Whispered In The Wind

Whispered In The Wind
Just a fairy blowing in the wind, singing tales to the west wind

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Prayer Every Jew Should Know

My Jewish identity is
built of books spines
stolen from inside novels
found in the curve of a pen and stroke of a brush
I am not sure who I am
Or what it means to be
or how to find meaning in Hebrew
or hold my hands open to a heavy God
and say 
the prayers every jew should know
I do not know where to face when I pray
or who to face
I am not sure why I become silent in old synagogues
or hold onto my grandmother’s silver chain so tight
I cry sometimes when I hear the stories
feel my spine arch, my insides are weighted
I do not know why I am so drawn
to this side of me I barely know
this side I love with a fierceness I do not understand
I do not know why I find solace in shabbos candles and prayer shawls
I do not know why I hold onto my name so tightly
I do not know why I hold this word or idea or maybe religion
Jewish, Judaism, Jew
why I place these words on my tongue so reverently
so much gratitude, so much respect
that I am part of this something, this culture, this identity
that is spun around the wheel of history
that is weaved in ways I do not understand
I do not understand
who I am
or what it means
so I keep collecting
collecting my identity
through books
and paintings
and dust and stories and songs
through old bibles and old hands
constantly seeking instruction
looking for direction
Hoping to learn the way I must go
Hoping to understand the part of me
that cries out
at the sight of ancient psalms
and old scrolls
hoping to understand what parts of me belong in this gallery

what parts of me are hung on these walls 

                         By Janis Yerington (My Mother-from her Max's Bible exhibition)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Period Is Not A Spiritual Journey

I want periods to be beautiful, I really do. I want to be blissed out about diva cups and my menstrual cycle. I want to dare to wear long flowey white skirts and run down beaches amazed with the wonders of my body. I want to do ‘period yoga’ where I stretch out my cramps and marvel about motherhood. I want to write my body love letters, encouraging it to keep doing its thing and keeping me healthy. I want to wake up and drink chamomile tea while tenderly patting my pelvis and curling my toes.

I appreciate all the sweet feminist boys who say periods are beautiful. I appreciate the sweet feminist boys who try to get rid of the stigma surrounding women's bodies. I really do. I respect the women who paint canvases with their menstrual blood to make a statement. I respect the women who create new feminine product alternatives so that periods don’t keep young women from attending school. I really do.

And I really want periods to be beautiful, I really do. But let’s be honest. I’ve gotten period blood on my feet. On my feet. There is about nothing worse than waking up, standing up and feeling a waterfall gush down your legs. Pads are the grown up woman's equivalent of a diaper. When I’m on my period I consistently wonder if it possible to become addicted to ibuprofen. I spill little red pills all over my purse and swallow them as if they are magic. 

I’ve written slam poetry about periods. There is something really poetic about bleeding over the possibility of a child, of children for years before their potential arrival. My mother bled for me, for my brothers. And I bleed for the children I may never have. I bleed for possibility. I am thankful for my mother’s blood. But let’s be truthful, no child’s gratitude is ever going to cover waking up at 2 am, clutching your stomach. Is my child ever going to thank me for that? No. No one is ever going to say to me “Thank you so much for feeling like you might die once a month for me. That’s so nice of you.”

I cry when I have my period. It freakin’ hurts. It has always, really, really, hurt. I do not tend to be an envious person. But I envy all females whose periods do not feel like a small drummer is banging on the walls of their uterus. If your period does not hurt like heck, do not gloat. If you gloat, I will hate you. Though by the time you have mentioned it doesn’t hurt, I have probably already put serious thought into hating you. Give gratitude and have lots of compassion for your not as blessed sisters, here. Let me just tell you, I missed many days of middle school, with a stinky lavender compress against my pelvis, in bed, worry about how I would survive college without my mother checking on me and my cramps. However, I did just make it through a whole year of college without missing a day of school.

This year I bought a little pink diva cup in hopes I could learn to love my period. I don’t know how to use it and i hate seeing its little daisy bag. My period is not daisies. It is not a frolic through a little feminist field of body celebration. My period does not bring my closer to nature. It does not make me feel like an empowered women. I do not go on spiritual full moon journeys and bleed into the earth. Instead I fill my purse and pockets with tampons and curse he who created waist bands and tight clothes. I do not find this experience transcendent or spiritual.

And I’ve been trying. I have really been trying. I do have affection for my period. I think my body is neat. I’ve written my poetry, I’ve read my feminist literature, I’ve yelled at my brothers for thinking my period is gross. Here’s the deal, I don’t think my period is gross. But I also don’t find it beautiful. I find its rhetoric, its poetic potential, its symbolism beautiful. But this actual experience, this waking up to stained blood sheets and fear that sharks will eat me when I swim in the ocean, I’m not really digging this. I’m not digging stuffing bleached horrible things in my body. I am not digging reading articles about Toxic shock syndrome and that tampons are ten dollars a box. I am not appreciating that my government taxes feminine products because its run by a bunch of old white men who don’t care that I’m over here glaring at them all. I am not digging cute little acronyms like T.I.M. “Have you met T.I.M yet?” Yes, I have and I hate him. I am not digging any of this.

So in case you were wondering:
My period is not a spiritual journey.
It does not connect me to the moon, or God or whatever inner women goddess crap you’re selling me.
It has not caused me to transcend my human form.
It is not my body’s way of calling out to Mother Earth.
It does not want your red cupcakes and pink balloon parties.
It does not want your homeopathic remedies and krill oil.
It does not want to be your feminist art project.

I want periods to be beautiful.

But more than that, much more than that, My period and I just want to curl up with a bottle of ibuprofen, a pair of loose pants and a bowl of frozen cream puffs and wait this thing out. That is all we want.

That is all we have ever really wanted. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Young And Pretty

We are walking past the Ferry building, San Francisco. He tries to stop us, “Hello Ladies! I am only talking to stylish people today.”
We ignore him and she turns to me angrily. “What did he say?”
“I’m only talking to stylish people..”
A lady, wearing his same green shirt shouts out to us. “Was he bugging you ladies? I’m sorry! This will only take a minute of your time…”
“No thanks.”
Her face is still flared. “Maybe they should teach him not to hit on people he is trying to sell things to!”
“He’s not hitting on us. It’s a script.” I reply.
She is not buying it. 
“He was hitting on us. It may be a script. But he only said that to us because we are young and pretty.”
Young and pretty. Young and pretty.
I look at her. Yes, yes, her. But when I catch my own reflection in the dark glass of buildings along the Embarcadero, it’s harder for me to agree with that statement. I wish I had not worn this silly pinstripe romper. I reflectively pull my stomach in, try to stand straight. The view is not much improved.
At her home, I change in the bathroom after my shower, stare at my bra in the mirror. It seems too small to me. It leaves little claw marks across me. But I’m okay with this view. And I wish I was all body love and positive, but its always so much easier when its other people’s bodies were are talking about. You go sister, rock that crop top. I’ll just cut up this tee shirt too short and not wear it outside of these doors. I walked out the bathroom towards her room and lay on her bed, my body warm, my legs tired.
She walks in with a towel on and checks her phone. She is in no rush to get dressed. And when she does, she sheds her towel lightly and fully. I have seen her body many times. We are best friends, there is no strangeness in our changing together. But still, I am in aware of how completely and without hesitation, she is willing to stand in her own skin, completely comfortable. I try to emulate her, in shifts, but I am still too uncomfortable to be fully unclothed for seconds in front of any person but my own.
Young. And Pretty.
Another night. It is not warm here. I traveled by train to get here and we are walking across the wet grass. Our cheeks are flushed, our voices are raised the sort of octave produced by freedom and heady giggles. She is wearing a short skirt, maroon. The sort of skirt you shouldn’t bend in and watch your twirls, darling, we might catch sight of your underwear (The cotton and little lace sort, she never wears thongs. This is a point we agree on.) Not that she would mind too much. She is not easily embarrassed. 
The lights of the campus are warm. Our breath comes out in little clouds. We speak in the tones of our youth, feminist terms interspersed with the names of boys, literature, twinges of gossip. We compare our collected experiences and scribbled first semester notes. Names and people we do and don’t know bounce back and forth. I say “I mean, she’s just one of those people is pretty and knows it.”
She turns to me and speaks without missing a beat. “Well, I know I’m pretty. But I’m not obnoxious about it.”
I blink, I feel a kick inside me. Young and Pretty. Are we allowed to know we are pretty, much less claim it? Isn’t that against everything..what? I don’t know. I’ve never known. But isn’t one supposed to be in constant questioning about one’s body, one’s face? There should never be any answers, no real affirmation. That’s how they keep us tame.
“I know.
I know I’m young and pretty.”
It reminds of another time. Another time turning to another friend, the sort of friend you walk down the street with and boys stare. But you know its never at you. “You know you’re gorgeous, right?” I ask. I expect her to rebut this, to be shocked by such an accusation. But she isn’t. She isn’t at all. “I mean, I’m not stupid. I know I have a decent face.” How can you know this? How can you state this with such utter confidence?
Young and Pretty.
Back in her room now, she stands in a pink bra, lace like icing. “Isn’t it cute.” she squeals, half on jest, but in pride, the sort of pride only young women share between each other in relation to underwear and little skirts and sun hats. 
And it is. It is very, very cute. I look at her. Her body is soft and gentle. Her face is familiar, little freckles playing against the bride of her nose. Even from her, I recognize the scent of her hair, gently scented shampoo. 
“Aren’t I pretty”
“Yes, yes you are.”
And if only I could learn to see myself, through the eyes you see yourself through. 
If only I could learn to see myself through the eyes you see me through.
If only I could learn to see myself through the eyes I see you. 

Young and Pretty. Young and Pretty.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Writer's Prayer

May I find the words I seek. May I find companionship and solace in the stories I write. May I find a voice and give voice to those that are silenced. May my words be brave and courageous, may they stand against time. Dear Lord, I pray that my words bring healing, that they allow battle wounds to deal. They come in peace, they desire to build.. But they are not afraid to be bold, to speak that which is uncomfortable, that which may pain. They are not the stuff of simple fairytales, but of wildness and heady freedom. They are found in the tartness of summer’s first blackberries, caught between thorns and brambles. May I write words that hold their weight, but know when to wear white dresses and yellow flowers. Words that are nomadic and yet rooted. They take hold in hearts and swing themselves up into the wind. These words, my words, they are the vines up ancient trees, they are the newest of spring’s children. They are human and flawed. But they are sanctified, made holy through candlelight and prayer. They are the beats between music that cries and music that laughs. They are not the sort to be contained to the page, they are too untamed for such a notion. They crawl into hearts and sleep in the curves of the ear. These words, they are words that fight. These words, they are words that love. They are contradictions, they are parables. May these words be blessed. May the Lord, look upon this little church of words and bless its boughs. May She anoint these fingers, may She consecrate this ground. May each word here be kissed by angels, may each word be a balm to those that in need. May these words matter. May these words dance. 


my desk.

"I want warm summer nights, to lie in a hammock, staring at the stars, telling you stories. "

"I want warm summer nights, to lie in a hammock, staring at the stars, telling you stories. "
"When asked not to make waves, I just smiled and said, don't worry this is just a ripple"