What I really want is to pass for a single person all the time. I don’t want to be seen, not as a parent, not ever.

What I really want is to do whatever I want whenever I want to, spend my money however I want and only on things I want. I want to take off for a permanent road trip on a whim, or sleep in on a Wednesday or read a book all day Saturday.

What I really want is to not worry if my emotional state of being is a healthy display for a growing kid to witness. I don’t want witnesses, or the guilt that goes with losing your shit in front of your kids. Kids pay way close attention, it’s unnerving.

Argh, what I really want is to just write a blog post about whatever new and exciting thought I have going on right now. O, but tough shit my head is convoluted with the ongoing tug-of-wars: to role model self-care yet I am best at neglecting myself | to role model healthy choices yet it is easier to just be weak sometimes and eat what hurts or choose a mind numbing activity instead | to be fun loving and exciting but clean your room and don’t be rude | yes of course make your own choices, yes you get a say in your life but do what I tell you because fuck does it piss me off when you don’t. This is my life after all isn’t it? Don’t I get a say too?

What I’d like to say is excuse me I am not up for modeling anything, I’d like to wallow and get numb with a bad movie. Yes, I’d like to just eat toast for dinner and not workout and you, child, you eat your green beans and meatballs and potatoes and go play outside. No, no screen time go read a book. Yes, change into clean clothes everyday and shower every other or few at least. What? Why am I wearing the same jeans all week? What?–go clean your room.

What I really want is to walk out. That’s right. I’d like to run off to another country and have lovers of all kinds at anytime of night or day. Or work on boats for months at a time and make tons of money that I only spend on traveling. Or just rent a tiny room and barely eat and save every penny I make because I don’t need much to be happy. Or how bout get my doctorate or take a job in any state I find one in cuz I don’t have to worry about how moving will effect their little hearts or their relationships with important people.

Do other parents berate themselves for “failing” their children? For not always being completely and entirely awesome every waking minute? I have heard of folks that do everything right: career first, working marriage, house, dog, baby born in spring, a hybrid car that converts into a stroller and nanny, a fridge that poops out balanced meals three to five times daily, three extracurricular activities plus a foreign language or two, college apps prepared in preschool.

Fine, I can’t provide all these amazing material things or even healthcare but aren’t there more important things that I am giving that are more valuable than a mercedes benz stroller? Don’t guffaw at my ludicrousness; I know, theoretically, that these are no-brainers. Of course my attentiveness for their free will and confidence, decision making skills and resilience,  self-love, sense of emotional security, their conflict resolution skills are far more important than a brand new set of clothes every three to six months or a wii. I get it–technically. Knowing this doesn’t protect me from punishing self-criticism. Knowing this doesn’t temper my guilt or sense of failing–by mainstream standards anyhow.

Ok fine, let’s forget mainstream standards for a moment, as if my bubble is made of the strongest opalescent film ever. The counter culture? Shit, my kids watch tv, eat junk food, do not know how to compost or eat out of dumpsters, don’t ride bikes everywhere. Look, I am hard on myself. I’m exhausted by the pressure of raising “cool” kids and being a “cool” person simultaneously. I don’t give a rat’s ass about being cool actually or if my kids are but fuck do I feel that pressure. Too much pressure.

Single parenting blows. Blows so bad I’d like to quit altogether.

Maybe I despise parenting because I am not done being parented, maybe I still want to be cared for, maybe I am jealous of the love and attention my kids get, maybe I just want what they have.

The worst part is, I don’t even get to believe in any fairy tales.


Miss being an animal

Posted: September 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

Dinner was made and eaten and now I’m ignoring the dishes. I tucked in the kiddns and stare blank-blank-blank at the screen in my palm, at the screen on my desk, at the stacks of books filling up my living room wall space, I ignore my record collection, the measley remains of my cassettes, the gigantic booklet of burned cds, the four hundred plus podcasts downloaded on my iTunes. Stack of junk mail—I don’t even flinch in its direction. Instead I am writing to you, dear reader, but it sorta feels like yelling into a cave.

There are literally thousands of voices, written, spoken and seen that I could dip into. I could lose myself in thinkers long dead or the freshest most sharp witted minds, the toughest rappers or sleekest actors. I really could stay up all night listening to radio podcasts (I have before I tell you what).  I could phone, text, email, facebook message or video chat with anyone I know that is anywhere in the world and even some folk I don’t know. I could send photos (x-rated if I felt like) (but I actually never have, I swear), make my own podcast, post videos and if I think hard enough about it I could figure a way to send my DNA to you or maybe Yemen.

This access to the universe explodes me into a somebody and a nobody. I have more access than I know what to do with. I tell you everything in my reach but I feel untouched and entirely disengaged, I feel downright stupid. Yep, big long on-going fights with stupid.

My family contains some of the most intelligent, cultured and worldly people I’ve ever met. Engineers, master chess players, classical musicians, and whip smart arguers. Ruckus, impassioned arguers. A typical meal could easily cover politics, philosophy, Russian literature, ethics, classical ballet, and easily end with a poop joke, or fuming nostrils and vicious accusations and adult temper tantrums. As a kid I had to come down from my room in the middle of the night and beg my family to yell quieter please. My family is lively (to totally understate it). And for anyone that knows me, I tell you, I am the quiet one.

But whether you know me or not is irrelevant. This post isn’t about what you, reader, know but what I don’t know. This tussle I’ve long faced against feeling stupid is rooted in my experience of coming up. No, no, I’m not even slightly about to launch into blaming my upbringing for my shortcomings or weaknesses; hallelujah I’ve made it past my poor-me twenties (no offense to folk still bucking the decade, whatever your tagline for it may be) and into my fuck-all-of-it-and-everyone-too thirties (meant as the double entendre you may be thinking of).

I struggle with feeling stupid cuz I actually don’t speak the same language as my family, literally. They volley in Russian and I’m stuck as a four year old picking up maybe half of what they’re saying. Or I slow it all down for an explanation of a turn of phrase or technical term. If things get heated though never mind they are off and I am just a spectator. I tell you I am a terrible spectator and if language acquisition and maturity are tied together than I quietly throw my own adult tantrum by leaving it. Checking right the fuck out of my fam. And shoving myself with, stupid.

I took a year of Russian in college and I have a slew of Russian books I don’t read enough of, I’ve got Russian keyboarding capabilities on my desktop and my hand computer not to mention a slew of Russian language apps. None of this is enough to outrun my creeping you’re stupid demon. I just can’t say what I think and feel with as much depth in Russian as I can in English. And my siblings speak English and my mom mostly too but not my dad so much and I really really want to know him and want him to know me but fuck can language be a fucking labyrinth. A rabbit hole, a time-out, a sick bed. Ask for a glass of water you may get lead to the shoreline. Try and talk of your soul and end up describing a pillow. This can be fun and games for a poet, when I’m up for that role, but sometimes I just want to discuss career choices or parenting ethics without sounding like John Ashbery. Sometimes I want to get from point a to b by the shortest route possible.

Yeah, I know I’m not actually stupid. I’ve worked so hard at not feeling stupid, read things (even shit I didn’t like but thought I had to in order to not feel stupid), I think and think and think (maybe too much) and mostly I’ve worked at just letting myself be right where I’m at and calling it good.

The thing is, I am always chasing after information. As a kid I was scooting around behind my brilliant siblings and parents (uh, literally since I am nine, thirteen and seventeen years younger than my siblings and forty and forty-four years younger than my ma and pa). And now I am sprinting my aching arches off after gazillions of must-read books, blogs, websites, must-see movies, plays, posters, must-hear podcasts, new bands, and poets (ok fine, the poets aren’t as pressing but I really fucking wish they were). No matter what, there is no such thing as catching up. The culture’s output has far surpassed my ability to input, to absorb. Oversaturation has never been such an exact state of being.

Is anyone else tired from chasing information? This pursuit isn’t the hot kind anymore. It was at first, when I first learned about the internet in what, 1999 or something, when at first I seriously could not wrap my brain around the fact that I could type in whatever I wanted into the computer and a bunch of websites would pop-up, wait, “what the fuck is a website, how the fuck does it exist?” (Seriously, my little pool of you’re stupid venom shot me a quadruple dose that day and for several awkward computer dates after.) But back then it was sorta fun to get to know outer space. It actually filled me with a sense of wonder (and power of the totally harmless variety), like cutting up worms and watching both sides live or catching fireflies in a jar and watching them light up in seizure like fits of panic (power of the harmful variety that I’m now over, mostly).

Shit man, the buzz is dead. I killed it myself. Killed it with good ole pressure. Pressure to keep up with the fuckin’ Joneses. (Did I use that idiom right? Don’t always nail American idioms, being raised by a bunch of Russians and all—but I sure like to try.)

I’ve been known to flip out on information where I am non-stop looking shit up, websites, hot tv-shows, you-tube videos, while simultaneously listening to podcasts or new bands, occasionally stopping to flip through a stack of books and speed read or I’ll binge and download like twenty dissertations or critical papers on Shakespeare and feminism and queer theory and then—boom—I just quit. I stop reading, writing, listening, all of it. I just quit and lay on the ground in the sun fully dressed until I am sweating and overheating—only this way do I know I am functioning again as an animal, reflexively cooling myself off without even thinking about it.

Sometimes I miss being an animal. Miss feeling totally turned on by lichen or the taste of water or the thrill of finding a chanterelle. Really what I miss most are live action people. I miss seriously stimulating conversations that revolve entirely around nothing and everything at once, conversations that are just a journey into humanness, you know the kinds, where you get excited over a theory of black holes, or an urban legend and then weave into and out a personal story that ties into somebody’s grandma’s old way of saying this ole phrase until everyone erupts into deep belly laughing because the best pun ever just happened and someone overheard the out-of-context moment and asks, “did you just say penis?”

I am glazed over from access to everything but you. I want to notice the shape of your knuckles and the funky mix of colors you’re dressed in. I am starved for a whispered confession at a crosswalk or wild impulse of tearing clothing off to jump screaming into a glacial river. Oh, I miss you simple and sturdy friendships to enjoy tea with and discuss in all seriousness a future made real by those shared revelations. Un-replicable revelations. Not an algorithm in the galaxy that could make it ours again.

I know, this post has gotten awful sentimental. But partially cuz what I’m nostalgic over feels for real over. My charmed era of wild abandon just isn’t my daily anymore. Maybe I’ve aged ungracefully in this respect, or maybe I’m just out of touch from everyone else’s good time, or I’m too busy getting by, or too plugged in, too electrified with all the crossing of wires in thin air.

I’m sorry, I’m really just working out how the hell to move forward, as in how is it I want to live day to day and what sort of person do I really want to be and what does that person actually do with their time? Truth is, my values are up for grabs. I had a professor once tell me, back when I was holding on to luddite-esq ideas, that if I wanted to make it in the world as a writer I had to get over my fear of the internet, of progress and growth; he told me to get myself out there by any means necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly gripped/amazed by the endless possibilities of the world fucking wide web. But growing up I only had to figure how to live and be happy in the town I’d traveled far and wide to discover and stick to. Now it’s a universe I’ve got in the palm of my hand (quite literally) but I just feel like that four-year old kid scootin around on mispronounced words and misunderstood idioms.

Sigh, the internet is a way into private spaces I’d not usually be invited into. It’s the safest “disease” to spread. Seems the only way to get ahead these days, is to go viral. Am I really kissing those old bliss-out-on-land-with-community dreams good-bye? Maybe I’m totally wrong for thinking that this is an either/or situation, maybe I just haven’t found the perfect balance yet, or maybe I’m an all or nothing kinda guy, a new school or old school dude. Am I serious enough to commit; to choose this maniacal clawing for a piece of ungraspable space? Well, I’ve got this blog anyways and another rainy season to get soaked in. (Maybe I’ll try sending dirty pictures out, get up on this new kind of wild abandon. Tehee.)

I am asking for something specific

Posted: September 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

My son is a natural born misanthrope. I know, it’s absurd to believe me. I too was in disbelief when, as a “tender” toddler, he spoke a telltale phrase. We were on the bus, a young bubbly college student was all up in his face, “Oooo, you are sucha cutie, o, my, my” she cooed in her high-pitched condescension. He sat on my lap, wide eyed, staring directly at her. Once she finally took a breath he turned to me and in all seriousness said, “Mamma, I hate people.”

I thought for sure he’d heard someone else say this and was just copying, trying on worldly phrases as his own—until, of course, it reoccurred under similar circumstances: adult speaking at him as if he were an idiot. He never spoke directly back but would just turn to me afterwards to insist, matter-of-factly, “Mamma, I hate people.” The targeted adults would always laugh, thrilled by his imitation of adultness.

He’s eight now, my little misanthrope, and hasn’t mentioned hating people in a while though he gets a look in his eye and I know, yep, I know what he’s thinking. I think this too, I’m sorry to admit, but I do. Natural born disappointment in my team: team adults.

My son has a plethora of reasons for his disappointment. The culture sends mixed signals, oohs and aahs and no no no. In a given day he may be praised for his cuteness or joked with about being a “good boy” and then told to keep it down just for walking into an establishment, before even a peep has come out of him. Signs posted in vintage costume shops (of all places!) “Adults, control your children” or noise control via evil eyes on buses, in restaurants, retail shops and generally everywhere. He has heard the phrase, “you can’t do that” way more often than, “can I help you.” And certainly more often than “you’re welcome.”

Children are objectified repeatedly and nobody has a problem with it. They are regarded as controllable, undesirable or used as a symbol in disgusting displays of adult-centered culture. People find it reasonable to touch children they don’t know, speak as if they don’t understand anything—as in real slow or in unnecessarily simply language—or speak as if they aren’t standing just beneath the tip of their snooty noses.

My son may be small but he has fairly big ideas about how respect feels. He understands that when you won’t look into someone’s eyes you aren’t really listening. He too translates eye rolling into disdain and impatience. He fully gets the inequality of other people making choices on his behalf and shit does he hate that! He is just as offended by being interrupted as the rest of us. He too has hurt feelings if his ideas get blatantly brushed off. Human to human relating doesn’t actually change all that much from age to age. Children are capable of incredible bluntness, sharp-wittedness and unprompted compassion. And it’s true; children can be loud, obnoxious, disrespectful and needy. And they can be told so; nine out of ten kids will quit once their behavior is called out. I’m not sure this statistic stays true for adults.

As an adult in the world, working my ass off to raise healthy, conscientious, critical thinking children, I feel repeatedly challenged by my own misanthropy. Too many adults model awful examples for my children. I believe in parenting by example and every interaction models behavior for better or for worse. I get fired up because, pardon my tongue, we come across too many douche bags.

How in the world can children grow into functional efficient adults when their childhoods face a culture that too often excludes, dis-empowers, misrepresents and/or ignores them? The very culture they are expected to integrate seamlessly into. Adult culture contradicts itself repeatedly. Don’t touch that / you are the future. You aren’t old enough to understand / work harder to get the right answer. You are too loud / speak up for injustice. You can’t do it like that / experiment, think outside the box. You are too spoiled / a good citizen is an active one. You are too dirty / be a steward of the environment.

I’m tired of too many kid-free adults’ attitudes about children. Tired of these so-called adults’ inability to care, relate, or feel any sense of responsibility in regards to the children in their midst. Yes, I know, having children was my choice, and not having children was/is yours but the culture is all of ours—the present, the future and that tenacious past we’d like not to repeat, no? I can’t help but wonder, who’s gonna wipe your ass when you can’t anymore—my children. Who’s gonna decide about your social security checks in fifty years—my children. Who’s gonna run your banks, schools, farms, subways, keep buildings clean, advance science, thrill the world with art—my children and all of their friends.

Here’s what’s frustrating about the sub-cultures I have brushed elbows with, the activists, earth-firsters, queers, anarchists, radical leftists (I realize I’ve got some generalizing going on here but I trust your self-reflectiveness, you know if I’m talking about you and I trust that you’ll keep reading either way). Every one of these little worlds takes diversity, inclusion, and strict political correctness quite seriously. Every ism in the universe is deconstructed and bashed around and spent hours upon hours of potluck time rapping about it all. Each group expects the culture to change according to their seemingly common sense of equality and human rights. What’s so funny is that ultimately, raising children equates to this: you, child, need more than I do and I am willing to give you what you need first. Meeting children’s needs models what these groups ask of the world: care for others especially when others have less. Yet these very groups all too often exclude children, perhaps not always consciously but so often by way of disregarding simple things like event times or spaces and their kid-friendliness. Excluding children by default excludes the parents tied to them.

Children, oh children: after all overpopulation is the root evil, and children disrupt meetings, are a symbol of heteronormativity, and children turn radical people into unconscious sell-outs. Oh yes, I’ve heard each of these gems spat at me by more than one glorious “adult.” Indeed I have been looked upon with disgust and exasperation for daring to bring children to an “adult” event, I’ve been asked to leave, to hush my children (and by hush they meant make invisible), I have been ignored in queer spaces where my children were present (as if it’s contagious). One time a person who’d blatantly been eying me in an I think you’re kinda cute way asked me, “are those your children?” Of course they were/are. That person never talked to me again.

Don’t get me wrong, for all of these instances I have had gorgeous kid-free souls reach out, engage with my kiddns, ask meaningful questions about the reality of my living, show up for me and my kiddos—a thousand million thank yous to you (you know who you are). Unfortunately, these folks, these rare jewels I have found (and kept) are the exception.

Seriously, I’m not trying to complain or take up too much space with my self-induced ism. Actually I worry about my ability to participate as an active citizen, worry about what it means if “my people” aren’t really, I worry about my kids being surrounded by super cool adults that disdain children. I seriously work at raising good kids, shit; this is my major contribution to society for now so I best be doing my fucking best. But how am I supposed to be sure I am doing my best when the folks I supposedly agree with politically, my social peers, don’t actually see—let alone support—the major facts of my life? And by life I mean identity. Whether I like it or not parenting defines me, personally and as a member of society. (Which is not to say that it’s the only thing that defines me!) To really see me as a parent means to see my kids and their needs and the fucking hell I go through to meet their needs (emotionally, spiritually, monetarily, etc.).

Look, the truth is that if I hadn’t had children before I’d formed an adult identity I probably never would have. And honestly, I’ve met several children that I plain don’t like. It’s not possible to like all children (or adults for that matter). I don’t expect everyone to like all children—I am, after all, raising a natural born misanthrope so who am I to talk about love for everyone. And this is not a call to have children, not at all. But I am asking for something specific from those of you who want a certain kind of social change. You who want fairness and equality, who want sustainability and just use of natural resources, you who want to be accepted just the way you are, no matter who you love/fuck, you who want to be heard, who want peace and justice. Please participate in kids’ lives, in the lives of people raising children, alone or partnered. Love as many children as you can. No, it’s not necessarily easy or comfortable but isn’t this the point? Isn’t re-building a new and improved sort of humanity a tough job, full of discomfort and sacrifices? Perhaps, the more children you connect with and share your ideas of the world with the more chances those children get to grow into adults who carry these visions on. (Are we really willing to leave the population in the hands of right-wingers and Mormons?)

The future is out of our hands. We are only able to pass it on and on and on. We won’t be here for it, and actually, we won’t even be physically fit for all of the future that we are here for. Like I said, if you don’t help raise kids someone’s gonna have to wipe your ass once you can’t, it’s either gonna be my kid or some right-wingers kid. If you’d rather it be my kid, put the time in.

Sigh. Truth is, sometimes I hate my job of raising children, of doing a good job of it. Sometimes I can’t handle the pressure of being honest with them, of making the better meal (hell yes we have toast for dinner some nights), shit, sometimes I can’t handle the simple task of being kind to them. Sometimes they need way too fucking much from me and sometimes I really only want them to shut up and leave me alone to be a free-adult in a kid-free world. Fuck, I don’t even know how the hell I make it through some moments but I do because they need me to. And in the future I envision for them, for us, this is what people do for one another: show up for each other even when it’s the last fucking thing in the world they want to do. I want a culture that consistently tends to the weakest links’ needs. I want a culture full of people willing to sacrifice their own desires for the sake of a less privileged person’s needs. For this to be possible the whole damn thing has to be built on a deep trust in humanity. Deep trust—isn’t this what childhood should be made of?

After a good long silence a bit of an explosion is in order. This is my cycle: isolate, push every face away, get pent up and pressurized, downright angsty—and then go buck wild. Change everything overnight and every night after. Where I would make every excuse to stay home and stew suddenly I can’t shut the door before I’m out again. I can’t even sit still long enough to read or write. And where I couldn’t even talk to people suddenly all I can think about is sex with them, with everyone I come across that’s even remotely attractive. I go swimming and want to fuck the awkward shy girl, I check out at the grocery store and imagine making out in the bathroom with the hot shopper, I hang out with friends and everything I say is an innuendo. I work this way, keep people out most of the time until I snap and I set out to get lots and lots of sex. But thinking about having sex with everyone I come across and actually doing so are not the same reality. When I hit this peak in my libidinous tide I really enjoy thinking of myself as a player, able to just have sex with whomever, spur of any moment—but really I’m bluffing.

Sex is a cure all for adult angst, for career angst, for single parenting angst. And in my small and often insidious counter-culture sex is just another thing to do; it never has to have strings attached unless you want it to—unless you choose to go there. Strings attached just are not cool. And technically I agree, who needs strings attached? Minor glitch is, and by glitch I mean truth, I am all strings.

Not strings that look to strangle or turn to mesh, no, not strings that ooze goopy romanticism all over the stoop, or ones that grip too tightly but strings none-the-less. Mine are thick and frayed like cordage or ships’ lines. My strings strut around as if they make an impenetrable coil of fancy knot-work though really they are low on fancy and embarrassingly penetrable. The glitch of the matter is that these strings have been through some shit and don’t forget easily. My strings had a long spell of keeping knotted and determinedly unattached because of a past I’m gearing to drown in the Columbia.

Perhaps to you readers who are carefree and giving with your strings casual sex is cake [and eating it too as they say]. Those of you who have a dangle of loose silks, which slip, in and around the fine cilia of your lovers without a snag or tearing snap at the close.  [I have come across your kind with envy.] Or maybe you who are hardcore poly-amorous and have five lovers at all times with your ultimate multi-tasking strings of pliable and sturdy jute, maybe you scoff at my simpleton strings. They are simple, yes, in structure, in shape, but more importantly they are tired—I’ve fought my guts out to to get my strings to be here in me. To say, no strings attached, in my life now is to lie about everything I desire. To say, no strings attached, perpetuates and exacerbates a past I am done with containing. Yes river, gulp this up for me, take my shit to the sea, she’s an old friend, she’ll know a good place to bury toxic cargo for sure.

Maybe sit yer ass down now, I’m about to get heavy. [Seriously I’m about to get real about sexual abuse so if this freaks you out stop reading and go snuggle with a loved one.]

*            *            *

I was molested when I was five, pressured into experimenting when I was eight and then date raped when I was fifteen. This shouldn’t shock anyone taking notes on our twenty-first century culture. Seems like an overwhelming majority of people experience some sort of sexual abuse or misuse of power. Yea, I think there’s a distinction to be made here. When my thirteen-year-old cousin pressured and convinced me to experiment with our bodies he wasn’t sexually abusing me, he was misusing the dominating power of his age and my idolization of his olderness. But cousin was just a kid too. He was just as freaked out by the ordeal.

He didn’t mean to hurt me, his only real inconsideration was to put his need to explore and have an experience to brag about ahead of his sense of right and wrong. But he was thirteen, right and wrong is still blurry then, still gets pressed and mushed around before taking on a form that sticks. I really don’t harbor ill feelings towards him though our ease and playfulness died with that awkward and less than brag worthy experiment. Pretty sure this experience produced a solid shape for his quaky morals. I worry he might carry shame for that romp in the basement; he was only just coming face to face with his desires, how was he supposed to understand their power without pushing into the unknown. Dear cousin, don’t be hard on your self, desire fights hard to be fulfilled, goes to great lengths indeed.

Now when Dell [name changed for privacy] choked me to prove he could kill me if he didn’t get a rockin blowjob out of the night, he abused me, abused the fine line between right and wrong. He was a large chiseled man of twenty-two, a wrestling champion, a man with a fully formed concept of right and wrong. Damn straight he knew what he was doing was wrong. I vividly remember the look of his gray eyes: slightly soft around his greasy eyelid edges with sharp and focused irises. He knew it was wrong, and he was determinedly all right with it. Dell decided consciously to take what he wanted regardless if it was being offered or not. Dell’s desire that night took all despite the weak sounds of protest from me and from his obviously meek conscience.

Does Dell then deserve to feel ashamed for his actions [given that he remembers them]? I’m in the no camp, and no, this isn’t stemming from victim’s guilt. Don’t worry, I don’t feel guilty about being raped. I don’t feel like I provoked it, deserved it, asked for it, etc [which isn’t to say I’ve never felt this, just that I’ve come a long way]. Shame is a dangerous feeling to harbor, especially in a person who is so easily mastered by their desires [as in Dell]. I worry that Dell’s shame could have caused him to re-offend. Shame mixing up with desire can sneakily warp a reality [or two].

Sigh. And there’s Stan [name changed for privacy, and by privacy I mean safety].  Stan was a self-appointed godfather in my young life and boy did I enjoy going to church [Baptist] with him and his beautiful wife that I loved dearly and sit mesmerized by the choir and feel like I was big, bigger than I had any reason to be. Those dangling legs of mine loose and relaxed, my little chest clear, I was fully awake. It is strange to remember the last moment of feeling naively safe; it is awful strange, but I remember vividly the last time I felt anchored to my body.

The church is one image before the basement in my files. There is the church and the hot summer sidewalk and Petite, the black teacup poodle, and the plate of peas I had to finish and the wood paneling and the ground level windows. Stan wasn’t an innocently exploring kid or a morally-corrupt-but-fully-formed man, Stan was sick. Actually sick, with a completely skewed sense of reality. Right and wrong never formed in his world. He couldn’t grasp the boundaries [and by boundary I mean chasm] between his desires and a child’s lack of desire. A kid only wants safety, that’s it. [By safety, I mean love.]

For too many decades I’ve hung in my body like a cobweb in the guest bedroom corner—barely. Stan displaced me from my own body, made my body feel so utterly foreign and frightening that I would flinch from being touched at all. As I grew into a sexually active teen and young adult I didn’t feel anything when I fucked whoever would fuck me. I refused to get emotionally close, in fact felt embarrassed by and ashamed when I tried to care for someone. I didn’t live, after all, in my body—not my physical body, not my emotional body, and hell, I couldn’t even fathom a spiritual body.

Well I forgave Stan. I had to forgive Stan to move into a body that I felt safe to be in, my body, damn it. I live in here now, all my rooms painted brightly. And to fill out the shape of my space solidly, to take up my body with my own self, my own unfettered desires—I have to forgive Dell. It is harder to forgive Dell. Dell scared the shit out of me. He seriously cut off the circulation to my emotional body, my strings. Where I should have been growing love-in-the-mist flowers he’d gone and planted thistle. To forgive Dell is to possess desire as my own rather than mindlessly taking on others’ desires as my own. [Owning my desires scares the shit out of me.] Ultimately this means that sex and my strings must be inextricable.  To fuck now and not feel my strings zinging to life is to shit in my kidneys, to literally shit in my guts, to defecate right into my bloodstream.

If I am to be a thriving survivor of sexual abuse [opposed to barely surviving] then I have to be fully alive: physically, emotionally, and spiritually [by spiritual I mean that absolute unnameable piece of our humanness which is a body we all share]. Sex is the culminating behavior that engages all three of these elements at once. See, I know too fucking well the feeling of being hollowed out of my own body, so I am here now, strings splaying every which way. Sex is a wise thought out choice that I make, an experience that I won’t actually share with just anyone; I do, however, let myself pretend I’m all-spontaneous and carefree and even dangerous. But shit, If I am going to awaken my desire, desire that I fought my eyeballs out to forge strong in me, than damn straight there are strings attached. There’s a certain responsibility that goes along with sharing physical intimacy that can’t help but be emotional and also spiritual. This doesn’t mean I want to U-Haul it in and build a life together forever [though secretly I will play out that scenario in my head because this makes a chosen lover feel safer for me, because domesticity and the mundane is about as safe as it gets].

Yep, my strings are all there—halle-fuckin-lujah. They are palpable if you allow yourself to find them, and though I know it’s not cool, you can pass your hand along their coarseness; perhaps find a silken patch to twine your fingers in. [That’s if you can get down my pants.]

I’m single, supposedly. Single by American adult behavioral interaction codes, but I have two small people by my side most of the time. This is scary for a plethora of reasons, yes plethora. First, I am dangerous. Second, I am unpredictable, inconsistent and a riot of too much honest—aka dangerous.

Some folks are squeamish about several things on my list, or on their own list. Squeamish about vomit, or clammy hands, or poop and sweat—I am squeamish about affection, about showing and admitting to love. Yep, I’m the anti-mom. Ok fine, maybe just the anti-stereotype-mom. I’m not all sweet and nurtury with a bottomless well of patience and compassion. {On a side note, I’m also not, as the stereotype can go, asexual. I’m actually fairly turned on a good bit of the time, but am way too “good” at ignoring that need}.

I’m not trying to self-deprecate {so sonically close to defecate}. The truth just sounds shitty sometimes. The truth is, despite all that I’ve survived [a compulsive list for another day] the real damage has hit where it counts: my ability to love. It is unjustly tricky to love unconditionally and nurture and kiss and hug and say I love you a ton when you kinda-sorta emotionally starve yourself. When you are ashamed of your own needs or are surprised even to find one lurking. I didn’t know, for way too long, and am still getting used to admitting, that I actually need to be loved. {Not to mention that I am angry and scared and lonely from this emotional anorexia.} And as much as I was raised in an America that tried it’s darnedest to convince me of a knight coming along to be my teat of eternal happy I somehow, painstakingly, deduced that oh, shit, only I can meet that need. I have to feel loved by me.

My being single is due to this. Loving myself is kind of a bitch. Not because I’m too cranky or ornery but it’s a shit ton of work and I’m just tired. I just want to sleep and eat chocolate and pretend I am alive through a screen. Wait—

I am not single. And I do just sleep and eat chocolate and pretend I am alive through a screen—when I’m not packing lunches or doing dishes or spelling or adding and subtracting. When I’m not reading chapter books till my throat is sore, or taking them swimming, or yelling at stupid life guards [long story for another compulsive day], or planning birthday parties, or making sure they’ve washed—everywhere. When I’m not refereeing, or lecturing about flexibility and gratitude and appreciation, when I’m not role-modeling positivity, hell, I mean “positivity.” When I’m not doing any of these things or a gazillion other.

Then I am sleeping. I am sleeping so I can try again another day. Maybe this day I will remember to stretch when I wake, and share this with them. Maybe I will laugh today, instead of spit fire over spilled milk. Or maybe today is the day I falter and say something outright mean and watch them shrink but this time, this day, I forgive myself for it.

What if I can choose to forgive myself, to go on and think I’m ok even though I fucked up. If I can choose to love myself after fucking up then every other day should be cake, no? I have found after all of this sleep and repeat that this seemingly minute yet actually daunting undertaking—to forgive my mistakes—is an extremely good place to begin.

No, it’s not cake but this is my beginning. This is what my slack belly gets rounder on. Soon I will be stuffed and by then to say I am single will sound stupid. On that near-future day I will say I am complete.

All Virgins Through This Must Pass

Posted: September 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

My first blog post ever. Being the expertly private over-sharer that I am I want nothing more than to launch into every detail of my incessant inner world, but I have pinky promised myself a hearty dose of restraint. I can’t blow my load in the first ten minutes now can I?

The first post should be calm, cool, collected. I should charm you into my thickly knotted world with only soothy tendrils [that’s right I said soothy]. I don’t want to shake or rattle too quickly, get greedy for your attention, or become the jealous blogger that I’ve always said I’d never dare be.

But this blog is a dare. A dare in waiting. Careful, I may dare you at times, to take on firsts, or some new awkward, to sit with discomforts or relish in a bit o’ sudden glory. I may ask gently if I can shove my version of the world in your face and accidentally forget to ask when I plant a first kiss.

My disclosures will not always incorporate consent, but I ask that you bare with me, I promise, I will always get naked first.

I hereby disclaim that by disclosing I am actually asking a lot. I am deft with my questions and questioning and I only expect your sharpest questions at their best—or worse in some cases, since sometimes the worst turns up suddenly as the best. Like how when I was a kid talking in my head to the, the, well, the universe, with my squeezed-shut-eyes, clutched-hope-hands to “please, please don’t let me be a lesbian, please” and how now I’m a bright eyed, happily fistful queer that has really only been saved by what my kid self feared most.

O shit, a bit of cheesy coming on. I can’t help but quote one of my poet heroes, Rainer Maria Rilke, “fear is a dragon guarding your deepest treasure.” Truth is the cheesiest quotes always stick the glueyist to me. Go figure. {Left shoulder shrug.}

Before closing my first ever blog post (though I’ve been compulsive self-disclosing for years now, this blog is about going pro) I have two promises to make:

—my posts are going to be as close to stream of consciousness as I can get em. I’m a writer by trade, by schooling, by curse so I can’t help but naturally edit a bit here and there as I go along, but these wouldn’t be compulsive if I thought too long and hard and cutted and pasted up the wazoo now would they?

—each post’ll contain a confession or memory of some sort, some truth from my current or past lives.

And a hope:

—that if I ask I shall receive. [just sayin]

Well, shit, the first time is often the worst time so heck only up from here.