I did make it home. The train was on time, I got a seat on it. I left no marker of my passage and I got my khakis into a sink of cold water so I think they might be saved.

And I’ve been thinking about my own internalized femiphobia. Is there a real word for fear of femaleness? Because even as I was typing my entry yesterday I realized how fucked up it is that I consider my menstrual blood shameful. That I would rather be spouting arterial blood from a severed limb than show a spot of menstrual blood. How fucked up is that? Next thing you know I’ll be blaming the failure of bread to rise or the withering of my plants or Julia’s bad mood or the spoiling of the milk or the coffee crisis in Nicaragua on the fact that my menstruating self passed within a specified number of feet of said objects. I should have reached down into my paint pot and finger painted a little desk artwork… well, no. But still. And this is not to say that everyone who commented on my last post about how they’ve had similar embarrassing incidents is bad, because you’re not, not at all, but rather to point out some sort of insidious something that has us all pinned beneath its inimical thumb. Or something.

Anyway, I’m wearing my absolute favorite color combination today: turquoisey sky-blue with sage green. Reminds me of the Utah desert and the sage forests which stretch on and on waist and chest high till they run up against reddish ochre cliffs or fall off into the sky. I swear, as I move around in this particular color combination I can smell sagebrush and reddirt in rain. I need shoes that particular shade of orangeyred, and I would be Southern Utah walking around, my hair the color of scrub bark. Sometimes I like to add touches of gold to these colors, and then I’m the desert in Late August/Early September when the rabbit brush is in bloom and the landscape is limned in gold even on rainy days. No gold today, though. No. Silver and white to the mix. Silver like juniper or pinion pine or scrub oak fallen or standing but still dead and bleaching slowly as insects and birds and wind whittle them down to slivers of themselves. White like a heavy moon rising above the cliffs on a summer afternoon. White like the glare of the sun on slick rock.

Damn, I wish I were camping. We haven’t camped the last two summers. Kristin and I were at a store over the weekend and there was a tent set up. A family sized tent. Something we’d need now that our 3 man sleeper is far too small for our family. For a brief moment I lusted after that tent. That tent with the little doggie door and the separate rooms and the attached screen room. And a covered entry way where we could take our dusty/sandy shoes off. We could set up one of those little rooms as a play area for Julia… maybe we’ll go back and get it, or one similar. Maybe we’ll actually make it out to the great wild this summer. It would do the dogs good to get out of the valley. Anyone care to join us? We can make hobo dinners in the fire and light marshmallow torches and hike around looking for cryptobiotic soil and pictographs and petroglyphs and pueblo granaries and horney toads and blue bellied lizards. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll hear coyotes yip in the distance at dusk and the dogs will laze in the dust after a hard day of chasing small creatures and scaling rocks.

Today I turn 31. I was going to post a picture that I found while digging through my mom’s photos. But I left it at her house. Anyway, it’s a picture of me and my siblings standing next to my dad’s truck. We had decorated it with balloons and crepe paper for his 30th birthday. One year younger than I am now. I was 10. And I think about my parents at my age. I can remember them at my age. Already the parents of 3 children, they were fighting to adopt my sister. My memories of them have them so much older than I will ever be. So much more like real adults. I can’t imagine my 31 year old self with an 11 year old, a 9 year old, a 6 year old and a 2 year old. I think of the things they had dealt with by that time: the sexual abuse of 2 of their children; a wrong-headed investigation intent on proving that even though an uncle was the perpetrator my father must have been involved as well, because, well, just because (he wasn’t); a CPS investigation because our Mormon neighbors thought my parents weren’t raising their children in a morally right way, and besides, they were dirty people because they had laundry on (gasp) their pool table – yes, there really was an investigation just because of that, it was really hard not being LDS in Utah before, say, far too recently ago, it’s still hard not being LDS in some parts of the state – ; a trial separation, a reunion; the murder of my dad’s father; various siblings of my mother’s moving in and out of their house; building two homes; working working working; my maternal grandmother having 4 or 5 or 6 heart attacks. I wonder how well I would have handled any of those things in my 20s. How well would I handle them now? I’m not sure. I’d like to think that there are reserves of “grownupness” deep inside me that I could call upon in times of necessity. But I just don’t feel it. Even with Julia’s arrival, I still don’t feel like an adult. I just feel older. I feel like I always have even when I was a stupid kid trying to handle my mother’s deep depression or the fact that my father seemed to have to work his body to pieces to support the extra weight of all us kids. When I think about how my parents checked out of my childhood so often, how many mistakes they made and how damaged I sometimes feel I also remember now how young they really were and how much shit piled up and threatened to push them down and how yet they survived and dragged us kids with them up and out of a family history that included suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, extreme poverty, filth, domestic violence, hard labor, crime. They were growing up, too. The parents I have now are not the parents of my youth. And I can forgive them their mistakes because they learned from them and grew.

But back to my birthday. When I turned 24 and entered my “early mid twenties” I grew depressed because I had never had a wild youth and now I was too old to be an irresponsible fuck-up. I was too old to be a baby dyke and too old to have one. When I turned 28 and entered my “mid late twenties” I kicked myself for thinking that 24 was too old to goof off and be a baby dyke or have one (of course by that time I was with Kristin who had been a genuine baby dyke in her day, so technically I guess I did have one) but still felt that now that I was 28 I was too old to have a wild youth. Now here I am at 31 thinking “God, at least when you’re 28 you’re still in your twenties. You can still be wild and fuck up in your twenties, but now I’m in my “mid early thirties” and my chance to have a wild youth truly has passed.” The fact is I spent far too much time mourning my lost youth when I was still in the youth I could have lost. Maybe I should go get purple streaks in my hair before I get too much older. Maybe I should just stop caring about age and what you’re allowed to do at what age. Maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe I should see if Kristin will put on flannel and ripped jeans and docs and color her hair a ghastly shade of orange and put her tongue stud back in and I’ll put on jeans ripped at both the knee and right where the ass joins the thigh and my thermal long johns will peek through and we’ll go separately to a smoky divey bar and I’ll dance to Pearl Jam in my clunky boots and Kristin will order drinks at the bar with a cigarette dangling from her lip watching me and working up her courage to dance with me and right after NIN’s “Closer” she’ll intercept me as I come off the dance floor and I’ll be so unused to being picked up that I won’t notice what’s happening until it’s too late to ruin it and she’ll take me home with her and we’ll end up making out in the doorway of her place, and on the couch and on her bed to an Ani soundtrack. And afterwards I’ll think about how I should get dressed and go home, but she’s so snuggly and warm and after all, I AM home. And during all of this, during it all there is this huge bright shining future holding us, catching us, manifesting around our skin and at the edges of our vision; our child, our children laughing and babbling (listen just a little bit harder and you can make out what she’s saying) just the next room over, looking forward to all of us growing up together.

Posted by Trista @ 11:16 AM

Read or Post a Comment

Damn, girl. You ARE such a poet.

Happu Birthday, Fellow Fish. Enjoy, with or without ripped jeans, NIN, and all the rest....

Posted by Blogger Jen @ 11:55 AM #

I think that your concern for not being grown-up enough or not being youthful enough is probably why you are both.

Does that make sense?

Posted by Anonymous lauri @ 12:06 PM #

You're both youthful and grown-up because you're willing to feel both? Is that better?

Also, I agree with you on the menstruation thing. Why is is such a big deal? I think it's an issue of control - we don't like the idea that we can't control our bodies, which feels shameful to us. So, when we further lose control (oh, my god, someone can see it!) we feel further ashamed.

Posted by Anonymous lauri @ 12:11 PM #


I feel the same about my present age vs. my parents at my age. When my mom was my age, which is also your age, I was 12. Crazy. Of course, there are some things that are way more together for me than they ever were for my parents. I'm sure that's true for you, too.

Happy Birthday.

Posted by Blogger hd @ 12:58 PM #

Beautiful. I love the date full of possibility. Bringing me back to the 90's.

Posted by Blogger charlotte @ 1:04 PM #

wonderful post!
but more to the point:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Blogger Calliope @ 1:34 PM #

I already told you this, but it bears repeating.

I'm sure glad you were born.



Posted by Blogger breather @ 1:38 PM #

Happy Birthday!

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 1:52 PM #

You and Kristin should certainly have that date. But, to top it all off, you need to look at her amorously and say, "Wanna make out?"

Happy, happy birthday!

Posted by Blogger Kiker @ 2:09 PM #

Happy Birthday!

For all that worrying - you will always be one year younger than me. I guess you probably shouldn't use that as a guage now that I mention it, but whatever.

Posted by Blogger Amy @ 2:18 PM #

What a great post. Happy, happy birthday!

Posted by Blogger Anne @ 2:19 PM #

Happy Birthday.

Thanks for letting me borrow Kristin and Julia last night. I needed the outing.

Posted by Blogger WendyLou @ 2:25 PM #

hApPy BiRtHdAy, trista!

Posted by Blogger betsy @ 2:35 PM #

Fabulous, fabulous writing. Made me think about my own parents youngness when I was born & the kind of crap they had to go through. Totally with you on not feeling "grown up" yet, just myself, only older. And I love that scenerio of the pick up & make out. Dreamy in a steamy, sexy sort of way. Go for it! And have a fantastic birthday.

Posted by Blogger Brooke @ 2:37 PM #

fuck, you made me cry again. Happy birthday.

Posted by Blogger Sacha @ 2:54 PM #

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! and as we say here: FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS!!!

I was wondering when was your birthday and I hope you get your flickr pro as a present, if my economy wasn't as bad as it is this days I would certanly gave it to you :)

Cool Post by the way!

Big big Hug all the way from Mexico to Utah!

Posted by Blogger Sublime @ 7:49 PM #

Happy, Happy Birthday Trista!!!

Posted by Blogger Sarah and BB @ 12:46 AM #

What a beautiful post. Your writing evokes such images in my mind. I have been thinking back lately on the fact that my parents were so very young when they were my age, although they seemed so very grown up. When my mother was my age, I was 16 and horrible and I'm sure I could never have dealt with my adolescent raging with the same understanding she did. It really gives me more appreciation for them.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday and that you have a great year.

Posted by Blogger Jennifer @ 7:40 AM #

Happy Birthday Trista!

I hope that it was a great great day.

Posted by Blogger J @ 8:49 AM #

Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!

I vote with both camping, and seeing if you can free yourself up from some of the worry about at what age you're allowed to do X or Y or Z.

Since you're such a wonderful and introspective writer, it might be interesting -- and maybe even helpful -- to see if you can write up at what age you decided that you could only do X until Y age, etc, and what had you decide that.

And I haven't gotten to go camping in years either, but damn do I want to go. Jill would probably be more enthusiastic with a group! Cam-ping! Cam-ping! Cam-ping!

Posted by Anonymous Liza @ 11:15 AM #

LOVED the sexy timewarp ending.

I will never, so long as I live, camp. I hate camping with the white hot passion of a thousand suns.

But have fun.

And happy birthday!!!!

Posted by Anonymous bri @ 1:25 PM #

A wonderfully lyrical and emotional post :o)

Plus, sending belated happy birthday wishes!

Posted by Anonymous Tamsin @ 1:13 AM #
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