Saturday, December 26, 2009

forgive and forget

I have been thinking of forgiveness. I told a friend lately that I had forgiven my ex-husband for everything he had done, even though I haven't actually told him this personally. As soon as I spoke the words out loud I felt a sense of release, a rush of sorts, that I have this power within me to let it all go. Later I wondered if I really had forgiven him for everything, and if so, what does this actually mean? Could I still allow myself a good silent cry at night at the thought of being single once again? Am I still allowed to be angry with him once in a while when I feel overwhelmed and burdened by single parenthood? Can I forgive AND forget? Not likely, well not without a little self-induced amnesia. I feel like I have the capacity to forgive but without truly forgetting, the emotion stirs just under the surface waiting for the slightest fissure in the foundation of my sanity to tunnel, split and reveal my inner everything. I am not sure I can forget, therefore I am not sure I will forgive. I desire the release of forgiveness, the freedom and the energy it will free up in my body. I want more than anything to feel a sense of relief from this burden I carry around during the day, and the pain I nurse during the night. I long to be rid of this sense of hatred and frustration, I long for peace. There is a quote that inspires me to look further into this forgiveness bit, it goes like this: "Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart". I understand that there will always be people that hurt me, piss me off, inflict damage, but I long for peace, I long to move through it all and forgive. I long for release from these goddamn humanoid inconveniences: jealousy, hurt, rejection, anger. I forgive you for all of it. I forgive but will not forget. I will take these moments and stitch them to my faded jeans. Patches to cover the holes, piece the wreck back together, give rise to a new texture. I will forgive you for tearing my favorite jeans, I will not forget that you borrowed them without asking me first.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I wish I could skip right past Christmas this year. Move ahead to March. A benign month, no depressing holidays to negotiate, there are no memories of March that torment me. Of course, the notion that one can just skip Christmas is ridiculous, Christmas is everywhere, it is in my car, in my grocery isle, wrapped around the local coffee kiosk like an absurd, well-lit shawl. My daughter, who is just beginning to collect her own Christmas stories, is forcing me to reconcile mine: the good, the bad and the ugly, all carefully packed like ornaments in boxes. I imagine Christmases to be unwrapped and lined up on the mantle, each one telling a story of a year on its way out.

I have these memories of Christmas that haunt my mind each December as soon as I spy the first string of white lights of the season. He was a Christmas fanatic. Really, he loved the holidays, the tree, lights, he would arrange boughs on our fireplace mantle for days, moving out one, adding another. I would watch in amazement, in awe really, all the while growing more and more frustrated with his wacky technique of stringing the white lights on the bottom of the tree, with the color coming out on top. Some of our biggest fights revolved around Christmas lights, infamous winter storms that trapped us, frozen like monsters beneath a thick sheet of ice and we would sit and wait for the thaw to reunite with our honeymoon selves. It is because of all this that I find Christmas to be utterly worth skipping, year after year. It is more painful this year than last, because he is circling back to the man I once knew, the thoughtful, festive, bough designer. I try to make Christmas something else now, morph it away from the past, snapshots of years when I was happy, full of joy. Last year there was no joy. I was mortified each and every day with the knowledge that my husband was using his creative edge not for decorating fireplaces but for discovering new ways to stay warm during one of the coldest and snowiest winters in recent memory. Last year was my worst Christmas ever. I could not realize joy knowing my husband was hunkered down in a sleeping bag on the porch of an abandoned house, not sleeping, ever. Last year I shifted like sheets of ice between his situation and mine. His: homeless, cold, hungry, reused Starbucks coffee cup, to the point of it nearly falling apart into a pulpy mess. All for a quarter refill. I will never forget the look on each and every barista's face as they shifted their gaze from his pathetic cup, to his dirty, scroungy pile of belongings in the corner, to the two year old girl who proudly held his hand, then finally to me. Me? Hurried, flustered, emotionally spent, beyond judgement, almost. I switched our meeting grounds from yuppie coffee shops to the anonymity of a fast food restaurant. We met at a KFC just before Christmas so he could see his daughter and give her the presents he had collected for her. A few stuffed animals, donated clothes, some strange knickknacks that only a two year old could find magical. For me: a new pair of Columbia tennis shoes, donated. Carefully selected by the husband for the wife who walked out six months earlier with all of her shoes in a plastic garbage bag. Lotions, a scarf, more tokens of his kindness for wife and child. A wife's gift for her estranged husband? Divorce papers, a Starbucks gift card, a plate of pity with a side of rejection. My husband? Marched on with his pride, his dirty sleeping bag, while his past loaded up a car with shame, sadness and depression and drove on. Two poles pulling further apart. Spinning on the same axis, but ending up in different worlds.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I took my daughter to her first rock concert / dance marathon last night. It was fabulous. I love how much my daughter loves to dance and how she lacks any amount of inhibition. This concert included three bands from Portland and was advertised as a dance marathon, a fundraiser/senior project for my friend's son. The show included performances by The way downs, The quick and easy boys, and Ma Barley. I love dancing, love, love, love it. I do not get the opportunity to dance much these days so I was thrilled with the idea of an all ages concert. Autumn asked the other day if she could dance, and I told her never to ask me that again. If you feel like dancing, dance sweetie, you don't need permission to move your own body. Of all the ideas and dreams I have for my daughter the few that stick hard and fast are these: be comfortable in your own body, be uninhibited and refuse to settle into socialized norms, and dance when you want to dance (she seems to have grasped two out of three so far) I love that my daughter is growing up (nearly 4!) and I look forward to getting to know her as she gets to know herself.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happily ever after

I equate watching princess movies with my daughter to rubbernecking at the scene of a horrible car accident. I cannot seem to avert my eyes once I reach the intersection even as I vowed to respect the tragedy and not look. I am nearly positive these sorts of fantastical happily ever after stories will bear significant weight in warping her idea of happiness, marriage and everything in life that one expects to work out pleasantly. Despite my feminism and everything I know about gender, sex roles and society, I can't help but watch clear to the end as the girl marries the beast-turned prince and a kingdom is saved, once again. I continue to believe in a sort of magic couplehood that I have yet to experience and on some level realize may not exist, anywhere. This I get, I do. I understand that marriage is nothing like the stories, that if a couple if blissfully happy, they are not telling the whole truth and that life is messy, stinky and runs damn close to insanity at times. I never expected this for myself, just allowed myself the possibility of an attempt. I am trying to free myself up emotionally this week by giving up on a few possibilities. I am giving up on a love that will not ever become magical and real at the same time. I am giving up on the active search for love, or at least for that next romance. I am tired of the games of dating, the rules of engagement. It sucks to live a life tempered with convention and appropriateness, this is something I despise. I am closing the chapter of back and forth e-mail banter that is online dating. My words quickly betray me and I am no longer waiting for a response, for acknowledgement of an interested party. I cannot stand another fake relationship like the one I encountered recently, where the ground appears to be directly beneath my feet but on closer examination I am standing in a black hole.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall back

I have never before been as surprised with the daylight saving's nonsense as I was today. I found myself completely broadsided by an unexpected shifting of time. It was nothing o'clock for a brief moment today as I realized my clocks were no longer synchronized. This became my greatest gift of the day as I took my daughter outside to explore the space between the parenthesis of this newly realized moment. The sun was bright and as we walked around the yard we started noticing our shadows. Large willowy things that curved up around the tree trunk as we danced together. She was calling them sun shadows which reminded me of Cat Stevens. After running around in the sun for a while we came inside and listened to Moon shadows about nine times. That is what I did with my extra hour today. I considered it a gift of falling back into what I adore, what I love. I did some more falling back this weekend. I fell back on a pinkie promise with few regrets. I feel back into a town host to a painful wedge of my recent past and managed to squeeze out some emotion and a few cordial frivolities. I am falling back into an adoration that cannot be stopped, cannot be turned back one hour, or two. If I could turn back thirteen years what would I have said differently? If I could move the little hand to the nine and the big hand to the twelve, then what? What would we have left to say? It is hard to walk away from something that spreads over me like a lunar shadow, that fills my sky. Beautiful, unique, loveliness reflecting back into my hair, my neck, my moonlit backside. Tonight I will curl up between these two hands and fall back a little, bracing myself with your nine and my twelve.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Food porn

I want to return to the idea of food as pleasure. To the reality of a slow cooked, well planned meal that is joyful, memorable and lasts longer than two minutes. This goes out the window to some extent when one procreates. I continue to whip up a semi-gourmet meal from time to time. People complain, pick at the green beans and garlic, whine for something much less inferior than what has been offered. For me, the new porn is food. Real food. Food that takes ten times as long to create as it takes consume. Linger in front of the saucepan a little, bend over and feel the steam warm your skin. Julienne the carrots, purree the sauce, press the garlic firm and grind the peppercorns into dust. Butter caresses the warm bread, sinking deep into its thickness. Cream accompanies the sauce like a gentle wisp of a satin strap. Flavor explodes into my mouth like your kisses in the early years. Savory is my lover tonight, sweetness holds the door.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mirror money

This evening my friend thanked me for my strength and beauty, for loving myself so much. We spoke of mirrors and self and the power to visualize the reflection as nothing less than greatness, beauty and peace. Today was not one of those days, but her words made me think about the currency of those moments. Last night I danced until three o'clock in the morning. I was beautiful, rhythmic, and enormously fun. Last night. Those few hours of feeling amazing should theoretically take me into today, should earn me enough dividends to sustain this current lapse into poverty. Most days I am able to find the strength to talk back and gaze forward beyond the imperfections. I insist on reveling in my uniqueness, my loveliness, my perfect core. I am drawn to your fire, she said, your realness. As you may already know by now, one of my favorite topics is what is real? Today, this is what real is to me: real is knowing you love me, warming myself with the realness of your words. Realness is remembering that you thought of me before you climbed out of bed this morning as I thought of you before I drifted to sleep. Realness is listening to a song over and over again because it reminds me of our beauty. "Once you are real, you can't be ugly, except to people that don't understand". -Velveteen Rabbit. I never thought loving myself this much would be such hard work. It is work. The job requires moments of inordinate strength as I resist the damage, love the imperfections and move forward. Some days I am flat broke, other days my realness sustains me through another meal.