Sunday, May 8, 2016

Musings on this thing called life.

At the end of the day, all we’re left with are the pieces of ourselves we attach to things. That is to say, we are left with ourselves. The others are gone.

I can’t exactly recall the last time my father said my name. For the last 8 months or so, I wasn’t even sure he knew who I was. It’s this slow stretch of the ties that bind that make you remember that sometimes the things we most believe to be true are nothing but smoke and mirrors and that life is really just a timeline with scrawled events leading to an inevitable end that will get forgotten. Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell right now. This is the first time my father has died. I’m a little confused how to walk this.

When my brother died in 1991, it was a wholly different affair. No social media. No cell phones. There was no way for me to mourn privately while simultaneously grieving with the majority of my friends and acquaintances. It was more of a blunt tragedy, it hit me and I spun out of orbit and landed in different peoples’ laps for periods of time before they either grew weary of me or I of them and I moved on. Grief is fluid and inconsistent. And it is ever changing, depending on the circumstance. Your dad died? Did I know him? Oh, I’m sorry for you but here’s the thing: I don’t really feel that grief. When I tell you I’m sorry, I’m feeling MY grief. And I’m relating it to yours. Because, as humans, that’s all we know how to do. It’s not bad. It just is. And here’s the thing: it’s not your grief. It’s mine. And it’s not my worst. It’s pretty natural. And pretty okay. In the way that the fact we are all going to die at some point is okay. In that, it isn’t. But it is.

I did that thing where you tell the person dying that you are okay if they let go. I didn’t really think he was dying right then. I figured I was being melodramatic by even broaching the subject, sitting there in that shithole he was living in, smelling urine and decay all around me, a Rhett Butler poster across from the bed, violently unironic. He had been wheeled into the hospice section and they hung his clothes on a tiny pole with no label because they knew, better than anyone else, that he wasn’t going to need to keep them there very long. His pillow had the name “Ed” written on it in Sharpie and no pillowcase. But, fuck it, he’s dying. Why bother, right? These are the kinds of things I’m holding onto right now because I wished I could have wheeled him out of there and put him near the ocean and let him smell the water and hear the waves and feel the wind. Instead, I rubbed his forehead and kissed him and talked to him like he could hear me because I kept thinking...I don’t know what I was thinking. I was wishing the caregiver in the office across the hall would keep the volume on her computer down because I really didn’t want to listen to anymore fucking vine videos or snapchats of Fetty Wap. I don’t even know who the fuck Fetty Wap is and it was the second time that day he was in my orbit. But I get it. Her job sucks. Maybe snapchats are the only way to keep her sane. Regardless, my dad did not belong there. And I have to believe he wouldn’t have even known if he were elsewhere or my head might explode. I’m angry. Not that he died. But at the fact that he was sitting in a smelly room with strangers much of the time and the fact that life is not a fucking Nora Ephron film with a poignant ending and accessible pop soundtrack.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

seven. and more than. and less than.

i have deleted more words than i have typed. which is literally impossible but, like, literally,  the truth.

i used to live my life waiting for the grand gesture, the crescendo. and i only wanted to win. therefore, i never tried. because you don't win every time and i would rather win in fantasy and be complacent in real life than try and fail. 

not really a good life plan.

my daughter turned seven today and her stories are not really mine to tell anymore in this venue. not that i divulged all that much to begin with. i mean, i'm not one to ever take my fingers to the internets and let them loose with humorous, cliched jokes about hating the assholery of my sociopathic children because there is a bad taste left in my laugh from that vaguely reminiscent of that time i threw up all over my white patent leather stilletos while hunched over on the sidewalk outside that bar in silverlake. as in: there is so much wrong that i don't even know where to pin the blame. 

three. now seven. these babies. the ones that aren't actually babies anymore. they are ever closer to being so much less a part of me that i instinctively want to hunker down with my legs over their bodies, as if i am protecting them from a tornado. because i want them to know i would lose my legs for them, at any given time.

the days, however, are sometimes more than cliche. they are mine. and i share the beauty in the moments on instagram and purposefully leave out the jagged voices and the challenging social constructs that come with being an adult with small children, no longer with babies. the mommy blogger is dying and the rest of us are still here. wondering how to stop ourselves from writing.

Monday, September 8, 2014

he's three. the last slipknots of baby are untangling themselves in the slightest of breeze and i feel my body shift to bear the weight of the knowledge of the fact that my babies will, indeed, keep growing up. seems woefully unfair, given the state of the world. but then i repurposed the crib into a daybed for the patio and i felt as though i tamed something unforgiving.

we had to put our cat down recently. and i am still walking around bruised and childlike in the aftermath. navigating the six year old's crying out in the middle of the night because she misses her, the three year old referencing her as if still here. a friend came over with her dog recently and i had that momentary panic of OHNO!LETMEPUTMYCATINMYROOM! and then i remembered. there are no other pets here to worry about. sigh. it was the way it should have been. she was old. she turned sick simply because she was old. she was in minimal pain near the end. she lived a good, long life and i loved the fuck out of her. i just feel like someone butchered my family and left the pieces to rot. in a way. i mean, there is no tragedy. so they say.

i'm working three jobs. my husband works late hours. we steal romance in the middle of the night like thieves and yet there is no faking it. our romance might be a little low on the priority list but it is still alive and kicking and i sometimes wonder if my childhood dreams of finding a spell to cast on my love interest to make him love me forever and ever no matter what really worked. because i still feel like we're in the beginning.

forgive my young, random musings here for a bit, will you? i'm still getting my sea legs back in regard to my free journaling (which is how i see this space. please don't tell me you think i use poor grammar and ignore punctuation in every occasion.) if you are around and reading this, i thank you. because the small idea of "audience" is something i find cathartic and therapeutic and i value you tremendously.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

and yet.

i forgot that today was early pickup. i parked in the red, waving to her from the curb, her brother still strapped in the back. she ran to me, eyes dark and dripping. she feels things with tenacity. interprets my lateness as abandonment. even when i try to explain that i'm so, so sorry and i made a mistake and i didn't actually forget to pick her up...i was just late because i thought it was wednesday and not tuesday (because monday was a holiday and she didn't have school and we were so tired from the weekend and she stopped listening but i still kept talking.) i am torn in half and jagged at the seams. because sometimes my best still fails.

and yet...i know her. the slack is growing longer and looser. i feel the tides grip the line and i know that i have to lighten up on the slack or the line will snap and she will swim away with the current. i hear things she says and i don't always understand the context. i empathize with her sensitivity. i know that she feels things on a visceral level and that every slight (real or imagined) is a pinch sharp enough to bruise. i also know that i need to teach her the tools to deal with such emotions because walking around this earth with your skin inside out and stapled together haphazardly is a horrible way to be. i navigate the waters of her day with an almost privileged exasperation. because i know where she is at all times. because she is still so small and still needs me so much. because i am falsely confident in the way that feels.

and yet...

i stopped writing because i felt as though i had no stories to tell that didn't have something to do with my children. or my self-doubt. or my pain. and those didn't feel like stories i should be telling. a friend, however, made me realize that my stories are more than that. that my stories are valuable. or at least might be. and that maybe my free writing is a time capsule that is worth more than the fear of not having something to say. that maybe, just maybe, not having something to say is worth questioning.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

let them go.

and just like that. the sun is out. there are strap marks lining my skin. tomatoes have grown yet not quite matured. things have changed. and they haven't. i count time on the tops of my feet.

i had a moment a couple of weeks ago where i felt my ribcage melting into one giant unmovable mass, constricted and claustrophobic. there are people going through worse. there are people buying mansions. there are starving children and diamond rings. there are manicures and emergency surgeries and i remember afternoons. i have a picture hidden behind the tips of my eyelashes where my father sits in a hospital bed and he doesn't know where he is or why. but my six year old daughter reads him shel silverstein and he smiles. lifts his head and laughs. am i telling you about him? or am i telling you about me?

i do not know how to hold onto the reality of any given situation. i only know how to disappoint myself with my inability to make a beautiful bow at the end of every day. i know how to drink one too many glasses of wine. i know how to dig my head in the concrete when it comes to the big things and how to lose my shit over the details.

sometimes the only thing i know how to do is to step into the quicksand of letters strung together and pile them, one after the other, on a screen. or on paper. or on my skin. and then to let them go.

Friday, September 27, 2013


i hear her talking to her dolls. she makes up these long, drawn out conversations. and i think about wearing headphones and letting her scatter her letters about her legs like rose petals and then drying them out and sewing them into a bag to stick in her underwear drawer. a sachet of imagination unencumbered by politics and disagreements and financial (in)stability. she will wear the scent of myopic selfishness around her like a musk. and she will shed her skin slowly, leaving dna all over the place.

these are the things i think about when she talks to her dolls.


we all judge each other, don't we? about our choices. is there a part of this that is healthy? a piece of this that means we are doing something well? i know that i judge people constantly, without even trying. friends have told me i am the least judgmental person they know. and yet...that isn't really possible, is it? to be an active human being with your feet steeped in sticky relationships and personal history and experience and not somehow categorize the choices others make and make a mental flow chart of how, exactly, their choices affect you. i think this gets exacerbated once we have children, but i don't know. because i only started really caring about it once i realized people were judging me in relation to them. before that, i stayed aloof, distant. at arm's length when it came to disagreements and conflict. like i said, i was the one friends said was the least judgmental but i'm pretty sure it was only because i was the one least likely to get involved.


my son takes a nap while my daughter sits in the front yard and yells hello at the neighbors. the seven year old boy next door comes over to our house to play almost every day and i watch my five year old daughter emulate his mannerisms and talk with his phrasing. i watch my two year old son run and hug him like a long lost relative every time he walks in. and i think, this is the village. the dolls and the judgments and the politics and the imaginary conversations we have with strangers in a crowded room.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

sleep to dream.

my daughter dreams in loud, piercing segments. vivid color, fear and pain and abandonment. her good dreams are mild, something to mention over toast and juice, usually forgotten between the mattress and the floor. sometimes i think the bottom of her feet are littered with her peaceful thoughts and that is why she never has callouses. since she was a baby she has awoken at night in terror, as real as the hair on her head. and we soothe her and we give her tools to manage her fears so that her terrors at night do not spill over onto her skin during the day. so that she does not walk around the world bruised and battered by her own mind. we pinned a dream catcher above her head and told her that its web holds the tiny tentacles of bad thoughts so that she doesn't have to. that they disappear before she wakes up and turn into glitter. (she added that last part; it's a genius idea.) she and i both know the dream catcher doesn't work but it sure is nice to have something to tell yourself in the morning after a particularly exhausting night of sleep.


two nights ago, i was in an underwater boat with my husband. not quite a submarine. more like a boutique hotel in dubai, high rise and luxurious, completely submerged. the walls were glass and there were long tunnels where fish and plants floated around. we walked through them and marveled at the sheer grandiosity. so safe. like a cocoon. there was an anchor. above us. it was round, golden, lit up. a larger than life golden snitch. there was a creaking, loud, clanging and banging. the anchor shot around the boat like a mystical flail and crashed into the glass. the air was a vacuum, loud and silent at the same time. full and empty and i remember thinking i couldn't define the difference between a noun and a verb. and i thought about my children. and panicked. i knew they weren't there but i wasn't sure where they were. and i wondered what would happen to them now. i was sliding down, reaching for my husband's hand. he locked eyes with me, fingers outstretched. "DO NOT FALL ASLEEP," he screamed above the din of rushing water and i looked at him quizzically, thinking it was strange that he didn't tell me to hold my breath. my arms started to drift up. "WAKE UP! WAKE UP!"


the dream catcher in my room is small, attached to a key chain. and i wonder sometimes if it just plain does not have a big enough web to save my psyche from drowning.