Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Crepitus

mass noun
1.  A grating sound or sensation produced by friction between bone and cartilage or the fractured parts of a bone.

Origin:  Early 19th century: from Latin, from crepare ‘rattle’."

At least twice weekly I hear it.  After the pop of my shoulders as my arms stretch upward, the rustling crepitus makes itself known in the
rotation of my upper back
circling of my pendulous head, first clockwise, then counter
slight popping of my wrists as my fists rotate
rustling of my lower vertebrae as my hips circle this way and that

not unlike the leaves that crunch underfoot on my porch.

It's so loud in my head, this grating, rubbing noise as I move my joints, neck to ankles--the soundtrack to the autumn of my years. 
Photo by Symphony999
 [CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)],
from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Tuesday Slice: The Clown

One of my self-care actions this school year is attending more SoulCollage© sessions.  There's just something about focusing on a theme and images that takes me out of my head and into my heart for a few hours each month.  This past weekend I needed it more than ever, after reading my friends' #metoo stories and following the debacle of the Supreme Court nomination hearings.

Sue, our facilitator, introduced us to Heyoka, the Native American version of The Clown Archetype.  This "court jester" leads us to truth with humor, delivering pranks borne of love without bullying.  I know very few people with this skill; I believe my mother was one of them.  We also talked about Coyote, The Trickster, and listened to one person's account of sitting in a circle of animal dung waiting for enlightenment, only to be laughed at by Coyote and told to lighten up.
My Heyoka SoulCollage© card, 10.6.18.
My mind has definitely been in a serious state as of late, and in desperate need of Heyoka's wise humor.  After pulling a borrowed card and using it to interpret Heyoka's message to us, this is what I "heard":

"Hey, you serious dreamer, you whose sadness and despair leave you feeling punched in the gut...

Get that sh** out already!  Don't you know that the darkness you swallow doesn't need to stay, can't stay inside for too long, or it will end in necrosis? 

Climb this tree with me.  Swing your legs, look down on that which makes you feel hopeless.  See that in the grand scheme of things, those problems are really quite small.  Feel the strength of this old tree, which has seen it all and continues to thrive.

This is a season of blossoming and change.  Whistle through the chaos, stop and smell the roses...such glorious blooms are fed, after all, by the sh** in the earth.

Dance with me, you dreamer, and all will be well."

As if to punctuate the message, Heyoka showed up again in my Monday Notes from the Universe™ :

"Did you know that it's perfectly OK, even highly ideal, to claim all is well amid doubt and confusion? To be happy in spite of challenges? To laugh at problems? Dance without a partner? Sing without a rhyme? Talk to inanimate objects?"

Yep, I'm getting the message to lighten up loud and clear.  Thanks for taking the edge off my sadness, Clown/Heyoka/Trickster.  Or shall I call you "Hope"?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Equal expectations

My husband and I are "CBS Sunday Morning" watchers.  Or rather, I watch it, and he listens from the study, popping in and out of the living room as topics catch his interest.  I liken it to the "Mr. Rogers" time of our weekend, a relatively quiet hour-and-a-half of catching up on news and learning a thing or two about modern history, human ingenuity and acts of kindness.  No sensationalism, no yelling, the show always ending with a "moment of nature" for which we both pause in silence.

During 2018, the show is featuring snippets of history from 1968.  My memories of that year barely exist; I was two, and reeling from my only-child throne upended by the arrival of my brother.  I watch these segments and try to imagine how it impacted my parents and their peers during that year of tumultuous changes in the U.S.

This past weekend, the 1968 spotlight focused on the Miss America pageant.  Unbeknownst to the competitors, feminists marched outside the event, likening it to a cattle auction. It was one of the first times the women's liberation movement would make headlines.

Gender inequality is still a newsworthy topic; the display of male privilege during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings is a prime example.  The advances made by those 60's feminists, though, are still felt today.  A quote that stayed with me from the segment came from Gail Collins, a New York Times columnist:

"... and within one generation, a little baby girl being born was picked up by her father and looked at with the same expectations as a little baby boy being born." 

I'm not sure if my parents felt that way when my brother and I were born.  I know for sure that when my own daughter and son arrived in the 1990s, our expectations for each were wide open.    Forecasting a narrow vision of their future wasn't a consideration; our dreams and prayers were for a healthy, happy life of fulfilling work and relationships.

Given the current political and societal climate, I hope our dreams for both our daughter and son can still come true.

Friday, September 28, 2018

What if? (Contains mature content)

Preface to this post:  

To the best of my recollection, I have never been sexually assaulted.  Harassed, yes, but not assaulted.  I say "to the best of my recollection", because there is a memory that hangs at the fringes, but it is more feelings than details, and doesn't really evoke trauma, so I Iet it be.

I did not watch the Kavanaugh hearing yesterday, nor replays of it after my day of working with children in my school library.  I've become quite pessimistic about any change for the better under this current administration, and didn't want to ruin my upcoming family weekend with another act from this political circus.

Facebook commentaries in my newsfeed didn't allow for complete avoidance of the topic, however, and I felt drawn to read several, including those made by friends and family.

I have questions for those who decided to weigh in on the Kavanaugh hearings:

What if it was me on that stand, Christine Szeredy Margocs instead of Christine Blasey Ford?  What if I had been the one pinned down at a party, screaming behind a hand over my mouth?

What if I had kept that information in my closest circles for decades, still ashamed that somehow I had "asked for it", until I realized "Oh, shit, this joker is now going to have a lot of influence over EVERYONE's lives, not just mine."

Would you believe me, or would you question my memories?  

If you did believe me, would you support my decision to come forward, or would you tell me the past is past, just shut up and put up, your trauma is worth less than what this man can do for our country?

There are those that argue that we all have skeletons in our closets.  I believe we do.  But I know several men whose histories do not involve pinning down women against their will, laughing as they screamed.  It is time we stop allowing such actions to fall under the argument "boys will be boys".  What Dr. Ford experienced was an act of power, domination, and aggression, not a silly prank.

If you aren't a victim, and this makes you feel uncomfortable--good.  If it makes you question some of the actions of your adolescence and young adulthood--good.  Maybe some soul-searching and heartfelt apologies are in order for the ones you may have harmed.

If you are a victim, and this ongoing topic is dredging up traumatic memories--I am so sorry.  My friends have shared heartbreaking stories since the #MeToo movement began. I believe you. I can only hope and pray that your stories help educate others and embolden those who are in a place to make changes for the better do so...like Dr. Ford.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Breathing in the moonlight

Nine-thirty, my intended bedtime.  I change into pajamas, but head to my computer instead of bed, already behind in my Spanish lessons.  Whispering translated sentences using tenía and quería, I complete the quiz and start down the hallway to bed.

Then pause.  The full moon!  I forgot to go outside and take a peek! Looking through the windows, I can see moonlight streaming around the edges of our huge backyard oak, but can't see the old man himself.  I decide to put on my slippers, grab the camera, and head for the backyard.

And there it is, high in the sky.  The Harvest Moon, shining brightly in these first nights of autumn.

My husband joins me for a few moments.  I hear him taking deep breaths of the cooler night air, and I do the same.  Mindful of the time, we head back indoors.  Peaceful sleep awaits.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Passing the test

Thin gray clouds scattered the light of the dawning sun as we gathered on the Mediterranean beach.  It was summer, but the heat of the day was hours away.  I felt awkward, the only child in a class of teenagers and adults clad in swimsuits and flippers, masks and snorkels.

Our instructions were to swim out into the sea to view a sunken vessel, sightsee a bit, then return to the beach.  We plunged into the water and started our PADI skindiving final test.

The pool at the military base where we practiced in the evenings felt like a bath, water heated all day by the sun.  The sea was colder; I felt the chill seep into my bones as I made my way towards the wreckage, swimming a little harder in hopes of warming up my muscles.

Then I felt the seaweed.  Long, slimy tendrils wrapped around my short nine-year-old legs.  I could kick and wriggle free, only to meet up with another patch in a few strokes.  The effort was exhausting.  I was falling far behind the other swimmers, accompanied only by an instructor.  Unable to swim consistently, my body succumbed to the cold, teeth chattering behind blue lips.

The instructor turned me around, and we headed back to shore.  I had swum far enough out to pass the swimming test (or so they said).  Having mastered the written test, I had earned my PADI skindiving license.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tuesday slice: Thoughts on the Autumn equinox

by Chris Margocs

To sprout, one must realize
That you cannot be attached to form
Form will change, must change
For the seed to sprout, grow, bear fruit

Letting go of form is only terrifying
If one forgets that we always return to the seed
Whether the fruit ripens and is eaten,
or spoils on the ground
The seed remains, can be interred
once more in the dark womb of Our Mother
To sprout and grow once more towards the sun.

We are safe, always, in Our Mother's lap.

SoulCollage© card by Chris Margocs.