So, this is how I see it..

I am a mom.

I have two kids whom I adore and would jump in front of a hurtling asteroid to save.

Giving birth twice was absolutely the greatest actualization of my innermost dreams.

I can honestly say with complete certainty that my life is whole with these amazing souls choosing me for their mom.

That being said and understood…

I, also, clearly don’t think you have to have given birth to be a mom. In some ways, that can be simply the mechanics of delivery. Children can be delivered to their families in many, many blessed ways.

Let me extend that further to include that I don’t think you have to have children to be considered a mother or motherly.

We are a very small village in the immeasurable expanse of everything that is or ever has been. From where we view life, the village is vast, populated with abundant beings of light, color, mass and ideals. As a whole, our design is to continue being. In order to do that, it takes everyone fulfilling roles and responsibilities to each other and the greater family.

It is my belief that women are all of the same fabric generated from our earth and universe. We are women for more reasons than our uterus. We are women beyond nurturing and caring for our offspring. We are women in addition to the sum of two halves of a human union.

As women, we need some to bear our children, some to rear them and all of us to live lives of significance in order to propagate a species worthy of existence.

So, on this day which should be celebrated every day, I salute all women and hope today was a Happy, Happy Day for without all of us, our family is not whole.

Being a Mother
Being a Mother
Transcends life, love and children
Sisters all are we

Peace y’all…

Fine print: this post was not intended to exclude men. Men are also part of our earth’s fabric and a necessity to building our extensive family. However, that is a post for another day. Today was designated for women and the men will get their celebration in June…stay tuned for what I have to say about that! ;o)

Intimidation Dance

I know this incredibly beautiful woman. Her beauty is not in the stereotypical Helen of Troy sense as few wars have been waged over her, but she is pulchritudinous nonetheless. She has many friends ranging in levels from simple acquaintance to casual yet personal conversation to intimate know-nearly-everything-about-you. I cannot tell you how many times she has been complimented for her smile or honest charm or willingness to help when needed. She has a better relationship with her kids than she gives herself credit for and the same could be said of her relationship with her husband. They have a marriage based on equal partnership yet lived in the reality of give and take. It’s not perfect, and neither is she if you use Merriam-Webster’s definition, but there are times when I look at her and think, “Wow. She has a great life. Thank God.”

blessed art thou among women…

This woman I know works hard. Even though it is far from the dream she had for herself, she loves her job and is proud of the work she puts in each day. She tries to make the most of her time with her family and works with determination to accept the times when that is not possible for whatever reason. She has emotional struggles like many of us and she has worked diligently over the years to find paths to peace, gateways toward wisdom and layers of herself to love. Sometimes, when I hear her talk, I cannot imagine a time when she was afraid or didn’t believe in herself.

floating above you
I see with clear eyes your grace
clouds challenge within

Today’s woman I am writing about is also talented. She is a writer, has some solid, albeit dormant, acting chops and may have been an inventor in a past life, given her MacGyver-like skills. She loves her thesaurus (as evident by pulchritudinous) and is unashamed to use it. When she embarks on a project – whether it be a short poem, work related newsletter, Chekhovian drama, reparation of a small rocket launch pad, or configuring convoluted connections in a snow storm involving taxis, trains and planes to ensure arriving in Texas for a marriage license waiting period deadline – nine times out of ten, most dentists agree, she won’t quit until she has either reached a superlative solution or the heartbreaking realization that there is not one to be found.

but the tigers come at night…

And then I read posts like this and like this. I learn about the winner for the A Room of Her Own Foundation Grant, along with the finalists. I hear an old friend of mine that I didn’t even realize could sing, sing and write songs like these. Hell, even two of the people I love most in the world (next to my kids) have started a folk duo and every time I get to hear one of the songs they are working on, I get the hair-raised-on-the-back-of-my-neck-they’re-that-good feeling. (If I had a link to one of their songs, I’d post it, but they are currently “in development.”) I have many past friends who are continuing to make a go of it in the theatrical world – working either locally, regionally or in NYC. I could go on…

My stomach muscles tighten and my head begins to swim. Electrical impulses inside my brain begin to dance to an irregular arrhythmia pulsating from my weakening heart. Large, dark clouds of doubt flood my retina and my vocal cords begin to swell preventing spoken words. My lungs fill with cement pressing down hard on my diaphragm. Lastly, my fingers become thick and heavy with poisonous lead making it impossible to clack out the cacophony of angry voices yelling at me “Who do you think you are, anyway?!”

I close my eyes to await the inevitable implosion of my universe. When it doesn’t happen immediately, a small breath of air is able to seep through a tiny crack in my formidable fortress and a smidgen of light softens the darkness.

you are my child and I love you.

I wrest my lids open just enough to see a note I have placed under my makeshift laptop stand, given to me by someone too young to be able to not tell the truth.

You Rock

You Rock

And I go on, being me, remembering that I, too, rock…

Why does it have to be?

I heard someone ask on Inauguration Day “why does it always have to be about race?”

Hmm.

Let me think about that for a second.

[At this point, imagine a runner at the starting line with an Olympic-style torch.  The gun goes off and she begins to run very fast towards giant soap box that she is about to set ablaze.]

Deep cleansing breath.

IMHO:

Well, if we ever have forty-three black presidents in a row who won’t stop talking about what it means to be a person of color elected to the highest office in the land, maybe I’ll ask that same question.

Or, if it hadn’t only been a mere few generations ago where one color enslaved another color in our country, I might wonder why the infamous “card” keeps getting played.

If there were not still people alive today who survived being segregated, kept back from a decent education or job, held out of restrooms, bus seats and restaurants, and seen loved ones hanging from a tree, then perhaps I would lean on the side of caution when bringing up my color.

Or, if there wasn’t still discrimination, bias and prejudice that either silently or overtly exists in the hearts of so many – I could possibly be persuaded to think it is inappropriate to discuss the triumph of the “first time in history” type of election.

The tables are not turned where white in this country has had to endure what black has.  The tide has not yet fully receded on hate and bigotry.  And the thought that someone who has not had ancestors kidnapped, sold and enslaved, or parents and grandparents beaten or looked over because of the color of their skin, simply refuses to see yesterday as one of the most historical moments in defining our country’s history – totally baffles me.

It would be like a man saying to a woman, “Look, I know I have never physically given birth to a child but would you stop sharing your bodily trials and triumphs after having one?  Even if it is your first?”

Would parents who only have healthy, living children dare to say to parents who have lost a child that even though they can only imagine what they must be feeling, could they please stop bringing it up because it makes them uncomfortable?

Is that what it is?  Because it makes some people uncomfortable and not want to remember or acknowledge the truth of our not so distant history?  Is there some deeply recessed shame that some feel for knowing what happened was wrong and instead of bringing it into the light of day where we can deal with it and heal, want to squash it deep down where it only comes out in tasteless jokes, inept interactions with others who are different, or worse?  Much worse?

I want to remember.  I want to acknowledge the painful past mistakes our country has committed so that we don’t ever repeat them.  EVER.  Does that mean I want to live in the past and make all of my decisions based on how our country used to be?  No.  I want our country to move forward as one people, one nation, under whatever God (or not) we believe in.

When it came time to pull the now proverbial lever on who I thought best suited for the job as President, I compared beliefs, records and policies.  I did not have skin color or religion or even genitalia in my list of criterion.   My vote was for who I believed to be the right person for the right job at the right time.

And, as it turns out, I am extremely happy with my choice and the opportunities President Obama gives all of us.

[The soap box flames have dwindled to a small smolder now.  The flames are not so hot, but lingering coals and plenty of oxygen promise its rebirth on another day, another topic.]

BTW – would there have been no less mention, discussion or celebration had a WOMAN been inaugurated as President?

I know I will cry just as much, praise just as long and celebrate just as hard the first time we finally, finally elect the next right person for the job of President who also happens to be a woman.

Meant to be you and me questionaire

At what point does a reason stop being a reason and start being an excuse?

For example, I have hormones currently regulated by mother nature and let’s just say that the old broad ain’t so consistent in either timing or intensity.  This is the reason for my periodic and sometimes drastic mood swings – not because I am a loser or a bad person or an untimely bitch.  There is plausible proof of some internal body electrical misfires.

I may or may not have consciously known this over the course of my thirty years dealing with an “electrical” cycle.  However, since having my “junction box” removed last year while retaining my “generators”, the whole issue has been more in the forefront of my daily cognitive functions.  (Please note:  blogger apology for the crude metaphor – I didn’t want to scare off the men who may possibly be reading this with words like menstrual, uterus, or ovaries – ;o].)

Do I still have reason to let these power failures affect me now that I am more self-aware?  Or do I use them as an excuse for my behavior thereby circumventing the implementation of actual adjustments in my life – regular exercise, strict diet, and possible HRT resulting in a more than moderately different person?

Like I said, it’s been thirty years – surely I am supposed to have dealt with it by now, right?  What if it were a different ailment – one not so illusive with more apparent physical signs and reactions like cancer?  Would the deadly ramifications offset the attitude and thereby provide some leniency?  Or MS?  Are those complications severe enough to warrant a hall pass on likability?  Or leprosy? Could the skin lesions alone grant me access to Barbara Walters’ ten most fascinating people regardless of my sporadic inability to be kind?

What if the malady was even more slippery and less socially acceptable to discuss like MPD?  Could I continue to blame the evil Mary Kate for my tantrums and outbursts indefinitely?  What about alcoholism?  Which program step is it that forces me to stop attributing my behavior to the drinking or alcoholic tendencies?  How about a deeply painful and repressed sexual abuse from childhood?  How long could I continue to live my life in reaction to such an abuse before the universe tells me to get over it?

In other words, to morph some extremely tired cliches, when do I stop sitting around calling a spade a spade and pick up the damn shovel to move enough dirt to turn the freaking mountain into an oasis?

Would that depend on the inherent caliber of person I am or am perceived to be in the greater era of history?  Who and what decides that?  Would I let it affect the person I am meant to become?  Or would I become that person because of it?  Which came first – the saint or the miracle?

Would Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu have become Mother Teresa had she also had to battle cancer her whole life?  What if Gandhi were an alcoholic?  Would he have become the humble giant of peaceful leadership we still hold in highest esteem today?  Suppose the Buddha was a leper?  Would the isolation have hastened his reach to Nirvana or prevented it?  How about Jesus?  What if he’d been abused before a section of humanity realized he was their Son of God?  Wouldn’t he have still grown up to be the Messiah for the two billion Christians in the world today?

My hormonal swings are clearly dwarfed by these larger and possibly offensive comparisons I have attempted to develop but they are currently my albatross with which I have to decide how much longer I am to let choke me.

The list is long of people in history, religion and our everyday lives of those who have eclipsed these seemingly minor to literally earth shattering situations to become luminaries, spiritual centers and generally happy individuals.

Am I willing to join them?

Are you?

Pinter and the practice of pause

It has been a long time since I studied Harold Pinter’s work in a scholarly fashion and yet I was saddened by his recent death.  I love the seemingly simplistic dialogue in his plays that were anything but simple.

Pinter had the miraculous gift to put ordinary people into misleading situations that often brought about emotionally brutal results.

And, of course, the pauses.

Cannot help but love the pauses.

When I was an actor, interpreting the air and being alive during those pauses was more than an exhilarating challenge – it was akin to  becoming a prima ballerina.  To get it right could take years of experience and training and yet it needed to appear effortless to anyone watching.

It could be as basic as letting the directed time pass until your next line or it could be as difficult as thinking of the eight million things you want to say until the sound of the scripted words makes the journey from the bottom of your diaphragm through the saliva pooling at the back of your throat where it finally escapes through your possibly trembling lips.

Those are the pauses I remember.  Those are the pauses I have more experience with in my real life.  I have never, ever been even remotely adequate at allowing time to pass without marking every second with a blistering bombardment of questions waging gangland warfare on my conscious state.

Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older and have less time in which to participate in these paralyzing games, the previously determined pauses are fewer and their duration far shorter.

The unexpected pause, however, still, well – gives me pause.

A comment from one of my kids that pierces my sternum because it comes from someone too young to couch it behind anything but the truth.

A pointed remark from someone I had believed was not capable of tossing them out at me especially when it is repeated and shared with others.

The extra wrinkles, continuous pain from a distant surgery, and rapid mood shifts that I was not warned about occurring so early in my aging age.

The moment unimaginable news is delivered about someone I love that absolutely alters my cellular makeup.

The intensity and reason for the pause may have varying levels of degree and importance within whatever hierarchy the linear part of my brain has placed on my life while the pause itself reverberates the same Pinteresque array of colors in the other.  Together, they create an internal conversation akin a stage play performed by extremely talented actors without an audience.

Voice on the Phone
You know, it was our anniversary on Monday.

Pause. [Me thinks “oh, shit” what do I do now?  How mad is she? I really did mean to call – even picked out a present but just ran out of time to get it done.]

Me
Oh. Yes. I am sorry. I forgot.

Pause. [Me thinks the Voice on the Phone is thinking, I cannot believe you didn’t call – what does that say about you?  What does that say about your relationship with me?]

Voice on the Phone
Yes.  Well, I almost forgot, too, until he reminded me.

Pause. [Me thinks well, crap, you forgot my birthday more than once.  I didn’t realize we were keeping score but now that I know we are I guess it’ll have to be game-on.]

Me
Well, I am sorry I forgot – Happy Anniversary.

Pause. [Me thinks I don’t want to fight with this person.  I want to love this person and have this person love me without conditions like I thought it was supposed to be.  Will it never be possible?]

Voice on the Phone
Thanks.

Silence. [Me thinks I won’t outlive this one either.  It will be added to the ever-present grade-book that I don’t know where it is hidden nor the grading system in which to get a passing grade.  I guess that’s okay as long as I remember the rules I was never told.]

Me
Okay.  So, I’d like to order a large sausage pizza with light sauce and black olives?

Voice on the Phone
Will that be for pickup or delivery?

Egocentricity

It has come to my attention that all of my posts have one major concern – Me.  I write about My feelings, My desires, My fears, My angst – pretty much, if it has to do with Me, I’ll write about it.  I’ve written about childhood humiliations, mid-life crises, relationship joys and woes, every kind of female “issue”, and parenthood challenges – all from behind the very specific Kathleen-focused pinwheel of topics.

Honestly, I did not set out to write a blog with an all-you-can-eat buffet of my emotional stew du jour.   I have some indication that I am a bit of a decent writer with a solid ability to express myself in ways that engage other people.  I intended to marry this expandable skill with the numerous social, economic, cultural and world-wide issues that face the human race, thereby bringing about a crisp commentary from one of the ordinary class of humans – middle-middle class working woman with a husband, two kids, a dog and a mortgage.

Instead, I have a series of blog posts filled with metaphorical anecdotes concerning my hormones, insecurities and day dreams.

Is there something wrong with this?

I must have decided there is not since I continue to write about these things that fill my ever shrinking cognizant capacity.

Clearly, even in this confessional opus, my number one concentration is My inability to write about someone other than Me!

However, before I toss my garbley goulash into the pig trough and start writing about other subjects where I have some great authority like the best ways to get cinnamon gum out of a washing machine, or how to collect old baby food jars until they overflow into the outdoor shed, or remain at a job you don’t like for nearly a decade without literally jumping out the window – I should like to state that I don’t believe any one of us can truly write about anything other than our own experience.

Even if I were to write about the life and times of Mickey Mouse, it would be colored with my intense personal impression of said rat based upon everything that has occurred in my life up to this point.  Suppose Mr. Mouse and I differ in opinion on how to bring about peace without using violence?  Would it then be possible to write objectively about Mr. Mouse’s career in which he engaged his country in not one, but two extended wars?

Maybe a better human than me could, but I am pretty sure I have given up trying to be objective.  (Especially where Mickey is concerned – don’t even get me started on a grown mouse who has a clubhouse full of perky sidekicks who only know how to sing his praises.)

So, I’ve decided – if anyone is 1) actually reading this and 2) in a place of even remotely caring about it – that I am going to continue to write about what I am faced with each moment on a cellular level – Me.

After all, stew is a meal in itself!

Not sure where to go today

Inside my brain, the hamster is working its wheel.  There’s nothing dramatic in the cage currently – it is simply full and spinning.  Every effort I make to stop and take note of some part of it reveals another stash of pellets for me to consider.

Maybe a hamster isn’t the best analogy.  For one, I don’t feel very rodent-like.  And two, it’s much too cliche for my attempt at writing a new angle blog.

Let’s start over.

Inside my skull, the beta swims quick loops around its small tank.  The same pebbles and plastic greenery are still there with each passing turn.  The water fills my lungs and yet I need to surface for air and food which often gets lost in the constant circling.

Ugh.  Nope – fish out of water also too over done.

Lion at the zoo in a too small habitat?  Caged bird that is afraid it cannot sing?  Sisyphus on a treadmill of stones?  Random sock lost in the dryer that keeps spinning on high heat?  Durang’s George dressed as Mother Courage thrust onstage in what appears to be Charlie’s Angels but with Jerry Matthers as the elusive Harvey the rabbit?  Frog in a blender on pulse?  Tiny worker ant confined to its own mound of dirt pining for the greater universe?

Clearly, I could go on and on trying to describe what it feels like to be me in my life without ever actually writing about the actualities of my existence.  And, currently, all of the comparisons seem to point to me feeling a bit too routine, too ordinary – too normal.  While at the same time, almost too timid to express these longings for fear of losing the infinite blessings that fill my cage/tank/habitat/universe.

So, I write it down.  Or, I think about writing it down but trip on my way to the computer trying to make the words come out perfectly the first time.  Or, I deem the laundry more important.  Or, the checkbook balancing act.  Or, internet surfing under the guise of trying to find an interesting subject to kick start my next blog.

Screw it.

Today the life of Kathleen involves the remaining chores to get the house in order before going back to work and school on Monday, getting our son over to/back from a friend’s house to play for a while, making sure the other child is entertained as she gets jealous when he gets to out, grocery shopping, outdoor Christmas lights down and put away, cleaning my home desk area, clipping the dog’s nails, watching some football without the Cowboys, craig’s listing two ellipticals we no longer want, and checking to make sure my kids don’t have lice after spending a week with their cousin who did.

See?  I sound like I’m whining when I should be grateful to have these two beautiful children, or a marriage and relationship that has lasted nearly eighteen years, or a home to clean that’ s not in foreclosure, or money to buy groceries.  I AM GRATEFUL – every day of my life, I am grateful.

I am also human.  A human woman who is now 41 who life far exceeds any dreams I could have ever had as a child as to what family meant or even what it meant to grow up.

So, I know the universe loves and accepts me when the contented routines of each day get paused as I walk through a day-dream of adventure in my own Kath-Bourne Identity traveling the globe fighting terrorism in search of my true past self under the guise of being a worldwide respected actor onstage in her own works sharing an ethereal connection with Sting carrying my Nobel Poetry and Peace prize in the back pocket of my size six jeans.