May 20, 2020

I look at the date on my phone and think, “Hmmmm May 20th, that’s a thing, right?”

Oh yeah…

Today would be my 25th wedding anniversary.

Twenty-five years ago I made one of the biggest mistakes of my entire life.

I knew it. I stood in my parents’ room, in white, thinking, “What the fuck am I about to do?”

And, “Too late now – you can’t back out with everyone standing out there waiting for a wedding.”

So down the aisle I walked.

I grew up with a gal who, when walking down the aisle for her first wedding, thought to herself, “This is wrong. I shouldn’t be doing this.”

And a couple of years later she embraced the fact that she was a lesbian, divorced her husband, and eventually met a woman with whom she has created a beautiful family, thus validating her initial gut instinct on the day of her hetero-nuptuals.

So when I had that feeling on May 20, 1995, I thought, “Am I doing the same thing?”

“Nah. I’m not a lesbian. Must just be the jitters.”

I may not be gay, but my guts were screaming at me just the same.

May 20 was my friend’s son’s due date, but he was born on the 26th.

May 20th is another friends’ son’s birthday.

May 20th, 2009 was the day that my husband of 14 years told me that he no longer loved me…after we had bad anniversary sex…

that ended up with me being pregnant…

and him telling me, “Don’t think I’ll stick around just because you’re having another baby.”

Fortunately (heartbreakingly) that baby chose to not stick around.

May 20th, 2010 saw me in group divorce court (because that’s how they do it here) with two of my closest friends whose soon to be ex-husbands sat across the courtroom with my soon to be ex.

It’s a day, a date, that brings forth many memories. Not all bad. For example, there were so many years that he wasn’t home for our anniversary because of work.

Those were some fantastic May 20th’s.

And there was May 20th, 2011, when I woke up, saw the calendar, and said aloud, “THANK FUCKING GOD I’M NOT MARRIED ANY MORE.”

On this pseudo-momentous day, I take pause to consider all things connected with the end of May. I see how much I have grown. I see that my life has become so much better. More full.

I appreciate that I am no longer in an abusive relationship.

I have peace about my choices 25 years ago – a state of mind that I have worked hard to achieve. I have forgiven that young starry-eyed gal who fell for the bigger-than-life mountaineer.

I have come to understand my choices then, my choices since then, and my choices now. I see and appreciate how the decisions I made then brought me to where I am in this exact moment, and I can’t help but be grateful.

Grateful that I am here.

And most importantly, if I had not made poor choices 25 years ago, I would not have my amazing sons.

So no matter how bad it all was, I got them. Which makes it all worthwhile.

So today I will celebrate my life. My boys. My joy.

Happy Anniversary to me.

 

So unfair

I have worked my ass off all day packing and going through files that brought back a lot of painful memories.

Divorce. Forclosure. Accident. Dad’s will.

Big day.

A lot of tears.

Around 9 pm I finally stopped. I dished up a big bowl of pistachio ice cream with chocolate syrup, grabbed the nail polish, and settled in to do a bit of binge-watching.

I deserved it. I worked hard today. On all levels.

Time to relax.

Maybe if I do, I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

That would be novel.

I sat in the recliner until I had melted into it just like butter.

Now, time for bed.

I turned off the light in the kitchen and as I grabbed my water glass to head upstairs I was suddenly crippled by what felt like a hot knife stabbing into my pinkie toe.

On the floor. Not quite screaming, “what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck?!?!?!?!?!?”

All I could think about was the glass that I broke today. But wait, I did that outside.

I crawled into the bathroom because I figured that would be the easiest place for someone to clean up after I bled out and died.

Except there was no blood.

The pain began to seriously amp up. I was beginning to hyperventilate and get dizzy. Nauseous. Wobbly.

Do I call TAM? Do I call an ambulance?

WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING TO MY FOOT?????????????

I grabbed the hand mirror out from under the sink so I could get a look at the underside of my foot, and crawled back out to the couch and bright light.

I stopped at the kitchen sink to run cold water on my little toe for a few minutes. It relieved the pain while the water was running but I couldn’t do that all night.

It instantly exploded in excruciating agony.

I sat down with the mirror, looked, studied, and found the answer…

I got stung by a wasp.

Inside. At night. On the kitchen floor. In my pj’s. On my way to bed.

Now, my entire body is tingling, my foot itches, and it’s swelling. And burning.

And I’m wide awake.

Dammit.

11:11 pm

Once again, I am wide awake.

I am no longer fighting it. I am fully giving in to my circadian rhythms, which, apparently, I have been fighting against for most of my life in attempting to lead a normal life on a normal up-during-the-day sleep-at-night kind of schedule.

I get up at a decent hour – usually by 7:30. Super productive in the morning, until about 2 pm and then I crash hard. So now I nap for about an hour each day. I wake up, get going, and am productive and alert until 9 pm when I snuggle into bed and fall right to sleep.

And get right back up at 11pm for at least another hour.

It’s weird but it works. For me.

It’s not as easy when you share a bed with someone. He’s a farmer with a sunup to sundown schedule.

I am neither a morning person nor an evening gal.

We always go to sleep together, but then I am back up roaming around the house in the dark, snuggling on the couch with one or the other of the dogs.

Sometimes I read a book. Sometimes I play Scrabble on the computer. Sometimes I lie quietly, feet tucked underneath my accomodating couch mate until my system slows down and I can return to bed.

Always, I go outside for at least a few minutes.

His house or mine, we both have quiet, dark nights.

A million stars. The mountains lit up by the full moon. The desert wind blowing cold in my face. Dreamy snow floating down to hide away the pastures for the winter. The steady beat of the side rolls, “ch ch ch ch ch ch ch…”

I can feel the moisture in the air but it’s too dark to see the plumes of water in the brisk nighttime blackness.

I’ve come to love my late-night parties of one.

It feels private and almost secretive and somewhat other worldly and decadent and spiritual. I believe that I am connecting to myself in ways that I don’t during the daylight hours.

It is so peaceful. And even though I realize that part of why I am not sleeping during these hours could be the same reason that I now grind my teeth all night, (admittedly I might be a tad bit stressed), these hours are not about angst. This is what my body has wanted for the last 54 years.

But I don’t actually feel as if my mind is spinning and keeping me up. No, it’s calm and peace and quiet and solitude, all under the cover of the night, when the rest of the world is still asleep.

It feels slightly naughty.

I’m okay, we’re okay…I hope

After my last, sad post, I had so many friends and friends of friends reach out to share their stories and their grief. This sharing (although I’m terrible about replying) brings peace by reminding me that I am not alone. I read, reread, and sit with every comment because it creates a connection with the goodness that we all have in hearts and souls.

A one sentence Facebook comment, just the words “me too,” brings me out of my darkness and restores a bit of faith in humanity.

I had one beautiful soul ask me if I was suicidal. I assured her that I am not. The thing that keeps me from going there is the fact that I have 3 boys who need a mama.

Which is exactly why I get so sad and so afraid. There are millions of us who need our mamas or papas or sons, daughters, grandparents, friends. Every single person who gets sick belongs to someone; someone is worried about their health; someone will grieve if they die.

This fact alone should be unifying us during this time, not dividing us.

My writing provides relief for me. I get to pour out my feelings, blather on about me, me, me, and then receive lots of love from around the world.

There are so many that don’t have anything like this. Not everyone has a forum to vent, unload, share. They are sitting in their own fear, alone. And those people are also not receiving the same amount of love and support that I am because they are completely isolated.

Not everyone has the privileges that I do during this pandemic. I have a beautiful home in which to isolate. I’m an isolator by nature so this is actually a much-needed respite from the input overload that I normally experience. But unfortunately, this is not the case for those who need more sustained human connection.

I have a partner who I love, who makes this quietude a sweet time for connecting on a deeper level. We have jobs. We have dogs. Our dogs have jobs; they are on prairie dog patrol. So far, my family and friends are all healthy.

I don’t yet need a haircut.

And yet I know that this could all change in the blink of an eye. I don’t take a second of my ease for granted. Each and every one of us is so very vulnerable. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t, at some moment, thought, “I could die.”

That’s a sobering thought. Even more frightening when “I” expands into “my mom, my son, my best friend.”

My hope is that my writing, while selfishly bringing me relief, shall bring others a sense of connection and community – especially those who feel out of touch with their fellow humans.

Consider this a virtual hug.

 

 

 

 

meltdown

My heart is so heavy. I am totally out of sorts. I am sad – a deep, weighted sadness that made my morning walk on the Farm seem like too much effort and relieved none of the grief.

I’ve been okay up until now. I’ve rather enjoyed the bubble that TAM and I have created for our quarantine. It’s so peaceful that it’s hard to imagine the world as anything else.

We’ve spent so many hours watching the earth come alive with the spring, with human beings out of the way. The fecundity of his farm has led me to believe that we will all be fine.

Look at how filled with vitality the world is; we’ll totally bounce back.

Then, yesterday, everything lined up to create the perfect storm in my heart.

I realized what a shit show we are living in.

I get it (finally) that there is a new normal – that things are changing in ways that I could never have imagined.

Our reality of masks and fear and animosity and anger and grief and loss and loneliness and sickness and often, hostility crushed me.

And I am not bouncing back today.

It feels like a black cloud is moving in. Depression. The kind of depression that settles in like a weighted blanket, creating inertia and making it hard to breathe.

I am afraid.

I am afraid of getting sick and dying. I’m selfish that way. And of course, I pray that none of my own will get terribly sick, but that’s not what this fear is about.

This is a deep-seated dismay that we are living a dystopian nightmare – at least it feels like one. I hate seeing what is happening amongst the people in our world, in my county.

I am afraid of what people are doing to each other. I imagine that this, this unkind, harsh, lonely world is our new normal.

I am saddened that this is the world that my children are living in when they are at the age when they should be out having adventures.

I hurt that I can’t hug and love on my children.

I often think that I will miss these days of quietude with TAM, that I will some day wish for this slow pace to return.

Up until yesterday I believed that this was a temporary blip, but my optimism has been torn away and I feel lost.

I feel safe when I am with my pack, the dogs and TAM, but I have none of those feelings when I go to Walmart.

I feel unsafe when I see my community beginning to attack each other rather than working together.

Lord of the Flies on Facebook.

It distresses me when a store clerk intentionally disrespects my boundaries just to prove a point.

I am devastated when I hear my neighbors saying that they wish the Navajo grocery shoppers would stay on the rez.

Bigotry and hostility abound.

We are lost and floundering and afraid and at risk.

There is not one single person on this planet not being affected by this virus.

And as much as everyone prophesizes about what it will all look like when this is over, we don’t know.

We have no fucking clue.

And that is so unsettling it shakes me to my core.

 

 

I didn’t want to have to do this but…

You know what?

I am pissed.

And now I’m going to rant.

Two Facebook groups were started on the same day – in the early days of the virus – ostensibly to provide information and support for our community members during this time of sickness and fear and mixed messages coming down from the top.

In one group, seemingly comprised primarily of Christian Conservatives, a post about exercising our constitutional rights by not wearing masks prompted one group member to state that she felt safer sporting face covering and she wished that everyone would wear one.

She was verbally bludgeoned.

The group administrator got really ugly and several others followed suit.

It prompted me to leave the group, with a statement on the page about why. I said, “I am leaving because I wanted to be a part of a group that is helping our community.”

I followed with, “Getting ugly and judgmental isn’t helping anyone in our County.”

I was taunted, called names, and told “good riddance.”

I was holding out hope for the other group to be a little bit more open-minded and compassionate and NEUTRAL.

Well, that went right out the window this morning.

“Asshole”

“Troll”

“Dumbass. Moron. Idiot.”

“Go home to your shithole state.”

“Panty waist liberals have no place here”

what the fuck people?????????

I want one person, one, to tell me what good could possibly come out of any of the above comments. How is this possibly helping our old, our sick, our babies, our HEALTHCARE WORKERS?

Sure, I wear a mask to protect myself. I’m selfish that way.

But more importantly, I wear a mask for you.

My son is asthmatic. He has the potential to run into serious trouble if he catches this virus.

I wear a mask for him.

Another friend, who I like to visit, has cancer. I panic at the thought of infecting her unknowingly.

I wear a mask for her.

My mother is 81, lives alone, is freshly widowed and thanks to a bout with lung cancer has only half of one lung.

I hope that every single person in her town wears a fucking mask because I don’t want my mother to die. Alone. Due to someone else’s need to “not be controlled.”

I wear a mask for everyone’s mother.

TAM and I are quarantining together – we are exposing each other to everything that we encounter. He has children. It’s my responsibility to protect him.

I wear a mask for him. For his children.

I wear a mask for the gal at the market who goes home to a very compromised husband. She has to change her clothes in the garage before she can even enter her own home after a day at work.

I wear a mask for my co-workers who are doing their very best to safely provide food and support for so many who are dependent on this little grocery store. While I have been safely isolated, they are dealing with the public 7 days a week, so that you can eat.

I wear a mask for the pregnant woman who is already terrified of bringing her unborn baby into this upside-down toxic world.

You get the picture.

The picture of me with a mask on my face.

I know that no matter what I say, or anyone else says, that plenty of people give we “fearful and paranoid victims of fake news and conspiracies” the middle finger.

Sure, sometimes I wonder if it is all blown out of proportion. But then I think, “Who am I to say?”

Not a doctor. Not a scientist.

Not a constitutionalist either.

So I am clearly in no position to make this call.

99% of us are in no position to make this call.

Really, anyone who is questioning the veracity of the science, who is neither a scientist nor a medical doctor, is out of their fucking minds.

Seriously, think about it, all of us who barely passed Biology 101, are trying to out-science the scientists.

This is not about your constitutional rights. This is about the health and well being of not only your own community but…

The entire planet.

Can you grasp that?

The health of both the earth itself and every single human being alive is in your hands. Do you get that?

WE can make a difference in what happens to people just like us, mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, nurses, factory workers, teachers.

This is not about “being an American,” this is about being a global citizen.

One of the comments on this morning’s news feed asked about the “ethnicity” of those infected and dying?

The ETHNICITY?

Now we are making this a racism issue. So we don’t care about the Chinese (well they started this so why should we be concerned there?) or the Italians (pronounced eye-talian in this bigoted conversation). Does it matter what the brown people in Africa are experiencing?

And no question, in this border town right on the edge of the Navajo Nation, that a mention of ethnicity is pointed directly at our suffering neighbors who have been hit harder than anywhere else in our four corners.

I had someone tell me in the grocery store that she wishes “they” wouldn’t come here to shop – so that she can go mask-free.

Maybe we could have brown people hours and white people hours.

Makes me want to move to Shiprock.

I want to hurl. I am so angry.

And so disappointed in my community.

This is a community of people who pride themselves on being good neighbors and helping each other in times of need. Not wearing masks probably isn’t helping.

Chance are, wearing one is helping. At least there’s a chance of it being beneficial to self and others, while we know for certain that no face protection helps no one.

Sure, they’re uncomfortable. And annoying.

But if I choose to wear one, that’s my choice. Just like some folks are making the choice to not wear one (based on the constitution and personal preference, not on the scientific information that we all have access to.)

Don’t fucking ride my ass if I err on the side of caution

I want to walk away from this global pandemic knowing that I did everything I could to keep safe my children, my mother, my sick friends, someone else’s grandmother or husband or child. If I needlessly wear a mask for a while, so be it.

It’s none of your business. I am not hurting you. I am not violating your constitutional rights. I am not going to get you sick, that’s for sure.

The maskless can’t say the same thing about not affecting me.

So, if you are making the decision to put me, the compromised husband, a newborn baby, a nurse or grocery store employee, at risk, go ahead and do that.

If your conscience allows.

But do not give me shit about it.

It has taken everything in me to not respond to each and every cruel and immature comment that I have seen on Facebook (including some of those whose words are coming through layers of folded cloth and coffee filters.) But I refuse to get involved in debates with people behaving poorly in inappropriate forums.

I know that trying to convince anyone on either side of the debate is fruitless at this point. Not my purpose here, although it would be nice if my ranting gives at least one bare-faced community member pause for thought. I’m stating my opinion, but I am not holding out hope that I’m going to change anyone’s mind.

My point is this:

Shut. The Fuck. up.

Don’t be ugly.

Be kind.

If you want to be catty and condescending and critical and cruel, go ahead. But I certainly don’t want to hear it.

Do they make masks that cover the ears?

 

 

five-five

Ho-ly-shit. I am fifty-five years old.

Fif-ty-five.

A month ago my best friend from high school posted a photo on Facebook of her birthday cake with two #5 candles burning on top.

I thought, “Is she older than I am?”

Fifty-five seems impossible. And yet, here I am.

The fact that my brother is looking down the pike at 60 makes 55 seems really old.

I don’t really feel my age – certainly not in my head. My brain actually seems to be regressing. I do feel old in my body. Ancient. I find myself groaning more often than not with any sort of movement like rolling over in bed or crossing one leg over the other.

My soul has a better sense of quietude at this age than ever before.

As I sit in the hammock, looking out over the greening pastures towards the Sleeping Ute, listening to the red-winged blackbirds and watching meadowlark sex, I think, “I wouldn’t wish to be at any other point in my life than this moment, right here, right now.