It's pronounced HAYZ-ler, you dweebs.

Guilt and the Good Day

February 18th, 2015

The day at work was full, productive, filled with moments where I knew what I was doing; knew what choices to make. No distractions. I didn’t feel underwater. I was competent. I was the embodiment of my “You got this.” mantra.

At home we cooked dinner, watched “Nathan For You” and shook our heads over the brilliance of his ideas. We fist-bumped goodnight, remembered to turn out the lights, lock the doors. I was genuinely impressed by how chill my 14-year-old son is.

I was asleep by 9:15, only woke up twice, dreamt of finding a buried treasure, didn’t glare at the phone alarm at 4:30. I felt good. I didn’t mourn for how things were two years ago. I didn’t think about everything I should have done differently. I didn’t fear for the mistakes I could make in the coming two years.

I woke Ayden. We joked in the kitchen. We turned on Spotify radio and played air guitar. We laughed over the time he got detention in grade school for playing air guitar in class after I’d taught the kids how to do a wicked rock’n’roll knee-slide across the kitchen floor.

Then Roger waters struck a ‘G’, strummed it into a ‘C’, and my stomach hit my knees.
“If you didn’t care/ what happened to me/ and I didn’t care/for you…”

Two years ago, as my birthday gift, Trast learned to play one of the many lullabies I’d sung to him over the course of his life. Now he’s gone, but probably still alive, and I didn’t spend one second yesterday making any efforts to find him. I haven’t even figured out what to do if I get the call that he’s been found. What do you possibly say to a child who, despite knowing how much hurt he’d caused the first time he took off, made an elaborate plan to run away again? How do you stop a child who wants to be gone from going?

“We would zig-zag our way/ through the boredom and pain/ occasionaly glancing up through the rain…”

I have never imagined my life without Trast, but had I been asked to, that’s how I suppose I would’ve thought of it. Miserable. Impossible. Boring and sad. Unsettled by the emptiness. And yet I had a good day. If I really cared about him, how could I have had a good day?

Ayden walked into my room, saw my hangdog expression, gently closed to lid to the laptop, stopping the music in its place. He reminded me that my lunch was on the kitchen counter, told me it was time to go, put his hand on the top of my head and shook his own head “no”, his subtle way of telling me that moping is worthless.

Outside we saw an old dude on a motorized bicycle pop a sick wheelie and we laughed so hard that a snot bubble came out my nose. We waved goodbye at his bus stop, still laughing. I turned back to him, pretended I needed to remind him to check in about a homework assignment, but really, I was memorizing the moment, giving it a new song.

To allow myself these good days does not diminish my love for Trast, or call into question my parenting. To have bad days, bad moments, is okay and expected. But these good days are important to the health of my family. Of course, they are important to Ayden and to me. They are also important to my relationship with Trast. I think he will be back some day, and when he is, I will need the strength of a million good days in between.

So, Mope on You Crazy Diamond, because for today, here’s the song I am choosing to tie on to the good days.

Support This

February 17th, 2015

Because it looks like a pretty fun project. If you don’t support it, you will have cooties forever.
Here’s the link to the kickstarter.

Things I Love: Tunes

February 11th, 2015

Here’re my favorite songs of the past year. Get ready to shake your butt, cry, raise the roof, cut a rug, and probably hit the next button a few times. Yes, I know these aren’t all from this year. They’re just the things I was listening to.

Oh, and by the way, if you haven’t checked out our new show, Border Blaster, and you get done with my excellent playlist and want to keep up all the tunes, go have a listen. World music videos. Good, solid stuff.

Things I Love: This Episode of Huell Howser

February 9th, 2015

Because who else would just humor the letter of a local old jibber-jabbering dude claiming that he is in possession of a rock from Mars?

I love that he starts this interview in the middle of the street for no reason at all. I love that there’s a group of hapless, useless lookie-loos in the back of that scene. I love that he treats this like it’s a real possibility when it’s just a rock. And I love it that at at 9:01, the guy starts to make fun of Huell’s demeanor and Huell doesn’t like it one bit.

Things I Love: Henry Cram

February 6th, 2015
The sculptures of Henry Cram

The sculptures of Henry Cram

Is it weird to say you love your co-worker? Aren’t they supposed to be the people you barely tolerate and sometimes enjoy sitting with at lunch? Or if I say I love this dude, do you automatically assume it’s some workplace hanky-panky or a Pam and Jim “The Office” situation?
Well, I actually work with several people who I look forward to seeing every day. I don’t have the sort of work situation where I am forced into not being myself, because I work with a bunch of people who are also totally themselves and that’s just how we do. Those people are especially wonderful because they do all of this cool stuff when they aren’t working. Maybe it’s the nature of employment in “independent public media”, because I work with a whole lot of massive weirdos who are all really creative.
I’m probably not supposed to pick a favorite, but stop telling me what to do, already. My favorite co-worker is definitely Henry Cram. I love this guy because he makes me laugh to the point of tears on a weekly basis, he totally gets me, and he’s wicked talented. I once nearly stabbed a bunch of people over his water color of an avocado.
So, today’s Thing I Love is for def Henry. He’s a painter and a sculptor and he looks kind of like Kenny Loggins. Also he made a rap video. So watch out, other rap stars.

 

Also he’s pretty good at Vine-ing the Sunset.

Anyway, check out his artwork so you can love him, too. Maybe even buy some of it.

Things I Love: These Comedians

February 5th, 2015

This list could be really long, but if I were booking a show right now, I’d kidnap these four and force them to perform. I’d let the first three leave after the show. The last one would stay with me forever and ever. Because he loves me, too.

See them live if you get the chance. Short of that, look up everything they’ve ever done online and watch that.

Jerrod Carmichael

Adrienne Airhart

Annie Lederman

Anthony Jeselnik

Things I Love: ASMR

February 5th, 2015

I end nearly every night laying in my bed watching YouTube videos of people pretending to talk to me. When I wake every few hours, there they are, still talking to me, asking me questions about how things are going. They assure me, they do my nails, they draw pictures of me. And I never have to say a word to them.

If you somehow missed this, ASMR, which is an acronym for a bunch of words that sound like a load of horseshit, is this extremely real thing that happens to some people, and if it happens to you, you know. Have you ever been talking to someone or hearing some sound that made you start to get really tingly, mostly in your head? Well, that thing is called ASMR and YouTubers figured out how to make it happen to you any time you want.Unless you don’t have a computer and internet. Get those things.

Here are my favorite ASMR-tists.

Whispers Unicorn

She was my first, and I just adore her. This is one of her videos that I watch over and over. I think she does the best job of making me feel like she’s actually looking at me.
Toni Bomboni

Yeah, I know he’s wearing make-up. He does that a lot. Sometimes the videos he makes are pretty damn strange, too. Strange enough to be featured on Tosh.0. But I love me some Tony, and I’ll tell you why. Most importantly, his videos and techniques are spot on and make me tingle all over. But also, he’s a wonderfully open guy who faces hoards of trolls ever day of his life and still seems to shrug it off. Someone calls me fat online and I have a meltdown. Tony takes constant bullying for his make-up, his sexuality, his really strange videos, and everything about his face. And then you know what he does? He doesn’t bitch about it. He just keeps making videos that make other people feel great.
Gentle Whispering

Every time Maria says “Hello” at the beginning of her videos, my body relaxes. I usually have one of her videos running on my second monitor at work. Shhh. Don’t tell my boss. (If you’re my boss and you’re reading this, just un-read that last part and give me a raise.)
Paul Artwork

In my real life, if anyone even tells me that they’re drawing a picture of me, it gives me ASMR. This dude is like, looking straight at me and drawing me. Yes, I know not really. Spoil sport.

Anyway, these are only four of the thousands of people making videos like this, and they’ve gotten so popular that you can find a video that matches whatever “trigger” you have. (If you have them.) Friend of mine gets set off by people talking about astrology like it’s real. Some people like to hear chewing sounds. I don’t get that one, because I think chewing sounds are totes grody. Point is, if you’re up late at night all wound up and stressed out, try putting in your earbuds and looking around the YouTube at ASMR vids.

It’s LOVE TIME, Y’all! Things I love: This Song

February 5th, 2015

It’s that time of year when I get to tell you about the things I currently love, because I love Valentine’s Day and you can go step in dog poo if you don’t love it, too.

This year has been a giant suckfest full of pretty horrible stuff and some days before I even open my eyes, I have the two thoughts.
“This shit again.”

and

“Please no more.”

And so, to kick off all this love, here’s the song I have loved most this year. It is a song that has gotten me out of bed, and a song I have heard so many times in my brain. This song has made me laugh and cry, and I am so glad it exists.

Rilo Kiley, I love you.

The Only Way Out Is Through

January 29th, 2015

My friend says that he knows my sons love me, because it’s evident in the way that they are when we’re together. He’s not the first to say that. I remember someone recently remarking that they’ve never seen anything like what we have. He tells me to consider that in Trast’s mind he thinks going to make it big out there and one day come back and buy me a Caddy. Or a house. He says that I don’t see it, but that I have a closeness with my children that most mothers don’t. He says that this closeness is probably one of the reasons my son is staying gone right now.

On the bus, a man in a white three piece suit with a black bow tie gently held the hand of a round woman whose hair filled every bit of air around her with the scent of cinnamon candles. He was whispering softly to her, and her face was placid. I was filled with amazement that I live in a world with the two of them; wonder for all of the different people alive right at this moment, especially the ones in white three piece suits riding a bus.

In the news, though admittedly not making any front pages, McDonald’s isn’t doing very well. At work, Henry made a joke that bears repeating. I saw a commercial that I really loved on Hulu. These things are small and meaningless, and I want to tell him about them. We have always talked easily about these things that cross in front of us every day. We have always laughed and danced in the kitchen. The absence of telling him these things belongs in its own category of melancholy.

I wonder if the couple on the bus are equally in love. I wonder what mistakes still hang between them. I hope they’ve been together long enough to have already disappointed each other in ways big and small, and then accepted their disappointments in favor of the larger joys of familiarity with each other.

Being a teenager is a real shitshow of a time, no matter how fantastic the teenager might be. Justin Bieber apologized on Ellen because growing up is hard and he’s been a real jerkoff for a few years. Trast is being a real jerkoff right now, and I know that he knows it, but I don’t know if he’s reached a place of compunction yet. My friend says that Trast must feel terrible about what this is doing to me, but is unable to stop the momentum of this thing he has to go through right now.

Everyone, including me, issues a constant reminder that this is not about me. This isn’t about anything I have failed to provide. This isn’t for lack of love. It’s simply that love doesn’t factor into this for him the same way that it does for me. But I love him, so the logic of this is lost on me.

On the night he was born, I stayed awake all night holding him and we stared at each other, two sets of the same blue eyes, making it far too easy to believe we were the same. I was a child then, barely older than he is now, and I was a massive idiot with an entire set of convictions and ideals based on my own limited experiences. I have reconciled myself with the person I was, and forgiven that girl who declared with vehemency that she was a Wiccan feminist who could see ghosts.  And I must forgive this child who is now in ownership of his own truths. I must understand that he needs to have those things because without them, he will not learn to form his identity.

I also must trust that, though he’s going about things in a turd-tastic way, in the depth of his bones lay dormant the tools he has been provided through his entire life. I have given him many things, including a value system based on kindness and always pushing oneself toward understanding others. I have taught him resourcefulness and independence, and have helped him to take comfort in creating new things. Others in his life have surrounded him with love, safety, wisdoms that he’s shared with me. So, armed with these things he will get through this thing, and hope is not lost that he’ll one day find himself doing alright.

None of this makes what is happening now acceptable or easier. Nothing in the world can deter the worry for his safety, and if my back was that of a camel, it was already broken several straws ago. These stresses keep my insides wound up. I am uncomfortable constantly, though not in danger of a breakdown, if only because breaking down would make this worse for everyone.

I want badly for us to be together again, my cynical patter broken by his high-pitched giggles. I want the silliness, the earnestness, the 100% Trast-ness of him in my every day. When you love someone long enough, there will always be things between you that won’t ever completely stop hurting, and I am afraid that he doesn’t realize the vast width of my forgiveness. Right now he’s going through this thing and one day he will have gone through a thing and in many many years he will be able to say “Remember when I went through that thing?” The best I can hope is that on his way through, he’ll use every tool he’s been given. And also that he’ll hurry this shit up. I’m getting sick of it.

 

How To Get Through Your Child Running Away

January 23rd, 2015

Get some sleep.

Try not to sleep on the couch where you will have a good view of the door in case it opens at night because he’s bound to get cold out there. Try to sleep in your own bed and when you wake up from a nightmare about what could be happening to him or a dream of him as a baby, crawling away from you through broken glass, repeat “This is a dream. Dreams are our way of processing what is happening to us. Dreams are not real.”

Wake up.

Soothe yourself with the mundane motions of the morning. Leave no room for rambling thoughts. Unclench your jaw and think of only what you are doing. I am making my bed, I am doing jumping jacks, I am washing my hair, I am going to email the manufacturers of this bubble bath and let them know it doesn’t yield good bubbles, I am puting the kettle on, I am waking the child still here, I will wake him up gently, wake him up with a voice that lets him know he is safe and loved, if you’d used that voice with your other son he wouldn’t have run- STOPSTOPDANGER- Now pour the hot water over the tea, eat the food you are not hungry for. Hug the child still there, but not in the desperate way that gives away your fear that he might not come home later. Make a joke with him. Keep it light. Don’t scare him. Don’t be scared.

Go.

When you are in public, do your best to stop looking for him. He is not that old man on the bench. He is not around the corner. When you are in public, do your best to stop thinking that everyone can see that your child ran away. Stop thinking they can see every mistake you’ve made. Stop thinking in public.

Go to work.

There are tasks. There are conversations. It’s okay if something makes you smile. You are not a bad person for smiling. You have a job to do and you need to pretend that your job is important. Use the fake importance of your job as a point of relief from the real importance of what is happening to your child. Your child. Your child is out there. Don’t think about what he might be doing right now because you have no way to know and you’ll only go mad if you picture how easy it would be for someone to take advantage of him.

Go to the gym.

This is not selfish. You are not going to miss an important call from a detective in the hour you take. If they’ve found him he’ll still be there. If they haven’t, he’ll still be out there. Go to the gym and let this be the place you feel angry. You need a place to feel angry, and if ever there was a place built for it, the gym is that. With each drop of sweat that comes from you, pour out the “How could he do this?” Jumping jacks and lunges and pull-ups are perfect times to perform an exorcism of the rage of a parent’s disappointment when their child is the source of turmoil and chaos.

Get used to not knowing.

What can I do to help? I don’t know. Where do you think he might be? I don’t know. How are you holding up? I don’t know. So what do we do now? I don’t know. Has he contacted any of his friends? I don’t know. Why do you think he ran away? I don’t know, but I think about it all the time.

Just don’t do it.

Don’t be offended by anything anyone tells you about your kid or your self. Don’t look at baby pictures. Don’t try to go back over his life and decipher defining moments when you could have saved him. Don’t try to go back over his life and decipher defining moments when you caused this. Don’t read statistics about runaways. Don’t stare at your phone. Don’t snap at the people who tell you to do the things you have already done. They don’t know you have already done these things. Don’t think about how he might never come back. Don’t think maybe he’ll come back right now. Don’t try to explain. Don’t give up hope. Don’t let your broken heart spread and turn you septic.

Remember.

Remember, you are not dead or alone or a worthless person. Remember that it doesn’t matter what you think should happen, or what you think he should think, or what you think is happening now. Remember that you love him, no matter what, and remember that love, though difficult, is ultimately the best thing in the world. Remember that you have very little to do with what is happening inside of him, and no control over what he is experiencing right now. Remember that there are other people who still need you to hold your shit together. Remember to be kind to yourself, and to breathe, and to eat. Remember all those other times in your life you were sure you wouldn’t get through, and remember that you got through them beautifully.

And then, once dinner is made and dishes are done and emails are sent, statuses are updated, phone calls to emergency rooms and bus stations are made, start this all over again with no more thinking about how long this might last this time. Because for now, it’s just time to

Get some sleep. You’re going to need it.