March 31st, 2016 | 1 Comment »

I was going to title this “threads”, but when I fired up my computer, Pandora gave me Mason Jennings crooning something about your love.  What could I do, but comply?  It’s because, ultimately, this post will come around to being about a declaration of harmony and gratitude for such a love that I couldn’t have even imagined had I not lived the life I’ve lived.  The thread.  Mason Jennings.  One of the sweetest early memories of this present love was a silly karaoke session we had on one of our first evenings together.  It was winter time.  Possibly New Year’s Eve.  He had come over, and we were singing, but mostly I was singing and trying to get him to sing.  I can be persuasive.  Ahem.  So I eventually did get him to sing, and the song he chose was a Mason Jennings song (Your New Man –it’s a hoot!).  So.  There you go.

I’ll get back to him.  Meanwhile, I’ve just remembered the original thread I had in mind.  I was reflecting on past loves and moments.  I was thinking about the trials and lessons and various moments of beauty and pain and sorrow, and I was thinking about who remains in my life now, who has a particular place reserved in me, in my heart, just for them.  There are only a few.  I’ve always loved deeply and fully, with whomever I was loving deeply and fully at the time.  With time, however, healing has occurred and left remaining a warm and comfortable glow in which I finally see that I have lovingly let go those who needed to be let go, and loving retained in a gentle and altruistic way those who have their own special place in my life.  Everyone who has ever been has a very special place in my heart, in the depth of my memories.  But not everyone remains in my life, in my real world here and now.

I think back to the beginning.  JJW.  The father of my first two  unborn.  We were so young.  We were kids ourselves.  Those children weren’t meant to be.  We weren’t meant to be.  Yet today, here, now, we are friends.  We see a glimpse of each others’ lives from afar.  He has a wonderful wife, a true soul connection, a beautiful life that could not have been had we not been.  I am so happy that he found her and that he’s lived the rich and beautiful life that he’s lived.  Who are we to each other now?  Warm friends from childhood.  Nerds.  We reveal our stupid silly nerdy quirky selves in the occasional Facebook posts.  JJW.  Yes, he has a place in my life.  Smiley face.

Who’s next in my OCD lineup of present life former loves?  Oh.  JEM.  We text each other on our respective birthdays every year.  Every year!  Once in a while we’ll call, maybe once a year.  We inquire about family members, laugh about goofy old times, describe our children to each other.  It’s always sweet and sincere.  Genuine.  It’s especially sweet because we had ended badly, with such a sour taste remaining for so very many years.  I’m always grateful for this particular friendship, because my heart is so heavy when sourness lingers.

Then there’s DAN.  Mister Divorce Rebound.  Perhaps that’s the main reason why he lingers in the periphery of my present life, if Facebook status can be considered present life periphery.  I will probably always have a fondness for the one who gave me a glimpse of the possibilities that life held post-divorce.  Hope!  Of course we could never be, but I think we were meant to be when we were.  Maybe, also, we can be real life friends now, as with JEM, because enough years have passed to let the bitterness of the breaks fade and be replaced with the brightness of younger days.

This brings me to BXD.  Surely he’ll post a comment that I should have given him the BFD tag when I wasn’t able to google a middle initial in 30 seconds or less.  I think we each suffered our own kind of anguish and had to work through some layers of bitterness before the friendship was able to re-emerge.  I am delighted and grateful that it survives.  He is like a lifeline to me, because he understands the incomprehensible dark sides that are so  hard for anyone to understand.  He understands, because he lives with it too.  Depression.  The elephant in the room.  He is so refreshingly logical that I can fully trust that anything that I might run by him will be evaluated clearly, completely, and truthfully.  Also, our professional fields  have some overlap, so there’s something to be said about being able to talk shop.  We share sporadic flurries of email communications a few times a year.

As I’m finding these words to describe these chapters of my life, I’m counting the calendar time during which such life moments were defined.  Four years with JJW.  One year with JEM.  Four months with DAN.  Two, maybe three months with BXD.  Friendships fostered during a span of five and half years of my life.  I love that what surfaces in the here and now with all these friends is the laugh.  We chuckle.  We grin.  We snicker.  We chide.  The relationships we have are all grounded in levity and warmth.  It’s a beautiful thing.

And this brings me to the here and now, here and now.  EHB.  Nearly sixteen months and it’s as fresh and sweet and fun as the day we met.  We have so much fun together!  We laugh!  We talk for hours about all sorts of deep and interesting or crazy and ridiculous things.  We toil over projects at his place or mine, always with a smile and a spring in the step.  I wonder how much of our compatibility is merely because I finally sorted myself out.  Maybe he recently sorted himself out too, or maybe we both found ourselves ready at the same time, so somehow, miraculously, we just fit.  I don’t think I can explain it, but I certainly am grateful for it!

He’s nerdy.  I don’t know how many people actually know that about him.  I doubt very many.  He’s a cool cat on the exterior.  I love that he’s nerdy, and I love that he’s a cool cat too.

He’s thoughtful.  He’s a very internal person, so he thinks deeply about the things he thinks about.  I can take him seriously.

He’s fun.

Integrity means something to him.  I could go on and on, but I was working towards a conclusion of sorts.

The other day I told him that we should start counting down our anniversary (given that we have an anniversary), starting at 40, because it seems like we will have to be together that long in order to do the things together that we want to do.  All the books to read, the movies to see, the podcasts to hear, the places to go.  There is so much living to live!

And so I’ve finally come to the point of all this.  I’m finally here!  I wandered down paths with all sorts of twists and turns until now.  Every moment had its value.  And through it all, some friendships remain like glowing embers, softly warming the outer reaches of my heart.  I think I can say that I am truly making peace with my past, that I like my present, and that I have hope for my future.  I think I am finally on my way to getting over myself, so I am finally on my way!

 

February 6th, 2016 | No Comments »

Put your dreams away for now, I won’t see you for some time…
I am lost in my mind, I get lost in my mind…
Mama once told me “you’re already home where you feel loved”
I am lost in my mind, I get lost in my mind…

Oh my brother, your wisdom is older than me.  Oh my brother, don’t you worry about me!
Don’t you worry, don’t you worry, don’t worry about me…

all you need is love ... love is all you need

all you need is love … love is all you need

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Again.  I’m making a serious effort to understand myself and the way I form my thoughts and the channels that I follow… I’m very conscious of time these days. I’m very aware of the years. I’ve arrived at this place called mid-life. My indentured servitude spans nearly 30 years. I have two young children. It’s up to me to shape them, form them and prepare them for life. And how can I do that, if I don’t have it figured out myself?! There’s a whole new generation of young people in my life, looking to me for guidance, and what can I give them? I’m fumbling along under a facade waving the fake it till you make it flag and hoping that nobody notices that I really don’t have it all going on. (To be fair to myself, I do actually have almost everything going on –I’m just trying to wrangle this emotional thangggggg…..)

I’ve been thinking about human behaviors. I’ve been observing the way insecurity manifests in people and myself. I’ve been thinking about self destructive thoughts a lot lately, and wondering where they come from, why they’re there, how to obliterate them, etc… It occurs to me that they are entirely manufactured! Not that that is any big news. I’ve known that all along, but somehow I am beginning to let it sink in, that any negative thoughts originate within myself. So if they’re coming from me, I can change my mind, and turn that ship around.  Easily enough said.

Certain thought streams tend to short circuit to emotionally unattractive destinations.  I intend to repair my mother board so that my thought streams lead to healthy destinations.

One of the show stoppers is that dangerous zone of caring what others think.  Why so much concern?  Why ANY concern?  Judgment…   It’s such a slippery slope!  The reality of the matter is that I don’t know what another person thinks or feels. Those thoughts are entirely theirs. Am I spending my time passing judgment on the people in my sphere?  Or  do I simply love them?  Ummm.  I simply love them.  So, uhhhh, hello?  Stands to reason, doesn’t it, in the most simplistic way, that not too many, if any for that matter, are spending time passing judgment on me.  Why would I bother to waste any brain space on wondering or dreading what others might think of me?  Good grief! And even if I were to play the devil’s advocate, what kind of ugliness might someone dredge up on me?  Her.  Yeah her.  She goes to work every day.  Yeah.  Imagine that.  She pays her bills.  Amazing. She lives within her means.  Unbelievable.  She takes care of her family.  Whoa.  She saves for a rainy day.  What the what?  She tries to make people smile.  Crazy.  Oh sure, she gets emo once in a while. She’s a sensitive creature with an empathetic nature, so of course the travails of others can take their toll if she’s not careful, but she’s wicked smart and kind of funny, so hey.  She’s all right.  Mmmmm hmmmmm, yes ma’am.  She’s all right.

Seriously.  It’s ridiculous to waste time and life energy on wondering what others think, and worse yet, assuming what they think.  That’s a one-man-band, honey.  It’s ALL IN YOUR HEAD!!!!  SMH…

Okay.  Sure.  I have issues.  Daddy issues.  I’ve written about it before.  WHY DIDN’T HE CARE ABOUT ME?  WHY DIDN’T I MATTER TO HIM?  etc etc etc.  The thing is, I did matter to him.  I just didn’t recognize it.  Where he could display his love, affection and admiration to and for my sisters, somehow he was unable to convey it to me.  Maybe, all along, I’ve felt irrelevant only because I’m not the charming vivacious spitfires that my sisters are.  Maybe it was difficult for him to find a way to reach me.  Who knows?!  But the fact is that I’ve carried an invalid assumption along with me for most of my life, that I somehow just don’t quite measure up to what I should.  And don’t you see?  That’s the comparison game!  Comparing myself to my sisters!  We are apples and oranges (as well as peas in a pod).  Oh how I love my sisters!!!  They are amazing people!  And we are beautiful in our differences and in our similarities.  As beautiful and amazing as they are, I am as well!  I just wasn’t tuned in to the same bat channel.  So I didn’t get the message.  That is SO tragic!!!  Fifty years old and only now just dawning.

Anyway.

One way or another, this post was meant to be about love, and how you’re home where you feel loved.  All this blah blah blah about the great “why am I the way I am?” question, but the crux of the matter and the bottom line is that happiness is that place where we feel home, where we are home.

I feel home.

This.

This is what life and love are all about.  This is everything.  Now is now. I’m living it. Now! I laugh, I smile, I hug my children. I listen.  I act silly.  I cook. I eat. I work. I take care of business. I keep up my home. I do laundry. I do dishes. I love.

I am happy.

December 5th, 2015 | No Comments »

I am so incredibly blessed.  My life is beautiful and amazing.  I have two gorgeous children who are full of zest.  Joie de vivre – it is ours!  We live in comfort.  Our needs are met.  I have the best friends that anyone could ever hope for — all so true and solid.  I am privileged to be partnered with a wonderful man with whom I connect on so many levels and in so many ways that I can barely comprehend, let alone attempt to describe.

And yet.

I’ve said it before.  Nobody makes it through life unscathed.

it's a dog eat dog world out there

it’s a dog eat dog world out there

On the matter of motherhood, there are times that I wish that I’d simply gone to a sperm bank and opted for artificial insemination.  Certainly I wouldn’t be enduring the chaos to which I am far too often subjected, had I chosen such a route.  However, I understand that all these twists and turns in the journey of my life were necessary to place me here, now, where I am SO GRATEFUL to be.  (Oh dear Lord, me and my stranded prepositions.  Bless my soul.)

I get it!  I wouldn’t change a minute, a moment, or a circumstance, if it meant I couldn’t have the now that I have.

So what’s up, Buttercup?  Well.  Let me tell you.

I almost want to post verbatim the things he says, because it’s very hard to describe or summarize.  It’s just a bunch of drama and blah, blah, blah, and oh, so tedious.  But what the hell.

—Dec 3—

HIM.  “I have to work the next two weekends and NewWife has to work the next two Sundays. Just because I have to work does not give you the authority to take my weekend away from me, that is contempt of court which you did when you all of a sudden forgot that you weren’t coming back the day you told me from your trip. It doesn’t matter if you made the mistake accidently, it is still contempt which my lawyer expressed to me which he has already drawn up the papers for.      You may not like some of the things on my end but I also don’t agree with some of the things you are doing either!  What upsets me the most is your letting things happen with other people around the boys and when I was around it was a different story but yet you let total strangers have the same things around the boys that you bitched about me having which is so hypocritical of you. Example is the reason why you asked for only every other weekend was because of the guns that I had. Which I practiced good gun safety and respected it as I still do. so you lied about your reasoning why you restricted me from the boys which gave you no right to do so and then the bullshit you tell BB that all I did was sit on my ass and ate gummy bears every day or all the time which is a total bullshit lie in itself and why I bring that up is that he keeps repeating that you keep saying that. You seem to like to not address any concerns I have and and ignore them all together.”

To which I recoiled and reacted, when I probably should have just considered the source and dismissed it.

ME.  “I didn’t lie about anything, and I don’t keep telling BB that about gummy bears.  I really did have the trip dates wrong.  Good grief.  Also, I have a responsibility to protect them from emotionally abusive treatment, which is what I heard they endure with NewWife.  So if I knowingly send them to an abusive environment, then THAT is a breach of my responsibility as a parent.  I didn’t know how badly things were with how they were treated, and then BB spent some time with Auntie and opened his heart to her with things he’s never told me, and she relayed that to me.  So no, I never considered it was awful for them when they were at your place, until I was given reason to question it.  I did know that they seldom feel like the time they’re with you is quality time.  Their comments are generally something to do with ‘NewWife and the kids’ or ‘Daddy and NewWife stay in their room watching tv all the time and we don’t see them much’, etc.  What they want most is to spend time with their dad, YOU, and more often than not when they are there, that doesn’t happen.  I am NOT keeping them from you.  I am trying to keep them from being bullied, which is how they feel with NewWife, or feeling like they’re pushed aside, which is how they feel when they’re at your place but don’t get to spend quality time with you.  They were so hopeful when they learned that NewWife had left, because it gave them the glimmer of hope that they could spend some real time with you.  They were crestfallen to learn of her return.

Contempt of court is deliberate disobedience, and I have NOT done anything of the sort.

Further to all that, regarding contempt of court…  Why do you suppose the parenting plan has written into it the portion where you have to coordinate with me to confirm you will SHOW UP for YOUR visitation?  How many times have you had some reason not to take the kids on your scheduled visitation?  So for you to suggest that I am in contempt of court (and I can only assume you are referring to the parenting plan) because I want to ensure my kids are not placed in an emotionally abusive environment is ludicrous.

All I have asked of you is to BE THERE FOR YOUR CHILDREN.  I don’t know why you are so hungry to turn it into something ugly on my part.

Further still, in the interest of giving you more time with them and to make up for missing the time that was missed, I offered Thanksgiving break, to which you didn’t respond.  You also did not respond to my inquiry about this coming weekend, until I got your threatening email below.  You say I ignore your concerns.  You’ve called me a hypocrite and you’ve not clearly expressed specific concerns.  If I could tell what your actual concerns are, then I could respond.  I am not interested in throwing accusations back and forth.  We should have a mature and calm discussion with each other to bring up and address issues and concerns.

I like to think that I am being reasonable.  I wish I would be more vigilant, and less apt to react and acknowledge his aggression by immediately placing myself in defensive mode.  Had I completely ignored him, he might have just dropped everything.  Alas.

—Dec 4—

HIM.  “With what is written in the plan if I don’t respond then I lose my right to have them.  That is not contempt. I am very tired of people talking crap and negative bullshit about me and making crap up to make themselves look better. Futher more when you keep the other parent from seeing the kids what ever the reason is considered contempt. I have protected the boys and will always will and I question you when I hear things going on from your side. When we were together you had issues with motorcycles and guns and I have never shown a lack of responsibility and the safety. You were always preaching against those then all of sudden you turn around and do the opposite when I’m not in the picture. And then when I voice my opinion you don’t care to respond or even talk about you just do whatever you want no matter how I feel about the issue like taking the boys out of school for a week when they should be in school learning. But my opinion as usual doesn’t matter to anyone and never will unless I am made to yell and make a big stink about it. Why am I being made to do so. I have brought up many concerns about a lot of things and as usual you could care less about them you have shown that many times. Just like when I got laid off from j.b. hunt. I had to keep asking friends and the church to help pay the rent and groceries and other stuff to help but yet did you care at all. No! you just kept taking child support and didn’t care what so ever. but it doesn’t matter now anyways because you simply don’t see anything how I see it and never will or don’t care. Just like when you moved did you care about me getting to see the boys no  it took months for me to get to see the boys. I tried talking to you but no you made your excuses and didn’t give a crap.”

Interesting.  So much to say.  Gun safety.  The man does not have a track record that inspires confidence.  My former opinion remains intact.  And the rest?  Exhausting.  I know I’ve blogged ad nauseum about many of these points before.  It’s the same old stuff, regurgitated for some reason.

ME.  “The process for dealing with contempt or perceived contempt is to follow the parenting plan’s dispute resolution process.  We can schedule to meet with a mediator to resolve disagreements about carrying out the parenting plan.  I am not keeping the kids from seeing you.  Through all of this back and forth, you haven’t actually informed me of your intent to pick the boys up this weekend.  I’ve told you that we have dentist appointments today.  We can meet at McDs on 44th Saturday morning at 9.  Please confirm.”

Note that this email conversation is in parallel with a phone text conversation.  It’s a thing of beauty.  Really.  Wait for it…

—Dec 3—

ME.  I can’t tell from your friendly email whether you are or aren’t planning to see the kids this weekend. They have dentist appts Fri. I mentioned this in IM yesterday and haven’t heard from you. Also, I’d like to coordinate Christmas plans.

HE.  How do you think that crap would make you feel if I told them that crap of lies. And as always you evade what I say as usual

ME.  I don’t tell them a load of lies and crap.

HE.  So you honestly think that’s all I did? I Never did anything for anyone i never busted my ass to do things never looked out for anyone. I never went out on a limb or bent over backwards for anyone… That’s pretty much what your telling them!!!And as you normally do you ignore the facts why. Because I’m not white collar like you so since I’m considered a blue collar you get to spread lies and crap about me. If that’s how you want to play the negative crap game two can play at that game

ME.  Why do you out of the blue think I’m spilling a constant load of negative crap about you? I don’t even know how to respond to that.

HE.  I dont know why you even make it an excuse or whatever your doing when you tell him all this crap. I have never said anything negitive about you in frontof them or to them what so ever but i can start. But then again im just a blue collar loser lazy ass that doesnt do anything.Then why does BB say you say that all the time and that’s the reason you did certain things was because I was so Damm lazy and never did anything for anyone and aged video games everyday all the time .

ME.  You flatter yourself if you think I spend any time at all telling BB all about you.

HE.  Yeah just the negitive lies and bullshit

—Dec 4—

ME.  Please confirm if the boys will be picked up at 44th Mcds at 9am Saturday.  BB wants to have a friend over tonight. I need to know what time to meet tomorrow so I can tell his mom when I’ll drop him off.

HE.  I would only have them til sat eve

ME.  ?

HE.  I work sun and so does NewWife.  Plus I work sat also

ME.  You said she works Sunday, not you.

HE.  Plan states sat morning to sat eve as per what you put in there

ME.  No. Every other Sat 8am to Sun 7pm.

Did I not say it was glorious?  What the what?  Seriously, it’s perplexing.  Clearly he’s resurrecting squabbles we’ve had in years long gone.  I made a blue collar vs white collar comment several years ago during an attempt to explain why it might be so difficult for us to communicate.  Must’ve hit a nerve…

—Back to the email conversation, dated Dec 4—

HIM.  “So how is it that you keeping them from me on my weekend as the plan states not keeping them from me. Does not say I get the right or you have the right to make up for lost time. The plan was mainly done by you not me your thinking not mine. I trusted you to do the right thing and in the end you decided to limit visitation because of ridiculous thought of me having protection that they could not get to if they tried as you explained it to NewWife as to way you did that, there again disregarding what is right and what your selfish thinking put down on paper but I am supposed to idoly sit by and say nothing or have an opinion. Seems like when I do, nothing matters anyway. you can hire a mediator all you want those are for the rich people that can’t talk it out with other people on there own. again when you deviate from the plan it is contempt unless it was o.k’d by both parties with the correct information”

ME. “I am not keeping them from you.  This is the schedule.   [Excerpt from parenting plan, Sat 8 am to Sun 7pm, every other week.]  You’re telling me that you are working Sat and Sun, which essentially means that you are neither able to pick them up on Saturday morning, nor are you able to drop them off on Sunday evening.  Therefore, you are forfeiting your visitation.”

Oh my goodness!  So much blah blah blah!!!  After ALL of this, the picture emerges.  He is working the weekend and trying to find a way to turn his lack of making room in his life for his kids into my fault.  It also appears that perhaps he wants me to drop off the kids for a few hours at his convenience on Saturday, because that is his available window.

Such a tedious read!  And yet, in a way, mildly entertaining in a voyeuristic way, akin to crap fiction.  So this is a snippet of the waters I navigate.  Sadly, not fictional at all.

I actually had some valuable thoughts emerge from this experience.  First I was shaken and disarmed by the threats, and then I was mystified by the references to wild back talk.  I mulled things over and observed my emotional reaction to the onslaught, noticing how easy it is to get caught up slinging vitriol.  I don’t want to sling vitriol.  I married that man for reasons that (sort of) made sense at the time.  I had children with him.  These are choices that I made and for which I am responsible.  Now I have to find a way to live with the consequences of my choices.  He’s projecting his own inadequacies.  That is evident.  He is who he is, and I can’t fault him for that.  He is completely entitled to be who he is.  We have nothing in common, other than our kids.  Try as I might, I simply can not understand him, nor communicate with him.  I can wish that he were a reasonable and kind man.  I can wish that he would have the courage to look in the mirror and take responsibility for himself and his own choices.  I can wish that he would step up and be a dad to and for his children.  Those are wishes, and certainly hopes.  I have no control or influence on any of those things.  I do have control over my own thoughts and actions.

I want to maintain clarity where the well-being of my children is concerned.  I want to be a good example for my kids.  I want to take the high road.  I want to be able to calmly face opposition, impervious to attack and distraction tactics.  These are all within my sphere of capability, given vigilance and self-discipline.

~*~*~*~

Update.  Because, you know, NewWife chimed in with some golden nuggets of her own.

05 Dec 2015; 12:53pm
NewWife:  I will be picking up the boys at 3pm today at the mcds in renton..ty see u then

1:51pm
Me:  No.

2:11pm
NewWife: Then we will see you in court for contempt for two weekends in a row

3:00pm
NewWife: I bet the boys will love to know that you have kept them from seeing their Dad for 2 months

My immediate reaction is still far too visceral, and my vigilance to my emotions can stand to step things up a notch.  I glanced at my phone, read the message, and became internally livid, truth be told.  Having received no confirmation for meeting Saturday morning at 9, having clarified via both text and email that visitation is posted as Sat morning until Sun evening, and having concluded via email that his visitation is forfeited, the scenario seemed clear.  So to receive her demand at nearly 2pm Saturday, pronouncing in effect that I should jump in the car and drive immediately to the meeting place…  It’s an hour drive on a good day…  Let’s just say, in retrospect, that they seem perfect for each other.  Militant.  Immature.  Materialistic.  Self-serving.  Despicable.

Is there any consideration for what’s good for the boys?  They are sweet children, finding their way in life.  They have a yearning for one-on-one time with their dad.  Very simple.  They don’t want to go to his house and be sequestered with his wife and her four rowdy children.  The first questions they ever pose when visitation time is at hand is whether he will be home, and whether he will be the one to pick them up.  Before that, however, they both immediately chime in that THEY DON’T WANT TO GO.  And so often they have expressed, forlornly, that they would love to just SIT AND WATCH A MOVIE with him.  I don’t want them to see all this BULLSHIT that takes place when attempting to coordinate visitation.

It’s disgusting, really.  It mostly boils down to an issue over the haves and have nots.  It’s all about the means, not about the boys.  It seems that they consider the disparity between our respective means a catchall for any justification of responsibility.  It seems that they think, because I have more ‘means’, that I should kowtow to their shortcomings.

Ummmmm.  No.

I’m struggling with this.  I have to see and know and understand and DO what is best for my children, while honoring and upholding what the law requires, and somehow navigate through the flotsam and jetsam of attempted communication with their father.  It is a crock.  And it stinketh.

Me no likey.

September 14th, 2015 | No Comments »
cherish is the word I use to describe...

cherish is the word I use to describe…

The word popped into my head a few minutes ago, and I had a train of thought I planned to explore, but have since forgotten.  Still, I will hold the title and keep on writing. Maybe it will come back to me.

There are so many interesting thoughts of late that I want to capture and ponder.  My boys spent three weeks with their dad.  Unprecedented.  During that time, I had the opportunity to take a grown up camping vacation.  I haven’t had so much grown up time in YEARS!

It was hard, to be separated from my boys for so long.  I had a few tearful moments.  I sort of wished that I had been able to plan ahead for that particular window of time.  I might have spent it differently, rather than work through the first two weeks.  I was ecstatic to be able to go camping, though.  It was important to me on so many levels.

When I picked up my boys, the early evening sun was shining and the color of their eyes in the sunlight was dazzling and mesmerizing.  Their eyes are a grey green rainbow of sparkling color.  They are so beautiful — they take my breath away.  I wanted to take a picture and capture those colors and that beauty, but my phone camera skills are lacking.  The emotion of the moment was pure joy.  Reuniting with my boys.  Oh how I lufffffff them.

~*~*~*~

While camping, I experienced a plethora of thoughts, sensations, and emotions.  Granted, it was likely due to a mixture of erratic blood sugar control, substance consumption, and the heat.  One day, I had a series of out of body thoughts that I found perplexing and worthy of further exploration.  It was almost as though I had a starkly defined split personality.  On the one hand, I was so peacefully content that I had found my way to this stage in life where I have the most amazing, comfortable relationship with a truly decent, kind, loving, capable, intelligent, fun and interesting man, with whom I can clearly imagine growing old with and loving deeply until the end of time.  On the other hand, there was this nearly over powering persona that I’d call Doom, who stood by, authoritatively looking down on me, telling me that I couldn’t or shouldn’t live like this, that it couldn’t be real, that I should just walk away and spend my life alone where I belong.  It was such a strong and defeating sensation, so physical, in fact, that I could almost feel myself being compelled to stand up, start walking, and just leave it all behind.  All the while, the other persona (who I will call the real me) looked on with disbelief and horror, saying, good grief, you’re not buying into this bullshit, are you?

In the end, I reasoned with myself that I have no control over another’s thoughts or feelings, nor do I wish for such control.  He’ll never purposefully hurt me.  If he loves me, he loves me.  If he wants to be with me, he will be with me.  If he decides we don’t fit after all, he will say so, and we will part on kind terms.  There is no need for fear or anxiety or second guessing or anything at all.  And the converse holds true in all cases.  I will never purposefully hurt him.  If I love him, I love him.  If I want to be with him, I’ll be with him.  If I decide we don’t fit after all, I will say so, and we will part on kind terms.  He isn’t worried or concerned about us.  It’s all very simple for him.  He loves me, he respects me, and that’s that.  Similarly, I love him, respect him, and that’s that.  So why does this nemesis of a personality emerge?  I suppose it’s a manifestation of fear, and it’s not welcome here!  I have to acknowledge that it tried to grip me, though.  I’m also grateful that he’s not saddled with these ridiculous emotions.  He is so very steady.  Unflinching.  Unwavering.  I truly admire that in him.  He is solid.

~*~*~*~

I wrote this ages ago, and it’s been hanging out in my drafts, along with the 200+ spam comments attached to my Presence and Life post that I can’t for the life of me figure out.  Search engines are blocked.  Somehow there must be a thread or fragment somewhere that the bots have found.  I don’t find it when I inspect my code, so I am perplexed.  Maddening.  Anyway.  Even though the moment is long over, and my emotions haven’t taken too much of a dark turn (in general) since then, I think it’s good to be able to preserve some of these thoughts for further exploration, should they ever resurface.

The photo is taken from the cover of this year’s journal.  I was diligent until mid-July, and not a word since.  Interestingly enough, that time frame seems to coincide with the time frame when my kids were away.  I’ve either been too busy, too stressed, or having too much fun to bother with daily summaries.  Certainly, life overall has been wonderful, as evidenced by the lack of lengthy self-psychoanalyzing posts (since June, at any rate).  One of these days I may find my way back to blogging about the beauties of this simple life I’m leading.  Facebook and Snapchat, while fun, are nowhere near as fulfilling, and the seeming constant monotony of working through difficult emotions makes for a very lopsided blog.  So.  Posts of alpaca adventures, tree felling, trail blazing, carburetor rebuilding, farmer’s markets, fantastical Lego creations, gorgeous grey-eyed kids, road trips, country vistas, water sport shenanigans, and such may be on the horizon.  Or not.

May 12th, 2015 | No Comments »

My nature yearns for understanding. Explanation. If I can understand something, if there is an explanation –for some thing, any thing, most things, I can make peace with whatever it is, and let it go or let it be.  At times I encounter things for which reason escapes me.  Experiences that I can’t explain.  Choices that confound me.  And just because something seems inexplicable, doesn’t mean that it is.  It means only that I haven’t yet acquired the wisdom or perspective to understand.  When I was a child, I spoke as a child, understood as a child, thought as a child…

Also, time is a great healer.  Time and a peaceful disposition.

Occasionally thoughts and memories are stirred, and I am drawn to ponder once more these inexplicable things.

Nobody makes it through life unscathed.

lost in my mind

Recently, the concept of exploitation has surfaced in my mind as an explanation of sorts for certain life events.  It’s by no means a complete or satisfying explanation, but it’s the beginning of a channel of thought that might lead to a deeper understanding.  Exploitation suggests an offender –the one exploiting, and a victim –the one exploited.  It absolves, somewhat, the one exploited from the responsibility of the situation.  Not that I am advocating transferring responsibility for a situation to someone, anyone, or anything other than myself.  The thing is, if I’m caught up in the self-blame game, or the coulda shoulda woulda cycle, I spin around and around and never get past that.  Understanding is never achieved, and I can’t put the matter to rest.

I don’t know what draws or compels one to exploit another.   Oh, I suppose things like power, control, greed, and self-serving attitudes fuel such things.  I still fail to understand the draw of such things, other than to feebly attempt to fill some deep seated emptiness, insecurity, or fear.

Anyway.

Once, on a night train in Southern Italy, packed like sardines with other travelers, my friend and I were molested by an Italian man.  Or rather, by his feet.  It was hot and late, and we hadn’t paid for sleeping quarters, so we all dozed in our seats, facing each other with our feet stretched out before us.  It seems like there may have been 8 or 10 people in each booth, 4 or 5 on each side of the booth, facing each other.  The locals slipped off their shoes and put their feet up, and it seemed the normal thing to do in such circumstances.  Budget travelers trying to minimize the discomfort of a long night time train ride.  At some point in time, the man sitting opposite me started to slowly move his toes and probe.  My friend squirmed and glared at him, but I tried not to move.  Her squirming and glaring may have made him stop advancing the foot that was planted in front of her, I don’t know, but he kept on with the foot planted in front of me. I wanted to scream at him to stop, but I didn’t.  I was afraid of making a scene in front of all those foreigners.  He kept on, and I was afraid to look at him, but I occasionally caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my half closed eyes.  He seemed sinister.  Perhaps I detected a smirk of sorts, as if he dared me to make him stop.  I didn’t move.  I held my breath and pretended to sleep.  I didn’t know what to do.  I don’t remember when he finally stopped.

I suppose the topic of rape prompted this train of inquiry.  What defines such a thing?  The lack of consent?  Does not fighting back or raising a scene mean consent?  Does not actively or overtly objecting mean consent?

Another experience involved an Iranian man.  He was charming, gregarious, and smooth talking.  We were neighbors and met when I moved into an apartment after breaking off a long term relationship with a decent guy.  Now that I am writing about this, I recall he told me he was Italian.  People were more accepting of Italians than Iranians, he later told me, so he generally presented himself as Italian.  Somehow, and to this day I cannot explain how events transpired, I ended up being a sex partner to him.  I never wanted it.  I never consented.  Yet I did what he told me to do.  Why?  I DON’T KNOW.  I would lie in my bed at night and he would do his thing.  MY bed!  Why was he even in my house?  I would lie there like a sack of flour.  Not one bit of interaction.  I would think to myself, how can he possibly enjoy this?  It’s completely one sided and not the least bit interactive.  There was no embracing, no kissing, no motion other than him getting himself off in me.  I can feel my face wrenched in a grimace as I write this, perplexed and disgusted on many levels, to this day.  That wasn’t the extent of it.  He would stand in front of me and tell me to drop to my knees and blow him, and I would.  I did what he told me to do, and it continued for some time.  I don’t know how it happened.  I don’t know why I did it.  Once he brought a friend over.  The General.  They brought a Persian meal of some sort and we dined, then he left.  Where did the other guy go?  Why did he leave?  When would he be back?  They had some flurried conversation in Farsi and he left The General with me.  A stout man in his 60s, I’m guessing, who spoke no English, and used to be a general, back in the old country.  I don’t know.  We were sitting on the couch and I attempted to make conversation.    Apparently he had some background in sports medicine or physical therapy and he picked up one of my arms and began to massage it.  I don’t know how much time passed, but somehow I ended up in my underwear on my bed, being massaged.  It was a bit like an out of body experience in which I looked down and saw a big old Iranian man working his hands over my nearly naked body, working his way towards my nether regions.  How did my clothes come off?  How did I end up in my bedroom, on my bed, nearly naked?  I saw myself and my tattered underwear.  I had this ratty tatty bra that I was trying to get a few more wears out of, and it had a big tear across one of the cups.  It was embarrassing for it to be exposed like that.  Nobody ever saw it, because it was underwear.  But seeing myself in my tattered underwear in front of a stranger prodded my brain into a better state of clarity and I snapped back to reality, jumped up and made him leave.  I’m glad he left.  He could easily have forced himself further.  That was my wake-up call, as if whatever fog or spell I was under lifted, and after that I was able to form a plan to get the hell out of that situation.  There is a lot more to that story, in which I realized that I wasn’t at all safe, but the mere fact that they thought I was a stupid woman gave me the buffer I needed to get myself to safety.  I played dumb after that, more or less, then moved several towns away, in the dead of night, without a trace.  Understandably, I have a general prejudice and phobia toward Middle Eastern men (I have some very dear Middle Eastern friends, so it’s not a universal prejudice).

These aren’t the only events or experiences in my collection.  There are more, and I am only one person.  One gentle, nice, intelligent, and even strong person.  How many other people have tales like these to tell?  Of all the spoken experiences out there, how many more remain unspoken?  I suspect the number is staggering.  I would venture a guess that more than half of all people have an experience of similar proportion with which they can identify or relate.

So.

Was that rape? I don’t know.  Exploitation?  I think so.  I didn’t want any of those situations.  They are a part of my life, part of my collection of experiences, part of my history.  Have I come to terms with these things?  No.  Because I don’t understand how or why they happened.  I’m not the kind of person who lets things like that happen.  Yet I did.  Why?  How?

I DON’T KNOW.

Was it okay?  No.

Am I okay?  Yes.  But I still don’t understand.

February 14th, 2015 | 4 Comments »
Be here now, no other place to be
Or just sit there dreaming of how life would be
If we were somewhere better
Somewhere far away from all all worries
Well, here we are

well, here we are

You are the love of my life

Be here now, no other place to be
All the doubts that linger, just set them free
And let good things happen
And let the future come into each moment
Like a rising sun

You are the love of my life
You are the love of my life
Yeah, you know you are

Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again

And it’s all new today
All we have to say
Is be here now

Be here now, no other place to be
This whole world keeps changing, come change with me
Everything that’s happened, all that’s yet to come
Is here inside this moment, it’s the only one

You are the love of my life
You are the love of my life
Yeah, you know you are

sun comes up and we start again

Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again

It’s all new today
All we have to say
Is be here now

Listen!

Mason Jennings, Be Here Now

…happy….

Unexpected, and fully embraced.  I didn’t fall into this with reckless abandon.  It began with simple friendship, no agenda, no expectations, no machinations.  There is no stress.  No drama.  Just a simple and sweet fit. Comfort.  Freedom.  Peace.  Communication.  Harmony.

Smooth.  Like honey.

Maybe this is the beginning of happily ever after.  I hope so.  Either way, we’re living in the moment (when we have a moment) and for the moment, and the moment is sweet.

I’ve been smiling since the day we met.

…in retrospect…

I have actually already tried to self sabotage this budding relationship.  I almost didn’t believe anything could be so simple, so easy, so effortless, so comfortable.  I looked for reasons to doubt myself, reasons to doubt him, reasons to doubt the ability to have a relationship at all.  My bestie, thank God for her voice of reason, told me to STOP LOOKING FOR REASONS TO FAIL, FOR GOD’S SAKE!!  After due diligence, of course.  She, along with my sisters and all of my friends who are most dear, will always counsel me to be careful with my heart and keep my eyes open.

I don’t want to throw away the possibility of something beautiful, out of fear over the past and all the various relational paths I’ve traversed.  I aim to let  hope prevail.

…this man…

He is kind.  He is gentle.  He is moderate.  He is stable.  He is thoughtful.  He listens.  He is communicative.  He is helpful.  He is fun.  He is funny.  He is smart.  He is hard working.  He is steady.  He is friendly.  He is  his children’s hero.  He is good at what he does.  He is careful with his words.  He doesn’t put others down.  He doesn’t speak harshly of anyone or anything.  He looks for positive and constructive things to say.  He says what he means and means what he says.  He is dependable.  He is reliable.  He is calm.  He is strong.  He is a man of his word.  He shows up.  He’s where he says he’ll be when he says he’ll be there.  He is appreciative.  He is humble.  He is honest.  He is respectful.  He is respectable.  He is courteous.  He is loving.  He is thankful.  He is good.

…we fit…

We are good together.  We are in tune with each other.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I am grateful for the individual journeys that brought us to the place where our paths intersected, here, now.  A lifetime doesn’t seem long enough to do the things that we want to do together.  There are so many joys and experiences we want to share.

Let good things happen.  Let the future come into each moment like a rising sun.

Be here now.

I love him.  He loves me.

We are here, now.

January 21st, 2015 | No Comments »

up close and personal

Today has been one of those days that catches me off guard.  One of those days in which I fall apart, draw some conclusions, then realize that I’m mood cycling again and that it’s very likely attributed to shifting hormones.  This happened two months ago.  I remember.  I took some antidepressants for a short while and snapped out of it.  Thankfully, this time, the insanity only had its grip on me for part of a day, and I came to my senses in the early afternoon.

Shaking my head…   Seriously.  Shaking.  My.  Head.  You’d think I’d remember, when I start thinking along ridiculously extreme emotional lines, that my thoughts are traversing ridiculously emotional pathways, and that I’m being ridiculously emotional and these thoughts have little to no bearing on real life.

However.  There are some thoughts that surface when I’m in that state that might warrant exploration.

I seem to tend towards thoughts of fear, insecurity, and uncertainty when I get caught up in a hormone induced storm.  It’s truly ridiculous, and if I had my wits about me, I’d know that!  Alas, such is not the nature of storms.

I’ve been thinking quite a lot over the past several months about truth and walls.  I’ve been formulating some theories about the hidden heart of man.  This likely applies to mankind, not just men, and it may well apply to me, but for now I will just say that it is based upon observations of men, gathered over many years.  It goes like this.  The theory is that one can learn quite a lot about the true heart of a man by the way he sleeps.  Yep.  I’m that creepy.  Watching men while they sleep.  And I don’t have all THAT many data points to consider, but I have given this some thought.  I think that when one is sleeping, their defenses are down, and they present themselves in a more honest light. Because they aren’t presenting themselves at all.  They aren’t staged.  They are revealing a glimpse of their true selves.  In retrospect, I’ve not known many men whose sleeping selves are a match of their waking selves, and, alas, even that doesn’t a fit necessarily make.  Awake, one man might be a man among men, strong, powerful, confident, dominant.  Asleep, that same man may be terrified, and actually swat at me if I reach out and touch him.  Defensive.  Afraid.  Lost.  Awake, one man might be gracious and noble, well spoken, measured, open, and confident.  Asleep, that same man may be selfish, frightened, insecure.  His form is minimized and still.  Hiding.  Afraid.  Unreceptive to my touch.  Awake, one man might be all bravado, macho, and confident.  Another man among men.  Big guy.  Tough guy.  Strong guy.  Asleep, he may be an angel.  If I reach out to touch him, he smiles and opens his arms and pulls me close.  All defenses down, he is full of love.  Giving.  Appreciative.  Receptive.  He may never know that he revealed that part of himself, because he was asleep.  And when awake, he hides behind his carefully constructed walls.  I feel sad for all of these men, because they are conflicted.  Awake or asleep, their fears rob them of the beauty and fullness of life.  Imagine the peace and joy that one would know, if one were not conflicted!  And I cannot be with a conflicted man.  I just cannot.

I think that my own sleeping self is likely a fair representation of my awakened self.  Apart from the ultra sexy CPAP breathing apparatus, I think that if a man were to reach out and touch me in the night, that I would respond by moving toward him.  If he were awake, and watching me sleep, and stroked my hair or my face as I slept, I think I would likely smile.  If he were to try to pull me close, I would shut off the CPAP and bury myself in his arms.  I don’t curl up to take as little space as possible when I sleep.  I don’t try to disappear.  I don’t toss and turn.  I position myself on my side, with my CPAP mask in the least obtrusive and least noisy position possible, and drift quickly off to sleep.  I find peace, and I find rest.

I’ve been thinking of writing this post for quite some time!  I had wanted to pose the notion about Mr. RightForMe.  That his sleeping self would align with his waking self.  That awake he would be kind and gracious and manly and secure, and asleep he would be kind and loving and strong and at peace.  If I reach out to touch him, he may not wake, but he moves closer to me, and some part of our bodies connect.  If he reaches out to touch me, I move myself closer to him, and some part of our bodies connect.  I like to think that awake or asleep, we are comfortable and secure with each other and with ourselves.  I like to think that neither one of us is afraid of love, and neither one of us is afraid to love.  And even if we do have carefully constructed walls, we let each other in.

The problem with the hormonal storms is that while I’m under their twisted spell, I tend to despair and think that nobody would or could ever truly love me, know me, or  understand me, and that it’s completely and absolutely impossible.  That being because I can’t recognize myself when I’m spinning through that cyclone, so how could I possibly expect that of another?  I’m glad those moments are few and far between, but I surely wish that they wouldn’t take me by surprise, each and every time.

Seriously.  Each. And. Every. Time.

It helps, believe it or not, to write these things down.  I scour through my blog when I find myself struggling, and I find posts like this that remind me that this happens.  Sometimes that’s all it takes to snap me out.  Then I can shake it off with gusto, the way a dog shakes the water from its body.

Alrighty then.

Onward!

Posted in love, me, men
January 4th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

All in all, 2014 was beautifully and wonderfully life changing. Today I took a moment to open my gratitude jar, look through all the notes, and relive the joy.

a year of gratitude

I am smiling.

And so the jar, now empty, is ready to capture the joys of 2015.  It’s off to a beautiful start, and with this start, a new word to focus or define the year.  I’ve found my word for 2015.

A S S U R A N C E

December 31st, 2014 | Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

December 31st, 2014 | No Comments »

I feel compelled to take some time to sort through and summarize the mancapades of 2014.  My girlfriend lovingly advised that I should take a man break so that I could tune my good guy radar.  Of course I didn’t listen.  Well, I listened, but I didn’t heed.

The rocky road upon which I traversed for so long solemnly and completely reached its end, some time during the summer.  I don’t remember exactly when.  From then until now there has been sporadic socialization and relational pursuits.  I’ve posted three ads to Craigslist, for masochistic entertainment purposes more than anything truly serious.  Two of those posts were simply cut and pasted from this blog:  an affair to remember, and the sum of a life.  One was just a snarky counter offering to the ridiculous expectations described in the majority of the m4w ads posted.  That one hit a nerve because it was flagged and removed within 4 hours!  But it was up long enough to produce quite a flurry of activity, considering I posted it around 1 am and it was removed by 5 am.  Fun times.  If self torture is your thing, that is.  Actually, my ads spawned some reasonably good conversations and banter, so they served their purpose.  I also put a Tinder profile up, which was mostly laughable.  I think that I made about 4 possible matches for over 2000 passes.  Granted, I’m particular, and pass almost everyone.

All told, there were some rootin’ types, some shootin’ types, and even some marrying types.  How many of each?  There has been rootin’ without shootin’ and shootin’ without rootin’, and those who just might be the marrying type are, well, technically still married –so there are boundaries best left untread under such circumstances.  I don’t have any regrets, really, for any of the experiences.  They weren’t necessarily all good or without anguish, but there were some beautiful moments to treasure, and they all contributed in some way to the healing journey.

Cue Marvin Gaye, crooning in the background.  At the end of that long and rocky road this summer, I was told with certainty that intimacy could never be better than what I was walking away from.  I almost believed it.  Maybe his goal was to break me and cause me to doubt.  I don’t know.  But I’ve since learned that that was so very far from the truth.  Happily so.

In fact, I am absolutely positive of the possibility of truly fulfilling intimacy.  Without a doubt in this world.  I still have no idea how to fully relate with another, or how to mingle lives in a positive manner for all involved.  Hope definitely prevails, though.

I still believe in love.

With a capital L.

Posted in love, me, men, mental health