Mar 17, 2015

IKEA doesn't sell bracelets

You've done it again, IKEA -- brought me happiness from Sweden, this time in the form of my duvet cover set. I sleep among script -- the design is composed of letters in random order and imperfect font that reminds me of that little girl in preschool who thought decorating with letters was more pleasing to the eye than with pictures. I wake each morning and scribble down words in my notebook to capture the leftover dreams before they slip away with the dusk and the new thoughts coming up with my eyelids and the sun.

But if that silly sun won't come out to play, I'll write by a lamp I bought from IKEA. Kinda like that Mockingbird song my mom always used to sing to me. "If that mockingbird don't sing, mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring..." What the fuck is up with that, anyway? Trying to hush a little baby with bribery and some other material bullshit? At the end of the song, though, the lyric is "you're still the greatest little baby in town," so I suppose I can understand a parent wanting to give her child everything, particularly if the child is upset. But for all the material things my parents gave me as a kid, the things I remember most are my mom singing me to sleep and my daddy pushing me on the swing set at the park.

I got a new bracelet once when my dad was working overtime all week and it left me feeling empty instead of consoled. I wanted to cling to his arm (as Aaron did the same on the other side of him, pinning this wonderful man with love and adoration of children) and listen to him tell stories and make us giggle with silly jokes -- not wear a little charm bracelet, silver pieces echoing and banging against a wrist not wrapped around a beloved father. Did it remind me that I'd already been abandoned by one father and one more would shatter my fragile self-esteem? Or lack thereof?

But as I pass by in him the kitchen as an adult two decades later, I am reminded that he is still there for me after all this time. He shyly asks about my new boyfriend. I wonder if he hopes that this will be the guy that I will spend the rest of my life with -- who will let me cling to his arm (pinning him with love and adoration of a partner) and love me the way a father always wants someone to love his only daughter. I smile and tell him everything he wants to know -- stories and silly jokes on a Sunday afternoon.

Mar 16, 2015

It's all dirty

It’s a different animal: cleaning for an event (the correct term is “accident,” but let’s not talk about that) versus cleaning as a regular activity. Your focus is more directed, targeting a tangible moment (or moments) rather than cleaning to carve away at the grime that life leaves behind – the film that coats every little thing – the windowsill, the tops of shelves left bare, the tops of books on shelves attempting to hide their bareness with volumes of pretty words. And isn’t that what I do? Hide behind pretty words I write? So isn’t that what I’m really seeking? A vulnerability that is clean – sterile, purified? It takes so much routine cleaning to maintain a level of “normal” in a home, and yet the task is so thankless, so behind-the-scenes that it feels futile. And yet we carry—I carry—on this burden, this cross in silence.

Ah, Catholicism. There you are again! The need to atone, the original sin that makes me a bad person, the need for penance and suffering. Are these ideas what eat away at my self-esteem? Or is it because I already had these feelings of worthlessness that I so willingly took these teachings to heart?

It’s a downward spiral nonetheless. And I still have to vacuum.