Falling Back Together
They grab, poke and tangle, these tricky vines; wound around essential organs ~ like the heart ~ with a chokehold.
They aren’t like the luggage that is just too weighty.
The luggage that you can simply put down.
Or even like the chattels you once cherished that you can gently kiss goodbye and set free like a paper boat on the reservoir at sunset.
Cook and Milkies
“I had no idea you were such a baseball fan!”
This is what people often say when they hear about my quest to see a baseball game in every one of the 30 stadiums across North America.
“No. Not really.” is my response.
Plain and simple.
Listen To Your Mother
I somehow knew there would be a point in time that I would become my grandparents. But, I didn’t know it would be so instantaneous or so severe; or that it would be my maternal grandfather vs. my paternal grandmother that would be the chosen one to model. After all, I’m cubic, dark and broody like dad’s side of the family; not tall, lanky and anxious like mom’s. But suddenly, I have arrived.
Listen To Your Mother is a series of staged readings about motherhood done in 41 cities across the United States and Canada in the weeks before Mother’s Day each year.
Local writers in each of these cities write short pieces about motherhood and then audition for the opportunity to be cast. My writing was one of only 13 chosen for Rochester, New York, for the 2016 season.
The Rochester topics this year varied: funny stories of mothers who were bold characters in this world, the acceptance required to raise a transgender child, the raw pain of post-partum depression, parenting a tween as she finds her way and you lose your own, cultural definitions of motherhood, coming to terms with your own mother’s death when you know she will never meet your unborn child, the day-to-day insecurities we all feel about the little things and whether or not we are ‘good enough’, choosing non-traditional paths in life, and so many more.
Everything and Nothing At All
There is a before and an after.
I have always suspected as much but it was David Bowie’s death and revisiting his music these last couple of weeks that made this crystal clear. Just one more gift that he left ~ this one for me specifically.
I can absolutely remember the color of the sky on a summer afternoon in 1970-something; and even the scratchy feeling of the backyard crabgrass against my skin while I examined it. I remember the sound of distant lawnmowers co-mingling with Young Americans wafting through the next door neighbor’s window. I could probably describe the stitching on my culottes that hung in my closet.
I love the simplicity of children and their ability to cut through the bullshit.
For years I have struggled with both depression and anxiety; one or the other depending upon my specific life circumstances. I could never quite find words to adequately describe either one in a way that would help those around me to fully understand.
My daughter has also struggled with each and said with simplicity: “Depression is when you don’t feel anything at all. And anxiety is when you feel absolutely everything.”
There it is.
The Parent Trap
Gentle men are like unicorns.
Elusive. Solitary. Almost impossible to find.
A gentle man listens carefully but has an opinion of his own. He nudges the status quo and encourages his partner to do the same. He is considerate and expresses appropriate gratitude when warranted. He takes notice. He makes eye contact when you are talking to him and hugs you when you need it. He is not selfish or arrogant or childish (hence…the word “man”). He communicates his needs and understands the needs of others. He views you as a priority. He is also human and makes mistakes but apologizes, learns from them and grows. The sight of you smiling makes him grin at the thought that you are feeling joy. He never takes advantage of you for personal gain – physically or otherwise. He lays his hand gently on your low back but doesn’t run it over your ass in public. And if he runs it over your ass in private it is only with care and with your permission. He is a considerate lover who wants to connect with you, not just fuck you. He tells you when you are beautiful and has the courage to tell you when your behavior is ugly as well. He is loving and fair and wise.
I write about difficult things all of the time. And I’m told by many that, while my experience is entirely different than theirs, the fact that I fearlessly share my struggle with such honesty is helpful. So, I am going to do that again here.
In 2006, I left a marriage that was literally killing my body and spirit. I was advised by health care professionals and counselors at the time that, if I did not leave, I would not survive. And a few months prior to leaving and reclaiming my life I had the unenviable responsibility of telling my young children (then ages 11, 9, 7 and 7) that their father and I were divorcing.
Too Tired to Hold Color
The Bandages are made of Shadows
You and I both know, the dark doesn’t make the bruises disappear.
It just makes them harder to see.
Showing Up and Holding Space
Tonight we hiked apiece through the woods to the place where the colors pass to pine. The days are shorter now and, with more urgency I was craving the last few moments of daylight uninterrupted by conversation; like a hungry lover dreading the end of an embrace before a lingering absence. I sat amidst the pinecones and drifting oak leaves and invited the sun to have its way with me one more time. When I am content in this way I am bewitching. I am grateful this image was captured; this hidden side of me.
These two things are on my mind today and I spent a fair amount of time with them in meditation and during a walk in the woods.
When people talk about ‘showing up’ they usually envision the physical manifestation of this. Attending a wedding. Sitting at a bedside in hospice. Loaning money. But, this is not all of it. Some of us ‘show up’ in very different ways without attendance taken. These count just as much…sometimes more…and take many forms. We set something in motion and get out of the way. We listen for hours in a living room with no ‘credit’. Some people pray or send light and love. Other people heal with words or hands. And sometimes our absence is the best possible way to ‘show up’ because it is what is needed most.
Tattooing is spiritual. Sometimes representing a transformation in our lives or an acknowledgment of our connectedness. I have only one tattoo but it is vital to me. I recently placed it on my left rib cage near my heart to guide me on my journey forward.
The idea behind my particular design has been tugging at me for a decade. When I first visited Ashland, Oregon in 2010 I knew that this would be the place where I would have it done; and upon meeting the artist I knew instantly that it would be he that did the work. Despite all of this the timing still wasn’t right. I had much to discover about myself before I would be ready.