I remember hearing this phrase in association with Marie-Antoinette. She didn’t say it, by the way — but it has become associated with her nonetheless. Basically, it is a simple, often thoughtless solution to a complex and real problem. People are starving for bread? Let them eat cake! The result of this disconnect is greater division and hatred. This has been weighing on me lately — this growing tide of disconnected and easy solutions to complex problems. I wonder if we have become a culture of quick fixes, platitudes, and lazy outrage. It is easy to apply disgust to current problems from the comfort of our living rooms and Twitter feed, but coming up with real solutions is harder. It takes looking at layers upon layers of good intentions, misapplied efforts, and swinging pendulums. …
I watched two shows this year that affected me deeply. The first, and try not to roll your eyes, was called “The Haunting of Hill House.” It was pretty brave of me because I grew up very religious, and even though I’m an Athiest now, part of me still believes in the Devil. Anyway, the series wasn’t what I expected and I have found myself thinking about it fairly often throughout the year. The part that comes to mind now is an idea regarding what it means to be a parent. In the series, the mother is tortured by the notion that her children will grow to endure pain — and it would be the most motherly thing she could do to protect them by killing them before they suffer. I was struck by this, recognizing the need to protect my kids is perhaps the most basic desire that I have. It is profoundly heartbreaking to see your children grow beyond the magic of kisses and snuggles — and be truly unable to help. Anyone who has a child can relate. Are you a co-parent, raising your child/children in a divorced family? Does your child suffer from bullying? A learning disability? An illness? There is a list a mile long of all the injury that people suffer — in childhood and beyond. And the guilt of being a parent runs deep. I read somewhere about parenting being a deeply selfish act — because it brings a child into a chaotic, messed-up world. Sometimes I watch the news, then look at my boys, my daughter, and am filled with fear. So, yeah. …
My mom was cremated when she died. At first, I liked the idea. It was clean, free from what I imagined to be defilement from decay. But as the years edged on, I found myself longing for some concrete place to connect with her. I envied people who had graves to visit. We spread my mom’s ashes in Hawaii — a world away from where I am. The handful of dust I threw into the ocean air seemed no more significant than the sand on the beach. It was fine. And small. And blew into nothingness within seconds. All of a sudden, my connection to her was as wild as the wind — like shooting a prayer into the night sky without any specific audience. …
Feeling uncertain can feel like wearing a blindfold. Every step is measured — even when someone who can see clearly is giving instructions. I think of it like this: If I were blindfolded at the top of a building and was told to trust a guide to lead me around the edge of the roof, even though I knew my guide could see where I was going and keep me safe, I am sure I would be absolutely paralyzed with fear. This is what trying to make a decision feels like for some people. What if I can’t trust the directions? What if I can’t trust the people in my life telling me to move forward? What if making a mistake poses a huge risk? …
I had dinner with a friend last night. She has been happily married for 10 years — and even though she loves her husband and he is a good friend and partner, she questions the sanity of marriage. We had a long discussion about it. About what makes sense and what doesn’t. It’s an interesting topic, marriage. It’s complex — encapsulating social constructs, religious sanctity, and deeply ingrained ideology regarding the nature of love. There are many things I love about the idea of marriage: sharing life, solidarity, sexual and emotional fulfillment. But those things are all part of a connected relationship regardless of marriage. And it’s that — marriage — that I am struggling with. …
And that was the moment I opened my eyes
I was the sticky yellow substance inside an egg.
something meant for more than what I was
Something that was supposed to grow — contained and nurtured
But freed too soon — I was a runny
boundless thing. Lacking form.
I remember before — when I was thought.
I was contained in the imagination of my maker
limitless in potential, eternal in pleasure.
I was the embodiment of pure blue sky
Stretching for miles and miles
One hand on the mountain top, the other cradling the ocean floor
And then there was a…
There are a lot of reasons people stay in relationships that are unhealthy. There are those who can’t see a way out without creating a worse situation. There are those who have come to believe they are worthless and are somehow deserving of whatever abuse is being inflicted. There are some who have children and fear losing them, traumatizing them further, or breaking up their families. But the reason I want to explore today is the idea of empathy. I wonder if, in our attempts to understand our partners, we forget our obligations to ourselves.
I heard a Ted Talk once where an abused woman talked about why she stayed in the relationship for so long. She was successful, smart, and beautiful. She didn’t match the image of an abused woman: Timid, mousy, and fearful. Anybody can end up in an abusive relationship. Anyone. She said she had never really looked at herself as the victim in her relationship. She was the savior. She was helping her husband overcome his greatest demons. He didn’t want to treat her the way he did. He was working desperately to overcome the effects of the abuse he had suffered as a child. She understood him and wanted very badly to help. It took her a long time to understand that it didn’t matter how much she understood him or tried to save him. At some point, her love and compassion for herself had to take precedence over her love for him. …
It was an innocent mistake. The boys wanted a room just like Harry Potter’s cupboard. Mom indulged them with a special desk tucked in the back corner of the closet under the stairs. She had studied the frozen screen image in the first movie and tried to replicate it exactly. Exactly down to the candle in the corner. The boys loved it.
Mary babysat early that day. She was a good sister, and the boys wanted to play Harry Potter. They made a poster of spells and taped it on the wall above the candle. “Alohamora! Open the door.” Mary lit the candle. Just for a little fun. …
Laying in bed last night, my boyfriend asked me if it was true that women wanted men to be more dominant in the bedroom. He had read an article about it and wanted to know 1. if it were true, and 2. what it meant. It’s a good question. Here is what we talked about and the conclusions I came to.
My first inner reaction to the question was “yes.” And honestly, my mind went to the episode on “Friends” when Ross and Rachel are talking in her bedroom about her ex-boyfriend Paulo and how he was just meaningless animal-sex. Ross, of course, was hurt because that meant he was the non-animal sex boyfriend, or the good guy, and boring lover. Rachel tells him that she swears he is the best she ever had and he says, “until now,” and sweeps her legs out from under her, essentially throwing her on the bed. …
When the worlds between us spin
In circles round our lips
Enclosing us in atmospheres
That shudder round our hips
I lose my sense of space, instead
Entwined in threaded night
That holds my hand to yours
In shutters, gasps, and sightless sight
Render in me speechless
all the words that fall like prey
To the folding time between us
Mouth to mouth knit night to day.
What would happen if a woman spoke
The truths that have been bound to her
What if the tight-lipped sigh
Became the howl of midnight
Shaking the ground with…