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Collecting Snapshots

29 Oct

“Hi,” I smiled nervously and got into the car, perfectly aware of how awesome my favorite seven-year-old black boots that I’d repared with superglue the night before looked over my jeans, and how my top was just slightly drooping over my shoulder exposing a purple bra strap.

He leaned over to give me a hug, which I recieved greatfully, and when he started to drive, I sighed with relief. First dates are always awkward, but I had a feeling I was going to like this guy, based on the three nights in a row we’d spent chatting online and talking on the phone, sending one another pictures and youtube links to our favorite music. Also, this was not going to be a boring old date-date. This was a picnic at my favorite spot at the park, where I had fantasized all day about sipping wine, listening to him play his guitar and making out a bit if the moment presented itself.

Still, it’s always different seeing someone face to face, no matter how many pictures you’ve seen of them. He wore a beige collar shirt with brownish stripes, but the fabric was soft and droopy, and the top button was loose. He was shorter than me, and smaller, but not by much. His hair was light brown and messy, cut too short for curls to form, but long enough that you could see its tendency to curl. His complextion was light, there may even have been a few freckles decorating his face. His eyes were serious, but his smile was boyish, with a bottom lip that was fleshier than the top one, and which I later found to be delicious and sexy.

“You came on time.” I commented.

“No I didn’t, I was late.”

“Two minutes doesn’t count as late.”

“But it wasn’t two minutes, it was four.” I  smiled. “So where are we going?”

“You’ll see.”

An hour later I was sitting there on my green fleece banket in my favorite corner of the park. My boots were tossed to the side, as were his. He was sitting close to me, facing me, with only his guitar between us. His shirt was slightly open, from before, when I was touching his chest as he kissed me. Now he was playing Wish You Were Here, and I enjoyed immensly watching his fingers playing with the chordes, and listening to him sing, slightly off key. As I joined in, my hands were on his thighs, stroking them gently.

I closed my eyes and took a snapshot of this beautiful moment, of a girl and a guy enjoying music and warmth on a cool evening at the park. I was, once again, reminded of the numerous gifts that life continues to grant me, when I am open at heart and at mind and willing to accept them. When he placed his guitar on the blanket to his right, and leaned in to kiss me again, less cautiously and more passionately this time, I felt his warmth, surging through his body, leaking through those fingertips that stoked my back. With my eyes still shut, my mind was clear and I allowed myself to drown in an emotion that I can only attempt to describe as a sea of cotton balls and warm milk.

What happens next doesn’t even matter. My life is so intense and complex and challenging. But I am collecting beautiful moments for the collage that is my life, and they balance out the uncertainty, the drama, the pain, the guilt, the struggle.

Every single snapshot counts.

 

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Horizon

30 Oct

peer

I had the morning off today and I took a long walk along the peer and looked at the water. It was a beautiful beginning-of-fall day, with a bit a wind, grayish skies, and a gloominess that makes you reminiscent and somehow pleasantly melancholy. I love this type of weather. I can sit for hours watching the waves and contemplating life, arriving at endless conclusions that have no practical implications on my life.

I stood there, leaning on the railing, looking at the horizon, and as always felt overwhelmed by the vastness of it all, so many possibilities, so many opportunities, an openness that the future seems to hold when you take time off work and stare into the ocean. It filled me with such hope and happiness that I had to take a picture, so I pulled out my phone.

Then I took a step back, and I noticed the railing, which was actually a fence, a barrier installed to keep people from falling or jumping into the water. A barrier keeping people from that vastness, from that openness, narrowing down possibilities and opportunities. I suddenly felt held back, constrained, angry even.

And there you have it. Like everything else, the peer on a fall morning is a completely different experience, depending on your perspective, and the narrative you choose to to organize your story in. You can look at the horizon, or you can choose to see the railing. You can allow the foamy waves to fill your heart with prospects and opportunities, or you can take in the impossibilities, the constraints.

OVERWHELMED

5 Mar

I know from experience to discredit any thought or emotion that comes to surface when I am sick and sleep deprived. But that’s easier said than done. To be honest, I don’t remember feeling this lost, confused or overwhelmed since highschool.

I’ll begin with the disclaimer. Baby has been feverish and pukey for the past 48 hours, refusing to eat, sleep and generally difficult to manage. His mama, has a bad cold and hasn’t been getting much sleep. The emotional messiness I am about to describe here is without a doubt linked to all of this, and yet it feels very valid nonetheless.

BD wants to get back togehter, I’ve mentioned this in one of my previous posts. I said no, but he’s been persistent. I had spent a week trying to stir up those emotions I used to feel towards him, a feeling of closeness, affection, attraction, but the harder I tried, the more I got nothing. I’d become numb to him. Even kissing him didn’t stir any emotion in me. I was trying him on like an old pair of jeans, trying to see if they still fit, and they didn’t. Although sometimes I’m not so sure if I was really trying. Maybe I was just looking at this pair of jeans and saying, naaaah, too tight.

Then, there’s SG, who’s entered my life without warning, through the back door, and without paying attention or intending to do so, I found myself in a relationship with another man, when all I wanted was a date, a light make out session, something to help me get over the breakup. I was looking for a transition guy, and I fell in, well, I don’t know. I’m definitely NOT ready for what it means to be seriously involved with someone else, especially now, that BD seems to be hanging onto me with all his might. He’s really not letting me go. But I already feel what I feel and I can’t just pretend that I don’t. What a mess.

We’ve had The Talk about five times by now, BD and I. The one where I tell him that I don’t want to get back together and he tells me I’m making a mistake and that he loves me and that we should give it a chance. The harder he pushes me, the more I want to let go of him. But it also makes me feel that what I’m doing with SG is terribly wrong. Rationally, I tell myself that he left me, no, he left us, which is so much worse, that I’m entitled to get love from someone else if he doesn’t want to give it to me. This rationalization has worked fine as long as he stayed away, but now that he wants to get back together, it doesn’t seem convincing anymore.

SG and I went to an art exhibition the other day, and it was the first time I’d ever been out with him in public in broad daylight. We didn’t hold hands or anything, we really just went to see the show, but it felt like I was doing something bad and somebody would find out, and I got comepletely panicky and freaked out.

There are other things on my mind too, that have nothing to do with this boy drama that are stressing me out, and it just felt at that moment that there was no more room in my heart for anything. There’s too much stuff in there already. All I wanted to do was empty myself from all these emotions and just stick to the basics for a minute. Baby and I. Both of us well, eating, sleeping, taking a walk.

After the freak out, we sat on my sofa and SG got me  a glass of water and put his arms around me and said it was OK and to tell him what I needed. And I wanted to tell him two things: 1. I need some space. 2. Don’t stop holding me. But they were too contradictory so
I said nothing. Then I got a call from Baby’s daycare to come pick him up because he had a fever, and I left SG abruptly and rushed to get Baby and felt guilty, as if he’d gotten sick becuase I was having an affair. Is that what this is, by the way?

BD came over that night to see Baby and I was a mess, and when I saw him with Baby I started to cry, and I let him hold me, and that’s when I felt  it, that thing I had been searching for. That emotion towards him. And when I felt it, it made me cry harder and it confused me even more than I had been. Because here he was, father of my child, the man I had loved for 13 years, the man I married, the man I knew better than anyone else. And he was tired, and sad, but he was there. He said something like: you can’t carry all the world’s sorrow on your shoulders, and even though that’s not what I was doing, it touched me, because it showed that he knew me, because that’s something that I tend to do. And I can get it back now if I choose to. I can decide to forgive his abandonment. I can decide to give him another chance. It’s up to me now, and it was somehow easier when it wasn’t.

And here I am now, a few days later and not much better. Baby’s in his baby carrier which is almost the only thing that seems to soothe him and I found the perfect spot for my laptop, on top of our mineral water dispenser, it’s high up enough that I can type while standing up with baby in his carrier, swaying from side to side to console him. And that’s where things stand.

This post is going to end with no insights, no motivational words, no conclusions. In fact, I think I’m going to try to get through the next few days without making any decisions at all. That seems like it might be a good idea. And I guess after that we’ll see.

Hit Me.

27 Feb

I’m not arguing with life anymore, I said to my therapist yesterday. I feel like I used to argue with life a lot. If something, even petty and insignificant didn’t go according to plan, I’d lose my inner peace and balance, I’d be genuinely upset. But I’m not arguing anymore. Life is full of twists and turns, it’s unpredictable as hell. But I have a sort of confidence that I can take it. So it’s not with anger, but with a sense of capability that I find myself telling life, OK, hit me.

Some unsettling news entirely unrelated to my boy-drama has kind of smacked me on the head, and made me remember, once again, that life has its own plans for us, like an overbearing mother who thinks she knows best, and we’re left sitting there, wide eyed, screaming our heads off in a fit, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! But life, just stares you down, doesn’t it? And I think we all know who’s going to blink first. Crying out, protesting, denying, throwing a fit, these will get me nowhere. So I’m not playing that game anymore. There will be no more NOOOOOOOs. If life wants to smack me on the head, maybe I need a good smacking.

INTERPRETATION. Like a recovering alcoholic, I’m beginning to learn to accept the things I cannot change, and summon the courage to change the things I can. The dry facts cannot be changed. The narrative can. And we do not live for dry facts, we live for narrative. What we’re not always aware of is how much capacity we have to write and rewrite, and rewrite our narratives again and again. This was mine, only a few months ago: Surviving betrayal. Or Ah ah ah ah staying alive. It’s the story of a single mom, who’s been abandoned by a man she loved and trusted, but managed to survive the flood, to function as a mother, and discovered she had a stronger backbone than she ever imagined, and an amazing support system.

Then, when it became clear that I was going to survive, the narrative became useless. I didn’t need it anymore as a way of explaining to myself what had happened to me. So I wrote a new narrative, and it was called: A New Me Or Take these broken wings and learn to fly. This was the story of a woman, who’s not just a mother, but an entire person, who discovered that she was more than a caretaker. She had wants and needs and they deserved to be met. But, lo and behold. This too soon became irrelevant. Lesson learned.

Finally, a third narrative is being constructed as I write these lines. This one takes the dry facts of my separation, my boy-drama, and the difficulties of a close friend and tells a completely different story. It’s called: Hit Me. It’s called: I don’t know why the fuck this has to happen, but as long as it’s happening, let me see if I can achieve something along the way. 

I think I’ve quoted Einstein in this blog before, saying that crisis is sometimes a necessity for growth. So here’s a brand new narrative, and M, if you’re reading, I’m sharing this one with you. There was once a girl who had some bad shit happen to her, and it wasn’t fair. She was able to overcome a lot of it, and she reached a better place in life, but some of that shit was still troubling her, it was holding her back. Then, one day, this completely bullshit, cock-sucking, donkey-fucking piece of crap happened to her and smacked her hard on the head, in a way that only such dramatic events can. She took a moment to breathe and recover from the shock, and then she quoted Dürrenmatt’s old lady from that play and said: “If the world turned me into a whore, I shall turn the world into a brothel.” Or some other less vulgar way of saying I’m ready to fight back.

Now, just in case this girl isn’t able to see that far yet, I want to make sure she knows how this story ends. Not far down this road this whole mess is behind her. Except now, she is stronger and more capable than she’s ever been before. She feels like she can face anything, do anything, and live a life that fulfills her and makes her truly happy. And when she gets there she celebrates her rebirth with her closest friends eating waffles with sour cream and apple sauce and a dash of cinnamon.

Butterflies and Dirty Habits

6 Feb

butterflies

Allowing myself to feel again is not easy. On Sunday, Skating Guy and I went to a movie. We saw Hitchcock, which was eerie and terrific, with Anthony Hopkins outdoing himself, and Scarlet Johansson being her regular admirable self.

That morning had been so rough on me, that I was very close to cancelling the date altogether. It seemed wrong, suddenly, or rather – wronger – to be out with another man, while I was still technically married, in the process of separation. But as we sat in the darkness of the theater, absorbed in the film, though slightly distracted by each other’s presence, my hand was in his and our fingers were playing around, holding, touching, tickling one another, like each of our hands had a life of its own, a background story and a personality, and together they completed one another. And I felt happier than I’d been in a while. I felt optimistic.

It was a rush. It was butterflies and sparks and all that stuff you yearn for when you’re 16, and sober up from when you grow up and realize that a serious relationship is much more stable and predictable than all of that. I’d truly forgotten about the butterflies. How comforting it is to know that they exist!

So here we are. And what do we have before us? A thing. This is definitely becoming a thing. I’m not quite sure what kind of thing exactly. But it’s a thing, an easy thing, a thrilling thing, a thing which brings some good old fashioned light hearted fun into my complicated present.

Unfortunately however, along with the light-hearted uncomplicatedness, comes also my dirty habit of overanalyzing everything, and constantly searching for clues that can account for my insecurities, proof that all of this wonderfulness is somehow faulty, that I’m not worthy of it, or that he’s an asshole like all men apparently are. A text message lacking punctuation and emoticons, becomes a sign that he is tired and has had enough of me. The same goes for a message that is not instantly answered. And it makes me realize how shitty text messages are, and how I hate that I obsess over them, how bad it is for my mental health to be as attached to my phone as I am, to check my messages and emails and refresh my Facebook page more often than I smile, or glance out the window, or take a deep breath.

But I’m optimistic still. I think there is a learning curve for everything, and I am a diligent student. I’m learning what it is to let go of the past and to welcome the future. Scratch that. I’m learning to welcome the present. And this is, perhaps, another lesson. I’m learning to enjoy the present, which I’ve always tended to discredit.

Skating Guy is here now. He wants to take me to the opera, and cook for me, and tell me that I’m special. And I’m going to let him. Even if it ends tomorrow, even if he disappoints me, or I disappoint myself, it’s not all about tomorrow. Today counts for something, doesn’t it?

A Punch in the Face

3 Feb

punch

Our first divorce meeting, and the realization that things cannot happen overnight and that I’m looking at a two-three month process at minimum, is like a punch in the face from reality. There I was opening up to someone new, and here it is suddenly dawning on me that I am not available, and won’t be for quite some time. Should I not care? Should I go ahead and date nevertheless? Probably. Can I do it? Not so sure. It feels like sneaking around, and a part of me is questioning whether it’s worth the stress.

To make things worse, BD seems to want to carry the divorce out slowly, so we can both “process” stuff. How can I tell him that I’m done “processing”? Maybe I move fast. Maybe 5 months of being separated is not that long in comparison to 13 years of being together. But I have reached the point of no return. And it’s not because of ice-skating-instructor-guy, although the presence of an interesting, positive, affectionate man in my life does give me a boost of confidence.

Regardless, it’s too late. It’s too late for me to forgive BD for his abandonment. If he had left us and come back after a month, two months, three, if he had shown remorse, if he’s explained what he’d been going through, if he’d agreed to see a therapist together, if-if-if-if… But he didn’t. And it’s just too late now. I’m gradually accepting the fact that we are parting. And the separation is growing on me. I’m getting used to the independence. I’m beginning to believe that I can pull this thing off on my own and do a great job. I’m literally sick of BD’s negative energies. I feel like from now on, there is only room for positivity in my life.

So I’ve processed. And I want the formalities done with, quickly. And I don’t want to feel like I’m doing something wrong, only because I’ve unexpectedly encountered someone who wants to spend time with me, listen to what I’ve got to say, and kiss me, and make me happy. I think I deserve that, no matter what my formal status is. Don’t I?

A punch in the face. That’s exactly what this morning felt like. Arguing about money, custody, realizing that this is what my life is going to be about in the coming months. Well, listen up reality. You can punch me in the face all you like. I might get knocked down and have little birds and stars circling my head like some Looney Toons character. But a word of warning. I’m a trained kick boxer and I know how to punch back.

YES-WOMAN

2 Feb

door

“You know what I like about you?” He said. “That you’re so confident. You’re happy with who you are and you know what you want.”

So there you have it. The new me knows that she rocks. The new me has found the key to her happiness, and she’s opened up the door to let the good stuff in, the stuff that she knows she wants. She’s taking a risk. She knows this adventure, as most adventures do, will probably end with heartache. But heartache is not always a bad thing. Heartache means feeling. Losing something means having something, or having had it for a while.

Last Tuesday, I was having a YES day. I was saying YES to the world, and the world was reciprocating. I woke up in the morning and decided to take a day off to myself. I went shopping. I got a massage. I saw my therapist. Then, as a grand finale, I went ice skating with my friends, and got hit on by 25-year-old-Margaret-Atwood-enthusiast-ice-skating-instructor-guy, and said I’d go out with him.

“We are the sum total of the things we’ve seen and the experiences we’ve had.” He had said later, resting his curls on my shoulder. “This is why we live forever, because we imprint our existence on people’s experiences, and they carry an essence of our being on and on.”  He said this seriously, but threw in his apologetic smile, which I am slowly beginning to become acquainted with, the kind of smile that asks me to let him know if he’s gone too far. He hasn’t.

“You’re quite the philosopher.” I smiled, and I thought to myself, how exciting it is that I get to keep this experience, this imprint upon my memory, being held by him. And I told myself – quit worrying about how and when this is going to end, and rather, open the door to it and let it begin.