Monday, June 29, 2009


Camille might look just like her dad but in terms of personality she's my clone. I told H, just now, that Camille is going to provide endless amusement for the rest of my life. It's a little strange, but fun, to be around someone who is so much like you but also their own little person. There is much that I can predict but an equal amount that catches me off balance.

I still remember the day Camille was born (just as I do for all of them). Camille's birth was by far my hardest. 14 hours of labor...most of it utterly inactive. I had to go on a drug to speed up the labor after five hours of nothing. When the small amount didn't work, they jacked it to the highest, leaving me with the worst contractions I have ever felt. One right after the other. Add to this a nurse determined to give me an epidural, it was pretty horrible. But she was finally born, rushed away from me to make sure she was okay. I could hear her wail from across the room, and I kept asking "What is it?" I didn't know the gender but I hoped it was a girl. And when H whispered that we had a girl, I started to cry. I had my little girl, Camille. She was a fierce curious one right from the beginning. She was also beautiful with a full head of thick black hair, and big beautiful eyes that turned dark, like Horacio's very quickly.

Now she's a six year old wonder full of life, spunk, and attitude. No one messes with Camille, and when they do she turns on them with her ferocious glare. She has a look that is a replica of my own angry look. The look that stops people cold, and makes them stammer for a minute.
And yet she is so sensitive. She cries easily. She hurts easily. She feels rejection intensely and you can see the pain it cause her. This is hard because Camille does not have the social skills of most kids her age. When she was two we put her into a part time preschool. It was a great preschool, liberal, open, and free-spirited. But Camille did not thrive. At one point, a teacher asked us if Camille didn't speak English. She was making no connection with the other kids or with the teachers. When I picked her up, she was always having a good time but it was always on her own, away from the other kids who did try to befriend her in their toddler like ways. But Camille wanted nothing to do with them. I was worried that she had autism but everyone who knew her thought I was nuts.

Flash forward to Kindergarten. Camille at this point desperately wants girl friends. She wants friends who sleep over and who invite her to sleepovers. But she can't seem to make friends. Her approach is awkward, and the other kids respond to that awkwardness with rejection. I watched as little girls turned their backs on her. I'll never forget the day she approached a group of little girls, said "Hi!" in her in the face kind of way, only to have them turn their away on her. She looked at me, and her face fell, tears rolling down her cheeks. It broke my heart. Watching your child in this kind of emotional pain is dreadful. I watched more closely after this incident, and kept trying to talk to her teacher about what I was seeing. She spent recess on the bench with the teachers, she lied to us about having friends at school. Her social skills did not improve with time.

And then I met a friend whose son has Asperger's. After spending time with her son, and having read the links she so graciously sent me, I started to realize that maybe Camille had Asperger's. The little boy is wonderful like Camille, and like Camille has what I see as a delightful eccentricness. But I also see the pain as he struggles to connect with other kids. In some ways it was comforting to finally see another child act like Camille. To have another parent say "Oh yeah so and so does that all the time." And feel like Camille was not a freak. To feel like maybe we could do something to help her.

Because really I don't want her to change. I love Camille's personality. It's funny, witty, and ironic in a way I don't see in many children. But I also know that if she wants to connect with other people she needs help in learning social cues, body language, and empathy. I feel like knowing what we can do to help her will also help us to help Camille not change in order to make friends.

Camille's wit, and her playfulness is so sophisticated. I love watching her talk to H with an intent seriousness bent on proving that his silliness is just not true. But then she'll turn on us both with some sardonic comment that leaves us stunned but smiling. "Daddy's a monkey. And mama is a...a..a princess!" And then she'll laugh at her own creation of us. I love listening to her talk to our friend's child because they both sound like a 60 year old couple having a very important conversation....about Pokemon.

And when she runs out dressed in various dress up clothes, pleased with her new image, she'll pose for us...and when we tell her she's beautiful, wonderful, she just smiles and says "I know."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sleep Waking

She woke with that groggy feeling that comes with taking sleeping pills. She felt mediated for everything: depression, migraines, insomnia. But those pills were too often the only thing that kept her moving through life. They got her out of bed, dressed (sometimes), and asleep. She did not like to think about what she would be without the pills. It was, she felt, a necessary and sanctioned addiction.

This morning was rough. She woke up a few times only to fall back on the bed, into sleep. But the insistence of the birds, the refusal of the sun to just go behind one more damn cloud, the push of the dreams, finally forced to just open her eyes and sit up. She rose slowly, careful because too fast would make her head split open, allowing in a radiating pain that sometimes made her throw up. She put her hands on her knees, and let her head fall to her chest. As usual there was no one beside her. She slept a lone most nights.

The dreams were still coming. A whole fucking year, and they still came, night after night. Sometimes, even on the sleeping pills, she would wake to smell him in her room. She could never let go of the way his skin smelled, the ways her sheets smelled of him after he had left. Even now, with the horror of night still fresh on her body, she knew his touch with a longing pleasure. The way his hands felt on her sweaty skin, the way he curved his fingers over breasts, one thumb brushing her nipple, squeezing it between the same thumb and the first finger. It was enough to make her sigh. Once, when it was all fresher, she would sometimes moan, and lay back down on her bed to masturbate. A masturbation that tore her up, killed her little by little, threw her back into an unattainable past. But now she just sighed, and pushed the memories away.

She had made the choice. She felt quite pleased with the nobility of her choice but she also knew that nobility had little to do with it. The choice had been made to avoid destruction. And yes she had saved herself from death but really she had not exchanged that death for life. Instead she was dying a slow, lingering death, her life being sucked into the absence of where he was not.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sometimes Life is Sweet

Just a brief fancy writing, nothing so beautiful or so painful...just a simple thought to end a beautiful day. Today was something close to perfect. We spent a hot day at a sprayground, getting wet, hanging out with some lovely friends, chasing beasties through cold water...later we made pizza with the same beasties. We feed them so ice cream, laughed at their antics (Piper with her wand was everyone's fairy godmother), and just sat content with a full simple day. We watched an amazing t.v. series (seriously hot...better than porn), and later...well just let your imaginations run wild. And to top it off we made up with a friend which felt good. It's someone we don't want to lose in our lives, and it pleased us both to just feel like it was going to be okay.

Sometimes, life is so beautiful, so sweet, and so full that I don't think I can contain it within myself. Sometimes I feel like maybe I don't deserve such beauty, such wonder, such joy. But it has been handed to me, so many wonderful people, a loving, joyful, and yes sexy as hell, husband, and the most perfect beasties ever...and who am I to refuse such a gift?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

When the Living Is Easy

We're officially in summer mode. H is done. We have acquired our summer child (this one is blond, blue-eyed and totally stands out in our little group of beasties) but he's totally blended into our life. Of course we get lots of stares when we go out in public. People sometimes do a double take. You can see them trying to figure out how it was this blond child came to be a part of our brood. I keep joking that people are thinking "Do you think he knows?" But we get lots of stares anyway....Camille usually does something utterly outrageous when we're in public.

I love these lazy summer days spent trying to rustle up things to do. But it's not an urgent need. Time is ours in the summer. Sometimes we have plans, and sometimes we just end up the Common Market. We sit, drink root beer (beer for us) and hang. Our kids are getting used to hanging.

We've had a lot of rain this week so we haven't been out much. We took the kids to Imaginon, then to B & N yesterday. There's not much to do indoors here that's cheap. I've got to find a rec center or something where we can go play for a minimal amount of money. The kids are pretty calm until about three, and then they just starting running laps from the living room straight through to the kitchen. It drives me mad. But I totally get that they're just hyper....and we're stuck inside. But we have board games to play.

Today we're hoping for the clouds to lift. The sky is teasing me with rare glimpses of blue showing through a steady sheet of grey. I want to bring the beasties plus one to the spray ground to get wet, and run, play, just be outside. The weather report is lying to me....supposed to be unbearably hot, sunny with thunder storms, scattered! I'm hoping that this cloudy week is not a precursor to the rest of our summer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nine of Swords

When I read that my friend's wife was cheating on him, I stopped reading tarot. We were sitting in his bedroom, right after I read my pregnancy (with Umberto) in those same cards. The cards were laid out on the bed. It was only his wife, him, and I in the room upstairs. From below we could hear the party, laughing and bottles clicking as people drank away. I was tired. I had already read about three other people before this reading. I had worked that day, had a full day of classes, and was not up for a night full of tarot reading. But here I was with this story spread before me. I looked down, away from them, trying to figure out a way to tell them what I was seeing. This is not the kind of news anyone wants to bare but it is harder, perhaps, when the news come from something as irrational as tarot. He insisted that I just tell him. He was already reading them himself, trying to interpret the meaning from the spread. When I finally told them, they both looked at each, amazed. He knew already.

For me it was the most disturbing reading I had ever done. Not to brag, but I am damn good at reading tarot. At this point, I had been reading for almost ten years. I couldn't, and still can't, explain how I see the stories I do. I look at the cards, I know their meanings, but what happens is that they form together in my mind to tell a story about the person I am reading for. I look at them, and can see inside someone. I see the emotions that fuel them, the ways they are likely to behave and the ways they are capable of behaving. It's never been hard, except for the energy, to see the story. What is often hard is the telling of that story. I've never doubted my readings, and the few times it has been fuzzy, I've been upfront and told the person I couldn't give them an accurate reading. But sometimes there are things I just don't want to tell people. Those are the hard stories.

I put my tarot away after that reading for my friend. I carried the deck with me for a long time. Wrapped in a bit of blue silk cloth, it came with me to Fayetteville, then to Mexico, and finally back to Charlotte. When C was about a year old, she found them, and scattered them all over the house. She chewed on them, ripped them, and even found the scissors at one point to cut some of them into a million pieces. For a while, we had the death card on our fridge but even that got lost in one of our many moves. I didn't replace the deck although I often though about buying a new one.

Last week, I ordered a new tarot deck. It was not the same as I had lost but I liked this deck and had worked with it before. It's a nice deck, clear in its symbolism and meaning. I thought that since it had been so long since I had read, having such a clear deck would make it easier to transition back into reading. I liked the deck the moment I held it in my hand. It felt right as I shuffled the cards, getting myself used to their feel.

What inspired this sudden purchase? I suspect it was just some shit that has been happening in my life. Too often I've felt utterly lost. Not sure what I was feeling. Not sure of how I should be responding. Feeling like I was fucking up on so many levels. It's the most lost I've felt in along time, and somehow my thoughts just turned towards the tarot. I know many people don't read their own cards but I always have. The cards have helped me more than once to clarify situations, to give me directions in handling things. I don't think I ordered the cards with that kind of clarity but looking back it makes sense.

H and I have been doing daily cards. I've been teaching him a bit about reading. Yesterday I drew the Death card, and just kind of nodded. Change was certainly happening. Today it was the nine of swords which also made a lot of sense. I was feeling guilt, remorse, just generally bad about my own responsibility in the aforementioned shitty situation. Then later, I felt confident enough to read the cards. I laid a spread for myself, and again found myself nodding. Smiling. Not only were the cards right on but I could read them. Again I could see that story laid before me. It was a rusty start but once I opened myself to the cards, I could begin to see the story there, the paths possible, those shadowy threads that lead into multiple becomings. And then I read for H. His reading was stronger. I still had to look at the book but with his spread, I could see the connections between the cards, the message, the story that laid there for him.

We talked about it afterwards. He was a little shaky at the accuracy, and he asked me if I always read with such accuracy. I thought about it and realized I have always told the right story. Sometimes it is not the story the person in front of me wanted to hear. Sometimes the cards pick up something deeper, something that lies below the level of the consciousness of the asker. Those readings always freak the person out more. They say "That's not the question I asked but the answer makes sense."

And now I'm reading again. Telling stories with my cards. It feels good. I forgot how much I really do love reading tarot. It's another step closer to a spirituality that feels like mine.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mirrors and Reflections

Saturday night...perhaps more like Sunday morning....the party was winding down. It was a strange party, half fun, half complicated as big parties tend to be....there were only a few of us left. There was this awkward moment, silence and not one of those companionable comfortable silences. It was as if without the cover of a large crowd, we all felt that moment of vulnerability when we could no longer hide, metamorphose into what those around us saw. Instead, we were merely the stragglers, forced together simply because we had not left yet.

Around the black patio table, beers in hand, cigarettes lit, we started to talk about racism. Eventually another silence descended but this one felt, different, more comfortable. More people began to leave, until there was only H and I (it was our house after all) and K and D. There was some tension still...someone left without saying goodbye, we knew he was pissed but felt almost helpless to rectify that feeling. We were pretty sure he was leaving with an unfortunate misperception but it wasn't the time to try to hash that out. It was late, and we were tired, tired of the conscious effort it took to be a thing of multiplicity. We hoped as he drove off that there would be time later to work through whatever...

But now there was just the four of us, and we continued the conversation that seemed to drive off the others...Deleuze and becoming. Mirrors and personalities.

You see, I told this small group, I have started to see myself through H's eyes. He has become my mirror.

As I spoke these words, I realized, that this seeing was much more complicated. In any given day I am always this nebulous being. I am never totally formed as multiple mirrors, the reflections given by other human eyes, shift who I see. When I look into four sets of dark eyes, I am always something different. There are pieces of who I am in each gaze, each gaze not really reflecting back the same face. Yes I know I always have this cursed nose, and these blue-green eyes. I always see the lips, thin, not often curved into a smile, the big front teeth that sometimes peek through. But these fragmented pieces of cartilage and skin, become something different with each set of eyes. It is more than just juggling roles between wife, mother, lover, friend. It is the value each mirror puts on certain aspects of my personality and my body. Too some I merely a pair of tits or a rounded ass, the bit of curvy thigh hiked up as I full water balloons. Too other little bodies, those tits are soft, comfort from hurts. I look into one person's eyes, and feel that I cause some kind of pain that can't be discussed. And with others, I see a person who gives joy. The snarky bitch who ravages with words, makes one person laugh, and another person angry.

In the single evening of a party, I have lived many lives. And finally, the last guest leaves, and I spread myself, onto the bed, before the person who perhaps sees me in more complexity than the others. And as he lays down over me, besides me, I pull him to me, feeling my beauty reflected in the depths of black eyes, and I am not lost.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Update on the Beasties

Today is Umberto's ninth birthday. Hard to believe that my little baby boy is now nine...not so much a baby anymore. He's a real nine too with smelly armpits, and hormones galore. He's still a Star Wars geek but has branched out. He's a video game whiz (not sure where he's got that talent from). He loves to build things, and is curious about the world around him. He's also great at math (again not sure where that's come from either). He's friendly, charming and handsome. Has many friends, and the ability to just acquire people where ever he goes. He's nuts about Piper and good friends with Camille. Of course he's also overly sensitive and prone to tantrums (totally know where he gets that from). Like all my children he's very passionate.

His party is Saturday but we'll be celebrating tonight with Mexican food.

In other updates, the kids have been accepted at CCS. We've decided that they will be going back to school. They're both excited about this change, and we're confident that we're making the right decision. It's not easy raising these little people but we try our best. I think that the social component alone makes school necessary. And they do learn a great deal there. Really we are their teachers as well, and I feel that we can still rasie the independent thinkers we want them to be with them in school. I'm feeling good about the changes at CCS, and have strategies to control my own visceral reactions to things happening at school.

Other news is that we are going to start the process of seeing if Camille has Asperger's Syndrome. I've been concern for a long time about her social skills, and lately these concerns have peaked. Last year her total inability to acquire friends had me concerned, and I began to watch her more closely. She wants so desperately to be friends with other kids but seems unable to make these connections. There is an oddness to her that the other kids pick up on. She is unable to read social cues, and her reactions to people reflect this inability. We've also noticed some behaviors like her hand licking that seem off. We're hoping that if we can figure what's going on we can get her the help she needs in interacting with the world around her.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Past Haunting the Present

Warning: Intensely personal post.

Lately things have come up that drew me into a past I'd rather leave behind. When we came to Charlotte, it was like shedding a skin, embracing a new life with new people. I felt I could become someone different here.

But the past has returned in various ways.

First, issues arose with a new friend. I thought this person liked me for who I was...all the bitchy, obnoxious parts. I discovered though that this person did not really like those parts of fact, rather detested them. While I don't expect people to like all of me, I don't like all aspects of most of my friends, I do think that when we truly care about someone we embrace those parts in order to embrace the parts we do like.

This confrontation about my obnoxious, bitchy self lead to many hurt feelings from the past. I remembered too many other painful awareness of being rejected utterly for those parts of my self. I remembered trying so hard to bury them, to fit in, to be normal enough that people would want to be around me. I've spent most of my life being off cue in terms of dealing with other people. Often I just withdrew even though I desperately wanted friends because it was too hard to constantly monitoring myself. I felt like I carried around this mental notebook in which I had written directions on how to act with others. But at some point, it failed me, and I felt again like that person who was always a little off beat, a little wrong in her interactions. I tried again and again to just simply embrace myself for who I was but it is hard to embrace that person when no one else seems to want to hang on as well.

Thus when I again encountered this attitude, I felt myself shrivel up a bit. I wanted to go back into hiding. I have a safe little world with H and the beasties...with people who do embrace me utterly for who I am. Who don't mind that I'm off cue. But there was another part of me that loved having this circle of friends whom I love and care about. I waver between wondering if it's worth pulling out that notebook figure how one acts normal amidst people.

And Facebook has brought the past as well. I am starting to hate Facebook. I found myself today on the verge of erasing it. Getting rid of all reminders of the past. That girl who everyone found ugly, bitchy, and unpleasant. I don't want her around anymore. I am not that girl anymore. I am more confident. I realize now that I wasn't ugly, and that the view many had of me came from my own insecurity, and from the expectations of the place in which I lived. But hearing the memories of people, or having someone say "Wow you're hot now" burns me deeply. It reopens those wounds, leaves me fresh and bleeding. I start to wonder again if anyone really finds me attractive, even here. I remember how people thought there was no way H would ever be interested in a fat, ugly girl like me. How so many people thought he would cheat on me, find someone more worthy of his good looks. I remember people doubting that anyone like H could ever want to be with someone like me. The confusion that his attention brought...and how even my closest friends felt this way.

And now I am bleeding once again. I wish the new friend could understand how his words make me feel. I wish my old friends could let go of the person they once knew, who doesn't exist anymore. I wish, often, that I could be someone different. That I could just naturally ease into those social cues that most people seem so able to embrace. And I wish that I could not return to my little fortress, that I could boldly be who I am, and work on being better with the help of my friends rather than their censure.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Weekend Plans Which Involve APTBS

I need to do some more writing but alas I am kind of in zoned out mood again so it's back to updates.

Tomorrow we're leaving for Baltimore. I bought H and I tickets to see APTBS there for his birthday. We're going to take the van (hope it makes the trip there and back), and stay with our friend Rosslyn, Friday and Saturday night. She kindly offered to watch the beasties while we go to the show. It should be a fun little mini vacation. I'm pretty psyched to see APTBS again...third time...although I am realizing that I may be the fan from hell. But alas they're not playing anywhere in NC in the near future, and I need a fix. Now if I could only persuade them to play Charlotte...I have about twenty people who want to see them the next time they're here.

In other news...we have reenrolled the kids at their old school. There were changes made that made the school an option again. Homeschooling is really just not working this time around. I can't seem to motivate myself to do what needs to be done. They fight constantly, and neither Umberto or Camille are getting the social time they need. Plus I realize I need to really chill out and not be so reactionary when something happens to them. They are stronger than I think.

I'm looking forward to an awesome summer. H will be out soon, and we'll back to the wonderful lazy days. We're watching our friend's son so a bit of extra money, and a kid for the kids to play with. Should be good. In addition, I'm hoping for lots of parties both big and small. We have a big June birthday bash coming up with a ton of people coming. But I'm hoping also to have some mellow cook out weekends as well. It's nice to have loads of friends again. I missed this from my undergrad. years, and am pretty thrilled to have created a small community here.

H got transfered to an elementary school so he didn't lose his job. I think he'll be good at teaching this level and it will be a lot less stress than teaching high school.

I'll post pics, and a travel update after the weekend....