Tuesday, March 30, 2010

scenes from a marriage

Mr. Curry and I were in a fight last night, which derailed, as it often does this last year, into a fight about how we fight, who is doing what wrong and how often they do it and why it makes us crazy and unable to get anywhere. You interrupted me! I told you how I felt and you responded without even acknowledging my feelings! You talk too long! You take to long to get to the point! You changed the subject! You already said that! Are you having fun yet?

We agree on certain rules: no cursing (which if we are alone sometimes is jettisoned and a few shits or damnits come out) no name-calling (maybe the most important rule which we always stick to) no loud shouting or screaming (occasionally a shouting begins but we catch it). Outside of that, our arguments have deteriorated to the point where we really can't get anywhere when we are talking about an emotionally loaded subject. Our lives have a tremendous amount of stress, and always have, and there is no doubt that this greatly weakens our ability to think clearly and carefully when touching on painful problems. We have had incredible, overwhelming financial stress, which some of you would simply not believe, as many of you probably have not seen my past posts on my medical crisis and the ensuing surgeries, or Mr. Curry's loss of the business he worked so hard for; these two things left us absolutely crippled financially during one of California's worst financial times of stress than I can remember. And I can't wait to have a baby until things are right. I'm 35. I have Stage Four Endometriosis. It's happening soon or it's not happening. The mental illness in our family is the other specter, the thing that also reveals our status in society: poor. The poor get shit for help when it comes to mental illness. We get help, and I AM very grateful for that. But who can stay grateful when their family suffers? I have been dogged and as thrifty and clever and determined as I can to get the best help for our family, but it has been a long road and one full of psychologists so painfully uneducated or out of touch that I could talk them under the table about the latest treatments and research regarding our issues. It is the result of incredibly stubborn people and love that endures and rises back when killed that we are the family we are.
But problems in our marriage simmer. Threaten to boil.

I've read that the most stressful kind of stress is the kind that we feel powerless over, and I know this has been true for my entire life. My father's rage and untreated mental illness, pathological lying and abuse were terrifying and horrible, not just because they were, but because as his daughter, I was helpless before them. It was one of the greatest realizations of my adult life, to truly internalize that to take charge of your own life means always looking over what you cannot control, and focusing in on what you can do, what you can ferret out come hell or high water to make things better. I recognized that the essential truth was that a victim who perceives themselves, who identifies as a victim, is always a victim, and that the world is absolutely uncaring and aloof if you feel you can't do anything to help yourself. In this way, it was also one of the greatest challenges of my adult life, to accept that I, and only I, could change my life. To someone who has grown up with little self-worth or self-esteem, being hurt and terrified and feeling stupid, ugly and rejected by the world at large, the idea that you alone are responsible for your life is simply terrifying. Who would put me in charge of anything? you think. Does this mean no one really loves me, if they are leaving me to deal with this? you believe. You feel abandoned and furious and resentful and terrified out of your mind at what you will find when you look at yourself. You don't understand why other people don't put up with your problems. You are still a child. You are looking around and pointing fingers and assuring yourself that surely, this can't be all your fault. The debris of your life seems fateful, not something you let happen, or even more hard to contemplate- something you created. This is the emotional landscape of a person who is either fresh out of a terrible childhood, or who has never faced what their childhood did to them and gone after the help they need to be a whole person. It was mine in 1995.

I faced my own terrible truths with the help of a therapist I found after my son was born. I am not, and have never been, the type of woman who calls people 'my angel'. No. But Dr. Thorpe- that woman is my angel. She, with her fantastic over-sized double lined spectacles, wild curly untamed hair, thin awkward frame at 6 foot easily, great enormous smile and shining eyes, bumbling ways and tiny office- she saved my person-hood. She did the one thing I absolutely needed most: she saw me as loveable, wonderful and full of potential, and she demanded that I work hard to grow up. Over four years with her, I did. I wept, I sobbed, I spoke of my gut level deepest fears ( was I irrecovably fucked up, is what I really, really wanted to know ) and I did my part. I did the homework she assigned me: wrote myself reminder notes to listen every night to the tapes she gave me, dutifully did my journal entries (which felt pointless for months..until they didn't) and read the books she told me to. I was as honest as I have ever been in my life, to the point where I would leave her office and feel like vomiting, so terrified and mortified that I had told her the things I did. But I kept at it, like a drowning swimmer keeps twisting to find the break in the water to the air: because I had no other choice to live. Because I had a son who I REFUSED to bring up with a broken jagged edgy loveless mother.

So Mr. Curry and I must find another angel. Another person who is meant to do what they do, guide couples in deeply troubled and dangerous waters to a place where they can love, honor and respect each other again in the way we all yearn for, and our children deserve to see.

I want to move past the opening arguments and get to the make up sex.

this is the power of love

Sometimes I wonder if there is anything truly innocent and joyful left in this world. And then I remember that Lola's favorite song is The Power of Love (can you feel it) and that she has now taken to singing The Power of Love at the top of her lungs every evening during her shower. ( CAN YOU FEEL IT)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

People In Your Neighborhood: Erica Weiner

The most wonderful jewelry I've found on the web comes from Erica Weiner.
I want Bird Call, to start.

mother and daughter

your arm begins as stripped branch.
you are standing in the vast grasses
a sapling, and easily broken or cut.
i could hate you. it's not said
but mother's do, hate their daughters.
so of course i was terrified to birth you,
with your swollen seed nipples,
the clean white slice of your sex
your chances for everything i did not.
luckily the heart won out, and
i only wanted you for you, unabashed;
Georgia always painted us in bloom.
or broken or cut, i am not afraid
of your newness, i am not greedy
for what i lost, everything i never had.
the sun lays on your face like a cat
on the grass, you close your eyes.
let's compare the old pistil to the new.
let us tell them Georgia painted us in bloom.
this world is a burnt face with reconstructed skin
and luminous eyes that glow within.
the world is a newborn mouth, squalling.
the world is your naked bottom, pressed
against the dirt in a half squat, your fingers
stained and strong, pushing holes for planting.
i was afraid i would break a daughter.
your arms are stripped tree branches, softly greening
i might have been a parasite, you could have broken.
instead you are the cartwheeling clouds
i watch on my back in bliss.

maggie may ethridge

Friday, March 26, 2010

poem accepted to Diagram magazine

After 6 attempts over 2 years, Diagram has sent acceptance of publication for one of my poems.
I am stoked. Stoked is such a great word. Fire is stoked. I am stoked. Diagram is a real deal online magazine that publishes great work and has a great reputation in the literary community. :)

on my way, to where the air is sweet....

Lola Moon at our preschool, where I teach and she comes and hangs out after school

ola and Mr. Curry arrive home in Blue Thunder on a fine sunny day

helsea King's ribbons hang on poles, cars, windows and doors all over my town, in solidarity,

in comfort, in memorial. This is a street close to my house.

ola is becoming famous for her Birthday Card cakes :)

Bellatrix 'yaxis (relaxes, when my kids were small)

Wolfgang conks out. It's hard out there for a G.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

call when you figure it out

i spend a ridiculous amount of time ____________

my breasts are incredibly ____________

i love ____________ more than i can say right now

is the word ________ gross, or just misunderstood?

i wrote _____________ on my hand and forgot why


vagina + shit + itchy + peeing + underwater basket weaving

illustration by Alli Arnold

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lola Me and Biggie-Pea

Flux Capacitor is Blog Of Note, awesome. :)
I'm only a month pregnant. It's my third
birthing but still- I'm only ONE MONTH
pregnant-can somebody tell my stomach?

Monday, March 22, 2010

I've Got a Crush On: John Irving

My bookshelf stack of John Irving, with my owls Bernard and Irving keeping watch. John Irving is one of my top ten favorite authors. I fell absolutely head over heels in love with him while reading The World According to Garp, which gave me such a singularly unique and pleasurable feeling during the entire reading that I am scared to ever read it again. I don't want to change the memory. To me, that book is magic. To explain why is impossible without a lengthy essay, but I will say that it evokes a distillation of the life of a writer and parent that is totally fascinating and dark and rich and poignant and uses the purity of dark comedy to expose the way life feels on the inside, while wonderfully illustrating the outside. Other favorites include A Prayer for Owen Meany and A Widow For One Year. The essence of my love for John Irving is his voice. He has a wonderful intelligence, fascinating characters, wonderfully convoluted and interesting plots, the graphic adult life that I like to read about in what I secretly think of as 'real novels' but it is his voice, at once recognizable and completely immersing, that I fell in love with. His phrasings, the way he rides hard on some words repeatedly, the cadence...it's like listening to the best bedtime story ever.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

see my underneaths? how they smile and fog, crawl and leap

This weekend I've had possible miscarriage symptoms. I am realizing how deeply embedded it is, into my cells, the June miscarriage at 13 weeks. At work on Friday I felt a wetness in my underwear while walking, and such a fervor faintedness came over me I thought I might fall to the floor, the room muddied it's perimeters and I knew that I must be bleeding, everywhere, losing my baby. The white large bathroom, the toilet, the pulling down of my pants, every moment like the crescendo of a great panic. There was no blood. Nothing. Just a sweaty browed woman in her 30's with her pants pulled around her ankles and a shaking in her heart. I understood at that moment what I was doing, trying to have another baby. How I would keep facing this loss. How like a pool of water, I would find my hand reaching for what must be the bottom and realize the shadows were deceiving and my hand keeps searching.

Saturday after a birthday party and sun and laughter, Mr. Curry, Lola and I came home to meet Lola's best friend for a playdate at our home. The aching began, over but mostly above my belly button, and back pain. I rested. It worsened. Last night I was sure I was to miscarry. Just waiting for the bleeding. The pain wouldn't let me sleep. It washed over me and I woke, fell back asleep, on and over. At 2 finally I slept. Today has been much better. It could be miscarriage imminent. I could be having pains from IBS. It could be stress. It could be endometriosis scar tissue. I run my hands over the baby, which Lola and I are calling Biggie-Pea, as a Reiki exercise, as a prayer. I am doing everything right. I am fighting as hard as I can to support my body to hold this baby, but if it is not healthy and made for this world, then my body will let it go. I was blood tested Friday for pregnancy (positive) and my thyroid function, which I will find out Monday or Tuesday, so if that needs to be adjusted at all, it will. I am taking and have been taking prenatals and fish oil and B vitamins to encourage the healthy uterine lining and hormone levels. I am not eating any soy products (endocrine disrupters) caffeine or alcohol.
I am not eating any gluten. I didn't do that last time because I don't have celiac, but I read that even gluten intolerance might be linked to miscarriage, so I'm gluten free. I'm eating veggies and fresh fruits and organics all the way. So meanwhile,

I have to figure out how to deal with the emotional strain of spending nights in pain and not knowing what's going to happen.

Mr. Curry is doing all the weekend chores today.

My sciatic nerve is hurting. It runs like an electric wire through my tailbone and buttcheek.

Mr. Curry, Lola and I watched Where the Wild Things Are on Friday and I can see why so many were upset. It is, in my opinion, a wonderfully made movie, but took an entirely different tone than would be expected. It's beautiful to watch and dark to feel. Like life.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

a little bit pregnant

That' me. I'm brand spankin new pregnant. I realize only too well that I might lose this little glimpse of life. I'm 35. I lost the baby last year. But I would still tell you all if I did, because
that's how I roll. So I might as well tell you that I am pregnant. I am :) Due in December.

When I asked for advice on Facebook a month back about how to get pregnant,
I got about 12 jokes on the theme of get drunk, have mad sex, and wake the
next morning and PANIC
it worked.

Deep breath.

Deeeeep breath.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

luck of the Irish

To you my soul's affections move
Devoutly, warmly, true:
My life has been a task of love,
One long, long thought of you.
- Thomas Moore

Monday, March 15, 2010

restoration is possible

One thing they never tell you about child raising is that for the rest of your life, at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know your child's name and how old he or she is. Erma Bombeck
( This is Lola. She is 8. )

If you feel happy, tell your face.
-Steve Potter

Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.

Until you make peace with who you are, you'll never be content with what you have.

-Doris Mortman

When a dog runs at you, whistle for him. -Henry David Thoreau

Love . . . the essence of God.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Someone may have stolen your dream when it was young and fresh and you were innocent. Anger is natural. Grief is appropriate. Healing is mandatory. Restoration is possible.
-Jane Rubietta

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart like a fox in the meadow

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
-Antoine De Saint-Exupery

dance for life

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chelsea King's Memorial / Life Celebration

I brought my camera, I thought I'd take a few pictures, but as soon as I stepped on the football field I knew I wouldn't. I took Dakota and Evan with me. Evan is Dakota's best friend since 5th grade, and was on the cover of the Union Tribune yesterday as you see to the left, as he walked in front of Chelsea King's memorial in front of Poway High. I was shocked to see his face as I looked down at the paper during my morning Starbucks run.

I have never- never- heard such silence in such a large group of people ( 5,000? ). As the service began, there was simply silence. A moment of silence. I shut my eyes to move my mind over the landscape, to see if there were any shuffling feet, coughs, children's complaints or even sobs that I had missed, but no. Utter and complete silence. It was appropriately magnificent in it's respect toward the enormity of not only the family's loss of their Chelsea, but of her loss, the loss of her young, vibrant life, the loss of an entire future stretching out ahead of her- just at her fingertips- so close that she had flown 5 months before to Seattle to view a college. That close.

The football field including bleachers is low to the ground, circled by very large and tall trees, so that the feel of the sky is expansive. A blue, blue sky, with billowing clouds that occasionally moved over the sun and left us trembling in the chilly breeze, and then would suddenly move to illuminate us with dazzling warmth and light. As the entire crowd of us held aloft our sunflowers in memory of Chelsea, the sun broke through, and the moment was awesome. In the old sense of the world: filled with awe. Awe at not only the grossness of the violent crime and the loss of Chelsea's life, but awe for our own hearts, full of compassion and love. We looked at each other as if to wonder: Is this what we are really capable of? When Chelsea's uncle, Mother and Father all expressed, over and over, their thanks to the community, how the love and support has made it bearable, and when the pastor said he has never seen parents handle with such strength and love such a horrible loss and that this was made possible ' because of you, ' he said, stretching out his hands, ' because of the love and compassion they are carried on, ' ** I wondered why we cannot offer this soul strength to every parent who loses a child. Or more to the point, why we don't. Can we? How would we do that? What would that look like? Who would organize it? I swept my eyes over a stadium full of beautiful people and wanted so badly for each parent who has lost a child to feel this, when they began their long journey of grief.

Certain moments were painfully poignant. When Chelsea's boyfriend spoke, and ended his piece by saying he would remember her ' like she was the last time I saw her, the day she disappeared, when we ate lunch together in the quad. ' those quiet, sympathetic tears of pain began down my cheeks. For Chelsea. For all she had not experienced yet, and the tender and sweet and passionate beginnings she had just begun. 17 and eating lunch with her boyfriend on the quad, and then a few hours later raped and murdered and left buried in brush by a lake. This is what happened to her. Why? Partly because such things will happen no matter what. But that is the ' things we cannot change' part of the Serenity Prayer, isn't it, and all real adults know that life would be unbearable and chaotic- more than it is- if there were not a legion of adults who move into action when it is needed, who look at ' the courage to change the things we can ' and who move that way; Chelsea's mother Kelly said that she was beginning her walk in that direction with the urging of her daughter's voice in her ear, and that one day she would break into a run... and we would all move toward the finish line together. That is courage. Even if- please mercy- she cannot do it, stating it out loud as her intention is so incredibly brave and inspiring I will never forget it.

Tyler is Chelsea's little brother. At just 13 years old he is dealing with a tragedy and an evil most adults never have to face in their life. He began so honest and raw that I heard open sobs erupting around me. ' The last two weeks I keep getting asked one question over and over...Am I OK? .... No, I'm not OK, because I lost the best thing in my life, that's Chelsea. ' His stricken little face. His parents flanking him as he walked to the podium and mike. The interjections of 'like' in his speech. The incredible vulnerability and beauty and confusion of his spirit, the love. He did not use notes. He spoke from his heart.

The montage and accompanying music of Chelsea's life was somehow the most painful part of the service, from my perpective. I bowed my head as the camera zoomed in on her tiny baby face smiling and cooing and kicking, to cry and show respect. Respect for a loss that has no ending and no depths too far to sink. Chelsea's dad said ' I have enough rage in me to march into and back from Hell a million times...' and I saw in his shoulders, his hands, his face and the timbre of his voice that he was controlling a rage unfathomable to me, a rage that he said he was choosing to turn towards change. Change to protect the children we have. Change the laws to keep child predators from living in our communities. Here was a man, I could clearly see, that loved his daughter as much as is humanly possible to love another person. He cherished her.

A beautiful and joyful song played against pictures of Chelsea singing, dancing as a little girl, giggling, making funny face after funny face surrounded by gaggles of other girls making faces, camping, loving on her parents, kissing her dad on the mouth, being loved, and loving. The images and speeches revealed a girl who absolutely loved every second of life. She would have made an excellent traveler, as she was capable, by story, of turning challenges and failures into laughter, and if that was not possible, into a lesson learned. She soaked up life. Absolutely soaked. it. up. She was intellectually curious and a ravenous reader and student, cramming in novels and studies and experiences and losing sleep. ' It was as if, ' her Uncle said, ' she knew... '

Chelsea's life long friend spoke. Three of her girlfriends spoke, her Uncle spoke, her boyfriend, her cousin, her peer teacher, and a teacher who at the end of his piece, read from an essay that Chelsea wrote on the work of Tolstoy. She wrote about facing death. She wrote about the horror that filled her to think of it. She wrote of how she didn't think of death, as a young person. She wrote of how Tolstoy believed the antidote to death was brotherhood. And then she wrote that he was missing a piece, that living such a structured and pointed existence did not leave room for an essential piece of life- the joy of spontaneous experience, the joy of celebrating the daily and smaller gifts of life, the joy of the unexpected and embraced.

What a girl.

She wanted to major in college so that she could combine her passion for environmentalism and writing.

The service ended with Tyler releasing a dove in symbolism of releasing his sister to Heaven. And then Chelsea's parents. And then an entire flock of doves were released and flew over our heads in incredible winking silver and white duckings and swerves and then the moment they hold aloft in perfect synchronicity, right over our heads, as we held our breath, and prayed as best we could for the best we could hope. For Chelsea, for her parents, her brother, her family and friends, my sympathies, my love, my action for change. May you find comfort in each other.

** All quotes are faithfully paraphrased. I had no recorder or notes.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

People In Your Neighborhood: Pearl Gabel

Her Website, Here

* which should be looked at, if for no other reason than the stunning cover image

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

important reminder

f your heart breaks,
let it break wide open

love more.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

' when she was good, she was very very good

.... and when she was bad, she was horrid ' ( wink )

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