Many with privilege can recognize, in the abstract at least, that poverty and the suffering it creates are a scourge and that we should work to end them. But without ever having lived in poverty, they may not appreciate its wiles, how it penetrates every aspect of a life. Many more do live in poverty, but because the nature of poverty is to disempower and distract, the burdens of their daily lives limit their capacity to act. Few have both an intimate understanding of the day-to-day reality of poverty—the suffering it causes—and the privilege to address it. The profound responsibility of those in this last category abides.
— Abdul Al-Sayed, Healing Politics
After I gave birth to my younger son in early 2014,
I suffered profound postpartum depression.
With grim determination, tears streaming down my face,
telling my husband that I only kept going because
my children needed my income to survive …
and I remembered, oh how I remembered,
how the kids across the street suffered
when they lost their dad to suicide.
“Your kids need more than your income from you, Deb,”
my husband told me.
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.
Yesterday morning, I sat in front of my computer waiting for more bad news to appear in my Twitter feed. Some part of me felt it was critical to remain constantly informed, regardless of my inability to actually do anything with most the news I’m reading.
Out of the blue, it dawned on me: This is not healthy behavior! So I stepped away from the computer with the twin intentions to (1) do something kinder to myself now and (2) check news only intermittently and briefly throughout the day.
When I was about ten weeks pregnant with my older son, I started bleeding one day at work. My then manager rushed me to the nearest emergency room, from which I called my now husband, Anthony.
At the time, I was working in California’s Orange County, the county just south of Los Angeles County. Anthony was working on the sitcom The Big Bang Theory much further north, deep into Los Angeles county. His drive to reach me would be long and traffic-heavy, meaning I’d maybe be alone facing what could end up being some devastating news.
I remember calling one of my sisters while I waited, and then another dear friend. I remember sobbing on the phone. I remember Anthony suddenly being there, and the doctor eventually delivering the news: there was a fifty-fifty chance my pregnancy would last the next 24 hours. Continue reading “Today I’ll live today”→
Each anniversary of her death, I take at least a few moments to celebrate her life. I offset memories of her profound late-life mental illness and slow succumbing to cancer with joyful memories of her.
I remember her meeting her first grandson–my oldest son–and rejoice that she lived long enough to meet one of her eight grandchildren.
I remember, too, the joy of being her daughter when I was a child.
I remember her reading with me and my siblings. I recall the sense of adventure we shared as books and comic books took us places we hardly noticed our poverty prevented us from visiting.
I remember Thunder Thighs, her superhero alter-ego who battled villains with superpowers such as B.O. and the earthquake-sized reverberations created when she’d stomp for good with the might of her thunder thighs.
I remember how much she loved horror movies, and how I loved trying to sneak-watch them with her.
It’s that last remembering that’s closest to my heart today. Thanks to immersive theater, which I once dismissed as simply one of my husband’s “hobbies,” I had the irreplaceable opportunity to connect with my mom as she’d once lived and breathed.