When memory fails…

An elderly lady walked into the store this morning.   She asked if we have a phone book. I inquired who she needed to call, certain that I could look it up on my phone faster than I could locate that pesky phone book. She looked at me as if she was about to cry, and in a clear delicate voice, said “I don’t know. I have memory problems and don’t remember where I was going.” She turned around and walked out with a pained shuffle.  Taken completely off guard by the situation, I let the other manager on duty know that I was going to go out to her car, make sure she was safe, and get her any help I could.

As I approached the window it was evident that she was crying.  “Excuse me ma’am.  What can I do to help you?  Can I call your family?” Again, she didn’t know. She said she remembered that she was supposed to be going to an appointment but had no idea where.  Wiping her tears, she said she had been calling the last number on her phone, but kept getting their answering machine.  She handed me the phone and it was the automated pick a number menu at the start of most office calls. When in doubt select 0.

What do you say when you don’t know either party in an awkward three part conversation??  What do you say when you don’t want to further disgrace the elderly lady who is clearly already humiliated by her lapse of lucidity??  It went like this:
“Hi. My name is ____ and I’m calling from _____.  I’m in the parking lot with Mrs._____ who is likely supposed to be at your office, or may already be late.”  The receptionist recognized her name.  “Mrs._____ is a bit confused on your location and what service you provide.”
The receptionist immediately understood.

I repeated the office location, and as soon as I said Food City Mrs. says “I know Food City.  My doctor’s office is near there.”  With the receptionist’s help, we got her back on track.  The office called me back to let me know she had arrived.  Had I not heard from the office, the next call would have been the police with a BOL for her vehicle between my location and the doctor (2 miles away).  Throughout the day I considered the balance between the dignity of self sufficiency and acceptance of deficiency as it effects personal safety.  As much as it hurts my heart, I hope that this is a wake up call for her and for whomever might care for her.  Sweet Mrs. probably should not be unescorted in a moderately sized city, albeit one that is safer than many.   This is how Grand-pa ends up in Minnesota with no recollection of how he got there.  This is how people are taken advantage of, and the reason there is now a national Silver Alert for missing and endangered elders.

How hard is that day going to be?  Will I feel my heart and will break?  Or will I know when the day has arrived that I’m a danger to myself and others?  I’d never seen it up close.  Watching her frustration as her mind failed her, and yet was still present enough that she knew it was failing….that might be my new greatest fear.

Ephemeral strings…a tribute

I’m not sure I have the words….

Though I am shocked and incredibly saddened, this is not my poignant heartbreak to mourn.

Last night we received news of the entirely unexpected passing of a friend.  I call him friend, though I knew him less than two weeks.  As a childhood friend of the person I consider to be my best friend, he was welcomed to our home.  We shared food, laughter, and stories by the fire during his (albeit brief) visit to our area.  He was a huge personality.  He had heart-felt resonant laugh that could be felt as it boomed from his wide genuine smile.

On first meeting, it was clear that he was a kind soul who had LIVED his brief life.  A passion for experience and knowledge was palpable, as was an underlying sense that his life hadn’t always been easy.   Though I have NO idea what his up-bringing was, there was little doubt that perseverance and positivity had brought him to his successes and relationships and (his words as I recall them) “the family you choose”….and today he is no longer walking among us.  With no why or how, he simply evaporated from our sphere.

As I consider what, when weighed against my 39 years, was such a brief encounter, I’m in awe at the ephemeral strings we attach to each other through our lives.   I can’t begin to count the number of people I’ve shared conversation, education, meals, laughs, or tears with.  How am I to know what weight I’ve left in someone else’s life.  Have I left light or laughter?  Have I left hurt or harsh thoughts?  When my time comes, will someone ponder that time that we shared a fire, good stories, and lots of laughter??  We are all deeply connected in ways we may never anticipate.  Time is fleeting and it is far to easy to forget each other in our busy day to day.  I challenge you…because I am challenging myself…reach out to someone every day.  Remind someone that you are thinking of them.  Remind someone that you appreciate them.  Remind someone that you care and are present in their life TODAY –  because tomorrows are no guarantee.

Though I knew you only a flicker of your life, I wish you peace in your journey Richie.  May your LIFE continue to inspire, that those you left behind may find our own peace in your absence.

Making America ‘great’ again…

Full disclosure:  I originally wrote this in early November, before the election, and it’s been hovering near the trash can in my draft folder since then.  Tonight however, on re-reading, it seems way less bitter than when I originally typed it.  Tonight it seems far more anxious and frustrated at the recent days’ events…many of which -according to some- have been done in the name of our American faith.

Be forewarned, some of you aren’t going to like this.  That’s okay.  (As referenced by previous works, offence is something that I understand to be your privilege.)  All I ask is that you consider, as you read, your role in the topic.  Don’t immediately jump to  why either of us are right or wrong, just consider….

Halloween night I was invited to participate in trick or treat with some friends.  They live in a nice suburban neighborhood, middle to upper class, primarily white, ‘average’ Americans.  After the trick-or-treating dwindled, we retreated to the back porch for some beverages and conversation.  I didn’t know anyone other than the friends who had invited me, but have never found any of their acquaintances to be less than entertaining, so I stayed around.  As the night grew later, kids went to bed and folks started going home, till there were just the five of us: my hosts, myself, and another couple – their neighbors….and then the conversation changed.  It turned to religion. More specifically, it turned to his particular Christian viewpoints – including but not limited to the ‘fact’ that Christianity is the oldest of religions according to his scholarly studies.

Let me preface the next segment by saying that I’m not a regular participant in any organized religion, and I’m particularly put off by aggressive proselytizing.  I understand and appreciate, and do not belittle religion’s function and importance in the lives of so many, but it has not been a major part of my life for around 10-15 years now.  I don’t want to belong to a congregation that spews hate speech, politics, and antiquated gender beliefs.  I don’t want to participate in a community that has shown itself to be so two faced when it comes to helping other and being Christ-like……- so here goes…..

After a brief, yet all too lengthy one sided discussion he says  “You should come to my church.  It’s different.”  I chuckle and tell him that I really don’t think they’d be as welcoming of me as he might think.  See, I’ve already been told I’m going to hell by at least a hand full of people, including one Baptist minister.  I don’t believe that my role as a woman is solely to have children.  I was baptized ‘incorrectly’ as a child – which is apparently worthy of the flames.  I think ALL people deserve to be treated with respect and basic human rights regardless of their gender, nationality, color, or sexual orientation.  Oh, and I’ve been living in sin with the same man for almost 12 years….with no real plan on entering that sanctified thing you call marriage.  According to most popular local denominations, I’m already doomed.

I wasn’t trying to win a fight.  I simply don’t enjoy feeling bullied over my viewpoint on the subject, my life choices, the lives and lifestyles of people I care deeply about, or the fact that no matter IF I had been given a chance to explain my particular version of faith, I would have been wrong.  As I drove to work today, I reflected on the incident.  NPR was deliberating election news and I wondered if that man considered his beliefs would be the ones to “Make America great again.”  It’s fairly certain that he does, after all, why would a person be so fervent about something they didn’t consider to be of global benefit?  This leads me to my hypothesis.

In many ways Christianity is the America of religions.

1) In the grand scheme of things, America hasn’t really been around that long.  Regardless of our youth, we consider ourselves to be the deciding factor in the success or failure of people around the world.  In the name of God, we’ve removed native people, waged wars, invaded countries….If we deem it wrong, it must be so….because we are right – much like the judgmental elements of the church, and people who make decisions about each other that should be left to their God to decide. {The remainder of this section was added after the original text}
When individual actions are boiled down, be it abortion, petty theft, lack of empathy for those in need, or voting to tax America’s poorest and sickest into eternal debt and death, each person’s decisions are ultimately between them and whatever creator they choose to believe in.  It is ultimately their karma, their conscience, and their soul.  It does not fall to me to decide what you do with your soul.

2) The engraving on the Statue of Liberty suggests America accepts the tired, hungry struggling masses yearning to breathe free, yet here we are.  We are a country turning away those seeking to flee their ancestral homes due to war, poverty, persecution, and exploitation.  Though we have a mandated separation of church and state, one faith is consistently brought back into everything from the election to what should be included in school textbooks.  Christianity is faith based on the idea of embodying Christ; helping others, feeding the poor, clothing the needy, and making humanity better – but don’t put the methadone clinic in MY community.   Quick.  Lock the car doors or that homeless man might try to jump in the car.  Turn away that boat of Jews trying to flee Germany during WWII, and this week the Syrian refugees that have already been vetted.  There isn’t an actual desire to help – only to produce.  Increase numbers.  Increase tithe.  Build a bigger building.  Bottom line – money.  Money and pride.

{Added secondary} I am fortunate to know MANY amazing people.  Generous loving people who truly embody what it is to be Christ-like.  Some of them are even Christians.  Until we, as a nation, fully embody what that means – what it means to give without expecting reciprocation, to love unconditionally, to feed and clothe the less fortunate, to listen (truly listen) and help, to try to find the good and the God in others, to stop spewing hate, and to BE BETTER HUMAN BEINGS…we as a nation, and especially our leaders, cannot call ourselves Christian.  We must call ourselves flawed human. We must call ourselves lambs led by wolves.  We must call ourselves the self catering and the hard hearted.   In these days, regardless of your faith or lack thereof, I only ask you one thing.  Please, look at your fellow flawed human with respect and treat them with humanity.  Perhaps our humanity will grow and spread.  Perhaps it will move like unvaccinated contagion, infecting us all, until we finally achieve what we like to claim we are.

 

So yeah, I suck at Chrismas. :/

Every year.  Every year I think to myself how I just can’t wait till it’s over.  It’s not ‘humbug’.  It’s not for dislike that people are so giddy over the entire next month of the year, the decorating, shopping, songs, food, and festivities.  I just struggle to enjoy it, and have for a lot of years.  To be honest, it can be a little overwhelming and sort of sad.

As a child the holidays were all about the traditions.  We knew what to expect each year; where we would go, when we would go there, and that we would be appreciative for the time and gifts – because the holiday wasn’t about the gifts.   We didn’t always have a lot but we had each other and the love and laughter of the season.

My adult holidays are not quite as full of love and laughter.  I go to work at least five days a week and watch what the holidays have become.  The rush.  The greed.  The physical push and shove of the selfish and self absorbed.  I watch the public’s frothed aggression at taking a deal out of the hands of another, and the retail machine feeding this with Thanksgiving day shopping starting earlier and earlier – pulling low paid (often seasonal) employees away from their families.  I listen to the berating and ill tempered shopper, the parents screaming (often with numerous loud profanities) at their kids, the angry person who didn’t arrive in time to get the limited time/price/quantity item.  I’m cursed at and threatened by people who are more pleased by what their dollar can buy them than the people they share their life with.  Oh, and let’s not forget the canned generic Christmas music on repeat and the people who are offended by “Happy Holidays.”  It makes me sad.  What has happened to us??

Every year.  Every year, shortly after Thanksgiving, I think about pulling out the tree and all the decor because it just might brighten my day.  I just might come home from one of those challenging days and the lights and heirloom decorations will remind me of how fortunate I am…it could happen.  So I fire up Pandora on the bluetooth speaker and pull out the tree.  I’m fluffing branches and singing along until one song comes on…one song is all it took and I’m a blubbering idiot sitting in the dining room floor with the top of a Christmas tree in my lap and tears and snot all over my face.  Flogging Molly singing If I Ever Leave This World Alive (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVPTu4l6OnE) is all it took for me to be flooded with memories of all the people I don’t share the holiday with anymore.  All the memories made, love and laughter had, and the times in my life when I loved Christmas.

I suck at this.  It’s essentially going through the motions.  When did I stop loving parades and caroling?  When did I stop seeing the world with the joy of a child?  Why does it feel like a burden to me as an adult????  and how do I know I’m not alone in this feeling??  Because if we all enjoyed it we’d be nicer to each other.  We’d take the time to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and it wouldn’t be about the rush and frustration of spending money on things that most of us don’t need.  If we actually took time to enjoy the people in our lives – the people we share the holiday with NOW – maybe we wouldn’t have to sit in the floor and cry because those past holidays don’t exist for us anymore.  Stop and LOVE the people you have in your life.  Stop being jerks to each other over a buck.  Stop being hateful to your kids because you are frustrated with your own situation.  Stop and try to enjoy the holiday….that’s what I’m going to try to do.  Sometimes try is all you’ve got.

 

Faith in Humanity

This morning, as I was getting ready for work, there was a knock on the door. Dean took care of it, but as I came out I saw the young guy walking toward the road. “What was that about?” Dean said he was asking for food and he figured it was sketchy. We rarely get door knocks, and they’re usually for money, never for food. As I was leaving, I bagged up the stack of pancakes from too much breakfast, and a few vegan granola bars fresh and warm from the oven. He was less than half a mile up the road.

The young man, probably in his mid twenties, wore dark jeans, decent sneakers, a black jacket zipped up to his neck, and a tattered toboggan cap.  Though a high end brand name, his jacket was patched with seam tape, and hand sewn squares of fabric.  His dirty hands held a bowl, specifically  a blue glazed ceramic rice bowl.  He looked as though he’d been on the road a while.  

He called himself a traveling monk.  A young Buddhist, he had decided to go on a pilgrimage of sorts.  He never fully stated where he came from, merely that he decided to give away all his belongings and experience humility and simplicity.  Getting up at dawn, he began his day’s walk and prayer.  Between 11am and 1pm, he would approach homes, politely seeking generosity of food, not money, not supplies, just food.  He would eat what he was given by the first generous home, and seek no more.  He said, “You always get what you NEED.”  The remainder of his day was fasting, prayer, and walking.  He said he prays for the community and it’s residents as he passes through, and asks blessings on passersby – (although I’d imagine not all are polite.)

I didn’t ask where he sleeps, when his last hot shower was, or how how/if his family keeps track of him. As I listened to his explanation, albeit brief and simple, I felt guilty for our initial reaction, and for my lack of faith in humanity.  I had no reason to question anything he said.  My gut, my heart, my intuition….ALL said that he was genuine.  He had given up whatever comfort and routine he had in his former life to “experience ultimate humility”.  If my community didn’t feel gracious he wouldn’t eat today, yet he would still pray for each of us.  Where have we gone wrong as a society??

As I put my vehicle in reverse, he extended his hand for a shake.  We made eye contact and he said “The universe gives you what you need.  I’ve been thinking about pancakes for days. Thanks.  Be well.”

This was not a guy standing at the stop sign with a sign asking for cash.  This wasn’t the person who approaches you in the dimly lit parking lot for a hand out.  This was his journey in faith.  Tonight I will pray for his safe travels, and for humanity – that we can embrace some uncomfortable amount of humility and unease in order to grow and know ourselves and what brings us peace and joy in our lives…because we are fortunate.

My mother’s hands

The dermatologist walked in, gave me the quick once over, face, back, neck, shoulders, arms, and finally my hands.  With both of my hands in hers, her head tilted slightly to one side as she says, “These dark spots on your hands are hereditary.  They’re nothing to worry about, but they’re definitely hereditary.”  At this point I expected her to suggest some lightening cream or cosmetic procedure, some sort of fix to amend the genetic damage. Before she could make any suggestions I interrupted.  I thanked her.

Before I go on, I must share that I have very few crystalline memories from my childhood.  The majority of those years are little more than a blur that time and repeated head injuries have smudged into memory mud.

One of my most lucid memories, however insignificant it might seem, is of a random Sunday morning.  The uncomfortable seafoam green church pew.  The smell of Ivory soap and Jungle Gardenia perfume.  The rice paper thin texture of the hymnal pages as the book was being held for us to sing…being held by my mother’s hands.  I remember studying her hands in detail.  Her long fingers with long natural nails, sometimes stained from summertime berry picking.  Thumbs that flex backward like those red, yellow, and blue flexi straws at Dairy Queen.  Working hands with rough spots, sometimes a bandaid, one nail shorter than the rest, veins visible over the bone and sinew, with a sprinkling of slightly darker spots across the backs from knuckles to wrists.  I’d look down with tightened lips, judging my pale pudgy childish digits, yearning to have her hands.

Now, in my late 30’s, I’ve had my mother’s hands for years.  The long fingers, abnormally tough fingernails, bone, sinew, and veins all visible.  Yesterday, by mere choice of words, the dermatologist gave me the gift of my grandmother’s hands too.  “These dark spots on your hands are hereditary.”  I got them from MY mother.  My mother got them from HER mother, and no cosmetic procedure will EVER take these spots from me.  They are perfect, and I will wear them with humble honor and respect for the women with spotted hands who came before me, whose bodies literally made me, held me, raised me, gave me their skills, provided direction, and gave me gifts of life and knowledge…for those hands I am blessed.

On being offended…

I haven’t said much lately.  Instead, I’ve chosen to sit back and observe society and ponder what facilitates our self appreciation and closed mindedness.  Why are we, as a society, so quick to take offense?

Scrolling through social media, it doesn’t take long to find an argument.  Religion.  Gender issues.  Gender identification. Race.  Economics…..just the tip of an endless list of things that cause animosity and alienation.  WHY?  Why do we feel such a need to be right?  Why are people so eager to disregard and disrespect the opinions and feelings of others?  This is not a conversation about ‘facts’.  It is a conversation about perspective and individual truth, and why it seems to fall into basic human nature to hold our own perspective and truth as more valid and thus more important than another’s.

As I ate my lunch Sunday, I listened to a locally recorded NPR show entitled “Your Weekly Constitutional”.  Though often a bit over my head with the legal speak, this week the show was about first amendment rights vs. a person’s right to be offended.  The host was speaking to a law professor from (if I recall correctly) the Air Force Academy regarding the use of offensive language or actions.  As an example, they discussed use of a racially charged N-word.  It is mutually agreed that there is no context for appropriate use of such words in a grade school environment where the setting is one (primarily) of instruction.  As an individual elects to continue their education to college, gaining a bigger world perspective, there are times when such language is called to context – not used AT people – rather used to demonstrate historical perspective, literature, or social commentary.  As they discussed, it is not unusual for such encounters to be prefaced with a group discussion about the discomfort and disrespect associated with such language, and approved exclusion for those who don’t wish to SAY the word.  I experienced this scenario myself in undergrad, and understood the weight of saying such words out of context – and yet still felt uncomfortable saying them in the classroom.  Because I believe in the first amendment, I never gave thought to the actual banning of a word.

On numerous college campuses across our country, this argument is being made.  The speakers went on to discuss campus as a domicile rather than a student’s actual home, the legal verbage around such decision and sadly I had to clock back in before the end of the show, but this made me think.  Why are so many people so easily offended.  I don’t simply mean by that one word, rather by any subject about which someone disagrees with them.  In the last few weeks I have observed the disintegration of lifelong friendships because someone became offended by something that used to simply be a discussion – albeit often heated ones, but a discussion.

I mulled the subject over for the rest of my work day, considering customer complaints and interactions,  discussions with friends, topics on the news….and I came to a working hypothesis.

Human nature.  It is in our nature to want to be right.  What makes you more right than your feelings?? After all, no one can tell you they are wrong.  So you feel something.  Someone else feels something.  You disagree with their notion, and feel as if their viewpoint lessens your own, thus devaluing or disrespecting you.  It is far more personally rewarding to be offended than to disagree and discuss.  Offense is the adult version of a temper tantrum, when the child screams and yells then runs away.  There is no discourse, no conversation, only an unfriend, a block, and a slander.

Our offense enables us to put ourselves ahead of others, even when we are the only ones keeping score.

I know this fixes nothing.  It changes nothing.  It won’t change minds. It won’t change people.  If you disagree with me, that’s okay.  In fact, it’s wonderful.  I won’t be offended.  I’ll be thrilled that you took the time to read and consider.  I only hope that you’ll reconsider before stating your offense.  After all, it’s only my opinion and glad that you have your own.

Potty talk

I survived.  Today I survived something that, until today, I had only heard to be something potentially life threatening, scandalous, and horrific.  Today I walked into the ladies restroom just ahead of a transgendered person.

What to do??  From our ungracious media and the propaganda folk, all we hear is hatred.  Supposedly these individuals are predators and perverts who only want to peep through the gap in the door and prey on us as we potty.  There I was…in the loo…with a decision to make.   I couldn’t run.  I had to pee!!

I entered the first stall.  She entered the second stall.  I pulled down my britches, sat down, and did what I went in there to do.  Although I didn’t look to see (because that would make ME the pervert), I can only assume that she did the same.  At no point was the sanctity of my stall violated.  We exited our stalls at about the same time, washed our hands, and moved toward the door….but only after I complimented her on the killer heels that I don’t have the balance or style to pull off.

We are a country obsessed with other peoples’ genitalia.  Personally I don’t think it is nearly the problem some people wish it was.  Instead of gender specific facilities, how about unisex toilets, and a second option with deadbolts, slide locks, a chain, and a chair leaned against the knob – just in case – It could be called “The room of delicate sensibilities”.

Not to disregard the concerns some people have for ‘our children’, but if you are concerned that someone might take advantage of your child while they are in the restroom, perhaps they are too young to go alone.  I’ve never heard anyone upset about a 5-6 year old boy in the ladies room.  Perhaps the parent or guardian might stand outside the bathroom of the child’s gender identity, to ‘guard’ as women do in sketchy bar bathrooms on a regular basis.  In any case, if we are teaching children about privacy and manners, then a casual encounter might result in questions, and THAT is where I think a lot of adults have problems with the scenario.  I’d imagine that some parents might be uncomfortable trying to explain the subject, and in my experience, some parents aren’t kind in their explanations.  Hate and fear only propagate more hate and fear.

I have no fear of sharing a bathroom with a transgendered person.  I have peed in the woods with bears and coyotes (and meth heads – who ARE scary), wiped with leaves, and felt no fear.  The only place I have ever felt unsafe using the bathroom was in a frat house full of drunken idiots who DID occasionally burst in wanting to see your bits, and the occasional attempt at other episodes of questionable judgement.  This was NOT okay.  THIS is what gets a reaction from me.  Another human being, occupying the stall next to me, checking their make up in the mirror, making sure there’s no spinach in her teeth….who cares??  Heck, I kind of wish she had spared a moment of her time to advise me on how to do that eyeliner too.

How about this:  How about we behave with respect to other human beings.  How about we behave with courtesy and kindness, even though we may not fully understand or embrace a lifestyle.  How about we just attempt to be better humans, and allow other people to live their lives as long as they aren’t hurting anyone.  The excrement will go down the drain whether you flush in the men’s or women’s potty.

OMG! You have ovaries?? Me too!! We should talk!

Unless they are deeply in tune with their inner feminine, or care deeply for a woman who has faced ‘female’ issues, this topic will not be to the liking of most men.  Consider yourself warned.  Frank talk about woman parts awaits you.

In the beginning, God created man, then woman….and immediately she wrecked the whole arrangement.   We faced our nudity.  Shame followed.  Sex became taboo and as such all of the anatomy associated with it. Ovaries.  Uterus.  Fallopian tubes.  Breasts.  In our current social climate, all are the shameful property of Lillith.  Personally, I place the blame for anatomical shaming squarely on the incorporation of particular faith views into education, both at home and at school.  It is important to understand the human body for it’s function, not merely for it’s lustful tendencies.

Ladies, most of us on genetic team XX have the same parts.  Of course I mean no disrespect to any of you who might have eliminated any of those parts out of need or desire.  This is, in fact, about discussing those situations.  Aside from your physician, who do you turn to when you have those potentially awkward, maybe embarrassing, female questions??  I giggle in my head as I recall those horrible Massengill commercials from the 90’s, yet there’s a great example.  In reality none of us walk barefooted down the beach asking our mother about not feeling fresh.

As I drove home tonight, I began pondering my upcoming yearly appointment.  You all know the one.  “Scoot on down here and put your feet up in the stirrups.”  I am approaching 39 and have been on some sort of birth control well over half my life. For the last few years, I have been considering a change.  Last year I approached the idea with my doctor.  He was adamantly against anything other than status quot.  Maintain and carry on.  I trust him, and see no reason why he would mislead me, but why not either help me consider other options, or explain to me his rationale on staying the course.  At that point it became very clear to me that I had too little female voice in my life.

Why do we not have these conversations with each other, and frequently?  We all know a woman who has had scary real life problems.  Breast cancer.  Cervical cancer.  Fibroids.  Ovarian cysts.  Reproductive difficulties.  Men can walk around adjusting themselves all day and no one flinches.  There are lots of commercials for erectile dysfunction.  No one minds.  When women have problems it is automatically something to be embarrassed by.  It’s hush hush.  We are supposed to be ashamed of the difficulties of our bodies.  Too often our mothers didn’t talk about their difficulties, and their mothers were silent before them.  Do YOU know your full maternal medical history??  Because these situations are held so closed mouth, we are often at a loss in how to approach them, even with our mothers, sisters, and closest friends.

I am the only owner of a never used uterus.  Emotionally, I’m not that attached to it, but physically it’s fairly well glued in.  I’d sell it on eBay if that were legal.  Seriously though.  If someone had suggested what a disaster the IUD could be, I might have reconsidered.  Given my experience, I would welcome the chance to help educate another woman who might be considering one.  This is where the trust factor comes in.  Too often, and in lady-group conversation, these topics become a sort of pissing contest as to who has had the worst time.  “I thought I’d die.” is only an acceptable description if your life was actually in peril.  When finding the woman with whom to have these conversations, it will be important to consider how grounded they are in conversational reality.  You might hear things you weren’t prepared for, but you might NEED to hear those things.  Likewise, they may need your insight too.

Sometimes we simply need the reassurance of someone who has been there before us.   In the long run, this type of honest exchange amongst our ranks can only be a benefit.  If you have sisters (biological or otherwise) talk to them.  If you are fortunate enough to still have a mother, grandmother, or fairy god mother, talk to them.  I am working on this myself.  It isn’t always comfortable, because we weren’t raised for this to be normal conversation.  Let’s make new rules.  It’s 2016.  We shouldn’t have to whisper the anatomical names of our body parts.

 

Ephemeral things

I was laying in bed.

It was early.  I wasn’t tired, but I was laying in bed.  The fella has to be at work at 4am, so he was turning in early.  Since our work schedules keep us from spending a tremendous amount of time together, it was a good time to (ugh!!  How girly?!?) cuddle.  No ‘adult content’ here, simply laying snuggled up under blankets watching Lord of the Rings.  He dozed off and I laid there noticing the Blu-ray player’s audio favors sound effects over dialog.

A few minutes passed.  The fella is peacefully snoring, and I am soon surrounded by the chorus of the peaceful.  Both dogs, in separate beds but still touching each other, were peacefully snuffling and occasionally making those endearing noises dogs make in their sleep as they must be dreaming of chasing all the squirrels and playing in all the trash cans.  As I laid there, the only one in the room NOT sleeping, it occurred to me that in that moment I was entirely at peace.  I wanted to fold that moment up and keep it forever.

I don’t know if it is due to my approaching early middle age, or a simple sense of seasonal melancholy, but lately I’ve been very appreciative of these ephemeral moments.  Those fleeting things that we have for enchanted seconds.

The welcome home hug that seems to last forever, but just not long enough.  The familiar smell of the person I love.

The elder pup who knows that any time you are sitting on the toilet she will have at least thirty seconds of your undivided attention.  Walking in, she cocks her head sideways as if to say, “Funny meeting you here again.” and positions herself for whatever area she wants scratched…and snorts her delight.

My younger pup who lays her head back against my knee as I sit on the couch.  She looks at me, face nearly upside-down, with a gaze full of unconditional love of which I do not feel deserving.

Watching my mother’s hands as she sews, and her constant expression of serenity no matter how hard the boat is rocking.

The look of intense concentration and dedication as my father shows anyone how to do anything…because he can do anything.

I want to remember all of these moments.  The fleshy warmth and weight of the chicken whose life I watched slip away so that people might eat.  The smell and sound of my favorite creek as the sticky August breeze blows through the thick oak and hemlock forest.  The dirt under my fingernails from planting things, and the joy of watching them grow, fruit, and yield.  The sweat and pain of a hard days work for which the results are visible.

They are too many to list, and yet I beg my brain not to let them go, not to sacrifice them for the sake of a grocery list or the project at work.  Let go of the 90’s song lyrics, but lock these things up and never let them go, because I feel that without them I will lose part of myself.