Posts Tagged ‘father’

Emotional Attachment

June 12, 2018

I woke up a tiny bit off.

Not a lot, but just enough to notice.

I felt a little flat.

Sometimes when I feel this way it’s because I am trying to avoid feeling anything.

So I disassociate a little, go about my day, do my things, make my bed, get dressed and do my hair, make breakfast, get lunch ready for work, look at my calendar, make coffee.

You know.

Routine.

I can check out a little in my routine.

But.

It all came clear when I peeped social media.

Oh hi there.

I wasn’t expecting to see that.

But.

I should have.

I have been sensing it in the air.

I thought about it a couple of days ago.

There’s a birthday coming up, isn’t there?

And yes.

Thanks social media.

There it was on Facebook.

Hi papa.

Happy birthday.

Today you turned 69.

Sigh.

I haven’t seen my father since he was in a coma over four years ago.

I ceded responsibility for his health to the State of Alaska.

I sat by his side for four days and cried and talked and held his hand.

I wrote him a long card that I had bought at a gift shop in the Anchorage Museum a friend had taken me to one afternoon.

“Enough, you’ve had enough time in the hospital, come out, get some air, let’s do something not related to the hospital and the ICU.”

I found a really cool card with raven totems on it.

I bought it for my dad.

I left all my information in it.

My phone number.

My address.

My email.

I said I loved him and hoped he was going to get better and be safe and be happy and get healthy.

I told him I forgave him.

I’m actually not sure I wrote that in the letter, but I told him that.

And I asked him to forgive me.

He wasn’t always the best dad.

I wasn’t always the best daughter.

And I let him go.

My last  night there before getting on the plane the nurses encouraged me to talk to him more, that thought that he might wake up to my voice.

He never did.

I waited until I couldn’t wait any longer, I had to come back to San Francisco, I had to go back to work.

I had to take care of myself.

I kissed him on the cheek.

I was surprised by the warmth of his face and the softness of his skin under my lips.

My eyes welled up with tears and I left.

He woke up about a week later.

On my birthday of all days.

I saw it was the number of the hospital in Anchorage.

I answered.

It was one of my dad’s nurses, “your father’s awake and he wants to talk to you.”

“Hi ___________________ I said softly, I call my father by his first name.  A psychological defense of distancing that I learned at a very young age.  My father ceased being papa when I was six although there were a few scattered times in my adolescence that my father reclaimed the moniker, he’s always been known to me by his first name.

He said, “my balls itch and the nurse won’t let me scratch them.”

Sigh.

Happy birthday.

That really wasn’t what I wanted to hear from my dad, but then again he was awake and that was something else.

He’d been in the coma for two weeks.

Then he cawed at me.

“Caw! Caw!”

Like a crow.

Like a raven.

I teared up.

He’d gotten my letter and either he’d read it or someone read it to him.

He understood and he was letting me know that he’d gotten the message.

I felt big crashing waves of emotions.

And then.

The nurse had to get him off the phone, for he kept trying to take off the bandages around his skull where the craniotomy had happened to relieve the brain swelling he’d had as a result of the accident he was in.

And accident that was propelled and fueled by his alcoholism.

Those were the last words I got from my dad.

I wondered about him today.

I felt a similar feeling last year around this time.

An urge to reach out.

An urge to connect.

I tried a cell phone number that I thought might work.

It was disconnected.

Just like I was.

Detached.

Removed.

Far, far, far away.

I checked in with my person today, I told on myself about my father’s birthday and some guilt and shame that was coming up.

I got lovely perspective and calm soothing words and an invitation instead to get a candle for my father and light it and that it be a scented candle, a smell that I like.

And when I smelled it I would send a little prayer up to God for my father.

I lit that candle tonight when I got home.

Kona coffee scented.

Seems apropos.

My father was born in Hawaii.

I miss you papa and I hope you are well and happy and content.

I won’t reach out further.

There is too much illness and disease and dysfunction there for me to get involved in an emotional imbroglio.

Rather.

Today.

I reached out to those who are my chosen family, friends that have seen me through rough stuff with my parents, friends who love me.

I called an old friend from Wisconsin from my undergrad days.

I got a hold of a friend of mine from high school.

And I reached out to my two best girlfriends from my graduated school program.

Then I loved hard at work.

“I think we are all emotionally attached to you,” the mom said, so sweet, with such tenderness and vulnerability.

I am a soothing presence in their lives and that was sweet to hear and much appreciated.

I got to help put the baby down for a nap when he was super upset.

I got to hug the little lady and make her all sorts of her favorite foods.

And.

Oh.

The oldest boy just crawled right up into my lap today at the dinner table.

He wasn’t feeling well and he just wanted me to hold him and scratch his back.

He put his head on my chest and asked me to sing him a lullaby.

It was the most heartbreakingly sweet thing ever.

Having this eight year old boy curled up on me listening to me sing “Hush Little Baby.”

My family of origin may not be the family I wanted to have in my life.

And I’m ok with that.

They did the best they could.

Besides

I have such amazing family in my life.

My family of choice.

And for that I am beyond grateful.

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

 

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That’s Not Mine

September 13, 2017

It’s yours.

Or.

It is mine?

Or is it both?

Turns out yesterday it was both/and.

I hate that.

Both.

And.

I had a client working through some traumatic stuff in session yesterday and I realized later that I had taken some of it with me.

It was hard to shake.

Why was it so hard to shake?

I talked to my therapist today about it.

We isolated it and moved through it and all sorts of stuff came up.

Jesus fucking Christ.

All the stuff.

Fortunately, and I mean this in the sincerest way possible, fortunately, I have been doing self-examination and inventory and work on myself for such a long time that I was able to work through it.

I can’t and won’t divulge what happen in session with my client.

That’s a breach of ethics and I am honor bound to keep those things within the walls of my office.

But.

I can say that what happened had a resounding feel to me of something that had happened to me.

I couldn’t quite pin it.

I know that there was an extraordinary amount of emotion in the room when I worked with my client last night.

I relayed to my therapist things that happened for me in my body, what it felt like, the counter transference that happened and the transference.

And.

That I recognized that some of what I was feeling was my clients and some of what I was feeling was mine.

Thank God for a great therapist.

We isolated it.

Or.

I isolated it.

She did what therapist do, good therapists, she held the field, she let me find my way, she made some connections for me that I didn’t see, she held me with empathy, she validated my experience, she reflected and gave me perspective.

And.

Holy shit.

There it was.

And I broke down and bawled.

Great big ugly tears.

Relieved to get it out.

Although it tried to stick for a second.

It tried really hard.

It did not want to come out.

I was choked with grief.

Stricken.

I got it out though and I named the emotions I was feeling.

Trying to stuff them all into the crumpled ball of tissue in my moist hand.

Guilt.

Shame.

Unendurable guilt.

For getting out, for doing better, for surviving.

For being financially “well off.”

Bwahhahahahaaha.

Have you seen my student loan statement?

I have.

Meh.

Anyway.

Though I may have a fuck ton of student loans, fuck it, I’m worth the investment, I am, I am, I also have a modicum of financial security and I have a nice little home and I have nice little things.

I have a scooter.

I have a bicycle.

I have security.

In so much as I continue working at the pace I am working.

I don’t have much of a security blanket in the savings account.

But hey.

I have a savings account.

When I think about how successful I am in comparison to my mom or my sister and how I have always managed to find a way out, I sometimes, more so than I want to admit, have guilt.

And then.

I belittle my experiences or my own traumas, because, man, they had and have it bad too, and I’ve found a way through.

There is no way through but through.

It’s painful.

But.

Fuck.

It’s so worth it.

And I also see that I am not responsible for my sister, for my mother, for my father, my nieces.

I am, and can only be, responsible for myself.

But the guilt.

It hit me hard.

I was feeling awkward about an upcoming birthday in my family and I was relaying how many times, so many, too many to count, that I have sent gifts trying to foster some sense of connection and love to my family.

And.

Have not received it.

Oh.

I know there’s love.

But I haven’t the emotional connection to my family that I was trying to cultivate, a sort of reciprocation of love and that I need to let go of trying to get it the same way I have been doing so for decades.

We, my therapist and I, talked about how I might be able to establish connection, about what I could do.

I have to say it felt futile.

I was fucking flummoxed.

Then.

As I sat and the grief washed over me and I saw how hard I had tried to do something, taking the same action time and time again, that maybe there was another way.

Maybe.

I don’t know.

But I sussed a few things out and suddenly I had an answer.

It may not be “the” answer.

But.

It felt good to process it all out and find the connections and see how the traumatic experience that I bore witness to when I was with my client last night led me to work through and settle out something that has been nagging me for decades in my relationship to my sister and my nieces.

I don’t have a lot of close family.

Just my sister.

I have almost no relationship whatsoever with either of my nieces.

Although I helped significantly in the first years of my oldest niece’s life.

And I love her so much.

After I moved away from Wisconsin our relationship grew very thin.

My sister had troubles of her own and many challenges that I could not face for her.

Fuck.

I had to deal with my own shit.

The last time I saw my oldest niece was over fifteen years ago.

She was nine.

In a few days she will be 25.

I was nineteen when she was born.

I was the first person to hold her.

I saw her crowning.

I saw my sister endure the most excruciating pain.

I rocked that baby to sleep so many nights, I sang her songs, I can feel the heaviness of her carrier in my arms now.

I loved her beyond any previously known capacity to love.

And that is enough.

I gave what I could when I could and when the paths of my family and mine diverged, it was right to go the way I did.

To allow others the dignity of their own experiences.

To allow others to feel the weight of their choices, the consequences, good, bad, indifferent, to their actions, and not interfere.

I can still love my sister, my mother, my father, my nieces.

I can still love my cousins and aunts, uncles, my remaining grandparent.

But.

I don’t have to do so at the expense of myself.

I don’t have to lose myself in care taking.

I mean.

hahahaha.

Who the fuck am I kidding?

I’m a therapist in training, I may very well lose myself in it all over again, the care taking thing, but I also get to have boundaries and frames and I get to help in a way that won’t drain me.

At least that is what I have hope for.

I have a deep capacity for love and my experiences have borne this out.

I have and will always love my family.

I just won’t put their needs before mine any longer.

I deserve better.

And.

Well.

Fuck.

So do they.

Who the hell am I to decide how they should live their lives.

They have their own God.

As do I.

Thank God.

Grace.

Over.

Drama.

For the most part.

I was a hot mess yesterday and today in therapy but it got worked out and it got worked out fast.  So grateful for that.

Beyond words.

And though it may not seem cause for celebration.

It is.

And.

I am.

Yes.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

I am.

Happy Thanksgiving!

June 1, 2017

Yes.

I am aware that tomorrow is June 1st and not November.

It has been one hell of a month.

So much happening.

Amazing things truly.

I love my life, I’m lucky, I’m graced, I’m blessed.

And.

I might just being going to Hawaii for Thanksgiving!

Yup.

It will be my first time, unless something unusual pops up and I find myself in the islands, which I am not opposed to, but to tell you the truth, I hadn’t expected to hear the news today that I might be in the islands for the holiday.

My family I work for brought it up today.

I will have off that weekend from school and work, well, since it is work, will let me have the time.

It’s not a real vacation for me, I’ll be working, but, oh, the location does not suck.

Not at all.

And like I said, I’ve never been to Hawaii.

I really should go, I am part Polynesian after all.

Puerto Rican and Polynesian on my father’s side.

German and Scot on my mom’s side.

I had someone tell me once that I was a Polynesian princess mixed with white trash.

Heh.

I might have a little trashy in me.

I definitely have some princess in me, that’s for sure.

Nevertheless, I am thrilled at the idea.

I love that the family really wants me to be included in their lives and I really love working for them.

Tomorrow marks five months of work and it’s been such a great job for me and the parents really appreciate me and the kids love me.

I love my charges.

LOVE.

Both of the older kids were under the weather today and one of them stayed home from school.

Work was huge amounts of snuggling, singing every song I know from my years of being a nanny, and an almost endless repetition of a lullaby that I usually sing to the baby, and all the babies I have ever worked with and a lot of my toddlers too, to the oldest boy while rubbing his back and petting him and just sitting and crooning to him.

He is the sweetest boy and super smart and vulnerable and the request to keep repeating the lullaby and stroking his soft blonde hair, oh, my heart, I just wanted to curl him up in my arms and kiss away the fever.

He got lots of love and I got to be the Queen of Snuggles.

I also got to do some cooking while he was watching a movie, sick days get movies, and I revelled in the cooking.

It feels good to cook, I miss it sometimes, cooking for a partner or my family.

I used to cook all the big holiday meals for my family and oh, the baking, and the stews, the jams and cheesecakes and pies, the cookies and pork chops.

Midwestern much.

Aside.

I said “bubbler” today and the woman looked at me like I was an alien.

Bubbler is water fountain in Wisconsineese.

I made up that last word, rhymes with cheese, bubbler is a total Wisconsin word, there are a few more, but that one slips once in a while into the conversation, or “pop” instead of “soda.”

Once and a while my roots show.

I am, however, not so connected to my Hawaiian and Puerto Rican roots.

My father wasn’t much around growing up and though I always kept in touch with my grandmother, I didn’t have much idea about Hawaii.

I had things from Hawaii that my grandmother would send and I remember boxes of chocolate covered macadamia nuts and once a grass skirt, coming in the mail from my grandmother.

I think we had placemats too and a few books about the islands and where the family was from.

It wasn’t until I moved back to California as an adult that I met my father’s side of the family in a more concrete way.

I remember meeting some cousins for the first time and being blown away by how much I looked like them, how they looked like my sister, and how I was actually lighter skinned than the majority of the family.

“They look like me!”

It was a relief and in a way an almost instantaneous connection that I had not always felt with my mothers Germanic roots and Scottish ancestry.

I was neither pale skin nor blue-eyed, or green-eyed as my mother.

I did not have blond hair.

Nope.

I got tan.

I didn’t really burn.

Well, once in a while, after long ass days detassling corn in the fields around Waunakee during the summers when I was working the crews, I might get a shoulder burn or a heavy crop dusting of freckles.

My mom though, my God, she could burn so easily, such creamy white fair skin.

Yeah.

So coming to California and starting to get those connections to my father’s family was a revelation.

I’m still not as close as I suppose I can be, social media does most of the work for me and there’s still stuff with my father that I have reservations broaching my family about.

I ceded his care when I was in Alaska in the hospital to the head of the administrative at the hospital.

I love my father.

I have exquisite and amazing child hood memories of him.

I also have some pretty awful ones too.

But.

He wasn’t around and when he had the accident that lead to the coma that led me to Anchorage, I went almost more to settle my own heart, then for anything else.

I sat by that hospital bed in the ICU for four night and five days.

He was in a coma the entire time I was there.

I held his hand and talked to him.

I forgave him.

And.

I asked for him to forgive me.

I made friends in Anchorage and the fellowship there carried me when I wanted to collapse into the snowbanks and the cold air and just cry my heart out.

I managed to not get stuck in any snowbanks but I won’t ever forget the dark night sky outside the window of the room the hospital hospitality house put me up in, for families of critical care patients at the facility, and the roughness of the sheets on the bed and how alone I was.

No.

That’s not true.

I wasn’t alone, I had God, I was carried, but I was by myself.

I was grateful, beyond grateful, to be there for my family and to relay messages out to the world and to let my grandmother be in contact with me and my uncle and my cousins and the love seed that was planted there.

I have never talked to any of them about letting go of my father’s care, but I did visit my grandmother that next summer and it meant everything to me to say “I love you,” and in that moment, as I was leaving to get on a plane from San Diego, in my grandmothers arms, I could feel how much she loved me too.

I will always have that moment.

And I look forward to getting to go to Hawaii.

Even if it’s not with my employers, which is sounds like it might actually be, I will go.

I have some more healing to do in that corner of my heart history.

I will swim in the ocean and walk on the beaches and turn my face to the sun.

I will go home again.

Although it has never left me.

Impressed as it is on the cheekbones in my face, the wide plush smile on my face, the curls in my hair, the freckles on the crest of my nose, the wilderness of my hips, the sway in my walk.

I have not forgotten.

I always have had the islands in me.

Always.

Cherries In A Bowl

May 28, 2017

My hair disheveled in the sunlight.

Sound of Chopin in the walls a susurration of hummingbird wings.

Flight of fancy.

Figurative.

Literal.

Light on the face of the moon.

Light in the eye of the blue storm.

Revery.

Summer grass.

Uncut, thick, lush, warm from sunlight.

Kisses like thunder building behind storm clouds.

July skies.

Pressing down.

Burdened with the knowledge of connection.

I sabotage myself.

Cherry flesh on my tongue.

Swallow the pit.

I always swallow the pit.

There in the spot of my stomach.

A fluttering.

And the light slanted down across the road and I am on his motorcycle.

A child.

Girl child.

Wild haired and windblown.

Sitting in front of my father on his motorcycle.

He steers with one arm wrapped around my waist and the other on the handlebar.

We fly like blown dander.

The flotsam and jetsam of cotton tree bloom thick in the air.

The slant of sun.

The press of sky.

The road unfurled underneath the wheels.

This moment.

Always.

Golden.

Memory like a savage at my throat.

Kissed me mercilessly.

Devouring every good intention.

Sentimental journey of devotion to the shrine of the past perfect father.

Welling sorrow on my face.

Heart, as per usual, on my sleeve.

Parting such sweet sorrow.

Abyss of longing.

Flying into that darknight.

The rush of falling only to be caught and pressed back and still and held.

There.

That undoing.

Stars flung out, scattershot like dust motes.

Freckled love on the bridge of my nose.

Asunder.

Lovelorn.

Forlorn.

Trampled by my own heart.

Fledgling girl.

Wet winged with love.

Fly away.

Into that sea of fireflies.

There, in the high grass.

Burgeoning.

Slender necks of snapdragon flowers.

Sweet coral pink and pale creamsicle throats.

The thumb of Eros pressed against the padded

Softness of my tender mouth.

Kisslet.

Kissling.

Kissed foundling.

Buried in the pillow of my cheek.

And.

Just.

There.

In tousled gold.

The sun spray on your face.

And.

The barely soft whispering word.

My longing to be heard.

 

You Got Some ‘Splain’in

September 3, 2016

To do.

I have not told you guys something!

I’m off Tinder.

Yup.

It’s official.

I cancelled the app and deleted it off my phone.

Now comes the hard part.

The sit and wait part, the let it happen without looking for it part, the re-integration of lost things and places and experiences, the growing up part.

The.

Oh, dare I say it.

The adulting part.

I did some work at Burning Man and not all of it was fluffing, a lot of it was spiritual work, growth, therapeutic work, allowing myself to look at it like a dusty spa of spirituality and a sort of recovery conference in the desert.

I got my God on.

Heck, I even did a shaman journey.

Yeah, I know, shush.

I have been living in California for 14 years, please, it rubs off.

And I was ready for it.

Especially.

When I ran into my friend who was at the first camp I stayed with ten burns ago.  We hugged and reconnected and talked and I shared my experiences being in graduate school for therapy and psychology and that I want to pursue a doctorate now, I mean, really, it might be time for a new playa name, Dr. Carmen has a nice ring to it you know.

Anyway.

We chatted, he’s a therapist and he also does shaman work and I recalled a time when he had offered to take me on a spirit journey and how I sort of pooh poohed it.

Then.

I found myself wanting to ask when I saw him this past week at the burn.

And.

I found a great big lump of fear on my chest.

Oh.

How interesting.

When I feel that much resistance to something it is rather indicative to me that it’s time to do some work on something.

So.

I asked, and I admitted my fear and then we laughed and he said, of course and then asked me to ponder a question or to sit and be with what it was that I wanted to address.

What popped into my head?

Sober boyfriend.

Yeah, like that.

We met the next day in the heat of the afternoon, in the middle of a white out dust storm.

Things were said, deals were done, navigation of emotions, experiences, lots and lots of therapeutic theory.

He knows his stuff and I recognized a lot of the techniques he used and I wasn’t uncomfortable with the way it went, despite, yes, there being some fear there too, but mostly a curiosity to see what would arrive and an eagerness to address these baffling relationship issues that seem to crop up for me often when I am least expecting or most wanting to have a relationship.

It’s like a wall, glass, that I can feel, that I can see through, but can’t quite figure out how to get to the other side.

We talked and talked and got down to some root things, which when expressed from his perspective was obvious, so obvious, it made me feel a bit baffled then I realized how I am most often unable to see what others see so clearly, I have no perspective on my own life or abilities.

None.

Hearing all the things come out of my friends mouth, with a broader perspective of my history, trauma, and adult male patterning that I did when I was a little girl.

Well.

Fuck.

Of course I tend toward being single.

Hello safety.

I am either chasing after the unavailable boy or I am being the mother to said boy.

I don’t date adult men.

I don’t know how since I hadn’t seen healthy adult relationships growing up as a little girl.

I often tend toward two ways of being in relation to men I want to date.

I have been the mother–my longest lasting relationship was five years and I was definitely the care taker.

And then.

A long series of men, boys, that I chased, who were not often, or ever really interested in dating me romantically.

These paradigms made a lot of sense to me and I think I have been dancing around this knowledge for such a long time that when it was finally revealed it was less a great big aha moment, but more of a softening and relaxing into myself.

I had a lot of compassion for myself and a gentleness that I found so tender that I was in tears just from the relief of that.

So.

My friend made some suggestions.

Stop chasing.

Stop being the mother.

Write it out.

What does an adult man look like, what qualities do I want?

And lastly.

Be patient.

Don’t expect it overnight and stop looking for it.

It won’t be the impetuous passion of a sixteen year old in a romantic crush.

It will probably not be someone I’m crazy wild about at first glance, it will be softer, and I will be pursued and I will be seen and my power, who I am will be my calling card.

He will be strong.

He will not complete me.

I won’t have to mother, and I will not chase.

What a relief.

At first when I deleted Tinder I was pretty ok with it.

Then.

Yes.

I did re-install the app for a half day.

But.

I realized.

Nope.

It doesn’t serve, not after the experience in the dome, in the dust, in the heat, my heart opened, the little girl response to dating laid to rest in the resplendent gold dust light.

My friend said write about it, at least once a day, a paragraph, what my adult man looks like, what I want.

And.

Then.

Heh.

Text him when I start dating.

It won’t be long.

I’m ready.

I am happy, healthy, smart, employed, in graduate school, sober, loving, lovable, funny.

It’s on.

And I’m done with the dating apps and the chase.

I am here and available.

And I don’t need to chase.

I am fucking awesome.

I would date me in a heart beat.

I don’t need fireworks, although passion is lovely, I’m not going to try to make anything happen.

I don’t need to.

It already is.

 

 

While I Waited.

November 29, 2015

I wrote some poetry.

That was unexpected.

I was sitting in the window seat of the Starbucks in Noe Valley waiting for my person and I was reading my Psychodynamics reader.

I am just a few pages shy of finishing it, however, I discovered that there were readings missing in the reader and I will have to go online and find them.

Which would explain some of my confusion with the class, there is a system that the school uses called Canvas, and when my professor was referring to articles online, well, I thought she meant this platform.

Nope.

She literally meant online.

But online is where I can’t get to right now.

My internet is woefully slow.

I am not certain that I am going to be able to get onto my blog tonight.

I am going to try.

I have been trying for a while now.

That being said, I don’t necessarily have to write my blog on the wordpress site.

It is my preference.

But as so many things in life, my preference is not always what happens.

I would have preferred it if my professor had put all the articles together in one spot, I like having them all printed out in the reader, it helps me organize and I like to underline and take notes.

Hard to do that when I am reading an article online.

I also find it more difficult to read anything online.

It just works better for me to be off the page than on a screen.

I am old fashioned.

I am quite alright with that old-fashionedness as well.

I like writing sonnets.

Who writes sonnets anymore?

I like writing in notebooks with a pen.

Of course.

I also love writing my blog and I love how fast my fingers fly over the key board when the words are coming out of my head and they just seem to pop right onto the page in front of me, the wordcount rolling ever higher.

There is a distinct pleasure in the use of the keyboard as well.

No denying it.

But there is the writing and the reading and the old way of doing it that pleases me just as much if not a tiny bit more.

While I was waiting for my person and reading my reader I had something pop out at me and I re-read it and thought of the conversation I had my with my friend in his office while we were discussing poetry and architecture, and art, and life, burning man, shoes and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings, and whilst he and I were in the middle of a conversation he said the most astounding thing and in a flash I grabbed my bag of pens and fished out a notebook and wrote it down.

It happened to be my Psychodynamics notebook.

The very same notebook I had in my lap while I was reading about Transitional objects and play and post-Freudian theory.

There were words in the article that resonated with the conversation from yesterday and there was something in the music playing in the café and the mania of a homeless man who kept coming in and out of the door.

At one point he smacked his palms on the glass in front of my face to get my attention.

I got lost in the moment, picked up my notebook, found the line of conversation that I had wrote down yesterday, and then intermixed with thoughts of a love I began writing a poem.

And I thought all my poetry was gone.

As though I was a fraud, a one shot, a one trick pony.

The only thing standing in between me and my fraudulence yet another sonnet.

The muse has not left the building.

Sometimes the muse is a homeless man demanding attention.

And I have to pick up the pen.

It is a compulsion and a thickening in my blood, a swirl, a cataclysm of thought and power and shadow and love.

Always the love.

So here.

For you this Saturday eve.

A new sonnet.

The Place Where We Live

The real thing is the thing that is not there.

I mean the thing you put in between

The reality of the love and the shadow of fear.

The soft bellied swallow a hush mark, a skein

Of feathers, a brush of your hand through my hair.

And the kiss of your mouth upon my neck.

I think these things underneath the fair

Stream of light. A caustic cushion, the feck-

Lessness of your bravado. A wash of scent

I wallow through, a marsh of hazard and light,

Star light, the pitter pat of manic hands, the bent

Minded man, a harrowing, a heart broken with blight.

Transitional objects bereft with casual longings.

And then you, here, not there, my darling, my belonging.

And then I reflected.

Really reflected on my life in this last year.

Where I was a year ago to where I am now is astounding.

I was in the front dining room of The Beach Chalet having a late dinner with my ex-boyfriend.  We were talking about an incident that had happened the night before and how it had stirred up some old child hood traumas.

I remember looking out the plate glass window of the second story of the Beach chalet the back lit restaruant and empty tables reflected in the window, the press of the dark night, the heaviness of the ocean, the lowering sky, and how was I ever going to navigate through it all.

There was no there there.

There was no place to call home.

Even in the attempt to communicate with the person sitting next to me, arm against arm, body to body, there were only the words stilted, shamed, guilty, driven, soft, remorse, the belly of a newt tender and spotted, I wriggled in helplessness and despair I could not accurately name or own or speak to.

I had lost my voice in the relationship even as the relationship was developing.

It fell apart to soon thereafter.

But I learned.

I grew.

I walked through a lot of pain for it was in the remonstrances of my past that came floating back to settle on my skin again and teach me what I had to repair and where I needed to go further and what needed to be healed.

No surprise that not many weeks later I was in the epicenter of it all.

Alaska.

Anchorage.

My father in a coma the stench of alcohol still on his skin, the delierium tremens that would happen and shake his body like palsy in a doll, the bruises on his hands and knees, the short hospital gown that would rise and reveal his genitals in the writhing, the nurses, in and out, the beeping, the admonitions to hold his hands, talk to him, all the emotions and falling.

The loneliness of that room in the quarters for the family adjacent to the urgent care facility of the hospital.

The snow on the ground.

The late sunrise and the early sunset.

So many things.

All the things.

All the things that broke my heart.

Broke it open wide and left it there, a rose of bloodletting, then forgiving, then letting go.

The last kiss on his cheek days later, surprised by the warmth of his skin, the stubble on my lips as I pressed my mouth to his face.

I choked inside.

Grabbed my luggage and rolled it out the door holding back the sobs until I could get into the empty waiting room and crumple against the check in desk where no one manned the reception except a quiet God and the soft voice inside me to forgive and move on, to get into the elevator and go home.

Back here.

Back home.

Back to a man that wasn’t to be with me much longer but from whom I learned where I needed to work on myself next.

And oh.

The work.

I did it though.

And when I met with my person and acknowledged all those things from here to there.

And the love.

Oh there is so much love.

Love I cannot talk about yet, here, in a way that makes any sense, just love.

Suffice to say.

Love.

Like a crescendo of light petals from star flowers.

A shattering.

I am smote.

Yet.

I rise up in this love and I am seen.

I.

Am

Known.

Realizations

December 27, 2014

Then there was that time in the car on the way to the place when I had an epiphany.

It came without bidding.

Most epiphanies do.

And it had to do with my father and the lack thereof of said father most of my life.

It followed closely on the heels of a conversation I had with my favorite uncle, my father’s eldest brother, and I realized when I said goodbye to him and I love you, that I did have a father figure, it is my uncle.

It was such a simple little revelation.

And like all such revelations, obvious when I saw it, that it had been there all along.

He had insisted the first year I moved out to California that I come up to his place in Nevada City, actually out past Nevada City, up further in the hills, for Christmas.

I had not seen this side of the family in a long time and I was nervous.

I was also going to be seeing my grandmother whom I had not seen since I was a small girl, four, four and a half, and she did not know that I was coming, it was a surprise.

I remember that my cousins looked so much more like me than my mother’s side of the family and that my uncle, who, although I was shy around and as one of my girl cousins noted, I did the same thing they did–hide in my hair–I felt uncustomary closeness too.

I couldn’t remember much of my uncle from being a little girl and I am not sure how much he was around at the time I was living in California, but he stepped in then.

And he has stepped in now.

I called him to get an update on my father–my two uncles and my grandmother flew up yesterday on Christmas to be with my dad.

My uncle gave it to me straight and thank god for that.

He also said all the things that I would have wanted to hear from my father at any time during my life, I love you, I’ll stay in touch with you, I will call you soon, I will keep you in the loop.

When I got off the phone I felt flooded with gratitude.

I had a dad.

And though my uncle is not really my dad, he’s my uncle, he’s a father figure and it was to a father that I felt I was speaking.

My uncle has daughters and as such is probably not looking for another, but the connection there and elsewhere–this is my uncle who goes to Burning Man–is strong, familial, blood, and I felt connected to him and the situation became just that more bearable to handle.

I won’t have a lot of say in the medical side, although I could choose to if push came to shove.

I don’t need to have that say.

Although my uncle made it quite clear that I am considered the primary next of kin being the eldest daughter and child of my fathers.

I am in control of his estate.

What feeble estate that accounts for since my father has been in a homeless shelter in Anchorage for some time is beyond me, but yes, I do have control of those monies.

I have no need for it and I would dispose of that responsibility and cede it to any of my father’s side of the family that should want it.

However.

If I need to I will take on the responsibility.

I am an adult.

I don’t know that I will pursue a great deal of a relationship with my father, I don’t know how much of a relationship there is going to be as the amount of brain damage is still be assessed.

He will be there in the facility for at least another two months.

He still has brain swelling and the two skull pieces that were removed have to be replaced and often times my father has to be restrained to not mess with his head.

I feel you dad.

It itches.

I was never good with the itchy stuff either.

But let it heal, ok?

Maybe because I do want to have some sort of relationship, if only to tell you I love you once in a while.

Everybody wants to hear that.

I believe, anyway.

And until that time I can always tell my uncle and my grandmother, my sister, my mother, my aunts and cousins, I can tell them I love them.

Life is precious and the more I live it the more precious it becomes.

Tomorrow I am going to take a trip down the coast to Natural Bridges State Park with my guy and we are going to see the monarch migration.

I am super excited to witness it.

I suspect it is something I need to see.

I feel the pull for these adventures and these experiences more now than ever as I see the kind of life my father has chosen for himself and the life that I have chosen for myself.

I can hope for a kind intersection of love and perhaps at a crossroads again I can take my father’s hand and we can walk along the road for a little while.

Or not.

But I choose to walk this path and live honorable and lovingly and with great kindness and compassion for myself and my father.

He did the best he could.

I know that.

I don’t approve, necessarily of what that looked like when I was a child, but I accept it and I know, really know, he did the best he could.

Just like my mom did.

No one’s parents are perfect and no one’s child is perfect either.

Yet we are all perfect.

Human.

Lovable and worthy of love.

And I hope that you don’t fall in love with me.

Too late.

It’s irrevocable.

I love my father.

I love, but from a far.

I love, but I can see the mountains around him and the snow squeaking under the tires of trucks whistling in and out of the hospital parking lot, I can still feel his hand and the warmth of his cheek when I kissed him goodbye.

It was a kiss hello too.

And maybe there will be more of that.

In the meantime, I’ll stay connected to my uncle and be grateful, so unaccountably grateful for my family, close, far, blood calls to blood and I am connected to so many wonderful amazing people.

I am not alone.

I never was.

No matter what I told myself.

And neither is my father.

No matter what he told himself either.

Love never dies.

Never fades.

Love always is.

Oh Yeah

December 18, 2014

Tomorrow’s my birthday.

I sort of forgot.

“I don’t care about my birthday, or Christmas, or the holidays, or any of it, I just don’t have it in me,” I told my dear friend today on the phone from the playground before the rain started up again.

No those aren’t tears on my face, it’s just the rain.

Ok.

I lie.

There’s some tears in there too.

I cried a bit more than I expected I would today, it would catch me off guard and I wasn’t prepared for it.

I went back to work today after spending a lot of time yesterday nesting in my little home by the sea.

I cleaned, scoured, scrubbed, swept, did laundry, stripped my bedding, washed it all down, as though if I could possibly control my environment I would feel in control of something.

“If it feels like you’re falling down the hill, you’re in God’s will.”

Falling down that hill.

Not sure where it’s going to land either.

Things aren’t neat and tidy like they are in the movies, a quick resolution of the drama, a tight little bundle wrapped in brown paper and tied up with green jute string.

Nope.

My father’s situation is still stable, no change, according to the phone call I took this morning from the hospital.

I took a few phone calls from the hospital, which is probably why I was in tears more than once today.  Emotionally off my equilibrium.

Caught in the unawares by feelings that I thought had already come out.

I was that crazy lady in the terminal at the airport crying.

I was the passenger in the window seat forlornly staring at the cloud columns rising in the sky against the burnt umber of the sunset.

I was the woman lost at the terminal when I landed waiting for my ride to show up, he was in terminal three I was in terminal one.

I was that person.

I was that woman sobbing in her boyfriends arms.

Then kissing him and hugging him and wanting to crawl under his arm and into his coat.

Which I did do later that night and when he didn’t ask if I wanted him to spend the night, he has to be up ridiculously early for work, but just gathered his things to bring over to my house, I was grateful.

Wet and sad too.

The rain, it just doesn’t stop.

It’s like God is crying for me.

And sometimes I don’t know what I am crying for.

The sadness of it all, the wasted living, the relationship that was truncated so long ago and never fully re-established.

I miss my dad, but I miss him like an afterthought of what a father is supposed to be, like the taste of chocolate, a memory in my mouth.

The velveteen rabbit bank he gave me more solid in my mind than conversations about our lives, hopes, dreams, endeavors.

I know, however, I believe firm and true, that my father wanted the best for me.

So, with all due respect to the man still in the coma, I am going to get about living.

That’s really the only option I have–be true to my life and my recovery and my journey and live it the hell up.

Tomorrow I’ll be 42.

Hell, in two hours I will be 42.

In fact, in Australia, I already am 42.

I was a few hours ago as a friend from Sidney wished me a happy birthday from down under.

What will I do with 42?

In the year past I have done some traveling–Florida to see my mom and sister last January, Wisconsin to see my best friend and her skulk in July, Burning Man, to see that family that is extra special dusty and dreamy, in August, and Anchorage, Alaska, to see my father in a hospital johnny that did nothing to hide the ravages of the years.

I would actually like to go back to Alaska, under better circumstances, this year of my life, to see the long days and the light that lasts almost all night in the summer.

I did not see much of Anchorage, but I saw enough that I am intrigued.

Plus, I met one super fabulous woman and I suspect that there are a few others up that way who may be friends of friends that I could connect with.

I also want to go to Hawaii.

When?

I don’t actually know, but I feel like this passage of time and this experience with my father has brought about in me a hunger to know more of my family and more of my family history–which on my father’s side has a great deal to do with the Hawaiian islands.

“How old is grandma?” I asked my cousin as we sat in the airport terminal having lunch.

One of the gifts of the delayed flight time back (I am sure there are others, but this is the only clear one to me, the length of time it took me to get back was deliriously long–one missed connection by four minutes led to me having to wait an extra six and a half hours in the airport and then the weather was bad in San Francisco and my plane, once I was finally on it, was delayed again and we sat on the runway for two hours, then circled for an additional half hour in the air above SFO) was that I received a call from a cousin who I had not seen in over 30 years.

He called when my grandmother saw my post on facecrack about the flight delay, he was nearby at work and we had a little family reunion at the Phoenix airport over some bbq in the terminal.

“She was 13 when Pearl Harbor was bombed,” he said ticking off the numbers we figured out her age.

My grandmother was on the island when the bombing happened.

There’s a lot of history there to be explored.

That’s something I want to do for 42.

I also want to go to Atlanta, Georgia, there’s a really big convention there in July.

Not that I am psyched about going to Georgia in July, but hey, it only happens every five years and I have yet to go.

It’s time I do that as well.

Other goals?

Well, graduate school.

That’s still on the table.

“I’m a therapists wet dream,” I joked morbidly with one of the nurses on my father’s watch.

I had moments of dark humour sweep over me and sometimes it would sneak out.

But it doesn’t really surprise me that one of my desires is to do therapy as a vocation.

I’m a care taker, a home maker, a protector, a nanny, a confidante, a mentor, it makes sense to add therapist there.

“You’re a child psychologist making baby sitter wages, go back to school,” he suggested with blunt authority.

Yes sir.

That graduate school application isn’t going to do itself.

That’s one thing to aim for in this year of 42, another thing on my to do list.

Go back to school my dear.

I want to see the monarch migrations in Big Sur, go to Burning Man, but not work it, well, at least not the way that I have in the past 7 years, I want to hang glide, got to the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, I want to spend a holiday at my Uncle’s house in Nevada City, see my grandmother in San Diego, maybe see if I can get my mom to come to San Francisco.

Oh.

Yeah.

It’s also time for another tattoo.

Come January 13th or thereabouts, I will need a commemorative tattoo.

Design yet to be decided upon.

And I want to live, live, live, and experience life fully, dance, sing, hold my boyfriends hand, sleep in the crook of his arms, be of service to my friends and my community, laugh a lot, cry when I need to, ride my scooter, go to school, love as hard as I can.

Really.

That’s it.

I just want to live and love as hard as I can.

I think that’s a great goal for this next year of my life.

42.

I say I do.

Let’s get it on.


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