Angels, Devils and the Dance

My demons know how to dance

Experts at moving me in the dark

They have known my soul forever

Stood still and waiting, knowing me

Reaching forward, stroking my fire

Melting my ice and moving with precision

Scouring my soul, my pleas unnoticed

Peace, a memory of harmony or quiet

Different from the sound of night cries

Battering me with memories of times gone

When I willingly joined their dance

Under moonlight, in rain storms and lifted up

Skirts raised up, heels pounding the earth

Not today, no longer

Now I only ask succor, reconciliation

I ask them in the quiet first light of dawn

What will happen if once and for all, forever

I kill you, I destroy your dance

Will my angels die too?

Will I be left empty, do I need you both for my survival

Telling the Blues

Starting Here

You wouldn’t know it by my writings I am extraordinarily private about much of my life, especially if it is imperfect in my own eyes. I intimated I was struggling in my last somewhat personal writing, here Introversion and the Blues, still, it doesn’t tell the entire story. I find I haven’t had the words, my voice simply silenced by my internal war with depression. I could not find a way to tell the story of my own fear, melancholy and my failure to be compassionate toward myself.

The truth, while this isn’t the first time I have been laid low by depression it has been one of the worst. It was exacerbated by external influences, some over which I had control but chose to push to the limits and others over which my control was limited if not non-existent. I allowed others inside my world, wanting to believe they had my best interest at heart, even while knowing they did not. I dug my hole deeper, shook my soul harder turned myself inward, allowed myself to be hurt, time and again and ultimately doubting myself, questioning myself, my value and my worth.

There were days when the sun came up and I despaired that I had woken with the sun. There were nights, I lay down and prayed for that one last seizure that would stop my breath and heart.

Terrible, I know. Terrible to write the words. Terrible to admit that I felt this for so long. Terrible to acknowledge there are times I still feel this way some nights, some mornings.

The truth is, my blues had gripped me hard this time and initially I had not realized just how hard or for how long they have had me in their grasp. I kept thinking I am out of it, the fog is lifted I am moved beyond this thing but the truth is, I hadn’t. I keep looking for the starting point, that place in time I can put a stake in the ground, in my soul, in my psyche; when did it start where the Y in the road had appeared and I took that path that led here, to this place right now. Honestly? I don’t know. There are so many intersections over the past five years, so many points in time.

I am so grateful there are a few beloved friends and family members who saw my despair and continued to stand by me, shake me now and then, reach into my self-imposed bubble of silence and demand my participation. They did this even when I retreated further into my natural state of isolation. It would have been so easy to stand aside, let me draw my darkness closer and allow me to withdraw further knowing my introversion was simply part of my personality but that this was different. They saw me and saw this was more, this was dangerous and they sometimes kicked the shit out of me and other times just gently prodded me into the world, if even just for an hour or two.  These diehards, who dug in knowing I was closer to the edge than I would ever admit to withstood my rejections, my absolute and outright sometime lies of “I am fine, really”. They threw lifelines and drug me through and demanded I stay in the world, even when my one true desire was to give up when the world seem pitiless and I wanted nothing more than to get up and get off.

depression4

Am I beyond this funk, this fog, this blue? No, really I am not yet. But I know it has been clinging to me and I get that I have been reacting badly, letting too much of my life be taken over by this terrible. I know I have made some horrible choices because I was hurting. I know I allowed others to hurt me because I was hurting and thought they were the most I deserved. I know now I nearly broke myself because I didn’t heed the warning signs, I didn’t listen to my own heart and soul when I screamed. Thankfully, even during this time, I have made some great choices too. I have done some good things for .  myself though I nearly took myself to the brink of destruction and lost it all.

Is it over? No, not yet. I have recovery to do. I have to find those doors to walk through, those steps to take to recover what I have lost. I have to find ways to be healthy, to embrace what I know and allow others to take care of me when I need it. It is time for me to start the slow climb back, emotionally, financially, physically and elsewhere in my life so I can live with all the choices past, present and future. It is time to re-engage the world on my terms, without apology or recrimination. I have to recognize I am subject to the Blues, not let them overtake my world, destroy what I build and be proactive or one of these days I won’t have the opportunity to say no more.

For those who suffer from Depression, I get it. This is hard. It is always hard. We lose so much every single time. Do not do this alone, reach out if you can and if you can’t let others reach in grab the lifelines they throw.

Introversion and the Blues

My silence is indicative of my battle with the blues and my aversion to making it public. Isn’t it odd, I have known for years I battle this insidious and all-encompassing emotional sea. This time, I let the waves take me further out, nearly sinking me. This time, I gave free rein to my nature and thus failed to notice as the blues silenced me and built my walls higher and stronger than they had been in years. This time, I looked out of my already well-built bubble of introspection and introversion, shrugged my shoulders and said, ‘fuck it, I am fine, I am good; I can’t care’.

My silence is indicative of the hurt of the past few years. For far too long I have cared too much for to many only to be told it isn’t enough. It has broken me emotionally, financially and worse it broke my trust in others, long nurtured is finally broken as well. I always believed if I was good to others, it would be returned; I was wrong. Time and again, I was wrong.

My silence is indicative of fear. You might ask me what do I have to be afraid of, but that would show you only know my name and not who I really am. I don’t blame you for this, it is who we are as a people, who we have become. Uncaring, unjust and focused entirely on ourselves, unconcerned with anyone outside of a small circle of ‘just like us’. Unwilling to hear anyone who speaks critically, asks questions, or offers any other voice but what is inside the echo chamber of our own narrow thinking and vision. Willing to lash out at friends and allies of years, name them as enemies and call others to do the same when they question the echo.

My silence is indicative of fatigue, both personal and social. This year-long season of the American Horror Story has worn my patience and my hope thin. There is no critical analysis that can be done in the political arena of today, no justification for what the American public is offered as options for President. We argue over who is worse, not who is best. We have become a laughingstock 20ab55a5576cffe1dce94c2fc4b236b0on the world stage when we aren’t a diplomatic nightmare. Our politics and our politicians belittle the dream of America and turn us into a Reality TV show for the amusement of the world. We have lost our way, our demons are on the stage and we must select which one will lead us into perdition.

My silence is indicative of my despair. Yes, I said it; despair. Despair for all of us that we are falling down a hole of ugly we will not be able to recover from. That we are drawing lines we will not be able to erase for decades. That we are allowing the fringe to speak for all of us, rather than standing up speaking up and screaming ‘Shut the fuck up’ when the extreme ratchets up violence, animosity and nativism without a single voice of dissent. When the extreme causes friends and neighbors to call into question the loyalty of decades and shed those alliances and friendships simply to appear more ‘correct’. Where once reasonable people on all sides joined together across political, gender and racial lines to form alliances for good, now those same people are using the language of the extremes and burning down the houses, without care demanding a return to what once was without understanding the consequence of their demand.

My silence then is the only response I have, the only response I am able to offer in this time of terrible turmoil. My silence and my tears as friends of long standing turn on me and call out for others to do the same because I question within the echo chamber. My silence and my tears, as I come to realize how terribly used I was in my time of weakness and sorrow. My silence and my tears, as I watch the nation burn itself down. My silence and my tears, as I watch the extremes on both sides grab the disenfranchised by the throat and shake mightily until out of the pile of brokenness walks the fury that is seen protesting senseless deaths on the streets of our cities or the Trump supporters screaming ‘Make America Great Again’ as they ignore his casual ignorance, racism, sexism and all other ‘isms.

Will my silence continue? I hope not. I hope I can begin to write again. I hope I can start taking an active role in my own life again, become part of the world again. I hope, honestly, I can start interacting with the world again without simply wishing to curl up and crawl into myself. Each time I have tried lately, it has not been an overwhelming success. This world, well it dumbfounds me. I love it less and less. I pay for my interactions within it on more levels then I am happy with. Nevertheless, I am part of it and should not give in to my overwhelming desire to simply retreat, it is far too easy.

black-and-white-girl-nature-photography-favim-com-356563My silence is indicative of the blues. I understand it is easy when you combine a natural introvert with the blues it is easy to do what I have done. So now, I will try to knock the wall back down. So much of the time I feel so very much alone, so very much as if I have to do this on my own. This I think, this reluctance to open the door and let others in, let others help me, let myself be disappointed again; this is another part of the blues.

I hope you are all well and I will be trying to visit.

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

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.

CoffeeShare2

Stop Saying That

imagesJust how stupid can you be? Obviously intended as a rhetorical question, clearly all of us agree there is no need for an answer. Right? Yet every single time I ask this specific question I feel as if I have set myself up and then I want to hit my own self in the head with a brick, or a hammer or any handy heavy item.

Truly, I feel as if every single blessed time I ask this specific question I have raised the bar on Stupid, as if it isn’t at all rhetorical but instead as if I am issuing a challenge. What is it that causes people to give me that blank fish eyed stare just before they respond with, “Did I fail the test? Give me another chance, I can do better I can be much stupider.”

I am flabbergasted by the level of stupid alive and well throughout society today. It amazes me every day what people will do and say thoughtlessly. People tend to live in bubbles of entitled ‘me’, heedless of their power to aggravate, annoy, hurt and even at times do great harm to others. Many of us, yes I will admit to my fair share, walk through life with blinders of how our words, actions and even lack of action affect those around us.

Just how stupid can you be?

It is sometimes truly impossible to judge how our actions affect others until after fire rains down on our heads. It might not be our intention to do harm, to hurt but by our inattention to the details we do so nonetheless. Other times, well we simply walk through life with our heads so far up in the clouds, our hearts so encased in the ice of our history we fail to consider the consequences of our words or actions. This is the ‘stupid’ of smart people. We have huge numbers of stupid smart people in the world today, people with intellectual intelligence who utterly fail the emotional ‘smart’ test, for a variety of reasons. albert-einstein-quotes-sayings-wise-stupidity-genius

Then there are the truly stupid, those who simply wake up every day and say to themselves, ‘Val posed the question, issued the challenge and I am going to greet the world with my version of STUPID and then up the ante’. These are the people I truly don’t understand, the people I wonder about. These are the people I drive by on the side of the Texas freeways piled up into each other, the people who during the winter months slam on their brakes across the icy bridges of the Dallas freeways thinking, ‘I have four wheel drive’.

These are the dumb-asses who blow up my phone with, ‘I have a job for you’ but haven’t got a clue what I do, haven’t read my resume and want to pay me $25 an hour less than the market rate for my skills, why you ask? Well because according to them, ‘they can bring someone from (name the country) who would be willing to work for that rate. Yes, I really have had these conversations. Yes, they really do say that to me. Yes, it is insulting. It is especially insulting because this has been going on for years and our rates have already been cut by at least 50% in the past decade for just that reason. download

Then there are those genius asshats who are simply STUPID because they can’t help themselves, they aren’t socially competent enough to exist in the same world as you or I, but they do. These are the people you scratch your head at. I said the other day I am selling my house. I am selling it for a reasonable market price, not expecting a windfall and recognizing there are things that will need to be done by the next owner, because I have lived here for more than a decade. On the other hand, I have also done many upgrades to this house so it is a trade-off. Guess what boys and girls, I am not paying for your desire to ‘upgrade’ or ‘redecorate’.

Don’t be stupid and please don’t insult me. Really I don’t care if you have small children, don’t care if you think you should have ‘better’ carpet than what my offered allowance will pay for, or if you think the fact that I smoke in my office is ‘bad’. The truth is, it is my house, I pay the mortgage here today. I recognize what is required and have offered a significant amount of cash at closing so you can do the necessary painting and carpet replacement, but don’t insult me with an offer of $25K less than the asking price and then give me a sob story and ask for more than double the allowance. images (1)

My answer? Go look at houses in your price range and STFU. Entitled are we? No I would say, ‘Just how stupid can you possibly be?’ Truly, I could go on and on. I could start in on our political landscape and I just might, but not today. I could trip lightly across our ‘reality’ television (oh that might be close to the same thing), but maybe another day. My problem though? Every single time I ask the question, I feel as if I am raising the bar and there are far too many people who want to take up the challenge. What the hell is wrong with people today? Why is it we aren’t celebrating brilliance, reveling in clever? Can anyone tell me why we are tripping wildly down the path of dismal and abject intellectual poverty, please help me understand.

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Alterations

This has been a year of ups, downs, exploration, joy, pain, choices, decisions and change. I have seen my share of sad, okay let me say it outright, my share of down on my knees on the floor and begging for mercy depression. I have spent far too much of my time isolating myself, allowing my introvert free reign, while the rest of my life suffered the consequences. I have spent far too much time, trying to catch up with myself, in too many ways and spent too much of the past year afraid.

 

Afraid of losing all I have fought for.

Afraid of being alone.

Afraid of being hurt.

Afraid of …. Well afraid of far too many things to list.

The funny thing about being afraid, fear absolutely paralyzes you. Fear prevents you from making choices, whether good or bad, fear stops your ability to choose.

I have known for a very long time I needed to make some life altering choices. There were things in my world weighing me down. The first and likely the largest was my house. I don’t know why I have hung onto this monstrosity for so long after my marriage ended. I have spent thirteen years here, longer than anywhere else in my adult life. I do not love it, some days I hate it. It hasn’t been a home in years, if ever. It has been a menace to my health and well-being for at least five of the thirteen years I have been here. It is far too big for one person, by about 2,000 sq. ft., well maybe not quite that much but it is far too big for just me.

So I had to make decisions, for my health mental and otherwise:

Decision #1: My house went on the market 10 days ago.

Decision #2: I am not going to buy right away. Instead I am going to put what I decide to keep in storage and rent for 6 months while I find a new home that pleases me. This will be the first time in my adult life I buy a home with just me in mind, where only my desires, my likes, my wants are taken into account. I am going to take my time.

Decision #3: I am not only going to significantly downsize my home, I am going to downsize my ‘stuff’. This includes letting go of books, CD’s, clothes and other ‘stuff’ I have carried across town, across the state, across the nation and across continents. I will keep what I love, what is meaningful, what belongs in the life I intend to create.

Decision #4: I am paying off 80% of debt (assumes a close to full price offer on house) which will allow me to make different decisions about work and contracts. Only thing that will remain will be 12509264_1549410212015766_3412091072243008118_ncar and student loans (woe is me I will pay these till I die).

So here I sit, in my very clean house. It has been shown a few times since it went on the market. There have been four open houses too. Every morning I wake up and run around like a mad woman, making certain everything is in its place, nothing is hanging out of a drawer and all the animals are in their kennels before I leave the house. Every single day, I hope the odds are with me and someone will like all the upgrades I have made and they will say, ‘Yes, this is the one I want’.

In the meantime, the contract I have been working since last May is hanging by a thread. I am still working but not enough hours. I am looking for the next one and hoping hard it comes soon. I am hoping all the stars align and the house sells, the next contract is one that I have been talking to for a couple of weeks now and will give me a great opportunity to do something really different in a new / old city for 18 months at a great rate. If not this one, well there are a couple of others that might be great also, right here in town. I am hoping all the stars align and maybe one would lead to a full time job where I could maybe, just maybe end my career without any more contracts. Wouldn’t that be better than what I have been doing for far too many years?

So, as I make life altering choices my focus shifts. Some of it hurts. Some of it is simply scary. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night and think to myself, ‘what the hell, what are you doing, are you stupid or simply crazy?’ I think all of that, then I simply shrug my shoulders and think, ‘Well, it won’t be the first time you have had to start over’.

Garden of Dreams

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Barren, my spirit cries for freedom

Fingers curled into palms, tightly

Shadows cast against pavement

My longing is first to wander alone

Until your honeyed voice called me

Heat rushed to my skin, burning me

Drawing out my ice encased heart

Soothing the storm in my gypsy soul

 

You draw me back with whispers

Cool wind dances across heated skin

You trace lightly my balled fists

Opening my fury with gentle persuasion

Standing before me, a gentle smile

Swells across my shadow, a blending

Coalesced we come together, softer

We move as one, a dance on starlight

 

The ethereal beckons us both, closer

Unrecognized now in the moonlit glow

Shadows displaced as we slip together

Remember, beauty under stars

Shredded without thought, nor care

Merged again, harder and more true

In a moonlit garden of dreams

4-March-2016

4-March-2016

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.

Feminist Traps

Soapbox LogoSometimes we fight so hard for what we want we lose sight of what we need. This is true whether it is the individual us, the public us or the group us as a people or an identity. What does this mean? How does this affect us when we are trying to find our place in the world? I can’t speak for all, not for anyone but me in truth, but I can speak for myself, individually as the private, public and group me. As a woman, I can speak to that me. As a woman who has always held to feminist views on all issues but who is now wondering what this means, to be a feminist and to want my cake and to eat it too. What does that truly mean?

I suspect what I am about to say will cause some of my same gender some angst and maybe some anger. I suspect it will cause some to wonder what the hell is going on in my head, some may even want to burn my Feminist card and kick me out of the Woman Club, but bear with me. Women have been in a public fight for equality since 1848 that is more than a century; in fact that is one hundred sixty-eight years. Or in more easily understood terms, one hell of a long time. What have we really ‘won’ in all that time, what have we truly gained for ourselves?

1920 – 19th Amendment to the Constitution is signed and we are finally part of the national conversation, we can vote. What do we do with this privilege? Not very damned much, in truth most of us throw this away, we sit it out, we stay at home and hope someone will speak up for us and our interest.

From 1920 through 1978 there were two key issues on the table for women, how to earn a paycheck and how to own our reproductive processes. Seems to me these were inextricably linked, though most did not make connection. We saw a few key court rulings and pieces of legislation during these years.

Since 1978, well frankly it has been more of the same. More fair this and equality that, more bullshit added to the pile to make us be quiet and look the other way. You can’t beat us anymore without consequence and husbands can’t rape their wives any more either. But let’s face it in the grand scheme of things we really haven’t come all that far and we really haven’t done all that much to make this particular part of the world better for fifty percent of the population.

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Truthfully, as women we suck at taking power in our own hands and representing ourselves. We are fifty percent of the overall US population yet hold under twenty-five percent of the state and twenty percent of the federal legislative seats. These numbers are appalling, yet we wonder why we lose ground. I will tell you why, those advances were gifts. A group of Men gave us a gift, they didn’t mean for us to compete for seats at the table. What they intended was to allow us a little bit of freedom, too feel as if we were a bit more enfranchised so we would shut the hell up and start playing nice again. We were grateful and we thanked them instead of snatching victory by the balls and running with it.

There is something else that happened in the midst of all the clamor, we forgot we were women and we begin to allow others to redefine femininity on terms different and strange. We confused femininity and feminism, begin to believe we could not be both. As so frequently happens with movements we allowed the radical and outside voices to define our new ‘norm’. Now we don’t know who we are or what we are, frankly we are confused by our natural instincts and afraid to be women for fear we might be going against what we are told we should be.

I am absolutely a Feminist. I believe I should be paid the same money as my male counterparts. I believe every single woman has the right to control her reproductive life-cycle, this includes the right to legal and safe abortion. I believe in a woman’s right to access education, credit, housing and all the other needs of life without gender bias.

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I am a Feminist, but frankly I am a woman first. I love being a woman. I have always loved being a woman. I love having doors opened for me, dressing up in something soft and feminine, wearing high-heels and stockings for a night out with someone special. I like being a women, being a woman is part of my power and I have absolutely no fear in saying so. We are born with this power, men love looking at us because that is how we are designed. Why in the hell should we pretend it is otherwise?

I have a brain, in fact I have a really good brain and I expect the men who work with me and who date me to respect me for that brain. Nevertheless, I still have all the attributes of the female gender and I do not expect men to be emasculated, pretend they don’t know I am a woman. It is impossible for them to do so, hell most of us make it impossible for them to do so. This is at the center of the problem actually, most of us complain when men stare yet we make it impossible for them to do otherwise. Not all men are rapists, not all men are pigs either. What men are is the other half of the human equation. Without men we would quickly die out. We don’t have a rape culture, we have a sick culture brought about by our failure to recognize all these false definitions of masculinity and femininity send the wrong message. Women are one half of the human race, we are not gender neutral but instead specifically feminine and designed to be attractive to the other half.

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I am a woman. There are tens of thousands of us out here, we are I think being defined in terms we no longer understand and yet we refuse to stand up and call bullshit. We buy a package of goods that doesn’t feel right and yet we refuse to say it is wrong for fear we will be thrown out of the Woman’s Club. The Politically Correct definitions have gone so far now we are forced to accept lies and embrace them without raising voice of complaint. As an example, Caitlyn Jenner is not a woman so how in the hell are you going to award Woman of the Year twice to her? Are there not any accomplished women in the United States who are deserving of recognition and praise?

Yes, I will concede the ‘her’ to Caitlyn because I am polite and if she wishes to transition at the age of 66 from her born gender to female I am going to use her chosen gender. Nevertheless, Caitlyn is not a woman, she is in fact not even through her transition thus cannot even be legally called a woman. So why are any of us politely or otherwise accepting this insult?

On another note, why are we fighting so hard for the stupid? Why do you want your daughters in harm’s way, in combat positions?  We haven’t achieved parity in pay or secured our right to control our bodies, but we can now die in combat or worse be captured and only all the God’s know what will happen to a woman captured in battle.

I am a Feminist, but I am a woman first. I think it is time for all of us to think about what it means to be a woman. I frankly don’t want to be ‘man’ lite, but rather I want to be a woman able to stand on my own and with all the freedoms, rights and duties any of us are due. I want to work, contribute and provide within my competencies and capabilities as a woman, not in competition but in compliment.  Perhaps when we start seeing ourselves as one half of the population, start working from a position of power as women rather than begging for a seat at the table we will start to shift the focus and start standing up rather than simply complaining about the stupid shit.

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/womenstimeline1.html

http://www.representation2020.com/rankings.html

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