Abnormal

feminity1I have been accused of being abnormal, of not being feminine in my responses, of not being sufficiently emotional. This is not the first time someone has said this to me, likely it will not be the last. My only answer to these accusations is I keep my emotions under control and am not given to public displays, even if you are an audience of one. If you are acting out to gain a response from me you will be sorely disappointed and I will not apologize for this.

I don’t believe I am abnormal, only that I have examined many human emotions closely and found they don’t suit me; I have discarded them. I am at peace with myself, with my imperfections. This does not mean I am happy to traipse alone through the last part of my life journey. It simply means I am unlikely to make significant adjustments to my core being to accommodate the expectations of others regarding who I ‘should’ be as a woman.

notnormal

For most of my life I took care of everyone around me, everyone came before me their needs before mine. This is part of my nature and can be draining. My tendency was to hold everything very close until I had enough, then I would blow up with sometimes catastrophic outcomes. Because I didn’t ask for what I needed, didn’t tell what was wrong, didn’t talk to partners, friends, parents or anyone in my orbit if there was a problem no one knew until it was too late to prevent that blow up. While those blow ups often hurt others, they all to often hurt me far more.

I don’t do this anymore. I am still quiet. I still listen more than I talk. I still have a tendency to take care of the people I love more than ask for care when I need it. This is still my core nature. What I don’t do is allow it to go without speaking up if I believe a relationship is not reciprocal. What I don’t do is not care for myself. The odd thing though, I am accused of not being sufficiently womanly e.g. emotional in my response to things.

It is true, I frequently withdraw.

It is true, I do not weep and gnash my teeth.

It is true, I do not fling myself to the floor and beg for attention.

It is true, I do not scream, yell, call names or other such nonsensical behaviors one sometimes sees on TV these days. If this is the expectation there will always be disappointment, always.

The emotional blackmail I do not respond to and have not responded to for years? The attempts to force me to react, I think they are childish and demonstrate a lack of confidence in the other person, these sometimes seem to be tests in whether I care or not. If I fail these tests, we are likely not good partner material. Some of the ‘tests’ I have failed recently, the emotions I have failed to adequately demonstrate:

Jealousy, it simply isn’t part of my DNA. It once was, I admit I use to feel horrifyingly jealous and it would tear me apart inside. Now though I no longer respond or react. I don’t know when I stopped feeling the monster of jealousy rise in my heart, I think it was jealous-700x450when I realized I could not make someone love me, could not force someone to stay and could not change another person’s heart no matter what I felt. There was no point to this emotion, it hurt no one but me. I didn’t do anything to change myself, it was simply I stopped feeling jealous. I still felt angry at a betrayal, at a lie but I no longer felt jealous.

Envy was another of those strange emotions that simply disappeared, it seemed in a day though I am sure it didn’t just poof away. I remember being younger and envying other women their perfect bodies, their clothes, their husbands, their jobs and the list goes on. I remember seeing others and wanting what they had, even just wanting to be them. I would sit sometimes and simply daydream of not being me, being anyone but me. My envy would envelope me in a fog, then suddenly it was gone. Suddenly I cannot imagine being anyone but me, despite everything I cannot dream of any life but my own. There are days I see a beautiful woman in the store and admire her, but my admiration is not envy.

Fury, I held on to my fury for days, sometimes weeks or longer. That fire would burn me flameWomanand others in a destructive path. While it might have been justified it was not healthy in its expression and it never ended well. Now, I know how to express anger when it occurs rather than let it burn me out. Now I know how to speak up and speak out. Now I know that to hang on to anger, allow it to become fury, give it free rein and rent in my soul is one of the most self-destructive things I can do.

Hate, I let this one go a very long time ago but I have to frequently check up and check in. I have said for a couple of decades you have to feed hate to keep it alive and I believe it. There are people and things I don’t like, I don’t allow in my life; but even those who have done me great and terrible harm, I do not hate. Some of them I had to teach myself not to hate. Some of them I had to let go of, I had to find them in my head and kick them out. Some of them I had to write about, here and elsewhere until they were purged. Some of them I had to learn to understand so I could justify not hating them. Slowly though I let go of hate, slowly I learned peace through letting my monsters go.

I still hate green peas.

So some men find me uncomfortable. They do not understand my ‘lack’ of emotional response. They find me to pragmatic, to logical in my responses to some of their actions and behaviors. They find my quiet disarming. Some men find my ‘lack’ of normal female emotions uncomfortable.

Relationships and dating at this age is difficult if you don’t follow the rules. Unfortunately, apparently I don’t follow the rules.

I am an introvert. I am perfectly capable of taking care of all my needs. I do not need anyone though I want someone in my life who will partner me evenly and is capable of a balanced relationship.

I am quiet. I know myself. I have clear expectations. I do not play games and it is unlikely I will respond the way you expect if you attempt to play games with me. These statements about my abnormality just got me thinking, I am perhaps more of an anomaly than I thought and should maybe be prepared for what I once considered an intolerable future. It is not that I don’t have hope, but these statements of my abnormality certainly leave me wondering.

womanonpath

62 and Single

introvert-life-tips-e1486148449878 (1)

I never thought I would be single at this age; this isn’t what I believed my life would look like. Truthfully, I assumed my life would be much different than it is today. Some days I wake up and wonder who is living my life, who is inhabiting the life plan I had. Well if I am honest, I wake up and think to myself, just what the fuck.

Excuse my expletive. There might be a few more so if you are offended easily you might not want to read this simple exploration of life at sixty-two, where nothing is quite as planned.

If someone had told me when I was twenty-five the trajectory my life was going to take, I would have laughed uproariously. I wouldn’t have believed them, sixty-two was old as the hills and I didn’t expect to live that long in all honesty. In the back of my mind though, I had expectations;

  • To marry, once
  • To have children, two
  • To have a careerlifethegame
  • To have grandchildren
  • To build a future and a home

To live the same life, follow the same path my father followed and embrace the same familiar patterns I had grown up with once my rebellion was finished. I was nearly done at twenty-five, almost completed my teenage angst and young adult anguish. I had started down the path of adulthood and was building that future though perhaps not quite in a regular fashion I had expected early on in life.

Yet here we are, thirty-seven years later and I am sixty-two years old and I am alone. I have had two husbands and a few wannabe husbands. One who I left and the other who left me. I have helped raise two children, both who remain close, but who are not mine except through bounds of love. I live alone in a house that is mine but still feels not quite home. I have lived a life that by all accounts was not normal but certainly built character, still I have to ask why am I alone when this is the last thing I intended to be.

Oddly, I am not unhappy or lonely most of the time. I enjoy my time within the self-imposed Personal_spacebubble, the time I can spend in my own company is strangely comforting. There are simply times I would like to know there is another person who is uniquely part of my world and chooses to share in my future. Someone who is a dependable source of both solace and pleasure. That single person who I can turn to as companion, partner, friend and yes, lover. Does this seem to be two distinctly different, even polar opposite spaces to occupy?

It may be. I cannot determine if it is or not. This sometime overwhelming longing to have a person in my life, a man who sees me, looks on me with compassion and desire does not take away from my pleasure in finally having peace and quiet. It does not reduce the enjoyment I take in my self-determination, of being able to finally do what I choose without thinking of anyone but myself. There is a strange dichotomy in finding yourself at sixty-two finally on your own, alone and independent of all responsibility but to yourself.

I remember thinking, there will come a time my sons will be grown they will marry, have children and be independent adults. There were times during my marriages I sometimes thought, my husband(s) will grow the hell up and become responsible grown-assed men, they will be full time contributors rather than emotional and financial dependents. I will be free to do what I wish, to work differently, to travel more or whatever else I wish to do. Then of course, divorce struck and financial setbacks took away my freedoms.

I recovered; I was most fortunate. Now I think, I cannot afford to just do anything to squander my recovery and my future. I must think like an adult, huh.

AmbivertScale

Can you guess where I sit on this spectrum?

So, adulthood hits at sixty-two and what it looks like doesn’t thrill me. Who in their right mind wants to do this, alone? This isn’t what I thought it would look like. Dating isn’t something I can do easily; I am not good with new people or small talk. Years ago, I tried on-line dating for a brief minute, that didn’t work for me so I won’t try it again. I am far too picky, a man would have to be extraordinary to catch and hold my attention, he would have to be part superhero, part bad boy and part old school gentleman (like my father). He would have to have the smile of an angel, clean fingernails, the patience of a saint and be able to laugh at himself.

Does this even exist anymore?

ShhhI have been so fortunate in my life. I have been loved and I have loved. I know what both look like. I have also been terribly disappointed, yes, I have also disappointed. None of us are without flaws, none of us have gone through life without mistakes. The thing is, I am better for mine, I hope. I don’t want to spend my last years alone, I want to share this last part of my life with someone who will love me knowing all my flaws, all my skeletons, all my baggage. Who will see me fully and without judgement hold me closely through the end.

I just keep wondering, how did I get here, sixty-two, single, alone and is this it?

Memories in a Box

Sleeping BeautyYesterday I started boxing up memories. This means preserving them, but putting them away so they don’t hurt my heart anymore when I stumbled across them. I have seventeen years of memories; they twine through multiple homes, various milestones, holidays on different continents and of course the lives of my children. It is difficult to box memories, impossible to pretend there aren’t happy, even joyful times preserved in those pictures, impossible to pretend they did not happen. Yes, they happened and I was there, that smile was real and those times were not false, they simply didn’t lead to the ending any of us wanted.

It is difficult to forgive yourself; your failures sit on your heart. Eventually though, they open the door to what isn’t yours, what you don’t own and how you didn’t fail. As I began to sort through hundreds of pictures, some in albums and some loose I realized there were two of us, not just me. Two of us who journeyed, two of us standing before the minister making promises, two of us living under the roof of our various homes and yes two of us fighting the battles. The problem was there was only one of us leaving, twice. Only one of us ultimately unwilling to fight for our marriage. Only one of us so angry they were willing to throw everything away. I realized looking at those pictures, both of us were wrong, both of us did wrong, both of us failed; not just one and finally I forgave myself and refused the entire blame.

Like many of you, I choose love. Always, I choose love when I can, when it is offered and I am not petrified, I admit I am often petrified. I also often choose to love the unattainable, the unlovable, the out-of-reach, those who do not wish love or stand beyond love. I think I know why I do this; it is honestly safer isn’t it? Because as I said, I am petrified, of love of being loved, or maybe of not being enough to keep love and being rejected, shoved aside and turned away from.

I have a friend, someone who has known me for more than thirty years she says on the face of it I am a romantic; I like the idea of being loved and in love. The other thing she says is I choose men who are ultimately not worthy of my love, men who will walk away or who I will walk away from. She says I will always love men who will remain out of reach, either emotionally or literally unattainable and in this way, I keep myself shielded from any real hurt or invasion of my personal space.

Is she right? I truly do not know the answer to this, on the surface it seems she might be. If this is the truth, it would seem I have another thing to forgive myself for.

My divorce, yes I finally said it, draws to a conclusion, the final decree being signed by both of us and presented to a judge sometime in the next week. I look down a future of alone and realize I am building around myself a640px-Aurora_and_the_forest_of_thorns protective tower, like Rapunzel or Sleeping Beauty, no way in or out. No one is doing this but me, for now I think this is the safe choice. I might wish otherwise, maybe a knight willing to brave the wicked witch that is my alter ego or the protective thorn forest that is my history; yet, I have to wonder does that man actually exist? Is this simply my romanticism attempting to convince me to at least leave a light on, a way in.

For now, I think I will keep the lights off, romanticism held closely at bay no matter my instinct to reach out, choose love. Memories to box both tangible and in my head, fortunately I have the practice to be successful at both. The ability to express love, desire, fear and all the other emotions of our humanity will find outlets in other forms; thankfully, I have given myself permission to open new doors both those which I have always followed but kept secret and some new.

So for now, I wait to see what is next. Tomorrow is a new day; I find I am not as afraid as I was last month. Sure, there are still things that make me catch my breath and want to scream, not as often though. Certainly, there are things that make me want to fling myself to the floor and have a tantrum like a two-year-old, not as frequently as last month though.

For now, I will simply try to find small pleasures; perhaps they will grow and untangle and maybe someday I will put the light on.

Served Grown Up Please

LVal_Web_smallMy friend Red and I talk often, truthfully nearly every day. Through this recent tsunami, that has been my life I found I have no nearby support system. This has been eye opening; it has also made it very difficult.

Red gets a great deal of credit for pulling me through the worst of it, she dug in and kicked me a few times. There have been a couple of others though along the way, the interesting thing about these others?

My Friends in the Tsunami

  • They are women I have known close too if not more than thirty years, they have been close friends and intertwined with my life in meaningful and happy ways for all that time.
  • They are both in the midst of divorces from long-term partners.
  • Like me, they did not expect to be in this position this late in life.

Where am I going you might ask and so you should. I have been thinking about the position I and others are in at this stage of our lives, the odds are not with us according to all reports. I have been reading blogs by women, some younger and some my age who have been through the devastation of divorce after a long marriage and what it means to be single again. I have been thinking specifically about what it means to me, my life and my future and what I want for myself someday, maybe, perhaps and if I am fortunate.

I Want A Grown Assed Man

I have spent my entire life, every single relationship being the caretaker and provider. Begging for what I need and rarely if ever getting even one quarter of it, then calling myself satisfied. Enough, it is self-defeating and leads to misery. I am no longer willing to settle, not ever again. I don’t want to be anyone else’s second choice, booty call, meal ticket or anything else. Done with all of it, maybe I ask for too much, maybe the dream isn’t out there, nonetheless…..

I Want a Grown Assed Man and This is What He Looks Likemystery-man

He isn’t afraid of who I have been or where I have been; in fact, he is interested in my history, all of it. He wouldn’t think of condemning me for bad choices I have made because he has made some of his own.

He doesn’t shrink from the hard stuff, his own or mine. He knows life sucks sometimes and he isn’t afraid of it. He is grown; he has taken a few beatings and cried a few tears. He isn’t ashamed of it and he can bear up under the tears I might shed in the dark of night or the grey of dawn when I think there is no one there to hear me sobbing. He understands pain.

He wouldn’t think to slut shame me for what was done too me. He wouldn’t ever think to blame me for my past or take advantage of me because I have one.

He is a gentleman; he has manners not just the ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ type of manners but real manners. He knows how to behave in both public and private and it is innate to his person, rather than showmanship.

He makes plans with me and for me; he is respectful of my time and his own. More than this, he thinks ahead and thinks of more than himself and his own desires. He listens carefully to things I love and seeks opportunities for us to do them together. Even when something isn’t high on his list of ‘shit I most want to do in life’, whether it is the opera, the ballet or going to a Lyle Lovett concert, he makes concessions because he is a grown assed man.

He never fails to flirt, with me! Damn, this is important. A simple touch, a cuddle, a kiss on the back of the neck, a meeting of the eyes across the dinner table anything and all the things that send that message he wants me and finds me desirable. Stop looking at your phone for five minutes, pay attention.

He doesn’t think compromise is a four-letter word. It isn’t. Really, see ten letters C O M P R O M I S E; I counted three times just to be certain. He doesn’t beat his chest and say, ‘Me Man, You Woman’, and stomp out of the room as soon as the word compromise is introduced into any discussion, instead he seeks opportunities to balance our relationship and make it easier for us to move forward.

He traces my battle scars with the tips of his fingers in the night, knowing they are an intimate part of my being he loves them for their presence on my skin and my soul.

He never hides me away in the dark; he is not embarrassed by me or his choice of me. He takes my hand and proudly displays me as his partner no matter what anyone might have to say, he defends me in the face of condemnation.

He is not afraid of debate; he welcomes it when it is necessary and never fights dirty. Whether it is politics, religion or whose turn it is to do the dishes, he will always remember I am his partner and he loves me. He is never petulant or childish in a fight, never uses silence or past hurts to win.

He dances with me! Whether in the living room, the bedroom or at a dinner club; he dances with me. He takes me in his arms and dances me around the room. He knows how to hold me and take my breath away when he moves me. He knows how to make me feel beautiful.

He likes himself, is comfortable in his skin and doesn’t need outside affirmation of his manhood. I am enough for him. He doesn’t have to prove his manhood through Neanderthal means. He doesn’t beat his chest when asked to help with household duties, he would never think to say, ‘that is woman’s work, do it yourself or get a maid.’

He knows making love is more than wagging his appendage and hopping on! Nothing more to say on this one.

He is interested in more than himself, he is interested in the world. He reads, he explores and he is willing to try new things; at least once. His mind is a sponge that happily seeks opportunities to absorb new experiences.

He is engaged and active, whether in a single cause or broadly across many intertwined causes. He is at least putting something ahead of himself.

He has his own money. Yes, I went here I had too. I don’t care whether he has the same amount, more or less only that it is his own. I care that sometimes someone else pays, for the theater, the first class plane ticket, the groceries, the clothes, the phone bill, the luxury items. I care that someone besides me cares the bills get paid not just assumes because they always have they always will.

Finally, he loves me exactly as I am doesn’t want to subtract anything from me, doesn’t resent anything about me except I am late coming to his life, doesn’t condemn me or ridicule me, doesn’t want me changed, thinks I am sexy from the inside out and wants to see me naked from the inside out. Will sit in the waiting room when I am having surgery, not asked to be called when I am ready to go home. Will hang out with me when I am getting my next tattoo, not tell me they will divorce me if I get another.

jpgI Want A Grown Assed Man

I bet my list could be longer, I am certain of it. Red says they are Extinct. I don’t believe her, I think they exist and we simply haven’t allowed ourselves to be loved by the right man. I am holding on to hope. Lately I have been posting snippets on Facebook as I think of them, these were two from the past couple of weeks.

What I want….Breakfast in bed (just coffee would be good), phone calls in the middle of the day (for no reason at all), trips to the garden center, window shopping, spontaneous road trips just to take pictures….oh damn I want someone just like me. Oh well, guess I will have to do.

 

I want to be seen for just me, liked for just me, be wrapped in arms because I deserve it, walked with, taken out for drinks and a movie, danced with in my living room. I want to play cards and billiards, I want to laugh, I want someone to like the skin I am in without wanting to change it. Damn, I just want that.

I was inspired by this: http://www.xojane.com/sex/grown-ass-men

I realize, I want to be loved for me. I will continue to write about the mystery man I hope is out there, not today and not soon because I am not there, I am hurt right now and feel terribly unlovable and unpretty. But someday I want someone to feel me, my sharp edges, my history, my future and love all of it. I want someone to feel this and say this to me some day.

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