Little Boy Blue, a poem

Posting this poem yet again because my heart is hurting yet again. Things won’t change until we demand that they change.  But it takes a lot of us demanding change to make it happen.

 

Little Boy Blue

Oh little boy blue,
Playing with a gun,
Don’t you know someone
Once held you for her own?
Carried you for nine months,
Then rocked you for more?
Can you even understand
How you made her heart soar?

Oh little boy blue,
In your uniform so dark,
When you go about your work,
The stains never leave a mark.
You stand before your family,
Your chin lifted in pride.
The shine on your badge
Can’t hide the darkness inside.

Oh little boy blue,
How can you sleep at night?
Do you truly believe that
‘Might makes right’?
Your anger and aggression
Causes blood to pour.
Do you even know
Who you’re fighting for?

Oh little boy blue,
Your friends call you out to play.
Now you’re hunting in a pack
Each and every day.
Didn’t your mother teach you
Not to always follow the crowd?
Is there ever an end
To the violence you’re allowed?

Oh little boys in blue,
Playing with your guns,
Don’t you realize we’re all
Someone’s daughters and sons?

Copyright 2015, Kat Micari

Taking Responsibility for My Life Path

I’ve still been feeling rather stuck on where I want to grow next creatively and career-wise in life. There are excuses, some more valid than others (lack of sleep due to baby – very valid excuse), but I realized lately that I’ve partially been sitting around waiting for some signs from the universe. Aside from allowing myself to be trapped in an office job for about a year and a half longer than I should have let myself be back in the early 2010s, my life path has always progressed organically. I’ve mentioned before that I decide I really want to try something out, and it happens. Opportunities come up and I take them, and they may not be specifically what I had planned, but things progress. I work my butt off, gain experience, and that’s what life is for me. Taking opportunities as they come. But before I decide I want to do something, I spend an insane amount of time hemming and hawing and waiting for a nudge or hint that I’m doing the right thing. Sometimes I get involved with very serious doubts on whether it’ll be good in the long run but just trust that I’m meant to be at certain places at certain times. A healthy way to live life, I think, but I’m pretty sure I don’t get to have it that way this time.

I have to take action myself. I preach taking personal responsibility and I know that there are inherent human freedoms, and I have to now step fully into the weight of that and take charge of my life. Which means deciding what I really want. Which is something I’ve always had a difficult time doing. And I find it doubly so now, because beyond a vague desire to “be creative”, what I really want is more time with my family. Which we’re working toward, but I miss that ambitious drive to push me through on projects.

I think I also have always wanted outside validation, a stamp of approval that my work is good. All of us creatives have that to a certain extent, don’t we? I want to march to the beat of my own drum, but I want other people to be tapping their hands along to the rhythm. It’s almost like my whole life I’ve been looking for permission to create the way I want to. And if I didn’t get that outside validation, I kind of just stopped pushing forward with that side of my creativity. Which is a tough thing to admit, but it’s true.

So I have a lot still to process in these realizations that hit me a couple of weeks ago. But processing through this is A Big Deal, and this will lay the groundwork for the next part of my life. A life path I will choose wholeheartedly. It will still be eclectic, and I’ll probably still be all over the place in my creative instincts, but it will be mine.

Books, Books, Books!

I apologize for my lack of posts in the past couple of weeks, but life has gotten crazy recently. But now I’m back and hopefully will have a few months of regular updates until things get crazy again. We’ll see.

A couple of weeks ago, I was given some free furniture from my aunt who is upgrading, and it included a couple of bookshelves, which when added to the bookshelf we bought from a friend moving last summer, allowed us to finally unpack all of our books and CDs, which was about ten boxes. And this is after we’d weeded through and removed several boxes to pass on and donate. So yes, we’re crazy about books. For me, I really do like to re-read series, and there are some series I’ve revisited so many times in my life, so it was like unpacking old friends. I still had several books I had saved from my youth that I put up in my son’s room, as we started reading chapter books together (a chapter a night, plus two picture books before bed – his first chapter book was The Little Prince). I’m excited to share the books I loved with him, and also it is definitely intentional that I am reading books with both male and female protagonists. I want him to love stories about every body.

Anyway, my big mother’s day gift that I asked for, since we’re still recovering financially, was time to alphabetize the books. So I did that. It’s the first time all of our books are together and organized since 2011. And 2010-2011 was the first time we ever had our full collection together in one spot. So it feels good. Because I’m a dork, I wanted to start reading through the shelf, reading one book in between two works on my Kindle (which is generally heavier works or indie books or whatever I can get for free that sounds interesting) but couldn’t decide if I wanted to start at the beginning or the end, so my husband suggested doing a random letter generator and I got ‘R’. So I just finished a short story collection of Kim Stanley Robinson called The Planet on the Table which I had never read. It was good. Really deep. There was one particular story that was a “what-if” about American WWII military involved in dropping the atomic bombs in Japan that dealt heavily with the notion of personal responsibility. It’s an important question to ask – who holds more responsibility? Who has more blood on their hands? The person giving the orders or the person pushing the button/pulling the trigger? To say “I was just following orders” does not erase culpability. Ever. But which carries the bigger burden?

I don’t get to read as much as I did when the baby was nursing more, but I still manage 10-20 minutes a day usually. Sometimes a little more. So now that the short story collection is done, I’m going back to the two I was flipping back and forth on the Kindle – a book on Qigong energy which I’ve been reading in segments and incorporating bits of what I’m learning into my little time for meditation I still manage to squeeze in during the week and Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Idea, volume 1 of 3 volumes, which is super long and intense but really good. I got up to a section on art that I’m going to do a post about eventually, but I don’t know how to cut down the section in the book. I’m about halfway through both of those, and then when I finish them, I’ll move on to re-reading the Harry Potter series, which I haven’t touched since I was given the 7th book when it first came out. So that will be a fun palate cleanser in between the heavier works I’m tackling.

So yeah, I’m a lifelong learner and I love exploring topics deeply, but I also enjoy disappearing into a good work of fiction. I’m glad that I am going to try to balance both moving forward. It may help inspire me to start writing fiction again.

Freedom’s Just Another Word…

I came across this quote recently from the author David Foster Wallace that I thought was interesting, because it’s the exact opposite of what most people think of when they imagine freedom.

The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.

The truth is I have found more internal freedom than I ever thought possible through having my kids. I’ve grown so much in making space that includes family and deep soul connections in my life. I’ve lost fear. Which is the biggest freedom there is. So even though I can’t go out partying if I get the urge, even though I can’t blow my paycheck on concert tickets and new clothes, even though I frequently put another person’s needs before my own needs and almost always put someone else’s needs before my wants, I am free or on my way to being free in the ways that truly matter.  Sometimes, though, I very badly need the reminder, and so this quote hit home.

What are your thoughts on freedom?

Also, the title of the blog post comes from the Janis Joplin song “Me and Bobby McGee” which I’ve always loved singing along to.

Internal Progress

I video recorded myself playing piano and singing two songs the other night and then watched it. And I was able to not be too overly critical of myself. Which is huge progress. My perfectionist streak which I’ve battled for years to channel into productive paths has gotten in my way a lot, as has stage fright that rose up sometime between undergrad and grad school, so the fact that I didn’t cringe or shy away from myself is a very big deal.

The songs were two I worked on with my voice teacher last year – a Joan Baez song and one from the musical The Scarlet Pimpernel, so I knew I had certain nuances down before I even started playing. The next step will be to record myself playing my own music, and at that point, I can let the perfectionist out a little for tweaking purposes.

Music is so important for healing. I’ve said it often that it is the one area I’ve felt a lack in my life since leaving undergrad. So I’m glad I can introduce it into my life again.

A Couple Visualizations

The world has seemed especially bleak lately, hasn’t it? Disturbing videos, articles and op-ed pieces pointing fingers and hurling blame for every societal ill we face, people becoming inundated with guilt and fear and hatred, our so-called leaders and the elite growing more open in their hatred of the general population by the minute it seems. It’s a lot to process, perhaps even too much to process all at once. Which is how it’s designed to be, right? Keep us spinning until we’re dizzy and then we’re just grateful for the slight pauses to catch our breath.

To ground myself and not get sucked in by the chaos, I keep two visualizations in mind. First, each individual person is a drop in the ocean of humanity. So that image of myself as a drop of water in the sea keeps me humble and allows me to go a little easier on myself because a drop of water is sometimes swept along with the collective chaos of the sea. It’s okay to let myself go with the current at times. But a drop of water is also strong. It can continuously purify itself if it gets contaminated through the process of evaporation, always returning back to it’s original molecules. It can shape stone over time, especially when working with other drops. It is the source of life on this planet.

The other visualization is remembering that humans are made of the same stuff of stars, as Carl Sagan famously said. The star I visualize being from originally is a big blue one. This helps me keep my higher self in mind and not give into the pettiness and despair as often as I sometimes feel pulled to. Also, I’ve been working on this visualization to give myself permission to shine. We all should shine as brightly as we are able and not let fear dim our lights.

Do you have any visualizations that you have been working with lately to further your creativity/productivity and keep yourself from sinking too deep into the current muck and mire of modern life?

I’m So Very Very Tired…

Cue Madeline Kahn. If I ever decided to pursue a career in acting, my goal would be to follow in Madeline Kahn’s footsteps.

But seriously, I’m so tired. My 9 month old has been going through a sleep regression for weeks now. And the lack of sleep is taking a huge toll on me emotionally and physically. I’ve been suffering a severe lack of “me” time, either to relax and self-care or to create. We know what we signed up for as parents, especially being the second time around, but it’s still not easy. I pity those who are chronic insomniacs.

I’m also tired in the sense I blogged about last spring. You can read it here. More people seem to be growing aware of the bigger picture, that change is needed, but will it be enough?

And really, I’m so tired of being strong. Strength of will, strength of character, a pillar of strength, a warrior woman, juggling it all…  Is it strength to do what you feel you have to do? I don’t know.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t start this blog until after my son was a year and a half years old. He was a terrible sleeper and I was a “mombie” for a long time. A couple of weeks at a time with his sister doesn’t seem half bad by comparison.

I’ll be back to normal soon, I hope. I feel like I’ll be emerging from my cocoon soon.

Cristofori’s Dream by David Lanz

I don’t pay for the Premium package here yet so you’ll have to  click the link to hear the song. Play it while you read. Last week I dug the song out from my messy sheet music binder, and I’ve played it a couple of times since.

My uncle had a decent-sized New Age piano book collection that he kept at my grandparents’ house with other piano music because they had a baby grand, and I loved going through and trying to play all his sheet music growing up. This song was one that I could actually play decently, which was great because it was one I fell in love with. So I photocopied it at the library (10 cents a page!) and played it over and over again at home on our ancient upright piano that was always flat, but flat consistently so the keys were fairly in tune together just almost a 1/2 step lower than it should be. Then in college, I actually arranged it into a flute duet and performed it with a friend of mine, letting her take the first part so I could come in with the harmonies that I loved so much. I haven’t touched it much in recent years, with my piano being at my mother’s house for so long, so it was really nice getting it out. Certain songs are like old friends.

I posted a long time ago about the creative process being able to stop time, and this song, for me, is one that immediately puts me in that space. It is meditative, contemplative, and it takes on the emotional undercurrent of whatever I’m feeling at the time easily and lets me process. So that even when I’m sad or angry, it soothes.

What are the creative processes that you have that put you into a calmer, more present state of being?

My Growing Disapproval of the Label “Woke”

The label “woke” is everywhere I turn, and increasingly I cringe inwardly every time I hear it. “Are you woke?” “I’m woke.” “This person is so woke.” “#staywoke” And on and on. A dear friend of mine, whom I love, has been calling her new beau “woke AF”, and it was realizing how much I was making a face while reading this that made me question why I was reacting in this way (and if you are reading this, you know that I am THRILLED that you are so happy and have such an amazing person in your life and I will gladly bear the cringing while being witness to your bliss).

So why do I take issue? Why, I’m so glad you’ve asked.

  1. If you’ve spent any time with me before, you will know I hate labels of all kinds. And this has become yet another divisive label for people. People who think of themselves as “woke” frequently mock and deride the “unwoke” and rather than sharing the knowledge they have gained, they decide to write off those who are not at their level of advancement. And this separation is feeding the ego, not the spirit. If you are more woke than someone else in some ways, then you should have compassion for those that are not yet awake, not disdain. Frustration occasionally, but not disdain. Because at the end of the day, we are both individuals and a collective whole, as a species. So anything that raises you up above other peoples in your own head and makes you able to write off a large group is not really healthy. That’s like writing off your left foot because it’s numb from being in one position for too long, instead of helping to change the position of the left foot to get the blood flowing and be able to use it. Basically, many use it as smug elitism, and that isn’t doing anyone any good.
  2. So very many people, maybe especially those that consider themselves spiritual or are attempting to prey on others who are spiritual, are using the term as a tool to manipulate others to do what they want and to create power differentials. It’s incredibly hypocritical, and hypocrisy is something I abhor. I would rather spend time with an honest asshole than a hypocritical nice person. I have seen arguments that go “I get to do XYZ because I’m woke, and you only have a problem with it because you aren’t. If you were woke, you’d understand”, and what I understand is that you want the opportunity to gain something using really sleazy tactics.
  3. Not everyone is woke to the same things. Some may be spiritually woke and some physically, some may be socially woke while others are woke internally, some may have a slight inkling of what is going on behind the scenes while others may see the same thing from a different angle. I do believe that there are natural laws in the universe we are operating in, and certain fundamental truths exist, but as far as the details go, we all have a lot to learn. So keeping an open mind and not comparing “woke-ness” is a good step. Ben Folds sang that there’s always someone cooler than you, and one can apply that here. There is always someone more evolved and conscious than you.
  4. I think my biggest problem with the term “woke” and the way it is permeating into common culture is that it is in the past tense, implying that the work is done. And I get it. I had some huge leaps in spiritual and creative growth in 2014, when I finally lost my fear of myself and my power to change the world. And I had a brief moment after the tumultuous growing pains where I thought that I was done and could rest on my enlightened laurels and enjoy the fruits of my labor. But the truth is that awakening is something that should be consistently happening in your life. It is an active, present-tense verb because that is the way we should be living – in the present-tense. If you are woke, then you aren’t expanding yourself as much as you can be because you consider yourself done. Diving deep means uncovering more to learn, getting answers to questions means even more questions come up. If I were a bigger conspiracy theorist, I would say that the whole woke movement has been co-opted by figures in whose interest it is to keep people from that repetitive awakening. Life should be like a Fibonnaci spiral – we start small, we expand, then we go back and then expand again but in ever widening circles.

I don’t know. I am probably making much out of nothing. Language is more important than most people realize though. Do any of you have thoughts or feelings on the way this has permeated our culture?

Doctor Dragged from United Flight And the Greater Metaphor

There is the shocking footage currently circulating of the doctor that was dragged from a United Airlines flight due to overbooking. You can see the New York Times article here. And people filmed it, people verbally protested the man being dragged, but not one person moved to intervene. And following the incident, everyone, including the doctor, got back on the flight. This boggles my mind, because I would not go anywhere with that particular crew given that they clearly showed what they truly think of the passengers.

For me, I immediately imagined myself in that situation, or being at home and watching my neighbors be violently dragged away by “the authorities” for no reason whatsoever. And I honestly don’t know. One person against several are not decent odds. But an entire plane-full? Why didn’t they collectively demand a different crew, demand their money, demand for lawyers to be brought to the airport? It didn’t have to be a violent uprising, but some kind of uprising would be more respectful. We’ve been treated like livestock by the plane industry for years, but this really surprised me. Yet another sign of how complacent we’ve all become.

So here we stand, on the brink of yet another unjust war fought over oil on a foreign field that we helped set the stage for, that the powers that be have been manipulating and trying to accomplish for years. And we may loudly protest what will come, but will any of us actually try to stop them? Will we stop giving our power over? I don’t know.