on the goodness of night

there is no greater relief than
shucking of day
sloughing off costume
rituals of potion and removal
of turning down of
putting away
clothes folded nicely behind the closet door
everything in its place
blanket at my thirsty feet
light extinguished
soft give of bed and slink of sheets
(here you go yes now it will be okay)
a pill that means relinquishment is on its way
means there are measures one can take
what comfort
what revelry
to be able to select for
soft cocoon of home and dark quiet of night
what solace
what calm
drawers pushed to
glass of cold water on the nightstand
refrigerator hum blotting out
last remnants of
the fourth of july
tonight I will sleep not to dream
but for the swaddling
for the inward turn
folding of limbs
pillows between knees otherwise pressed too tight
jaw clenched
strangled cries buried deep beneath the veil
forgotten on waking
misty eyed in morning fog
padding to the coffee machine
which sits dumb on the counter
and always optimistic
about the coming light

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On staying still long enough to grow…

This has been a beautiful perfect day and I am in love with everything and myself and especially California. Some strange new wave of becoming settled here is happening: my relationships are beginning to blossom, work seems like it may bear surprising fruit, and everywhere I look my life seems to be in bloom. You’ll have to forgive the planting metaphors because I’ve just spent the afternoon out in the sun repotting things that’d outgrown their vessels and tucking dormant seeds into soil. Literally and figuratively. So many new things are shooting tendrils up toward the sun.

Blue skies, breezes, warm light on my face, quiet contemplation of happy beginnings, and for the first time in I don’t know how long I don’t feel tired. I feel whole.

I’m growing!

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In the first dream I can’t remember if she is still alive, and get stressed about whether I should I have sent flowers or a card or myself. So I go home to find out.

Deeper in, second dream, she is there, we sit on the couch, and I tell her about almost becoming a foster mom to Bean, and she listens and nods but flits around the living room and leaves before offering any advice. The one time I actually want someone to give advice instead of just listening deeply, aha. I pull her back to me and kiss the dry skin of her dead hands before she disappears completely.

Last dream, she is gone, but I have this huge family I don’t know and I am overwhelmed by them. There is no room to cook in the kitchen because their meals are overflowing so I cook fish in chile oil in my grandfather’s bathroom. They and all their kids come back to California with me, crowding my bar tables, throwing things in my private yoga class. I am confused about which facebook account to friend them with; are these people I’m supposed to keep at an arm’s length or let in to my personal life?

I wake with the lingering presence of her life and existence metallic in my mouth, and the realization that it is mother’s day and therefore an awful day to try and get brunch.

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For 24 hours I was guardian, advocate, and ally to a small, vulnerable, and tough young person who needed me. For 24 hours my every thought was centered on her needs and experience and not one single other concern even made my radar. It was sudden and unexpected and ended just as suddenly, and now seems like an out of body experience.

Is that what parenting is like? An out of body experience?

Holy shit.

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I’m uncertain about the changing landscape at my beloved job: we are nearing the end of school year now, and this is my first transition of this kind in this setting. I need stability like a crazy person (SWIDT?) and change makes me flinch like from a fist. There’s so little feedback and communication happening right now that every scrap of plan feels like a demotion. Which makes me feel paranoid and crazy. Did I mention feeling crazy. Also hormones.

Next week I’m going home for that overdue christmas visit and I’m almost sick with anxiety. I will attempt to supplant the negativity there with every pleasant sensation I can access but it’ll still feel like getting turned inside out, like being demoted back to the worst part of my life. There aren’t many parts of life I’m afraid of doing alone but I have absolutely zero skills or strategies for what I know I’m walking into. I am terrified. I flinch like from a fist.

I feel like I need advisors, but looking around at the people proximal to my situations it seems there’s no one, or at least no one I can trust, because honestly what model do I even have for that? It seems like I should have done a better job of seeking out or creating proximal advisors, but I never realize how true this is until the moment I’m caught in the need, like how I forget I need to buy shampoo until my hair is already wet, or toilet paper until I’m on the toilet scanning the room for tissue or any approximation thereof.

How does anybody ever get anything done.

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at sea

Today I was able to connect with a teenager I’ve been struggling with all year by spilling the condensed 5-minute version of my childhood story to him. He has some similar stuff going on in his life but super did not expect it coming from me, and the expression in his eyes as they soaked up every wet word unhinged all the moorings in my chest. My heart slipped loose and bobbed around while I struggled to keep face against the tears. It felt, after our meeting was ended, as if some sort of tension had been released.

At the end of the day he shocked me by stopping into my center just to reconnect and say bye before he went home. This tiny act, and I am undone.

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Blueberries macerating in olive oil, to grace thick Greek yogurt with black sesame seeds and a homemade toasted nut mix: hazelnut, cashew, walnut, pistachio, pine nut, pecan. Sweet potato baking in the oven for tomorrow’s lunch, to feature alongside a bowl of pesto pasta salad with fresh mozzarella, basil, tiny multicolored tomato gems, cucumber, pistachios and pine nuts. Four days of kale smoothie packs ready for the week: some have blueberries and almond butter, others apple and ginger.

Chopped chicken in the fridge is soaking in a bath of ponzu, fresh ginger, rice wine vinegar, hoisin, and white pepper, waiting for its wedding tomorrow night with fat asparagus stalks in smoking hot peanut oil, chiles, sesame seeds. Whole thighs in lime juice, lime zest, cumin, and smoked paprika will meet butter lettuce salads with red peppers, bacon, and cilantro later in the week.

My kitchen has been a sad, dirty slum for months now. I haven’t cleaned, haven’t cooked, haven’t been inspired by any food beyond soup for ages, and I certainly haven’t had the energy to wash and prep and cook for the week to come. It’s been all single-serving yogurt cups, grocery store salads, and delivery over here. Too much packaging, too much waste. I think I finally took Salad Bag Lyfe too far!

This rebound feels restorative and exciting and I hope it takes. I can’t wait to eat all these things and I hope lunchtime only-wants-burgers-and-pizza me will agree.

Posted in A Southern Girl's Daily Life, A Southern Girl's Work (Is Never Done), What a Southern Girl Eats | Tagged | Leave a comment