/cr\ack/s

(undated journal entry from some time between August and October 2016)

The water of the shower drenches her in sudden insight. The realization of the reason for the sudden and intense need to leave the room trickles through her hair and down her back. The idea percolates through to a place of understanding somewhere deep inside of her – a place the influence of past and unconscious is unearthed beneath the surface of conscious present. This place where the paper is filled with imprints and smudges, the floor covered it eraser shavings and splatters of white out – the remnants of constant battling.

The clay she forms remembers the places it has been touched, mended, and punctured.  Though it does so silently, only revealing these memories later, when tried by fire. Only then do the cracks appear, shedding light on the previously unseen mistakes/damage/mishandling.

She realizes in this moment that she is this clay, cracking in the kiln of marriage. And just now in the kitchen he was not her husband, but her father. And the fear that left her child self hiding in her bedroom some evenings, brought about by his anger, was suddenly cracking her surface.

/cr\ack/s

The Stranger

*knock knock knock*

I wonder who that could be… I’m not expecting anybody… Gosh, I hope it isn’t my landlord to show the place, everything is a mess right now…

I leave my dinner prep and walk to the door. I glace through the peephole and see a man I don’t recognize. Uh oh, I wonder if something is wrong downstairs or if I’m walking around too loud. I open the door about a foot and peer out.

“Hello?” I say in a friendly, yet questioning tone.

He looks slightly confused and says, “Oh, hi, I’m here to see Eric.” (I already forgot the actual name he said.)

“Uhh, sorry,” I say, as we simultaneously realize he is at the wrong door and a look of embarrassment comes over his face. “I’m not sure who Eric is.” I wish I knew who that was so I could direct him to the correct apartment… Should I suggest the one at the bottom of the stairs?

“Jesus Christ,” he mutters as he fumbles for his phone in his pocket, clearly trying find the message with the correct apartment number. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s no problem at all,” I say cheerily as I close the door and return to my cooking.

I hope he finds his friend. Man, I really should have met my neighbors and learned their names.  It’s definitely too late to do that here, but I really want to make an effort at our next apartment building.

As I stir the vegetables in the pan, my mind continues on.

Oh jeez I hope I didn’t offend him or anything by only opening the door up a foot… It was only because he was a stranger… I would have been timid opening the door for any stranger… Maybe less hesitant with a woman, but all unexpected men would make me tentative… But I hope he didn’t think it was because he was black.  I would hate to have just unintentionally played into any racial insecurities he might have.  Hmm…I wonder if me thinking that he might have been offended is considered racist? Or thinking that he might have insecurities?  Was me thinking that his friends might be the black people living in the apartment at the bottom of the stairs racist? I mean, I didn’t want to assume that, but they have a lot of visitors and most of the other people have moved out for the summer… But the fact that I didn’t suggest that he look at that apartment… was that a good thing? Or did that just mean I wasn’t being helpful? No… probably better I didn’t say anything.  He just seemed so flustered, I wish I could have helped. 

Is this a helpful internal dialogue?  To question my reasons for doing this and how they may or may not have impacted others?  Is doing this going to make me more aware and sensitive or just more likely to overthink things and make them awkward?  I genuinely want to be aware of other people’s feelings and reactions, but I am also aware I can’t control those.  I want to be sensitive without tiptoeing.  For a long time I just did my best to ignore color and race… to view everyone as the same.  But in Gardner’s class we learned that that is basically erasure, which isn’t beneficial either.  So I should recognize race and the potential for prejudice, and then… what?  Also, I know there’s a difference between racist and…what’s the other term… racial?  I need to read more about this.  Maybe the blog world could have some helpful input…

 

 

The Stranger

On Using & Being Used

The feeling of being taken advantage of is one of my biggest triggers

Feeling used and naïve

Whether it is by a friend, a company, a professor

It reminds me of how little control I actually have

Everyone has mixed intentions, I know that

And maybe it is the reminder that I, too, have mixed intentions that bothers me so much

But it almost always comes back to that question I asked my parents all those years ago

That question I have continued to ask again and again over the years:

Are we all just God’s puppets?

Am I just a pawn?

If companies can just change how things run

“I am sorry, but those are the new rules.”

The government can just adjust the hoops that have to be jumped through

“That’s just how it is.”

What power do I really have to fight?

What can I really change or control?

Because controlling my reactions to things hasn’t really seemed to help

Controlling and containing the anger and frustration and helplessness isn’t doing much

Besides making me want to tear down ‘the system’

Break down ‘the rules’

Confront the people hiding behind ‘corporate policy’ and “there is nothing I can do”

And it’s not just those situations…

Because when I really stop to think about it those employees may feel just like I do

Helpless and powerless

Unable to respond any differently because of The Man and The Rules

They’re just doing their jobs

But what about when it is the manipulation of just one person

One boy who just wants you to “come over and go swimming”

With all sorts of ulterior desires and motives hiding under his bathing suit

What about when it is one professor who “really wants you to succeed”

With dreams of tenure and awards floating around in his brain

When it is the one girl who “would love to catch up”

But really just needs money for an upcoming mission trip

 

Am I just a cynic? Seeing through all the motives

Am I being selfish? Using this as an excuse to avoid what I don’t want to do

Am I being hypocritical? Because of course I am no different

Surely I, consciously and subconsciously,

Intentionally and unintentionally,

Jumble my motives

Contaminate my acts of love and friendship

With selfishness and greed

 

So what?

What now?

 

 

 

On Using & Being Used

The Walrus in the Room

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–”

Of who will win tomorrow’s vote
And what the future brings.

And I, for one, am tired of
The choice of evil less
And Neither do I wish to win
For both would be a mess.

And so instead I vote to change
This system from the past,
For these two parties failing us
To come an end at last.

For if they get just five percent
Another could arise
To change the nation’s standards
Right before our eyes

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

The Walrus in the Room

only you, my friend

For when the going gets tough
The tough get going
And you are definitely tough,
My friend.
For not many
Can look Death in the eye
Unflinchingly
As He tries to catch them.
But instead you caught
Perseverance
You caught determination
And you caught yourself before your face hit the ground as the bike skid out from under you
Knocking only the wind from you
Instead of the information we so desperately desire
Because we are nosy
Or loving
Depending on who you ask.
And we wish we could catch you
But it’s tough,
Because our legs have only been trained to catch people who want to be caught
And you,
my friend,
are too stubborn for that.
And only you,
my friend,
Would help someone else
learn to run faster,
work harder
as your own body
is learning lessons
and waging battles
of its own.
And only you,
my friend,
would be riding a bike with no brakes
in the first place.

only you, my friend

Lessons Learned

+ the skin on my neck is not suitable to be used as a handhold for a baby learning to stand, nor as a teething apparatus

+ Bob is the stroller equivalent of Cadillac

+ Water and cardboard boxes never fail to be interesting

+ Laxatives: prunes, sweet potatoes, peaches

+ Outside > inside

+ Children + sugar = 😅😮😲

+ if they are hiding (out overly quiet) they are probably doing something they are not supposed to do or something they fear will get them in trouble (aka licking playdough)

+ If you pretend to lick sand, they may actually lick sand… and that gets problematic very quickly

+ Nannying sometimes means going home with another woman’s breast milk on my shirt.

+ There’s a fine art to interacting with others kids and their guardians at the playground. There’s a set of standard first questions (e.g. how old is he? what’s his name?) and a proper hovering distance maintained when there’s a possibility for necessary intervention (e.g. when one tries to hurt the other, when they don’t share/take turns).

+ I’m at the age where I am consistently assumed to be the parent (by women).
“Nope, just the nanny.”
Though better than when some (the men) think I’m in high school…

+ Terminology such as ‘ergo’ and ‘nuby’

+ All the words to “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?”

+ The basics of baby sign language

+ If you give a kid a cake, he’ll be bouncing off the walls. If you teach a kid to bake (with sand), he’ll be content doing that every day for who knows how long.

Lessons Learned