This is my favorite poem this week. I heart Jeremy Radin and all the things he does in his work.
I got a message from a friend recently asking what to do when writing becomes too painful. Like in those moments when you're going along writing in a good rhythm and suddenly you hit on something that is difficult and it makes you want to stop and/or throw your notebook across the room. I thought I might share a more thorough answer with you.
1. Create a container for your writing.
First, it helps to create a container for your writing space. Even if you are just plopped on your bed with your laptop, you can light a candle or rub a little essential oil on your wrist (I like cedar, lemongrass and clary sage) or grab a stone like tourmaline or amethyst and put in your lap. I like to use something tangible to create the space but you could also just set an intention. Here is a little spell/prayer you could say:
2. Create a container for your memories.
Like it says in the prayer, let this work be a cauldron let the cauldron have a lid. (This trick is courtesy of my therapist.) Before you start writing or even when you are not writing, when you are just riding the train or driving to work, imagine a place that feels safe that you can visualize yourself in and return to whenever you need to. Mine used to be a meadow with a big oak tree now it is a white stucco house on a huge piece of land surrounded by trees where four grandmother guides are waiting to help me through my brain/heart. You can make it whatever you want but imagine yourself there and then imagine a container. It can be a sturdy suitcase or a heavy trunk. Mine used to be a clear plastic container with green latches that I once purchased at Target. Now it is a cauldron with a lid. Imagine yourself putting memories in there. Difficult memories. The memories you want to write about. When you start writing and you come to a place where painful memories come up an you aren't sure you want to deal with them. You can picture yourself placing each one in there like a photograph. Then close the lid. Seal it up, lock it. Put it somewhere. Know that you can always come back to it but that for right now, imagine that they are safe there and you are safe and you have done good work. Sometimes just knowing the container is there, makes me feel safe enough to continue going through the memory. I know this sounds woo and weird and it is but if you are reading my blog, there is a good chance you believe in the woo and weird as much as I do. It helps, just try it.
3. Metaphor is a storm shelter.
Like Rachel Mckibbens once told me, it is okay to keep some secrets for yourself. If you think this is something you might ever want to share. Or if you are not sure you can even get it out. Turn all the characters into inanimate objects. Give the experience one long metaphor. Maybe you are a horse and that dirty house was a barn. Maybe the tree at the end of the road is your father. Maybe the relationship is a garden of weeds. The friendship is an ice-cream shop with no electricity. When you create a metaphor for the experience or the people, it is often so much easier to navigate.
4. After care is not just for sex.
I first heard the concept of after-care from body positive BDSM folks in the Bay. It is a ritual you create for yourself and your partner. Maybe cuddling and massage. Ice cream and ointment. You know how it works. It's something I've started doing post-show. I think we all have an after care ritual for intense things whether it is healthy or not. My post-show after-care used to be to drink bourbon or mindlessly scroll on my phone in the car for half an hour. But recently, I made my self a pre and post show self-care kit, with flower essences, essential oils and crystals. It helps me reground and not have a vulnerability hangover the next day. Figure out what your after care will be when you are finished engaging with disturbing or painful shit. Maybe veg out with Netflix or put on a fuck ton of make up. You do you, boo. And do it intentionally, compassionately, and patiently.
The last time I wrote a blog post was five months ago. I could say it's because I went on an epic 5,000 mile journey with my family this summer. I could say it was because I am back in school this semester and have been too busy.
But I don't think that's it.
A month ago I went to my therapist like I have been doing for two years (after I finally started to work on some trauma that was bubbling up like an angry, crusty blackhead) and I told her I how I felt like I was in a fog. It is a struggle to wake up. When I drink two Americanos I still feel like I could go to sleep at any time. I feel like I am disappointing everyone. She asked me some questions and followed with, "Lauren, I think you have clinical depression." I have no idea why this was such a shock to me.
For a while, I had been having some really low bouts. One time I wrote in my journal,
I can't eat food, I can only abuse myself with it. I don't want to watch poetry videos. I hate brilliant people. Especially brilliant women. I don't want to listen to happy music. I don't want to listen to sad music. I've been looking up things to make me happy and I hate all the things. I went outside and the wind made me cry. I didn't take a picture of the dead insect in the hallway.
But I've always had low periods. When I was a teenager my grandmother asked why I smoked pot when I was already natural sedated. When I get in arguments, I want to go to sleep. Plus things have just been kind of hard lately. My grandmother has been dying for four years. My uncle died of a heart attack last year. My grandfather died of lung cancer just before my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It must be the new moon. It must be my hormones. Maybe I need to have my thyroid checked. I just need to power through. I need to stop eating carbs. No more bread. Everything is great in my life, I can't possibly be depressed.
I say all that to hear myself say it. To read it in black and white and notice how bizarre it sounds. I know it doesn't have anything to do with how great your life is. Rachel Maddow has depression, for goddess sake. Kid Cudi came out about it. (A major inspiration for this post.) People with extraordinarily beautiful lives have fucked up brain chemistry. It is honestly a relief to know it doesn't have to be so hard.
Basically, I've been on anti-depressants for a month now and I am amazed at the difference. It's a balancing act, of course, but I already feel like I can manage things better. I've been writing every day. I've been eating healthier, exercising more. More importantly, my brain chatter has quieted. The stuff about what a disappointment I am, is just a faint whisper. I am not a failure. Not for messing up, not for taking medicine, not for having an imbalanced brain. In fact, I am proud of myself for finally prioritizing myself enough to get help. Also, shout out to Obama for giving me health insurance for the first time in my independent artist life. Shout out to you for taking the time to read this and for every ounce of compassion you have shown yourself today. Let's keep holding each other.
Something I get asked at shows around the country is how I got started in spoken word and slam poetry. To which I reply: I was a rapper. Obvi. I was a rapper who could not freestyle and spent more time doing drugs to number my feelings than writing rhymes in my rhyme book. Then someone invited me to a poetry open mic. I was two days sober after being robbed at gunpoint for $132, aka my entire paycheck from the frozen yogurt shop.
In 1999, Lauren Zuniga believed poetry was for nerds. In 1999, Lauren Zuniga was actually Lauren Barry and was going by the rap name Ms.Verse (short for Universe because I was a conscious rapper.) Basically, I didn't know how my life was about to change. I won my first slam with a badly written rap and I won $12 two cigarettes and a condom. I had never won anything rapping So, I decided poetry was my calling.
I've learned a lot since then about the artform, the competition and my passion but here are some tips if you have just discovered this genre and think it might be for you.
1. FIND YOUR OPEN MIC
Maybe you have been watching spoken word poetry on YouTube but you have never actually heard it live. Get out in the world. Find your people. Almost every city has one and if you don't have one, start one. All you need is a room, some seats and people willing to share their work. You don't even need a microphone. You just need an agreement that you are going to support each other and bring new work and at the very least show up. If you are lucky enough to live in a city where there is more than one open mic, poetry reading or poetry slam, then check a few of them out. See if it feels like a supportive atmosphere. Most cities have more than one spot and they each have their own vibe. Sometimes they are an older crowd who are less performancey. Sometimes they are a poetry slam but they have an open mic at the beginning and you can test it out before getting into slam. Sometimes they are really diverse and sometimes not, so find the one you feel most comfortable in and if it doesn't exist, start your own!
2. BRING SOMETHING NEW & SOMETHING OLD
Maybe you just wrote a poem about sea creatures as a metaphor for your last relationship but you aren't really sure if people will understand what the tentacles represent. You can read it on the mic and then see how people respond. Maybe they are blank stares. Maybe they laugh at the sad parts and frown at the funny parts (some audiences are just like that though so don't take it personally). You can ask people afterward if it made sense and then bring that piece back in a couple weeks when it's better. So, make a goal of having at least one new piece each week.
This is good for two reasons:
1. You write a lot of things.
2. People won't get tired of hearing the same poem from you every week.
You see this a lot in slams. People want to win a slam so they do the same poem every time because it scores well and they never challenge themselves. Also, people in the audience quietly groan every time they say the first line. Don't be that guy. Bring something brand new and fuck it up. Read that one first to get it out of the way then do something you've been working on. maybe you have it memorized now and you can perform the shit out of it and leave people with a strong finish. The main purpose for the open mic is the community. You want to create a culture that encourages first drafts and collaboration.
This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many people go to the open mic and then sit outside smoking the whole time. Or they text or talk or take pictures of themselves doing this artsy poetry thing. They might decide they don't like someone's work because they dress funny but totally miss out when that awkward person has the line of the night that could have inspired everyone's next poem if they'd heard it. Be someone who listens. Be someone who takes notes. Who can point out what they like and what they don't like and then give constructive feedback later. Also, you will make friends this way. Be the one who says to the poet, hey I really liked that line about your grandmother and the maple tree and they will be your BFF forever.
This might be a good time to tell you, if you don't already know, that snaps are really only appropriate during a poem to show the poet that you liked the line they just read without distracting them. After a poem you want full force clapping not snapping. You don't want the room to sound like a rain stick. Feel free to NOT snap. Feel free to just listen (and maybe moan occasionally.)
4. DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR YOUR PRESENCE
You usually get 5-6 minutes on an open mic. Do not spend half that time explaining what a piece of shit the poem you are about to read is. If you don't like the poem, then don't read it. No disclaimers. Just start reading. And take the time to learn how to use the mic. It's fine to have a hard time with it your first time but ask someone to show you how it works. You can test it before the show even to make sure you are comfortable with it. When you get up to the mic, I'M ESPECIALLY TALKING TO WOMEN, take us much time as you need to get the microphone at the right height and then speak directly into it. A good rule of thumb (haha) is A THUMB'S DISTANCE AWAY FROM THE MIC. Do not stand ten feet away or have your head down or say I'm sorry thirty times when you mess up. This is your time. Use it. You have as much right to be there as everyone else.
Once I was featuring at an open mic on the east coast and the host was really tall and loud and talked a lot between each poet and when the women would come up after him, they would struggle to get the mic to their level and be sheepish and apologetic and no one was doing anything to show them how to be on the mic . But when the men got on the mic they would grab it confidently, speak directly into it and say their poem like it was worth saying. So during my set, I stopped and did a mic tutorial just in case it was the only one they would ever get.
5. GET OUT OF YOUR OPEN MIC
Once you have found your home slam or reading, go check out some other ones. Get out of town. I have the good fortune of touring open mics and poetry slams all over the country and I always tell people that if they want to get to know a city they are visiting, find their open mic. That's where you really hear the news of the city. In Las Vegas, you will hear poems about strip clubs and working at the Statue of Liberty bobblehead factory. In Maine, you will hear poems about fisherman fathers and birch trees. You hear the city through its writers.
You will also benefit from hearing voices outside of your community because it's easy to start sounding like each other. When I was starting out, we didn't have Youtube so the only poets I ever heard were at my slam. It wasn't until I went to the National Poetry Slam in 2000 that I saw the incredible diversity of voices in slam. The other benefit is that you will get to say poems that the have never heard before and you will be the new, shiny one everyone will want to talk to.
If you think you ever want to do a tour, you will want to get out into your region and meet organizers of other shows. If they like your work, they might ask you to come back for a spotlight or feature and that will be a great way to get your name out there.
Hope that helps. Let me know how it goes! Or comment with other tips for new poets!
The worst thing a woman can do in the world is seek attention. No one likes a woman who wants to be seen. - Teresa Jusino
Carolyn Cox at The Mary Sue crushes Piers Morgan and tells him exactly where he can put his Mansplaining Arsenss. There are some great thoughts and quotes in this article including a quote from Emily Ratajkowski's Lenny Letter and the summarizing note:
"When her shirt’s on, men want it off, when it’s off, feminism’s dead, I guess."
Also from The Mary Sue is the fascinating review of Polygraph's Analysis of over 2,000 Screenplays Broken Down By Gender and Age which offers some interesting insight into movies (not surprising but at least it's real hard data to use at the dinner table) especially, this little tidbit:
According to their analysis of 30 Disney films, 22 of those films have a male majority of dialogue, with the “worst offender” being The Jungle Book at over 98% male lines. Five of those movies have a fair gender balance within a tolerance of 10% difference between male and female lines, and only four movies out of the 30 have a majority of female lines. Interestingly enough, two of those four movies are Sleeping Beauty and its modern “spin-off,” Maleficent.
Of course, I don't really get why they are calling it the largest script analysis when The Bechdel Test has 6448 movies in their database, though I guess they don't contain age stats but we already know that most movies don't pass the test. The Bechdel test sometimes called the Mo Movie Measure or Bechdel Rule is a simple test which names the following three criteria: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man.
In other news, FEMINISM IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CAUSING A EUROPEAN CIVIL WAR. I couldn't read this whole article with out my upchucking my Fritos but if you are in need of anger fuel for your powerlifting sesh this week, give ol Cedric Misogyny Max's rant a gander.
But in the land of the real things, Bustle has a great post on making Feminism more inclusive. Mehak Anwar gives seven easy steps to practicing intersectional feminism and smashing the cisheteropatriarchy. Or basically real life ways to knock people like Cedric Misogyface out without getting blood on your new shirt.
So in short, this week is a good reminder that feminism is a verb and not a badge to wear to the book club. Must be good with power tools and/or feelings.
You can get this rad shirt here.
Sometimes people say they have writers block. I believe two things about writer's block:
1. You can only get it if you have been told you are a good writer.
2. It only exists when you believe you have to write good things.
And the truth is, you probably are a good writer and you mostly write good things but you don't have to. The problem is, somewhere along the line, someone told you were a good writer and this society is one that thinks the only reason to do creative things is if it is good (ie you could possibly sell it) so if you are going to spend your time writing, it better produce brilliance. Fuck a bunch of that. You don't need to write for any other reason than writing is what you do to make sense of things. Because your hands have to. Because you breathe better when you aren't all clogged up with thoughts. Here are a few things I like to do when trying to unclog the pipes.
1. MAKE A LIST.
You have probably heard this one before but it's a good one. Mostly because anyone can write a list. You write them all the time. Write a grocery list. Write ten rooms you remember from your childhood. Write ten secret worlds you have been a part of (the kitchen at the sandwich shop, your local poetry slam, your mom's bathroom). Ten cars you've been in. Ten mothers of childhood friends. Ten seems to have some kind of magic. This is mostly because the first six things on the list are the surface level images. When you start tilting your head, trying to think of 7-9, you are plunging the image submarine into the depths of your brain. This is stuff I learned from one of my favorites and someone I pretend is my Secret BFF, Lynda Barry, partly because we have the same maiden name but also because she completely changed the way I think about writing when I discovered her in 2010.
2. SET A TIMER.
You can light a candle or put on a good vibe playlist (If you have Spotify, I recommend the Deep Focus channel for instrumental tunes to write to) but mostly set a timer. You need constraints. You need a finite amount of time to ask your brain to write shit. Try seven minutes. You can handle just about anything for 7 minutes.
3. WRITE SHIT.
Write the shittiest, shit, shit you can possibly write. No metaphors, no imagery, no fucking enjambment. Just write the gunk that is lining the sides of the pipes. Pick one thing that is on that list and write about it like you are writing a letter to a friend and telling them all about your childhood sunday school room. This friend loves you. This friend doesn't care about your spelling or your deepness or that you once won a writing contest in the fifth grade for your evocative essay on the First Amendment. This friend just wants to know what the mean teacher was wearing.
4. WRITE THE SMELL OF SHIT
You might have heard this one before too. USE ALL FIVE SENSES. What did the shit smell like? What did it taste like? (Ewww) What did it look like? Feel like? Sound like? You don't have to get metaphorical. Be literal even. But moving off the topic of literal shit, if you are doing the childhood rooms list for example, Did your Sunday School classroom have little sandwich cookies and tiny cups of juice? Did you wear pink Osh Kosh overalls? Did your teacher smell? like dryer sheets and Elmer's glue? No? Okay, then what was it like?
5. WHEN YOU ARE HONEST WITH YOUR FEELINGS, THAT TRIGGERING TOWN CHOOSES YOU
Richard Hugo says in The Triggering Town that writers always have two subjects, the one that triggers the writing and the real subject. He says "give up what you think you have to say and you'll find something better." He's says it's better to start talking about something else BEFORE you run out of things to say about your triggering subject. And be honest with your feelings. Did writing about your grandmother's kraut crock make you think of your grief about your father's death? Is that what this is really about? You don't know what it's really about. It's not your job to know. You are not writing to solve mysteries, your job is to render what is. Follow the clumsy trail of what is.
6. BUT WHY?
I like to play the WHY GAME to get more clarity on a variety of topics. Why are you a poet, Lauren? Because it is cheap and portable. Why does that matter? Because I can go into any correctional facility in the country with nothing in my hands or pockets and share art with people might need it. Why? Because when I was 18, someone shared poetry with me when I needed it most and it changed my life. Why? Because it taught me I no longer had to numb my feelings, I could write them. You get the idea. You can go on this slide for a while but for me, it helps get me out of the triggering town, and find the quiet place by the tree where I can breathe and see what's really going on.
7. NOW BE MORE SPECIFIC
After you have written a lot of shit. After you have asked why and found the place by the tree. Go back and see if there are any lines that surprise you or give you goose bumps or make you smile. Go back and see if there is anywhere you could be more specific. When you said your father was a chefdid you mean he often poured ketchup into a can of green beans and ate it right out of the can? Instead of saying you loved your girlfriend, could you say you popped her back zits even though it is thing that grosses you out more than anything? Everywhere that you can have a specific noun in place of an abstract, vague idea of a noun, do that. It will get closer and closer to the landing place.
8. GO CLEAN THE HOUSE
If none of this is working or you got part of the way and it got uncomfortable and next thing you know you are scrolling Insta again, then go do the dishes. Clean out your junk drawer. Organize your underwear by butt coverage. This can do one of two things. It can make you feel really accomplished or it can be the thing you avoid more than you avoid writing. This works both ways for me. Sometimes I don't want to write the thing I need to write more than I don't want to do the dishes so the dishes get done. At the very least, you will get something done and you feel better about yourself and you can try writing shit again tomorrow.
This weeks #BadAssBabe is Rachel McKibbens. Rachel is a Chicana poet, activist and mental health advocate with nearly two decades of involvement exposing the transformative power of poetry to a broad spectrum of humans: from needle exchanges to high schools, halfway houses to Ivy League universities. She is the author of Pink Elephant and Into The Dark and Emptying Field (the poem I dressed as for Halloween in 2014). She is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts fellow and the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion. She has numerous other accolades but I want to talk about what she means to mean and what she is about to mean to folks all over the country.
The first time I saw Rachel McKibbens perform was on the National Poetry Slam Finals stage (I think it was 2007 in Austin, Texas). I was just getting back into slam after seven years and two kids. When Rachel took the stage, people lost their shit and I thought, oh this must be one of the big dogs, let me take notes. Rachel performed Central Park, Mother's Day with a fierce, careful tone that was drastically different than most of the things being performed in slam back then (and even now, really). The poem gutted me. It was about her son giving her a handful of tulip heads but it is also about every mother’s deepest fears.
A mama forgets what her weapons can do.
Can't know which of her failures
will be what does it.
Tommy's turn with the belt, in fifteen years,
becomes Meaghan's throbbing black eye.
I don’t have the notes I took that day but I think it something about “Performance in service to the poem, not the other way around.” I consistently use Rachel’s work in writing workshops and quote something she said in a workshop at the Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2010.
Don't ask how I can win this poetry slam, ask what is my poem's job in this poetry slam?
What is this poems job in this room? On this page?
Don't let the truth get in the way of good writing
In 2012, I planned a cross-country tour around the first ever Pink Door Writing Retreat where I had the good fortune of sleeping in a tent in Rachel's backyard. Pink Door arose out of this urgent need for women in the slam and literary communities to engage and nurture each other in a non-competitive space. Rachel created that space and opened her home and backyard to 30 writers from all over the country. Now, four years later, after listening to feedback from attendees Pink Door has evolved into an annual event for writers of color to promote community and dialogue among writers excluded from the dominant cultural narrative.(If you are WOC, applications are open now, go apply!) Just another reason, Rachel is exposing the transformative power of poetry and driving the culture in literary communities.
Which brings me to her next adventure. The Outlast Project.
THE OUTLAST PROJECT is a cathartic poetry event & interactive healing art project designed to empower survivors of sexual assault. In her IndieGoGo campaign which raised 13k in one month, she says,
During a poetry tour in 2012, an unexpected phenomenon occurred: at the conclusion of every show, audience members approached me to share their own accounts of survival. I understood the urgency in this, the urgent need to be heard. By sharing my own story onstage, finally giving my experience its truest name, I was demanding myself to exist beyond that experience. The more I said it out loud, the further I moved away from what happened.
I know this so well. One of the things I treasure the most about performing poems is those moments after a show when someone collapses in my arms, crying, and/or shares their brave story with me. It is how I know I am on the right path, the reminder that sharing art with each other is necessary form of intimacy.
In 2014, when I was finally ready to start processing my own childhood trauma, I started doing trauma therapy and built my own altar to nurture myself through the process. I texted Rachel on the regular for support. She was always there to light a candle or cast a circle or just generally encourage me with her witchy wonder. She reminded me that I was more than what happened. That my sex life would return. That I was not alone. This is the kind of healer she is.
So a lot of people are dealing with trauma and a lot of those people are nurtured by poetry. Many of us know that but just say: oh that’s a thing that happens but oh well, who am I to do anything about it? Rachel went deeper. She decided to go on tour with the specific intention of creating an interactive poetry show that fuses humor, trivia, poetry & song to address consent, sexual assault prevention & survivor self-care. Armed with a typewriter, buckets of glitter, silk roses, wooden hearts, a coven of hot glue guns & the mightiest volunteers in the galaxy (aka The Outlast Recovery Squad) we will assist anyone who wants to to get brave & rebuild.
You heard it, folks. Glitter AND a coven ANDANDAND poems. So not only do you get to listen to staggering poems from the High Priestess of Language but then you have the option of participating in a magical craft workshop where you build a shrine of your grief and then release it into an expanding art installation. Fuck. Yes.
Okay, so you know you need to be a part of this, right? The tour dates are already filling in from Cornell University to MacAlester in Minnesota so you can either find a city near you where Outlast will be or you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to set one up in your area.
IN THE MEANTIME, WATCH THESE WRECKING BALLS
Who would ever choose to be the damaged house,
better to be the demolition gender
Cinderblock and dog rotted
I strutted the world
AND THIS ONE
Let the girls in the locker room corner me again
If it brings me to you
Let this wild depression throw me beneath its hooves
If it brings me to you
Let my father break me again and again
If it brings me to you
TO FIND OUT MORE GO TO RACHELMCKIBBENS.COM
Some of you may know that I got engaged a few months ago! Or you may not. You may not know that I was married for 8 years to my children's father but divorced in 2009. You may not know that I have mostly been in relationships with women or genderqueer folks since then and have lived in 60 houses in Oklahoma City which might contribute to my fear of commitment and inability to stick with things. But here I am, getting married to my beloved anyway!
Kai is a critical care/trauma nurse, a musician, lover of space and sea creatures and lemon flavored things. We met when he hired me to decorate his apartment which was a little side gig I was doing a couple of summers ago.
Funny side note, I have a poem about him that was on Upworthy called To My Girlfriend the Trauma Nurse and when I was working a temp job last year, my co-worker, who didn’t know my boyfriend was trans discovered the poem and said, “Do you just date trauma nurses?” And I was like, what? And she was like, “You had a girlfriend who was a trauma nurse and now your boyfriend is a trauma nurse? And I was like “Same person.” And then proceeded to explain to my 60 year old conservative christian coworker that my boyfriend is trans. She turned out to be my favorite Republican. I love her dearly.
So on my 35th birthday, back in February, Kai asked me to marry him.
THIS WAS MY FACEBOOK POST RIGHT AFTER IT HAPPENED.
It happened like this: We decided to take a nap in the park before my meeting. It was my birthday and we happened to have a quilt in the car. We cuddled in the shape of a windshield and Kai said "the moon is doing good things" and I said "It looks like he is trying to rest his head on a blue pillow but the world is doing too many bright things." And Kai said, "Did you know that if you could drive your car straight up, you could reach outer space in just over an hour?" And I said "I don't believe you. That is like going to Dallas" and he said, "Did you know that humans are the only animals with chins?" And I thought about crustaceans and mammals and birds and said, " That seems righter than the space thing." And we tried to take a nap but then it was time to go to my meeting so I said, "Well, babe, let's go do life," as I put one sock back on.
Then Kai said, "Yea. Let's do life," and pulled out a small wooden box. Inside was a ring shaped like an opening, shaped like a mouth, shaped like a shining promise and I said "Are You Sure Are You Sure Are You Sure?" like no one could possibly be so sure about me and I gave him the wrong hand and he said it's the one connected to your heart and I said, "Yes. Yes. Yes, of course it is." Some kids in the park yelled like they were cheering for us but they were just going down the slide. It was just us in the park. Just us among all the chinless animals and the moon, doing such good things.
After I shared that story on FB, Mary Lambert shared it and one of her friends said, "That ring looks like a vagina” to which Kai replied, “If you are going to propose to Lauren Zuniga you better have a ring that looks like a vagina” He get’s me y’all.
So here we are. We have a vagina ring and now a wedding date which I picked by doing two things: looking at the OU football schedule and the moon schedule. I now six and a half months to plan a queer feminist wedding which is harder than one might expect so I’ve decided to document the journey on here.
According to Pinterest, the first thing you need to do is decide what each of your priorities for the wedding are. So we did that:
Lauren’s Wedding Priorities
A meaningful ceremony in the company of our bestest folks, officiated by someone significant in my life.
A good sound system so everyone can hear what’s happening and a good photographer to document it all.
To commission artists to do work as decor for the wedding
Kai’s Wedding Priorities.
1. A good feeling place
2. A good tasting cake.
3. An open bar
I’ve enlisted the help of Kai’s Babe of Honor, Nicole who could be mistaken for a Disney princess so she can tell me what the traditional rules are so that we can break them.
Stay tuned as we decide how the hell we are going to afford all this.
So I finally wrote my first pantoum which a friend accurately described as "writing a waterfall." I had to write the pantoum for school but it was inspired by a prompt from Rachel McKibbens of course:
Write your childhood in 12 apologies
Apologies from Mattern Drive
For doing cartwheels and smoking in the front yard.
Streams of toilet paper flung over the neighbor’s trees, eggs in their petunias.
Kissing the Mormon boy and reading with the missionaries.
You on the couch and in the bed and in the chair, a puddle of mother.
Streams of toilet paper flung over the neighbors trees, eggs in their petunias.
When Kait put the cigarette in backwards and burned her toddler tongue.
You on the couch and in the bed and in the chair, a puddle of mother.
I set a date for Baptism so I could be as normal as his Mormon mouth.
When Kait put the cigarette in backwards and burned her toddler tongue.
When she hit my head with a baseball bat and I locked her in the closet.
I set a date for Baptism so I could be as normal as his Mormon mouth.
I brought you another Diet Coke and told you about my decision.
When Kait hit my head with a baseball bat and I locked her in the closet,
she came out ten years later when I was about to marry a Moonie.
I brought you another Diet Coke and told you about my decision.
You said, “As long as I don’t have to get up.” And forgave me for leaving.