Wednesday, May 28, 2008

THE REMAINS

I’ve been here before. I know it. I’ve known it ever since I was a little girl. When I was around six or seven I would lie awake and watch my spirit leave my flesh. It would hover around, sometimes floating over my body, and then it would return just as quickly as it departed. It’s uncanny—but I was never scared. The visit, I welcomed. Some people have make-believe friends as children; I had a friend of another kind.

Lately, I’ve felt the split again. Somewhere in the hours between sleep and wake I feel the energy—sense it, like one senses movement out of the corner of the eye. I write about it with such ferocity because it is persistent. I’ve always known too much, been too aware, and too connected as if I am finishing the life of someone else, perhaps a life cut short. It’s a calling, something motioning me forward—I cannot explain but some nights I find myself weeping for events occurring not in this life, but possibly the one before.

Something inside of me has moved. There are things that I do without reason or thought, simulated automatic behaviors, like OCD—the remains.

I am desperately trying to figure out what occurred. Why is it that when overwhelmed or scared I find comfort in closets? Me, a woman, curled up in the closet—my only relief. Maybe somewhere before the artifice of time, a closet was my hiding space. From what or who, I do not know. But the feeling of safety has remained.

And there is my addictive personality. My addictions last for weeks and then abruptly end. Perhaps somewhere before I was starved –maybe I lost something. What I do know is that I cannot stop my compulsion to take and use without measure until it is done. The sense of urgency has remained.

And why do I, a normally self controlled woman experience intense and almost debilitating panic attacks in large crowds? It is a feeling of slipping away. The blood rushing out--my lungs collapsing as if I am returning to a tragedy. The feeling of helplessness has remained.

And then, there is the often irrepressible need to punish myself when I make mistakes. I attempt to stop my hands from clawing, punching—my teeth from biting. Who or what shamed me? What happened in the time before? Why do I feel the intense need to make things right—the need for redemption. The humiliation has remained.

All these seemingly unrelated things unsettle me. But this is the end. In this life, I will put the pieces of the story together. There will be a reckoning. I am not coming back again.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Before I die

Here is a list of 75 things that I want to do before I die. I started this list over six years ago while I was in college. From time to time I return to it. It’s been a frame of reference in a life that has taken so many unexpected twists and turns. I truly believe that life is a collection of experiences. We weave tapestries and paint stories with the people we meet, the places we travel and the simple still moments of life. I eagerly anticipate devouring life in all of its fullness. I want the ins and the outs, the ups and the downs, the dark and the light. I want it all. I am fully fleshed and breathing. Open and clothed with possibility.

1. Publish a book of poems
2. Write an autobiography
3. Adopt a child with physical disabilities
4. Learn sign language
5. Study theology
6. Meet Oprah
7. Produce a documentary 
8. Give a speech at my high school
9. Make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem
10. Learn how to play the piano
11. Travel to Egypt
12. Sponsor a NJ Seeds child
13. Eat frog tongue
14. Kiss a stranger
15. Go nude on a beach
16. Learn how to play soccer
17. Play the drums
18. Reunite with my first love
19. Go to a nudist resort
20. Purchase a home in another country
21. Become a flight attendant
22. Slap someone really hard for pissing me off
23. See my writing in a magazine
24. Experience transcendence
25. Learn how to ride a motorcycle
26. Go dirt bike riding
27. Race a car
28. See Michael Jackson in concert :(
29. Trade on the stock market
30. Fix a car
31. Make a pizza
32. Get my palms read 
33. Go to Disney World and meet Mickey
34. Witness a direct act of GOD
35. Purchase a valuable piece of art
36. Live in a loft with a loft bed
37. Get a degree in counseling
38. Publish a movie critique
39. Eat a chocolate covered cricket
40. Take a mud bath
41. Become a massage therapist
42. Become fluent in Spanish
43. Study Arabic
44. Grow a healthy savings account
45. Be a movie extra
46. Become a judge
47. Be the maid of honor at my best friend’s wedding
48. Meet Janet Jackson
49. Converse with Toni Morrison
50. Experience the beautiful and unspeakable act of love making on my wedding night 
51. Have my pregnancy documented on TLC’s “A Baby Story”
52. Raise “water babies”—take my babies swimming in the ocean
53. Visit my old middle school
54. Reconcile with my dad
55. Read the first manuscripts of the Bible
56. Work on a political campaign
57. Go to the grand canyon
58. Go wine-tasting
59. Open my own club
60. Go on a spiritual retreat
61. Take a milk bath
62. Get a couples’ massage
63. Practice midwifery
64. Hang glide
65. Skinny dip
66. Learn how to surf
67. Live in CA for a while
68. Go to an awards show
69. Cage dance
70. Learn how to strip
71. Join a Burlesque group
72. Own a pair of diamond earrings 
73. Own some real pearls
74. Pay off my all my law school debt
75. Buy a home


Feel free to add your own…

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Addiction

Most people find it hard to believe that I lost my virginity on my wedding night; I was twenty –three years old. I waited so long not for lack of opportunity—one only knows how many relationships these clinched thighs destroyed—but out of fear. Years later, I have come to believe that it was not fear of the other that preserved my virtue, but fear of my very self.

This part of my life has been thrown back into the air quite recently. I am still trying to piece together a conversation that I had with a friend a few weeks ago. I met him my first day of school. Our connection was instant. He was attractive, witty and cynical—I certainly thought that he would be a good friend--that is until he saw my wedding ring. He backed off slowly, I understood—I was no longer my own but a possession. Over the years we spoke occasionally, our furtive exchanges tinged with chemistry and attraction. And when I finally left my husband he was there, ready to offer comfort and support. In the summer, we spent a considerable amount of time together. However, when I realized that he wanted something more stable I turned away. I was free and open and wide. I sensed, like fear, that his hands were ill-equipped to handle my complexities –my overwhelming proclivities.

A few weeks ago, he invited me over to his house and prepared for me a meal. It was afterward that he asked me if I would consider at least being “friends with benefits.” I told him that I would contemplate his proposition; I never called him back.

It is not that I was offended by his request. I am a big girl—self possessed, aware and unconstrained by traditional notions of femininity. I’ve wrestled boys. I’m a kick ass take your girl kinda woman. But what frustrates and ultimately dismantles me, at least where it concerns men, is my inability to act; fear renders me impotent.

What is it that I am scared of? What is it that I am hiding? Maybe an inclination—a feeling that if I begin I will not know where to stop. A fear that I will take this body, use and abuse it, leave my soul at the door, manipulate and subjugate, give way to vice. I have an addictive personality, this I know. I am afraid that I have another addiction. This one, unrealized.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Manifest Destiny

There is a woman who cannot forget. All of the moments of her life are a constant amalgamation playing in her mind, every hour, every minute, and every second of her existence in this physical world. I watched her story a few nights ago, with mouth agape.

How intense would it be to have all of my moments present always? To remember every sunrise, every autumn day, the feeling of cool on my skin, the warmth of sand, my first kiss, my lover’s touch--a heightened form of consciousness perhaps. What I wouldn’t give, I thought, to close the passing of time.

But then, just as she began to explain her gift, darkness came into her face and my fascination ended. Her memories have been to her a haunting.

Because she can never forget, she can never begin anew. Her life is a constant regurgitation. There are no cocoons or metamorphoses. She is as she always was, trapped in the moment before.

Unabated memory has stripped her of the ability to transform. Meaning is only that which you mean it to be; its purest construction turned inside out. I am who I say I am. Through this blog, through the words, I am anything that I fancy to be and you will believe. Much of life is edited—our memories and thoughts. We tell ourselves and others stories, our egos run amok. We fashion our very existence--manifest love, sadness or strife. That things are rigid and static is the ultimate illusion. The present is all we have; create or perish.

So to this, I am glad that unlike this woman, I will forget. I’ve already made a list of things that I will mitigate, edit and comb into my life’s historical context. I will forget the day that my mother died, but through each breath, I will celebrate her life. I will discard the utter frustration of law school, but I will always practice justice. I will trivialize and dismiss assumptions and negative inferences made on the basis of my race, sex and sexuality. But I will hold all the joy that this Blakness, this Womynness, this Queerness can contain. I will distance myself from heartache but I will always bare my heart. I will do this today, and tomorrow I will wake to begin again and again and again…

Friday, May 02, 2008

a visit

It’s been over a month since I’ve journaled. I have half written statements and unfinished phrases on the edges of my case briefs. I am lost in moments and time and circumstance; I believe that I am possessed. Not a demon possession. I scared you. No, a possession of another kind. I spend most of my days much too aware of my thoughts. My thoughts have taken on a perverse life of their own. I am writhing with lusty pain. I need a drink to ease my state of mind. Vodka and cranberry will do just fine.

I am so tired—tired of law school with its pretension and lies, tired of junky politics and the desecration of hope.

Tired
of WrightClintonMcCainGOPAmericansLawyersSpinFlagsWarProvencialthinkingBosniaWhitefearCasebooks…add your own. I’m going to build my own fucking world. U want in?