Tag Archives: talk

Cupped

4 Sep

hands and coffee

There is something comfortable to holding a hot mug of coffee in your hands, fingers cupped around it while a gentle heat exchange between capillary and vessel quietly bonds you together. It’s the modern Thinker’s pose, in a way. Elbows resting no matter where, cup steaming between dreaming fingers, eyes looking over the sconce off in the distance, as if it held future just before time dipped out of sight. The grey and wet city street, the dry and dusty desert playa – they’re both the same. I was away at Burning Man last week and sat on empty truck bed, the long wooden kind that semi’s use to tow things. It was a Friday, the day that my roommate and I always have our coffee date in the morning, even in the desert.

We rested our coffee away from the edge and then wriggled our way onto the bed as well, hoisting ourselves up using elbows and fists and wheels as necessary. We grabbed our respective cups and then, for near an hour, we talked. Just talked. But when you’re cupping a mug of coffee, what would other be just a seat becomes a perch. A spot like a semi truck bed becomes a space. Rambles become musing, garbled whispers revelations. There’s something that invites truth-telling, in those flickers of steam in front of your face. Coaxing tendrils that threaten litmus should you lie, as if their calm clear grey might fire up into red if you throw a falsehood at them.

At least, that’s how it was, retrospectively, in the Black Rock desert, that morning. Perhaps I anthropomorphize too much, though.

Or maybe I just really like coffee…

1 Surefire Way to Talk More Inspiringly

16 Feb

Watch your language.

Words are important. They’re one of the primary ways we as humans communicate. Therefore, what we say, what our speech is, to ourselves and others, is important, right?

You fucking bet your ass it is! Seriously. “Bad words” are only “bad” when they’re used in a malicious way. But a word doesn’t have to be a four letter one to qualify for that. I’ve had personal experience seeing how much more damage the intentional use of the word “asinine” can have compared to casually (and amicably) calling someone a dick. So what is it that makes these particular words – you know, fuck and shit and dammit and holy crapballs and the like – “bad?” Well, mostly ’cause that’s what the stingy adults of the past 3 generations or so have decided. What words count as “unacceptable” changes over time. “Jiminy Cricket” used to be a highly frowned upon phrase. Now it’s the name of a featured character in a Disney movie.

I used to curb my language. For ever and for always. Now I pretty much allow myself to use whatever vocabulary I want – as long as I am also being respectful of the people around me. Like, I’m not going to use sailor language around my ten year old cousin because I know her mom wouldn’t like that. Just like how I’m not going to hug the friends I have who need really big space bubbles. But if I’m talking with a peer or hanging out with my boyfriend? I know that saying words like “ass” or I dunno, licking his arm or something isn’t going to cause either of them psychological damage or whatever.

And you know what? Watching my language – well, watching my language do whatever it wants – it’s been really freeing. I used to feel guilty as hell for just thinking the word fuck. And I didn’t even really have much choice over that! Now that I’ve realized I’m no worse a person for say damn and shit than I am for saying bubbles or rainbows, I no longer shlog around with the weight of a whip-wielding  propriety judge on my back. I feel so much better. More confident. Stable. I mean, shit, that propriety judge was such a dick anyway.

Now, lovely readers, I’m sorry if any of you feel that the title of this post was click bait. If you’ve never read my blog before, sorry for any misrepresentation. But the rest of you – hopefully you all know how I feel about “5 Ways to Blah Blah Blah” style lists by now. Seriously. What did you think I was going to do, anyway? 😉

Talk

21 Jan

isolation

Talk

I want someone to talk to me.

I rant and rave, tweet and type

and make all the noises I can think to

in this world of ours.

I even say some words out loud.

But usually,

my only responder is silence.

I am tired of having conversations

with shrugged shoulders as my partner.

I wish that you would make some noises too.

At least then while we are lovemaking,

I will feel like it matters that I am there with you, a person.

Instead of just my shadow in the dark.

Or, at least in the afternoon,

you could say hello when I walk into the room,

or tell you something.

But there is no one to talk to me.

My words only sit across from silence still.

And so I will fill this table with my laptop screen,

and seek to douse this loneliness in the chatter

of a world out there having its own conversation.

I go online to have the world talk at me,

so that maybe all the buzz will help me feel okay.

I wish someone would talk to me.

On Silencing

8 Sep

face in hands

Hello lovely readers. Today, September 8, is the start of National Suicide Prevention Week.

So, let’s do some talking.

I’ll likely write a slew of articles this week. Book reviews, rants and ravings, maybe a poem or two. But to start it all off, I thought I’d start with a more personal article.

Because for me, suicide is a highly personal topic.

I cannot point to a single day, a single moment, and say “that’s when I first became suicidal.” I cannot even say when I first learned of suicide. It’s one of those things – and perhaps that is sad – that I have just always seemed to know about. I can remember being six or eight or maybe even as old as ten (though I think that is less likely), sitting on the couch of my house’s “play room,” surrounded by the trappings of a middle class American childhood, and wondering about running a knife from the silverware drawer downstairs across my throat. I don’t remember what in particular I was wondering – perhaps how much it would hurt, or what it would feel like, or how long it would take to bleed out – but I do remember hastily shoving the thought back to some dark corner of my mind and thinking no, that’s not a good thought. Jesus wouldn’t like it, because suicide (according to what I’d been taught somewhere along the line by my Catholicism) was a sin. And because suicide was a sin, it was out of the question. Period.

Again, I don’t know why I was thinking about suicide at the age of six or eight or less-likely-ten. Perhaps my father had gone into an alcoholic rage at my mother again. Perhaps there had been yelling. Perhaps there had been crying. I’m not really sure. You see, at that young age of six or eight or just-maybe-ten, the thought that something might be “wrong” with my household hadn’t really registered in my consciousness yet. Things like parents’ having separate bedrooms and the sound of yelling echoing upstairs after bedtime – that was just the way things were. That, for me, was normal.

For years, all I had was the occasional twinge of a particularly painful cramp in my soul that made me wonder if the constant vague sense of unhappiness that colored my life was, perhaps, something out of the ordinary.

Why do I go into so much backstory? To make the point, perhaps, that when over my junior and senior year of high school I progressed from “vaguely unhappy” to “clinically depressed” to “self-injuring and suicidal,” it was so much a progression of the natural order of things for me that there really are no milestones to remark at. One year I’m unhappy but still counting on that future tense. The next I’m going home every day after school wondering if it will finally be the day I kill myself. Try to rewind or fast-forward or pause somewhere between those two, and it’s all just a blur.

I suppose I mention all of this to give grounding to my opinions when it comes to suicide. No, I cannot speak for everyone on this point. But hey, I’ve had a fair amount of first-hand experience (not to mention second-hand experience in the way of mental health counselor training and acting as a peer mentor), so I do know a thing or two.

If you really want to know more about the nitty gritty of what my experience has been like, I suggest you look into my memoir, Drop Dead Gorgeous (more info here). But I suppose that what I want to say in this particular thought stream is that if I were limited to making only one statement about suicide, it would be this:

We need to talk about it.

Suicide should NOT be lauded, but neither should the dead be scorned. I know it’s scary as hell to say “I want to kill myself” and scary as hell to hear, but the taboo that so pervades most society and leads people to die silently so they don’t have to face the disapproval and disgust that appears all too often in other’s eyes – THAT is unacceptable.

I know suicide and depression are excruciatingly tricky to tackle effectively. I’ll write more on that later. But hey, practice makes progress, right? Parents and friends and doctors and teachers and police and janitors are never going to develop muscles capable of supporting someone if they never try to use them.

So first off, let’s ditch this condemnation of people with mental health struggles as “weak” or “weird” or “incompetent” or “lazy” or “untrustworthy” or “to be avoided.” I know that suicide is horrible and awful. But that doesn’t mean that people thinking about it are, or that talking about it is.

So let’s talk, people. What do you have to say?