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Tuesday, March 20, 2007
tomorrow is the spring equinox. 9 years ago on that day...i was initiated as a wiccan priestess. that same night, i met the man whose children i bore. nine years--nearly a decade of my life. i defined myself in terms i was never quite comfortable with. i was passive, fearful...moving at the pace of the tides that swept me in and out again. i'm not sure what the hell i was thinking...maybe that it would get better. i think it seemed easier to live someone elses life than to risk making bad choices with my own. making that man the central focus of my universe was a risky, and fruitless endeavor. i have his children, yes, and when the first was born, she gave me something to do besides him, which was fortunate because for her first year, he was MIA much of the time. now that i think about it, all the times i've called him a good father, i was mistaken. to be a good parent, one must think of the offspring first and prioritize accordingly. that has not happened.
he says he's coming back. the exhausted mama part of me wants to jump for joy. another part of me knows better. it's likely an empty happiness. i am still feeling the violation of having been abandoned with no real recourse to speak of. no form of retaliation or vengeful act of spite could ever make it better. it's a deep wound and one that will take some time to knit up. so much the better for him to return, though, i guess. perhaps he'd pick up some slack so i could recharge a bit from the trauma of it all. despite the rollercoaster, in a manner of speaking, this has been the most exciting and energetic segment of my life to date. i'm anxious...but excited about what's around the corner. i've been learning alot about how intent and focus shape experience. i like my vantage point. i like my life. finally, at long last, i'm feeling some comfort in my skin and some ease in my mind.
seduction would be a sweet balm for my ails, now. it's been years since i was engaged in something that carried me away to the good place. i know i'm a little fragile and might appear to be needing more than one other person could afford to give freely. i know it looks like i'm standing in a heap of mess that shovels couldn't touch but i'm a big girl and i'm not afraid to use some elbow grease or to get my hands dirty. sometimes forward motion requires a bit of a push, no? the diversionary tactics of a lover would be a welcome source of escape. i'm not sure how graceful i would be...but i am honest and effortlessly pleasant to be around.
tomorrow is the spring equinox. it's also the birthday of one of my best friends. she will be 35. i have to do a double take on that number. we have been attached at the hip to varying degrees since she was 19, just before my own 18th birthday. the first time i met her i wanted to be her friend. she made fun of my groupie chic, my wild and wanton ways. the first time i tried to talk to her i decided she was a real bitch and felt sad that she'd deprive me of her company. the more i watched her, the more certain i was that she should have theme music, like sherilyn fenn's character, audrey, in twin peaks. at some point, i won her over with my scintillating wit and ridiculous antics, many unintentional. to date, we have been doing this life thing together for our entire adult lives. we've been through so much together. we survived acid trips gone wrong, random debaucheries, bad choices o'plenty and the joys and tedium of living together. we've been pregnant simultaneously, cried alot of tears, visited the baby eraser and had our dumbass husbands leave us within weeks of each other. we have laughed, god, have we laughed--i'll never be able to hear the red hot chili pepper's "sir psycho sexy" and keep a straight face. the first big nirvana album was ours alone--we knew every word and howled it out, tooling around shreveport in her car that, to my great surprise, had no power steering. one of our dear friends died of a heart attack and we looked at death together. i was stalked by a madman, paralyzed by my own devastation after too many losses and unable to be alone. she stayed with me and nurtured me...to the point that my neighbor was convinced that we were hot lipstick lesbians and he could hardly keep his hard-on off the threshhold. how different my life would be without her...how bleak. once, after going through a particularly harrowing life experience, i moved back to my hometown from austin. one day when i visited, her mom took one look at me and said in her charming newfoundland accent, "honey, you need to find your lipstick." blessed words that brought me back to center and helped me to regenerate, an ongoing theme. i am grateful to be at a place in life where i have friends of such substance, whose lives parallel my own, even when we might be at odds. i'm glad we're not at odds and that even at the height of my weirdness and personal drama, she's stuck by, precious anchor that she is.
happy anniversary to me. happy birthday to her and good riddance to old ways that no longer apply.
and i'm still awake hands tired from rubbing and wringing ass tired from sitting mind tired from this crazy making i've let myself get bent up in pent up in the direction of a half right thing with a half seen nobody somebody, anybody, a body to throw my muses at flinging them musings out to an ocean of somebodies they fly from my fingers like cattail fluff
the crouched down hunkering over the screen searching for a swan song making my own soundtrack and writing my memoirs as a blow by blow so i won't skip a detail that you, sweet reader, need to understand the gravity of the Situation the gravity of this person, this shadow...this Me thing. nobody comes close won't you just climb the fuck inside of me?! i'm like one of those kids who needs a weighted blanket and some kind of sensory deprivation physical weight to lay me down and hold me there, until i let go just a little bit; it's damned quiet here and i'm patching up a hole with my sweat and somebody else's prose flange, prong and poker thrust it upon me it's not what i want but i'll take it cause i'm hungry i been feeding here on this bitter ration i been living here on this bony stipend of gristle and i been laughing shuddering at carcasses and howling at the moon i'm making my own fun here and now and i just would like to have a kind of fun that the laughs all make sense where we all run around and laugh so hard it hurts where i tumble down and the spring ground breaks my fall and the chilly air startles me down deep in that place that forgot how to play did i miss out on it all? are the street lights on? did everyone already go home to eat dinner? is that what that smell is?
i'll be your girl my filthy mouth in tow and my sailors tongue like fists and steel toed flight deck boots i'm a widow...my man's done left me and he's dead to me for all time and what's done is done. there ain't no going back, not now, not then...not ever. his train has left the station and said it's final "choo-choo" goodbye.
it may be that one day i'll cuss you hell to breakfast turn around and do you up right whether it's your birthday or not sometimes like a damn dog that ain't been trained up good and other times i'll wanna fuck in your parent's bathroom while they're setting the table for a proper dinner cause all that performing gives me a fit inside that nothing can soothe save for being handled and having my fire ground out it's a jungle in here, boy and i ain't to be trifled with, understand? i can't explain it and maybe i'll never be all the way right and sure as hell, one day my looks will go south along with my breasts and i'll despair if nothing fills up my cracks between now and then i'll grow smaller and harder the longer it goes on and i'll need somebody to make sure i drink my own potions and to water me good at the roots and show me myself even if i get spiteful hold my hand and tuck me in when i got a fever that loving won't fix the things that haunt me might not go away even if i get loved right and tended like a bread on the rise i guess i've got my frailties like everyone else and i hate to admit it but it's dark in here and i'm scared sometimes like when i was five and needed to puke and i ran and ran in circles until the terror was upon me and i lost control of my guts and i spilled them in the worst places possible and the bad, bad man yelled and cussed me like i was as rotten as that jar of mayonnaise on the roadside when he cussed me, spit flew from his lips, hitting me like buckshot and somehow we became connected; somehow his venom got into all the wrong places and messed up my innards now i'm bigger and my insides hold more so when it finally (and it always does, eventually) blows there's gonna be a mess to contend with, boy and i know it's not your place to clean up after what's been mucked up before you even knew my name i know well there's no fairness and love and war is fertile ground for turnabout being the closest thing to justice but i'll sing like a bird and turn you a phrase in a way that will make you think different than you might've ever had cause to ponder i can grow the prettiest flowers and fattest babies you've ever seen i can live on a skinny supply of sleep and still get up to make you coffee, just how you like it i can see the green sky on the horizon and outrun most tornadoes and shitstorms of the emotional variety coming out ahead and miles the victor...to me go the spoils and i don't mind sharing my casseroles are full of butter and cream and they're succulent like my body and i'll give 'em both without a thought for wear and tear because i got that om-mani-padme-hum in me bigger than you'd ever think being as how i seemed to come out busted and if i'm damaged, goddamn it, i won't ever be fixed but i'll smile if you touch my cheek and i'll squeal if you dance me a randy jig i guess what i'm saying is that things will be complicated you won't like it when i shout blasphemies at inappropriate times dare you to walk away when i'm ranting, ablaze with irrational entitlement or get too drunk and friendly, if you know what i mean i will scrub baseboards at 4am, singing at the top of my lungs to bessie smith and aretha franklin with my hair in a mess of tangles cause i'm full of the spirit and i know i got to sing when it comes on or i just might blow some kind of circuit that's vital to my sustained function and on those nights you'll just have to dance and sing along and trust that i know my own medicine just as well as i know my poison and love me extra for all the times i wasn't loved and i'll dare anybody to talk bad about my man...fighting words my penchant is for the unattainable, the unrealistic things that everyone else knows nobody can have....i'm starving for those things for perfection for god for sustained happiness beyond simple satisfaction for a painless life for love that's mine all together, mine alone and at my beck and whim for the man that never came back to do his part in loving me up into a good woman for peace and fucking quiet away from this whole ridiculous terror cruise there have been occasions where i crumpled and then came all the way undone unhinged broke wide open like a hurricane sky a vicious impediment to the harmonious function of the unsuspectors and for that i'm sorry. i am so very sorry and i'll never forget the pains i've given to any other sentient being. sometimes i wear cowboy boots with my shortie nightgown and i go to the grocery store with no panties and unshaven legs my scent could be bottled and called jezebel and well-heeled ladies would pay big bucks for it. i'll put on mascara and forget to brush my teeth my bracelets clangle like a flooze and that's ok because my kids use this as a homing device...they hear mama's jewelry racket and it makes them feel safe knowing i'm close enough to save them from a pack of hyenas or, more likely, the creepy people who look so normal to everyone else. i can see which ones are tainted. that's the sight and voice of experience and i've been right enough times, a little too late, to know i have an ugly gift. the psychic equivalent of the white elephant game. i teach them things that other mothers, save my own, would never dream of speaking of and when i do i am excited i have broken ranks, a slave to irreverence, irrelevant with people i never honestly believed were on the same team as me anyway because i've seen and done and felt things that those sweet mothers never knew existed outside of hushed whispers about unruly older sisters, newspapers and the antiseptic tales told only by statistics and caustic news anchors with their coiffures and cufflinks and slipping dentures.... i am an alpha cut to the quick when i disappoint i vote and then want to puke i tried to birth my babies on my own terms but failed. miserably. so i offered them all of me for as long as i could give it and i gave it so solidly that now i need to rest. i stay up writing until i am so exhausted that my body won't work right anymore and i shake and tears of tired stream down my face but i stay up...just a bit longer i blow my nose on my sleeve i am afraid to be seen naked because i feel like a freak. and no, not the good kind. i have yet to look into a lover's eyes when he's pleasing me...but i want to if i were a cake i'd be rusted bedsprings and junk drawer detritus covered with silky white fondant and sugared pansies i am learning how to be an unabashed bitch and how to apologize for my apoplectic, apocalyptic jabs when they get out and blow up in somebody's face it happens when i feel i've been slighted, shamed and in that moment, don't know anything about innocent bystanders real or imagined, no difference. pull the trigger, get the bullet. end of story.
i'm learning, though. and i'm grateful for those who come back...the dear sweet friends who let me skulk on back in when i've been a bad seed. i'm learning how to forgive, especially myself.
i know the glory of waking up to unbearable beauty the day after the disaster and of having survived to survey, purvey and circle the wagons around the young and weak...i have been both young and weak and i will always know the agony of rebuilding and the joy of common goals and shared successes.
my lips shine with undelivered sweetness and lightning bug kisses and words that delight and disarm when i come i see purple and blue and i hear waves crashing. i fly through the treetops and smell freshly turned earth i look for opportunities to press my body and flesh against someone else's because it feels so fucking good to be this vessel of love i'm not ashamed to roll my own tobacco and to let the smoke mingle brazen with my heady spice bouquet or to toss my hair and be in the limelight...i imagine flowers and sparks flying off me, leaving a trail of magical vapor behind me shining the pavement and parking lots so littered with butts, straw wrappers and discarded diapers freshening the breath of the hot air for miles around even if really, i'm just plain vanilla, just barely holding it together for appearance sake just me wallflower on the lam shabshorn little girl with dirty feet and ugly circumstances pinned inside a thirty-something facade just looking for one somebody to share my cookies with. throw me something, mister, will ya?
The cell phone rings. You know the routine. The woman, (or is it you?) says, "Oh my god, I'm sorry, I NEVER do this but this is my mom (dad, husband, kid, drycleaner, dishwasher repairman) and I've been expecting this call." And off goes the person (maybe it is actually you), the person you were talking to about your mother or your kids, onto the call.
All very well and fine, because this is the modern world and we aren't all home at our telephones waiting for them to ring with the crucial information that we need about whatever's going to happen nex t. We expect to be interrupted and to have lots of things on our minds at once.
Then of course there's the need to check our email. We peruse, we prioritize and we answer what needs to be answered. We rarely noodle around anymore.
Who' got the time, for cryin' in the sink?
Then there' the other things: there' a palm pilot, right? Or a blackberry?
I' m not so tuned into these. But a lot of their options sound good for helping organize and synchronize. I still have the paper calendar on the fridge with magnets. But if that thing isn't updated, our family schedule is toast.
When I' with my kids at the end of a work day, at the end of a school day, I try to keep the distractions to a minimum.
But my kids tell me that I' not doing that good of a job. Dang. This is what I dreamed of: being able to spend a little time with them at the end of our long days, just talking, on the couch, or lounging on their beds.
Sometimes I get about 15 minutes, petting the dog, musing about some story from the day. But my mind is racing to what I need to do. I have to be keen and aware and sifting and reacting and I have to make darn good use of my time.
But I' m distracted. Almost constantly. I' afraid that I'm a living mockery of what I tell people: "Love your kids. Be good to yourself. " It is this fear that gets me up every morning. I valiantly wake up early and light my candle by my yoga mat and do my 12 minute yoga session on DVD. I try to have an extra moment at the end. Some kind of plea to the universe: "Help me pay attention today."
How is it working for you? Me, I' m maxxed out and always ten steps behind myself. And I'm trying hard to not be distracted.
Nanci Olesen is working on a pilot for Minnesota Public Radio about parenthood. She blogs here, and also at http://www.mombo.org The website MOMbo features a monthly essay on the Zone (it could be yours) and a monthly podcast. Hang in there. I'm saying this to myself too.
I know we have a kind of rocky relationship, what with me cursing your name most of the time. But I want you to know that's all behind me now. So to speak.
Even though you showed up almost immediately after my daughter was born and robbed me of the reprieve most nursing mothers enjoy... that's OK. Even though you were squirrly for two years and made it difficult for me to conceive said daughter, I forgive you for that, too.
Basically, I want us to be friends. I want us to get along. I want you to depend on me, and mostly I want to depend on you. I want to believe that the reason I've been so exhausted the past two weeks is a charming cocktail of stress and not enough iron. I want to believe the dip in my milk supply is because you're knocking at the downstairs door. I want to believe that the reason you are four days late is because the constant breastfeeding is mucking you up.
Can those be things I believe in? As a friend and confidant, can you send me a signal that you are indeed on your way and are not, in fact, on a nine-month vacation? Because as much as I would probably freak out and lose my mind enjoy a nine-month vacation from you, I am not ready for one just yet. I AM NOT READY YET.
Sorry, didn't mean to shout at you. I just wanted to make sure you're paying attention. I'm going to go do some things now - bite my fingernails, say a prayer, maybe put away some laundry - and when I'm finished I expect to hear from you. I would actually welcome a cramp or spontaneous crying jag. Really, anything you can throw at me. Sound good?
I love you, for reals. And despite all the bad things I've ever said about you, I want you back. Please come back. I'll be right here.
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