Goodbye moon

Ever Sophia, Love, pretty things, therapy

I spent my whole childhood imagining what it would be like to be a mother. I would have three kids, all named after early 90’s sitcom characters: Blossom, Clarissa, and Tapanga, respectively. At least one would be a boy.

I was to be happily married, but also an ultra bad ass working mom, like an astronaut working mom. I’d tend to the children between missions to Saturn and stuff. I also magically was going to be there everyday when the kids got home from school. I’d bake pies for snack time, be the room mom and be the biddy basketball coach.

My babies were going to be five times as smart and a light year better at making good decision than me, but also have blonde hair and blue eyes because did you see me as a child? (Okay not those unfortunate ones where I was a morbidly obese infant the other ones).

Let me count the ways that I fabricated what I was sure would be reality: family vacations, family dinners, family meetings, family game night, family sized packs of fruit snacks, pretty much the word family before any noun makes it bigger and better, and who doesn’t like bigger and better things???

I now know that the word family not only makes you look like less of a glutton in the check out isle but it also allows you to share the burden. It creates a home. Relief on the hard days and witnesses for the great ones.

Absolutely none of those things happened. Happily married evaded me the more I chased it. Three artfully named children turned into one artfully named girl. Being an astronaut turned into being a therapist, though I’m pretty sure that I’ve had an alien or two as clients. I can’t even remember a single time that I wasn’t rushing around in traffic at five o’clock trying to pick Ev up before her after school care closed. Last but not least I have no time to coach anything, other than the rousing peptalks that I give both of us to crawl out of bed and even still our morning routine makes it into double overtime pretty consistently.

The moments of feeling like I’ve balanced single parenthood, work, school, romantic partnership, dog ownership (my eulogy to who I thought I would be as a dog parent is next), has been far from eloquent. I’m inclined to say it’s the hardest thing that I have ever done, but also that it’s never once felt impossible.

I haven’t yet gotten to be the mom I dreamed to be. But I did get to be Ever’s mom over and over and over again. Couldn’t have chosen a more majestic little creature to negotiate this family thing with until the day I die, and then some.

There’s a whole other part to this but I’m keeping highly classified information about the most beautiful thing that happened today, so I’ll wait on until the photo deal goes through with People magazine and the gag order is lifted (I’m impatient, you know this).

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so what if he dies

Love, soulfood

The best thing that ever happened to me was that my grandmother, my best friend, my confidant, my hero, died when I was 19 years old.

I was gobsmacked by the reality that just like that poof your entire world can crumble. The person who I had ran earth shattering loving energy with since the moment I was born was gone.

I spent the next couple of years in chaos. Trying to find the meaning of life, trying to find a way out of my own pain, trying to find a way, period. Through sex, drugs, rock and roll… okay more like jam bands, and a baby. I decided that I would love harder. I would love bigger. I would not let things go unsaid. I wanted for my people to know that they were my people.

What I was really doing was trying to live with no regrets. Out of a hedonistic need to build pillars of “I did the best I could” around my shattered heart, in anticipation for the next heart break that was inevitable.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that I wasn’t strong enough to love like that. 
I allowed people to mistake my tenderness, my surrender to love, my willingness to stick things out as weakness. I allowed myself to be mistreated back into a place of shelter. A calloused place where I questioned the wisdom of my generous trust.

I lived in that place for years. There that I had no one to face but myself.

And then one day, this beautiful man floated into my life. His magnetism, is his own. He sucked me right in. Much to both of our surprise he was my soulmate. A mirror. A challenge. Embodiment of the pulse in my veins. My favorite person to be in the ring with. We did what you are supposed to do in a good relationship, we healed eachother. Well at least he healed me. Pealed away all of those layers of defense.

We have seen our share of bad days. Terrible days. Drag out, fetal position, rip your heart out days. But for everyone of those there was a repair that lasted ten times as long.

No walls. Honesty. Brutal often. A free exchange of being. Predictable, steadiness, presence.

And I lost him too.

The second best thing that ever happened to me was that I lost my best friend, my life partner, the father of my child. 

Ju and I are still in heated debate about my right to have not handled his sickness well. Debate about whether or not I was an asshole to a sick dying man that I put out on his ass. We may never resolve that debate. I may never stop being defensive about it. But, because there is no other way I’m going to lay down that sword. Instead, just saying this. I don’t have the capacity to be totally selfless. I held onto resentments. I felt sorry for myself. I didn’t handle it well. I was bad to you when I shouldn’t have been. And mostly I’m sorry to myself for all of the crippling guilt that I have held onto about that.

There I was, destroyed and somehow liberated. Like an inmate up for parole who wasn’t sure that she could actually live on the outside.

Thank you for that too. Alone. Wounded. Confused. That’s where I do my best internal work. This time that shit was deep, and I came out the other side as a profoundly better person.

Reminded that life is not about attachment to outcomes. It is about the moment, the process. Journey. Not destination. How many times I said it and finally life beat that shit into me. Adversity is the greatest teacher if you are open to the lesson.

As I embrace the fact that as time ticks on I will have the loss of many more to add onto the list of excruciating pain that I am grateful for. Reminded. I am made of water. Fluid. Accommodating. Moveable. Unable to be crushed, just displaced. Eventually reconfiguring, flowing through. Nothing more, nothing less. Just am in this form, on this earth, with these people until I’m, we’re not.

I think I might go ahead and do a couple of things with myself while I’m here.

 

 

 

we all fall down

Love, soulfood

You can fall apart anyway that you choose.

I fell apart for a full year.

Some hours, days, publically because I needed everyone to see my heart being ripped out. Some hours, days, it was just quiet tears, muted sobs, gasps for air alone. In a classroom. At the grocery store. Those were the times that I couldn’t control it. Many hours it was in my therapist’s office. Long explanations of how it all came to be, my personal accountability, the injustice of a dying partner. Every Tuesday at nine I rattled and wailed until I felt my soul burning hot, festering and finally purging the sorrow that coated all of my being. Each time I would find my feet, walk out the door and magically it filled up again.

I fell apart naked, in my back yard under the desert sun. I would wait until my flesh was on fire. It made the loneliness retreat somewhere further inside. I cocooned myself in my hammock. Savored every ounce of the sensation of ease. I tried to stock pile it for later that day, for later that year. I got in my car and drove. I got on a plane and flew. I got on my knees and prayed.

I fell apart on my couch in sweltering heat. Slowly watching my body shrink. Taking long labored drags from joints. I fell apart in dance, hip hop, slow jams, gut wrenching love ballads. I danced my pain all over my tile floor. I fell apart with my friends, over dozen of phone conversations, dozens of nights full of wine and infinite good-bye hugs.

I fell apart before, during and after sex with strange men. I clawed my agony into their backs. Whispered please, I’m loveable, in my moans. But none of them were willing to witness a broken bleeding woman. They wanted me to be a me that I wasn’t even sure still existed. And still I tried. It was hallow and insincere. I oscillated between vulnerable self-disclosure and telling them absolutely nothing at all. I learned everything:
People like to talk, I can listen. People are not trying to bare your burdens, I pretend to be light well. I can say every single thing that’s hard to say and only hear back, why are you telling me this? I’m telling you because I want you to see me. I need empathy. I need the distraction of you for just a moment.

Yeah, well I need you to chill, I just met you. Heard.

I fell apart through ink spilled over paper, bleeding sad poetry, antidotal stories, words of my disbelief, affirmations after affirmation:

You are worthy. The Universe is inherently good. Good things ARE happening to you. Trust the timing of your life. Breathe.

I fell apart a thousand times in the arms and ears of the man who put me there. Not maliciously but due to circumstance and the instinctual tug to find love and cling to it for dear life.

I fell apart with a baby in my arms. Blessedly rocking and kissing the only creature that can make everything okay. I threw my head back and screamed more than once don’t you fucking dare take this from me too.

Suffice it to say, I fell apart. Totally. Falling and learning are synonymous. I learned who my family is. The places that are safe to be unbuttoned. I learned all of the corners of my shadow and it turns out that even beneath the buried trauma, pain, cowardness, mistrust and anger is a pulsing orb of light. I am good. I am worthy. I am love.

And then in a way that I have yet to find words for the shards of me started recoagulating into a breathtaking powerhouse of a woman. Cautioned, steady, open, delightful. She is okay. And will continue to be okay through all of the future storms. A seasoned sailor of trepid seas. Riding.

You know how you know that you’re healing. It’s when you look sorrow in the eye, lean into his chest, stay there for an impossibly long time. Then because you can, you pull away, relock eyes and smile.

Don’t Worry I Did Eventually Call My Therapist

soulfood, therapy

I should go see my therapist but I don’t want to. I feel a little like a five year old digging her heals into the sandbox, admittedly. I just don’t want to have to show up a month later and unpack the shit show that I have made of my life. Is it shame? Is it embarrassment? Probably both.

To have to be witnessed when you don’t even know what’s going on yourself sounds miserable. The alternative however, seems to be to lose your mind all alone. Maybe it’s best that way. Accountability at this juncture isn’t good for anyone especially me.

 

Grief, it does this thing that reminds me of that one really hard level of Donkey Kong in the second railroad world. It starts off with Donkey and Diddy in a tiny rail car, you have to go through this ominous abandoned coal mine with a broken track. You have to execute these breath-taking jumps from one broken bit to the next. If you don’t hit A and B in the right sequence, while traveling at the exact right velocity or else you die. Just fall to the bottom of the screen. Snap, down one more life. And then almost cruelly it takes you back to the start to do it all over again.

 

It’s like that. But sometimes it feels like your big brother holding your head under water at the public pool everyone else frolicking about while you try to both not make a scene and not inhale two lungs full of chlorinated water. Other times it feels like an underwater tea party with a couple of friends at the bottom of the pool. Air bubbles escaping through smiling teeth, count to ten, bob back to the surface. I’ve been drinking a lot of tea these days.

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.

before you can be a grief counselor, cry.

Love, soulfood

I walked into grief class fifteen minuets late, thinking that I was fifteen minuets early. I sat in the only open chair, quickly settled and scrambled for what to say in my introduction. Shit I missed the prompt. My turn comes I freeze and then launch into a Reagon in an interview speech about how I think this is an extremely relevant way to help people, it’s important work albeit hard.

What I meant to say was:
Because I have been absolutely devastated and I will be absolutely devastated again. I need to know how to not totally lose my shit. I’m a mental apocalypse prepper if you will. I’m here because my grandma died and my boyfriend is going to.

It’s not that I’m delusional and think that me and all of you good people have drank from the everlasting well. It’s that I -foolish it may be- believe that I me and mine will grow into old age. We’ll die in our sleep when we’re good and ready…. or we’ll all go out in a massive weather event directly related to global warming… but either way my-our- death/s will either be timely or communal.

When I was six my grandma had open heart surgery. From that day forward I kept a silent semi-concious tally of the days that we had left together. In high school I began writing poetry about her to brace myself for her loss. I knew for thirteen years that I was going to lose her and that it would be the most horrendous thing that would ever happen to me. I was right.

I didn’t live those thirteen years in fear. When I was with her the thought of loosing her never crossed my mind. Instead it creeped up on me as I looked in the mirror, when I woke up in the middle of the night and as the last jump and skip that my brain would make in a series of thoughts.

It’s been NINE years since I’ve seen and held that beautiful soul. I’ve started talking to her more and more lately, but I’m quickly deduced to water works. I want to answer back for her in her voice with exactly the thing that she would say. But those memories are fading into a sun bleached blur more and more every day. I wish that I would have written all of it down. I wish that there was a tape. I wish that there was a recording. I wish so badly that there was a way in this earthly realm that I could hear her just one last time. And then tie that time to my wrist as a house arrest bracelet for my despair.

She’d say Reagon Cara in the most sweetly concocted blend of disapproval and prolific love.
She’d call me RC and pop some delicious confection in my mouth, a cookie, a candy, a fire ball.
She’d call me doll baby and contort herself to accommodate an adult size version of me and the always impossibly tiny version of her in her rocking chair.
She’d say- Ohhh yeah tell me all about it. And I did. Infant, teen, grad student, she will always be my ear.
She’d say every time she helped me change my clothes- skin the cat. And once after her stroke- I waited on you like one little pig waits on another. She was unrehearsed poetry and theatrics living the life of small time socialite and Grammy.
She’d say once- but Reagon is the most honest person that I’ve ever known. And I stood up straighter for the rest of my life.

Last week I went back to her kitchen. I stepped down off of the spindled wooden chair under the wall phone. And looked at every inch of that kitchen. A green plastic bowel on the counter. I could smell it, clean, piping hot, delicious. I could taste it clean, piping hot, delicious. The brown patterned low pile carpet under my feet. Her kitchen feels simply like a place you want to be. What I wouldn’t give to set your table one last time my darling Grammy.

For ever yours,
-Reggy