Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Destroyer

I’m having that human moment, where, I’m sure that I’m not an alien or an emotionless robot, where I feel like a destroyer. I bash; I smash; I level; I destroy.  What kind of life did you want? TOO BAD. I’m going to wreck it like Ralph. End of story. End of song.  [There will be no more songs, ya hear?]

Once, a million years ago, my girlfriend went through a bad break up. It was tragic.  A true love decimated. During her moment of absolute heartbreak, she sat on a curb and sobbed. I stood slightly above her (a lessoned learned BTW, never stand above a friend crying) and said, “What, babe, you think you’re the only one in the world that could go through a break-up and not have her heart broken? This is what all people feel. Welcome to the world [of humanity, of heartbreak].”

I’m paraphrasing, of course, but the lesson that I spoke to her is the same lesson that I’m learning again; humanity = frailty. It sucks. And yet, it's awesome too, right? To feel. To remember what that's like. 

Being a human being and not an android and not a god(dess) means that you will feel. Deeply. Hard-ly. Harshly. Pain. Fear. Love. Joy. Just be me, for a minute, and pretend that you don’t have to feel, pretend that feeling is an option…. And again imagine, that when you do feel, it feels like a “two-ton truck crashing into us” and, then what? Mirage or Mirror? Do you see the fake lake sitting at the edge of the sand? Or, do you see the reflection of your own broken, imperfect self, standing there, craving validation and love? A love that you denied? True love denied to you? Either way, it is a human emotion that sucks. It hurts. It's lame. Period. End of song. 

When I say “Life is lifelike” this is what I mean. Life is like life. It sucks. It’s great. It’s strange. It moves through you sometimes, even when, especially when, you are trying to move thorough it, you are trying to move through life. Good luck, my friends.

Just like, life is life-like; moving through is moving thorough-like. It sucks. It’s hard. It makes the salt of us saltier, by tears or by makeup. Moving through is a process: pain, love, fear, exhaustion, anger, resignation, relief. 

If you build it, they will come. There’s a hope still; it’s not lost on me, not at all.

Cheers to hope and not dying, but maybe giving up for a few human minutes while I process. If you can't give me a break, I will just have to take one. Deuces. 

Monday, October 20, 2014


There was an episode of The Outer Limits called "The Beholder."

The story is about a man who was blind. He had surgery that corrected his sight. In the healing process, he saw a ghostly woman who was lost and wanted to go home to her planet (this was the Outer Limits, remember that.) Along with his sight, the man had newly found extra powers of perception and not only could see the woman, but could talk with her. They talked very deeply and started to fall in love.

The man's doctors and the scientists that corrected his eyesight realized that he was communing with this woman from another world and they wanted to capture her and experiment on her. (Typical, no?) The scientists built a magnetic force field to trap her. The man fought to set her free, to save her; and in the battle he destroyed the drug that helped him regain and keep his eyesight.


He saved his love and lost his vision. Even though he was blind again, he could always feel her near him. The episode ends with the man, blind, in a lecture hall after class, reaching his hand out to grasp hers.

Connected. Love. Beauty.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Final Countdown

This is the end.

The beginning was nothing like this. In the beginning there was sunshine, and warm air, and a light of some kind. The beginning was slow and easy, a quiet space among angry, raging storms.  A safety, a harbor, a place for protection from the blistering rains.  The beginning was like that.

It was in reaction to the violence of storms, reaction to being beaten, broken and bruised, soaked, and sloshed around, that I needed a warmer, drier place to hide. I hid in the beginning. Drunk in the warm heat, the light. Dried myself off. Laughed a little at the storm, even though it scared me.  

“I’m good. I’m going to be all right.”

The warmth drying out my clothes, my hair, making me feel the chill left on my skin. Wrap the blanket tighter. 

“Is it okay to sit here for a little while? Are you in a hurry to go? My socks are not yet dry and this tea is cooling down."


After a time, the safety became normal. The storms passed. I was less scared. Sometimes a pot falling on the floor is just a pot falling on the floor. Clumsy me. The quiet stayed. It was still warm. It was never hot. The days came one after another. Clouds collected and rains came, but not the thunderheads that I’d become used to. 

“Thank you for the tea and blanket and for drying my socks. I feel better now, don’t you?”

I went outside and looked at the sky. I saw blue and bright. Life, movement, color, music. Yes. A long summer will give this a new perspective. "Let’s go swimming." I wasn’t afraid of drowning anymore.  The sun baked heat into my bones.

“This is the life.”

The cicadas started, quiet at first, then loud and louder. The heat swished and swelled and spilled over, covering the floors and grass and sidewalks with an electric blanket.

“Remember when you were so cold? Remember that now.” 

“I don’t want to.”

From your words a touch of coolness fingered its way into the sun-kissed air. The wind came slowly at first. A few kite days worth of gusts still blessed by warmth. I could see the gloom growing, waiting.  

In one long blink and the end came. I turned my back to face the sun and get that last strand of light and warmth on my skin.  The dark clouds collected behind me.  

"Now we’ve got you."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Funny Shit I Say

Wrapped around the axle
Man alive
Mercy me
Bless your heart
That dog won't hunt
Can I milk this cow? 
Goodness gracious 
It's a sin and a shame.
Preaching to the choir
Preaching to the converted
From your lips to God's ears
The devil made me do It. 
Fixin' to 
A couple few

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Inheritance

The Set-Up
My favorite exercise pants have worn down and holes appeared in the friction-heavy spot where my thighs rub together.  Hole-y workout gear is a no-no especially in the crotch.  Trust me, there is enough to think about at the gym, without worrying that Dumb-Jock A and Creepy-Old-Man #9 can see your goodies.

The pants fit perfectly and give me confidence and therefore shouldn’t be abandon because of my poor attention and repair. I will sew the holes myself.

The Back-Story
I don’t sew, or mend, or iron.  When I do the experience is rife with burns, blood, and cursing. I blame it on my Grandfather’s hands. I have them. Square, German, blunt. Excellent for strength, and hugs, and carrying multiple things or children at once, expressive in a clunky Germanic way, full of power, but not made for delicate needlework.

Tangent: Nothing to be said of ironing here, just that I dislike it and prefer to launder my clothes in a way that I don’t need to iron. (That and I once read a story, “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen and I never wanted to iron again.)

I took Home Economics in sixth grade and remember making a pillow. I wouldn't admit it until now, but I was proud of that lopsided thing, and I remember the 3 different stitches that I learned making that pillow (great job Mrs. Hedden!) My grandmother could sew and make clothes and do all things seamstress. I'm a bit embarrassed that I never picked up any of that from her or from my mom. 

The Sewing Kit, aka, The Button Box
It’s surprising given The Back-Story (see above), that I do have a sewing kit. It lives in an old cigar box in the bathroom pantry. This morning I went to retrieve the Sewing Kit and I found mostly buttons.  All kinds of buttons live in the box, small & large buttons, packaged & free buttons, buttons of all colors, shapes, and sizes.  Why did I keep all of these buttons? Is this a hold-out sign of sentimentality? Of depression-era hoarding? Of a prophetic unearthed practicality for a future where buttons are rare or obsolete?

In "The Sewing Kit", now and forever known as "The Button Box", also lives a dollar bill minted in 1957, a tomato pin cushion, a pin (button) with a pink background and gold skull & crossbones, a book of matches with two remaining matches, a ticket stub to the Columbus Crew vs. New England match on September 3, 2006, a hinge to a unknown but delicate box or drawer, a pack of cigarette rolling papers, and the Columbus Parks and Recreation’s issue of the Leisure Card—which granted access to the free city pools circa 2000.

An assortment of memorabilia that certainly must access some sort of memories, no? But what does this say about me, the person who thought, for years, that this box was full of thread and needles and a few spare buttons? I have moved this box from Columbus to New York to D.C. to various rentals in Columbus. How can I, the owner of this box, be so unaware of its contents?  What memories was I hoping to access in this long forgotten box of keep-sakes? 

The Inheritance (of the Mundane)
After being mildly freaked by the existence of The Button Box, two things happened, both equally mundane.
1.     I found thread and needle in another location in the bathroom pantry and sewed my favorite workout pants. I was mildly proud of myself for not being derailed by The Button Box and for completing my original goal of mending my pants.
2.     I decided to clean out The Button Box (leaving only buttons) for S to have and play with. I played with buttons all the time when I was her age. Maybe that’s why I subconsciously kept these all this time? Let’s say yes. It makes me feel more sane.  Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Post, Old Post: Something Revisted

My grandmother would be 91 years old today if she lived. In the last 9 years since her death, I've wondered what she would think of my life: things I do or say or want. Would I talk to her for real or just tell her the nicer things? I miss her today.

When she was still living, my life was simpler. Not that her being alive made it so, but, it just was. I hadn't yet moved into the real adulthood phase of my life. I was unmarried. Going to college (sort of), working, making my way through the world. The stakes were low, very low at times (shower? check. $10? check. let's go? check.) Low stakes = little chance of making a huge mess of my life. My life was disorganized and felt like a disaster movie, but it was, in hindsight, lived with unnamed ease. 

Simpler but also more riddle with strife. I was so worried about how to become a woman, a wife, a mother--worried that no one would ever love or know me, that I took no time to enjoy the simplicities that come from sleeping as late as you want, calling in sick without worry, skinny-dipping in the country club pool, running off at midnight to see a band, living in the moment without concern for my family or anyone. 

Now, my family is all that I think about. Well, not all, but it's so ingrained, so primary, that I have a hard time separating myself out from it. Who am I without my daughter? WIthout my husband?  Are they just such a part of me that I will never, truly be without them? All the compromises and give-ins, trade-offs of my wants and needs for theirs, they add up and I feel lacking. Am I so used to being this person that rolls with the punches that I don't even notice when I'm being punched? 

This is not an existential crisis or a crisis of faith. This is not a crisis, at all. Just thinking about what my grandmother could have done in her life (what she wanted to do?) and what she did instead. Just thinking about trading parts of myself for someone/something else. What do I give up matched against  what I want and need? Those things don't have to be in opposition, but when they are opposed, I'm asking this question, right?

Good news is that my MRI was normal and my brain is as healthy as a "very young woman's" (the doc's words, not mine.) So with this healthy, young, agile brain, am I as questioning and longing as the young woman that I once was? 

Food for thought. (All puns.) 

Here's to being 91. Let's find out what happens, shall we?