Dealing With a Bully's Mom

 Photo by  Timothy Eberly  on  Unsplash

“I really wish you would have come to me instead of going to the administrators,” the bully’s mom said to me as I tried desperately to keep my jaw from flapping open.

Where I come from, the world of decent people in an acceptable reality, that’s not how this works.

When my daughter gets bullied by your daughter, I am not going to come to you and tell you about it and, you know, ask if you’re going to try doing a better job teaching your daughter not to be a little shit, even thought that’s all I really wanted to do.

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Manifesto of the Lyric Selfie, by Becca Klaver

Our “I”s.
They are multiple.
We shuffle them
often as we like.
They can tag us.
We can untag ourselves.
We’ve got our
to-be-looked-at-ness
oh we have
got it.
We peer and cross.
Go lazy.
We’re all girly.
We’re pretty selfie.
We write our poems.
We write our manifestos.
While sitting in the photo booth.
While skipping down the street.
We think: if only my camera
could see me now.
There is a tranquil lyric
but we recollect emotion
with the speed of the feed.
We pose to show
the spontaneous overflow
of powerful feelings.
There are no more countrysides.
There are no more churchyards.
We smudge our vistas.
We flip the cam around.
What is burning in our little hearts?
Hashtags of interiority
licking like flames.
We had been reflective.
We have been reflected.

- Becca Klaver

Sunday Grace No.7

 Photo by  John Baker  on  Unsplash

Photo by John Baker on Unsplash

1. Elise did amazing in her first speaking roles at the Writer's Block performances. Things got hairy toward the end and I am not sure if she will be going back next summer, but I am so proud of her for how hard she worked and how well she did under the pressure of performance.

2. I went to a very dark place this week, but came out of it feeling a little better than when I went in.

3. Even though I say it all the time, I am really dedicating myself to writing more on Medium this week. I mean, I really, really am. 

4. Working on a new project with Hannah and Rebecca, which makes me feel alive and useful in ways that most other things don't, so I guess it's a good thing to dedicate my time and work to something that may not provide monetary compensation if it's livening me up in other ways.

5. I've decided that from now on I'm going to be honest with how I feel about people, and tell them. Because I am so tired of all the haters and whiners and do-nothings in my life, they are bringing me down with them, like a fucking ton of bricks around my neck that I need to let go.

This is where I am this week. Crawling up out of the darkness, trying to remember that there are really bright lights out there if I go looking for them. 

Why I Started Homeschooling

 Photo by  Michael Liao  on  Unsplash

Photo by Michael Liao on Unsplash

Many moons ago, before my daughter was school aged, and so, before we knew of all my daughter’s disabilities, I got in a fight with a woman who practically accused me of child abuse for looking forward to my daughter starting Kindergarten at a public school.

I would NEVER put my kids in public school,” she said, and I still hear her scathing tone in my ears a decade later, the way she made me feel so inferior for wanting to do something that to me seemed totally normal.

This was coming from a woman who paid $17.99 for a small pack of organic, bleach free disposable diapers, did all of her cleaning exclusively with vinegar, and kept her kid mostly naked most of the time because “you never know what clothing is really made of.”

You know, that 100% organic cotton clothing...

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Recipe for Resilience

 Photo by  Matt Brown  on  Unsplash

Photo by Matt Brown on Unsplash

I felt Gramma Bonny reach for her tea on the table in front of us and winced when I heard the clatter and splash, and my sweet Gramma saying “shit” under her breath like she never would have done before.

I sighed, rising to go find a towel to clean it up before she tried to do it herself. 

“I can do it myself, Joanna,” she snapped at me. “I’m perfectly capable of cleaning up my own messes.” 

“I know, Gramma,” I said, “I’m already up, I got it.”

I shuffled into the kitchen, hands on counters, reaching blindly with my fingers until I found the towel that always hung from the stove handle - not a safe place to leave a towel anymore. 

“I don’t need you to stay with me,” Gramma Bonny said as I shuffled back into the living room, banging my shin on the stupid ottoman I kept forgetting about when I tried to map out the memory of my grandma’s house in my mind. 

“I would have been all alone in the house, I told you that, Gramma. Mom and dad never came home from work.”

“Well, how could they? Have you missed the last five hundred news broadcasts?”

I rolled my eyes, not like it mattered anymore, and sat back down next to Gramma, reaching forward to blot up her hot tea, doing the best I could. 

We didn’t bother with the television anymore. Gramma Bonny preferred the company of the radio, something about it being a throwback to her better days, when the news and entertainment came over the radio waves and not from ‘that box that made fools of us all.’

“Thank you dear,” Gramma Bonny said after I had sat back on the loveseat, done with her mess. 

She reached out and I felt her old, bony hand crawling up my leg, looking for my hand to hold. I grasped hers in mine, the thin paper of her skin rough against my own. 

“What are we going to do, Gramma?”

“We’ll be just fine,” she said, giving my hand a squeeze. 

I could almost see that smile spreading across her face. No matter what was wrong, she knew she could get through it. She was born in the depression and had grown up poor. That, she said, prepared you for everything. 

“How are we going to get groceries, walk five miles to the store? We’ll be out of food soon.”

“We have plenty of food, child.”

“We really don’t.”

“God provides.”

There it was. 

It was always God with Gramma Bonny, too. 

God and poverty: put the two together, and you have the recipe for resilience. 

Voices droned on the radio. I didn’t want to listen to them anymore. 

Gramma had already been going blind and deaf, and the volume was up so high I swore I could hear chatter in the background, other people in the radio station having conversations over the broadcast, or maybe that was just my imagination going wild.

In the constant darkness, colors swirled. 

Fractals and tunnels, spirals and occasional bright flashes of light. 

When my eyes were opened it was all I saw, when my eyes were closed, I saw them even brighter - the glory of whatever I had left. 

I turned my head to the left, away from Gramma, toward the window I knew was there. 

Outside the window was there was a road that led away from Gramma’s and into town, where I lived with my parents until the day they didn’t come home, until the day things started going blurry around the edges. 

Maybe it was cloudy, maybe the sun was shining so brightly I would have wanted sunglasses. 

Maybe if I knew any better, I would I run outside, away from Gramma’s, and never come back. 

“I don’t think God delivers groceries, Gramma Bonny,” I said.

She squeezed my hand again and clicked her tongue.

“Look what God is capable of doing.”

“I can’t look, Gramma, that’s the point.”

“Well, then I rest my case, dearie.”