Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Warning Signs

"My husband and I have been together for almost four years now. We have a new baby girl with wispy blond hair and big, steely blue eyes. Everyone tells me how much she looks like her father.

Four years together, and little of that time with him sober. He is not a mean drunk but a reckless one. What was fun in college has become tedious in adulthood. I can no longer count the number of times I have threatened to leave if he doesn't sober up. He has committed to the twelve-step program so frequently that it's a running joke.

He hit rock bottom so hard one winter that he landed in rehab. He stayed sober for almost a year that time, but then he became cocky, certain that a few drinks here and there couldn't hurt.

Last year I was proud of him. I felt sure he had finally beaten his addiction - only to find out this year that much of that success was a lie. He can control his urges for a few months, swearing that this time it will be for good, but it never is.

And here I am, still in love with the sober man that he occasionally is, defending his character, still believing in his potential.

He relapsed again a few weeks after our daughter was born. I had thought that perhaps having a child would inspire sobriety that he would not want her to grow up with an inebriated father, the way he had. But tonight, less than a week after he received his umpteenth thirty-days token, he came home from buying us ice cream with that certain dismissive tone, that careless sway to his walk. He denies it, of course, but I know he's drunk. I used to ignore the warning signs. I became a pro at pretending, at making up excuses for his erratic behavior. But now, with my baby sleeping in the other room and him lying in bed in a stupor, my question to myself is: What am I going to do about it this time?"

- Name Withheld, The Sun Magazine, February 2012.

Funny how all our stories are nearly the same. I pray for her sake and that of her baby that she leaves him, now.

Monday, January 30, 2012

What will our children do in the morning
if they do not see us


Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes, Illustrator of “The Girl God”

Sunday, January 29, 2012


It doesn't interest me if there is one God
Or many gods.
I want to know if you belong -- or feel abandoned;
If you know despair
Or can see it in others.
I want to know
If you are prepared to live in the world
With its harsh need to change you;
If you can look back with firm eyes
Saying "this is where I stand."
I want to know if you know how to melt
Into that fierce heat of living
Falling toward the center of your longing.
I want to know if you are willing
To live day by day
With the consequence of love
And the bitter unwanted passion
Of your sure defeat.
I have been told
In that fierce embrace
Even the gods
Speak of God.

- David Whyte

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Invitation

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

From The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

-Mary Oliver

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tired (but wide-awake)

I am barely sleeping these days. It's 3am now and I've been in and out of sleep, clenching my jaw. The particular cruelty of my ex taunting me about finding a place to live has jolted me awake.

It was his recklessness that put us in this situation. And yet his family bought him a bigger brand new home to live in right next to the kids school. No one else missed the irony of that. Why does he get a new house next to the school when you are the one driving the kids 45-minutes to school each way?

That doesn't bother me so much as his taunting me about it whenever we get into an argument. He is not a well person.

Here he is, with all the money in the world at his disposal, and he won't even pay his child support. And I know he will read this and taunt me about that too, which is partly why I don't bother to write about it anymore. But why should I let him bully me about it? It's true. His dad is always bailing him out. Perhaps he adds it to the debt he supposedly "owes" him, but for as far as I can remember, he's always owed him, and the only time I can remember that he ever paid him back was when we were married and I insisted that we roll the current debt into our mortgage. What a fool I was. There would always be a debt. There would always be another rehab. There would always be reckless spending on drugs, booze, clothes and high-end luxuries and hotels on his part. I'm just paying for it now. He never has to pay.

I don't know where we will live. I don't want to find a place to live here. I have a place to live: in Norway with my soon-husband. We can live well there without any drama. The kids can have a kind step dad who actually acts like a father and wants to be a father and knows how to be a father already. The kids can go to good schools, without my ex constantly being late on his huge overcommitment on their current private school.

I'm tired of the stress of dealing with him. That he can't understand why I hate him so much when he keeps doing the same things over and over again. I'm tired of waiting for him to screw up big. I know it's coming. It always does. The signs are already there. The verbal abuse that escalates; the lying.

I'm tired of wishing that the 13 years left til the kids are grown were just over and done with instead of just enjoying this time completely with my kids. It's not being a single mother that it is exhausting to me. It's dealing with him. That I keep having to tell him over and over not to call me. That I want to change my phone number but I'm always worried about an emergency.

I'm tired of him taunting me to just leave my kids with him to move to Norway. As if that would ever happen. As if I would ever leave my kids. As if he were remotely capable of raising his kids on his own. As if I could ever trust him.

Even when I'm in Norway, the kids end up with my mother nearly every night, always at the last minute. Always with no consideration for her. My mother, who does everything for him too, who he also mocks for losing her keys and other "infractions". But my ex can't even acknowledge that this is true. He can't even acknowledge that he was gone for months and months at a time throughout our kids lives. He can't acknowledge the kind of father he has or hasn't been. He doesn't see it. He won't see it.

I am tired of always being the one who makes the compromises, when I am not the one who caused all the problems. I'm tired of his mental illness, which doesn't allow him to see that this is the case. His version of reality is more and more distorted with time. I'm tired of this story too. I'm tired because so many women are in this same place and the story isn't ever much different and there aren't better programs to help us know what to do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"All this was summed up in Lenore Weitzman's famous statistic from The Divorce Revolution: Women with dependent children experience a 73 percent drop in standard of living after a divorce, while their ex-husbands' living standard goes up by 42 percent. The colloquial summing up is simpler: If women have young children, they are only one man away from welfare...Yet if two homemakers were to cross the street and work for each other's husbands, they would be entitled to an eight-hour day and a forty-hour week, Social Security, disability pay, and unemployment compensation - and perhaps paid vacations, transferable health benefits, and a retirement plan (not to mention a better legal safeguard against violence, which also has economic value). Something is very wrong here."

-Gloria Steinem, Moving Beyond Words, "Revaluing Economics", (220-221)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands; your walls are ever before me." – Isaiah 49:15-16

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes, Illustrator of "The Girl God"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What will our children do in the morning if they do not see us fly?

What will
our children do in the morning?
Will they wake with their hearts wanting to play,
the way wings

Will they have dreamed the needed flights and gathered
the strength from the planets that all men and women need to balance
the wonderful charms of
the earth

so that her power and beauty does not make us forget our own?

I know all about the ways of the heart - how it wants to be alive.

Love so needs to love
that it will endure almost anything, even abuse,
just to flicker for a moment. But the sky's mouth is kind,
its song will never hurt you, for I
sing those words.

What will our children do in the morning
if they do not see us

- Rumi

Sunday, January 15, 2012


"The winds of grace blow all the time. All we need to do is set our sails."


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Since no one really knows anything about god
Those who think they do are just
Troublemakers” -Rabia of Basra 717-801

”Law-of-attraction-(Mars-&-Venus)” by Elisabeth Slettnes, Illustrator of “The Girl God”

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Truly Great Nation

“The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation, because in the degradation of women the very foundations of life are poisoned at the source.”

– Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Friday, January 6, 2012


Have you the courage to dance on a mirror? Have you more
strength than the brilliance of a bee upon its knees, than
the kiss of pearls shoulder to shoulder?

- Houda Al-Naamani, from I Remember I Was a Point, I Was a Circle

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

- Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

“You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

- Max Ehrmann

“Femme Fatal” by Elisabeth Slettnes, Illustrator of “The Girl God”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Our Task

"Our task, if we are to cast out the shadow, is to learn to think only immortal thoughts, even though we live on the mortal plane. Our higher thought forms will lift the frequency of the planet, and the world will then transform."

-Marianne Williamson, The Shadow Effect, p 148

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Fair Wage

"The US company Salary.com estimated that a fair wage for a typical stay at home parent would be $134,471 a year." - Riane Eisler, The Real Wealth of Nations

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."

- Joseph Chilton Pearce

Happy New Year

Hope 2012 is a year filled with joy, blessings & growth!