Friday, June 8, 2012

A block in my throat

Did you miss me? I took a break for a few days.

I was surprised this past Sunday at church when a friend said, "You didn't post last night? Or did you and I missed it? Was Friday night the last time you posted?" I said, "I got home really late last night, and I decided to sleep for once. I wrote more than 31 days in a row though...." She said, "I like it even when you just say 'I don't have anything to say.'" And then she went on to tell me some of the stories she'd like to read. Her dad was a pilot during the Viet Nam war and she was in the Navy, so the military stories are familiar.

That's one block removed.
I was really flattered. I'm always flattered when people tell me they read here, and I'm often surprised. So if I don't say it often enough, thank you for reading, even if I do write about vaginas too often.

I went to a house-blessing Saturday night. I don't mean to beat the military thing to death, but it was pretty amazing to attend a party for a lesbian friend and her partner who is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force. No big deal, right? Wrong. Big fucking deal!

Can this really be our new normal? Don't ask because it doesn't matter? I'm sure most of the guests there didn't even give a thought to that aspect, but I had a secret smile in my heart the entire night. When they get married, I hope they ask me to officiate and sign the license. Surely we will get our shit together here in Ohio one of these days.

One thing that happened at the blessing was that a Pagan woman blessed the house and some of the guests by smudging them with white sage. I'm a veteran of many smudges, although usually I'm the one blowing smoke.

So I stood on the porch while she wafted smoke over me. It's soothing and kind of smells like pot. She'd smudged several other people before me and hadn't said anything to them as she did it. But she stopped as she wafted smoke down the front of my body and said, "What aren't you saying?"

I said, "Nothing. I'm fine. I've done this a lot." I had no idea what she was talking about.

She said, "No, your throat is blocked. You're going to have to get rid of whatever that is. You can't live with whatever that is stuck in your throat." Well, that sounded serious! I stayed calm though, feeling a metaphysical metaphor in the smoky air.

I said, "I guess I'm not surprised, but I can't do anything about that right now. Could you just finish smudging?" I could think of at least three situations in my life that might cause ..... something ..... words? feelings? my truth? ..... to be "stuck in my throat."

But it seemed kind of unbelievable that she could tell that by wafting sage smoke over me. I mean, really? What does that mean?

She went on with the smudging -- the fronts of my legs, bottoms of my feet, all up and down the back of me. And then she moved back in front of me and said, "You really can't go on with that block in your throat."

I said, "Well, smudge it some more and see if that helps." I didn't really think that would do anything, but I wasn't sure how to respond.

She smudged my neck, and then she moved closer and said, "OK, what do you need to say?"

Not me. Stolen from the internets.
I said, "I can't imagine how anything I could say right here, now, that would be helpful. If you're perceiving a block, it doesn't have anything to do with what's happening here tonight. But thank you."

She smiled and moved on to the next smudgee. She had done her best to help, but I wasn't sure what I could do about that perceived blockage. I got a glass of wine, which seemed like just the thing to wash down something stuck in my throat.

The next day, I ran into church 10 minutes late. I was leading the service and I'd said I'd be there an hour early. As I walked into the sanctuary, a friend who was sitting there said, "You need to breathe."

I said, "I am breathing. I'm just running late."

"I don't mean that," she said. "You're not breathing in enough air. You need to breathe." I laughed and got to work on the service. After the service she found me and said it again, that I wasn't breathing. Of course I was breathing or I'd be dead, but there it was again. Somebody telling me my throat was blocked. (Too bad we don't do communion at my church. I could have sipped some communion wine.) Anyway ....

I'm not sure what else I have to say about that. It's a little hard for me to believe two people saw something blocking my throat -- something metaphysical. Yes, I've been bottling a few things up, but don't we all do that?

Surely we all run into situations in which we have to just shut the fuck up because saying something, responding, entering into the conversation or conflict will just make things uncomfortable or worse. Right?

And we all sometimes find ourselves unwilling or unable to tell people how we feel about a situation or about something they did. It doesn't matter why.

My reasons are that too often when I've been honest -- the most honest -- people have walked away and stayed away. I don't mean I was necessarily angry or a raving lunatic. I mean when I've been honest about what I can accept or what I'd like to change in a relationship. It doesn't feel safe most of the time to complain. It doesn't seem worth the conflict or the explaining or the return anger (more on that in an upcoming post).

Don't we all pick and choose the swords we will fall on? The times we will say something and the times we'll just .... I don't know ... swallow hard?

If I'm holding something back it's usually because I think I'm taking ownership of my feelings. Is that a really 80's concept? Like using my "I" phrases?

Most of the time, I don't think it's up to me to try to change other people or to tell them how to act, even when I feel hurt or betrayed. I tend to believe I can't change anybody else's behavior, just my own. So I don't go there. The more pain I feel, the less likely I am to say anything at all.

There's another reason why: It rarely works out for the better when I do. So I just call it "owning my own shit," and I eventually swallow it and move on in whatever way seems most comfortable or causes less conflict. Or sometimes I just find a way to leave the situation or the relationship, be that temporarily or permanently.

At my age, you'd think I'd be better at this. Maybe it's partly those voices from childhood: "Little girls should be seen and not heard." "If you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about." "Just deal with it. Nobody else cares." Programming.

So I haven't written in almost a week. I have a block in my throat, but I shouldn't let that affect my fingers. I rarely sing any more, but surely that block isn't made of songs. It's probably just allergies.

I'm not even sure what that means exactly, to have a block in my throat. Is it liked a plugged toilet? Do I need a metaphysical plunger to force the ..... ummmm ..... toilet paper and shit down and out? Do I need to run a snake through it? Or do I need some kind of emotional Drano to break it up and move it along? Is there danger of it overflowing and making a mess? That's never good.

I'm just not sure. I'll probably just keep writing. I have a lot of big changes in the works that I'd rather focus on right now, and I just accepted a part in a play. Maybe time will erode that blockage until there's nothing left. 

Have you ever had a blocked throat? What did you do? Advice is always welcome, even if I don't like it or take it.


  1. I think you just need a cookie.

  2. I have a lot of blocks but every time I try to clear them out it seems to make things worse. I think an occasional Margarita tends to ease it a little bit.....

  3. Hold on ..... I'm taking notes ..... I need a cookie and a margarita. Got it!

    This could be fun. ;-)

  4. I was told I have a blocked solar plexus once. For all I know it's still blocked. I'm not even sure where my solar plexus is, or if I have one, for that matter. It's been a couple years, so for all I know it could have fallen out by now. Or disintegrated. Or worse. (Although, what's worse than something in your body disintegrating or falling out, I'm not sure...).

    At least you know where your throat is and you can monitor it attachment and non-attachment to the rest of you?

    I've never been diagnosed with a blocked throat as you were, but my throat's been plenty blocked. It's slow going, but I think I can actually, finally say that talking helps (in conjunction with cookies and margaritas, of course).

    1. Your solar plexus is that sensitive area just under your breast bone. For people who believe in the chakras, it's a center of the mind/intuition. From what I understand, if that chakra is blocked, a person might tend to focus on negative thoughts and emotions, and in doing so feel a lot of anxiety or panic. I'm not well versed in the chakras though.

      I think you're working through significant blocks, AutoD.

  5. It sounds like you already know some things that are going on in your life that could cause your "blockage". Find someone safe and talk about them. Express your feelings out loud. Owning your own shit doesn't mean strangling yourself with it. And yeah, it might get messy.

    1. Oh, I talk, Muselover. It's the action that's risky. And as you say, messy.

  6. "My reasons are that too often when I've been honest -- the most honest -- people have walked away and stayed away."

    I hear you. My method, and it has always worked for me, is to ignore the issue with my friend, then slowly back off. Finally, they get fed up and leave, but then it's not my fault.

  7. Glad to see that's working for you, Dallas. I usually just pretend like nothing's wrong. That way I'm the only one who's unhappy.

    But damned if you do, and damned if you do.

  8. All of that vague bullshit really gets me. If I "sense" something in someone else I just tell them in normal and understandable terms or perhaps just hug them,they know that I know and it helps.

    1. And you're good at that. Truly, I felt the love both times I was told I had a block. I just didn't have the time or inclination to talk about it.

  9. Well, I think you should write about the situations, even if you don't want to put them on the blog. Once you have them all written out, you can maybe look at them more objectively and see whether anything about it needs to be actually said to the affected person(s). I often find things to be clearer once they're out of my head.

    Or, if you haven't yet, talk to a neutral third person whose wisdom you value.

    Getting stuff out in the open is good, but yeah, sometimes it will do more harm than good.

  10. All good suggestions, MsS. Writing is always my go-to therapy. :-)

  11. I would also say do some free writing if you don't think you can honestly speak with a friend or frienemy.

    I have had some blocks in that area... currently have one now in different aspects of my life and am trying to figure out how I want to go about getting it all cleared up. The longer I am taking, the harder it seems to be to address the issues with different people, though.

    1. I've done some writing. A couple of situations just keep piling up. And I still don't think talking will help. It also doesn't seem to help to tell myself to stop being a whiny bitch.