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This is a photo of John Henry eating a peach that he swiped in the grocery store and not caring. At all. I want to be more like John Henry.

It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. — Theodore Roosevelt

Most of us know this brilliant quote, this IDEA, by the first President Roosevelt. It is a big thought, and one that is indispensable for those of us who do a lot, for those of us who make things and then send them out into the world to be judged.

I don’t enjoy being criticized. I especially don’t enjoy it when the criticism isn’t constructive. This character trait makes me different from almost no one on the planet.

Early in my career, I read every review and haunted the message board on my own website, craving feedback, grabbing for approval. It was a bad idea to be wrapped up in what people said about me, whether they were professional critics, people in the industry, consumers, or people I knew personally. The business of entertainment is full of us, those who didn’t get enough of either feedback or approval, or both, in their childhoods — one of my theories about why certain people become performers in the first place is to get those things they didn’t get enough of — let’s just all agree that the stage doesn’t draw the most well-adjusted people. But I digress, as I usually do in this space. Let me pull it back on track… I did adopt, really quickly, the idea that if I was going to attach any worth to a positive review or appraisal that I had to do the same for lukewarm or negative ones, but detaching from critiques of one’s work is a nearly impossible thing to do. There’s a reason why we can hear ninety-nine great things and one bad one and we remember the bad one — we’re insecure, and we’re looking for confirmations to bolster that comfortable spot of self-loathing because if we changed it who would we be and how would we operate? Yikes.

Detaching from critiques of one’s character is just as hard. Last year I put a photograph and celebratory/appreciative Father’s Day post of H. and John Henry on Instagram. It was an adorable photo, and one I thought demonstrated their relationship perfectly — they’re comfortable and easy and they dig each other. I often say that John Henry likes H. better than he likes me and that may very well be true. But anyway, someone just couldn’t keep himself from posting something quite shitty in the comments — something about John Henry’s father/my ex-husband, etc. — something the comment vomiting person knows absolutely shit point zero about, mind you. I fought that war. I have the scars. The commenter had no idea what he was speaking of and it made me mad. I got over it, as I do, but I still wonder why people feel the need to be nasty, especially when they have no relationship to the person they’re being nasty to and generally have no knowledge of the subject they’re going on about. Why do we feel the need to be so harsh and critical of others? I know now that it’s because we generally hate ourselves, and that if we’re being mean to someone else then it’s probably at least ten times worse when we talk to our own hearts. I’m guilty. I hate it.

Now, only four-and-a-half months out from the release of my first memoir and accompanying EP, I can’t help but think about what people are going to think and say about my work. I feel like it’s twenty-almost-one years ago and Alabama Song is getting ready to hit the streets. Will they think I’m a hack writer who should stick to music and will they say that? Will they think I’m too sentimental about my family? Will they think I’m too forgiving or worse, that I’m not forgiving enough?

Will I care?

The thing is, I know I did my best work. I did the best work I could do at the time that I did it and now (I finished it almost two years ago) it seems far away. It’s time to go back into it though, to talk about it, to embody it in some way. And some part of me is scared to do that. Not only is the subject matter tough to talk about, it strips me bare. I feel a special kind of vulnerability showing the world my story in this way. Yet, I had to do it. It is my job to tell these stories. Writing it all down was as essential as breathing. And as an artist, it is my job, after I’ve made a thing, to let it go into the world and do what it will do — to hold up a mirror for anyone who wants to look into one. I think I stopped making art because I wanted anything in return a while ago. I do it now because it just isn’t optional. But I’m still human — I still feel it like a corkscrew to the heart (yep, been listening to that one… he knows a thing or two about criticism).

I try to remember that I’m in the arena. Maybe I’ll leave it one day, but today I’m not ready to go. I’ve had countless conversations about the risky business of hanging your own ass out to dry in the form of a song, film, book, play, painting, drawing, or pot of soup. It’s a lot easier, I suppose, to do nothing and wait on others to produce something to suck on a pencil over. But I didn’t sign up for easy. Not this time.

I try to remember I’m in the arena. Every day.

Peace and love and happy Wednesday,

AM

normal

Normal. That thing everyone thinks they are. That thing that everyone thinks they are not.

My daddy impressed upon my sister and me that individuality was the business. “It’s good to be an individual,” he’d say. And say, and say, and say. He didn’t like anything about what was considered normal in our world — he didn’t want work at the papermill, he didn’t want to punch a clock at all, didn’t want to keep regular hours of any kind, or do anything in general that was considered what a person does just because it’s what a person does. Screw manners, mores, and most people. Early messages stick with you.

But shoot — I consider myself pretty damn normal. I suppose that depends on the context in which it’s presented, but these days I like the simple things in life. Good books, good music, good work pursued and done, a few vegetables growing out back, and those I love around me as much as possible. Aren’t those the things that this life is supposed to be centered around? Aren’t those things the normal things? Funny, when I rewind 40 or so some odd years, I see that those were the things Daddy wanted at the center of his life too. He got them to varying degrees of success, because what was really at the center of his life, his addiction, erodes groundedness and goodness. Still, he tilled the soil to plant a garden every year. Still, he bought books, records, and worked a job most of the time. His own individuality was displayed in the way that he did those things. In the years since he’s been gone, I have asked a few people who knew him in ways that I didn’t. They are mystified by his actions, but are still impressed with his character and intellect, and, of course, his unwillingness to conform. Suffice to say he had a hard time. Suffice to say most everyone noticed.

It’s easier to go along. It’s easier to get along. There are some of us on the planet who can’t do it no matter what reward for doing so might be dangled in front of us. But I don’t think it has anything to do with what we do for a living, how we are raised, or our philosophies on what’s cool or what isn’t. Daddy grew up relatively privileged, was educated, was employable, but still was well on his way to drinking himself to death and had wreaked irrevocable damage on his daughters’ lives before he blew his brains out. No one understands it. I wrote a book about it and still scratch my head most days. No one quite understands how those who have suffered immeasurable difficulty can thrive, become truly empathetic people, and keep opening themselves to the world, either. But those people are everywhere. I know plenty of them.

I realize this might be heading in a direction that has nothing to do with the topic. Except to say that there is no normal. We human beings like to sort things. Hell, most species do. Put this over there and that over there and let’s keep it all neatly categorized so we know how to process it and move on to the next thing, don’t make me think too much and don’t surprise me and don’t make me take a clear-eyed look at anything because I don’t have time or the wherewithal. But we can’t sort people and we can’t sort life, can we? No. It’s absurd that we even try. Without yin there is no yang. All this offense against difference makes no sense to me. I taped a feather on the wall today like a teenage girl and hung my Academy Award nomination certificate in the room we call the library because it’s where all the books are. I also got Instacart to bring my Costco delivery to my door. And I don’t give a hell, as the red-headed boy on the school bus said when other young’uns were picking on him one cold morning when I was in fourth grade. I’m fine with those things. Which all adds up, at least in my mind, to say — look at me now, Daddy. Look at me now.

Peace and love and happy Wednesday,

AM

PS – that’s him as a baby. It’s sometimes nice to remember that we all start out that way.

resistance

I resisted writing this blog entry all day yesterday. I resisted so much that I didn’t do it. I haven’t really figured out why yet.

I could’ve made time. Sure, I had boxes stacked up on top of each other all over the house — the moving truck arrived Tuesday night with all of the things from NYC — and I needed to get sorted out. But this practice of mine nagged at me all day long, the reminder of it wafting into my mind every hour or so with thoughts like “when are you going to get that written and what are you going to say” attached to it. I kept pushing them away. My will wanted to empty more boxes, to decide where everything goes, to get the physical organized so I could think again, to make everything perfect.

There’s absolute validity in all of that, just as there is in most thoughts and feelings. And I don’t really know whether to be disappointed in myself for not writing even one word or not. The frustrating thing for me right now is, I know very well that this house is never going to be perfect, and though I may seek some sort of perfection, I only set myself up for disappointment through that search and also let this (just as, if not more, important) ball drop. Nevertheless, she persisted…

How do I feel about breaking deals with myself? How do I feel about letting my will take over when I know it just wants to control everything rather than allow presence of mind and a cool relationship to chaos?

Turns out, not good. And I know that because I think I dreamt about writing this, and I woke up at 6AM (no alarm) with it on my mind. I heard the birds outside the window, I heard my husband’s breath, but I also heard “get it done” in my own internal (mostly bitchy) voice.

A year ago I wrote about Steven Pressfield’s “The Art of War,” which I’d just read. I think about that book a lot — I internalized its messages, which fit nicely beside my own — those messages of no excuses, of doing what it takes, of not resisting, of making friends with the notion of doing hard and sometimes frustrating work that will possibly end up in the deleted files — I haven’t forgotten it in the slightest. This morning I tell myself that I should read it again (when we get the books unpacked, of course), maybe as some sort of punishment for my slacker behavior here. I tell myself that it doesn’t matter whether or not I could think straight yesterday. I know that isn’t necessarily true, that for equanimity to exist, the circumstances have to be at least somewhat conducive to calm. Moving house certainly doesn’t create that — in fact, it removes stability and takes everything off axis, resetting things so tentatively, at least for a few days, that it all feels like an elephant balancing on a marble. I spent yesterday trying to get the elephant off of the marble. She’s still up there…

Maybe today we’ll roll the marble out the door. This missive is the first step to reclaiming smooth ground. Aha…

Peace, love, and Happy Thursday,

AM

kindness

I wonder sometimes if life makes sense, or if I make it make sense because I need it to.

For all of the big experiences I’ve had, even for all of the painful experiences I’ve had, I often catch myself winding meaning around what does or doesn’t happen. Not in a parable way, but in ways that maybe make me view them with, if not exactly clarity, then at least calm. I’m looking for reassurance that I’m not alone I guess, that there is a why to the what. That I’m not just holding on by my toenails to this hurtling blue ball we’re on.

Today’s topic is kindness. Last year I was focused on someone being nice to and attempting to connect with my son. I had been (and still am) so touched by the outstretched hand and heart of a man we’d never seen before and haven’t since. I don’t even have to go back and look at the entry — I remember it well. We’d been in the pool at our building in NYC — an indoor pool that, of course, is echo-y and that intensifies the sound and volume of John Henry’s vocalizing — which got on a lot of swimmers’ nerves. And I understood that. Nevertheless, we had the right to swim too and so we did. I tried to talk to him about keeping his voice down, and he tried so hard to do it when he could, but he couldn’t always do it, excited as he was. The man who I wrote about, insteading of shooting us dirty looks and talking to the lifeguard about us or asking me why he had to make that sound (like some people did), made eye contact with him, smiled, and made the same sounds John Henry did and it was one of the kindest things I’ve ever seen anyone do. He said, “He’s just fine. He’s beautiful.” I don’t know if the man had a background in therapy or if he had experience with autism in some way, but that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do. Join them where they are. My heart about burst that day.

We’ve had some rough times in New York City. I’ve not been shy about saying how hard the sensory onslaught of day to day life here has been, or about how we don’t have a yard to run and play in, or about how dangerous it has felt to me on certain days. It isn’t an ideal environment, in my opinion, for a young boy who needs lots of space to move and shout but needs that space to also be safe because he is likely to run off at any moment. We’ve been stared down and complained about and things have gotten scary as hell sometimes (for instance, John Henry jerked away from me and tried to run in the middle of 9th Avenue one day — luckily I’m still fast enough to deal with things like that), but as with most things, we got through it because we had grace to help us through. And that grace has come through people. I will miss the staff of our building, who have watched over us like protective big brothers and who all know and love John Henry. I told them all at one time or another that if they saw him without an adult that something was wrong and to catch him and come upstairs immediately because I had likely hit my head and passed out or worse. I will miss John Henry’s teachers this summer as he experiences that space I’ve dreamt and talked about him having. They are doing God’s work and are patient beyond belief. All kinds of folks have been kind to us, and I am grateful.

I couldn’t help but think about that kindness when I snapped this photograph of John Henry giving a kiss to a lady he’d never met before at his baseball game last Saturday. And I couldn’t help but think about how it is contagious, how it’s something we have to and do teach, and how we simply can’t do without it in this world. It saves us. That’s a meaning I’m proud to admit I attach to whatever I can. I’m grateful to find cause to every single day.

Happy Wednesday and peace and love, y’all.

AM

mother

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. Another year I searched for a photograph of my mama to post on social media that the world hadn’t seen before. I found one of her in her housecoat, standing in the kitchen, looking like she just woke up, looking like she was making biscuits. I remember her that way, bleary-eyed and looking for her glasses, squinting at whatever she was trying to see, sipping a cup of coffee, and getting ready for the day. Her biscuits were delicious, by the way.

That got me thinking about how my son might remember me.

Will he forgive me my weaknesses as I forgive hers?

Will he remember the after school snacks, the special hamburger patties with the chia seeds hidden in them, the way I melted popsicles and poured them into molds and refroze them so I could sneak vitamins in?  Or will he remember my constant urging to use the appropriate utensil when eating instead of his hands or my complaining about cleaning food off of the floor when he throws it? Will he remember the way I gave in and sometimes let him sleep in my bed when H. was away because I just wanted to hold onto the few moments that it was still halfway appropriate? Because I just wanted to listen to him breathe and be with him without having to constantly do? Because it comforted me to see him be peaceful for a few hours? Or will he remember when I gave in because I was too tired to lead him back to his own bed for the fifth time in a night but would’ve much preferred the bed to myself? Will he remember how patient I was with him? Will he remember that I used up most of my patience on him and had to work really hard to have any with the rest of the world? Will he remember when I absolutely lost my shit because he stuck his popsicle in my coffee cup or when he poured the water from the vase of flowers on the floor so he could slap his foot in it? Will he remember my habit of blue streak cursing and my near constant stress? Will he remember how mad it made me when he soaked the bathroom walls and floor every night at bathtime because he loved splashing in the tub so much but that I let him do it anyway and mopped it all up, time after time, day after day, sometimes two or three times a day? Will he remember my tears? Will he remember my hugs and kisses? Will he remember how I advocated for him, how I cheered him on, and how I fought so hard through my own emotional quagmire to try to figure out Who. He. Is? And how to honor that? Or will he remember my annoying habits, my nagging, and my exhaustion?

Will he remember my love?

You don’t get a halo and wings when you give birth. You’re the same person after as you were before, no matter how it changes you. Some things seem to come naturally with the miracle of becoming a mother — the ability to discern a hungry cry from a sad or angry one, the instinct to protect — but we don’t seamlessly become beings who always know what to do or how to handle everything correctly. Every human being walking on the planet is a testament to the failure and success of a parent in some way. We can’t blame everything on them, good or bad, there is personal responsibility, growth and maturity, and sometimes an outright miraculous distancing from anything unhealthy, but we can trace a lot of our flying and falling back to childhood. I digress…

The thing is, what I remember most about my mama was the way she loved me. She didn’t execute her intentions to bestow it on me perfectly, but that’s okay. I know that I fall short as a mama every day too, but I hope that I’m raising a child who will know that I tried, and who will forgive me for my imperfections, as I was taught to do. I think mothers show us, above all, how to be in the world. Wow, is it ever a hard job. It requires constant holding on and letting go, and whether or not we have wings, that is the dance of the angels.

Peace, love, and happy Wednesday.

AM

PS – I’d like to make a recommendation this week: Listen to Mary Susan McConnell’s MAMA BEAR PODCAST. I’ll be a guest sometime soon and I’m super excited about that, but you should listen anyway. McConnell is a badass mama and smart as a whip.

uniform

I’ve got a uniform, and it doesn’t vary much. I know what I wear at home — jeans or trousers, a black tee or a white shirt, and if it’s cold, a cashmere sweater or lofty scarf piled on top. Boots, sneakers, slides. The jewelry I wear most days of my life — a collection of gold bangles that usually gets added to once a year or so on the same wrist as my watch that was made in my birth year, diamond studs or gold hoops, my engagement ring from H., signet rings with both his and John Henry’s initials plus a ring with an S on it for Sissy on my other hand, my tiny gold locket with AM + HC engraved on it that I hardly ever take off.

I know what I wear when I’m onstage or going somewhere I have to be seen — usually a dressed up or rock and roll version of what I wear at home. Throw in some leather pants sometimes and a killer pair of probably much too high high heeled shoes or boots.

I have a pile of black dresses, white dresses, lounge-y linen pants, and a few pencil skirts. I like selvedge denim and a Breton sailor tee. I love my Alabama Chanin pieces. I’m mad for a great jacket and gorgeous shoes. I also like hats. I’m lucky — I’ve honed it down. I know who I am and what I want to look like. I like a formula for dressing because it saves me time. When it comes to clothing I like it to be, of course, beautiful and good looking, but I often think of the Guy Clark song “Stuff that Works,” when I’m shopping, which I do little of. My shopping is usually done from this laptop because I do know what works and I tend to buy the same things over and over. I’m simple.

I haven’t been so simple in the methodology for my life. I’ve jumped around from this thing to that and have tried some things on that didn’t fit me at all. But that is changing as well. I would like to have stuff that works for my soul too, a type of uniform, things that I know I can go to that make me feel good, put together, and able to handle whatever is thrown at me. I’ve found that a practice of meditation, at least once a day if not two or three times if I can get to it, is the denim and tee shirt of my spiritual core. Maybe that’s a cheesy allegory but I like to think of it that way. Fabric breathes and lives, after all. Denim is reliable and always fits, even if it is sometimes uncomfortable (especially when you’re breaking a new pair of jeans in), and tee is a comforting touch. The other parts of my spiritual uniform involve centering myself and saying little prayers, creating mantras when I need them, or picking up one of the devotional books I keep around (these are the soothing cashmere sweaters, I think). It all works to create a core that I try to push toward an unwavering strength — able to withstand hard traveling, bad washing machines, and the occasional grass stain or accidental step into a mud hole or smoky bar. Much like the stuff that works in my closet, this is the stuff that works for my soul, for my life, for creating as much goodness as I can gather.

Just as there is a lot of fast fashion, which helps no one, there is a lot of pseudo spirituality and wellness talk out there these days. I’m not going to disparage anything that works for anyone, but just as I know what kind of time and effort goes into making a garment by hand, I know that a commitment to emotional health takes a lot of time and effort too. And that’s okay. I’m almost forty-seven and am just now starting to feel comfortable in my own skin and comfortable with the things I know I want to put on it. I know my body and what looks good on it. Interestingly enough, that is parallel to becoming more at ease with what’s inside me and what I need to do to make the best of it. I’m beginning to know what my touchstones are, those things that get me through my days and allow for the recognition of joy. None of it has to be perfect, but figuring out what the best daily uniform for dealing our imperfections is part of life’s work.

I this read somewhere: The more you know, the less you need. May I continue to shed the extraneous and become simpler, simpler, simpler as I go. Imagine a life that isn’t beholden to stuff. Imagine a spirit that isn’t held down by baggage. Now that would be something…

Thank you for reading.

Much love and peace and happy Wednesday.

AM

pursuit

Yesterday I looked at what my title would be for today. I didn’t immediately go back and look at what I wrote about this word last year because I wanted to give it some thought without any guideposts. I still haven’t looked at last year’s entry — I’ve been wrapped up in my thoughts about this word and what it means to me presently. I’ve been thinking, across a busy morning of life details — bank accounts, credit cards, life insurance policies — I had a bit of administrative work to do on my own behalf  in anticipation and preparation of some upcoming changes — about of what exactly I am in pursuit.

I have been attempting to deepen my meditation practice recently. I am taken by the idea of healing myself, of doing anything I can to increase my self-compassion and therefore give myself permission to let go of some things. And Lord, meditating is difficult work. I’ve got a monkey mind that’s swinging from some crazy-ass, long and tangled vines and screaming out warnings like y’all wouldn’t believe. I try to appreciate the rate at which it moves from this thing to the next, I want to believe that indicates a nimbleness that serves me well when it needs to, but what I really want to do is slow it down and stop it chattering at me. That’s all to say that I think the things I’m in pursuit of reflect that desire.

At this point in my life, what I pursue is not wide and shallow, but narrow and deep. And that’s the way I want it. I guess that’s to say that I know who I am. I just want to get better at being her.

So, what do I think I am in pursuit of on May 01, 2019?

I am in pursuit of a thinking practice, and a life that supports one, which means I am able to find time to sit and do it.

I am in pursuit of relationships with people who are dependable, who reassure me of their love because they know me well enough to know I need reassuring sometimes, who take time to listen and consider others’ points of view, and who make time to show up on something besides their terms when needed.

I am in pursuit of work that I do with my hands. Sewing, gardening, cooking, building, making. Things I like to do that connect me to my history, my present, my community, my earth, my world.

I am in pursuit of art. Writing and Music. My disciplines. I am in pursuit of a life that allows me time to explore and excel in both.

I am in pursuit of a spiritual life that grounds me and reminds me to be in this moment, and that nothing else is solid in any way at all.

I am in pursuit of healing. Carrying woundedness is painful, and taking a proactive approach to the work of letting it go has become essential to me. It may be, at the end of the day, my real life’s work. It may be everyone’s.

I am in pursuit of joy.

I am in pursuit of love.

I am in pursuit of magic and the wherewithal to notice it.

I am in pursuit of the next clean breath.

Maybe we need to think about what we’re chasing every now and then.

Peace and Love and Happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM

studio

Last years thoughts:

Studio: The place for the study of an art.

I was actually in the studio when I wrote that. In the producer’s chair at Jason Weinheimer’s Fellowship Hall Sound in Little Rock, working with H. on creating what would turn into his most recent release, “What It Is.” It was fun, it was informative, it was collaborative, it was music, it was indeed study.

Today, my studio is my desk, a guitar, my iphone, and google drive. I find that my studio is wherever I am — technology allows that and I am thankful for it. If I were a painter like Frida, I wouldn’t have the luxury of portability as much as I do. I can study my art in most places if I have something on which to write and record. All of this is to say I’m going to record an EP this summer to go with my memoir, and preparation has commenced.

This is probably no surprise to some. It seems my work is never completed around this subject — there is always more investigating to do, more explaining, more excavation of emotion and spirit and struggle and the hope for some exaltation at the end. Exaltation comes, but only in short bursts when I successfully describe, for myself, a feeling through a piece of art that came through the study of first, myself. Self-doubt creeps in when I wonder if it has any hope of doing the same for the reader or listener. No, my work is never done. But my work is also my purpose. What would I be without it? Is my mind my actual studio? Is my art my self? In some ways I think that is true. We are all our own works of art, as our lives are our works of art.

So far there are six new songs, one unheard original written by my daddy and my sister (she found a lyric he’d written after he died and put music to it), and I’m also going to revisit “Cold, Cold Earth,” the hidden track that was on The Hardest Part. In some ways it’s my belief that the whole thing exists because of that song, that song that tells the facts but not the truth — I’m a better writer now, I can dig out more subtlety, more complexity, and I’m less afraid to be honest. I want to finish the job I started when I wrote that lyric down over twenty years ago.

So here’s hoping I pull together a worthy, not only companion piece to the memoir, which I worked harder on than anything else I’ve ever made in my life, but something that stands alone as a document of its own merit.

I find that most artists’ works are connected — we all have our unique stories to tell and we tell them until they’re fully told, if we get a chance. I’m very thankful to have mine.

Happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM

awareness/acceptance

Last year I wrote about the word of the day that I had received that morning. The word was ken — which means knowledge, perception, or cognizance, the range of sight or vision. A side note — I never noticed until recently that the word is used in “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” from The Sound of Music. “Timid and shy and scared are you, of things beyond your ken…” It’s amazing what the ear ignores that is unfamiliar. I hadn’t known the word before and didn’t even realize it was used in the song. Anyway… that’s pretty meta isn’t it?

I’ve been thinking about my awareness and acceptance of myself lately. I do try to be self-aware, but can we really be that without feedback from others? I’ve gone so far as to ask for it directly lately. I want to know how I’m doing, in my relationships, in my work — I think a lot of times we think we want to know, but we don’t really. We fear harsh criticism or even kinder remarks that might help us along our way and show us what we need to improve. Maybe we have to get to a certain level of self-acceptance in order to be able to face what others might really think. Until then, it’s head in the sand, heels dug in.

It’s not that I want to fit myself into someone else’s idea of who I should be, rather that I just want to improve through my own filter. I think it takes a lot of self-love to be willing to make even subtle shifts. When there is an absence of it, pain is usually at the forefront of the personality in one way or another, and pain hates change. It seems that if we have a lot of it (show me the rare person who doesn’t), it rules us until we find a way to work through it and start to let it go. Pain makes us stubborn because we’ll do anything not to feel more of it, but we only start to let go of it, in most cases, when it gets so bad that we can’t carry it anymore. Only then do we start to rewrite the script. Only then do we start to make changes. And sometimes that takes a while.

I’ll be forty-seven this year. I have wrinkles, frizzy hair, and am not happy with my body though I’m trying to love it the best I can. I recently went blonde to deal with the white hair that is now growing out of my head. I get botox twice a year. Perimenopause or whatever the hell this is is about to kill me. I wake up in the night sometimes sweaty beyond what could be considered at all cute and have to carry a paper fan in my bag at all times incase I have a hot flash in public. I take more showers per day than I used to. I’m full of strong opinions and apparently don’t shy away from making them known. I’m also apparently blunt and honest, sometimes uncomfortably so. I am impatiently patient. I have money anxiety. I will sometimes do anything but what I need to be doing. But you know what? I’ve got a lot of heart. And I’m trying to love all of me the best I can, particularly my flaws, because they need the love the most. Just like the pain does. I know I’m probably halfway finished with my life. I want to make the second half as good as I can, and I want to do it with a clear-eyed sense of myself and stay on my toes so that I can be worthy of this incredible place and the beautiful creatures with whom I get to roam it. It isn’t easy. But now and then I think it’s a good idea to ask, “How am I doing?”

I’ll just leave that right here.

Happiest of Wednesdays and lots of love to y’all.

AM

PS — Thanks for reading.

magic

I cut my hand on a piece of my Mama’s china while unpacking it a few years ago. I wrote about it in my memoir, as the pages go back and forth in time from past to present, one memory jarring the next, one occurence taking me back to my past and the memories drawing attention to some parallel in my present. I wrote about when I sliced my hand open on a saucer, how I stood there for a moment, almost transfixed, marveling at the depth and cleanliness of the gash, and how it almost immediately started to try to close itself.

Humans are magic. The human body certainly is.

Healing is a sort of magic. And it is also very much not magic. Sometimes it takes a whole lot of hard work.

I think about the thing Louise Bourgeois wrote: “The art of sewing is a process of emotional repair,” and I think about how we work so hard to repair ourselves every day, all the time, stitch by stitch, choosing happiness over sadness, peace over anger, conversation instead of withholding — it’s all taking a needle and thread to whatever has popped open. Even to get over the slightest emotional injury, even some off-handed comment someone made that I’m sure they didn’t consider, for me, requires me taking myself through my paces — “don’t take it personally, they didn’t mean that the way it came out, that wasn’t directed at you, ease up and don’t take it so hard…” I’m a sensitive woman.

I think we all, at the end of the day, are sensitive creatures.

But I think about that cut on my hand and how as soon as it was made, my skin started to try to go back together. Why don’t our hearts do that? Or do they, and we prevent them from healing, from going back together, by returning to the wound and re-opening it over and over, agonizing over which of our imperfections would cause someone to carelessly bruise us? Why does the magic take so much longer to work on our hearts than it does on our skin? I suppose that’s why we have the skin, to at least physically protect the muscle and bone that protects the most vital and most vulnerable parts.

Yet one day we wake up and we don’t remember the thing so vividly anymore. Like the faint scar that’s now on my hand from that broken piece of my Mama’s china, most of the heart wounds get better too.

Yes. We indeed have stars in us. Don’t forget to see your magic.

Happy Wednesday, Y’all, and lots of love.

AM