Monday, May 1, 2017

Tuscon, Arizona



We took a family trip, Friday to Sunday, to my good friend Taymar's home. Taymar and Max, her husband, and their two boys, Caspian and Benny. Their home is gorgeous and used to be a ranch house and connected houses. Now two of those connected homes (all of which circle round a stone paved courtyard with glorious trees with circular stones around them in the center) are rented out as AirBnB. We stayed in one of those homes. 






Saturday, April 29, 2017

Rest In Peace, Megs

Someone I didn't know   
hardly knew

died. She died, and her name was Meghan, or Megs. She was thirty-six. I have never heard her voice or seen her face in living person. I have seen her photos, in which she is a beaming, beautiful, brown-haired, brown-eyed young woman with glossy hair and the kind of face that you would trust your child or your dog with. 

She had reached out to me through FB messenger about a month ago, I responded, and we'd been back and forth since.

She died in a car crash. Her husband was driving. He's in intensive care. They don't know what caused the crash.

Megs was always writing me about someone else, not herself. She was always asking about how to help others. She was, I know from only my microcosm of interaction with her, a person with an exceptional capacity to love. And she is gone. And it's a fucking travesty. 

I am so sorry for her. It's so wrong and so bizarre that she was just sitting there, like I am right now, clicking away at the keyboard and asking me a question, yet everytime I go to look at her message to me and mine back, there is never a green light that she is on Facebook or a click to show she read my message, because she is dead. 

I cried today and felt foolish because it's nothing to do with me, but I feel like writing this because I knew her in a small way and was impacted by her existence, her life, and because it's a loss for all of us that she is gone from this world. She had so much left to do.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Published Essay: Brief and Bizarre History of Dog Shit

The knock on the door came at 9:30pm. I was half naked, my kids asleep. Pulling on sweats, I answered the door with a bad feeling. What else but bad news knocks on your door at 9:30pm? It was my neighbor in his own sweats, trembling, his already popping eyes bulging even more out of his head, curly grey hair moping along the forehead. He began talking before I could even open my mouth. I’m sick of it! Look at this! He held up a black bag. Piles of it, I’m sick of it. It’s not MY dog! Pick up after your dog! He threw the bag at my feet, on my doorstep, and stalked away.
I stood at my doorway, pursing my lips. What to do? I squinted at the bag of shit. Hm. There is a bag of shit on my doorstep, I considered. This is worthy of some action.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Translation


Ever and I had a blast last night
that girl is fun
we are in that best friend stage. with Lola i got so, so blessed and she stayed that way until just this year, at fifteen. Lola is still my best friend, but i'm not hers. she'll come back to me. but meanwhile, she is growing up and a certain kind of separation has to happen at some point, to find out who you are without your parent as your person. they begin taking steps toward this that get bigger and bigger and bigger until they leave. 
it hurts and it is beautiful. it makes me cry with tears of joy and pride and tears of sorrow and grief. grief for the inevitable passage of time and the small deaths that also make up life.


here is Lola with her bestie, Lucy, on vacation over Spring Break, with Lola's bio dad Keith, who takes these girls on awesome trips. can you even believe how large and how tiny life can be? who can hold that reality in their bodies? that's why reality isn't made to be held on to. just translated as it comes to us. i couldn't love my children, all four, any more. i can't contain the love i have for them, so it flies out from me in tears and laughter and whispers and words and banging on the keyboard and cooking and praying and kissing and hugging and saying 'i love you' over and over, so many times every single day since Dakota, the first, was born, that far from being meaningless, those words are the mantra of the heart of life, i love you, i love you, i love you.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring Awakens

The things I've been doing the last two weeks are working. I am feeling again. 

The two things that have made the most difference are joining a gym, so weightlifting and cardio, and focusing on being in the moment with Ever.

It's a touchstone for me. Whenever I get lost, I move toward meditating on the unconditional and what gets me the most- trusting- love that my kids have for me. They TRUST me to be OK. They trust me and they desperately need me, more than they need anything...until, you know, they get older and suddenly that changes. But Ever is still there. She is six, and I am her world. Her face, her beautiful, like I can't stand how cute she is, how precious, how beautiful, face, looks at me with pure unadulturated trust. 

Somehow that expectation, that trust in me, allows me to trust in myself, and in life.

This Spring Break, Lola has been gone, and it's Ever and I. Long hours of gardening and playdates with friends and walks with the dogs and dates at Starbucks. Tonight we lay in bed for two hours giggling and climbing under the sheets and playing 'let's attack Ever because I love her so much and she's so cute' and this game we play all the time the last few months, which is I say Ever I love you,

and she says Mommy I love you more,

and I pretend to be horrified that she would say more, and we take it from there. 

You should just see her face when she looks at me. How could I not feel that? I could not feel it, if I didn't concentrate on it, if I didn't stay with it. If I didn't allow myself to trust that right now is all I can control or contain.

That's the trick to so much, so much of life. Just stay with it. Just be there. Right now. I'm all in. I'm in my body, typing this. I can feel these keys underneath my fingers and these tears rolling slowly down my cheeks and my feet, slightly cold, and my hair, a little too tightly wound on my head, and I can see the darkness encroaching around the lit computer, and I can feel the way that a little girl needs her mother, and how hard that mother fights to just be there, for something so beautiful, and so precious, really the only something that matters, or will matter, which is of course, love.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Something Is Wrong and You Will Feel It

I've had periods of depression throughout my life and now I am in the second month of one that has gone from bad to worse rapidly, scaring me. To scare yourself is hard to do in this stage of life where the dinners are made and the children busy and the wedding band worn and the jobs secured, if not bringing in enough, still there, and the pets are getting older, you are getting older, everything hard gets harder. 

I listened to an 'associated Ted talk' (what the fuck does that mean, IDK) and it was unpopular at the time (gauged by the audience's tepid response and lack of applause) because the speaker is saying depression is often not a mental disorder, and we treat to many varied groups of symptoms as depression when they are not. now i am someone with a family history of mental illness, who takes Zoloft. so i can speak. i say that he has a point, but that he didn't address the shades of grey, at least not well enough, and that's crucial in this discussion. but his point, even as someone who takes a medication and who is extremely glad i can and do, has validity in our culture, where if you are deeply sad medication is usually the first resort. this doctor was speaking to the depressions that we experience as a message from our inside to our out, saying 

SOMETHING IS WRONG AND NOW YOU WILL FEEL IT, LEARN ABOUT IT, BECOME INTIMATE WITH IT AND PROPERLY ADDRESS WHAT IS WRONG INSTEAD OF A BUNCH OF POSSIBLY RELATED THINGS THAT AREN"T REALLY THE ISSUE

because let's be honest. How do we change? Pain. Discomfort. Misery. Most human beings are completely disinclined to change things if they aren't actively causing pain. 

My shoulder, for instance. It's been bugging me for a year. Maybe more. And it's probably getting worse, and if I don't do anything, it will probably become some big, painful fuck that I'll have to address. But I haven't done anything. Because it's not. that. bad. And because it is a pain in the ass to do something about it. Money I don't have. Time I don't want to allocate. Money. Oh I said that already.

Also reasons why I myself avoid, off the top of my head, are:

I have no idea what to do about 'it'

I am scared of what 'it' might be

I am scared of what I might have to do if I deal with 'it'

I am scared of disappointing other people

I am scared of hurting someone

I am scared of making someone angry

I am scared of failing

I am afraid of losing something 

I am afraid of possibly unearthing deeper, more profound pain and prefer to simmer in pain-lite

etc.

I've been seriously depressed for two months and as I listened to this sort of Ted talk, it was immediately clear to me that although I have a prediliction toward mood disorders, this one wasn't 'out of the blue' or because the weather changed or because i'm low on iron or because my dog keeps pooping on the carpet or because I'm worried about my novel.

There is a 'reason'. 

Guess what?

I have no idea what to do about it.

I am scared of what I might have to do to deal with it.

I am scared of hurting someone, making them angry, losing someone, failing, and pretty  much of my own shadow some days.

But guess what.

I have felt a little bit better since I admitted to myself why I can barely get out of bed, why I can barely eat, why I cry everytime I'm alone, why I feel dead inside, why even my most favorite things hold no allure or comfort, why I can't stop picking at my skin, why I look old and tired, why my body aches, why I feel so deeply alone and afraid.

I have felt a little bit clearer.

This weekend I stayed offline all weekend, as I usually try to do from Friday afternoon on. The last week I have done off and on all day meditations. For me, a meditation looks like this:

I take Ever to the park, she plays and I sit under the trees and listen to the birds and watch the trees move and the water move and feel the sun on my skin and do not force my  mind to think or not think of anything and I do this for long stretches of half-hour or so.

Or I do this in my backyard. Or on a walk.

I focus on these things:

What I am doing and not how I am feeling.

Manual labor, like gardening and cleaning and organizing.

Taking care of my children.

Caring for my physical and spiritual health.

I am depressed and I am seeing my psychiatrist this week. But when she offers to up my meds or try new ones, I will say nicely, let's wait. Let's wait a little bit. 

And then I will tell her what is wrong.


Friday, March 31, 2017

death is real

i don't want to learn anything from this / i love you 



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

what does this mean about me

When you love someone romantically, and take a vow to love them in sickness and health, and know they are your person, and can love no other more than you love them, and never had a best friend so best, never had a lover so love, and then that person becomes ill and becomes another person and you are full of hard ugliness, one of the worst things, the upper three worst, is that you don't know if you are good enough. Good enough and healed enough from the trauma deep cuts still seeping, not torrentially blooding but seeping wounds of the first seventeen years of your life, to not only pat yourself whole to raise your children clean and whole but to continue loving in the face of getting nothing you want but also possibly might need to be a person in this world, the way
your children, blue eyed and brown,
need you to be a person in this world,
unless you want them to start with a sigh, 'My mother...' in therapy when they are older, their mother who had a chance to be better and couldn't be any better than she'd managed to be in forty-two years of life.
It's not you; it's me.
It's not me; it's you.
Intertwined means pain in both hands while the rope is pulled out from underneath my palms and I wake up with this stigmata that means
you love him so much
this pain is agonizing
you are the only one to feel it
you are the only one to know it's intimacy and midnight confessionals and bargaining
the only one to know the details, those precious and dark blackened sick coughed up rot of details,
which you as a writer
naturally desire with every bone in your body to expel into words
and spat on the page,
leaving only the clean creation of the thing you wish to build.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Behind Closed Doors

Finished draining the last of the bright red blood and the tap is rusty brown blood in spots on tissue and in underwear, taking it with it micronutrients and the heartbeat of the body, iron. So much iron. My face pales, I feel the blood pulling in the tide of my heart away from my lips. My lips become smaller and pale. My eyes look startlingly blue against this pallor and the wheat colored freckles of winter's passing.
I am so tired. I am so sad. 
I feel I am in a strange place where everything I can do to care for myself best is something other people don't want me to do and it is seriously beginning to dawn on me that I am 42 and there will never be a time when what I need is OK with everyone else. There will never be a time I can create a life of possibly even happiness without hurting someone else or disappointing them and I know from reading hundreds of biographies just how many women accept and don't accept this bargain. I don't know what kind of woman I am. I am tired. 
You have to become incapacitated for people to relent that possibly you must do what you must do.





What I am tired of:

My husband's bipolar. I was doing very well with it. I am doing 'self-care' or what I am allowed to do. It's not enough, so I am very sad, and anxious, and every night when I go to try to sleep the second I close my eyes I see myself falling from high places of all kinds, cliffs, hot air balloons, the hands of God, 9/11. I open my eyes and sigh and try again. Even during the daytime, when I close my eyes, I am falling from somewhere, someone, something. This has been going on for about four months. I am close to being a single mother for the last five months but it's much harder because (and I was a single mother for eight years so I know) the person who could is right there, inches away from me, or behind a closed door, and I cannot reach him. I feel grief. I feel rage. I feel scared. I feel confused. I feel disappointed in myself. I feel worried that I am not up to this task. And I have to protect the kids from his irritation and depression and lack of interest in them. I have to be his advocate to the kids and help them understand the disease. Meanwhile inside I have the same questions they do, and the answers run head-first into a cement wall and fall down dead.

Being the only one to take care of Ever. She talks all the time. She won't play alone. She is non-stop. She is precious. She is my life. She sleeps with me. We do everything together. We laugh a lot. We play. We shop. We garden. We clean. And every day there is a point where I am so furious that no one else can step in and take over for two hours that I hate myself, because feeling furious makes me hate myself, and it always has. He showers or bathes her every night and that is wonderful, for her and for me. But besides that, there is no one else to keep spirits high, to play, to observe with a friendly nature and answer the endless stream of questions, to teach the endless things there are to teach every day, to do. To be

And the force field a person needs against for protecting against this kind of emanating dark energy requires, demands, a power source that I don't currently have: a traditional belief in God would probably do.

with no speical legend of God to refer to,
with my calm white pedigree,
my yankee kin,
i think it would be better to be a Jew

Facebook and Twitter.

Myself.

Everyone else.

Grocery shopping, sweeping the floor, wiping down the banister, vacuuming, flea-combing the dogs nightly (can't afford Advantage), planning dinner, making dinner, cleaning up after dinner. Lola washes the dishes, thank goodness.

The long struggle every night to sleep; falling asleep in fear.

Hashimotos. 

People dying in horrible ways much too young. All over my Facebook, all over the world.

Trump and everything remotely associated with him.

Exhaustion so deep it sometimes makes me cry.

Feeling embarrassed for being so tired all the time, and looking it.

Unlearning. The older I get the less I know and it's not freeing. It's deeply disconcerting and distressing and leaves me floundering through things that I didn't used to.

Being poor/ish. I am working hard and keep adding clients that I write for, but we aren't there yet. 
I can write about almost anything and do it very well. I do great work. I need more of it.

Children getting hurt.

Thinking about my dad. My sister. How they've been lost to me for so many years now. I'll never get over it.






What I am not tired of:

Beyonce.

Sylvia Plath.

Eleanor Roosevelt.

Love.

Grass, tree, bush, flower, bee, bird, sun, sky, dirt. 

Hot water.

My children. Even when I am, I am not.

Poems, but mostly older ones.

Sincere plainness. 

Sincere flamboyance.

Mozart.

John Irving.

Ottessa Moshfegh. 

Feeling safe. I wish I could get there right now. 


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