Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Asking Alice

In an effort to never repeat the start of my Monday, I dragged myself up a half hour earlier. And although the Queen must surely have a sensor on the throne because she also made use of the amenities immediately after me - she did toddle back to her bedchambers leaving me unseen and unscathed. Barring the minor altercation with the vacuum cleaner (when things that suck meet in the dark - who puts a vacuum right by the basement door?) I was able to make it to work without sobbing uncontrollably. The day is not over, however.  
So today my brain is firing off in many directions - since I allowed myself the guilty pleasure of a diatribe yesterday and now I simply must discuss some random factoid interesting only to me and a few of the personalities residing in my brain pan. (I'm a writer. My moods are named and have their own backstories) 
I watched this youtube bit about Lewis Carroll this Saturday - again because when one's brain is flinging itself against an eyeball and no amount of Excedrin will curb the pain - youtube is a safe distraction. I find it wrenchingly sad that another bit of my childhood has been exhumed and the grisly bits of human-ness have been put on display. We humans are so adept at vilification and turning the sacred profane. We revel in it like a dog revels in a fresh bovine dropping. What purpose does it serve to assume that a man over a century gone from this orb was a latent pedophile and that the legacy he left on paper is a series of exclamation points and underlines to illuminate this assumed truth? As if every soul who creates must also carry some form of evil that will inevitably bleed on to the creator's preferred medium? And we, the jury must, therefore, magnify that evil until it eclipses all the light in the room. 
Alas, that which has been seen can now not be unseen and yes, the argument that Victorian society held different values for acceptable photographs of children does little to diminish the pall- the egg-washed sepia image of Alice's possible elder sibling casts on my sunny girl heart. 
I fear I am forever consigned now to contemplate that Cheshire smile as no longer mirthsome but malevolent as another fantastical childhood sanctuary succumbs to the black hole that is adulthood. We simply cannot leave flitting dreams alone. We must pluck them until they writhe flightless and exposed to the elements - until those that survive sprout fangs and scales and consume us while we sleep.
There is this attempt by those who steward the effects of the brilliant but mad - the sanitizing of a soul - redacting of documents - pages cut from Carroll's journals - because we superimpose our own moral compass over the truth at any given point in time. Perhaps I will never be studied after passing from this planet because although I am occasionally creative I'm never brilliant - but I've left enough of myself and my rabid discourse scattered on the bandwidth there will be no need to scour my ramblings. And I suppose that is a good thing.  

Monday, November 13, 2017

She who inhabits the throne room

I'm sure you've seen it. Those lovely autumnal themed, sun-dappled shots of well-coiffed, pantsuited boomers, toned arms lovingly draped over a diminutive, smiling senior engaging in some banality all set to ambient music? Cut to some denizen of sitcoms past - also well-coiffed, regurgitating some misty-eyed vignette about "doing the right thing, when we noticed grandpa couldn't recite Pi to the 25th decimal anymore." 
Right. The truth is more like this: 
6:01 and shame on me for not bolting upright immediately upon the 6:00 buzzer because "click" there went the door of the only throne room in the castle. I've only been working daily since April of 2016, right? Why would I need to visit the throne room prior to my daily ablution - which I already engage in in the dungeon to free up said precious space in the only throne room.? 
6:10 - the queen shuffles out - fully dressed and mumbling upon seeing me that I can have it now whatever it is - perhaps there is a present in the throne room? 
6:11 - the queen is firmly planted in the small space where the exit of the castle, the great cookstove and entrance to the dungeon all conjoin and I - now requiring NO coffee cannot refrain from asking about the assorted oddities spread in front of the queen (whom I must VAULT to access the place of ablution in the dungeon) -ponder an empty toothpaste box, wadded tissue, a piece of floss, pills, pencils and torn scraps of paper bearing glyphs...
ME: "you're up early...again." 
Queen: "well I have to make my list and my **** itches..." (insert gesticulations here)
Me - "so what are you doing today that makes you get up at six"
Queen "Well my dentist needs to know and then I have to get your husband to get all my pills down" 
Me: "Your dentist does not need to know that your **** itches - and what time is your appointment?"
Queen: "11:30 (the rest of the sentence edited to fit the allotment of time at hand) 
Me: "That is five hours from now. What time do I need to get up in the morning? if you are going to get up at six I don't want to be out here when you are in the way." 
Queen: "Oh, you aren't in my way I just go sit in the living room." 
6:36 - I'm in the car, babbling to God and crying off the eyeliner, again because in the battle of dementia versus "oh LORD I just want to be able to get up and get ready for work unbarraged" I have again failed....miserably. The husband will incur fallout. I'll text him when I get to my desk.
It's lunchtime now and my simple need of "45 minutes of uninterrupted time to get ready for work" has resulted in chagrin for said husband who was informed of our polite predawn convo - the Queen and I and of course I want to disown her oh and BTW - husband who shuttled the queen to her dental appointment was told said appointment was at 11. Queen told me 11:30. And this is a normal day....But it's not the Queen. It's the disease. And that is the most difficult thing to comprehend - especially on Monday morning when I am late for work because the Queen spent ten minutes in the throne room procuring floss and empty toothpaste boxes in preparation for a dental visit as is her right as Queen. There is no logic. And some days I struggle with that more than others. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hand me a fork, will you?

It’s been awhile. It may be another while after this post. Hard to tell. Life is messy and complex and full of moments of uberadulting and it’s been this way for years. I can’t tell you why I stopped blogging regularly. I guess I just got tired of the same old same old. It was enough to live the bull excrement. Talking about it just added a maggoty layer I couldn’t stomach any more.
That being said, I was rabidly composing a guest spot for my associate at Rad Writing and I realized – I miss blogging. I miss the mulling, the snarkfest, and the idiocy that meanders from brain to cyberspace. I remember over a decade ago when I posted my first entry on Y360. I wanted to develop this persona, you know. The multifaceted, enigmatic, tragic poetess. Yup. It lasted about five posts and then I launched into some inane tirade about something as mundane as soap scum tub rings and viola. I never looked back. Except for now.
So here I am. There are so many things on my mind of which I could blather incessantly – from the fact that once again two of my family members are gorging their lousey hides on take out pizza whilst I had to choke down quinoa and veggies because well….two hundred pounds is mortifying. Or perhaps the fact that I’ve been here two years now on the third coast and my career is officially in retrograde. Then there’s the mother in law with Alzheimers, the interminable  facebook firestorms about our POTUS, (tis like the great red spot on  Saturn. It’s always there, the way cool book I’m editing (wait, I’d need permission for that) or the simple fact that my husband is sitting less than a foot away from me, flipping through Youtube while stretched out on the bed because the only spot I have in the house is in the bedroom near the wifi box where my PC resides – you see, when we gave up our home to come live with the MIL – my “office” is now a desk sized spot at the foot of the bed, and our old livingroom TV is mounted right above it. There is no peace, no privacy, no opportunity for a clear thought – so they are jammed in like so much debris right behind my eyeballs.
So I guess I’ll just rattle about the last thing – besides the iphone scrollin’ jazz listenin husband harshing my immediate attempt at creative – the MIL and take out pizza. I work all day – I’ll refrain from details, but the MIL has been doing things the way she does things since before I was an egg and so immediately upon me getting home (oh yeah – I’m the only one working right now, because the MIL is approaching full time maintenance) we must all sit at the table and eat, and engage in pleasantries about the weather, and how good my bowl of gruel is, and we must all sit politely until everyone is finished eating. Have you ever seen the video of the porcupine eating a pumpkin? Google it please. I fear I cannot say anything else or I will devolve into a stream of Spanglish expletives. She’s a social butterfly. I’m a blood sucking arachnid. Caca pasa. So add pizza to the mix and it’s a lifesaver for my husband that the gruel requires a spoon because forks are sharp and eyeballs are soft.  I must stop. Suffice it to say – dinner is problematic, and since we do it every single day there is ample opportunity for me to wish I had a roll of duct tape and a flamethrower.

And so it will probably go. I love my family. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. But what used to keep me sane was blogging about the whole mess of ‘em. So what if my content is no more lofty than Cheetos and cornflakes. Perhaps the flavor will be familiar to you. Maybe you’ll find comfort. Maybe you’ll send a box of forks my way. Peace.  I think I need to pummel the husband with the remote now. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Of Chicken Necks and Sugar Snow

I saw it today. Stark aberration in my periphery. Flaccid and pale it was, like wan chicken fat under plucked skin. It blotted everything in the rear view mirror, jolting my reverie of quit snow dancing across the road, resting on quilted cover lawns and frosting happy trees with dollops of white on spruce. So many distractions in the metal box, the meandered chatter punctuated with hiccup sighs and upended sentences. Now this…my neck in all its grisly middle aged wattling display. Like roadkill on a scenic Sunday drive. I’m mortified.
Wrenched from my tenure of “office know it all” or at least “figure it on the fly” chick in the high desert to this lakeside time warp, this place of gravy and pitched roofs, I’m totally off my jalapeno. Gone are the adobes and red or green breakfast plates to be replaced by the Sunday tradition of one hour with the silvers and breakfast with Bob – Bob Evans that is. Amazing how rote runs a brain. An epistle, the gospel, a homily and polite pew sharing with communion wrap up – it took a full minute for anyone to register  that one of our seasoned pieces of lumber was not slumbering but without breath altogether… and still so many went forward for the cup and the wafer in routine obedience.
Margaret asked me later “is he still gurglin’?” as though slumped over parishoners in a diabetic episode are commonplace, and sometimes a body leaves with an EMT escort. (He’s ok. At least that’s what we were told)
I keep looking out the bedroom window, the cascading sugary stuff glazing the scene framed by mauve curtains and punctuated by the few stoic sparrows too resolute or stupid to fly south to green paradise. I’m grooveless unpressed vinyl still waiting for the imprint of music. A rhythm above the chatter both inside my head and outside.
I’m a quiet creature - at least I crave the solitude and peace and I am diametrically opposed therefore to the queen of this house who savors light and movement and the noise of constant conversation. She’s been more than kind to open her home to us and I’m sure it’s difficult to have scuttling creatures in your home who prefer the sunless corners, the basement, the predawn holy places where nothing moves except the snow before the plow to the endless drone of voices. She’s flown solo in this house for nine years. Now it’s full of people who make no noise, no decibel print and it must be irksome to her.
I try to compromise, to curb my urge to run from the meal table and kill the myriad things that wait in my personal life. The bills, the bank issues – who knew our financial institution was unrepresented in this chile-less place? Who knew everything cost twice as much as it does way out west? Who knew unemployment insurance does not ensure a survivable wage?  All the tiny things I hold at bay until I can sit no longer. Patience. I lack it. I can learn to compromise, but I cannot quell completely who I am. It has been that attempt over the last decade to stifle what is inside that has made me itchy and twitchy and bitchy now. That and that damnable wattling neck.  Yes, I’m stripped of all I was when I was what I was in the middle of the high desert and now the only thing left is the stuff simmering in my head…


Friday, July 31, 2015

This Will Only Take a Moment

Here I marinate in my miasma, on the slimy cusp of a six week long work induced brain numbing frenzy - in those doldrums before the excrement commences again....As much as I'm grateful to be employed and respectful of my cobeleaguered  office mates I'm beyond ready for a change....

Ever since I said "I do", signed a mortgage, and committed to parenthood I've attempted to be responsible, but I've reached the realization that all work and no play makes Tam a sad panda. I've naught to show for all my "sit stay, good dog" mindset but a dancing plethora of situational chaos. While I'm certainly not planning to strip naked and finger paint unicorns on my sidewalk in a furor of self expression, I am beginning the excruciating process of "personal boundary enforcement" My attempt to be all things to all those in authority has only served to nullify the me in me.  It stops now. 

I've heard wise counsel admonish that no one is as passionate about your dreams as you. Truth is, if you aren't focused on your own dreams - you'll be enlisted to assist someone else with his or hers. I am so weary of promoting the visions of others to the extent that there is no room left for the whispered longings of my own little soul. I am a wife, a mother, a worker, a worshiper, but I am also a writer. If saying yes to who I am means saying now to the whims of someone else then so be it. We only get one go round on this cobalt orb and my clock is ticking. I still love you. Even if I must say "NO" to you. If you love me, you will attempt to understand. 

I took a stroll by a site called "livejournal" this morning. I've had an account there since the days of y360. My plan was to purge it since I hadn't posted anything since 2012. I started reading a few entries and while no one else would find the words meaningful, the posts reminded me how much I used to enjoy blogging and writing about nothing in particular. I remember a few years back when I was fearless about speaking my mind regarding the topic of the day. When I wouldn't have hesitated to pose a query to the masses along the lines of  "we brandish a noose and cry foul over the demise of a collared alpha predator but butcherers of our own human offspring are so quickly forgotten, why?" I find the slaughter of any of "God's creatures" horrific but it is even more disturbing to me that we humans would commence to destroying the life of one of our own over a lion, and monsters like Kermit Gosnell and Synthia Varela-Casaus still breathe...Yes. I used to speak out for little humans, and the big stupid humans at times as well. 

I don't mean to minimize the death of Cecil the lion, but I do hope those pitchfork weildin' types would target the source instead of the symptom. Social media outrage possibly closed a dental practice, cost peeps jobs and wrecked a man's life but poaching in Zimbabwe is alive and well and will remain so long after the little stuffed animals and flowers have been removed from Palmer's office doorstep. Directed rage is a powerful thing. Directed love, even more so. 

I am a writer. I love writing - and I am returning to it. Peace. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Secret Life of Banhees

The day broke early with the plaintive bleating of the neighbors goats as I disentangled myself from the nest of perpetually untucked sheets. I found the younger spawn already engaged in an epic online battle, headset cocked, cat on lap and the world on ignore. If only it were that easy to shut this life out.
I’ve already showered, started the laundry, cursed the incessant squawking parrot and fought back tears. (and it’s only 7:00 am) If I allow myself the luxury of thinking about all that has happened in the past few weeks….my son married (didn’t see that coming) my husband needs ten thousand dollars worth of dental work, and we lost a beloved family dog. Her surviving offspring grieves in the backyard, unmoved even by the neighbors kibble stealing feline. Last weekend we shampooed, ointment lined and powdered the poor canine and still he lays, tick studded and miserable in his dilapidated dog house. Perhaps we’ve done more harm than good. Ticks are marauding bastards and this is just one more battle lost.
I have sufficient reason for refraining from blathering on line like I used to. Since 2009 the days have bled into one another with few moments of relief. While I’m stoked for my elder child, I find myself treading the spider silk line between absolute, gushing adoration for my new daughter in law and the corrective mental jerk in my cranium that screams “keep a polite distance”. Tensile as that line may be, awkward Tam is awkward and at any given moment my flat feet will fail and I will take a header in the middle of my carefully planned day.
And so I spend my minimal spare time and perhaps a few stolen moments sifting through the shaky leaves at Ancestry. I have about 2000 hints to click and seeing the number decline gives me a sense of completion and control. When I am weary I can simply push my chair back and walk away. The dead simply cannot wreak the havoc on your life that the living bring. My memories are mine. My future it would seem, isn’t.
Truth is, I’m tired of getting through the next day, the next audit, the next assignment, the next batch of dirty towels or spiked weeds to pull. I can’t escape the whispered admonition of my spirit telling me I am on the downhill side of time on this planet and perhaps I am past whatever bit was prime. My heart aches from running on autopilot. Survival isn’t living and since 2009 – I’ve been in terminal fight or flight – with only a butter knife and tissue paper wings. I’m scarred and broken and sad and dark chocolate won’t fix me. I run on momentum, too stubborn to stop.  
And so it goes, I have myriad productive things to accomplish today because my family deserves a peaceful home and to those whom I’ve given my word, they deserve it kept. There is beauty in a soul that is satisfied by the simple comfort of a safe home and a job well done at the end of a day. Perhaps one day this aging bone cage will house a beautiful simple soul instead of the railing banshee at the back of my throat. Perhaps tomorrow. Or next week. A girl can dream.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Face For Radio

So I'm sitting here waiting for the dear head of household to return from his obligatory one Sunday at the warehouse a month purgatory. The Heir and the spare are draped across various pieces of furniture in the living room transfixed by the latest airing of game grumps or some inane video understood and appreciated only by young bachelor lions in small groups, and I am afforded a moment to think. It's probably not a good thing.
You see there is a reason I rarely blog anymore. Actually there are several reasons but the excuse du jour is simply - my face. Which may seem a bit odd since blogging doesn't require one's face, just one's fingers in whatever capacity said fingers are engaged to one's cortex - but for me the dots are all connected. It seems that for all my desire to bring beauty and light into the world - I am still attached to my face. And my face trumps me every time.
We're all passable as kids for the most part, and for most, God is merciful enough to limit the awkward years but some of us just get stuck in the land of bumps and lumps and jagged lines and we never smooth out. We develop a face for radio, and no amount of cool makeup and hair tricks seems to cover it.
For me this reality gelled when I was between my senior year of high school and my freshman year in college. I bit on some well coiffed, besuited male with nice teeth telling me "Wow, you should be a model. have you ever considered classes?"  Six weeks later and a few hundred dollars poorer I still remember seeing myself on camera, and the Sheena Easton clone of a teacher we had telling me, "You have a nice speaking voice.  You should consider radio broadcasting."
I've had a few bright moments. My senior picture, at least the one that landed in the year book. Ok, I was the pinkest person on the page (not white. PINK) but it was passable. A few wedding pictures. We had a competent photographer and the dress hid a lot of "eew" and a couple of 2011 face book head shots I keep circulating (laptops are forgiving. Iphones are not) but for the most part it is becoming too embarrassing to even try. Sometimes I blame my ample girth but still. The me in the mirror is who she is and I have to accept it.
I'm not divulging this in hopes that someone or two someones will attempt to pillar my flagging ego with platitudes. I can smell a lie faster than a mosquito can smell your hide on a summer evening by the bosque. I just want one person perhaps to register that those of us with faces for radio still have so much to offer. I am not who you see. I am capable of blessing you - but if you pass me off as just another awkward aging idiot or worse yet; you consign me to that place of  invisible because my teeth are crooked, and my chins are saggy, and I have crazy cat lady hair - you void the potential for both of us...and you make me sad.
I get it that God sees the inside of a soul, and that is where we should place our worth. Valid knowledge and real wisdom but in the day to day we're all walking this out in our skins. And we're putting each other in rank order based on the transience of what society calls beauty. I'm not pretty. I'm not even pleasantly forgettable. I'm fast approaching scary. Its better if you don't take that picture if I'm in frame, but I still have so much to offer. Please don't dismiss me. Flab and freckles and gray hair...they're not contagious. My hands and my heart work the same as yours. Perhaps if we all attempted to see one another through the eyes of God...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I found Jesus.....WHAT?

So yesterday whilst rooting around amongst ancient Roman deceased I found my metaphorical feet skipping down a particularly winding rabbit trail. I’ve been fascinated by British mythology ever since I saw the movie Camelot as a young ‘un (No I was not actually present prior to the Crusades, thankyouverymuch) I’ll even admit to a girly crush on Nigel Terry in the lead role of Excalibur. There I was, ferreting out the lineage of minor Roman prefects to Boudica and suddenly I stumble across Jesus. Whodathunkit? Apparently He’s my uncle. Laugh all you want. I’m on a tangent here.
For the few years I’ve been studying genealogy and its happy companion history I’ve seen that bent we humans share wherein we align ourselves with those of our species we find appealing. Amongst the farmers and shopkeepers and sets of first cousins who married and produced questionable offspring we stud our family trees with presidents and kings and queens and call it grand. I however had a much more mundane goal when I started filling out the bare branches of my tree. I simply wanted to validate my own little existence. In short, I wanted some measurable identification of who I really was. I wanted my dad and I thought I had a fifty fifty shot of proving who he was by flipping those shaky green genealogical coins. Unfortunately, my potential DNA donors all seem to come from one tiny band on the map and as I rode the pedigree train back through the centuries, my mom, my dads and even my boss all share common ancestry. There is no paternal “Lucy” definitive of my identity and so I have learned to enjoy the journey – the mythologies and the histories especially at the points where they meld. And that’s just where I was yesterday – rambling about where Roman History subducts with the mythos of the Druids. Enter Joseph of Arimathea and an entire lineage wound around British nobility, Jesus and the grail protectors. Fascinating stuff. And then I actually paused to think about what I was looking at on my screen. Jesus is my blood relative.
Enter the tangent. Why do we 2000 years removed from the birth of the Christian church find it plausible that Lincoln and Lee are our uncles, that 25% of us white folk are William the Conqueror’s manytimesover great grand pups yet mention the lineage of Jesus and even a born and bred Christian like my dear husband will roll his eyes and flash a smile centered somewhere between “My wife is crazy” and “we’re seriously only spiritual brothers and sisters, don’t you know your theology?” I get it. Jesus, unless you really buy into the Mary Magdelene bent that she and JC were a thing (and there is a dancing plethora of supposition out there to support that excluding of course Biblical text) didn’t have flesh and blood offspring – but he DID have a brother. So it is entirely plausible – at least as acceptable to me that He could be an uncle as it is that Rollo the Viking straddles a fork in my sprawling tree. But now its going to get personal so those of you naysayers and fence riders, you can look away while the rest of us Cheesy Christian types revel in the thing I’m about to drop here on my page.
You see, God is a lot of things to us Bible bangers, us Jesus Freaks, us worshipping types and one of the things God is that speaks the loudest to me is “Father to the Fatherless” When your own parental units are questionable, either because of birth or behavior – God will adopt you. I know I am Captain Obvious for those of you who have always had a relationship with the Big Guy but many of us – we didn’t get it right away. In fact some days when our flesh screams louder than that small voice – we still aren’t sure. But God is. And He will do everything He can (which is everything we can’t) to pursue us, to prove that He is who He is and He is our Father. Even if we have to stumble across it on a pedigree chart and see it in black and white (or green and beige) Our lineage is not only physical but divine. He is the desire of my heart – a part of my family. My daddy. And I am His descendant.
You can dismiss it and that’s your choice. God is a gentleman and He won’t send a lightning bolt to fry you extra crispy in your tracks for thinking this chick is a half bubble off plumb but remember, I wasn’t looking for Jesus on my tree. I was looking for ME. Validation of who I was and what I was worth. And what I am is a leaf on the tree of life – a child of the living God. Hear my heart in this. That little moment yesterday, that was a hug, a “hey kid. I love You. I’m here in the middle of your day and your dreams. I know who you are and what matters to you. I reside in the infinite and in the simple seconds ticking through what you think is too small for me to consider. That’s what it was for me. God meets you where you are.

Rest assured I’ll be geeking out about this for the rest of my life. Pray for my family therefore – they only partially tolerate the history lessons and they find this Holy link seriously suspect. Peace. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Virtual Reality As I Know It

So I’m sitting here sucking down a boxed pot pie and extracting missed bits of potting soil from my talons. It’s not even 8:00 am yet and already I’ve showered, made coffee, done a sink full of dishes and attempted to rescue some sad flowers from my front yard. In my domain, much like the rest of life it’s either flood or scorch and most things can’t survive the wild pendulum swings. Those that do are usually toxic, prickly and invasive.
It’s been a gnarly couple of weeks, culminating in a girly meltdown yesterday at work, complete with sobbing and apologies for my lapse in self-control. Today I’m paying for it with the inevitable pug face and that perpetual gnaw of self-loathing even though I know I am a human and therefore flawed. When a cohort queried “what else is going on” I refrained and blamed the chaos of the moment. Twenty four hours later and distanced from specific responsibilities I can consider the dancing plethora of “what elses” and obsess over one or two specifically acid producing issues.
I have this dear friend I’ve known since 2006 and although we’ve never actually chatted face to face over coffee, I’ve grown accustomed to her internet presence in my life. I suppose I’ve waxed complacent. So when she did that thing that so many do and proclaimed a modicum of personal control over her very real existence by stepping away from bandwidth drama it didn’t immediately register that I was mixed in with the internet flotsam and jetsam she was dismissing from her daily routine in favor of communing with humans on a tangible level. Oops. All it takes is a nano-second to be emotionally eviscerated when you drop your mental shield.
So here I am, scraping my guts into a shabby pile and attempting to stuff them back into a gaping hole again. Admittedly this war wound is totally expected considering the gargantuan character flaw I carry like a bulls eye emblazoned adjacent to my soft underparts. Because the internet by nature is impersonal, mutable and easily dismissed for better pursuits, those who frequent it take on its characteristics. We develop platforms, personas, identities that we slough off when we return to “real life” as though all this interaction is some giant role play game. Oops part two.
Truth is, I don’t own a persona. I don’t have a platform or a big chalk line between what I do here and what I do there. I am one awkward, generic person face to face or keyboard to keyboard. If I say it on Facebook, I’ll say it to your face. My only real weapon in this fight is a little thing called transparency. I don’t differentiate in my interactions whether I’m chatting with my adopted “son” from India or trading barbs with my first born over a Starbucks in rush hour traffic. I don’t own a cloaking device and those filters between mind and fingers and mouth are intermittent. If I hate cats, I hate them on my couch and on my PC screen. If I adore your smile I adore it on your page and on your face next to me at church. I don’t run and I don’t hide. I don’t shut down and I don’t seem to possess an “off” button. I also lack the capacity to grasp that most of the world doesn’t roll the way this Tammy rolls and therein lies one socially limiting flaw. (I have multitudinous flaws but we’ll stick to this one for the sake of limiting your exposure to skull numbing boredom) And so it often leaves me a bit unhinged when those I care for enforce that boundary between the real life outside their office doors and the fiction of social networking. Suddenly my entire existence is equivalent to text in a book one can close and forget on a shelf. And I thought I was a real girl too….
Whether here in the land of memes and lolcats or in your real world off screen it is always your choice to walk away. And it is always my choice to miss you when you do. Even if you’ve spun your entire existence as one big cyber telenovela – I still found something amidst the ones and zeroes that resonated as relevant.  Reciprocity is not required and that is the takeaway here. I have to come to the personal peace that it should never be expected. That is where I am twisted the tightest. I stopped expecting in my interactions “off the screen” and transferred that crave to those writers and friends and cousins with whom I socialize on the bandwidth. Oops number three. That means I’m out.
I don’t do casual. I’m not a stalker – but test the theory and drop out of sight. I’ll seek you out again because you matter. Even if our friendship is “virtual” – you aren’t. I know you’re a real human on the other side of that screen. Even if you’ve lied to me about everything  - you still possess a beating heart, firing dendrites and a soul. You therefore deserve and will always receive my transparency because at the end of the day – who I am is really all I have. And as for your persona – as a writer I know that all fiction contains an element of truth – or the reader wouldn’t engage. That is my goal as a human – to fully engage.

Peace. I suppose my own “real life” needs my attention. I have floors to scrub, and laundry to do. And three hundred hints on ancestry.com to check out. Wait. Are deceased relatives not real because they exist as shaky green leaves on the bandwidth? Perhaps I need more coffee and another girly cry. Got tissue? 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Your Baby, Your Problem" - The World According to The Village Idiot

“Your baby, your problem.” I was a twenty something, semi professional,  career gal, attempting to sooth not so malleable progeny number two when those words burrowed their way into my long term memory.  Spoken by someone who I truly believed should have rescued me in my moment of parental failure, that friendly fire fueled my ire. There I was, embattled warrior princess, my knight off killing dragons, the heir apparent stricken by childhood malaise and the spare would not cease his earsplitting caterwauling. (Translation: Dave was out of town, five year old Freddy was pukey with chicken pox, I’d worked all day and baby Eric was colicky for the eighth Monday that week.) How dare the insolent villager hand me my scorched hindquarters on a set of tines and advise me to reattach it myself! Oh the horror of responsibility.
Truth is, what we create becomes our responsibility and often our “problem” for the duration of our existence on this nickel cored orb and if we want to survive we learn quickly to temper our passions with perspective, prioritizing that which truly matters and sloughing off the rest as best we can.  We have limited time in our skins to facilitate change, yet it seems those of us who are the most brilliant waste that precious allotment afforded them by succumbing to fits of strident public display (oft on social media) disparaging those of us categorized by whatever pigeon hole du jour deemed fitting as villagers with pitchforks – unenlightened, terrified and dangerous to the greater good of the cause of the moment. Yet, while those illumined souls fire off statistical justification and sound bites are they really doing any good or are they simply parroting the skewed misinformation generated by the media machine that is more interested in selling happy pills than offering up undiluted truth because truth is stodgy and sex at seventy sells slots in prime time? This barrage of Technicolor, full throttle, info-bullying, does more to extinguish my specific passions than any bit of daily reality would. Collicky babies eventually outgrow their twisted little gullet outbursts. Knotted up adults, however noble the cause may be, seem to feed on the ire…just like a cancer cell, eventually destroying the very creature that feeds them.
Truth is, I’m a mom. I’m automatically engineered to respond on a cellular level when faced with the plight of a child – any child. The more perceived pain, the more tears and fear, the more graphic imagery, and that hard wiring designed to galvanize me to protect will only carry me a specific distance from the epicenter of chaos. The perpetual onslaught without respite will eventually serve to create a system overload, resulting in that very sea of numb, burned out dull eyed villagers with pitchforks you standard bearing, enlightened types are attempting to incite to indignation which is not the equivalent of action or correction. And indignation without focus will only result in those villagers lobbing stones and flaming balls of manure at your battlements.  We can’t fix your babies but we can fix you.
Before you fire off a volley of memes with the intent to elevate the plight of those you have determined yourself as the patron saint/megaphone/posterchild consider this. Is your truth really the homeless doe eyed preteen from war torn Guatemala, is it the rape victim faced with an unwanted pregnancy or are you just a thinly disguised hater who really wants to piss off those of us who already feel with every fiber of our existence that life is precious and we would lay down our own to take the pain from another person. If you are a hater – keep putting up that kitsch because it’s working. But if you really want change – use your fingers for something besides saluting me in traffic and on the bandwidth and DO something.  Go down to your local immigration office and volunteer to take on a child. Open up your home, your bank account, your school, your hospital, and your counseling services for the duration of that child’s or your natural existence and give yourself to that child to make his or her life better. Put feet and hands on your passionate discourse and open up a shelter yourself. Give your disposable income to organizations that truly integrate and bless others who are in need.  (since its cool to conjoin the prolife schtick with illegal immigrant children – go down to your local clinic and pay for a woman to be relieved of her “problem” hold her hand during the process – and stick around in a year or two or five, when she marries or has her own baby or wonders about what her “Choice” would have been if she’d exercised her legal right in a different manner. Life and the human heart are complex far beyond the simple act of exercising a legally protected choice. Even GOD respects our right to choose – so much so that He allows us to experience the consequences unique to our own hearts.) Try putting up a list of organizations that offer assistance if you are unable or unwilling to do it yourself but do something beyond the incessant visual glut of vitriol you propagate because my only defense mechanism is to become immune to your sickness.
Here’s another truth. Veiled hostility against the government, the right, the left or the rest of us camped in the clueless center can only fix your cause through you indirectly if you won’t do it yourself. Our government is not a benevolent non-profit. It will only use whatever disposable income generated by your tax dollars it has in its coffers. So if you scream loud enough to get your problem fixed – it will only be replaced by another more intimate issue.  A government funded solution will manifest itself in higher prices at the store, the gas station, your property tax bill and your interest rates. So if you choose to hand off your baby to a sitter – prepare to pay competitive wages.
I’m not damning anyone’s passions or arguing against anyone’s rights. I am not promoting that my personal position of faith must override the law of my country. I respect my country, its laws and its people. I even respect and will occasionally encourage the right of a soul to vent his or her passionate position on the bandwidth. If I disagree I know that out of respect I can simply choose to ignore the post. There are those however (and we all know someone) who have lost their identity to the toxic position they present.   I only admit therefore, that as one human I cannot fix an entire planet of babies. I can only fix my own baby, my own problem. If I choose to adopt another baby – then I assume responsibility for the duration – not to scream when it screams – but to comfort, nurture, protect and grow that baby. Tossing soiled diapers over my neighbor’s fence won’t help my baby. But perhaps pulling weeds in the empty field with my neighbor might give us both a place to take our toddlers to play safely.
All this to say if you want to champion a passionate cause – promote the solution above the problem. Stop tossing it in with all your other issues over which you marinate but don’t really address –stop deferring the problem to some other source to correct – absolving yourself of any responsibility except that of head dung flinger – stop using the horror faced by various groups of humans to spur your own prejudices and take the action available to you. Then take a selfie of you doing something about it and put that up on your favorite social media outlet. I’ll be one of the first to like and share.      
By the way, that colicky monster I was forced to foster solo for so many nights has become an amazing, intelligent young man. He is an artist, a musician, a giver who is loving, truthful and fiercely loyal to his friends, his family and God.  That “problem” is now a beautiful living legacy who gives me so much more than I ever gave him. There are fixes that turn problems into progress and most of them are simple, quiet steady steps forward that you can take, that I can take if we stop, think and use our ginormous frontal lobes to think beyond the immediate to the infinite.

The village idiot.