girl growing

and a space for her to play in

Sunday, April 29, 2007

missed the boat

while we're on the subject,
could we change the subject now?
i was knockin' on your ears door
but you were always out.
lookin' towards the future
we were begging for the past
well we knew we'd had the good things
but those never seem to last,
oh please just last.

everyone's unhappy
everyone's ashamed
well we all just got caught looking
at somebody else's page
well nothin' ever went
quite exactly as we planned,
our ideas held no water
but we used them like a dam.

oh, and we carried it all so well
as if we'd got a new position.
oh, and i laugh all the way to hell
saying, "yes, this is a fine promotion."
oh, and i'll laugh all the way to hell.

of course everyone goes crazy,
over such and such and such,
well we'd made ourselves a pillar,
but just used it as a crutch.
we were certainly uncertain,
at least i'm pretty sure i am,
well we didn't need the water
but we just built that good goddamn!

oh, and i know this of myself,
i asume as much for other people.
oh, and i know this of myself
we've listened more to life's end going
than the sound of life's sweet bells.

was it even worth it?
was there all that much to gain?
well we knew we'd miss the boat,
and we'd already missed the plane.
we didn't read the invite
we just dance at our wake.
all our favorites were playin' so we could
shake, shake!
shake, shake, shake!

tiny curtains opened then,
we heard the tiny clap of little hands,
a tiny man would tell a little joke
and get a tiny laugh from all them folks,
sitting drifting round on bubbles then
(thinking it was us that carried them),
when we finally got it figured out that
we had truly missed the boat.
oh, and we carried it all so well
as if we'd got a new position.
oh, and we owned all the tools ourselves
without the skills to make a shelf with
oh, what useless tools ourselves.

-modest mouse

my mother is an alcoholic.
that's my big, fat secret.
this upcoming thursday i was supposed to tell my 'story' at our wellspring group gathering,
but unfortunately i won't be there. prior commitments.
a few people know my stuff,
and since i keep meticulously alluding it here on my blog,
i've started to wonder if anyone else will ever hear it.
i've grown up in the suburbs my whole life.
i've never really had to pay for anything either...
i was lucky enough to have a banker for a father.
my siblings and i are all around 16 months apart,
and while my father was off working his way up...
my mother was on her way down deep into depression.
at 10 years old i was asked, along with my siblings, to come downstairs to the kitchen.
my mom was crying and something was wrong with her.
i was too young to know what it was,
but my father informed me that she was an alcoholic.
i had no idea what that meant.
from then on i would spend my nights awake listening to them fight,
sitting at the top of the stairs...alone...then waiting for them to stop so i could tip-toe downstairs to see where they were sleeping.
i was the oldest, so i feel like i took on a protective stance for my sister and brother even if they never really saw it. 
(typical 'hero' child if you know anything about ACOA's)
it was your typical middle-class family.
one things we did do-rain or shine- was eat dinner at 7 o'clock every night. the whole family. together.
my little brother has always been too young to really understand what has gone on.
my sister dealt with it all by hiding and by pretending that things were much happier than they actually were.
i was angry.
i provoked my mother and said horrible things.
i tried to get her to fight with me so that when my dad got home she could blame her state on me, and then when he got mad and yelled at me i somehow felt better.
some of it was just sheer anger for what was wrong with her.
i knew she grew up with her own issues, and one can only wonder if the alcoholism was really her fault,
but i was young and just wanted my mom to be happy.
i had no one to tell...and no way to express my anger.
in high school i invested everything i had into anything outside of home.
i stayed late with our student council and i made sure i was in charge of every committee.
i spent a lot of time at church too...not finding solace, but finding distraction.
i didn't want to be home.
growing up, i have learned that not everyone is my mother.
alcohol is not the evil...
and that i, along with others, can drink and not turn into a monster.
that's what she was...she was dr. jekyll and mr. hyde.
one day i could be sharing my inner-most secrets with her,
and then the next day she would be a complete stranger.
today, we have that same relationship.
when i graduated high school i moved out and i lived by myself for four years,
i recently returned home when i became really involved with wellspring and wanted to spend more time in 'community' with them.
i, like my sister now, disappeared.
i forgot that most of this life existed.
and so here i am, dealing with it all over again.
i still come home to her severely intoxicated, crying in their bedroom.
she still says horrible things to me when she's like that.
but now my father doesn't yell.
he just waits it out, and when she's sobered up the next day, he pretends it never happened.
sometimes i admire him for staying, and sometimes i can't understand it at all.
much of my childhood i have forgotten.
as i've mentioned, it wasn't until recently that i began to realize how much i simply don't remember.
today is sunday. my mother hasn't been drinking today...yet.
i had asked her to go shopping with me and she got wrapped up in a t.v. show with my dad so that we didn't have time to go.
that bothered me.
maybe because i'm selfish, and maybe because i really just miss the opportunities to spend time with my mother when she isn't working or hasn't been drinking.
she got up and left the room to take a shower,
and my father, reclining back on the couch reading a newspaper casually said,
'that's all she needs'
'what?' i asked...
'an excuse.'
now usually my response would have been to agree with him.
all my mother needs is an excuse to drink and she will.
it doesn't even have to be logical, just an excuse.
that's how alcoholics work.
but this time i blurted out that it wasn't my responsibility. that i can't take ownership, and that i'm allowed to get upset too.
and so there it was.
it is heartbreaking to realize that i've been trying to take responsibility my whole life.
and it's one thing to say all of that...but it's another for it to become...
so vividly real.
clarity comes like a rush...and i feel as if i can touch reality.
i do not have to be 10 years old anymore.
i do not have to be manipulated by the alcoholism.
i do not have to take responsibility for what isn't mine.
and so, for those of you who read, you know.
there are stories far worse than mine...
but this is mine.
i lived a lot of my life being ashamed of it.
mostly of the things i've left out in telling my story here.
things that i will eventually share, i hope.
i'm just sick of apologizing for the alcoholism...
and for what's wrong with me.
i'm sick of waiting on ryan or whoever else is closest to fix me.
i'm sick of feeling like i'm still on the stairs all alone.
i just don't have the energy anymore,
and today made me realize a lot of that.
so this has been a long blog,
and i hope you'll all forgive me if it comes across a little dramatic.
a lot of the time i'm afraid to say most of this because i don't see a whole lot of people around me being honest...
i'm afraid of judgment and that people won't understand...
i find that being misunderstood is the loneliest place i can be.
and so today my emotion drove me so far that i felt compelled to write.
normally i would talk myself out of blogging about it...but today i didn't.
the next step for me is to find other people, a little more certified, that can help me through a lot of this.
i know i'm not crazy...i just want someone to help me make sense of it all.
i don't really know how to end something like this... always...thanks for listening.

Monday, April 16, 2007

a meal

i usually just post the blessing each week, but this past week has got me thinking.
at wellspring we discussed the meals that jesus shared...
that perhaps jesus wasn't as black and white as we choose to be-
that he didn't just spend time and say profound things in the synagogue,
but instead chose to share, reveal, be intimate in some of the most common settings,
particularly the dinner table.
karen made the point that there's a chance that jesus shared his meal and grabbed the first things provided to him at that passover meal when he told his followers to remember him.
and so...our little group met and shared some singing and worship and then we ventured over to the shuman's for a cook out.
we spent time with each other and even broke bread and shared a glass of wine together.
later that night, some of us sat around the table and shared some pretty sacred stories.
i found myself wondering out loud during our gathering...
when we ask someone out for a meal,
are we not really asking for them to spend time with engage in intimacy?
is it not the same with coffee or any other event?
and i wonder why it is so hard to not just call it what it invitation to be with me,
to share with me,
and for me to possibly reveal part of myself.
and why is it that we choose to only reveal those parts to some?
it is easier to share myself with people like me and those i perceive will accept me,
but i so often refuse intimacy with those that are more risky.
i would like that to not be the case any longer.
as i blogged about earlier,
i made the trip with ryan and my parents to austin last week.
we all met for dinner...myself, ryan, my parents, my sister and her roommate.
we sat around the table and shared some great pizza and laughs.
at some point the conversation turned to what we used to do as kids growing up around the dinner table.
we recalled the games we'd play, the etiquette book we read out of, some of the stories we told.
and in a moment i was instantly sad...
i didn't remember those details most of the time.
i remember the yelling, and the loneliness, and the confusion.
i caught eyes with my sister at one point during all this...
and we both just kind of shrugged and gave each other a half grin.
we knew.
we remembered.
but we both wanted to forget the bad times
and remember the good.
a lot of that is still welled up inside me,
and i'm learning how to remember it, to feel it, and to let it out.
i'm learning that meals are much more than just nourishment,
that serious memories and experiences come from a dinner table...
the good
and the bad.
i'm learning that i have to choose to share myself with people...
that sometimes it's easy to gradually know someone,
and other times it's takes some pretty intentional effort.
i'm learning that some pretty shitty things happened growing up,
and that i've had some pent-up emotion that at some point needs to be resolved...
and perhaps that time is now.
...for those of you who stumble upon this blog on occasion,
know that i'm not crazy.
i'm not always a basket-case.
i know my parents and my family love me,
but like most,
things didn't go as smoothly as one would have liked.
i just want to get it all out...
remember it...
see my life for what it is...
and then maybe i can truly know myself.
who knows if that's the right way to think or go about it...
i'm a kid,
and i'm just beginning to understand the world.
and's our blessing:
be blessed
as you choose togetherness.
as you battle the lines between
the orthodox and the ordinary,
the spiritual and the secular,
the holy and the human.
be blessed
as you choose to make the steps
to reach out
to share your heights and depths
make the sacrifice of your 'safe space'...
keeping others at a distance,
close enough for presence
yet far enough to remain unscathed
by the messiness of relationships.
be blessed
as you seek to be holistic.
as you feel your heart strangely warmed
by the joys of feeling understood
and no longer alone.
choosing not to separate,
but to be opened and made whole.
share enough to memorize the details of others' faces...
break the bread
break down the barriers
and break into intimacy.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


this weekend ryan and i made the long drive to austin to visit my sister.
it was a good...and a hard trip.
we both hate disappointing people.
we hate being pulled in so many directions.
part of me didn't want to go see my sister...
mostly because of the cost of gas,
because i had a really rough week,
and because i had so many things still left to do.
i didn't want to disappoint her or my family.
ryan goes through the same thing...
never wanting to miss hanging out in community,
not wanting to disappoint anyone there.
it's hard wondering and not knowing.
when to go and when to stay.
when to spend time here or there.
wondering what is the most valuable thing i can do with my time.
it's hard too, because we would both be missing church throughout the next week because of a wedding, a golf shower, and a birthday.
so many things to do...and so many people we don't want to disappoint.
right before we left on our trip i got a call from my pastor/mentor/friend ken.
he and i chatted about my hard week and how i was feeling.
he asked some tough questions about whether ryan and i ever spend time enjoying each other.
i felt like i was going to have an emotional breakdown.
it suddenly became very clear to me that we needed to just stop,
just spend time together,
and it was hard to ask him to make that important.
and so we spent 6 hours in the car together,
spent time with my sister and my family,
and we were silly and playful with each other.
it's hard for me to justify time spent like that,
and even now i feel some anxiety about it.
who knows if it was right to leave or if we should've stayed-
been with our communities,
written our papers and gotten work done,
saved some money.
but we went,
and even though most of the time was spent just being quiet and listening to music in the car,
it was healing,
and part of me feels like i can breathe again,
and make it through another week.

easter blessing

open your eyes.
you've kept them shut,
waiting, long enough.
still your heart.
it's been breaking,
lamenting, long enough.
rest your legs.
you've been in the desert,
wandering, long enough.


rise early.
see the sun's rays glinting on the horizon.
impatience and adrenaline flow through your veins,
exciting every limb.
feel every hair raise in anxious expectation.
feel the cold dew on your feet
as the rising morning fog swirls around
and you desperately run.
feel the pounding of your heart
and your hand clasp around the prize.


the curtain has been torn,
the stone rolled away,
and the tomb has been emptied.
stand there with the shoved-aside women.
your eyes widen in amazement
hear the pounding of your hear in your ears
and for a brief moment-
cynicism, doubt, and confusion-
are gone.
a smile crawls across your face,
because you know
you have found the prize.

your grieving
your crying
your waiting
is done.
welcome to a brand new day.
hallelujah. hallelujah. hallelujah.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


'do not give up; the beginning is always the hardest'

i don't like foods that end in 'ese'...
i'm not really sure why,
but i also don't like most meats, so i suppose that makes me unamerican as well.
today i ventured out and had some fried rice with some friends,
and above was my fortune...or proverb.
how perfectly fitting.
a couple of weeks ago i shared my story with some friends,
and ever since then it's as if a floodgate of memories and feelings have been opened.
my sister and i have talked on the phone more...recalling most of it,
and while she visited over easter (and her 21st birthday) we found ourselves in the car on the way to a hair appointment, discussing 'healing', and suddenly we both were crying.
my friend marsha sent me this quote right after our retreat weekend:

"far too many of us had to learn as children to hide our own feelings,
needs and memories skillfully in order to meet our parents' expectations and win their 'love'. when i used the word 'gifted' in the title,
i had in mind neither children who receive high grades in school
nor children talented in a special way.
i simply meant all of us who have survived an abusive childhood
thanks to an ability to adapt even to unspeakable cruelty by becoming numb.
without this gift offered us by Nature, we would not have survived."
drama of the gifted child ~ alice miller

i wonder about kids that are put in tough childhoods-
perhaps all of us were at some level.
how some of us allow the hurt and anger to consume us,
becoming much like the parent we resent,
and others become, as miller says, numb.
we ignore and forget.
then one day it all comes back.
it is as if i had my hand stuck in a block of ice...
freezing both time and feeling,
it became numb and at some point stopped hurting from the dulling cold.
and now, it is thawing.
it is a slow, painful, cracking thaw,
and i wish it were different.
it should have never been this way,
but it is.
ryan and i are coming up on 8 months of dating...
it feels like so much longer.
much of our relationship is exhaustingly hard.
there are days where i wish i didn't like him...
wish he were different...
that i were different too.
then there are other days that i wouldn't have it any different.
we are constantly working through the shit...
the stuff that we bring with us to the table.
it is hard hearing him say that he doesn't know that he actually 'feels feelings'
or that he ever will,
and it's hard to tell him that i don't trust a word he says half the time
and that i believe he'll hurt me like i was hurt growing up.
honesty can be suffocating.
remembering and healing can be suffocating.
learning and growing can be suffocating.
from an outsiders' perspective i'm sure that it would be hard to see the worth in most of this,
and there are moments when i wonder if we're not doing each other more harm than good.
i want to believe that the only way we'll get better is by learning from each other,
and that healing can only take place in relationship with the many others around.
i can only hope that it gets better.
that my fortune is right...
and that the beginning is the hardest.
that together we can begin to warm each other in the thawing,
and help each other along when it would be much easier to remain numb.
i would ask that all of you would think of us from time to time,
and maybe even send a little wisdom our way.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

my week

too many
too many
not enough
i'm emotionally, physically, and spiritually
i'm finding that sometimes
we all

palm sunday

it was april fool's day.
we walked through the prophesy,
we dealt with the temptations of christ...and ourselves,
we watched as palm sunday went from parade to riot,
and we experienced the stations of the cross.
may you have hope
as you realize that you too yell hosanna
and crucify.
as you realize that life is about moments...
one moment crying out in adoration
and the next turning your back on love.

may you have hope
as you seek out the tempter.
as you acknowledge that we each deal
with our own humanity...
with hungering of belly and soul,
with belief that we can do it alone-
independent of help and love,
that it is us that can will existence.

may you have hope
as you sit with christ.
as you eat the last meal.
as he washes your calloused feet.
as you fall asleep despite his begging.
as you then abandon him,
and as we all gather together
to hold the hammer and nails.

have hope
for, despite our failures
despite our disappointments
despite our brokenness
he will rise again
bathed in glory.
your hope has not been in vain.