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Posts Tagged ‘rache’

they were here

that feeling when
your family folk pile into
a pale green van,
and slowly begin
their northward
drive
away

and you cry
as you watch
the van disappear:

a little bit because
they are leaving,

but mostly,
blessedly,
because
they
were
here

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Categories: Family, Love Tags: , , , ,

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: , ,

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…

beyond resisting

My sister Rachael recently texted me to gloat that Naomi Klein would be in Portland, Oregon to promote her new book. She didn’t type “neener-neener,” but she might as well have.

There’s no way she’s visiting Portland and not L.A.! I thought. I dropped everything and searched her publisher’s events page. Nada.

When I saw an announcement including an L.A. date, I messaged Rache again. “LOS ANGELES!!!” I said.

“I get to see her first,” Rache replied.

(Neener-neener.)

Who is Naomi Klein, exactly? Apart from being author of The Shock Doctrine, she’s an inspiration to both Rache and me.

Klein looks brutality squarely in the face, assesses it, and writes about it without losing either her passion or compassion. For a couple of decades now, she has looked into the abyss without becoming it.

She’s been a light along a very, very dark journey (of history and politics) I’ve been making for about a year. I’ve read her words and heard her podcasts and thought, “I hope I can emulate her someday. I hope I, too, can choose to look upon the darkness and see within it the possibility of greater love.”

My sister listened to Klein speak in Portland on Monday. I listened, alternately tearful and laughing, in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

nine two

Far from resenting my sister for hearing Klein first, I was grateful to listen and know Rache had heard the same heart, the same compassion, the same entreaty.  Read more…

life-full

I went to brunch on Sunday. I always enjoy brunch, and appreciate–so much–that I have people to brunch with.

There was something special about this brunch: talking with Bill Friday. Specifically, we talked about happiness.

Anthony’s always asking if I’m happy!” I said. “And I’m like, no! And who cares? What if happiness isn’t a useful measure for my life? What if there’s something more and deeper that’s lost by looking so hard at happiness?!”

(This was not a gripe about my husband, by the way; it was about the limitations of language and cultural perceptions!)

Today I talked to my sister Rache. As we spoke, I saw she would have so enjoyed chatting with Bill and me:

Though the histories we discussed were grim and heartbreaking, our conversation was so damn hopeful. “Happiness,” we agreed, was not the yardstick by which we want to measure our lives. We want comprehension, connection, fullness, and fulfillment, not entertainment (alone).

Rache will be visiting soon enough. Maybe we’ll get a chance to sit and talk (things more important-to-us than) happiness with Bill.

But if not? I will hold the joy of those separate, related conversations within me,

for, unlike happiness,

joy is the complex totality that recognizes how all the feelings of life are part of a full one.

Photo courtesy Ra

Learning from Suffering

Christmas was even more special with a black eye

Christmas was even more special with a black eye

I grew up with both violence and denial. Denial aggravated me far more than violence.

Violence came and went. It happened because it happened. Parents were sometimes cruel, and then the kids they violated often learned to be cruel, too.

Denial, on the other hand, screamed, “I have the luxury of pretending what happened to you could not happen to me! Therefore, it happened because there was something uniquely terrible and deserving about you!”

Yeah. Sure.

The violence I endured as a child taught me to trust my instincts.

When a “charming” acquaintance made my skin crawl, I told my friends. They said I didn’t give him enough credit.

They were shocked when he committed murder-suicide. I was shocked, but not surprised. I’d lived with violence long enough to identify the subtle indicators others could simply choose to ignore. The little red flags he displayed didn’t even register for 99% of the people around me, none of whom–otherwise–themselves presented a single red flag.

When one of my sisters was at risk, I knew it because of how her communication changed. She didn’t have to tell me much for some part of me to cry out, “Alert! Alert! Alert!” even before she first told me he’d attacked her. I identified the risk before I could express it well.

When she called me about a later attack, I’d just finished reading security expert Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear. I had vocabulary to show her the risk I saw. From the book, I read her a list of danger signs displayed by a partner. She told me her boyfriend had “done at least 25 of those things” and, thank God, packed up and drove more than a thousand miles south to begin a new life here in SoCal.

Had she stayed, she might not have survived.

When a neighbor told my son what to do, speaking over me to command Li’l D against my wishes, I trusted my instincts … and Gavin de Becker’s Protecting the Gift. I said no and ended the conversation. My neighbor’s aggressive reaction to this affirmed how right I am not only to trust my instincts, but to teach my sons to trust theirs.

Many times before now, I’ve told you I will not perpetuate violence by my denial.

All the same, I wanted to shove my intuition aside in 2016 when it screamed, “Your representatives don’t represent you!” Instead, because I committed to never perpetuate denial at others’ expense, I researched. Once again, I discovered my instincts had guided me well. They uncovered truths logic alone would’ve kept concealed.

Despite everything I’d learned in youth, I’d been taken. I’d had no idea that the predatory tactics of pedophiles could be adopted en masse by politicians. I’d never have even had cause to suspect, had I not grown up in such mayhem.

Read more…

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