Monday, December 7, 2015

She Lives In This House Over There, Has Her World Inside It

It's very true that I go through periods of not writing. I have too many thoughts, or not enough, or thoughts that I've not yet formed--the prime mover, trickling through time, making impressions without making words [appear in my mind]; in the beginning there was light and it was good, man...and yet, in my mind there is light and darkness and way more parts gray and then, I can't write without that clear purpose.

I write best when things are very sad, very new, or very happy. That leaves the rest of my life, the majority of it, without words, sans description, no deeper thought except for the ones you will never know. All of what's in between is my "real" life, the life I am active in living, and the process of those "live" thoughts.

This is so very obviously a poem to myself about not writing enough. Well, I could have said that better, no? Moving on.

I'm not dark or light right now, nothing is shattering in this earth. Just floating here in the weirdest in between. I know very few things in this moment and in the next? I know more.

I bought myself a birthday present today: an enameled cast iron dutch oven, two non-stick cookie sheets, and a cast iron skillet. My subconscious plans on a long life of searing, baking, and braising; well those things, and I had an insane coupon.

35% off the dreams of my lifetime. Any sarcasm aside, you wish you were here, don't you? I am ready to try out some new and very old recipes. No one to satisfy but myself? A very happy birthday indeed.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

This One Goes Out to the One I Love

Dearest Daughter,

You are my sunshine.  I’m so very proud of you, Sylvia Elizabeth Darby.

You are only four now (ok, almost five) and already so full of things that make an amazing, competent, smart, fun, successful adult. Your sense of humor is one of the things that I love and revel in about you. Not only do you think things are funny (Hammy & the boomerang, minions, mom’s silly faces) but you also understand humor enough, at your age!, to make jokes of your own. You are the clown in your own pretend play. I’ve heard you many times, laughing in the tub at something funny that you and your animals & Barbies & cars are doing. Your laugh is my most favorite sound.  Humor and lightness-of-heart are very important to making life fun and worth living. Never lose your sense of humor—cultivate it. (If someone you meet threatens your sense of humor, end your relationship immediately. Trust your mother on this one.)  Your smarts and humor will diffuse so many potentially nasty situations. And you are a comic genius.

This letter isn’t a list of things I love about you, although maybe it should be, but it’s a way for me to tell you two important things.

One: You are loved. You have been loved & obsessed over & fussed with & adored since you were growing in my belly.  I love you 100%, to the moon and to outer space and back. Your dad loves you 100%, to the moon and to outer space and back. Your grandparents love you. Your auntie and uncle, cousins, second-cousins love you. My friends love you. All of them. You have people. If/when you are uncertain and you want council, ask all of us, any of us. Ask Rachel and Grandma Beth. Ask me. Ask daddy and Uncle Mike. We are here to raise you. We are all here to love and support your growth in this lifetime. Use us. You are loved.

Two: You can be anything. You can do anything. Even better, you can do everything. At this point in your life, you have no real obstacles. Life is wide open for you. My job and daddy’s job, as your parents, is to keep your life as open as possible for as long as possible. We want you to try everything—play soccer, play violin, draw, paint, sing, dance, play football, read 10 books in a row, do whatever you can to learn what you want to do in life. You will always have the sense of self that you have now and the support system (see number one above) to give you a solid base, a foundation for your life. So try things out. Fail. Try something else. Succeed. Take you time, while you are young, and test the waters. We have you. We support you. You are loved.

I will never be able to thank you for showing me so much about myself and about love. How love really works. I never knew that I could love someone this completely, until I met you. I would give up every single thing in my life, including my life itself,  if that would  keep you safe, or make you happy, or move you toward one of your goals. Your laugher and brain and ways of thinking and exploring this world have reminded me of why we are all here.


Life is for learning and loving.  You are really great at life, kiddo. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sideways: Identity

It's really hard to write when I'm happy and busy and living all my big old life right down to the last moment of each day. 

That's what's happening. 

My kid went to kindergarten. Holy shit, right? She's exhausted. I'm exhausted. 

I PROMISE I will write soon. 

You miss me, don't you? 

xoxox 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Universal Somethings (Meant to Post Last Week)

Without being bleak let me remind you (speaking to myself here) that there's a way in which we all live and die alone.

Oh okay H, here we go. 

How is that not bleak? 

Well, dear me (oh me, oh my) it's because it's true. No other human can give a life or death much comfort if you're uncomfortable with yourself. 

The moon or planets or God or goddesses are tweaking all the energies in the world right now. (Mid-script: I know, as fact, that I'm not the only one feeling the seismic shifts in this moment.)

And, (full stop.) in this shift, the stronger I hold on to all the things about myself and about you that I thought I KNEW, as fact, the more I grasp onto the rope that holds my life together, the more the rope burns. 

My IQ is killing me here. 

I want to keep it simple. I make it all too hard for myself. 

Say Words: How to Crush Your Mother's Soul 101

When S gets very emotional or whiny, there is a moment after I look at her, and acknowledge her angst, that I ask her to "Say words." I'm asking her to tell me what's bothering her in her own words. It's our queue for her to wind down the emotion and use her brain to express it aloud. (Very important skill for little dramatic princess girls, who when left to their own devices can make a scrapped knee turn into hours of crying and fussing.) When S was smaller, I would translate her frustrations and emotions into what I thought she was feeling, but now that she's older she can "tell me" what's going on in her sweet child's brain.

She can express her own feelings and frustrations and thoughts and dreams to me now. It's a relief mostly--not guessing, but having her tell me--and her dreams are amazing and her thoughts are so inspired--another blog on that one.  There are days in this new place that her verbal and cognitive developments are more of a burden, a weighty list of things I need to do, or places in her heart that I've failed her or her longings for a life that I cannot give her, or worst of all, her longings for a life that I've taken away from her.

How to Crush Your Mother's Soul 101

This week's been particularly difficult for her and for me. She's processing all of the changes that I have chosen for her. S told her grandmother, "Daddy doesn't love Mommy anymore." It was not a question but a statement of fact. Today little S didn't want to go to school. When I asked her why she said, "It's too far away from you. I just want to stay with you." Daggers. In. My. Heart.

I do talk through her thoughts and questions with her, of course. Those are parenting moments. All parents have those, I know. I ask her more about how she feels and what she thinks and what she knows. [That's been a really good question recently, "S, what do you know, as a fact, about [blank]?" Kids love to KNOW stuff.] She is processing and I am there Saturday through Wednesday to help her, to listen, to validate, to comfort, to confirm.

Being a part-time single parent is the hardest thing that I've done in my life to date.

It just hurts. It hurts to be away from my kiddo. It hurts to enjoy being away from her. The missing and the guilt is a swirling cyclone fueled by pure parental love. It's intense and extreme.

When I'm with her, I want to do nothing else but play and talk and sing and eat and bask in her loveliness. It sucks that we have to work and go to school and do laundry and cook and clean. I do try and get as much of that done as I can when she's away, but it's unavoidable that real life meddles with my time with S.

Today after her bout of "I don't want to go to school" we made a deal. We snuggled and looked at pictures for awhile and then we went on a breakfast date before school. Bagels, juice, some time just us--a break in the routine. It helped a little, I think.

I still feel alone and guilty and scared and it all hurts today. I'm glad I have these feelings. I'm not dead inside. I'm working through it--finding thoughts in the emotions, saying my words to start the process for healing and for getting better at this.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Green Truths

Wow, how long has it been since I've told you some foodie truths. Too long? I think so.

Here is a list of all the things I use for salad "dressing":
- salsa
- hot sauce
- hummus
- baba ganoush
- pesto
- tuna (with a bit of the liquid)
- parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper
- lemon juice
- cider vinegar
- leftovers--grilled veggies, cole slaw, chicken salad

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Who Me? Couldn't Be! Then, Who?

I'm not in a writerly space. I won't sit here and labor on, prattling about the weird and sometimes painful process that writers go through while living their "real" lives--the lives that happen off the page.

Yesterday I said, "Remember when I was a writer?" I was being possibly cute and maybe a bit glib, but then it hurt a little. Leave it to me to hurt my own feelings.

I came to this space today to read. Maybe in a small way to convince myself that I am a writer, maybe a writer on sabbatical. And, you know what? It worked. I forgot all about the last (major) post I wrote. It wasn't bad. Needs some fine tuning, but the thought is clear, voice is strong, even I could feel the love in it. My love. That was oozing out all over the place.

Remember, I'm still here, just busy living and not sitting long enough to write. That will change. All this life has given my so many new thoughts, new perspective, shifts in the planets certainly.

In the meantime, I will be at the pool or listening to live music or sitting on the patio.

xoxo

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

So Far Away

I'm alive but too busy to write. I'm thinking about too many things to focus here. The stories are writing themselves, my dears--in my messy little head. 

Too busy to miss you, but I feel the longing underneath, the undertow of desire. I see the sun and the moon. 

Later, I will write it all.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Proxy: A Treatise on Love, Friendship, and Desire (for MH)

The truest nature of friendship is a love-based foundation that meets emotional needs of both persons involved in the relationship. Sounds a lot like true love, but in friendship, romance, of a sort, is missing. There is something deeply romantic about friendship--in it's most perfect form--most of us would rather spend time fighting with and loving our friends than fussing about with a lover. Friendship isn't fickle in the same way that romantic love can be--there is something more honest about it, something more durable, a way that we honor and support our friends, that gets lost over time with our lovers. (That loss is certainly not a doomed requirement divined by the Fates, but one that we see time and time again in our modern world.)

That's what is so cool about very old, married couples--couples that have, over lifetimes, become true friends in addition to having romantic love. This is why we coo when we see old folks holding hands on the walking track at the gym or sharing a scone on a park bench under the cherry blossom trees. We know in those observed moments that romantic love churned through horrible and wonderful moments, passing through memories, making love and life gel, and over years to become a friendship like no other is built--it is not automatic. Can we have friends that last lifetimes? Can me make our lovers into true friends?

The answers are easy: of course we can (times two.) Like all things worth having, it takes work, compassion, intelligence, bravery, and of course, love to build a trusted companionship with a friend or lover.

I do not believe in unconditional love. True love, with friends or lovers, should have conditions. It's in those conditions that we become intimate, become more in love, become friends for life. We set our parameters and boundaries, and our friend respects and honors those conditions. And yes, rather obviously, a good friend will challenge us to push and move and alter our most limiting boundaries--but doing so respectfully is a minimum.

I know you, friend, and I love you just as you are. Knowing you that way, doesn't--not for one second--mean that I won't push you toward learning more about yourself, doesn't mean that I won't, from time-to-time pry you to undercover a new facet of your personality--we owe each other (the world) to help us grow into the people that we've always meant to be. It's a perfectly metered score--one where we balance our partner's shortcomings and accept mistakes and foibles--but without malice or deceit helping our friends to a better self. You know me too. That's the gist, right? My friends love me in all the ways that I love them. My friends know when I've had too much to drink, when I've been sad and withdrawn, when I've had too much in my life and need to break away, when I need to laugh, and so on. I trust my people. And they trust me.

I will grow old with my friends. We will check in on each other and take turns annoying and lifting each other up for the rest of our time here on Earth. I look forward to it.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Gratitude and Grounding: A Research Project for Super Geniuses---Phase One: Writing Out the Shit (a.k.a Notes on a Bullshit Day)

First, gratitude.

I am making space to feel the blessings that I receive today (in no order):
- health, mine and S's
- physical mobility and range of motion--the miles that I walked
- love of my child
- love for my child
- Spring, sunlight, warmth, air, light, sunlight twice
- my people: RW, DEW, TW, TGD, EA, MM, RB, JC, JC, MH, BH, CH, TH, MBS
- presence of mind
- bubbles
- tiger
- red pandas playing in trees
- doing man-stuff myself, otherwise known as "not being a lily"
- making it through this day

Next, moving toward grounding, but no where near that yet---writing out the shit.

I am swirling with so much to think today. Let me work this out.
- Today, I feel bad at every thing. I felt as if I failed at parenting, at work, at being present with and for myself, at being a friend, at being supportive for the ones I love.
- Why am I so hard on myself, while I can be so understanding of others? Why am I so understanding with some people, and so critical of others?
- I judged the shit out of myself today and it felt terrible. I hurt my own feelings today. I had no compassion for myself. Hating me? Join the weird ass club. YUCK, right? Why do I feel better when I beat myself up, just a little (or hell, a whole lot some days)--how does that help me? How does it hurt? Please don't answer the rhetoricals.
- I also judged a woman who was behaving very, very badly. Do I hate her too? No. I feel sorry for her and wish that her hurt and lifetime of pain wouldn't spill out into my life. I would help her if I could, but I didn't have any juice left to give today.

I can't even get to the how to do better part yet. I need to sit with this shite for a night or two. The only way for me to ground out is by letting this out. I put it here so I don't forget. It's more permanent once I hit Publish. I will breathe. I know this is a safe space for me--I do know that I've created that here for myself. Trust in me. (Just reminding myself, I think.)

Need to work on my own reserve and level up the juice.

These are just some notes from a weird day. Tomorrow is not today. Tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lunar Phases

The moon moves through its phases beckoning us and pushing us away with its gravitational pull. The tides turn to face and flee the gravity, as do we, as the crest crests and the waters turn from dark to darker still.

The moon heals the blisters of the sun's rays and wind. Sun-scorched earth relents to the cooling darkness and we follow suit. Here we go into this pale night un-afraid, infantile. 

We won't howl tonight, not just yet, but that night is fastly coming our way. There is no way to remain unmoved but by the light of this movable wonder, an orb of a closer sort; we will dance and sing in the dark light in a few days--just wait and see. It's time to ready yourself.

Ready? Steady. Go!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Last Night

It is the last night that my husband and I will sleep in the same bed. Exhaustion drove us to sleep. Working hard, packing, organizing, sifting through nine years of our lives together. Pillows divided us on separate sides. Although the rhythms of breaths and sleeping shifts were somehow still familiar, the things missing in us were almost palpable, like a third person joined us on the ridge of dividing pillows, a chaperone.

It's nothing like the first time we slept in the same bed. A night long ago when I had hope. Hope that I could be happy. Hope that I could stop running and being so wild (untamable at the time), hope that I could escape a legacy of assholes, control freaks, intense men who wanted to change me, who wanted to own me, to tame me. D was nothing like that. We held hands some and talked (I talked) and I had hope.

Our marriage is over. This is the last night that we will spend in bed, the last night that we are truly married. That hope that I held as a young woman in my 20's is hope fulfilled.

We learned so much from each other. I feel blessed to have lived this life and these years with D. We made another person who is the most amazing creature on Earth (don't even try to mess with a mother's bias.) My daughter is a gift to us all. She will be loved and supported and lifted up always by both of us. I have never doubted this even through the end of our marriage. We stayed focused on her and her needs, well above our vanities and egos, as it should be. We let love rule here. It worked. (Compassion and foresight wins every time.)

D is a prominent teacher in my life. A man who gave me hope, let me live, allowed me the space to grow and mature into the person that I always meant to be. His quiet support gave me room. I can't say what I've taught him, that's for him to say, but we managed through all this still friends.

I leave this marriage with love, honor, and respect for D and for our union. I leave this space with gratitude and compassion. I'm sorry it is happening, but very honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. We are our own path through this part of our lives. It's been a lot of things, but nothing that I regret in the end.

If I can will anything in this world through writing it, it's this: May D have all things that bring him joy and love and peace in this world. He will always have a friend, a support, and a champion in me. This end is just the beginning.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Why Happy Endings Get A Bad Rap

Love.

I want comfort and I want revenge
This is your life, your lie

"You guys don't give things a chance or chances. I don't know why that is."

"Because we know what we want and we don't mind being alone."

Life is Weird, Yo.

Circles, cycles, the nature of the beast.

This time of clarity is so refreshing. I'm not one to mince words, so I won't. The sun is bright and blinding. I'm deeply grateful for the light and the scorch of the sun. The way the heat soaks into my black jeans and burns my legs is the way I want to live, in the sun, in beauty, in life, with love.

Every song I hear makes me think. If I am the flame, then watch out little moths, night is coming.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hey, Hey You, Get Off of My Cloud

Since the past isn't going anywhere any time soon, let's focus on the present.

I'm moving into a very positive, optimistic, and honest time of my life--can you see it? (I think I'm radiating.)

And this is a quick cautionary tale: please curb your negativity toward me. If you come at me all "woe is me" and sad sack and dirt-kicking, don't want a solution, everything is shit, well, then, I might jet, I might have to shut it down.

There is no malice here. I will want to kvetch with you, but not now. I know, it's not completely fair, in some way, because you've been here with me during all the transitions, and transformations, and long, horrid periods of stasis. Let me say right now on the record that I'm am deeply grateful. Thank you for your careful time and consideration. I am blessed.

And as soon as I get some balance on this new happier scale of mine, I will come and sit and listen to all your troubles. But for now, I need some of my own company--as the queen is wont to do. It's time for me to lift it up. You won't hold me back, brother. I won't let you. Love isn't the question of this day, or rather, if love is the question today it's about self-love and not about me giving any of y'all the everything that I always give (S is the constant and appropriate exception.) If you make me feel bad about myself, you can hit the bricks. Don't look back. If you need too much from me, I'm taking a break. If you can't really share your emotions and logics with me, and hear mine, then I'll see you another time perhaps. I deserve you to be all in. I am worth every last drop of it. I'm trimming the fat. I'm focused. There is no room for half-heartedness or malice or bullshit.

For now, I'm drilled down. I'm focused on experiencing the present. Reacting less, pro-acting more. There is an immeasurable clairvoyance involved when focusing on the present. Without trying too hard, it's like you can see the future just a touch in the periphery, while being very grounded in the now.  Both feet. Both hands.

And you thought I wasn't a hippie---always keep you guessing, hun?

Metaphysical lingo aside, I'm focused on what my life is like. I'm focused on having gratitude and making space to be grateful every single day for many moments. I'm focused on how to love, support, and honor my daughter's spirit and my own. I'm grounding down into the core of myself to unearth and shore up my truths. I know me. (Ok, so maybe I forgot for a while, it's true, but I'm back. I'm right here. See?)

Soon enough after being well grounded and feeling back to myself, I will spiral up and get all out there again with the kites and birds and love and music and puppies and children and rainbows, but for now, thank you and you may want some sunglasses, yo, this shit is bright.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Might

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It's all in the fall though, isn't it?

Things fall and break and gravity sings.

(What am I talking about now? For the love of all good things. Don't you know?)

Once, a couple few (or many) years ago, I was quite certain that I knew where I was going. I knew all about myself, and about the people I loved, and more than a little bit about every thing & one else. The arrogance of youth was strong in me. "Look at me. I'm so smart," I said.

Then LIFE happened. Big, important, unplanned life just rained down all over my overinflated sense of knowing. My dry certainty was washed up and I headed for higher ground. Up, up, up. But the higher I climbed the more uncertain I became--looking for a foothold, a place to grab on to, a place to rest at the end of a day's climb, carrying a baby on my back now, towing a man and a car, bills, job, and a garden up the mountain. Must find a place for all of us. Must carry on and climb this rock.

My hands hurt. My feet were bloody. I lost my balance, fell, and lost ground a number of times. But during the climb to higher ground, something happened: I found the might of the climb. Staring in to the side of a rock and seeing, as if for the first time, the minerals, colors, textures of the rock. Feeling the air in my body, the air outside, the sun, the heat, the light, my cracked, bleeding fingers. I feel it all. I finally knew something worth knowing--I was right where I was supposed to be. I could, if I chose, climb up or down, side-to-side, but I was looking at the rock. My rock. I am the rock.

I could drop a couple things to make it an easier climb, but shedding was too scary for a long time. What if I needed all that stuff once I got to wherever I was headed? What if there wasn't any thing better at the top? I held on to all of the stuff I thought I might need and kept climbing for a long time. The repetition mesmerized me.

Climb. Fall. Stare. Climb. Fall. Stare. Focus. Fall. Climb.

I started to let go. First the garden. It was a lot to carry--pots, plants, rich soil, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs. I would miss it so much, but I could pick it up on my way down or build something new at the top. Then the shedding felt good. Thinking through what else was weighing me down, keeping me from moving at my own pace, holding me back, suspending my natural gait. It's hard to think through that, but the climb, the rock helped.

Climb. Fall. Stare. Climb. Fall. Stare. Focus. Fall. Climb. Know. Force. Un-know. Fall. Stare. Focus.

Over time it all happened, I was becoming the rock. Learn. Climb. Learn. Climb. Become. I no longer let life "happen" to me. I am the shelter from the rain, I am the cure for my own knowing. I have not made it to the "top" but I'm not certain that the top is still my goal. My goal now is to relish the might of the rock and enjoy the fall. Sometimes, the fall is all you get--maybe the fall is all I need.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Big Chill

The ground is mushy and wet. The snow is mostly gone, traces left in the shadows, traces to remind us that more snow is still possible. Winter has it's way with us. The clutches and ravishes of time moving on and on. 

There is no drum. There are wind chimes and birds singing the last swan dives, the free fall into spring, where each day it gets warmer, brighter, and the earth becomes more alive. 

Somewhere there are bugs nestled into caves waiting for their epic return, but for now, we can leave the doors & windows open. Let the sunlight in. Let in the air. Let it fill your lungs. Let the breeze touch your skin. Although there is still a chill lingering on the wind, we crave the spaces in between. 

We will thaw into another spring. The stories we tell echoed in remembrance of last spring, last summer--the chlorinated blue waters, the heat, the noise of a city full of people drawn to the grace of the sun. We all worship. We will write it all again. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Eight Below Zero

Negative numbers used to freak me out. I remember Algebra 1 in high school. The concepts of negative and imaginary numbers blew my mind. How could something as tangible as adding apples and counting on our fingers be reduced to something imaginary and negative? Even when I was not holding up my fingers, they existed.

I needed a Sesame Street episode on that shit pronto.

Then I got a paycheck and a bank account. I learned all about negative and imaginary numbers. The something that is not there. The winter is about that too, not just in the bizarre temperatures, record-breaking and whatnot, but in the nothing that is there and the nothing that is not there. Wind takes up most of the empty spaces, but also the cold itself is thick, chewy, biting--it's no wonder we all personify winter--it's almost a living thing (all fucking irony here since most stuff is DEAD in the winter.)

I've written about this before--from the Wallace Stevens poem--but it's a concept, like imaginary numbers--that I keep revisiting.

Can you get something from nothing (hello God)? Can nothing be there, or here? What lives in the spaces between the positive and negative? Is there a beat there? (Bring that beat back, bring that beat back--you wanna hear that beat, right?)

Is any thing or anyone truly binary?

101000011101010101010100000111101011101111010101010

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Feeding a Genius, Part 1 (of 150)

Food. Fuel. A scientific equation of oxygen, water, and carbon exchanged.

In the beginning, there was food. I remember tuna-noodle casseroles, popcorn, fried bologna & cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, Bit-o-Honeys, cold bologna & cheese sandwiches, a.k.a, "bologna & cheese combination" which included yellow mustard, sliced onion, and sliced tomato in season, S.O.S--which abbreviates Shit-on-a-Shingle and is made of chipped or ground beef in gravy over toast, deviled eggs on special occasions, chili, beef vegetable soup, potato soup, scrambled or fried eggs (any time of day), American cheese, white bread, frozen and canned vegetables (peas, broccoli & carrots, corn), apples, peanut butter on toast or with or without jelly. In sum the palate of my early childhood was dull, salty, and mostly monochromatic. 

When my mom and I left the family home, my (our) palate(s) expanded. I remember her experimenting with a Betty Crocker cookbook. Was that how my mother learned to cook? What did her mother teach her? Her grandmothers, aunties, cousins? [I will ask her and let you know.]

I didn't grow up cooking per se, but did grow up rooted to a chair in the kitchen. My grandmother played talk radio and cooked dinner. I sat in the chair and did whatever task she gave me, usually peeling potatoes or mashing something. Sometimes I fiddled with Pappy's crossword puzzles instead of cooking. My mom would let me put stuff in the pot--she would chop and I would cart chopped bits to the pot. A team of Betty Crockers. 

In my tween years, I started to bake quick breads: banana bread, a zucchini bread once, a coffee cake here and there. Mostly, I made sandwiches, frozen pizza, Hot Pockets, Toaster Strudel, tater tots, Pizza Rolls, the commercial foods of my generation. I had no interest in cooking and a medium interest in food. Like most girls my age, my interest in boys (giggle, bat lashes, blush, turn away) grew over time as did my interest in music, pizza, movies, roller skating, and all social activities. I had only a cursory interest in anything that was not a way to make frienemies and aquire boyfriends.  I wanna hold your hand. Staying in the kitchen was not an option for an up-and-comer like me. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

IDK

"Don't you ever get lonely?"
"No. I have lots of ghosts to keep me company." 
"Goats?"
"Yes, ghosts." 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Colossal Robert J

Yesterday, I went to the funeral for Bob. 

I have to say at the outset that Bob is my best friend’s dad and my other best friend’s father-in-law (yes, my two besties married each other.). There are many so layers of powerful emotion to sort through for all of us over the next year or two or lifetime, but for now in this space, today, this is my personal memorial to Bob—a space for my grief. 

Bob was a big guy. Seemingly giant stature, colossal hands, bold eyes, big voice—although he spoke less than the people surrounding him—when he spoke, he commanded. He had a slow way of speaking, a Southern drawl and was an economist of words. He was sharp as a tack, slightly (and slyly) irreverent, and incredibly kind but with a dry, wicked sense of humor—an individual; his own man and no one else’s—no lemmings allowed—always proud of the weird roads we travel.  And although he never said so, I know that he liked me very much. Kindred souls, him & me.

Bob was one of those people I checked in with from time to time.  We never phoned or went for coffee, but, when opportune, I would request advice or look to him for a signal of approval or frown. I trusted him as a checkpoint. I believe that there are people in the world that reflect better than any mirror. There are people, friends, lovers, mothers, best friend’s fathers that can see something in you that you can’t/won’t/are too busy to see in yourself. Bob was one of those mirrors.

Bob’s son, B, is my friend in all of this life (and certainly in the next one). B is also a mirror. Genetic trait? Some ancient caste? A long-forgotten curse? (Maybe some research is due here. Road trip?) Maybe it has something to do with knowing someone for most of his/her life—the ability to see and reflect what ever the hell is going on below the beautiful calm surface. I think it’s a higher calling. One of the gifts, a third eye, a super power—part receiver/part reflector. There are so many reasons that B and I are friends—almost 3 decades now—to many reasons to list. He is, for me, a true measure, an honest gauge in my life. If B is worried about me, I should be too. 

I’m lucky to have one of these men in my life, but blessed beyond belief to have known two.  Even though none of these words seem enough and I’ve already blown the economy principle, with my whole heart, I honor Bob. I cherish the way he loved my friend and his son. I’m grateful by his interaction in my life. I will miss him in my own quiet way. And we are much more alone knowing that he is not there to mirror, to chat, to listen, and to take up space in his favorite chair. Saying that Bob will be missed is so painfully true.

Bourbon up. Cheers to a real Southern gentleman. Safe travels, brother.


(P.S., Bob, if you are reading this, I’ll help M look after B. No worries.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Avoiding Bourbon: The Story of My Heart, 8/E Revised

It’s good to remind myself that bourbon is tough on me. There are days when, no matter what the question is, bourbon is the answer. I like the burn, the smell, the complexity of tastes, strong & sweet, harsh & smooth, the way it burns out all other tastes in my mouth. A good, stiff drink.  That’s what bourbon is.

It’s also pretty: amber, viscous, light-filled. Seductive. One large, melt-less ice cube, crystal glass, solid to the touch and taste.

Say when.

When my job is crazy stressful, when my life is chaotic and wild, when the grief rolls over my stinking, naked body, when I am un-centered and ungrounded, bourbon is bad. That’s also when I crave it most. A quick (almost instant) way to erase the first layer of shit from my mind.  A mind erasing elixir that takes the edge off my fear, my grief, my boredom, my self-loathing. The trouble is that after that first layer is mined away, it’s very quickly down the bourbon hole. (Happy birthday to Lewis Carroll, btw.)

Some nights the bourbon hole is safe and warm, a lovely place to hide. A few hours there, wake up groggy but blank—the mind erasing worked! I’m more clear. But in the other nights, the darkest parts of myself lie in that amber, awaiting: that drunken, lazy, mean, sad, lonely, pathetic, ugly, old, horrible troll living under the bourbon bridge. I’m so serious, so sad, so alone, and just barely alive. 

Taking this to the shrink is always interesting.  I’ve heard that all people have an inner critic (their own version of my bourbon troll) that lives inside. People have their foils, their nemeses, and their own access points to those inner critics. Mine is brown liquor, what’s yours?  Dealing with all the hurt and rejection in a lifetime is a lifetime’s amount of work—an ongoing puzzle with missing and lost pieces that surface in the strangest places.

I know I’m scaring you. I promise that it’s okay. I’m becoming more and more aware of my bourbon troll and I’m avoiding bourbon as much as possible these days. My days are tough right now: work is crazy, grief is circling, chaos is swirling. I’m raw. It’s not time for a drink. 

This is written and sounds as close to a full-blown alcoholic as I’ve ever sounded, but this is me getting really honest about my main addiction: death.  I’m a super-processor, a super-feeler, a super-taster. There is nothing casual about me. I’m just not a casual girl (sorry brothers.)  I’ve always flirted with, and at times craved, death. You are not surprised. I’ve said it before.

Because I feel it all, I’m so connected to my humanity; I need a break from all that "super" from time to time. I’ve found that break in thrilling myself scared with sex, love, drugs, bourbon, rock-n-roll, illegal cheeses, car crashes, railroad tracks, etc. All of these behaviors were thrilling as a young person. I was daring, and often, dared---sexy, brilliant, bold, magnanimous, mysterious, ALIVE, young. In middle age, these behaviors are disgusting and frowned upon. (Oh, how I hate to be frowned upon. Please don’t frown at me.)

I’m learning new behaviors—ways of coping. The shrink helps with that too. It’s about measure and pacing for me. Taking my time to consider why I’m drinking, why I’m driving so fast, why I want someone’s hands on me.

It’s painful. I slip back into the old habits of a young woman, a young woman who had space for all sorts of ridiculousness. Now it just seems sorry. Pathetic. Irredeemable. 

Stick with me. I will drink bourbon again. There will be love and sex and music and dancing in due time. For now, I’m pacing myself. I’m avoiding bourbon. I’m avoiding love and entanglements of the heart. I’m staying strong and clear. I will slip up.

I will get back here and keep trying to stay in this space—holding space here for myself as I grow (again) into this strong, soft, sweet, beautiful adult woman that I’ve always meant to be.

Patience.


Compassion.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Let's Hide until Spring? No, Wait...

Winter, for better or worse, is the space held for life--it's a pause in the cycle, a pause to renew, restock, re-nourish the soil. In the frozen death of frigidity and in the hallows of wind, life lies, under the crusted protection of ice, in wait. In the bareback cold, miniature mites die off, fleas, mosquitos get the hypothermic ax, while other lovelies dig deep and hibernate. Can we find a warm place to stave off the languishing silence of winter?

I will hold this space for life anew.

I'm not waiting for spring, though, don't mince my words, love. I'll shiver and shake here for awhile in this cold, dark place, and when the sun comes back, I'll shine brighter for the downtime, no?

Let's dance, motherfuckers. Shake that ass.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 Resolutions: Do You Know Anyone More Resolute?

Although I feel obligated to create resolutions in the new year, the truth is that I like giving myself challenges. Last year, I met my resolutions.

2015 is all about doing more things that are scary and safe. It's time for me to go out on some limbs in life--to shake/wake myself up.

Here goes:
1. Take a spinning class (6 weeks)
2. Finish book of poetry and send out for publication.
3. Finish the Adena Brook story/ies and send for publication.
4. Learn to dance. Partner dancing is a lost art and I suck at being led.
5. Play 4 open mics (gulp)

And a few totally not scary & very safe resolutions:
6. Eat a green salad or drink green juice every day.
7. 100% quit smoking (I need to quit trying to quit and give it up, girl!) I know I don't smoke that much but then why do it at all? (She asks herself.)
8. Finish moth tattoo.
9. Learn new jokes.

I thought about adding teetotaling and celibacy to this list but instead I vow to imbibe high-end booze and have awesome sex instead, always asking, "Is it worth the calories? Is it delicious?" Life is too short for mediocre liquor. Life is too short for mediocre sex. To a Top Shelf 2015.

(The all-or-nothing concept doesn't always work in practice, but I think when it comes to sex & sin, it's a good idea to have some standards. Good booze is expensive. It will force me to drink less and enjoy it more. Repeat the same thinking for sex. Less is more. Quality over quantity.)