Thursday, May 19, 2011

Every Song a Swan Song

When I was between the ages of 17 and 23, I was a songwriter. Political. Emotional. Generally rhyming. My songs were limited to melodic formulations that fit the handful of chords I could play on the guitar and piano (a number which has dwindled rather than growing through ensuing years). Let me dwell a minute on the love songs (and all of them were love songs, to some degree....if vengefully, DiFrancishly so). For years (even after we were married), Josh seemed bothered by the fact that he was never the subject of one of my love songs (though, with their limited musical value and questionable appeal, he should have thanked me, daily:). One day, in explaining it to him (and that is how most of my epiphanies come, WHILE I'm voicing an explanation, not before), I exclaimed (probably with great force) "I only write love songs for people after the love is dead or the people have left me!"

It's true, insofar as I can remember my love songs.

My last post cost me like a love song! AND, it seems to have been a eulogy, as well! Ever since I posted the tangle of confusion that surrounds my submission to food (which seems absurd, but couldn't be more palpable), I have....been.......REMARKABLY.....freer! I've faced down the newly named spectres (don't ask me why I spell that word Britishly -- I just do, I always do), and paid them due homage like past loves.....

What an interesting change!

I love it (though not enough, yet, to write a song about it:)

(Thank you to all of you who offered your friendship in kind thoughts and prayers. I have no doubt that God, whose prompting led to the post, is the catalyst for this freedom, and I know how he works through our lovers, far and near. I appreciate you ---- sincerely).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tari's Questions

Over the past several weeks, Tarikwa has taken to presenting me with questions. Not her usual peppering of sweet, thoughtful, helpful inquiries, or even those of the repetetive, insistent variety (for which she has a particular knack). These are new. These questions, bald as they are, seem oddly rhetorical -- by that I mean conversationally strategic, designed to engage me in adultish back-and-forth that her (now 3-year-old!) toddler mind must somehow crave. (I remember slipping into my parents' room one night with just such an agenda, determined to have a conversation of the ilk I imagined them having together and with other grown-ups. When they asked what, specifically, I wanted to talk about, all I could come up with was one word......"Squirrels." I'm not sure why). Tari is infinitely more creative than I was at her age. She asks, "What are hands for?" and "What is a mouth for?" or "Why is pizza?" Normally, I slip her a portion of the "honest and enough" brand that has carried me through some awkward parenting moments (and ushered me into others!). Hands are for playing holding and patting. Mouths are for talking and tasting. Pizza is.....dinner? Two nights ago, she caught me dozing and splashed the frigid bucket full of this one in my face: "Mama, why do you eat?" Honest. Enough. My reasonable truths -- nutrition, enjoyment, subsistence -- seemed altogether dishonest and insufficient. I don't eat for those reasons. I did once (maybe, though I can't remember when), but I don't.

How should I answer my little one, though? The answers came, fast and hard, but none of them utterable. "Mama eats because she's scared, honey." "Because I'm afraid of getting sucked under by the insensible tow of this life at home and need to be reminded that I still have volition." "Because I need a secret to be in charge of." "There's some chemical endorphine explanation that keeps me coming back for a word: self medication." "Because if I eat and eat then the offending food will be out of my house and will no longer exercise control over my every thought by its very presence." (And you should see the insatiability of my efforts to this end! I astonish myself. My son has a friend whose allergies to gluten and dairy make snack selection a chore. When he wanted to invite his friend to a birthday party, Josiah said: "Tyson can't eat glutton," yep. He said glutton instead of gluten. "So we have to buy special food. I have seen brownie mix at the store that said Glutton Free Brownies on the box, so maybe we could buy those!" Dear sweet Josiah, if only global innovation and enterprise could yield a glutton free brownie. But.....alas.....) "Revenge." (Now I'm back to the answers that common sense forbids me from offering to my three year old, but her wide eyes compel me to face.) "I find self-destruction more accessible than self-discipline." "Because I am unlovely and, thus (love this insidious illogical lie?) unworthy of love."



I remember being ten and writing out this phrase on a note card, "Your body is God's temple, keep it thin," and pasting copies of that note card at the foot of my bed and on my vanity (nice) mirror. I can't remember a time when I didn't exchange that truth for a lie.

And now, my beautiful innocent and one increasinly desparate.....ask, "Mama, why do you eat?" And I have to face the answers or face the consequences.