Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three Wise Women

I was thinking of the Christmas story the other day and I thought, poor Mother Mary. That poor mama. When her first child was born she was surrounded by jackasses, sheep, and men. I have nothing against jackasses, sheep, and especially men, but when I have just had something the size of a watermelon come out of my vagina what I want to be surrounded by (besides my partner) is women. Women who have been there and women that can relate to that experience. Especially with the first baby. People can tell you what it's going to be like after you have a child, but the exhaustion, the changes in your body, those cannot be imagined pre-labor. At least for me. I had to experience child birth to really know how silly putty feels after a child plays with it for the first time.

Poor Mary, what did she get after she gave birth? Three wise men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I do not mean to put down these gifts. At the time gold, frankincense, and myrrh were so valuable Mary and Joseph probably bought their house with them and put away money for Jesus to go carpentry school, however, if I were Mary, I would have wished that those guys would've waited a few days, or weeks until I didn't feel like my elephantiasis girl parts were hanging out and my boobs were soda guns. I would only want women to see me so vunerable, so very, very real.

Really, immediately after my children were born, I only wanted their dad to be with me. Later I wanted my ladies to come in and laugh and nurture and hang out. If it were three wise women with Mary there would have been food. Hot nurturing food. That stable would have been cleaned up, and if it were the amazing ladies in my neighborhood, it probably would have been transformed into a cool ass house. If it had been three wise women there would have been ice packs for Mary's vajay jay, and pajama jeans with a sweet ass nursing top, preferably fleece lined or velor. Wise women would sit and hold the baby while Mary napped. They would have rubbed her back and feet.  They would not stare and awe at this baby because he was the messiah. Those wise women would stare in awe at Jesus because he was a miracle, just like all babies. Beautiful, and exhausting and worth it.

If the wise women were married they would have brought their husbands who would have taken Joseph out to decompress. If no husbands were available one of the wise women would arrange a project for Joseph so he could feel like he had a job. They would have been out of the way when necessary and by Mary's side when see needed it. They would have laugh or cried as needed. They would know how to make jokes about immaculate conception, and babies in a manager. They would know how to make use of sheep and jackasses.

Wise women are very real in my life and maybe that's why I feel so bad for Mary.  I have so many wise women I could not narrow it down to three for this post. I have Jills of all trades, healers, Mama bears, and jesters. I have Mother Marys and Mary Magdalenes, I have Maya Angelous, and Amelia Earharts. I have women who are real, and fallable. Just like me. I have women who, when the jackass shits next to the manager, get down on their hands and knees with a laugh and clean that mess up. That's why I ache for Mary in the stable, surrounded by not her mother, or sisters, or friends, but by her loving husband, who was just as clueless as she, and three old wise men who had never experienced the miraculous and completely mind blowing experience of having a baby come out of your body. I ache for her lonely heart and for her body that needed loving just as much as that baby's.

But the time has past, and that experience was Mary's karma. So what I will say to her is this: Merry Christmas, Mother Mary.  You done good, girl. If some day in our travels through these infinite lives we meet, I will bring the breast pump and the ice pack maxi pads, and you, my sweet, bring on the Prince of Peace.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Life Happens, Beyotch

Recently I've been shaken. Emotionally shaken, though it felt a little like someone put me in the martini mixer and gave me a good whirl. Shaken, not stirred. Two times it's happened in the past two months. Let's hope this isn't my new once a month pattern.

Heller Keller said, "Security is an illusion. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." My security has been shaken. This post was going to focus on fear. It was going to focus on the fact that I had a bad feeling about some guys I spoke to on the street, and then one followed me. It was going to focus on trusting my gut and the fear of being followed, but then Savior Single Mama said to me about the experience, "It's okay. It just shattered your false sense of security. Just give it a few weeks and you will feel safe again." and that's when I realized this wasn't about being followed. This was about delusion. The delusion that I am safe. That life does not happen. That I am in control.

I have become a master at insulating myself and my children. I do not watch the news, or crime dramas on t.v. We live in a sweet little nest of a neighborhood, where, for the most part, we are sheltered from crime. I mainly focus on what is right in front of me and I try to remind myself that this moment might be my last so live it up. But that saying falls on a deafened heart and many times though I know intellectually that it is true, I forget in my soul that life is short, and unpredictable, and no one is immune from death or trauma. The funny thing is I take it so personally when the message is the delivered. It really throws me for a loop. I am the empress with no clothes, please don't tell me I'm naked. Please don't tell me I'm one breath away from death, just like everyone else. Once this is pointed out (and it must be again and again), I run shaking, shaken and stirred, and I retreat.

Two months ago I was in a car wreck, not a major one, I'm fine, kids not with me (thank the Buddhas), my car....well, he didn't fare so well. Then I had this guy in the neighborhood where I work scare the shit out of me, and then there was a shooting on a college campus near me. Smack, smack, smack. My face burns from the wake up call of reality. This moment is it. Don't waste it. Security is an illusion baby life happens.

Last week I went to a meditation class where the question was, "What takes you from your center?" My therapist reworded it to, "What blocks you from returning to your center?" The fear that erupted in me with the wreck and the creepy guy took me away from my center and it took me a while to return. I get the whole flight or fight process and what that physically does to me, but I did not like the feeling that I could not ground myself because of my fear. That feeling feeds into the fear and makes it worse because then I feel out of control and everyone knows a Queenpin needs to be in control.

This week I've been working on returning to center. When I feel my consciousness drift, which is often, I bring it back into my heart. I pull myself back in my body and I try to live this moment. I'm trying to walk the thin line between being comfortable and being aware. I'm trying to lift my blinders and see life as it is; unpredictable, full of dark and light. I'm trying to accept reality, not just the Polly Anna shit I like to tell myself. But I also bought some mace, and my man has taught me some common sense self-defense moves. If my mind is going to go off on its own in my moment of fear, I want the body to be able to gouge out an eye.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Cigarrettes

Dear Cigarrettes,

I need for you to let me go. I am so sick of your stink, your controlling ways, and the damage you are doing to my body. Do you hear the cough, do you feel the wheeze? Those wrinkles, the, whoa, large pores. I can't even write about how smoking affects my beasts. I can't write that kids whose parents smoke, even if they only smoke outside, those little beasts still get sick more often than kids whose parents don't smoke. Kids whose parents smoke are more likely to smoke. Kids whose parents smoke can't get undivided attention because mama wants to sneak out for a quick drag.

Cigarrettes, you nasty weed, I've got such a screwed up love/hate of you. My inner Rizzo can't let you go. I swear sometimes I think she wants me dead, but she doesn't really, she just wants me misbehaving. We've been talking lately, me and the inner Riz, and I'm trying to let her know I will misbehave just the same without you, Cigarrettes. I don't have to die to be wicked. That Rizzo, she is a bull headed bitch, but she makes me laugh. I think she's gonna come around to see my side. She will see, dear cigarrettes, that smoking is more stupid than wicked. I would much rather have a hickey from Kenikie than smell like a ashtray from Joe Camel. Camels spit lugeys and cause cancer. I'm so over that.

Cigarrettes, you are a disgusting, foul, and maddening habit. Just a habit, not a God, not even a human being. You are just a habit, yet here I am quitting again, and again. I've started out everyday the past four days with such high hopes, but then there I go missing you and thinking, Fuck It, just one won't hurt.  There I go trading my health, my beasts, my beauty for just one drag. What the mother fuck? How can you have such control over me?

I am a smart woman. I am a strong woman. I, unlike you, am a human being! I have free will. Except when it comes to you. There is something that always drags me back to you.

I read this book once about quitting smoking called The Easy Way to Quit Smoking, and strangely that book made it really easy for me to quit. I didn't have any cravings for a month and 1/2. I quit. I wasn't a bitch. I don't remember gaining much weight. And then I got overwhelmed and I started again. Fuck. But one thing that book said over and over again was, "Something marvelous is happening." I loved it. I made a postcard about it. I'm saying to myself today on my 100th time quitting smoking. On my, I only haven't smoked since this morning (really, so lame), and already I'm dying for a smoke.

Something marvelous is happening: I will no longer smell like an ashtray.
Something marvelous is happening: I will be a good example for my beasts.
Something marvelous is happening: I will lesson my chances of cancer so I can live to see the beasts grow up.
Something marvelous is happening: I am going to be free of this addiction.

Something marvelous is happening, Cigarettes. One of these smokes is going to be my last one and I am going to dance and sing and hack and thank the universe as I send you on your way.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Raising a Boy & Raising a Girl

The other day my son came home from school and told me he got in trouble in science class.
"What for?", I inquired, knowing it couldn't be too bad, because to date my boy is a really good boy. "Some girl kept kicking me and wouldn't stop, so I said STOP, and I got in trouble."
"Why was that girl kicking you?"
"I don't know", he replied mystified, "I don't even know her." Well, I know why that little hussy was kicking him, but I kept it to myself, assuming soon enough big beast will learn about the joys and pains of elementary school love.

Last week my daughter's teacher told me that my little beast was poking a boy in circle time. This certain boy has an earring, and is know for spitting, and general badness. At the beginning of the year little beast had taken it upon herself to tame this little rascal. The teachers were thrilled. However, recently she had been putting her toe in the water and checking the temperature of trouble. When I was talking to little beast about the poking incident. I said, "When Little Rascal is misbehaving just move away from him." My little girls shoulders dropped, her chin lifted and she got this dreaming look on her face, "But mommy, he's so cuuuuuute." AHHHHHHHH, the bad boy wins again. I began looking up pre-school convents online immediately.

Raising human beings is such an awesome responsibility. Having a boy and a girl adds a little challenge to it. I cannot treat all situations the same with them. They have different needs, different personalities and different challenges.

With my boy I think about making him a good, strong man. A man who is respectful to women and respectful to himself. I think about all the sexualized images of women he will see and how to handle internet porn (thank goodness we're not there yet). I think about his sweeter than sweetness, and how to teach him to have a little tough shell around him that can provide a barrier from the hurts of the outside world, but that will allow his beautiful, kind self to shine through. I think about teaching him how to be a good man, without having a man in the house.

I also have to think practical. How do you teach a boy to pee with a morning erection? (Yep, had to deal with that one. Thanks to a quick call to a neighbor's husband we found an answer.) Masturbation? Check, we had a brief, round about talk about that. Soon we'll have to have that big ole' sex talk, but thank goodness, at this point I haven't seen any signs that point to the boy liking girls. He actually seems to shy away when a girl turns on her charm. I breath a sigh of relief, and gather information from other mothers & fathers on how to raise a boy in this crazy, sexualized, lookist society.

With my girl things seem more complicated and I think that it is because she seems like smaller version of me. Then my own baggage gets tangled into it. Not only does she need to learn the skill of wiping front to back, but she has a mountain of negative media to climb over to find herself and how she fits into the world. Last year, at age 4, she started with the, "Does this make my butt look fat?" to which I replied, "Yes, your butt is supposed to look fat! It's made of fat so it can be comfortable to sit on."

Little beast is already interested in boys. She is DRAMATIC and bull headed. Yet, somehow I need to treat her to embrace her sensuality and use her powers for good. How to treat herself with respect, and not squelch her fire. I will repeat for myself,

In the end, I remind myself, these kids have their own karmic destiny to work out. Some of it, unfortunately, will be based on choices that I have made. Some of it fortunately, will be based on what my village and I teach them, but mostly their lives are created by their own sweet selves. When I remember this parenting becomes less the chore of shaping and molding, and more the adventure, discovering, guiding them down the river of life. It is the beauty, the wonder, the burden, the tangled web of single motherhood.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Sweet Escape

I haven't really ever written about my man because I can't figure out how to. But I want to because he is an important part of my life. He's a big part of my adventure, and he has made me more adventurous in many ways. I call him my sweet escape because that's what he is.  He is ice cream in the middle of the night, or dark chocolate with red wine. He is a break from my every day. He helps me remember that in the midst of motherhood and Sassy Queenpiness, I am a woman too.  A sexy, wanted woman who has a shoulder to lay her head on if she needs it, an ear to listen if she requests it, and a luscious body to curl up next to once a week.

When I least expected it, into my life he came and now over a year later we're still figuring it out. It has by no means been easy, this navigation of uncharted waters. This sailing solo, yet tied together. It gets messy and neither one of us is an easy person to be with, but amazingly it is what I want.

I'm going to leave out the struggles of us in this post and just write about why it works. If you're a curious person peruse my postcards and you'll see the whole relationship laid out. My struggle with accepting it for what it is. My blindness to seeing that I had called him to me, because with him I can be independent and raise my kids, yet still have the satisfaction and excitement that comes from a relationship.

When I let go of the dream of what I thought my life was and started creating a life I could never had dreamed up, when I accepted that I was Alice through the looking glass, and that there was no rhyme or reason to this crazy path I was on I began to really enjoy my man, and he felt free to enjoy me. Both as we are.

He is my dark secret that is sweetly just mine. I don't write about him and there are few people that I talk to about him. During the week when I have my beasts my man and I text a lot and talk on the phone once or twice. We agree that he is just for me, and he doesn't come around the beasts. On my one or two nights a week when my beasts are with their dad I head to my man's house and we hardly see the light of the day. Nope, we don't go out. We curl up. We talk, we laugh, we fight, we cook for each other, and we love to eat. We watch tons of movies and listen to good music. We lay in bed. We veg. We spend the week missing each other and waiting for the one night we get to dive into each other.  Most nights when we are together we just soak each other up. I sit next to him, curled up and breath in his scent. He thinks I'm creepy, thank goodness he's into creep. We do not agree on politics or religion, but we agree on spirit and compassion.  And because of all of this I am deeply tied to him. He is my friend.

After being married, and being so committed to the dream of a nuclear family it is strange to find so much peace in once a week lovin'. It is freeing to be with someone who is not intimidated by my independence, or threatened by my relationship with my friends. It is empowering to parent my beasts with my village, but know in the end the decisions are mine. My man's & my relationship works with my journey down the rabbit hole. He is my Mad Hatter, my Cheshire Cat; nonsensical and delicious. Supporting me as I continue to find my own way.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hopeless Hysterics

Some nights are like this. They are kismet, and they are delicious. I was up past 9:30 which is late night for me. I was working on postcards and I received a text: Are your kids in bed? One of my girls had just had a big talk with her man and she was feeling a little squirley. He lay sleeping next to her and she needed to talk. I'm coming over, the next text read. Five minutes later in she walks. She left that man snoozing in the bed, and came over for some sister time. Sweats on, bed head raging, wicked little grin. I pour the wine. We sit on the porch and talk start talking it out. As we smoke and  drink our wine. I listen to her talk about what is going on and then magically, we see our other mama across the street saying good bye to her man. Get your ass over here! We laugh at the silliness of it: all three of us, up on a school night, drinking wine, smoking, having stories to tell, but no one but ourselves to listen. Needing each other, loving each other, feeding each other's souls.

When you're married you have a constant sounding board, but us single mamas we need each other, on 24 hour call, to listen to each other bounce off ideas, talk each other down, ground the crazies. The night began with the hashing out of what is going on with each of us: navigating our relationships, dealing with the process of divorce. Tonight the topic was all about men, current men, ex-men, men in our future. We started off in pensive mood, but as it always eventually does when things are heavy, we got down right hysterical. "Hopeless hysterics, that's what this is," Sassy Single Mama giggles. We snort with laughter.

From shameless self-examinations we move into opera singing, we dive into rap (yes, there was b-boxing), there was some preaching, and gospel all about woman power and navigating the single mama/single woman road. At one point there I was with another single mama on the floor attempting a queef contest. Tears streaming down my face as I laughed and laughed at my 37 year old ass lay on the ground. We mutilated the songs of Grease, and The Sound of Music. We discussed the dangers of Nair down there. We laughed and laughed and laughed. The spell was broken when some man called out, "Hey [Savior Single Mama] is this your dog?" and interrupted our new rap/opera song called "Golden Pussssaaayyyyyy".  That poor man must have been terrified to return the pooch who had wandered down the block. With giggles still ringing out, the ladies and I hugged, kissed, and said goodnight with promises to meet in the morning for coffee.
As I write all this I giggle at the silliness of it, and feel profound gratitude that I have found this kind of love with two women. Yet, this week my girls and I have realized something. In finding this joy in each other. In creating a family of three mamas and five kids, we are leaving little room for men in our lives. Our dating lives reflect our constant struggle to redefine our lives. Do we want to re-create the traditional family with husband, wife, children? Or do we want to forge ahead making our own way? We are not the same young women we were when we got married, ready to blend our lives with another person, ready to compromise in order to create a family. We are strong, independent, single women who are not so ready to give up the lives we have created on our own.

I do not think that  being committed to someone means giving up everything, but it does mean compromise. It means taking time for another person and that means giving up some of my time that I put into other things. Things like my kids, and things like my girlfriends. It means taking another person into consideration when I make decisions about what I'm going to do. I've made up my mind for now. I am satisfied with the way my life is. It is full, full, full to the brim of love, support, laughter, and fun. It is deliciously mine to do with as I please.

Not one of us three single mamas is single. We all three are involved with men, but it seems that we have chosen men that allow us to have plenty of time for Hopeless Hysterics. Men that don't ask us to give up too much of our time. Men that are on the fringes, as we three mamas revolve with our children in the center. At some point one of us may move out and create our own little orbit with another, and at that point I know that the other two will rejoice in her choice, but for now we forge ahead creating our own lives. Weaving them together into a crazy tapestry that is delicious and fulfilling. We continue to redefine friendship, family, and commitment. It's not always pretty, it's not always sane, but it is ours and for this Queenpin Mama that is a lot.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Musings of an Undomestic Goddess

Lately, I've been trying to be more domestic. I figure I'm working part time these days. It should not be so hard to keep our house straight and cook a few meals. Every time I visit someone else's house I look longingly at the matching furniture, the paint on the walls, the manicured garden and think, "Someday...." Then I come home and think HOLY MOTHER OF ALL THAT IS DOMESTIC, how did our house get like this? I know that part of the problem is I am not domestic. I am not a cooker, or an organizer, or a decorator. Those are things I would like to pay someone else to do, except, I can't afford it.

A domestic goddess' mummies

Sometimes I do have domestic inclinations, though it usually ends up looking more like Beetle Juice did it than than Donna Reed. This week was little beast's 5th birthday so I attempted to make mummy cupcakes to take to her class. The cupcakes were from this great cookbook my man bought for her called A Zombie Ate My Cupcake. The cupcakes look simple right?

However, they are not and mine ended up looking like some crazy crack head toddler got a hold of the icing bag, but no, it was just me.  I'm just not cut out for this domestic goddess thing. 
A Queenpin's mummies

The whole experience got me thinking about domestic goddessism and it made me look around my house. This is what I saw:

My enemy - the needy whore laundry

My desk - AKA the I'll file that shit later pile

Big Beast's room - all three of our rooms look about like this. 

An then I went outside and this is what my poor neighbors have to deal with:
The "hedge"
The "garden"
The front porch
Our house is a wreck. 

I have this vision of what I should be. You know, that sexy mama, with cleaning pixie dust shooting out of her uterus. I'm a woman right? Domesticity should come naturally.

I have perfect excuses for being a little bit of a mess: single working mother, in grad school, young kids, yet I also know women do it all the time. I've seen it. Yes, I have seen clean, organized houses. Just not mine.

I have a rent - a - husband on the books. He does odd jobs for me, and when I can afford it he cleans my house. Yes, I love that a man cleans my house more than me. It cracks me up. But his cleanings are few and far between, so really, on a day to day scale our house looks like a tornado has blown through the inside. 

My therapist and I talked about it today. Cleaning, organizing, cooking. They are not priorities for me. My mom, the OSQ, and I laugh saying I missed all those important life lessons like cooking because I was always out on the side porch smoking and reading my book, and that is basically true. I was just not interested. My sister cooks, my brother is a homegrown chef, me....I'm an open the box kind of gal. I'm a curl up and write, read, collage, study, kind of woman, not a fix it, clean it, cook it, domestic goddess. All my cleaning pixie dust fell out of my uterus at birth. 

This year in my life has been all about figuring out who I really am and owning it. It's about taking the visions of who I think I want to be and refashioning them into what is real and what is me. I think I'm just going to have to accept this about me: My domestic goddess gene is missing. My writing ate my Molly Maid, my collaging ate my Martha Stewart, my love of novels ate my Rachel Ray. I am fat with those crazy bitches, at some point they may just work themselves back up, and I will be awash in the vomit of domestic goddessesism. However, today, I'm just gonna finish my book.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Good Vibrations - Aunties Please Skip this Post

Can I really write about this without being totally pornographic? Probably. Because sex is funny, especially when it involves yourself. My girls and I sat on the porch last Monday night telling funny stories, and by funny stories I mean stories that involves things that vibrate that cannot be purchased at Wal-mart.

I used to know this wise woman in her late seventies. She would always council women to learn to take care of themselves, and by take care of themselves I mean go to the nearest sex shop and buy a vibrating friend. She wanted women to learn empower themselves in their bodies and to understand themselves sexually. She wanted them to take a little time to be single and to understand that alone can be okay. Alone can be satisfying.

I was probably 19 when she gave me that advice, now I'm 37. I've had many friendships with beautiful and amazing women, and I know that not all women desire a little extra umph when they are with themselves, but I have also found that women who know their bodies, who find their sexual power (with mechanics or without) are a force. They have a comfort with their bodies, a confidence, and there are no apologies for being a sexual being. It is pretty delicious.

Mae West, one of my favorite wise women said, "Sex is emotion in motion."
As I write this, I realize it may sound like I don't see the point of a partner, but I do. I love team sports as much as the next girl, and I but I also know that when conditioning yourself for any sport you need to have confidence in yourself and know your limits. Self-exploration is essential in soccer as well as sex. It involves serious concentration and a good sense of humor.

You'd be surprised how many women have great stories about their experiences with self-exploration being exposed. Sitting around with friends laughing, the quietest sweetest lady in the room will often surprise you with a great story about a mechanical snafu.

Years ago I had a friend that worked in a substance abuse treatment center for women. My friend was very shy about her body, about sex. She was very naive. She would blush when we would start telling stories or making jokes. One day at work the staff had to do a room search of all the client's rooms in the treatment center. Gloves were worn, drawers searched, mattresses lifted, and closets rummaged through. My friend hated this part of the job.

Close, but not quite.
She and her co-workers had gone through a few rooms. Ugh, dirty laundry, other people's stuff, privacy disregarded. My friend just couldn't wait to get it done. She was going through a drawer of clothes when she felt something firm and hard. Hmmm. What is that? She pulled it out. Purple, long, firm. "What is this?" She turned it over in her hand, "A flashlight?" The other staff member's eyes in the room became huge and she busted out laughing. No, baby, that's a sign you need to get out more. That my friend is a vibrator.

Second hand I heard the story of a woman who heard her two year old playing in the other room. He was quiet, and fascinated with something. The mama took advantage of those precious moments to get a few things done. Eventually, she realized she should peek in on him and make sure everything was okay. There he sat in all his cuteness fascinated by this vibrating, wondrous thing he had found in his mom's drawer. Enamored with its sleek design, it's squishy exterior. Look what I found mommy! He held it up with pride. After that the woman had to throw it out. Every time she saw her mechanical friend she had visions of her two year old smiling up at her as if he had found gold.

 Another friend told me a great one just the other day. Her wusband's dad came to pick up her daughter for an outing. The man had driven a few hours. He's a man that is buttoned up tight. He's a man that makes sure his creases are perfect. He's a man that never farts. He had driven a few hours to come get his granddaughter and he asked to use the bathroom. My friend had straightened the downstairs of her house in anticipation of his arrival, but hadn't worried about the upstairs where the bathroom was. Oh, well she thought, he'll just have to see the mess. She sent him up to the bathroom and continued to get her daughter ready for the trip. When wusband's dad returned downstairs he did not meet my friend's gaze, he was bustling around nervously trying to get his granddaughter out. My friend thought it was just the awkwardness of wusband's dad picking up daughter, a new thing.

After her daughter left for the weekend my friend went upstairs to get ready for her Friday night. As she reached the top of the stairs on the way to the bathroom she was distracted by a glint of silver coming from her bedroom. The light of her bedroom perfectly reflected off something silver laying on the black sheets of her rumpled bed. Her eyes zeroed in and she started laughing hysterically as she realized that her ex-father-in-law wouldn't meet her gaze because he realized that she had taken a mechanical lover. She is a woman who can take care of herself, wusband or not.

Approved for putting in the ear.
My absolute favorite story happened at a dinner party. Another single mama with two small girls. She had pulled together a fabulous dinner, there was wine and great conversation. The girls had been shuffled off to the mama's room to watch a movie. It was adult time, until the sweet youngest girl, toddled out to the table and said, "Mommy, sister keeps sticking this in my ear, and I don't like it." There she stood in her Dora p.j.s with ruffled hair holding up a vibrating wondrous thing. Ahhh, those kids say the darnedest things, and expose the damnedest things.

Stephan Jenkins, the lead singer of Third Eye Blind, said, "Sex is funny and love is serious." Where does that leave self-love and exploration? Somewhere in the middle, seriously funny, scarily scandalous, nicely necessary. If you haven't done it already, (you know who you are), go on girl and arrange a meeting with your vagina. I'm sure she'll be happy to make your acquaintance. Just make sure that when that mechanical snafu happens you share the hilarity and email me the story.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Letter to Myself

My therapist and I talked about anger last week. I used to have a friend that said if you don’t let anger out it will start coming out your neck. As in, it will come out in all sorts of strange ways. Maybe that’s what is happening to me. Why I cannot take care of myself. Why I can’t get back into meditating, can’t excerise, can’t quit smoking.

He suggested I write a letter to the ex. A letter I never send, you know those kinds of letters. The get scary honest ones. I added on to it and suggested adding my man to the list. My man that I’ve been on and off with for over a year. I called him my new passive aggression target. The funny thing is, when I started composing the letters in my head, the anger always came back to one person: me. The Queenpin. The head of this organization. The one who has made all decisions that have lead me to this point in my life. My good, sweet life, but a life that has had some serious heartache, and a little bit of struggle. My choices have gotten me on the path that I am on. The buck stops here baby, and sometimes that is fucking hard to take.

So I decided to write a letter to myself first before I wrote to anyone else. A letter of forgiveness and recognition. A letter to help me move forward. A letter to give myself a break, so maybe I can stop punishing myself passive aggressively and start honoring myself lovingly.  So here it is ladies and gentleman (there’s gotta be atleast one guy reading this blog) a letter to myself:

(Mother Mary's here as the most forgiving, patient mama I know. She's here to support me as I try to stop giving myself shit)

I forgive you girl, for always ignoring the signs, and choosing men that will cause you heartache,
I forgive you girl for treating your body less like a temple and more like a landfill,
I forgive you girl for making mistake, after mistake, after mistake,
I forgive you for being a human being,
I forgive you for being a spoiled, shrieking, banshee brat,
I forgive you for giving in, being a coward, not speaking up,
I forgive you for your dramatics,
I forgive your procrastination and disorganization, your never-ending need for chaos,
I forgive your imperfect mothering, your anger, your worry, your laziness,
I forgive you girl, I forgive you, I forgive you, I forgive you,

I love you girl for always getting back up and trying again,
I am amazed sweet girl, by your capacity to love, and your willingness to open your heart,
I respect you girl for making the best of things even when it looks, smells, and tastes like shit,
I honor you girl for doing your best, and admitting your mistakes,
I appreciate the creativity that explodes and flows into every crack of your life,
I see you loving your kids and doing your best, I see your fear, I see your faith, I see your fierce mama bear heart,
Be kind to yourself beautiful girl, courageous woman, searching soul

Rest, accept, appreciate, love, breathe,
Live this life, 
It is short, it is temporary, 
It is yours to do with as you wish.

The Queenpin

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Embrace Your Food Baby

A few weeks ago some friends and I got together and did an amazing thing, we let ourselves be photographed, and not just any old photos but photos of our bodies. That my goombas, is amazing. It is amazing is because many of the women I know do not like their bodies, or they have shame about something on their bodies. Or something on their bodies reminds them of something that makes them feel shame, so that most of the time they feel uncomfortable in their skin and miss out on the miracle that is carrying their soul around. By them, I mean me, by their bodies, I mean mine.

Body hatred makes me so overwhelmingly sad.  I ache for me and my ladies, and our beautiful bodies, that we treat like some second hand pair of high water kaki's we've been forced to wear for eternity. I have an acupuncture teacher who reminds his students constantly that you have to be careful with people's bodies, everyone has some kind of body hang up. We degrade, we obsess, we ignore. Yesterday I was thinking about this post and I imagined my body as a little girl. In my mind's eye I saw my little girl with a mass of bed head, a huge ole' rats nest. She looked like the classic movie example of a neglected child. Gray, sack dress, filthy face, hollow eyes. Then I thought about the times that I do pay attention to her and she looked like one of those poor babies on Toddlers and Tiaras. Stuffed into some uncomfortable dress, uncomfortable shoes, tight lipped smile. "See me," her eyes begged. My poor body.

When my ladies came over we were all nervous to get started. Not sure what we were doing, each one of us carefully stepped into the project. But as I knew would happen, once we began to share ideas and stories everyone loosened up and the dam burst. The miracle began. Creativity flowed, laughter rang through the house, and clothes were shed. Every time the camera clicked it fed our souls, each word written on flesh empowered us to look  at ourselves and rejoice a little. We opened ourselves up and were fed by each other's experience and love. It was truly a group project, each woman sharing equally, and receiving equally. Each woman embracing her body, and giving it a high five. Afterward one of the women posted on Facebook: Walked away with a little more swag! :~) more swing in my big hips, chest out even more, & no worries about the "extras" 'round the middle! Can You Handle ALL of This!!! ;~D  

Love yourself, rejoice in your beauty as it is now.

A special thanks so my friend Lisa, who photographed us and spent hours editing them with me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

If You're Gonna Grab Life by the Balls....

It was a moment of divine intervention. A moment when the words coming out of my mouth were not my own, but words of something with much more spiritual wisdom than I have. Savior Single Mama and I sat on her porch talking about LIFE. She was talking about all the shit going on in hers and by shit, I mean bullshit. At one point she stopped, with tears streaming down her face and said, "I mean, do I bring all of this drama in my life?" And then my mouth opened and this spiritual thought flew out, "If you're going to grab life by the balls, sometimes you're gonna get a little stinky taint." and then we cracked up laughing at the truth of it.

Drama Queens, maybe that is what we are, but I prefer to think of us as women who want to soak up the marrow of life. We are not women who aspire to be on reality t.v. We do not start ridiculous fights just to feel the adrenaline flow, we just want to live hard and laugh hard and love hard.

Sassy Single Mama is in that category too. It amazes me how three such similar women have found each other. We get each other. We let each other make our mistakes, and rejoice in the mistakes as well as the successes, because we know the good and the bad make our lives more juicy, more lived. And sometimes that is not pretty, but it's rich, and gooey and feels like it has a chocolate center. Mmmm-mmm.

So I'll say it again, and I encourage you to live it: If you're going to grab life by the balls, sometimes you're going to get a little stinky taint. It's okay go with it, you can always wash the stink off later.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I Love You Even as You Slice Away

Lately I've had some run-ins with addiction and let me tell you it is a shitty thing. Loving someone who is addicted is watching that person slice pieces off themselves until they are a pile of rotting slop. Addiction is the cruelest way to die. Addiction is the saddest way to live. There is nothing beautiful about someone filling their soul with poison, except that beautiful person. Addicts, they shine so bright for intense, beautiful, brief moments. The people who love addicts spend their lives chasing that bright spark like a crack high.

A person who loves an addict will pick through the carpet, flip over the couch, search the deepest recesses of the nastiest closet to find the addict's spark again. It is exhausting, yet, so exhilarating when you see it again. When the addict's light shines on you, it is like a glimpse of heaven. So it is always so shocking when the light fades and the addict quickly slides into hell, pulling on your ankles and screaming your name. What will you grab onto to keep you from falling into the depths? You better hope you still have yourself baby, (that addict will snort that up his nose too) because that's all you've got. That and the Buddhas are the only things keeping you out of hell.

I talked to three people this week who love addicts. The Queenpin's got a few she loves too. All of us, the addict lovers, we love them fiercely, we love them deeply, we have had the light shine on us, and like good little crackheads we are waiting for it to shine on us again. Or some of us are done. We have been burned so many times by the light,  our fingers sore from mantras, our arms aching from having to grab onto ourselves and not be dragged into the depth of hell. Again. We free ourselves from the grip.

But the addict lovers, we watch, we see them there over in the corner bleeding and bruised. Even though we hide our eyes, we peek and see the flash of silver, hear the flesh fall as the addict continues to slice. A little piece here, a little piece there. No more flesh, only bone. No more bone, only guts. And with all the strength of an Amazon this one time, we refuse to pick up the pieces. We realize that even the most colorful duct tape can't help this time. Humpty Dumpty was an addict. Didn't you know? The King knew.

I know lots of amazing people who have overcome addiction. They put themselves back together slowly piece by piece. After awhile their scars barely show. And they shine with a wisdom of someone who has kissed the lips of hell and lived to tell the tale. I love them deeply, fiercely, and without fear.  I do not walk away, and I rejoice in their light.

However, being with them is bittersweet because I see the promise of what could be for my addicted loves. Sober addicts are like Barbies that survived years of abuse by a twisted child. Their head had been shaved, their bodies positions so many ways the metal rods popped out of their knees, their clothes Sharpied up. Yet they somehow regrew that synthetic hair, put some New Skin on their knees, and found a mighty nice duct tape suit.

Sober addicts survived and then they thrived, but not everyone can recover from something like that. And that brutal truth kicks my ovaries in and scares me worse than zombies. It also makes me so sad I cannot express it, and that is saying a lot for a woman who likes to express things as much as I do.

So here the Queenpin sits. Eyes covered watching the razor slice, and waiting. Hoping and praying  the addicts I love to find some duct tape to tape those slivers back on. Hoping I have a strong enough sense of self to hold myself up out of hell. Hoping Sober Barbie and Ken will share their magic pixie dust, scored from Tinker Bell, that when snorted up, makes you well.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

School Daze

On Monday morning I sat with two mamas and had coffee. To an onlooker there were three shell shocked ladies sitting at a table, eyes wide and bewildered, how did we get here?
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We had just dropped our kids off for their first day of school. We all had different reasons for our shocked expressions. Sassy Single Mama's preschooler had clung to her at the door screaming and crying as if she was sending him of to be eaten by lions (actually he might have been more excited by that). 

My neighbor We Can Do It Mama (she reminds me of that WWI poster with Rosie the Riveter), had put her son on a bus before the sun rose, and walked her two beautiful girls down to our neighborhood school. On the way one begged to be home schooled and the other's steps became as heavy as lead. The pictures We Can Do It Mama took will forever show her 5 year old staring into the camera, her eyes screaming, "Mama, why?????" her face pulled down in sorrow as if she was being shipped overseas to live with some random relative that was going to teach her Victorian etiquette. 

My two beasties actually went in excited, quick hug, quick kiss, "Bye Mama". But for me, it was the first time in years that they would be in school without me, their Queenpin, teaching just a few doors away. 

The mamas talked for a bit, we shared our getting ready for school stories, we talked about other random stuff and then we went our separate ways to digest what we had just done. There was a part of each of us that was ready to get those kids out of the house, back into school, a schedule, a routine. But then there is that mama bear part, the primal instinct that wants to keep our cubs in our caves forever so we can eat anyone who so much as looks as them funny. 

I remember the life I had separate of my parents and it was huge. Each year it grew into something larger. When I was younger I remember the life I had outside of being my parents' child as magical and beautiful and sometimes scary. Especially when I was a teenager. My life was filled with emotion and passion for life (can you say drama queen?), it was full of stories and heartaches. It was filled with me coming into myself. That is something I could only do independent of my folks. They shaped me, they guided me, but in the end, I went out into that life and made it my own. 

Seven hours a day, five days a week of making their own lives, completely independent of me that's what my beasties have. It scares the shit out of me, and makes me excited for them. The opportunity to make mistakes and solve problems on their own. The pain of embarrassment. The sweetness and bitterness of 'liking' someone in your class. The thrill of being out from under who your mama thinks you are, and trying on different identities. What will fit for my beasties? Who will they decide they will be?  

This week I have loved curling up in bed with the beasties at bedtime and hearing their stories of the day. I love hearing about little beast's constant battle with the boy who may spit in her face at any minute. She tries to deal with him with compassion and a firm hand. I love that my boy tells me about his successes in math, but also that he shared his reward candy with a new candy-less friend who hadn't turned in his homework. There are thousands of moments I don't hear about too, and those moments are shaping the beasts for better or for worse.

I have seen both Sassy Single Mama and We Can Do It Mama this week and their eyes have returned to normal size. They are getting into the groove just like me. Their children are adjusting to being in school and are filled with their own stories of how they face the day. We are telling our mama bear selves that our little ones are okay out of the cave. We are trying to remind ourselves that we have given them the hearts, the claws, the teeth, and the imaginations to build lives of their own. And we have proven to our cubs that mama bear will always be back at the cave with the fire burning, the food cooking, the hugs ready, and an ass kicking for anyone who fucks with our brood. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Letter to my Beasties

I have received some interesting feedback since my last post, and I even thought about taking it down, but  I won't because....well, I think its because I'm stubborn. My mom texted me the day after to see if I about to flip over the edge and I said, "No, I'm fine, I've written about it and now I"m over it." That is the way this Queenpin is, it is the way my dad was. I feel intense pain, I spew, I move on, everyone else is left to clean the spew off themselves. It's a shitty way to be. I'm working on it.

The people most affected by this spew won't read it for years. They are my beasties, and someday they may read it, and they may wonder, like you, how could she even write that for people to read? So here it is, a letter to my little ones.

Dear Beasties,

I love you. I love having you in my life, and I am so grateful for the gift of motherhood that somedays I feel my heart could burst with it.

Beastie boy, I love your quiet way, your freckled nose, and sweet smile, I even love your dramatic bursts of anger and frustration. I love your hand in mine and the way you punch me lightly in the butt to tell me you love me. I love how your brain works, boy, how you see things differently than me. I am amazed by your ability to build and see detail. So unlike your mama it makes us laugh.  Your strong will amazes me because it is quiet and firm, I often don't see it coming until I run into it like an invisible wall and many times I end up laughing out of surprise. My quiet boy with a will of steel, you are delicious.

Beastie girl I love your sassiness, your amazing intuition, and those beautiful brown eyes full of mischief. I love the way your body curls around mine when I pick you up. I love how one eyebrow curls up and one curls down because that is so much like you, hot and cold baby girl. I love that you sing like your mama and wear spiderman capes. Little girl, you too have a will of steel, a loud, brassy, chutzpah kind of spirit, a spirit that could intimidate a lion, but a sweet soul that needs to curl up on me for sweet snuggles. My luscious, dramatic baby girl.

Boy and girl, my little beasts, I look at both of you and cannot believe that my body carried and created such beautiful, fiery creatures. It is rare that a day goes by that I do not feel so grateful for you and what you bring to my life. Last night before each of you went to bed I buried my face into your sweet hair and inhaled you like a cocaine addict. Sniffing up your essence to feed my tired mama self. So it seems I need you too. I am addicted to my love for you.

Someday you may read the post that I wrote last week about how I hate motherhood, and it may break your heart that your mama ever felt that way, but I need you to know that moments like that are fleeting and the love I feel for you is constant and real. The responsibility of raising you is daunting to me. The fact that I hold your sweet life in my hands scares the hell out of me, and sometimes I crack under the pressure.

If you ever become a parent there will be moments you look at your life and think, "Holy shit, how did I get here? And who are those small people trashing my house?" and you might think, "I hate this." It's okay, my Beasties, I promise, because then the clouds will clear and you will recognize those small people as the children you love and you will think, "Ah, I know how I got here, I chose this crazy life."  This is a good point to stop what you're doing, put on Otis Redding and dance in the kitchen with your own little beasties.

Dear Beasties, I have already screwed you up. There is no way around it. I don't mean to, but nobody leaves childhood unscathed. You can blame me for awhile for any and all suffering in your life, but then I hope you choose to move on and make your own life and to make it happy. In the end it is up to you, you'll have to learn to smile and shrug your shoulders at your crazy Queenpin Mama and be grateful when you get to home to your own house.

This letter is my apology to you for mama-ing you in such an imperfect way. You each came into this life a whole perfect person and then you got dealt cards that involved a Sassy Queenpin as your mama who can't help but make mistake after mistake. Even though motherhood kicks my ass all the time, I love you fiercely, madly, and worst of all humanly. I will always love you, but I won't always like it. You will always love me, but you won't always like it. We are a family, intertwined, yet each trying to carve out our piece of life's pie. Whether it is cherry, blueberry, or spinach, I am so grateful, little Beasts, that you are the ingredients that bring my life together and give it flavor.

Love your,
Sassy Queenpin Mama

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If You Love Being A Mother Skip This Post

I'm not sure I'm cut out for this motherhood thing. Actually at this moment I'm sure of it. I do not want to be a mother. I fucking hate it. Tonight I came home and moaned. I cried and my heart felt like it was breaking again. That red ole sack of muscle and blood was being split down the middle by my fierce love for my beasts and my fierce love of me. I'm sure that fierce love of me is called Ego. Ego is a spoiled rotten teenage girl; moody, needy and never full, always pulling at you and wanting more.

These past few weeks I have have genuine moments of me-ness, and I like it. I like working at a job that does not involve one kid thing. I love driving in my car by myself, smoking, and listening to whatever the hell I want. I love that I had time to go to a concert with friends, on a date this week, and then to a movie that didn't involve fart jokes. I have studied, I have napped. I have had time to kill. I have flirted and laughed and I have been a shitty mother. I have dreaded almost every moment spent with my children and I have counted the seconds until I am free again.

I do not want to hear that the years rush by. That their childhood will be over quicker than I can imagine. Save that spiel for some mama with no Ego to feed. Tonight I just want to hate mamahood. I want to be able act like the beasties' dad who can take parenting or leave it at his will. Don't want to parent tonight? Okay, fuck it. I'll pass that job off to someone else. How delicious would that be? Take it or leave it parenting. Tonight I would leave it. Tonight I would drink too much, smoke to much, and curl up in a man's bed. I would talk loud, cuss like a sailor, and drink wine on the porch with my ladies. Tonight I would choose to feed that black hole of my Ego. She is fun to feed, until I realize that my self-absorption is hurting others. Then the Ego screams and throws a tantrum as I try to trim a little off the top and get back to focusing on the beasties. That teenage girl of an Ego can throw a tantrum like you've never seen. She is a glass breaker a, soul shatterer. She's a fifteen year old Mike Tyson in heals and cheap makeup.

It is when I have long breaks from my beasties that I have the hardest time mothering. I get a taste of freedom from car seats and whining and neediness and I don't want to return to it. I have to force myself to return to my mothering self, to not get in the car and keep driving to a place where no one knows me as mommy.

It is now the morning after the Ego tantrum. The beasties are with my mom. I will go to work and return to them tonight and I will be a good mother. I will settle into it, I always do. It just takes a few moments/hours. I look at those little beasts and my heart slowly melts with love, and gratitude. At first mothering will seem like a chore and all I will want to do is run away, but then there will be a sneaky smile from a beast. A sweet hug. A little giggle. I will wake up from my Ego induced trance and remember my name; mommy. I will mediate the fights,  clean up the messes, and remember to soak these beasts up. I will feel in my bones that they won't be young forever. Soon they will not want to curl up in my lap, kiss my lips, put their sweet little hand in mine.

That's the thing about beasties. They are sneaky strong. They take their little dirty fingers and wipe the cheap makeup off the Ego. They use kisses to tame the beast. They hold down that disillusioned tantrum throwing Mike Tyson Ego until he taps out and snorts laughing at their sweet tickles. They take the car keys and put them away until they're sure you won't run away to Mexico with a man named Giuseppe. Then they give the keys back and beg for you to take them for ice cream.