a child’s purpose is to be a child

First. Hard at work with my first ten list. I hope anyone who reads finds it helpful.


The first rain in a long while helped me feel better. We leave the front door open and our pooch Hutch sits on the porch. He travels over to my mom’s next door now and then as she has this kind of expensive dog-treat/jerky business over there. He has probably lost about twenty pounds at this point. He’s feeling more spry every day. Saturday on our walk he chased a deer (not coming close, of course) BEST DAY OF HIS LIFE

The children’s summer activities are mostly getting into business outside, bookeneded by long periods playing video games – Terraria, Minecraft, and MapleStory. They’ve caught several frogs and delivered them to my mother’s pond. Friends come in and out of the house and eat any food that’s not nailed down. The kids are all getting ready for school. We’re getting ready to keep catching frogs and such, plus celebrate eleven years of marriage September 8th and then, get our Halloween festivities together.

Some older photos from my phone, just uploaded.

Archive Photos: Nels, Post-Bath

Nels out of the bath, ready to watch a movie.

Archive Photos: My Daughter Sleeps

Phee sleeps. True picture of sleeping. Not fake-sleeping. Yes I smooched her.


Ralph receives a huge-ass calzone. Everyone reacts.

Archive Photos: N1SF

Phoenix drew this a while back. I liked it so much I kept it around. Recently she re-discovered it and gave it to our friend Emily; I’m told there it adorns her refrigerator and meets much approval from houseguests.

Not A Single Fuck

the pearls slipping from a broken string

My son gets up and dresses daily. He hardly ever forgets his pearls. I love he wears these and his Romeos and runs around outside such attired, not batting an eye.

Nels & His Morning Smile

I’m blue. A bit. My children have increasingly independent lives. YES I KNOW, this is the supposed point of parenthood, right? I mean here I am often talking about how wonderfully the kids are growing up and how amazing it is to watch them –

So yeah, I should be glad they’re out with their grandma, or gardening, or visiting, or buying groceries, or playing at parks, or bike-riding, or playing at the railroad tracks to the tune of FILTHY clothes, or making dates with other people (Nels is currently, at 10 PM, off having a movie night with a friend – after a day spent with a series of other friends), or rolling around with cats outside, or buying candy cigarettes or whatever. Life is as it should be if they only come home during the day to wash up and eat, and in the late evening to get their baths and cuddle.

And yet. I miss them. I am having a hard time letting them go. I do let them go, but I feel uneasy during my day. Like I’m supposed to be doing more, working harder, than I am. Like I’m still stuck in their toddlerhood, which was hard on me because I overworked. Despite the kids being super-happy and figuring their shit out just fine I’m sad or anxious. And let’s face it, a little self-absorbed. Because I let my kids go out and about during school hours and many parents don’t let their kids out and about with so much freedom, so yeah sometimes I wonder if they neighbors think I’m a Bad Mom.

Will I ever, ever, ever be free of the drumbeat of Mommy-shaming in our culture? UGH.

I seriously need to practice my mantra until it is deeply, deeply cemented in my heart:

Not A Single Fuck


Meanwhile – I soldier on with my work. I have two new collections posted at Homesewn: a pair of adorable toddler travelling suits. One is based in tweed and the other in velveteen.

Toddler Travelling Suit, Tweed & Neon Leopard Print

Toddler Travelling Suit, Velveteen & Neon Leopard Print

Smooth-Finish Raw-Edge Raglan Tee

& here’s a sneak preview of my next item – which should be finished tomorrow.

WIP: Zipper, Backside, Patches

suit up and show up

Tomorrow marks a particular anniversary of my sobriety date. It’s been a wonderful journey, unlike any period in my life I can recall. It’s hard to explain. It has been like being born again, or being a child. I am less sure of myself but more secure and serene. Rigorous honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness.

I had the Willingness from day one, and for this I am so grateful.

And like someone new and picking through garbage, making missteps and being brave regarding things I’ve been frightened of – yes, there has been pain involved. My worst moment sober, however, has been hands-down better than life while I was employing other methods to cope. Depression, anxiety, fear, resentments, anger, over-excitement, a head spinning like a top, resentments (I put “resentments” twice because they are a Big Fucking Deal)… these things have been dashed to the rocks or at least incredibly reduced – in such a short time. All because I was ready to do a few simple things which I won’t detail here – but go into any of the rooms of Recovery, stick around, and you’ll hear all about them.

Life is beautiful. My children are the most incredible gift and to be frank, I don’t deserve them. So I just give Thanks. Daily they venture forth, these days with very little interference from me, and with a confidence and a joy of living and a love and care for other people. They remember names of strangers, they hug friends, they share their ice cream or their clothes. They are loving, caring people and it is a genuine pleasure to spend time with them.

At night my husband makes dinner and does the dishes and I have a few minutes to sew or knit or write. He takes better care of me now and (I truly believe) he takes better care of himself. Our family has changed. We are kinder to one another. We are more honest. There hasn’t been a yelling match or a nasty fight for quite some time.

But today one of the things that sticks with me is how precious and incredibly fragile life is. How all the days we can go about on the treadmill and be spiritually dead, or at least suffering so much our turmoil is loud in our ears and people say, “How are you?” and we say Fine, fine, and maybe we even think we’re fine, but we suffer so much. More scary still is the result of our confusion and isolation and quietude: others do not know know how much we suffer, how lost we are. In the last few days how many emails, how many people have expressed astonishment I had any kind of problem at all?

I am not going to diminish the mother of my children by negating all I did and accomplished, who I was, or how I incurred and attempted to patch up my bumps and scrapes (many of which I’ve written about here, publicly). The woman I was did the best she could. The woman I am today does the same. This woman, when the chips are down, I see her character and I like her just fine, about as much as God does I suppose.

May I always see her in this light.


By the way, I couldn’t wait until my Friday links to share this with you. Definitely NSFW, by the way. It made me laugh so damned hard. It also reminded me of my grandma, may she rest in peace.

Sewing a-go-go! Took this kit out and finished the garment. Yummy wool!

Until a quarter-to-ten / I saw the strain creep in

Last night I told my seven year old, “fuck off”. It was late, I was tired. He’d commented again he doesn’t like my curly hair and he wanted it “smooth” again. ‘Cause yeah, ever since we cut it all off it sprang into curls that have surprised many people – I’ve been asked what’s different, did I color my hair, what happened? I wasn’t surprised though. I knew the curls were there. I knew they were waiting. I’m the only curly-head in the family but some others reading here might know what I’m talking about.

I apologized. To my son. Of course. At night something happens and he and I can get into fights. It’s weird because that used to be when Ralph and I would fight. It’s no good, whatever it is. The child shouldn’t have to hear that, he shouldn’t have to get used to it. I write it here even though I don’t want to, it’s shameful, because it’s such a harsh thing to say. I’m not averse to curse words, I’m averse to meanness.

I’ve been troubled the last couple days. This despite being gifted with a life filled with a lot of wonderful things. It’s time to write my gratitude list and start putting pen to paper. No offense, blog.



Sewing a-go-go! Took this kit out and finished the garment. Yummy wool!

Sewing to-go. The waxed thread on needles were to install a secret-snap, and attach lining to the zipper. So yeah, I finished something pretty cool this afternoon. Working on a few great things I have to keep up my sleeve for now.

Laundry tree up! & yes, I like crunchy towels!

Laundry tree went up today. It was delightful hanging the laundry with my daughter; afterwards she checked the nesting boxes and came up with an egg very warm from a hen.

Phoenix at Walmart. Late-ish.

Walmart. Waiting for Ralph and Nels. Night. It’s still muggy here but at least warm. I wish there was something open all-night here – besides Walmart, and Safeway. A coffee shop. It would be a good thing for me. Summer is triggering odd feelings, but the days are better than they were.

Picking up Jasmine at the Mia

Picking up J. from her work shift.

I dunno. It’s been a weird couple days.

eh, i think i want a do-over. but i don’t get one.

I got to follow a three year old around today while his mama was occupied at a child-unfriendly event.* It was a wonderful and terrible thing. Wonderful because I had my head straight as to what a three year old needs (to run around and be followed, to have questions answered and to have my calm attention. To be taken to a nearby pet store. Quite simple, really!) and it was a joy to enjoy this little one and to help his mother who has no family and rarely gets help at these events that I’ve seen.

Terrible? Why so? Well, I gritted my teeth thinking of how poorly I’d done for my own kids when they were little, and how poorly I’ve done since, I still do, because I can’t shake my residual training and my bad habits. But back then, yeah, I just couldn’t figure out, back when I had babies, that it was my environs that were so often fucked up, making little practical room for what children need and extending very little assistance to carers, usually mothers, who were responsible for all this (Arwyn’s written about this a lot better than I can). I just ate myself up trying to make myself and my kids not inconvenient, I gulped conversation with other moms at the park when the kids would play, I was dying for time out of pressure, which is why I lose the compassion and love people often tell me I have when I hear some weekend dad or non-carer or non-parent complain about moms who take kids to the park and don’t play with them or text or whatever. Like, seriously, playing with kids is awesome, but prescribing it when seeing a beleaguered mama population at one of the few places kids are allowed to run around and make noise? Please directly Go Fuck Yourself, and I mean it in the kindest of ways, I’ll wait for you to get back.

Yeah, my husband used to get pissed we’d go to a film with the young kids and he’d end up taking the squirrelly one out to the lobby and miss some of the movie. He still gets this way sometimes. I understand he’s pissed but I mean, shit that’s what I had to deal with my nine-hour shift out in public day after day after day after day (go into the coffee shop and a person with a laptop sitting at a fourtop who gives us an icy glare and others ignore us, outside at a picnic table and a kiddo runs across the grass and not one person laughs and gently herds young child to safety, but people look up angrily for – ME), and that’s been so much, so many years of my life, my child(ren) unwelcome unless he/she/they were silent and near immobile (I hear it’s not like that everywhere) when he/she/they wanted to ask questions, to talk, to run, to climb, the very things they really should be doing and not just when they’re tiny but I think for many many early years.

And yeah there are situations and people and oases that get that kids are part of the population, and those are lovely. But seriously I mean this event today, apparently people expected a three year old to sit quietly, and no there was nothing at all for the kid to do, no room to play in, nothing (a seven hour event). I am not upset about the event or even thinking about it much, truly, I’m upset about my stupidity when I was a younger mom, about how hard I worked to be “good” and to have “good” kids, and about all the twisted stuff this set up within me and how much I sacrificed and how much less I enjoyed my kids, the most lovely people on this earth to me.

It just fucking kills me.

I dunno, sometimes I think since we all spent a lot of time being kids, maybe some of us should consider regularly putting some time in a grimy parking lot keeping a three year old safe (and actually having a good time with him because he was lovely) so Mama can have thirty minutes to breathe, have a cup of coffee, or take care of her other responsibilities. When we see a child run across the street we can slow down and laugh and wave and say, “Careful!” and smile, or take a few minutes and talk to a child, because who are we to be in such a Big Goddamned Important Hurry we can’t acknowledge some of the most vulnerable and impressionable and inexperienced and (usually) disempowered populations of the human race, the very creatures who decide the fate of the planet and who might stand to grow up free and lovely and well-taught and loved-up instead of – pained and anxious and servile and scared and angry?

Eh, besides other mamas in my life – who were also themselves working so hard – very few people helped me in these generous and level ways when the kids were little, or maybe many did but the intolerance and ignorance of others was way more, or at least loudest in my ears. I can’t change that I internalized all this as being Not Good Enough and I Need To Work Myself Harder and Sit Still and Be QUIET! or we’re GOING  HOME! But I can, as long as I’m able, remember to look out for and be loving to little ones and their carers. I guess if there’s one thing I’ve gained it’s that. It’s that I knew to offer this woman time. It wasn’t much but I didn’t see anyone else volunteering.

And the little guy S. was more excited about a fiddler crab at that pet shop than anything. And you know what, now that I spent a minute checking it out, I discovered a fiddler crab is pretty fucking awesome.

no you can’t


I have simply got to stop grousing, internally and out loud, about our bus system. Yes, it bugs me it takes an hour (sometimes more) to travel seven miles (from the HQX downtown station no less), the commute my husband requires get to the college. Yes, I think the bus system is not designed with any seriousness toward daily commuter needs – an environmentally and socially progressive mandate which would improve our lives immensely. Yes, routes have been cut. Yes, I think so much about Aberdeen and Hoquiam is as pro-car as one can imagine. Yes, I think about all the “bus people” and their needs and their lives and when I see busses leave late or arrive early and the callousness of some drivers I despair.

But I’m not ready to spearhead a campaign about any of this because I have my own life to sort out. So here I sit. It’s not how I long I have to wait (although this bothers me for reasons I won’t go into, here), the worst thing is the noise along what amounts to a highway, and the dust and exhaust fumes. The gawks aren’t that fun either because riding the bus here means there’s a large set of people who pity you or look down on you. For reals.

But whatever, fuck it. Seriously. Some of the people closest to me ride the bus and we can commiserate what it’s like and I can stop bitching so much. I actually enjoy talking to people on the bus and I enjoy helping the mamas with strollers and babies and saying “thank you” to the drivers, every time. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a racist diatribe on the bus although today I heard a man bitching about a couple toddlers who were up front. I turned my head and looked at him, is all. I still do not always know how to handle public asshattery, and I don’t always have the energy, especially days like today with too-little sleep and staggering menstrual cramps.

I walked home from the station. I enjoy walking whenever the weather isn’t miserable – and today it was fine. Most times I walk in Hoquiam I see hardly a soul. But today there was a festive air in town, driveways, block parties: graduation for many adults and young people.

Party Time

These celebrations seem remote to me although I remember the period of high school graduation well. I guess this would have been sixteen years ago. Having been given a tremendously trivial amount of freedoms up until age eighteen (like most USian kids), for me graduation merely meant more praise from grownups (as I had a great grade point and had earned scholarships etc), a pedigree of other people’s required accomplishments for me, a deeply fragile sense of self, a few very good friends, a lot of excitement in my heart, and a desire to party as much as possible. It wasn’t all bad at all, on balance.

It is touching to see famlies celebrate. It’s nice to see young people honored. It’s pleasant to anticipate more activity in the neighborhood now that school is out.

Also, today I met a small kitten, a little black thing that looked younger than I’d think was decent to separate from his mother. His name was, improbably, “Puffy”, and he had not been fed recently, or at least – he was ravenous. I fed him a bit and in his zeal his tiny mouth bit me harder than I’ve been bit by a cat. I loved him up a bit more, eliciting a fragile purr, and then gave him back to the little boy who “owned” him and told him, please feed and water this little one.

And so life goes.

bunch of scalliwags

The neighborhood is one of the more kid-friendly I’ve known but that can always change. There are some new kids in the neighborhood and some of them are rather unprincipled with regards to other people’s property. Example: one or more culprits wrote, in mud, on the next door neighbor’s car, “I like poop and farts.” OK… you know… on one level we have to agree, that’s just funny. I am glad the mud-hazing was done on what the neighbors consider their “lesser” car. They have several shinier/newer/more expensive vehicles and they expressed repeatedly how upset they’d be had any of those received such a hazing.

So now all neighborhood kids are banned from that particular driveway (I’m not sure if they have any kind of enforcement plan). I talked to my kids about it (they weren’t a part of it and only hear rumors who did it). Nels made the tough decision to walk next door and tell the grownups he’d commit to helping keep kids out of the driveway, as a good faith neighborly effort. Ralph and I both talked to the parents there. Better still, Phoenix and I had a long talk about why she felt she couldn’t walk next door and discuss the incident, and my daughter and I had a long talk about this and I gained some wisdom regarding parental mistakes I’ve made (more I will not share, not now).

A few of the kids are just wild in general, and I mean very wild; several are medicated. A few more (most depressing to me) are servile and smiling and butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-their-mouth when they think they’re being watched by a grownup, yet liable to get up to anything when they believe they are not observed (hence the f-bomb incident between two such children yesterday).

My kids cope like you might expect. Nels with righteous anger, Phoenix with more politic and developed stratagems. That said, she is still a human being, and delivered a different kind of f-bomb today when the one child – who sprays other kids with our pool hose, deliberately and without regard to whether the other participant is agreeable, because he loves being the one-up in a bully scenario – kept doing so after my daughter asked him to stop. By the way, the hose-sprayer is also the kid who threw one of our cats in the pool. My mom has described this child as having “no moral compass”. You know personally, I think this is exactly the kind of risk one runs when practicing authoritarian parenting (whether involving hollow threats or ones delivered on). But I suppose parents feel good when they yell real loud at the kid to let us know they’re Taking Care Of It.

I guess writing here the summer kid scene sounds unpleasant to your average tight-ass but to be fair, here we have kids getting some freedom, fresh air, exercise, sunshine, and having a mostly fun time playing together. And in any case, it’s incredible to me how many grownups want kids to be “good” – or completely nonexistent – and how yet few grownups seem to know how to effect “good” kids without yelling, making many rules (involving segregation, lock-down, or punishment, none of which serve well for critical thinking coupled with spiritual wholeness), lecture, boring boring boring.

I enjoy the neighborhood kids but I wish they had more contact with grownups who provided gentle guidance. This isn’t because their “bad” behavior annoys me (although I hate to see our animals treated poorly), but because I think they’d be happier kids in general. They just don’t think they have many rights or that there’s much reason, besides the fear of getting caught, in respecting others’. When my husband told one child that “fatty” wasn’t welcome in our yard or in our home, because it was hate speech built on a principle that being fat was a shameful thing, the child in question just goggled at him. I think of the playground and classroom mentality many kids are regularly exposed to and what they learn as “normal” (i.e., all sorts of bullying and kyriarchal systems), often reinforced in the home, and I wonder how much it means to them to have a different place to be. Neither Ralph or I labor under illusions we can make much a difference, but we’d like the kids in our yard and home free from “faggot”, “retard”, “n**ger”, “fatty”, etc. – and not yelled or sent home with an earful of shame when they make mistakes.

Addendum: I must say that for now I’m totally fine with, in general, the kind of oath-swearing the nine year old, the freckled little beauty in my home, can deliver. She is the toughest little thing with a whip-smart sense of humor. Which reminds me: I gotta get cuddling her starting five minutes ago.

fuck this shit


fuck this shit

I’m making the most scathing, bewildered, plaintive, bitter, angry, and deeply sad breakup mixtape for a friend. I had a request to send it along to my sister Jules. So I figure, I’ll make three others, limited editions. If you’d like one, comment here or shoot me an email at kelly AT hogaboom DOT org. Three lucky readers/Tweeps/friends will get one!

Fair warning: content will contain bad language and in some cases, descriptions of even worse behavior.

Oh, and: your pathetic breakup stories are welcome in the comments, should you want to share.

you wanna be in the show / c’mon let it go!

That’s right! It’s Friday (the 13th; & also Stevie Wonder’s birthday), and I have a fresh steamed batch of link awesomeness. Pour your favorite beverage and let’s get going!

Ethics and health: Factory farms the only way to ‘feed the world’? Not so, argues Science paper by Tom Philpot

Teen Moms Look for Support, But Find Only Shame by the wonderful Miriam Zoila Pérez at Colorlines:

“Advocates like Bayetti Flores think that focusing narrowly on [teen] preventing pregnancy doesn’t address the root cause of these disparities, many of which exist among communities of similar socioeconomic status regardless of age of parenting. Instead, she argues, it turns a societal issue into an individual problem, where the blame for negative outcomes gets transferred onto the individual girls themselves—most frequently girls of color. Despite the fact that there are more white teen parents than teen parents of color overall, Latinas and African Americans are often the target of prevention programs because of the higher incidence of teen pregnancy and parenting within the communities.”

“That data can be picked apart pretty easily,” says [Verónica Bayetti Flores of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health]. “If you look at those negative outcomes in terms of socioeconomic indicators, I think you’d see similar trends. It’s trying to place the blame on something that is more a symptom than a cause.”

And from a year ago: author Hilary Mantel ruffles feathers regarding the same subject (thanks, reader Amy for sending this link on).

And listen: I’m a fair-minded and judicious moderator, methinks. But I was a pregnant teen, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and going over bone-deep hurts, and I’d encourage people to read the articles and really consider what kind of statement they want to make – if they make one at all (it’s really okay not to, you know).

Why do Girls Feel More Depressed after First Time Sex? from Rachel Rabbit White. Well one reason is, we usually have some pretty inept lovers and have been entirely too pressured about the whole business. This is a great, thoughtful piece, and I encourage anyone to read it if you plan on further interacting with the human race.

In both the No-Shit-Really? and also the I-Want-To-Cry-Because-The-Status-Quo-Sucks category (in other words, people are now shying away from “dieting” and calling the same behaviors, “lifestyle choices” etc.), we have: Dieting Linked To Eating Disorders at Medical Health News. Thanks reader Jeanne for sharing this through Google Reader.

“Constant dieting in a bid to improve appearance and reach what is perceived as a ‘socially acceptable’ low weight can cause an obsession with weight and an increased likelihood of developing an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. ”


Film: How to Die in Oregon. I will definitely be seeing this. Even watching the brief promo vid brought up a lot of emotions regarding the hospice and dying care of my father, which I was so intimately involved with.

Lovable Local Cop Tells Other Cops How to Be More Lovable at The Stranger (also shared by Jeanne). “It doesn’t matter which population we’re dealing with, it takes multiple contacts to build trust,” Gracy explains. “But every positive encounter helps build our good reputation.”

“Women bare real pregnant and post-pregnancy bellies to show hypocrisy of glossy media images”. No photoshop, surgery, smoke and mirrors, “flattering” lighting, etc. I seriously want to give each of these women a high-five, or a fist-bump, or buy ’em a coffee or tea or margarita. Great project (related: thisisawoman.com).

Local: Child Luring Incident Reported in Aberdeen. Sounds like those two girls handled things well.

Malls Across America; a great slideshow from 1989. Be sure to read the artist’s commentary, too!

Crafters: you can knit “The Dude”, inspired by a new-classic film I can’t get enough of! (and not just because of how many “fuck” words are in it).

Make: I was complimented on my rhubarb pie this week (and ’tis the season!). I followed this recipe.

And finally – this? Is so, incredibly, simply, beautiful.

show some love, you ain’t so tough

Another opportunity to know me, if you’d like:

Today, my life, I’m a fortunate person. I have my health, I have my family. I have loving and supportive friends and I have many in my life who support me from near and far. I have two children and a partner, three individuals who are the exact people I would choose to live deeply with given any choice; I have many people who daily fill my life up with inspiration, energy, and copious volumes of love like a drug-rush. I have a warm place to call home; I have food for my family and clothes on my back and a place to live and a home and yard full of animals to love up and care for. I have relationships that daily deepen – a real gift, there. I have my health (inasmuch as I can tell) and I live in a beautiful and wild little smudge of a town, wet greenery and the elements keeping me company.

I have life. I feel breath drawing in, I feel it leave my body.

Early-early this morning, just after midnight, it was revealed to me that someone I know took some vulnerable and (I’d thought) private disclosures I’d shared with them – and aired these to (at least) another person. Besides being just old-fashioned betrayed and deeply hurt (I’m not sure why anyone thinks it’s okay to co-opt someone else’s painful reality for juicy third-party discussion), the information really concerns difficulties my husband is having; the kind of stuff that could have real-life suckery for him – possibly including his job.

Oooh, exciting, right? Well, don’t be reading here looking for details or recriminations or a rant about an individual. I do not now and have never used my blog as some kind of sneaky tattling service and nor do I need anyone on my “side” as to why or how I’ve been so horribly wronged or whatever.

This is about my feelings. And my limitations.

I have many friends who support me – and I thank them for this. Amongst them, my husband and my mother have served me immensely well as they know me and my relationships better than anyone besides myself and Ceiling Cat – and they love me very much. I know when I talk this out with them they will listen, because they are amazing. They will hear me out, they will acknowledge me, and they will help get me through this.

But I haven’t talked to them yet, and tonight I’m suffering. Getting over the initial sting, I’ve found that the betrayal (of myself and of Ralph, whom I feel protective of and love through-and-through) is the least of my worries. What is killing me is the pressure I now feel – this onus that I have to do something about this. You know, do the RIGHT thing. Confront someone in this awesome effective way, reasoned and compassionate but firm. Confront someone who may lash out and hurt me at the same point I’m wounded and scared. I should Be Direct!  – but avoid precipitating drama (precisely in the kind of social situation often set up to instigate drama). Tell people my feelings.

Feelings? They’re necessary, wonderful, a part of life. But some people do not honor our feelings nor hold the big and scary ones tenderly. Some people feed off them like vampires.

That frightens me. I retreat in my shell. I feel claustrophobic, alone. Tired.

And I feel terrible about myself.

Here’s some truth: people hurt us – sometimes when intending to do us good, sometimes by being merely clumsy. Sometimes they are deliberately getting a jab in because it feels good (in the moment), or because they’re suffering and their own suffering is so loud in their ears they do wrong by us, or by being aggressive or blurting out the wrong thing – they hurt us,

and then we place the burden of this on our own shoulders.

See, I feel an incredible pressure to confront those who call themselves friend and then (by accident or design) hurt me. The pressure is twofold. One, I know I’ve hurt others and when they’ve been brave enough to tell me I am given the intense honor of knowing them at a deep level. Yes, I want to give my friends this gift in kind. Two, I don’t want to live a resentful life. This puts me in minor agonies, because resentment, at least as it functions for me, is not a product of how shitty someone else was (big or small), or whether they said sorry or they Never Did It Again or made amends. Resentment is entirely in my heart. It’s like a suitcase I continue to bang along behind me.

And this? Tortures me.

Forgiveness – again, as it works for me – is not an automatic quid pro quo given in change after the offending party says “I’m sorry”. Yes, “sorry” is underutilized: not enough people say “sorry” and mean it. And yes, they can and should do this, often, and yes, it can help – in fact a heartfelt apology often precipitates forgiveness. But the power to forgive is something that lies within myself. I know I should not allow others to hold me hostage; yet I do.

As I type here, I feel sad. I’m not sure if I will trust this person with the Real Me anymore… that is, I suppose, their loss – but it’s mine too. It’s my limitation. The inability, today, to trust again. I am not big enough. Not spiritual enough.

Not today.

And you know what sucks. Also. It’s my birthday. Big fucken deal, right, but I am a superstitious person (didn’t you know?) and I hate having some kind of assy existential crisis during milestones. One Thanksgiving I worked my ass off and made a perfect dinner and after ten hours of working without even a bathroom break (my mistake, I got carried away) when I finally sat down to relax and enjoy my efforts and my company, about five minutes later my sister and her boyfriend and my husband were in some huge simmering-then-exploding Drama. It upset me for days. Again, my limitations.

I’m going to get a hot bath and my warm wiggly kiddos and cry a bit. And you know what? They’re going to be immensely restorative and beautiful and they’re going to acknowledge my pain and Suck and they’re still going to love me. When I wake up there’s going to be birthday awesomeness for me. I know it, because I really am surrounded by wonderful people who care for me very well indeed.

I have life. I feel breath drawing in, I feel it leave my body.