Start A Revolution From My Bed

Love, soulfood, social awareness

I’ve had that damn Oasis song stuck in my head for at least 4 months. It used to just be the final line that goes, “Don’t look back in anger I heard her say”. That got me through a lot of heart break.

In the past few weeks though it’s just been, “Start a revolution from my bed”, and a visual image of John and Yoko in that iconic bed pic with the peace sign. It would just pop up a few times a day randomly. I brushed it off, strange. You see, I’ve been on a hedonistic binge of self-pity. For the last two weeks of my daughter being out of town I just laid on the couch a shell of my former self. Trying to find the motivation to do literally anything. I would just try to not think. And then I would try to override my self judgement with the notion that it’s good for me to really feel into this grief, sorrow and depression, it will make me a more empathetic counselor one day. I’m probably right.

Except that my depression dissolved the moment my daughter walked back through the door. I wish Merck could come up with a SSRI that could do that.

Maybe it’s that even though finding breathable air in the itty bitty bubble that is my existence has felt like a full time job most days, I still hold my vision for a better world. I’m not one of these head in the clouds, fantasy land hippies that genuinely believes that I can sprinkle fairy dust on this very animalistic world and turn it all to rainbows and sunshine. I’ve seen far too much reality for all of that. I just really think in my heart of hearts that we can all do better. That we can decide to invest less time in hatred and negativity and give love a chance.

Okay, so the first live theater that I ever saw as a child was Hair. My first concert was Three Dog Night and I listened to The White Album a few thousand times before I turned 16. I was not born into these things, I discovered them. Made them mine. Held them as sacred.

I buried my dreams for peace in my heart and built a little fence around it. I trained my mind to sound articulate car alarms when someone intruded. I’ve been fierce. I’ve been merciless. I’ve been distraught. But I’ve also been silent.

Relationship to yourself and your moral compass is simply fluid. It evolves, devolves, and shape shifts. That doesn’t make me or anyone else disingenuous, it just means that we’re human. Human. Can’t think of any thing more scary.

I intended to write this about how much I miss living with my best friend on days like today. Days where hate takes center stage and forces us to look around and see this American life for what it is, indescribably beautiful but pocked with greed in all of its most nasty manifestations. I miss following up a grim CNN read with an intellectual and culturally informed conversation with a wise black man. I miss being able to messily process my array of emotions, in all of their unrefined ways out loud in front of someone who knew me as more than part of the problem. I miss having the vulnerable space to exchange tears and what the fucks in the name of young black men, in the honor of strong black women, in the hope for the biracial children that we would only ever dream of.

I was going to say that at the end of the days heavy with the murder of Mike Brown, the murder of Sandra Bland, the murder of Terence Crutcher, the poisoning of Flint, the Cleveland riots, the election of a bigot, at the end of all of those days I tucked my head into the chest of a black man and felt a little like in our own tiny way that we were healing the mistrust inherent in his willingness to love a white woman. He was home and our love was important.

Today at the end of what will become Charlottesville or maybe just UVA, instead of seeking refuge in that man, I took my daughter on an extra long walk. We talked about everything. Her mixed emotions about J being gone. About the time that her family made fun of her this summer and she hid in the closet.

She said I really thought that one of them would have came up and apologized. But no one did. I said, well what did you do then. Well eventually I came out and went down stairs, they were all just talking like nothing happened. They didn’t even apologize she reiterated. I said, yeah, baby, some times people don’t respond in the way that we hope they do. It’s hard when our expectations don’t get met. But that’s life.

We spend a lot of time talking about managing disappointment. The necessity of resiliency. It’s the most important thing that a parent  can teach their child. There’s no shortage of learning opportunities that’s for sure.

This life thing man.

Solid Advice

Love, soulfood, therapy

Sometimes the best advice is novice advice. Seriously. I’m in the business of counseling people. Counseling is actually a total misnomer. Really what you’re supposed to do is basically say nothing, and then just paraphrase everything that the person already said. Do not give advice. Do not tell antidotal stories. Do not interject from your own experience. Above all else do not tell them what to do. It is not how humans make change. Self-motivation is a real thing. In fact it is the only thing.

 

Hi my name is Reagon and I’m straight trippin’ over this man that I’m in emotional limbo with. We’re at that juncture where I carry my stomach in my sternum, my emotions and thoughts splayed out all over my insides like a broken mirror. Reflecting things that I wish weren’t there.

 

So, I start calling friends. It’s amazing how many people don’t answer on a Tuesday afternoon, it’s like you all have lives or something. But the truth is that the person who picked up the phone said exactly what I needed to hear. She tempered, “Sorry for playing the devils advocate but why are you doing this to yourself?” We talked about the reality that somewhere inside I feel unlovable. Undeserving. That I self-sabotage and project my shit on the other person.

 

Damn. Occasionally someone says something that pries back my eyelids to a reality that I haven’t even had the balls to admit to myself. Somewhere inside you feel unlovable. Fuck, there it is again.

 

That’s all of those deeply knotted familial roots. A household full of people, slated to love me unconditionally that told me that I wasn’t shit most days. Still ring my phone to remind me every now and again. My mother thought that she was keeping me humble. She didn’t want to see another beautiful girl acting like the world owed her something. Didn’t want to see another talented girl receiving gifts of veneration. Didn’t want to believe that things could be easy, different, promising for her own baby. Maybe it wasn’t a lack of faith but instead the narrowed perspective of trauma, the tunnel vision of overwhelm, the darkness of loneliness.

 

Either way who in the fuck does that? Sick people. I say that with a lot of understanding and love. Broken people work hard to create gravity. Misery loves company. And there I was absolutely splendid.

 

I bought that narrative. I became obsessed with perfection so that no one would see the truth. I excelled as a distraction to the shit show that was our home. I self-loathed. I gave sheepish consolations to people that told me that I had the world in my palm. That I could do anything. That I was enough. Okay, sure.

 

I have spent ten years de-programing myself. Replacing “you’re a piece of work” with you’ll have peace and it will work. Some days are easy. I look in the mirror and I see God. Some days I look in the mirror and dissect every part of my physical, emotional and mental visage. And those days mash up into one stream of life that I sail every damn day.

 

You see we get comfortable. Start believing that we’re fortified and over it. Grown and transformed. Only half braced for the bottom to fall out. For the man that steadily and sweetly reassembled the pieces of you that had been devastated by the natural disaster that is having a family and attempting to recreate that family.

 

That man. He pushed me every single day to chase my dreams and then come home in the evenings and enjoy the fruit of my labors. He was my fucking rock. Steadfast. My creative springboard. He was laughter, play, brutal honesty, and mostly the safe space that I needed to find myself. To love myself. And he’s gone. I’m loosening the grip on that heart cord but it’s hard.

 

It’s hard to stand up, really stand up, by yourself when you’re used to someone having their hand gently resting at the base of your spine. There for when you get tired, when you’re carrying too much and when you just need to relax.

 

I’m a fucking mess. A mess with good friends who understand all of it. Who have been there. Who remind me over and over, you are one of the strongest people that I know. You’ve got this.

 

She says, “It all boils down to spending time and enjoying the presence of another person. Simple.”

 

It is actually that simple. And sometimes I need someone to keep it real with me. To do the bad therapist thing and to tell you a story about herself, “There was a period of time where I told Jeff that I loved him and he wouldn’t say it back. I just had to hold that down for him for a while and trust that things would come around. He said, I have a lot of love for you I just can’t say that I love you yet. And you can’t do anything but have respect for that.”

 

That’s the mark of a strong woman. A fortress. A woman sculpted by the wind and the flow of failed relationships and broken hearts. Standing her ground in honesty and patience. Exactly the woman that I needed to talk to.

How To Be Single

Love, science says, therapy

If the word single reminds you of the number one, or an old sitcom from the 90’s, or a hot new Beyonce track then this post is not for you.
For the rest of us:
If the word single sounds like a metaphorical probation officer strapping your ankle with a bracelet of how in the hell do you portion a meal for one, piling the other side of the bed high with pillows so that sleep doesn’t feel so hollow and the constant impasse of dragging yourself out in public alone, again, then have a seat, let’s talk.

Singledom… singlehood … is a spectrum really. There are all kinds of ways to be single, maybe it’s working for you maybe it’s not. Single feels to me like skinny dipping on a pitch black night all alone. I’m not quite sure if it’s wholly exhilarating or if it feels like I might accidentally crack my head open on a rock and bleed to death right there next to the dock, fishermen stumbling over my corpse in the morning. (I thought about being less dramatic in that illustration, but it’s actually pretty accurate.)

Where ever you fall on the single spectrum here’s some advice, from a professional.

 

Step 1: Take Care of Yourself-

This means so many things. At the very least you need to maintain the status quo of standard of living, attention to hygiene, time in nature, amount of exercise that you were gifting yourself while you were still in a relationship. Derailing into a bowl of pity soup is not helpful. It is helpful to increase your self care from the tinniest things to the big ones. Those things are quite literally the antidote to depression. Think you’re above becoming depressed, well you’re wrong. Also, take some fish oil, it can’t hurt.

 

Step 2: Put Out the Word that You’re Single-

but also that you have a black belt in Karate and a ferocious guard dog. Your people might know their people. Seriously.

Gone are the days of the small hunter and gather community where one moment you’re gathering sticks for the fire and the next moment Fred Flintstone comes over and clubs you over the head drags you back to his cave and has his way with you. Not that any of us are upset about that. But what I’m tryin’ to say is that humans have not evolved to comprehend solitude. Our psyche, our physical bodies, our hormonal bodies were not wired for you to sit your ass on the couch and binge watch Game of Thrones every weekend. Neither can we make any sense of Tinder, isolation, self-loathing or the sinking sense of hope inching further and further away on a physiological level.

All of that is to say, do not allow yourself to be alone all of the time. Put some thing exciting on your calendar and…

 

Step 3: Go Out in Public-

Maybe your goal isn’t even to get into another relationship. That’s totally fine, great even. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek human contact. We are social creatures, surely you know that. Every single thing about life that matters in the end are the relationships that we created at this phenomenal meeting of place and time. Don’t miss a single day of the opportunity to be you in relationship. It’s the why.

 

Step 4: Make Friends Above All Else-

The wind might blow South one day and that guy or gal that you were ‘talking’ to, might just fade away. All of those pieces of yourself that you hooked into them, because you were grappling and any hand up would do. Those just get ripped out. And it will be fine, but it will be just you again. Well you and your friends. Make sure they’re there first.

 

There’s more, I’m just figuring those parts out still.

To Have and Let Loose

Love, pretty things

 

I knew a boy who ate kiwi rinds.

One who apologized with Coldplay songs.

One who played singing bowls.

 

I knew a boy who hid chocolate bars behind soup cans.

One who filled our garage with dumpster dives and stolen goods.

One who declared- you are so beautiful- every day.

 

I knew a boy who took his maple syrup cold.

One who could massage away the world.

One who would carry me down the stairs on a whim.

 

I’ve known boys.

I’ve had boys.

I’ve held boys.

 

How sweet it is to have a man.

 

_________________

Cover photo cred: Caitlin Shearer

Yesterday I asked,

Love, soulfood

“Oh do you have a lot of kids?”

To which she responded,

“Not at all, just two.

But I would have had a whole mess of that man’s babies.”

 

Let’s make a baby.

I exhale my silent dream for us into your lungs every night,

most mornings and afternoons.

 

There’s something in the silk of your skin,

in the tempo of your heart beat

in the ease of your grasp.

 

Let’s make a baby.

 

It cries in me.

An insatiable thirst that resides in my belly

radiates my being

abducts my place of rational thought

renders useless all of the

whys and have nots.

 

Let’s make a baby.

I have a hard time hearing no. You know this.

 

That place that is no where but everywhere,

all of me and the you that you won’t let me see

it knows.

He- she-

Will be.

 

Not today or tomorrow

in their own good time

but let’s not meddle in destiny.

_______________

For the record I’m currently off of the I need a baby train, until next time.

June 13, 2014

Love, soulfood

Today I came across this note that I jotted down two years ago about my main squeeze.
I said daaaawwwwwwhhhhhhhh so hard.

_____________________________

782.reasons why my new boyfriend is da’ bomb (yes I’m that cool)

-He say’s, “You know what you’re right”. “You’ve got a valid argument”. And, “That’s a good point”, more than any other man that I have ever met. 

-He laughs so hard that he falls to the floor on a regular basis.
 
-He writes the most beautiful words to me. 

-When he says something highly offensive in my presence he instinctually grabs for my hand because, “I knew I was getting slapped for that one”.

-Everything he cooks is delicious,which might be culinary mastery or maybe just excessive use of butter. 

-He throws Ev in the air 15 times in a row, chases her, and drops 20 doll hairs on race car video games. 

____________________________

A few weeks ago I told my best friend that the only reason that I’ve been able to grow spiritually and personally in the past two years is because of the security of my relationship. I sobbed, she soothed, “I believe it”.

But can you imagine, (yes I realize that you may very well be living this life) a world where you have no partner at all or if you do that they’re a total wild card. That there is a person out there with the audacity to call you significant other, hold your hand and in the same breath betray you, deceive you, attack you, steal your humanity. That was my existence for far too many years.

And then like a dandelion the most perfectly paired libation floated into my lap. His name was Julius. He saturated the gaping pours of my existence with patience, flexibility  and infectious laughter. He filled me up.

It’s no secret that once your basic needs are met you have the opportunity to create and explore. Please, my dear, do not just sit back and accept that your basic needs are flailing in the wind. You deserve the season of exploration.

What Love Looks Likes

Love

A year ago I wrote this about the tremendous man that I have the privilege of sharing a life with. It’s still on the short list of my favorite posts. Today as I fly to paradise I’ll add the following to the expansive collection of words that don’t do him justice. ———-

A letter to every single one of us about the love that we deserve:

I hope that you know the peace of resting your head in the chest of a man that will stop in the middle of absolutely anything to hold you. I hope your grin stretches across your cheeks and tug at you ear lobes every time that you turn the door key. Because you know that on that couch or behind that stove is the human incarnation of happiness waiting for you to come home.

I hope that your inbox is full of little quips, artfully chosen words and nonsense that scream YOU. I hope that when you counter and argument with, “You don’t know me” that the smug face of reason and 24/7 love responds, “Yes I do”. And he does.

I hope that when you stumble upon this person that you look beyond their exterior and peer directly into their soul. When you do, that you see light. You see the promise of security and devotion. That in the throws of the greyest days that you know that there will be at least one person on this Earth that will always be by your side.

I hope that there is someone to pick you up a new toothbrush at the store. I hope that you find your socks in your underwear drawer and know that love put them there despite hating laundry day. I hope that there’s someone to clean up the perpetual disaster that your animals create. That, that someone blindly adores the four legged perpetrators walking them day and night rain or shine. I hope that you have someone to call, when your battery needs jumped and when your spirits need lifted.

I hope that your person challenges you. That they push you to try harder, to think in a new way, to fact check and expand your vocabulary. I hope they are a person that you want to learn from. I hope you get to live in awe of their profound brilliance.

I hope that you practice gratitude for this great privilege every day. That when a coworker consuls, “You’ve had terrible luck lately” that you pause. And then you recount all of your fortune. Yesterday my retort read, “You know I have been through some exceptionally shitty years, I walked through the doldrums. My life now is really wonderful, I’m not complaining”. That’s largely due to him, us.

I hope that your valleys of darkness are brief and sparse. And when you turn a corner and the sun shines that you go outside and play. A sun kissed glow is priceless.

“When you fall in love it is discovering the ocean after years of puddle jumping” -Kay

In Response To Your Noise Complaint:

Ever Sophia, Love, soulfood

I will not apologize because:

-Because my baby- yes the padding foot steps of a 72 month old is a little louder than they used to be- is playing, singing, dancing. Practicing her tendus and haphazard cartwheels.

-Because my dogs bark at what they perceive to be a threat against their people. Me. Us. That big scary looking one, she is an absolute baby. An absolute baby that circled and brought to the knees a dangerous man that crept up on me and Meena’s little girl human. The little one, well we found her abandoned by a dumpster. She’s so excited to have a home, to have a dog friend and space to run in circles. She may never catch her tail but we’re going to give her the space and acoustic allotment to try.

-Because some times the stars align and the most magical throw backs stream out of Pandora begging me to shake my booty while doing the dishes. Ev is never one to sit out a dance party and the dogs quickly follow. It gets loud. The people in the apartment below  cross my mind, I’m just as fast to shoo them away. These days, her childhood, they’re passing far too fast. I won’t be quiet for it. 

-Because I love when my boyfriend dances. How he tries to hit all of the impossible high notes with Jill Scott. And because nothing makes us laugh quite as hard as his post-dinner serenades.

Because I have lived in loud houses before. Loud with screams, pleas for mercy. That’s how I grew up. The quite one, who was often forced to scream back in a house of loud. The bad kind of loud. The kind of loud that warranted a noise complaint that never came.

-Because as an adult I lived in another loud house. One where I was the woman on the other side of a duplex wall desperately screaming for my neighbor to call the police for me. For someone to intervene. To help me when I felt the most helpless. No one called. Eventually I was loud enough to get my phone back to call 911 for myself. I know exactly how loud that I can be, I’m never trying to come near that decibel again.

-Because tonight I got to read the email that my beautiful boyfriend sent to the leasing office. Amidst the explanations and a timeline of the ‘loud music’ incident was this line, “….other than the occasional sleepover for our six year old”. Our six year old.

Excuse me while I bubble over with happiness. Happiness and disbelief that I’m in a place in this world with a partner who says OUR six year old. Our might not feel so resounding except that it’s the pronoun that defines our day to day life that has lingered in the air waiting to be claimed for a year.

For instance this day I called J in a tizzy at 3:10 to remind him to take Ev to gymnastics.
“Hello, ohhh yeah we’ve been here it started at 2:30”.
“God, you’re so good at life”. When I have completely forgotten, there he is holding all of the pieces together. 

Yesterday he embodied OUR when he took Ev and her friend door to door peddling two dollar chocolate bars for her school fundraiser. They coined this genius sales pitch, “I’m selling chocolate, how much money do you got?” and “I’m selling chocolate, where’s your wallet”. 24 chocolate bars later I’ve got to say they’re a dynamic duo.

So thank you bitch ass down stairs neighbor lady you shined an amazing light into the fog of titles and accountability in my little family. It’s nice to bask in the glow. OUR happy, joyous, jump up and down, bumping soul jams at 4:00 in the afternoon, laughing fits before bedtime, loud life. 

I won’t be apologizing for it. 

What it means to be exactly like your mother

Love, soulfood

Exactly.

My mom and I are different in a few ways. Yes, literally three I can count them. But they aren’t nearly as intersesting as the fact that we’re the same gdamn person one generation removed.  Most days lately I look in the mirror and my mother looks back. I’ve thought about the fact that I was born when she was 25 and how I now am the same age as my first memories of her.

I wonder if she noticed with every passing year that her face got less and less symmetrical. I wonder how different that are lives are and were. Or if they weren’t different at all. How do I feel about that? How does she feel about that?

My own baby is nearly 7 years old. Every day she becomes a little more resolved in who she is as a person. And every day I tease apart her actions and put them into categories from- me, her dad, my mom, carol. Those four categories is about all it takes. An alarming amount of instances fall under the ME header.

Two days ago I got home and Ev was absolutely breaking down about everything. The way the watermelon was cut, that the dog barked, that she was told to stop standing in the funiture. J and I looked at each other multiple times. Da fuck? I don’t know why she’s being like this.

6 is a year that has brought a lot more sanity. We now reason. Repercussions are real, iminantant and often (though not always) deturing.

But on Thursday for what ever reason she just needed to cry. And I paused. Because I know that face, that exhaustion, that defeat. It’s my own. I contemplated how hard it is to be a woman. And then how hard that it is to be a child. Come here baby. You just need to be held. To be vulnerable and caught for just a few moments. Then you’ll put your emotional mess in your pocket book and carry on. That’s all we ever need.

That’s a parenting corner to turn. In any given situation I just think what would I need in that situation and it works.

For instance if I get mad and yell it is quickly followed by an apology. She forgives but will never go first. If she eats it on the playground, we just need to go over every detail of how and why it happened to make the hurt disipate. When her tales get a little too tall I cut her down to size but commend her ability to tell a good story. We do love that about ourselves.

We are the most complicated yet simplistic though always beautiful creatures on this earth. We are women and girl. Mother and daughter. Linear and circle. We. One.


I love you baby bear and Mama. Being caught in the middle is some kind of place to be.

So you like black guys?

Love

It’s been a minute since I’ve been in a new environment where no one knows me or really has any context for who I am. Revisiting this conundrum drags into the light a list of things about me that no one expects on account of me looking like a 12 year old little sweet (read dumb) blonde girl from Kansas.

I don’t know how to avoid people’s first impressions of me. Maybe I should make a flyer that has all of my pertinent life information in an at a glance format, just to insure that you won’t say something insensitive that is bound to piss me off beyond belief.

Things that shouldn’t have to be said, but do. Good God Damn.
An infographic was born:

reginfographic2

So, today I came bounding into the office overjoyed at our newest acquisition: the cutest puppy on the face of the earth (no offense Meena). Naturally I had to give all of my coworkers a slide show presentation of baby doggy pictures:
“Dawwhhhh look at this one where she’s sleeping, and this one eating its food, and this one where she’s yawning and awwwwe this one with my boyfriend.”

Out pops out of this girl’s mouth. “You like black guys? Wow, I would have never guessed.”

Which maybe wouldn’t have been so offensive if she hadn’t said it as loud as possible and reminiscent of something that you would see on Maury. I just gave her an evil death stare and turned around. Because I didn’t want to have to have a poignant conversation with a co-worker at a job that I started just three days prior.

Here’ s what I wish that I would have had the composure and balls to say to you at that very moment, darling.

Why yes I like black guys and white guys and red guys and purple guys and  guys from fucking Timbuktu for that matter. That black guy has a name. Julius. He’s also not just some guy that I like. He’s my life partner. He’s the father to my daughter that she hasn’t had in five years. He’s the person who gets out of bed to bring me water and fill up the humidifier right after he just started to doze off because I asked…okay whined. He’s the man who calls me as I get off of work to serenade me in his best version of Stevie Wonder. He’s the man who walks our dogs, runs to the store, rescues me when my car breaks down and melts away all of the worry, strife and sorrow in my life just by simply holding me. He is legitimately my other half. He fulfills a type of love that I had given up on being real. He is my soul mate. Yes, he is also black.

I’d be curious to know what other people’s inter-racial relationships are like. Here’s what it’s like for us. Race is a reality of both of our lives. His exponentially more so than mine. As you may guess from knowing either of us, social, political and racial current events are always on our table of discussion. We also spend a lot of time discussing how crazy different our lives were and still are. For me it’s partially wonder, amusement and disbelief at how being a black man in America today and 30 years ago has shaped so many aspect of Julius’ reality. Opposingly how being white, cute and unsupervised in seemingly safe Kansas towns (where- thank the gods- nothing bad ever happened to me) gave me a super woman complex perplexes J.

The other night I pleaded with him and quite literally drug him into some open land behind our place to take the dog for a walk after dark. He hadn’t been back there before, there weren’t any lights (though the moon light the whole desert up like a Christmas tree) and sprinkled amongst the 400,000 dollar houses were trailers. THAT’S A BIG ‘OL BLACK MEN SHOULDN’T WONDER AROUND HERE SIGN. Of which I am completely blind to. I go where ever I want. I could rob a bank and be the last person to be questioned. I’m a white girl, remember. Not my boyfriend, he was raised and rightfully so not to put himself into dangerous situations because, “boys like you wind up strung up a tree”.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Imagine that because of the color of your skin that you can’t go on spontaneous adventures, that your mom is terrified of sending you into the boys bathroom alone as a small boy, that more often than not when you meet a white person for the first time one of their first statements to you is, “Wow, you’re a well spoken black man”.

After that night walk in the desert Julius said to me, “It’s surprising to me that you’re not more scared with all of the crazy shit that has happened to you”. It’s true, insanely crazy lifetime movie worthy things have happened to me.
My response, “All of the bad things that have ever happened to me have been by people that I knew, people I lived with”. What’s the biggest threat to little white girls, I mean women everywhere? Men we trusted.

domestic violence

rape

Maybe I’m being presumptuous. Maybe the inflection in her voice wasn’t one of judgement or disapproval over me, “Liking black men“. Maybe it was something else all together. Being a black man or woman is charged with all kinds of other meaning that I find quite beautiful. Being black refers to a community connected by traditions, family and resilience. Being black ties you to a history ancient and new in which their people rallied though slaughter and segregation. To be a present day black American allows you to wear the triumph and burden of every black person who came before you. I think that’s an honor and brave.

So, yes I do like black guys. Specifically, I love my man for everything that he is, including black.