June 2019 – The Emperor

img_1442

Well, we are six months into 2019. The 6th card I drew for the year is The Emperor. This is a card that portends guidance, protection, and advice from a father figure.

A Little Non-Feminist Feminist Rant

I have been thinking about men in society a lot given my background and the current political climate where awful phrases like “toxic masculinity” are tossed about.

I am an independent woman who has worked in a male-dominated field (software engineering) my entire adult life. I raised a daughter on my own. I have no male partner in my life. I don’t want one. That has nothing to do with my gender. I am happy being single and was miserable married.

I remember being told to shut-up as a young girl because the men were talking. I was told I was not given a middle name because I could use my surname as a middle name when I got married. When I was coming up, the society around me screamed that as a woman, I literally had ZERO value if I did not get married.

So I get why so many women are pissed off at the “patriarchy”. It is an unhealthy environment that casts women as property for the sole purpose of sex and reproduction. For thousands of years of history, in all corners of the world, women have been less-valued than men. That must stop.

IMG_1489

People matter. We all do. Regardless of gender, race, ideology. We matter, each and every one of us. We all make choices that lighten or darken the world. Some make no choices at all which allows the status quo to continue for good or ill.  So I have no problem with the male in general. I even welcome the support, guidance, and protection of men. It is when they become tyrants we have a problem, but June brought the Emperor upright and not in reverse.

Moving On

I look forward to June. I have made great progress on the book. With the Champions League and the EPL on hiatus until August, I have less distractions from my final push to put this book to rest and get on with the next eleven. Yes, I started writing eleven other books during the last three years while writing this one. Another reason, this is taking so long.

The end of an Era

images-2Game of Thrones came to an end in May 2019. Lots of fans were disappointed. The final season felt rushed to a conclusion that satisfied few. However, for myself, I think that it came to an end was what tore me up.  Game of Thrones is undoubtable the greatest television show so far. It drew in millions of viewers, invested them in the complex and difficult characters that spoke so loudly to our humanity. While I will miss the show, miss trying to figure out what happens next, I so look forward the George RR Martin finishing his books. Let’s see which one of us gets there first. Shall we?

Miracles in May

A unseasonably hot May has ended after a series of triumph and a miracle.  I wake to June with Liverpool as European Champions. Miracles do happen. Recall that when I entered May, Liverpool had a 3-0 deficit to cover in order to get to the Champions League final. They did so with a miracle at Anfield. I took a great deal of inspiration from that night.

May 7, 2019 is one of those days I will remember forever. Yes, I am obsessed with Liverpool and really the English Premier League. There is something there that men from literally every corner of the globe can come together, united by purpose, put their differences aside and create emotion like this. Note at the end of the evening, when Liverpool has done the impossible, the crowd singing to them and the players singing back to the crowd “You Will Never Walk Alone”. This is the stuff of hope and dreams.

Angels and Demons – Lilith

Lilith_1Lilith has been around a long, long time in myth, legend, and appearing in all sorts of cultures, mostly as a demon. The Babylonians, Assyrians, and Sumerians all cast her as a demon. Lilith or “lillit” translates as “Night Hag” or “Night Monster” or “Screech Owl” in Hebrew language texts. Literature often enhances these references. However, I understand her. She might be wrong, but heaven knows, she has her reasons.

In Jewish lore, Lilith is Adam’s first wife.  She appears as his first wife, created equal from the very same dirt that brought about Adam. It is satire, this folklore so we are not meant to take it seriously. In this story, Adam divorced Lilith when she refused to “obey” him.

Subsequently, Eve was then created from Adam’s rib. Clearly, I was Lilith’s progeny and not from subservient and idiotic Eve. What kind of woman accepts an apple from a serpent? Seriously, Lilith did less damage leaving Adam behind in the garden.

Yes, this is just a story, one of many with no hard proof of veracity,  but it makes me rip-roaring furious. There are lots of examples of  female deities, both demonic and divine, getting pushed into the trash heap of history. It is not only Lilith, cast as a villain (first wife, demon- what man doesn’t think of his first wife as a demon?) .

There is also Asherah. She was the wife of God, also consort to the Sumerian deity, El.  In the Bible, in the book of Deuteronomy, God commands her shrines destroyed so as to keep his worship pure.  Even though Jeremiah proclaims her to be the “queen of heaven”, there is not a lot of talk about how God is both male and female.

Honestly, I’m too weary to rail on about the patriarchy. It’s been wearing on my nerves for half a century. No wonder Lilith went full-on demon. She was created equal and told by Adam that he wasn’t having it. Yeah, at that point, fire starts pouring out my eyeballs too.

 

 

There Goes My Life

IMG_0601I remember my daughter’s first steps, her first words, the first book she read all by herself, her first day of school, the first movie she loved, her first crush, her first heart break, the day my best friend and I dropped her off at college, all of it a tapestry of memories, forever playing notes in my soul. One of those country songs waiting to happen.

Atlantis 011I no longer recall the pain that came with the struggles of raising a daughter on my own, the exhaustion, the stress of trying to provide a good life for the two of us. I know at times it was very hard, but from the moment I held my daughter the first time, all regret was gone. Even though, I had no business having a child when I did, a child I knew I would have to raise on my own.

My story is not that unusual. Wendell Mobley and Neil Thurber wrote about my life for Kenny Chesney to sing about way back in 2003 when Kate was only ten years old. It told the story of young man getting his girlfriend pregnant, giving up his dreams, and staying to raise a child and finding love and delight in his decision.

That was not quite my story.  There was no young man in my life. It was just me, immature, unsure of what I wanted, not settled, dead broke, and pregnant before my life even began. So I saw myself in that song, but only as far as the second verse. Yeah, I loved my little girl and there was nothing I would trade her for. Then the years rolled by.

KateandStuff 028My daughter went to the University of Georgia for college, just down the road a spell from where I lived. She had been accepted at schools as far away as California, but decided to stay close for a short while longer. And so I thought she would remain tied to the South, to home.

After all, I had dreams too that fell away over the years, dreams of living in the UK, living as a gypsy traversing the world with nothing but a backpack and pen and paper for writing. Perhaps, I was not so brave as my daughter. Perhaps, that mistake I thought I made simply spawned new dreams.

Friday morning, March 10, 2017, my life got up before dawn and drove away. My daughter, Kate, moved to Brooklyn, New York. To stay. This is how things are meant to be. I know that. I am so proud of my little girl. Still, who knew things would go so fast? The lyrics of that old song changed to strip my life bare and left me bleeding. There goes my life.

AutumnSkyAll she could think about was I’m too young for this. Got my whole life ahead. Hell I’m just a kid myself. How’m I gonna raise one?

All she could see were her dreams goin’ up in smoke. So much for ditchin’ this town and hangin’ out on the coast. Oh well, those plans are long gone.

And she said, There goes my life. There goes my future, my everything. Might as well kiss it all good-bye. There goes my life…….

IMG_0600A couple years of up all night and a few thousand diapers later. That mistake she thought she made covers up the refrigerator. Oh yeah……….she loves that little girl.

IMG_0598Momma’s waiting to tuck her in, As she fumbles up those stairs. She smiles back at her dragging that teddy bear. Sleep tight, big eyes and bouncin’ curls.

She smiles….. There goes my life. There goes my future, my everything. I love you, mommy good-night. There goes my life.

 

img_0381She had that Honda loaded down. With Abercrombie clothes and 15 pairs of shoes and her American Express. She checked the oil and slammed the hood, said you’re good to go. She hugged her tight and headed up the East Coast.

And she cried, There goes my life. There goes my future, my everything. I love you. Baby good-bye.

 

IMG_0589There goes my life. There goes my life.

Baby good-bye.

Clothing Optional

Say you live to be 80 years old. That is a good, long life. A bit better than average. That’s 28,160 days dancing on this earth.

That is a fine number but a decidedly finite one. How does the song go?

It’s only forever, not long at all…

Most days for most of us are unremarkable. We are such creatures of routine. So days, minutes, hours are meaningless in and of itself. Time spinning through an hour glass we are hopeless to stopper.

Life really comes down to those moments that distinguish themselves from the others in ecstasy or agony.

So here I sit sipping a Manhattan with my daughter and her customary glass of wine with this view at sunset. My daughter and I traveled to Asheville, NC to visit the Grove Park Inn and Spa. It is a mother and daughter retreat we had planned for sometime. When we planned it, Kate’s plan to move to New York had been tentative. Now, in less than two weeks time, she will be gone. How often life changes on a moment.

I will remember these two days with a mixture of awe and pain. I had never been to a spa, would tell you I am not a spa person. But I am a mother, and a spa seemed a grown up mother and daughter trip, a way for two women to share some time on equal ground. There was not time or resources for longer travel so we drove here to take a single day away from the chaos. Kate has so much to do before she drives up to her new apartment in Brooklyn, New York. And then who knows?

My brother and parents, and most everyone in my life, says she will come home one day, not to worry. No one really leaves the South. Yes, that seems true for most that I have known. However, I feel deep in my gut, a painful recognition, that this will not be the case with Kate.

My daughter may visit as she can, but she is never coming home again. In her heart, she has always been a New Yorker. Her father was from New York, and while I divorced him very early in Kate’s life, his family adored Kate and she spent many vacations in New York City. Every time she would come home, she would tell me someday she would live there, even when she was a tiny girl. So my emotions split between joy and loss during the two days in Asheville.

My daughter and I are as different as fire and rain and as alike as ice and water. The spa was enchanting place, far exceeding my expectations and far less awkward than I feared. We spent the day in pools, swimming laps, enjoying hot tubs, sitting in a steaming pool, sipping wine, and ending with long stone massages. We chatted quietly, but as usual as of late,  Kate’s attention was elsewhere most of the time.

When my daughter was little and new, she clung to me so fiercely, wanted to share everything with me, wanted to be included in everything. My mother used to fuss at me because Kate was so attached to me. I was told I would spoil the child into uselessness. My mother can rest easy now. Kate no longer clings to me at all.

At the beginning of our spa day, we were given a tour of the spa. We came to the woman’s whirlpool and sauna. The tour guide told us this area was clothing optional. I cringed with my own modesty. My daughter chose the optional bit.

I could not imagine being so bold. Kate has a confidence and courage I wish I could claim for myself. She is also young, brash, fiercely opinionated, and impulsive. That can and probably will get her in trouble or at least introduce her to some humility now and again. It is the way of things. She’s an adult, and she will have to learn like the rest of us do. My part is over now.

Time to let go. When clothing is optional, I have no say in what choice Kate makes. Life is now hers for the taking and the living.