She’s a mean one, Mrs. Grinch.

My Christmas spirit has been lacking.  I’m not the most festive of people, but I do enjoy baking Christmas cookies with my kids and impromptu caroling in the living room.  This time of year is supposed to be the fun part about being a parent.  You get to immerse yourself in gingerbread and glitter and indulge your inner 10 year old.  I’m not above crafting glue snowflakes and cotton ball Santa beards with my little ones. I like to act corny and cheesy and I don’t care how silly it all seems.

This year has been different. I’ve been feeling really pensive and almost melancholy.  The news has been filled with violence and civil unrest. People have been voicing opinions that show how limited their ability for compassion is and perhaps we aren’t as evolved a country as we like to think we are…or maybe as I like to think we are.  To put it plainly, it’s bummed me out to see how beneath the smiles and funny memes, people have this innate ability to be coldhearted and cruel. It’s been a pretty chilling juxtaposition to the season of happiness and fellowship that is supposed to be filling the air right now.  The news isn’t much better.  If anything bad hasn’t happened in your area, not to worry, there is no shortage of horror stories from towns across the country for you to enjoy.  I usually think this about the media, but right now my reserves are low and the lack of humanity seems unusually harsh against the glow of my Christmas lights.

I’m taking matters into my own hands and I am putting an end to it.  I’m turning off the set and I am going to fake it until my saccharine turns to cinnamon and sugar.  I’m not talking about Christmas vests and  Santa earrings…although I might if the situation becomes urgent.  I think I’m going to start playing A Christmas Carol and The Santa Clause until I know all of the words.  I’ve started a caroling station on Pandora and we finally put up the tree.  I wrote out my Christmas cards and I’m taking the kids to look at lights.  I need this for the sake of my mental health and my kids need me to be goofy and cheery so they can laugh about what a dork Mom was when they are older.  I’m burnt out on shittiness and I don’t want to fight…at least not until after Christmas.

ETA: I’ve been thinking about this post all day. I’ve indulged in a bit on navel gazing. I certainly don’t want to minimize anyone’s pain or disregard the bad things that are happening in the world right now.  I think that we all have a lot of soul searching to do as we learn about the injustices and horrific acts that are occurring around the world. They need to be considered if we are ever to get past them. This entry was really an effort to share how disheartening it can be to hear about the sad state of affairs as they stand and it’s affect on my state of mind.   Maybe there is a little bit of low grade depression thrown in for good measure.  I wrote this post this morning as a reaction to watching the news with my 10 year old son and him catching a glimpse of a news report detailing how the Taliban attacked a school in Pakistan and executed 130 young children. I still struggle trying to explain school shootings and his questions about police brutality that have arisen.  I had to turn off the television set.  I want to shield and protect him for just a little while and let both of my kids believe that magic is real, even if it is all held together with glue, paper mache’ and little white lies. Innocence is fleeting and I just want to preserve that sweetness for them. If that means that I have to shut my eyes and ears for the next week or so, so be it.

Wattpad and Stories my grandmother told me.

A few months ago I discovered a new web platform called Wattpad, which is basically a place where writers can post short stories or novels and allow other members to read and comment on their work.  I decided to join and have decided that I will use my blog space as a spot to share poetry and thoughts and will post longer stories on my Wattpad page. I am trying to figure out a way to link the two so I think that linking stories to this page would be a good way to share my pages here.

I’ve written a story called El Senor, or The Gentleman, and it’s very loosely based on a story that my grandmother told me when I was a little girl.  One afternoon, when we were driving around the neighborhood, we passed by a run down looking house where a man sat crouched on his front porch.  I remember my grandmother telling me that this man had sold his soul to the devil and couldn’t sit in a chair and had to perch himself on the porch like an animal.  She told me in a very  matter of fact way, and was so sure of herself, it didn’t occur to me to question her.  That strange conversation stuck with me and I finally decided to write a story about the man. It’s kind of like a modern day Faust, although the gentleman, Alfredo, doesn’t gain any fame or riches, but instead, in a desperate attempt to run away from his problems, ends up being tricked by ‘Ol Scratch himself.

I’m not sure if I am going to expand it at all, but I wanted to get the story down. Here is the link to the story:

http://www.wattpad.com/83795384-el-senor-el-se%C3%B1or

Enjoy!

Fall is here!!

This yeah has been a big transition for me.  I quit my job in March and became a stay at home mom, which was the biggest change of all.  I also signed up for a writer’s course of at Gotham Writers, which is out of New York City and has been really challenging and rewarding. I have done more writing there (consistently) than I have done in a really long time. It was an eight week course and it is wrapping up this week.

I also just started a youtube channel, which I am pretty excited about. I follow the a few Tarot readers on there and have been really inspired by the community. I am a solitary practitioner, and so Youtube gives me a nice outlet when it comes to learning about new aspects of tarot that isn’t always readily available to me.  My page will be a hodge podge of reviews, tarot, and books, all of which make up a majority of my interests.

Right now, I’ve got a couple of makeup reviews posted, and my ultimate goal is to try and have more of a dynamic blog going on.

Other than that, life at home is uneventful, which isn’t necessarily bad.  My family is gearing up for Halloween and my sisters and I are planning on an All Souls Day gathering at my father’s grave on Sunday. The headstone that I ordered is lovely, and I am looking forward to placing my offerings and visiting with my dad.

I hope that all is well with the rest of the world. This post is pretty informal, but I have the intention to start re-updating more regularly as soon as my class wraps up next week.

Until then, Happy Samhain!

Crazy.

The other day I was talking to my friend Carol on the telephone and we were having a good laugh over her Dad’s latest shenanigans.

Her sister was in town for the evening and they’d decided to have an impromptu family dinner at a nice restaurant downtown.  They called their dad and agreed on a time to meet up. Carol and her husband arrived in time to meet her sister and they were seated before her dad arrived.  After about half an hour they begin to wonder where their dad was. Carol decided that she would give him a few more minutes before she called him. Finally, worried that something had happened to him, she decided to call and check up on him. No sooner than she’d pulled out her phone her dad walked into the restaurant and quickly found his way to their table.

He apologized for his lateness, explaining that he’d fallen asleep after he got back from his rounds at the hospital. He’d woken up and when he saw the time, jumped in the car and raced towards the restaurant.  He sheepishly grinned as he told them that in his haste, he’d forgotten his shoes.

Carol told me that she waited for the part where he’d say that he’d turned around and had to go back home and retrieve them.  A quick glance, however, showed that her father was indeed only wearing his socks.  He laughed and said that he’d made it through valet parking and all the way to their table without anyone noticing.  Carol told me that she was exasperated but amused and thankfully was able to buy him a pair of sandals at one of the shops that was next door to the restaurant. Her father thought that the entire situation was hilarious and told everyone around him about his mistake. He gleefully told Carol that he planned to tell his friends, also doctors, and would conduct an experiment where they went places without shoes to see who noticed.

I laughed with Carol, and could see her in my mind’s eye, shaking her head with the  memory fresh in her mind.  She told me that her dad was crazy, and I told her that it was no big deal, explaining to her that the affluent are never crazy. Rich people were eccentric.  We laughed and the conversation moved to our kids and husbands, the regular telephone fare.

The story stuck with me, though, and I’ve been mulling over the conversation ever since. For so long, I was really self conscious of my dad’s mental illness. There would be times when would be having a family outing and my dad would do something that I thought wasn’t quite normal.  Mortified I’d always scan my surroundings, checking to see who’d spotted my dad acting not quite right.   My mom and my sisters always seemed oblivious, giggling and playing along, while I held back,  unable to let go.  Forgoing enjoying the moment and instead holding my breath, waiting for the next shoe to drop.

The color of my childhood memories take on a different hue as I look back on them with the perspective of a parent and as I create my own memories with my kids.  Playtime at the park  is sprinkled with laughter as we run, joke and act silly, oblivious to what others might think.  I chuckle as my husband  mockingly sings along with the radio, making my 10 year old son groan with mock mortification. I will also tell you, you haven’t lived until you and your kids have re-enacted Wayne and Garth’s Bohemian Rhapsody in your hatchback, with the sunroof open, music blaring. I don’t know, and don’t care, what people may think- it’s fun and makes us laugh.

So many of these moments remind me of my dad and the things that he would do.  Sometimes I laughed but there got to be a point where I was unable to live in the moment and enjoy myself.  It makes me sad that my fathers illness coincided with my increased awareness of the world around me and really amplified my self consciousness. I wish that I’d hadn’t heard all of the whispers of the family members who “felt so sorry for Juan’s girls.” Everyone who was so sorry and concerned, but never really  enough to lend an empathetic ear, just worried enough to gossip when one of us would “act crazy”. I really wish that someone would have pulled me aside and told me that while my dad was struggling,  and yes there were some really scary times, not every moment was affected. I wish I’d have known that  sometimes parents embarrass you, sometimes parents act silly because it’s fun, and sometimes people think that your parents are weird. I wish that someone would have looked back and told me that some of my life was normal and not every moment was tinged by mental illness.   Maybe it wouldn’t have helped much, but maybe it would have.

My attitude about my dad’s illness changed as I got older and started to learn more about people and I realized that everyone has little idiosyncrasies. I started to notice that everyone had little, and not so little, personality quirks that sometimes made other people give them side eyed looks.  Maybe it was just my way of coping with the new medicated version of my dad- the man who wasn’t quite the same person as when I was growing up but not quite different. I became more defensive of how people treated him and wonder if peoples attitudes would have been different if his shoes had been a little nicer and the collar of his shirt crisp and not frayed.  I know that some people are just assholes and some will treat anyone who deviates from their narrow view of normal badly so it may not have mattered, but I guess that I will never know.

Instead I can enjoy time with my kids, making them laugh, smiling at silly jokes and acting crazy. When they are old enough to get mad at me for embarrassing them I can smile and say, “Sorry kiddo, it’s part of growing up and having parents. One day you will embarrass your own kids”. I will smile because I will know that it’s true.

 

 

 

 

Writers Block or Lack of Discipline?

I’m stuck in a conundrum. Sitting in the confines of a cubicle, I used to joke that my most inspired moments were at 10AM. I’d drive to work in silence (my car ride often the only few minutes of silence in my day) and ideas would begin to take form in my mind. My workday would begin with good mornings, coffee and returning phone calls.  Around 10, my mind would often drift back to those half formed thoughts and I would quickly jot them down in a notebook that I had, full of inspiration, outlining brief sketches of the images in my mind.  I remember the feelings of frustration that I would have, feeling constricted because the few stolen moments would be interrupted by phone calls or the next task that had to be completed.

Now I am a stay at home mom.  I’d let out a big sign of relief as I carried my box of framed pictures and cubicle decorations to my car, elated that I would have time to write and to create.  I would be able to spend time with my daughter, help my son with his homework and use all of my extra time working on a short story that has been in progress longer than I would like to admit. 

My reality, however, is not quite what I thought that it would be. I anticipated a period of transition. I knew that it was going to take a little while to fall into a routine that my children and I would be happy with.  So here I am a full month later and I still feel stuck.  I’ve cleaned the house, figured out a rough schedule for my daughter and I, but the 10am lightening bolt of ideas has vanished.  I am experiencing the conundrum of having more freedom but I haven’t felt the thrill of having inspiration strike. Why the hell am I feeling this block?

So here I am, uninspired and a more than little freaked out about it. I’ve been trying to go through the motions and I have had a couple of good ideas to work with.  I’m really just hoping that I can create balance sooner, rather than later. Perhaps what I need is not inspiration but the discipline to dedicate to writing every single day, even if my mental coffers are dry as a bone. 

My four year old has been begging me to take her to fairy world, so I will have to sign off for now.

 

 

Black Pearl

My father died in April.

It’s been four months and I am still trying to get my  head around the fact that he isn’t here.  I am trying to adjust to this new normal.

I wake up in the morning, mother my children, go to work and trudge through the paces of my days. I am there but I am not present.

I am looking through a window and there are people talking but I can’t hear and I don’t care what they are saying.

I watch, feeling separate from what goes around me.

I am unhappy. I think too much. I drink too much.

I am lonely but am comforted by my solitude.

Melancholy hangs in the corners of my days and my mind toys with the idea of letting go of the thread that binds me to this reality.

The six year old girl in me wants to hide, cry and pull at her hair in sorrow, grabbing at the crumbling pieces of the myth that was her father.

There are emotions that are bubbling beneath the surface but I don’t know how to communicate in this language of loss, and so I am mute.

Frustrated by my inability to communicate and unable to let off the steam, the heat of my grief is burning through me.

I want to bleed it out, scream it out, but when I tear back the surface all I find is nothing. There is nothing to say.

I light  candles at my alter, burn incense and raise my intentions to the sky but I feel nothing. I am obsessed with death and I try to grab at the spaces between the moments spent with the ones that I love the most.

I dream of my father.

Sometimes he stands at the edges, watching me, like a silent witness.

Once we wandered through an old shopping mall, visiting memories that were for sale like cheap knick knacks in dollar stores filthy with age.

One night he came to me scared and wandering through oblivion, confused, unable to rest and stuck in between the living and the dead.

I try not to call to him. I hold his memory in white light and whisper prayers that he can move on.

In my optimistic moments I wonder if he is visiting me, letting me know that he is still there, like a small anchor to hold onto.

In my most fearful moments, I am afraid that he is lost, his soul still burdened by the illness that plagued his life and he still needs me. He needs me and I am paralyzed by my inability to reach across the chasm that separates us.

This is the  black pearl that is my grief,  wrought from the chafing of the splinters in my soul.  I am just now able to pull it out and observe it, vulnerable with my need for comfort.

April 13, 2013 3:40 pm

I sat beside you and

FELT

You slowly slip away from me.

I read words from sacred books

Raised hymns sang songs whispered prayers.

Trying to find comfort in tradition.

I tried to comfort you.

Hoping.

I was I am

Afraid to acquiesce accept give in. Let go.

I kissed your eyelashes in the soft light.

Eyes like mine. Heart like mine.

Fiery bright and proud.

Slowly racing away from here. From now.

I sat

Tracing matching lines on your hand my hand

Father and daughter

Simian Twin.

I sat watching

Watched

You slip out of the room.

Recognition in your eyes,

Gone now to take your final walk

 Into eternal night

Light ETERNAL

Filtering through the shades.

Now part of the unknown.

Forever.

I kissed your fingers

A bruised soul soothed

Under grey feathered wings.

Hot tears burning on my face

Stinging at my eyes

I was your witness and

I saw you.

There for just a moment,

Once more.

But now that you are

Gone

Who will see me?