summer is full of fire

firing of the DonnaGama wood kiln at New Prospect Pottery July 2020

summer is full of fire.

summer is full of rage and fire and heat and no.
summer is full of can’t, of won’t.
summer is hateful and vengeful and all together too much.
too much.
the rage in my brain and the rage on my skin
on my body
this heat.
it is boiling my brain,
i can feel it shrivel and pucker
it is pulling inward all my tendons, my ligaments
it is contracting my soul, dessicating it
my plant is thirsty.
the planet that is my body is cracking under the drought
i am feeding her, watering her
soaking her.
it is barely enough.
it is enough to coexist on the slightly softer edge of civility
but the near-constant TARDIS-like screaming of the emergency brake
the cacophony of heated elements in continuous collision
heating too quickly for safety
safety is nowhere to be found.
it isn’t even looked for.
not for me, no.
not for me but for another.
her safety, her (((relative))) sanity is my priority.
through her i have found salvation.
so when i see, when i observe
when i walk into a scene and e v e r y t h i n g everything is tangled
a nest of snakes and snarls because someone isn’t listening
almost at once i can see
oh gods i can see! I can see what needs be done
and i turn, slowly.
and i direct my rage, my fury funnelled
directed as a firehose would be
put the wet stuff on the red stuff
i am using my fire to put out a potential backdraft
i am raging and it is working, slowing the progress.
again, though, someone isn’t listening
someone is risking everyone else for their what, big dick move?
someone is risking everything.

summer is full of fire, and don’t, and no.
it is my place to draw the line here, it is
i am one hundred per cent sure of this.
i am
for the first time in my life, backed up on this.
in every single other case
in every other single moment in my life.
every single one.
you are too much.
you are too intense.
you are.
we got this, you can stop now.
too much.

I am not too much.
I tell this man he needs to stop.
I tell this man
“you need to chill the fuck out right now and stop.”
and he looks at me, stops, hesitates.
I can see his body wanting to continue.
“you’re not listening and you need to listen.
he isn’t, but he is looking at me intently.
“who are you?” he thinks
I don’t care who the fuck you are.
I have never done this before, this woodfire but i do understand science
I do understand and so should he.

I don’t care who he is, only that he doesn’t care to listen
and so I am outrageous in my language
I am extreme.
Righteously raging and definite.
I use the skill and dexterity and froth that I keep so tightly locked away
the fire that i only unleash in the bedroom
and i direct it all at this man
and he stops, deflated.
slinking away to complain to another
(she knows i’m right, too)
((and what is this, high school? have you learned nothing.))

I don’t care that he is embarrassed
(don’t do stupid fucking shit then, asshole)
I don’t care who you are all I know is that you are dangerous.
You will not rise over me.
You will listen.
Or you will leave.

The fire has emboldened me, lent me her strength, her fury.
I listen to stories of needing the fire, of missing it.
I have understood missing Saturn;
I am understanding the fire, now.

this morning as I sat dissecting the weekend, the experience
as I sat discussing the ineptitude, the abject narcissism of one person,
the overwhelming love and support of nearly everyone else I realized
I realized my gratitude for this asshole, too
that for the first time (a weekend of firsts)
for the first time I was able to use this rage this dysphoria
this reliably unreliable tool
this weapon.
I was able to harness the power of the sun
focus it on something harmful
burn it out like a cancer.
leaving room for new, healthy growth in its place.

Fire burns; fire renews.
She is an explosion of hope.

summer is full of fire.

On defeating toxic masculinity

The article I linked below was posted in a women’s group I’m in, and it needs to be shared far and wide.

There are men I know, men I have dated, men I have married, on both sides of this: men who are doing the hard work to become more emotionally vulnerable, to open up to other men, who are relying on each other and their therapists, and men who aren’t there yet.

Things I am learning about myself after Gary’s death include the now-ingrained understanding that it is not my job to be anyone’s one and only ANYTHING. In my fifty-one years on this planet, my entry into therapy at age twelve, and my twenty-six years with a formal diagnosis, I have always done the hard work. I am a damaged individual, absofuckingtively. I am a product of my genetics and my upbringing and all of the fucked up shit that people have done to me and that I have survived.

That’s the key: I have survived. I have absolutely leaned on others for support, for aid, for guidance. To just listen to me when I am truly inconsolable. When people ask “are you okay???” and my response is “No, I am not.” To actually sit with me and be interested in why instead of ordering drinks.

I have some incredible women friends now, a Squad of Strength, a Posse of Power, a Coven of Courage. These women, my Sisterhood of the Salt are invaluable to me, are precious to me. I don’t ask for permission from them, nor validation that what I’m ever doing is the right thing to do. What my tribe unequivocally offers up to me is a safe place, a place of love and support. A place where I will be listened to, where objective opinions are welcomed. Where difficult questions are asked, and always with care and great love. It isn’t an echo chamber, not in the least. I know that some of what I’m experiencing is tempered by my illness, my neediness, my fear. But these women on the whole continue to ask the good, convoluted-yet-simple questions that make me think hard, and allow me to untangle my feelings around some very tricky situations. All without judgment. All with thoughts towards my safety first.

I don’t know how men can possibly do without this kind of thing.

“Toxic masculinity—and the persistent idea that feelings are a ‘female thing’—has left a generation of straight men stranded on emotionally-stunted island, unable to forge intimate relationships with other men. It’s women who are paying the price.”

Every person should read this article. And do the hard, messy work.