About Me


 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott


I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

Motherhood is not a biological designation
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Holding space

"Loss transforms perspective.  

The pain of loss can be staggering.  

This means we must focus our attention on the present moment, scanning its particular delights even if from an emotional distance.  

In severe seasons of heartache, we are asked to protect and care for ourselves

like vulnerable children taking a childlike delight in the tiny joys of life."

-Julia Cameron, Transitions: Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life


I read this passage this morning, and called a close friend going through terrible loss.  

I know it's likely too much for her to answer phone calls, so I've been leaving her messages throughout these awful days, of my thoughts, and prayers, and love.  I want her to know she is not alone, that I am thinking of her always, even though we live far away and I cannot show up at her door to hold her.

I do not have a holy "me too" to give her. I have not experienced the grief she is walking through.  But the griefs I have known have opened up before me like a limitless abyss, and I can guess she is staring into that same inky black darkness.

I know the vertigo that happens when you stare into the great black hole of loss, when you know all you have to do is lean in to the void, and you will become the void, and that will mean you don't have to feel anything anymore, and that seems like a very blessed release.

I called my friend and told her I know words are inadequate, and that I know she is staring into the void, and that today I wanted to offer her my very inadequate and tiny view, like a child would, of where I was sitting in the room when I called her.

I described my sheepskin rug and the ponytail palm that sits on top of my electric fireplace. I talked about finding my "electricplace" on Craigslist for $75.00 and how I sanded it and painted it white. I described the Diebenkorn poster from the Dallas Museum of Art that I bought at Goodwill for $7.99, and how it hangs next to the two black and white photographs I took of bison in Yellowstone Park.  I talked about the books on the coffee table, and the coffee in my mug with a tiger on it.  I rambled on about the camp chair I brought in from the shed to use as my second accent chair next to my white sofa, that, surprisingly, isn't showing much wear and tear even though it's pummeled daily by dirty child feet.  

I read her a passage from the Julia Cameron book on prayer, and even though I wanted to skip the last part about "taking a childlike delight in the tiny joys of life" because even the suggestion that there were tiny joys right now seemed like the most callous thing I could possibly read, I read the whole thing anyway, and told her I thought the message might be to care for herself gently, to let her world get very small, severely short-sighted, like a child.  That I might call this being present, and that I think it's probably the only way to survive.


It's awful when people you love experience the void.

You'd give your anything to make the pain go away, but you know you can't fix it, and it sucks so bad to sit with that feeling of helplessness. It's petrifying.

How can the world become in an instant just entirely too much to handle?  And if it can for them, then it sure as hell can for you.  And there it is.  The awful truth of all of our lives reveals itself: the world truly is entirely too much to handle.  It's hard not to freeze up on the best of days, and now this?  All of our ideas for comfort seem so ridiculously pathetic, insulting almost, and so it seems better to do nothing, and at least not make it any worse than it already is.

How could describing my living room help AT ALL when you've lost what she's lost? 

It doesn't.  My living room description doesn't do jack squat. 

But me calling might do something.  Me, inserting myself, between my loved one and the great awful hugeness of the world.  Me, showing up, even if I have no good ideas for how to make things better.

It's called holding space.

They can't hold the space. It's everything they can do just to keep on breathing.  Just to try not to topple into the vast blackness.  So you do it for them.  You fill the space with your presence.  Even if you feel stupidly small to fill the space; even if you feel like a pipsqueak with a toothpick for a sword.  It's not about you.  


She's done it for me, from across the country, in my black void times.

She called with nothing to say, but she called.  I cried, and she cried just as hard.  I held the phone in silence, and she stayed on the line and breathed with me.

And when she could, she bought a plane ticket and she showed up and she cooked me Thai food.

She helped me paint my bedroom orange, and didn't ask me why I needed to do that.

She laid in bed with me and watched weird indie movies and got popcorn in between the sheets.

She wiped my counters clean, and intercepted all my phone calls so I didn't have to pretend I was doing fine. 


She pulled me back into the present with her presence.  

She was good to me not because she magically figured out the right thing to do when someone you love is suffering, but because she knew what every child knows who has ever skinned a knee and had it healed with a kiss: we don't need someone to make it better; we just need someone to show up.



Wild Geese 

You do not have to be good. 
You do not have to walk on your knees 
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. 
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves. 
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. 
Meanwhile the world goes on. 
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers. 
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again. 
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination, 
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.


© Mary Oliver. Online Source




My first marriage is over

I've been terrified all day that I'm going to die.  

I make breakfast for Phoenix, my youngest, and I think, "this might be the last time he looks in his momma's eyes." I notice faint traces of marker on Kyrie's stomach as I help her get dressed and think, "I might never get the chance to see her grow up." 

I'm boarding a plane tonight to go visit my oldest friend in Chicago.

I'm not normally afraid of flying, so my fatalistic thoughts seem out of place, until I realize that six years ago I made this same trip, and something did die.  

My marriage as I knew it died while I drank wine and watched SNL videos on my best friend's couch.  

And as I discover a reason for what I'm feeling, I suddenly don't feel it that much anymore.  What was mounting all day into a panic attack, breathes out with my breath, and the thoughts click into place. I'm having a trauma response, one that is connected to a primal experience deeper than reason can reason out.  And that's ok.  It's ok to be reminded of what I've lost and lived through.


Recently, I watched Esther Perel's TED talk "Rethinking Infidelity...a talk for anyone who has ever loved," and found her thoughts on betrayal to be so refreshing.  She says an affair can be turned into a generative experience, that it's a jolt into a new life- a new disorder that can lead to a new order.

She asks this question: "Your first marriage is over. Would you like to create a second one together?"

It's a question Michael and I asked ourselves six years ago, in the wake of the explosion of everything we both thought could be trusted.  

But I forget sometimes that our first marriage died that day.


Esther says infidelity shatters the grand ambition of love.

It's a truth I've expressed in my darker hours when I've said, "I don't believe in love anymore."  But if I'm more careful with my words, what I actually don't believe in is the innocent, sometimes ignorant, epic movie version of what Love, capital L, is.


I don't believe Love is a thing that happens to you.  I think it's a daily choice, like Brene Brown says, to turn towards the other person instead of away.

I don't assume Love will sit there, without any caretaking, without any feeding, and just keep growing like some kind of super weed.  

It's always either turn towards or turn away. Love has no neutral ground.


I don't take love for granted anymore.  I don't assume it comes easily.  I don't assume it can't end.  

And, I don't expect my husband to be my everything.  I don't expect him to be transcendent and superhuman. I don't expect him to read my mind, or to fill all my cracks, or to satisfy my every desire.

I don't expect the world to work according to a mathematical equation where I receive in equivalency to what I give out, and if I am loved enough, I can be loving enough. 

Or, if I am loving enough, I can be loved enough.  


Love is a choice made regardless of circumstance or context or whether you think you deserve it or the other person earned it. It's not dualistic; it's transcendent.  

It expands. It does not limit.

But some of that expansion means the illusions fall away and the whole world gets bigger and more real, and you get more fragile, more aware.

I live with the awareness of my humanity, on the knife edge realization that any second I, or the people I love, could fail big time, could fall big time, could hurt or be hurt, big time.

I carry my fragility everywhere.  

The thin veil that hangs between safe and not safe was torn with Michael's infidelity, and rent in two with the fire, and if I had to choose, I'd choose the unveiled view still, even if it meant going through all of that again.

Because my fragility is my humanity, my offering of my whole self, without equivocation or expectation.


We are trundling down the runway when I read the phrase, "Vol de Nuit," in the Vogue article "Ring of Fire" by Silvana Paternostro. Vol de Nuit means "Night Flight." It's a phrase taken from the novel written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, a story about the perils of the early days of aviation, when pilots flew the dark skies without instruments, taking off not knowing if the night would be filled with beautiful stars or terrifying tempests.

The author learned the phrase from a Guerlain perfume of the same name created in 1933 "to offer a tribute to women who like to take risks."  

I speak it out loud just as the plane goes airborne, "Vol de Nuit."  Night flight.

I am leaving behind my husband and four children, flying to Chicago for three and a half days.  I don't know what will happen while I am gone, I don't know what will happen while I am alone.  I don't know if there will be stars or tempests.

These are the what if's, that even when you entertain them, can never really prepare you for what happens, good or bad.  


Life is a night flight.

Sometimes you visit your best friend in another city and your husband kisses another woman.  Sometimes everything goes perfectly and you return home and your kids run to the door and throw themselves in your arms, and your husband kisses you on the mouth, and you sit down to dinner and hold hands while your youngest prays.

Love is risk in every moment. 

Nothing can prepare you for it, and nothing can change the truth of Love's nature. We never know what we are signing up for when we choose to love someone.  

We never know what it will cost, or what we will gain.  


I think truly giving your whole self to the endeavor of loving one person well for the rest of your life is the most countercultural, anti-status quo, ballsy, audacious, crazy town, warrior kind of thing you could possibly ever do.

And I want to be one of the ones who does it. Who loves hard, loves recklessly.  Who, when she is betrayed, or when she betrays, gets back up and keeps loving, eyes wide open, staring fear and retreat and cynicism and judgment and self-righteousness and shame in the face.