Friday, November 11, 2016

Stage Two: Anger

I came here to dump my vitriol on the page; to rage and rant and blame and punish.

But I'm not going to.

I was interrupted by a Facebook message with an idea that might just help people who are hurting. And maybe I can be a part of it.

And then I was interrupted by my mom asking about our family week all together over Thanksgiving with dogs and young adults and mashed potatoes all under one roof.

And then the wind that had been blowing my sails stilled. I remembered. People. Love. Hope.

Oh, I'm still mad. But less so.

I still don't understand how anyone, any one single person who has read and believed one single line of Jesus of Nazareth could vote for #DonTheCon. They have done so much damage. They did. Not party elites who didn't reach out to the whoever or those who pulled the party too far left or those who voted one way and then abandoned all reason this time.

This election outcome is certainly NOT fault of white women who are themselves the victims of oppression and marginalization and if you don't believe me, try me, the 50 year-old woman who has worked in the employment industry. Try me. I dare you. This is not our fault.

Here's the thing; the people who I trusted to have some common decency and morals did this. I am furious. And I am ready to fight.

The next time a Trumper sneers at my mixed race family or mutters under their breath at us, I am going to confront them with a finger in their face and a phone recording the whole thing.

If my son in the midwest is the victim of a hate crime I'm coming in with media blazing to show those hate filled "nice" midwesterners for who they really are. Fake Christians holding a fake moral ground and willing to believe the con of someone they should have smelled coming a thousand miles away. Shame on them. Look what they have done. Look at our people who are now emboldened to perpetrate hate crimes and hate speech against one another. Shame. This is what their vote has wrought.

OK. I'm still angry.

But less so. Less so. I'm remembering new babies who need a warm circle in which to grow. And old ladies who just want to know their life's work means something. And cozy afternoons with family because in the end, that is what we all want.

May it be so. May it please be so.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Golden Jubilee

It began on October 20th. My oldest son turned 25.

Next spring I turn 50.

Then my husband and I celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.

The jubilee year then closes with my youngest son turning 21 at the end of the coming summer.

A big year, a huge year. A year pregnant with possibilities, or for my overthinking anxiety-depressed way of being in this world, a year that is hollering "danger, danger! incoming ordinance!" or something like that.

But I'll tell you, something this fraught election year has taught me is that you don't have to stay down when life knocks you down. Or you know, hit the dirt before life even has a chance to knock you down.

Hillary Rodham Clinton began her senate career at just about this stage of life. OK, she was maybe a little more successful on the achievement scene than I've been so far. But still. She got knocked down and blasted out of the water, and held underwater and rolled off a jeep as it careened down mountains and well, she was not going to take any of it with her mouth filled with dirt. She gets back up and starts again, over and over and over.

If she can, so can I.

Here's my "spit the dirt out and start marching toward the next good thing" plan:

  • I'm going to transcribe every scrap of idiocy I've ever written into one big document and pay attention while the drivel flows through my fingers. For decades I've been writing in journals and on big yellow pads and in composition books; dozens and dozens of writing classes worth of words with prompts and exercises and half a dozen books I've started and almost never finished that produced something with ink and paper. I'm interested to hear what I wrote.
  • At the same time I'm going to cover a decade in a month and try to recall everything I can about myself during that decade: what did I dream about, where did I spend my time, who were my heroes, what scared me. That means November is 0-10, December is 11-20, January is 21-30, February 31-40 and March is 41-50. My birthday is in May so it gives me time to write a summary or an action plan or get hit by a car somewhere in there or something. This scares me to death. But I am curious to see who I was because maybe that will help me know who I am. I'm not likely to share much of this, but who knows? Maybe.
  • At some point in this process I am going to start a new blog/website/social media thing of some kind. Not to monetize my writing and other work, but to just be out in the world in a way that I like to be. I miss the old blog world when we all had those few blogs we read every day and we kept tabs on each other aside from the blog. We've moved on from that world, but I do still have things to say and I want to do that in a place that doesn't feel like I'm going backwards. I had hoped to have that piece ready by today, but then life happened. So it will happen later. Maybe. 

There it is. My golden jubilee year, complete with accountability post to be sure I don't forget what I meant to do.

May I learn just who I am and what it is I mean to do here with this life, or what's left of it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Unintended

I was raised to believe that people are inherently good. Not that their actions are always good or even their intentions, but that deep down people were at their core meant to be good to one another, to their surroundings, to everything.

I grew up in a Unitarian Universalist church before the guiding principles were adopted, but what I absorbed while painting the basement bathrooms in our little fellowship and by watching the lives of the people of the church was that people had inherent worth and dignity. Worth simply for existing, for being put together by the elements of the earth and sky and water, and dignity because they traveled this earth as humans. 

This what I taught my own children and many other children, too, as they grew up in the UU church; that all were inherently worthy. 

As I witness Donald Trump bluster over all decent American core values there are times I have to tune out the stories, close social media and look away from some exchanges.  My #YesAllWomen story isn't as bad as some, not as bad as many, really. But as I am away from regular life at a work gathering, I have a little space to think. For some people, is the message that "all are worthy, people are good" a hindrance to the ability to say "nope, this is not OK, I'm out?"

Maybe it's only me, maybe the Midwestern "oh well, I never mean to bother" ethic that's pounded in our brains even before our soft spot closes makes us vulnerable to people with dark motives. Maybe I'm just making it up, overblowing it, over thinking it. Just being sensitive. 

Or maybe not. Maybe teaching our children to say "oh hell, no" and get out is a great skill. Maybe giving tools to identify toxic people and techniques that are used to control and take advantage of people is a good idea.

Maybe a simple message isn't enough. Maybe it's not even all that good.

Maybe what I was taught, and what I then taught isn't enough. 

Maybe there is a better way. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

So We May Begin

One page, One day. Move on.

Today is cooler and my chair is a little wet from the dew. The prayer flags flow gently back and forth.
I sit alone, here, but my ancestors are before me. My sister women around me. My animal friends padding around, sniffing and growling at the leaves that skitter off the patio and the thought that there might be a cat across the way.

I can hear a squirrel a few trees over who is unhappy, chirrping and clucking, likely because the dogs are perched on this little patio with me. Even here in the middle of the metropolitan desert, nature dominates. There is dirt and many bugs and stray leaves. We smell the earth and feel the fingers of the sun and the silky breath of the breeze on our cheeks. I lift my chin to catch it.

We are here. We are here. We are here.

You are here. You are here.

You are here

and so we may begin.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Maybe in September

Maybe today was a trying day.

Maybe your work spins around a September start-up and this week was when things got real real.

Maybe today, being Suicide Prevention Day, poked and pulled at you in good ways or hard ways or good ways that are hard because maybe you're a survivor or live with depression in your life in some way. Maybe you read accounts of people deciding to choose to live and you thought "ha, you ain't see nothing, baby." And maybe you felt instantly guilty, because who are we to know? Who are we to ever really know?

Maybe you're about to leap into a life change; heading to school, getting married, having a baby, getting a divorce, moving to hospice. Or maybe this is happening to someone you love. Maybe, it could be even harder, it is not happening this time.

Maybe this Irish Blessing will let your soul rest for just a moment, just rest, not rest and then do something. Just rest.

One time years and years ago a friend shared this blessing that is a song with me during a scary time, and it helped me. Maybe it is helping me, here again, on this September Saturday. Maybe you, too.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

All I Ever Wanted

Because mothering is all I ever wanted from life.

Because being a mother and building a family and paying close close attention to every detail along the way was my work.

My life's work.

Because that phase of my life is really long since over and when no offspring live at home, now, in just over a week, it's really done. Or, well, it is not over but is completely transformed in a whole manner that leaves no anchor to that former life, at all, in any way.

And because of that, I think, because all of who I am and ever was is really now completely over, I am bereft.

I watch the "first day of 3rd grade" and "too angsty to let me take a picture of the first day of 8th grade" posts go by on social media. Those days were so long ago for me. But I loved them.
I still love them.

The way I remember it, I was one of those people who noticed at the time that I loved the busy days at home with kids. We were lucky enough to homeschool for a good portion of that time, so the days had a longer rhythm that ebbed and flowed more like the seasons than frenetic days. We read books and spent long days exploring that were in fact simply interesting days spent together following creeks to learn about salmon or taking in a midday play.

It was all I wanted. And I am so grateful.

But here's the thing. Women are taught to become things. We learn to become a mother or become a whatever-our-career-is-person, We learn to become a wife and become an activist and become an advocate. And then, sometimes, those things go away. Then, what are we?

That's been my question. What am I?

I had to un-follow some people on social media because their "next thing" is so beautiful and whole and they have origami folded themselves into a sleek crane who is going to seminary or trekking off on an adventure of self-discovery. Please. I have no money for grad school or a trek of discovering what comes next. We have ginormous college bills for those brilliant children because we didn't save when we were becoming parents at 12 or whatever so, no, I don't want to watch you uproot your comfortable life and cram it into this new amazing thing. Well, I do, but it makes me dark and all self-hatey. So, I stopped.

Here lies my challenge. Figure out life. No financial investment possible. But there are hours in the day. I have job that I like. No other responsibilities, really. Job, a very busy husband, some time with my adult children when I can. Two badly behaved dogs. And this question:

What to do with my remaining years? And just who the hell am I supposed to be?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

How is it With Your Soul Today?

And so, how are you today?

Not what arrived in your mailbox or where did you go for lunch. 

I don't want to hear about the backlog at work or what happened in the car wash. 

The new kitten's antics are delightful, I am sure. 

But that's not what I want to know, dear one. 

The fourth visit from the refrigerator repair person must be exasperating, of course. 

And the plans with your cousins to see the fallen heartthrob's eternal show in Vegas would be a wonderful story. 

I am sure. 

But that is still not what I want to know, dear one. 

My heart wonders, and it wants to know, my love. 

How is it with your soul, today?

Is the long forgotten dream peering from behind the list of things to do, asking for another chance?

Does longing throb in your fingertips to make or create or do?

What about grief, is that what I see? Glistening from the crease near your eye?

Is that twitch of your toe an untraveled trail, waiting for your steps?

Because I wonder, my dear, 

how is it with your soul today?