So. I know everyone is tired of hearing me talk about vaccines. Hell, I’m tired of it too. But I want to go visit my mother who just got out of the hospital. Hell, I want to visit my granddaughter who’s growing up without knowing me. I was hoping my son would arrive here for a visit this week but the pandemic changed his plans. Made me cry. Hard to take. It’s been too long. I’ve had abortions. Let’s see? It was three, two before my son and one after. Two my choice and one I had no choice at all. I’ve walked women into abortion clinics so they could have abortions too. With right to lifers screaming in our faces. That’s a scary thing to have happen. I mean, I don’t stand for anyone screaming at me, let alone in my face. I mean, I’ve been slapped in my face but never screamed at. I mean, I’ve never screamed in anyone’s face but fuck I’ve wanted to. I’ve carried a gun. With my finger on the trigger, in the pocket of my hoodie, while riding on the subways late at night. I could have killed somebody. I think if some guy came up to me and screamed in my face I would have shot him. Like, the laws they just passed in Texas, will have a shit ton of vigilantes intimidating women and people of color. Screaming in their faces. Still. Again. Always. For fucking ever. So I say vote. For our right to choose. For more stringent gun laws. For our right to vote. But now. back to the vaccine. As you can see I believe in the right to choose. I believe in gun laws so we don’t vigilante out. But I also believe in getting vaccinated so we can save one and other. To travel. Visit family. See new places, or old favorites. Without getting sick, or getting someone else sick, or dying. How do I circumnavigate these truths that are self evident? How do I nourish friendships that tug on my heart? How do I let go of judgement? Maybe I don’t. Maybe I can’t. Maybe there’s nothing left. I’ll die soon. What? Twenty? Twenty five years? That’s a hell of a lot less time than it is from my birth. I was born just about 62 years ago. I don’t have that long to live. Maybe nobody does. That makes me sad. We should all have at least 62 years to live. I’m done talking about vaccines. About civil duty. Hell. About global duty. Now I’m going to talk about love. Gosh. As soon as I wrote that sentence my whole body relaxed. I think the nag champa I’m burning is bringing out my flower girl. But at the same time it’s too much. I’m too much. Too much for my mom. My husband. My son. My friends. Too much for me. Too much of my choices. Vaccine? My choice. Abortion? My choice. Gun control? My choice. Vote democratic? My choice. That’s it. That’s all I got. That’s all I am.
I don’t want to do this. I don’t like this exercise. I’m lazy. I
don’t always keep commitments. I just want to give up.
And then I feel guilty because I think I should do this. It’s
good for me. At least it has been in the past. But it’s
different now. Little boxes of faces, unfamiliar and strange
sharing colorful painted vignettes over bits and bytes. I
feel out of place now. Like I missed too much. Like I’m not
good enough anymore. I want to sit on the couch again.
She finishes her piece with a phrase that punches me in
the gut. I’ve been holding my breath. My earlobes are
reaching across the room to capture every metaphor and
feeling. The soft couch holds my weight as heaviness
descends from my heart to my belly. So anyway, Poni is
on the couch next to me and Pam, Jessica and Makamae
are on the couch across from us. The others are on chairs
completing the circle around the low wooden table that
holds mugs of tea, candles, and pretty ornate boxes. It’s
cozy, you know. We’ve done this so many times before.
The breeze is coming through the glass slider behind me
and the Sun has ducked behind the Areca palms lining the
yard. Pi the cat looks down from the top stair with half
closed lids and perky ears. He looks comfy. I’m comfy. In a
soft t-shirt and tights. My feet are tucked under me and I’m
holding a pillow on my lap. I like the couch. That’s why I try
to come early. So I can sit on the couch and be
comfortable while I listen to all the woven words move
through the space, you know what I mean. Get
comfortable people. It’s easier to pay attention when your
body feels good. You don’t want to be distracted by
discomfort. There’s an air of discomfort in the room. The
content she just shared is intense and heavy. Most of the
people have their eyes closed and their heads bowed. The
energetic punch to my gut is resonating around the circle.
After a potent pause, we all take a collective breath as the
air rushes back into the room.
I miss Ivy’s living room, you know what I mean. I miss the
hugs and giggles and camaraderie. I miss the big table
and the Fuck Off pillows. I miss feeling held in her soft,
strong container where I could be myself and keep trying
to show up.
The Collective Underground