Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Year-End Heart Inventory, 2011

Sheesh, I looked at last year’s heart-inventory, and I was surprised by how sad it was. Even if at the moment I’m a little blue from the 4 o’clock dark, I’m happy to report that this year was s a lot cheerier. The theme was learning curve, and I’ve still got a long way to go, but I am proud of the progress I’ve made.

  1. I am really proud of my progress towards self-acceptance about being poly. I started of the year feeling like men would always be a mystery, and in some ways they still totally are (in other ways ways, I think maybe all I have to do is have boobs and occasionally stop talking) but at least I have found the courage to do some good research. I’m not sure where any of this is going, but I and so excited about how far I’ve come.

At my church, they do this thing where they give you a pretty stone to put into a bowl of water, supposed to represent adding your joy or sorrow to those of the community, I guess. Anyway, last Sunday I was holding the line up picking out three stones instead of one, and I turned to the guy behind me and said “Yep, I’m greedy.” In that moment, I felt like yeah, I’m okay, this is the way it is. I don’t have to feel worry or shame, and everything might actually work out. I don’t feel that way all the time—some days I still feel scared, rattled, not pretty enough. Sometimes being polyamorous just means more people to disappoint. But sometimes the light shines in, I’m just me, dudes are just dudes, and it’s all a miracle. I’m so grateful for the days that I feel like that.

  1. Last summer, during my first few weeks as an online student for teacher certification, I felt like it was never gonna work out. It was too lonely, sitting there in front of the computer, the grey of the discussion boards, the sometimes-dryness of the subject matter was deadening. I wrote to my friend Shanny who’d been through the same thing and she said:
“I found my education classes, with one exception, to be horrible. Mind numbing. Terrible. I did not have a trick to getting through, I just went, and then complained to Roy a lot. But here is what I need you to do:

1. Do not panic, and do not make it personal. You and I have the tendency to turn situations that are horrible into situations that are horrible because "there must be something wrong with us." Nothing is wrong with you. These classes are horrible.

2. Remember that you cannot teach without them, and with them, you get to teach.

3. Go with the flow. Don't try to swim against the tide. You want to be there, and you've already done so much to get there. It is a sick joke that "there" is horrible and stupid and a big waste of money. But this is not where you are trying to land. Follow the stream. You will be great.”
I knew she was right, so I kept going. Real-life work with kids, long walks, and a LOT of music kept my soul going to the point where I am now starting to enjoy the classes and feeling like I can make it to teacherdom. On the days I go to school-visits or the days where the library kids and I do something particularly productive, I feel like this amazing new whole person who can do things. I hope that I can do justice to the rest of the teacher certification process, because I am starting to grasp what it might be like to actually have a classroom, and there’s absolutely nothing else as compelling.

  1. This year, one of my biggest, dearest dreams came true: my manuscript was accepted for publication by Sibling Rivalry Press. One day while I was working at summer camp, Bryan Borland left a message on my voicemail, and when I called him back, he said, (in the most adorable Arkansas accent) that there was a problem with the manuscript. When I asked what that problem might be (all ready to change the heck out of it if necessary!) he said “It doesn’t have an SRP logo on it.” I squealed like a reality-song-competition-winner. He said that my manuscript “Touched him—sometimes in inappropriate places.”

So here I am this week, sending in the current draft, with a whole bunch added, to my superadorable queer press. I love them so much that when I sent my contract, I sent a mix CD with it. When we met Bryan and his husband a few months ago, we all knew we were friends for life.

My friends who’ve had books published keep telling me how painful the editing process will be, how much it’ll hurt when my beloved editor tells me things I have to change, and they might be right, but I know I’m in good hands. Also, this could be a case in which submissiveness might actually count as a life skill.

I still wonder how I am going to fit in a tour—school is so demanding that I may need a miracle, or at least a TARDIS.

  1. Okay, this one’s not so fun: about giving up helping to run the Philadelphia Poetry Slam, one of the most painful things about this year. It still hurts that I felt so used about it, and that I had to walk away from people and a project that I did love. But at the same time, the experience has been liberating. I have spent more than ten years trying so hard to be a part of the national Slam community, to varying degrees of success. I’m so proud of everything I’ve written and performed and especially of the amazing connections I have made. Some of my poetry friends may very well be in my life for the rest of ever.

BUT there was something so draining about having to try so hard to be a part of things, to be remembered, to count. Part of the reason that I hung onto the Philly Slam longer than I should’ve is because I thought, if I didn’t have it, my friends wouldn’t want to come visit me. That fear kind of came true: a few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night realizing that a good friend of ours was in town and we hadn’t made arrangements to hang out. I was progressing busily with other things, but it still stung. I miss the poetry and the company, but I don’t miss the vulnerability, the desperation I felt trying to keep a bedraggled team on task, trying to wrangle a fuckwad slammaster into giving me truthful answers, trying to make people love me.

  1. May 2012 be a year of not trying to make anyone love me.

  1. I am grateful every day for Amy and my beautiful, safe, wonderful home. Every morning when she hits the snooze-alarm a million times so that we can snuggle, every Friday night that we spend at the grocery store, every time I come home from church and find her finishing up an episode of Sanctuary, every best-pal conversation (Even when my yammering drives her crazy!) every time we are driving somewhere listening to podcasts, every time it’s hard to drag ourselves out of the house because we just want to stay home, every single thing about Amy makes me so very grateful to have her. I hope that I can continue to be someone she wants around, someone who most-of-the-time makes her happy.

  1. Projects that were/are awesome: my perfect job at the library, Friday Love Poems, my poetry-lady job at Allen’s Lane Art Camp, etc, etc.

  1. Besides Shanny, there have been some friends who have gone above and beyond the call of friendship to help met get where I needed to go. I’m superglad that I have my various two-person support groups, and I’m sure I’ll need more, so be ready!

Mostly I’m ending this year feeling like a lucky, greedy brat who has so much of everything. I guess what I have to say is, dear 2012, let it last.


  1. What a great end-of-year list! Having recently fired some crazymakers from my own life, I can say that it is MUCH more gratifying to make your own crazy, than to buy someone else's...just like bakin' bread, hon!

    Hugs to you and Amy, and have a great 2012!

  2. I think you should definitely resolve to have continued happiness and awesomeness in 2012. <3