Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Good Girl

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I felt sick and then I was sick. I felt happy and then I was happy. I felt sad and then I was sad. I felt angry and then I was cleaning. I clean when I'm angry, another in a long list of unfortunate cliches I swore I'd never fall into. Fall into: a lovely phrase, sounds Asian? Fall Into. I'd like to have a cat and name it Fall Into. A bad cold turned into a worse cold and I went running anyhow, the second I thought my body would allow it. I ran four miles and shook the sticky phlegm out of my lungs and up my throat . I listened to Bruce

i'm sick of sitting round here trying to write this book

came home, showered, mothered, sat and wrote a paragraph on my novel, which were it a baby in utero, would be in the sixth month. formed, but struggling to survive if outed. I lay in the dark of my room and watched the night sky out the window. Expansive is not a word I thought I'd associate with the sky in suburbia, but the layout allows for it. Lola sleeps with Ever and I almost every night, Mr. Curry in the bedroom upstairs for the last month as he needs that space. Often Lola and I fall asleep on either side of Ever, murmuring to each other, shushing each other to be quite if peals or snorts of laughter threaten to wake Kins. 

Lola is such a perfect person. she is many things i am not ( without hard work ) such as naturally graceful in her speech, radiantly kind, good natured, sweet hearted. i have a hard time disciplining her at all because the things she does wrong are so expected for her age and so trivial. she doesn't remember to do her chores on her own, for example, even though i had her make a prettied up list that sits splayed on the front of the fridge, bedazzled within an inch of its life and screaming LOOK AT ME I"M A FREAKING LIST. but she looks past the list. so i tell her, two more chances, blah blah, but my heart isn't in it. she comes home and tells me about her new friend at school whose house i drop her off at for two hours last week. a girl who knows she is a guy- was supposed to be born a guy- so she dresses as a boy, has a boyish rhythm to her speech. liars could say this was nothing, but we all know the hell of conformity that middle school is, and it is something. it's something that Lola doesn't even CONSIDER not being friends or being seen with someone because of the teasing she might get, or the social standing she might lose. in the most ladylike way possible, she doesn't give a fuck. when her other new friend, months ago, was being tormented for being openly gay, Lola stuck up for her repeatedly in her quiet persistent way until everyone simply…dropped it. she has a social deftness that i definitely give myself partial credit for- many long talks on handling all and every kind of relationship and social issue since she was five- but is largely due to her own natural charm, trust in people's essential sanity, and kindness. 

Lola's face shines with a true innocence- not an innocence born of not knowing the depraved and horrible things that go on in people's minds, homes and lives, but an innocence born straight from her soul, something there from the moment she was born and uncurled those long fronds of ladyfingers and looked up at me with enormous blue eyes. She has always been loved within an inch of her life, and has a faith in that that is the exact same of kind of earnest faith in God's goodness i used to crave and long for myself s a lonely, anxious child, but could not force on myself. whereas for some reason, so many children i meet seem to have the soul of a middle aged housewife, already wearied and disgusted with the world in a way that breaks my heart. Lola's faith is in love and the natural world. these are the twin towers of my own life and what i can offer to my children.

i think many people confuse the innocence of a child with a complete lack of knowing about the world. this is not the kind of Christianity i grew up learning about. i wasn't raised religiously, but my best friend was Catholic, and many of my favorite books involved deeply religious families. those families did not hide their children from all the hardships of life, but instead began empowering them from an early age to enact kindness onto those suffering. this is a value and action i pass to my children. 

in the same way, i talk to them about uncomfortable, sometimes upsetting realities they encounter. for instance Lola recently, unfortunately heard the phrase ' i fucked her ' in a movie, said by a guy, talking about a girl he had sex with. i hadn't expected this, so i turned the movie off and started talking. i told her about how that phrase, to me, feels particularly yucky not necessarily because of the use of the 'f' word, but because of the use of ownership implied between a man and woman, and the lack of any joy or respect. i told her that as a woman, when i hear that phrase i always get a little sour feeling in my stomach, because i hear a man that says that saying ' i took something from her, and i'm proud of it ', and that is disrespectful, arrogant, stupid and unmanly. sex is something between two people, i told her, they share it, and it is powerful and without respect, it is always bad. without respect, even more than love, sex becomes a weapon of power, not an exchange of pleasure of love. i told her that for some reason as a very young woman i understood this, and as i got older, i never had a boyfriend who treated or talked about me like a piece of property, or a trophy, if i was sleeping with him or not. 

Lola listened and said in her unique, direct and sweet way, i understand momma. and i could see that she really did. and we moved on. yet i did not see any of her radiant sweetness and innocence stripped from her. she was not reduced. she was strengthened, aware, empowered, more connected to me, and understood something that will probably one day in the distant future allow her to have compassion for friends, and to make better choices for herself. her innocence, children's innocence, does not come from the protection of all that is outside, but the protection of all that is inside- their hearts, their vulnerabilities, their love- to have someone who believes without a single doubt that they are capable of great love, goodness and work in this world. to protect my children has meant to me to put myself in their line of sight, not as a blindfold, but a filter. everything seen with love, intelligence, a yearning for betterment.

she is a brave, and good girl, in what i believe is the true meaning of that. a good girl, not a girl who is always good, or even always wants to be good, but a girl who always believes in the goodness in herself and the possibility of goodness everywhere she goes and inside everyone she meets.

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