Saturday, November 19, 2016

Safety First

I’m willing to go $75 on both of them”

I know that to many of you it may seem as if I’ve sort of vanished from the wine blogosphere, and for the most part I guess that is true. I’m not sure I ever belonged in that group to begin with actually, seeing as my blog is more of a personal diary of sorts. My life, my son, my relationships, my passion both before wine wrapped its textured tongue around me, swallowed me whole, and after. I write, um maybe wrote is a more accurate word considering how often I’ve been here as of late, (Been writing some soul searching and blisteringly raw pieces for myself but I have been woefully absent from this space) for the joy of finding my voice, sharing and maybe, just once in a while, making someone feel a little more comfortable tucked into their own skin in this complex and confusing world we all amble through. Felt like I was there for a bit but somewhere along the way I succumb to the awkward tugging of these pages, my bare flesh and emotion so exposed the utter nudity of my words making me both moist with want to do more and susceptible to the lashings from those that shamed be for everything from my lack of education to the insatiable gnarl of sensuality that haunted me until I found this place to unzip.

Messes with one’s head I assure you and as I have mentioned in posts earlier, I feel like I have been binding and gagging myself in some sort of emotional self-mutilation. So fucking cliché that I feel like I am preforming an act of flagellation by stepping out from behind my silent cursor to strip down to my most naked and defeated, all my blobby and chewed up bits unprotected for the bottom feeders to feast upon. Fuck you. Eat the poison you fed me. Those toxic little injections of anger, mockery, accusation and utter disregard coursing through my already collapsing veins sending me seeking new ways to nod out….silence my opiate of choice, until.

“I’m willing to go $75.00 on both”

I was sitting with my son at the restaurant I am currently owned by. We were scarfing spring rolls, our teeth tugging through the chewy skin to be met with sticks of vibrant cucumber, crisp greens, densely packed charred sweet shrimp and a layer of deep fried wrapper skin that has been tucked in the middle of the utterly perfect roll, you know, just for added crunch and craveability. The viscous orange sauce I’d seasoned with floral, and throat grabbing peppers, a blanket of hedonism and punishment. The Vietnamese crepe with its painfully delicate eggy crustiness balancing on our chop sticks as we folded pieces into cool lettuce envelopes that we would douse with a sour bath of fish sauce and sweet vinegar and fragrant purple herbs. The packet brought to our insatiable palates, bean sprouts and tender shrimp bodies melting and exploding at the exact same time. It was nearly enough, until.

“Have you seen this?!”

“I can’t fucking believe this”

“Are you okay?” 

The text messages started mid meal and that sinking feeling I had been feeling for a month, it was now an undertow that locked around my ankles and pulled me under so deep and for so long I was terrified that I might not ever breathe correctly again. Worse, not sure I wanted to considering the fact that hate actually won.

 Election night 2016. I spent it in one of my favorite spots, with someone I love more than any other on the planet, then I came home, threw up and emotionally passed out on my couch. Clothes on, my sickened breath redolent with the gin martini I “needed” before heading home and the bile stirred up by a momentary loss in my faith. I don’t read a book, I don’t pray at any alter. My faith lies in the oft kicked in the gut belief that most of us, no matter how blobby and poisoned, scared, scarred and uncertain, we are at our core decent. Trying to find my faith the next few days would prove, erm, challenging and at times painful but….

“You got them both!”

A Facebook message from my coworker Andy. He had been at the shop working our annual Su Casa event. Su Casa, a group that helps victims of domestic violence escape and begin a new, safe life. If there are more courageous and selfless people out there I don’t know who they are. Each year Randy and Dale Kemner, my bosses, offer up our space, provide wine and staff as well as a few snacks to Su Casa so they can raise awareness, and funds that will provide much needed assistance to families that just need that extended hand and safe space. Those of you that have been reading me for any length of time will fully understand why this cause is so near my heart. These individuals are what we should all aspire to be, people that care for those so in need that even just the slightest beam of brightness and hope will inspire their own inner superhero. Inspire them to reach out to the hand that is being extended to them and run from the one that has been pounding and reigning down upon them.

I’m going to confess a weak truth. I never work this event. It’s too close and too hard for me. I look at the faces of the women that come in to set up. Prep food. Fasten balloons to tables and sign posts. Smell them heavily scented and feel their palpable excitement for the evening like a sweet stroke over long ago healed wounds, a whisper over my scars. I know I should be the first to volunteer but, but I don’t. I prep cheese plates in the back and before walking out the back door I look into our space, The Wine Country’s big welcoming embrace as newly glammed up women work together fastening name tags, prepping prizes for the raffle and shove big serving spoons in plastic bowls full of fresh fruit or mayonnaise dressed salads in order to raise some money for their sisters that will come, when they are ready. I soak it in each year and slip out the backdoor. Proud of the people I work for and amazed at the overpoweringly uplifting and, hopefully, inspiring nature of the whole scene. This year however…

Before I was running out, too afraid to look anyone too deep in the eye, not for how they might recognize my, edge, as much as for the fact that being in their presence tends to cause a reaction in me that most find unnerving. Watching a grumpy looking rock tear up is some sort of Hunter S Thompson level crazy and I find most would rather not. Can’t say as I blame them, can you? Anyhow, this time I took a few extra moments. Strolled the shop and decorations. Helped with affixing balloons and assisted a lovely woman with caramel colored skin, shiny jet black curls, cheerful eyes and full painted lips that stretched wide with every gesture that made her tasks a little easier. She was stunningly confident and comfortable and I envied her. Admired her. She had in her smile and wit something I was drawn to. A longing. A familiar flicker that made me feel at home. Safe. I followed her around with a tape dispenser taking deep breaths, hoping I could breathe in some of her hope.

Heading out just before the event was to begin and I was stopped, literally in my tracks, by two paintings. I leaned in close. Studied the lines like I’d seen people in museums all over the world do. My goofy uneducated noggin taking it all in. Hands folded behind me, back slightly curved as I inspected the work being displayed. Both pieces critically inspected I scribbled a, slightly low, bid on both of them before straightening up my spine and walking over to Randy as I grabbed my backpack.

“Randy, I want them. I’m willing to go $75.00 on both”

Randy’s big smile the kind of extended hand I was seeking. I knew, as I always know, he was looking out for me and would do his best to help me, help lots of us. Climbing into my car that night I knew I had an advocate, as a woman and as a person, in my corner and I knew he would raise his paddle as it were and fight for my instantly adored and longed for pieces genuine hope. 

So now? Now I get to wake up each morning, some easier than others but I wake up knowing that no matter how much hate there is out there, in my home, my homes if you include The Wine Country and this place, if y’all still want me, I have safety…and hope. 

Thank you Su Casa, Randy Kemner for all you do and thank you to Lamesha and Jose, your beautiful paintings full of honesty and hope grace my living room walls and remind me that as bad as things get, there is always hope. You give me the courage and desire to speak, loudly. Cry openly. Seethe secrety. Drink deeply. Love openly. Open my mouth and creek out my voice again, hopefully. 


Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Oh, we want you back here alright. And this is a lovely piece. I love those paintings, too. The bird in front of our moon is terrific. That Jose might be going places.

Been a terrible year, people showing the worst of themselves. All that's left is kindness, and you are kindness personified, Samantha. Rub a bunch off on me. And don't stop until I tell you to.

Never stop.

But don't tease us by only writing once in a blue moon. We need more. I need more.

This piece made my day.

I love you so!

Thomas said...

Over the past few months, I have lost the desire to talk to some people I have known for decades--family members. I could not--cannot--imagine what it is their souls, but it does not seem pretty, and it isn't what it appears to be on the surface. Rather than hateful, they are desperate; rather than self-contained, they are fearful; rather than alive, they have died along time ago, killed by unfulfilled wants and twisted insights.

For the past two weeks I have walked, sat, lay down, stood up, exercised on my staionary bike, cooked, drank, banged on my keyboard, all under an extremely heavy weight that threatened to crush me flat and dead. It has been difficult to laugh, but not difficult to feel--if only the feeling were good. Then Sam's post comes along, and the feeling is good.

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
Jose work is simply lovely. I walk past it first thing in the morning and right as I reach up and turn out the living room light before turning in for the night. So vibrant the colors. Vivid as is the fact that that young soul is struggling with how he can have his hero, his father, abuse his mother. He can deal with that and still be that hopeful. Precious reminder.

Thank you for reading Love, and caring if I write or not. Matters way more than you know.
I love you too!

How are you dear friend? I mean other than floored at the state of things, and souls. I am still struggling but this is what we have now and we have to fight even harder to make this a better place. Be advocates for each other. Speak out when we see injustice. I have to anyway. I am so glad my post made you feel good darlin. That made me tear up a little. Thanks for being here, always.

Marco said...

What Tom said, thank you and the best to you and yours for the holidaze!