Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba
Taken from Huatusco, Veracruz, the closest town to Margarita's family's ranch.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Comments on unfinished "Self-Portrait at 33"

K.L: holy shit. literally. that is incredibly moving, alot to take in at first glance. You are truly an amazing individual, an incredible artist and a striking storyteller. wow. that's all. wow.

Ross: Thanks K... Although I don't believe I'm an incredible artist since it seems that everything seems to have frayed ends... Never polished or finished or near... I think my artwork is a metaphore for my physical reality... I was thinking about this the past few days about my lifetime expectations of myself living with this and what it truly means for me, whether or not I think about it... We're (those with this illness or syndrome) are not meant to complete a lifetime or to relax in their own; always seeing death hiding somewhere in the shadows, below the bed, around the bend. We know it will appear... in many forms, at any given moment. I live life in half denile. I lived it in more intense half-denile years ago before becoming ill again married to Margarita, living here in Mexico without any recourses, knowing that part of me had died and part of me had been re-born and suddenly becoming incredibly health conscious. I wanted to be normal in childhood and adolescence and in some way pretended I was until my last surgery in 2001 when it was impossible to pretend anymore, since the doctor "slipped" or lied and I no longer could impregnate someone. Fortunately the surgery didn't make me impotent or maybe I should have just... at 32 years with my contemporary women in their primes paying so much attention to the tick tock ticking of their biological clocks... But, that's my life and the seemingly spirit of my art: incompletable. It just doesn't make sense. And it seems I'm finally pulling off an adequate self-portrait... granted, 10 or 11 years ago when my body was almost "fat-free" Thanks for being so supportive. Let's see when I return to this.

Mr. Rainbow: Transformation - such a powerful and complex painting with mixed energies and feelings

Ross: Wow! Thats a very interesting analysis. Thanks Mr. Rainbow. Great last name be it real or pseudonymn... I believe humans have grand potential for evolution, change, transformation, although many don't believe we evolve or prefer living in one of many styles of boxes, be it self constructed, socially, politically or familialy constructed...

Tiger Woods: Love the painting Ross!  Powerful Stuff,,,and many Artists feel their work is never complete...

Ross: That's always reassuring Tiger!

Ms. Robideau:  I see Frida in your piece and love it. Please, please finish it when you can. There is a community still rollin with no colon that needs this to represent our unique trait. PS I would buy this.

Ross: Ms. Robideau, in the beginning, the arms were hanging along his sides, and then one of those evenings last week I decided to do something with them. I remember when my younger sister had mentioned to our doctor that she wanted them to place her colon in a jarfor her to take home (thinking about it, very logical, since afterall, it was hers). I guess she didn't know that the colon is 4.5 feet long. She had her surgery at the age of 13 also, 2 years after mine. And I was amazed at her audacity or jealous that I hadn't thought of that! Our doctor just smiled at her like a loving grandfather; and he was warm with us in our bi-annual check-ups for the years afterwards, until he ceased being... In any case, that evening I placed the colon in his hands, the painting became a truly complete "masterpiece" in my mind (if only for me; the paintings and drawings have always only been for me--circumstances). And, yes, I saw Frida, although my paintings have always been "stream of conscious", semi-intentional, they seem to develop themselves. If there is one thing I could have given to Frida in my respect for her spirit, her life, her strength and... (I have the words somewhere within)... I've always felt it a trajedy that she had been born in such a sexist culture in the shadow of the highly trained and skilled, yet artistic coward of a husband Diego Rivera. Mexico has never known a truly artistic spirit as was Frida's and I highly doubt it will; psycho-cultural restraints. Ps; I've never sold a piece of art in my life... didn't study art, have never been in artist circles, not even in New York City where it suddenly appeared in 1997. For some reason all of my friends were writers, actors, dancers... For some reason I didn't meet painters And here in Mexico..., at least here in Guadalajara, where an incredible Guggenheim Museum was planned and then moved to another country due to political stupidity (when Guggenheim had offered to pay all expenses of the construction of possibly their most extravagent project, various friends of the Mayor, including the mayor, entered into negotiations for illegally developing luxury homes in the ecological reserve along the canyon the Guggenheim would be overlooking. In the end, the Mayor's "enemies" began a dirty campaign and the Guggenheim pulled itself out of Mexico; no one made millions from opportunities indirectly connected with the museum and Guadalajara is without an incredible cultural and tourist attraction...), I don't meet artists either...

Savannah: This is awesome, great job!

Mrs. Moilanen WOW

Scarborough Fair: Lots of valid comments here Ross. It definitely made me think of Frida Kahlo and it can be difficult to know when a work of art is finished. On the other hand, I've had artist friends tell me that you know exactly when you're finished, so I guess we're all different. I draw and every time I look at an old drawing I'm tempted to take out an eraser and touch it up. Thanks for sharing this.

Ross: Scarborough Fair, nice to hear from someone from Westchester County Brings back memories... brief, vague... but memories all the same... Gorgeous woods... Actually, this painting is painted on what originally was an attempted seascape, expaining the blue and what may look like leaves, but are small fish. The abdominal region looked like a fishbowl until a few days ago. I wanted to keep it, but didn't see the reason... Until the past 2 months I believed that all drawings and paintings should be respected and kept in their original form and worked on until they worked. But, looking at paintings and drawings that would be almost impossible to improve (to make function) just causes negativity. And, with lack of money for the amount of supports necessary for supporting my "ADHD-like" constant change in focus or interest, storing paintings that I am sure I will not show (if I actually will have that opportunity one day--I'm 44-years-old living in Mexico) renders the storage of them basically obsurd...

Alicia Dolphingirl:  Your painting is very powerful ... although is very colourful there's a huge sense of suffering in it, it's very explicit . I really like it, it's you.

Ross: And much suffering in denile, possibly the only way to survive, although, maybe just possibly denile creates incredible creative restraints... Why share your difference, your weakness, your illness, your "dirtyness", your shame? But, one canNOT live truthfully avoiding themself, pretending they are someone else... It's difficult. A difficult paradox, dilemma. I'm sure a great part of my leaving the U.S. was a running away from myself. Granted, there are many other valid reasons for leaving your country of origin, as I know you know... And you've left more than one... I think it almost impossible not to find fault in the socio-political culture and history of the country or community within which you are residing...

What about Wanda: 

As an artist I totally get what your saying.this is your inner self coming through in your painting..acrylic? Right? This is a self portrait of pain and I see that...it's not finished because you aren't finished accepting and working through what's going on, or what's not going on in your body.ive done the same thing..started but not finished..I have three oils waiting to be finished..will they, I don't know..I feel anger in your brush strokes..it's raw and it's wonderful..and I like it

Ross: Nice "meeting" you Wanda When I first started painting in Brooklyn back in 1998, people said, "your style is so Van Gogh! or so Picasso Blue Period..." I hadn't studied art or art history and knew of Picasso and Van Gogh. But I decided to look at them, especially Van Gogh. I read part of the biography of Van Gogh and wasn't able to look at my paintings; too much anxiety. I found that my drawings (and paintings) tended to become too dark and heavy; how I dreamed of being able to use much lighter tones... It is very difficult for me and I work consciously towards lightening, although truthfully, I don't understand how people do it... Forgive me for my long-windedness... What I'm getting at is that I totally understand you; anything I wish to hide will appear in some form or another in my painting; the anger or rage and possible fear. These days I intentionally work with reds and oranges. But they generally don't work for me, especially orange... If one thinks of selling their art, they worry about what the viewer will see or feel... All subjects of rage or violence or political injustices are shunned, especially in the U.S., where it seems that everyone seeks silver linings. I have this thing for crucifixions... A few years back I had painted a crucified pregnant woman, since the crucifixion is more symbolic and metaphorical than is literal and the people who historically suffer most that crucifixion socio-politically are women. Using Mary as a vessel to create a son of God and then continue calling Mary a virgin, perpetuates that crucifixion... Perpetuation of the worst type of sexism. She is pregnant. She will give birth to many males who will perpetuate the crucifixion... Which is more than ironic or absurd... it's a backwards way of relating towards life, degrading the bringer of life and the cultivator, who truly teaches us and nurtures us and protects us... However, in order to share those ideas, we must offend people's eyes and ideas or senses... And, sometimes that seems counter productive, since it isn't popular. I tend towards being the least popular person in the crowd, since I say what I feel/believe and don't believe in B/S... not a good networker, since I don't believe in playing the game...

Miss Renee: Thanks so much for sharing your artwork. I can relate a lot to your painting. The yellow in the background speaks to me like vibrant energy in the distance, that I, personally, cannot seem to reach anymore since my surgeries. The energy is around me, but always feels out of reach. Maybe it will come back with time. Also, I like that the heart is strong and solid-colored in your painting, symbolizing to me that we continue to love & give love, inspite of the turmoil within our digestive system. Love prevails, through immense challenges. Thanks again for sharing your work!! Hope you'll continue to do so.

Ross: Somehow we must prevail Renee. We've had the surgeries in order for continuing the struggle. I wish our lives were without all the turmoil. But, I imagine that is part of the lesson that each and everyone must live and learn within this lifetime. Although we can't be "normal" or carefree as others, I believe we owe it to ourselves to find the light within ourselves. Love? It is a very contraversial and confusing subject, confused mainly by 20th century disney influenced fantasies that all stories have happy endings... But the true love is what you find within yourself and around yourself; it's what you truly cherish about yourself regardless of your physical health, limitations and discomforts. It's part of your self-respect and what you have to share with others and what you appreciate from others... Painting causes me a lot of stress. Almost all things creative seem to drain me, with the exception of cooking. However, sometimes I believe it is something I must do, as if it will take me somewhere... It did take me somewhere; it helped me understand that there is a whole other reality outside of what we can understand physically or scientifically; that we are not just our bodies and their limits or their strengths. Some people believe that love is the inherent energy of creation. I believe it is the inherent desire to help (nurture) another person achieve the best for themself without expections of interchange. As for love for oneself... You must learn to be good to yourself; I'm not talking about splurging on your favorite foods but truly giving yourself what you deserve and what you truly need. Some of those things are self-respect, putting yourself and your situation into true perspect (being fair to yourself), and avoiding causing additional harm to yourself (unnecessary stress produced by certain thought processes, etc). It is all within you. I'm not saying that you will not feel bad or down. But, you must find personal experiences that show you that, although you experience this or you've experienced that, your life is truly good; you are truly good. You are a survivor who endures something most people don't endure. You've learned much and you are a thoughtful and caring person. But there are things within you that make you shine regardless of the situation and regardless if certain people or other people don't see it... Nothing of illusions of grandeur. They aren't illusions. Most of what causes us suffering in the U.S., Canada, many European countries and some Asian countries in the 20th-21st centuries are modern cultural illusions and fantasies about image and how we should be (how we should perform/success). You can't compete with the fantasies or illusions or expectations; they've always been unrealistic caused by mass media and Holliwood promoted super stars. So, you put things truly in perspective and remove the illusion and you cherish yourself for who you truly are, not for what you think you should be or should have been and not for the illusions they have about you. Thanks for your appreciation. I hope this wasn't too long-winded.

Commentaries on unfinished "Self-Portrait at 33"

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 5

The 5th day of what began as a cold and seems to have turned into the flu... Low energy.  Cough diminishing.  But, what seems like increasing nausea...  Reading a little.  Sleeping a little. Little energy for sitting at the computer; it drains me.  Less energy for painting...

Painting now... un poco...  The painting's going well, although a bit slow due to the illness...  

Margarita gave me an herb and alcohol rubdown.  A few hours later, a little fatigued and painting, but cold clammy skin... a cold sweat.

Painted real well for a while listening to the Police live in Tokyo 2008.  I had no idea they got back together.  Sting has aged wonderfully, if he actually has aged at all.

Ate dinner at 10pm.  Want to return to the painting.  Ate well... Margarita's food is extra wonderful today.  However, the eating fatigues me incredibly... that almost nausea... and tension in the midsection...  What can you do?  Now watching/listening to Simply Red live in London 2007...  How these people do it, is incredible.


Today I prepared a Banana-Nut cake with Lime and Coconut... Between fatigues and coughs and laying me downs... I imagine I prepared it for my brothers-in-law José Francisco and Nicolas Federico so just in case we move back into the pastry business one day... I didn't paint, although I painted all last night.  A very interesting painting.  Supposedly myself as an adolescent... headless, because it didn't fit in the square, holding my colon in my hands, a very nice job of my scar.  But, today I didn't resume.  Because of the illness or the sickness... I imagine not the disease, although at this point you can't really know.  4 days sick and coughing.  I dropped 2 kilos in 2 days; 5 pounds of water, yellow water.  What became of the solid food I ingested?  I guess I just burned it away in the not sleeping due to cough.  They loved the cake.  For me too sweet.  Someone said that cancer feeds on sugar.  Someone not living with us.  And I mentioned that most illnesses feed on that sweet substance.  I've never been a sweet tooth; always savory and filling before sweet.  But, Margarita has been making guava juice for me these days.  And today she cut a papaya.  Not a fruit on this planet with higher concentrations of Vitamin C than these two.  But, for some reason, this time around I don't kick the sickness and it hit me like a summer squall at Long Beach Island.  She mentioned that I don't usually get sick.  Maybe it was from a late evening shower.  But, I don't believe Veracruz mountain rancher wives tales, since I've always bathed at all hours of the day, especially in New York City/New Jersey summer heat waves.  Body roasting like a chicken at 1am.  Jump in the shower, as cold as possible and jump into bed wet as an otter...  I never got sick.  NEVER.  The only time I've had a fever was from a dirty I.V. needle at Mount Sinai in New York.  And they discharged me almost delirious.  No one knows sick as I had those weeks afterwards; they almost forced fed and forced walked me at my sister's.  I awakened in the middle of the night knowing aspects of death Joey at my side.  My center was a black hole.  I've never experienced a worse nightmare and don't know how I managed to move past those days. Nights... afraid to sleep and awaken dead inside.  This didn't happen 18 years earlier with the first two surgeries. Now back to Stephen Dédalus and James Joyce and a cough or two imagining this too will pass... 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Family relationships and demolishing buildings condemned for weak structure...

In Irving Stone's novel about Michelangelo Buonoroto "The Agony and the Ecstacy" , Stone makes it clear to the reader that the relationship between Ludovico (Michelangelo's father) and Michelangelo was incredibly unjust.  Ludovico had 5 sons, no daughters.  His main concern with his sons was that of recovering the prestige of the family name.  Michelangelo was the oldest of the sons.  He was born with an extreme talent towards illustration that appeared at a very early age.  One of Michelangelo's brother's was a thug and became a soldier.  Another became an extremely fundamentalist monk.  And the other two didn't have any true business or intellectual qualities.  Michelangelo may have been the only one born with genious.  However, in the mind of Ludovico, the only way a man can gain money and prestige is through business and rental of property.  When it was suggested that Michelangelo start an apprenticeship  with one of the top fresco mural painters of the Italian Renaissance Domenico Ghirlandaio at the old age of 13, Ludovico and his brother proceeded to beat Michelangelo saying that painters don't bring money and prestige to families.  However, when Michelangelo was brought into Lorenzo Medici's sculpture academy and began being given lucrative stipends by Lorenzo, Ludovico was the first person whot appeared infront of Michelangelo asking how much he was paid and when would he hand the money over.  It seems to me that Michelangelo earned a ton of money on contracts paid by various Popes, dukes and other aristocratic families... However, his father lived to the age of 90 and continuously asked for money to establish other brother's of Michelangelo or pay debts in business fiascos for buying land... in the name of reestablishing the prestige of the Buonoroti surname...  Until Michelangelo's death, he lived with the obsession that someone would carry on the name of his father and recover the prestige.  Since he didn't have children for being so immersed in his art (20 hour days until his death at the age of 89), he dedicated his money to the only surviving grandson of his father.  

The only way you can get a true sense of the sense that Ludovico felt no love for his son, nor respect for his art, yet saw Michelangelo as a treasure chest would be by reading "The Agony and the Exstacy"...  Michelangelo lived within austerity while he sent almost every cent to his father, without explaining how he lived so that his father could have more than he dreamed of having...  

No, I can't say that I have lived that experience.  My mother wouldn't use her children.  That is very clear.  However, that doesn't mean that all parents experience and share unconditional love towards their children.  

One uses their child for actualizing their unattained dreams, like the pop-football or little-league baseball fathers constantly getting on their sons' cases for supposedly not playing hard or well enough.  Or Joey's mother who didn't believe in Joey's love for dancing and insisted that Joey study film to be able to hobknob with the wealthy, powerful and connected, even if that meant that Joey sell her body, which is what it did mean.  Or Michelle's father who used her brother as a penis pin cushion... Or the fathers who see their daughters as sexual objects (not different from Michelle's father).  

If you read "The Agony and the Exstacy" you will immediately feel outrage towards Ludovico, repeatedly throughout the book and you will feel sadness for Michelangelo.  However, it seems that that was part of the culture in Italy at the time.  There was a point when Lorenzo Medici or someone else of high cultural rank in Rome told Michelangelo that he had become a certain age (I imagine around 25-years-old) when he no longer was his father's property.  But, Michelangelo was convinced about restoring prestige to the family name.  And, yes, he knew that his father didn't love him and that he used him.  But, Michelangelo saw himself as a valuable tool for being used in the name of the family.

Back to styles of family and interpersonal, inter-blood relationships...  There is Anya's Russian family.  One day Anya asked me, "why don't you ask your sisters and your mother for financial assistance so you go back to school?"  I told her that the asking was totally out of the question.  She didn't understand and said, "Look, my parents' money is my money and my money is there's" and she meantioned that the parents of her other Russian family friend paid for her grad school no questions asked...  But that was out of the question and I unsuccessfully tried explaining why.  It was out of the question to ask of my sisters for financial assistance as I would learn the extremely hard way years later when the asking turned into a war between the whole family and I.

My mother wanted us out of the house and out of her hair as quickly as possible.  I'm sorry that I didn't become independent earlier.  I'm sorry I didn't truly give her her wish until I left for Mexico at the age of 32.  

It's too bad that an 8-year-old or a 10-year-old can't run away and successfully establish themself...  It's too bad I wasn't someone else.  But there are many people who would claim that they are happy I hadn't become someone else had my father not died, because maybe I would have become totally materialist and ego-centric, possibly shallow.  I don't know.  I didn't have the fortune of not losing my father...

When I mention not wanting to go back in time and then I contradict myself and go back in time rehashing memories and injustices, it isn't without conscience, concern and afterthought.

No, I wasn't born perfect and I wasn't super human within childhood circumstances most of you haven't experienced nor understand and that I wouldn't wish for your children.  It may sound as if I am complaining or whining because I rehash.  But, I do it also for my own understanding.

The last time my mother visited us 1.5 years ago, we organized real well their vacation.  However, as always happens, someone puts their foot in their mouth.  The first event was during our drive from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta.  My mother told me a recent family history that could highly prejudice people against Bruce and possibly the both of them and may have gotten Bruce into deep hot water...  Truthfully, the subject shouldn't have been brought up.  I would have been better off left out of that history because I wasn't there at the time experiencing the family fiasco.  But, the topic spiralled into the conflict between my Aunt Esta and I 5 years earlier when I sent a letter to all the family members asking them for small loans so Margarita and I could establish our own professional bakery.  I said that the recipes were there, as was the system, as was the incredible client response.  What was lacking was the money for financing a bakery placed in an upper-middle-class section of Xalapa or in a bigger wealthier city in the center of the country.  Many people were amazed by the difference of my recipes and quality and style and repeatedly asked where they could locate us.  When I told them, "here where we are standing in the street with our tables...",  they scoffed at us and never returned.  And we were never able to develop prestige, raise the prices to the levels of the quality of our cupcakes and, in the end I became ill from over-work and poor diet and incredible stress caused by selling cupcakes within the negative environment the envious and racist street venders...  

My Aunt Esta immediately responded to my petition accusing me of being a leech upon the family, although I had explained that I would return every cent to whoever lends us money.  I wondered "out loud" what caused her immediate explosion.  What was it about me or my image in her mind that she could have been so nasty?  I responded that for years people were asking me when Margarita and I would visit them in New York/New Jersey/Arizona...  I repeatedly explained our economic situation and what Margarita needs for obtaining a visa for entering the U.S.:  $7000 USD in the bank, a business and property in her name, credit cards...  I wished that they would understand that and stop asking me questions it seemed they expressed just to appear supportive.  No one was visiting us.  They just wanted to know when we would come and participate in the family gatherings.  As I just said, it would have been fine if they understood my response and stopped repeating the questions.  However, they continued repeating the same questions that became hurtful and offensive to me because they weren't understanding just how hard we were working just to pull ourselves up from our bootstraps.  I would have loved to be able to come back to the U.S. with Margarita as a success story.  But first we must succeed here.

So I wrote the letter and my Aunt Esta told me that I was a leech and the rest of the people ignored it.  So, I became angry and fed up with the incredibly hypocritical and dysfunctional family and told them so.  And I received responses and responded in kind.

But, my mother continued insisting upon visiting us once every 18 months...  And she continued with her typical behavior and we always got into arguments.  But this time around, it was Bruce who shocked us out-of-the-blue and did something totally irrationally out of characteristic on his part returning to Guadalajara from Puerto Vallarta.  And, with that, I decided it truly was not worth the while maintaining a relationship with people who react to a non-existent person in their mind and project that reaction upon me.  

I can't adequately explain what happened with Bruce, since it was very intense and absurd and I don't remember exactly what was the political subject matter.  However, it was like being attacked by Rush Limbaugh.  As I said earlier, it was uncharacteristic of Bruce.  But, for some reason he wanted to put me in that position. And even my mother explained to him that it was way out in left field.  At one point he claimed that he was only playing "devils advocate", which was a lie, because it went on for too long, was too violent and hurtful, and he never actually relaxed.  And why play devils advocate on a subject matter that he promulgates?  Why waste so much time and energy during a 5 day visit once ever 18 months?  Why intentionally create so much tension?  And I was driving the whole time.  But, it was like my Aunt Esta asking me when we would be visiting her and in the next letter calling me a leech when I had asked everyone to talk within the family and pool for a loan.  

Just to make it clear, as I said to Anya about my sisters back in 2000, I NEVER asked anything of my aunts and uncles and cousins and sisters.  Yes, I was a burden upon my mother in the late 90s.  But, I never asked anything of anyone else until the war began and I asked for support and understanding and... well... didn't receive any of that.  So, what can you do?

You erase people who don't truly understand what they are doing or thinking or what you have lived or what you live and who cannot truly be emotionally supportive and constructive for possibly reconstructing a faulty relationship.  Or maybe those relationships were so poorly constructed, we should just demolish the building that houses their illusions, forget about the past, and start from scratch.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I'm not dead...yet... Never died. A foolish childhood fantasy...

I wanted to be superman but I'm not.  I thought I was a dead man walking but I wasn't.  I've always been very alive, yet vulnerable, as are all non-comic humans... 

Dead man walking was a childhood fantasy of a boy running away from an extremely difficult situation, beyond his control.  Very little difference between leaving and dying...  The difference is that death in this human dimension is permanent.  When you leave, when you run away, you can always run back.  Aside from all the many different forms of suicide that exist (smoking and driving recklessly and injesting things you know can harm you are forms of suicide; one can call them slow suicide) there is nothing we can do that guarrantees we won't return one day.  How we experience life or how we experience ourselves changes over time.  Maybe we realize we're no longer that child in that situation we must escape.  The language changes with the perspective, with the experience.  

I'm not a dead man walking.  I wished I were dead.  And I was afraid of what seemed like the perpetual imminence of death.  I've always been very alive, very vital; a very feeling human being.  Maybe I dreamed of not feeling.  However, in as much as I may have dreamed of numbing myself, of not feeling or reacting, I still felt.  I never learned to control the situation or make the horrible situation into an acceptable situation.  I couldn't prevent the death of my father or the home-life situation from becoming what it became.  I was only 4.5-years-old when he died.  I was 12-years-old when I learned that I inhereted his disease and that I must have my colon removed.  Had it been within my power of deciding, I would have told the specialists and my mother that I wouldn't have the surgery the following year...  Maybe I would have opted for dying one day.  

I'm not dead.  I never died.  I couldn't take my life, even if I wanted to.  

But my life is taking me.  It was always taking me...

When I leaned over that abyss into the unknown of the new world, my new life called Mexico, I thought I had symbolically killed myself.  Yes, I had finally succeeded in running away.  And, maybe I killed my physical past and my historical past entered into a gradual fading away.  But, I continued on the same constant plain...  I'm the same person, yet evolving, aumenting experience and skills.  But, I'm still that same living person.  That same living-dying person.

You aren't dead until you're dead.  But maybe you are dying.  Maybe there are irreversables in this lifetime, such as the illness I inhereted from my father.  I've been fighting it for the past few years.  Maybe I thought there were miracles we could create with intelligent/conscious diets through researching.  And, maybe I encounted some of those miracles.  However, I do believe that we all have a clock ticking.  One day we will awaken to the alarm and find that this dream is over.  

Lately I've been telling myself not to go back in the past.  However, the problem I've encountered is that some aspects of the past are inextricably attached to our present and our future, such as what we injested as children and the long-term repercussions for our health, especially if we have blah blah blah on our chromosome 5 that de-activates tumor self-destruct button...  Did you know that gene experts can read your the placement of the genome on your chromosome 5 and tell you how, when and where you will become ill?  My genome was placed differently than that of my sister and my two cousins because my polyps didn't disappear, I developed osteomas and fibrosis and didn't develop thyroid cancer or desmoid tumors...  Did you know that FAP/Gardners Syndrome also places us at risk of brain tumors (like the one that killed my cousin Stacy), pancreatic, small bowel, stomach and bladder cancer?  As I said in 1996, "they know so little about FAP/Gardners Syndrome.  But what I'm realizing is that they know that there is much more to come..."  Yesterday I read in the Stanford Medical Cancer Institute webside that what I suspected in 1996 and what the American Medical Association negated, is verified today...  

31 years after my baptism by fire initiation into the true FAP experience we still find ourselves without being able to alter genes to save our children from "unnecessary" surgeries and "unnecessary" suffering.  Yes, we can read the genes to rescue our children from suffering the experience of enemas and sigmoidescopes.  However, who is born FAP is born FAP with all the wonderful life experience.

I'm sorry if it seems this has gone sour.  It's not true.  I'm typing while lying in bed.  There are things I must do. But I don't have the energy to do them.

Fortunately, I'm not the FAP person suffering his 17th or 33rd surgery.  I've recently met them on various Facebook groups...  I've learned a lot and hopefully have shared some interesting information with them...  One man was first diagnosed with FAP at the age of 50.  I didn't know they lived undiagnosed that long!  But it turns out that there is a group of FAP genetics that shows late in life.  I also learned that 30% are "new" cases; meaning that they didn't have a family history.  But, now they will create a new FAP family history with their offspring.  Today, checking a young adult for polyps in their colon does not guarrantee that they are free of the gene, since they may not show until middle age... So, that doesn't protect their children who will not be tested. 

No, this is not about FAP or Gardner's Syndrome.  It is about the difference of being alive and being dead.  The question is about quality of life.  It's about what is within your control and what is beyond your control.  When you are dead... well, there is nothing you can do, is there?  But when you are alive?

It depends upon the stage of your life, your family's economic situation, the socio-political situation of the community, region or country within which you live.  When you are a child...

I stored all of my original dead man walking writings because they were very personal...  No.  Yes.  But, that wasn't the whole issue.  It was because I had planned differently for the blog than how it turned out.  I thought I was a better writer than I realized I truly was.  I thought there was something inspirational to share with others.  But, the truth is that the story became more a diatribe... an "apology" not as in saying "I'm sorry" but as is meant philosophically, literally or politically.  An explanation of "why"?  As if I was still seeking understanding from someone.  How can I inspire someone from whom I'm seeking understanding?

And why seek someone's understanding? Why explain? And why apologize?

Going back in the past does not change anything.  It may help you forgive by understanding :-)  It may help you accept.  But it doesn't change the course of your life between the events and the day you decide to return.

The relationships we developed or we destroyed or that never existed remain the same regardless of going back in the past.  Most people can't understand or don't wish to understand or don't have the time or energy for understanding.  And maybe they aren't truly that valuable in our lives for making such an effort and for possibly wasting so much time.  

The relationships developed as they developed, be it part of our destiny or be it part of the nature of the events/circumstances/family structures or the nature of those relationships and their needs.  

I imagine the best relationships developed without reason just as did the worst ones. 

For instance; why did my Uncle Stan physically abuse me when his only brother (my father) was dying in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City?

I don't know.  And I never would have had the guts to ask him had he lived long enough for me to have asked him that today...  And he may not have been able to been honest enough or strong enough to be sincere and answer that question.  I was always afraid of him.  

He's dead.  There is nothing anyone can do.  The event was and helped shape me.  What can you do?  But the relationship was born and maintained as it was maintained.  I was just a kid; 4.5 years old and growing.  What could I do?  

I didn't choose the style of relationship.  I didn't choose my father's illness and sudden death and all those repercussions.  I didn't choose my mother's giving my uncle $40,000 of the death insurance money that would help pay for season Giants and Knicks tickets and, private schools and giant bar and bat mitzvahs and trips to Italy for my cousins while we received their hand-me-downs and I was called "Poor Boy" in 7th and 8th grade... 

And how would things been had it been Stanley who died first and not my father?  Imagine that Momma's and Grandmama's boy Seth, Mr. Superior.  Had the cards been turned... But, I'm sure my father wouldn't have done to you what your father did to us... 

And I wonder what price my Uncle paid for his way of relating to his deceased brother's family and why he related to us that way.

A friend of mine says, "Forgive your Uncle so that he can finally rest."  And I wonder, "why should I do him that favor?"  

Hell is the life we create for ourselves... 

or maybe not.  

I didn't kill my father and I wasn't my uncle's size for inviting him into a power struggle with me.  Did he hate his younger brother so much, even after death that he would do what he did to us?  

I wonder what Stacey knew... I even wonder what Elise knew.  Maybe Stacy will share with me one day.  I think Elise suffered much. It is very clear in how she lived.  I wouldn't ask her, since I'm sure she lives better in denile without having to go back into that hell...  And if my uncle is suffering.  Let him suffer.  

I believe in a strange way, that we can change our courses in death as in life... We can continue making decisions or better decisions for that matter.  We can still share with the living and help them continue evolving or producing, even if that means we can help them die...  

If you were reading this blog 2 years ago, you would have seen the photo I took of my grandfather in my mother-in-law's kitchen although my grandfather died between my first two surgeries February and March of 1983.  Harry was born on the same birthdate as my mother-in-law Paz, January 24th...  One day I was at my in-law's ranch in Veracruz taking photographs when something told me to return to the kitchen and take photographs there.  Now what could be different this minute from the last.  And when I turned to the kitchen, it was just beautiful and I took photos.  But, I didn't see my grandfather in the photos until I returned home to Xalapa that evening.  I turned to Margarita and said, "do you see this?"  She went to our bedroom and returned with my childhood photo album and showed me a photo of my grandfather...  He was so clear in the smoke over the bracero in the kitchen that, Margarita, who hadn't known him in life recognized the similarity to the photograph...  It was a long story.  But it is already written.  This time around I've decided to write this differently... if I actually continue.

My Uncle Stan...  a horrible man... for me... possibly for himself.  If he didn't do something unforgiveable, why would he be dependent upon me for his being able to rest?

I couldn't go back there even if I tried.  Not even with psychologists could I touch those formative experiences with my father's illness and death and what happened with my Uncle and in my childhood home before the age of 10...  

If it were true that Stan is hovering around there somewhere hoping for my forgiveness, then maybe can help me understand.  There was the possibility that Stacy was there too...  I'm sure she knew much more than Seth explained to me that Passover night...  I believe that's why she was so attentive towards me...  But then she died.  

And then we die.  And I don't know what truly changes.  

The years speed by.  Relationships fade. Some were better than others.  Some still are and how wonderful.  Some relationships you a trained to believe should be the most enduring yet were still-born, such as the relationship with my mother and with my sisters.  Actually, the relationship with my mother is borderline personality :-)  She never truly knew if she wanted to love me or hurt me.

She's incredibly sarcastic and has this thing for kicking you in the balls...  and then she tells you she loves you and then she does it again.  There's a point when one must say enough iis enough, even if it is to your very own mother.

Just as she could say, "I never promised you a rose garden", I can say, "no one can guarrantee the success of a relationship between a parent and a child or between other blood relatives.  Relationships aren't genetic. They are psychological, socio-political and spiritual.  

You don't agree with me?

Then why do parents neglect their children?

Why do parents physically and/or emotionally abuse their children?

Why would a father sexually abuse his son or his daughter?

You don't believe that's possible?

There are many men and women in prison for being discovered...  And, maybe they weren't put in prison, but they were divorced and lost their children.  My friend Michelle's brother committed suicide after his father was put in prison for raping him repeatedly and with a young man he brought in from the street.  For years I was seeing a deformed woman come to Margarita's parents' house with her mother for grinding corn in the mornings.  I always wondered about her lack of formation into a normal adult body.  And then Margarita and her brothers explained that she is her grandfather's daughter, if you know what I mean.  The story is much more horrible regarding this man and I wonder why they didn't lynch him, although they claim he killed his other daughter's lover out of jealousy...  
And, why didn't their mother protect them from their father?  

So, tell me about parental unconditional love...

No this is not about resentment and anger or going back in the past for shovelling it in your face...  

It's about living until you die and how you live...  

I am not a dead man walking...  I haven't died.  I've lived a ton.  I would like to live more and better.  I wish there wasn't a past under question, nor a past for retrieving.  I wish I didn't have a parent or siblings for remembering, nor the need for somehow coming to terms with what we call family, and what that TRULY means.

If I die tomorrow.  I die.  And that's that.  I don't believe there is anything left untied on my part.  There is no one of who I wish forgiveness.   Oh, yes, my cat Alex. No. I don't wish for his foregiveness, but for my own, since I did to hime what my mother did to me, ignored his needs.  I emotionally neglected him due to my selfishness...  He was a very special and beautiful cat.  But he was very needy for my attention.  I'm sure that's what my mother would say after my father's death and my uncle's beatings and anti-Semitism and ostracism by my childhood peers... spitting and taunting and "POOR BOY"... 

But that doesn't mean that I don't wish things could have been different.  But they couldn't have been.  Maybe we could have behaved different.  But we didn't.  I teased Satch, I wet the bed... If that was the true cause of my uncle's violence towards me...  the only son of his only brother dying at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  But, maybe if I hadn't lit the basement on fire the day before my father was taken from our house to the hospital for good.  I was 4-years-old.  Why did I light the basement on fire?  I remember that day.  Vividly.  I don't remember being more than curious.  But, maybe had I decided against wetting Seth's bed.  But it wasn't a decision.  I was asleep...  Teasing Satch until he bit me...  I was still only 4-years-old.  Not all household dogs bite.  Many don't bite small children.  But was that reason to beat the shit out of me?

And you may ask, "But Ross, why are you going back there?"  And I wonder... how toddler minds are formed under such circumstances...  And we return to the apology...  But, why would a grown man choose a small child as a target? especially under those circumstances?  And, truthfully, what would be the repercussions over a lifetime adding all of the rest of the uncontrollable circumstances and the un-natural stress placed upon a child?  And what if the other adults knew what my Uncle Stan was doing to me those weekends...  Maybe they would have treated him and me differently.  Maybe they course would have been different.  But it seemed that everyone failed and the course was as it was; a great part of my destiny.  And throw in FAP/Gardners on top of an original PTSD situation...

But we live.  And we survive.  And we develop much self-respect for having overcome much and have learned and have grown so much through the experience...  

And maybe we aren't superman.  But nor are we a dead man walking...

In Mexico.  Yes.  Not on your street.  Nor in your family reunion.  Because I was never truly an acceptable part of your family nor were you truly an acceptable part of mine.  And you should ask yourself why...  

But you can live with your denile and your illusions.  They don't protect you from suffering, although they may mitigate it a bit.  But, in the end you know what you did or what you didn't do and what was true success and what wasn't true.  I can't live with your denile, nor within your illusions.  

But I am not dead.  Never was. 

The clock continues ticking...