Onstage, we feel everything we are not supposed to feel in real life. Onstage, we sigh and gyrate our hips, using love to manipulate. Onstage, our worst memories are applauded. Onstage, we are unmasked. The shit-show of humanity is on display, and the people want more.
Tag: trauma recovery
I don’t want to write tonight – I am not inspired. I have gotten burnt out from trying to get better at too many different things at once. There’s music, writing, podcasting, teaching, gardening, making money, and building relationships. If I’m not the best at every one of them, somehow my body will implode in on itself while the ground turns into quicksand and I disappear in under a millisecond. Somehow I know this will happen, at a deep, reptilian level. So, to avoid absolute annihilation, I attempt to improve everything I do, at all times. That shit is not gonna work. Now I’m lying in bed, super sick, because my body couldn’t handle it all. I don’t know how to stop. I wish it didn’t take getting this sick to force myself to stop. What is this thing propelling me forward?
all this will be ruins
All this will be ruins someday. The earth re-membering herself, re-calling her own Name. All this will be ruins someday. The bright red METRO MATTRESS DISCOUNT SLEEP SUPERSTORE sign will crack and sink into the soft forgiveness of the mud. Every Grande styrofoam cup will slowly settle beneath the dirt, snap into pieces, become one with bulging roots and galaxies of mycelium. There will be no plastic left, only vivid tangles of roots. Swelling. Sighing. It will all be ruins.
All this will be ruins someday. Every desperate, pavement-sodden parking lot will cry out in relief as burbling streams find their way through the concrete, saplings shove themselves up between tiny crevices, and grass sprouts up, along the perimeter, now in the middle, now in every possible direction. It will all be ruins.
All this will be ruins someday. Ruin, from the Latin word “ruere,” meaning “to fall violently,” the Old English “act of giving way,” and the Italian “rovina,” meaning “to knock down, tear out, or dig up.” Ruins. A relief. It will all be ruins.
All this will be ruins someday. A re-in-statement of the natural order of things. A letting-go of the chokehold we have on the world, this dangerous and exhausting myth of control. A digging up of all that we have imposed on Her. All this will be ruins someday.
May that day come sooner, rather than later.
what am I learning to love?
Love. How this word eats away at us. How we long for the definition, some clarity, something to land in. Is it too cruel to say that landing in love is a myth? Learning to love, on the other hand, is the entirety of it. So, as I answer this question, I will be contemplating love in its entirety, in all the dark, damp layers of it. I’m learning to love the routine of folding laundry slowly over the course of the weekend. I’m learning to love the feeling of grief when another tiny seedling dies for no apparent reason. I’m learning to love the click of cheap shades against the windowsill, as the spring wind laps at the side of our house. I’m learning to love the revision process for each blog post I write for all the small business owners looking for SEO bolstering. I’m learning to love the feeling of collapsing into bed after a day of frayed nerves and lingering hugs. I’m learning to love chopping vegetables for strange stews while my fiancé practices snare drum etudes in the studio. I’m learning to love growing herbs on the windowsill. I’m learning to love saying hi to people on their porches as I walk past. I’m learning to love being financially stable for the first time in my independent adult life. I’m learning to love my fiancé’s stubbornness in the face of change. I’m learning to love my self-judgement. I’m learning to love the possibility of rest and rejuvenation. I’m learning to love the rain again. I’m learning to love uncertainty, of not knowing, of not fully understanding. I’m learning to love those moments when I cannot hold myself up for crying so much. I’m learning to love my integrity. I’m learning to love saying no to things I cannot or do not want to take on. I’m learning to love the place where “humanness” and “nature” touch noses and swirl into one another.
how tempting it is
How tempting it is to build a monument to our pain, a towering monolith of trauma, a permanent tattoo of our losses. “Look,” we call, “look at how you have ravaged my soul. Look at my body in tatters.” How we forget that we are already building the most powerful monument: the story of how we have gathered ourselves up again, yawning piece by yawning piece, warming our bodies around a new, infallible belief in ourselves, expanding as our disfigured mouths grow pink and taut with healing. “We are here,” we call, “we are here, whether you see us or not.”
starting the day with Rumi
I want to start the day off with Rumi. Everything else feels intrusive. Just the fact that I can write this sentence, sitting at the grooved wooden desk upstairs, reflecting on desire, is a miracle.
the first year
The first year that I cut down all the dead kudzu, putting a tarp down to stop the new growth.
The first year that all of our plants are on shelves.
The first year that we only have one plaid couch.
The first year that we have a real living room that I can read in.
The first year that I reread Peter and the Starcatchers and realized that even that book has dangerous patriarchal and misogynist imagery in it.
The first year that I feel capable of living.
an evening visit
I wouldn’t have thought to sit outside, with the air as cool as it was. This must be why we keep friends, I thought, so we’re not just doing what we always do, in the way we always do it. I wouldn’t have considered the blankets, and the warmth of the dogs, and the feeling of fresh air filling my lungs. It was my friend’s porch. Across town was my house, where we’ve experienced two drive-by shootings on our street, multiple stolen car chases, and a flat-out murder in our front yard, in which the wounded man stumbled down our driveway, finally collapsing and dying in our backyard by the lilac bush, where my partner found his body minutes later. Often, as I stand on our front porch drinking coffee, men will stop to inquire if I have a boyfriend, and if I work out, as if that is their business, as if I am inviting them to ask, just by existing on my own front porch in the morning. Across town, being outside has felt less relief, more risk. Outside, we’re at the whims of the natural order of things, but with guns. But here, in my friend’s neighborhood, where there hasn’t been a wayward gun shot for years, we took our blankets out to the back porch as the sun set in the evening. The light was a cool blue, sky still bright against the swallows and bats that flew eastward, mysteriously only flying in this one direction. We posited that maybe it was actually only one bat, flying in circles, just to confuse us. But this was simply a silly story made up to amuse ourselves as we sat there. We talked about the crops we were planting (zucchini, fruit trees, tomatoes) and what time of year was best to plant seeds. We talked about the work we were doing on our houses. We talked about how healing from trauma is non-linear, but how processing it seems to alleviate symptoms. We sat in silence a lot of the time. We talked to the dogs. We breathed in the air. Our nervous systems relaxed after each of our separate, scattered and stressful days. We watched the light die and noted how the longer days had somehow brought life back into our bodies. We talked about cycles. I wouldn’t have thought to sit outside, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
On Desire (revisited)
In honor of the last day of my daily writing challenge, I am reconnecting with the same topic I wrote about on the first day: desire. Here’s the original post. That day, I asked an important question. Can desire be trusted?
Here are a few things I’ve learned about desire this month:
1) Desire is not the same as disintegration. I can fully desire something while keeping my values, self, and identity intact. In fact, I can use desire to live life with more integrity.
2) I trust myself.
3) I can’t control most things, and desire is just one of many things I can’t control. That’s okay.
4) Desire is not an action. Desire is a guidepost. To desire something is not an automatic decision to pursue that thing. The decision stands in the way of action. Desire can be heeded, and it can be brushed aside.
5) BEING OUT OF CONTROL IS NOT DANGEROUS. BEING OUT OF CONTROL WITHOUT A SUPPORT SYSTEM IS DANGEROUS.
6) Yes. A line can be drawn between joyful attraction and dangerous obsession. And there are so many different kinds of love, that this binary doesn’t really exist anyway.
I wrote last month that “I might be running away from my own stubborn refusal to allow my desire to take up space.” That was true. I don’t want to tell some false transformation story here. I’m not much better, a month later, at letting my desire run free and do its thing. I’m still scared of it. I’m still scared to laugh a full belly laugh because someone might take advantage of my joy. I still feel cautious about showing too much interest in strangers, out of fear they will rope me into some complex plot to drain me of all my money and energy. But something has shifted. I wouldn’t have been able to write that list a month ago, and I owe that to my daily writing. Sometimes it was hard as fuck to force myself to write, but I combed through my values, behaviors, and experiences in a really unique way. I wouldn’t have been able to do this in any other format. For that, I’m grateful.
Thanks for following along this month. If you want to get to know me on other platforms, please consider following me on Instagram, joining me on Patreon, or subscribing to my YouTube channel. I’m gonna switch back to poetry now. At least for a bit.
On Banana Bread
My grandma can only eat unripe bananas because of this special diet she’s on. So, when the bananas got too ripe for her to eat, I made banana bread. Yesterday was tough for me because, the night before, I had a PTSD-related panic attack. The next afternoon, I was still dealing with the residual effects of my nervous system getting completely overwhelmed. Baking is often the only thing that keeps my body regulated on days like these.
I used Ruth Reichl’s recipe for Devil’s Food Cake, and totally revamped it to create an incredible baked treat with no added sugar. The sweetness comes just from the milk, butter and bananas. The whole thing is almost gone – my grandma and I have devoured it over the past 24 hours. I will admit that this banana bread was pretty much what we ate for dinner last night.
Here’s the recipe:
1 cup milk
2 tbsp almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
2-3 overripe bananas
½ cup butter (1 stick) – softened or at room temp
1 ¾ cup flour
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Optional: replace half of the butter with ½ cup apple sauce
Preheat oen to 350 F.
Heat milk in a small pan until bubbles begin to appear around the edges. Remove from heat.
Put almond flour and all three spices into a small bowl. Feel free to go overboard on the spices. I always do. Slowly beat in warm milk (I just used a fork). Let cool.
Partly mash the bananas with a fork. Then cream the butter into the banana mash mixture using the same fork. Beat in the eggs, almond extract, vanilla, and apple sauce if you’re using it (again, all you need is a fork). Add milk mixture.
Mix remaining dry ingredients together and gently blend into butter mixture. Do not overbeat.
Turn into a well-greased 8×8 square pan, and bake 20-30 minutes, depending on how gooey you want it. 25 minutes creates a perfect, moist bake, but you could underbake even more for more gooeyness.
Eat it with your grandma!
Also, yes, I understand the irony of my grandma not eating overripe bananas but then eating them in a banana bread. Who cares. YOLO.