My tongue is in my hand…

Archive for the ‘home’ Category

musing

Posted on: June 20, 2011

Sometimes it hits me hard, quick and hard, what I know about people’s lives now. That I know there are children that were systematically sexually and emotionally abused by their families. Children pimped out by their mothers for drugs. Children tied up in sheds fed like dogs. These sound like news stories, but the thing about news stories is they are real. This is real. I have met these people. I have sat across from them, hugged them, driven them places in my car, laughed with them, seen their constant struggles and frustrations and disappointments and confusions. Their sadness, their underlying hurt and doubt and fear and anger. And I can’t go back and make sure that someone held them and took care of them and made them laugh and feel safe. Like children should.

Heartbreaking is not the word. It hurts my soul. It’s just there are so many ways to be lucky, to be blessed, to be wealthy. And there are so many ways to be poor. Most of us are a little of both. Rich in some things, poor in others. They don’t cancel one another out.

I just hate, really hate, what some people are robbed of. And I just really want to see us all taking care of one another. To be connected…I can’t pinpoint it right now, but it makes a difference.

 

 

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So, I have been minimally participating in the two challenges I posted about prior to this post. This month has not been as conducive to writing time as I’d hoped it would be. I have written some poems and started a novel. Barely started, but started. This is actually a pretty big deal for me, since I haven’t even wanted to start a novel, had any characters, ideas, outline, or research prior to Nov 1st when I wrote the first 1,542 words. Now, it’s brewing in my head, and though I won’t meet the nanowrimo challenge, it’s got me started on a good thing. I’m not sure what I’ll do about the PAD challenge. I can most likely complete it…and I suppose I’ll put together a chapbook? May as well do this…I’ve got to do something with my poems and this would be a good experience.

In other news…I turned 26 a couple of weeks ago, and have had a good two weekends of friends and family and celebrations.

In sad and silly news, book club had a rift, resulting in one member leaving to a new book club.  The member leaving happens to be my dearest friend in the group, so I will join her, and stay in old book club as well. Make new friends and keep the old (just like the  girl scout song).

Work life is…ever changing. I’m just holding on and doing what I do – help people as best I can.

Money is…short. I’m constantly floating payments around, robbing from peter to pay paul, having to tell people I do not know whenI can pay them, and just not opening the bills I know good and well we can’t pay, while trying to still live a fairly joyful life and indulge in little things because that’s what you do when you’re poor. You don’t pay a bill on time and you go out to eat and buy a shirt because damn it, you want to and there’s no other way to do it.

I had to use money we saved for Christmas and money I got for my birthday to fix my car. Again. And used the rest of my b-day money to get our phones turned back on. My dad and mother in law made me promise I’d use the money on myself, and technically, I did.

Home life is…quite honestly driving me insane. IN SANE. As in, I consistently feel as if I am losing my sanity. I feel as if it is wrong to go into it much more than that, but, should I lose my sanity, all the ridiculous details may spill themselves on a drunken blogging rage one night.

My family life outside of the home is really not much better. My dad claimed he was going have to pretend he only has one daughter (not me) after a very stupid and pointless fight about the holidays and in-laws. After about two weeks and a good fight complete with me hurling f-bombs in front of my parents (at my dad), and my dad claiming he will just not celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas anymore, the problem resolved itself with my sister in law’s work schedule, at least for Thanksgiving. My dad then bought me a very nice watch and necklace for my birthday, along with cash, and bulbs of my grandmother’s favorite flower to plant in my flower bed. He is now torturing my sister on a daily basis. I am apparently back in the family? We are watching Flashforward together this week, so I guess so.

Socially though, my life rocks. So, that’s something.

My library items are about 20 days overdue, so that does not rock. That didn’t really fit into any other categories, I thought I’d just like to note that.

My dog is super cute and does not drive me crazy though, because he’s just so damn cute and fluffy. Even when he uses the bathroom in the house.

Natalie on the other hand, has been trying my nerves severely, but then I feel like a really shitty mom for not being able to handle it and being short with her – like all the time.

There’s so much more (there always is), but I’m done for now.

 

 

To begin, I will begin at the beginning. The beginning of my very first diary, at least. It’s purple, with pink ballet slippers and red roses with green stems all over it. The inside covers are pink, the pages- lined and white, with a place for the date at the top. There’s a little silk ribbon to mark the page I’m on, and a brass lock. The brass key has been lost.

On the inside cover:

This (private) diary belongs to Rebecca Lane Brooks. Hands off!

The first entry: (unedited and displayed as accurately as possible)

Dec. 25, 1991

Today is Christmas! When I opened this present I was so happy! These are some more things I got. A watch, and a Cabbage Patch (a doll thats hair Crimps & Curles). My Grandmother died Christmas Eve morning I was very sad.

Morning 😦

later that day 🙂

I was eight, in the 2nd grade at this time. I’ve looked back at this entry many times, the first thing that always hits me is my drawings at the bottom. I do remember the sadness that echoed throughout my family with the loss of MawMaw Faye. The sudden tragedy of ovarian cancer found too late, of a loving but tumultuous woman and mother lost before all the words were said. I remember the joy of the holiday too, though. The inevitable excitement and happiness of lights and ornaments and gifts and treats and family.

I don’t remember if it was a “Santa” present or not, but I assume my mom picked out this diary for me. I’m not sure why a ballet slipper one. Maybe she liked the purple background (her favorite color), maybe she just thought it was pretty, maybe it was the only one (or the best one) there was and she was thinking more about me writing than what was on the cover…

It was a pivotal year in my family, the whole family, since we all lived on the farm together, went to church together, and us kids went to school together- all our lives strung together. Me, mom, dad and Rachel; MawMaw and PawPaw; Steve, Theresa, Clint, and Cody; Allen, Janet, Stephanie, Julie, and Katie.

Daddy was 33 when his mom died. Allen a few years older, Steve a few years younger. They found out she had cancer that summer of ’91. Towards the end, she was at home, now I know it was probably with hospice care. She had a hospital bed in the living room, where the scratchy yellow couch used to be. Paw Paw’s scratchy yellow arm chair was still there though. Daddy had us go up there, sit by the fire hearth and watch Wheel of Fortune with the nurse standing by and PawPaw in his chair, and then had us give MawMaw  kiss. I hesitated (at least in my mind) because she looked so very different. And because I didn’t really understand she was dying.

MawMaw was a big woman, not always, but when I knew her. Like, mu mu wearing big. She kept her hair rolled. It was short and blonde. Her skin was porcelain pale and loose. She always had sweets in the house. She loved us. She loved crafts. And birds. And butterflies. She made the very best mush. If you don’t know what mush is, I’m not sure I can tell you. It’s sort of like grits, but better. No one’s been able to make any since she died. Not they haven’t tried.

Their house was at the top of our road and we were up there a good bit. When we were waiting for the junior high bus to drop us off, we’d sit on the porch -Rachel, Julie, and I- with MawMaw and she would chant this chant “I’m stirring my brew, my witch’s pot, stirring, stirring, stirring…bring Stephanie’s bus!” And the bus would come! We would laugh and clap. It took me years to realize the bus came at the same time everyday!

Sometimes, she’d let us go in her beaded change purse that seemed to have more coins than anyone could ever need in it, and let us get enough each to walk to the store and get some penny candy. The store was at the very top of our road. It used to be a general store that my great grandfather ran. By then, it was the Handy Pantry with red and white eaves and a 2 gas pumps. We thought we were so grown running down that gravel all by ourselves to the store to pick out whatever we wanted. Our favorite candies were those little caramels that have the white cream in the center. We would peel the caramel off, eat it first, and then let the sweet center melt in our mouths as we walked back.

At MawMaw’s, our toys were on the back porch, in a tin trash can, beside the washer. I loved the pound puppies. I didn’t have those at home. We didn’t have a lot of rules that I much remember over there. Just don’t step on her buttercups. And don’t litter in her yard. And don’t make mud pies in her dishes (we learned that one the hard way). When we spent the night, we slept on pool floats in the living room floor and I couldn’t imagine anything more fun and novel at the time.

What I knew, what I know, of MawMaw is limited in personal experience- scattered with other’s interpretations, reflections,  experiences, and stories. I know though, that losing her changed everything. Changed Daddy and his brothers. Changed PawPaw. Changed Daddy and Mama. Changed my understanding of life and death.

After her funeral, we went to Allen’s house with the rest of the family and ate and people laughed and I didn’t know what to think. We had just cried and been so quiet and sad in church and now we hug and joke and laugh and eat? Later, I saw that it wasn’t over so quickly. It was just the way it goes, it was how we kept living.

😦

and then

🙂

was just the preliminaries, it was just the beginning.

Feminism is…?

Rebecca West: I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute.

[Feminism is] a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.  ~Pat Robertson (Oh, Dear God!)

Michele Le Doeuff: A feminist is a woman who does not allow anyone to think in her place.

Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes.  There’s just too much fraternizing with the enemy.  ~Henry Kissinger

The thing is, this isn’t a battle we’re fighting against each other, or at least it shouldn’t be.

Gloria Steinem: This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labour in which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.

Men weren’t really the enemy – they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.  ~Betty Friedan

Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.  ~Margaret Mead

If the Mead quote is true, and I do believe it is, perhaps through me, my father liberated himself a bit, because my Daddy- southern boy, son of a farmer, corporate company executive and business owner- is a Feminist.

I keep trying to pinpoint the first feminist statement my father made to me, just for a starting point, but it’s hard to do so, because it was constant…Perhaps one of the first was when, at his encouragement, my sister and I were playing on a soccer team as 2 of 3 females on the team. I was in second grade. I complained about playing with the boys, I said they were too rough. Daddy told me to get out there and be rough too! Show them what  girl can do! For the record, I was just really bad at soccer, and the subsequent sport I tried on a co-ed team- basketball, so I’m not sure how much I “showed them”. But I didn’t quit and I didn’t cry when I was smacked into or kicked in the shins. I got dirty and I got up. That’s what the boys did and that’s what my Daddy said I could do to. So I did. And I’m so glad I did.

When, in 6th grade, I said I wanted to be the first female president of the United States, my Dad said “You go girl!” (it was the early 90’s, you can’t really blame him for using that phrase 🙂

When I finally found a sport I could play (believe me, he wasn’t letting up till I tried them all), he co-coached my softball teams and in doing so opened up a world to me of competitive, hard working, don’t care if we get bruised up, loud, powerful girls.

Daddy said God may be a woman.

Daddy said I could kiss all the boys I want.

Daddy said I could do whatever I want.

Of course, he rallied against things like short shorts (he usually lost) and driving late at night (lost again). I mean, feminist or not, he is my Dad, there are some things he has to oppose 😉

My advice to the women’s clubs of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.  ~James McNeill Whistler

Sometimes, (or often) I’d get hyped up and on a role about some injustice and Daddy would shout from his corner “Alright Feminazi!” Usually followed by “You go girl!” Feminazi was a nickname he made up for me, jokingly, when I was out of my head raging against whatever I was raging against and stomping my feet around.  I would say, part of effective feminism (or effective anything), is being able to laugh at yourself and not take things too seriously all the time.

He also would strut his 6’3 farm boy frame around the house and tell us to “Flaunt it if we got it” (he claims he was channeling his grandma Pearl) He wanted me to know how to be a woman, a full out woman. And he wanted me to know I could be pretty, smart, and strong all at the same time.

“Scratch most feminists and underneath there is a woman who longs to be a sex object.  The difference is that is not all she wants to be.”  ~Betty Rollin

The other day my daughter,  Natalie, saw a policeman and claimed that that’s what she wanted to be. She then said, “but I have to be a man”. I laughed and said, nope baby, you can be a policewoman, and then introduced her to a policewoman. She probably won’t remember that, but for me, it’s just the beginning.

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.  ~Gloria Steinem

To quote my Daddy, the feminist “The only thing stopping you is your mind, don’t let your mind defeat you.” I will feed Natalie feminism, because feminism is simply the idea that woman are equals to men, deserving no special treatment nor discrimination. In this way, all children should be told this, this message is for everyone.

“We’ve got a generation now who were born with semiequality. They don’t know how it was before, so they think, this isn’t too bad. We’re working. We have our attache’ cases and our three piece suits. I get very disgusted with the younger generation of women. We had a torch to pass, and they are just sitting there. They don’t realize it can be taken away. Things are going to have to get worse before they join in fighting the battle.” Erma Bombeck

This quote reminds me that we owe our best efforts at equality not only for our present and future, but also to honor those who’ve gone before us. When I was engaged and planning my wedding, the older ladies in my church kept coming up to me, holding my hands, asking if I was still going to college- their eyes imploring me to say yes. I had never considered not going to college, but the mix of fear and hope in their eyes reminded me how big a deal it was, to not have homemaking and factory work as my only option. I think, sometimes, because we were born into this “semiequality” that we take for granted how recent the victories occurred, and how hard they were fought for. And I think, sometimes we forget that we’re not there yet. We’re further along, but we’re not there yet.

Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, a good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-dressed, well-groomed, and unaggressive.  ~Marya Mannes

Marlo Thomas: One of the things about equality is not just that you be treated equally to a man, but that you treat yourself equally to the way you treat a man.

As always, equality is not just about one gender, one race, one religion. It’s about all of us, we’re all in this together. And if we do it right, the advancing of others can advance us all, not take anything away from any of us, but instead, give something to humanity as a whole. Liberate us all.

I am working for the time when unqualified blacks, browns, and women join the unqualified men in running our government.  ~Cissy Farenthold

And it’s not just this, but also that anyone making an effort to play a productive role in society, in any way, is respected in their role, with equal respect given to each role, as each role plays a crucial part in the functioning of our communities as a whole.

So, thanks Dad. Thanks for all the ways you allowed me no special treatment or discrimination. To do anything else would have been a disservice to me and anyone I have, or will, encounter along my life.

I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want.  If that makes me a bitch, okay.  ~Madonna Ciccone

I hate to sound bitchy or like I think I’m above others, but sometimes it really amazes me how dumb people are, in general, as a whole. Why? Why can I go through a whole day and feel like the smartest person I’ve encountered? To be perfectly honest, it’s tiring. Annoying. My family is tiring, annoying. I am so sick of miserable people. Goddamnit. Even when I’m upset I’m not as miserable as these people. Good Lord help me. I crave certain people, certain conversations…Oh My God Cheetos are good. And so is this $2.97 Merlot. And the Eminem I’m listening to…I’m so super classy tonight. Now what was I going to say before I got distracted by Cheetos? Oh yea, miserable people. Needy people. Shut the fuck up with your whining. I am not inclined to feel bad for you or really give a shit, considering you are ALWAYS  miserable. Just stop. I mean really, if it’s so bad just go ahead a kill yourself already, you know? What’s the point? If everything is as horrible as you say, just give up! That’s why I have to be an optimist. I would most definitely kill myself if I weren’t. Or at the very least be a drug addicted whore. I mean really, if there’s no hope, nothing good, no promise, then WHY THE HELL DID YOU EVEN GET UP THIS MORNING? Why do you continue feeding yourself? Why did you get dressed? Seriously, what are you doing still living if it’s all gone to hell with no hope for redemption? And I’m not saying I think people should commit suicide. I’m saying people should just shut up when they are whining for the 10th year in a row. I mean, I know everyone’s got to whine. What am I doing right now? Everyone worries, everyone vents. But I mean, there should be a limit on it. Or at least crack a joke while you act miserable. It will make me want to kick you in the face just a little less.

I’m getting sad because the cheetos are almost gone. : (. Swizz Beats is on now, I made a hiphop playlist today. Now what was I saying? Oh yea, kicking. I have a kick list. I started this list when I started finding out about all these shitty people that people that I’m helping at work have had to deal with. If you’re on the kick list, it means should I ever see you, I will most likely kick you immediately. I’m too nice to have a shit list. I don’t say shit unless there are extreme circumstances. And besides, what’s a shit list do? A kick list is very specific. If you’re on the kick list, you’re getting kicked. MAN I just ate the last Cheeto. Damnit. They were good.

I just spilled wine everywhere. It got on the wall. Oops. I think I cleaned it up good enough. I defintely giggled.  Jason will surely see it and bitch about it. Because he is like a woman who bitches about stupid shit that no one really cares about. Or perhaps, just things I do not care about. The thing is, there is only so much room inside me to really care about things. And it’s never gonna stupid stuff, because as I pointed out earlier. I’m not stupid. I mean, really, there are other things you could criticize me with: disorganized, distracted, late,  unhealthy, unpolished, undisciplined, etc, but I’m not stupid. I know that for sure.

I’m eating Doritos now, they are not as good as the Cheetos, they are a little stale, but they are serving their purpose. I like to eat when I drink. It completes the experience for me. And Cee-Lo is on now. I do love his voice. I love rap. Rap is great for a poet to listen to. I love the things that flow, that rhyme. Sure, sometimes it’s dumb, but sometimes is is just so freaking incredible. And I just appreciate the flow, the attitude, the honesty, the rhythm.

I’m getting sleepy now. Still have 1/2 a glass left though, so I’m finishing it. You know what I don’t understand? How people can keep being dumb. Do you think that people know they are dumb and just don’t care? Or don’t they know? That would be sad I guess, either way. This song makes me think of middle school (In Due Time, from the Soul Food soundtrack, OutKast feat. Cee-Lo). Middle school wasn’t bad. No school was bad for me. But middle school was actually great. Because you’re able to do stuff, but you have NO responsibilty and are years from it. What good years, 13, 14,  15.  15 was high school, but freshman year…

I’m going in for one more glass of wine. It’s so easy to not care about a hangover when you’re 3 glasses in….I have also moved on to dark chocolate chips (there weren’t very many doritos left…) I do believe I just moved up in classiness for snack food. I know not everyone needs so much time alone, so I really try to just not make a big deal about it, and try to spend time with Natalie and Jason, but OH MY it drives me crazy sometimes. You know, at one point, Jason worked nights and Natalie didn’t talk yet…I of course am glad that Natalie is talking now…not so glad that Jason doesn’t have a job, but you know, no one is happy about that kind of thing…It’s just so weird, I crave certain interactions all day (and don’t always get them), but then other interactions are so damn trying on my nerves and niceness. I just want to say ‘LEAVE ME ALONE. JUST LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE, DAMNIT!”. Of course that’s not really very “family” oriented. I’m sure it doesn’t help that my family was very partitioned emotionally, I was almost always able to keep to myself when ever I wanted, for how ever long I wanted. And I was very social, very involved in things outside of the home, but when I wanted to be alone, I could be. I didn’t spend a lot of time being around my family for no particular reason (like meals or holidays).

Alright, I do believe I am drunk enough to stop typing. It’s a good place to be tonight.

God-love

Posted on: May 17, 2009

As parents, the church instructs us to model the love of God through our love for and relationship with our children (and our spouses and really, ultimately, for each other all around). The reasoning is simple: in this way, our children can begin to grasp what it is to be loved by God. What it is to accept and participate in a relationship of unconditional love. Of passionate, intense, honest, sincere, adoring love.

So many things around us speak otherwise. We are taught (even by the church) that we need to be “good enough”. We need to act and dress and speak a certain way. For whatever we want to be worthy of. That’s not true when it comes to God. There’s notihng to do about it. To earn it or lose it. You can’t. That’s the whole point of UNCONDTIONAL. No conditions apply. It is, it always has been, always will be. It’s there for the taking. Always. And there’s enough for everyone.

It’s just so hard to really take in though. Because even knowing about it, it’s hard to live with it. It’s just so truly unbelievable. And we have so many versions of love that we experience and participate in that shape our understanding of it all. If we lived with this God-love pumping through us everyday we would have no fears, no worries, no doubts, no loneliness, no lingering aches. We would truly be free. We would be unstoppable. It would be a 24/7 high.

But because love is so many things to us, through so many people, our experiences are all mixed up, the good and the bad. So we can’t fully relate to the God-love. It doesn’t always translate with our versions. But it starts at home (doesn’t it all?). So though we can’t shelter our children from society, from the various loves that they will encounter and participate in, we can do our very best to display our very best version of love for them, giving them the best chance we can of grasping, even if only for moments, the hugeness of God-love and all the power and peace and freedom that comes with it. And in doing so, maybe we will understand it more for ourselves.

I went to the farm Tuesday, the day after it snowed. I forgot it was still there. I pass that road every day and act like because we don’t live there, because we don’t own it, it no longer exists.

But it does. It’s not a person who’s died. It’s an ex. Who got married. And had kids. And lives in the same town. And goes to the same grocery store.

I parked my car at the top of the road, where Uncle Allen used to park his 18 wheelers. Across from the place where my grandparent’s house used to be. Facing the gravel road that forks, one road goes by the barn, to my house. The other, to the left, takes you past the fields, the place the sawmill used to be, the unfinished grits mill, to Steve and Allen’s houses.

I stood looking at it, it was always so beautiful in the snow. So out of this world. And so fun. Pulling 3 or 4 sleds behind trucks and 4 wheelers, going down that hill that lands you in the creek…we would spend all day out there…

A car passed by and I just waved. Blonde girls in SUV’s do not typically make people feel threatened. I started sobbing thinking how I was trespassing. On my land. Because it wasn’t mine.

I saw something move at the barn after a loud sob. It was a goat! (We left them because no one was going where they could take them). I had to see them. I walked to the barn, trying to not leave tracks in the snow by stepping on the places it already melted and the ground was showing through (though I doubt anyone would notice). I got to the entrance and it just took my breath.

The soft dirt. The sweet hay smell. The weathered wood. The rusted tools. That barn is over 100 years old. It’s red with silver patches of tin on the roof. I remember we used to come up here and feed the goats sweet feed and hay, hauled water up there in that black bucket…

I reached around the stall door and let myself in. I tried coaxing Peanut over. Peanut and Mary Frances are the only ones left. They grew up in the cow pasture and didn’t get the face time the older goats got when they stayed at the barn and I would feed them and visit. The cow pasture was large, it went into the woods. You could never see them if they didn’t want you to.

I hid behind the door as another car went by. Peanut finally came up, licked my hand. I had to Baaa a few times first. It’s funny, but it works! It always has!

Our goats are big. They aren’t those tiny little things some people have.

I thought of my Paw Paw (he’s laid to rest in the church graveyard across the street, with Maw Maw and the rest of the family that’s not up and running anymore). I thought of Daddy and his brothers and how much it hurts me to lose the farm so I can’t imagine how it hurts them.

I stepped out of the barn and looked into the woods, the path you could take to get to my house if you didn’t want to take the gravel road. It was still snow covered, the trees draped in it, the rest of it quiet on the ground. Still and pristine. We always held the snow with us for days after it had lifted from or puddled up in other places. I wanted to run into that forest and lose hours the way I used to…

But I took a deep breath, I turned around, I ran back to the car, jumping over snow, still trying to minimize the tracks. Why? Haven’t they been washed away already, won’t it all melt into the ground soon enough, before anyone can do anything about it? I looked at my mailbox. It seems wrong that someone else should have our addresses, our road with our name on it.

I cried a lot that day. The thing about loss, about grief, is that it carves out places in you. No matter what else happens, what else you have, what else comes along. Things cover it and soften it and fall into it, but sometimes what feels best is someone tracing over the crevices and acknowledging the design.

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