The Year of Leather & Pottery

On May 14th, 2013, I rolled over to my husband smiling._JRM2444

“Happy Anniversary.”

I said, “Sing the song.”

“What song?” he replied.

“You know the one.” I smiled.

And then he sang it.

Because out of the billions of people on this planet, he is the only one who would know just what song I meant.

Because he’s my guy.

He knows that I don’t like ice in my water or refrigerated fruit because the cold hurts my teeth. He knows that a hammock to me is what a hug machine is for Temple Grandin. He knows that I don’t like to go a day without chocolate.

He pays attention. He knows me.

We have now been married for 9 years.

The accurate length of time was news to us. We thought we were about to celebrate our 10th anniversary until we counted more carefully.

The traditional wedding gift should be one of pottery or leather.

I don’t know why.

It seems a perfect fit.

The past two years have been rough. I can tell you this now.

It seems as if our marriage was a new leather catching mitt that needed to be broken in with a solid beating. I imagine our pot needed to be fired to strengthen a few weaker spots.

So, yes. Perhaps leather and pottery are the perfect gift ideas this year.

This is the year that we celebrate in the spirit of survival.

We have bailed all of the water, patched the sail and eaten nothing but saltines for months. Storms have raged and yet suddenly, we spotted the shore, leapt from the boat and swam for our lives.

We are past the exhaustion of the swim. We are now laying in the sand with the sun kissing our skin. We are now rolling over to smile at each other in disbelief that we made it. At times we both veered off course but we landed safely next to one another.

Watch this video to hear this post’s soundtrack.

Those of you who are married and have been for a long time will know this story without hearing the details. You know what it feels like to be leather broken and a pot fired. Your ship almost went down. You know the gratitude of the lessons.

For those of you who have only been married a short time – may you never see a shipwreck. Godspeed. However, if you do, bear down and hold on. It will be awful. It will hurt and when people tell you about leather and pots, you will want to shank them.

I understand that too. May you find yourself being kissed by the sun on a safer shore someday.

For those of you who know the pain of pulling yourself out of the ocean alone – you are not a sunken ship or a weak pot. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try or how deeply you want to stay on the same course with the person you love, it doesn’t work out.

Be gentle with yourself. Love yourself. Recognize that you survived. Reward your own bravery.

Love is not easy. It is hard. It is not a napkin to stuff into your pocket. It’s not pennies that you let slip to the bottom of your handbag. It’s not a can to kick down the road out of boredom.

All love is to be treated with respect and tenderness. Love is so easily lost when it is not treated like the gift it is.

Love is like nails freshly painted. It is like flipping an omelet or whipping an egg white. Love is a box marked fragile.

Love is a battlefield.

Heh. Couldn’t help myself. :)

Our 9th wedding anniversary, the year of leather and pottery, is the year that we celebrate those lessons in survival.

Safe journey,


Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death. ~ Song of Solomon 8:6




I Blame You.

I am going to do something incredibly selfish.

I am going to tell you the whole truth.

I know that you have your expectations of me. When you see the link pop up in your feed or in your inbox, you hope for something funny, even if it is darkly so.

I am positive that I still have a few laughs still in me.

However, over the past two weeks, I have not been laughing. I have been dealing.

Well, okay. I still laughed. You know me so well.

The “dealing” was not pretty.

In the process of writing, I had this memory that I unzipped and climbed into like a jacket. I pulled it close to me and smoothed the fabric over my body. I pulled up the collar around my ears and peered down into the darkness. I saw things I couldn’t explain and I single mindedly searched for answers.

I interviewed my mother about six times in one weekend. I googled. My friend Suban googled. I cried…but only a little. I wrote a bit and then it came.

This wave of anger and indignation.  I am not even sure if anyone could see it radiating off of my body like heat waves on concrete. Under anger, there is always something else.

It was sorrow and lamentation.

The interesting part about this cycle is that when I first began this journey nearly 17 years ago, it was about forgiveness. It took me an entire year of prayer, meditation and angry fist shaking at the sky but I did it. I forgave my father.

Jokes on me. Forgiveness for something like this comes and goes like those waves of anger. You forgive and then you realize you have to deal with this other issue that was stirred into you as a little one. Then you get angry again which of course is all sorrow and lamentations. Then you forgive.

Again and again and around and around it goes.

The difference this time is that I went looking for it. I attacked my past with a machete. I poked it a little at first and then I hauled off and started whacking at it like I was trying to break open a coconut.

I realize now that I kind of was trying to break open a coconut.

Over breakfast with my derby wife, I realized something in talking to her.

Every time I remember a secret and tell it, I feel vindicated. I feel empowered. I feel like my story is mine again and not his. I feel like he doesn’t just die and get away with it.

I feel like he doesn’t get to die and destroy me. I feel like I win.

I feel like I wrap the tiny girl that I was in a blanket, hoist her up near my chest and climb out of the grave he dug for us. It is not an easy climb. The grave is huge and we are both injured but now is the time to do it.

When I was 15-years-old I could have never even attempted a journey like this. Nor could I at 22.

Someone told me recently that God allows you to remember things forgotten about trauma when you can handle them.

I blame you.

Okay. Maybe not you specifically.

I blame the people who love me.

I blame my husband for not thinking I am crazy. I blame my family for answering my questions and believing that somewhere in their answers, I will find my own. I blame my friends for checking in on me,making me laugh and hearing me out.If I were not completely drowned in their incredible love, I would not be able to go down this path. It is only through their love and confidence that I keep climbing.

I didn’t even know it but this is the perfect time to tell this story.

Finally, at the end of two weeks of anger and menacing dreams, it all turned to sorrow and I sobbed. I cried harder than I can ever remember myself crying. My husband held me and I just lost my shit. I thought I was going to have a panic attack and I didn’t. I just fell asleep and woke up with swollen eyes.

I dealt with it. I faced it. I survived.

This weekend, I will write that chapter and shut it.

Timing is everything.