A friend told me this week that feelings aren’t facts. Oh, the great great freedom of those words. I started breathing more deeply the moment my mind grasped them.
It’s a Sunday, early evening, and I should be making dinner, but the boy is cutting a molar and a cuspid, which means he’s in agony, which means he’s taking a desperately-needed-late-nap on my chest. Here, then, are the scattered facts and feelings of my today.
- We have an astonishingly great community. I’ll write it again because it is breathtakingly true: we have an astonishingly great community. There is no such thing as deserving the profoundly generous and loving and empathic and compassionate and ever-present friends and family we’re surrounded with. We don’t deserve you all, which means that having you all is just a matter of grace. Grace. Not God’s grace, but humanity’s grace. We are surrounded by it.
- I am overwhelmed, crushed, by the simple narrative being constructed around the Tsarnaev brothers right now. We are so quick to condemn violence without struggling to understand our own complicity in it. Our willingness to model it in ways small and big. How is it possible that expressing compassion for a no-doubt terrified teenager (a child) can be read as negating the suffering that teenager likely inflicted? I am heartbroken by this tragedy, but I am even more heartbroken by our quick, unconsidered, vengeance-driven reaction to it. People suffer. Even people who inflict suffering suffer. I don’t know how to express what I’m saying. There’s complexity, and I shudder for our fate when I sense that it is being ignored. Yogi’s mama wrote a little about this this week, as did Anna. If I felt more whole, I’d try to contribute something meaningful. As it stands, all I can do is worry, and mourn, and wish. If my writing this makes you angry, please know that I mean no harm, and please let it go. I don’t even know how to process anger right now. I can’t meet it with anything but confusion.
- Nemesis is lonely without her brother. We are lonely without her brother. Saul (who is no longer Saul) is now five months old. He’s been gone for four months. His birth mother refuses to send us a photo. Since he left, we’ve lost my dad, and Love Child, and our puppy cat. We are not in the weeds of despondence, as we’ve been before. Instead, we’re heavy but moving. Walking with grief in a new way that feels permanent (though thankfully I see through that word). I found a list I made in 2009, shortly before our wedding. On it, I name loss as my biggest fear. It was relatively unknown to me then. It is no longer my biggest fear. It is like a friend I didn’t meant to befriend. I’m not even sure how I’d answer that question now.
- Anyway, we are lonely, and I keep having the impulse to bring home a kitten. Or a cat. Another being. A being who is unlikely to be taken from us. A being who is likely to stay awhile. Who will make Bram smile. Who will warm our hearts. Who will in no way replace E, or Sauly, or Love Child. Who could never replace Hades, king of the cottage frontier, cat-king of my heart. But who could be a home for some of the love we have that needs a home. I sense, though, that we’d be judged. That it is too soon. That there are appropriate ways of responding to loss and that we haven’t been appropriate. I’m not explaining this well. I just want more beings to love. Right now, I might adopt a flea circus if I felt that one needed me. Perhaps that is the argument for waiting.
- We went to a SHARE meeting together last week: our first together since B was born. I’m always struck by the gentleness in those rooms. People are fragile. There are spaces where that is just recognized.
- I found teaching! Okay, that’s overstating it. I found two sections for the fall. Media and the Sexes. With that phone call, the absence of students in my life this year came flooding in. Students! Yes! I am more fully me when I am teaching. When I am learning from students. When we are of one another in the way that the classroom makes possible. I sigh with relief from this news, not just because we (desperately) need the money, but because I desperately need that purpose again. The exchange of ideas. The intellectual intimacy. The community. The presence it demands of me. Yes. Teaching. What relief.
- My defense is set for May 10th. PhDs: How did you celebrate? We have to celebrate. If we insist (as we do) on mourning the losses, we must celebrate the victories. We have earned this. As a family. So how did you let in the joy.relief.pride of being done?
- We are interring my dad’s ashes on Wednesday. We will try to make a day of it: eat good food, take Bram to the zoo. A day that is not born solely of sadness.
- Tomorrow, Bram and I will celebrate Earth Day at a bird sanctuary. I never really understood birds before. Lately, I get tears in my eyes watching them fly.
- Here are my true, true loves. There’s no such thing as deserving this life. That I am living it is merely a matter of human grace. Kindness. The kindness others have bestowed on me.