Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Read in October 2011

1. Fox Poems, 1998-2000, by Adrienne Rich
Not my favorite of hers.

2. Rose, by Li-Young Lee
Poetry. Romantic and image-driven. I posted a section from the long title poem.

3. Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
I absolutely love their approach to recovering from the diet mentality (which I'd say almost every US American has, apart from actual dieting). Essentially, it's about re-learning to eat the way that we were born knowing how to: eating what our body wants when we're hungry and stopping when we've had enough. The book outlines their core principles (which are smart and kind and utterly sustainable) and the process of becoming an intuitive eater.

4. The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis
Dense with insights. I could definitely read this again. Exposition on four categories of love — affection, friendship, romance, and charity — and what they show us about God, as well as the particular opportunities in each for idolatry. Anytime he mentions gender, he tends to say something misogynistic, though.

5. Riptide: Struggling with and Resurfacing from a Daughter's Eating Disorder, by Barbara Hale-Seubert
I had a lot to say about this book, so it'll get its own post soon.

6. The Beautiful Between, by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
YA, set in a Manhattan high school. Not terribly memorable, but written with heart.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Recognizing what I need tonight

(I needed to take the time to think about what I needed, for starters, so thank you, Sui.)

To wait to revise blog posts until tomorrow, because I can't revise well at this time of night.

To face my assignments, because being afraid of them makes me literally ill, so kindness and mindfulness ought to take the form of Biting the Bullet.

To begin again simply, and read Paul's letter to the Hebrews. To taste my old practices again, thoughtfully  the things that "being a Christian" used to imply for me.

To respect the bedtimes that work for me, regardless of how productive or unproductive I have been with my evening.

And a dose of negative capability.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

At 22, in the company of so great a cloud of witnesses

The father gets custody; the guard is not fired. 

Two levels of amazement: at these things, and that it shocks me at all. Still young enough to be almost speechless at such amazing and everyday injustice! Well, we sigh about how jaded we are, but that's the giveaway. Because, to feel jaded? There's no such thing. It's a very precise catch-22.

Just like with feeling desensitized. I grew up
in San Francisco, and when I was little,
seeing panhandlers made me cry with empathy
and sorrow. When I was somewhat bigger, I was sad
instead about the fact that their suffering no longer
saddened me. Then I just stopped being sad.
Between caring and not-caring, there's
caring-that-you-no-longer-care. But if you're not
back-pedaling from there, you're moving forward:
we may make it to actually jaded.

So don't be speechless. Finding words will matter. Listen:

At such amazing (language the flesh
dressing the bones of a common
frame of reference, and language the bones
also young
enough to know I
can use this word because
this amazement as well will be shared,
not by everyone, but by some
of us) injustice...

Remember, there is this word amaze and this other one injustice, which tell us we could not do anything to make ourselves alone in seeing and knowing the referents. There exist these words, and we could not exist apart from everyone else who has said them (is saying them), or from the fact that we are all trusting these words, these bones, like the earth that we walk on.

In your youngness

do not be cynical;
do not be lonely.

We are not the only ones talking about
injustice, feardoubt or any of the things
that are filling your skull —

The words themselves are proof of
the passage of so many others

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happiness and gratitudes

• The Antlers

• Mary Daly

• occasionally being the THE FEMINIST MOLE at my college

• recovery

• deep thinking and connections

• voicing my opinions

• Anna

• sharing the yoga/dance studio with a guy messing around to this new-to-me and unforgettable lovely song

• my big beautiful Paul Madonna book

• unseasonably mild weather

• south-facing windows

• fear lists

• singing on my bike, drinking tea on my bike, stargazing on my bike

• clear nights and constellations

• yarn browsing

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A brief PSA to my fellow USians

There is some legislation being considered right now which would allow the government to begin censoring the internet.

It's aimed at preventing copyright infringement, but there is enormous potential for abuse, and it will likely affect you.

 It is really important that we all:

1) Follow what's going on with the Stop Internet Piracy and the PROTECT IP Acts.


2) Contact our reps to tell them to vote against this bill.

This legislation currently has far too much support and is, in fact, expected to pass. Congress is holding hearings on it today. In response to this outrageous tomfoolery, today has been designated American Censorship Day, a day of action.

Get on it, my comrades of internetty goodness.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Sui's idea.

Tell me some nice things that people have said about you. The compliments that have stuck with you. Let's have some warm fuzzies and remember how proud we can be to know each other.

These are the mine:

"You are the perfect balance of reason and emotion." – Former suitemate
"Youth is not wasted on you." – SL
"I like how you don't take shit from anybody."  One of my supervisors at my last job

Your turn.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

The day we woke up at four a.m.

We drove to the monastery only to find that the main gate was still closed / Napped in the car in the pre-dawn dark / Had breakfast at a diner lit with the first slanting rays of daylight, where our waitress told us to have as much hot tea as we liked / Listened to a glorious remix of a song we both love / She guessed the combination to the gate by pure luck / We drove up high into the North County hills / And over a speed bump with BUMP OF MINDFULNESS painted on it / Where we met a young Buddhist nun with a laughing face and shaved head who called to us, Good morning, sisters!

Friday, November 11, 2011

And where there is rain

This is what I love about his poems, that they are like photographs. Or small in-between moments from a beautiful movie. An aching clarity.

Always a Rose: 6

Not for the golden pears, rotten on the ground —
their sweetness their secret — not for the scent
of their dying did I go back to my father's house. Not for the grass
grown wild as his beard in his last few months,
nor for the hard, little apples that littered the yard,
and vines, rampant on the porch, tying the door shut,
did I stand there, late, rain arriving.
The rain came. And where there is rain,
there is time, and memory, and sometimes sweetness.
Where there is a son, there is a father.
And if there is love there is
no forgetting, but regret rending
two shaggy hearts.
I said good-bye to the forsythia, flowerless for years.
I turned from the hive-laden pine.
Then, I saw it — you, actually.
Past the choked rhododendrons,
behind the perishing gladiolas, there
in the far corner of the yard, you, my rose,
lovely for nothing, lonely for no one,
stunning the afternoon
with your single flower ablaze.
I left that place, I let the rain
meditate on the brilliance of one blossom
quivering in the beginning of downpour.

– Li-Young Lee
from  Rose

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Designer drugs

"I don't take drugs; I am drugs." – Salvador Dali

Two a.m. showers in the dark are my favorite now. In the dark means, by the light that comes in the bathroom window from the suburban night sky (a hazy pinkish-gray).

As my hair is drying I open an umbrella the color of that sky and pad barefoot out to the middle of the backyard lawn. From above, no one would be able to see me.

A thin November rain throughout the night, so I keep my windows open to the cold for the sake of its sound on the remaining leaves. (Are the yellow ones always the last to fall? Plastering the pavement, striking in the streetlights...)

I smell like incense.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

October weekend

Happiness and gratitudes

• wrapping up in a big shawl to read or blog

• the German word for "litigious" is "lawsuit-addicted." As my professor used to say, deutsche Sprache, schöne Sprache.

• Mary Daly

• the assigned ethnographies in my anthro elective

• nightclouds

• fisherman pants

• Mozilla Thunderbird

• golden leaves against moody gray skies

• tea and blankets with a friend on the grass/under the trees/in the backyard

• Sui's Letter

• finding a quality travel mug at the campus donation center, and how much it improves my quality of life

• the gift of trust from others

• a silly addictive teen gymnastics drama on instant streaming

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our tentative and groping words

"Women have been driven mad, 'gaslighted,' for centuries by the refutation of our experience and our instincts in a culture which validates only male experience. The truth of our bodies and our minds has been mystified to us. We therefore have a primary obligation to each other: not to undermine each others' sense of reality for the sake of expediency; not to gaslight each other.

"Women have often felt insane when cleaving to the truth of our experience. Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake, beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other...

"Truthfulness anywhere means a heightened complexity. But it is a movement into evolution. Women are only beginning to uncover our own truths; many of us would be grateful for some rest in that struggle, would be glad just to lie down with the sherds we have painfully unearthed, and be satisfied with those. Often I feel this like an exhaustion in my own body.

"The politics worth having, the relationships worth having, demand that we delve still deeper.


"It isn't that to have an honorable relationship with you, I have to understand everything, or tell you everything at once, or that I can know, beforehand, everything I want to tell you.

"It means that most of the time I am eager, longing for the possibility of telling you. That these possibilities may seem frightening, but not destructive, to me. That I feel strong enough to hear your tentative and groping words. That we both know we are trying, all the time, to extend the possibilities of truth between us.

"The possibility of life between us."

– Adrienne Rich
"Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying"

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Bitterness: As soon as you consciously wish to forget something, it becomes almost impossible.

It's hard for me to remember physical pain once it's passed, but I can remember how it felt to be profoundly depressed, and re-collecting the original pain, holding it whole again in my hands — old, but whole — strikes an echo hurt, a meta-pain.

Melissa wrote [trigger warning for eating disorders] that this grief for the past self and for those unforgettable things is a good sign, even when it hurts deeply. Because it means that sympathy has grown where the hatred used to be.

You should read Lexi's post too, about the mean reds vs. the blues and "it's like depression has its own version of ptsd." I'm grateful for her brain.

In what sense can you leave it behind, the days of leaving scars, of wanting to be dead? And how, without forgetting, without pretending that I don't still have to watch against depression?

I want to say, Too much lost. That's part of the pain.

What lost? Some innocence, I guess. Hatred and violence and hopelessness put an end to a certain type of innocence, and those have had their place in parts of my saga with depression.

And so much to leave behind.

Theodicy. Is it the essence of evil, that suffering is meaningless?

"Humans, including women, construct meaning. That means that when something happens to us, when we have experiences, we try to find in them some reason for them, some significance that they have to us or for us. Humans find meaning in poverty and tyranny and the atrocities of history; those who have suffered most still construct meaning; and those who know nothing take their ignorance as if it were a precious, rare clay and they too construct meaning. In this way, humans assert that we have worth; what has happened to us matters; our time here on earth is not entirely filled with random events and spurious pain. On the contrary, we can understand some things if we try hard to learn empathy; we can seek freedom and honor and dignity; that we care about meaning gives us a human pride that has the fragility of a butterfly and the strength of tempered steel."
– Andrea Dworkin

The evangelical in me says that that's what grace means here, that this will all mean something, and that it's not just self-illusion to think so.

I have to believe that. In an integrity of experience and purpose that will be clear in the end, with enough distance, or in those rare minutes. That there will be a story to this, to me, and that it will not be senseless.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Asleep or awake,/what difference does it make?

One of last fall's songs + one of this summer's songs.

Not sleeping — or living — very well lately. Except for when I'm hyper on caffeine, I feel sluggish and dull, suffocating on food and screen time, suffocating inside my prickly layers in this cold room. I don't really have enough of a courseload to keep me busy, though I'm hardly doing as much as I could for the ones I do have.

hate waking up in the afternoon, and I hate too-long or inadvertent naps. I don't want this groggy restless feeling; I want to feel alert and awake and properly alive. It's so easy to be bored (how is it that "entertainment" is not the opposite of boredom?), but so shameful. What a WASTE. I won't live like this, I refuse to live like this...