Archives For Love

“I don’t want to see you anymore. I don’t love you,” he said. I hung up the phone to the sound of an intruder pounding at my door, which was actually my heart. My chest thudded with all the ways I have been unlovable, will always be unlovable. The room was still and I heard a squawking flock of wayward birds high above my house, no doubt lost on their journey south.  “Alone,” they cried. “Alone!” Alone! Alone!”

God is dead. I believe that there is some force in the universe greater than us which unites us, but the existence of a divine creator who gave us the world, and sustains it with his love, is a delusion. If God is alive, why has no one ever seen him? As they say, pics or it didn’t happen.

Richard Dawkins claimed belief in God is a “virus of the mind” and it is no more evident than when a predatory virus of the body claws through the world unchecked. We are pivoting to a new normal. Societal disparities are glaring as some are rendered homeless, while others stand on social distance markers at the Mercedes dealership. Love in the time of Covid is less about connection and community and more about Amazon prime, a roomy house and a 30-pack of Charmin.

With so much free time, how can one accomplish anything meaningful?

But there is tequila and weed and transcendent sex and men who make you feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, minus the part where she’s a hooker, although all relationships are transactional in nature; it’s been proven that men who help with the housework get more sex hashtag #choreplay. There is the regal feeling of being helped out of a car and dreamy mid-afternoon naps and laughter and Netflix and cuddling and motorcycle rides and idyllic afternoons on a boat.

But that is not love.

Love is a vast, mysterious ocean that inexplicably swells and subsides. I wish I could say I disdainfully quoted Lizzo lyrics to him and hung up, but being told I was unloved dissolved the protective steel cage around my heart. A cacophony of voices rang through the night, bombarding me with stories of profound loss and rape and neglect and abandonment, stories that proved my unlovability and I might have mistaken the stabbing pains in my chest for cardiac arrest had I not known the familiar symptoms of a panic attack.

I considered going to the hospital to quiet the pain with a tranquilizer drip, but the emergency room is not an option when God is dead and there’s a global pandemic. I could not bring myself to look into the face of an exhausted, overwhelmed ER doctor draped in personal protective equipment and tell him, “I am here because I am unlovable, because God is dead and I am scared, and by the way, are you single?”

Nietzche pronounced God dead on arrival. As did Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kant. Victor Hugo said “God is dead, perhaps” in Les Miserables, which despite being the world’s longest running musical, questions the existence of God, which challenges the reality of love, for which I have no definitive proof as I’ve been known to stay in a relationship simply because the man had tickets to Hamilton.

Philosophers deny the existence of God, scientists deny the existence of love, renowned psychiatrists blame everything on sex and our genitalia. God, sex, love and death. God is the presence of love, sex is the opposite of death, and everything is “on account mother had narrow vagine,” according to Freud, or maybe that was Borat, but still.

“Does he know how funny and smart and cool you are?” my best friend asked when we first started dating. But cool is not currency. End-of-days currency is food, bullets and sex, none of which are love. I was only a five-month pit stop; a red-headed lusty oasis in a desert of dehydrated blond Republicans. I was not to be taken seriously. I knew that immediately upon seeing pictures of his last girlfriend, a beautiful, sexless blonde Golden Girl, the picture of stylish Upper East side alimony in impeccable Chanel suit and sensible designer shoes. He regularly reminded me how much money he had spent on his ice queen, buying her extravagant designer purses in which she delicately carried his balls.

What on earth was he doing with a neurotic New York Jew sporting tattoos and a sordid past; a writer, a dreamer, potty-mouthed and unfiltered, ready to start a revolution if only she could find a clean bra, one of those women still trapped in her favorite decade of music (the 90’s), clad in leather leggings and thigh-high boots?

Love is a mysterious monolith and perverse in its inexplicability; he had proposed to his most recent ex despite the fact that she was unkind and demeaning, and that her favorite part of his body was his wallet. Maybe it was because she threw cozy dinner parties for the local chapter of the NRA, hobnobbed with other uptight rich people, shopped at Saks, wintered in Florida, acted like summer and walked like rain. Someone remind her that there’s time to change, hey he-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y.

My dentist, who unofficially doubles as my shrink, asked, “Did you want to grow old with him?” and I resisted the urge to smarmily answer that at 10 years my senior, he was already there. Instead, I shrugged helplessly. I can only say I was magnetized to his tall strong body and spending time with him was the highlight of my week, but is that love? I have no clue and was suddenly stingingly jealous of this man’s absolute certainty of what love feels like and that he did not feel it for me.

COVID 19 is undoubtedly the Angel of Death, proof of God’s demise. So is people refusing to wear masks in viral hotspots, and racist YouTubers getting rich off of teary eyed apology videos, or maybe God is just a dick. And storybook love is something we’re brainwashed into believing during the halftime show at the Superbowl.

Scientists know that love is an explosion of chemicals in the brain, stimulating hormones and creating euphoria. But to be in love is the willingness to want to be in love, and despite all that activity in the limbic systems of our frontal lobes, he was not in love with me because he did not choose me.

Love does exist. For me, soulmate love is an ocean too big and mysterious to contain, so I hold a small part of it in my pocket and call it joy. Love exists because something keeps me luminous, and aside from my ten-step Korean skincare routine and all of the men who in this most absurd of times keep texting me for dinner dates (God may be dead but you gotta eat, right?), something keeps me in the light and it might just be that I passionately love myself.

And God is not dead; perhaps, it is only that we have stopped believing in Him, or even more likely, He has stopped believing in us.

How are you all holding up in this crazy time?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 




Do you hear that?

Come closer.

That’s the sound of my heart breaking.


My son has always loved the ocean. His eyes match the sea, changing from blue to green with the swell of the tide. My love for him is an ocean, an overwhelming force which is sometimes calm and steady, and other times full of conflict.

A mother’s love is like the continuous miracle of the sea. It begins in the ocean of your womb – but there is something unsettling about the way your baby kicks. So fiercely you feel bruised on the inside. There is something willful and stubborn about his refusal to come out. He arrives weeks late, and even then – after almost 40 hours of labor.

Your baby is overwhelming and mysterious and brutal, like the ocean. He screams uncontrollably for hours a day, every day. And you bring him to one specialist after another, to be told it’s “colic.” You are advised that only a “tincture of time” will help.


Your toddler doesn’t hit milestones, and the pediatrician advises you to seek help. And they unravel the mystery of why your little one tantrums constantly, tears at his clothes, screams at the sound of the blender.

He has “Sensory Processing Disorder” – and you begin your quest to understand the crossed wires of his central nervous system.

You spend your days helping him to make sense of, and feel safer in, his world.

Brushing his body, joint compression exercises, assuaging his need to sink his teeth into everything by giving him chewy tubes, letting him roll on a huge ball, and crash into a mountain of supersized pillows, and jump endlessly on a small trampoline.


And at 3, he is now diagnosed with ADHD. And the doctors offer you their prescription pads. And you refuse. How could a 3 year-old articulate to you if medicine was making him uncomfortable?


And so consumed are you with his needs, so absolutely drained, that he is 4 years old and you realize another child is out of the question.

You live with that guilt forever.



A few years go by, and the ocean of his psyche ebbs and flows, in ways you can’t predict or explain; sometimes smooth and peaceful, but often tumultuous, and uncontrollable.

Your child fidgets incessantly. Talks constantly. Makes loud, disturbing noises. Climbs, jumps and crashes constantly. Sucks on clothing, fingers, crayons, anything.

The sun “hurts his head.” If he gets any part of his clothing wet, even slightly, he cries.

He seems to have no body awareness, no sense of spatial relations to other kids. Crashes into other children constantly.

And when playing, gets excited to the point of biting. Never out of aggression, but biting makes him the pariah of playground. You mourn that this gorgeous human being is being sabotaged by some internal trigger switch.


You research and find the best pediatric neurological clinic on the East coast, and get on a year-long waiting list.


And at 5, after a week of evaluations, it is confirmed. ADHD, Hyperactivity-Impulsive type. In addition to Sensory Processing Disorder. And they offer up their prescription pads, and once again – you say, “No.” So fearful are you of altering his brain chemistry.

Because he is, undeniably BRILLIANT. Creative. Funny. And you are afraid that medication will dull that brilliance. He is the ocean, untamed and magnificent, sometimes raging and destructive.

He is your fierce little warrior. And you are determined to help him flourish, despite his lettered labels.

Another quest begins.


Martial arts. Supplements. Structure. Lots of sleep. Cognitive behavioral therapy. Classification. Hellishly difficult diets.

You buy $10 socks for your child. Because he needs “sensitivity socks,” entirely seamless – and even then, an invisible piece of lint will send him into tears.

You spend each morning in an exhausting battle to dress him in clothes he can tolerate – because he cannot wear jeans, or buttons or zippers, or elastic around the sleeves. And no shoes ever feel right.

He can still feel the ghost of the tag you cut off of his shirt, the way an amputee still feels the ghost of a severed limb.

By the time he is dressed and on his way to school, you feel totally defeated.

At 8 am in the morning.


You advocate for him tirelessly, through classification and declassification and IEPs and 504s.

The years pass, and some new challenges emerge. When your marriage crumbles, and you are left on your own to deal with this beautiful child, you realize,


You are so depleted just surviving, you no longer have the energy to deal with his needs – which have grown so pronounced.

The hour of homework, which takes four. Sending him upstairs to shower, only to find him unshowered an hour later, lost in an imaginary world.

The morning dressing battles. His lack of spatial awareness, the constant clumsiness and touching and fidgeting and noises. His lack of social cue awareness, his inflexibility, his fixations.



You hear yourself tell your friend, “I can’t raise him.

Why can’t he just be normal?”


Not caring if she or anyone else judges you. For no one could possibly judge you as harshly as you judge yourself.


And now, his therapist says, “We must have him evaluated again. I’m fairly certain he has…”

You say it with her.


Because you knew.


And you’re drowning now, in an ocean of pain and despair. Unable to face yet another quest to unlock the mystery of this latest diagnosis.

Wondering how you can afford thousands of dollars of tests your insurance doesn’t cover; how you both will survive the nightmare trial and error of endless treatments.

How can you possibly keep him afloat, when you are sinking fast to the bottom of the briny deep?

You look up furiously and demand that God explain why he did this, when all you’ve ever wanted for your child was for him to have a better childhood than yours.


And then, you spend the perfect Saturday together. And you are reminded of his brilliance. His humor. You laugh together, all day.

That evening, you both snuggle on the couch. While you write this, his story, he reads.

Every so often, and for no reason at all, he looks up over his enormous library hard copy of War And Peace, just to say,

“I love you, mom. So much.”


You may be drowning, but he is not. With his beautiful spirit, endless compassion, soulful heart, keen wit – he is simply adrift.

And you will fight for him, as always. You will figure this out.

Yes. The turbulent waves of your uncertainty sometimes rock with indomitable fury, pushing away, only to crash and break, but he is the shore that grounds you. Your love for him is like the ocean; endless, chaotic, fickle, and profoundly deep.

And there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean always returns to embrace the shore.



Do you have a special needs child? Or know of one?

As a parent, do you sometimes feel like you just can’t go on?
Talk to me. I’m listening.


This version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow is sublime.
This is not the official video, but it’s our favorite. Filled with the images of beautiful children.

I WISH I could say that this was the title of my blog post, but in fact, it is the THIRD chapter in Helena Hann-Basquiat’s latest story.

WHAT? You’ve missed the first two? Well, this story is SO good you can just pick it up here. Or, if you want to be technical about the whole thing, I suppose you could start here, at Lizzi’s corner of the world, with Chaper One. Then, head over to Gretchen’s place for Chapter Two. And because this story is so captivating, you’ll want to visit Mandi’s blog for the next installment.

Like Gretchen (sorry, gurl, I had to copy you) I believe Helena is the kind of guest one pours the good wine for. Light the candles. Put on some great music (she has discerning taste, our Darling Dilettante) to set the proper mood for this most distinguished lady.

Thank goodness. Someone to finally class up the joint…



He asked me to dance.

It was like something out of a dream, and I’m not trying to over-romanticize it, darlings, but it was like we were the only two people in the club.

He asked me to dance, even though no one else was dancing.

He didn’t care about that, he said, when I mentioned it. He just wanted to dance with me.

I’m not talking about the Charleston or the Foxtrot, darlings. I’m talking about the type of dance where he could hold me close and tell me all the things that he’d been wanting to say, and where I could ask him exactly what he was thinking, and was he crazy, and what did he expect from me. You know, all that romantic stuff.

The band, Duckie’s Pompadour, was not bad, actually. They were a gimmick band, and their entire repertoire consisted of the soundtrack of John Hughes films – not the later ones like Home Alone or Flubber – I’m talking about the only ones that really matter. The Brat Pack films – Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I don’t know if Penny had told Spenser about my obsession with these films, or about my love for The Smiths, and Morrissey in particular, but as Duckie’s Pompadour launched into The Smiths song Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, he decided to ask me to dance.

It was hot in the club – it was mid July, and there was no way around the heat. I was wearing a light cotton sundress that I hoped would keep me cool, but when Spenser put his arm around me, I was suddenly very self-conscious about how much I was sweating, and would he notice, and and and…

“I’m done,” he said suddenly, without any explanation, gazing into my face, looking drunk.

I started to pull away, thinking that he meant he was done with the dance, but he pulled me close and whispered something in my ear.

“I’ve been looking for you for so long, I just didn’t know your name.”

I’d been with romantic guys before, darlings, and so I was leery of smooth-talking Casanovas.

I had no time for bullshit, and game playing. I won’t lie to you – there was a chill – that good chill, more like a shudder or a shiver. There was attraction, and god, the dance, the timing, it was perfect, and either he had plied Penny for information and was trying to manipulate me, in which case I’d have to put an end to this right quick, or… The alternative – that he was actually sweet, romantic, and smitten with me – my crushed self-esteem was having a hard time accepting that.

“What exactly do you want from me?” I whispered back into his ear, and that closeness – that intimacy – felt right, and it frightened me.

“You,” he said plainly. He looked me in the eyes, and I couldn’t turn away. “I want you. I want to get to know you. I want to know if you are everything I’ve dreamed you are. I’ve wanted that from the moment I laid eyes on you.”

For him, it seemed – and he would later tell me this was true – it had been love at first sight. He’d gone home that night and told his roommate that he’d met the woman he was going to marry. You think these things only happen in the movies, darling, but I’m telling you, this is what happened.

His straightforwardness and earnest honesty might have come off as slightly presumptuous and creepy from anyone else, but there was nothing aggressive or crazy about the way he was talking or looking at me.


“Would you settle for coffee?” I asked. “Call me sometime this week and we can get coffee, and you can get what you want – to get to know me.”

He smiled, and it was a look of pure bliss. His eyes were enormous! Not in a freakish way, in an adorable kitten way. When he smiled, his eyes opened wide and practically sparkled. God, it melted me. If he was going to smile around me like that all the time I was going to have to carry a towel around with me.

“I’ll call you,” he promised, and not in the way of a man who’s just crawled out of your bed without even knowing your last name and sneaking out in the middle of the night.

“I’ll answer the phone,” I said, with a grin of my own, which I’ve been told has the ability to stop heartbeats, and it appeared to be true that night, because Spenser reeled and turned away, wearing a grin so big it threatened to crack his face in two.

We were a couple of fools.

The band announced that they were taking a break, and I saw Spenser talking to the singer, and I began to feel suspicious. Did he know them? Did he put them up to playing that Smiths song just so he could ask me to dance? Later I would find out this wasn’t the case, but it didn’t matter – my suspicious anger would only last for a few seconds. I didn’t know very much about Spenser at that point. I knew his name, his age, I knew he was not a bartender by trade, but had gone back to school and was working so as to minimize the amount of student loans he took. All this I got from the Countess Arcade. What I didn’t know – what Penny had neglected to mention, was that Spenser was a musician.

He got up on the stage and sat at the piano. He didn’t look at me – not at first – but I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He put his fingers to the keys, and played the first few bars of a song I knew immediately, and loved more than I know how to put into words. I first heard it on an Elvis Costello record, but of course, it’s been recorded by just about everyone, from Frank Sinatra to Miles Davis, Etta James to Chet Baker, right up to Sarah Vaughn or Rufus Wainwright.

He began to sing the introduction to the famous song that is rarely heard. Then he looked at me – looked right at me and launched into the song.

My funny valentine… Sweet comic valentine… You make me smile with my heart…”

Suddenly I knew what he meant earlier. I swallowed my heart, which had risen into my throat, and whispered, under my breath.

“I’m done. Oh, god, I’m done.”





The enigmatic Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has. She’s written cookbooks, ten volumes of horrible poetry that she then bound herself in leather she tanned poorly from cows she raised herself and then slaughtered because she was bored with farming. She has an entire portfolio of macaroni art that she’s never shown anyone, because she doesn’t think that the general populous or, “the great unwashed masses” as she calls them, would understand the statement she was trying to make with them. Some people attribute her with inventing the Ampersand, but she has never made that claim herself.

Earlier this year, she published Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, and has finished Volume Two and is in the editing process. 

Volume One is available HERE in e-book for Kindle or HERE in paperback.

Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell Find more of her writing at or connect with her via Twitter @HHBasquiat



I Bleed Therefore I Am

August 14, 2014

I’m part of a loving family that runs a blog called Stories That Must Not Die.

Rara left us this blog as her legacy. She wrote, “This is a place for the stories that are too sad, too strange, too big, too angry, too fierce, too everything. They don’t fit in normal places, so I made this one.”

You’re all my family, too. So I’d like to share it with you.



*Comments are closed; please comment over at the Stories blog.

Stories that Must Not Die

wanna die

When I was a girl I was terrified of my mother.

She wasn’t a malicious person. She was just completely ill-equipped to live the life fate had created for her. She had no education past the 8th grade, didn’t know how to drive, and had no marketable skills. Her 46-year-old husband walked out of the door a healthy man and dropped dead of a heart attack a few hours later. He left her with 6 children, aged 2 – 12.

She was an orphan who grew up in a group home. There was no love there, only beatings. So she relied upon corporal punishment to discipline us. I have long forgiven her, because as Maya Angleou said, “You did the best that you knew how. Now that you know better, you’ll do better.”

She worked 3 jobs, 70 hours a week and was rarely home. So, if you provoked her…

View original post 823 more words

There have been a lot of rumblings of this “Sisterwives” thing going round the ‘sphere.




*throws confetti in the air*


Image Map

There we are.

Nine vibrating molecules, dancing together in orbit.


This is a fiercely loyal and loving group of women.

And talented. And funny.


I met Jennie last fall, and it was love at first sight.

Or site.

Reading her blog was only the beginning of a friendship that was more than just a friendship.

It was a sisterhood.

I “proposed” to her two weeks later.


Friendships begat other friendships which became a support group which became a Blog.

Because we felt that the support and unconditional love we offer one another – deserved a place in the blogosphere.

We want to invite you in – MEN and WOMEN – and support you through life’s messy, beautiful journey.


Let’s straighten out a few misconceptions.

1. No. We are NOT all married to the same man.

I don’t know whether he’d be the luckiest man on earth, or running down the street, rubbing cake through his hair.


2. We have nothing to do with anything from the state of Utah.

None of us, to my knowledge, has ever even been there.

But we ARE planning a road trip to Vegas next year.

Is Utah anywhere near there? (geography is NOT my strong suit.)


3. None of us practices polygamy.

Although, if you follow my blog, y’all know where I stand on that.

See? I’m from New York, and they have me saying stuff like “Y’all.


We call each other Sisterwives because we’re in love with each other.

It’s a term of solidarity and support.


Have I mentioned we also make each other laugh all the time?

Sometimes through tears.

We all have been through, and continue to go through, a LOT of stuff.


But I don’t go ONE day without guffawing out loud at our crazy banter.

At 12:30 last night, I was STILL unable to get myself on the Sisterwives Facebook page correctly.






And 15 minutes ago I was STILL trying to embed the code that Lizzi the wizard had concocted for the molecule drawing she’d created.

If you click on her link, you’ll see who taught me the beauty of Silver Linings; something I wrote about in my bio for the Sisterwives blog.





Come over to the Sisterwives blog, and read Who We Are and How We Came To Be. 

(I heard a rumor that there was an open bar)



Samara xoxo