(now) uncommon magic

This morning, my sixth grader, my first grader, my husband, our dog, and I all gathered together on our futon. This uncommon magic lasted for almost ten whole minutes.

To capture a fragment of the moment, I took pictures of my first grader and our fourteen-year-old dog together. The picture captured only a small part of that heart-filled moment, from the outside.

From inside the moment, though? It captured everything–most important of all, what might be some of the very, very last moments my older son is willing to snuggle.

You don’t need to see those moments for me to be able to see and feel in them all their heartbreak, and wonder,

and joy.

 

 

to karen (1)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about concerns with Karens,

as well as concerns with my own use of the word “Karens” (noun) instead of karen-ing (verb).

I’ve been thinking about karen-ing a lot the last week or two:

What does it mean to karen?

Who is most likely, based on societal structures today,

to feel empowered to karen in public?

Do I karen? If so,

How do I adjust my life in ways that help me

karen less?

While the process of discovery as I’ve experienced it isn’t as linear as the nature of English and blogging may make it sound, the process really did begin with one question above all:

“What does it mean to karen?” What’s the definition as I’d write it?

To come to that definition, I had to first answer a different question:

Apart from the fact they’d been perpetrated by white women, what did all the acts of karening I’d witnessed on social media have in common?

In each case, a white woman felt subjectively threatened by the skin color and/or non-aggressive acts of a Black person, and then acted out that sense of threat in ways that increased possibility of harm to the Black person.

Thanks to author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, I had words for what was happening in these moments of karening: Continue reading “to karen (1)”

(un)becoming white

Yesterday, I heard my ten-year-old son, Li’l D, attempting “negotiations” with my six-year old son, Littler J.

I paused my laundry-folding to say, “How very big brother of you!” Hearing these words spoken, I added, “That’s lower-case ‘b,’ lower-case ‘b,’ to be clear.”

Despite Li’l D’s utter lack of interest in any clarification, I took the opportunity to clarify. “In 1984, author George Orwell described an overtly repressive, oppressive government represented by kindly sounding Big Brother—capital ‘B,’ capital ‘B.’”

Since Li’l D is already well acquainted with my love of author Neil Postman, I added a note about Postman’s take on Orwell. “There’s another author, Aldous Huxley, who wrote about a different version of a repressive government: one that represses–constrains the ranges of possibility–through pleasure and amusement that don’t require or permit critical thought. Postman thought Huxley’s Brave New World was closer to the world for which the foundation had been laid—that its repression was what we’d end up experiencing.”

My husband, Anthony, had first introduced me to Postman. He thus joined in the conversation—wait, no. More accurately, he helped me convert monologue to dialogue.

As we chatted, I thought about protests against police brutality currently sweeping the United States. At these protests, police have brutally attacked thousands of protestors (and even, repeatedly, reporters, medics, and legal observers), sometimes responding with shocking force to heckling and other times themselves wholly instigating any violence. This brutality has not gone unnoticed by USians: Members of communities from all fifty states are now taking to the streets daily. Continue reading “(un)becoming white”

each other

From my very first post here, I’ve written about how trauma has shaped my life.

Since before my first breath, I suffered the effects of violence from within my mother’s womb. This wired my nervous system in very particular ways even before I endured my first direct bodily blow.

I don’t write much about many of the specific blows I experienced. Most the specifics are lost to my thinking memory, stored instead in muscle, bone, and implicit memory.

Because most the specifics are lost to my thinking memory, I can be triggered–catapulted back in time, so that I’m confused about whether I’m in relatively choice-filled 2020 or choiceless 1988–without knowing why. Without knowing what sent me back.

A couple of days ago, my sister Rachael wrote “Meringue Pie & PTSD.” Continue reading “each other”

strange, sweet reminders

There’s a cicada husk in a very, very tiny jar on my dresser.

If this sounds odd, it is. It’s also, given a very particular set of circumstances, an incredibly sweet reminder:

My mom lived, and her living could be such strange fun.

On March 4, I posted “The Magic of Fighting Monsters.” I wrote about the absolute magic I’d experienced fighting monsters in an immersive theatre show a couple years prior.

That show had connected me to the experience of being with my living, breathing, horror-loving mom; in those moments about which I wrote, she was very much alive to with me. Continue reading “strange, sweet reminders”

young life

A few days ago, I noticed a hummingbird flitting around my backyard. I told my husband, who said she’s built a nest in her same old spot.

Same old spot? Somehow, I’d never once noticed what was, to Anthony, a predictable part of life at this house.

He pointed out the teacup-sized nest of twigs and feathers, nestled in a rosebush right at my eye level.

This morning, I saw the hummingbird darting all around the backyard. I wondered if there was life in her nest.

Sure enough, I soon saw tiny twin triangles of orange peeking over its top. Without getting too close, I snapped a shot or two on my phone.

Soon enough, the mom returned to her baby, perching protectively at nest’s edge. I snapped a couple shots of this, too–this time, from a greater distance so as to not send her flying too soon. Continue reading “young life”

a skateboard into the past

Today I rode a skateboard,
while remembering another one
I once barely got to ride.

When I was in middle school, my mom knew I was fascinated with skateboards. Since she was forever stuck with junker cars that lasted only a couple of months before croaking, she wanted me to have wheels that would last. She scrimped and saved for months before that Christmas to buy me a kick-ass board.

I was so proud of that board, I almost immediately showed it off to a schoolmate whose mom stopped by our house.

The schoolmate was so impressed, he immediately told his friends.

Within a couple of days, one of those friends broke into my home and stole the board.

I was crushed. I’d been building up confidence to really ride it, this rare and beauteous first-hand gift, and now wouldn’t even get that chance.

When school was back in session, my schoolmate told me who’d stolen my skateboard. Continue reading “a skateboard into the past”

So many pages to share

No matter what changes outside my home, there’s one constant within it: Reading.

Each morning, I read to each of my sons for fifteen or twenty minutes. Each evening, I do the same, before my husband picks up evening reading.

The most popular book in our household right now is Max Brallier’s The Last Kids on Earth‘s newly released sixth book. We’d pre-ordered this what feels like millennia ago, so that my kids had lost track of it and were then bouncing-off-the-walls thrilled when it showed up on our porch on Tuesday. Continue reading “So many pages to share”

no better place

On Monday, I wrote about re-finding the joy and beauty in right now.

Yesterday morning, I really saw how much time my kids are spending on-screen between classes and fun. I saw, too, how this is leading them to lose touch with the physical world. now; even when screen time ends, their minds often linger on their online adventures straight through to bedtime.

I wondered whether there were some little ways I could help keep them more grounded in the very physical now, and less lost in online spaces around the clock. I landed on a few simple ones.

First, I had them help me with a load of laundry. Astonishingly, they’d never participated in a whole cycle, beginning to end!

For me, though, the real magic was in the kitchen. Continue reading “no better place”

A bandana the right direction

On February 28, I was delighted to vote in person for the first time ever. I wrote about that here.

By then, I already had enough information to know this was Not A Good Idea.

The signal just wasn’t on my mind.

About a week before I voted, I was talking with a fellow fan of author Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I asked if she followed him on Twitter. I explained I’d stopped scrolling through his tweets several weeks back, but that he remained my favorite author and tweep. Continue reading “A bandana the right direction”