Saturday, February 6, 2010

the secret life of more women than you can imagine

have you ever read a book that moved you deep down in your soul? a book that you could actually feel down in the tips of your fingers? a book that you knew would change your outlook forever? that happened for me when i read the secret lives of bees. it is also one of the FEW books that translated so well onto the silver screen that rather than ruining it, life was breathed into the story.

twice, i've paid for a movie on demand. i know it'll be free in the blink of an eye, but i paid to watch the secret lives of bees. i watched it with my daughter. i felt like all of my christmases came in one day when she loved it like i did. when she was moved by the women the same way i was. when she was outraged over the abuse of lilly, and when she wept over may.

we're watching it again, now. as i type this, lilly is telling august that rosaleen fell down some stairs. may is moved to tears over the wound on rosaleen's forehead.

the conversation with my beloved this time around was different than the first time we watched. the first time we watched, she was awe struck and wonder filled, the same way i was. this time, she was EXPECTING the gunshot. she knew lilly was about to be motherless.

i talked to her about little girl lilly. about how little girl lilly saw a gun and turned it into an opportunity. an opportunity to stop the torture. the torture she was too pure to understand. without any comprehension of the finality of death, and no good sense and no good aim, she fired. and she killed her mother. instead of her father.

i explained to her that she made a decision that no little girl is capable of making with reason. that cameron wouldn't make at eight, because cameron knows that death is forever. a decision that is too heavy for any little girl to bear the consequences of. i explained to her that in trying to rescue herself and her mother from their abuser, she sent her mother to the ultimate refuge. that she did in fact, rescue her mother. and that no just god would punish a child for what she had done. that fourteen year old lilly would never forgive little girl lilly for what she had done, even though her mother forgave her the moment it happened.

i'm going to tell you this. oppression will KILL you. you can be rosaleen. you can work for a slave master past the time of legal slavery, and one day you can't take it anymore and the rebellion inside you explodes and the result almost costs you your life. you can be august. you can be oppressed by the burden of taking care of your homestead and your sisters and your family business and you can pretend to be fulfilled, all while making sure no one gets too close. you can be june. you can be oppressed by the goals and standards that you place upon yourself to the point that you become abrasive and refuse the love that will soften your heart. you can be may. you can be oppressed by the emotion that overflows from every pore of your being until you one day decide that you can not face it for one more day. you can be lilly. you can be oppressed by the past that you are unable to change and by the fear of the impending future that you must face.

or you can be me. you can be oppressed by a life that you did not choose. dreams unrealized, truth unspoken, authenticity smothered, breathing in, breathing out. the whispers of those who love and support you in your ear, "leave! choose a different path! don't be oppressed anymore!" if only it were that simple. instead, i breathe. i just take the next breath.

and i pray with each breath that my daughter has the bravery of lilly to change her reality no matter the cost. the rebellion of rosaleen to stand up for herself even if it causes pain. the sense of responsibility of august to get the job done when it needs to be done. the tenacity of june to reach her goals and never let fear stand in her way. the capacity for feeling of may to experience all that life has to offer in her heart, and not just in her head.

and back to lilly. i pray that my daughter has the strength to kiss the boy. the boy that the world says is wrong but she knows in her heart is the right boy. too often, the boy that the world says is the right boy because of where he comes from could not be more wrong. just because your families look the same does not make it a good match. i want my cameron to kiss the boy whose heart speaks to hers. even if it looks wrong on the outside.

i don't want my cameron to live a secret life. the secret life of her mother. i just want her to live.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

an open letter to the mister

welp, here we go again babe... it's that magical, mystical time of year that i like to call AWESOME.

there's a nip in the air, the trees are getting all naked like. when i leave in the morning i can see my breath. every now and again i smell the sweet sweet deliciousness of a wood burning fire.

yesterday i wore a turtleneck and it was seasonally appropriate.

last week we all carved pumpkins, and the roasted seeds have been my daily snack since.

i think you know where this is going....

that's right. i won't be shaving again until spring.

oh. heck. yes.

rebecca marie

Friday, September 4, 2009

another year older - another year gone

yesterday was my thirty-sixth birthday. i've never been super excited about ages. i hear that some of you are. some people get all excited about turning twenty-one, or sad about turning thirty, or say you're over the hill at forty. the only age that has weirded me out at all was not even mine. it was when the mister turned thirty-five. when he turned thirty-five, for the first time it occurred to me that we were real-live grown-ups.

i don't feel like a grown-up. i most certainly don't act like a grown-up. i'm usually the first one to make fun of people (to their face, in fun... not with any kind of mal-intent), i love being the center of attention, i rarely make appropriate footwear choices. certainly these things don't point to adulthood.

but there are a few things that make me constantly aware that i am, in fact, an adult.

i have a car - and it's PAID OFF

i have whiskers in my chin

i have a stack of bills on top of the fridge that isn't shrinking with each payroll

i fall asleep when i read

i think eleven o'clock is late

i own plants

i listen to talk radio, often

i remember to feed my pets

i don't get carded to buy wine

i have cash in my wallet (sometimes)

these are obvious signs of aging, in my humble opinion. and i'm fine with every single one of them, even the whiskers (who doesn't love tweezing?).

it's hard to reconcile how i feel on the inside with what it says on the birth certificate though. and i find it very hard to believe that those pioneers of age, who were thirty-six thirty-six years ago felt this young inside. when i look at a woman more... advanced in her years, i can't imagine her doing the things that i do. especially not doing them with the gusto that i do. i'm sure that they did, and hopefully, they still do. because i never want to feel my age. ever.

because if i ever feel my age, it will mean that i have stopped doing a few things.

i find great joy in singing the national anthem alone in my car, as LOUD AS I CAN

i have a crush on all three jonas brothers and zach effron

i dance to amy winehouse like no self respecting fat girl should ever dance

i wear black toe polish every. single. day

i shamelessly watch big brother, and read the spoilers online

i color in coloring books

i tell extremely inappropriate jokes to equally inappropriate audiences

i require slurpees on a regular basis

i desperately want edgy teenagers to like me and not view me as stuffy

i believe in santa

if these things, plus the exponentially longer list of things running around in my brain, ever stop bringing me joy, i will know that i have succumbed to age. i refuse to let that happen. there is too much fun happening all around me to ever REALLY grow up.

however, i am greatly enjoying the privileges of being a grown up. i set my own bedtime. i don't get in the car to leave if i don't want to. i don't have to eat my dinner to get dessert. and frankly... as much as i'd love to go back and re-do highschool, we really do have better hair and make-up tricks the older we get.

i like the me that i am today. i can't say that i'm a teenager in an early middle-aged body, i would have said that in my twenties. but i'm definitely in my early twenties internally. i like this place. i think i'll stay here for a while. wisdom, i'll always gladly gain. but more maturity? no thank you, i'll pass.

and as far as wanting my girlish physical self back? check out a picture of me at my twelfth birthday, and then a picture of me at my thirty-sixth. i'm pretty happy with where i am now physically as well (bless that little girl's heart... she's what you'd call a late bloomer!).

so let's hear it for only aging on the outside!!!

arrivederci, rebecca marie

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

sometimes things go my way

so there i sat. mourning. miserable. going about my business sort of as usual. i only took one week off from work, because i'm a one woman office, a jane of all trades. with the freedom of working semi-alone (the boss stops by a few hours a day at most) comes the major drawback of not having any kind of back-up. therefore, pain meds in hand, kleenex at the ready, i went back to work.

it was about two weeks after the miscarriage that the sister sent me an email. she actually only copied me, the email was for her mister. his dream dog is a mini-yorkshire terrier. he won't get one though, because at 6'7" with a son close on his (not heels....) head? he doesn't dare have something that tiny in his home. anyway... the email she sent was FULL of pictures of mini-yorkies. she sent it to him to make him happy. the pictures were ridiculous. seriously ridiculous. these babies were sitting in peoples pockets. these babies had outfits on. they were meticulously groomed. it was RIDICULOUS.

(told you, ridiculous)

i. bawled. no really, like a freaking woman i bawled. what you need to know is that i don't like little dogs. i actually hate them and their pitiful little faces. and their ear splitting yipping. i have been known to refer to small dogs as "stew meat."

but these dogs, man. they hit me. they hit me hard. and i thought to myself "is this it? is this what you need? do you need a little tiny wiggle dog to fill the hole in your heart? to love you and kiss you and wiggle around in your lap?"

i began googleing small dogs. hooooboy. when you see someone with a small dog, know this. they LOVE that dog. i know this because they paid a LOT of money for it. i'm a shelter dog girl. i get my dogs for the cost that the humane society put into it. it's how i do. i mean... c'mon. how does anyone justify paying that kind of money for a fancy dog when there are so many mutt babies neeeeeeding love at the shelter. LOVE. that's how. they. love. those. dogs. who am i to judge?

but i couldn't shake it. and i wasted a day going from breeder site to breeder site, getting therapy from looking at these sweet little faces. imagining the smell of their puppy breath. sigh.

then i found it. a link on the side of a breeders website. it said "free puppy." WHAT??? there is no way! no dog breeder gives away puppies! that would be like my boss painting a fred meyer store for free. this is her income! well, i clicked, of course. i had to see what this was about!

here was the deal. princess petunia knows the power of the small dog to heal. so she, unbelievably benevolently, GIVES away a puppy a month. she calls the contest "i need a puppy to save my life." people send in letters explaining why they, or someone they know needs their very own wiggle dog to fill their very own hole.

on a whim, i told her my story. knowing full well that there were little girls whose daddies just left for afghanistan. husbands who finally retired just to lose their beloved wife to breast cancer. children with mental disabilities who need therapy dogs. why in the world would she choose me? but i entered nonetheless. i asked my friend and the sister to write a quick note on my behalf. to tell petunia why i would be the best darned puppy mamma there ever was.

i didn't even warn the mister. first of all, i wasn't going to win anyway. second, i sent the email on june the fourth and i had almost the whole month to warn him. and third... i wasn't going to win, anyway.

i went about my life, as usual.

the next day, the sister needed me to meet her at chevy's in clackamas. she had to meet a friend there that she hadn't seen in a while and she needed some moral support. i'm game. i dig chevy's and i dig the sister, so off i went.

we waited a while, her friend called to say they were running a few minutes behind. no prob. i was with the sister of course, the best company of ever.

in walked the friend and her sister. janni laine lept up, practically charged them, hugged them both fiercely. they immediately asked to meet me, so of course, i obliged. one of the sisters said she had something for me, and handed me a bag. not understanding why, i just said "thank you," and stood there. she told me to look in the bag.

in the bag was the tiniest most beautiful creature i'd ever seen. oh, janni laine! what a trickster! i immediately came to the conclusion that she, being aware that i wasn't going to win, somehow BOUGHT me my very own wiggle dog. i reached in and scooped him up, turned to her and said "what did you do??" that's when one of the sisters said, "you won!"

i'm sure you can imagine how i cried. apparently i said, "i don't understand. i don't understand. i don't understand." i don't remember that, but i'm sure i don't remember much of the next few minutes. what i did catch was this. they were so moved by my letter that they cut the june contest off on the fourth and drove five and a half hours to surprise me with this dog. much sneakiness had taken place within an hour of receiving my email. a plot between petunia and janni laine to get me to the right place at the right time. it was spectacular.

and he is everything i hoped for in a wiggle dog. he kisses me and follows me around and has a fit when i walk through the door. he's feisty and cuddly and wraps around my neck.

i named him edward (and no... not after THAT edward).

so in the middle of the november of my heart... i was given the greatest gift. something to fill the hole in my heart. no... it's not a perfect fit. he's not a people baby. but i love him.

so how's that for a happy ending? pretty good. not the one i would have written... but one that makes my heart sing. even though he won't poop where he's supposed to.

arrivederci, rebecca marie

p.s. thank you tanya and janni laine for writing letters to petunia... and should any of you decide to BUY a dog, rather than adopt... please consider petunia. she GIVES away income, every month.

oh.... one more thing... please pray for petunia (whose real name is heather, by the way). she has had more than she can handle in the last few months. her beloved daddy passed away after she cared for him in her home and she thought it was more than she could take. and then, her sister died on august 24th. one woman can't carry so heavy a burdan. so please say a prayer for heather's heart today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

life, unscripted

i've been meaning to document this for a while. i think it's important. it's important to me, it's important to my spawn, it's important to my sanity.

i've been married to the mister for 14 years. we knew we wanted kids right away. it's what was right for us and NOT NOT NOT a recommendation i would make for most marriages. i got married WAY too young, and we had kids WAY too early. but it's what was right for us.

we were pregnant with the he-spawn on our second anniversary, and we made the most of it. we were poor and ever so happy. he was everything you want in a first baby. slept through the night, hardly cried... blah blah blah. i always said and still believe that he was God's trick to get us to have a second child.

we waited longer than we intended to have a second. we thought we'd do the traditional american thing and spit one out every two years till we were done. when the male child was three and a half, i said to the mister... "look, let's have another now or not at all."

and so the she-spawn was born. the mister wanted me to have a tubal ligation at this point. he was done diddely did having kids. and he knew it. and he was totally at peace with it.

i was not. i would hold the she-spawn and cry, and say to myself "enjoy this... you will never have another baby. breathe it in." my nipples would bleed and i would say, "cherish this, you'll never have a month old baby again." she would wake to be fed three times a night on a GOOOOOD night and i would hold her and rock her and sing to her and say, "you can sleep later, you'll never have a six month old baby again." i mourned when she slept through the night for the very first time at eighteen months. i cried out "i will never have a baby need me in the night again."

the mister begged me to get a hysterectomy. i NEEDED a hysterectomy. my she-parts were rotten. i bled for weeks at a time, with atypical symptoms. horrid cramping, debilitating headaches, clots the size of texas grapefruits. all i needed to do was say the word and the doctor would start cutting. but i. couldn't. do. it.

i told the mister on many occasions... "if you are so at peace with having two children, i support a vasectomy. i will nurse you and pamper you, and bring you frozen peas." and i would have, too. but i could not sterilize myself. not even for my health. i believe a mother knows when she has had all of the children she is going to have. i believe that she knows in her heart of hearts when she has been given all of the babies that are hers, by birth or otherwise. and i knew. i knew there was another baby for me.

so i prayed. and i waited. and i got angry. and i waited. and i tried to find peace. and i waited. and i heard the cliche, over and over and over again that "God would grant me the desires of my heart." but i knew that if God was just... He may simply be deciding to grant the mister the desires of HIS heart, instead of mine. why should MY desires hold any more weight than his? so i waited.

several times, over the years, i thought i was at peace with my two children. i would tell myself "you have the DREAM family! you got the boy, then the girl. they are perfect and healthy and they sass and tell lies and don't clean their rooms and love you and wrap their sweaty arms around you and touch the windows with their sticky hands! you don't want another baby! you don't want to stink of spit-up and have pee on the bathroom floor! you. don't. want. more!" but it was a lie. and i knew it. and those closest to me knew it.

so i'm sure you can imagine my joy when i found myself pregnant. it took multiple tests to believe it! AT THIRTY-FIVE! advanced maternal age! who cares! overweight! meh... i can do it! not only can i do it, i will birth that child on my bed. no more surgeries for me! we created that baby at home, that baby will greet it's family at home. just like i'd dreamed. and waited for.

who cares that we'd just bought a house with not enough bedrooms. not the she-spawn who couldn't wait to share with the baby. who cares that i'll have one going to college the same month i have one starting kindergarten. not me. i'm up for the adventure. who cares that we are JUST NOW a two income family again. not me! not me not me not me! this was it! this was my personal dream come true. my miracle. my rotten parts and my meticulously careful husband were not enough to keep me from my dream come true. i. was. PREGNANT.

because of my screwy cycles, an early ultrasound was scheduled. we wanted a due date. we wanted to start planning. i needed to know how many paychecks i had to buy my bum genius's. no paper diapers for this baby! all of the research i'd been doing for OTHER MOTHERS was going to be mine to gain from.

so me and my mother and the she-spawn made our way to the hospital for the scan. i knew something was wrong when the technician didn't give me a due date. i was nervous all day. so when i got the call late that day i wasn't surprised to hear the doctor say "i have sad news." according to the ultra sound, i had miscarried.

but why wasn't i bleeding? why wasn't i cramping? why were my hcg levels continuing to increase? when was the bomb going to go off? and mostly? why would God play that kind of cruel trick on me? so we broke the news to the spawn. news you should never have to tell two excited loving souls. we would forever be a family of four.

so imagine my glee when the bomb didn't go off. my doctor ordered another ultra sound a week later to see if we could find out why i hadn't passed the baby. and guess what we found!!! a hearbeat! that baby was growing and developing PERFECTLY. i would have a christmas baby. noel noel.

another week or so of joy. everyday in a haze of wonder. no more wine. no more caffeine. leafy greens at every meal. begging pregnancy books from my friends, as mine were long since loaned out to forgotten someones.

then i found it. the dreaded pink smear on the paper. no worries... according to google. women who bled during pregnancy came out of the woodwork. even women who had full periods throughout. deep breaths. deeeeep breaths.

so i had more ultra sounds. baby fine. baby growing. on track. heartbeat perfect. all is well.

but the bleeding wouldn't stop. i tried to be at peace. i already defied the odds by getting pregnant with my oh so careful husband at the helm. i already grieved a miscarriage that was misdiagnosed. i'd already been through, and put the spawn through ENOUGH. this baby was going to be fine. like the sister said "your God. the God that YOU believe in would not do this to you." so i waited for peace.

i was diagnosed with a subchorionic hemorrhage. this happens in a percent of a percent of pregnancies. i should just wait. more waiting. waiting waiting waiting. either i would bleed the hemorrhage out, my body would absorb the hemorrhage, or.....

but we would know soon enough. SOOOON? do you know what that means to a pregnant woman? there is no soon. no soon. soon is NOT in a pregnant woman's vocabulary, unless she has just said "i will soon pee myself."

well, i did not get my happy ending. on may the 16th i started bleeding. no more pink smears. no little quarter sized clots. blood. blood pouring from me. barely grasping at the small bit of faith i still had in my miracle, i called my friend to take me to the hospital. no need for the mister to come, let the spawn stay asleep in their beds. somehow, this will surely be fine.

when my pyjamas were soaked (not to mention the towel i'd placed between my legs) before i was even checked in, i knew i needed the mister to come and trade places with shanna. at this point, i was in labor.

i don't want to rehash the hours in the hospital. there is no point. you've all seen women in labor, fictional or otherwise. it's painful and scary. more so when you're not going to bring home a baby. i'll tell you that when you have a hemorrhage, there is more blood than you've probably seen before. we could actually hear the blood coming out of me. i left a trail when i went to the restroom. they had transfusions ready for me which i thankfully did not need. the doctor opted to do an ultra sound. i asked what point there was... he hesitated... i asked, "stranger things have happened?" he shrugged and said, "stranger things have happened."

it was very difficult having a vaginal scan when the pain was worse than the 22 hours of labor leading up to the birth of my first. no pain meds would get through (too bad, since it took over an hour to find a vein for the IV, story of my life). but i'm glad for the ultra sound, now, because it gave me some very valuable information.

my baby was alive. my baby had a heartbeat. my baby's heart was BEATING twenty minutes before he passed. at that point, he was resting on my cervix, so we knew it was over, we knew i would soon deliver (yes, deliver) my baby. but my baby was real. was a living, breathing person.

so, the rest happened fast. i was wheeled back to my room where i continued to bleed. the staff brought me my paperwork to sign out. at this point, there was nothing left to do but go home and let it finish "naturally." the mister started helping me to get dressed when something primal came over me. i lunged for the bed, and began clawing through the easter ham sized pile of clots on the bed with my bare hands. he was yelling from the corner of the room "NO NO NO!!!" but i had to see. i had to find out if my baby had been born.

he had. my little holden karl was there... under the mess. in all of his perfect glory. i held him in my hands, the mister's back was turned. he had every finger and every toe. i could see his perfectly formed bones and organs through is thin skin. i know he was a boy, because i opened his tiny legs to see. i. had. to. know. i cried over my precious perfect boy who passed so fleetingly from this life to the next. not because of any flaw in him, but because of my rotten parts that should have come out years ago.

my baby was born and died on may 17th, 2009. my family was complete.

we went home, and the mourning began. a dilation and curettage a few days later, a hysterectomy a few weeks later (two weeks ago, to be exact). a few jokes about being spayed, or transgendered (my favorite) and now it's all behind me. well, at least it will be soon, when my milk dries all the way up, cause yes, that came in, too. how's THAT for unsavory.

so that's the point of my life where i begin this blog. the musings of the unsavory martyr. it may be too real for some of you, too gruesome for others. but it's where i'm coming from right now. and it's not always comfortable, classy or grammatically correct. but it will always be real.

maybe next time, i'll tell you where the unsavory martyr comes from.

arrivederci, rebecca marie

Monday, August 24, 2009


words are awesome. f'real, ya'll.
and i'm gonna write me some up and put 'em here.

watch for it.

watch for it so hard.

arrivederci, rebecca marie