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26 February 2015


One key tested
and left to dust.
The flour rang out
but the bread went bust.

The fingers were wild and toasted.
The oven warmed, the piano wasted.
The future is baked, rusted,
one finger on the button.

Ready to press.


The image above inspired this poem; it's from a writing prompt that can be found here.
Another dose of much-needed inspiration came from the imaginary garden, where real toads were playing with the idea of time as a revelator. 

16 February 2015


I broke a promise to myself.
When I knew your life began,
Never had I believed.
I could make it right. 
We started out hard
with my broken promises cracking under our feet.

Your tiny infant feet.
My never-a-mother feet.

I made a promise to you.
When I knew your life began,
That though I couldn't believe,
I would make it right. 
Every joyful jump you made
left my broken promises crushed under your feet.

I can't keep up.
You wait for me.

I hope I make it right.


"There's this fallacy in my head that I think, if I sacrifice enough, if I hurt myself enough, exhaust myself enough, have enough courage, I can do anything I'm supposed to be doing. That's what led to me being desperate enough to hurt myself repeatedly to get myself into an adrenaline-fueled state that only comes with physical danger, and then burning out so hard I landed in the hospital. I keep thinking that I'm just too lazy and that it's my fault; any grown woman as smart as I am should be able to remember to go to class. I've done it before; why can't I keep doing it? All those ideas come from when my mom pushed the "record" button in my brain, and they keep re-playing. Every success, in the back of my mind, implies that I could've done it all along, and so every success is a proof of laziness." -

That is the result of growing up with an unacknowledged mental, emotional, or developmental disability, and it is devastating.

That post I quoted and linked above is a long read, about a situation that is different from either mine or my child's, but it makes a point that is important to both of us: it's okay to be labelled with a disability if you do have that disability. My child does have ADHD, and having the label has made it possible for him to get the help he needs. I do have Major Depressive Disorder, and that label has gotten me the help I need, too. In my case, it has made it possible for me to help myself. I hope that someday it helps him that way, too. Acknowledgement and acceptance of the problem really is the most important step.


Inspired by life with my child, the author of chaoticidealism, life with myself, and the imaginary garden with real toads, where I've posted a link to this entry. Because promises are about love.

13 February 2015

earthly - two points on stasis

1. The Masculine Earth

I grew up in the verdant northeast, in a place I can only describe as womb-like. Even the barren winter trees and thick blankets of snow couldn't hide the lushness of the land. In winter, it was a barren womb, but womb nonetheless.

Characterizations of the earth as feminine had resonated naturally, but I didn't know why. It seemed a random choice, but I went with it. I could imagine it, although it was a hollow, vague imagination, since I didn't really know what 'feminine' felt like. When I tried imagining the earth as masculine, or as nongendered, it didn't work in my head at all.

When I came to the Sonoran Desert - lush in it's own way - I learned. The presence of this place is powerful, as powerful as the forests of my birthplace, but distinctly masculine.

Tangent: I've sometimes wondered, as a genderqueer person who doesn't feel any strong attachment to any gender of my own whether I didn't feel gender because it wasn't there (am I agendered? I've wondered), or because my internal detection mechanism is wonky (maybe I just can't tell what gender is supposed to feel like, but it's there somewhere). When I felt the masculinity of this place, it took me some time to identify it as masculinity. The feeling was foreign. I don't remember when it happened, but at some point I was able to look back and compare this masculine place with my feminine birthplace, and feel the femininity by contrast. It makes me wonder if my gender detector is working (now, anyway), and I really am just floating along, unattached, in the gender spectrum.

It's an appropriate tangent, after all: our bodies are of the earth, are earth metaphorically and perhaps literally. Recognizing the flexibility of earth and the variations of earth energy is crucial in our understanding of ourselves. As humans, we tend to think of things as unchanging; we assign labels quickly and we don't like to shift labels once we've attached them. But we're not static; earth is not static.

2. Attachments

'Attachments are the root of all suffering,' said one of my facebook friends, and Buddha.

This may be true. We can come to depend on our attachments in ways that cripple our happiness. This is a well-worn maxim, no need to expound.

We have a weird relationship with things in American culture. We are, as a culture, too attached to our things. And to our labels. We know this about ourselves, and there's a sizable movement of people trying to detach themselves from all their things. Some even try to detach their labels.

'All things in moderation,' said my dad, and Aristotle.
Tangent: 'Even moderation in moderation' said I. But that's not helpful to my point right now, so nevermind that.

Because attachment is also the root of all joy.

One of the major symptoms of depressive disorders is a feeling of detachment.
Loneliness feels like shit.

Would parenting be joyful if you had no attachment to your child?
I see my point has been made. No further examples necessary.

Attachment is an earthly thing; it is tangible, it holds things together, holds things in place, makes things stable. When we eschew all attachments, we sever our earthiness to some degree. It allows us the labels our psyches need.

1 + 2 = 3. We just have to remember that labels can be changed. Attachments can be adjusted or even let go. Earth varies; we are not static.


This post was prompted by and will be posted at The Pagan Experience, which asked about Earth this last week. 

04 February 2015

what love is

a whisper across the desert:
blown sand from fingers
stretched to the sea

a breathe within my heart:
warm-pelted comfort
carrying daylight loosely

a moment strung wide
in honesty hurt and healed:
this is what love is


For Archer, because I will write you a love song.


Shared at the imaginary gardens.

02 February 2015

on Humanity

The Pagan Experience prompt for this week: How do you define “humanity”? What is your contribution to the collective space of humanity? How does your spiritual path support this definition and contributions? -

“It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”
― Neil GaimanGood Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

[I should note that while says this quote is from Neil Gaiman - and it very well may be - this book was written by both Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. So it could have been written collaboratively or by Terry Pratchett. Or, perhaps goodreads has secret knowledge about who wrote which parts, and therefore knows that Neil Gaiman wrote this particular bit. This seems unlikely to me.]

Humanity, literally, is all members of homo sapiens.

Metaphorically, humanity is whatever we want it to be. Metaphors are tools, after all. Very malleable tools. 

The idea that humanity - members of our species, that is - has something that is uniquely ours in the animal kingdom, and that this thing raises us above other animals morally, is so longstanding that it has shaped our language since... well, how old is the English word 'humane'? How about the same meaning in other languages?

Humane means to treat kindly, respectfully, or with mercy. Compassion is, supposedly, what makes us better than other apes. Except that other animals show compassion too, and sometimes better than we do. Perhaps altruism... no, that isn't it either. Altruistic behaviors have been observed in many other species.

Hmmm. Well, what is unique about us? Perhaps if we get away from concepts that categorize us as morally superior, we'll find something.

We're not the only ones who use tools or language (other primates, and corvids, come to mind immediately).
We're not the only ones who have sex for fun or for companionship (lots of animals - no really, it's not just bonobos).
We're not even the only ones who engage in organized warfare (chimps do that). 

As far as I can tell, the only thing exclusive to our species is the development of advanced technology (as opposed to simple tools). So if we really wanted to be accurate (which we don't - humans aren't big on accuracy), "humane" would mean something about figuring out tricky sciency things, to include philosophical pursuits and, of course, bureaucracies. (Obviously bureaucracies are symbolic of our innate tendency toward cruelty. That, or our distrust of strangers. Take your pick.) 

 It's our higher executive functioning that makes us unique among animals. 

There is no spiritual difference, that I can see. Our thoughts about spirituality are probably unique, but that falls under the higher executive function umbrella. When I say there's no spiritual difference, I mean that there's no innate difference in our spiritual qualities or value. We are part of the same unidentified spiritual energy that exists in all things. (Maybe some awesome quantum physicist will figure that out someday, but until then I'm calling it spiritual energy, because that's how it functions.)

Knowing that we - humans - are basically smart, distrusting animals who are connected to every thing and every one else in the world, makes me want to put as much compassion out there as possible. I think this is something most people do, with varying degrees of awareness, ambition, and success. 

Basically, we're all just people, trying to get along.