BEYOND MERE SURVIVAL


2/16/09
February 16, 2009, 10:37 pm
Filed under: rants and such | Tags: , , ,

well. i often feel that if i don’t stop and think and write, it all slips away. last night i found out that one of my friends from high school died of a tumor. we played music together in our all girl band, she played the bass, and the drums sometimes.

she was diagnosed 2 years ago, apparently, although i had no idea. my long time friend luca wrote me and it just feels so distant. all those people were left behind when i left italy, when i decided not to look back. the last time i saw her, she had just had her first child in 2002, and she seemed overwhelmed and lost. it was hard to negotiate our new selves, both of us very young mothers, and both of us in precarious/shitty relationships with our children’s fathers. the last i heard anything about her i was told her partner was involved with some heavy drugs and selling. i felt powerless, and angry at him, but i did not try to find a way to contact her. and now she is dead, leaving two children to the care of her parents. she did not even like her parents.

i still cannot understand death, how a person can just be, take up so much space, be so unique and lively, so complete and integrated in their surroundings, and then just be gone. i can’t accept that. it makes me sick. it send me into a frenzy of cramming as much action, experience and projects as i can, scared of disappearing any second. i faintly remember the peace that came with believing in heaven as a child, the sense of tranquility. i can’t believe that fable though, so i am not sure what i am left with to answer “what is the meaning of this?”

it seems that when something scary happens people just want loved ones around, and stop worrying about what is considered petty, whether it’s work, or money, or appearance. is that the answer? as i ready for perhaps the next move, i am faltering at the thought of having to start my relationships from zero again. how many people can i leave behind, or cut out of my life? how many pieces am i scattering? i got a call from the california college of the arts to schedule and interview for their graduate program, and it is exciting, but it makes me second guess myself.

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where is the line?
September 5, 2008, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

the whole underlying idea behind advocating is that you are there to support, empower and validate someone, to respect their actions and choices and not stomp them with your preconceptions. only it’s not always easy. i came across one of these situation a couple of weeks ago, as i was playing with the children of a woman that came to talk to our legal advocates. we were drawing animals and people together, and i added speech bubbles and asked them what to write in them.

one of the kids eagerly responded “i love god!”, which i wrote. the girls then asked me if i go to church, and let me know that god is against tattoos. “the bible says you shouldn’t have tattoos, it makes god sad”. i looked at her for a bit, smiled, thanked her for the information, and let her told her i had no idea the bible said “no tattoos”.

once the mom heard what we were talking about she shared that she has asked for help repeatedly in her church community regarding the abuse in her relationship, and the ubiquitous answer she got was “you should pray more”. she didn’t say it bitterly or sarcastically. she said that she prayed and prayed but things were not changing. she said that she was gonna continue praying in hope god would help her change things for the better.

my mind went blank. i nodded and validated the fact that people have many ways to feel stronger, or to cope with violence and that every path is personal and can be helpful.

as a person that experienced in first person the carelessness of the religious community, masked as concern as a child, i had a hard time keeping it to myself. my mother asked for help from her church community all throughout my childhood, and the response she got was to pray, and to keep her family together, because that’s what god wanted. no matter how much violence, degradation and danger there was to her familial reality. to this day my parents are separated and not divorced, because of fear of being excommunicated from the church.

the woman and her children left shortly after she started talking about her experience with the church, and i was left asking myself: where is the line?