This is the 16th Friday of my Day of Venus Posts, where I let wash up what is present in the undercurrents of my mind, heart and spirit. I am honored and deeply grateful for your readership as I cultivate my writer voice blindfolded—vertebrae by vertebrae, all chrysalis and soil.
Brendon, grade 4, Eugene, Oregon 2022, 4am. I am in my grandma’s house and everyone is asleep. I am supposed to be sleeping but I am awake in a dream where I am supposed to be sleeping. I am standing at the entrance and in-between place of where the hallway meets the living room. Her snoring is rhythmically cascading up and then down again from in her room at the end of the hall to where I stand, as sensational news blares from her television as background noise. The sliver of space outlining the bottom of her bedroom doorframe is the static-white light of the television, choppy and flickering in it’s usual off-beat kind of way.
The blanket around my shoulders is coarse and stiff–the wool one nobody uses but me–the one that lays folded long-ways over the top ridge of the sofa behind everyone’s necks and heads. Everyone has seen it so many times they think it is part of the couch at this point. When they need a blanket they’ll reach for the old soft ones she has stored in a chest next to the front door, but it’s the best one in the house to me, and also what is closest to me when I fall asleep. You always get what you want when you want things that are not coveted by everyone else, like the way I enjoy their company, but I like being alone more, and also how, to me, the couch is the coziest nest of a spot to sleep in, in the entire house–in the best room of the house too–open-spaced and circular, and just a few steps away from being outside on the porch, which is the next best place to be at grandma’s. I bury my face in the angle of the L-shaped sofa, where the cushions meet and things disappear into–sometimes I find stale popcorn or jolly ranchers or headphones a cousin has lost. Oh, this squishy man-made, yet God-channeled of a creation that is my grandmother’s couch. The amount of pleasure and satisfaction it gives makes me think I was a burrowing animal in another lifetime. Then sometimes, when I am not a burrowing raccoon (or fox? or rabbit? or mouse?) I fall asleep on my back, watching the lights and their shadows move along the walls–my eyes catching a floating beam of a headlight from the highway 3 blocks away and overhead, the drifting reds that sway and dissolve on the ceiling–and my eyelids fall without effort. But right now, in my dream, I am awake and standing.
I somehow cannot, or I refuse to, move my body, and it is difficult to pin down the reason–am I being held to the floor or am I willing myself to be a statue here? There is both an indecision and an entity made of iron standing inside of me, unwilling to step outside of me. The floors creek in protest at even the slightest shift of my weight from foot to foot. A street lamp’s gold rests itself upon the furniture, the window ridges, the coffee table and it’s cigarette butts scrunched in an ashtray, remote controls and unopened envelopes that have become a part of the table. Everyone is asleep, and everything that is usually a background static, is loud–the fan, the hum of the refrigerator, grandma’s tv, grandma. Things that have never made themselves known to me are all suddenly a blaring symphony. I wonder how I’ve never noticed them before.
“I am supposed to be sleeping, but I am awake in a dream where I am supposed to be sleeping.”
Me, in my own psyche, in my waking day dream right now, stream-of-thought & through the lens of the dream I had last night (5/27-5/28)
I catch a glimpse of my legs in the reflection of a shop beside me that has black tinted windows and have to do a double-take because they don’t look like my legs. I am wearing shorts and there is visible muscle gain where I’ve never seen muscle before. There is a shop to my right and to my left, and ahead of me is the wooden ledge that surrounds this circled group of ice-cream and souvenir-selling vortexes. I feel the sense of relief build and build into a gradual seamless and continual state of stillness the closer I get to the lookout. Voices become soft murmurs behind me and my forearms cross over one another on the ledge, for me to lean my body into and keep my eyes closed against the blue sky. I had just gotten out from the rest area in the center of the stores, where tiny and circular wooden tables are drilled onto the wooden planked floorboard. “The Treehouse” is the name of the shopping villa, and stairways made up of 3-7 steps zig-zag in no particular pattern from one patio of shops and resting areas to the next, making it a crossword puzzle of a time to find your way back to the ground floor where you started. There is a staircase to my right which leads down into a cross-section of another group of stairways to choose from.
As I am standing there are band-members walking by behind me who I had heard moments before from a nearby unloading area grabbing their equipment. Their voices become hushed as they approach the sprawl of tourists. They focus and weave seamlessly between and around the strollers, the shopping bags, the family’s posing for pictures. Eyes glossy, joyful, still and awake; shoes a little muddy, and all wearing open-buttoned silk blouses of deep indigos and forest greens, magenta’s and golds. There is sweat and patchouli and eucalyptus in the air around them. There is a woman in a collared indigo silk blouse, holding a guitar case in each hand who is trailing behind, with complete ease as if she is made to be the lazy-yet-right-on-time and curiously sensual tail of the ensemble. She turns her gaze from the sky, to look directly and intently into my eyes, as if she knew I’d be standing here, and her smile’s corners lift to touch the creases of her eyes, and I realize who she is. I blink and she is not there walking toward me anymore. I scan the crowd from left to right, then gaze down the stairwell where the band had been headed, and my eyes become dizzy with a tiredness. All of the colors of the people, the shops, the posters, the lights, become webbed and of the same thing. I feel both a coming-together and a disintegration within and around me. While I am aware of my being–that inner voice that says “I exist here and I am one conscious creation”, I also feel myself becoming stretched and scattered into pieces all around me, my body taking on a new of form. With the passing of what feels like returning to your waking day from your dream world, I am suddenly able to make out the information and messages of the voices around me. My trapezius muscles and my triceps are allowing two heavy objects to be carried through time and space, and I feel my senses returning to my hands, which are gripping handles and my elbows slightly bend as I consciously expand my chest and keep my eyes soft as they meet the eyes of those around me. I weave and bop and twirl and somehow know exactly where I’m going. I trust the knowing and exert no energy in needing to assemble the destination’s correctness. When I get there it is a dark and cave-like entryway into the softest and most spirit-sweeping hymn I have ever heard. I see colors I both remember and am being acquainted to for the first time, under the beams of light coming in from every direction. I get closer and am greeted with the familiarity of family, high cheeks and every word of praise or silly gesture.
..this is where I am leaving off, for now
“In every moment, peace is a choice.”
Lately I have been getting tastes of taking up space, and `I like the way it makes me feel. I think I’ll keep doing it. I didn’t consciously know I wasn’t doing it. Being unapologetically loose and cheerful, then unapologetically serious and concentrated. Unapologetically affectionate, then unapologetically enforcing of boundaries I feel and cannot explain. I am learning to stop feeling a need to explain myself or provide a logical reason for behavior that isn’t appeasing or understandable. I am learning to not duck my head down low with an appeasing smile to accommodate for the insecurities and fears of another. You can be fearful–that doesn’t have shit to do with me. You can be insecure–that doesn’t have shit to do with me. Just unapologetic, like I know I can do no harm. Unapologetically selective and picky about where my energy goes, like I am making room for more–more excitement, more potent sweetness, more rooms where men and women and beings are beaming at one another from the heart. I now see that being apologetic–in posture, in mannerism, in speech, in the little choices I make–would be a disservice to not only myself, but to everyone around me. We need more unapologetic women–exuberant and generous with their joy.
–On Overcoming The Cinderella Syndrome–
When your heart is made a mockery of, or despised, envied, a cause for irritation within another’s being, there are several ways it could go. You see, sometimes people who have grown fearful are suspicious of kind gestures. Sometimes people are hateful toward sweetness, because of their own sweetness being mishandled, dismissed or abused. Even to be honest and easy-going about your mistakes and shortcomings in life can cause people to harden and scorn–your willingness to be vulnerable, messy and imperfect illuminates what they think they have to hide if they want to be liked or accepted. In these first experiences of our lives where we are learning about who we are in relation to others–how they treat us, talk to us, respond to our existence–there are choices we make unconsciously. Do we accept the story they have laid out in front of us, about us? To do so would be to fall into despair, then maybe even join in on the illusive tug-of-war they live in. Or do we hang on to the lonely sweetness for a little while longer, then sometimes a little while longer after that too? You see, there is a “running away without running away” that the universe gifts the patient & knowing–without effort there is a seamless removal of what doesn’t harmonize and a magnetization of what does. Suddenly, what looks like chaos to another is actually your soul’s greatest adventure out of the mazes the world offers us entry tickets to.
Patriarchal systems pit women against one another. They like to compare, snicker, and watch women create a world for themselves where a man’s desire for her is the focal point. Too loud. Too good. Too mischievous. Too reserved. Too much. Too little. There is never any winning when our standard for ourselves is spelled out by the shallow of the world. Your heart will be valued by those who can see, and those who don’t have the eyes will self-destruct anyway. Let them.
Maybe they’ve never been in rooms of women where there is a celebration from the inside out, for themselves as individuals, toward one another’s similarities, differences, intricacies. Skin showing, skin covered. Dances from separate dimensions taught to one another and displayed with a playful confidence. A love in the air like that exists everywhere, but it isn’t air-played on anyone’s favorite shows because it isn’t entertaining or as interesting to witness peace. If more people experience this, there will be less people feeling threatened or insecure when in the company of others. I shouldn’t see a look of relief and a surprised hardness-to-softness sweep over a woman’s face when she looks at me and I beam into her eyes. It shouldn’t be so uncommon or unlikely to have these exchanges with one another.
Maybe they’ve never experienced peaceful relationships, friendships, or connections where there isn’t a tap-dance around what is wanting to be said, what is in the air everywhere being passive-aggressively expressed. Maybe they’ve grown up thinking they had to pretend to be so many things in order to feel a sense of belonging. Maybe they’ve never experienced the safety of an in-tact bond after expressing preferences, experiences, like, dislikes, shortcomings, wins.
May you burn the food and make mistakes and not give a shit. May you wear the dress because you love it and that’s more than enough reason. May you laugh so loud in the store that they hear you from the other side, then may your laugh be as soft as a whisper and loved by you just the same. May you miss the train, lose yourself in a song, and forget to get as upset with yourself as they are with you for not making yourself small, questioning yourself or asking for permission.
You are allowed to think you are the most wonderful being in the world, and anyone who tries to make you feel otherwise is living in their own battlefield.
A sweet moment to remember: Today a student had her hand raised for a long time as others shared their thoughts and when I got to her she was like “Oh, well, um, this is not related to that so I’ll ask you later?” And I said “You sure?” and she nodded yes. So then later she stands beside me and says “I remembered my question!” And I said “Ok, yes?!” giving my full attention and really expecting her to ask about a song, an instrument or tell me about something regarding a country, culture, or dance we learned about, but she goes “What is your favorite color?” and I am more instant than I’ve ever been in naming a color as my “favorite”. Never before had it been so clear in my mind. The purple-blue of veins and the deepest point of the sea–“indigo” I say, and she scrunches up her face looking leftward, so I say “c’mere I’ll show you” and we walk to the computer where I type “indigo blue bottles in sunlight” and she sees the sun’s glow against the deep blue and beams slow saying “ahhhh yes!”
This led me to think about what my first experiences of this color must have been, and my whole being instantly knew–my mother’s indigo glasses and random wall pieces that were placed intentionally to be seen in sunlight. I think about the way baby’s open their eyes to the world and see all of the colors and shapes and creatures and beings as a web of meshed-together kaleidoscope and spiderwebbed dances. I imagine gazing at and into the glass as a child lost in daydream, carried by a trance uncategorized by the world.
“..somehow off-beat but I don’t know how I know that” can be in relation to something as subtle as the way someone is talking about something, and it is worth noticing. Off-beat like it is hiding contempt. Off-beat like it wants to steal something you are made of. Off-beat like it doesn’t belong in your song.
I am getting better at differentiating between the perceptions and projections of another, and the flame that I am. I am getting better at staying with me. I am getting better at making my world, my world.
My heart works like this: I hope you make yourself the super-hero of your own story, even if that means making me the villain, or the name of the nameless fog-from-dawn-until-dusk corner you once lived on, until deciding you liked the snow of the mountain a lot better than the sinking basin of the woods. There is no reason to hide or downplay anything when love like this is what you’re dealing with. If you look for scorn in my eyes you’ll be left bewildered. My wishes for you are your wishes for you. Go on and live baby. I want you to live.
… For it to be easy, like breathing, a part of nature–a “that’s just how it is and I never thought it could be otherwise”–to cherish and respect and choose me in their words and thoughts and actions when I am not around, or when I am gone and into the beauty of song, of life’s gifts, and away. A wolf-like sanctity and sacredness like this exists for me. A reverence for someone’s independence, and for the freedom of all individuals, even when it makes no sense to you. No interest in trying to de-mystify the things that move us from the inside. An explanation that sounds like poetry for why the artwork on their wall is coveted. A softness for humanity. Empathy for situations and people that have nothing to do with you at all. The perspective that the world is filled with magic and teeming with excitement. The felt encouragement of a thousand suns. The connection to and hunger for a world outside of a screen. Morning meditations and melodies that intentionally bring in the day. The ability to frolic with the entire world and hold me as sacred. The courage to disappoint me if that means being true to oneself. Be pulled away by sound, color, offering, dance and prayer and most attentive to the world you are in than you are to me. May I be as separate from and connected to your world as the tree outside your window inspiring you to go even deeper into yourself. I welcome your voyages away from me. I’ll sing about you when you are away, or I won’t. When we are united it is felt. When we are united it is an addition to the celebration of life we have already created for ourselves.