Love is Messy / Dirty Thirty

Shortly after my father’s suicide I was afforded the opportunity to work in a small “love based” co-op preschool as an aide to a teacher with a powerful gift. I admired her self-assured style and her ability to wrangle, motivate and inspire 30 people with underdeveloped impulse control. Essential were my mornings of singing, laughing, dirt and the continuous cycle of genuine affection. I would return home to an expensive but weirdly hostile condo where I spent a great deal of time in séance with my father over vodka and sci-fi movies. Despite the split screen to my days, those bright and authentic relationships I had in the school pushed me forward. “Whatever floats your boat” took on new meaning. Babies and vodka kept my boat from sinking.  Miss A was an absorbing super-star to these children and I supported her with admiration, beaming each time she whipped out one of her favorite routines. When she was feeling it, often when she or a child were having a bad day, she would ask the class, “Do you think so and so needs some crazy love?”

YEEEEAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!

We would all circle up and she would instruct us to pull out our imaginary crazy  love. “What color would you like?” She would ask the recipient. They would shyly or exuberantly answer and we would all pretend to paint our gifts. “Would you like some glitter?” The answer was always yes and we would get out our “glue” and then poor Miss A would make a whole mess and exclaim over it, “How messy! But that’s okay because…..”

“LOVE IS MESSY!!!”

The whole class would chant.

“Now what is (kiddo’s) job?”

“To receive it!” We’d reply.

“Open your arms,” she would command, “Are you ready? Pull it back, back, back a little more,” sling shots ready………….

“LET ‘EM HAVE IT!!!”

Bam.

16-29 I allowed people in to my life who never asked or considered what color I would like or whether or not I might want glitter. I thought I had something to learn from their self assured stomping, I thought it was some worldliness I lacked. I’d even call over the grown ass person picking scabs, pouting in the corner and refusing to play, on the auspices that they would be moved to consideration through some act of spiritual osmosis. “I care about their feelings so hard! Soon they will care about mine.” In denial I hadn’t realized I was even thinking that second sentence.

They don’t, they won’t. And while most of us are slinging crazy love, my openness allowed just plain crazy to bulldoze right through all of it. Can I be over that?

Before his death my dad made amends. He made amends a few times, prompting my mom to guffaw, “Is he okay?! I know I’m laughing but I’m serious. He has never apologized for anything!”

I think we were in his kitchen. “How did you do this, Abby? How did you transform so quickly?”

He was very proud of my yoga teacher status.

“Good people. Yoga. Psychedelic plant medicines,” I only thought to say after his death.

“I’m not sure,” was all that manifested.

He admired my “by my bootstraps” grit he told me.

“You never bitch,” declared the man who 9 years early had unsuccessfully attempted to have me diagnosed with Obstinate Defiant Disorder because I bitched so hard.

At 16,  I realized suicide was icky no matter what. It spewed black.  And you never really know who will be affected how because we don’t usually tell each other those things. It’s rare to attend your own funeral. “I’m so naked and defeated, I’ll probably always be suicidal,” I’d self-flagellate. “This world isn’t for people like me,” I’d say in my mind, both aggrandizing and punishing my false sense of self. “I can do the most good by staying back.” Fall asleep at the wheel though? So I thought I’d go on some sort of inner journey of ego-suicide, the kind we hear preached in religion. I believed my purpose was to just “love everybody” but I excluded my own inner being out of fear of losing love. My fear created a toxic passive oozing through life. My healthy ego withered. Yin as all get out.
Psychologist call it co-dependence.  I just thought that by yielding to other’s unconscious needs and obvious wants that I was being good and nice.

Ew. Sick. Nast.

When you make the decision to love and nurture yourself and when you allow yourself to be seen (vulnerability is the word!) you will be called brave or stupid.

C R A Z Y

That feedback is all I need to know just who is worth getting dirty for.

Guns

Ummmmm. So…… This is the entire reason I am writing my blog I think. I knew this needed to be said, I knew this was coming, but I thought it would all be sometime later.

There isn’t really time to wait for the right time is there? There isn’t really time to wait until I’m cool.

There isn’t time. We’ve got to extinguish our fears and fake divisions immediately. Can’t find an ashtray? How about right here in this bowl of mixed nuts everyone is eating out of?

“Me? What do I care? I was only eating almonds anyway. Brazil nuts are for people who don’t have food allergies!”

“Me? I was only eating the almonds anyway! Cashews are for fatties!”

See? We are all ready for this. We are all ready to get to the root of the problem.

If you or your children just had your school shot down, or threats are flying, you go rage balls if you need to, I am not talking to you. You are really feeling it. Anger may signal clarity and clarity may prompt action. That isn’t always a tragedy or a “bad thing.” Speak your mind, show up at your capital. Why wouldn’t you? We can listen. I know those cocky faces aren’t listening, those mocking faces. But we are listening.

Like Harvey Weinstein, I was forced into an inpatient treatment center in the middle of the desert in Arizona even though I was fine. I barely spoke for days and at night I sobbed and sobbed and when I talked to my mother on the phone I vacillated between telling her how amazing things were going to be if we could just pull me out of here and how much of a monster she was. How I needed my dog at this important time. I was going to leave soon, I knew that in the first couple of weeks but I ended up staying for the maximum amount of time and then was sent to their “step down” program for another 60 days. By that time I had warmed up to “Rich Girl Prison” and I was a little nervous about going home and reintegrating. “Life” as they called the step-down program, was a cul-de-sac of model homes behind a mall in an Arizona suburb with a giant high school.  A bunch of teenage girls living in a gated neighborhood with a bunch of mental health professionals.

They made us attend this giant high school with elevators and I still to this day have those anxiety nightmares where I need to find my locker even though I never had one there. Isn’t that strange? A high school so large that a classroom of girls cycle through at all times only attending for two months max and hardly anyone notices? I don’t remember making or attempting to make any outside friends but we only stayed for two periods and I had a friend or two from Life in both classes.

The program was designed to get us reintegrated, give us a little more freedom for us to practice what we had learned. We took shopping trips, went to church, got to exercise and went on “snack challenges” because while they affirmed that my eating disorder was a symptom of my major depression, this was primarily an institution for girls with eating disorders.

Shame.

Gnarly stuff. I don’t tell many people I have recovered from an eating disorder. Or that I tried to kill myself. But when I do talk to people, I tell them I was diagnosed with eating disorder not otherwise specified or EDNOS even though its more complicated to say.  I was something as complicated as EDNOS and it is so much nicer than saying I was bulimic, even though I did a lot of bulimic things. Even in the realm of eating disorders, something usually maintained by high doses of shame and hopelessness, there’s a hierarchy.

I can admit I had an eating disorder and that I wanted to just die because even though it makes some people uncomfortable, even though it makes ignorant people believe I am broken beyond repair, it is still a lot prettier than saying I want a bunch of other people to die.

Shame.

Guilt is that important signal, I am doing something bad, I have done something bad.

Shame is much scarier. Shame says I am bad. Broken. Daddy issues. Not meant for this world, not cut out for it, don’t have what it takes. Don’t have what it takes. Yesterday, my friend told me about a little girl she babysits and how she overheard her mom saying that on the phone about her little sister. Going into preschool. So she told her, of course. “We aren’t sure you have what it takes to survive something as pivotal as preschool. We are scared for you.”

Adolescence is a strong time for shame, it’s that way for everyone. It’s a time of forming identity and shame directs us to make better choices, social choices. We can privately live with our guilt, but shame can build in to something sinister if it’s not jostled around a little and brought  to light and shared, communed.

“Yeah, a girl lost interest in me cuz I farted once! lol So what? lol”
Some kids can’t do that. They don’t know how. Their parents don’t know how and so compulsory education can feel a lot like prison.

Some people do need to sit with shame, for a sec. Right? Some rich world leaders need to learn to sit with shame, duh! But our children and our teenagers? They haven’t had enough time to settle in to the practice of being a “bad person.” They are shitty one day, popped with guilt, nice the next.

They need to know that.

They need to know that whatever happens they belong here, they have a place even if its not in high school.

How do we do that? Easily and for free! I am not even kidding.

Bear with me, I know I am libtarded.

At Life we volunteered once a week. I do not remember any of the programs other than the one that revolutionized my thinking. St. Mary’s was a very small children’s hospital in a one story brick building. Did not know those things existed. We went in and there were a row of babies in bouncy chairs on the ground. One had a giant tumor covering most of the left side of his face and the other one…. have you ever had those nightmares where you feel like you are stuck in mud though you need to run and you are pretty sure you can’t possibly be paralyzed? Or where you need to scream bloody murder and nothing is coming out? Little Baby Edwin was sitting there red and purple and tan faced and hardly a whisper was coming out.

Excuse me?

Little Baby Edwin! Hello! And when I picked him up he stopped instantly. That’s all his nightmare needed.  “How old is he?! What is his last name?! Where are his parents?! Does he even have any parents?!” Crazy needs more information!!! They couldn’t give me any more information. Laws and stuff. I did go see some of the other children but I could not stop going back to Edwin and his friend. This baby too was so moving. I held him too and he never took his eyes off me even as I tended to Edwin. He never cried but he never took his eyes away. Wow. I remember that.

Oh shit, someone needs me.

This is the root of it. Do we need to just let go of our arguing and let that be the final solution? No! You know I am far more holistic in my thinking.

Why isn’t community outreach compulsory for our adolescents? They need to be a part of something bigger. They are a part of something bigger. We need to let them get involved. Get them out of this prison! If math is compulsory, even though stress makes it almost impossible to be attentive to details enough to be good at, why can’t connecting with our community be compulsory?! How can we expect them to grow in to good people if we don’t give them a reason why?

OUR FOUNDING FATHERS COULD NOT HAVE IMAGINED THIS.

They did not know that one day our children would be robbed of purpose.

“What?! There are Injuns out there effing with our way of life! There is still so much to explore! We need our young men and women, ALWAYS! Hello!”

Trump doesn’t really strike me as someone who would really get behind this solution. He doesn’t really seem like the type. Neither would have Hillary. I mean, she would smile and say through teeth that are a part but just barely, “Oh this is a great solution to a huge problem that won’t cost or make anybody any money. Oh, yes, a feminine solution. I’m so in to this. People organizing and stuff.”

You see, my blog is not a Real Simple blog. Duh! It has no business going viral. But this is a Real Simple message.

I need this message to reach the right people in order for it to be implemented.

This has to happen.

Community outreach needs to be compulsory. Our adolescents need to be out working for free, for credit. Every year, middle school through high school. We need them.

Libtard

In his latest special on Netflix, Dave Chappelle uses an old proverb to explain America’s current predicament, our infighting. I don’t remember what culture it comes from, probably Buddist or Vedic actually, but it says that discovering Truth is like a bunch of blind people with hands on an elephant, all with different points of view.

“Hello!!!” One says, “It small, long and skinny with a course tuft of hair at the end.”

“NO! Stupid. It’s a dry flap.”

“What?!” Someone comments, “Whatever this is, it has eyes, ya’ll, it is alive.”

Dave Chappelle laughs and says, “All I know is its got some penis like skin.”

We all laugh.

And then I chime in and say, “Oh, I don’t know, its a little more course feeling than a penis. It reminds me of an old oak tree I knew. One solid branch came out like a giant trunk and I spent so much time there that the bark was actually kinda squishy on that branch. It was rubbed smooth. The whole tree felt different than other oaks I’ve seen. I spent a lot of time with it and called it my Grandmother Tree.”

“Aaaaaaw.” Some people would say. And some would roll their eyes. It would be a rare bird that would want to kill me for it, but it’s true. I’m Libtarded.

My first rodeo says all we need to know about the kind of person I am…

We were that house that carved angels and crosses into our jack-o-lanterns on Halloween. Once, my sister used the word “dumb” to insult a kid who was teasing me after school and I sucked in air so quickly I did what I call “singing backwards.” But before I knew what bad words were, my favorite song was Garth Brookes’ Rodeo.

His eyes were cold and restless,
his wounds were almost healed,
and she’d give half of Texas,
just to change the way he feels
She knows his love’s in Tulsa,
And she knows he’s gonna go,
But it ain’t no woman, flesh and blood,
It’s that damned old rodeo!

Liberated, in the backseat, I sang that song with my headphones on and made my family laugh.  I’m sure my mind was in a good space about moving to the place that had Tulsa in it. Oklahoma from Feyetteville, North Carolina when I was five or six,  presented the chance to experience my very first rodeo. You know how kids get about some things, Disneyland and birthdays and first rodeos. So much I was going to love. We got in the stands and the National Anthem was sung and shortly after something horrific happened and I couldn’t believe people just stood around and watched, cheered even. Calf-Roping?!?!? Who the eff came up with that?!?!?!?  I lost it. Duh. I remember screaming and crying and seeing this sand colored baby wailing and being dragged around the dirt at a fast speed…. by a horse! My family insisted that she will be just fine, they get over it right away. But no one shamed me or forced me to stay after my disillusionment. Even though she disagreed, even though she did not think it was so horrific, my mom got me out of there right away.

Super caring on a 6 year old. And now? Maybe a little bit Libtarded.

You know what I heard about Ted Bundy? His type, that is his favorite victims, were pretty girls with bright smiles, long hair parted down the middle.

lol

You think I would have survived the 70’s?

You know how it would have gone down if his van had been parked next to my van and he waddled up with a sling on his arm and an undignified expression.

“Oh, miss, eh, ow, I could really use some help here.”

“Oh heeeeeey!” Big smile. “Oh my goodness, one second, let me get my kids buckled in here real quick……”

Yeah. That’s why I keep friends like Kali around. Always have.

Because when he says something alarming like, “Well could you just fuckin’ hurry please?” My big retarded heart would be like “Oh he is in pain, I better hurry!”

And Kali, another friend with straight long hair parted down the middle and a disarming smile would be like, “Wait a second, where are your friends? Abby, uh, you need to get something out of the very back for this poor fellow! Yep, crawl all the way in there, do you see it? Maybe step your feet all the way in, maybe you can see what I need you to grab….. for him.”

Once I am in there she would slam the hatchback shut and jump in to the drivers seat and lock the door.  She would speed away and be like “OH MY GOSH! WHAT DID WE JUST ESCAPE?!”

And I would probably be like, “Kali!?!?! That poor guy! We can’t just leave him there!”

My ass might even go back and check, two hours later once the kids are down for a nap, check that he isn’t there still in need.

Kali wouldn’t let me, but if I did…

“OMG! KALI! You wouldn’t believe it! I think he actually did fall! There is a little blood spot right where we were parked! But on the ground?! How hard do you think this poor fellow fell to bleed that much?! Maybe I should call the hospital and check if he’s there. Should we call the police first and find out if someone found him? We should apologize! Pay for his bill!”

Libtarded.

But, imagine if since I had Kali, we made it to the police because of my libtarded heart and her sharp thinking. What might that evidence had amounted to? 1976’s Abby and Kali’s eyes and ears could have spared maybe just one less group of people the pain of losing someone who was a lot of their everything  to this man’s dementia!  Maybe. Maybe our combined bit of evidence could have helped the detectives tip into the direction of Truth just a lil’ bit quicker than they did.

I’m glad not everyone I love and rely on thinks like me, feels like me.

Where would I be?

I watch my old peers from school on facebook with far different opinions then I. And this gun thing is heated, it is divisive.The core of it is safety. We all have a core need to feel safe, don’t we?

I posted this blog on my facebook, shared from a classy librarian I know.

Fuck you, I like Guns by The Aging Millennial Engineer

An old school friend said this, to which I am really grateful because he is both a good person AND he made me think.

prompting me to say this:

I said that and I thought I’d be really proud of that because hey, that’s me but then it only took a quick reread to realize I said something really racist, flippantly and innocently because what can you expect from a girl who grew up in Oklahoma? But it’s an idea that gets a lot of good people killed and leaves entire cultures damaged in ways they can’t control, that they just have to learn to work with.

Most gun owners have noble intentions and only ever use their guns for those reasons. Duh. And people like me, we do need protection. Duh.

I don’t think its a bad thing to spend some of our free time imagining what our idea of Utopia is. I believe that is our birthright as Americans, our freedom. Let’s take some time to relax and leave the mic open for us to all share what we think. Actually, you know what I am going to do? I am going to take all 10,000 of us camping. We are going to pretend it’s sometime in the future and magic mushrooms are legal, at least therapeutically, so I’m acting as camp counselor here and let’s just pretend I have been properly trained to be a therapist. I’ve already handed you your dose and your water and I am walking you through our woods, a nice soft path. Some of us are quiet and some of us are chatty as we are all just kinda waiting for them to take effect.

We arrive at the setting. There is a small wooden stage with a microphone. In front of it are been bags and couches and various collections of furniture, cushions and exercise mats.

“Okay, guys,” I say from the microphone. “You are welcome to do whatever you feel like, we will be here for the next 8 hours and then we will all be released back to our cabins for the night. If you want to go on a walk through the forest, just alert one of our Mental Health Technicians and they will keep an eye on you. We are leaving the stage open for anyone who feels guided to speak their mind about guns and what your Utopian ideal is. Yes, it is a very controversial thing, that is why I am throwing this crazy drug in to it. Isn’t that fun? The only rule is that we don’t shout over each other. Let’s refrain from name-calling, like all the other times we’ve tried this.  I’ll be here to help us acknowledge each other’s feelings when I think it’s necessary.”

It would be a wonderful thing if we held people in our government accountable if they fail to do their jobs, as my friend from school pointed out to me on facebook. Is that what has happened in this latest school shooting? I am libtarded about this right now… because I have been busy doing other things, but I do have time to be educated from my community about it. If we could watch and develop a government who could responsibly possess and utilize its weapons, from drones to guns, that would be quite a pretty picture. If we could trust our government to spy on us in order to keep us safe, that would be a pretty picture. What would we do then? Would we have some big general land that we had basic rights in, that was divided in to all these other lands that had crazy ideas about the way things should be? So you could come over to my Hippie Utopia, some land-locked Burning Man Land and I would answer the gate, topless, joint in hand, someone’s kid tugging at my skirt rudely asking me for milk?

“Go get your mom, silly!” I’d say. Then I would turn to you and whisper, “Oh yes, just leave your guns here please, thank you, come in honeeeeeeeeey!” And you would step in and I would hand you my joint and be like “okay this is my bike car, I always just take my skirt off when I ride it. Would you like to see our gun range while you’re here? We actually do have one a few hours away, it is absolutely hilarious but its only open on Sundays. No drugs, except pot is okay if you have a teacher with you.”

And maybe some months later I would come visit you in Oklahoma and you would pick me up in a tricked out Raptor, no Confederate flag anymore because you feel pretty confident about the safety of State’s rights right now. Unloaded or loaded guns or whatever, I don’t really know how it works, just bouncing around in a steal locker in the bed. We would go to your house and you would announce we are pre-partying with absinthe and I would forget to check if that was even legal in this state. We would go out and party our butts off. And later we would go back to your place and talk all sorts of personal stories that make us laugh and cry. The next day we would shoot guns right in Sam’s backyard, why not? I’d post my silhouette paper target on facebook with the caption, “and this is why I am your nanny for the apocalypse!”  Then it’s knuckles and back to Burnlandia for me!

I know outlawing guns wouldn’t stop guns. And I probably wouldn’t snitch on the gun owners I know. If Obama actually came for his guns, do you think I would snitch on my dad?! And do you think banning guns would have saved my dad’s life? No, not him personally, not him in this lifetime. You think I would snitch on anyone who is otherwise a law-abiding citizen? Someone who isn’t violent? I do believe in personal choice. I know what he and all his friends would have done. I would have never mentioned it and neither would he and if/when shit hit the fan I would have been like “DAAAAAAAAADDY, SAAAAAAAM, all ya’ll SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE US!!!” If guns were a viable way to get protection that is.

I want to keep going with more analogies… But I think I should write about Hawaii’s false missile alarm later…. Libtard part II. Too much going on in this post already lol

That’s my Utopia guys! What’s yours? ———————> walks mic over to my friend dangling upside down in the aerial silks with her wide-eyed husband laying on his back underneath, just staring.

“You okay buddy?”

Snort. Smile. “Yeah.”

God Part II

I’m okay if your God is math and science, I said. You know what I am not okay with? I am not okay with your God being Money and Power.

And I don’t care what you call yourself on the outside.

I’ve tried being nice to you. That did not work out for me. Both of us left shattered. Every time.

Wait, oh my gosh! Actually , often times after I am screwed over for just trying to be nice to these people, they skip off seeming great. “Ah, look guys! She’s so mean and crazy!” You don’t stop, you don’t change. Why would you? And you know I am not just alluding to my personal shit here. This is collectively true about these people You need social pressure to change, not smiling and nodding. Embarrassment isn’t the way, but it is the CATALYST. And if someone’s primary motivation in life is money and power, we need to turn our back on them, for a sec.

PS: Here’s another thing these deluded people will say.
“Me? Selfish? I’ve got a family! Hello! That is so unselfish of me.”

Don’t kid yourself, you’re not fooling us. You don’t care about the kids, you care about your kids. The one’s you probably only had because you’re scared. You’re scared of mortality and your own insignificance.

Follow the money, people, follow the money.

Duh

 

God

I have a deep faith, I said that. But I’m not worried if you tell me you don’t have any faith in anything unseen or immeasurable. Why? I like your honesty, for one. You served me with a dose of Reality, and that’s the God I serve! If you haven’t had any out-of-this-world experiences, so when you think really hard about it, you don’t get this whole God thing, or if you’ve been mistreated horribly by seemingly happy people when you were an innocent child, why would you believe in God? Its easy to be a Christian in Oklahoma or an atheist at Burning Man, which is why I find myself gravitating towards atheist in Oklahoma and Christians at Burning man sometimes, because I know those mofos are being authentic. Takes some balls to be those people.

And I trust in God’s way and God’s time. Maybe you will “come around” to thinking like me and feeling the things I feel, or maybe God intended for people like you to stay just the way you are. I think God is too magnanimous to nit-pick how we find Him. I’m okay if you’re God is math or science. Lots of eyes and ears, out there measuring stuff and thinking about what it all could mean. That is Godly work to me.

I know I love the kids I work for. If they have a bad day, or even if they never come around to liking me for some reason, I would never turn my back on them. I would never abandon them. And I am just a woman. How much bigger is God? How much cuter and wondrous are all the possibilities of our humanity?

God Part II