Monday, December 28, 2015

Dreams of Ruth

There is a tiny spark of being led by the wind that carries me through life. It's shown up throughout my life in shadows that walk with me in dreams and wake. When I dream of it I see it as a character resembling Miss Havisham in Great Expectations and when I wake it's the calm that drags me through the day. Not a day goes by that I don't scan my day for the next moment when I can just feel free, peaceful and calm.

When I was younger during the 70's and 80's in Livingston, there used to be a lady named Ruth Brady who owned a clothing store that had stock from the 50's and 60's. It was like the store had just stopped in time. Everything in it was covered in dust from sitting in the same spot for more than a decade. When I was in 7th grade I was in a play about rock through the decades and I went to Ruth's to get my costumes. The place amazed me. It had so many beautiful dusty pieces, all with tags still on. My grandparents knew Ruth so I was able to see her as an acquaintance though most people only knew her through legend. She wore really big wigs that gave her head the appearance of a muffin and she was always adorned with large earrings, blue eye shadow and red lips. When I knew her she was already way up in her years and everything she had was in ruin, reminiscent of the Beales of Grey Gardens. At one time she was said to have had a lot of money but people say that she allowed her boyfriends to run through it all. I always wondered what it would have been like to meet her when her store was still fresh and new.

I dreamed about Ruth. She was my Miss Havisham. In some dreams I'd be there watching her at a vanity applying makeup, in a room lined in old rose/pink satin, trimmed out with touches of black. In all the dreams she always lived in a place crumbling to the ground and I'd wished that I could make it nice for her again.

I grew up and there were others, in my dreams like her, living in houses falling to the ground but sharing the secrets of the universe. Sometimes the homes themselves took the place of Ruth showing me that there were layers and layers to what the world was and is. There'd be buildings with numerous rooms to roam through and discover. Sometimes the place in my dreams would be familiar but I'd still find rooms hidden that I didn't know existed. There'd be doors that when opened, would reveal another world. These people and places, though sometimes falling apart, felt richer than anything I knew in my waking life. If you could be addicted to these things then I would be a junkie.

In 1980, after turning 14, I saw the movie Times Square and it was like watching my dreams become a movie. I wanted to be Pamela and Nicky, finding my own way in the world and living as freely as I possibly could. In 1985 Desperately Seeking Susan came out and once again I watched the things in my head play out on a screen. These two movies just seemed so underground. Madonna just seemed so underground. Seeing Madonna the way she is now there is no way to go back and see her for what she was at the time. She was so free. It all seemed like magic. It was the decade we watched punk really wake up. To be alive at this time was to see art in every form come to life more than ever. If you weren't alive when it happened then you could not know the electricity of it. It could not be explained. It was freedom peeking out through neon, mesh and lace. Dance was all about taking up large amounts of space and bouncing with life. It was birth and it was beautiful even if you were seeing it from a tiny town in Tennessee where girls cared nothing about fashion, all the boys listened to ACDC, had a hot rod, a knife on their hip and every family truck had a gun in the back window. I didn't have a problem with these things but I also didn't feel connected to it at all.  I was glued to my 45s of David Bowie & Madonna bought at S-Mart, my Esprit catalog, spending all my babysitting money on outfits I could only see in Seventeen Magazine because the people I was around dressed just to fit in. I remember the day we took yearbook photos I took a whole wardrobe to school so that I could change for every photo. Everyone else just wore the same thing in every picture. That amazed and bored me at the same time. I was in the tiny town of Rickman, with dreams of living in a big city while still knowing I never would. I think that having interests that no one else cared about is the reason I've never really bonded tightly with anyone but B and the boys. I think I just didn't have anything to bond over. I know we all have different interest that effect how we turn out, so I'm not judging that.  I just think my main interest was being free and being me while everyone else had grander goals.

So here I am looking back from 49 and I can see how it all shaped my world. To be underground seemed so much more enticing than mainstream. I didn't know how to be underground but I knew I wanted to be. Going to New York at 17 with my senior class made me just want to get lost so that they'd leave me there. I never called home one time because my mind was so far from my house in Tennessee. I couldn't wait to tell Bryan Roberson all about it. I somehow knew that he felt just like I did even though the words were never spoken between us. He so largely did not fit in with the knife wearing, tobacco chewing boys at our school that I knew he had to feel out of place too. It seemed to me that he'd be the only person that would understand and I just had to share my experience with someone. So, my first day back I went to school and went to classes with Bryan, who was a grade behind me, since my classes didn't meet. I was the only senior there because we had been dismissed for the week for our trip. I grew so tired by lunch I had to have Bryan drive me home and by that time I was satisfied because I got the chance to share. He does not remember a note of this but it was so meaningful to me that it's hung in my mind all these years as if it were glued.

I've always wanted to be part of something with the spirit of being exactly who you are, loving what you love and looking exactly like you wanted to look. It was the wildness in me that I kept mostly in my head until I finally decided it was okay to show. I think it's why I want to open my wallet to anyone on the street and invite them to take what they want. It's why in my youth I had a bad habit of picking up strangers on the side of the road. Any filth, lack of motivation to work for money, mental illness, addiction or need to live freely never bother-ed/s me. I am willing to accept these people as they are. I have a lot harder time accepting people who have grown their wealth passed what they need, who don't pay tax on their wealth and gain wealth by not compensating the people who work for them to the extent that it grows their wealth greater than what they can spend in a lifetime. If you have more money than you can spend and the people who work for you still have trouble just paying common bills, then you have not compensated them appropriately for what they do for you. Share the wealth. Note: Sorry I got off track. I had to vent for a second.

If the spirit in me was the flesh person that you see with your eyes, I'd be one of  The Dharma Bums, On the Road with Jack Kerouac in real life and not just in my head. This level of freedom has always been reserved for my thoughts, underground and in dreams of Ruth. I am free in spirit and in my dreams but I'll never be as free as I want to be in flesh.
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