Tonight I have so much I want to write about, so many bits and pieces of memory and present that are braiding themselves together inside me, but at this exact moment as I type I am simply feeling grateful.
I drive these green-lined roads under thick grey skies and I remember the aches and sorrows and desire and fear that lived in me when I lived here last. I remember how sure I was that nothing was ever going to change, that I would always wake up from night terrors with my heart in my throat and my body awash in tension, that I would always feel unsatisfied, and unsatisfying, as though fully and forever incapable of connecting with others or believing they could truly like or love me for just who I was, flaws and all. I keep thinking about what a difficult person I must have been to live with, to be friends with, to try to love.
Today, over a lovely lunch, I listened to old friends talk about a couple of young people I used to know, who I knew when they were much younger than they are now; they are having a difficult time of it. They don’t see a forward ahead of them when they look to the future. They are sure they are alone and fighting the world, even though they have a swarm of supporters surrounding them, loving them from the distance at which they are kept.
Last night I offered Monica McIntyre’s song “Like A Lover” as a prompt to the Write Whole writers — if you haven’t met this woman’s amazing music, I invite you to do so now. Anyway, after rambling a bit in the notebook, this is what I dropped down into:
The singer says, “like a lover” – how would we talk to, treat ourselves, if we acted like our own lovers? What would it look like if we attended so deeply and gently and assiduously to our needs and desires? Drop in – I say into my own heart: I need space and deep quiet for my morning writing time. I say into my own heart: I am gladdest when I have spent some time every day with my fingers in soil, and in the preparation of food. I say into my heart: my body is all right. She is whole and strong, round just where she needs, and with a true a tremendous capacity for delight. I say into my own skin: you are whole. I say into my belly: you deserve to unknot. I say into my arms: you deserve to hold what keeps you whole. I say in-between my ears: you deserve space to unravel and meander. You deserve to weep and sing. You deserve the exhaustion of deep release. You deserve to come to conclusions, re-think, reconsider, change, unknow, decide for sure, and then do it all over again. You deserve to turn off the noise. You deserve poems that sing you awake. You deserve not to keep up with the Joneses. You deserve your own definition of enough.
I say into my self: You deserve to trust what you know about your own heart. You deserve the exact sort of pleasure your body prefers. You deserve to know what it’s like to be surprised by orgasm. You deserve as many orgasms as you want, no matter how long they take. You deserve to own the life you’ve crafted for yourself. You deserve to have survived. You deserve to treat yourself with the generosity and spaciousness you offer others. You deserve to know peace. You deserve to sleep well. You deserve to ask for what you want most even when you can’t figure away all by yourself to make it happen – you deserve to release that ask into a space where someone or something has resources greater than your single strong will and your single curious mind, and can come up with ideas you never could have imagined. You deserve to live in a state of curiosity and wonder. You deserve to live unafraid. You deserve to trust that he will never come after you. You deserve to know how to protect yourself. You deserve to trust that your beloved’s admiration is not clean enough for a demand, but simply a clarity of feeling: a delight and wonder at your precise you-ness.
Good morning, good morning, brilliances.
On this December 25, I just want to invite you to be easy with yourself. I don’t know about you, but I get stressed this time of year even when I’m not trying to find the perfect gift for everyone or panicking because I don’t have enough money or anxiously trying to navigate or orchestrate the needs and desires of blood family, chosen family, friends, and beloveds.
This is a good time of year for me to find a CODA meeting, quite frankly, and often the time of year when I’m least likely to make the time for that sort of self care.
(This week’s contribution to the extra:ordinary project (stories of everyday and ongoing resilience) comes from Jen L. in Denver, CO. Jen shows us what it’s like inside the survivor who excels as a means of resistance, and yet can be perceived as utterly unaffected by their trauma. Thank you, Jen, for this powerful piece!)
i am 28 years old. i have three (sometimes four) part-time jobs. i am in a full-time graduate program, have a 3.89 GPA, presented a poster at an international conference this fall, and am starting to look at PhD programs. i have a maybe-girlfriend (we’ll probably define that relationship soon, but there’s no rush). we laugh pretty much every day. i have built up an incredible network of very good friends who have stretched my heart across the entire country, from maine to massachusetts to florida to ohio to minnesota to kansas to colorado to california to washington state. six years ago, a family, not at all related by blood, gathered me into their fold, giving me a place to call home. my apartment is filled to the brim with book-friends that i’ve collected and hugged close over the last seven years.
Good morning, writers and those readying to write. How are you singing your sleepy songs this morning? What is waking in you already today?
This morning I am thinking about the impact our writing has on others, and how we never know what piece of writing will be exactly what someone else needs to hear — and though, of course that’s generally not why we write in the first place, the issue is a good one to think about: somewhere, there’s someone who needs to hear exactly what it is you need to say and write.
Last weekend, at our first Dive Deep meeting of November, I asked the assembled Divers to write for a bit about a piece of writing that shook them to the core (having been inspired by this essay by Naomi Benaron). We wrote about stories, essay or poems that showed us something new about ourselves, or about the world, writing that broke us open, that changed the lenses we could see the world through. (I wrote about the first time I read Pat Califia’s Macho Sluts a book of lesbian erotic stories that completely changed the way I — at the time, a 19 or 20 year old young woman still being abused by her stepfather — understood that women could be sexual, could have authentic sexual agency. I will never stop being grateful for that book.)
Good morning good morning. This morning I was up early, at quarter to five, and managed to actually pull my body from the bed in order to write. Yesterday, too. Maybe I am entering a new (old) creative circadian rhythm. Time will tell.
This morning I am feeling deep and quiet with a kind of appreciation that maybe I should better call reverence. I want us to celebrate anyone who is doing any work to connect to the real and authentic heart of their sex, their desire, their erotic self. We as a culture do not encourage this kind of work, and we don’t make space for it. We want sex to be business or irony or easy; we don’t have a lot of room for real sex.
If you know anyone doing this sort of work for themselves — for example, reconnecting to a traumatized sexuality, taking steps to manifest a long hidden or silenced desire, or trying something that they’ve always wanted to try but have been deeply afraid of, saying what they really want, knowing what they really want, saying yes as well as no, reembodying during sex, allowing themselves to have a body during sex — I want you to celebrate them. If you are doing this work, I want you to celebrate yourself. This labor is deeply powerful — it transforms our relationship to our whole lives, not just to our sex lives — and it is so often unwitnessed and unreverenced.
Good Monday morning — here’s the grey fog, the greet of cloud to hills, the way the city sounds are obscured and muffled by the weight of the shallow wetness. Here I am in how much I want to be alive today. Where are you on this Monday?
~~ ~~ ~~
What does it mean to get rescued? This was the weekend of mother stories, and I’ll write more about those tomorrow — today what I have is the shallow ache of missing: I miss my mother, I miss what she could have been, I am angry and sad and longing, I am still a twelve year old girl waiting for her to stand up for me.