Almost Thirty Years

The old man lay on the bed, his knees drawn up to his chest, looking much the way he had on the day he was born. She longed to touch him, but couldn’t remember how. She hadn’t touched him in almost thirty years. Hadn’t said she loved him, in almost thirty years. He was so vulnerable, always had been. He loved too deeply, and didn’t know how to let go.
She reached for him with trembling hands, then, opted for another blanket instead, to cover his shivering form. She knew how to take care of him, she always had. She wasn’t sure how to love him, didn’t want to love him. She loved too deeply, and didn’t know how to let go.
She’d seen his mistake; made it herself, actually. She was thankful to have learned from him. She’d never make that mistake again. She prayed for the end of his life, the end of his suffering. She prayed to a God she didn’t trust, didn’t believe in, actually.
She’d believed once, she’d been taught to. God, she’d been told, could perform miracles. He could bring people back from the dead. “Yeah, and pigs can fly,” she whispered.
She remembered vaguely a little girl who’d prayed for her mother to get well, to come home. She’d sent letters to her everyday, letters that said, I love you Mommy; letters that said, Please come home.
She didn’t know how those letters had torn her mother in two. How they’d broken her heart.
She remembered the day the little girl took chicken to the hospital for a picnic. She was horrified to find that the nurses had cut off her mother’s hair. Her long beautiful hair had been crudely hacked away, and now resembled a boy’s. The little girl had been afraid to leave her mother at the hospital, afraid of what the nurses might do.
People from the church prayed for her mother. People from the church believed. People from the church were pathetic.
A barely audible gasp escaped her father’s lips, drawing her away from her angry memories. He hated God too. Hated a God that had robbed him of his life, yet been cruel enough to let him live.
It had been almost thirty years since he’d touched her, almost thirty years since he’d said he loved her. Almost thirty years since he’d been her father. Their roles had switched irrevocably that day.
The church people said they should be happy. They said the little girl’s mother wasn’t suffering anymore. They said she’d gone to heaven. They said she wanted to go- she wanted to be with God.
The little girl learned to hate that day. As surely and as deeply as her mother and father had taught her to love, God and the church people had taught her to hate. She hated her father for being so weak. She hated her mother for dying. She hated God for growing flowers. She hated God for changing seasons. She hated God for making rainbows. She hated God for killing her mother, but mostly, she hated God for not killing her father.
The church people thought something was wrong with the little girl. The church people wondered why she didn’t cry. The church people wanted her to cry. God wanted her to cry. Fuck God.
He stirred in his hospital bed with the starched white sheets. Sheets that chafed at his skin the way life had, rubbing away layer after layer of what had once been a man, leaving open sores like those on his soul.
She’d seen his suffering as no one had. She knew he longed to be in the ground, but had stayed for her. In some ways it would have been easier if he’d died almost thirty years ago.
The little girl had learned from watching her father that love was a bad thing; love could destroy your soul.
After almost thirty years he still slept with memories every night. The side of the bed that had once been her mother’s was covered with pictures, bobby pins, purses, clothing, gum wrappers (her favorite had been Juicy Fruit), and something the little girl had learned to hate: her mother’s cherished, white leather Bible. The Bible her mother had taken with her on her many hospital stays. The Bible her mother held when she prayed to get better. The Bible that filled your head and heart with faith, hope, love, and lies.
The hospital room grew cold and she sat on his bed trying to find the strength from within to hold his hand. She could feel death in the room now, and for the first time in almost thirty years, she felt a stirring of hope.
He opened his eyes slowly, painfully, and she begged, pleaded, with the God she’d come to hate to release his soul. His eyes met hers for the briefest of moments, and for the first time in almost thirty years she glimpsed the man he’d once been. For the briefest of moments, she saw the pain, the faith, the betrayal, the strength, and the love that had always been.
His eyes closed and she knew he was gone- knew he was free- knew she was free. The little girl knelt beside the graves of her mother and father, weeping openly. After almost thirty years she cried for her mother. She cried for her father. She cried for the God who had betrayed her.

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Why Work When You Can Dance With Fairies?

I want to dance with fairies. I know you are asking yourself right now, Who doesn’t? Well I’m here to tell you that plenty of people would rather work. How do I know this you ask? It’s easy. How many people have you seen dancing with fairies? Nary a one! Am I right? Of course I’m right. And I just don’t get it. Unfortunately, today, I too will go to work. I know others who will be going as well. What the hell?! What about the fairies, people?! Who will dance with them?!
I was reading recently that people today work longer hours than any generation before. My first thought was – who wrote this? are they on crack? – my second thought was maybe I should read a little more before I starting pointing my crack-pointing fingers at just anyone. So I read. And here is what I have decided. I think that work is to blame for the deterioration of the family unit.
Did you know that 500 years ago the average peasant only worked six months a year?! Oh sure there were the poor stiffs who worked day in and day out like we do today. But the average peasant worked the land and then gave a day a week to working in the country house or castle of their lord.
I think of all the years I’ve wasted feeling sorry for the peasants; when in reality they lived like royalty! Sheesh! They had more time off than the royal family does today?! No wonder they were always searching for pots of gold and making up stories about witches and the like. Most of them couldn’t read. And even if they could, it’s not like Chapters was just down the road. There were no movie theaters. There were no bowling alleys. Pretty much all these people did was dance with the fairies! Oh sure they had internet, but there was no Facebook or Twitter. Nobody was hashtagging anyone! You can’t very well hashtag if you can’t read or write can you? Just to give you an idea of what twitter would have been like 500 years ago. Here is a tweet from John the farmer:# Well that was interesting. Just for fun I think I’ll retweet what he had to say: #
Whoa. Come to think of it those were two of the most interesting tweets I’ve ever read.
On to my point. These days the majority of people are working at least five days a week. We work day shift, afternoon shift, evening shift, graveyard shift. (That one pretty much says it all!) We work weekends, holidays, Sundays. No wonder there is no time for dancing with fairies! There is no time to take a decent poop in this society. Mom and dad work different shifts. It’s no wonder we can’t keep marriages and families together! We never see each other!
We need to slow down, people. We need to take a break. We need to stop buying expensive cars, furniture, clothing. Why do we need all this stuff anyway?! We don’t. We just want it. It’s no wonder we can’t dance with fairies. The magic is gone. The fairies have left the building. We replaced them with governments, religion, terrorists. We have been brainwashed to believe we need this rubbish; when in reality, all we need is to look after one another. We need to slow down and invite the fairies back. We need a little magic in our lives… that said, I won’t be signing up for the weekly witch hunt.

Love Yourself (Scars and Rolls and Dry Skin and All)

The “bigger” picture.

This is something I am becoming more and more passionate about as I become more confident, and as my children get older. This whole business of being a woman in this society. It sucks. Sometimes it really sucks. We are not doing our children any favours, believe me.
One of the biggest things that I am increasingly aware of and believe needs to change is the myth that there is equality between men and women. What? No, there sure isn’t. Being female and having female experiences has shown me a world of ways in which we are unequal. For instance, men on average make more money than women who are in the same position as them (CEO for example). Even though women have joined the workforce, women are still responsible for the majority of house cleaning and child raising. That doesn’t sound fair to me.
We also live in a society that is based on looks. Yes, to some extent it focuses on the looks of men, but not nearly in the way it does so to women. Politicians, News Anchors, Actors, who are men are seen for their intellectual merit, their personality, and their ability to play complex roles. Women in those same positions are  poked fun at if they look too old, don’t show enough cleavage, etc.. so when do women’s minds matter?
Women are constantly sexualized in media. This is one of the major issues. If women are shown images of thin celebs with no flaws, and told these are the most beautiful, powerful women in the world, how can we possibly live up to that? And if you can’t even come close, why try? So many young women do not have the ambition to go into politics, to push to be CEOs and put themselves in positions of power, because we live in “a man’s world” and learn that we can only offer our bodies as sexual objects for men to gawk at. Is it any wonder girls starve themselves?
It isn’t helping our sons either. In the same way our daughters will learn they have no self-worth outside of beauty, our sons are learning that, too. Our sons see women in media as they are shown as ditzy hot chicks, and that is what the cool powerful guys on the t.v. want, so if they want to be cool, powerful men that is what they should want in a women. A trophy wife.
You have options, however. You don’t have to give in to this whole media stereotype. You can choose not to watch television that degrades women. (Okay, so you can watch NO television). You can stop buying tabloid magazines that mock women of power based on a pimple, or some laugh lines. You can stop letting your kids watch media that degrades women. This seems impossible, and maybe it is for some of you. But another option is that when your kids watch that kind of crap, point it out. Why can’t a woman be a super hero without the six inch heels and cleavage bearing uniform? Ask questions about why women aren’t the protagonists more often. Point out to your kids how real people can’t look like that.
And for the love of God we all need to stop going around talking about how fat, wrinkly, old, ugly, saggy, we look. If you consider that your sons and daughters see and hear all of that and if mommy thinks she is fat and fat is bad then all fat women must be undesirable…. it isn’t the best message to put out there. (I am guilty of this as well, but I am vowing to make a much bigger effort to stop. What am I trying to look like? Angelina? It will never happen, and I certainly don’t want my sons to think that any woman could meet that standard)

The truth is, real celebs don’t look like this:

Real celebs look like this:

And real women look like this:

And when you consider what you can do with photoshop:

It is not hard to see that what we are aiming for isn’t even attainable for the women to idolize. We need to get more intellectual women out there as role models, and stop photoshopping. This model was beautiful before the photoshop, that extra bit of skin and all. And confident.

Everyone I know should watch the 90 minute documentary “Miss Representation”. (You can stream it at http://vimeo.com/37703485)  It is about everything I am talking about and they word it in such a way you really think. They put so much into perspective, so for the sake of our sons, daughters, and ourselves, I encourage you to watch this film, and really think about how you give in to this stereotype and how we can create a better world for our kids. It is something we all have to strive for.

Keeping The Faith.

Earlier today I was writing this blog in my head. I was feeling angry, alone, bitter. I was thinking of all that has gone wrong in my life. I was angry with the universe. I was angry with God. I was angry with myself. Now usually I’m a pretty positive person. When there is a problem, I always say things will turn out. I’m pretty good at not letting myself get crazy worried about things. The last few months have been a difficult and trying time in my life, but I have not been allowing myself to lose sleep over my problems. I kept telling myself things would turn out. I kept waiting – patiently waiting- for things to turn out. Unfortunately, the day of reckoning has been drawing ever nearer for me. Still I held onto hope. I prayed. I said that I had faith. I was using what I affectionately call my direct line to God. Surely he would come through. I had nothing to worry about.
Today I changed my mind. I was ready to pack up what I believed, seal it in an airtight container and ship it away – FOREVER. I was done. I was feeling abandoned and alone. Bitterness was clogging my arteries. My head hurt. My heart hurt. I believed that nothing could ever be right. I felt that the very people who should care about me the most – people I would gladly die for – did not really care at all. I was having a pity party and I was the guest of honor! I always say that actions speak louder than words. Their actions (or lack there of) told me that I meant less than nothing. God was a fraud. I’d had enough. Then a funny thing happened. Words turned into actions. Things turned out. Just as I always say they will. ( I really need to listen to myself more!)
So here I sit writing a blog that is very different from what I would have written several hours ago. The universe turned itself inside out. God shook his head and smiled patiently at my lack of faith. I smiled (sheepishly) back. My direct line had been working all along. Hopefully I will keep this in mind for future reference. Hopefully in the future I will keep the faith. I need to remember that worry is a human condition – it’s up to me should I choose to participate. I need to remember to stop crossing the bridge before I get to it.