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Learning and trying to be kind and living my life as fully as I can stand it.

Friday, December 9, 2016


I feel so happy today and I am reminded to work from my strengths. Work, play and love from my strengths.
Feels good to be a part of planning Black Santa with East Bay Families for Social Justice.
Feels good to have decided to skip school with my sick, snotty kids after we all slept late and the idea of fighting tears to get dressed and hustle to school sounded bleh. The house was a mess. Instead I called us in sick and we hung out, watched a lot of TV, played together with fewer tears than normal and then headed in to San Francisco for some visiting.

That was yesterday. Today is Friday and it's drizzling outside. Kids are eating dry Kix out of plastic Ikea bowls colored like the rainbow. I'm drinking tea, reading through Pantsuit Nation posts, opening up ten browser windows at once as an online, visual to-do list:

New York Times
Girls Gone Child
Mom.me 15 Fierce Books about Females

I've eaten three partly-burnt chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, despite recently finishing a cleanse that had me feeling energized and great. Drinking cinnamon tea.

Wearing my Boston College sweatshirt with the cuffs torn to shreds, exactly like the one I borrowed from a friend in Tijuana when we were there for a volunteer, Immersion trip with our high school the summer before our Senior year. The first time I'd heard of the school, no clue I would one day end up going there.

There is a line of beautiful holiday cards stretching across the shelf of our out-of-tune piano, faces of kids whose parents I love smiling out at us. Nikole and Annie's is the best times a million. We don't send one this year because I haven't put it together yet. Perhaps one for New Years.

The tenth load of laundry of the week spins its cycle, set to gentle because of the two Calvin Klein work dresses that will then go in the bag of clothes to donate to the clothing drive. Meena's Clothing Drive

Later today the kids and I will drive to Oakland and then Berkeley, first to deliver a Santa suit and then to go play at Habitot.

I am a community-builder. I am a continual learner. A questioner. I am opening up to become braver about putting my vulnerable heart into the world. To even let myself feel the pain of vulnerability. Of being scared and letting people see that.

There are a lot of scared people out there. I have to imagine that even many of the people saying the most hateful, vile things to their fellow citizens must on some level feel deep fear because the alternative is too hard to accept. And fear doesn't excuse it at all. It does help me try to understand.

I'm going to go eat a vegetable or something.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A story, unedited

I stood at the curb by the valet station in front of the hospital's main entrance, waiting for my Uber. It was already dark and I'd spent the day in the ICU, explaining death to a large family and helping volley the moments of grief and hope from person to person as they sat, stunned, trying to understand that their man had died. Suddenly, gone. There was regret in the room, at not having said "Thank you" or "I love you". There were smiles and stories passed across the tables, talk of getting together more regularly and not just waiting for tragedy to bring people together. It was a good day for me because I felt like I'd made a connection and I felt like by being there they were able to create a sacred space.

My attention slowly focused on a parked SUV to my left at the curb into which two women were slowly trying to climb. Well, one woman was attempting to coax an older woman into the passenger seat but the step was big and her legs were weak, unsure.

A couple weeks ago I probably would have turned my head back around, assuming they would work it out on their own. Instead I put my bags down and walked over to ask if I could help. The older woman work no shoes, her feet snug in yellow fuzzy socks with white flor de lis spotting them.

Can I help you? I asked.

It's dark, the younger woman who was older than I am said. Usually she has no problem getting in but it's dark and she can't see. She has Alzheimer's.

I'm Megan, I said. I will help you.

The older woman. She was an old woman, not just older. She didn't flinch as I gently put my hands on her. I flinched imagining someone touching me unexpectedly. She kept trying to grab the seat belt or something to help her hold on. Together the other woman and I gently tried to encourage her to step up, suggesting where she might put her foot or what she could hold on to. I held out my left hand and asked her to hold onto my hand but she wouldn't. I might not have either.

It's ok, you can do it. It's a big step. I said.

We weren't making any progress. The younger woman went around to the driver's side to see if that would help. It didn't really. In a way it was like watching one of my children try to navigate a stair or a step up a ladder, a foot held here and then there, testing the footing, putting it back down. She wasn't small but she was smaller than I am, shorter and with less mass. I felt like I could probably pick her up briefly and put her in her seat but I didn't want to hurt her or scare her or violate her in any way. We kept trying.

Through a series of small, shuffling moves we ended up with my foot up on the floor of the car, the old woman sitting on my one-legged lap. She didn't flinch, just rested her entire weight on my strange leg. We stayed like that for a while as I wondered how we would get out of this position. She was facing the seat and it was hard to imagine what Twister move would swing her around the right way.

She whimpered as we gently manhandled her around. The transition required her to give up her hold on herself. I imagined it felt like sky-diving to release your own control over your body, your safety. I thought of how scared I would be to be alone in my mind. I would hate it.

No one got mad or frustrated, at least not out loud. She never took my hand, we never really made eye contact. I buckled her seat belt and her grown daughter thanked me, told her mom to thank me.

That's Megan. She helped you.

I stepped back to my bag, checked my pocket to see two missed calls from my frustrated Uber driver who greeted my call with "Why didn't you answer?! I almost left."

He drove me to my next stop, both of us helping one another navigate the confusing GPS in a town neither of us knew. I went home.

I have been unable or unwilling to write these past weeks. The entire month of November has been silent as far as my written words though the words in my mind have been unceasing. So much happened in November that at any point it felt like if I were to try to write it down I would scatter like dust. I could try to write out a summary, at least a list of major themes, but it would read like a stone settling in the gut. Grief. Suicide. Loneliness. Marital strife. All that and then the world changed with the election results. Where would I start?

I grew up in a city, a city girl through and through. I revel in and rely upon the experience of being alone in a wave of strangers, soaking in the humanity without having to touch it. Putting up invisible walls against the person ranting to himself on MUNI or the sexist comments I've grown up with--I am untouchable, I am watching, it doesn't hurt me if I don't let it.

The walls are being torn down, painstakingly and at times ineffectually. I'm afraid to speak up. Afraid to put myself out there to be seen even as I write this for you to read and talk about wanting more than anything to be seen. I'm afraid to fight, having never been a fighter.

I am in this world and I will keep working to turn towards and not away. I don't know where I will find the words or the courage to share the words, raw, as they beat like hearts inside of me. I'll start here.