Monday, March 30, 2009

THIS IS MY LIFE...LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT: 66 steps...

THIS IS MY LIFE...LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT: 66 steps...

My sister the Poet, the Professor, wrote this beautiful poem today... she says she can't write, but she can. And I think she captured perfectly the essence of our 33 years climbing those 66 steps to my parent's apartment, the top floor of a fourth floor walk up that had a ground floor lobby. So really, five flights. Sixty-six steps.

It's a lot to contemplate, as we adjust our lives to our new reality... the reality that Poppy may not be able to climb up and down those 66 steps... that they may have to move...

We went to see an apartment today. I liked it; I thought it could work although it had a few drawbacks. But I don't think it's "the one". And mostly I don't think it's "the one" because I could sense BigBear's distress rising. It's not "the one" enough for her to get over the fact that her life will change...

...so we keep looking...

We all went to see Poppy afterward. With a haircut and nice pajama bottoms he looks almost like himself... he's figured out how to knot the bottom of the extra pants leg on the inside so that it doesn't drag. He told us how they exercised him and had him practice life skills.

The Professor is fascinated by the "phantom limb" syndrome. Me, I'm mostly accepting of what is... it's funny that the "what is" doesn't really bother me but I am sad over the loss of "what was". Mostly I'm sad that Poppy has to go through all this... I wish he didn't have to.

But on the other hand, it's so nice to have him back, and it's SUCH a relief that he's not in pain. BigBear and the Professor recounted the last month to him, and it's pretty much a blur to him.... mostly marked by pain. I am so thankful to God that the pain is over.

But he's not belly-laughing yet. I'm sure he won't for a while... but when he does, that's when I know we're really going to be OK.

I love my Poppy.

...And Other Random Ish

...that's going on while there is major upheaval, is stuff like....

...but wait, maybe they are really questions.... like....

  • why is it that when you start to "reorganize" things look worse than when you started???? My monitor died. It prompted some pulling out of computer equipment from under my desk which in turn prompted some vacuuming which in turn prompted the realization that the monitor was deadern'a doornail which prompted the thought that perhaps it's time to finally go Mac for my creative shit which next prompted the idea that I should begin to consolidate and back up the equipment I do have which next prompted me trying to organize my desk which prompted the realization that a folding "shaker-style" bookcase I had laying around would make a pretty good hutch if placed on top of my desk. Except that meant I need to reorder some stuff and clean out some files and now my corner is just a fucking shambles.

  • why is that when I start a project I can't really finish it???? This prompted the thought that I think I really do have adult ADD. I always thought that it was that I worked in circles, but now I realize I just have ADD with a touch of OCD. So if I'm not completely consumed I lose interest quickly. Shit. I texted this revelation to the Fabulous: "I think I have ADD."
    And he texted back "You do :)". Which in turn prompted the question

  • what the hell kind of a relationship is it when you only text each other? And why am I so addicted to his? I kind of don't mind that we don't talk on the phone that often. As I remarked earlier I'm not a huge phone person anyhow. And when ever the Fabulous and I DO get on the phone, no shit we stay on the phone at least 4 hours. Which is why I don't call him. And it's usually me who calls anyhow... but I just don't have that kind of time. But if I don't get texts from him I get distraught. It's like having a Jiminy Cricket. And we have these elaborate and intricate text conversations, in which all kinds of deep artistic insights are revealed. I enjoy the hell out of him. And there are times when I miss him terribly. But organizing the time to see him and crossing boroughs to meet somewhere always seems so daunting. And I wonder why it is that whenever he shows up in my life it's usually when my life is in complete disarray, and while I have no problem dragging other people in my shit, for some reason I always feel incredibly guilty at the thought of dragging him in. And so I never do. I dunno. I worry that my need to "clean up" is a time waster and that I'll lose him again to some dark-eyed Spanish chick who's name starts with "M" (cuz that's usually what happens) and that thought really distresses me. Yet, the thought of having a REAL everyday physical relationship is kind of like having the thought of getting into a work groove; I can't do shit until I clean up my desk. So then I wonder... suppose I never clean up my desk? What then?

  • why is it that when it rains it pours? When you're broke is when shit breaks down??? I can't use my washing machine for heavy duty anymore... which requires $10-15 I don't have to go to the laundromat. The spring in the dishwasher hinge broke the other day, and this reminded me that the 10+ year old appliance is probably due to break down ANY SECOND. And I don't use the dishwasher all that much, but when I do it's cuz I really need to. And then of course my monitor just DIED. Just went black. I had two PC's hooked up to that monitor, and I can't see shit/can't get the networks started/can't find or print my resume... which I need to do since CNC actually got me a lead on a job. Shit.

  • why does it feel like there is never enough time in the day? Why am I so overwhelmed??? Maybe I really do have ADD. Can you develop ADD in your adult life if you didn't have it before???? Or did I always have it? And just never figured it out?
Well... that's enough of that. I need to go to bed. Poppy said so. He called RIGHT I was about to "publish" my last post. Talk about being able to feel each other... but anyway he said I need to set my bedtime at least by 3A. That's pretty reasonable, I think...

But Life Keeps Rolling Along...

...despite the turmoil. On the whole, I think Poppy's doing OK.

Of all of us, I think the most like him. I can feel him, the way the Professor feels BigBear. It was funny to me, though proof that I can feel him, that today at about 2 in the afternoon I had the sudden overwhelming urge to call him. Y'all gotta know something about me... I'm not a big phone person. If I get on the phone with someone I adore I can stay on for a minute. And there are those folk--mainly BigBear and the Professor, that I can call frequently. Bigbear is the only one I can stay on the phone with easily for an hour, the Professor next. Then there are folk who call me regularly, mostly forgiving of the fact that I rarely actually call them. Those would be ShoeFly and CNC. There are those I call when the Voices scream and that's mostly the FatLady, though it used to be BeautifulHair. But 98% of the time I don't really like the phone. And I don't often get urges to call folk. It's why I LOVE Crackbook, and texting. I can stay connected without having to be on the phone.

As much as I love him, I don't often talk on the phone to Poppy, and when I do it's usually cuz I'm the one who's stressed. So it was kinda funny to me that I needed to call him, right then. And I did. It turned out he was having "a moment". Today was a gray day, which didn't help, and he was feeling a little tired from the OT they're putting him through. And he was feeling a little discouraged about feeling tired.

Poppy, like me, expects most things to come easily, because they usually do. And it can be a little bit of an adjustment when we actually have to work for something until we get used to the idea that it will be work. Learning how to work to learn something new was my big epiphany at Pratt, but I still understand that initial feeling of "Oh shit. Can I really do this?"

But I think I was able to help Poppy not be so hard on himself; to realize this was the beginning of something rather than the end of something else. At least I hope I was... I told him it was my payback for all those nights he sat up with me as a kid, when I had severe asthma and couldn't breathe...

I have always loved my Poppy. He was always my hero, my rock. He was never the biggest or baddest Poppy out there, but he was certainly the smartest damn Poppy, and funny, and steady, and always there. Always. And I never ever liked when he was mad or disappointed in me. We rarely had major fights or periods when we warred... whatever teenage animosity I had was generally directed at BigBear but even so that wasn't much. But I never ever liked to disappoint Poppy. The thought of him merely "wiggling his eyebrows" at me in disgust kept me from doing more stuff than I did. And whatever I did do that would disappoint him, he'll never know about. Neither will BigBear, since it was always a guarantee that she would tell him.

There was a time during my teenage years when I wanted Pro Keds and colored Lee Jeans cuz everybody else had them, and I was a little annoyed that Poppy--committed to an artist's life--didn't readily have funds to buy those things for me. But on the other hand, it made me resilient, and I found ways to get whatever it was I wanted--on my own steam.

The only time I really remember demanding anything from him was my senior year in High School when I wanted to go on my senior trip, and I wanted a high school ring. A gold ring cuz I didn't see the point of anything less than 14K gold. And I know he must have hustled...but I got them. I don't know that I ever told him how much I appreciated that he did that for me, but I did. And to this day I still regret that I lost that Goddamned 14K gold high school ring in a cab less than 5 years later.

It wasn't till I hit my late 30's and committed to some sort of an artist's life and completely committed to parenthood that I truly understood the depth of what he gave us, the Professor and I. He gave us self-confidence and resilience and the ability to roll with the punches. And he did this without making us hard. Liquid steel core in a velvet sheath. He always says his regret is that maybe he made us a little too strong... that he had assumed the men in the world would be stronger than they are and would appreciate strong women. But I know that had he taught us any different, had I been any softer there's no way in hell I would have survived the shit I have.

Had we been any less resilient, we would have fallen apart a long time ago.

Not to say that BigBear didn't have anything to do with it... because she did. But Poppy's ability to sit back and let her grow into the BigBear she ultimately became (cuz really, she didn't start out that way at all) let us see what being a strong man really means. Although I always found it highly amusing that he was pretty demanding of her as a husband... both the Professor and I joke we never would have married him cuz he expects her to to do a lot of stuff. But at the same time, I've realized that a lot of what my mother tolerates from my father, she does so out of love.

I realized this one day at the hospital when he snapped at her, and she merely smiled, even though I bristled. "Poppy's back" is all she said...

Poppy always says he married her because he thought she'd support him as an artist... he thought she had money. She kind of came from a "brand-name" family. He told her he would never love her as much as he loved his art. She said that was OK, she loved him enough for the both of them. By the time he figured out she didn't have any money, it was too late. Over time she proved she supported his art in other ways. They both say they have stayed together 40 something years because he was too lazy to leave and she was too stubborn to quit.

But the other day Poppy told me that the Friday he had the bypass, as he was coming out from under the anesthesia he had a dream that he was in a field where workers were sifting through grains of sand. Watching them he realized they were looking for the grains of his life, and as they found them, they put them together in chronological order. He could see his life being reconstructed.... his childhood, the house he grew up in, his schooling... and he began to get excited when he realized they would soon get to the part where BigBear came into the picture. He said he felt like a puppy, bouncy and excited and wagging it's tail. And I was so grateful for that story... to know what real, true love is like, some 40-something years later. I realized that despite whatever they say, my parents love each other deeply.

I felt a little sad knowing I may never have that for myself... but I am still blessed to be be a part of that love. To be the product of it. To know what it is and that it does exist.

This experience, as hard as it's been, has given me a lot of things.... a lot of insights to things I'm still processing, still thinking over.

I have also come to appreciate Poppy's faith in God in a new way. The night I got back from the CAT scan horror; the night I cried so hard for him, I asked God why He would make someone so faithful to Him suffer so much. That my Poppy has more faith in God in his little finger, than I have in my entire body. It didn't seem fair. People say, as if to reassure you, that God won't give you more than He thinks you can handle. On the one hand it makes sense, I guess... but on the other hand... it still doesn't seem right. Because you "cave" to the darkside earlier you get to live easier? Poppy said he dreamed that he was at his own trial, and that Satan was testing him... and like Job he said "I don't care what you do, I will not turn away from the True God; I won't stop believing so you are merely torturing a lesser being at no benefit to you".

And you know that made me stop and think. Cuz I've endured shit... but no shit like that, and I wonder if I would go the distance. But on the other hand, with an example like that, how could I not?

Which is why I have to share with whoever reads this.... cuz it damn sure gives you something to ponder...

I have learned a new meaning to the words "grace under fire" because both of my parents have gone through this fire with dignity and grace. I know there will still be "moments". But I think we're all going to be alright, at least for a little while...

...cuz life keeps rolling along...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Um, Yeah...

....there's nothing to do but begin at the end and backtrack to the beginning.

Poppy's leg was amputated this past Wednesday.

He went into the hospital on Friday the 13th, for an angiogram. That's when they saw that he had some of the worst calcium deposits in his arteries that the doc had ever seen. His right foot already had signs of gangrene, but we were given a "worst case scenario" -- an amputation-- that had a 20% chance of happening.

The scheduled him for bypass surgery last Friday. In the meantime an infection they had found in his teste, that for whatever reason they only let drain, re-appeared and so they went in to see what was causing the infection. They ended up removing the teste. Immediately, he began to perk up.

Then he had the bypass surgery... and initially the word came back that the surgeon was very pleased. But by that night the prognosis changed; the gangrene was too deep and the blood still wasn't circulating in his toes, and it was decided the leg had to be removed.

It was terrible. The anticipation of this event was almost more than I could bear... more than any of us could bear. Except for one small thing....

The day I'd sat with him in the ER waiting to get him the CAT scan was easily the worst day of my life. I had held it together until early the following morning when I'd finally gotten in bed. Alone. Handling shit by myself, as usual. And I cried. I cried for Poppy, and his pain and I prayed hard for God to end his pain... fully accepting whatever that meant.

Cuz the thing I've learned about praying for shit is... sometimes when you pray for a specific thing, it will come to you... but it may not come the way you envisioned it. And you have to accept that. And so I prayed for an end to Poppy's pain, recognizing that this could even mean his death. And I didn't want to see him go... and Poppy had said repeatedly he wasn't ready to go... but I couldn't bear to see him hurt anymore. And so if an end to his pain meant he would leave, then I would accept it.

So losing a leg, in comparison, was a little bit of a relief. But still... getting the news last Saturday took my breath away, and waiting for Wednesday sucked ass.

I hadn't wanted to tell the Sun about it, but Poppy had asked me to hug him and when I went to do that, I just started to cry. And so I had to tell him, the Sun, that Poppy was going to lose his leg.

Poppy himself was pretty accepting. The leg, whom he named Reggie, looked awful. But Poppy himself looked pretty good, and sitting with him when we visited was very peaceful.

On Wednesday, the surgery was scheduled for late in the day, so I went to hang out in the Sun's school for a bit cuz it always makes me feel good to be there, and then I went over to sit with Poppy for a while. They had said they were going to take him down to surgery at about 2P, and at 1:30 I couldn't stand it and left. I know my limitations. I couldn't watch them take him away. I went back to the Sun's school. BigBear had arrived by then, and she sat with him till transport came.

I had felt it important to keep the Sun's day as normal as possible, and so after school we went to Violin cuz that's what we would have done normally.

The Professor was the one to call the Recovery room every half hour, to see if he'd gotten there yet, and she texted me every half hour or so "He's still in".

At 7:30P he hit recovery. I was standing at the bus stop waiting for the bus back onto the Rock, with ShoeFly and the boys. It was awful.

I knew that I couldn't be there, but I had expected either the Professor or BigBear to be there, but in the end everyone chickened out. ShoeFly was mad about that... but I have faith in God, and I believe that in these times things happen the way they should...

Because it's odd... all of Poppy's other surgeries have wiped him out; the anaesthesia left him loopy for hours, he stayed in recovery longer. But take a leg, and within a few hours he was back in his room and coherent enough to call each one of us on our cell phones to tell us he was OK. And in an odd way, I think it was better. We all suffered much more than he did, which is ironic. I guess once he'd made up his mind to accept the surgery, he was resigned.

But it was awful. And when I got home and got in bed I cried some more.

The next morning, though, Thursday, something snapped. I could picture Poppy in his hospital room, could picture the stump, and I could see it all so clearly that I was able to accept the new reality. It was done, afterall. There was no going back; things would never ever be the same.

In addition, I'd gotten a Crackbook email from a high school friend.... she'd written that her father was on morphine and Percoset, and that most days he didn't know her. The docs told her and her family that his end was imminent. Another Crackbook friend, also from High School, wrote the Professor and I that she shed tears for the father who didn't know her, who had never bothered to know her. She couldn't cry over him or what happened to him... she had no relationship with him. And she cried because she didn't have a father to cry over.

And I realized I was blessed. Blessed that Poppy was still here, still determined to fight. That no matter how bad your reality is, there is always someone out there who's reality is worse. And however great things are for you, there is always someone who has it better. And so your best bet is to live your own life to the best of your ability, and take your lumps with grace and dignity, and move on. To be empathetic to those who suffer, no matter whether you think their suffering is greater or lesser than yours, and to be happy for those who are rejoicing because at some point, you will be rejoicing, too.

The Sun and I were both tired Thursday morning. Worn out. When I woke him for school he begged not to go... and when I relented he crawled back into his bunk and went back to sleep for another three hours.

On the train into the city, the Sun and I shared my iPod, set to "shuffle". About halfway in, Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" came on. The Sun, who's head had been resting on my shoulder, looked up at me. "We need this right now" he said.

As we approached the hospital, the Fabulous sent me a text, asking how I was. We've been texting off and on... but I really appreciated hearing from him right at that moment, and his texts kept me company as we got closer. I looked at the Sun: "Are you OK?" I asked.
He started singing "Don't Worry, Be Happy".

But when we got to Poppy's room, it was exactly the way I'd seen it in my head. Poppy was a little sad, but on the whole, physically looked amazingly well.

About halfway through our visit, the PT came in; tiny, Asian, no-nonsense. She made Poppy sit up, she made him scoot toward the end of the bed. She showed him how to stand, holding on to the walker. She showed him exercises he could do to keep the circulation in his remaining left leg. She showed him leg raises for his right leg. She said she was impressed with his range of motion, and his general health, and told him she would recommend Acute Therapy. And she left.

Poppy, completely overwhelmed, began to doze. And for a minute I wondered how he was going to handle the mental change... and if he was going to be accepting of the work he was going to have to do.

Today, Friday, they discharged Poppy from the hospital, and sent him over to the Hospital Rehab. He'll have about 3 hours a day of OT and PT, and in 7-10 days he'll be home.

Which poses a problem; Poppy and BigBear live in a 5th floor walk up in a no-elevator building. Sixty-six steps. So our immediate dilemma is finding them another place to live. That is either on a very low floor or in an elevatored building.

All of my other problems still exist... all the other questions I've been pondering, all the other things that have been pissing me off about my life still exist. And no, I don't feel any better about them; it's just that they have taken a backseat for the moment.

But at the same time, I have been simply overwhelmed by love and support by folk in real life, and a whole lot of virtual support from folk on Crackbook. Some people have made a special attempt to check in on me almost daily... Gman, Nene, CNC and the Fabulous in particular. Nene means an awful lot... I guess because there's history. It's nice not to be forgotten just cuz you're not intimate anymore. I'm sad for me that there hasn't been anyone to crawl into bed with and cry on at the end of the day... but fuck it. I realized through this that there is, and always be, just me. Me and the kid. And the kid has been a brick. His big eyes speak volumes though he's said very little.... but he has been an enormous source of comfort. And amazingly, his father, "SD" has been wonderfully empathetic, and even made his own peace with Poppy by calling him.

It's been surreal. I kept trying to come back and write and it wasn't even that I haven't had anything to say, it's just that the days have flown.

So here we are... at the start of something completely different, yet as Poppy keeps saying, a continuation of what has gone before...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Really Wonder Sometimes

why the very ones who swear that they are honest and true are the ones who are the biggest liars? Seriously. How hard is it to be honest?

But then again...

I figured out, as I went along in this thing called life, that to be truly honest requires being honest with yourself first. You have to know where you stand, what you stand for. What you want. And to be fair it IS hard. It's a lot easier to promise someone the world because at the time you probably mean it... have the best intentions cuz you get caught up in the moment, or can't say "no", or whatever. But then at some point you realize you've lied to your self.

My problem was I never had a problem saying "no". In fact, growing up, "no" was usually my first reaction to anything. I distinctly remember being about two years old in Paris, and suddenly getting a bug up my ass about something and just feel "no" wash over me. "Come on, LittleGirl, it's time to go" BigBear would say. And something about the lights or the mood or the place that I was in would make me decide that I didn't want to leave or walk or cooperate... and I'd stand there and say "no!"

People ask me to do something and my first reaction is to say "no." I figured out, with some time, that saying no immediately gave me space to think about whether or not I really wanted to do that which was being asked of me... so I rarely got caught in situations I didn't want to be in. If you say "yes" right away you're stuck. But if you say "no" right away, people usually look at you, stricken, and then proceed to try to convince you why you should say "yes". Sometimes their reasons are good and they can persuade you. Sometimes their reasons only reinforce your gut feeling. If you change your mind and say "yes" everyone feels good, too.

Though that's not really how I figured out how to be honest with myself... but I'm thinking maybe it's a natural tendency that lends itself to being honest with yourself.

I also can't ever do anything halfway. And because of that I often stop to think about whether it's worth the aggravation and heartache to make something work, before I get into it. Cuz otherwise it's not really worth the time and attention it's going to take.

And I don't know if that's necessarily how I figured out how to be honest with myself, either...

Cuz I've lied to myself plenty of times. Gave myself the snowjob on many occasions. But I've been through a lot of shit and I think an awful lot, and those Voices I got chatter on relentlessly, and through it all I've learned to listen to myself. And I've learned that it's far better to be honest with yourself, even if it means some pain on the front end... than to get caught up in something you don't really want and suffer on the back end.

And sometimes, quite honestly, you know a thing is no good for you/won't work for you long term/is gonna suck when it's done, and you know damn well you shouldn't do it... but you also know damn well you're going to do it anyway cuz at the moment it feels hellagood.

And if you know that shit up front... why not say so??? And I usually do. I wear my heart on my sleeve; live my life out loud. But other motherfuckers? They just don't.

Pisses me the fuck off.

Oh and something that pisses me off even more than people who lie to themselves/you. When you ask a direct question and they give you NO answer. Not a vague answer... not a bullshit answer. But no answer. Act like you didn't ask the question. And let me tell you... not answering a question I've asked only pisses me off the more, and it makes me determined to harass the shit out of you. Forever, fucker. I'll never ever let you live that shit down... even if I've "re- friended" you and act like I'm over it. I'm not. I'm gonna fuck with you just because I can...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Have To Say...

I am REALLY, profoundly not liking my life right now.

The people I really want to spend time with--male or female--are too busy, have other friends, no time for me. Others have stepped in... and I am totally opening my heart and trying very hard to to accept as freely as I give. But fuck. There's gotta be a balance somewhere and I just don't have it.

I have no money. I'm at a loss... I'm even given up trying for anything because nothing comes of it. The factory sucks. I hate being there. I don't want to be there.

The hustle is too fucking hard. What's the point? I don't think I want an awful lot... in fact, my needs are pretty few and are very simple. So why aren't I getting it?

On top of everything my Poppy is hurting really bad. Day before yesterday, we found out he's got a blockage in his vein in his leg. A calcium deposit most likely. Bigbear said "best case scenario" he'll have an angioplasty, maybe Friday. There is a worst case but I refuse to name it. Yesterday, we took turns sitting with him in the ER, where the Professor took him because she couldn't get him down the stairs and to his catscan appointment. I had to work but I left early to relieve her. When I told my supervisor I had to go, I found myself starting to cry. This rarely happens to me.

I had been avoiding seeing him cuz I can't handle watching him in pain. So once I got there and they figured out that of all the drugs they threw at him (Valium, Vicoden) Percoset worked, I made sure he got them the minute it looked like he hurt again. We waited hours and hours and hours for transport to get him out of the ER to radiology, and then we waited hours more for radiology to get to him. And I almost bolted and ran when he had the actual scan and I heard him cursing in pain.

The Fabulous did a pretty ordinary thing the other night that hurt me pretty deeply... but I had resolved all along that friendship and a partnership was more important than anything else, and I am trying to hold up my end of the bargain. But I think there must be something wrong with my concept of friendship. Cuz other people don't seem to share the concept. I'm not a perfect person but I try. I try to take the high road. He still hasn't really redeemed himself to me yet and it's making me wonder about everything else.

Maybe I'll just go numb again.

On the one hand I have met and hung out with some interesting people recently, and in fact came into contact today with someone with whom our lives are a series of missed connections. But I just don't give a shit.

I hate dating... the thought of going out with a series of assholes seems like such a waste of time. There are friends who aren't assholes, of course. But I don't know. I'm just not feeling any of it.

I had a night on Saturday that was supposed to go one way, but ended up going a completely other way. It turned out I probably had more fun the way it went, and I came into contact with more high school people. It was a fabulous party, in all honesty.

But I was trying to stay away from the tequila, and instead drank margaritas. But they were awful, and the tequila was horrible and I was unbelievably sick the next day. That was after falling asleep on the train on the way home (luckily I wasn't alone) and ended up on Bedford Park Blvd in the Bronx, on the D-Train. We still can't figure out how that happened. I got home at 6 in the morning. I was supposed to take the Sun to a concert at Lincoln Center but was completely incapacitated.

I hate drinking. I think I'm going to quit.

Although maybe not.

I've been trying to fill up my sketchbook on a more regular basis, but really I don't think I have it anymore.

On the other hand, I'm working on an icon for an iPhone app, and the person I'm doing it for seemed to like it. A lot. I was so happy I almost cried.

I've been trying to write, am thinking that finally maybe I could submit things professionally which of course has led to the biggest case of Block I've ever had. The voices are fucking me up on purpose.

And I finally figured out how I feel about the Rhianna/Chris Brown thing, but truthfully, nobody gives a fuck. I find it highly distressing that while the debate has gone strong over on Crackbook, I'm the only asshole pissing in the wind. Several people, of whom I know for a fact have had similar experiences, have refused to "come out". And it's for this very reason that this bullshit continues. Women are embarrassed to admit how they got caught up. When how they got caught is irrelevant, and all that matters is giving them the courage and the unconditional support needed to get out.

I still may write about it cuz that's the kind of bitch I am. Confrontational. Which is ironic because I really don't like being that way. I really want a quiet life somewhere.

But that's never going to happen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sometimes (part 2)

I blew off work today to work on my own stuff.

Inspired in part, by an over-two-hour conversation with the Fabulous yesterday afternoon in which we clarified/unified our vision for The Project, went over our strengths and weaknesses, what each of us could bring to the table.

Mostly, it's been a lot of talk, this Project. But we work alike, and I feel like this thing is gathering steam... and when it takes off it's going to practically run on it's own. It doesn't feel like the kind of thing that will sputter and die. If anything, both of us are so careful about it, as if we're holding it back so that it won't take off before we're ready.

Which sort of causes a stillness in my soul. I realize the possibility that a lot of what I feel about him is probably tied more to the fact that we inspire each other than to anything else. The possibility is that at some point our paths will diverge. Our lives are so different, our worlds so far apart. I steel myself for the possibility of diverging paths, since that's what usually happens. But damned if I don't want it to...

Yesterday was a Snow Day in the city. The Mayor closed the schools. I was up at like 3 or 4 in the morning, and had seen the storm blow in, but the plows were out. It would have been pretty inconvenient to go in to the City, but it was doable. But at 6A when I got up and turned on the news, the Mayor called it--no school. There hasn't been a snow day here in about 10 years.

So I went back to bed... The Sun woke up at about 9--
"Aren't we going to school?"
"Look out the window," I said.
He was overjoyed. It was his 10th birthday.

Had I had the money, I'm sure I would have had a whole other plan about how his birthday should go. Even without money, I tried to pull something off. On Sunday I'd gone food shopping with Shoefly and her neighbor, spending a little over $100. I mean, it needed to be spent but it took about all I had. But I had a check I hadn't cashed and the plan was for me to go to the local mall out here and get the Sun some skinny jeans from JC Penny and a cool shirt so that he'd have something cool to wear on his birthday. We're big on "birthday outfits" in the family. It was also supposed to be Picture Day at school.

But when I got the mall, the ATM machine ate my debit card... so I couldn't deposit the check or pull out any money. I should have gone home... but I was determined to do something for the Sun, so I pulled out my birthday Gift Certificate and went to JC Penny.

The next morning when school was snowed out I kind of laughed to myself... I could have saved the gift certificate for that facial I need, but on the other hand, the Sun loved waking up to his new clothes. He's getting to "that stage" where looks and style matter.

I made him pancakes with chocolate syrup, and because both his parents had to work, the Moon came over. They sat on the couch and played video games. Later, I took them to the little mall hoping to get my debit card back (they didn't have it... grrr...) but I pulled out some money and took the boys to Game Stop. The Sun got to pick two games and he and the Moon played some demo games while they were there. On the way home I asked him what he wanted for dinner--pasta--so that's what we had. Along the way I texted his dad so that he could share in the birthday.

Being friends with SD is so much easier than being at war with him. I still worry about him thinking we'll get back together, because I really don't want that to happen. Just too much water under the bridge. But our Child-In-Common has changed us both for the better, made us both strive for better in ourselves, and being able to share with him all the wonderful things our son is, is a good thing. Neither one of us gets annoyed when the other brags about "my kid." And SD has grown tremendously. Up until recently he has been seeing a psychologist... the same doctor he saw during the trial. I only found out because he mentioned in a conversation last night about how he'd gone to see his doctor before his benefits ran out, and how much he liked the guy. Which made me so happy. There used to be times when I'd pray SD would go talk to someone, but I was convinced his cultural heritage would prevent it.

The Sun said he had the best birthday ever. It's the little things that count... kind of like the jar of peanutbutter that I wanted when I was 12.

And his "Perfect Day" reminded me to listen to God... because I had wanted to do other things for my kid to celebrate his double-digit day and make it memorable. And despite whatever I tried, it worked out to be everything a 10 year old boy really wants. Lots of snow. No school when there's supposed to be school. Pancakes with chocolate syrup. A best friend to play video games with. A trip to pick out whatever game he wanted. Skinny jeans, a dragon shirt and a hoodie (red and black). Pasta. Brownies. He didn't care that there wasn't lots of presents or sushi or a cake with candles.

I have been feeling it's obvious I'm not hearing the message I'm being sent, and lately, this week in particular I'm trying to let go of what I want and accept what it is I need.

I want to be in love, I want a partner. I want my Ride or Die so bad I can taste it... but trying to fulfill that want is what got me into trouble with Tom Cat.

When what I need is get myself in gear, create, write, raise my kid. Sustain myself financially. What I need is inspiration, faith in myself again.

What I need is to pay the fucking rent.

But maybe I'm finally getting somewhere...

In other news, Poppy still hurts. I realized this morning that thing I have, to want to sleep trouble away, is hereditary. So Poppy hurts, and he just wants to sleep it away. It's making BigBear frustrated, and tired. The Professor worries. The chain reaction is something happens, BigBear calls the Professor. The Professor then calls me with The Worst Case Scenario and my reaction is to just either get mad or want to hide. I know I should be more active. More on point. I'm sorry that I can't be. There's a lot of stuff in life I can handle but watching Poppy hurt is very very hard for me. In other times, other phases of my life I would just shut down and be completely unemotional about it, the way I was when the building fell on the Professor and the Diva. At that time, I just picked up and moved out... moved to New Jersey. This time, not only can I not physically go anywhere, I can't really shut it off. And I don't want to... but it's hard. Poppy's pain makes me tired.

This morning, when the Professor called to tell me he was having a rough morning and BigBear was in tears and that the Professor was probably going to leave work and take him to ER, I lay in bed half asleep, steeling myself for the worst. I can't imagine life without Poppy. But like the Professor wrote the other day, to see him hurting is worse than anything and I'd rather have him be free of that than keep him here. I tried to imagine what life would be like without him. I know we'd be OK. I know that life will continue on the way it is, just with a big, gaping hole.

But... within the hour things seemed to improve; BigBear went to work, the Professor stayed at work. And I stayed here to work although it's noon and all I've done is write.

But I needed to. I needed to write out where I'm at, cuz there's other things I need to write about...like how disturbed I am watching the Chris Brown / Rhianna tragedy play out but I have to do it later...

Sometimes

...I reach the limits of myself.

This has been one of those times.

It's why I haven't written. The last time I wrote I was about to have my birthday party/hangout, and I was talking about how my life is bi-polar.

aHA! But what an understatement.

The birthday celebration was, overall fantastic. Probably the high point was the pole dancing class. Seriously... I highly recommend it to any woman, of any age. And I highly recommend Sassypoles. First, the instructor was slamming. Even super-conservative Shoefly remarked that none of us would have been able to sneak under the "gay-dar." She was beautiful, she was strong, she was round. And sexy as hell. She was sensual but smart... and got 17 women of all ages, sizes and physical attributions comfortable enough in their own skin to work on their own sexy. Some were more comfortable than others, most definitely. But even those who were less comfortable were probably more comfortable at the end than they could have possibly imagined.

Personally, I enjoyed the hell out of it. My analytical mind remarked at the simple things she taught us--how to take off a shirt, what looks sexy from what angle and what doesn't--and I laughed to myself at how visual men are. And I betcha if more women knew this stuff, less men would stray. It ain't that hard. A few tricks can make a huge difference... now... if only I get to practice it sometime soon...

Most of us went from there to what turned out to be the "afterparty" at Moca.

Moca wasn't really my type of joint. It was way too much of one flavor, and you could almost feel the room crackle in resentment when I walked in. I had decided to dress up for my birthday and I knew I stood out... and in other places that wouldn't have been a problem but here, I felt it. And I was very upset when my girls Ginger and Ross walked in with the Fat Lady and OneHalf and I could feel their discomfort. And the discomfort of the room with them. It haunted me all week, that feeling. On top of that, the little bit of champagne I'd had at the class (and it wasn't a lot) gave me a HUGE headache... the kind where you feel your brain slam into the sides of your skull when you turn your head. I tried to eat some wings to absorb the alcohol I knew was coming and to soften the Excedrin I took but they were too sweet and I didn't eat them all. And the place was expensive and I was broke.

I knew that I should probably not drink a lot. I knew it was going to be a bad high. But I drank anyway. I tried to break my record of 12 tequila shots but I only got to 10, with a couple of beers. I was good up to a point... then I kind of blacked out and don't remember much except the lights being on and everyone being gone but me, CNC, the Fabulous and his friend Spicy the DomincanGayBoy. CNC hadn't been drinking and hadn't ever experienced the Bear Maiden drunk but I hand it to my girl... she found my shoes (I tend to take off my shoes when drunk), got ALL my bags and The Cake, got my ass in a cab and home. It was the kind of bad drunk I had the birthday SD broke up with me at 7 in the morning. Except I didn't cry this time, in truth not really having anything to cry about.

The Professor had almost gotten into a major blow out with the establishment, as she had busted her ass to get me The Cake, had called ahead to the place to find out if it was OK to cut The Cake there, but when she got there they told her it would be $25 to cut it. The Professor wasn't having it. I was already tipsy but sane enough to try to smooth it over, cuz I hadn't wanted her to get kicked out, cuz if she had I would have had to leave and I was still waiting for more folk, including the Fabulous. But sis was tight. Another friend said later they'd never seen her like that. I have... and I knew how it could end up. So I'm glad it didn't.

But... there were highlights. One of them was that I reunited with a bunch of folk from my High School. Apparently the word had spread via Crackbook and the phone, and folk I hadn't seen since my sophomore year in High School were there. The love was evident. It was as if we'd only seen each other yesterday. One friend had flown in from Minnesota just for this. We shared the same birthday, and back in High School it was him, me and another guy... all platonic, tight as thieves. Birthday boy /Second Cog I've seen fairly recently... but the Third Cog I hadn't seen since the summer I graduated and there he was. It was overwhelming.

Another highlight was that G Man--now of WBAI--has proven to me that there are people in the world who truly understand the concept of "ride or die". At least my definition of it.

Another was that for the most part, the people who I really wanted to share my celebration with showed up... even if they couldn't take the atmosphere for long. And from what I understand, most people had a great time.

And lastly, the Fabulous came. I realize that he's nowhere as into me as I am him... but he came. And it meant everything.

There were lots and lots and lots of pictures. The pole dancing pictures were a huge hit on Crackbook especially on Monday when folks got back to work. But one of my favorites I stumbled upon by accident-it had been uploaded later of me and the Fabulous. It made my heart stop. We're both tipsy (well, I'm shit faced cuz it's at a point in the evening I barely remember) and he looks hellatired, but in that picture my guard was down and how I feel about him is right out there. And he... you can tell there's something but you're still not really certain if it's at the same intensity.

Yeah, I downloaded it and I've snuck peeks at it now and then. I write my voices away here under the guise of supposed anonymity (though most of my readers now are people I either know or have met), but I think for the most part in real life I'm pretty good about keeping the depth of me out of sight. But that picture kind of blows it. I showed it to CNC later and she said...."oh. yeah." It reminds me of another picture I used to have of us. Someone had taken it at our SeniorSemester Pratt Show, the year we graduated from the graphic design program. I don't remember who took it, but out of the blue next semester when he had moved on to a BA program and I had to finish a semester, the person handed it to me. I kept it my DayRunner for years, sneaking peeks at it now and then. I finally threw it out when he got involved with someone and I figured it would be the last I'd hear of him.

That picture, and the knowledge that Poppy has been in some serious pain, and the letdown of the tequila sent me into a serious funk the next day. Which lasted well into the week. I kept meaning to come back here and write but I couldn't.

It was so bad that by Wednesday I started talking to another friend of mine from HighSchool on Crackbook. Back in the day he was the ThirdCog in the group known as the Kangol Crew. Two of those members went out and got really well-known in the rap game, but the third... I'm not sure where his journey took him. He hasn't said much about it except that it took him in bad places. But he became very religious in an overall sort of way. So in the middle of the night we start IM'ing each other until he finally told me his fingers were tired, and I should just call him. And I was down enough to actually do it. We stayed on the phone another hour or so, him quoting scripture (particularly Old Testament verses when I told him I was an Old Testament kind of chick) until about 3 in the morning. It was amazing. A glass angel moment.

Two nights after that I was able to "pay it forward'' to yet another HS friend who had discovered his girlfriend was cheating on him.

In the meantime, I was successfully avoiding the fact that Poppy was in some serious pain, and that my little boy's 10th birthday was fast approaching and I had absolutely no money to do anything about it.

Luckily, SD and I are friends. I asked him if he could spare some money, and he paypaled it over.

And then the bi-polar of my life hit the ultimate high on Saturday when my little boy played at Avery Fisher Hall with Mark O'Connor. This concert, with far less hype surrounding it than the DC trip, turned out to be a much bigger deal than I thought. I didn't realize until Friday that James Earl Jones was a part of it. He was a narrator. I didn't realize until Saturday that my kid's actual name appeared in the Lincoln Center Playbill for the event, and Opus' name was featured on the billboard. My kid is funny. I wonder sometimes why he's so nonplussed about all this. It doesn't seem to go to his head, he doesn't seem to get hyped or nervous about any of these performers. He is certainly not starstruck. When I realized that Mr. Jones was part of this production, I asked him had he met him. "Yeah" he said. "Do you REALIZE who he is?" I asked.
"No" he said quizzically. Never mind the fact that Jones had been the voice of Verizon for awhile.
"He's the voice of Darth Vader" I said.
"OH!" he said. But that was all he said.

The next day, Saturday I was standing backstage taking pictures of the kids practicing their stage exit, and was almost trampled by Mr. Jones. I looked up, and there he was... exactly as he looks on TV and just as large, and I was so flabbergasted I couldn't even get it together to snap a picture. I also didn't think he'd like it. But wow. I'm riding my kids' coattails. I took a picture of the Sun and Mr. O'Conner... I was far more excited about it than the Sun was.

The show, a multimedia tribute to Abraham Lincoln's Bicentennial, was so much fun. It made me feel downright patriotic. Hearing Mr. Jones read portions of the Gettysburg address gave me goosebumps. And O'Connor playing a rendition of "Amazing Grace" is something I am honored to have heard. The professional musicians there were so proud of our Opus children... encouraging them and smiling, giving them a "thumbs up" in the hall between shows. I was so, unspeakably, enormously proud of my little boy, the ensemble, Roberta.

So there's more... but as usual I've stayed up way past the time I should have, so I must continue "defragging" later...