Monthly Archive for December, 2015

jomo queen whispers goodbye to 2015

me, about to turn up for new year’s eve: what is it?
knee, twinging with petulance: nothing.
me: we not doing that anymore. you have my attention, what do you need?
knee, throbbing: to go home. i mean, to the little room.
me (feeling curious): really? we’re at the beach, in great company. i was thinking dancing, drinks?
knee: meh.
me: well…what do you want to do?
knee: rest. ice. compress. elevate.
me: mmhmm. totally down for that. can we do that tomorrow?
knee: naw. i mean sure, but …
me: i’m listening.
knee: what we’re doing at midnight matters. it matters.
me: yes, hence this exact current situation.
knee: but you want something else, right now. you know it.
me, contemplating my instincts: dang. i think you’re right. (feeling my whole body wanting to rest) you couldn’t have brought this up earlier though?
knee: i have been trying to talk to you all year. with love. turning up the volume. with love.
me: i been hearing you.
knee: you say that, you even tell others. but…actions speak louder than words.
me: truth. so. just go?
knee: just go.
me, some relief and longing moving in my system: you know, it’s unexpected. but i really do want to go. i gave so much of my year to floating through things i knew weren’t right, to doing what i thought was needed, even when it left me depleted.
knee (whistling briefly): yup. like, no exaggeration? i am pretty sure something is broken in here. i’m making it work, but it’s not pleasant.
me: a lot broke in me this year. (teary eyed glitchy montage of 2015 memories) i am so grateful for it, all of it makes me me, i know. but that was a lot.
knee: i know love. just saying, don’t take it out on me. i can heal like a miracle, and also too, i am finite.
me: i am so sorry. 2016 is our year. i mean it.
knee: so was 2015, baby girl. we twisted everything good out of this year and you know it. are we here, or are we here?
(we laugh)
knee: what did you learn?
me: i learned…that when i ignore my body, it always leads to disaster. i learned that no is imperative if i want to be able to say an authentic yes to the good things meant for me. and…i learned that in almost every situation, i’d rather be writing.
knee: and what do those lessons look like in practice? right now?
me: it looks like going home. to rest my body, to write, to meditate, listen to my chani 2016 horoscope. i want to enter the year totally clear and free from obligation, free from the pain of ignoring my needs. jomo queen shit.
knee: jomo?
me: joy of missing out. the glory of intentional solitude. so.
knee: so.
me: thank you. let’s go.
knee: you sure?
me: don’t be passive aggressive. i’m saying i surrender, and taking action. i’m saying i love you, and taking action. i am ready to put you first. us. for life.
knee, glowing: oh.

so that is how i am whispering goodbye to 2015, from the quietest place i could find tonight, from my whole self to yours.

holiday tidbits (radical musings on Xmas)

Uncle Jody, on the phone, to my 5 year old nibbling Siobhan: So, have you been naughty, or nice?

Siobhan: Honestly, a little bit of both.

Word. Welcome to the club, nibbling.

Mairead, eating a chocolate covered strawberry from a gift box: It’s not really that good.

Discarding the strawberry after sucking the chocolate off: I need another one.

Weeping, to no avail: I need it right now!!

Sugar does this to me too, kid.

Finn committed to waking up early to do reconnaissance of the gift spread, picking up the traditional work of the eldest child (me). I feel proud.

I’m not sure if he followed through because I stayed up last night watching A Very Murray Christmas Special (pretty cool) and then Jurassic World while drinking naughty eggnog and wondering what it is (but not wondering enough to look at ingredients because…drank).

Also, Finn said his destiny is to “create a dinosaur park where nature controls nature”.

I grew up as a hardcore magic Santa enthusiast. A few years ago I asked my family not to give me gifts, because…anticapitalism. I totally meant it when I asked, I really did. In my mind.

They still tease me for the forlorn look on my face that morning.

I still look in the mirror each Christmas Eve and sing, ‘Hello. It’s me. I was wondering if you’re ready to live life without the greed.’

I want less and less each year, I’m growing. But this year I needed a red rice cooker, so.

When I was a kid, like 6, one of my parents’ friends dressed up as Santa and came over to surprise us. My commitment to Santa was so deep that even though I recognized this man, I just created a narrative in which I just happened to be friends with Santa, and thus I had to help him maintain his cover the other 364 days of the year.

I miss my dog Sugarfoot at Christmas, even though I’ve spent more time without her than with her now. Her enthusiasm for her gifts was so pure. The last time I saw her was a Christmas, on an island in the south Pacific where she will always be.

Full moon!

I love a well conceived gift. Giving or receiving. I separate that out from monetary consideration, giving gifts of various value with the same glee, receiving my nibblings’ works of art as works of immense value, etc.

I love the convergence of family, even as it exhausts me. It’s true our time left on this earth together is limited, and this time of relative health and presence is precious. Showing up in my wholeness doesn’t mean not getting short with my parents or jumping into business that isn’t mine…it means apologizing faster, getting to gratitude and compassion with more ease, trusting love to hold us. Really, we’re all so tired and so in need of familial attention.

I love anticipation. I love surprises. I love shared joy. I love the kind of magic children can perpertuate and inspire.

I hate competition, commercialism, consumerism, capitalism, and candy overload.

I love living my values in real time. Some years that has meant participating in the holidays with resistance, or sarcasm, letting everyone know I’m better than Christmas.

But I’m not, not yet anyway.

I love the way my family does this holiday – with a sprinkle of the sacred, a touch of tradition, mostly focused on the way we give to each other, weaving a system of caring for each other.

In terms of what being a radical home for the holidays looks like to me this year…I am convinced that authentic relationship, deep transparent love between two or more people that makes each person feel more free, is central to the path to liberation. This is the main practice ground of my family each year. My active question is: can I show up, offer appreciation, care, generosity, spaciousness, wonder and kindness to these people I love? Also, can I relinquish my righteousness, control and judgment?

Mariah Carey’s Christmas album is still some of her best work.

To get through Christmas, I think of my late grandfather’s Jesus, who came from poverty and displacement, whose parents sought asylum at closed doors, who rolled with the meek, washed the feet of sex workers and went on long meditation retreats.

Then I color him in with my historically accurate crayon set, the Boyega chocolate shade.

I speak to him like a time traveling comrade, saying ‘look at #blackxmas!’, saying we haven’t given up on ourselves as a species.

It helps me, feels like idealogical aikido. Christmas is just an energy moving in the world.

I have more thoughts but it’s absolutely time to go play. Love y’all.

the children (solstice poem)

the children run up the stairs
and i realize how old i have become
one choice at a time
in the places i come together
and where i am forever apart

the children climb me
i offer branches and answers
to their years
i have to be so solid
so much stronger than i am

the children are full
i am humbled by the life in them
they laugh with nothing held back
they demand everything of my attention
they bring me here, now

my child face a mirror on the wall
smiles toothless, echoing us
before all the lessons
we know everything
life is learning to forget

the children resist even sleep
they know how precious
all this living is
they dream with open eyes
and surrender mid-vision

the children gift me
the miracle of letting go
the wonder of and in time
the wilderness of right now
the possibility of dawn

9 lessons from my wayward child

9 months ago today, I became pregnant.

Pregnant in spite of plan b, nonchalance, magic and my non-pregnancy-inclusive plans. I had no idea. I didn’t feel anything particular, didn’t notice my enhanced sense of smell (except in retrospect).

I didn’t glow.

8 months ago today, I reached up to close a window while doing a phone interview for Octavia’s Brood, and was suddenly in the most acute and life focusing pain I have ever experienced. I understood in a quiet inner way that I only had a few minutes to get myself downstairs, and that I needed immediate help if I was going to live. A friend rushed me to the hospital where I, with no insurance, learned that I was pregnant and it was ectopic and I was lucky to live in a time when I could survive it. And I would be losing my left fallopian tube.

I’ve given myself these long months marked with other griefs to process it myself before writing about it, hopefully birthing some kind of wisdom in the absence of a child-based outcome.

Here are the 9 lessons I have learned, so far, from my wayward child.

Lesson 1: I am special.

I rarely date men (frankly it never seems to go that well, in spite of my earnest pansexual leanings). So rarely that when my dad heard the news, I think he seriously considered the possibility that I was involved in a biblical birth. The game of percentages means there’s exactly a one in gazillion chance that this could happen, both the pregnancy and then the ectopicness of it.

Lesson 2: I am not special.

When I got to the hospital, I told them I was pretty sure my appendix had burst. They said it was more likely that I was pregnant. I was adamant, I made my case of how that was impossible, asked them through clenched teeth to focus on the real problem. They said, “uh huh, pee in this cup though”.

It was a common situation, and I was handled accordingly, with very little gentleness.

Lesson 3: People are complex human beings, and also angels.

I had two that night, humans who stepped over into a beam of light. I will forever be grateful for the convergence of events that led to my strange and lovely support team that night, and getting to see the particular goodness that can emerge in crisis. The nurse wouldn’t give me morphine for a while because of my ‘condition’. It was cold, and scary, the pain was nonstop, and there was a torturous internal ultrasound. I both survived and increased my pain by laughing, and it was worth it.

I am also grateful for my mom’s voice on the phone, helping me face what was happening. There was some time between learning I was pregnant and learning for sure that it was ectopic and surgery would be immediate, my hour of conscious pregnancy. My mom’s voice on the line helped me through that time.

Lesson 4: I am human.

After what I initially called ‘the surgery’, I denied my humanity and tried to carry on as usual. I was in the middle of a book tour. I did several major events, which I powered through, hoping no one would notice I was moving slow and couldn’t do simple things like open doors or water bottles. People did notice, and I told various small lies (an ‘ovarian cyst’ seemed close enough) about what was going on. I shared what I could, mostly because I had to depend on others. Other than my closest friends and family, I actually didn’t know how to say the truth. I spent about a month in tears after every event, overwhelmed by the juxtaposition of the high of my life’s work and the strange irrational sadness inside me.

People kept speaking of the book as a baby, asking wasn’t I thrilled about our book baby. I had said that before, too, but I don’t think I’ll say it again…nothing is a baby except a baby.

Lesson 5: I can grieve like a motherfucker for something I didn’t want, something that barely happened. I’ve written about my choiceful childlessness, I’ve ignored healers and intuitives who felt a baby coming for me.

Still.

I had a few people afterwards who advised me not to think of it as ‘losing a baby’ since it wasn’t a viable birth. I tried that. It didn’t work because when I did my research, it said that there were all the makings of a baby, it just connected to the wrong part of me. If it had connected to the right part, or even a different wrong part, I could be in or near labor today.

After my sister’s miscarriage, my niece, four at the time, said she hoped that the baby found another way into the world. I hope the same for the little mass of miraculous tissue that visited me. I sense the size of it’s soul in absentia.

And in spite of my attempts to logic through it, that little lost embryo made me cry a lot this year. It was tenacious and miraculous in it’s own way. A one in a gazillion kind of lost embryo.

Lesson 6: So many humans have faced unintended pregnancy loss, of kids they wanted, of kids they didn’t want.

And so many people get pregnant even when they take measures not to get pregnant.

Many of the children I love most in the world were unintended, were somehow able to outsmart preventative measures to get here.

A lot of my favorite parents felt disappointed, scared, confused and stressed when they found out they were pregnant.

These stories emerged this year when people learned what I had experienced, and I am grateful to all of them for sharing and normalizing my complex emotional response.

Lesson 7: It’s not the little one’s fault it didn’t find fertile soil. They showed me some pictures, it’s confusing in there.

Lesson 8: Everything does not happen for a reason.

That doesn’t mean you can’t create a reason for everything.

This year, this wayward child, has turned my sense of self upside down, narrowed the number and increased the quality of people I need close to me, made me sloppy and vulnerable, changed how I want to dress, made me favor my left side, sharpened my ideas of what I want to generate in the world, snatched my perfection mythologies away, given me good news to sweeten the hardest days, found me wandering in the dark begging for help, and helped me keep choosing to see and love myself, just as I am.

Lesson 9: Time is the most precious thing. Time is the most precious thing. One month, nine months, an hour, a lifetime. During these nine months life and death came in and out like waves, like always. My wayward child was life moving towards life for a month. My mentor Grace was life moving towards life for 100 years and 100 days. Could it be that they are equal teachers to me?

Time is the most precious thing, choosing to learn in this precious time. Once lived, these hours cannot be returned to me, I determine whether it is a miraculous experience with my attention.

So. Nine months are complete. I declare it miraculous.

golden ages apocalyptic offer

The golden age of climate change is in effect. It’s sweater weather, at most, in the ice tundra states of North America. It’s mid December. It’s gray…and balmy.

In many states this unseasonable warmth overlaps with the golden age of gentrification – goat cheese omelettes, truffle fries, health food stores and street bikes for rent are some of the key indicators.

It appears that golden ages are a function of privilege. We are learning that when you have little to no proximity to displacement, and the water keeps coming out of the faucet, and you can afford to shop in the health food stores even as you rail against the high prices, you can experience ease, even a sense of ignorant distance, inside end times crisis.

This post is just a ‘don’t forget’ nudge. As far as we know (we being all living scientists, and me) things are falling apart, actually.

Some sci fi immersions for this time

Mad Max: Fury Road (place yourself in the story! This won some acknowledgment recently.)

Dune (read it all)

Interstellar (because I like it, and so does my science hubband. Except last ten minutes)

Parables of the Sower and Parable of the Talents (read a few times! Hard and exciting because POC survive.)

2312

Future States TV

Pumzi

The Road (read)

And if you think Donald Trump is cute/funny, revisit Schindler’s List. Or Roots. He makes conceptual appearances in both.

Other recommendations? Add in comments PLEASE.

Oh and the apocalypse palate cleanser? Magic Mike XXL. (possibly feministish)

I know enough

I know enough
About the night sky
To sometimes say
There is Cassiopeia
There are the Pleiades
There is Orion’s long sword
So
I am home

Only
As I get old
Do I feel safe in the darkness
In the wild
Under that incomprehensible sky
Full of nothing and every single thing
Past present future
And all that I am
And all I’ll ever be
Only with time
Do I exhale

Stars burn gorgeous
And then burn out
But I still see the beauty
Across time

Rocks fall brightly
Through the pores of earth’s skin
Breathtaking moments
Utterly destructive
But I can’t look away

This is where I come from
This complex world
These are my contradictions

I am nothing
And everything
I am here
And gone
I am so insignificant
But I feel so much

And I know enough
And I know nothing
And then
I look up

– stars over Wisconsin