Looking For The Light




I do a lot of driving.

A lot.

It’s the price of doing business with my current family, home, and my own life as a person being in different places. And I’m happy to do it.

Because I this, I listen to a lot of podcasts.

A lot.

My tastes run the gamut:  popular ( Welcome to Nightvale, Serial),  intimate or offensive (Dan Savage and Kevin Smith), obscure and nerdy (Sawbones and Dan Carlin’s Hardcore history), and movie-minded and political (Bret Easton Ellis).

And then, because the universe knew I needed it, I found Conversation with Alanis Morissette. 

Yes. That Alanis. Judge or smirk or eye roll. I couldn’t care less. I was in college in 1995 when Jagged Little Pill changed things and gave us a voice we hadn’t heard. (That and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) But the respect remains. Anything that Alanis speaks or sings or writes, I will attended to with urgency and full consideration. And thank the gods and goddesses I did.

There’s been some shaking up in my world. My acute focus in the settling dust has been to learn as much as I can about myself and find the happiness there that i know is present and abundant.  For many years, I pushed away learning. That was where the scary lived. That’s where mirrors that showed you ugly truths about your character dwelled. Trying to control with shame and engulfing and avoidance were much more pleasant. Only now have I learned, just how detrimental that it. Letting go of control and accepting the learning as it is presented is the only way to grow.

Listening to the astute authors and therapists on this podcast have brought a clarity and distillation of truth that I needed. Especially her conversations with Dr. Margaret Paul. This woman…I would lick her brain to absorb that goodness if I could. Her work and methodology on Inner Bonding captured my intellect and started showing me a path to heal my heart. For real. Lick.

I’ve lived in my head for a long time. Because of that discomfort and insecurity with myself, I became a selfish sponge of those around me. I missed amazing opportunities. I passed chances of learning and experience. I shrank from wisdom. And I pushed away love with both hands. Good love that could have sustained and supported and grown. But, who wants that, right? Not this crazy broad.

So, on this gorgeous day of light, while I sit inside next to a snuffly and feverish kid ( the universe does enjoy its humor), I’m compelled to account to myself what I am incredibly thankful to have. Because despite being a giant, nightmare asshole to people close to me and my heart, I’m still being given more than I could ever deserve. Such as:

  • The aforementioned snuffly kid. He is my heart and makes me a better person every day. I still can’t believe I get to be his mom.
  • The ex who created this amazing boy with me. We have managed a life apart but intermingled, where we can respect our past and bring love to this present family. So few have such a gift.
  • I have a job that pays a living wage. Because of that,  I can mange my family’s life and provide what we need and more.  We have a home and more books and shoes and t-shirts and Star Wars toys than anyone needs to fill it.
  • I have a generous mother that fills in when I cannot. In ways of time, money, support and love. Even if she drives me to head-banging distraction.
  • There is a small circle of friends that I can reach to for support. Not many and not far. But, when you have people with whom you can share wildly inappropriate texts and stories, it lifts you. Mistakes can be forgiven and they are willing to do it first until you can do it for yourself. And if you’re lucky, they will also tell you when you are wrong, and being an insufferable dick and that you should give that boy a break and apologize. And then they give you a hug and a drink and a recommendation on a good vibrator.
  • I have health care. With a hefty monthly premium and an absolutely outrageous deductible. But, it’s still there. It affords me luxuries like only moderately expensive medication and some access to therapy. Healthcare for everyone is still very much not a thing.
  • I am afforded the space and time to play. With people of limitless talent and creativity. There is space for me  a writing group of delightfully offensive and brilliant women. I’m constantly grateful that there is a place for me at their work table. And then I get to sometimes play make-believe in the most glorious ways. Last night, for just a moment, I got to be Mark Antony. And Brutus. And Caesar. I’ll likely never do that again. But for just a glimmer, I was. Let slip the dogs of war, indeed.
  • Without stepping too far outside my comfort, I can acknowledge that I have some talents. To be a mother. To provide. To manage it all. Not cooking. I can’t cook for shit. But, I could write you a monologue about it. And if I did that monologue for an audition, I just might get a call back.
  • The thing that hovers over all this, is that I’m in a place now where I can see all these things. It’s a place I’ve not traveled through  much before now. Most of my days and nights have been spent locked in my brain, safely guarded against any gnarly feelings that might try to come out and bite me. But, for this moment, I’m not there. I’m here. Body and self. Really here. Seeing. Feeling what I shoved in my boxes.  The good and the really, really, hard stuff. Which is really, really hard. And it really, really hurts. But I know it won’t kill me. I won’t stop functioning. I won’t lose my grip on sanity or my hold on myself. I’ll be fine. And someday, maybe, I’ll even be good.

Looking at that list is an incredible gift. Everything I will ever need is right here, in this space and in me.

Yes. That sounds so lame. I imagine a scent of pachouli and a gentle clinking of crystals tumbling as the background soundtrack. The chanting begins at sunrise.

And okay. Yes. There might be crystals. Rose quarts. One my bed, next to the love candle and another around my neck right now. There might be. Who ever really admits these things?

What I do know is that having light suddenly in front of you, and seeing it all around and touching everything is truly changing. There is warmth and illumination. It won’t stay. The evolution of us and our world prevents that. But, having seen it, I know it exists and that it will come back.

So, for this minute, I’ll set my mind in today and be present in my body and throw my arms with love around my snuffly kid.

For today and again for tomorrow and for the ones after, I’ll keep looking for the light.

Namaste, bitches.





My balls

My balls

Been thinking about balls lately.

I know that in this post-enlightened intersectional feminist era, I’m not supposed to say balls when I mean strength or bravery or fortitude. I’m supposed to say those words instead.  I get it. Of course I do. And I do recognize that you have to change the language to change the culture

But I still like to say the word balls. So I’m sticking with it.

I was told recently in no uncertain terms that I am scared. That I am hiding from everyone else, from my potential and even from myself. That I have, essentially, mislaid my balls. And that I will wither away rapidly from middle-age to menopause to death without so much as a fleeting hand wave or hot flash.  That I will accomplishing nothing  and miss any chance or  being happy or fulfilled, unless I locate my missing balls.

I admit, I’ve never been a risk taker. I don’t point a car and start driving without a plan ( or a GPS and a phone app, and printed directions in case there are tall buildings or large birds and I lose the signal.) I gage and I plan. I know what I’m doing next Thursday and I anticipate those needs and prepare accordingly. (Note to self: have red wine and clean, non-period underwear.)

This cannot be a horrible thing. Being smart and appropriate cannot be that miserable of a flaw. Because of my planning, I had backup balloons and cake when my kid’s birthday was cancelled due to an historic blizzard. Because of that, I’ve never been stranded on the highway without water and a coat and walkable shoes. And since it’s the season, I’ll be political. Because of that, I’ve been fortunate enough to  have had only one very desired and anticipated pregnancy and child.

The point is, I don’t think saying no means saying you have no balls. I don’t think that changing your mind or altering course means that you are weak and callow. Sometimes, I think it means you are a sensible human being, using the brains provided by the manufacturer to not wreck the merchandise and it’s inner workings into a billion unsalvageable pieces.

Right is right and now and then,  shit just makes sense. I don’t think bailing on a meaningless trip in buffeting snow indicates a lack of courage. I think it means you don’t want to mangle up your people or anyone else’s just because you were bored on a Friday night and there was a grandma desperate to buy a new guilt-allaying fuzzball from Build-A-Bear. Sometimes the voice in your head isn’t frivilous self-doubt. Sometimes, it’s rock-solid reason and it’s either lunacy or masochism that sends you looking for a different way.

Under the swan song of  pseudo, self-imposed and for-its-own-sake audacity and the hubris and put-on posturing of unfuckwithableness armor, I’ve been swayed. I’ve made small decisions lately that I was not happy with long term. Why? Because I made a choice to be brave, or what I thought was brave, instead of simply being right, or what I knew was right for me. All was fine. No one was hurt. But, I didn’t feel free or empowered after those choice. I felt dumb. Because I was too busy being ballsy to be authentic.

Luckily, I found my footing on another, much bigger choice. This one wouldn’t have just affected me, it would have shaken and uprooted my family. The gift and help and clarity of this one was that because my young man was involved, I didn’t give have a shit if I was being brave. I only needed to be right. He needed me to be right. Believe me,  I’ll be a coward all day long if he comes out ahead in the end. On this particular intersection, I’m glad I chose what might be perceived as weakness and safety and the road more-travelled. Because that’s what was right. Brave and strength and fear had nothing to do with it. It was right for us. At least for this moment. Maybe that’s a different way to show valor. Strategic weakness in the moment for long-range victory.

This is not to say that I do not need to gather up my balls from time to time. Because I certainly do. But, I’m pretty proud that I have done some unnerving things lately that required just that, and I came correct.

I have shown my work first, and held my breath while it was read. I have sent the text without knowing if I’d get a response. I’ve answered the call without having any idea what to say. I have stepped outside myself and felt both awful and great about it. Because having pluck is not just about plowing ahead with a plot, regardless of any information to the contrary. It’s about seeing the truth and accepting it as it lies. Not running full-speed off a cliff just because you don’t want to live life scared. That just ends in broken bones and pain.

I spoke up about something very personal today, with someone personal, and I felt like She-Ra. It took all the chutzpah I normally don’t have, and both parties wound up in a better place because of it. At least I hope so. I was honest and open but still receptive. Balls were gathered and good resulted. It was a pretty swell moment, intellectually and emotionally. I don’t always have those. And that’s a problem. But now, I know it’s a problem I can work on solving.

And I am certainly still working on the solving. I’ve not reached out to a director collaborator, a lovely person that I was supposed to touch base with weeks ago. Because I’m a giant pussy? ( Are we allowed to say that? As an empowerment/disempowerment thing? I don’t know anymore. But I’m keeping that word too.) Very possible. More simply and realistically, it’s because I’m scared that I can’t produce the on-screen goods that are needed. Balls would have been fantastic in this situation. Mine were lost.

I’ve stalled on perfecting a new audition piece for Sunday, because it’s untested and it feels rickety and and I don’t trust it. I know I should woman up ( see? I can change the language), work the piece and throw down with it. I don’t know if I’ll have the guts.

But, I know I will have the balls to sit alone in a coffee shop after the audition. Yes. Alone on Valentine’s Day? You bet your sweet ass. I have balls enough for that.

You can have both balls and brains. You can be devil-may-care spontaneous and unscripted, and still come home safely to tell the tale of it over wine. While it might make no sense to some, it sounds totally logical to me. And I’m usually one big irrational feeling, made up of thousands of tiny nimble, mercurial little feelings, so that’s saying something.

So, yay to me for keeping me and my brain and my heart on track and doing the same for the people under my watch. Not fun, or easy, or light-hearted business. But, I managed to do that without losing my balls.

Because, yes, I still got my balls. Even if I lose them sometimes. And I’m keeping them.