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My ‘What Is’

15 Jun

bed

I opened my eyes this morning and saw that head on the pillow beside me, naked of those gorgeous red curls which have been chopped off mercilessly when we were apart. Sleeping with heavy eyelids, long auburn eyelashes resting on the top of his cheeks, and those enormous pouty lips slightly parted. It wasn’t a dream. He did come over last night, I did open the door to him in those sexy yet nonchalant pajamas. He did look at me for several long seconds and then pull me into a crushing, overwhelming embrace.

Life, I am slowly beginning to realize, is life. I know that seems trivial. One of the pre-Socratic philosophers, Parmenides, claimed that we can only speak and think of what is “for being is, but nothing is not.” This is my life, this is my what is. I am 32 years old, mother to an incredible one year old treasure, soon-to-be-divorced. I have a close friend, a beautiful, witty, unbelievably caring and giving person who’s putting on a hell of a fight with the big C and learning to allow people to be there for her, as she’s always been there for them.

This is my life. I have a steady job and a less than mediocre income. I have an accountant who flirts with me shamelessly every time we meet. I have a strong backbone and support system of friends and family who will always be there for me in times of trouble. I have great tits, even after breastfeeding, and my body will never be as tight as it used to be before childbirth, or as tight as it… has never been, frankly. But I’m learning to love it as is, to embrace its curves and lushness.

This is my life. I was in love once with a boy, so badly that I lost myself. I wrote a blog post about him and tagged it “rape” and then erased that word, but then edited it and tagged it again. And now I have an ex who wants to get back together, to whom I’m saying a strong, confident “NO”, which has been a long time coming, and a lover whom I’ve chosen to welcome back into my life, who pleasures me in ways I never realized were possible, to whom I’m choosing, for now, to say “YES”.

I don’t know what I want or where I want to go next, but I’m excited to find out.

This is my life. This is my what is. And I love it, even when I hate it. I love its twists and turns, I cherish its gifts, I embrace its painful lessons. I want to feel and experience everything it has to offer me, for as long as it’s offering.

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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…

The Letter I Never Sent

7 Jan

toys

May 13th, 2001

Y,

I have no doubt that you are undeserving of this letter, but you are also undeserving of my thoughts, and for over a year now, I am unable to shake the memory of all that has happened between us. So I am writing this letter for myself, rather than for you, so that I can put things behind me and move on.

I don’t think you can possibly comprehend what you’ve put me through. And it’s killing me. Not that it happened, but the fact that you have probably not even given it a second thought, that you haven’t owned up to what you’ve done. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d feel much better if you would just admit that you’re a disgusting son of a bitch. I’m not expecting you to apologize, you wouldn’t. But it seems to me that you walked out of this saga with a clear conscience, which is just wrong.

So I’m going to tell you my side of the story, the way that I remember it. Just so that I can feel that you’ve had the opportunity to see it through my eyes. I need you to know what it was like for me, even if you still do not regret it.

I’m sure you know that I was in love with you for a long time. There were times when I understood it to be a love between close friends, but there were also times when I knew that it was more than that. In 12th grade when you were with F, and told me stories about your relationship, I was jealous, but at the same time I was relieved to know that you were hers and not mine, because I would never have allowed you to treat me the way you treated her, or at least so I thought.

I was attracted to your mind, which stupidly I thought was enough to build a relationship on. You were sharp and witty and we shared the same opinions and cynical humor. I didn’t have many people I could speak to in my life during high school, so I was drawn to you, because we seemed to see eye to eye. Today I realize what a big joke high school is, and that the world is full of interesting, intelligent, funny human beings that are also not assholes, and that you don’t have to get hung up on an asshole, just because he can name-drop. But I guess that’s what growing up is about.

We were so close, for three years. Do you remember those long hours on the phone at night, until my dad yelled at me to hang up? And those afternoons we spent at your house or mine, or sitting on swings at the playground chatting, or passing endless notes in class?

Then high school was over, and we were about to start a new chapter in our lives. And I was basically over you. Maybe not entirely, but on my way there. And I felt that friendship was enough for us, that I didn’t want anything more. But then, that night, when we went to that movie, and sat afterword for an hour chatting about it in your car, I was just about to leave when you kissed me. Out of the blue. And I couldn’t say no, because I was curious, and because I had wanted to kiss you so many times before.

But Y, I didn’t want anything more to happen.

As we were kissing, my mind was racing. We were already friends, which meant you liked me. But now you were kissing me, which meant you were also attracted to me. This was going to go somewhere. So when you wanted to come upstairs, I said yes. Because I wasn’t really sure how to say no to you. And I thought, if only we went upstairs, than maybe you’d want to be with me, the same way that for a long time I had wanted to be with you.

You probably don’t remember the part where I said no. We were on my bed. I told you my mom would catch us, and you told me she wouldn’t. You were lying on top of me, feeling me up, and I was uncomfortable, but silent. But when you undid the button of my jeans I said no. I’m pretty sure I said it more than once, but once at least. And I moved your hand away. But you didn’t really listen. And I was too inexperienced and lacking confidence to be assertive. So I just went with it, closing my eyes and just waiting for it all to end.

“Where is this going?” You asked me after. And I said: “I don’t know.” Because I didn’t, and also because it was the answer you wanted to hear. Since we had a history, you knew that sex was not something I took lightly. So I imagined that night must have meant something, because surely you didn’t think I was the type of girl who was just looking for a “good time”.

We went to visit A up north the following day, and I was nervous as hell. I spent an hour picking out my clothes and applying make up. It was an easygoing morning, and you had gotten me a gift, which I thought was sweet, but I was still all tensed up, and on the way back home, in the car, I told you that I loved you. I’m afraid I am always going to remember what you said. You said: “We can’t be together. Listen, you’re just another friend to me. In fact, the only advantage you have which my other friends don’t is that you’ve known me for a long time.”

How is it possible then, that after all this, we still ended up in my bed that day? I feel ashamed that it happened, but you should be more ashamed than me. My so called friend. I can’t believe I spent all of  10th and 11th grade listening to you cry about how sorry your life was and how you couldn’t get the girl you liked to notice you, reading your stupid short stories, and telling you how great you were.

After that second time, I felt like crap. I wanted it to be over. I called you to talk. I wanted to tell you that maybe we could go back to being friends because this arrangement wasn’t working for me. You answered the phone but said you couldn’t talk. And I never heard from you again. You didn’t answer my phone calls. You just cut me out.

I remember that while we were in my bed, you asked me not to tell anoyone about us. Do you know that for a long time I didn’t? I kept it a secret. I felt like a slut. I was ashamed that I had let something like this happen to me.

And now, looking back, I think you’re disgusting. I don’t know if I can ever forgive you, but I’m hoping that with this letter I can at least stop thinking about you, maybe let go of my anger a little. I don’t expect you to apologize, but at least now you know how you made me feel, and now that you do, I’m going to try to put you behind me.

Bye.

M