I wasn’t exactly terrified in this moment, but how perfect for illustration purposes?
Anyone else been feeling it lately?
I’ve been waking up in the night wrestling with fear – my least favorite feel. It’s the usual suspects: money, livelihood, housing, Trump. Nothing seems settled. Nothing seems sure. In these moments it’s like I’m on a flimsy inflatable pool raft (bought on sale at the local CVS), floating in the middle of a dark, formidable and very deep ocean. There is no one around. It’s nighttime. How will small frantic me ever get back to the sunny, inhabited shore? There’s not even a paddle.
Me and Dad
“But all our phrasing—race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy—serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.” — Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Racism is about bodies.
It is a visceral reality that can be tasted, seen and felt.
And yet, as I devoured Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me, where the physicality of discrimination is honestly and vividly conveyed, I felt a curiosity arise in my own body. As a bi-racial girl who grew up in Utah, what was my physical experience of racism? The violence, ineffective schools and codes of the streets Coates describes of the Baltimore neighborhood of his youth, was not my reality. I grew up in an upper-middle-class white neighborhood. I was a cheerleader. Neighbors brought over bunts and peanut brittle during the holidays.
I’ve missed you, and yet, some time away was exactly what was needed.
At home in Utah it snowed most of Christmas Eve and all of Christmas Day – big, soft flakes that settled on a quiet world. It was just my dad and I this year. We started the morning with meditation, then a leisurely breakfast and gifts in the late afternoon. The pace and stillness of the day was an obvious contrast to every Christmas morning past. I reminisced on the holidays of childhood when my sisters and I would eagerly bound down the stairs before sunrise to see if “he” had come – evidenced by a consumed glass of milk and always half-eaten cookie. “Santa must be so full of cookies by the time he gets to our house to only eat half,” I would think. Sometimes I’d venture outside to see if I could make out in the snow where his sleigh had landed on our roof. Most always I found the hoof prints of reindeer.
How I miss the confidence I had in magic in my youth.
The darkness comes quickly.
These days the sand moves rapidly through the hourglass narrow. There’s a sense of being squeezed by time. There are emails to send, stories to edit, friends to check in with and gifts to purchase. With each tick of the clock, my hopes for getting it all done before the New Year take another step further from reach. And yet, though many items will likely slip through this arbitrary deadline, I’m not 100-precent frantic. Amid the whir of the season, my body refuses to be rushed.
A rendition of Prince’s “I wanna be your lover” to a very select audience of strangers.
This week, I’ve had an aha moment sparked in large part by this article. After I read it, I immediately wondered, what would it be like to experience a date like this? To be courted by a man whose intentions were so crystal clear? Is such a thing even possible in this “wanna-hang-out” dating age? Would I even know what to do with such an advance?
And yet, as evidenced by many posts on this blog, and going back well before that to the unrequited love poems of my bucktoothed, blossom-hat-wearing youth, it occurs to me that I’ve long been waiting for someone to make me feel special like this. I’m not afraid to admit it.
Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in the eyes of the Divine. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed … I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other. –Thomas Merton
Things are incredibly sad here.
When I look at the sky some days it is piercingly blue, which seems a mockery to the state of it all. Other days, like today, it is a shroud, milk tainted by one drop of squid ink. I imagine the sun trudging across its congested home, sweating and exhausted. I can commiserate. The simplest things, throwing off the duvet this morning, assembling the ingredients for matcha, take more time than they should. Why bother?
This soft, dull light of today lulls me to disinterest. I want nothing but to continue laying in my warm bed daydreaming of another world that is warm, inviting and viscous with honey’d love. I’m drunk on love, floating contentedly in its golden sea. There’s nowhere to be, no other person to invite in. It’s all exactly enough.
This month I had an intuitive reading.
These happen with regularity in my world. I consider them like bumpers on a bowling lane warning of possible pitfalls along my path. Often after a reading I’m encouraged, inspired, and I feel more grounded. “Yes,” I believe “All of this is leading somewhere. I’m not spinning in vain.”
You see, on many days, because I’m outside the regularity of a 9-to5 gig, I feel like the bowling ball – rolling round and round seemingly going nowhere but sparkling all the way. These readings remind me there’s a much bigger lane beneath me and, low and behold, I’m hurdling down it. Whoa! Even better, the alley is full, and if I listen I can hear pins knocking and balls skidding all around. I’m truly not alone in this crazy game.
As I write this Nicki Minaj’s Feeling Myself is playing through my brainwaves.
I’ve been workin’ on my bounce friends.
It’s been the only way to be with all the ‘muchness’ this year has uncovered. My bounce is where I celebrate and where I lament. It is the place I come to drop out of my head and simply be in the moment, in the feeling.
Last week was a week lost. We lost an election; I lost a week in time. I did not work. I did not make progress on any of my projects. I didn’t even cook. All of my energy was consumed with feeling and trying to escape feeling. It was a full-time effort.
I went to the Trolls movie.
I Shimmy Popped, InterPlayed and Twerk Werked
I held the people I love and they held me.
These things worked for a bit, but when the credits rolled, the last booty bounced, and the cuddle puddle evaporated, the anxiety began to flood back in. I did not sleep. The one lonely Valium I’ve saved for the end of the world began to call my name. “Kelsey, this is not living.” “I can make you feel o.k.”
I woke at 4:00 a.m. today and lay in bed paralyzed, unable to face a new reality, unable to will myself back to the comforts of the dream world.
I’ve bounced between text messages, Facebook posts and news reports hoping for some light to alleviate this unfathomable outcome, some comforting word to assure me that Trump really can’t inflict the damage of which he appears so capable.
The end of Roe vs Wade?
The end of marriage equality?
The end of Obamacare?
The end of climate acknowledgment?
The end of Freedom of the Press?
The end of equal rights for Muslims?
Surely, there must be some check, some balance, some other body who’s really pulling the strings? We will not regress into some good ol’ boy nation where the haves keep having regardless of the effects on people and planet. But with a Senate and House Republican majority, I have little hope in the powers that be and the course they will set.