Deb
Reader, Thinker, Writer, Lover.
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There are girls who walk through the world
like an artic fox or Debussey
stepping lightly
not leaving a mark.
*
Sometimes I envy them
in their size 6 jeans and their perfect hair,
their sweet voices never loud, never offending.
They are loved, they are easy.
*
But then there are girls like me
who enter rooms like a bull or Bon Jovi.
Our feet leave a mark
Our voices break open spaces
previously held by men
and by those who benefit
from silence.
*
Our thighs stretch against our jeans
thick with the work of
breaking horses and playing volleyball
and enjoying a steak.
*
Our hair is only considered when it’s in the way.
Our butts are big,
Our traps—a bit unladylike,
but we need them for lifting things
Like Justice.
*
We don’t hesitate to speak
We refuse to be small
when the world tells us
we’re too big.
Anyway, we couldn’t be small if we tried.
We don’t have time for small
when there’s work to be done,
things to be said.
*
Sometimes I envy those girls
who fit so well into small places,
small conversations.
I envy the ability to pass unnoticed
while I always seem to say too much,
take up too much space.
 *
But Too Much is my calling,
My superpower,
My gift to a world
that wants small women,
but will be forced to deal
with the big ones
Until they are not “too” anything—
They just are.
*

 

July 13, 2020

In Praise of Smallness

Written by Posted in Blog Posts Comments 4
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I knew I had to jump before I lost my nerve. I held my nose, said a prayer, and leapt into the dark, unsettled depths of the North Atlantic. Nothing could have prepared me for the shock of the frigid waters, nor the feeling that beneath me was an infinity of darkness. I thought, “Is this how I die?” I gasped for breath, the salty waves filling up my mouth and nose, and all the while, a humpback whale and her baby swam beneath my feet. I willed myself to take a breath and stick my face underwater to see them, but all I could fathom was: I am so small. Read more…

June 23, 2020

Health and Equality

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In the last twelve months, I’ve had three biopsies: breast, cervical, and uterine (bye, fellas, catch ya on the next post!). The breast biopsy turned into a lumpectomy, but all was well, and all it cost me was about 25% of my breast tissue. Then came the cervical cancer biopsy—I’ll let you feel sorry for me for a minute cause YES it was as traumatic as you can imagine. Results: negative, woohoo! Then just last week, after having some menstrual problems for a few months, I had a uterine ultrasound and biopsy. It was a rotten afternoon but again: negative results, whew!

What was amazing to me is that I sensed a problem, called my doctor, got an appointment, had the biopsies and the results—in each case, all within a week. Health insurance is great, right? It turns out, not so great for a lot of people. As I was doing the typical “google the diagnosis before you have the diagnosis” (which I do NOT recommend by the way), I came upon some scary statistics.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that Black women are four times more likely to die from uterine cancer than white women. Their five-year survival rate is 62% compared to 84% for white women.1 Read more…

February 25, 2020

Freedom Part I

Written by Posted in Blog Posts Comments 1
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What if they think I was a drunk? What if they imagine I was day drinking or passing out at home or stumbling around inebriated every day? What if every positive thing I’ve ever done in my life will have an asterisk next to it now— *but she couldn’t control the alcohol.

 

These are all the things that went through my mind when I was trying to decide whether or not to share with you that I had given up drinking for the year, and quite possibly, for life. More than anything, I want you to like and respect me. What you think of me matters. It’s mattered so much that I’ve not lived my most honest life.

 

It would have been really easy to call this a “health journey” or a “detox” or a “challenge,” because it IS all of those things. But as I’ve cruised into my 40s, I’ve developed an intolerance for bullshit, most especially my own.

Read more…

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Pro-tips for those of you who are in the “Who Can Be the Most Sacrificial Mom” competition that seems to be thriving out there:

  1. I do NOT drive kids to school when there’s a bus available. I told my kids that it was bad for the environment to have hundreds of parents driving their kids to school when they could all go on one bus. Truth was, I hated rush hour and waiting in carline. Now, if you have a science project to take to school, I’ll drive you to the bus stop. I’m not a monster.
  2. Speaking of which, if you miss the bus, you shall pay me in cold hard cash (or chores) for the chauffer service. And I will lecture you the entire way to school because it’s my right. You made me late to Crossfit, dammit.
  3. I stopped going to back to school nights, parent-teacher conferences, etc. a decade ago. I know that everything in education is still stuck in the dark ages, but can we all just agree that we don’t need to meet in person like is 1865? Send me an email, call me (I probably won’t answer), or ask me to come in if there’s a problem.
  4. I refuse to make fancy, homemade treats for parties. Oh, I was a 25 year old mom once and everything I brought to every event was Martha Stewart level awesome. But I got tired of working my butt off for 4th grade ingrates. My kids know to sign up for chips or paper goods, or something that can be purchased at Costco.
  5. The exception to rule 4 is the occasional education of their classmates as to what constitutes good food. I’ve been known to have an entire 6th grade class come to my house to learn how to roll tortillas, taught a couple of kindergarten classes how to make individual homemade apple pies using local apples, and driven across town to buy $150 worth of REAL croissants for a French class party. It’s my contribution to humanity.
  6. No I will not bring your forgotten homework/lunch/musical instrument/field trip form unless I’m already going to town and near your school on an errand. If you really need it, my rate is $5 per forgotten item. (Note: Once I took this too far and refused to bring Macie another shirt after she had a bloody nose. She promptly called my best friend, her “nice” mom, who not only brought her clothes, but a Lululemon jacket. I have not lived this down to this day.)
  7. I don’t check homework, and only check grades often enough to let you know if you’re grounded or not. If you want to fail Algebra, fine, but you’ll have no social life until it’s fixed. These new apps that let you know the second your child misses an assignment are going to be the downfall of Western civilization.
  8. I also don’t help with homework unless the child begs, pleads, or sobs. I already finished sophomore year. I hated it then and I don’t want to repeat it.
  9. I will go to all of your concerts, games, and poetry competitions, but I won’t bring you a bouquet of flowers like you just played a concert at the Met.
  10. My bedtime is 9pm. I don’t drive, help with homework, or take you to Walmart because you forgot tomorrow is field day after 8pm. If you’ve been an absolute doll this week, I might push it to 10 on the weekend (once per weekend). What I WILL do is stand in freezing drizzle at Red Rocks with you to watch The Fray, drive through a blizzard to get us to John Mayer, rent an airbnb to take you and your friends to ComicCon, or fly with you to Vegas to see Justin Beiber.

Read more…

June 4, 2019

Are You Brave Enough?

Written by Posted in Blog Posts Comments 1
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Bravery is a funny thing. It’s often associated with big things like cliff jumping, sky-diving, or public speaking. We think it requires some sort of leap into the unknown, overcoming fear to do accomplish something great.

But there’s another sort of bravery I’ve been working on – it’s quieter and it’s personal.

 

I’m working on having the courage to:

 

  • Look into the mirror, and withhold judgment
  • Take a compliment without disclaimer
  • Say no when I have to in order to take care of myself,  even if it inconveniences someone
  • Accept a gift graciously
  • Listen to someone’s political views without judgment
  • Quiet my mind for 10 minutes
  • Not distract myself with technology
  • Feel what I’m feeling without medicating
  • Feel someone else’s feelings and share their burden
  • Throw away clothes in my closet that make me beat myself up for not fitting in them
  • Face the demons in my mind that constantly tell me I’m not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, accomplished enough
  • To say: I deserve better
  • To decide my opinion of myself doesn’t really matter
  • To allow people to love me/do nice things for me
  • Believe it when other people tell me I’m beautiful

How about you? Where do you need to be brave?

 

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I sat beside her on the staircase, hour after hour, day after day, as she spoke on the phone with her friends and her sisters. I colored in a book, or just listened to the bubbling creek of her voice washing over me.

 

I didn’t understand every word my grandmother said, but I knew the important ones: amor, morió, mi hijo. With hjio, son, her voice would choke up and she would start crying. I would lean against her, trying to comfort her with my body. I would look up into her eyes and she would wipe the tears from under her glasses, and smile at me. Her son had died, at an age that would break a mother’s spirit.

 

Sometimes she would become so upset that she would start rapidly breathing and clutching at her chest. I knew where she kept her nitroglycerin pills and would encourage her to take one. In fact, I remember once when the pills didn’t do their job, and she had to be rushed to the hospital; I think maybe I was only 5 years old. I had already learned the lesson that grief would try to kill you.

Read more…

October 26, 2018

Written by Posted in Blog Posts, Poetry Comments 0
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Look up

Notice that leaf

on an uppermost branch.

The wind challenges

its heroic grasp.

 *

All of its treemates

have long since released

their tenuous hold on life

blowing as they do into

far pastures and lanes,

byways fill with their corpses.

 *

They reveal

as they die

the winter’s architecture

of the cottonwood tree-

A ghost in black relief-

the autumn moon watching

through its arms.

 *

Look up

The leaf is holding on

to what is not meant for it -

Holding on

to this idea of immortality -

all the while losing

its grip

on the one life it has known.

*

This leaf

is one of millions of leaves

come and gone

in this ghost’s lifetime.

*

In autumn we say goodbye.

October 17, 2018

Light

Written by Posted in Blog Posts, Poetry, Youth at Risk Comments 5
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I want to be a light for you

*

shining the way

down the path,

to the doors,

around the obstacles.

*

I have no strength to give you,

No solutions to offer you.

*

I can’t pick you up,

can’t carry you,

can’t force you to see.

 *

All I can do

is say -

Hey look!

Did you notice that?

Do you see the choice?

Can you feel your power?

*

All I can do is

Light up the dark places -

show you another way to walk.

 *

All I can do is

Shine a light in your heart,

point out what was already there -

*

which is Strength Unimaginable

Goodness Unrealized

Resilience Untapped.

*

My light can speak truth

Into your dark places.

 *

Let me be your light.

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Photo by Daniel Cano on Unsplash

 

I asked them to tell me about someone they trust – someone who came through for them time after time, had their back. It was a risky question seeing as how I know for a fact that people indeed do not come through for them: dads in jail, mothers in rehab, bullies at school, teachers who have written them off.

Read more…

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