You Had One Job

Well today, more like two jobs. Three. I had to find a way to cover our bank account so the balance wouldn’t go negative.

Then I had to find a running car to get up the highway to a sexual assault medical exam. And I had to find a friend to accompany me; the support I had lined up, was canceled.

Days like that it’s no wonder I feel drained in this special, assy way.

small stone #12
Your hair is copper-penny bright
and you look so grown up,
like a young lady.
In ladies’ blue jeans and all!

show some love, you ain’t so tough

Another opportunity to know me, if you’d like:

Today, my life, I’m a fortunate person. I have my health, I have my family. I have loving and supportive friends and I have many in my life who support me from near and far. I have two children and a partner, three individuals who are the exact people I would choose to live deeply with given any choice; I have many people who daily fill my life up with inspiration, energy, and copious volumes of love like a drug-rush. I have a warm place to call home; I have food for my family and clothes on my back and a place to live and a home and yard full of animals to love up and care for. I have relationships that daily deepen – a real gift, there. I have my health (inasmuch as I can tell) and I live in a beautiful and wild little smudge of a town, wet greenery and the elements keeping me company.

I have life. I feel breath drawing in, I feel it leave my body.

Early-early this morning, just after midnight, it was revealed to me that someone I know took some vulnerable and (I’d thought) private disclosures I’d shared with them – and aired these to (at least) another person. Besides being just old-fashioned betrayed and deeply hurt (I’m not sure why anyone thinks it’s okay to co-opt someone else’s painful reality for juicy third-party discussion), the information really concerns difficulties my husband is having; the kind of stuff that could have real-life suckery for him – possibly including his job.

Oooh, exciting, right? Well, don’t be reading here looking for details or recriminations or a rant about an individual. I do not now and have never used my blog as some kind of sneaky tattling service and nor do I need anyone on my “side” as to why or how I’ve been so horribly wronged or whatever.

This is about my feelings. And my limitations.

I have many friends who support me – and I thank them for this. Amongst them, my husband and my mother have served me immensely well as they know me and my relationships better than anyone besides myself and Ceiling Cat – and they love me very much. I know when I talk this out with them they will listen, because they are amazing. They will hear me out, they will acknowledge me, and they will help get me through this.

But I haven’t talked to them yet, and tonight I’m suffering. Getting over the initial sting, I’ve found that the betrayal (of myself and of Ralph, whom I feel protective of and love through-and-through) is the least of my worries. What is killing me is the pressure I now feel – this onus that I have to do something about this. You know, do the RIGHT thing. Confront someone in this awesome effective way, reasoned and compassionate but firm. Confront someone who may lash out and hurt me at the same point I’m wounded and scared. I should Be Direct!  – but avoid precipitating drama (precisely in the kind of social situation often set up to instigate drama). Tell people my feelings.

Feelings? They’re necessary, wonderful, a part of life. But some people do not honor our feelings nor hold the big and scary ones tenderly. Some people feed off them like vampires.

That frightens me. I retreat in my shell. I feel claustrophobic, alone. Tired.

And I feel terrible about myself.

Here’s some truth: people hurt us – sometimes when intending to do us good, sometimes by being merely clumsy. Sometimes they are deliberately getting a jab in because it feels good (in the moment), or because they’re suffering and their own suffering is so loud in their ears they do wrong by us, or by being aggressive or blurting out the wrong thing – they hurt us,

and then we place the burden of this on our own shoulders.

See, I feel an incredible pressure to confront those who call themselves friend and then (by accident or design) hurt me. The pressure is twofold. One, I know I’ve hurt others and when they’ve been brave enough to tell me I am given the intense honor of knowing them at a deep level. Yes, I want to give my friends this gift in kind. Two, I don’t want to live a resentful life. This puts me in minor agonies, because resentment, at least as it functions for me, is not a product of how shitty someone else was (big or small), or whether they said sorry or they Never Did It Again or made amends. Resentment is entirely in my heart. It’s like a suitcase I continue to bang along behind me.

And this? Tortures me.

Forgiveness – again, as it works for me – is not an automatic quid pro quo given in change after the offending party says “I’m sorry”. Yes, “sorry” is underutilized: not enough people say “sorry” and mean it. And yes, they can and should do this, often, and yes, it can help – in fact a heartfelt apology often precipitates forgiveness. But the power to forgive is something that lies within myself. I know I should not allow others to hold me hostage; yet I do.

As I type here, I feel sad. I’m not sure if I will trust this person with the Real Me anymore… that is, I suppose, their loss – but it’s mine too. It’s my limitation. The inability, today, to trust again. I am not big enough. Not spiritual enough.

Not today.

And you know what sucks. Also. It’s my birthday. Big fucken deal, right, but I am a superstitious person (didn’t you know?) and I hate having some kind of assy existential crisis during milestones. One Thanksgiving I worked my ass off and made a perfect dinner and after ten hours of working without even a bathroom break (my mistake, I got carried away) when I finally sat down to relax and enjoy my efforts and my company, about five minutes later my sister and her boyfriend and my husband were in some huge simmering-then-exploding Drama. It upset me for days. Again, my limitations.

I’m going to get a hot bath and my warm wiggly kiddos and cry a bit. And you know what? They’re going to be immensely restorative and beautiful and they’re going to acknowledge my pain and Suck and they’re still going to love me. When I wake up there’s going to be birthday awesomeness for me. I know it, because I really am surrounded by wonderful people who care for me very well indeed.

I have life. I feel breath drawing in, I feel it leave my body.

R.I.P. fair, white, fluffy one

Today our lovely white hen Stryker was found dead. We don’t know how or why; when Ralph put the birds in their coop last night everyone was fine.

This might sound callous, but after I absorbed the loss the next feeling I felt was gladness she she did not die from neglect on our part or predation (which feels like neglect on our part no matter how much it might not be; so far we’ve only lost one this way). It is so important to Ralph and I we do not let our animals (or young children) down on the safety front. Now, we do not know what felled this wisest of all birds (OK, she was not wise, perhaps I should have said, “This bird who loved sweet soft fruit with a deep abiding love”) – there was no trauma or sign of distress. Ralph worries she ate a piece of plastic. Chickens are not especially intelligent but even I have a hard time believing she would have accidentally murdered herself. So far: a mystery. Ralph and I are researching but I’m not sure we’ll ever know what happened.

R.I.P. Stryker. You were kind of one of my favorites. You would run SO FAST with your leggy hips bobbing up and down if I brought out strawberry tops or part of a muffin or a very, very ripe banana. I don’t know how you knew when I had something sweet just from when I slid open the back door, but you always did. It was the only time you ascended the pecking order and intimidated the other birds.

Stryker’s nestmate Peepterton is very sad and lonely and shook up.

In other pet/death news last night we deflea’d the cats (newcomer Josie brought a strapping colony with her). We had to put the little ones in the bathroom for the night so the dying parasites could jump to die of poison on towels, not our bed (ask me how I know this). The older cats got to stay outside with their street smarts and impressive fat reserves. Late last night Ralph brought me in the kids’ room to use the new microscope to look at one of the kitten’s dying fleas. Don’t do this. Ever.

Now, I wasn’t particularly grossed out or scared of fleas.


recipe for better: cooking with beef, garlic, and wine

Today started out ass, I’ll just say it.  My head cold kept me up until very late and nearly debilitated come morning, at which point I was roused by the knock of a government official at my door.  Later my husband and I had a very tense and wasteful argument revolving around a bag of potato chips (yes, really).  Outside the wind kicked up to buffet us between bouts of sour, pissing rain.

The upswing was a while coming but once it did it kept improving.  The sun came out.  I rested, began to feel better, and went to bellydancing class.  Ralph and the kids took a long swimming date.  While out I grabbed groceries for Julia Child’s recipe for boeuf bourgingnon (the laborious, steady, soothing preparations would cheer any cook up).  In making the dish my prized stoneware roaster finally succumbed to the hairline crack it had threatened, so Sophie and I went out and bought a new enameled cast iron pot for the kitchen (this cheered me up immensely) and a Space Police Lego set and strawberry bubble tea for Sophie (this cheered her up immensely). I love my one-on-one time with the kids.  They are seriously fucking awesome.  This is when I find how much they have learned and discovered, their hopes and plans and passions and dreams.  Sophie sat next to me on the bench seat and leaned her head on my shoulder and we were fine, fine, fine.

Upon our return we invited my mother over for dinner (which included the beouf along with butter noodles and cucumber salad – delicious!) after which Ralph let our chicks out for a run in the living room.  They have gained immense stature and are lovely from the neck down with their beautiful, proud new feathers (and yet their heads are unappealing, vulture-y, and scrappy-yet-fluffy). In their aimless and semi-alarmed bobbing about they terrified my mom’s terrier so much he moved behind my legs.  He is a dear old pup.  He’s going blind and becoming fearful.  My mom is considering either springing the hefty expense of having one of his eyes operated on (to restore sight, if not depth perception) OR having him put down.  I find it hilarious she hasn’t decided which.  Of course I’m going to pressure her to do the former.

Because my children had spent much of the day playing with their father they seemed almost wild to me by days’ end, small unknown forces who kept their own counsel.  Only a few hours away from my care and my son looked taller, older, absorbed in his play.  His plans and schemes all his own.  It’s funny because in only the space of half a day I can miss them, not at all a pining feeling, more like an awareness of their absence.