where did you go?

seasons are shifting again
signaling in a new stage
get up, they say.
dance and sing, they urge.
sing for me my forgotten friend
let me be the one you raise your voice for
i hear before I hit the floor, wishing and wanting to be out the door as i hear the voices of three more.
responsibilities mount
and then the snow falls.

where were you?
wondering and wandering
using me as your excuse
an excuse to look over and back again thinking all the same that you would never look this way.
my eyes, a painful squint, broken cigarette creeping out of the corner of my mouth, flattened, half chewed
i used to use the shit out of every thing that came my way.
still do.

so, this is the start of a poem that i wrote on friday night. not really a poem, more a stream of consciousness – i enjoy writing and not looking back. a trip through my mind without edit. the poem goes on for about three pages, but it is riddled with cuss words and some things crept out that felt far too personal to share. some thoughts weren’t even really about me – i enjoy getting into a character when i write, a part of me, but not the whole me. it’s fun to blow up a section of your personality and let it dominate, but not everyone understands that people who write, like to play with ideas and thoughts more than write about reality – at least i do. if someone found my notebooks i would have a lot to explain. expression.

we express ourselves in different ways through the course of a day. not only do we express ourselves through different mediums, we express ourselves with different uses of language (r. gave me a hard time after she heard me on the phone with the tattoo artist i went to. she said ‘you sounded a little more “gangster” than you normally do’ laughing through each word. (i normally sound any bit gangster?) she went on to say that my words ran together more and that i was more relaxed, that i used more slang, and that my voice was lower. now, i was not conscious of my change in tone at all. after being a tad embarrassed, i realized that i had “code-switched” without realizing it. much like i used to do when i went from a staff meeting to a classroom full of kids.), and we express ourselves with different emotions. our “expressing” is being absorbed by h. and a. at an incredible level right now, and that is difficult to keep in mind, especially when emotions “run high” – um, when we argue.

now, i would be lying if i said that we didn’t argue in front of the kids, in fact we argue, or have intense discussions (as i like to call them – ever the diplomat), from time to time. i think about their feelings when “i just need to get my last point across” or when r. needs to let me know that she is aware of that “button” i just pushed, and i beat myself up for exposing them to their parents arguing or not being happy with one another, but i don’t know if having these discussions, or emotions, in front of them is all bad. there are some people who think that you should save your “heated discussions” for when the kids are in bed, or go into another room. i struggle with both of these. waiting until they go to bed would make the time until bedtime rough, yes, i am an adult, but some things need to be nipped in the bud right away, on both sides. stewing anger has the ability to take more away from the kids than modeling healthy ways to express it. and “going into another room” is tough for me too, if you don’t think kids can hear through those walls, you’re nuts. have we done it? yes. but it makes it more of an unnatural mystery for our kids if they notice that you left to argue. they may create stories about why you’re arguing, or worse, blame themselves. so, i say, let it all out in front of them. i’m kidding, but i do find value in showing our kids all types of expression, and that people get angry. they may be uncomfortable, i know, and that is the hardest part for me. i am very sensitive to how others feel in intense situations, but if we are readying them to regulate their emotions in a healthy way, then we need to show them how that looks. we need to show them how you come to an agreement, even after you disagreed intensely, and we need to show them how to say they are sorry, or that they were wrong. the one thing i love for our kids to see, after a brief intense stand-off between two strong-willed people, is our ability to come to an understanding and for one of us to say “hmm, i can see it from that point of view. sorry, i just got upset.” of course all of our arguments don’t end that way, but more often than not we share with the kids that even though mommy and daddy got upset, we still love each other.

lou needs to eat too

this is tough for me. sometimes i think that i am being selfish, that i can’t put my own emotions in check to save them seeing their parents have a disagreement, but someday they are going to realize that no matter how much you love someone, you don’t always agree with them, and sometimes they upset you. i am sure they are aware of this – they are sisters. as a. and h. get older i understand that we can’t shield them from the world, we need to explain it to them. do we use our imaginations frequently? yes, but we want them to have a healthy respect for their emotions and the world around them. i thought about this when we were watching the fighter jets do training exercises yesterday. a. asked “what are those little planes?” h., of course pointed and continued saying “apelane, apelane, apelane” louder and louder until she got enough of a reaction from all of us. i said “those are fighter jets” naturally she replies “what’s a fighter jet?”. i responded by saying “they fly in the sky to keep us safe” a. couldn’t leave it at that “safe from what?” my first thought was ‘man, why does she do this to me?’. at this point i left it at “in case those attack aliens from mars come to get us” okay, not exactly reality, but probably would mean the same as if i explained what and who we may need to protect ourselves from. everything in time?

where do you fall on the “arguing in front of the kids” debate. obviously arguing does not take up the bulk of our days, weeks, or lives, but everyone argues and we are comfortable with that, and feel healthier that we talk about it, rather than bury emotions that have the potential to creep up more intense and with too much sludge attached. as with everything – who knows what is right or wrong – there is no right or wrong (you know what i mean) – just ideas to help us all get better at being human.