Things We Hide

Kisa’s in the bathroom murdering ladybugs without remorse; sucking them down with a vacuum. I think there are two survivors but I can’t be sure. They’re in hiding. Indy’s under the bed, watchful eyes in the dark waiting for the killing spree to be over. She hates the vacuum. She’s hiding, too. I’m learning to be a lady, which means keeping things like band aids, bra straps and blemishes…oh, and bad dreams…out of sight. Best foot forward or fall flat on your face.
What other things can we hide? I’m killing a friendship because I can’t deal with the consequences. Not my problem~all my fault. Walk away slowly and no one will get hurt. Or something like that. I spent a long time talking to a friend about it. Weird to talk to one friend about another friend and realize there’s only one friend in the picture – the person you are talking to. It bites to be so blase about the whole thing. What was once care is now so callous. Lies do not make loyalty.
All I have ever wanted is out and out honesty. Step up. Be an adult and tell the fukcing truth. Don’t make yourself or your life out to be something that it isn’t. Stand tall, be proud and show the world who you really are. We love you as you are.

Yet. And, yet. We hide. Hide behind bragging and bravado.

I stand in the mirror’s way and wonder what it really sees in me. If my bra strap slips off my shoulder would you sue me? If stress gets the better of my face would you avoid looking me in the eye? My bad dreams circle like black smoke I can’t blow away. I won’t hide. For better or worse I’m here. Be here, too. Please. I love you the way you are.

So, I’m in the bathroom. A ladybug comes out of hiding. My bra strap falls. I’m almost about to pull it back up and think again. Coming out of hiding I smile and leave it where it is. Fukc it.

Peter Pan

Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan. Toronto: Bantam books, 1980.

Barrie was born in May. I needed a quickie read for the end of the month. Choosing Peter Pan was a no-brainer. The version I chose to read was an illustrated deluxe addition. Full of both color and black and white illustrations: “Special edition illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.” Really.

Because Peter Pan is such a well loved, well (over?) produced story, everyone knows the basic plot: three kids unhappy with the way their father has treated the family dog run away with an orphan boy to his Neverland (not to be confused with Michael’s Never Land Ranch). Peter and his Lost Boys are looking for a mother and they think they have such a figure in Wendy, one of the Darling children. It’s a magical adventure full of danger in the form of pirates, “redskins” and a ticking crocodile. Even the fairies and mermaids are not to be trusted.

Upon rereading Peter Pan I was surprised by how slow the story moved in certain sections. Because of the glossed-over, dumbed-down, glitzed-up theater/movie/storybook versions that have popped up over the years I had forgotten Barrie’s original 1911 language and long since deleted details. It was hard to picture reading this aloud to a young child. Peter Pan seemed slightly evil (being described as cunning and sly), Tink seemed downright dirty as she responded to her own jealousy over Wendy (gleefully leading Wendy to her death). True to fairy tale form, it does have a happy ending. Sort of.

One of my favorite images from the book that I’ve never forgotten is how Peter describes fairies as being the shattered pieces of a baby’s first laugh, “You see, Wendy, when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces. and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of the fairies” (p 29).

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter “Fantasy for Young and Old (p 83). 

Remember Me Day


Last year at this time I watched my uncle march in the Bangor Memorial Day parade. Normally a shy man, normally a reserved man, a keep to himself man, my uncle waved to the crowd and smiled and received wishes of ‘welcome home’ with dignity. This was his moment to be proud.

This year kisa and I watched the same parade in a different town. Men marching proudly. Men smiling and receiving wishes of ‘welcome home’ with dignity. Vets handed out poppies of plastic. Kids scrambled for shattered sweets on the sidewalk. Puffed up men drove shiny old cars with pride. Betsy Ross wannabe women threw wilting red carnations to the crowds. No clowns (unless you count an odd fellow with a pipe on a bicycle), no unnecessary fanfare of floats. Only one marching band from kisa’s high school. Flags of stars and stripes waving. It’s the kind of thing that always chokes me up. After rereading stories like Red Badge of Courage and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee I know that war will always exist somewhere. Hate lives day to day and forgiveness comes around every Memorial Day.

Ground Beneath Her Feet

Rushdie, Salman. The Ground Beneath Her Feet. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1999.

May was deemed National Music Month by someone out there so, in honor of that tidbit I chose The Ground Beneath Her Feet as my “music book.” This was my first time reading Salman Rushdie & I have to confess, if all his other books are so lengthy and detail driven, I am going to have a hard time getting through them. This one was a whopping 575 pages long and and and! I knew the ending in the first chapter!

The Ground Beneath Her Feet is an epic rock and roll love story. Spanning several lifetimes Rushdie tells the love story of Ormus and Vina, two musicians from Bombay. Their story is like a gigantic flood, catching up and describing in detail: cultures, mythologies, histories, industries (agriculture (goats!), music and beyond), the landscapes of India, England and America, their societies, religions, ancestries of families, personalities, births, deaths, emotions, tragedies, triumphs, anything and everything from  the mid 1950s until the early 1990s.  This is a sweeping story that cannot be pigeon-holed into a romance, mystery, or comedy. It is all these things and thensome. Suicides and secrets, miscarriages and murders, wealth and poverty, sane and strange, greedy and generous, brothers and sisters, twins and torture, and of course, sex, drugs and rock and roll.

My favorite quotes circled and scrutinized love:
“In love one advances by retreating” (p 15).
“when it comes to love there’s no telling what people will convince themselves of” (p 30).
“But as the years passed we became each other’s bad habit” (215).

And one quote about my fave, the drums: “It is as if the drums have been yearning to speak to him, and he to them. Finally, he thinks: at long last, here are friends” (p 287).

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter “Music and Musicians” (p 164).


Guilty of Anything


There are some people in my life who think that my rants are about them. They take my words and somehow see themselves. Yet, while they see words that might work, they dismiss full sentences because they don’t add up. It’s almost like they want the whole thing to be their private Carly Simon moment… but it doesn’t quite fit. Take Dear Mr. Liar, just for hahas. I gender bendered on that one. It’s about a GIRL. Well, sorta. There’s a guy component and he knows his part. Don’t worry. That deletion will happen a n y day. Nothing more to tell. End of that story. So, back to the chick component. I hate fake. When I was finally clued in just how fake this fake really was I decided to lash out a la language style. Words and words upon words. I don’t know. It made me feel better. Now, if I could just delete her from my blogroll…

Then, there’s The Bottle has Been. People have questioned the consumption before. If you knew what bottles I tilt in the air you wouldn’t worry so much. And no, I didn’t write it about You either- not your past, your present nor your future. Not You. I know someone who knows someone who knows someone who drinks too much. We (this different someone and I) got into a discussion about “too much” and, more importantly, who are we to say what much is too?
I have a favorite scene in The Fly. Geena Davis is trying to deal with an exboyfriend who simply won’t go away. Or, more importantly, she decides she hasn’t dealt with the ex in the most proper of ways. In the middle of an epiphany she storms off to do what she should have a long time ago.
That’s me. I’m dealing with things I should have addressed eons ago.

So, here’s what I want to say to you. You are not guilty of anything if not everything. Don’t let it (or me) go to your head.

Power of Privacy

For the longest time I wanted to share my yoga practice with the blogging world. It was nice to mention moves that confounded me, brag about the small successes improvement brought me. But, somehow I have discovered I have more potential when I keep these things private. I think that is, in part, why I stopped going to group classes. The instructor’s voice calmed me, instilled confidence & control, and yet…I felt constricted, caught up. How to explain this? Certain poses create a cocoon of peace for me. Sometimes, I am so grateful for the respite that tears flow and sighs emerge. I find dare more, try more when alone. And I breathe. Often times I found myself not ready to move on from a particularly comforting pose when everyone else in the class was. Unlike other embarrassing moments in a group setting (falling over with a resounding solid thud, belching air out my azz or falling asleep during shivasana), this show of emotion, this lingering was not something I want to share. I didn’t want to hold up the class by holding a difficult pose for just that much longer (think Warrior III or half moon pose, two I have trouble with). I have more strength when I’m alone. There is power in privacy.
Oddly enough, this privacy issue has been carrying over to other parts of my life. I say I want to run with others but I won’t. I can’t. It’s too personal. It’s my time that I can’t  won’t share. I’ve run with only one other person – my sister – and she’s it. I won’t cook for anyone but family and the closer of friends. I won’t let anyone except my husband handle my Lamson & Goodnow.

So be it.

Numbers Don’t Matter


Last Saturday I spent $30 to walk with a friend around a park. 6.2 miles. Seems kind of odd when you look at it that way, but that’s the way it was. I wasn’t there to run in a race and I didn’t think of it as a charity event, even though it was both of those things. Smiley said she was walking by herself and I said that couldn’t be. I wouldn’t let it be and I didn’t. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It turned out to be a beautiful day to talk and walk, walk and talk. It was worth $30. Even better than we didn’t come in dead last.
Last night I got on the gerbil’s wheel and wanted to go nowhere. Not really sure what I was doing except giving in to the guilt. I couldn’t remember the last time I ran. As soon as I started to move I knew I was in trouble. Every song irritated me and I felt tired even moving 11.7 mph. This was going to suck was all I kept saying to myself. I don’t know how I know it but I always know a suck run. I recognize it long before it actually gets to me. Know those commercials about the love/hate relationships with running? I was on the other side of love with this run. It sucked.
But, here’s the beautiful thing. Despite wanting to get the fukc off and quit, despite wanting to make a mad dash to the bathroom and puke, despite my ears revolting against every song ipod could spit out, I did not quit. I did not stop. I kicked it up to a 11 mph run and for 40 long minutes I thought about counting up the demons. I determined I have more than one for every day. I listened for subliminal run songs (Rob Thomas, “I’m running but you’re getting away”). I fast forwarded through the likes of Norah Jones, Corrine Bailey Rae, Billie Holiday and Jewel. Rewound Metalica, AC/DC, Def L, Aersosmith, even Led Z. Confronted the pain of a MotherMe lost. In the end it was 3.64 miles. 3.64 miles further than I thought I could go. But, like the numbers of the walk on Saturday, they don’t matter.

The Bottle Has Been

My worst enemyWe debate the alcohol thing. We go back and forth, forth and back again on what makes one the “ic” of the word. Al-co-hol-ic. Obsessed with the bottle. In love with the devil inside. Is it a drink a day without fail, failing to quit? or is it the excess? Can’t stop until can’t stand up? I wish I knew. I know both kinds.

There’s this woman. She has a drink a night. Like clockwork she opens the bottle. Tells anyone who will listen just how much she “deserves” it after a day like the one she’s had. Let her tell you. She’ll go on and on about the day she’s had. Suggest a night without a drink and she’ll accuse you of not hearing her. Didn’t she just tell you what kind of day she just had? Didn’t she just say she deserved it?
There’s this guy. He drinks once or twice a month. Unlike the steady drinker of just one a night he makes up for lost time and downs doubles until he can’t see straight. Can’t walk a fine line. Can’t remember his own name. Passes out while knocking on a stranger’s door. Six packs become thirty packs which in turn become the icebreaker for 151 and SoCo cold. Wakes up with blood bruised knuckles face down in his own vomit on an unfamiliar street. Doesn’t happen all the time. Just whenever he drinks.

I’ve been listening to Natalie quite a bit and one song that has been tearing me up is “The Living.” I don’t know how to describe it other than it’s about alcoholism – that relationship with the bottle. She took inspiration from knowing someone who had it all, someone who didn’t need anything until the drink came into his life. Then, the drink became his life. As Natalie says, “the bottle’s been to me my closest friend and my worst enemy.” She makes no secret that this person was someone great until he threw it all away for the devil inside.

We debate this thing. Back and forth. What puts the “ic” in alcoholic? When is enough enough?

True Confessions

True Confessions
Bringle, Mary. True Confessions. New York: Donald I. Fine, 1996.

This sounds like it would be the title of a very juicy blog. Something I haven’t already spilled in some sordid way or another. Unfortunately, it’s only the latest challenge book for Book Lust. I read this in honor of Mother’s Day and I have to admit it was a strange choice. The inside book cover describes True Confessions (in part) as “…a mother who loves her to death and an ex-mother in-law who doesn’t approve…” So, yes, mothers are part of the story, but you never really meet either mother. As a result I didn’t get that loved to death feeling from mom, nor the disapprovefrom the ex-mother in-law.
But here’s the story in a nutshell: Grace teaches writing in New York, lies to her mother about her location (mom thinks she’s in England), struggles with relationships and fantasizes about being a story in a magazine she is obsessed with called – you guessed it – True Confessions. Grace doesn’t have direction. In the beginning she seems shallow and self-absorbed. Of course there is a period of growth through odd incidents such as her friend’s affair revealed on television, a kidnapping, and even a death. When it is all said and done, Grace emerges a stronger, wiser person.
Critics describe the book as funny, but I have to admit the first laugh-out-loud moment I had was when Grace is in Central Park with her friend Naomi. Naomi has two children, but acts like she wasn’t meant for motherhood: “Grace always felt grateful to Naomi for refusing to submit to the role which it would have been so natural for her to assume” (p 68). On describing her daughter Alice, Naomi says, “Sometimes I think we have her on loan, like a library book…sometimes…it’s not even a book I want to finish” (p 68). There is more. Naomi rants about trying to keep kids away from television. “…unless you want them to be social pariahs they’ll be contaminated sooner or later” (p 69.
Another favorite line: “lunacy is quite impartial. Warps in the genes, screwy endocrines – they don’t count” (p72).

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter “Mothers and Daughters” (p 160).

Spread Too Thin

Sometimes I think I take on too much. As my husband says, I don’t know no. I cram to the point of gluttony. Once I invited everyone I could think of to hear my favorite music. On the surface it was the attitude of TheMoreTheMerrier, and thinking Exposure is Good. But, underneath it all I wanted to see each and every person. Here’s the problem: I couldn’t spread myself that thin and some people’s time fell short. I don’t know if they got mad at me, but myself did. I could only imagine getting an invitation to hang out only to be hung out and ignored.
I’m trying to learn from my mistakes. While I was in Florida I knew I was thisclose to two other friends. I was so tempted to look them up & book time with them. Just to see them and not have to say I can’t remember the last time I saw you. But, had I done that I would have squandered time with someone else. It’s a matter of becoming less greedy with someone else’s time. Soaking up the value of spending time.
But, what about family? When does it become okay to squeeze in time? To rush from one place to another just to replace Wish You Were Here with Thanks For Coming? I’m having a hard time deciding if less is even worth face value. Especially when they say “whatever you want to do” with a sigh of resignation and a barely contained eye roll.
What about work? When does it become okay to not take on that next big project? To not give something your all because it’s not worth your anything in the first place? I sat across from someone in my office yesterday and went over the same ole, same ole. Could she tell I was defeated? Tired of parroting the purpose? (If I have to explain your job to you what’s the point of you trying to do it?) I came close to putting my head on my desk and asking her to shut off the light and close the door on her way out. I was picturing that perfect reprieve with eyes closed and fight forgotten.
Kisa says I don’t know no so my mantra has become, “Never again, no, never, ever, not on your life…”