Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Eaten By the Black Dog, and Spit Out Again - It Was a Very Merry Christmas

I should have known when I started drinking coffee at 5 pm just so I could stay up through dinners. I should have known when my low back started aching and all I wanted to do was lay down. I should've known when, as soon as the beasts' dad picked them up, I rose from my bed where I lay exhausted, got in the car, bought a pack of cigarettes, and then continued on to a fast food joint. I should have know when, on Christmas Eve, I could not motivate myself to shower, even though it had definitely been 2 days, and possibly 3. It should have become apparent while I was laying in bed as my mom took my kids to go to see the Christmas Pageant because I just could not get it together to leave the house.

It was when I forced myself in the shower, for the sake of my sweet beasts' Christmas joy, that I realized that I was being eaten by the black dog. Standing in the shower on Christmas Eve trying to decide how I could get by with wearing leggings, a huge sweatshirt, and my Uggs to dinner without anyone noticing it wasn't festive attire, I finally admitted to myself that I was in the the throws of the holiday blues.

I fucking hate the blues. Especially on a day where people really want you to be happy, and you know in your bones you have so much to be grateful for. The blues truly bite when you have a blog post in progress about how great you're doing and all the progress you've made, and how everything is peace, peace, joy, joy, good mothering and self-care. Winston-Churchill called it the Black Dog. When I was in my 20's I knew it was here when I found myself on the couch endlessly watching Howard Stern. My dad would say to me then, "Black Dog breathing down your neck?" and I would say, "Yes," and burrow deeper into my little pea pod of blankets on the couch. I haven't been depressed like that in years.

I really only had The Black Puppy on Christmas Eve, but it had been nipping at my heels for days and I refused to listen to it. I did not want to feel like shit on Christmas. My kids were so excited. My mom and her boyfriend were coming for dinner. I did not have time for that black canine's bullshit. I did not have the energy to disappoint my beasts. Disappointing children takes a lot of energy. Though I'm sure the beasts knew something was up when earlier that day I had said, "I wish Christmas was just two days in your pajamas."

On Christmas Eve I got out of the shower. I put on my makeup and picked out decent clothes, hoping with each movement that something would shake that puppy who had a grip on my joy. I tried some tricks, changing my perception, picking out fancy jewelry, conjuring thoughts of gratitude. Nope. That puppy's jaws were strong. He was locked on tight. Then I just admitted it. It's Christmas Eve and I'm lonely. I'm sad. I'm lonely right now at this moment. I feel like shit. I crawled back in my bed, and I cried a little bit. Then I did something different. I texted a friend (Exceptional Human Mama) and I admitted it: I'm lonely, and I miss you, please make time for me sometime soon. I reached out for help, then I got off my ass.

And I can tell you this was one of the best Christmases I've ever had.

It was real and it was sad, and it was joyful, and I was present. Soon after I got out of the shower my mom, her man, my beasts and I crawled into the car and took a tour of good Christmas lights. When I got in the car, I thought I would rather have all my pubes tweezed out, one-by-one by a Christmas Elf than sit in the back with my beasts and pretend to give a shit. On the ride my sweet as pie boy kept getting in my face and making weird noises, as 9 year old boys are wont to do, and I wanted to push him away and growl, "Get the hell out of my face." But I didn't. I pretended, and in that pretending The Black Puppy began to recede. Slowly my boy became all cute and funny to me. The lights we had headed out to see became ooo and ahhh worthy.

I had been dreading the after hours Santa preparation once the beasts were in bed, knowing that The Black Puppy would be back with a vengeance, but to my surprise that puppy rolled on his back and I stroked his belly as I set out my kids' gifts. I let myself be sad, and then I wasn't. I thought about how I wish things were different, and then again how perfect things are as they stand. I laughed to myself remembering Savior Single Mama calling me one Christmas Eve sobbing, "Can you please come over and help me put this fucking American Doll changing table together?" We bonded over the ridiculousness of that 2 a.m. project.

Being with my kids today, (even though they woke me up at 2:55 a.m., 4:30 a.m., and finally at 6:20 a.m. in their excitement), was perfect. It was full of my heart bursting with mad, mad, momma love for them.

As I was pulling into my mom's driveway for a Christmas Day lunch, all dolled up, and looking very presentable (though un-showered, that was just too much), the Dave Matthew's song Stay came on and I was awash in gratitude. I love that song. And when I started singing, I realized The Puppy was nowhere to be seen. His breath was no longer hot on my heels. I had survived. It really wasn't pretty. I ate my way through most of it, smoked my way through a lot of it, but I also just let this Christmas be what it was, and in that acceptance I found peace. Over the last 24-hours I kept reminding myself that The Black Puppy was only nipping in that moment, but he would tire soon, or become distracted by a squirrel, and that the sadness that he brought would not be my permanent state. I did not clog my tender heart with fear about my sadness. I did not add more bricks to my wall, and that gave my heart room to hold both sadness and joy. Like a lava lamp, my heart circulated this oil and water mix of love and loneliness for 2 days. It was a beautiful dance.

Now I'm happily curled up on my couch in my leggings and big sweatshirt. Neither lonely, nor bursting with love. I'm just writing. Being. Letting life continue on, as it always does, until it doesn't. Merry Christmas. This year, I tamed a puppy.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's Raining Men

It is. It is raining men, but not the way you'd think. Not in the purrr, growl way that phrase has been used before. In my life it's raining bad ass, beautifully souled men who are showing me who I want in my life, and what kind of man my son can become. It's so amazing, and a little bitter sweet. I'm single and surrounded by great men, sometimes I get a little lonely, and sometimes I think, nah, if I went on a date then I'd have to shave my legs. That is a sure sign that dating may need to be put on hold for a bit.

I had a party last night, and after everyone was gone, Joe Cool, (a man I went out on a date with who just wasn't that into me) and I sat and talked for awhile. We sat and talked about writing, about art, somehow religion and facebook crept in there too. He left with a hug and a goodnight and it was perfect. I just love men. I don't always understand them, but I love them. I get something from having men friends that I don't get from women. With my women friends I talk about my inner self, mothering, my feelings, with men I talk about the larger world.

I have always had good men in my life. My dad was a great man, a kind man, a smart, and funny man. My brother is the same. For the most part my brother and I don't speak unless we see each other over vacations or holidays, but I just love him, and he loves me. He is like my dad, smart, kind, a lover of women, but not in that over the top, creepy way. He tells me like it is, and I really appreciate that. Over Thanksgiving we were laughing about my rebellious spirit, and he said that spirit was good, and he understood it, "...but you may find yourself one day, all alone, living in a basement." Don't you just love the straight forwardness of a man? I have very few girlfriends that would say that to me (Savior Single Mama would say it in a heart beat.)

When I was in my teens I ran with such a great pack of boys. I'm still in touch with one of them and our love for each other is simple and runs deep. When an older boy grabbed my boobs and then threatened me if I told anyone, my good friend stood up for me and threatened to kick his ass. For a 10 year old that was chivalry. Actually, at 38, it still is. We also grieved through a friend shooting himself. It sealed the deal. Friends for life.

In my early 20's I found myself surrounded by a great pack of young men, smart, fun, respecters of women. I am a man's woman. I have been known to be a little loud and raunchy, I have been known to be brass, and crass. It is my armor and I think that resonates with men.  They understand that armor, the need to be tough on the outside to protect what is within. That's one of the things that makes me a good girl friend for a guy, but not always a good girlfriend.

I went through many years of my life being surrounded by great men, yet still harboring fear and mistrust of them. To have a man love me meant I had to be the victim of him, or he of me. Dating was drama, drama, drama. I don't know what caused that in me. Our culture? My tendency to dramatics?

When I got married to the wuzband (thank you Rent-a-Husband for spelling suggestion) I dropped a lot of my male friends. I was focusing on family, I also worked with mostly women, and I was respecting my wuzband's wariness of my male friends. During that time full of child-bearing and creating a home I needed to focus on building amazonian web of women.

When I got divorced from wuzband #2 I realized that my life was full of women and there were very few men. I missed them. The past year has been all about me reconnecting to that. I have my Rent-a-Husband who does things around the house for me, and teaches me how to do things. I have my first wuzband, A Metal Soul, who nourishes my creative self, reminds me who I am, and inspires me to think of what I can become. I have Joe Cool, who I just love to talk to about the creative process (that cat is on fire!). I work for a great young man. A true Renaissance man. Don't even get me started on the contractors I work with. Hahaha Southern men at their best.

When I'm at acupuncture school, oh my, the great men. All smart, hilarious, and soulful. I have learned so much about the larger world from them. I have learned what kind of man my son has the possibility of becoming and some tips on how to shape that.
From all of these men I've not only learn about mothering my boy, but I'm learning about myself. I've seen myself through their eyes and it has caused some self-reflection, and even more importantly a lot of self-acceptance. I like myself a lot when I see myself through their eyes.

It's not all perfect in this world of men. I have to admit that sometimes the sexual tension between me and some of my boys leaves me with emotional blue balls. This longing for a partner. However, with each of my guy friends I am like Goldilocks thinking, "Almost, but not quite." and that is when I start thinking like my friend, The Evolved Man, and head into another dimension where I could build the perfect mate. But, sigh, that is not reality, so I continue to work on learning from these amazing men, and being the perfect mate for myself, furry legs and all.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This Will Take 40 Minutes. Sit Your Ass Down, It's Worth It

This morning my new boyfriend Deepak Chopra introduced me to the idea of Synchrodestiny. It sounds like a dance from Xanadu, but is really the idea that coincidences are not random, but guideposts or signs from the universe for us to follow to achieve our life's purpose.

Rocky Mountain Mama, I remember when you lost this movie and
had to buy it from Blockbuster
when we were in our 20's! Hahahahaha, makes me want to rent it tonight. 

This afternoon, after an amazingly fun, and gratitude filled 3 days with my family, I banished my beasts to their rooms and sat down to catch up on my favorite blogs. I "stumbled" by a post on Momastary about a book she had read called Daring Greatly. The post was so enthusiastic I googled the author Brene Brown and ended up watching two of her TED Talks:
The Power of Vulnerability 

Listening to Shame

Now I'm molting. My lizard skin is half hanging off, and, oh yeh, I have a new girlfriend named Bene Brown (Deepak is too spiritual to be jealous). I feel like my soul just got French kissed by the universe. Yum.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Whatever Doesn't Kill You....Doesn't Kill You

A few weeks ago the beasts and I were riding in the car listening to the radio and one of the D.J.'s said, "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

"What does that mean, mommy?" my 9 year old big beast asked.

Sigh...I better get this right. I immediately thought of an article I had read a few months before (I wish I could find it now) about whether Nietzsche would have stood by that statement in the end of his tortured life. The man who wrote the article was suffering from cancer and he asked the question, Does what doesn't kill you really make you stronger? Or does it make you weaker and just not kill you?

I grew up living a charmed life. That doesn't mean I wasn't a miserable teen, but really I had this perfect life and because of that, I subconsciously thought my family was special. Almost magical. I had friends whose parents divorced, or even worse, died. I had friends who experienced abuse, who didn't have enough money, who were neglected, but me, my family life it was pretty even keel. So when my dad got cancer, I assumed he would get better, how could he not? I was shocked, horrified really, when he died. Not only did it mean that my family had to experience life just like everyone else's, but my dad was dead too. I took that universal insult very personally.

In the past decade my dad died, I had an early miscarriage, my 19 month old niece died in her sleep, my husband left, and I was fired from my job of 10 years. My charmed life became just a life, like everyone else's. Real life. Did it make me stronger? Yes, it did, but part of that strength and hardship made me harder. It closed my heart, and so in some ways it made me weaker. I do believe that I am a strong woman. I am fierce, but I also have this tough hide that makes it hard for people get to know me (says the woman with a blog). My heart is hidden deep underneath layers of tough lizard skin. Each scale created by sadness, betrayal, and disappointments.

Going through hardship has made it easier for me to cut people out of my life and harder for me to trust genuine love and kindess. It has made me less afraid to speak my mind, but shortened my fuse and made me a little explosive. Experiencing betrayal has made it so that when I perceive any threat to my heart, real or imagined, I shut my lizard walls tight and walk away. I am so much more compassionate with people outside my circle, and much more standoffish with those within. I have built a lizard skin fortress.

What is ironic to me is that I know that my life is still pretty charmed, yet the small amounts of pain I have felt have hardened me this much. I imagine what I would be like if something worse happened in my life and I shudder to think of the lizard woman I would become.

Buddha said life is suffering. My old therapist says Life is hard and then....it's hard. I know that my job is to be compassionate, to live in the moment, and to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE like my life depends on it, but many days I think, I'll do that tomorrow I'm too tired today. Instead of trying to live a charmed life I have lowered my expectations and I'm shooting for charmed moments instead. Charmed, isn't the right word. Savory. Savory moments are what I'm going for. Those moments when I am truly in the moment savoring life, letting it melt in my mouth and soak into my bones. Letting the taste of it nurture my soul. I only need moments, because right now my life feels arduous many days and I am tired as hell.

However, there is a part of me that knows that if I don't consciously work on opening my heart, if I don't shed my lizardly scales, I will not be able to savor life to it's fullest. It's like wearing a condom on my tongue while eating filet mignon. I've got the texture, but not the taste. A few weeks ago, my beautiful cousin, Hummingbird Queen, invited me to do a Deepak Chopra 21 day meditation. YES! I signed up, because there is such a deep desire in me to open my heart. I know that I am giving my beasts the shaft by trying to parent them with a lizard skinned heart. I know I will never find a partner if I only love through scales of fear.

So everyday Deepak and I have a moment or 20 and meditate. I've been telling everyone he is my new boyfriend, as in, "Yeah, Deepak and I have to spend sometime together this morning. I'm going to be running late." or "My new boyfriend Deepak says...." Through my new love affair I feel my heart opening up, softening up, and my scales are becoming wings. S-L-O-W-L-Y.

So my answer to my little beasts about being made stronger by not being killed was, "You know, life can be hard and you have a choice about what you make of it. You can try to make the best of it, by changing your perception of the situation, trying to laugh, finding the beauty..."

My big beast broke in and said, "Yeah, but not everyone does that."

"I know baby, sometimes things are so hard it beats you down, and you just can't make it better, and that's when people make bad decisions, but I hope I teach you guys to laugh and make the best of it you can." And then there were no more questions. The beasts and I continued on out way to our old house where we would be loading even more stuff to carry up the 15 steps to the new house. They were prepared to complain every step of the way. I was prepared to firmly state that they better get their asses in gear. I said a silent prayer to The Committee, "Please let me have gotten that right."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

I attended a boarding school for one year in high school. A fancy, smaschy boarding school with a real live princess in the student body. It was a nice joint. Of course I hated it. I was 16, tortured, hormonal, and the hottest mess you had ever seen. I imagine that my insides looked a lot like a flaming, jiggly, red hot pile of jello at that time. Adolescence was an interesting time for me.

A few months before I left the school my drama teacher pulled me aside and said, "I think you're making a mistake leaving. You could be a big fish in a small pond here." I looked at her with my hard little 16 year old heart and said, "I don't care. I'm leaving." I just didn't give a shit. I was arrogant and I was used to being a big fish. I was used to being a top dog. I thought I would always have that.

I used to be a big fish who jumped from small pond to pond. I was smart, I seemed older than my years, and I was talented. I thought that those things would be with me forever so I took them for granted and I didn't feed them. I let them waste away.

Four years ago I started acupuncture school. Four years ago I learned that if you don't feed your brain it withers. Four years ago it dawned on me that, holy shit, I was going to have to work hard to make it through school. I looked around my classroom at the geniuses and I thought, "I am a small fish. I am a small fish in a big ocean of big ole' fish." And then I started repeating Dory's mantra from Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming." and I got through the first 3 years of school.

My school is 3 hours away from where I live, so I pack my ass up and head down there for 5 days once a month. While I'm there I stay in a boarding house with other students. I am immersed in school while I'm there. No distractions, no breaks. There have been so many classes, not to mention just dinner conversations, that I sit around and listen to like this:

Physics, biology, and philosophy of life swirl in the air around me as my classmates dissect the meaning of it all and I sit with my atrophied brain, amazed that I am even allowed to eat pancakes with these folks let alone work side by side with them. I'm always worried that someone will find out that I am an impostor, that truly, I should not be sitting around listening to any of this. I am Oz behind the curtain. A flick of the wrist will expose that my intelligence is less than average, my brain a mere pea rattling loosely in my skull. My classmates will find out that while they are using all those big words, and fancy theories I am thinking about how much I like cake, and the fact that my underwear is riding up my ass.
Add caption

This August I headed down to school for my first week of internship in my school's acupuncture clinic. On the way I said to myself, "This year my challenge is going to be self-confidence. I have got to have faith in myself." I have heard that humility is accepting who you really are. No better, no worse, just a balanced idea of your true self. That's hard for a woman who internally swings from goddess to gargoyle in a millisecond multiple times throughout a day.

My first day in the clinic I realized that, yes, I actually did retain some of that information from my three years in school. I understand what I am doing when I treat a patient. Kind of. I heard the other interns discussing treatments and mapping out acupuncture points and I thought, holy shit, I do not follow that vein of reasoning. Actually, that vein of reasoning seems like an ocean of knowledge that I only have my toe in. My fellow interns were having these amazing discussions about points and strategies while I was picking my few points and quickly presenting them to the supervisor for approval. I felt like my classmates were painting Monet and I was throwing down the finger paint.  Their treatments were poetic, mine merely points strung together out of a rudimentary understanding of the language of acupuncture. 
My treatment strategy

Over the past four months though, that view of myself has changed, and I have started to find the balance and self-confidence that I was seeking. What is different? My need to compare myself to others and weigh my worth by their standards.

I love the geniuses I practice with. I love the way they practice acupuncture, but I love the way I practice it too. And so do they. Last week while I was at school my friend Pokemama said, "You know, I really like your intuition. You have good intuition when it comes to treatments." And I do. I may not be able to explain the etymology of a spirochete without consulting Wikipedia, but when a woman came to me sobbing because her in vitro fertilization did not work, I knew I needed to give her uterus a break and treat her for a broken heart. I have worked on a woman's low back pain and after the treatment she danced out of the room because her pain was so much better.

But then here's the balance, I gave another student a big ole' bruise on her chin. I treated an intern and he was sick for an hour and 1/2 after. Oops. I'm learning, but my foundation is firm and my intuition is strong.

About 15 years ago I got a call from my roommate from boarding school, "Did you hear that Miss Shannon is on the roof?", she asked.

"Uhhh, what? What in the hell does that mean?" I pictured my teacher from long ago, beautiful, Texas born drama queen literally sitting on her roof. Did she lose her mind?

"She died. She had a heart attack."

"What? She was young! In her forties." Then my former roommate explained that Ms. Shannon had had a heart condition, and while she explained it to me, I felt like I might have a heart condition too, because it hurt so much to hear that someone who had believed in me and cheered for me at my worst had died before I could tell her what a big fish she had been for me. Ms. Shannon had been eaten by a sperm whale in grim reapers clothing. She wasn't on the roof, she was in the belly of the whale and I would never be able to thank her for seeing the potential in me.

When I sit with a patient I am neither goddess or gargoyle, I am just a woman trying to come up with plan to help someone feel better. Neither big fish or small fish. I'm just a fish, just like all the other fish in this great big sea, swimming along, trying to avoid that damn sperm whale who eats us all in the end. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.....
One fish, two fish, 
be my own fish, 
with these other delish fish, 
We make a gourmet 
sperm whale dish.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Gut is a Genius

My gut knew what my head didn't want to believe. Fredo, was just that, a Fredo, someone who could've become a weak link in the Queenpin's organization. I'm so glad I cut him loose.

After my last post Fredo and I began to talk again. A few nights later I had plans to spend a night with myself, someone I like to hang out with regularly, but Fredo encouraged me to stop by. He was making dinner when I got there, and he offered me some. Then he told me where to sit, and I sat, and then I looked down upon a pair of women's shoes, placed ever so carefully right at my feet. They were not my shoes.
The last straw

I stopped eating, I drew the line, I left. I told Fredo I had him wrong, he was not a nice guy.

Because here's the thing. I don't have time for bullshit. The whole time Fredo and I are going through this DRAMA he said he wasn't angry with me, but his actions told me different, and the shoes were just the icing on the cake.

To me, passive aggressiveness is the cruelest form of communication. I'm not saying I don't do it, I think I did it a lot with my Sweet Escape, but man, it is such a soul killer.

Once, when the wusband and I were married, I thought I would do something sweet for him. Things had been rough lately, I wanted to try to reach out, so I did his laundry. We each always washed our own clothes, but I thought, "Hey, let me show this man that I love him even though times are tough." So I did his laundry and I folded it putting a little love in each crease. The wusband-to-be was standing in our kitchen as I brought the basket up the stairs. I stopped in front of him holding the full basket like a wrapped gift and said, "Hey, I did your laundry for you." That man looked at me with disgust and contempt dripping from every pore and then said, "Just don't. Don't do my laundry."

I broke into tears. What I had I done? I had no idea. I had no idea what I had done that was so shitty to deserve such contempt. For the wusband to not even want me to do his friggin' laundry. I'm sure I had done something. I was not a perfect wife. But tell me. JUST TELL ME, so I can change it. TELL ME, so we can work it out. TELL ME, so I we can yell and scream and then get to the make up sex.

I can take it. That's what I know about me, but maybe you don't Mr. Passive Aggressive. I can take it. I'm a woman with big ovaries, I can take the truth. But more than that, I crave the truth. I mean, I don't want you to lay out every damn thing I do wrong, but if I piss you off, let her rip. I want to know. I want to make the choice about whether I can change my behavior or not. I want to know because you are my partner and that's how you make things work, by laying it on the table.

So this post is a thank you to my gut. My squishy, soul knowing, food baby. Thank you for for speaking up, Sweet Mama. After I let go of the fantasy, I heard every word that you said.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Am an A**hole and Other Interesting Insights

After Vito Corleone dies Michael Corleone became the Don of the whole Corleone Crime Family. It was a responsibility he did not relish. He fought it for as long as he could, but in the end he accepted his fate without regret, except for the murder of his brother Fredo, which he would never forgive himself for. Sometimes we are assholes. 

The unfortunate part for me is that Michael Corleone is fictional, and even as a fictitious character his fate was forced upon him. Me? The Queenpin? I did this to myself. I'm an asshole and it's no one's fault but mine.

Today I look up studies that scientifically supported what I want to say, but most of them I found didn't quite summarize what I have heard from most of my women friends: Women want a man who is smart, kind, funny, and not afraid to commit. Women want men who are who they say they are and accept the women they're with for who they are. In the end, especially once a woman is past 30, the nice guy wins.

Except with me, because I got what all women want, and then I pushed him away, told him I'd never be that into him. I wrote a careless blog post about it. Then woke up with a horrible case of regret. Regret is a sharp, sharp knife that has stabbed me ever since. 

I killed Fredo.  What an asshole. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Boyfriend is On a Date With Another Woman and More Updates

Except he's not my boyfriend. I haven't actually thought of him as that until I sent him on a date with another woman. Once I did that he became my boyfriend because I thought it sounded funny to say, "My boyfriend is out on a date with another woman". Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the world of Queenpin dating. It is wickedly screwed, but everything else is roses.

Life is actually really good. Things are looking up and my path is clearer everyday. I am so enamored of my beasts and so exhausted by them. This week I returned home from 50 hours of acupuncture clinicals. I hit the ground running with work and 2 sick beasts who seem to flourish during the day and cough all night. One or the other has ended up in my bed every night this week with coughing and kicking and sore throat and a back that needed to be rubbed and fevered head that need to be kissed. The Queenpin has not slept for shit. As I write this I have only had about 4 hours of sleep and it's going on midnight. 

I started smoking a few weeks ago and sadly, my depression got much better. As soon as I lit up that smoke I started to feel so much more relaxed if not more stinky. I haven't quite figured out what I'm doing about this, so I've laid it out for The Committee. I've been putting lots on their table lately.

We're moving and that's a big deal. We have this delicious little neighborhood we live in and we're leaving it. We're moving a mile away, but it's time. My sweet mama has let me rent a house from her for 3 years, but the Queenpin is FINALLY feeling like she can stand on her own two feet so we've found a place just for us. My beasts and I. Our perfect little family. I am terrified and excited at the same time. Life is moving forward. I am not the half person I felt I was after the big DIVORCE. I have found my other half and man, is she hilarious and very fierce.

So now to dating. That topic is interesting, at least to me. I met a man online. It's the Beer Now? guy. He is such a great guy. We have good chemistry. Things are EASY. We laugh a lot, we enjoy each other, things are good, so I sent him off to date other people. I think I might be a nut, or maybe the sanest I've ever been. There seems to be such a thin line between the two.

When I was at school this month I sat with a friend and talked commitment and marriage. I just don't want it. Not right now for the commitment, not ever for the marriage. I just do not believe it is for me anymore. I am in love with the beginning. I am in love with first kisses. I am in love with sexual tension and flirting until you think you can't stand it anymore so you pull back and take a breath and start all over again. I'm 38 years old. I've been married twice, and in long term committed relationships since I was 19. Why not play the field a little? Except then there's a nice guy who I have chemistry with and I want to keep him in my life and play the field too. How will that work? Will he call me today after his date? Maybe, or maybe he'll choose this woman. I am refusing to act out of the fear of scarcity. The fear that if I live this life I will never find a partner. I am choosing to see this as an opportunity to redefine how I experience relationships. I'm not committing to someone out of fear. I'm standing my ground even if it means letting someone go.

This week I read a great blog post by Big Little Wolf's Daily Plate of Crazy, The Unbroken Heart; The Marriage Container; The Marriage Trap . She addresses much of what I have been thinking about with relationships. Things change once you get older and you've been divorced. Ideas of marriage, and commitment evolve for some of us into a new way of being. The standard did not work for us (or 50% of the population) so we redefine what does. It is also freeing and terrifying. Like moving to a new house, this new way of dating is a step into independence and the unknown.

Getting ready for bed tonight I shut off the lights before I got undressed, but I was at the opposite end of my room from my bed, which was a problem. I thought, "Oh shit. I know I'm going to step on something in the dark. I haven't unpacked from my week at school and shit is everywhere." And then I literally did a little dance as I removed my jeans, singing to myself, "Because it'ssssss, mmmmmyyyyyyyyy roooooom and I can throw my crap where ever IIIIIIIIIII waaaaannnntttt to." And then I crawled into bed all snuggled with my own self and began to write an update about my life, and my beasts, my dating misadventures, and my journey. My journey to live this life in a way that works just for me. My mom often shakes her head at me, smiles and says, "Honey, you sure make life hard." and I smile and say, "I know." because for me what is born from all this soul searching struggle is a beautiful rose, blooming from the root of my heart.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Super Bad - Part Two

So I went to meet a man about a motorcycle. I found the bike on craigslist, but serendipitously the seller and I quickly realized that I had worked with the man's wife for years when I was teaching. She is one of those bright lights that would let me come in her office and say the F-word a lot. I think I actually said Mother Fucker most often.

I drove up to the seller's house in the dark and there in the garage was the bike. Beautiful, shiny, well built. As soon as I saw that sweet bike I knew she was Jezebel. The owner walked around the bike and told me all about this 1983 Fuchsia Honda Shadow 750. I nodded my head as if I knew what he was talking about. I learned this skill early in math classes. Nod, be quiet as if you are pondering and no one will find out that what you actually are hearing is the teacher from The Peanuts: Wah, wahn, wah, whan...

I was mesmerized by Jezebel. Her strength and her beauty. Her deliciously well built seat. I was also afraid of her. I barely touched her. During the sale I only sat on her briefly. I let the owner ride her out of the driveway and then back. I took a deep breath. Then I wrote a check and asked the kind, kind, man to deliver her to me later in the week.

On the way home, I was still exhausted and still really tender. I was sad because ever since I hopped on a motorcycle I kept thinking of my Sweet Escape, and though we are done, it still makes me sad. I also felt a deep sense of failure. I had just tried really hard at something and I did not succeed. My ego was hurt, my confidence (so very fragile) was shaken. But driving home after writing a man a check for a motorcycle that I was afraid of I thought, "Damn, I really like the woman that I have become. I am a 38 year old single woman who just tried something and failed, and then went out and bought a motorcycle ALL-BY-HERSELF." Giggle, I'm super bad to me. Soon after that I called my friend Joe Cool: "I just bought a motorcycle. I failed the class. Would you give me a lesson?" We set a date.

Jezebel is parked in my mom's garage. The Original Sassy Queepin has a circular driveway which straightens out and slopes down to a quiet street. Perfect for practice. I took my beasts over the afternoon before my lesson and I just sat on the bike. I started her up. I switched gears. I shifted my weight on her. But with the beasts all of this was performed as if I was in bag of microwave popcorn at its peak popping capacity. My kids are in their wildest ages. I could not focus. So I got off the bike and I went home. Jezebel and I had met. We had shaken hands. There was no hugging.

I told Joe Cool I felt like I had bought a tiger. I was afraid. He told me riding is not for the faint of heart so I should be fine. Hahaha. He's a good guy. On Saturday we met. He rode his beautiful Harley Sportster Mavis. He stood in the driveway and gave me tips as I rode round and round. He is passionate about riding and he is smart about it. His eyes twinkle when he talks about it. I learned from him, but then there was nothing more he could say. I had to ride ALL BY MYSELF. Validation time was over.

After Joe Cool left I rode down my mom's street and back up. I rode around the circle. I fell in love with Jezebel. I became less afraid and I also realized that this is all me. The art of riding a motorcycle for me will be faith in myself. Joe Cool can not do this for me. My Sweet Escape can not encourage me through learning this. I have to do this on my own. There is no student driver car device where someone hits the break and calmly talks me through the turns. I have to be my own coach, my own guide. I have been given all the tools I need, but now it's up to me to have faith in my ability to use them. This knowledge both terrifies me and liberates me. It is the way I felt when, as a Buddhist, I learned: "Question everything and find your own light." It is how I feel each time I make a major decision regarding my beasts. It is the ultimate loneliness and the most beautiful strength. It is life.

The day after the lesson I woke up nestled in my lover's bed. Cold rain hit the windows and I snuggled deeper into the warmth of this man and the exquisite softness of his comforter. Eyes closed I longed to get back on Jezebel. Like another new lover, I look forward to spending time with Jezebel, exploring how we fit together, finding out what makes her purr. Taking the time to learn to keep us safe. Today I'm hoping to have a little time to climb on her back and ride. Around the driveway, then down slope, venturing out into the street where it will be just me on a motorcycle named Jezebel. Alone, and fierce. Afraid and brave. Having faith that, in this miracle of life, I can reach into my soul and find my own light.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Super Bad - Part One

I have a soft spot for people who are larger than life. I reference Don Corleone often in this blog. I compare myself to Rizzo from Grease. I am not satisfied with praying to one deity so I chose three plus one bad ass mama. With these hints you can probably imagine that my personality might be big. Some say over the top. I would like to think I'm Super Bad. Like James Brown without the misdemeanor charges and tax evasion, but with the cape and the attitude. Notice I say, "I like to think..." not, "I am..."

A few months ago I began to realize that I wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle. I talked to people I knew who rode. My Ex-Sweet Escape and I started shopping for bikes. As soon as I picked one he was going to teach me to ride, but then after painful months of being in-love but not dating we stomped that friendship to death and I was left with a big ole biker shaped hole in my soul and no coach to teach me how to ride.

Shit. What's a woman to do? I realize that before me, (and long after me) women have jumped on motorcycles and taught themselves to ride. There's actually a great book where this happens called The Flaming Iquanas which I read in my mid-twenties when I had no intention of owning a motorcycle.

The best advice I had gotten was from my therapist. We spent a whole session looking at bikes online and talking about them. He still had big scabs and pink spots all over his face, hands, and arms from a motorcycle wreck he had weeks ago. He limped downstairs to meet me for my appointment. "Get a 250 cc (very small bike)," he enthusiastically told me, "and then work your way up. Before you take the motorcycle class at the local college (which is the easiest way to get your license) have someone teach you the basics." But I was afraid, stubborn, and feeling a little sorry for myself. So as any dramatic mama has the ability to do I said, "Fuck it. Fuck a damn duck it" and I signed up for the class at the local community college called Motorcycle Safety. Fuck asking for help.

In true super dramatic fashion I also picked out a bike on Craigslist and made an appointment to see it after class on Sunday.

Taking this class is no small feat: you pay $135, and give up 3 hours Friday night, 6 hours Saturday, 7 hours Sunday. My babysitter had canceled so I had to call on Savior Single Mama to help with the beasts.

I walked into the class on Friday and it was clear that I was the one with the least experience. I don't ride ATV's, no seedoo's at the lake, no mopeds around town, no riding on the back of a bike. My Ex-Sweet Escape had a bike, but it was a chopper not made for two. The most we did was zip down the block. The last time I had really been on a motorcycle had been 20 years ago. A small Honda my boyfriend owned. But what the hell, I'm super bad right? How bad could it be? And more importantly I am proving a friggin' point. I CAN DO THIS. I can learn how to ride a motorcycle all...BY...my..Super Bad..SELF.
We were not given the smanschy matching coats. 

Friday night went great. We were in a classroom. Easy, peesy, Lemon, squeezy as one of the the instructors liked to say. Saturday actually also went well. I was scared of that teensy 250 cc bike. I wobbled. I shook. I did not fall down, I don't think I actually went over 15 miles an hour either, but I loved it. I loved swooping around the cones. Gliding through the parking lot. I loved being on a motorcycle.

On Sunday I came to class ready. I got a 100 on the written test. I had on my riding gear. I had an appointment right after class to buy a bike. I was stoked. Until the first exercise. The dreaded figure 8. That is when my new favorite phrase became, "I will not run over my teacher." as he skibbled out of the way, and though that saying started during the figure 8, it continued through the exam. Those men are practiced skibblers. I did not rev the engine and jump forward or lay the bike down. I didn't do anything crazy like that, I just meandered a little and got too focused on the art of shifting and then braked too late. There is a lot of shit to learn when riding a bike, and apparently too much shit for this super bad woman.


Really. I failed the class. The coaches felt so bad when they told me, but I said, "That's okay. I will learn to ride. When can I take the class again?" I blew it off on the outside, but on the inside my super bad self was crushed. I'm just a human being. I failed a beginner's motorcycle class. I am not super bad. I was exhausted and I felt like shit, but I had an appointment. I hopped in my car and I drove an hour away to see a man about a bike. I sang sad love songs to myself at the top of my lungs to my tender little self and lamented the fact that James Brown, Rizzo, and Don Corleone would have passed that motorcycle class. They are Super Bad, me I'm just human and sometimes I just hate that about myself.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pennies Heads Up

Today at work I looked down and saw a penny. I manage two beautiful apartment buildings so when I see something on the floor I often pick it up. I want my hallways to look fabulous. As I was bending forward to remove this eye sore in my hallway I noticed that the penny was heads up. I brushed my fingers over Abe Lincoln's brown face and then stood up, leaving him to stare at the wall and wait for another hand.

When I was in my 20's I waited tables at a local bar. I wasn't a great waitress. I'm a little too easily distracted to get people's food to them while it's still hot, and my boss would often come yell at me for sneaking into the bus station behind the restaurant to smoke. Once I told some poor guy I wouldn't cocktail anymore drinks to him until he started tipping me. I made $2.13 an hour for Lord's sake. I didn't want to break into a sweat for nothin'. I just was not cut out for that kind of customer service.

At 22, as often seems to be the case with me, I was searching. Searching for the meaning of life. Searching for joy. Searching for me (I hadn't yet learned that life is about creating, not finding yourself). I lived in a funky little part of town, had a great dog, and I had just finished college. Sometimes I had a boyfriend. Sometimes I had a lover, though I hadn't yet learned how to appreciate that. I had narrowly escaped marrying a tattoo-ed ex-crackhead who told great stories, but lied like a mother fucker. I had a great group of friends. Some days I sang in a band....in a basement...actually, maybe we played one party.

This was the summer of my life I call The Summer of The Drawn Blinds. It was a great time, but also not so great a time. I was doing some of the things that you would expect a rowdy 22 year old woman to be doing with the blinds drawn. Some days were really rough and I didn't want to get up off the couch, and some days were so damn sweet I thought my heart would explode from the sheer fun of it.

At the restaurant I worked with a guy named Steven. Tall, slim, pale, Steven was red headed, and extremely shy. He had been friends with a guy I had dated in high school. I liked his quirkiness, and was drawn to his wholesomeness. Often I would give him a ride home from work and we would talk and talk. He was always brutally honest with me and I appreciated that.

I could never tell if Steven was into me or not, but when we were in the car together I always had this overwhelming desire to reach over and kiss him, not only kiss him but ravish him a little (is a little ravishing possible?). I just wanted to rumple him up and steal a little sweetness. I also wanted to give him a taste of what Eve gave Adam; a little insight, knowledge of a life he didn't know. I wanted to see what a little wicked would do to him: molesting a 20 something sweet shy boy was nothing to me. But in the months I gave Steven a ride I never touched him. I think I was afraid of rejection, but also, as much as  I wanted to steal  his innocence, I also wanted to preserve it. I needed a little innocence in my life while I was working on pushing the limits and living with the blinds drawn.

In the car Steven and I often talked about what happened at the bar. The drunks, the craziness, the inevitable fights. More than once the sinks broke off the walls because women sat in them to pee. The restaurant was also THREE FLOORS. There was a lot for me bitch about (Steven didn't complain like me). One day after a serious bitch fest I told Steven that my favorite thing about working at the restaurant was how often I found pennies heads up. Running up and down those three flights of stairs, or cocktailing on the bottom floor there were always pennies on the floor and it seemed that more often than not those pennies were heads up.  It was so silly but the sheer number of pennies that I found heads up made me giggle. They made me feel lucky, they made me feel hope. They shone up from the floor and made me stop for a minute and feel a little joy. I laughed as I told Steven about it, truly pleased about my discovery.

We were parked in Steven's driveway as I told him about the pennies. I looked over to see his reaction, did he think I was a total moron? He smiled this small smile, tipped his head sideways, and looked at me up through his lashes. Steven's eyes twinkled and he said in his quiet voice, "That's funny, everytime I find a penny I try to turn it heads up. I leave it for someone else to find hoping it will make them smile." He was quiet for a minute. "I hope I didn't ruin it by telling you."

"No," I said, "Not at all." And now I can't remember what else I said, but I'm sure it was sarcastic and over the top, which is often what I do when I want to deflect an intense feeling. Steven got out of the car, and I started to drive away, humbled. Truly touched. Here I was sucking up all these pennies, picking them up and keeping their goodness for myself. Yet there was this sweet guy giving such a simple gift to people everyday and  he wasn't even sure whether anyone gave a shit or not. You know in The Grinch when his heart grows three sizes? That's how I felt when Steven told me about the pennies. I felt like I had just met an angel in nerd's clothing and I loved it.

In this time of my life as mother, and student, and employee, and constant searcher, I think that I am in one of the most self-centered times in my life post teen years. I am completely focused on ME and my beasts. ME and my career. ME and my please-give-me-damn-time-for-my-friggin'-self. I'm not so much of a giver these days. I'm not as thoughtful as I used to be. I think I'm a little lazy. So when I took a minute to clean up a little something from a hallway and it turned out to be a penny heads up, I thought of Steven and the immense joy he created just by making sure that Abe Lincoln was primed to look up some skirts. I rubbed Abe's cheek, gave him a little angel/nerd juju, and then I left him to work his magic.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Peaceful Mama....?.....

In the parenting books this is how it looks:

The mother sits in the center, legs crossed in her meditation pose. Hands resting quietly in her lap. There is actual light radiating from her heart. This mama is so peaceful, so loving, so compassionate. She is flanked on either side by her beasts. The beasties both sit as peaceful as she. Eyes closed, faces frozen in masks of supreme peace. Light radiates around the two little angels. Their perfect mama is teaching them how to meditate. It is family bliss.

For the rest of the day if they have conflict with each other it is addressed in a peaceful way. They talk about feelings and love in soft voices. There is nirvana oozing out of their eyeballs. 

This is how it looks in real life:

I sit on my meditation pillow and set my timer for 15 minutes. Little Beastie comes down and stands beside me, "I want to meditate too, Mommy."

"Okay, sweetheart. Come sit right here." I pat the space beside me.

"BIG BEAST," Little Beasts yells up the stairs, "MOMMY AND I ARE MEDITATING." Silence from upstairs.  Little Beasts settles into her meditation pose. I remind her to focus on her breath.

We breathe. I focus on my heart chakra. I have been working on opening it. Little Beast begins to shuffle, hitting my thigh with hers each time she moves. Back to breath, I remind myself at each impact. 

Clunk, thunk, clunk, clunk. Down into the basement trudges Big Beast. "Little Beast and I are meditating. You are welcome to sit, but you must be quiet."

"I already have my pillow." He beams at me and holds up a throw pillow from our couch.  He then sits. We refocus. My heart chakra is not feeling like it's opening. I believe I have lost the combination to the lock. I breathe. 

Shuffle, shuffle, stifled giggle, bump mommy, bump mommy, slide, shuffle, bump. I open my eyes. "You know what?" I say in a tight lipped exasperated tone, "This is my meditation time. I just don't think it's a good time for us to meditate together. If you want to meditate with mommy later that will be better. AFTER I've had my time to myself, and not at bed time either." Both beasts began to protest, "ONE," I began the count, "TWO!" They quickly gather themselves up and start to head up the stairs.

I close my eyes, I focus on my heart, I wait for compassion to flow in, "MOOOOOOOOM-MMMEEEEE!" Little Beasts wails, "BIG BEASTS HIT MEEEEEEEEEEE!"

And then it happened, I snapped, "SHUUUUUUTTTT UP!" I yelled. Gasp. I never say shut up! I don't even let me kids say it. I could just imagine the beasts' faces, eyes as big as apples, mouths hanging open. "Go upstairs and give me some peace." I said quietly. I sagged on my meditation pillow. I closed my eyes. I found my breath. 

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPP! Times up. My meditation timer signalled the end of my peaceful meditation. 

I laughed. I stood up way more pissed off than when I sat down, and then I started my day in the real world. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beer Now?

There is a man that I know in his late 20's that is not jaded about love. He went to dinner with his girlfriend's parents and some of their friends while his girlfriend was out of town. He took them eggs and flowers from his farm. I laughed and teased him about old fashioned courting. The night before that I had gotten a date with this text, "Beer now?"

I'm so jaded. I'm trying not to be. Not to be jaded and suspicious. On my Beer now? date-ish. I told the man I would stop expecting the worse. May be he's a nice guy...may be not. This week I'm gonna let Cinderella win, Lisabeth Salander is gonna have to take a vacation. I have a real date with Beer Now on Thursday. Actual dinner and conversation in a restaurant. Cue "Pretty In Pink" soundtrack now.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Being Brave Enough to Break Your Own Heart

For a month I took a lover. I called him Pierre because I felt like what we were doing was very French. We had a great time, and it did help me feel back in my game. It was a Twinkie break while I worked on a more spiritually nutritious foundation. Contrary to popular belief though, getting under someone else did not help me get over someone else. It did not make my love for my Ex-Sweet Escape fade away, it didn't even move it to a back shelf. I knew Pierre was a substitute for what I wanted. I knew the purpose this man served was not to fix me but to help me explore what role, if any, I want a man to play in my life.

One night Pierre and I did go on a real date. The morning of the date, I sat on Savior Single Mama's porch and literally shook, I teared up as I told her that I was going on a date. Fear rumbled in my stomach and I felt those girls going at it again: Cinderella and Lisabeth Salander. They fight over independence and the dream of true love. I think this time Cinderella took a chunk out of Lisabeth's ear in her savage desire to have us live Happily Ever After, whatever in the hell that means. A few minutes pre-date, I walked in the house and noticed that my sweet little 5 year old beast had decorated the Buddha. She had given him flowers and a party hat and a pair of pink panties.... yeah...really. I laughed and laughed and called my mom, "Should I take the panties off before my date comes?" My mom laughed, "No, sweetie, anyone that dates you needs to see that this is a part of your life." Hahaha she's so right. Party Buddha with pink panties, that is my life. The most important part right now. So I left them.

The craziest thing is that during this time with Pierre my Ex-Sweet Escape and I were going out for dinner, and movies. The Ex knows I've been dating yet, we have texted almost everyday in the past month and I have tortured him with my ripped open heart. I can't seem to be away from him, yet when I am near him I can literally feel my heart ripping in two, and then I drink my second glass and wine and I make him hear about it too. It's really sad and ridiculous.

Two weeks ago I decided I had had enough of myself. I woke up in the early morning hours laying in my Ex-Sweet Escape's bed. Fully clothed (no sex going on there), his arm around my waist. I was so hungover and so fucking sad and I sad to myself, "I am done having a broken heart. I am done doing this to myself." I leaned over and kissed his cheek and said, "I'm leaving." He mumbled in his sleep, "You're fired." I laughed and stood to leave. The day before would have been our 2 year anniversary. I walked out the door and let it slam behind me, and then in it's slamming, the door popped open a few inches and stayed that way. Asshole door.

There is this amazing advice columnist Sugar on The Rumpus and she wrote in one of her columns, "Be brave enough to break your own heart." I have a coffee cup that says it. I'm trying to live it. I'm trying to be brave enough to break my own heart. I let Pierre go because I had gotten what I needed from him and there was no where else to go with such a superficial connection. I have let go of the idea that my Sweet Escape and I will ever be together again, but I have not let go of him. We still text everyday. Today we are going to look at motorcycles and maybe take my beasts to see a movie. His is my friend-ish; deeper and more complicated than a friend.

I'm trying to be brave enough to break my own heart. To let my love of him change into something different, something larger than what it was. I learned the words of what I was doing from Sugar, but I learned the actions from him, my Ex-Sweet Escape. One night we were driving and I said, "How can you stand this? Isn't this painful for you? Isn't this like torture? This hanging out but not being together?" He said, "Yeah, but I just don't wear my heart on my sleeve like you do." Then later he looked at me and said, "Listen, you and I are going to be like those old people who you see walking down the street holding hands. Our love is going to go beyond this. You just have to give it time." Fucking-wise-mother-fucking-biker-mean-ass-tattooed-guru-who-I-cannot-fucking-live- with-or-live-without. I should have spit in his eye.

Earlier we had had a beer at a neighborhood bar. I sat looking into his face and though for me his beauty was almost too painful to bear, I couldn't tear my eyes away. We had gone to see the Batman movie. Sitting side by side we did not touch and I breathed him in, I imagined leaning over and biting a chunk out of his forearm. Eating him up like the wild thing I am. Consuming him once and for all. Getting this shit over with.

But I didn't eat him. I followed his lead of how to do this friend-ish thing. I sat next to him with our love laying naked between us while we shared popcorn with our hands not even brushing once. In being brave enough to break my own heart I am giving up any road map I thought I had of what love and relationships are about. I'm giving up the illusion of control I had over my future. I am doing that faith thing, where I free fall and repeat again and again, "You're safe, girl." I'm being brave enough to step off the beaten path of romantic relationships and forge my own definition of what is right for me. Damn, I feel amazingly strong and afraid at the same time. In my phone his contact name has been changed to Be Brave Enough. 5 or 6 times a day I have a beautiful reminder of my goal.

The sweetest part is that since I decided to be brave, since I decided to just fuck it and go ovaries to wall with breaking my own heart, I have been meditating again. I have been cooking and making my diet more healthy. I have been paying attention to my body working out, doing yoga. Ha, look at that. Isn't it amazing? Taking care of myself has bred taking care of myself. Breaking my heart has made my self-love multiply like rabbits. Who knew taking a sledge hammer to your heart could create something so very, very sweet?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Love Yourself, You're All You've Got

Last night before I went to bed I wrote "I love you" right in between my boobs. In ball point pen. And then I giggled. Today I didn't take a shower all day. I went clothes shopping and every time I took off my shirt there it was to remind me. In garbled writing, half faded, there it was, a little reminder that, Oh, yeah, I  love myself so stop with the fat comments.

I need reminders that Queenpin is okay. I'm still a little bit of a mess with the quitting smoking and the Ex-Sweet Escape. I have days like that. Weepy, emotional, things-just-don't-feel-right kind of days, and I can't always explain what is causing this discomfort. It's just a funky day. On those days I try to be nice to myself and being nice to myself has taken some pretty funny turns lately.

These are the ways that I've been nice to myself: kissing my shoulder, talking myself down in French accent, writing in between my boobs, and buying cute dresses instead of elastic waist old lady pants to deal with my new non-smoking figure. You know normal everyday stuff. I am trying to just love myself through this time when I am struggling out of my cocoon. Who do the butterflies have but their own instincts to talk them through their transformation? Those babies don't have anyone but themselves to get them through their struggle, but they don't guzzle a bottle of wine, eat a pound cake, and start smoking again, they just do what needs to be done to survive and to thrive.

Savior Single Mama and I have been cracking up at my silliness, but it seems to be working. The other night I was on her porch putting myself down about something. Ranting about some personal flaw or other and in the middle of the rant I turned my head and, completely unconsciously, kissed my shoulder. Then I continued on the rant until Savior Single Mama, eyes wide, said, "Wait, HOLD UP. Did you just kiss yourself?" And then I had to acknowledge that yes, my subconscious was doing something I have such a hard time doing. She was being sweet to me. Savior Single Mama and I laughed and laughed over that one. But it was such a tender thing it really touched my heart. It made me feel so whole to know I have this caring part of myself that will stick up for the Queenpin, even against my worst enemy: me.

I do have the sense that I am healing and kind of settling in to this stage of my life where, just for today, things are uncomfortable and I am walking into the unknown. It's like I've just jumped out of a plane and my descent is going sooooooo SLOOOOOOOOW.  I guess sometimes faith is like that. We always talk about the jump, but what about the fall? The fulfillment of our faith isn't always immediate and then we have to wait and remind ourselves that, oh yeah I chose to make this leap.

Somedays my parachute (or wings if we are sticking with the butterfly metaphor) feels so securely on and I feel myself floating, flying, relishing this leap of faith I have taken. Other days I swear there are about 80 holes in those fuckers and I am free falling, floundering, and choking back a scream as I hurdle into the unknown. Then there are days that I just pray for a nap so I can get through a few more hours of this part without feeling or thinking.

This week I sat down to meditate twice. Finally, I sat and I focused on the breath, and I held my mala beads in my hands and I tried to just be. Another way that I am trying to be nice to myself. Another way I am trying to find peace. Another way I'm trying to pull myself out of this hole I've fallen into too (remember the Alice post? I think I'm still finding my way out of the rabbit hole).

I have an amazing family. I have kick ass friends. But they cannot make me love myself. This is something I must do all on my own. I've got to love myself, because this is it. This is my one deliciously, delicate, and short life, and I don't want to waste it being mean to me. I don't want to waste it waiting on someone else to make me beautiful or smart or whole. I've got to learn to love myself, because in the end, I'm all I've got. And when it comes down to it, that is pretty amazing.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sherri Baby, Don't Wait to Shed Your Clothes

The other night I was in a pharmacy trying to buy condoms. I walked to the "Family Planning" section and I realized they were in a locked case. Really? I immediately though of donating loads of money to CVS Pharmacy as a stolen condom fund just so the kids who were stealing them could actually get some damn condoms. There is no better way to make sure kids won't use condom than making them ask permission before buying them. Sheesh CVS, have a little compassion. I was truly disturbed at the thought of teenagers and, actually, adults like me, being shamed out of buying condoms because they had to go to the counter and ask. Fortunately, I am not embarrassed by it, so I went to the counter slightly perturbed and said, "I need something from the family planning section." 

"Sherri, please come to aisle 10." The counter person shouted over the loud speaker, and I went to aisle 10 and waited....and waited....and damn it, went in search of Sherri.

I started walking toward the front of the store, scanning each aisle for a CVS employee. I had almost made it to the front register when I saw her, Sherri. Neck bent forward, eyes squinted, a cup of microwavable noodles in her hand. She was reading the nutrition information. "Uh, Sherri? Excuse me," I said, making myself overly familiar, which I tend to do when I'm completely annoyed. She looked up at me, her maroon hair perfectly styled in that no muss-no fuss style, eyes opened expectantly, laugh lines obviously well earned. "I need to buy some condoms."  Sherri giggled, which is cute on a forty something woman. She then replied in a JJ from Goodtimes imitation and said, "Well, aaaallllright." She pulled her keys out of her purple and black checked button down shirt and began walking back to aisle 10. 

Once we reached the family planning case Sherri put her key in the lock, turned it and then paused. She sighed and in this sultry southern twang said, "I remember those days...." . I laughed and said, "Yep, it's pretty nice. First kisses, and the rest." 

Noodles = No Sex
"Pretty soon," she looked wistful, "I'm gonna be in that space again." I leaned forward and picked my pack of prophylactics, smiling at this shared confidence. I stood up and Sherri and I headed to the front of the store together to ring those puppies up. While we walked I was waiting for a deep confession of dissolving marriage, kids who needed her, aging parent she had to nurse 24 hours a day, some explanation of why she was not currently unlocking the condom cabinet for herself, but what this beautiful Southern woman said was, "Yep, as soon as I stop eating those damn noodles......"

WHAT?  Yep, she said noodles, and then she patted her round tummy. I was horrified. Unlike a relationship that can end, children that grow older and don't need you around so much anymore, a sick parent that will eventually pass, self-loathing can only change if you want to change it, and Sherri thought the noodles were the problem which is so the wrong place to start.

I laughed and said, "Oh girl, nobody cares about that." But what I wanted to do was grab her by her shoulders and shake her. Take her down aisle 6 where the mirrors were and say, "Can you see yourself? You are hot! You are so damn cute I want to take you home and make you muffins. I want to introduce you to this guy I know who loves curvy ladies. There are men that would eat you up like BBQ and slaw, baby. Don't let society tell you not to get naked! Don't let anyone tell you to wait until you're perfect to enjoy your body." But I didn't because I was running late and because people don't take kindly to strangers grabbing them by the shoulders and telling them they're sexy, (or so I've heard). 

Sherri giggled again as she rung up my condoms. "Have fun tonight," she laughed, and I laughed to. Wishing I had one line of life changing wisdom I could say that would change her beliefs about her self and her body. What my lame reply was, was, "I will. You should have some fun sometime too! It's great." and then I walked out the door with my jiggly ass, round ole' tummy, 5 o'clock shadow on my morning shaved legs, and, yes, a pack of condoms.