Sunday, April 6, 2014

Seeking Co-Author

Decided to write my own love story.  Serves two purposes: 1) fulfills a life-long desire: to have, albeit imaginary, a romantic, long-term, successful relationship and 2) to write again - something I haven't been done since........can't remember.  Check the date of my last blog entry.  I may or may not keep going.  I just happened to be desperate to creatively express myself today, and longing for lasting partnership/love was the only emotion powerful enough to keep me still and focused so I could write (yes, I know, it's only a single page.)  I may not find time in the near future to do anything with this, but it's a start.


It is raining again, covering Oregon's green the misleading hint of fresh sorrel that turns to soggy spinach by mid-afternoon. A Gary Jules "Mad World" kind of day. It will be a clam chowder night, she determines, making her list for the trip to the grocery store ...which I need to get to before 4:00 or I'll run into traffic and be late to pick up the kids.

Planning her day is the one thing she looks forward to NOT doing when she retires - that and apologizing for past mistakes. Twenty years from now, poor decisions will look like gained wisdom. She'll be lucky to retire at 63. Her Ivy League master's degree in Africana studies is not turning out to be very profitable, despite what her educational debt implies. But she loves her job. She is making a difference, even if she doesn't see results of her efforts every day. Human growth is slow, progress arduous, never promised. In her field, hope in the promise is a barely visible fishing line that can either catch the 40 pound spring Chinook that will feed your family for a month, or snap fast and leave you eating ferns until another job bites; in her line of work it could be next fishing season.

She's had her coffee, minus the sugar. Sacrificing sweets is her latest attempt to subtract what might be the cause of her "pleasantly plump figure," a self-identified description of her figure on her peacock pride days, or "bubble butted heifer" on her drowned mermaid days. She's had the same 20 pound weight loss goal that would have been easily reached in her twenties, taken a few months in her thirties, but now seems to be an inverted and double number in her forties, gaining instead of losing, no matter what she cuts out of her diet.

It might help if you stop drinking, she scolds herself. But it's just wine, she whines. "You really need to stop talking to yourself," she speaks aloud.  Holding random debates with herself is surely a DSM IV condition, but she holds her head high, despite. Everybody talks to themselves in their own mind, she insists. She is wise enough to keep her diversified thoughts in her head, each voice conveniently organized for easy identification, simplifying the process of discerning who to obey and locking the rest away in their separate rooms: Mom, the billie goat gruff naysayer; Birdie the five-year-old dramatic but imaginative pretender; Hippie-child the nature loving, Spirit dancer who sings and paints and writes the pain away; Heaven, the exotic enticer at 20, the MILF at 30, the plus size retired ho' at 40+; Mrs. Right, the Baptist, Unitarian, Pentacostal, Non-denominational believer, full of faith, shaken, spilled, and running over with hopes and dreams and failures and pitfalls and "I wish I coulda, woulda, shoulda," and " least I tried" testimonies that will never be shared. Why should I? Nobody cares anyway. My life is shit. That would be EZ-E, the suicidal teenager. If there were a visual representation of the others mentioned, they would all express a collective sigh and shake their heads every time she speaks.

And then there is Ms. E, the chameleon with a professional title who can alter her presence to fit her environment. The woman who marches with merengue in her hips, the taste of Native resistance on her lips, the somber scowl of the silenced squaw. She has her nails done bi-weekly to hide the earth embedded beneath the tips that reveal her country commonness. And 'dat ass, the tell-all sign of blackness she can't hide, she never tries, resigned with a semblance of pride.

Ms. E is the "other" who sings Anita Baker in the spring, Billie Holiday in the summertime, Rickie Lee Jones in early evenings of fall, and makes up her own songs to get her through winters that are often unseasonably long, cold and quiet. With unconsented conception cradling her spirit, she determined that her life would have meaning, and so she committed to survival, hardly the fittest, but full of passion to fight for the underdog, trumpeting "Charge!" to all her other personalities as the situation required.

The dominant personality, Ms. E is competent, intelligent, and well traveled - Mexico, Cuba, Canada, South Korea, China, Costa Rica, Jamaica. Her map of "where next" includes unassuming places like Suriname, Madagascar. And countries either at war or nations that would be diametrically opposed to her liberated nature: Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Egypt. She wants to go because of the extremes, the spirit of resistance, and because she thinks it will be a pleasant respite to cover herself completely so men are only able to ogle her eyes instead of 'dem hips.

Ms. E claims many titles: mother, divorced single parent, educator, artist, a writer with no time to write, nature lover living in the 'hood cuz it's the only place she can find work to pay for life. Adaptable, a settler's spirit and a pioneer's drive, she's lived in multiple states and crossed country thrice. Yet as she gets older, she feels tired. The hinges that hold the doors to her rooms are loosening. The locks insecure. She longs for home, to come to herself, to be whole. To be known by someone other than God.

"To be loved," Birdie chimes. She is the dreamer.
"Hush, child. We got work to do," Ms. E interrupts and proceeds to type up e-mails and return phone calls through the last hour of morning.
"What's for lunch?" asks the teenager at 11:45.
"We should leave early and go on a picnic!" suggests Hippie-child.
"You need to call Patrick and ask him to take us out," Heaven tempts.
Ms. E shuts them all down. "I'm going to finish this stack of paperwork, and then eat the Indian food I bought from Trader Joe's. I have a budget and I'm going to stick to it this month!"
Mom and Mrs. Right agree with a curt nod while the rest pout in their respective rooms. The hinge on the door of an unknown room squeaks. Ms. E sighs. "No wonder I'm single. Can't no man handle all of me."

They all agree.