Monday, June 29, 2009

Define "Win"

It occurred to me the other night that I had sort of won, in a way. I've always been the girl who has been happy to play, with the understanding that the "results are not what matter, it's the experience.." That's the politically correct way of saying, "You probably won't win, Ginger, so how can we crush your spirit the least?"

I was about to say that it didn't bother me, not winning. But all of a sudden memories of not winning came flooding back, and it turns out I feel a twinge of bitterness at defeats like not making the final cut for the Lincoln Junior High School Junior Varsity Lady Warrior Basketball Team. I convinced myself that the reason I didn't make the team or the squad, or whatever the competition, was that I didn't really want it badly enough. If I had had more desire and dedication and was less interested in making Merek Rogers notice me, (so that someday I could become Mrs. Merek Rogers - specifically Ginger Rogers (glitter!))- then I would've won my spot.

So, I've won at something recently. I said in a previous post that I applied to be an international teacher. What I actually did was sign with a company that helps teachers find jobs in international schools. At the time I felt like it was a no brainer: Fill out lengthy paperwork packet, update resume, write two narratives, with these send in letters of recommendation, send in official transcripts and certificates, make Rich write something called a "spousal letter" and send it, and mail a check for processing listed materials.

I completed all transactions and checklists and was promptly notified that I was accepted into the company's program - stamp red 'APPROVED' on file.

Until the other night (and thanks to the clarity that Christine and Jamie often bring to the dinner table, along with magnificent pineapple pie), I realized what a big deal it was. What I thought was compiling paperwork and jumping through hoops was actually a company telling me that I'm worth representing- that when attending interview conferences, they recommend me for the job, and the schools who have read my file before meeting me understand that what they are looking for is a personality fit.

I should feel relieved - accepted - elated!

Unfortunately, what I feel is anxiety. Apart from this potentially being the biggest change in my life - definitely bigger than marriage and in some ways bigger than motherhood (changing cultural norms is like that)- I've made myself completely vulnerable and open to rejection when the personality is not a perfect match, or I'm not qualified enough, or if the money isn't right, or if my interview goes sour thanks to me not wearing the right pinstriped pencil skirt.

My life is good. I suppose that's the ultimate win. I love my family and my home. I very much value them. Probably I should find contentment here. Also, I understand that in leaving all of this, I'm taking my family into the insecure unknown and that is always scary. In this case, I think the experience of "going for it" is what matters, to an extent. But more than that, I very much need to win my spot. The idea of not winning - not finding my place - is very much spirit crushing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Whimsical Roughshod

Darlings,

Whimsy, I'm afraid, is on an extended vacation. Those of us who are close to her understand that really she's been in a terrible predicament - one called boredom (or is it fatigue?) - and she's so disenchanted with the YOUniverse that she's locked herself up in a boarded up house with no intention of coming out anytime soon.

What once was stilettos and music - glittery embellishments!- has given way to ramblesome talking heads and stunning anxiety inflicted by said heads who drone on about things like North Korean lunacy, Iranian anarchy, the death of popular kings, money money money money.. Not to mention it's unbearably hot outside.

It's no wonder she's locked away with no hope of inspiration in sight.

I know. I know. You roll your eyes and say, "She does this all the time, that Whimsy. She says she's done with the glitz, and then she unlocks the door soon after and sends one of these illegible, entirely translucent letters. Everyone knows what she's up to! Did you know I found a spec of glitter in the envelope?! _sigh_ What is there to do, really? What a scandal, she is!"

You're right, of course. The letter is the first step. But it takes sweet coaxing and a fair amount of patience to lure her out of her self-inflicted dungeon, to allow her to feel secure enough in such an insecure place, to emerge.

Until then may she be inspired by the likes of Lilith, who would not be held down by tyranny, and may Athena see to the injustices, both near and far, with a firm hand and an open heart.

Be patient, Lovelies!

-A. Ginger Moth

Adam and Even

by Mark Barrett
Because it is not good for humankind to be alone, in the beginning God created Adam & Lilith from the fire, water & air of the earth. One man& one woman. In God's eyes, different but equal, one & the same. But of course, humankind being as it is, Adam & Lilith soon began to fight.

She said, 'I will not lie below, & stop trying to control me!' & he said, 'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. Stop telling me what to do! For you must listen, & do as I say, because I am the stronger, superior one, & you are the weak.' Lilith responded,'Perhaps you are stronger, but my weakness is strength. Really I am better than you, for look at me, I am the more beautiful and gentle, a creator & nurturer of children.'

But when Lilith saw that Adam wouldn't listen to her, but rather used his strength to scare her, she became frustrated. She couldn't match him for physical strength, so instead she plotted, quietly, within.Inspired by God, she dreamt of a different world, faraway in place &time. A world where humankind had finally learned its lesson, where justice reigned for all: men & women living together as a community of equals.

But on waking, this dim remembrance of a beautiful dream made her all the more angry. And in a fit of rage at the barely perceptible possibility of it all, & to teach him a lesson, she decided to depart,& explore the other world of darkness. But before she left she said God's name, blessing Adam's future as she did so. And then quickly,before her resolve grew weak, she flew East.

Poor man Adam. Being addicted to her beautiful company, & in truth much weaker than he had ever cared to admit, he was now inconsolable.Having lost that part of himself which he had most taken for granted &which through his sense of ownership had made him feel whole, he considered life not worth living. Desperate, he cried out to Almighty.

Naturally God, being all compassion, felt great pity for Adam's predicament. But, at the same time S/He knew that unless Adam accepted Lilith as his equal, the world of humanity would never succeed. Then he told Adam this, the very same message communicated to Lilith before her flight: just as Lilith had been forced to accept his superior physical strength, likewise Adam must one day accept the power of the divine feminine as his spiritual guide. And, to finish the lesson God fashioned Eve from Adam's rib, so that he might one day, through his own mistakes, learn the true feminine power, great strength in the acceptance of vulnerability.

And so we are all of us the disillusioned descendants of Adam & Eve.Often fearful, and somehow lacking, we have in our desire to be in control made a desolate wasteland of this world. War, racism,ecological crises, the oppressive rule of property & the exploitation of the poor by the rich: all of these things are due to our joint fall from grace.

And men & women are yearning for the great power, courage & spirit which is Lilith, Adam & Eve together. Together they bring to communities to a new sovereignty, balance, simplicity & a sassy renewal. With them in our hearts, we can truly live; simple & free. To do God's work, going beyond sin & suffering, me, myself & mine. Finally, to make right the blood soaked centuries of patriarchy,hierarchy & all the capital punishment & pain that goes with.

Lilith is now returning to the world. Inside every woman & man she'll be felt & acted upon, bringing us to a sublime and ancient power through receptivity, wisdom, compassion & grace!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wishful Mantra

a mantra:
The world is good. (Breathe in)
The world is good. (Breathe out)
The world is good. (Breathe in.. Breathe out)

How can the world be good in the midst of all the bad?
Because atrocities are still atrocities.
Because normal folks take care of each other.
Because amidst conflict there is resilience.
Because mothers have to believe it is so,
so that they can justify their motherhoods.
They cuddle their babies close,
and whisper in their ears
"The world is good."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I can't get it out of my head. I knew I shouldn't have watched it. I couldn't resist. Maybe I wanted to feel whatever emotion was gurgling up to the surface. Maybe I wanted to feel political. Maybe I have a fascination with the macabre. Maybe I felt a responsibility to see it.

For whatever reason, I watched the Iranian girl bleed out in that 10 second on-line clip. And then I hit replay. And then I walked away from the computer. I felt like maybe I shouldn't have watched it after all, seeing as death - that death - should've been a private moment. I was embarrassed that I had exploited her very personal death moment, that I was all of a sudden part of the millions who would make her a martyr or a villain.

I don't usually want to watch those sorts of things - war and death and sprawled corpses- in reality. When the news announcer warns about graphic footage, I, as a rule, turn my head with the other children. I can't take it. I can't understand why people are so barbaric. My body literally rejects the reality of violent death.

I have to admit that I do watch CSI and Criminal Minds, shows that are fiction and that market murder and gore. But they are fiction shows. They are not real. But when I watched her die, I couldn't help but think that her death resembled ones I had seen on the fiction shows - the last breath and movement, the blood from the mouth, the nose, and then pooling around her body, the vacant stare, the helpless man desperately trying to stanch the inevitable.

There are actually those who question the validity of the video and suggest that it is a propagandist's attempt at emotional appeal for the Iranian protesters. President Obama referenced it reverently in his press conference, specifically when he addressed how the US would respond to Iran's attempt at democracy and how the protests and the Iranian government's response would "play out." The existence of the video of her death is now political fodder for both sides.

Fine.

But I'm more interested in the humanity (or inhumanity) of it. How do we live with ourselves? What is our responsibility when it comes to injustices? How can we determine what is authentic in a society that fabricates reality - when we can't tell the news from Criminal Minds?

Ignoring it all is the wrong choice. I know that. Dr. King often said that it is more egregious to ignore suffering and not take a side than it is to be on the wrong side. Living our lives pretending that people don't suffer is morally unjust.

I always err on the side of the oppressed.

But what is there to do? Prayer seems like a cop out sometimes, an action that justifies inaction.

What I will do today is acknowledge the humanity of the dead woman and try to respect her death, even though I feel as though I have violated her. Also, even if it is a cop out for not knowing what else to do, I repeat my mantra/prayer and whisper to my one year old, "The world is good. The world, Baby Jack, overall is good."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jib Jab Jab!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Welcome to the family, Shugs!
Thanks for putting up with my favorite Putz!
For more wedding type event pictures (including an airplane ride and birthday party), click here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wordy-Gurdy

My one-year-old son likes to find books for me to read to him. He drags them off of the coffee table and across the floor, and then lugs them into my lap. He says, "Dat." I understand he means, "Momma, please read this to me." I pick him up, cuddle him in my lap, and read. Usually, one time through is not enough for him. He hits the book and says, "Dis," which means,"Please read this again, Momma." I do. After three times through, I've usually had enough. He has not. "Dis. Dis!" he says. Sometimes I go through the book backwards. Sometimes I make up new text or try it with a new accent. Oftentimes I sing. Outrageously.

Mostly, I just turn the pages and say, "de de de de de de" or "fa fa fa fa faaa."

Why?

Because sometimes I get tired of words - reading them, hearing them, saying them, writing them. Plus it's all the same to him.

De-Comp is no exception to the word boredom and sometimes it seems that the blogosphere is indifferent to the meaning anyway. So, until I feel revived or my spirit is renewed, to you I politely point to the screen and say, "fa fa fa fa faaaa."

Home again, home again jiggety jig


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Deciding To Be Poor In Order To Be Rich

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I told the story about how my partner, Rich, and I met. It's the silliest story in the world, one that involves "just knowing" that we'd be together before we had even met, keeping a box of "Rich" trinkets - name tags he had worn, a sticker he had given me, and a napkin that represented the first time I touched his arm - hidden in my sock drawer, and then the first time we danced, or really danced around a conversation. What sicky-sweet, wholly endearing lunacy!

That story led to the one about living in a migrant worker shack, and selling blood to eat, and picking wildflowers for presents because we couldn't afford much more.. etc.

In my mind, these stories are highly romanticised. I see them as a time when I was happy and carefree despite having nothing or maybe because we had nothing. And yes, I do remember having to decide which bills to pay. I remember the sting of embarrassment when my credit card(s) were rejected when I tried to buy books for school, or when I had to count pennies at the gas station to see exactly where I had to stop the pump. If my car died or got towed, I wouldn't be able to drive for a month, or until I could save enough to get it fixed or un-impounded. The idea of actually going out to dinner was hilarious - as in Taco Bell was a date.

The great thing about this time in my life was I didn't consider myself poor. I knew I always had a place to stay (even if that meant going back home). I knew I wouldn't starve. AND I had so many friends in similar circumstances that we were creative in how we shared. We lent (read "gave" because there was no expectation of paying anything back, unless it was rent) each other cash - shared bank loans, crashed at each other's places, fed each other, and spent a lot of time simply hanging out because that was the entertainment we could afford.

Was this community?

Without going into too much detail, I had (I suppose) the opportunity to revisit my life pre-SUV, pre-responsibility, and pre-suburbia. I could imagine what living in community really could be, though I would have had to do it carefully with a one year old Baby Jack. I could almost concretely see my life in a community where I left all of my "comfortable" security (and the lonely solitude that comes with it) to be in a place where I had the time to "hang out" with people again. I would be vulnerable, exposed - two qualities that fly in the face of my culture's defining value of 'pulling yourself up by your bootstraps."

In short, I would have to sell back my version of The American Dream.

Please don't misunderstand. I'm not talking about patriotism here. I do love my country. It is made up of good, hardworking people. Somehow, though, I think we got a little bit distracted by what we could own, rather than seeing the value in what we have or can be. I absolutely am the poster child for the typical independent, self-reliant, white picket fence American. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but for me it isn't THE dream.

___________________________________________________
I applied to be an international teacher and was accepted into a program that will match me to schools in Europe and/or Latin America. Rich has proudly applied to be a stay at home dad - his dream. Though I'm eager to go RIGHT NOW (so much so that I am literally grinding my teeth together in anticipation and have sent cover letters and resumes and applications to at least 15 schools), I will probably have to wait another year. One year. Next year.

I'm not sure where we'll go. I don't know how we'll live without two incomes. I don't know what will happen to our 403B's or how fast we can sell everything we own, save our pots and pans and shoes. But we've made the decision. We're going. And I am so happy about the prospect of it all that I can hardly breathe.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

15 Books

The rules of this meme are:
Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

My reaction: (stunned silence and then whispered) Too many to count. (Standing in front of bookshelf) How can I pick 15? You're all important to me. I mean, there's you, and you; you, and oh yeah.. I remember you.. Cheeky Mr. Lawrence.. Hmmm.

SO, in no order other than I love them, here are some books that were written especially for me to read (at least it feels that way), some with excerpts because I am bad at following directions, and revisiting my darlings makes me very nostalgic. Read just the big print if you don't have the time:

1. The Portable Dorothy Parker - Dorothy Parker (You know you're my favorite.)
"There's little in taking or giving,
There's little in water or wine;
This living, this living, this living,
Was never a project of mine.
Oh, hard is the struggle,
and sparse is
The gain of the one at the top,
For art is a form of catharsis,
And love is a permanent flop,
And work is a province of cattle,
And the rest's for a clam in the shell.
So I'm thinking of throwing the battle -
Would you kindly direct me to hell?"

2. Candide - Voltaire
Go and work in the garden.

3. Cunt - Inga Musico
“In Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke says, ‘The highest form of love is to be the protector of another person’s solitude.’ That’s what I want. For other people to love each other without having to partake in them, to possess them, to allow them to be their own inside their solitude, to protect that. I wish people respected each other’s aloneness” (Kristen Kosmas, from Cunt 153).

4. Middlesex - Jefferey Eugenides

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

6. No God But God, The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam - Reza Aslan

7. Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
[Billy] came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this:

American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew backwards to join the formation.

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes...When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.

The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn't in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed.

8. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

9. Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris

10. The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
We're prisoners of war...Our dreams have been doctored. We belong nowhere. We sail unanchored on troubled seas. We may never be allowed ashore. Our sorrows will never be sad enough. Our joys never happy enough. Our dreams never big enough. Our lives never important enough. To matter.'

11. The Miracle of Mindfulness - Thich Nhat Hanh

12. The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
In Egypt, I loved the perfume of the lotus. A flower would bloom in the pool at dawn, filling the entire garden with a blue musk so powerful it seemed that even the fish and ducks would swoon. By night, the flower might wither, but the perfume lasted. Fainter and fainter, but never quite gone. Even many days later, the lotus remained in the garden. Months would pass and a [moth] would alight near the spot where the lotus had bloomed, and its essence was released again, momentary but undeniable.

13. The Awakening - Kate Chopin and The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath (What? They're small, so they count as one entry.)

14. Operating Instructions - Anne Lamott
She's tiptoeing into the very beginning of some sort of relationship with God, or with a higher power, or something, but it is very hard for her to believe...I recommended that she think of all of the women who have most adored her in her life and to come up with a sense of God based on that kind of love, on the same protectedness that it gives you to be loved by a really fine woman, a sense of some mysterious regenerative force at the center of things that is maybe just love. She said with great surprise, "I didn't know you could DO that," and I said, "Oh yeah, you can do anything you want, " and by this morning, she'd found a picture of a big cat licking a little cat. She's a great cat lover, and it stuck. So at the hospital this morning, as she sat in the doctor's office getting the chemo IV, and then as she sat around at home all day waiting to become Linda Blair, she said she'd picture this big cat licking her gently and carrying her in its mouth to safer places.

15. Beloved - Toni Morrison (especially the fixing ceremony)
"after fixing herself on a huge flat-sided rock, Baby Suggs bowed her head and prayed silently. The company watched her from the trees. They knew she was ready when she put her stick down.. Then she shouted, 'Let the children come!' and they ran from the trees toward her.'Let your mothers hear your laugh,' she told them, and the woods rang. The adults looked on and could not help smiling.

Then 'Let the grown men come,' she shouted. They stepped out one by one from among the ringing trees.'Let your wives and your children see you dance,' she told them, and groundlife shuddered under their feet.Finally she called the women to her. 'Cry,' she told them. ' For the living and the dead. Just cry.' And without covering their eyes the women let loose.

It started that way: laughing children, dancing men, crying women and then it got mixed up. Women stopped crying and danced; men sat down and cried; children danced , women laughed, children cried until, exhausted and riven, all and each lay about the Clearing, damp and gasping for breath. In the silence that followed, Baby Suggs, holy, offered up to them her great big heart.She did not tell them to clean up their lives or to go and sin no more. She did not tell them that they were the blessed of the earth, its inheriting meek or its glorybound pure.

She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they would not have it.

'Here,' she said, 'in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don't love your eyes; they'd just as soon pick them out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people, they do not love your hands... Love your hands! Love them! Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face... You got to love it, you!...

This is flesh I'm talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved... and the beat, the beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air...hear me now, love your heart.' Saying no more, she stood up then and danced with her twisted hip the rest of what her heart had to say while the others opened their mouths and gave her the music. Long notes held until the four-part harmony was perfect enough for their deeply loved flesh.[She] wanted to be there now. At least to listen to the spaces that long-ago singing had left behind."

If you read this (especially you who tagged me first: P-ta, Fougs, and Russell); TAG! You're it!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Define "Win"

It occurred to me the other night that I had sort of won, in a way. I've always been the girl who has been happy to play, with the understanding that the "results are not what matter, it's the experience.." That's the politically correct way of saying, "You probably won't win, Ginger, so how can we crush your spirit the least?"

I was about to say that it didn't bother me, not winning. But all of a sudden memories of not winning came flooding back, and it turns out I feel a twinge of bitterness at defeats like not making the final cut for the Lincoln Junior High School Junior Varsity Lady Warrior Basketball Team. I convinced myself that the reason I didn't make the team or the squad, or whatever the competition, was that I didn't really want it badly enough. If I had had more desire and dedication and was less interested in making Merek Rogers notice me, (so that someday I could become Mrs. Merek Rogers - specifically Ginger Rogers (glitter!))- then I would've won my spot.

So, I've won at something recently. I said in a previous post that I applied to be an international teacher. What I actually did was sign with a company that helps teachers find jobs in international schools. At the time I felt like it was a no brainer: Fill out lengthy paperwork packet, update resume, write two narratives, with these send in letters of recommendation, send in official transcripts and certificates, make Rich write something called a "spousal letter" and send it, and mail a check for processing listed materials.

I completed all transactions and checklists and was promptly notified that I was accepted into the company's program - stamp red 'APPROVED' on file.

Until the other night (and thanks to the clarity that Christine and Jamie often bring to the dinner table, along with magnificent pineapple pie), I realized what a big deal it was. What I thought was compiling paperwork and jumping through hoops was actually a company telling me that I'm worth representing- that when attending interview conferences, they recommend me for the job, and the schools who have read my file before meeting me understand that what they are looking for is a personality fit.

I should feel relieved - accepted - elated!

Unfortunately, what I feel is anxiety. Apart from this potentially being the biggest change in my life - definitely bigger than marriage and in some ways bigger than motherhood (changing cultural norms is like that)- I've made myself completely vulnerable and open to rejection when the personality is not a perfect match, or I'm not qualified enough, or if the money isn't right, or if my interview goes sour thanks to me not wearing the right pinstriped pencil skirt.

My life is good. I suppose that's the ultimate win. I love my family and my home. I very much value them. Probably I should find contentment here. Also, I understand that in leaving all of this, I'm taking my family into the insecure unknown and that is always scary. In this case, I think the experience of "going for it" is what matters, to an extent. But more than that, I very much need to win my spot. The idea of not winning - not finding my place - is very much spirit crushing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Whimsical Roughshod

Darlings,

Whimsy, I'm afraid, is on an extended vacation. Those of us who are close to her understand that really she's been in a terrible predicament - one called boredom (or is it fatigue?) - and she's so disenchanted with the YOUniverse that she's locked herself up in a boarded up house with no intention of coming out anytime soon.

What once was stilettos and music - glittery embellishments!- has given way to ramblesome talking heads and stunning anxiety inflicted by said heads who drone on about things like North Korean lunacy, Iranian anarchy, the death of popular kings, money money money money.. Not to mention it's unbearably hot outside.

It's no wonder she's locked away with no hope of inspiration in sight.

I know. I know. You roll your eyes and say, "She does this all the time, that Whimsy. She says she's done with the glitz, and then she unlocks the door soon after and sends one of these illegible, entirely translucent letters. Everyone knows what she's up to! Did you know I found a spec of glitter in the envelope?! _sigh_ What is there to do, really? What a scandal, she is!"

You're right, of course. The letter is the first step. But it takes sweet coaxing and a fair amount of patience to lure her out of her self-inflicted dungeon, to allow her to feel secure enough in such an insecure place, to emerge.

Until then may she be inspired by the likes of Lilith, who would not be held down by tyranny, and may Athena see to the injustices, both near and far, with a firm hand and an open heart.

Be patient, Lovelies!

-A. Ginger Moth

Adam and Even

by Mark Barrett
Because it is not good for humankind to be alone, in the beginning God created Adam & Lilith from the fire, water & air of the earth. One man& one woman. In God's eyes, different but equal, one & the same. But of course, humankind being as it is, Adam & Lilith soon began to fight.

She said, 'I will not lie below, & stop trying to control me!' & he said, 'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. Stop telling me what to do! For you must listen, & do as I say, because I am the stronger, superior one, & you are the weak.' Lilith responded,'Perhaps you are stronger, but my weakness is strength. Really I am better than you, for look at me, I am the more beautiful and gentle, a creator & nurturer of children.'

But when Lilith saw that Adam wouldn't listen to her, but rather used his strength to scare her, she became frustrated. She couldn't match him for physical strength, so instead she plotted, quietly, within.Inspired by God, she dreamt of a different world, faraway in place &time. A world where humankind had finally learned its lesson, where justice reigned for all: men & women living together as a community of equals.

But on waking, this dim remembrance of a beautiful dream made her all the more angry. And in a fit of rage at the barely perceptible possibility of it all, & to teach him a lesson, she decided to depart,& explore the other world of darkness. But before she left she said God's name, blessing Adam's future as she did so. And then quickly,before her resolve grew weak, she flew East.

Poor man Adam. Being addicted to her beautiful company, & in truth much weaker than he had ever cared to admit, he was now inconsolable.Having lost that part of himself which he had most taken for granted &which through his sense of ownership had made him feel whole, he considered life not worth living. Desperate, he cried out to Almighty.

Naturally God, being all compassion, felt great pity for Adam's predicament. But, at the same time S/He knew that unless Adam accepted Lilith as his equal, the world of humanity would never succeed. Then he told Adam this, the very same message communicated to Lilith before her flight: just as Lilith had been forced to accept his superior physical strength, likewise Adam must one day accept the power of the divine feminine as his spiritual guide. And, to finish the lesson God fashioned Eve from Adam's rib, so that he might one day, through his own mistakes, learn the true feminine power, great strength in the acceptance of vulnerability.

And so we are all of us the disillusioned descendants of Adam & Eve.Often fearful, and somehow lacking, we have in our desire to be in control made a desolate wasteland of this world. War, racism,ecological crises, the oppressive rule of property & the exploitation of the poor by the rich: all of these things are due to our joint fall from grace.

And men & women are yearning for the great power, courage & spirit which is Lilith, Adam & Eve together. Together they bring to communities to a new sovereignty, balance, simplicity & a sassy renewal. With them in our hearts, we can truly live; simple & free. To do God's work, going beyond sin & suffering, me, myself & mine. Finally, to make right the blood soaked centuries of patriarchy,hierarchy & all the capital punishment & pain that goes with.

Lilith is now returning to the world. Inside every woman & man she'll be felt & acted upon, bringing us to a sublime and ancient power through receptivity, wisdom, compassion & grace!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wishful Mantra

a mantra:
The world is good. (Breathe in)
The world is good. (Breathe out)
The world is good. (Breathe in.. Breathe out)

How can the world be good in the midst of all the bad?
Because atrocities are still atrocities.
Because normal folks take care of each other.
Because amidst conflict there is resilience.
Because mothers have to believe it is so,
so that they can justify their motherhoods.
They cuddle their babies close,
and whisper in their ears
"The world is good."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I can't get it out of my head. I knew I shouldn't have watched it. I couldn't resist. Maybe I wanted to feel whatever emotion was gurgling up to the surface. Maybe I wanted to feel political. Maybe I have a fascination with the macabre. Maybe I felt a responsibility to see it.

For whatever reason, I watched the Iranian girl bleed out in that 10 second on-line clip. And then I hit replay. And then I walked away from the computer. I felt like maybe I shouldn't have watched it after all, seeing as death - that death - should've been a private moment. I was embarrassed that I had exploited her very personal death moment, that I was all of a sudden part of the millions who would make her a martyr or a villain.

I don't usually want to watch those sorts of things - war and death and sprawled corpses- in reality. When the news announcer warns about graphic footage, I, as a rule, turn my head with the other children. I can't take it. I can't understand why people are so barbaric. My body literally rejects the reality of violent death.

I have to admit that I do watch CSI and Criminal Minds, shows that are fiction and that market murder and gore. But they are fiction shows. They are not real. But when I watched her die, I couldn't help but think that her death resembled ones I had seen on the fiction shows - the last breath and movement, the blood from the mouth, the nose, and then pooling around her body, the vacant stare, the helpless man desperately trying to stanch the inevitable.

There are actually those who question the validity of the video and suggest that it is a propagandist's attempt at emotional appeal for the Iranian protesters. President Obama referenced it reverently in his press conference, specifically when he addressed how the US would respond to Iran's attempt at democracy and how the protests and the Iranian government's response would "play out." The existence of the video of her death is now political fodder for both sides.

Fine.

But I'm more interested in the humanity (or inhumanity) of it. How do we live with ourselves? What is our responsibility when it comes to injustices? How can we determine what is authentic in a society that fabricates reality - when we can't tell the news from Criminal Minds?

Ignoring it all is the wrong choice. I know that. Dr. King often said that it is more egregious to ignore suffering and not take a side than it is to be on the wrong side. Living our lives pretending that people don't suffer is morally unjust.

I always err on the side of the oppressed.

But what is there to do? Prayer seems like a cop out sometimes, an action that justifies inaction.

What I will do today is acknowledge the humanity of the dead woman and try to respect her death, even though I feel as though I have violated her. Also, even if it is a cop out for not knowing what else to do, I repeat my mantra/prayer and whisper to my one year old, "The world is good. The world, Baby Jack, overall is good."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Welcome to the family, Shugs!
Thanks for putting up with my favorite Putz!
For more wedding type event pictures (including an airplane ride and birthday party), click here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wordy-Gurdy

My one-year-old son likes to find books for me to read to him. He drags them off of the coffee table and across the floor, and then lugs them into my lap. He says, "Dat." I understand he means, "Momma, please read this to me." I pick him up, cuddle him in my lap, and read. Usually, one time through is not enough for him. He hits the book and says, "Dis," which means,"Please read this again, Momma." I do. After three times through, I've usually had enough. He has not. "Dis. Dis!" he says. Sometimes I go through the book backwards. Sometimes I make up new text or try it with a new accent. Oftentimes I sing. Outrageously.

Mostly, I just turn the pages and say, "de de de de de de" or "fa fa fa fa faaa."

Why?

Because sometimes I get tired of words - reading them, hearing them, saying them, writing them. Plus it's all the same to him.

De-Comp is no exception to the word boredom and sometimes it seems that the blogosphere is indifferent to the meaning anyway. So, until I feel revived or my spirit is renewed, to you I politely point to the screen and say, "fa fa fa fa faaaa."

Home again, home again jiggety jig


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Deciding To Be Poor In Order To Be Rich

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I told the story about how my partner, Rich, and I met. It's the silliest story in the world, one that involves "just knowing" that we'd be together before we had even met, keeping a box of "Rich" trinkets - name tags he had worn, a sticker he had given me, and a napkin that represented the first time I touched his arm - hidden in my sock drawer, and then the first time we danced, or really danced around a conversation. What sicky-sweet, wholly endearing lunacy!

That story led to the one about living in a migrant worker shack, and selling blood to eat, and picking wildflowers for presents because we couldn't afford much more.. etc.

In my mind, these stories are highly romanticised. I see them as a time when I was happy and carefree despite having nothing or maybe because we had nothing. And yes, I do remember having to decide which bills to pay. I remember the sting of embarrassment when my credit card(s) were rejected when I tried to buy books for school, or when I had to count pennies at the gas station to see exactly where I had to stop the pump. If my car died or got towed, I wouldn't be able to drive for a month, or until I could save enough to get it fixed or un-impounded. The idea of actually going out to dinner was hilarious - as in Taco Bell was a date.

The great thing about this time in my life was I didn't consider myself poor. I knew I always had a place to stay (even if that meant going back home). I knew I wouldn't starve. AND I had so many friends in similar circumstances that we were creative in how we shared. We lent (read "gave" because there was no expectation of paying anything back, unless it was rent) each other cash - shared bank loans, crashed at each other's places, fed each other, and spent a lot of time simply hanging out because that was the entertainment we could afford.

Was this community?

Without going into too much detail, I had (I suppose) the opportunity to revisit my life pre-SUV, pre-responsibility, and pre-suburbia. I could imagine what living in community really could be, though I would have had to do it carefully with a one year old Baby Jack. I could almost concretely see my life in a community where I left all of my "comfortable" security (and the lonely solitude that comes with it) to be in a place where I had the time to "hang out" with people again. I would be vulnerable, exposed - two qualities that fly in the face of my culture's defining value of 'pulling yourself up by your bootstraps."

In short, I would have to sell back my version of The American Dream.

Please don't misunderstand. I'm not talking about patriotism here. I do love my country. It is made up of good, hardworking people. Somehow, though, I think we got a little bit distracted by what we could own, rather than seeing the value in what we have or can be. I absolutely am the poster child for the typical independent, self-reliant, white picket fence American. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but for me it isn't THE dream.

___________________________________________________
I applied to be an international teacher and was accepted into a program that will match me to schools in Europe and/or Latin America. Rich has proudly applied to be a stay at home dad - his dream. Though I'm eager to go RIGHT NOW (so much so that I am literally grinding my teeth together in anticipation and have sent cover letters and resumes and applications to at least 15 schools), I will probably have to wait another year. One year. Next year.

I'm not sure where we'll go. I don't know how we'll live without two incomes. I don't know what will happen to our 403B's or how fast we can sell everything we own, save our pots and pans and shoes. But we've made the decision. We're going. And I am so happy about the prospect of it all that I can hardly breathe.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

15 Books

The rules of this meme are:
Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

My reaction: (stunned silence and then whispered) Too many to count. (Standing in front of bookshelf) How can I pick 15? You're all important to me. I mean, there's you, and you; you, and oh yeah.. I remember you.. Cheeky Mr. Lawrence.. Hmmm.

SO, in no order other than I love them, here are some books that were written especially for me to read (at least it feels that way), some with excerpts because I am bad at following directions, and revisiting my darlings makes me very nostalgic. Read just the big print if you don't have the time:

1. The Portable Dorothy Parker - Dorothy Parker (You know you're my favorite.)
"There's little in taking or giving,
There's little in water or wine;
This living, this living, this living,
Was never a project of mine.
Oh, hard is the struggle,
and sparse is
The gain of the one at the top,
For art is a form of catharsis,
And love is a permanent flop,
And work is a province of cattle,
And the rest's for a clam in the shell.
So I'm thinking of throwing the battle -
Would you kindly direct me to hell?"

2. Candide - Voltaire
Go and work in the garden.

3. Cunt - Inga Musico
“In Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke says, ‘The highest form of love is to be the protector of another person’s solitude.’ That’s what I want. For other people to love each other without having to partake in them, to possess them, to allow them to be their own inside their solitude, to protect that. I wish people respected each other’s aloneness” (Kristen Kosmas, from Cunt 153).

4. Middlesex - Jefferey Eugenides

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

6. No God But God, The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam - Reza Aslan

7. Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
[Billy] came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this:

American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew backwards to join the formation.

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes...When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.

The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn't in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed.

8. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

9. Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris

10. The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
We're prisoners of war...Our dreams have been doctored. We belong nowhere. We sail unanchored on troubled seas. We may never be allowed ashore. Our sorrows will never be sad enough. Our joys never happy enough. Our dreams never big enough. Our lives never important enough. To matter.'

11. The Miracle of Mindfulness - Thich Nhat Hanh

12. The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
In Egypt, I loved the perfume of the lotus. A flower would bloom in the pool at dawn, filling the entire garden with a blue musk so powerful it seemed that even the fish and ducks would swoon. By night, the flower might wither, but the perfume lasted. Fainter and fainter, but never quite gone. Even many days later, the lotus remained in the garden. Months would pass and a [moth] would alight near the spot where the lotus had bloomed, and its essence was released again, momentary but undeniable.

13. The Awakening - Kate Chopin and The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath (What? They're small, so they count as one entry.)

14. Operating Instructions - Anne Lamott
She's tiptoeing into the very beginning of some sort of relationship with God, or with a higher power, or something, but it is very hard for her to believe...I recommended that she think of all of the women who have most adored her in her life and to come up with a sense of God based on that kind of love, on the same protectedness that it gives you to be loved by a really fine woman, a sense of some mysterious regenerative force at the center of things that is maybe just love. She said with great surprise, "I didn't know you could DO that," and I said, "Oh yeah, you can do anything you want, " and by this morning, she'd found a picture of a big cat licking a little cat. She's a great cat lover, and it stuck. So at the hospital this morning, as she sat in the doctor's office getting the chemo IV, and then as she sat around at home all day waiting to become Linda Blair, she said she'd picture this big cat licking her gently and carrying her in its mouth to safer places.

15. Beloved - Toni Morrison (especially the fixing ceremony)
"after fixing herself on a huge flat-sided rock, Baby Suggs bowed her head and prayed silently. The company watched her from the trees. They knew she was ready when she put her stick down.. Then she shouted, 'Let the children come!' and they ran from the trees toward her.'Let your mothers hear your laugh,' she told them, and the woods rang. The adults looked on and could not help smiling.

Then 'Let the grown men come,' she shouted. They stepped out one by one from among the ringing trees.'Let your wives and your children see you dance,' she told them, and groundlife shuddered under their feet.Finally she called the women to her. 'Cry,' she told them. ' For the living and the dead. Just cry.' And without covering their eyes the women let loose.

It started that way: laughing children, dancing men, crying women and then it got mixed up. Women stopped crying and danced; men sat down and cried; children danced , women laughed, children cried until, exhausted and riven, all and each lay about the Clearing, damp and gasping for breath. In the silence that followed, Baby Suggs, holy, offered up to them her great big heart.She did not tell them to clean up their lives or to go and sin no more. She did not tell them that they were the blessed of the earth, its inheriting meek or its glorybound pure.

She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they would not have it.

'Here,' she said, 'in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don't love your eyes; they'd just as soon pick them out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people, they do not love your hands... Love your hands! Love them! Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face... You got to love it, you!...

This is flesh I'm talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved... and the beat, the beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air...hear me now, love your heart.' Saying no more, she stood up then and danced with her twisted hip the rest of what her heart had to say while the others opened their mouths and gave her the music. Long notes held until the four-part harmony was perfect enough for their deeply loved flesh.[She] wanted to be there now. At least to listen to the spaces that long-ago singing had left behind."

If you read this (especially you who tagged me first: P-ta, Fougs, and Russell); TAG! You're it!