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I Should Be Asleep

I've had LJ logged in for a couple of weeks. I meant to post when I first opened it, but I'd had to read, first, and then I couldn't do it. Just too much emotion.

My heart went out of LJ when Heather passed. I'd somehow missed something or messed something up when my own world was doing another fall apart and had unexpectedly, abruptly been severed from her LJ right before her birthday. And then she was gone. And I felt betrayed by it. Not by Heather. But by the reliance on this medium for being connected, for mattering, for having it be a sign of truly caring.

I went back to read because it was her birthday again, and I needed to see some of her words. And then it all hit me again, fresh, because I never made myself deal with it and work through it and accept it for what it was. And all of those confused regrets flowed back up and I couldn't escape from them, couldn't slip them. So I read more. I read about other lost friends. I read my mealy-mouthing about what was really going on with me and Will. I read about myself getting far too close to an edge I had no business near. I read the words of people I'll never share a smile with again. I saw their pictures and knew we'd never share a dancefloor again.

Bitter, bitter, bitter. It made me so angry. It made me so sorrowful. I felt helpless. Here was this time of slipping away, so many things and people and hopes...and all I could do is read about it happening, powerless to stop it, knowing how bad it truly got, knowing where it would leave me. And there was no magical invocation to bring the people back. No feather-light wish to restore their sparks to this world. All of their promise, gone. All of their intentions, gone. All of their hopes...gone. Gone.

I couldn't write anything about it. What would I say? "Poor me. People died." Selfish. Misdirected. So, I've been thinking about it, instead. Thinking and thinking and thinking. Endlessly. Why would I give up the place that preserved these connections in at least some form? Why didn't it make me feel safe, anymore? Why did it not feel like a retreat? Because it felt empty and dogged at the same time. I can hear them whispering but will never be able to make out the words.

All those promises to come back and read and share. Not precisely broken, because I do read from time to time. I just very rarely comment. Too afraid that I'll make all the same mistakes again and lose what few people I'm still connected to here and elsewhere. Too afraid, in general. Like a car halfway over a cliff. I scooted out slowly and just left it teetering, better to walk away than crash to the bottom.

Melodramatic? Maybe a little. I let things build up too long. I didn't unplug this bad wiring when it was forming. There are too many layers all mixed together, now. That doesn't mean I can't eventually fix it. Just that it's going to be a lot messier and more difficult. And, facing that down, I knew I couldn't handle it in the moment that I realised all of this. Too much else going on to dedicate my attention to something simultaneously massive and petty. The massive part is unsolvable, really - the grief is deep and just has to be worked through. The pettiness...gods, haven't we done all this before in my years on here? Twice, thrice, infinity?

And that's when I was able to come back and put these words down. When I knew that I couldn't walk through the pettiness again. Like giving myself permission to just let it be. Will I, really? No idea. That's the idea of a refuge, I guess. Intentions and plans are one thing, but doing what's necessary to feel safe sometimes requires circumventing and changing those things. I just want to find my balance again, find the funny again, put words down. I have a few other places I'm writing, but none are like this. None can ever be like this. The residual energy of all of those other people is here. The lingering impressions of all I'd attempted is here.

Here. Can I stay? Will I be back? It can't matter but it has to, it seems. Oh, 5am confessions. That mix of discomfort and peace is inimitable. I needed it.

Farewell, Ten. Welcome, Eleventy.

Oh, 2010, you were a weird year. One of the more challenging of my existence, and that's saying something. I believe it's obvious that I'll never forget you. Impossible.

You weren't the 2010 I'd hoped for as a youngster. There was no confirmation of easing the aging process safely and harmlessly. The oligarchy wasn't defanged. Poverty encroached further yet upon the Earth. Iniquities and extinctions ruled across the planet. Ideologies supporting violence and separation rule in greater numbers than I'd thought possible in a thinking, information-filled age.

And you weren't the 2010 I'd hoped for at the end of 2009, either. You were a complete surprise from end to end. One stunning twist after another.

But here we are on the anniversary of a sneaking suspicion having gained credence: in a few hours, I'll mark the moment when a friend's shared champagne couldn't be swallowed past a couple of lucky sips, and a Solstice fancy of feeling "occupied" met up with a little chronological math. 2009 ended with the marvelous and frightening possibility that I was pregnant. 2010 ends with the undeniable proof of that intuition wriggling or sweetly slumbering never more than a few feet away.

So, I'm biased. It wasn't an altogether bad year. A big year, certainly. A catalytic year, absolutely. The essence of trying, undoubtedly. Not a bad year, though.

Could have been better, and, for me, most of those were ultimately (or could have been) within my control.

Which brings me to 2011. Everyone's discovered your eye-pleasing Roman rendition: MMXI, but I've decided to call you "Eleventy", 2011. I think you've got some real potential. I'm looking forward to you. I've got hopes. You know my policy on real hope, I'm sure: don't have any. It prevents disappointment. Like expectations. Drop 'em. That's my usual motto, anyway. This year, though, I'm going to reclaim the right to truly have hopes and expectations, and I'm going to have them only for and toward myself...and my sweet infant daughter, Tabatha. Her existence gives me the power to hold hope and expectation for us in my heart. I will do all I can to be worthy of her birth and my rebirth.

Here's what I'm certain of, so far:
We're going to lose some people. I don't want that to be so, but it's going to happen. So I need to be regular with my gratitude and communication, as I don't want to lose anyone without their knowing they were loved and valued. We can't bet on one moment over another, so it's best to be prepared for loss from the start by making the most of presence in the here and now.

I'm going to be kinder to my body by making the choices that allow it to heal and thrive. I'm going to challenge it and reward it. I have a whole other person who will be relying upon me to be fit and ready for all of life's joys and emergencies. I can't respond and participate if I'm trapped by old pain and self-hate. Time to let go. She won't be able to understand excuses, and I don't want to give them to her. And I deserve it. I've come so close to that moment of relief and freedom. Time to give it to myself, utterly. The best gift ever.

Whatever hard thing I have to do in order to make us safe in this changing world, whatever choices and actions are necessary to give us a stable foundation, I'm going to do my very best to achieve it. Failure is just a chance to try again for success. Maybe I have to learn a different way to accomplish everything. That type of discovery is what this whole year will be about.

Forgive & seek forgiveness without being a pathetic doormat.

Don't just be creative: DO creative. More. Finish. It's hard with a little one, but it's possible. Reach. It will be worth it.

And that's it.

Bring it on, 2011. I'm looking forward to meeting you.

Introducing Tabatha Briar Magdalena....

First View of Mom

I'd like you to meet our daughter, Tabatha Briar Magdalena Cawood McKelvy-Weaver. Yep, that's a long name.

She was born at 8:20am on 8/20, weighing 8#, 2oz and measuring at 19". Her eyes are currently indigo (great pic available if you click above and look through set), so they could end up any colour at all. Her hair is dark brown mixed with gold and is very curly, but we aren't sure how much of the current colour will hold since the first cap often falls out. She has the full complement of all appendages and digits and was incredibly lusty from the beginning. She scored well on the APGAR. I was delighted to discover she still had some of the downy fur covering her skin, as it's not always present on full-term babies.

After 2hrs of sleep, we woke up ready to jump right to the hospital and I was surprised to note that I was having contractions. Like preparing for labour contractions. Seems she was intent on arriving before the weekend was out, either way. Kinda neat that I at least got to feel a few of those as part of the experience.

Surgery went incredibly well, even with all attendant moments of anxiety, discomfort, and downright fear. The team was amazing. I was talked through every little part of every single procedure, which helped immensely. They were all jazzed that the gender was a surprise, each informing new arrivals joyfully, so that everyone was holding their breath when the doctor pulled her forth.

Being closed up was the worst part of the whole thing. Spinal was second worst. Getting IV in was third. Every one of them were worth it, though. Completely worth it. Every moment, every pain, all of it.

We had visitors. I'll go into that later, since stories longer than I can type on right now are involved. Pretty much all sweetness and happy surprises. A teensy bit of drama, but, you know, that's to be expected, eh?

She's beautiful. Very aware. Cuddly. Ours. Loved.

Thanks for all of the support, literal and figurative. I know for a fact every bit of it helped make this the wonder that it is, and my gratitude is endless for the kindness shown.

...

Orchestral Army of Love

I know I left folks hanging on how the rest of Rachel's visit went, but it was a bit weird (of course) and everything else needs my attention a bit more. I've got pics to go through, still, so there's bound to be more on it before the end of the week.

Right now, though, I'm wanting to put down some of the ponders I've had today on everything going on and what has been good about it. LTDI denial, UI wait, Will's situation, expensive piece of junk in driveway, daily needs threatened...it's a lot to keep in mind all the time, especially since I have to keep working on all of it. No time to forget what's going on, no ability to convince myself otherwise. Which is good. Ignoring, avoiding, and denying challenges and problems just makes things worse.

So, good things. Enumerating them makes everything shine with a different light. This is long, but I'm not going to cut. I apologise but I'm not sorry, if that makes sense. I hope after reading you can understand why I'd choose to go back to that approach for this.

The incandescent souls from Seattle have been such a deep comfort in all of this. There are only a few of you remaining to me, but your love, support, and tough words have kept me on my feet and ready to fight. And I just found out today Cheryl and Jordan are going to come visit some time around X-mas, which sent today's mood on a happy tangent. I miss all of you so, so, so much. Thank you for calling, for being there when I call, for understanding how much I suck at phone, for sharing your lives, for being who you are, for everything that is YOU. One day soon I'll be able to help you, to be more of an active friend, to be less of a scared tree critter peeking out between the leaves ever so often.

My TX peoples, folks who know the tradition of matter-of-fact but gentle handling of this kind of chaos, folks who have little patience for those who give up, people who know what can be accomplished if you just stick to it and understand that I have the same values. Not that this is absent in others! It's just a special flavour, a specific touch, that sends it all home in a way that nothing else can. Texan mind meld. Brilliant LJ minds and the lucky associations I have here in person. That almost-Southern insistence on doing the right thing, taking care of your business...it keeps me moving. I have a family of neighbours, people who rely on me to help them and make me allow others to help me in return. It's a small family but a tight one. They get me through more than I can even begin to explain.

And there are so many people who have given me inspiration, comfort, and direction in states and countries I've never even visited, friends whom I've never seen in person, people who have taken a moment from their own lives to be kind to a virtual stranger. One day, one day, one day - all of you are in that, too. It seems remote sometimes, it might even seem like just words to some of you, but I mean it with all my heart, I mean it and have the lists to prove it ;]

Over the course of every plate crashing to the ground, I've learned that I'm never alone. People can say what they will about the whole world being evil and no good people remaining, but they are wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. My heart is restored on a moment by moment basis by other human beings, people who know how hard this world is and will reach out their hand to help. We are never alone. You are never alone. Someone out there will have a hand waiting to help you pull yourself back up. I promise.

My time is limited by responsibility and the heavy workload of recovery, but I am using every spare moment to build a pile of thanks to everyone who has helped to instill this in me. I am looking forward, also, to the months ahead when everything is more settled (it will be, oh, do not doubt it my sweet silver linings, do not doubt it - it will be), a time when these lists of mine will go into play, when I can increase the love and appreciation to the people who have linked their arms and protected me when it seemed nothing ever could and no one ever would.

I know I go on and on about all of you, I know it, but you have to know I have never in my entire life had such an experience of kindness from other people, such an amazing revelation about the world's potential for good through humanity. It is an epiphany building like a symphony and this orchestra of hearts and minds built by all of you is the sweetest and most divine music I have ever heard. The song formed from your selfless love, understanding, and encouragement is the true song of the Universe. It blows my mind that all of you exist and can do the things you do. I didn't know you were out there. It has taken me years to overcome the blindness of my cynicism, the blackout shade of doubt and fear pulled over me by so many evil people and hard circumstances.

To hell with everything else. I can do it. We can all survive more than we think we can if we just keep that choir of friendship reverberating as we battle to correct course and recover from unexpected tumbles. You will be the song in my heart when I walk five miles to fix one more thing. You will be the tune on my lips when I push through the exhaustion of challenge to overcome those obstacles. I'll be drumming the beat of your chorus with every pulse of my heart when I wake up each morning and know - KNOW - I can still fight.

I'll stand by you, you can lean on me, you'll always get a little (++++) help from me, and I will never, ever, ever let you down in anything I have any power at all over. And I'm learning I've got more power over a lot more than I'd been led to believe.

There will be a party, and you're all the guests of honour. That's a promise.

Tags:

Okay, Acceptance, I'll Take You On

It's time - past time - to really, really, really let go of the damage and move on. All of it. From anyone.

If I'm really going to be a survivor, I've got to leave my arm under that rock and walk away.

Bye, arm.

(couldn't sleep, had to get that out...now I try again)

Green Velvet

I greatly miss immediately engaging with friends and acknowledging their big events in a timely fashion. When I feel as if life has been put on hold, I go about everything as if that were true, telling myself I'll catch up with everyone and all the fun stuff and everything else once I'm no longer on hold. It turns out "on hold" can last for a few years at a time. Popping my head up and grabbing around for what's nearby before my head goes under again is no way to live a life, let me tell you. And it sucks to have a "friend" like that, too. I don't want to be that friend.
mmm, a cut! you know what that means! WORDS!Collapse )

...while writing this, someone else's world changed. There was no "on hold" for them. Things were one way, then they were another. This ponder is about light-heartedness and glittering connections, how to bring them back and how to send them out. I can't deny, however, that the source of this commitment is based on moments wherein the world was suddenly bereft of a particular smile, a specific hug, a previously mundane greeting. It's difficult to scour away all gravity when gravity is part of the point. We never know what will happen, after all.

ah, dreams...

sometimes you don't listen to your heart's decisions until it's too late. sometimes it's good, because much trouble is avoided in this way. other times, it spins a sticky web of regret.
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We Will Burn Brightly

Spending lots of time lately amidst twinkling memories of those who have either slipped away or were ripped away. Drifting through other people's stories, often wishing for better closings to their chapters in the great book, running through our intersections during long meditations, considering their ambitions and struggles and what ended up mattering. The paths they changed through influence or inspiration...and, sometimes, imperfection.
not quite stream of consciousness...Collapse )

Wishes Sent on Swift Black Wings

I dropped the ball on many other birthday notes, I know, but this one is really important for a lot of reasons, so forgive me if I missed yours and you feel like this isn't fair.

vorona, I wish you a birthday that restores some measure of the awe and wonder you had stored up in you as you took your first breath. I wish you a birthday that magnifies that light in your heart to help you see all of the love around you as you fight. I wish you a birthday that spreads out beyond the anniversary of your arrival on the planet and pulls in all those who have appreciated you over the years in any capacity, so that the true value of your contribution to the world is felt resoundingly all the way through to your own heart. I wish you a birthday with peace and smiles and gentle treatment and just enough reality to keep it from getting annoying. I wish you a birthday that removes the dark filters that have gone up around you over the years so that your pure essence resonates for all to see, even as you fight for your very survival. I wish you a birthday that lets you reach back through all of the goodness in your life, so that you can choose to see that over all of the bad when things are hardest.

Above all, Ivy, I wish you a birthday that gives promise for more days to come.

(if someone who is still in contact w/ Ivy could pass that on to her, I would be very appreciative)

Tags:

Regret

When I think of all the beautiful things in my life I've destroyed unknowingly, especially those destroyed in the clumsiness of my twisted good intentions, it makes me irredeemably sad.

If only I could just fix it all.

I'm sorry.

Wow.

Dear President Barack Obama,

Please help us fulfill the hopes that inspired our choice.

Thank you,
The Citizens of the United States of America
Today at approximately 3:15 PM, Baltasar went to sleep one last time and was freed from the pain of lymphomic cancer.

He went peacefully after a final grump session, seeming to realise that it was now time to quit hurting. He made sure to let me give him kisses one more time and snuggled against me before being asked to lay down. He looked to Will and closed his eyes happily as his hand joined mine on that now-ragged silver coat. We pet him and gave him sweet words until he had faded. It was very quick. He will be cremated and returned to us, and we'll be procuring an appropriate container for the remainder of his physical form. We sent his "receiving blanket" and little white bunny with him, so that he would have familiarity as he left.

I'm not quite up to telling his whole story right now, but I will. He deserves it. He made me a better person, calmed me down, taught me how to be the pet guardian I should be by enduring all of my flubs and failures stoically and with never-ending love. I always wanted to do better by him.

Rest in Peace, Baltasar - 9/21/96-9/15/08; may your energy go on to reap the rewards of a life well lived, hopefully allowing you to finally eat whatever you want. You weren't just a good boy, you were the best boy.

Tags:

Duri

Back when the Mercury still smelled a bit like fresh paint, there was a sudden flurry of interest in the arrival of a well-traveled gent who went by "Thog". He wrote about his travels in classic gonzo style, making even a description of an overly warm motorcycle seat a compelling read. I'll be honest: I was intimidated by Duri a little, but found him too compelling to stay too far away. I loved his writing and the crystalline humour with which he presented his adventures. Over the years, I encountered him enough to learn that he was actually Duri, not "Thog", and he was more than worthy of even the most intense fascination.

He came to be quite well known for his exuberant, thrash-it-out dance style, and that's where we first intersected in person, and where the bulk of my meaningful time in his presence was spent. As intimidating as he was to me socially, he was a perfect protector on the dance floor. Being almost two feet shorter than him and as fond of the part of the floor by the pole as he was, he provided an incomparable force field from those who were less accomplished at sharing tiny dance floors with others. More than once I found myself rescued from the over-eager and under-socialised by his whirling arms and stomping legs.

Aside from that, he was an enigma to me, and my inability to get over being intimidated kept it that way, meaning I mostly shared small talk (and the occasional wolfish smile while dancing) with him for most of the years he was more regularly in Seattle. When William and I became involved, I had the opportunity to visit with Duri more meaingfully a couple of times and learned he was yet another member of the Abused Kids Club. No, I guess I probably shouldn't say that "out loud", but I think it's relevant to the rest of this.

What I learned of Duri through those visits and his conversations with Will made me deeply sad I'd not had the courage to know him better before he went on his last few adventures. He was determined to have a different life from what his beginnings had promised him. He was erudite, principled, and loyal. And, yes, tormented. His attempts at making the life he wanted to have ran into incredible obstacles that sounded like they were from summer movies (improbable and huge and bombastic), stacking on top of his past.

Another admission: his lack of obfuscation when it came to what he thought of other people was surprising to me. He was diplomatic, but he didn't care for hypocrites or sycophants, and he was made uncomfortable by inclusion in groups he felt didn't live up to even their own standards, much less those of human decency. I also unexpectedly learned he enjoyed making light of people who attempted ingratiating themselves to him or riding his coattails into the "Cool Kids club" (an affiliation he eventually became discomfited by). He thought of them as the adult forms of the bullies and snivelers he'd found distasteful even in childhood, and had little patience for their machinations. I guess I'd thought his size, demeanour, and "cool factor" allowed him to move between the lines without care or concern. That he did care and did have concerns was what surprised me, showing again how my assumptions lead to terrible underestimations.

Thinking of all that I knew about him and those few times we shared words, I don't feel comfortable talking about why his liver failed nor the conversations william and I had about his growing health issues. I do feel comfortable, however, saying that he was a better person than his end would have some think, that he deserved so much more from life than what he got, and that I can't stop considering this knot of anger in my heart for how helpless he felt in mastering his compulsions. Not at him, although I guess that's probably natural, considering. No, I'm angry at the people who filled him up with the programming which made those compulsions so strong they eventually took his health (and life) away. Such a terrible waste of a brilliant, talented, valuable human being.

Duri, now that you've been freed from that shell, I hope the sting of your beginning can fade. You will always be in my heart and mind as an inspiration and reason to keep looking on the bright side as much as possible. If the events after death work the way I hope they do, your energy will go on to another purpose, perhaps even filling another shell with your bright spark. May whatever happens next be more peaceful and nurturing. Most importantly, may those left behind take comfort in the good you contributed while you were here with us, and take into their hearts the lessons of your too early demise. Be at peace, Duri, and know you were cared about by many.

Educationally Accurate in Some Cases

Royale with Cheese Personality MemeCollapse )

* While not entirely accurate, I like it as a disclaimer. Warning: life containing G. Batmonkey may include non-optimum outcomes despite her very great wish for it to be otherwise.

I Don't Care

I don't care if you read what I write. I don't care if you don't think about me. I don't care what you do think about me. I don't care if you haven't called or written in a long, long while. I don't care what position I'm in on the various social networks we may be connected by. I don't care if our mutual admiration society has broken up. I don't care if you don't agree with me. I don't care if we never agree on anything again. I don't care about whatever makes you better than me. I don't care about silly snap judgments or stubborn feuds. I don't care if we never catch up to each other. I don't care if my advice doesn't work for you. I don't care if yours doesn't work for me. I don't care that you don't care.

I just want you to know that I don't care about any of that.

I only care that you're out there and we interacted positively at some point and I learned some part of your story and whatever lessons I've received from you. No matter what our association was or is, no matter who has shared more credit or more blame, no matter what I got wrong or right or halfway there but not quite, that's really all I care about.

Thanks for being there and having been there, for whatever span of time we have shared space peacefully. For the laughter and tears and tentative hugs and even the occasional cold, angry look. For your imperfections co-existing with mine, regardless of outcome.

Maybe we're still thick as honey, maybe our connection shattered. I still hold all the safe feelings, all the fun, all the moments of being taken seriously, all of the help, and even all of the criticism right here in my heart. It's a comfort. Occasionally bittersweet, but then one appreciates the sweet notes more. We may never fight by each other's sides (again or ever), but I'm grateful you have been there when you were.

Remember that time when I was all happiness and smiles because...there you were? That's what I'm going to remember about you. That at some point you helped me feel joy, and it was simply because you were there when you were. Online or off, it's the same. And while I hope I have provided some sort of friendly joy to you, I can't be sure of it in all cases, so I'll not assume. I wish I could be sure, as that would go far in enriching this existence.

No one knows how much time they have in this world, and we all face challenges in finding and keeping the way. In that light, knowing life could stretch on or blink out after I close my eyes tonight and that I could face a million battles in between now and that moment, I thank you for being on this planet with me.

Whatever you believe or don't believe, you can trust that I have only had good intentions which sometimes went awry. If you were one of those affected by the more difficult transitions, regardless of our current situation with each other, know that I regret not having taken a better path at those moments. My disappointment in myself for any failures is what keeps me growing and striving and exploring. I hope it's the same for you.

The Dams Have Broken, Re-post

I woke up the way many did that morning: my phone was ringing. It was early in the morning. It was my mother. She told me to not turn on the TV, to sit down. I sat down. She told me that a plane had smashed into the WTC and then mentioned something confusing about Washington, DC and something going on there. I turned on the TV. While I tried to get her to calm down, I saw the second plane hit. And then everything else. I was stunned. Literally. I imagined the terror each person in each disaster zone was feeling. I tried not to imagine it too deeply. I just wanted to be able to absorb enough to understand the import of this moment, to be able to process this kind of fear without panicking if I were ever in the midst of it.

No one that I was personally acquainted with died. But co-workers lost friends and family. Online friends lost loved ones. A couple of SG folks had losses. The far-reaching impact of the event was known to me, but I still couldn't reach that core of horror that I knew must have nested in me as I watched and realised that this was intentional, as I watched (briefly, before turning away) people choosing a certain death from a fall over the uncertainty within the building.

A couple of weeks after September 11, 2001, I finally had a full reaction to what had happened. Media brought me to it. I wrote about it as I felt it, so it is probably overly emotional for many of you. And I was overly optimistic in some cases. But I think that I do want to remember this. For the reasons I mentioned when I first wrote about it, and for the reasons that have happened since then. For every soldier that has died, for every innocent soul snuffed out by our confusion over who should be punished for the loss of our cocoon.

I know that I am posting this late, but that is because I originally wrote it so long after what had happened. I felt it would be incongruous to post it with all of the other "on time" recognitions of the date. And so, the emotional flood that I posted to a messageboard in October of 2001...

DamsCollapse )