Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Ain't Never Scared (Oh, Really?!?!?!?)

I think I like myself better as a coward. It is one of the themes of my life that I struggle with: Cowardice vs. Bravery. But wow, when I am brave, it is disastrous. Being a coward is probably easier on everyone.

I mustered up a little courage and talked to D. I opened this huge, gnarly, seeping swarm of worms. That was a few weeks ago, well, really longer now. And now we are elbow deep in shit. Relationship counseling, marriage-book reading, talking and crying shit and God help me…I can’t hardly take anymore of it. Fuck! ENOUGH! 

A good coward would have walked in the house and made up some lie or had an affair and left. Moved on. Adios. No explanations, no talking or hugging, no support, no help, no preface. Rip off the bandage. One, two, three. The younger, more chicken-shit me, did just that. I got scared. Too much love. Too intense. Too good. Too close to what I really wanted? Too scary. I ripped that boy’s heart right out. One, two, three. And I ran. Don’t look back. Try not to feel. He won’t love you (forever) anyway. What’s to love? (If your own dad can’t muster up an ounce of love for you, then who can? No one. Ever. You are totally unlovable. And worthless. You stupid, heartless, worthless, unlovable bitch.) That’s the history of my emotional cowardice. In summary, I was too scared and too young (read: stupid) to take the chance on love. So I ran. And then ran some more. And where she stops, no one knows. 

There is still a fair amount of tangential anger rattling around in here, but luckily, I have had some therapy and time. It’s history. Well, sort of. Today, I want to revert to that teenaged girl who can rip and run. It would feel so good for awhile. It would be so easy. And yet….

Not me. Here I am. I have developed some bravery (which is totally fucking painful at best). I have cobbled together a conscience (based on my own failures and fuck-ups and the unconditional love of some others.) I have a heart—and while we are talking about it, kinda of a big, soft, mushy, feels-it-all kinda heart (don’t you dare tell anyone that—my teenage reputation is on the line--I will deny it anyway)—and this big, clumsy heart wants to be fair and just and honest in love and fair and just and honest with the hearts of others. The only thing is that I suck at the hearts of others part…it’s mostly a trample, trip, and slide, stomp and crunching of a heart like a bunch of clumsy 8-year-old boys running through the muddy woods desperate to escape an invented albeit rapidly pursuant ghost.

I am hurt. How did that happen (again)? I am heartbroken. Again. (sigh)

So, now, I keep going.

More counseling. More books. More tears. More fear. More bravery. Being brave is exhausting. Remember that. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Poise of Acrobats

When I was 16, I had a traveling, imaginary audience—spies creeping behind doorways, acrobats hiding in trees, eyes staring up through the sewer grate. Any time I tripped or picked a wedgy or cried or danced or sang or loved with both hands there were hundreds of eyes on me—I was always being judged.  “What is she wearing? Is that her boyfriend? Her friend is so much prettier than her! She is too fat to dance here. She likes that song? Yuck. I thought she was a bad-ass, why is she so pathetic? Poser. Loser. Retard.” I felt that I was never free from scrutiny. Imaginary or not, those critics are brutal.

Even under the microscope, I was very powerful. Most of the time, I wasn’t aware of that power.  I had this way of influencing people, friends, enemies, loves, classmates but felt small and not like a leader at all. It’s like we never know how young and beautiful we are until we are not those things anymore. I see pictures of my teenage self…I was beautiful and young and in those moments when I could dodge that invented audience I had a freedom that I’ve never had since. There is something so cool about that.

All of this teenage duress is how we become our adult selves. Someone told me that a movie star in an interview said “Our teenage scars are the deepest.” I don’t agree fully, but the thought has major resonance with me right now…now, in the hot gut of my mid-life crisis. It is my teen self that is haunting me right now. Who was I then? And how the fuck did I get here? Is there something so wrong with me that I can’t get my life to work, to be happy, to be content…. My mom says Jesus is the answer; I say that’s not my path. I can’t find what I need in church or in men. It’s about me. I am selfish.

Part of life is questioning. As painful as it is, I like the challenge. I like to solve problems. If you never challenge yourself, you should move to outer space and float around on the moon with your lala dandy-ass thoughtless thoughts.

Struggle makes me interesting. Struggle makes me grateful and loving and compassionate. I judge others less and less severely being the monumental fuck up that I am. How can I judge you and your decisions when I make and have made disastrous mistakes?

I used to think and say that “the heart wants, what the heart wants.” My mom says this too…not sure if it came from our family or from somewhere more canonical, but it’s true. The heart is pretty honest. But, if we let our hearts lead, who the fuck can plan where that will take us? But is that right—is letting the heart lead our decisions, or lives, the moral thing to do? Is it mature? Is the heart the best guide? I can easily name times that my heart was wrong (our hearts were wrong). Or is giving into the heart just giving in to that un-self-aware (but completely self-involved) emotion-led teenage dancer who imagines herself being scrutinized with every step?

Circles. Acrobats. 

Dreams to Remember

From my office window I can see the Anheuser Busch brewery and 270. There are some officey, industrial parks, a small manmade lake, a giant work dumpster, and the railroad tracks. Throughout the day trains flood by sounding their horns, I often joke, “All Aboard!” at the intrusion.

I have no dreams of being a train conductor. My grandfather was a railroad "engineer"--he drove and fueled trains. What a stinky, dirty, loud job.

I always thought that in addition to my childhood dreams of wanting to be a professional baseball player and Otis Redding’s wife, that I would also like to be a detective or private investigator and write hardboiled crime fiction like Kinky Friedman or Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler.  

If you have never read The Maltese Falcon, you should. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Weak

There are bleak, sunless days, that I drift so far away from my family throughout its course—loops around 270 are dizzying at worst and mesmerizing at best. My well-healed shoes get stuck in the work muck that covers hell’s belly like a thick, wet wool blanket. Stuck in mire. I can’t feel my daughter just across the tracks…where is she? Would I feel it if she wasn’t there?

Yet another cheery blog entry.

Now, for my favorite poem—well, one of them.

The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

That is all. 

Wait, eventually, all this dreariness will go away. I pinky-promise.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Misses and Near Misses

Hello, me—you dirty old bat-shit crazy bag lady you! Not to go totally off the deep end, but wft cosmic karma, fate, God’s plan, divine intervener, call it what you want—why are you all up in my grill? Can’t you see that I am having an ontological debate with myself and losing the argument? Doesn’t this struggle make you laugh? I think it is totally hilarious.

Life is full of misses: missed buses, missed flights, lost tickets, missed love, missed opportunity, mistakes, missed joy, misplaced anger; and near misses: a brush with death (or many brushes), missing someone by 5 minutes only to find them again somewhere else 5 years later, the circles that we run in—looping around the freeway passing our friends and families unknowingly—zoom, zoom, zoom.  I am so glad that I caught you. What a funny thing to say.

I really like LOST until the 4th season. Once everything split into two, I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. As much as I wanted to “get it” the power of the show and the characters started to slip away. I don’t know that I can pretend that we live in two paradigms. I don’t buy it. We all live here and now. Anything else is fool’s gold. What if I am a really awesome successful thin intelligent writer who lives in Northern California and has unlimited books pouring out of my head/hands faster than I can type them? Guess what? That’s not what’s happening here.  What if your alternate universe still sucks? Then what LOST? What do I do when the fantasy universe and the real life that I am living are both rife with pain, and suffering, and loss, and lack of direction, and goalless vacuums of unhappiness?

I realize that this is very black today. But I must purge the bile just like those medieval freaks that sluiced the melancholy out of the poets by bloodletting---this blog for better or worse is my bloodletting. This and the gym and some beers and fresh air and walkabouts are the things keeping me sane—they bind me. My daughter too. Thankfully, for now, she seems not to care how crazy am I, just as long as I hold her and play with her and give her 100 or more kisses a day. She is the best.

This is my life. I want it back. No more silly dreaming. No more wishes and wanting.  This is it. It does not get better than this.  I am not that special. I am just like everybody else. So what? This is your life. No more philosophy or silly mind-fucking shows. No more la-la land. Wake up you fool. That’s not gold. 

Monday, March 5, 2012


I am boring myself with this line of inquiry. Please stay tuned for the change up.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cryptic Hypocrite

The promise of my life, the potential, has churned into a heaping pile of feces. Eventually, if you don’t use your potential, it turns into heaps of acrid mush—heavy, wet, and unbearable Loserdom looms above my head like a dark halo.

I don’t think that being a mother alone is my life’s work. It’s important, yes. Very important? Yes. Can I be a supportive, smart, loving parent and be an amazing painter? Accomplished writer? Death-defying tightrope walker?

Modern ideas about parenting are bullshit. I refuse to dedicate my entire existence to S. She needs some room to breathe, to become. And yet…I feel guilty working, meeting, giving lectures and presentations, being away from her.

Circles. Where she stops no one knows.

Time to go back to therapy?  Maybe. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

How to Seize the Day

1. Get out of bed.
2. Shower.
3. Seize.

It's just not that hard, now is it? What am I waiting for?