Monday, March 30, 2015

Unicorn Eyes, A Google Search

This is me in my true state. I don't normally show you this because it might blow your mind and make you afraid of my magic powers, but I think you've known me long enough now, and can handle it. Can you handle the truth? I am a unicorn. I have the vague idea that a unicorn has some wonderfully perverted meaning in reference to sex ( probably gay sex because they seem to have all the best and most cleverly shocking names for fun ) but refuse to google that in case one day my computer is taken into custody by the FBI or CIA ( I will surely turn up on their searches now that I've written out their names ) and they will be exposed to my search history. 

Possibly the most revealing and stripped down data on any human being today resides in their personal computer search history, no deletions allowed. If you looked at mine the most mortifying search terms you'd find in recent months would be something along the lines of buttcrack darkening and anal bleaching and I dare you to judge me without full context, or to ask for full context. Most people, in my unicorn powered opinion, have no desire to really understand most other people, beyond what is necessary for basic life functioning and fun and some sense of solidarity. More than that is to tax our 10% brain power we supposedly use, although I think we'd agree that many of us use quite less. 

Then there are those freaks like myself, and since I out him on everything else, my husband, who desire to know the most intricate and bizarre and unpleasant and awe inspiring aspects of anyone and everyone, unless we have to regularly order food or coffee from them, in which case, a name tag and a lie about how their morning is going will suffice. I do like to know from a safe distance, if the material is a little scary. This is why books and film and art are a fourth of what makes life wonderful for me, the others being love, nature and sex, although sex and nature are probably the same category.

I am tired, and ill. I can barely manage my responsibilities at the time, due to my body's struggles. I am in pain.

But I am happy.

I hope you too, and if not, I hope you feel connected in the web of human life.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

People In Your Neighborhood

Jill Alexander Essbaum's debut novel 'Hausfrau' is getting great reviews, and I can't wait to read it. I confess to being more than a little interested in reactions for selfish reasons, as the novel I'm finishing now, although very different, also revolves around a highly sexual suburban housewife.

My last Purple Clover column was on how not quitting just a little bit at a time changed my life.

I am taking turmeric. 

A PANK review of Sarah Einstein's Shebook: Remnants of Passion

You had me at 'giant lemurs'

My son is mentally ill, so listen up on CNN. 

Lousiana prosecutor apologizes for being 'arrogant' and falsely condemning an innocent man to death row.

Elizabeth interviewed with National Geographic and exposed herself and her family to tell their story. After being published to a large response, the story is somehow 'gone' off the website AND the Facebook page. It's about vaccinations and vaccine injury. What. The. Fuck.

To Have A Friend Like This: On Holocaust, Friendship, Thriving

Lessons From Grief: even just for this insight: 
 Because I’ve written about her, I can now have empathy for her. It hurts that she’s so callous, but I am no longer broken by her inability to love me like I’ve always wanted her to. That in itself is so big: the acknowledgment that it hurts while not being suffocated by it anymore.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Running Butt Playlist

Running and squats gave me the butt I've been after for the last year. This is extremely satisfying. I may not be able to cure cancer or even stop my own kids from experiencing suffering, but I can and will sculpt the ass I want, dammit! I still have some cellulite, because I'm a human woman, which reminds me that every time I see any news media outlet give any woman a hard time because of cellulite, I am filled with a rage that probably should be reserved for like, genetic testing and nuclear war. It infuriates me that our culture tries to make girls and women feel less than beautiful or sexy or even normal for how our bodies NATURALLY ARE. 

In related news, I thought I would give you what is on my running playlist right now, as it makes me very happy. As soon as I shoot out into the night with my earbuds stuffed in, gripping pink mace in one hand and looking up at the night sky, music fills my ears and I am thrilled to be alive. True story. 

Maggie May's Running Playlist

Kiezsa 'Hideaway'
JLo and Iggy 'Big Booty'
The Boss 'Dancing In the Dark'
Robyn 'Dancing on My Own'
Jay Z '99 Problems'
Elle King 'Ain't Gonna Drown'
Zero Dezire 'It's My Birthday'
Santigold 'Girls'
Grimes 'Go'
Beyonce '7-11'
DJ Snake and Lil Jon 'Turn Down For What'
Maroon 5  'Sugar'
Fergie 'Glamorous'
Iggy Azalea 'Work'
Nicki Minaj 'Va Va Voom'
Beyonce 'Flawless'

Saturday, March 7, 2015

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!

I moved my run from 4 to 5 miles now- mostly. I run 3 days a week and do other barbaric practices with names like squats 2 other days. Sometimes when my autoimmune diseases are kicking my ass, running is so, so hard. So I love this: Science of Running: Thyroid Madness

Lately I've been thinking of my Nana, Lura- my sister's namesake. Read her obituary. My Nana was very kind to me.

Enough Abuse Campaign: bringing together communities to end sexual abuse.

12 Tips For Gentle Weaning

Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease  ( duh )

Window Shopping

Dear Guy Who Just Made My Burrito ( this is the best )

Japan no longer gives HPV vaccine. The story I linked was the beginning.

For about 2 years I only eat meat that is humanely raised and killed to the best of my knowledge. ( 2 years of no In and Out, sob! ) This Rolling Stone article gives you a good idea of why. I eat Applegate 

Karen Russell: How I Write

This is a pretty amazing story and documented treatment for a little girl diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and verbal apraxia.

Martha Silano's poem is pure awesome: Song of Weights and Measurements

Thursday, March 5, 2015


I've always thought the song that trills like a bird here comes the sun/lalalala was a small human eternity in a pop tune, forever and always human beings have woken to the sun and spring and felt a pulse in their throat, a gentle, non aggressive lust for life, a completely unreasonable sense of well being unrelated to any actual events, but to the great turning planet and sun. When do we laugh like there is no tomorrow, when we are adults? For most of us, rarely. For some of, never. Those of us who experienced suffering and horror at a young age might have crossed the barrier of laughing like their is no tomorrow, straight over into laughing because we know there is no tomorrow. Laughing because we have seen that nothing is promised and nothing lasts, and then if we are very persistent and eager to learn, move even further along into laughing because nothing is promised and nothing lasts and yet human beings at their best are such beautiful, joyful and brave creatures, that we recognize ourselves in both the relentless black and white endurance of winter as well as the ridiculous and life infused dance of sunlight at the eve of Winter. 

The cycles of life are made spastic and chaotic in bipolar, which often seems to me to be a disease that reflects our worst fears about human existence: that our identities are nothing more than brain activity, that our emotions are ultimately unrelated to reality and come from the firing of synapses, that those we love would not recognize us if we could not recognize ourselves, that we struggle and twitch like an electrical wire on the ground- this sound and fury, signifying nothing. 

Ultimately the greatest horrors of life expose us to the greatest questions, those questions which only have answers that exist if we believe that they do. To me, this is possibly the greatest miracle of human life. The miracle of creating meaning. 

The most horror filled moments of my life have all come from the same central geography: Meaningless. The famous Holocaust memoir is entitled Man's Search For Meaning- of course it is. What other ultimate question so clearly arises from the rubble of suffering as what does this mean? And ultimately it means what we create from it. Otherwise it means nothing. If a hundred children are killed, does this have intrinsic meaning? When we are all dead and this planet is gone, how will meaning survive, with not a single trace it ever was? Human beings create the framework of meaning out of the reality of existence. This is terrifying but also incredibly empowering. 

When I think of the people that I consider heroic, ultimate examples of human beings, they embody the determination to create meaning out of suffering. When Christopher Reeves wife was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer I was a very young person, the single mother of one little boy loved beyond measure, and her story filled me with horror. I remember sobbing in my bedroom, vividly imagining what this young mother had been through, the love of her life cut down in the prime of his, paralyzed, suffering until he died, and then almost immediately after, her own diagnosis, knowing she would be leaving her two children orphans. And yet I read interviews with her and was struck again and again by one thing: her determination to give her children a framework of meaning. This was one example of parenting that I tucked into my mind to carry as a guide. 

The Oscar winning movie Life Is Beautiful- another Holocaust story- came to some controversy over its central premise, that is that a parent could or should shelter a child from the brutality existing in front of them. I believe deeply that children must be told the truth. I also believe deeply in the power of shaping our life's narrative and the power of creating our own meaning out of what has happened to us. I do not think this is always possible. It has not always been possible for me, every minute, every day.

The times in my life where I have been hopeless and despairing, watching those who continue to create meaning was one of two things that could truly comfort me in any way. ( The other was nature. ) This is a defining characteristic of all heroes- they continue to create meaning when others see an abyss. A true superpower, I believe, which has almost mystical powers to transform the reality of human situations into another reality. Not immediately, sometimes over great aching cracking sheets of ice that must pop and disperse and melt, but when a person refuses to die spiritually, when they refuse to allow meaning to be stripped, when they continue to lay the framework for some future human life that allows for peace, justice, love- that person changes reality. In quantum physics, there is the concept now that almost nothing is truly 'real' because if a thing is not there when seen from a different framework, then it isn't concretely real. This includes everything you can see and touch at this moment, not really, truly real. I think children are hyper-aware of this. 

This is why essay writing is so empowering specifically for women right now, because it is a way of taking control of our own narrative, the meaning of women's lives, right out of society's hands- where we do not trust it- and into our own. How to reconcile the truth with meaning? One acknowledges the pain of a broken leg. The other links that broken leg to the family story of Uncle John and his famous broken leg, after he had lost the other to war. He had one wooden leg and one broken leg, the story goes, because his brother found him sleeping with his wife, yanked off his wooden leg and beat him with it! 

Anxiety, bipolar, depression, schizophrenia, these diseases are as close to existential despair made a physical reality as we can get. Brain diseases and injuries. The most profound meaningless I ever experienced was in the thrall of a hurricane of postpartum delirium, months after Dakota's birth. I went from feeling the most intense love I had ever experienced to feeling as remote and cold as a star, blinking over the desert. Part of what saved me was the stories I told myself. I told myself stories about what my son would be telling people about his mom as an adult. I told myself stories using emotive words, stories about myself, in a year from now, when I was going to be better, be human again, how I would shake with fear at the close call I came toward total breakdown. Those stories connected me to meaning. And that experience forever changed my concept of personhood. As sick as I was, as lost as I was- hallucinating, hearing things- I could always feel, deep, deep inside of me, the tiny flicker of essential self that was watching this all occur. I was there. You are here. We are all here, some of us trapped in circumstances, some of us broken bodies, some of us broken minds, but all human, all dependent on each other.

When we create meaning, we create connection, when we create connection, we create inner strength. We cannot wait for meaning to come to us, we must carve it in angry chunks out of wood, we must mold it in clay, we must type it in black ink, we must splatter it in paint, we must trace it with dance, we must wake with it at night, we must chant it to the stars, we must chart it on maps, we must pray it toward the holy, we must carry it when bloody and broken, caress it when fat and unwieldy, administer to it when ill and deformed, love it when useless and hopeless. We must create meaning, and then give it to our children.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Poem For Ever Elizabeth

here i am taking a moment
to write a poem for you.
you are sleeping-
it is midnight.
your hair is sweaty, 
stuck to your forehead
your hand in a relaxed fist.

you are only four.
four years old!
that is almost, nothing!
to a star, or a universe.
to me, your mother,
four years irrevocable, all.

nothing would do without you.
we are together day and night
sometimes, i want to spank you.
you are naughty in the following way:
you don't listen,
you are very loud very often
you move even when you aren't moving-

how do you do that!?
a vibration surrounds your still frame
as you watch cartoons.
this vibration says:
i am not moving,
but i could be.

you also attached a bag clip
to Maybelle's black and white tail
and she screamed and hissed
and bit me when i tried to help.
your eyes were enormous.

oh and you leave the water running,
and sneak snacks.
today i opened the pantry and saw:
four almonds and two cashews
in a tidy row,
the nut jar open with the top left off,
one half eaten marshmallow
and a few Cheerios
all left on the shelf.

you make me laugh so hard
i almost pee myself.
when i was crying, you petted my head
so sweetly, and opened your tiny mouth
' Mommy don't cry, you don't suck, Mommy,
you don't suck at all.'

your arm has the most precious elbow crook
i've ever seen.
and your armpits, or Muffin Pits, as i call them
are white and fat and adorable.
i like to pry open your arm and kiss your
Muffin Pits, to hear you laugh.

your butt is ridiculously cute. 
even your sister says, who has a butt that perfectly round?
your daddy calls it ' toughbutt ' because you are tough.
i smack your botto all day, because i love it.

then to consider your hands. 
still tiny and shrimpy, harking back to the days
i fondly hoped you might be a midget.
i know it's politically incorrect,
but i just wanted you to stay so small,
your proportions so short, 
compared to your siblings.

you were a fat, short baby
and i almost ate you up
because i could hardly stand
how cute you were.
your earwax was the best!
it smelled so good. sniff, sniff.

then your nose, oh i love your nose!
it is the perfect nose for kissing, smoosh.
and in profile, looks like a doll.
your cheeks are so fat!
oh my goodness i love your cheeks!
squeeze, kiss,
and the freckles dusted across them-
well, i always wanted a child with freckles.

your eyebrows are very expressive.
you make hilarious faces, like
Not so fast haha gotcha!

your legs, your short fat little legs!
i eat them like corn on the cob,
i love them so.
sometimes when you are playing,
i reach over and just give your calf
a little squeeze.

your shoulders are so tiny
that the cuteness and vulnerability
make me want to punch something.

then there is the best,
your big old head, and crazy wonderful
halo of hair,
which is long and curly half way down
and makes your big head
look even bigger
on your little body
which is just too adorable for words,
and your sister and i are pretty much
obsessed with it.
'look at her head!' we squeal every day
like annoying fans.

your smile is so cute
i could faint just thinking of it.
when you smile big, which you do all the time,
like a million times a day,
i want to give you every single good thing
that every existed and ever will exist.
but instead i just hurl myself at you
like a maniac, and hug you and yell
which is practically a family motto.

you're used to it. i'm your mom.
your voice is like a cartoon character. 
if a cartoon character was totally awesome.
which you are.

you tell jokes and play pranks.
last week, i bought new socks.
you asked if you could put them away
and i said 'sure'
the next day, i put on my sock.
this is odd.
there is a giant screw in my sock.
and in this sock, and this one, and this one!
you put a screw from Daddy's toolbox
in every one of my socks.
now that is genius.

we sleep together every night, 
sometimes you throw a leg over me, 
sometimes you wake up scared
for no apparent reason other than thousands
of years of humans being afraid at night,
and you say
and i say ' Mommy's right here '
and it is the most perfect and natural thing
that ever happened
and you go right back to sleep, totally secure.

when you wake in the morning you are radiant,
like Wilbur the pig.
you leap out of bed and say MOMMY WAKE UP
i grab you and kiss your face off your face
and smell your delicious stinky breath
and think every single morning,
how lucky, how lucky, how lucky i am.

everything you do delights me
even when you are really pissing me off.
i can't explain it,
but that is love.

i love you forever.
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