Thursday, June 21, 2012

ah, the hope of letters...

So I'm sitting on my porch drinking coffee during probably the only cool hour expected today. I wonder if you still take yours light and sweet.
I have been hoping to see you, but I'm not convinced that's going to happen. There are things I believe I need to tell you, but maybe some things are better expressed and received in a letter.
I don't know if I've ever apologized properly to you. I know it was a long time ago & I believe you have forgiven me. (I don't imagine I was important enough to stay mad at.) I try very hard to do the right thing & be honest & maybe now that I've extended an authentic apology to you, I'll be able to forgive myself. I am so very sorry for hurting you. It's something I will always regret.
I was such a broken girl when we were together. I tried so hard to hold on to that chance at something good with you--but my psyche was so fractured that I didn't believe then that I deserved you.
You know I wanted to come see you one day--but Nick told me you had started seeing Julie.
When I realized most intensely how much I'd loved you & what I'd lost was when I had my daughter. I remember sitting with her in the rocking chair--I was 23--and all I could think was that she should have been yours.
It's taken me a long time and a lot of work to achieve some health & wholeness. I still wish I could see you--not for some epic romantic reunion, but just to...oh, I guess I don't even know. To meet again as the people we are now, and with compassion for the kids we were.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The sexual maturation of an octopus is controlled by an optical gland (called that only because it sits upon the optic nerve); this gland "shuts off" the desire to eat once an octopus, male or female, has mated.  And yes, octopi can change gender.  A female octopus will retreat to a cave to lay thousands of eggs: the numbers vary based on species.  The momma protects her eggs and keeps a constant current moving through them, and yes, dies when the eggs hatch.  It's universal that very few of the baby octopi will survive (on average, two will live to maturation).
It's almost better to be the octopus, he said,
when she cursed her son for moving
across the country.
But he thanked her for the cookies
and he loves her from afar
while she worries
that time is running out
for completion of general tasks
like weeding the garden
and solving the Republican government.
He, the speaker, writes about the attitudes
parents squeeze into their children,
like toothpaste in reverse.
He's a gentle Philip Larkin.
He intends better. 
He doesn't change.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

No One Expects the Days to be Gods~Emerson

There are many days from my past that I love and long for, but didn't even realize then how much I loved them.  How dearly I hold on to those days when Erin was an infant.  Every day was a glorious miracle: nursing, napping, breathing the same air.
The days when I was so broke and believed I was sad and lonely, when I took Erin to the beach and slept on the rocks in the sun; the days when Cameron was a baby...I felt guilty all the time.  Those days were NOT gods.  I surely did not love them as I should have. 
For a long time, if my days were gods, they were sleeping gods. 
Oh but they awoke when I went home to Vermont.  We were tucked in safe and sound, snuggled in Manchester.  Again Ifailed to appreciate the dark silent mornings when I pulled my stool up to the counter and wore my red sweatpants and wrote.  Always the fear of lack chained me down and kept me from seeing the god-ness of my days.  No love. No money.  General failure. 
My days are gods again now, and I'm sure that later I will fear I missed them.  How does one appreciate?  By being humble and mindful.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Friday nights and Saturdays are becoming difficult for me: I'm so sad with missing my children.  On Saturdays I have been trying to not smoke, then consequently overeating, and then smoking afterwards.
The missingness just feels so vast.

Today I facilitated a journal workshop for the first time.  Armed with a copy of Kathleen Adams' Journal to the Self, which I hadn't read, and a few blank marble notebooks, I set up shop in the glass cupola house.  I expected about 6 participants. Two showed up.
The two guys (men!) did exactly what I asked.  They listened when I spoke.  And then they wrote like fiends.  It was amzing to see.
I wasn't planning on writing while facilitating but with just the 3 of us, what else could I do? I wrote, "They're doing what I ask! Oh my god! They think I know what I'm doing...Maybe I DO know what I'm doing.  Maybe I DO have something to offer...I love to write & I love words.  Why do I deny myself?  I also love to smoke.  And run.  So maybe I'm not the best most traditional Momma.  But there is so much that is good about me."
And bang, just like that, I remembered who and what I am.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I'm a champion letter-writer.  To wit: what follows is most of a letter I wrote to a man who had been cheating on me the entire time we were together, a couple of years ago.  I'm sharing it here because I am considering another letter, to a different man.

I don’t feel that it is my job to understand you--I just have some things I need to express. Although you wounded me deeply, I was hoping to speak to you face to face. Had you been here to talk to me, I would have tried to convey my compassion, empathy, & understanding. Had you been here to talk, I would have tried to engage you in a conversation about working through this, together. I have to go forward, with or without you; I told you I wouldn’t leave you and that was a true statement. If you have left me, which is what I am left to assume, then I will proceed alone. Because I love you, I want you to be happy. If you are happier without me, if your life is better without me in it, then I wish you well.
 I have to believe that your behavior on Saturday was your default defense mechanism—you were so cruel towards me. I cannot accept that that is who you really are.
Instead, I choose to believe that our connection and our intimate moments were real—the moment I first saw you, the electric jolts your fingertips sent thru me when we walked in the gallery and you said you felt it too & it made you feel good and you think that’s what true love feels like. Kissing face to face, side by side in your bed. Sleeping naked together. The things you said that I held onto: “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” and, “You’ll get that on the big jobs.”

 If you’d been here to talk, I would have considered that we could rebuild from this rubble—that there is much that is salvageable. The connection we had was real—I have to believe that. And that alone would have been worth fighting for.
But you’re not here, so this note and my box of things will be my closure. Throughout my grief over our loss, I have been praying for you. God loves you—you are a child of God as much as anyone else—you’re a man in pain, maybe, or confused—but not a villain. I will remember you as a child of God. It is my sincere hope that if you take anything from this, it’s the knowledge that real love does exist, and you are worthy of it. I hope you remember me always and know that I loved you as well as I could.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Just back from the grocery store...I've neglected my journal for a while but I plan to spend the rest of the day compensating. Lots of things to process.
Joanna's group today was amazing.  Three folks I haven't met before (Morgan, Dan & Rose) who seem SO. COOL. 
Every time I come home and say to James that I am amazed at people's response to what I write, the words that come through me...what a gift to be able to hang with an awesome group of like-minded folks andto share and talk with them.

But here is what I wrote today as a response to an invitation to do some stream of consciousness writing.  It's edited a bit; the prompt was to imagine {myself} walking somewhere and finding a gift.
In case it's not clear, the gift is the ocean. I think.

a section of a Hokusai painting
The power and consistency of crashing ocean waves: my studio home is behind me. I walk along the deserted beach, cloudless blue sky, sun shining, and enormous ocean waves crash, crawl towards the shore and then recede into the next.  The ocean is always here for me.  I retreat into the mountains and trees and snow for misunderstood aching periods of hibernation. 
Christ, is this my life now?  Hiding, safe, repeating old useless patterns?
No, says the Ocean.  Come to me.  Bring your anchor.  When you're ready to bravely expand.  When you are healed.  I am here.
I look back.  I love my studio on the shore with huge windows open to the rolling power of the ocean.  It's been a place of inspiration.  I think of the protected time in the hills on the mountain hidden in the trees overlooking the meadow.  But now it's Mexico or Maine.  Just go.  Trust.  The ocean the ocean the ocean beckons.  I stand undecided on the shore.  I cannot ever be quiet enough to hear anything.  Or I don't believe my ears.  I shuck my shorts my shoes my skin and walk calmly towards my ocean.  This is it.  Safety is loving the fear.  I swim through the waves.  I feel my mother's fingers on my four-year-old bicep.  Her fear, not mine.  I'm not smart enough to be afraid.  I prefer to just jump in and then look back with regret and guilt. 
My father gave me the ocean and then he gave me the mountains.  My mother gave me passive terror.
I swim out out out and the current pulls at me but I breathe into that fear.  Belly and heart working as one.  One big gasp and I dive down down down this must be Mexico or at least not Maine because here are starfish and seahorses and octupi.  I love them.  I am as shy and secretive as they.  My legs bind into a tail and gills neatly tear open and I inhale this beautiful cool water.  Mermaid girl. Strips of sun filter down to us.  Starfish cling to my hips and waist, tickling me, hanging on for the ride.
I want to be a new invention.  My own creation, or God's version of me.