Hand-clasping, pulse-rising, hopeful, hopeful smile

Yes. I’m excited about the Inauguration ceremony. Are you?

I watch the people pouring into D.C. on the news. I see the excitement, the diversity of the features that express that excitement. Have citizens from such a broad spectrum of age, race, economic status and North American geography ever come together this way before?

Probably. But not to my recollection.

I also hear the reports of security. How they are combing through all the threats, how they are trying to apply caution to this event that is meant to be markedly inclusive.

And that makes me think about how fragile hope is. Fragile and immense- symbolized by those sea of faces, this event. And while it bothered me during election that racial considerations were so prominent in the reporting, I was struck today by the reactions of black Americans who are completely ecstatic. Tears of profound gratitude to be witnessing this event, exclamations of disbelief and pure triumph in the fact of Obama, the first black president ever elected in America.

I understood that it was historical. But I didn’t fully comprehend how personal this precedent is to people who have believed themselves on the margin of society all their lives. This is important in ways I can’t grasp fully because there are barriers coming down tomorrow that just never existed for me.

But I’m thrilled. And I feel a part of the changes, and maybe that’s what’s most miraculous about our future president:

So many of us feel like we’re a part of what’s going on. And what feels to be going on is a valid reason to hope for a better tomorrow.

2008 – some highlights

Let’s see. Thinking way back to the beginning of 2008…

I had to go into my blog and try and see what it was like last January. This post seemed to be my summing up then:

Can’t Look Back so Give it a Moment

Things aren’t so different, but they’re completely different. Isn’t that weird? And weird how the people change, from year to year. You don’t think things are changing, particularly, but subtly, the characters in your circle change.

This year is different in that I actually attempted and am still working on my long term goal: To write a book.

So the decision to write that I made two years ago, January 2006 has evolved in its way from daily writing practice, to articles, to articles and a blog, and now  novel writing.

Wow. It seemed for awhile there that I’d never be brave enough to start a book. I have nanowrimo friends to thank for that, particularly Lazy Buddhist

Last year, at this time, I was getting over a brief and intensely romantic fling with a man who used to speak broken Italian to me in the morning. I thought myself heartbroken for the span of a very long weekend, and I thought myself disillusioned and done with the love game for a couple of months, and then I met the most stubborn, solid, accepting person I’ve ever met who has been anchor to my storm, support while I explored old wounds. My brief declaration of heartbreak evaporated and I haven’t felt lonely since those late days in February when my heart got all tangled up in him. 

I don’t know exactly what we are, or what we will be, or what will happen before we can be more, the way things stand- but I know he’ll always be in my life. 

And while storm and transition took place in his life, I met someone who also brought me joy. And then there was sadness because I couldn’t really decide which direction to go- or if I was in a good state to be with someone at all. So I stalled out a bit.

So I start this year with choices that I may not be ready to make. And that actually feels harder than losing someone. Because unlike the story books, where one is actually the better man, and the other has a hidden agenda or a bad character, they’re both incredible people of integrity, people I’d be lucky to have as a romantic partner.

So there was that confusion.

My daughter… she’s older, and taller. I can’t stop that need in me with each passing year to dig my heels in and stop time somehow. That’s a feeling I may always have because of mistakes I made early on, time that I missed being engaged in her. Being ‘out of it’ in my early twenties was hard, I guess, but it’s harder, this continual process of waking. There are definitely benefits to anesthesia of the spirit, but that’s scary stuff. 

So much time can pass before you wake up.

2008 saw the death of Heath Ledger, who gave a mesmerizing last performance as The Joker in Batman.

2008 was a year of exhaustive campaigning. And we weighed in here, and everywhere over the internet, blogging and writing and reading about political possibilities. And then Obama won.

That was a big part of 2008.

2008 saw three friends of mine return from Iraq. I don’t know how the experiences they survived there will influence their 2009’s, but I know it will be there, maybe deep under the surface, a silent factor in everything they think, feel and do.

2008 I met Bob Church, here in blog world. I met others too, who mean a lot to me today, but I must mention Bob specifically because our acquaintance was brief. He no longer is able to type and to write due to the cancer that has ravaged his body, but that acquaintance was very meaningful to me. I feel cheated that I didn’t get to know him for longer, but incredibly grateful that I had the chance to know him at all. His blog ‘Not Quite Right‘ will be on my blogroll for as long as there is a Stop & Wander. I hope people who read this will sometimes go and visit his words.

In 2008 I learned a little bit more about patience, but I’m impatient with myself about all there is still to learn. :)

In 2008 I took steps to seek help for the long-lasting repercussions of the abusive relationship I was in when I was twenty and pregnant. All that time and personal complication, and the diagnosis was pretty simple and clear cut: Post-traumatic-stress disorder. For some reason, having the name that identifies the set of personal set-backs I’ve encountered gives me a sense of relief. I have identified the problem. That’s the first step.

I’m no more extroverted then I was a year ago, but I derive more pleasure from my intimate relationships. More than ever, I love a good story. I think stories are important. Maybe this year I can look around more at my family, at their stories. For a long time it’s been easier to focus on the stories of people I didn’t know.

And that’s my summary. 

It doesn’t call for resolutions, just a continuing along on our story, Sierra and I. And the people I come to know, like all of you here. It’s beautiful to me to see your stories, to get to laugh along and cry with you. To be touched, to reach out and draw in. Those patterns of a really great story.

I wonder what will be in 2009.

I wonder.

Throwing Shoes at the President

Grawg.

I can’t help it. I feel a little sorry for the President. I know he doesn’t deserve it, after being a puppet of corporate interests for 8 years, and messing shit up horribly for the next generation, but I’m moronically soft-hearted toward an underdog, and this guy is such an object of ridicule now, I feel sorta bad.

Nonetheless, I watched the video of him getting shoes thrown at his head with much glee, over and over. If you can say nothing else for Senor Bush, it must be admitted that his reflexes aren’t too shabby for a washed out old monkey.

It appeals to my sense of the ridiculous that a journalist lobbed his shoes at the president’s head, during his ultra-grave, super-secret mission to Iraq (a last ditch effort to look like he’s actually done something from the oval office). I mean, haven’t we all kinda wanted to throw something at this guy from time to time? What I particularly enjoyed is that, though the S.S. jumped him and brought the Cairo journalist down, he managed to get both shoes launched off as projectiles before anyone interfered. And there was a pretty lengthy pause in between, too. Deep down, subconsciously, I think everyone at the proceeding was leaning toward seeing if the dude could nail Mr. B with the second loafer, since the first one sailed over. 

Not to say everyone gathered had hostile intentions toward the big buffoon we elected to office, twice; I’m just saying there may have been an entertainment factor in play. You know, the same sort of observational impulse that overtakes onlookers at a shooting gallery. Whatever the case, here’s what the fella said to our president as he launched the tootsie missiles at his bulbous target: 

“This is a farewell kiss, you dog!”

And here is President Bush’s carefully considered, concise response to questions about the incident.

“Uh, it is one way to gain attention. Uh, it’s like going to a political rally and having people yell at you. It’s like driving down the street and having people not gesturing with all five fingers…”

(i can’t stop laughing at that last little gem)