slowly i collapse
lose light lose warmth
forget everything i ever knew about bright
it is time again to know nothing
to be still and silent
to wait and wonder
to notice exactly what i need so completely
that it pulls me through shadow
pulls me through the cold of my own isolation
back, slower than a dream
faster than a season
i hear everyone whispering:
plant everything now
plant love the shape of gods
the handprints of children allowed to say no
plant quiet contemplation of miracles
the ripple of orgasmic awe
plant the undulation, the pulse, the fusion
plant even the idea of a wave
and let the ocean flood you by morning

before kondo, kondo, beyond kondo

five years before marie kondo was conceived, i was born, a virgo oldest child to military grade parents who were also 2/3 of the sagittarian horde in our household. i was not so much a neat child as a particular one – i like things the way i like things. i came out of the womb adjusting my hair and pushing my sleeves up, wanting more touches of color in the hospital room.

military life, moving every 2-3 years, gave me many opportunities to learn what i loved, how i wanted my room/home to feel, and how to let go.

in my mid 20s i moved from NYC to Cali, having realized after ten urgent important years that i was incompatible with the new york lifestyle. i wanted less performance, less rushing and elbowing, to be less on, less at the center. i wanted a simpler life. so for that move, i committed to only driving across country the things i loved and needed. i would pick something up, assess if i loved it, go through the internal struggles of negotiation and making excuses for why i wanted to keep things i didn’t love, and let go of most of my things. i gave away things i loved but didn’t need – i lovingly curated boxes of books for dear friends, i let people shop in my donation bags. sometimes i still come across those items in a friend’s house and they make me smile.

i decided to do this practice a few times a year, especially with clothes. it has served me well. people have commented that it’s a virgo thing that i do this. perhaps. i don’t like clutter but i do like things, and acquire new lovely joy-inducing things regularly. but! i don’t like cleaning. so i tend to live in spaces small enough to clean quickly – and the less clutter, the less cleaning. and order serves my creativity – when everything is in place my mind can settle in on what doesn’t exist yet, or what i am learning to say.

i first heard about marie kondo from a friend who knew of my practice. she said, “this is like what you do, but she made a whole book about it.” i didn’t read the book, nor have i watched the show, but her konmari method of tidying up, minimizing clutter while increasing home joy, is now ubiquitous in my world. i feel like she’s living the life i could have lived if i hadn’t failed french and joined the rebellion. i am so grateful she exists because friends who once chalked up my practice as my weird virgo shit now text me pictures of their reduced belongings and the bags of stuff leaving their home.

marie kondo is not a virgo, so maybe there are forces at work in this world stronger than astrology. in part she traces her methods back to shinto religious practices. i love this idea, as this reduction ritual has always felt sacred to me. how to be in love and not attachment? how to see what i have as treasure without growing greedy?

all this to say that i kondo’d my kitchen yesterday. while i do my clothing regularly, and recently did my bedroom and bathroom, the kitchen had been getting away from me. i had a set of rainbow colored knives with the paint peeling off, unused and dangerous. i had eight more mixing bowls than anyone needs, and tupperware with no lids, and tea that hasn’t been considered for a decade.

this kind of cleaning gives me home joy. taking bags of stuff out of my home to donate and toss and recycle gives me home joy. coming back into my apartment and seeing the space i have reclaimed gives me home joy.

but/and i was also reminded of my little bag obsession. whenever i clean my home i find little bags full of chapstick, pens, gift cards, stuff i think i’ll need when i travel. in transit i never open these bags, but they’re with me just in case. it’s not unusual to find 3-4 little bags in my suitcase.

in the kitchen i learned i do the same thing with tea. i assemble little ziplock bags with an assortment of my favorite teas. i travel with them, rarely drinking the tea, and then bring it home and put it in the tea area. i found four meticulously assembled baggies with black, green and herbal teas. two had tea balls in the bag for loose tea, though i hadn’t packed loose tea.

i’m thinking of this as the nomadic clutter of home joy. because i live a life of frequent travel, home has to always be with me where i am. i love my apartment, and without thinking, i bring the small comforts of home joy with me everywhere – a reminder of my extensive tea collection, of my self care practices, of my body having needs. even if i don’t open and use what’s inside, these little bags are sacred, and i love what they represent.

but i am upgrading my home joy game. i’m going to just have one beautiful small bag – of tea, chapstick and pens – and carry it like i do my altar bag, as a sacred beloved thing, functional if needed, but not needed because i need function, just needed because i need home.

the place i am interested in exploring a bit is what we actually need, all of us. how do we kondo at a collective and interdependent level? what if what brings you joy is a zionist soda machine, or artifacts made of ivory, or fancy temporary technology that harms the earth, or a wasteful amount of personal space that requires tons of heat and energy resources? there’s a space for connecting kondo’s thinking to a just transition, to being in right relationship not just to home in the individual sense, but to all of us having enough and having joy in the home of the whole.

perhaps that’s in the book i haven’t read yet, i just haven’t heard it in the flurry of excited energy around konmari. and i don’t know that i will watch the show, cause i live this method in my heart. i am mostly writing this as a note of gratitude, that kondo has made my ways less weird, more delightful, and more common. and an invitation, to see it all as home, to measure it all with joy.

lessons from a lunar eclipse

(i am a cheap expert on the stars – at some point i stopped buying gossip magazines and put my attention on stars that felt more authentic and reliable, more capable of holding the weight of my projections. i now say things about the stars and other celestial bodies with gravitas, but i am often corrected by my smarter friends. this caveat is to say that what follows is all feeling more than knowing.)

last night was a lunar eclipse and a super wolf blood full moon, aka a bloody howling supreme lunar happening. i learned (at the intersection of multiple websites and listening to what others learned on the internet) that it’s about truly letting go of patterns that don’t serve, about release at the level of system, about making room for something that cannot coexist with that shriveled up rotten moldy crusty whatever that i am dragging along behind me. time to kondo my soul.

so i looked up and i listened for what it is time to release. i learned some things in the watching that feel like clues, if not answers.

(howling bloody lunar wow, rural mn, 1/20/19 11:16pm)

– the moon eclipsed in shadow is gray, quiet, murky, briefly reddish. it looks like it is resting. i am reminded of its passive, orbital nature.

– the moon is not doing anything. not covering up, not unveiling, not demanding. unlike me, the moon’s life isn’t much changed by brief and total shadow.

– to us humans, the moon eclipsed in shadow is dramatic headline material with awesome names…even though it was more dazzling an hour before in super bright fullness. why are we so drawn to the drama of reduced light?

– the body that casts the shadow is not made of shadow. it’s just earth. i often think this is the case between humans…one complex system casts shadows or shines light on another, while being neither darkness nor light.

– but when you’re looking up at something that hurts, it can look like a shadow monster. back lit, broken, the illusion can be confusing. this makes me think that i don’t believe in monsters amongst humans. i believe in shattered spirits, and in souls that get stuck/lost in shadow, and then want to shadow everything.

– this is why, as a mediator, i choose space over punishment every time. space to stop harm, space to look at, release and claim our own shadows.

– and i choose love over pain when i can. pain doesn’t stop or resolve pain. love is what heals – love of self, love from others who see the shadows, love of how we survive. love invites us to occupy the universe, not just some cage of our worst moments.

– i can’t ignore that i am in the martin luther king jr holiday season, reflecting on love, at the edge of saying only light can drive out the darkness you can’t carry. but of course. he was a moon, he held brightness.

– i have been thinking a lot about how to make distinctions between beings and our behavior. in real time, how can i not get confused between the who and the how?

– and, if a being is committed to a certain behavior, and that behavior casts shadows, what are the options? we are not in orbit, we do not have to continue the dance. sometimes we must ask each other to move in massive ways, sometimes we must go around the sun to get to the light, sometimes we are unable.

– you may have noticed i identify with the moon, even though i’m part of the shadow on her face tonight. my work as a facilitator/mediator is often that deep reflection. what beauty is in this darkness? how much light can you handle being? look how bright you are. but always half dark, or more.

– i am generally comfortable holding the dark. i believe it is the balance of light and dark that makes our world miraculous and dynamic. and since light is the anomaly of this universe, perhaps we all need to be comfortable with/in the dark.

– i hold brightness, too. but i think it’s a reflective work, catching and sharing the light of sun creatures like octavia butler, grace lee boggs, audre lorde, ursula le guin, mlk, toni cade bambara and other bright beaming beings. as i write that, i can also see how they caught and shared the light of their teachers. some light is as old as the tao, some as old as a humanish god. and some light is much older than that.

– this moon is telling me to notice every shadow on my face, accept my own darkness, emerge from any shadow that isn’t mine, surrender to the cycle of light and dark, and, when my time comes, be unapologetically bright.

(superfull af moon through branches, 1/21/19, 6:48am)

no monster will keep you safe at night

last week i made myself watch the ‘surviving r kelly’ documentary. i knew it was coming, and i knew it would not be easy to contend with. i have deep respect for the work of dream hampton, and i know her to be uncompromising and unflinching in her commitment to justice, especially for Black women and girls.

i wanted to watch the phenomenon as it unfolded in the public sphere, to be part of the collective experience. i also didn’t want to watch it alone, because i am a survivor and i have learned the hard way that if i am not careful, my own feelings of terror and shame can put me down in a hole where there is no bottom. watching it with others, hearing how we all gasped together, whispering ‘no’, shouting ‘oh my god’ at the most egregious reveals, crying together as these victims claimed their place as survivors, as survivors moved towards the light by telling their stories in a way that will make it harder for other girls to stumble into the dark place from which they – and we – are finally emerging.

what became crystal clear to me as i was watching the documentary was how capitalism was the river running through it. offering vulnerable people money, opportunity and stability in exchange for sexual favors, access and loyalty (their own, or that of their wives, sisters, daughters, sons) is a well worn practice.

the most terrifying story told in the film concerns a girl who was 12 when she met r kelly, 14 when she was filmed in a sex act with him, 21 when he was acquitted of child pornography (with the child and her parents ((including her dad who is credited as a guitar player on subsequent r kelly albums)) all denying it was her in the video, while her aunt, childhood best friend and high school coach all vouch that it is her), and the shocking news that, to date, she is still living with r kelly and ‘training’ his new victims.

what became clear to me was that one way the collective can do what law enforcement has failed to is by financially starving r kelly out of his hole.

to this end, i decided to make a playlist that covered some of the sexy territory r kelly has occupied with stomach-turning consistency. even when we knew the songs were about girls who could not possibly consent, people still played his music, requested it, were intimate to it.

for years i have left dance floors when r kelly’s music is played, and not streamed or played it on my own devices. i have been in an effort to decolonize and defang the things that i watch, listen to, read – trying to reprogram myself to feel power and wholeness inside a structure designed to make me feel incomplete, imperfect, and like there was something i needed to change or buy in order to be desirable.

after seeing the series, i wanted to be a small contribution to the collective effort to mute r kelly. if we stop listening, if we cut away at his income, he will not be able to continue paying the small army of people it takes to entrap and monitor these girls, to keep them in various homes around the country. muting r kelly is the most transformative path possible for accountability right now. so far, no matter what people say, r kelly has been able to use money from so many of us still buying concert tickets and streaming the music, and he has been able to enslave girl children for sexual abuse, both denying and flaunting his behavior without stopping the harm.

i want to explore, as carefully as possible, one thing that has happened since i posted the playlist. i populated the playlist with songs i know of and those suggested by others through social media. mostly people have been like ‘thank you! i needed this!’, and i even got a few testimonials from people who copulated to the playlist and vouch for its sexiness. whoop.

but a few people have responded by identifying other artists on the list as potential predators, explaining why they probably shouldn’t be on there.

when drake was 23 he pulled a girl up on stage and did lots of things with her before learning she was 17 (which some outlets have pointed out is ‘legal’ in colorado, where he was, though i am not sure what means in this context – she can drink, so she’s legally gropable?) and continued expressing attraction to her while saying this is how he gets in trouble. more recently he’s been developing a friendship with a young tv actress which many people have raised an eyebrow at, because we remember aaliyah…and generally have no reason to trust our favorite light skinned ho with any young ingenue.

miguel allegedly groped a fan’s breast during a photo and autograph moment backstage.

jaheim mistreated women.

prince groomed his young wife for years before they got together.

these facts are shared in a variety of ways – some just helpful, wanting to make sure i know. but some people seem almost gleeful, to have found another monster, and to then watch my next moves, will i align with a monster or what?

i have been very curious about my own reactions: it was easy not to put jaheim on the playlist, it was impossible to pull prince off of it. i have felt grateful for some of the news, annoyed by some of the news, and everything in between. in general this is true for my feelings during a lot of this last year of #metoo. sometimes it is easy to feel appalled, sometimes i feel a shrug in me, a question around the veracity of the stories or the intentions in bringing them forward. i sometimes feel shame at this wide range of responses, but i also want to get into why it exists.

of course on one level there is the very simple part of this…i don’t want to give up any artist i love, i don’t want to part with the art.

but then there is the other piece – i think there are monsters everywhere. it doesn’t make me feel better to identify someone else’s monstrous behavior, to show it. i am not particularly interested in the harm – i am interested in the healing.

i am a survivor, i know the terror that lives in the body when you have been touched the wrong way, hurt, sexually. i was hurt by people i knew and people i didn’t, by those with clear power over me and those who had none…well, none except the normilization of men claiming any part of a woman at any time, most recently embodied by our current president.

i have been in a relationship that i (and my partner at the time) realized was abusive. i have felt the shame of surviving, the shame of having gotten into such a situation. for that reason, i want to be the kind of person who says ‘trust survivors’ with ease.

but i have seen other things. i have seen unwell minds twist reality. i have seen opportunists weaponize every interaction. i have seen masterful manipulators at work, i have seen hurt people lead those who love them away from their wounds with misdirection, to cause more harm instead of generating healing. for this reason, i pay attention to patterns, to details, to my gut. i encourage others to navigate in this way.

and i have seen how mutable my own memories are, how i have to trust what i am learning to feel more than what my mind offers me for narratives on why i feel certain things.

so…my goal was not, and is never, to make any playlist that pretends there is purity, that there are all these good people and just one or two bad apples. my goal is help boycott r kelly’s music so that he cannot afford to upkeep his harm.

it is becoming easier daily to recognize r kelly as a monster we have grown up with. we know he was sexually harmed as a child by older family members, we know he can’t read, we know he has been involved in harming young girls (or, as one survivior put it, ‘weak minded women’) his entire career. but the things he has done are not unique to him.

dream has created an opportunity to tell this story and change it. to look at RCA and say, why do you support this? to look at every person who can play/stream music in the world, and say – don’t these girls matter to you?

but the desire to stop r kelly’s harmful patterns is not just about him. it’s about stopping the sexualizing of young girls, of young people. to stop the pattern of breaking young people’s sense of self and healthy sexuality during formative years. to stop his harm and start his healing.

no monster will keep us safe at night, and no individual accountability will create the new conditions we actually need – we have to widen our gaze to take in all of the community that keeps predatory behavior normalized and protected. r kelly, yes. and the jurors that acquit him. the parents who stuffed their daughters thru the tiny door of possible innocence offered by that acquittal. the brother, the staff people, the hundreds of people over the years that protected (and continue to protect) r kelly.

we all have people in our own families, schools, churches and workplaces that have passed off sexual predation as a harmless activity of men, as a spoil of masculinity. sexual harm, sexualizing young people, childhood sexual abuse – this is the water we are swimming in. #metoo is not just a grown up problem; it is, devastatingly, all about childhood, and how we protect it, how we raise sexually healthy and empowered generations. i am grateful to explore some of this in pleasure activism (out on ak press, february 2019), and grateful that my woe dani mcclain gives this a lot of space in her forthcoming book We Live for the We.

at the same time, we have to be cautious not to come up with a one size fits all response. sexual harm is not separate from us, and it isn’t uniform. it is extremely personal, it is fraught with shame and secrecy, and it can be a weapon.

if our approach to someone else causing sexual harm is gleeful finger pointing, and pushing people out of our lives and communities with a smile on our faces, then we will never actually disrupt the cycle of harm. when we approach sexual harm as if it is only in the realm of monsters, we miss the way it is our earthly burden, the way the roots of it grow under every aspect of human society, perhaps since we came into existence. this might be our first flaw and our greatest evolution. we all have to change.

and if we try to clump all levels of sexual harm together as one offense, we encourage those who have caused all manner of harm not to come forward, apologize, not to change.

the work is harder. the work is to listen to survivors and follow their lead, but from a place of being in community. we have to hold space for the complexity of everyone involved, and the belief that everyone can and will change, hopefully for the healthier. the work is to feel for what is authentic and true. the work is to notice each time we try to normalize something violent. and to have good boundaries around sex and permission and bodies in our own lives. the work is to make sure the children we are raising and loving are protected from the brainwashing and culture-washing that many of us fell prey to, whether or not we were overtly assaulted.

ultimately the work of ending childhood sexual abuse and patriarchal sexual assault is liberatory, not purgatory.

happy places, 2018

as i look back at this year, i see how it could be a bad, or hard, year. the irs grabbed me by the neck so i could barely breathe. trauma memories found me everywhere – on stages, in bed with lovers, during meetings that i was facilitating – clarity i’ve prayed for, but oh i didn’t want it when it came. i was disappointed in love experiments, and surprised by our limitations in our movement capacity. we were not able to keep Alana alive.

and yet. it was a year full of tenderness, and love, and pleasure, and miracles, and generosity. more than ever before, i was rigorous with my own attention. i was rigorous about putting my attention on the good, and moving towards the happy places available to me.

here is small list, in no particular order:

Alana’s bedside. i fell deeper in love with my friend as she was defying death and finding magic and pleasure and grief everywhere. the time we spent laughing and facing death together changed me.

standing in a room full of organizers getting the news that Siwatu is free. each room that conspired on her miraculous freedom.

Italy, on a small island where old friends reveled in each other and new friends delighted each other. we were so glamorous! a highlight for me was dancing naked in the moonlight as a lightning storm rolled in.

Thailand, a small apartment with old friends and their new baby, my new nibbling whose name means ‘ring around the moon’. learning breastfeeding and endurance, remembering the sacred service of postpartum doula work, interspersed with ritual, Buddha and a daunting bout with fecal waterfalls.

nibblings…so many nibblings so little time. i write this while one nibbling is on my lap in cat ears and another waits for me to continue rubbing her back. my blood nibblings are joined by those i’ve chosen, and those who have chosen me. my upstairs neighbor nibbling yells out to me from the stairs by my door, and if i’m home i come running. i have a nibbling who started reading before she knew the alphabet. i feel joy and huge auntie capacity, and anytime i’m with them, it’s a happy place.

la (or anywhere) with my woes. started the year with beach and my woes. we found each other in many places this year. we did rituals and held each other up and got so much done by living as a community. i am more excellent than i was at the beginning of this year.

anime on the couch…most relationships don’t last, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some good in there. this year i spent a lot of time watching anime on my couch with someone sweet who let me hold onto their soft belly, and it was good, and it was a comfort.

time with my plants – actually, any time at home, period. i feel in love with my plant babies, and with the sweet rhythm of a life that supports the well being of plants. i love the way light pours into my kitchen, the little blue cave of my room, sunbathing on my deck, hot baths, being cozy in my living room. i love my home, and i know time there is still too rare.

writing time. i finished two books this year, and a zine. it will all come out in 2019. i went to martha’s vineyard and wrote in the deep quiet. i wrote in new orleans during a cold snap. i wrote in detroit, on planes, in baths, in stolen moments, on the edges of my life. i wrote for free, i wrote for patrons, i wrote things that made me laugh and things that came from great weeping. writing is ALWAYS my happy place.

sistercation/family time – my sisters and i went to see Beyoncé this year and just get deep check ins. i also got quality time with my parents, who jump through fire for me and make sure i know they love me and are proud of my work. i love that, as a family, we put in work on being sisters to each other across borders, families, time limits, technology and distance. this is how we hold each other through changes.

somatic space! being a student and trainer with generative somatics meant that i got to spend several weeks of this year watching and feeling as people leapt wholeheartedly into their highest selves. ghosts and dreams meet in those rooms.

goddess weekend! the group of women i went to college with has become a circle of brilliant, creative bad ass leaders raising families and standards for what our species can be. i am so humbled that i have won these additional sisters. i love our commitment to annual extravagance.

emergent strategy immersions and facilitation training. i scarcely know how to speak of these. my dream, my deepest most tender vision, grew this year. so many people took risks and gave of themselves to grow with me this year. so many people showed up to give me feedback, to weave with me. i can’t even express the gratitude, it’s too much and when i think of it i am moved to tears.

podcasting…primarily i am grateful to get to be in transformative conversation with my sister in a regular basis through How to Survive, but also getting to be a guest on so many other podcasts. i love conversation as a way of learning, and i always think grace lee boggs would be pleased by the practice.

Black space! whether it was BOLD gatherings, or facilitating for BYP100 and BLM GLOBAL and M4BL, i was continually blessed to get to hold space and be with some of the most brilliant Black people alive. i know who i am meant for.

opening up gifts and care packages. i love gooood gifts so much!

there are so many more, but these are the highlights. and i am grateful for how much i’ve learned about putting my attention on beauty, love and freedom and going that way through all obstacles. thank you all for being a part of this good life.

the cold moon

the year is almost over and it’s a massive moment for release – solstice and full moon! the darkest night and the cold full moon, somehow it works together in a beautiful impossible contradiction. have you seen the moon tonight! i can’t take my eyes off of her, she is so full and fat that i feel beautiful.

tonight, it is a time for letting go. here is a recipe for release:

i release my fear of the dark. i promise to trust that the shadows will shift as i grow and change.

i release any grasp oppressors still have on my attention. i promise to give my dreams and waking life to that which inspires me, and those who love me.

i release any traces of scarcity in my heart. i offer love, joy and connection from the incredible regenerating well that is sourced from the very miracle of my own life.

also…thank you moon, for bathing us in light, for showing us the rhythms between light and dark. thank you for moving me so viscerally that i cannot sleep, for pulling the tide out of me, and for teaching me the sacred value of reflection.

the runs: poetic reflections

i don’t want to tell you about what’s happening here my last day in thailand, except i am obviously about to because i’m an awake writer experiencing something daunting. and everyone i could tell about this is asleep.

y’all. the speed with which microorganisms have put me in my place is so humbling. i am fascinated in my misery.

my weak american gut has been bested by something here, something that doesn’t harm those who live here. i am trying not to take it personally, even though being an american means always being somewhat responsible for the mess.

i don’t want to even guess what caused this, because i don’t want to cast aspersions at all the yummy things i’ve bravely tried. after my swift and violent midvisit reaction to the strange fruit called durian, i’ve been more cautious about putting things in my mouth. but i’m human, so i did put things in my mouth. delicious and sometimes mysterious things. and one of those things changed me.

this morning i woke up feeling like i was nauseous with hunger. i felt a gaping growing void in the center of my system, which slowly began to burp and bubble in a way that whispered, gently, ‘don’t fart’.

i tried to eat oatmeal, but the nausea was stronger than the hunger, so i chilled on that. after two sweet rounds with baby and parents, supporting them through a night that involved six hours of baby feeding and only two hours of sleep, i retired to my room feeling like a balloon. a balloon full of toxic carbonation.

there i tried to sleep the strange gaseous nausea away (but that just made it even bubblier, get it?). i brought a trashcan near the bed, because as a Virgo i try to never be unprepared for mess.

the alien force in my body apparently took that as a sign of welcome and immediately bent me over that trashcan and started trying to free itself through my mouth. i moved to the bathroom and got the cherished and, to date, avoided, experience of becoming a passageway, with a river flowing out from me in every direction.

i had the brief moment that i suspect most of us who live with eating disorders experience in the first seconds of the runs – ooh i’m going to lose some weight! then i was on my knees feeling how i love every pound of flesh i’ve acquired and apologizing for anything i did to bring this harm into me.

it was not beautiful. i prayed for breaks so i could breathe and wipe away tears. i felt cleansed at every level of my being. at this point i also had to relinquish the narrative that it was just gas.

gas doesn’t make fecal waterfalls.
too much?
yes, it is too much. but it’s also real life. and it’s happening to me.

i did research and found many names i won’t repeat (they all sound western and colonial) for what is happening to me, because fecal waterfalls, while cringe worthy, is the most accurate. i’ve spent the last eight hours trying to sleep between Jackie Joyner Kersee paced dashes to the loo.

the “sleeping” is hard because the bacteria inside me are engaged in a muy thai tournament to the death. i even attempted some slow, distraught packing, which looked like carrying one small thing at a time to my suitcase and then catching my breath. the whole time i heard myself chanting “oh lord God why do you smite me so? am i not your child, perfect lord? have i not tried obsessively hard to avoid fecal matter on food?”, knowing all along that my late grandfather would chastise me for only turning to Him on my deathbed.

the internet says i will be fine in a couple of days. it says to stay hydrated, a miraculous task i must somehow achieve with substances that only seem to source the waterfall. i’m chugging liquids into a dusty forlorn mouth.

i’m sad because i want to be relishing the last hours with my baby friend instead of laying in fetal position, feeling like a less than cute newborn giant who has no sense of shame or timing and probably needs a new diaper.

but this writing is cathartic, i really do need to process this in words, reclaim myself as a being of coherence, not incontinence. i don’t think you need to read about my fecal matter or anyone else’s, but i’m grateful for the imagined company.

and no regrets – i’m so glad i came here, i love it.

i’m really glad i went exploring yesterday, and that this didn’t come over me outside the hotel.

i got to chant with a protector Buddha, and do rituals with a reclining Buddha for beloved ones living and beyond.

i’m grateful for this journey and for getting to witness the first weeks of this dynamic little being who responds so sweetly to my silly auntie songs.

i’m praying that this resolves itself before my flight tomorrow. won’t you help me pray? that the chaotic little bacteria within me find peace, that they go back the way they came…no, let me be precise cause i can’t do that when-do-i-get-to-breathe barf thing again. let’s pray that they let go of their death grip on my tender-boweled body and go with the flow, back into that great great sewage of 18 million souls.

mkay? mkay.

when in thailand on the fourth thursday of november

I made gluten free stovetop mac and cheese with tapioca flour, coconut cream, and four kinds of cheese, none of which are cheddar. and none of my usual kitchen tools. and it’s effing delicious, because I am adaptable, and trust in garlic salt.

I prefer ham to any turkey ever.

I feast today in honor of indigenous people who have survived the long and violent encounters of colonization. survived with bows, arrows, wit, collectivity, protocol, culture, resistance. and adaptation. I grieve the role my ancestors and the country of my birth have played in breaking our right relationship with this land, and pray for those wounded ghosts.

I’m grateful to be working hard to get us right.
I’m grateful to be holding a sleeping baby who will be raised outside the narrative of American exceptionalism.
I’m grateful I met Alana and got to know her.
I’m grateful I can make yummy food in any conditions.
I’m grateful for my sweet father, born this day.
and so much more.

me, but in thailand

i’m sitting in a hospital lobby while sheets of rain pour down outside a wall of glass. in this nation of medical tourism, the hospital lobby feels like a four star hotel, including a man playing a baby grand piano. my way is the song of this moment. i’ve been in bangkok less than 24 hours and i’m quite taken with all the small ways i can feel that i’m in a new place.

the drivers sit on the right side of car. they drive on the right side of the road. i have crossed to the upside down of the world and the clock i know. what stands out – an open air night market, the green everywhere – close all around the buildings and shooting up even from the tallest roofs. and temples and altars around every corner. it’s humid heat, it slides into the skin fast and, for me, makes me move slower and breathe deeper.

i’m a journey traveler, i love the whole thing. i love getting lost, i can handle delays and changes of plan (yesterday i got lost at heathrow and had to spend the whole day there waiting for next flight out), i love being on planes and staring out the window, i love being surrounded by a multitude of different languages, i love intuitive sign language directions from the backs of cabs, and how google has made it both easier to get around and more hilarious (google translate told my driver i wanted to go see a really tall lady part, and i wonder how it knew that), i love the changes in culture and perspective, and then finding the ways humans are the same, children are the same, wherever i go.

i am here to doula for my friends, although their baby already came and the whole set up here is so sweet that a lot of my normal doula work – cleaning, cooking, cleaning – is covered. so i get to stare at this little one and then explore bangkok. with all the grief and crisis and excitement and work of this year, i have deeply needed this away time, it already feels so good, like so me, but in thailand. the rain has stopped. time for massage.

Dear Stacey

Dear Stacey,

Don’t give in.

I lived in Georgia for four years once. Sometimes when I tell my story I include the truth that I learned about racism in Georgia – I’d experienced it before, but Georgia was where it was organized, a shameless system.

Don’t give in.

Now I’m in Detroit. We had a relatively good election. But it was you I couldn’t look away from…I watched your race as if borders didn’t exist and I could vote for you! I couldn’t sleep until I knew you weren’t giving in.

Don’t give in!

We know you won. We feel it. You are real, and you love us, you won us. Every Georgian I know voted for you. Everyone else, we donated, we reached out to all of our Georgia people, we made calls, we spread the word. And we all plan to vote for you one day.


Please don’t give in. Even if you can’t get light into every shadow of this race, even if you are told to concede, even if they try to complete the story, you ain’t finished yet.

You are a love scholar, a romance novelist – this is a love story. We see who you are, and we love you. We’re staying. We won’t give in.

amb and errybody I know