Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Who are YOU?

What is this life about? What defines success? These are questions I have been asking since I was a child. According to American “culture “ we are meant to go to college, get a good job, get married, pop out some kids, travel a bit, and retire on the beach. With a few prescriptions thrown in along the way to avoid feeling anything on this pre-designed path.

I was raised by hippies with a good work ethic, both high school drop outs with beyond tough upbringings. They both eventually got some form of higher education and were always reading and learning on their own. I was taught to meditate and appreciate moments in nature. They did not push the typical agenda on me, but somewhere along the way I picked it up on the breeze….through the media and schooling. My school motto was “Never Be Less Than The Best” for fucks sake! With our love of competition and christian values, Americans really have an interesting take on life.

But…this is not my take. Not my truth. I’ve spent my life forming a personality with solid opinions and beliefs, morals, unconscious definitions of what is supposed to be by certain times in life. Who came up with the rules though? A dude wandering the desert building shit and drinking wine? …not my truth. The founding fathers of America who had human slaves and thought they could own a land that was inhabited long before their ancestor’s arrivals? ….not my truth. The media whose job it is to numb us and sell products to make us somehow better than we inherently are to begin with? …not my truth. The education system that was formed to turn out factory workers to make products for consumption? ….definitely not my truth. So, what is MY truth? Who am I without the outside world seeping into my brain and defining for me what is “right” or “wrong”?

I am, for the first time in my 35 years on this planet, completely unsure of who I am or why I am here (or at least aware I am unsure). I know nothing. I don’t know right from wrong as I tend to lean towards the grey anyway. I don’t know what success would look like for ME. I have always just thought I needed a masters degree, a career, and a tight stomach to be seen as capable in this culture! This is not a deeply examined reality for me though. It came from years of it being pounded into my brain from all angles. Even shaving isn’t a choice I consciously made but something I considered a requirement within femininity (Thanks Bic razors!). I didn’t choose to be raised Baptist and be taught what are considered sins and then feel all the subsequent guilt as a result. I certainly did not want to stay stuck in one town my whole upbringing but I had to do so. Besides, “they” say it’s what’s best for the child.

I believe what is best for the child is allowing them to be whoever they are, no edits. They should be able to come to conclusions through discovering the world around them. Through travel, chores, love, fights, laughter, exploration and the senses. Play. I wonder how different I would be if I had this freedom from cultural expectations? This ability to bloom fully.

What is my point here? I don’t fucking know! I am just exploring, awakening, questioning, and trying to surrender to the stars from which I came for once. Start from scratch and find out who I am and what is most important in my life. I do know I want a family unit. I do know I want travel and adventure. I also know I love to be immersed in nature and silence. I know I want to define success on my own terms and decide what my unique gifts are to bring to this crazy beautiful planet.

So….what next?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Ma Lune

The moon whispers words of wisdom
An unspoken pain carried over time and space

I see you in dreams with black wings
Enveloping a structure not yet understood

I feel one thousand years of weight
Ancestral wounds bleeding their stories of fear

You take me in your arms to rest
All at once I feel calm in your egg of safety

You release a lifetime of shame…
in one breath

You soothe eternal deep wounds…
in one touch

I am healed
You are whole

Thursday, January 4, 2018

45 Names

I am...

Mom
Student
Auntie M
Friend
Sister
Daughter
Niece
Cousin
Fire Starter, Twisted Fire Starter
Lawn Mower
Dad
Gardener
Passionate Lover
Roller Skater
Masturbator
Willy Wonka
Weeb
Bad-Ass Mofo
My Mommy
Funny (for a woman or man)
Intelligent
Creative
Wood Stacker
Weed Wacker
Cook
Cleaner
Boo Boo Kisser
SMILF
Crazy Cat Lady
Spinster
Alysha
Forest Bather
Ben & Jerry's Mistress
Animal Lover
Future Scientist
Gypsy Hippy
Funky
Freak
Fly
Wanderer
Wonderer
Free Thinker
Rebel
Shit-Starter
Lovebugz


NOT BITCH.
NOT BABY.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Adulthood

If a fairy had appeared to me 10 years ago (since I believed in them then... still do), and told me how my life would look today, I would have called bullshit. I would have never believed her/him/it/they (trying to be PC here) for a millisecond. At that moment I would have concluded all fairies are dream-crushing liars and manipulators and never would have conjured one again.

But alas, here I am, living this life I could have never predicted or imagined. I am a mom! Holy shit! That, in and of itself, would have made me stop listening to Fern (I'll just name it) straight away. I would have been like "bitch please", rolled my eyes, put up my hand, and walked away like the strong black woman I am on the inside. Not only am I a mom though, I actually planned for this. For real yo. I came up with a dream with a man I loved enough to agree to marry (another unreal reality) and we started trying to make another human (the most fun part of the parenting process actually). Then a lot of other unbelievable tragedy happened and now I'm a single mom. And I'm doing it! Like every day I have committed myself to this little dictator and I love the fucker more than I ever could have loved another human being on this planet (or Bowie's).

The fact that would have been even more difficult to believe (when my girl Fern told me) is the change in priorities and perceptions that have occurred over the last 10 years, especially the last 5, in my life. At 25 I had no direction. I was living for each moment's thrill and constantly seeking new experiences and pleasures. Other's feelings didn't matter as much to me. I thought wealth and material things were far more important than they are. I didn't want to get married or have kids. I studied existentialism like it was my full-time job and didn't believe in any form of deity. I thought anarchy and mental illness and rebellion were cool and a necessary part of life. I didn't fear death much as I felt almost immortal. I would quit a job if someone looked at me sideways or an authority figure tried to "boss" me around. Where did I see myself in ten years? As a psychotherapist!!!! I would love to sit and have a nice long chat with that girl...my younger much more naive self.

Now, I care about my son above all else. Above any of my own needs, above cats (this is a real hard one to accept), and even above my life. Watching him experience joy has become such a large part of my own joy. I seek pleasure still but in more sensible, and less destructive, ways. I have a budget and really try to stick by it (I swear). I am in college and serious about my studies. I want to be a Scientist (say whaaaaaa??) I care about the food we eat, both from a nutritional standpoint and an ethical one. I care about other peoples kids, my friends and family, people everywhere, animals, the earth itself. I care what happens in the future and what the world will look like for generations to come. I care about politics and no longer stand by total anarchy. I believe in some sort of connection and spiritual realm. I really fear death...every day. I know wealth does not lead to lasting happiness and that health and relationships are the keys. I no longer think rebellion for the sake of rebellion is cool. Rebellion for the sake of the Earth, minorities, the homeless, children, cats and integrity are way fucking rad though! I have learned that having a partner to share your life with is one of the most magnificent experiences you can have and the simultaneously the most difficult. You can do the most growth within these pairings and you feel the most elevating emotions, physical sensations, and states of being. It is beyond what any typed words can convey. You can also experience the darkest depths of your psyche and soul when you lose someone you love, whether by death or physical separation in other ways.

If each human life were a book it would be broken up into 3 sections each with a certain number of chapters. Let's say the average lifespan is 90 (assuming technology continues to advance and people continue to educate themselves on nutrition), this would make each section 30 chapters/ years long. So the first 30 years would be "Youth", the next 30 "Adulthood", and the last "Wisdom" (So not true for everyone but stay with me). Using this analogy I am now into the second section of my life. The transitional phases are difficult. Your old "self" will kick and scream to stay the same. You will hold onto old beliefs like Louis Ck holds on to his member while in front of unassuming women. But you will make it through. I will make it through. I guess I have.

Welcome to adulthood! I will still be conjuring fairies though. And perhaps some unicorns.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Open Letter to the Neighbors I Have Yet to Know

I feel immensely weighed down with anxiety any time I am invited to a social gathering. Kids birthday party, BBQ, potluck, holiday party…basically any event where it will be small enough to be forced into conversations with strangers but large enough to make it a bit noisy and have nowhere to hide. I don’’t just dislike these occasions, I fear them, despise them, and wish I lived on a planet with only my closest friends and family. Yet, I find myself, during those rare moments when I am feeling ok mentally and socially capable, saying “sure” to the invite. Eeek. Why do I do this to myself?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with me for being an introvert and preferring deep conversations or hilarious melt downs with the people I have known and cultivated relationships with for years. I do take it a bit to the extreme by closing my curtains some days and not getting the mail for fear of small talk, but I’m working on figuring that one out. Otherwise introversion is as normal as having allergies. I do, however, see an issue with agreeing to events and then just not showing up. I take pride in being a person of integrity and this is not in alignment with my values.

Today we were invited to a birthday party at the neighbor’s. We have great neighbors. The kind who instantly open up and invite you over. The kind who have Bbqs and drink good quality beer. The kind who let you borrow their mower anytime. The kind whose dogs play freely together in one another’s yards. I feel that we could be a part of this hood and fit in nicely….if I weren't such an introvert. I know this sucks for Benny and I don't know what to do about it. I don’t want the neighbor’s to think I dislike them or think their party is lame. I don't want them to think I lack integrity because that is just not the case. But I am too stuck in my cave today to even think of going over and explaining my neurosis.

So, I am venting here and writing as if I could tell them these things face to face. Here it goes:

Dear neighbors,
First off, nice to meet you. I am really excited to be a part of this neighborhood and raise my child here. So far, I have liked everyone Ive met on our street. You all seem very welcoming and open. These are qualities I admire and envy. I just want to let you know that I am an extreme introvert at times. Please do not take personal offense. At times I need to stay inside and recharge my battery in order to go out another day and be social….at the grocery store, at the doctor’s, at the playground. You see, social interaction with strangers takes a lot of energy for me. Unlike an extrovert, it does not feed me but instead depletes me. I need a full day or two at times to be “alone” and re-charge my social battery.
Parties are not fun for me. I just do not enjoy them most of the time. There is a rare occasion where I am feeling really healthy and have energy to spare and can show up for these events. This is the exception. I don’t mind others having parties and I will be happy to hear laughter and games from afar. I will not be attending. Please understand.
I would love to get to know you over time though. Maybe share a beer on a summer evening on your porch. Let our kids play as we silently watch or slowly unveil our histories. Please take it slowly with me though. I have a painful past and too many questions will make me run….fast.
Thank you for understanding and I look forward to living near all of you wonderful people for years to come.

Sincerely,
Your neighborhood introvert

Thursday, April 20, 2017

“Theres A Crayon In My Coffee!”…and other shit I never thought I’d say



This morning, while getting ready to use my four-year-old son’s new crayon maker that, despite being purchased at Goodwill ,actually has all its working parts, he flung a crayon directly into my coffee. Not on purpose of course (or was it?), but a funny, unintentional accident. I was still upset. I screamed out “there’s a crayon in my coffee” when I really wanted to say “theres a god damned mother fucking crayon in my coffee!” You see, this morning was a bit rough. He woke me up around 7 am to yell that he had wet pants and underwear. So I got up, changed his piss soaked clothes, took off his sheets, and grieved the last unsoiled mattress in our home. (We’ll hold a funeral later) But, I stopped myself from cussing like a sailor (which was my natural pre-child proclivity) and simply stated the facts, laughed, and picked the crayon out of my golden elixir of life. I honestly wouldn't have made it this far in mommy hood without my precious coffee.

So, to keep things humorous so as not to lose my shit, I will list the top 10 things (that my low functioning brain actually remembers) that I never thought I would say that I have said as a mother.

#1: “I feel like my organs are going to fall out of my vagina.”

Yes, this is real. This is the raw, unspoken truth. The first couple of weeks after giving birth, I felt like my vagina did not in fact exist but was instead replaced with a big, gaping void. I felt like, every time I stood up my internal organs might just plop onto the floor. “Oops, there goes my kidney”. You are never warned about this and you feel like this will always be the case. Like you will have to carry around a large ziplock bag to carry any organs you might lose along the way. Luckily, this only lasted a couple weeks (I think).

#2: “I feel like a factory farm cow.”

Everyone speaks of breastfeeding as this beautiful, natural, other-wordly experience. This was so far from the case for me. I felt like I was a cattle being used and grabbed in all the wrong places. The first time I used a medical grade pumping machine it was horrible…the worst. I have always been compassionate to animals, but I finally really felt like one of the cows in the barnyard. As this machine sucked the milk (and dare I say soul) out of my body, I cried. I felt used and degraded. Needless to say I never used that torture device again. But breast feeding never became the pinnacle of life that I thought it would be. It’s not even in my top 2000 experiences in life. There, I said it.

#3: “I got 4 hours of sleep in a row! (said in a super excited and non-sarcastic tone)

Sleep deprivation is a real struggle to say the least, especially for this gal who likes to get her solid 10 hours a night. I realized that babies wake up in the night, I just didn’t realize how often and for how long. For my son it was about every 2 hours for a feeding. He napped more during the day and I, being unable to nap and a compulsive cleaner, got very, very little sleep during those first few months. He didn’t fully sleep through the night for about 7 months but during the first few I was lucky to get 3 hours at broken up intervals. So the first time I slept 4 hours straight, after checking to make sure the child was still breathing (another nightmare that kept me awake), it was like arriving at Disney World for the first time. I felt like I could take on the world….or at least another breast feeding session.

#4: “Stop slapping my butt!”

I like a good ass-slapping as much as the next girl, but, in this case, it’s my son and its just plain wrong. For some reason he absolutely loves to slap my rear. Ok, it could be that he is mimicking behavior that he saw and it also could e because I occasionally do the same to him and laugh hysterically. But now he is 4 and getting ready for pre school and it needs to stop! I am trying to teach him it is not ok to go up and hit people’s asses randomly for a laugh. The struggle is real.

#5: “I just want to poop in peace!”

I am directly quoting my own mother here too, and I’m sure countless generations of women before her. The simple and unappreciated act of your pre-parent life has now been ripped away from you forever, in one fell swoop. You don’t even realize its coming. When they are babies you try to fit it in while they are napping or you bring them in the bathroom with you in their bouncy chair. They stare at you creepily and it causes a great deal of performance anxiety. You try to imagine they are dolls but then they laugh and scare the poo right back inside of you. Then they learn how to walk…fuck! You are no longer safe to do anything alone (lets not even mention masturbation). They are everywhere at all times. Kind of like gods. So you eventually give up and no longer even close the door. it’s over. Give in to the not-so-sweet defeat.

#6: “My boobs are mine!” (said in a lion-like roar)

They are! For 14 months they belonged to the tiny dictator. I might as well have detached them from my body and let him put them on display in a glass case, to use at his whim. But now, and for the rest of my life, they belong to me! Stop touching them, poking them, laughing at them, and trying to get back to those precious months. They are over….deal with it.

#7: “Is your penis still there?”

Once my son was potty trained (fucking finally), he became obsessed with the new found feeling of his member (or cock if you prefer). He pretty much had his hand down his pants 24/7. I knew this was normal and didn’t make a big deal out of it at first. Then months went by and he was still doing it, and in public. Others were starting to notice and make comments. I was constantly asking if he had to pee. It became a bit much. So finally I just started asking him if his penis was still there. If he said yes than I said “then please stop checking. It’s not going to fall off.” Is this the best parenting I’ve ever done? Probably not, but it needed to stop. The last thing I want is my kid being sent home from school for being a perv at 5 years old! In fact, I never thought I would be saying so many penis related comments and instructions in my life. This is where being a single mom gets a bit weird. I’m really looking forward to the puberty talk.

#8: “Eat 2 more bites of your pizza and you can have dessert.”

Say wwwhhhaaaa? I’m telling my child to eat more of his horrible, greasy, cancer mush in order to be rewarded with more awful, sugar-filled meth food. Wow. I never thought this would be me. But after months of sleep deprivation and indentured servitude mixed in with your body not being yours and your mind becoming less and less sharp by the hour…you just don't give a fuck sometimes. Some days you cook the organic meals from scratch and feel proud (and then homicidal because they refuse to eat it) and other days you just give them the fucking hot dog or pizza because you don't have the god damn energy to cook, argue, or breathe. So yes, this has actually been said by me, more than once.

#9: Don’t leave with that other family!”

Is this only me? I hope not. My son is an over-the-top social butterfly which is in direct opposition to my introverted anxious wishing-for-an-invisibility-cloak ways. He loves other kids. He loves big families. He loves to try and sit with other families if we go out to eat and yes, I have caught him trying to leave with other families more than once. Is this scary? Yes. Do I sometimes feel like saying “go ahead, I’ll pick you up on Tuesday”? Also yes. But, in the end, he is my monkey and I love him so I stop him from leaving with strangers. This has ceased in the last year (thank god), but I am still always watching out for it. I’m scared of the day a man offers him a lolli to get in his fun van!!

#10: “That is not your daddy.”

Ok, this one is kind of sad. It used to happen every single time we were at a playground. I would catch him following some man around who was with his kid on the playground and start asking for help on the monkey bars and then it would happen…he’d call him dad. Talk about awkward. Usually I’d laugh nervously and pull him away as fast as I could to explain that was not his dad, but the other kid’s dad. I know this is a tough one and unique to our situation so I tried to be sensitive. But what I really wanted to do was un screaming like my hair was on fire!! The dudes probably thought I was some spinster trying to find a man by training my son to call them daddy! Eeek. Luckily this habit has passed as well.



In conclusion, I hope this does not make me sound like a horrible mom. I’m just spitting the truth as always. I love my kid more than anyone ever and would take a bullet for him any day of the week. Or for that matter, I’d live it all again if it meant I got to spend my time being his mom. That being said, this shit is hard and, sometimes, you need to laugh at it all in order to keep going. Right now, my child is pacing and asking a million questions and drumming on a box. He is angry at me for ignoring him and its taken me a couple of hours just to type this in between his demands so I must say adieu. Back to the grind.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Magic


Guilt plagues me as I spend a day trapped in mental depression and physical exhaustion and discomfort. It is a bright and warm day outside…one of the nicest so far this spring. This only intensifies the self judgments and guilt. I feel sorry for myself but also for my child, who (I tell myself) suffers with me. I keep having thoughts of what a bad mother I am and how he doesn't deserve this. I get lost in this awful cycle for a while and get little accomplished but rumination. Where did I go wrong? When did I lose my sense of magic?

I mean I still take care of him of course. I get up and get him breakfast, I pick him out clothes, I wipe him after he shits, I build him a fort, I feed him when he was hungry, I give him hugs and kisses, and I reassure him that “this is mommy’s issue, not yours” and “ I am sorry”. But the self judgements come in a steady stream. I should be grateful, happy, energetic. I should be taking him to the playground, into the woods, or up a tree. I should be meeting friends and arranging play dates. I should be different, better…more.

Benny begs me to go in his fort. I say no at first but he begs and begs and finally, out of guilt, I agree. He is always inviting me into his world like this. Like a court jester trying to make me laugh or Peter Pan reaching out his hand. Most of the time I refuse in order to attend to my boring adult chores. Dishes need to be done, meals need to be made, bills need to be paid, hair needs to be plucked. But when I do say yes to his invitation I am always transformed. He teaches me exactly the lesson I need to learn in a matter of minutes.

Now, this child in no way has been deprived of time outdoors or adventures. He has been up and down various playgrounds of the east coast. He has been to numerous children’s museums, amusement parks, trails, lakes, and waterfalls. He has swam in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Atlantic/Caribbean oceans. He has traveled more and had more experiences than most do in their first 30 years of life, if ever. So one day inside, on a sunny day, wont kill him. But I still feel awful about it.

The lesson he teaches, however, is so much deeper than this. So much more impactful.

So…I go into his fort; his world. I lye there in this space, made up of a few blankets, pillows, and a couple of chairs and I feel magic. He giggles as I awkwardly crawl inside. He shows me around his “home” and then gets out his light projector so we can make art. I begrudgingly comply and draw a monster. He loves it. I, lying there and barely doing anything, am making my son overjoyed. Then it hits me all at once: presence. It is not at all about what we do but only about how much we care and pay attention. About how engaged we can be in any given moment.

This is a complete parallel to what I have been dealing with on an emotional level too. Our emotions are like children. It doesn’t matter what you are feeling in any given moment but only how aware you are with the emotion. Be present with what you feel. Give it your full attention and compassion. Treat it like your child.

In this society we are taught to value action only, and it is all supposed to be done with a “positive” attitude. We are taught that it is not ok to feel the darker emotions, that they point to something being inherently wrong within us. Don't cry…take a pill! Don't dwell…go on a run! Don't play or rest….work! and so on and so forth until we are shoving our emotions down and shoving our kids to the side. Down the road, the emotions are still there but unprocessed and the kids are all grown up and repeating our unhealthy patterns. They learn to repress their emotions along with their magic.

I will not do this to my child, or myself, any longer. In order to live fully and recapture magic I will be present with both my emotions and my child. I will set aside time to play and time to feel. I will pay attention to emotions as they arise the same way I would pay attention to my child’s boo boo. This is how we heal. This is how we become whole. This is how we find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.