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happier

yesterday,
my niece came bounding
around a corner.

for a moment,
barefoot and
grinning, she
looked so much
like her mom
as a little girl
that my breath
caught.

for a moment,
i was both
thirty-eight
and six,

and I
could not
have
been
happier

(for the
joy we found
then, and the
joy we layer
on top
today)

Categories: Family, Love Tags: , ,

no. matter. what.

I have three full-blood siblings. Each of those three siblings are soulful, compassionate people; together, they have been my lifeline for most of four decades.

My siblings all had one elementary school teacher who never taught me in a classroom. Far from condemning my single mother, as most adults around my siblings and I did, this teacher praised her: “Any one of your children is kinder and more compassionate than any other student I’ve ever had. That all three of them are like that tells me it’s not an accident, but a reflection of you.”

I was never his student, but he and I became friendly in the years after my siblings left his classroom. He went on to teach teachers. He told me he used me and my siblings as shining examples of what you can become when you care for other people.

(When I had a chance to help one of his people a few years ago, I leaped! How seldom do any of us have a chance to explicitly show kindness to the people who have saved us?!)

Sometimes, I talk to people and wonder how they have so little faith in the folks around them. “How do you believe people are innately assholes, and only ever pretend to be otherwise?” I ask myself, puzzling over this until something or another reminds me: They did not have my siblings!

As my mom lost herself to untreated mental illness, I had my siblings. As our mom died of cancer, I had my siblings. After she died and I argued heatedly about how we should dispose of her house, I had my siblings.

(I was so angry about how we disposed of Mom’s house, I signed the papers upside-down to reflect my protest. Still, I signed because I understood my siblings were more important than a house, and I apologized later when I really understood it.)

And so, I have walked through every day of my life knowing I have three people who will support me even when they want to whack me upside the head (which is probably often). I have three people who know, absolutely, that my heart is full of love, even when the things I do or say don’t necessarily reveal that.

Most people don’t have that.

That is a sadness I can’t even fathom.

‘Cause, see, I have always had these three people–Rachael, David, and Madeline–who have had my back, so I can’t imagine life without them.

2013 siblings small

then and now

Most people have never even had one-third of that. Read more…

The kingdom saved her

Once upon a time, there was a first grade girl whose parents could go from outwardly calm to nuclear in fractions of seconds too small to count.

She lived in a state of nearly perpetual distress, never knowing when her parents might blow up at each other, or her. Never knowing when they might take out their anger on each other, or her. Never knowing when some small misstep on her part might yield terrifying consequences.

She found small salvation in the form of a device her father called a “computer.” On this computer, she could play the games SCUBA Venture and Facemaker by herself, or with only her younger sister nearby. Unlike people, the computer yielded predictable results, so that the little girl felt safe and comfortable when she sat at its keyboard and told the computer what to do by simple sequences of keystrokes.

Her very, very favorite thing to do at the computer was play a game called King’s Quest. The game was better than predictable. It was exciting. She could use her letters and words to explore a whole new world in which she was the potential hero, not a sad, scared little kid. Read more…

Three Things Thursday: Ponies, unicorns, and better things still

music and love

times past
bled together yesterday
at the skilled
coaxing
of music

i was 14 years ago,
sweeping my mom’s room
while listening to
sarah mclachlan’s
“i will remember you”
over and over and over again
so i could remember it
and sing it well
for my silver star
at my last karaoke night with her,
my last night in oregon
before moving to los angeles
on a greyhound bus Read more…

My platinum blog: 20 years of blogging

Hey, punk,

I was going to write “Dear Deborah” there, but realized that wouldn’t work for you, my June 23, 1995 self. You were so daring and bold that such a plain greeting would’ve chafed.

(I don’t mean to be sarcastic, by the way. It’s just that you’re so goshdarned cute in all your conviction you’re bad to the bone.)

Later today, you’re going to get bored. You’re going to wonder, “What can I do to make my webpage different than all the ones I’ve visited so far?” You’re going to contemplate starting a journal online (gasp!), and then just as quickly wonder if it’s a good idea.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 9.44.59 PM

It’s a great idea.

Now, hold your horses. I don’t mean you’ll be swimming in gold because you decide to add a .txt file journal to your hand-coded HTML site today. Some people will make money from writing journals online someday, but those people will not be you. You won’t have enough sense (or, most days, giggle fodder) for that, and that’s okay.

There’s something else you’ll take from it. Read more…

Boo YOU, motherfucker.

Last week I wrote a post that’s left me feeling wrecked.

I’ve written about predators from my childhood before. But never, ever before have I written–or even thought–about them all together. Doing so was so devastating, even thinking about this blog has since left me trembling and queasy.

I think I might know the cure. It comes in the form of reposting an October 2011 post I accidentally deleted with hundreds of others.

I want it to have a place here again. I want it here as my reminder I am more than broken.

I am a force greater than fear.

Boo YOU, motherfucker.
Originally posted October 14, 2011

I felt confident and sure as I strode down the hallway in my new pantsuit.

I knew the case. I enjoyed pushing my comfort boundaries. Best of all, on the other side of the mock trial, I’d be closer to finishing my hated first year of law school.

All was well as I set foot in the classroom setting of my mock trial.

Then I was in the room, and I remembered. Read more…

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