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Loved

31 Jan

snoopy

When I was a kid it meant everything to me that my sisters would feel loved. I played out every perfect-mother-cliché that I saw in a movie or read in a book, said every right word, did every right thing, well, the young adult interpretation of the right thing at least.

Overbearing father, busy mother, blah blah blah, and my perfect baby sisters, two little dolls to dress up, and brush their hair, and cook for, and help out with homework, and teach them how to tell time, and build up my ego knowing that I was necessary to them, to make up for my feeling unnecessary where I should have felt paramount.

This post is not supposed to be a parent-rant, although I can see that’s where it’s heading. I just suddenly remembered today, strongly, vividly, how much I loved my sisters when we were little. And I love them truly today, as an adult. But when we were younger it was different. It was like I was their mother. Parents usually say that until you have kids, you don’t know how much love you’re capable of feeling, how protective you’ll be of your little ones. But that wasn’t true in my case. I knew, because that’s how I felt about my sisters. I wanted to protect them. I wanted to teach them. I would have done anything in the world for them and they knew it. And it made all the difference to me knowing that they had someone in their lives that they knew would do anything in the world for them. Not just in a life and death situation, but even if they just had a cold and needed to be spoiled.

So I got a lot out of our childhood relationship, for sure. They helped me fill a void that slowly grew in me, to shut up that voice that always told me that I was unworthy. I proved myself worthy to them. And then they grew up, and I needed to take care of someone more helpless than they were, so I got all these male friends at school that had issues and I mothered them, secretly falling for most of them, embracing the pain of unrequited love as if it were a trophy.

When I met BD, one of the first things I loved about him was how he took care of me. He was the first person in my life to do that in the totality that I had fantasized about my whole life. I’m sure you’re imagining me as this neglected kid with overgrown fingernails, but I was really well taken care of. And I knew that I was loved, too. And if something really horrible had happened, my parents would be there without any doubt, I’m sure of that. It’s just that totality that I was craving. The worrying about whether I would be cold without a jacket, or what time I would get back home. Whose house I was sleeping over at, if I had a sandwich for school, or it I woke up on time in the morning. It’s not that they didn’t care, they had their hands full and I was very self-contained.

The first time I ever got sick and BD took care of me, I was elated. In pain, but elated. He was all over the place, making me tea and soup, and getting me those extra soft tissues with the aloe in them, and bringing me the remote and checking in with me every twenty minutes. And there were other things too, like he hated it if I wore shear clothes, because he didn’t want anyone else having a look at what belonged to him. And he’d threaten to beat up anyone who messed with me, and though he was the geeky type and didn’t mean it seriously, it was romantic and his intentions were what counted.

Now I understand, BD showed me what it was to be loved in totality, to be taken care of, the way I had only taken care of others in the past but had rarely been on the receiving end. It was OK to cry with him, crying didn’t make me a wuss, and he never expected me to ‘just get over it’. He’d just hug me and tell me it would be OK. Sometimes that’s all a girl needs.

Even this week, as I told him I didn’t want to live together anymore, through tears, he still found it in him to console me. And I thought to myself – am I making a huge mistake? What am I giving this up for? I have a man who loves me incredibly, who wants to spend his whole life making up for his mistakes.

But the thing is, that I don’t need BD in order to be on the receiving end anymore. I am already on the receiving end of so much love and care and warmth. My gorgeous son, who blows me a kiss in the morning when I say goodbye to him at daycare, and hugs my legs when I come back to pick him up. I mother him, and I’m supposed to mother him! Isn’t that awesome? I have my friends whom I can tell things about my life, pretty or not, and they’ll accept anything without a hint of judgment. I have two beautiful sisters whose future kids will one day be my Boy’s baby cousins, and whom I fantasize about us raising together, with the ideals of parenthood that we all share.

I tend to get emotional and needy when I’m sick. I start thinking about how I can’t really handle things on my own. Thank god, after I stop throwing up, and I did eventually yesterday, I sober up and remember what’s real. Sitting on a park bench with my friend R and telling him about my aspirations, and hearing that he loves me and receiving his embrace. He believes that I’ll get there, and so do I, and if my son could speak, he’d tell me that he believes in me too.

That Girl

2 Dec

disclaimer

I’ve been reluctant to post about this, because I’ve been reluctant to admit it, but – we’re in therapy again. BD and I, trying to work things out, with the hopes of reuniting and giving our little boy the family we want so much for him to have.

I haven’t really talked much about it, I let almost everyone around me just assume that we’re separated, and on the way to a divorce (I bet they’re wondering what’s taking us so long). The few friends I have told, received the news followed by giant all-caps disclaimers: IT PROBABLY WON’T WORK OUT. NO POINT OF GETTING MY HOPES UP. WE MIGHT AS WELL GIVE IT A TRY, BUT, YOU KNOW, I DON’T REALLY THINK IT’S GOING ANYWHERE.

We have a good therapist. She’s practical and gets to the point quickly, which is good. And things are going well, I guess. We’re discussing moving in together for a trial period in a month or so. If this works out, it’ll be great. I mean, just think of the convenience: First off, having a live-in partner helping me raise my boy, and having that live-in incidentally be his father! There’s the little things – taking out the trash without worrying about leaving Baby at home. Going to the bathroom and, drumroll… Closing the door! Having someone to eat dinner with and spoon with at night. And then, there’s being able to have sex whenever I want, without it becoming a huge project. Only for that to become a consideration, we need to actually have sex, which we’re not, at all. God I miss sex. Sex is the best.

So now I have some down time, since the holidays have provided a short break from work, and BD went on yet another one of his business trips. Time to myself and I have no idea what to do with it. I’ve become so used to working nonstop, I kind of want to work though my vacation, and I can – it’s not that I don’t have stuff to do, I just don’t think that would be smart. I really need a time out.

After taking Baby to daycare this morning I went running, which always makes me feel powerful and sexy and I haven’t done it in a really long time. My running music is horribly outdated, but I haven’t listened to it so long that even Thrift Shop didn’t get on my nerves. When I came back home, feeling energized, I took a nice long shower and was suddenly overwhelmed with memories, little fragments of a winter day, almost a year ago, January 22nd, the day that marks my biographical birthday, the day New Me was born. As the water rushed over my hair, my face, my body, I felt a tingle in my toes as I caught a glimpse of a head of auburn curls, enormous brown eyes and strong arms that used to crush me to pieces and make me feel alive.

But it wasn’t SG I was remembering, it was me. Beautiful, sexy, strong, energetic, creative, vibrant, healthy, happy me. The girl who somehow survived the flood; the girl who camped out on the beach, sipping Breezers all day and returned home with her hair full of sand, and didn’t feel guilty for a minute for leaving her 7-month-old with his daddy; the girl who kissed a guy she never met at a club when she was 10 kilos heavier with post pregnancy weight, but felt hotter than she could ever feel these days; the girl who painted abstract crap and hung it on her wall shamelessly because it meant something to her, and started a blog and wrote 83 posts, consistently, every day, and then every week, and then every other week, but never stopped; the girl who, while raising a baby on her own managed to change her career around; the girl who fell in love, not only with a beautiful, free-spirited red-head, but with her brand new self.

I can’t go back now, I can’t. How could I ever give her up?

But I have. I am. I look back at that girl and I think I must have dreamt her. Just as I dreamt those enormous brown eyes that looked straight into my soul, and those big pouty lips that whispered “I love you” before they devoured me.

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.

On Sacrifices and Why I’m not Making Any Anymore

28 Jun

sacrifice

My friend B thinks I’m going through my twenties, only I’m doing it in my thirties, which might very well be. I started dating BD when I was 19. Back then, following my mother’s example (though it’s more than a little superficial to blame it on her) I honestly believed that being in a loving relationship meant making sacrifices. Not little ones. Not agreeing to see a movie you don’t really care for, or allowing the toilet seat to stay up without making a scene. I believed that you couldn’t get everything you wanted or needed in any relationship, and so, you had to decide what was less important to you and find someone who gave you all the rest. (There was even a time when I thought that this wisdom was something some of my single girlfriends hadn’t figured out yet and that this was why they didn’t have a boyfriend.)

In theory, this sounds reasonable. I know in my heart that Mr. Right exists only in my heart, that I will never meet a man who is so compatible with me that he knows how to meet my every need without being told what to do, and still be unpredictable at times and sweep me off my feet. But, and this is a big but, I don’t think I should be making any sacrifices anymore. Adjustments – yes, sacrifices – no.

Very possibly the word sacrifices means more to me than it does to anyone else, I suppose it’s common to say that a mother makes sacrifices for her children for example. I want to redefine the word here, so you can understand what it means to me and why it raises such a strong emotional reaction in me. A sacrifice to me means doing something that strongly contradicts who you are, doing it despite feeling a strong objection to it, despite knowing that it will make you unhappy, and doing it because you believe it will benefit someone else, whose needs are more important than yours.

One might say that my career isn’t developing as quickly as it could have, or that I’m not making as much money as I could have if I didn’t have a child. But that’s not a sacrifice, that’s a choice. I would much rather spend time with my son in the afternoon than make more money or advance in my career. Had I decided to be a stay at home mom and not work at all, that would have been a sacrifice, because I love my job, and I love that I have somewhere to go where I can be valued as a professional. It would have been wrong for me to stay at home all day with my son, because it would have been a sacrifice, and he could not have benefited of it.

When I was in a relationship with BD, who had to move abroad for work and I left my job, my family and friends and moved with him, it was my choice, it was not a sacrifice. I was excited about my new adventure. I was ready for a change. But when things got bad there, when I was homesick and depressed and did not get out of bed some days, and felt like my life was worthless, and got a job I didn’t like just to get out of the house, that was a sacrifice. And it was a mistake to make it, I should have left BD there and come home.

This is just one example, our relationship was in fact full of sacrifices on my part. Sacrifices which lead, eventually to the death – yes, death – of several important “Me”s. I can’t blame BD for it, because he didn’t know. I wasn’t clear in stating the things that I wanted. Because I believed they were less important than the things that he wanted. Because I believed that making sacrifices made me a better person.

Now that we are apart, the dead “Me”s have begun their resurrection and they are hungry and thirsty and know no boundaries and they are raising havoc. It’s so exhausting that I had to sleep for 11 hours last night and I still feel tired.

Back to My Future

31 May

Back to the Future

Baby has been sick this week, and I was home with him, cleaning his vomit, coaxing him to drink water and consoling all 11 kilos of him in my arms for hours… This morning, when he finally went down for his nap, I collapsed in bed and fell asleep at once.

Suddenly, I was on the set of Back to the Future, and it was being filmed. I wasn’t really taking part in the movie, but I was more than an observer, it’s like I was an extra, just there. I remember thinking to myself, hey, I’ve seen this, it’s a great movie. Yes, I know that’s weird since it was just being filmed, but you know, it’s a dream. Then Baby woke up and nap time was over.

This past month has been a trip back to the past for me, and it hasn’t been easy. I know I’m having a hard time when I have a need to blog every single day, and I’ve had times like that. But I also know I’m having a horrible time when I don’t blog at all, and I haven’t been. I was doing much better, getting used to my new life as a single mom, thinking about the future, making plans, living as I wanted to live. This couple’s therapy thing with BD is really getting to me. It’s making me feel like I’m regressing. I’m sad again, I feel less in control of my life, I get to the end of every day feeling like I need a drink, or make that three. Last night I stared at the TV for an hour. I know most people do that on a regular basis, but I don’t. It wasn’t even a show I enjoyed, it was just some stupid reality show that I hate and find degrading towards women.

I’ve made a decision to keep this up for two months (one down, one to go), and I hope I get what I’m looking for at the end of this process: closure, certainty, confidence that I’m doing the right thing. But in the meantime, I’m craving that future that just a short while ago seemed so close and now seems farther than ever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1i5coU-0_Q

 

A Silver Lining?

2 May

silver lining

I feel like shit. This is terrible. Fuck.

I spent this week watching my Louis CK, eating junk, and not getting any work done. Really the only parts of my week that I feel proud of, the only parts that make me feel that I’m a normal functioning adult, are when I’m with my boy. Taking him to day care. Playing at the park. Taking a bath. Having dinner. That I can do. It actually makes me feel better, doing that. It reminds me of my purpose. Life’s not all a load of crap, there’s this beautiful thing in my life, this treasure, that looks at me and smiles and drools, and climbs and pinches and tugs at my hair like I’m his giant toy. Pretty soon he’s going to start calling me mom, and that’ll be insane. Wow.

BUT, when I’m not taking care of my little treasure, that’s when I remember stuff. I remember how bad it was when BD left and how I swore I would never let anyone hurt me like that again. And I wonder if I”m a big idiot for agreeing to go to therapy with him, when all I feel for him is anger. I remember how SG made me happy and how I ended it because we didn’t want the same things from life. I remember how he said things to me that showed me that he really listened to me and understood me. And I remember how I sometimes felt that BD never really got me. How he’d say things that had the subtext of – money equals success and I how I didn’t like that. How he was always late and how it made me feel like I didn’t matter to him. How he had taken his ring off two months before he moved out and let me think he’d lost it, when really – he just didn’t want to wear it anymore. SG would never do that. He’d tell me the truth.

I’m not saying I want SG back, even though I do miss him terribly. So much that it makes my chest hurt. But I know it wouldn’t have lasted. I’m saying, well, that it sucks. That it hurts. That I feel more angry at BD than I did when I had another man in my life. That I feel less hopeful that it’ll work out with him. Honestly, I think a part of me wants this to fail. A part of me just wants to be free to find my next SG, someone sensitive, insightful and happy, but this time someone who wants the same things out of life as me.

I’ll say this though, and maybe it can be the silver lining of this gloomy post: Despite the pain I’m in now, I have no regrets. I’m not sorry I let BD go and didn’t fight for him to stay. If I’d put up a fight, we might have gone to therapy sooner, we might have worked things out, we might not be on our way to a divorce. But it would have been awful, I wouldn’t be able to live with the feeling that I had pressured him to stay when he wanted to go. I’d always doubt that he really wanted to be with us.

And I’m not sorry I let myself love SG. If I had had my shield up, it could have just been a fling, something light to distract me and then exit my life with no real damage. But no, I got more out of loving SG than I lost from saying goodbye to him.

 

 

Birthdays

14 Apr

birth of venus

I’m only 32 and I already have three separate friends who hate birthdays. B doesn’t like to be reminded of her age. R and N simply think birthdays are meaningless, since age doesn’t mean anything. R says it’s just another way for people to compare themselves to their peers. He’s 38, when’s he going to settle down already? You know, she should start thinking about children already, at her age. When I was 30 I had a career and two children, not that there’s anything wrong with waiting tables, but you know, there is. N criticizes how people wait for their birthday to do things they love. He thinks every day should be a celebration of us living the life we want to live.

All this is fine, and true. The competition thing, the living each day to its fullest. But let me just say this – I love my birthday! And I think my friends are sort of missing the point.

1. Birthdays are a very good excuse to be completely narcissistic, not give a shit about anyone else, and do stuff that you love and never find time for.

2. You get presents on your birthday, and presents are awesome! I fucking love presents.

3. Birthdays are not a celebration of how old you are, but a celebration that you ARE. If it weren’t for that crazy morning, 32 years ago, when my mom gave birth to me in a hospital room with five other women, and my dad rode his bike all around town shouting at strangers, I have a girl! I’m a dad! If it weren’t for that, I would not exist. I would not think, or believe, or love, or create, or become a parent myself. I would not ache, or break, or pick up the pieces of my life and start over. I would not be. And that’s what my birthday is to me, it’s a celebration of my life, with its peeks and its slopes, with its joy and its misery.

Many years ago, before I met BD, before I became, well, me, I had a really bad year. It was the year my heart was broken, my trust violated, my body taken advantage of. It was the year I stopped believing in god, and love, and happiness, and became an existentialist without really knowing what that meant. And most significantly, it was the year that I became I comfortably numb. So much shit was going on in my life, that it was too much to handle. So I didn’t. I just shut everything and everyone out. I went through the motions of life without laughing or crying, without feeling. Today, looking back at those days of numbness, I realize that there is yet another thing I celebrate every year on my birthday. I celebrate feeling! I embrace the pain and pleasures of life and I know that as long as I can feel, I exist.

And as long as I exist, I intend to celebrate my life. I feel lucky – to have loved, to have married, to have become a mother, to have been betrayed, to have recovered. I know that my heart may be broken in the future, but I still choose to love. I know that my trust may be violated in the future, but I still choose to trust.

Happy birthday, me. You’re doing great.

You live, you learn, you love you learn, you cry, you learn, you lose, you learn…