Another Mothers Day Blog

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20170329_173218I don’t have the spoons to write a big Mother’s Day blog this year.

Mother’s Day is one of the rough ones for me. Honestly, ALL of the, “in your face commercialized holidays” are rough when you have painful family issues. It’s probably just as well, I’m still recovering and slept through the whole day. I missed most of the cheery, teary sugar and schmaltz and that’s just fine with me.

 
Some people I know and care about lost moms recently. Some have mothers who had health scares or were in the hospital this year. I want to send extra love to those who are missing their mothers and to those for whom Mother’s Day has extra meaning because they weren’t sure there mother’s would be here this year.
 

As always, I want to acknowledge those for whom Mother’s Day hurts because their relationship with their mother is/was difficult, terrible or absent. I want to acknowledge those mother’s who pulled out all the stops to love and protect their child but lost them anyway through death, drugs, mental illness or just emotional distance. I want to shout out to all the heroic parents who have had to be both Mom and Dad to their kids. And I want to give a big hug to all those Moms whose kids happen to be furry, feathered or scaled. You aren’t less than because you chose to nurture a pet rather than pop out a hooman. You have your reasons. It’s cool. Maternal love doesn’t discriminate.
 
Stand in Mom’s who were that positive support or maternal figure in the lives of many kids (and adults) who were missing what they needed; to you I give enormous respect. YOU are the lifesavers! Jennifer and Jolene‘s mama, JoAnn was this to me. I could not have survived my childhood without her. She fed me, let me tag along on family adventures, she tolerated my weirdness, she let me spend hours and hours away from home. I’m quite sure we drove her crazy sometimes. I practically lived at the Norton house for much of my childhood and it was a sanctuary. As an adult, I’ve been lucky enough to have several friends who also rocked the mom vibe with me because they just ooze compassion and maternal instinct. Cheryl, Jean, Linda and Libby come to mind. *blows big kisses* If you have had a good mother and also, stand in mamas in your life, you are doubly blessed!
 
To the almost parents, I know how difficult this day can be, whether you have gone on to have kids or not. I was an almost parent and oddly, this year, I’m going through a numbness, instead of that twinge of grief. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a little time but maybe it’s because it would have been nearly impossible to raise a kid in my current situation. Losing a child you are pregnant with or one you wanted to adopt are very complicated situations to process. So is losing a child for any reason at any age. There’s no right way or wrong way to do it.
 
To those who desperately want to be parents but haven’t been able to do it for whatever reason, I wish you comfort. I also wish that those of you who are so set on popping a kid out of your own womb with your own genetic material would stop spending so much money and shedding so many tears and just adopt. But if you won’t, I pray that you are really good parents when you finally get your wish.
 
And most of all, I wish that Mothers would not be treasured just because they are Mothers, but that they would all earn these accolades. I don’t want you to be perfect. I want you to live up to what a mother should be as best you can; a person who loves, nurtures, supports, protects and guides their child. A good mother, in my opinion, does not have children and make their existence all about her or try to force them into her idea of the kids she wanted. She realizes that sometimes you can do all those things and still feel like you failed.She realizes that you don’t always get what you expect, you work with what you have and love them anyway. And sometimes that love means letting go in many different ways. 
 
Motherhood is complicated. Our feelings about it are complicated. You can’t serve it breakfast in bed, slap a card on it, give it flowers and platitudes and think you’ve done it justice. It’s also not sacred. Many people are victims of Motherhood, whether it’s the child whose mother had unrealistic expectations, or had a mother who struggled with mental illness, addiction, poverty or simply as dealt more than she could handle or the child whose mother was a monster.
So, lavish the praise on your mother if she’s earned it, but don’t heap guilt on those who had a different experience. And please be gentle with those who are having trouble with this day, whatever their reason.
 
I am so very happy for the friends out there who have benefited from the love of a mother who made them feel supported and cherished! I am so grateful for all those mother figures in my life and to look around and see mothers who are doing right by their kids right now. I stand in awe of all the friends I see being amazing parents every day despite their challenges. I have many of them, which means, many kids who are growing up with a better outlook than I had. I hope all of you enjoy this special day. Even more so, I hope all of you feel appreciated and loved all year round. It’s the days that don’t have a spotlight on them that mean the most.
 
Oh hey, I wrote a blog after all. Oops.

 

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!

Thought Soup

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THOUGHT SOUP

Pensive to the point of inertia
Still
Slowly air moves in and out
Lips remain silent
Thoughts bound up in themselves
Words
Movement
Being
Seem impossible
Until some resolution
Finds its way through the muck
Surfaces
Acts
Puts in motion
Thoughts
That started as seeds
Then tangled in their own roots
For a while
Before bursting forth
That is a moment
A place in mind
I frequent these days
Deep, thick, tangled thoughts
Fermenting in
An emotional broth
Nutrient rich
Slowly stirred
Simmered
Usually just until it’s ready
But sometimes
Boiling over

LM 2015

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

Perspective

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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 photo is of Bella, a cat I care for when her humans are away. Bella loves this box!

The Night Opens

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The night opens

The Night opens wide
And will sit on your tongue
Bitter or sweet
Your experience
Your Choice
Your Time
Your Lips
Your eyes
Let it in
Shut it out
It matters not to me
What you do with the night
Thick and sticky in your mouth
Clear as crystal in the palm of your hand
Worrying the worms of your brain
A thousand scarves waving in the breeze
Black scarves
And moth wings of grey
Charcoal smudges
Silvery waves
Red hot embers
On the soles of your feet
Sleep to dream
or sleep to die
Or sleep not at all
The night is free
But can make you a prisoner
Your experience
Your choice
Your time
Your eyes
Your lips

LM September 2015

 

Plans

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When you live with chronic pain the day doesn’t always turn out the way you planned. And when you have housemates that make you consider living with monkeys might be a more gentile experience, it becomes even more of a challenge. This is my life.

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Sometimes I think monkeys must have been playing in my bathroom but no, it’s just 20 somethings

Waking up is a struggle. Getting up and on with what’s left of the day is a battle in which I am grossly outmatched. I am the tiny rag tag band of rebels shaking sticks  and the day has me outflanked on very side with Howitzers. The times I have slipped through enemy lines and made it to coffee and limited functionality this week have been few and worth celebrating!

Three hours after waking up the second time I have decided I have some semblance of consciousness and a wave of hungry discomfort takes over. I have to eat something or I will be sick.  Making my way downstairs isn’t  easy. My joints declare war with me and the second skirmish begins. I’m  a little dizzy. I know my stomach is empty but it feels like it has been stuffed with stones. The stairwell is washed in the orange gold glow of early evening.  Through one window I hear chirping birds and traffic. From the opposite side of the house the screams of happy children fill in for the full sweeping stereo effect of life I am missing.

It’s unclear yet if my housemate is home. The house itself is fairly quiet. This only means his girlfriend isn’t here. I peek outside and see his car but that doesn’t mean they aren’t together in hers. I pad into the foyer to check for mail then step into the living room empty handed. The expansive couch should be inviting but it’s littered with clothes. On the coffee table is an odd collection of some sort of sports bag, a CD, scraps of paper and a torn plastic  bag. From here I can see the kitchen table has a similar collection of oddities which includes motorcycle helmets. Hades is home after all. I hear his voice. He’s been holed up in his den playing Smite.

We enter the kitchen from opposite ends and each mumble a greeting. “Hello” “what’s up”

I indicate the mound of clean dishes, “Hey! Thanks for finally washing all those dishes!”

He grunts, “Don’t thank me, (the girlfriend) did them”

”Hooray! (The girlfriend)” I exclaim,”But that doesn’t explain the monkeys in the bathroom.”

“What?”

“Oh I came in late last night then wondered what the hell had happened in the bathroom.”

“What do you mean?”

“ Well it was a bit more than the usual disaster zone with things strewn about!”

He grunts humorless and maybe a bit confused. Why do I keep forgetting that, “Decor De Tornado” is normal for him?

As I fumble to fill the tea kettle and place it on the stove I notice he has a stabilizing cast on his left forearm and wrist. Thinking back to the time he punched a hole in his own head board I am wondering if he had an anger episode. Dare I ask?

“Oh wow! How long have you had the cast? Is it broken or just a bad sprain?”

“It’s not broken/ I did it playing softball.”

As I watch Hades fumble with the cap of a soda bottle it crosses my mind that I haven’t ever noticed if he’s left or right handed.
I ask,  “Hey would you like to switch traditional gender roles for a moment ,and say” (I switch to a silly girly voice) “ would you open this for me?”

Hades manages a laugh, finally, “No that’s okay. I got it.”

Then he shambles off, his aura black and grimy, heading back to his video game, Note to self: Avoid injured housemate and his foul mood.

I pull my pretty red toaster from the niche, plug it in, fill the slots, push the lever down then turn to peruse the fridge. I’m not quite ready for last night’s leftovers and I’m definitely too wobbly and hungry to take the time to prepare something. On an upper shelf I spy a container of noodles and cheese that I put there several days ago after Hades left it  out to rot. I make an executive decision. I’m the one who saved it in the first place. If they haven’t touched it for four days they’re not going to. I’m eating it. I usually say something but given my housemate’s demeanor I will slip it into the microwave without a word. While I wait for things to come together I pull out a teapot and choose a bag of toasted rice tea. It’s a toasted rice kind of day!

I wonder how long Hades has been sporting the cast. It looks fairly new. I chuckle as I wonder if the mess upgrade in the loo was due to trying to keep his cast dry. I realize I should let him off the  hook for dishes and such until it comes off. I put the clean dishes away and decide to wash the dirty casserole dish that remains on the counter. I follow that by taking out the trash and recycling, returning to find the toast has popped and the microwave is  beeping so I scoop up the food and ferry my little repast upstairs to my room. I’ll come back for the tea.

Opening the door, I’m immediately confronted by a wall of stuffy air. I’ve always found it interesting how we don’t notice the smells of our environment until we leave them for a bit and come back. I remedy this by opening a window which lets inside the chorus of traffic sounds, children and also the whistle of  wind which I had not noticed before. My cat is meowing at me and I notice I am standing next to her empty bowl. I splash some fresh water in one bowl and scoop some kibble into the other and she adds  a steady, crunch, crunch, crunch to the compilation of sound.

I leave my food (I’m lucky to have a cat who is only interested in her own) and head back downstairs to collect my tea. The air from outside was chilly so I’ll put on a sweater when I come back up. Then I’ll nestle on the bed with my kitty, eat my “thieves’ pasta” and let my batteries charge a little. I need a few grocery items and the nearby store is open late, but it’s unlikely I’ll leave the house at all. I am having a typically difficult day. There are many days I make “to do” lists purely as an exercise. It’s likely tomorrow may be a repeat of today. I may have to be content with, I got up, I got dressed, I ate, I washed dishes and took out the trash, I collapsed. When you have a chronic condition plans are always going to be suggestions.

-LM 2015