Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day...

Sex Without Love by Sharon Olds
How do they do it, the ones who make love
without love? Beautiful as dancers,
gliding over each other like ice-skaters
over the ice, fingers hooked
inside each other's bodies, faces
red as steak, wine, wet as the
children at birth whose mothers are going to
give them away. How do they come to the
come to the come to the God come to the
still waters, and not love
the one who came there with them, light
rising slowly as steam off their joined
skin? These are the true religious,
the purists, the pros, the ones who will not
accept a false Messiah, love the
priest instead of the God. They do not
mistake the lover for their own pleasure,
they are like great runners: they know they are alone
with the road surface, the cold, the wind,
the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardio-
vascular health--just factors, like the partner
in the bed, and not the truth, which is the
single body alone in the universe
against its own best time.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I believe...I don't believe

I write the following for anyone who has ever questioned their Christian faith...My faith started to crumble soon after it started.  I've written many times about my struggle with faith in the face of having a sick child.  Since we moved, I've visited several churches and have finally given up on finding one.  There is no shortage of liberal, progressive churches in the area. For the first time in my life, minus the year I lived in Austin, I'm surrounded by open minded thinking people.  I don't have to fear people flipping me off for my bumper stickers, or harassing me for believing the earth is in deep distress.

But back to my faith, nothing has felt right lately.  I'm big on feelings when deciding on a church.  I've always had a feeling that each church we've been a part of was the right one.  And we have been a part of many denominations, Presbyterian, non denominational, Pentecostal (that was fun.) Last week I went to Episcopalian church for no other reason than I wanted to sit with people who I knew would be equally as devastated by the election results as I was, and they were.  There was a community of heavy sighs as church began and the pastor spoke about how when so much hate has been let out of the bottle it's hard to be put back in.  But we in this faith community have to keep doing what we've always been called to do. Loving those who are in fear right now as well as those who we may not agree with.  The latter is much harder for me.  I don't get how someone who professes to be a follower of Christ could ever vote for such hate.  I get there was a lot of fear on their part, for the economy, for what they view as the declining Christian values in this country. This past year I just kept thinking, they won't fall for it. They'll see through it.

I think it's easier for me to say what I don't believe in than what I do at this point.  I don't believe the bible is meant to be taken literally or that it's infallible.  I don't believe that Muslims, Buddhist or my atheist parents are going to some place to burn for eternity. I don't for one second believe that I or any one else, even the most holy, have everything about God figured out. I picture God as a beautiful, glowing, big bosomed, black woman like Toni Morrison.  If Mormons can have their Kenny Loggins Jesus I can have mine too.  I believe in Jesus. This Jesus. I no longer feel comfortable calling myself a Christian and I think the average American Evangelical Christian would probably appreciate that.

Monday, October 3, 2016

At war with myself...

I've written about my drinking before.
 Many of my favorite writers are recovering alcoholics, so I'm no stranger to the struggle. They have great stories about how they knew it was time to get help.  For years I've read about Anne Lamont's journey with sobriety and just recently reread Mary Karr's Lit which details her divorce and recovery.

I had a close friend who was a recovering alcoholic and I asked her how she knew it was time to quit.  Her husband had caught her drinking in the bathroom out of a coffee mug before she was about to take the kids to school. I don't have a dramatic story but the truth is I've been drinking frequently for two years now.  In that time I've spent nearly every weekend drunk and the week after trying to recover only to do it again the following weekend.  This past Monday my husband was out and we had two beers left ( I know this because I hid them)  as soon as I got the kids to bed I downed the beers and then passed out. I woke up in the middle of the night so sick that the only thing that brought relief was to lay face down on the wood floor.  I knew right then I had to stop drinking.  I've never driven while drunk, I've never gotten so drunk I've thrown up or blacked out but I've been unable to stop the last year. I hide alcohol and I look forward to it all day long. I'm embarrassed to say I send the kids off to bed early so I can sink into my chair and pour glass after glass of wine.  I panic at the thought of being in social situations without drinking.

 I don't know whether I should use the term alcoholic but I know I'm walking a very fine line and I can't have a normal relationship with alcohol ever again. I tried telling my pastor last year I was worried about my drinking and she said she would be worried if I wasn't drinking, because how could anyone in my shoes handle everything I have to endure.  She meant well but I really wanted her to tell me she was worried too and that it's not healthy to want to be drunk all the time.

I made it all weekend without drinking.  I prayed, did yoga, drank soda (which I never do) and I tried to stay busy.  This is a small step I know but I'm looking forward to getting through the next few months clear headed and making peace with myself.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Goodbye summer...and a poem from Sharon Olds

This summer has gotten away from me.  After sort of unexpectedly moving to another state, I feel like I've been to hell and back.  I've battled some serious depression and won (for now) I've battled alcoholism and lost (for now.) But fall, fall is now my favorite season and I look forward to the change.  I've been working on my finishing my degree in creative writing focusing on poetry. It's not the great school I hoped for, but it's better than nothing and I'm writing nearly everyday so I'm thankful for that.  Sharon Olds has become my poetry muse.  I found this poem recently. I've tried to write about seizures but it's still too raw for anything other than emotional gibberish to come out. But this pretty much sums it up.  

Prayer During A Time My Son Is Having Seizures

Finally I just leaned on the door-frame, a
woman without belief, praying
please don’t let anything happen to him.
Don’t let him stand there and his gold
jaw lock while he watches the burning
mountain falling slowly through his mind and
no word comes to him.
Don’t let him stand there like a tree with its
green branch lopped off and
falling slowly away, the tiny
amber cones already darkening,
don’t let him fall like the lip of a
cliff coming off, a heavy tuft
stuck with white berry blossoms
sliding down the raw bluff of his life,
don’t let him stand on the curb watching his
mind get hit by a blue car
over and over, there is nothing he can do about it.
Don’t hurt him, I cry out,
don’t take his thoughts away as a
kid will rip toys from another kids hands,
don’t go up to his small dazzling
brain in spangles on the high wire
and push it off. There is no net.
Don’t leave him in a wheelchair drooling into
cereal, not knowing the dark
holes are raisins. And yet if that’s the
only way I can have him, I want to
have him, to look deep into his face and
see just the avenues of light,
empy and spacious, to put on his bib
as I once did, and spoon brown sugar
into the river of his life.
I’ll change his dark radiant diapers, I’ll
scrape the blue molds that collects in the creases of his elbows,
I will sit with him in his room for the rest of my days,
I will have him on any terms.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ode to the Hotel Near the Children's Hospital

Related Poem Content Details

Praise the restless beds
Praise the beds that do not adjust
     that won't lift the head to feed
     or lower for shots
     or blood
     or raise to watch the tinny TV
Praise the hotel TV that won't quit
      its murmur & holler
Praise the room service
      that doesn't exist
      just the slow delivery to the front desk
      of cooling pizzas
      & brown bags leaky
      greasy & clear
Praise the vending machines
Praise the change
Praise the hot water
& the heat
       or the loud cool
       that helps the helpless sleep.

Praise the front desk
       who knows to wake
       Rm 120 when the hospital rings
Praise the silent phone
Praise the dark drawn
       by thick daytime curtains
       after long nights of waiting,

Praise the waiting & then praise the nothing
       that's better than bad news
Praise the wakeup call
       at 6 am
Praise the sleeping in
Praise the card hung on the door
       like a whisper
       lips pressed silent
Praise the stranger's hands
       that change the sweat of sheets
Praise the checking out

Praise the going home
       to beds unmade
       for days
Beds that won't resurrect
       or rise
that lie there like a child should
        sleeping, tubeless

Praise this mess
         that can be left

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Land of Enchantment...

If you've known me for any length of time you're probably sick of hearing about my love of all things southwest. Long before I knew about the many artist connections and overall cool vibe of New Mexico I wanted to live there.  Maybe it was my parents obsession with all things Billy the Kid, maybe it was watching Raising Arizona a million times as a kid.  I just knew I wanted to live in the desert. There was something other worldly about the landscape. 

 My mother had a picture and quote of Georgia O'keeffe pinned on the wall of her beauty shop below the phone on the wall. I read it every day for years never giving much thought to who she was.  Once I found out of course like many I was mesmerized and knew New Mexico was the place for me. 

While in technical school in the Air Force we were allowed to pick which bases we would like to be stationed at.  My first three picks were all in New Mexico, even the dreaded assignment of Cannon, always voted one of the worst places to get. I didn't care as long as it was in New Mexico.  I ended up in Vegas and it worked out well but I never forgot about New Mexico. In fact I've tried every way possible to get us there but it just never worked out.  When my husband told me he wanted to get out of the military last year I never even thought New Mexico was possible because of the lack of his industry there.  

When it became clear recently that Paloma needed access to whole plant cannabis and Utah would likely never grant us that access, I knew we had to leave our home here in Utah for somewhere with better cannabis laws. We set our sights on the Pacific Northwest but the cost of living and distance from my family made me secretly hope it wouldn't work out.  As fate would have it, David got a call about a job in Albuquerque about a month ago. Nothing was for sure,  but we forged ahead and put our faith into this move hoping everything would work out.  We sold our house, rented a house in Albuquerque, signed the kids up for new schools all without knowing for sure if he had a job.  Some would say that's crazy and some of you did say that, but I had peace knowing things would work. Peace is not normally my go to emotion.  Maybe it's because I felt like the universe was starting to not hate me, maybe because I felt a little spark that God was still a possibility.  I don't know?

On our way to Utah a year and half ago we stopped off in Albuquerque for a quick lunch.  Sitting outside of Whole Foods eating lunch that day I wanted to cry.  I didn't want to leave.  I took a picture and thought, someday I'll be back. (The house we are renting is down the street from that WF!) 

There's something to be said for hanging on to dreams.  You just never know.  

A line from my 18 year old self's journal : New Mexico seemed like as good a place as any to start over. 

P.S. I know NM won't be perfect.  It looks like their governor is actually against medical marijuana. Weird! But its my dream so don't rain on my parade.  And David is also happy about it and I can get what I need for Paloma without having to look over my shoulder every second hoping I don't end up in jail.   

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Truth is...

When the therapist asks me if I look forward to drinking, I slouch into her cliched over sized leather sofa and unapologetically say yes. Some days the highlight.  Some days I  think about the hour when I can  relax, take my first sip and wait for the slow burn to make its way down my throat.

I never cared much for drinking until a few years ago. Maybe on Thanksgiving, a glass of cheap champagne or after a day spent at my parents where the Keystone flowed freely, but there was always a careful approach to drinking.

After seeing your grown daddy piss in the corner because he was so wasted he thought it the toilet, after years of passing by the hole in the bathroom closet in the perfect shape of my mother where on some drunken rage he'd thrown her. For what I don't remember now. After staying with my grandmother in the summers watching her binge vodka in her closet, drinking rightly scared me so.

But now like most good addictions go I've given myself strict rules not to be broken. I tell myself I'll only drink on the weekends, soon Thursday is almost the weekend and before I know it the weekend has no real start or end.  I tell myself its ok, after all I have a disabled child. I'm under so much pressure, I have to do something to release it, the advice given by mother.

The truth is I'm probably on my way to becoming a real life alcoholic, the kind that has to go to A.A. to get help.  My therapist suggests I quit drinking now before it gets to that point. "Perhaps try meditation instead."  I nod my head to her suggestion knowing full well I will probably stop off at the liquor store on the way home.

I'm one of those all or nothing kind of people.  I don't know that I could ever have a normal relationship with drinking again. Like my parents and grandmother before me, I've let it fill me up too much in ways no physical thing should be allowed to.