Empty Rooms

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Yesterday I dreamed of you, I wept

In the middle of the day, in an empty room

A chair you left untended, rattan shredded

The pillow you use to rest yourself against

All the small things, insignificant on the surface

These are what made me weep in the daylight

Last night, I lay awake my sheets cool

I reached over to your side, seeking warmth

Instead, I found your pillow, untouched

Never do I cross to the side where you sleep

Leaving room for you, for nights you lay down

The morning broke through my shades

I had slept restlessly, still hanging onto hope

Knowing though it was reckless of my heart

My spirit sank with the daylight chasing dreams

Grace fled even as I reached for mercy

In the silence of isolation, I begged for a single voice

Seeking a balm to heal my battered spirit

Instead, I wept in the middle of the day, in stillness

Perhaps this is mercy

Signature

30-March-2020

Love in a Pandemic

caution-symbol-safety-sign-500x500A friend asked me the other day what they should do now that everything was locked down, there was no gathering places, no places to meet in public, no ‘date’ night specials. How were they going to proceed to meet new potential mates and get to know their options.

With caution?

Yes, that was my first response. Yes, it was a teensy, tiny bit snarky. Honestly, though, I didn’t understand the issue. We have a pandemic going on in the world and it is here, right here in these United States and you are worried about whether or not you can keep your social life going? Is this a bit shallow?

Then I thought about it from my friend’s perspective. She, like me, feels the weight of years though not quite as many years, she feels them just as I feel them. She like me has been divorced for more than five years and like me, she has formed a few what felt like to her committed relationships, they did not go the distance or as planned. She like me is looking down what feels like a short road and wondering if she is going to be alone for the rest of the journey.

Pandemic be damned then full speed ahead, her prince may be out there and he might frogprincebe just as lonely in his isolation as she is.

We are similar in so many ways yet different in one very important personality quirk, one key that will allow us to weather this storm with our sanity intact. She and I are polar opposites in our need for regular human interaction. Don’t mistake me, I enjoy my friends and family simply in smaller and more controlled doses. I also enjoy a dinner out now and then, I just simply don’t need it. My friend, on the other hand, she still loves nightspots, dancing, concerts and anything else that gets her out and about. Me? I love the theater and willingly take myself on dates, I have zero need for company. My friend? She would not be caught dead anywhere alone and feels downgraded if I invite her to come with me.

Needless to say, we are very different creatures.

I spend days, sometimes even weeks without ever talking to a single soul unless it is work-related. My friend can’t go more than a few hours without social interaction, she feels unloved, unappreciated and unfulfilled. She needs human touch, human validation, human voices to know she exists in the world. She is an extrovert, I love her dearly but she makes me a bit crazy at times. I realized during this conversation, her extroversion goes beyond her comfort in crowds and her extreme touchy-feely-huggy with everyone she meets. Her extroversion is her spirit and soul, it is how she feeds her joyfulness every single day and she is joyful. This compulsory isolation is removing from her a necessary part of her life, her ability to reach out and touch, emotionally and physically other human beings.

She wasn’t just asking about how to continue her dating life, how to continue her search for her prince charming. She was asking how to live.

So I had to get serious with my friend, I don’t want to lose her to depression. I also don’t want to lose her because she does something stupid, desperation can cause any of us to make stupid choices. There are no simple choices right now, yes our prince may well be out there but if we haven’t found them yet there is no simple answer to dating during a pandemic, social distancing is the only answer we have and maybe it is a blessing we weren’t looking for but a blessing nonetheless. Time to get back to some good old fashioned courtship routines; talking, no touching, sitting far apart, walks in the park. I know, it all sounds so sterile and it is, but why risk dying if you don’t have to.

Old LettersTalk on the phone, after you have established some level of feel-good and trust. Write long emails to each other, learn to use your words. There was a time when letter writing was a valued transaction between courting pairs when letters were saved as proof of intentions. My grandmother had letters from my grandfather from before and during their marriage, how she was able to read them is beyond me but she was and she married him. Use Chat and Video Chat, again learn to use your words. The point is get to know your potential date mate as a human being before your very first date, figure out if this is a person you actually want to spend time with, find out if you can have a conversation.

Love in a pandemic, where fear rules us and isolation is the decree of the day will be hard. When you are not naturally inclined toward seclusion this will be even more difficult. My friend is already feeling the pressure of being alone, without the validation of social interaction to lift her spirit she is afraid. I understand her anxiety. I have a different level of distress, even though my natural tendency to isolate and this allows me to get through days without interaction I am afraid too and I will talk about that at some other time.

How will we get through this?

I can only think this isn’t forever and we will come out the other side differently. We will learn different skills and different ways to build relationships and interact with each other. Our expectations will be different and perhaps we will set a new standard for those prince’s who wish to join us on our journey. Women of a certain age want to partner, we don’t want to live our lives alone. In this, my friend and I are very much alike. Now we look down this tunnel of how do we find that elusive man who will see us for all we are, all we have to offer and begin to build a very different portrait, one that is more honest more true to life, of them and ourselves. Possibly that portrait will be more true to life.

At least that is my hope.

62 and Single

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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.

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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?

Treachery

Embattled by treachery unexpected and dark

Washed over by the tempest of loss and fury

Your storm brewed in deep pits of secrecy

20ab55a5576cffe1dce94c2fc4b236b0Handed to me to unravel, mine to tame in the light

With no ballast to uphold me, to keep me lifted up

Silence and distance, cruelty after all this time

Soft words, the lack of reserve between us

The silence shatters me in its violence

The distance breaks me unforgivingly

My skin chills, with no replacement or sanctuary

The betrayal, so absolute I had no cache stored

Seeking anything to hold me together just long enough

To gather strength and lift myself above, to move  

Silence will become my partner again

Duplicity will seep into my bones and I will rise

Time will pass and these will become me

Signature

23 Nov 2019

If We Were Having Coffee-Circles Unbroken

If we were having coffeeimages we might have it here, in my small but a little bit cozy apartment. I still haven’t fully unpacked, there are a few boxes I have no clue what they contain. I struggle to figure out how to organize the bits and pieces, but have finally decided maybe I simply don’t need too right at this moment in time (more later). I would offer you a seat either at my table, on the couch or outside on the porch overlooking the pool, what is on offer is a selection of hot or cold beverages today. Yes, I still have the Tequila in the freezer but I am not feeling the need, happy to provide some for you though if you feel as if it will help you through the day.

It has been terrible out in the world, hasn’t it? I remain stunned by the lack of viable candidates for POTUS from the two major political parties. I stand ashamed for us as a nation that this is what we have to choose from. The USA has for years called themselves the leader of the free world and we have stomped through the world as if we had the right to be there, telling others how to run their nations. We have plowed through nations, as if we had the moral obligation to ‘right’ the wrongs. I believe we can safely say, we are not the moral / ethical standard bearers of jack shit any longer. We haven’t been for a very long time, probably for far longer than any of us realize but with this election cycle I think it is safe to say we can put down our national ego, tuck our tails between our legs and keep our happy asses at home.

The news has been full of terrible and tragic. I can hardly bring myself to turn on the television anymore. Worse yet, though we seem to have a plethora of reasons to take a hard look at ourselves and make changes, those we have put in charge don’t seem to be aligned with us. Forty-nine dead in Orlando at the hand of a maniac, two young girls dead at the hand of their mother in Houston and still nothing. Congress people ‘sitting in’ on the floor of the House, deemed nothing more than a ‘publicity stunt’ by a tone deaf House Speaker, while a nation clamors for change. The DNC ignoring the voices of millions to define a platform for the future distinctly not Progressive and not inclusive of those who have said ‘Never Hillary’, nearly insuring a future Trump presidency.

Abraham Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

I believe we are seeing the beginning of the end of our once great nation.

Maybe I will take some of that Tequila after all, what about you?

If we were having coffee I would have to turn the conversation toward some better subjects, this one has been a bit morose. Honestly, when I sold my house and moved to this apartment I thought I would be here for at least six months. The market in Dallas is hot and rough right now, houses come on and off in the blink of the eye, they are also expensive and I was beginning to think I was going to be priced out of the market. Honestly? I was getting a little bit afraid, thinking maybe I had made a rash decision in selling my house. Well lo and behold, I simply needed to broaden my mind and my search field. Not only did I find something that suits me quite well, I made an offer, but I am in the tail end of the escrow process.

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Not there yet mind you. The inspection is done, out of this there were some concessions made and I am happy. The appraisal should be back next week and I don’t expect any surprises. My finance package is with the underwriter and though there are always questions because of my status as a ‘contractor’ and private business owner, I honestly don’t expect any real problems. The house is fun, it is 2,400 sq. ft. all on one floor. It is imperfect, just the way I like it, needs work but it isn’t a disaster. Built in 1976, it has great potential to be fabulous! There are some things I will do before ever moving in and other things I will do over the next two years to make it entirely mine.

Things to do before moving a stick of furniture into the house:

  • Fix all faulty AC venting
  • Fix plumbing in master bath
  • Remove all carpeting and tile throughout house and replace with stained concrete or hardwood
  • Repaint entire interior
  • Replace exterior door hardware
  • Install security system
  • Remove screen door
  • Widen interior office door (converted garage) and hang Barn Doors
  • Replace electric kitchen appliances with gas (oven and stove)

Seems like a long list doesn’t it? I know it seems daunting to me too. But honestly it isn’t that bad, either cost or effort wise. Most of it is small stuff, likely the worst one on there (cost) is the floors, I simply cannot tolerate carpet though. The funny thing about this little gem in the rough? It is a ‘flipped’ house, the current owner put lipstick on a pig, clearly watched far too many house flipping shows but didn’t pay attention to the important stuff, thus ended up having to pay $5,000 in repair concessions which will go a long ways toward my ‘things I have to do’ budget.

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Assuming all goes well, I will close on the house 11-July and all the work will be done within 30 days. So I will be living in my new home by 1-September. Exciting stuff.

One more thing that is sort of exciting, if you have followed along with me for a while you might remember a few years ago when I wrote about the Grown Assed Man, here and here that I wanted in my life. It has taken me a while, it has taken a few missteps and a couple of stumbles. It has been a difficult time of resets, finding my own personal comfort zones and learning that I am first very good company and second a very good person and woman. When I finally found my way through all that, I also figured out what I wrote in Grown Assed Man Parts 1 and 2, that really was in large part all of it, what I wanted and needed in a partner/lover and that I deserved it all. The other thing I discovered? I deserved to have it all, but having it all was different today than I thought. Today having it all meant retaining my independence and personal ‘self’ even while growing into a commitment that might just be with that Grown Assed Man I wrote about.

So that is what has been going on, just small things. I hope as always you are doing well and you will tell me what is going on with you. As usual I have taken over the entire conversation. I do want to share this with you, I found it recently and it has stuck with me, I hope you find it as poignant as I have.

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CoffeeShare2

If We Were Having Coffee: Tequila Would Top Mine

Yes, I know we might be having coffeeimages, tea or even the more refined Wine but honestly this past month deserves the bite of Tequila. Good, strong sipping Tequila. Nothing foofy with umbrellas and silly stuff, just a fresh from the freezer, where I keep it for times like these, sipping Tequila. .

So, if we were having Tequila with or without our coffee, we would be sitting back in my undecorated but praises be, nearly clean to my satisfaction, apartment. From 4,200 square feet to 1,000 square feet is one hell of a downsizing and I honestly didn’t think I could do it, I honestly thought I would lose my mind. Instead what I am finding is a strange peace settling over me as I maneuver through the weird minimalism that is becoming the norm for me. Even after I thought I had shrunk my needs to the bare ‘must have’ I found myself needed to shrink down even more, things I thought were absolute needs became sacrifices to storage in favor of other objects of desire. Amazing what becomes necessity when you shrink your living space.

Would you like another one? Excuse me while I top of my glass.herradura-anejo-tequila-17

You know I have told you about my year, shared with you that I have struggled on many fronts this year. The struggles have tapped me out on many levels, shredded my confidence, my hopefulness at times. Certainly my imagination along with my energy has been drained. I have had to really take out my spirit and examine closely what drives me, what is needful and what is a priority for me. I have had to make choices I never thought I would make, shed myself of what was doing me harm even when this scared the living hell out of me. I have stared into the abyss of my history and torn the curtain away to the future I thought I wanted, sometimes having to set aside people and things so I could begin to truly rebuild.

This has been a work in progress, it started a few years ago when my husband left without good-bye in December 2013. I have struggled to find my footing, to find my heart and my spirit. I have worked to find the independent me under the debris of hurt. People have taken advantage of my vulnerability, I don’t blame them, I put it out there with my need to be seen, to be loved. I put a great big sign over my head, “Here I am…Use me”.

Then after I lost even more confidence along with thousands of dollars, I finally pulled back into myself. Set my need for ‘love’ aside in favor of true healing. Small steps, sometimes backward steps, sometimes no steps at all but instead simply standing still in the space I was and taking a few deep breaths. Focusing on the right then, not trying to force healing but letting the world wash over me, rinse my hurt away in small portions. It wasn’t easy, I wanted everything and right now. There were days when I thought I would miss out on the rest of my life, nothing was working and I was emotionally atrophied; at least I felt like this was the case.

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Early last year I jumped into a relationship to stem the hurt and loneliness. It was an unhealthy relationship. What I learned from it was wonderful though. I learned I would rather be alone than part of an unhealthy relationship. I would rather be alone than part of a relationship that hurts me. I would rather be lonely and alone than lonely within a relationship. I learned I can stand up for myself, I can say no. That is what I learned. It was a good lesson. I learned, I do not have to accept pain as part of being paired. I learned it is better to be uncoupled than unhappy. I also learned what I want in a partner, in a man. I learned what is important. In the ending unfortunately both of us were hurt, it was nevertheless the right thing to do, for both of us. Now I can couple without fear, I know my desires and my limitations. This was a critical step to finding myself, now I am happily settled with myself.

Can I top you off? I could use another splash. I am rambling on about myself, I hope you don’t mind.

This past month has been a challenge. You might have noticed I haven’t been around much, my plate has been full. In truth my bucket has spilled over, leaving me exhausted and exhilarated at one and the same time. I thought I would not make it through the month of May, I did though. Here is what happened and why I find myself sitting here with you sipping Tequila:

  • I moved into my new apartment and nearly finished the unpacking process
  • I finished the downsizing, though I couldn’t have done it without a few well-placed kicks in the ass along the way
  • I performed a wedding for my friend and barrier against the storms of recent years, Red
  • I attended the wedding of one of my younger sisters in Seattle and was reminded of how wonderful family can be, even in large crowds. Yes, my family is big and raucous.
  • I finally met my newest found sister and had a long breakfast with her. We are the odd ones out, part of family but found members (born outside, adopted out and unknown till adulthood).
  • I finally started the real search for my next job, though I know it might be long and harrowing I also know what I want and I am going to hold out for what makes sense
  • I started writing again in my journal and will start to write here and read again because I am giving myself permission and time
  • I stopped holding myself to impossible standards and took a deep breath without crying
  • I read my own posts from a few years ago and realized how far I have come and how some things are still true. I was amazed how far I have climbed out of the void I was in three years ago.

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What I have figured out through all of this?

I can do this. I am enough. I may be scared, it is fine, scared is normal sometimes. I may be sad, it is okay to be sad sometimes, this is normal. I may be lonely now and then, it is fine to be lonely so long as it is the loneliness of waiting not the loneliness of ‘alone’. I can do this, I am enough. I am worth it and I am enough. That is what I have learned.

CoffeeShare2

Weekend Coffee Share: One Down

imagesIf we were having coffee I would be sitting at my table and hoping you would share it with me. If you want tea, I would be sure to show you the slim pickings I have to brew (sorry), or you can share my pot of thick as mud cowboy coffee. Yes, there is plenty of creamer selections, sugars and honey.

Things sure have been up in the air this past week, sometimes I think this is a trial by fire just to see how determined I am to set to rights what is wrong. It has been all I could do not to snap at those I love, not to crawl into my closet and stay there, not to fall to my knees and beg the universe for mercy.

The final appraisal was Good Enough, the buyers have said yes to one stipulation I have said yes too selling for less than I wanted to sell for. We all have agreed to some terms that were not in the original contract, hopefully in the next few hours we will have a final contract to sign and it will be done with a closing date within this month, then I can move on from here. New life, new choices to make. I won’t be entirely happy with the outcome but honestly I will be in better condition than I have been.

I would proudly show you how I have started clearing out cabinets in anticipation of moving. Even with everything in the air and not knowing till just a few hours ago I tried to keep a positive view on this process. Then I would point to the full up baskets of CD’s, well over 1,500 I have already ripped to my IPod. This represents about half my music collection, it is a painful process to get them all onto my IPod finally but I swore this time I wasn’t carrying them with me, not again. I am finally going digital on this one thing at least. Will I get finished before moving day? Surely I do hope so, one less thing to think about, pack and carry.

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There is so much more to do, closet upon closet to clear out. Decisions to make about what to keep, what to sell and what to donate. What will go to a very small apartment with me, meaning what I absolutely cannot live without and what will go to storage until I find my next permanent home. So many things to consider, so many choices to make. I wander through my home today and think there are many things I take for granted in my life, many things of great beauty I hardly see until now that I must actually look at them and remind myself of their stories.

If we were having coffee today I would tell you about my week of introspection. How I have been thinking about family, friends and lovers (past and present). I would try to open my heart to you about how I have too often pushed people away for fear of being hurt even while I loved them. I would tell you about my natural inclination to take care of others within relationships, whether family or otherwise, how I am happier when I am taking care of others than when I am having to be constantly in charge, the boss, the strong one. I would try to explain how difficult it is for me to constantly be on guard, to be in charge, to feel uncared for and not trust others to catch me if I fall. This has been part of my week of introspection, part of what has driven me inside of myself.

I would tell you I recognize my strength, my competency and my ability to take care of myself. I understand I am able to stand up for myself, live alone and be happy alone even. I realize how much I have survived in my lifetime, that in truth it is more than most. I am good with my life as it is. I am good with the decisions and choices I have made. I am good with the person I am, with the outcomes of my life. Being strong, it doesn’t change my inner core, who I am or what makes me happy. It doesn’t change what I want in the future or the type of relationships that work for me. This is what I am discovering. I am also discovering, I will not settle for less than what makes me happy not from family, friends or lovers. It is vital I stand up and ask for what I need or I will continue to not get it.

This is what I would tell you over coffee, that all of us should always ask for what we need and expect to get it.

After I finished my ramble I would hope you would jump in and tell me how your life was going this week, what is happening in your world (beside the terrible of the political season). I am going to hope you world has had some joy. I promise you, I would listen without interruption.

CoffeeShare2

Things I Know

Sleeping BeautyI know we have an infinite well of compassion, empathy and love at our disposal. We are bottomless, we are never tapped out. Not ever in our lifetimes do we run out of ‘good’.

We might retreat.

We might close the spigot.

The truth is though, we remain full up no matter how much we give. Truth be told, I suspect the more we give the more we have within us to give.

I know we learn throughout our lives. We learn every single day and through every relationship. Sometimes we learn how to become better people, other times we learn to love in better ways. Sometimes we learn our capacity for love, other times we learn our capacity for pain.

With experience we change, our world view changes. Who we are changes as our understanding of self and our place within the world grows. As we learn we find our footing, we determine where we are comfortable, what makes us tick, what makes us sing, what makes us dance. We emerge as our true selves, like butterflies from our chrysalises.

I know we all have the innate ability to forgive, ourselves and others. Not the forgiveness many of us are taught in our churches, but something much deeper and more intimate. As children we are quick to let go of hurt, fast to return to those we love. It is only as adults we hang on to our anger, plot revenge or simply wrap ourselves in painful reminders building shields to protect ourselves in the future.

We forget, anger and hate are active emotions requiring our participation. Forgiveness does not mean you give someone, not even yourself, a free pass. It does not mean you have said to anyone they are free to do harm again. Forgiveness doesn’t come easily to most of us, it is a hard fought battle of letting go. Sometimes, even as we forgive we also must say ‘no more’. There are times when we must see our only choice is letting go, lovingly and with great compassion, simply letting go.

I know each of us is unique and wonderfully made. We are, each of us, flawed and perfect at once. We are forged within the furnace of our family and later by the fires of society; whether tragic or magnificent, usually both, we are formed. As we walk through our lives both alone and with others we are formed into something distinctive and entirely individual.

So many of us these days try to fit in, try to hide our light in anonymity primarily because there is a certain safety in numbers and shades of beige and gray. We fall into the common thought that ‘fitting in’ will gain us acceptance, get us further in life or even provide us a more comfortable living. Maybe this is all true, perhaps if we work hard to strip ourselves of what makes us distinctively us we will have an easier time in the world, but then we will also have to wake every single day and force our spirit into boxes of conformity that may not fit as well as we like, that may squeeze every bit of life from us and leave us gasping for breath.

I know we are meant to dance in the rain with abandon and joy.

I know we are designed for pleasure and it is not a thing to be ashamed of or to shame others out of.

I know we are infused with the spirit compassion and forgiveness.

I know we are intended to give and receive love without stinting or judgement.

I know the world has corrupted our vision of ourselves as human and humane, who we are and what we should be. We have too often substituted joy for shame, compassion for weakness and love for sex in our pursuit of anything to fill a hole in our spirit and our heart. Far too many of us look toward others to define a reality that isn’t our own and then we judge ourselves as failures for not living up to impossible standards.

All of these things I know in my heart. As I continue to work through what I need, how to free myself and where to go from here, all these things I know.

14-April-2016

14-April-2016

Weekend Coffee Share: It isn’t that

imagesIf we were having coffee I would have asked you to come to my house, I know odd but it might be the last time I am able to host you here and it is important to me. I would pour you a cuppa of my favorite blend, cut with chicory and strong enough to stand a spoon upright in, offer you a selection of sweet creams and sugars before we settled in. Look out the back window, my Lavender is starting to come in I am truly going to miss that view, I cut them back in January so they would come in heavy this spring.

This past month has seen too many changes, decisions and strange happenings. I am underwater most of the time simply trying to catch my breath or is it hold my breath in between sinking. Having a house on the market, dang it isn’t easy. In fact, it is hard. Add to just the normal, keeping it in ‘show’ ready condition all the time as if I don’t actually live here, is the barrage of strangers walking through my home. It is an uncomfortable feeling, at best it is uncomfortable.

I had a contract, went through inspection fairly unscathed and then the appraisal came in extraordinarily low, specifically $70,000 low. Even the buyers’ bank questioned the competency of the appraiser and they have ordered a new one at their expense. In the meantime, the house is back on the market and I am questioning my sanity. The original buyers are not happy they will have to make a new offer after the new appraisal (on Wednesday), but they are the ones that wanted their earnest money back.

Why, why am I putting myself through this? But then, I look around and realize I simply cannot sustain myself in this house any longer. I cannot maintain this house, without help. It is no longer a home and though there are many things I truly love, I cannot live here alone anymore. Is what I am planning risky? Yes, surely it is. But then, without risk there is no life. I would tell you, if I can do this and come out on the right side of it all in the end maybe I can get some of my life back.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about my current contract and how my hours have been cut from 36 to somewhere in the neighborhood of 12. How I am now looking for my next contract and it will likely force me to travel again, the very last thing I wanted to do. The mantra of ‘getting my life back’ is looking more impossible all the time. Just when I am trying for more normalcy it is looking as if it is slipping away from me.

I would tell you, I am truly tired. Bone tired and scared too. I didn’t think this would be my life at nearly sixty years old. I thought it would be something much different. I would tell you how hard it is to write at this time, though I have so much to say with words bouncing in my head and hurting me sometimes with the need let them fly, I find more solace in my journals than actual writing for consumption. My natural inclination toward isolation has been in the forefront these days and even blogging has seemed to public, too much like giving up space.

I would tell you how difficult love is, all of it. Friends and family worry about me, they don’t see me or hear from me in any of the normal ways I interact, none of the snarky social media daily posts, none of the morning texts to say I love them. I would tell you though, I am trying to sort out my space and my world in a way that makes sense to me. Trying to frame love, all of it in a way that makes sense to me. Sometimes, love is hard. Especially when you aren’t young and innocent anymore, instead you have had a full life and some disappointments and hurts, you can’t approach love with the same wide-eyed wonder. Love is hard, especially when you know yourself, when you know who you are and what you want and need from life. Finding a partner with luggage as battered as your own, who won’t judge your monsters, well that is damned near a miracle. I would tell you, love is a miracle all of its own.

After I had rambled on, likely with tears at some point because my tears seem to come easily lately I would ask you to jump in and tell me what is going on in your world. I would hope you have had a more uplifting week, maybe good news even something silly we could giggle about. I promise you, I would listen throughout.

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Friends, Lovers et. al.

It has been a strange, trying and even sometimes miraculous few years. My world turned inside out, upside down and sideways. I lost myself, struggled to find the way through to a new normal and all too frequently wondered just what in the hell normal really was.

I find, my new normal isn’t normal at all. In fact, I find my new normal is constantly shifting under foot and I am frequently reevaluating to test theories. Just when I think I have it down, when I think I am settled on the answer for what ‘normal’ needs to be I prove myself wrong or slightly off center and must try again. So what is it, is it me? Is it my expectations? Is it the world we live in? Really, what is it? I surely wish someone would let me in on the secret, this constant shifting of the sand under my feet, it is making me dizzy as hell and I am tired.

The past week has proven to me I am not who I believe myself to be, at all. Most days I think I have a larger portion of bitch than most, you know tough girl bitch. Been there, done that and come out the other side, bitch. Not mean girl bitch, simply not going to take your shit, bitch. Then something comes along to prove me wrong, someone meanders through my day and I am pulled up short, set back on my heels and sent searching my soul and asking my monsters, ‘hey, wtf, where the hell did you hide my bitch!’

It isn’t that I pride myself on bitchiness. It is simply life has taught me I need some of this to protect me from harm, from the hurt the world and other people will do if I don’t surround myself with12341638_10208005258989848_2508813082028178841_n a hardened exterior. But I am weak, I am soft. I am figuring this out also. I forgive easily and I don’t like hurting other people. I have a difficult time turning my back on those I love or have loved even when they have broken me, even when they have consistently placed themselves and their desires ahead of me. Still, I have a very difficult time saying, ‘get the fuck away from me’. I don’t do ‘No more’, easily. I don’t draw boundaries easily, I don’t like to feel as if I am the source of other people’s pain.

Now, just how truly stupid is that? Really, how truly stupid can I be that I fail to place boundaries and walls that will protect me from future hurt. Even when those I am trying to prevent from hurting have proven they do not, will not and have not in the past shown the same consideration, the same concern.

Well the other side of this failure, I own my heart and forgiveness often leads to unexpected releases of held pain, even pain I did not know I still held. Despite my natural tendency toward isolation and introversion I reach outside of myself, leaving doors and windows open for people both old and new to sneak inside, around edges and corners leading to friendships unlooked for. Doors swing wide where I thought I had slammed them shut, where I had turned my back and wept my tears of hurt, frustration and pain. At the slightest breeze, the quietest knock I open the door and allow myself to be drawn back, without hesitation or trepidation even knowing how much pain the last encounter caused.

11210400_10207936403708509_5830202822718948331_nAm I an idiot? Perhaps, certainly I open myself to more pain. Surely I open myself to being hurt again. These relationships, these friendships are not always healthy and often difficult to sort out. This is especially true where the relationship wasn’t a friendship but a lover or a spouse. It is hard as hell to change the boundary, draw new lines in the sand and not rehash old hurts. It is difficult not to ask, ‘Why the fuck did you do this to me, do you know how badly you broke me?’

Yes, it is likely the other person knows. It is likely, both of you know the content of the ending. Whether short or long-term, whether lover or spouse one of you left, one of you ended the relationship. It is never mutual, no matter how you might portray it to the public. One of you was ready for it to end and the other was left in pain and wondering what happened and why you are alone and in pain.

Do you wonder what in Hades I am babbling on about today?

I have had a strange week. I am trying to sort relationships. Trying to not hurt those I care for. Trying to regain balance, take back my life and make healthy choices for myself. I recognized many things about myself over the past year, things I needed to understand about what I needed from relationships and from myself. I also realized just how easily I sometimes allow myself to be manipulated, not because I am weak but because I am by nature kind, beyond my kindness though is a history of not standing up for myself within ‘love’ relationships. This history goes back 40 years, is grounded in brutality, fear and force. I realized over the past year I haven’t shed some of my history, it remains rooted inside of me, a dark part of my make-up easily called up and easily taken advantage of; one of my personal monsters I clearly haven’t danced with in the light.

As I have struggled toward enlightenment, toward taking back all of me and all of who I want to be I have also fought to let go of hurt. Perhaps it is simply providence, this shedding of anger and 12507215_10208294405378327_4514737177470774775_nhurt this not holding on that out of the blue as I come more to peace with myself, the one person who had so deeply hurt me reached out to talk. Yes, my ex-husband sent a friend request on Facebook and we talked about God and being better people than we were before. We did not talk about why we failed, I don’t think for either of us it was relevant.

That, that one forty-five minute chat allowed me to finally let go.

So despite I ask my monsters to stop hiding my Bitch, maybe it is fine they leave holes in the wall for people to sneak through. Maybe, just maybe this is how I find myself and find peace. There is no going back, no true second chances. There are though opportunities to learn, to forgive and to forge links in the chains that bind us to the world and our own humanity.

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