Born of Fire

create, Love, save the whales, therapy

There’s this picture that my boyfriend took with his arm splayed out as far as he could stretch to fit our whole family in the frame. That photo, four wide smiles all piled on top of each other, that’s my life. Do you know that Jos Stone song, Spoiled? It’s that kind of love. And now he’s sick. I want just one person to tell me how I’m supposed to feel okay about that. In my heart of hearts I’m just so sad.

The Galapagos Islands are an active volcano hot bed. The islands move at rapid speeds, they survive for millions of years and then slowly prepare to die. As their land turns barren most of the native species leave to live on the other islands. But the problem is that some of them have evolved on that island. The Waved Albatross and Sea Lions still travel to the desolate seaside cliffs of Espanola’s  south side. The Waved Albatross, is a huge bird with an eight foot wingspan. They fly for six months to reach the island once a year. The way back to those cliffs is ancestral and instinctual.

These birds can live for up to fifty years and they pair for life. They will wait on the shore for days until their partner to arrive from another part of the world. Once a year the world’s entire population of Waved Albatross are on this island at once. A blanket of white dots stretched across the rocky terrain. When the mates find each other they start executing a dance of sorts where they clack their beaks together in a way that reminds me of the gentleness that takes over when playing swords with a kid, gentle but playful. They take turns incubating their egg, each one sitting for two weeks at a time. They raise the baby and then fly their separate ways. Until they meet again the following spring.

That’s what this love feels like. Like coming home. An old familiar home that I can feel in my bones. This is simply not our first spring together.

I would fly for six months without stopping to see you again.

I want to tell you

create, Love, soulfood, therapy

Once upon a time there was a little blue eyed baby born in Kansas.

Why the universe decided that this lifetime was to be spent with you people I may never understand.

It is probably for all of the right- hard- reasons
that with time will start looking more and more like a perfectly executed ballet

bad choices and consequences on point, stippling around all of the majestic parts, waving their arms.

I sit down and have breakfast with death every single morning.
It resides in the belly of a man who likes an over easy egg and a piece of toast.
I think about legacy, leaving one, mine, and what that even means.
It feels like the only why,

but then again Walt Disney turned out to be an asshole.

And somehow she lived happily ever after.

The End.

La Vida

Love, soulfood, therapy

Since this year began I have been very much confronted with the reality that all of this, absolutely all of this, is the curriculum of life. 

We have this sense that life happens along a timeline, that it’s linear at worst. The promise of an upward trajectory pinned to the lapel of every kindergartener in America, shoot for the stars lad.

Oh contraire said the universe. Life is at best a pendulum. The more that it reveals it’s truth to me I see that it works the exact same way that a slinky does in any sort of motion: unpredictably and likely to get into a miserable knot that will take you the whole car ride to Grandma’s house to undo. Despite everyone’s best efforts to pry, bend and mold you back to the shape that they think you should be you-I will always have those little bent parts that never go back together quite the same.

So, here we are just space and energy removed from our box marching down the stairs, bringing joy, innocence and the guarantee of frustration to the world. Things will get tangled and there you will be all bent out of shape, mastering your next move. Because that’s what you do- move. 
 

On Being a Bitch

domestication, Love, social awareness, soulfood, therapy

Take a seat, let’s chat about this, it’s long over due.

One of my many muses Erin Brown posted a snippet from her most recent book about not being afraid to embody the word bitch because no one knows what it means any way.

I have had a very different experience with this word. The meaning is always contextual. And I’ve been called it a lot. It comes in two varieties, “You’re being a bitch” and, “You’re a bitch”.

Being a bitch typically comes from those around me who are more emotionally evolved. They distinguish being because they understand that I am a person with a myriad of ways of being, hats I wear, tasks I do, and conversations I have. What they unconsciously know is that being a bitch indicates a behavior or behavior pattern. We are not our behaviors, simple. Our behaviors are our personality, and our personalities are the vehicles for our souls. 

Please consider this next time that you think someone is bitchy or a bitch. Actually they are acting in “that” way. It’s the “that“, that’s subjective.

[Sorry to nitpick the semantics, but words have power.]

So, let’s talk about that.

First we have to understand that our ways of being are adaptive to our environment.  Personalities are the way that we have found that works for us to show up in the world and receive the feedback that we want and need. From this place we can unpack the bitchy behavior.

Yesterday, I was asked to conceptualize my family of origin as a square, and each person in it took up their own organic shape with their personalities (i.e., means to met needs) My shape (and your shape) is thus the negative space. Here’s a little drawing to help illustrate the point:

Today, I wanted to stretch this a little further. Imagine the box as our entire society. Now sprinkle in patriarchy, gender scripts, financial power, politics, our education system, opportunities, shame, sisterhood, joy, race, your neighborhood, your inner dialogue and every single interpersonal relationship that you’ve ever had. Dang that box is crowded.

And where are you? You’re (I’m) that squiggly blue bit trying to make sense of it all, integrating, wanting to be seen or not seen at all. We accommodate and respond to every single thing around us in a fraction of a second always!  You might be going with the flow, you may be making waves and you might be chillin’ under the surface of the water. Or if you’re a human you flex in and out of doing all three.

These are usually unconscious decisions. We’ve laid down these patterns in early childhood, solidified them through our teenage years and are carrying those shells everywhere with us as adults. Seeing that can be insightful, it can be painful, but it can also be liberating.

Here’s what I know to be my truth. Sometimes people perceive me to be a bitch. And that’s their assessment of me that I’m not concerned with changing. Because I know all of me. I know the expansiveness of my soul. I know all of the roles that I step into on a given day and I hold loving space for each of those. So, when the environment is just so and I feel the impulse to express myself in a way that is strong and firmly rooted in what I believe to be true I do so. I step into my power. I’m not afraid of it and I’m not afraid of what “you’ll/they’ll” think of me when I do. 

The goal in life is not to be liked by everyone. I have a laundry list of other goals that will always, always be vastly more important than this one. 

Here’s the second part. Yes, we all wish that our childhoods were more ideal. Wish that our past and current situations demanded less bitch power and more along for the ride. But, you can come to respect that those and this situation were not that.

Many members of my family worked doggedly to break me down. Strip me of my opinions. They were massively confrontational. I spent too many of those formative years at war, screaming, hitting, crying, fighting for my voice and space. Fighting to simply be in a way that aligned with my conscious.

In those early years  I didn’t just learn to fight, I also learned to choose my battles. To be impeccably informed. To spit facts like fire out of my mouth. They taught me to tap into a deep well of inner strength. I also learned a lot of coping strategies that I’m actively dismantling. Yet I respect them, because they got me to where I am now, in tact.

The girl who you may call bitch, know that she is so much more. She is a fortress and a butterfly. She is who she needs her to be. She is perfect. 

The Only Life Lesson You Need To Know

Love, soulfood

Maybe what you need right now is NOT a motivational speech. Maybe you don’t need an inspirational meme. Maybe you don’t need a Bible quote or the trusty, “Life only gives you as much as you can handle”. Maybe you just need to pat your self on the mofo back. Because: one-you got up this morning, two- you’re personal hygiene is on point, three- you cleaned your entire house today, four- you went to work, five- you read your child a bedtime story, six- you did your homework and, now seven- you’re writing this. That’s seven big things.

That’s a lot. Is it the most productive, the most together, the most thrilling that my life has been before or may be in the future? No.
But it’s honest, it’s good.

I’ve been seeking a lot of big answers lately. The ones that are slippery and elusive. Like why is this happening to me? Where do I go from here? Questioning the feeble nature of life itself. Those extra difficult questions that make you pray for ignorance, why am I behaving like this? What does loyalty mean? Can a selfless act go too far? Is it selfless? What actions will I look back on with pride, which ones will I regret? Can I ever actually know those things?

Today I was yet again pondering a big career question that I’ve been struggling with. For months I’ve reached a conclusion and then immediately reneged on it by the next day. Today, as I reran all of the scenarios I asked myself, is it good? Is it honest? Does it hurt anyone? Subsequently, I think so, yes, no. Litmus test passed.

Here’s the truth, [most] no one cares what you do with your life as long as you aren’t hurting yourself or others. Granted those lines are quite subjective. But if you can honestly answer those three questions satisfactorily, then you’re on the right track or you done good or somethin’. And I think that’s as much as we need to know about it. That is definitely as much as anyone else needs to know about it.

From the hamster wheel of devastating grief and day-to-day reality I have learned that today is day one. And tomorrow is day one. And the day after that: day one. Having these grandiose plans and worse slowing down long enough to realize that it’s ten years later and your plans are all muddled and still very much in progress isn’t serving anyone. Feeling like a failure, just makes you feel like a failure. Never once have I leapt out of bed thinking wow I’ve really derailed my life can’t wait for the next twelve hours of self-judgment and doubt. Or worse having to articulate those shortcomings to people who want to see something go right for me, or for me not to have to go through this.

Sometimes things are just fucked. Yes, perspective is everything. For instance objectively my life is pretty crappy but tonight I read Harry Potter to my baby and then played with her hair until she fell asleep. I was taken away to this divine place of knowing that this child was given to me so that I could know this love. So, that I would not be alone. Those are all very selfish reasons to have a baby, but I didn’t choose to have that baby. That baby choose me. There are those moments that pulse in your blood all day they keep you alive but they don’t change the fact that life is hard and unfair. Or the worst, beyond your control.

That’s why every day is day one. Because you-I- have to stop fighting it. Have to stop rationalizing it. Have to stop plotting the next move and just survive. Do your best. Pour a bowl of cheerios and thank God that the lights are still on. You just keep showing up and figuring out how to be good, honest and not hurt people today. Wash, rinse, repeat. Just let it be simple.

Under Construction- Please Be Patient

Love, soulfood, therapy

What happens when all of your titles are stripped away? Titles, hats, roles, life purposes, they’re all synonymous. What’s left?

I pendulate between seeking answers and just letting it be- being. I’ve asked why hundreds of times lately. Is this question constructive? I can’t be sure. I often come up with new versions of old answers. But today a new one came to mind.

Why? Why am I choosing to sacrifice things that keep me comfortable? Those things in a nutshell, my job title, my role as a daughter, my role as a sister, my role as a family member, my role as a lover, my role as a romantic partner, my role in nearly every front except for that of mother.

An answer. Not THE answer, but what came this time:
This defines you. These things that so many of us cling to, relationships, worth, being needed, belonging, are not guaranteed. This is the time to get incredibly clear about who you are and most importantly what you deserve. Is that right?

Nothing is guaranteed, but we do create our reality. Maybe this is your chance for a do over. A blank slate.

A few weeks ago a classmate pondered, do we have to get to zero before we leave a relationship? How long can you hang on to ten percent? This stopped me in my tracks. I’m the ten percent queen. Here’s the problem with ten percent. When two many facets of life are subsisting on hope and prayer it becomes too much. Something has to give. Is it rock bottom, a launching point, or simply a different way of being?

My rock bottom looks a lot different than a lot of peoples, mine was/is shared with very few people. Mine has been managed through anxiety medications, extensive therapy and a heap of soul searching. Mine has to be managed because I refuse to let two things unravel: my daughter and school. Everything else though, when I stopped forcing them they all dissolved. Those have been excruciating decisions but they are clearing the slate. Space for new things that do work. Space for happiness. Space for new meaningful connection created in awareness and intention, two things that aren’t a birth right. A life build.

It’s not easy. It hasn’t been easy and it won’t be. Renovation always looks messy at first.

 

Altruism

Love, social awareness, soulfood

This is the part of the year where I start posting revised class work on my blog, #sorrynotsorry. In a rather elementary yet still somehow tear jerking fashion I was asked to answer this question yesterday:

What is altruism? 

I am so far detached from myself right now- well recently- that I can barely define anything for myself. I’ve been lending my words, my expression, these things my essence to the that which I already know. The past lessons, long learned. These new experiences- my version of reality, yes as I perceive it- those are still zapping through my mind. Zapping like little sparks of static electricity when the night has fallen and the bed is made. The sheets tearing apart. Is it liveliness? Is it clinging? I don’t know. But I do see and feel a show of instantaneous sparks of fire. A fire that won’t catch. Doesn’t hurt. But you feel it still and you kind of wish it would happen again.

That’s the only conclusion that my writing has come to lately. I’m back at this place again. Again. Home. Inner-childhood. Deeply ingrained, damn it girl you weren’t careful enough. The undertow of the ocean that was my life for 26 years. Chaos. Pain. And now I have to loose my breath and be thrown back to sea. Again.

Focus Reg- what is altruism to you? Doing good.
What is doing good?

It’s like a little strip of rainbow in the clouds. Not rainy clouds but clear beautiful sky clouds. Despite the fact that you are going through the motions of life- stressful, mundane, thrilling- your eye keeps going back to that spot. Because you don’t want to loose it. It’s magic. And it must have been put just there in your path so that you can experience it or- it you.

Doing good is a default state for me. Sometimes I consciously go out of my way to do extra and that is rewarding. But altruism- externally- is who I am. Who I strive to be. Who I have to make more space for.

Internal altruism that wax and wanes. That is work. That is the first thing to get axed on the priority list. That’s the hole in my wellbeing at the moment. The hole that is leaking anxiety, grief, regret, mis-steps, miss-words, missed opportunities, into my life.

Altruism is both automatic and my never ending task for the day, moment, for forever. It can’t wait.

Visiting Home

Love, soulfood

Every year because I’m nostalgic as shit, I sit down and write a birthday post. I reminisce about such and such and how it made me feel so and so. We all leave wide eyed, mouthing-over share much God damn. This year you got a taste of that, okay I huge whiff, but it wasn’t really reflective as much as it was let’s all cry for Reagon and her poor little crushed dreams. Sorry ‘bouts that, some days that’s the best I can do.

 

Last night after two cocktails (because I am astoundingly sober and legitimately have a ½ a drink limit) I was scrubbing away at my house as I often do reflecting on my adulthood. Trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’m t-w-e-n-t-y n-i-n-e. I know I know, just a baby. Which I’m sure will feel more true in another ten years. At the moment it feels like I’ve lived 1,000 life-times in the last ten years.

 

I’m not here to attest, another year wiser. Because though it’s cumulative, every year has been different. Each a new lesson. All cataloging themselves in my mental rolodex of this shit feels familiar. Let’s look at that a little closer shall we.

 

19- Grief and despair shape shift from week to week, weak to weaker.

 

20- Ignorance and determination are bed maidens, and sometimes they’re all you’ve got.

 

21- Love will fill craters of inconceivable depth. Hopeful innocence painted the most tender year of my life – Ever.

 

22- You are your mother’s daughter. Can’t and slow down quiver in your presence.

 

23- Ignorance is not bliss, girl. You keep your eyes wide open and steel your heart.

 

24- Loneliness is the most foreign, carcinogenic lump in a rejected throat. And still you will swallow.

 

25- Well I’ll be damned you are fucking physically beautiful. That’s yours. From you, for you. Guard that with your life.

 

26- Run. Explore. Quit. Just go. Eternal love holds your hand when you cross the street of change. You’re still strong and beautiful, that’s enough.

 

27- And you’ll be wrong, like you’ve been before. And you’ll be right, like you’ve been before. What you’re not great at is caution. And I don’t know that I want you to be.

 

28- Why hello love, my old friend. Intricately woven, the fibers sang family, finally. It was all I’ve ever wanted. I pulled that blanket up to my eyeballs and lay in that bed all year.

 

29- You are just a girl. A woman most days. You are not in control, but you wont stop grasping for stability. Balance there is hard. Love, sadness, power, grief, joy and there you are stuck to the side of the drain like a wad of fallen hair. It’s all swirling around you, hurling down the drain. Hey Mom look! It’s a tiny tornado.

 

I love a real storm, when everything falls silent, the sky turns purple, the flatness of distant rain hits your nose. It still finds me in the desert, I inhale deep and let out a thrilled- it feels like home. Watching, hell chasing tornados, is what you know. But don’t you forget that you are just a girl, and it’s undiscerning, vicious, lethal.

 

Twenty-nine, man, and only twenty-seven days in. I don’t know if I should sound the alarm, hide in my bathtub with a mattress pulled over my head or drag a chair out to the front lawn open a beer and take in the show.

 

“Jesus Christ, look, the crazy neighbor is out on the lawn again”.
Heard.

Here We Go

Love, soulfood

Carry me, please, anyone. I asked nicely.
Oh no- girl you will not be carried.
Not in this life.

The hand will mold you
It will hold-back
barley lingering in the background
it’s not here to catch you,
it’s the nudging type.

You will not rest,
Breathe sure,
In fact do more of that.
Life right now isn’t about cradle or respite
You’re in between.

This is the part where you show up,
You push,
You make everything beautiful and well.
You’re good at that.

Go.