Monday, April 2, 2012

The Scintilla Project: Day Nine

The excuse: I have been, uh...shall we say, feeling not so scintillating--us writerly folk get that way from time to time, and time and again. Anyway a week late, but still awesome and without further ado. 
The prompt: Write a list of 23. (23 things to do, 23 people you owe apologies to, 23 books you've lied about reading, 23 things you can see from where you're sitting, 23 ten-word hooks for stories you want to tell....)

Twenty three terrific things about right now, before the feeling subsides

1. Colombian coffee
2. Gardening
3. 5 sleeping cats, yes five of 'em.
4. 2 great young people
5. A hot shower 
6. Patchouli body oil
8. Conversation
9. Hearty laughter
10. Fresh laundry
11. Biochemistry (Some day I'll be done, so let's count it now.)
12. Too many cookies
13. A new dress
14. Michael Cotto
15. A long walk
16. A soft wind
17. A rabbit!
18. Bad television
19. Diet Coke
20. My younger sister
21. Party planning
22. More coffee
23. Yoga 

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Scintilla Project: Day Eight

The prompt: What are your simplest pleasures? Go beyond description and into showing the experience of each indulgence.

Long ones, short ones, cliche and obscure
Modern, archaic, proper and all slang-like
I love them all
If I had my druthers, I'd piddle about with them all day; 
I'd pick 'em, spit 'em, drop 'em
I'd twist 'em, mince 'em, chop it up
I'd sing 'em, most loud, sweet cacophony
Oh, but occasionally
I eat 'em
I quote 'em, I give 'em, I take 'em
I live and breathe 'em 
I fear them 
"They can and will be used against you"...
They'll break you, maim you, cut you down to size;
A detail, minutiae, to an infinitesimal speck of who you thought you once were
They'll expose and exploit you
Pulchritude, power, horror, ugliness and shame
They are love and loathing, hope and despair
They incite riots and laughter and insight and change
They escape you, they fail you, but they come back...
Awestruck by love, writhing in pain, at desire's peak, on the brink of death
A final utterance, one last plea
For naught but their own posterity

The Scintilla Project: Day Six

The prompt: Write the letter to the bully, to the cheater, to the aggressor that you always wanted to but couldn't quite. Now tell them why they can't affect you anymore.

I wish I was there. I wish I was ready. I wish I could narrow it down to the one thing, the one time that hurt the most. I wish I knew that any of it actually mattered; that my pain was not in vain. I wish you'd come to me someday having discovered empathy, ready to offer an apology. I wish that apology might somehow validate me and set me free.

I'm gonna put this out there Universe, and if I may, just one more wish. Will you aid me in the strength and clarity to revisit this prompt at some point when I'm there, when I'm ready, when it doesn't affect me anymore. 

The Scintilla Project: Day Seven

The prompt: Talk about a time when you saw your mother or father as a person independent of his or her identity as your parent.

Talk of the units always presents with a bit...OK a boatload, of trepidation. As the once-- but no longer-- only child of addicts, I've struggled through the years to let my siblings have their own reality, their own experiences and mostly their own voice, often stifling mine in the process, but that ended when my writing began.

I'll tell you that much of my life I've seen my mother as anything but a mother. For the entirety of my childhood, I was the parent, hers and mine, and later my siblings and lastly--still amidst my childhood, my own children.

She is the subject of many unpublished essays, therapy sessions and my own looming fears. She's just so flawed, so human, so independent of her identity as anything or anyone, and subsequently independent of obligations to anything or anyone. I find her equally as shameful as she is enviable.

I could go on forever about the times she disappointed me, "dropped the ball", but what I fear I'll never understand is why I always rush to pick it up, again and again, until I'm juggling-- mother, daughter, sister, teacher, friend, therapist, perpetual fixer-upper to the clan. I've spent my life navigating and surviving her independence. What I'd like is to someday bear witness to the declaration of my own independence; a life independent of codependency.   

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Scintilla Project: Day Five

The prompt: Show a part of your nature that you feel you've lost. Can you get it back? Would it be worth it?

Aah... if I knew then what I know now. I've heard it, I've said it, I've willed it, wished it, vied it over and over and over, again and again and again. And, now I know. I know now, that which had I known then would place me exactly where I am now--only sooner, and for longer; wishing, vying, over and over and over, again and again and again that I didn't know-- not then, not now, not ever, what it is that I know now.

Two subtle divots, at the upturned corners of my lips ago, alongside a certain soft and supple something in the light of my eyes; regrettably, I never took note of them until the day they went away, the day I learned what I'd wished I'd known, but now know, and wish I didn't.

It was a time when forever meant for ever, when there was but one version of the truth, when love was more than enough and that meant by default, I--in love, and being loved--was more than enough too. It was a time of innocence, of ignorance, of bliss, it may very well have been the best of times. But, I wanted to know, to know better, and so now I do, only I wish I didn't. Aah... if I knew then what I know now.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Scintilla Project: Day Two

The prompt: When did you realise you were a grown up? What did this mean for you? Shock to the system? Mourning of halcyon younger days? Or the embracing of the knowledge that you can do all the cool stuff adults do: drink wine, go on parent-free vacations, eat chocolate without reprimand? 

The short of it--I'm not grown yet. I'm thirty-eight, and if the powers that be wouldn't spare me this earthly existence in the throes of past years' miseries, that Bitch--capitalized with all due reverence-- had better let me live long enough to make sense of it all.

The long of it--depending when asked, I'll dig deep into my mental crates and offer you a tale or twelve of victory and some defeat, starring me, in what sometimes looks a lot like a -- neck roll, eye roll, pursed-lips-- grown ass woman, but one can never be too certain.

Was it my wedding day? I was eighteen years and a whole fourteen long summer days old. Mayhaps...

It could have been the twenty eight hours of grueling anything-but-natural, natural childbirth. Or, the time spent thereafter in NICU deciphering medical jargon whilst my painfully engorged breasts leak and my child lay cyanotic. Maybe it was when I finally got to bring him home...or, last December when he left home.   

Maybe, it came in the subtle silence of the formative years, his and mine and ours, when we were three. Or was it amidst the storm when I fled, or when he fled, or when I fled again? No umbrella, no coat.
Perhaps, I clenched the moment like a baton? Twenty-four and relaying back and forth between two lives, two loves: the one that felt right and the one that was right. Then again, I just knew I felt a certain tinge of something when I committed...recommitted, to the latter. Sacrifice, take one for the "team", isn't that what grown-ups do?

Did I lay my claim to adulthood at 26; one last push and bellow, the birth of child number two. Or is it in my admirable resistance to push back when she pushes my buttons; vitriol spewing from pink, angry, pubescent rage-filled lips?  

The moments when it all falls apart are as relevant on the journey as when it all comes together. Maybe it's all of these things collectively, and maybe it's none at all. Growing... grown...I just want to hold on long enough to make sense of it all. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Scintilla Project: Day Four

The prompt: What does your everyday look like? Describe the scene of your happiest moment of every day.

The rich stench of dark, freshly pressed, fair trade, organic lust fills the air whilst the tea kettle whistles. Harmoniously, cats trill and purr, busheled tails dancing to the beat of a new day's desert sun. Standing still in the east corner of my starting over space, the warmth of strong hands descend my neck and shoulders as chills and tangibly goosed skin ascend to meet them. "Good morning, _____", he greets me. I gaze over my left shoulder untoward him and return what we've come to refer to as simply, the look. We each smile, and while no words are uttered, much is said as I grab my mug and he fills his.

I nestle into the soft, floral chair afront my desk, mug raised, blank screen before me, steam fogs my lenses, but I don't care. I am watching him intently from an unobstructed periphery; blinking softly, slowly, steadily, I will the etching of this moment for eternity--which literally begins in less than 6 months.

I lower the mug from my lips just as the telephone rings and a New York City exchange shows on the caller ID. Smiling, I nod in blissful satiation, "Hi ____", I say, raising an octave and my foggy lenses, "I was just thinking about you!"

Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.-Gibran

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Scintilla Project: Day One

Who are you? Come out from behind that curtain and show yourself.

Who am I?
I saw this prompt and wanted to run...

One year and two months ago in the blink of a mascara-caked lash and a lustful, wandering eye, my life's story and much of my identity were leveled; one match, one wind in the woods out west. I am humble.

Several months I lay on two tear-stained pillows--stationary, on one half of a bed once shared. I am wounded.

One psychiatric ER visit and five prescriptions later, I am unwell.

Friends-- few but dear, share warmth and well-wishes in words and offerings. I am loved.

A trip, a glossed lip, a feigned--albeit well-executed, self-assured sway of the hip, no slip. Laughs coyly. I am back.

Two children in tow, sans one spouse, one half of a hyphenated name, two thousand fewer square feet, and two months later. I am here.

Two strong arms, two brown eyes, one great smile, a loyal, golden heart, one marvelous man. I am ready.

I saw this post and wanted to run, I am not a runner. I am a writer, and this is where my story begins...again.

Who are you? Come out from behind that curtain and show yourself.

More from the Scintilla Project here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Scintilla Project: Day Three

With intense trepidation he summoned me toward him, lightly patting the large, blue, pillow-backed sofa. On his face was an expression I'd seen before; an expression I knew meant nothing good, but couldn't quite place. I felt fear and tension embrace me as I pulled the laundry unto me like a shield. I intuitively looked to the sky and took a deep cleansing breath in and then out. I could hear my heart beating. Fight or flight? I could feel my inner Self-- as if disjointed from the present Self-- frightfully pounding from within as if she were trying to break out and away from the impending doom. Such is the deep silent omnipresent worry of anyone living with mental illness. But, there was no time for escape or disassociation, here I was before him shrinking inside as his lips began to part and utterance befell me. "I've been thinking..." he said, when my eyes widened in insurmountable fear, having just placed that... "I know that face, oh no...I know that face!" I began to shiver and brace myself with another deep, albeit labored and broken breath. 

My heartbeat is so loud, to hear him I shake my head and adjust my footing, like an old TV antenna. Squinting, I direct my eyes on his and begin to hear his words escape, in forced crackling sputters from his own personal stranglehold of pain. "...unfulfilled...break...sep-a-ration". From his lips to my ears and through me like a fire gavage, engorging my chest and belly before reflexive rejection violently forces it back up where it wedges tightly in my throat. I close my eyes and will my heart to stop beating, or conversely that I might open my eyes in full view of a cat's ass and have this have been a terrible, horrible, very bad dream. 

I sit, having dropped the laundry somewhere during the first blow and the present moment; time is dragging at warp speed. Now, with my hands suddenly free, I place one on my throat and one on his leg as the first tear begins to fall, followed by so many others. One, for all of the many years of tireless, endless love, hard work and commitment. I know what he said, I know what I heard, but what I feel is "". Silently, we sit before each other and while on the outside I'm visibly imploding, on the inside I'm planning and constructing strategies, compromises, sacrifices- an-y-thing I can will my troubled mind to piece, because I am a fixer. 

 But, this time-this time is different and, there are many layers deep beneath the surface which warrant repair-self repair. Selfishness: the caveat of married people may be our only saving grace. It is with that recognizance that I retreat, not in surrender but in search of the answers that are buried beneath the piles of photos, milestones and memories amassed through the years: under promises and obligations, at the naked core of who we truly are as individuals. 

 "For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning."-Gibran

This post, titled, "One" was originally written and published to a select audience on January 21, 2011. I opted to re-post publicly in response to The Scintilla Project's Day 3 prompt:
What's the story of the most difficult challenge you've faced in a relationship? Did you overcome it? What was the outcome?

In short, the most difficult challenge I've ever faced was the acceptance that my 20+ years marriage was irretrievably broken. It was also at this time that I realized the resulting razor-sharp shards were bleeding me of my purpose: a passion for life and the courage to love freely and deeply. The outcome? On the surface-- divorce, but what has transpired within me escapes articulation; I am experiencing a paradigm shift that is simply other-worldy. Did I overcome it? No, but I have accepted it, and that may be all I need...for now. 

Peace and the power of one 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

This week at The Hive

In a People House:
pineapple propagation, a NEW! watering can, a NEW! project, my desk

"Every day is a winding road, I get a little bit closer to feeling fine".
-Sheryl Crow

Things have been looking up around here! The garden's in full swing, my starting over space is beginning to come together and say, Tameka dwells here! And, NEW! projects are drawing me out of the bedroom and back at my desk. Well, the projects and some not so subtle prompting from Yael Rose who reminded me that I've been [not quite] "living" in my bed for over a year now. Gulp, gasp, fish eyes. That being said, I'm pushing myself to spend more time upright and active.

I've mentioned my container gardening adventures in an earlier post, yes? I absolutely love it, but it can and has gotten rather costly, so these days I've began (or is it "begun", hmm?) looking at cheaper alternatives, like propagating stems and cuttings from existing plants. I saw a video on pineapple propagation on Youtube and with pineapples at .97 each at the local indie grocer's (subtle buy local plug there), it was a win-win. I'll post more pics and updates as it progresses.

In other news:

A few weeks ago, Barbara, of Chasing Metamorphosis invited me to partake in a snail mail journaling project which has led to a renewed excitement in all things paper and prose. The possibilities for a blank page are endless and the timing could not be better as I am in so many ways turning a new page in life as well. I have since started to dig out ideas and ephemera and will begin putting it all down for posterity over the next few days.

So, that's what I have going on here at The Hive; what have you all been up to recently?

Peace and projects

Friday, March 9, 2012

Slow and sorta' steady

In our garden: orange mint, strawberries and apple mint

"Be like the turtle", said my partner's dad, and my eyes met his full-on for the first time in the, oh, thirty or so minutes that I sat in awkward, albeit familiar silence. That was meet-the-parents-day in July of last year. Michael is spontaneous and not at all like a turtle, so there I sat in his parents' home in a much shorter dress than I'd have liked, the sheen of NYC summer on my face, a tousled head, and for the sake of creative license, I'll say a tad of a 'tude.

But those words projected above the din of discomfort in my head as if I somehow knew that he, really knew. Whilst I stared, nodded, smiled and sucked it all in, Michael's father's partner busied herself about their meticulously kept kitchen, in what seemed like an effort to find the one food item she could offer of which I could not decline. Alas, a firm peach was offered and accepted, the conversation lulled, and my mind began to shout.

Turtles, I thought, slow and deliberate, armored, somewhat fearful--at least, in my anthropomorphous observations of our amphibious friends. The connection wasn't made immediately, but I clung to the belief that it would, if I just kept returning to the concept. And, I did, over the many months and thousands of miles that would separate us just shortly thereafter.

It was six months before I saw Michael again, and in those months in between, I'd researched, mentally prepared and filed for divorce, sold the contents of our family home, moved into my starting over space, and wagered for my life with grief and debilitating depression, all of which I did slowly, deliberately and armed oft-times with nothing more than the belief that there was something greater on the other side of this, and at equal times disarmed that there may not be.

It'll be six months before Michael returns to me, to the west coast, to stay. You can imagine we speak of turtles often, we see them in our travels (I make him buy them for me!) and, we call upon them in our dreams. We build our daily intentions around them, as we slowly, deliberately begin a life together, armed with nothing more than the belief that together we are greater; life is greater shared, sorrows are better halved. So we journey on together even while we are apart, slow and sorta' steady, he and I.

Peace and purpose,

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Free Flow

Clears throat and channels inner radio personality, "It's 8:00 am, and what a beautiful Sunday morning it is in the Valley of the Sun. We're blowing off the dust and digging deep into the mental crates with DeBarge's 1983 hit, "A Dream". This goes out to all you gettin' old heads in denial and the silly youngsters who think the melody was stolen from the much later, but still great Tupac. Enjoy."

Eight something; surprising given last night's restlessness. It had to be two, or later when I finally shut down and agreed--after some gentle coaxing from the man, that it was time to retire for the day and from the worry.

My little place of peace is looking exceptionally tidy this morning; Yael is pulling out all the stops in exchange for a much coveted piece of Vampire Diaries replica jewelry. She's been so helpful since my surgery that it sorta makes up for the pubescent insanity that we've been struggling with since the separation.

I feel refreshed and ready for something fabulous today...or maybe I'm just ready for someone fabulous; Michael plans to visit soon. We're returning to center for a restorative breath after a few tender weeks. The distance has its advantages logistically as we're both adapting to major life changes, but there's no logic in love or the 2484.97 miles between us. We're pining.

My container garden is a great source of pride for me right now. Who could have known gardening would be so therapeutic. For so many years, I've been a notorious black thumb. I started the garden in December when Jordan moved out. I needed a distraction, and of course, something to nurture. Since then, I've taken on spider mites (and lost), aphids (and won), germinatin', propagatin', and harvesting. I'm sort of a big deal on the balcony. Laughs.

Coffee's tepid, gotta go.

Peace and Sunshine

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy Returns

Early last week , I partook in a casual, neighborly chat which later manifested itself into an inspirational message. And, not just any inspirational message, but the push, the gentle nudge and the writing help I believe I needed.

During my morning walk, I came upon my neighbor Joe, a lanky older gentleman with a warm smile, an awkward gait and a plethora of knowledge about the goings-on in our complex. (More on the complexities of complex-dwelling for an introvert in posts to come.) As we made our way and routine niceties were out of the way, Joe cleared his throat and sort of randomly says, "Uh...yeah, I made it to church this Sunday." I smiled- in kind, at the sharing of information, in awkward embarrassment because I am not among the faith-filled, and lastly, in fear that the friendly talks that I've become quite fond of might somehow be thwarted if I don't play this right. (It should be known that I die inside a little each time socio politics, religion, race and education are presented for discussion.)

"Oh, did you, I say. How did it go? Excitedly, he tells me, "wonderfully, it was truly awesome". He said he was "moved" by the message and it really made him "feel great". Before I could vocalize my shared happiness at his experience, his tone and demeanor changed, just above a whisper, he leans in and says, "It's been two and a half years since I've been to church." He then winces, retreats, and I- lost for a moment turned slightly over my shoulder before realizing he was awaiting some sort of ...well, I dunno denouncement, admonishment, a verbal flogging? From me? Laughs. "I see", I say whilst nodding with my brows raised in intrigue.

Looking ahead, I mentally compute our speed of travel- which is nil, and the distance home, and proceed cautiously with, "Well, why not?" After a brief back-story about logistics and his own travails with the evil that is Divorce-asaurus Rex, he says "I just got away from it, and then it got to be so long to where I just got to feeling so bad about it that I thought I couldn't go back." I nodded, with the sides of my mouth down-turned, I find ASL has made my facial expressions more pronounced. As I catch myself doing this in lieu of speaking, I-a little past the cue, offer up a validating statement. "I see", I said, in a flat tone. I did see, and with much clarity.

Writing, and of course reading others' writing, is how I receive my message; it's how I make sense of the thoughts and feelings, the experiences, worries and fears that fill the space between my ears. Like my neighbor Joe, I suffered a few setbacks on the road I'd paved with good intentions and drifted woefully away from my place of peace. I too, felt as though I couldn't come back. I've maintained this blog since 2007, and through the years I have made incredible friendships, coming back has been hard, but staying away was harder. Two and a half years, four months...who's counting?

Peace and happy returns

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