from the process journal
Lists, lists, lists, write them all down.
Lists, lists, lists. But first, more coffee.
what happened this week?
Monday, I mixed up days and times, showed up for an interview 24 hours early, oops, better early than late. But then, a surprise Moscow Mule in the middle of the day—that was lovely. Drove gaggle of teenagers to the Secret Spot. Thunder. Hail. Tarp. Goofs. So happy.
Sean: I can’t believe you left them by the river in the middle of a hailstorm.
Jane: I only pick fights I have a chance of winning.
Tuesday, I did ok. Sheesha date with Sean in the evening, Tarot cards. Kids just chilling, calm. I taste happy.
Wednesday, I should have worked but I didn’t. Instead, moody, angry, clouds gathering. In the evening, a trip to the 1920s with someone new—an awkward encounter en route with someone old. Thoughts in duty, responsibility, red flags—burlesque dancer bodies.
The less said about Thursday, the better. To be fair, it came with a trigger, but the trigger came very late in the day and just accelerate the spiral, did not cause it.
I made three suppers worth of meat though—lamb meat balls with cumin, mint, and lemon, also fresh garlic, so good, crispy fried chicken from deboned halal drumsticks, and prepped cornish hens and veg for roasting on the cooler morrow.
Take that, bad, no good day. Still functional.
Friday, a little better, not much. No work.
Today is Saturday. And I’m writing if not quite working, so that’s something.
Flora: Do we get the judgemental genes from Mom?
Sean: But you should have seen Mom’s friends in university. Compared to them, she’s an angel of tolerance.
I think, honestly, we’re all judgemental. We have brains, judgement, discernment. We are supposed to use them. There’s a difference between judgement and intolerance. I look at you. I listen to your story—of course I form a judgement of some sort, good, bad. Even indifference is a judgement.
Flora doesn’t care about the nuances of judgement. She’s flipping through photo albums. The year is 2009. My brother’s wedding in Poland.
Flora: OMG, this entire family is white. That is so weird.
Jane: They’re all Polish.
Flora: But look at them. They’re all so pasty white. Look, I totally don’t look like a vampire by comparison.
Jane: They have cloudy winters in Poland. And, it was a very rainy May and June that year.
Flora: And nobody has any eyebrows.
Well. That I can refute. I present the bushy eyebrows of her maternal grandmother’s family-which I’ve inherited, as has Cinder.
Flora: And your boobs are gigantic!
Jane: I’m six months pregnant!
Well. Five. But with baby number four, so I look… well. VERY pregnant. And the boobs are gigantic. Bigger than my head—which is also rounder than the face I’m used to seeing right now—in every picture.
I tell Flora how, when you’re pregnant, one day, you wake up, and your breasts defy gravity and pop out of your bra, and hurt so much, don’t really enjoy the aesthetic effect. And you don’t let your lovers touch them.
Flora: Remind me why people have children again?
Immortality, baby. Immortality.
radical honesty and radical compassion, draft 1
I have a friend who practices radical honesty. She’s utterly committed to living in and expressing her truth.
She hurts people a lot.
I practice neither radical compassion nor radical honesty, but of the two I would choose compassion. Because little lies are what makes the world go round, don’t you think?
You: Do you lie to me than?
Jane: All the time.
Me, myself and I are hanging out in my head practicing radical honesty with each other—except, really, it’s just wanton cruelty. I demand one of us lets me have some delusions and dreams. The other two laugh.
I am meditating again, and it’s not going well. I mean—I mean, I am fighting myself to sit to breathe, to stay. I don’t want to be there with myself (never mind me and I).
But. I must. Fighting myself is part of the process (don’t ask what process, I really can’t elaborate). Sit. Close them eyes. Breathe. You only have to do this for three minutes.
After the timer dings, I stay still for a few seconds more. See? That wasn’t so bad. What are you afraid of?
When untempered with radical compassion, it is a destroyer.
Sean: I know I’m not supposed to tell you you’re doing meditation wrong…
Jane: Hush. I’m breathing.
(July 24, 2018)
radical honesty and radical compassion, draft 2
Mmmm. Wow. A little too honest. Let’s let that one sit for a while in the darkness of the computer filing system.
(August 3, 2018)
professionals suck it up
Her: How was the rest of your wee? Are you feeling better?
Jane: All right. I think I will work today.
Her: That means you are finally feeling rested? 🙂
Jane: It means I have four days to write five articles and I’d better get off my whiny ass and get them done.
I work with gritted teeth on Saturday until I hit a bit of flow—ride it for a while—try to prolong it. Fail. Pull out my laptop at a Sunday wedding between the ceremony and reception. Sneak off to the car during cocktail hour and pound the keys for a bit; arrive late for dinner.
Deadlines. I fucking love deadlines.
(Like, seriously. Not ironically.)
I’m at a wedding in the mountains, a setting so majestic and beautiful even I believe in gods as I breathe the mountain air—mere laws of sicnece could not creative this—a divine breath was necessary, if only in the human imagination.
Weddings are strange things—collections of strangers and best friends, family reunions, chosen family reunions, and “yes, we have to invite Aunt Augusta, honey, I know it’s your day and you hate her, but ‘she’s family.’”
… a radically honest and untempered with compassion essay on love and marriage follows—I write it, decide not to share it, and that’s my act of compassion.
Also, I lose my phone. Which is my camera, daytimer, watch, newspaper, library, connection to the world.
Whatever will I do?
PS I found my phone. Dare I confess to you how very much I wanted it to stay lost?
—->>>POSTCARDS FROM CUBA
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