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Not Too Much to Ask

21 Jul
In bloom every spring.

In bloom every spring.

I seek passion in my life.  But I also seek security.

My therapist thinks my expectations are unrealistic. She thinks what made SG so exciting, what made our relationship so fabulously passionate was the fact that there was no security there, it wasn’t going anywhere, it was clearly temporary. I disagree. I think it was insanely, intoxicatingly passionate, but it became even more so the closer we became, the more I trusted him, the more I let myself believe that it was going to last.

Is it really such an oxymoron, to find passion and security in one man?

I find this magical combination of both passion and security in many different aspects of my life. Motherhood is by far the most prominent. I am head over heals for my little boy. I’m in love with every little brown curl, and overly grown toenail that I struggle to clip as he squirms and squeals. I’m passionate about teaching him everything I know about the world and directing him to look and see the things which are most important to me, showing him by example and helping him learn to deal with difficulty and pain as well as embrace the beauty and pleasures of life. I’m passionate about everything I learn from him. The way he views the world, freshly, unbiased, excitedly, teaches me to let go of preconceptions and misconceptions, and accept things for what they are.

But there is also security in our relationship. I will be his mother always and forever. I will love him always and forever. I will be a part of his life always and forever.

I find passion and security in my career. When I started this blog my need for anonymity was so great that I never mentioned any personal detail about my life. I not only used initials rather than real names, I used an false initials. I never mentioned where I lived, not the city, not even the country. I was careful not to ever mention currency or any other detail that my be revealing. I never posted pictures that took myself, only images I found online. I also never said what I did for a living.

I am an elementary school teacher. And let me tell you, it’s the kind of career that fills your life with a constant flow of excitement, in my opinion like no other, which is why I have chosen it. I cannot sit behind a desk. I have to keep moving. I have a need to reinvent myself on a daily basis. I love inspiring my students. I love helping them fall in love with the world, overwhelmed by all it has to offer them. I love teaching them to have a positive approach to life.

So I have passion in my career. But I also have security. I’m great at what I do, and I’ll always have a job doing what I’m doing, for as long as I’m interested. I wake up every morning, put my son in daycare and go to work, and at the end of the school day I pick him up and take him to the playground, fix dinner, bathe him, put him to bed, and I love this routine. I also know exactly how much money will be in my bank account at the end of every month, and though it’s not a spectacular sum, this too gives me a sense of security.

My friends too fill my life with passion. They get me. We can talk into the night, dissecting our lives and reaching exciting conclusions. Spending time with them is exciting, as well as comforting. I know that they will stand by me when I fall, and this gives me a sense of security.

So why is it so farfetched that this combination of traits can be found in a partner? Why do people find it so unreasonable for me to long for a man who excites me, as well as soothes me, who is passionate and yet reliable?

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14 Jun

birds on branch

It was Baby’s first birthday the other week, and a cause for celebration and delight. Yep. We made it through our first year as mom and son, and not only made it, we rocked. My gorgeous boy is starting to walk now. He has four teeth. He’s eating solids like a pro. He talks the sweetist gibberish you’ve ever heard. He calls me ‘maaaa’. He expresses affection by hugging me, pulling at my clothes and licking my face.

We make a great team, him and I. Who said families can’t have just two people in them? He does have a dad, and they’ve fallen into a routine of visitations that pleases me and gives me some time off, which completely transforms my week. But our core family for now is just us. And we’re doing splendidly.

We have excellent communication. Yes, I do realize he’s one. But he expresses himself beautifully using the limited tools at his disposal, and I manage to understand him most of the time. He’s patient, and “explains” himself again if I misinterpret his mumbles, squeals and growls. He knows that no matter what I will always listen to him, and be there for him, and he seems to have almost no fear of anything, which I find remarkable. I try to be a role model to him. I try to always tell him the truth about everything, even though sometimes it’s a version of the truth, tailored especially for him. I still have to figure out what I’m goiong to tell him about his dad and I when he’s old enough to ask.

Well, a little over a year has passed since my beautiful boy was born, and that makes it about 9 months since the separation. My desicion has finally been made, and this time I feel very confident. I told BD that I didn’t want to continue therapy. I told him I wanted a divorce. Not an easy conversation, as he was very persistant and asked me to reconsider again and again, just as before. Only this time I was equipped with new knowledge, a realization that it doesn’t matter if BD accepts, agrees or even understands my point of view. I realize now that I’ve been having such a hard time cutting loose from him, because for some reason I thought I needed him to understand why, to agree with me. The realization that I don’t need that has finally set me free.

Happy. In command. Empowered. Capable. Strong. Optimistic. Excited. Good things are coming and my arms are wide open to welcome them into my life. What a beautiful day, I told Baby this morning  on the way to daycare. The sky is clear, the birds are chirping, there are so many beautiful things for us to see, we just have to open your eyes and look.

All That She Wants

15 Apr

Nature's Embrace by Josephine Wall

He’d be kind. He’d listen when I spoke, and even when I didn’t. He’d hold me when I needed to be held. He’d love my son but understand his place as a significant adult in his life, yes, but not his father. He wouldn’t make promises he couldn’t keep. He’d be warm. He’d be generally happy and often smile or laugh. He’d enjoy a homey evening together of cooking dinner, chatting, washing dishes, watching a movie. He’d have time for us. He’d have time for himself. He wouldn’t be rich, he’d make just enough money so that between the two of us we could manage a comfortable life. He’d want to look after me. Sometimes he might even worry about me, just a little. He’d help me out with things without being asked to. He’d love me. I’d love him.

Our relationship would start casually and gradually intensify. We’d be passionate and physical, and wouldn’t be able to take our hands off each other at first. As time went by, there wouldn’t be as many sparks, but we’d still enjoy one another physically. It would start becoming serious. We’d use the L word. We might be scared. Maybe we’d both been hurt before. But that too would pass and in its place a calmness and sense of security would slowly grow. After some time, keys would be exchanged. Sleepovers would multiply. Eventually boxes would be packed and moved. Closet space would be cleared. A new life would be built and shared.

A little boy would grow up in a safe and loving environment. He’d go to school and play sports, or do arts or read books, whatever made him happy. And we’d be proud as hell. We’d all have a good relationship with his father, who might also have found a new love, built a new home.

We’d grow older. Things would change. Challenges would appear. But we’d cope with them. We’d argue from time to time. We’d be mad at one another. But at night our bodies would meet under the covers and a forgiving warmth would envelope us both.

He’d always remember how I liked my coffee, and I’d remember he preferred tepid water to cold. He’d keep the light on in the kitchen at night because he’d know I hated sleeping in pitch dark. I’d invest in organic tomatoes, because I’d know how much he liked them. Sometimes, when the Boy didn’t think he was too cool for it, we’d order in and play board games or have a movie night. Maybe there would even be another boy in the picture. Or a girl. Maybe.

I’d get a second chance at happily ever after.

But…

But if I didn’t, if things didn’t work out, I’d be strong enough to handle it. Wouldn’t I..? I’d pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and glue them back together. I’d have to find a way to protect my son from having his heart shattered too.

When I think about the risks… It almost seems too dangerous. Sometimes it makes me want to give up hope of ever having a Chapter 2.  But I remember a line that I heard in a song: There are no victories in all our histories without love. And I put on that song that I used to love as a teenager. And it makes me feel a little more hopeful, and little more brave.

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…

Push the Button

10 Feb

button

We’re all a bunch of buttons and triggers, waiting to be pressed and pulled. It doesn’t always make sense. It doesn’t always mean anything. In fact, more often it doesn’t than it does. But buttons are buttons and triggers are triggers. And once in  a while – BAM.

One: The Divorce Lawyer

BD’s recently made quite a bit of money selling a company that he’d started a few years back. At our divorce meeting he insinuated that I wasn’t entitled to half of it because he’d started the company before we were married. BAM. Is he telling me that all the years of support I’ve provided, putting my career on hold to go abroad with him, washing his underwear, cooking the food he likes, cleaning up his mess after him, coaching him towards meetings, being understanding and considerate of all his needs, being his loving significant other, don’t count because TECHNICALLY we weren’t married yet? UNFAIR.

Two: The Rash

Baby’s been having some allergic reactions. Recently he got a bad rash, probably because I let him eat some soup that had a bit of cumin in it. And all of a sudden, a huge rash all over his face. BAM. Stupid stupid stupid. What kind of mother gives her baby cumin? I must have been nuts. BAD MOTHER.

Three: The Sandwich

Skating guy was over. We were sitting around, chatting and relaxing, when he had to go to work and asked me to make him a sandwich. Smearing avocado on whole wheat bread, slicing a tomato, adding a dash of salt. BAM. Perfect little wife making a perfect little sandwich for a man she has to mother. My marriage, all over again. No way. NEVER AGAIN.

We’re all a bunch of buttons, and triggers, waiting to be pressed and pulled. What do we do when they are? Is it possible NOT to shut down, fade away, crawl into a corner and cry? Is it possible for us to tell ourselves – damn, that hit a nerve, but we’re stronger than that, we’re not going to fall apart over a button, over a trigger?

 

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.