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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.

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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.

Still a Little Yours

19 Jul

path

 

I tried to tell myself not to contact you again, especially when you were so explicit about letting go and moving on the last time we spoke. I don’t have your phone number anymore, and that makes things a bit easier. Still, I’m writing. Sometimes you have to be unreasonable. 

I just returned from four magical days in beautiful Berlin. It was lovely – quiet and calm, the exact opposite of the everyday turmoil of my life. This peace that I felt there, brought back memories, made me think of you, and I suddenly had a strong urge to know what’s up with you. Still at that same job? Have you read that book we talked about? Made any important decisions? Had any interesting thoughts? It’s not exactly longing, this feeling, well maybe a little. But mostly it’s an honest interest in someone who used to be a close friend, and suddenly I have no contact with him. 

This year has been the most challenging, interesting, emotional, turbulent year of my life, and you had a part in it. I often think about everything that’s happened to me, and even more about how I have dealt with it all, about the narrative I put together, that ties all these events together and gives them meaning. 

I think about the time we spent together and everything I’ve learned from it. You have a unique ability to see people. I still feel that you managed to see me in a way that I hadn’t been seen in a really long time. You’re sharp, and you think outside the box, and that’s because you don’t even live inside this box called ‘normal life’ or ‘Earth’ or ‘acceptable’. You live entirely outside of the box. But life sometimes calls for thinking inside the box. And I think it’s a huge challenge for us to find the balance – where do we consent to doing what’s expected of us, so that we can lead reasonable (that word again) lives, and where do we draw the line and refuse to cross it. I’m still looking for the balance, and maybe I’ll never find it, just as I may never figure this world out completely. That’s the beauty of this road I’m taking, that it’s full of plot twists, and dramatic changes, and lessons, and surprises, and I love each and every one of them, even when I hate them – I still love them. 

I understand today more than ever that I have the power to choose my own path, to live my life as I wish to. All the doors are open, the choice is mine, and all the possibilities that lay before me are good ones. I understand today that I can’t go wrong, as long as I stay true to myself. It looks like my narrative is changing again. 

I’m not writing you because I want to get back together, although a part of me would give anything to spend another senseless passionate night with you. But in the morning, I know we’d reach the same conclusion we have before. We both want different things. There is a huge gap between what we expect of a relationship and what we want from the future. 

They say that people fall in love, because it makes them see the best in themselves. When I was in love with you I felt that I was the most beautiful, the smartest, the happiest, the sexiest, the most special woman in the world. I think you felt the same with me. I hope so. Today, I just feel like I’m in love with life, in love with this journey. I hope you are too. 

Still a little yours.

 

 

 

 

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.