The man with the Angel Tattoo.

So I think its time for this blog to be written. I was thinking about a lot of things yesterday, in my head and then something very special happened. I was driving and  picked up a customer, he was waiting on the side of the road. He was handsome, nice smile. He was friendly. As I was driving him something very special happened.

He decided to tell me his story. I believe when someone shares something very personal with a complete stranger that it is a gift. Some people find it strange or weird but I think it is an offering of some kind. A glimpse into their soul.

I accept it when this happens to me; I actually  treasure it like a beautiful shell or smooth piece of sea glass I find on the beach. Little gifts from god.

I don’t know if this man will ever read this, probably not but I want to thank him just the same. He shared a traumatic story about his childhood and how it affected him as an adult. He told me how he handled it and how his anger overtook him for a large part of his life. I cannot tell you his complete story but I will tell you part of it. This man was given looks, athletic ability, high IQ and intelligence. But he was angry. Very angry and he never really understood why. He had suppressed the events that happened to him for years. But all of a sudden he remembered. And he cried.

One day he decided  to kill one of the people who had hurt him very badly as a child.. So he bought a gun, he drove to the person’s house and sat there, sober and aware. He said he waited a few hours getting the nerve to commit a murder and as he was about to get out of the car, a 90-year-old black woman with white hair, came up to his car and knocked on the car window.  He rolled down the window and she gave him a piece of paper of some kind. It said you are loved, God loves you. As he was looking down at the paper to see what it said, she said what was written there. She said You are loved. God Loves You. He  looked back up and she had vanished. just vanished, into thin air. He said he had that piece of paper for years in his wallet and it eventually fell apart from showing it to people and telling them the story. He told me his friends and people he told  didn’t believe the story and said he probably was seeing things and he was delusional. He said she was real and no way could she have walked away from the car that fast, she was very old. He said she was an ANGEL. He said he didn’t do drugs and he wasn’t drunk and he knew it happened.

After she gave him that paper, YOU ARE LOVED, GOD LOVES YOU. He felt someone had reached into his insides, his heart and pulled all the pain that was in his body and pulled it out. The weight had been lifted. This is all true, this is what he told me. The pain was gone. He put the gun back in the glove compartment and drove home. He didn’t murder anyone that night and all he had left to prove what happened was this piece of paper and his memory.

He said no one believed him. But he stopped drinking so much, He stopped getting into bar fights and he found comfort in a Christian church and was happy for the first time in his life. As he was telling me his story it was hard not to get goosebumps. I listened and when we got to the destination I turned around. I took his hand and I thanked him for his story, for his offering into his soul. I said it meant so much to me that he shared it with me and as I was holding his hand I noticed his angel tattoo on his forearm. It was quite large.

I looked at it and he saw me staring at it and he said that was there before I met my angel. The old black lady with the white hair. I said your soul called her to you. I believe the angel story because I have some of my own. He gave me some caring advice that he thought I needed to hear and got out of my car. I was very emotional. I cried.

Sometimes you have to be broken open before you can be healed. I think he had been broken open and I feel I have been as well. A kind woman gave me this book once, it’s a great book and I recommend it to anyone struggling to breathe. Before you can be stitched back up you have to forgive and be forgived. I realized then that it was time to say I am sorry. I have been thinking about this for a while. It’s time. So here it is.

I AM SORRY.

No excuses this time. No Buts or Whys. Just Sorry.

I am sorry if I hurt you in any way.

I am sorry if my words were harsh or insensitive.

I am sorry if I hurt you in my inability to communicate correctly. ‘

I am sorry if I hurt your feelings in my own confusion or lack of understanding.

I am sorry if I hurt you when I was unbalanced or mentally ill.

I did my best with what I had to work with. I tried to help myself but it took me 45 years to figure it all out, My heart was always in a good place but I had trouble communicating that sometimes.

I AM SORRY.

I ask you to get to know the me in front of you today. I am a living evolving human being with a open heart. I ask for your clemency.

I hope you can accept my offering of apology and I hope you can forgive me as I forgive.

I forgive it all.

I thank the Man with the Angel Tattoo as he never did give me his name but he did give me his soul, a piece of it anyway and I thank him for that. We all have our stories.

I also want to thank all of my Angels. All of you. Thankyou!

As for the rest; This song is for all of you. I love you all.

Love and Happiness,

JLOZ.

The World is like a Prism

This morning there was a video on the news of: Protesters inside Columbus Circle globe in front of Trump Hotel. All these comments came up on the video where people were saying go get a job, all sorts of mean comments about the protestors. I don’t care if you support Donald Trump but we the people have the constitutional right to protest. You all like to throw the constitution at us all the time. Just because your protesting doesn’t mean you’re not working. Not everyone works 9-5 which backs up my point of this post. Just because you work 9-5 doesn’t mean the rest of the world does.

But what strikes me about these people is their inability to see anything from a different point of view other than their own. The world is s like a prism and it has many angels. viewing the world from only your angle, is short sided and I would say even cruel. .

We need to LOVE from all angles. We need to SEE from all angles. Not just the angles we can see from where we comfortably sit. I try every day to try to see things from other people’s point of view. I make mistakes and I say the wrong things sometimes but my heart is real and I try to walk in the shoes  of my brothers and sisters. I try to walk in the footprints of  our ancestors for we stand on their shoulders and  we should’nt let their sacrifice and  wisdom go to waste.  If I consciously make a decision to do this every day; then I can truly love our differences instead of being fearful of them.  And we already know that there is nothing  to fear but fear itself.

Love abd Happiness,

Jloz

D for Deranged. 

When I started this blog I knew I was going to be honest about my life and mental illness. I knew it would be cathartic and cleansing for me. I also knew there would be some backlash. I told myself to be honest even if it gets scary. I told myself to tell the good and the bad because that’s life. Even when bad stuff happens I know there is a nugget of truth or wisdom I can take from it. God knows that’s the truth. If there’s one thing I learned in all of the pain; I learned that if you survive it;  it produces something genuine and sinuous. There is a gracefulness of movement in my body and my mind. I don’t mean in the traditional sense but a new-found comfort with myself and how I move emotionally and physically. It’s hard to describe but I am doing the best I can.

I went to a Jam the other day to sing. It was the first time going there and it’s was super fun. I will definitely go back. I met a lot of nice people, musicians etc. When it was my time to get up and sing I was telling everyone what key I was going to sing in so I said Born under a bad sign in D like dog.  Then the Drummer looked at me and said, you mean D for Deranged. I said, what did you just say? I said interesting choice of words.

He just had this weird smile on his face. I was smiling, positive and then he said that. It does hurt because I’m sensitive. It hurts because I try so hard to start over and live a peaceful life. I don’t do well with people attacking me. Especially people I don’t know. If your honest about having a mental illness whether you’re in recovery or not you will have to expect this. I don’t know this man and he damn sure doesn’t know me so he had no right to say that because I am certainly not deranged. The other part of this is I am a woman who does speak her mind. I also let others speak their mind and I will listen but A lot of men hate on that. They call you all sorts of names and your just supposed to take it, like woman aren’t supposed to have an opinion. I told a friend the other day; I said no one is letting me be the new me and it’s so frustrating and he told me to write it down. Yeah write that down. So I did.

It took me a long time to realize how to help myself  but I did. It’s a lot of suffering and a lot of work but I’m doing it and that’s why comments like this is so hard to take. So I wrote it down. No one is letting me be the new me.  I looked at it over and over and I realized why he told me to write it down. I think he told me to write that down because he was telling me they don’t get to choose. You get to choose. You get to choose what and who you react too. What and who you give power too. I already know this. It’s up to me; not them. I know this in my brain but in my heart; it is still not sure; its latent and slow. I might be a bit of a Pollyanna and want to live in a world where everyone loves each other. I never thought Pollyannaism was a bad thing.

I have talked about this before that the stigma for mental health is so severe and negative compared to someone who is suffering from cancer etc. I can focus on the wonderful people I met that night or the few guy’s who weren’t so kind. I was warned by some people that there might be some people there to try to hurt me. It’s up to me what to focus on. I am training my brain to focus on the positive people and forget about the angry negative cruel ones.

Everyday I am getting better, stronger and a little less sensitive. I will always be honest, I will probably still say the wrong thing sometimes but my heart is in the right place. I will apologize if I hurt you and I will still love you no matter what. I love the guy that called me deranged and I love the others guys that stood in front of me when I sang and told me how old I looked. I knew they were trying to intimidate me and that’s cool. If that’s how they want to spend their evening so be it. Sometimes I get mad and forget what it is I’m trying to do. But when I am alone and with myself in solitude I realize then again that I love you all.

I have no room in my heart for any hate; it’s puffed up with love. Peace.

Love and Happiness,

Jloz

 

For the Stalkers 💋

Let everything that’s been planned come true. Let them believe. And let them have a laugh at their passions. Because what they call passion actually is not some emotional energy, but just the friction between their souls and the outside world. And most important, let them believe in themselves. Let them be helpless like children, because weakness is a great thing, and strength is nothing. When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible. When he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a tree is growing, it’s tender and pliant. But when it’s dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being. Because what has hardened will never win.  Andrei Tarkovsky

Stalker_poster

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Love and Happiness,

Jloz

Two Women in Town

The other night I stopped to get some beverages at the local convenience store and two women decided that they wanted to start a fight with me. They kind of parked behind me and waited for me to come out so they could start some stuff. Whatever. They said something to me and seriously I was like really, were doing this?  I didn’t fight back, I blew it off but I wasn’t in the mood for their  bullshit.  I have never done anything cruel to anyone in my hometown but for some reason there is some serious hate coming my way. It is fine…I can handle it but you have to wonder why?

Now these two women didn’t say much but it was more about the way they insulted me  .. like they actually knew me. I didn’t know them. How dare them!. My anger grew as the night went on. Then I thought to myself how easy it would be to fight back and just maybe make a tragic mistake that could affect me and them for the rest our lives. That’s how it happens. It can be that quick. I am not a confrontational person and I am a non-violent person. I know myself. But they better watch out because you can start a fight with the wrong person and well..you never know. You here about Road rage all the time.

I always wondered how someone could get to that point where they would actually cross that line.  I would never kill anything or anyone but the anger I felt in that minute gave me the insight, I mean I would never hurt anyone intentionally,  I will always take the highroad and walk away but I am ashamed to say I fantasized about taking a knife and stabbing those two women in the neck.

Now it was just a harmless fantasy but it made me think about people and  how someone could lose themselves if enough shit happens to them over their lifetime. I remember thinking that no matter how hard I tried or how kind I was to people bad things kept happening to me.

Now there is a lot of great stuff happening too so I am so grateful for that.  I have now learned how to ignore the negative stuff and will not let it affect me anymore. My hard work has paid off and I know I am where I want to be. I was angry but I let it go fast.

I refuse to let it affect me anymore.

Every time I watch Dateline I sit there and wonder ..how the hell could she kill her husband like that or how could he kill his best friend like that? You know, it was always inconceivable for me.

I’ve thought about this often. It fascinates me and frightens me at the same time. The human condition I guess and how easily a life can change over one bad decision.

After I saw Eugene Oneill’s Play, Hughie, on Broadway I was reminded how much I love his work. I was always attracted to his plays because he wrote about people on the edge. The depressed, the addicted , the night people. The darkness of his work and the darkness of his own life always kept my interest. I went back and read some of his plays recently. I re-read his most popular play Long’s Day’s Journey into Night.  I even love that title and completely understand it.. There was a quote in that movie that I was familiar with but I think for the first time I really understood it to the fullest of its meaning.

“None of us can help the things life has done to us. They’re done before you realize it, and once they’re done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.”
Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey Into Night   

The saddest 48 words ever spoke in my opinion …. but nothing could be truer. I know this happens to a lot of people and they have no idea how it happened. It’s like a rolling avalanche, once it starts moving you can’t stop it and it keeps destroying everything in its path. That very thing almost happened to me; losing yourself forever; but a little luck, strength, resilience and resistance was the key for me and so I was saved. I remember thinking how did I get here? This isn’t who I am. For some there is a turning point and they are saved, for others there is a turning point of no return. My heart breaks for the latter.

I understand how easy it is to end up there.  The unfortunates in the world, prone to addiction or mental illness or violence or bad luck.

Maybe they were born poor or have no family. Maybe they were abused and cast out into the night. Maybe they just made one bad decision. Maybe they trusted the wrong person. Some people have to pay for that one bad decision for the rest of their life.

That breaks my heart. I can’t help but think about them. It reminds me of a movie  I love called Two Men In Town.

It takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I think it’s a great movie with a powerful message. Forest Whitaker and Harvey Keitel are reunited again in this film, whenever they work together poetry happens.

I loved them both in the movie Smoke. Harvey Keitel was a cigar shop owner and a Poet in his spare time. He took a photograph of the corner where his store was located every day at the exact same time of the day, every day.  He kept a photo album of his life’s work. I loved that. So Poetic. Great Movie.

Anyway in Two Men in Town Forest’s character (William Garnet) was a murderer who got out of prison after 18 years of serving his sentence.

He was model inmate that tried very hard to control his anger and become a peaceful person. Forest Whitaker was incredible in this movie by the way. I saw it when it first came out but watched it again recently….a few times. I know I’m a super fan but no one can deny the brilliance of his performance in this movie. There was also this bad ass parole officer Emily Smith…I loved her in this film. Imagine this scene..so she sits listening to I think , Edith Piaf,   while cleaning her guns in the desert night under the stars. That was probably a nod to the French Director; Rachid Bouchareb in this movie.

That scene sets the precedent for the whole film. Dark vs. Light, Good vs. Evil, Love vs. Hate, Beauty Vs. Beast. She was the female heroine trying to help Garnet through the whole movie. A tough but fair ethical parole officer with a heart. Brenda Blethyn was the actress. I also loved her in the movie Secrets and Lies; another great movie. She is an incredible actress.  So like I said, the movie takes place in Albuquerque New Mexico. Some scenes are breathtaking while others are just dust and ashes.

Walls and Borders are a big part of this movie too; geographical borders and emotional borders.

After Garnet served his 18 years sentence the sheriff (Harvey Keitel) in town wouldn’t let Garnet alone. He had an old score to settle with Garnet and had no forgiveness towards him. The sheriff kept harassing him, and no matter how hard Garnet tried to turn his life around Agati ( Keitel) was there to derail him every time.

Every step forward was a step back. The heartbreaking scene between Garnet and his adoptive mother (Ellen Burstyn) is heart wrenching. While she speaks with a almost detached and disappointed voice about a scorpion that was loose in the house (symbolism) I understood Garnet’s frustration because he just wanted his mother’s love; love she couldn’t afford to give.

This movie makes a huge statement about redemption over a Dark Past and  working toward New Beginnings. It seems we don’t like to let people have new beginnings. We don’t like to let people forget their past. For example; We don’t let prisoners have a second chance in this country. We let them out with no money and let them fend for themselves. It’s tragic on so many levels because so many prisoners are locked away too long and the crime doesn’t fit the punishment in the first place. It seems to be getting even worse in this country . People are going to Jail for thirty years for minor Crimes because of Corrupt judicial system. Three strikes your out? There is Big Business in putting folks in prison now a days. The increasing stats are overwhelming.  It is very sad and unjust. The song Let my people go comes to mind, Paul Robeson https://youtu.be/gtLcELU1brA

There is a lot of symbolism in this movie as Garnet washes his hands of the past. Not letting someone start again, and live their life is a sin. You can watch the movie and no matter what your beliefs are about prisoners and murder you have to appreciate this well-acted story about new beginnings, redemption, and the tug of war between good and evil.

So..when those two women in town started with me at the convenience store it reminded me of a fight I got in when I was about ten years old. Now that I am back in my home town I am reminded of childhood memories. You can’t help it, there are reminders everywhere. So I was ten and me and my best friend were walking down to the same store that I was just talking about. It had just snowed and my friend had a snow pants on. I was dressed in jeans, These two girls, older but still girls, bullies, started to make fun of my friend in the snow pants. Back then snow pants weren’t cool at all. lol.

Well I thought it was important to protect my friend ( I am very loyal) so I told them to stop and to leave us alone. Well because I spoke out they decided to turn their attention to me and  left my friend alone. They then started to jump me and I remember them slamming my face down into the snow and punched me a couple of times. I heard my friend start to cry  because she got scared because she saw blood. My nose started to bleed and there were little rivers of blood oozing into the snow…like a bloody snow cone. The two girls saw the blood and they got scared as well and ran off. I still know one of the girls names. I ended up working with her at a restaurant when I was sixteen and she played on the same softball team as well, she picked on me there too but decided after a while that she liked me and left me alone. God, I couldn’t get away from her.

The other night when those two women in town started fighting with me in that parking lot it reminded me of that day in the snow, I was ten again and I had a bloody nose. The snow was red and my face was covered in ice. Its funny the things we hold onto. I could have fought back or even went further and caused physical harm. My life could be changed in an instant. So when I got home I decided to write some words down to shake off the anger I was feeling, first I vented to my friend, god bless her…and then wrote a poem about how I feel about some of the people I have come across recently. Anger is something I’ve had to deal with and try to minimize. It has been a work in progress but I think I have mastered it. I am sick of being accused of things I never did. I am sick of being mistreated. I am sick of being patronized and  I am sick of being misunderstood but I know how lucky I am to be here to write, love, work , sing and laugh. I am making my comeback. My turning point was in the direction of up; not down and I am so grateful for that. Don’t look back don’t look back don’t look back, only forward. The ten-year old is now fifty looking forward to love and light. Your perceptions of me cannot and does not matter anymore. I am only feeling the love coming towards me, the rest will be ignored, no more anger, no more violent fantasies.. only love and light. I can no longer care about the big hoofed herds and their opinions of me. They are wrong but I know longer need their approval. I will only let the light come in. I have washed my hands of the past, scrubbed them clean.

Softly and Tenderly Jesus is calling

I went out to the garage to look for a tape recorder so I can tape some jazz standards I am working on and since I moved out of my last home so quickly I have no idea where anything is, everything is in storage and boxes. I hate being disorganized like that. It is very hard for me to not know where my stuff is.  I feel like I am constantly looking for things; like a cd I want to listen to or a book I want to read.

It’s an annoying problem but not an important one.

Anyway I didn’t find the tape recorder but I did find a Song Journal I started years ago, probably in my late mid thirties.

It’s a book I have, a blank Journal basically and I would write my favorite Songs in there, like Lyrics and maybe some commentary about the song or a picture. I opened it up and there was a handwritten foreword there that I must of wrote a really long time ago. It made me laugh because It said exactly what I just spoke about in my last blog about my love affair with music.

This is what it said.

The Only thing sadder than a life without Love would be a life without Music. For without it I could not take another breath. Maybe for a while I would breath but soon I would fade away. Like a flower with no sun, just shrivel up and die. Like a beautiful Bossa Nova being played in a distant café, as you walk away your hearing the music slowly fading away until there is only silence.

The songs written in this book are songs, music that means something special to me. So special I had to write them down on paper. Somehow this helps me deal with the Joy I feel when I hear these songs, sometimes sadness too, But oh the pure beauty of it, it helps me deal with that.

Whether it be the lyrics or the melody or the message given or the voice, whatever it is; something has struck me, makes me shiver when I hear them. I will always have these songs, no matter what happens around me, things I cannot control. I will always have these songs burned into my memory of my being. No one can ever take that away from me—- signed me. Thank you for the Music.

 

blog music 4Blog music 2

The Journal is only half full today so I still have room to add to the collection. I have Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke. Etta James and you know Billie is in there. Even a Cars song is in there. I have many ideas and canidates for those blank pages. I call them Soul Burnin’ Songs.

One of the songs I wrote in the journal is a Song that I fell in love with as soon as I heard it. It is a Christian hymn called Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling. Written by Will Thompson. God it’s a beautiful song. Its a song about going home.

I think the first time I ever heard it was in the soundtrack in the Academy Award winning movie,  Trip to Bountiful  (1985) with Geraldine Paige and John Heard. I loved that movie: I watched it many times. It was about a old woman going back to her hometown, a place called Bountiful one more time before she dies.  After I heard that song I told myself  I would record it some day.  It is so beautiful. When my dad passed I made sure that was one of the hymns we sang in the service. He would have liked it, he was a religious man.

I did some research on the Hymn and I was surprised there weren’t more recordings of the song. What I did find out is that it was sung at the Memorial service for American Civil Rights leader,  Martin Luther King Jr.at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta Georgia. April 8, 1968.

I thought to myself, how interesting since he has always been a hero of mine and has always been such a huge presence in my life and here is this song now that ties back to his life and sadly to his death.

If you watch Trip to Bountiful you will not only see a beautiful Movie but you will hear a beautiful Song.

SOFTLY AND TENDERLY


Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.

Refrain

Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?

Refrain

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.

Refrain

O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.

Refrain


 

 

 

Until your Blue

rec·ti·fy

ˈrektəˌfī/

verb

verb: rectify; 3rd person present: rectifies; past tense: rectified; past participle: rectified; gerund or present participle: rectifying

  1. 1.

  2. put (something) right; correct.

  3. “mistakes made now cannot be rectified later”

To Rectify: the definition of the word has been on my mind ever since the show on Sundance Channel started. It’s an amazing show; the slow steady poetic series that some how isn’t that popular yet. Definition is to fix what was wrong , to correct. To make right. We all know that, it’s a common place word. It’s amazing how sometimes you here a line or a phrase or a thought from the actors mouth and it is something you thought of a million times, the exact words. I guess that’s what TV and movies are supposed to do; Shadow human emotions. Mirror what we are already thinking, to make that connection with the audience.  We all have had situations where we try to make things right but no matter how hard we try we can’t. Good intentions and all.  In my last blog I mentioned the frog and scorpion story from the Movie; the Crying Game when the frog gives the scorpion a ride on his back across the river …and as they both sink beneath the waves, the frog cries out, “Why did you sting me, Mr. Scorpion? For now we both will drown!” Scorpion replies, “I can’t help it. It’s in my nature!” 

We all will get stung….the trick is not to drown.

 “And I know that’s your nature, mom. Just like it’s Daniel’s to be so maddeningly private. But because it’s not my nature, or because I don’t always read between the lines, or understand that language, or because I want people to speak to me in my language sometimes, that does not make me the bad guy.”

—–Rectify Season 2 – EPISODE – Until your Blue