The Little One in the form of an Owl...(but don't tell her I said that!)

January 31, 2012


         The last few days have been a marathon of bonding, blog reading, and stifled panicking-fine then, we'll call it a triathlon.  When last we spoke things seemed to be coming to a head-

[ugh I know writing this will feel good, it will stretch out my voice muscles, get me all warmed up again, but I've just spent the last few hours reading other peoples blogs.  I don't know if this happens to everyone, but when I read a certain kind of voice, Victorian, Australian, any kind of unique accent or writing style, all my thoughts take on that voice.  So now I'm trying to write my blog with like 50 different mom voices floating in my head-it's pissing me off-disclaimer]

        As I was saying, things were getting pretty ugly there for a bit.  Actually the beach thing was only the eye of the storm, a relative calm before more energetic chaos in the house.  No matter what I tried to do, I couldn't seem to hit the right note to end the nasty, putrid, thoughts whirling in my head and heart.  I couldn't help whining, demanding; taking everything the wrong way and feeling like it was them against me.  Ooff, I shudder at the memory of how ampt up I felt, how tired and tiresome.  
        The Little One showed me no mercy. Yes, I have confessed, for the most part, it was I who had hit an emotional whirlpool, but I still cooked, cleaned and played housewife, and she would sit staring off into space-going completely mute the minute Mukaka was not in the room-like I just didn't exist.  And all I could remember is how many times I pulled the same shit with my mother; I distinctly remember the purposefulness of it, the cold, empowered feeling of knowing how much I could hurt her just by voiding her existence.  She was getting off on watching my nerves get all the more raw-but only when she knew I wasn't looking.
        So Thursday evening I sit in my room and contemplate walking away.  It was a breaking point.  I had done what I said I would come to do; the transition was over and now it was as if my role had played itself out...

        Vannesa is one of the most adept survivors I have ever known.  My mother had to leave the city for the weekend, and just like that Vannesa was suddenly in love with me again, knowing very well she had no one else to interact with.  I didn't know what was more astounding, how ruthless she was in her cruelty, or how endearing she was in her need.  But whatever the rhetorical conclusion, this did not stop my hurt from soaking up that affection and need, a slave on my raw nerves. So we went swimming and she clung to me like a brand new baby, even though the pool was full of her age mates.  I took a chance and told her that I liked her so much better when she wasn't being mean to me like when Mukaka was around, she was so quick to agree-even though I'd known her behavior had been somehow conscious-I was still surprised how readily she understood exactly what I was talking about. And she vowed to stop.
          That night we sat down to dinner, just the two of us, and I don't know how it all came up. It was all very casual, like she mentioned my sister having volunteered to adopt her, so I ask her, I says, "well, what if I told you that I wanted to be your mother?"  It's weird to even bring all this up, since I'm in such a crabby mood and all, and since I have never been more desperate to get away from her as I am today...haha.  Well, but that's the point, that's how I know it's real. Anyway she was so quick to agree, but with the disclaimer that we would all have to have a family meeting with Jaja, and Mukaka, and my sister, and everyone to make the announcement (where does she learn to be so formal and proper?!?)  And I let her know that she could take her time before calling me mother-ugh-weiiirrrd.  
         Like I said, I hadn't expected this conversation to happen for a few months at least, though it's helped that my mother has already known and she thought the sooner the announcement the better.  The next morning, the last two days, in fact, of unabridged, uninterrupted bonding time has been overwhelming to say the least.  She sits across for me with the exact same intensity as when she ignored me, but she now watches my every move-my EVERY breath, her big eyes pouring "need" into me and soaking up all the thoughts and wants and desires I used to have as my own, my. very. own. MINE.  

          I wish this post flowed better, but I gotta just get it out, editing be damned.  The thing is, this is all double sided. I mean...I was already freaking out when all this happened, remember?  Like there's other shit that's being taken into consideration-for one, I have not had a single conversation with someone my age in I don't know how long, 28 days, that's how long. And I've never had a conversation with someone going through anything like this.  So it's like I'm starving, yeah, and then all this with Vannesa was like a thirst on top of the hunger.  So now I'm quenched, well at least for now, but other needs, other fears are still gnawing in my gut.  And then there is this little girl with her big, big eyes, demanding ME to fulfill HER?!?  I've seen other mothers get that look on their faces (did I just say "other"??) that quiet panic.  And you always think, c'mon what's the big idea? babies are soooo cute. Yes they are. And so is the Little One; she is absolutely gorgeous; It is just kinda crazy to go from zero to sixty with no seat belt on.  And it doesn't help that my baby is too old for naps, cannot be comforted by nursing, and is not yet in school (urgggh) and-continuing the analogy-just became MINE point two seconds ago.  

              Maybe all this is obvious to anyone reading this, but honestly the fact that I would yearn for parenting help did NOT occur to me.  Ha! Seriously, the only people I know who have kids have them by default and as a matter of fact.  I've never known anyone to have to "date" their child; to go through the very same ups and downs that happen when embarking on any other new and serious relationship.  And anyone who does know me knows, I don't know shit about relationships.  My point is there must be a method to this madness, no? There must be a way to navigate through my own life's turmoil while still managing the Little One's passing storms with minimal damage to us both.  OMG, I sound typically naive don't I?  Like a 400 lbs person saying their New Year's Resolution is to lose weight. No really, best of luck, but REALLY. By "typically naive" I mean, typical for me: the grandest adventures always strike me as no-brainers; it's the everyday that fills me with panic.  So what to do?  Does anyone want to judge me for taking hold of this little girl's life when I don't have a very good grasp on my own? Would it have been any better if I'd gotten knocked up by some Indian dude cheating with me on his German girlfriend? (wonder who would have the prettier baby, but I digress)  
           Are we only supposed to be courageous when the risks are pre-designed?  Did I just stumble into this life or did I create it?  Would I change it if I could?  The other day, at the beach, as the sun set on yet another of our bachelorette weekend outings, my mother said, "ughhh, I wish I didn't have to work tomorrow!", and I replied, "I wish I had a job. We can't always get what we want when we want it."  

           I was thirsty and now she loves me, and it's awkward and it's good.  Can I be happy with what I have even though this isn't what I had in mind, when I asked for it? 

...Can you?

January 25, 2012

"Competition Coming Out Now. Load. Up. Aim. Fire, Fire Pop!" (part 2)

The NGO cold-hustle meeting went as well as could be expected, “send me some shit via email, I’m incredibly busy you see, maybe later, blahblahblah.”  The woman I went to see was on her way out as director, so simply pawned me off to the new guy who was so archetypically HOT, he was a caricature: the British Explorer (which was once upon a time the Colonial Diplomat but has now transformed into the Business Savvy Savior-the Bible and sword is now the resume and the pen-ha!) Think Oliver Steeds, only clean, deliciously clean; I would eat off him in a heartbeat, and (Ah! Me!) he knew it.  I don’t think that hurt my chances actually-not that he was AT ALL interested-but only that it sort of rounded out my desperation: “so I have some good ideas and I’ve done some cool shit, but right now I’m really, really hungry, you know?” Yea…he knew
            The meeting happened near a nice local beach, so I used what money I had left to jump in a taxi, pick up the Little One and go back (I had to send a message to my mother to ask her to bring more money to get us home).  We had some lovely gal-time for awhile until the sun became to much for her and she started complaining of the heat and of the threat of turning black, my mind locked into the looming office behind me and it’s promises and it’s temptations just out of reach (I could actually see Explorer’s window), I sent her off to go splash in the waves. But she was too scared of the water and instead wandered off way down the shore into the distance.  She stood there looking bored, looking back at me, and I earnestly waved my arms trying to signal her to come back but she thought I was insisting she go splash so she stoically ignored me and wouldn’t move.

            Suddenly she sprang to life and leapt, no FLEW up the sand dunes in the direction of the restaurants to greet my mother who had just arrived.  The feeling of jealousy in the pit of my stomach was like a giant pus bubble bursting, filling the air with its stink.  She came running to me along the edge of the beach filled with debris, cans, and broken bottles-Careless and Carefree.  When she got to me, all she could breathlessly pant was, “Mukaka”. Apparently, the stench of my pus bubble had a sound, though I could have sworn I was just being concerned:
“Why didn’t you come back when I told you? What if something had happened? Why did you go so far away in the first place and yet you didn’t even go splashing around like I told you and yet you were complaining of being hot???” I was not shouting, just questioning, incessantly.  Her shoulders slumped, her eyes dulled and looked at me with something far worse than anger or sadness or even fear; she looked weary and disgusted (how the HELL does an eight year old know what bitching is? AND so WHAT if I WAS?!? I’m the one who is HERE. C-A-R-I-NG!!!) She went mute; my mother was approaching behind her, in the distance, and she kept looking back like, “God, get me out of this!” (How can someone so EAGERLY await a person who will dump them in an office room for six plus hours with nothing but cookies to eat; the same person who forgot you were awake the other morning 15 minutes after you came and greeted her??) I couldn’t help it, I had to go on; this was now worse than the silence; I was now, whining: “Yea. I can see you’re waiting for Mukaka. You think all my questions are tiresome and quarrelsome; well, I’m NOT her (SHUT UP) and I will NEVER be her (PLEASE SHUT UP!!) I am JUST me and this is HOW I am (can you JUST SHUT the FUCK UP!!) I only finally stopped at the arrival of my mother. “So you’re taking her.” I declare, “Wha-to my meeting??” she stumbles, as she freezes in the midst of handing me cab fare, “yea, I can just take a taxi home,” I reply, defiantely grabbing the cash (am I SERIOUSLY trying to test an eight year old?!?) Vannesa gathers her things, looking none too bothered-which BOTHERS ME! My mother is confused but assumes all of this angst is all directed at her. They leaving, I am crying. 
I did not learn my lessons from the past, though I arrogantly tried to pass them on. I did not stand my ground, but folded under the weight of my own bitterness; I keep crashing into Vannesa’s Eyeore-like shanty of Peace then going, “Damn, these tornadoes.” But you see, I am both the “foster parent” and the child; I get so caught up in being fucked up, I forget to ask the question: how do I NOT fuck this up?
“It’s all my mother’s fault; it’s all my mother’s fault”, who is signing, me or her? Which is the cause and which is the effect, and where is the Good I was told I was fed? My stomach hurts, but I am too hungry to stop and check what I am eating…

January 23, 2012


            I had to have a talk with the little one about the silent tornado that’s been blowing through the house the past few days, destroying all the rhythm, routine, and joyful structure we’ve created.  It’s called cycling: the hormonal brewing that happens with women that leads to a bubbling over of nasty emotions-like pus from a popped zit-nasty because they are unnecessary and not having much to do with our True Selves.

            In the fourth and fifth grade I was in a program called T.A.G, it was a state run program in the American public school system that stood for “Talented and Gifted”.  Children were chosen by falling into a certain percentile of test scores, but then the chosen were further divided into the full-time and half-time versions of the program, apparently by names being drawn from a hat.  What is so inexplicable about this arbitrary distribution is there was a startling difference from the two, namely, full time TAG had a special bus and were given sex education-with condom demonstrations and all.  I was in half-time TAG, spending the morning with the regular kids then heading of to Mrs. Norris’ class for math and English. 
            There were many wonderful things about our little clan, but the best treat (also inexplicably unfair) for being in the half-time version was we got to put on school plays.  These were huge productions that took months to prepare and permitted us to be pulled out of class at the impulsive whim of the director. I always got the “extras” parts because I was years away from knowing I had a Light and my Light had a Voice; but no matter how small the role you played, being a part of these plays was an undeniably epic part of each of our childhoods.
            In fifth grade, one of our plays was a musical mishmash of the Greek myths; I will never forget the rendition of the Andromeda, the daughter of Casseoipia, who was punished for her mother's vanity by being trapped on an island in the middle of the sea. The theme song was as explicitly simplistic as a song could be; the chorus, in loud, whining proclamations:

It’s All My Mother’s Fault!
It’s All My Mother’s Fault!
What-EVER Happ-ens in My
It’s All My Mother’s Fault!

            So a few days ago I ask the Little One, “Do you think I’m mad at you?” She shakes her head no, which throws me for a loop; I had imagined that’s what all these puppy-dog, “why me?” looks she’d been throwing at me had been about; but I got no further explanations from my prodding. So I say, “I love you very much, more than I can even say; I love you as if you were my very own baby”, I cuddle her close to me in our living room couch, pressing her back into my beating heart [Given what will follow I feel a bit…nauseated that this was the first time I mentioned such a love……but such is Life]. “Can I tell you?, I continue, “And it’s OKAY to tell Mukaka; this is NOT a secret…but being around Mukaka-I’m not saying she is a bad person-but she behaves in ways that are not so nice…to me, that make it very hard to…take care of you and her the way I want to.” (I have contemplated this confession for days following up to this moment, and YES, there are a million alarm bells going off in my head telling me I could be making things worse, fucking things up, but I just cannot STAND the silent tornado that may very well destroy us all; whatever was going on, growing up, there was always silence, especially from my father-and it was Pure Poison; it’s no good, the silence.) “I think sometimes you copy her, and treat me in ways that aren’t so…respectful, you know?” she nods, “and it’s hard if it’s both of you; it’s hard enough when it’s just her, but when it’s both of you, it’s like two against one, you know?” more nodding, “so I just wish you could find a way to not act like that so much, to not copy that not so nice behavior…” (here it seems like I switch gears, but really I’m just so desperate to use this opportunity to say what’s been on my mind and heart for awhile now, both the pain and the pleasure…)
            “But you know, underneath it all, you are just SO amazing.  No matter how many mistakes you make in life, no matter how many good things you do, underneath it all, You. Are. Amazing. Do you think so?” “She gives a HARD shake no (from a girl who mostly communicates with her eyelashes, be it yes, no, or go f*ck yourself, this was tragically enthusiastic) I pull her close to me again, “I know you don’t but you have to learn. You have to learn because when people hurt you, you will think they are right to hurt you, and you well then hurt yourself by not being all the things you can be or doing all the things you can do, just because you do not realize how Great you are......maybe that’s what happened to me, and that is why I can get so easily upset with Mukaka; I’m still having to learn that I am amazing. SO, you have to learn to believe it so nobody, even me, can hurt you.” She got it, not completely yet, but more than one would expect of a child (most of her life has necessitated an acceptance and comprehension that is far more than one would expect of a child) I was thus not surprised that despite her hearing me out, she was not exactly sympathetic to my position…

January 18, 2012

FEEDING THE GOOD TO EAT THE BAD: A Method towards Positive Progress

             It's all networking and hustling today, my friends.  The hustle is back on, my faires tell me learning from the past and standing my ground is going to be a challenge.  Since life at home is currently in it's repetitve cycle of chaos, I am nowwehere near centered enough to even begin to figure out what that means.  What ground? I am floating over an abyss and trying to keep my breath shallow, not quite holding it, but reserving what oxygen there is, cause this might take awhile.  Am I supposed to cynically believe that nothing will come of these meetings today, which is what happened in Ug? To think positive and invoke my ambitions into reality, though they are very Ego-based ambitions, really? Shallow breaths, shallow breaths...but in any case, I think I got something here no matter what happens.  What say we:

PREMISE:  The link between “development” (donor countries-developing countries) to “foster parenting”
·         Corruption, internal conflict, disease epidemics, perpetuated poverty, etc all are comparable to a child’s past history of possible abuse, genetics, infant neglect, infant addiction, etc.

QUESTION: How to “parent” a “debilitated child”-how to deal with a history we cannot control whose influences perpetuates into the future of our “parenting” (e.g. program policy-making and implementation)?


            When caretaking for a foster child, you can drive yourself crazy trying to play detective, scientist, and psychologist; trying to retrospectively trace the cause and effect of your child’s past; trying to root out what went “wrong” and what effects it’s had on the child: Is this his/her personality? Is it biology? Did something happen to cause this behavior? OR (as is often the case) is this just one of the phases your child-like any other human, under any other circumstances-is going through during his/her personal journey?
            The true insanity comes when you are doing this detecting, experimenting, analyzing, not as some removed theorist with time to calibrate for multiple variables and adjust hypotheses accordingly, but instead right in the throes of everyday parenting, constantly interacting with the “subject” just as she/he influences you. And so forth.

            The same scenario exists in the countless development programs found throughout the developing world; the same insane struggle, futile results-oriented determination, and naïve heroism.  And always, for those who take a moment to pull their heads up out of the rut they’re determinedly plowing, there is the question: how do we not f*ck this up?
            The answer, for both parenting and development, lays in Ego-less Faith, an apparent paradox, it’s true. But having achieved that rare and heroic achievement of checking our Egos at the door, we must have faith that if we use all our skills, lessons learned, and resources to nurture the Good- that will create the most potent and sustainable force in fighting the Bad. 

            Imagine a child who, since coming into your care, has increased age-inappropriate or destructive behaviors such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, and tantrums, despite all the careful love we have bestowed on said child.  With all our ostentatious beliefs that we have introduced elements of far greater quality vis-à-vis food, shelter, education, environment, etc, than what they had before, there will be an instinctual need to panic: “But this can’t be!” we exclaim, “What’s happening? How can things be getting worse? There must be something we missed??!” And we quickly run to don our Sherlock Holmes chapeaus in such haste that we will not even notice our Egos tucked underneath the brim.  We will rush to figure it out, to calibrate the various variables, re-hypotheses, and begin new experiments…

            The answer to that question-the one we asked in our previous moment of grace-the answer is to have faith.  Let us slowly take both hat and Ego off, place them, gently, back at the door where they belong, and understand that this war-this insane struggle can only be won if we resist the urge to fight the Bad and focus our energies in what is Good.  Let us continue to bestow that careful love, re-invest our attentions in any and all positive changes in our child, and have faith that all the Good we put into our child will, in due course, reduce or even eliminate what Bad the past, present, and future may bring.

            Perhaps one could argue that a development program in a developing country is a far more complex process in a far more complicated entity than the parenting of a foster child; this is a moot point.  The achievement of both parenting and development-the goal- has no guaranteed definition, no standardized parameters of completion.  The achievement thus lies in how we decided to proceed and in whether or not we can relinquish our results based vision, stave off our instinctual panic, resolve NOT to INSIST on answers as to the causes and effects of past happenings, and focus on what we can do to nurture the positive with faith that it will be the Sole Hero in defeating the negative.


1.      Problem: As programs designed to alleviate malnutrition target the poverty-stricken population of a country and attempt to “re-condition” habits of proper diet and lifestyle, the developing middle class in the same country is concurrently targeted by the private sector (through local and foreign industry-usually foreign) to develop “consumer habits” that often rely on imported and processed foods and goods.
Result: Despite efforts by these programs to implement sustainable changes, the poverty-stricken population will naturally aspire to rise up within their societies into the developing middle class, will thus mimic the developing middle classes lifestyle behavior, will hence be indirect victims of private sector marketing which inadvertently supports habits that result in malnutrition (as evidenced even in the developed world).
Solution: Donor programs should use part of their allotted resources in malnutrition alleviation (including their very real influence into government bodies such as Ministries of Health who can then influence private sector industry development) to target the developing middle class in order to reconstitute the lifestyle habits they are promoting in the middle class, which the poverty-stricken population will thus model; in effect, a double prong influence on lifestyle and habits.
Do not fight poverty, support prosperity!


·         Ego is an inappropriately vague and metaphysical term and I would need guidance on how to properly define the unfortunate  results-based, dogmatic, tunnel-vision way with which donor programs and persons of influences within said programs approach the work of development.  Yea, it’s Ego, but how can I academically elaborate on that term?
·         Faith is an equally esoteric term, but I think the only unfortunate thing is the fact that it draws religious associations it is often seen as a negative and therefore dismissing concept.  I do not mean it religiously, I mean it properly.
·         The final paragraph, before the example, needs to be properly and thoroughly elaborated on so it does not imply the exact opposite of its intention, which would be “go ahead and be dogmatic, tunnel-vision, and blind to all that goes against your desires and intentions”.  I would need guidance on this.

January 15, 2012

"Competition Coming Out Now. Load. Up. Aim. Fire, Fire Pop!" (part 1)

[Title Credit: Fire, Fire by MIA]

             You know that movie with Cher as the mother, Winona Ryder as the troubled adolescent, and Christina Ricci as the adorable youngster? It was one of my favorite movies growing up, I must have watched it a million, gazillion times (and I still can't think of the title, which i'm refusing to google on principle-old age here I come!).  So the story goes (Once upon a time...):

              (Told from the point of view of the adolescent) A young single mother is living in 60's American suburbia with her two daughters. She is self-involved, superficially neglectful, and careless, but sincerely loves her kids.  She moves them from town to town with each cessation of her numerous love affairs, until they come to a town where circumstances, timing, and auxiliary characters force them to grow up.

               Lately it has become a household topic (joke) of sorts, that it's time for me to find a husband. It comes from the sincere desire I have to find "true love", but curiously enough, the discussions have also developed in response to having to find a relaxed way to talk to Vannesa about men.  The thing is, she is only eight years old but she is...stunning.  Both my mother and I were also Pretty Little Girls (very pretty) and we know from personal experience that the world will make a Pretty Little Girl an object (of beauty, innocence, sex, power) no matter how young she is.  It is with these wise eyes that we quickly noted the compulsive way in which men gravitate towards the Little One-old, young, professional, hired hands-they actually reach out and GRAB her, not  sexually, but possessively, right in front of us.

               I walk with her around the supermarket, she insists on pushing the cart, and will try to maneuver this enormous thing in exact accordance with every step I take; this is cumbersome, to say the least, and after awhile, I cannot help but tell her to "Just. Sit. Tight!" I round the corner to grab a bag of her favorite pasta; in the time it takes to find it, stop to check the price of sesame oil (shit!) and double back, a man has materialized out of thin air to pester her , entice her, cajole her, trying to satisfy some inexplicable (even to him), instinctual need.  She is always doing her best to scrounge up her face in disgust and confusion, in a futile attempt to repel him the way one would swat at mosquitoes on a hot, humid, night by the lake; but the men are just as determined to seek out her light, as mosquitoes seeking out sustenance...

               I remember these interactions well as a little girl and as an adolescent (somewhere after 25, when I have finally owned my identity and my sexuality, I have become the seeker, not the sought-Bah!). But I have never had the chance to experience such an interlude as a third party observer-let alone as the designated protector.  So I round the corner, see the man, and come barreling down on him-realizing shrieking "rape" and hitting him about with my purse may only exacerbate the trauma of the situation, so instead I give my best scowl and throw WTF glares at him. Guess what happens? (And yes, in the two weeks we've been here this has happened enough times for me to standardize the behavior) Invariably, the man will simply wheel away from Vannesa, glide past me, and NEVER, ONCE, make eye contact with me.  Like I'm not even there, or more aptly, like he has just snapped out of his predator's dementia and continues shopping treating us like the random strangers that we are.

              In the times when this happens with my mother also there as a witness we cluck to ourselves about the creepiness of this phenomenon, speculating on what we can do to protect her-we've actually considered the merits of converting to Islam simply for the dress code as a solution to our problem.  Perhaps it is not wise to let the Little One hear us hemming and hawing over this problem, but in any case, she has begun voicing her own disgust at the male population, both child and adult, who all seem recklessly addicted to her against all her wishes; hence the need to discuss.

              In her more frustrated moments, (Ugh- just one memory of walking around a children's store with my best friend and the salesman sliding up to me, running his finger lightly down the length of my arm, and slithering "I liiiikke youuurrr colorrrr" still brings up sparks of anger and revulsion that could ignite a forest fire), I tell it to her straight-there is NO romancing the woes of the Pretty Little Girl. So I tells her, I says:

              "Men EVERYWHERE, no matter their age, profession, or race, men have something weird in them where they have to..."have" a pretty girl: talk to her, befriend her, seduce her, condemn her, demand of her, "master" one knows why.  If you have 100 men in front of you, including uncles, brothers, pastors, teachers, doctors-all the kinds of men in your life, about 30 of them will be men you can be friends with, but they are also a bit "weird", as in they may not hurt YOU, but they may hurt other women or girls or at least not understand how difficult it can be for women and girls.  Then there is another 15, okay well, let's say 20 men who will be men you can really trust, like Uncle G, or Jaja, or a teacher, or a doctor, or some friends who will never ever hurt you AND who understand that it is NOT a figment of your imagination that there are those other men who are out to...own you; these men will protect you no matter what, even against their own kind.  And lastly, out of these 15-20 men there will be 1, 2, maybe 3 men who you will love in a way that is different from the rest, and it is out of these 3 that you will find your husband.
The rest of the 100, well the rest are freakin weird, and       sometimes downright bad. In bookstores, at the clinic, in the supermarket, at school (here it has been the security guy on our compound who assaults her with friendliness whenever she takes out the trash) they are always around and they will always try to take some of your light.  But the trick me and Mukaka have learned (in this moment of frustration she was discussing reasons she was not happy) is to NOT stop SHINING just because of them. Don't try to hide your light, don't let them make you unhappy, because then... they win."

               Okay, perhaps most of this speech was said in my head as she had already drifted off into what we were going to have for dinner while we washed up the lunch dishes, but it was a good speech to make, even if it was just to myself...


January 12, 2012

Tsk Tsk Tsk-I wanted to write for NOTHING...

            I am losing the thread of the cloth I've only just begun to weave.  I have 20 pages of written words and no new posts. Words like "marketability" have stunted me.  I am losing the voice as my mind goes searching for the ear to whom I speak.  I wanted to write for nothing, and now everything has found me; all my desires, wants, ego-thrills, all that bullshit is now cloaking what was so recently a clean, white space.  Damn it all to hell-the results of a well trained mind: if it's not academia coaxing me "how can I make sure there is a contextual flow in my writing? Can I find a way to use "once upon a time" in this post?  Where is today's story and how does it tie in with the Little One and my history?", it is the hungry, hungry entrepreneur "Does this SELL? Whom to? And for How Much????" Shit. SHIT, and Damn it all to hell, those were just accidents of pure desperation, I was free-falling and now I spend hours looking for adequate references before I make an observation.
            I thought I'd find a way to hide from my thoughts, but somehow my thoughts have found me.  They keep Her muffled; She is still trying to shout, but they whisper questions that she must first address and slowly the days go by and nothing gets posted.  The bureaucracy of thinking; the red-tape of fear; I will go mad if I cannot find away to shed those tiresome policies and guidelines that inhibit my Voice.  My Philosopher will punish me ruthlessly if I do not defend her against my own conditioning.
           Today a parasite swims around my blood-no seriously, a delayed Christmas present of Malaria...and guess what? I'm LOVING it.  Okay, I must confess, loving all that is strong and healthy in my body, loving the the feeling of physical strength does not completely cancel out the perverse enjoyment I get from physical ailments.  I, IN NO WAY, crave disease or calamity BUT, have compassion for a mind as wild and uninhibited as mine, like those old school maps of Africa with a big blotch stamped "unknown territory", my mind is a jungle of which there is still much to discover, and in the process of carving out paths and finding direction, I find respite when my mind is forced to focus on some more...physiological struggle.  Whether that makes sense or not, it is a truth I've known on the very rare occasions I fall sick.  But it isn't just this perverse-pulling out gray hairs by the roots/twisting a loose tooth-pleasure, but also my experience of the medical process in Dar, that has me glad I fell sick in the first place. Wowzers and beyond! Just like the flat, smooth rodes and the electricity (you have to pay like crazy for) but which never goes out, the efficiency at the clinic was refreshing and healing simply because it reduced my conditioned acceptance to the ineptitude and negligence found in Kampala.
           I will use these days of recovery to indulge my body to the point where my mind gets bored and wanders off, and then...before it come to its senses again...I will write.

           Oh! This image of Africa reminds me, I've chosen my next tattoo. I serendipitously found a tattoo artist on New Year's Eve-well it would have been serendipitous except we got delayed with packing the next day and I never went to get it, but I've decided I will not post a photo for this blog until it is done-it is the only image that could possibly make sense...

January 4, 2012

Safe Landing

(I wrote this when we came to visit Tanzania last month, to plan for this move, which I wasn't sure I was going to be apart of. Now, oops, I'm here. But as is often the case with transitions, this business of landing, jumping up and dusting yourself off-this "hit the ground running" shit, is a myth, an utter myth.  It's kinda like my brain's been scrambled by the ride: just Kampala to Dar-an hour and half by plane, but one lifetime has ended, and another one begins. And though I'm filled with hints of thoughts, associations, observations, and wonderings, any attempt I try to put them in some sort of wise-let alone-poetic analysis is utterly futile.  The most coherent thought I keep returning to is: "wait, so what day is it again?" So here's a little story I wrote in a brief moment of Zen. Once upon a time...)

Mourn-ing meester fishermen
The rain don't seem so bad today
Catch me somethin sweet, yea
... My app-e-tite is rich-a
But my wallet is not so-oh
A favor for this gal, yo

Mama's off to work again
Big boss is up in drama
Development makes bizness sense-
Another day, an-other dolla

Morning Mr. President, staying just next door
Last night I thought your special guards
Were perverts on my floor
M'i'bad Mr. Man, hope you had a rest
Your guards were very dutiful
Cameroon, you are de best.

Dar, Dar, Es Salaam
Yes I am!
Some mornings are so sweet you know
Makes this life a treat, you know?

Dar, Dar, Es Salaam
Inshallah, where I began

And now I make my way-ay-ay
Have yourselves a Blessed DAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!