ten year old Courtney and her memories

I have been contemplating the feeling of me being ten years old because that's about the time when the good feelings ran out in my family.

So I'm thinking about what ten year old Courtney was feeling.

I see that it was a transition from abundance to fear and scarcity in a big way, my parents were experiencing it, I was part of it.

My big brother couldn't look at me because of his own guilt I suppose, so I lost my only ally.

But bigger than that, because I didn't understand that and I didn't process that at all, so bigger than that, was the new scarcity.

I had a vague sense that my father thought of himself as an imposter in the stock market game.

And I had a vague sense that he was failing out of some larger inability to really get behind the money game he was playing.

He was sarcastic about it and joking, he loved cigars and he burned a hundred dollar bill as a cigar as a joke at a party at our house one night.

He had been a Philosophy major in college, so he acted like his own greed or his own desire to succeed on a huge level was a farce.

He was uncomfortable with the money rolling in I think, he wasn't sure he could sustain it.

He couldn't.

Probably just by his own crisis of values.

My mother had been an only child surrounded by adults who doted on her.

She loved beautiful things but she also believed in modesty and solvency.

Modesty and solvency were not at all a part of my Dad's game right then.

I heard much later from the Yale professor he married in his fifties that humility and solvency, all be it in the form of swearing off all possessions, had become his final stance in the world.

When I spoke to this woman who was married to him for ten years before he died of heart trouble..yes trouble with his heart...she told me that he never told her he had any children.

She didn't know about my brother or me.

That's okay.

I didn't know about me either.

Yesterday I thought long and hard about ten year old Courtney.

I realized that the person to focus on for my future is not she but the girl who came first, the confident little girl who believed.

The hurt ten year old Courtney is me still, now.

I get that drill.

A couple summers ago I felt I had to liquidate the storage unit I was keeping with many beautiful things from the raising of my children.

I held a sale on Rob's front lawn.

The neighbors and people from around the neighborhood came and looked at my glamorous expensive things and offered me very low offers for everything.

I had it in my head that I needed every penny from these items.

I put every last thing out on the lawn.

I was telling myself I had to have the money to survive.

I sold my favorite doll, the only doll I had, she had her own wardrobe of sweet little girl clothes and she had a little felt rabbit that tied to her wrist as a pet.

She was in beautiful condition because that's how I was.

The doll was a child of the age of four or five.

I sold her to a young girl in the neighborhood.

Her grandmother walked back home and helped her get money from her parents and her own savings and she came back and counted out pennies and quarters and dollar bills until she had enough.

I think I sold it to her for ten or fifteen dollars.

Suddenly yesterday I lost my mind over that little doll.

My ten year old self was numb, she had already adapted, she knew all about scarcity and disappointment.

But I suddenly remembered the five year old or six year old Courtney.

I remembered how much she loved that doll, how much she loved all her toys.

I remembered how she hung up all the little clothes on all the little hangers, how she kept all the little socks neatly in the little drawer.

Six year old Courtney dressed that little doll lovingly in all her different outfits for different occasions, matching hat that was made of pale blue felt and tied under the doll's sweet little chin and kept her warm when she went out walking in her pale blue checked dress and her little lace up boots and her pale blue felt cape with buttons down the front.

You don't know and you don't care, I get it.

But I suddenly lost my fucking mind yesterday over that little doll.

No one was home yesterday and I started running around the house looking in the basement, looking in the cupboards, saying out loud, "I couldn't have sold her, I couldn't have let her go, she must be here somewhere!"

"Where's my doll from when I as little?"

How could I have let her go???????????

How could I have tortured my five year old little Courtney self again...one more time...calmly taking the money from the girl and watching her walk away with the doll in the case down the street?

How did I watch that nice little girl from down the street walk off with the one and only thing left of all that I lost when I was little?

Why wasn't I screaming?

Why didn't I realize that the small metal case was like a foot tall and could sit under my bed, or in my closet, anywhere, and ten more dollars wasn't going to save me?

Jesus Christ.

I have punished myself enough.

Okay?

I have lost enough, but more importantly I have forced myself to do this penance now for long enough.

No more!

Six year old Courtney wants to shine and sing and play with her pretty toys and dress up in all her matching outfits.

She didn't do all this.

She was untainted.

Her desire to sing, her desire to care for things, her gratitude and love for her parents, her grandparents, her Great Aunt Ebby who bought her that doll, her aunts and uncles, her cousins, her brother, her family dog, her big bedroom and her toys, the Kindergarten teacher, the books she loved, the kids at school.

At eight she got her first guitar for Christmas and she loved that too.

Around that same time she got an easel for a present, a wooden painter's easel, with books on how to draw horses and more.

She had stacks of brand new paper for the easel, and paints, and everything.

She had everything she needed.

You know what she did?

She went to school and invited a bunch of kids to come to her house for "Art Lessons".

She told them it would cost twenty-five cents.

She went home and told her mother to have cookies ready.

Five kids came.

Her mother made them all leave their shoes at the door, which she thought was embarrassing.

She brought the kids up to her big bedroom that had a big bed and a big wooden floor area.

The kids sat in a semi-circle in front of her new easel, she handed out paper and drawing pencils.

She set up the book about how to draw a horse and she walked them through each of the steps until everyone had made a nice horse.

Then she went downstairs and brought up the plate of cookies.

Then everyone gave her their quarter.

She walked them all back to the front door, and as they put on their shoes and then left one at a time with their horse drawings in their hands, she stood smiling happily, feeling great.

That's my girl.

She deserves everything that I'm going to give her now.

I cut her down for making stupid records that were commercial failures.

I cut her down for dressing up in stupid matching outfits.

That little girl is gonna shine and I'm the only one who can help her now.

I'm gonna make it all up to her.

Everything she's ever done.

Every dream she had, it's all still here, I didn't sell her dream.

I didn't give away her songs she wrote.

I have them, I know how they all go.

For nearly fifty years that little girl has been trying to make good on her initial vision of herself, and even though the rug's been pulled out from under her and even though ......

......even though I have sabotaged my own efforts in a thousand poisoned ways......

I am still alive, and Christmas hasn't come yet, and there's still time for me and my man Ebenezer to make it right for our hurt childhood selves.....

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me."

Charles Dickens knew.

The child we were must be made to feel whole again.

I apologize for selling the little doll in the little case that little Courtney took such good care of for fifty years.

But the girl who bought her bought her with great joy and pride.

My little doll is hers now.

I accept it.

I'll buy a new doll for a grandchild hopefully some day and I'll have the chance to show how to take good care of such a precious childhood gift.

Tonight is my Christmas show in a decorated and heated old barn in Owatanna, Minnesota.

I'll do my very best to give them some great joy and great cheer through my songs.

And I'll wear one of my head to toe matching outfits like I always do because little Courtney is feeling honored after all.

All things are mine 'cause I am loved, how can I keep from singing?

Signs from the Holy Spirit

There was an outpouring of support for my writing yesterday on this blog...see yesterday's post.

People wrote to me privately and publicly, across all of my social media sites, and to me directly in texts and emails.

Some comments were written right on the blog post, which you can read if you go back to yesterday's post.

No one said I should watch out because I'm getting off track, or losing my mind.

If some people think that, they're keeping it to themselves.

The people who wrote to me all had the same strong feeling that this thing I'm doing is good.

I agree.

And the Holy Spirit and The Universe seem to agree as well.

The signs yesterday afternoon were magical.

I decided to leave the house, even though I didn't have any outside employment yesterday.

I got in my Jeep and headed for the only place I know where I can sit and write before a log burning fire, with a nice drink beside me.

On the way, a loud sputtering car roared up beside me on a snowy side street, coming up on my left, low down and aggressive on the narrow street, pushing past me kicking out snow chunks as it sped ahead of me.

I was thinking "knock yourself out, person" as they went by.

They cut right directly in front of me then in the most noticeable way possible, nearly clipping my bumper, letting out a bellow of exhaust right into my windshield, such an obnoxious car, impossible to ignore......

and then I saw it......

as I was scrunching up my face in disgust at this low down car right in front of me....

the license plate, reading, "JESUS MN".

Yep.

That's what it said.

Impossible to ignore, indeed.

I went to the new favorite cafe with the wood burning fireplace.

I ordered myself an extravagance of a smoked salmon grain bowl with wild rice and roasted sweet potatoes and spinach leaves and dried cranberries.

They also make this hibiscus tea drink with Prosecco in it, so I got that too.

I sat down by the fire with my notebook and pen.

I had been thinking about this idea from yesterday of writing to my ten year old self and reassuring her that good fortune is upon us.

I brought with me a notebook given to me by a great fan and supporter.

The notebook has "Tea For The Tillerman" Cat Stevens' great album, depicted on the cover.

I chose this notebook because I liked this exact album so much when I was young, and I vaguely thought maybe I liked it around the time I was ten.

I sat down and began to write.

My food came, I enjoyed every bite with gratitude.

I went back to the writing.

Then I decided to take a break and check my phone.

Among the many emails of support from fans who had read my blog post that morning, there was an email from a booking agent.

She wrote asking if I would like to play a show at the very nice old Parkway Theater in Minneapolis, she books a series that is a live music performance by a songwriter and then there's a classic film shown after.

She wanted to have me perform before a showing of "Harold And Maude".

She said that she loves my new cover tunes album, which is great because she's also a radio host of a new music program on an independent radio station.

She said she had the idea for the movie because of my rendition of the Cat Stevens song "Father And Son" on my new album.

With a couple of emails we agreed to a price and I gleefully accepted the offer.

I went back to my writing, but I thought suddenly that it would be interesting to see when "Harold And Maude" was first released.

I looked it up.

The movie was released when I was ten years old, 1970-71.

Then I looked up "Tea For The Tillerman", the Cat Stevens album, and discovered that it was also released that same year.

I sure guessed right when I chose to write in that notebook about what my life was like when I was ten.

And the booking invitation coming at the same time?

Such a nice miracle.

I closed my eyes, sitting by that fireplace, reveling in the magic of what had just occurred.

When I opened my eyes again, there beside me in the other cozy chair by the fire was suddenly Rob Genadek!

I laughed out loud!

He said he had come in and saw me sitting with my eyes closed.

He thought I had dozed off...like a weirdo...in the public place...sleeping.

No I wasn't sleeping, but it was a great surprise.

He ordered us each a drink...my hibiscus affair was drained by then.

I told him of my recent miracles and he listened happily.

He invited me to his show that evening where he was playing the drums with one of his favorite local indie bands.

He left after his drink and I stayed and wrote some more.

Then I got in my Jeep and headed home again.

I stopped at a red light, and sat pondering the lyrics to a few songs from Cat Stevens, thinking about how I'd learn a couple more again for the special movie show.

I looked up to watch the light change and I saw that the cross street was "Stevens Avenue".............

There's a book I'm reading called "A Course In Miracles".

The female author contends that the book was really written by none other than Jesus Christ himself...through her...and hey, I'm not in any position to argue these seeming insanities any more.

The book says that when you see all these small signs, and big signs, and miracles of all shapes and sizes are coming at you one after another, this means you are aligned with the Holy Spirit.

It means you are using your creative mind instead of your competitive mind.

It means you are in step with God's abundance instead of your fearful ideas of lack.

I have everything I need today.

A friend and fan gave me a forty dollar gift card to Cub Foods.

Our cupboards are a bit bare.

It's time to go use the card.

I'm going to walk to the store this morning and get everything we need.

Praise be to whatever God you can muster, and whatever Holy Spirit you can feel in your heart and all around you.

Be lavish with yourself.

Have a great day.

 

Also, I'm going to make some more of my "holy spirit 2019" t shirts today.

I have a nice show tomorrow and I want the shirts to be on my merch table in a nice neat stack.

I sold out of the first set of them.

For tomorrow's show I have the new pressing of "High Priestess And The Renegade" which sold out, and I have more copies of my novel as well.

I have the new album, and I have just about everything else I've done in cd or vinyl as well.

I'm prepared.

I have everything I need.

 

ten year old me

I spoke with a life coach in L.A. yesterday on the phone for an hour.

My daughter recommended I do this for myself right now before I begin my biggest year yet, 2020.

So I spoke with her.

She was very straightforward and quickly the conversation narrowed.

She was asking other questions about other time periods that may have been significant, but it was very obvious to us both that my ten year old self harbors the most pain and fear.

Isn't that strange, that the girl I always focus on is the girl in the cabin at seventeen, but I never think of the ten year old girl.

God had forsaken her, as she sat in her closet, with the cat on her lap that she had found and "saved" but maybe just captured, that her parents didn't know about, that had a cardboard box with kitty litter in it but the box had long soaked through and she didn't know how to get any more and it smelled and the cat didn't have enough to eat and she didn't know what to do.

The cat eventually scratched her badly and got away and thankfully no one was home that day so ten year old me ran downstairs and opened the front door and the poor distressed and possibly worse off than ever cat ran out.

Ten year old me had been coaxed into some sexual encounters by her older brother, fondling not intercourse, that had left her feeling like she was tainted, like she was ruined, but she didn't blame it on him even though he was five years older and she was nine at the time.

Ten year old me had seen her brother knocked to the floor and kicked in the stomach by their father.

Ten year old me was told constantly by her mother that she didn't dress well, didn't act right, but there were no clothes left in the closet that fit.

The mother said there wasn't any money for clothes any more so I should be grateful for what I had.

I came out in the pale blue angora sweater dress she had bought me two Christmases ago, she had bought it too big then so it would fit for a few years but there's a big difference between eight year old me and ten year old me.

I wasn't overweight, I was just taller and bigger.

The mother screamed at ten year old me that the dress was too tight now and that I looked bad but there was nothing else in the closet that was better and the mother didn't want to believe that.

The parents screamed and yelled and threatened.

Ten year old me pushed my big chest of drawers up against my bedroom door and stayed in my room.

But my room had the old kitty litter.

My room had a crawl space that only I went into that I had made into a secret writer's den.

But silver fish, little shimmering insects, had taken over the paper spread out on little milk crates as a desk, so I was afraid to go in there, afraid to clean it out, more afraid to tell my mother.

My Dad wasn't even an option.

He wouldn't have cared, he would have put it on my mother to do something, because he was frantically going broke in the stock market.

Ten year old me was not safe anywhere.

Ten year old me loved school and loved teachers, but I had begun to tell lies.

I lied about why I couldn't bring in a check to pay for anything.

Kids were always having to bring in checks to pay for books or field trips.

I used to always have the right check for everything, including my flute lessons.

But then I started having to lie.

And the bill collectors called the phone in the kitchen all the time.

My Dad started telling me to lie and tell them that my father wasn't there and that we didn't know where he was.

He'd be sitting right there at the kitchen table.

After a while no one would answer the phone at our house, and I knew that people were calling, like my flute teacher, to speak with my parents, but there was nothing I could do.

I would just shrug and say that I didn't know why every time she called there was no answer, even though my mother didn't have a job outside the home.

I stopped going to flute lessons.

I'm sure we still owed her money.

I am so ashamed of who I've been.

I am so ashamed of how I've lived my life since then.

In my mind I became an outcast, everywhere I went, the rest of my life.

No one could be trusted.

No one could know.

Nothing could be done.

I was not safe.

I am not safe.

I'm not safe for others because I really can't be trusted.

I am a manipulative person who puts on a big show and takes whatever I can take but is never on the side of right.

I am a ten year old frightened girl in a fifty-nine year old body.

The life coach suggested I write about the ten year old girl.

She suggested I write her a letter and tell her she's safe now.

She suggested that, as if it would be possible to write that.

But my scamming days are over and the fact is she's not safe.

I can't lie any more.

She's not safe at all.

Her mother criticizes her constantly still.

The very kind man she is devoted to has very little more than just what he himself needs to get by...physically and emotionally.

Her ten year old girl finances are all in shambles, all used up.

Her attempt to drive around and play music at an absurd age of fifty-nine when any self respecting grown woman would never put herself in a position like that has left her tired and frightened.

I can't write that letter.

I can't reassure that ten year old girl.

She and I just keep going from one frying pan to another fire.

Over and over, always in peril.

I'm tired.

I have grown weary.

It's hard to keep reliving this for her.

I can't do it any more.

She's not safe.

Sorry for grown up me who wants out.

I want out of this self perpetuating nightmare, this self flogging torture.

How do I give the ten year old me a sense of safety and calm, of confidence and pride, of self reliance and dignity?

How do I make her believe that we don't have to live this way any more?

How do I prove to her and to myself and to the world that I am worthy, I am honest, I am kind, I am reliable?

How?

I know that I was given a promise as a child.

God and the stained glass Jesus at my big Lutheran Church were all mine because my family didn't like church.

I sang in the choir from age six and I sang for stained glass Jesus and he loved me, he was proud of me, he gave me the gift of his presence and undivided attention every time I sang.

He promised me I was a good person, worthy and deserving.

He knew I was special and I knew it too.

I'm going back to him and I'm going to ask him to help me remember the girl with the promise on her lips and the dream in her eyes, the girl I was supposed to be, before the ice froze over me.....that's a line from one of my earlier songs.

I thought it was about the frozen lake of 1978 when I was alone in the cabin on the Canadian border.

But, no, it's about sitting in the closet with the captured cat on my lap long before that, at age ten.

I have no way of knowing whether writing this all out on my website like this is right or wrong.

I only know that it feels good to give witness.

I am giving public witness to my ten year old girl pain.

It feels right.

I think today I will write her a letter, good or bad, and tell her the truth.

I love her and she and I have returned to the church, we've come in out of our self imposed exile and although we are undeserving and not good, we might just be okay anyway.

In the church and under the loving gaze of a Jesus who is not judging and who loved the lepers and the unclean and the criminals, maybe we are finally safe again.

I want to believe this.

I need to believe this now.

These dark days of Advent are perfect for soul searching, and I am certainly doing mine.

I wish you all the blessings of Heaven today and every day.

Love,

grown up Courtney

 

 

so much rich input

So, in the past few days I've had to pay out almost eight hundred dollars in unexpected fees.

One was the second offense (the first being in 2014) of talking on a cell phone while driving, for $362.

The other was a small scratch, less than an inch or two, truly, on a German Hertz Rental car, that turned into a long drawn out situation, and ended yesterday through an American collection agency saying I owed them $780 but that they'd settle on the spot for half of that.

I did it.

I paid it all with my Paypal credit line that I had used for my plane tickets to Europe last year.

I paid that off and have been planning to use the line of credit again for upcoming touring expenses.

That's okay.

It'll all work out.

How do I know?

Yesterday I went to the free meditation class I signed up for at the Lutheran church near my home.

In the meditation there was a story from the Christian Bible about a woman who was hemorrhaging for twelve years.

Good Lord.

Well, the meditation guide asked us who we think we are in the story.

I am the woman who hemorrhaged for twelve years, and twelve years exactly.

And now I am touching the robe of Jesus and the hemorrhaging is ended.

That's it.

I'm healed.

I'm not going to take sides about Jesus with the rest of the world.

I'm just going to choose to be a follower of the teachings of Jesus and let everybody else decide who they're gonna serve.

It may be the Devil or it may be the Lord but you're gonna have to serve somebody.

I'm serving Jesus once and for all this Christmas.

I'm over my years of sitting on the fence saying, "well, you know, there are so many different ways to look at it."

There are, but that's not my problem.

I'm going to embrace Christmas and the Birth of Jesus Christmas story.

Why?

Because I love it and I want to allow myself to love it.

So my apologies to all who are not embracing of that narrative, for many different reasons of birthplace, family background, other beliefs.

I am not disrespecting anyone.

I love all the great religions of the world.

But I can't be a Unitarian and go around saying that I respect them all, utilize them all, study them all.

I am just going with my Lutheran heritage, my Catholic heritage, my watered down Christian heritage.

I'm not a fanatic.

I want everyone to be free to worship their God and Gods and Goddesses in their own ways.

And I want to be unselfconscious in my worship of my idea of God and Jesus.

In my book Jesus was inclusive and kind.

Good enough.

That's where I'm going this Christmas.

And I will take the risk of Faith.

I will risk being a fool.

I will risk being old fashioned.

I will risk being romantic and naive.

I will sing Christmas songs with joy and love and not squabble over the facts versus the fiction.

I just wanna be happy and I want to believe in the light of the world because the world needs a great light.

And my twelve years of spiritual hemorrhaging will be ended today.

I am going to keep one finger touching the robe of Jesus.

I will live in abundance and joy from this day forth.

I have nothing to fear.

All things are mine because I am loved.

How can I keep from singing?

humility 101

Humility 101 has struck me with a great stick and has knocked me to my knees.....

and I suppose this is what I needed if it's happening.

My own mother called me to say that she saw Deepak Chopra on television and he was saying that you should let what's coming happen.

Don't fight anything.

Let it all happen.

The sooner it all happens the better.

My father's demise happened.

I don't know how hard he tried to stave it off, but I do know that for a time, as his stock broker life was becoming a nightmare, he drove a Chicago city taxi at night to make some cash.

I was around fifteen or sixteen then.

I remember it all pretty well.

He gave up trying when my Mom cheated on him because she was giving up trying too.

I never saw him again after that.

I am sitting in my cozy landing net with a man upstairs who loves me even though he knows I'm flawed.

His loving me gives him pain and grief.

He came downstairs this morning to see me with my hands over my face crying.

Another punishment has come down on me in this strange Advent of my atonement.

A bill for a rental car from Germany from a year ago, a bill that I thought was unfair and that I attempted to dispute, has come down hard as a must-pay-now event.

They even offered to reduce the total owed to half what it is.

So I paid it just now with my line of Paypal credit, four hundred dollars.

Another unexpected bill for a small error, a chip in the paint of a rental car that I swear wasn't my fault.

Whatever.

My children go to California all together tomorrow for a beach vacation with their father and his beautiful younger wife.

It could have been me.

I could be going on vacation tomorrow with my family still together, still one big happy family.

If I only could have found a way to be happy in my marriage to their father.

Do I regret leaving him?

Yes.

I do.

I regret the pain I caused and the ruin I have brought on myself.

I didn't know what else to do.

I thought I did everything and I wanted to give up, so I did.

I was miserable in the unhappiness of a troubled marriage.

He wanted me to stay and he told me that a lot of people's marriages were miserable and they toughed it out and so should we.

He was right.

I wish I had stayed with him and kept our family together.

I am paying for it.

I will pay for it all my life.

 

 

 

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