Friday, October 25, 2013

Where I'm From

Where I’m From

I am from a roll top desk full of closed drawers and covered with papers
   from a homemade Care Bear and MTV blaring on the television.
I am from a place where you walked on eggshells
   and spent hours separated, alone, and uncertain.
I am from a ponderosa pine
   whose height makes you feel small.
I am from overflowing ashtrays and pecking roosters
   from Gloria and Richard.
I am from loyalty and depression
   and from chronic fatigue syndrome
   from self doubt.
I am from Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
I am from my grandmothers Betty and Frances
   from beans and noodles and cabbage rolls
   from women raising children on their own
   and from men hiding beer cans in the couch cushions.
I am from those moments of walking in the woods, toy gun pulled out in case of an emergency.

I am awakening.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Food as a weapon

My girl and I took a long hike yesterday... I was working real hard on hiking to hike.  Not to burn calories.  Not to meet some goal.  Just to be aware.  To notice my surroundings and to be silent with them.

Thich Nhat Hanh said:

Silence doesn't mean not talking and not doing things; it means that you are not disturbed inside, there is no talking inside.  If you're truly silent, then no matter what situation you find yourself in you can enjoy the silence.  There are moments when you think you're silent and all around is silent, but talking is going on all the time inside your head.  That's not silence.  The practice is how to find silence in all the activities you do.

It's hard work.  Being silent.  Truth be told, I suck at it.  In fact, as I typed that out I realized that I for sure wasn't silent yesterday.  DANG.  I thought I had been.  I had been appreciating my present moment... totally different from being silent.

Anyway, after I had stared at the scenery, I started to think about these diet pills one of my cousins is on.  She's gone from a size 14 to a size 6 and has posted pictures on blahbook of the grand transformation.  She's decided to sell the pills and the shakes and the this and the that.  I was basically convinced to do it.  Who cares that you have to take the pills and the shakes and the this and the that for the rest of your life?  Who gives a rat's ass?  I could be a size 6.  A SIZE 6.  For only $100 a month.  PLUS?  You can eat whatever you want!  And you have tons of energy! 

I told her it sounded like a dream come true.

As I was practicing my silence (that ended up obviously not being silence), I thought about my relationship with food.  And how fucked up it is.  Food has been my enemy since I was 12 years old.  My weapon of choice.  My drug of choice.  I rarely enjoy it... I mostly just use it.  I can use it for good, I can use it for evil.  I can completely cut myself off from it until I get dizzy or I can stuff myself with it till I almost explode... and then beat the shit out of myself by forcing it out of my stomach.

Passive aggressive or violent.  This way or that.  Very little middle ground (not to say that hasn't existed for me... it has... just not in a solid manner).

I wonder if I treat others the way I treat myself.  Probably. 

I don't want to take a magic pill and a magic shake and a this and a that... I don't want to slay myself either.  I want to be present with my food.  I want to enjoy it.  I want to feel it, smell it, taste it.  I want to use it to feed myself, not to punish myself. 

I want to rest in the middle ground.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


It is entirely way too easy to get caught up in, what... I don't even know.  Self deprecation?  Anger?  Confusion?  All of that and more?  Yes, entirely way too easy.  Give your life a couple small blows and whew!  Soon all those negative little nellies squirm right in that soul of yours and make themselves comfy.  Like your heart is a bubble bath.  They just want to get all pruney.

I've had some small blows... they seem recent, but really it's more of a build up.  Transitioning into becoming a mother of two seemed like the perfect time for the build up to pop a bit, so WHAM! 

It's super annoying and super exhausting.  And I just want to run away from myself.  So instead I have found myself slipping back into the old ways... good ol' binging.  And then loathing.  And then binging.  And then loathing. 

Super annoying.  Super exhausting.

I've sought help from a couple of therapists... amazing, really, how so few people are actually good at their job.  Or rather, excellent at their job.  I've heard of some pretty damn good folks out there on the East coast.  Some others here or there.  Totally out of my price range.  Totally out of my range at all.

So.  I'm working hard to find other ways to get through this. 

I've decided to start studying Buddhism and Taoism.  Scrambling away from my Catholic roots.  Reaching towards the soul of my first dad.  Studying and learning and listening.  Who knows.

Anyway.  This morning, during a low moment, I read this:

Sometimes, we miss our old world, we struggle to surrender our former freedoms, our youth and all those evenings, weekends, and holidays to ourselves.

Sometimes we look in mirrors, look at our messy living rooms or at the clock that reads three in the morning, and ask, 'Where am I?'

A Buddhist would provide a short, simple answer:  Here, now.

Those words gave me a moment of hope.  Some light.  Because this moment?  I am in my kitchen.  My husband is starting the fire.  My son is doing an art project at the kitchen table.  My daughter is sleeping in her bed.  The sun is peeking up over the canyon walls and the leaves on all the aspen trees are bright yellow.  We are healthy.  I am drinking coffee from my trip to Ethiopia.  I am wearing clothes.  My back it itchy.  I can scratch my back.  My stomach is rumbling.  I will put food into it.  My husband just approached me and said, "I'm just giving you space...." and then kissed my cheek.  I leaned into it rather than away.

Here.  Now.

It doesn't have to be about then.  Or what is to come.  It can be here.  It can be now.  And that gives me hope.

Friday, October 11, 2013

5 things

I've been asked to list five things that bring me pleasure, that are just easy and without effort.  I'm meant to do this without much thought... just list the things that pop into my mind automatically. 

I think it's sad that I struggle with this.  That I would rather avoid than come up with the "wrong answer," or one that isn't creative enough, or good enough, or whatever.  Geesh.

Anyway.  Five things.  Automatic.  No editing or censorship.

Phew.  Okay. 

Easy, right?

1- mixing the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients for cookies

2- the first punch on my heavy bag

3- sneaking a kiss from my son when he's asleep for the night

4- watching my daughter really enunciate the sound, "wowr" (which sounds exactly like our cats... only Salem starts with her lips puckered up to the far right side of her face and then manages to make her mouth go round in a complete circle... with her eyes as wide and open as possible)

5- getting Jason to laugh so hard that his hands form fists and he throws his head down

6- my cat falling asleep on my lap

(Six was one to grow on....)

How about you?  Want to share your list?  Automatic, 'kay?  No editing or censoring!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bird lover

I glanced to my left on the drive to pick up Tesfu from preschool when I saw three horses running towards a flock of birds in the field.  They would get to the birds, the birds would fly to a new location, the horses would run in the new direction, the birds would fly away to a new spot, the horses would run after them, and so it continued until I couldn't see them anymore.  It reminded me of how I annoyed I got when Tesfu was doing the same thing to a group of bluejays in the park this past weekend.  Running in the sunshine right towards several birds, throwing his arms up in the air and following them as they flew up, then rested in a new place, only to be chased away by a wee boy intent on keeping them in the air.

I think if I could, I would scold those horses.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Introduction to the river

It was last week when I took her down to the local hot springs (you get there by following the highway for a few miles, then eventually you'll see a cabin on the other side of the river that's falling apart... park your car there, then hike down the short path until you can stick your feet in the hot spots); I wanted to introduce my daughter to the ways of the river when things were calm and cozy. 

The hills surrounding us were yellow and orange and red and the sky was the color of a 1,000 bluebirds.  I was wearing a skirt with a short-sleeved shirt and she was wrapped up in some cozy pants and a jacket.  I carried her around the rocks, my feet kicking at the water until I found a spot that wasn't too hot or too cold... just right.  She was quiet, sucking her two middle fingers while the rest of her digits formed the "I love you" sign against her cheek.  I attempted to put her feet in the water... her hands...her  toes....

Eventually it became clear that what needed to happen was not what I had intended- she wanted to bathe in the rays of the sun, not in the warm waters of the river.  She wanted to be held in my arms, relaxed, looking South- not sitting in the mud or on the rocks with the water squeezing her from all sides. 

Present.  Sturdy.  Her skin showing.  Her eyes shining.  All of her open to the skies.

She is here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

To go through something

Regarding our first court date....

Big fat nothing.

Not a peep.

Not a pip.

Not a poop.


I was recently told to wade my way through things rather than build the wall.

You know.  The wall.  The big one.  Full of bricks and misperceived safety.  Yep, that's the one.

Says the therapist... says the heart:  see that thing up there?  That big fat nothing full of so much something?  It's like a cloud.  Experience it.  Feel it.  Notice it.  Go through it.

Go through it.

It takes some work to go through it.  Some focus.  Some trust.

Minute by minute, day by day.  Going through it.