When I am unhappy, and strangers on the street tell me to smile—or well-meaning friends tell me to focus on all the good things that are happening—I want to throw things at them.
When you are unhappy, I tend to tell you… to focus on all the good things that are happening.
Hypocritical, I know.
I think the lesson of all this is when we are unhappy—we are best unhappy alone.
No, no, wait.
I know—you know—that’s not true. That’s what the demons want you to think. They want you to stay unhappy alone, isolated.
So when you are with me when I am unhappy, when I am with you when you are unhappy—let’s give each other’s pain and grief and sad the space it needs.
“I know you’re suffering, and I’m here for you.”
(one of Thich Nhat Hahn’s mantras of loving speech)
That’s all I need. That’s all you want.
Fuck, why is that so hard to give?
The teenagers, my caterpillars, are going through some ups and downs these days, and my biggest job is JUST TO BE THERE, and I don’t think I’ve worked this hard at parenting since they were mewling, helpless babes in arms, except back then, I could solve almost every ill through the insertion of nipple into mouth.
There are no solutions now. There is only—“I am here for you.”
Confession: being there for you is really exhausting.
I want a mocha, a cigar, chocolate, Hafez.
Sean brings me Leonard Cohen.
If the teenagers are caterpillars, Ender is still a pupa or larva. I’m mixing my insect metaphors a bit, and I can’t remember which comes first, the pupal or larval stage—and I’m pretty sure these don’t occur in the creatures that then metamorphose into butterflies. Anyway. He’s still my pupa, and most of his problems can be solved with a hug or a kiss. But while his existential angst is still in the future, what he wants most is… my presence.
Here I am.
Cigar. Turkish coffee. Cuba.
I’m daydreaming about Cuba.
Trying to figure out why it was so much easier to give them all my presence there.
And I’m still not sure. What is the expanse of silence? The relative lack of responsibility? The fact that I really did not put any pressure on myself to perform, to output, to create—to do anything other than be there, with them, and with the experience… and yet I created anyway?
Can I go back to that place again?
Flora: Your blog is really boring now.
Jane: You are sentient and read it now. You’ve affected what I can write about, what I can share.
Flora: Thank you.
Jane: Of course.
I am preparing a writing workshop. One of my points—my big lesson to writers—is—ready?
“You’re just not that interesting.”
Writing about self is excruciatingly boring to read.
I’m sorry. 😉
The kids won’t let me write about them.
And I feel too aware of the transience and fragility of all things to get on a soapbox and dispense advice.
Don’t worry. This year only has 11 or so more weeks. Next year, I’m only going to talk in pictures.
PS The pupa just turned nine. I be in shock.
—->>>POSTCARDS FROM CUBA
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