Monthly Archives: January 2015

A safe place

If you go back to my first posts you will find them pass word protected. The reason for that is that at the time I was stuck in the middle of a melee of the sort where women behave badly against each other. I was receiving threatening calls at home, and by email, people were speaking cruelly and irresponsibly about the group of women I was working with at the time.

It was ugly… it was a very brutal demonstration of how women love to rip each other apart. It is sick, and I say that as I admit to having done that very same thing,

I don’t understand why this happens. It is almost a cruel joke. My mother might argue that it is how we keep our behavior in check. We won’t behave outside a norm for fear that we are gossiped about or something like that. Though I think she has witness women being nasty to other women as well, and would admit it is a curiosity and even cruel.

So, this is my new safe place. I have to be honest and say that I am not 100% fond of WordPress… mostly because it is not where I began my blogging life… it is not where I chronicled my pregnancy, my life as a new mother and a human navigating a cruel world. I have a loyalty to where it all began, though it is more out of pure sentimentality I suppose.

I wonder if I should import everything here and just change homes?

I just want more freedom to write honestly and I just can’t do that over at my original home.

This is why.

I probably should not post here either, but it is every so much harder to follow anonymously over here.

I want to keep this up, I  want to rant, vent, celebrate, express gratitude.

Well, I will place an intention… and see what happens.

made_at_www.txt2pic.com

I hate this blog

Not really…

I actually love this place. I am just not happy here right now.

I have written in it for over 10 years.

It chronicled my pregnancy and the birth of Squink. It watched the early years of his growth and my trying to figure out how to move it out of being a mommy blog into something more.

There was the year I tried to love poetry, still don’t.

There was a feeble attempt at food blogging.

At the forefront, though, has always been something that I would call my story.

The funny thing is that it took my cancer diagnoses to change that.

At one point this blog became about other people. 

It took a triple lecture from my mother in text, email and phone call form to change the way I look at this place.

The lecture was about how I had offended my aunt because I hadn’t thanked her enough in these pages.

I was told that it had been explained and that she understood, but three messages/lectures about one incident about how I had failed here are hard for me to recover from, at least at this point,  Especially since I know they still read this.

I try to write something but each time I ask myself who is going to get offended this time.  I can’t do it, I have 68 drafts sitting in my folder waiting to be published or worked on. This place was not about making other people happy, it was supposed to be a place to write. Making other people happy is not what I wanted this place to be about. I can’t do it that way. Since I can’t seem to get past that and the sense that somehow what I write is or can be rude or offensive or even (at best) insensitive… 

Oh, I was just trying to work out my gratitude for how many people helped me… nothing more… The thing is…, I am not mad… I feel like I am just not good enough to do this anymore.

This situation (above) happened right on the tail of a post in which I chose not to include my husband, mainly to protect him and to make it about my son and I (yes, that was selfish)… he was hurt and having to manage his hurt feelings was hard, but I deserved it. In the case of my husband, I was wrong… I should have asked if I could include him and didn’t… . but in the other I was not.

This was supposed to be my journal, my thoughts, my stories, my ideas… and now they are terrified of hurting someone else’s feelings, having to deal with more emotional upheaval, being at the end to more lectures holding my behavior to a certain standard, more hurt feelings (my own included). 

But what can I do?

I hated the year I only wrote about poems, it was so anonymous and sterile. but it seems that is the only thing I can try to do anymore. I love my family too much to risk it.

I met some really wonderful people through this blog. 

I miss that part of this… 

However, in the interest that no one gets hurt by reading this blog, I am keeping this proverbial mouth (blog) shut. At least for now.


“You should try not to talk so much, friend. You’ll sound far less stupid that way.  ~ Breeze”
~ Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn: The Final Empire

For the children’s sake

Today I went to a luncheon that was started by a family that lost their son/brother to the ravages of addiction.

As I listened to the mother and sisters make impassioned pleas for support, I thought about how I would feel if I lost my son… not just to addiction, but to anything. Considering that I was close enough to that when he was a new born, I felt the mothers anguish. Then as I thought about how the young man was only in his mid twenties, I wondered how that must feel if it happened now or ten years from now, or even twenty years from now… painful is what I could answer.

Following that, I began to consider what my parents must have felt when I called to give them my news.

I started to feel a little sick to my stomach. Just in anguish.

I thought about my mothers gasp when I called her, and my fathers silence when I called him.  I noticed them, but only slightly… I was so wrapped up in my own extremely feeble attempts to try and manage the news.

To call them and share the news that “I have cancer” was hard. And to now be able to put myself on their imaginary end of the phone line was pretty horrifying…

What would I do if Squink called me with such news… not a question… the mere thought brings me stomach pain, a heavy heart, my breath stuck in my throat.

Our children are not supposed to die, they are not supposed to get seriously ill, to suffer.

Life is pretty ridiculous, and I say that because in spite of everything,  it all results in death, and we humans become so attached to each other, that the death part becomes un-natural to us in a way.

And I am not trying to be-little it, I am more trying to wrap my head around it.

People we love get sick (be it cancer, addiction, heart disease, depression, leprosy…) and they die… and we have to deal with the mortality of the ones we love… and the pressure of things when it is your children who are going through the process, well it must be intense and I don’t think it ever gets any easier.

When we were asked if we wanted Squink to be given last rights, that was a tough moment. We understood that he was not a healthy baby, that he could die…. THAT was intense. Schatzy and I went home and prayed, we felt helpless and when that happens you turn those feelings over, they become outside of self.

So that is all I can say, getting that kind of news must be devastating, as devastating as it is to get and be aware of the news about yourself, but somehow I just know that no matter what his age, I would take the news from him far harder than I think I might if the news were about myself… and neither would be easy.

poetry of deliberate awkwardness

One of the things with the notion of love is that there is a form of reciprocity that is involved  -  and yes, this is a generality… I can already think of instances where love is not expected to be reciprocated.


I love heart shaped rocks

I love road runners

I love Ecuador

I can say that I am pretty darn sure none of those love me back, (though I have an internal argument that countries/cities/regions can love someone but that is not really relevant to today’s thoughts) but that is not the kind of love of relationships.

I love my son, I am sure he loves me back.

I love my family, I am sure they love me back.

I love my friends, I am sure they love me back.

However…

Lyric Poetry, painted by Henry Oliver Walker (Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington D.C.).

Many of us do not take the time to notice and acknowledge how beautiful we are as humans.~ unknown

So, here is where I can say that in general I am really hard on myself. I don’t know that I am a beautiful human… I would like to think I am, but I can’t verify that I am with any certainty (you could ask my mom, and she would say yes, but she is my mom and of course she has to believe that…). 

If we have beautiful on one end of a spectrum I really can’t say that I think I would be on that end. If we have a  complete spectrum of beauty I can’t say that I would be on an end or even in the middle.. since there is something in the way we approach beauty that runs from good to bad that in some sense one part is better than another.

It is pretty sick, isn’t it. 

I mean, I look at my family, all my family and I am just wowed by how beautiful they are. I just can’t manage to apply to to myself.

I saw this Ted talk  and it struck a chord, though I think he may too easily dismiss duty in terms of love… but, I do think he has something in his ideas about loving the deliberate awkwardness of being human.

I am most definitely on a scale that measures that.


The Language of Silence

I am almost always the first to wake up in the house.

Usually, I manage to open my eyes before the first of the two alarms I have.
I listen to my house. I listen to the street outside my window. I listen to the ping of my automatic coffee maker. I listen to my husband sleep beside me, and I listen to see if my son is waking up in the other room.
On rainy days, I listen to the drops of rain against the window.
I look for the signs of morning. Rays of sunshine streaming through the windows, the light on the carpet in the hall next to our room.
I sit up and reach to grab my robe from the foot of the bed and wrap it around me. I swing my legs to step onto our cold floor. I putter towards the kitchen, grab a mug and set it on the counter. I putter to the fridge and open it to get the half and half. I open the carton, as I swing around back to the mug and pour enough in to just cover the bottom of the mug. I put the creamer back and swing back to my mug, pick it up and carry it to the coffee maker, which has already started and is seconds away from giving me the refuge I seek. Once my mug is full, I cradle it between my hands, feeling the warmth. I hold it up to my face and inhale deeply. I love the smell of coffee and cream. I think about the farmers who raised my beans, who milked my cows and give them gratitude.
I putter back to my bed, stopping along the way to peek in on my son, and smile at how gentle his ten year old face looks in the early morning light, the light dusting of freckles on his nose and cheeks. I watch his chest rise and fall for a bit and continue my way back to bed. I set my mug on my bedside table and push my pillows up against my headboard and slip back under the covers sitting up. Once I am comfortable, I pick up my mug and take another breath to inhale its aroma. I take a sip.
I enjoy the silence, the brief respite from life in that moment.
I pick up my phone and check emails, both work and personal. I check the news and open up Facebook and Instagram to see what the previous day brought…. I wait until I hear the alarm in my sons room go off, when I will get up and help him with breakfast.

And as I do these the speed of life picks up and moves along at an ever increasing pace… and won’t slow down until the next morning when I wake up.

Originally published at https://medium.com/@blair_necessity/the-language-of-silence-531433a88d93 on January 12, 2015.


Love, American style

Do you remember that TV Show?

 I mean what is not to love about a show that depicts comedic American love stories using a flugelhorn to highlight it? It made silly out to be the root of romantic love.



I actually was only privy to summer re-runs when we would visit the US, but growing up overseas lent itself to think of America as some sort of different place, where EVERYTHING happened differently. That would include love.

 Aside from my childishly absurd notions that Americans had a different kind of love from elsewhere in the world… I have always been fascinated by this “emotion”, love.

 Of course, I am not the first. Those dead old white dudes (the Greek philosophers) did a pretty good job at trying to define it. But in all my years pondering the whole notion, I felt like they had missed something. Of course, this depends on who you listen to… but in general there are four Greek words for love… though some claim that there are six words.

Source


But the notion of love has always been interesting. There was a post in the New York Times that struck a chord. The idea that love can be induced in a clinical setting with a clinical method seemed intriguing.

 As I pondered the idea of being able to make two people fall in love, I wondered if this “test” was more about being vulnerable and honest rather than that there was a method to allow a couple to fall in love… I mean, that I was curious about what these questions would do outside of a “couple” type setting — what would happen if a parent and child followed the regimen, for example. Surely love was dependent on certain pre-sets. A willingness to fall in love, an attraction to the other individual at its root (which begs another question on attraction identity could this method allow gay people of opposite sexes to fall in love, for example), and even the mood at the time of the “experiement”.

 So, in a fit of my orneriness and willingness to buck systems and not follow “protocols” I decided to ask my husband and son the first set of questions.

 It was interesting. I learned things about each of them I never would have imagined, though nothing so significant that it induced a stronger feeling of love or something of that nature. However, it was a nice conversation and no one seemed bothered by the questions. 

I stopped after the first set of the questions in part because I had asked them in the car as we were on a family errand and the errand had come to a close, but also to think about how that portion had gone… plus, the second set includes a question about how you feel about your mother and that is an interesting question to ask a ten year old son (I would need to adapt the question in terms of intent, but how to capture that same essence… I mean, mothers have a pretty profound role in our lives for the bad or the good).

 So, it seems (at least on the surface) as if those studies tend to focus on fostering the eros end of a love spectrum, but since I seem to see that it is about being willing to be vulnerable that there should be more cross-love application… meaning it could create something in maternal our wifely love as well. 

I have yet to try the 4 minute staring part of the experiment, but I will. 
Though it reminds me of a boyfriend I had in college that asked me to do that with him, stare into each-others eyes for a few minutes, and it seemed too intense to try at that time… especially since I hated being looked at in those years (think bangs over the face) and would not have that kind of protection. I would have felt too vulnerable.

 However, and perhaps this is the thing I have sensed was missing — its that for all these words describing different kinds of love, and for all these questions to help one fall in love… isn’t there one word, one thing, at the root of each of them that crosses all these definitions and actions and if so, what is that? What causes all of these things to be classified under the word love.

 What does that mean for love?

Revisiting 7 and then 8 – and perhaps a dash on 9 – Find the Beautiful

Revisiting 7

I suppose my last post was a bit premature, though it was true. It is amazing how something gentle can shift everything, even if it is only temporary.

After my post, I went to a meeting for an organization I belong to. I expected to get lots of hugs and inquiries about my health and my status. I was looking forward to thanking people in person for their kindness, but felt shy about the possible attention.

The hugs were nice, the kind words and gestures were appreciated. I was glad to have gone and it was not as much of a burden to my shy side as I thought it might be,

But at the end, as I was walking away.  One of the friends who was there often for me asked me how I was and I replied with my usual. I am good, lots to be thankful for, one day at a time. She grabbed my arm and said lets sit and tell me what you mean by this one day at a time thing? 

I was stunned, she had latched on the the subtle nuance of such an expression and knew that my words were far cheerier than I felt. 

So we sat down, and I tried to explain that navigating the whole thing is complex. Yes, I fully see that there is so much that is good but that there is still the tough that needs to be dealt with. Being told you have cancer is more complex that I had thought, especially given the provisions that no chemo or radiation is needed, like those somehow would allow (key word here is allow)  someone to feel like shit. Please don’t think I am trying to diminish chemo or radiation and that people who have to go through that are somehow exception in some regard… because they actually are exception. What I feel like I am missing is permission to grieve this process and that my grieving is allowed to be more than just sad.  After I feebly tried to communicate these ideas to her, I just looked at the hands in my lap and said, I want to be allowed my pity party, I just don’t know how.

She touched my arm and said you are allowed a pity party and I want to be invited, lets go get some wine together soon.

It was so beautiful being allowed to feel this way instead of being held to strict gratitude. My heart filled with something, I would hope it was grace. 

I am not sure she knew what I was talking about or understood what I was trying to say, but she asked and then listened… holy moly… what a gift. She asked, she allowed me to tell her something closer to the truth about how I am feeling, In a world dependent on daily platitudes (“How are you?” – “I am OK”) it was mind altering to pass that realm and move in to more of the brutal truth.

It is part of the dynamic between celebrating that I don’t need chemo or radiation or that my tumor was so freakishly small AND the whole truth in that it was fucking cancer and it robbed me of some things that I held dear. I am grieving.




I don’t think I am headed to deterioration. I know I will be fine, but this is a part of what has happened and is happening to me. I own it. 

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”  ~ William Shakespeare

Then 8

After the sincere gesture of my dear friend, I felt more lighthearted yesterday. It was a busy day, work with extra duties, rush to help Squink finish his homework, a school meeting for an exchange program, and cub scouts.

I was too busy to notice much more than the heaviness of my surgery site.

A dash of 9

We all woke up early, and in good moods. I even served Squink some oatmeal and let him eat it in bed. On my way to the kitchen, I noticed how amazingly pretty my orchid plant was. 

It was beautiful. 


Squink was beautiful. 



My family was beautiful. And somehow everything else seemed less important.

Life is beautiful – 6 & 7

Yesterday was tough, it is a tough spot right now. 

In my attempt to find the beauty, I failed… I mean, I had that poem, but I really found it the day before… and the rest seemed average and even hard.

It all, life, feels sorta like that – hard. 

I feel completely helpless in some ways (some very new ways) because I am just in a state… angry, mad, desolate to name but a few and all of them in one big huge swirling mass of emotional baggage.

I have no patience for this kind of nonsense. I have too much to do.

And, people keep calling me back to earth and reminding me that my behaviour is inappropriate. Which adds to this feeling of mixed mass emotions swirling and boiling and festering. Shame, I suppose. I am better than being an angry person.

I have moments of average, and when I see my son or husband I can claim joy. But that seems so selfish, in a way, to allow my son and husband to be my bringers of joy… what a HUGE burden to place on them. Guilt, I suppose. 

I am trying to remember to breathe, to mediate, to pray… but the words that come to mind when I do this are hard, and angry, and as my family reminds me… inappropriate.

I have and see so much to be grateful for, but these crazy emotions are so difficult to manage. 

How does one throw themselves a gentle pity party?


So let me conclude by stating that I suppose that the beauty I was able to find is that (#6) I am alive and (#7) I have people who love me. There is comfort in that. But, there is a tinge of insincerity in my heart with these right now. impatience, I suppose. 

The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within – strength, courage, dignity.  ~ Ruby Dee  

My favorite line is = POEM: wild geese

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.” 
Mary Oliver

find the beautiful 5

I am kicking and screaming

I am angry

I lash out

I don’t know where else this could be coming from

damn cancer

and so, to try to slay this angry beast, I looked round me trying to find something beautiful.

here is what I have…

there is a certain kind of light that I have only ever witnessed here in the desert

it comes at sunset, in winter

it is a light that makes our mountains purple instead of brown

that seems to bear a reflective quality like that of burnished gold.

that was the beautiful I saw today

and here is a terrible picture of it…

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”   

~ Rabindranath Tagore