I can pretend talk to Lena Dunham and Anne Lammot. That is so much better than definitely not talking to anyone awesome and sitting around thinking about how I still have no paying work even though ALL I DO is try to get paying work. I feel a certain kind of rage that I WANT TO and CAN write so damn well for ANYONE HELLO and yet silence
like middle school.
Hmmmm? What did you say?
Also made nicer looking flyers and spent hours putting them up / killing trees / polluting environment with selfish desires to work
-everyone ' um like, you can't post that here. we can only take NON PROFIT flyers, mmm. (head lean) sorrryyyyy. '
-me ' ok '.
they will be sorry when i become a street walker and stand outside their ESTABLISHMENT with a sign that says FOR PROFIT WHORE
i keep reading good smart deep amazing writers and i feel better for the time i am reading them until i stop and realize again I HAVE NO JOB
then i watch great tv like Girls or Game of Thrones (P.imp.) and feel better for the time i am watching them until i stop and then i realize I HAVE NO JOB
this is the first time this has ever happened to me in my adult life.
i never have done such a thing. i have never been put in such a fucked up position.
'fear is like a bear trap for a momma and her children' said someone on my facebook.
thinking of Ever going from birth forward with me 24-7 and then suddenly over a weekend not with me all day five days a week. no easing in. no warning. right at the height of attachment and separation anxiety. just boom. no. no. no.
where was my jon cusack speech when i needed it?
where was my john hughes moment?
fuck you eighties. you tricked me!
things i like right now, that may or may not like me back:
game of thrones
that song 'we are young' that isn't actually called 'we are young'
how ever rubs her belly and sways when we take off her clothes and we say in our best Austin Powers voice 'sexxxyyy' and she laughs
how dakota always tells me that if someone says something fucked up to me i should just say west coast and how ridiculously happy it makes me that i raised a kid that means this IRONICALLY and yet not in the best way
smooth pale ale beer with home made burritos with black beans (99cents at 99cent store! organic! ) avocado, cheese, yellow pepper roasted with olive oil, sauce. droooolll.
ian helping me make my flyer for childcare and mocking me for not being scary enough in my discipline techniques
ian watching movie with me friday night and falling asleep in my room and sleeping all night
ever getting upset and bending at the knees and throwing her hands over her eyes and rocking her head back and forth while crying. NOT DRAMATIC AT ALL
ever's butt. it is the cutest butt of all time. thank you, kanye.
The New York Timesreviews OC87, a movie about a story very common but not often told, the devastating event of mental illness rearing its head in person's twenties, completely transforming the landscape of their life. I have to see this.
Mamapundit is marking the anniversary of sweet Henry's death by asking her audience to share their stories of addiction to pills and getting clean .
Last night Ian and I entertained Ever with this bizarre hilarity for a little bit and then she was asleep on my breast and Ian and I watched Herzog's documentary Into The Abyss and Ian fell asleep and I sat in the dark room with Herzog's gentle accented voice asking questions and fell in love with the truth of the warden who said ' and once you are all up in there in your life, you do watch the birds ' and told us the story of Live Your Dash: The dash is the line on your tombstone between the day you are born and the day you die. That's it. That's all you get, that's your life right there, that dash, how are you living it?
The warden has a trembling stumbling voice and bright clear eyes and a slightly chubby face that trembled and turned a wildflower shade of pink as he recounted how many death row inmates he helped strap down, ' over 125 '. He quit, lost his pension and quit, because he couldn't do it anymore. ' No one has the right to take a life '. That's what he came out of that job with. His dash and his new life, as he said.
Everything is only once, I live in that neurotic's energized awareness of this truth, and with my babies this is hyper-so. Never again will I get to watch Ever be 17 months and learn to love and trust and see the world, never again will I so completely and totally be able to tell her how to interpret what she is seeing and hearing and experiencing of the world. Never again will the very essence of how she lives her life be forming, raw and pink and red and tremulous and beautiful and utterly and completely poignant for it's totality of innocence and openness. We are given this gift in our children, the gift to be stewards of the making of their brains and souls and bodies. We are watching a supernova be born, we are watching something as breathtaking and fragile and combustible and miraculous and beautiful as a star being born in the few first years of our children's lives. I absolutely believe in that. It has shaped my decisions since I had Dakota at 19. ' to hold stardust in our hands ' we do, we do. When Ever is watching two people talk, and their voices raise, and one person shakes his hands and his wedding ring slides around his finger, and Ever looks at me, and I respond with a measured voice and gentle eyes and say ' They are fighting, yes. It is OK. They are angry. They have loud voices, but it will be OK. You are with Mommy right now. ' She is learning so many things. This repeated experience allows her to hear anger and not feel immediately terrified or upset, to observe what she is seeing and look for signs of concern. By my reaction she slowly learns that human beings do argue and get angry. She is learning that she is safe with me. She is learning that when she communicates, with her raised eyebrows and expression of concern and maybe a vocalization or hand gesture, that she will be understood and responded to with compassion, and this in turn teaches her how to respond to others.
I watch people talk and move and live and I think how deeply moving it is that we do. I watch Into The Abyss and mourn the death of spirit in human beings. When you see it begin to go, or that it is gone, it is an 'endless aching void'
Ever is lying on the bed next to me. She is asleep. Later Ian, Ever, Lola and I will go down to the store and print out flyers for my childcare. I am getting licensed in the next few days. Dakota is on the East Coast with my mom for ten days, with family, on the seashore. I miss him already. West Coast, sweetie, if you are reading this, I love you- and West Coast.
in the back of the mouth ( whose mouth whose mouth ) brushed last night, flossed this morning rinsed with bright aubergine i swallowed spines of sea creatures, made mincemeat twice beat clean. you hollered from a bedroom ( whose bedroom whose bedroom ) your feet dangling off the frame my hand dipped this one in motor oil, this one in vinegar and flame i whipped dinner, spanked the floor clean stuck head in the toilet, flush to drain. in the back of the mouth ( whose mouth whose mouth ) a seed lay popped in an empty gum two days later the thing erupted and burnt the skin off my tongue. lalala, you trilled from the couch who is so smart now? lalala i killed the mouse, two hands grip the cow.
Part of what we do as parents is decide acceptable risk.This is so easy when they are small, an almost cruel set up to the later years when our decision making includes the biology of Uncle Gary's drug addiction, teenage drivers crash more frequently with teen passengers, you CAN get pregnant when on your period, the damage they will do to themselves vs. the damage done to them by others and other various ongoing and mind boggling considerations. It's much easier to decipher risk/reward when it comes to crying it out, what foods are best and other small people subjects. Except.
Except when it comes to their safety.
My family on both sides is Southern. I was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Hello, Maggie May. Growing up, my own parents each had the respective run of their neighborhoods, including both the small and modest homes up and down the tree thick streets and the vast expanses of woods around. My Grandparent's house had a wonderful backyard- a vast green stretch of tall grasses that abruptly ended in a line of trees, and a path, straight through. My mother and her brother and sisters ran through town, ran through the forests and streams and played in the soggy green and blue lakes. I've heard many stories about childhood romps and games from my mother and Uncles, and the year we moved back and lived in Mississippi- I was ten- I found myself sliding from ropes into large mud puddles, jumping off hot tin roofs and splashing in the backyard stream. Like my mother's childhood, there were rules, but no adult to enforce them. One of the rules all the kids in my mom's neighborhood knew was to never, ever play in the abandoned rowboat floating on the lake. Sure. My mother's brother, David, was fourteen when he and two friends made their way to the lake on a sweltering Jackson afternoon. My Dakota resembles David- the Gardner jawline, the large blue eyes bright with intelligence, carved cheekbones and high lines of ear and forehead. I've seen pictures of David at that age, practically moving off the page with boyish exuberance, lust for life, beauty. He wore long shorts and high socks and had a proper short haircut. His shirt was tucked in and his belt slim. He took off to the lake with his friends, and played in the rowboat, and he drowned in that Mississippi water.
I spent my Grandmother's life wondering if she blamed herself. She wouldn't talk about David. The few times his name came up, she began crying silently, nodding her head 'no'. I don't know if she accepted that children all played free range those days, if she believed she had any other option in that wild Mississippi forest. I don't know if she thought it had been an acceptable risk. I know it wasn't an acceptable loss.
Playing in a lake is a clear and controlled choice- compared to the hotbed of information we have today on the possible dangers to our children, it is downright simplistic. It is the nature of our society today- gobsmacked with information, statistics and you-tube accountings of all and every type of experience- to talk about everything, and it is also the nature of our society today to be unable to put anything in perspective. So we are convinced that brain eating amoebas are as relevant a danger as car crashes.
Lenore Skenazy is the author of the blog and book Free Range Kids and became a nationally recognizable name when she was infamously published that she let her seven year old son ride the subway alone. Recently she has been surrounded by more controversy over her newest off-shoot, Take Your Kids To The Park and Leave Them There This movement is a day in a community where parents bring their children ages 7 and up to a local park and leave them, alone, until they come home on their own violition. The idea behind Skenazy's park day, according to her own press, is to promote activity, group play and lessen the 'real risk' of obesity, not obsess on the highly unlikely risks that something sinister will happen to your child. On Dr. Drew, when asked about the possibility of abduction or child on child molest (one of the most common forms of molest) Skenazy was frustrated- " ..that every time children go outside and play it has to be something sleazy.." Dr. Drew countered that in his line of work, he can't help but notice how common molest and sexual assault is. When Skenazy pointed out that " 90% of sexual molests happen in the home " Dr. Drew quickly clarified that the actual statistic does not say 'in the home' but says ' happens by a person that the child knows.' This can be a person in the home- or a tutor, a friendly adult seen every week at the ice cream shop or a relative. Skenazy's final point was that we let our children ride in automobiles daily- the number one cause of childhood death- and accept that risk. Why, she argued, isn't the less likely chance our child would be molested or abducted a reasonable, barely statistically significant, risk?
You're asking the wrong person, I thought, sitting on my bed next to my ten year old daughter and 17 month old toddler. Meaning- me. If you are asking me, I'd tell you I'm neurotic about car crashes and think about them more often than I care to admit. I hate letting my children go in large steel cages that fly through the air next to other large steel cages driven by pretty much anyone- drunks, elderly people who shouldn't be driving, teenagers with no experience- it's insane that these people are allowed to operate heavy speeding machines next to my children, and yours. But I still let them go in cars. I still drive. And I keep my mouth shut about my fears, and just tell my kids to buckle up. Why?
Because it's an acceptable risk. Because modern life depends on car rides. Jobs, college, family and friends, hobbies- most everything that has meaning to us also includes, one way or another, driving. Unless we are the small percentage who live in towns without freeways, or are Amish. I want my children to live a rich, full life, and driving is inexorably woven into the fabric of our entire society.
But going to the park alone at seven? Is not.
I can teach them about independence one small step at a time. I can let them play 'alone' without sending them quite that far away. Moderation is possible. I know that sexual assault and abuse is much more common than is reflected in the statistics, I know this in my gut. I know it from a lifetime of listening to friends- both male and female- recount their experiences of child molest to me; some stories small and upsetting and some enormous and grotesquely horrible. These things happen all the time. How far an assault goes is directly affected by the access. When I was right around seven, I was in a bookstore with my mom and sister. I stepped away from my mom and sister and walked to an aisle by myself, browsing the books. A man approached me, with a brown mustache and tight jeans and a shirt tucked in, and he quickly and briefly cupped my vagina through my pants. I stood perfectly still. I was not sure of what had just happened. The man smiled at me, and did it one more time. This time, I began walking toward my mother, and the man walked away. I never saw him again. I'm glad I wasn't there alone.
What do you think?
As I work on replacing this commenting system with one that works, I have had a few people tell me that if they load the entire Flux Capacitor page, vs just this one post, they see the comment button and can comment. FWIW. xo
I am looking for submissions: do you have a photo that looks like one thing but is another? A photo that shows two children hugging who seconds later were pulling each others hair, a photo that shows a distant looking couple actually in the throes of an affair? Full Disclosures is a new site full of the strange lies photos can tell. Launch date soon!
Submit your photo and accompanying essay no longer than 500 words to
you wake me up with your smucker face, a red fat cheek and one blue eye- or maybe the other eye, the one mostly hazel, like your daddy- and you tap your tiny chest and say in that cartoon baby cute
voice tootsyaiyyy which is your word for nursing. i press my breast into your mouth and your face relaxes into such complete trust and comfort and love that i feel the surge of gratitude and joy i get every morning when you wake to nurse. i lie and watch your face like a million mothers are doing, and sometimes i think of joy and peace and dreams come true and sometimes i remember illness and death and injury and i hold you closer.
you are still a part of me. the little mammal how she stays under the momma, next to the mommas skin, on top and over and sits with her naked bum on my chest and slaps open palmed on my breast, with a laugh! you are inching away, so slowly but not so slowly, only a year from now you will have begun to truly claim your body your space. now, you fit yourself as you lay inside of me, upside down, and slap my thighs. mama, you say matter of factly. then quicker, with a laugh, mama! and i am completely and totally happy. any time any day that i can look at you and find relief from even the worse of life's stress.
i read once, in a long snarky meme about parenthood that went viral, how attachment mothers are so attached: LOOK OUT! the word such a sneer. the point made with such a shudder. for selflessness is now a joke and motherhood of the primal body and spirit such a mockery and we are ridiculous strange mutants who populate empty bodies and live only for our children. instead of those of us whose bodies and minds and hearts are so swollen with gratitude for life and so keenly aware of it's brevity and cruelty and so sharply in line with it's few comforts that we live and die by these things: the comfort of the physical body, the joy of the bonds made deep and true and as strong as a sailor's knot, the powerful salve against life's most dangerous waters, love made action. i am not waiting for death knocking to make life a daily meditation of what matters.
when Ever was hospitalized she was one month old. one month and day two, could not nurse. watching her face turn weakly toward my breast, eyes fluttering, and her mouth to exhausted to latch on, was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. was i watching her die? i did what i know to do. i held her wires and tubes on her chest, feet, legs and arms don't move more than a foot away with her, the warning, i held her i sprayed milk into her mouth and every night when the nurses pretended like they couldn't see me in the dark hospital hallways i climbed into Ever's pod and slept next to her, legs drawn to my chest and my mouth moving in song. mr. curry on the chair in his upright, sleepless sleep.
somethings are routine and these things are supposed to be the foundation of our lives, what is most important to function. so these are: brush teeth, eat food, work, clean, dress, pay bills. so this is: holding my children. sleeping with my children. sleeping near my children. nursing my children. picking up my children when they cry. touching them when they worry. the little mammels like this, their pocket sized selves born with such large heads and enormous brains and absolutely helpless to prevent anything or attempt anything or even ask. our bodies are made for shelter, breast and belly and arms. our bodies are made for our babies and our lovers and our packs.
this is why my seventeen year old son is having a bit of a heartbreak right now and i look over from this computer screen and see three of my four children sleeping: 17 months, 10 years, and an almost man boy who is man enough to bungee jump, take multiple trips across the country to different places without family, travel far by bus, handle difficult teachers and aggressive men by himself, but also knows that if he needs solace in this world there is always a place to lie his head. one day he will be lying like this, over 6 foot of him, next to his own children and his wife.
Ever you are new love, a spring day, a rose blooming in your mouth and cheek and the sky and mountainsides in one and the other eye, two different colored eyes for an girl who is already so clearly her own spirit and will be, despite the baby of the family and the youngest of four, a force to be reckoned with. you curl off of me like a caterpillar from a frond and i find you playing happily with pans and toy cars and bags of lentil beans. every night as you drift off to sleep with your sweet breath against me i am forcefully drawn into gratitude whether i like it or not.
I am gobsmacked in love with Lena Dunham. Not even 30 years old, she has created a series, Girls, that has, only three shows in, already emblazoned itself into our pop culture and announced not only the arrival of a brilliant new show, but the arrival of a brilliant new mind. Lena is the shit. She created Girls, wrote the entire first season alone and plays the central character, Hannah, with a unique possession that I can't take my eyes of off. I love to watch her; her face is fascinating, the curve of her mouth and expressive eyes, the way she gives a tiny shake of her head when something isn't sitting right, the completely believable emotional stupidity and staggering self absorbency that a woman in her early twenties can enter into when nothing has claimed her heart- no unplanned baby, heart wrenching love affair, serious disease or death, passionate absorption in some intellectual pursuit- the only stake in Hannah's life is her friends, the three of which the show revolves around. She wants to be a writer and it will be interesting to see where the show goes with that- how much of a writer Hannah turns out to be. Already, an episode centered around a brutal, public revelation from Hannah's diary, and the 100% realistic internship that Hannah was let go from after asking for a salary. When she inquired if she could still send her manuscript for the editor's looksee, he turned her down without missing a beat. Hannah's shocked hurt resonates beyond that one scene and is in fact, part of the template for her character.
Lena, on the other hand, is passionately absorbed in writing and truth telling, and her genius is absolutely undeniable, ballsy and welcomed by me with open arms. After too long without, Girls has come along and announced itself as an entity with that 'it' factor that a television show must have to be great- when intelligence, writing, plot, acting, soundtrack and every detail all come together to create a piece of artwork that one can be immersed in, without a misstep. Girls is that. When the episode ended with Hannah and her best friend dancing in their room after a shitty, confusing day, and the music was perfect, and the credits rolled, I sat in the dark cave of my room, tangled up in my sheets with my toddler sleeping next to me and luxuriated in the feeling of finding something in this world that made me feel less alone. And in case you missed that, I'm not in my twenties- I'm 37- and I'm not a single girl in the big city. There is a commonality for women in this show that resonates like the best of eighties movies- an emotional chord being struck with the careful moments of music and honesty that open the door inside the witty banter and brilliant observations.
Critics are already at the door, baying about lack of cultural diversity, the disgusting and depressing sex, self absorption of the characters. All of which is true, and none of which has anything to do with how great the show is or how much viewers will love it. This kind of art is about accessing common humanity in the form of seriously great writing and a unique, strong voice. It's not about right or wrong but authentic or not. In my twenties I spent some time feeling like I was missing out on the life of the young and sexy, because I couldn't stomach random hook ups or sex with someone I didn't know intimately outside of the sheets. It took me a long time to realize that my friends who were fucking around were mostly having horrible sex with people they didn't really like that much. The mystical 'great night of amazing sex' with a casual boyfriend was like an urban myth. It happened...somewhere, to someone. Just not anyone I knew. The girls I knew in my twenties often had never had an orgasm and spent their time during sex completely focused on turning on the guy involved. An opening sex scene in Girls where Hannah is flopped unceremoniously onto her stomach while her 'boyfriend' grabs a condom and then pops into her during casual conversation is about as sexy as paint drying, and reflects not only the insecurity of a young woman but the clinical online porn nature that modern sex has been tinged with. It is depressing, but it's real, and it's good for us to see it and better for us to talk about it.
The critics who are decrying the lack of cultural diversity have a point, AND they are completely overlooking the diversity that IS present in this show. Hannah's body is not the culturally approved gym/yoga/juicing body of a girl in her twenties, but instead is pasty, un spray tanned, doughy, with diminutive unplastic breasts and a juicy belly and thighs. Her face is not a symmetrical stamp on a magazine but an entreaguing shifting assortment of characteristics: adorable, puzzled, deeply hurt and insecure, defensive, confused, intelligent, observant, loving... a wonderful and charming face that while is capable of being pretty, is so much more. When Hannah's 'boyfriend' pulls at the fat on her stomach and asks if she'd ever been on a diet, you look at that charming face of Hannah's and think of all that women feel and think about themselves and want to die. That's great T.V.
Lena Dunham is a gift to American pop culture and Girls is a home run, if it lasts one or five seasons. Lena you are the shit.
It’s an interesting thing in this culture what we choose to keep secret.- Lena Dunham
I've been writing this blog since 2008. I've been writing since I was 5 years old. I cannot say that writing is my favorite thing to do anymore than I could say that my hands are my favorite things to use to open doors. Writing is the most natural and authentic extension of myself into the world that I claim, outside of mothering my children. I have set out to be many things and let go of all of them: model, college student, medical transcriber, speech therapist and once in my very early twenties I almost accepted a job modeling lingerie at a steakhouse. Despite my fierce intellectual attempts to be detached from imposed moralities, I could not tell the woman in the dressing room that yes, I would love to model the pink zebra striped three piece set for monied customers starting next Friday night. I write not because it is any one thing, I write because it is what I do. 'Working hard' at writing was a concept that came late to me, unlike many of my high school newspaper column writing friends, I could not stand to write about the games, SAT classes, the use of school funds at rallies or what computer programs would be beneficial for college. I felt a physical repulsion to using words for structured, emotionless communications. Sick to my stomach and feeling a high excitement known to teenagers across the world, I would hide out in all my classes and write poetry in my mind, short stories, exposes of friends before I knew what an expose was. Glancing at a human face brought and brings clusters of words across their defining features, clusters that form into sentences and phrases that I hear repeated in my mind: high and unforgiving arch to the roof of her mouth, where she imagined a penis would thump when looking for a more warm and inviting claim / dominance, he knew, was the theme of this man- look at his eyebrows! they were repulsive but clearly in control / her freckles stuck together in miserable clumps across the top lip / i knew i wouldn't like you because you have your brother's ears
I suppose this is the inner dialogue of a writer. It has always been my reality. If I don't write these things down, I feel sick. If I feel sick, I'm even more neurotic than necessary. So I write. And I feel ... better. I feel how I imagine a mathmatician feels when the numbers all fall together and the path toward a solution suddenly lies clear and beautifully obvious. I have always wanted to write for a living because writing is the only thing I have ever done for any period of time that does not leave me heavy with feeling that I am doing the wrong thing. I am half disgusting sentimentalist and half reductive pragmatic, so it must be the sentimental part of me that believes I am going to be allowed to do what makes me feel whole, for a living.
A belief I have not only held but actively fought for since 2008. Not only continuous and relentless writing in many forms, but actively pursuing promotion and payment. *
I left my day job, as you know. I have had moments of pure self hatred since. I have four children. I HAVE FOUR CHILDREN. I left for my child. I could have stayed for the same reason. What motivates one person to another and why cannot always be fully understood, but we have to trust our own motivations...or perish in miserable emotion and self doubt. So I have prayed. And gotten four hours of sleep a night, but still, I fought to have faith. While I was in that metaphorical rowboat in the middle of the ocean, I fought to stay afloat. I have been spending every second I can, when not at work, applying for work. And day after day, nothing.
Not one single email.
Writers before me had the empty mailbox. I have the empty inbox. It is the most depressing list: email after email, none of them related to writing or a job.
And I felt that I might have been wrong forever. I felt the things we feel: ashamed, forlorn, lonely, abandoned, miserable, rejected, dejected, stupid, talentless. I thought maybe I have been a god awful, terrible writer all these years, and I am just such a colossal idiot that I Have No Idea. I suddenly hated all my friends with a passion and went to my email to send them furious and hurt emails about how friendship is based on being honest, and if they couldn't tell me I was no good, I couldn't be their friends anymore.
And in my inbox was the blinking light of a writing job.
Tomorrow, that job could disappear. It's not supposed to, I don't think it will, but these things happen. But my crisis of faith is gone. I realized the crisis was not as much about my talent or lack of, but about my belief, acquired mostly in adult life, through reading, that hard work pays off eventually.
If this job disappears, the clarity and faith it restored will not. I will persist. I will work hard. I will work harder than that. This job doesn't pay enough so that I can do it and it alone- not even close!-but It. Pays. It pays in the message.
Just make sure that the next time I freak out like this, I get another job. Or I won't believe, and I won't clap, and all the fairies will drop dead.
this is the world as i understand it where electricity in all it's invisible power is turned off- or almost. almost: every month, the notice: Pay Now or Pay Later, or something like that. We Pay Now and Later, either way there are enough warnings and calls to take the entire month of April and choke the life right out of it, Spring and it's chicks and flowers.
if we are on a see-saw, then you are the fat kid, flinging us into the air with your mean mouth covered in chocolate, cram another Spring Egg into that pie hole, you Spring chicken gutless jerk. i am tired of bills that are never paid and love never fully bloomed and eggs never laid and all this work, work, work.
this is the world as i understand it a ludicrous leveraging of dwindling resources a pocketbook thin to empty and a credit card charged to the max with interest rates no human woman could ever hope to pay off, which means unless something really new and different happens this is never going to end.
Have you read Surfacing? It's a stealthily devastating novel, beautiful and horrible and exhausting and exotic and bewildering and interesting and deep and true and dark. It is about the dark layers of water and land, the loamy soil farthest down where bodies sink to decay and be threaded with worms, it is the sunken black blue socket of ocean floor where light is only from the bodies of strange, alien creatures that mystify and terrify. If you could read my face you would read a novel like this today. Today I run my fingers across the bottom and because I have children I think, I would like to lie there, not: I will lie. I will lie down and rest now.
I'm so tired. I have no complaint that is better than yours or worse than what could be, only the steady and slow decay of hope that life will get easier. I had to quit my job.
I had to quit.
When I birthed Dakota at 19 and held him, nursed him, took him home to lay next to his skinny little newborn body, I said one thing over and over, a fierce promise against the past and for a life of connection, I said I will not leave you. I will not leave you. This meant a million things, it meant I would not let him cry itout- what comes out?- it meant I would not use words to hurt him and turn my back, it meant I would not leave him as a baby or toddler. Over the last seventeen years it is, to my remembrance, the only line in the sand I have drawn. I will do work I don't want to do at places I don't want to do it, I will put up with rude co-workers and miserable conditions, I will work overtime and I have worked outside work, on the side, all to make it happen. What we do. But.
I told Mr. Curry, before we were married, there were just a few things he needed to know. Just three.
One of those things was that I would not leave any child of mine in daycare or preschool, nor be separated from them daily, before they were at least 2, or 3. Everyone has their touchstones. Everyone has their demons. Everyone has their secret reasons. I cannot leave my children in the care of another person all day when they are very small. It kills a part of who I am. And if that is dramatic, so be it. It is the same reason I could never have an abortion. Not because I don't think anyone should. Because I know myself, and I know I can't. It's because there are few things I am solid on in life, and one of them is that when my children are babies and toddlers, I need to be with them, and they need to be with me. Whatever sacrifices we have had to make in order for this to be true, all were worth it. The connection between my children and I is a daily, living, powerful thing, not something that surfaces only with disaster or heartbreak. It is a connection that I make with working class hands day in and day out from the moment they are born, it is a connection made of human sweat, tears, exhaustion, laughter, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual love, and it is forged inside of time. Moment after moment after moment, strung together until they are similar to atoms, DNA, building blocks, every turn of Ever's head for a baby's silent questioning about what she is seeing or hearing; I am guiding. I am doing. I am loving. That is a mother, to me. That is what I know is a mother, and the promise I made myself and my son 17 years ago has come home again and again, arms full, as I raise four children.
I had an agreement at work that I could stay with Ever. In the baby room. Something we verbalized during the pregnancy with the baby I lost, and I reconfirmed with Ever's pregnancy, something that was confirmed to me by another person in management only months before. Before now. Before a week ago when I was told that I could not take care of her anymore. So technically, the agreement held. I was technically in the same room as her. But really? In reality, I would not be her teacher anymore, and not in the same room as her most of the day, as her schedule and mine conflict as we come in and out of the room from stroller rides, outside time, big room time, onward. Most of the day is spent with her gone from me. I was told in a room full of babies and other adults, while I was changing a diaper. When I gave my two week notice, no compromise was offered after I explained my reason. I've worked at this place a long, long time. I've loved many things about this job. At times, this place of work has helped me kindly.
As I thought about what to do, the weekend passed. I went back to work. A coworker in another room entirely noticed that on that day, I had Ever with me, when I wasn't supposed to, per the new groups and schedule. She shooed Ever with her hand, ' Come on Ever, let's go back to where you belong, in Group XXX. ' Um. Hell no. I shooed Ever back. Coworker got shaky, squeaky voiced, red faced. Why, she demanded to know - and her voice was demanding- was I not following the carefully crafted schedule that had been set up. She didn't know that one of the teachers in my classroom had gone home sick, or that half our class hadn't shown up for work that day, and the other teacher and I could not 'keep out groups'. But it was none of her business to know this, or not know it. It's not her classroom. She's just that type of person. She's also the type who met me and decided I needed to be taken down a peg. It never fails to amuse me SO MUCH how I meet women who become pissy with me because they think I have such a great, easy, blessed life, with my husband and four beautiful kids and my job where I bring my baby and whatever else they see. Knowing nothing about my life other than snippets they see or hear. Knowing nothing of the backbreaking work is has taken to keep this all going. Knowing nothing, they judge and their judgement is 'needs to be taken down a peg'. This coworker went directly to my supervisor and complained- I would bet my nails on it- that I was spending too much time with Ever. That was part of the reason why they decided to do the change.
We had a meeting to discuss 'what happened' and if I wrote down a transcript of what was said, you wouldn't believe it.
SUPERVISOR ' So we are here because xxx happened, correct? '
ME ' Yes '
COWORKER FROM HELL (to supervisor) ' Yes well I was incredibly concerned that your well crafted plan wasn't being followed, I mean, when I work somewhere I care about the entire place, not just my own classroom, I'm dedicated to the preschool, I know how much time and effort you put into this elaborate plan and it's such a good plan and I couldn't stand to see it not followed, I just didn't understand... ' And on and on like this, for a good five minutes. I looked out the window. It was a really pretty day. I saw the raven that hangs around with one leg. He's so cool.
SUPERVISOR ' Yes well I know you tend to have your level go up quickly when you are upset, '
(this to CFH)
ME ' ???? '
SUPERVISOR ' But really you should come to me when you have a thought like this. '
COWORKER FROM HELL ' Oh well I get that but AND HERE SHE BASICALLY REPEATS VERBATIM HER ENTIRE SPEECH SHE SAID A MINUTE AGO. '
ME Looking out the window at the trash truck passing by. Ever loves trash trucks.
SUPERVISOR (to both of us) ' Yes well we will be sure to follow the schedule though, right. Because that is the point, they have to get used to other teachers. '
COWORKER FROM HELL ' Yeah if Ever is attached to your hip all day that's not good, she won't transition.'
ME ' I can't hit people. It goes against my religion. I mean, I'm not religious, but if I was, surely assault would not be OK. I like the IDEA of religious values. So I'll abstain. '
So that's how that went. Never mind the fact that toddlers don't get used to anything MONTHS BEFORE it actually happens. They can't retain shit, anyone who had taken a single child development class can tell you that. It's why they say don't tell small kids that someone is going to die months before, because they won't retain it anyway. Or if you move. Same advice. Same reasons. Ever is 17 months. She has a long way to go before I had to worry about moving her to the two class. Also? Lola, same parenting, was put into full time preschool at 2 and half and transitioned seamlessly, never even CRIED. That's what happens when your kids are ready. Also? Ever was not attached to my hip all day, not even close.
For example: The next day at work, I left Ever and three other todders with my supervisor to go on my break. A little girl who is really attached to me cried her eyes out the whole time I was gone, and Ever didn't even blink. Because she feels safe. Because she is safe. She runs around and plays and LOVES it there.
As Mr. Curry spent days talking about what to do- or not- I went to work on Friday, and this happened: a coworker who has a baby in the baby room had a supervisor come in, assert herself, take over naptime, and assumed control of putting said coworker's baby down to sleep. He cried for a half hour. Screamed, they said. As the supervisor, who my coworker's baby doesn't even know and isn't familiar with, 'put him to sleep.'
What did you do?I asked her. She shrugged and sighed. Tried to not hear it.
I knew then. I had to quit.
You know I"m nursing her, right? A toddler. I nurse her to go down to nap, around noon, sometimes a bit earlier or later, and then again when she wakes up. And most days that is it. But it's enough. I have no doubt that nursing a toddler, even in the corner behind cribs with a blanket over her head, is bothering someone ( not naming here ) enough to be an issue.
Damnit, damnit, damnit.
One more week to go.
I am looking for a job twofold: one as a nanny, bringing
Ever, another telecommuting, online, as a writer, editor, social
mediasta, et al. Whichever comes first. I am looking at the applications as they slip through
my hotmail account into the black hole of the internet. I get no
response. I spend hours crafting cover letters for jobs that I would
love to have, and ones I would just take, anyway.
One more paycheck.
PS I'm so sorry my comments aren't working. Every week I get emails and FB messages that you can't comment, and honestly, it's making me really bummed out. I miss you guys, I miss your voices, I miss talking shit out with you. All my settings are correct, so I don't know what the problem is, and I can't pay someone. Trying to get someone who can help me figure it out.
"Poetry has nothing to do with poetry. Poetry is how the air goes green before thunder. Is the sound you make when you come, and why you live and how you bleed, and The sound you make or don't make when you die."- Gwendolyn MacEwen
"Her looks fading, the vain Lispector became increasingly reclusive and demanding. Addicted to cigarettes and sleeping pills, she exhibited erratic and sometimes imperious behavior. She would call friends in the middle of the night and flee dinner parties for little apparent reason. She had a reputation for being a liar."-<em>NYT on Clarice Lispector
My dear child, who can tell? One can only tell that, by remembering something which happened where we lived before; and as we remember nothing, we know nothing about it; and no book, and no man, can ever tell us certainly.
Some couples don’t ask much of one another after they’ve worked out the fundamentals of jobs and children. Some live separate intellectual and cultural lives, and survive, but the most intense, most fulfilling marriages need, I think, to struggle toward some kind of ideological convergence. Norman Rush