the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

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For the people, by the people: Joe Cheray

A quick disclaimer

Generally speaking, I avoid talking about certain subjects– particularly politics, religion, money, and sex.  People can get very personally invested in such topics.  But I would like to make an exception this time.

A friend I met on Twitter would like to run to represent Kansas Congressional District 2, U.S. House of Representatives.  She needs some help with seed money, and I’ll tell you why, dear readers, why I am voicing my support.

A voice for the “average” Joe

I decided to run because I feel that the average person like myself is not being represented not only in Kansas but nationally as well. I am the average Kansan..

..I know what it is like to rise above circumstances. Those circumstances have shaped me into who I am today – a strong individual who can take my experiences and use them to help others who are not able to help themselves.

quote taken from Joe Cheray: Help me in my run for Kansas US House of Rep CD 2, at YouCaring – Compassionate Crowdfunding

Joe Cheray – A voice for the average Joe.  I think that could be a good campaign slogan.  Yet I think it’s important I emphasize that Joe has responded exceptionally to what a so-called “average” person can face.  Domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse, poverty, absentee parents, and broken family upbringing can face anyone; these issues know no gender, race, creed, or cultural background.  I have had the great privilege to get to know Joe through Twitter support chats addressing these issues, because I have experienced some of these issues myself.  I understand that she is very frustrated with how these issues are being addressed in her state.

At the same time, however, she knows some of my frustrations.  I’m not from Kansas, but instead, I live in Washington state.  Again, though, I know these issues still affect anyone, both in rural and urban cities.  I can tell you of friends that experienced these things that live in cities like Tacoma, but also friends that once lived in Yakima, where Cimmy was born and raised, and where I lived with her for a time.

I have grown up in rural, small town Kansas. I have also lived in some of the bigger cities in Kansas. So I understand the challenges that rural Kansans face as well as those that live in the cities I have lived in.

Again, I’m certain that Joe will say the same- that so many challenges do not come based on where you live or how well off the people who raised you were.

My funds are tight- 3 out of 4 of the people in my family are on disability, and yes, that means I have a child with special needs as well.  Please help me get the word out; I would like to see a friend have a chance to make a difference in our national government.  Regardless of whether the campaign run is successful, or not, I think Joe and her effort deserves all the help she can get.  Thanks.

See also The hidden story behind Candle in the Window


I think I got gaslit, even if men are not typically gaslighted

This screenshot shows Ingrid Bergman being gas...

This screenshot shows Ingrid Bergman being gaslighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear readers: The standard trigger warning applies.  I’m trying to stay light on the details, but… I’m nauseated just thinking about them.  Please, take any precautions you need; I know many of you ask the same.

I thought I’d shared my story with this person.

Someone with a strong media voice.

And I don’t think I tweeted anything different from what I shared in my story.

But… I was assumed to be a MAN making a WOMEN’S issue my deal, and not allowing them to own it alone.

Never mind that I was upset that someone was tearing Cimmy a new asshole in the same conversation.  That was totally ignored, for some reason.

I got numerous excuses when I complained, privately.  This person said they had grown numb to such nuances, because of numerous hate mails flooding their inbox.


And I wasn’t disagreeing with what was said at all.  No way.  If they weren’t already a part of Cimmorene’s painful, horrifying experiences, they were experiences of a friend, or a churchmate, or someone else close to me.  Mostly women, yeah, but a number of men.

Raped? Oh yes.  Raped.  No, not the Anne Hathaway one… that was pretty creepy, though.  No, it was another one.  I was blindfolded.  Gang raped.  By men.  What the hell is in the garbage of my brain?  (No, that sort of gay porn isn’t my thing, if that was ever a possibility.)

I have moved past suicidal thoughts.

NO NO NO I’m not going to tell someone to kill themselves, when I dealt with that.  Someone in my parents’ congregation took his life only a week or so ago… incidentally, I didn’t that mention in my Suicide Prevention Day post.  But I hope you get the idea.  Of course, I was shamed once for not condemning a suicider as “selfish”.  I can’t.  I’d have to tell myself I was selfish… well, I already did.  Several times.

This is all I can write for now, dear readers.  I hope you understand.  No, I won’t name names.  I already feel bad just writing about it… because it feels like so much veiled aggression.  But I’m angry.  And afraid.

I was just trying to stick up for Cimmorene.  I had no idea I was being held in contempt, too.  No idea.


Descending further down the Abyss (Transitions)

I now have a collapsing disc just above the fused vertebrae, and awful swelling around the bone graft of the fusion.

Just how far can the pain go?

Thinking on my experiences with domestic violence— yes, sadly, that is a thing I’ve witnessed, and experienced.  Lindsay Fischer (then as Sarafina Bianco) and Amy Thompson welcomed me into #domesticviolencechat, another Twitter chat that intersected with the #sexabusechat community.  I wasn’t sure I fit in, at first… much like the other Twitter communities I mentioned.  But I was nevertheless accepted.

We’re all wondering where Timothy (@GerhardTimothy) is and that he’s okay.  I especially value the conversations we had, because then it was easier to feel okay as a man in the chat discussions.

I’ve told Amy a little bit about my experience, but haven’t told anyone else much in full.  That will change, soon.  I think Lindsay and Amy encourage my perspective (they’ve said this to me numerous times in various ways) because it adds more scope to the issue.  It’s not just a woman’s issue, and it’s not just an issue between couples.  In my experience, it involves generations of families- although such matters are usually discussed in abuse contexts (child abuse, adult abuse, etc.)

I think it’s also time to bring out the Redemption of the Four Kingdoms material.  It’s long overdue, actually– if many of you remember my teasings and many cryptic references to it, I’ll be amazed.

But so much of this writing is difficult to do when I am drowning in wave after wave of agonizing pain.  I’ll have to do it in bits and pieces.  I’ll probably write posts that I feel are lacking in quality, although I want to cut down on the perfectionistic traps and toxic habits mingled in such thinking.

I will try to sleep now, dear readers… it’s 02:39 as of this writing where I am.  I hope the pain will ebb, and the terrifying nightmares stop.  Only about a week ago, I dreamt I was molested and raped.  Again.  In a different way.  It felt so real, but I’d never experienced it in real life.  How?


Boundaries. Trust. To write love on my arms.

Trigger warning: I am about to write about subjects such as self-harm, self-mutilation, co-dependency, emotional enmeshment, and so on.  There will be at least one photo.  Please, please take care if such things upset you, especially if any of these are issues for you too, dear readers.

Looking back

Yes, I’m going to write about it, now.  Maybe some of you remember To write love on her arms (it’s a short post, so I have included most of it, as follows):

Two years ago, I learned that my daughter turned to cutting to deal with the crushing stress in her life.

She turned to it again two nights ago when Cimmorene lost it with Boy when he would not go to bed for several hours.  Cimmy let me know, because she knew I wouldn’t be angry– how could I?  I dealt with it myself.

I cut myself years ago when I was in a stressful romantic relationship that ended with false accusations of rape.  Cimmy wasn’t around then, but she was when I started cutting again, as the university we were attending was soaked in scandal, and the music department especially was mired in dirty politics between professors.  When she miscarried before our son was born… more cuts.

So all I could do was listen to my daughter, and tell her more about my struggles with this issue.

The problem at hand

Yep, I’m having problems again.  If I did this right, hopefully the photo doesn’t show immediately in my blog feed.  Here comes the photo:

This is what the inside of my left forearm looks like, although the cuts have faded a little bit.

This is what the inside of my left forearm looks like, although the cuts have faded a little bit.

Why?  Well, I won’t name names.  I don’t think that’d do any good.  But I got pretty angry and upset with some people.  About all I will say is that a few people were discussing something in one of my support groups, using language and descriptions that I found VERY triggering.  A great big push on the “But I’m a Good Boy!” button.

One of them is a co-founder of said group.  I didn’t trust my intuition when I met this person about a year or so ago, but BIG RED alarms and flags were going off in my mind.  This person did, said, and wrote things… whole books, even, that I find incredibly sexist.

I will leave it at that.  I hate being a sensitive person sometimes; or rather, I don’t like that I have a very difficult time filtering out other people’s bad vibes.  I’m still learning to set boundaries and put distance.  I had to end a few social activities because the hosts, or the participants, were just unpleasant, slightly anti-social folks.

Oh… yes, my daughter knows about the cuts.  We have an understanding, you see.  Not that we think it’s okay, but that we know why we do it.  sigh but just the other day, my father saw them.  I’m not ready to talk to him about it just yet.  I’m not sure he even knows this is a thing with me, even after all these years.

What I’m doing about it

I do have a therapist, now.  I haven’t met with her for a full session, yet; she came with my case manager to meet me in my home, and then I talked with her some more when I dropped by some background information.  She took a moment to show me around her office, get a sense of things so I could be comfortable.  I will meet with her towards the end of the month, but I will probably drop by now and then, so I might continue to collaborate, to prepare beforehand.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all

I’ve learned that the spouse of a fairly prominent WordPress blogger (who is also currently imprisoned), an ertswhile blogger in their own right, passed away earlier this week.

Despite the call for letters of support; I’m sorry, but I won’t be sending one.  I have a really, really difficult time with trust– trusting either full-on, or not at all, and my last interaction ended towards not at all.  I don’t consider myself a cruel, heartless individual, but when things were well, this person just didn’t seem to consider me worth the notice.  I understand things are quite bad, now, but, I’m struggling with my own problems, too.

Bloggers, even before this news, asked for letters to be sent.  I was sorely tempted to quietly send something scathing.  I must have been graced by the better part of wisdom, somehow, because I didn’t.  Now… I’m not able to do such a thing for the sake of social niceties.  This person didn’t really ever interact with me.  I think it would be disingenuous and insincere to try to pretend otherwise.

A final word

I’m not broadcasting blog posts to Twitter for now– I I was considering deactivating Twitter entirely, but I didn’t.  But… I’m not going to use it to promote my blog material for now.  shrug See for yourself, dear readers.  I appreciate all your comments, I truly do.  But you do see that they number about 3 to a half dozen, on average.  The art of SEO eludes me, and apparently, I’m not writing much that appeals to a wide variety of people.

But I realize that your interactions are genuine, and real.  And for that, I’m grateful.

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Arise, jakimus Prime.

I participate in a chat on Twitter on Tuesday evenings to gain support, strength, and learning about my childhood abuse.

The title above came from these tweets– especially with some inspiration from Rachel Thompson:

This is a reference to Stan Bush’s “The Touch“, which was featured in the animated Transformers: The Movie:

and I was watching/listening to this clip during the movie, which prompted Cimmorene to tweet this:

and then later, she said this:

which prompted this thread:

Now, I’m still working on a post series on how this movie maps out the Hero’s Journey.  Suffice it to say, the hero here is not Optimus Prime, as he iconically is for many fans– but Hot Rod.  And why do I put this movie in context of abuse?  Imagine that Hot Rod is like us who are survivors.  We are wounded.  Our innocence and even our loved ones die (see The Hero’s Journey: The Death of Optimus Prime).  We are not necessarily confronted by evil and suffering directly– our Unicrons, but often see that it drives those who abuse us, like Galvatron.

These abusers are often driven by greed for power.  Their theft and treachery seems to serve them for a time, that they can change how society perceives them:

Although they are driven by forces symbolized by Unicron, they often hope to have the control themselves.

[Galvatron triumphantly holds the Matrix in his hand]

Galvatron: Unicron, my master… with this, I shall make you my slave.

Anyone who has dealt with narcissistic and sociopathic people, I think you know exactly what I mean.

We rarely see this for ourselves, but they cannot unlock the creative spark the Autobot Matrix of Leadership symbolizes– nor can they hope to control the darkness that drives them while in such greed.

Even though our abusers wear this spark close to them, it is up to us to reclaim it from them, and unlock the light, to illuminate our darkest hour.

We have the power.

There’s a hero inside every one of us.

Till all are one


The Power of Myth: Stories are not just for children

Image credit:

The Power of Myth” is a series of interviews that Bill Moyer conducted with Joseph Campbell.    These interviews were also transcribed into a book of the same name.

As I was reading my news feeds and other sorts of electronic media this morning, I opened up a Digg article called Is Adulthood Dead? by Steve Rousseau, which in turn was a response to a New York Times article called The Death of Adulthood in American Culture by A.O. Scott.  Reading the former article, I noted that Rousseau cited many other responses to Scott’s article, with writers taking different angles and perspectives to his claim.

I chose to dig deeper, or rather to focus on yet another article (bear with me, dear readers) that Scott cited.  It’s a Slate article by Ruth Graham titled Against YA: Adults should be embarrassed to read children’s books.  Hopefully, the title goes without saying, but, if you wish to read the article, your sentiment might echo what Scott reported of Graham’s article thus far:

Noting that nearly a third of Y.A. books were purchased by readers ages 30 to 44 (most of them presumably without teenage children of their own), Graham insisted that such grown-ups “should feel embarrassed about reading literature for children.” Instead, these readers were furious. The sentiment on Twitter could be summarized as “Don’t tell me what to do!” as if Graham were a bossy, uncomprehending parent warning the kids away from sugary snacks toward more nutritious, chewier stuff.

But Scott seems to agree, albeit reluctantly:

Full disclosure: The shoe fits. I will admit to feeling a twinge of disapproval when I see one of my peers clutching a volume of “Harry Potter” or “The Hunger Games.” I’m not necessarily proud of this reaction.

Logo for Cimmy’s stories. Pencils by Cimmorene, digital coloring and inking by jaklumen. Characters depicted are inspired by Patricia C. Wrede‘s Enchanted Forest Chronicles book series

I don’t think you’ll be surprised, dear reader, to read me say that I don’t agree, and not with the slightest bit of hesitation.  And I will tell you that my dear wife Cimmorene does not agree either.  Why?  Allow me to point to Cimmy first.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again that she is a storyteller.

[If you are not yet reading her blog, Cimmy’s Stories, I warmly invite you to do so now.  Feel free to open a link to it, and read it after finishing this article, or start reading now.  I’ll wait.  “Captain Jack and the Wavemistress” is a wonderful story series she’s working on now.]

She follows the old oral tradition of passing stories by word of mouth, although she has been eagerly following new technology to tell these stories.  She has shared with me her studies on fairy tales, and one thing we noted repeatedly was that tellers of these folkloric tales repeatedly modified their stories for their audiences, and this included embellishing the details for more mature audiences.

To wit: I think it’s ridiculous that Graham should ridicule books labeled Young Adult, or any fiction that the author expressly intended to be read by children or teenagers.  It certainly never stopped the bardic storytellers of old, and I genuinely doubt that readers, over the the centuries of printed books, ever on average limited themselves that way.  It smacks of the bully’s taunt ‘that stuff’s for babies’, and it’s just not reflective of the history of storytelling as I have understood it.

And I’ll say again that the reason why I blog about Joseph Campbell is that he understands this, that cultures need these kinds of stories.  Despite the critics that claim he is glossing over the cultural particularities, I will insist that he is right to point out that we, as a people have a mutual need to hear them, and there are great similarities in the stories, particularly with the Monomyth cycle, known better as “The Hero’s Journey“.

Alexandra Petri summed this up well in the Washington Post:

But I think what we’ve been identifying as YA — big characters, broad strokes, flat dystopian landscapes that are clearly designed to pose fairy tale questions — are in fact stories that deal in the shapes of myth.

All really popular stories today are, to some extent, fairy tales. “Harry Potter” is a fairy tale. “Star Wars” is a fairy tale. “Batman” is a fairy tale. And fairy tale problems are not the problems of adulthood. They are deeper and less practical. The rise of what is termed YA, I would suggest, is actually a return to the kind of stories that cast larger shadows — the kind of fiction that is necessary. We need our stories in a way that we don’t need literature, per se. We need myths when we are struggling with uncomfortable questions, “too deep for utterance.” How to be. What to love. What to save and what to destroy.

Although she does not cite Joseph Campbell, I believe she is strongly and emphatically affirming what he has said, that we, as a people, need myths.  And once again to his critics, I state that these myths continually reflect our hopes, our dreams, our outlook as a people.  They are a way that we can regroup when our lives are difficult– yes, to escape for a while, but also possibly to recommit to our struggle.  Often these myths are about real people, but although time and fading memory have distorted them away from the practical facts to grandiose legend– this should not mean that the stories do not have validity and application.

If you read Campbell’s work, then you will find that he says that the symbolism itself is not important, but the realizations they bring us to.  It is not the story itself that is most important, but how you liken your life to it, and how it guides your journey.

Your journey is most important.


Are you a hero?  If you do not believe yourself a hero, are you nevertheless inspired by the many tales of The Hero’s Journey?  Do you believe there is a hero inside every one of us?  Do you believe in the power of myth? 

and lastly

Is there a version of The Hero’s Journey you would like me to reference?  Are you ready for our story, Redemption of the Four Kingdoms?



Canary in the Abyss

Challenges, Temptations, & the Abyss

Challenges, Temptations, & the Abyss

It’s been a hard road.

My father is still contemplating death and we still compare notes on pain almost everyday.

He’s told me someone that “knows me” is “uncomfortable” with Cimmy’s blogging.  I won’t link to my long ramblings about my family dysfunction and denial just now– they are scattered over many, many posts.

Then there’s been some dissatisfaction with how the blogosphere has been turning.


I once said that I didn’t get Twitter.  Ironically, I also have a post called Would a canary in the blogosphere go “tweet”? (about the Posterous team jumping ship for Twitter).

I think I get it now.  I found quite a number of my favorite WordPress bloggers were using Twitter… and they were favoriting and retweeting my comment tweets there like crazy.

Surprised Smiley

Surprised Smiley is surprised (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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English: It's an awesome smiley face!

Epic awesome face! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank you so much, guys, for getting me out of a funk. Hopefully, y’all know who you are, but I can find ways to get your attention. Muahahaha.  (Yes, that might mean shoutouts will be edited in later.)

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Hero’s Journey Art: John Preston

Today I am scheduled to have a trial version of a spinal cord stimulator implant.  This is to see if such therapy will be useful.  As such, I will still be reposting old content.  This, however, is the end of the Equilibrium series. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

When I was looking for media for my posts regarding Equilibrium, searching for just the right things to illustrate the steps of the Monomyth, I came across this fanart at DeviantArt.  I love it, as it sums up the transformation of John Preston so well.

“John Preston” by Elizabeth “Elly” Sevcik. Used by permission; all rights reserved to the artist.

Please do me a favor and visit Elly (vvveverka) at DeviantArt.  She’s got some great work there, and DeviantArt is just a really cool online artist community anyways.  I’ve provided links on the image and the username.  Thanks!


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Hero’s Journey Art: John Preston

When I was looking for media for my posts regarding Equilibrium, searching for just the right things to illustrate the steps of the Monomyth, I came across this fanart at DeviantArt.  I love it, as it sums up the transformation of John Preston so well.

“John Preston” by Elizabeth “Elly” Sevcik. Used by permission; all rights reserved to the artist.

Please do me a favor and visit Elly (vvveverka) at DeviantArt.  She’s got some great work there, and DeviantArt is just a really cool online artist community anyways.  I’ve provided links on the image and the username.  Thanks!


An Anti-Love Note to Twitter

So titled because it’s short, blunt, and to the point. But now I feel self-conscious because I think it also illustrates my tendencies to nonconformity.

You see, this was inspired by mer/liliales, and her twitter pensées post. In her opening sentence, she explains her post is a love note of sorts, although it might not seem as such.

So I respond with an anti-love note. Not hate mail, but an anti-love note. Heh. I’d written a response previously, but then realized I was writing a dry summary of most every Internet medium. I figured things would be much more interesting if I simply said why I find Twitter jarring, although it does suit a few of my purposes.

I completely ignored Twitter until mer introduced me to Brizzly, to be succinct. Brizzly adds some features that I find appealing. First, there is the Brizzly Guide, which quickly summarizes trending topics on Twitter. Yes, dear readers, thanks to the Brizzly Guide, Cimmorene suffers me mocking a viral music video hit: “It’s FRIIIIEEED egg, FRIIIEEED egg, gotta get down on FRIED egg” (Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, produced by Ark Music Productions… search at your peril). Then there’s Brizzly Picnics, which follow the traditional form of chat more closely, but that I sincerely doubt users care very much about.

mer did tell me that Twitter was like chat, when I expressed my doubts. More specifically, she said it was like the old chat rooms, where you could drop in and see what everyone was doing. Yes, I agree that you can drop in and see what everyone is doing.

But I don’t think it’s like chat. I think it’s a strange variant of short-form blogging; it’s so short it might have a semblance of chat. But it is not much of a two-way conversation that I can tell. Not much for me, anyways, and it strikes me as terribly self-absorbed.

I mentioned the Brizzly Guide and the Picnics as features that sealed the deal. Oh, and I’ll add that I find Brizzly’s interface appealing overall. But really, the primary reason why I am there is because I am interested in what a few people have to say, namely Jack Yan, mer, and a certain Gene Kelly fan. The first two I met by way of VOX, and we’ve certainly had some interesting discussions, by way of long-form blogging, as it were.

But on Twitter… I might as well be talking to myself. If I comment on what they have to say, I get plenty of comments. But if I tweet something of my own incentive… nothing.

Please don’t think that I am accusing them of lack of reciprocity generally. No, they have been quite kind to leave some comments now and then… well, more so if I tweet about it. Oh gah… that still sounds derisive. If anything, I would have you understand, dear readers, that this is my frustration with the Twitter medium.

So why can’t I get into it? For one thing, I find 120 characters (or was that 140?) a mental straitjacket much of the time. I just can’t distill many of my thoughts to short little bursts. I like to say that this is one of many ways that extroverts have tried to bend an inherently flat medium to their perspective, especially since many of them are sending messages from handheld devices. However, I’d say the medium still reinforces an introverted expression of sorts. I could wander off on a tangent explaining why I think social networking is still ultimately self-absorbed, and not a true social exchange, but that’s another discussion.

All I can say is that most of my thoughts flow long and free. I cannot do that in Twitter, hence my tweets are very few and far between.

Heh. Maybe some hipster will find this delightfully ironic. But at best, this is sardonic.  Judge for yourselves based on this table, last seen at the Online Etymology Dictionary:

(sardonic is on the right)