July 8, 2015

paint-block. poem-time.

i was going to say i should be painting
but i should remove the word should
from my vocabulary

i am writing

a year ago i started out on a journey
at once brave and foolish
for one can never know
just how ill-equipped they are
before stepping foot outside
and continuing past the comfort zone

if you knew the extent of my forgiveness
i might be considered a saint
but i also swear
and sometimes have
an unresolved heart

though i'm working on that, too
because resentment sucks

what if i just said
i love this life i love this life
over and over again
even when the shit gets tough
and i say i want to run away

i love this life i love this life
i will sit with what resides within
until i can seek outside interests
without going without

March 11, 2015

not even three months into the year and already a new word...

last friday, i was driving home from work, tired but exhilarated - it was right after stranger factory's first opening reception in our new space! my mind was all over the place but also aware and as cautious as usual. i was driving up a four-lane hill and needed to get in the left-most lane. i am always aware of cars i may pass or cars that are behind me and even though it was late and i hadn't passed any cars, i also always double and triple check because, you never know. i never assume i'm the only one on the road and i have a little routine that involves not only being aware of my surroundings, but turning my head to look behind before switching lanes (i think driver's ed sufficiently scared me into never, ever using the rearview mirror for lane-switches), and relying upon a little blindspot mirror that awesome papa put on my side mirror shortly after we got the car.

i was so SO grateful for that little mirror because a car must have hauled ass up the hill and was totally in my blindspot. i wouldn't have seen it in the side mirror, alone, and couldn't see it when i turned my head, but i saw it in the blindspot mirror and gave a little thanks as it passed me, especially since i'd just passed an accident a few minutes prior and and and. always with the reasons to be thankful....

the car passed me and i got behind it and because my brain pays some weird attention to cars, i took notice that it was a blue ford focus.

as i approached the street that i was turning left on, an oncoming car turned right and i found myself behind yet another blue ford focus, like identical, and because my brain is just weird, in general, i had a fleeting twilight zone thought, like, how could that car have been traveling ahead of me but also towards me and while i was reassuring myself that it was, in fact, a different car, i had a *lightbulb moment*...

pretty much f o c u s has to be the word that guides me through the rest of the year.

truth and i have gotten really close. in fact, truth will always + forever be my word, but focus makes soooooooooooooo much sense. in fact, the two work well together...so well that the following night i wrote down "truth + focus" and the fumblings of some other words that might someday be a poem and shared them with a progress pic of a new painting on instagram.

but anyway...i don't want to say i lack focus because i certainly don't but the only way i can accomplish all the things is to focus more or better or something...and i don't want to say it's a little bit scary, but it kind of is because in order to focus or to have focus, it seems one must also know what they want. it's true that for the past several years, so many of the things i set out to do happened, but still, many others didn't. it's also true that some of them were things i didn't actually want to do, or changed my mind about upon initial attempts or further reflection...but there are some serious things i want to do that i can't do without more focus...so, through the all the symbolism one can muster from metallic blue american-made cars (are they even actually made here anymore?), the universe has spoken.

focus, it is.


some miracles have totally happened this year. like, in the last month, actually. SO MUCH STUFF.
i can't even put any of it into words right now, probably because i am still at the beginning stages of harnessing the power of EVEN MORE FOCUS and also because it's nearly 2 3 a.m.

rock + roll


oh, and sleep! i anticipate a more focused update soon-ish ....

January 6, 2015

year in review, word of the year, blah blah

the light, just right, on a pile of words

this whole year in review thing has been weeks in the making and i just figured out why...
i don't really want to do it. not in the traditional, wordy sense...

last year was t o u g h.
and awesome.
and just.

i can't even.

to write about it like i used to, to explain, in detail? so unnecessary.

i went back to my roots in many ways...i started writing. so. much. poetry. last fall. i needed to say things clearly and quickly. i needed to write it all down and i cannot even tell you how fast the last four months have gone by. i couldn't even begin to go back and highlight last year, month by month, because everything before august is just all the other stuff. the growth that's occurred since then has been organic, necessary, but immensely fast. put to the test, 35 years in the making.

i didn't even just save the hundreds of words i was
going to share instead of these ones.

that's progress.
deletions, letting go.

like, no fucks given.
let's do this thing.

it was the first year in many that i wasn't
dragging still in spring
carrying leftovers from
the depression of winters past

it was the year i learned what creating
boundaries actually looks like

after lifetimes of practice, it was the year i stopped
needing my mother's approval or anyone else's

the good i sought and the good parts
i held on to weren't a lie
but i was still telling the sad tale
and i didn't want to anymore

so i started writing and i finished looking
in those last journals, the hard ones

much harder than the ones filled with the spirit of my past
and the trauma in my dna
the truths that i have never denied

because they contained the truths of my present
that i did not want to see

it was the year i took to my own bed again
something i hadn't even had since childhood,
having had a baby or child next to me since that
first night in january when i came home from the hospital
with my first baby and put him in his crib
then started crying at how tiny he looked
there in the center of a vast and cold
plastic covered mattress, no matter that
his crib was outfitted with looney tunes
bedding i'd saved for, all i could think about
was the mattress and how could
i let this baby who had grown inside
of my sixteen year old body
lay anywhere but in my arms?

so, after 19 years of this boy next to me thing
i took to my own bed, in my boys' room,
and they're still next to me, but it's mine
and i can eat rice cakes in it if i want

it was the year that another one of those things
i wrote down over and over again came to pass

or all of them
all of the things i have written about have come to pass

it was the year i stopped being afraid
of becoming the story

i am the story
nothing but the story
and i'll call her

it was the year i was able to say
you know that i am not my upbringing
and most importantly i am not a hypocrite
because that's what matters to me
and that's all that matters

it was the year i got over the one
having come to the conclusion
that he never could have loved me
more than i could love myself
which was not at all back then

it was the year i got over my marriage
which did nothing but mirror the black hole i brought with me
because marriage isn't a cure for loneliness
infinity times infinity is the same as zero

it was the year i came back to myself
stopped looking homeless

it was the year that people
once again took notice

i did behave in ways i could be proud of
and when i didn't it wasn't the end of the world
it was just another chance at this life thing

which is all we're here to do
we can't figure it all out
but we can be gentle
with ourselves and others

last year, finding a word, was hard
eventually i chose wild or it chose me
but in reviewing what i'd written at the start of 2014
i had written that free/dom was the word
and only in retrospect can i see how the
two were tied together, for i could never have
been free until i reclaimed my wildness

in this year, on the continued path
of forgiveness and being human
the word that will guide me is:


November 11, 2014

think about the children

let the world break your heart

get devastatingly broken

then get up
you can't stay there

i wrote that down a couple of weeks ago when i was thinking about how my current circumstances might have once left me in bed for days but, so far, have not. it's true that the last time my heart was devastatingly broken, i was in my twenties and now i'm a bit closer to my forties with more than a dozen years of trying to be zen under my belt. so while i can say i'm pretty sure what i've felt in the last few months has been both devastating and heartbreaking, i'm moving through with a bravery i didn't even know i possessed.

i am not afraid. i am not afraid. i am not afraid.

that is something else i've been writing down a lot, lately.

this isn't going to come as a surprise. it shouldn't, really. we had a fifty/fifty chance. same as anyone. but after three-ish months of what i called an emotional separation, the decision to divorce became clear.

it wasn't one thing or another but ten years of all the things and finally admitting that we veered off course a few too many times trying to meet each other at least halfway. we were always on different paths, often facing different directions. we lost ourselves in the process of trying to keep it together and manage expectations that neither one of us really ever wanted to fulfill.

recently i ran into an old friend. i congratulated him on his newlywed status and he mentioned that he was on his third wife. 

"marriage," he said, "is something i've never been afraid to fail at."

it was an a-ha moment. we hadn't failed. for ten years, my husband and i had done the best we could with what we had. we did our best and it wasn't enough and that's okay. we could put in some more effort. we could keep rehashing old subjects or addressing newer ones. we could probably even create some more. but it's exhausting. 

the day i verbalized how seriously we should consider divorce, i later came across this vintage-y metal sign. i'd always wanted something similar to a hand-embroidered "recipe" that long hung in my grandmother's kitchen and later in my mother's. lately i've also been more than acutely aware of all the signs and "reminders" i keep around the house and how i've got to be better about reading them and putting them into practice before letting frustrations and low-vibrational responses get the best of me. this sign wasn't romantic, nor was it unrealistic, it seemed like something our family could truly focus on throughout the day during this period of transition. i hung it eye-level for the kids in our dining area and i find myself taking pause in front of it several times a day.

i keep hearing these imaginary people saying "think about the children" and i keep reminding them that i have. it's all i've thought about. our children are the only reason my husband and i have stayed together this long, we acknowledge that. it took a few people telling me that kids know and it's way better to divorce than stay in an unhappy or unfulfilling marriage for me to admit that i used to say the very same thing, before i was married with children. for many years it felt complicated, selfish, and scary to consider separating, how could i dismantle my family just because i wasn't happy? it can be said that staying together for the children is a noble cause but it can also be more damaging than divorce. in the process of exploring my ideals, i dug deep and the answer was still that simple: it's better to divorce than basically uphold a lie out of social obligation. happiness is an inside job, anyway, but i had to really consider what kind of example i was setting for my children by staying and repeating the same patterns, ad nauseam. i don't want them to settle for less than they deserve or to think they don't deserve much, in the first place. i don't want them to be so selfless that they lose sight of themselves in order to try to keep a broken relationship together.

see next: it is out of love, not hate or anger, that we are choosing this path. a strong love doesn't meet all needs, it doesn't guarantee open communication, and it doesn't always look ideal. at the risk of sounding like a wimp, sometimes love isn't all there is, sometimes it doesn't have to be this hard.

of course, there is some sense of sadness and grief. it is most definitely a loss, if only of ideas and a promise made to our children, but there is a lesson in all things and the relationship isn't coming to an end, only changing. we will, of course, continue to co-parent and also co-habitate. we want to slowly transition into a situation that doesn't just work well for us, but also the boys, since they have the least amount of control over the situation. we're sort of making the rules as we go along, with as much peace and grace as possible.

and so it is.

September 18, 2014

"she'll tell you she's an orphan, after you meet her family..."

i am holding hard truths
with only my own weak weight to catch the fall

i get up and start over...

grandmother's love did not look like
homebaked treats and nourishment
it was are you hungry are you sure let's go get something to eat
and sometimes it was sit down and expensive
and other times it was gas station pizza

mother's love did not look like
anything that ever existed for me
it was you're not good enough what's wrong with you leave me alone
and sometimes it was pretending to care
and other times it was embarrassment

your love felt the same
another comfortable lie that this was safe
until the wound, in search of light,
could no longer be contained

.  .  .

an incomplete poem about an ever-pressing journey to self.

sometimes i just want to run away and never come back, find neverland, start over, as in books, in a new town. as if people can just slip into new lives...

i do all sorts of things to escape and all sorts of things to stay stuck, but engagement doesn't come easy. mostly all i can say is, "i don't know." but that's probably not true. it's probably easier to feign indecisiveness and certainty than the core of my own truth.

.  .  .

in other news, instead of doing something drastic to my hair, as i often do during times likes this, i'm undoing my dreads. it started out as a mess, friends suggested i just shave them off, how liberating it is to just cut it. i've been there and done that. valency saved the day by offering to give it a go and she managed to take my largest dread out without issue...after a deep conditioning, you can't even tell that all that hair was a tangled mess for the better part of a year.

i'm undoing them slowly and gently (got three small ones out last night) and finding the untangling process to be way more liberating. i'm not cutting loose of the pain and the grief, of the could-have-beens and lost causes, i'm sitting with and shifting through them.

every now and then i hear my mom telling her friend, "oh, she thinks she's dreading her hair." as if i hadn't just shown her the actual dreads already in place, as if i wasn't standing right there.

she also used to tell me i wouldn't like them. years before i went on my short dread journey, even. in honesty, i do like them (but mostly on other people.) dreads are more high maintenance than i ever imagined, pulling them apart was a bunch of no fun, and the lumpy, big dreads really harsh my shavasana and other yoga poses where a flat neck and back are crucial. and so on, with the logic...

i started this little dread journey out of love, as a way back to myself and while there are times when hacking at the roots is absolutely the most legitimate response, i am choosing to honor this current passage with a gentleness and patience that feels brand new. i am getting unstuck, and finally choosing slow and steady over sharp objects.

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