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08

Jan

an asexual freak of a lover?

I’ve been single 3+ years. People say, “Just have some fun,” encouraging me to find a temporary lover. The truth is I have almost zero sex drive; I’m practically asexual and go without sex an average of 1.5 years when I’m between relationships. Yet when I’m in relationship I cannot go two days without feeling either neglected or a deep longing for sexual intimacy with my partner. When I love a man I crave him; his touch is healing to my emotions. I want to feel him inside and out, to become one with him. Consequently, when I don’t love a man I cannot be physical with him. Perhaps oddly I happen to be a very good and an all-out, anything goes lover. You can catch me laughing when a woman finds surprise at what she has read in those Shades of Gray books.  But sex is not fun to me unless I love all of him. I’ve spent years thinking there is something wrong with me and longing to be a carefree lover….

Today, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with me. But I do believe that I close myself off to many potential love opportunities. So I start there; the admission and the knowing. 

04

Jun

10

Mar

It was the kind of laughter that made the meaning of life translucent; a representation of pureness, the sound of love, the archetype of joy.

Laughter As Fuel

It was the kind of laughter that made the meaning of life translucent; a representation of pureness, the sound of love, the archetype of joy. 

The child laughed uncontrollably in response to this tickle torture.  He feigned resistance knowing his mother would continue. My smile was abundant as I closed my eyes to take it all in.  A moment later, I became aware of what felt like an emptiness in my stomach and then a burning in my eyes. I was producing tears, in public, and beyond the point of contending.  

It’s been 6 weeks since he’s been gone.

I have become acutely familiar with what it means to lose one’s breath in response to the absence of someone you love. For the most part, I have resisted tears and am holding up very well during this transition. But then I see an image that reaches out and grabs my heart, a toy is found under the bed, or a child’s laughter is heard…and everything collapses. His fingerprints are all over my home and my heart.

I will never forget the moment my sister said those words, “I would love it if you would let me keep Kyoto for about a year while you get things established in New York.” She believed in me and my mission completely.  My response was silence, and then I burst into tears unapologetically.  Prompting the tears was great relief and the sudden realization that since the day I gave birth to my son I have never felt respite from the responsibility.  I had been offered the biggest gift and opportunity that anyone has ever given me.  And still, I didn’t believe I would accept.  I didn’t believe I could accept. I mean a child needs his mother more than he needs anything, right?

Actually, no.

A child needs unconditional love, support, guidance and structure.  Sometimes, what is best for the parent is best for the child.  Like many of us who unexpectedly find ourselves thrust into parenthood, I put my own life on hold as this new entity directed my path.  As parents, the focus often shifts to surviving and providing. Oftentimes dreams go on the shelf.  Dreams on a shelf are like treasured toys to a child; we want to keep them forever and can’t imagine letting them go. But reality is, we change and eventually that toy (or dream) loses its significance.

Nurture dreams now. Walk through doors that have been opened to you, today.  If it is meant to be the support you require will be there.

Though I would give anything, including my dreams, to hold him right now, I don’t need to. It takes a village to raise a child and I am so blessed my family is mine.  And though he needs lessons of hardship and loss, in this life, to prepare him for survival, I vow to help him laugh as much as possible and to teach him the expansiveness of pure love…no matter the sacrifice.

On the other end of the phone Kyoto’s laughter broke my heart as much as it opened it, as he tells me about his adventures in Texas. I close my eyes to imagine him next to me and realize he’s never left…he’s still here.  My son came into this world by becoming a part of me. He is still one with me and the responsibility of shaping his life is still mine.

If I close my eyes, I can still hear him laugh.  As I open my eyes, I find myself on the train, surrounded by strangers.  The hustle of the day abruptly reminding me what I’m here to do; to teach, to build, to love, to grow. 

“Absolutely,” I say silently.  Let’s go. 

20

Feb

"I can’t tell if you are getting closer or farther away, I long for the serenity I found when I looked upon your face, Perhaps if your face could be returned to me now, I would find it easier to recover the face I seemed to have lost, My own." ~Gregory Colbert

27

Jan

Kindness


Before you know what kindness really is 
you must lose things, 
feel the future dissolve in a moment 
like salt in a weakened broth. 
What you held in your hand, 
what you counted and carefully saved, 
all this must go so you know 
how desolate the landscape can be 
between the regions of kindness. 
How you ride and ride 
thinking the bus will never stop, 
the passengers eating maize and chicken 
will stare out the window forever. 

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness, 
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho 
lies dead by the side of the road. 
You must see how this could be you, 
how he too was someone 
who journeyed through the night with plans 
and the simple breath that kept him alive. 

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, 
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow. 
You must speak to it till your voice 
catches the thread of all sorrows 
and you see the size of the cloth. 

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore, 
only kindness that ties your shoes 
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and 
purchase bread, 
only kindness that raises its head 
from the crowd of the world to say 
it is I you have been looking for, 
and then goes with you every where 
like a shadow or a friend. 

~ Naomi Shihab Nye 

12

Dec

Receiving his repercussions and all that he hid behind, I wore his irreverence like a chain around my neck. ~Karma

the love. the lies. the loss. the child

As someone gets to know my son and me, the inevitable question surfaces, “So what’s the story with Kyoto’s father?”  There is no story, only stories…hundreds of them.  The most honest thing I could tell myself to tell you is, to this day I still don’t know what that man told me was truth and what was a lie.   Often I settle upon answering the above question with, “Have you ever seen, ‘Catch Me If You Can’? Well, that’s Kyoto’s father.”

I’ve never admitted publically that, for almost 5 years, I chose to be a victim to a man who cheated, lied and stole from me. And then I carried his child.  But I did.

Most who know me know that I do not regret it.  Life is to be lived. And in that living comes loving, comes losing and comes birth.  I’ve experienced all, fervently.   

The Love:

The love was the white hot kind, born of pure passion and rooted in a deep magnetism, seemingly too powerful to reject. It felt as if we belonged together. But that was just the pull, the physical aspect. Spiritually and psychologically he terrified me.

I knew I couldn’t trust him from the moment I laid eyes on him, across that street. But I was drawn to him.  I was 24, had just moved to Los Angeles and was just out of a 7 year relationship.  I had begun dating for the first time in my life and thought I would just be entertained by him.  He was tall, dark and handsome.  At his best, he was one of the most animated and humorous individuals I’ve ever met. He lit up rooms with his personality and charm. This man had never met a stranger and was given the gift of communication, as if he himself was one of Mercury’s messengers of the gods.  Additionally, he was thoughtful. Years later I would understand his gestures as a way to cover his tracks. He was clever, crafty, & outspoken with a large personality…So much of what I was not.

Little did I know the depth of darkness contained behind his shadows.  And that my involvement with him would end in me losing everything and gaining the biggest responsibility of my life. Receiving his repercussions and all that he hid behind, I wore his irreverence like a chain around my neck.

The Lies:

 Every day associated with Kyoto’s father, was one ensconced in lies and betrayal.  There is the obvious declaration that he lied to me and betrayed me. But the distortion and betrayal that hurt the most was that imparted on myself.

In order to pull off so much deception to myself, I had to shut off feeling, intuition and my relational life lines.  I had to impart so much confusion and immediate pain that I didn’t have time or clarity to change my path.  I was surviving and I was doing it alone.

The Loss:

I will never know loss as great as that which I knew with him.  For my loss was voluntary from gambling…on love and on his words (which held about as much weight as the air they were born in).

Through my time with him, turmoil replaced love and Chaos lived in my home (not for nothing, his nickname was just that).  I lost my best friend and respect of family members.  I lost every material belonging and fragment of money I had.  I lost apartments and both of my cars.  I lost respect, I lost dignity…I lost my dreams in his.  But all of this loss cannot compare to the loss of my own boundaries and breaking the unspoken promise that I would always take care of myself. 

And just for the overview: I cried, sometimes for days. I screamed and slobbered on bathroom floors.  I hid in closets, afraid. I slept on cold, concrete building staircases, pregnant.   I hunted and watched him from cars, from windows. Unwilling to let go of his beautifully creative lies – lies I tried to make stay as truth.  I locked myself inside doors for hours, until he attempted to break them down.  I chased him with a knife (once) and lied to cops who were called to rescue me (many times).  I became cold, defensive, hard, and aggressive.  I stayed combative and suspicious. 

I learned the true power of karma by my association with him.  Over years of observing his scandalous ways, I warned that his, “karma would get him.” And ultimately the universal law (and governmental) did.  He ended up in jail and my son and I left Los Angeles…never to return to him. I still don’t know why I thought this man was my cross to bear.  And it doesn’t matter, because he was and I did.

And now I hold the only truth I KNOW he gave me…our son. 

In the interim, I took on the name of “Karma,” replacing my birth name of “Karen;” Never to forget how acutely our choices shape our experiences.

The Child:

He has never sent money, he rarely calls and we have not seen him since we left, almost 5 years ago.  And as he says he’s making attempts to reenter the picture, there are only a few things I want to say:

He is truly prodigious, our son. Like you, he’s never met a stranger and his smile lights up rooms and brightens faces everywhere he goes.  The light in his eyes shines brightly and shows his good heart.  He is loved, cared for and in exceptional hands. But like me, he’s trusting and his heart is tender…

You may never know the levels of pain and sacrifice permitted to raise your child.  Nor will you be familiar with the strength cultivated by waking up, after a night of struggle & disquiet, to do what must be done to feed him.  The selflessness that is required to care for him, when there are urgent matters within you that need to be attended to, is lost on you.

While you talk about what you plan to do in the future I am here providing for and guiding him.

Your ignorance of what it takes to raise your son spans lifetimes.   You are unaware of the delicacy of his life pledged only to you, unconscious about the soul that receives directional depth & guidance from you.  You know nothing about how your choices get shaped by that little body seeking protection beside yours.  

Small developmental victories don’t wear your name.  Thank you, we’re glad you came but…then you left and no amount of words describing what you plan to do can overcome that.

 

27

Nov

"In the realm of life architecture, one time exceptions can quickly turn into habit." ~Karma

Lessons in love and discipline…

The pillows on his bed are abundant and carefully placed.  I haphazardly toss them on the ground. He follows behind me and puts them deliberately in their storage place.  I say, “It’s just a pillow.” He replies, as he looks at me intently, “It’s never JUST a pillow.”

Being a single mom is equal parts loving and arduous labor. But when you’re a driven single mom it’s just fuckin’ tricky. 

Quitting my corporate job, giving away most of  my material belongings, then moving to NYC and living in one room with my 6year old son, while following my life passion & dream, might be considered a risky move.

Without discipline, structure and clear purpose, it can be all out destructive. 

Since our recent move, I’ve noticed my son becoming more independent.  He’s been doing more things by himself and frequently successfully.  But with this newfound independence, he’s begun calling his own shots; including telling me to “Wait,” when I tell him to do something, often accompanied by attitude or whining, depending on my response.

With my time fully consumed, sometimes it’s easiest to give in to his requests or to discount his ignoring of me. I think to myself, it’s just this once. But it isn’t - it’s almost never just this once.  Discipline and structure are necessary and when allowed to be neglected or overlooked they too easily become mitigated.

I’ve been so preoccupied with being responsible to my growing list of commitments, that I’ve become inattentive to him, in some respect.  Though I’m there for him each day, before and after school, through homework and when he falls asleep at night, I’ve left him in front of the lull of a graphic screen far too often.

 What I have come to realize is that where I am lacking in my life is exactly where I am lacking in being a conscious parent.  For example, I have moments of being extremely disciplined with my mind, body, time and space, but mostly I fluctuate between days and moments of discipline and days and moments of freedom (read: neglect).

My son reacts the way he does to me because I’ve been willing to let things slide. And anything I’m lacking in my life is because I’ve been willing to let things slide as well. Not for nothing, one definition of the phrase, “let things slide,” is, “to allow to deteriorate.”

The truth I now see is that I will not know complete freedom until I have disciplined myself sufficiently and consistently in every area of my life.  Structure is not only desired it is required.

In the realm of life architecture, one time exceptions can quickly turn into habit.  What I have derived is that in life, as on my lover’s bed, it’s never just a pillow.