Better & Bolder the Blog

fuckity fuck

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Dear Spring 2020,

in the words of our youth, I implore you: what the fuckity fuck?

There’s a card in the tarot deck called The Tower. It signifies a great fall, a tremendous sudden shift that is both destructive and liberating. There is chaos and awakening. Everything changes.

The card that follows this one is the Star, signifying hope, opportunity, and blessings. Purpose and renewal. Limiting beliefs have fallen away. The Star is a spring cleaning card, coming after the fiery fall of the tower.

The card that follows that is the Moon, and right now at least, I feel we need the moon to guide us. The moon represents our fears and illusions as well as our intuition. You feel that right now, don’t you? Our world has been taken down; we begin to see what’s really working and what isn’t in our personal lives. We take advantage of being at home, inside, to feel what is really right for us. We need the moon to remind us that we are scared AF and we don’t know up from down in this universe, but, no, wait, maybe we do. Maybe it’s all becoming moon mirror clear.

There’s a new normal in the world outside us, from standing in line in our masks at Trader Joe’s to dancing on Zoom together instead of at our studio. That new normal may mean less work or no work, and it may mean millions of us don’t have enough to eat and a secure place to live. That new normal includes a swelling of support for Black Lives Matter as more white people become, as the kids say, “woke.” For many of us, our biggest fear is that we all return to “normal” and business as usual. If our tower collapses, let’s build something better in its place. How to do that feels enormous because it is. We must find the tiny piece we’ll work on, the sphere of influence we will choose.

This spring was very difficult. Change is difficult. Not knowing what’s next and not being able to control it is difficult. This tiny virus that is causing great civilizations to stop and pivot. Nature rules. We cannot escape our animal bodies, our vulnerabilities and mortality. This is good.

Our summer mission is to shake off, at least a bit, some of the ash and dust from the tower’s fall. It’s okay if it takes all 90 days of summer to do even some of this.

We’re here to find our purpose, which can be done only if we’re willing to hope and able to recognize opportunity. It’s okay if summer begins and ends and you still don’t know and can’t quite hope. Act as if you can and do. The seasons will continue; the virus will persist. We will learn and adapt.

As difficult as this spring was, I’m not quite ready to leave it. Though my sleep is much improved and I have tremendous awareness of and gratitude for all my resources and support, many days I find I’m tired, or anxious, or sad, or ruminating and just can’t stop. I breathe and my lungs do not expand quite right. Right now, I feel all the fuckity fuck and none of the courage or hope. I feel anxious. I don’t know what to do next. I eat more ice cream. I take another Ambien. I tell the story, again, to another friend who hasn’t heard it yet or maybe I begin to repeat myself, sorry! sorry!, telling the same details to the same dear friend. I promise myself I’ll stop with the ice cream and the complaining.

At night, I sit outside with my husband. The sun goes down, and the twinkle lights on our fence come on. It’s the end of the day, so I’m tired, and sadness creeps in then. It’s so beautiful, though, so perfect that I can’t help but relax a bit. Summer nights outside remind me I’m a speck, that the universe doesn’t need me or care about me. Whatever I do feels important to me but mostly the world ticks forward. There is no meaning beyond life force itself, creation and destruction, the snake eating its tail.

Still, I seek meaning and purpose. It is deeply important to me to be of service and to be kind. I remind myself that sitting quietly and experiencing joy is a way of honoring life itself. I remind myself that the people who love me wish for me to be kind to myself. I remind myself that there’s much I can’t control but I much more I can choose: to notice the sunset tonight, to be grateful, to dance.

part 2

I cried a lot this week. I screamed, too.

Thursday night, I circled the campground after my family had gone to sleep in their tents. I sobbed next to the river. It felt really good not to be crying on or near my family. They've been great, but I wanted to cry without having to think about how my tears feel to someone else.

The screaming on Friday afternoon was not done alone. My husband said he's never seen me so angry. It was righteous anger, directed at someone who has wronged me and my mother and now also my children. My husband bore witness, and it was good he saw this. It was a bit cleansing for us both. My voice, two days later, is still hoarse from screaming. Tonight I feel tired in my body, the release and letdown after holding so much tension.

I am angry and anxious and sorrowful and grateful and joyous and fearful and remorseful and optimistic.

I am not depressed or disconnected or disheartened.

It feels good to feel, I'm telling you; it feels like being alive.

being human in a body

i'm a girl

 In college, I dated a woman, Elyse, and we moved together to ABQ after we graduated. I dated a few other women, then met and married Pat. We owned our home together, and she gave birth to Eric in 1990, who I was co-parenting for a few years before we divorced. That was hard. Then I met Hugh, whom I married.
At that point in time, everyone was required to take a side. You were straight or gay. Anyone who identified as bisexual was considered suspect. When I began dating a man after divorcing Pat, a mutual friend commented that at least I had figured out who I was. That comment wasn’t meant to be hurtful or exclusionary but it still felt as if it were diminishing the relationships I had forged with women.
This is one reason I am appreciative of the word “queer.” It’s much happier and quirkier than “non-conforming.” I’m queer, which means my history includes loving both men and women. I plan a long, happy, healthy, monogamous future with my husband, thank you very much, and that doesn’t take away from my history or sense of identity.

I was told something very important and powerful recently when I asked for help in dealing with a difficult person. The rabbi told me that generous listening does not signal agreement. I can be open and kind without having to agree with who or how someone is. My kindness and support does not mean I agree with that person. 
Ijeoma Olu, a Nigerian American writer, wrote on Twitter in July, 2019, “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And that’s the only way forward.”  The same can be said of all the other ways we may hold a place of privilege – gender, sex, wealth, education – and wish to make the world a bit less violent and more equitable.

It’s not enough to tolerate people who do not identify as male or female, or who are not heterosexual, or who are any of the many variations of being human in a body. We must be kind and generous in our listening and our actions. We fight for the right of everyone to live in peace and with justice. We stand up and speak out. We learn the history of the discrimination and violence to which others have been subject. We educate ourselves. Every day. Finally, importantly, delightfully, we celebrate.