Sunday, September 16, 2007

Life of Incredible Succulence

I am absolutely in love with the word succulence. Thank you Nia Mclean for bringing it into my life as a requirement of personal description.

I have been up for 30 minutes on an early Sunday morning with songs in my heart. I find when those are there, I must write them down. The songs don't come every day, and I encourage you all to write down your songs as well. The world needs them.

I'm reading this book called Succulent Wild Women and the way this woman writes, half stream of consciousness and half purposeful reflection, inspires in me a way of being I often leave in a corner.

Ya'll I'm about to be as honest as I can be. I am going to write down all the worst and best things about myself I can identify as a way of releasing them into the world, not letting them be locked inside of me. This comes neither from narcissism nor horrible self-esteem. It comes from an acknowledgement that everything in me touches on beauty and it is okay. It is actually okay for you too, everything in you touches on beauty as well, love. Allow yourself to touch and be touched, and yes that sounds dirty, but I love that I don't care.

Some of the things that I think are the worst: I can't help but loving to talk everything out, sometimes, you leave well enough alone, and I can't. I have very little self-restraint. That last cookie, I eat it; that phone call to the him you shouldn't make, I make it; the snooze button, I push it. That being said, I am self-indulgent (which maybe does make this narcissistic). I allow being a survivor to hurt for at least 10 hours in each day and I don't know how to stop. I am at once too emotional and not emotional enough. I do not allow myself to carry the full cycle of emotion, I stop it just in time to feel sorry for myself. When I pass gas, its a horrendous unladylike smell and I don't always own that it comes from me. I am utterly human with no ability for perfection, though I am a perfectionist, just so I can criticize myself. I am a slob and really have to put an effort into making sure that I don't just drop every article of clothing right where I undress. I want a bigger world than my family has known, and I want it at least 10 hours out of every day. I wallow with judgment, so as were most people could wallow and then get over it, I wallow and judge myself the entire time. The division of the two lets me victimize myself a little too much. I'm a huge fan of baths I never take. I will go entire days having eaten once because I am too self-important to make room for food. As much as I've been through I still take unnecessary risks to prove that I am independent. I own books I do not finish. I think I know it all. I don't let myself get angry. I love dancing and exercising but I get too lazy to go and do it everyday.

Now I challenge myself to make the next list just as long.

Here are some of the best:
I think the world is sooo beautiful sometimes, I will celebrate it in my room alone. The celebration is a better dance party than you find in most clubs and I need no one but myself to have it. I am a true friend. When other people find good fortune I genuinely do not feel it makes me less than, I get so proud, so as not to seem silly, I'll go to the bathroom and shed tears of joy. They are my tears, I shed them privately and they are full of beauty. My eyes are magically trained to give empathy. I can look at a child or an adult and have a pretty good instinct of where the hurt comes from. I know people. On very good days I radiate light. I bring community into the world and allow people to remember the root of family. I truly accept and encourage imperfection in others. I wear perfume on my wrist so that I can sniff it at any time in the day and love that I smell good. I wear perfume on the nape of my neck as much for myself as for anyone who may hug me. I love to comfort. I am a great hugger, I give embraces full of life, warmth and tenderness. I love to learn. I read as much as I can. I love to sleep. Good sleep is my favorite thing in the entire world. When I kiss, I nibble, as if tasting my partners lips is the most delicious thing I can think of doing in that very moment... because it is. I'm feisty. I am as much of a girls girl as a guys girl. I do not feel intimidated by good women, I revel in them and encourage their brilliance and succulence. I respect the male heart, its genuineness, its difference from the female heart. I truly love in men how well intentioned they can be in their want for adventure, to protect, to rescue, and even to conquer. I sing at the top of my lungs no matter who is in the car. When I sing, I put my heart into my voice, not because I try but because my heart is so big, it has to find other ways of jumping into the world. I dress up for myself, because I love watching the end product for me. I love to cook, and I cook wonderfully. I bring flavor into the world.

Main Entry: 1 suc·cu·lent
Pronunciation: -l&nt
Function: adjective
1 a : full of juice : JUICY b : moist and tasty : TOOTHSOME a succulent meal; of a plant : having fleshy tissues that conserve moisture
2 : rich in interest

Give yourself love today. (I say this as much for myself as I say it for you)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Oh Dad...

I was in my parents home for about 36 hours this last weekend. A home that is as familiar to me and as foreign to me as any place can possibly be. My parent’s home has gone through refurbishment ya’ll and its beautiful to see. I look at how proud my mom is showing me all the new pieces; the wood floors, the new mats on each wooden step, the virtually new kitchen. I believe she has repeated to me the decision for each piece, the rationale behind the purchase and the path to the purchase at least 3 or 4 times per piece. I can absolutely count on certain other stories from my mom too. I know that in stepping into the house I will hear of how loyal our dog Tyson is and he follows her everywhere, how my father has acquired a new cat (the newest one is called Leonel for anyone keeping track), I’ll hear about how hard of a worker my brother is and most definitely I will hear about how my grandmother nags her all the time.

And as the stories have become staples, the conversations with my father have become more and more sparse. We acknowledge each others presence. I give him a hug, ask him how he is, he grunts some response and goes back to watching television.

Its been particularly cold as of late because since my assault in April, he has yet to ask me how I am doing. Not a one time has he inquired into how I am doing. I wait for phone calls that never come and am naively hopeful every time that I speak to my mother that he will at least ask a question through her – but he doesn’t.

I try not to put my mom in the middle of our beef, its not fair, but she is naturally concerned that her life partner and their progeny do not communicate. In this last trip, my mom let me know that he was mad at me, because I hadn’t called him since April. She says this and my mouth drops “What? Are you kidding me mom?” I feel the wave of sadness wash over me. “Mija, he says that you don’t call him and ask him how he’s doing.” I breathe, not letting the tears prickling my eyes go any further, these tears are unfair to my mother. How do I say this “Mama, I was sexually assaulted and he hasn’t once asked if I’m okay. Not once since. And he’s mad at me because I don’t call him to see how he’s doing?” “I know mija. I’m so sorry. I try to tell him. He just shuts down.” And I watch as tears fill her eyes, because she can’t give me the one thing I want, comfort from my father. “Don’t mama, its not your responsibility, this is me and Dad’s love to figure out.” I smile and tell her that I love her and that I love him. I know he isn’t a bad person, it just hurts.

Knowing this new nugget of information, I swallow my pride and go to him. I say hello daddy, how are you daddy, can I get you anything daddy. And there he sits, unmoving, years of hurt stapling him to a couch with his eyes trained on a television. He makes minimal conversation back and turns coldly back to his one true friend, a screen that doesn’t talk back. It is pain so mutually deep, over years of distance that I can feel it pierce me. I go to the bathroom and grip the sink, shedding the tears that are also familiar to this home. “Let it go,” I tell myself, “He just doesn’t know how to be the adult.”

When dinner comes, he elects to watch TV by himself in his room while the rest of the family sits around the dinner table. And I force myself to not be hurt. But its deep ya’ll. With my dad, it’s not even the stuff he says that hurts as much as what he doesn’t say but puts in a room.

My dad’s always been the kid in our relationship. His responses when approached in conversation are always the kind of responses that you would expect to get from a sullen teenager. I don’t say this disrespectfully, just factually. It’s always about how he was hurt, why he doesn’t care, why the other person is in the wrong. There is no self reflection, no ownership over his role. And for awhile, this was just hard. I wanted to be the teenager. I wanted to be the kid and it was a role that I never had. Not as a kid, definitely not as an adult.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not ungrateful for the father I have. He came home every day, he put food on the table, he never lifted a hand to my mother and he hugged us. This is more than many can say and I do not take that in vein. It’s just for a long time I needed my dad in ways he couldn’t give to me. I craved a father that would emotionally comfort me and tell me I was his little girl. But I think I’m past that age. It’s not really about needing him anymore. It’s about wanting him. I actively want him to be a part of my life. I think about it constantly throughout the day. I want to know him and exchange friendship with him the way my brother does.

I decided recently to go to Guatemala with my father. My father’s homeland and the place that contains the history that created my father into his current incarnation.

Going to Guatemala is another attempt and to some extents my last to get to know my father at another level.

I’m surprised that it doesn’t hurt more to write this. I would think that it would be painful knowing the last respites of my energy in this particular subject have a timeline. There is finality to it that I really hope I stick to. It helps me breathe through it a little more. I have spent the better part of my adult life dealing with daddy issues. You know, there comes a time when you have to say “fuck it”. I refuse to spend my life crawling to a father figure that has no desire to know me. I can’t keep waiting for him to want to open a space for me. He loves me, that is enough. Liking me is not an obligation that I have to lay out like a grand golden hoop. It’s unfair in a way. But Lord do I ever pray for joy on that trip. If not joy, peace. And if not peace, more reasons to hope.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Homage to Bobby

Tonight, as I struggle to get a few hours of sleep before a big flight, I'm restless because I can't stop thinking about Bobby.

You see, in high school, I had this amazing group of friends. Our history teacher dubbed us the brat pack, and a brat pack we were. We were this bizarre collection of random ass people. It was me and Michelle (the former yet still attached to the ghetto, latina girls), Eric (our fearless, yet at the time closeted ring leader), Ricky (our resident videographer), Miley (our actress and eccentric), Valerie (our athletic wonder girl), and Arron (our dumb blonde and resident white girl, and I say this only because she would beat me to the punch).

Now each of us came from INCREDIBLY different life circumstances, I mean we should have essentially never been friends. Except we all reveled in our differences, hated high school dramatics, and ultimately loved each other dearly. Our families loved each other too. They invited us all over, spoke to each other at big events and from time to time broke bread together.

We were a community. And because of each other we survived. As adults, though we don't maintain as close contact, we all just need to be in the same room together to really laugh and let go.

Today, I found out that one of our mothers, Arron's mom, Bobby passed away.

I think I spent hours in shock today. I cannot imagine how Arron is feeling. I want to be able to grab her and hug her and let her know that she has family everywhere.

Bobby was without a doubt one of the coolest mom's I have ever met. She was one of those mom's that you could be totally and completely unfiltered with and she would still look at you like she was proud. She gave us all love. I mean huge quantities of it. She carted us around in her car, let us hang out in her living room being obnoxious teenagers. And on random nights of teenage sleepovers, she knew how to balance being a member of the group and being a parent that would let her kids have space. She had the greatest sense of humor and not in that cliche "she was so funny" kinda way. In the, when you were around her you couldn't help but give a full throaty, clutch my belly cause it hurts laugh.

As an adult, I realize now more than ever, how difficult some times in our childhood were for Bobby. So many countless moments that I can reflect on her baring down and trudging through. Yet as kids, we never knew, she never told us. She always had a smile on her face and let us be kids. Which is more than many adults in our lives afforded us.

I have this memory that I've been thinking about all day. I had spent the night at Air's house, Air was in the shower. I was sitting on Arron's bed listening to some awful pop music and Bobby comes in the room. We start chatting and randomly she says to me "Ya'll are such beautiful girls." I laughed it off, really not able to accept compliments that heartfelt at that stage in my life. And she stopped me, she pointed to the bathroom door and said "My girl, she's amazing, I mean crazy and a loon, but she's amazing. And ya'll love so much. I can't wait for ya'll to see. You are both such beautiful girls." It was the first time anyone besides my mom called me beautiful. And I felt it. I felt how much she meant it. I felt it from the top of my awkward teen head to the tip of my toes. I remember blushing and her saying "Oh don't be such a goober, you'll get it some day."

So that's the Bobby I remember, brash, ballsy and fantastic. The first parent I knew who got how important it was to be a kid, a raving lunatic, a girly girl, and a ballsy mo fo from time to time.

Thank you for loving us Bobby. For showing us that it was okay to mess up and start over again. For encouraging us to collect as many mistakes as successes. For unconditionally loving Air enough for two parents. Even from years away, I see the impact that you made on lives. I hope that where ever you are, you are having much peace and a good laugh.

All my love,

The one formerly in pig tails