Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Published Essay: Brief and Bizarre History of Dog Shit

The knock on the door came at 9:30pm. I was half naked, my kids asleep. Pulling on sweats, I answered the door with a bad feeling. What else but bad news knocks on your door at 9:30pm? It was my neighbor in his own sweats, trembling, his already popping eyes bulging even more out of his head, curly grey hair moping along the forehead. He began talking before I could even open my mouth. I’m sick of it! Look at this! He held up a black bag. Piles of it, I’m sick of it. It’s not MY dog! Pick up after your dog! He threw the bag at my feet, on my doorstep, and stalked away.
I stood at my doorway, pursing my lips. What to do? I squinted at the bag of shit. Hm. There is a bag of shit on my doorstep, I considered. This is worthy of some action.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Translation


Ever and I had a blast last night
that girl is fun
we are in that best friend stage. with Lola i got so, so blessed and she stayed that way until just this year, at fifteen. Lola is still my best friend, but i'm not hers. she'll come back to me. but meanwhile, she is growing up and a certain kind of separation has to happen at some point, to find out who you are without your parent as your person. they begin taking steps toward this that get bigger and bigger and bigger until they leave. 
it hurts and it is beautiful. it makes me cry with tears of joy and pride and tears of sorrow and grief. grief for the inevitable passage of time and the small deaths that also make up life.


here is Lola with her bestie, Lucy, on vacation over Spring Break, with Lola's bio dad Keith, who takes these girls on awesome trips. can you even believe how large and how tiny life can be? who can hold that reality in their bodies? that's why reality isn't made to be held on to. just translated as it comes to us. i couldn't love my children, all four, any more. i can't contain the love i have for them, so it flies out from me in tears and laughter and whispers and words and banging on the keyboard and cooking and praying and kissing and hugging and saying 'i love you' over and over, so many times every single day since Dakota, the first, was born, that far from being meaningless, those words are the mantra of the heart of life, i love you, i love you, i love you.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring Awakens

The things I've been doing the last two weeks are working. I am feeling again. 

The two things that have made the most difference are joining a gym, so weightlifting and cardio, and focusing on being in the moment with Ever.

It's a touchstone for me. Whenever I get lost, I move toward meditating on the unconditional and what gets me the most- trusting- love that my kids have for me. They TRUST me to be OK. They trust me and they desperately need me, more than they need anything...until, you know, they get older and suddenly that changes. But Ever is still there. She is six, and I am her world. Her face, her beautiful, like I can't stand how cute she is, how precious, how beautiful, face, looks at me with pure unadulturated trust. 

Somehow that expectation, that trust in me, allows me to trust in myself, and in life.

This Spring Break, Lola has been gone, and it's Ever and I. Long hours of gardening and playdates with friends and walks with the dogs and dates at Starbucks. Tonight we lay in bed for two hours giggling and climbing under the sheets and playing 'let's attack Ever because I love her so much and she's so cute' and this game we play all the time the last few months, which is I say Ever I love you,

and she says Mommy I love you more,

and I pretend to be horrified that she would say more, and we take it from there. 

You should just see her face when she looks at me. How could I not feel that? I could not feel it, if I didn't concentrate on it, if I didn't stay with it. If I didn't allow myself to trust that right now is all I can control or contain.

That's the trick to so much, so much of life. Just stay with it. Just be there. Right now. I'm all in. I'm in my body, typing this. I can feel these keys underneath my fingers and these tears rolling slowly down my cheeks and my feet, slightly cold, and my hair, a little too tightly wound on my head, and I can see the darkness encroaching around the lit computer, and I can feel the way that a little girl needs her mother, and how hard that mother fights to just be there, for something so beautiful, and so precious, really the only something that matters, or will matter, which is of course, love.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Something Is Wrong and You Will Feel It

I've had periods of depression throughout my life and now I am in the second month of one that has gone from bad to worse rapidly, scaring me. To scare yourself is hard to do in this stage of life where the dinners are made and the children busy and the wedding band worn and the jobs secured, if not bringing in enough, still there, and the pets are getting older, you are getting older, everything hard gets harder. 

I listened to an 'associated Ted talk' (what the fuck does that mean, IDK) and it was unpopular at the time (gauged by the audience's tepid response and lack of applause) because the speaker is saying depression is often not a mental disorder, and we treat to many varied groups of symptoms as depression when they are not. now i am someone with a family history of mental illness, who takes Zoloft. so i can speak. i say that he has a point, but that he didn't address the shades of grey, at least not well enough, and that's crucial in this discussion. but his point, even as someone who takes a medication and who is extremely glad i can and do, has validity in our culture, where if you are deeply sad medication is usually the first resort. this doctor was speaking to the depressions that we experience as a message from our inside to our out, saying 

SOMETHING IS WRONG AND NOW YOU WILL FEEL IT, LEARN ABOUT IT, BECOME INTIMATE WITH IT AND PROPERLY ADDRESS WHAT IS WRONG INSTEAD OF A BUNCH OF POSSIBLY RELATED THINGS THAT AREN"T REALLY THE ISSUE

because let's be honest. How do we change? Pain. Discomfort. Misery. Most human beings are completely disinclined to change things if they aren't actively causing pain. 

My shoulder, for instance. It's been bugging me for a year. Maybe more. And it's probably getting worse, and if I don't do anything, it will probably become some big, painful fuck that I'll have to address. But I haven't done anything. Because it's not. that. bad. And because it is a pain in the ass to do something about it. Money I don't have. Time I don't want to allocate. Money. Oh I said that already.

Also reasons why I myself avoid, off the top of my head, are:

I have no idea what to do about 'it'

I am scared of what 'it' might be

I am scared of what I might have to do if I deal with 'it'

I am scared of disappointing other people

I am scared of hurting someone

I am scared of making someone angry

I am scared of failing

I am afraid of losing something 

I am afraid of possibly unearthing deeper, more profound pain and prefer to simmer in pain-lite

etc.

I've been seriously depressed for two months and as I listened to this sort of Ted talk, it was immediately clear to me that although I have a prediliction toward mood disorders, this one wasn't 'out of the blue' or because the weather changed or because i'm low on iron or because my dog keeps pooping on the carpet or because I'm worried about my novel.

There is a 'reason'. 

Guess what?

I have no idea what to do about it.

I am scared of what I might have to do to deal with it.

I am scared of hurting someone, making them angry, losing someone, failing, and pretty  much of my own shadow some days.

But guess what.

I have felt a little bit better since I admitted to myself why I can barely get out of bed, why I can barely eat, why I cry everytime I'm alone, why I feel dead inside, why even my most favorite things hold no allure or comfort, why I can't stop picking at my skin, why I look old and tired, why my body aches, why I feel so deeply alone and afraid.

I have felt a little bit clearer.

This weekend I stayed offline all weekend, as I usually try to do from Friday afternoon on. The last week I have done off and on all day meditations. For me, a meditation looks like this:

I take Ever to the park, she plays and I sit under the trees and listen to the birds and watch the trees move and the water move and feel the sun on my skin and do not force my  mind to think or not think of anything and I do this for long stretches of half-hour or so.

Or I do this in my backyard. Or on a walk.

I focus on these things:

What I am doing and not how I am feeling.

Manual labor, like gardening and cleaning and organizing.

Taking care of my children.

Caring for my physical and spiritual health.

I am depressed and I am seeing my psychiatrist this week. But when she offers to up my meds or try new ones, I will say nicely, let's wait. Let's wait a little bit. 

And then I will tell her what is wrong.


previous next