Category Archives: random

An inconvenient volcano…

I was having a lovely conversation this evening over dinner with several friends. One of my friends was talking about her son and how angry he is over some very reasonable things outside his control and how difficult a time she was having with her own anger about said things and his when I suddenly admitted something out loud.

I am really angry.

All the time.

I talked to her about the anger that has been ever present deep within me since my body became a traitor and a prison and a horrible place to live.

I explained I used to live with this ever burbling volcano of anger that threatened to spew itself all over whatever I was doing at the moment but that I had grown to exist with it instead of against it.

She was shocked. She said I seemed to be so calm all the time. I agreed. I explained that extreme emotions have a tendency to send my migraines up into the 11’s so I attempt to manage my feelings so that I can minimize the damage they cause me but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

They are there. The anger is there. The burning, burbling, white-hot, fury at my situation is always there. It has tea with me on cold days and toast with me when I can’t manage to make a real breakfast. Sometimes, it even helps me.

Sometimes my anger is why I go for the walk when my body is screaming at me to stay in bed.

Sometimes my anger fuels my art and helps me push myself.

Sometimes it stops the despair.

However, it used to threaten to consume me. It was this nearly out of control feeling just under the societally acceptable veneer of control. It was burning out of control beneath a calm surface of acceptance. It was there because it’s not cool to lose your shit in the grocery store and scream at the ice cream because you can’t work anymore. It was there because no one actually wants to see you throwing all your breakable dishes at the ground. It was there because at after age 6 I was no longer indulged when I beat my fists against the ground and screamed about my really unfair situation.

The anger lived a much stronger existence because there was societal pressure urging me to hide it.

I believe, to this day, that if I had been able to throw an anger party, an event where I had my closest friends come destroy shit with me while I talked about how fucked I was, I would have gotten to a point of acceptance far sooner.

Instead I had this monster eating away at me and threatening my calm when the coffee ran out, or the internet got a little slow, or the dog peed on the floor. It was barely leashed, straining against my control, for years.

It didn’t become an ally until I accepted it. Until I was able to let myself give up the Pollyanna shit and really live in the anger, really acknowledge I deserved to be mad. Once that happened a lightness entered me. I was free of this tethering feeling because I had incorporated it, instead of trying to fight it.

We suck, as a society, at dealing with negative emotions. We hate being angry, sad, you name it. We are happy or we are doing it wrong. Period.

I’m here to tell you to let your inconvenient volcano explode. Revel in your anger.  Let it wash over you. Cry, scream, stomp your feet. Be mad. You’ve earned it.

Once you do that, you can aim it’s energy at other endeavors.


Tea, letters, and other creature comforts…

Is there anything more comforting than a hot cup of tea on a cold snowy night?

Dan and I live on the third floor of the victorian home in capital hill. Our spacious yet cluttered room is filled with all manner of cozy artifices. We have several rugs thrown Arabian Nights style on the floor, our walls are covered in paintings, photographs, and the banner from our wedding. We have piles of pillows all over the place. (Dan claims I have a pillow problem, I assure you that what I have is pillow solutions.) We have a lovely faux-cast iron fireplace that sends warm waves of heat and fire-like flickering into the room. We have a cat and a dog and a collection of beautiful quilts. However, things didn’t become perfect until we added an electric teakettle and a collection of tasty teas.

Suddenly we had a lovely cold-water flat to curl up and spend the wintry days in. As a result I, a vouchsafed gothic novel fanatic, am now obsessed with writing letters in my little flat while drinking a hot cup of tea. So much so that I have discovered drinking enough peppermint tea in a day will actually cause you to sweat tingly peppermint sweat. I have also sent out about 15 letters.

I am finding the creature comforts aforementioned more essential than ever lately. I am scared about the next four years. I have worked so hard my entire life to open rights up to everyone and to save the environment and now, at my most vulnerable time, the country is reverting to old ways.

I don’t want to start a big rant at the moment about politics. If you don’t know why we should take care of people who need help by the time you are reading this blog than I can’t teach you that, nor will my words change your opinion about it. You either have compassion and empathy and the ability to care for others or you believe the world is a small pie and you have to get the biggest slice possible by taking crumbs away from others. So I am not going to start a big argument. I am just going to say I am scared because it seems from my corner that the country was just taken over by a group composed entirely of crumb-grubbers.

So I am marching in protests and writing my elected officials and drinking the hell out of some tea in a room that feels more and more like a good place to hide refugees in the coming years.

Whoops. I guess some additional political commentary slipped in after all. Back to the comforts.

For some reason I think there aren’t enough people writing letters these days. I think it’s important to write in pen and ink because there isn’t a convenient backspace key ready to erase poorly thought out phrases. Think about how different political discourse today would be if people had to think before writing, to insure they meant what they said, and then had to wait 3-5 days before someone could read their writing and reply! There would be so much more thought put into our conversations.

I am trying to bring letter writing back into my life. I think it’s vital to our ability to think to correspond with people. Our social media existence has created such an instant gratification “communication” sphere that I’m pretty sure prohibits any actual communication and I believe we are suffering as a result. I’m hoping by writing people I can redevelop the thought processes utilized in actually contemplating the placement of permanent words onto paper. The actual art of communication.

On this note, yet politically, I have purchased 120 blank postcards so I can send postcards to Congress expressing my political opinion on all matters going forward. I figure I can write “Support HBXXX” or “Oppose SBYYY” on the front and then write a brief set of reasons on the back and send them in. Personalized postcards for political action without much cost or time.

I fear Congress pays about as much attention to phone calls and emails as they do syphilis. I’m hoping the physical nature of postcards will be more attention grabbing. Like face herpes.

(Dan just told me that it’s disturbing that face herpes is a theme of mine. I am afraid I can find no fault with his assertion so I will simply raise my eyebrows and drink some tea instead of responding.)

Where was I….? Right! Postcards to Congress. I loved that so many people came together in the largest single day of protest in U.S. History to combat the hatred pouring out of Washington like snot out of a toddler but let’s face it; unless we do more than march things are not going to change. Hell, even if we do more than march things might not change but we have to try something.

I suggest writing your Congress people, voting in the midterms (FUCKING VOTE IN THE MIDTERMS PEOPLE), and volunteering to spread information and garner support for causes you believe in. Even if you give an hour a month that an hour more than they had before.

We have a choice. We can hide in our cold-water flats drinking our tea and pretending the world outside isn’t there or we can find comfort in our cozy things while we gear up for the long and arduous battle ahead. I admit the former is tempting as hell. This Spoonie is damned tired of fighting to get out of bed everyday much less change the political climate of a country experiencing a mid-life crisis. However, I am afraid if I don’t put forth the effort the country I love will become a place I cannot live. So effort it is.

For right now? Tea, Letters, and the love of a snugly dog.


I find myself thinking about what defines us as people. We wander around within our identity, thinking we know who we are, but probably rarely really thinking about what that means, all the different aspects of who we are. The accident of our birth, the way we were raised, our social encounters, our personal choices, the hardships we have suffered, the success we have enjoyed, holding all these aspects of ourselves in the forefront of our minds while we wander through life would drive us mad. It would be like trying to hold all the facets of a diamond in your vision at once, or contemplating infinity.

When I was in D.C. I found myself walking downtown, a lawyer on the way to take the oath of admission, no longer young really though not quite old, the adult version of an adolescent. I felt the mother in me missing her children, the wife missing her spouse, the daughter wishing her parents could be there to see. I encountered the 12 year old playing dress up and experienced anxiety when I wondered if I had managed to fill out the forms right and follow all the instructions or if a single moment of oversight would render my journey useless. I held hands with the actress who wonders if she is playing this role really well or if it really is her.  I recognized the grieving friend wishing a lost loved one was there swearing in with her, and the beloved one who carried the wishes of many on her shoulders. It was a crowded walk.

It left me thinking. Do we discard parts of ourselves because we outgrow them or are we incapable of holding all these facets in our minds?

I spent a decade of my life singing, dancing, and acting. I studied theatre, I learned tap, salsa, and swing. I sang in Jazz choirs, chorale choirs, and alone. I performed on stage in front of hundreds of people at a time. I went dancing multiple times a week and loved every minute moving to overly loud and trite techno music surrounded by sweating hordes of humanity. I haven’t entered a club in months, I haven’t sung anything other than a lullabye in years. I still love to sing, to dance. Why did I drop these things by the wayside? Why didn’t I pick them back up again?

I spent a decade of my life swimming, competeing in swim team and getting up before the sun to dive into an unheated outdoor pool and swim 50 laps. I haven’t swum a lap in years.

I spent 6 years weightlifting, trianing my muscles to life more and more with each repetition. Now the heaviest thing I pick up is my daughter.

Do we decide at some point to stop doing, and therefore being, all these things that we loved or do we wake up one morning, alone for the first time in years, and find ourselves wondering where all these wonderful experiences went? I remember choosing not to go further in the theatre, I remember wanting a different professional life, but I don’t remember consciously discarding everything that came with it.

Once we have lost contact with all the various facets of our selves, is it too late to reintroduce them? Can we pick up where we left off? Will they even seem interesting to us anymore? Do the choices we make throughout our lives change us so dramatically that the people we were have little to nothing in common with the person we are? If so, is that former part of us still within, frozen in time, forever happy doing the things the current us chooses not to do or could these prior selves be a cause of the strife and discontentment that seem to come with age? Would we feel stifled if we still did in our thirties what we found fun in our teens?

It was a fleeting feeling, this crowded walk into downtown D.C. I was easily wrapped up in the moment of the swearing in and made a number of friends during the process. By the time I had left this sense of being surrounded was gone and I was filled with purpose and distracted by ambition. I am writing this tonight because I started a new series and it brought abruptly back my crowded walk.

Joss Whedon strikes again.