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Posts Tagged ‘life’

The meth apartment

A meth lab burned down near my sister’s house a couple of days ago. Two people died and dozens more were displaced.

Many terrible things have happened in my sister’s neighborhood, so that she’s understandably distraught. Her friends are urging her to move, which she very much wants to.

I’m sad for her, and I’m sad beyond her.

About a year ago, I came to the shocking conclusion that history is actually important. I saw that my failure to follow history or politics had left me with a lot of illusions–delusions?–about what my country has been, is, and is en route to be.

I’ve gone through four of the five stages of grief: Read more…

cherish

as i pulled into 
my driveway, i saw
one of my neighbors
basking in the sunshine
on her front porch,
with a dog on
either side
of her

“heya,”
i called
as i opened
the driveway gate

she told me
that she’s feeling
a little pain, but that
the sunshine helps
in more ways
than one, so:

she can’t
complain

i paused,
and said,
“you know,
i just had a really
great conversation
with anthony, and i’m
just so grateful for
him … i’m with you.
i really can’t
complain”

i’d already
planned on
sharing (a little) about
anthony and neighbors,
so the timing of this
exchange was
perfect

earlier,
as anthony and i
talked, i asked if he’d
be okay with
this one
thing

(which
might
prove
aggravating)

he laughed.
“you know me.
i can put up with
almost anything.
i can’t say i’ll be
all sunshine, but
i’ll be okay”

we talked about
how people mistake
his very long fuse for
absence of fuse, with me
explaining how my sister
rache taught me that
the fact someone
has a long fuse
and peaceable
demeanor
doesn’t
mean
they’re
meek

(a lot of people
make that mistake)

i thought about
this one post 
i wrote on
l2sp;
how
anthony
surprised me,
and reminded me:
i no longer have
to fight every
fight alone

i’m sharing
that post here
tonight, but with a
caution: while the first
part was all about
anthony, the
second was
me raging
about
white
people

i’m done 
raging at 
individual
people,
done
done
done,
i do
solemnly
vow Read more…

we will

On Thursday, I had an experience that kinda changed everything for me. I’m not able to write about it in detail, but the core of it was me asking:

Can you change any of what happened yesterday? No? Then what do we do about making tomorrow better?!

Yes, I wrote a sad post yesterday. Yes, it was about how much yesterday influences today, especially for people who grew up in chaos.

But, you know what? That was already the remnants of something that had to be let go, for me to move on.

Because in that moment of arguing for tomorrow (and someone going, the next morning, “DEB FOR PRESIDENT!!!”), I saw: 

This is what it means, to show care for what happens next, for everyone’s children.

My own littlest is snuggled next to me as I type this and think,

Fuck, yeah. The future’s gonna be okay.

We can–and will!–make it that way!

Categories: Reflections Tags: , , ,

missed

(how to save) a life

A few weeks ago, one of my sisters sent me a string of loving texts. We share such strings often just because, but these particular texts were inspired by a Facebook memory. 

Facebook had just reminded her of a post she wrote for my blog four years ago. In one post, “The Gift of Fear,” I wrote about how the book The Gift of Fear might have saved her life. A few weeks later, in “Her Escape, Her Words,” she wrote about the journey as she’d taken it.

I reread both posts after she texted. Her post filled me with joy; she not only escaped, but has come to flourish here in SoCal. I am so freakin’ proud of her and how she makes choices to protect herself and enable herself to thrive.

My own post, though, left a pit in my stomach. When I’d written it, I’d almost completely failed to grasp how deeply systemic features–which I’d call “flaws,” were they not parts of systems designed to protect some few at the expense of many others–conspire against abused partners. I’d said, “You deserve better!” as a strictly individual initiative, without understanding just how much U.S. systems neither broadly support nor encourage that. To escape successfully requires not only defiance but faith (which can’t come easy when you live your life in fear, an island surrounded by thousands of people who don’t appear to notice your suffering) and–here’s where it really falls apart–resources, be they time, money, or social.

When she came over and sat on the stinky old couch that had served for six weeks as her bed, I explained my remorse. I told her I was so damn glad she’d escaped, but that I also feel such deep remorse how few women have resources to successfully make the escape. How miserable it is that life-or-death matters should come down to who you know, and who you know will have your back no matter what.

A system that “works” like that is a terrible, no-good system.

And yet, I explained, it doesn’t mean I’m not enduringly grateful for The Gift of Fear. Far from it! The fact there’s a book that can help guide some women to escape, and to understand it’s even possible, is a book well worth keeping spare copies to hand out (as I do). Better still, the fact that the same book helps inform other women–and men–how to avoid creeps who only seem charming makes it priceless. 

With all this joy and outrage still churning in my heart over the weekend, I searched for podcasts including Gift‘s author, Gavin de Becker. I was delighted to find a two-parter.

If you’d like to get better at trusting your instincts and making them trustworthy, these are for you. Thanks to this podcast, you needn’t read the book to learn some of its most important lessons. 

You can find part one here. Part two is here.

Such lessons might have saved my sister’s life. Sure, they might not be enough to save everyone, everywhere, given American systemic biases for the strong and against the struggling … but I’m here to tell you how beautiful it is, from the outside, to watch that one life grow.

wild

Last Friday evening, my family and I did something we never do: We sat down and watched a movie together.

I seldom watch TV and movies anymore, because I can now hear–and mostly reject–the slew of stories whispering cacophonous from behind any roaring “main” one. I chose to watch this one because I’m bombarded by its music–thanks, neighbors!–many evenings, and wanted to know the context for its songs.

The movie inspired my seven-year-old to ask two beautiful questions, which came back to me as I rewatched it alone this morning. I smiled and thought that I’d like to share those questions, and how I answered them. Read more…

my playlist

I’ve been building and rebuilding a playlist in my mind the last couple of weeks. I’ll write about it someday, I’m sure, I thought. When I’ve finally gotten it right-enough.

Without pressure or hurry, it could have been months before I solidified the playlist. But then I read a post that got me fired up, and I found my playlist.

The post bemoaned how everything is a competition now: singing, playing instruments, sports, politics. Everyone’s in it to win it. Period. Read more…

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