Angry Mom

Plum came out as transgender not long before his 16th birthday. I was really surprised. This might seem reasonable to some of you but let me explain – I was surprised mostly because I’d asked him about his gender identity years earlier and he had affirmed that he felt himself to be female. I don’t care even a little bit about which gender Plum is. I don’t care even a little bit which body parts he has or which pronouns he wants me to use. The only thing that I care about, as a mom, is how miserable Plum felt for years trying to figure out why he felt so uncomfortable with who he was. My heart hurt for Plum when he told me that the tremendous social anxiety and depression he was trying to live with was most likely because he felt himself to be male in a female’s body.

Plum is a fantastic kid. He writes sci-fi, steampunk novels about kids who smoke cigars. Not all of his stories are like that but one of my favourites is about a kid who smokes a cigar and is best friends with Gordon Lightfoot. I mean, c’mon, that’s fucking brilliant. Plum also pens and sings folk songs, he loves animals, is an amazing pal to all wee kids and will play with them until he’s exhausted. Plum is one of the kindest, smartest and most creative people I know. He also happens to be my one and only baby. I’ve had the fortune of spending a lot of time with him.

I attend a monthly support group for parents/guardians of trans kids. Overall, we’re a supportive, open-minded group of people. There is one exception: Angry Mom. Since her first appearance at group, she has been very upset by the medical intervention most of us are allowing our children to take. For example, Plum started taking a hormone suppressor to halt his estrogen levels before being able to start taking testosterone. This was a big deal because Plum had already gone through female puberty, so he went through a sort of reverse puberty (think menopause) before he could start his male puberty. When all of this medical stuff started I asked all of the right questions about side effects, and made inquiries about long-term studies. There were none. There are no long-term studies on the effects of cross sex hormones. Transgender people have not been followed by professional medical studies en masse because, until recently, they weren’t being recognized much at all. The endocrinologist told me that she had no idea what the long-term repercussions would be and, as a parent, that was a terrifying thing to hear.

To be clear, I do not relish the idea of Plum being part of a medical experiment. If in 20, 30 or 40 years our actions now negatively affect Plum’s health, I will be devastated. But let me tell you something I consider even more important than the uncertainty –

43% of trans people in Ontario have attempted suicide at least once.

Plum was so unwell before he came out that I was worried we’d have to hospitalize him. He barely left his room, couldn’t attend school and I watched in morbid fear that I was witnessing a downward spiral that would end horribly. So, I am supporting Plum’s medical choices, which brings me back to Angry Mom. Angry Mom spends a lot of time during our support group sessions talking about the unknown dangers of these medical treatments. Angry Mom talks a lot about there only being 2 genders and about how you can’t be born in the “wrong” body if that’s the body you’re born into.

Angry Mom doesn’t realize that every time she talks I get angrier than her. I cannot believe that in 2015 there are still people who believe that they have the right to hate on other people because they don’t understand something. Gender is something we have constructed based on anatomy and I do not believe that anatomical parts define who we are. If someone born with a penis tells me she is female, or anywhere else on the gender spectrum, then she is. I do not pretend to have the answers to why this happens, I just know that it does. I have met dozens of trans kids and their families. I have met dozens of trans adults. I have spoken with medical professionals and advocates and I know the science and theory behind gender non-conforming individuals.

I grew up in the 90’s and attended an arts school where I studied ballet. I was a talented and pretty ballerina. When I wanted to also take shop class, the principal called me in to gawk at me. At the time, I thought he was very lame and sexist. There was no term I identified with then, but there is now: I am genderqueer. This is a term for someone who does not feel that they are exclusively female or male. Apparently. Whatever. I am just me.

I cannot fathom a world where people on the internet feel that it’s okay to tell a beautiful, eloquent and resilient trans woman like Laverne Cox to shoot herself. I cannot believe that it has to be stated that no one deserves to be gawked at, threatened or hated for behaving in a manner that feels natural in their own skin. I wore tights and jumped around to music and also wanted to learn how to fix cars. So? What’s it to you? Does the idea of a skilled ballerina mechanic freak you out? Why? Why does Laverne Cox being fabulous matter to you? Why does my gentle, beautiful son, make you aggressively stupid?

My trans son has rights. He’s back at school and thriving because we support him. We use male pronouns, we bring him to his hospital appointments to get hormone treatments and never once has he tried to kill himself.

And every single time Angry Mom talks about the dangers of medical intervention, I worry about her child. And every single time some stranger on the street, on the web, or even someone in my family, makes a repugnant comment about a trans person I reserve the right to be angry at them because I am not here to educate – I am here to stand up for my child. I care for my trans kid as much as anyone cares about their cisgender kid.

As a mom, let me tell you that I will demand to know why you feel entitled to spew hatred, and I will yell right back at you. I will stand between you and my child if you try to throw a punch. I am not going to let anyone disrespect my family. You are mistaken if you think that as parent, friend and lover, I will passively allow anyone to treat any trans person violently.

The time for pretty words is over. I’m the new genderqueer Angry Mom in town.

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August 6th, 2014

Well hello there stranger…

A few things happened recently that made me go away and then today something happened that made me want to come back.

Plum had something to tell me that he thought was a really, really big deal, and I guess it was, but mostly it just made me love him a lot more, if that’s possible. But I had to take the time to support him through it and couldn’t really bring myself to write about it.

Then I had a worrisome health scare that lasted for many fall and winter months. It had to do with my lady bits, which brought up a lot of demons having to do with my sociopath sister, Crimson. I’m okay now though (with four extra surgical knife wounds in my belly for good measure). I didn’t think I could write while going through it in case it *actually* turned out to be cancer. It wasn’t. Thank. Goodness.

But then this past week. 

Hmm. 

I can’t talk about this person I love who is going through a mental health crisis because it’s not my story to tell, but it does make me remember so many things from when I was unwell. And it makes me sad. Because I remember that feeling of being at the bottom of a flight of stairs, when the doctors kept loading me up on medication, and wondering how on earth they worked? I remember being really confused and wondering “I know I’ve done this before. I know that somehow I can get up there…” I stood at the bottom of those stairs for a stupid length of time until deciding to crawl back into bed. 

To say that it was awful would be an understatement.

And then the dreams. This week I’ve had night after night of dreams about The Muse. And there’s nothing I can do to stop them because my mind is going on a reminiscing adventure that involves all the things that were awesome and most of the things that were definitely not.

So every morning I’ve woken up to a lucid dream from a disloyal brain. It’s not great, but better than forgetting how to climb stairs. 

A friend suggested I hire a private investigator because I expressed this feeling of wanting to know how he was doing without opening the lines of communication because my biggest fear is still that a fresh wound of rejection would hurt so much more than the one that has faded into a somewhat numbish belly scar. 

A private investigator that would give me what? in the hopes that my sleeping mind stops making me care? Yeah, that’s not crazy.

 

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The Bearded Lady, Harry!

Listening to a repetitive song on repeat calms the frantic pace of my brain. I’m experiencing a painfully fast scurrying of synapse polaroids, retrieved from tucked away neurons and therefore feelings, creating a cacophony of artistic inspiration.

I also want to shred all of this metal I have in my home and paint tableaus of life with the fragments. What is this thing we’re doing here on this here planet if not constructing our own slide shows? The tableaus should be made of something that can cut you to pieces. Because that’s what actually happens.

My heart skips a beat every once in a while when I add up all of the broken bits that brought me to my knees in the past. I’m not at a point where I think I can foretell the future… *yet*

Remembering it all released an emotional avalanche.

Buried under it, I could scarcely breathe.

No one can ever say that I haven’t lived the feeling part of this here thing we call living.

I wrap myself in blankets waiting until it’s late enough for me to wrap myself in a drug induced sedation that will inevitably ebb the flow of all that living.

While cocooned, I steady my breathing by reliving each snapshot with an emotional acuity I’m sure borders on savantism (if there were some way of measuring such a thing).

I’ve stopped listening to other people when I tell them that I have something emotionally figured out and they want to argue with me. They’re always wrong, or lying, or stupid.

I could probably sell my craft. I bet some people would come visit me in my semi-comatose, unfiltered manic state just to listen to my insights. I could charge less than a latte and be endearingly approachable in my bed cozy.

I’ll need a better name. I’ll need a real gimmick. Maybe I’ll end every session with a catch phrase? All the good ones are taken. No better time to brainstorm than the present!

“Better said than dead”.

“100% guaranteed to be true to me”.

“Gluten-free free advice”.

“Enjoying the show?”

“Count your blessings, then discard”.

“Not for human conjunction”.

I’ll make millions instructing the common folk how to categorize their feelings into synapse sized cards that they can then store in neuron compartments in their heads and access with acrobatic precision. It’ll be a thing. With collectibles and cool graphics. It’ll be a fad, and when there is one in every head, people will take it for granted. Someone will eventually come up with something more modern and children and grand-children will wonder why all the old folks are so easily impressed since synapse encoding is so last century.

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February 14, 1995

I’ve been working a crazy amount of shifts because one of my co-workers had a tonsilectomy. I was so exhausted tonight that I became a hyper silly girl.

I gave “the person who drives the nifty Petro-Canada truck” a valentine that said “hope your truck doesn’t flip over” and I saw him laughing on his way back into the cab while he read it. I also wished almost every person a happy Valentine’s Day. I made the cute-oriental-boy feel bad for asking if my boyfriend had given me anything nice. So he decided to give me a valentine (a stick of gum).

During all of this I was calling and leaving messages for Rusty about whatever was happening at the time. At one point (as I was dancing to “Good Time Oldies”) I asked a customer how he could keep from bopping to such great music and he replied “Now that I’ve become a Christian, I listen to a different kind of music”. Needless to say, I had to tell Rusty that one.

Eventually even my other co-worker got into the spirit and wished the somewhat-icky-cab-driver-man a happy Valentine’s Day. I was laughing so hard that he had to serve the customers for the next few minutes. Then he stamped me with the Petro-Canada maple leaf and I coloured him with the pink highlighter in retaliation. This was during a psycho busy day and I was bitter because our boss had forgotten to order a veggie pizza for the staff meeting.

Anyway, I’ve been working such a shitload of hours my chemistry mark is obviously suffering. Actually it sucks because I’ve failed (miserably) all of the quizzes and I didn’t show up for the test. I also got a disappointing mark on my politics test. So I’m getting tutors and hopefully won’t be sick for a while.

I’ve seen dad lately. We went for lunch and then he drove me to Rusty’s where we had a discussion about Crimson. He’s worried about her. He’s trying to find an apartment and a job. How he’s thinking of managing the first without the second I’m not entirely sure.

So everyone (almost everyone) knows about my relationship with Rusty. When I was working they went out as a group to Bagel Bagel where someone asked her if I was a lesbian. She blushed, said that she didn’t think so, that I was probably bisexual and then someone pressured her to say how she knew, and then if she was my partner. Apparently she turned bright red. Then Mauve was, once again, bitching about all of the time we spend together and Peach told Rusty to tell her. Obviously Mauve wanted to know what Peach was talking about so Rusty told her.

Mauve is probably the person having the hardest time with this. We figure it’s because she’s bitter over her breakup with her boyfriend.

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I’m a little drunk

Which is better than being a little bit of a sociopath. Or a little bit confused about liking someone. And definitely better than deluding yourself into thinking that your messed up decisions aren’t, in fact, messed up.

In order of appearance, being raised by a little bit  of a sociopathic father means a few things, most of which aren’t good. The first is that your sense of self, how you identify with others, is built on a topsy-turvy construct that is forever changing whenever it suits. My dad  would change his own narrative so often, and then pretend he wasn’t, that it was challenging to keep up. Rose wanted to reconnect with him recently, so we got together. During that time, my dad showed me a series of paintings that he claimed to have painted. They were beautiful, and not void of talent, landscapes. For a fraction of a fraction of a second, I was dumbstruck by this possibility. Was my sixty-something father a decent painter? An artist? Is this where my artistic leanings had come from? I looked at his lined face and still, exactly the same, grey-blue eyes, and wondered if he was the man who had passed a visual-spatial giftedness on to me. I gave him windows I had compulsively gathered from the curb in an affluent part of the city and stored in my car trunk. I asked him to paint something on them. And while I was pulling them from my car, standing in the frozen night, I remembered that my dad was a big, fat liar. I want to be proud of my dad. It would be really, really nice. It would  be so nice that for a fraction of a fraction of a second, I forgot that he probably made it all up and was showing me pictures of paintings he found on the internet. Then I felt sad. Even if my elderly father was a brilliant artist, I would never believe him. I wanted to be proud of him. I just couldn’t be. I’m still waiting on the frames. Even if he gives them to me, I won’t believe that he painted them. I don’t feel sad about that. It just is the reality I inhabit because it is the relationship he has constructed. I don’t yell at him anymore for being a big, fat liar, but I do carry that around with me whenever I start out any relationship.

Orange is magnetic. She is briiliant, stunning and endearing. We have these twitchy conversations that make me giggle (inwardly) because I would be surprised if she hasn’t found this blog and is secretly reading it without telling me that she secretly knows that I am writing about her. But I may be giving her too much credit. I have no perspective on this because I am emotionally flummoxed by how much I want to smush her into a sofa while also being utterly frustrated by her. This is the part where I explain that I am very good at caring about people from afar (see above) until I feel that they will cup my feelings very gingerly in their palms. And if The Muse is also reading this blog secretly, I hope that he knows I would rather hear from him than have an endless silence. I realize that matters of the heart are inherently imperfect. Which is why WHY I am in no hurry to settle such matters because they inspire me to write overly long, pretty sentences filled to the brim with curly meaning.

I only want the best for Rose. But sometimes I am obsessed with concern that our childhood permanently affected her ability to make healthy choices. I don’t want to tell her what to do, I don’t feel qualified or entitled to dictate the terms of someone else’s life, especially given my own ongoing trials, but I am bound as her older sister, and a survivor of our father and sister, to want to prevent her from hurting herself further, and this, to me, means telling her stark truths (as I see them).

And there it is. Is my truth, the truth? I’m a little drunk right now, but it seems to me that I started this out by explaining how my reality was continuously warped by a well-intentioned, though damaged (I am being kind) father who I still don’t believe.

Being a little drunk really helps put this all in perspective.

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January 6, 2003

-there’s a sink in the room with a real mirror above it, I think.
-lighter by tree
-DNA being left everywhere (several family and friends had commented on how grungy this part of the hospital seemed in comparison with the rest and I couldn’t help picturing human cells being left everywhere)
-Form 1 (doctor have to okay leave, but not Form 1)
-knives/lighter
-bump up meds without seeing me
-72 hours-exam guarantee
-2 isolation rooms
-no surveillance-men and women
-hourly night check
-treatment determines duration  (general psychiatry)

Monday, January 6th, 2003

I realised last night as I was pacing the halls that the people here who do it aren’t doing it because they’re crazy but because they’re trapped. It’s our version of the hamster wheel. If we didn’t pace the halls we’d be sitting or standing the entire time.

It’s not quite 8 am and someone has come in to take blood from me. I guess things really do only happen during the week around here. It’s as though the weekend is limbo, more so than usual. I’m starting to be convinced of the reality of that. Everyone here is waiting. Waiting to get out. Waiting to see the doctor. It’s one big waiting room.

I tried to see if I could take a shower but they’re bolted shut. Last night I spoke with the person in charge of my file about the hospital and my situation. He seemed very amused by

-code blue?

my questions and note taking. He was being a bit less serious until I responded affirmatively about actually writing a story about all of this. I asked him twice about having my meds bumped up without ever having been seen by a psychiatrist. He seemed uncomfortable by this question and responded that he’d probably been consulted over the phone by another psychiatrist- one that I saw in emergency. I said that I didn’t think she was and he changed the topic. He wanted to know why I was so curious about everything. I looked him straight in the eye and said that after twenty-four hours of waiting I had to find something to do.

Someone is howling somewhere in the hallway. At the end I think. There was a code blue this morning. I don’t know what that means but maybe someone was put in isolation.

I’m going to go have breakfast with my roommate who asked me just now if we were going.

-psychiatrist assistants- can’t give meds but otherwise act as nurses

things the ward needs
-new paint job
-healthy plants
-ping-pong paddles
-Scrabble game with all of the pieces (French and English)
-goodies –cookies, chocolate
-piano tuned, piano sheet music

Later

A tall, blue eyed blonde, eighteen year old boy showed up. Very handsome. His right arm was bandaged from elbow to hand. He had a couple of blood spots on his t-shirt. One of the other patients introduced him. He looked complacent. Not very phased by his situation. He may have smiled but I don’t think so. Maybe he’s in shock.

His parents were looking for him later. I heard his mom panicking because he wasn’t in his room and his bed was made. I volunteered to show them to the television room and suggested he might be in the cafeteria. Earlier someone had come in to tell him that his mom would be in to see him when she’d calmed down. I suggested that he tuck in the blood spattered part of his t-shirt. He did it automatically.

12:50 am

I couldn’t take it anymore. I started crying and couldn’t bare the thought of waking up here tomorrow morning. Ominous. I explained to the nurse that I wanted to leave and she convinced me to tough it out until the morning. She was sympathetic and intelligent and comforting. About twenty minutes after she left the tears came all by themselves and once again I was devastated at the thought of being locked in for even one more night. Now she is on the phone with the doctor; someone who will decide my fate, who has never before met me. It’s amazing to me that it feels like my entire fate is at stake.

Later

The doctor okayed my release and I’m now sitting by the elevators, waiting to be picked up and the tears just keep coming.

I told the nurse that it was going to take me days to recover from the trauma of spending more than 48 hours locked up in the unit that was supposed to help me. She was shaken and kept saying how bad she felt that they hadn’t been able to help me. I tried to reassure her but my tears wouldn’t stop and the expression on her face made me wish that they would.

I feel victorious in gaining this tiny freedom and want to be happy but instead I am horrified.  I escaped. Others can’t. Just as I can often be lucid, brilliant and in control, these people, the ones that can’t sign themselves out, can’t be free otherwise either.

I cannot express the morbidity of the world I just left. I don’t think that words are sufficient in describing the hopelessness mixed with complacency that exists on the 6th floor. 

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January 5, 2003

-6th floor
-metal instead of glass mirrors
-paper bags in garbage bins
-went through purse and pockets
-roommate mumbled about mom in middle of night
-most patients are overweight and old
but pretty young thin blonde girl, maybe in late teens

Sunday, January 5th, 2003

The floor is bustling this morning with hospital efficiency – something that was completely missing last night when I was sitting in the hall for twenty minutes because I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. They took my blood pressure and temperature and then left me alone. Presumably dealing with the “incident”. I don’t know what happened but a late twenties man was handcuffed and a couple of policemen were standing over him.

A cute orderly just introduced himself as Phillipe* and shook my hand. He told me that if I needed anything I could ask the orderlies. He reminds me of J.F., it must be a French-Canadian thing.

I’m really hungry but I don’t want to leave my room. Oh, and there’s a common washroom where the door is kept open. I know that it’s all for safety measures but it just leaves me feeling scared and wondering why everyone else is here.

This morning is better than last night… yesterday was a marathon of waiting. Five hours? Something terrible like that before we even knew what was being done for me. And then another hour or two before being sent up here. All I keep thinking about is Nellie Bly and how courageous it was of her to tough it out at an asylum before any regulations were in place. But, then again, she wasn’t there for therapeutic reasons. I’m telling myself that I’m collecting material, to distance myself from the pain and the reality of this “stay”. Navy asked me last night if I was aware that I wasn’t at a Holiday Inn; had I tried to find the pool? It made me laugh but then I just looked at him and the expression on my face hopefully displayed these words- only too fully aware.

Later

I had peanut butter and toast and tea. There was milk but I didn’t use it. I kept having visions of patients spitting into it.

The mugs are all plastic but they have a large quantity of knives available. There were three dying plants at the windows and a lot of crumbs on the counters and tables. My roommate was eating breakfast at the same time as me but we sat at different

(the name “Louise Fortier” occurs in a different handwriting on the page)

just stopped at the open door and asked my name. She volunteered to sign her name in my thing. Actually, she said, “Here, I’ll sign my name in your thing”. The people here wander the halls. They all seem lonely, starved for attention. They all smile at me pleasantly but cautiously. I keep expecting one of them to start screaming and to throw themselves on the floor but perhaps their fears are more realised? Maybe they’re just hoping to make a friend?

I want to take a shower but balk at the open concept. I’m not very comfortable, images of Psycho keep surfacing.

Louise just asked me if she’d left her cigarettes in my room. There’s a smoking room at the end of the hall. Everyone is almost obsessive about their cigarettes. I guess it’s something to talk about. There’s a game of Scrabble in there that I’ve got my eye on. It’s a fairly unwelcoming room.

11:30am (Later)

“Excuse me, Madam!” I stop in the hall and wait for a short, stocky, curly haired young man to catch up to me. “I’m gonna get a hat”, he tells me. I smile and then he continues, “I’m gonna get a hat and put the ladies names in the hat and then pick a name. Whoever I pick is who I’m gonna date. That’s how I pick who I’m gonna date. It’s the best way to pick a girlfriend”. I get to my room and he stays just outside the door. I ask him what he listening to on his walk-man, “Christian music. I’m a Christian. I love God”, he says. I smile at him again and he walks away. He’s walking up and down the hall as I write and I can hear the music from his walk-man as he passes my door but I don’t look up.

I was playing ping-pong with Martine for a while. I asked her if she played when I saw her in the television room. She’s the pretty young blonde I noticed last night.

She’s very concerned with weight. She was brought in because she was fasting over the holidays. Her method is to eat only fruits and vegetables for ten days. She was pleasant, sunny even, when asking if I’d noticed that all the women in the city are either skinny or fat. I told her that I hadn’t noticed but said that maybe it was because I was in the middle. “No, you’re skinny”, she said. I must have made a face because then she said, “But that’s good. I want to be skinny”. She might be ten pounds heavier than me. If that. It’s difficult to tell because she’s busty and wearing baggy pyjamas. She’s an engineering student.

I’m waiting for mom to show up with soap and to guard the shower so that I can be fresh. She asked me if I wanted Plum to visit and I said yes. She told me that as long as Denim didn’t bring it up, Plum would think I was in a “regular” part of the hospital. 

 

*Names have been changed.

 

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Try a little tenderness

I spent a very surreal evening in the top level of a home filled to the brim with lesbians. I was worried that their perfectly cut banged heads would spill out the windows. There was a bleach-blonde cutie, a catty dark-haired vixen, and all of the inbetweens. The glogg was on fire and then flowing, the music was thumping and the winter storm outside barely registering, especially once the weed was thick in the air.

Orange was beautiful. She flitted from room to room with glee. I watched the younger women revere her with fluttering eyelashes. They would gush at her and the moment she left the room fall back into regular conversation. It was something to behold.

And the energy was strangely charged, like sleepovers were before they were taken over by whispered confessionals about boys.

I spoke with Orange’s dad. He was there to provide the ritual behind the glogg. He translated the poem on the kitchen blackboard. He held the ladle of sugar cubes, lit the pot of vodka in spices and red wine. Then he poured this warm concoction into small, heavy mugs. I took a sip and allowed the warmth to take over. It was heavenly.

We danced in one of the small rooms for hours and at some point Orange came in with someone and removed furniture that was clearly also a dancing obstacle.

And then I noticed that Orange was absent. And when I walked down the hall, her bedroom door was closed. I suddenly remembered why I never did like sleepovers with a bunch of girls. I pulled on my winter jacket but our friend caught me. I tried to slip out but she was yelling and pounding on Orange’s door for her to put on some clothes because I was leaving.

At the bottom of the stairs, Orange and our friend spoke tenderly with me for a minute or two while I waited for the couple I’d offered to drive home.

“I’m coming in for a hug”, Orange said while I swallowed something else hot, this time unpleasant.

The cold slamming into me the moment the door shut behind us.

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Experiments with Failure (Capital F)

More people didn’t read my blog when it was more uplifting. I had a feeling that you wouldn’t. There is something exceptionally compelling and comforting about the dark. I know.

I’ve submitted another essay to a big newspaper about unpleasant things. If that essay gets published (or doesn’t) I will include it here in the New Year. That is the truly remarkable thing about a blog, I have all the power… and I like it.

Let’s talk about this wonderful thing called failure. Don’t misunderstand; I mean it when I say that failure is a spectacularly awesome gift. It teaches humility, perseverance and allows a hollow space that can be filled with tremendous growth and perspective. I’ve met people through the course of my life who have never truly experience failure on any grand scale. They are walking cardboard epitaphs of the mundane.

When you fail – truly, truly crash into the bottom of a pit of despair, you are met with very finite options. How you recover, how you pull yourself up and dust yourself off is what interests me. I’m pretty sure it’s what interests everyone, that’s why there are blockbuster movies about underdogs and desperate people making something of themselves.

Resilience is the most fascinating thing about this imperfect existence we’ve been dropped into.

I’ve fallen in love again. It’s a fantastically chaotic and messy situation. It’s been three years since The Muse broke my heart and I sort of felt like I might be permanently broken.  I remember feeling like the last leg of my starfish heart had been chopped off. But I grew another leg, apparently.

So I went to lunch with an ex this weekend. She was encouraging and hilarious. She knows that it takes a lot for me to feel strongly for someone and recognized (with glee) the tremendous predicament I’m in. It must be nice to giggle over the love lives of others when you are blissfully contented *bitch*.

If I hadn’t failed repeatedly at love, I wouldn’t have met this stunning and beautiful woman that I now have space in my heart to care about. Let that be a lesson to all you sad, broken hearted fools.

I wrote this entire entry so I could gush about her. And play a fanciful word tune about the regeneration of love.

La la la la.

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Well, he would.

I don’t know how to even begin to describe the waves of joy and grief, and all those in between feelings that come with parenting. On your own. To a gifted, somewhat fantastical, and downright challenging girl. Nothing prepared me for the out-of-the-box thinking that I was forced to use in order to get things right (most things sort of right, and admittedly, some things completely wrong).

But I don’t want to talk about how I parent. I don’t want to talk about what every other parent talks about. I want everyone to know that being Plum’s mom has been the best experience of my life, and it’s because of who she is. I am not taking credit for that. I’m saying that the fact that she loves old typewriters AND her ipod is awesome. That she decided, with some mocking on my part, to make mixed tapes is not just quirky, but delightful.

And when I asked her to take a picture of me, like this, she did. She might have said “This is making me uncomfortable” but she did it anyway. Then, when I told her of my conviction that Daniel Day-Lewis would in fact “get me”, she got that. She thinks it’s kind of a ridiculous thought, even though in all seriousness, we kind of agree that he just might. Plum wants to learn to play the accordion so she can join bands like Arcade Fire and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.

And that’s why having Plum in my life is not something I can easily describe with words, or pictures, or much of anything that isn’t pure heart.

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