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Portrait of young me and baby Mac by Mac Cooler-Stith
It occurred to me that I am yet to blog on the ongoing book project, Peace Play, which has occupied my older son and me this year.

My life right now is an experiment. My life has often been an experiment, insisting for instance that I was going to be a paid organizer in Montgomery, Alabama after having a baby (which I insisted in the first place I could do and that I could raise that child) and not a pot to piss in at a very young age. Everyone told me to go do something sensible, like become a secretary, to give in to the circumstances. But oh no. Not Windy. And I became a paid organizer. And I have raised that child. What I learned from that experiment was that I didn't want to be a paid organizer, even though I believe in organizing. I left that as paid work. And I learned that mothering and caretaking is a transformative occupation our children, our friends and neighbors, thirst for.

What I really believe is that my politics start with my children, my closest friends, my neighbors, and radiates out into the world from these roots. I think this is the case for all of us, the radiation of relationships into the broader world. To prioritize these relationships is key to my work. To talk about it is to make it a set of lessons others can share in. But damn, it is hard to live in a capitalist economy and be resisting it responsibly too. There are frightening obstacles that I face.

I am in school. Eventually I will be trying to make a living in a more traditional way, as a therapist. My older son will be a young man by that time and my younger one will require less access to me. But, now, and later, it will be projects like this book in which I see myself reaching out, organizing organically in an organic world.

So, Mac and I are going to transform this book into a ebook subscription. I wrote about our evolving thoughts about the project in the "updates" section of our Kickstarter page. I'm going to let them stand for any lessons others can take from that version of my experimental life. 

We expect to have a new campaign for the ebook of Peace Play ready by September. 

 

Swimming

07/01/2012

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I now own a polka dot bathing suit. And I wear the thing several times a week. This is big news in my world. I am afraid of water because I have a phobia about having my air cut off and I have all kinds of issues around my physical self, just being uncomfortable in the space I take up, in certain social situations. Wearing a normal bathing suit in public has really been such an awkward thing for me. Readers of this know I have PTSD.

But this summer I swim laps -- with a swim belt, sure -- and in a fun bathing suit. I even dress and undress in the women's locker room. Big stuff for me.

It's been a hard year, last summer to this one, but not the hardest. It has been one of huge personal growth. This won't sound like "personal growth" at first but I suffered a very traumatic end to a very traumatic romantic relationship at a time when I was already the most emotionally vulnerable I have ever been. Just a bunch of ground Windy. Also, totally different relationship: the divorce that John and I had been planning, which has been so difficult, for years, really did come to its fruition and we finally started living apart (because we could finally afford it) after dating other people while living in the same home with all our hurt about our marriage still bubbling up long after it was over. Crazy stuff that no one should do to anyone else. But we were all radical about it (most of the time) and, well, we survived, and somehow (read: competent therapy and lasting, committed good will and a sense of responsibility) are probably better people for it now. And the living apart was scary at first too. I have been food insecure. I have been truly poor with a child. I also know all too well what being a mother makes me: vulnerable. I wanted my space and I didn't want it. My newer partnership was often quite bad for me, by circumstance as well as by the intrinsic nature of it, but I didn't want to admit it fully. Only people who have been through a divorce with children can possibly understand the terror. But -- it's done now, and frankly, I am glad for it. And I think John is awesome, even if I don't want to be married to him. Nor he, I. 

I keep reflecting on this in awe. I've stopped using anti-depressants, which I really had to be on for around 18 months during what can only be described as a breakdown, long overdue but probably, I think, brought on by the stress of being constantly re-traumatized by the nature of my stress in important relationships while trying to accomplish hard things in my vision of political work and raise my children well. 

The person I was partnered with during this period tried to get me to stop taking the medication because I was a "different person" on it. I wasn't, though I was not as easy to trigger, and I was still plenty vulnerable. Medication, friends, sometimes needs to be a part of your life if you find yourself crying in a Target for no apparent reason, avoiding even telling your best friends what you have done, or what you have allowed to be done to you, this time. And then you can stop using it too. I have not used the prescription in about two months now. I still get moody sometimes, but boy, moody is nothing compared to the hell I have lived through: the crying, the not being able to think, to work, to really take care of myself and make good decisions. 

I write. I do good work. I'm about to graduate after being debilitated with emotional illness for almost two years. I enjoy my children. I don't take crap, but I don't-take-it in what I hope is a pretty friendly, open way - that I am comfortable with, that I am refining by the week. I swim and sometimes I let my face get wet. Once you accept that you have to float, there is a lifeguard and friends, and polka dots are just fun, moving through the water gets easier. 

It's a crazy world. Sometimes you get crazy too. And then the good world makes you good again. Crazy.