U is for Upheaval

U

up·heav·al
əpˈhēvəl/
noun|
1.  a violent or sudden change or disruption to something.
~ an upward displacement of part of the earth’s crust.

This is another moment of upheaval in my life, so much so, that I have a hard time making it coherent enough for this medium; but I will try.

I came back from the meditation seminar and on the ride back, finally broke up with Nikki the Jerkface. I quickly decided that a new direction was needed in my life and set down a plan of action. I like action plans, really anything with bullet points.

BeijingMy friend Kor, had been working and traveling in China, and had settled in Beijing. He had been trying to entice me over for some time and I decided, why not? I sold everything I owned, other than the books I couldn’t part with, which went into a small storage space. I stayed with friends in Bloomfield and started the process of dismantling my life in the states. I applied for teaching positions in China and quickly had some offers.

I also decided to try dating. I had been with Nikki for almost 5 years and that adventure had cut me off from a lot of life. I was
tired of hiding and I was tired of women. I was also going to leave the country for at least a year and needed some fun. I put an ad online saying pretty much that and what do you know, plenty of people were willing to take me out to dinner.

 

I had never really dated, lesbians don’t really date, they fall into each other and stick.  I wanted to give it a try. So I did, I went on lots of dates with different people, mostly men, but some women too. I had nice dinners, lunches and drinks with perfect strangers, and I didn’t sleep withlesbianuhaul any of them! As far as I was concerned this was a psychological breakthrough. I had almost nothing of physical value, a contract or two I was debating between, a grand adventure was about to begin and plenty of new conversations. It was really quite pleasant.

Then I met Joseph. We had nice dates too, and then we had some more nice dates. We went back to his place and played Scrabble on his table, which was a slice from a beautiful tree. He was an engineer, in the final process of becoming a professional engineer. He wanted nothing but the short-term company I could offer, we had good conversation. I decided, okay time for some fun.

Remember the old adages about your first time? Or the percentage of safe sex encounters that still go awry? This was the first time I was with a man in a very long time, we were very safe.

Two weeks later, I KNEW. I knew with The Boy and I knew now. I waited, and I peed on the stick, I was pregnant.

preganancy tests

I wanted a second opinion, though I really had no doubt. I went to Planned Parenthood and they confirmed it. I was hysterical. My phone rang on my way out. It was Jori.

“What’s wrong??!!?”

“I am fucking pregnant, I was safe and it was just once, and I am still fucking PREGNANT!”

“YAY! BABY”

“Fuck you Jori! It is NOT YAY BABY time!”

I called Joseph and he said he we’d figure it out and he’d talk to me after work. After work, we talked and he had the abortion scheduled. He said that it would be a sin for me to keep this baby, since I had nothing to offer other than the same poverty he and I had both grown up in, the same instability. He said I would be selfish and no better than my own people if I kept this baby. He said I wasn’t the person he was going to have a baby with, I wasn’t educated or well off enough, this was not part of his plan. I was not appropriate. I had nothing, no home, no stuff, no family. It was like Jekyll and Hyde. I don’t know what happened to the nice, smart man, but I never saw him again. Unfortunately he was right about a few things, but luckily not all. I wasn’t alone anymore.

I called my people, my friends, my chosen ones and we came up with a new plan (there were bullet points). I was keeping this baby.

keep-calm-cause-you-are-not-alone

T is for Transition

T

tran·si·tion
tranˈziSHən,-ˈsiSHən/
noun
 1. the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another
~ a passage in a piece of writing that smoothly connects two topics or sections to each other.
~ a momentary modulation from one key to another
~ a change of an atom, nucleus, electron, etc., from one quantum state to another, with emission or absorption of radiation.
verb
1. undergo or cause to undergo a process or period of transition.

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I realize that until now I have not really spoke of The Boy and there are reasons for that. I have always been liked by children, which is weird because I don’t really like children. I like individual children, much as I like individual dogs or cats, both can spur deep and loving relationships for me, but either way I don’t like them just for the mere fact of their existence. I have never cared if a child liked me, which is why they might like me in the first place… much like a cat. I cared if The Boy liked me, and therefore have had no way to be comfortable around him. I am not comfortable with caring; I don’t know how to talk about him.

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I have worked with foster kids, and I get them, they are a mess in many different kinds of way but, I understand their “crazy”, I recognize it.

400814_2694603999053_1171432951_nThe Boy is not crazy, he is a perfectly well-adjusted child, with nothing but full confidence in his abilities and intelligence. He is smart, and funny. He is sarcastic, sensitive, interesting and is worth having a conversation with. He has played piano, sax, trumpet and drums with OntheFerry_zpsf576ecc5varying degrees of interest and passion. He is gifted in math, science and engineering. He has been on the local radio station learning the ropes of engineering and production since Middle School and recently produced his first solo show. He skis, sails, hikes and has done various other sports over the years. He builds robots and battles them. He is a very tall black kid in a white family that seems totally well-adjusted and can mock the absurdity of himself and life in general, with adult aplomb.  His moms have never been able to get him to do chores, and he is spoiled in his own way. He is smart enough to consciously recognize that an intelligent argument paired with unending persistence will overcome any resistance from his very reasonable pacifist parents. I may be one of the few people who joyfully says, no, to him. He can be quite charming when he chooses. He can also be quite annoying.

5660_148663085751_6685996_nAll of this are just pieces of achievements and small hints at the kid that has been growing up within a world filled with grace. He doesn’t have questions about his story, because he’s always known it. He has never known true loss, or complete failure, and though I hope he never does, I figure he’ll be alright when and if that happens. He had had the chance to try his hand at whatever has crossed his path and many things have and will continue to do so. His world is vast and not narrowed by restraints.

He knows it, he knows how blessed he is. How many of us were aware and appreciative of our family and our blessings as a pre-teen? I haven’t known many. He is no longer a child, but we haven’t quite gotten there in this tale. There are many reasons for my growth as a person but one of the biggest catalysts is wanting to be someone worth knowing, to this boy who is almost a man.  I know from my own tale that the accident of birth isn’t enough.

This whole story is about transitions but the most amazing one I have seen is of this child growing up. He amazes me; as does the family, that has made the life he has been given, possible. I am not really a part of that, but I am lucky enough to play a supporting role.

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I mean, I still don’t always like kids,  but I guess he’s okay.

 

 

S is for Sacrosanct

S

sac·ro·sanct
ˈsakrōˌsaNG(k)t/
adjective
1. (esp. of a principle, place, or routine) regarded as too important or valuable to be interfered with.

Let me tell you why I  loved fighting, then  acid and later, meditation. They make the world shiny. After a  throw-down fight, a good trip or a long deep meditation I have gotten the same feeling, like the world is new and shiny, like I am seeing it anew again. I adore that feeling.

My friends and I went directly from the meditation seminar to The Boys’ home in Portland. It was the first time I was bringing friends with me. The Boy and his moms never came to my home in NJ, which made minimum exposure to my friends rather simple. This time I was making a choice to do so.  It was all about choices.

If they didn’t see where I lived or meet the people I associated with, they only had what I chose to show as fodder for the picture of me in their heads and I liked it that way. I only spent a few days of any given year in their company, that time was sacrosanct and I could play pretend for that long, mostly. Yes, of course I was perfectly healthy, yes my girlfriend is great and not an abusive jerkface, yes my job is fulfilling and interesting, yes my social life is full of kind, intelligent, generous souls, everything is GREAT.

Addressbook (1)

I am sure I didn’t fool them, they are smart cookies and Gwynnie had long ago,  given up on writing down any of my contact information in pen, it just wasn’t worth the mess of crossing things out so often. I was never stable, not really.

turret2I brought Robyn and Rosencrantz because they were my closest friends, I was proud to be their friend and additionally, I needed SOMEONE to play witness to the insanity that is the Maine Hive Household. EVERYONE is awesome… it’s tiring. I have met scientists, professors, dancers, master fire dancercarpenters, inventors, tattoo artists, fire dancers, nationally syndicated comic artists, yoga instructors, castle builders, performers of all sorts, artists, singers, musicians, activists, sustainable farmers..so many people and most of that list can be found on their block and many of those people do two or more of those things. They are all intimately connected, in some way. Everything is made from scratch, there are handmade cookbooks and a constant string of baked goods being kneaded and pulled, there are compost piles and supplies bought from local purveyors and farms. There are gardens tended and preserves jarred. I once called the house about something and was told “ Oh! We just went strawberry picking at our friends place, you know the one that built that turret? We picked about 65lbs of strawberries, and we’re making jam now”. It’s hard not to feel like a failure at existence before you finish your filtered coffee with foamed milk and crystalized ginger scones in the morning at the kitchen table where there are people up and running hours before I’ve left my bed.

None of this is braggartly. they are just living their lives and this is how they live it. There is a constant stream of friends and relatives in and out of the house, coming up and down from the basement that connects some of the houses inhabitants. So many people are visiting during the warm months of the year, they have to juggle the bookings. People are taking ferries, meeting ferries, skateboarding, snowboarding, sailing, hiking, twisting into yoga knots and dancing hither and yon.

ashtray_ (1)There is a chair on their porch, to the side of the house, that is made from bent metal, with finely woven rattan covering it, it is almost like a modified rocker, and beside it is an old smokeless ashtray, most likely, salvaged humanely. It is slightly hidden, and this is where I hide. On this trip, I had comrades in arms and I was happy to have them, I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t crazy.

So much genuine friendliness, passionate interest and graciousness, was just really hard for me to process. I always felt like the Grinch, looking down at Whoville with such cynicism and really, who wants to be the Grinch?  Like the Grinch, I secretly wanted to be a part of that joie de vie, but it was always just out of reach. My envy was debilitating.

I wasn’t stupid enough to believe my new shiny eyes would never get clouded again by my own insecure stupidity; but for this trip, they weren’t and it was the first time it wasn’t so overwhelming, I could just faintly see the hope of finding my own path towards this kind of life. It was the first time I saw a roadmap instead of a warning sign that blared “ Danger! Do Not Enter! Authorized Personnel Only!”.

dangers