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Sunday, September 26, 2010

ADVENTURE TIME LINE 2 1968-1973

ADVENTURE TIME LINE 1 1954-1968

TRAUMA LINE 2 1968-1973

TRAUMA TIME LINE 1 1954-1968

FORGIVENESS... © 2010 Dakini Verona

FORGIVENESS © 2010 Dakini Verona

Life has been a journey, not without challenges. Sometimes, even I have been known to receive a  spattering of rewards. I remind myself to remember my adventures as I piece the puzzle of my past. I have to remember that even the traumas have hidden blessing. All blessings begin within.

I look back now on all the adventures of my life with gratitude, instead of regret. I have let go of resentments and learned to forgive instead of hate.

The most difficult person to forgive, was of course, myself. But finally, I can say that a few years ago, I forgave myself. Forgave myself for allowing those things to happen. Forgave decisions based on my innocence and trust. Forgave myself for choosing the path of least resistance and later repeating the mistakes over and over, until I at last learned a better way.

 My life adventures sometimes remind me of the butterfly story. You know the one where someone sees a butterfly struggling to free itself from its cocoon, and decides to help it out. The person cuts the cocoon allowing the butterfly to easily emerge to its new form. However, the butterfly is unable to unfold its winds and fly. Because it was “protected” from the struggle, it never built up the strength in its wings therefore, they were shriveled and undeveloped.





My life is like that of the butterfly which has struggled to free itself from its cocoon. My continuous struggling against my own environment has forced me to make myself stronger. Forced me to build character. Through this process, I have become a warrior in my own right.

There is not much that I have not experienced firsthand.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Way Back Network

One of my readers just shared this link with me.


"Your Way Back Experience

We at the Way Back Network consist of a group of people that have an interest in the spirit, culture, and events of the 1960s and 1970s. Members can be of any age. It is not required to have lived through the era to be a part of our community. We fuel our trips back in time with the sights & sounds of the era, personal experiences, and conversations in the group forums. We wish to promote the peace, love and kindness that was sought during the time period, so let’s be groovy with one other and don’t knock the way the other cat swings..."

Friday, September 17, 2010

today...

 I have just begun this journey and have so many more stories to tell. But today... today - I will relish in some of the good, there has been too much hurt brought up recently.

forgive...
starting with myself first.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kidnapped. Beaten…and beyond. © 2010 Dakini Verona Beaches and Bikers.

Kidnapped. Beaten…and beyond. © 2010 Dakini Verona

Beaches and Bikers.

The fateful beach party or the first time I was beaten and brutalized.



Do you have any idea how hard it is to see those words on this blank screen? My heart aches. My pulse quickens. My eyes tear uncontrollably. Not a memory I want to keep. Oh, no. not a memory I want to necessarily relive either. But there again is the paradox. I must purge them all. Those demons inside. Once they are out, once they are released I can put it all into perspective. I will be able to stand back and see how the years have un-warped the skewed sense of time. During trauma our minds have a funny way of distorting time. If you have ever been in an accident, you may know what I am referring to. Yes, your life does flash before your eyes in a mere few seconds. Just imagine that you are in that accident, but instead of it lasting 30 seconds, it lasts 30 minutes. Now, imagine it lasting 3 hours. As a victim of violence those 3 hours seem like more than 3 lifetimes.

Our minds have some safety mechanisms. It shuts off when the pain is too great to bear. Just like you hear those stories when people have lost a limb. The sensors turn off and all you feel is numb. Well, it is similar to that when you are brutalized. Your sensors turn off and your body becomes numb. Sometimes your consciousness even leaves your body. Sometimes you just pass out. This was one of those times, thankfully.

I was 14 years old and still living at home with my mom and dad. We were at our winter home, in Nokomis, Florida. I was still naïve, but had lost my innocence first at 7 and again at 13. Sad that this is the story that so many survivors can tell. One incidence leads to another and another and another, ad nauseam. If only I was able to see where that path was leading… if only I could have known that self destruction rarely works in the long run. But I had to numb my pain. Had to find a way to connect to someone. And was hoping that there would be no more pain. Little did I know how this would end.

Being a cute and bright teenager, I had a lot of invitations to parties. I didn’t get along with many of the other girls in town, but the boys were always friendly. I now understand how it must have been purely hormones that influenced the boys and it was instinctual territorial behavior that kept those girls from becoming friends with me. So when I was invited to a beach party by a few of the local cuties (boys) I jumped at the chance to hang out, get a lot of attention and most likely drink myself to oblivion.

I can’t remember what I told my parents, but I am sure it was a well fabricated lie. They probably did not want to deal with me, so they just convinced themselves to buy into my story. I was not easy to deal with, I am sure. I got a ride out to the open beach area south of the public beaches. It was deserted, the perfect beach for a wild party.


We pulled up and I saw the bonfire going strong. It was a December night and the night air had a bit of a chill, which was rather unusual for this part of Florida. Maybe it was my senses giving me a warning to turn back. Regardless, I did not heed the sign. There were lots of really cute looking boys and I wanted the attention from someone special. He had long blond hair which hung down to almost to his waist. His skin was bronze and fit well over his defined swimmer’s body. He must have been about 21 years old. I didn’t care, I wanted to have him pay attention to me. I was surprisingly shy, until I had indulged in some liquid courage. Thunderbird, I think it was, or maybe Boone’s Farm. Whichever it was, it was one of those disgustingly sweet, cheap drinks that bums and teens drink. The kind that tasted really rancid coming back up.

I managed to avoid any problems at the party, in spite of the fact that a bike gang rode up and joined us as the fire was dying down. They were rough and wild and a bit too “touchy”, but they were reasonably harmless compared to what happened next.




I remembered how little the police had done the  first time I had reported this type of crime. They told me to shut up, live my life and never talk about it again. But this time, I knew that creep would pay. I did shut up, lived my life and never talked about it again.




Kidnapped. Part II Innocence Lost © Dakini Verona 2010




Kidnapped. Part II © Dakini Verona 2010

Innocence lost.

Saugerties, New York. A very small town, not only in its size but in its level of tolerance. It was 1961. Me, I was 7 years old and just been transplanted from a beach city in Florida with my family. We lived in an even smaller section of Saugerties, called West Camp. The settlement of West Camp did not even warrant a traffic light. It was just a small area more rural than anywhere I had ever lived before.

As with many dysfunctional families, priorities were not quite straight at our home. Mom and Dad were in love with each other, that was quite clear to my sister and I. They were not really equipped to deal with the “problem child” I had become. I was a surprise to them. After all, Mom was 34 and Dad was 43 when I was born. They were looking forward to enjoying their golden years and then I came along and messed up all of their plans. It was no wonder that I was neglected. 

They tried to do the best they could, but as I look back, I can see that I was a hindrance. But it was that neglect that drove me to seek attention from others. So was it the chicken or the egg? Was I a problem because I was neglected or was I neglected because I was a problem? I know that each of these actually fed off of each other, so whichever came first is totally irrelevant at this point.



...................................




~to be continued~ 

Read more on Amazon


   

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kidnapped. Beaten and beyond - time to slay some dragons. © 2010 Dakini Verona

Kidnapped. Beaten…and beyond. © 2010 Dakini Verona
 
I have been putting outing off delving into some of the darkest and painful memories of my past because of fear. Fear of unleashing the monsters lurking within. They have been trapped within the deep crevices of my mind, out of reach from conscious thought for so very long. I know I must release them. They haunt me from beyond the shadows. I pray that once they are purged from my mind, it will somehow cleanse my soul. Even if only a little, it will be worth it.  

Why do we (victims) walk around thinking we have done wrong? Why do we wear the acts against us in shame like a scarlet letter? Shouldn’t the guilty be the ones to suffer for their crimes? You would think so. However, society has led us to believe that we are responsible for all choices we make. Even those made as innocents. Even those we were led to make at the coercion of evil doers. Yes, even some that we made as naive children.

Once a decision leads you into a mistake – leads you into harm’s way, there is no way to erase the damage. The invisible scars are etched on your soul forever. You are no longer capable of making the right choices and are often led a recurring path through the darkness, with an insatiable appetite for destruction.

Dare I uncover those deep dark secrets? Dare I release the demons? Am I afraid of letting go for fear that my soul will be empty once purged? Or, am I afraid that the demons will take over my soul? I don’t know what will be worse, to keep them or let them go.


There is something inside urging me to press on. To walk through the fire to help me overcome those fears. I must look back, once and for all and come face to face with those demons so that I can conquer them and move on.

the full story and more have been published in my book

Memoirs of Dakini


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Woodstock Sound-Outs, Van Morrison and No Beans © Dakini Verona

Woodstock Sound-Outs, Van Morrison and No Beans. © Dakini Verona

1969. The year was an infamous one in the history of the era… and it was a very important year in my life.

I had just turned 15 years old and lived in a very rural area of upstate New York. Actually it was only about 100 miles north of New York City (The City) but anything even 10 miles outside of The City was considered Upstate. I didn't seem to fit in with the other kids at school, always an outsider. I could not relate to their violent ways, the small town mentality never appealed to me. I could not wait to grow up and get out of there. I had no social life with the other kids in school. I only had one friend, Carol Sommers. We had a connection which to this day, I do not understand. Maybe it was that we were outsiders to the rest of the kids our age, maybe it was just destiny that we came to be friends. Best friends. Only friends. The other kids were cruel. So cruel in fact, that I have blocked out most of what was going on in my life, just to survive.  When I was not with my only friend, Carol, I would lose myself in my music. I can not believe I am confessing to this, but the Monkees were one of my favorite groups.


Ramblings of May 29,1974 © 2010 Dakini Verona

Ramblings of May 29, 1974  © 2010 Dakini Verona

TO THE CHILDREN OF BERKELEY

Poor lost children of the jungle
who will corrupt you next?
Your mother? Or brother?
May we not have any rest?

Sinking beyond the gutters
Reality’s lost its touch
All your innocent minds
But no one cares for a lush

TO MY SON

Learn as I did, my son
That is, if you think you must
Remember the scars I carry
and my unfulfilled lust.

ALICE
Running wild and free
How I long to be
As a mustang 
Or a goat
Strip off my mask
along with my coat

Yearn for the hills
Away from the pills
Like a baby 
Or a dog
sleep where I please
Away from the smog

Let’s dance around nude
I’m sure it’s not rude
under the sun
or the stars 
Out to the country 
Away from the bars

Alice, I will be
I’ll be as she’s free
Like the rabbit 
Or a mole
but I'll LEAP down
down, down, down that hole!

I can Never Go Back to Woodstock © 2010 Dakini Verona

I can Never Go Back to Woodstock © 2010 Dakini Verona



A little song I wrote while living in the streets in 1970.
I can never go back to Woodstock,
Never go back alone.


Never go back to the place,
That used to be my home.


On my own. Oh Yeah. Left without a home.

A big thing happened to the town,
in '69 or so,

The people they don't care now,
just trying to put on a show,
but I know - oh yeah - how they got so low.

Some money came into the town,
and greed had made its play,
No one really cares now,
No matter what they say.

On my own, oh yeah. Left without a home.
Got no home. Oh Yeah. So I'm left to roam.

I'm roaming 'round the county,
trying to find myself a home.

Feeling very lonely, but I got no place to go.

On my own, oh yeah. Left without a home.
On my own, of yeah. Left to roam.

And when she was bad... she was horrid! © 2010 Dakini Verona

And when she was bad… she was horrid! © 2010 Dakini Verona



My mother used to say that little nursery rhyme to me quite often: “there was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.” I was known for having a temper of astronomical proportions.  I was told by my mom that at the age of two I would throw temper tantrums in stores and that she asked the doctor what to do. His response? Get a squirt gun and shoot me. Can you imagine? Well those were the days when parents could get away with child abuse and no one could say anything about it. 

Children had been considered property, just like wives, since back in before the 15th century. We often forget that women did not get the right to vote in the US until the early 1900’s. I guess we were still property. Children have even fewer rights than women. Even the bible says that we must honor our mother and father. And isn’t there a story of how God asked someone to sacrifice their own son!!! Yeah… property to do with as one pleases. But I digress.

I have always tried to look at my past with a sense of humor. I would tell my children “Mommy Stories” as lessons to be learned. I didn’t need fables or fairy tales… I had my own living examples. For instance. Why is it a bad idea to hurt others?  Well, because it will get you in trouble and you will have to pay through karma or the sting of a spanking.. that’s why! Oh, yeah, and the person you hurt might never want to be your friend again. Here is one example of a “Mommy Story”.

The Day I Died - Part II © 2010 Dakini Verona

The Day I Died  - Part II © 2010 Dakini Verona

I have no idea how long this went on – my fall from reality. It could have been a few nano seconds or a few days. Peaking on acid was sometimes like that. I finally saw a glimpse of reality: a cock roach skittered across the ceiling above where I was lying flat on my back. I found myself suddenly jerked back to reality. I looked around and tried to assess where I was. It was a bedroom, littered with street people. Some of them were sleeping, some talking, and some sitting in their own little worlds, like I had been- just a few moments earlier. This was a “crash pad”. 


Crash pads were places where street people could “crash” for a night or two. No rent was collected and most of the time favors were not even asked. Most crash pads were safe, as long as there were enough people to watch out for each other. At least it got us off the streets and out of the snow. This particular crash pad was like most of the others that existed. It was down in the depths of the bowery, in the dirtiest part of New York’s Lower East Side. It was a five story walk up, meaning you had to climb five flights of stairs to get to the place. Each floor had two apartments and on the landing there was one toilet to be shared. You can imagine that that was like. Filth and grime on every inch and stench to match. Cockroaches shared all living spaces in those dumps. Inside the apartment was a small kitchen, a bedroom and a front room. The floors were wall to wall people, except for the kitchen. The kitchen was bare. The sink had a long white porcelain slab that served as a counter, but actually covered the bathtub. I had never experienced anything like that in my life… but now I was in an honest to God tenement.

I could feel another wave of the acid about to hit. I was going to peak again. The thoughts were again turning into colors. I tried to concentrate on the here and now and begin counting out loud. The words became visuals in front of my eyes. Each letter was a different wild color, floating up to the ceiling like helium balloons. But instead of popping, they all melted together. Was I speaking another language? Were the words understood by those around me? I looked into the faces of the other refugees and did not see anyone I recognized. I was alone in a crowded room. Paranoia, which was not a foreign feeling, began to take over. The thoughts were building and I knew I had to act quickly before I once again lost control over my reality, before I was again thrust down that rabbit hole.
To be continued…

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Day I Died - Part I © 2010 Dakini Verona

The Day I Died  - Part I © 2010 Dakini Verona

December 15, 1969. That date is stuck in my mind forever. Branded in my soul, so to speak. Yes – that is the day I died, or at least I thought I was dead. LSD is a very strange drug, a strong hallucinogenic, the strongest, I believe.  A drug which was developed, or actually stumbled upon,  by the Swiss scientist, Albert Hofmann in the 1930’s. He thought it would be used as an aid in psychoanalysis, but it never quite worked out that way.


Hoffman never mentioned that the US government used LSD in secret experiments on unwilling human participants in an attempt to learn how to dominate the world through mind control. Project MKULTRA  didn’t quite work the way they hoped, either. The mind cannot be controlled while under the influence of LSD. Now, don’t get me wrong, you can influence thoughts and you can alter a thought process somewhat, but is not now how they thought it would work. They were not prepared for the results. I  could have told them that.

Hofmann claimed that his wonder drug, LSD, was “hijacked” by the 60’s counter culture. He had a lot of hopes for the drug, but was not pleased with the abuse of it. One of the most famous of these hijackers was Timothy Leary.

Timothy Leary used LSD as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment. His famous mantra of “turn on, tune in, drop out” was used to promote the benefits of LSD. LSD was more of a religion than a pastime, to Leary and his followers.  To me, it was mostly a way to get high. A way to escape. I thank Dr. Leary for bringing LSD, (or acid, as we called it) to the mainstream. At a dollar a hit, it was easy even for me to get as much as I wanted, even if I had to pay for it myself, which was rare. Regardless of the fact that I did have some bad trips (some really bad trips) I still believe I benefitted overall. You see, through the use of LSD I discovered spiritual enlightenment and the afterlife, but wasn’t until many trips later.    

The Day I met my idol: Janis Joplin © 2010 Dakini Verona

The day I met my idol: Janis Joplin © 2010 Dakini Verona


It was a cold winter’s night in the middle of December, 1969. There I was, standing on the street called “St. Mark’s Place”. St. Mark’s was where I hung out. It was the East Village (lower east side of Manhattan). I did more than hang out in the streets, I lived there. Most people do not understand street life; they think living in the streets means you sleep in the street. That is not always the case and it was not the way it was for me. I spent my waking hours hanging out. Sometimes I would be panhandling; sometimes I would just stand and watch the people go by. Sometimes I would watch them watch me, like those brightly colored tour busses with the gawkers and their flashbulbs. 

We called ourselves “freaks” but everyone else called us “hippies”. Didn’t they know that all the real hippies were gone? Sure, there were those that looked like the flower children of yesterday, but there were posers. We called them the “bourgeois hippies”. They were those that came to the East Village on weekends to attend the concerts at the Fillmore. They lived in the comfort of their mommy and daddy’s home in the suburbs and never went hungry. They wore bell bottoms that were sold in boutiques, not those found in Navy surplus stores. They had money and lots of it. Those “hippies” had no clue about the ideologies embraced by those of us that lived in the subculture. They still revered the values of their parent’s and we – the real hippies had thrown that all away. Materialism was not only rejected it was our enemy.

Well back to the story. There I was – on the streets, no place to go. How did I get there – all alone, on that street corner, in the dead of winter? What was a 15 year old doing in the streets with no place to call home? I’ll get to that a bit later, but meanwhile, let me finish telling the story of how I met Janis.
I was standing in front of the Hippodrome with a small group of freaks. Suddenly, everyone around me started to whisper “Far Out! Look, right there. Across the street, it’s Janis!” I turned and looked. Sure enough. It was Janis. My heart stopped.

Suddenly, I found myself drawn to her. I just had to get closer. I rushed across the wild New York City traffic and melted into crowd which surrounded her. I stood back and watched in awe. Her presence was unmistakably that of the goddess she was. She had earned the title “Queen of Blues”, but even when she was not on stage, she had an unmistakable charisma. I was on the sidelines and watched her glow brighten the faces of those around her on that dark and dirty street. It was like watching a parade of light.
I began to scream from sheer joy, yet I uttered no sound. It was all inside my head. She was giggling like a little school girl – excited to have the adoration of her fans. She devoured the attention. It was then that I heard her infamous “cackle” and my knees went weak. Janis was wearing one of her trademark coats with lots of fur on the collar and cuffs. This one also had trim down the front, which resembled those worn by Russian Royalty. How appropriate that she be regally robed!


On her arm was a small man that seemed to be invisible, compared to her. A young aspiring actor, whose name escapes me as I write this. I remember thinking that he looked like a desperate little leprechaun clutching his pot of gold.  It was his lucky day, too. I guessed. His only claim to fame: to walk in the shadow of a super star. What I saw in his eyes was not what I expected. There was no love, no admiration; in fact, he seemed disturbed that she bathed in the attention she was getting. He actually looked annoyed. He wanted a taste of what she had, but it was as clear to me then as it is to me now – he was nothing… forever to be known to me as “the guy with Janis”.     

So there I was, in disbelief. Stars in my eyes. A grin plastered on my face. My mind screamed silently “Janis is right here in front of me!” And then. It happened. She actually looked over at me. Yes! Right at me! My face flushed and the world stood still for a moment. I could hear my heart beat in my ears, so I knew I was alive – otherwise I would have believed I had dies and gone to heaven.

To my further amazement she smiled at me, her eyes glinted as she nodded her head down and with a slight gesture of her hand beckoned for me to get closer to her. My brain shut down at this point and in disbelief I walked over next to her. To be honest, I almost tripped on myself as I skipped over to her. “Hey chicky” she said, “How the hell are you?” I am sure I must have responded…but not for a million dollars could I tell you what it was I said. “Want a drink?” she asked, as she reached in under her wooly robes and pulled out a bottle of her trademark drink: Southern Comfort. She opened it up and handed it to me saying “here, have some.”









Now, at that point it could have been arsenic or even holy water, it didn’t matter, there was no way I was going to refuse to drink whatever it was she offered. My fingers electrified when I touched the bottle, as they slightly brushed against her hand. I put the bottle to my lips and felt the rim warm my lips. She must have been carrying that bottle for some time under her coat. 

I slowly savored the sweet nectar of the thick swill. My tongue was instantly awake from the burn of the alcohol. I quickly swallowed and the hot glow followed the path to my gut. The burning must have been reflected on my face, because she giggled at my reaction. It was a giggle that only Janis could perform.  I never took my eyes from hers (except for the brief moment I tried to swallow the hot liquid).

She turned to the “shadow man” to offer him a sip of the drink. He too, came alive once she acknowledged his meager existence. Clearly, she was the star that night. Little did I know, little did any of us realize that our precious pearl would soon be lost to the addictions that consumed her body and soul, as is so common for all the great ones. The brighter the light, the faster the candle will burn – so they say.

Within a moment she was gone. She disappeared as quickly as she arrived, all that remained were footprints in the snow. The lingering taste of her “drink” left its impression for a short while.
To this day I smile fondly each time I see a bottle of Southern Comfort. Thank you, Janis – wherever you are, for acknowledging this little girl. It was one small and insignificant gesture on her part: offering a drink of swill to a cute little street urchin – but the experience itself marked my soul forever.