i am listening to Democracy Now this  morning. Chilean economist, Manfred Max-Neef, reflects on the idea that we know “a hell of a lot” (which said in a Chilean accent sounds particularly compelling).  As an Berkely professor he attempts to speak with a poor Peruvian man and realizes he has no words with this man. They are both human beings, both with arms and legs and hearts and souls, and yet this college educated man realizes he has no way to communicate with this other human.

I am  interlaced with the idea of being a single mother in America. I am interlaced with the innate understanding of the planet and the movement of a mother’s heart through trials and giving and taking and sitting in the trepidation of love’s greatness through the doing and undoing of all you thought you understood. I believe that the nature of love is both courage and incapability.  I believe the nature of economics is courage and incapability.  I believe the nature of  preteen children is courage and incapability.  I look at my girls and think that I am like this Berkeley professor, looking at the sweet curves coming up from baby bodies, looking into the eyes of people that are not me, looking at the world where I did not grow up, looking at the children all around me becoming sooner and sooner and younger and younger.

The last contention is the contention of every generation of parents. Our children are taken from our minds and hearts and arms sooner and sooner. Media usurps our well-intentioned methods long before we are ready. Sex is an activity, not a sacrament. Drugs and alcohol are an average, not a fallacy.  The strive to gain accouterments is a given, not what you do when not spending time with family and friends. Our values as good parents are silenced with duct tape from the sheer din of noise. Is there a way to win over this screaming? Is  it possible to be louder than all the world of millions of dollars spent to turn our children into consumerist self destructive entities thrown into the machine created to move wealth to the upper echelon? Is it possible.

I am trying.

The thing about parenting is that  you live in two worlds. One world exists around the orbit of your responsibility for who your children turn out to be. The other is the opposite world where we are not responsible for who our children actually are. Nurture or nature, if you will. I sit on that cliff’s edge with ropes tied around all my parts hoping

“the nature of the abuser  is to make you believe that the only way to be is their way.” says Derrick Jenson.  I understand this as a way of understanding the way the world works. the abuser of the world is the upper echelon. we have been duped. today, i am sitting in the middle of the highway with traffic running me over.  will my children notice, or are they cars and trucks? can i talk them, reason with them, impress to them what is important? who will they be, and what power do i actually have?

the questions are timeless. but that is because they are large. and i feel that today, they are larger than me.  one woman, one way, one mind… where are the rest of you?

 

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June 9, 2009

Driving this morning. Three girls in jthe back seat of a white subaru with a few bumper stickers explaining my political views. None of them really professing what I think is vital to a high-functioning society. Perhaps the one that comes closest is “At least the war on education is going well.”

NPR on the radio. I don’t particularly like NPR. It’s just that Democracy Now does not happen to play on the way to take the girls to school. So I listen with a wary ear to what is known as National Petroleum Radio in more leftist circles. A short news flash plays announcing three Americans died in Iraq yesterday.

My youngest plainly declares, “War is bad.”

“Yes, baby it IS.”

But what was that pause in my voice? What was that little skip in my heart as I asked myself if what she said was true before I validated her? What the hell was that? I sigh. I fidget in my seat to arrange my shorts better around my sunburnt hips. My hands tap the steering wheel nervously as I give myself the third degree about why the hell I might think for even a quarter of a second that war is ok. I wish to myself that torture were legal so I could get it out of myself why that pause had happened.

Some would call it age and wisdom. I do not.

I call it that insidious sandy file that rubs constantly on those of us who live here, which is all of us. Time goes on, which does age us, but time is the bigger key. We live. We attempt to survive. We go through loss of love, loved ones, custody battles, watch our friends lose jobs, hear about more suffering than our hearts can endure and lead a sane life. Our edges get worn and we are apt to fall apathetically into the stewing pot of our predecessors.

I continue to drive. I berate myself. Sun glimmers off Town Lake this morning and I notice my childish wonder return. If we all approached one another like lakes of glimmering water, we may not need war. And even if some of us don’t, I don’t accept it as necessary. I will fight the idea like a woman fighting who fights the age of her body. I welcome wrinkles and battle, instead, with the backward ideas that scar us in age.

what is love’s measure, after all?  we have all asked ourselves this from day one. we begin to measure love with attention and food from the day we are born. and if we conclude that these things *are* love, by default, then perhaps love becomes easier. Do you feed me when I am hungry (note that this has more implication for an adult than food)? Do you hold me when I cry? Bam. Story over.

 

And I am increasingly beginning to think that this could be my story. Granted I have a few other questions I ask myself before contemplating “is this the real thing, or is it just fantasy?”  I have attempted to place myself in and out of boxes for my entire life. Sometimes wearing a poor box thin into holes before I take on a new one. Sometimes I don’t even actually fit in the box anymore  and it is obvious to everyone but me “i have a heart of stone.”

I have been in the lesbian box for three years.

Previous to that I was in the married-to-my-husband-with-three-gorgeous-kids for nine years.

So what is love’s measure? I have three children.  Science says that with each birth of your child you become awash in hormones that completely recalibrate the mother’s brain to become a highly tuned machine of love that is also a totally blank canvass. This allows us to be immeasurably passionate about our children without restraint (Mama Bear) and also  assures that each child gets it’s own experience of it’s mother. To start with sandpits of preconceptions about subsequent children based of what your first child’s demeanor may have been would lead to extremely impatient mothers and beaten children, i am convinced. Mother nature does know best how to get us to care for our young in the most efficient ways possible.

Alas, i diverge you onto a sidetrack, though a fascinating one.

We are here to ask ourselves “what is love?”

And essentially, it is what we are trying to figure out from day one.

It has been a difficult road for me to swallow my answers.  I have loved men, though fewer than the women I have loved.  I even came to a point where I was so intensely sure that I was only attuned to love a woman, that I would only ever be able to feel that tingle, that real tingle, that lost and light and unabashed feeling for a woman.

I have come to realize though, that I am not lesbian. I am not straight. I did need to grow. My last woman partner, I could have spent my whole life with and been satisfied, if things had worked out in a practical way. I would not have longed for a man. I would not have ever ever thought twice of a man’s body or a man’s hands upon me or of moving through a crowd on a man’s arm.

And I have met a man who has rocked that boat from the inside, punched holes in it, dismantled it on a whim, and forced me to swim in these waters.  I began to date men to pass time, and even, I will admit, because men are easy.  Easy to figure out, easy to play with, easy to hang out with, easy to captivate, easy to impress, easy to manipulate. I always found dating men to be… easy.

I am aware i am cultivating a sense of reverse sexism right now. I know it about myself.  Perhaps I can attribute my change of heart from my inner growth caused by spending time in the transgender community where gender lines are not hard and are hard at the same time.

I believe that life is a series of gateways.  That each person and experience is meant to build us up for the next one, or I have an impeccable sense of spirituality that does not allow me to look back with any sense of c’est la vie. We all have the responsibility to see such things.

I may have finally met my match. And i don’t mean that phrase in the married-till-death-do-we-part way that it could be construed as. I mean that it is possible to love without consideration for gender. It is possible to be moved not by the restrictions of the search for demureness or toughness. It is possible to simply be moved and fall into the trite idea of no restrictions. And i believe that I am one of those.

Bisexuality is still not widely accepted as “real” or having any gravity. And perhaps it is where I belong, always on the forefront of the attempt to open people up to that i am real, despite that i want to shed boxes. Bisexuality does not imply slut-hood. It does not implicate a reason to have many lovers, or even two at once. It is a simple and flat-line of it does not matter what you are, it is truly and implicitly who you are.

I rise up to the sight of a woman’s breast. I rise up to the sound of a deep voice. I rise up to the glint of someone’s eyes. I rise up to the good use of language. I rise up to the construction of laughter and bedskills. I rise up not to the podium of men or women, but to sexuality and the search for love within it, and the walls are not just four. There are not two side to this room any more than life has shown me there are not just two genders of people.

 

fear of closeness

but more of fear of the consciousness

that closeness brings

 

someone looks at us

nods over to me, smiling

“girlfriend?’

she asks

 

we look at each other with

fear

i am trapped in a cage inside my heart

elephants and butterflies killing each other

you come to the rescue

“we hang out a lot”

 

my chest subsides

like the calm ocean

who knows the moon will return

every single night

i started writing in my head last night and i started to say to myself

i am just too old to put with __________

i am just too old to bother with __________

as the list began to grow, i was slammed down with an inspiring dissallusionment that no one is “too old” for anything. and i don’t mean that like we should all stay young. I mean that, at any age, it’s not worth putting up with _______. how am i supposed to be writing to inspire if it seems i am talking to those *only* also “too old” to be not-strong.

no one is too young to be strong and sure of themselves

are you catchin’ what i’m puttin’ down?

me, i have a few things i have realized lately. i have a few things i have bothered to live out- we could call them mistakes, but i just lived  a few things out and found out, the hard route… so don’t bother with that shit.

  • like i am not ok with anyone who doesn’t like parts of me.

there is no picking off the plate of me <———-all thing really just return to this statement

  • like i am not ok with anyone not liking or not enjoying being with me and my friends

if i have bothered to love  my friends, then i believe they are worth loving. you don’t have to be besties with my besties, but you damn well better laugh at us when we are funny. you damn well better kiss me goodbye when i get up in the middle of the night to help someone else, you damn well better know and believe in all kinds of relationships and that those relationships never belong in boxes labelled don’t touch out only in only upright only quiet

we cuddle like puppies. we carry on like grackles. we dress up like animals and royalty. we are naked at home. we grow together. we dance anytime a move comes in our heads. we are loud, ok well maybe i am the loudest. and some of us love to cry together like being on a roller coaster was the most natural of feelings there could be.

  • love my vices. none of them are bad for me.  i am lived-out enough to know that.

i keep too many animals, i clean the house to immaculate, then let it go for a while. also, a continuously immaculate house is not a cozy house. i leave my art supplies out for days. i drink when it’s safe. i talk to my children about all manner of politics and rough subjects. i like to promote uninhibited behavior in public. i talk too loudly, only shush me if it’s something that is about the next table- do not sush me if it’s just something that will offend them.

  • don’t expect me to be young all the time. i like to be old.

don’t say, “oh, you said those were your work clothes, i thought you were only going to wear them to work.” i don’t want to be pigeonholed into skirts and combat boots every day. i don’t want to be loved because i look wild. i want to be loved because i am wild.

  • my history is who i am. i talk about it.

if you can’t hear about my *ever* being with someone besides you, please exit stage left. it’s a fact. marriage, children, getting and losing what i thought was the love of  my life (which is a different relationship from my husband) are a part of my fabric.  I am not gonna leave my history behind me, i don’t expect you to.  if i am with you, it’s because i want to be, and you are lucky for the five minutes or five years i put into you. we are all lucky for whatever amount of time we get with each other.  I am not going to apologize to you for anything i have ever done. if  you tell me i fucked up, i might spit in your face. i wove this blanket, and i lie in it every single night.  Some places are scratchy, and if you think i don’t already know that, then you underestimate the human i am.  i look down at it and gratitude spills out all over each single thread and marvels at how it has come together to protect me from harsh elements-if you’re not careful it will be used to protect me from you.

so these are just a few of my favorite things, darlin.

But please take note, that this is a note to no one.  It is a note to everyone. I hope everyone can live like this.

i beleive

that trans people live inside my heart
i believe there are couches and stools and beds and kitchens
up in there
there is food and drink and safety
and i grapple with my intimate attraction to your presence
i grapple with not being trans like you grapple for body parts
i grapple with not being trans like you grapple for identity
i love you like a sister and brother and brother/sister
i love you because
you
have made a choice
to be what God told you you weren’t
you have made
a choice
to be what your heart called you to be
and it reminds me
that our hearts are even bigger than god
our hearts are made like patchwork calliopes all rounded to decimal points
our hearts
peoples hearts
can be homes that are allowed to be rearranged
and deranged
i love you because you are willing to be a monolith
who weeps real tears and carries a million torches that will burn your
sweet tender fingers
i love you because you are everyone inside
and you still smile at me and know that i can never know
who you really are
i love you because people will hate you
and you woke up one morning and decided
self-love is bigger than hate
you are a walking new age self-help book
and i am sorry that you have to carry that burden
but you do it so well
even in graceless moments where you take your own lives
when the hatred has overcome you
i hate your death
but your choice for it is still stamped with approval
-be me, or die-
and the rusted iron chains that shackle you to the feet
proclaiming you are incomplete
prostrate to society’s whores and mayem
kill me inside, too
i want to carry your light soul to worlds where
my vicious little heart would protect you
where i would duel to the death for one ounce of resilience
to rescue one soft delicious moment for you
to cut holes in the sky above you and let in light
to cuddle you up into my mama-pouch and sing softly lilting slowly
my voice would soothe you all over
and wash your ever-changing skin into glorious self-reliance
but you have done all that
you are standing in front of me
sure. strong. smiling.
and i love you.
i love you.

April 21, 2010

my heart feels too big for my body
it beats
and my sides move
my hands shake
i break

open wide guts out
for you to see
writhing
walk away

i scream with arrows all tied up in sheaths still
hits you like a thud
not the cuts i intended
i break

up in the clouds
there is no heat hot
enough for me
i want to burn up like hell swallowed
it’s final gulp

i sit up at night
rivers out of my face
like i was a texas spring
trying to flood Low Water Crossings
in hopes that you can’t get away as fast

i end up alone.
i know it is my own design
inability to reach out. lazy about forging good friendships.
but i just wanted it to be me and one other against the world.
and it’s my own fight.

my own.

my heart feels too big for my body
i haven’t eaten in two days
and it makes your heart beat real big
like a circus show
and it makes sleep harder
than the crying did
i want to cry more, to make me tired to sleep better to work harder tomorrow at somethingidontknowwhatreally except that i don’t want to hurt you anymore
but i will put on a face in the morning and pretend i am with it and

and

i break

There is a blank space
where your photo was

It represents a blank space
that burns me for eternity
I was not meant to

be a princess

I am mother to all
lover to no one.

I am sought after
and poisonous once attained.

i am sexy
and disgusting to look at
i am tender
and painful to touch
i am gentle
and rough to handle
i am enthralling
and simple to read
i am loveless
and addicted to love

everyone is my child
no one should have to be my lover

i do get it. i know when i am feeling narcissistic. i am self-aware enough to kick myself when i think it’s inappropriate, but i am also aware enough to know when it’s warranted (said like a true pro, right?). two things passed through life this week that have made me ponder the term deeply, recall all the times it has been attached to me, and analyze whether those people were perceptive, or crazy.

i think most of them are both.

but me, i don’t really think i can say i am not living in narcissism. but i would argue that most self-help and new age therapy encourages it. i would also say that when i studied psychology, i was disappointed at the amount of narcissism that Americans think is acceptable. what i am is an uber-self-conscious-often-self-loathing narcissist. i take care of everyone near me like my life depended on it and am willing to give up anything i want, or even need, to please someone else. and i think i am fucking fabulous.

now lets get to the real part about my narcissism that i was going to talk about to begin with.

i am terrified of someone falling in love with me right now.

no one in particular, but i realized this week that i am open to some light dating right now. i let someone ask me out. i said yes. and then dread came on. i don’t want someone wanting me right now. i would love someone to hang out with. someone around who appreciates me. but is not gonna fall in love with me. a friend and i joked the other day that i need a boyfriend/girlfriend (circle one) who just wants to send random text messages as if we were dating.  (i do need some physicality though, but words will get me far)

i have another friend who had a crush on me for a couple of years. she told me once “Courtney, everyone THINKS they are in love with you when they meet you. Nobody can help it. You are like… like… a… like just YOU. And then time goes by and we do eventually see that you are just human like the rest of us.”

So, I don’t seem even human when you first meet me? What? I am a GODDESS? *point of uproarious laughter from my crowd up in the bleachers*

But for real, I do love to be admired, no doubt. I wouldn’t have 350 photos of myself on my facebook page if I didn’t want people to look at them. I am pretty, I am a sexual force of nature, I am extremely intelligent, I love the outdoors, I cook like I am on fire, I baby anything that moves…. I am a freakin catch.

But I don’t wanna be in loved with right now. And that makes me scared to have fun. When I was younger, I had no problem breaking all those guys hearts. I had suiters at my doorstep kneeling every couple of weeks and I would unemotionally tell them to get lost. I think I felt some sense of power in it, which the desire to feel that power was probably warranted after my childhood.  now I look back and say, “Poor little guys.” I don’t want to be that woman anymore.

Perhaps part of me is still scared that I could be. I saw someone a couple of times this week and noticed my behavior acutely afterward, not touching as much as I usually do, not offering to help with physical ailments or saying something that would relay that I was concerned. I saw myself being… reserved… because I did not want them to think I cared very much. ugh. That sucks. I do care, I did want to show I cared, but damned if I want someone to take it wrong. What is the wrong way to take caring? unclear. and it’s messed up that I would do less than I normally would from fear. I freakin take care of people, it’s what i get off on, I guess.

So the moral of the story is, I am real happy right now being me. I have rarely felt this way in my whole life. I have lived to be devoted to other people, literally. I need to do this now. And I recognize it deeply, and I say it to you now, reader, so there’s some kind of witness or something.

Yes, i am a narcissist, for those that pointed it out last week, and those that will continue to point it out. Just don’t fall in love with me over it. *insert more laughter*

This morning is a good one. This day is a promise. Me, I am just hanging out with the rest of you folks.