surgery would stop the men,
I repeat, men, from doing this thing: they were driving past me
As they had done since, say, I was 14 years old,
Driving past me and rudely letting out a loud, screaming
Whistle.

Today, I hear this whistle still.
You grudge that I, today, as blogger, “go on and on”
About the Housing Authority maintenance guy
Who won’t stop his incessant unnecessary whistlingUntil 4:30 sharp when the Housing Authority all goes home each weekday.

Okay, so I formally apologize.

So the implication was that my getting this surgery will stop the whistling.
Now do you hear me?  A surgery to silence it.

Now am I alone in this?
Many women were getting the surgery for this very reason: to stop discrimination based on SHAPE.

What the fuck?  What kind of society do we live in?

Why don’t we just leave people alone?

Yes, I have large breasts.  I wish I didn’t feel like I have to diet myself to death (actually, this saves money)
Lemme tell ya, it’s cheaper than the surgery.
I mean, yeah, you can die in the process, but never mind that
It’s not like I had to cut into them.
They don’t hurt.
There’s no silicone.

Let me tell the women and girls out there one thing.
I thought for a long time that there was a connection.
Even with being raped.
For a long time, I thought if I did the skinny thing.
Over the years, I saw a pattern….
There being perhaps an advantage to having kept my scale over the many decades…
But me, I am so short, five foot one, that I don’t really need a fucking scale to tell me how much
My body weighs.
Well, when I am skinny I know I feel better.
I can see my food in my stomach.
I see it after I eat it.
I see it pass down into the lower part of my abdomen, and pass through my colon.
I wish for it to pass quickly.
And perhaps we all do the same.
Perhaps this fascination is universal, this watching of the lumps.

Sometimes, I touch them.
I touch veins with wonderment.
I poke each one, then let the blood flow again.
This is kind of sickly fascination you do only alone, maybe in the bathroom,
When no one else is looking.

No, ladies, it’s a myth that getting skinny stops rape.
It doesn’t stop the bosses from doing it.
Having this disease won’t get you that promotion.
Even though your boss said he’d give it to you if you fucked him.
In fact, you probably won’t be able to work if you have this disease.You’ll be too hungry to concentrate.

So tell the boss to fuck off.  Just quit, and keep on eating.
Being the way I am, and saying what I am saying is not going to change asshole men.
There will always be assholes out there.
And they will be assholes to anyone at any size or shape.
They will be assholes to little kids, boys too.  Let’s face it.
They will just keep on whistling.

That’s why women opt for the surgery, I suppose.
They just say, fuck it, the world’s not going to change.
It’s not like the assholes are going to stop discriminating against me when I go to job interviews.
Looking at my breasts instead of asking whether I can type.

What do you think they do on match dot com?  Where do their eyes go?
Why do those men insist on a photo?  Assholes.

Yes, I will tell you right here right now.
I was told by a guy, “I will not have sex with a fat woman. It’s a turn-off.  I will not lie in bed with her.”

Okay, marry the guy, and live in mortal fear of food.  I can see it now.
Or, I guess, if you slip up, he would pay to have it cut off now and then, right?

Don’t fall for the myths.

Don’t marry an asshole.  Divorce him if you can.

Oh, live on, world.  I will laugh at you very hard today.

 

 

When your digits match: Thought for the day

When your digits match
(I’m finding this out)
That is, when you are 55 years old, or 44, or 22, or 11
Something magical happens

I would honestly have no clue if this works at 66
Cuz I have not reached that point yet

The magical thing is that whatever event
Occurs in your life
No matter how shitty
No matter how exhausting
No matter how costly
No matter how much of a goddamn nuisance
Instead of hitting your head against the wall
You end up asking yourself
“What did I learn from this?”
“How can I do better next time?”
“What can I teach others who are going through the same thing?”
“How do I proceed from here?”

And life goes on.

Now obviously, this trait of being able to pick up the pieces and move on
Has nothing to do with digits matching
This ability to step outside of oneself occasionally
Look at oneself from the point of view of another
Laugh, even
May be the trait of a writer
Or comic
Or artist
Or storyteller.

When I was a kid, I did this literally.  I hitch-hiked.
When I had a bad ride, I’d shake myself off, like a dog shaking its coat
And head back out onto the edge of the highway.
I’d wait for the next ride
And see where it brought me.

So my suggestion for the day
Is to thank all the assholes in your life
Who have brought you this far.
God bless all the bad rides, bummer trips
And the times it rained.

Because these are the things that get you moving
These are the things that get you pissed off
And writing
into action
helping others
reaching out
changing your life
And the world.

So just for today, all you double-digit folks,
Be the Revolution.
Bless everyone in your life that ever hurt you
Thank them from the bottom of your heart.
Live and grow.

Paranoia

So I thought I’d tell you, briefly, what it’s like
for me

See, for me, it’s like I’m the only little guy
in a room full of big guys
(even though I’m not a guy)
all with their big, big frightening eyes
they are all so tall
and up so high.

They are all plotting and scheming
they are talking about me
I can hear them
I can’t hear their words
but I know they are planning ways
to make me fat.

I strain to listen
I am fascinated with their plan.

I have to get the hell out of here
but not tell anyone
just sneak out the back door.

I can’t let them make me fat
can’t let them get their giant hands on my body
can’t let them contaminate me
poison me
touch me even
I have to wrap myself in lies
to protect myself.

No thanks, I ate already.
I eat plenty, I don’t need any more.
Just water please, nothing in it.

And escape out the back door
just get me outa here
I’m unstoppable now.

What I said at the church water ceremony 9/9/12

We have a water ceremony every year.  We bring water from where we were over the summer, and share  where our journey.  We mix the water together.  I wrote down what I wanted to say to make sure I wouldn’t bore folks.  Here’s what I said:

I learned that we here in UU don’t have this place called Hell.

But if anything was Hell on Earth, it was the four years of relapse I had with my eating disorder.

On August 29th, Puzzle had her Psychiatric Service Dog papers signed,

And she’s legal.

That was when Hell ended.  It was done with.

When I gave Puzzle her name, five-and-a-half years ago, I didn’t realize

That she was the missing Puzzle Piece.

 

If there’s any way I can describe it, going from “pet” to Psychiatric Service Animal,

Maybe it’s like you take on vows,

Such as the vows that a doctor or minister takes on,

My place with Puzzle in the world has forever changed,

Together, we walk on six legs.  Or that’s how I like to think about it.

 

I got better in spite of this thing called treatment.

I hope I never grow out of wanting to change the world.

I am getting stronger, and prouder, and more confident every day.

 

This water comes from Heathrow Airport.

I came back to the US on Sunday and on Wednesday I got locked up against my will.

I spent sixteen days imprisoned and then left against medical advice on Friday, August 3rd.

Opening the bottle, it’s like the water isn’t even me anymore.  I’m so different.  I’m so thankful.  Amen.

 

Fence

What I am doing now…It’s like reaching into being dead, and then quickly pulling my foot out.

No one is partway dead.  You are dead or you are alive.

Some might say I should just walk away from these issues.  But I only find myself back in the same place again and again.

It is senseless not to face it and deal with it.

It means using words freely, and thinking freely and uncensored.   Oppression is no assistance or use to me.

Pain and suffering can cause me strife, or I can use these for fuel.

Sometimes, there’s nothing left to burn.

 

 

Abusive therapist

You put your trust in these people.
They mess with your head.
They have the power to call the police on you and put you in the hospital at their whim.
When you try to tell anyone about the abuse, no one believes you
Because after all, you are the sick one.
You don’t even want to believe it yourself.
You don’t want to admit you stayed in this situation and didn’t leave.
Came to this person, week after week, asking for help.
This person said, “You need me.  I am the only one.”
No one believes you because she has the degrees and training and reputation.
She seems so nice and talks smart with fancy clinical words.

If this has happened to you, you are not alone.
I am sitting here Sunday, April 29, 2012 so totally fucked up.
I always thought she was the best therapist I ever had.
See, that was just how brainwashed I was.
I quit her because I finally saw the bullshit.
If this has not happened to you
Maybe if you did some reading about domestic violence and rape
You might get some ideas about the dynamics going on here.
Everyone assumes she is right and I am wrong because of our roles.

“Everyone” means my other treatment providers
Every hospital I’ve been in
And many well-meaning friends.
Because behind all that compassion, that supposed dedication
Is a lot of control and ego and her own issues.
These people should not be doing therapy.  Period.

I’ll be back in a sec.  Just trust me on this.

Update…written in verse

Many times, when I begin to write a piece, I promise myself, “I will be brief.”
This is one of those times.
But usually I end up going on and on, and this inconveniences me
Even if what I end up with is halfway decent.

I think everything I write these days is really my swan song
My last chance
So I have this need to get down everything I can
Before it’s too late.
Maybe I’m an idiot for thinking that what I have to say
Is at all important or useful.
But the fact I have been writing my song for years
And my body is not dead yet
Is very annoying to me.

I could slow down the words
But I don’t.
The words keep pouring out of me.
Sometimes, this feels like a gift I don’t deserve.
Or maybe I’m writing with the last drop of ink that’s left.

There was one last single drop of oil in the lamp kept the Temple lit for eight days
And for this we spun dreydles and talked about miracles
Watched the wax drip down off the menorah
And the candles blend together, as if they were one candle.

If no one was looking, I’d grab a bit of the wax
And it would make a mold of my fingerprint.
This was a tangible record of me.
Maybe that was enough.

When people are mean to us

Maybe someone was mean to you
Well, I know what that’s like
We all do.

It could have happened yesterday or a long time ago.
It could have been something very, very subtle
Or what most people think of as a major life-changing event.

Either way
You remember it.

And maybe it didn’t happen only once.
Maybe it happened many times
Over a period of years
Or even decades.
Maybe it didn’t involve a single person being mean
But a group of people
Or a fair chunk of the world.

Maybe it took a long, long time
Before you realized that that this thing that happened was mean
Or that it even happened.

I have no explanation for why people are mean
Except to say that it’s part of human nature.

I have no explanation for why these things happened
To you or to me.

Some people say that they tend to get stepped on more than others.
Some people say that they tend to get themselves into the role of victim
Because they were taught to be wimpy.

Everyone faces the challenge of learning new ways.
Everyone challenges their wimpiness every day
By waking up and getting out of bed.
Some people learn to speak up early in life, some much later on.
There is a big difference here,
And that’s how I see it.

How can we say that we get stepped on more than others
When there are some in this world who have not yet learned to speak up
Who are still living in silence
Who have not yet spoken a word?

There are some who may have been stomped and crushed far worse than we ever were.
Some have been beaten to death long, long ago.
They are not even known to us.

I have no explanation for why people are mean
Except to say that it’s part of human nature.

I have no explanation for why these things happened
To you or to me

Except to say that there are many behaviors
A person can do.
Some of these behaviors hurt us.

It wasn’t because you or I were bad, or did anything wrong.
It wasn’t because you or I deserved it.
We don’t deserve a happy life or an unhappy life
Depending on how morally good we are.
Some people are rich and some people are poor no matter what they do.
So let’s take “deserved” out of the picture.

I was in the wrong place at the wrong time
And maybe you were, too.

And all those people that say,
“Let go of it,”
Or, “That was the past.  Focus on now.”
I say,
Don’t let anyone else tell you where to put your focus.
Don’t let anyone else tell you it was “nothing.”
If it is in you mind, then you must be thinking about it, right?
Don’t let anyone convince you you that you have to think or feel a certain way about it
Or that you have to talk or not talk about those thoughts or feelings
Or forget about them altogether.

Or write them down
Or let them out or put them in a “feelings box”
Or that you have to put the person who was mean to you in a chair and talk to that person
Or role-play that person

There is no right or wrong right now.
All you are doing is reading my words.

I can’t promise that no one will ever be mean to you again.
There is nothing I can do to stop these things from happening.
There is nothing you can do, either
No matter how much you or I have learned
No matter how strong or good we are.

All I can do is write these words.
All I can do is write these words
And maybe remember
And maybe not.