My Shoes!

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I’m finishing and loading up a bunch of things today, because I had that marvelous combination of time, internet access and my neuropathy being veddy, veddy quiet. Enjoy!

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“You can’t understand someone until youve walked a mile in their shoes.”

What a ridiculous idea! I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes for two steps and I won’t let you walk a mile in mine. I wouldn’t even let you walk around the block in them.

This is my path. My pain. My difficult road. And sometimes, it’s my easy street. You couldn’t stand to wear my shoes for a minute. Stop looking at them.

This isn’t some kind of challenge. And walking in my shoes won’t make you more empathetic or less judgemental. You’ll just end up pissed off with sore toes and a twisted ankle.

Oh, it’s possible the whole experience would give you some fleeting respect, a little awe for how I’ve managed to traverse such uneven ground in mismatched shoes for all these years. You might marvel at how most of the scars from my falls ended up on my insides instead of on my knees. But your appreciation won’t last because after you’ve taken your pity tour, you’ll be tottering along in your own shoes again, feeling quite superior. While you’re strolling easily or scrambling over debris in YOUR path, you’ll forget all about walking a mile or a minute of mine, although from time to time it may cross your mind that you’re glad you don’t have to.

I’ll let you in on a little secret because I know you won’t remember it next time we meet. I don’t always walk in my shoes either. Sometimes I kick them off and run completely off track for a while plunging my bare feet in sand or wiggling my toes in the grass. Sometimes I stop and lie flat on my back and thrust my feet into the cool night air and laugh at the sensation of lightness.

Sometimes I think subversive thoughts about not putting them back on again or just buying a new pair. But, no, they’re my shoes. Sometimes; a comfortable old friend, sometimes a particularly cruel bully that shadows me home, taking my refuge. Some days they hurt me to my bones, other days they soothes my soles.

I’ll walk in them until they become ghosts. When they fall off in tatters, I’ll walk barefoot until the sun sets.

LM – 2014 / 2016 /2017

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Beasts of No Nation

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“Sun, why are you shining on this world? I am wanting to catch you in my hands, to squeeze you until you cannot shine no more. That way, everything is always dark and nobody is ever having to see all the terrible things that are happening here”

-Agu (Beasts of No Nation)

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I made it a good way through the film as a witness, without shedding a tear until this haunting monologue, exquisitely executed by young marvel, Abraham Attah. I hope we are going to get to see more of this brilliant young actor who holds his own with Idris Elba!

I’m not going to go into the plot of this film much as it’s pretty straight forward. Like the novel, it describes the loss of innocence and experiences of a child soldier in Africa, like those of the, “Lost Boys.”  What I will say is this. You MUST, must see this film!

Beasts of No Nation is showing in the smaller arthouse theaters and you can also see it on Netflix! Netflix produced this film. It is breathtakingly beautiful, hopeful and heart crushing. The acting is superb. It’s not easy to watch, but it’s well worth your time and you won’t feel emotionally manipulated or as if you’ve been shown violence or gore for the sake of it. The violence is not gratuitously graphic. Neither is it glossed over.

As someone whose childhood horrors forged my PTSD, I have so much empathy for these child soldiers who are ripped from their families and molded into monsters. You do what you have to do to survive and if you are tenacious, lucky and can hold on to some of the better pieces of you humanity you come out the other side with the ability to be happy.

Thank you Netflix for adapting this novel by Uzodinma Iweala. Even though the country and conflict are fictional the turmoil and circumstances are very real in some parts of Africa. I hope the film makes more people have compassion, awareness and to desire an understanding of situations in other countries that we like to pretend aren’t our problem or don’t affect us. And bravo to Netflix, not only for tackling a subject that is not pretty but is also not about white people. How marvelous to see a film, and an important one at that, about people of color where white people haven’t been injected into it! Huzzah!

Here is the trailer for Beasts of No Nation

Really, go see this film or watch it at home! That is all!

The Deep

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THE DEEP

Do you feel my heart beneath your feet?
Do you feel the wave of turbulence about to spring up from the deep?
Do you sense that hand upon your back?
Do you know with every waking thought that a moment’s going to crack?

There’s a storm a brewing in the deep;
An awakening of something that’s been far too long asleep.
I know you hear it knocking despite the fire at your door.
Don’t be afraid to answer. It’s too loud to be ignored.

Do you hear the simple rhythm of the night?
When you look up, do you have a crown of stars or see merely scattered light?
Do you care what all this fight is for?
Do you know how many years of blood have left their mark upon this floor?

There’s a song forming in the deep;
An awakening of something that’s been far too long asleep.
I know you hear it calling through the forest, over the hills
Don’t be afraid to sing along, or listen standing still.

Have you felt time pass you, taking toll?
Do you hear the sounds of cracks and fissures, breakage in your soul?
Do you fear it’s certainly too late,
Now that you finally can articulate the change you want to make?

There’s a pearl forming in the deep,
An awakening of something that’s been far too long asleep;
Carried through an open window on the siren song of chance,
Inviting you to drop your burden and join into the dance.

Do you feel your heart beneath my wing?
Have you seen such strength mistaken for a brief and fragile thing?
Do you feel my hand inside your hand?
Does it matter any more to you where this flight is going to land?

Don’t be afraid of rumbling in the deep;
The awakening of something that’s been far too long asleep.
Greet that unfamiliar part of you like a dear and treasured friend.
Take a good look, hold it close, to love the dark is not an end.

Have you caught the scent of winter’s death?
Do you sense the rush of spring’s return in each and every breath?
You can taste the jasmine in your mouth.
Wounded hearts have steeped in every cup, yet flowers do pour out.

There’s a calm found after every storm,
A confidence, a knowing that you now are safe from harm.
There’s no sense treading water when your feet have found dry land.
Let the deep slip from your shoulders lost in endless sand.

-LM 2015

Traveling

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Random 9-25-15

Remember those writing exercises where your teacher would give you an image and ask you to tell a story about it? I am playing with a new project where I  pull a random photo from my archives and write something, whatever comes off the top of my head. My rule, spend no more than 5-10 minutes max on the whole thing, then send it to a friend as their morning, “Hello!”

It gives me a writing exercise and lets them know I am thinking about them. Maybe it gives them a bit of motivation for their day. Anyway, fun project so far.

*This particular image was taken, if I recall correctly, on The Pennsylvania Turnpike or possibly shortly before. Regardless, it’s a beautiful day in Pennsylvania.

Dysmorphia

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I think the thing I like about this photo is that I look like a friendly happy person, which I am!

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(Some of you who follow me on Facebook or G+ may not realize that because I use social media as a place to shine light on things i think are unjust and to process personal challenges. Just because I get angry about personal, community and societal injustices doesn’t men I’m not a happy person with a positive outlook, yo!)

However, most of the time when I look in the mirror or see photos of myself I have a really dysmorphic experience where I can’t reconcile the image or reflection I see with who I am or how I feel, how I think I look. Ironically, I felt that way about the untouched version of this photo too, which like hell am I going to post for comparison! Sometimes, I’m literally SHOCKED when I see how old or fat I look when I feel vibrant and sexy curvy. It’s been this way most of my life but it hits harder now.

Who else has this experience of feeling like they look completely different from how they look in photos, etc?

Part of what “inspired” this little confession was a long conversation I had with one of my trans friends today. Even if they think they comprehend how grueling the whole process of transitioning is, one of the things I’m sure most cis gendered people don’t think about is that when one chooses to make the complete transition, not only do they essentially go through puberty a second time, they also get to go through all of the awkward teenage and young adult body image issues as they try to discover who they are in their new male or female body.

Without drastic surgery, in many cases, one can’t transcend completely the limits of the body that reached puberty the first time as the wrong gender. This means no matter how feminine a woman is she might have huge feet or hands or broad shoulders. And a man may look like an effeminate female even if that’s not how he feels. How incredibly painful to be mis-gendered when you have a deep voice or a tiny frame, especially after you’ve gone through such an ordeal to correct your gender!

In the context of this conversation I revealed some things but I really haven’t talked to anybody about before that while minor in comparison, give me a frame of reference. As a child, despite my mother dressing me in pink, putting dresses on me, and trying to stick pretty ribbons in the tiny amount of hair I had (I was bald until I was two and then just had wisps), people constantly said, oh what a cute little boy! As a child I was told by other kids and sometimes adults that I looked like a boy even though I eventually had long hair. Playmates made me take the male roles when acting out stories because of my low voice and tall lanky build.

This suddenly and drastically changed when I sprouted pretty big boobs! But all of my life I have constantly been called sir on the telephone because I have a low voice. I stood next to the boys in choir, often singing the bass or tenor parts. As a teenager classmates would tease me and say are you really a boy? In my twenties as a woman with low self esteem who was trying to make it in the music business to have people whispering behind my back that they were trying to tell if I really had an Adam’s apple and was a “tranny,” was really painful because I felt like a woman and I wanted to be pretty and feminine!

Now I’m ok with all that and I know who I am but I do have the dysmorphic experience with my appearance, if not my gender. And compared to what many of my friends who are transgender go through and have gone through their entire life it’s nothing. But it does give me some perspective and empathy. Maybe talking about this will be helpful to someone?

The One True (Musings of a Lonely Siren 2013

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Somehow you shine your own light while you wrap yourself in night
So no one will see you are the mirror of the sun
That ruby that i found cradled deep underground
Makes me ponder off and on, have I found the one

The one true song, that Perfect note
When it comes out wrong, it’s so full of hope
That one blue day I’ve been scrying for
In the night I have prayed for an open door

Somehow I stumbled and I learned just how to fall on broken glass
Get up and take a bow, see how I”m dancing once again
As black as you may seem you are far from an abyss
And I can tell you this because of the depths that I have seen

Well I hardly know you know, but I think that will change soon now
Maybe I have always known you, perhaps we have always been

That one true song, that Perfect note
When it comes out wrong, it’s so full of hope
That one blue day I’ve been scrying for
In the night I have prayed for an open door

Damage has been done more or less to everyone
Who’s had it worse who’s pain is lesser who am I to say
I’m sorry for your loss but you don’t have to bear that cross
You don’t have to face the music, you don’t have to make my day

Hey, just ask for what you want and if it’s me that you have sought
Maybe we will dance together, try on each other’s wings and play

That one true song, that Perfect note
When it comes out wrong, it’s so full of hope
That one blue day I’ve been scrying for
In the night I have prayed for an open door

And the mystery is fine, I don’t have to know the next line
If I’ll be yours or if you’re mine
I’ve put this feather in my heart, I’ll hold my song out to the dark
And if I must go on searching, I will not be afraid, no I will not be afraid

The mystery is fine, I don’t need to guess the next line
I’ve wrong too many times
I’ve put this feather in my heart, I’ll hold my song out to the dark
And when I see that open door, I will not be afraid, I will not hesitate

-LM

*This still has one line in particular I want to change, but I don’t think I can. Hate it when that happens!

There is beauty and strength in an injured soul. True love can find you no matter how you might try to hide from it. That is what I believe. I have seen it with my own eyes!