Sunday, June 30, 2013

hello: pride

Happy Pride y'all!

As Pride 2013 comes to a close I find myself, unsurprisingly perhaps, reflecting on what "pride" means to me.

Though I don't often turn to wikipedia as my go-to research tool, I thought a more crowd-sourced definition on pride might be a nice start. This was an interesting little tidbit:

With a positive connotation, pride refers to a satisfied sense of attachment toward one's own or another's choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging.

Feeling of belonging, eh? To be honest, it's never been easy until recently to talk about my queerness, so for me most of my past pride celebrations have been more about a feeling of not belonging, a feeling of otherness and outsider status. Did dating men make me a traitor to the community? Did deeply identifying as queer rather than gay/lesbian/dyke make me less than? Past prides I've felt like I was looking in on a world that wasn't quite mine.

This year I decided to just show up and see how it felt. After all, I've been lucky enough to have loved a lot of wonderful people in my life: men & women. I've had my heart broken by people from all across the gender spectrum (lucky me). I've advocated for the rights of LGBTQ people for much of my adult life and spoken up when it felt like the right, even if not easy, thing to do. I've been schooled by people who don't understand my brand of queerness and I've schooled people who think they get to decide what to call me. It's an evolving identity and so when I showed up this year for pride that is what I was proud of: my long-time-coming-(still-developing)-okayness-with-myself.

Pride for me is self-respect and self-acceptance, no matter who you find yourself becoming.

What does "pride" mean to you? What are you proud of?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pause. Enjoy.

A few things I've paused to enjoy as of late:

1 & 2. An amazingly healthy garden at an East side restaurant. Very inspiring. Also: enviable. 
3. Some gigantic basil from my old CSA farm. Which produced the season's first pesto batch!
4. Lupine! Always the best. 
5. New teatowels. Why not?
6. Okay, allium is also the best. 
7-9. Peony blooming in my secret garden.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

rumination on creating closeness

CAPRICORN: Anglo-Irish novelist Laurence Sterne
married his wife Elizabeth in 1741. Twenty-five years later he fell in love
with another woman, Eliza. In composing love letters to his new
infatuation, he lifted some of the same romantic passages he had
originally written to Elizabeth when he was courting her. Try hard not to
do anything remotely resembling that, Capricorn. Give your intimate allies
your freshest stuff. Treat them as the unique creatures they are. Resist
the temptation to use shticks that worked to create closeness in the past.

Let me start by saying I love Freewill Astrology. This week's Tuesday horoscope (above) really resonated with me, and I've thought about it on and off all week.

I thought about just leaving it here and saying: this works for me, but I thought it would be worthwhile to dig into it a bit more and think about why this kinda took my breath away.

I suppose I have to be honest: I have recycled here and there in matters of the heart. As a writer (ha! I fancy myself a "writer") I've actually heard myself say the same thing to a new lover that I said to an old lover. What a tragic thing to admit to in a place of attempted writing excellence! I am no better than Laurence Sterne.

But beyond my own suddenly not-so-secret shame about saying the same poetic lines to new and old loves, I am very interested in this idea of letting each relationship be a truly new endeavor.

I think of it from many angles: not falling into old habits; not reacting in tried and true ways; checking your expectations of other people (and yourself); not jumping to conclusions. Just totally, truly, letting yourself and this other person be a blank slate. I am as unique as this unique creature in front of me.

I think for many years I've told myself two basic stories about my love life: 1) All the good ones are taken and 2) I've been choosing the wrong partners.

Point #2 is what I am interested in exploring here, and why this horoscope worked so well for me. I think my story puts the blame or accountability on the partner: they were wrong for me, so I just need to find different types of partners rather than examine myself and what I might be doing wrong. What if, instead, I looked at the "shticks" I was using to create closeness, all which based on my single status have clearly failed, and what if I tried different ways of being instead?

This horoscope is freeing for me. Here freshness implies stepping beyond past hurt or failure to discover what can be created in the present. Here the present is assumed to be untarnished, not yet written. We are making it as we go, with completely thoughtful behaviors and communication. Here we respond to what is true in the moment, instead of what has been true in the past.

That's what I really take away from this: to go into every new situation (dating or otherwise) with the belief that it could be unlike anything you've ever known. And in that possibility, invest in being the person you want to be and the person your partner needs, rather than just turning on a character or standard set of behaviors/patterns/catchphrases that are comfortable (even if they all aren't good).

I think there is an implied pause in this advice too. And how radical to add pause and silence into interactions and conversatons with possible partners: to stop before reacting to ask yourself "Is this an old shtick I'm falling back on?" I think this advice demands that you are more in tune with the person you are with, instead of the stories you have told yourself and the generalizations you have made about how people are.

Don't even get me started on how empowering it is to think about partners being "intimate allies." Love it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

hello: happy

For the first time in a long time I feel really happy.

Not like a fleeting happiness, or a reaction-to-something-good happiness, but rather a core-level contentedness and well-being. The sort of happy that makes you call everyone you love and leave rambling, giggling messages, interrupting yourself midway through one message to comment on the amazing sunset out the window, which gets interrupted by you breaking out in a huge smile that lasts awhile until you remember that the person on other end of the phone can't hear you smile, and you hang up giggling.

I think I kind of had my very own corn moment.

This bubbling up feeling that started this morning and by evening erupted into full on things are alright it's great to be alive!! 

A happiness that felt like it had form and body - that felt like I could hold it, and taste it, and smell it, and delight in it with all my senses. It really was a whole body and spirit takeover - pushing out (at least for now) the cobwebs and replacing with Space that made me laugh and smile and shout out how good I felt!

That's what I wanted and needed: space. Space to be reflective. Space to be encouraged. Space to be confident in myself and my dreams. Space to name those dreams and be unafraid.

It's very simple really. Or, at least, if I really think about it, I have a feeling I know where the first shake came from, where the bubbling began.

This morning I had a rather spontaneous coffee with a coworker who has been at my organization for a few decades and just put in his resignation. I don't know him very well, but I wanted to make sure I built a bridge between us before he left because I want to know him and be a connection. I invited him for coffee saying I wanted to hear about his new job, but instead quite unexpectedly he showed me much more: he showed me who he really is. He talked candidly about his frustrations with our current employer, his dreams, and what he's learned in the three decades he has been in the workforce. He talked about himself openly and honestly. He shared without censorship. And then he asked if I was happy in my job or if I too felt a pull elsewhere.

He invited my truth, and I gave it without questioning.

To which he told me that he sees me as someone committed to advocacy: someone who needs to be working for something they deeply believe in. He told me to forgive him if he was wrong, but if my current job isn't the place that I can fight for something I believe in, as he thinks I need to in order to be happy, I should look for a new opportunity where I can do this sort of work.

I guess it stunned me a little. It stunned me to have someone I barely know see me so clearly. To nail it. To know who I am at my core.

That being said, hearing him interpret who I am was like a big duh.  I mean just yesterday I saw this quote on my fridge within a postcard about how to build community: "Nobody is silent, but not everybody is heard. Work to change this." And I thought to myself: I think maybe that's my life's work in a nutshell.

I guess the thing is, for better or worse, I needed someone else to say practically the same thing to me in order to really hear it. I needed someone else to say it to erase the maybe. And who it was was important too: I listened more closely when I realized someone unexpected really saw me. It made me think that who I am is clear to everyone but me. I need to have confidence in what I have to offer and what I want to build.

What do you know? When I felt seen and heard, the whole world looked different. More approachable, welcoming.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I'm glad it's June.
I'm glad I finally made those smokey beet burgers.
I'm glad my floor cleaner smells like roses and that I mopped so I can smell it.
I'm glad I've worn dresses practically every day for the last week.
I'm glad to have friends I can send silly texts and emails to.
I'm glad the slivers of soap in my garden appear to be keeping away the rabbits.
I'm glad it hasn't rained in over 48 hours.
I'm glad I have the support of many to make the changes I want and need.
I'm glad that looking at a map and plotting a road trip west inspires me.
I'm glad to have three groups that play three distinct but equally important roles in my life.
I'm glad for creative conversations and new connections, unexpectedly.
I'm glad I have a new compost bin.
I'm glad not all of my flowers have bloomed yet, so I have something to anticipate.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

the letters you never send: anne

Most importantly: I'm sorry.

I hate that our friendship ended over some careless texts. My therapist says she wishes "young people" wouldn't have actually important conversations over text message. I feel like I am young enough to make this mistake and old enough to have known better.

You asked me if your antiracism rant scared me.

It didn't scare me.

I didn't realize you were the only person of color at the party I brought you to. It made me angry that you were alone in this realization; it is fucked up beyond belief that I didn't even notice until you pointed it out. That scared me. It made me angry. It made me think.

I didn't know what to say when you started to talk to me about racism and how it shows up in all these subtle and not so subtle ways in society. White people were milling around me in afro wigs and dancing to appropriated music and it took your perplexed look and my "what are you thinking?" to see what was right in front of me.

I wasn't scared. You didn't scare me. I was, however, scared of saying the wrong thing. It is okay that I was scared of saying the wrong thing? Can you allow me to be a little bit flawed and a lot human?

I was disappointed that when you opened up to me and shared your thoughts (what you called via text a "rant," and what I would have never called a rant), that I didn't know what to say.

I have so much more to learn and in the moment I didn't have anything of value to say to you and so I froze up and mumbled half-thoughts when you over and over again asked "what do you think?" It made me feel disgusted with myself. I thought about it when we left the party, I thought about it after I dropped you off at your home, I thought about it when I first woke up, and I was still thinking about it when you texted me about it in the morning.

Clearly, none of this came through in my hurried text response to "Did my antiracism rant scare you?"

I am sad that two people who care so much about communication and intentionality around communication stopped talking over some poorly worded, not very thoughtful texts. I wish I had just called you and explained the multitude of things I was thinking, including fear over not saying the right thing. I wish I had felt free enough to show you my flawed, human heart as you had showed me yours time & again.

I wish I had been the woman you wanted me to be instead of the white person you expected me to be.

I have more to learn. I thought we had more to learn from each other.

I know it's not your job to teach me. It's not your job to teach me how to be a considerate, justice-oriented, conscientious white person. It's my responsibility to become that person.

I'm sorry for disappointing you. I'm sorry for hurting you. I'm sorry for thinking the multitude of things I feel about you and the depth to which I care about you could forgive some thoughtless text messages. I am sorry for trying to have an important conversation with someone I deeply care about over text message.

This letter has been stuck in my throat for months. Goodbye, Anne.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Two posts in one day?!?!! WTF has gotten into me?! RIGHT?!

Well, I just really had to share this with my 3(-5) loyal readers.


That shit is giving me LIFE.

Early June Blooms

Some snapshots from my garden....

And two tiny bud vases I made this week, breaking out of my decoupage-crafting hibernation...