Posts Tagged ‘change’

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Although honestly I don’t actually feel like crying. I did that yesterday when I woke up to what certainly felt like the end of the world as I knew it. The dawn of a new world helmed by a misogynistic, bigoted, fascist, racist, hate-spewing, violence-inciting, completely unhinged orange despot-elect.

But then I got mad. I got together with my tribe of strong and powerful and brave women, with my men of quality who do not fear equality, and I made a commitment to raise hell. To say No More. To stand up for a better world, a kinder world, a more open and connected and curious and inclusive world. A world that embraces Love and rejects fear. This is what I will fight for what I will work for, what I will pray for–for the next four years and the next four decades and however long I have breath.

katniss

Change is coming. This election, this crisis, this unbelievable unfolding of events has awakened the Katniss in me–and in thousands and millions like me. We are not sitting this one out, crying and scared in a corner. We are standing up. We are marching forward. We are linking arms and  raising voices and moving mountains. Hope trumps fear. Love trumps hate. Even now. Especially now.

I worked on this poem for 4 months, earlier this year and finished it about 4 weeks ago. It feels more true and more powerful now than it did when I put down my pen.

2016 has been an almighty shitstorm of a year. And maybe we’ve just barely seen the worst of it. They say things get worse before they get better, don’t they? But here today, on my birthday, I–the natural-born pessimist–am saying that I BELIEVE it will get better. Because we will make it better. We will.

 


 

SWEET CHILD OF MINE

I want to give you the world
but not this one.

Not the one where a boy
with dirty fingers
can stuff you with leaves
behind a dumpster
and get off easy
because he can swim 200 meters
in a hot fucking minute.

Not the one where a man
with a grudge and a gun
turns a dance floor
into an abattoir
where rainbow lights pulse
on the tortured limbs of dying men
who came out for the music.

And those bullets, oh child,
you have to dodge them everywhere,
take care, take cover
at the office
at school
at concert halls and cafes.
Even first graders here
know how to cower in a closet
while their teacher lays down
her body as a barrier.

Not for you, a world
ruled by moneyblind megalomaniacs with
big fears and small minds
and small hands
and small opinions of women
of poor people
of gay people
of brown people
of people in general.

There is no equality here
so don’t expect understanding
if the gender gifted you at birth
makes your very skin crawl
and you require stitches and knives
to make it right.
Don’t expect impartiality
if you share a bed
a live
a love
and genitalia, too.
That rainbow flag waves
in defiance here
more often than joy.

I want for you no limits
not the size of your curves
or the shape of your smile
or the purity of your unsullied sheets.
I want for you the assurance
that your sex does not determine your worth
or your health or your wealth or your freedom
of choice.
of voice.
Because this world does not want to listen, child,
this world will not give you ground and I

want to give you the sky but not this one
where dispassionate bombs
fall from the blue
obliterating schools
and hospitals
and hope.
Death delivered by remote control.

And people flee that death
and horror, that loss and
ruin unleashed by all the powers that be.
People run and they crawl and they swim
and even as their children sink beneath waves,
we won’t let them in. There is no room in this world
for the war torn
for the foreign born.
No vacancy for the burqa bearing.
No clemency for the keffiyeh wearing.
One whiff of otherness and
the door slams in your face.

I want to give you a window
to crawl through. I want to give you
wide open space. I want to give you
the ocean-deep depths. But the water
is choked with plastic and the prairies
are plundered for oil and
this place, child, this place
is headlined by blood by bullets by bastards
Every.
Gods.
Damned.
Day.

I do not want for you a world
where a cop fires his gun into a car
regardless of the
Baby on Board
because
the man behind the wheel was black
and then he was dead
and he was unarmed
and then he was dead
and his hands were up
and then he was dead.
And white men kill black men kill white men kill people
kill sons kill fathers kill sisters kill mothers kill brothers kill daughters kill people
kill kill kill.

And still
tonight
another man in blue will strap on boots
and his badge and his wife
will wait red-eyed by the window
while across town a black man slips on shoes
and his wallet and his wife
will wait red-eyed by the window
because this world, sweet child,
this world is ruled by fear.

I cannot give you this world, child.
Not the world that makes me
want to lie down and die
day after day after
24-hour news cycle.

But for you, for you
I will get up and go on
for one more day
and then another.

For you I will stand
and fight
for you I will kneel
and pray
for you I am woke
I will speak
I will vote
I will write
I will see
I will love
I will hear
I will hope.

For you, I will.

06.09.16/09.21.16/10.02.16/11.08.16

voters

-Lo, who found her voice.

Transition Lenses

Monday, November 21st, 2011

tunnel_light

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” -Anatole France

Melancholy. That’s the feeling I’ve been trying to name.

I am not sad. I’m not unhappy, or disgruntled, or malcontent. I’m just, ever so occasionally, melancholy.

Several people who are further along in their parenting adventure told me that when your babe turns one year old, you begin to feel yourself again. As if the first anniversary is a magical switch that, once reached, will tilt the axis of your universe back to a more familiar (and less overwhelming) setting.

So as the fated date approched, I waited for a renewed sense of self. Some sort of assurance that I had gotten the hang of mum-hood while still retaining or regaining all the moving parts that made me the person I used to be.

And then September 2 came, and partied, and faded into September 3 and I felt no different than I had on the 1st of the month. Or on the 1st of August. Or July.

Don’t worry, I’m not sitting here all sad-sack thinking there’s something wrong with me. I believe that mothers, like babies, develop at their own pace. Just because other mothers have felt like life returned to some semblance of normality around the one year mark doesn’t mean that my sense of normal will behave the same way.

Maybe I feel this way, in part, because I waited awhile to have a child. My individual personhood (and couplehood with Bruce) was pretty well established for quite a few years. We had it down. And then, at 7am one Thursday morning, everything changed.

I changed.

And in the change, I lost myself.

It’s true that I’ve gained more in motherhood than I have lost. So much more. There are moments of wonder and joy that surpass anything I have ever known, that more than make up for the lack of sleep and the absence of time.

But that doesn’t negate the fact that the me who used to be is gone.

Sometimes I struggle with that. Sometimes I don’t know who, exactly, I am anymore.

After all, the learning curve is steep when you’re becoming someone new. You spend a lot of time admitting that you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing. You stumble around. You try and you fail. You get overly nostalgic about the old routine, because this new one is incredibly uncomfortable.

So it’s only natural and fitting that on the difficult days and often in the dead of night, you mourn the you who is lost. Because you knew how to be that version of yourself. You had the playbook, more or less.

Now that playbook is undergoing a complete and total revision. And in order to embrace the new world order, you have to say goodbye to the old.

But sometimes letting go takes awhile.

So while I’m cocooned in this transition phase, while I’m releasing and embracing and fumbling around, I’ve decided to let the more creative parts of myself go into hibernation. It’s the only way to survive, really.

If I tried to be as prolific as I was pre-baby, to write even as much as I did when I was pregnant, I think my skull would implode.

It’s not that I’m not writing at all. I’m here, obviously. Just not as often as I used to be. Weekly posts have been culled to monthly posts. If I’m lucky.

I’m also keeping a journal for Lucette, trying to record all the little moments that slip too easily into the ether.

But I’m not writing for myself. The poetry is dormant for now. I miss it. I miss that feeling when the words start to click and flow and fit into place. I miss the satisfaction of a well-placed line break.

And I miss charting out new ideas for cinepoems. (In fact, I have a gorgeous one percolating that involves me, Lu, and a pair of tiny hats.)

I miss the more simple, selfish things, too. Like having entire Saturday afternoons to read a novel. Or weed the flower beds. Or obsessively re-organize my closet. Or do nothing at all.

Someday the energy, the creative spark, will return. Someday I’ll pull the poems out from their hiding places and build them a home of paper and ink. But not today.

Today I am going to change a poopy diaper. And find the missing white cow for the Little People farm. And read the story about the Busy Horses. And read it again. And again.

And somewhere between the highchair and the crib, I’m going to learn something new about who this mother-me really is.

I think it’s going to be great.

-Lo, who thinks that a world without the Cheeks in it would be a truly miserable place.

Year One

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

baby-love

365

For the record, I didn’t really believe everything would change.
I imagined less time, of course, less sleep, less general air of sans souci
but not the entirety of life all upside down, and least of all me.

It seems after 52 weeks of daily miracles
I have become someone completely new.
I am milk maid and diaper genie and an utter fool for you.

Little Light of September Moon, all my selves were made to love you.

-Lo, whose entire world changed for good one year ago today.

The Same But Different

Friday, February 25th, 2011

different

February has flown by with nary a post from me.

And it’s not that I have nothing happening or nothing to say. Quite the contrary. I feel nearly drowned under a deluge of happenings: changes, promises, possibilities. I am choosing my words carefully these days, choking back the bulk of them.

While I’m the world’s biggest proponent of putting it out there and saying what you feel, I have learned hard lessons recently about being selective about the what, the how, the when and, most of all, the whom with which you share.

So I’ll let that hang there all cryptic-like and talk about something else for awhile.

And what else is there to talk about but the Baby Love of my life?! She’s nearly six months now. Already.

I have been warned about how quickly time would fly and I believed it. But when you see it actually happening, actually flying before your eyes, you get a little breathless, a little disbelieving, a little, “how can this be?”

More and more, as the little one grows rounder and taller and stronger and, oh my god, funnier, I am realizing just how much I have changed.

Before Lucette came, I worried about it. I spent a very long time getting fine with who I was and I was apprehensive about the new Mother Me who would emerge. I didn’t know who I would become.

And I know, I know the becoming has only just begun. But how far I’ve already come!

There was a moment, just days after Lucette was born, when I realized what a fundamental shift had already occured within me. We were freshly home from the hospital, just the three of us. We were sitting on the couch, watching HGTV (we watched hours of that channel in the early days of babyland, which is why I’m now addicted to Holmes on Homes).

Lucette had fallen asleep in my arms and as I stared down at her, tears began rolling from my eyes.

Bruce looked over and saw me crying and said, “What’s wrong?!”

“Nothing.” I replied. “Nothing at all. I’m just looking at her and she’s so beautiful. And I’m so ha-a-a-ppy.” And then I dissolved in a big puddle of mush.

Bruce scooted over, put his arm around us, and together we sat and stared at that tiny round head and wept.

And I knew, I knew right then that I was a new person.

Not entirely new, of course. The old Lo is still here. But I’ve expanded, somehow. I’ve gotten wider. Not the childbirth hip factor, although that’s true, too. It’s like my soul has doubled in size. There’s more room in me now. More capacity for love, for emotion, for mothering.

Augh. And here’s where the words run out on me, because that’s not even it exactly. Perhaps because I can’t quite wrap my brain around this metamorphosis yet, I can’t explain it coherently. It will likely take years to suss out.

But I’m content knowing, for now, that I have changed. And that the change is good. There is not the sense of loss that I feared, pre-baby. Instead there is a fullness. A completeness. A being-okay-with-the-not-quite-there-yet-ness.

And every morning when I wake up to those Cheeks (even on days like today, when the Cheeks wake me up before dawn), I am overwhelmed by my good fortune.

I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to be this little one’s momma.

-Lo, who found the words after all.

In Limbo

Friday, August 20th, 2010

mood: ponderous | drinking: water

limbo

I picked up LeeLoo’s ashes today, brought them home in a small cedar box.

This weekend we will meet up with a few of her favorite people to let her fly free at the beach.

It’s been almost a month now since she left us, and I was getting to the point where I didn’t cry every time I thought of her. But when the vet tech handed me the smooth, heavy box, the reality of her loss crashed over me again.

I loved that dog more than I love most people I meet. She was a part, a big part, of the best years of my life, sharing the last 8 years with Boy and I, traveling with us everywhere that didn’t require an airplane.

We knew that change was coming… we’ve known it since the plus sign appeared on the stick in January. But somehow, losing LeeLoo made the end of our old life very clear, as if we suddenly reached the end of a book, closed the cover and put it up on the shelf.

And soon, any day now in fact, we’ll begin a new book. We’ll open up to page 1 and start writing a new era, one that includes Bean. Everything will be different.

But that’s the future tense. LeeLoo was the past tense. And right this moment, we’re in the present tense with not a lot to say. It’s a surreal time. We are living in the in-between, a weird frozen moment between what used to be and what will be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying all these last moments of alone time. I’m sleeping in, watching movies, reading books, getting facials and massages and waxes and mani/pedis. I’m loving all this time with Boy, just the two of us.

But every time Bean puts a heel in my kidney, every time I feel the cramp of a Braxton Hicks contraction, every time I try and fail to hoist my planet-sized body out of a chair, I’m reminded that this time is just Limbo. Here today, gone tomorrow.

I have no idea what the future will look like, but I’m hoping very hard that it will be even better than the last eight years. Because that would be pretty goddamn amazing.

-Lo, with less than 2 weeks to go.

Pictures That Talk

Friday, July 16th, 2010

mood: here | drinking: drinks

dieter

I’ve written about my friend Dieter before (here). In February of 2008, he suffered a massive stroke that left him struggling to regain his speech and the full use of his right arm and hand.

As an artist who had, his whole life, expressed himself through words and music, Dieter suddenly found himself locked inside his own head, unable to communicate his thoughts, fears, feelings. He had to learn how to say his wife’s name, his son’s names.

Since 2008, Dieter’s journey has been long and difficult. It is likely he will never fully regain the use of his right hand, or ever be able to speak or sing again the way he used to.

But he has found new ways to communicate. Ever the artist, Dieter has turned to photography to express not only his own story (the picture above is a self-portrait), but the stories of others who don’t have voices. (See a sampling of Dieter’s photos here and details of his “Pictures that Talk” tour here.)

This week, Dieter emailed me a link to a video he’s created, and I want to share it here with you. He’s found the beauty inside the heartache, and it’s breath-taking to watch…

The Stroke of Silence

-Lo, who is always amazed at the human heart’s capacity for hope.

The Becoming Never Ends

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

mood: ponderous | drinking: lots and lots of water

boat_small

My thoughts are scattered far and wide today, floating on haphazard breezes like so much dandelion fluff. I don’t know where to begin.

I can feel myself changing. Outside, the transformation is obvious even to strangers, as my hard round stomach pushes its way further and further out into the world. Inside, everything is re-arranged. My viscera, my ribcage, my brain.

Who is it, exactly, that I am becoming?

You don’t even know how many people have said to me, “Oh, you will make such a good mother!”

The polite response is “thanks” of course, but what I would rather say is, “How the hell do you know that?”

Because I don’t even know that. I don’t know what it is going to take, exactly, to be a mother. I don’t know where, exactly, mother will end and me will begin. Or perhaps they will become inextricably entangled and I will never again be precisely myself.

I’ve waited a long time to become a mother. This is something I don’t think I could ever regret. I’ve had an excellent time learning to be myself, learning to be Boy’s partner, learning how to constantly and consciously become a better version of both.

And now, a whole new door is opening inside me. A whole new person is being knit together, and whether she likes it or not, she will always be a part of me. From here until the end of time.

It’s easy to talk about all of this evolution in pretty prose, but the reality is what scares me. I don’t know how, exactly, all of this will change me. I don’t know who I will be on the other side. I don’t know how Boy and I will make it all work.

And even more, I don’t know who exactly this new little person is. I don’t know yet what she’ll like and dislike, what she’ll dream of and what she’ll discard.

There are just so many unknowns to this whole situation.

And it’s fine for all the onlookers to be all pleasant with their platitudes about my parenting skills, but only time will tell, right? These chapters have yet to be written.

I’m sure we’ll do the best we can and day by day, we’ll figure it out. Right now, though, I sit with a butternut squash in my belly and a whole lot of blank pages in front of me and I try to remind myself not to jump so far ahead.

And I wonder why everything I write comes circling back to what’s happening in my uterus. It’s an all-consuming project, this baby-growing thing.

I fear I’ve become a boring conversationalist already, and we haven’t even gotten to the part yet where Boy and I spend dinner discussing the irregularities of our progeny’s poop.

-Lo, with a bad case of the baby brain.

From the depths

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

mood: listening | drinking: sprite

sonar

Sonar

From the depths, you
tap out a signal
just for me.

To think that once
there was such silence,
and now

always
I’ll be listening
for you.

*****

-Lo, at week 28.

Nesting Instinct

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

mood: busy | drinking: water

hippo1

On average, I’m not doing too well with all the old wive’s tales about pregnancy. I’m not garnishing my ice cream with pickles, I’m not excessively bitchy or weepy, and I haven’t yet noticed my fingernails growing at an alarmingly fast rate.

But this nesting thing? Yeah, I’ve got that hardcore.

Even when I’m exhausted, it’s hard to sit still. I’m constantly ticking off a mental list of things I need to get done. Last weekend I painted the nursery, with the help of a couple of friends. It’s now resplendent in shades of aquamarine. (I’m going for an ocean theme, since we do live just steps from the beach.)

Boy and I sat together in the soon-to-be-nursery on Sunday afternoon and plotted out where everything is going to go. Chiffarobe over here, crib over there, bookshelf on the wall up there. My nesting instinct has forced Boy into overdrive, too.

Our house was a two bedroom, and the second bedroom was an office. But baby and camera gear don’t make the best bedfellows, so Boy got busy carving out a niche in the garage for his new office. He’s very handy like that, and his new space turns out to have even more storage than the old one.

The weekend after we returned from our adventures abroad, Boy and two of his burly pals (yes, Mike & Chris, you’re burly) moved all the office paraphernalia downstairs. And now I have this wide open space that’s going to quickly fill up with a crib, board books and a large family of stuffed animals.

I find myself sitting at work making lists of things that I’d rather be doing at home. Safe to say that my brain is entirely elsewhere. But in my defense, having a tiny person kicking your navel out is a bit distracting.

I guess I hadn’t counted on that. When I first found out I was pregnant, I thought I would continue to be a well-balanced person, with lots of other things occupying my brain. I thought my blog posts wouldn’t center wholly around what was happening inside my belly. But I was wrong.

Becoming the carrier of a whole new person, it changes you in ways you can’t predict. I mean, I’m still me. But I’m also a mother now, as hard as that sometimes is for me to believe. And the larger my stomach grows, the smaller my focus gets.

I just want to shut out the world, everyone but me and Boy and Bean (and LeeLoo, too), and hunker down inside our little house to feather a fabulous nest.

But I can’t shut out the world completely, not yet. I have three more months of paychecks to earn, an epic cinepoem to finish (one more shoot and then we start editing!), and people who need my attention.

So I’ll make every attempt not to go into complete seclusion yet.

But if I sometimes get a far away look in my eye, you would be safe to assume that I’m trying to figure out how many mermaid bookends are just overkill in an ocean-themed nursery.

-Lo, who has only purchased one set of mermaid bookends… so far.

A Bun in the Oven

Monday, March 1st, 2010

mood: expectant | drinking: nothing with caffeine or alcohol in it

bean_web

So I’ve been hiding a big secret from a whole lot of people for about 13 weeks now.

Yep. I’m knocked up. In the family way. I’m in the pudding club. Got a bun in the oven.

Said bun is currently named “Bean.” And no, we don’t yet know if Bean has a frank. And yes, we will be finding that out at some point in the next 6 weeks or so.

We’ve been told that Bean will greet the world on or around September 1st. I already have two people with their money on August. Either way, we’ve got a Virgo baby. I’ve been told this is a good thing. I’m not extremely well educated about my horoscope, so I’ll just cross my fingers.

I don’t have a big bump yet, just a small one, and so sometimes it’s hard to believe that this is all real. That’s what this is for:
bean_13weeks_2

See? Proof of life.

Boy and I are pretty excited about the whole thing. After the miscarriage last October, we kind of put any ideas of having a baby away on a shelf. We decided to put the brakes on the whole trying to get pregnant thing and do some soul-searching about what we really wanted.

I guess we didn’t apply the brakes very hard, because that’s about the time that Bean joined us.

I know that in about 6 months our lives will change in ways we can’t even imagine. So I’m not trying to imagine it. I’m just eating my saltines and apricots (yes, Bean loves the stone fruits) and taking each day as it comes. So far, so good.

Then we’ll see how tomorrow goes.

I’ve been writing a lot about the whole thing privately, and I may post a bit of that here soon. But don’t worry, I don’t believe the world needs another mommy blog.

I’m still me, after all. Just slightly, um, enhanced…

-Lo, who is officially up the duff.