Life and Death, and all these extremes

There has been so much of it lately. And while this started as a ‘preparing for baby’ blog, it’s also about life and how it unfolds. We just got back from an incredible trip to Portugal, where we soaked up and wrung out every drop of life we could squeeze from 15 days abroad. For more on that, you can check out my blog, where I’m charting the fashion, food and fun of life. It’s more public and though it includes some politics, particularly of the social justice and queer variety, it’s the fluffier side of writing, and it captures my life in images, more so than in text.

Here, I am more likely to unburden myself of the things that feel raw and unattractive; thank you for being a place where that seems possible, for supporting that need to unpack the things that can’t stay too long in the body.

While travel was beautiful and brimming, we also spent our days of fun and love traversing a terrain scorched by forest fires. There were places where the ground alongside the highway was black and still smouldering; the sky full of haze; the treese bare and black up to their necks, still hopeful and green at their peak. At intervals, we would see billowing smoke in the distance; sometimes there were patches of charred ground with rivulets of white curling up from cracks in the still-burning soil. It was ghostly and sad to see a place where we passed, untouched, while all this natural life, and the lives of those who live on the land were being threatened, as they watched – near by helpless.

There were moments when we raised a glass to the firefighters working tirelessly to combat the flames against all odds. There were nights where we danced in gay discotheques, in sweaty protest against the vicious shit being leveled at queer citizens in countries far from here. There are moments when I buckle my resolve tight around me because I know I am sheltered, but not immune to the venom that gets spat at women, interracial relationships, queerness, speaking your mind and that humanity can be very ugly. especially when you are caught off guard.

But I don’t want to live like that. I am a realist; mind racing always to consider the intellectual, reasoned response, fighting to head-off my other side, the one of pure emotion and instinct. I am the toughest bleeding heart I know. But away from people I fall apart sometimes.

When we got back from our travels, I anxiously went to pick up our cats from my parents’ place; alive, but not well. One of our little creatures has been with me for 14 years, but still retains a kittenish, floppy, affectionate nature that makes everyone fall in love with him. He is dog-like in his need to be right next to you, to greet you at the door and to need your touch at all times; he is catlike in his languid, stretching in the sun, all-up-in-your-everything personality; we find him in the linen cupboard, he likes to burrow into the clean laundry, to pull himself on his back along the underside of the couch by his paws. He is so trusting and purrs at the drop of a hat. or a show, or simply because he caught you looking at him.

So finding out that he has Horners, which we’d been treating, and that now it looks like he might have something seriously wrong, neurologically, is breaking my heart. Before we left, his eye was squinting and his one ear turned down; no pain, the vet said, keep watching. Now he is clumsy, has fallen over, seems confused and still wants desperately to be close to us, but can’t make it to the couch or to the bed without slipping.

Our other cat is a one-person cat. She is sweet as pie, but only to me, and sometimes to my wife. She hasn’t been being nice to him, which is not a change, but that breaks my heart, too. I wonder if he knows that he is dying. I can’t stop thinking about him being sick, because I look at him and I can see it, literally, in his eyes.

I’m home with him. Off until September, when the school year starts again. Putting away laundry, watching him always, I see him amble over. He stumbles a little. I dissolve into a pile, with the laundry, pulling him into my lap –

where he is happiest. Listening to music and crying big fat tears, while he is oblivious. Comforting me without knowing it, but also reminding me how lucky I have been to have this lump of love in my life for so long,

lump – in my throat now – because I can’t imagine only weeks or months with him.

We all have private worlds

we all

Have private worlds of worry

And of joy. 

No one talks enough about the brave faces we put 

Between the world and ourself 

Or our own mirror  

This is the face of someone who is holding It together. 

And not always well. 

Dance is saving my life. 

But being surrounded by the tiny feet and faces of all the sweet babies

Of company members is equal parts hard and inspiring 

People don’t talk about how miscarriage and loss and fighting

Changes your resiliency 

I don’t know how to bounce back 

When the certain things don’t seem so certain 

So I look up. 

I stare into the lights. 

It feels like Ani says,

“Every pop song in the radio

Is suddenly speaking to me” 

I do “feel better when I’m dancing…

We can do this together…”

And parts of these moments are being stolen 

Because sadness is always under all of it

I dance for myself 

Because it reminds me who I am 

And I don’t know if I can be happy 

Or if anyone can 

If they don’t know who they are

And what brings them joy 

So I humble myself and step out onto the stage 

Vulnerable in every sense of the word

No more tears. 

And trust myself to do what my body and mind knows how to do

“I’ll keep on making the same mistakes. 

I’ll keep on making them every day. 

Try everything.”

And I will. This is for me. 

And for you. Because if I’m okay

Maybe we will be, too. 

But at least I’ve taken care of my half. 

This is mine.

I’m doing better than I think I am. And I have this right now. No matter what happens.  

I will step forward. Not back. 

Investing in Omens

I had a dream that you held my hand

as we were following sleep


and when I woke up, I was sure it was a dream

In the morning, after falling back into my pillow,

I woke up, wondering.

I told you that I’d dreamed it

and you said, no

It was real.

And my hands and feet

have become loaded with meaning.

My fingers

empty without yours to curl inside them, around them.

Ring finger bare, for the stage, for performances where lights

will highlight difference and reflect where it shouldn’t…

is also bare for other reasons; barren.

so I’ve replaced our ring, with one from my father, just for today.

Until it makes sense again.

My father; a circle of strength.

I am chanelling that moment, when he saw something sparkle and thought of me; a man who always made me believe anything was possible if I wanted it.

I am hoping he is right.

And many things have been said of dreaming,

“It’s only right that you should
Play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness

Like a heartbeat.. drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost…”

Voices, not mine, mine, yours, all echo here.

And while my head and hands are distracted, I will look down, to my ankle, where the fibers are wearing thin.

Just a few strands left on the ribbon,

attached with so much expectation and hope

now hanging by threads.

I refuse to believe in not believing.

I will hope, against odds, because I believe that odds are worth bettering.


Looking Back: Baby Bump Face-Time

Found some sweet pictures on my phone: screen shots from our Face-Time conversation. Allia was away in NYC, interviewing Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver (of course), and after giving me a tour of her hotel room, she filled me in on her day.

images (2)

For the film Chappie (¬†¬†Sigourney answered her question, “If you could have a robot programmed to do anything for you, what would you want it to do?”

“I think I’d want a robot companion. Like in olden times when women had a companion to sew with, and to sit with…” and then she teased, self-deprecatingly, that she was giving away too much about herself.

After her glamorous day, all we wanted to do was talk. So we talked, and before our conversation ended, we’d both talked to the baby (bump). And made some really attractive faces, laughing our way to the ‘Goodnight.’

GetAttachment (2)

face time GetAttachment (1)That’s why we miss each other when she travels for work. Cause she is always so pretty.