Good morning! Up late last night means I slept in today — Two hours for one means a little less sleep than I’ve been getting recently, and so this blog feels a little sleepy.
Did you hear about the hail-snow in Northern CA yesterday? It looked and acted like snow — some folks were able to make smallish ‘hailmen’ that looked remarkably like snowmen. A couple we saw on the news last night described the sky before the snow started to fall, that it was all blue to one side of their house, and to the other side, the sky was heavy and cloudy and dark. I thought, That sounds like tornado skies. Where am I living? Didn’t I leave tornado country?
I’m looking forward to Writing the Flood tomorrow — right now, since leaving the steady workshop space in downtown SF, we’re moving the workshops around somewhat, trying out different spaces and feels. This weekend, we’re going to be meeting in a Buddhist Center in SF! I’m looking forward to that energy.
Also: if you’re in the greater Bay Area, go see Sins Invalid. Their fifth annual performance begins tonight in San Francisco and continues through Sunday. Sins “celebrates the power of embodiment & sexuality, stripping taboos off sexuality and disability to offer a vision of beauty that includes all bodies and communities.” It’s paradigm changing, life-changing, mind-blowing, devastating, gorgeous, deeply powerful, necessary — you can get tickets here.
My father is visiting right now, and this morning, I’m thinking about time and change, about the ways that I’ve been able to mark my own healing and transformation. Looking back from now, one of the places I could track the shifts and openings in my psyche was my dreams.
It’s hard to remember back to the early 90s, when every sleep was devastation, when I could barely breathe in my sleep, when I couldn’t run, when I couldn’t get away or walk or move. And I thought it would be forever like that, I thought my stepfather would always be chasing me there, I thought I’d always fall to my feet, my knees, the ground, and have to pull at the grass or the banister to be able to move. I thought there would always be knives and that terror. I thought I would never be free of it.
And slowly it shifted, and I may have written about it, but right now, it’s lost to me, just when that opening happened, the first time I could, in my dream, walk up a flight of stairs without having to physically pull against the thick weight of dream gravity. When did it happen that my dreams changed, when I could run or walk freely, when I stopped having him there to kill me, when I started to act back? Most recently, in my dream, we were on a beach and I shoved his face in sand til he couldn’t breathe, and he ran away because he was afraid of hurting me. I was afraid of repercussions, too, and went someplace to hide, sort of (a public bathroom with open stalls – not a lot of hiding there), but he didn’t come for me.
It takes so much time, this recovery, this life. This life is a recovery, isn’t it? ‘Time heals all things’ is a wicked cliche, and has felt utterly unhelpful to me when I’m in pain and see no light at the end of any tunnel, am not even aware of being on a train anymore. And I don’t know that it’s true, that time is what’s doing the healing, but time is a measure and a manifestation of the breaths we’ve taken, the space we allowed for ourselves to change — and in that space, in breathing into and through the terror, the rage, the sorrow, the loss, the excitements the joys the possibility, our bodies got to keep moving, got to take in new oxygen, our cells got to recreate themselves, our bodies became new, over and over. And yes, like the soil at spring time, suddenly there was new growth in us where before there’d just been something frozen. And maybe it took several seasons for us to notice and maybe we forgot when it started, the greening of our barrenest places, but the greening happened just the same. Because we kept breathing. Because we are stubborn and curious and brave.
What’s on your plate to write about today? Are you doing the 30 poems in 30 days challenge for National Poetry Month? Take the pen and the notebook, give yourself just a little time, think about those greening places in you, in your characters, places you maybe thought would never grow/feel/heal again, but are. You can begin with the phrase, I used to be ___ but now___ (or he/she/we/you/they used to be…)
Thank you for your curiosities, your stubbornnesses, your braveries, all these resiliencies that have lived (in) you. Thank you for breathing into what hurts the most. Thank you, always thank you, for your words.