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.

Bandstand 

soulfood, therapy

There are only so many times that I can hear, you don’t matter, before I ask that person to please exit the box seats of my heart and find a spot way in the back. The nose bleeds are a perfect place for people like you. Suddenly, your opinion becomes more and more faint. I will never control what comes out of your mouth but those sounds now are just a whisper lost in the crowd of cheers. Your face just a pixilated blur and I’m tired of squinting to find you. 

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. 

Pivotal Conversations With Women

soulfood, therapy

I sat at her table drinking a cheap glass of wine,
The sweet hum of laughter and old times in the air.
I said, he wrote the most beautiful thing,
Women on both sides of me transfixed by poetry, declarations of love, the promise of commitment

He said, I want to marry you, there is no game, let’s have children.
I watched the long lost sensation of being desired well up in their eyes.
And it was all for me, alas a man who sees clearly.

 My best friend’s mother tempered, girl you’re not going to save him in the eleventh hour.
I swallowed that pit,
From which a sapling of love grew and twisted through my esophagus,
Peaked out of my throat,
Tickled my tongue and bloomed
Bore fruit for three years.

 1,095 nights I feel asleep knowing that I deserved this,
1,095 morning of waking up, reaching, just out of grasp.
The eleventh hour comes with a cold bed and a mounting pile of medical bills,
Overdue.

 We were in the car,
I recounted the inexplicable interactions of the past two days,
But he didn’t even want to have sex with me.
All of these months,
So much tension,
And nothing.

 He called it getting to know you,
Not jumping in,
Being a gentleman.

 

My eyes shellacked rose, maybe this is just different?
Like a good different? Maybe? Please?
The red haired M.D. from the back seat reported a cold hard
Best case scenario someone lives for five years after starting dialysis.
Wow, what a fucking buzz kill.

 

But we were there to celebrate,
And I love a good party.
I rallied. Plastered smiles over my crumbling infrastructure.

 

This reality was best left on the back burner,
Simmering on low for as long as it lasts,
Turn the fire down, pray that the gas doesn’t go out.

 

This woman- this woman, she has great friends,
Friends that withstood the fire, simmer and boil,
Steadfast, a hand placed at the bottom of my spine,
Keep me upright,
Hold me together.

 

I called my soul’s fraternal twin,
A customary, Hi how are you, to be polite and then straight into,
There are no wrong decisions.
You can’t make a wrong choice. What makes sense today may not make sense tomorrow.
And vise-a-versa.

 

She clutters my inbox on every front,
Filled with musings, tangible love, firm advise and big questions.
The woman is a push when I’ve slowed down,
A corset of words lacing me together when my insides have fallen to the floor.

And one day it all clicked.

 “In closing can we both- men and women- stop acting like the bare minimum,
being alive, not being fugly and not being abusive equates a good man.”

 The next day, I sat in a restaurant, lap full of babies,
Over a bowl of soup a waitress named Jessica or Jenny maybe,
She said, I have two boys 3 and 6 and a boyfriend who’s basically a child.
I’m leaving here to go to my third job, thanks I’ll take your check.

And I just couldn’t fucking do it anymore.

 I said, I see you hustling.
I said, I see you.

And I saw me.

 The eleventh hour is a cold bed,
Backseat commentary,
A well placed testimony of your strength,
A timely Instagram caption,
A woman refilling my breadbasket that I’ll probably never see again.

The eleventh hour is an internal hell,
Guilt and self-worth in the balance.
And I’m not going to save him,
I’m going to save me.

You’re Rubber I’m Glue

domestication, soulfood, therapy

I’m a jacket with Velcro closures, stuffed into an over packed front load washer. A detergent of Do The Right Thing carefully measured, poured atop. Fabric softener skipped, we’re cutting back on household expenses.

This damn washer screams a piercing beeeeeeeeep, at the end of every cycle. Okay, okay, I hear you.

Pulled out, heaved in to the dryer above. Stuck to me- the sock, the scarf, all of the soft things. The tear of fibers enmeshed akin to nails on a chalk board.  Torn apart, heaved and hung. I’ll dry out. I’ll keep you warm then.

And you’ll breath in the soothing scent of the freshly laundered made even sweeter, because you didn’t do the washing.

________________________

Today I was reminded that the spoken and written word are always open to interpretation. Try not to be too attached to them. Let them from your fingers and lips freely. Hush your ego when it want’s to jump to their defense. Those words are no longer yours, they live outside of you. Just observe.

 

 

 

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.

 

The Humpty-Dumpty Notion

social awareness, therapy

Disclaimer: I go to hippy school. Which is a choice that I have made, because I’m not interested in having mainstream indoctrinated methods of helping people shoved down my throat. So, in addition to reading the DSM 5 we also read all of ‘alternative’ philosophies about everything including that psychotherapy is a myth. Here’s the paper that I want to turn in but won’t.

Both chapters (required reading) were like riddles, tongue twisters, Fanny Dooleys. My favorite was this Humpty-Dumpty notion that Lakoff and Johnson refer to. Of which I may be completely misinterpreting. But interpretation is really just a cultural construct and after all there really isn’t such a thing of objectivism.

Here goes, Humpty-Dumpty walks into your office- yolk all over your couch, bits of shell everywhere, in short- he’s broken as fuck.  But doc, all of the kings horse and all of the kings men, even they could’t put me back together.

So, what do I say: Sorry Humpty, this psychotherapy business is all a myth. Wish I could help ya bud. Wanna chat? That’s all we’re doing any way. But, side note, that will still be 100.00 an hour, mama’s got bills to pay ya hear? Ohhh, no we don’t accept Medicare. Even though I’m quite sure that you would qualify for some kind of disability. Yeah, no I couldn’t help you fill out that paperwork, the federal government doesn’t actually recognize the validity of my licensure.

Listen, man, here’s what you need to understand: all of this, I mean ALL of this is a societal construct. We’re all prisoners, baby, we’re all prisoners. Then maybe we exchange recipes, he knows how to make a killer Denver Omelet. I wonder if that might be a suicidal ideation. But fuck a safety plan. Safety, that’s pretty objective.

So, what cha doin’ later Humpty? Got any love interests? Wanna watch youtube? That’ll cheer you up.

57 minuets later, end session. I’ll see you next week, take care sir!