Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Love, Physical Abuse, Tara Lynn, Verbal Abuse

“Jame Loves Rachel to Death”

Tara Lyn had an expression, a turn of phrase.  She would speak of “loving someone to death”.  It was almost her only way of saying, “love someone well and truly”.

“Jamie loves Rachel to death.”

“Chris loves me to death.”

I do not recall ever much caring for that way of putting things, but as her initially charming new boyfriend began to abuse her, and as his abuse of her progressed from verbal and emotional abuse into beatings, her casual use of the words became terrifying.

In the end, to hear her words was like being throat-punched while knowing yet another blow was coming in a moment.

About This Blog, Tara Lynn

Some Excerpts from a Forthcoming Novella-Length Poem

Dear Reader,

Twenty-six years ago, I was a nearby witness to an authentic Greek tragedy.  A tragedy that I believe is justifiably described as a “murder”.

If it was not some kind or species of murder, then there is no English word I know of to describe the outrageous cruelty and brutality of what a false lover did to a beautiful young woman who worked with me at the time as my data-entry clerk.

Today, the word “trauma” has become a popular word  to describe the effects such things can have on people.  I never sought nor received professional help for the personal fallout from witnessing her betrayal and murder.

I wish I had.  A professional might have saved me years of numbness.

I am calling the novella length poem, “A Death in the Spring”, because the fast moving events the poem is based ontook place during the six-month period between Christmas 1992 and June, 1993.

I regard the novella as perhaps the best effort I have ever made to see below the surface of a series of events and see into their truer nature.

I published an earlier, premature version of the poem about a week ago.  It wasn’t ready then.  It was “scarce half made up”.  I have since worked hard re-writing it.  It’s very different now.

The poem will be posted sometime within the next few days on this blog.  Here are some excerpts from it.

An alchemist. She was an alchemist, Traveler.
Beneath the warmth of her sun
Beneath the lightness of her breeze,
Beneath her cloudless blue eyes,
Beneath her bold and fearless Spring,
Beneath it all she was an alchemist.
In her depths, in her nature, she was an alchemist.

An alchemist I told my true name.
Unbidden by her, I surrendered
My true name.

I fated myself, Traveler, when I told her my true name.
I fated myself.

 

 

Chris was himself a ball thrown hard and fast into a room.
Child-raped by his step-father,
Subjected growing up to innumerable other evils,
Chris was understandably warped and weft by his life.
His heart and mind both were twisted yarn
Dyed black with self-centering and selfish pain.
Screaming in self-centering and selfish pain.

 

She phoned me at home on Christmas Eve.
Her boyfriend had been missing for some days.
She had friends. Some close, some further away.
But she turned to me.
She turned to me in trust,
The sole reliable elder in her world.
She turned to me
As people have always at times turned to elders.

That’s how it began.
In hindsight, her evening had come.

Love sometimes is
Too softly spoken
To be heard
Above the wind

Hearts sometimes are
Too softly broken
To be heard
Tara Lynn

Love sometimes is
Like a dance
We don’t think
We’re in

Hearts sometimes
Dance apart
Tara Lynn.

 

Abuse, Butch, Ethics, Family, Friends, Goals, Happiness, Human Nature, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Mature Love, Meaning, Morality, Morals, Parental Love, People, Purpose, Quality of Life, Rae, Relationships, Romantic Love, Sex, Sexuality, Shannon, Society, Tara Lynn, Tomoko, Values

Butch and Rae: An Unlikely Love Story

(About a 16 minute read)

Butch was such a nondescript man that he surely did not need a crowd to be overlooked by most anyone of us.  He was of average build, and just under average in height.  There was nothing either ugly or handsome about his face.   Blue eyes, a bit narrow.  Sandy hair.  Pale complexion.  Not only was he easily overlooked, he was even more easily underestimated.

Had you seen him during the time we knew each other, you most likely would have thought, “janitor”.  Arms too thin for construction, looks too unpolished to be a professional or even a store clerk.   And you would have been right.  At that time in his life, Butch was a janitor.

He was also one of those curious sort of people you sometimes come across in small towns and rural areas.  An honest genius with no more than a high school education, and no ambitions for himself.

Continue reading “Butch and Rae: An Unlikely Love Story”

Adolescent Sexuality, Alienation, Attached Love, Attachment, Emotional Dependency, Erotic Love, Impermance, Infatuation, Life, Love, Lovers, Marriage, Mature Love, New Love, Passion, Quality of Life, Relationships, Self, Self-Knowledge, Tara Lynn

How Love Ends

(About a 5 minute read)

Some people have time machines.  They take you back a few decades, maybe more than a few.  This morning was hardly past first light before a man I know had posted on a forum a long-winded sermon, self-righteously confident that women (“especially in California”) have turned love into “a temporal thing”.

His ex “moved on too fast”, you see, and he resents that about a woman he no longer wants anything to do with — beyond still control her every move, apparently — should now prove to him that all her words of love were false when she once was in love with him.

Continue reading “How Love Ends”

Abuse, Bad Ideas, Cultural Traits, Culture, Human Nature, Humanism, Obligations to Society, Oppression, Society, Tara Lynn, Village Idiots

In Defense of Stupid People

(About a 5 minute read)

There was a report a few weeks ago that over 60% of all Americans believe they are above average in intelligence.  I think it’s understandable that more people believe they are smarter than average than actually are.  You could write volumes about how our culture — and possibly most cultures — places great value on being intelligent.

But perhaps Americans carry that a bit too far. It’s not just that we look down on stupid people.  I hear people here say things that strike me as implying stupid people a fair game.  Fair game for any con that will work to exploit them.  Certainly, we don’t have any widespread notions that intelligent people have an actual obligation or duty to look out after stupid people.

They more or less accepted relationship between smart and dumb in this country is much more predator and prey than that.

Do stupid people deserve being looked down on and even being thought of as fair game?

Continue reading “In Defense of Stupid People”

Life, Love, People, Poetry, Relationships, Tara Lynn

Tara Lyn

(About a one minute read)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tara Lyn

Love sometimes is
Too softly spoken
To be heard
Above the wind

Hearts sometimes are
Too softly broken
To be heard
Tara Lynn

Love sometimes is
Like a dance
We don’t think
We’re in

Hearts sometimes
Dance apart
Tara Lynn.


Originally published March 11, 2007 on this blog.

Attachment, Authenticity, Community, Cultural Traits, Culture, Free Spirit, Happiness, Human Nature, Intelligence, Intelligentsia, Knowledge, Life, Memes, Mental and Emotional Health, Morality, People, Psychology, Quality of Life, Reason, Spirituality, Tara Lynn, Thinking, Village Idiots, Work

Tara Lyn: Leaning Into the Light

(About a 10 minute read)

At the time I knew her, Tara had but one passion in life: People.  Specifically, the people she personally knew.  I don’t recall her ever mentioning someone as remote to her as a celebrity or some other personage she’d never met, but she was just as fervent in discussing her friends and acquaintances as any newlywed is about discussing their beloved.

Indeed, perhaps the only really significant difference between a newlywed and Tara was that a newlywed tends to ignore any faults or flaws in their beloved, while Tara seemed incapable of ignoring anything about the people she was so fascinated by.  That’s by no means, however, to imply she was overtly critical of people.

As a rule, she was not.  Or at least, she appeared not to criticize people.

It took me awhile to catch on to her because she would say things about people, such as “Brian is so jealous of Sammy”, that I assumed meant she was judging them.  That is, I assumed she believed, as I did, that jealousy is a negative emotion, and that she must therefore on some level disapprove of it in Brian.

Gradually, however, I learned that Tara was oddly — quite oddly, when you think about it (for it is human nature to judge) — rather on the dispassionate side when it came to communicating her thoughts about people.  Almost as dispassionate, I sometimes thought, as a chemist reporting on the interaction of sodium and chlorine.

Of course, I’m sure she did in fact judge people.  How could she not?  But the fact is, she seldom expressed judgment.  She spoke of the commonplace and the outrageous in the very same tone of voice, the very same body language.  She could say — and this is a true example, near as I can recollect it now — “Danny hit Rene last night because she said something he didn’t like about his getting a job.” — and sound just the same as when she once idly mentioned that Rene and Danny were moving in together.

The one time I can now recall Tara actually expressing disapproval — if that’s what it indeed was — was when she told me about a young woman who, at the age of 14, had been raped by her step-father.  Tara ended her otherwise dispassionate account with something along these lines, “She was always telling jokes and laughing before that happened.  Then she kept to herself a lot, and never much laughed again.”  I have a fairly vivid memory of her saying that because it was so rare of her to express disapproval.  But she expressed it so subtly, so gently, that I think you would have needed to know her as well as I did by then to detect the disapproval in her voice.   Disapproval or sorrow, I’m still not sure to this day which.

Tara was one of those very rare people who seemed to more or less embody Spinoza’s statement, “I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.”  She would not, however, have ever heard of Spinoza, and had I quoted him to her, her first question would surely have been, “Is he a friend of yours?”

She could show surprising general insight into people, even though she herself seldom spoke of people in general terms.  I once shared a poem with her that I’d written about a fictional “Kathy”.   After I’d read the poem to her, Tara fell silent, looking deeply perplexed.  “What do you think of it?”

“I don’t know.” Tara said.

“You didn’t like it?”

“No, it’s not that.  It’s just that I’ve never known anyone in my life like Kathy.  Did you make her up?”  I no longer have the poem to test it, but I’d wager eight in ten people would not have so quickly realized Kathy was a fictional character.

I hired Tara as my “secretary” in my final year in business.  “Secretary” was a bit of a stretch; she had almost no real secretarial skills; and she served instead as my data entry clerk.  That’s to say, I hired her with the expectation I could train her up right and whole to be a real secretary, an expectation she proved to have little or no interest in fulfilling, just as she had little or no interest in anything other than the people she knew.  I eventually resigned myself to her much needed help with data entry, for that she was willing to do, and do well.

Tara also resisted any urge I had to keep to a strictly formal employer/employee relationship.  A mutual friend once told me, “Tara says you’re more of an uncle to her than a boss”, and I had to admit, that was how she treated me.  There came a time, for instance, when she made a habit of calling me each evening in the office.  Around nine o’clock the phone would ring, Tara.  For the next forty-five minutes to an hour, she would fill me in on what everyone had been doing since she her last update during her working hours.  It took her that long because Tara so seldom, if ever, generalized.  Instead, she recounted details.  All the details.

It also took her that long because she quite often asked me for advice.  I once questioned her about that, and she replied, “You’re the only one who gives me good advice.  Everyone else just says things like, ‘Go burn his house down’, but you give me things I can really do.”  Which was ironic because, by that time, I had discovered that — of the two of us — Tara was the wisest.

No, she didn’t know she was wise, but she was.  And she was wise in a very special way — a way that is often neglected or under-valued by Westerners. For we in the West so often think of wisdom as something shown through a person’s words.  So far as I recall, the closest Tara ever came to saying something that might pass as wise with many of us was perhaps when she one day told me, “Boss, I don’t worry about doing the right thing or the wrong thing like you do.  I just try to do the best thing.”

Somewhere in his book, Arctic Dreams, Barry Lopez mentions that the Inuit word for “wise person” literally means, “Someone who makes wisdom visible through their actions or behavior”.  The word has nothing specifically to do with what a person says or doesn’t say, except as that might be accounted a part of their overall behavior.  Rather, the emphasis is on visible actions (and perhaps equally telling moments when one chooses not to act).  Tara, I came to believe, was a wise person in the sense of the Inuit word.

It was quite a long haul for me to arrive at that conclusion about her.  For one thing, I had to overcome my prejudice that wise people spout wise sayings.  The thought that a wise person might not say many wise things at all was simply foreign to me.  Another prejudice I needed to overcome was that someone who routinely asked me for advice might actually be wiser than me.  But when I finally got around to observing how skillfully Tara appeared to be negotiating her life, as compared to how clumsily I seemed to be negotiating my own, it revolutionized my understanding of her.

For instance, at about midpoint during the year I employed her, Tara’s boyfriend abruptly decided to cheat on her.  Tara spent all of three days and nights crying on her couch, waiting for him to come home.  Then she had, as she put it, the revelation that, “I was doing no one any good, least of all myself, by feeling sorry for me”.  With that, she picked herself up, and returned to her circle of friends.  The ache was not over for her, nor were any of the issues involved resolved.  But she was firmly set on getting on with her life, come what might of the boyfriend business.

I doubt Tara had ever heard of — or at least had absorbed — the expression, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”, but no one had to have told her that, because she lived it.  Not just when her boyfriend cheated on her, but in one manner after the next.  Tara could drop an emotional burden as spontaneously as a child can let go of a grandparent’s hand to run play on a swing.  I believe the metaphor of a child is correct because hearts as resilient as hers usually belong either to children or to sages.

But was Tara really a sage?

I do not think she would compare with the Buddha, nor even, perhaps, with a few other people I actually know.  I saw her falter more than once; that is, I saw her do something I regarded as foolish, sometimes terribly foolish.  But it seemed to me that each time she faltered, she picked herself up, and made the best of her new situation.  Sage or not, I am fairly certain she was at the time I knew her, wiser than me.  Yet, only if you looked at, not what she said, but at what she did or did not do.

Barry López again:

How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one finds darkness not only in one’s culture but in oneself? There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.

I mean it as no criticism when I say that Tara would not have fully understood Lopez’s words.  She wasn’t educated well enough to entirely grasp what Lopez might mean by “finding darkness not only in one’s culture but in oneself”, for instance.  And life’s “great pressing questions” never seemed to me to cross her mind, at least not in any abstract way.

But Tara was as level-headed, as dispassionate as anyone I’ve known when it came to seeing people as they are, seeing both the light and darkness of them.  And she was surely empathetic, although I’m not certain that her empathy often rose to the level of compassion.  It might have, but I just don’t know.  She did, however, in so many ways, “lean into the light”.

I never discovered even a hint of malice or cruelty in her.  She was forgiving perhaps to a fault (unless one understands her willingness to forgive as a refusal to emotionally cling to things she had no control over).  She strove to tell the truth when talking of the one thing that really mattered to her, people.

Her circle of friends and acquaintances included many people whose behavior can be clinically described as “dysfunctional”, people full of petty hatreds, foolish envies, habitual cowardice towards the more powerful, and just as habitual bullying towards the less powerful then they; people who never seem to value what they have, nor ever get what they want.  Tara lived in that world, but she was not of it.  It did not turn her.

Instead, she was to some remarkable degree true to herself, albeit not like a stone, but like water.  She didn’t oppose things that were not her, she flowed around them, under them, or over them.  I would not call her a sage at the time I knew her, more than twenty years ago, but I would not be at all surprised if I’d call her that today, should we ever meet again.  Last I knew, she was married to a man she loved and the mother of six children.