Friday, January 13, 2017

1952

Tonight...

I'd sift through sorrows to
find moments of smiles and
hand-holds.
Too-tight arms around
weighted shoulders,
quiet thoughts bending my
mouth to frown. Lost
in heavy hard-truth
revelations.

Blue-eye contact burrows,
knowing of depths found early,
taking a toll...

Called back by the space
you'd hold,
bamboo stake standing for
this winding vine to wrap and
lean on.

Tonight,
I'd leave the dirt and roots,
To say to you, today;

This trembling heart is a growing wave.

It is ocean's fullest tide,
and the falls that feed the sea's whip and froth
under immeasurable night skies,
It is the stars -
their wild laughing glee
at my force, in the wind through mountains,
flying bitter cold, to shake the branches
pounding rhythmic, hollowed wood on wood.
All my mighty soul, making music
for being born to you.

My heart;
the impassioned crack
in the shell of the seed
of January fourteenth's
babe.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Louder Now

We live in a culture that invalidates our experience.

Families, afraid to rock the boat,
must "correct" our thinking.
Unhearing.

Partners, in fear of feeling at fault,
dismissing, discrediting, the hurt of another.

From private homes, to society's whole.
A perfect reflection.

Were we ever listening?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Pfft. Men.

Today, myself, and two close male friends, whom I grew up with in a small community, were sharing kitchen space and making meals after work. It was pleasant, friendly, there was laughter and ease. But I kept finding myself being dismissed in conversation - on four occasions, within ten minutes. Discussions on things I knew about.

My experience changed from one of community and affection to finding myself feeling incredibly sad, to have pleasantly entered a conversation, considering myself an equal, and so quickly classified as "just a woman". When, logically, I'd be the one to ask how hot the barbecue gets, or where the tool kit is, or which screwdriver is needed to remove the faceplate to the hush pump. After all, we were at my house, and these were my things.

I know these men quite well, and this kind of thing doesn't happen often, especially the more years and life events pass us by. So over the years I've come to consider some things that may have contributed to this behaviour. I know that these are men who love women, who are tender and kind with huge hearts, and if you catch them in a serene moment they are wide open and welcoming to conversations of emotional depth that require self awareness. They are not abusers, control freaks, or extreme finger pointers. They have the beautiful quality of being able to own their wrongs and apologize.

What they haven't had, for the majority of their lives, is a voice.

Which, unfortunately, has made them "The Answer Man". You know, the kind of guy that, before your story is out, have words tumbling out of their mouths to enlighten you on some aspect (they think) you haven't considered, offering their wisdom and obliviously steering the conversation in an entirely different direction. They have had no voice, and now that we are grown and out of our mother's homes, they jump at the opportunity to speak and be heard. Because the truth is, they've been taught in no uncertain terms to dislike men - which is, to dislike themselves. This seems to result in overcompensating, by needing to be know-alls, caretakers, uncomfortable by anything that may be received as correction or criticism. Which, if it's coming from a familial woman's mouth, is nearly everything.

I was raised and surrounded by these women too. So I'm acutely aware when my learned-through-osmosis judgmental nature sneaks out in my tone, or my playful competitiveness is received as gender-based combativeness. But the truth is, I see their pain. I have so much love and respect for them and their experience. And I - a bisexual 30 something lover of everyone - am the last to attach a gender to their experience. I have my own pain - that I wonder if they know they are contributing to - relative to the lady bits I was born with, and subsequent treatment in life. But I also know that no one has a monopoly on pain, and the fight to address the centuries of sexism towards women - that has lead to our knee-jerk hesitance to stand for ourselves in the moment, or report a rape after it's happened, or to put our own safety ahead of our concern for our abusers whom we love... (a topic for another blog perhaps, but let's acknowledge the irony of this article) - this does not render certain men's struggle irrelevant.

If you ask me, it is the same struggle.
(Stay with me, feminists).

I was one of the 18,000 same-sex couples married during the time between California's ruling of Proposition 22 (2008) as unconstitutional, (Read: Gay marriage is a go!) and the passage of Proposition 8, (2009), (Read: We take it back). What followed was an in depth trial in the United States District Court for the Northern California District that was widely followed, and held incredibly poignant testimony. In many ways the underlying theme of discrimination throughout the trial ran parallel to the struggles of both women and men, and the stereotypical stigma attached to each gender.

Let's note now, how women have been wronged. We have become stronger, louder, and intent on affecting change and being treated better. Many are angry, and rightly so.
These men - the new man - they have seen their mothers and sisters hurt, have seen the anger, have even bore the brunt of it. They are ashamed.

In large part through social stigma, 51% of the population of California felt the need to protect themselves, their children, or the safety of marriage itself from gays and lesbians. Testimony of the opponents spoke to the innate harm in confidence, sense of self-worth, inclusion, ability to play a part and contribute to their community or economy - that they have suffered from acute discrimination and experienced sustained patterns of sometimes subtle, sometimes outright hostility.
Gay and lesbian teens are five times more likely to commit suicide.

Let's read that again, with slight alterations:

"Testimony... spoke to the innate harm in confidence, sense of self-worth, inclusion, ability to play a part and contribute to their (emotional) community - that they have suffered from acute emotional suppression and experienced sustained patterns of sometimes subtle, sometimes outright expectation of who they should be, and hostility when they're not.
Adult males are four times more likely to commit suicide."

This is heartbreaking.

That's all. It is not a comparison to the struggle of women in today's society. It doesn't need to compete with the deep damaging effects of rape culture. I believe we need to treat it as it's own epidemic, separate but very much connected.

I have experienced sexual harassment and assault just for being female - uninitiated, workplace assault that happened out of nowhere by a subordinate. I've experienced my own incredibly confusing, and revealing, response to that. Not wanting to make a big deal of it, I was feeling somehow responsible, and unsure about how much action to take. To be clear, I am not a mother. I was raised by fierce, often angry woman-warriors. I thought myself one. This was a response I was the last person in the world to think I would experience. Through this, I realized the extent of society's expectations of women, the caretakers, pain-bearers, graceful and mature. Yet, I was violated. I didn't recognize myself in the days that immediately followed my assault - I was actively considering protecting him.

Through this process, I made the connection. I realized how deeply ingrained our gender roles are, even when we've never been required to live them.


Today, with two men I love dearly, I realized that many men do not make the connection. They don't necessarily know why they dismiss the opinions of women, or offer less value to the advice they have to offer. They may not even know what is at the very root of these actions;
Fear.

Their pain, is the result of being the unfortunate brother-by-sexual-organ to the men who victimize and abuse women. Their pain is being the target of the consequence of those men existing. My pain today, was the result of being sister-by-sexual-organ to the women who misjudged and shamed them, as a consequence of the behavior of other men.

I was the target,
of the consequence,
of women deeply wronged, gender-generalizing the culprit.

So I ask you, men and women, for all of us to make the connection.
To heal yourselves. To lay down swords and respect the struggle of "the other" - perpetuating a gender war, blaming the other, even if the fault does lie on one side, it is not going to fix this. We are still left dealing with our own emotional reactions and beliefs - they can help us grow or shut us down. That's where the solutions are. Let's think about how we want to respond, and whether what we choose is productive to society.

Let's get honest, not competitive.
Let's get aware.

If we explore and discover what is holding us back from the kind of connectedness we're missing  - identify the ways our stories have shaped us, our treatment of others, and the incredible world waiting for us to open up to it, the struggle could cease. The blaming could end and be replaced by understanding. I challenge all of you, to describe either the issue of misogyny, or the struggles of today's men - not for the gender you classify yourself, but for the opposite. Let's try to see the other side - all of us. Every. One.

Let's start there.

We are responsible now. We owe this to our brothers, sisters, children... society itself.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Same Sea

I have some things to tell you.

Although there are a thousands reasons I couldn’t be with you, 
only one why I would have, 
it doesn’t change because I couldn’t.

Do you remember the night we talked? 
We really talked?
I held you - and you, in your way, held me. 
Loving you was a relief I didn’t expect, and an amount I’d never imagined possible. 
I’m not sure how much was said, but we spoke a million words without sounds. 
So much was connected between you and I that night. 
I felt you through me, in my past and my future - 
I felt the impossible;
to feel you so strongly through the stages of my life, when I had to leave you. 

I had to let you go.

That night, I felt like I was a drop of water, and you, the sea.
I floated through, in and out of my separateness from you, until we were merged,
and there was only love.
Nothing has ever been more confusing, or made as much sense, 
as how impossible that was;
That we could be the same water, and it be so real.

We were so gentle with one another... 
Swaying together, like seaweed drifting through low tide. 
Like hammocks in the breeze, 
or the old porch swings elderly couples hold hands on, 
watching the goings-on of children.

Like mothers, nursing babes in rocking chairs.

I was Mother Earth. 
You were the galaxy, the milky way, every star that ever held light, 
and you held me.


For awhile I’d forgotten what you woke in me. 

I suppose I had things too big to be felt for awhile, when you left - 
I had an emptiness to embrace in order to someday be done with. 
Here, on the other side of that, I’m filled with the memory of the cleanest kind of love 
you sparked. 
And the reminder, of what I learned of myself. 
The dreams I have and things I’m meant to do - as true as the love that surged and swelled and flowed and broke my heart that night. 

So I wanted you to know, I’m ready to do them now. 
The tides are roaring again, and this time I don’t fear the action. 
This time, I trust - the galaxy, the milky way, and every star that ever held light.

You are not lost, my beautiful, faceless babe - the depths of my soul and heart know this.
I am not lost, and despite that you were never born, you are the biggest reason for that.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sunnudagur Musing

Kissed by Sunday morning,
soft light leaking towards me.
My fears and doubts fall
to the floor,
lie crumpled with Saturdays clothes,
your body holds 
my stare.

Under your cover of logic and plans, 
wild and unabashed 
somewhere in there - 
Sheets slip away and my fingers trace
these secrets onto your skin.

Your voice...
In soft, waking moans,
echoes through, calling my bones
to listen.

Your neck,
curling into my breasts.
Lips, balm to the wide, heavy heart,
open to the world 
but no one.

Remembering now,
while you gracefully,
fast and unknowingly
open a pinhole, unleashing it all - 

Sundays were somedays,
maybe nevers,
content to love unattached - 

But here with you,
reaching for me while sleeping,
I am remembering.

Details of a place I've never been -
You have me longing to be there again,

In this kind of love.
Here.
In Sunday morning.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Love You Anyway

I should write today.

Words to say what you were, the complex and convoluted ways in which I learned who I was from you.

I should talk about knowing someone so well - the stages of knowing:
The playground beliefs, "My dad is better than your dad" stereotypes;
The moment you fell running bases at ball, and I learned you were human;
The moments I learned what your struggle was really about.

I should find ways to say the gravity of your loss. 
The way my breath goes shallow at the thought of the rest of my life without you.

But I've none. This is it. 
This year, despite all summons of bravery and grace, I just feel the loss.


The loss of the children I may never even have, that you'll surely never meet.

The loss of you hearing me sing now.
The chance of pride, or if not, even the sound of your critique.

I imagine hearing that - the ways I could improve, the things I should be learning - and calling your eyes to mine, to smile and lovingly hold your stare, both of us knowing what that's really about.
I imagine too, the other side of you, that would maybe sit softly listening, and say something like, "I didn't know you could do that..."
with the open vulnerability you sometimes showed, welling up.

I miss you. I miss the quiet of our similarities, like a low hum beneath the surface of who I am.

This is a love that's incomparable. Our acknowledgement of authenticity, messy, sad, sick - all of it. The space between us that allowed honesty, and safety. 
Our willingness to return to it when it was lost to us.

There is no love, born of acceptance, that I've known like yours.

Love You Anyway - Demo from Rick Edgett on Myspace.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Leaders

Tonight.

I took myself to Tom's Little Havana, and sat amongst the first dates, friend meets, candlelight and Van Morrison/Erykah Badu/Elliot Smith.
All these stories, and how I love to be lost in the mix.

Sitting here hoping to go unnoticed, but noticed, sometimes eyed strangely,
sometimes not given a second glance.
Just a girl in a funky shirt,
bright eyes and deep in her own thoughts,
craft beer and computer screen glaring.

I hope they find me brave instead of strange,
and yet,
that thought wasn't even worth writing.

What matters is that my hands are finally moving,
and I'm bothering to be present enough to document what I'm doing,
Because, see, documenting IS presence,
at least,
tonight.

I am seeing my surroundings.
The four gay boys gossiping
about their girlfriend across the aisle.
The hipsters beside me,
toques and plaid and skinny jeans
big words describing the structure of Alice in Wonderland,
high school kids these days,
reasons for living stumbling out of handsome bearded faces.
The private booths I was hoping for,
all occupied with what is, maybe their 3rd date?
and next table down,
no doubt the first.

Those two... they make sense already.
I hope they make it.
Her thin and tall, and hair on fire
Him sweet and shy -
I've never known an unbending man to date a redhead.

And hipsters,
I hope you change the world,
I hope your ideas don't stay in quiet conversations
amongst those who share them.
I hope you scream them out, in an inviting way,
And eventually rise to the calling of control,
learn to balance the naive dreamer that we're all needing to lead us
with the leader.

And the gay boys,
innocent and shameless,
I can't even begin to say how fucking proud I am of you.
Your gossip is good natured,
Your pride is fierce,
and I hope you remember to be as inclusive as you wish
to be accepted.
You're gorgeous, and if you don't remember what you've been through
and take note of who not to do that to,
Your beauty won't mean shit.

All of you, never stop growing.
There are places you're going,
and despite the buddhist mind in me that says so calmly,
be in the now,
I don't want you to stay.

There is so much more on the way.