Monday, August 6, 2018

the thing about deserts

underneath the paper mache
i'm thirsty and barren
and forgotten

and invisible
and tired
and empty

the thing about deserts
is they have no choice

in whether or not there are
footprints running through them

or rivers,
or scorpions,
or cacti full of sustenance,

or nothing at all

we created our own geography
and ripped the map to shreds
and the vultures ate the bread crumbs
we scattered
along the way

©2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Normal, but not the good kind.


The normalness has settled like pollen all over our suburban 1960s mill house. It's a brick home, with pink azalea bushes out front and a flower pot on the front stoop that we use for an ash tray.

I spend a significant amount of time chasing dog hair tumbleweeds all over the hardwoods while he burns cardboard beer boxes and junk mail newspapers out back in the fire pit. The dogs have free roam of the half an acre of backyard that we mow semi-weekly. They nap in the sun next to the poison ivy we can't seem to kill. I paint in the living room while watching true crime documentaries. He smokes cigarettes under the car port. Life is, by all accounts, pretty fucking normal.

The times do not come without struggle. In fact, I'd say struggle is the standard by which we operate. I feel more shut-up than I have in a long time, having just had yet another miscarriage-- my first one, though, with him. He was there through it, rubbing my lower back as I doubled over in pain on the bed. I sat on one of those puppy potty-training pad things to keep the copious amount of blood I was losing from staining our newish green sheets. It made him uncomfortable to talk about it, though, at a time where all I wanted to do was scream: I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING AGAIN.

And then it was done. I ran out of pain pills and eventually out of blood, and it was over for everyone but me. For me, it's this ever-present, really huge thing that I can't shake, like when you're in traffic and there's a tractor-trailer in front of you and you can't see around it to know if you need to change lanes or not.

So I stay quiet.


I can't blame him, though. This was his first miscarriage rodeo and there is no playbook (though I could have written one by now.) I remember finding it strange that he didn't know about my miscarriage rituals that I had formed over the years, but how could he? He wasn't there for the first three, and how was he to know that sushi is what I have for dinner every time a doctor can't seem to find a heartbeat? He had no way of preparing himself for the distracted brick wall I became when my body felt like a walking coffin and the cobwebs were really thick up there. I don't think he was prepared for the passive-aggressive, morbid jokes that ensued or the sudden burst of manic creativity followed by days and days on the couch.

I was trying to stay afloat, and he was trying to have a leisurely day at the beach. It takes its toll.

To him, it wasn't really a baby. I get that. To me, it was a real baby, because I was gagging every time I smelled sandwich meat, and I was exhausted. My boobs hurt. I had to stop drinking coffee. I had to inject myself with blood thinners to protect my placenta from clots, you know, just in case. I knew that the probability of losing this child was high and that I needed to enjoy my time with that creature living inside me for as long as I was able. Spoiler alert: it wasn't very long.

I think I'm mourning mostly because I know that will be my last pregnancy. Ever. My body has let me know that it can't sustain life, and now it's my turn to listen. My uterus is an inhospitable wasteland where nothing can grow-- a graveyard-- and I'm tired.

So yeah, basically what I'm saying is that everything here is normal.... so very, very normal.

For me.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Don't feed the mean girls: Sorority life, ten years later

The hardest lesson I've ever had to learn was this: Everyone is not for you.

Those sorority sisters you sang songs with and passed candles with and pledged loyalty to? About 95% of them will stop talking to you after graduation.

And it's fine. It will hurt, but it will be fine.

The other 5% will consist of a few very close friends and a few sisters who are legitimately good people, who reach out when you're struggling or offer to help you move, even though you haven't talked in months.

They try.
They are for you.

But the forgetful 95% of those sisters are the painful ones. They'll force you to grow into this world full of hope and disappointment, and they'll show you the side of friendship that is perhaps the most painful to learn:

Most friendships are seasonal.

One day you'll hear about an entire bridal party making fun of you-- loudly. You'll realize that bridal party is full of people who are cruel and need to make fun of others from a decade before to feel secure about their lives. How bored they must be, if they don't have anything new to discuss.

And then the sting-- you find out who was laughing at your expense.

This was the kick in the ass to remove those people from my life. No ritualistic bond will hold me hostage to a friends list full of horrible humans.

One heart, one way though.

It's not me, it's you.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

It's not you, it's me.

Sometimes it just aches, you know? 

Depression.

I talk about it. I talk about it A LOT. Because we should.

I'm at work this week, after an amazing and long Christmas weekend. It was magical. I wouldn't change anything about it.

The house is back in order. I've removed the beautiful, but now-dead, tree from the corner of the living room and put my paintings back where they go.

There is something very cathartic about decorating for Christmas. Ritualistic almost. And having grown up in a religious home and then having later joined a sorority, it seems ritual has become really comforting to me in rough times. So the second the tree is in its stand, Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas album goes on Spotify and off I go.

But I also look forward to the fresh start that comes when Christmas is over. The return to a fresh, familiar space is equally as ritualistic for me. So last night I performed this ritual with an unprecedented meticulousness. I was on a mission.

Today I feel really low. I've been at work this week, but barely. My body has been sitting at my desk. My smile has been smiling. I'm crumbling on the inside. I can't tell you why, and that's how I know it's my depression. And since my limbs are all in place and on the outside, I look totally healthy, I'm really fighting to keep my head above water. 

This year has been exhausting. It's been horrible for most of us. Everyone is ready to see it go, and I am right there with them. But a few good things have happened this year worth mentioning. I will try to focus on those things while the fog lifts.

In the meantime, here's to a better 2017 for us all-- after all, it's now up to us.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

#notmypresident

We are taught to stand. We are taught to put our hands over our hearts and pledge allegiance to the United States of America. We do this in kindergarten classes and at football games and graduations and we do it because we are told to do it.

We are taught that patriotism is the only way-- that America is a wonderful country full of opportunity and hope. We are taught that our civic duty to vote is a blessing and that the troops keep us free so we can do it.

We are taught to wear yellow ribbons. We are told that these men and women are serving to "keep us free and safe." We prioritize soldiers on flights, ushering them quickly through the VIP lines because of "their great sacrifice."

And for what? What have they sacrificed for? What democracy is there for anyone who isn't white and male?

The American judicial system favors anyone with money or connections, not the innocent.
The American education system does not encourage free thought or critical thinking.
The American healthcare system prioritizes drug company profits over human health.
The American agricultural system favors the food industry profits over the environment.

So when I do not stand during your anthem, don't be surprised. When I do not celebrate freedom on the 4th of July, save your hate mail.

We are not the land of the free.
That man is not my president.
We should be ashamed of ourselves.