Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lies and Survival

"Did you ever lie to survive when you were younger?" she asked.

We were talking about our families, about our parents in particular: what was hidden, what was shared. I instantly sprang to a part of my life I felt super uncomfortable sharing for decades, but have, in the process of writing my memoir, finally "outed" and been able to talk about without shame. It wasn't lying *to* my family, it was lying *about* my family, sort of.

When my father died we had no funeral. There were many cards from students and co-workers (he was a beloved instructor at a local small tech college). Many calls. But no responses from our family (see: my mother, lost in grief) and certainly no funeral or wake. I didn't really know what those were like - my maternal grandmother had died when I was a little kid, and we had buried her at our cabin, where everyone's ashes got buried. No service, just a burial - maybe we weren't even there when our grandfather put her in the ground.

So it didn't strike me as odd. Didn't strike me as needed or even healthy to have a service. It was normal, you know, what was known, in my family's culture.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

In the Summer 2011 issue of Writers Ask, a quarterly publication of Glimmer Train Stories, Armand ML Inezian notes “Oh sure, there are writers who sound very humble, but you have to have some kind of ego to get through all the rejections.” This is at the end of an interview in which he states there are two kinds of successful writers – the people who “win the lottery” and those who stick with it diligently over time, “like a glacier, slowly scouring the earth, and moving ever toward the horizon.”
Having a spouse who is transgender is great practice in this regard. This morning, she said to me “I realize that at some point I will have no control (due to hormones) over how I present myself, gender-wise. I often feel like everything is moving so slowly, way slower than I want, then, I realize, it is all beyond my control. It’s a little like that saying ‘Be careful what you wish for…’ – I want to be a woman, but secretly I am a little scared of it, or want to have more control over the process. Not quicker or just the way I want it at each moment, which is impossible.”
Our relationship to change and to fame, even to downfalls – to life overall - is very, very similar. Of course, at base, everyone wants to be recognized, observed, appreciated for who we actually are. But there’s a lot of mixed information covering that ideal – sometimes we don’t know who we are, or don’t like who we think we are. Sometimes we self-sabotage, which is both under our control and not under our control, and sometimes, as hard as we try, the world seems not to respond.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

What Am I Yoked To?

1. (Noun) A crossbar with two U-shaped pieces that encircle the necks of a pair of oxen or other draft animals working together.

2. (Noun) A frame designed to be carried across a person's shoulders with equal loads suspended from each end.

3. (Intrans. Verb) To force into heavy labor, bondage, or subjugation.

These are some of my "favorite" definitions of "yoke" from the Free Dictionary by Farlex, the first place to come up when I went to look it up online.

They are my favorite for today because I went there looking for the definition of yoke while thinking about Depression. So now, why don't you look at those definitions again...