August 31, 2007

The diary incident

As promised, the diary incident: my tween daughter wrote an angry note in her diary and left if for me in the middle of the doorway. A trap had been set. I learned that she was quite adept at using expletives in their proper context, even if that content was in describing me. "Bitch." "Ugly." "Too fucking soon." Of course, she at first denied setting the trap, but last night admitted she set it there "to see if I would read it." So now she is using it as validation for her theory that I don't respect her privacy, can't be trusted, etc.

My daughter(s) are struggling with me being gay, and sometimes I don't know how to help them. It hurts that their friends are grossed out and that they might suffer being teased at what I'd always considered a diverse and accepting school. They have other classmates with gay parents, for crying out loud! But none who were in a hetero marriage just a few short years ago. My oldest daugter is blaming me for "ruining her entire life and all of her friendships." I am telling her that SHE isn't "grossed out" by my sexuality, and that she needs to take a leadership position with her friends. And that even if they are grossed out, it doens't necessarilly follow that they will treat her differently or sever her as their friend. Sigh. At least that is my hope.

Part of the reason it took me so long to come out, (and truth be told, I suspect there are tons of school parents who have NO idea about me) was my fear of my children having to suffer the torment middle-schoolers seem particularly adept at cruely dishing out. I wouldn't go back to those days myself for all the money in the world.

And I'm missing the little girl who loved her mommy unconditionally, and wasn't embarassed and angry at me. I'm sure this is my own karma being worked out....

August 28, 2007

The Patroness of skeptics

In case you haven't heard yet, Mother Theresa's letters describing her intense torment and spiritual struggle have been compiled (against her dying wishes) into a new book, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light.
While some atheists are crawling out of the woodwork to use these letters as "proof" that Mother Theresa was herself an atheist, people of faith are holding her up as an example of the struggle that each of us goes through with our faith, and the experience of the "dark night of the soul," that has been described by the mystic, St. John of the Cross.
I can't wait to read the book. And I just shrug off the ideologues who want to use Mother Theresa to prove whatever point they are trying to make. Something about knowing that Mother Theresa struggled such extreme spiritual darkness is so comforting to me. And if there is a true force of evil in the world, I can see it concentrating a lot of energy on making that woman suffer -- because of all the light that she brought into the world. I have no doubt that this book containing her letters will one day hold the same regard in the church as the writings of St. Agustine.
This kind of spiritual agony reminds us that none of us are ever free of doubt, and that faith always involves an ascent of the will:
I call, I cling, I want ... and there is no One to answer ... no One on Whom I can cling ... no, No One. Alone ... Where is my Faith ... even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness ... My God ... how painful is this unknown pain ... I have no Faith ... I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart ... & make me suffer untold agony.

So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them ... because of the blasphemy ... If there be God ... please forgive me ... When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives & hurt my very soul. I am told God loves me ... and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.

Even Jesus himself cried out on the cross, "My god, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Understanding the nature of suffering is the ultimate question of our very existence, the hingepin of all faith. And doubt is essential to our spiritual growth. I also hope that these letters hope to dispell the belief that Christians (generally speaking) follow blindly, never questioning. Anyone who takes faith seriously has confronted the darkness. And to know that the darkness surrounded someone as holy and blessed as Mother Theresa should serve to teach us all something about tenacity and stregnth. And when they name her a saint, she will forever be the Patroness of skeptics.

August 27, 2007

Heavy-lifting, Part II

Yes, yes, of course the desk got moved. I said it was gonna, didn't I? But, um, it wasn't exactly me who was channeling any super powers. I swear, dear readers, not an hour after posting the last blog post, my wrist was seering with radiating pain through my fingers and up to my elbow. A freak attack of carpal tunnels syndrome.
But fear not, for my more-than-super girlfriend saved the day, with feats of human stregnth I have seldom witnessed. I ended up getting my neighbor's boyfriend to help, and by golly, they moved that damn thing, which I would estimate at about 800 gagillion pounds.
Oh, and oh, if I haven't already mentioned, dear readers, why do you ask did I need to move such a hulking piece of furniture? Well, because my party of three has become a party of five -- as my lovely girlfriend and her sweetie daughter are moving in with me and my girls. Yes, yes, that's a whole lot of estrogen under one roof, but we're determined to make it work. So, stay tuned for more estrogen-overload related tell-alls (and remind me to tell you about this weekend's "diary incident," where I learned that my oldest daughter CAN indeed spell quite a few curse words. Ahem.) and blended family war-stories. Oh, and of course, lots more gushing about how head-over-heels in love I am.

August 24, 2007


Apparently, I'm not the only one doing my part to dismantle the patriarchy. But I have to admit, It's been pointed out to me recently that I've whined quite a bit about "needing a man" to do some certain things. No, not those things. Things that require heavy lifting and the upper body strength that I just don't possess. Things like tightening screws, moving furniture, and reaching light bulbs that remain out of reach when I stand on my step ladder.
In the past, I've "borrowed" the manly-man husbands and lovers of my straight girlfriends. And I haven't felt particularly guilty about not being strong enough to accomplish certain tasks. But the last thing I'm really wanting to do today is become some sort of damsel-in-distress and beg some dudes to come to my rescue.
I'm remembering my on-the-fly move over a year ago, when good friend R came down the block to help me move a bed. It took us far longer than it should have. We'd carry it a bit, chatting all the way, set it down until we caught our breath and then pick it up again. We shoved and strained to push it up the stairs, almost falling over at points. But we did it, and it felt good to know that in a pinch, us girls can get the job done.
I sent my youngest daughter to school this morning in a shirt that said, "Anything boys can do, girls can do better." I was literally tossing and turning all night, perplexed that I hadn't gotten any guys to commit to moving this massive desk out of my office today — even bitching at my girl friend for suggesting that we could do the job ourselves. It's heavy. Maybe too heavy. Definitely too heavy. But so help me goddess, if it takes me all friggin' day, we're gonna move that damn thing.
I'm going to channel my favorite super-heroine today (Wonder Woman, obviously) combined with the tenacity and strength of my grandma (who lifted a Buick when her baby was pinned under the wheel momentarily) and get this job done. I'm still half-hoping that someone (not necessarily a man) will come along and help us, so if you're in the mood to do a little heavy lifting and channel your inner super heroine, gimme a call today.

August 23, 2007

Becoming the pearl

I think I've gotten good at recognizing blessings in disguise. Because a lot of things have suddenly shaken me to my core, made me fear for my future. Financial problems. Medical problems. Health insurance problems. Babydaddy problems. Kid problems.
But I'm finding that it's in crisis mode when we pull together, tighten our ranks, and are forced to make bold changes. Changes that ultimately are for the better. It's in crisis mode that we move from dreaming big dreams to acting on them. Maybe its because we've got so little left to lose. But I suspect its because we're glimpsing all that is to be gained. Like the sand in the oyster shell that one day forms a pearl, all that irritation creates something to be treasured. It's an almost prophetic experience I'm having -- dealing with a heap of stress, but knowing that its serving some higher purpose.
But the crisis is only a catalyst, not what moves us to act. The love moves us to act.
My patience will be challenged, and grow. My empathy will grow even deeper. My willingness to keep talking, keep sharing, keep digging deep inside and choosing love -- all of this is going to grow. It's all part of becoming the person I was meant to be. And the best part is, I'm not alone on the journey.

August 13, 2007

random acts

Ever have those days where you are just overflowing with emotion? Where you've let so much in that it's multiplying and pouring back out? When you've let yourself submit to being loved, and it's filled you up more than you could have ever imagined?

This feeling, this is the core of all spirituality, I believe. It transcends religion. We are called to take the love that we receive and share it with everyone, not just the small circle of our loved ones. In doing so, we acknowledge that we are all one. What we share intimately with just one person can swell within us a love that can be shared with everyone. This describes not just our relationships with our lovers, but with our higher power. God loves us in this way, I believe. My only proof is the sense that I am healing when I'm feeling the love — and when I'm extending it.

Free Hugs Rochester NY and other Random acts of Kindness

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August 09, 2007

Yeah, I know....

It's been way too long since I've blogged here. Here's a list of my excuses, in no particular order:
• it's summer and I've been busy
• I've been spending my free time reading and writing elsehwere
• I've not really had anything that I wanted to write about recently.
• I'm still not sure if I've painted myself into a corner with this blog, which originally had a very limited focus.

Anyway, as noted, I have been writing, albeit not here. I wrote a feature article on the centenary of Frida Kahlo's birth that got published. (yay me!) And I've been doing a lot of journaling, mostly about cognitive distortions (of which I seemingly have many). So, hopefully I've redeemed myself somewhat and you won't take away my blogging credentials.

So, what else of interest has been going on? On July 22 we celebrated the feast day of St. Mary Magdelene at our church. For years, this has been an opportunity for the women of the parish to take a strong leadership role. I was skeptical this year when they decided to celebrate with a priest officiating, rather than a woman. We agreed on this decision because the feast fell on a Sunday this year, so we celebrated it during the usual 10am mass — which offered an opportunity for more people in the parish to become familiar with MM's story. And women played a strong role in the mass, so all said and done, it was really nice. Just different. I wonder what Delle would have thought of the big change this year. And I'm hopeful that next year, we'll return to our usual form -- with a woman at the helm and I will once again be able to participate in the multi-generational "consecration" of the bread.

I've also found myself pondering questions of empathy and healing lately. I'm wondering to what degree does empathy play a part in a person's healing? Does "feeling" the pain of another make you a more effective healer, or is more detachment what is required? Or are these just different approaches, inherent to the healer's gifts/traits/personality and neither is more effective? And if you are the empathic sort, I'd love to hear stories about how to protect yourself from becoming overwhelmed. I have several friends in healing professions. Some have described becoming "the machine" to get their job done, while others have told of crying while giving an elderly person in pain a massage. This intrigues me, as I often wonder if I'm too empathic for my own good.

Yeah, I know, this is a rather rambling post, but I just wanted to get the ball rolling again. Thanks for indulging me.