Thursday, October 31, 2013

One reason to be happy

I score 102% on my Ancient Greek Philosophy midterm. Yeah, that's a big number. My professor was giddy when he handed it to me. He said, "That's a very rare score."

Why did I not stumble onto philosophy sooner? Today, for a few minutes before God and Evil I considered a masters in philosophy rather than the MFA in Poetry.

Connecting the dots

I'm coming up on three days since I took a deep breath and opened up, really spread myself wide and vulnerable, and gave a shot at feeling something more than I had since my divorce.

Tonight I'm caught up in the conflagration and agony of that choice. I'm finding it's less painful if I just give in to admitting as much. So as miserable as it is, I'm miserable. I made a formal proposition for a sort of affectionate arrangement, one I felt I could manage, one that really didn't ask for much in return, one that I knew would come to an end. Some might call this Friends With Benefits. I called it the only logical relationship I can give myself to, and I was certain it would be one the other person would be most likely to agree to become involved in as well.

I didn't get a conclusive answer, but it's feeling like "no". I know some people think it's an awful thing to dole out the "no", but leaving this sort of question unsatisfied is even worse. It's a passive aggressive sort of cruelty. And because I believed this was one of my best friends, it's hurts even more. My buddy, Greg, will tell you, giving it to me straight is the easiest way to keep me calm and maintain friendship. He and I went through this. We're like brother and sister now. So why not this other guy? He'll have to answer that. I hate that I feel both rejected and like I'm losing him. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

So I sat at home alone tonight. I am hurt. I am lonely. (I have an acquaintance who once asked me how I could possibly ever feel lonely with four kids. You see, single parents give all the time. It's not that we are alone, but there isn't anyone who fills us. It's the deepest sort of loneliness.) 

I'm also a little angry. A lot angry. I'm furious at my last ex-husband. I'm furious at his betrayal, at the betrayal of the Church's leadership, at the lack of protection and compassion toward wives who go through that kind of treatment. I'm in agony that I'm coming up on a year since the worst span of that brief marriage. A year since the utter emotional detachment and abandonment. A year since the angry screaming and degrading language. A year since the absolute oppressive fear that I lived in whenever he was around. A year since he sexually assaulted me. A year since he grabbed me and shook me while screaming in my face because he'd left his desktop open and I looked at it's contents. A year since I curled into a ball, crying and begging him to stop while he taunted me, yelled and mocked me for how I'd acted in the Celestial Room of the temple the last time we went together. A year since he looked over my shoulder to see whom I'd voted for. A year since he screamed at me for eating after I brushed my teeth on Sundays. A year since he took no responsibility for anything wrong in the marriage beyond "occasionally raising his voice."A year since he told our bishop that I was crazy and that the only problems in the marriage were that he "never knew who he was going to wake up next to" and that I wanted to have a child.

I realized today that my anger isn't going to leave. I've admitted to some pretty heinous behavior during that marriage, I've taken the falls. But time and again anytime my ex was abusive in any way he blamed me for wanting a child, for wanting to have a kind and loving relationship with him. And when I leave to protect my children and my sanity I am handed full responsibility for being Bipolar. I'm pretty sure the bishop was completely on my ex's side. I was abandoned. I'm mad and hurt as hell.

Here I am now. No one dates women with four kids unless they're creepy or desperate. I am lonely. I am lonely. I have so much to give, and I am lonely.

I guess what I'm saying is that I need someone to fill me.

I'm not in a happy place.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Impulsivity and language—almost a full two days later

I still haven't the foggiest how the letter went over. But I'm not receiving a cold shoulder and I can see how what I said would take someone completely off guard. 

I am enjoyed in person... 

No one may believe this, but I suffer from morbid shyness. I can't talk about this touchy-feely stuff in person. That's why I wrote the letter. But I don't think I'm going to get my answer until I man up and do the face-to-face. I'm terrified. 

Like, I'm going to have to take some Ativan tonight kind of terrified.


Also, I'm really busy and I'm not certain when I can afford to sit down to the real deal and take whatever is handed to me.

Rather than lay awake with insomnia, tonight I may cry myself to sleep. Maybe this is a clue to me that I'm not ready for this sort of risk.

I did the whole "What have I got to lose?" talk with myself and I thought I was brave enough for this. I think now that I was wrong. 

We'll see in the morning.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Impulsivity and language—22 hours later

I'm not sold on calling it a mistake, but so far the letter hasn't had the desired effect and I'm in a section of reality that scales 8 on the one-to-ten of lousy.

I want to be wrong. But I think that would take a miracle.

God has total causal power. According to Malebranche and Descartes, there are no such thing as miracles. 

Impulsivity and language

I just wrote a letter.

Please, dear God. Don't let it be a mistake.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Rite of the Cameraman Confessional—a persona poem

I never see them come
but I know them,
by the way their fingers greedily part
the curtain and they sit,
lips contrite, trembling with prayers,
longing for visions of saints, of angels.

They plead for virgins,
for whores and silicone flagellates,
for mercy from their suffering.
And I hear the cries of these altar boys.
I hear how they plead for dominion
over the bondage Magdalenes.

Let them hail Marys.
Let them have their fill of Grace.
Place a wafer on her tongue
and let them
see how long the widow can go
before she's begging to swallow.

Get your mites out, boys. Give
her box your alms. Mightily, boys!
Mightily! My weary, my wanton,
my heady-laden boys—give me
your loads! Take my yoke
upon you. My bowels are filled.
I offer you release.

I absolve thee.
I absolve thee.
I absolve thee.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sweatboxing with my teens


M— and E— finished out first term on Friday. The preceding week proved difficult for all of us as they scrambled to finish projects and get last minute make-ups in. E— stressed to the point of aggravation knowing full well he wasn't going to pass a couple of his classes. This is what happens when mom is gone all the time and they're left on their own to finish homework. The lesson will catch up to them at some point, probably once they've left home and I'm not there to bail them out of the stress with sweatbox dance parties hosted by LDS University of Choice world-class DJs, featuring the  unbelievably grinding challenge of experimental music/poetry from Coffee Shop artists.

So imagine if you will: myself (38), my 15-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter, and twenty college students, most of whom are at LDS University of Choice because they want a cheap quality education, not because of any ties to the faith. (I know a couple of the students at the party are making quite a stir as LDS feminists, both nationally online and in the press.) Except for my Poetry Boys, I don't think M— or E— had the slightest idea whom they were dancing with. No big. We stayed the whole night, beginning at 10 p.m. and checking out at 12:30 a.m., ears ringing and clothing sweat-soaked.

I've thought about the night since.

I went to a party with my teens. Who does that? Who does that and has their kids thank them and rave about the fun we had together?

It hit me last night just how odd I am as parents go. I know it's strange. I know it makes other parents somewhat wary. I also don't know how to do it any other way. I will not do it the way my parents did it. I know that doesn't work. I don't profess to be any sort of parenting guru. In fact, when people do ask, the advice I give most often is to give in that you're going to make mistakes no matter how hard you try, and that if you can admit those mistakes and do your best to make amends with your kids for any hurt you do they are generally quite forgiving. Or maybe I lucked out and I've just got great kids.

Either way, this morning at coffee, Empedocles told me I shouldn't worry. He thinks what I'm doing is pretty chill.

Here's to the beginning of week 9 of my Fall semester and week one of M— and E—'s term two.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Giddy normalcy

This weekend is strangely relaxed. 

There's homework, but nothing like the last two weeks: a persona poem to tackle, a film to review, Book VI of the Republic, a single creative non-fiction peer piece to read and review, French homework to catch up on, edits and revisions on the piece pending publication, and the theological implications of the second half of God and Evil coming up on Tuesday. 

I'm breathing easy. Plenty of lithium. Ten hours of sleep.

M— and I are headed out to shop for groceries, because although I don't mind living like a bachelor, my children do. Vivaldi sings from Spotify. Facebook is offering plentiful opportunity for the sick and twisted part of my nature to prove self-edits necessary every twenty minutes or so. 

Maybe too much sleep isn't as beneficial as I've been trying to convince myself it is.

Just enough life tension to feel drive, not enough sex (none. zilch. nada.) to feel satisfied, logic and resolution just abundant enough to be happy with resignation.

It's the Vivaldi. It's gone to my head, like a good pinot.

I'm so delightfully sober.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The countdown

In thirty-eight days my oldest daughter turns 17.
I tell myself, whenever I need telling, that this is nothing to cause panic.
The fact that her darling boyfriend, 
who calls me "Other Mom" and whom I call "Other Son",
now gets preferential treatment over me is a happy occasion. 

She talks more and more about college and getting a job.
We've stopped discussing a mission,
recent state of affairs as faith goes have dampened those ambitions, 
but she says she wants to remain active.
She no longer asks my permission to approach subject matter.
She's never needed it.

She is lovely, and kind, and funnier than a runny nose on an elephant.
And more likely than not, the dearest days that we'll have together are largely spent.
Nothing has ever ached with this sort of intensity in my breast.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Muse

I've been using Empedocles—his company in exchange for mine. I've been using him every chance he'll give me because something literary always comes out of it. He doesn't press for more, and while I don't push either, I haven't left the possibility for more unvisited as topics go. Skittish. And most of the time that's really okay.

Take this weekend:

We went to dinner on Saturday. Dutch. It's always Dutch and shall remain so as long as I have my way.

On Sunday we went to see The Summit—a documentary about the 2008 tragedy on K2. I will never try to climb K2. Empedocles, however, has already been to Nepal three times. On the way back to Happy Valley he began reminiscing and it sounds like he's ready for a fourth excursion. Before the movie started on Sunday we discussed his editing work on the Pie Tin's lit journal; not in great detail, but as much as he felt like he could divulge before editorial decisions were released to the general public. I didn't push for more. This is the pattern of life with Empedocles. While in commute from Happy Valley to SLC where we saw the film I told him about a weird dream I'd had the night previous. One of the Poetry Boys from LDS University of Choice invited me to an elite dinner. I dressed in a vintage lacy dress and walked a great distance through mud in order to attend. When I arrived at the building where it was meant to take place I had to climb several flights of stairs. I entered the dining hall muddy, glistening with sweat, and out of breath. The Boy who'd invited me was nowhere to be found. Instead, two young women from the University (whom I know...we'll call them Snob 1 and Snob 2) told me I wasn't on the guest list and that I wouldn't be admitted. I didn't push. I went back down a number of flights of stairs until I reached what looked to be a 70s man cave. In the center, Empedocles sat working over the lyrics of a song he was writing. This is significant because Saturday at dinner he'd filled me in on more backstory from his heydays as a folk guitarist/songwriter. He told me he hadn't been at songwriting in quite some time. In the dream I came into the room, knelt next to him and just listened. In recounting the dream on the drive I stopped there. But truthfully, in the dream, Empedocles put down what he was doing and kissed me. Dream kisses are the best. So when he got nervous to get out of the car when we got back into town and quickly said goodbye without even looking back at me I got a little evil. I texted him and told him the end of my dream. I told him it was a nice dream, that I'd enjoyed our time at the movie, and the I love how real his is. All of which are true.

This afternoon, the editor-in-chief of the lit mag and Empedocles were talking outside the door of my creative non-fiction class. The EIC asked to speak with me. We're friends, so no big. He said he'd spoken with my CNF professor and that both he and she would like to publish my essay (it's a doozy) in the upcoming journal. Because he's over prose in the journal, Empedocles is now officially my editor. I'd been avoiding eye contact with him, but at this point we apparently nonverbally agreed to ignore any awkwardness and squared each other up. 

1) Getting through the revisions necessary to get this piece where my professor wants it is daunting.
2) Empedocles is a wicked savvy editor.
3) It's a damn, damn good piece even now, but I agree the revisions and oversight of an editor will bring it to remarkable polish.
4) Ethics. Life is always complicated by ethics.

Empedocles and I walked to the library entrance together. He had to TA a class. I needed to get home. We talked over our mutual recent rejections from another lit journal. It's good to have rejection in common. Thick, unresolved tension exists in this relationship.

It makes for great poems. It makes for fabulous embraces in dreams.

The hem of my childhood


Monday, October 21, 2013

A Rough Translation of the Parenthetical Fragments of Empedocles—a language poem


(When you leave
When you leave
When you leave)

I will write postcards
that I will not
send

(to remember
to remember
to remember)

the flickers
of time that I fumbled to hold

(your body
your body
your body)           
                       to understand the silence,

(how the world passes
and passes
and passes)

(into your lungs and out
and out
and out
and out)
 again, parsing the bones

 around your breath,
(compelling
your body
your body
your body
compelling)

 a tidal force
 for mine.

                       friend, you are
fleeting—
(the light
into your lungs
how the world passes
your body.
Remember)
         your mooning eyes
                         reflecting
    our watery image,
    unaware of the ground
    beneath us, or

(how it opens
compelling
your body
compelling
how it opens)

                          how when you leave
                          the flames
                                    will also.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Empedoclean Fragments



When you leave
this place,
I will write postcards
that I will not
send

to remember
the flickers
of time that I wanted to hold

your body           
                     to understand the silence,

how the world passes

into your lungs and out
again, parsing the bones

around your breath,
compelling
tidal force
for mine.

                Friend, you are
fleeting—
like light,
   a
                   glossy mooning
                                               orb.
    I am caught           reflected
    in its glassy spell,
    aware

                of the ground beneath us,
how it opens,
                how when you leave
                the flames
                                    will also.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Blood and tears

This piece has been on Tumblr for a number of days with some response, but nowhere what I think it deserves. This is a Homestuck character. I'm gonna spell it wrong. Her name is Terezi. She's just been in a fight. She bleeds blue. I think my daughter M— is an art genius.

Here's proof.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Poets and philosophers

I wrapped up a critical assessment of censorship in the Republic, went to class to turn in the paper, then came home for 14 hours of sleep.

Note to self: Lithium refill. Urgent.

This morning I carved out a schedule with the classes I want for Spring. I will never again take two philosophy courses in the same term. I love it, but I don't like feeling like death warmed over on a day-to-day basis. 

Next semester looks like this:

Advance Poetry
Advanced Topics in Ancient Greek Philosophy
British Lit Pre-1800
French II

It's perfect for a number of reasons and it gives me opportunity to accept the TA position for Ethics and Values. I sent my definitive yes to Mr. PNU this afternoon. The position pays $10/hr, I set my own hours, and the grading work is split between the professor and whomever else he gets to TA. Although my daughters and Greg groaned, my gal pal Heather did not, and I trust her response. 

The Pre-socratic philosophers have nourished my poetry, as did Ethics last Spring. Heather tells me the professor I've chosen for Early Brit is genius, which doesn't surprise me as his early training is in philosophy. These three thought-based springboards can only serve to strengthen my efforts as I dive headlong into studying Poetry with the Pie Tin's own Mr. I've Published Several Books of Poetry (PBP for future reference). I'm going to need all the musing I can get.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Interlude, tentatively speaking

As quickly and coherently as possible:

I am 1/8 done with my paper on Plato's Republic, due in 12 hours.

Today, while standing in "the hallway" discussing sex with El Mexico, (an English/philosophy student and friend who is always pressing me for the identity of The Baker), Mr. PNU approached me. I haven't seen him since Sunstone. We chat briefly and he asks if I will TA in the spring for his Ethics and Values class. 

I gave a tentative yes. My daughters both groaned when I told them. My friend Greg groaned. I guess I'm to only one who is comfortable with the idea, but I still need to work out next semester's schedule before I can commit.

Empedocles has committed to joining me for open mic tomorrow night, if he can.

Sound like a lot of tentative to me.

And now back to Plato...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A day, philosophically speaking

As fate would have it I ran into my Ancient Greek professor an hour before class. I confessed I wasn't up on reading and that I planned to skip out on lecture. He encouraged me to come anyway, and I'm glad I did. But the problem lies in the need for sleep. I went to all classes but French today, and I only missed French because L— needed a Tdap immunization to be allowed at school. Yeah, they're that Nazi in Utah. So after the Health Department I took her with me to meet with the CNF professor, and for an hour we went over this semester's first story, which she aims for me to sharpen, bring to linguistic immediacy, and then publish in the lit journal. That means I'll have more material in this journal than I've had published in a journal previously combined. This fact embarrasses me. It shouldn't, but believe it or not I am actually meek when it comes to this sort of all-at-once accolade. Don't get me wrong. I think I'm good. But four to six pieces in one journal is a gaudy amount. I'm hoping the editors pare it down to three tops.

Then, I did my Tuesday/Thursday 2 1/2 hour block of philosophy. These classes blow my mind. I come out with a cranium of cerebral mush. And whom should be sitting in conversation with L— in the hallway? Empedocles.

Empedocles.

I do this thing. I get a social situation figured out in my head, and then I find myself back in the social context where the situation originated...and I can't hold my resolve. Especially when what I have figured out in my head doesn't match with what happens in the real life context.

I need to be spayed. Neutralized. No, that's not fair. Because my relationship with Empedocles is primarily one of honest friendship and Platonic interest. But I definitely wouldn't be experiencing the complications I am if there were no hormones involved.

This is far more info than I should impart online. Gah...

So sleep. That's his excuse for no contact. He's tired. I can't find anything wrong with this reason because I am too. I don't have time for sleep and when I do I can't get enough. I can home this afternoon and slept for two solid hours. I'm still exhausted. So after I left both school and his presence I texted him and told my fine coffee buddy that while felt his pain, I missed his company and I hoped I hadn't done anything to upset him since he isn't any good at responding reliably to texts, and that it had been good to see him again. Three hours later he responded that it is always a pleasure, he apologized for taking off today in a hurry, and that he'd be around.

That whole "being around." That's what we do. That's what I do with anyone.

I must extricate myself from the realm of caring. Didn't I arrive at this conclusion a few nights ago?

I finished the 15-page homage to my father, my hometown, and the origin of identity. There are parts that are nothing less than breathtaking. Sleep now beckons.

Like heaviness and coconuts.

And...

I've over shot. Why do I always overshoot? 

I'm at 15 pages, needing to wrap up. But it's also 2 a.m. again, and I'm wiped out, and I'm not ready for Ancient Greek and the quiz on Book III of the Republic, and I haven't started my philosophy paper, and I'm writing incredibly moving passages that make focusing on anything else a challenge. 

I'm meeting with my Creative Non-Fiction professor tomorrow at noon, because she believes my first piece is rolling toward polish, which means publication, which means this kind of writing is what I was always meant to do. It's exciting, and also draining.

I'm all over my childhood and the parts of it that haunt me most. I hadn't planned on visiting these places, but there is a purge going on that can't be sopped up with anything but pages.

I go back and read the tidal force of language that somehow comes from me and I am caught in waves of emotion. Tapping the source saps everything I've got, but it's like a drug reaction that no mountain, no dry ground can produce. 

I'm finding the honesty of my father. Let me leave it at that for the evening.

Good night.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Home stretch

I keep taking breaks on this project. I have to. I've got eleven pages down. Four pages to go, the creation is fleshing itself out, but I don't feel in control of where it's come from or where it's headed. I love this sort of writing. It takes critical thinking to find loose threads and weave them together. It's kind of like alchemy.

I didn't meet Empedocles. I'm worn out trying to puzzle him into something that makes sense. I worry about him, but I'm good worrying from a distance and with little contact. I took L— at noon instead.

She is still struggling. Poor thing has the world against her and she's swinging. Swinging. We dyed her hair a deep chestnut. It's fitting.

I need to rest. I've spent the last four hours trying to connect Scandinavia, granaries, geometry, carpentry, astrocytoma brain tumors, and identity with subtle elegance. It's not easy. But I've fallen in love with the humanness of Gaute Hogan. I get the Nelson sisters. I would have married him too.

I'm only posting because...

Up in the night, for different reasons

It's 2 a.m. 

L— and I spent the evening together because she is emotionally crumbling. Yup, another kid falling prey to genetics. This is cyclothymia for sure. She's stuck in feeling, and she's miserable.

I'm halfway through my project for creative non-fiction. I'm lost in it right now, not certain where to go because there are so many ways I could go and indecision is winning out. 

Empedocles is a ball of anxiety. I've about had it with him. Do I meet him for coffee tomorrow morning or do I just give up on figuring him out? He's a mess; worse than I am kind of mess. I think he needs a friend, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I need to back away and just let the kid/man breathe, even though I'm around him once or twice a week max. Damned recluse. He reminds me so much of myself when I'm not well. And he's not writing. My mistake today was that I offered to listen, showed concern that his creativity well wasn't producing. He shut down and didn't respond. I should stop caring. 

Why do I care? That's what I don't get. Is this all retribution for my past self, again? Not everyone who I think I can relate with actually feels like I think they feel. I'm clueless in this case. He is immensely talented, and off the wall quirky. Caring what happens to him is contributing to my level of exhaustion, that's certain.

I'll go to bed and figure it out in the morning.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Norwegian love story

I'm taking a brief break from a huge project. I'm a third of the way in to a creative non-fiction piece that I'm adoring. It's not going exactly how I'd imagined, but that's okay. I'm learning buckets about a family of settlers in the area I grew up. I don't believe I'm related to them in any way, but they are fascinating. They were Scandinavian, as is my father's family, and they built beautiful granaries that 140 years later are both standing and structurally sound. I'm also learning about their complex romantic life. The husband married three sisters and there was no shortage of affection with either of them. These women were having babies one right after another. I can't imagine, but in some ways it's endearing. How this will tie in with me and my family I'm not quite sure at this point, but the research is right up my alley. This is the stuff I love to write. 

I texted a hello and continued good luck to Empedocles, but since I didn't ask a question he hasn't responded. Just as well. Skittish boy.

Gaute Eric Hogan granary, Lewiston, Utah

Squaring up with what I get

I know. You're tired of my complaints. This isn't really a complaint as much as it is a clarification. I don't Pintrest, or Pinterest, or however it's spelled. But I know that this clip is presently floating around, or pinned on Mormon bulletin boards.


Now, I know what you're thinking. Gudri! You're not really going to assert that you're oppressed, are you? And the fact is that, no, I'm not oppressed. LDS women really can have everything, UNLESS they have fathers, husbands, bishops, and other priesthood leaders who would disavow their ability to receive personal revelation, or to be lead by the Holy Ghost. This includes brushing aside spiritual experiences, scriptural enlightenment, and divine whisperings within and without spiritual edifices in favor of commanding a woman to do as they see fit. 

The problem isn't dissatisfied women as much as I believe it is men who are finding a premature end to their own priesthood. Yes, it still hurts.

Either each person who comes into existence is capable of their own relationship with the Holy Ghost in order to find truth (and it isn't always a direct course) or the whole thing is bunk. Therein lies the rub.

I dig Sister Dew. She has more power in the Church than I ever will. But in this whole question of whether women should receive ordination to the priesthood or not I've come to realize I don't want power nor authority over others. I feel, deep down, like I already have both. What I feel has been taken from me is power and authority over my own spiritual reality. It's felt nothing short of a forceful violation, and though I get that forgiveness is the only way to overcome the affects of this defiling I also know that healing from assault (I don't use this word in vain, trust me.) takes considerable cleansing and time.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Up in the night

Why do I get this way? By "this way" I mean my libido keeps me awake at night—for several hours. It's not like there's much I can morally do about it. Empedocles drives south, I drive north. I lose myself in the beautiful textures of my childhood, the parts I like to remember. And still, at 2:30 a.m., I wake and I lay there thinking of an alcoholic writer/musician for three hours, unable to do anything about the raging tumult in body and mind.

I'm not even hypomanic. So for all the normal women out there who say they have no interest in sex or who don't want it that often, I think you are fakes. Get over yourselves and your piety. 

I did text Empedocles when I got back into town, just to see how his writing is coming this weekend, because that is what we're both supposed to be focused on for Fall Break. That's all I'm going to let myself do. It has to be. Even though I told him I'd check back when I thought I deserved it. Not that I think he'd let me throw myself at him—he is skittish and sometimes hard to read—but I would really hate myself if I did. Kind of. I need to keep putting words on the page, and not this one. The one about granaries and fathers and origins and identity, that is supposed to be 15 pages long by Monday. When that one is done, I need to focus on the 5-page philosophy paper that's due next week. So I have no room to check in or check back or whatever.

Why Empedocles? Why must you own this portion of my brain?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Coffee with Empedocles

You drape your spare beaded words,
earthenware gems strung on the sinew

of phrase like the gentlest snare
about my birdbone wrist
and I am
aflutter with adornment, soaring
with desire to lose fingers in the twisting locks
of a dappled forest, feel the ancient trunks
bend to my shape,
listen to tales of origin—stories
of stories of how stories came to be,
to taste the flicker of burning diamonds
with every parting of your lips, to drink
the cool green quenching light
that pools in your eyes, and discover
in this stilled ether over a Sunday ritual
how with little more than lyric
you have located the element, and stirred
the belief in an unlatched cage door.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Broken vessels


I've been trying at poetry all day and nothing will gel. I think anger may be barring the pathway for the words, so this, as much as I have second guessed posts on Facebook, is my General Conference Fallout post.

This was a hard weekend. I don't want to get specific. I doubt anyone really cares anyway. And why would I give anyone another opening to point fingers? So here it goes...

I am a very healthy mentally ill. I told Empedocles so at our three-hour-long coffee this morning and I know he believes me. Empedocles, anxious as he is, sees the world with acute detail. He's one of my favorite people of all people, and it seems I can be my honest self around him. That's something. 

I am Bipolar I. I've tried to not be. I've followed the prayer/scripture/service model. It helps as long as it lasts, and then I'd better have Lithium in place to take over. I've also tried to convince myself that life without medication wouldn't feature the swings that it used to. I'm not certain why I tell myself this. 

But, I am not crazy. Even after two hospitalizations, I refute that I am the mentally ill mess that's been portrayed by my mother and my last ex-husband, though I can see how their claims have removed elements of responsibility from situations that we shared. Mental illness is convenient that way for people who resist diagnosis of their own. Fact is, most people can be diagnosed. Empedocles knows this; he refuses to allow them to affix the label. I respect his resistance and his conscientiousness. If only my mother and my ex were as skilled in self-moderation.

I had a bishop who failed me, sided with the priesthood, bought lies about my mental state and did not protect me, when ironically all I wanted was to fill the traditional role of an LDS woman. It's funny how I now have one foot firmly planted in the camp of feminism while the other shuffle-flaps in and out of that foundation of fascinating womanhood. That is definitely binary—Empedocles was the first to wake me up to this pattern of thinking that I dance through.

I'm still reeling from the abandonment of that bishop and my ex-husband. It would be nice for an apology. One from my mother would also be helpful. (That woman thinks she can feign perfection and that absolves her of any responsibility. She always has, and although I asked her months ago not to contact me she won't respect my boundaries. It's sickening.) Realistically, these are not going to happen. So I've spent a summer trying to climb high enough, often enough that I wouldn't feel the tears welling up. I tried to avoid General Conference. I wish I could remove myself from the pain I'm feeling tonight. None of these things work. I'm certain Jesus Christ and the atonement would work if I felt like I could access that. Unfortunately, I can't find faith in the current of anger and hurt. It's been fading for a few weeks.

Elder Holland spoke on mental illness and all of my friends freaked out and urged me to listen. I'm not going to minimize depression, but it's depression. It's so common that the fact that people haven't gained understanding and acceptance of it is laughable. Bipolar I? Let's see. Charlie Sheen. Britney Spears. Mass shooters. And politicians who are picked up on embezzlement. Elder Holland didn't talk about us.  

And then there's Elder Oaks. Wow, talk about gut-wrenching. First off, he corrects my old bishop and ex-husband in everything they tried to play off as not very important in the Plan of Happiness, and then he goes after my LGBT friends. I guess you'd have to understand that when you have a family like mine, the people who become your close friends are your family. So at first I'm cheering the fact that my righteous desires are being vindicated, and then I'm crestfallen as I'm told members of my faith can't support gay marriage, and this time it's worse than Prop 8—it's from the Conference Center pulpit.

I'm struggling. I'm not hiding anything. I feel like I have love and support to offer people in the Church because I just love people. I have major doubts about the "truthfulness" of this gospel that I won't go into here. I am hurt to the point that I don't know what holding on is worth. I can be a good person and serve people without the structure of organized religion. Is it my culture? Yes. I don't think I'll ever be able to escape that, and I don't know that I want to. But this General Conference was not uplifting; it's more like a weighted blanket that is slowly wearing down my ability to move forward.

I haven't made any decisions. I'm just grateful that after I hugged him goodbye this afternoon, Empedocles called after me, "See you Monday?"

Why this surprised me, I can't say. But I called back, "I hope so!"

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mountains of philosophy texts

I'm highly doubting the likelihood that I will climb any significant mountains again for some time. Reason: snow. Another reason: lack of snowshoes/crampons/icepick. I did not climb last weekend. I don't know when I'll hike again; possibly in a week and a half—Fall Break.

Also, I have another poem brewing in my head—Coffee with Empedocles. I may have mentioned it previously. But I think I thought I was being cute/funny and I spooked my muse. He's skittish anyway. Way to go, Gudri.

Also, I got my first philosophy paper back today. The high was 88%. I got 85%. My professor wrote, "This paper sits as an incredibly sophisticated understanding of Heraclitus and rare philosophical talent." He then goes on point-by-point telling me everything I did wrong. See? This is why I love this study. What else could justifiably humble me (as we all know I need to be humbled) and also offer me the clear and comprehensive opportunity to redeem myself? Gah! I wish I'd begun studying philosophy sooner in my collegiate career.

"There is no time for Empedocles, my dear," Gudri says to herself as she fills yet more precious time with blogging rather than catching up on Descartes and his God.

This semester is a blissful murder on my physical and intellectual resources. Watch me die. It should be lovely.