I know I’ve been pretty weepy/whiny/negative on here lately…and am not meaning to be…but shit is hard right now. And this feels like a safe place to write about the hard shit.
I am needing to travel a lot for work lately, and I’ve been leaning heavily on Sami’s dad…he’s been really good about stepping up but I am afraid to put too many requests on him. Wanting not to push it, for this next trip I lined up child care between a friend and my aunt for a 2.5 day trip to Jefferson City, MO. I got in yesterday afternoon and am supposed to leave tomorrow afternoon to go home, but they are calling for major thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes tomorrow afternoon, just when I am supposed to be getting on a plane. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, and I know as well as anyone that storms do pass, but I am really scared. There are not a lot of flights out of here and I’m worried about missing it and leaving him for yet a third night.
My friend reported that last night he did not do well - she said he was up half the night crying and screaming for me. She said he kept waking in the night and reaching for her, then realizing that she wasn’t me. It’s heartbreaking.
It is the first time I leave him for the night with anyone but me or his dad. He does know my friend well, and she is a mama herself, so I was hoping it would be OK. And I know on some level it is OK. There is some kind of primal scream going on inside me though, knowing the separation is hard on my little guy.
I am just feeling like I’ve made so many mistakes - not reaching out to his dad, and taking a job that involves travel, for starters. I just was so hoping it would be ok. When I talked to Sami about what was going to happen, he seemed fine with it. But maybe he is too young to really understand what I said to him.
My heart is just hurting so bad right now. I’m alone in this hotel room crying and just feeling like such an awful parent. In a panic, I did reach out to his dad to ask him to help in the event that I don’t make it home tomorrow, and he said he would be willing to do it but that he was going to “email me with his concerns about the whole situation.” I went into this whole thing not wanting to involve him. Now I have, and I feel ten times worse. Dreading that email from him.
I know my child will not be scarred for life by this, and I know that in some ways this experience is teaching him about his own strength and capacity to endure difficulty, but I can’t bear the thought that I have caused him this distress.
Perhaps I need to consider talking to my boss, or finding a new job where travel is not involved. But in this economy it is scary to contemplate such a thing. I know I need to shift my attitude. Right now I am mired in fear and self-loathing. I need to find some way to accept that this is the situation - the messy, messy situation. Yet, as a friend pointed out, right now my child is warm, fed, and being cared for by a kind, loving person. It could be so much worse. But it’s not all that much consolation.
Please send wishes for a storm-free day tomorrow so I can get home to my little bug. I miss him so, so much.
Despite my best intentions, I missed posting here on Mother’s Day - I was too busy scrambling around trying to get ready for a three-day work trip.
But it was a beautiful and action-packed day - my house guest, J, made us a wonderful breakfast - omelette, homemade hash browns, and a Bloody Mary. I took Sami to his first swim class, and it is always such fun to help him propel his little body through the water as he learns the art of staying afloat. He is fond of jumping off the side, over and over, into my arms. Then we went out for lunch together, just mommy and Sami.
I napped while he did, as I really needed the rest. Then we headed off for a spectacular afternoon at the Malcolm X park drum circle. Sami ran around with newfound friends as the drummers pounded out stellar rhythms, and incense rose in the wind.
I look back on the day with fondness. I am so grateful to be a mother, and to have been mothered by a spectacular woman. This life is so full of wonder, which I get to experience through the eyes of my child. Every day, he stretches my heart open just a little wider, reminds me of just how much love it is possible to feel.
When I told him it was Mother’s Day, he said to me, “thank you.”
How kind and sweet, for a 3.5 year old to say.
No, thank you, Sami, for the honor of being your mother.
While I still miss my own mother terribly every Mother’s Day, since becoming a mother myself, the day is filled with far more joy than sorrow.
I’m tired so tired not a fan of this feeling that life is passing me by and my child grew an inch I swear while I was gone for four days in CA and sometimes I feel like when I am with him I am not really with him because my mind is always wandering and he is always moving, doing boy stuff like crashing cars and going on about spiderman and power rangers and things that actually make me very uncomfortable because i am hung up on aggression. i try not to resist too much because what we resist persists but i never liked that saying because i feel like it is saying not to resist and there are some things that i must resist. anyway tangent - my son is so cute, so cute, that sweet little face, limber little bod and i am angry at his father for corrupting his mind with that violent crap it is like junk food for the mind and spirit and he’s feeling it to my son who is now kinda addicted to it.
the house is a mess and my own mind is a mess and I’m always cleaning and yet the kitchen counter is crawling with ants which freaks out my son and freaks me out and I can’t get rid of the ants.
My heart continues to break - stupid heart! stop fucking breaking and mend. just get over yourself, heart. there is a he that left me alone and this insult won’t leave me alone. i went out on a date on friday night with another he but was too tired to allow myself to be kissed, too broken even to seize a more than likely guaranteed opportunity for sex. i have utterly surrendered to this fear and expectation of men hurting me. i’m braced for it, wincing, need to get my power back. my power - it’s leaking out of some chakra onto the ground, and it’s leaving an ugly stain on the concrete.
i’m too tired to punctuate and edit or even to attempt to use proper grammar. this may make for a less than stellar or interesting piece to read but i need to write and am shooting for imperfection here.
i am on the verge of tears and have been for days - it’s not even my time of the month so no excuses for this emotionality other than my innate sensitive soppiness. i don’t mean to paint it all as melodramatic because there has been laughter. i had a great time on my date the other night even though i am already pretty sure it was the last.
there has been swimming on a rainy day with a small squirmy wormy flipping and flopping in my arms, attempting to propel his body through the water independently.
there have been two guy friends crashing in the house for a few days, filling it with queer and wonderful energy. there was the omelette cooked for me by J one of my sweet house guests, who I wish would never leave.
there is the excitement of my spoken word album unfolding in the next few months, mixed with a fair amount of scared-shitness that it’s actually happening.
there is good and there is bad and there is ugly and there is unbearable.
but damn it, all things change, this i know viscerally. this exhaustion will go, this fear of men hurting me, this sense of occasional disconnectedness from my uber masculine son. i cherish his moments of sweetness before sleep. i hold him and rub his back in circles and kiss him on his sweet little cheek, just the right roundedness, just the right density and consistency and i love him more than i can comprehend.
i’m a blubbering mess but wouldn’t have it any other way, right now. i’m not even going to reread this post, just going to publish as is, mess and all.
I do not subscribe to the victim mentality. I believe that we each bear complete and total responsibility for our own lives, and that we can create and change our reality with focused intention and effort.
That being said, I am basically traumatized by the last year of dating. I can’t think of any other way to frame it.
I’m a sensitive soul. I was married for 10 years, and totally forgot how to date.
I fell in love - or infatuation, or something - to various degrees, with three men this past year. All of whom rejected me. There might be more. I may have blocked them out.
The thing that kills me is that I fell for the chase each time. They started out so damn gung-ho. Texts, Skype conversations, emails, calls. Intense pursuit of me. I was promised marriage, visits to their family, lifelong love and connection. One of them even suggested that he would adopt my son.
Maybe my heart is too open, maybe I make myself too available, maybe I scream “wounded little girl,” maybe I don’t “play the game” or follow “the rules.” Basically I seem to have an effective man-repellent function. I don’t think I’m scary. I like to think I’m intelligent and fun and good looking and attentive in bed - not sure if that’s the proper order. I don’t stalk or call too much or text in the middle of the night or do anything creepy. (I have made the relationship-killing error of dropping the L-bomb a bit prematurely. I own that. I’m working on it.)
And then - the poof. I’ve discussed the poof at great length.
Sometimes the poof was instant - a disappearance, or a sudden change in behavior. Sometimes the poof was a slow deflation. Ppppppooooooofffffff. If a slow poof is possible. But poofage has occurred, pretty much consistently, for the last 8 months (at least). Usually, in each case, I picked myself up, tried to regain the shattered pieces of my dignity, wiped the puke off the prom dress and shoes, and moved on to the next one. The next one generally erased the pain of the one who came before.
But –the last one basically slaughtered me. My heart is still bleeding on the dirty, trash- strewn asphalt of a back alley somewhere.
While I recognize that I have had a role to play in all of this, and I am far from a defenseless victim, I’ve come to realize that I am somewhat traumatized by men now.
Here is some partial proof. A Facebook friend, a very attractive man whom I share mutual friends with but I’ve never met in real life, a man whom I’ve been having some cool conversations with, sent me a one line email the other morning, entitled “GM”
Good morning, beautiful.
I cringed in horror upon reading it.
I had a series of flashbacks. I flashed back to all the warm and fuzzy texts of lovers past, the “I adore yous” the “Good morning, gorgeouses,” the “Sweet dreams, sexys.” The nonstop succession of words, declaring me brilliant and beautiful and marvelous in every way. The hours-long discussions where souls were bared, laughter was constant, and deep philosophical truths were explored. Mind-blowing sex where I never felt closer to anyone, never more fulfilled.
Then I flashed back to the pop, the steady trickle-off of emails and texts, the cessation of phone calls, the gradual icing of the tone, to the disappearance. The complete and total withdrawal of affection. The poof.
It ended in tears. I closed the Facebook page.
I am reading a tiny and wonderful book by a deceased Indian priest named Anthony di Mello called The Way to Love, in which the author exhorts us, in quite stark and non-fuzzy, non-coddling terms, to break our addiction to others’ love and approval. According to di Mello, this is not authentic love, but attachment, which creates a high when you are favored by said object, and a crash when the object withdraws his approval of you. Di Mello challenges us to smash these kinds of attachments to people and things and to learn to see all things and people as they are, and as equally worthy of love. That, to him, is true love. Love that does not discriminate or play favorites.
Tall fucking order. I’m taking it in. I’ll consider what you have to say, Anthony di Mello, you dead priest, you.
Right now I’m almost too afraid to let anyone in. I’ve never known this feeling before. The feeling that being alone is preferable to being possibly, potentially, more than likely hurt by another.
That is not me. I take risks for love. I’ve done crazy things like fly cross country for love.
I don’t regret the experiences I had with each of these men, even though the end result was/is a whole mess o’ pain. I don’t regret any experience or relationship I’ve had.
In writing this, I realize that I refuse to be one of those people who gives up on the possibility of love.
I’m prescribing for myself a bit of time, some rest, and some triage on my heart (once I figure out what alleyway I left it in).
“Big boys don’t cry!” my child cried out randomly as I was drying him off after his bath tonight.
“Who told you that?” I asked, taken aback. ”Who said that?”
“Ms. ___________” he answered.
“Well,” I said, helping him to pull his shirt over his head. ”If she ever says that again, you tell Ms. __________ that your mommy says it’s ok to cry, even for big boys.”
I think he was a little surprised at the vehemence of my response.
Raising a boy is so confusing. I don’t know what it’s like to be a boy or a man. I have been told by authority figures, as a girl, teen, and woman, that wasn’t ok to cry. Yet I don’t imagine this teacher is saying the same thing to the little girls, at least not as often as she’s saying it to the boys.
Despite my own no-tears conditioning, I do cry. Not all the time, but when I have a cry, I have a good cry, and I move something through and out.
My son doesn’t often see me cry, because I tend to let myself fall apart in the quiet moments of the night, or in the car on my way to work.
I need him to know that his tears are permitted, and encouraged if they need to flow. While I would of course prefer his laughter, his joy, I need him to know that it’s ok to feel. I want him not to fear the darkness.
We talk about emotions a lot in our house. I always try to get him to talk about what he is feeling, to identify and to speak from that place. I also try to work with my own emotions, feeling them, letting them flow, letting them be what they are without shame. It’s as much a practice for me as it is for him.
Sometimes I am a bit afraid of his aggression. He talks about fighting a lot. He plays light-sabers with his dad and likes the violent movies he shows him. I love Star Wars but I wonder if it is too violent for his delicate little psyche. I so see my need to protect him from the Dark Side. In the end, it is a losing battle. I’m better off teaching him to use the Force.
I try to provide a counterbalance by disallowing the violent toys, by refusing to show the violent movies, by checking out books from the library with tame themes. Maisy and her animal friends. Silly books. Fun books. I want to cultivate that childlike innocence in him. At three, I’m not yet ready for him to move past it. I’m trying to stem the tide, I know.
But why am I afraid of “the fight?” I actually value fighting: I want my son to fight. Not to fight others or hurt others, of course. But to fight for what he believes in, for his ideals. Perhaps I need to reframe his interest in fighting. We don’t fight for the sake of fighting- we fight for something, something that matters to us.
Raising a boy is confusing. I have written about this before, in regards to toilet learning.
I’m raising myself along with him. Making it up as I go along, trying to have a grand mission statement:
Raising a boy to be a conscious man, best as I can…
But in the end, all I can do is raise myself to be a conscious girl, to learn much from my son about what it means to be human, to remember the childish things I have forgotten.
Baby boy, it’s ok to cry.
My mother died 13 years ago this night.
In truth, we do not know if it was April 11 or April 12 that she died.
She died in the night, alone, suddenly.
No one knows when, exactly.
I was away at college, and got a call the next morning.
So, I observe two days of mourning and celebrating.
My grandmother called me today to remind me
To light a Yahrtzeit candle.
I couldn’t admit I didn’t have one.
Where do you find a Yahrtzeit candle on a Saturday?
So after I am done typing this post,
I will light a candle I bought in Jerusalem many years ago.
Today I spent the morning with three women
Who were old enough to be my mother.
Truth be told, it pissed me off.
Why did they get to live
Live into their fifties
To bitch about menopause and sagging bodies
Muse about reassessing their lives,
And why did my mother have to die?
13 years later and I still ask that question.
Time, apparently, heals most, but
(contrary to popular opinion)
Not all wounds.
Tears stream down my face as I write this.
Grief and rage are a potent combination.
My mother was an artist and a poet.
I wish you could have known her and her words.
She was beautiful, and bright and full of promise.
Mother, interrupted, at age 46.
13 years older than I am now.
I hope I can be half the person she was.
I wish she could have met my son.
I’m sad that he will never know a maternal grandma.
Fuck being an orphan.
Damn, I miss her.
She was the only person in my life
Ever to love me unconditionally–
Love without limits.
I count that as the greatest blessing
A human being can have.
To have known real, authentic love.
And can only hope to give the same gift
To my child.
Mother loss - this grief lasts a lifetime
She is a gossamer canopy
Hanging over all that I am
All that I do.
Yes I would like to think she is an angel
Though I have no thoughts
On life after death
Choosing to believe that
Heaven and hell are here and now.
No question that she lives on in
My flesh and the flesh of my son.
I am aware that over the last few months my post count on this blog has dipped dramatically. So much of what I wrote about included the ins and outs of my dating life. The constant search for love, for a man, for “the one.” The good, the bad, and the ugly results of that search (mostly bad and ugly). Now that I’m not writing about that as much, I have to figure out a way to reinvent this blog.
Right now, I am not in a relationship, at least not the kind I can understand. I can’t really write much about this, out of respect for the privacy of another, but what I can say is that for the first time about six months, I have come to accept that I continue to be unattached, and I am willing to try to embrace the single life. The operative words here are “willing to try,” because I’m still quite conflicted about my status.
Last night I went out bar-hopping with my two gay friends and house guests and got rip roaring drunk. I don’t do this all that often, but sometimes on those Friday nights, the party girl in me comes out. At some point in the night we were walking down 14th street belting out Janis Joplin songs. By about 2 am we ended up in a gay club where I got my groove on with a girl (who apparently beelined it across the room to dance with me) and a guy (maybe one of the few straight/bi ones in the joint).
It’s been a long time since I danced that hot and sexy with anyone. It was extremely exciting to feel strangers’ hands all over my body, grinding, gyrating, working up a sweat, being more than a bit nasty. Apparently I got the girl in trouble, as her girlfriend came up and basically summoned her away from me. She kissed me on the cheek and was gone. My friend said he saw them arguing outside later. I danced with the guy for a while, but then I was done, ready to move on, and left to find my friends.
I am a very sexual person, and it’s sad to say but right now what I’m missing most is physical intimacy. Yet I’m not able to bring myself to do anything to change that. I’m exhausted from dating, from the work that goes into it, and I’m surrendering to that exhaustion. Even the work that goes into orchestrating a booty call is too much for me. I am temporarily celibate, and I suppose it is of my choosing. If I were that desperate for sex, I could do something to go out and get it. I have before. I’m just not willing to put the energy into getting laid.
There is more to it than sex, of course. There are those dark times, like tonight when I was stuffing my comforter into the duvet cover. I remember doing this with my ex-husband. A simple act, so mundane, but it was something we always did together - lining up the comforter corner with the cover and shaking it into place. Like folding sheets, it is something that is so much easier to do with another. Tonight it was literally about comfort. The comfort of being with someone. The little comforts and the big ones.
At some point in the shaking out of the duvet cover, my mind kicked into gear, spewing something about how he is not alone, he has a partner, and how I cannot seem to find anyone. How he must be so glad that I am all alone, and that I deserve it. I had these fantasies of finding someone and telling him that I was about to get married. Blah blah blah.
Luckily I was able to recognize the mind stuff, see it for what it was, and get back to the task of making my bed.
I am coping as best as I can - throwing myself into art, into activism, projecting my passion in these directions. It is satisfying to do so and is a perfectly good outlet for my pent-up energy. But it is in my nature, and I guess human nature, never to be satisfied. Always longing for something more. Right now I am in that not-quite-comfortable place where life is good, but I am jonesing for something to make it better. Appreciating life in the here and now - an admirable practice. Wish I could say that I am there, but it’s all about the journey, isn’t it?
This is a very special time of year for me when New Age Mama comes out in full force. It is the Aries New Moon - the astrological new year, so to speak. A ritual that I began for the first time last year was to make what is called a “treasure map” - a visual collage of your intentions for the coming year. I guess this concept was popularized a bit in The Secret with the “vision board.” It’s basically the same thing.
As far as I am concerned, I can never have enough ritual in life. It’s one of the ways I connect with life’s sacredness.
Here is last year’s treasure map:
Looking at it, I smile. I didn’t write a New York Times bestseller, nor did I get on Oprah, nor did I sell my house for big bucks. The trip to India? Did not materialize. (I did have an exciting overseas adventure, though).
But many of the concepts in it have unfolded for me. And stuff “coming true” is not the point. For me, there was something incredibly powerful, incredibly indicative of self-love and kindness, to sit down and make a collage of the things that mattered in the moment, to dare to make my most internal dreams manifest in a visual way.
Some of the stuff did “come true:” I did work from home for much of 2008. Romance: there was a bit (though most of it was short-lived). Hey - it was fun while it lasted. A visit to Portland happened, too. A “lucky break” happened with me getting the first full-time job I applied for last fall.
Being in balance: something that’s at the center of the map. I am pleased to report that I am not any more balanced than I was last year, and it’s of course not about getting to some state of perfect balance. For me the practice was about simply noticing where I was shifting off balance and being aware, sometimes compassionately, even. That is major for me. I also did heal a lot of my issues around food and body image. In 2006-7 I went from an unhealthily high weight (for me) to an unhealthily low weight (for me) and I feel like now, I am coming into balance around that. Which is worth taking stock of.
I do feel that “breakthrough” that is represented on the map. At the time, I had no idea what it would be. But at the end of this winter, as I have written about, I feel as if I have emerged from a long hibernation, and am reclaiming former selves I discarded (artist/activist). I’ve gotten tremendously excited about political organizing again, and this morning I just got word that I am going to be funded to do the spoken word CD! On the very first ask.
It’s really going to happen now. All the resources are lined up…and I’m ready to make it happen.
For this year’s treasure map, I’m now going to let myself brainstorm some phrases and ideas stream-of-consciousness style. I haven’t started on it yet but will be working on it over the next several days. Hopefully I will be guided to the words and images to express these ideas.
Connection, humility, magic, undreamed-of possibilities, gratitude, the earth, expansiveness, the waves, open-heartedness, creativity, poetic license, organizing/activism/artivism, romance (what can I say? I’m a love junkie), a nonprofit, limitlessness/boundlessness, groundedness, freedom to pursue what I love, simpler life, in alignment, authenticity, equanimity, “word warrior,” health and happiness for Sami and me, financial freedom, radical departures, inspiration, bright faith.
On this Aries New Moon, I envision good things and I dream utterly grandiose dreams. What will “come true” and what won’t? It doesn’t matter. All we have is this moment - who am I kidding, anyway? But in this moment, I heed the advice of a wonderful astrologer, whose New Moon columns I read monthly:
Aries says, “I can!” with a level of faith that only an innocent child who has not yet failed can muster. When you do your New Moon in Aries ritual, your heart and mind must be centered in an open attitude of excitement—“let’s go,” or “I can do anything,” or “I can be anyone,” or “the world is my oyster,” or “life is an adventure!”. This is a New Moon that asks us to take a leap of faith and do the impossible. Bring a sense of wonder, magic and first-time awe to your self-conceptions. Go find out who you are and what you want; you might just be surprised.
Now that spring is slowly, hesitatingly emerging here in Washington, DC, I have a new habit. Each morning to and from work, I get off the bus and I walk. All in all, I’m probably walking 25 minutes each way, but it is wonderful because I’ve been pretty sedentary all winter.
In general I am full of an intense energy. I tend to lose myself in computer screens, in fantasies, in a world that is occupied in my mind. My body is in deep need of grounding. One of the things I greatly desire is to run - I love the idea of my feet pounding the pavement, hair flying, muscles straining (not to mention that killer bod that serious runners have). But with bad knees and a back surgery to my credit, running intuitively doesn’t seem like the right thing to be doing.
So I walk up and down 14th Street - Petworth to Columbia Heights to downtown and back.
I like how when I walk, I run into people. The other day, I ran into T in her car - a friend I had not seen for months. She gave me a ride to the office and while I missed the rest of my walk, catching up was grand. Today, I ran into another friend, K. K had recently lost her mom and was leaving her whole life behind here to embark on a glorious adventure into an unknown future. It was tremendously exciting and inspiring to hear her story while standing on the corner of 14th and Park.
While I walk I listen to music - I’ve been listening to a lot of hip hop lately, Flobots and other underground sounds, then listening to my own rough tracks and wonder how I can hone my words. I dream of the day when my CD will be out, and plot the steps I must take to achieve that. I think about setting my songs to images and making videos. Who knows where the time for all these activities will come, but I am not worried about it.
I have all these dreams flowering. I found out that the website that has been selling my chapbook ran out, and I’m almost out of my own copies, and I’m ready to go into a second edition.
For so long I was shut down by the publishing world, shut down by rejection, and now I don’t f-ing care. I’m taking a DIY approach to life. I don’t need to be validated by an agent or editor or MFA program or any outside entity. In the world of Web 2.0 and digital media, anything is possible if I have a vision and some basic skills.
When I walk, I dream as I move. I dream of starting my own nonprofit - the outlines of it are murky, but I am reaching for a vision to coalesce. Huge amounts of excitement and energy swirl around these ideas as well. I’m heading to San Francisco for the Nonprofit Technology Network conference next month, and have a feeling I’ll be very inspired.
I dream of being out of the grind, releasing myself from the insanity of a whoppingly big mortgage payment (thank you, divorce!!), releasing my son from the grind of school and constantly structured activities.
I dream of walking away from my house, giving it to the bank, heading into a simpler life where I can actually have a damn work-life balance, and not be working a job to pay for a house that I don’t spend a whole lot of time in other than while I’m asleep and a bit on Sundays. I want to see my child more - now that his dad takes him one day a week, I feel like I’ve never spent less time with him in our lives. These days are precious and often at the end of one, I have no idea where it has gone whatsoever. The moments have all blurred into one another and life can feel like it’s perpetually on fast forward.
How to craft a mindful life, an intentional life, a life in line with my deepest values? How did I fall into this capitalist, consumerist morass? I must be here for a reason, trusting that.
My friend Y lives in an intentional community for activists, with very below-market rents, and I am going to ask to get on the waiting list. That way if I let the bank take this house, then at least I have somewhere to go that is affordable.
Walking these days is my moving meditation - it’s my time, 30 minutes each morning and evening, just for me, to dream and appreciate my life as it is–but to also think about how I can take action to be more in alignment with the things I hold most dear.
I am so glad I got this idea to get off the bus and hit the street. Huge insights have opened up for me with movement. I haven’t been this big and grandiose in years.
Life is just so damn weird sometimes.
I think about these circuitous paths and wonder: how much is destiny? How much is free will? I won’t try to figure out this age-old theological debate tonight, but just putting it out there that I sit with these questions sometimes.
Last night was one of my mama-gone-wild Friday nights, and I was supposed to go to a Girl Talk concert in Baltimore. So I drive up there, all terribly amped to go to the show. I then park, suddenly realize that I cannot find my electronic key, and without it, I cannot lock my car. I knew it had to be somewhere in the damn car or I would not have been able to drive, but I had no idea where it had disappeared to.
I turned on all the dope lights in the car, scrounged on the floor, searched through my purse like a crazy woman, and could not turn up the key. (Usually it is on my key ring, but it had been handed to me by Cesar, who parked it at the garage at work that day.)
After a good twenty minutes of searching, I gave up. (Luckily, I had not get gotten my ticket.) My friends went to the show, feeling bad for me, and I headed home in a slightly pissy mood. All the while I was aware that this was a pretty minor problem compared to the multitude of human suffering in the world, but that thought doesn’t tend to bring much consolation in those moments.
By the time I got home, it was 10:00 pm, and the night was still relatively young. I tried to figure out a backup plan. I can’t seem to spend Friday nights at home - every fiber of my being insists that I be out of my house. I got online, checked my email, and find one about a poetry slam taking place tonight, of all nights, at — 11 pm! I had plenty of time to get there. But there was the problem of my lost key.
I decided to go out to the car just to check one more time and — voila– the key was on the driver’s side floor, in just about the most obvious place it could be. Believe me, I had searched every inch of that floor in Baltimore.
It occurred to me that maybe I was supposed to go to this poetry slam.
The funniest thing about it was that earlier that day, I had been searching online for a Friday night open mic poetry event, and could not turn one up. The slam email was sent out very late and so I never would have seen it in time if the whole Baltimore snafu did not occur.
I did go, and had the most amazing, wondrous time. The poets were all sublime - their words vehicles for humor, insight, connection, political and social vision. This was the world I used to inhabit, pre-Sami, quite intensely.
It was also a world I rejected, in part, because when I started to meditate I became very sensitive to anger and felt that the whole scene was too “angry.” But I have come to redefine my relationship to anger. I’m not afraid of it, mine or others’, and I’m not afraid that my outrage is somehow “unspiritual.” I don’t think it’s unspiritual to speak truth to power and to confront oppressive structures with words. I am returning to feeling a call and a draw to do that.
It feels energizing and powerful to go back to reclaim this self that got a bit buried in the early years of parenthood.
Last night was one of the semifinal competitions for the national slam championships, and while I don’t see that in the cards for me any time soon, listening to the poets I was so moved and inspired. I chickened out about signing up last night, but I am going to go back next month and compete just for fun.
That old yearning to perform, to connect to an audience with words, is here and clear. I am grateful and excited and ready for whatever life holds, be it destiny or free will, or both.
Welcome to this blog - my chronicle of the illuminating, character-building path of single parenthood. I'm making this up as I go along. My life is my practice, and my five year-old son is my greatest teacher.