Archive

Archive for June, 2016

Li’l D’s first blog

A month or two ago, I sat in a tiny chair at a tiny desk and chatted with my older son’s first grade teacher.

Li’l D’s best grades were in Science and Religion. His worst–but still decent–grade was in … writing. (I know, right?!)

I told his teacher I wasn’t concerned, and that I felt he’d find his own groove in his own time. I explained that I’d spent huge chunks of his earlier years trying to force skills upon him before he was ready for them, and that this frustrated all while benefiting none. In fact, he flourished more the further back I stood.

Yesterday he asked if he could start a blog. Delighted, his dad and I helped him create one.* His inaugural post was two sentences; today’s post, five (related!) sentences.

I have a feeling he’s likelier to find fondness for writing here in the broadness of the blogosphere than from the narrow confines of a student desk.

I look forward to witnessing his writing journey, though I’ll support him just the same
if he only posts twice ever and continues favoring science and religion!

* We’ll even give him the password in five or ten years!

making new comfort zones

ten months ago,
i took my older son
to meet his new teacher
at a new school

he was nervous.
i told him i get
nervous, too

impossible thingstoday,
i took him
to a birthday party
at a park, where he
drank lemonade
from teacups,
breathed sugar,
and ran circles
around his
classmates–
his friends

i breathed thanks
that, though he’s known
some hard times, he
still doesn’t know
what it’s like to be
one of the odd ones

to him,
“safety” is
(blessedly)
the norm

i have grown
with my son
this year Read more…

The grace and joy of “for”

I’ve had such a monumental heart-shift recently, it may well take me weeks or months to articulate it.

It will almost certainly take thousands of words. At its core is for: the difference between being for and against, but it runs much deeper than that handful of words conveys.

What a felon looks like. Also, love.

What a felon looks like. Also, love.

A piece of this shift showed up in conversation I had with my friend Ra a couple of weeks ago. I told her how I’d written a post called “I believe you” while she was in prison. I mused aloud about how one piece of that post was difficult for some to grok: the piece where I suggested I was for her, not against him, in sex assault cases. As I wrote then,

It’s not my job to adjudicate. In any case, I’m not interested in weighing his guilt, threatening or cursing him. That doesn’t change anything–not for the better, anyway.

In fact, I believe focusing so keenly on all the details of any one him, speculating about him or castigating him hurts not only you but all of us. We blind ourselves to the whole picture because it’s easier to speculate on one lurid detail: one him. We’re so busy ogling the accident on the roadside, we don’t see the crumbling bridge ahead of us. Nothing gets changed that way because we can’t change something that’s already happened.

I’d like us to stop talking about any one him and start talking instead about how to help you. How to lift you up in healing. How to let you know we are here for you, listening to you, believing you.

I’d rather focus on building than destroying.

I now believe those words a million times more intensely than when I wrote them last January. A trillion times more, even, or to the infinity-eth power.

I also understand that there are a billion more ways to destroy than I then understood, and that I perpetrate some of them daily.

Listening to Ra speak of prison and parole, I am overwhelmed by the tragedy of all the lives destroyed by the United States prison system. Less and less do I believe we send people to prison for reform, or allow those freed from the physical walls of prison to ever be free.

Mackorah Debenzie 2011

Mackorah Debenzie 2011

Somewhere in my heart of hearts, some part of me used to believe people who went to prison deserved whatever they got, for however long they got it. Then, on a long car trip with my beloved Mackenzie some years ago, she waxed eloquent about how dehumanizing that was. I still dehumanized others after that conversation, but Mackenzie’s insights started me down the path of questioning some of my basest assumptions. (Thanks, Mackenzie. ILU.)

With Ra and Mackenzie’s words in my heart, a quote by Ellen Degeneres then made my heart sink as I thought, “That was me.”

So when I read Ra’s most recent post this morning, I cried. Of course I did. It’s the epitome of what I’m struggling to articulate; it’s for, through and through.

Ra is not against Ellen, but for love. For hope. For books, and literacy. For seeing the inhumanity with which we treat prisoners, whether they are within or outside of prison, and for accepting the humanity of individual prisoners, seeing each as herself instead of one indistinguishable piece of an identical whole. For compassion. For love. For for.

I am for all of these things, and for Ra, and for you. I am for you reading Ra’s post and spending some time today contemplating and then basking in the sweetness of sitting with all the many things you’re for.

what song tomorrow

Prescribing Joy: your joy sought!

prescribing joy

A couple days ago, I wrote about a doctor who prescribed me joy.

I explained how this prescription changed how I feel about “just hanging on”:

Beyond that, please don’t just hang on.

Reach toward joyful things.

Seek out and savor that which brings you closer to joy.

Prescribe yourself joy, and enjoy its sweet taste on your tongue at least daily.

I asked you to stay tuned for a guest post request. This post is that request.

I’d like you to sing out what brings you joy. You can do this by actual song, or by prose, poem, collage, interpretive dance, vlog, or whatever other mean feels right and joyous to you. Read more…

Categories: Family, Love Tags: , , , ,

Prescribing Joy

I’ve listened to the Hamilton soundtrack almost non-stop for the last month and a half.

As each workday has neared its end, I’ve noticed the time and found myself excited about my long commute. Instead of thinking a string of expletives about my drive, I’ve thought, “It’s almost Hamilton time!”

The recording translated a cost to a benefit.

It invigorated me.

image

I met my new doctor early last month.

A couple of weeks after we met, he provided patient instructions incuding the following: “make sure you take time for yourself every day – personal time – to relax/do your favorite activity – even if only for a short period.”

I rejoiced his compassionate instruction, but I was also perplexed: What do I even enjoy anymore?

It had been so long since the question even seemed relevant.

It took me a couple of weeks to realize my heart already recognized the answer my head did not: I enjoy the hell out of Hamilton.

I didn’t bother long with wondering why. In light of my doctor’s prescription, the joy was far more important than its rationale.

For months, I’ve wanted to host another guest post series, but I couldn’t find a topic. That, I found on the freeway about a week ago. Read more…

Earn Our Vote

June 14, 2016 Comments off

Atop my Twitter feed this morning was a paid Clinton Tweet asking, “Are you on the team yet?”

“Yet.” Subtle but not: “It’s inevitable, even if you haven’t recognized it. Yet.”

No, I have not changed my mind since Friday. Years of unpalatable fiscal and military positions did not magically assume palatability for me because Elizabeth Warren endorsed Clinton, nor for any other reason.

My sister actually addressed this point in her weekend post, “Earn Our Vote.” Rather than address it further here, I’d ask you to please check it out there:

Be our leader. Don’t wait for us, grudging, to trudge to your camp because, brow-beaten and bullied, we have given up on the things that matter to us.

Categories: opinion Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: