A year ago my mom was still alive today. I was busy, planning for a trip. Getting ready to leave town for three days. She called and we talked about a visit to my grandmother I was going to make. I remember being really wrapped up in packing as she was trying to talk to me. Trying to reassure me that it wasn’t me that made things weird between my family and I, that’s just how things were. We chatted about getting lunch on the following Wednesday; we would get the kid from school, maybe go to Santa Fe. We wouldn’t. She would be dead. And cremated. I would be buried in grief and alcohol and acting to the world like I had all my shit together. I didn’t. Don’t. I am exactly where I was this time last year. Preparing for a three day trip to the same state I was in when she died. The only difference is that on this day last year she was still alive. And now she’s not.

Watching derby. Writing about derby. Looking at my rather empty calendar.  I don’t have any games on the books (except a possible Labor Day hop to Flagstaff) and it’s sort of like I feel a bit lost.  There’s so much happening in the personal life right now that I could use the distraction of training, studying, reffing. Working with good crews.  It’s a great gig. I miss it.  I should probably go to practice this week. And stop whining.

 

I’ve been sort of back and forth trying to decide what I want to do with this blog and the others I started several years ago.  I’ve archived all the other accounts associated with BWBW, and will be focusing solely on this blog until I decide what to do.  I will be continuing to write about life, derby, fiction (unedited shorts that I really just vomit up and don’t ever go back to) and I’ll start adding in some photography to the mix.  For now, my number one goal is to make a daily schedule and stick to, start changing up the theme and archives and just generally bring better content to what amounts to the public face of my writing.  I will be participating in NaNoWriMo again this year, and will have a slightly different format for that month, but beginning in January, I’ll have the content streamlined so that those of you who follow just for derby know when to check in for that.  Those that stick around for the fiction can count on a weekly, or biweekly if I’ve got the energy, update in those sections.

Anyway! Look for changes.  Give feedback if it sucks or if you love it or just in general.  I thought about scrapping this site and starting ALL THE WAY OVER, then decided against it; it is a testament to the past year or so as a lot of things have happened.  Sometimes things will be vague, I’m sorry for that but some of the recent events involve too many people for me to be brutally honest about dates, times, locations etc. Derby will probably take a more serious bent.  I really have some things I want to dig into.  Things that I see working, things I see sucking.  I want to dig into the meat of why derby works when it does and why it goes up in flames so often.  What breaks a league? What makes it? How do we save our officials?

I guess, that’s it! Just stick with me.  I’ll try to make the content interesting and I’ll try to be better about engaging.  The comments, I mean, don’t be a dick, right? K. See you tomorrow!

I have some thoughts on meal trains.  First, I think you should understand where I was last year, where I am this year and why, because of these two different places, I will never again turn down being on the giving or receiving end of an offered meal.

Last year, after my Mom died, everyone wanted to help out somehow.  And I shunned that help (and so much more help for this past year that I am now exactly where I was instead of being even partially healed, but more on that later).  I didn’t want people to bring me food or clean my house or do anything that I thought I should be able to do for myself.  My family suffered for this.  I couldn’t cook or clean or grocery shop.  The only thing I could do was sit and cry and hide in parking lots or camp on my best friends’ couch while they worried they’d have to pick me up and physically drive me home. It was an ugly time.  And it passed into winter like this.  I lost my ability to really and truly provide care for myself or my family.  But it was what it was.

Fast forward to this week.  My husband had a doctor’s appointment on Monday and by Thursday he was in surgery.  Words like Cancer and Chemo are being thrown around.  This came in the wake of some rather personal revelations on both are parts that have sent us back to therapy.  Things are basically as rough as they could be going into the school year, in a new house that is barely unpacked and has weeds and moving trash piling up like it’s possibly breeding while we sleep.  At the time that he announced the surgery and upcoming weeks off to his coworkers, they settled on providing us meals.  I dug my heels in and said “no” but during the course of the few days between Monday and the surgery, he convinced me it as something he wanted, and I conceded.

That first day was rough.  The surgery went well, it was fast and he was home within a few hours.  We will know if the results are good, less good, or not at all good in a week or two.  We were both exhausted, he was so sore he couldn’t get in and out of bed without help (still can’t) our daughter was rambunctious and worried.  The house was a wreck.  And then a friend, a friend on vacation in another country, had one of her employees deliver a sack filled with food from her restaurant.  And one of his coworkers delivered the first meal of the train.  And there was a moment of such profound relief that I couldn’t quite explain it.  I realized then I didn’t have the energy to plan a meal, let alone cook it.  I’d have had to go to the store  for ingredients we didn’t have.  There would have been dishes to do.  Those meals, delivered in disposable containers, heated on someone else’s stove were going to save my life.  I realized that in those few moments and I was completely humbled.

A hot meal has been delivered to our home every day since.  And they are continuing to be delivered into next week. Having this one weight lifted from our shoulders right now is more than I can be grateful for.  Not having to wonder if the kid will have a hot meal, if there will be food to give the husband when he does get hungry, being able to quickly feed myself; they are a relief I can’t describe.  Not to mention that between hospital copays, prescriptions and other needed items, things were tight this paycheck.  I would not have been able to afford the meals that are being brought to us, let alone prepare them with the energy I have to spend.

The long and short is this.  This kindness, this humbling display of friendship, community and outreach, it is healing more than just a broken and stitched up body.  It is healing a little of the faith in my fellow humans I lost when my mom died.  I holed up with people who didn’t have that faith inside them and let it grow into a belief that maybe people aren’t good. Maybe there wasn’t anything left of the community I believed for so long to be a reality.  now I see it.  It’s glimmering around the edges of a home-cooked pot roast, in the friendly smile delivered alongside a slow roasted chicken and green beans.  There’s hope there.  Hope that everything is going to be okay.  That everyone really does have some good.  That we will get through this because we aren’t on this island alone.

 

 

Life. We have no way to predict what it does or what it wants to do.

Case in point: this week started with some major upheavals at home. All couples go through things, we aren’t any different. Then a routine annual led to an ultrasound led to bloodwork led to surgery. A man I have loved for 13 years was suddenly a man I might lose and clarity hit me harder than a truck.

Now we are sitting here on the couch binging on Hulu and Netflix and I feel like things are right in the world. The point I think life may have been making was to quit worrying about the small stuff. Reconnect. Slow down. Nothing matters but these moments right here. Everything else will work out. All of it is inconsequential compared to this right here.

This past ten days has been very difficult and I am right back where I was nearly a year ago.  I’ve made a solid mess of things in my desire to avoid my grief and repress my real feelings about life and pretending to be something I’m not has gotten me in the middle of something I never expected.  I can’t begin to begin again.  And life just keeps the curveballs coming.  I don’t believe in predestination, but I do think there’s some punishment happening right now.  The universe, if it does get ticked off, is pretty fucking pissed at me right now.  I’ll eat this and see where i end up.  But dammit, I’d go back if I could.  I’d think things through differently and get help sooner.  Real help.  I wouldn’t keep another single thing inside that needed to see the light, no matter how painful revealing the truth at that time may have been.  It’ll be okay.  It has to be okay. We will all be okay. You too.

 

 

Maybe if I had written more about how things really were. Or listened to the pain I had written of here, this would not have happened. Things would still be bright and clean. If lie upon lie didn’t stack up until they toppled maybe we’d have found ways to crawl out of this and be whole again. Maybe if I hadn’t thought that i was in control. Maybe if I had known sooner. Maybe a lot of things. 

It’s been a while. The news and moving and keeping track of a wild kid has me busier than I like to be. But I’ll try to get back here. In the meanwhile: happy Independence Day. 

 

I have been sad all day. And that’s such a fucking lame understatement I could cry. What’s it coming to? All this hate and violence and meanness. Why are we here? This side will blame the victims. That side will blame the religion. This other side of the fucked up blame polyhedral wants to blame the guns and this one over here is using it to better his/her campaign platform by blaming their opponent.

The fact is, a man hated a group of his fellow humans — for whatever his reasons, for however he got there — his hate was so powerful that murder became an option in his mind. Plain and simple. His hate. His crime. I have no doubt that denied access to his weapon of choice that he’d found alternative means. He would have cornered a young gay man in an alley and beaten him to death. He’d have tracked and raped and beaten a lesbian woman. Somehow his hate would have manifest itself. Bombs, guns, words, fists, hate. All hate hate hate. 

Everyone wants to place the blame somewhere. It was this or that or them. Us versus them. That’s all I hear these days. With or against. Us versus them. The we defined by our shared ideology against the they defined by theirs. It’s breeding a black, slimy culture of victim blaming. Shamefully abused by politicians to further their gains. The media bathing in blood and lapping at the open wound that is this nation’s sense of togetherness.

It boils down to one man’s hate. He chose to do this horrible thing. No one made him. He lived in his culture of fear and hate. Do you hear me? What I am repeating to you over and over? Those men and women destroyed by one man’s hate. 

We can take away the guns. Ban the religions we don’t like. Close the gay bars. Criminalize love. It won’t take the hate out of the black disgusting souls of those who want to snuff out the different. And taking those lives never makes the hater whole. And the cycle continues. 

I’m sad today. That this world is one that I have to raise my child in. Reassuring her again and again that people are good and the world is full of light and potential. Even doing so when I am full of fear and sadness and a sense of not knowing how to fix things. Loving my tribe. My family. My friends. The good, wonderful people who would never turn a weapon on someone just because they were different. The strangers I love though I’ve never met because to methey all deserve my respect. I’ll  keep doing it. Telling her. Reminding myself that there’s a light. That the beacons may be dim, but hate cannot be allowed to consume me. Us. Them.