The Naked Truth of Me.

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I cut off my hair.  I don’t love it.  I did it because my Innermost Self told me to.  When my Desert Island Friend (the friend I’d choose to be stranded on a desert island with), Anitra asked me if I liked it, I replied, “I don’t know.  But I liked the courage it took to trust my inner voice.”  Now, you might think I’m exaggerating or embellishing… but I’m not.  I’ve felt this deep, acute irritation regarding my hair, for a while now.  I kept having mental images and accompanying feelings of shaving it all off… This was totally freakin’ my ego.  I tried to bargain with myself… like, “Oh, Athena… you don’t want to lose your femininity.  Why don’t you keep it long in the front, and shorter in the back….?”  I imagined a cascade of annoying hair, spilling in my face all the time, and it literally seemed like an incessant tussle with the devil.

Then, yesterday, the day of my haircut spread in full bloom.  I sat outside on the uncharacteristically lush (for Nevada City), flower laden deck of the house where Magdelena (the Priestess appointed to do the sacred deed) was housesitting.  My heart wandered an endless desert of grief.  I had cried most of the morning.  Because I longed for closeness with friends… but they all seemed concurrently distant.  And in this desolate inner space, I realized a quintessential role of Mother, is to be your unconditional friend in the face of everything that life is and isn’t.  My heart groped for her and instead drew fistfuls of cold, slippery vastness.  It’s been three months since she disappeared from this dimension, and finally the grief is really hitting me.  My mom is gone for good.  And don’t you DARE get all transcendentally savvy on me, and tell me that she is always with me, or that our souls will find each other a bazillion times over… Because, honestly, like SO THE FUCK WHAT?  I didn’t come into this Athenian Earth Dream to float above it in cushy conceptual realms.

I came here to get down in it.  And feel to the gritty bottom.  And talk about it with at once disturbing and relieving honesty.

And these days, the bottom sure is fuckin gritty.  The poles of my experience are carving me with the technological precision of laser surgery.  On one hand (and I am totally NOT exaggerating), everywhere I turn, I see angels, whose love pours toward and through me with the force of a burst dam.  Seriously, I bear witness to outrageous kindness, sincerity, generosity and sparkling eyes at every turn.  You’d think I was wandering through Heaven or some’m.  (And then Athena winked, and in the lightning flash before logic could strike, you flooded with undeniable knowing.)  I mean, if I was the fall to my knees type, I would probably be living so close to the ground… for the goodness that oozes through every pore of Creation As I Know It.

But all this goodness does not take away the pain.  If I was not such a goddamn heavyweight warrior goddess, I’d probably double over at the pain of my Ma’s absence, cut with the rigorous path of single motherhood and the confusion and searing longing I feel as I await a deeper cut of knowing around my soul-quenching work in the world.  And the continuous blood-letting of having a child with a man who is committed to another family.  A family that wants NOTHING to do with me and Serena.  My cosmic dad said I’m an extraordinary writer EXCEPT when I talk about God or my Baby Daddy.  Now this claim may indeed be valid.  Even though I really DO feel that God is the total shiznit… But I get it, KenPie… If my writing hovers twelve feet off the ground, it runs the risk of turning to dissociative vapor that leaves you  pondering your to-do list, as your eyes wander the forsaken breadcrumb trail of words.  I guess the God issue boils down to the rudimentary, literary gospel of “show not tell”.  My words can drip with divinity without me once mentioning HeSheIt’s hallowed name.  I was not born to regurgitate flashy, etherial nonsense.  I came to get MESSY, bitches!!!!  Just so you could feel less alone, and maybe have a laugh about this whole delicious tangle of imperfection.

And in terms of Baby Daddy…. I can imagine that it gets fuckin stale from over there (actually from in here, too!)…. my skipping record of heartbreak and disappointment… But I come to the page to heal myself.  Digest the pain of this human odyssey. (I like to imagine that someday, I’ll write for YOU… but for now, honestly, I am here out of a raw and driving, selfish need.  Love me or leave me!) I’m getting free… More and more, focusing on what feels nourishing and life-giving and even JAZZY!!!  But still, I am slow cookin’ in the juices of heart-ache and disappointment, like the tastiest, blue ribbon stew.  My soul delights in entering rooms (of experience) with no exit.  Then, the only way “out”, is to completely transform.  What could be better?

So I cut off my hair, because I am quintessentially broken down.  Magdelena said it was not just a haircut.  It was a ritual.  She invited me to pray.  And to strip down to the honest core of my current experience.  Which is not glamorous.  She invited me to let myself be seen as I am.  And especially to see myself.  This face, this soul, this grief, this naked humanity.

But hair is feminine…  Do I look like a boy?  Will men want to fuck me?  Will I be less lovable?  Less magnetic?

These are the fears and concerns I had to step beyond in order to let go.

I move deeper into the experience of dissolution.  This is true alchemy.  Ultimately I trust the process, even though I don’t understand it, and I can’t see what’s on the other side.  This is true power.

I love you, Athena Grace.IMG_6851

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To Tell You the Truth…

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Do you wanna know something honest?  I think I let my frustration speak too often with Serena.  Moments of tension and restricted breath, gratuitously spoken with smoke and sparks.  The F-word flies free as a flag at a baseball stadium perched at the edge of the world.  And every time I hear myself express from this agitated state, there is a voice in my head that says, “Athena, you’re gonna be mighty ashamed when SHE starts speaking like this in public domains.”  Yeah.  I’m not proud.  But you know what I AM proud of?  Writing something that makes me squirm.  Risk=Energy=Compelling.  Because let’s be honest– we are ALL a bit crusty and tattered around the edges (but mostly mooshy in the middle).  And it’s thrilling and terrifying to get naked… in a world brimming with people too oft invested in “presenting ourselves”.

But I didn’t bring this up so that I could spin out in philosophical generalities…  I was simply inspired to tell the unflattering truth.  Another dimension of this confession, is that a dominant part of me doesn’t even aspire to be wholesome and clean.  This aspiration seems more like social conditioning than a true read on my internal compass.  Not that I want to be frivolously filthy, either.  I want to be relaxed in my range of expression (while continuing to cultivate patience and a genuinely pure heart).   I don’t want Serena to hear a swear word and fall to her tiny, perfect knees, imagining that the apocalypse is upon us.  Aversion has it’s own malignant sphere of influence.  Still, I could be better.  But it’s a lot to have ZERO breaks from the incessant rigors of parenting.  Listen to me– NOBODY takes my baby off my hands for a goddamn hour (let alone a minute) so that I can go for a sweaty, cardio “prance” (my lax version of jogging), or sink in to a satisfying yoga practice, free from being climbed on, whined at, beseeched for boobie…  It SEEMS like most mothers get SOME relief, SOMEtimes…. Even once a week seems monumental from over here in Athena Graceland.

Sigh.  But I love being with her.  Sometimes my fuse just gets remarkably short and I become a reckless sailor.  Now I’m going to tell you something fabulous about me.  I wonder if it’s actually more risky to speak highly of oneself, than to shine the floodlight on one’s faults.  Self-love might actually be the greatest taboo of all, in a society built on insecurity and perpetual consumption.

For as short as my said fuse can be, I bounce back in a lightening flash.  I am quick to apologize, and quicker to say “I love you.”  My girl will have not a shed of doubt as to how loved, right and good she is.  And if she is anything like her mother, Serena will have no qualms about admitting her mistakes and shortcomings, and compassionately making another choice.  Boo hoo.  She’s awake.  Talk to you tomorrow.

I guess it was kinda good that she woke up… cuz I had the whole day yesterday to observe myself and notice the ratio of impatience to bottomless generosity and nourishing presence.   Though not all days are created equal.  The moment I’m most ashamed of yesterday was when she was having her pre-night-night-time sink bath.  I think she was over tired, since she missed he afternoozie (nap, not tea!).  She kept throwing her “toys” (red plastic tablespoon, cup, rubber ducky) onto the floor, causing gratuitous wetness, and I asked her repeatedly to stop, explaining that I didn’t want water all over the floor.  So THEN, she proceeds to intentionally fling her arm and splash water on the floor!  BRAT!  I ask her to stop.  Nope.  Instead, she does it again.  Making solid, rebellious eye contact all the while.  Wow.  My thermostat soars and bursts.  This is not acceptable.  I grab her squishy little arm and squeeze it.  Hard.  Holding her fierce, brown-eyed gaze, I tell her to STOP.  She pauses.  Before splashing MORE water on the floor.  This repeats a few times before I realize she is just tired and is really telling me she’s done.  Time for some naked pillow diving, honey scented oil on her too-perfect skin, diaper, snowman jammies, and boobie-to-sleep.

It felt horrible to squeeze her little arm.

But mostly I’d nominate myself for Mother of the Millennia.  I give her tons of room to explore the world.  I continuously aspire to see through her eyes of perpetually fresh wonder.  I speak to her as a highly capable and intelligent being.  I listen to her deeply.  I tell her how exquisitely beautiful she is.   Oh, and this one feels especially crucial– I don’t make her behave a certain way in social situations.  I hate it when parents force their kids to respond with the right script… just so they “look good” and avoid awkward moments and uncomfortable feelings.  Yuck.  I pick her up and dance around like a God-drunk earth angel.  I take her outside and let her sit on the earth as much as possible.  (That’s her favorite!)  I encourage her to explore.  I read to her a ton.  I feed her high quality, nutritious food.  And on and on blah, blah, blah.

It really DOES go on and on.  I’m great.  And I’m human.  And sometimes my fuse gets teensy.  Just like my mom’s did.  Back then I thought she was so mean!  Her jaw would clench and she’d say, “God dammit Dawn!” as I cowered.  But here’s what I didn’t know back then– she was way more than just my mother.  She had a whole world of emotions and hopes and dreams and needs and a mountainous heap of responsibilities… in addition to the simple though incessant invitation to be present and loving with her precious little Dawnie-cakes.

People say that you come to understand and forgive your own mother at ever-deepening levels as you walk the path of motherhood yourself.  Yep.  It’s true.  It’s like doubling back and delving into the veins of your very own being and  Life again from an even richer vantage point.  Surfing and mining your own blood and stories from a wiser, more compassionate, loving and clear vantage point.  It is ancestral healing backward and forward.  Building a bridge of Love to a better world for ALL.  I know this is why I am here.

I could be better.  And I WILL be.  As I continue to love my own innocent heart through all that Life is and isn’t.  As I learn and grow and relax into this miraculous, blessed path that unfolds through, as and beyond me.  And I might say a few too many fucks along the way.

Is This What They Mean By “Writer’s Block”?

Here I am again. And there you are… Unfortunately I do not feel as radiant as I did yesterday. I feel out of step. I feel like an awkward dork. As I settled into my hard wooden bench nest at Pizzaiolo, I wondered what in Holiness’s name I’d even talk about today… Everything feels so… parched. In my sleep, somehow the ground opened out beneath me and I fell through the sky and landed with a dusty plop on the unapologetically cracky desert floor. Whoops. So now I am reporting live from a parched internal desert. Thankfully though I bothered to chase a flirtatious mirage and it turned out to be honest to god water. Sonic water. My favorite DJ, Iax released a new podcast (finally!) today. So far so good. I hope it will flow my juices. Juice my flow.

My mom recently gave me this book about following divine guidance. It couldn’t have arrived at a better time… of course. The author talks about all the various ways that divine guidance can manifest. You know, visions, gut feelings, hearing a song with lyrics that speak precisely to your inquiry or situation, a timely run-in with a friend who speaks custom blended words just for you… et cetera. Well I have been wondering my ass off about what to do next. Hawaii? In my courageous moments, I feel pretty rested into the vision of leaping across the Pacific Ocean, Hanuman (our favorite monkey god) style and taking a tropical chill pill, vision quest, writer’s retreat. And then comes a decent sized wave of fear and doubt and knocks me back to Compton. So you can see why I am beseeching All Pervading Off Tha Hookness for the kinds of signs fashioned for over stimulated, city-dwelling dummies such as myself.

This morning in the locker room after my swim, I saw a woman with a cardinal tattooed on her neck. Cardinals are one of my favorite birds. Though they do not call Oakland home, Hawaii is teeming with them. When I see them, I always think of Hawaii. Then the woman with the tattoo mentioned that she was training for a triathlon, which takes place in Maui in a couple of weeks. (she also effervescently confessed that she loves to get drunk and take drugs…) Hmmm… could this be a sign? I hope so. I don’t want to be scared. I don’t like this present moment. I think I’ll just go lose myself in the folds of facebook for an hour or two. I think I’ll just go order a donut or two to mindlessly stuff in my face while I gaze vacuously at photos of all my friend’s babies whom I’ve never even met.

Come on, Athena, pull yourself together. I dunno, maybe it’s good that I’m not such a blabber mouth this morning. Maybe it just means that I’m peaceful. Maybe my mind is the open desert sky. Well… I am actually finding it amusing to keep returning to the page and being transparent in my lack of inspiration. I noticed that I have this desire to impress you and always sound so talented and brilliant. But… sometime I am just a big, hairy gorilla. But my blog is like a live show. Sometimes live action footage is lame. Ha! Fooled you, I’m only human after all.

And then she stared into space for three of the longest minutes in recorded history. What should I talk about? I just went to the bathroom and had a private, wild dance. I thought that would help, but it didn’t. So then I switched seats. Nope. Still nothing. Then I called Mykael so he could save me. Honestly, he came as close as anybody could. He told me that I am a good enough writer that (oooh, the woman next to me just cut the highly crusty corner of her turn-over with a fork. What a sound. It made me think of lions stalking their pray in dry savanna grasses. Dry like deserts. Dry dessert. It may be dry on the outside, but on the inside, remember, it is sloppy wet. I think there is a lesson to be learned here. But I don’t care, I don’t want to learn it. I want to tell you that Mykael validated my desire to show up exactly as I am. He said I am a good enough writer that I can afford a day to play the linguistic fool. So here I am. As I am. Let this be a lesson to ya! Oooh, she just cut the other dry corner of her POPOVER. Doesn’t “popover” sound better than “turn-over”? It sounds so much more dynamic and dangerous. It makes me wonder, did it pop over of its own accord? Or did someone pop it over? I imagine that it popped over all by its self… which makes it a pretty magical, mythological pastry…

After I got off the phone with my personal pan savior, I saw that a woman had made herself at home at MY table, so I decided to sit at the bar. Now I can watch my crushy-crush bleed and toil in the name of caffeinating the universe. He’s wearing a grey t-shirt with black silhouetted airplanes all over the front. They are bigger at the top and they get progressively smaller as they move downward. Talk about profound. Some firemen just came in. What IS it about firemen? They always command my attention. I guess because they drive fire trucks. Big. Shiny. Red. Ever since I took care of Nathan and Max (from the time they were 17 months to three years old)… they were unabashedly passionate about fire trucks, and I became accustomed to making fire truck sightings the center of the universe as a result. Though it’s been like a year and a half since I’ve kicked it with Nathan and Max, I still let my bells be tinkled by the mere sight of a fire truck, and struck with even more force and fever when the big, gruff, strong men wave at little wooing me.

A woman sitting at the other end of the counter just ordered some toast, and she was being all anal about how she wanted it. My dream boat would-be boyfriend was giving her some playful grief about this. I watched him slice the impressively large loaf of acme bread as though it was the most amazing feat ever performed. Man, can he wield a serrated knife! Look out boogie gentlemen and ladies. Damon knows how to slice. Oh NO! The lady’s toast is smoking in the toaster!!! I was so invested in the situation. I told Damon that if I was ordering toast, I’d ask for it double toasted too. Because I’ve seen the toast on most people’s plates and it looks wicky-weak. Hardly toasted at all. I said it gotsta be golden and CRISPY. What’s the point of toast that doesn’t go CRUNCH? What’s the point of anything that doesn’t go crunch, honestly…

When I used to live in the mission in SF, that was one of my favorite past times… stomping on crusty bread and flocks of corn chips abandoned to the gutters and dirty sidewalks. It was one of the modest highlights of my twenties. All else mostly felt hopeless and in shambles, but as long as there was crispy food littering the streets for me to stomp on, I retained enough hope to safe port me to age thirty. I love feeling the crunch resonate in my feet and then reverberate through my entire body as it sings an orchestral song of benign destruction. Cheetos were always a major score! Seriously, they ain’t called “the cheese that goes crunch” for nuttin. But most of the Cheetos spraying the gutters of the mission were the red, fire flavored ones. I guess mission folks have a particular fondness for spice…

I was walking down Piedmont Avenue with a friend last week, and HARK! A generous spread of corn chips! Coincidentally, I was having an existentially busted day… the kind of day ripe for some down home, crunchy food stompin. I descimated every single one of them. And then, miraculously I was free. Talk about medicine for the wrenched soul. Ye-ah!

Well, I survived this blogging session, and I must report that I feel all the better for it. I hope you do too.